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

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

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

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

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

"i'm good and i'm bad and i'm happy and i'm sad and i'm lazy" -willie nelson

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

"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 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

"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.

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#1062: johnny cash - flesh and blood (from the man, his world, his music, 1969)

the most romantic thing that’s ever happened in global history was johnny cash sitting next to his wife on a couch, who’s brushing hair off of his shoulder, underneath a portrait of them together, and he says, “now, we brought some property up near smithsville, it’s woods, and there’s a trout stream running through cliffs. we were up there not long ago, june and the girls and i, and i sat down on a rock and started writing. i don’t know, it might possibly be recorded commercially, i don’t know. it’s called, well, it’s called, what i need is you — all i need is you — you’re all i need." then he plays his beautiful song, which he’d get around to calling flesh and blood because its chorus promises: “fresh and blood needs flesh and blood, and you’re the one i need.” on the couch he holds his guitar next to his wife. “that’s just another little thing i wrote,” he says.

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#1049: the band - up on cripple creek (ed sullivan, 1969)

"here’s the new recording sensation for you youngsters. the band: let’s have a fine welcome for them. come on! … boys. wonderful. come on over here. i want — robbie robertson. which one is robbie robertson? garth hudson. rick danko? rick danko’s over here. richard manuel. and, what is that, levin? or levant? levon. helm.”

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rolling stones - 19th nervous breakdown [best quality / original upload] aussie tv 1966 |

#1043: rolling stones - 19th nervous breakdown (live c. 1966)

you know what? it’s friday, the weekend is here, the winter is ending, the week is too, phil jackson is coming to the new york knicks (!), and so i’d like to tell you to have fun out there, stay safe, enjoy yourself, listen to rock and roll, or maybe stay at home and watch rock and roll videos, pray for the knicks, and don’t do anything that mid-60s brian jones wouldn’t.

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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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#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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#1025: willie nelson - she’s not for you (porter wagoner show) (1965)

"…you ain’t kidding! willie, how about doing us a fine song? you’ve had some great records, of course, with the rca victor folks, and we’ll talk about some of the songs you’ve written a little later. do us a pretty song…"

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#1016: bobby bare - detroit city (i wanna go home) (1963)

all this country needs to get fixed up is some duck tape, a few hammers, dabs of elbow grease, and a little bobby bare. that’s not true, but still.

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#1012: lefty frizzell - i love you in 1,000 ways (1967, road to nashville)

even lefty frizzell’s entry in the encyclopedia of country music sounds like a lefty frizzell song: “as time went by, frizzell suffered from an increasing drinking problem and a penchant for womanizing. such distractions certainly didn’t help his creative progress, but artists who were influenced by lefty’s work, and there were more than a few who became major, suggested that with a little luck lefty could have been a superstar.” one of them was merle haggard, who said: “hearing lefty’s voice was a turning point in my life. he delivered every line in a song like henry fonda. every break was authentic.” that’s true. if henry fonda was steinbeck, and merle haggard was a bottle of whiskey, lefty frizzell was the sky.

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#1010: aretha franklin - do right woman do right man (merv griffin show, 1967)

more soul than immanuel kant, more soul than socrates pointing up high on his death bed in david’s painting, more sole than the bottom of the north sea, more sole than imelda marcos’ shoe closet, more soul than al or sam or otis and james. the peak of american culture? the peak of the color green! the peak of hula hoop decor. the peak of music—and video.

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#1008: nara leão - insensatez (c. 1969)

"we sang because we liked it. and we sang in universities, sang for students and at parties. everyone was quite elegant, and we played the guitar, and whoever was willing to hear, then we showed it. it was bossa nova already, before it was recorded, it was something a bit intimidate, belonging to a group. for instance, we used to sing: oh so unwise, what you did, you careless heart, you made your love weep painfully

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#1006: rahsaan roland kirk - the inflated tear (prague, 1967)

"i like charlie mingus and this other cat who plays all the horns, roland kirk… i’d like him to play with us. if people read this they’ll say, ‘that guy must be joking’ but i really think we’re doing the same things. we have different moods and i think some of the moods are on the same level.” - jimi hendrix

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#1000: dusty springfield - son of a preacher man (1968)

my dear friends: we’ve really done it. back in january 2008, in the olden days, the super groovy music video spectacular began with no. 1: dusty springfield singing son of a preacher man in 1968. and now 999 later she’s singing the same song in the same year, only with vines hanging from a ceiling and what i think is an offstage live band of angels.

but look at how far we’ve come: there was the dusty video in a neon cube, a cube in the dark, even dusty sad and cube-less.

and other things, too: rap videos and country videos, videos of glam and soulgodly gospel and godless funk, punk but also post-punkfolksy folksoft songs from africasofter songs from brazil, low jazzhigh reggae, and videos with death and love and drugs/booze and jews.

we had wildly important listsambitious series, crucial mathematical inequalities, along with vital inquiries into a plethora of album coversadsillustrationsquotes and posters. i don’t know why but the mustaches added up, too

and so did the music videos—videos everywhere, so many videos that a non-video site just for my journalism started up nearby this year. here on the spectacular there will be more videos coming soon. stay tuned.

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#990: elvis presley (with scotty moore & d.j. fontana) - blue christmas (1968)

do you know that look in elvis’ eyes when he’s onstage with his childhood friends in his ‘68 comeback special? when d.j. fontana is thwacking an empty guitar case with his drum sticks, scotty moore is playing the case’s guitar as well as he did in 1955 when the three of them were still called the blue moon boys, and it all makes elvis so happy that he sings a wrong word after the chorus and has to muffle a vibrato giggle? that’s what i hope your holidays are like, friends, and your new year, too.

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#983: furry lewis - furry lewis’ blues and other songs (2/2) (1968)

if songs about trains are the best kind, and casey jones is the best train song, and if furry lewis’ version is the best one, and this is his best performance, is this the best video of all time? 

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#982: furry lewis - furry lewis’ blues and other songs (1/2) (1968)

when furry lewis says at the beginning of this mysterious and wildly beautiful film, “i’m going to give you furry lewis’ blues tonight,” it’s true for two reasons. the first is that the first song of the twelve wildly beautiful ones he plays is called furry lewis’ blues, not mr. furry’s blues or even furry’s blues from the late-1920s recordings that you know and love. instead it is filthy and sly, like early chuck berry songs—and like chuck berry furry plays furiously: when he really gets going, with four fingers and a slide pulsing on the fifth, the guitar sounds like awestruck. 

"i’ve got a new way of spelling memphis tennessee: double-m double-e great god a y nor z," he says twice, and both times it’s thrilling. and then he starts hitting his guitar as beautifully as anything that’s ever been hit. 

it’s also funny because “furry lewis’ blues” also means furry lewis is playing his own music, which is as true as joni mitchell played hers. and joni mitchell singing jazz-rock choruses about furry lewis singing the blues isn’t close to furry lewis actually singing it. 

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