Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Battle of the Decades

Billie Holiday 9 to 5 over the Zombies last time around, with one vote for Nirvana. Three good ones. And some good ones coming up here, too.

These go out to my BOTD posse by email, but feel free to vote here too.

40s on 4*
Harry James
The Man With the Horn

50s on 5*
Fats Domino
Blue Monday

60s on 6*
The Temptations
Cloud Nine

70s on 7*
John Lennon
Instant Karma

80s on 8*
Duran Duran
Union Of The Snake

90s on 9*
Dave Matthews Band
Ants Marching ('95)

Duran Duran -- they're not bad. They did a James Bond song that some people bizarrely pick as the best Bond song (nothing touches "Goldfinger"). They bear about the same relation to the really significant bands of the 80s that Harry James bears to Benny Goodman, and neither Harry nor Simon are at their zenith here, so let's wrap them up together. Simon is handsomer, but Harry was married to Betty Grable.

The rest are all virtually uneliminatable, so I'll take them in chronological order. I think I'd put "Blue Monday" just a shade below Fats' A+ work, which still makes it better than most anything by most anyone else.
The Temptations were the subjects of probably the best TV movie music biopic ever, and if that sounds like a bar not raised awfully high, I don't mean to damn it with faint praise. It was a terrific flick. And the Temps were always good, and the combination of social commentary and Motown choreography (on red, green and orange platforms) is well-nigh irresistible.
I hadn't heard this Dave Matthews before, and wondered briefly if Dave had done a Sesame Street bit and recorded "The Ants Go Marching Two by Two." But this is great stuff, and not just for dual sentimental reasons -- first, that the DMB shot a video at Opus 40, and second, that the drummer is wearing a Rangers jersey on the night when the Rangers fought gamely but went down to the Washington Caps in game 7 of the opening Stanley Cup series. This is a very tight band, some tight songwriting, and I like the little auctioneer bit he does.

But...John Lennon. His power is undiminished. And the symbolism of Yoko knitting blindfolded...wow...what symbolism! It symbolizes...well, like I said, John's power is undiminished. John for me.


Plochmann said...

Love The Temps, but Instant Karma by Lennon is an awesome tune.

Lynne said...


I think Yoko's blindfold is a feminine hygiene product sold in machines in restrooms--recall that John, in his "lost time" had an incident in a club/bar in LA with, I think, Elton or Harry Nilsson where he got disorderly and wore a similar product on his head...I wonder if this video was pre or post-incident?

The knitting is a strange touch--so Yokoish--especially so with the "blindfold."

Of course, Lennon beats them all out in my book.

Second, it'd be Simon and DuranDuran.

I'm not in the mood for the other stuff right now.

Tad Richards said...

Lynne -- I realized that too, looking at it again.