Jan 182010

The wisdom of The Hall continues to amaze me. For as many knowledgeable individuals who dazzle with their rock knowledge, it is the collective wisdom of our participants that I find most dazzling.

It is in this spirit that I want to allow for further amazement—not only for the people but by the people. I was going to try to turn this into my own original post, in an attempt to display my deluded sense of having a unique brand of insight and humor, but then I thought better of it. Instead, I’d like to pose this question to the collective wisdom of The Orockle: Can’t we all just agree on one song by any of a handful of polarizing bands?

For instance, Pink Floyd‘s “Wish You Were Here” just came on the radio, and I was reminded of all the times I’d been in the presence of Floyd haters like my wife, who get that faraway look in their eyes whenever that Floyd song comes on the radio. Like a few other friends I know, my wife doesn’t like Pink Floyd even a little, but she digs that song. Can’t we all just agree on that one?

As always, when any of us consult The Orockle, the opportunity exists for folks to ask similar questions and receive similar advice. The topic shouldn’t necessarily focus just on Pink Floyd. Please feel free to suggest the one song by another polarizing band that we all agree is worth listening to when it comes on the radio.

I look forward to your responses.


  93 Responses to “Consult the Orockle: Can’t We All Just Agree On One Song by Any of a Handful of Polarizing Bands?”

  1. Midnight Blue by Lou Gramm? I contend this is an extension of Foreigner.

  2. PS The Pink Floyd songs I’d go for (I’m not much of a fan) are “Fearless” and “See Emily Play.”

  3. Mr. Moderator

    PPS – I’m talking about REAL Pink Floyd – the Waters-led band that hits its stride with Meddle. Anyone checking into the Halls of Rock on a regular basis most likely prefers the Syd Barrett stuff and feels like a better person for doing so!

  4. Mr. Moderator

    The Grateful Dead…can’t we all just agree on one song by them? Does anyone not like “Casey Jones?”

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    I keep thinking I need to check back into classic, Waters-era Floyd. Aren’t there some deep cutz from those albums I would like? How come every time I try to find them I get frustrated by the crap I have to wade through? Is this a fool’s errand?

    I suppose I’m re-iterating Mod’s question.

  6. Is there a list of Official RTH Polarizing bands, garnered from history and statistics?

  7. Mr. Moderator

    As a matter of fact, there was a thread on this:


    Thanks for the reminder.

    And no, there is not one Smiths song that I can agree on as being good:(

  8. alexmagic

    I think we’d be making real progress if we could find a Steely Dan song that the non-Dan fans could admit to enjoying.

  9. Mr. Moderator

    Can’t we all just agree on “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and/or “Reelin’ in the Years”?

  10. No, I can’t bear those. Maybe “Babylon Sisters.”

    Smiths – how about “How Soon Now?”

  11. Mr. Moderator

    Wow, perhaps we can’t all agree on a Steely Dan song! I’m not even sure non-“Dan” fans know “Babylon Sisters.” The title doesn’t ring a bell.

    Is “How Soon Now” that song with the echoed guitar part and then the little slide part that leads into each verse, their supposed song on which we all might agree? If so, I don’t like that any more than any other Smiths song I’ve ever heard.

    I woke up feeling optimistic about this endeavor, now I’m not so sure.

  12. 2000 Man

    I think this is destined to failure, Mod. Not only are there no good Smiths songs, Led Zeppelin suffers from the same affliction.

    We won’t even talk about The Eagles, okay?

  13. Mr. Moderator

    Not even “Communication Breakdown,” 2K?

    I have one thought about The Eagles, but this is not the right time to bring it up.

  14. Doesn’t everyone like “Take It to the Limit”?

  15. BigSteve

    No to Take It To the Limit. New Kid in Town is the only Eagles song I like.

    What about RTH icon Jackson Browne? Doctor My Eyes? Running on Empty? Somebody’s Baby?

  16. misterioso

    An avowed Smiths hater, I can nearly bear with How Soon Is Now.

    Avowedly indifferent to the charms of the Dead, I cannot back Casey Jones. Yet when, once in a blue moon, I hear the lovely Scarlet Begonias, I am enchanted. Maybe not well known enough to qualify as a song that can bring people together. But when I hear it I think: “Can I really be enjoying this so much? Can it be that if I worked a little at it I could find this pleasure in the rest of the Dead’s work?” The answer, so far, is definitively no.

