Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR! with New Years Songs music player

It's 2010, let the fun begin!

Count your blessings.

Rock'n'Soul Playlist,
by Tym Stevens
This is a Spotify player. Join up for free here.

A history of NEW YEARS songs from the 1950s to today, in chronological order.

Rockabilly! Jazz! Blues!
Soundtracks! Soul! Country!
Garage! Psychedelic! Funk!
Glam! Reggae! Punk!
New Wave! HipHop! Electro!

and more!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Suzie Q" - Dale Hawkins > Creedence Clearwater Revival

ROCK Sex likes 'the way you walk and the way you talk'.

Creativity compounds itself in unexpected directions. Here's another example.


The original version of "Susie Q" was by unsung swampabilly guitarist Dale Hawkins.

(The slamming guitar break by James Burton shows how Rock'n'Roll was the Punk of the times).

DALE HAWKINS -"Susie Q" (1957)

In the early to mid-'60s, it was subsequently covered by luminaries like Lonnie Mack, Gene Vincent, The Rolling Stones, The Everly Brothers, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and even the early Velvet Underground.

But it was the epic workout by Creedence Clearwater Revival on their debut album that many folks remember so well that they think it's CCR's song.


Glam queen Suzi Quatro built her style out of '50s boogie-woogie and leather, and it was an easy association to make likening her to a real-life "Suzie Q":

SUZI QUATRO -"Can the Can" (1973)

Suzi's image clearly inspired Joan Jett and Gaye Advert, and her name may have inspired the Punk Suzie Q, SIOUXSIE SIOUX; on their first gig, they were called 'Suzie and The Banshees' before the spelling change.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-1950s PUNK: Sex, Thugs, and Rock'n'Roll!, with Music Player

-1950s Rock, A: The '60s Disciples, with Music Player
-1950s Rock, B: The '70s Disciples, with Music Player

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

LADIES FIRST: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood!" - Nina Simone > The Animals > KILL BILL

Ladies First = She Did It First

LADIES FIRST wants to clear up any misunderstandings.


In today's installment of "she did it first", here is Nina Simone with the original version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". The song was written especially for her to record.

While it is a metaphor about emotional relationships, her vaunted activism gives it a broader social context.

NINA SIMONE -"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1964)

The Animals released their international hit cover version the following year, making it a staple in many Garage bands' set lists. It was propelled by the distinctive vocal of Eric Burdon, the guitar figure by Hilton Valentine, and organ harmony of Alan Price.

THE ANIMALS -"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1965)

In the late '70s it took on epic dance dimensions by the Disco group Santa Esmeralda. This version gained new street cred when its instrumental break was used in the film, KILL BILL, Vol. 1 (2004).

SANTA ESMERALDA -"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (1977)

The KILL BILL soundtrack included the Santa Esmeralda track as well as Nancy Sinatra's cover of "Bang Bang". Perhaps taking their cue from this, here is STRANGEFRUIT combining the guitar sound of Nancy's song along with Nina's version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood":

STRANGEFRUIT -"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (2009)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Monday, December 28, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Time Is Tight!" - Booker T > The Clash > Elvis Costello > Squeeze

ROCK Sex knows sometimes time is timeless.


Booker T And The MG's were the premiere Soul band of the 1960s.

They backed Atlantic Records stars like Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and Sam And Dave, as well as Stax Records artists like William Bell, Eddie Floyd, and Carla Thomas. They also made their own classic instrumental albums, inspiring bands like The Meters, the Muscle Shoals studio bands, and CCR.

Here they are backing up Otis on this killer groove.

OTIS REDDING -"I Can't Turn You Loose" (1965)

A few years later, when doing the soundtrack for the film UPTIGHT, the MG's retooled the riff into this proto-Funk instrumental classic.

BOOKER T & THE MG'S -"Time Is Tight" (1968)

Notice their heavy influence on the sound of Creedence Clearwater Revival, like for instance this song.


Directly on the MG's heels this Ska version quickly followed.

SOUND DIMENSIONS -"Time Is Tight" (1969)

The song gained new life in the late '70s as an into theme for The Blues Brothers, whose band included guitarist Steve Cropper and bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn from The MG's, which they combined with Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose".

THE BLUES BROTHERS -"I Can't Turn You Loose" (1978)

About the same time it was covered by these eclectic Punk upstarts:

THE CLASH -"Time Is Tight" (1978)

ELVIS COSTELLO used it as the basis for this song.

ELVIS COSTELLO -"Temptation" (1980)

And his friends molded it into this song.

