Song of the Day: Hazy Shade of Winter (by The Bangles)


Bangles

Another song from my youth during the 80’s is the classic rock song from the all-girl rock band The Bangles. It makes an appearance in a later episode of Netflix’s Stranger Things, but it’s better known as the unofficial anthem for the drug-fueled drama Less Than Zero starring a very young (and rumors abound of being very drugged out) Robert Downey, Jr.

Less Than Zero was adapted from a novel written by the 80’s agent provocateur Bret Easton Ellis. It definitely was part of the list of 80’s films that all the teens wanted to see. It being rated-R meant double the temptation. It was a film that both celebrated and condemned the Reagan-era yuppie culture that was fueled by excess amount of drugs, alcohol and sex.

The song “Hazy Shade of Winter” would become part of the film’s soundtrack and The Bangles had been tasked with covering the Simon & Garfunkel song of the same title. Where the former was more attuned to the duo’s folk sensibilities, the cover by The Bangles would put a harder edge to the song which made for a nice complement to the rough edges of the film.

Oh, I still have a major crush on Sussana Hoffs to this very day.

Hazy Shade of Winter

Time, time, time
See what’s become of me…

Time, time, time
See what’s become of me
While I looked around
For my possibilities
I was so hard to please

Look around
Leaves are brown
And the sky
Is a Hazy Shade of Winter

Hear the Salvation Army Band
Down by the riverside
It’s bound to be a better ride
Than what you’ve got planned
Carry a cup in your hand

Look around
Leaves are brown
And the sky
Is a Hazy Shade of Winter

Hang onto your hopes my friend
That’s an easy thing to say
But if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend
That you can build them again

Look around
Grass is high
Fields are ripe
It’s the springtime of my life

Seasons change with their scenery
Weaving time in a tapestry
Won’t you stop and remember me

Look around
Leaves are brown
And the sky
Is a Hazy Shade of Winter

Look around
Leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground
Look around
Leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground
Look around
Leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground

 

Song of the Day: 1980’s Edition

  1. Everybody Wants To Rule The World (by Tears for Fears)

Song of the Day: Tequila Sunrise (by The Eagles)


Glenn Frye

Growing up it was unavoidable that I would end up loving the rock band Eagles. It was something I pretty much had no choice in the matter. I blame my Dad for this situation. I say this with love because The Eagles is that one band that’s become part of the American pop consciousness.

The band formed in 1971 with Don Henley, Glenn Frye, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. They would make their debut album a major success and follow it up with a sophomore effort that was just as critically-acclaimed as much as it was a success with the public. It was from this second album that today’s “Song of the Day” comes from and also one of my Dad’s favorite songs from the band. It was his second favorite after “Hotel California” and would be part of his regular listening rotation during long drives to and from home and work.

While I would dismiss the band in my youth as was typical of most children who wanted to branch out from their parents when it comes to what they like. In the end, as time went by I would fall in love with the band. Some looked at Don Henley as the architect of the band’s success and one would not be wrong, but I always thought that Glenn Frye was the soul of the group. As lead vocals for the band he gave the band’s song the emotion it needed to resonate with the listening audience.

This is why it was saddening news to hear that Glenne Frye passed away earlier today after a long battle with ill-health. Here’s to the soul of the Eagles as we slowly stare at another tequila sunrise as we say goodbye to Glenn.

RIP Glenn Frye

Tequila Sunrise

It’s another tequila sunrise
Starin’ slowly ‘cross the sky, said goodbye
He was just a hired hand
Workin’ on the dreams he planned to try
The days go by

Ev’ry night when the sun goes down
Just another lonely boy in town
And she’s out runnin’ ’round

She wasn’t just another woman
And I couldn’t keep from comin’ on
It’s been so long
Oh, and it’s a hollow feelin’ when
It comes down to dealin’ friends
It never ends

Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
You just get numb
It’s another tequila sunrise,this old world
Still looks the same,
Another frame, mm…

Film Review: Rock’s Winning Workout Without Weights (1990, dir. ???)


IMG_8834

This is probably the weirdest thing I have ever written about. This is what appears to be a really bizarre unreleased amateur workout video from 1990. A guy named Rock is going to guide the audience through exercises that don’t involve weights with the help of what appears to be a homeless guy named Zar, two surfer friends, and an old man named Dorral Silverthorn.

IMG_8838

IMG_8847

It begins with Zar doing some exercises including crunches and jumping. Then it cuts to Dorral Silverthorn.

IMG_8887

He goes off. He’s angry about what he calls the “two-faced” hypocritical government. He complains about Prohibition being repealed. He says my new catch phrase: “Booze is a loser. And a loser is a boozer.” He briefly talks about how the government is spending a lot of money to curtail drugs coming into the country, but not enough on homegrown ones. Then it’s back to the workout.

IMG_8894

This is the first of the two surfer dudes. I believe they refer to him as big Zaddi. He then has a foot race with Zar after Zar tries to jump so high that his head hits the ceiling.

IMG_8907

Now we meet the next surfer dude named John who takes us through a few more exercises.

IMG_8919

We see Zar ride a bike and then it’s goodbye to the audience.

IMG_8942

The movie ends with Zar chilling in a pool.

IMG_8953

Oh, and during this whole thing some really depressing piano music plays.

This may be the strangest thing I have ever written about. I don’t normally do this because things get taken down off of YouTube all the time, but here’s the full video if you want to see it. It’s really short.