    Once in a while, too, I think that Bad Sneakers by Steely Dan is flat-out fantastic. But if I had to plump for one song by SD it would be My Old School.

    I have come to the point where, a loaded gun pointed at my temple and told to name an Eagles song I like, or at least do not detest, I would blurt out “One of These Nights.” Then I would beg to be shot.

    It is one of the great mysteries to me that someone I find as loathsome as Jackson Browne could have produced a song in Running on Empty that not only is good but which even after all these years of overexposure I still enjoy. And I would add, On the Boulevard is terrific, too. But nothing else.

    I have found that as time passes, my deeply-entrenched anti-post-Syd Pink Floyd feelings have mellowed. So, I think Wish You Were Here is a good choice.

    Thank you for your patience. It was good to get that all out.

  17. Mr. Moderator

    misterioso, “My Old School” may be the healing, unifying Steely Dan tune we’ve sought. What say you, Townspeople?

    You make a great point about Jackson Browne. I also enjoy my share of “Doctor My Eyes.”

    This leads me to my thoughts on The Eagles, which I’m glad others have broached. “Take It to the Limit” is funny, if nothing else. “New Kid in Town” is almost decent. Good suggestions. However, I’d say the one song we all might agree on by The Eagles as being “not that bad” – in a 4th-best cut on an alt-country band’s album way – is “Take It Easy,” co-written by the execrable Mr. Browne. At least for me, that’s the one Eagles song with craft, a little bit of good vibrations, and some restraint that I can listen to all the way through on the radio and not want to launch an assault on the nearest steakhouse.

  18. misterioso

    Interesting. Take It Easy epitomizes everything I find distasteful in the Eagles. It’s a girl my lord in a flatbed Ford. You might say it wouldn’t sound so bad if it were on The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark, but, then, it isn’t.

    Relatively speaking, as countrified good vibrations go, I will opt for Peaceful Easy Feeling. With apologies all around.

  19. I might go with “My Old School.” For Browne, I might say, “On the boulevard.” As a non-Eagles fan, I’m going to say “Heartache Tonight.” For Zep, I’d propose “immigrant song.”

    The list of polarizing bands, so far as I can tell, is this:
    Barbara Manning
    The Smiths
    Hold Steady
    Led Zep
    The Cure
    Randy Newman
    Tom Waits

  20. plasticsun

    I can get behind My Old School, and while I have a major aversion to the Dead and I can’t stand Casey Jones, I kinda like Ripple. I have attempted to listen to post Syd Pink Floyd but only the BBC version of “Green is the Colour” (without the stupid ass flute)meets my approval. Oh, and there is no such thing as a good Eagles song.

  21. Mr. Moderator

    I’m willing to accept that we cannot come to agreement on an Eagles song. I can’t say it surprises me.

    I am shocked at the support for Jackson Browne’s “On the Boulevard.” Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back!

    cher, thanks for digging out that list of RTH-validated Polarizing Bands. There’s still hope we’ll reach further agreement on some other bands.

  22. Mr. Moderator

    And “the Dan’s” “My Old School.” Very healing.

  23. GBV – Tractor Rape Chain?

  24. misterioso

    “On the Boulevard” has many things going for it, none of which one associates with Jackson Browne: nice riff, a little funky, even, decent production. Popular but never played to death. As far as I know, no video to accompany it and spoil the effect by having to see Jackson Browne.

  25. cliff sovinsanity

    Hmm, Wish You Were Here is one of my least favorite Floyd song, thanks to a fellow acoustic night strummer who played that damn song every Sunday night. Whatever

    The Decemberists always seemed to create a debate between the converted and the non-believers, however they all seem to like The Perfect Crime

  26. “Wish You Were Here” is sunk by its lousy lyrics. I challenge someone to give me an explanation of the verses. I’d go with “Money”

    Here are my song suggestions for some of the polarizing bands:

    GBV, “I Am a Scientist”
    Zappa, “Moving to Montana”
    ELO, “Do Ya”
    Randy Newman, “Louisiana”
    AC/DC, “Highway to Hell”
    Tom Waits, “Downtown Train”

  27. How does everyone feel about Regina Spektor?

  28. With Kiss on the list, I’m surprised no one has yet mentioned “Rock and Roll All Night (and Party Every Day).”

    Doesn’t everyone like to spend the hours of 8PM-5AM doing the former and 1 PM – 7PM doing the latter?

