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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#1044: violent femmes - kiss off (1983)

when the revolution comes, the meek shall inherit the exposed undershirt. the scrawny shall be king. we who are pectorally mediocre will wear overalls like robes, and they shall floweth.

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#1042: blind john davis - born to lose (and studs turkel interview, 1985)

goals for old age. 

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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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#1028: king sunny ade - syncro system (1983, the tube)

what are you thankful for this thanksgiving, beside food and family? i’m thankful for nigeria’s juju maestro king sunny ade. i really am. amen. 

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#1027: r.e.m. - all i have to do is dream (1987)

on the very long and meticulously ranked list of everly brothers covers, which is kept in a locked safe behind a ragged couch somewhere in muhlenberg county, billie joe armstrong and norah jones’ new version of long time gone is miraculously above some (but not all) of dawn mccarthy and bonnie ‘prince’ billy’s recent everly album what the brothers sang. but don’t get too excited, green day fans: b.j.a./n.j. comes pages and pages after r.e.m.’s warm and worn all i have to do is dream, from the 1987 film athens, ga: inside/out.

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#1024: the staple singers - slippery people (talking heads) (1985, soul train)

my new favorite genres are 1. rock and roll 2. new wave art punk disco gospel (above) and 3. jazz

thanks to joe hagan for the tip

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#1003: the sugarcubes - deus (1998)

this weekend i spent an afternoon by myself in the morgan library looking at matthew barney’s collected drawings. not to be a philistine, and not to misuse language, but i quite literally, really in this one case i think literally, would have been happier staying at home watching bjork singing deus with her old band the sugarcubes on repeat for the afternoon.

barney’s drawings and bjork’s song are both about sex while pretending to be about god, but one is pretending a lot harder than the other.

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#998: tom waits - strange weather (1988, big time)

you listen to the frozen tom waits songs if you’re alone at christmastime in minneapolis dreaming about used car lots, the warm ones when the world turns green, wet songs when you’re waltzing in soggy shoes, the dewy ballads if the arms that held you are gone, and autumn hymnals when you know you’ve been changed. but the air heaves, treetops sigh, the subway wheezes, summer hail threats and ozone gets its own radio warnings and it’s strange weather from noon to night.

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#988 : jonathan richman - now is better than before (1985)

from jonathan richman’s first 20 years in show business by jonathan richman: “mr. richman was born in boston in 1951. he started to draw pictures all day long from the age of 5. played baseball all day long from the age of 9. this would not leave time for anything else, would it? he took up guitar at 15, started playing in public at 16, and by 17 had caused many people to leave coffee-houses… quickly… with their hands over their ears, and by 18 was sure he wanted to sing professionally… he left home at age 18, moving to new york. since he was ten years old and first was taken there by his parents, he wanted to live there and also his favorite rock band the velvet underground was there along with the artist andy warhol (since deceased)… he admired their sincerity, their dark sound, and their ability to improvise both lyrics and music onstage. his first place to stay in manhattan was on the couch of the personal manager of this velvet underground. after two weeks the manager and his wife and the other person staying there felt that jonathan… well… he immediately found work as a busboy (unbelievably incompetent) and as a foot messenger on wall street." (emphasis mine)

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#979: fugazi - waiting room (1988)

a certain pseudopolitical media figure’s bald philistine cruelty made me so sad today that i had to listen to early fugazi for like five hours to remember that washington dc and the people affiliated with it aren’t all smirking narcissists.

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#976: bruce springsteen & the e street band - sherry darling (july 1984)

believe it or not this was filmed after i was conceived but not yet born: that very special time in every utero’s life when we magically listen to all contemporaneous bruce springsteen concerts. i’m writing a blockbuster about it called womb boss radio. it’s like look who’s talking but prenatal.

it won’t be as rollicking or touching as this sherry darling, even the gesticulation alone. the way bruce pumps his forefinger singing ”i’ve got you” and heaves back his thumb for “and baby you’ve got me” before clarence clemons takes his two-meter solo! together they giggle and stomp, shuffle, duckwalk and ham. ”ladies and gentlemen, the greatest man alive,” bruce says, introducing clarence.

but we know who he’s really talking about. have you ever wondered if bruce were really jonathan richman playing a rock and roll superstar, like david bowie as ziggy stardust?

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#969: jonathan richman - vincent van gogh (australian interview with john cale) (1983)

come for john cale on a couch in sunglasses staying very still while jonathan richman sings—immeasurably less upsetting to watch than the opposite, teetotaling jonathan richman squirming on the same couch while late-drug-era john cale tries to explain himself and plays chinese envoy . but stay for jonathan richman, the swingiest man the caucasians have ever known: look at him go. he even smiles when late-drug john cale responds angrily at the end of the song here when asked if he met j.r. as an a&r man.

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#958: allen toussaint - hey little girl and professor longhair lessons (1980s)

it’s true that allen toussaint arranged all the horns on the band’s last waltz, produced dr. john’s best album and history’s most romantic song about rain, wrote the nation’s happiest song about working in a coal mine, wrote otis redding’s most painful song about pain, was single-handed responsibly for the meters (his old house band), handled a&r for the beautiful minit record label, and made from a whisper to a scream in his spare time, but the real reason we should bow down is his speaking voice. his is the only adam’s apple with its own mustache.

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#956: kate bush - babooshka (1980, on french tv)

is this the best air-punching in a french music video for a u.s. pop song with a different american video? it is, because kate bush knew what to do. come for the beautifully deconstructed schmaltz, stay for jazz hands, a giant figure skater on a green screen, the moon, a sparkling cape, and the last-minute mustachioed man in a 19th century sailor suit.

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#952: squeeze - black coffee in bed (1982)

a really important historical document proving that it took until at least early 1983 before new wave bands learned how to stare seriously into the camera. plus, it’s finally evidence that at one point in music video history bands liked adding in slow-motion vignettes of children playing basketball, shirtless men on the phone, and a tired woman ironing. new wave videos! what couldn’t they do?

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