MAXABELSON'S SUPERGROOVY 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 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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#995: fleetwood mac - tusk (ft. usc trojan marching band) (1979)

it’s important to spend memorial day learning about a new part of american majesty and grandeur. and so this weekend, after a train home from a bbq with my friends mike and emily and allison and dan, i listened to fleetwood mac’s tusk in its entirety for the first time.

why hadn’t i done it before? how did they get the band to sound like the stainless steel in an upper east side hospital’s private wing? how did they write pop songs that resemble phil spector buried in pillows? how do the drums resemble ringo starr on the moon? why is the singing so dark-hearted? who was their drug dealer? how is tusk less famous than rumors? and what kind of horrific legal memorandum was behind the catty and grammatically ominous production credit “produced by fleetwood mac (special thanks from the band to lindsey buckingham)”?

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astounding that i’d never heard let it be the way god intended it, with his highness phil spector’s original production intact, until today. it is like being bar mitzvahed a second time.

astounding that i’d never heard let it be the way god intended it, with his highness phil spector’s original production intact, until today. it is like being bar mitzvahed a second time.

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#929: lesley gore (prod. quincy jones) - it’s my party (1963)

even though quincy jones doesn’t turn 80 until next march, the gentleman’s impact on 20th-century u.s. ears is so vast and that it’s totally necessary to get next year’s appreciative juices flowing with an an all-quincy week. here is a person so extraordinary that his middle name is literally delightt, the extra t probably for terrific.

quincy jones, who grew up poor with a schizophrenic mother and semi-professional baseball player father, met ray charles at 14, toured as lionel hampton’s trumpeter by 20, and was arranging songs for duke ellington around the time he was dizzy gillespie’s musical director at 23. over the next few years, when he wasn’t fronting the suavest big band records of the decade or becoming the first black executive at a major record label, he put together such perfectly gleaming pop arrangements that he could yawn out it’s my party for a 16-year-old from long island, leslie gore, by 3 pm on a weekday before going to see charles aznavour at carnegie hall.

on his way there, a man in a purple shirt and cape and sunglasses stepped out of a car. “what’s up phil?” quincy jones said to phil spector—according to quincy, the only member of the pair you should trust. ”i,” said phil, “just cat a smash with the crystals, it’s called it’s my party.” what did quincy jones do? only this: walked backstage, said a “bonsoir" to charles aznavour (that’s a direct quote from a book), ran to the bell sounds studio, cut 100 acetates of his lesley gore party version, licked 100 stamps, sent his version to radio stations, and left for japan the next day toact in a one-hour japanese drama—whose music he did too, with marvin hamlisch.

three weeks later he got a call from his mercury records boss, irving b. green. “didn’t anybody call you?” he said. “quince, the record’s number one.” he won a grammy that year, the first of 27.

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#925: gal costa - baby (1969)

caetano veloso’s baby is the simplest of all the baby-based love songs, and gal costa’s version beats out the ronettes’ baby, i love you, the beatles’ baby’s in black, the louvin brothers’ my baby’s gone, joanna newsom’s baby birch, lefty frizzell’s my baby’s just like money, roy orbison’s dream baby, the ronettes’ be my baby, bob dylan’s it’s all over now baby blue, and, by just a hair, both aretha franklin’s (sweet sweet baby) since you’ve been gone and baby i love you for history’s best titularly infantile love song, in that exact order.

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#877: duke ellington - tchaikovsky’s nutcracker suite & interview (1960)

wouldn’t you know it, readers? we’re 20 days away from christmas, which means it’s time to start playing the inarguably most essential holiday albums in the entire history of snow, candy canes, multicolored menorah candles and hearty good cheerella fitzgerald wishes you a swingin’ christmas, the new possibility: john fahey’s guitar soli christmas album, phil spector’s a christmas gift for you from philles records, and, of course, duke ellington’s the nutcracker suite, which you should get for toot toot tootie toot (dance of the reed-pipes) and replay daily for the next three weeks for sugar rum cherry (dance of the sugar-plum fairy). watch ellington and his band record that last song, one that’s as fat and glowing as kriss kringle on a coke can, at the finale of the totally astonishing video above. and to all a good night.

