Prince's Timeless Performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Posted in George Harrison, Prince, The Beatles on July 25th, 2012 by Willie

Prince is one of my heroes, so you might be wondering why the Prince page on my website is fairly barren.  Well, the truth is, I’d probably have every Prince music video and performance I could get my hands on if I could, but Prince and his legal team make it damn near impossible to for anyone on the internet to post his music and videos.  Well, there is one performance that thankfully is available for the public to consume, and that is of Prince’s epic guitar heroics at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Prince was inducted in the same year George Harrison was honored as a solo artist, and so Dhani Harrison, George’s son, invited Prince on stage for the performance of the White Album classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”  I read somewhere that Prince had never even heard the song before, though that’s hard to believe as Prince peeled off one of the greatest and most showstopping flawless guitar solos of all time.  What is especially spectacular about the performance is that the man who played the original solo on the record, Eric Clapton, was a bit of a guitar legend too, so Prince had a lot to live up to.  The thing is, sometimes people forget that Prince is Prince.  The man is rightfully one of the greatest musical geniuses of the pop era, and one of the more criminally underrated ones too.  Rumor has it that Prince played such an insanely great solo in response to the snub he felt after being left off of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 guitar players ever list.  Prince proves that he belongs somewhere on that list, perhaps in the top ten, so watch this clip if you’ve never seen it, and take in the “purple’s one’s” majesty of rock.  Oh, and lastly, at the end of the song, Prince hurls his guitar into the sky towards the audience, and it never lands…a new mystery for our time.

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Paul McCartney, Coming Up

Posted in Paul McCartney on June 27th, 2012 by Willie

This is my all time favorite solo Paul McCartney music video.  It would have been on the site years ago, but I could never find a version of it on youtube that I was able to embed on my website.  Those days are over, so, at long last, I can proudly paste “Coming Up,” on  The song, which kicked off the otherwise disappointing McCartney II, is one of solo Paul’s best ever.  Its a bubbling psychedelic techno folk anthem of positivity.  The song, and its genius accompanying video which debuted on Saturday Night Live, was so good, that it kicked a then retired John Lennon in the balls to start making pop music again.  John famously claimed that he couldn’t get the song out of his head, and also thought that he could do exactly what Paul was doing, saturating the pop music scene with delicious little throwaway pop numbers.  Personally, I believe it was the first ember that would spark the eventual reunion that never happened in the late 80s/early 90s.  I’ve posted about it before, but what people don’t really understand about the Beatles Anthology, was that it was decades in the making, with John having a firm hand in its creation, all with the idea that some sort of reunion would happen one day on an important anniversary.  Despite John’s needing to distance himself from the whole Beatle circus, he knew deep down that it was a special achievement in his life, and that one day, he’d have to take the effort to put the Beatle thing its place and history, from his, and the other Beatles’ perspectives.  Anyway, that is stuff that has little to do with “Coming Up,” and its hilarious music video that you should watch right now.  “Feel it in my bones!”

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Paul McCartney, Take it Away

Posted in Paul McCartney on June 21st, 2012 by Willie

“Tug of War” is one of the best solo Paul McCartney albums, and probably the best one from the 80s.  The record was produced by famed Beatle producer George Martin, sometimes referred to as the fifth Beatle, and this music video, which I’ve never seen before all of ten minutes ago, Martin lives out that fantasy by rocking the piano with Paul, Ringo, Linda, and actor John Hurt.  I never took it upon myself to exhaustively plow through all the ex-Beatle catalogs in the way I carved the original Beatle records on stone tablets, which is great because it allows me to discover songs and video clips that I never knew existed.  “Take it Away,” is one such example, and the song and video is just a delightful treat for all Beatle fans, and all fans of charming good fun…oh, and happy belated 70th birthday Paul!

