All posts by Egil Mosbron

Today: Bob Dylan recorded Master version of “Like A Rolling Stone” in 1965 – 47 years ago

Bob Dylan’s second best song ? or best ? iow – best or second best song ever recorded.

It doesn’t really matter.

«.. The Sound Is So Rich the Song Never
Plays The Same Way Twice»
– Greil Marcus

From Wikipedia:

Like a Rolling Stone” is a 1965 song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Its confrontational lyrics originate in an extended piece of verse Dylan wrote in June 1965, when he returned from a grueling tour of England, exhausted.

After the lyrics were heavily edited, “Like a Rolling Stone” was recorded a few weeks later as part of the sessions for the forthcoming album Highway 61 Revisited. During a difficult two-day preproduction, Dylan struggled to find the essence of the song, which was demoed without success in 3/4 time. A breakthrough was made when it was tried in a rock music format, and rookie session musician Al Kooper improvised the organ riff for which the track is known.

However, Columbia Records was unhappy with both the song’s length at over six minutes and its heavy electric sound, and was hesitant to release it. It was only when a month later a copy was leaked to a new popular music club and heard by influential DJs that the song was put out as a single. Although radio stations were reluctant to play such a long track, “Like a Rolling Stone” reached number two in the US charts and became a worldwide hit.

 

B-side “Gates of Eden” (5:44)
Released July 20, 1965
Format 7″ single
Recorded June 15–16, 1965, Columbia Studio A, 799 Seventh Avenue, New York City
Genre Rock, folk rock
Length 6:09 (single)
6:13 (album)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer Tom Wilson

 

Legacy:

The song’s sound was revolutionary in its combination of electric guitar licks, organ chords, and Dylan’s voice, at once young and jeeringly cynical. Critic Michael Gray described the track as “a chaotic amalgam of blues, impressionism, allegory, and an intense directness in the central chorus: ‘How does it feel'”. The song had an enormous impact on popular culture and rock music. Its success made Dylan a pop icon, as Paul Williams notes:

Dylan had been famous, had been the center of attention, for a long time. But now the ante was being upped again. He’d become a pop star as well as a folk star … and was, even more than the Beatles, a public symbol of the vast cultural, political, generational changes taking place in the United States and Europe. He was perceived as, and in many ways functioned as, a leader.
  • 2010 – rank 1 – 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (Rolling Stone Magazine) 
  • 2006 – rank 4 – 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s (Pitchfork Media)
  • 2000 – rank 4 – 100 Greatest Rock Songs (VH1)

Live in 1966:

Original:

Spotify Playlist – different versions of this masterpiece:

Other June-16:

Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan recorded Master version of “Like A Rolling Stone” in 1965 – 47 years ago

Today: David Bowie released the “Space Oddity” single in 1969 – 43 years ago

From Wikipedia:

Space Oddity” is a song written and performed by David Bowie and released as a music single in 1969. It is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut; its title alludes to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, released the previous year. Incidentally, the protagonist of the film is called David Bowman. The lyrics have also been seen to lampoon the failed British space programme. The song appears on the album David Bowie (also known as Space Oddity). The BBC featured the song in its television coverage of the Apollo 11 launch and lunar landing, which took place in the days following the release of the song.

Bowie would later revisit his Major Tom character in the songs “Ashes to Ashes” and “Hallo Spaceboy“. German singer Peter Schilling‘s 1983 hit “Major Tom (Coming Home)” is written as a retelling of the song.

Following recording of a fresh version, the single was rush-released on 11 June 1969 to coincide with the Apollo 11 moon landing. It was promoted via advertisements for the Stylophone, played by Bowie on the record. Although they initially refused to give the song airplay, the BBC played it during their coverage of the Apollo 11 launch and lunar landing. This exposure finally gave Bowie a hit, reaching #5 in the chart. In the U.S, it stalled at 124.

Original video:

Album of the day @ JV:

Other June-11:

Continue reading Today: David Bowie released the “Space Oddity” single in 1969 – 43 years ago

Today: The late Howlin Wolf was born in 1910 – 102 years ago

 From Wikipedia:

Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), known as Howlin’ Wolf, was an influential American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player.

With a booming voice and looming physical presence, Burnett is commonly ranked among the leading performers in electric blues; musician and critic Cub Koda declared, “no one could match Howlin’ Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.” A number of songs written or popularized by Burnett—such as “Smokestack Lightnin’“, “Back Door Man“, “Killing Floor” and “Spoonful“—have become blues and blues rock standards.

