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Best Songs Ever #13 – ? and the Mysterians “96 Tears”

“96 Tears” by ? & the Mysterians–a song from almost 50 years ago–still sounds raw and exciting whenever I throw it on.

Recorded in a living room on a 4-track recorder in 1966, “96 Tears” became a blueprint for punk and garage rock. The organ–deliberate and basic–delivers the song’s signature sound, tapping forward as ? threatens, “And when the sun comes up, I`ll be on top. You`ll be way down there, looking up.”


Ladies and Gentlemen: the Rolling Stones

RSThe Rolling Stones are officially coming back to Chicago, with a United Center date set for May 28. Here’s what Greg Kot at the Tribune had to say.

The ticket price range quickly escalates from “barely 99% friendly” to “screw you, 1%” ($85 – $600). While those prices are beyond my reach, I can make a case to see the Stones for anyone who’s somehow managed to miss them for the past fifty years. The Rolling Stones had a major part in constructing modern rock and roll; it’s practically one’s duty to see them before that final Whip Comes Down.

Social media was aflame today with complaints about the median price tag of $250, and especially about the high end $600 tickets … but is anyone truly surprised? The pricing trend line keeps going up for the quote-unquote music legends. Check out the average ticket price for a handful of last year’s biggest offenders (according to Pollstar):

Barbara Streisand – $263.52
Celene Dion – $157.00
Madonna – $140.38
Paul McCartney – $136.64
Elton John – $117.25

Again, those are average prices. When one Beatle’s averaging $136.64 per person, the thought of $600 to see all of the living Rolling Stones doesn’t seem that insane.

If the Stones didn’t still manage to deliver in swagger and sound, it would be a lot easier to rip this joint (such as it were). Beyond that, who can argue with the always-lingering possibility of a Buddy Guy appearance?

… and “Gimme Shelter” has never stopped sounding hair-raisingly big and menacing in concert.

Remembering the Yardbirds

This week (debuting 8/10), original Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty joins me on the phone to talk about the band’s rise during the British Invasion years. We also talk about the current incarnation of the band, which will find its way to the City Winery next month. Besides giving the world their first exposures to guitar heroes Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band gave us some truly unforgettable songs:

For Your Love

Heart Full of Soul

Shapes of Things

Train Kept a Rollin’

Over Under Sideways Down

My Dick Dale moment

With Dick Dale coming to town for a rare area appearance in a few weeks, I thought I should try to get him on my show.

When I make cold calls/email requests for podcast interviews, I never know what to expect. Some artists and celebrities never bother to acknowledge my requests. Others respond once, and then are never heard from again. My favorite band ever, Rush, has yet to reply to any of my multiple requests. I’m not bitter about Rush, however–I’ve been playing Clockwork Angels nonstop since I bought it earlier this week. If you rolled your eyes at my Rush enthusiasm, enjoy yourself at Pitchfork.

When I sent Dick Dale an email, I wasn’t convinced I’d get a reply. Shows you what I know–he replied instantly, and insisted on doing an interview the following day.

Just so we’re all clear: this is Dick Dale. He’s a rock and roll legend in every sense of the term. He created surf music.

When I called him, and he first picked up the phone, he read me the riot act about how journalists have burned him in the past by either misquoting him or just plain being ignorant (see, it’s not just radio guys who leave a bad taste in musician’s mouths!). After reminding him that the podcast was an audio medium and that he couldn’t be misquoted, he agreed to proceed. I was winded before we even started.

And once we started, Dick never stopped. He’s the kind of guy who monologues his way through interview answers for minutes on end, inadvertently answering questions for dozens of questions not-yet-asked along the way.

At the age of 75, Dick’s done and seen it all. I’m psyched that I could bring him to the Dahl Network for my show this week (debuting Wednesday 6/20).

Fun fact: Dick’s musical background started with an ukele. Mahalo.

Here’s a quickie Dick Dale primer:

Let’s Go Trippin’ – The beginning of his career–and surf music, in general.

“Misirlou” – Dale’s royale with cheese.

“Pipeline” – Dale’s collaboration with Stevie Ray that earned them a Grammy nomination.