Friday, December 31, 2010


"...let's make it a good one, without any fear!" -John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Women rock! Learn more at:
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Rock'n'Roll Christmas!

Barely in time for Christmas, here's a music player of Rockin' holiday tunes!

Six decades of hip-shaking goodness!

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Merry Twist-mas to all!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

TWIN PEAKS: Its Influence on 20 Years of Film, TV, and Music!

...with 5 Music Players!

Update: TWIN PEAKS will return
with new episodes in 2017!

"The music from Twin Peaks is dark, cloying, and obsessive -- and one of the best scores ever written for television." -Brian Mansfield, All Music Guide

"The sometimes overtly and sometimes subliminally creepy music Badalamenti created contributed immeasurably to the deeply unsettling textures of the series." -Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide

Celebrating TWIN PEAKS' unending influence, here are five music players with songs from the show, the music that inspired it, and the music that it inspired!

Chapter Index:

The Facts:
A-TWIN PEAKS and the triumph of quality
B-TWIN PEAKS: Its influence on Film, TV, Games, and Comics

Music Players:
1-TWIN PEAKS: The Soundtracks
2-TWIN PEAKS: Songs that inspired its sound
3-FIRE WALK WITH ME: Songs that inspired its sound
4-TWIN PEAKS: Songs that it inspired
5-TWIN PEAKS: Songs in the spirit of Twin Peaks


(Note: this article will not spoil anything for people who haven't seen it yet.)

David Lynch

TWIN PEAKS and the Triumph of Quality

TWIN PEAKS completely changed television for the better. Along the way it had a massive influence on movies, music, video games, and coffee sales.

TWIN PEAKS debuted on April 8, 1990, created by auteur film director David Lynch. It was a summer replacement series, with a two hour pilot and seven episodes. It was so successful that a second season followed for a total of 30 episodes. Perceiving that the audience was dwindling, ABC cancelled it in 1991. Lynch responded with a theatrical prequel, TWIN PEAKS-FIRE WALK WITH ME (FWWM), in 1992.

TWIN PEAKS brought a sophistication to television that it wasn't ready for, but which time has borne out in the best shows since. It coerced TV away from overly glossy cartoons into a more edgy, more surreal, more manic, and more honest maturity. Detracted by dunces, with time its quality has made it a legend and an unassailable classic.

TWIN PEAKS -"Opening Credits" (1990)

This essay will first cover the direct impact of TWIN PEAKS on many areas of pop culture, and then give you five music players of TWIN PEAKS' musical influence.

"G*dd@mn, these people are confusing." -Carl, FIRE WALK WITH ME

F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan)

If it was so great, why didn't it last?

TWIN PEAKS was a massive success in its first season. The summer series -from shocking pilot to season cliffhanger- riveted America with its adult tone, its cinematic panache, and kinky fun. The phrase "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" haunted every magazine, ad, and water cooler. Everyone couldn't wait till the Fall season to find out who killed the prom queen.

TWIN PEAKS' first season played like a murder mystery with soap sidelines and a balance of edge and burlesque. The FBI agent had a really surreal dream once, but nothing to indicate how much more that would mean. In truth, that exception was the heart of everything important to come, and what would drive the mainstream running back to standard pablum.

Rote shows like "Murder She Wrote" solved every crime in 45 minutes with snack breaks built in. This coloring book formula worked for a shocking twelve seasons and implied evil was a person, an action, and a quick penalty. It's no wonder this baby food didn't prepare anyone for how to digest Episode 9 of TWIN PEAKS. The first ten minutes of this second season premiere were so surreal and ambiguous the show lost almost all of the viewing audience in one single swoop.

Which was foolish...because that's exactly when everything got deep and incredibly interesting. While many fawn for the light purity of the first season, it's actually #9 through #17 where all the greatness hits its shattering peak. Ya snoozed, ya losed, I said it, take the bruise.

In the blurt culture of now, every action you make has been snark-attacked on web forums before you've even thought of doing it. So when people casually blurt to you who the killer is...please know that they are actually wrong. That's the surface, and there is far more to it than one person and one act.

TWIN PEAKS does what robo-cop shows can't; it asks the real question, the hard question, of 'What is Evil, and where does it come from?' And it dares to actually sketch out an ambitious answer. This subtext is what most mainstream viewers missed entirely, and why their cheap blurt is actually as clueless as it is tonedeaf.

The Man From Another Place (Michael Anderson)

TWIN PEAKS also replaced the pantomime ciphers of normal shows with actual characters with tics, obsessions, contradictions, and mistakes. This got written off by media hacks with the timeworn term 'quirky'. When some flack uses 'quirky' or 'eccentric' or 'weird' (shudder) to describe interesting characters, kick them really hard with twenty years worth of spring action.

There's a great writer for Entertainment Weekly I really like but his opinion of TWIN PEAKS is lopsided, and the one endlessly parroted by others; 'TWIN PEAKS peaked early and fell apart as it went.' Untrue. It peaked in the middle, wandered a little, then peaked again with the most shocking ending ever televised. So act like you know and let's go already.

Another sad saw is 'the failure of TWIN PEAKS', which argues the ratings went down as a valid response to an implied quality decline. The show had some interior flaws to work out in its latter days, but the actual failure is in the general audience to pay attention, and in the media uholding that reflexive impatience.

TWIN PEAKS parted the curtain to bring maturity, ambiguity, surrealism, absurdism, and the subjective to the mass television audience. Much of that has been explored in network and cable shows ever since.

In that sense, where it matters, TWIN PEAKS is one of the most successful shows of all time.

"That Gum You Like Is Coming Back In Style…" -The Man From Another Place

"Who do you think this is there?"

TWIN PEAKS had roots in myriad soils: soaps like "Peyton Place"; indie nihilism like "Rivers Edge"; the empathic FBI agents of Harris' "Red Dragon" and "Silence Of The Lambs"; and a hell of a lot of late 50's and early 60's pop culture. It added up to a timeless and unique vision unlike anything ever seen. Created by filmmaker David Lynch with writer Mark Frost, it blended many of their obsessions into a new world that felt comfortingly right and dangerously wrong. Like a combination of ice cream parlor and funeral parlor.

While it flamed brief, it became a wildfire igniting other media to this day.


"Wiseguy"; "Northern Exposure"; "The X-Files", "The Wire"

-Actually TWIN PEAKS was being homaged before it even debuted! The series "Wiseguy" (1987-90) had a bizarre storyline in a small Washington state log town. The writers were also working on the impending first season of PEAKS so the events in 'Lynchboro' (s.3/ep.60-64) took on a strangely esper edge. Weeks later Lynch and Frost's pilot debuted.

-TWIN PEAKS was fun and scary. If you cut it in half you got "Northern Exposure" (1990) and "The X-Files" (1993). Which the networks did. "NE" was even filmed 15 minutes away from Snoqualmie, Washington, where PEAKS was filmed, and they winked at this deeply on "Russian Flu" (s.1/ep.5). And "X-F" took David Duchovny himself and the paranormal FBI slant straight from the show. (And so did "Fringe" and "Warehouse 13", by extension.)

-Variedly successful attempts to expand on its innovations were "Eerie, Indiana" (1991), "Picket Fences" (1992), "American Gothic" (1995), and the miniseries "Wild Palms"(1993) produced by Oliver Stone.

ON THE AIR (excerpt, 1992)

-Lynch tried again with ABC in his comedy series "On the Air" (1992). This show about a 50's live TV program going consistently awry took the more slapstick side of PEAKs to amazing extremes. ABC only televised three of the seven episodes before canceling it. A criminal shame, as the glorious unshown finale plays like a jawdropping collision of Salvador Dali and Busby Berkeley!

-It's a matter of record that Lynch's film acumen and unflinching realism opened the door for a wave of major film directors to advance television*. George Lucas' "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (1992) made some of the most potent anti-war statements ever televised with episodes like "Verdun"; ABC, during the conservative wave of the Gulf War, then moved it all over the schedule and finally canceled it, the same strategy they had used on PEAKS. Barry Levinson midwived the stark unflinching drama "Homicide" (1993) which elevated the maturity and depth of all cop shows, and led to its supreme progression "The Wire" (2002). Stephen King created the original mini-series "Golden Years" for TV in this fertile climate. PEAKS was known for its particularly erotic soap edge and was reflected in filmmaker Zalman King's HBO series "Red Shoe Diaries" (1992), which featured David Duchovny and secret passions unleashed in the wake of tragedy.

*(I could have footnotes and quotes, but this is long enough as it is!)

-ABC recast their premature ejection of PEAKS with the spin that it was a noble failure. This attitude hampered development and support of sophisticated shows from the major networks in the decade following. Progressive creatives solved this finally by going to cable networks. By 2000 a renaissance of adult shows with cinematic production, complex stories, gritty edge, absurdist humor, actual character, unusual settings, and strong writing emerged. The promise of TWIN PEAKS was fulfilled by shows like "The Sopranos", "24", "Alias", "The Shield", "Firefly", "LOST", "ReGenesis", "Life On Mars" (UK), "Californication", "Queer As Folk", "Breaking Bad", "The L Word", "Sons Of Anarchy", "Misfits" (UK), "Boardwalk Empire", "Sherlock" (UK), and "Madmen". They also solved the 'wobble' in PEAKS' latter season by doing shorter 13 episode seasons with fully-planned story arcs, one of the best advancements in TV quality ever made.

-Lynch himself broke the ice with ABC by doing a new pilot for a series in 1998. They reached an impasse that killed it before it could start, and David eventually brainstormed the footage into the comeback film "Mulholland Drive" (2001). (The scene of the executive meeting where the Suit guy (Angelo Badalamenti) can't drink the weakest thing without throwing it up is open to interpretation.)

-PEAKS' impact is especially obvious on the dark HBO series "Carnivale" (2003), featuring PEAKS vet Michael Anderson.

-"The Simpsons" poked fun at TWIN PEAKS in a Red Room sequence with Chief Wiggum and Lisa Simpson (s.6,ep.21; 1995). And again when Homer watches TWIN PEAKS and says, "Brilliant! I have absolutely no idea what's going on." (s.9,ep.3; 1997).

-Flip quips by entertainment writers about the series are one thing, but more considered voices have plenty more to say in PEAKS' defense. An entire magazine dedicated to the series called WRAPPED IN PLASTIC published 75 issues from 1992 to 2005, with voluminous essays on its meaning and interviews with the unsung writers and directors who crafted it. Deeper still is an academic book of essays called "Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks" by David Lavery, which grew out of the issue of 'Literature/ Film Quarterly' examining FIRE WALK WITH ME.


-TWIN PEAKS spun-off two excellent tie-in books that expanded the backstory: the astounding "The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer" by Jennifer Lynch (which has just been reissued.); and "The Autobiography of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes" by Scott Frost. Jennifer Lynch became a misunderstood and maligned director in her own right. Her "Boxing Helena" (1993) was universally lambasted in a concurrent backlash against her father, David; her "Surveillance" (2008) was criminally overlooked; she retreated to doing a Hindi exploitation movie, "Hisss, (a.k.a., Nagin: The Snake Woman)" (2010) which veers weirdly between better-than-expected and brilliant; and the harrowing trials of making this film were captured in a documentary called "Despite the Gods" (2012).

