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Top 5 “L” Artists

July 9, 2014

Nearing the halfway mark of the alphabet, another letter that ain’t half bad!

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5. K.D. Lang
If all goes according to plan, there will be a Shadowland review before moving on to the “M”s.

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4. Lemonheads, The
Replace Shadowland with It’s a Shame About Ray in the above sentence!

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3. Lennon, John
His solo work was at times soul-searching (Plastic Ono Band), others solid (the hits from Double Fantasy), and occasionally superb (parts of Imagine).
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2. Libertines, The
What became of the likely lads?  There’s talk of a reunion but for now, the first (and only) two records still sound scrap-tastic.

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1. LFO
Few lyrics have been as poignant; fewer still have been more revealing about the human condition than the chorus to Summer Girls:

“New Kids On The block had a bunch of hits
Chinese food makes me sick.
And I think it’s fly when girls stop by for the summer,for the summer”

The words say it all: proof of the commercial viability of boy bands, confessions of indigestion, and the acknowledgement of the ‘fly’ness in the moment when…well maybe not such a ‘fly’ misdirect here but could #1 really be anyone other than Led Zeppelin? 🙂

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42 Comments
  1. The Libertines played Hyde Park in London on Saturday, and they start their European tour next weekend. Great band, they came out in England just at the right time when Guitar bands needed a good kick up the arse!

  2. Heh heh at the No. 1, you almost had me going there! But… no Lynyrd Skynyrd?!

  3. You scared me at first when I scanned the list and didn’t see Zeppelin (not even noticing that LFO was the replacement entry). Although I don’t agree with all choices they’re certainly worthy artists (and I’m very happy see k.d. lang here). My other nominees are: Lynyrd Skynyrd (already noted by HMO), Little Feat, Los Lobos, Nick Lowe, Shelby Lynne, Huey Lewis (yep, big fan here), Levellers, Gordon Lightfoot, Little Richard, Living Colour, Lyle Lovett and Little River Band.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on lang’s “Shadowland.”

    • Little Richard is a must! Lots of great choices there Rich. No love for Love?

      • Just an oversight, although I only own “Forever Changes” and a 2-CD compilation (both of which I love) as opposed to the other artists I mentioned, where I either own their entire catalog or they’re simply no-brainer choices. But Love would absolutely get a nomination for my Top “L” artists.

      • I’ve only got Forever Changes, but it is excellent and I always mean to dig in further. I thought they might be your cup of tea!

      • I was just thinking about Forever Changes yesterday (I was playing the UFO album where they cover Love’s “Alone Again Or”). It made me think that I should write a post one of these days about albums that weren’t big in their day but found an audience later on…and how many of them actually live up to the belated hype. Forever Changes definitely does.

      • That sounds like a great idea for a post. UFO made a pretty good fist of that tune. It was hearing their version that got me to check out the original.

      • Gents – the good news is, the book had love for love, both Da Capo and Forever Changes made the cut!

        Skynyrd, I only know the hits + ‘pronounced’ (which is on the list of course) – I struggle with the confederate flag but from what I gather, it’s at least intended to be used as southern pride as opposed to racism. I remember reading about Morrissey getting into trouble for waving the Union Jack (another flag at one time adopted by racists) in ’92 but then later in the decade, Spice Girls were happily wearing Union Jack dresses so who knows.

        Huey Lewis & The News, nothing wrong with that choice – and excellent to see the pride of Orillia Ontario (Gordon Lightfoot) in the conversation!

        Here’s Little Richard is one of the early albums on the 1001 and the vocal intro to tutti frutti has to be one of the better record openings I’ve heard.

        And Rich, I’d fully support that post, I’m now thinking of some that meet that criteria!

      • Geoff, don’t let preconceived notions get in the way of checking out the brilliance that was Lynyrd Skynyrd in their original incarnation. Every album they released in the ’70s is either great or phenomenal. At the very least I would recommend a well-selected compilation that goes beyond the hits.

        Also, thanks for not mocking me regarding my love of Huey Lewis & The News. They’re a much better band than they’re given credit for, and his musical friendship with Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott affords him more credibility than many fans would normally give him. Plus there’s that voice.

        Not sure when I’ll get to the post I mentioned earlier, but it’s something I’ve been thinking of. When I wrap up my k.d. lang series I have a few ideas for more general, non-artist-specific posts which is something I need to focus on right now since my listening & writing time has been reduced based on various work & personal obligations. Stay tuned.

        On a separate note, do you or any of my fellow WordPress bloggers here have any idea why I’m not receiving email notifications when someone follows up on a comment I’ve written at someone else’s blog? I always click the “Notify me of follow-up comments…” box prior to commenting but the only way I find out about other comments is when I remember to revisit that particular post. That wasn’t always the case but has been happening more frequently for the last couple of months. Can’t figure out if it’s a setting within my blog that I need to update. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

        Hope you’re having an “L” of a day.

