Thursday, 19 May 2011

News, Views and Music Issue 100 (Top Five): AAA Songs Featruing The Number '100'!

You’d think there’d be hundreds of songs about the number hundred wouldn’t you? Well, actually, in truth there’s only four – and one sneaky one we’ve pretended we’ve misheard. But never-mind because this week seems the perfect one to tell you what those songs are...

5) The Byrds “One Hundred Years From Now” (a track from the 1968 album ‘Sweethearts Of The Rodeo’): One hundred years from this day, will everybody feel the same way, still think the things that they’re thinking right now? Well possibly a hundred issues from now – I’m not sure about a century we’ve seen such changes already! Anyway back to the song – for me this is by far the best and most original song on ‘Sweethearts’, the influential but in truth not all that good template for future country-rock hybrid albums to come. The only problem is there isn’t much rock, barring this sterling Gram Parsons song, best heard on the two Byrds box sets or as a bonus track on the CD re-issue with Gram on lead rather than Roger McGuinn. It’s a bouncy song about how people are getting a little bit shirty about a simple misdemeanour – as the narrator correctly guesses what he’s done won’t even bat an eyelid in a hundred years’ time. An excellent song for summing up generational differences and differences in time. After all who’d have guessed about the 1960s rock and pop movement a century ago in 1911, never mind the internet and Alan’s Album Archives!

4) The Rolling Stones “One Hundred Years Ago” (a track from the 1973 album ‘Goat’s Head Soup’): When out walking through the woods the other day, the world lay like a carpet lay before me and I got out my laptop and visited Alan’s Album Archives. Don’t you sometimes think it’s wise not to grow up? Now its the turn of the opposite point of view – that mankind is so stubborn that even after a hundred years of living, change and culture, nothing really moves on that much. One of the more over-looked Stones songs about the 1970s, this starts off as a gentle ballad about a Rip Van Winkle waking up from hibernation hoping that his problems are over – only to discover a whole lot more in a thrilling rock climax that finds Mick Taylor on particularly stunning form. It all seemed like a hundred years ago this song came out, at a time when the Stones were still inventive and original.

3) The Moody Blues “I Never Thought I’d Live To Be A Hundred” (a track from the 1969 album ‘To Our Children’s Children’s Children’): I never thought I’d get to write all those things that other people see, look at me. The first two verses of a sensitive Justin Hayward ballad (the third verse is cut off to make ‘I never Thought I’d Live To Be A Million’ later on in the album), this is a song about being so busy fighting for freedom and rights that you never quite realise where the time has gone. I never thought I’d write a hundred issues either – not so very long ago my maker was threatening to refuse me the pleasure of the view too. I’m still waiting for my freedom however – but then that’s what happens when coalition Governments that nobody voted for pass laws to keep themselves in power illegally.

2) Cat Stevens “100 I Dream” (a track from the 1973 album ‘Foreigner’): They brang our website with horns, so they do (what on earth does that line mean?!) but that hasn’t stopped us dreaming of a hundred issues or of ‘rising up to be free’ (as a voice whispered to me) in the hope that we’ll all ‘awake’! I have to say I love this Cat Stevens song’s gentle philosophy even if I haven’t got a clue what’s going on in the beginning - and has there ever been a better motto for our site then the following middle eight?: ‘Pick up the pieces you see before you, don’t let your weakness destroy you, you know wherever you go the world will follow, so let your reasons be true to you’. And in this way we will all awake – come on Cameron and awake!

1) The Beatles “One After 99” (a track from the 1970 ‘Let It Be’ album or 1994 compilation of rarities ‘Anthology One’ if you prefer): Eh, what’s that? The Beatles are singing about the one after 909? Erm, yes, Ok, I did know that but how else can I find another AAA song involving the word hundred? Picked up my laptop, ran to the station, railman said I had a bad connection yeah, pick up my bag, run right home, then I find I got the web address wrong. Well, don’t – its ok?! This funky early Beatles track was a shoe-in for becoming a Beatles B-side before first Paul came up with ‘PS I Love You’ and then John came up with ‘Ask Me Why’ before the band forgot about this song entirely. They did return to it though, with this song one of many ‘oldies’ revived by the band during the ‘Get Back to basics’ sessions for Let It Be. No wonder this one made the record (unlike other forgotten and unloved Lennon/Macca classics like ‘Thinking of Linking ‘Hello Little Girl’ and ‘I Lost My Little Girl’, all revived during the sessions) because The Beatles sound like they’re having great fun – for possibly the only time on the record. Lennon’s vocal sees him become a decade younger, Paul’s whoops are genuinely exciting, George’s guitar solo is fabulous and Ringo? Well, Ringo’s just trying to cope with a cold while playing up on a windy rooftop so it’s no wonder he’s a bit off colour here. Said move over once, move over twice, try on Alan’s Album Archives for size!

Well, that’s it for another issue. As we signed off all those months ago goodbye – and best wishes from the Albums Alcoholics Anonymous. Now I wonder where the next 100 issues will take us?...

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