PSY - Gangnam Style. I’ve wanted to add this one for such a long time. It’s iconic, it’s fun, it’s silly, it’s happy. This is the video that broke YouTube. Released in July 2012, it was the first video to get more than 1 Billon views, which YouTube never thought would happen - they had to make changes to allow for more than 1 Billion views. Today, it has 3,692,385,230 views. This particular version is from the Seoul Plaza Live Concert, on 4-October-2012 (even this video has almost 33 Million views). I love this version; the total involvement of the crowd makes you feel happy inside. As someone said in the comments of the video, “Battery charge before this song, 2%. Battery charge after this song: 4%”. I think that says it all.
The Art of Noise with Max Headroom - Paranoimia. Here you have the pairing of two creative forces of the 1980s; The Art of Noise & Max Headroom. Featuring as the second track from their 1986 album “In Visible Silence. Max Headroom himself, created in 1985, is rooting in the near-future dominated by television and large corporations. Whilst investigating corrupt corporations, Edison Carter was involved in a serious accident as he exited an underground car park. Sustaining serious injuries, it was necessary to keep him in a coma. In an attempt to recover what he had learnt about the corruption, his last thoughts and what turned out to be a distorted version of his personality, was extracted. Using the latest computer technology, a computer generated version of Edison was created. The last thing he saw, was a sign. “Max Headroom 2.3 m”.
The Proclaimers - I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) recorded live in 2005 at Live 8. Taken from their 1988 first album, Sunshine on Leith. This fantastic song is as good now as it was then. Selling over 1.5 million copies in the USA & UK alone, it’s not just Scotland who love it. In this live recording from the massive Live 8 concert, see the crowd’s reaction when they start playing.
Chris Barber - When The Saints (2014). I’ve wanted to include some Chris Barber for a while, but what to choose? In the end, I went for this particular recording from 2014. It was recorded in Stuttgart, when he was awarded the German Jazz Trophy. I’ve skipped the intro, because quite simply I don’t speak German; it starts 38 seconds in. There are so many highlights, the most obvious is that they are all clearly having fun. Look out for Amy Roberts at 5:35, I’ve never seen a flute in a jazz setting!
Birdland - Sleep with me. This particular delight was suggested by a friend. I think it does a perfect job in capturing the scene in the early 90s. Rather than me ramble on, here are my friend’s very words - “I was somehow inspired to dig out a music video of an obscure band from the late 80’s early 90’s called Birdland, who I saw a few times in those multi-band gigs (because they all really only had two or three songs) in dingy backrooms of grotty pubs at the wrong end of the rough part of town - they were very loud, the places were always packed and everyone was sweaty & beer soaked by the end of it. This video sums up gig-going in the very early 90s.”
Frijid Pink - House of the Rising Sun. As we know it, the song originated in 1925, although a version was probably also sung by miners around 1905. For my money this particular rendition, is the best. In 1969, the Detroit band Frijid Pink recorded this psychedelic version. It was impromptu at the end of a recording session at the Tera Shirma Recording Studios, where they still had some time left. I know the quality of the video is shocking, but the sound isn’t. The rawness of it, seems to work for me.
The Beatles - Come Together. I’m actually not a big Beatles fan, but I can’t deny that they have certainly put out some fantastic tracks. Come Together was recorded at the end of July 1969, and included on the Abbey Road album. The video was created in 2000 by Melon Dezign, to promote the highly successful "1" compilation album. The slight surreal visuals, seem to match the tone of the song.
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out. A great tune with a fantastically creative video, released 16 years ago. The video was directed by Swedish music video and film director Jonas Odell. Created in the style of the early 20th century avant-garde art movement, Dada, it really does have a great re-watch value.
Talking Heads - Road to Nowhere. A fantastic track from 1985, with an almost impenetratble video. Watching the video, your brain doesn’t quite understand it, but strangely it does kind of make sense. The running man in the bottom right of the screen, is surely a reference to the first film ever made, of The Running Horse in 1878 by Eadweard Muybridge. I think that says enough …
Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity. After 24 years, this video still looks fresh. A great tune, with that “how did they do that” appeal too.
Rachmaninoff - Italian Polka. I always like to have a super wide selection of music genres, or interpretive versions of well known music. Classical music is often ignored, but can actually be a wonderful creative source. Matthew Buckley has created this masterpiece. It is not animation, it is a character on a sled who has weight and momentum. The ‘line rider’, will fall off the screen if it wasn’t for the lines. The first one of these that Matthew created, took 1 month to get the timing just right. Enjoy this creative work, to the end.
Anne Reburn - Mr. Sandman (A Cappella Cover). There is a lot to say about this short 2 minute and 12 second video. If you close your eyes and just listen, it is a delightful rendition. Then you realise that all the parts are sung by the same person. Then you realise that it was edited together, perfectly synchonized, by the same person. Then you realise that there is interplay between the four different recordings. Then it dawns on you the tremendous effort required to make this short 2 minute and 12 second video. Or you could just ignore all of that, and enjoy it.