-The Lynch perspective laces through many of the adult Vertigo Comics of the early 90's, but particularly in "Enigma", with its rustic setting, strange characters, and hallucinatory aspects. Another Vertigo series, "Shadows Fall", deals with inner demons in an expressionist cinema style Lynch would appreciate. Alan Moore's acclaimed graphic epic "Promethea" (1999), about how reality is constructed from creative dreaming, featured The Man From Another Place on its "Sgt. Pepper" tribute cover (#10). And the graphic novel "Nobody" (2009) by Jeff Lemire has been oft compared as 'the Invisible Man goes to Twin Peaks'.

-The graphic novel "Black Hole" (2005) by Charles Burns comes from the same dark wilderness as PEAKS, literally: a layered and nonlinear story of fevered dreams, teen love trysts, and murder in the black Washington woods. It was hailed by Time magazine as "the best graphic novel of the year", and "a masterpiece" by the New York Times.

-Films by Christopher Nolan like "Memento", "Insomnia", and "Inception" owe a huge nod to Lynch and his dream factory, as do Tim Burton, David Fincher, the Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino, Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky, Todd Holland, Bryan Fuller, Francis Lawrence, and Jennifer Lynch. For a similar taste in Lynchian expressionism, the Jeunet and Caro films "Delicatessen" (1991) and "City Of Lost Children" (1995). For raiding Lynch actors and themes, "Red Rock West" (1993). For Lynch not by Lynch, the Coen Brothers' "Barton Fink" (1991). For vibe and scope, the "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" trilogy of books and films. TWIN PEAKS' spiritual wilderness is especially acute in "The Blair Witch Project" (1999), Eli Roth's "Cabin Fever" (2002), and the American version of "The Ring" (2002); its two-faced town in Oliver Stone's "U-Turn" (1997); and its edge and mystery in "Donnie Darko" (2001), Christopher Nolan's remake of "Insomnia" (2002), Greg Marcks' "11:14" (2003), "Spider Forest" (Korea, 2004), "The X-Files 2: I Want to Believe" (2008), and Jennifer Lynch's underappreciated "Boxing Helena" (1993) and "Surveillance" (2008).

WONDERFALLS -"Lick The Light Switch" (2004)

-After David Lynch, the best directors on TWIN PEAKS were Todd Holland and Lesli Linka Glatter. A master of surrealistic farce ("Malcolm In The Middle"), Holland then directed much of the excellent and deeply underrated series "Wonderfalls" (2004). This show does as much to capture the twisted humor and odd surprises of PEAKS as any nameable. FOX only showed 4 of the 13 episodes, and out of order, before cancelling it. (Luckily the entire series is now on DVD.) Co-creator Bryan Fuller then did two seasons of "Pushing Daisies" (2007), about a pie-loving diner and the paranormal which crossed that askew humor of PEAKS with the romantic fable style of "Amelie". ABC cancelled it, too. (DC Comics promises a 'third season' comic series to wrap it up properly.) Fuller is now channeling TWIN PEAKS through his current thriller series, "Hannibal". And Glatter directs suit guys with slick hair again on "Mad Men".

-Many TV shows have the fun or the edge of PEAKS very directly in their DNA. The creepy hospital in "The Kingdom" (UK, 1993); "The Prisoner"-meets-Lynch vein of "Nowhere Man" (1996); the funereal tone of "Millennium" (1996); the early 60's style and spooky undercurrent of "Dark Skies" (1996); the hip whimsy and loopy town of "Gilmore Girls" (2000); the rainy town mystery of "The Dead Zone" (2002); the 'X-orcist Files' of "Miracles" (2003); the oddly deductive FBI agent of "Touching Evil" (UK or US, 2004); the funky characters and bent farce of "Deadwood" (2004); the black humor of "Six Feet Under" (2001), "Dead Like Me" (2003), and "Dexter" (2006); the schizoid smalltown of early "Smallville" (2001), as well as "Invasion" (2005), "Supernatural" (2005), "Eureka" (2006), "True Blood" (2008), and now "Haven" (2010); the non-sequitur zen farce of "John From Cincinnati" (2007); the interwoven guilt and brutal grit of the "Red Riding Trilogy" (UK, 2009); and the modernist fetishism and corroded undertone of "Mad Men" (2007).

"Silent Hill"; "Deadly Premonition";
"Alan Wake"

-"Silent Hill", the video game (1999) and film (2006), are a deliberate homage with easter eggs everywhere. "The Legend Of Zelda: Link's Awakening" (1993) was admitted by its creators as being heavily influenced by the "suspicious types" approach to its characters. And the new video games "Deadly Premonition" (2010) and "Alan Wake" (2010) are deeply influenced in their entire story set-ups.

-The 70's ambient synth work of David Bowie and Brian Eno had much impact on TWIN PEAKS' soundtrack. Eno did some music for Lynch's "Dune". Bowie himself has a brief role in FIRE WALK WITH ME. Soon afterward he made a concept album with Eno called "Outside" (1995); a future-noir mystery about the ritual death of the young woman Baby Grace Blue, the diary of the odd agent pursuing the case, and the edgy suspects. This was intended as a trilogy counting down to the millennium, but the project was abandoned with the mystery still unsolved.

MELISSA AUF dER MAUR -"Out Of Our Minds" (2010)


-In other music, Stars Of The Lid did the pieces "Music For Twin Peaks Episode #30, parts 1 and 2", which imagined a score for the deeply longed-for and yet unmade wrap-up episode. (This was before the recent renumbering, which now includes the Pilot for a total of 30 episodes instead of 29.) Atmospheric bands with cinematic sense like Tortoise, Deerhunter, and Mt. Eerie have a similar PEAKS vibe through all their work.

-Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls) had a solo album cheekily called, "Who Killed Amanda Palmer?" Across two decades, several dozen artists used song titles gleaned from the show, in electronica, doom metal, bliphop, indie, ambient, and hiphop styles: there are two dozen unique uses of "Fire Walk With Me" alone, along with many for Laura Palmer, Agent Cooper, the Black and White Lodges, and even famous lines like "That chewing gum you like is coming back in style,", "These things that I tell you", "Wrapped in plastic", "Garmonbozia", and "The owls are not what they seem". (see Music Player 4.)

-Often musicians channel TWIN PEAKS through their videos. Anthrax's Lynch-ian video for their ode "The Black Lodge"> was followed by another starring series actor Frank ('Bob') Silva himself. The Melissa Auf der Maur video for "Out Of Our Minds"> (2010) careens crazy through Lynch's woods. Jenny Gabrielsson Mare transmits directly from The Red Room itself with "The Black Lodge"> (2013), as do Silencio with their "Slow Sin Jazz"> (2012).

-Some artists do entire albums from TWIN PEAKS country. Mt. Eerie live up to their name with the atmospheric albums "Clear Moon" and "Wind's Poem", which sound like Sonic Youth doing the Badalamenti score. Silencio says it outright with their "Music Inspired By the Works of David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti", which sounds like an unreleased PEAKS score. And Bookhouse's "Ghostwood" rewrites the actual soundtracks with midnight jazz readings that sound like alternate mixes.

-The "C.S.I." clone shows (2000, ad infinitum) are just the robot cops of "Dragnet" co-opting the tone of "The Silence Of The Lambs". Go look at those autopsy scenes from the PEAKS series and film again to reappreciate where their swipe devolved from.

-"Push, Nevada" (2002), created by Ben Affleck, was almost outrageously outright in its similarities. ABC killed it after 7 episodes.

-"LOST" (2004) is the successful revenge of TWIN PEAKS, without ABC knowing it. It hooked its huge audience with careful character while phasing in the odd in paced doses for six seasons. Still controversial, still a winner forever. Quality wins!

-"Fringe" (2008), based on the idea of an FBI squad investigating paranormal cases, wouldn't exist without FWWM. On TWIN PEAKS' 20th birthday in 2010 they did the episode "Northwest Passage" {the first working title of PEAKS; (Fringe s.02/ep.21)}, with references to Snoqualmie and the show galore. This episode presaged the show's grand break into its 'Two Worlds' duality arc. Ultimately, "Fringe" bracketed this storyline with another PEAKS-esque episode, "Marionette" (s.3,ep.9), featuring a blond teenage girl who died in April, a weeping Mom with mantlepiece photos, and Peggy's malt shop (the diner owner on PEAKS was played by Peggy Lipton.). And still more direct references again on "The Firefly" (s.03/e.10).

-Also on April's 20th anniversary, "Happy Town" (2010) debuted, bringing a young woman "from Snoqualmie" into a wooded town's murderous secrets. What could have been a PEAKS also-ran instead had plenty going for itself. So naturally ABC killed it after eight episodes. Yes, the suits who run things will always run good things into the ditch.

"Wonderfalls"; "Push, Nevada"; "Fringe"/"Fringe"; "Happy Town"

-Most ambitious of all is the light paranormal show "Psych" (2006) doing a grand reunion of seven PEAKS actors in a lavish homage called "Dual Spires" (s.5/ep.12) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of TWIN PEAKS.

"Twin Peaks", 1990; "Psych", 2010

-In 2009 the Danish series "Forbrydelsen" ('The Crime') followed the murder of a young teen, the toll on her family, and an intuitive detective. The 2011 American remake "The Killing" infused clear amounts of PEAKS into the mix: a murder in the Seattle woods, a female body by the river, a distraught family, a moody synth-wash score, and a brazen ad campaign asking "Who killed Rosie Larsen?" Even the response was the same: critics and viewers loved it until two seasons to find the killer taxed their patience, the network cancelled it too abruptly, and a pile-on narrative of failure was echo-chorused by the hacks.
But they were wrong again.
The show had course-corrected flaws in the original, with more depth and an alternate ending; the quality had maintained while the audience failed it with impatience. As if no one had learned a damn thing in 20 years. Unlike PEAKS, the show fought its way back to life for a third season (featuring the actor who played Laura Palmer's mom, no less). Thanks to the cable model, the good guys won.

"Forbrydelsen"; "The Killing"

There has been a serious upsurge of series in 2013 that wear their debt to TWIN PEAKS proudly.

-"Hemlock Grove", the werewolf series set in a small woodlands town, described by director Eli Roth ("Hostel") as "TWIN PEAKS with a monstrous edge".

-The series "Bates Motel" (a prequel to "Psycho"), about which co-creator Carlton Cruse ("LOST") admitted, ""We pretty much ripped off TWIN PEAKS... If you wanted to get that confession, the answer is yes. I loved that show. They only did 30 episodes. Kerry [Ehrin] and I thought we'd do the 70 that are missing."

-"Hannibal", with its unique lead detective and his cryptic dreams. The source book "Red Dragon" (1981) inspired all modern empathic detectives, including Dale Cooper, and this prequel series brings it full circle with its cinematic style, harsh and surreal cases, and dream states. Showrunner Bryan Fuller ("Wonderfalls", "Pushing Daisies") said, ""When I sat down to the script, I was very consciously saying, 'What would David Lynch do with a Hannibal Lecter character?'"

