Mamas And The Papas – California Dreamin’ (1965)

Mamas And The Papas massive hit California Dreamin' coverCalifornia Dreamin’ – oh yes I do dream about it. Never been to California but dream about blue skies, nice beaches and just sitting in the sun with a glass of wine watching the days go by. This song I hear sometime during the winter time when I get a little depressed about the bad weather. I use it to escape to a nice place in my mind where there is pretty and the weather is always nice and warm. And this is what I think music is capable of – that is getting you into a specific mood and escape the real life for just a few minutes.

California Dreamin’ is a cover version but even more know is of course the cover by Beach Boys though I like the Mamas And The Papas better.

Highest chart position: UK# 23 and US#4.

Band photo Mamas And The Papas

Earth Wind & Fire – Shinning Star (1975)

Shinning Star by Earth Wind & Fire is a classic funk songShining Star by Earth Wind & Fire is one of my favourite funk songs. The sounds are incredible combining vocals and instruments perfectly to result in a funky classic. In retrospect perhaps I should not be surprised about the high standard knowing that the founder of Earth Wind & Fire was Maurice White who bad been a studio musician at Chess Records playing on recording with legends like Chuck Berry, The Supremes and Muddy Waters among others.

If you ask me the lyrics should be taught in schools to cure all low self-esteem:

“You’re a shining star, no matter who you are

Shining bright to see what you can truly be”

All people should have the right to be a Shining Star in there own lifes.

Listen to Shining Star and get in a better funk mood . The song is on the album That’s The Way Of The World by Earth Wind & Fire. And please find a video with Earth Wind & Fire just to see the fantastic colorful outfit they wear.

Highest chart position: US#1

Earth Wind & Fire - please watch out here come the color family

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.