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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#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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#993: r.e.m. - strange currencies (1994)

did you know that this is the nine hundred and ninety third video shown on the super groovy music video spectacular? that means after this there are six videos before the thousandth. so all of them will be of world-historical importance and excellence—this one, of course, has the best selection of sunglasses ever seen in a music video. 

being at #993 also means it’s been 441 videos since #552 (karen dalton singing blues jumped the rabbit and shuffling around her kitchen), we’re 780 videos past #213 (yellow magic orchestra’s tighten up on soul train), and already 190 videos beyond video #803 (when otis redding wept my girl on ready steady go!).find him and the other nine hundred and ninety two by clicking this magical random button.

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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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greatest people of all time (g.p.o.a.t.), entry no. 3: otis redding

greatest people of all time (g.p.o.a.t.), entry no. 3: otis redding

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#945: otis redding - lover’s prayer (1966)

the super groovy music video spectacular is thrilled to announce a five-year joint investigation bringing together the metropolitan museum of art’s costume institute, the stax museum of american soul music in memphis, tennessee, and new york’s  paley center for media to begin to determine how otis redding was able to combine high-waisted red pants and the world’s best left hand gesticulations with such pure and gruesome and unextinguished and knee-buckling soul singing in this mid-60s television clip. it’s going to take a lot of imaginary work, but it will be worth it.

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#803: otis redding - my girl (ready steady go!, 1967)

i really don’t mean to harsh anyone’s mellow, but just try to remember that lady gaga is no otis redding, and she isn’t dusty springfield’s yawn, or even michael jackson’s allergic sneeze. and so i just don’t see why ten minutes ago, when i was biking by the gramercy park hotel on my way home from work, minding my own business, i had to make my way through a crowd of people looking so tremendously riveted by the prospect that stefani germanotta* was about to walk out.

arms were extended and fingers spread, eyebrows pasted to foreheads, and lower jaws were down where necks should have started. shrieks were shrieked.

i stopped my bike long enough to see a totally reasonable looking 30-something man say to two very nice 20-something women on the outside of the throng, “i’m not here for lady gaga, i just, you know, was walking by, right, and i heard she was going to be here, and so, you know, here i am—i guess?”

and who am i to say which pop star in this moment does and does not deserve a sentence like that, but born this way is just such an exceptionally inoffensive second-hand version of madonna’s express yourself, and lady gaga’s beautifully marketed styling is so inferior to anything that like, i don’t know, t. rex did on a bad day, that it seems weird that i’m even going on so long. here’s otis instead! 

*i sort of get to call her that because my pal zach dated lady gaga back when her name had extra syllables

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#392: otis redding - try a little tenderness (1967)

the most thrilling music ever made by a man wearing a mustache and white pants.

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from the slightly creepy cover of otis redding’s german-issue mr. pitiful single

from the slightly creepy cover of otis redding’s german-issue mr. pitiful single

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#377: salt ‘n’ pepa - tramp (1986)

making mid-80s hip-hop out of holy otis redding songs is dangerous, but salt ‘n’ pepa lived dangerously—and they lived in a world of matching nba-themed shirt-and-socks ensembles, luv-bug business cards, american flag drapes, yellow shorts, synchronized schwwwing! dance moves, and mustachioed hand-kissers.

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#18: al green - jesus is waiting (1974)

today is super bowl sunday, which means everyone is watching football instead of remembering that it’s lord’s day. but what the world needs now is less pork rinds and more prayer! or at least religious al green videos from soul train.

back in 1974, the feather-falsetto soul singer al green was famously about to take a shower when a woman named mary woodson poured boiling grits on him, which led him to a religious revelation: he became the reverend al green in 1976.

but even before that incident, the man had clearly been touched by the holy spirit. here on soul train in ‘74, he makes christianity (which, let’s face it, isn’t the most immediately moving of the major religions) into a soulful extravaganza. and by the end of the relatively quiet song, his memphis band gets almost as heart-shattering as otis redding’s.

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Otis Redding - Shake-I'Ve Been Loving You Too Long Monterey
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#3: otis redding - shake / i’ve been loving you (1967)

skip shake and get to the gloryland: “this is a song that, you know, we all have to sing sometimes,” says otis redding when he introduces i’ve been loving you to 200,000 california hippies at the monterey international pop festival. “this is the love crowd right? we all love each other don’t we? am I right? let me hear you say ‘yeah’ then!” the hippies start screaming, otis starts singing, and then, one minute later, greatest of all, he interrupts himself for the best three horn blasts (“do it just one more time! do it just one more time!”) in the history of pop music. the other huge monterey headliner was jimi hendrix, who was dead within the month, otis was dead within the year, and the rolling stone guitarist that introduced hendrix, brian jones, didn’t make it past the 60s.

ps the concert was produced by lou adler, father of cisco ("low hanging gonads") adler.

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