The Stooges classic 'Raw Power' was released on the seventh of February 1973. The game-changer. In 1997 Iggy Pop remixed the album, making it sound like a war of noise and aggression.
Some said there was no need to overhaul the original Bowie mix of this incendiary album, after all, it was that which caused such a huge influence on Punk in the 70s. Probably Pop did do a remix at the request of CBS, more than likely to stop anyone else from doing it.
'Raw Power' is a beautiful album of destruction.
Recorded in the autumn of '72 in London, with a new guitarist in James Williamson. He brought the extra cutting guitar licks into all this. When a suitable rhythm section could not be found, the Asheton brothers were brought back into the frame. Ron, being the original guitarist and core songwriter for the first two Stooges albums, this time switched to bass and the line-up was complete.
Pop produced and mixed the original sessions, but Bowie took the masters to remix them again. Several of the tracks were remixed in one day, another reason why Iggy may have felt in 1997 that he wanted to leave his stamp on it. Willamson and the late Ron Asheton had both publicly stated they preferred Bowie's mix of the album.
All this talk of remixes, does it really make a difference? In this case yes! On Iggy Pop's version, there is a lot more distortion in the mix, especially on the guitar lines, probably down to Pop keeping all the levels in the red and turning them up full for the remix. The noticeable difference is that the Asheton brothers are much more prevalent in the mix, unlike before. Ron proved he was handy enough with the bass, this seems closer to Pop's original vision for the album. Feedback and distortion over the loud mixes are the hallmark of Iggy Pop and The Stooges.
Ironically it was Bowie who pushed to get Pop back on the scene in the early 70s, due to Iggys spiralling heroin problem. What happened with the two gentlemen and their relocation to Berlin in the years that followed makes that effort by Bowie seem a slight contradiction.
Distortion and feedback and talk of remixes to one side, it is Iggy Pop at his finest. His vocal delivery is faultless, snarling, convincing and perhaps his best, from the 'Search And Destroy' opening line:
"I'm a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm
I'm a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb"
to the closer -‘Death Trip', all is remarkably well delivered, like the collision of two nuclear warheads.
The argument will always be there surrounding this album. Which is the better version, the true version? That is whichever you personally like the most. The argument is there for both sides, but don't turn the attention away from the fine album it is and what it did for punk- rock, not only in the 70s but in general.
Raw Power (1973 LP Tracklist)
|Search And Destroy||3:26|
|Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell (Originally Titled "Hard To Beat")||4:52|
|I Need Somebody||4:50|
On this day, 41 years ago, the Kraftwerk single ‘The Model’ reached the Top 1 of the UK Singles Chart!
On February 6th, 1982 the Kraftwerk single ‘The Model’, originally released in Germany already in 1978 as 7” single ‘Das Model’, reached the Top 1 of the UK Singles Chart.
Even-though the band initially added the English sung version as only a b-side on their new single ‘Computer Love’ in 1981, DJ’s and the radio audience seemed to prefer this b-side instead of the a-side. After Capitol Records/EMI noticed the commercial potential they re-released the single almost immediately, this time ‘The Model’ as A-side. Apparently this was decided by Capitol Records/EMI much against the band’s own will. Nevertheless this smart strategy by EMI resulted in ‘The Model’ becoming the number one in the UK single charts on February 6th, 1982. The single managed to hang in the UK top 75 for a total of 21 weeks.
Unable to deny the succes another 7” was released by the band, and its label Kling Klang / EMI Electrola, bearing both versions ‘The Model’ and ‘Das Model’.
Still, in Germany, Das Model, never climbed higher than 7th position in the German Single charts. After one week it descended again, still remaining about 20 weeks in the charts.
Das Model/The Model was written by Karl Bartos and Ralf Hütter and with artist Emil Schult collaborating on the lyrics and was the preliminary single for their upcoming and legendary album Die Mensch-Maschine or The Man-Machine.
She's a model and she's looking good
I'd like to take her home that's understood
She plays hard to get, she smiles from time to time
It only takes a camera to change her mind
She's going out tonight but drinking just champagne
And she has been checking nearly all the men
She's playing her game and you can hear them say
She is looking good, for beauty we will pay
She's posing for consumer products now and then
For every camera she gives the best she can
I saw her on the cover of a magazine
Now, she's a big success, I want to meet her again
Sie ist ein Model und sie sieht gut aus
Ich nähm sie heut gerne mit zu mir nach Haus
Sie wirkt so kühl, an sie kommt niemand ran
Doch vor der Kamera da zeigt sie was sie kann
Sie trinkt in Nachtclubs immer Sekt (Korrekt!)
