Five Classic Rock & Roll Songs You Won’t Hear On Classic Rock Radio
“Money Changes Everything” by The Brains: The title likely looks more familiar to you than the band name. This song was made famous by Cyndi Lauper on her 1984 multi-platinum smash hit album She’s So Unusual. But this is the original version recorded and written about four years earlier by an Atlanta, Georgia-based briefly lived (1980-1982) Mercury Records band called The Brains. It’s a raggedly beautiful version where you get to really feel the bite in the words and the broken heart of the observation in the delivery, coupled with some sweet ramshackle guitars and accordion. The producer of this record also happens to be Steve Lillywhite, who would later go on to fame primarily for his work with U2 throughout the decade.
“Supernaut” by Black Sabbath: This song is just the pure and unadulterated aural equivalent of an adrenaline rush. This song makes me want to break things. This song makes me wanna drive fast. This song makes me wanna begin pogo-bouncing around the room doing an Angus Young/Chuck Berry duck-walk playing air-guitar while also shadowboxing. You know, all the best things that a few truly great rock records can really make you wanna do. And it contains then-and-then-again lead singer Ozzy Ozborne’s greatest lyrical statement of all time: “Got no religion, don’t need no friends/Got all I want and I don’t need to pretend/Don’t try to reach me ‘cause I’ll tear up your mind/I’ve seen the future and I’ve left it behind”.
“Long Snake Moan” by PJ Harvey: Meet Ze Monster named Polly Jean Harvey, a 90’s rock icon who never really fit in with the Riot Grrrls or at the Lilith Fair. But her ascendance to the height of her quasi-rock-star status could have really only happened during the Alternative Nation era that she stomped onto the scene during. This song has it all: the blues, medieval imagery, biblical allusions and just more gutbucket rawness or for lack of a better term balls than any of the rock the guys during this time ever made. Let her dunk you under the deep salt water and you can call her Lazurus.
“Wild One (Live UK Tour ’75 Version)” by Thin Lizzy: The late, great Phil Lynott aka “Sickest. Black. Irish. Rock Star. Ever.” (who for The Wudder’s money, was the greatest Irish rock star of all-time) remains criminally underrated by most of the mainstream rock press but his influence had tentacles that led in many directions. You think Prince just birthed that Purple Rain look outta nowhere? Check for some old Phil pictures from the late-seventies/early-eighties. You thought Lynyrd Skynyrd created that whole double-and-sometimes-triple guitar-lead-harmonics thing? Peep Phil and his friends’ Fighting, Jailbreak and/or Live & Dangerous albums. You want to hear the bridge for what was the 1970’s classic-rock records and the late-eighties Sunset Strip hair-metal/cock-rock of the mid-to-late 1980’s. Look no further than Dublin, Ireland and a band called Thin Lizzy.
“Keep Us On The Road” by Motorhead: In light of the litany of all the other iconic musical artists to pass over the course of 20SickDream (Allen Toussaint, David Bowie, Phife Dawg, Merle Haggard, Scott Weiland and of course Prince) you might almost forget that we lost Lemmy during that tragic run as well. This is a beautiful trashy hard-driving rock gem that I have to give props to my brother-in-law for putting me onto with the following text: “Not a huge Motorhead guy but ‘Keep Us On The Road’ is their ‘Supernaut’.” Enough said, my man. I hope Lemmy’s After World looks like the Rainbow Room on Sunset, a place that I liked to stop by particularly when Motorhead was off tour just for the more-than-likely opportunity to see Lemmy sitting in his spot in the back bar and hear that corroded rasp of a voice talking about absolutely anything. A tip of a black-cowboy-cap from The Wudder to the dearly departed Mister Kilmister.