Monday, August 30, 2010

ROCK Sex: "Indian Rope Man": Richie Havens > Julie Driscoll + Brian Auger > Bob Marley



ROCK Sex says "it might grind slow but it grinds fine".

Today, the strands that intertwine "Indian Rope Man".

_______________

The culture baton today starts with the original version by its writer Richie Havens.

Richie always had an intense drive that propelled his Folk songs with furious urgency. As much as the Folk and Gospel tradition, that relentless rhythm places his music somewhere between the polyrhythmic afrobeat of Fela and the Punk-Folk of Billy Bragg.

Here's he takes the pace down a bit and becomes entrancing.

RICHIE HAVENS -"Indian Rope Man" (1969)



No right-minded band could pass that fantastic groove up. The first was the Brian Auger Trinity, with the formidible vocals of Julie Driscoll, turning it into a Funk-Rock masterpiece.

JULIE DRISCOLL w/ BRIAN AUGER TRINITY -"Indian Rope Man" (1969)



That seemed to break the floodgates as it became a staple in jam bands' repertoire, all clearly influenced by the Driscoll/Auger version.

The English jazz-rock band Warm Dust ignited the career of Soul singer Paul Carrack.

The Driscoll/Auger template of funk-rock with female vocals clearly stamped itself on versions by Australia's McFEE, and Germany's Phaze and the twenty-minute version by Tomorrow's Gift.


Determined to make their own mark on it. the German Frumpy slowed it down and boiled the burn. And it didn't hurt that their singer was the blasting soul powerhouse Inga Rumpf, who gives even the mighty Driscoll a hard run for her money.

FRUMPY, w/ INGA RUMPF -"Indian Rope Man" (1971)



Bob Marley takes us from the Ganges to Ganja with "African Herbsman", mellowing it out in homage to his medicinal extract.

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS -"African Herbsman" (1973)




© Tym Stevens



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


Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Struggle For the Moral Soul: MARTIN LUTHER KING and Civil Rights



"Justice at its best is power
correcting everything that stands against love."

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


I think the Civil Rights Movement was the best thing that ever happened to America, because it forced us to redeem ourselves. And it still is.

I grew up in the South and Midwest during the Civil Rights years and their aftermath. It challenged everything about my world and deepened my appreciation of humanity. Not a single day passes where the lessons learned are not affecting my perceptions, my outlook, or my aspirations. What is right nowadays stems from their moral paths, what is wrong tends to come from where any of us have lost the way. It's on each of us to make it better for each other. Selflessness brings us into the better angels of our nature. This is my psalm of love to my heroes, the bravest of the brave.

When you look back at the black and white photos of the tense events of the civil rights struggle in the '50s and '60s, like those shot by Charles Moore, there is a strangely brutal clarity. It seems like all artifice strips away leaving only hate and heroism. There is no theatre. There's only that queasy moment when something terrible is happening, when someone is doing wrong to someone, or recklessly trying to stand up in the face of danger. It is immediate, it's serious, it's real. A black woman cringing from a swung baseball bat. People slammed to the ground by the high-pressure firehoses of Alabama firemen. State Troopers charging church marchers with batons through tear gas. College students bludgeoned by horseback cops. And this was America.

There is a sickness so terrible in those frames, it chills the heart. Studying those snapshots and films, you look in the faces of the racist cop, the klanswoman, the corrupt governor, and you can perhaps also see their fear...of the modern, of change, of the truth. They look like sad relics not quite grasping that their hold is slipping, that critical mass is tiding against them. That every wrong they've ever done is coming up for account.

Hindsight is one thing, but living through that revolution was far more intense; it was painful, personal, and ongoing. And there was really nothing black and white about any of it. Black And White was just ink on a copy page, photos on newsprint, flickers on a television. It was the medium for conveying this moral war, but the reality was too complex for polar absolutes. Those shocking events were actually an alarmingly clear mirror showing the spectrum of our neglect. It ripped up laissez-fair dismissals about the reality of racism to shreds. It stripped away the firewalls that we used to separate it from our lives. Most of all, it forced us to question our national identity, and our personal character. Were you really what you said you were, who you thought you were? Where did you stand, and why? This was no civics lesson or some marketing campaign. This was the new true reality. Not shopping, not cruising, not the cinema. Those images and stories radically challenged how you behaved and what you believed in.

