Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Final"

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Friday, October 30, 2015
60s
70s
Playlists
Jan & Dean
Lou Reed
Led Zeppelin
Twisted Sister
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Bad Company
Jethro Tull
The Ramones
The B-52's
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ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC - LIVE
Jan & Dean

I know, Chuck Berry wrote it, the Beach Boys ultimately did a more famous cover, but the rendition I always think of is from Jan & Dean's 1965 live album, "Command Performance," from back before "Sgt. Pepper" made albums a statement and I purchased long players primarily for the value proposition. "Command Performance" had "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" and "Theme From The T.A.M.I. Show," at which they were the hosts, as well as "Surf City," "Sidewalk Surfin'," "Dead Man's Curve" and this.

ROCK 'N' ROLL-live
Lou Reed

When they list the best live albums of all time, "Rock 'n' Roll Animal" is never on it, but it should be. From the opening, triumphant notes of the intro to "Sweet Jane" to the final flourish of "Rock 'N' Roll," "Rock 'n' Roll Animal" is a masterpiece, it cemented Lou Reed's reputation as a rocker, and this ten plus minute iteration shows that you can rock and swing all at the same time.

ROCK & ROLL
The Velvet Underground

From the album "Loaded," which was a complete stiff upon release, this is the original take, almost half a decade before.

ROCK AND ROLL
Led Zeppelin

"It's been a long time since I rock and rolled"

Truly was. Rock history has been rewritten, "Led Zeppelin III" is seen as a left field masterpiece, that people always loved. Hogwash. It was a step back from what had come before, a true disappointment after "II," sure it had "Gallows Pole" and "Tangerine" and "That's The Way" and by today's standards it's stupendous, but back in 1970, "III" was a dud, the shine was gone, and then...

Came "IV."

Call it "ZOSO," call it whatever you want, but the truth is the band's fourth LP came on like gangbusters and wouldn't let go. This is as good as it gets, and today when so many think of rock and roll this Led Zeppelin cut goes through their brains...AND THAT'S A GOOD THING!

I WANNA ROCK
Twisted Sister

"Turn it down you say
Well, all I gotta say to you is time and time again
I say no
NO, NO, NO!"

The story of my life, if I had a dime for every time I was told to turn it down, I'd be rich. But rock is best when it's played at full volume, when it drowns out everything else and evidences its power.

All these years later, Twisted Sister is remembered for "We're Not Gonna Take It," and I like it, but I prefer "I Wanna Rock."

IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP (IF YOU WANNA ROCK 'N' ROLL)
AC/DC

It most certainly is. Not only for players, but business people too.

It's harder than it looks.

You might not get beat up, but it's possible, music's a game of intimidation, but you're certainly gonna get robbed and stoned, not necessarily in that order.

People can't handle the truth, but right here in rock's most famous song with a bagpipe is a college course worth of information on the rock business. Heed it.

LET THERE BE ROCK
AC/DC

They put out a whole album with "rock" in the title. And they've been rockin' hard ever since, with the same sound, to stadium-sized crowds. Sometimes you get it so right, it's undeniable.

FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK (WE SALUTE YOU)
AC/DC

Without you, we're nothing, audience is everything, nobody likes to play in a vacuum, and when the cannons go off at an AC/DC show you feel triumphant.

But the truth is this album was a huge disappointment, cut with the legendary Mutt Lange, about the only thing memorable about it is the title track. This.

ROCK OF AGES
Def Leppard

"We got something to say
It's better to burn out
Than fade away"

Rock has always been self-referential, it's all about roots, just ask the Stones and the rest of the legendary English bands.

Like Def Leppard.

Some things never change, release infectious music that cannot be denied and you will go to the top of the chart, whether it be "Royals" in 2013, or "Pyromania" back in 1983. You only had to hear "Photograph" once, a curious concoction of riff and SoCal harmony, to swoon. But it wasn't only about the single, but the whole album.

"What do you want?
What do you want?
I want rock 'n' roll, yes I do
Long live rock 'n' roll"

Amen.

LONG LIVE ROCK
The Who

Unknown and unheralded, this track did not see release until it was part of the 1974 compilation "Odds & Sods," whose best track is "Naked Eye," but this too is legendary.