At 6 feet, 6 inches (198 cm) and close to 300 pounds (136 kg), he was an imposing presence with one of the loudest and most memorable voices of all the “classic” 1950s Chicago blues singers. This rough-edged, slightly fearsome musical style is often contrasted with the less crude but still powerful presentation of his contemporary and professional rival, Muddy Waters. Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller)Little Walter Jacobs, and Muddy Waters are usually regarded in retrospect as the greatest blues artists who recorded for Chess in Chicago. Sam Phillips once remarked, “When I heard Howlin’ Wolf, I said, ‘This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.‘” In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #51 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.

How Many More Years with a GREAT intro:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame listed three songs by Howlin’ Wolf of the 500 songs that shaped rock and roll.

Year Recorded Title
1956 Smokestack Lightning
1960 Spoonful
1962 The Red Rooster

Please also check out: The Best Songs – Smokestack Lightning

Album of the day @ JV:

Other June-10:

Continue reading Today: The late Howlin Wolf was born in 1910 – 102 years ago

Bob Dylan’s 5 Worst Albums

This might not be the best idea for a list, I know. We here @ JV don’t write about music we don’t like. But this is different, this is my fav artist..by far, and the 5 worst Bob Dylan albums still contains much great music. A bad Dylan album might still be a good album.

It’s always easy to write negative critique, but I chose not to comment on the 5 albums on the list… except highlighting the best song/songs.

To set the record strait: on my “all time greatest albums” list I have 3 Dylan records @ top 3:

  1. Blonde On Blonde
  2. Highway 61 Revisited
  3. Blood On The Tracks
  4. Exile on Main St. – The Rolling Stones
  5. Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen

 

My rules:  I’ve excluded Greatest Hits/Best of albums, but bootleg series & live albums are in. And Christmas in the Heart is also excluded from this “competition”, it’s not really a Dylan album after all.

Then we are down to 52 albums.. and here are the worst:

  1. Down In The Groove

    Released May 30, 1988
    Recorded 1983–1987
    Genre Rock
    Length 32:10
    Label Columbia
    Producer unlisted

    Best song: Silvio

  2. Dylan

    Released November 19, 1973
    Recorded April 24, 1969 – June 4, 1970
    Genre Rock, folk rock
    Length 33:22
    Label Columbia
    Producer Bob Johnston

     Best Song: Mr.Bojangles

  3. Dylan & The Dead
    Released February 6, 1989
    Recorded July 1987
    Genre Rock
    Length 43:07
    Label Columbia
    Producer Jerry Garcia
    John Cutler

    Best Song: Queen Jane Approximately

  4. Self Portrait
     

    Released June 8, 1970
    Recorded April 24, 1969 – March 30, 1970
    Genre Country rock, rock
    Length 73:15
    Label Columbia
    Producer Bob Johnston

    Best Songs: Copper Kettle (The Pale Moonlight), Days of’ 49, Early Mornin’ Rain, Let It Be Me & Living The Blues

  5. Real Live
    Released November 29, 1984
    Recorded Summer 1984
    Genre Hard rock
    Length 50:15
    Label Columbia
    Producer Glyn Johns

     Best Songs: Highway 61 Revisited, Masters of War & Tombstone Blues

Here is a spotify playlist with the best songs from the worst albums:
(PS – I did not find “Dylan” on spotify… hence the missing “Mr. Bojangles”)

4 runners up:

  • Knocked Out Loaded (1986)
    remove Brownsville Girl and it might be the very worst
  • Bob Dylan at Budokan (1979)
    ok in small portions and contains a great Is Your Love In Vain 
  • Saved (1980)
    the tame & toothless sound nearly kills it off, still it contains some really good songs: Saved, Solid Rock, In The Garden,..
  • Empire Burlesque (1985)
    with typical bad 80’s production (horrible drum sound), and leaving best versions of key songs in the studio. This one also have some strong songs: Emotionally Yours, Dark Eyes & Tight Connection To My Heart
-Egil

Today: Prince was born in 1958 – 54 years ago

From Wikipedia:

Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson; June 7, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Prince has produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince founded his own recording studio and label; writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of the instruments on his recordings. In addition, Prince has been a “talent promoter” for the careers of Sheila E.Carmen ElectraThe Time and Vanity 6, and his songs have been recorded by these artists and others (including Chaka KhanThe BanglesSinéad O’Connor, and even Kim Basinger). He also has several hundred unreleased songs in his “vault”.

Earning 33 nominations, Prince has won seven Grammys. He also has had two albums − 1999 and Purple Rain − awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

Won:

  • 1985 – Purple Rain – Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
  • 1985 – Purple Rain – Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
  • 1985 – I Feel You – Best R&B Song
  • 1987 – Kiss – Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
  • 2005 –  Call My Name – Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
  • 2005 – Musicology – Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
  • 2008 – Future Baby Mama – Best Male R&B Vocal Performance

My fav Prince song:

Album of the day @ JV:

Other June-07:

Continue reading Today: Prince was born in 1958 – 54 years ago