Und hat hier alle Männer abgecheckt`
Im Scheinwerferlicht ihr junges Lächeln strahlt
Sie sieht gut aus und Schönheit wird bezahlt
Sie stellt sich zur Schau für das Konsumprodukt
Und wird von Millionen Augen angeguckt
Ihr neues Titelbild ist einfach fabelhaft
Ich muß sie wieder seh'n, ich weiß sie hat's geschafft
Songwriters: Emil Schult / Ralf Huetter / Karl Bartos
Plastic Passion | This Day 43 Years Ago, The Cure Release Boys Don’t Cry!
Today in 1980 The Cure broke through with their second release ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ (05 February 1980).
It also marked the first release by the band into the American market. This album heralded the arrival of The Cure on the international market.
Amid the album's thirteen tracks the collision between the bleak and haunting comes to the surface in the upbeat and beautifully-brilliant title track- 'Boys Don't Cry'. This is pure pop, a departure and surprising instalment in the canon of Cure standards. With infectious guitar lines and Smith's pitiful mourning for the girl that is lost, proving the point there was more to this band than was displayed on their debut.
And then there is the tense-paranoia that translates through the album's lead single, ‘Killing An Arab'. Although predating the album by over a year, the song still has the same impact as it did at its release over forty years ago, still raising the same controversy in the post-9/11 world.
“Standing on a beach with a gun in my hand/Staring at the sea/Staring at the sand/Staring down the barrel at the Arab on the ground.'
Indeed, including ‘Jumping Someone Else’s Train’, all three singles were released before the album. ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ is a solid Post-Punk album, although at times hard to pigeonhole into one particular genre. It is a raw display of melancholic lyrics, submerged in a mesh of catchy melodies that unwillingly plant themselves inside your brain. In reflection ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ mirrors the feeling within the band towards what they saw as the state of the music culture of the time.
Despite their reputation for cavernous gothic misery, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ presents a lighter and sprightlier take on the punk sound that avoids the political grandstanding of the earlier, angrier-punk bands. The dark edge conveyed by the band runs from the ironic title track to the chorus-heavy album closer- ‘Three Imaginary Boys’, a gothic portrait of solitude put to music.
“See the cracked reflection
Before the bedroom mirror
Over my shoulder
But no one's there
Whispers in the silence
Pressing close behind me
Pressing close behind
Can you help me?”
Boys Don't Cry (Original 1980 Track List):
1. 'Jumping Someone Else's Train' – 2:58
2. 'Boys Don't Cry' – 2:37
3. 'Plastic Passion' – 2:15
4. '10:15 Saturday Night' – 3:40
5. 'Accuracy' – 2:16
6. 'Object' – 3:03
7. 'Subway Song' – 1:54
8. 'Killing an Arab' – 2:22
9. 'Fire in Cairo' – 3:21
10.'Another Day' – 3:43
11.'Grinding Halt' – 2:49
12.'World War' – 2:36
13'Three Imaginary Boys' – 3:14
Today, it’s exactly 33 years ago that British EBM/Industrial band Nitzer Ebb released Lightningman (5th February 1990), the preliminary single from their upcoming third album Showtime.
The single stayed in the US Billboard dance charts for 8 weeks and peaked at 14th position on 26th May 1990.
Lightnigman - Lyrics
It seems some story was told
But what is there to tell?
Well, some song had been sung
But none of it sings
So let's spell it out
A, B, and C
Up and down from A is to Z
You meant zed, you said zed
From nothing to something
And something for nothing
From no one to someone
From someone to same one
Same old thing
The only way out
Leads to no way back
What can you do?
You shove it back where it came
You never let yourself down
So you got up
And you ran
And you run to get up
To slip right down
Soho's a town in every downtown
One of the most unlikely combinations - Phil Spector, maestro of the 1960s production era and The Ramones, trailblazers of the 1970s New York Punk scene - joined forces to create an album. But yes it happened: on February 4, 1980, the joint venture 'End Of The Century' saw a release, closing a chapter in the studio exploits of Spector and, as some say, the most productive era of the Ramones.
The album's conception harked back to the band's third album: the 1977 release 'Rocket To Russia'. Spector, after seeing the band perform, offered to help produce the album and oversee the creative process they were using at the time. In the spirit of Punk, he was turned down flat due to the Ramones allegiance to Tommy Ramone, who at the time was co-producing the album with Tony Bongiovi.
