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Throwback Tracks--September 22, 2016


The Guys from {MUSIC}

Throwback Tracks--September 22, 2016

Shaun Cordingley

Looking over the list of tracks that we have talked about here on Throwback Tracks, I found that we still have many, many, many, large omissions when it comes to artists, so I made an effort to knock off a few more, featuring a lot of singer-songwriters.

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. 

Renegade - Styx

"Renegade" by Styx was released in 1979 as a single off of the bands' eighth studio album Pieces of Eight that was released near the end of 1978. This is a song that I am pretty sure my father has had in his head since it originally came out, as for as long as I can remember, I can remember him humming or singing this track. You can't blame him; "Renegade" is easily one of Styx's best releases--a first-person narrative of an outlaw who has been caught and is awaiting his execution, it's catchy, it has some of the bands' best guitar work in it, and it's actually really hard not to sing along to. 

Now for me, I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and "Renegade" since about 2008 has been the unofficial theme of the Steelers defense--if you watch any Steelers home game you will hear "Renegade" a lot....and there was a game against the Bengals this weekend... This stems for the fact that in 2008 (a year we won the Superbowl by the way), 90% of the time that song was played, the defense didn't allow the opponents to score. I realize how silly that is (the Steelers defense in 2008 was really, really good, Styx or no Styx) but I guess this ties into the idea that most, if not all sports fans, are very superstitious.

Not me though--now if you'll excuse me, I have to wash my Liverpool jersey before the game starts...

I'm Alright - Kenny Loggins

Kenny Loggins is  the King of Soundtracks. It is actually rather difficult to find an iconic 1980s soundtrack that does not have a Kenny Loggins song on it (hyperbole I know, but when you think about it, he did so many). His first soundtrack hit was "I'm Alright" the theme song from 1980's Caddyshack...and you have to admit, there's a very good chance that when you hear this song, you start thinking about a dancing gopher. 

The song was released as a single in July of 1980 (a couple of weeks before Caddyshack premiered) and reached the top 10 in both Canada and the United States, but I think the longevity of the song is pretty amazing--it's a 36 year old pop rock song, and it's probably more iconic now than it was at the time, thanks to the cult love around be fair, I think there's also something to be said for the fact that you know the chorus, but you maybe have never heard the song in its' entirety for years. 

You Can Call Me Al - Paul Simon

I'm moderately amazed that we have not had anything by Paul Simon on here yet...the man is a legend, a brilliant singer/songwriter, and has been working since 1957. We're going with "You Can Call Me Al" to start what I am sure will not be the last Paul Simon track we talk about on Throwback Tracks--a song that has rather quickly paced lyrics (especially for a Simon song), which take a journey through a story of a man having a mid-life crisis, to a more autobiographical tone about Simon's trip to South Africa, which served as the inspiration for the album Graceland (which "You Can Call Me Al" is from). This is also one of the strangest, and yet greatest music videos, with Simon and Chevy Chase in a pink room, singing and looking bored.

"You Can Call Me Al" is Simon's biggest solo-hit, but strangely in never charted higher than 23rd in the United States (and that was a second appearance on the charts after Graceland won the album of the year Grammy), but it was a top 10 hit seemingly everywhere else....

Regardless, "You Can Call Me Al" is a great song, from a great storyteller.

What is Life - George Harrison 

George Harrison should not need any introduction, or description, so I am going to jump right into talking about my favorite song of his solo work: "What is Life" which was originally released as a part of his massive triple album All Things Must Pass in 1970, and then as the second single off of the album early in 1971. This is just a classic soul/rock track, built around a descending guitar riff, a string section, Eric Clapton on rhythm guitar, all wrapped in a very enjoyable uptempo package. 

I cannot remember where I first heard "What is Life", but I do remember it dearly for its' inclusion in both Goodfellas and Away We Go (the latter being one of my favorite soundtracks of all-time--I cannot tell you how many times I have used it to mellow out, or sleep on an airplane), though you may also recognize it from films like This is 40 or Patch Adams. 

"What is Life" is often included in "Top 10 song lists" when it comes to Harrison's works, often finishing second behind "My Sweet Lord" (which also happens to be how "What is Life" was released in the UK, as the B-Side to "My Sweet Lord"--now that is a 7"), but for me, his solo work never tops this. 

End of the Line - Traveling Wilburys

As I was wrapping up writing about "What is Life", YouTube clicked over to the Traveling Wilburys, and that basically meant that we are now going to talk about the Traveling Wilburys to wrap up this week, because how could I not? One of the all-time great "supergroups", the Traveling Wilburys were a folk rock band made up of (as of their first album, Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 released in 1988): Nelson Wilbury (George Harrison), Otis Wilbury (Jeff Lynne), Lefty Wilbury (Roy Orbison), Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. (Tom Petty), and Lucky Wilbury (Bob Dylan). 


"End of the Line" was the final track on Volume 1, released as the second single, and features everyone (except for Dylan) on lead vocals, capturing a sort of 'riding on the rails' feeling to it. The video of the song was recorded after Orbison's death, but he had already recorded his part in the song, so they also have included a sweet little tribute to him within the video. It never really captured the charts at the time, but that really doesn't matter--this is just a great roots rock track by a bunch of rock and roll legends that is just a perfect way to wrap up this week's throwback tracks. 


Here is the August Apple Music Playlist, done in the usual fashion of trying to make it sound a bit like a set (which is never easy without transitions, or just yapping until I change genres...looking at you Foo Fighters)...

In case you missed our previous Throwback Track playlists, here they are:

July 2016 Throwback Playlist

June 2016 Throwback Playlist

May 2016 Throwback Playlist

April 2016 Throwback Playlist

Remember, as I use Apple Music, that is where I am building the playlists, but if you want me to look into other services, just hit me up on Twitter and we will chat about the prospects of places like Spotify. 

See you again next Thursday with some new....oldies...*cough*

-S (@Shauncord)