Transformer by Lou Reed
Born in Brooklyn in 1942, Lou Reed loved music. A fan of jazz, doo-wop and early rock & roll, he learned to play the guitar by listening to the radio.
In her moving Farewell to Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson remembers, “We were always seeing a lot of art and music and plays and shows, and I watched as he loved and appreciated other artists and musicians. He was always so generous. He knew how hard it was to do.”
George Gershwin, 1898-1937. Library of Congress
George Gershwin composed his brilliant jazz standard “Summertime” for the 1935 opera, Porgy and Bess. This timeless song is recognized as one of the most covered in the history of recorded music, with more than 25,000 renditions by a diverse range of artists.
Wakin On a Pretty Daze by Kurt Vile
The top tune for May was released in 2011, “Baby’s Arms” from Smoke Ring For My Halo by Kurt Vile.
Vile’s latest, Wakin On A Pretty Daze on Matador Records, is available now from Amazon.
Download a free track, “Never Run Away” here.
Echos of a Rock Era
In the early 1950s, a sidewalk singing group called The Crows were discovered at The Apollo Theater’s Wednesday night talent show. The Crows signed with an independent label, Rama Records, who released their hit single “Gee” as a b-side in June of 1953.
“Gee” went on to become the first R&B record ever to crossover from the rhythm and blues chart to the pop chart, and the first 1950s doo-wop record to sell over 1 million copies. Historically the song has been credited as the first rock n’ roll hit by a rock and roll group. It was also the most popular track on Decadio for the month of April and is available from Amazon.
For a list of exclusive record store day releases, go here and to find live in-store performances in your area go here.
Thank you for supporting your favorite artists and local record stores.
Flapper with garter flask ~ 1926. Library of Congress.
A simmering underground of bootleggers and rum-runners fueled speakeasies and nightclubs that pulsed with the sounds of big band and jazz as prohibition was enforced throughout the 1920s.
People found creative ways to circumvent the law, by hiding their liquor in hip flasks and concealing it inside false books. Cocktails were mixed to mask the smell of bathtub hooch and better go undetected.
One popular drink of the era was known as the Bee’s Knees, named after a flapper slang expression meaning the cat’s pajamas or anything that’s good.
The Shocking Blue in 1970. Nationaal Archief.
Thank you to everyone who tuned in to Decadio during the month of February. The most popular decade was the 1960s with the 2000s not far behind.
The most popular track, “Hot Sand” by the Shocking Blue, was released in 1969 as the b-side to their number one hit, “Venus.”
In 1988, Nirvana covered the Shocking Blue song, “Love Buzz” as their debut single. Listen for both renditions now playing in the 1960s and 1980s.
Kick off the new year with this classic 1967 clip of Billy Preston performing with Ray Charles and His Orchestra on The Ed Sullivan Show. Tune in to the 1960s to hear more from Mr. Preston and other musical greats of that era.
As 2012 winds down, we couldn’t hope for a more fitting way to begin SIDE than with “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” from the fantastic new album Lonerism by Tame Impala. This, the Australian band’s sophomore effort, has made many best of the year lists including our own. We love their psych-rock sound with a trippy 70s vibe that turns on itself in a way that feels fresh and new. The equally psychedelic video, directed by Joe Pelling & Becky Sloan, is made entirely from plasticine.
Get it on vinyl from Amoeba Records