The Rolling Stones are one of the enduring legacies of British rock and roll. They are still very much going, with the band members in no rush to stop even as they enter their 70s. Jagger in particular is still evidently full of life, having had his 8th child in 2016…
“Play With Fire” was released in 1965 and appears on the album Out Of Our Heads, which shows a band starting to break out of rhythm and blues into a more recognisable Stones rock style. The song admonishes a girl who is obsessed with material things not to mess the author about.
It’s a classy slow burning track that makes good use of a minimal backing over Jagger’s inimitable singing. The odd twanging that makes up much of the melody is from a harpsichord, and makes for a nice sound. An interesting quirk is that the track is credited to Nanker Phelge, which is the pseudonym used by the band when they all wrote a song together.
A lot of great songs tell a story. “Cat’s In The Cradle” (1974) features some of the most compelling story telling ever put down in song form. This is not least because the story it tells is such a universal part of the human experience. People have children, the children grow up and gradually gain independence, and then they go on to have their own children. If it seems poetic, that’s because it was started life as a poem written by his wife. Unfortunately Harry Chapin died of a heart attack after a car accident in 1981.
Chapin artfully weaves his tale of the father who doesn’t have time to spend with his son, and you do really empathise with the beleaguered dad as his son grows up and the situation reverses, as the son does his own thing more and more. The heavy use of metaphors lifted from nursery rhymes and children’s games (Cat’s cradle, little boy blue) and the gradual shift in the lyrics from the dad not having time for the son, to the son not having time for the dad, makes for a very cleverly done song.
Most poignant perhaps is the way the son’s declaration at the start:
“I’m gonna be like you, dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”
Is repeated by the dad at the end:
“He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me”
Doesn’t hurt that the song is a very catchy one too!
Musically, as well as many other ways, Africa is hugely underestimated and neglected. This means that there are many amazing songs and musicians that tend to go under the radar in the west.
Marijata, a Ghanaian band are an example of the wealth of musical talent in countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa, and many more. As it breezes languorously from open to close, “I Walk Alone” showcases a breathtaking array of sounds and textures, from the ever-so-slightly discordant guitar/bass combination picking resolutely throughout, to the triumphant brass choruses, to the organ and guitar solos. The percussion fits nicely into the densely layered soundscape to provide a track that is in every way greater than its already brilliant parts.
The song was released in 1976 as part of a 4 track EP called This is Marijata, and has been re-released in 2011 and 2017. Timeless stuff.
Calvin Harris has a truly supernatural knack for churning out instantly recognisable, ultra catchy grooves. This one from 2008 has vocals from Dizzee Rascal, a killer combination almost guaranteed to dominate the airwaves and keep clubbers dancing away until the lights come on!
Dizzee is widely regarded as one of the best rappers Britain has ever produced, but he keeps it lighthearted here, with a cheeky, infectious flow riding over the stupendously funky jam laid on by Harris. The song was number one in the UK for 4 weeks, Dizzee Rascal’s first number one, and was certified Platinum.
I challenge you not to listen to this tune without nodding your head or tapping your foot, it really is just one of those songs…
Prince was one of the most eclectic and colourful artists ever. There’s just no denying that his originality and creativity made him something of a music genius.
Although he has made many other fantastic songs that may or may not make an appearance further down the line (Follow Twitter or Facebook and you’ll be first to know!), Purple Rain gets the honour of being the first song to be featured on Music365.
Released in 1984, this 8 minute epic is a rock song that builds from a sultry organ verse to a thunderous rocking chorus, and is one of those songs that really can justify its greater than usual length. There is a shorter single version (the long version is from the album of the same name) but to be honest the song is at its most enduring as a grand piece than an easy pop song.
It reached number 2 in the U.S, where it remained for two weeks, and was certified gold the year of its release. In 2016, when Prince tragically died of an overdose, the song re-entered the charts and reached number four, such was Prince’s staying power and influence on our culture.
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” ― Aldous Huxley
The mission of this blog is to post a new song from any era, from any genre, every day, hence “Music 365”.
If you have any better names do let me know!
The only criteria for the songs I post is that they are classics that stand the test of time. Some might be relatively new, some might be hundreds of years old.
Some might be sad, some might be happy, some might be relatively emotion free.
There will be deep, heartrending meaningful songs sitting alongside party tunes and catchy pop from the radio. There will be obscure songs you may never have heard of before, and songs that everybody knows.
I hope that over time this will become a vast repository of humanity’s greatest gift to itself: music.