In which The Rolling Stones, at the absolute peak of their late 1960s form, wax artful, poetic, Dylanesque even as to the nature of life, the universe, everything – and conclude it’s all just a jigsaw puzzle more or less. But not before twenty-thousand grandmas are seen waving hankies, burning pension checks, shouting it’s not fair.
The truly astonishing thing is just how many albums Crosby Stills Nash (and sometimes Young) released between 1969 and the end of the 1970s. And bland and self-indulgent and cocaine beleaguered and ultimately forgettable as way too many of them were (particularly when Neil Young was nowhere to be seen), there was usually at least one nugget where the harmonies would hook up, the melody would soar, you couldn’t help but smile. In the case of 1972’s imaginatively titled Graham Nash and David Crosby, that would’ve been Frozen Smiles.
“I was just starting to take Bob Marley seriously when he died in 1981. So a comparatively obscure album cut like Babylon System didn’t find me until the 1990s sometime. Which was as good a time as any for an outside opinion on the evils inherent in the vampiric empire I was inextricably part of, by the very nature of where and when I was born, not to mention the pale shade of my skin. Sucking the blood of the children and the sufferers day by day.” (Philip Random)
“Premonition was the first Simple Minds track I ever heard, and it came via mixtape – the follow up to an argument I’d had with a friend about so-called New Wave music. Simplistic and annoying (my opinion) versus the cool sound of the future (his opinion). I was wrong. The proof was on that tape, Premonition sealing the deal with its big, dark groove. So much so that I was quick to grab the album, embrace the future, even if Simple Minds themselves would eventually come to truly, unironically earn their name, but that took at least five or six albums, so who’s really complaining?” (Philip Random)
Proof that Led Zeppelin weren’t afraid to get a little funky, or take the piss, The Crunge being a song of search – a song in search of its bridge, which it never finds, it just keeps crunging crunchily along.
“I was a too mature for AC/DC when they first started getting properly noticed over here in the Americas, my late teenage tastes leading me toward more sophisticated stuff like Styx and Kansas. Never trust anyone under twenty. Fact is, it took me ten years before I was mature enough for AC/DC’s no bullshit powerage. But it had to be the old stuff with Bon Scott, long dead but immortal, howling up from hell or wherever. Sheer Riff Raff all the way.” (Philip Random)
“It was 1974 sometime, so I would’ve been fourteen or fifteen, a weekday night. I’m in my room doing homework or whatever, and suddenly there’s this song on the radio I can’t ignore. Sort of Bob Dylan, sort of Van Morrison, sort of the Band. But it’s its own thing. The singer feels younger, more hopeful, even if he is telling a sort of tragic tale, and he’s definitely telling a tale – love and violence, despair and romance. And then the DJ says the guy’s name but it’s kind of weird, and I promptly forget it. Which is no big deal, it’s a great song, I’ll hear it again soon enough. Except I didn’t. Because FM radio was turning to shit in those days, getting taken over not by music loving DJs, but coldhearted consultants who knew neither love nor grace. So it took maybe three years (and the breakthrough of Born to Run) before I finally discovered I’d been listening to a song called Incident on 57th Street, from Bruce Springsteen’s second album, The Wild the Innocent + the E Street Shuffle. Things just moved slower in those days.” (Philip Random)
“54-40 have given us a lot of good albums over the years, but the only one I’d truly call great was their second, the one called simply 54-40. A mostly straight up rock record that was (a rarity for the 1980s) not a pile of dumb clichés, but rather a collection of smart, solid songs with Alcohol Heart a particular stand out because it never got overplayed (even on campus and community radio) and yes, as a matter of fact, it tells the truth. Drink enough (but not too much) and close your eyes, and you really can feel the whole damned world.” (Philip Random)
The Solid Time of Change is our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part Thirty-Five of the journey went as follows:
Emerson Lake + Palmer – from the beginning
Isaac Hayes – Theme from Shaft
Deodato – Also Sprach Zarathustra
Beatles – across the universe
Rolling Stones – 2000 light years from home
Queen – ogre battle
Queen – the fairy feller’s master-stroke
Queen – nevermore
Jesus Christ Superstar London Cast – Overture
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – father of night father of day
Frank Zappa – Big Swifty
Steve Hackett – spectral mornings
Steve Hackett – land of a thousand autumns
Steve Hackett – please don’t touch
Steve Hackett – the voice of Necam
Steve Hackett – Icarus Ascending
Fresh episodes air pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.