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Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 28

posted April 30, 2014, 12:30 am by CharlesMartel | Filed Under Music News, Recommendations from the Writer's Mind, Video | comment Leave a Comment

One fact I find quite engaging is how many people of the generation below me, as it were, got their musical introduction from listening to their parents’ (my generation) record collection. A few months ago I was at a John Watts gig and found myself talking to some young people who could only have been in their early twenties. I asked, how come they were enjoying all the old Fischer-Z songs from 30 years ago when the band only had a cult following in the UK? The reply – “I grew up to my Mum playing these songs over and over again.” I find that refreshing and delightful and the true mark of how the greatness of songs and artists is translated across the years. But, as I shall explain next, the reverse is not always true.

Anyhow, enough of this. Here we go with the next twenty.

Charles Maertel’s 460-441

460. Ulver – “I Troldskog Faren Vil” (Bergtatt)

The only track sung in medieval Danish on this list. But seriously, Norwegian band Ulver start their debut album with a trip through Troll Forest and get lost. This album set the tone for dozens of folk-inspired metal bands to follow.

459. The Shrinking Violets – “She Said” (7” Single)

Search for the Shrinking Violets on the internet and you will come across a wedding band based in Harrogate, Yorkshire. This is not the same band. The Shrinking Violets were an obscure eighties Australian jangle pop outfit who released this wonderful single and then, guess what, they sunk without trace.

458. Cole, Lloyd & the Commotions – “Pretty Gone” (Easy Pieces)

This is one of Cole’s most evocative songs off the band’s second album, “Pretty Gone” is all about a girl who is both pretty and gone – gone in the sense of elsewhere in reality and elsewhere in her head.

457. Armstrong, Louis – “Wonderful World” (What a Wonderful World)

Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong’s typically gruff voice brings to life this glorious song, full of the joys of being alive. A guaranteed tonic to anyone who is feeling miserable or depressed, this is better for you than half a ton of prozac. So watch this video and feel better about everything – guaranteed.

456. The Waterboys – “A Boy in Black Leather” (The Waterboys)

Mike Scott sits at the piano and plays a simple sequence over and over again as he relates this tale of how a girl he fancied was stolen away by a boy in black leather. The final verse, where he sees the girl again in the street, carries with it some sinister overtones.

455. The Psychedelic Furs – “All of This and Nothing” (Talk Talk Talk)

The Psychedelic Furs close out this amazing five-star album with this song describing the detritus of a failed relationship. Dense production, the imagery in Butler’s lyrics and that great saxophone all combine to great effect here.

454. Echo & the Bunnymen – “Porcupine” (Porcupine)

Not the song which many people would regard as the Bunnymen’s best. I never really got the Bunnymen the way I might have been expected to, but I just love the rolling, driving ending to this song.

453. Led Zeppelin – “Tangerine” (Led Zeppelin III)

“Tangerine, Tangerine,
Living reflection of a dream.”

Robert Plant’s masterful lyric is one thing, but Jimmy Page’s expressive slide guitar solo is another thing altogether. A gentle love song which will make even the hardest heart melt.

452. The Lightning Seeds – “Pure” (Cloudcuckooland)

A great keyboard line dominates this cheerful song. This was the first song which Ian Broudie had written and sung all by himself – previously he had been a producer only. With success, Broudie expanded the Lightning Seeds into a full time project.

451. The Alan Parson Project – “Sirius” (Eye in the Sky)

The opening track of the Alan Parsons Project’s album about state surveillance. With recent revelations about the state spying on us all, this evocative instrumental has taken on a whole new meaning.

450. Prokofief, Sergei – “Dance of the Knights” (Romeo and Juliet)

Forming part of Act One, Scene Two of Prokofief’s ballet based on Shakespeare’s play, the whole work was originally claimed to be undanceable when it was first presented to the Bolshoi Ballet company in 1935.

449. Vega, Suzanne – “Luka” (Solitude Standing)

Suzanne Vega’s song about domestic violence, how the victims try to hide it from others and how others often ignore the tell-tale warning signs. One of Vega’s most powerful songs and a deserved hit single.

448. A Flock of Seagulls – “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” (Listen)

Slow burning number from a Flock of Seagulls with a distinctive, catchy melody and some of the more substantial lyrics the band ever wrote. It features an almost wall-of-sound production technique for synthesisers and is all about loneliness and longing in a spaced out way.

447. The Primitives – “Crash” (Lovely)

The Primitives were destined for greatness but never achieved it. “Crash” is a song which could almost be seen as shoegaze pop and has featured in a number of movies including “Dumb and Dumber” and “Cars 2”.

446. Lavigne, Avril – “I’m with You” (Let Go)

OK, I know. You all hate Avril Lavigne. Personally I think her earlier work gets more hate than it deserves. Had this been done by anyone else considered hip this would have been recognised as a great track so I am going to recognise it as such even though it was done by Avril Lavigne.

445. The Popguns – “Waiting for the Winter” (Eugenie)

Fast paced number from the Popguns’ debut album, and a storming track it is presenting a much harder–edged, up-tempo form of jangle pop. This is a great break up song and presaged much of the Popguns later great work on their album “Snog”.

444. The Police – “Can’t Stand Losing You” (Outlandos d’Amour)

The BBC had a habit of banning songs about suicide, even when they were not. Then for some inexplicable reason they did not ban this song which openly advocates suicide as a cure for a broken heart and has a picture of a hanging man on the cover of the single. Great song nonetheless.

443. The Dazy Chains – “Back to Bed” (7” Single)

Another unknown jangle pop band and another long-forgotten song, the Dazy Chains released this wonderful number in the eighties. The song is a tribute to the absolute joys of lying around and doing nothing.

442. The Beatles – “Nowhere Man” (Rubber Soul)

A departure from the Beatles norm of the time, this was one of their earliest songs not connected with romance. It deals with the loner who struggles to deal with events. John Lennon claimed he wrote the song about himself after struggling to come up with a song for the album.

441. The Ronettes – “Be My Baby” (Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes)

One of the earliest examples of Phil Spector’s wall of sound production style, this is a classic pop number from the early sixties. The Ronettes were an all-girl trio designed to showcase Veronica Bennett, later known as Ronnie Spector, Phil’s wife. Phil Spector may be an undoubted genius but he is a truly awful human being.


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