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music friday: 1975

Bruce Springsteen, "Born to Run". In 1975, when this album came out and my wife and I saw him in concert for the first of dozens of times, the lyric "Someday girl, I don't know when, we're gonna get to that place where we really wanna go, and we'll walk in the sun, but 'till then, tramps like us, baby we were born to run" seemed like a romantic look at our future. Now we're 64 years old, and Bruce is almost 70, and we've heard the song hundreds (thousands?) of times, and sung along with it at concerts 30 or so more times, and that lyric still hits me hard. Because when you're 64, no matter how well your life has gone, you know that you're never going to get to that place where you really wanna go.

Patti Smith, "Gloria". Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine.

Donna Summer, "Love to Love You Baby". Publications argued over how many orgasms there were in the long version.

Bob Dylan, "Tangled Up in Blue". Dylan's early-70s records weren't all that ... yes, his label did release Bob singing "Big Yellow Taxi" ... but he re-teamed with The Band, put out a decent album, went on a successful tour with them (our first time seeing him), and then, in 1975, came Blood on the Tracks and the release of The Basement Tapes. You could be forgiven for thinking at that point that Dylan would go on forever at the top of his game. But it took until the 90s before he started putting out good records, and he didn't really reach another peak until the 21st century. Which could convince you that he was always at the top of his game, if you are able to forget things like the album he made with The Grateful Dead.

Parliament, "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)". Perhaps in an homage to James Brown, who was so good at giving us parenthetical titles like "I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door, I’ll Get It Myself)", when this track was released as a single, it was called "Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)".

Joni Mitchell, "The Hissing of Summer Lawns". Prince loved this album.

Dorothy Moore, "Misty Blue". A country music hit in the 60s. Moore's version isn't country.

The J. Geils Band, "Love-Itis". J. Geils was always good at finding semi-obscure R&B songs and turning them into, well, J. Geils music. The original was by Harvey Scales and The Seven Sounds, and J. Geils didn't mess with it much. My wife tired of this song a few decades ago, because I was always putting it on mix tapes and singing along.

Minnie Riperton, "Inside My Love". Her first single after "Lovin' You". In 1976, she was diagnosed with cancer; in 1979, she died.

Led Zeppelin, "Kashmir". My favorite Led Zeppelin song, which puts me in good company ... Robert Plant, among others, agrees. I find this quote from Wikipedia to be perfect:

"If you listen to 'Kashmir' very loud, it's just unbelievable," enthused Swans front man Michael Gira. "Jimmy Page's guitar is lyrical and soulful – just beautiful. I don't understand what Robert Plant is saying, though I suppose that's a good thing. I don't know the lyrics. I think they're about hobbits or something."

I hate every single cover version I have ever heard of "Born to Run". It's simply sacrilege. But I never tire of hearing versions of "Kashmir", because it's all about the riffs. Heck, Jimmy doesn't even play a solo to speak of. Puff Daddy might have the best cover, because he wrote an entirely different lyric and pasted it onto the "Kashmir" riff. He also got Page to play on the track. Amazingly, it was for the soundtrack to an awful Godzilla movie.

Other guitarists love the riff, too:

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