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Hall and Oates, I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)

Posted in Hall and Oates, Youtube Favs on December 20th, 2011 by Willie

Oh the hits keep rolling for Hall and Oates.  “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” was a #1 for Daryl and John in 1981, and another track that set the tone for 80s pop.  Their embarrassing cover art for the single also help set trends of decadent ugliness for the 80s as well.  Pop music from the 1980s had many uniting broad themes from futurism, celebration, dark sexuality, and paranoia.  “I Can’t Go For That” has those trademarks in spades.  It also holds the distinction for being the first song by a non-African American group to top the R&B charts.  Daryl Hall, the songs primary writer, was most pleased with this achievement, stating, “I’m the head soul brother in the U.S.  Where to now?”  Good question.  One direction led to an even bigger hit, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”  Michael admitted to Daryl that he copped the bass line from “I Can’t Go For That” for his own ultra-smash hit, to which Daryl replied, ‘I took that bass line from someone else to begin with, and that it’s “something we all do.”‘  That reminds me of another theme in 80s pop, superstar collaboration.  It’s as if their was one continuous party of mega rich famous rock stars, who all inflated each others egos, and played on each others records.  Heady times, heady coke fueled times indeed…

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Hall and Oates, You Make My Dreams Come True, FTW

Posted in Hall and Oates, Youtube Favs on December 17th, 2011 by Willie

I never thought I’d be adding a “Hall and Oates” section to my website, but on December 17th, 2011, it apparently has happened.  Actually, I’ve been slowly enjoying Hall and Oates a bit over the last few years, getting hooked on the single “I Can’t Go For That,” and hearing a fantastic sounding Daryl Hall on the Howard Stern show a few weeks ago.  The song in the cross-hairs today is “You Make My Dreams Come True,” a top ten hit from 1980.  It has popped up irrepressibly in a bunch of modern Hollywood movies and TV shows including “500 Days of Summer,” “Step Brothers,” and “King of the Hill.”  The song just makes people happy and want to dance, and I’m tired of denying its power.  I’ve come to have embrace its gorgeous keyboard/electric guitar attack rhythm section and blue eyed soul vocal delivery.  That addictive and high pitched guitar stutter reminds me of the Beatles’ “Getting Better,” possibly the happiest song of all time, and its doo-wop heavily processed backing vocals make it a total 80s classic, paving the way for the general sound of 80s pop.  So, in conclusion, my advice is this; turn this song up to 11, pour some lemonade, and play this song 4 times in a row.  Hall and Oates, FTW.

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Dire Straits, Money For Nothing

Posted in Dire Straits, Youtube Favs on September 30th, 2011 by Willie

Brothers in Arms was one of my favorite albums growing up.  I remember when my dad bought a CD Stereo system in 1989 (a huge awesome piece of audio tech in those days), he bought a boatload of CDs, and this Dire Straits classic was one of them.  It was also right around the time we got cable TV, and of course I was obsessed with the song and video of “Money For Nothing.”  Co-written with Police legend Sting, Mark Knopfler crafted one of the 80s greatest anthems, and delivered Dire Straits first #1 hit in the US.  It features the decade’s sleekest guitar riffs, a heavily processed digital blues line that still blows my mind.  The song is a clever commentary on the excessive 80s consumer culture, vapid 80s pop music, and MTV, the Mount Olympus of cool in that era.  As a bonus, I found an awesome video of present day Knopfler explaining the origins of the song, both the riff, and the lyrics, and how he created the sounds.  It’s completely rad, so enjoy both the original ground breaking video and Knopfler’s precious behind the scenes story on the songs creation.

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Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, Say Say Say, The Girl is Mine

Posted in Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Youtube Favs on July 19th, 2011 by Willie

