Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Show #151 July 16, 2016

This one's for Ginny!

Ginny- Denny and the Dropouts Denny and the Dropouts 
Head Over Heels- Cute Lepers Adventure Time 
You Bring the Summer- The Monkees Good Times! 
Why Should It Be Mine- The Aces One Way St
The Crime- True Love Wings 
Now the Time Has Come- Bruce Foxton Smash The Clock 
(You're Just A) Button On A Shirt- The Works (You're Just A) Button On A Shirt
No Direction Home- Cheap Trick Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello 
^Head Over Heels- The Go-Go's Head Over Heels 
*Head Over Heels- Tuff Darts! Tuff Darts! 
*Head Over Heels- JD McPherson Let The Good Times Roll 
Why (feat. Soko)- Rooney Washed Away 
Playing The Fool- In The Gym Playing The Fool 7" 
Right. Now.- Wyatt Funderburk Novel and Profane 
Bitter Fingers- Elton John Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy 
Gotta Place In My Heart- The Night Brigade Gotta Place In My Heart
*Head Over Heels- Midnight Oil Midnight Oil 
*Head Over Heels- Blue Rodeo Five Days In July 
*Head Over Heels- Upstarts Teen Line no. 4 
We R Power- The Posies Solid States 
Get What I Can- Battered Wives Battered Wives 
Put Some Rhythm To It- Emitt Rhodes Rainbow Ends 
>Head Over Heels- ABBA Head Over Heels 
Universe-sized Arms- Chris Stamey Euphoria 
Give Me A Can Of Spray Paint- Airship Get Out... 7" 
Supersonic- Soul Asylum Change Of Fortune 
American Heartbeat- Slowguns T.V. Movie 7" 
Head Over Heels- Tears for Fears Shout: The Very Best of 

^Power Pop Prototype:   #11 Billboard Hot 100 2/21/84

*SacroSet[s]:  "Head Over Heels" Songs 

>Power Pop Prototype:  1981

Alive II tattoos
As I've shared in this space several times, I was a huge Kiss fan growing up.  Along with the music on their records, I also loved the stuff that came in their records.  I still have my unused tattoos from Kiss Alive II and it took me years to track down another sticker from Rock and Roll Over after I stupidly used mine in middle school.  And of course, who could forget the Love Gun from the album of the same name (some assembly required).

In my opinion only two other albums come close to Kiss in providing such awesome added swag.  The first was released on March 1, 1973 and is one of the top selling albums of all time with 45 million claimed sales (making it #3 overall) and 22.7 million RIAA certified sales (making it #9).  Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon came with not one, but TWO posters as well as two stickers.

Like those in the photo above, my copy had the portrait format band poster (I've also seen it in landscape format) and green pyramid poster (as opposed to blue).  I'm ashamed to say I returned my first Dark Side without the posters and stickers to Echoes in Marshfield, Mass saying the record was "defective" so I could get a new album with a second set of each.  Not my finest moment.  There was a teacher at Duxbury High School who I'll call Mr. A that most kids found super weird but since he had the Dark Side green pyramid poster hanging in his classroom, I thought he was vaguely cool.

The other album that had Kiss-level bonus materials is an all-time favorite that was recently reissued and is featured on tonight's show. Released on May 19, 1975- Elton John's Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy was the first album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 and stayed in the top spot for the next seven weeks.  I'd been listening to Elton John ever since my dad bought me his Greatest Hits album in 1974 so I was primed for Captain Fantastic the following spring.  I bought it the day it came out and was blown away to find that not only did the album have a cool gatefold cover, it came with a poster, lyrics book and scrapbook!  What an embarrassment of riches!!
Fantastic Indeed!

Every song on Side 1 is a classic:  the title track, "Tower of Babel," "Bitter Fingers," "Tell Me When The Whistle Blows" and the album's lone single, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight."  And it's a crime that "(Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket," the first track on Side 2, is not a staple of Classic Rock radio playlists.  In a 2006 Rolling Stone interview, Elton John told Cameron Crowe:

"I've always thought that Captain Fantastic was probably my finest album because it wasn't commercial in any way. We did have songs such as 'Someone Saved My Life Tonight,' which is one of the best songs that Bernie and I have ever written together, but whether a song like that could be a single these days, since it's [more than] six minutes long, is questionable. Captain Fantastic was written from start to finish in running order, as a kind of story about coming to terms with failure—or trying desperately not to be one. We lived that story."

Being able to listen to the music while reading along with the lyrics was a new experience that helped me bond with the album.  The scrap book includes photos, press clippings, journal entries and a comic called The Life and Loves of Elton John.   The comic starts with the disclaimer "This picture story is not totally factual, and is provided for your entertainment."  I can't be sure, but they might be talking about this panel specifically:

Click to Enlarge

The Captain and The Kid
I was really struck at the time by how Elton John gave Bernie Taupin nearly equal billing, like in the ad at the top of this post.  I was used to bands having a singer and guitarist share the spotlight but a lyricist?  That was new to me.  In fact Bernie is prominently featured inside the gatefold and appears in an orb on the back cover.

In 2013 Elton told Cameron Crowe:

“Every lyric on Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was about Bernie and me, about our experiences of being able to make songs and make it big. … In a way, years later, I ended up being Captain Fantastic and he ended up the Brown Dirt Cowboy: Here, I’m living my fabulous lifestyle, collecting paintings, and Bernie is interested in horses and bull riding and shit like that. We became those characters. Who was to know?” 

(The animation in this TV ad reminds me a little of Pink Floyd's The Wall which came out seven years later.)
The Captain Fantastic album art by Alan Aldridge is a trip and blew my mind because, among other things, it showed...  NAKED LADIES!  Granted they have Bird and Alligator heads, respectively, but at age 10 I'd take my naked ladies any way I could get 'em!
Naked Lady 1

Naked Lady 2
I immediately put the poster up in my room and it was an added treat that neither of my parents noticed I HAD NAKED LADIES ON MY WALL!!!

Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights

Researching this post I found an article that shows how Aldridge's Captain Fantastic artwork was inspired by Hieronymus Bosch: 

Davey Johnstone's 30th Anniversary Les Paul
So to review, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy has great music and lyrics, cool gatefold cover art inspired by a 16th century Dutch master, a poster, a lyric book and a scrapbook with biographical comic. 
On a trip to the Last Record Store in Santa Rosa with my kids a few years back I found a mint copy of Captain Fantastic with all the extras for a DOLLAR!  I snatched it up and while the kids were ambivalent about the music, they were mightily impressed with all the swag.  Take THAT- CD's and downloads! 

Oh, were I a rich man....

As important as Captain Fantastic is to me, the album marked the end of my obsession with Elton John and I blame him for my waning passion.  In my opinion around this time Elton decided to switch from being a rock star to a pop star.  The reason "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" was the only single from the album is that two non-album singles, "Philadelphia Freedom" (A DISCO song!) and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (with it's weird reggae breakdown) were already at the top of the charts.  (It still bugs me that I never got to hear "Bitter Fingers" or "Tower of Babel" on the radio.)  The next single was the equally poppy "Island Girl" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" was the final nail in the coffin.  A few months later I was listening to Kiss Destroyer and Elton John was a distant memory.

Too late Elton and Kiki- the damage is done!

p.s.  I recently saw the movie called Captain Fantastic and was a little disappointed.  While I knew it had nothing to do with the Elton John album, I think my expectations were raised by the title and I probably would've liked it more had they called it something else.  Warning to future artists mining our cultural history... you better bring your A-game if you're going to even tangentially associate your piece with a beloved work from our past.

The link for this week's show is below, click to stream or right click and "Save Link As:"

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