Archive for July, 2012


There is a deleted scene from the movie “Pulp Fiction” in which Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) interviews Vincent Vega (John Travolta) prior to their eventful evening out at Jack Rabbit Slim’s.  The premise of the scene is that there are two types of people in the world: Beatles people and Elvis people.  Beatles people can like Elvis, and vice versa, but noone likes both equally.  Furthermore, the one you like better determines what type of person you are (Mia determines that Vincent is obviously an Elvis man).  Brilliant writing by Quentin Tarantino, and probably one of the greatest truths he has ever written.

So by the above logic, I have always been a Beatles man.  Especially a John Lennon man.  Elvis just never had any great appeal to me.  I never disliked his music, but I always thought of him as someone who stole R&B songs and cleaned them up for white radio.  And as a bloated Vegas lounge singer in his later years.  But this collection of early Elvis songs gives me a new perspective on the King.  These songs combine aspects of R&B, country-western, and rockabilly with some impressive crooning balladry a la Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra to create the sound that eventually became rock and roll.  Pretty impressive for a young kid from the sticks who had just graduated from high school.  This was the first record on the list that was a little spendy (I bought this from the LiveNation site for $44.34), but I’m glad I got it because it changed my perspective on one of the great figures in rock and roll history.  However, I remain a Beatles man 🙂

Other lists: “Mystery Train” is #77 and “That’s All Right” is #113 on Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Elvis is #3 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists and also #3 on the list of the 100 Greatest Singers.

Ch-ch-changes: The original Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums lists, published in November 2003, has an Elvis Presley album called “The Sun Sessions” in this spot.  Apparently the material is very similar, but less comprehensive.  It was only released on vinyl, 8-track, and a very expensive Japanese import CD.  I’ve tried to get the vinyl version on Ebay a couple of times, but I always get outbid.  Seeing as how I don’t even own a turntable right now, I guess it doesn’t really matter.  Once I get a turntable, I’ll check it out.

My favorite track: “You’re a Heartbreaker”

Honorable mention: “”I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine”

Quote: “You’re a smooth talker, you’re a real cool walker, but now you have talked out of turn.”

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My copy of “The White Album” still has the price tag from World Record on the front of it.  Apparently I paid #12.99 for this used copy sometime after May 17th, 1996, which would have been towards the end of my sophomore year of college.  Oh how I miss World Record!  It was the music store above High Street currently occupied by Used Kids Records.  Back in the day, World Record specialized in house music and techno, but like most record stores on High Street, you could pretty much find anything if you looked in the right places.  I remember they had listening stations where you could listen to the latest releases before you bought them.  I think World Record was struggling in the digital music revolution of the early 2000s, and then one fateful day I happened to be CD shopping on High Street and the Used Kids annex was on fire!  Used Kids was below High Street, and when their original store was destroyed, somehow they moved upstairs and took over the space that housed World Record, and it is still there to this day.

Anyhow, I remember blasting this album loudly in my dorm room after I bought it.  Although a lot of the album is softer and slower (like “Martha My Dear” and “Julia”) there are some pretty loud rockers on this album.  I especially was into “Helter Skelter” back in the day because of the loud guitar riff (and by the way, fuck Charles Manson for associating himself with this song!).  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was another favorite of mine, and I will always adore the story of Desmond and Molly Jones in “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”.  And somehow, even though it seems to defy conventional logic, we actually did “Blackbird” (yes, with choreography) as a number in my high school show choir.

Other lists: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is #136 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Several songs make the list of the 100 Greatest Beatles Songs, including: #10 “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, #24 “Happiness is a Warm Gun”, #38 “Blackbird”, #52 “Helter Skelter”, #63 “Dear Prudence”, #69 “Julia”, #73 “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey”, #76 “Yer Blues”, #80 “Mother Nature’s Son”, # 83 “I’m So Tired”, #85 “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, #93 “Sexy Sadie”, and #98 “Long, Long, Long” (the version of “Revolution” on this list is not the version from “The White Album” though).

My favourite track: “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”

Honourable mention: “Helter Skelter”

Quote: “Obladi, oblada, life goes on bra. Lala, how the life goes on.”

Well, a power outage, internet problems, the 4th of July holiday, a camping trip, and a week of teaching music to elementary children in the evenings have all conspired to make it awhile since my last post.  But things have settled down and I am back on track.  So I picked up this album at Half Price Books for $3.99 (minus my 10% teacher discount :)).  It’s not quite as sarcastic as “Highway 61 Revisited”, and the lyrics are not quite as witty either.  However, they do still have that great Bob Dylan bite to them, especially on “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” and “Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine”.  Interestingly, on this album Bobby seems far more concerned with women (“Pledging My Time”, “I Want You”, and “Temporary Like Achilles”) than the state of world affairs.  Musically, this shifts back and forth quickly between the blues and folk, but the bluesy songs have more wit than sadness.

Other lists: “Just Like a Woman” is #232 and “Visions of Johanna” is #413 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

My favorite track: “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again”

Honorable mention: “Temporary Like Achilles”

Quote: “And here I sit so patiently waiting to find out what price you have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice.”