Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out did a post last week (link HERE) answering 30 questions about music and inviting us to do the same. 

In the interest of full disclosure, Arlee got the idea from Mitch Mitchell, who got the idea from....well you can keep following the links if you're interested.

So without further fanfare, here are my answers to 30 questions about music.

1: A song you like with a color in the title

Rolling Stones “Paint It Black”

There’s a lot of these….half of the blues catalog has "blue" in the title…but this was one of the earliest for me, although I like it a lot less now than I did then.

2: A song you like with a number in the title

“96 Tears” by Question Mark (?) And The Mysterians

I'm sure there are others. But few bands have as cool a name.

3: A song that reminds you of summertime 

The Motels “Suddenly Last Summer”

From the Little Robbers album, this song seemed to be everywhere during the summer and fall of 1983. I had the cassette in my Sony walkman (still have that darn thing) riding a nice little 150 mile bicycle jaunt from West Chester Pennsylvania to Wildwood, New Jersey....the LONG way. Although I only had a couple of tapes that day, I did not get sick of the song.

4: A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about   

The Beatles "Helter Skelter"

There are really not any people I have personally met that I feel that way about…everyone who has touched my life for good or bad has made me what I am today…and I am ok with what I am today.

There are people who have been immortalized in song that the world would have been better off without, so I will pick one of them. Charles Manson comes to mind, and I'd like to forget there are people like him in this world.

He once stole the Beatles’ song Helter Skelter....until U2 stole it back.

5: A song that needs to be played LOUD

 “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Humble Pie  

There are far too many to list, but this came to mind first.

6: A song that makes you want to dance 

"Super Freak" by Rick James

I was never much of a dancer, but I always had a soft spot in my heart for Slick Rick…and my then-girlfriend always made me dance to this...so I'm going with it!  

7: A song to drive to 

Hands down for me.

“Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen.

Although I think most people would pick “Radar Love.”

Too many summer days spent with the windows rolled down and this song blaring through the speakers….and that was just this summer!

8: A song about drugs or alcohol 

Leon Russell "Me And Baby Jane"

I was stuck with a three-way tie between “needle” songs….Neil Young’s “The Needle And The Damage Done,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “The Needle And The Spoon,” and Queensryche’s “The Needle Lies.”

So I’ll go with Leon.

Leon Russell’s Carny album is one of my favorites. This woeful hymn to a love affair ruined forever by heroin and death never failed to leap out of the speakers and overwhelm me even though I had no concrete connection with any of its themes or scenarios.
I'm not sure exactly how Russell manages sad, understated, tender, and completely beautiful all at the same time.

9: A song that makes you happy 

I’m embarrassed to admit it, and don’t tell anyone, but the first song that popped into my head was “Celebration” by Kool And The Gang 

10: A song that makes you sad 

“Parallel Lines” by Todd Rundgren

This song could be the answer to several questions on this list, but I will use it here in place of "Don't Let It End" by Styx.

The lyric is about a relationship that stalls at friendship. I heard the song for the first time the same day in 1986 that I met a lady for whom the lyric would predict the type of relationship we would have. 

A decade and a half later, it still makes me a little sad things couldn’t have been different.

11: A song that you never get tired of 

 There are so many….”No Matter What” by Badfinger

12: A song from your preteen years  

 "Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Foundations 

I shared a room with my oldest brother Bob when I was a wee yewt, and he had a drum kit and played and sang along to this song. It never sounds right when I play the CD-he should be in the mix.

13: One of your favorite 80’s songs  

Scandal-“The Warrior”

I still have a schoolboy crush on Patty...and this song still ROCKS!

14: A song that you would love played at your wedding 

"Love Is The Answer" by Utopia

And no, this is NOT a cover of an England Dan tune....Todd Rundgren wrote this, England Dan covered it and made it a hit (helping to pay for Todd's beachfront property in Hawaii).

15: A song that is a cover by another artist  

“Black Betty” by Ram Jam

A cover of the old African-American work song often credited to Leadbelly although there a recorded versions prior to his.

16: One of your favorite classical songs 

The third movement of Rachmaninoff’s “Second Symphony,” which was lifted by Eric Carmen for his hit “Never Gonna Fall In Love Again.” 

My high school music teacher played this one to death and it grew on me. 

There are other classical pieces I like better, but I don’t know their names.

Here's Eric's song for comparison...

