I remember way back in 1992, during my DJ-ing days a song called Baker Street popped out of nowhere and became the dance hit for that year. Sung by a British group called Undercover, it was one of those typical dance-pop remixes that had a cheesy beat with the vocals laid upon it. But what stood out was that saxophone riff, which made the song what it is. Soon after I discovered (like so many other songs) that the original version was from 1978 and was written and recorded by Scottish singer Gerry Rafferty.
The song is about London’s famous Baker Street (yes, the Sherlock Holmes one) and life, in and around it. So poignantly captured by Rafferty in his lyrics, the song has become one of the most-played classics on retro radio across the world. In fact my research shows that Gerry Rafferty would receive over 80,000 Pounds annually as royalties from just this one song alone!
Quentin Tarantino fans might remember a scene from Reservoir Dogs where Michael Madsen tortures a tied-up cop to a song called Stuck in the middle with you... Well, that song is by a band called Stealers Wheel, which Gerry (who wrote the song) was part of in the ’70s.
On January 4 this year, Gerry Rafferty passed on to his own Baker Street in the sky, we wish him all the sunshine and the ‘new mornings’…if I may say so.
Here’s what you want on your iPod, recommends Luke Kenny
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I think rap/hip-hop has finally begun to be treated like art, an amalgamation of sounds, ideas, words, thoughts, all coming together in various tapestries of sonic juxtaposition. I am not a fan of Kanye West, the image/ego/smartmouth (insert adjective)… but like all other performances, art, I always stand back and let them wash over me without judgement. And what a submergence this is! Kanye has crafted an album that sails the universal seas of music, a symphony of sounds that will set a new standard for albums of this ilk to come. I urge you to listen to this with the lyrics in front of you, this is some poetic justice at work here.
Bottomline- 'Beautiful' it is, indeed
I am a huge fan of reinvention and re-interpretation. And I’m constantly scouring the cyber landscape for representation. Elvis is one artiste who has probably been the most experimented with. And every musician worth his salt performs an Elvis song at some point of time in his life. So over here Elvis gets the Cirque Du Soleil makeover with his classic hits getting every kind of treatment from Blues to Jazz to straight up Hard Rock and even some Symphonics. All new music set to the inimitable recorded voice of Presley’s classics. This is Elvis for the 21st Century. All purist complaints can go where the sun don’t shine.
Bottomline- Get with the King now!
All You Need Is Now
One of the biggest bands of the eighties take a U-turn to show us newbie/wannabe popstars how it’s done, and in the process stage a comeback and surprise themselves in the bargain. Although, I doubt there are any Duran Duran fans out there in India anymore, I will say this… if you missed them, then (which you probably did), this album is what they used to be. And, what’s even better to know, is that they still are! And with some excellent production from Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Kaiser Chiefs, Lily Allen), this is the Duran Duran we all know and hopefully they’re back to stay.
Bottomline- Now, THIS is all you need!
The Black Keys
Making your own spin on the blues isn’t easy, particularly with a genre of music that’s quite standard, despite the dynamic. But for the past 10 years this Ohio based duo called The Black Keys have been laying out their brand of blues-rock to much acclaim. This is their sixth album and fans of the US Indie scene will have heard of them. For those who are stuck in various other musical
limbos, do seek out this fine band and supplant yourself in their world.
Bottomline- Good music with these brothers.