  29. misterioso

    Seconding “Do Ya” for ELO, took the words outta my mouth, and “Highway to Hell” for AC/DC, though Shoot To Thrill….

    GBV, Zappa, Waits, Newman…zzzzzzzz…..Polarizing means love or hate. I certainly don’t love them, cannot possibly care enough to hate. Just not interested.

  30. “My Old School” sucks. I could have gotten behind “Rikki” or “Reelin'” as not too unbearable.

  31. Pink Floyd – Fearless. Nobody is with me on this?

  32. Mr. Moderator

    Damn, not even “Wish You Were Here” makes the grade! Welcome aboard anyway, cliff:) I know what you mean about someone strumming a song incessantly on an acoustic guitar that can kill even the one Floyd song we could possibly agree on.

    “Money” is OK, but the hectoring tone of Waters’ vocals wear thin on me – and then there’s that troubling sax solo.

    And “the Dan,” man, “the Dan”… How are we ever going to agree on “the Dan?”

  33. Mr. Moderator

    I’d totally forgotten what “Fearless” was, cher. That’s fine by me, but I like a little more Floyd than my Floyd-hating self of 30 years ago. Maybe there’s hope yet!

  34. I give a third vote for “Do Ya” by ELO.

  35. I suspect a filibuster is emerging on Steely Dan, but I’ll throw some more out there to see if they get any traction:

    Bodhisattva (with its quasi-hardcore beat, I’ve observed this song being appreciated by punk rock types who normally wouldn’t go anywhere near SD)

    Show Business Kids (ironic reference to themselves, gratuitous yet appropriate f-word use which often managed to get through on the radio, catchy groove, not much studio musician wankery getting in the way)

    Do It Again (why not?)

  36. I would take “Don’t bring me down” over “Do Ya.”

  37. Sorry, I keep posting in short bursts…

    For AC/DC wouldn’t the song be “Back in Black?” I mean, that song just drives itself, from the very first note.

  38. I contend that “Do Ya” is just about the perfect pop/rock song. from the D-A-G progression to the over-the-top lyrics, how can it possibly disappoint? Plus, it sounds like an elephant crapping a ton of bricks.

    We could combine Tom Waits and Eagles and throw out “‘Ol 55?” I’m just now treading the waters of Tom, but that first record is bound to have something on it not too polarizing. “Martha?” I dunno. He may be a lost cause. Same with Eagles. Even though I like that version of “Desperado” from Langley Schools Music Project.


  39. 2000 Man

    Sorry, Mod. Even Communication Breakdown gets the fast hook from me when it comes on the radio.

    I suppose for ELO I could get behind Do Ya, but The Move’s version is better. Actually, Todd Rundgren’s is better so I think we need to reconsider. Maybe Can’t Get It Out of My Head?

    I like just about all of Steely Dan’s stuff, so I can get behind Bodhisattvha. That’s got some pretty tasty guitars in it.

    I think any AC/DC song has to be a Bon Scott era song. He’s kind of the only thing they really had going for them.

  40. But at the same time, Do Ya is so color by numbers from its “stock as it comes” chord progression, the plodding tempo and cowbell, the uninteresting melody. What makes this any different from “you ain’t seen nothing yet,” a crappy song that at least seems to acknowledge its own stupidity. And who refers to another person as “woman?” And the whole pretentious Spinal Tap stonehenge bridge with that part cribbed from “Love Reign Oer Me.”

    Crap. It’s crap I tell you.

  41. I’m not a huge Floyd fan but I much prefer Roger-era Floyd. Meddle is probably my favorite but is that really going to bring both sides to the table?

    I can’t believe that Wish You Were Here and My Old School got the hook. If folks can’t get behind those two songs, there might not be any hope.

    And as a casual Smiths fan, I have to say that I don’t get the appeal of How Soon Is Now. The coolest thing about it is that hook that was lifted for the Hippie Chick song. What about Girlfriend in a Coma or Vicar in a Tutu?

    Jackson Browne’s Boulevard is okay but I am also surprised that the People couldn’t get behind Running on Empty. Too ubiquitous?

    As for the Eagles, I’ve yet to hear anyone with even a passing interest in rock say something nice about them. I agree that they all seems like douche bags, and I too find it befuddling that so many people bought their “Greatest Hits”. But are they really as evil as all that? A few of their songs are pleasant enough that I suspect that without all of the back story and overexposure, some of you haters might actually make a case for them.

