Song of the day: Cymbals – "The Kids Are Alright"

March 13, 2013

If you’re a fan of both The Who and The Beach Boys, then steel yourself for 35 seconds of bliss.


That was Japanese band Cymbals, and that song appeared on a mini-album of covers called Respects.

Here’s the original for comparison:

The Who – “The Kids Are Alright (1965)


In a shameless* bit of self-promotion, I’d like to mention that “The Kids Are Alright” featured in a Musical coincidence on this very blog, right here.

(*I’m hoping that somewhere there’s a movie Western with a baddie called “Shameless Pete”.)

Musical coincidences # 368

February 22, 2013

My friend Michael (Hi, Michael!) spotted this coincidence. He said he was listening to songs in his collection that started with a “J” and came across a 1973 track by a Dutch band called Grass. He noticed something fairly noticeable…

Grass – “Just One Loser (1973) (excerpt)


The Who – “Pinball Wizard (1969) (excerpt)


Here are the full versions:

Grass – “Just One Loser (1973)


The Who – “Pinball Wizard (1969)


Musical coincidences # 348

December 15, 2012

My friend Scott (Hi, Scotty!) pestered Facebook with a song by Australian band The City Lights. The song’s called “What You Gonna Do?”, and now that I’ve heard it I can answer that question:

“What am I gonna do? I’m gonna let people know about a coincidence I found in it. That’s what I’m gonna do.”

In the song is a middle section that contains a chord progression that I found instantly recognisable.

If you have a guitar handy, these are the chords:

(play for half a bar)
(half a bar)
(a full bar)
(half a bar)
(half a bar)
(a full bar)

Here it is in The City Lights song:

The City Lights – “What You Gonna Do?” (2004) (excerpt)


I’ve only ever heard that chord progression in one other rock song. It’s not just those chords, because they’re fairly common, but those exact chords in that order, played for specific lengths.

That chord progression can also be found here:

The Who – “See Me Feel Me / Listening To You (1969) (excerpt)


Oh yeah.

Here are the full versions:

The City Lights – “What You Gonna Do?” (2004)
[The chord progression in question starts at 1:31]

The Who – “See Me Feel Me / Listening To You (1969)


Musical coincidences # 327

November 3, 2012

This coincidence was prompted by my friend Michael (Hi, Michael!) who handed over an obscure song and asked if I could help him find out where else he’d heard its opening vocal tune.

The obscure song is “It’s Alright” by British band The Rocking Vickers, and it was released in 1966. I’d never heard of it.

I was dreading the (very likely) prospect of having no idea of what the elusive other song might be, so I pressed “play” with a great deal of trepidation. However, I was relieved to discover that not only did I know the other song, but I knew it within three seconds of the singer opening his mouth. Phew.

I’ll play you the excerpts of both songs first, and then I’ll give you a couple of facts that surprised both Michael and me when we discovered them.

The Rocking Vickers – “It’s Alright” (1966) (excerpt)

The Who – “The Kids Are Alright (1965) (excerpt)

Two facts about The Rocking Vickers song:

  1. It was written by Pete Townshend. (Which would explain a lot.)

  3. The guitarist in The Rocking Vickers at the time (i.e., the guitarist on “It’s Alright”) is Lemmy. Yes, Lemmy.

Because of fact number one, I can’t really call this a coincidence. It’s more a case of recycling.

But because Michael and I both went “Lemmy???” when we found out, this example of musical recycling just had to go on the blog.

Here are the full versions:

The Rocking Vickers – “It’s Alright” (1966)

The Who – “The Kids Are Alright (1965)

And in honour of Lemmy making his first appearance on this blog (albeit as a mid-1960s Mod), here he is again, but this time in his more familiar guise:

Motorhead – “Killed By Death (1984)

[Beware: Depending on where you work, this video may or may not be safe to watch. It contains cavorting women who don’t appear to do anything musical]

Oh yeah. That’ll clean out your speakers.

Song of the day: The Atomic Numbers – "Odorono"

September 18, 2012

A fabulously patient chap by the name of Keith (Hi, Keith!) told me about an album called The New Sell Out, a tribute album to The Who Sell Out. It’s performed by a slew of power poppers. The Who Sell Out is performed by The Who.

I call Keith patient because of something I did, something I consider utterly inexcusable. Keith emailed me ages ago, and I forgot about it. Oops. Many apologies, fabulously patient Keith.

And speaking of patient: Keith put together The New Sell Out 12 years ago but has only just now made it available. Now that’s patience.

