Sunday, September 30, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying': Ray Charles> Gerry And The Pacemakers

Two variations on good advice.

Here's RAY CHARLES, singing a song written by Joe Greene.

RAY CHARLES -"Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'" (1959)

And here's GERRY MARSDEN writing and singing his own original classic.

GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS -"Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" (1964)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'A Spooky Little Girl Like You': Classics IV + Francoise Hardy = Barry Adamson

One cool thing...

CLASSICS IV -"Spooky" (1968) another cool thing...

FRANCOISE HARDY -"Le Temps des Souvenirs" (1965)

...equals a new cool thing!

BARRY ADAMSON -"Something Wicked This Way Comes" (2006)

Friday, September 28, 2012

ROCK SEX: 'The World Keeps Going Round': Cheap Trick> R.E.M.

Here's CHEAP TRICK in 1979...

CHEAP TRICK -"Way of the World" (1979)

...and here's an R.E.M. song written in 1980.

R.E.M. -"All the Right Friends" (2001)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Uh Huh Her': P.J. Harvey> Uh Huh Her

"Uh Huh Her" is a 2004 album by P.J. HARVEY.

It inspired the band name for the duo of Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey.

UH HUH HER -"Not a Love Song" (2008)

(This is not a Public Image Ltd. song.>.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Charlie Don't Surf': APOCALYPSE NOW> The Clash> Tears For Fears

"APOCALYPSE NOW" (1979) is Francis Ford Coppola's epic meditation on the insanity of the Vietnam War.

He particularly skewers military imperialism in a sequence where U.S. soldiers seize a beach just for some surfing recreation. When asked why, the off-sane Officer (Robert Duvall) scoffs that the Vietcong are no threat because "Charlie don't surf."

Joe Strummer, who traveled the world as a child with his diplomat father, put the political consciousness into Punk music.

He used the line as the title of a song mocking American Imperialism with such lines as,

"Everybody wants to rule the world
Must be something we get from birth"

THE CLASH -"Charlie Don't Surf" (1981)

A few years later, Strummer approached Roland Orzabal, saying he'd nicked the title for TEARS FOR FEARS own hit, "so give us a fiver".

Roland smiled and paid up.

TEARS FOR FEARS -"Everybody Wants To Rule the World" (1985)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ROCK Sex: Astounding Science Fiction> Queen

FRANK KELLY FREAS painted this cover for the pulp anthology magazine "Astounding Science Fiction" in 1953.

QUEEN's drummer Roger Taylor owned a copy, and the band commissioned Freas to repaint his iconic work as their album cover in 1977.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

LADIES FIRST: 'People Like You Just Fuel My Fire/ You Liar!": L7> The Prodigy

LADIES FIRST gives proper respect to classics that 'she did first'.

The Grunge original by the ever-brilliant L7...

L7 -"Fuel My Fire" (1994)

... and the Punk Electronica cover by THE PRODIGY!

THE PRODIGY -"Fuel My Fire" (1997)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Fell In Love With a Girl/Boy': The White Stripes> Joss Stone

Double-plus good!

Here's the Garage-Punk original...

THE WHITE STRIPES -"Fell In Love With a Girl" (2002)

...and here's the Funky Soul update!

JOSS STONE -"Fell In Love With a Boy" (2003)

Friday, September 21, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Physical Graffiti': Led Zeppelin> Branford Marsalis> Rolling Stones

Here's the iconic cover for LED ZEPPELIN's "Physical Graffiti" (1975), featuring a New York tenement building.

Jazz trumpeter BRANDFORD MARSALIS, a Led Zeppelin fan, homaged this cover for his 1984 album, "Scenes In the City".

It's on the steps of the Zeppelin tenement that Mick and Keith meet up in their video for "Waiting On a Friend".

THE ROLLING STONES -"Waiting On a Friend" (1981)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Her Voice Was Soft and Cool': Bessie Smith + The Zombies = McLaren

One cool thing...

BESSIE SMITH -"St. Louis Blues" (1925) another cool thing...

THE ZOMBIES -"She's Not There" (1964)

...equals a new cool thing.

MALCOLM McLAREN -"About Her" (2004)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Belgian Surrealist painter RENE MAGRITTE provoked creative tension by combining familiar things in unfamiliar combinations.

In a series of paintings called "The Empire of Light / L'Empire des Lumières" (1950-'54), the jarring tension comes from a daylight sky resting over a night street scene.

Director William Friedkin saw this image in a book shared by actor Ellen Burstyn while filming "THE EXORCIST" (1973).

