84. Doctorin’ the Tardis

“Take the Doctor Who theme, jam it up with Rock and Roll Part 2, add some big beats and incidental noise, and voila! the whole world shall move. And it did, sort of, Doctorin’ The Tardis being one of those records that hit like a monster all over the world, excepting the Americas where it never bothered to crack pop radio – the KLF being almost as committed to sabotaging themselves as they were to world domination. For instance, Doctorin’ The Tardis was originally credited to the Timelords, a moniker that got dropped after only one more release, which wasn’t even a record. It was a book called The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way). Future shenanigans would include hooking up with Tammy Wynette for another almost monster hit, and later (now operating under the banner of the K Foundation) burning a million pounds (about three million dollars at the time) in the name of art, which confused a lot of people and forever earned misters Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty mythical status in my book.  And they also (sort of) invented the notion of the extended ambient chillout mix. Call them true and justified heroes of this ongoing apocalypse and you won’t hear me arguing the point.” (Philip Random)

268. ride a white swan

“If you’re British, you’ve likely heard plenty of T-Rex in your time, maybe way too much. But over here in the Americas a track like Ride A White Swan never cracked pop radio back in the day, so it still retains the kind of freshness that turns heads, gets people nodding along, smiling, wondering, ‘Who is this?’ Like it was recorded last week, not better part of half a century ago. Still makes me smile pretty much every time I hear it, Marc Bolan’s oddly spry little ditty about skyways, sunbeams, druids and tatooed gowns. Some say it invented Glam. I ain’t arguing.” (Philip Random)

T-Rex-1970-promo

275. death disco

There’s no shortage of rage in the Johnny Rotten (aka Lydon) discography, but nowhere else does so much sorrow show itself than in Death Disco (aka Swan Lake because it cops a bit of the Tchaikovsky melody), a track recorded immediately after the death of his mother (she requested some disco for her funeral). It actually hurts to listen to it, but in a good way (not that the whole album doesn’t lean that way) — the punk is revealed as all too human, just in case there was any doubt.

PIL-1980-Bandstand

613. cat food

King Crimson were a mess come 1970. A year earlier, they were tearing up the zeitgeist with their debut album, re-framing the very definition of so-called rock music. But one North American tour later, almost everybody had bailed – for reasons of love, sanity or, in the case of singer Greg Lake, greater fame (and riches) with the outfit that would come to be known as ELP. Though he did stick around long enough to deliver a few vocals for the second King Crimson album, including the oddly cut-up attempt at pop glory Cat Food, which, of course, failed in the unit-shifting department, but only because it was (and likely still is) at least half a century ahead of its time.

KingCrimson-FrippLake

1078. mouldy old dough

“I’m not clear on who Lieutenant Pigeon was or whether he (or they?) ever even released another record. Because Mouldy Old Dough was more than enough for posterity, proving a monster hit in Britain, and yes, it’s all the evidence one requires to posit that there really was once a time (call it 1972) when lead flute and a growling vocal were all anyone needed to achieve pop glory. If the song’s actually about anything, it may be that tendency in medieval times for folks to go mad after eating bread baked from moldy dough, research into which would eventually give us LSD. This is true.” (Philip Random)