"Rock is dead they say
Long live rock"

When anybody tells me rock is dead, this song plays in my brain.

ROCK AND ROLL DOCTOR
Little Feat

The band broke through with its 1974 album "Feats Don't Fail Me Now" which featured Billy Payne's "Oh, Atlanta," but the LP opened with this.

Will Lowell George be remembered in the future?

All I know is those who were there, who were fans, will never forget him.

And this.

And so much more.

TRENCHTOWN ROCK - LIVE AT THE LYCEUM, LONDON
Bob Marley and the Wailers

"One good thing about music
When it hits you feel no pain"

Rock is a big tent, just ask the Hall of Fame, HA!

But too many midgets are getting in now, once upon a time giants traveled the globe, spreading their sound far and wide. And as big as Marley ended up being in America, he was even bigger worldwide, and his music and influence sustains.

This is my favorite Marley cut.

"Hit me with music
Hit me with music now"

ROCKIN' AROUND (WITH YOU)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

The opening cut from the very first album, where it wasn't about heaviness so much as feel, a southern interpretation of rock and roll filtered through the ears of one Denny Cordell.

The urgency is palpable. And isn't that what rock music is all about?

BABY'S A ROCK 'N' ROLLER
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

From the follow-up LP, "You're Gonna Get It," which was supposed to cement the band's success, but that had to wait another album, still...

ROCK YOUR BABY
George McCrae

All these years later we've come to realize that disco is part of rock and roll, it's not the enemy of the people, but the basis for so much of that infectious Prince Rogers Nelson music. But when this broke, back in '74, we didn't even know what disco was, never mind that it was coming. Unlike the Hues Corporation's "Rock The Boat," I never despised "Rock Your Baby," but if I was little more than indifferent back then, I can attest to its magic today!

ROCK ME
Steppenwolf

Hit me with your best shot, grab me from the very first note, like Steppenwolf. To hear this and "Magic Carpet Ride" emanate from the radio was to believe that the youth had taken over the nation and was united in fun.

LAST OF THE ROCK STARS
Elliott Murphy

It gets in your blood, you can't let it go. Elliott cut this song on his 1973 debut "Aquashow," and he recut it this year in a deconstructed version. His life was saved by rock and roll. It'll save yours too, if you just believe.

ROCK AND ROLL QUEEN
Mott The Hoople

And since we're talking about people who've never given up, why not include Ian Hunter, from the act's very first album, although the song was written by the band's secret threat, ultimately hugely successful with Bad Company, Mick Ralphs.

ROCK STEADY
Bad Company

Written by Paul Rodgers, not Mick Ralphs, it's nothing without Mick's stinging guitar.

ROCK 'N' ROLL FANTASY
Bad Company

Ditto on this one.

If Bad Company had died in a plane crash, they'd be legends today. This is straightforward, straight ahead rock, no one did it better, and either you know that or you've got something waiting for you.

A ROCK 'N' ROLL FANTASY
The Kinks

The best song ever about being a rock fan, from the Kinks' best seventies album, "Misfits."

IT'S STILL ROCK AND ROLL TO ME
Billy Joel

From his wimpiest period, albeit successful, this was back before his rep was resuscitated and we realized how great he truly was.

DETROIT ROCK CITY
KISS

A joke back then, unless you were prepubescent, this was seen as substandard, but there's no denying the urgency, and like a fine wine, it's gotten better over years.

ROCK AND ROLL ALL NITE
KISS

A stiff in its studio iteration, this burned up the airwaves in its live rendition.

Always liked it, and I'm not ashamed to say it.

I'm still rock and rolling all nite... Hell, that's when you can reach me!

ROCK 'N' ROLL STEW
Traffic

Written by Ric Grech and Jim Gordon, it opened side two of "The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys" and was sung by Jim Capaldi.

ROCK'N ME
Steve Miller Band

When he was nearly forgotten, Steve Miller came back in '75 with a wallop of an album that was playable throughout and was.

A three minute ditty with a sly Beach Boys reference, "Rock'n Me" was written by Miller and endures to this day, just ask all the people who pay to hear it live.

