Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Musical Eccentricities 1

OK, as anticipated in my NMFT tab, let’s start. I aim to pick songs with particularly special (however unusual) memories, or songs that would not necessarily be the first the come to mind from established artists’ repertoires, or songs that suit the NMFT theme in other ways. Or possibly with elements of all three. Here goes.

Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight. The first song played at our wedding reception. Need I say more? Layla would have made quite a spectacle for the guests, but then again perhaps not.

Bruce Springsteen – My City Of Ruins. From what was widely described as the classic post 9/11 album, we find a gospel inspired rallying call chorus of “Come On, Rise Up”. Even if the song might have actually been a tribute to the blighted Asbury Park, NJ, it could so easily become an anthem for EU member state democracies as the insane policies of the Eurocrats take us to breaking point. We can but dream!

Elton John – Porch Swing In Tupelo. What on earth? All those classic instantly memorable hits from a musical legend, and you pick an obscure album track from a recent release? Yes, with good reason. Just take the second verse: “His Mama must have loved him/That truck drivin' boy/With the grease monkey look and the rock and roll voice/Well I was just thinkin' about him/'Cause I guess he sat here/Singing all praise to God through poverty's tears.” Then add a first ever trip to the Deep South of the USA, and a side trip to an obscure small town in Mississippi, to a place just as symbolic in musical history as the connected city in Tennessee not long left behind. The birthplace and childhood home of the rock and roll icon who later put Graceland on the map. Yes, it is Elton’s tribute to Elvis. Masterful.

America – Ventura Highway. Bringing back memories of another road trip, this time in California and the coastal highway drive after a visit to Ozzy Osbourne’s house in Beverley Hills (let’s not mention the wig, the cross and the round purple tinted sunglasses). Rather a lot of traffic on that northbound stretch of the freeway. Enough to make me wonder if the chorus had originally run: “Ventura Highway/In the sunshine/Where the queues are longer/The language stronger than moonshine…”

Jethro Tull – Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll, Too Young To Die. Let’s defer, symbolically in the context of Hatred, Ridicule and Contempt, to Ian Anderson’s inimitable introduction to the song on “Live Bursting Out”: “This is a song which got us into some small degree of trouble back home in Blighty, where the music critics decided that it was a song of an autobiographical nature. Indeed, that I was singing about myself! Haha. Silly sods. Of course not, I was singing about some other [bleep]! It’s called Too Old to Rock ‘N’ Roll, Too Young To Die.” What a showman. Another of rock/folk’s great survivors.

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