100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #57: Roxy Music: Street Life

If this track isn’t the very definition of ‘cool’, then I have no idea what is.  But, then again, I’ve never really understood the concept of ‘cool’ anyway, only that Bryan Ferry seemed to epitomise it back in the day.  And now, forty years later, Street Life’s opening lyric of “Wish everybody would leave me alone” is one of the favourites of the writer inside me.

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100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #58: The Moody Blues: Never Comes the Day

Here’s a positive tune with an agreeable dollop of honesty.  Like all good Prog, it starts off in one direction, then changes tack and goes somewhere altogether different.  The only single released from their 1969 album On the Threshold of a Dream, this track was a commercial flop but the album was their first #1 in the UK.  Nevertheless, this is one of The Moodies’ very best early tracks.

Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064 is out now at the special introductory price of $2.99 on the US Kindle here and on the UK Kindle here and is free for Kindle Unlimited members.


 

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100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #59: Kate Bush: Wuthering Heights

Kate Bush wrote this when she was just 18 years old and became the first female artist to hit #1 in the UK with a self-penned song, at the beginning of 1978.  This is a remarkable musical interpretation of a literary classic, in part inspired when Bush found out she shared her birthday with Emily Bronte.  And what do we get today?  Jane Austen with poxy zombies.  Call me an old grouch, but sometimes I’m so glad I was fortunate enough to grow up when young people could, with guidance, emerge at once as fully formed artists.

Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064 is out now at the special introductory price of $2.99 on the US Kindle here and on the UK Kindle here and is free for Kindle Unlimited members.


 

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100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #60: Yes: Wondrous Stories

Many years ago, I decided that this song must be a kind of tribute to H. G. Wells, but the PoV (point of view) in the lyrics is all over the place.  It could be a devotee talking to H. G. (“I beg to leave to hear your wondrous stories”); or it could be Wells himself talking (“It is no lie, I see deeply into the future”); then again, it is probably neither.  In any case, the tune is gorgeous.

Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064 is out now at the special introductory price of $2.99 on the US Kindle here and on the UK Kindle here and is free for Kindle Unlimited members.


 

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100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #61: Genesis: Fading Lights

The ultimate Banks ‘terminal song’, written at the height of the band’s commercial success, and proof that Genesis never completely abandoned their progressive roots.  But progress they did, and 1991’s We Can’t Dance stands if nothing else as the defining example of how easy Genesis had by then found it to toss out million-selling hit singles with a ridiculously cool flick of the wrist, while still producing songs like this to leave any self-respecting prog-rock fan slack-jawed in wonder.

Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064 is released today at the special introductory price of $2.99 on the US Kindle here and on the UK Kindle here and is free for Kindle Unlimited members.


 

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100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #62: The Fifth Dimension: Aquarius (Let the Sunshine In)

If like me you’re an Aquarian, then this is your song.  Taken from the controversial 1969 rock opera Hair, this track points out that we are about to enter the Age of Aquarius, which will usher in 2,150 years of love, light and humanity.  But not yet, apparently, as astrologers can’t agree and it seems we may still be stuck in the Age of Pisces.  Some said the alignment of 12 December 2012 began the Age of Aquarius, while others claim it won’t begin until at least 2150.

So, my fellow Aquarians, for now take comfort that our time is on its way, and understand that we’re blessed with an astrological advantage which always puts us ahead of the rest.  Yes, friends, if you want to know what things will be like in 50 years’ time, it’s us Aquarians who have the answers.  Which brings me to my new book – *cough*, *choke* (Subs pls check: We shouldn’t let James alienate his already-miniscule audience with such ham-fisted cross-promotion.  Pls delete.  Ed.)

Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064 is released today at the special introductory price of $2.99 on the US Kindle here and on the UK Kindle here and is free for Kindle Unlimited members.

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100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #63: Sparks: When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way’?

It’s remarkable to consider that brothers Ron and Russell Mael now have a career spanning over five decades, and they’re still going strong.  As with a few other acts on this list, Sparks deserve greater recognition and appreciation than they currently enjoy.  When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way’? displays their prodigious talent fully.  My first choice for this list was their 1974 hit This Town Ain’t Big Enough, because I could have embedded the hilarious YouTube video where Sparks performed the song in the midst of a German studio audience in 1974, each of whom appears wholly comatose.  But the video for this track, from the 1994 album Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins, is actually more enjoyable as it shows the Mael brothers’ endearing sense of humour at its best.

Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064 is available for pre-order at the special introductory price of $2.99 on the US Kindle here and on the UK Kindle here and is free for Kindle Unlimited members.


 

 

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100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #64: The Moody Blues: Meet Me Halfway

In 1983 The Moodies released The Present, which shadowed 1981’s Long Distance Voyager quite closely in structure and form.  The cover is a pastiche of Maxfield Parrish’s painting Daybreak, one of the highest-selling prints of the 20th century.  Again, the Voyager 2 space probe is inserted into the picture, observing from above.  While arguably not as strong as LDV, The Present boasts plenty of tracks to keep fans happy, and in my opinion, this is the best of the bunch.

Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064 is available for pre-order at the special introductory price of $2.99 on the US Kindle here and on the UK Kindle here and is free for Kindle Unlimited members.


 

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100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #65: Tubeway Army: Are Friends Electric?

Like Depeche Mode, Gary Numan emerged as part of the new wave, post-punk scene with a sound built around the then-new synthesisers.  As commentators pointed out at the time, this song has no discernable hook yet it reached the top of the UK charts for four weeks in 1979, in an era when disco ruled the airwaves.  In the video you can see Billy Curry doing his thing on one set of keyboards, before he went on to do very similar things with Ultravox.  And, at 58, Gary Numan is still going strong today.

Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064 is available for pre-order at the special introductory price of $2.99 on the US Kindle here and on the UK Kindle here and is free for Kindle Unlimited members.


 

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100 Great Songs to Publish a Book to, #66: Renaissance: Carpet of the Sun

A song full of light and femininity, Betty Thatcher had the idea for the lyrics when a young child she was with pointed at the lawn and asked: “What is the grass?”  Thatcher replied that it was the carpet of the sun, and the rest, as they say, is history.  I’m linking below to a video which I made from my own photos, because I wanted to point out to what the lyrics refer.

Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064 is available for pre-order at the special introductory price of $2.99 on the US Kindle here and on the UK Kindle here and is free for Kindle Unlimited members.


 

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