The Who, Pinball Wizard

Posted in The Who on October 15th, 2012 by Willie

My pal Jimm D. found this video, and boy do I owe him a thank you. This performance of “Pinball Wizard” by the Who is one of the single greatest rock and roll displays of all time. While I’m pretty sure that the instrumentation is mimed, as was the case in many 60s era television clips, the singing was live, evidenced by a few missed notes by Townshend. Whatever, this performance, whatever it is, shows the Who at their most dynamic, engaging, and most star powered. The best part is the dearly departed Keith Moon miming the words behind Roger Daltry’s back in hilarious English “goon” like insanity. In the fashion department, thumbs up to John Entwistle’s horrible attempt at a Fu Man Chu mustache. Its funny, I never was the greatest fan of this song until I saw this clip, its that unbelievably good, so enough of my hype, (50 years late) and just play this thing and dream about what rock and roll could still be, if only someone was good enough to try.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Who, I Can See For Miles, and the Origins of Helter Skelter

Posted in The Who, Youtube Favs on January 29th, 2012 by Willie

So apparently, if it weren’t for this song, Charles Manson never would have heard the Beatles “Helter Skelter” and have murdered all those people.  Legend goes that Paul McCartney read that this song was the “heaviest” ever made, and without even hearing it, took it upon himself to write a metal song, a genre that didn’t really exist yet.  The funny thing is, this song is not that heavy.  It’s a beautiful psychedelic pop song wrapped up in themes of revenge, be them romantic or otherwise.  It’s funny because as I write this, I do recall reading something from Paul McCartney when he finally heard the alleged Who song in question, sort of laughing at the “false” inspiration.  Amazingly, the folks at Wikipedia have the quote for us all to enjoy,

“Umm, that came about just ’cause I’d read a review of a record which said, ‘and this group really got us wild, there’s echo on everything, they’re screaming their heads off.’ And I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, it’d be great to do one. Pity they’ve done it. Must be great — really screaming record.’ And then I heard their record and it was quite straight, and it was very sort of sophisticated. It wasn’t rough and screaming and tape echo at all. So I thought, ‘Oh well, we’ll do one like that, then.’ And I had this song called “Helter Skelter,” which is just a ridiculous song. So we did it like that, ‘cuz I like noise.”

Interesting stuff, but that’s all besides the point.  The point, if you must know, is that “I Can See For Miles” is indeed awesome.  It features some of the best hard rock psychedelic harmonies the Who ever achieved, driving the song with force into the psychedelic expanse.  The video below is also great even though it’s a  mimed performance.  The Who had trouble replicating the overdubs live, contributing to the fact that they never played it much on stage, at least when Keith Moon was living.  Anyway, enjoy this sucker, because its one of the best ever.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Who, Who Are You?

Posted in The Who, Youtube Favs on January 27th, 2012 by Willie

Rock and roll.  It’s life, it’s blood, it’s the Who.  This studio performance of “Who Are You” from “The Kids Are Alright” film is one of the best and clearest examples of rock and roll perfection.  The Who were a dynamite live act and an incredible studio machine.  This video captures both looks of the Who at their best in one of their most iconic songs.  There is something both beautiful and intimidating in the way Pete Townshend was able to pack explosive art into every second of this masterpiece.  The beauty part is self evident, but the intimidation element is something to behold.  This band, directed by Pete, is just all muscle.  Each member flexes their power over rock in a furious fashion, a force only contained in the lines of Pete’s brilliant songwriting.  It’s amazing, if you haven’t guessed, so just press play and enjoy.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Who, The Seeker

Posted in The Who, Youtube Favs on January 23rd, 2012 by Willie

I was examining the dusty halls of my website, and I realized my section on the Who is seriously lacking.  It’s not for lack of love, merely an oversight soon to be corrected.  “The Seeker” is one of my favorite Who songs.  It’s a hard driving philosophical rock fest that is half serious/half parody.  When I was 17, I was more interested in the serious side; Pete Townshend’s search for the meaning of life and death expressed through Roger Daltry’s howling lungs, Keith Moon’s insane bashing, and John Entwistle’s flute like bass playing.  As a 27 year old, I’m more interested in the parody side.  The song almost seems to be the story of your average rock and roll fan, searching for enlightenment and meaning through the dominant pop culture icons of the age; the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Timothy Leary.  Pete himself must have come across tons of these people asking him for guidance seeing him as another rock and roll prophet.  The whole concept is brilliant, and the raucous music matches the abstract flair.  The music video itself below is also an awesome example of pop art perfection with dramatic closeups of the members and stylized lyrics splashing the screen.  Enjoy.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Zombies, She's Not There, This Will Be Our Year