SQUEEZE -"In Quintessence" (1981)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Sunday, December 20, 2009

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! A Rock'n'Soul Music Player

Hear hundreds of great Christmas,
Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and New Years songs,
all in order from 1947 to Today!

Rockabilly! Jazz! Blues!
Soundtracks! Soul! Country!
Garage Rock! Psychedelic! Funk!
Glam! Reggae! Punk!
New Wave! HipHop! Electro!

and more!

Spotify playlist title=
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!: Rock'n'Soul Playlist

This is a Spotify player. Join up for free here.

*(The Player is limited to the first 200 songs.
Hear the unlimited Playlist here.)


Julie London, Elvis, LaVern Baker,
Ella Fitzgerald, Ramsey Lewis, John Coltrane,
The Everly Brothers, Aretha Franklin,
The Ronettes, The Surfaris, The Beach Boys,
Jimmy Smith, The Sonics, Stevie Wonder,
Booker T & The MGs, James Brown, The Who,
Isaac Hayes, Jimi Hendrix, Donny Hathaway,
The Temptations, John Lennon and Yoko Ono,
Laura Nyro, Marvin Gaye, Johnny Cash,
Big Star, David Bowie, The Damned,
Kurtis Blow, Fear, Al Green,
Monty Python's Flying Circus, Queen,
Prince, Fishbone, Run DMC, The Bangles,
U2, Los Lobos, Ramones, El Vez,
Luscious Jackson, The Fall, Reigning Sound,
The Flaming Lips, William "Bootsy" Collins,
The Smithereens, The Hives, Bob Dylan,
Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings, 45 Grave,
Jeff Buckley, The Black Keys,
and many more!

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-THANKSGIVING!, with Music Player

-DIA DE LOS MUERTOS and HALLOWEEN Rock En Espanol, with 2 Music Players

-HALLOWEEN!, with Music Player

Saturday, December 19, 2009

LADIES FIRST: "When the Levee Breaks!" - Memphis Minnie > Led Zeppelin

Ladies First = She Did It First

LADIES FIRST is about to weep and moan.


Memphis Minnie was a ferocious guitarist in the early decades of Blues music. She could hold her own in any guitar dual, and if you got out of bounds she whipped out her knife.

While she sang most of her recorded songs, on this occasion the vocal was done by her then husband, Kansas Joe McCoy.

This song laments the terrible Mississippi River flood of 1927.

MEMPHIS MINNIE -"When the Levee Breaks" (1929)

Like the tremendous inspiration that they had from Joni Mitchell and Sandy Denny, Led Zeppelin likewise canonized Memphis Minnie's song with this evergreen...

LED ZEPPELIN -"When the Levee Breaks" (1971)

So tell your rockboy friends that "she did it first".

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Friday, December 18, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego!" - Funkadelic > Sly Stone > Beastie Boys

ROCK Sex says, "Yeah, that's right, it's time to set the record straight!"

Time for some Funk tag today...


First the scandelous Funkadelic recorded this twisted ditty...

FUNKADELIC -"Loose Booty" (1972)

Then Sly Stone liked the title so much he made a new song, throwing in the immortal chorus "Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego" from his Gospel background.

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE -"Loose Booty" (1974)

Then The Beastie Boys sampled Sly's chant of the biblical nobles "Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego" as the hook in their song...

BEASTIE BOYS -"Shadrach" (1989)

After refining their Funk chops by playing to Sly records, The Beasties twistedly did a cover of another Sly song in a Punk update...

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE -"Time For Livin'" (1974)

BEASTIE BOYS -"Time For Livin'" (1992)

(note Adam's Sly Stone t-shirt at 0:10)

"Find yourself some room to let it all hang out/
Get into some dancing, do what it's all about!"

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-SLICE TONES: Sly Stone & His Infinite Influence!, with 5 Music Players

Thursday, December 17, 2009

LADIES FIRST: "Hanky Panky!" - The Raindrops > Tommy James > Rita Chao

ROCK Sex is debuting a new feature that will rotate regularly in the future: LADIES FIRST.

Today's spotlight could also be called "She Did It First". Rock'n'Roll was always made by men and women from all genres and backgrounds. But at the end of the day, sexist marketers and lazy journalism reduced it to a cock fight; male male white man yadda yadda yeah. This blog is one long reality check in general, and here very specifically.

Many of the songs we grew up on assuming were originated by tough men were in fact trailblazed by cool women. Here's our first example...


