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Old 06-07-2009, 07:11 AM   #16
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Uh, ah, shit, yeah.

Beach Boys - Surf's Up

My brother used to play this a lot on a shoddy quality mixtape, and I was in awe every time it was on. I still am. Probably the only song I've ever known that won't fail to give me goosebumps all over whenever I'm listening to it.

Husker Du - In A Free Land

It's fast, brutal and anarchic, and certainly not as polished as their later stuff - but Bob Mould's chainsaw guitar, Grant Hart's tortured backing vocals and thundering drums, and Greg Norton's moustache just really fucking pound the whole song home.

Gene Krupa - Sing, Sing, Sing

I pretty much attributed this song just to ads for American prime time comedies for most of my life, until I heard a particular recording of it by Krupa and his orchestra from 1939. It's crazy, rampant and never boring. The kinda song that you can put on at any time.

Chapterhouse - Pearl

I had other introductions to shoegaze, but the extended mix of this song probably pulled me in better than anything else. It's glorious, upbeat and colourful.

Isaac Hayes - Joy

Ike's music has been a big part of my life's soundtrack, and when he died last year, I put this on and just became overwhelmed. Legend.

Also notable:

Love - You Set the Scene
Pixies - All Over The World
Curtis Mayfield - Freddie's Dead
De La Soul - Eye Know
Happy Mondays - Kinky Afro
Nico - Chelsea Girls
U2 - Boomerang II
Joy Division - Dead Souls

This is a pretty shambolic list, because I'm sober.
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:22 AM   #17
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I don't have a problem with your additions, but you can't get rid of Harrison's only contribution. I do think it's funny that both of you got rid of She's Leaving Home, a song I have a bit of respect for but it's definitely boring.

Also, I was trying to keep it somewhat pure, and apparently Penny Lane & Strawberry Fields were the only two songs from MMT recorded during the Peppers sessions. There's also the option of including Harrison's Only A Northern Song, also from that period. Obviously this makes the assignment less fun, but still enough to make it a much more solid contender for Best Album Ever.

My proposed track listing, attempting to hew as close as possible to the original, with no omissions:

SIDE ONE
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Getting Better
Fixing A Hole
She's Leaving Home
Only a Northern Song
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!

SIDE TWO
Strawberry Fields Forever
Within You Without You
When I'm Sixty-Four
Lovely Rita
Good Morning Good Morning
Penny Lane
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)
A Day In The Life

On the original album side one is about 5 minutes longer than side two, so there's already some space to fill. I think Northern Song and Mr. Kite have some sonic similarities, and work well together. Strawberry Fields deserves a notable spot, and I think it's a wild way to open side two, and prepares one for the mystic Within You Without You.

The problem with Sgt. Peppers in general is the lightweight nature (musically and lyrically) of the songs between WIWY and Day in the Life, and the insertion of Penny Lane (I've put it as a nice finale before the "encore" of the Reprise and ADITL) probably doesn't do much to help that, but it does make side two stronger in terms of song quality. It also doesn't put much more Lennon material into the mix (something including the rest of the MMT/singles songs would alleviate), but the project was more Paul's baby anyway, and John's compositions still remain among the strongest of the bunch.

Nice.

SFF into WYWY is an intriguing move. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

And good to see some recognition for Only A Northern Song. George was ahead of his time. Would It's All Too Much have come into consideration here? As far as I know it's from the same recording period, but necessarily he same sessions.

I could never get rid of Lovely Rita personally. It's probably my favourite song on Pepper, up there with ADITL. Just got something magic about it.
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:03 PM   #18
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3. Pearl Jam - Alive


This is a song I always think is one I'm ambivalent about, or am sick of, and then I hear it and realize "Oh yeah, that's right - I LOVE IT!"
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:46 PM   #19
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Nice.

SFF into WYWY is an intriguing move. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

And good to see some recognition for Only A Northern Song. George was ahead of his time. Would It's All Too Much have come into consideration here? As far as I know it's from the same recording period, but necessarily he same sessions.
Yes, It's All Too Much was recorded during the same period as some of the MMT songs, and while this stuff was begun less than a month after the final Sgt. Pepper sessions, sources indicate that this was material recorded for a separate enterprise. So I guess if one wants to be really pure about it, it's best to keep it to those three.

