January 10, 2005

Oh well, oh well, I feel real good today...

Well, maybe I wouldn't go quite that far. But I am back in the USA. England was fine: lots of relatives, quaint customs, rickety telecommunications infrastructure, heavy, stodgy, greasy, delicious food, strong beer, five TV channels, one of which never quite comes in; Agatha Christie's Marple; University Challenge; Little Britain; sheep, ponies, cows and pigs; a bizarre New Years sing-along of English music hall and American show tunes at a rural pub; mild anti-Americanism tempered by an equal and mildly opposite reaction of Americaphilia; Wheat Crunchies (a crunchy, wheaty eaty.) Among old friends, last year's theme was that everyone seemed to be in the process of buying homes (astonishing, inconceivable from where I sit); this year, it's the process of having kids, in theory and even in practice.

I spent some time working on the third version (second revision) of my book, though not nearly enough time as it turns out, as I still have a lot of work to do on it. So I'm not sure how much blogging will happen. I really need to wrap this up. Amazingly, I'm told that I do this pretty quickly compared to the average, though I don't see how that's possible, to be honest.

If I didn't have a deadline, I could probably just keep rewriting it forever till I die. Songs are like that, too, except that once they're officially recorded, several months before they "come out," you're supposed to stop working on them all of a sudden. I'm new to the book-writing process, but I imagine it's a bit like the song-writing. I mean, you "finish" it, it gets published a year later, even though you're already thinking about everything you'd have done differently before anyone even reads it. So you start drinking heavily, change things around a bit and eventually get back to rewriting it as before, except that you're calling it another book. Is that how it is? I'll let you know either way.

In the meantime, Norm is conducting a poll of readers for the ten "greatest songs of rock and pop music," so, if you feel like it, go over there and make your voice heard. Here's the list I sent him. Not The Greatest of All Time, necessarily, but the ones I've felt like hearing recently. A lot of them are referenced by the book's narrator, in fact, and I chose them from the "25 most-played" list on my iPod:

1. Waterloo Sunset - the Kinks

2. Does Your Mother Know? - ABBA

3. Fox on the Run - The Sweet

4. Roll Away the Stone - Moot the Hoople

5. Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo - Rick Derringer

6. Queen of Eyes - The Soft Boys

7. Makin' Time - The Creation

8. You Should Never Have Opened that Door - The Ramones

9. See Emily Play - Pink Floyd

10. My Baby Loves Lovin' - White Plains

See ya when I see ya.

Posted by Dr. Frank at January 10, 2005 05:19 PM | TrackBack

Abba?? Sweet crap, there's nothing good about that "band".

Posted by: holy modal rounder at January 10, 2005 07:12 PM

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, Holy, but I think you're wrong about ABBA. Go listen to that song ($0.99 on iTunes, probably) and come back and tell me you didn't enjoy it...

Posted by: Dr. Frank at January 10, 2005 07:23 PM

yes,come on,that's like my favorite ABBA song ever...well that and Waterloo.

although the rest of them sound kinda eh,
my era of pop is more preferably '64 and earlier.
there's nothing on this list from the earlier years,how can it possibly be comprehensive.
not that i could pick a favorite,but i figure at least Sam Cooke has to be on there somewhere.

Posted by: just me at January 10, 2005 08:09 PM

Mott the Hoople is a nice choice doktor.

Posted by: emily at January 10, 2005 08:58 PM

Do your loyal readers/fans get ARC's of the new book? A year is too long.

Posted by: Mike at January 10, 2005 09:33 PM

Wow. I thought I would be the only person in the world to include "Makin' Time" "Waterloo Sunset" "Fox On the Run" and "Does Your Mother Know" on a list of "Greatest Songs of All Time (Thsi Week)."

Posted by: Michael at January 10, 2005 10:13 PM

Good list, Frank. At least 5 of those are on my top ten also.

Moreover, "Rock n' Roll Hoochie Koo" is at the top of another, equally important, list -- viz., the list of songs where the singer says something cool to introduce the guitar solo. I love it when Rick asks "Did somebody say keep on rockin'?" just before the lead kicks in.

Posted by: Aaron at January 10, 2005 10:13 PM

Welcome the heck back!