IT'S ONLY ROCK 'N' ROLL (BUT I LIKE IT)
The Rolling Stones

A curious situation, the title is more famous than the song, if it weren't by the Stones it'd be completely forgotten. Ironically, the first side closer, "Time Waits For No One," with a stratospheric Mick Taylor guitar solo, has been.

TOO OLD TO ROCK 'N' ROLL: TOO YOUNG TO DIE
Jethro Tull

Ditto, like the Stones above. Another song whose title is more famous than its underlying composition.

ROCK SHOW
Wings

At the Concertgebouw...huh? From McCartney's third-best post-Beatles LP. Paul's band today rocks, but so did this one, with Jimmy McCulloch and Denny Laine.

(WE'RE GONNA) ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK
Bill Haley & His Comets

From the "American Graffiti" soundtrack, from back when we needed films to resuscitate history, before it was at our fingertips online.

THE HEART OF ROCK & ROLL
Huey Lewis & The News

Never forget Mr. Lewis was in Clover, the band that backed up Elvis Costello on its debut, even if he wasn't involved.

This band always had a sense of humor about themselves, they triumphed on Chrysalis and helped make that label a powerhouse. This is from "Sports," and it's not as good as the album's killer, "I Want A New Drug," but still...it holds up.

ROCK N ROLL JESUS
Kid Rock

Unlike his hero, Bob Seger, Mr. Ritchie has seen the light and put his songs on Spotify. This is the title track, the opening cut from his best post "Devil Without A Cause" LP.

JAILHOUSE ROCK
Elvis Presley

Half a century old, but somehow more dangerous than anything else on this playlist, it's the simple instrumentation and the vocal delivery, like the only thing that matters is this, the music.

ROCK CANDY
Montrose

Heavy and headbanging, this was active rock before that format lost the plot.

ROCK THE NATION
Montrose

What the hell, another, from an unheralded band with a first class guitarist and a first class frontman.

THERE'S ONLY ONE WAY TO ROCK
Sammy Hagar

Where said frontman does it under his own moniker, and if not as good as the album's opener, "I'll Fall In Love Again," it's still pretty good.

ROCK ME AMADEUS
Falco

Like I said, rock's a big tent, it even has room for a novelty track, like this!

ROCK ME
Great White

Known more for a pyrotechnic disaster than its music, this is one of the band's building blocks, that got people out to see them.

I'M A ROCKER
Bruce Springsteen

He most certainly is.

I prefer the ballads to the upbeat tunes on "The River," but this is undeniably a part of the Boss's canon.

SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER
The Ramones

From the band's best LP, their third, "Rocket To Russia." Sure, I could have included "Rock 'N' Roll High School," but I like this one better!

THE HOUSE IS ROCKIN'
Stevie Ray Vaughan

A tear.

My favorite Stevie Ray song is "Life By The Drop," but this evidences his genius quite well, it's pure rock and roll.

ROCK LOBSTER
B-52's

Like nothing else. From back when originality counted. When everybody thought they could be in a band and was taking chances, most famously and successfully Devo and the B-52's, built by KROQ before that station codified its playlist and went for its victory lap.

CROCODILE ROCK
Elton John

A huge smash from someone who never stopped being a fan.

ROCK BOTTOM
Kenny Chesney

From where rock lives today, Nashville. If you like big guitars and big riffs, this is where you should direct your attention.

ROCK & ROLL BAND
Boston

You might call it corporate, I call it genius, just listen to that guitar sound!

Every band struggles before it breaks through, because...it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll!

SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK 'N' ROLL STAR
The Byrds

Featuring McGuinn's legendary sound, from back when he was Jim and not Roger and we listened to the records, bought instruments and wanted to be.

WE WILL ROCK YOU
Queen

Queen wasn't always legendary.

They were always good, but they didn't truly break through until their fourth LP, "A Night At The Opera." And then they kept on deliverin'.

Until "Wayne's World," this was the band's most famous song. And it still survives, in stadiums, everywhere there's a need for a little rock music to energize the assembled multitude.

Freddie Mercury may be dead.

But his legend lives on.

As does his music.

Over and out.