    That said, New Kid in Town and Heartache Tonight blow.

  42. “Do Ya” IS stoopid as hell, che, but that’s precisely its appeal for me. It’s the prototype for Big Dumb Rock, which I personally don’t have a problem with. I can get behind Big Dumb Rock that knows that it’s dumb as opposed to just dumb rock: rock that tries to be big and takes itself seriously like most of those hair meatal bands from the 80s. In “Do Ya’s” defense, I think it knows that it’s ridiculous. No one could write those lyrics and think they were supposed to be taken seriously. I think the bigness of it drives it.


  43. I have to say, I am unconvinced that AC/DC are polarizing anywhere outside of RTH. Maybe at the Lilith Fair, but that’s it.

    The Smiths are a band that will never, ever get an objective appraisal here, so I don’t even know why we’re talking about them.

    I am intrigued that Hrrundi is curious about Waters-era Pink Floyd. I have trouble thinking of anything he’d like about them. They don’t rock. They lack charisma. They’re humorless. They don’t have chops. They’re dismissive of pop hooks. They don’t need no education. Etc.

  44. Mr. Moderator

    I’m actually surprised that ELO is considered “polarizing.” I thought they were harmless and easy to dismiss, like The Cars. If anyone doesn’t like “Do Ya” they mustn’t have ears!

    Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” might work. That “Bodhisattvha” song, on the other hand, exemplifies ALL that I can’t stand about those guys. To me, that turd was composed specifically as an acoutrement to the wearing of tight ponytails and the smokey tortoise shell glasses preferred by the likes of David Sanborn. Ugh!

    Cher, I for one failed to answer your question regarding Regina Spektor. I tried her once on a recommendation and couldn’t get into it.

    AC/DC has enough decent songs, in my book, that I have no objection to anything mentioned. Those who truly object to the band will have to settle the matter without me.

    I like a little bit of Tom Waits, but my guess is there’s no one song by him on which we can all agree. A few of you have trotted out his covered hits, right? To my ears, songs like “Downtown Train” might as well be on one of those boring albums by The Boss that non-Boss fans and Boss fans ashamed for their Boss Love pretend to like. Those of you who’ve been hunted down at the Nebraska border know what I’m talking about.

    Oats raises a question that I’m bringing to The Main Stage for further discussion. Hold tight!

  45. alexmagic

    I probably shouldn’t speak for Oats here, since he coose not to weigh in right above, but I believe we have had discussions as fellow hardline anti-Eagles partisans that that “Victim of Love” may be their least objectionable song.

    “My Old School” getting thrown out for Steely Dan makes things difficult, but I’m not ready to give up on the Dan front yet, for the sake of healing. I wouldn’t have thrown “Bodhisattva” into the ring here, too long and I don’t think either the solo or title will fly in the Hall. Before I suggest an alternative, I’d like to hear everyone troubled by the Dan give their take on “Bad Sneakers”, as suggested above, so I can properly figure out how best to heal.

    Re: “Do Ya”, I don’t think that song (or “Boy Blue”) gets enough credit for how weird those lyrics are. What’s with the bridge about all the poor country people running into town to feel up this Mystery Woman’s hair? There are quite a few odd holdovers in ELO lyrics from when Lynne was trying to write appropriately-strange stuff to keep in step with Ron Wood.

    Finally, I think we need to call 2000 Man out here a bit. Not a single song of Zeppelin, just across the board like that? EPG not only brought a list of 2.5 Zeppelin songs that he enjoyed to the last RTH gathering, he also graciously agreed to review a list of Zeppelin songs suggested by an All Star Team of Townspeople on the spot and may have even added an additional song and a third to his list. You need to follow the man’s example and give us some more here.

  46. SD – Kid Charlemagne.

    Let’s not get hung up on the part about whether or not there’s gas in the car, that song kicks enough ass that everyone should be able to get on board.

  47. Mr. Moderator

    cdm, I think I hate “Kid Charlemagne” too. Sorry.

    alexmagic, way to hold 2K’s feet to the fire! Jeez, it’s not like we’re asking anyone to come up with the requisite 30 great songs that might begin to prove an artist’s worth.