Famed hitmakers Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich wrote scores of classic songs that we all love. For one of their girl groups they had to come up with a throwaway B-side in twenty minutes. So THE RAINDROPS recorded this song...

THE RAINDROPS -"Hanky Panky" (1963)

Soon after, another girl group did their take on it, with more Rockin' swing.

THE SUMMITS -"Hanky Panky" (1963)

Tommy James heard a local Indiana garage band cover it. He was unsure of the lyrics, from that quick impression, so in true "Louie Louie" fashion he kind of fudged and improvised them. It became a leftfield hit that ignited his career.

TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS -"Hanky Panky" (recorded 1963, hit in 1965)

In Singapore women again took up the call. But this time Rita Chao sang James' version phonetically (making an unintentionally delightful lesbian anthem), while Nancy Sit sang it in her own language.

RITA CHAO & THE QUESTS/ NANCY SIT -"Hanky Panky" (1967)

"Hanky Panky" was meant as filler, but it lasted because it was so brazenly about sex and being proud to love having sex. What's cool is that despite all the changes in its handoff, that core randiness never gets lost.

Now that's Rock'n'Roll...the very name of which came from slang for rockin' and rollin' in bed.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New STARSTRUCK article from Publishers Weekly!

Publishers Weekly has a new article spotlighting the galactic grrrl space opera, STARSTRUCK comics!

Check it out here.

Smart art for hip people!

> Starstruck official website

© Tym Stevens

See Also:

-The Return of STARSTRUCK! Or, Riot Grrrls Conquer the Universe!,
the triumphant return of STARSTRUCK Comics
-STARSTRUCK Strikes Back!,
the History of STARSTRUCK from Stage Play to Comics
-The Big Bang of STARSTRUCK: The Roots and Branches of Elaine Lee & Michael Kaluta's space opera;
how it synthesized all Sci-Fi culture into something new, and predicted everything we've enjoyed since

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ROCK Sex: When WIRE Met Elastica

ROCK Sex sees how "a vital connection is made".


I love Elastica because they were the sum result of a lot of great influences gelling into something unique.

Every act is the sum of their parts, it's true, but sometimes someone pulls it together just right for you. It's the difference between laying all the ingredients out on the table versus cooking them with your own touch.

Elastica expanded on some melodies from the great PostPunk band Wire, and get no end of grief for it from literalists. Whatever. I enjoy what they brought to already fine songs.

WIRE -"Three Girl Rhumba" (1977)

ELASTICA -"Connection" (1994)

WIRE -"I Am the Fly" (1977)

ELASTICA -"Line Up" (1995)


Perversely, in light of all the flak they got in '95, Elastica returned in 2000 to also do a couple more songs almost willfully interpolating melodies from Wire.

WIRE -"Kidney Bingos" (1977)

ELASTICA -"Nothing Stays the Same" (2000)

WIRE -"Lowdown" (1988)

ELASTICA -"Human" (2000)


Elastica's leader, Justine Frischmann also admired the arpeggiated use of guitars in the riff for this song...

THE STRANGLERS -"No More Heroes" (1978)

Though The Stranglers didn't get any grief from Bach for their baroque moves, Elastica didn't escape so lightly in kind for using the same playing approach with their own unique song.

ELASTICA -"Waking Up" (1995)

I say it's all good. We're lucky to have had each and get such great work between them.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Monday, December 14, 2009

ROCK Sex: DOCTOR WHO Theme - Delia Derbyshire > Gary Glitter > KLF > Human League

ROCK Sex says "the Doctor is IN!".

Today, an "A + B = C" song chain, featuring the Doctor Who theme.


One cool thing added to another another cool thing gives you a third cool thing. It's like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, the color spectrum, and babies.

Ron Grainger may have composed the theme for "Doctor Who" on paper, but everyone knows it was Delia Derbyshire who performed her sonic wizardry in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to make this Electronic classic what it is.

The true wielder of the sonic screwdriver is Delia.

DELIA DERBYSHIRE -"Doctor Who Theme" (1963)

As a flipside to his Glam Rock single "Rock'n'Roll", Gary Glitter did this epic instrumental. Long before it was massacred by your local sports event. (Gary made a handful of cool songs, but Gary himself...well, that's a sad story.)

GARY GLITTER -"Rock'n'Roll, Part 2" (1972)

And The KLF, under the alias The Timelords, combined the two in this dance club hit.