17: A song that you would sing a duet with on karaoke

“Paradise By The Dashboard Light” by Meat Loaf, mainly because I have sung this many times as a duet.

18: A song from the year that you were born (1961)  

“Runaway” by Del Shannon

Not much to say on this-I spent the last quarter of the year in a NICU unit, and they did not pipe in the rock station (to my knowledge).

19: A song that makes you think about life

“Against The Wind” by Bob Seger. 

This song came out in my late teens, and made me think for the first time about how short life really is.

20: A song that has many meanings to you 

 “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen

Could be sung to a friend, a lover, a parent, a sibling or even an animal companion.

I’m sure if I thought more about it, there is a song with deeper themes that might make a better answer….but I did not think too much about it.

21: A favorite song with a person’s name in the title 

“Come On Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. 

I’ve dated two women named Eileen, and both have hated this song.

Go figure.

Hopefully neither hate me, as I have nothing but good memories of each of them.

22: A song that moves you forward
I’m going to set aside introspection and go with a cheesy answer here….is there ANYONE who can listen to Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” and not feel a little like Rocky Balboa? A great song when you need a soundtrack for exercise.

23: A song that you think everybody should listen to 

”People Got To Be Free” by the Young(?) Rascals

Only if everyone promises to listen to the lyric and take it to heart…my first answer would be Utopia's "Love Is The Answer" here, but I had already used that.

24: A song by a band you wish were still together  

 “One World” by Utopia

There's still time, guys! Roger...Willie...Kaz...Todd...one more album?

I always thought this song came off far better live than the studio version did...so this is the version from the band's reunion/farewell tour in 1992.

25: A song by an artist no longer living
“My Ride’s Here” by Warren Zevon.

This was the last song on his next-to-last album. Had it been the last song on The Wind, his final release, it would have been the coolest closing song on a life and career EVER.

Still a great song, and I still love Warren's music and wish there had been more of it. 

I could not find Warren's version-here is the version Springsteen played at his show the night Warren died.

26: A song that makes you want to fall in love   

“Love Of A Lifetime” by Firehouse

As many readers know, I am a CD-aholic, and the prettiest version of this song is an "extreme acoustic version" on a Japanese CD single that I looked for and could not find on You Tube. They released an acoustic version later in the US but it sounded too country (if you can believe that). This version works.

27: A song that breaks your heart  

I’m going to cop out and list two.

“Don’t Think About Her While You’re Trying To Drive” by Little Village. John Hiatt just nails the feeling of being alone and broken hearted in his guitar tone and the song’s melody. So while this song does not have the personal significance of the next one, it makes up for it in mood.

“More Than A Feeling” by Boston reminds me of my sister MaryAnne. I was very close to her-she died of cancer in August 1998 at the too-frigging-young age of thirty-four.

Back when we were kids, Mare and I chipped in on Boston's debut album.  A record-pool, if you will.

When Brad Delp sings “I see my Mary Anne walkin’ away,” I still get wet in the eyes fifteen years later. How sad that he took is own life a few years ago....life is such a precious commodity, and we are all loved by far more people than we know.

I wonder if you ever stop missing the loved ones you lose.

28: A song by an artist with a voice that you love   

So many voices stand out for me-these come to mind without thinking: Kasim Sulton (Utopia);  Eric Martin (Mr. Big); Patty Smyth (Scandal) Peter Cetera (Chicago); Dennis DeYoung (Styx).

I am going to go with Paul Rodgers’ voice and Bad Company’s “Shooting Star” for the song.

29: A song that you remember from your childhood 

“I Want You Back” by The Jackson Five

The album this came from was the first record I ever bought...

30: A song that reminds you of yourself 

"A Brand New Book" by Graham Parker

Back in 2010, we did a “SoundtrackTo Your Life” blog hop, and this song is just as relevant now as it was then. As Graham wrote, ‘it could have been written just for me.”

