Friday, July 28, 2017

Hair Band Friday - 7/28/17

1.  "High Enough" by Damn Yankees

2.  "Do You Like It" by Kingdom Come

3.  "Bad Boys (Of Rock 'N' Roll)" by Twisted Sister

4.  "After The Rain" by Nelson

5.  "Best of Both Worlds" by Van Halen

6.  "Feels Good" by XYZ

7.  "Cum On Feel the Noize" by Quiet Riot

8.  "Too Fast For Love" by Mötley Crüe 

9.  "Hangin' On" by Winger

10.  "Rockin' Horse" by Roxx

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Retro Video of the Week: "Brian Wilson" by Barenaked Ladies

Apologies for not posting a Tuesday Top Ten yesterday.  Work has been insanely busy lately.  I guess that's the blessing and curse of being an in-demand fluffer.  Sometimes it really sucks, but other times it just blows me away.

But anywho, Friday is the 25th anniversary of the release of Barenaked Ladies' debut album, Gordon.  The album featured some of those clever Canadians' most memorable songs, like "If I Had $1,000,000" -- which has single-handedly kept the K-Car in the American and Canadian consciousness -- "Hello City," "Be My Yoko Ono," "What a Good Boy," and "Brian Wilson."  The latter is the only one with a video, other than "Be My Yoko Ono," so that's what I'm going with -- not that it wouldn't have been my first choice anyway.  It's a great song about a great man.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Hair Band Friday - 7/21/17

1.  "My Michelle" by Guns N' Roses

2.  "My Generation" by Gorky Park

3.  "Bits And Pieces" by Nelson

4.  "Love Bites" by Def Leppard

5.  "Tell The World" by Ratt

6.  "Hole Hearted" by Extreme

7.  "Creepshow" by Skid Row

8.  "Runaround" by Van Halen

9.  "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" by AC/DC

10.  "Sweet Sister Mercy" by Lynch Mob

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Retro Video of the Week: "Paradise City" by Guns N' Roses

Apologies for not posting a Tuesday Top Ten yesterday.  I was busy from 7 a.m. to midnight, which is always pleasant.  As an olive branch, I extend to you an article my friend Hess sent me, entitled "Remember That 2004 Episode of 'The O.C.' Where They Go to L.A. and Meet Paris Hilton? We Do."  I do, too, and the article is a fantastic recap of a great episode in what some would call the greatest teen drama ever made.  The layers of meta awareness in that episode are thick and plentiful.

Speaking of L.A., Friday marks an important anniversary -- 30 years since Guns N' Roses released their megahit debut album Appetite for Destruction.  I would argue that Appetite is the greatest debut album in rock history, and apparently consumers agree with me, since it is the best-selling debut album in music history, selling 18 million copies in the U.S. alone and about 30 million worldwide.

Appetite's importance cannot be understated.  It was raw, it was powerful, it was rock and fucking roll.  I remember buying the tape at Phar-Mor.  Somehow, my mom let me buy it, even though it had a "parental advisory" sticker on it and featured five skulls on a cross.  Maybe it was because the cross wasn't upside down.  Either way, it was allowance money well spent.  Hearing "It's So Easy" -- and it's "why don't you just fuck off!" -- for the first time was an eye opener for a prepubescent suburban lad, but I absolutely loved it.  And then, there was the artwork on the inner sleeve, showing what appears to be a flying robot dragon with knives for teeth about to exact revenge on a skeleton with a gun attached to his head who just raped a blindfolded woman.  I still don't quite understand what's going on there.

