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Columns > Patrick Buzby

Published: 2007/07/29
by Pat Buzby


One of my favorite passages from the Real Frank Zappa Book involves the teenaged Zappa asking a music teacher whats special about a particular doo wop song. Parallel fourths, the teacher replies.
In that spirit, here is a listing of concise reasons to enjoy a random selection of rock classics. Take this as guidance and perhaps we will have more of them.
I Can See For Miles (Who): tone clusters (just noticed that the chorus vocals combine the tones C#-D-E repeatedly, not typical for a pop song)
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (Bob Dylan): great title Mississipi Queen (Mountain): cowbell (thanks to Mitch Myers and Lin Bremer for this insight, although Bremer wrongly cited the Yardbirdss For Your Love as an earlier example of cowbell abuse. Its bongos, pal.)
With A Little Help From My Friends (Joe Cocker): John Belushi
Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin): bathroom break for DJs (and so it became the soundtrack of our lives)
When The Levee Breaks (also Zeppelin): drum sound
Smoke On The Water (Deep Purple): with that riff you could sing anything and it would be okay
Lake Shore Drive (Aliotta-Haynes-Jeremiah): acronym power (puts Lennon to shame)
Hold Your Head Up (Argent): Fishman
The Joker (Steve Miller): the pompitous of love?
That Smell (Lynyrd Skynyrd): appropriate fatalism
Stayin Alive (Bee Gees): androgyny (see also Neil Young, Rush)
Werewolves Of London (Warren Zevon): that little noise he makes at the end of the last verse
You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC): screeching
Born In The USA (Bruce Springsteen): deceptive anthemic qualities
The One I Love (REM): intelligible lyrics
Red Red Wine (UB40): bass player playing different chord progression than the keyboardist (creates a nice sense of disorientation)
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart (Wilco): crotales (see also Rush)
Believe (Cher): Autotune

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