Tunes for Cruisin’ Playlist

September 20, 2012

We are in the car more than you think:

At an nationwide average drive-time of about 24.3 minutes, Americans now spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. So crank up the tunes and enjoy the ride!

Little Red Corvette/ Prince

Inspiration for the song hit as the musician napped in a pink Edsel, Prince notched his first Top Ten entry with one of the most sensual and frankly explicit hits ever to crack the charts. “Little Red Corvette,” a slow-burning funk-pop odyssey which is most definitely not about a sports car, is an after-dark masterpiece, aural soft porn rendered with the inextricable combination of perversity and sophistication which defines virtually all of his best work. Everything about the song is suggestive, from its moaning synthesizers to its bump-and-grind rhythm to the orgasmic squeals which punctuate Prince’s vocals; even the lyrical metaphors are so persuasive — in addition to cars, there are horses (Trojans, in fact, some of ’em used) — that it’s virtually impossible to discuss “Little Red Corvette” without lapsing into double entendres of one’s own. (Really, how else to describe the incendiary coda which closes the song but as a climax?) Making a brilliant case for innuendo as an end unto itself, “Little Red Corvette”‘s triumph is that even while the song — much like the body of its lusty heroine — is “just on the verge of being obscene,” it never succumbs to blatant tastelessness; even as an evocation of pure sexuality, it appeals to the imagination as much as the libido. Not just Prince’s first major hit single, “Little Red Corvette” may be his very best — only fitting that a song about staying power would have so much of its own.- All Music Guide

Mustang Sally/ Wilson Pickett

Wilson Pickett’s interpretation of Sir Mack Rice’s “Mustang Sally” quickly yielded the vocalist a career-defining side that ultimately climbed to the Top Ten R&B chart and into the Top 25 on the pop singles survey in December of 1966. Earlier in the year, Pickett had started working at Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, instead of the Memphis, TN-based Stax Records facility that had turned out the smashes “In the Midnight Hour,” “Don’t Fight It,” and “634-5789.” His initial outing in Muscle Shoals scored him one of the largest titles of his career, the infectiously fun “Land of 1000 Dances.” For Pickett’s subsequent session, he returned to Alabama to cut what would become the exemplary Wicked Pickett (1966) long-player. “Mustang Sally”‘s bouncy groove instantly developed into the album’s focus track, with the vocalist supported by the Fame house band, whose membership included Chips Moman (guitar), Tommy Cogbill (bass), Roger Hawkins (drums), and Spooner Oldham (piano). Presumably, the horn section was once again supplied by the Stax crew, who had been in attendance for the earlier date as well. Although not as significant a crossover hit as “Land of 1000 Dances” or “In the Midnight Hour,” “Mustang Sally” provides another good example of how complementary the material, artist, and musicians had become. -All Music Guide

Drive my car/ Beatles

“Drive My Car” was one of the best numbers on the Beatles’ Rubber Soul album, one which saw both their musical and lyrical horizons visibly opening. Although John Lennon was in general ahead of Paul McCartney in expanding his lyrics in more ambitious and experimental directions, this story-song was principally the work of McCartney, with some assistance from his contractual songwriting partner. The verse is based around a funky two-chord groove which ascends to a higher level at the very end, a suitable bedrock for a commanding McCartney hard rock vocal. Far more surprising is the chorus, with its tortuous jazzy key changes, a quality reinforced by the bursts of jazz piano that follow the first two lines. While initially the song seems like the standard macho boasting of some guy showing off his car, it transpires that actually the girl in the song is leading the narrator on by half-hinting that she’ll let him be her chauffeur, and maybe be his lover too. That’s a subtle, one might say almost O. Henry-like, slant that was most likely totally beyond the reach of the usual Californian hot-rod act, or most other pop and rock singers for that matter. The most ironic touch, however, was applied when the Beatles merrily sang “beep beep” at the end of the chorus’ punch line: a nifty way of making nonsense words compliment the images and the sounds. An especially wiry guitar solo was a nice cap to the understated, faintly nutty satire of what was nonetheless a very good-natured tune. The best-known cover of “Drive My Car” — not one of Lennon-McCartney’s more frequently interpreted compositions — was by jazz singer Bobby McFerrin in the 1980s.-All Music Guide

