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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#1064: joni mitchell - cold blue steel and sweet fire (live 1974)

it’s the right idea to listen to joni mitchell this time of year. who else sings better about prayers and pleas? this live footage, which i’d never seen until today, is a high holy days gift from a god who loves joni mitchell just as much as you and me. it’s a sad and beautiful version of a sad and beautiful drug song, all jungle gyms, fire escapes, lost letters, pin cushions, pawnshops, bathroom sinks, black soot and release. it’s not preachy or sacrilegious, just cold and good.

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#1061: dennis alcapone - cassius clay and wake up jamaica (1973)

i’m wearing a yellow suit to work every day this week in honor of dennis alcapone, the coolest man who ever lived. he wore one while playing live in this rare footage, which i believe is, weirdly, scottish. i’m also thinking of going up to strangers with two microphones in my hand while muttering, “so wa wa gee wa wa, huh, make you move, doo be do do, on the left and the right, and the right and the left. huh!

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#1060: ras michael & the sons of negus - new name (c. 1979)

i’m not usually in the market for chants about devotion and holy lands, but this one is on its on its own beautiful plain. the grainy minute-long clip is halfway between a nap, a prayer and a lullaby. it can’t make you feel better about the terrible things happening now in faraway mountains and besieged strips of land, but it will soften a minute of your day.

i think it’s from claude fleouter’s 1979 documentary la memoire du peuple noir, which has a scene with ras michael telling aggressors to run, but am not quite sure? or maybe it’s connected to this even slower, darker, more mysterious, arcane and lovely two-part nyabinghi footage. 

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#1059: bonnie tyler - it’s a heartache (top of the pops, 1977)

businessweek music video no. 2: “after argentina’s july win in the semifinals of the world cup, fans jumped for joy across the country and climbed wobbly stoplights to belt out patriotic songs. on the streets of at least one city, rosario, argentina’s third-largest, they also took the opportunity to taunt a u..s. hedge fund manager. dancing around the national flag memorial, they sang a song in spanish that more or less followed the tune of bonnie tyler’s it’s a heartache. “f–––ing vulture funds,” they chanted, in rough translation, “stop messing around and agree to a swap.””

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#1054: u-roy - versions galore (1973) 

q: “what do you think of u-roy?” 

a: “well i think he’s the best in the crowd. i think he got it how i think it should be really done. i think u-roy does it how it should really be done. that’s the way i’d like to find myself doing it if i was still young.” 

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#1052: brian eno - seven deadly finns (dutch tv, 1974)

listen all day long to brian eno’s glistening, weird, faraway, irreplaceable mid-1970s rock albums, sleep to his ambient music, wake up to his mascara-soaked hits with roxy music, follow each of his oblique strategies at work, read his cat cartoons on the train, wonder during dinner about the heavenly atmosphere in the studios where he helped david byrne and talking heads record their masterpieces, internalize his tea invitations, then read this excellent new profile of his life and times and pens and lamps in the new yorker by sasha frere-jones. 

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#1051: dr. hook - the cover of rolling stone (live, 1974)

"i have seen woodstock and i have seen the last waltz. i have seen don’t look back, eat the document, and no direction home. i have seen the maysles brothers’ documentary about the rolling stones, as well as jean-luc godard’s semi-documentary about the rolling stones and robert frank’s notoriously unreleased documentary about the rolling stones, which legend has it you’re only legally allowed to watch in the presence of both jagger and richards. (it was only okay.) i have seen the great rock and roll swindle as well as the filth and the fury, julien temple’s two different documentaries about the sex pistols. i have seen that double-dvd tom petty documentary. i have seen the special features. i have seen the movie where chris holmes from w.a.s.p. slowly drinks himself nearly to death in a darkened swimming pool enclosure and ozzy pours the orange juice all over the counter. i have seen david bowie’s cocaine skeleton doing burroughsian cut-ups on the floor of a luxury hotel in the difficult-to-find tv special cracked actor. to varying degrees, i enjoyed all these films, but if you asked me to tell you my very-favorite-ever cinematic document of a rock and roll band, i would have to break down and admit that it’s a 10-dollar import dvd of dr. hook and the medicine show doing a live-for-german-tv performance sometime in 1974. i have seen it at least 30 times” - the opening of will sheff's “dennis, we’ve been crying too much”: dr. hook and the untold story of the best rock movie ever made,” one of the best things ever published on gawker or the world wide web.

update: will sheff is good at writing songs and sentences. here’s his new and beautiful response to donald hugh “don” henley, of all people.

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#1050: charles mingus - goodbye porkpie hat (1975)

maybe it’s because sixteen years had gone by since lester young died and charles mingus wrote this song about him and his hat, but this music doesn’t sound like death or disappearance or disease. to me it sounds like liquor, train tracks, gerry mulligan’s beard, empty caves, full notepads, danny richmond’s pajamas, slow dances in the summertime, bad driving and good jokes.

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#1047: hello - new york groove (1975)

how do hollow-eyed and long-haired bros pumping their fists under fake snow  in bell bottoms make for such an unassailable 2 minutes and 22 seconds of goofy, slimey, perfect rock and roll? hello, i don’t know. 

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#1046: leon russell & friends - honky tonk woman (live, the homewood session, 1971)

a lot of times people stop me and say, “max, what is it like being a journalist? is it a nonstop amazing party such as the one leon russell threw in a california studio in 1971 for a concert that for some reason was aired on pbs, featuring your hero furry lewis along with derek and the dominoes bassist carl radle, plus don nix, claudia lennear, kathi mcdonald, chuck blackwell, jim horn, john gallie, don preston, joey cooper and someone named sweet emily?” and i just nod my head silently and dance around with my rolling pin and reporter’s notebook. 

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#1045: prince far-i - throw away our gun (1979)

we’re all allowed to take our advice from whomever we chose, and the world is sure full of sages. but i myself think it’s worth paying attention whenever one of the world’s best princes talks — especially when he’s backed by musicians with names like errol flabba holt, crucial bunny, bingy bunny, sowell, congo ashanti roy, noel scully simms and gladstone anderson. 

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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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#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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#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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#1031: george jones - the grand tour (1974)

here are two beautiful things: george jones in a turtleneck singing a heartache song that’s to other heartache songs what dante is to that dandy scene at the end of the devil’s advocate, and nick tosches profiling george jones in texas monthly in 1994, one of the finest pieces of music writing i know. it opens on jones in a las vegas dressing room, chain smoking a barclay in a bally’s casino: "his white hair, fastidiously styled and always in place, with impeccable scimitar sideburns, was like a sculptured pinnacle of incongruous permanence atop a distinctly mortal shell. beneath his brown eyes, his cheeks were striated with deep fissures that seemed less the natural carvings of age than the ravages of mortification. when he grinned, the furrows were less obvious, but when his expression was blank or subtly scowled, as was more often the case, they were like the scars of a clawing."

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