max abelson's super groovy music video spectacular

awfully fine videos from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s & 00s


and the website for my journalism is right this way...


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ft. the beatles, aretha franklin, neil young, dr. dre, serge gainsbourg, duke ellington, the kinks, jimi hendrix, pavement, the clash, smog, the smiths, al green, the rolling stones, cat power, dusty springfield, yo la tengo, antony, wilco, elvis, talking heads, elliott smith, r.e.m., ray charles, otis redding, the monochrome set, randy newman, the cure, gillian welch, queen, stevie wonder & more


"mtv makes me want to smoke crack." -beck


see the archives & a random post


"i just happen to be here, and it's okay." -caetano veloso


"sing a simple song but keep the swing strong." -de la soul


"think straight, keep a clean plate." -joanna newsom


"keep a clean nose, watch the plain-clothes." -bob dylan


"keep your feet warm, but keep your clothes on." -harry nilsson


"it took me about three or four weeks to toilet train my cat, nightlife. most of the time is spent moving the box very gradually to the bathroom." -charles mingus


"think about something else. was art tatum talented?" - shoot the piano player


"she had a chihuahua named carlos that had some kind of skin disease and was totally blind." -tom waits


"he had a huge room with nothing in it except this huge vast hammond organ, right next door to the police." -david bowie


"he's got a mind like a sewer, and a heart like a fridge" -elvis costello


"you can't hold the hand of a rock 'n' roll man." -joni mitchell


"lou's jukebox spun for love and many other things, too – beauty, pain, history, courage, mystery" - laurie anderson


"hey there, hey now, well, you can make a pacemaker blink, easy thing, make a man's heart go bibbity bom. -john cale


"i’ve still got things inside me, sad things, happy things, that people don’t know about." -loretta lynn


"to try to maximize the relationship of listening to a record through promotion is like experiencing driving a car by reading about stimulus programs." -bonnie 'prince' billy


"after cheesecake with all of your friends and family, who's gonna front the bill? me... say you want to take first-class trips, well i want to work those first-class hips. yes i do." -r. kelly


"too much cheesecake too soon! old money's better than new" -roxy music


"my mother used to tell me about vibrations. to think that invisible feelings, invisible vibrations existed scared me to death." -brian wilson


"i'm a lunatic, and you are so super cool." - george jones


"i'm an idiot for you." -iggy pop


"i mean every letter in the words in the sentences of my quotes." -lil' wayne


"lyrics choochoo from my mouth like locomotion." - pato banton


"i'm going to boogie my scruples away." -lowell george


"i drive a rolls-royce, cause it's good for my voice." -t.rex


"i'm dealing in rock and roll. i'm not a bonafide human being." -phil spector


"phil approached me with a bottle of kosher red wine in one hand and a .45 in the other, put his arm around my shoulder and shoved the revolver into my neck and said, 'leonard, i love you.' i said, 'i hope you do, phil.'" -leonard cohen


"they’d whisper at each other and look at phil and whisper at each other. finally this lady, tanked, comes over to phil and says, 'alright, sonny, what’s your problem?' and he said, 'premature ejaculation, what’s yours?'" -tom wolfe


"i bite my nails and if that fails i go get myself stoned, but when i do i think of you and head myself back home." -gram parsons


"i would say groucho marx, to name one thing, and willie mays, and the second movement of the jupiter symphony, and louis armstrong’s recording of potatohead blues, swedish movies, naturally. sentimental education by flaubert, marlon brando, frank sinatra, those incredible apples and pears by cézanne, the crabs at sam wo’s, tracy’s face." -woody allen


"where have you been all my life?" -emmylou harris, to my brother tommy


brian eno songs that will make good book titles for my 10-volume memoir, in order: here he comes, baby's on fire, golden hours, brutal ardour, taking tiger mountain, events in dense fog, through hollow lands, some of them are old, everything merges with the night, dead finks don’t talk


ry cooder albums that every man should own: into the purple valley, boomer's story, paradise and lunch


"really, we don't want people twiddling their goatees over our stuff." -radiohead


thelonious monk's middle name: sphere


#1 song on the white album (tie): long long long, happiness is a warm gun


"the only word is love." -john lennon


"i love songs about horses, railroads, land, judgment day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. and mother. and god." -johnny cash