      • “Forever Changes definitely does.”

        Indeed; one of my favourite albums.

        A few years ago, Robert Plant was at Cropredy with his band The Priory of Brion. They did great versions of “A House is Not a Motel” and “Bummer in the Summer”. Actually, a nice set list all round.

        I was in the front row.

        Percy has also been a surprise guest at Cropredy a few times, usually playing a couple of Zeppelin numbers as part of his set, proving that Simon Nicol is just as good a guitar player as Jimmy Page*. He has also been spotted as a punter, standing in the field like anyone else, even when he didn’t perform.

        *I kid you not. Simon Nicol is a very good, and a very under-rated, guitar player. (Now Fairport’s main singer as well, his voice has improved enormously with age.) There are some obscure CDs of Nicol with Dave Swarbrick playing as a duo in small folk clubs. Some of the guitar work is truly amazing, approaching Tommy Emmanuel-style virtuosity (by the way, the wife and I have tickets for Emmanuel soon).

      • “Forever Changes definitely does.”

        Indeed; one of my favourite albums.

        A few years ago, Robert Plant was at Cropredy with his band The Priory of Brion. They did great versions of “A House is Not a Motel” and “Bummer in the Summer”. Actually, a nice set list all round.

        I was in the front row.

        Percy has also been a surprise guest at Cropredy a few times, usually playing a couple of Zeppelin numbers as part of his set, proving that Simon Nicol is just as good a guitar player as Jimmy Page*. He has also been spotted as a punter, standing in the field like anyone else, even when he didn’t perform.

        *I kid you not. Simon Nicol is a very good, and a very under-rated, guitar player. (Now Fairport’s main singer as well, his voice has improved enormously with age.) There are some obscure CDs of Nicol with Dave Swarbrick playing as a duo in small folk clubs. Some of the guitar work is truly amazing, approaching Tommy Emmanuel-style virtuosity (by the way, the wife and I have tickets for Emmanuel soon).

      • Phillip Helbig permalink

        “Forever Changes definitely does.”

        Indeed; one of my favourite albums.

        A few years ago, Robert Plant was at Cropredy with his band The Priory of Brion. They did great versions of “A House is Not a Motel” and “Bummer in the Summer”. Actually, a nice set list all round.

        I was in the front row.

        Percy has also been a surprise guest at Cropredy a few times, usually playing a couple of Zeppelin numbers as part of his set, proving that Simon Nicol is just as good a guitar player as Jimmy Page*. He has also been spotted as a punter, standing in the field like anyone else, even when he didn’t perform.

        *I kid you not. Simon Nicol is a very good, and a very under-rated, guitar player. (Now Fairport’s main singer as well, his voice has improved enormously with age.) There are some obscure CDs of Nicol with Dave Swarbrick playing as a duo in small folk clubs. Some of the guitar work is truly amazing, approaching Tommy Emmanuel-style virtuosity (by the way, the wife and I have tickets for Emmanuel soon).

        .

      • “On a separate note, do you or any of my fellow WordPress bloggers here have any idea why I’m not receiving email notifications when someone follows up on a comment I’ve written at someone else’s blog? I always click the “Notify me of follow-up comments…” box prior to commenting but the only way I find out about other comments is when I remember to revisit that particular post. That wasn’t always the case but has been happening more frequently for the last couple of months. Can’t figure out if it’s a setting within my blog that I need to update. Any help will be greatly appreciated.”

        You really, really have to use RSS feeds not just for comments but also for posts!

      • Phillip Helbig permalink

        “On a separate note, do you or any of my fellow WordPress bloggers here have any idea why I’m not receiving email notifications when someone follows up on a comment I’ve written at someone else’s blog? I always click the “Notify me of follow-up comments…” box prior to commenting but the only way I find out about other comments is when I remember to revisit that particular post. That wasn’t always the case but has been happening more frequently for the last couple of months. Can’t figure out if it’s a setting within my blog that I need to update. Any help will be greatly appreciated.”

        You really, really have to use RSS feeds not just for comments but also for posts!
        .

      • Phillip Helbig permalink

        “I struggle with the confederate flag but from what I gather, it’s at least intended to be used as southern pride as opposed to racism. I remember reading about Morrissey getting into trouble for waving the Union Jack (another flag at one time adopted by racists) in ’92 but then later in the decade, Spice Girls were happily wearing Union Jack dresses so who knows.”

        Well, racists can adopt whatever they want and I won’t stop eating potatoes if racists adopt them. However, the Union Jack is a legitimate flag of a modern country (whatever one thinks of it) while the confederate flag is associated with the Confederacy, whose existence was primarily due to the desire to continue and extend slavery. Still, I’m willing to admit that some rednecks might not even know this. (I’ll get me coat.)

        “Geoff, don’t let preconceived notions get in the way of checking out the brilliance that was Lynyrd Skynyrd in their original incarnation. Every album they released in the ’70s is either great or phenomenal. At the very least I would recommend a well-selected compilation that goes beyond the hits.”

