489. snow in San Anselmo

“The first time I ever heard Snow in San Anselmo, it was my first night in a new apartment, all my stuff still in boxes and whatever. Though I did have my cassette player unpacked. And there on the windowsill, like it had been left specifically for me, was a  homemade Van Morrison tape, care of the previous tenant whoever he was. Moondance on one side, Hard Nose the Highway on the other, with the Hard Nose side cued up. So when I put it on, a little too wired to sleep, too tired to do anything else except just listen, the first song that came up was Snow in San Anselmo, like an offering out of all the chaos of my life, the universe, everything. Like it was meant to be. Thanks, whoever. Eternal thanks.” (Philip Random)

VanMorrison-1973-live

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490. let me roll it

“Found on Wings’ 1973 album, Band on the Run, Let Me Roll It has been tagged by some as a Paul McCartney attack on John Lennon, part of an ongoing musical feud that stretched back to before the Beatles even split. But to my ears, it sounds more like an homage, raw and to the point (whatever the point is), and maybe the best track from the best thing he ever did post The Beatles.” (Philip Random)

PaulMcCartney-1974-cowboy

491. lost weekend

“As I remember hearing it, Wall of Voodoo started out wanting to make movie soundtrack music, but somewhere along the line, they just started making their own movies, in the form of songs. Case in point: Lost Weekend. It may be only four of so minutes long on record, but it’s feature length where it matters, in my soul and imagination. Smoke a little dope, pour yourself some bourbon and you can see the whole thing play out. Wasted and true.” (1982)

WallofVoodoo-1982-promo

492. heroine

This gem came out just before Joshua Tree, U2’s The Edge doing some soundtrack work, bringing in an unknown named Sinead O’Connor to sing a lead vocal so strong it inspires thoughts of an alternate pop-history, where U2 never goes supernova. Instead, they break up for whatever reason, Bono runs off and joins Van Halen, and the Edge sticks with young Sinead. They end up going to the Vatican, overthrowing the Pope and ruling the world. Satan (who it turns out was David Lee Roth all along) retires and moves to Calgary. A thousand years of peace ensue, except in Alberta.

SineadOconnorEdge

493. lazy

“Memories of John Masterson, the older guy who lived next door, and definitely a wild one. He had a souped up Datsun 510 that he loved to bomb around in, so he’d give me rides places just to have an excuse to open it up, burn rubber, go FAST. And I swear he always had the same 8-Track playing, which was Deep Purple Made In Japan, and it always seemed to be the same song. Not the obvious one, Highway Star. Nah, John Masterson was hooked on Lazy, from its lazy indeed beginning onward through the riffing and rocking and erupting. The All Time Heavy, he called them, and I wasn’t going to argue, not at 90 mph down a back road near the docks.” (Philip Random)

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494. jump

“In which Aztec Camera take the much loved Van Halen hit that I always loathed and render it first palatable by straining out all the annoying rec-room gymnastics, working a smooth soft rock groove, but then, just as things would normally fade out, everything erupts, tears a hole in stratosphere, leaves all memory of the Van Halen original flopping miserably around in a pile of spilled cocaine and brown M+Ms.” (Philip Random)

AztecCamera-1985

495. everybody’s been burned

“Arguably David Crosby‘s greatest contribution to the Byrds, maybe to music in general. Because it’s absolutely true. If it hasn’t happened to you already, it will. Love will find you, fill you with its sweet, impossible light, and eventually burn you, though probably not fatally. But it will leave scars.” (Philip Random)

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496. Isis

BobDylan-1976-eyes

Isis is one of the songs that forever ensnared me in the mystique of the guy known as Bob Dylan, starting with late night radio in my teen years, floating strangely past as I slipped into my dreams, doing its bit to inform them. And like those dreams, I still couldn’t tell you what it’s about. A journey, I guess, but to who knows where? Maybe that’s the point. It’s about infinity, eternity, the stories found within stories found within stories, snakes eating their tales, a goddess called Isis … and the falling out of love. The live version from the Rolling Thunder era is pretty damned strong, but I prefer the more restrained original, found on Desire. It just seems to go further.” (Philip Random)

BobDylan-1976-hardRAIN

497. carry on till tomorrow

“The Badfinger story didn’t end well. But let’s not hang on that. Let’s focus instead on how glad I am that they existed, how superb so much of their music was. And for many, that started with Carry On Till Tomorrow (epic and sad and the definition of Beatlesque) running through the opening credits of The Magic Christian – the one where Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr join forces to prove (over and over) that everyone has their price.” (Philip Random)

Badfinger-MagicCROP