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Six Degrees of Your iPod: From Barenaked Ladies to Harry Chapin

10 Dec

I apologize for the late posting. After a long day of work/final preparation I went to Binghamton University‘s Anderson Center and supported my Fraternity brother, Andy Castillo, who was playing drums in a Jazz ensemble. It was an excellent two-hour long show. Now, back in my warm house, away from the single-digit temperature of Binghamton, I thought I’d try to warm you night owls up with Six Degrees of Your iPod. That’s right, the Music Court category of musical connections. I hit shuffle on my iPod – which currently holds around 13,000 songs – and choose the first six songs that appear. After providing the first six songs, I attempt to link songs one and six. The lead singer of band one had a son whose wife’s brother-in-law is the drummer of band six. If that’s the case, I’ll dig it up. Let’s play!

1.) “Thanks That Was Fun” by, The Barenaked Ladies

This famous Canadian band formed 22 years ago in Ontario. Yes, how long ago it feels. But, they still maintain a youthful feel to their high-powered music, especially with their humorous live shows (including rap battles). The band knows how to rock it, and knows how to slow it down for intimate songs like my personal favorite “War on Drugs.” This particular song’s true video is a montage of old Barenaked Ladies videos. I could not embed it, but you can all certainly check it out on Youtube.

2.) “Cry Baby Cry” by, The Beatles

3.) “Goodnight Sweetheart” by, Billy The Vision and the Dancers

4.) “Uncle Johns Band” by, The Grateful Dead

5.) “Infinite Arms” by, Band of Horses

6.) “Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin

The story of Harry Chapin unfortunately ends with his untimely death because of a car accident on the Long Island Expressway near exit 40 for Jericho, NY (which is where I live by the way…no not on the expressway). But, Chapin’s incredible musical talents paired with his philanthropic contributions make him an honorable musician and man. Chapin was posthumously awarded with the Congressional Gold Medal and “Cats in the Cradle,” perhaps his most famous song, still lives on today


Well, like usual, I get the impossible task of linking two songs and bands that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. How can one link a Canadian band with a Brooklyn based singer-songwriter? Okay, let’s start with Chapin. “Cats in the Cradle” was released in 1974 off of Chapin’s fourth album Verities And Balderdash. It was the first track. The Barenaked Ladies’ fourth album was Stunt and the first track on that album is “One Week,” their famous fast-paced hit. “One Week” has several pop culture references mentioned in the song, including Harrison Ford, who is perhaps most famous for the Indiana Jones movie series. And, would you look at that. Harry Chapin passed away in July of 1981 and what was the #1 movie at the time…”Raiders of the Lost Ark” starring Harrison Ford. From Chapin to Barenaked Ladies to Harrison Ford. What does this have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing. That’s Six Degrees of Your iPod and I am going to sleep!

Six Degrees of Your Ipod: Monday Edition

4 Oct

It’s Monday night! For many that means Monday Night Football (which is on mute right now on the television next to me). For others it means an end of the first day of the work week. For me it means Six Degrees of your Ipod. Why is it the Monday edition you ask? Well, coincidentally I turned on my Ipod with the intention of doing this post and “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas started playing. So, enjoy another edition of SDYI. A terrible acronym, I know.

1.) “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas

This 1966 classic written by John Phillips is the perfect Monday song. Billboard agrees. It is the only Mamas and Papas’ song that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song features excellent vocal harmony and the underrated voice of Dennis Doherty.

2.) Brain” by The Action

3.) “The End of the Innocence” by Don Henley

4.) “I Want to Tell You” by The Beatles

5.) “Zak and Sara” by Ben Folds

6.) “Yakety Yak” by the Coasters

Hey. If you don’t take out the trash and do your chores, you ain’t gonna rock n’ roll no more. This line is iconic. Yakety Yak, Don’t talk back. I heard this song way before I got into oldies. It is just one of those songs. Written by the wonderful songwriting duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller – who also wrote songs like “Hound Dog” and “Kansas City” – “Yakety Yak” became a hit for The Coasters (who would later go down as one of the best acts of rock n’ roll. Seriously, this band was influential.) Also, come on, who did not see the anthropomorphic yak in “Yakety Yak” the Nickelodeon show.