  48. For the Dan, “Any Major Dude”
    For Zeppelin, “Tangerine”
    For Tom Waits, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up”

  49. 2000 Man

    Hold my feets to the fire, they won’t burn. I just can’t stand Led Zeppelin. Bob Plant’s voice is migraine inducing. I remember I bought the album no one knows the name of because I was thinking I wanted to hear When the Levee Breaks. On the way home, the radio played it, and I barely got through the first verse before I turned it off. I gave the cd away the next day. I loaned a girl Physical Graffiti in high school. She gave me Rod Stewart’s A Night on the Town. Man, that Rod album is mostly awful! When I got my Zep album back, it was beat to snot so I bought another one. I ended up giving that away, too. I couldn’t believe I liked that horrible Rod album better! I was bummed that I spent the money on a double album that I disliked so much (my original copy was a gift).

    How’s Black Friday for a Dan song? And wouldn’t Love Reign O’er Me (O’er is a word that should be banned from rock) had to have ripped off Do Ya? I know it was one of the last Move songs, but I think ELO always played it. I don’t think it matters, and I’m actually more peeved by O’er than anything else.

  50. 2000 Man

    I vote for Pasties and a G String for Tom Waits. That’s the only album by him I’ve got, and my kid drools over it because it’s apparently hard to find on vinyl these days.

  51. No Kid Charlemagne? I’m not convinced you have any serious interest in tearing down walls here, Mod.

    How about Home At Last? If you take away the admittedly misguided synth break down (and is any song really without its flaws), then you are left with a cool song that has a great groove, thanks to former Fab Four drummer Bernard Pretty Purdie. Not the greatest song ever, but a song good enough that it shouldn’t offend anyone, and that’s what we’re really talking about here, isn’t it?

    Here’s the link to the making of Home At Last. Fast forward to the 2:55 mark and marvel at one of the most fascinating people in the biz as he runs down some highlights from his CV and then demonstrates the Purdie Shuffle with calculated indifference.


    They say it ain’t bragging if you can actually do it but with Bernard Purdie, it somehow still looks like bragging.

  52. 2k man,
    I have about 13 or 14 Tom Waits cds and I don’t like Pasties and a G String.

  53. “Home at Last”? We’re going to the deep-cuts well already? If people can’t find a Steely Dan hit — of which there are many — to agree upon, than we should drop it.

    I’m pretty such shitting all over this “one song by a polarizing band” thing, aren’t I?

  54. “If anyone doesn’t like “Do Ya” they mustn’t have ears!”
    I have ears, and they hurt when Do Ya is on. I rate it on par with Steve Miller’s “Abracadabra.”

    Anybody want to float a Zappa song? How about “Ms Pinky?”

  55. Mr. Moderator

    cdm, I just revisited “Kid Charlemagne.” I HATE that song. Now I’m not even sure we can be friends.

    “Black Friday” is another song that makes me nauseous. It has some good parts, but as is almost always the case they pour white vinegar over everything I might like in their music. It ruins the soil and makes the plants wilt.

    Oats is right, if we have to go “deep traxx” for any of these artists there’s no hope.

    I own 5 or 6 Tom Waits albums, yet there’s not one song by him that I would recommend to someone who finds him deeply annoying.

    I can’t imagine us finding a unifying Zappa song.

    This is getting so depressing I fear I can no longer be friends with shawnkilroy, and he’s yet to check in on this thread.

  56. Mr. Moderator

    I know Captain Beefheart really turns some folks off. How about “Zig-Zag Wanderer” for the one song on which we can all agree? Let’s hold hands and form a big circle, shall we?

  57. misterioso

    The absence of universal love for Do Ya is a little amazing. Personally, I would opt for Livin’ Thing, but would have thought Do Ya had more universal appeal.

    More amazing, to me, is the lack of regard for My Old School. My stance on Steely Dan has more or less always been: I’m okay with (most of) the hits and don’t mind hearing them once in a while, but when I have ventured beyond that, there lies only tedium. Only a handful of songs, hits or otherwise, would I ever actively seek out.

    But in the end maybe the issue is: if a band/performer is so polarizing that you have completely tuned them out (as I have the Smiths, Zappa, Waits, and others), there is almost no chance of a retrial. The verdict is in: death by hanging. No appeal.

  58. misterioso

    As I think about it, an interesting exercise would be to devise a list of non-polarizing performers. I don’t mean that there is ever an act about which there is universal agreement. In any crowd of strong-opinioned listeners there will be one or two who (irrationally, of course) will claim that they detest the Beatles. But since polarizing suggests to me a more or less equal balance between those who love and those who hate, the question is–and perhaps this has been addressed here before–on whom is there more or less universal agreement?

