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Archive for the tag “No Jacket Required”

The Guitar Train Revisits Live Aid

Live Aid DVD cover

Continuing on the 1985 track, the Guitar Train is stopping to revisit Live Aid thirty years after the epic charity concert. Musician Bob Geldof arranged the concert which was held on July 13, 1985 at both Wembley Stadium in London, England and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Many of the top musicians of the time, including a few women, performed at the two stadiums. I watched the concert live in 1985 on MTV. All these years later, I still remember the performances of Phil Collins, The Cars, Madonna, and the group sing along of “We Are the World”.

 

Upon recently watching the 2004 DVDs from the concert, my overwhelming thought was so many male musicians, so many mullets. There were too many mulleted men to mention but they included Bryan Adams, Bono, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, and Kenny Loggins. My other thought was how much the TV show “Miami Vice” influenced the male musicians’ fashion style. I saw many pants with rolled up cuffs as if the musicians were going to be wading in the ocean rather than standing on a dry stage.

Live Aid Performers List

Now it’s time to take a look at Live Aid from the perspective of my favorite musicians. Huey Lewis and the News had participated in the recording of the charity single “We Are the World” months before and were scheduled to perform at Live Aid in Philly. They had concerns over whether the food bought from the money raised from the song actually got to the needy people in Africa. The band wanted these concerns addressed and fixed before Live Aid so that any money raised from this concert would get to the people who needed it. Since they felt that the issues were not solved, the band cancelled their performance. (They were still listed on the promotional material for the concert). It’s doubly unfortunate both if the food wasn’t getting to the hungry people and the fact that Huey Lewis and the News didn’t perform. It would be great to have seen them at the time and now have their performance on DVD to watch again. Although who knows if their performance would have made the DVD. I have the 4 DVD set of the concert released in 2004 and it doesn’t include all the performances of the 16 hour concert. Back then, they only thought of the one time live performance, not recording the concert for future viewings and for technology that didn’t yet exist.

The Beatles obviously did not perform at the 1985 concert but their music was performed there. In London, Elvis Costello sang “All You Need is Love” while Bryan Ferry sang John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”. In Philly, The Thompson Twins, Nile Rodgers, and Madonna sang “Revolution” and Patti LaBelle sang “Imagine”. Paul McCartney was at Wembley Stadium where he played piano and sang “Let It Be”. I am surprised that he only sang one song. He certainly had many to choose from between The Beatles and Wings. I definitely would have liked to have heard more from him as I’m sure the audience would have as well.

 

Phil Collins was the talk of Live Aid because he was the only musician to perform at both stadiums as he played at Wembley and then flew on the Concorde to play in Philly hours later. In both countries, he played the same two songs, “Against All Odds” and “In the Air Tonight”. I don’t understand why with three solo albums of songs to choose from, he would repeat songs. Obviously, “I Don’t Care Anymore” and “Do You Know, do you care?” would not be good choices for a concert raising money to help suffering people but he had plenty of other songs to choose from.

In London, Phil Collins played piano for “Against All Odds” and “In the Air Tonight” which struck me as odd because he’s never played piano at any of the solo and Genesis concerts I‘ve attended. He then sang “Long Long Way to Go” from his at the time newly released third solo album “No Jacket Required”. This is the song I really remember from watching the concert at the time; the chorus of the song stuck in my head as a child. Sting joined Phil on that song and Phil joined Sting on his song, “Every Breath You Take”. I thought they were very good together and I wonder why they haven’t done more songs together. Overall Phil’s performance was subdued and not as rocking as it could have been with other songs or with Genesis.

 

Hours later in Philly, Phil Collins played drums for Eric Clapton for three Eric Clapton songs. Phil then did “Against All Odds” and “In the Air Tonight”. It was odd again to see him playing the piano especially on “In the Air Tonight” which is known for his drumming and is always the instrumental highlight in his concerts. I found this version to be too slow and ballady and I felt it needed the drums. It’s also ironic that he wasn’t playing the drums since he just played them for Eric Clapton’s songs and then played them for Led Zepplin. Here’s been much written about how disastrous the reunion of Led Zepplin was at Live Aid. I don’t understand why Phil was blamed for that since he wasn’t the only drummer playing for the band and he didn’t have much time to practice with them. Led Zepplin would not allow the performance to appear on the DVD of the concert so it’s not included.

 

I was familiar with most of the musical acts who played in Philly. However, there were many acts in London that I did not know such as Status Quo, The Style Council, Ultravox, Nik Kershaw, and Alison Moyet. To the British Guitar Train passengers, can you tell me if these musicians were famous in 1985 and did they deserve to perform at Live Aid? Have any of them retained their fame 30 years later?