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#846: john lennon and george harrison - oh my love (1971)

a little george harrison deserves a little more, but it also deserves 'til there was you in 1963’s royal variety concert, baby’s in black in 1966 in munich, michael lindsay-hogg’s rain video, george on a beach on his honeymoonall you need is love on the beatles’ telecast in 1967, maxwell’s silver hammer and good old you really got a hold on me in let it be, plus the spanish let it be poster, george’s true love on a boat in 1976, and, maybe most importantly of all, george singing blow away with a green-screen blue sky and giant orange duck.

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#831: big mama thornton and buddy guy - hound dog (1965)

i would stand on doc pomus’ coffee table in phil spector’s high heels and say that jerry leiber wrote the most quietly filthy and loudly adorable pop music of the 20th century’s soft midsection. where would we be without the verses of spanish harlem that sway like hips? the sashaying shuffle of kansas city? the molasses-sticky come ons in elvis’ love me, not to mention the hound dog that he butchered? leiber and the one-month-older mike stoller even produced stuck in the middle with you, because they could, and because no one else could’ve made music good for ear cutting. jerry leiber is dead at 78.

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#756: leonard cohen - take this waltz (1988)

a surefire way, but not the only one, to be sure that a music video is one of the best music videos in history is when it’s the crowning video of someone godly. by godly i mean the few people whose five best albums every man should own, like harry nilsson or randy newman—whose five i described earlier, then the awl added a helpful 41-song guide. and come to think of it the list of “ry cooder albums that every man should own” has been posted three-quarters of the way through the right column of this page for two years.

leonard cohen had five just between 1967 and 1973 (being songs of leonard cohen, songs from a room, songs of lond and hate, live songs—which i just got on vinyl for $.99 and goddamn it’s tremendous—and new skin for the old ceremony). and then of course there’s what’s come since then, like maybe his finest album, phil spector’s very charming death of a ladies man.

so he easily qualifies as godly, although if you looked at the man you’d have known that already. and this is clearly his video career’s crowning achievement: it has leonard cohen in slow motion, it has leonard cohen smoking, it has leonard cohen in front of a red sunset singing, “i want you on a chair with a dead magazine,” which i think might be a lorca line. and being that one way to be sure that a music video is one of the greatest in history is if it’s someone godly’s crowning achievement, take this waltz is one of the greatest music videos ever. quod erat demo, right?

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#735: the walker brothers - the sun ain’t gonna shine anymore (1966)

late january is just the right time to listen to songs so wintry they’ve got the season’s name in the title. scott walker’s winter night, which i’ve always thought of as a sort of weather-focused sequel to the sun ain’t gonna shine anymore, toes the line between heavenliness and the ice-rink music that plays on those sunday afternoon nbc figure skating tv programs i like to watch alone in my torn pajamas, with the volume turned way up, sobbing quietly.

i also appreciate winters love from animal collective’s sung tongs, but not winter wonder land from strawberry jam, mostly because i’m disappointed it’s not the same song darlene love sings on phil spector’s a christmas gift for you from philles records. the belle and sebastian b-side winter wooskie is only manageable if you’re in the mood to listen to a belle and sebastian b-side called winter wooskie. gillian welch’s winter’s come and gone is the best song about blackbirds that isn’t blackbird, but it’s still too early in the year to listen to it.

and as it happens, gillian reagan at capital new york put together a list of 37 other wintery songs by asking locals for some good low-fahrenheit music to diagnose and cure january doldrums. there are former observer writers like me and zachary woolfe, joe pompeo, jonathan liu and tom mcgeveran (hi guys!), but also my new bloomberg colleague devin leonard, plus real all-around swell gents like nick sylvester and joe “shots” coscarelli. read it and not weep.

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#718: the crystals - little boy (1964)

i’ll tell you in advance that the answer is no, but can you believe that i wrote all about phil spector and the holidays on christmas day without knowing that it was not only literally mr. spector’s birthday, but his 70th? what a sad state of affairs it is that one could forget the important birthday of a man who made the world sound like some sort of horrific natural disaster had turned the soil into tympanis and the air’s carbon and oxygen molecules into competing horn sections.