  59. Mr. Moderator

    Good question, misterioso. Can any rock fan of any stripe truly say that he or she does not like The Rolling Stones?

  60. Does anybody dislike The Who?

    We could probably come to an agreement on a song by a RTH scapegoat before we agree on these polarizing bands. Like, I know everybody loves, “Allentown.”

  61. misterioso

    Mod, my answer to your question “Can any rock fan of any stripe truly say that he or she does not like The Rolling Stones?” is “No.” But yet I know people–younger people than I but not exactly kids, people in their mid-30s–who have no use for the Stones, have only known the Stones as a bunch of geezers they could not care less about and thus have never bothered to investigate their prime work. People who grew up with a package called “Classic Rock” that they find objectionable on principle. I think for these folks the Giants of 60s-70s Rock–Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Floyd, Who, and the like–can no more be given a fair hearing than I (and I gather you) can give most rap or hip hop or whatever. This does not, of course, prevent me from thinking that anyone who does not or cannot like the Stones is a few cards short of a full deck.

  62. hrrundivbakshi

    I was in a thrift store today, and heard “Roundabout” by Yes. I immediately was reminded of three things:

    1. I do not like Yes. Never have, never will.

    2. I *do* like “Roundabout.” It’s probably the one song of theirs I really like.

    3. This thread. Hence, I ask: can we all agree that “Roundabout” is a good song by an otherwise (sez me) sucky band?


  63. misterioso

    hrrundivbakshi — Yes! No to Yes, yes to Roundabout.

  64. misterioso – you just described me to a tee. I rejected all “classic rock” and was actually in my 20’s before I ever heard the songs “Whipping Post” and “Freebird.” It took me a long time to get around the feeling that what was being played on classic rock radio was just completely uncool. I think I’ve managed to get over this feeling, for the most part,

  65. Mr. Moderator

    Hrrundi, I think “Roundabout” is a very healing song among the Yes catalog. It was certainly the first thing I could stomach by them.

  66. I kinda like that Yes song with the recorders in it. More songs with recorders, yo. Hit me.

  67. alexmagic

    As someone just about in that mid-30s sweet spot (or, as it’s called here in RTH, “young”), I obviously feel like I have the authority to speak for my entire generation and say that nobody in their mid-30s is allowed to play the “I got no time at all for any classic rock, man” card. It’s fine when you’re younger or if you’ve aged into a balding ponytailed type, but at this point in your life, you should have gone through the cycle cher describes above of denial/rejection into acceptance.

    I can’t honestly see anyone who isn’t being either willfully contrarian or has absolutely zero interest in rock-based music who couldn’t find at least one Beatles or Stones song they could admit to liking. And I think that kind of outlier can be discounted for this discussion.

    Within RTH itself, has anyone ever come out against The Kinks?

    Back to the original subject and its Steely Dan subtopic, I have two or three songs in mind that I may present to the Hall for a Fair Hearing thread. I don’t expect any of these to win people over, but I think an honest and open discussion of what works and doesn’t work about them could lead to some musicological breakthroughs and, equally important, healing.

  68. “I have two or three songs in mind that I may present to the Hall for a Fair Hearing thread.”

    Is one of those songs “Kings”? I really don’t know many deep Dan cuts but that one is a-okay.

  69. Can we expand the Dan to include solo Fagan? Because I could get behind IGY or New Frontier.

  70. Saying that Roundabout is a song we should all agree upon is the least polarizing song by Yes, is like saying the same thing about Stairway to Heaven with regards to Led Zep. Both songs have been played to death on AOR radio and have more or less bullied me into submission. Ok, I give up!

  71. BigSteve

    A friend of mine went to see Levon Helm in concert a few weeks ago. Unfortunately he was still not singing, as on the recent episode of Spectacle. But Donald Fagen was in the band, and my friend said they played Black Friday. If it’s good enough for Levon, it should be good enough for RTH.

  72. The thing about Steely Dan – and to a large extent, Eagles, and I’d put Fleetwood Mac into this pot also – is that they were doing the insane editing – tweaking timing, fixing pitch, that one only used to be able to do with a large budget, expensive studios with the best engineers all driven by a drive for “perfection” and, likely, cocaine. It’s the kind of thing that is so easy to do nowadays with the computer, but they did it “by hand” and it took a long time. So if you think much of today’s popular music is edited to the point where it is mechanical and lifeless, we have these forefathers to thank.

