Category Archives: U2

Pre-inaugural Music

There was this concert last Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial. The program was on HBO, but it was to made free to anyone with basic cable. From what I’ve read, a number of cable companies didn’t get the word to unscramble HBO, though that was the intent. I know my cable was asking for a PIN number (yes, I know “PIN number” is redundant); Time Warner told me it is the “universal default” number, 0000, and it was.

In any case, the We Are One concert is on the HBO website for free. It runs just under two hours, and starts with Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation, which was reportedly excised from the broadcast; Robinson is openly gay. From time to time, I had a buffering problem, so I decided to see if I could find at least the pop music performances on YouTube, and I did. The ones from, I think, Groban/Headley on are from one person and are pretty good quality. The earlier videos are of various folks and quality; at least one jittery video was obviously taken by someone actually at the show, not dependent on a TV feed.

Master Sergeant Caleb B. Green III The Star-Spangled Banner

Denzel Washington Homage to the leaders given Monuments or Memorials

Bruce Springsteen “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen. The choir is very effective.
LINK

Laura Linney and Martin Luther King III: F.D.R and John F. Kennedy

Mary J. Blige “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
LINK

Jamie Foxx and Steve Carell Referencing Thomas Jefferson, Thurgood Marshall and Robert Kennedy – Foxx imitates Obama.

Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke – LaVette blows away Bon Jovi
LINK

Tom Hanks Tribute to Abraham Lincoln

Marisa Tomei Quoting Ronald Reagan

James Taylor, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles “Shower the People” by James Taylor. I’m old, because I liked it.
LINK

Joe Biden Speech

John Mellencamp “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp
LINK

Queen Latifah Referencing Marian Anderson

Josh Groban and Heather Headley “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”
LINK

Kal Pen and George Lopez Quotes Dwight Eisenhower and Barbara Jordan

Herbie Hancock, will.i.am and Sheryl Crow “One Love” by Bob Marley
LINK

Tiger Woods Dedicating the Armed Forces

Renee Fleming “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
LINK

Jack Black and Rosario Dawson Tribute to Theodore Roosevelt

Garth Brooks “American Pie” by Don McLean/”Shout” (Isley Brothers)/”We Shall Be Free” (Garth Brooks). The new Commander-in-Chief knows at least some of the lyrics to American Pie.
LINK

Ashley Judd and Forest Whitaker Referencing John F. Kennedy and William Faulkner

Usher, Stevie Wonder and Shakira “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder. A number of people suggested that Shakira was the worst performer of the day. One YouTube person wondered who that guy was playing keyboards was – it was Stevie.
LINK

Samuel L. Jackson Referencing Abraham
Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

U2 “Pride (in the Name of Love)” and “City of Blinding Lights” by U2. Pride, especially in that setting, was particularly moving. City, I read recently, is reportedly on Obama’s iPod.
LINK

Barack Obama Speech: Voices Calling for Change

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen “This Land is your Land” by Woody Guthrie. Pete’s voice is shot (though his grandson Tao’s is strong), but it was very moving to hear those verses one doesn’t usually hear:

“In the squares of the city – By the shadow of the steeple
By the relief office – I saw my people
As they stood there hungry, I stood there wonderin
If this land’s still made for you and me.”

“There was a big high wall there – that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted – it said private property;
But on the other side – it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.”

“Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking – that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.”
LINK

Beyonce “America the Beautiful”. A suitable ending.
LINK

ROG

Songs That Move Me, 10-2

10. Neil Young – Harvest Moon
A beautiful song, with specific recollections of a romance that burned brightly, then ended.
Feeling: autumnal.

9. Crying- Roy Orbison And k.d lang.
As good as Roy’s original is, this one is better. It’s the harmonica. And when lang gets to sing, by herself, the chorus, it is stunning.
Feeling: there’s something in my eye.

8. Biko – Peter Gabriel.
The story of the slain South African is penetrating, but the vocals, the rhythm, and that ending!
Feeling: ticked off.

7. John Hiatt – Have a Little Faith in Me
How does this rate so high? It’s just a guy on the piano. Well, it’s the quality of both. Hiatt remade this song with more orchestration for a greatest hits album; it was not improved, and in fact was somehow diminished. Not so incidentally, a key song on a mixed tape I made for my now-wife.

6. When Love Comes To Town – U2/B.B. King.
From the opening drumming to King’s guitar lines, to King’s and Bono’s vocals, I almost always platy this song twice.
Feeling: struggling with the power.

chops off 1st notes and then too soon.

