Jeff Bridges, The Man in Me

Posted in Bob Dylan, Jeff Bridges, Youtube Favs on May 31st, 2011 by Willie

For part 77 of my countdown, I got Jeff Bridges performing “The Man in Me” at a Lebowski Fest in Los Angeles.  The song of course was featured beautifully in the Coen Brothers ultra cult classic, “The Big Lebowski,” when the Dude is riding that magic rug.  Dylan wrote this song for his 1970 LP New Morning.  It’s a gorgeous folk rock ballad about love from a man’s perspective, featuring an aching lead vocal and beautiful background vocals.  I think it’s one of Bob’s more touching melodies, and I’m glad its popularity is enhanced by its inclusion in the film.  Jeff Bridges does a really good job crooning this, and it speaks highly to his character to attend a Lebowski Fest and give his fans something so personal and fun.  So, check this video out, and share it with your friends, its really great.

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The Ramones, Howard Stern On-Air Fight, I Wanna Be Sedated

Posted in Howard Stern, The Ramones, Youtube Favs on May 29th, 2011 by Willie

Part 76 of my youtube countdown closes down punk week in a hilarious fashion.  It’s an old interview from the Howard Stern show featuring Joey Ramone and Marky Ramone going at each others throats with juvenile comic viciousness.  Marky calls up Howard complaining that Joey called Marky a drunk the other day.  Joey gets on the line and accuses Marky of having spread rumors about him on the internet.  The fight intensifies and devolves from there into petty name calling, a question into who is sober and who is not, and a cutting accusation of wig wearing.  It’s so funny because its a real fight and gives you an idea as to what band fights are like, the insecurity amongst members, and the fragility of their massive egos.  Happily, the fight does resolve fairly amicably, but probably because both Joey and Marky started to get embarrassed.  This is a great moment in punk rock history and a must listen.  Oh, yea, I included, “I Wanna Be Sedated” as a bonus video to serve as a nice chaser to the hilarious antics.  Enjoy.


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X Ray Spex, Identity

Posted in X Ray Spex, Youtube Favs on May 28th, 2011 by Willie

Part 75 continues my unplanned punk week, this time with the legendary X Ray Spex performing their underground surf punk classic, “Identity.”  Never heard of X Ray Spex?  Well, they were an original punk group from London whose goal was to be “deliberate underachievers.”  Releasing only one album, Germ Free Adolescents, X Ray Spex were like a shooting comet of high octane punk rock.  They were fronted by Poly Styrene, whose voice traveled like a laser beam of effervescent power over roaring distorted guitars and awesome surfy saxophones.  Sadly, she just recently died this past April due to breast cancer.  This post is a tribute to Poly, her amazing band, and this amazing video.  Check it out.

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The Ramones, Blitzkrieg Bop

Posted in The Ramones, Youtube Favs on May 27th, 2011 by Willie

Part 74 roars on, as I guess its punk week here on williesimpson.com.  This time I have the Ramones smashing through a blistering live performance of “Blitzkrieg Bop,” the lead off track from their debut record.  The Ramones, hailing from Forest Hill, Queens, NY, are probably the world’s first original punk rockers.  This video is amazing.  First of all, they are performing “Blitzkrieg Bop” in Germany of all places.  Second, its almost a note perfect recreation of the record, which speaks to the Ramones awesome live power.  Their energy and passion just fly off the stage, and off the screen.  This is one of the coolest documents in rock and roll history, and everyone who likes music needs to watch it.

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The Sex Pistols, Anarchy in the UK

Posted in The Sex Pistols, Youtube Favs on May 26th, 2011 by Willie

I’m in a punky mood, so for part 73 of my youtube countdown, I have the Sex Pistols with their 1976 classic, “Anarchy in the UK” from their seminal LP Never Mind the Bollocks. There is not much I can say about this record that the video doesn’t give you.  Oh, its Glen Matlock on bass not Sid Vicious, (he must have been MIA.)  I like how Johnny Rotten is staged behind the drummer, you never see that in a band’s stage presentation.  I like this song for its musicality.  It’s got a sludgy almost phasered electric guitar sound, and Johnny Rotten’s vocal delivery has just the right amount of that classic English bite.  Lyrically, the song is genius, with the idea of the song right up front, no metaphor, no bullshit, and its FUNNY!  Most people like to associate danger and violence with the Sex Pistols, but I always associate humor.  They were funny in interviews, their lyrics were clever and sharp, and they were media pranksters.  Pretty cool.

