Considering the over abundance of pop and rap in recent mixes, this week’s selection is solely focused on classic artists who’ve solidified their legacy as musicians who will never be forgotten. All released sometime between 1965 and 1975, each of these songs have been played on constant rotation on FM radio stations across the country for decades, and yet somehow they never lose their touch. In support of those who say “they don’t make music now like they used to”, we submit this list of 5 songs as a reason to look backwards too when searching for ways to refresh your sound.
“Bell Bottom Blues” by Derek & The Dominos
Despite only producing one album as a group, to many Eric Clapton’s work in Derek & The Dominos is considered to be the best of his entire career. Over shadowed somewhat as a single by the presence of Layla on their sole album, Bell Bottom Blues is far slower in pace but in someways equally emotional. Clapton’s sincere yearning repeated throughout the chorus is timeless, and illustrates how “blues” got its name in the first place. Of course over the years, hearing poor drunken sobs attempting their own personal karaoke rendition of it while sulking at the bar still makes me initially wince the first notes shuffle across the juke box. But on the rare occasions when I realize it’s just Clapton and the rest of the gang who’ll be singing, my nights always wind up far more interesting.
“Time” by Pink Floyd
Straight off one of the most famous classic rock albums of all time, it’s hard to select just one track from Pink Floyd’s iconic Dark Side of The Moon to highlight. Once you get past the first 2:30 minutes or so of prerequisite trippy sound effects though, “Time” stands apart as one of the groups most versatile songs. Mixing hard waling guitar, nihilist lyrics, and an ironically light harmonious chorus, it’s a perfect example of why this album by Roger Waters and Co. is still played close to 40 years after being released, and not just in smoke filled rooms. After all, Time does work against us everyday, so take Pink Floyd’s cautionary tale to heart and make the most of what you have while you can.
“Ain’t That Peculiar” by Marvin Gaye
Recorded originally for Motown in 1965, “Ain’t That Peculiar” was Marvin Gaye’s second U.S. million unit selling single which eventually topped the Billboard R&B singles chart that year. Important in his career because it solidified him as more than just a mere one hit wonder, through the decades since its release, the song’s been covered by all manner of famous musical acts such as: The Jackson 5, K.I.S.S., Peter Gabriel, and even Valen Halen vocalist David Lee Roth. Surprisingly happy in tone despite somewhat down trodden lyrics, this was dance music before synthesizers and bling, and yet over 40 years later it’s effect is no worse for the wear. What artists to come out of the last 5 years will ever stand that kind of test of time?
“D’yer Mak’er” by Led Zeppelin
Though true Zeppelin fans may boo the choice over many of the group’s other outstanding tracks, “D’yer Mak’er” (supposed to sound like “Jamaica” when pronounced by some British accents) is somewhat of a strange bird. Meant to combine the sounds of 50’s doo-wop and reggae’s well known dub, the song’s slow twanging guitars and plodding drum line has captured the ear of traditional and non traditional hard rock fans alike. Never released in the UK or ever played live by the group in concert, it’s still managed to bubble up from the surface to become somewhat of a classic and also happens to be one of the few tracks where each of the four members share a composition credit. Better suited for plays at the beach though than the winter snows to come, give it a listen to remind yourself when things get bleak that summer’s still lurking somewhere out there.
“One of These Nights” by The Eagles
Chosen as the name sake single for The Eagles’ forth studio album, “One of These Nights” in many ways comes across as the band’s response to the growing popularity of groups like The BeeGees. Though clearly still rock and roll at its heart, stuttering piano and low muffled bass notes add a pinch of something not normally heard in their other hits. Great for parties or just tapping your foot while lounging out on the couch, add it to your library to mix in some classic influence that should still perk even the most callous of modern ears today.