5. Billy Joel-Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)
As beautiful as it is, the piano on the bridge just lifts it higher. I heard an a cappella version of this, which was lovely.
Feeling: melancholy.
HERE.

4. Roberta Flack – Gone Away.
I was watching the Grammys in the last couple years and discovered someone has sampled this. This song, part of the group of songs I used to play when love went south, really builds after the 1:30 mark, with instruments (a painful guitar line, and is that a tuba?) plus mournful vocals that feature the late Donny Hathaway.
Feeling: brokenhearted.

3. I Only Have Eyes For You – the Flamingoes.
I hear those first three or four chords and I am always surprised how it leads to such a lush tune. My first favorite song, probably for 30 years.
Feeling: loving.

2. Let’s Go Crazy – Prince.
Unfortunate that the video overlays the preach part with the musical beginning, for it’s both elements that I love. The danceability, plus my favorite guitar solo possibly ever. I have a 7-minute version that’s even more fun.
Feeling: let’s get nuts!

So, here are
the rules.
100-91.
90-81.
80-71.
70-61.
60-51.
50-41.
40-31.
30-21.
20-11.

Anyone want to venture a guess as to #1?

(Confidential to T&C, who started before I did, but somehow will finish after: it’s from my top 10 with which one or more of your Top 40 will converge, I’m guessing.)
ROG

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 2

Here’s the second part of that rambling roster of songs that I end up playing more than once at a time. This list is hardly exhaustive, as I probably played some singles to death in my youth. Or later (Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick comes to mind in the “later” category.) Also, I should note that there are some albums I almost never parsed, because they are of a piece: What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye immediately comes to mind. Also, I’ve been picking one per artist, though this doesn’t prevent me from picking a group and a solo artist from that group.

Drinkin’ Wine Spodee-O-Dee-Stick McGhee. Atlantic Rhythm and Blues: 1947-1974 was a seven double-LP set. This song is from 1949. (Incidentally, the box set is now eight CDs.)

White Lines (Don’t Do It)-Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash. I still have that 12″ from 1983. Love the vocal, love the horns.

Words-the Monkees. When I got a greatest hits album from someone, I had forgotten about this tune with an insistent rhythm.

Cars-Gary Numan. One of the last 45s I ever bought. It’s that wowowowowowo synth before the drum.

For the Love of Money-the O’Jays. Long before Donald Trump co-opted it, I loved this tune. On greatest hits CD.

Love in Them There Hills-the Pointer Sisters. The last song on the eclectic That’s A-Plenty LP, it’s Philly soul. Used to listen to it in the dark.

Do What You Want To-Billy Preston. Starts off a bit slowly but builds up speed. From the That’s the Way God Planned It LP, produced by George Harrison, first song on the album. This does exist digitally, but, unfortunately, not in my collection.

Let’s Go Crazy-Prince. Sometimes, it’s the first song on the Purple Rain LP, other times it’s the seven-minute EP, but from the preaching in the beginning to the guitar solo near the end, one of my favorite songs ever.

A Salty Dog-Procol Harum. The vocal, the sparse instrumentation in the beginning, the drums. From a greatest hits LP.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love-Queen. Rockabilly Queen? From the greatest hits LP.

It’s the End of the World As We Know It-R.E.M. And I feel fine. From the Document CD.

Kicks-Paul Revere & the Raiders. The first anti-drug song. From a greatest hits LP.

I Am Waiting-the Rolling Stones. From the Aftermath LP, near the end. Beautiful chorus, rocking bridge. I like how they change up the vocal near the end.

Anyone Who Had A Heart-Linda Ronstadt. Written by Bacharach and David, and originally done by Dionne Warwick, I think it’s just quite beautiful. From the Winter Light CD.

Jerks on the Loose-the Roches. The last song on the Robert Fripp-produced Keep On Doing LP, it contains a message I repeat when a car tries to beat an ambulance through an intersection, or I witness some other foolishness: “Be on your guard; jerks on the loose.”

At the Zoo-Simon & Garfunkel. The last song on Bookends, another song that I know all the lyrics to. I have a friend in Austin, TX named Carol, who I’ve know most of my life, as we met in kindergarten. I specifically recall that in high school, she HATED this song. Also, Strawberry Fields Forever. (The things the mind recalls.)

Boy In the Bubble-Paul Simon. The first song on the Graceland album. There is also a six-minute version of this that starts with nothing but percussion that I’ve heard, but have never seen in digitized form that I covet.

Rubberband Man-Spinners. OK, a silly song, and even sillier at seven minutes, which I have on some LP, but I like it anyway.

I’ve Got a Line On You-Spirit. Rockin’, doubled guitar, first song on some LP.

East St. Louis Toodle-O-Steely Dan. From some LP, it’s Duke Ellington. As some comics guy put it, ’nuff said.

The Ostrich-Steppenwolf. Talked about this here.

Hot Fun In the Summertime-Sly & the Family Stone. With all the uptempo songs Sly did, it’s this stroll that I kept coming back to. From the Greatest Hits LP.

The Logical Song-Supertramp-Starts with a good bottom, then has great lyrics: “radical, liberal, fanatical, criminal”. The sax puts it over the top. Second song on the LP. The song that actually inspired the posts.

Love Is Like An Itchin’ in My Heart-the Supremes. Like many Motown tunes, lives on the bottom. A greatest hits CD I own has an extra 20 glorious seconds.

Take Me To the River-Talking Heads. I can’t sing like my cousin, Al Green. But if I ever did karaoke, and I never plan to, it would likely be this version I’d try to emulate.

Shower the People-James Taylor. It was the bass vocal harmonization in the latter stages of the song I liked to sing along with. First on some Warner Brothers Loss Leaders LP.

I Can’t Get Next to You-the Temptations. Producer Barrett Strong swiped this multi-lead vocal model from Sly Stone (so did Prince, on 1999, e.g.), and it’s never better than on this.

It’s For You-Three Dog Night. This cover of a song Lennon & McCartney gave away (to Cilla Black, I think). It starts a cappella, then has an instrumental bridge, then back to vocals only. When the instruments return, one can tell that the vocals are ever so slightly flat. I kept playing it, hoping somehow that I could will the pitch up. From their first, and best, LP.

Wilbury Twist-Traveling Wilburys. I’ve almost hurt myself following the detailed instructions. The shared vocals give it a particularly goofy flavor.

When Love Comes To Town-U2. I’ve hit the replay button so often, I can tell it’s the 12th track on Rattle and Hum AND on the best of album, 1980-1990. Start with that insistent drum start, B.B. King’s guitar playing. And while Bono’s vocals are fine, it’s B.B.’s that nail this song for me.

As-Stevie Wonder. The penultimate tune on Songs In the Key of Life, I was particularly taken by the totally different vocal on the “preach” section: “We all know sometimes life’s hates and troubles…”

When You Dance, I Can Really Love-Neil Young. Unofficially, a theme song for a college romance. From the After the Gold Rush LP, second side somewhere.

ROG

U2 in Albany


A buddy at the Y told me Monday about some book – he didn’t mention the title – that conveyed this story: A young woman went to J.B. Scott’s in Albany, NY and saw U2. The next time, the young woman brought her mother, who decided she wanted to marry Bono. That reminded me that, in fact U2 played in Albany four times in 1981, once at the SUNY Albanyfest on May 7, twice during the “Boy” tour (March 5, May 23) at J.B. Scott’s, and the opening of the North American part of the “October” tour, also at J.B. Scott’s, on November 13. Here’s the set list for the latter show:

Gloria, Another Time, Another Place, I Threw A Brick Through A Window, An Cat Dubh, Into The Heart, Rejoice, The Cry, The Electric Co. / Send In The Clowns (snippet), I Fall Down, October, Stories For Boys, I Will Follow, Twilight, Out Of Control
encores: Fire, 11 O’Clock Tick Tock, The Ocean

The link here pretty well describes J.B. Scott’s as a dingy place, but with great acts.

So this begs the question: Why didn’t I see U2 when they were at J.B. Scott’s? I used to go to that venue. I liked the band, based on what I heard on the Q-104 radio station. I was single and unencumbered. Ah well.
***
I watched the American Idol’s Idol Gives Back this weekend; yes, it aired a couple weeks ago. I hadn’t seen Idol all season, so I had managed to miss the Sanjaya sensation, though he was in the audience. In any case, I wanted to see Bono, who shows up in the last five minutes of the two-hour results show. I was reminded why I avoid watching the results show – they drag out who’s going home, and then decide to send no one home, after putting the contestants, especially the last ones declared “safe”, through the emotional wringer.
***
Oh, yeah, Bono’s 47th birtday is today.

ROG