Posted in The Zombies, Youtube Favs on August 5th, 2011 by Willie

The Zombies were an underrated band.  In the 1960s, the Brits invaded America.  Leading the charge were the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, and the Kinks.  Right in the thick of that mess of ungodly talent was the Zombies.  A piano/keyboard based pop group armed with their own mix of catchy singles and sentimental rock and roll.  I’m really drunk right now, and can’t sort through for you who sang what, and who wrote what for the Zombies, but I can present you two killer songs that represent the Zombies at their very best.  The first is their break out hit, “She’s Not There,” a charming piece of moody Brit-pop.  It’s one of the catchiest songs of all time, and its structured around a perfect melody, a real piece of genius.  The other you might recognize from a Tiger Woods commercial.  It’s “This Will Be Our Year,” one of my favorite songs ever.  It’s a nostalgic piece of sentimental pop baked to perfection.  Enjoy these British biscuits while you can, and all hail the ZOMBIES!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Top 100 Youtube Favorites, a Retrospective, Part 4

Posted in Youtube Favs on June 30th, 2011 by Willie

Sex sells!  I want to thank this “Drunken Angel” above and Tal Wilkenfeld from yesterday for drawing a few extra clicks to my humble little site.  Before anyone accuses me of perversion or lechery or something, I’d like to defend myself a bit by saying this is one of the better lists of rock and roll you are gonna find on the internet.  So, in that spirit, lets close it out right now with clips 24-1 and put this beautiful list to bed once and for all.

#24.  Bob Marley, One Love/People Get Ready – It’s Bob’s version of “All You Need is Love,” and its basically just as good.  Whatever melody making power the Beatles had, Bob had too.

#23.  Bob Dylan, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll – I wish I had more Dylan on my list, but I couldn’t find too many choice clips of him playing my favorite Dylan songs.  This is an exception, one of the greatest Dylan videos you are gonna find on ole youtube. Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top Ten Most Played Songs on my iPod

Posted in Willie Simpson's Original Music on May 18th, 2011 by Willie

Did you know that when you plug your iPod into your computer, iTunes can arrange your iPod’s mp3s by plays, from most played to least? It’s pretty fascinating to see what you’ve been listening to exclusively, and how many thousands (yes thousands of times) you’ve clicked play on certain songs. Well, I’d thought it’d be interesting to share the top ten most played songs on my iPod in a new awesome mega post. So, without further ado, here is the list, starting with #10!

#10- The Police- Can’t Stand Losing You, 255 plays. My countdown kicks off with the Police’s catchy little reggae punk tune known as “Can’t Stand Losing You.”  From Outlandos d’Amour, this song isn’t skipped much for a bunch of reasons.  First, its supremely catchy, with its syncopated guitars, tight harmonies, and perfect drumming.  Second, Sting’s lyrics are so raw and real, that its one of the greatest breakup songs ever.  I’m just addicted to the way that chorus fades into oblivion.

#9-  The Beatles- Eleanor Rigby, 509 plays. Ahh, the Beatles, of course, you’ll be seeing a few songs by the fab four pepper my top ten I’m not ashamed to say. “Eleanor Rigby,” from Revolver, is just a brilliant song to play on a crowded depressed subway during rush hour.  The song swoops in with George Martin’s brilliant string arrangement, and you look around the train and see “all the lonely people,” wondering “where do they all belong.”  Then you wonder if you yourself is one of those lonely people who is gonna die alone while you are arranging your socks in your dingy apartment. Read more »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Kinks, You Really Got Me

