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Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 5

posted November 20, 2013, 12:30 am by Brian Rutherford | Filed Under Music News | comment Leave a Comment


Continuing with the theme of what makes something worthy of inclusion, it may come as a surprise to learn that technical ability is not a major factor. Of course, some of the greats, particularly guitar greats are included – Page, Clapton, Hendrix and so on. And, of course, are works by the man who quite possibly was the greatest known musical genius of all time – Ludwig van Beethoven. Many of the tracks performed by the most technically gifted artists of the seventies, a period which formed my musical tastes, namely the prog rockers Yes, Genesis, ELP and the like are not here. And yet some of the early punk songs and indie pop samplers from the eighties are, despite their poor quality. Why this should be is looked in the next blog

On with the list – twenty more.

Charles Martel’s 920-901

920. The Sisters of Mercy – “This Corrosion” (Floodland)

The best and probably most well-known track from the Sisters of Mercy, this features a 40 voice choir. It was written to express concern at the previous band members leaving and forming the Mission.

919. Shannon, Del – “Runaway” (Runaway)

This features a unique instrument called the Musitron, invented by one of Shannon’s backing band, which was an early form of synthesiser. It was also recorded in A-Minor but speeded up in the post-production to sound in B Flat-Minor. Bet you didn’t know that!

918. Broonzy, Big Bill – “Key to the Highway” (10″ Single)

This is the most famous version of the song, also covered in an improvised jam by Derek and the Dominos. Unusually for a blues standard this is an eight-bar instead of a twelve-bar format.

917. The Searchers – “Needles and Pins” (7″ Single)

This great little pop song was co-written by Sonny Bono of Sonny and Cher fame. Listen closely and you can hear a squeaky bass drum pedal, later popularised by John Bonham (hahaha).

916. The Count – “Follow You Back Home” (7″ Single)

I know so little about this song it is unbelievable, but it is a fantastic track. Something about it tells me it is Australian. You decide.

915. Bethany Curve – “Over and Out” (Gold)

Californian shoegazers, who seemed to have adopted the naming style of Catherine Wheel, had some success with their Gold album, off which this is the best tracks.

914. The Pixies – “Here Comes Your Man” (Doolittle)

Frank Black/Black Francis’s take on Lou Reed’s “Waiting for the Man”. Just love that rolling deep guitar sound.

913. My Bloody Valentine – “When You Sleep” (Loveless)

There is frequently one song I really like off an album I otherwise hate. MBV were supposedly the epitome of shoegaze and this is probably their best song – but I still don’t care for the rest of the album.

912. Erasure – “A Little Respect” (The Innocents)

Nothing to do with the Aretha Franklin song (which features later), this is Erasure at their finest. This is how pop music should be.

911. Svarti Loghin – “Drifting through the Void” (Drifting through the Void)

Swedish blackgazers have incorporated into this song a strange, almost country music bridge in the middle. It is this which makes the song stand out.

910. James, Elmore – “Dust My Broom” (10″ Single)

Despite the arguments among the purists as to whether this was written by Elmore James or Robert Johnson, it was pretty much James’s signature tune.

909. Drake, Nick – “Three Hours” (Five Leaves Left)

Nick Drake’s finest hour, in his sadly short career. This song has a rolling melody and a hint of darkness underneath it – as if there is only three hours to go before something terrible happens.

908. The Mamas and the Papas – “Monday Monday” (If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears)

Grammy winning song which is one of the highlights of the hippie movement (remember hippies?). Note the false ending.

907. Watts, John – “Hello Hello” (Morethanmusic)

The first feature on this list of my musical hero, John Watts. “Hello Hello” is a tribute to the music of two greats – Dylan and Zevon – and a slap to those who think they can rip them off – Kid Rock.

906. The Wedding Present – “Kennedy” (Bizarro)

The Wedding Present’s tongue-in-cheek comparison of a pattern of relationships in northern England with the marriages of Jackie Kennedy. Wonderful.

905. Weezer – “Buddy Holly” (The Blue Album)

Sometimes, Rivers Cuomo really gets on my nerves. However, on this song, he manages to hover on the edge of cheese without ever slipping up on it.

904. The Byrds – “Mr Tambourine Man” (Mr. Tambourine Man)

One of those songs where the cover version is probably better-known than the original, this has become so associated with the Byrds that most probably don’t know they did not write it.

903. The Undertones – “Get Over You” (7″ Single)

Rumbling, tumbling song which dealt with a favourite Undertones theme – teenage romance. Often overlooked in favour of more famous Undertones’ songs.

902. The Kensingtons – “Nothing at All” (Hope Corner Lane EP)

Lovely jangly pop song from this little known and long-forgotten band.

901. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Stay Alive” (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart)

A band who seem to have borrowed much of their style from UK eighties outfit the Primitives. This is without doubt their best track, although some would say there is so little difference between the tracks it is hard to tell. Thankfully it has nothing to do with the Bee Gees.

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