Music Labyrinth Episode 090
Hammer To Fall / Queen (1984)
Hello Listener, and welcome to episode 90 of The Music Labyrinth. 90, of course, is the latitude in degrees of both of the Earth’s geographical poles, so in the Northern Hemisphere it is effectively Santa’s address, which is an entirely relevant occurrence given that this episode is being broadcast just 4 days after his busiest day of the year. 90 is also the atomic number of the radioactive element Thorium, discovered in 1828, and named for Thor, the Norse god of thunder. Thorium is nearly half as dense as uranium and plutonium and is harder than both. So, in summary, episode 90 aspires to be super-human, and less dense and less soft than its contemporaries. Challenge accepted. We started this episode where we ended the last, and that was with Queen’s 1984 hit Hammer To Fall. And, here we encounter yet another fact relevant to this episode number of The Music Labyrinth. 1990 was the year in which smoking was banned on all US domestic cross-country flights, which - in part - brings us to our next track. One single musician on Queen’s Hammer To Fall (other than the then four usual members of Queen) was the Canadian keyboardist Fred Mandel, who also plays keyboards on this track by the American thrash metal band, Anthrax. This is Smokin’.
Smokin’ / Anthrax (2013)
That was Smokin’, a cover of the 1976 original hit by Boston, which started life as the B side of their mega-hit More Than A Feeling. However, Smokin’ gained its own momentum, so much so that it was included in an episode in the 20th season of South Park. That episode was beautifully named Skank Hunt, and it also included this song by the Canadian alt rock duo called LEN. This is Steal My Sunshine.
Steal My Sunshine / Len (1999)
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we last listened to Steal My Sunshine by the Canadian duo, LEN. That song is constructed around a bass and percussion sample taken from this 1976 disco one-hit wonder. This is the Andrea True Connection with More More More.
More, More More / Andrea True Connection (1976)
That was the Andrea True Connection with More More More. That one-hit wonder of 1976 was produced by the American record producer Tom Moulton, who became known as the father of the disco mix, due to his pioneering work with continuous re-mix, resulting in the first ever continuous-mix album side, and the invention of the 12 inch single. In 1977 he was responsible for production of this hugely successful hit for Grace Jones.
La Vie en Rose / Grace Jones (1977)
This is The Music Labyrinth and we have just reacquainted ourselves with Grace Jones’ 1977 disco version of La Vie en Rose. The original recording of that song, of course, was by Edith Piaf in 1947, and it was that version which appeared in the soundtrack of the 2008 movie WALL-E. This next track also appeared on that movie soundtrack, and isnt it a lovely thing to get our fortnightly dose of Peter Gabriel nice and early in the episode? Here he is, together with the Soweto Gospel Choir, with Down To Earth
Down To Earth / Peter Gabriel (feat. The Soweto Gospel Choir) (2008)
As mentioned earlier, that Peter Gabriel movie track, Down To Earth, featured the Soweto Gospel Choir, who have recorded with plenty of other big names - perhaps few bigger than Robert Plant.
Valley Of Tears / The Soweto Gospel Choir (feat. Robert Plant) (2007)
That was the wonderful voice of Robert Plant, together with a large number of wonderful voices of the Soweto Gospel Choir, with Valley Of Tears. That track was recorded in 2007 which, even fifteen years ago, still I think qualifies as the evening of the professional career of Robert Plant. So lets go so far back that we find ourselves in the pre-coffee morning part of that career. From 1969 here is Robert Plant, as a member of the newly formed blues rock supergroup Led Zeppelin, with Heartbreaker.
Heartbreaker / Led Zeppelin (1969)
ON The Music Labryinth we have been luxuriating in the raw, bluesy, guitar rock of Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin. Over the course of the journey, Led Zeppelin have found plenty of their tunes covered by plenty of people. One of the more surprising bands to take on that task is the 1980s new wave, synth pop, fashion rock sensation Duran Duran. But they did. This is their interpretation of the Led Zeppelin song Thank You.
