.

album reviews

The Who

Direct Hits Track

So you like the Who, huh, and you've been looking for a concise collection of some of their best tracks, and you bought Magic Bus and got disappointed? Well, it may take you some searching to find it (Track is a British label distributed by Atlantic over here), but this album is the answer. True, it has some stuff that is on the Bus album, but the intrepid Who collector will never let that stand in his way, because the rest of the cuts on this collection make it invaluable. Side One has... | More »

The Band

The Band Capitol Records

It's home made, Robbie Robertson says, done in the house they rented in Hollywood last winter in which they fixed up a room with baffles and a projector for flicks and the recording equipment. Robbie was engineer for about 90% of the work and they really produced the album themselves. John Simon, aside from being odd man in for the horn section, became "that outside ear and outside opinion you could trust." So it really is just the Band. There are twelve tracks. Robbie wrote eight of t... | More »

The Stooges

The Stooges Elektra

As we all remember, in 1957, it was conclusively proven that there exists a causal relationship between rock and roll and juvenile delinquency. This record is just another document in support of this thesis. The Stooges, formerly the Psychedelic Stooges, hail from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where, in case you've never been told, they do things high-powered — high-powered music, high-powered doping, high-powered fucking, high-powered hyping. The Stooges used to share a house with another... | More »

The Byrds

Preflyte Sundazed

The Byrds came along at a time when American rock needed a shot in the arm which would raise the music to the levels attained by the British groups and allow it to meet the emerging head culture. The Byrds did it; but the subtlety and aversion to gimmick that is found in their music and in themselves doomed them as a sleeper group, always popular and musically influential, but denied the superstardom conferred on more pretentious, melodramatic personalities by an industry geared to the Image.... | More »

September 12, 1969

The Rolling Stones

Through The Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) Decca

This is one of the great party records. All the cuts are favorites, all are terrific — loud, tough, flashy rock and roll. Even if you already have every song on Flowers, Aftermath, Between the Buttons, and Beggars' Banquet, all together they've probably never sounded as good as they do on this LP. Whether or not the songs were chosen with great care or virtually at random, they form an album of tremendous impact, just like any record of Little Richard's greatest hits. If ... | More »

August 23, 1969

Otis Redding

Love Man Atco

With the release of the fourth posthumous Otis Redding album, perhaps it's time to examine the Pedding legend and reassess his position in the pop pantheon. Unquestionably, the man had superb talents — both as composer-songwriter and, especially, as live performer. Equally factual, however, is the necrophiliac aspect of his worshippers' adoration. As a result of his stand-out Monterey appearance, his long-overdue and at-last-breaking recognition, and his subsequent untimely de... | More »

Marvin Gaye

M.P.G.

Marvin Gaye has been around for a long time — ever since the beginning of Motown. He's already earned the distinction of two albums of his own greatest hits, but it's only since the beginning of this year that he's achieved truly mass popularity. His version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" became the all-time best-selling single for Motown, and Marvin's follow-up, "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby," was another national number one. For some reason, Marvin has be... | More »

The Doors

The Soft Parade

A front page ad in Billboard says it: "Initial orders promise it will attain the instant solid gold status of their first three albums." It looks like it will, but not because anyone listened to the record. Alternate suggested titles for The Soft Parade would be The Worst of the Doors, Kick Out the Doors, or best, The Soft Touch. The Soft Parade is worse than infuriating, it's sad. It's sad because one of the most potentially moving forces in rock has allowed itself to degenerate.... | More »

Joe Cocker

With A Little Help From My Friends

Joe Cocker and the Grease Band were ending a performance they gave recently at the Whiskey in Los Angeles. As they went into their explosive version of "With A Little Help From My Friends," a nubile young admirer, apparently driven wild by Cocker's amazing voice and insane spastic contortions, stationed herself on her back between Cocker's legs and, reaching up, began to work the Cocker cock with considerable fervor. Moments later Joe delivered the scream of his career. Which is no... | More »

August 9, 1969

Jeff Beck

Beck-Ola Epic

This is a brilliant album, dense in texture, full of physical and nervous energy, equally appealing to mind and body. There is a guiding intelligence which enables these five excellent, assertive musicians to work with and not against each other. The group benefits from the addition of Nicky Hopkins, the most perfect of rock pianists (although his playing is sometimes over-shadowed by the electrical sturm and drang around him, something of an occupational hazard for pianists). Ron Wood's... | More »

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

More Song Stories entries »
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