I've been obsessed with creating best-song-ever lists since I was a wee lad. Surprisingly, Rick Derringer would find a place in the Top Ten (not to be confused with Scott "Top Ten" Kempner of the Dictators) from time to time, but always with Easy Action, never with Rock 'n' Roll Hootchie Koo. Waterloo was always the preferred ABBA song (following an oh so groovy appearance on Bob McAllister's Wonderama). The Kinks were regulars with A Well Respected Man or Victoria or Tired of Waiting...or whatever Kinks song was stuck in my head at the moment. Carbona Not Glue will forever top my Ramones all-time top ten. You Should Never Have Opened That Door, however, remains my least favorite song from Leave Home - even 28 years later. Fox on the Run sometimes edged out Ballroom Blitz, but not frequently. I always relegated Pink Floyd to the stoner hippie music list, even though the early stuff was quite poppy. My Baby Loves Lovin' is like sticking Vanity Fair's Hitchin' a Ride in there just to see if anybody is paying attention (a thumb goes up, a car goes by...). They are both great songs, but in a world of a billion songs, I winced when I saw White Plains on the list. Always keep 'em guessing. For what it's worth, my lists invariably contain at least one MTX song, and usually something by Milk 'n' Cookies, my fourth favorite New York band (in the pre-Ramones days - the others being the New York Dolls, Velvet Underground, and the aforementioned Dictators).

Posted by: J. francis at January 10, 2005 10:29 PM

J., I bet you were not aware that the MTX once subjected an unexpecting audience of young Oregonians to a less than fully realized version of "EZ Action." I think we may have given "Tired of Waking Up Tired" by the Diodes the same unfortunate treatment at that show.

Posted by: Aaron at January 10, 2005 11:01 PM

NEVER with Rock and Roll Hootchie Coo indeed.

i hate classic rock...now i have that song in my head..thanks frank

Posted by: just me at January 10, 2005 11:27 PM

hate classic rock... uh ok.
anyway, Dr, i just never "got" abba... they looked so weird and creepily sleazy. And the vocals seemed like some sort of glazed-over nordic mantra sounding thing. but i definitely like everything else on your list!

Posted by: holy modal rounder at January 10, 2005 11:54 PM

Alright, Dr, i went to cdnow and listened to a clip of "does your mother know" and it's okay. I mean it has that "Yummy yummy yummy" beat, and I think thats a superior tune. But i must say it was one of their more rocking numbers (if that counts as such!)

Posted by: holy modal rounder at January 11, 2005 12:01 AM

I did not know MTX once played EZ Action - in Portland or in secret. The last time I heard Little Rick Derringer scream that tune I drinking a bottle of Lowenbrau waiting for the start of another wonderful day of high school.

I also would have never guessed that MTX once covered any song by the Diodes, Canada's most satisfying export. I would definitely add Child Star to the best songs ever list - ahead of Tired of Waking Up Tired. Maybe I'd call it a tie.

Now I've gotten a sudden hankering to listen to the Diodes. It's been way too long since I've heard the familiar chorus, "Uncle Bill, Uncle Bill, I took some pills. Mr. French, Mr. French, I'm feeling tense." Now that, brothers and sisters, is a rock and roll song!

Posted by: J. Francis at January 11, 2005 12:32 AM

*Stares at Dr. Frank's most played list*

*Recalls catalog of MTX songs*


Posted by: Zaphod at January 11, 2005 10:28 AM

Hmmm... I don't believe that I've ever seen the phrase "delicious food" used in the same sentence as the word "England."

Posted by: Stig at January 11, 2005 05:08 PM

I was fortunate enough to see Ash perform 'Does Your Mother Know?'. It's a great rock song indeed.

...and I thought I was the only one who knew about the perfection that is Roll Away the Stone.


Posted by: DJ at January 11, 2005 05:10 PM

my top ten ipod listens consisted of mtx, willie nelson, grandaddy, the blow, charlie daniels band, flaming lips, and the monkeys. what a sick weird combi. but oscar wilde said that consistency is the last resort of the unimaginitive.