    Steely Dan put out a live album where they replaced almost everything. Think of the awesome players those guys have – do you really need to “fix” anything that Dennis Chambers plays? Let me answer that – No. No you don’t. They can’t one time let a single thing go untucked, a loose thread, a single note gone sharp or flat. I bet we could come up with a list of albums that have an audible mistake within the first 30 seconds of the first song, all albums I’d probably prefer over anything by Steely Dan. I really appreciate the craft and towering talent that go into those albums, but I don’t enjoy that music.

  73. Mr. Moderator

    alexmagic, please let me know if you need help loading those tunes into The Back Office. cher, same to you. I’m pretty sure you both have Back Office privileges. Get drafting!

  74. What tunes am I uploading?

  75. Mr. Moderator

    cher, I thought you wanted us to examine solo Fagan tunes.

  76. Sorry for jumping in late on this, but I wanted to get my $0.02 in.

    My wife hates Steely Dan (including all of the songs mentioned so far in this thread), but inexplicably loves the song “Dirty Work”. Thus, that would be my vote.

    I have major issues with the Dead, but have always liked “Friend of the Devil”.

    The same goes with The Eagles, but I’ve learned to like “Take It to the Limit” in the last 3+ years or so since I saw The Decemberists cover it. I’ve also liked the title track of Hotel California despite how overplayed it is, but otherwise my feelings about the Eagles are similar to those of John Goodman’s character from The Big Lebowski.

  77. New Frontier – you’re gonna HATE it!

  78. misterioso

    Thanks for the New Frontier link. Always liked it. Reminds me of watching Night Flight on USA network in the early 80s.

  79. Mr. Moderator

    I’d blanked out “New Frontier,” cher. I just don’t get the appeal of that kind of music. It’s like musical brie, the one cheese I don’t like at all.

  80. A couple of late proposals, both from bands I would say could at least be considered on the fringe of “polarizing”.

    U2 -Pride (In the Name of Love)
    NRBQ – Me and the Boys

  81. Mr. Moderator

    I’d sign on with NRBQ and “Me and the Boys”!

    I don’t dislike U2 as much as some of us, so I’m not qualified to judge their sole unifying song. I’m not a huge fan of “Pride…,” though, among the 10 songs I like by that band.

  82. I like the weird Achtung U2 best, so I’m probably not the best to comment on that.

    As for NRBQ, I’d choose “Drivin’ in My Car.” Have you guys heard She and Him are covering this song on their upcoming second albun? I think it’s funny, because if you asked me to name a person who is physically the exact opposite of the members of NRBQ, I’d probably say Zooey Deschanel.

  83. Also, Berlyant’s suggestion of “Dirty Work” is great for the Dan. You’ve got that other guy on lead vocals for the verses, but Fagen’s very prominent on the chorus, so it still sounds like “The Dan.” It’s a very pretty, sad song, but kinda funky in a low-key way too. I like that solo Fagen song, but that’s not a unifying track. You have to focus on the first three albums, I say, before they totally went hog-wild with the slick session players.

  84. Mr. Moderator

    One late-period “Dan” song that may surprise you, coming from me, as a suggested unifying track: “Hey Nineteen.” I think it’s the most-successful, fully realized of their super-slick song, and I think it’s very funny, both intentionally and unintentionally.

  85. I really like “Me and The Boys” but how about “I Want You Bad”

    As for U2, I like some of their stuff well enough (although I’ve never bought anything by them) but I can’t get behind “Pride”. In fact, that one encapsulates most of the things that I don’t like about them.

  86. Hey Nineteen is one of the worst ones! That synth sound.. Steve Winwood was attached to a synth sound like that too. And… I like brie!

    Is NRBQ polarizing? I could see somebody being lukewarm on them. Would have to go with Riding in my Car, also.