Cars/ Gary Numan

A personal road-rage incident inspired the synth-pop hit. Perhaps the most iconic intro of the entire synth-pop era (in 2003, an auto manufacturer set a commercial to the instrumental opening of “Cars,” knowing that its target audience would get the reference immediately), the throbbing, repetitive synths of “Cars” are all most listeners know of Gary Numan, especially in the US, where it was the musician’s only Top 40 hit. Taken in the context of the album The Pleasure Principle, the deliberate isolation of Numan’s lyrics fits in perfectly with Numan’s overarching obsession with alienation and depersonalization. In the context of a four-minute pop single, however, “Cars” is a novelty about on a par with the five-minute edit of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” that was a minor hit in 1975; in other words, only about one step above Hot Butter’s “Popcorn.” That said, it was arguably the first true new wave hit single in the United States, and the song’s slightly odd structure (the song proper is over in about 90 seconds, with the rest of its running time devoted entirely to an extremely long fade-out) and crisply modern electronic sound set the stage for the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” a couple years later, and the early MTV cavalcade of new wave smashes that followed.-All Music Guide

Little Deuce Coupe/ Beach Boys

The Beach Boys’ biggest hit in the hot rod rock genre found their budding blend of up-tempo pop/rock and sweet vocal harmonies flowering into something truly special. The lyrics of “Little Deuce Coupe,” which Wilson penned with DJ and car enthusiast Roger Christian, are a simple but lovingly detailed ode to “the fastest set of wheels in town” that divide their time between listing this car’s attributes and making boastful asides about its prowess (“If it had a set of wings, man, I know she could fly”). The melody behind this car-crazy narrative utilizes a doo wop-inspired sense of swing to create a song that cruises in jaunty fashion during the verses but soars into the stratosphere on its harmony-drenched chorus. The Beach Boys’ recording enhances the swing of the melody by building its foundation on a combination of boogie-woogie piano riffs and a pulsing bass line that pushes it along in a gentle but insistent fashion. However, the best part of that recording is its vocal arrangement: wordless harmonies add an extra melodic punch to the verses and Mike Love’s bass vocal and Brian Wilson’s falsetto blend in a sublime fashion to drive the chorus home. The mix of clever songwriting and stylish production made “Little Deuce Coupe” a Top 20 hit for the Beach Boys and inspired covers by every hot rod rocker from Jan & Dean to the T-Bones. It also became a seemingly eternal part of the Beach Boys’ live set, proving “Little Deuce Coupe” is more than just another hot rod tune.-All Music Guide

