Nov 062009

Yesterday, while flipping stations in my car, I was faced with an extremely challenging Morton’s Fork; that is, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. All of the stations I had programmed in were on commercial break except for our local Oldies station and our local Classic Rock station. The Oldies station was playing Billy Joel‘s “Still Rock and Roll to Me”; the Classic Rock station was playing Boston‘s “Rock and Roll Band.” I really felt like listening to something on the radio with a beat. That’s right, the local AAA station, which is commercial free, was playing some acoustic thumbsucker with a whiny voice: “N/A.”

Usually, when faced with any Joel vs Boston choice I’d go with the well-crafted but not smug Boston selection, unless it was Joel’s “Uptown Girl” on the radio, the one Joel song I kind of like. I’d never considered that any other Joel song could have a chance when stacked up against any mediocre Boston song until this match up.

…a mediocre achievement of the highest order that nevertheless left nowhere lower to go…

“Rock and Roll Band” makes my flesh crawl. It’s a song that should have been taken behind a shed and shot. The same might be said for anything following Boston’s debut album, a mediocre achievement of the highest order that nevertheless left nowhere lower to go. For the first time in my life I chose to listen to “Still Rock ‘n Roll to Me.”

So that’s my choice. Feel free to comment on the wisdom of my decision or, better yet, throw an equally less-than-mediocre staple of Oldies or Classic Rock radio in the ring against my selection and see what the next Townsperson chooses. Then that person can toss a contestant into the ring against his or her choice. I’m curious to see what song is left on the scrapheap. Maybe, as a punishment, we can then burn the master recording.


  23 Responses to “Morton’s Fork: “Still Rock ‘n Roll to Me” or “Rock and Roll Band”?”

  1. No choice for me there: Boston loses just about any contest you can muster. Good pick, Mr. Moderator.

    How about Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice” vs. James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain”?

  2. Mr. Moderator

    To keep a link going from Townsperson to Townsperson, chuckflack, could you pick one of your two songs to go against my survivor, “Still Rock ‘n Roll to Me”? The next person would then have to decide between one of your turds and my initial remaining turd, leaving one turd to carry on against that next person’s turd contender. This way we can assess how long a given mediocre song is left on the table, we can determine the Ultimate Loser in this Morton’s Fork experiment. Thanks.

  3. Mr. Moderator

    Since “Fire and Rain” is considered James Taylor’s great song and since Foreigner is typically as maligned as Boston, Billy Joel, et al, I would like to suggest that “Cold as Ice” enter the Ring of Shame to take on “Still Rock ‘n Roll to Me.”


  4. Wow I would not cross the street to see Boston bit have been to five excellent Billy Joel shows. Uptown girl Is one of maybe ten Joel songs I don’t like

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    WTF is Mike Huckabee doing palling around with Boston?

    I nominate Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love” in the “Oh-God-I-So-Want-to-Change-the-Station-But-Shit-I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-Actually-Listening-to-This-WTF-Is-Wrong-With-Me-I-Think-I-May-Actually-Be-Enjoying-This-a-Little-Bit-Or-Is-That-the-Irony-Talking” contest.

  6. Still Rock and Roll VS R N R Band:
    I’ll go with Still Rock and Roll to Me.
    I always felt like this was BJ’s attempt to sound like “new wave joe jackson or elvis costello” while taking the piss out of them at the same time. Lame…but I actually like the song. I doesn’t reek of Long Island like most of his shit does.

    Cold as Ice VS Fire and Rain:
    Foreigner is the worst kind of AOR I can think of but it still destroys anything by a proto-folkie cunt like James Taylor. I would rather listen to a recording of Carlie Simon complaining about Starbucks treatment of her career than anything by this asshole.

    Cold as Ice VS Still Rock and Roll:
    Gonna have to go with Cold as Ice on this one, just on the merit of the BIG ROCK INTRO and the backing vocals at the end. closer contest though.

    Feel Like Makin Love VS Cold As Ice:
    Paul Rogers will always lose any contest in wich I am a judge.


    I believe the question at hand is…

    Cold As Ice by Foreigner VERSUS
    25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago

  7. I’ve just never dug on Foreigner. “Hot Blooded” cooks a little for me. I can dig it. The rest? No way. I’m taking Chicago. How can Paul (aka Rock N Roll Jesus) Rodgers lose?


  8. Boston songs may be stupid and obvious, but Billy Joel is gross. I’ll take Boston any day.

    Honestly, if I was listening to the radio, and it was a choice of Billy Joel or nothing, I’d turn off the radio. In fact I’ve done exactly that at least half a dozen times.