THE TIMELORDS/ KLF -"Doctorin' the Tardis" (12" version) (1988)


The youth entranced in the '60s and '70s by Delia Derbyshire and the BBC radiophonic Workshop's eerie textural soundtracks grew up to become New Wave, EDM, and Industrial pioneers. Here's proof in what could have been an alternate theme for DOCTOR WHO, named after the Fourth Doctor himself.

THE HUMAN LEAGUE -"Tom Baker" (1980)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-"Delia Derbyshire - Sculptress of Sound" documentary
-"The Delian Mode - Delia Derbyshire" documentary


STARSTRUCK, the illustrated Sci-Fi masterpiece where Riot Grrls take over the galaxy, has new pages on FACEBOOK!

> Starstruck official website

We all know that the '80s renaissance of comix included WATCHMEN, DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, AMERICAN FLAGG, MIRACLEMAN, and LOVE & ROCKETS.

But easily as bold, much more ambitious, and far more funny was STARSTRUCK. Yet the acclaimed series by Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta was criminally overlooked. And let's face it... it's because it starred kickass funny women instead of terse aggro men. Now it has returned in monthly issues with expanded art and stunning color.

Time to catch up to the better revolution and support STARSTRUCK today!

> IDW Publishing

© Tym Stevens

See Also:

-The Return of STARSTRUCK! Or, Riot Grrrls Conquer the Universe!,
the triumphant return of STARSTRUCK Comics
-STARSTRUCK Strikes Back!,
the History of STARSTRUCK from Stage Play to Comics
-The Big Bang of STARSTRUCK: The Roots and Branches of Elaine Lee & Michael Kaluta's space opera;
how it synthesized all Sci-Fi culture into something new, and predicted everything we've enjoyed since

Sunday, December 13, 2009

ROCK Sex: "We Can Beat Them, Forever And Ever!" - Question Mark + Mysterians > Redbone > Bowie

ROCK Sex wants to "steal time, just for one day".


Okay, you're going think I'm crazy on this one, but what's new?

File this in the "A + B = C" category.

Combine the surging sway of the rhythm section in this song...

QUESTION MARK And The MYSTERIANS -"96 Tears" (1966)

...with the rhythmic intro riff of this song...

REDBONE -"Come And Get Your Love" (1973)

...and see if you don't hear them in this song: that sing-song sway, and the riff in the guitar figure...

DAVID BOWIE -"Heroes" (1977)

Maybe it's just me.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Saturday, December 12, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Me and Mrs. Jones" - Billy Paul > Lords Of Acid > Amy Winehouse

ROCK Sex is trying to keep up with the Jones'!

You may have heard that "Me And Mrs. Jones" have a thing going on. But evidently everybody is getting a bit of the jones as they make the rounds around and around.


BILLY PAUL -"Me and Mrs. Jones" (1972)

LORDS OF ACID -"She and Mr. Jones" (explicit version, 1998)

AMY WINEHOUSE -"Me and Mr. Jones" (2006)

"While the jukebox plays our favorite songs..."

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Friday, December 11, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Push it real good!" - Beach Boys > Salt-n-Pepa > Garbage

ROCK Sex says, "Get up on this!"

The essence of creativity is that two cool things make a new third cool thing. Here's where two different songs lead to a third song.




THE BEACH BOYS -"Don't Worry, Baby" (1964)



SALT-n-PEPA -"Push It" (1987)




GARBAGE -"Push It" (1998)

"Ooh, baby, baby
Push it reallll good!"

Keep on pushing forward!

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Girl U Want" - Devo > Soundgarden > Polysics > Boyskout

ROCK Sex is 'headed for the pleasure burn'.


"She sends out an aroma of undefined lust
It drips on down in a mist from above.
She's just the girl, she's just the girl.
The girl you want."

Today's culture baton handoff evolves from devolution.

Devo starts it with the great Electro anthem "Girl U Want":

DEVO -"Girl U Want" (1980)

Later, Soundgarden slows it down to a grunge grind.

SOUNDGARDEN -"Girl U Want" (1991)

Devo, ever re-evolving, then remade it for the 1995 TANK GIRL soundtrack taking Soundgarden's cue.
TANK GIRL: DEVO WIth Jula Bell -"Girl U Want" (1995)

In turn, Devo's song has covered by Robert Palmer, Superchunk, Zombie Ghost Train, and CRX; and here in Spanish by Chancho en Piedra.
CHANCHO EN PIEDRA -"Calentón" (1998)

At this point the standard evolves into the abstract, with the riff interpolated into a new song by Polysics.