        What about, say, “God and Guns”? Is it an honest sentiment or is it satire.

        The Beatles’ “Happiness is a Warm Gun” is satire; if there is any doubt, Lennon has commented on its origin in interviews. But what about this? One bloke told me that dead Skynyrd members would not have approved, and that the earlier band was not so reactionary.

        Of course, outside the States, gun owners are often seen differently than inside the States.

      • I took me a couple scans but I finally got the ‘L’ of a day, nice!

        Good to know about early Skynyrd – we talked about the overplay of certain songs recently, it doesn’t matter how many times it’s been played, little can be done to diminish how impressive the guitar duet is at the end of Free Bird.

        For me, Huey had all the cred he needed with a cameo in Back To The Future as the teacher who accused Marty’s band of being “Too darn loud” (while playing Power of Love) – his appearance in the Jimmy Kimmel/Ben Affleck video a couple years ago probably didn’t hurt either!

        I think Phillip’s right with the RSS feeds – without them, I typically get a WP notification when the conversation continues diagonally down the page but if the reply ends up organized with the same left justification in the comments section, no notification.

        Phillip – that cropedy festival sounds great! And we talked about perfect songs recently, for me Happiness is a Warm Gun comes pretty close. If it doesn’t quite reach perfection, The Beatles is the perfect album that all other albums are compared to.

      • Thanks for the feedback, guys. I will look into RSS feeds. Until recently I never had this issue with WordPress. Anytime I would leave a comment and click that box, I would get a notification on WordPress AND via email that there’s been a follow-up comment. Perhaps some of their settings have changed so it looks like I need to move further into the 21st century and figure out how to set up RSS.

  4. Like the “L” songs you picked Stephen.
    Heartily second the Nick Lowe and Little Feat Rich.
    A shoutout to underdogs from Toronto-The Look People “5 is the number, that makes me want to boogie…..”

    • The Look People – I’m not familiar, but I’m pleased to be listening to 5 as I type, nice graphics!

      • Short-lived, but one of Toronto’s great bands.

        “How many Jacksons on the Victory tour?
        How many movies till Rocky sucks?
        How many miles is the Camptown Racetrack?
        How many minutes does it take to make minute rice?
        How many bams does Bam-Bam bam?
        How many minutes does Brubreck take?
        How many Moes does Calloway know?
        What Beethoven symphony goes…..”

        Just love that song 🙂

      • Holy crap dude they were insane. I have his solo album ClintEastWoodyAllenAlda, and I HIGHLY recommend it.

      • A lounge take on The Safety Dance? Featuring a sitar at the end? How have I not heard of this before?!
        That album name is equally wonderful

      • Jaymz Bee was one talented guy. Look People were the house band on some Canadian late night show in the 1990’s. Ralph Benmergui.

        I’ll never forget that at the end of one show, Jaymz Bee broke into the “I feel like chicken tonight!” jingle except in insane-speed-funk style.

  5. What? No Loverboy?? lol (I actually do like Loverboy)
    Not a bad list at all, Geoff.

    • No Calgary Loverboy but at least there’s a bit of Canadian content still with KD – thanks Sarca!

  6. I absolutely obsessively loved the libertines when they were going the first time. (Still do, just not as obsessively). Very happy about the reunion 🙂

    • I actually didn’t get to know them until it after the breakup (when I worked in Scotland for a summer, a co-worker introduced me to them) – The libertines is on the 1001 but I’d argue (and I’m guessing you’d agree Jimmy) that Up The Bracket belongs there too!

  7. Summer Girls…LOL…I remember (hating) that song!

    • It’s funny what becomes a big hit – I think if you include the word “summer” in the song title at this time of year it doesn’t seem to hurt.
      Lyrically, if there’s a Top 5 for painful lyrics, that song’s got to be a contender!

      • It really doesn’t. Katy Perry sang about california girls in their bikinis and it worked. There is such thing as a “summer” hit in the pop world. I don’t think that really exists in the rock world.

  8. I definitely agree with John Lennon being on this list. I’ll be posting about his solo work soon. I, too, would add Huey Lewis and The News to the list. I’m actually going to see them in concert tomorrow. They put on a great show but it’s way too short – only 1 ½ hours. It’s disappointing when the drive to the concert is longer than the actual concert!

    • Nice – that’s a show I’d like to see. I usually say quality over quantity but if it’s a group you like, the longer the concert the better!

  9. darn divorce court, catching up on your blog…
    LUSH!!! i love you miki berenyi! 🙂

  10. Leonard Cohen is an absolute must!! (unless he’s with the Cs, I don’t recall…). Same for Lou Reed (he’s going to be with the Rs I guess). Someone said Lynyrd Skynyrd already. Then there’s Lhasa, and maybe Lamb. I used to listen to Los Fabullos Cadillacs a lot but maybe that band is a bit too obscure. hehe

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