This was a new era where the political was a personal as it gets. Who was the Enemy here; was it the Klan South, the segregationist politicians, outmoded laws? Or also benign ignorance, local injustice, personal acts? Racism was as pervasive in all regions of the country and society as the South. People may have been carefully segregated by opposing terms like Black or White, male or female, Christian or heathen. But that aritifice stripped away when you had to stand at the mirror and face who you really were inside. The truth was that the real enemy was the ugliness in the human heart. There was no Us and Them. There was only each of us having to atone for any flaws in our own daily actions going forward. The moral struggle for the soul of the nation had to happen ultimately within each of us.

Part of the pain of living in the South and Midwest was seeing that poison directly in the ones you loved, in yourself. It's easy for someone to stand outside of an area and point out cardboard villains. It was another thing to live there and see the loved ones you trusted -who put church above all else, were wise and kind, who raised you- also believing in the same cruel hatred that compelled Sheriff James Clark to violently assault protesters. Another thing then to find some of these seeds in yourself and weed them out. Facing these truths left you feeling like a smashed windshield after a collision. It called into question your faith in love itself. How could these very moral people teach such immoral attitudes? How could they be Christian while excluding everyone they were afraid of? The sadness was compounded by watching these people you respected -who cared about family, led decent lives, worked hard every day- then having their sad fears twisted into hate for personal power by men in suits: pastors, police, politicians. Who could you believe in anymore?


"It may well be that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition is not the glaring noisiness of the so-called bad people, but the appalling silence of the so-called good people."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Rosa Parks was tired. She'd worked hard all day and she didn't want to give up her seat on the bus. The law said she should but the law was immoral. By trying to hold on to her dignity in one small moment, Rosa took a stand that changed everything. People stepped forward to stand with her, and more, and more. Now we all had to make decisions on what was better for everyone, even if the written law was unequal to the task.

You could instead choose an honest love, a compassionate outlook, a giving hand, that left hate and hypocrisy behind. The Civil Rights Movement forced you to make a choice. Often between relationships and principle, selfishness and selflessness, between the past and the future, repression or progress. It was the hardest break of all but it was necessary for the soul.

Dr. King never succumbed to hate. He steadfastly remembered that his enemies were just people who could still be reached, befriended, forgiven. Resorting to brutality or hatred only dehumanized any of us. He put all his faith in human dignity, and in the world's support when they saw it being assailed. He was right to and always will be. No one could see the bombing of the church which killed four little girls and not be moved on the deepest level. King believed foremost in our humanity, that we would come through for another in pain. This redemptive love ennobled our nation and inspired us to be better people.

When a flash flood hits, it's pretty overwhelming and dramatic. Then it seeps down out of view, only to flourish seeds in the future. The 1960s and the empowerment ethos ignited by the Civil Rights Movement were like a flash flood worldwide.

Before, the mainstream culture at large had been strictly for the Included. TV ads and shows, churches, schools, and industry were very good about reminding everyone what those parameters were, and how you did or didn't fit into them. But in the biggest generation ever, that left a lot of ostracized people to meet each other and bond together. There was nothing black or white about any of them, they were like a prism of possibilities; Ban The Bomb activists, Folk protestors, Rock hedonists, Jazz boppers, ecologists, vegetarians, student uprisers, international dissidents, disillusioned soldiers, young college women, banned writers, progressive teachers, pacifist clergy, migrant workers, repressed voters, closeted gays, starving artists, fashion forwards, philosophers, shafted unions, poor people...the list was limitless. No one had a monopoly on pain. Its universality connected them. By sharing common grievance they began to see an end to limitations when they pooled their strengths. That's the true '60s...the Empowerment era. En masse, their alienation created a sort of sub-nation, a counterculture. This humanist movement's mantra was freedom, in the sense of personal emancipation.

There's a clear throughline from the Civil Rights movement to Farmworkers' rights, the Paris revolts, Prague Spring, the Counterculture, Feminism and ERA, Chicano pride, AIM, Solidarnosc, Eastern European liberation, ecology, Apartheid's end, and Gay rights. They are all the seeds that grew from the flood that Rosa Parks unleashed that fateful day she made her stand.

For his humane efforts, King was called "an extremist" by conservative attackers. Though never elected to the office, Martin Luther King was the moral President of the United States...and he still is.

"Why have we substituted the arrogant undertaking of policing the whole world, for the high task of setting one's own house in order?

For the evils of racism, poverty, and militarism to die, a new set of values must be born.

