“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.”
Here in Chicago, when it’s pushing 40 in February and the sun is out, it may as well be San Diego in August.
I cracked my windows a little as I was driving today and let this one wail. Bob Mould’s body of work has been undervalued by the world at large for decades running, and it’s the world’s loss. Sugar was a monster fucking band.
About as pure as rock and roll gets, from a time when it was just beginning.
I was thrilled to buy tickets this week for Alice Cooper’s return to the area in December. In his advanced age, he continues to outperform buzzbands whose members are a third of his age. I can’t stress enough that Alice is the rock frontman’s gold standard. Please believe me when I insist that you see him before he goes off to the Great Back Nine in the Sky.
Alice’s Love it to Death album, released 40 years ago, was his first truly important album. “I’m Eighteen?” Classic. “Is It My Body?” Amazing. The standout track, however, is the “daddy’s in an insane asylum,” six-plus minutes long epic, “Ballad of Dwight Fry.”
I think I spent every day of eighth grade playing the vinyl version of “Dwight Fry” into a grooveless, scratchy, muted shadow of the original track. I’ve never stopped listening, though in the years that followed, I upgraded to Love it to Death on CD, which eventually got converted to MP3.