Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1958)

Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry is a classic rock and roll song from the 1950sChuck Berry ruled the early ages of rock and roll in the 1950s and early 1960s with many chart hits that today is taken as rock classics. Among these Chuck Berry hits are the song Johnny B Goode. The song is played with good speed and has a simple catchy chorus easy to singalong to. The lyrics is about a boy who could not read or white but could play the guitar “like ringing the bell”. His mother encourage him to play hoping that “someday you name will be in lights, saying Johnny B. Goode tonight”.

Let this be a lesson to all out there – kids go do what you are good at and us parents just believe and support our kids to get a good life.

The song Johnny B. Goode was on the album Chuck Berry Is On Top originally out on the legendary Chess Records. Other music artists on Chess Records is Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley among others. Many different artists have made a cover version of Johnny B. Goode e.g. Tom Jones, Peter Tosh, The Beatles and Sex Pistols just to name a few.

Highest chart position: US#8

Chuck Berry was one of the rock and roll pioneers in the 1950s

Sixpence None The Richer – Kiss Me (1998)

Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer was a worldwide one hit wonder The song Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer with the beautiful Leigh Nash in front was a huge hit in my region as well as the rest of the world. You just could not avoid listening to it – it was present everywhere on radio and TV. It is a simple but very fine track that I still like to listen to. Maybe a success because of the lyrics – who doesn’t like to be kissed by their loved one?

Sixpence None The Richer is in my opinion a one hit wonder although they had a miner success with the cover of There She Goes by The La’s. Kiss Me also appears on the soundtrack to the movie She’s All That (starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook, 1999).

Kiss me can be found on the album also called Sixpence None The Richer – but as a one hit wonder you can just stick to Kiss Me – I never liked the hole album.

Highest chart position: US#2 and UK#4

Sixpence None The Richer had a one hit wonder with Kiss Me

Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer is on the soundtrack to She's All That

Dodgy – Good Enough (1996)

Good Enough by Dodgy is a classic Britpop songGood Enough by Dodgy is part of my BritPop period. I really liked the BritPop bands like Suede, Oasis, Blur, Stereophonics etc. taken all the new styles in music, clothes and attitude and so on in. Building on some of the classisc rock and roll traditions the sound of BritPop was just “Good Enough” to  me for a few years.

Although Dodgy was not one of my favorite Britpop bands the song Good Enough hit something with the easy lyrics and the classic Britpop laidback guitar style. I first met the song on a compilation cd (Shine) that I used to explore BritPop acts that I did not know at the time.

If you want to be Good Enough and remember some classic Britpop listen to the Dodgy album Free Peace Sweet. And Good Enough can also be found on the Sliding Doors soundtrack with Elton John, Dido and Jamiroquai among others.

Highest chart position: UK#4

The Britpop band Dodgy

Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit (1967)

White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane is a classic rock song from the 1960sWhite Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane is a classic rock song from the late 1960s. I especially like the beginning which sounds something like a western theme to me with the march like drums and the simple guitar melody. But when the vocal begin your are torn out of this feeling:

“One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small

And the ones that mother gives you

Don’t do anything at all”

Best guess is that LSD has a part to play to this song both in the lyrics and in the making of the song. But maybe this is just my expectations about the time and a band performing on the Woodstock Festival…

This song along with some other classic rock songs made me look more into the music from the 1960s. In my opinion there are a lot of great rock to be found here. Jefferson Airplane were one of the bands performing at the legendary Woodstock Music & Arts Festival in 1969 among music dinosaurs like The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and The Band. Try to search for their live performance of White Rabbit on Woodstock first of all to hear this fantastic song and especially the great vocal of Grace Slick but leo to see the atmosphere, clothes etc. from this iconic Woodstock Festival in 1969.

White rabbit by Jefferson Airplane is on the album Surrealistic Pillow.

Band portrait of Jefferson Airplane who was a part of the Woodstock Festival 1969.

 

Talking Heads – Burning Down The House (1983)

Burning Down The House By Talking Heads - a classic 1980s rock songBurning Down The House by Talking Heads is a classic rock song from the 1980s. This is probably the biggest Talking Heads hit from a very creative part of their career. Coming from the album Speaking In Tongues the Talking Heads had really find an artistic goldmine. To me this is standing out as a classic rock album that I can always listen to with pleasure. Burning Down The House being on this album makes perfect sense to me because I have no idea what the song is about – so Speaking In Tongues is the right place.

