Got A Rise Out Of Me

"Song For Sonny Liston"
Mark Knopfler

Maybe you know "Boom Like That", from Knopfler’s two year old "Shangri-La".

I’m going to San Bernardino ring-a-ding-ding…

If you listen to the songmeisters, the people who can’t play who are going to midwife your hit, they’ll tell you not to PERSONALIZE the song, don’t DATE it, make it about everywhere and everyman, make it TIMELESS!  But what you end up with is the bland paeans of today’s Top Forty, that don’t STICK with us.

"Boom Like That" is the story of Ray Kroc and McDonald’s.  Funny that he’s dead.  I won’t say it’s because he ate too many of his hamburgers, but what interests me is the fact that he’s forgotten.  His chain still exists, but any fame, it’s all gone.  You can’t take it with you when you’re gone.  Leaving your mark is overrated.

Have you ever been to San Bernardino?  I’d like to tell you it makes Bakersfield look good, but they’re both shitholes.  To hear this Englishman reference this godforsaken outpost not known by  most Americans endears me to him and his music.  And "Boom Like That" is vintage Knopfler.  But nothing else on the album gripped me when I played it back when.  But driving down the avenue last week I heard this guitar and voice that could ONLY be Mark Knopfler.  Not the fastest picking, but something that felt right, like someone you’d fall in love with.  And the voice, it’s not pretty, it’s a STORYTELLING voice!  And I became intrigued, listened intently, and immediately came home and downloaded "Song For Sonny Liston", and was stunned to find out it was from "Shangri-La".  That’s the role of the deejay, to pick out the GOOD STUFF and turn us on to it.  Mike Marrone earned his pay this day.

"Last Year’s Troubles"
Suzanne Vega

I gave up on Suzanne when she started working with her ex, Mitchell Froom.  What I liked about her music  was its starkness, it’s otherworldliness that engendered intimacy.  "Marlene On The Wall" sounds like a girl singing in her bedroom, and that’s what makes it so appealing, it’s for thinking people, those who weren’t football players or cheerleaders who stayed at home and wondered why they weren’t popular and pondered whether this was important.

I won’t say "Last Year’s Troubles" is as stark as "Marlene On The Wall", but it seems to exist in a college mentality that never graduated.  Admit it, part of you still feels like you’re in school, when it was about expanding your mind, FEELING THINGS, as opposed to making money.

This stuck out on the Loft as I parked my car.  That’s how I’ll always remember it.  You always remember where you heard memorable songs first.

"Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)"
Glass Tiger

XM has these decade channels.  Where I think the only criterion is that a record CHARTED in order for it to be spun.  They’re the ANTITHESIS of terrestrial oldies stations, with the same tracks played constantly.  Even the Jack stations.  Sure, you haven’t heard some of these songs on Jack for a while, but there’s never a song that only YOU liked, a song you hear and wonder whether you ever DID hear it, like that Aretha Franklin cut I heard on the 80’s on 8 as I turned onto Santa Monica Boulevard on my way to KLSX last night.  And after that song finished, after I passed Live Nation HQ, just as I turned onto Beverly Boulevard, at the Mercedes-Benz dealership, I heard something so familiar yet so deep in the memory banks it might as well have been in a time capsule!

You take my breath away
Love thinks it’s here to stay

Oh, I wouldn’t expect these lyrics to be familiar.  But if you heard the song right now, you’d be singing along!

But it’s not the words, it’s the rollicking TRACK!  The track SUPERSEDES the vocals.  Except for one, that of Bryan Adams.

I’m at Robertson now, just shy of Jerry’s Deli and the Beverly Center, and I hear Bryan’s vocal, even MORE unmistakable than Elvis Costello’s in "Tempted".

I was hanging with Billy Gibbons Saturday night (he now calls himself Billy F. Gibbons, not that I got a good answer as to why) on Monster Radio and I said ZZ Top’s music was for getting ready to go out.  You’re looking in the mirror, shaking your body to the groove, convincing yourself you can make it with that girl.  "Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)" is for after the connection’s been MADE!  When you can let your guard down, stop pretending you’re as cool as Billy, and just cruise up PCH with the top down, your babe by your side, singing along with the radio at the top of your lungs.

"Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)" is almost completely meaningless.  Hell, it’s kind of a depressing lyric set to an upbeat track.  But it’s got HOOKS!  It makes you feel like life is worth living.  This is the same essence the boy bands’ music had, which is part of what made it so SUCCESSFUL!  Funny how Justin and Britney went beat once they became legal.  I thought something with pure voices and melody was going to come next.  SHOULDA COME NEXT!

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