Another unstructured music chat between myself and my high school pal Adam.
Adam: Apple Music wormhole: “Hey, I should find some Sam Cooke”. Always wanted to listen to more. Then, I find the song “Having a Party”. This is familiar, I say. Who did a cover of this? Rod Stewart! Let’s find that. Unplugged… and Seated. It’s so good. Rod Stewart is a singular talent and voice. Such great songs. So many career phases. Always loved. Even during this wardrobe era…
Cam: This video may be in the all-time Top 10 of “re-enact the album cover art in the music video”…
Cam: I do think he’s underrated. i guess most people mainly know him for covers, “Maggie May”, “Tonight’s the Night”, very 1980s stuff like “Some Guys Have All the Luck” and maybe, the Faces “Ooh La La”. Pretty unique voice and steady output. always kind of a notch below Elton John but without the cool factor of Bryan Ferry, which is too bad. Great voice, very self aware, weird outfits and hair, etc. I had the album Out of Order on cassette. The one with “Forever Young”, “Lost in You”, etc. The cover was basically a look at the top of his head. Another example of “rockers pushing 50 being marketed to children” that was very popular at that time. I bet he and Steve Winwood had an unspoken rivalry for who could chew up more scenery on MTV in the late 1980s.
Adam: “Forever Young” is a monster of a song.
Cam: I love it. The 1980s were a great decade for songs called “Forever Young”…
Adam: Makes me tear up a little thinking about my kids.
Cam: Seriously. Rod’s “Forever Young” is of the ultimate “hey look, i’m a good father” videos.
Adam: Listen to the Unplugged… album
Cam: Did anybody have a sneakily good run in the 1980s as Paul Carrack? “The Living Years” with Mike + the Mechanics plus “Silent Running” or whatever that song is called, “Tempted” with Squeeze, the big solo hit “Don’t Shed a Tear”, some stuff with Ace, I think… monster decade! Also, Rod Stewart and Barry Manilow have been pretty steady in generally having the same look for decades now
Adam: “How Long Has This Been Going On” (sic). Then, “Hey You” at the wall in Berlin.
Cam: Back to Rod Stewart. “Love Touch”, “Young Turks”. He actually had a massive 1980-1989. And the creepy stalker anthem “Infatuation”.
Adam: … And he benefited from the sex appeal thing. Ladies loved him. He played it up. “Some Guys Have All the Luck”. He seemed like a dirty Limey with spikey hair. Then he did the “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and the ladies said “YES”.
Adam: Go Jays.
Cam: I’m all in on the Jays. Feel like this season… the team that gets hot at the end wins. both leagues. It’s wide open. All the teams are flawed in some way.
Cam: Listened to Bruce’s “Brilliant Disguise” at least 4x this weekend. I know we’ve talked about his phases at length but late 1980s weary Bruce is great. The “Made in the USA” hangover. The fire is still there but subdued. Did some repeats on “Badlands” as well. Great tune but feel like it needs to be even more aggressive, angry.
Adam: Work your way through Darkness on the Edge of Town. It really works best as a full piece. Also, love how Bruce changed his image after “Born in the USA”. He put on a bolo neck tie and a dress shirt and jacket.
Cam: Yeah, I guess he was fuckin’ around with Roy Orbison at this time too. This wasn’t my fave Bruce look. The tailored suit. He was very lean at this time!
Adam: The video (for “Brilliant Disguise”) is amazing.
Cam: My other weekend deep dive was repeats on Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain”. could listen to that an infinite amount of times.
Adam: It’s interesting just how grown-up Bruce wanted to look. Was then doing the Amnesty International shows around then. Plus the first half of Tunnel of Love is a royal “f**k you” to anyone who wanted “Dancing in the Dark” part 2. He’d toured the world on a gigantic level. Then he opens the next album with “I ain’t got you!?! (Guts)!! Side two opens with “Tunnel of Love”. But then “Brilliant Disguise” is the highlight with one step up behind it. The echo and drum and synth sounds work best on those songs. “Tougher Than The Rest” is great and has a mean harp solo. I’d love it sped up just a bit. This is also the Baby Boomers getting to their nostalgia phase and going old school. Everybody loved Roy Orbison.
Cam: It’d be interesting to see what Orbison would’ve done in the 1990s if he hadn’t died. Between Mystery Girl and the Wilburys, he really ended the 1980s on a high note. It’s hard to imagine a world where Orbison and Nirvana would have co-existed. Also, his duet w/ kd Lang on the “Crying” re-record, which was (really) amazing. “I Drove All Night” is a pretty weird song, at least production-wise. I wonder if O wanted it to sound like that. Basically, you could remove the vocals and it sounds very similar to 1980s ZZ Top. Whereas Bruce put on a bolo tie and Clapton put on an Armani suit and later, a trench coat, O stayed pretty consistent look-wise since the 1950s. Though I think he was slightly more “Southern” then. He was only 52 when he died, which is laughably and obviously tragically young.
Adam: Which “I Drove All Night”? Bruce? Cyndi (Lauper)?
Cam: The posthumous RO version. Featuring a pantless Jennifer Connolly in the video plus Jason Priestley!
Adam: Vastly superior by Cyndi! I also think that was video done posthumously. Stock Roy footage.
Cam: I like that song. The more adult contemporary version of Gwen Stefani is basically this era of Cyndi Lauper fast forwarded by 15-20 years.She’s got a similar voice. I feel like Preistly was in another video around this time.
Adam: He was.
Cam: I might be thinking of Johnny Depp in Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open”. Wait… the guy from Friends is in the “Night Moves” video too! I get Bob Seger and Steve Miller mixed up.
Cam: I remember a Chevrolet commercial featuring “Like a Rock” being played incessantly during Sportsdesk for years and developing a Pavlovian reaction to it, that’d remind me of getting ready for school.
Cam: Also, do we know why Chris Isaak didn’t have a bigger career? Hot video of the early 1990s. An entertainer and actor who was apparently funny. Similar hair to Morrissey. Stupid theory: Jeff Buckley destroyed his career? They kinda sorta had the same niche . Albeit, Buckley was the more indie version but equally as hunky w/ slightly more interesting songs.