-"Top of the Lake", a mystery mini-series by Jane Campion ("The Piano"), with rustic locations, a missing girl, an edgy father, and an intuitive detective (Elizabeth Moss). Like "The Killing" set in New Zealand.

-The astounding "Rectify", by actor/director Ray McKinnon. A murdered girl, a small town, secret layers, and a mysterious zen lead.

"Bates Motel"; "Top of the Lake"; "Hannibal"; "Rectify"

-In 2014, the "Fargo" mini-series debuted. The Coen brothers share many hallmarks with Lynch, and this 13-episode series by Noah Hawley based on their 1996 film channeled both: a diner, intuitive cops, small-town cheer, surreal humor, bizarre turnarounds, secret backstories, and evil edginess.

-There are still more TWIN PEAKS-inspired series from major film directors coming in the future. Guillermo Del Toro ("Pans Labyrinth", "Pacific Rim") is producing a mystery series for HBO, based on "Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death" by Corinne May Botz. And M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense", "Unbreakable") is producing "Wayward Pines" for Fox, based on the book "Pines" by Blake Crouch. An upcoming TV version of Archie comics as a gritty series called "Riverdale" is deliberately based off of TWIN PEAKS.

-UPDATE: The real TWIN PEAKS will return with new episodes on Showtime in 2016, by creators Mark Frost and David Lynch!

And Agent Cooper's bold love for coffee seemed charmingly retro at the time. But soon Starbucks owned all of your storefronts and wallets quick enough, based from the area the show was filmed, no less.

Sherilyn Fenn, Kyle MacLachlan

But what about the music, you're saying?...

"Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air."

-Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820)


Identical cousins (Sheryl Lee, Sheryl Lee)

"She's filled with secrets."
1. The Soundtracks Of TWIN PEAKS And FIRE WALK WITH ME,
By Angelo Badalamenti

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TWIN PEAKS is as powerful as it is thanks to the inestimable soundtrack by Lynch's collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti. Much as Lynch and Frost synthesized ingredients from all over the place for their concoction, Angelo simmered it to perfection with his varied score. As much as the show's startling visuals and style, people remember and revere its sound.

TWIN PEAKS soundtrack;
Season Two soundtrack;
FIRE WALK WITH ME soundtrack

His Series recital is a zig-zag dream of Girl Group sighs, cold synth German Prog tones, Duane Eddy vibrato, snapping Lounge Jazz, galloping Rockabilly, sleazy Sax-strumentals, a pinch of piano Boogie, soda suds and Prom Pop, and the ethereal siren called Julee Cruise. (#1-11 on the player.)

His Film score is a swerving nightmare of addict Cool Jazz, rough Link Wray chords, paranoid Tom Waits rants, chiming Penderecki chorales, and the androgyne vocals of Little Jimmy Scott. (#12-23 on the player.)

Angelo Badalamenti

Along with her essential songs for the series and film, Julee Cruise made two albums scored and produced by Lynch and Badalamenti, which are included here (#24-44). They are parallel extensions of the PEAKS soundscape.

Later, Lynch produced similar albums for Jocelyn Montgomery, Chrysta Bell, and himself that transmit from a PEAKS-ian night world. They are included here as well.

In 2011, David Lynch's website was relaunched as a music portal. 'The TWIN PEAKS Archive' allows you to stream 150 unreleased music cues from the series, or to buy them in download bundles. (Hit the 'Explore' button on the site page.)

"Where We're From The Birds Sing A Pretty Song…"
2. The Songs That Inspired The Sound Of The TWIN PEAKS Series

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But where does it all come from?

In every way, TWIN PEAKS is a temporal nexus, in style, tone, fashion, culture references, and narrative. That blending of the past with the present reflects in the music. Here’s an alternate jukebox for the town, with songs that inspired its favorite tunes.

-The echo twang guitar comes from Duane Eddy, who brought it from Honky Tonk to Rock'n'Roll instrumentals.

-The dark tonal synths come out of electronics pioneers and 'Krautrock' expirementers from the 70’s (Faust, Neu!), as well as tonal composers like Phillip Glass. Brian Eno expanded this with Davids Bowie and Byrne, and coined the term “ambient” music. (see also, Vengelis' BLADE RUNNER score)

-Jazz got its currency in films and TV with Henry Mancini’s crucial score for the 1958 detective series, “Peter Gunn”; his hipster lounge cool is what grooves Audrey’s and The Man From Another Place’s shoes.

-Early R’n’B was fueled by raunchy sax solos, like in the standard “Harlem Nocturne”, bringing torrid jazz licks to pop kids.

-The dream pop of the Everlys, Roy Orbison, and The Shangri-La’s possess Julee Cruise.

-Ricky Nelson pouts that rockabilly style and stance later seen in Chet, Dale, and James.

-In the early 50’s, visionary couple Les Paul & Mary Ford invented the echo guitar and angel pop most of this was built on.

-Lush and dark scores for classic Noir films like “LAURA” and “VERTIGO” (about Ferguson’s obsessive love for a twin named Madeleine) haunt a new Laura.

-Later in the 60's and 70's, Ennio Morricone channeled unsettling arias through his muse, the eerie soprano Edda Dell’Orso; he also used dissonate strings, seductive jazz, angelic chorales, and reverb guitar to stunning effect.

The song playlist is structured to mirror the arc of the series; from the intro, to finding the body, to the characters and the impact on them, where they go and what they find, and on to a culmination at the train car and within the Lodges, with a prayer for a redemptive end.


"It is happening again. It is happening again." -The Giant

If TWIN PEAKS felt like a gay party with an undertaste of alcoholism, then TWIN PEAKS-FIRE WALK WITH ME felt like a heroin binge on the wrong side of complete ruin.

The first shot in the film is of a television being smashed to pieces by a sledgehammer. That says it all, for better and worse.

Bitter with ABC and unrestrained by anything, David Lynch channeled his fury through this obtuse and brutal film. While the edge was magnified, the fun side of the series was lost in transition. And fans dying for a resolution for certain outstanding storypoints were frustrated with a prequel that played as an odd parallel to "The Secret Diary Of Laura Palmer", the excellent flashback companion book written by Jennifer Lynch. Adding to this was trying to compress five hours worth of film into half that time, leading to a dense cut that was difficult to parse without multiple viewings. But the film has earned its own hardcore following over the years on the merits of those perceived faults, making it a cult classic, and an essential piece in understanding the total picture of TWIN PEAKS.

"Through the darkness of future past..."

*****The prequel is meant to be seen LAST. Please feel free to savor that last word like warm cherry pie.

The film knows you've seen the series, and then upends or reinvents events based on that experience. Literalists who try to watch it first are only defeating the proper intended perspective.

"And There's Always Music In the Air…"
3. The Songs That Inspired The Sounds of FIRE WALK WITH ME

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-The harsh abrasive clang guitar, heard in "The Pink Room" and "Blue Frank", comes from Link Wray.

-The uptown underground snapped their fingers to the bleary, worldly Cool Jazz of Miles Davis, Kenny Burrell, and Chet Baker with moody meditations on the midnight of the spirit; this soul-searching style, between revelation and destitution, moans through FWWM.

-The confessional falsettos and eerie dream music of The Flamingos and The Platters (with a member named David Lynch!) likewise animated Jimmy Scott's ”Sycamore Trees”.

-The Thought Gang’s songs ("A Real Indication", "Black Dog Runs At Night"), were a contemplation of Tom Waits, whose heady mix of evil blues, seedy cabaret, and corrupt jazz scorches the timid.

-The moody dream pop of Julee Cruise was also in the spirit of concurrent bands lumped into the 'shoegazing' movement like Cocteau Twins, Jesus And Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine.

-Classical piano and string quartet swells ripple through Angelo’s synth keys.

-The chiming angelic chorales recall similar work by Krzysztof Penderecki and Ennio Morricone.

-As always, the twang bar guitar sound is straight out of Duane Eddy.

The song playlist is structured like the arc of the film: the world of Laura, her wild restlessness, the dangers that encroach, and the finale of terror and transcendent grace.


"Let's rock!"
4. The Songs Inspired By TWIN PEAKS And FIRE WALK WITH ME

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TWIN PEAKS was a musical sensation, selling boatloads of the first soundtrack and Julee Cruise albums. Its rich smorgasbord of sounds appealed to every hip angle, so it's not surprising that so many artists from so many genres have homaged it every year since it came out.

This music player includes dance, hip hop, goth metal, trip hop, doom metal, retro lounge, indie rock, ambient, and postpunk. And artists as divergent as Moby, Anthrax, The Wedding Present, Marilyn Manson, Superdrag, DJ Shadow, Fantomas, Unkle, Camper Van Beethoven, Sinead O'Connor, and Interpol.

-Listen for Stars Of the Lid doing "Music For Twin Peaks Episode #30", and Mt. Eerie homaging "Falling".

These are all songs written directly about or featuring audio samples from TWIN PEAKS, in order from 1991 to today.

"When this kind of fire starts, it is very hard to put out."
-The Log Lady, FWWM.
5. Songs In The Spirit Of TWIN PEAKS, 1950-2015.

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What music would waft through Twin Peak's radio or Audrey Horne's iPod?

TWIN PEAKS pulled together many classic sounds of the past, while reflecting growing movements of the time, and setting the trend for many revivals that followed.

This music player is about songs before, during, and after the series that parallel the sounds in the show and film.

TWIN PEAKS was meant to be in the middle of nowhere, but the Seattle area where it was filmed was turning into the big bang of the musical decade. The series was thematically prophetic of its time, on the faultline between smooth skin and roaring heart. It swayed in an early 60's soda shop dream indoors. But outside, the harsh wilderness, gloomy pall, and enveloping nights clawed on the sanity. Seattle soon upended the music industry with a raw rebuke of the previous decade's gloss with Grunge and the Riot Grrrl movements. An early signal of it was the character Rusty (Ted Raimi) in the latter half of the series.

But as a tonic, music fans began exploring the smooth cool of vintage Lounge jazz, Free Jazz, and “acid jazz”, dark ambient electronica, chill out moodscapes, 60’s Italian film scores, swing music, and retro rock like surf, rockabilly, and orchestral pop. Since the 90's, bands have made songs that paralleled the series' sounds in using these different pallettes.

-From the 50's we have the dreamy pop of The Everly Brothers, raw Rock'n'roll of Screaming Jay Hawkins, otherworldly instrumentals of Santo And Johnny, and angelic tones of The Flamingos.

-From the 60's come the twang guitar of Duane Eddy, cocktail jazz of Les Baxter and Esquivel, girl gods The Caravelles, cool jazz of Miles Davis, heroin rock of Velvet Underground, jolting abrasion of Captain Beefheart, and fluxus delirium of Ennio Morricone.

-From the 70's strides the synth-abilly of Suicide, ambient waves of Kraftwerk and Brian Eno, and rockabilly redux of Robert Gordon.

-From the 80's slides in angled jazz with The Lounge Lizards, dream pop of Cocteau Twins and Kate Bush and The Dream Academy, and guitar edge of Jesus And Mary Chain and Pixies.