The Connection:

Okay, how can I make a connection between “Yakety Yak” and “Monday, Monday” besides that they are good examples of title alliteration. Think, think, think. Oh, I got one. Ready. “Yakety Yak” was performed by Sha Na Na during their famous *oh my, why are we at Woodstock* set during the Woodstock music festival. Also at that festival was one Jimi Hendrix, who made an appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival as well two years earlier. Who also performed in Monterey? None other than the Mamas and the Papas who belted out “Monday, Monday” at the conclusion of their set. So, Coasters to Sha Na Na through Jimi and on to Monterey and the Ms and Ps.

Six Degrees of Your Ipod #3: The Glorious Return

16 Sep

Will this be one of the songs? I don't know. This post is happening in real time

I forgot how much I liked this post category. It was lost in all of the song of the days and court links over the summer. But, in searching for something to post today I came across this category and chose it for a solid Thursday post. By the way, my laptop had a slight problem around two weeks ago that caused my file of lyricists to be deleted. So, I need to create a new list. Top 100 lyricists will be back, but, not for a while. Now let us explore how the first and sixth song that randomly appear on my Ipod relate to each other. The Six Degrees of Kevin…I mean…your Ipod

1.) “10538 Overture” by Electric Light Orchestra

“10538 Overture” was the first single released by Electric Light Orchestra. This song was actually intended to appear as the B-Side of one of The Move’s (British rock band featuring Roy Wood) singles. Rick Price, of the Move, played bass on the track but was never credited because in edits the bass line was lost and ELO everything Jeff Lynne had to lay down a new track. The song, about an escaped prisoner, is perhaps best known for its fantastic guitar riff and cello. Lynne writes, “I had this guitar track, like a real big riff on a guitar. I laid it down in the studio and Roy Wood got his cello, his Chinese cello, and he overdubbed about fifteen cello riffs, just double tracking all the time– and it sounded fantastic. We thought, it was like ‘Wow!’ and we just sat round playing it for days.”

2.) “Dominoes” by Syd Barrett

3.) “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

4.) “That is Moves” by Greg Laswell

5.) “And Your Bird Can Sing” by The Beatles

6.) “Groovin” by the Young Rascals

Ah, 1967. The Young Rascals release the future number one hit, “Groovin” a classic 60’s song about love and a calm summer afternoon. The ultimate 60’s chill song written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati. It also has some excellent diversity. The song includes elements of Afro-Cuban music including a Cuban-based bass guitar line from session musician Chuck Rainey.

The Connection:

Okay, this may not please everyone but these two bands are connected more on their music then their members. Let me explain. The Young Rascals hail from New Jersey. ELO is from Birmingham, England. It’s going to be tough to connect them. But, let’s look at these two songs more in depth. The Rascals, who were always considered blue eyed soul, release this new song with Afro-Cuban beats and a relaxed groove that is completely different than their white-soul roots. So much so that Atlantic Records head Jerry Wexler initially did not want to release the song. Flash forward five years and ELO is taking normal rock n’ roll and adding horns and strings to it in order to create a different classical sound. Both bands expanded their genre and had success. That, to me, is connection enough.

Six Degrees of Your Ipod #2

9 Apr

The second instalment of Six Degrees of Your Ipod is happening…RIGHT NOW! I know it is mightily exciting. This weekend will be full of philanthropy and Delta Sigma Phi (two great things).

1.) “Homecoming King” by Guster

Guster, the alternative rock band that was formed by three Tufts University students students in 1991, is quite possibly the best thing to ever come out of Tufts University. Okay, I’ll give you Allan Cormack who won the Noble Prize for his work on x-ray computed tomography. Anyway, all kidding aside, Guster is tremendous band who combines wonderful harmony, awesome bongos, and great instrumentals. “Homecoming King” displays all of these wonderful qualities and more and is some of Guster’s best work.

