“Bohemian Rhapsody” is the sum of its many parts

Friday, 27 July, 2012

Brian May, lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, outlines the making of the group’s 1975 classic hit “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I have to say though Queen is still an outfit I can’t quite make up mind about, so saying I love to hate them probably sums it up best.

Seems I’m not the only one though. If I remember rightly, a poll carried out by a radio station in the English Midlands, sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, of pop/rock songs their listeners both loved and hated, saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” voted the most loved. The very same poll also saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” voted the most hated.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,

We used to be a little bit rock now we’re a lot more pop

Tuesday, 26 July, 2011

Over the last twenty years pop music has become the preferred genre for drawing attention to social issues, gradually usurping rock in the process.

Pop, however, remains stubbornly public and resistant to impressionistic thought-spilling – right now, it feels like the music that’s most explicitly committed to real-world social matters. Hit club tracks are built for dancing and courtship; R&B and country singles catalogue, in precise and unflinching detail, every last swoon, sob, and smashed-up car window that results from people, narcissists or not, getting involved. Scan down the Hot 100, and the songs talk with increasing frankness about ego, beauty, money, cheating, posturing, partying, and every other element of solid gossip.

Read more posts on related topics

, , ,

What happens when you combine Metallica with Lou Reed?

Friday, 24 June, 2011

Rock musician Lou Reed has been recording with heavy metal band Metallica in recent months… this promises to be a compelling collaboration.

Some of you astute Bay Area residents may have picked up news of recent Lou Reed sightings in the greater San Francisco area and we have indeed been working at our home studio at HQ on and off over the last few months. In what would be lightning speed for a Metallica related project, we recorded ten songs during this time and while at this moment we’re not exactly sure when you’ll hear it, we’re beyond excited to share with you that the recording sessions wrapped up last week.

Read more posts on related topics

, , , ,

Is a Stone Roses reunion as likely as a third Stone Roses album?

Wednesday, 13 April, 2011

With talk (and little else so far) yet again of British rock band Stone Roses reuniting, I guess that means there will be talk of a third album. Wouldn’t that be something? In the meantime let’s bask briefly in past glories with their 1994 track “Love Spreads”.

Read more posts on related topics

, , ,

Rock music may owe it origins to fuzzy, distorted, guitars

Thursday, 10 March, 2011

It seems unthinkable that rock music may never have eventuated had it have not been for the accidental creation of guitar distortion:

To make a rather sweeping statement, the existence of rock ‘n’ roll rests pretty heavily on distortion. Music historians talk up the genre’s origins as a blend of musical traditions, its challenge to cultural mores, etc. But, really, without at least a bit of crunch, rock wouldn’t have a lot going for it. There’s some satisfaction in this; rarely is the crux of an art form so precisely identified.

Read more posts on related topics

, , , ,

Radiohead, still breaking new ground musically after 18 years

Friday, 25 February, 2011

Are Radiohead greater than the Beatles? Since the release of “Pablo Honey” in 1993 the band has not only managed to stay together, but they have also produced innovative, fresh, music – across eight studio albums – during that period.

And from at least The Bends to the present, they’ve commanded the attention of the musical press and the rock audience as one of the top ten – or higher – bands at any given moment. You might have loved Radiohead, you might have been bored by them, you might have wished they’d gone back to an earlier style you liked better, but you always had to pay attention to them, and know where you stood. For 18 years. That’s an astonishing achievement.

Read more posts on related topics

, , ,

Winding your way down Baker Street passed punk & saxophones

Tuesday, 11 January, 2011

Punk dressed as pop/rock, that’s how Guardian music writer Paul Lester sees “Baker Street”, the 1978 classic written by Scottish musician Gerry Rafferty, who died last week.

And basing a song on a saxophone solo in early 1978 was a none-more-punk gesture. As were the decisions to use that sax solo as the “chorus”, and to open the song with it. It is, of course, one of the most recognisable instrumental solos in pop: Slash of Guns N’ Roses is alleged to have used it as the basis for his guitar solo on Sweet Child o’ Mine, and in 2008 Rolling Stone magazine – perhaps swayed by the phrase “rolling stone” in the lyrics – voted it in their list of top 100 guitar songs.

On the subject of punk leaning towards grunge, leaning towards indie rock, I’ve always seen the Foo Fighters 1998 “Baker Street” cover, sans saxophone, as a director’s cut of sorts.

I might as well say I now have both versions, Rafferty’s, and the Foo Fighters’, on iTunes.

Read more posts on related topics

, , , , , , , ,

Sex, drugs, and uniformed dwarves, this is Keith Richards’ life

Monday, 25 October, 2010

Highlights from the about to be published autobiography of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, Life, make for quite a read:

On the night of the infamous 1967 Redlands drug bust, Keef was so far gone on LSD that when the police arrived at his Sussex country mansion, he mistook them for uniformed dwarves, welcoming them in with open arms.

Read more posts on related topics

, , , , ,

Is a rock band that doesn’t trash hotel rooms really a rock band?

Monday, 7 June, 2010

The times they have long since a changed… the days of rock stars destroying their hotel rooms, shooting the TV, and all, has become a thing of the past, with most bands more likely to now regard the hotels they stay at as more of a home away from home.

The era of stars treating hotels as a combination of drug den, brothel and racecourse (Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham once rode a motorbike down the corridor of Los Angeles’s notorious Continental Hyatt House – one of the more printable Zep hotel stories) has been superseded by a much more businesslike attitude. These days, Saffer says, what your typical act wants is blackout curtains so they can sleep during the day, a late check-out (ditto) and somewhere safe to park the tour bus. They also appreciate little extras like a spa – Dizzee Rascal has used the K West’s sauna.

Read more posts on related topics

, , , , ,

Wasted talent, if the Beatles had never formed that is

Monday, 30 November, 2009

What occupations might the Fab Four have taken had they have never formed the Beatles?

Meanwhile, Lord Lennon remains one of the most recognisable figures in British public life, although it is seven years now since he stepped down as an unusually sanctimonious Archbishop of Canterbury (catchphrase: “Nobody is more popular than Jesus”). And Paul McCartney – oh dear. With his affable manner and easy charm, he was always one of the easiest Tory MPs to like, but the expenses scandal – a second home on the Mull of Kintyre! – really did him in. Perhaps he should have joined a band after all.

Read more posts on related topics

, ,