Friday, February 5, 2010

Song of the Week - episode 76

I was pretty glad to get back into the classroom this week. These days I only teach one class but my students this week reminded me why I became a teacher. I remember being told that they should never know that I am enjoying myself but that doesn’t sit well with me. Teaching is hard work; you are on show every lesson with 20 or 30 people watching your every move. It certainly isn’t a career for everyone but the rewards transcend money and school holidays.

Perhaps foolishly I started reading “A Clockwork Orange” this week. I haven’t seen the film but will do so when I get through the book. It is a hard read to begin with as it has its own lexicon but you get used to it. My advice, however, to anyone who wants to check it out, is not to read any before bedtime.

I’m also reading the journals by Che Guevara that became the movie, “The Motorcycle Diaries”. A film I would highly recommend to anyone. The soundtrack is just fabulous as well with a melting pot of South American music and electric guitars.

Television programming from all six channels here (and their digital offshoots) has been pretty diabolical of late. Hence the reading. However, last night I caught the tail end of a program about rock music. I was amused to hear Stuart Copeland from “The Police” say that they “owned” America once. This week’s theme comes from a track on that show. See if you can figure it out before the end.

Firstly, a song from my youth when the Muppets ruled television hands down:

After that let’s try this one. New Order are (were) an English band that formed after Joy Division was no more. This was a big hit back in the day and although I am not a fan, New Order achieved what makes a band great – their own particular and instantly recognisable sound.

New Order – Blue Monday:

This next band was described on radio as Canada’s answer to Midnight Oil. Being an Oils fan I tracked down one of their CDs. The announcer must have been on drugs that day as they are NOTHING like Midnight Oil. Luckily they are a great band regardless. Country flavoured rock with a folky influence at times as well. Well worth 5 minutes of your precious time.

Blue Rodeo – Somebody Waits:

I couldn’t let an episode of Song of the Week go past without an entry from one of my guitar heroes (there are a few)! This week is Irish guitarist Gary Moore. He successfully reinvented himself as a bluesman after plenty of time playing hard rock. This is the title track from his “Still Got The Blue” album. Once I bought a guitar pedal purely because there was a picture of him using one on the cover. Somewhere in time I sold it and now they are worth a bomb – typical!

Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues:

One more before we get to this week’s headlining tune.

Do some songs ever remind you of times and places? Well this one reminds me of breakfast. And not just any breakfast but breakfast in our old house in New Zealand. It must’ve been on the radio a lot I imagine. For any radio connoisseurs out there it would’ve been Radio 2ZB! This is Neil Diamond. Interestingly he has recently recorded a couple of albums with Rick Rubin producing. Rick was responsible for the Johnny Cash American recordings that brought him to a new generation. Rick also produced bands like Slayer and the Beastie Boys. I always thought that this next song was about a priest who wore denim….the Reverend Blue Jeans!

Neil Diamond – Forever in Blue Jeans:

Well, there are a lot more songs on this theme, I hope you worked it out! But the last song was one I saw on last night’s show and also one of my favourites. Is it the political commentary? Is it the scorching, pleading slide guitar intro? It is all that and more. Personally I liked U2 back in the past. Anything that came after “Rattle and Hum” left me cold. I could understand their desire to move on musically but it just didn’t work for me. It worked for heaps of other people though as evidenced by their album and concert ticket sales! Their most recent album, “No Line On The Horizon” is pretty good though – a solid mix of old and new. Here’s U2 with what I reckon might be their second best song. If you haven’t seen the movie “Rattle and Hum” then put it on your list. It is amazing.

U2 – Bullet the Blue Sky:

See you all next time on The Muppet Show!

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