As I was putting this week's Throwback Tracks together, I noticed that I kept going back in time, so I decided to own that: we start in the 1970s, and wander on back into the 1950s this week, because I CAN!
Thus, please enjoy this somewhat strange wander through some "rock"...
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), so you can fall down the rabbit hole, finding and supporting what you dig.
Getting in Tune - The Who
With that picture, you had to know that The Who were going to be on this week....or maybe you didn't...but that's OK too: FIRST UP IS THE WHO.
'Getting in Tune' was originally from the abandoned Lifehouse project--the rock opera that Pete Townshend had intended to be after Tommy--that ended up carrying over onto Who's Next, their fifth studio album, and a more traditional rock album from 1971. Looking back, many consider Who's Next to be The Who's greatest albums, and considering that it includes 'Baba O'Riley' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again', but for me, 'Getting in Tune', the weirdly meta, and somewhat amazing take on the power of music, is and always will be, one of my absolute favorites.
Seriously, the lyric "I'm singing this note 'cause it fits in well with the chords I'm playing/I can't pretend there's any meaning here or in the things I'm saying" makes me get a gigantic grin every time.
Travellin' Band - Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR)
Everyone knows Creedence Clearwater Revival, I know, but they have so many great blues rock/swamp rock (I love that term, so much) songs that some may have forgotten about this little gem. 'Travellin' Band' from CCR's fifth album Cosmo's Factory (1970) probably has the most jump out of any CCR track; coming in at a crisp 2 minutes, it really has a 50s rock vibe to it...
Which may explain why the company behind Little Richard's 'Good Golly Miss Molly' threw a plagiarism lawsuit against John Fogerty, but I digress...
The song is basically about what it's like being in a...'Travellin' Band' at the time, and released as a single (with a B-Side of the also awesome 'Lookin' Out My Backdoor'), 'Travellin' Band' went on to chart incredibly well for the band, and Cosmo's Factory was CCR's fifth album in two years (!) and crushed the charts in six different countries. This is one of their songs that whenever I'm listening to Cosmo's Factory or their Greatest Hits, I always end up repeating a few times, because it is just not long enough.
CCR man. They're great.
Summer in the City - The Lovin' Spoonful
'Summer in the City' has one of my favorite keyboard/organ parts in any song--and on top of that, it's an absolutely great 60s folk rock song. From their third album (not counting a soundtrack they did for Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lilly?) Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful, released in 1966, 'Summer in the City' itself hit #1 for three weeks, and the single ended up being one of the bands' biggest hits, going gold on its' own.
It's actually an odd little song: there are some regular notes hit (for the era)--it definitely has a real psych/rock-pop feel to it (and that aforementioned keyboard), but there's also an instrumental bridge featuring, of all things, a VW Beetle horn, and jackhammer (you know, because you're in the city), but it's impossible to shake off how great 'Summer in the City' is.
Can't You Hear My Heartbeat- Herman's Hermits
Manchester's Beat Group (which meant pop at the time) Herman's Hermits are up next with their clap and guitar fueled track 'Can't You Hear My Heartbeat'. What is weird about this song, is that it was released as a single in the US (in 1965), but never at home in the UK...which is surprising considering how well the song performed elsewhere ('Heartbeat' ended up on Billboards Top 100 songs of 1965 at #8!).
This is just one of those retro tracks that sounds completely of its' era--in fact, it even has a bit of a throwback sound for the time, as they really hit at a transition time in popular music, and Herman's Hermits are very much of a more clean-cut angle on the 1960s.
Now just try not to enjoy this song...or better yet, try and get a malt and clap along with Herman.
School Days - Chuck Berry
Wrapping up this week is Rock Legend Chuck Berry's 1957 single 'School Days'. This is one of those Berry songs that really utilizes a lot of rhythm and blues staples, and pulls them into the development of rock and roll. Originally released as a Chess Records Single in March 1957 (and later on the LP After School Session) and features Hubert Sumlin on guitar (known for his work with Howlin' Wolf), Willie Dixon (!) on bass, and Fred Below (a cornerstone of Chicago Blues) on drums.
The song is literally a description of/anthem for American High School students' day; it's almost a narration, with an amazing musical accompaniment.
There's also a good chance that you have heard a cover of this, as it has been covered many times, including releases by AC/DC, Gary Glitter, The Beach Boys, and Elvis (to mention a few). It's just one of those quintessential 1950s tracks, from a pillar of 20th century music.
Here it is! The first Throwback Tracks Apple Music Playlist, with all of the songs from the inaugural month of 'Throwback Tracks' here on The Guys From. As per usual, I've done my best to turn them into a cohesive list, but it's a little all over the place.
See you again next Thursday with some new....oldies.