POLYSICS -"Each Life Each End" (2000)

Scouting for girls, the cool and underappreciated Boyskout admitted she's just the girl, she's just the girl, the girl they want:

BOYSKOUT -"Jesse James" (2004)

Continuing the 21st Century overwrite, here's a flip on the blips.

DEVO 2.0 -"Boy U Want" (2006)

"You hear her calling everywhere you turn/
You know you're headed for the pleasure burn"

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Slippin' Into Darkness!" - War > Bob Marley > Tupac

ROCK Sex 'takes your mind beyond the dreams'.

Another musical relay race today, where one song changes hands and sounds and names.


Between 1970 and 1977, you couldn't go up against WAR.

This formidable Funk troop could take down all comers with their scary chops and continuous hits. Here's the abstractly anti-drug anthem, "Slippin' Into Darkness".

WAR -"Slippin' Into Darkness" (1972)

Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer spliced that riff into their spliff with this classic of their own:

THE WAILERS -"Get Up Stand Up" (1973)

Meanwhile the deluge of covers began. Here's a survey of the different slants everybody brought to the groove.

THE 19th WHOLE goes with vibraphones, organ, and peels of acid guitar:

THE 19th WHOLE -"Slipping Into Darkness" (1972)

Ohio grew great Funk like it was grass (Bootsy Collins, Ohio Players, Zapp). Here's THE DAYTON SIDEWINDERS putting some serious Meters-style hard kick into the song:

THE DAYTON SIDEWINDERS -"Slipping Into Darkness" (197_)

Now original groover RAMSEY LEWIS sasses some Jazz razzmatazz on it, with some slow slunk in the style of Sly And The Family Stone's There's A Riot Goin' On.

RAMSEY LEWIS -"Slipping Into Darkness" (1973)

CARL BRADNEY goes Marley one better by giving it the full-on Reggae treatment, with beautiful harmonies.

Naturally hardcore L.A. HipHop put a kit on it.

FUNKY AZTEKS, ft. 2PAC -"Slippin' Into Darkness" (1995)

The song is now a standard for every self-respecting Funk band.

LETTUCE -"Slipping Into Darkness" (2012)

The song has also been used in the films AMERICAN ME (1992) and SUICIDE SQUAD (2016).


There's a "War" touring around nowdays, but it's just one guy with a legal name-grab. Instead, go see THE LOW RIDER BAND, which has all the surviving members in great form!

"Where I talk to my brothers who never said their names."

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Monday, December 7, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Everyday People" - Sly Stone > Joan Jett > Arrested Development

ROCK Sex has been known to be "the longhair who doesn't like the shorthair for being such a rich one who will not help the poor one".


Starting off today's relay, here's the godly Sly And The Family Stone talking about you and me:

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE -"Everyday People" (1968)

Sly's original phrase, "Different strokes for different folks," was also the inspiration for the name of TV's "Different Strokes" series (1979), and the film title EVERDAY PEOPLE (2004).

JOAN JETT keeps it all in the family:

JOAN JETT -"Everyday People" (1983)

"Everyday People" has also been covered by The Staple Singers, Peggy Lee, Billy Paul, The Supremes, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin, Medeski Martin And Wood, Pearl Jam, and Jeff Buckley.

It's nah-nah kids chant "And so on and so on" can be heard in the rhythm of the taunt "Yes I had your boyfriend" in this song.

MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO -"If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)" (1994)

And ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT remain sliced in familial tones:

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT -"People Everyday" (1992)


Record Store Day special release 45rpm, 2015

"We've got to live together!"

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-SLICE TONES: Sly Stone & His Infinite Influence!, with 5 Music Players

Sunday, December 6, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Let's Dance" - David Bowie > George Clinton > Craig David

ROCK Sex is putting on its red shoes to dance the blues.


Here's David Bowie's comeback hit "Let's Dance", which helped launch the career of guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan:

DAVID BOWIE -"Let's Dance" (1982)

Here's P-Funk commander George Clinton meeting him back at the turnaround:

GEORGE CLINTON -"Last Dance" (1983)

And here's Craig David putting some new steps in the relay:

CRAIG DAVID -"Hot Stuff (Let's Dance)" (2007)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Saturday, December 5, 2009

ROCK Sex: "You Can't Hurry Love" - The Supremes > Iggy Pop > The Jam > David Bowie

ROCK Sex thinks you can't beat a great beat.


The Supremes amped up the Motown beat to spectacular effect in their smash hit "You Can't Hurry Love".

