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In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida [Atco]
Description
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda

Loosely translated this title means "in the garden of life" or "in the garden of eden." The group with this unlikely album title and 17 minute song of the same title, was the '60s San Diego band, Iron Butterfly. One of the gems from the pyschedelic / acid rock genre, the origins of 1968's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" are still subject to debate: was it intentional or was the band so stoned that the lyrics came out mumbled and the band couldn't figure out how to end the song?

Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)
Love it or hate it, 1991's "Gyspy Woman" or better yet known as the "la da di, la da da" song, with its base heavy, house production styling helped raise the awareness about the plight of the homeless.

Timothy Leary
The Moody Blues' 1968 song "Timothy Leary's Dead" refers to none other than the controversial '60s LSD advocate Timothy Leary. His phrase "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out" became a catch phrase for the times. Leary died in 1996 at the age of 75 of natural causes.

The First Video on MTV
"Video Killed the Radio Star," off the 1980 Buggles' album "Age of Plastic," is the first song/video that the fledgling Music Television (MTV) network played for its US debut on August 1, 1981. Contrary to the song's indication, radio survived MTV's music videos just fine.

American Pie
Don McLean's 8 ½ minute song "American Pie" has the line "the day the music died" which refers to the death of Buddy Holly. McLean was a little-known song writer at the time he released the song in 1971. Buddy Holly died in a plane crash on Feb 3, 1959 while on tour with Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson.

Name Game and More, The
"Shirley, Shirley Bo Birley Bonana Fanna Fo Firley, Fee Fy Mo Mirley, Shirley!" so goes the bubbly 1965 soul hit, "The Name Game," co-composed and performed by Shirely Ellis. Wisely, she neglected, to include the name "Chuck." The song became the blueprint for her like-minded novelty follow-ups like "The Clapping Song (Clap Pat Clap Slap)" and the "The Puzzle Song (A Puzzle in a Song)."

Chomsky and "Manufacturing Consent", Noam
"Manufacturing Consent" is a video documentary that explores the ideas of world-renowned linguist, intellectual and American political activist Noam Chomsky. A prophetic piece about modern industrial civilization from the video shows up on the eerily beautiful track "Static Airwaves," off the Scottish duo Mount Florida's 2001 release "Arrived Phoenix."

Space Oddity
David Bowie's 1969 "Space Oddity" was used by the BBC during the special coverage of the first moon landing. Despite the song’s theme of broken communication and a capsule floating forever, the actual moon landing on July 20, 1969 was successful. It was the culmination of almost a decade of work by the US to land a man on the moon.

Bette Davis Eyes
Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes" won a 1981 Grammy for Record of the Year. The song was written about a precocious woman with "Bette Davis" eyes. The legendary actress, Bette Davis (1908-1989), did have large and distinctive eyes. Upon hearing the song, Davis was pleased. Davis' career spanned six decades and includes classic movies like "Jezebel" (1938), "All About Eve" (1950) and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" (1962).

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
The song "Respect" was originally written by Otis Redding of "Dock of the Bay" fame - among other songs. Redding had a hit with "Respect" in 1965. Aretha Franklin's version appears on her 1967 album and eclipsed Redding's version in popularity. It is ironic that a song written by a man would become an anthem in the woman's movement. The 1999 Rhino themed box set concurs this fact by titling the set: "Respect: A Century of Women in Music."

Take This Job and Shove It
John Paycheck, the country singer who made the working person's anthem "Take This Job and Shove It" famous in 1977, died--in a twist of irony--broke, in 2003. The song resonated with mid to late '70s frustrated blue collar workers and inspired one-man wildcat strikes as well as the 1981 movie with the same title. Country superstar, George Jones, donated a burial plot next to his own for Paycheck.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda
Loosely translated this title means "in the garden of life" or "in the garden of eden." The group with this unlikely album title and 17 minute song of the same title, was the '60s San Diego band, Iron Butterfly. One of the gems from the pyschedelic / acid rock genre, the origins of 1968's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" are still subject to debate: was it intentional or was the band so stoned that the lyrics came out mumbled and the band couldn't figure out how to end the song?

Sukiyaki
Japanese artists Kyu Sakamoto's 1963 hit "Sukiyaki" was the first Japanese-language song to top the American pop charts. The singer never again returned to the Top 40, however, the song "Sukiyaki: did. In 1981, the duo, Taste of Honey, released a version of the song with new lyrics contributed by Taste of Honey member Janice Marie Johnson.