2.) “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins

3.) “Back Home” by Eric Clapton

4.) “Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith

5.) “Dizzie Miss Lizze” by The Beatles

6.) “Going to Monaco” by The Mountain Goats

John Darnielle is a musical genius and I have not hesitated writing that on this blog numerous times. “Going to Monaco” appears on Bitter Melon Farm which is the second album in a three-part series of compilations of songs. It was released in 1999 and has 27 songs. “Going to Monaco” first appeared on the EP Transmissions to Horace in 1993. The EP has 10 songs (isn’t that more like an album.” The song is a short acoustic ditty with a great lyric.

Connection: In “Homecoming King” Guster makes mention to going back to the year 1994 and in a sense, going home. This is one year after John Darnielle released “Transmissions to Horace” on cassette on the record label Sonic Enemy. Sonic Enemy also released Beck’s first album “Golden Feelings” in 1993 on cassette. On Beck’s album he has a song entitled “Gettin’ Home” about going home. So, Guster to Mountain Goats to Beck.

Six Degrees of Your Ipod

29 Mar

Six Degrees of Your Ipod

I have a theory that all music is somewhat related. Whenever you find a band they have some connection (whether it be inspiration, concert, producer, etc.) with other bands which have connections with other bands. It may be confusing but it is most likely true. The Ipod allows for all of this music to randomly dispersed.

Since I am on Spring Break, I have the opportunity to make a new category. This category will only work if I get participation. Six Degrees of Your Ipod is an easy game to play. Go to your Ipod (or other musical device) and play one song. Do not use that song. Then, after you make sure your Ipod is set to random, skip to the next song. Starting with that song post six songs on the comments and attempt to connect the first and sixth song. If I am right, you will be able to find a connection between the first and sixth. So, shall we begin.

Kevin Bacon concurs

With my list of six songs I am going to describe why I like them as well. And, since I like you guys, I will include a video of each of them. Yeah, I am that nice.

1.) “Bros” by Panda Bear

Noah Lennox, otherwise known as Panda Bear, is an experimental musician and founding member of the popular cult band Animal Collective. One thing I respect about Lennox is his sampling ability. “Bros” samples The Tornados’ song “Red Roses and a Sky of Blue,” Cat Stevens’ “I’ve Found a Love.” It also contains a sampled lyric from The Equals’ “Rub A Dub Dub.” The song is over 12 minutes long and, trust me, it is quite epic.

2.) “Welcome to the Machine” by Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd’s eclectic blend of psychedelic rock and thought- provoking lyric has propelled them onto the top pedestal of my prestigious favorite bands list. “Welcome to the Machine” is off of Wish You Were Here which is a fantastic album. The song’s lyric that explores the “corrupt” music industry is foreboding and Floyd’s use of distorted guitars and keyboards adds to this odd adumbration. One of my favorites off of the album.



3.) “The Trapeze Swinger” by Iron & Wine

Singer/Songwriter Samuel Beam goes by his stage and recording name, Iron & Wine. I am glad this particular song came up. “The Trapeze Swinger” is my favorite song of his. Beam paints a bucolic photo of life and death and this dulcet tune is the perfect palette. Sweet and sobering.

4.) “Mad World” by Gary Jules

I have always enjoyed this Jules cover of Tears For Fears’ song “Mad World.” It is most popular for having appeared in the Richard Kelly film “Donnie Darko.” The song is like a melodious dirge and I can’t get enough of it.

5.) “U.S. Blues” by Grateful Dead

“I’m Uncle Sam. How do you do?” This lyric from “U.S. Blues” is one of The Grateful Dead’s best line. This song is classic Dead blues and that makes it absolutely amazing.


6.) “Blue Ridge Mountains” by Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes is the latest up and coming band Seattle-based indie rock band. These bands seem to sprout up like spring flowers. But, Fleet Foxes is special. They describe their music as “baroque harmonic pop jams” and that is not far from the truth. “Blue Ridge Mountains” is just one example of how far a sweet voice and interesting melody can take you. All the way to my Ipod and there is more where that came from.

Connection: Pitchfork Media really likes Panda Bear and Fleet Foxes. “Bros” appears on the album Person Pitch and “Blue Ridge Mountains” appears on the eponymous Fleet Foxes. Person Pitch was rated the best album of 2007 while Fleet Foxes was rated the best album of 2008. Back-to-back. I listen to some good music!


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