Our economy must become more person-centered
than profit- and property-centered."


-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967


Let's keep going forward together.



© Tym Stevens



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


Thursday, August 26, 2010

ROCK Sex: "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh" - Bill Withers > Diana Ross > Sly Stone > Zapp



ROCK Sex doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Let's do both singing along with "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh".

_______________

We humans are crazy so relationships tend to go up and down with our emotions. Bill Withers captures the silly seesaw of our lives with this lesser-known Funk classic.

BILL WITHERS -"The Same Love That Made Me Laugh" (1974)



I tend to favor DIANA ROSS's funkier, sexier solo songs (e.g., "Love Hangover", "Upside Down"), and here she sways back and forth to Bill's song on the Disco floor.

DIANA ROSS -"The Same Love That Made Me Laugh" (1977)



Sly Stone basically invented the entire '70s Funk sound, and everyone followed in his tread. But he often winked at his peers with nods to their songs. Here's an original of his own that bounced off of Bill's song.

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE -"The Same Thing That Makes You Laugh" (1979)





Sly used voice distortion tricks from 1969 on up, and there's another version of this song with a vocoder vocal that paves the way for Zapp (and the autotune singers of now).

SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE -"The Same Thing That Makes You Laugh" (vocoder version) (1979)



Bootsy Collins introduced the vocoder device to Roger while producing this dance floor smash.

ZAPP -"More Bounce To The Ounce" (1980)




© Tym Stevens



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

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


Monday, August 23, 2010

ROCK Sex: "Straight To Hell" - The Clash > Alex Cox > Lilly Allen > MIA



ROCK Sex wants "to play mind-crazed banjo on the druggy-drag ragtime U.S.A.".

Today's cultural hand-off is "Straight To Hell" by The Clash.

_______________

Today's cultural hand-off is "Straight To Hell" by The Clash.

Frontman Joe Strummer's haunting screed against the fallout from Colonialist exploitation of Third World countries is often considered the finest and most beautiful song the band ever did. Here's the uncut, unreleased longer version of it.

THE CLASH -"Straight To Hell" (extended version) (1982)



The title was borrowed by rogue filmmaker and Punk auteur Alex Cox (REPO MAN, SID & NANCY) for his own flick, and he returned the favor by casting Joe Strummer.

With a cast that includes (incredibly) Joe Strummer, Courtney Love, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello, The Pogues, Dennis Hopper, and Jim Jarmusch, it's a wonder the set didn't spontaneously combust! (The film is basically a home movie of soused friends improv-ing, but it has its moments.)


A PostPunk homage to the Italian Westerns of the '60s, take note of the tribute to Ennio Morricone's scores in this manic trailer.

"STRAIGHT TO HELL" trailer (1987)



In the fine global music and radical rebel tradition of Joe Strummer, The Slits, and Neneh Cherry, here is British-Sri Lankan activist rapper M.I.A. using the song as the foundation of her own song.

M.I.A. -"Paper Planes" (2008)



Here is Clash guitarist Mick Jones producing and singing with Joe Strummer's goddaughter Lily Allen on this atmospheric and pretty remake.

LILY ALLEN + Mick Jones -"Straight To Hell" (2009)



And the throughline continues.

AMASA HINES -"Straight To Hell" (2012)




© Tym Stevens



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


Friday, August 13, 2010

ROCK Sex: "I Thank You" - Sam And Dave > ZZ Top



ROCK Sex says your kiss is "so good I had to hollar for help!"

_______________


The original version of "I Thank You" was set loose by the impossibly cool Sam And Dave. It was written like most of their hits by the secret soul men, Dave Porter and Isaac Hayes.

They were backed by the magnifincent Stax Records house band, Booker T And The MGs with The Mar-Keys horns.

SAM AND DAVE -"I Thank You" (1968)



FM Rock fans know it by the edgy Boogie version by these demented prospectors.

ZZ TOP -"I Thank You" (1979)



"Every day was something new,
You pull out your bag and your fine to-do
You got me trying new things too
Just so I can keep up with you!"



© Tym Stevens



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


Monday, August 9, 2010

LADIES FIRST: "Remember (Walking In The Sand)" - The Shangri-Las > The Beatles > Aerosmith > Amy Winehouse



ROCK Sex brings you another classic that 'she did first'.

_______________


"Remember (Walking In The Sand)" catapulted The Shangri-Las and much more.