But I digress.  There is not a bad song on Appetite, and it spawned some of GNR's most beloved and well-known songs:  "Sweet Child O' Mine," "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City," and "Nightrain," to name a few, not to mention "Mr. Brownstone," "It's So Easy," "My Michelle," and my personal favorite, "Rocket Queen."  I'm going with "Paradise City" because it's an awesome song and a classic "on the road" video.  The song became the band's third Top Ten hit in a row off of the album, clocking in at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 (following "Welcome to the Jungle" (#7) and "Sweet Child O' Mine" (#1)). And even squares recognize that iconic chorus. If you say "take me down to the Paradise City" and someone doesn't respond "where the grass is green and the girls are pretty," you have my permission to walk away, head to the nearest Sam Goody, purchase a copy of Appetite, and then return to your original location and provide said copy of Appetite to that person, making it imperative on him or her to listen to the album repeatedly until all songs are memorized. That will assure such a shameful occurrence never again happens.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hair Band Friday - 7/14/17

1.  "No One Like You" by Scorpions

2.  "Say Your Prayers" by BulletBoys

3.  "Hellion" (live) by W.A.S.P.

4.  "Cathedral" by Van Halen

5.  "Warheads" by Extreme

6.  "Waiting For Darkness" by Ozzy Osbourne

7.  "Gettin' Better" (live) by Tesla

8.  "If You Don't Like It" by Cinderella

9.  "Hiway Nights" by Great White

10.  "Love Is On The Way" by Saigon Kick

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Retro Video of the Week: "Symphony of Destruction" by Megadeth

Twenty-five years ago this Friday, Megadeth released the Countdown to Extinction album, which ended up being the band's most successful studio album, going double platinum in the U.S. and getting all the way up to #2 on the Billboard album charts.  It is generally recognized as being in the upper echelon of thrash metal albums. This is particularly timely for me, as I will be seeing Megadeth this Friday at Chicago Open Air, where they will presumably (and hopefully) play "Symphony of Destruction," which was on Countdown to Extinction and is their only song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (#71).  Like many of Dave Mustane's songs, "Symphony of Destruction" is has sociopolitical themes and kickass guitars.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday Top Ten: All 213 Beatles Songs Ranked

I don't have time to write my own Tuesday Top Ten this week, but thankfully my friend Chenandler Bong -- excuse me, Ms. Chenandler Bong -- sent me a link to a recent article on MSN/Vulture entitled "All 213 Beatles Songs Ranked, From Worst to Best."  It says it's written by Bill Wyman, but I'm not sure if that's the same Bill Wyman who was the bass player for the Rolling Stones for 30+ years.  As you may recall, back in 2010, Rolling Stone magazine issued its list of the top ten Beatles songs, which prompted me to provide my own list of my ten favorite Beatles songs.  

Here are Wyman's Top Ten:
10.  "Rain"
9.  "Eleanor Rigby"
8.  "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown")
7.  "Here, There, and Everywhere"
6.  "Dear Prudence"
5.  "Please Please Me"
4.  "She Loves You"
3.  "Penny Lane"
2.  "Strawberry Fields Forever"
1.  "A Day In the Life"

It's not a bad top ten, but music is quite subjective, and different Beatles songs resonate more with some than others.  You certainly can't fault the top two songs.  After that, I'd say his top ten is, well, not what I would have gone with.  "Dig A Pony" was tied for #4 on my list, and it came in at #209 on Wyman's list, so clearly I don't agree with everything in Wyman's list. The fact that "Revolution #9" isn't ranked #213 (and that Wyman thinks there are about 100 Beatles songs worse than that one) is a bit of a surprise.  Regardless, it's a really detailed and insightful list, even if I don't agree with all of the rankings.  It's a good read for any Beatles fan.

Saturday, July 08, 2017


Today, one of my oldest friends turns the big 3-9.  It wasn't always a guarantee that Dan would make it to this age.  Despite growing up in an idyllic middle/upper-middle class suburb, Dan's upbringing was different than the rest of ours.  Victorian houses, big side yards, and basketball hoops in the driveway surrounded Dan's family's plot of land on all sides, but his family decided to make use of the land, tearing down the large five bedroom house with a finished basement and putting up a small, three-room shack.  That gave them plenty of room to turn the yard into a turnip farm.