Rocket 88/ Ike Turner

In 1991, after a great deal of debate, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognized this as the first Rock and Roll song ever recorded. Turner was in jail at the time for cocaine possession, so his daughter accepted the award. The song is about a car. The Oldsmobile “Rocket 88” came out in 1949 and was the fastest car on the road at the time. A small car with a big, overhead valve V8 engine, it was one of the first muscle cars and dominated NASCAR races in the ’50s. The car was advertised as having a V-8 “Rocket” engine, with the slogan, “Make a Date with a Rocket 88.” This song was produced by Sam Phillips, who formed Sun Records in 1952. Phillips later became famous for recording Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.-songfacts.com
Black Limousine/ Rolling Stones
This song features one of Mick Jagger’s best harmonica performances. This is based on a song by Blues musician Jimmy Reed called “You Don’t Have To Go.” The song is about The Stones’ Rock and Roll lifestyle of women, alcohol, and limousines. This was first recorded at the Some Girls sessions in 1978. Ron Wood got a writing credit for this. It is one of the few Stones originals not credited only to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. According to Wood, the guitar riff was influenced by a Texas slide Blues guitarist named Hop Wilson, who recorded in the ’60s.-songfacts.com
First recorded in 1955, this version cracked Billboard’s Top 10. This song was originally written by Charlie Ryan. It was first recorded and released by Charlie Ryan and The Livingston Brothers in 1955. It tells the second half of the story started by the song Hot Rod Race, recorded in 1951 by Arkie Shibley and his Mountain Dew Boys, as referenced by the opening: “Have you heard this story of the Hot Rod Race, when Fords and Lincolns was settin’ the pace? That story is true, I’m here to say; I was drivin’ that Model A.” While the song tells of a race between a Lincoln and a Cadillac on the Grapevine grade in California, the actual location was on the Lewiston grade in Idaho.
The most iconic line from the song is: “Son, you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’ if you don’t stop drivin’ that Hot Rod Lincoln!”
Was there really a “hot-rod Lincoln?” Yes and no. Actually, it was a rebuilt car with the body of a Model “A” coupe set into the frame of a 1941 Lincoln, along with a “hopped-up” Lincoln engine block. However, at the time of this song’s writing, Ryan built a second car, this time with a chop-shop melding of a 1930 Model “A” Ford coupe and a wrecked 1948 Lincoln. It is this second restored car with which has Ryan toured.Both the songs “Hot Rod Lincoln” and “Hot Rod Race” are defining anthems of the hot rod community and 1950s car song culture. “Hot Rod Lincoln” has appeared in the soundtracks to The Beverley Hillbillies and MTV’s Beavis and Butthead.This was the only hit for Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, who were a County-Rock group formed at the University of Michigan. Commander Cody is lead singer and piano player George Frayne.-songfacts.com
The Cadillac Ranch is a collection of 10 Cadillacs buried hood-first in a wheat field near Amarillo, Texas. Visitors are allowed to add graffiti to the cars, which are considered works of art.
This is one of many early Springsteen songs featuring cars. Some others were “Thunder Road,” “Backstreets,” and “Racing In The Street.” Bruce used the Cadillac image again in 1984 on “Pink Cadillac.” Junior Johnson is mentioned in the second verse. He was a NASCAR racer in the ’50s and early ’60s before becoming a championship car owner. He won the second Daytona 500 in 1960 and was one of the first people to discover the drafting method of racing at the super speedways. Cars were very important growing up in New Jersey. Springsteen’s first car was a ’57 Chevy with orange flames painted on the hood.- songfacts.com

WBER DJ David’s Goth Playlist

June 4, 2012

“There’s a lot of misconception over what Goth music is.  This is due in large part because there is also a Goth sub-culture, and many people that are part of it don’t necessarily listen to Goth music, but perhaps a related genre like EBM, Industrial, Future-pop, or Metal.  Goth tends to be slower, has it’s roots in the post punk scene of the late 1970s, and often times has dealing with depression as a central theme.”- DJ David

Prayers for Rain/ The Cure

Arguably the most extreme song on an extreme album, “Prayers for Rain” more than anything is the heart of Disintegration, an evocative, wounding portrayal of emotional desolation as gripping as any the Cure ever created. Indeed, in some ways it’s the flip side of “The Drowning Man” from Faith or the song that immediately follows “Prayers for Rain,” “The Same Deep Water as You.” There, where the overriding metaphors were being crushed in watery depths, here the absence of water becomes the chief image.- All Music Guide

Too Much 21st Century/ Bauhaus

It’s perhaps appropriate that Bauhaus’ first new studio album in 25 years is also, apparently and finally, the last. After following their 1998 reunion tour with a second in 2005 and after that eventually led to the band debuting a full range of new songs on the road, the signs for a possible new future seemed strong, but in a weird echo of the past the quartet once again disbanded before an album release. However, perhaps the best and most surprising thing about Go Away White is that it doesn’t resemble any other Bauhaus album — rather than trying to recapture the past, the four members sought to meet in the middle where they had ended up, at least in part.- All Music Guide

Love Will Tear Us Apart/ Joy Division

A chilling tale of love set adrift with an equally cool, precise accompaniment, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was the last single recorded by Joy Division, mere months before doomed front man Ian Curtis committed suicide in May 1980. It’s presumed — perhaps rather hastily — that the lyrics are autobiographical, an insight into Curtis’ fragmenting marriage and his growing relationship with a Belgian girl who followed the band. Whatever the nature of the material, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” functions as an insight into what made Joy Division the most unique band during the era of punk aggression and extremism. -All Music Guide

