Original Format: cassette
Subtitle: “Non-Stop Happy Times and Space”
This one pretty well sticks to its theme — revolutionary songs from various decades, though where is the Clash, younger self? — for the first half-hour, and then it goes rogue. I know why, too: I was dying to show off my acquisition of the recent Robert Johnson box set, a very hip item at the time. Then it gets all strange and psychedelic at the end, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Rumors of Things Going Astray Michael Palin
In the Life of Brian screenplay this character is called the “Boring Prophet,” which to me seems needlessly judgmental.
Rock and Roll Part 2 Gary Glitter
“British glam rocker Gary Glitter, a convicted pedophile, will not receive any money from his song featured in the new ‘Joker’ film. The film ignited an uproar for a crucial scene that features a transformed and fully face-painted Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) dancing down stairs to the tune of Glitter’s ‘Rock and Roll (Part 2),’ a 1970s hit on both sides of the ocean. Snapper Music, the UK record label that has owned Glitter’s master rights since 1997, confirmed to USA TODAY that the singer would not be making money off the film, explaining that Glitter will not be paid royalties or any other fees from the catalog…. Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was sentenced in 2015 to 16 years in jail after being convicted of sexually abusing three young girls.” —USA Today, 2019
Revolution (single version) The Beatles
“I had an idea I wanted to try – one that I thought might satisfy John, even though it was equipment abuse of the most severe kind. Because no amount of mic preamp overload had been enough for him, I decided to try to overload two of them patched together, one into the other. As I knelt down beside the console, turning knobs that I was expressly forbidden from touching because they could literally cause the console to overheat and blow up, I couldn’t help but think: If I was the studio manager and saw this going on, I’d fire myself.” —Geoff Emerick
If 6 Was 9 The Jimi Hendrix Experience
“Compared to the other tracks on Axis: Bold As Love, ‘If 6 Was 9’ suffers from an unusually large amount of tape noise, dropouts, and overall ‘rough’ sound quality. According to Hendrix biographer John McDermott, the master tape used for the album was a quarter-inch open reel tape belonging to bassist Noel Redding, containing an early rough mix of the song. This technically inferior copy (intended for a home tape player) had to be used at the last minute since the album’s final stereo master tape had been accidentally lost, ‘If 6 Was 9’ was the one song that Hendrix and engineer Eddie Kramer could not satisfactorily remix. They reportedly had to use a clothes iron to remove wrinkles in the badly mishandled tape.” —Wikipedia
Anarchy in the U.K. The Sex Pistols
All these years I thought Johnny was saying that your future dream is a “charlatan’s scheme” or something like that. The internet gives several versions, but “shopping scheme” seems like the most convincing. You learn something new every day.
Talkin’ ’Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues The Flaming Lips
This was around the time I first discovered the Lips, which in my mind makes me an early adopter, even though they’d already been going for a decade. 30 years later they are still very productive — maybe too productive, as their quality control is not all it could be, but why quibble? Godspeed to them and long may they run.
Get Your Money from Vargas Woody Allen
I still think Bananas is funny. So sue me.
Revolution Pts. 1 & 2 Butthole Surfers
Pump the Professor Garry Shandling
It’s never been entirely clear why Gibby Haynes chose to single out Garry Shandling, genius though he was, as the “counter-revolutionary man” whose name would be immortalized by many screaming repetitions on this song. What we do know is that, according to Bongwater mastermind and occasional adjunct Surfer Kramer, the band “sprinkled LSD on their cornflakes every morning, which was then washed down with Johnny [sic] Walker Red. Beer for lunch, lowly Mexican dirt-weed smoked in bone-dry bongs for dinner, and then two hours of coughing fits and another bowl of LSD an hour before showtime.” The Surfers appeared on Shandling’s TV show in 1997; says Paul Leary, “I remember the band was hanging with him and Rip Torn on set. Rip told Garry, ‘These guys have a song where they say ”Garry Shandling” over and over again. You should hear it!’ And Garry replied ‘Do I have to?’ They were very nice to us. Although they were apprehensive about us setting their stage on fire… which we did.”
Hellhound on My Trail Robert Johnson
There was much excitement recently when a new photo of Johnson — only the third in circulation, and the first in which he in smiling — appeared on the cover of the book his stepsister wrote. She says, “It shows Brother Robert the way I remember him—open, kind, and generous. He doesn’t look like the man of all the legends, the man described as a drunkard and a fighter by people who didn’t really know him.” So maybe he didn’t sell his soul to the devil after all — maybe he was just a really good guitar player.
Abba Zaba Captain Beefheart
“The history of the Abba-Zaba bar goes way back, all the way to 1922, to be exact. It was a different time, then. The first radio had just arrived at the White House, Egypt received independence from Great Britain, and a little candy company called Colby and McDermott was manufacturing a new kind of candy bar in Los Angeles, California. What made this candy so special, you might ask? Well, it consisted of a white taffy exterior with a creamy peanut butter center. Known as the Abba-Zaba bar, this stick-to-your-teeth confection became a huge hit out west, where they still carry the biggest clout, today. Anyone who loves the Abba-Zaba bar will recognize that black and yellow Taxi-cab-esque exterior. But are you familiar with the original wrapper scandal? Early Abba-Zaba wrappers from Colby & McDermott depict what appear to be African tribesmen in a jungle, sitting beside a taffy tree.” —Candyfavorites.com
Electricity Gone Amok Hunter S. Thompson
Electricity Sonic Youth
“While playing ‘Electricity’ for a warm-up performance at the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival at Mt. Tamalpais in 1967, [Captain] Beefheart stopped the song, straightened his tie, and walked off the stage, landing face flat into the grass. He later claimed that he saw a girl in the audience turn into a goldfish. This caused guitarist Ry Cooder to immediately quit the Magic Band because he couldn’t deal with Beefheart’s unpredictability.” —Wikipedia
Aura The Church
There is a very specific target audience for this kind of pseudo-mystical mumbo-jumbo, and I am it. I have no idea what it all means but I love it anyway.
Motorway to Roswell Pixies
The was the first place I ever heard about the Roswell Incident, which became a semi-obsession for a few years. I still want to believe. I mean, come on, aliens, isn’t it about time? We could use some help down here.
Revolution 9 (excerpt) The Beatles
“‘Revolution 9’ was an unconscious picture of what I actually think will happen when it happens; just like a drawing of a revolution.” —John Lennon