Money, Cocker And The Loaf

September 19, 2012

Eddie Money spooked Paloma.

His mug appeared on the television as he belted out Two Tickets To Paradise in a commercial for some beer or burger or chainsaw.

(or something)

“That’s scary,” she noted.

There was something about the aging rocker, shuffling about the screen in an exaggerated manner and belting out song in a gravelly voice, that made me think of Joe Cocker.

“He reminds me of Joe Cocker. I think that the two should go out on tour together.”

I pictured the pair lurching across America.

“And Meat Loaf,” she added.

She paused, then succinctly expressed the logic with the very thing I was thinking. “He emotes.”

It’s true.

The Dude abides.

The Loaf emotes.

And the world keeps spinnin’ ’round.

And so I imagined Eddie Money, Joe Cocker, and Meat Loaf touring the country, contorting and lurching, belting it to the back rows, emoting with more melodrama than a dressing room full of drag queens…

…it made for quite a spectacle in my head.

Here are four songs from the catalogs of the trio…

Eddie Money – Think I’m In Love
Eddie Money – Shakin’
from No Control (1982)

Eddie Money’s career was in a lull when I started listening to music at the outset of the ’80s. Of course I knew his early hits like Two Tickets To Paradise and Baby Hold On To Me as I heard them often on the rock stations, but as those had been several years earlier, it was ancient history to me.

Then, he released No Control. I vividly recall hearing Think I’m In Love for the first time and how damned catchy it was (and still is).

As for Shakin’, while it failed to match Think I’m In Love‘s success, it seemed to get as much airplay and it was notable to me and my friends for the novelty of hearing “tits” on the radio.

Joe Cocker – Shelter Me
from Cocker (1986)

Like Eddie Money, Joe Cocker’s career was waning as the ’80s arrived. I imagine that the only thing that I knew by the man was hearing him croak his way through the mawkish You Are So Beautiful.

Then, he duetted with Jennifer Warnes on Up Where We Belong and I saw him perform on Solid Gold – something for which I was wholly unprepared.

I understand that Cocker is well regarded, but he didn’t exactly make a good first impression on me and, over the years, I’ve not become much more acquainted with his oeuvre beyond the basics. I did hear Shelter Me on the radio a bit in early ’86 and, though I imagine the song is unlikely to make a list of his essentials, I finally took to his gruff, soulful voice.

Meat Loaf – You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth
from Hits Out Of Hell (1984)

I’m still bitter about reality television ruining my concept of Meat Loaf.

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A Toast To Whiteray

September 4, 2009

Some time ago, I mentioned Roxy Music to a couple of co-workers, both older than me, one of them having spent ten years in the music industry.

That remark was met with a blank stare.

After spending ten minutes giving a rough history of the band, offering examples of their influence, and explaining their place in rock music, I realized my audience was unimpressed.

(with both Roxy Music and me)

There was a time when pretty much everyone in my orbit would have known of Roxy Music – whether they were fans or not. During my vagabond days working in record stores, the mention of Roxy Music would have prompted one friend to interject Brian Eno into the conversation.

The Drunken Frenchman would have regaled us with some tale – some more obscure than others – about Roxy Music, Brian Eno, or whatever artist that was the subject of debate and/or discussion.

(the experience of listening to rock and roll lore as told by The Frenchman was akin to what I imagine it to be like listening to an old mariner telling tales from the briny deep)

Sometimes passions flared, but it was a collective passion for music that was ever present.

Now, the deepest discussion I hear from co-workers about music revolves around some kid on American Idol performing Hallelujah with no knowledge of Leonard Cohen, who wrote the song, or Jeff Buckley, who put his indelible stamp on it.

It’s made the numerous blogs focused on music – and a wide variety of music – such a wonderful surrogate for a time when hour upon hour would be dedicated to similar banter among friends.

Which is why it’s disappointing to read that Whiteray, author of the wonderful Echoes In The Wind, is on, what I hope, will be a brief hiatus.

Like JB over at The Hits Just Keep Comin’ (as well as the other destinations to which I’ve provided links on your right), Whiteray has a knack for chronicling the music that has meant so much to him, doing so in a manner that is engaging, amusing, and informative.

It isn’t even necessarily the music about which he wrote that made me a faithful reader. Though the music sometimes doesn’t connect with me, his affection and enthusiasm for his subject matter is like listening to one of my friends from back in the day.

So, here’s hoping to read something from you soon, Whiteray. Morning coffee won’t be the same without you.

Here are some songs that were on Billboard’s chart this week in 1982, a time when my own love of music was taking root…

The Go-Go’s – Vacation
from Vacation

The title song for The Go-Go’s follow-up to their massive debut Beauty And The Beat is giddy beyond repair (even if it does detail the end of summer). Fittingly, the first time I heard it was blaring from the car radio on a family vacation.

Years later, I’d interview Go-Go guitarist Jane Weidlin which was a true highlight of my music journalism endeavors (such as they were).

Elton John – Blue Eyes
from Jump Up!

Sir Elton’s output post-’70s has been a bit erratic. Of course, how could anyone have been expected to match the heights he did during his heyday?

I don’t think I cared for Blue Eyes at the time, but, nearly three decades later, I never tire of hearing John croon this simple, uncluttered ballad.

Jackson Browne – Somebody’s Baby
from Fast Times At Ridgemont High soundtrack

Fast Times At Ridgemont High was the movie for me and my friends in 1982 and was endlessly quoted. It also provided Jackson Browne with a song that was always on the radio late that summer.

Eddie Money – Think I’m In Love
from No Control

Eddie Money never aspired to reinvent fire. Instead, you knew that he was going to offer up straight-ahead, no-frills rock and roll, but, when he nailed it, he nailed it.

Few songs sounded better on the radio during the late summer of ’82 than Think I’m In Love