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The best music thread on the forum 
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
HAIL, HAIL - Pearl Jam

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Released in 1996
From No Code

Getting back to Pearl Jam now. "Hail, Hail" was made as Pearl Jam was in the process of going from being the biggest band in the country to being a band with a devoted cult following. This transition was intentional on the band's part; by numerous accounts, the recording sessions for No Code were volatile, as the band was growing weary of stardom. The lyrics to "Hail, Hail" seem to reflect this; it's a song about two people in a relationship trying to keep it together.

No Code is the sleeper among Pearl Jam's albums. It has many fine songs, some of which I think are among their best (I considered using "Habit" for this entry, but we'll get to that one later). It's not quite the anthemic arena sound of Ten, nor the stripped-down guitar rock of Yield. It's a bit experimental, uses some different grooves, but doesn't forget to rock. Depending on what day you catch me, this is sometimes my favorite Pearl Jam record.

Listen to "Hail, Hail": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83zlG8RChDo

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Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:09 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
MADISON BLUES - Elmore James

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Recorded in 1960, unreleased until 1969
From Tough

Elmore James is a legend of the blues. Many of his songs are standards of the form, whether they be re-imaginings of classic songs ("Dust My Broom," "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "Cross Road") or originals ("Shake Your Moneymaker," "The Sky Is Crying"). So it is a bit surprising that one of his best songs sat on the shelf for as long as it did. "Madison Blues," as noted above, was recorded in 1960 for Chess, but was not officially issued until 1969, six years after James's death. Regardless of the circumstances, this is a fantastic slide blues masterpiece, and has become a standard for many modern blues artists. One of the more notable covers is by George Thorogood, who recorded it for his first album; I've included a link to that version as well.

Listen to "Madison Blues" ...

By Elmore James: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAtaskpe9f0

By George Thorogood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OLP6qtuxkA

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Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:55 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER - Elton John

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Released in 1971
From Madman Across the Water

Sir Elton makes his first appearance, and I've decided to go with a more obscure cut. This eponymous fourth track on Elton's 1971 LP was never a hit and never released as a single, but among Elton's die-hard fans it is a favorite. The album itself was also a lesser hit than Elton's previous Tumbleweed Connection and the next record Honky Chateau. I think there's two reasons for this: First, it came out in between Elton's two greatest albums. Madman is not a bad album at all, but it is definitely overshadowed by the two masterworks that bookend it. Second, this album sprawls. But the sprawl is what makes it fascinating, from Elton's ode to Tony Danza, to "Levon," to "Holiday Inn," "Razor Face," and this song. But I'm getting ahead of myself; we will definitely return to Elton John in time.

Listen to "Madman Across the Water": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vvRN09HZ_4

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Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:51 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
THE WAGON - Dinosaur Jr.

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Released in 1991
From Green Mind

1991 was called "The Year Punk Broke," and with Nirvana's Nevermind clearing the way for a revolution of alternative acts, it's hard to dispute that label. But Nirvana didn't just give new alt-rock bands a boost; they opened the door for those that had been slumming around a while. Dinosaur Jr. was one of those bands; godlike in the American underground, practically unknown in the mainstream. But they too began to break through in 1991, and "The Wagon" was the first of a few moderately successful singles. It was from Green Mind, their fourth album, and by this time the band was starting to splinter. Dinosaur Jr. never burned out; they sort of faded away, but they left a pretty great body of work behind.

Listen to "The Wagon": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIVxW18h6Fc

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Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:49 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
R.O.C.K. IN THE U.S.A. - John Mellencamp

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Released in 1985
From Scarecrow

Scarecrow is probably John Mellencamp's best album. It is many things; songs such as "Rumbleseat" and "Lonely Ol' Night" are among the best heartland rock tracks ever cut. "Small Town" is Mellencamp at his most reflective, and cuts like "Rain on the Scarecrow," "The FAce of the Nation," and "You Gotta Stand For Something" paint the bleak picture that was small-town life in the Reagan/Bush era.