Stagger Lee Legend, The
Possibly one of the most sung about murder incidents, Stagger Lee (really a man named Lee Sheldon) shot and killed a friend in a squabble over a hat in 1895 in St. Louis, Missouri. Some of the earliest recordings were done in the blues style. The most popular version is Lloyd Price's somewhat sanitized version which topped both the R&B and pop charts in 1958. Others covering the song include the Grateful Dead, Neil Diamond and Shirely Ellis.

Locomotion Babysitter
Almost everyone has heard the song "Locomotion," but most would not guess that the original version was inspired and eventually performed by the babysitter employed by the songwriters. The babysitter was Narcissus Boy (later rechristened Little Eva) and the songwriters were the famous husband and wife team of Carole King and Gerry Goeffen. The song was based on a dance that Little Eva would do around the house. The song reached number one in the summer of 1962.

Troubled Relationship Songs
Love relationships gone-wrong is a common song subject found in many styles and retold in a variety of spins. Consider the over-the-top drama of Lesley Gore's 1963 mini teenage soap-opera, "It's My Party," or the Shangri-La's 1964 death-rock hit "Leader of the Pack." A few years later the subject matters turned to interracial relationships as in Janis Ian's 1967 "Society’s Child," a meditation on an interracial romance between a white girl and black boy. Similarly, the Stories 1973 chart-topping "Brother Louie" dealt with the story of the troubled romance between a black girl and white boy.

Alice's Restaurant
The song "Alice's Restaurant", originally release by Arlo Guthrie in 1967, is an enduring and comic, anti-establishment tale. The song's story starts with a Thanksgiving dinner at Alice's restaurant, proceeds to an arrest for littering and ends up with the protagonist's adventures signing up with the draft board. The song inspired the 1969 film of the same name. In 1996, Guthrie released a 30th anniversary edition "Alice's Restaurant – The Massacree Revisited."

Spoonman
The track "Spoonman" on Soundgarden's 1994 "Superunknown" is named for and features the performer Artis, the Spoonman. Artis - a Seattle street musician - fashioned a reputation, starting in the early 1970s, for his passionate and accomplished spoon playing. An early demo version of "Spoonman" was also in the 1992 movie "Singles" which was set against the backdrop of the Seattle alternative music scene of the early 1990s.

Why Couldn’t We Blow Up Saddam?
The Texas band the Austin Lounge Lizards have been around for over 20 years dealing in political satire in the bluegrass, blues, folk and rock styles. They received some attention for their 2003 track referring to the U.S. failure to locate Saddam Hussein during the 2003 war in Iraq. The track appears on their 2003 "Strange Noises in the Dark."

Scarborough Fair
The song "Scarborough Fair" first became widely popular when it appeared on Simon and Garfunkel's 1966 album "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme." The history of the song dates back to medieval times and refers to the English seaside resort of Scarborough. The Scarborough Fair was an important trading event as it attracted people from all over England and Europe. The herbs mentioned in the song symbolize mildness (parsley), strength (sage), faithfulness (rosemary) and courage (thyme).

Patriot Act, The
The USA Patriot Act was passed in the aftermath of the tragic 9/11 events in 2001. By 2003, there was increased scrutiny and denouncements of the act as infringing on citizens' basic civil liberties. Rickie Lee Jones included the jumping gospel track "Tell Somebody (Repeal the Patriot Act)" on her 2003 release "The Evening of My Best Day" to express her frustration with the act.

Cover of the Rolling Stone, The
The Rolling Stone music and music industry magazine was founded in 1967 in San Francisco by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J. Gleason. The magazine reported on the counterculture during the late 1960s and 1970s. The magazine's rise to fame was synchronous with such artists as the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. The magazine was celebrated in song with the hit single by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show in 1972 called, aptly, "Cover of the Rolling Stone."

The Origin of the Term Bling Bling
The slang term "bling bling" came into popular use with the song "Bling Bling" by the rapper B.G. (Baby Gangsta) when it appeared on his 1999 album "Chopper City in the Ghetto." The term follows other hip-hop terms like "jiggy" and "phat" to get make it in the Oxford English Dictionary. Bling bling is used to describe diamonds, jewelry and all forms of showy style. It origin is thought to be onomatopoeic, that is, as one accumulates enough gold pendants around one’s neck, they begin to make a clinking noise similar best described as bling bling.

Outkast’s "Hey Ya"
The rap duo Outkast’s Grammy nominated single "Hey Ya" was reported to be the most legally downloaded song of 2003 with over 100,000 downloads. In that year, digital downloads started to become a dominant force in the music buying habits of consumers as evidenced by the success of Apple Computer’s popular iTunes service. Digital downloads, both legal and illegal, contine to be a hot topic.

