Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Phosphorescent - Song For Zula as featured on Grey's Anatomy

Joe writes: I didn't go to SXSW this year but I did download a couple of compilations of bands playing the event and felt I wasn't missing much until I heard Song For Zula. Then I saw it on Xfm's playlist, then in Spotify's "most viral" chart, then I discovered it was on Grey's Anatomy, all in the past 24 hours. What a beautiful piece of music, with echoes of Bette Midler's The Rose, Streets Of Philadelphia, and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fryars - On Your Own

Joe writes: Love this new single from Fryars - better than anything Tame Impala have done.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Bruno Mars - When I Was Your Man

Joe writes: When I hear Bruno Mars on the radio I'm impressed and annoyed in equal measure. Impressed because time after time he writes a hit song with a good old-fashioned melody and lyrical concept. Annoyed because I think why aren't more people doing this? I'm not sure Bruno would have been a world-beating artist any time before 1990, but in the current era, he's streets ahead of the rest.

The 100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs according to Rolling Stone

Joe writes: I just spent a long flight listening to Bob Dylan and reading Rolling Stone's Special Collectors Edition of 40 years of Dylan interviews. They also asked a panel of Dylan experts to create a list of his 100 greatest songs. The top ten is here. Like A Rolling Stone is no. 1 - fair enough. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall is a rather surprising no. 2.

Blood On The Tracks is one of my favourite albums of all-time, and it's surely the best Dylan album from beginning to end. This is reflected in the chart which features nine of the ten tracks from the album. The Blood On The Tracks outtake Up To Me also features at no. 49. Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts is the one Blood... track that doesn't feature and it's the closest thing to a weak spot on the album; musically it's a little generic in a way that wouldn't be out of place on one of his recent albums.

Dylan has written so many great songs that you can make a list of his 100 greatest and still leave some out.

The glaring omission is To Make You Feel My Love, which I wrote about here, and which set Adele up to have one of the biggest albums of recent times after her version benefited from various reality TV performances, boosting her profile shortly before the release of her 21 album.

They also left out Sign On The Window, a gem from New Morning that hasn't received the Coen Brothers treatment (yet):

And their list of the best Dylan covers missed Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity's version of This Wheel's On Fire, presumably because Absolutely Fabulous was bigger in the UK than the US:

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Emmylou Harris - Here, there and everywhere

Phil writes:  With all the Beatles stuff there's been in the past year, I was wondering why they hardly feature on WGM.  The reason must be that their music, which is clearly amongst the world's greatest, is so well known that we assume readers of the blog will already know almost anything we might post.

However, a great many of their songs have been covered and there are some excellent versions which may not be that well-known.  This is one:

Monday, 18 March 2013

Richard Manuel of The Band - I'm Just A Country Boy

Joe writes: My dad bought The Band's 1993 album Jericho at the time of release. This was its highlight and the first time I'd heard this gloriously simple song, recorded by Harry Belafonte but made famous by Don Williams. Country Boy was a posthumous inclusion on The Band's album - Richard Manuel who performs it had committed suicide in 1986.

I learnt from Wikipedia that the song was co-written by Fred Hellerman of The Weavers who was credited under the alias Fred Brooks because he'd been blacklisted in the McCarthy era.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Atomic Kitten - Whole Again as head on The Big Reunion Show

Joe writes: I have been planning a new series where I post lesser-known original versions or demos of classic songs. Then I heard Atomic Kitten singing Whole Again on TV last night in the reunion programme The Big Reunion. Also appearing are the likes of Honeyz and Liberty X. Records like End Of The Line and A Little Bit More really haven't stood the test of time, but Whole Again undoubtedly has. The song was originally written by Andy McCluskey of OMD, and Stu Kershaw. Bill Padley and Jem Godfrey then did "additional production and mix" which, on this occasion, included writing an excellent melody for the previously spoken word verses. I can't find the original spoken word version on YouTube and I probably shouldn't post it there, but if you'd like to hear it, email