Saturday, January 01, 2005

Kat's Korner: Almost 41 Years Later

Shirley's quite the stickler, I'm learning. For the record, if there's a typo in my post, it stays. Why? Not to lay down some heavy Eastern trip on you, but if it's there, maybe it isn't a mistake. Maybe that's how it was meant to be. Maybe at that moment in time, that's what it was meant to be. I wouldn't retouch a photo and if you spot a flaw maybe you're really spotting some characteristic that's unique to that post.

Chew on that.

So a number of you e-mailed 'Where's Kat? Where's Kat? I can't believe she's vacationing when we have a world to save!' I had a post ready for Sunday but the site wasn't ready for it. These language guidelines can be a real drag.

But since some feel I have personally let them down, I've been thinking up a post. Thursday night, at a party, it hit me.

Bobby was annoying - aren't most men who go by 'Bobby' and have long since left their teenage year - and he was getting on everyone's last nerve at the party. I have nerves on loan. From a super model who never uses them out of a fear that facial reactions might cause wrinkles.

So I was able to put up with the trip he was trying to lay down far better than most. But he was in the wrong crowd for his 'Elvis is king of rock, Elvis is king of rock' chant. At first, I thought he was some devotee of Elvis Costello and I could groove on that. Then I checked the sideburns. What's the old joke? They started at his cheekbones and ran all the way down to his wrists?

So he means Presley and won't shut up about Elvis. It was like the dude thought he was Priscilla or something. 'You don't think you were married to him, do you?'

Dak-Ho asked him that and the room just erupted.

No offense to Elvis, if I were into that Sha Na Na trip or country, I'm sure I'd be a devotee too. Maybe I'd be chasing after some guy like Chris Isaac who dresses as though he just came from a Graceland tag sale?

But as Maggie said, or slurred, she's pretty much been on a bender since Christmas Eve, 'Give it up for the Beatles!' Of course it came out more like, 'Give id upft for th Bee-tuhls.' Yeah, I mean give id upft already.

In Feburary 1964, they landed on our shore and music has never been the same. Modern influnces in rock today? The Bee-tuhls.

Then the discussion got so intense that Toni even stopped trying to diagram the zodiac for the guy poured into leather pants long enough to weigh in.

And that got me thinking. 2004 is closing. We're approaching, next month, the 41st anniversary of popular music in its best form. You want to know popular music, put on any of their early singles or CDs like Revolver, Abby Road, The White Album, Rubber Soul or the timeless Sgt.'s Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. That's where it's all beginning.

A lot of you e-mail asking 'Kat what's your all time favorite, I mean really, really all time favorite like you are on a desert island and it's down to one and just one so what are you going to pick?'

Do you know something I don't? I mean is Johnny Ashcroft about to relocate to me to Fuji or something? I kind of get the idea that if I got stranded on a desert island I'd only have what ever survived the ship wreck. And the way the dice have been coming up for the left lately I'm guessing that would mean I'd get stuck with something by New Kids On the Block or Britney or Pat Boone.

Am I alone on this island? Maybe I'll sing songs I know and bang on some rocks or make a drum out of some tarp and a tree stump?

But in honor of 1964, the Beatles and all that changed as a result, I went around asking people at Thursday's pre-New Year's Eve party and last night's actual New Year's Eve party for some suggestions. Now I blew off many. One good single does not an album make. So keep that in mind. But here are some CDs that got name checked and that I think are among the essentials.

1965: the Beatles: Rubber Soul; Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisted;
Bob Dylan: Bringing it all Back Home; The Who: My Generation; Phil Ochs: I Ain't Marching Anymore; The Byrds, Mr. Tambourine Man

1966: the Mamas & the Papas: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears; the Beatles: Revolver; the Beach Boys: Pet Sounds; the Rolling Stones: Aftermath; Simon & Garfunkel: The Sounds of Silence; Donovan: Sunshine Superman; Buffy Sainte-Marie: Little Wheel Spin and Spin; Judy Collins' In My Life; Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde; Buffalo Springfield: Buffalo Springfield

