It looks like the previous time I’d listened to this tape was January 2017. Over the weekend I dug out an email from then I sent James that included a brief commentary on the playlist, kinda like what I’m doing here. It’s amusing/alarming to see how much I’m repeating myself 4.5 years later: the ‘fella’ tag on “Another Tricky Day,” my lack of appreciation for “Tempted,” thinking R.E.M. was the Ventures, etc. I did not check out what I said about Side B before writing this post; that’ll happen after it goes to press.
As for the second half, there are lots of big names, even if it’s not always a greatest hit from them.
The Dukes of Stratosphear, “Vanishing Girl”
In the mid 80s, the guys from XTC decided to record an EP and a full album under a pseudonym, paying homage to 60s psychedelia. This shimmering, gorgeous thing, written by the Red Curtain (Colin Moulding) and sung by Sir John Johns (Andy Partridge), is the lead track off the LP, Psonic Psunspot.
Genesis, “Turn It on Again”
James and I were both fans of early 80s Genesis, playing Abacab and their self-titled album in our dorm room from time to time. Neither one of us had Duke then, but I have always loved this song.
David Byrne, “Big Blue Plymouth (Eyes Wide Open)”
Both of us were digging into Byrne’s early 80s extra-curricular activities by the end of the decade–I’ll still listen to both The Catherine Wheel and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.
The Police, “Canary in a Coalmine”
In which Sting decides to rag on a friend with a touch of hypochondria.
The Grateful Dead, “Hell in a Bucket”
Heard “Hell in a Bucket” on AOR radio quite a bit when In the Dark first came out, but I hadn’t seen the video, with that studded collar-wearing duck (among other things), until putting this together.
Now I’m wanting some Cherry Garcia ice cream.
Fleetwood Mac, “Tusk”
One of only two songs on The Good Stuff to make the Top 40–the other was “White Rabbit.” Both peaked at #8.
Madness, “One Step Beyond”
We grooved on “One Step Beyond” multiple times watching MTV in the Transy student center lounge throughout 1984. Kinda feels like this might have been included for nostalgia purposes?
The Violent Femmes, “Prove My Love”
During our senior year, Roger and Chris, a pair of sophomores who lived across the hall from us, were known to play the Femmes’ debut album loud enough for us to hear it. Clearly this eventually rubbed off on James.
The Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter”
A couple of blogger friends have recently revealed their (current) favorite Stones song. Without thinking about it much, I’m inclined to say that “Gimme Shelter” gets that honor from me. James and I weren’t always simpatico when it came to music, but he sure nailed it here.
A few years ago I came across a video featuring Merry Clayton about how she came to find herself in the studio the night this song was recorded.
Robbie Robertson, “Showdown at Big Sky”
I count close to a dozen songs on this tape that were already or eventually wound up in my collection on album or CD. Hard for me to know now which, if any, direction the influence between the two of us was flowing in any given case, Forced to guess, I’d say Robbie Robertson was an album we both picked up on our own; I was mighty fond of “Somewhere Down the Lazy River” after seeing its video.
Led Zeppelin, “Hot Dog”
I just never got around to listening to Zeppelin albums in high school or college, and that carried over across the years. (The same holds true for the Stones and the Dead, to be honest. It occurs to me now that my approach to music buying in the 80s and 90s was similar to what I would later tend to do in drafting fantasy baseball and football teams, looking for the up-and-comer rather than picking the tried-and-true veteran.)
Be that as it may, in this case it means that when I first heard “Hot Dog” on the tape, I was more inclined to think of it as a Honeydrippers outtake rather than an actual Led Zep tune.
The Beatles, “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)”
The tape ends with two B-sides from well-known singles released on opposite ends of the 70s. “Hot Dog” was the flip of “Fool in the Rain,” and this second foray into Beatle-land was what came along for the ride when one purchased “Let It Be” on 45. No desire to be ungrateful, but honestly I don’t need to hear this one all that often.
And that’s a wrap. I really appreciate it, man.