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Elvis Costello, Pump it Up

Posted in Elvis Costello, Youtube Favs on May 25th, 2011 by Willie

Lets “Pump it Up” with part 72 of my youtube countdown.  That’s right, I got Elvis “Declan MacManus” Costello’s 1978 hit “Pump it Up” from This Year’s Model. Now according to wikipedia, “Pump it Up” is a double entendres song about turning up your music’s volume and masturbation.  The two seem to go hand and hand…(see what I did there?)  Anyway, this is a rocking new wave classic video making Costello really seem like the second coming of Buddy Holly.  I’m just getting into Elvis myself, so this seems like a nice taster before I dive full in on all his best records.  Hopefully I’ll discover something a little more obscure from this era and I’ll put it right up.  Suggestions always welcome.

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John Lennon, Instant Karma

Posted in John Lennon, Youtube Favs on May 24th, 2011 by Willie

Part 71 of my youtube countdown begins in a flash with John Lennon’s 1970 release “Instant Karma.”  “Instant Karma” is one of the fastest released songs in rock history.  John wrote it in the morning, recorded it in the afternoon, and released it ten days later.  The urgency of its release convinced karmic minded George Harrison to throw on his electric guitar.  Other Plastic Ono’s include Yoko on backing vocals, Alan White of YES fame on drums, Klaus (Revolver cover designer) Voorman on bass, and Billy Preston on grand piano.  The message of the song is awesome.  John is pleading for people just to achieve a modicum of self awareness regarding their cosmic role in the universe, and how in light of that, they should drop their petty prejudices, quibbles, and fears, and thus embrace a more meaningful existence.  It’s a beautiful message, and it rings true and instantly every time you play it.

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The Kinks, Waterloo Sunset

Posted in The Kinks, Youtube Favs on May 23rd, 2011 by Willie

Part 70 of my youtube countdown continues with more Kinks.  The Kinks are the most underrated group of gods from the 60s British Invasion era, and this song, “Waterloo Sunset,” is their overrated masterpiece.  First of all, let me praise it.  From their LP Something Else, “Waterloo Sunset” is a work of genius.  It’s just a simply gorgeous rock ballad with brilliant chords and beautiful background vocals.  So, I just called it genius, how could it be overrated?  Well, its not the Kinks fault.  For whatever reason, rock critics have painted this song as “the most beautiful song of the rock and roll era” according to allmusic journalist Stephen Thomas Erlewine, and Robert Christgau called it “the most beautiful song in the English language.”  Ummm…no.  It’s a fantastic song, but I don’t even think its the best song the Kinks ever made.  I’m not gonna get into which songs are better, because its a matter of subjectivity, but its too easy to knock this song from its pedestal of lofty praise.  Anyway, give this live performance a play, and let me know what you think.  Is it the prettiest song of all time, or is it just an ordinary rock classic, you decide.

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Ozzy Osbourne, How?

Posted in John Lennon, Ozzy Osbourne, Youtube Favs on May 22nd, 2011 by Willie

Part 69 of my youtube countdown is a funny one.  I have Ozzy Osbourne wandering around New York City with a bouquet of flowers singing John Lennon’s “How?” from Imagine. Eventually he discovers Strawberry Fields at Central Park and lays it down for John.  It’s both touching and funny as bewildered tourists and New Yorkers furiously snap pictures with their ubiquitous camera phones as Ozzy vamps about in the way that only he knows how.  Ozzy of course, is a notorious Beatles fan, and he made this video for the charity Amnesty International as a tribute for John on what would have been his 70th birthday.  The sentiment, the video, and his performance are all spot on and in a spirit that reflects John’s humor and love, and its really good, so check it out.

 

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Jake Shimabukuro, While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Posted in George Harrison, Jake Shimabukuro, The Beatles, Youtube Favs on May 21st, 2011 by Willie


Well, the world didn’t end, which is nice, so the youtube countdown continues with part 68.  I have the “Jimi Hendrix of Ukelele,” Jake Shimabukuro, performing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from the “White Album.”  Taking place at Strawberry Fields in Central Park, this is one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen.  This guy plays the song with flawless soulful precision.  The way he incorporates the melody of the song into his beautiful precise rhythm is uncanny.  It’s also just a flat out wonderful tribute to George Harrison, who LOVED the ukelele.  Actually, all the Beatles loved the ukelele, having gained an appreciation from John’s sweet mother Julia.  If you’ve never played or heard a ukulele in person, I highly recommend it.  It’s really easy to play, and just produce the most buttery gorgeous tones.  Anyway, enjoy this video, its really something else.

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