The year was 1981.  Michael Jackson was staying over Paul and Linda McCartney’s house.  The pair of ultra stars were recording songs with Quincy Jones and George Martin for their respective albums.  For Thriller, MJ and Macca were laying down “The Girl is Mine,” a horrendous piece of saccharine pop.  For McCartney’s equally successful album ; ) Pipes of Peace, the pair laid down “Say Say Say,” a more superior pop song, but equally stupid in its generic lyrics and execution.  For Jackson, the pairing with a Beatle was both an artistic and commercial turning point for his career.  For Paul McCartney, it was the most costly business mistake he ever made.  When Michael was in the studio for “Say Say Say,” it was the first time he didn’t have Quincy supporting him, and he found he could hold his own with the very musical McCartney.  It was an experience that massively boosted his musical maturation and confidence.  Paul was a gracious host this whole time, even giving the young pop star an inside glimpse into how he was making billions, by purchasing music publishing catalogs.  MJ took the advice to heart.  In 1985, the long disputed “Northern Songs” catalog, which contained the entire Lennon/McCartney catalog was up for sale, and Michael Jackson outbid Paul for the controlling interest, dropping 40 million underneath Paul’s nose.  In years since the incident, Jackson has been painted as the villain that stole Paul’s songs.  The real story is more complicated.  Paul was actually offered the songs privately, but he wanted to share it with Yoko Ono out of fairness, but she wanted to hold out for a better deal.  If anything, Yoko is the biggest culprit in the Beatles not owning their own songs.  Anyway, the friendship between Michael and Paul fell apart not because Jackson bought “Hey Jude” and “I am the Walrus,”  but because Michael wouldn’t raise the royalty rate John and Paul agreed to all the way back in 1961.  Paul has felt that the Beatles had been cheated and underpaid for decades, and the fact that Michael wouldn’t give him a boost was unforgivable.  So, even though Michael and Jackson would never perform or record together again, at least they left a legacy of a massive abortion of  commercial pop for us musical archeologists to examine for the next 1000 years.  Thanks boys.

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Joy Division, Love Will Tear Us Apart

Posted in Joy Division, Youtube Favs on June 16th, 2011 by Willie

The final countdown is underway with part 91!  It’s the immortal Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” one of the greatest singles of all time.  Joy Division were pioneers of the flashy dark kind of rock and roll known as post punk, a genre known for its angular introverted style.  The band was fronted by clinically epileptic and depressed crooner Ian Curtis, who tragically hung himself in 1980.  Right around the time of his death, his band and his single took off and cemented his rock legend status.  The rest of the blokes in the band went on to form the successful New Order.  “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” is an iconic early 80s pop song.  It’s completely sad and morose, but very danceable as the bright snyth counteracts Curtis’s dark delivery.  It’s also one of the catchiest songs you’ve ever heard.  I can’t embed the original video on my site, so I found a remixed video performance which is just as good, enjoy!

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Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, Ebony and Ivory

Posted in Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Youtube Favs on June 14th, 2011 by Willie

Welcome to part 89 of my legendary youtube countdown.  Countdown to what?  I have no idea, but lets hope the world finds peace along the way.  One way to help this planet on that quest are the musical stylings of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder singing “Ebony and Ivory” from Paul’s 1982 LP Tug of War.  By the way, pick up Tug of War if you see it sitting dusty in a record store.  It’s one of Paul’s better 80s albums produced by the legendary Beatles George Martin no less.  That record also features Paul’s tribute song to John Lennon, “Here Today,” a track I might cover in the future.  Anyway, Paul wrote this mega hit “Ebony and Ivory” after hearing an old Spike Milligan phrase, “black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two, to make harmony folks!”  Well, the phrase is right, and the song is true.  Paul and Stevie performed the song live in studio, which is always a cool yet difficult feat.  Ironically, due to scheduling conflicts, they had to film their parts in the music video separately.  It’s an amazing feat, considering they are sitting next to each other, but its just camera trickery folks.  What IS true is that they both traveled to Bolivia to dance on the world’s largest piano. ; )

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Bob Marley, Could You Be Loved (Rare Studio Take)

Posted in Bob Marley, Youtube Favs on June 13th, 2011 by Willie

Welcome to part 88 of my youtube countdown!  Today I have a beautifully rare studio take of Bob Marley singing his 1980 masterpiece, “Could You Be Loved,” from Uprising.  This is probably my favorite Bob Marley song for those keeping score at home.  It has everything I love in a Marley song; that driving irresistible reggae rhythm, philosophical lyrics about love and self worth, and a perfect-genius-catchy melody, (a P.G.C.M.)  This video cuts Marley signing a rough vocal crossed with shots of him and others playing some soccer in Jamaica, Bob’s other passion.  This is one of those clips where a video is worth a million words, so just watch.  P.S., I got a secret internet wish.  If someone has an extra pair of the headphones Bob is sporting in this vid, please don’t be shy, and mail me a pair.  Just email me.  ; )

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