There’s a lot of music on this album (72½ minutes of it), so you definitely get value for money – unless you don’t like the idea of musicians covering Who songs that you see as sacred and untouchable, or you simply don’t like The Who’s music.

I’ve listened to The New Sell Out a few times now, and can quite comfortably say that I like it. I’m fully aware that that’s pretty useless information, because your tastes in music may not be mine.

I’ll supply the whole thing at the end of this post if you want to hear it all, but for a little taste I’ll direct you to my favourite tracks from it.

My first choice is “Odorono“. As performed by The Atomic Numbers, it’s by far my favourite track on the album:

The Atomic NumbersOdorono (2012)

If you’re interested, here’s the original for comparison:

The Who – “Odorono” (1967)


Coming a distant (but still very enjoyable) second is The Phenomenal Cats version of “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand“:

The Phenomenal CatsMary Anne With The Shaky Hands (2012)

The Who – “Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand” (1967)


And third, here’s Cloud Eleven with their version of “Relax”:

Cloud Eleven – “Relax (2012)

The Who – “Relax” (1967)


I can’t let this post go by without commenting on a linguistic annoyance on the album. “Armenia City In The Sky” is the song that opens both The New Sell Out and The Who Sell Out, and the pronunciation of “Armenia” irritates me enormously, reducing my enjoyment of the song. As far as I’ve always been taught (and heard), Armenia is pronounced “Ah meanier“. Unfortunately for me, The Who’s original and Paranoid Lovesick‘s cover version both pronounce it “Arm in ear”. Grrrrrrrrrr. (My annoyance is too strong for a simple “Grrr”.)

Paranoid Lovesick – “Armenia City In The Sky (2012)

The Who – “Armenia City In The Sky” (1967)


And while I’m rabbiting on about “Armenia In The Sky”: I’ve never noticed it before, but on my fourth listen of the song it now reminds me of The Beatles‘ “Only A Northern Song“:

The Beatles – “Only A Northern Song (1967)


It might be the vocal phrasing that’s getting me thinking of “Only A Northern Song”. Or not. Whatever it is, now when I hear “Armenia In The Sky” I’m simultaneously hearing “Only A Northern Song” in my head. That’s very annoying.

But there are many non-annoyances about this album. All the songs are played well, and it’s evident that everyone involved in the project hold the originals in high regard. (In that previous sentence I was going to use words like “reverent”, “respectful”, “honourable” and even the phrase “with love”, but then I started wincing at the thought of all that sentimentality.)

Oh, and another thing about the album: The chord progressions and melodic contour (i.e., the shape of the tune) in “Melancholia”, as performed by The Grip Weeds, reminds me of David Bowie‘s “All The Madmen“:

The Grip Weeds – “Melancholia (2012)

David Bowie – “All The Madmen (1970)


The Who – “Melancholia” (1967)


If I keep this up (i.e., mentioning pointless things), the post you’re reading right now will end up being a post you’ll still be reading tomorrow. That’s entirely unacceptable.

I’ll stop typing now, present you with the whole thing, and leave you to it.


Musical coincidences # 286

August 20, 2012

I don’t know why I never noticed this before, but it hit me only a moment ago when I had “The Kids Are Alright” stuck on repeat in my head:

The Who – “The Kids Are Alright (1965) (excerpt)


The Beatles – “All My Loving (1963) (excerpt)


Who:  “But  know  some –  times  must  get  out…” 
Beatles:  “Close  your  eyes  and  I’ll  kiss  you,  to-  morrow…” 

Here are the full versions:

The Who – “The Kids Are Alright (1965)


The Beatles – “All My Loving (1963)


Song of the day: The Who – "Sparks" (live)

January 9, 2012

A few days ago, Facebook Friend Curt (Hi, Curt!) posted some ultra-rare* footage of The Who‘s 1970 gig at the University of Leeds which ended up on record as Live At Leeds. Apparently, this the only known footage of that gig in existence:

But that’s not today’s song.

That previously ultra-rare* footage reminded me of The Who’s performance of “Sparks” at Woodstock, and that’s what I want to play you today.

I was going to waffle on about how great I think the Woodstock version of “Sparks” is, but the booklet that comes with the DVD of The Kids Are Alright sums it up for me quite nicely:

Woodstock Music and Art Fair, Bethel, New York, August 17, 1969
The instrumental following the song ‘Amazing Journey‘ from Tommy was the source of what were arguably The Who’s greatest live performances. In this clip from the Woodstock Festival, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon give a lesson on how music built around ‘power and volume’ can reach into the realm of art.

Amen, brother.

The Who – “Sparks (live) (1969)


(*Because it’s on YouTube, it’s no longer ultra-rare.)