THE SUPREMES -"You Can't Hurry Love" (1966)

Iggy Pop turned that same beat around on his own "Lust For Life".

IGGY POP -"Lust For Life" (rec. 1978)

The neo-Mods The Jam used the beat in this song. At the time, the classic film "A Town Like Alice" had just been remade, and the title punned off of that.

THE JAM -"Town Called Malice" (1982)

As the Motown permeated New Wave and Pop in the mid-'80s, the beat became a shorthand for any Motown homage.

DAVID BOWIE -"Modern Love" (1982)

Here's the Glasgow all-female band Lustleg put their own spin on Iggy.
LUSTLEG -"Lust For Leg" (1997)


There are scores of songs that use or peruse the beat, which you can hear on this Music Player.

The songs are in chronological order from 1966 to today.

This is a Spotify player. Join up for free here.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Thursday, December 3, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Walk On the Wild Side" - Genderblenders/ Enders/ Transcenders!

ROCK Sex wants everybody to come.

Previously we explored the themes of "I'm A Man" and "I'm A Woman". That's a couple of colors, and now let's get into the rest of the spectrum.

Rock'n'Roll is all about dancing your way out of your constrictions. From the beginning it laughed at 'Either/Or' deadends like race, status, and age. It also cocked a snook at gender and sexuality barriers, too.


What better avatar of androgony than the ever fabulous Little Richard, from whom Jimi Hendrix, Prince, and Rupaul all descend?

LITTLE RICHARD -"Lucille" (1957)

While the sensual abandon and preening glamour of Elvis Presley unnerved the squares, imagine how they must have felt about the legions of young Rockabilly women who belted it out just as strong. Alis Lesley went beyond mimicking his name to wearing his clothes, doing his moves, and styling her hair in a pompadour with spitcurls for sideburns!:

ALIS LESLEY -"Heartbreak Harry" (1957)

It's always been common for singers to keep the lyrics of a song the same without changing the gender context, such as Ella Fitgerald covering "Lady, Be Good". The Beatles' version of The Shirelles' "Boys" is one of those. But for an act who had already rattled the androgony limits with their haircuts, this song must have had a special import to certain fans:

THE BEATLES -"Boys" (live, 1964)

As proven out by the subtext of this song by Ray Davies, working out his kinks:

THE KINKS -"David Watts" (1967)

Singapore's Rita Chao was probably just reproducing the Tommy James hit song "Hanky Panky" phonetically, but it takes on a deeper dimension nonetheless when she sings it.

I made this video to illustrate the history of women in love throughout the centuries:

RITA CHAO & The Quests/ NANCY SIT -"Hanky Panky" (1967)

Maybe the only label that's interesting is in the collar. Syd Barrett says grin and bear it.

PINK FLOYD -"Arnold Layne" (1967)

You are who you say you are.

THE TAGES -"She Is A Man" (1967)

By the late '60s, with long hair, free love, liberation movements, and tribal bonding, a more open attitude about gender, sensuality, and orientation came out. Previously Paul McCartney had made an unintended crossdressing implication by mis-singing the lyrics to "Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da". This time he does it on purpose:

THE BEATLES -"Get Back" (1969)


Enter Ray Davies again with one of the most loaded moments in Rock lyric history;

"Then I looked at her, and she at me...":

THE KINKS -"Lola" (1970)

Lou Reed hung out in Andy Warhol's Factory scene with those who put the free in freak. Here's his transversive travelogue:

LOU REED -"Walk On the Wild Side" (1972)

Why choose between being The Rolling Stones and The Shangri-La's when you can have it all?

THE NEW YORK DOLLS -"Personality Crisis" (1973)

For those gandering at the spruce gooses, here's a gander goosing it up herself. (Who writes this stuff? Oh, heh heh, it's me.) From Suzi Quatro we get Joan Jett and The Runaways, Gaye Advert of The Adverts, and myriad more riot grrls:

SUZI QUATRO -"Glycerine Queen" (rec. 1973)

John Lennon opined that Glam Rock was "Rock'n'Roll in lipstick". Here's the almighty Alien Androgyne to declare the rouged rebellion:

DAVID BOWIE -"Rebel Rebel" (1974)

"He could lick 'em by smiling/
He could leave 'em to hang..."

BRETT SMILEY -"VaVaVa Voom" (1974)

Time for education by reading the physical graffiti...

MEG CHRISTIAN -"Ode To A Gym Teacher" (1974)

From Motown to GoGoTown...