Take Me Home Tonight
Eddie Money kicked off his music career with his 1977 self-titled debut featuring catchy, straight up rock & roll such as "Two Tickets to Paradise" and "Baby Hold On." After a slump in the mid '80s, Money returned in 1986 with the album "Can't Hold Back" and the big hit "Take Me Home Tonight." The song featured the vocal help of Ronnie Spector of the '60s girl group the Ronettes. Spector’s vocal lines in the 1986 recall the Ronettes' biggest hit, "Be My Baby."

That's What Friends Are For
Dionne Warwick’s 1985 album "Friends" contains the hit "That's What Friends Are For" sung with friends Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder. The song was a Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager composition. Proceeds from the song were donated to AIDS research (amfAR). This was one of the first high profile projects to do so as the crisis of AIDS grew in the 1980s.

Southern Man
Neil Young’s song "Southern Man" off of his 1970 release "After the Gold Rush" deals with racism in the south. The southern rock group, Lynyrd Skynryd, referenced Young's song in their own "Sweet Home Alabama" on their 1974 release, "Second Helping." The lyrics to the song include the line "...I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don’t need him around anyhow." It is reported that Neil Young liked the Skynyrd song and in fact gave them songs to record. Both songs went on to become immensely popular.

Madam Butterfly
Manager, clothing shop owner, performer and all-around provocateur Malcolm McLaren's 1984 album "Fans" contained the quirky club hit "Madam Butterfly." The song is based on Giacomo Pucinni's (1858-1924) Madame Butterfly which first premiered in 1904. Fast forwarding 80 years, McLaren's album was a mix of opera and hip-hop. In the song, McLaren voices the doomed Colonel Pinkerton who falls in love with the Japanese, teenage geisha, Cio-Cio San or Butterfly. As is usually the case in opera, the results are tragic and Butterfly takes her own life after giving up the child she had with Pinkerton to Pinkerton and his new American wife.

Rock the Casbah
The British punk group the Clash (1976-1986) achieved success in their homeland in the mid to late '70s. They group broke into the U.S. charts with the hit "Rock the Casbah" from their 1982 album "Combat Rock." The song was written by group member Joe Strummer and was inspired by the news of Iranians being punished for owning disco albums. Strummer took the concept further in the song with a disco-hating sharif trying to rid his kingdom of the "crazy casbah sound" or disco music.

Killing Me Softly With His Song Inspiration
The subject of Roberta Flack's break through number one record, "Killing Me Softly With His Song," is the singer/songwriter Don McLean. McLean is known for his hits "American Pie" and "Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)" in the early '70s and later "Crying" and "Since I Don't Have You" in the early '80s. Flack's sweet ode was inspired by McLean's performance of his song "Empty Chairs" which appeared on his second album "American Pie" which was released in 1971. Flack's song appeared on her 1973 similarly titled, fifth release.

Remixed Elvis: A Little Less Conversation
A remix of the 1968 Elvis song "A Little Less Conversation" became popular in 2002. The song appears on the album "Radio JXL: A Broadcast from the Computer Hell Cabin" by the Dutch artist, Junkie XL. Junkie XL masterminded the first legal remix of the song which became popular in Britain (especially as a soccer-game anthem) as well as being used for a Nike advertisement. The Elvis impersonator, Junior Elvis, also covers the song on his 2001 release "A Tribute to the King" which features Elvis classics remixed in the hip-hop, house & techno styles.

Most Dangerous Driving Songs?, The
In April 2004, Britain’s RAC Foundation for Motoring released a list of songs that are dangerous to listen to while driving. The list is based on the idea that the noisier the song, the slower the reaction times for typical physical and mental driving tasks. The slower reaction times could lead to more potential accidents. The five most dangerous songs or songs to avoid while driving are Wagner's "The Ride of Valkries," Prodigy's "Firestarter," Basement Jaxx's "Red Alert," Faithless's "Insomonia" and Verdi's "Dies Irae (Requiem)". The three rock acts listed are British.

Safest Driving Songs?, The
In April 2004, Britain’s RAC Foundation for Motoring released a list of songs that are the safe to listen to while driving. The list is based on the idea that the noisier the song, the slower the reaction times for typical physical and mental driving tasks. The slower reaction times could lead to more potential accidents. Examples of safe songs, according to RAC, include Gary Jules "Mad World," the Sugarbabes "Too Lost in You," Blue's "Breathe Easy" and Norah Jones's "Come Away With Me."