Julee Cruise

-From the 90's come bands lumped as 'shoegazing', like My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Miranda Sex Garden, and Slowdive, whose lush darkness and often ethereal vocals oddly paralleled Julee Cruise's work. As well as the noize rock of Tom Waits (think "Pink Room"), the Elvis/Orbison of Chris Isaak, moody dreams of Mazzy Star and Morphine and Jeff Buckley, and the cinematic nightscapes of 'trip hop' bands like Portishead, Tricky, Hooverphonic, Violet Indiana, Morcheeba, and Massive Attack. Angelo Badalamenti also scored Marianne Faithfull's "A Secret Life" album, and recorded with James' frontman Tim Booth as Booth And The Bad Angel.

-From the 00's we round up unusual suspects like Fantomas, the biker fuzz of The Raveonettes, and border crossings of Calexico. There's the glimmer of ethereal songbirds in the spirit of Julee Cruise with Kyra Lynn Cain, To Kill A Pretty Bourgeoisie, 8mm, Amber Asylum, Martina Topley-Bird, Cranes, and His Name Is Alive. And finally songs by David Lynch himself!

Julee Cruise
Julee Cruise
Jocelyn Montgomery
Ariana Delawari
Chrysta Bell
Related music produced by David Lynch.

The TWIN PEAKS Experience

So you can't wait to watch TWIN PEAKS now, right?

The new box set "Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery" contains everything: the complete series, the prequel film (which is meant to be seen last), and 90 minutes of never-before-seen scenes cut from both.

TWIN PEAKS can also be streamed from NetFlix and Hulu.

The Full TWIN PEAKS Experience

But if you want the real full experience, I'll hip you to the best of all possible ways to enjoy the true depth of it all. Trust me.

As the show progressed, cool supplementals were released to enhance the backstory: an audiotape of Agent Cooper's trademark dictations, plus a book each about Laura and Cooper. "The Secret Diary Of Laura Palmer" by Jennifer Lynch is especially brilliant, and has a cult following all its own! Listening to and reading these at certain times between watching the episodes magnifies the intensity of the TWIN PEAKS experience.

Can you just watch the show and movie and be okay? Sure. But I'm telling you now...

(Laura's Diary has been reissued. The Cooper tape and book are out-of-print, but worth tracking down from online sales.)

Season 1

-Episode 1: The Pilot*
-Episodes 2 through 8

*(An alternative ending was added to make the pilot a feature film overseas. Skip that 'International Version' option on DVD and watch the original.)

-listen to "Diane: The Twin Peaks Tapes Of Agent Cooper"
-read "The Secret Diary Of Laura Palmer" by Jennifer Lynch

Season 2

-Episodes 9 through 17
(These may have been renumbered as #1-9 for Season 2's sake.)

-read "The Autobiography Of F.B.I. Special Agent Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes" by Scott Frost

-Episodes 18 through 30
(These may have been renumbered as #10-22 for Season 2's sake.)

TWIN PEAKS: Fire Walk With Me

-watch TWIN PEAKS-


-read the bootleg script of FWWM, with all the extra scripted scenes which were cut out

This will give you a more enriched and surprising enjoyment of the series as a whole.

One chance out


Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery

-TWIN PEAKS returns in 2016!

-The TWIN PEAKS Music Archive: hit the Explore button to hear unreleased music!

-Dugpa, TWIN PEAKS resource site

-"Wrapped In Plastic" magazine

-TWIN PEAKS Facebook

-"Welcome To TWIN PEAKS" site and Facebook


-Annual Festival!


-The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer

"Through the darkness of future past
The magician longs to see
One chants out between two worlds
Fire walk with me."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

BEATLESQUE Albums: 200 Alternate Universe BEATLES Albums You Need!

With 2 Music Players!

So you're enjoying THE BEATLES now being available on iTunes...and what's next? Here are nearly 200 albums that homage the most diverse and eternal band in Rock history.

My recent music players have let you hear hundreds of artists from every era imitating the song styles of John and Paul. Now check out these full albums that directly homage the sonic styles or adventuresome spirit of particular Beatles albums, all in chronological order.

THE BEATLES are eternal for a few reasons: they opened the door for virtually every sound and style that has followed them; they embodied an ideal of a better world though creativity and compassion; and finally, you can't beat a great melody.

It's no wonder this list includes Psychedelic, Prog Rock, Funk, Power Pop, Jazz, Punk, New Wave, Hip Hop, and artists from then to now.

Follow the links in each album's title to hear each and learn more!

BEATLESQUE Albums: '1962-1966': This music player has songs from the following albums, in the same order.


Be like everything before and sound like no one else.
R'n'B swagger, Girl Group polish, Everly harmonies,
and Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry clang.
And melody is absolute!

-THE LIVERBIRDS, "From Merseyside To Hamburg" (early 60's; comp 2010)
Women have always been in every movement of Rock, but playing groups were pushed out of the spotlight the first 30 years. The 60's was full of all-female combos and here is one straight from Liverpool itself, making their mark in the same German club The Beatles learned their craft!

-THE PLEASERS, "Thamesbeat" (1978)
A fixture on the late 70's UK Power Pop scene, it was clear where The Pleasers got their name (and everything else) from. The Punks sneered, but hey, these good melodies defy time.

-THE KNACK, "Get The Knack" (1979)
An American parallel to The Pleasers, The Knack had too much success with "My Sharona". What gets overlooked is what a consistently fine tunesmith leader Doug Fieger really was.

-NIKKI AND THE CORVETTES, "Nikki & The Corvettes" (1979)
Like The Ramones' sisters, this power punk trio left one great album and opened the doors for everyone from Dolly Mixture to The Donnas. And they were rockin' the baby doll irony long before Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love.


The three minute Pop song is now a generational declaration of vitality.
Riff+hook+harmony= Joy.

-THE POPPEES, "Pop Goes The Anthology" (1975; comp 2010)
The Poppees were one of the first seeds of the Power Pop greenhouse. Many associate the 'skinny tie and suit/"The" band names/tight Pop style' with New Wave, when actually it rolled out of this scene's reinvention of the British Invasion.

-THE NERVES, "One Way Ticket" (1976)
Some bands were so important they just kept rolling over into other great bands. Paul Collins and Peter Case would next be The Breakaways, before Case then went into The Plimsouls and Collins forged The Beat. This band is most known for their original of "Hanging On The Telephone" which was covered by Blondie.

-THE RUBINOOS, "Everything You Wanted To Know About..." (mid 70's; comp 2007)
The Rubinoos were like a gentler version of The Raspberries. There's a lot of sugar and light in there, but you can't deny the songs are mighty catchy.

-THE SCRUFFS, "Wanna Meet The Scruffs" (1977)
"Apple scruffs" was a playful nickname George Harrison gave to the faithful fans who always waited outside Abbey Road studios. This band puts some extra New York english on their debut homage.

-ROCKPILE, "Seconds Of Pleasure" (1979)
Right when Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe were doing just fine rising on their own, they did a one-off band with excellent results. Everything from the Everly Brothers to The Fabs gets a new shine. They probably still get pestered with, "...but when will Rockpile get back together again?"

-LOCKSLEY, "Don't Make Me Wait" (2008)
Here's new up-and-comers whipping you smart on how to do it right.


You are you're own movie.
Make life one huge Mod stage.

-LOS SHAKERS, "Por Favor" (60's compilation; 2000)
"The Beatles of Uruguay" who even had their own film like "A Hard Days Night". They also did terrific songs that would make their heroes proud, spanning the Beat sound to the Pepper era.

-THE BREAKAWAYS, "Walking Out On Love" (1978)
True to form, Paul Collins and Peter Case broke away from The Nerves with this piledriving Pop. Songs that Paul later honed with The Beat were woodshedded here first.

-DOLLY MIXTURE, "Everything & More" (early 80's; box set 2010)
Perfect Pop with just the right amount of Punk scuff on it. This female trio wanted to cross The Shangri-Las with The Undertones and superceded that inspired splicing nicely.

-THE SHOP ASSISTANTS, "Will Anything Happen" (1984)
Scotland gets some kick in with this mostly female force, still a cult favorite.

-THE FLATMATES, "Best of the Flatmates" (80's comp)
The Power Pop and Mod Revival paved the way for many retro revivals in the dawning 80's, including this band steeped in mid 60's perfect hooks.

-THE PEBBLES, "First Album" (1997)
Japan is rich with great female combos in the great Pop traditions, like Shonen Knife, The 5 6 7 8's, and Puffi AmiYumi. This band had charm to spare and makes you wonder what happened to a second album.

-THE SPRAGUE BROTHERS, "Forever And A Day" (2000)
These unsung brothers deserve a sure sight better than to make great albums that nobody knows about. So spread the word and help a brother out!

-NIC ARMSTRONG AND THE THIEVES, "The Greatest White Liar" (2005)
Nic blasts out like a bastard son of Chuck Berry and John Lennon with a mission. Maybe later he felt he had the big head, because he brought the band forward under their new combo name as "IV Thieves".


Get a little ragged, a little wandering,
and make it all work as tight as ever.

-Various, "Destroy That Boy!: More Girls With Guitars" (mid 60's comp, 2009)
Anybody who thinks I'm going to keep the women out of the boys club is going to get a swift kick where they don't want it. Oh yeah, you heard me. Now listen to this plethora of Pop women who'll knock your cuban-heeled boots right off you.

-THE ROMANTICS, "The Romantics" (1979)
Didn't you realize that "What I Like About You" was 1965 as hell when you were belting it out all these years? ("Hey!") There's a lot more where that came from.

-LES CALAMITES, "C'est Complet" (mid 80's; comp 1999)
If sunshine was bottled like soda pop, it couldn't be any more of a lift than this French female combo. They were all good, all too brief.

-THE SMITHEREENS, "Green Thoughts" (1988)
Pat DiNizio writes mid 60's Beat songs with a certain introspective edge. Their songs always kick, stick in the memory, and touch on your own experience.

HELP!, 1965

Strong riffs, gentle ballads, impeccable style,
and above all...exuberance!

-THE KNICKERBOCKERS, "Rockin' With The Knickerbockers" (mid 60's; 2006)
This band is mostly known for the blaster "Lies". But they had crack tunes, tuff guitar, and smart harmonies on everything they did. Listen to how they arced toward "REVOLVER" with great songs like "High On Love" and "Love Is A Bird".

-THE RAMONES, "The Ramones" (1975)
The Ramones got their name from a hotel alias that Paul McCartney used in the early days. (It's also the pun in Paul's solo song, "Ram On".) Looking at The Beatles in their Hamburg days, wearing leather jackets, sporting long bowlcuts, and bashing out rock ditties in seedy clubs...well, do I have to spell it out? And then listen to "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" again on this album.

-THE FLAMIN' GROOVIES, "Shake Some Action" (1976)
The Flamin' Groovies had been a 60's band that, almost perversely, embraced Beat music again right as Punk exploded. But what seemed to make them irrelevant was actually prescient, as borne out by their influence on most Power Pop acts of the next decades.

-THE BEAT, "The Beat" (1979)
This album roars like "Day Tripper" in a hopped-up '65 Mustang. An unknown classic that should have sold just as mega-platinum as "Get The Knack" (but minus the kneejerk backlash, of course.) Essential. I'll say it again. Essential.