Highest chart position; US #9. In 1999 Tom Jones And The Cardigans made a cover version that hit UK#7.

Please have a look at the video which I think is nice – the colors and the white clothes is what the 80s are all about.

Burning Down The House can be found on the Talking Heads album Speaking In Tongues. But if you like this track check out the album Remain In Light which holds another classic rock song Once In a Lifetime.

 

Little Richard – Tutti Frutti (1955)

Little Richard playing Tutti FruttiTutti Frutti by Little Richard is sometimes given the credit to be one of the first “rock and roll” songs. If this is correct I can’t tell but by all means it is a classic. This song always set me in a good mood and imagining a party going on.

Singing the chorus many times it is easy to sing-along to. So just shout it out like I like to think Little Richard would like the listeners to do. But he must have been a brave man singing these lyrics in the mid 1950s.

“She knows how to love me, yes indeed

Boy you don’t know what she do to me”

Tutti Frutti by Little Richard can be found on the album Here’s Little Richard.

Highest chart position: UK singles chart #29.

Little Richard going crazy by the piano

Steve Miller Band – The Joker (1973)

Cover to Steve Miller Band The JokerThe Joker by Steve Miller Band I sometime around heard in a tv commercial for an “best of” Steve Miller Band cd. I normally do not fall for the commercials on tv but something here got me down to the cd store. That “something” might have been that I knew a few songs and that the sound fit in to my approach to being a little more into rock and wanted to learn more. Looking back I have not heard the album as such but listened to the few songs I already knew – so much for the “I want to learn more” thought in this case (but that is my own fault and not to blame on Steve Miller Band).

Highest US chart position was #1 and the song is often found on lists on ultimate classic rock.

I found The Joker on the Steve Miller Band compilation The Very Best Of Steve Miller Band but is originally on the album also named The Joker.

Highest chart position: UK singles chart #1.

Portrait of The Steve Miller Band

The Searchers – Needles And Pins (1963)

Single cover - The Searchers Needles And Pins Merseybeat hitThe Searchers Needles And Pins are one of my favourite Merseybeat songs. Why? Because it have a very typical sound for this period among the bands from Liverpool. And also the song has a text about how difficult love can be – hurting like needles and pins and you have to hide you tears because of you pride. Simple but very effective I think. As it often was in the 1960s this hit was a cover version originally performed by Jackie De Shannon.

Needles An Pins by The Searchers can be found on the album It’s The Searchers but I have it on a compilation album which is a view into the sound of Merseybeat in the early 1960s.

Highest chart position: UK Singles Chart #1 and Billboard Hot 100 #13.

See them perform in the famous Ed Sullivan Show below.

Tom Waits – Black Rider (1993)

Tom Waits eye catching Black Rider Album coverSometime in the late 1990s I saw Black Rider by Tom Waits performed at the local theatre. Not knowing much about Tom Waits or his music this experience really surprised me. A story hard to understand combined with the music that to me sounded very weird live in the theatre. But something must have hit me anyway because I bought the Black Rider album shortly after but the music was difficult for me to take in. Still today some 20 years on I have to sit down with no disturbances to concentrate on Waits hoarse vocal when I listen to it because there are so many elements on this record that I feel that something new comes up every time. Black Rider is therefore a favourite of mine although I still have difficulties understanding it – but maybe this is the charm about Tom Waits.

Tom Waits are as cool as it gets

Alphaville – Forever Young (1984)

Alphaville album coverForever Young by Alphaville has followed me for many years. Not because I have any intentions of being forever young but I think it is a nice popsong which sound a little melancholic to me. At release I did not know it. I first head it when I was in high school but went strait out to bye it.

The lyrics are quite funny:

“Sitting in a sandpit, life is a short trip

The music’s for the sad man“

Are music only for the sad people? I do not agree with Alphaville! Music are for sad as well as for anybody else no matter what mood you are in. Later Alphaville sing that:

“The music’s played by the madman”

Off course this might be the case but I do not think all musicians will label themselves as mad. Byt hey, it is a song and we do not have to agree on everything. And besides take a look at the members of Alphaville. They are stylish!

Here at MusicNostalgic we do not want to live forever. Do you?

Forever Young is on the album by the same name.

State of the art 1980s hair Alphaville had back in the days:-Find your inner 80s pop spirit and revisit Alphavilles video here: