Posts Tagged ‘Alice Cooper’

For you youngsters out there, a deep cut refers to a song that was buried deeply on an album, probably somewhere toward the end of side two. The song probably wasn’t expected to be a hit, hence the song placement. Wait. Does anyone under 40-years old even know what an album is? Does LP ring a bell? Nothing? Sigh. Let us continue . . .

We all have personal favorites of a particular artist or band, songs that may have never been a hit or played on the radio. Songs that weren’t critically acclaimed but just struck a chord with you. Struck a chord, get it? Musical reference. That, my friends, is writing. Wannabe scribes take note. Anyway, it’s something that can’t be explained, that chord, that something that can bring tears to your eyes or make you want to listen to the song over and over. Sometimes the song can be something you’re afraid to admit you like.

Full disclosure: “If Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson comes on the radio, I always sing along. Killer pipes, lemme tell ya. Now THERE’S a guilty pleasure. Guilty Pleasures . . . there’s a blog idea.

Anyway, here we go. These are songs that aren’t guilty pleasures, but rather tunes that I’ve always loved but have never been recognized as their artists’ best work.

Enjoy . . .

Guilty – Alice Cooper

Sure, Alice is better known for songs like School’s Out or Eighteen, but my favorite has always been Guilty. It has a great guitar riff to open, then Alice growls out these lines:

Just tried to have fun,

Raised Hell and then some,

I’m a dirt talking , beer drinking, woman chasing minister’s son.

When I was an AD I used to include this song in my pre-game song mix. I still don’t know how I got away with it. Highly recommended. Give it a listen here. You’re welcome.

Acadian Driftwood – The Band

The Band has a ton of good songs, including The Weight and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, but I love Acadian Driftwood, in particular the live version on The Last Waltz. Originally recorded in 1975, it describes the forcible displacement of the Acadian people after the war between the French and the English over what is now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and part of Maine. Robbie Robertson’s lyrics were influenced by Longfellow’s poem Evangeline, which describes the deportation of the Acadians. Just a beautiful, haunting, intelligently written song. Here’s a link.

‘Til I Die –  The Beach Boys

Quite simply one of the most beautiful, sad, and heart wrenching songs ever recorded. I feel it’s one of the rock eras most underappreciated songs. It’s all about Brian Wilson and his slow descent into mental illness. How can you not be touched by these lyrics?

I’m a cork on the ocean

Floating over the raging sea

How deep is the ocean? How deep is the ocean?

I lost my way.

I’m a rock in a landslide

Rolling over the mountainside

How deep is the valley? How deep is the valley?

It kills my soul.

I’m a leaf on a windy day

Pretty soon I’ll be blown away

How long will the wind blow? How long will the wind blow?

These things I’ll be until I die.

Talk about a cry for help. In 45-years I have never grown tired of this song, and I’m always touched by the lyrics. Here’s the original mix. Be sure and listen all the way through.

Lay Down Burden – Brian Wilson

Another Brian Wilson tune, this is a song from his great Imagination comeback album in 1999. It’s another sad one about the death of his brother Carl, and again he lets us in on his innermost feelings:

So many years spent running away H

ow many times I wished I could stay

Too much emotion a hole in my heart

Feeling alone since we’ve been apart

And if I had the chance I’d never let you go

Just want you to know.

Lay, lay me down, lay me down

Lay down burden.

Gorgeous melody and classic Wilson harmonies as well. Sigh. Here ’tis.

One Step Up – Bruce Springsteen

Like a lot of you I’m a big Springsteen guy. If you ever see him live you’ll never forget it. Born to Run, Jungleland, Thunder Road, he has so many great songs. Still, One Step Up hits me the hardest:

Bird on a wire outside my motel room

But he ain’t singin’.

Girl in white outside a church in June

But the church bells they ain’t ringing.

I’m sittin’ here in this bar tonight But all I’m thinkin’ is . . . I’m the same old story, same old act

One step up and two steps back.

Who can’t relate to that? Here’s the video.

Ol’ 55 – The Eagles

I know this may seem like an odd choice, what with all the classic Eagles songs out there. But, if I had one Eagles song to listen to on a deserted island, this Tom Waits written release from 1973 would be my pick. It was on The Eagles 1974 album entitled On the Border, and although it isn’t an original Eagles song I still think it’s one of their best. It also happens to be the song that first introduced me to The Eagles. Check out this clip.

Junior’s Farm – Paul McCartney & Wings

This song is NEVER mentioned among Sir Paul’s greatest, but in my opinion it ranks right up there with Band On the Run, Live and Let Die, and Maybe I’m Amazed. It’s a rocker and features a searing guitar solo by Jimmy McCullough. Recorded on a farm in none other than Nashville, TN, I dare you to listen to this song without tapping your foot.

Nothingman – Pearl Jam

From 1994’s Vitology, Nothingman is one of Eddie Vedder’s best songs. Here’s his take on the lyrics. “The idea is about if you love someone and they love you, don’t fuck up…’cause you are left with less than nothing.”

Amen to that brother. Of all Pearl Jam’s tunes, this is my favorite. Close second? Alive.

Paranoid Eyes – Pink Floyd

Big Pink Floyd fan here, and I think the album this song came from, The Final Cut, is one of their most underappreciated and underrated albums ever. It was Floyd’s last album before Roger Waters vamoosed, and it’s basically all Waters all the time, which is fine by me. Check out these lyrics:

Button your lip don’t let the shield slip

Take a fresh grip on your bullet proof mask

And if they try to break down your disguise with their questions

You can hide hide hide

Behind paranoid eyes. 

You put on your brave face and slip over the road for a jar

Fixing your grin as you casually lean on the bar

Laughing too loud at the rest of the world

With the boys in the crowd

You hide hide hide

Behind petrified eyes. 

You believed in their stories of fame fortune and glory

Now you’re lost in a haze of alchohol soft middle age

The pie in the sky turned out to be miles too high

And you hide hide hide Behind brown and mild eyes.

True dat, no? Trust me, when you’re 50 you’ll get it. Here ye be.

So there ya go. I’m sure y’all have some deep cuts. Let’s hear ’em.

Originally published on April 13th, 2012.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll has received a bad rap where drugs and alcohol are concerned, and for pretty good reasons really. Lord knows how music has been altered by musicians suffering from addictions to God-knows-what. Frankie Lymon, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, the list is endless. That said, there have been many artists who have written about the negative results of drugs, and I’ve chosen my 5-favorite anti-drug songs below. Feel free to remind me of the songs I’ve missed in the comments section and I shall ignore them accordingly.

5. Medicine Jar – Paul McCartney & Wings

Sung by Jimmy McCulloch, it’s pretty ironic because he died of a heroin overdose 4-years later. Didn’t heed his own advice it seems.

What’s wrong with you? I wish I knew,
You say time will tell, I hope that’s true.
There’s more to life than blues and reds,
I say, I know how you feel, now your friends are dead.
Dead on your feet, you won’t get far
If you keep on sticking your hand in the medicine jar.

4. The Pusher – Steppenwolf

This is the first anti-drug song I ever recall hearing. Great vocals by the great John Kay.

You know I’ve smoked a lot of grass
O’ Lord, I’ve popped a lot of pills
But I never touched nothin’
That my spirit could kill
You know, I’ve seen a lot of people walkin’ ’round
With tombstones in their eyes
But the pusher don’t care
Ah, if you live or if you die.

3. Hey Stoopid – Alice Cooper

As always, Alice takes a more direct approach.

Hey bro, take it slow
You ain’t livin’ in a video
You’re flying low with a high velocity
No doubt, you’re stressin’ out
That ain’t what rock n’ roll’s about
Get off that one way trip down lonely street.

Now I know you’ve been kicked around
You ain’t alone in this ugly town
You stick a needle in your arm
You bite the dust, you buy the farm.

2. That Smell – Lynyrd Skynyrd

One of my favorite Skynyrd songs, without a doubt. There’s a great version of this song performed by 3 Doors Down that I highly recommend.

Angel of darkness is upon you
Stuck a needle in your arm
So take another toke, have a blow for your nose
One more drink fool, will drown you
Ooooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell
Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you.

1. Needle and the Damage Done – Neil Young

In my opinion one of the greatest songs ever written. Hauntingly beautiful.

I caught you knockin’
At my cellar door
I love you, baby,
Can I have some more
Ooh, ooh, the damage done.

I hit the city and
I lost my band
I watched the needle
Take another man
Gone, gone, the damage done.

I sing the song
Because I love the man
I know that some
Of you don’t understand
Milk-blood
To keep from running out.

I’ve seen the needle
And the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie’s
Like a setting sun . . .

So what have I missed? Let me know!