1967: Jefferson Airplane: Surrealistic Pillow; the Doors: The Doors; the Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; the Mamas and the Papas: Deliver; the Doors: Strange Days; the Who: The Who Sells Out; Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You; the Jimi Henrix Experience: Are you Experienced?; Love: Forever Changes; the Rolling Stones: Between the Buttons; Donovan: Wear Your Love Like Heaven; Joan Baez: Joan; Richie Havens' Mixed Bag; Judy Collins: Wildflowers;
Buffalo Springfield: Again; Phil Ochs: Pleasures of the Harbor; Dionne Warwick: Here Where There Is Love

1968: the Beatles: White Album; the Mamas and the Papas: The Papas and the Mamas; Joan Baez: Any Day Now; Laura Nyro: Eli and the Thirteenth Confession; the Doors: Waiting for the Sun; Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul; Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man; Jimi Hendrix Experience: Axis: Bold as Love; Fairport Convention: Fairport Convention; Simon & Garfunkel: Bookends; Judy Collins: Who Knows Where the Times Goes; Aretha Franklin: Aretha Now; Jefferson Airplane: Crown of Creation; Big Brother & The Holding Company: Cheap Thrills; Dionne Warwick: The Windows of the World

1969: Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis; Jefferson Airplane: Volunteers; the Beatles: Abbey Road; the Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed; the Doors: Soft Parade; Crosby, Stills & Nash: Crosby, Stills & Nash; Led Zeppelin: I; Led Zeppelin: II; CCR: Willy & the Poor Boys; Donovan: Barabjagal; Buffy Sainte-Marie: Illuminations; Richie Havens: Richard P. Havens, 1983; The Who: Tommy; Nina Simone: To Love Somebody; Melanie: Melanie

1970: the Doors: Morrison Hotel; Janis Joplin: Pearl, Laura Nyro: Christmas and the Beads of Sweat; Joni Mitchell: Ladies of the Canyon; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: DejaVu; Van Morrison: Moondance; Aretha Franklin: This Girl's In Love With You; the Kinks: Lola versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round, Part One; John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band; Neil Young: After the Gold Rush; Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water

1971: Carole King: Tapestry, Van Morrison: Tupelo Honey; Joni Mitchell: Blue; Carly Simon: Anticipation; Sly & the Family Stone: There's a Riot Goin' On; Marvin Gaye: What's Going On?; Jefferson Airplane: Bark; Led Zeppelin: IV; David Crosby: If Only I Could Remember My Name; the Who: Who's Next; Buffy Sainte-Marie: She Used to Wanna Be a Ballerina; Richie Havens: Alarm Clock; Aretha Franklin: Live at Filmore West; Nina Simone: Here Comes the Sun; Rod Stewart: Every Picture Tells a Story; John Lennon: Imagine

1972: the Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St.; John Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band with Elephant's Memory: Some Time in New York City; Stevie Wonder: Talking Book; Aretha Franklin: Young, Gifted & Black; Judy Collins: Living

1973: Roberta Flack: Killing Me Softly; Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon; Marvin Gaye: Let's Get It On; Stevie Wonder: Innervisions; Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy; David Bowie: Aladdin Sane

1974: Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks; Minnie Ripperton: Perfect Angel; Jackson Browne: Late for the Sky; Neil Young: On the Beach; Joni Mitchell: Court & Spark

1975: Patti Smith: Horses; Aerosmith: Toys in the Attic; Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here

1976: Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life; Heart: Dreamboat Annie; Jackson Browne: The Pretender; Joan Baez: From Every Stage

1977: Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True; Fleetwood Mac: Rumors

1978: Blondie: Parallel Lines; the Rolling Stones: Some Girls; the Who: Who Are You?; Talking Heads: More Songs About Buildings and Food

1979: The Clash: London Calling; Pink Floyd: The Wall

1979: Elvis Costello: This Year's Model; Marianne Faithful: Broken English; Fleetwood Mac: Tusk

1980: Pretenders: Pretenders; Prince: Dirty Mind; U2: Boy: the Police: Zenyatta Mondatta; Talking Heads: Remain in the Light; Bruce Springsteen: The River; John Lennon & Yoko Ono: Double Fantasy

1981: Rickie Lee Jones: Pirates; U2: October; Stevie Nicks: Belladonna; the Police: Ghost in the Machine

1982: Bruce Springsteen: Nebraska; Prince: 1999; Ashford & Simpson: Street Opera; the Clash: Combat Rock

