Nov 222010

Have you seen any worthwhile rock on the tube of late? I’m really looking forward to the Lennon thing on PBS tonight, so much so that I’ll probably forget to watch it and/or DVR it. Feel free to send me a note reminding me of it later tonight, OK?

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person to see The Boss last week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, right? I thought He was pleasantly charming, from His appearance as His younger self in a duet with Fallon as Neil Young through His time chatting with Fallon and then playing with The Roots, Little Steven, and Roy Bittan. His version of “Because the Night” made me appreciate, as always, His generosity in giving that song to Patti Smith, who made it something special.

This weekend Florence + The Machine appeared on Saturday Night Live. She/they were incredibly annoying, like Annie Lennox done by the tone-deaf Cher.  Not that I ever expect to, but I don’t get it. At least Lennox could carry a tune. The band’s use of a plus sign rather than an ampersand makes me wonder if there’s ever been a good band that used a plus sign.

Other than that I caught a Jimi Hendrix doc on Ovation centered around his Monterrey performance that never fails to amaze me, an interesting history of Da Blooz on the same cable network, and some episodes of the always-entertaining That Metal Show. What a genius format for presenting a genre of music that otherwise doesn’t interest me in the least!

Surely I’ve missed something else worthwhile. Do tell.


  21 Responses to “Rock on the Tube”

  1. cherguevara

    Like Annie Lennox or not, she can definitely do more than “carry a tune!”

    The most worthwhile thing I’ve seen – and it definitely is worthwhile, is the film of the 1st U.S. Beatles concert that Apple is streaming from the iTunes store. I guess you can own it if you buy the complete catalog, but that ain’t gonna happen here! There’s been much discussion of this elsewhere – the “revelation” that Ringo actually kicks ass, the ricketiness of his drum riser, the band moving their own gear and having no monitors, etc, etc.

  2. BigSteve

    It’s not really TV, but I saw it on IFC, so it counts. I finally watched Anton Corbijn’s film about Joy Division, Control. The B&W cinematography was beautiful, and seeing Manchester and environs was a revelation. And it’s that rare rock film where they show the actors making music, and it’s not only not embarrassing, it actually made sense and sent me back to the JD recordings to listen with fresh ears. Recommended.

    That documentary on the making of Darkness on the Edge of Town was also very good. Even some people I know who are Springstophobes found it worth a look.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    The Lennon thing was on in DeeCee last night. I found it a bit depressing — and very Yoko-friendly/Paul-hostile. Worth watching, but only barely.

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    I agree, a wonderful film. It made a good companion piece to “24 Hour Party People” (sort of).

  5. ladymisskirroyale

    Interestingly, my Mom and I were discussing the Lennon thing over lunch today (those furlough days are good for some things). She was most impressed (if that’s the right word) for the fact that he did unto Julian what his father had done unto him. What is Julian up to these days?

  6. misterioso

    That concert–the DC concert, I believe–is quite enjoyable on many levels. The rinky-dink set up of the entire thing is astonishing. But the Beatles (and I slip into Macca voice here) were quite the tight little rock and roll outfit; when you can hear them over the incredibly shrill screaming. Ringo is pounding the crap out of his drums (as I recall, he flails around so much during I Wanna Be Your Man that his mouth is only intermittently near the mic that was put near him), George uncorks a great, messy solo for I Saw Her Standing There. Fine stuff.

  7. alexmagic

    For as long as I’ve known that Springsteen wrote “Because The Night”, I’ve never actually heard it as performed by him, and yet I feel confident that I know exactly how he’d sing it. In fact, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but few things in music entertain me more than imaginging what a song would sound like if it turned out that the Boss was its original writer and had a demo version sitting around somewhere.

    This even extends to his new music that I haven’t heard. Amazon had one of his new songs, “City of Night”, available for free last week and I immediately came up with how a latter day Bruce Springsteen song called City of Night must sound, to the point that I didn’t even bother clicking the preview.

  8. I’m tuning into this game your mind plays with songs Springsteen would have written, alexmagic. I’m now imagining him growl through “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.”

  9. I think there’s two different Lennon things on PBS. Last night was a really bad made-for-the-BBC movie about Lennon’s relationship with his dad (as near as I could tell). Tonight I think it’s a documentary about his time in NY.

  10. About 25 years ago, I heard a Springsteen parody album where they did the Flintstones’ theme complete with a musical intro over which “Bruce” told some stories (“I can remember getting off of work, jumping in my car and giving it a running start…”).

    Holy Crap, I found it! I love the internet!

  11. There are 2 other songs Bruce gave away on The Promise as more material for your game. “Fire” has none of the R&B pop of the Pointer Sisters version, Bruce’s version is all bass guitar and the low “I’m on Fire” voice. And “Talk to Me” was given to Southside Johnny. I can’t say I’m familiar with his version. And Bruce pulls a good Buddy Holly imitation on “Outside Looking In”.

    I think I heard that Bruce Springstone thing somewhere before as well. Thanks for bringing it back.

  12. “Just another lost ain-jowl / City a Night”
    NJ Woman (J. Morrison / B. Springsteen)

  13. I remember liking Bruce’s version of “Fire” when I saw him on The River Tour and wishing it was on a studio album. I’m not sure if I know those other songs, but I may have heard them.

  14. Two thumbs up for the Lennon show on PBS. It wasn’t a stone-cold masterpiece – how could it be considering all the crap music Lennon recorded during his early years in NYC – but he’s just so cool and inspiring to me after all these years. His music-scene friends were very cool, including Jack Douglas, Bob Gruen, and would-be Friend of the Hall Klaus Voorman (his wife wouldn’t let him do an interview with us). Yoko came off well. The last couple of years were pretty emotional for me, as usual.

  15. misterioso

    One thumb more or less up from me, even though I pretty much agree with your assessment. I realize it was not the place for a cold-eyed analysis of his records, but, gosh, you’d get the idea that it was pretty much one great record after another recorded during this period! And Sometime in NYC–a misunderstood masterpiece! And the strange footage, during the Mind Games section, of him singing something from the Imagine sessions. Weird.

    But like you I found it all very moving. In the realm of celebrity deaths–that is, people with whom you have no actual relationship–there is really hurts, for which I so painfully wish there could just be a different ending. It hurts more than I can rationally explain. It’s been 30 years, I guess that is not going to change. In fact, it’s hard even to write this.

  16. cherguevara

    Hot Link ALERT!

    Additional material not used for the Lennon documentary, including interviews with Jack Douglas, Jim Keltner and Klaus Voorman.

  17. trigmogigmo

    Finally found time to watch it last night. Very enjoyable, but yeah the last part still hurts to watch.

    I also watched what turned out to be a great companion piece on Netflix streaming — the “Classic Albums” edition on Plastic Ono Band. Really interesting, with nice, longer interviews with Klaus Voorman and Ringo discussing the sessions and tracks in some detail. I was surprised to recently notice on the liner notes that Phil Spector is credited as producer when the album doesn’t sound like it. And sure enough, he wasn’t really involved. If you are logged into Netflix this is the link:

  18. BigSteve

    Yeah those extra interviews are cool, especially when you watch the show and see how skillfully they’ve edited them.

    I also happened to come across a Klaus Voorman doc on the Smithsonian channel this weekend. After having given up music for a long time, he was shown in the film visiting many of the famous people he had played with and recording a session with them. I guess there was an album that came out of these.

    I hadn’t realized that Voorman played that cool bass part that opens up You’re So Vain.

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