And then there was this song, a poppy, upbeat tribute to the music of Mellencamp's youth. He didn't want to put it on the album initially, thinking it would be out of place among the more serious-minded material. He was right, but "R.O.C.K. In the U.S.A." is too catchy to be ignored, like much of the 1960s pop and rock that Mellencamp loved. Sure, he's rocked tougher, and he's been more political in some of his work, but rarely did he ever make his songs pop as much as they did here.

Listen to "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dO_QKwtko4

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Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:56 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
FA CE LA - The Feelies

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Released in 1979 as Rough Trade RTO24
From Crazy Rhythms

Crazy Rhythms is an appropriate title for the Feelies' debut; it completely captures the band's herky-jerky style. The Feelies were never more than a cult band; they never had a major hit, nor did they sell many albums. But they were remarkably influential among American alt-rock bands, with jangle-pop and lo-fi artists such as Dumptruck, R.E.M. and the Bangles taking a few cues from them.

Crazy Rhythms is an album I wholeheartedly recommend, and I don't do that very often. It is by far the Feelies' best record, and its jangly minimalism still sound fresh today. They also score extra points by covering one of my favorite Beatles songs...but I'll save that one for later.

Listen to "Fa Ce La": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv0HcnTkO54

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Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:19 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
L.A. WOMAN - The Doors

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Released in 1971
From L.A. Woman

This is one of The Doors' finest songs, in my opinion. It's all mood; beginning with one of the most insistent basslines the band ever recorded, Jim Morrison's cryptic lyrics and Ray Manzarek's keyboard transform it into some of the best nighttime cruising music in rock history. "L.A. Woman" was one of the first songs by The Doors I remember hearing, and it was the song that really made me a fan. Unbelievably, it was never released as a single. Sadly, Morrison would die not long after the album's release.

A few extra tidbits: Morrison's repeated phrase "Mr. Mojo Risin'" is an anagram of "Jim Morrison." Apparently, Morrison was Mr. Mojo. Billy Idol covered this song on the album Charmed Life, but it really didn't pack the same punch as the original.

Listen to "L.A. Woman": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JskztPPSJwY

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Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:33 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
SABOTAGE - Beastie Boys

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Released 1994
From Ill Communication

The Beastie Boys may have broken up, but they've left plenty of great music behind. Among my favorites is this track from 1994. It's got a hard edge and a driving bassline, and at first glance may seem void of the humor usually present in the Beasties' work. However, the band saved that for the video, to which I want to draw special attention. It's a great video by a great director (Spike Jonze), and it succeeds as its own artwork apart from the song, as it parodies 1970s cop dramas while embracing their quirks. The video's 70s style was made relevant for a whole generation that might not have been familiar with The Streets of San Francisco or Kojak. I love it, and it's one of my personal favorite music videos.

The video for "Sabotage": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5rRZdiu1UE

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Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:47 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
HAIR OF THE DOG - Nazareth

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Released in 1975
From Hair of the Dog

I challenge anyone to listen to this song and tell me it doesn't rock. "Hair of the Dog" is rightfully a classic rock staple, and it became so the old-fashioned way - through nonstop touring and play by adventurous rock DJs. It seems unbelievable now, but "Hair of the Dog" was never issued as a single in the United States, and was left to be gradually discovered by audiences that loved their rock heavy and their riffs groovy. Which of course, this song has in spades, plus one of the greatest choruses ever ("Now you're messin' with a son of a bitch").

The album Hair of the Dog is actually pretty good, and it contains Nazareth's other monster hit, "Love Hurts." Other cuts such as "Beggars Day" and "Whiskey Drinkin' Woman" are pretty good as well; perhaps we'll get to those later. The song's title is actually a pun; "Son of a bitch" can also mean "Heir of the dog." The band originally wanted to call the album "Heir of the Dog," but the record company balked, and the title was slightly changed. Apparently, a small amount of albums were printed as "Heir of the Dog" and are worth a little bit of money, but I've never seen any.