-MARSHALL CRENSHAW, "Marshall Crenshaw" (1982)
Marshall played John in a touring "Beatlemania" and later Buddy Holly in the film "La Bamba". You can hear a lot of their best in his music, but he has more than enough talent and range of his own to offer. His first two albums are winners on all fronts.

-THE BANGLES, "All Over The Place" (1985)
In the early 80's a loose congregation of Los Angeles bands with 60's affectations got tagged as the Paisley Underground. One of the best of them was the all-female group The Bangs. Some purists laud their rare indie releases, but this major label debut is rock solid. Besides the cover of Katrina And The Waves' "Going Down To Liverpool", it has killer originals like "James", "Tell Me", and "More Than Meets The Eye". An essential record from four talented writers and singers.

-THE SMITHEREENS, "Especially For You" (1986)
The Smithereens major debut with the classic "Blood And Roses". But every song on here is first rate. Kurt Cobain considered it one of his favorite records; tough guitars, strong hooks, a certain lyrical darkness...of course.

-CHRIS MARS, "Horseshoes And Hand Grenades" (1992)
The drummer for The Replacements (who cheekily made an album called "Let It Be") steps boldly forward with an album where he plays everything and even paints the covers. And it's all great! "Monkey Sees" is one of the coolest Beat rockers you can find.

-SHONEN KNIFE, "Brand New Knife" (1997)
Shonen Knife could melt winter in four notes. Once billed as The Osaka Ramones, Naoko Yamano and company put the joy back in life three perfect minutes at a time.

-MANDO DIAO, "Bring 'Em In" (2003)
Sweden had a great Garage Rock revival this decade with The Hives, Sahara Hotnights, The Flaming Sideburns, and Cato Salsa Experience. These guys have a decided Beat bent in their bashing.

-THE REDWALLS, "De Nova" (2005)
Listen to "Rock And Roll", with that tonsil-shredding Lennon vocal straight out of "Twist And Shout". Nuff said.

-SORROWS, "Bad Times Good Times" (2010)
On that note, here's some more guys to rip this joint and turn it inside out.

-THE LIKE, "Release Me" (2010)
Four girls are doing semaphore-ish moves like the "HELP" cover wearing Mod dresses that spell 'like'. OMG, why aren't you buying this album right now?!


Start experimenting, bring in Folk,
bring in the sounds of the world.

-THE BYRDS, "Mr. Tambourine Man" (1965)
When the former folkies fused The Beatles with Bob Dylan, they paved the way for "RUBBER SOUL". Learn from the masters here and on the follow-up, "TURN TURN TURN". Songs like "Here Without You", "It's No Use", and "She Has A Way" are breathtaking.

-GENE CLARK, "With The Gosdin Brothers" (1966)
That classic Byrds line-up lost a lot with the flight of Gene Clark, but it was our gain with this spectacular solo album that is wall-to-wall great. "Elevator Operator", "The Same One", "Couldn't Believe Her", and the demo of "So You Say You Lost Your Baby"

-THE BEACH BOYS, "Pet Sounds" (1966)
"RUBBER SOUL" was a wake-up call for Brian Wilson, who suddenly knew that a cohesive album statement was the way to go. He stepped out of touring to craft a masterpiece of complex structure, introspection, and seraphic harmonies. It spurred The Beatles on the path to "SGT. PEPPER." Absolutely essential.

-THE MONKEES, "Headquarters" (1967)
The Monkees get tagged as the Prefab Four but they were no TV stunt. They took control of writing and playing their albums with this brash breakout, and only got greater as they went.

-THE RASPBERRIES, "Fresh Raspberries" (1972)
The previous single "Go All The Way" was a brilliant fusing of Paul McCartney ballads and Pete Townshend guitar breaks. But Eric Carmen and crew had more chops to spare here. Along with Badfinger and Big Star, The Raspberries are the holy trinity of 70's Power Pop.

-BLONDIE, "Blondie" (1976)
Blondie was an American Mod revival whether people realized it or not. This album cover even winks at "WITH THE BEATLES". Lesser known than their later hit albums, this debut charmer is stuffed with great Beatle, Spector, Bowie, and Shangri-Las moments.

-THE PLIMSOULS, "Everywhere At Once" (1983)
After The Nerves and The Breakaways, Peter Case hit it big with The Plimsouls' "A Million Miles Away". Plenty of Byrds jangle and Dylan snarl throughout.

-THE dbS, "Like This" (1984)
'Stands for decibels.' Centered around the formidable songwriters Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, who went on to indie solo success.

-THE PRETENDERS, "Learning To Crawl" (1984)
Chrissie Hynde wore her Kinks and mid 60's influences with pride. After a regrouping in the wake of tragic loss, she let more of her Beatle shine with new guitarist Robbie McIntosh. Later, McCartney tapped him as his own guitarist in the 90's.

-CHRIS VON SNEIDERN, "Sight And Sound" (1993)
Everyone should own this album. It is absolutely perfect. The new documentary, "Why Isn't Chris von Sneidern Famous?", says it all. Everytime I hear "Gemini", "Open Wide", and "Annalisa", they leave me speechless. Buy it now, tell everyone.

-FASTBALL, "Make Your Mama Proud" (1996)
Before their success with "The Way" ("where were they going without ever knowing the way?") came this punky pop fireball. Like "I Feel Fine" blasted out by The Jam in '78.

-REDD KROSS, "Show World" (1997)
Behind that uncannily Lennon voice, the McDonald brothers pumped out some tight raucous melodies, never better than on this all-around winner. They cover The Quick's "Pretty Please Me", itself a riff on "Please Please Me".

-CHRIS VON SNEIDERN, "Wood And Wire" (1998)
Here's our man again, with another strong effort. Opens with the astounding "Love", one of the best Beatles song never made, and contains "Split It".

-THE KNACK, "Zoom!" (1998)
Rickenbacker heaven with some of the solidest Beat era sounds you could hope to hear.

-SLOAN, "Pretty Together" (2001)
Canada's Fab Four, who all write and even rotate instruments. This one has the stellar "The Other Man", as well as "The Life Of A Working Girl", "I Love A Long Goodbye", and "Are You Giving Me Back My Love?"

-DRESSY BESSY, "Sound Go Round" (2002)
With a title that alludes to "REVOLVER", this is here because it mentions "RUBBER SOUL" in a sly lyric. Tammy Ealon's voice may remind you of a gentler Breeders doing Mersey pop, but she slides past that easy comparison with a host of solid albums and songs. Just check out "I Saw Cinnamon" and you'll be converted already.

-STEVE BARTON, "Charm Offensive" (2004)
A left-field choice of an indie songster with a decided Power Pop drive. Try "Kiss this" and the ramped-up cover of The Beatles "She's Leaving Home".

-CANDY BUTCHERS, "Hang On Mike" (2004)
The vehicle for Mike Viola, who sang the song "That Thing You Do" for the film of the same name. His title is a personal riff on John's "Hang On John", while the songs sound like Graham Parker recording "RUBBER SOUL" or "RAM ON".


The album is a personal statement now
of a generation that's just getting started.
Nothing is real, everything is permitted.

-THE ROLLING STONES, "Between the Buttons (UK)" (1967)
The Stones, guided by the ever expansive tastes of Brian Jones, grow fully out of their R'nB into much more with this cherished favorite. Listen to the textures, rhythms, and social subtext of songs like "My Obsession", "Cool, Calm, Collected", and "Complicated".

-THE WHO, "Sell Out" (1967)
The best Who album most have never heard of. A semi-concept album satirizing commercialism, this collection of stunning hooks, ethereal songs, and "PET SOUNDS" harmonies got even better when doubly expanded on CD. "Armenia City In the Sky", "Odorono", "Tattoo", "Our Love Was", "Glittering Girl", it never ends. Astounding!

-THE MERRY-GO-ROUND, "Listen Listen" (60's comp; 2005)
More glowing pop from band leader Emitt Rhodes, a cult hero most know by The Bangles' cover of "Live" and Fairport Conventions' "Time Will Prove the Wiser". This CD includes every Merry-Go-Round recording, plus Emitt's first solo album, "The American Dream".

-THE MONKEES, "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, And Jones" (1967)
Continuing their winning streak of independence, this one has "Love Is Only Sleeping", "Words", and "Daily Nightly" (one of the first uses of a Moog ever).

-CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, "Safe As Milk" (1967)
If The Beatles took a turn from their Beat style into odd soundscapes, Don Van Vliet thus corroded the Blues into avant noize. This immensely enjoyable Garage Rock record is propelled by young guitarist Ry Cooder, and foreshadows the inscrutably insane "TROUT MASK REPLICA" album.

-THE JAM, "Sound Affects" (1980)
Their first albums thrashed out Mod R'n'B with much spittle and vinegar, but Paul Weller relaxed enough at this point to admit their influences and expand their palette. "That's Entertainment", "Monday", and "Pretty Green"...

-SPLIT ENZ, "True Colours" (1980)
The Roxy Music and Sparks angularities start to fade back and Tim and Neil Finn's songcraft comes forward; "I Got You", "What's The Matter With You ", "I Hope I Never", and "Poor Boy".

-THE KNACK, "Round Trip" (1982)
Even the title forewarns this response to "REVOLVER", a surprising leap forward after a sophomore slamming by jealous kneejerks. Critics alienated by the band's sudden success were won back over by this one and you will too: "Just Wait And See", the Walrus-esque "We Are Waiting", and "Sweet Dreams".

-CROWDED HOUSE, "The Temple Of Low Men" (1988)
When Split Enz ended, Neil finn split to a packed house. Their debut was great, with the classic "Don't Dream It's Over", but the rich darkness of this elegant sequel is a marvel; the mellotron ache of "Into Temptation" is a stunner.

-LOS LOBOS, "Kiko" (1992)
Many bands have a "REVOLVER" moment, where they go into uncharted territory to try new things and the best come out even wider and better. This is Los Lobos' turning point. An amazing sonic adventure slightly askew, which ushered a decade of great records.

-ADRIAN BELEW, "Inner Revolution" (1992)
Adrian Belew was known for years as a sorcerer of skronk guitar for King Crimson, Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, and Laurie Anderson. On his own records he owned up to his inner Beatle making pop gems with a touch of delirium.

-ADRIAN BELEW, "Here" (1995)
More neo-psychedelia from Adrian, including the terrific "Never Enough". With a reunited King Crimson, he then did a live version of "Free As A Bird" before The Beatles reunion version came out.

-THE LEN PRICE 3, Pictures" (2010)
A modern Garage Rock band with hooks galore and a fearless abandon.

BEATLESQUE Albums: '1967-1970': This music player has songs from the following albums, in the same order.


Pop music is an art form, and everything is possible.
Pick everything great from time and then
live every moment like it's the first and the last.

-THE ROLLING STONES, "Their Satanic Majesties Request" (1967)
The "SGT. PEPPER" cover included the message "Welcome Good Guys The Rolling Stones". They responded by putting The Beatles' faces in the tableau of their cover and making a psychedelic statement of their own. "2000 Light Years From Home", "Citadel", and "She's A Rainbow".

-LOVE, "Forever Changes" (1967)
Arthur Lee thought apocalypse was coming and made a stunning cinematic screed out of it. A startling tapestry of sound, abetted by the deeply undervalued Bryan Maclean.

-JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, "Axis Bold As Love" (1967)
As if reinventing the guitar and unleashing modern RAWK on his first album wasn't enough, Jimi advanced further with tight songs, aural wizardry, and sci-fi surrealism.

-THE ZOMBIES, "Odessey And Oracle" (1967)
Many music peers like these guys witnessed the making of "PEPPER" at Abbey Road studios, and hustled hard to keep up with what The Beatles and Brian Wilson were doing. Here's Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent fully up to the task with this gorgeous record, topped out with "Time Of The Season".

-PINK FLOYD, "Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn" (1967)
Another Abbey Road treasure is the debut of the outrageous Pink Floyd led by the alien Syd Barrett. "Lucifer Sam" and soundscapes that microwave your brain.

-THE PRETTY THINGS, "SF Sorrow" (1967)
Also recorded at Abbey Road was the first real concept album, a story with powerful songs, by the baddest of the bad boys. No one expected anything as beautiful as "Walking Through My Dreams" or as twisted as "Baron Saturday" from these hoodlums. Everybody missed it and you shouldn't.

-THE WHO, "Tommy" (1968)
David Gilmore loved "SF Sorrow" but it's a good bet that Pete Townshend would, too. Everybody has to give it up for the most successful concept album of all time, with a litany of songs that could fill a whole career by themselves.

-THE SMALL FACES, "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" (1968)
Another excellent concept album, this one by The Who's friends Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, with insane narration by comic Stanley Unwin and songs that were all over the stylistic map.

-BILLY NICHOLLS, "Would You Believe?" (1968)
Steve Marriott jumps in for a few tracks, including the scorching "Girl From New York", but it's Billy's sharp songwriting and glorious harmonies that make this 'british PET SOUNDS' a cult favorite heavily sought after.

-OS MUTANTES, "Os Mutantes" (1968)
From Brazil come the crazed Baptista brothers and Rita Lee. Hold onto your sanity and try to keep up without getting spun out.

-QUEEN, "A Day At The Races" (1976)
The influence of "SGT. PEPPER" bridges from psychedelia, baroque pop, carnivalesque, burlesque, and cabaret album styles to the rise of Progressive Rock, German experimental music ('krautrock'), and orchestral pop. Which brings us to Freddie Mercury. A whole other level of epic arrangements, stacked harmonies, and schizoid style shifts.

-PARLIAMENT, "The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein" (1976)
George Clinton finally honed all the anarchic maelstrom of his acidrock band Funkadelic into hits with the glossy Parliament, using the concept album approach that he so loved about "SGT. PEPPER" and "TOMMY". And if you notice the background chant of "goo goo goo joob", well, hey...

-"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" Soundtrack (1978)
This movie was pretty much a laundry list of 70's slick excesses. But along the way we get George Martin's almost Steely Dan-ish production, Aerosmith's "Come Together", Earth Wind And Fire's "Got To Get You Into My Life", and Billy Preston's "Get Back" (who better?). Also notable is unknown Sandy Farina's beautiful take on "Strawberry Fields".

-ELVIS COSTELLO, "Imperial Bedroom" (1982)
Declan MacManus gets ambitious and makes a cubist Baroque Pop album that electrifies the critics and mystifies New Wave kids. Check Steve Nieve's homage to George Martin in the string and brass arrangements of "And In Every Home".

-PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION, "Purple Rain" (1984)
For some of us "Purple Rain" was the "SGT. PEPPER" of the 80's, for others it was "London Calling". We all win. And I wonder where he got that band name from. Or that coat.

-THE DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR, "Psonic Psunspot" (1987)
In the mid 80's, looking though the Import bins of record stores, you might find an EP and an LP by this mysterious band. It would take a lot of sleuthing to find out it was XTC traveling back through time with the master tapes.

-XTC, "Oranges And Lemons" (1989)
When those Dukes Of Stratosphear albums revealed their 60's wellspring, XTC just dropped any lingering avant angles and went straight forward with this pop-adelic double album classic.

-THE BEASTIE BOYS, "Paul's Boutique" (1989)
The "SGT. PEPPER" of Rap. I said it then and I'll say it forever because it's exactly true. They even sample "PEPPER" and "ABBEY ROAD" on it!

-PUBLIC ENEMY, "Fear Of A Black Planet" (1990)
Much as "PET SOUNDS" led to "SGT. PEPPER", Public Enemy was forced to raise its game to outdo The Beasties. Here's the "AXIS BOLD AS LOVE of Rap"; a dense collage of resounding textures. I can name around ten times when Chuck D has referenced The Beatles in lyrics over the years.

-JELLYFISH, "Bellybutton" (1990)
As late 60's and early 70's styles came back around in the early 90's, we got "PET SOUNDS" and "SGT. PEPPER" mashed up with Queen and Willy Wonka. Check out "Now She Knows She's Wrong". An MVP here is guitarist Jason Falkner.

-TERENCE TRENT D'ARBY, "Symphony Or Damn" (1993)
In many ways Terence preceded Lenny Kravitz with less acknowledgement of it. By this point one writer described him as "like Sam Cooke singing SGT. PEPPER", true of this album and the follow-up "Vibrator". The latter has three of the best ballads Stevie Wonder never wrote.

-FUGU, "Fugu 1" (2001)
This French composer makes artful arrangements inspired by, you guessed it, "PET SOUNDS" and "SGT. PEPPER". But they are elements of his own strong craft.

-BRIAN WILSON, "Smile" (2004)
Brian Wilson meant to respond to "SGT. PEPPER" in 1967 with an album called "Smile". Fate and fairweather friends put that on hold for many years. But in 2004, our man pulled off the impossible with a little help from The Wondermints by completing it. A glorious and timeless song cycle of shining beauty. Essential.

-CHEAP TRICK, "Sgt. Pepper Live" (2009)
Cheap Trick fearlessly wore their Beatles influences (and The Move, The Who, and T-Rex) all along. But their most overt homage is a complete remodel of "SGT. PEPPER" with crunchy guitars, capped by the medley from "ABBEY ROAD". And there's a DVD of the live performance.

-EASY STARS ALL STARS, "Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band" (2009)
John and Paul were hip to Reggae before most anyone, and it's all through their solo work from "Live And Let Die" to "Borrowed Time". Jamaica has been covering nearly every one of their songs since the 60's, and here's the latest love letter. Full of special guests for each song like Steel Pulse, Ranking Roger, and Sugar Minott. And what were some of those green plants on the original cover, anyway?


Try new things, indulge your dreams,
make mistakes, laugh it off, keep driving forward.
Are you on the bus or off the bus?

-THE MONKEES, "Head" (1968)
The Monkees throw it all away with hysterical abandon, leaving us a wild film and a great album. "Porpoise Song" and "Circle Sky".

-THE AEROVONS, "Resurrection" (1968/2003)
Imagine hearing The Beatles recording through a closed studio door and then recording songs from your muffled impressions. The Aerovons did this while working at Abbey Road and for, um, some reason it was never released. Until now, when we can enjoy these smeared and strangely familiar songs for their own merit. "World Of You" is a stone classic.

-PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION, "Around The World In A Day" (1985)
The Purple One christens Paisley Park records with this Psyche Pop album that recalls Jimi, Free Design, James Brown, and The Lemon Pipers.

-PM DAWN, "Jesus Wept" (1995)
Prince B loved "RUBBER SOUL" growing up and covered "Norwegian Wood " on the previous album. This one 'lets its freak flag fly', as Jimi would say. Check out "The 9:45 Wake Up Dream" and "Downtown Venus".

-BLUR, "The Great Escape" (1995)
Throw in copious doses of Ray Davies, Ziggy Stardust, and Pete Shelley and you get this Britpop cocktail. "It could Be You" and "Best Days".

-KOMEDA, "What Makes It Go?" (1998)
Another absolutely perfect Pop album, all 60's sunshine harmonies, funky bass, electrodelia, and godlike melodies. "It's Alright Baby" is one of the coolest songs ever made. And every other song is another jewel. Essential.

-MELLOW, "Another Mellow Winter" (1999)
French masters of mellotron, moog, and melody make electrodelic paradises.

-TARA BUSCH, "Pilfershire Lane" (2009)
The queen of keyboards with the voice of an angel takes you down to Strawberry Fields with Kate Bush, Brian Eno, and Edda Dell'Orso. "We Can See Mars" is absolute lysergic glory.


You've got so much to say you almost can't keep it all together.
You need room to expand, no matter what happens.

-JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, "Electric Ladyland" (1968)
Jimi's masterpiece, a stereophonic headtrip from earthy blues to ephemeral arias. Indescribable, overwhelming, indispensable. "Well, I stand up next to a mountain/ and chop it down with the edge of my hand..." All the photos were shot by Linda Eastman, who then met this other musician...

-THE KINKS, "Are The Preservation Green Society" (1968)
Baroque pop and country sunshine, social satire, and more good tunes than a writer has a right to. Try and get the expanded version.

-THE BEACH BOYS, "Friends" (1968)
The Beach Boys were afraid to lose their surf sound and audience, fighting Brian Wilson's efforts to expand their palette with "PET SOUNDS" and the kiboshed "SMILE". Ironically, as Brian faded, they ended up fulfilling his vision with fine sunshine Folk of their own. "Friends", "LIttle Bird", and "Be Still". On the cover you can see Paul McCartney in the left cloud.

-THE BEACH BOYS, "20/20" (1969)
The riches of "FRIENDS" continue with this pearl. "Be With Me", "Time To Get Alone", and "All I Want To Do" (the roaring reply to "Back In The USSR").

-LED ZEPPELIN, "Led Zeppelin III" (1970)
Just like The White Album, Zep stripped it down to folk melodies, blunt rockers, and a healthy dose of surprise in the arrangements. And every song a classic.

-BADFINGER, "No Dice" (1971)
The Beatles' true heir apparents, who always delivered and got few of the rewards. But Badfinger is more than just Beatle comparisons, Power Pop mantlehood, or a tragic story. They are four great songwriters with a knack for creating eternal songs uniquely theirs. God bless them all. "No Matter What You Do", "We're For The Dark", and the original "Without You".

-HARRY NILSSON, "Nilsson Schmilsson" (1971)
John Lennon called Harry his 'favorite group'. Many others called him 'The One Man Beatles'. A crazy man with a big heart and a golden voice. "Gotta Get Up", "Jump Into The Fire", and the still stunning cover of Badfinger's "Without You".

-STEVIE WONDER, "Songs In The Key Of Life" (1976)
A double album meant really stretching out, saying something, and showing what you can do. Stevie goes well past that with this cornucopia. "Sir Duke", "Summer Soft", and "As".

-CHEAP TRICK, "Heaven Tonight" (1978)
Cheap Trick really kicked into gear with their second album, "In Color", then revved it further with this edgy sequel. The snarky "Auf Wiedersehen", The Move's "California Man", and the moody "Heaven Tonight" that recalls "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". The hinge between John Lennon and Kurt Cobain.

-THE CLASH, "London Calling" (1979)
Strip down your sound, expand your styles, include world musics, be rough, be beautiful, be lunatic. And with a frontman with a smartass mouth and a sensitive heart. Completely in the spirit of The White Album! "Clampdown", "The Guns Of Brixton", and Vince Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac".