"i could even find it in my heart to love mike love." -belle & sebastian


"the moon is clear, the sky is bright, i'm happy as the horse's shite." -the pogues


"i hope that you all out there, young, old, tall, short, fat or thin, quick or slow, no matter what kind or color or shape or person you are, if you like to make music, why, go ahead.” -pete seeger


"chuck berry isn't merely the greatest of the rock and rollers, or rather, there's nothing mere about it. say rather that unless we can somehow recycle the concept of the great artist so that it supports chuck berry as well as it does marcel proust, we might as well trash it." -robert christgau


mashable says about us: "expect the unexpected with this awesome gem. groovy." and 33 1/3: "nice to have someone steer me in a worthwhile direction"


download albums, see album covers, photos, posters, quotes & 'staches


the olden days: 2008 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2009 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2010 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2011 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2012 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2013 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2014 j. f.


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#1041: elton john - country comfort (1971, live)

deep old elton cuts just cut the deepest. what is there in life besides greasy early-70s americana, especially when it’s so full of train-station tumbleweed and honky joy and barns and booze and bones?

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wim wenders and carrie fisher in 1978, just before she danced with ringo. both are unofficial celebrity spokespeople for the super groovy music video spectacular, which is what they’re talking about here. 

wim wenders and carrie fisher in 1978, just before she danced with ringo. both are unofficial celebrity spokespeople for the super groovy music video spectacular, which is what they’re talking about here. 

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#1040: johnny burnette - you’re sixteen (1960)

i was reading my hero robert christgau’s lovely and true and impressively straight-faced tribute to the late lou reed. its mention of “the doomed guitarist robert quine” brought me to his old voidoids bandmate richard hell writing a tribute to quine after his 2008 death, which led me to a man named jeremy tepper’s houndblog website, and its remarkable essay about quine and drugs, art garfunkel’s hairtrigger temper, girlfriends and accurate handwriting analysis, the c.i.a., greed and cruelty, misery and death, friends, fentanyl, lofts, chinese dinners, passing out into thanksgiving plates, typing, wives, hell, and, most important of any of these things, records and rock and roll.

it’s one of the most ferocious things i’ve read about music in a good long time, and i recommend it warmly.

the story refers to some things i know about and some things i didn’t, like the johnny burnette trio, whose lead man brought us this incredibly creepy and memorable love letter to a teenager. its oily come-ons are straight from beck’s neon-colored vulture funk, but somehow with all these chipper eisenhower-era white people clapping along wearing wide peachy grins, nodding at the nice young pompadoured star and his margarine string section, it’s hard to notice the glib statutory strangeness.

but nothing is stranger than the ringo starr sixteen from a tv special called ringo, which you should watch too, after reading mr. tepper.

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#1039: ringo starr - you’re sixteen (ft. carrie fisher, from 1979 tv special ringo)

a much stranger and more meaningful cultural landmark than star wars. but not as strange and meaningful as carrie and wim, or wim and emmylou and willie, or the first sixteen, let alone ringo with frankenstein, and ringo with marc and elton, and ringo with his eyes open

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photographs of george h.w. bush shredding: #3

photographs of george h.w. bush shredding: #3

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photographs of george h.w. bush shredding: #2

photographs of george h.w. bush shredding: #2

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photographs of george h.w. bush shredding: #1 (a.k.a. the best photo ever printed in a newspaper, with g.h.w.b., carla thomas, and lee atwater)

photographs of george h.w. bush shredding: #1 (a.k.a. the best photo ever printed in a newspaper, with g.h.w.b., carla thomas, and lee atwater)

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#1038: leonard cohen - first we take manhattan (1988)

there are three things i like about the feb. 21 2014 new york times story “brooklyn on the spree.” the first is that it was beautifully reported and written by my friend zeke turner, who writes with clarity and detail and just the right-sized dollop of tenderness about american expatriates flourishing in the cheap basements of after-hours german night clubs. the second is that one of the story’s main characters is michael ladner, who apparently still looks exactly like he did at age 16, when we went to mamaroneck high school and he was friends with my first girlfriend and we would hang out at his house just off weaver street, where i got into my teenage car accident. but the third and probably most important thing i like about the story is that it note-for-note follows the plot, melody and spirit of my hero leonard cohen's first we take manhattan. to match zeke, my next piece will be a recreation of tower of song, the masterpiece of masterpieces. 