Unlike a couple of years ago, I managed to find a live version of the song, but I will still leave you with the lyrics…

I once read the story of somebody's life
I had a few moments to spare
He was a good man who lived with his wife
with the usual kids in his hair
There was happiness a lot of weirdness
and a sprinkle of tragedy
I pulled it by chance from a second hand bin
But it could've been written just for me

Because the words came out not twist and shout
Cause that's not what a grown man writes about
That chapter's over, let it blow over
I found that I've become the owner of a brand new book
A brand new book

I've travelled far and I've travelled wide
and I guess I'll be travelling on
Fill another suitcase up with possessions
and put on a Badfinger song
I've got much more than most people have
and a little less than a few
But you can't measure these things by weight
They either drag you down or they lift you

I don't read between the lines
I'm not ready for what I'll find
I don't believe that love is blind
It just can't see straight, it just can't see straight oh yeah
Read all about it, read all about it yeah

I read that book for an hour or two
and then I looked up at the night sky
I saw the big dipper and then the big bopper
and I realized how much time had gone by
Every page had something to say
but one thing that struck me as true
The clock just keeps ticking as if you're not there

Man it either drags you down or it lifts you

That's my story...and I'm sticking to it...how'd I do, Arlee?


  1. I believe I shall play along... but first:

    -Once I saw The Needle And The Damage Done, I said, why didn't I think of that! But mine will have the first that came to mind.

    -I have heard both versions of Love Is The Answer, and I do like to know the writers of songs I like. An excellent choice.

    -I could have fit Runaway into so many categories...

    -C'mon Eileen could well have fit into the makes-you-dance category for me.

    -One world is a great song by Utopia, though my favorite has always been Caravan.

    -What a sad story for More Than A Feeling...

    -The childhood, youth, and birth songs all kinda blur together for me.

    -I tried to fill in as I read yours, but still have a few to fill in. I'll post an attempt soon.

    1. Look forward to it, CW-this would have made an interesting blog-hop...

  2. Very well done. Fine picks that you qualified well. For "Black" you could have gone with "Black Is Black" by Los Bravos. Or how about "Blue on Blue" by Bobby Vinton--I think he had a whole franchise of "Blue" songs.

    I like the way you did this.

    Wrote By Rote

    1. Thanks, Lee-

      Wouldja believe that to this day I never knew that 'Los Bravos' was the name of the band?

      So many songs ran through my head for color, but the Rolling Stones "Through The Past Darkly" was an album I'd inherited quite young when my oldest brother moved out, and it had "Paint It Black" on it...

  3. I am not Arlee, but I think you did very well. I would have liked to listen to that long since I've never heard it before. I liked the lyrics a lot.

    1. Do you mean the Graham Parker tune? Does the link not work? Bummer....

  4. Wow, wonderful stuff! First, thanks for the mention. Second, your #29 is obviously my favorite song ever, and it immediately validates this list! Third, the only group I've never heard of listed here is Utopia so I'll have to look more into that. But most of these songs... classic! Great job!

    1. Thanks, Mitch-this was a great idea on your part.

      I've got a ridiculously large music collection, and it all started with "Diana Ross Presents The Jackson Five" way back in 1970!

      Utopia is the name of a band Todd Rundgren fronted (the label viewed it pretty much as a side project) from 1973-1985. It started as a progressive jam band, finding a stable line-up after two albums and becoming more of a pop/rock group.


  5. Whoa! I can sure understand why 'MORE THAN A FEELING' reminds you of your Sister! I knew that it did, and I always think about that when I hear it played on KLSX, but I didn't know the two of you chipped in together to buy that Boston album.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Stephen-

      We even had a fight when we started wearing out the grooves from playing the LP too much.

      My solution-side 1 was mine, side 2 was hers.

      That did not last long....so I ended up joining Columbia House to get another copy.

      Lee should have done this exercise as a blog hop.

    2. We'll have to come up with something similar and do a hop. I was just following up on what Mitch did. It is a pretty cool little set of questions.

      Wrote By Rote

    3. Lee-

      Not meant as a criticism (hope it did not come off that way).

      I've had a few ideas for hops, but do not have the follower base to drum up participation (love this quiz as an idea, or even just asking question #19).

      Another idea-best soundtracks (or best soundtrack songs).

      Inspired by your battle of the bands posts-best cover versions (remakes) of songs or remakes that departed most from the original.

      Incidentally, I am going to do a post on 9/15 that leeches off the BOTB idea, giving all of you "regular" BOTB posters full credit for the idea and linking to your sites.

      When Stephen signed on I thought it sounded like fun but did not know whether Far Away Series would appreciate my jumping on the bandwagon.

      With so many people piling on, I figured I'd chime in for the week.

  6. HA! Nice solution: "Tell ya what... I'll take the side with 'More Than A Feeling' and 'Foreplay/Long Time', and you can have the side with that other... stuffs".

    I'd-a told you where you could inject that "solution".

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. I'm pretty sure she did tell me where to stick it....