This week on Throwback Tracks, I think I had more fun that I have had in a long time putting this together, and in the end, I feel like that may have something to do with me finally including a lot of artists I (somehow) had not managed to fit in yet, plus I actually allowed myself to rabbit-hole down Queen albums for a while.
So far, that while has been about an hour and a half, but I will stop soon.
I promise (unless next week is just 5 Queen songs...in which case I APOLOGIZE FOR NOTHING).
The Guys From do not hold the rights to any of these songs, it is more our hope to expose our readers to new (*cough*) and different retro music, or re-expose them to things they may have forgotten about.
At the top of each section, will be the song name, followed by the artists' name linked to their website (if possible...which is totally hit and miss with oldies), so you can fall down the rabbit hole, finding and supporting what you dig.
Hooked on a Feeling - Blue Swede
I unabashedly loved Guardians of the Galaxy, and the fact that they used short-lived Swedish pop rock band Blue Swede's hit cover of "Hooked on a Feeling" to great effect; to the point that I would suggest, based on the recently released sneak peak for the sequel, that "Hooked on a Feeling is a de facto theme tune for the heroes (and achieved another wave of popularity thanks to the film, and it's stellar soundtrack).
Blue Swede were really only in action from 1973-1975, when their lead singer Bjorn Skifs abandoned the project to focus on his solo work, and primarily only released cover versions of songs, with "Hooked on a Feeling" being the bands' only real hit, hitting number one in several countries, from the United States to Australia. "Hooked on a Feeling" was originally released by B.J. Thomas in 1968, and features an electric sitar, and is much more of a...pop duet? (listen to the original here) However, I would consider the Blue Swede version to be more of a cover of the 1971 release of "Hooked on a Feeling" by eccentric English pop artist Jonathan King, who introduced more of the rhythm we know the song to have, as well as the "Ooga-Chagga"s (which you can hear here).
At the end of the day, I like the Blue Swede version, this version, the best, but that is probably just thanks to the fact that it is the one that I know the best...and Guardians...
Barracuda - Heart
"Barracuda" by Heart is one of those songs that...well to be honest, I thought I had already talked about on Throwback Tracks, and then as soon as I realized we haven't talked about it...I'm rectifying that now.
Ann Wilson is probably one of my favorite lead singers of all-time; I love her voice, and "Barracuda", a song about a whole bunch of record company nonsense, has that perfect combination of edge and power that makes Wilson one of the best. Plus, let's be honest: there were not a lot of heavy, hard rock (borderline early heavy metal) bands which were fronted by women (with Ann's sister Nancy on guitar providing the other half of the center of the band), which always gave Heart a refreshing sound, especially when you listen to a lot of 70s rock.
Honestly, I think you should just use this as an excuse to go and listen to some more Heart; "Barracuda" was the first single off of their second album, Little Queen, so maybe start there?
After you're done with Throwback Tracks of course.
Pump It Up - Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello is one of those singer/songwriter artists who really needs a whole lot more space and time to discuss than I really have here on Throwback Tracks; the man has been making music for 46 years, and is...really hard to qualify, as he has a tendency to wander between genres and sounds, from pub rock to new wave.
"Pump It Up" is from Elvis Costello & The Attractions first of three albums together, This Year's Model which was released in 1978. This double-entendre laden track feels ahead of its' time (I was amazed to find out that this was not from the 1980s), feeling a lot like a power pop punk track, or a sort of new wave rock track that appeared later--the organ, drum, harmony combination, flowing underneath Costello's awesome (as always) vocals makes "Pump It Up" a great, if oft forgotten, Elvis Costello tracks.
I Want To Break Free - Queen
It is an endless fight for me to not have Queen in these articles every week, and I have been "winning" that fight for long enough now: "I Want To Break Free", originally off of the bands' eleventh album, The Works (1984) is one of the great Queen tracks that, for whatever reason, just did not hit in North America originally. Now, as it is both a song about love, and a sort of anthem for breaking free of oppression, I found this odd...
...until I considered the video. Half a parody of Coronation Street, and half a ballet (performed by the Royal Ballet) would be, at best, considered controversial in the uptight United States of the 1980s--particularly considering the band is dressed in women's clothes, and with Coronation Street not really having an audience over here (at the time), it would just have probably appeared...strange?
I, however, love this video so, so much, and the song...considering how much I love Queen: it's in my Top 5 Queen songs for sure....which will probably translate into my Top 100. Musically it is rather simple (when it comes to Queen), and not as high energy as many of the more popular Queen tracks, but the lyrics, punched through a perfectly layered slow rock track by the always amazing Freddie Mercury vocals, it's just (to me) perfect.
Whenever I can get @davidronn to wrap his head around making those Top 100s.
Oh, and for the record, the video is for the single version of "I Want To Break Free" as opposed to the album version of the song, which is roughly a minute shorter than the single; essentially cutting the solo out.
The Time They Are a-Changin' - Bob Dylan
As Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature since the last Throwback Tracks was written, I'm pretty sure that I'd have a warrant issued for me in Sweden if I didn't include one Dylan song (that's how that works right? Alfred Nobel was a stickler for protocol...). He's been making great, and important music since 1959, largely in folk and folk rock, and one of the earlier songs to make a real impact was 1964's "The TImes They Are a-Changin'" from 1964. Released as a part of an album of the same name, the song was a deliberate attempt to create a ballad of the times; an attempt, with homages to Scottish/Irish ballads, and essentially creating one of the few, truly timeless songs. "The Times They Are a-Changin'" remains one of the most powerfully universal songs ever made, as it seems to apply to every generation...and with the rate that the world seems to continue to change, I cannot imagine a time when this song will not be relevant.
Now, if I'm being honest, this is not my favorite Dylan song (even with the brilliant use of it in the opening of The Watchman), but I have been trying to find a good YouTube version of my favorite since we've started doing 'Throwback Tracks', and am still waiting.
Here is the September Apple Music Playlist. Nothing says "here's a headache for Shaun" like trying to figure out how to fit old school hip hop in with Styx and The Cult....but it's a pretty great list.
In case you missed our previous Throwback Track playlists, here they are:
Remember, as I use Apple Music, that is where the playlists live, but if you want me to look into other services, just hit me up on Twitter and we'll chat about it.
See you again next Thursday with some new....oldies...*cough*