Instrumental Fun – RIP to a Walker Brother – Paula and Simon Unleash Fury Again

9 May

SPIN’s 30 Greatest Instrumental Songs Ever

SPIN has done a service to avid music listeners and has concocted a list of 30 excellent instrumental songs. The list is a short compilation of solid instrumental music (post-1950) and is a wonderful place to start for instrumental virgins. Accompanying the list is a music player that features several of the songs mentioned. It didn’t take much scrolling before I found my favorite instrumental piece, “Interstellar Overdrive, Part 1 and 2″ by Pink Floyd. I enjoy part one better, partly because of its mind-alerting riff.

Here is how SPIN describes this 1967 hit:

“The British art rockers’ semi-improvisational track melted brains, including that of original leader Syd Barrett. The ur-psychedelic instrumental, from the Floyd’s only album with Barrett (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn), clocks in at just under ten minutes.”

This release fell at an interesting time for The Pink Floyd. Barrett was already suffering, and he would leave one year later because of suspicions of mental illness and increasing drug use. This instrumental masterpiece is a pre-progressive psychedelic trip of massive proportions.

Check out the rest of the list: http://www.spin.com/articles/playlist-30-greatest-instrumental-songs-ever

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R.I.P John Walker

John Walker, founding member of the Walker Brothers, died Saturday (May 7) of Liver Cancer. He was 67.

After forming the band with singer Scott Engel and Gary Leeds, Walker and his mates went to London at Leeds’ request to explore the market there. The pop group was quickly picked up as The Walker Brothers (Engel and Leeds would become best known by the last name Walker), and they immediately gained success, relying a lot on the baritone of Engel.

The band’s biggest hit came with the release of “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine,” a song originally released by Frankie Valli. They released the song in 1966 and it shot up to the top of the UK Singles Chart.

The flawless harmonies created by Scott and John were, and still are, somewhat irresistible. The musical aptitude is striking, especially at the young age of the band. The band broke up after the 60s, but lived on through solo careers until the inevitable reunion tour. It’s sad to hear about John Walker’s death. The Walker Brothers are down to two.

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Paula and Simon – Need I Say More?

Simon, Paula and blatant Coca-Cola Advertising

The famous judging duo that made up two thirds of the American Idol panel for several years is back, but with a different singing show. The power duo that became synonymous with obvious sexual tension and humorous play fighting will attempt to draw viewers into “The X Factor,” Simon Cowell‘s new British import, open to all singers older than 12. The show will debut in the Fall.

Fox is attempting to re-capture some of that “Idol” magic with the combination of these two judges. Say what you will, but Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul drew in viewers longing for their predictable antics.

Do I think viewers will tune in? Yes, to a point. The act that was Simon and Paula became hackneyed as American Idol progressed, and during seasons where the talent could not hold up the increasingly annoying judging panel, the show suffered. Initially, viewers will tune in just for another taste of Paula and Simon, but if their act drags on, the cane will have to be brought out again.

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