Despite being a partner at an AmLaw 50 law firm, deep down, Dan's dad was hurting.  Still reeling from the beatings he suffered at the hands of the Taylor Street Gang as a youngster on the South Side, he was upwardly mobile, but fiercely protective and prone to bouts of paranoia.  Ignoring the FBI's warnings, he would pirate movies, copying nearly every film in All-Star Video's catalog onto VHS -- sometimes three movies to a tape.  "That way, no one will ever know what movies I watch more than once," he would proudly say.  He would get eaten by a pack of wolves when Dan was 10, leaving Dan's mom to care for Dan and his two sisters, Penny and Kath, as well as their mentally disabled dalmatian, Sparky, who spent most of his days performing autofellatio.

Dan -- or Patches, as he preferred to be called -- was an earnest boy.  If you did something nice for him, you were bound to get a "thanky" in return.  Of course, he was subject to some ribbing at school, on account of his ragged clothes, the ax scar on his forehead, and his inability to correct pronounce "Detroit."  "DET-roit," he would say, the second syllable almost an afterthought.  He would also refer to having a bowel movement as "taking a bum."

Every morning before he went to school, he would tend the turnip field, picking up the dung left behind by Sparky, mashing it with his bare hands, and spreading it on the field.  Man, that dog shit a lot -- both in frequency and volume -- but that only helped fertilize the crops.

Dan's hard work on the turnip field helped lead Dan to success on the athletic field.  He became the starting tight end on the conference champion freshman B football team at our high school, earning him a full academic scholarship to the University of Wisconsin, from which he graduated in four years with a 4.0 GPA and degrees in physical education, philosophy (with a concentration in nihilism), and physics.  Six years ago, he achieved every man's dream when he married a doctor.

On Thursday morning, I received a string of text messages from Dan, and I'd like to share them with you now (with some names changed):
So short version . . . .Dream last night was about our high school.  Last days of school.  After many weird things I ended up at Gail Stanwyk's [a girl we went to grade school through high school with, who is not a baker] bakery with many sorta girls from HS.  Anyhow after earlier in the dream I was extremely popular due to a song that I composed and sang and Gail was interested in me.  You appeared and were interested in Gail.She chose me (again extremely short version) after your attempts at resting your head on her back didn't succeed.  You left very upset.She needed to close up the shop before we were probably going to hook up so I went over to your mom's house to console you.Your mom let me in and told me you were upset.  So naturally you were on a Nordic Track and while upset you understood by telling me to "earn this" and to "get your fuckfest on this summer."I left very confident that I would.This was about 3% of the total dream.
You deserve every fuckfest you get this summer, in dreams and in real life.  Happy 39th, buddy.  This one's for you.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Hair Band Friday - 7/7/17

1.  "Bark At The Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne

2.  "Wild In The Streets" by Bon Jovi

3.  "Too Young To Fall In Love" (demo) by Mötley Crüe 

4.  "Hell On Wheels" by Cinderella

5.  "Sometimes She Cries" by Warrant

6.  "Reach For Me" by Jackyl

7.  "One Way Ticket" by L.A. Guns

8.  "Ptolemy" by Blue Murder

9.  "Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)" (live) by Tesla

10.  "Kick 'n' Fight" by Britny Fox

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Retro Video of the Week: "Touch of Grey" by Grateful Dead

In a timely coincidence, given The Dead & Company's two-night stand at Wrigley Field this past weekend, thirty years ago tomorrow, the Grateful Dead released their twelfth studio album, In the Dark.  The album sparked a rejuvenation for the band.  They hadn't released a studio album since 1980, and In the Dark ended up going double platinum, getting up to #6 on the Billboard album charts -- the band's highest-charting album.  Much of the album's success is traced to the surprise hit "Touch of Grey."  The song didn't really sound like anything else on the radio in 1987, although it sounds very Dead-esque and could be on pretty much any of their other albums and fit in.

"Touch of Grey" is catchy as hell.  That memorable sing-along chorus -- "I will get by / I will survive" -- definitely captured the essence of how the flower-power Boomers must have felt as they entered their 40s in Reagan's America.  The song marched all the way up to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, which is still the Grateful Dead's only Top 40 hit.