Thank You / Duran Duran (1995)
From their 1995 covers album called Thank You, that was Duran Duran with the title track. I reckon that covers album might have pushed the members of Duran Duran into slightly foreign territory, as it featured covers of Led Zeppelin, The Temptations, The Doors and Sly And The Family Stone. So, lets be fair to them, and allow them to have a run around in their natural environment. Here they are from 1981.
Girls On Film / Duran Duran (1981)
Girls On Film by Duran Duran pops up on a 2012 compilation album by English record producer and musician Trevor Horn, best known for his work with The Buggles, Art Of Noise, and Yes. In 2012 he got together with the Sarm Orchestra to produce an album called Trevor Horn Reimagines The 80s. From it, here is a track you will recognise.
Dancing In The Dark / Trevor Horn (feat. Gabrielle Aplin & The Sarm Orchestra) (2019)
This is The Music Labyrinth and thank you for joining us here. We last heard a very familiar song, Springsteen’s 80s hit Dancing In The Dark, in a slightly less familiar format. The lead vocal on the version we just heard was by English singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin, who got her break in the music industry by producing acoustic covers of well known hits and marketing them via a major internet video sharing platform. Shortly after she signed a recording deal, her cover of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood song The Power Of Love was selected for the soundtrack of a major annual television commercial for the English retail chain John Lewis. Here is that cover of The Power Of Love.
The Power of Love / Gabrielle Aplin (2012)
That was Gabrielle Aplin with her 2012 cover of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood song, The Power Of Love; which, as earlier mentioned, was the soundtrack for that year’s John Lewis marketing campaign. Two years earlier, John Lewis had used another cover of a well known song for their 2010 campaign. This is Ellie Goulding with that song - or Your Song - as it were.
Your Song / Ellie Goulding (2010)
This is The Music Labyrinth and we just listened to Ellie Goulding with her 2010 cover of Elton John’s Your Song, originally recorded by Elton in 1970 for his album Tumbleweed Connection. Now, I’ve told you before, I am sure, about Elton John’s longevity in the music caper, and my thoughts regarding the measure of quality of output along that spectrum. Its fair to say that Tumbleweed Connection comes out of what I regard to be Elton’s musical ‘sweet spot’. Your Song was far-and-away the biggest commercial success on that album, but I cant let the opportunity slip by without playing you my favourite song from it.
Amoreena / Elton John (1970)
That was Amoreena by Elton John, from his 1970 album Tumbleweed Connection. One of the quirks about that album is that it contains a song that was NOT written by Elton and Bernie Taupin. The songwriter in question was the English female singer-songwriter Lesley Duncan, who’s performing career was limited by crippling levels of stage fright. Nevertheless, she had a successful career as a backing singer, working with Dusty Springfield, Donovan, Elton John and on the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. In 1972 and ‘73 she also contributed backing vocals to one of the greatest albums ever, and you will hear a track from it shortly. You will almost certainly have heard it many times before and I suggest that it has become a gem tarnished by familiarity. So can I humbly suggest, particularly if you are listening with headphones, that you put aside whatever else you may be doing for the next three minutes and fifty seconds, and enjoy the sheer brilliance of this little moment in the history of recorded music.
Brain Damage / Pink Floyd (1973)
Sorry. I cant help but feel that I have come crashing into your ears right now and shattered your Pink Floyd bliss, and I deeply regret it. That was, of course, Brain Damage, from the extraordinary thing that is Pink Floyd’s album Dark Side Of The Moon. Now, having abruptly shattered your bliss, can I just say that I am really EXCITED to play you this next track in our journey through The Music Labyrinth. You see, the little bit of research I do for this program often takes me to music I have never heard, or about which I had completely forgotten. This next track is of that second subset, but as soon as I saw the title I had immediate and vivid recollections of the art on the album cover, the tune, the glorious colour of the animated film clip (which was a vivid novelty for the teenager still getting used to colour TV in my lounge room). This was a real nostalgia trip for me, and still is, even though I recognise that almost no one else in the room shares those experiences and will probably just be hearing another obscure tune from the 70s. Anyway, here is the link. We just listened to Brain Damage by Pink Floyd, which included backing vocals from Lesley Duncan, Doris Troy, Liza Strike and Barry St John. That last on that list, Barry St John, is the Scottish female singer Eliza Janet Thompson who adopted Barry St John as a professional name. The year after Dark Side Of The Moon, she was engaged by Roger Glover of Deep Purple who was compiling a rock opera concept album called The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast. And from it, including the backing vocals of Barry St John, is this little piece of my personal nostalgia.