 

To all Guitar Train passengers, what do you remember from watching Live Aid? What were the highlights and the lowlights for you?

 

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The Guitar Train Travels “Back in Time” to 1985

For the glorious month of May, Quirky T is conducting The Guitar Train to travel “Back in Time” to the year 1985. It’s hard (and a little depressing) to believe it’s been 30 years since that great year for music and pop culture. This Guitar Train stop looks at my favorite musicians from 1985. I remember 1985 as being a year when any time I turned on the radio, I would recognize the song being played as well as know whose song it was.

 

Favorite Musicians from 1985:

  1. Huey Lewis and the News
  2. Phil Collins
  3. Tears for Fears
  4. Dire Straits
  5. Whitney Houston

 

Huey Lewis and the News did not release an album in 1985 (their great album, “Sports” was released in 1983) but they did contribute two songs to the soundtrack of the classic movie “Back to the Future”. “The Power of Love” is one of my favorite Huey Lewis and the News songs and stands alone as a great song apart from the movie. The other song from the movie, “Back in Time”, is the opposite as it is basically a summary of the movie. It is still a good song and better than many typical soundtrack songs.

 

Phil Collins - No Jacket Required

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

Phil Collins released his third solo album, “No Jacket Required” in 1985. As I have written before, this is the first Phil Collins CD I bought and still my favorite of his. I bought a CD player just so I could play this album in CD format since only the CD contained the song “We Said Hello Goodbye” which is still my all time favorite song. Two songs from this album (“One More Night” and “Sussudio”)   as well as a duet Phil Collins sang with Marilyn Martin, “Separate Lives”,   were all #1 hits in 1985.

Tears For Fears tape cover

To continue on the English side, Tears for Fears released “Songs from the Big Chair” in 1985.   It contains three of my favorite of their songs – the #1 hits “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Shout” as well as “Head Over Heels”. Those songs are still played on the music system piped into my workplace and I still like them.

 

Another English group, Dire Straits, also released a classic album in 1985. “Brothers in Arms” contains two of my favorite of their songs – “Money for Nothing” and “Walk of Life”. “Money for Nothing” of course came along with a great video which was very MTV friendly. Tragically, I did not have cable TV in 1985 so I could only see the video on a local channel’s “Friday Night Videos” TV show and obviously that was only on a Friday night. I hesitate to call the video innovative since MTV was so new that every video was innovative in some way. Creative and eye-catching are better adjectives to use to describe this video.

Whitney Houston tape cover

The only female on my list is Whitney Houston who released her self-titled debut album in 1985. What a debut it was! My favorite songs from that album are “All at Once”, “How Will I Know”, and “Greatest Love of All”. My school chorus sang “Greatest Love of All” in one of our school concerts that year. Of course we were nowhere as good as Ms. Houston was; nobody is. She had such an amazing voice and it’s a shame that more great music did not come from her.

 

Other songs I enjoyed from 1985:

 

  1. “Into the Groove” by Madonna from the movie “Desperately Seeking Susan” starring Aidan Quinn (and Madonna)
  2. “We Built This City” by Starship
  3. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds from the movie “The Breakfast Club”

 

I really enjoyed the music from 1985 and in most cases, still do. What a great time it was to put the radio on and there be a huge chance that I would enjoy whatever song was playing. I miss that time.

 

Guitar Train passengers, what is your favorite song, album, musician, or band from 1985?

 

Hop back aboard The Guitar Train for the next stop as Quirky T continues to travel back to 1985 to look at the great (Huey Lewis related) movie “Back to the Future”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorites Month: Phil Collins

All this month, Quirky T will be conducting the Guitar Train to stop at each of her all time favorite musicians. The second destination is Phil Collins.

Phil Collins - No Jacket Required

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

 

 

First Stop (The First Time I Heard His Music)
I first became aware of Phil Collins in 1985 with the release of his third solo album, “No Jacket Required”.  This album is a great mix of fast songs, “love” songs, and angry songs.  The album starts with “Sussudio” http://youtu.be/r0qBaBb1Y-U  which is just a fun song, not meant to be very deep.   In 1985 and still now, I am interested in hearing songs other than the typical happy-in-love songs so that’s why I connected with Phil Collins’ music.  I liked the fact that the “love” songs on this album are more realistic and contain confusion such as “Long Long Way To Go”, “One More Night”, http://youtu.be/zKVq-P3z5Vg  “Doesn’t Anyone Stay Together Anymore”, and “Inside Out”.

 

 

Two of my favorite songs from this album, “Don’t Lose My Number” and “Take Me Home”, also have great and memorable music videos. The music video for “Don’t Lose My Number”  http://youtu.be/B7Z-eUmR2bM deconstructs a music video as it is a video about what they should include in the video.  Phil Collins appears in several  scenarios which parody movies and other music videos as they decide what this video should be about.  The result is a funny and entertaining video.  I always liked the video for “Take Me Home” http://youtu.be/sRY1NG1P_kw  which shows Phil singing all around the world with great background shots.

 

 

“No Jacket Required” also contains the angry songs that I need to hear to know that I’m not the only one who is not always happy.  It deepens my connection to Phil Collins.  The songs “Only You Know and I Know”, “I Don’t Wanna Know”, and “Who Said I Would” all have the amount of venom I need to hear.

 

 

The album ends with my all time favorite song and it’s available only on the CD of “No Jacket Required”.  The song is “We Said Hello Goodbye.” I bought a CD player just so I could play this song over and over.  It is such a beautiful song filled with many optimistic lyrics that have become my personal catch phrases to help me get through life.  If it was the only song that Phil Collins ever wrote and sang, I would be eternally grateful to him but lucky for me, there’s a whole album of great songs that made me a Phil Collins fan for life.

 

 

Invisible Touch blue t-shirt

 

Second Stop (What I Did Next)
I then listened to his work with Genesis, especially 1986’s “Invisible Touch”. Since I was playing catch-up, I was confused when I heard Phil Collins singing on the radio as to whether it was a Phil Collins solo song or a Genesis song. Remember, this was before Shazam and being able to look up anything on the Internet. I learned that Genesis songs generally have a harder edge than Phil Collins solo songs with the exception of the solo songs such as “Do You Know, Do You Care?” and “I Don’t Care Anymore” http://youtu.be/xLpfbcXTeo8 which are two of the angriest songs I have ever heard. Both songs appear on Phil’s second solo album, 1982’s “Hello, I Must Be Going”.

 

 

No Jacket Required CD back

 

 

Repeated Destinations (Favorite Song and Album)

For Phil Collins solo, my favorite album is the first of his that I heard, “No Jacket Required”.  I can listen to it over and over and never get sick of it.  I still get excited to hear those songs and feel the connection I feel to Phil’s lyrics. As I wrote before, my favorite song is “We Said Hello Goodbye”.

 
My favorite Genesis album is also the first one I heard, “Invisible Touch”. My favorite song is “Turn It On Again” from the 1980 album, “Duke” followed closely by “That’s All” from the 1983 self titled album, “Genesis”.

 
Now Departing (What Non-Fans Say about Him)
Throughout my life, I have been made fun of because I am a Phil Collins fan. I never understood why people did not like him. The most common complaint is that he ruined Genesis by making them record only shorter, hit songs.  That’s not true as even after he became the lead singer of Genesis, they still recorded long, heavily instrumental songs. Some examples of these are “Home by the Sea/Second Home by the Sea” (from 1983’s “Genesis”), “Domino” (from 1986’s “Invisible Touch”), and “Driving the Last Spike” (from 1991’s “We Can’t Dance”). They did also make shorter songs which became hit songs but that doesn’t make them bad songs just because they were popular.

 
As with anything, it’s easier to just join the haters bandwagon then to actually listen to the albums and have an educated opinion.

 

 

Phil Collins cu face t-shirt

 

 

Conducting This Train (Why He Will Always be My Favorite)
It never really bothered me to be made fun of for liking Phil Collins because I really enjoy his music. I wasn’t going to not listen to what made me happy so I could be considered cool. Plus, I wasn’t the only one at his solo and Genesis concerts in New Jersey in the 1990’s and 2000’s. I was joined by thousands of other happy (cool) fans.

 
Between his solo work and Genesis, Phil Collins has created songs that endure and are my go to songs when I want to hear something great and familiar. I could relate to many of his songs and that connection helped me through hard times in my life. I’m very sad that he’s not making any more new music. I will never again have the pleasure of hearing a brand new Phil Collins song.

 

 

Genesis - Turn It On Again The Hits

Genesis – Turn It On Again The Hits

All Aboard (Why I Wish Others Would Listen to Him and Where to Start)
I would like people to listen to Phil Collins songs instead of automatically disrespecting and dismissing him. For his solo songs, I would recommend listening to the CD “No Jacket Required”. For Genesis, as a starter, I recommend some compilation CDs: “Turn It On Again: The Hits”, “Live The Way We Walk Volume One: The Shorts” containing shorter songs, and “Live The Way We Walk Volume Two: The Longs” containing longer songs with extended instrumentals.

 
Official Track
For more information, check out http://www.philcollins.com and http://www.genesis-music.com

 

 
Guitar Train passengers, when did you first hear your favorite musicians and how did the music make you feel?

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