Queen’s huge double-A-sided hit We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions was spawned from the group’s 1977 album News of the World. A platinum seller, it was their most successful single to date in America, besting “Bohemian Rhapsody” and reaching #4 on the charts. Composed by guitarist Brian May, We Will Rock You was seized by the public as a crowd rallying song at all sorts of competitive and athletic events and has attained stature apart from Queen as a piece of modern folklore. No wonder – its resounding backbeat and shouting, anthemic chorus are ideal for moving a crowd no matter what the score is. (more…)
Shrouded in horror-film mystique and proclaiming themselves to be “the Stooges of the 90s,” Marilyn Manson and company are the newest proponents of the shock-rock school of David Bowie, Kiss, Alice Cooper, and Iggy Pop. Sweet Dreams, from the Smells Like Children album, was the song that provided the group with their first big MTV hit. A strange offering to be sure, it reinvents a mid-80s synthesizer-based Eurythmics track as an unlikely collision of death metal and techno-pop for the post-grunge alternative era. There is a second version of song Sweet Dreams. Earlier we transcribed this song, the first version can be found here. (more…)
It is hard to think of a tune as pervasive in our culture as Louie Louie. The ultimate garage-band and frat-party song of all time, it is the epitome of attitude and the precursor of both rudimentary metal and punk. Though Louie Louie has been covered in over 200 different renditions, the definitive version belongs to The Kingsmen, who released it back in 1963 and gave it its familiar “da-da-da, da-da, da-da-da, da-da” rhythm pattern. One of rock’s happy accidents, it came about when lead singer Jack Ely incorrectly taught the Wailers’ version to the band at an early recording session. In true garage-band fashion and in keeping with the twisted evolution of rock music, the song was recorded practically ad lib in a primitive local studio for $50, using only three mikes. It rose to become one of the permanent icons of rock ‘n’ roll. (more…)
The Who’s first big hit imparted a metallic urgency to the British Invasion of the mid 60s. Simply stated, My Generation is one of those records that turned pop music into rock music – fierce, brash and a thoroughly unique statement. In it Pete Townshend aggressively established a tradition of rhythm guitar and a rock warrior attitude that is a cornerstone of the Who legacy. One of the first pop records to overtly flaunt berserk power chording, guitar feedback and noise-as-music, it doesn’t just stop there.
You have to consider Keith Moon’s bashing drum attack. John Entwistle’s groundbreaking (and ground-shaking) bass guitar breaks, and Roger Daltrey’s sputtered pill-head vocals to gauge its full impact. And those factors push its intensity needle fully into the red. (more…)
Lakini’s Juice, the leading single from Live’s new album, Secret Samadhi, further chronicles the band’s rise as one of today’s top alternative pop-rock acts. The song is somewhat of an anomaly, distinguished by brooding orchestration reminiscent of Zep’s “Kashmir” and a tough, semi-industrial riff – a clear message to all those disbelievers out there who bet on Live milking the formulas they introduced on their highly successful Throwing Copper record. “Lakini’s Juice” is also the first Live song written in an alternate tuning according to guitarist Chad Taylor, who remarked, “I’ve never written that way because every time I open-tuned my guitar, I sounded like Keith Richards!” (more…)
The forerunners of today’s alternative scene, Ireland’s U2 provided an early glimpse of the alternative approach in the 80s with their unique brand of textural colorist/minimalist rock. Sunday Bloody Sunday, a classic track from the classic 1983 U2 album, War, ranks high as one of the finest cuts the band has ever recorded. A veritable showcase for the sonic imagery of The Edge (guitarist Dave Evans), it teems with anti-traditional elements: guitar sound effects and vivid musical colors which paint mental pictures in the listener’s ear. A masterpiece of textural rock Sunday Bloody Sunday is an important piece in rock history that unerringly points to the developments of the 90s. (more…)