THE MIRACLES -"Ain't Nobody Straight In L.A." (1975)

Parliament/ Funkadelic was as Glam as anyone, with their platforms, make-up, and flash costumes:

FUNKADELIC -"Jimmy's Got a Little Bit Of Bitch In Him" (1975)

The all-female Funk collective known as Isis was led by Carol McDonald, who wrote openly about her lady loves in her songs. Evidently Glam guys could get away with the genderbender thing while women couldn't, which is why few people have ever heard of this great and neglected band:

ISIS -"Bobbie And Maria" (1975)

This movie was a disastrous flop when it came out, but forged a hardcore fandom that would have astounding influence on the next decade:

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: "Sweet Transvestite" (1975)

Let's tryst again with Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, and David Bowie in a blender.

ELTON MOTELLO -"Jet Boy Jet Girl" (1975)

Funk-Rock shocker Betty Davis was so fierce that sometimes her voice became a gutteral lion's roar that might possess even Linda Blair to twist to attention:

BETTY DAVIS -"Shut Off The Light" (1975)

If Keith Richards had a sister who didn't give the slightest damn about your gender ideas?...

PATTI SMITH -"Pumping (In My Heart)" (1978)

The Rolling Stones had dressed in drag on the cover of their 1966 single, "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby (Standing In the Shadows)". A lot of artists would make a career from that revelatory moment. Here's the future Jayne County of Georgia being man enough to be a woman:

WAYNE COUNTY And The ELectric Chairs -"Man Enough To Be A Woman" (1978)


They say this video killed Queen's career in America. Maybe just with people who have no sense of humor:

QUEEN -"I Want To Break Free" (1981)

'What's the buzz, cock?' We're all human, pass it on...

PETE SHELLEY -"Homo Sapian" (1981)

Here's Boy George with this soulful Lover's Rock classic:

CULTURE CLUB -"Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" (1982)

Bowie's daughter tears the roof off the sucker:

GRACE JONES -"Demolition Man" (1981)

Bowie's other daughter opens up heaven wider:

EURYTHMICS -"Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This" (1983)

If Rita Chao had sung Tommy James' "Hanky Panky" in innocence, then JOAN JETT knew exactly what she was saying with his "Crimson and Clover":

JOAN JETT -"Crimson and Clover" (1983)

This retooling of Prince's song makes an already enticing ménage à trois even more evocative:

CRISTINA -"When You Were Mine" (1984)

Let's look for the purple banana.

PRINCE -"If I Were Your Girlfriend" (1987)

"Jackie couldn't decide if he was a girl/
Or if she was a boy"

DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR -"Have You Seen Jackie?" (1987)


There's a pleasing symmetry to having a threesome for three days...

JANE'S ADDICTION -"Three Days" (1990)

"Everybody loves you when you're Bi!" Maybe Bi means Hello!

LIVING COLOUR -"Bi" (1993)

Who's your Mama now?

TRIBE 8 -"Femme Bitch Top" (1995)

Out and upward, the march toward Queercore begins:

PANSY DIVISION -"I Really Wanted You" (1994)

Go, team!

TEAM DRESCH -"Fagetarian and Dyke" (1995)

Bowie strobes through this like alternating current:

BLUR -"Girls And Boys" (1994)

If Bill Wither's original was charged with paranoia, Meshell ramps up the sexual intrigue:

MESHELL NDEGEOCELLO -"Who Is He and What Is He To You?" (1996)

This quill comes from birds of a feather.

QUEEN PEN, w/ Meshell Ndegeocello -"Girlfriend" (1997)


It's not the length, it's how you use it.

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH: "Angry Inch" (2001)

Glam, bam, thank you, man.

GARBAGE -"Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)" (2004)

Prince's daughter says, "Come on, baby, let's go!"

PEACHES -"I U She" (2004)

"I don't need your boys school of etiquette/ I don't need to be something I'm not/ This is who I am so take me as I come".

Go scout out their records:

BOYSKOUT -"School of Etiquette" (2007)

Turn on, tune in, come out!

LESBIANS ON ECSTASY -"Sedition" (2007)


It's true. We ahould all have a lotta love.

LEZ ZEPPELIN -"Whole Lotta Love" (2015)

'Where the wild things are'? Everybody you know.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-"I'm A Man"
-"I'm A Woman"

-LGBT-themed Songs

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ROCK Sex: "I'm A Woman" - Peggy Lee > Helen Reddy > Yoko Ono > Chaka Khan > Neneh Cherry

ROCK Sex knows that "woman is the other half of the sky".