As the story goes, fledgling producer "Shadow" Morton painted himself into a corner one day while visiting former flame and now hit songwriter Elle Greenwich. Her partner Jeff Barry put him on the spot about what he did and Morton blurted, "Songs."
"What kind?'"
"Hit songs." Then Morton had to scramble to write his first-ever song in a week and under pressure he wrote this one.

For the demo he grabbed an unknown Girl Group called The Shangri-Las and a young piano player named Billy Joel. Then he proved himself to be a worthy rival to Phil Spector with his dramatic arrangement, echo, and sound effects.

What he also lucked into was the group themselves. Led by the edgy confessionals of Mary Weiss, they proved to be one of Pop and Rock's greatest goldmines. And Shadow Morton did write hit songs for them, after all.

THE SHANGRI-LAS -"Remember (Walking In The Sand)" (1964)



The Beatles loved Girl Groups and covered a number of their songs in the early days.

But I never see anyone remark on "Remember"'s clear influence on this later song, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"; listen to the famed epilogue (4:45), with those hard descending chords, along with a dramatic building progression and the "aaahhh" background harmonies. It even has a bracketed title!

Oddly enough, the original version of "Remember" is rumored to have been over 7 minutes long, which is another harbinger of this one.

THE BEATLES -"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" (1969)



Aerosmith has the most famous cover version of "Remember (Walking In The Sand)". But it seems clear enough that their Rock chord version hinged off of what The Beatles did with "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". Consider that they had recently covered "Come Together", also from the ABBEY ROAD album.

Mary Weiss actually did back-up vocals on this, but was unfortunately uncredited.

AEROSMITH -"Remember (Walking In The Sand)" (1979)



The Shangri-Las' 'tough girl' style had a huge influence on Glam and Punk artists, from New York Dolls to The Damned, from Suzi Quatro to Blondie.

The Go-Go's have been covering this song since their early L.A. Punk days.

THE GO-GO'S -"Remember (Walking In The Sand)" (1981)



AMY WINEHOUSE, no stranger to mid-'60s style and tough girl sass, often interpolates lyrics from "Remember" in concert versions of her own song, "Back To Black".

AMY WINEHOUSE -"Back To Black" (2007)




"(Remember) walkin' hand in hand
(Remember) the night was so exciting
(Remember) smile was so inviting
(Remember) then he touched my cheek
(Remember) with his fingertips
Softly, softly we'd meet with our lips..."



© Tym Stevens



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


Sunday, August 8, 2010

ROCK Sex: "Follow The Leader" - Bob James > Eric B + Rakim > P-Funk



ROCK Sex travels at magnificent speeds around the music-verse.

"Follow The Leader" is one of the coolest Rap songs ever made and here's where this intergalactic headtrip took off from.

_______________


This journey into sound begins with "Nautilus" by Fusion Jazz keyboardist Bob James.

Like the classic "Apache", this song is one of the most sampled ever. Over 30 different Rap songs have used portions of it, including hits by Run-DMC, Public Enemy, Slick Rick, Soul II Soul, EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah, and Jeru The Damaga, as well as singer MAary J. Blige.

It's easy to hear why. This atmospheric Funk-Jazz jam, inspired by the submarine Nautilus captained by Nemo in Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea", is full of hidden depths and strange phenomena.

BOB JAMES -"Nautilus" (1974)



Another key component of "Follow The Leader" is this rare gem by BABY HUEY, who made one killer Funk Rock album in 1970 before his untimely death.

BABY HUEY -"Listen To Me" (1970)



When you combine the eerie keyboards of Bob James (1:51) with the funky rhythm from Baby Huey (1:12) and the opening drums of Coke Escovedo's "I Wouldn't Change A Thing", you get this cosmic classic.

"Follow The Leader" by ERIC B & RAKIM is a micro/macrocosmic journey unlike any vinyl out at the time or much since.

Many Rap records of the late-'80s were still about MCs battling over who was most original and who was biting their style, usually over a spare drum machine and a simple sample loop. MC Rakim leaves that local turf and loud ego stuff in the dust by taking the contest to a literally universal level. It becomes a spiritual journey that canvases the galaxy while challenging the inner self at the same time. Rakim's deft lyrics are put into interstellar overdrive by the def sonics of DJ Eric B, all alien edge and pounding momentum.