This song was also covered by Guns N' Roses on the album The Spaghetti Incident, I've included a link to the cover as well.

Listen to "Hair of the Dog" ...

By Nazareth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyXz6eMCj2k

By Guns N' Roses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2sVZ1gC7zk

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Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:37 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
WAH-WAH - George Harrison

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Released 1970
From All Things Must Pass

I will get to The Beatles in time, but for now let's listen to a great track by the "quiet Beatle," George. "Wah-Wah" is a soaring, virtuosic cacophony of sound, with guitars, chorals, horns and synthesizers duking it out for prominence on the track. By all reasonable standards it should not have worked, but the production by Phil Spector is perfect. Ironically, George thought the track was over-produced and initially did not like it, but over the years it has become a fan favorite.

The song itself was written during the waning months of the Beatles' existence. George had established a strong working partnership with Billy Preston, Leon Russell, and Bob Dylan, and had come to the realization that his songwriting and guitar playing was among the most respected in contemporary rock. Only problem is that Lennon and McCartney didn't see it that way, frequently treating George's songs as second-rate, even though several of Harrison's compositions easily surpassed John and Paul's ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something," "Her Comes the Sun," "For You Blue"). So George wrote this song as a form of musical protest during the disastrous Get Back sessions, and it too did not see the light of day until after the band broke up.

However, it did ultimately lead to a great George Harrison solo album. All Things Must Pass is one great song after another, most written for and rejected from Beatles albums. Contrary to popular belief, it was not Harrison's first solo album. It was his third, following Wonderwall Music and Electric Sound.

Listen to "Wah-Wah": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usGObvP42GM

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Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:09 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
TV EYE - The Stooges

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Released in 1970
From Fun House

If you've never heard this song before, I'd say you're in for a treat. "TV Eye" has that rare quality; despite being recorded over 40 years ago, it still sounds unbelievably fresh, raw, and practically modern. "TV Eye" is one of those essential bridge tracks between garage rock and punk; for their first album, Iggy and the boys gave their garage rock a few punky licks. For Fun House, it was punk with some shades of garage. Finally, Raw Power was pure punk...but we'll get to that later. Point is, The Stooges were a band that made rock music the way it should sound, and their sound in all its roughness still resonates.

Listen to "TV Eye": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SD-uF8uisA

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Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:02 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
D-7 - The Wipers

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Released in 1980
From Is This Real?

For fans of punk rock: If you've never heard of The Wipers, then you're in for something great. Greg Sage's groundbreaking band went mostly unnoticed outside of the underground, but his influence is tremendous. "D-7" contains all of the elements that The Wipers made their own (and subsequently contributed to the sounds of many later bands): slow/fast guitar riffing, intense, toned-down basslines, angst, and a DIY ethic in their music that later rubbed off on bands such as Dinosaur Jr., Mudhoney, the Melvins and Nirvana. Kurt Cobain was an especially devoted fan of The Wipers, and Nirvana recorded a faithful cover of this song on their EP Hoarmoaning. Full disclosure: It was Cobain's championing of The Wipers that got me into their music; the 25 bucks I spent on the first three Wipers albums is still one of the best purchases I've ever made.

Listen to "D-7" ...

By The Wipers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9f4fWSzCvA

By Nirvana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx252GweBOM

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Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:47 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
THE E STREET SHUFFLE - Bruce Springsteen

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Released in 1973
From The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle

Bruce Springsteen's debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, went over like a lead weight. It got some real critical acclaim, but sold bupkes. So his second album could only do better. From the first drop of the needle onto this opening track and its loose funky guitar, it was obvious that Bruce and the boys were determined. The album races from one iconic Springsteen tune to another, barely stopping to take a breath. Of course, it didn't sell much better than the debut, but due to relentless touring Springsteen was building a devoted following. Up where I go to school, Bruce played a few shows right after the release of this album, and those who were there have told me that the whole campus became Springsteen converts afterward.