Come 1979 Tommy had left the fold completely, with bad sales for all previous four albums and a desire to break into that mainstream market, releasing albums that were and still are highly influential but did not translate to strong sales. The Ramones now took Spector up on his offer, an idea or collaboration nobody saw coming. And so begun the stuff of legends.
For a start, The Ramones' self-titled debut album cost a little over six thousand dollars to make. The second, 'Leave Home', cost ten thousand dollars and now along came Spector with a budget of two hundred thousand dollars. The possibilities were limitless but were needed for a band consisting of a control freak guitarist, an OCD suffering singer, a drummer who liked the odd drink and a bass playing-songwriter who alone took enough heroin to keep Pablo Escobar in a job.
The Ramones were relocated to Spector's Gold Star Studio in Los Angeles, famed for the music produced by The Beach Boys more so than the thundering dynamo of Punk. But nonetheless, recording started...well sort of. After almost two weeks and playing for over twelve hours a day, nothing had been put to tape.
Spector’s perfectionism in overdrive was overwhelming to the Ramones- endless mike placing, listening to the same drumbeat repeatedly and of course, the endless playing of one chord, as heard in the opening of 'Rock N Roll High School', began to slowly pull the band into the madness that was the world of Phil Spector.
At certain points, it seemed Spector's approach was focused more on the singer Joey Ramone, than on the band as a whole. After all, the top-ten UK single taken from the album - 'Baby, I Love You' - featured Joey, an orchestra and no other member of the band. It was a masterstroke in a business sense by Spector, as he was also a co-writer on the track, originally recorded by his all-female act 'The Ronnettes'.
The appearance of any of the Ramones apart from Joey on 'End Of The Century' is also questionable. The session drummer and 'Travelling Wilbury'- Jim Keltner appears on the album. So too does the combination of brothers Dan and David Kessel, the guitarists Spector had worked with before on the Leonard Cohen venture 'Death Of A Ladies Man'. The same can be said for organist Barry Goldberg, a longtime collaborator with Spector. With this information in mind, you feel that a second band was formed to make the album sound professional and not rough around the edges, which was the charm of Punk, not perfect but then again a reflection of life.
The hit single in a way works and the production is flawless, making the most of Joeys sarcastic snarling Punk vocal.
Further tracks on the album galvanise the masterpiece it is. Make no mistake, this is a brilliant record. With the track 'Chinese Rock', recorded back in 1976 by Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers although originally wrote by Dee Dee and Richard Hell, this was the perfect song to showcase the force of the Ramones.
The same can be said for Dee Dee’s nostalgic look back at life growing up in Germany and his only friend, the radio. 'Do You Remember Rock N Roll Radio?', the album's opener and a stomper with the distorted radio sound that heralds the track, but it also namedrops influences of the Ramones including T. Rex and Jerry Lee Lewis.
The follow up to the song, ‘Judy Is a Punk', ‘The Return of Jacky and Judy' continued to display their punk beginnings in order not to sell out too much on this record. This was the heart of the conflict between Spector and the band, who would have been happy with one or two hits on the album. Phil wanted to make every track a hit.
The album cover alone was a change in direction, gone were the Ramones' standard issue uniform of ripped jeans and leather jackets, replaced with different coloured shirts. This stripping of the band's natural order made for an uncomfortable-looking cover, even Johnny's scowl was more compounded than usual.
Here we come to the crux of the matter. Yes, the Ramones created hits from their work on 'End Of The Century', but they found it an uncomfortable experience. Maybe the success of the Sex Pistols' release made them ask "where is our success?". After all, they were the band that the Pistols and so many others emulated. A band like The Ramones would never be a band who would create hits, they were the outsider musicians not built for chart acceptance or appeal, rejecting all in society and in turn being rejected by society.
Their influence outweighs, like so many others, record sales. They were important as any other band in creating a new wheel in music and turning it to an extremely loud effect.
End Of The Century (1980 LP tracklist)
|A1||Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?||3:50|
|A5||The Return Of Jackie And Judy||3:12|
|B1||Baby, I Love You||3:47|
|B2||I Can't Make It On Time||2:32|
|B3||This Ain't Havana||2:18|
|B4||Rock 'N' Roll High School||2:38|
|B5||All The Way||2:29|
|B6||High Risk Insurance||2:08|