Bob Dylan’s 50 Greatest Songs – Ranked

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images.

(via The Guardian)  by Alexis Petridis

As fans puzzle out the epic “Murder Most Foul,” we count down the best of Bob, from the fury of “Pay in Blood” to the pure genius of “Simple Twist of Fate.”

50. Changing of the Guards (1978)

Street Legal delivered fans a shock: Dylan fronting a large band, with female backing singers to the fore. The words, meanwhile, might well represent an oblique personal history, from adolescence through marriage to religious conversion: whatever they were about, they reduced Patti Smith to tears on first hearing.

49. This Wheel’s on Fire (1967)

Subsequently covered by everyone from Siouxsie and the Banshees to Kylie Minogue, in every style from psychedelic to electro-glam stomp, the original Basement Tapes recording of This Wheel’s on Fire – both a great song and another of Dylan’s umpteen apocalyptic visions – has a uniquely intense, eerie quality that no one else has subsequently matched.

48. Pay in Blood (2012)

Should you wonder if Dylan’s capacity for rage had been dulled by his advancing years, listen to Pay in Blood, a gentle musical backdrop for an expression of literally murderous fury: at first he’s so angry that the lyrics are incomprehensible, his voice just a phlegmy snarling noise; when they come into focus, he’s demanding vengeance on bankers and politicians “pumping out [their] piss”. Bracing.

47. My Back Pages (1964)

Those upset when Dylan went electric couldn’t say he didn’t warn them something big was coming: My Back Pages spends the best part of five minutes not repudiating his protest singer past, but bidding the kind of certainties that fuelled it (“lies that life is black and white”) a sardonic farewell…

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‘Four dead in Ohio’…How the Kent State Shooting Changed Music History

(via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) by Scott Mervis

Seeing the devastating pictures in Life magazine in May 1970, Neil Young — from 2,500 miles away — wrote the definitive song about the massacre at Kent State.

“Ohio,” recorded with Crosby, Stills & Nash three weeks after the May 4 shootings and released as a single that month, shocked the airwaves with its refrain of “Four dead in O-hi-o” and became a generation’s rallying cry for resistance to the Nixon administration and the Vietnam War.

One of the people dead on the ground, captured so strikingly in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, was Jeffrey Miller, a 20-year-old who had just transferred there from Michigan State University.

“I knew Jeff had been a fan of [Neil Young],” Chrissie Hynde writes in her memoir “Reckless: My Life as a Pretender,” “so I was happy that Young had become our spokesman, our voice. It was a big element in easing us out of shock.”

Hynde, now a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was among the Kent State students at the rally that day, and she had company — an assortment of bright young musicians who would become future icons and headliners.

Not mentioned in his classic song “Life’s Been Good” is that Joe Walsh, later of the James Gang and The Eagles, was witness to the events.

Chris Butler, who would go on to form The Waitresses and write the hit “I Know What Boys Like,” was with Miller, who was a close friend.

Gerald Casale, who stared down the National Guard, went on to form one of the most influential art-punk bands of the ’70s. “Devo wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for Kent State,” Casale said in a recent phone interview. “That’s the long and short of it.”

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Video of the Week: The Chaotic Story of Dexys Midnight Runners & “Come On Eileen”

Video of the Week: ‘The Wrecking Crew’ Documentary

Alice Cooper Provides a Solid Rock for Teens During COVID-19 Crisis


Photo credit: Surreal Sister

(via SPIN) by Katherine Yeske Taylor

Sometimes, something suddenly appears that’s so unsettling, even the king of shock rock himself is startled. That’s what happened when Alice Cooper was forced to cancel his European tour in the midst of something scarier than what Cooper does in his notorious horror rock show.

“It’s strange times. I’ve never lived in a time when one infinitesimal thing that you can’t even see has literally stopped the entire world,” Cooper says, sounding astonished while speaking from his home in Arizona.

Cooper’s wife, Sheryl, is also on the call. She performs in her husband’s show (often portraying a psychotic nurse), and she seems stunned as she recounts the unexpected and abrupt end to their show in Berlin. As she tells it, they were told to “jump off the stage and go directly to our bus in full makeup and costumes.” Almost 24 hours of exhaustive travel later, they made it back to Phoenix – but they “got home, no food in the house, went to the grocery store, no food at the grocery store. What’s happening?”

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On a Lighter Note…(Coronavirus Edition)

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Songs You May Have Missed #663

Pet Puma: “Spaceship” (2020)

A bouncy, infectious bit of funk pop from a five-piece out of London. As they work on a debut album, it’s tough times to try to book gigs to promote themselves.

But here’s hoping their happy sound finds a place on American radio.

Songs You May Have Missed #662

Pepe & The Bottle Blondes: “Rumba de 5 Kilos” (2000)

Whatever your expectations here, Portland’s Pepe Raphael and company will probably confound them.

Mixing Latin dance, opera, cabaret and comedic delivery, they may come across as a campy, over-the-top version of Pink Martini.

Hopefully, they’ll put a smile on your face and shake your booty!

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