Posted in The Kinks, Youtube Favs on May 8th, 2011 by Willie

Welcome to part 57 of my never ending youtube countdown.  Today, I present another one of England’s best, this time, The Kinks!  I start off this blog with an understatement, the Kinks are an interesting group.  Led by lead singer/songwriter and all around musical genius, Ray Davies, the Kinks are the all time kings of garage rock in my opinion.  The rest of the band, which originally featured Mick Avory on drums (who nearly killed lead guitarist Dave Davies (Ray’s 17 year old brother) by knocking him unconscious with his drum set in an on stage brawl), and Pete Quaife on bass.  Also, Ray and Dave were constant bickering brothers who fought constantly for decades.  Yea…the Kinks had a slew of problems which led to a crazy ban from US touring at the height of the British Invasion and their commerical breakthrough success with “You Really Got Me.”  This ban cost the Kinks a potential army of fans, tons of money, and a greater spotlight that the likes of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and the Who all happily lapped up.  For the rest of their existence, though still managing to churn out hits because of Ray’s sheer brilliance, and still influencing the very bands listed above enormously, the Kinks never got their proper recognition and were forced to carry on throughout the years in a Spinal Tap like state, embarrassingly embracing heavy metal schlock and stage craft by the 1980s in an attempt to stay relevant.  It’s one of the biggest crimes in rock and roll history because the Kinks were that good.  Ray Davies basically invented garage rock with “You Really Got Me,” a song which the Who admitted to copying for their breakout single, “Can’t Explain.”  Ray’s songwriting was also heavily influential on the likes of John Lennon, who considered “Wonderboy” one of his favorite songs ever, and used it years later as the inspiration for “Beautiful Boy.”  Not only that, he turned into one of rock and rolls greatest lyricists and melody makers, basically as good the Beatles, sometimes even better considering he had to put the whole band on his back and never had a partner to share the load with.  The most inspiring thing about Ray is the legacy of gorgeous, honest, and uncompromising music he left behind (well at least through the first half of the 70s,)  and “You Really Got Me,” is his undeniable greatest splash hit.  So here it is, rev it up, and toast one to Ray folks, one of the greatest ever.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Rolling Stones, Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rock and Roll Circus)

Posted in The Rolling Stones, Youtube Favs on March 31st, 2011 by Willie

It’s part 26 of my youtube countdown, and we’re going to the circus…the Rock and Roll Circus that is.  In 1968, the Rolling Stones produced a concert movie that was never released called the..ta daaa… Rock and Roll Circus.  The ‘Circus,’ was sadly never released for some reason, that is until the past ten years when they finally gave it a proper DVD release, which you should all get, like I did.  It features performances by the Stones, the Who, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and a SLEW of others.  It’s fantastic, and I intend to post more videos from it in the near future.  This performance, expertly introduced by John Lennon, is the Stones playing their searing rock classic, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”  I love this version for several reasons.  First off, it features Brian Jones, soon to be deceased, and probably extremely high, playing with the group in full color and in awesome psychedelic clothing.  Second, I just love the way the Stones play it.  They obviously weren’t too comfortable playing it, like they would be 20 years and 10 million plays later, so they take it slow.  It comes off very sexy and sludgy, just perfect and menacing.  So enjoy ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash for Brian Jones, the clothes, Mick Jagger not being a total douche yet, and for John Lennon being a cool motherfucker.  Go!

UPDATE 10.20.13- Google/YouTube killed the original. Here is another performance from that era. (Willie)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Who, I Can't Explain

Posted in The Who, Youtube Favs on March 10th, 2011 by Willie

I open part 17 of my youtube countdown with a very serious question, what the hell was going on in England in the 1960s?  The ratio of incredible music and cool bands to the rest of universal history makes one wonder about the nature of quarks, quasar radiation, and folded cosmic fabrics.  What the heck am I talking about?  All I’m saying is that it was an anomaly.  A freak of the space time continuum that allowed for the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and yes, the Who to flourish all at once.  “I Can’t Explain,” the first single released by the Who, using the name the Who, (previously the High Numbers, also a cool name), utterly owns.  Its an epic surging pulse of proto-power punk pop.  That’s right,5 P’s!  Its one of those perfect anthems of teen angst, and that’s it, and I can’t explain it any further.  And this video?  An incredible mishmash of early Who performances in all their mod glory.  English rock at its finest, enjoy.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,