You know who I’ll bet just loves the Eagles, it suddenly occurs to me? Huey Lewis. (Can’t you imagine him covering “The Long Run”?) I can’t stand either of them. Music Hell for me would be an eternity of listening to Huey Lewis and the Eagles (except for “Hotel California,” ironically, and “Life in the Fast Lane”).
Similarly, despite the marvelous growling Pearl Jam did on their first two albums — during which they were worthy of covering, say, “Born on the Bayou” by Credence — mellow later Pearl Jam makes me think they’d sound all too natural covering “Levon” by Elton John. Think about that if you’re ever trapped in Music Purgatory listening to Elton John (though Yellow Brick Road is OK, of course, and I like “I’m Still Standing”).
On a slightly more heavenly note, I think Green Day could do a fitting cover of Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right.” I apologize for this entire uncool digression.
‘Cool’ is totally subjective. One man’s ‘cool’ is another man’s antichrist. Arrogance is assuming one’s personal notion of cool is definitive. Narcissism is believing it.
An ironic covers note: The key quote in this old NYT piece partly about the Police is Andy Summers saying he didn’t grow up on Clapton and Hendrix…
…and the two covers the Police did at MSG last week (as discussed in my Saturday blog entry) were “Sunshine of My Love” and “Purple Haze.”
Incidentally, that linked old Police article is not by singer Robert Palmer but by Little Rock-spawned music writer (and bluesy clarinet player) Robert Palmer, who lived and died around the same years as the other Palmer. Here’s another piece he wrote, about the Police’s _1981_ MSG concert, which convinced him New Wave might have popular appeal:
Sorry for the latecoming, but you LIKE “I’m Still Standing”? YOU like “I’m Still Standing”?
Boy. You think you know a person for twenty-odd years, and they whip the rug out from under you *just like that*.
Tell me this isn’t New-Wave-era-peppy in a way that makes you almost as happy as Duran Duran:
And speaking of rug-pulling, y’know, Dave Whitney likes “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” Nybakken doesn’t like ketchup, Hawkman has always been from the planet Thanagar (they tell us), Chewbacca was never meant to live on Endor (per the “Chewbacca Defense” legal tactic on _South Park_), and most important…
…we have always been at war with Ossetia:
So assume nothing.
Jupiter– Are you implying the Antichrist wouldn’t be cool?
Billy Joel is objectively horrific (and far too fat frog-like to be the Antichrist, who would also also do a better job of sounding sincere).
The worst songs ever recorded are that “Life is a Highway” thing and “Center Field” (or whatever that song that has that “put me in, coach…” line). Actually, the latter wins. It is the worst.
Then again, perhaps I’ve misinterpreted the song by inserting that comma, and it’s actually a clever commentary on class divisions in airline seating.
“Life Is a Highway” and “Centerfield” are indeed awful (and John Fogerty bears the sad distinction of being one of the only prominent musicians ever sued for plagiarizing himself, since his old record company decided his solo work sounded too much like his old Credence Clearwater Revival work), but I will say three things in defense of their creators:
(1) No discussion of worst songs is ever really over until we have confronted the dire abyss of “We Built This City on Rock n’ Roll” (about which I honestly think I could write an entire hate-fueled book of condemnation, with a relatively civil preface about Jefferson Airplane being good and Grace Slick probably being a huge influence on a young Siouxsie Sioux).
(2) Tom Cochrane, who did “Life Is a Highway,” did a pretty cool song with his band Red Rider in the 80s, with this very cool video, “Young Thing Wild Dreams (Rock Me)”:
(3) Without John Fogerty’s CCR work, we would not have had the amusingly apt opening song from the movie _The Return of Swamp Thing_, “Born on the Bayou” — and if you watch this clip, do keep in mind my earlier comment that Eddie Vedder should probably do a cover of it:
That is all.
Egad! I already thought “We Built This City” (its true title) sounded like a committee product, but only now, reading its Wikipedia entry, do I learn it was co-written by four people including Elton John’s Bernie Taupin and ex-J. Geils leader Peter Wolf. Their prolific co-writer Martin Page has written songs for bands ranging from the Commodores to Go West.
Yeah, that all sounds about right. Yeesh. It makes Band-Aid seem spontaneous and stripped-down.
No disagreement about the complete and total awfulness of “We Built This City.” The Huey Lewis “The heart of rock and role is in Cleveland” thing is another disaster. I think I saw some “Behind the Music” episode in which he talk about how clever he thought that line was. Idiot.
And in the interest of tolerance, I will defend — just barely — one Huey Lewis song, tellingly his first hit (so often the point where bands should stop), “Heart and Soul,” which had fundamentally different lyrical and rhythmic approaches than all the doo-woppy later stuff.
Really, go back and listen to that one. It’s different:
Not saying it’s great, just bearable, unlike the others.
Re: Huey Lewis, I think Patrick Bateman put it best: “I think their undisputed masterpiece is “Hip to be Square”, a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself.”
Sesame Street also has a good take on it.
Let us not forget that the spirit of rebellion can be found on _Sesame Street_ as well, though, as in the classic “Rebel L”:
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