It inspired this iconic poster; a subtly transgressive image of the forces of light (a shadowed priest, below) confronting the forces of darkness (a lit window, above).*

That poster clearly haunts this poster for "THE POSSESSION" (2012).

* The Magritte painting also inspired the cover for the Jackson Browne album, "Late For the Sky" (1974).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Baby At Your Breast': Fats Domino> The Beatles> Fats Domino

THE BEATLES' "LADY MADONNA" is often said to be influenced by the specific sound and intro of this 50's song.

HUMPHREY LYTTELTON & And His Band -"Bad Penny Blues" (1956)

The sound resemblance is there, but in a wider context, the sound had been there for four decades.

Jimmy Blythe's "Chicago Stomp" (1924) > is considered the first full Boobie-Woogie piano recording. In that legacy came other greats like Big Joe Turner & Pete Johnson>, Albert Ammons >, Meade Lux Lewis >, and Hadda Brooks >.

From the 1920's to the 50's, Boogie-Woogie strolled its way from Jazz to Country to Rock'n'Roll music, where it propelled artists like FATS DOMINO.

FATS DOMINO -"I'm Walkin'" (1957)

PAUL McCARTNEY says he was specifically homaging FATS DOMINO with his song.

THE BEATLES -"Lady Madonna" (1968)

So how great is it when your hero then sings your song?

FATS DOMINO -"Lady Madonna" (1968)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'The Only One I See Has Carved Her Way Into Me': The Byrds> The Charlatans UK

"Everyone has been burned before, everybody knows the pain."

One great song...

THE BYRDS -"Everybody's Been Burned" (1967)

...leads to another.

THE CHARLATANS (uk) -"The Only One I Know" (1990)

Friday, September 14, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Send It Off In a Letter To Yourself': Horace Silver> Earth Wind & Fire> Steely Dan> Stevie Wonder> Madlib

Influenced by Bossa Nova from Brazil, Jazz pianist HORACE SILVER did this tribute to his heritage.

HORACE SILVER -"Song for My Father" (1965)

One great turn deserves another... or four.

Listen for its influence on the bass in this song.

EARTH WIND & FIRE -"Clover" (1973)

And the Piano intro of this song.

STEELY DAN -"Rikki Don't Lose That Number" (1974)

And the horns of this song.

(This has the funniest Stevie intro skit ever!)

STEVIE WONDER -"Don't You Worry About a Thing" (1974)

And this Hip Hop-influenced cover version.

MADLIB -"Song For My Father" (2003)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

ROCK Sex: JIM STERANKO, Agent of Style!

Jim Steranko, 1968

JIM STERANKO is a powerhouse of graphics innovation whose legacy is continually reflected today.

One of his most iconic works is the cover to "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D" #4 (September, 1968).

This has become a classic work of Pop Art. It came from varied inspirations, and continually inspires many tributes.


Steranko looked for inspiration in all other media to expand the comics palette.

He was responding to the latest advances made in the arts, film, magazines, and graphics.


From the fine arts scene he admired Pop Art, Op Art, and collage.

Robert Rauschenberg, "Retroactive I", 1964.

Eduardo Paolozzi.

Bridget Riley, "Britannia" (1961)

Op artist Bridget Riley>.


One certain influence on his Nick fury work -and the entire era- is the JAMES BOND films, with their stylish Pop opening titles (Maurice Binder), gargantuan layered sets (Ken Adam), and male power fantasies.

Maurice Binder,
"007 -gun barrel main titles", 1963.

"Dr. No" (1962).


He favored the bold modernist graphics of film posters.

Saul Bass, "Vertigo" (1958).

"if..." (1968)

"Barbarella" (1968)


All of these influences were also reflected in the magazine and poster art of the celebrated BOB PEAK.

Bob Peak, magazine illustration.

Bob Peak, "Modesty Blaise" (1966)

Bob Peak, "Stop the Mark".
Click image to enlarge

Distill this Molotov cocktail, shaken not stirred, and you get a unique masterpiece.

Click image to enlarge


Steranko's cover has been homaged many times by artists since.

Dave Johnson, July 2000.

Danny Miki, June 2005.

Greg Horn, March 2007.

Adi Granov, April 2007.

Barack Obama support art, 2008.

Tomm Coker, September 2009.

Daniel Olson, 2009.

Damian DeMartino, 2011.
(the Samuel Jackson version of Nick Fury)

Paul Gulacy "Modesty Blaise" commission,
channeling Bob Peak.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Games People Play': Joe South> Beach Boys> Lennon> The Spinners> Alan Parsons

In 1964, the psychology book GAMES PEOPLE PLAY by Eric Berne was a massive bestseller.

