One of my New Year’s resolutions was to update this blog at least once a week. Made it with about two hours to spare (Japan Standard Time) but I’ll take it.
Tonight’s two songs have squat in common.
Gershon Kingsley’s First Moog Quartet
Sounds Of Silence
Gershon Kingsley is a ubergod of electronic music, one of the very first people to attempt to make electronic music fit in a pop landscape. In 1966, alongside his collaborate Jacques Perry, released The In Sound From Way Out, probably the very first attempt at a mainstream electronic pop record. It’s a crazy record, and I recommend you buy it now.
In 1970 he formed The First Moog Quartet, and they released this album the same year. While his earlier output was very fun and upbeat, The First Moog Quartet’s album is much more experimental and bizarre. I suspect this was because it was limited to what the Moog could do in a live environment, which, to be honest, wasn’t much back then. This insane cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic, for instance, is primarily an acappella number, with the Moog elements only really kicking in sporadically, albeit to great effect. The singing is pretty impressive though.
Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young (Single Edit)
The original version of this song is in the 1984 film Streets Of Fire, the greatest movie ever made.
That’s barely hyperbole to me. Streets Of Fire is a damn masterpiece of everything. Amazing music, spectacular direction and cinematography, a stellar script, insane acting, tremendous characters, unbelievable set design. Name something a movie needs to truly be an epic of epic proportions, Streets Of Fire has it. It’s the third greatest movie ever made about music (behind Purple Rain and Fish Story).
So of course it was a huge bomb. Life is a dick like that sometimes.
This song, as well as a few other tracks on the soundtrack, were composed by Jim Steinman, the bombastic songwriter behind everything worth hearing by Meat Loaf, as well as “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” and “Holding Out For a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler.
The credited performers, Fire Inc., really aren’t a band, but a collection of studio musicians put together solely for the soundtrack. They include lead singer Laurie Sargent (who didn’t do much outside of this), Elton John’s guitarist Dave Johnstone, and the E Street Band’s very own Max Weinberg on drums.
It is the most epic shit ever. Seven minutes of heaven – a wondrous, almost religious blast of ecstasy. Like all Steinman songs, it is completely lacking in subtlety and grace, but that’s partly what makes it so damn fantastic. It’s the greatest love song – a song that captures the overwhelming feelings of love in all its elation and tragedy.
I kind of like it. Anyways, you can buy that seven minute version damn near everywhere. The soundtrack is still in print (because it’s fucking dope) and you can snag the track on iTunes and Amazon easily. If you already haven’t done that, go do that, because this version isn’t as good as the album cut. This is a single edit, a trimmed version made for radio play that could fit on a 7″ single.
As I said, it’s not as good as the original, but for fans of the tune (like myself) I think it’s interesting as a diversion and example of how songs can be slightly transformed in an attempt to make them “radio-friendly.”