Tear You Apart/ She Wants Revenge

Los Angeles Joy Division -obsessed duo She Wants Revenge blend electronic beats with goth pop misery on their self-titled Geffen debut. DJs Justin Warfield andAdam “Adam 12” Bravin may have crafted the post-punk equivalent of XTC alter-egos Dukes of Stratosphear’s psychedelic rock tribute Chips from the Chocolate Fireball, but there is suspicion as to whether or not it was intentional.-All Music Guide

Temple of Love/ The Sisters of Mercy

One of England’s leading goth bands of the 1980s, the Sisters of Mercyplay a slow, gloomy, ponderous hybrid of metal and psychedelia, often incorporating dance beats; the one constant in the band’s career has been deep-voiced singer Andrew Eldritch. -All Music Guide

Rats/ Rasputina

Rasputina’s supernatural approach in making music is impressive, because it’s independent of the goth rock that came before the band and especially alone in the current mainstream. It’s practically primitive, but positively so. Cabin Fever, Rasputina’s third studio album, casts a dark dream-scape of lush string arrangements and grating cellos, and Melora Craeger’s sinister scowl is at its best.-All Music Guide

Metal/Gary Numan

The most popular of all the Gary Numanalbums is undeniably 1979’s The Pleasure Principle. The reasons are simple — there is not a single weak moment on the disc, it contains his sole U.S. (number one worldwide) hit, “Cars,” and new drummer Cedric Sharpley adds a whole new dimension with his powerful percussion work. The Pleasure Principle is also one of the first Gary Numan albums to feature true ensemble playing, especially heard within the airtight, killer groove of “Metal” (one of Numan’s all-time best tracks). – All Music Guide

Cuts you Up/ Peter Murphy

“Cuts You Up” ranks as both an unexpected American pop hit – doubtless few people who saw Murphy delivering personal exorcisms ten years earlier with Bauhaus’s “Stigmata Martyr” could have guessed this might happen – and a perfectly logical radio-friendly winner. The brighter, less storm-cloud-ridden visions of Murphy solo had already been clear to those following his career, and “Cuts You Up” manages the fine trick of translating that new spirit into a truly accessible way without once sounding pandering. Benefiting from a crisp, straightforward slice of shimmering eighties pop-rock arranging, topped off with Paul Statham’s simple but lovely synth-violin part, “Cuts You Up” starts off strong and doesn’t stop, Simon Rogers’ production being especially lovely on the sparkling, whooshing chorus.-All Music Guide

Spellbound/Siouxsie And The Banshees

The charging, acoustic guitar-led “Spellbound” was a pivotal single in Siouxsie and the Banshees’ career. After early, clangorous singles like “Hong Kong Garden” and “Metal Postcard,” personnel instability and a changing musical climate made Siouxsie and the Banshees seem kind of tired and beside the point. However, “Spellbound” leads off 1981’s revitalized Juju with a new, cleaner sounding and much more direct ? even poppy! ? melodic bent.  Kinetic, memorable and exciting, “Spellbound” gives notice that Siouxsie and the Banshees had outgrown their dreary post-punk past.-All Music Guide

Ghosts 28/ Nine Inch Nails

Roughly a year after Year Zero  — a year marked by lots of sniping with his record company first about their clueless promotion then devolving into a tirade about their general uselessness — Trent Reznor broke free of Interscope/Universal and became a free agent, releasing music where and when he wanted. To celebrate his freedom he released the four-part Ghosts, a clearinghouse of 36 instrumentals all created during the years he crafted Year Zero. It should come as no great surprise that Ghosts then plays like a sketchbook, a place whereReznor jotted down sounds and textures that flitted across his mind and then either took them no further, or decided to spin them into something entirely new for the full album.-All Music Guide

The Host Of Seraphim/ Dead Can Dance

Dead Can Dance combine elements of European folk music — particularly music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance — with ambient pop and worldbeat flourishes. Their songs are of lost beauty, regret and sorrow, inspiration and nobility, and of the everlasting human goal of attaining a meaningful existence.-All Music Guide