1983: U2: War; Pretenders: Learning to Crawl; the Police: Synchronicity; Stevie Nicks: Wild Heart

1984: U2: Unforgettable Fire; Tina Turner: Private Dancer; R.E.M.: Reckoning

1985: Lone Justice: Lone Justice; Joni Mitchell: Dog Eat Dog; Eurhtymics: Be Yourself Tonight; 'Til Tuesday: Voices Carry; 10,000 Maniacs: Wishing Chair; Prince: Around the World in a Day

1986: Pretenders: Get Close; Jackson Browne: Lives in the Balance; Anita Baker: Rapture; Eurythmics: Revenge; 'Til Tuesday: Welcome Home

1987: U2: The Joshua Tree; Prince: Sign of the Times; Sting: . . . Nothing Like the Sun; Terence Trent D'Arby: Introducing the Hard Line; Jon Butcher Axis: Wishes; Eurthymics: Savage; 10,000 Maniacs: In My Tribe; Bruce Springsteen: Tunnel of Love

1988: Tracy Chapman: Tracy Chapman; Jane's Addiction: Nothing's Shocking; Cherrelle: Affair; Joni Mitchell: Chalk Marks in a Rainstorm; Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation; 'Til Tuesday: Everything's Different Now; the Pixies: Surfer Rosa; R.E.M.: Green

1989: Lou Reed: New York; Rickie Lee Jones: Flying Cowboys

1990: Jane's Addiction: Ritual de lo Habitual; George Michael: Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1; Judy Collins: Fires of Eden; Sonic Youth: Goo; Pretenders: Packed!

1991: Nirvana: Nevermind; Pearl Jam: Ten; R.E.M.: Out of Time

1992: Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes; R.E.M.: Automatic for the People; 10,000 Maniacs: Our Time in Eden; Sonic Youth: Dirty

1993: Nirvana: In Utero; Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville; Maria McKee: You Gotta Sin to Get Saved; the Afghan Whigs: Gentlemen; Diana Ross: The Lady Sings Jazz and Blues . . . Stolen Moments

1994: Soundgarden: Superunknown; Green Day: Dookie; Tori Amos: Under the Pink; Beck: Mellow Gold; Jeff Buckley: Grace; Hole: Live Through This; Nine Inch Nails: The Downward Spiral; Pretenders: Last of the Independents; Elvis Costello: Brutal Youth

1995: Heart: The Road Home, Pretenders: The Isle of the View

1996: Ani DiFranco: Dilate; Tori Amos: Boys for Pele; the Afghan Whigs: Black Love; Manic Street Preachers: Everything Must Go

1997: Ani DiFranco: Living in Clip; Radiohead: OK Computer; Janet Jackson: Velvet Rope; Patti Smith: Peace and Noise; Sarah McLachlan: Surfacing

1998: David Matthews Band: Before These Crowded Streets; the Afghan Whigs: 1965; Pearl Jam: Yield

1999: Fiona Apple: When the Pawn . . .; Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: Live at Luther College; Moby: Play; Stereophonics: Performance & Cocktails;Blur: 13; Tori Amos: To Venus Back

2000: Sade: Lovers Rock, Carly Simon: The Bedroom Tapes; Radiohead: Kid A; U2: All That You Can't Leave Behind; Erykah Badu: Mama's Gun; Sleater-Kinney: All Hands on the Bad One; Dashboard Confessional: The Swiss Army Romance; Coldplay: Parachutes; P.J. Harvey: Songs from the City, Songs from the Sea

2001: Ryan Adams: Gold; Natalie Merchant: Motherland; the Strokes: Is This It; Stevie Nicks: Trouble in Shangri-La

2002: Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head; the White Stripes: White Blood Cells; Pretenders: Loose Screw; Pearl Jam: Riot Act; Tori Amos: Scarlet's Walk; Sleater-Kinney: One Beat; the Vines: Highly Evolved; Ani DiFranco: So Much Southing, So Much Laughter; Bruce Springsteen: The Rising

2003: the White Stripes: Elephant; Joan Baez: Dark Chords on a Big Guitar; Rickie Lee Jones: The Evening of My Best Day; the Strokes: Room on Fire; Stereophonics: You Gotta Go There To Come Back; Dashboard Confessional: A Mark A Mission A Brand A Scar

2004: Green Day: American Idiot; Patti Smith: Trampin'; U2: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb; Ani DiFranco: Educated Guess; John Fogerty: Deja Vu All Over Again; Maria McKee: Live in Hamburg; Van Hunt: Van Hunt; Elvis Costello: The Delivery Man; the Vines: Winning Days; Twilight Singers: She Loves You

So there you go. Important albums were cited at the two parties by various guests. (Sumner took notes.) From there the list was whittled down.

