Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vinyl Vednesday 4/27/2011

[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick measuring contest, but it usually turns out that way. E-mail with your own big finds!]

Records: Alice Cooper’s School’s Out (1972) black, John Denver’s Greatest Hits (1973) on black, and The Ramones Ramones (1976) on clear red.

Place of Purchase: Cooper was inherited from the Ferris family collection when my Aunt Jenn sold Mom-Mom’s house. John Denver was purchased at Disc World in Conshohocken *le sigh*. Ramones was part of a set of reissues that I purchased via eBay.

Thoughts: Before David Bowie brought glam rock to the New World with Diamond Dogs, Alice Cooper was the artist of choice for the weird. The band/frontman weren’t like Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple. Their tunes were dark (for the time anyway). The riffs were big slabs of rock. What’s funny about listening to Cooper now isn’t the stabs at horror (“School’s Out,” “Public Animal #9”), but the weirder songs like “Gutter Cat Vs. the Jets.” That tune is set up like a showtune about cats beating the crap out of each other a la West Side Story. It’s filled with a surprising level of detail about the characters, and given the length of the song, it’s clear that Cooper and co. thought highly of it. “School’s Out” is still catchier though.

John Denver is punk as fuck, so shut your face. Dude stuck it to the PMRC and stood up for freedom of speech for all artists. He also worked tirelessly to combat world hunger and promote sustainability. He worked as a skiing commentator for the 1984 Winter Olympics simply because he could. He loved the shit out of NASA because outer space is cool. On top of that, he wrote “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Rocky Mountain High,” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” These tunes are super chill country/folk, which is why I can only listen to a little bit of Denver at a time, but they’re still solid. [SIDE NOTE: Did you know John Denver was rejected from participating in “We Are the World?” Ain’t that some bullshit?]

“Second verse / Same as the first.” The Ramones wrote one song so well that they continued to write over and over again for 20 years. Now that’s dedication. Ramones isn’t the best of the band’s releases, but it’s a great starting point and the first in a line of classic records recorded during the late ’70s. It’s hard to believe how many solid gold shoulda-been-hits they wrote on their first studio outing: “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” “Beat on the Brat,” “Judy is a Punk,” “Havana Affair,” “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.” The tunes are sugary bursts of punk bliss. That The Ramones never took off is a testament to the stupidity of commercial radio. You what song was #1 when Ramones came out? “Disco Lady” by Johnnie Taylor. No thank you.

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