I'm not sure if Only a Northern Song would have made it anyway, but as you said it certainly is innovative and in line with what the band was exploring at the time. The lyrics are a little bitter and it may have been left off for that reason (perhaps the same fate of his Not Guilty from the White Album sessions, another brilliant song), but I'm giving it a nod here.

What we do know is that Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane were DEFINITELY meant to be on the album, and had Brian Epstein not demanded a single and b-side, they would have been. George Martin was right to regret this choice.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:49 PM   #20
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This is a song I always think is one I'm ambivalent about, or am sick of, and then I hear it and realize "Oh yeah, that's right - I LOVE IT!"
I'm the same way with Pearl Jam's Jeremy. Should be firmly in the "overplayed - sick of it" category for me, but it's not.
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Old 06-07-2009, 02:55 PM   #21
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Beach Boys - Surf's Up
This is a seriously great song. Seriously.
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:30 PM   #22
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Feel like I've hijacked this a bit with all the Beatles talk. Here's my list:

Stevie Wonder, Sir Duke
This song never fails to make me happy. It's a tribute to musicians past from a man who would become a legend himself. Such a catchy, joyful chorus.

YouTube - Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke

Steely Dan, My Old School
From SD's earlier "rock" phase, two of American music's greatest songwriters take a cynical but humorous look back at their days at Bard College. What really put this over the top for me is the Chicago-esque horn section that drives the final section of the song, and of course the harmonies, the backup singers, nice lead piano work, and some sweet guitar playing from Jeff "Skunk" Baxter.

YouTube - Steely Dan, "My Old School"

The Doobie Brothers, What a Fool Believes
Another band featuring Jeff Baxter, but his contribution rendered rather invisible with the presence of Michael McDonald on vocals and keyboards. Appreciated by many these days in a somewhat ironic fashion, there's no denying the pop majesty of this song, written by McDonald along with Kenny Loggins.

YouTube - Doobie Brothers - what a fool believes

The Beatles, Revolution
Not the most impressive example of John Lennon's songwriting or the band's studio wizardry, but to me it's still an innovative blast in the face of music, and clearly disputes the notion that The Beatles were just a pop band who weren't capable of rocking out alongside the loudest and brashest of their contemporaries. And despite the rawness of the delivery, the instruments are still arranged with an attention to detail the band is known for--Nicky Hopkins' tickling piano part certainly isn't necessary, but it makes the recording that much better. And not to content to just deliver some meaningless rocker (like Helter Skelter), this song reveals loud and clear Lennon's activism, with a lyrical content more political than anything they had recorded up to that point, or since.

YouTube - Revolution Beatles

The Replacements, Can't Hardly Wait
Perhaps my favorite Paul Westerberg lyric, and one of the first songs of the band to be given a real "grown-up", Rolling Stones treatment with strings and an appearance by the Memphis Horns, and production by the esteemed Jim Dickinson. As an added bonus, Alex Chilton of Big Star (who has another song on the album named after him) contributes guitar. A great finale to a great album.

YouTube - "Can't Hardly Wait" by The Replacements [Demo Version]
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:14 PM   #23
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Nice choices, everyone. I've been wracking my brain for the past two days trying to think of mine. I came up with three quite easily, but after that, I'm stumped. It's so hard, choosing from every song, ever.
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:06 PM   #24
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Zoots has posed a difficult assignment here. The only song that I am able to rank definitively is "Comfortably Numb," which has been my absolute favorite song for quite a long time and continues to be so. Both Gilmour and Waters interpret the dialogue of the lyrics perfectly in their vocals, and the atmospherics of the chorus encapsulate the yearning of the lyrics perfectly. Only Roger Waters could combine trauma and nostalgia into something reminiscent of a pleasant dream, and Gilmour's pair of solos speak for themselves - especially in the extended live versions. In my opinion, the song is the crowing achievement of modern popular music.