Love Is All / Ronnie James Dio (1974)
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth which has just used its awesome powers to take me immediately back to my adolescence by way of Love Is All from the 1974 concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast. By the way, I mentioned the gloriously coloured animated film clip for that track - which is still a delight. I have found a link to it, and will pop that link in the notes for this show so you can have a peek at it should you be so inclined. Now, lead vocals on that track were by the American heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio who is known for his solo work, and as a member of the bands Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell. A year after The Butterfly Ball he was a member of Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow and sang on the album of that name. This next track, called Catch The Rainbow, is from that album - and, by the by, see if you hear the same echoes as I do to the well known Jimi Hendrix song Little Wing. Anyway, here is Catch the Rainbow.
Catch The Rainbow / Rainbow (1975)
Richie Blackmore has been called one of the greatest and most influential guitar players of all time. He also enjoys a very broad palette of musical genres. Even his hard rock days contained elements of baroque music. He has moved from pure rock blues to catchy mainstream pop and rock. Then, late in his career, he band he and his wife Candice Night formed the traditional folk rock project called Blackmore’s Night. Here is a track from their 2006 album The Village Lanterne and can I suggest to all you Deep Purple lovers out there that you get a little bit excited as this tune approaches the 2 minute mark.
Mond Tanz - Child In Time / Blackmore’s Rainbow (2006)
Welcome back for the final section of episode 90 of The Music Labyrinth. We arrived here by way of a track called Mond Tranz / Child In Time from the folk rock band called Blackmore’s Night, and of course you will have picked up on the fact that that song contained elements of the Deep Purple classic Child In Time, co-written by Richie Blackmore of Blackmore’s Night. The original Deep Purple version of Child In Time makes an appearance in the 1996 motion picture Twister, about a group of amateur storm chasers. The song plays at the beginning of the film as the intrepid team take to the road in pursuit of weather phenomena. Also from the film Twister, and featured in the film soundtrack, is Long Way Down by The Goo Goo Dolls.
Long Way Down / The Goo Goo Dolls (1995)
That was the Goo Goo Dolls with Long Way Down. In 2003 some of the surviving members of the legendary 60’s British blues rock band The Yardbirds reformed and recorded an album called Birdland, which was a mix of some new material and some of their biggest hits. One of those hits was this next track, which was originally recorded and released in 1965. The singer of the original hit, Keith Relf, had died of electrocution in 1976, and for the 2003 Birdland version of the song, the band drafted in John Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls. Here is that version.
For Your Love / The Yardbirds (2003)
That was the 2003 version of The Yardbirds with For Your Love. At the time of its original release, that song was problematic for the band. The song was a departure from the blues based material for which the band was known, and the step towards mainstream pop music narked Eric Clapton and he ultimately departed the group as a result. For reasons no one properly has articulated, the band decided to include a harpsichord in the mix of that song and, at the end of the recording session, the player of that instrument, Brian Auger, is noted to have wondered, “Who in their right mind is going to but a pop single with a harpsichord on it?” Well, plenty of people did. On its release in 1965 it topped the charts in the UK and Canada, and was ranked in the top 10 in the US and Sweden. So, I am going to stay with the concept of harpsichord in pop singles to find a track to end this episode of The Music Labyrinth and to bridge us over to our next episode in two weeks time. Thank you very much for joining us tonight for episode 90. I hope you have enjoyed the show and I hope you will tell your friends and you can all join us again in a fortnight. Until then, here is our final track. When I researched songs containing the harpsichord, this track was listed and I immediately wanted to dispute the assertion. Its a song I know well, and I have never before noticed the presence of the harpsichord. Nevertheless, I have listened closely and I promise you it is there. From the incredibly successful and influential album Deja Vu, this is Crosby Stills Nash & Young with Our House. Thanks for listening.
Our House / Crosby Stills Nash & Young (1970)