Song of the Day: Hotel California Fingerstyle Guitar Cover (by Gabriella Quevedo)


GabriellaQuevedo

“Hotel California” by The Eagles has been one of my favorite songs and this came about due to my own father loving the band and this song being his favorite. It was hard not to love the song when it’s played over and over. For some hearing the song would get them sick of it, but the song most associated with this great American band remains a classic to fans young and old.

This is why the latest Song of the Day sees the return of “Hotel California” but a cover version by a young talent out of Sweden. This particular cover of the song is by Gabriella Quevedo who is all of 18 years-old. She had taken up the acoustic guitar at the age of 12 and self-taught herself how to play “fingerstyle acoustic” after hearing another musical prodigy, Sungha Jung, play the same style.

Many people have covered “Hotel California” and many more will continue to do so. What makes Gabriella Quevedo stand out if the fact that her rendition of the song she literally plays every section of the song with her one guitar. She plays not just the guitar section, but the vocal melodies as well as the bassline. She also happens to insert the back-up melodies into her playing. What she ends up doing with her version of this song is play an entire band’s worth of playing with just one guitar.

Anyone who has listened to “Hotel California” can easily tell what she has accomplished which for a person of such a young age is extraordinary. She has made herself into a sensation with her many covers of rock songs both classic and new. Of all her covers, this one happens to be my favorite.

Source: Gabriella Quevedo

Neon Dream #15: Happy End – Kaze Wo Atsumete


“Kaze Wo Atsumete” by Happy End (はっぴいえんど) appears twice in Lost in Translation: once outside a karaoke room at the end of a long night, and once at the end of the credits. Since that movie was so central to how I remember the late 90s and early 2000s, I thought I might end with it too.

Here are links to the previous entries in my series. They all clearly share :???: in common. (Well, I had fun, anyway):

1. Maserati – Inventions
2. Boris – Intro
3. Tom Waits – Small Change
4. Hong Kong Express – 浪漫的夢想
5. 日本航空株式会社 ✈ Japan Airlines – Airglider
6. 식료품groceries – 슈퍼마켓Yes! We’re Open
7. 古川もとあき – One Night in Neo Kobe City (from Snatcher)
8. Aphex Twin – Flim
9. Air – Alone in Kyoto (from Lost in Translation)
10. The Album Leaf – The Outer Banks
11. Kinski – Semaphore
12. 芸能山城組 – Kaneda (from Akira)
13. 川井憲次 – Making of Cyborg (from Ghost in the Shell)
14. Blut Aus Nord – Epitome XVIII
15. Happy End – Kaze Wo Atsumete (from Lost in Translation)

Song of the Day: Hotel California (by The Eagles)


hotelcalifornia

Time for the latest “Song of the Day” and this one has grown on me with each passing year: “Hotel California” by The Eagles. It also continues an impromptu mini-series of songs with some of the greatest guitar solos. The previous entry, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”, gave us an extended triple guitar solo that never seems to end.

I must admit that the group was never a favorite of mine growing up. I rarely listened to them and when they came on the radio I used to change the station. But as the years passed I began to give them more of a chance. I think part of it comes from the fact that this band is one of my Dad’s favorites. So, I gave them a chance in my advancing years. I guess with age does come wisdom since I began to really dig the band that I’ve dismissed as typical “adult contemporary” music in my youth. This just goes to show that the adage that sometimes “youth is wasted on the young” has some truth to it. My Dad’s probably looking down at me right now wherever he is and giving me that smirking smile that says “I told you so.”

“Hotel California” is my favorite of all the songs The Eagles have ever made. It’s not just catchy but the song also plays out like some sort of tale being sung by bards of old. Well, bards of old until we get to the dueling guitar solos by Don Felder and Joe Walsh which forms the climactic finish to the song. Guitar solos that I must say earns its place in rock pantheon as one of the best. That’s fact and not hyperbole.

FACT.

Another reason why this song of The Eagles is a favorite of mine is just the sense of the ominous just below the surface of the song. The lyrics does play out like a story, but a story tinged with a sense of malice and just a hint of the supernatural. It’s no wonder some of the more religious-minded fans of the song consider “Hotel California” as a song that details a time spent inside the Anton LeVay purchased San Francisco hotel called Hotel California which was converted into what would become the Church of Satan.

Lastly, I just plain love this song for the fact it paints my home state of California as something more than just a place to live and work in, but a place half in and out of reality. Maybe the song will convince Lisa Marie that California isn’t that bad of a state to be in.

Hotel California

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
‘this could be heaven or this could be hell’
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say…

Welcome to the hotel california
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the hotel california
Any time of year, you can find it here

Her mind is tiffany-twisted, she got the mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the captain,
‘please bring me my wine’
He said, ‘we haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine’
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…

Welcome to the hotel california
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the hotel california
What a nice surprise, bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
The stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
‘relax,’ said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave!

(guitar solos)

Great Guitar Solos Series

27 Days of Old School: #6 “Hip to Be Square” (by Huey Lewis and the News)


huey-lewis-and-the-news-hip-to-be-square-chrysalis-2

HEY PAUL!

For most people their experience with Huey Lewis and the News’ hit track “Hip to be Square” was due to it being used in American Psycho. It was already a great song before that film came out and continues to remain so, but now it’s taken on an even dark comedic tone.

I used to listen to this song non-stop when it first came out. Now, whenever I listen to it I start seeing Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman dancing to the song while dressed in a plastic raincoat. But before that it was always a catchy song and, dare I say it, a very hip one.

I actually prefer the band’s “Power of Love” track, but this song has to be next in line when it came to my favorite track from the band.

I’ve wondered what my younger self would think about this song now being associated with American Psycho. The answer I always get is that my younger self would think it was cool and hip (ok, ok stopping it there).