Tuesday, November 17, 2015
The Rockets - "Oh Well"
Last Friday, a thirty-year-long misconception of mine was cleared up, a boneheaded belief that led me last month to tweet something wrong about the season two premiere of Fargo. I had tweeted a chide at Rolling Stone about them stating that a song by Fleetwood Mac appeared in the episode. That was The Rockets version of "Oh Well", I confidently stated. "Oh Well" appeared shortly after the opening, and was soon followed by Billy Thorpe's "Children of the Sun", meaning that this episode set in 1979 was dead-on in its grasp of the power and the glory of late-seventies AOR radio. But after being steered in the right direction on this song (more on this later) and watching the beginning of the episode again on demand, it turns out it was Fleetwood Mac, with a live version from a 1980 album.*
A summary of the three versions of "Oh Well" that should be familiar to classic rock fans:
- Fleetwood Mac original studio version from 1969. Written and sung by original Mac leader Peter Green. A long cut on the album, radio usually plays a shorter version.
- The Rockets studio version from 1979. A more hard rock take on the song.
- Fleetwood Mac live version from 1980. Here, Lindsey Buckingham takes over the lead guitar and singing duties from long-departed from the band Peter Green. This version also rocks harder than the original.
On Friday, my friend Jeff and I were raving about Fargo and I was still under the belief that The Rockets version was used in the premiere. Jeff said no, it was the Fleetwood Mac live version. Then after we tracked all three versions (and likely annoying Jeff's studio mates in the process, nothing like trying to wrap up a workweek late on a Friday and two middle-aged dudes are having an AOR bull session complete with playing a single song over and over again), Jeff posited the gotta-be-true theory that after The Rockets rocked up "Oh Well", Lindsey Buckingham responded by making sure it was on their live album and released as an AOR cut to stations nationwide.
Which brings me to the source of my confusion over whose version of "Oh Well" is whose. Because The Rockets released a live album in 1984, which OF COURSE featured "Oh Well". I was at beer-fueled game of Risk in the Twin Cities circa 1986 and a debate broke out over whose version of "Oh Well" was being played on KQRS. I was still relatively unfamiliar with the song, and one of the dudes insisted that the "hard rock" version of the tune - whether it was studio or live - was by The Rockets. This was eventually accepted as fact, further discussion was shelved, and I proceeded to get my armies blown off the world map. Being someone who never cared for superstar-lineup Fleetwood Mac, I was totally unaware that they even had a live album in 1980. Or if I was, I wrote it off as the "cash in on the fans with a quickie tour souvenir" it surely was. (And I ain't gonna give it a listen now, not even for research purposes. Not with The Rockets available on Apple Music.)
And now, looking back, I realized I got my bogus "Oh Well" information from the same crowd who a year earlier had insisted that a new Boston song was out from their long-rumored, always-pending third album. Things were tricky back then in the days before we had the Internet. Oh well...
*And with this season of Fargo being set in 1979, this means the use of this song is an anachronism. This is a slight bummer, as so far this season is one of the best things I've ever seen on TV. If they had used The Rockets 1979 version, they'd still be pitching a perfect game.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
The New York Dolls - "Don't Start Me Talkin'"
As I have written before:
The YMCA is not my social club. The goal of going there is simple: Get an elliptical workout for thirty minutes with my iPhone blasting some metal; walk on the treadmill for forty minutes while listening to more music; stretch; and then get the hell out of there.
But my fellow middle-aged folks who work out at my Y? Way too social for my tastes. Worse, the men are always looking for new members to recruit into their coffee klatch. Last year, I was carrying my bike helmet and one of them nodded at me and asked about my bike ride. I made some dry comment about it not being bad because "it was all downhill", and now we give each other the nod of recognition. Perfectly fine, because he is content to chat away with his other workout friends and leaves me alone to go sweat it out. But early this year, I made the mistake of talking to another klatch member. He was leaning on an elliptical machine that I wanted to use, talking with his buddy on the next machine. I should have just went and grabbed a treadmill and watched Sports Shouting on ESPN. Instead, I asked him if he would be using the machine, he said no, gave me room to get on it, and then started joking around on how I would have to keep his buddy company. Except I think he was only half-joking. I smiled, put on my earbuds, cranked Motorhead, and put any potential conversations out of my mind.
Look, if you want to be pals with your fellow sweat-soaked companions at the gym, feel free. Just leave me out of it. I don't care about your mortgages, kids, lawn care duties, retirement dreams, grandkids, careers, travel plans, or what you're grilling on your decks. Like I stated above, my focus is to get my exercise and get the hell out of there after stretching. But now that I had spoken to the coffee klatch, in future visits they made eye contact with me, nodded at me, tried to draw me into their conversations. I could see as the year went on that some sort of stratagem was needed to back the coffee klatch away from me. Get a shirt that says LEAVE ME ALONE on it in big block letters? No, not passive-aggressive enough. Quit the Y? No, it's only four blocks away. Work out at a different time? No, the late afternoon time is perfect, allows me to blow my accounting number-crunching brain away and then glide into the evening with a fresh mind. Besides, I'm sure other times of the day have their own coffee klatches.
A few weeks ago on a Tuesday, a few of the klatch were standing around chatting over the NFL Network's replay of the Vikings game from the prior Sunday, which was airing on one of the big screen TVs in the cardio room. The Vikings, sheesh. The joke franchise which has choked/quit/clowned its way through over a half-century of existence, yet is still vastly beloved by the vast majority of sports fans in my part of the world. I actively cheer for the Purple to lose,
Vikings are driving late for a tying or go-ahead score. Teddy Bridgewater drops back to pass … and Broncos blitzers come through unchecked, strip-sack Bridgewater, and pounce on the fumble. Broncos win, remain undefeated, Vikings lose, remain team that can't beat a good team on the road.
And just like I did on Sunday when this game aired live, I pumped my fist and grinned broadly. I didn't overdo it and shout like I had two days prior, but I didn't have any scotch or beef jerky on me this time either. The coffee klatch hasn't tried to lure me into a conversation since.