-FLEETWOOD MAC, "Tusk" (1979)
Riding on top of the charts but fragmenting as a group, making personal demos as songs, releasing a sprawling double album that's all over the place. Completely in the spirit of The White Album! Throughout Lindsey Buckingham starts Bluegrass/Punking out, recording himself drumming tissue boxes in hotel bathrooms, going fuzz crazy on songs that fall apart before they can finish. Fantastic. "What Makes You Think You're The One", "That's All For Everyone", "Not That Funny", and "That's Enough For Me".

-ROBYN HITCHCOCK, "Black Snake Diamond Ride" (1981)
The love child of Syd Barrett and John Lennon. More mad and smart than you can keep up with. Formerly of The Soft Boys, our fiend unleashes "I Watch The Cars", "City Of Shame", and destroys the UK police with "Do Policemen Sing?"

-HUSKER DU, "Warehouse: Songs And Stories" (1987)
A band in tension, backing each other on swapping songs, on a double album, which brought up the eternal question, "Are you a Grant Hart fan or a Bob Mould fan?" Why not like it all?

-PRINCE, "Sign O' The Times" (1987)
His first double album, and an embarrassment of riches. Some would argue his last completely brilliant hurrah. "Starfish And Coffee", "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker", and the title cut. And that cover looks like a "PEPPER" outtake...

-LOVE AND ROCKETS, "Earth Sun Moon" (1987)
Bauhaus wore its Bowie on its black sleeve. Love And Rockets let some more light into the room. Here's a spartan album of side one rock side two acoustic. There's a strong dose of Lennon, especially on the explicitly Beatlesque "The Telephone Is Empty".

-U2, "Rattle And Hum" (1988)
U2's first double album, atmospheric, eclectic, political, with a remake of "Helter Skelter" no less. ("This is a song Charles Manson stole from The Beatles. We're stealing it back.") And a sequel to John Lennon's "God" called "God Part II".

-SOUNDGARDEN, "Superunknown" (1995)
The bastard scion of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Ozzy often worships The White Album for being "soooo heavy". In the spirit of that record's fuzz rockers, here's the heavy psyche of "Head Down", the magesterial acid trip of "Black Hole Sun", and the dark soar of "Fell On Black Days".

-AIMEE MANN, "I'm With Stupid" (1996)
There's a kind of melancholic undercurrent to the Beatle-ish work that Aimee Mann and her husband, Michael Penn, make. A little undertow behind that sunshine, produced by fellow Beatlemaniac Jon Brion. "Sugarcoated" and "All Over Now".

Another moody guy with pop chops. Gone too soon. "Sweet Adeline", "Baby Britain", and "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands".

-CHRIS CORNELL, "Euphoria Morning" (1999)
After Soundgarden, Chris guides us through the acoustic blues, luminous confessions, and grand chorals. "Flutter Girl", "Follow My Way", and the beautiful "Moonchild".

-XTC, "Apple Venus" (1999)
The acoustic and strings album, with "Knights In Shining Karma" (a wonderful rewrite of "Julia"), "I'd Like That", and "I Can't Own Her".

-TOM WAITS, "The Mule Variations" (1999)
A giant album that canvases all Tom's styles in one place. Bluesy stompers, tender ballads, cabaret, noize. Excellent record.

-FIONA APPLE, "When The Pawn..." (2001)
Soon after covering "Across The Universe" for a soundtrack, Fiona collaborates with producer Jon Brion (The Grays) on this stark, eccentric, tough, sensitive album. "I Know" is John incarnate.

-SAM PHILLIPS, "Fan Dance" (2001)
Tired of playing toward the Pop charts, she strips it all down to herself and a heartfelt guitar, moody backdrops, and sterling melodies. The White Album meets cabaret. "Five Colors", the mellotronic "Taking Pictures", "How to Dream", and "Love Is Everywhere I Go". Perfectly underproduced by partner T-Bone Burnette.

-SAM PHILLIPS, "A Boot And A Shoe" (2004)
This time with some hints of Americana and carnivale. "Open the World", "Love Changes Everything", and "If I Could Write".

-BECK, "Sea Change" (2002)
Beck gained mastery of his voice and his craft, and made a balming album for a broken heart. His father does excellent string arrangements to the beautiful folk ache. "Paper Tiger", "Sunday Sun", and "Little One".

-KEREN ANN, "Nolita" (2004)
An angel's whisper over acoustic guitar. "Chelsea Burns", "Roses & Hips", and the breathtaking "One Day Without".

-EARLIMART, "Treble And Tremble" (2004)
Elliott Smith's running buddies, with some Crazy Horse distortion and oddly luminous sing song. "The Hidden Track" and "Unintentional Tape Manipulations".

-LUCKY JIM, "Our Troubles End Tonight" (2004)
Dylan, Lennon, Cohen, Morricone, mercurial, unique. "You Stole My Heart Away" and "My Soul Is On Fire".

-TRACY BONHAM, "Blink The Brightest" (2005)
Tracy can out-Grunge anyone, but there's a crystalline glow in there, too. By this album more of the gentle luminosity was shining through. "I Was Born Without You", "Dumbo Sun", and the resplendent "Naked" ("Dear Prudence...").


Turn off your mind,
and float downstream.

-THE BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND, "Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse" (1968)
The court jesters, who appeared in the "I Am The Walrus" sequence of the "MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR" film. Holy fools who will take the piss out of anyone. Neil Innes would later be a Python and a Rutle.

-THE SOFT BOYS, "Underwater Moonlight" (1980)
Featuring Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberly Rew (who later wrote "Going Down To Liverpool"), The Soft Boys cocked a snook at their peers and proudly released 'the first psychedelic album in ages'. Demented, loopy, fun, bright, strobing. "Positive Vibrations", "I Wanna Destroy You", "Old Pervert", and "Underwater Moonlight".

-JON BRION, "I Heart Huckabees" Soundtrack, (2004)
Upbeat, trippy, lysergic, pop art, random. Jon Brion, the secret power, puts the pot into the potpourrie.


When you reach the crossroads together, remember everything you've come through,
and pave the paths for others to find their own way.

-BOOKER T & THE MGs, "McLemore Avenue" (1969)
"ABBEY ROAD" was fresh on the streets when the premiere Soul band of all time hit the pavement with their take on it. Named after the street in front of Stax Records. A wonderful funhouse mirror of equal goodness. Viva Booker, Steve, Duck, and Al!

-GEORGE BENSON, "The Other Side Of Abbey Road" (1969)
Not to be outpaced, a new Jazz guitarist put his best foot forward with his own stride down that street.

-SIMON AND GARFUNKEL, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1970)
Would this album's title song really exist without "Let It Be"? More in the sonic spirit of "ABBEY ROAD", with tuneful, upbeat arrays of songs that feel like a master statement. Check out the McCartneyesque "Why Don't You Write Me".

-THE MOVE, "Message From The Country" (1971)
The Move was blessed by the full-tilt partnership of Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. Before evolving into Electric Light Orchestra, they pumped out two master theses (see also "Looking On" album) with butch blues, soaring ballads, and cathedrals of sound. Absolutely excellent!

-THE ROTARY CONNECTION, "Songs/ Hey Love" (1971)
Here are two LPs on one Cd by one of the most innovative counterculture combos. A Rock'n'Soul band with stunning chorales and the radical avant-Jazz arrangements of producer Charles Stephney (Earth Wind And Fire). Hear a young Minnie Riperton and company completely turn classics by Jimi, Cream, and The Band inside out, and then top them with their own "I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun".

-EMITT RHODES, "Emitt Rhodes" (1971)
After spinning out of The Merry-Go-Round, Emitt Rhodes made four solo albums that were sabotagued by bad biz, but which earned him cult idol status among the savvy. This second album is usually touted his best, but the link takes you to a double CD that has all four. (Which has a much cheaper price than the expensive and rare single discs.) Like Paul, Emitt made the entire albums by himself in a home studio, with terrific results.

-MARVIN GAYE, "What's Going On?" (1971)
One of the greatest albums ever made. As much a spiritual awakening as a political manifesto. A song cycle of great complexity and life-affirming warmth. Beyond essential.

-BADFINGER, "Straight Up" (1972)
This is Badfinger's "ABBEY ROAD". Rock solid from first note to last. You'll sing these songs in your head for years. The amen corner of producers included George Harrison, George Martin, Geoff Emerick, and Todd Rundgren. If I come by your house and you don't have this, I'm gonna be ticked off.

-FANNY, "Fanny Hill" (1971)
Fanny was the first all-female group signed by a major label to make albums. They could do anything, and here they are in Apple studios proving it with producer Richard Perry (Nilsson, Ringo Starr). Imagine Badfinger getting nervous over songs like "Knock On My Door", "Blind Alley", and the blistering cover of The Beatles' "Hey Bulldog". (Fanny's albums are compiled on a Rhino Records box set; this album is tracks #43 through 53 on the download player.)

-PINK FLOYD, "Dark Side Of The Moon" (1972)
After years of combing the stratosphere, 'the first band in outer space' came back with a concept album about inner demons. A sonic turning point in Rock history. And guess what studio it was recorded in?

-THE RASPBERRIES, "Raspberries" (1972)
Bright tunes, spiritual ballads, bluesy stompers. And who can resist "Go All The Way"?

-TODD RUNDGREN, "Something/Anything?" (1972)
Like a collision of Carole King's "Tapestry" and McCartney's "Ram" where no one gets hurt. A double album with the inspired ideas of a triple.

-CURTIS MAYFIELD, "Back To The World" (1973)
With string arrangements and street funk, Curtis makes his "What's Going On?" and proves that the personal is political.

-WE ALL TOGETHER, "We All Together" (1973)
Despite a military dictatorship banning English usage, this Peruvian band fights the power with this lovely field of flowers. Includes covers of McCartney's "Tomorrow" and Badfinger's "Carry On Till Tomorrow" and "Walking In The Rain" to rival the originals, and the "NUGGETS" classic "It's A Sin To Go Away".

-BADFINGER, "Wish You Were Here" (1974)
This is Badfinger's other "ABBEY ROAD". Hey, they're that good. Although their luck wasn't, as Pink Floyd overshadowed them that year with an album of the same name. Rectify that unfortunate fork in their rocky road by buying this fantastic, classic album. Peep "In the Meantime/ Some Other Time" and "Meanwhile Back At The Ranch/ Should I Smoke", for starters.

-ELTON JOHN, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (1974)
Another double-album bonanza when Elton and Bernie Taupin were on absolute fire. Just listen to the harmonies on the title song; is that "Because" or what? Lennon said at the time, "If something happened to Elton John, I'd throw my radio out the window."

-EARTH WIND AND FIRE, "That's The Way Of The World" (1975)
Bright, optimistic, anthemic, communal, prismatic. A crowning statement from a first-rate band.

-QUEEN, "A Night At The Opera" (1975)
The Beatles, The Move, Brian Wilson, The Who, and Sparks have a debauched jam and the C.I.A. thought to record it. The bookend to "A Day At The Races", of course.