(things would have turned out better for him, legacy wise, if he hadn’t shot and killed house of blues waitress lana clarkson, and then told his valet, “i think i shot her.” on a lesser note, he also shouldn’t have physically threatened the greatest man who ever lived).

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things i learned about christmas this christmas:
1. phil spector’s 1963 a christmas gift for you from philles records, featuring not only the crystals’ santa claus is coming to town and the ronettes’ frosty the snowman but darlene love’s winter wonderland and white christmas and christmas (baby please come home), is the 20th century’s most swinging christmas album, beating even ella fitzgerald’s ella wishes you a swinging christmas from three years earlier. 
2. a photograph of phil spector in a sweater that says boy wonder, standing over a knocked-out santa claus, who himself is standing over a knocked-out jesus christ, really exists.
3. and so does a version of bob marley & the wailers doing white christmas when they were youngsters. it’s nearly better than bing.

things i learned about christmas this christmas:

1. phil spector’s 1963 a christmas gift for you from philles records, featuring not only the crystals’ santa claus is coming to town and the ronettes’ frosty the snowman but darlene love’s winter wonderland and white christmas and christmas (baby please come home), is the 20th century’s most swinging christmas album, beating even ella fitzgerald’s ella wishes you a swinging christmas from three years earlier. 

2. a photograph of phil spector in a sweater that says boy wonder, standing over a knocked-out santa claus, who himself is standing over a knocked-out jesus christ, really exists.

3. and so does a version of bob marley & the wailers doing white christmas when they were youngsters. it’s nearly better than bing.

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#701: phil spector & the teddy bears - to know him is to love him (1958)

could it really be true that leslie nielsen is no longer with us? surely he’s up in heaven with williams-sonoma mogul w. howard lester, silent film star baby marie osborne, and daniel boone producer william self, the other angels november so cruelly tore away from the us, enjoying celestial lightsaber games with the late irvin kershner.

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not an ike & tina turner album cover, but it should have been.
see also: river deep mountain high/honky tonk woman.

not an ike & tina turner album cover, but it should have been.

see also: river deep mountain high/honky tonk woman.

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#658: george harrison - got my mind set on you (1987)

ten steps of really loving the beatles, outside of loving actual beatles songs:

10. realizing that ringo starr is heroic, and understanding, deeply, why

9. feeling sad about brian epstein's suicide

8. appreciating the beatles for sale album cover

7. falling in love with paul mccartney’s ram, and then ringo starr’s ringo

6. and then george harrison’s all things must pass, but also the got my mind set on you video (above)

5. and finally john lennon’s plastic ono band and imagine

4. having opinions about phil spector’s production of imagine, let it be, and especially all things must pass

3. george martin’s production of america being a really strong sore point

2. crying to harry nilsson, the beatles’ favorite singer (rightly)

1. realizing that a day in the life is the beatles’ crowning achievement (even rolling stone sometimes gets it right), and that, if you think about it, it’s crazy that it comes after sgt. pepper’s lonely hearts club band (reprise) on sgt. pepper’s lonely hearts club band, and that even though john and paul clearly just take different sections of the song, and obviously hate each other, that together the halves are perfect, and that the hatred is conquered by the love, and that that is what makes the beatles the beatles.

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#610: ringo starr - back off boogaloo (1972)

today’s news that john lennon’s solo catalog is going to be reissued from his highness’ original masterings is wonderful, especially because his phil spector-debut plastic ono band is one of the universe’s great underrated masterpieces. it’s the only record anyone’s ever heard that’s unbearably crisp and wildly sludgy at the same time, just like it’s both sweet and very terrifying. and go listen to harry nilsson’s cover of isolation, too.

but when will ringo starr get the same ultra royal reissue treatment? the man was a sweet-faced, outer-space, hard core boogie ace. even marge simpson loves him! richard starkey deserves better: that the metropolitan museum of art is displaying his gold-plated snare drum for his 70th birthday is merely a start.

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