The Women of Juarez
One of Mexico's most popular bands released a new song deploring the unsolved murders of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juarez. The song, "The Women of Juarez," is by the band Los Tigres del Norte and is on their 2004 release "Pacto de Sangre" (Blood Pact). Los Tigres' music is often classified in the "corrido" genre – a Mexican song form that focuses on storytelling. The song garnered international airplay much to the chagrin of local politicians not eager for publicity. The bodies have been found in and around the Mexican town of Ciudad Juarez (on the border with West Texas) which is home to many maquiladoras or sweat-shop factories. As of 2004, hundreds of victims, mostly young women have been brutally and sadistically killed. The first in victim was killed in 1993.

Baz Luhrman and "Sunscreen" Song
The "Suncreen" song started out in 1997 as advice from a Chicago Tribune columnist, Mary Schmich, imagining what wry advice she might give to a college graduates. On the Internet the text took on a life of its own and was falsely attributed to writer Kurt Vonnegut. The Australian film maker, Baz Luhrman, set the text to music and a hit was born in 1999 entitled "Everybody's Free (To Wear Suncreen)". Besides this song, Luhrman's 1988 album "Something For Everybody" contains remixed music from Luhrman's films and plays including "Strictly Ballroom" and "Romeo + Juliet."

St Elmo's Fire
St. Elmo's Fire is a weather phenomenon that occurs when there is an electro-luminescent discharge caused by the ionization of air during thunderstorms in the presence of a strong electric field. It is named after the Italian monk, Erasmus of Formia, who was also known as St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors. St. Elmo's fire commonly occurs at the mastheads of ships at sea during thunderstorms. St. Elmo's Fire appears as a song title on Brian Eno's 1975 "Another Green World," Michael Franks' 1976 "The Art of Tea" and on the 1985 movie soundtrack of the movie "St Elmo's Fire." The latter song was performed by John Parr and the full title is "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)."

Street Fighting Man Tariq Ali and the Rolling Stones
Tariq Ali (1943- ) is one of the best-known radicals of the 1960s protest movement and a founder of the New Left movement. Ali was part of Bertrand Russell's Vietnam War Crimes tribunal for which he traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam in 1967 to collect evidence of war crimes. His book "Street-Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties" was orignally published in 1987. Musically, examples of Tariq Ali's influence include the Rolling Stones' 1968 "Beggars Banquet" album that contains the track "Street Fighting Man." Mick Jagger reputedly wrote the song for Ali. Ali also provided the inspiration to John Lennon's 1971 song "Power to the People."

Brother Can You Spare a Dime?
Broadway and Hollywood composer Yip Harburg (1896-1981) was honored in 2005 with a stamp issued by the United States Post Office. Two of his most famous works include "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (1939) and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" (1931). The first song was well known and beloved for it's use in the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz." The second song "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" was one of the great anthems of the Great Depression. The Great Depression was the global economic recession that ran from 1929 to the early 1940s. In the United States, the beginning of the Great Depression was marked by the stock market crash of 1929. Different renditions of the "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" song in popular music include: Judy Collins, Spanky & Our Gang, The Weavers, and of course, Yip Harburg.

Brother Can You Spare a Dime?
Broadway and Hollywood composer Yip Harburg (1896-1981) was honored in 2005 with a stamp issued by the United States Post Office. Two of his most famous works include "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (1939) and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" (1931). The first song was well known and beloved for it's use in the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz." The second song "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" was one of the great anthems of the Great Depression. The Great Depression was the global economic recession that ran from 1929 to the early 1940s. In the United States, the beginning of the Great Depression was marked by the stock market crash of 1929. Different renditions of the "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" song in popular music include: Peter, Paul & Mary, George Michael, Mandy Patinkin, and Tom Jones.

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
On the night of November 10, 1975, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, a Great Lakes steel bulk freighter disappeared in Lake Superior. Twenty-nine crew members lost their lives. To this day the exact cause of the sinking of the Fitzgerald remains unknown. The sinking was covered by the Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot in his popular song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." The song first appeared on Lightfoot's 1976 album "Summertime Dream." The song by Lightfoot also appears on the Canadian band the Rheostatics' 1991 album "Melville" and on the 1998 compilation "Titanic: Epic Songs from the Sea."

Quentin Crisp: An Englishman in New York
The colorful and defiantly out, English homosexual Quentin Crisp (1908-1999) became a gay icon in the 1970s after publishing his memoir "The Naked Civil Servant." In 1981, he relocated to New York where he performed a one-man show, published books and articles and reviews for magazines and newspapers. Crisp is the subject of Sting's 1987 song "Englishman in New York" which appears on the album "Nothing Like the Sun."
Associated Albums
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida [Atco]
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