Yesterday we followed how the threadline of the statement "I'm a Man!" twines through pop music. Today we tilt through more of the human quilt with the statement "I'm a Woman!"

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote dozens of classic Rock'n'Roll songs, including "I'm A Woman". This used the same blues vamp as Muddy Waters "Hoochie Coochie Man", which of course was the inspiration for Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man".

Here's a version from the 1995 Broadway show based on Leiber & Stoller's many hits:


When it was written in 1962, Peggy Lee scored the chartbuster with it, becoming a key song in her repertoire:

PEGGY LEE -"I'm a Woman" (1962)

In 1972, Helen Reddy hit #1 during the rise of Women's Liberation with this empowerment anthem, a different song with a similar name and more advanced outlook:

HELEN REDDY -"I Am Woman" (1972)

Bar none, Yoko Ono was the strongest Feminist in Rock history, one of the actual reasons she is still resented by dwindling lunkheads. In her work "the personal was political" and she took the full brunt of dumb hate while opening the door for The Slits, The Au Pairs, The Poison Girls, Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordan, Bikini Kill, The Gits, Tribe 8, MeShell Ndegeocello, Le Tigre, and Pussy Riot after her:

YOKO ONO -"Woman Power" (1973)

(The Soul Power choruses anticipate the same move in the 1976 "Wonder Woman" theme.)

As a parallel track to that, there's John Lennon. As a young man he wrote the song "Girl", a catchy ode with a young man's attitude. Here's another take on that:

NIKKI CHORE -"Girl" (2007)

Later, as his politics became more sophisticated, he joined his wife Yoko in the humanist struggle for empowerment, and made a "grown-up" response to his earlier song:

JOHN LENNON -"Woman" (1980)

Here's Neneh Cherry with a different song of the same name that has very Lennon-esque use of ballad pace and chamber strings:

NENEH CHERRY -"Woman" (1996)

If Peggy and Helen sung as one strong person that many women identified with, then Chaka Khan decided to be completely universal in this classic:

CHAKA KHAN- "I'm Every Woman" (1978)

Broadening the concept even deeper are artists beyond gender parameters.


DAME EDNA & kd lang - "I'm Every Woman" (2008)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

ROCK Sex: "I'm A Man"

ROCK Sex: "I'm A Man" - Bo Diddley > Muddy Waters > Spencer Davis > Chicago > Devo

ROCK Sex gives you the rewind of the throughline!

Here's how the declarative statement, "I'm a Man!", took some terrific and unlikely paths.


Bo Diddley was inspired by the riff and swagger of Muddy Waters' Hoochie Coochie Man" (1954) to rewrite it as a youthful boast:

BO DIDDLEY -"I'm a Man" (1955)

Muddy Waters was a labelmate with Bo at the legendary Chess Records. He responded with a wry wink in this response:

MUDDY WATERS -"Mannish Boy" (1956)

Later, as a generation of rock groups kept homaging his work, Waters responded by re-recording his song in an Acid Rock style:

MUDDY WATERS -"Mannish Boy" (1968)

Acolyte JIMI HENDRIX can be heard in this candid studio jam taking that further:

JIMI HENDRIX -"Mannish Boy" (1966?)

Jimi also used the phrase "I'm a man/ at least I'm trying to be" to kick off his song, "Steppin' Stone".

Coming round lately, here's BLACK STROBE (France) merging the tough Blues with a touch of Electronica:

BLACK STROBE -"I'm a Man" (2007)

Taking the electronic angle to fruition, here's perennials DEVO protesting violence against the common people:

DEVO -"Don't Shoot (I'm a Man)" (2008)

On a parallel track, The Spencer Davis Group, propelled by the soulful organ and vocals of young Steve Winwood, kicked out the jams with this proto-Funk classic of their own:

SPENCER DAVIS GROUP -"I'm a Man" (1967)

Here's organist Mick Weaver, working under the band name WYNDER K. FROG, tearing up the party some more:

WYNDER K. FROG -"I'm a Man" (1967)

And here's how many people know the song, in this stellar cover by the emerging band CHICAGO, with lead guitar and vocals by the late Terry Kath, along with bassist Peter Cetera:

CHICAGO -"I'm a Man" (1970)

The song was done in Disco versions by the appropriately named MACHO from Italy in 1978, and by rocker KEITH EMERSON for a 1981 film soundtrack.

Lately the song has been covered by these Texican brothers:

LOS LONELY BOYS -"I'm a Man" (2008)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-ROCK Sex: "I'm A Woman"