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then we take berlin!

then we take berlin!

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#1037: waylon jennings - dreaming my dreams (1983)

i’m halfway done writing my brand new book, a self-help manual for millennials called do a better you, make a better america! 100 simple steps for reaching deep down into your soul and into the soil to easily uncover the waylon jennings and/or emmylou harris that is somewhere inside us all; a manifesto. i’m not fully serious, but you know what is? waylon.

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do not smoke cigarettes, unless you are waylon jennings or buddy holly, or in a photobooth with them flipping the bird, when you should feel free to go ahead and light up. otherwise, you shouldn’t. ok two more exceptions are quincy jones recording with sammy davis and ernest tubb at all times.

do not smoke cigarettes, unless you are waylon jennings or buddy holly, or in a photobooth with them flipping the bird, when you should feel free to go ahead and light up. otherwise, you shouldn’t. ok two more exceptions are quincy jones recording with sammy davis and ernest tubb at all times.

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#1036: fela kuti - teacher don’t teach me nonsense (live, 1986) 

yesterday i was minding my own in housing works books on crosby street, one of the best places in new york, when i got a call from my girlfriend annie. because she’s a very kind and excellent woman and because the universe can sometimes act just like her, she was calling to say that she was at a yard sale with her mother that had some cheap records — in fact, unopened boxes of lps that the yardseller had shown annie — and would i be interested in hearing the names of them? i would. and then she started reading: fela anikulapo kuti’s teacher don’t teach me nonsense, the even finer african musician dollar brand, tom waits’ small change and blue valentine, even franks wild years, and also my favorite miles davis album, and not only international hero brian eno but an eno with byrne album named after a book my dad likes. thank you albums, thank you yards, thank you sweet annie.

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#1035: mother maybelle carter - gold watch and chain (c. 1961)

"sometimes when john was in bad shape, june would have him stay at her house on due west avenue in nashville and try to take care of him. john was after june to marry him, but she wouldn’t let him move in with her. so whenever june took john in, mother maybelle would move in and care for him like he was her own son. on some occasions she’d nurse him back to pretty good health, but he often didn’t stay that way for any length of time.” - marshall grant, i was there when it happened

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#1034: bill callahan - heaven help the child (2012, mickey newbury cover)

like anybody else i like music videos that look like they were found in rotting film spools in locked chests in buster keaton’s basement. and, how could i not, i also like bill callahan’s lonesome baritone, all bog and burble, some brawn and blood, a bit of bile at the bottom, one booger on top, no bauble, no buttermilk, no bologna. all marrow, no mayo. 

most of all i love songs that start off slow and pretty, then build up with a low, coiled rumble, threatening to go somewhere up high and fast, and the wait gives you that same awful trouble somewhere between your gullet and bowels, just like you get from the roar of a widebody commercial jet’s engine accelerating on some runway before takeoff. but up it goes! into melody and rhythm, rhythm and verve, verve and harmony, dazzle, light, love, all the good things. so i like this, so much, and i hope you do, too.

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#1033: ann peebles - i can’t stand the rain (live in studio)

you may know the world’s best song about precipitation from lowell george’s cover during his late bathrobe-and-drugs-and-overalls phase — or because timbaland and hype williams turned a few seconds of its opening into the finest hour for missy elliott in trash bags through a fish eye lens. but the stickiest version of i can’t stand the rain is the original that co-writter ann peebles recorded in memphis with al green’s producer and his band in the early 1970s, a song so sweaty and sad and saturated that she named her album after it. it’s music with tension and life! and yet here’s a version that i like even more — recorded years later, with just her husband on a wurlitzer electric piano, the drummer howard “bulldog” grimes playing with just a few flicks of the wrist, and someone smart enough to barely play electric guitar. it’s ferocious music for ferocious times. 

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