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Best Songs Ever #12 – ELO “Four Little Diamonds”

Everyone has a favorite ELO song (unless they’re unfeeling monsters), and most will tell you that the band’s 1970s singles were best.

Forget “Mr. Blue Sky” and “Evil Woman.” “Four Little Diamonds,” a less-successful single from 1983, hits all the right notes.

And if the law don’t get her, then I will…


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.

The Tubes: a Preview

Debuting tomorrow on my Steve Dahl Network podcast: my interview with Fee Waybill of the Tubes.

I’ve loved the Tubes for decades, dating back to when my impressionable young mind was utterly destroyed by “White Punks on Dope” and “Mondo Bondage.”

The band will be in Lincolnshire next month (Viper Alley on October 26), in what amounts to a can’t-miss show. The Tubes changed the rules for live rock and roll performances, taking the piss out of the medium well before it was fashionable to do so.

Fee was kind enough to hang on the phone for close to an hour, and we talked about the band’s long history, their mid-80s collapse, the moment when they first encountered John Candy, the worst venue in Chicago, and why Dave Grohl could be an honorary Tube.

If you’re not as familiar with the Tubes, here’s a chance to catch up before the interview hits tomorrow. Get ready to scroll: here comes a bunch of YouTube clips …

White Punks on Dope

My first exposure to the band. This song was the gateway drug (groan) that led to further discovery.

Don’t Touch Me There

“I love your salty taste.

I love your fingertips.

When I reach for your waist …”

Dirty, retro, and as good as the Tubes get:

She’s a Beauty

You know this one; the band’s commercial peak. The once-ominpresent-on-MTV video features Fee Waybill as a P.T. Barnum-esque carnival barker.

Talk To Ya Later

“As I mentioned near the close of the last record, this record you are now playing is another example of the completion backward principle.”

As I mentioned in the interview, this track stands as one of rock’s great “kiss off songs.”

Amnesia / Mr. Hate

Two of the best songs from the band’s finest album (The Completion Backward Principle)

“The Fishin’ Musician” on SCTV

We talked about this legendary TV appearance in the interview; a classic for both John Candy and the Tubes.

“What Do You Want From Life” (live)

An always-anticipated descent into madness during the Tubes’ live show.

See you on October 26th.


Geoff Tate of Queensryche: a Primer

Geoff Tate from Queensryche joins me later this week on the James VanOsdol show. To prepare you for the interview (as well as for his two area shows at the beginning of May), I thought I’d offer up this Queensryche primer:

“Empire”-Title track from Queensryche’s commercial breakthrough album of the same name.

“Silent Lucidity”-An unlikely top ten hit for Queensryche. A power ballad that transcends the notion of power ballads; epic before the word became a cliche.

“Operation Mindcrime”-80s metal with lyrical substance and musical teeth. The “Mindcrime” album remains a defining moment for the band and for rock concept albums.

“The Lady Wore Black”-Here’s a live version of one of the band’s very first songs, originally heard on their self-titled debut (1982).

“Sliver”-Lead track from the American Soldier album (2009).

“Jet City Woman”-Boot-quality solo performance of the Queensryche song, recorded earlier this year.

Easter music: Echo and the Bunnymen

For your Easter enjoyment, here’s a song performed by Echo and the Bunnymen: