March 5, 2016
Black Sabbath – Hole in the Sky (from the album Sabotage, 1975 Vertigo/Warner Bros.) The inventors of doom were in town last night, and I missed them. I saw them a few years ago, but it still would have been great to witness Black Sabbath one last time. The band is one of the main reasons I play guitar and listen to heavy music to this day. Tony Iommi, in my eyes, invented doom metal on his Gibson SG. From Ozzy to Dio and in between, Black Sabbath went about their business and changed rock n roll.
Sabbath Factoid: The title of their sixth album Sabotage was named as such because the band were entangled in a legal battle with former management. According to Iommi, the band felt as if were being “sabotaged all the way along the line and getting punched from all sides“. This lead to the album having a heavier, more aggressive sound.
The Doors – 5 To 1 (from the album Waiting For The Sun, Elektra 1968) I may have been seventeen or eighteen when I read No One Here Gets Out Alive; the Danny Sugerman and Jerry Hopkins penned biography on the influential and polarizing Jim Morrison. Myself and a bunch of my friends were heavily into The Doors for a couple years, and the book was my bible for that period of time. I thought “if Morrison can do it, so can I”. There is remains a spot in my heart for this legendary group, and I still look upon the magnetic Jim Morrison as a hero. 5 To 1 is one of my absolute favorites of The Doors. I hope kids of this era are still discovering the bands that I discovered twenty or so years ago. It sure would be nice to get together, one more time.
For an amazing read on enigmatic Rock star, please check out No One Here Gets Out Alive.
Wikipedia – No One Here Gets Out Alive
I was maybe six or seven years old when I came across David’s Let’s Dance cassette in my aunt’s collection. The name was familiar, but I was a little kid, and had no clue what his music was about. I listened to that cassette, continuously rewinding to hear the title song over and over. To a kid in the early 1980’s, music was Michael Jackson, Prince, Cyndi Lauper and such. I loved all of those performers, but now I am in my thirties (standing with one foot over the line that is forty). I still love M.J. and Prince, but Bowie is the only one who has been a constant influence in my love and creation of music. He could change his style in an instant, and still be relevant and classy. For parts of five decades, he was and will continue to be admired, in the highest regard, by anyone who can recognize talent and charisma. I was honored and blown away by the opportunity to see him perform in 2004. At sixty years old, he commanded the stage and captivated the crowd every moment. Men half his age can only dream of having the appeal and mystique of Mr. Bowie. He went by many personas over the years; The Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Jareth The Goblin King (Labyrinth), actor, painter, and musician. To me, he is all of these things, in addition to one more persona; Hero. I am grateful to have shared the same time and space with a man who transcended life and was not afraid to be different.
Hot tramp, I love you so.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Bowie.
Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmastime (from the single Wonderful Christmas Time, 1979 Parlophone / Columbia) An unconventional Christmas song, and an unconventional song from the great Sir Paul McCartney. It`s not like the Beatles great to use a lot of synths, but this song is catchy and oddly beautiful none the less. I saved this one for last because Christmas is fun, just like this song. Also because Sir Paul is brilliant. I hope everyone has a lovely Holiday season.
shèng dàn kuài lè
Krismas ki subhkamna
felicem diem Nativitatis
S rozhdestvom Khristovym
Mừng Chúa Giáng Sinh
Dasher, Dancer, Comet, and Blitzen
Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight) (from the album Brain Drain, 1989 Sire) There are certain bands that remind me or the best parts of my life. Simpler times; hanging out with friends, playing punk music, getting drunk at the park. One of these bands is the Ramones. Christmas is a time to reflect and be happy. Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, Tommy, Marky and C.J. make me happy. These New York punk-rock legends only want one thing for Christmas, and that is for us to be happy. The Ramones want to wish you a Happy Holidays…three chords at a time. Although all the original members have passed on, the impact they left on music, and on my life, is undeniable.
Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (from the single Do They Know It’s Christmas, 1984 Phonogram/Columbia) Some of the biggest acts in the United Kingdom got together in 1984 to raise money for famine relief in Africa. Contributors from bands like U2, Boomtown Rats, WHAM!, Duran Duran, The Police, Bananarama, Spandau Ballet, and Culture Club contributed to the song, which managed to bring in over ten million dollars during it’s first year of release. This song started a wave of celebrity collaborations and events to aid causes and charities all over the world. It may not be a traditional Christmas song, and may not be the most amazing song ever recorded, but it had heart, and all the right intentions. It’s crazy to think that this song is thirty years old. The cause is still going strong today with @BandAid30 .
David Bowie (L) and Bing Crosby (R)
Bing Crosby & David Bowie – Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy (from Bowie’s B-side single Fantastic Voyage, 1982 RCA) What happens when you take an entertainment legend, an amazing pop vocalist and let them sing a carol together? You get this beauty of a Christmas song. Bowie is my favorite male performer and Little Drummer Boy is at the top of my Holiday song list. This is a beautiful rendition, recorded by two gentlemen who could sing anything and make it sound lovely. It was a great touch to put together an actor/singer with Bing Crosby’s influence and a current artist the caliber of the Thin White Duke (Bowie). As far as contemporary Christmas songs go, this may be the best.
As a bonus, here is a Funny or Die tribute with John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell.
Dio & Tony Iommi – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (from the compilation We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year, 2008 Armoury Records) Perhaps the the last couple of legends that come to mind when you think of Christmas songs, Ronnie James Dio and Tony Iommi bring us the finest in Yuletide metal. These former Black Sabbath and Heaven and Hell mates made heavy music what it is today, so of course they have every right to do what they like regarding Christmas. I have had the honor and pleasure of seeing these amazing men in concert. The late, great Dio had one of the best voices in music. God rest, ye merry Gentleman. One of a kind.
Wham! – Last Christmas (from the album Music From the Edge of Heaven, 1984 Columbia Epic) Often imitated, but never duplicated, this song will get stuck in your head the moment you hear it. George Michael may not be perfect, but he is a hell of a song writer. In all honesty, the first time I watched the video was today just prior to writing this. Is it just me, or is it like a four minute Wrigley chewing gum commercial with Mr. Michael’s hairdo the main star? Christmas means different things to different folks, but to Wham!, it means ski trips, cozy sweaters, and romance. There is a lesson to be learned here; don’t give your heart to just anyone this Christmas. Please, give it to someone special.
August Burns Red – Carol of the Bells (from the album August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill A Holiday Album, 2012 Solid State) These good Christian boys are one of technical metal’s finest bands. The entire Holiday album the released in 2012 is actually quite spectacular. The all-traditional track listing is done up all heavy, but enjoyably so. It may not be your thing, but these guys are undeniably talented. Carol of the Bells is one of my favorite Christmas songs, so I chose their version to share with you. The fancy light show in the video is just a bonus.