ERIC B & RAKIM -"Follow The Leader" (1988)



GEORGE CLINTON was pretty used to being sampled by the early-'90s, but he was so impressed by the sliquid words and infinite scope of this song that he paid it the ultimate compliment by covering it himself.

GEORGE CLINTON + P-FUNK ALL STARS -"Follow The Leader" (1995)



"I'm everlasting, I can go on for days and days
With rhyme displays that engrave deep as X-rays

In this journey you're the journal, I'm the journalist

You're not a slave
'Cause we was put here to be much more than that
But we couldn't see it because our mind was trapped
But I'm here to break away the chains, take away the pains
Remake the brains, reveal my name

I guess nobody told you a little knowledge is dangerous
It can't be mixed, diluted, it can't be changed or switched
Here's a lesson if you're guessing and borrowing
Hurry hurry, step right up and keep following the leader!


A furified freestyle, lyrics of fury
My third eye makes me shine like jewelry
You're just a rent-a-rapper, your rhymes are Minute Maid
I'll be here when it fades to watch you flip like a renegade

And follow and follow, because the tempo's a trail
The stage is a cage, the mic is a third rail!"



© Tym Stevens



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


Friday, August 6, 2010

SAY WHAT?!: "The Cisco Kid", WAR



SAY WHAT?! answers the lyrical question, 'Wait, what did they say?'.

_______________


"The Cisco Kid" by WAR is one of the funkiest songs of all time. In more ways than one.

At the end, the chanted refrain "Cisco Kid was a friend of mine" changes on the last fade-out to "Cisco Kid breaks wind all the time."

WAR -"The Cisco Kid" (1972)



The song was inspired by the classic '50s TV adventure western, "The Cisco Kid", starring Duncan Renaldo. When it was remade in the '90s with Jimmy Smits and Cheech Marin, the WAR song was used in the credits.

"The Cisco Kid" trailer (1994)




Because of a legal name rip-off, the currently-touring version of "War" has only one original member. Throw all your support instead to the real surviving members in the actual group, The LowRider Band!



© Tym Stevens



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


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

STARSTRUCK #12 Is Out Now! Grab it before the law does!




Amphibious space fights!
Broom kung fu!
Shifty card deals!
Nudity in New Wave glasses!


This is it! See the year-long saga of Book One come to its climax in this action-packed issue!




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


> STARSTRUCK official website


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

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

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

> IDW Publishing



© Tym Stevens



See Also:


1.
-The Return of STARSTRUCK! Or, Riot Grrrls Conquer the Universe!,
the triumphant return of STARSTRUCK Comics
2.
-STARSTRUCK Strikes Back!,
the History of STARSTRUCK from Stage Play to Comics
3.
-The Big Bang of STARSTRUCK: The Roots and Branches of Elaine Lee & Michael Kaluta's space opera;
how it synthesized all Sci-Fi culture into something new, and predicted everything we've enjoyed since



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

ROCK Sex: "You Showed Me" - The Byrds > The Turtles > De La Soul > Salt-n-Pepa > U2



ROCK Sex connects the dots on 'How A Rare Song Changed The Music Industry'.

Today, the story of "You Showed Me".

_______________


"You showed me how to say exactly what you say/ in that very special way."

THE BYRDS said the say and everyone's been resaying it ever since!


The song was written by Jim "Roger" McGuinn and Gene Clarke in the Folk days before the band. Recorded a few times, it became a loose song kind of lost in the margins. Here's the final band version with its upbeat early Beatles influence.

THE BYRDS -"You Showed Me" (rec. 1964; rel. 1969)



The Turtles first heard it when their producer played it for them on a broken harmonium which forced him to slow down his pace. They loved the eerie waltz quality of that and recorded this radically different and pivotal version with sleepy keys and bleary strings, not unlike a Lee Hazlewood production.

THE TURTLES -"You Showed Me" (1969)



As an interlude in their debut concept album, De La Soul sampled those memorable strings and accidentally changed the record industry.

Sampling had progressed from short riffs to entire passages from songs by the late-'80s, and artists who weren't getting credited or paid for their originals were getting furious. When The Turtles took De La Soul to court over the lack of permission to use their recording, it set the legal precedent for royalty payment and crediting of all artists for samples going forward.

DE LA SOUL -"Transmitting Live From Mars (Interlude)" (1989)



People drew battle lines at the time -artist vs. theft, Rock vs. HipHop- but culture ultimately doesn't care. While one side (Thesis) does something different than another side (Antithesis), everyone else tends to just combine the best elements of either (Synthesis) next. Ta da... Culture!