  87. Mr. Moderator

    Looking at it from a non-“Dan” fan’s perspective, cher, the thing I found good about “Hey Nineteen” is that the unintentionally bad/funny aspects of that song are highly amusing and justify all the negative feelings we’ve had over that band. Meanwhile I honestly think it’s the song that best exemplifies everything that band was aiming at – it’s got the high-tech, glossy production and killer chops and musically it’s right at home in the stereos of those people the band has always mocked and ridiculed. Fagan and Becker’s Beard always seemed like they wanted to dupe the general public into buying records that tore down all that the holier-than-thou musicians felt was wrong about the general public. In one way this perceived goal is admirable; in another way it may get at the heart of why I feel Steely Dan is rock’s biggest collective dick, which is probably appropriate considering their choice in band name.

    Excepting a handful of songs, I pretty much despise NRBQ and, especially, all that Terry Adams (the keyboard player) stands for.

  88. 2000 Man

    Wow, I had no idea NRBQ could even be remotely polarizing. I just thought everyone kind of liked them. Me and the Boys and that basketball buzzer is pretty awesome, and the rest of their stuff that I’ve heard is pretty enjoyable. I don’t know what Terry Adams stands for, but I always thought The Q were pretty cool.

  89. This is a very interesting thread (or whatever the in towners call discussions of submitted agreement or protest dimension), but not for the consideration of identifying “polarizing bands/artists” but rather in the philosophical & psychological notion of a perceived love/hate reaction to these bands.

    why? Because what the hell band could not be a subject of such a musically ingested social arrangement. So we/I know there is some far more dark and fascinating mechanism at work here, lurking beneath the placid surface of such a fore drawn proposition in consideration.

    I am certainly not stating or even suggesting that someone who believes that bands can have a polarizing effect upon those listening are apt to fly into a fit of blind schizophrenic rage and kill their spouse or possibly an unsuspecting Jehovah’s Witness…

    But I am, anything but clearly I’m afraid, attempting to make the point that such a consideration is based on a well masked hidden motive. A desperate plea in the disguised form of a control seeking rationale. This rationale is anything but unnatural but it does bare careful consideration. Not to worry dear souls, as I won’t be going into any sexual masturbation based comparisons or justifications here to make my point, if there is one to make in the first place.

    but I can’t help but ask myself:

    Is the very rationale that has turned the once free and untainted airwaves of our favorite FM dials,via the exact same motive albeit in a different business oriented application, the same basic motive as the one that bids the inquisitive resolution at hand? Could be.

    It seems to me that anytime we funnel or focus the issue of polarity with respect to artistic uptake, we are forcing “choice”. Either unknowingly upon ourselves in a hope to find such a resolution, or in the dastardly manner described above, a cold, calculating and profit driven directive.

    You know, I have to express emphatically that throughout this post I have been plagued by an almost overpowering urge to break out into a mad scientist’s diabolic laughter. I will continue to resist that which compels me.

    In this fine thread I propose the following:

    Music is Power

    Therefore we must at all costs, including your Marriage dear friend, hope beyond all hope that we NEVER can agree upon that singular song among these “polarized” artists. Revel in your separatism. Climb to the very top highest tree in the town square, try not to fall out, and shout out to the world your undeniable right to be wrong.

    I ask you, no, I BEG you, to close the windows and doors of your hopeful resolve. Allow your vast and preciously individual empowered musical mind to become a ready to erupt volcano of passionate personal lava. One who’s subterranean lakes of fire undulate with an inextinguishable individual brand of molten rock that only YOU can summon and control.

    As you find yourself compelled to resolve such pseudo domestic matters as these, instead of rationalizing, erupt, and KNOW that things musically and artistically, are exactly as they should be. Seek not any such projected commonality, but rather sheer individuality, and worship at the celebrated artistic door of one another’s unique passion oozing volcano.

    …and try not to get burned in the process and remember: It’s perfectly OK to let each other’s lava mingle once in a while. In fact, you might just find yourself and that special other tempted to “do it in the road” once in a while.

  90. BigSteve

    Writeherenow’s lava metaphor reminds me that the first B-52’s album deserves a mention here.

  91. Going back to the first comment, “Blue Morning, Blue Day” is a much better Foreigner song than “Midnight Blue.” Pretty cool riff, and it sounds a bit like Badfinger.

  92. hrrundivbakshi

    Everyone knows the one great uniting Foreigner song is “Hot Blooded.” It’s also in the pantheon of Greatest Songs With Crappiest Lyrics.

  93. misterioso

    Gents, the one great uniting Foreigner song is Double Vision. Way better than the plodding Hot Blooded. But dickbonanza is disturbingly correct in noting the Badfingerisms of Blue Morning. Creepy, but true.

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