“Rally in the Valley” – Rudy Ray Moore

Finally, a Rudy Ray Moore track that’s safe for work.  Only there’s no comedy here … just some mighty fine R&B from back in the day.  As much as I love Dolemite, it’s a shame Moore is better known for his comedy.  The man had the chops to go far as a musician.

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – Prince, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, et al (2004)

This is from George Harrison’s posthumous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, where Harrison’s artistic peers performed some of his songs.  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is not only my favorite Harrison song, but my favorite Beatles song of all-time.  While Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne share the vocal duties, the standout is Prince’s blistering guitar work towards the latter half of this performance.  I realize that calling Prince underrated may seem silly, but how often do people mention what an outstanding guitarist the man is?   Prince steals the show here and aside his mind-blowing work on “Let’s Go Crazy” and his Super Bowl performance of “Purple Rain,” this is my People’s Exhibit A as to why Prince should rank as one of the greatest guitarists of all-time.  If you’ve never seen this, you must check this out.

“Common People” – Pulp

Pulp’s “Common People” is a pop masterpiece from 1995 that combines brilliant lyrics with music that is positively thrilling.  Produced by the legendary Chris Thomas (Roxy Music, The Pretenders, Sex Pistols), “People” is a brilliant slam against “slumming” that’s even better than prior rock classics on the subject (The Rolling Stones’ “Salt of the Earth” and The Dead Kennedy’s “Holiday in Cambodia”).  The song never charted in the US, but was a big hit in Britain and had a tremendous cultural impact there, being cited in April 2014 by listeners of BBC Radio 6 Music as their favorite ‘Britpop’ song in an online poll conducted by the station to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the start of the Britpop era.  It also inspired a very good BBC documentary about the song which can be seen below in 6 different parts, courtesy of YouTube.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

The Complete New Wave Theatre


Fans of early 1980s LA punk rock and early late night cable TV rejoice! Someone has uploaded multiple episodes of “New Wave Theater,” the highlight of the USA Network’s legendary late night show “Night Flight,” at the YouTube channel located the link above.  Hosted by the late great Peter Ivers.

Crispin Glover’s appearance on “Late Night With David Letterman” July 28, 1997

Here is Crispin Glover’s infamous interview with David Letterman on “Late Night With David Letterman.” Despite Glover’s bizarre behavior here, he later admitted he was trying to do a tribute to some of the brilliantly demented appearances Andy Kaufman had on Letterman’s from the early 1980s.  The only problem with Glover’s tribute was that Letterman wasn’t in on it.  And Letterman was clearly disturbed by what went down, as evidenced in Letterman’s commentary after Glover “left” the show.   This may seem relatively tame these days, but back in the day, this appearance, along with Glover’s performance in the brilliant film “River’s Edge” and a demented Spin Magazine profile from around the same time, created a mini-cult amongst my friends for Glover for many, many years.

“The Amityville Horror” (1979) dir. Stuart Rosenberg

I realize this is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, much of this is fairly laughable and campy.  But … I have a soft spot in my heart for this film, mainly because it was the first R-rated movie I ever saw.

Let’s take the wayback machine to the summer of 1979 … “The Amityville Horror” was the most popular film of the latter months of that summer and my brother and I wanted to see it.  The only problem?  It was rated R.  My mom was fairly vigilant about shielding us from inappropriate content.  But one of her friends told her that the film wasn’t that bad and that she couldn’t understand why it was rated R.  So with this “endorsement,” my Mom took my brother and me to see this at the Circle 6 in Norfolk, VA.

My impressions at the time?  I enjoyed the film, but kind of wondered what all the fuss was about.  I didn’t find the majority of it scary at all.  However, I enjoyed a lot of hip cachet with my peers for seeing an R-rated film, so of course, I indulged … if not embellished … all the sordid things I witnessed.  Allright, cut me some slack, I was 9.

Anyway, the thing that freaked me out the most wasn’t the haunted house shenanigans (i.e. blood in the toilet, flies attacking the priest, the voices saying “Get out!”), but the opening, the true-life event that allegedly made the house haunted.  This was when the son of the previous house owners massacred the entire family in cold blood.  That’s the part that I couldn’t comprehend and that’s the part that actually gave me nightmares.  I remember asking my mom would someone would kill their entire family and the response was that the boy was “insane.”  That didn’t rest well with me then … and still doesn’t rest well with me now, even though it’s probably true.  Tellingly, it was the part of that “Amityville Horror” story that actually happened that frightened me the most.  The haunted house crap … that even at the age of 9, I shrugged my shoulders at … has since been discredited by many people.  I have no idea if what the Lutzes experienced was true or not.  But the opening events which are not in dispute terrified me the most.