-CHEAP TRICK, "Dream Police" (1979)
In the wake of the surprise overnight success of the "Live At Budokan" album, they go for glory with a widescreen set of epic roaring rockers and punching pop songs. Like "Baba O'Riley" brawling with "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". Should've sold ten times more than it did.

-THE DAMNED, "Machine Gun Etiquette" (1979)
Punk firsts: first single, first break-up, first reunion, first to make an epic gamechanger album. They're even walking across a street intersection on the cover! (For a more explicit tribute to their 60's roots, listen to the 1985 song "Grimly Fiendish".)

-ROXY MUSIC, "Avalon" (1982)
Their ultimate statement, an otherworldly album of sensual beauty and glamorous cool.

-ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, "Secret Messages" (1983)
Densely textured with alien synthesizers, choir chorales, and catchy songs. Could have been a gloppy mess of excess but Jeff Lynne pulls it off.

-LET'S ACTIVE, "Big Plans For Everybody" (1986)
The '80's indie producer of choice' Mitch Easter (REM, Marshall Crenshaw, Suzanne Vega, Pavement) steps out with a sparkling 60's style album that anticipates Jellyfish, The Wondermints, and Echobrain years early.

-SQUEEZE, "Some Fantastic Place" (1993)
Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook always brought a fresh-faced Beat Music lilt to their early hits, but this mature statement after their reunion is a new level. The title song is a work of wonder that must've thrilled Paul Mc'. (Keyboardist Jools Holland interviewed all The Beatles for the "ANTHOLOGY" films).

-ULTRA VIVID SCENE, "Rev" (1993)
A dark kaleidoscope of dreamy ditties that came from tomorrow never knows. Like Love And Rockets led by Robyn Hitchcock. Check out the epic "Medicating Angels".

-THE GRAYS, "Ro Sham Bo" (1994)
An indie supergroup with Jason Falkner and Jon Brion (Jellyfish), a band of guys who hated playing in bands who got in and got out. Their one album, made by rotating songsters, sounds like the crowning statement of a long career that didn't actually happen. Rarer to find than it deserves but worth every minute.

-GUIDED BY VOICES, "Alien Lanes" (1995)
This lo-fi indie band led by Robert Pollard had an almost phobic mandate of doing fragments of songs and getting out immediately instead of over-doing them. Somehow that raw approach still adds up to this supple and huge album. It plays like a rush of White Album demos laced together in an Abbey Road medley. "As We Go Up, We Go Down", "Game of Pricks", "Closer You Are", "My Valuable Hunting Knife"...

-SUPERGRASS, "In It For The Money" (1996)
Imagine if The Beatles had jumped creatively right from "RUBBER SOUL" to "ABBEY ROAD"... and no one bought it. That's what Supergrass did, going from the snotty pop punk of their debut to a sophisticated exposition of shimmering delights. People bought whatever instead so what do you do next? They just kept trying new things and getting better. Set time to rights by discovering this brilliant album: "Late In The Day", "G-Song", "Hollow Little Reign".... There's a second disc of songs that didn't make the cut which beat any other band's best. Well, what are you waiting for?

-LOS FABULOSOS CADILLACS, "Fabulosos Calavera" (1998)
This Argentinian band was known for its rowdy mix of ska, punk, and home Rock styles. But no one was prepared for this explosive blender of an album; thrash, ska, lounge... and that was in just one song. One writer gushed "is this the music of the 21st century?" If only. Put your G-Force seatbelts on and buy this album.

-JASON FALKNER, "Can You Still Feel It" (1999)
Fans of Neil Finn, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Fiona Apple, and Jon Brion should peek this multi-instrumentalist and crack songsmith. Sought out by everyone from Jellyfish and Air, to Beck and Paul McCartney, Jason even taught guitar to the actors in the film "Juno".

-FASTBALL, "The Harsh Light Of Day" (2000)
People expecting more versions of "The Way" must have bounced off of this follow-up, which is a more ambitious and nuanced record. Their flighty loss, your smart gain. "You're An Ocean" even features Billy Preston!

-SUPER FURRY ANIMALS, "Rings Around The World" (2001)
Another stunning hybrid of Brian Wilson harmonics and Beatle pagentry, with a serious dose of sly commentary under all that fun glow. If you think bands don't make them like they used to, catch up to the future. (Because Paul McCartney chewed celery on The Beach Boys' 1967 "Vegetables", they had him do it again on this album's "Receptacle for the Respectable".)

-THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES, "Extended Revelation" (2002)
This Swedish band takes its name seriously, aiming to be every great sound from 1966 to 1975 all at once. Stones jang here, Floyd moog there, Beatle everywhere. Check out "Let It Come Alive" or "Safety Operation" and you'll believe me.

-THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS, "Electric Version" (2003)
The progeny of McCartney and Wilson, with some Ocasek and Shelley thrown in. All this and Neko Case, too! Perfect pop for a new future. Proof: "It's Only Divine Right".

-ECHOBRAIN, "Glean" (2004)
Kurt Cobain gets possessed by Syd Barrett and does a mash-up of Grunge dynamics and glorious Psychedelia. At times indescribably beautiful. Led by Dylan Donkin they made two astonishing albums everybody missed out on. "Knock 'Em Out", "Out Of Reach", and "Nobody".

-SLOAN, "Never Hear The End Of It" (2009)
Canada's most worthy pumps out an astonishing 30 songs and all of them smack perfect. Runs like a medley of a lifetime's greatest hits.

-LAWRENCE ARABIA, "Chant Darling" (2010)
From the first moment of "Because" harmonies that open the album, you know what street you're on.

LET IT BE, (recorded 1969, released 1970)

Let it become, let it be what it is, let it all go.
Let's be thankful for each other and go forward.

-BILLY PRESTON, "I Wrote A Simple Song" (1971)
Billy held The Beatles' sessions for "LET IT BE" together with his playing and friendship. This record is a stone classic, with touches of our foursome, Sly Stone, and Ray Charles all through it. "You Done Got Older" is a winking rewrite of "Get Back". (This is impossibly expensive right now so do some searching for a good price.)

-THE ROLLING STONES, "Exile On Main Street" (1972)
Tense circumstances, ramshackle recording, a back to basics rawness, accidental genius. Somehow The Stones made "LET IT BE" without coming apart.

-BIG STAR, "3rd/ Sister Lovers" (1975)
Alex Chilton and Chris Bell were unlikely anglophiles coming out of soul central Memphis, but their raspy take on Power Pop became a template for bands for decades. But no one wanted to know at the time. When Alex tried to make a solo album it somehow blurred back into a band album of shambling sprawl and alluring decay. A disaster that somehow works.

-CHRIS BELL, "I Am The Cosmos" (1978; '92)
Meanwhile Chris Bell made an album that never came out at all. But when it did years after his passing, everybody woke up to this yearning shimmer of Pop longing.

-PETE HAM, "7 Park Avenue" (1970's/ '99)
Badfinger was blessed with songwriters, but Pete Ham was its heart. Over the years the prolific popsmith made home demos of songs that never got made, and they were later released here and on "Golders Green". Simple and lightly adorned, they ring as pure and true as any work you can name. We were lucky to have this guy.

-LENNY KRAVITZ, "Let Love Rule" (1989)
The tryst of Sly Stone and John Lennon, with some Costello and Hendrix thrown in. Lenny's debut rebuked the slick production of the time by going all analog with traditional instruments. This album has a raw warmth and direct honesty that is completely timeless. Brilliant from start to finish.

-THE REMBRANDTS, "Untitled" (1992)
How many of you realize that the theme to "Friends" is a Beatles song? Well, it practically is, considering The Rembrandts' source sounds. Fans of Crowded House and The Plimsouls, this is there for you.

-PAUL WELLER, "Wild Wood" (1993)
Wandering in the wilderness for some years after The Jam and The Style Council, Paul Weller returned with a warm R'n'B style that hearkened more to Winwood's Traffic and McCartney's first solo albums.

-NIRVANA, "In Utero" (1994)
"Nevermind" had ended with the song "Something In The Way", with its Lennon wooze and title lifted from a Harrison line (lifted from James Taylor). It signaled the next. The tense final album had the band at cross ends, with some cellos and double-tracked vocals along the way. Listen to "Dumb" and "All Apologies" again...

-THE JAYHAWKS, "Rainy Day Music" (2003)
That title nails it; warm melodies for a bleary day. Wonderful tunes, slightly bruised, cathartic and haunting. Fans of country Dylan, America, the early Eagles, Gerry Rafferty, The Posies, and alt-country will drop their jaws.

-FISTFUL OF MERCY, "As I Call You Down" (2010)
A low-key supergroup making unpretentious roots-based songs, like an indie Traveling Wilburys: Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur, and some kid named Dhani Harrison who knows how to do everything really well.

PAST MASTERS, 1962-1970

In the 60's, singles were made between albums and not included on them. These two CDs compiled all The Beatles' loose singles, becoming a sort of alternate overview.

Some artists don't homage a specific album or sound, instead making tributes to varied sounds across The Beatles career. Here are some standouts.

-THE RUTLES, "The Rutles" (1978)
Monty Python colluded with SNL to make Eric Idle's almost shocking retelling of an alternate universe Beatles in the very first 'mockumentary' movie. Sacrilegious and yet touchingly reverential at its heart. Neil Innes of Bonzo Dog played the snide Ron Nasty (John) and made a soundtrack covering all their sounds that plays like the best Beatles album never made. Essential beyond words.

-THE RUTLES, "Archeology" (1995)
"Here we are/ once again/ somewhere in another universe..." Just in time for The Beatles' ANTHOLOGY came the return of The Rutles! Amazon says the joke's not as funny the second time. They missed the point entirely. Anyone listening will see this is a concept album where Ron Nasty is critiquing the greed, sell-outs, and complacency of the 90's (and even the counterculture) itself. Just like John Lennon would have done. Smart, sly, and the music is brilliant. Essential.

-UTOPIA, "Deface The Music" (1981)
Todd Rundgren glosses The Beatles' whole career with these terrific tributes to all their sounds. Harder to find than it should be and worth the finding. "Alone", "Take It Home", "All Smiles", and the Walrus-esque "Everybody Else Is Wrong".

-BILLY JOEL, "The Nylon Curtain" (1982)
Billy had done a few McCartney homages, but then in the wake of John's passing, he made a concept album that referenced many Beatles styles. "Laura", "Surprises", and "Scandanavian Skies". (Afterward he continued homaging the AM radio styles of his youth with the "Innocent Man" album.)

-"I Am Sam" Soundtrack (2002)
A great film, a sweet soundtrack of modern artists covering our band. Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, Sarah McLachlan, Rufus Wainwright, The Wallflowers, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, Ben Folds, The Vines, Stereophonics, The Black Crowes, Chocolate Genius, Paul Westerberg, Grandaddy, and Nick Cave.

-"ACROSS THE UNIVERSE" Soundtrack (2007)
What if you remade the film of "HAIR" with Beatles songs? Julie Taymor did basically that with this movie and it's a win-win. Actors sang the vocals live on location which brings a direct immediacy and freshness to this terrific overview of the greatest band of all time. Check out the album and the movie.

The Beatles are like the sun.
It always comes back around.
It brings warmth and life.
And it's all right.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!