Tuesday, 15 January 2013

About The Weather - 10 songs on a climate theme

With the barometer bouncing up and down like a fairground "Try Your Strength" machine, I thought it was maybe time for  or a weather themed chart. Here's ten different weather systems honoured in song to warm the cockles of your heart. Don't forget your umbrella!

1) "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" - Creedence Clearwater Revival

One of the main differences between rock music and literature, is that rock musicians are way more upfront about tipping their hat to their influences. Of course it;s easier to record a cover version of somebody else's song than to reproduce someone else's text and pass it off as your own, though there are some existing stories retold anew by writers and William Burroughs did take other writers' texts and incorporate them in his cut up technique... Anyhoo, Creedence Clearwater revival were a band I only came to after the fact, because their songs were covered by the likes of Sonic Youth, Minutemen, REM and the like. And this one is really rather beautiful.

2) "Set Your Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" - Pink Floyd

Early Pink Floyd and the continued interest in all things interstellar, although this was recorded around the time when David Gilmour came in to replace the ailing Syd Barrett (and doesn't Gilmour look terrified in this video?) This song has a real menace to it even if that was never its intent. But then I guess if you're piloting straight for the hottest star in our system...

3) "Riders On The Storm" - The Doors

Don't know what it is about the 1960s that brought out all these great songs about the weather. There again the weather was intimately associated with man's early knowledge, spirituality and superstitions, so what better subject for the Hippy decade? Another unnerving song, with possible some of the greatest blending of music and sound effect committed to vinyl.

4) "Like Calling Up Thunder" - Gun Club

And so to the 1980s, though Gun Club were a band obsessed with a swampy blues rock that harked back to the 1960s and themes of voodoo and devils in the wood. Not one of their better tracks to be honest, but their relatively short discography has many gems in it and I recommend you track them down as a band if you haven't encountered them before.

5) "Snowblind" - Black Sabbath

Um Ozzy Osborne & Co doing what they do best. I think.

6) "Butterflies And Hurricanes" - Muse

And talking of over the top, Muse actually downscale their usual ambitions of all things cosmic and content themselves with the more earthly scale of the elemental force of a hurricane. Why is it that the guys who sing of elemental forces are always so skinny?

7) "Blowin In The Wind" - Peter, Paul & Mary

Talking of 60s icons and all things meteorological, can you believe there isn't a decent Bob Dylan version of this on You Tube? So the next best thing, though it still lacks Dylan's plaintive vocal urgency methinks. It's weird, as a child of punk I shunned all things Hippy, but actually this particular chart demonstrates to me that there were some rather nifty tunes that emerged from that sordid music decade! Must be losing my edge...

8) "Little Fluffy Clouds" - The Orb

And so to dance music whose light shows often reproduced a microclimate live on stage, to obscure the fact that there wasn't much in the way to look at the musicians dwarfed behind their banks of keyboards.

9) "Crying Lightning" - Arctic Monkeys

Remember when Arctic Monkeys were supposed to be the band that emerged from the internet world to save us all from the dross of TV Talent show music production? What ever happened to that I wonder? Their career took an arctic tern for the worse it appears (did you see what I did there?)

10) "Misty Mountain Hop" - Led Zeppelin

The one depressing aspect of this chart, is not the preponderance of inclement weather, but how many members of these bands are now dead. 6 of these 10 artists have lost band members to the great rock and roll smoke machine clouds in the sky.


Denise said...

Mr Nash - CCR and PP&M...? I'm beginning to suspect there is a soft centre inside that hard punk shell after all!

Sulci Collective said...

I know, worrying isn't it? :-)