Before We Was Fab looks at some of the best songs of the pre-Beatles era, in search of great singles that have largely been forgotten. If you've heard of Benny Spellman at all, chances are it's because of his association with groups such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The O'Jays, or The Hollies -- all of whom covered his songs. As it happens, I was listening to the iconic Who album Live at Leeds and paid particular attention to their live rendition of "Fortune Teller." The Who, as with many English rock bands of the time, had a deep love and appreciation for popular and obscure R&B, and that's where "Fortune Teller" comes in. The song was written by the great Allen Toussaint under the pseudonym Naomi Neville, and was first recorded by Spellman as the B-side of his only hit si
One of my resolutions for 2016 is to start publishing more Listening Booth posts, but why not get a head start before 2015 finishes? Here's a gem from the last studio album by The Who to feature the legendary Keith Moon. It's "Had Enough" from 1978's Who Are You LP. https://youtu.be/B9DWS67fMrM Roger Daltrey reportedly hated the string arrangement on this song, but I love it. It lends an extra element of emotion to a very world-weary track from John Entwistle. I especially love the chord progression on the chorus, which is nothing short of brilliant. Don't forget you can hear most of the songs from in my Listening Booth series on Spotify.
I came across this photo of the Who that I haven't seen a ton in the past. I'm not a superfan so I'm not certain when this was shot, but I'm guessing it was 1965 or '66. I'd love to know what those kids were thinking watching them pretend to play. At least they could've given Roger Daltrey a microphone.
With her tragic and untimely death, Amy Winehouse became the latest member of a grim group -- the so-called Club 27, whose only entrance requirement is to be a famous musician and to die at age 27. The club also includes legends such as Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain. This got me to thinking -- is it really true that the brightest stars burn out the earliest? Or does it just seem that way because of our fascination with stars who die young? Curious, I decided to conduct a little research so I compiled a list of famous and influential dead musicians. Of course that list could be limitless, depending on your standards for fame and influence. I ultimately opted to use Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, first published in 2004/05 and...
Ask a dozen people to define the term "power pop" and you'll likely get a dozen variations of the same concept. For my part, any music with killer melodies, crisp songwriting and arranging, and (usually) big guitars probably qualifies. Or to get more specific, here's what the All Music Guide says: Power Pop is a cross between the crunching hard rock of the Who and the sweet melodicism of the Beatles and Beach Boys, with the ringing guitars of the Byrds thrown in for good measure. Yeah, that's about it. So anyway, power pop probably offers more value for your listening dollar than any other style I can think of. Here is but a handful of some of the most choice power pop ever committed to tape. 1. Nick Lowe, "So It Goes" (from Jesus of Cool, 1978) — Power pop aficionados will recogn
It's been another fun year for me in running this site, and I'd like to thank all of you who visit regularly, irregularly, or even once. I'd also like to thank everyone who has helped by contributing comments and post ideas. It's good to know there's at least a few people out there who enjoy my little corner of the intertubes. Since we're in the midst of year-end review season, let's take a quick look back at the posting year that was 2010 for The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Most Popular Posts This is really what it's all about right? It's always interesting to me to see what content takes off and what content gets largely ignored. Since I want to stay positive I'll focus on the former. So here are the eleven most-popular posts on the site for 2010. #11. Happy Hoff-Day! - Davi
As much as the Who staked their claim as rock legends on high-octane numbers like "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "My Generation", I find that often it's the more contemplative songs where they really shine. Take, for instance, this cut from 1975's The Who By Numbers. The lyrics are bleak but the music...the music is startlingly simple and beautiful. Did Pete Townshend ever write a better ballad? I'm not sure, but this is certainly a worthy contender. Here's "Imagine a Man": Imagine a man Not a child of any revolt But a plain man tied up in life Imagine the sand Running out as he struts Parading and fading, ignoring his wife Imagine a road So long looking backwards You can't see where it really began Imagine a load So large and so smooth That against it a man is a
I'd wager that if you ask most casual Who fans what their favorite albums by the group are, and they'd probably say Tommy, Who's Next and maybe Live at Leeds. All fine choices, of course, but before any of those were even released there was my favorite - 1967's The Who Sell Out. It was Pete Townshend's first crack at a concept album, although this is more of a theme album actually. The premise is that the entire album (complete with radio jingles) is actually a broadcast from the pirate station Radio London. It's the commercials, not the songs, from which the design for The Who Sell Out is inspired. And it is inspired. That's Townshend and Roger Daltrey on the front, pitching Odorono and Heinz Baked Beans respectively. Honestly the image of Daltrey sitting in a tub of beans
I'm not sure if it can accurately be said that the Raconteurs' new album, Consolers of the Lonely, represents an unexpected left turn. After all, who's to say that their 2006 debut, Broken Boy Soldiers, isn't the aberration instead? Either way, fans looking for a repeat of the brilliant, trippy power pop of BBS would do best to just stick with that album. Consolers - steeped as it is in the blues, hard rock, and even vintage country - is an altogether different experience, so I expect the critics and fans to start taking sides now. The good news is that despite representing a radical departure in style, Consolers has groove and guts to spare, and it feels like a much more cohesive musical statement than BBS. Throughout, the Raconteurs play with supreme confidence and sounds like a...