21 November 2020
Active: Since 1970 – 50 years ago
Album: A NIGHT AT THE OPERA – 4th LP
The title refers to the Marx Brothers movie of the same name.
The longplayer with blockbuster hit ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ on.
Released: 21 November 1975 – 45 years ago today
Score: No 1 in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, No 4 in the US
AllMusic / Stephen Erlewine said: ‘No one in the band takes anything too seriously, otherwise the arrangements wouldn’t be as ludicrously exaggerated as they are. But the
appeal, and the influence, of A Night at the Opera is in its detailed, meticulous productions.
It’s prog rock with a sense of humor as well as dynamics, and Queen never bettered their approach anywhere else.’ Full review here. Score: 5/5.
Brian May: “We were just a four-piece, but we made a lot of noise. I’m quite shocked at
how good it was. We were incredibly tight and, at the same time – because we knew each
other so well – very loose in terms of improvisation.”
Turn Up The Volume: Theatrical, melodramatic and superbly orchestrated tour
de force with one of the best entertainers ever in rock, in the middle of all attention.
Singles/clips: Bohemian Rhapsody / My Best Friend
– BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY –
– MY BEST FRIEND –
19 November 2020
After leaving music behind him for five years in order to be as much as possible with his son Sean, immortal rock & pop legend JOHN LENNON went back in the studio, with the love of his life Yoko Ono for what became his final longplayer.
DOUBLE FANTASY was released 40 years ago on 17 November 1980. It wasn’t his best work but so special just because it was his last gift to his countless fans all over the globe.
Only three weeks after the LP’s release the working class hero was killed cowardly by Mark Chapman. Lennon was, unquestionably, my favorite Beatle, he was the rocker. As part of the Fab Four, he changed pop, along with his twin songwriter buddy Macca. And let’s not forget he became an influential peace activist, under the influence of Yoko.
The romantic single (Just Like) Starting Over…
JOHN LENNON: Facebook
18 November 2020
Band: THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN (Scotland)
Active: 1983–1999, 2007–present
Released: 18 November 1985 – 35 years ago today
Score: #31 in the UK
AllMusic/Ned Raggett: “Arguably Psychocandy is an album with one trick and one trick alone — Beach Boys melodies meet Velvet Underground feedback and beats, all cranked up to ten and beyond, along with plenty of echo. However, what a trick it is… What the Reids sing about — entirely interchangeable combinations regarding girls, sex, drugs, speed, and boredom in more or less equal measure — is nothing compared to the perfectly disaffected way those sentiments are delivered. Bobby Gillespie’s “hit the drums and then hit them again” style makes Moe Tucker seem like Neil Peart, but arguably in terms of sheer economy he doesn’t need to do any more.”
Turn Up The Volume: Fuzz and buzz pop at its best. Amen.
Singles: Never Understand / You Trip Me Up / Just Like Honey
– NEVER UNDERSTAND –
– YOU TRIP ME UP –
– JUST LIKE HONEY –
(#1 – #14)
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN: Facebook
17 November 2020
Band: THE FALL
Album: GROTESQUE (AFTER THE GRAMME) – the band’s third LP
Released: 17 November 1980 – 40 years ago today
AllMusic/Ned Raggett wrote: “The Fall really started hitting its stride, with Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon now a devastatingly effective combination, somehow managing to sound exactly placed between random sloppiness and perfect precision. The sharp rockabilly leads and random art-rock racket thrived on both counts, with Smith as always the mad jester ripping into anything and everything while having a great time doing so… As a side note, the hilarious music scene caricatures on the front cover and wind-up liner notes add just the right level of acidic wit to the proceedings.” Full review here. Score: 4/5.
Mark E. Smith: “I was never ever into all that punk stuff to be quite frank with you, or that new wave, it’s not what I was going for. I was just trying to do very basic music, very savage music, with intelligent lyrics.”
Paul Morley (famous former NME writer) about MES: “What if he wasn’t a genius.
What if he was just an old drunken tramp?”
Turn Up The Volume: The genial drunk tramp on a roll here.
THE FALL: All Albums
15 November 2020
Band: THE VELVET UNDERGROUND
Album: LOADED – their 4th LP
Released: 15 November 1970 – 50 years ago today
AllMusic wrote: “VU signed with industry powerhouse Atlantic Records in 1970. Label head Ahmet Ertegun supposedly asked Lou Reed to avoid sex and drugs in his songs, and instead focus on making an album “loaded with hits.” Loaded was the result, and with appropriate
irony it turned out to be the first VU album that made any noticeable impact on commercial radio.” Score: 5/5.
Turn Up The Volume: The LP is filled with easy-listening pop songs, with a lot of typical, familiar 60s harmonies à la The Mamas and The Papas and The Beach Boys – sounds like VU had fun, although Lou Reed left before its release. Despite the LP’s sweet accessibility it failed to be a hit. Anyway, I love this album. It’s even the VU longplayer I played the most
over the years. Perfect pop-ular record.
