“The raw, reductive simplicity of the Velvet Underground is one of the foundation blocks of everything that has mattered since 1965, musically or otherwise. But their story is not remotely complete without a chapter or seven devoted to their more avant concerns, which Murder Mystery illustrates rather nicely, coming across like premeditated murder of all conventions, expectations, intentions. John Cale was gone by 1969, but you can’t help but feel that when he heard it, he thought, man, I wish I’d had a piece of that. Deadly and mysterious and not entirely unmusical.” (Philip Random)
In which the Velvet Underground remind us that in NYC, the so-called Summer of Love was more about coolness and shadows and shiny boots of leather than the hippie sh** that was so popular elsewhere. Music so driven, angular, dark that it made you want to grab a whip and get to cracking it in time. Based on a rather pivotal 1870 novella of the same name that explores themes of sadomasochism and dominance, it hits like a wrong door, the kind you open without really thinking about it, but once you have, whatever’s going on in there – it has you, it won’t let you go. Which perhaps begins to explain how it ended up being used to sell tires.
In which David Bowie, on the cusp of mega icon-dom himself, gives credit where it’s due, though apparently Andy Warhol didn’t much care for the song himself. Neither did Philip Random’s musician friend Tim, who took issue with the lyrics. “Trying a bit too hard, don’t you think? But man, that guitar riff’s a killer!”
This continues to be Randophonic’s main focus, our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era (presented in countdown form) – 661 records from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part sixteen of the journey went as follows:
Kraftwerk – radioactivity
Queen – ’39
David Bowie – Andy Warhol
Barclay James Harvest- in my life
King Crimson -the night watch
King Crimson – Lizard [parts a+b]
Van Morrison – Snow in San Anselmo
Genesis – unquiet slumbers for the sleepers
Genesis – in that quiet earth
Genesis – Afterglow
Van der Graaf Generator – undercover man
Van der Graaf Generator – scorched earth
Hawkwind – you shouldn’t do that [live etc]
Hawkwind – you know you’re only dreaming
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