    Though they suck, the Foreigner and Bad Company tunes also rock–and “Feel Like Making Love” has the added benefit of being one of the unintentionally funniest songs in the history of rock and roll. It’s a winner, in my book.

    I challenge anyone to come up with a more listenable bad song than “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night).”

  9. Hey – I like December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) but I’m sure that’s not a suprise to you Dr mwall.

    I’ll go with Billy Joel but if the song was “Smokin”, I’d go with Boston. I’d also have to go with 25 or 6 to 4, but with reservation.

    Who wants to take on “I’m Your Captain” by Grand Funk

  10. Mr. Moderator

    Here’s a worthless challenger for “I’m Your Captain”: ELP’s “Lucky Man”! Ugh!

    I’ve got to sleep on the loser in that battle, but you may feel free to decide in my absence.

  11. Lucky Man’s pomposity is astounding. I never mind “I’m Your Captain” too much when it comes on the radio. And “December 1963” I can abide. But pap like Toto’s “Hold The Line” has no place on any radio.

  12. Mr. Moderator

    “Hold the Line” is a tremendous call, chuckflack! I heard a snippet of that song the other day and almost threw up. Then tonight, while watching the Eagles-Cowboys game, they played it in the background at one point. I guess to represent a 3rd-down stand? I’m curious to see if any song can be a reason for pause when matched against “Hold the Line.” Let’s see if this crowd-pleaser gives anyone pause:

    “Hold the Line” vs Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll”

  13. Are we trying to find more mediocre or slightly less mediocre songs here? “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll” is much more listenable than “Like A Rock” or “Against the Wind.”

  14. Mr. Moderator

    Mwall, at the moment you must choose between two songs: Toto’s “Hold the Line” and Seger’s “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll.” Which button do you choose on your car stereo?

    I know it’s going to be tough to find a song so lame that anyone would choose the Toto number, but I’m thinking that our rock nerd cultural aversion to “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll” might just cause some Townsperson to find the kernal of corn in the steaming turd of “Hold the Line.”

  15. If that’s the choice, definitely the Seger. But about against the other two Seger songs I mentioned, I choose the Toto, if only for the sake of novelty.

  16. mockcarr

    It’s more fun ragging on the obvious idiocy of Toto’s song, but doesn’t there have to be an Eagles song eventually destroying your possibilites? Would you listen to Hotel California or Hold The Line? I probably would have to stay at the hotel, since I’ve been influenced way too heavily by the psychic oblivion discussions. Then I would crash into something to satisfy my subconsicousness’ unhappiness.

  17. They’re both horrendous so this is like deciding whether you want a sharp stick in the left eye or the right one but I’ll take Hold The Line over Old Time Rock and Roll.

    Hold the Line or that Harry Chapin song about the Taxi Cab driver and his ex (“She was going to be an actress..”)

  18. I missed this from the original post… Still Rock And Roll To Me was on the OLDIES station???

    I can not have a record that I bought with my own money be old enough to be an OLDIE (so same goes with Mr. Roboto and Start Me Up)

    Question for the Townspeople..

    Where does “oldies” start/end
    Where does “classic rock” start/end
    Where does “modern rock” start/end

    a year? a song? a sub-genre?

  19. Mr. Moderator

    It’s true, jungleland2 – and shocking and sad – “Still Rock ‘n Roll to Me” was played on Philadelphia’s WOGL, 98.1, around noon this past Sunday.

    I’m going to move your question to The Main Stage. It’s definitely worth its own discussion!

  20. Wow, Mockcarr makes an excellent point. It could be that in this thread, the winner is stabbing us with its steely knife because we just can’t kill the beast.

  21. Mr. Moderator

    I heard a song tonight that I dislike so much that I might choose “Hold the Line,” if it came down between that TOturd and this one: Pat Benetar’s “Love Is a Battlefield.” Ugh!

  22. I’m taking Hold The Line because of its cheesy-cum-mediocre guitar solo. Old Time R&R has been played poorly by too many bar and wedding bands to have any staying power, and the Seger version is too associated with that Tom Hanks movie. Er, I mean Tom Cruise.

    Plus that scene from that movie is now being parodied by Hef in some TV commercial (couldn’t tell you the product). I change channels as soon as the opening piano comes in.

    My vote again is for Hold The Line (over Battlefield).

    How bout this:
    Hold The Line vs. Carry On Wayward Son. Pardon me while I hurl.

  23. The original Kansas version or the Oak Ridge Boys?

    Also, I saw where The Boys do “Seven Nation Army.” How close are we getting to Armegeddon?


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