After that I cannot isolate four others. Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks," which is what I imagine the apocalypse must sound like, and Radiohead's "Nude," a masterfully atmospheric piece bolestered by what I see as the finest rock vocal ever, would probably be on the list, but The Who's "Love Reign O'er Me," The Beatles' "A Day in the Life," or even something like Antony and the Johnsons' "Hope There's Someone" are also contenders.
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:23 PM   #25
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Stevie Wonder, Sir Duke

Steely Dan, My Old School

The Doobie Brothers, What a Fool Believes

Indeed!
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:17 PM   #26
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Love the little paragraph descriptions. You should have written one for all 15 songs, though.
Thanks, bud! I didn't have that much steam in me though.

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1. The Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever

John Lennon's songwriting peak and The Beatles' peak as studio wizards made for a perfect storm with this track. Lennon's ode to happier, more innocent times already makes for an engaging listen, but it's the whirlwind surrounding it that truly makes this a classic. Honestly, if nothing else, this is one of the most exciting sonic experiences ever put to tape, and the production is masterful; dense, layered, yet thoroughly complimentary, it's always fun to dissect this song, and, for me, doing so has yet to become tiresome after hundreds of listens.
Awesome! My #2 Beatles choice... probably followed by Walrus.

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Great thread Zoots, Missed you in EYKIW.
Thanks! You mean in general? I've been silently voting in that crazy survivor over there.

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3. Pearl Jam - Alive [/B]

It is overplayed, and I've actually (sadly enough) started to grow tired of it the last year or so. But fuck it...no song gets me to rock out as hard as this motherfucker. The guitar solo, the chorus, everything. Just, yeah.

5. R.E.M. - Begin the Begin [/B]
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:28 PM   #27
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Great thread, Zoots! I love the song discussion.

I'm veering off target slightly, and listing my favourite five on my brain at the moment. This is to guard against Neil Young tracking me down and turning me into a guitar.

1. John Lennon – Imagine

Understated brilliance. Poignant, thoughtful, sometimes overplayed by careless deejays who bookend it with ZZ Top. In the right moment, actually in most moments, this song is pure perfection. It makes war seem utterly useless, and calls for the greater good in us all. Imagine? It's easy if you try...

YouTube - Imagine

2. U2 – New Year's Day

I just love everything about this song: Edge's piano, how it resonates and intertwines with that maddeningly beautiful solo...Adam's bass gluing it together, Larry's steady restraint at just the right tempo. I'll save Bono's vocal for last. It's brilliant, no question. But it all comes back to that piano and melody for me...chillingly powerful. Every time I hear it, I feel like waving my arms in the air and finding a patch of snow to honour its greatness.

YouTube - U2 - New Years Day

3. Pearl Jam – Nothingman

I’ll never forget the day I first heard this song. It was the late fall of ’94, the morning of Vitalogy’s release. The cars and sidewalks were caked with freshly fallen white snow. After walking down to my favourite record store, I ventured in, quickly snapped the book-like album from the shelf, brought it to the cash. I remember gaining some measure of satisfaction in being told that I was likely the first person in North America to buy Pearl Jam’s latest release, given my time zone. All of this buildup, and I still haven’t mentioned a word about the actual song! Okay, so after all of those 'new album' feelings of anticipation, I ran home, threw it in the CD player, and prepared for the power chords. They were there all right, but it was the intense quietness of Nothingman that truly shook me to the core. In light of Kurt Cobain’s passing earlier that year, this was like a heartfelt letter from a comrade who was still very much around.

YouTube - "Nothingman" - Pearl Jam

4. U2 – Zooropa

I agree with LemonMelon on this one…simply outstanding and ahead of its time. It’s like the theme of Imagine, only fast-forwarded to a nuclear fallout/age of terror. The ‘chatter’ and haunting piano into are truly spellbinding, how they ramp up and give way to Edge’s swampy-sounding guitar mix...which itself then ramps up to what must surely be the Big Bang...or a great planetary formation, at the very least.

And I have no compass and I have no map
And I have no reasons, no resons to get back
And I have no religion and I don't know what's what
And I don't know the limit, the limit of what we got

Yessss.

YouTube - U2 - Zooropa

5. Robbie Robertson – Showdown at Big Sky

I recently found my mom’s original cassette recording of Robbie Robertson’s self-titled solo debut. I’d forgotten just how much I loved this when I was a kid. Produced by Daniel Lanois, it’s a beautifully big-sounding song from an album that’s peppered with great guest stars…some of the U2 variety.