Blondie - Atomic. Recorded in 1979, both the tune and the video are memorable, and very much of their time. Only Debbie Harry could make a black plastic bag look chic.
David Bowie - China Girl (Live). At some point we were going to end up with Bowie. Taken from 2002 in Paris, I think this live version of China Girl is the best of all versions. The drums and guitars are deep, and coupled with Gail Ann Dorsey on bass, it makes for a more passionate performance. Written with Iggy Pop in 1975/76, and produced by Nile Rodgers, it was always going to be fantastic.
George Michael - Freedom ‘90. I consider this his best work. The song’s backing beat is sampled from James Brown’s “Funky Drummer”. The lyrics refer to his Wham! history, and his now more cynical view of the industry. As if to make the point, he refused to appear in the video. Instead he asked the most iconic models of the time, who had all appeared together on Peter Lindbergh’s iconic January 1990 front cover of British Vogue. The models in question; Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford. It all makes for a fantastically atmospheric & engaging video.
Steve’n’Seagulls - Thunderstruck. When the lead singer arrives on a lawn mower, you know that you’re in for a treat. A unique take on an AC/DC classic. Wonderful.
Pomplamoose - Jamiroquai Bee Gees Mashup. It’s not often that someone takes the Bee Gees and mixes them into Jamiroquai. Pomplamoose did. It something that shouldn’t exist, but I am rather glad that it does. Give this unexpected gem a listen.
Radiohead - Creep (Live performance). I know there is a little bit of language in this performance. However, it is just fantastically full of emotion. Firstly, note the complete lack of mobile phones trying to record, in the audience. Secondly, the performance is so powerful, in a raw kind of way. The length he holds the notes; he is forcing it to last that long! Great performance. Great crowd.
Hugh Laurie - Saint James Infirmary. Although mainly known as an actor, Hugh is also a cracking musician. I’m a big fan of Blues, and the variations of it. This live performance, is fully of emotion. Listen past the introduction; it’s worth it.
Kraftwerk - (first techno), 1970. Now, this one is a bit more of a challenge. Having only just been formed earlier that year in 1970, this is taken from the "carussel of the youth" concert. It’s the oldest known live recording of Kraftwerk. It is super interesting watching this new form of music being performed to an audience who had never heard anything like it before. You are witnessing the birth of something entirely new; techno. Some of them get it, some of them don’t. Also note, that it is being performed Live, not with a machine looping sounds.
Backham & Turner - Takin’ Care Of Business (Live At The Roseland Ballroom NYC). This week’s music was recommended by Stewart Barrett. Recorded in 2010 as part of their North American Tour this live version of the 1973 classic, has a real edge to it. Great stuff!
Emmylou Harris - C’est la vie, you never can tell. What’s not to like about Emmylou. This particular performance is taken from the glorious Old Grey Whistle Test show, 1977.
Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl. The fun and pace of this, must surely make you smile. Great video too, with some real black and white creativity.
J.S.Bach - Toccata & Fugue in D-minor. I know this is a classical piece, but is well worth a listen. First, it is being played on an epic organ. Second, it is being played with great skill by a young guy, Gert van Hoef. Yes, I know it is 10 minutes long; turn up the volume, and enjoy this to the great finale.
Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettavolution. I happened upon this fantastic duo recently; overflowing with passion & expression.
Manowar - Battle Hymn & The Crown and the Ring (Lament of the Kings). This is a rather special treat for you all, and a great example of some Music Transportation, as described above. I know it is 21 minutes long, and is live…but it is worth it. So, the first thing to note about Manowar, is that they are massively over-the-top. They are a classic metal band, formed in 1980, and have sold over 20 million records. They held the record for the loudest band in the world between 1984 & 1994, recording a level of 129.5 dB. The first track is from their 1981 debut album, Battle Hymns (which included narration by Orsen Welles); the second from Kings of Metal (1988). What makes this performance particularly special, is that it contains all previous band members all playing at once. Yes, 3 drum kits, 4 lead guitarist, and a full orchestra and choir, just for good measure. The finale includes some spectacular fireworks too. To aide your listening pleasure, the first song starts to conclude around 8:45 continues to 14:00, with the last minute worth a watch. At 15:00 the choir kicks in, for a rousing rendition of The Crown and the Ring, with fireworks too. Be sure to watch the final conclusion.
( Original Music Video no longer available - #copyright-claim )
Ray Lamontagne - Three More Days. The pentup then released passion in this performance, is wonderful.
Abba, The Day Before You Came - At almost 6 minutes long, this forgotten masterpiece was Abba’s last recording; really worth a listen.
Postmodern Jukebox, All about that Bass - Sometimes it really is all about the Bass…
The Doobie Brothers - Long Train Running. Great get-up-and-go tune, and also kinda sounds like a train too.
California Feetwarmers - Weary Blues. Every time I listen to this, it gives me a happy glow inside.
Nina Simone - How it feels to be free, Montreux 1976. Quite possibly the best version ever, with great improvisation.
Moloko - Pure Pleasure Seeker. This delightfully retro video is just brimming with joy and visual wonder.