GO!, one of my favourite shows on CBC Radio One, will soon be doing a feature on long songs. They asked for submissions, and, as usual, chomping at the bit to contribute to CBC, I nominated three songs. How often do I have to write them before they just hire me outright? Gah!
Epic Song Hall of Fame Nominations
"White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" (7:26) Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel
This long song might not be my all-time favourite song evah, but everyone's gonna vote for "Bohemian Rhapsody," so I'll nominate Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel's "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)." I was introduced to this song when it was featured in one of my favourite movies: Shaun of the Dead (2004). This 1983/84 single doesn't feature Flash's scratching, but that perpetual bass line and fantastic lyrics make this a perfect track to represent the best of rap from its era. "White Lines" is a cautionary tale of personal, economic and social ruin involved in cocaine addiction. Who knew an addiction to blow could be so catchy?
"Won't Get Fooled Again" (8:32) The Who
Oh, that scream. That's a rock and roll scream supreme, my friends. (7:44) "Won't Get Fooled Again" is also an excellent example of The Who's use of synthesiser along with conventional rock instruments. It's a song that sounds like it should be on a Cameron Crowe movie soundtrack. Besides its forward thinking and experimental technique, it's a damn catchy song! Do I regret that I didn't hear this song live? Nah – I could do without the chronic tinnitus and bleeding ears, so I'll listen in the comfort of my home, thank you very much.
"Paradise By the Dashboard Light" (8:29) Meat Loaf
A love song it ain't. "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" is really three songs strung together to tell a story. Still, I have a feeling Gordon Lightfoot wouldn't approve. It introduces the setting and situation of Meat Loaf (ugh) and an incongruently prudish chick watching the submarine races down at the lake. This part sounds a like typical Loaf: heavily influenced 50s-era rock, complete with background singers. (Can you just picture him rolling up on that hog in Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)?) There's a strange interval with a voyeuristic sports announcer describing the action to the listeners at home, when suddenly the girl interrupts and insists Loaf pledges loyalty forever. He does, and then spends the third part of the song begging for the end of time so he could get out of his promise. Aww – isn't it romantic? Amazing vocals and a place in the Epic Song Hall of Fame does not excuse the fact that the terrible DJ thought this would be an appropriate song for my entire family to enjoy at my sister's wedding dance.