I couldn't find a single YouTube version by itself, so this comes fused with a bonus track (the equally beautiful Fallen Angel) at the beginning. Showdown at Big Sky is at the 5:59 mark. Listen with a good set of headphones. I dare you not to be moved!

YouTube - Native American Robbie Robertson - Fallen Angel
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:31 PM   #28
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Got to agree with Zooropa sentiments.. it isn't my favourite U2 song, but god it is one of their very finest moments.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:03 AM   #29
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I'll try to get the reasons why to make sense to anyone other than myself, but...don't count on it

1. The Unforgettable Fire - U2

From the moment I first heard this song, I knew there was something about it that was different than anything else I'd ever heard before. I spent the following 9 years finding out all the different reasons why that is. I always get such an uplifting emotional feeling when I hear this and I don't know exactly why that is.

2. Can't Help Falling in Love - Elvis Presley

There's no specific reason for this, I just think it's one of the greatest love songs ever written, and I have a new reason for loving it these days, which makes it even better. I have yet to hear a bad cover of it, as well, which I enjoy because I get to keep hearing all these different spins people put on the song, and for me, it never gets old.

3. Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

This was one of my first favorite songs, and it is one of the only ones that has lasted with me all these years, and for that, I just can't quite let it go, even if it is rather over played. It's just a whole lot of nostalgia for me (like I'm old enough to be nostalgic )

4. I'm on Fire - Bruce Springsteen


My love of Springsteen is fairly recent, it's only been about a year and a half, and I've always had a favorite song by him throughout the years (Born to Run, like Gimme Shelter, was one of my first favorite songs as a small child), but the first time I heard I'm on Fire, I went back to it, again, and again, and again. I have yet to stop loving it, and it just keeps getting better to me.

5. Baba O'Riley - The Who

I can't think of too much to say about this one, except that I'm probably one day going to get hit by a car listening to it. I almost have two or three times now, it's bound to happen sooner or later.


6. Just Like Heaven - The Cure = If not CHFIL, then this is the greatest love song ever.
7. Read my Mind - The Killers
8. Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews Band
9. Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers
10. Okkervil River - Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:38 AM   #30
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This is in no particular order...

1. Rudie Can't Fail - The Clash
This was the first song I got stuck in my head after I gave London Calling its first spin. I wanted to know what inspired Green Day, and I found out in a huge way. An epic song on a classic album.

2. Holiday - Green Day
"This song is not anti-American. It's anti-war!"
My favourite song, hands-down. Studio, live, The lyrics are bitingly hilarious and the melody drives it home.

3. Bullet The Blue Sky - U2
Edge famously sending a war through his amplifier, Adam playing in a different key to give the song an uneasy tension, some of Larry's best drumming and Bono's scathing lyrics. What's not to love?

4. All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
Bob Dylan wrote it and countless others have covered it, but Jimi's is the absolute best. And the intro is unmistakable.

5. Sympathy For The Devil - Rolling Stones
"Please allow me to introduce myself..."
One of Mick's slickest performances, fun lyrics, fun beat, and I love Keef's solo.

Honourable Mentions:
The Who - Behind Blue Eyes (Even though I don't have blue eyes, I identify with what Daltrey and Townshend are putting into this song, and it's absolutely beautiful.)

The Last Shadow Puppets - My Mistakes Were Made For You (Alex's voice, need I say more?)

Led Zeppelin - When The Levee Breaks (There were many songs I considered, but in the end, this one is practically a religious experience)

Johnny Cash - Man In Black (An interesting statement on the state of the nation that still rings true today)

Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall, Pts I, II, and III (Bassline of DOOOOOOOOM! and the best anthem for those fed up with school I've ever heard next to Alice Cooper's School's Out For Summer)

The Beatles - Let It Be (The best song Paul McCartney ever wrote)

Sex Pistols - Bodies (The story behind this song [and the lyrics themselves] are kind of gross, and I'm pretty much sure that that's the appeal of it to me)

Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA (One of my favourite songs from The Boss and the 80's. He sings from his gut and his heart and that's why I love Broooce)

Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone (Of all his songs, this one resonates with me the most)

Samiam - Capsized (Non-emo, non-punk "emo-punk" from the East Bay. One of the best non-major-label-bands I've ever heard)

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (Do I really need a reason?)
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