B-b-b-b-b-but Kat! Don't you love . . .

If they aren't on the list, someone didn't nominate them. Sumner, Dak-Ho, Toni, Maggie, Iwan and I were the judges but we didn't nominate anyone to the list, we only whittled the list of nominations down.

B-b-b-b-b Kat, do you hate the Supremes . . .

The sixties Supremes and Diana Ross & the Supremes made some great singles. This was about albums. Live albums did make the list but you shouldn't find any Best ofs or Greatest Hits or anything like that. If you do find one on the list, your judges were partying a little too hard into the early hours of the morning.

If you find a mistake on a year of release, take it as a message from above, a fortune cookie from the sky, telling you that 2005 holds for you the opportunity to say, "You are wrong!" many times over.

B-b-b-but Kat, 1975, 1977, 1995 . . .

If no one came up with a lot of suggestions for that year, take it however you want to. I will say that on 1995, we, the judges discussed it. We didn't eliminate any nominee from 1995. You have two live albums of older material performed live. Was 1995 really that bed? We were all alive and listening to music then. The first year after Kurt Cobain died? Yeah, it really was that bad. Be glad that Heart and Pretenders put out live albums because at two parties (easily 300 people in attendence, probably more) only two albums were even suggested for 1995. We thought the albums were strong ones or we would have dropped them and just left it blank.

If you can get a hold of The Road Home, listen close to 'Up on Cherry Blossum Road' because it's the best Heart song that most people don't know. As for The Isle of the View, critics were so nasty to Packed! back in 1990 (it made the list above) and Chrissie Hynde and company could have avoided including any songs from that in their live album. Instead, they included two. Check it out, you should enjoy it.

B-b-b-b-but I don't have the money to buy all these?

We, the judges, listened to any album named that we hadn't heard or hadn't heard in some time. That meant calling up friends. (In some cases, we had to listen to vinyl.) If there's anything you don't know on the list, get on the phone and start calling. Make a party out of it.
In fact, if you're one of the ones who keeps e-mailing me about how Britney, Justin and the children of Destiny suck but like the Backstreet Boys are really, really special and really, really care about the art of music, I would especially suggest that you get to know some of the music that made this list.

You may not like all of it but with 300 people coming up with suggestions (and no, they were not limited to one suggestion, they could toss out as many as Sumner could write), it's a pretty strong list in terms of rock, folk-rock, etc.

B-b-b-but I'm not seeing any rap.

You're right. No D.J. Jazzy Jeff included. No bling-bling. No joking. We're not making a list of all time best comedy albums here. We also weren't overly fond of people using the chorus from someone's hit to try to make one for themselves. "Every Breath You Take"? Yeah, great song. The Police's Synchronicity is on the list, you can hear the song there. I don't care if you sing or speak your way through a song. I do care whether you're making music or not.

Poetry's great. But if you want to make music, find some instruments. We went back and forth over many albums including Sarah Mac's Surfacing. The rules were four had to support the album. If it split three-three, it was off the list the same as if it had been outvoted. We didn't allow for ties. But in the end, the fact that McLachlan was actually playing instruments, as were others in her band, was enough to get her album the needed four votes. (Much to Maggie's relief.)

Music. Granted the budget cuts have been so bad that kids won't know what it was in a few years because the public schools won't be able to offer music, but I bet you know what it is. Fatboy Slim was dropped for the reason -- he's not creating his own music. Nothing wrong with being a dee jay. I've known some good ways. Slept with some good ones, slept with some bad ones. But this was honoring people who make music, create it. Not sample it. We're celebrating the power of music here, the power of creating music. Besides, Pamela Des Barres named her book I'm With the Band. It wasn't called I'm With the Turntable.

So, as I believe Cher once said, 'If you can dig it, hey, I'm happy for you. If you can't, hey, I'm sorry.'