Now Bruce being Bruce, of course he left some good songs off this album as he does with all of his records. In this case it was the really good "Seaside Bar Song" and "The Fever," one of the greatest songs he ever recorded.

Listen to "The E Street Shuffle": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX6LmojEWy4

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Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:28 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
P.Y.T. (PRETTY YOUNG THING) - Michael Jackson

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Released in 1983
From Thriller

Loose, funky, poppy...and this was one of Thriller's lesser tracks. I don't need to bloviate on the genius of Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones; all you've got to do is pull out your copy of Thriller and let the music do the talking. So I'll just drop a few quick facts about the song. First: Michael wrote the original demo, which Jones rejected. However, Jones liked the title, which he kept and fashioned into another song, which made the album. I've linked to the demo, because it's remarkable in its differences. Second: That's Janet and LaToya on backing vocals. Lastly: Jackson never performed this song live. Strange, I know.

Listen to "P.Y.T."...

From Thriller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYXqwbtkkeM

The original demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNh1jA7KnVo

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Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:43 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
DA DOO RON RON - The Crystals

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Released in 1963 as Philles 112

I may have note said it before, but I love me some Phil Spector. Sure, the Ronettes, Darlene Love and the Crystals had a great natural sound, but the man who put it over the top was Spector, who I consider to be the greatest record producer in American music. So listen to "Da Doo Ron Ron, and marvel at the remarkable production, especially the layered vocals (Spector reportedly only used one track for the vocals; someone like Katy Perry, who can't sing, will usually use at least 20 tracks for vocals).

So yes, I dig Phil Spector. Let him out of prison, so he can make an album with Adele.

Listen to "Da Doo Ron Ron": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSpwxz8s0NU

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Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:07 am
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
1 + 1 < 2 - Classic Ruins

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Released in 1980 as Ace of Hearts AHS 103

I may be the only one here who knows this song. The Classic Ruins are an amazingly obscure band; they are so obscure that they don't even have their own Wikipedia page, and to be truthful, I don't know much about them. They came out of the Boston punk scene in the early 80s and had only a few releases. there was the "1 +1" single, the album Lassie Eats Chickens, and a few other spotty releases that never got much notice. My copy of this song is from the Rhino Records compilation Mass Ave., a collection of Boston punk and alt-rock. The compilation I have is also rather rare; it's been out of print for many years.

So with that said, I'll leave you with the link below. The Classic Ruins are still around, playing local gigs. The video I am linking to is from a live performance in 2010; the audio quality is ass, but it's about the best I can find. Hopefully (if anyone listens to it) you can get an idea of how good the song is.

Listen (kind of) to "1 + 1 < 2": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5aybyOsPqU

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Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:56 pm
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Post Re: The best music thread on the forum
NAKED IN THE RAIN - Red Hot Chili Peppers

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Released in 1991
From Blood Sugar Sex Magik

The Chili Peppers' sound changed a bit after the death of original guitarist Hillel Slovak. John Fruiscante joined the band, and thus formed the classic Chili Peppers lineup, which also included Anthony Kedis, Flea and Chad Smith. Fruiscante's arrival also led the Chili Peppers to make their two best albums at the time, Mother's Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik. The Peppers had a slight shift in style in between those two records, though; where Mother's Milk had layers of muddy funk, Flea and Fruiscante stripped out a lot of the mud for BSSM and replaced it with melody. Unsurprisingly, it became their biggest hit album.

However, they didn't completely abandon heavy funk, as this track clearly shows. "Naked in the Rain" was an outtake from the Mother's Milk sessions, and was even played live before it was recorded, but it doesn't have the roughness that characterized Mother's Milk. Yes, it was a bit cleaner than the band's previous work, but "Naked In The Rain" showcases Flea's slap-bass playing fully. Smith pounds the skins, Fruiscante's guitar is edgy, and Kedis is sexual as always. It wasn't a hit, but this is one of my favorite tracks from BSSM.

Listen to "Naked in the Rain": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY1ufFfo3tw

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Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:39 pm
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