Going forward the influence of both The Turtles and De La Soul would mutate the song on along.

So, spurred by the De La song, Salt-n-Pepa extended it further into the HipHop world.

SALT-n-PEPA -"You Showed Me" (1990)



When The Lightning Seeds covered it, it retained The Turtles' elegant wooze along with the club beats of the HipHop versions. (As an aside, the band got their name by mis-hearing the Prince lyric, "Thunder drowns out what the lightning sees." Rather appropriate, in this relay context.)

THE LIGHTNING SEEDS -"You Showed Me" (1997)



U2 did essentially what De La had done but now through legal channels. They sample those ever-influential strings (at 1:00) in this pointed barb at the shallowness of popular culture.

U2 -"The Playboy Mansion" (1997)



Continuing this game of 'Telephone', here's LUTRICIA McNEAL retaining The Turtles tempo and strings with the pumping HipHop beats.

LUTRICIA McNEAL -"You Showed Me" (2002)




"Chain Of Gossips", Norman Rockwell (1948)


I say 'Telephone' because I have to wonder sometimes how many of the folks in the relay even remember the original Byrds version, or maybe even The Turtles.

But that's a lot of how the spreading of ideas works. You put your work out there and then its up to each person's reaction from then on.



© Tym Stevens



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


Monday, August 2, 2010

ROCK Sex: "Taxman" - The Beatles > The Jam > Bangles > Beastie Boys > Cypress Hill > Sean Lennon



ROCK Sex tells you how it will be.

Today's relay race of cultural handoff is the song "Taxman".

_______________

George Harrison wote the original in 1966, with the unusual assist of John Lennon on a few lines, and the even more unusual twist of Paul McCartney on lead guitar!

George's frustration over the insanely high tax rate of the UK at the time has become a perennial anthem because of its lyrics as much as its terrifically funky riff line, which grooves in the spirit of James Brown's "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and the "Batman" TV Theme.

THE BEATLES -"Taxman" (1966)



Almost immediately the great Garage Rock band The Music Machine, led by Sean Bonniwell, did this seething cover. Lennon had contributed the two harmony lines calling out Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, who ran the two political parties of Britain. But Bonniwell changes that to President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary Of State Dean Rusk, as an unusually early and gutsy dig against the taxpayer-funded Vietnam War.

THE MUSIC MACHINE -"Taxman" (1966)



Pleasantly unexpected was this soulful version by Memphis great Junior Parker, with its slinky groove and reflective stance.

JUNIOR PARKER -"Taxman" (1970)



Later, anglophiles Cheap Trick did an original sequel, which mentions The Beatles and probably took its title from the lyrical cue "ah-ah, Mister Heath" in the original.

CHEAP TRICK -"Taxman, Mister Thief" (1976)



Contrary to their Punk peers, THE JAM openly owned up to their Mod and Beat roots. The bass riff of "Taxman" first triggered this song.

THE JAM -"Dreams Of Children" (1980)



...and then another song on the same album (US version)!
[They also did a cover of "And Your Bird Can Sing", as well.]

THE JAM -"Start!" (1980)



The Beatles' daughters then get into the queue.

THE BANGLES -"I'm In Line" (1982)



Here's that bass coupled with some of the rhythmic tumble of "Tomorrow Never Knows".

RIDE -"Seagull" (1990)



Having sampled The Beatles on their epochal PAUL'S BOUTIQUE (1989), which many consider the SGT. PEPPER of Rap albums, here's THE BEASTIES bringing it oddly full circle by covering The Jam.

BEASTIE BOYS -"Start!" (2000)



Staying on the HipHop tip, remember Junior Parker's version? Well, CYPRESS HILL did when they sampled it for this spliff bliss anthem.

CYPRESS HILL -"I Wanna Get High" (1993)



Here's the riff reaquipped on a groovy trip from the film OCEANS 12.

DAVID HOLMES -"Yen On a Carousel" (2004)



What would it sound like if Joe Meek remixed the REVOLVER album as a Spaghetti Western soundtrack?

OF MONTREAL -"Coquet Coquette" (2010)



Here's Sean Lennon and Les Claypool (Primus) abstracting it through prog-adelica.

THE LENNON CLAYPOOL DELIRIUM -"Mr. Wright" (2016)




© Tym Stevens



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