Lou Reed: “I don’t mind a repetitive chorus, I mind repetitive verse. I mean, it’s the same amount of space. Why would you have only three diamonds if you can have six?”
Key tracks: Who Loves The Sun / Sweet Jane / Rock and Roll / I Found A Reason
(#1 – #10)
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: All Albums
14 November 2020
Artist: Syd Barrett
Released: 14 November 1970 – 50 years ago today
AllMusic: “On his second solo album, Barrett was joined by Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley and Pink Floyd members Rick Wright (organ) and Dave Gilmour (guitar). Gilmour and Wright acted as producers as well. Instrumentally, the result is a bit fuller and smoother than the first album, although it’s since been revealed that Gilmour and Wright embellished these songs as best they could without much involvement from Barrett, who was often unable or unwilling to perfect his performance. The songs, however, are just as fractured as on his debut, if not more so. “Baby Lemonade,” “Gigolo Aunt,” and the nursery rhyming “Effervescing Elephant” rank among his peppiest and best-loved tunes. Elsewhere, the tone is darker and more meandering. It was regarded as something of a charming but unfocused throwaway at the time of its release, but Barrett’s singularly whimsical and unsettling vision holds up well.” Score: 4.5/5.
Turn Up The Volume: Probably still with his head in the clouds, Barrett showed again his songwriting skills and recorded them with two Pink Floyd’s. A mix of folk, pop, and psych-rock twists. Too bad it was already over after this second and final studio LP. Wish the crazy diamond had produced some more magic. R.I.P.
(#1 – #12)
SYD BARRETT: Bio
13 November 2020
20 years ago – 11 November 2000 – that sympathetic fellow Brian Hugh Warner better know as the smooth crooner MARILYN MANSON released his fourth longplayer called HOLY WOOD (IN THE SHADOW OF THE VALLEY OF DEATH) filled with sweet hymns and lovely gospels. Ideal for this Friday The 13th, right?
Here comes the cute anti-christ…
MARILYN MANSON: Facebook
12 November 2020
Artist: Patti Smith
Album: Horses – debut LP
Released: 11 November 1975 – 45 years ago
Rolling Stone wrote: “From its first defiant line, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine,” the opening shot in a bold reinvention of Van Morrison’s Sixties garage-rock classic “Gloria,” Patti Smith’s debut album was a declaration of committed mutiny, a statement of faith in the transfigurative powers of rock & roll. Horses made her the queen of punk before it even really existed, but Smith cared more for the poetry in rock. She sought the visions and passions that connected Keith Richards and Rimbaud – and found them, with the intuitive assistance of a killing band (pianist Richard Sohl, guitarist Lenny Kaye, bassist Ivan Kral and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty) and her friend Robert Mapplethorpe, who shot the stark, beautiful cover portrait.”
Patti Smith: “I had a handful of records, but when I was 11 years old,
I liked Puccini as much as Little Richard. They both made sense to me.”
Turn Up The Volume: “The jaw-dropping start of a brilliant career. Hail hail Patti!
Can’t resist playing this…
PATTI SMITH: All Albums
10 November 2020
Artist: NEIL YOUNG + CRAZY HORSE
Released: 10 November 1975 – 45 years ago today
All Music/William Ruhlmann: “Having apparently exorcised his demons by releasing
the cathartic Tonight’s the Night, Neil Young returned to his commercial strengths with
Zuma (named after Zuma Beach in Los Angeles, where he now owned a house)… Young
had abandoned the ragged, first-take approach of his previous three albums, but Crazy Horse
would never be a polished act, and the music had a lively sound well-suited to the songs, which were some of the most melodic, pop-oriented tunes Young had crafted in years, though they were played with an electric-guitar-drenched rock intensity.” Full review here. Score: 4.5/5.
Neil Young: “I totally have no other talent and
I would be totally out of work if I did anything else.”
Turn Up The Volume: Rockin’ in the free world all the way.
Key track: Cortez The Killer…
NEIL YOUNG: All Albums
9 November 2020
Band: DEREK & THE DOMINOS
Who: English/American blues-rock supergroup with
Eric ‘God’ Clapton as the main star.
Active: Only one year, 1970-1971
Album: LAYLA AND OTHER ASSORTED LOVE SONGS
Their one and only studio LP
Released: 9 November 1970 – 50 years ago today
I guess so many more people know the brilliant single LAYLA but never heard the album it was on it. It’s the passion-filled love song Clapton wrote for Patti Boyd, the wife of his close friend George Harrison, the woman he was secretly in love with. In 1979, they married (Clapton and Harrison stayed friends) but split up in 1987.
You’ve got me on my knees, Layla
I’m begging, darling please, Layla
Darling won’t you ease my worried mind