JOE SOUTH (of "Hush" fame) had a big hit with that theme.

JOE SOUTH -"Games People Play" (1968)

Dozens of artists covered it quickly >. Here's CLAUDE FRANCOIS doing it in French.

CLAUDE FRANCOIS -"Jeu Dangereux" (1969)

Then other original responses appeared.

In this medley of BEACH BOYS songs, listen to "Games Two Can Play" (at 1:40), where Joe South and his song are even referred to directly.

THE BEACH BOYS -"Games Two Can Play" (1969?)

Apple Records star DORIS TROY, produced by George Harrison, responds this way.

DORIS TROY -"Games People Play" (1969)
Listen on Amazon

Eric Berne's book also coined the term "mind games" for deceitful intentions.

JOHN LENNON flipped the script on the concept by undermining negatives with positive strategies.

JOHN LENNON -"Mind Games" (1973)

Lifted on the bouyant voice of Philippe Wynne and stellar arrangements of Thom Bell, here's THE SPINNERS with another classic original.

THE SPINNERS -"They Just Can't Stop It (Games People Play)" (1975)

ALAN PARSONS, known for producing records with The Beatles and Pink Floyd, made his own big hit with this original.

ALAN PARSONS PROJECT -"Games People Play" (1980)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Got To Get Back to the Real Nitty Gritty': The Meters> Aerosmith> Rufus Thomas> Wu-Tang

Creativity is an ongoing jam.
Hand it to next, see what they bring to it.

THE METERS specialized in Cajun gumbo Funk with a tough strut on it.

THE METERS -"Fire On the Bayou" (1975)

After listening to The Meters, guitarist Brad Whitford of AEROSMITH was inspired with the riff for their song, "Last Child."

(Since Brad was responding to the general spirit of the band's sound, I picked "Fire On the Bayou" as a stylistic parallel.)

AEROSMITH -"Last Child" (1976)

Stax Records' king of dance tunes, RUFUS THOMAS, emphasized the Funk slant of the Aerosmith song in his own.

RUFUS THOMAS -"Fried Chicken" (1978)

And WU-TANG CLAN sampled Rufus Thomas...

WU-TANG CLAN -"Put the Hammer Down" (1998)

Monday, September 10, 2012

ROCK Sex: "Jacknife In Your Sweaty Hands': The Beatles> Fanny> Ween> Shonen Knife

John and Paul go stark barking mad!

Howls, piano-banging, and polyphonic bass ensues.

THE BEATLES -"Hey Bulldog" (1968)

The ever-great FANNY do a fine take in Apple Studios, while throwing in a new verse of their own.

Drummer Alice de Buhr says that engineer Geoff Emerick "used the same overhead microphone set-up that he'd used for Ringo Starr" on the original.

FANNY -"Hey Bulldog" (1972)

From betwixt and between comes WEEN...

WEEN -"Hey Bullfrog" (1986)

And 'the Osaka Ramones' slice out another mirror universe take on it.

SHONEN KNIFE -"Magic Joe" (1997)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'I'm in Love with your Strict Machine': Greenbaum + Donna Summer = Goldfrapp

How culture works.

One cool thing...

NORMAN GREENBAUM -"Spirit in the Sky" (1969) another cool thing...

DONNA SUMMER -"I Feel Love" (1977)

...equals a new cool thing.

GOLDFRAPP -"Strict Machine" (2003)

Everybody wins!


And just to make everything perfect, the T-REX/Glam vibe of "Strict Machine" comes full circle with this genius cover by SUZI QUATRO herself!

SUZI QUATRO -"Strict Machine" (2011)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

ROCK Sex: 'Chase the Devil Out of Earth!': Max Romeo > The Prodigy

"I'm gonna put on an iron shirt
And chase the Devil out of Earth

I'm gonna send him to out of space
To find another race."

This musical relay from Reggae to Electronica starts with Max Romeo.

MAX ROMEO -"I Chase the Devil" (1976)

After Lee Perry produced that song, he remade it as "Croaking Lizard", and then a remix of the two called "Disco Devil".

LEE PERRY -"Disco Devil" (1976)

The song has been covered or sampled by a couple dozen acts since then>, easily segueing from Dub Reggae to dub-heavy dance styles like Electronica and Trance.

THE PRODIGY -"Out of Space" (1992)

SKAZI -"Out of Space" (2006)

Here's a lovely French pop version...

COCOON -"I Chase the Devil" (2009)