Queen earned its first #1 U.S. Billboard hit in 1980 with the rockabilly-style song “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” It was the late Freddie Mercury’s tribute to Elvis, who he greatly admired. Mercury wrote the song in 5 to 10 minutes in a bathtub in Munich. He normally wrote songs on the piano, but in this rare case, he composed “Crazy” on a guitar, which he admitted “I couldn’t play for nuts . . . I couldn’t work through too many chords and because of that restriction, I wrote a good song.”

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For years I have tried to become a fan of Radiohead but with the exception of their 1993 hit “Creep”, the critically-acclaimed band just had never struck a chord with me. So the first time I heard “True Love Waits“ come on Sirius XM, I almost immediately turned it off. Luckily, I gave the song, which has been performed live since 1995 but only recently appeared on a Radiohead studio release, a chance. I find the stripped-down closing track from their A MOON SHAPED POOL (2016) record absolutely mesmerizing.

An interesting side note: due to musical similarities between Radiohead’s “Creep” and “The Air That I Breath”, a song written by English songwriters Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood and recorded by The Hollies In 1971, Hammond and Hazlewood are now credited as co-writers of “Creep.” The longer rock-n-roll goes on and with only so many chord progressions to go around, everything eventually sounds like something else.

True Love Waits – Radiohead (A Moon Shaped Pool) from Finn Callan on Vimeo.

Charlie Sexton came up through the roots music scene in Austin, TX and was taught how to play guitar at a young age by W.C. Clark, “Godfather of Austin Blues”. Before the age of 18, Sexton was an in-demand session player recording with the likes of Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Don Henley and released his debut solo record PICTURES FOR PLEASURE (1985). The very 80’s sounding Top 20 hit “Beat’s So Lonely” from that record was featured in the classic John Hughes movie SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL.

My favorite Sexton story: When The Replacements fired original guitarist Bob Stinson, their management encouraged the band to hire a real ‘guitar-slinger’ as a new member. Surprisingly, the band was receptive to the idea. One of the most intriguing candidates was Charlie Sexton – but in typical bad decision-making fashion, the ‘Mats passed on Sexton without an audition after deciding he was “too good-looking” and not the right fit for their infamous shenanigans and drinking. Sexton continued on, most notably as a long-time member of Bob Dylan’s band.

“Song For Someone” – U2 (2015)

Posted: March 1, 2017 in 2015
Tags: , ,

American music producer Rick Rubin has never produced a U2 record but he did have a major influence on their last album SONGS OF INNOCENCE. When working with the band a few years back on some unreleased tracks, Rubin declared to Bono that U2 uses their skill at sculpting their unique soundscapes “to disguise the fact that you don’t have a song.” He challenged them to write more traditionally structured songs that would work stripped down with just voice and piano or guitar. Bono admits “Someone like Adele makes better records than everyone else because her songs are better, and I’m embarrassed next to someone like Carole King, unless I can come up with something that’s as raw as some of her great songs.” The positive result of Rubin’s harsh critique and return back to ‘songwriting school’ for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band is perfectly captured in “Some For Someone”.

The Tubes “Talk To Ya Later”, popular in the early MTV days, was written by Tubes front-man Fee Waybill, super-producer David Foster, and Steve Lukather. Lukather is best known as guitarist/vocalist for the band Toto but he is also a well-respected session player having played on more than 1500 records over the past few decades. At the time, a couple of The Tubes band members were upset Lukather was brought in to help write the song and they refused to play on the track – they said “It’s not a Tubes song. It wasn’t written by us.” The song was written in less than 2 hours and Lukather’s signature guitar and bass work are all over the record which became The Tubes first hit. The songwriting trio would also pen The Tubes follow-up hit “She’s a Beauty.”