Posted by: lukeblack at January 12, 2005 07:54 AM

Out of Curiosity, I looked at my top25 list in my iPod and found these bands

Dulahan (Irish folk band)
Blink 182
Green Day
Flogging Molly

I usually listen to an album the whole way through or just set the iPod to paly random songs, curious that only these 5 bands showed in the top25 (multiple tracks for each), especially since I've had my G3 iPod for a couple of years now and the albums from Dulaha and Flogging Molly are less than a month old and the Green Day one is only a couple months old.

Posted by: Zaphod at January 12, 2005 10:18 AM

flogging molly, thats such an offensive band name.

Posted by: holy modal rounder at January 13, 2005 04:17 PM

Only to those named Molly (my wife). Hahahahaaha

Posted by: Zaphod at January 13, 2005 06:09 PM

on the other hand i really couldn't name more than half a century of vaguely rock and pop...there's just too much.

it has been said though,i do have an affection for novelty,if not as much as is perceived. i could possibly make that list,though i don't know it now. But at least two Simpsons favorites,"Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart?" and the infamous and rarely heard "Stonecutters Song" would have to be on it somewhere.

Posted by: just me at January 13, 2005 07:40 PM

Don't know if you play games, but you can listen to the StoneCutter's Song infinately in the Simpsons Road Rage game for PS2 or X-box, it plays in the StoneCutter's Lodge.

Posted by: Zaphod at January 14, 2005 10:17 AM

Hockey Monkey by James Kochalka Superstar has to be one of the best of all time.

Posted by: josh at January 14, 2005 01:15 PM

ah a james kochalka fan...we're a rare breed i think. i mean i haven't heard a song in ages but i remember hearing a record of his and liking it quite a bit.

zaphod-but i know the words by heart:


who controls the british crown?
who keeps the metric system down?

we do!
we do!

who keeps atlantis off the maps?
who keeps the martians under wraps?

we do!
we do!

who holds back the electric car,
who made Steve Guttenburg...a star!

who robs cave fish of their sight?
who rigs every Oscar night?

We do!
We do!

sorry,i just had to,and thanks for the info.

Posted by: just me at January 14, 2005 07:35 PM

Holy good god, "You Should Never Have Opened that door is great.

I bought Leave Home a few months back, and it jumped out as the catchiest song on the album. It's rock 'n' roll brilliance.

My band does it live, every so often.

Good call, I'll have to check out the others on your list.

Posted by: Twitch at January 17, 2005 05:47 PM

Re: The name "Flogging Molly"
Offensive? That depends on whether Molly is into that kind of thing!
Wink, wink...nudge, nudge...

Posted by: Stig at January 18, 2005 05:19 PM

I think a better moniker would be "Flogging Axl", you know something we can all support without reservation.

Posted by: holy modal rounder at January 22, 2005 03:21 AM

There used to be this commercial for one of those 70s compilation CDs that featured "My Baby Loves Lovin'." The transitions from one song to the next were so smooth. Now every time I hear that song, I hear:

Little, Willie ...
won't go home,
but you can't push Willy
'cause Willie won't go.

My baby loves, lovin'
My baby loves lovin'
She's got what it takes
and she knows how to use it.

I heard my moma cry,
I heard her pray the night Chicago died,

Ride, ride, ride,
hitchin' a ride,

I took my baby by the hand,
we made love in my Chevy Van,
Now, thats all right with me.

Shannon is gonna ...
She's drifting out to sea.

In that exact order. What wierd thing to stick with me.

Posted by: josh at January 24, 2005 03:01 PM

oh,i used looove those commercials,but they
just don't make easy listenin hits compilations like they did once before.

alas...the future truly ain't what it used to be.

Posted by: just me at January 24, 2005 09:30 PM

ah, cynical just me, gotta love her!
Anyways, i think you may be onto something.
The 70's magic is compelling yet mysterious.
You fill up my senses,
Like a night in the forest.

Posted by: holy modal rounder at January 26, 2005 03:36 AM

john denver! my folk-rockin hero. that very morning i had to clue my college radio chums in on the sad fact when he died.

ah cest la vie.. with him and henson gone the world has never been the same.

Posted by: JUST ME at January 26, 2005 07:45 PM

ansd now for unknown reasons..."baby baby don't get hooked on me" is spiraling through my head.
over and over again just the one lyric.

its driving me bonkers.

Posted by: JUST ME at January 26, 2005 09:51 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?