Years ago I discovered Huey Lewis and the News and I even saw them in concert. I listened to them all the time, even liked the songs that didn’t get MTV or radio play. Walking on a Thin Line from Sports is a great song about combat veterans trying to fit into civilian life after being trained to shoot other people. It is the only song on the album that wasn’t written by Huey or one of the guys in the band. All that to say right now when I hear the songs start to play on my ipod I just skip right over them. It is like an old friend that hasn’t changed, I still want to spend time with them (maybe) but just not right now. The songs are the same, I’ve changed. Huey, guys it’s not you, it’s me. See ya around.
Way back in 1970 I bought my first ever vinyl album. Actually it was the first time I had ever bought any music or much of anything on my own. I remember buying some comic books and baseball cards in 1968 at the corner 7-11 in Norfolk, Virginia. I bought this album at the base store at Naval Facility, Pt. Sur, CA. It was the last base that my Dad stationed at before he retired. I really like the Jackson Fives’ harmonies and their pop sound. I bought all kinds of albums and kept most of them until the advent of CD’s. Every so often I would sell some, so I could buy other newer albums. As music went in and out of style I would get new music. It is amazing how much music we can in so little space now with our ipods
Back in 1961, when I was 4 years old, a band formed that to me is THE American Band. Ladies and gentleman, The Beach Boys. Their songs California Girls, In My Room, Disney Girls, Wouldn’t it be Nice, Good Vibrations, Heroes and Villains are some of my all time favorite songs. Nothing says summer like cranking up Spirit of America or Endless Summer rolling down the windows and putting the top and rolling down the highway. I could and have listened to this music for hours on end. I was overjoyed when Brian released the long delayed Smile in 2004, wondering how much better it would have been with the Beach Boys harmonies on it back in 1966. Ruth Ann and I saw the beach boys in Portland after a couple of Beavers games, except they weren’t really The Beach Boys, because by that time Dennis Wilson had died and Brian wasn’t playing with the band. With Dennis and Brian it just wasn’t the same and meant that Mike took center stage with his obnoxious personality. Their may be a band touring today as the beach boys, but they are not really The Beach Boys. Wouldn’t it Be Nice if they were.
This movie, which many people, including some people in it, say is one of the worst movies of all time has generated an interesting conversation around our house. Are some cover versions of songs better than the original. Two or three songs in particular from this movie we think are better than the original. I know that is almost sacrilegious to say about the Beatles. I feel that Earth, Wind and Fire improved on Got to Get You Into my Life, so much that I don’t even remember the original. Aerosmiths’ Steven Tyler had a voice better suited to sing Come Together than any of the Beatles. Joe Perry and Crew brought the necessary swagger to the tune that has made it theirs. Last but not least for me was Billy Prestons’ rendition of Get Back, Billy who had actually performed with the Beatles, had a lot of fun with the song and I like it better than the original. Are there any cover songs that you think were better by the cover artist that the original.
One of my favorite types of music is that played by Marching Bands, from John Phillip Sousa to T. Rex. John Phillip Sousa wrote so much music that we hear in parades and marching band competitions that some of the songs are embedded in our collective consciousnesses. Stars and Stripes Forever is probably his best known song. When I was in high school (71-75) it seemed that every band played the Hawaii Five-O theme and Bang a Gong. The best band in Parades around here is the One More Time Around Again Marching Band, made up of former band members ranging in age from early 20’s to the 70’s, their signature tune is Louie, Louie. I used to love the Ohio State and Grambling University bands when I was growing up. The movie Drumline has some great marching band stuff, it will just blow your mind. The book American Band, Music, Dreams, and Coming of Age in the Heartland by Kristen Laine was an awesome book that exposed me to a culture that I was unaware of and was extremely well written. My personal favorite former marching band member is my good friend, Amanda Banker.