“The Knight Ain’t Long Enough” – Genya Ravan


Genya Ravan is one of those performers who has always been highly regarded, had multiple chances at the brass ring, but never quite got the success she so richly deserved. She’s also a kick-ass producer, having been the production brains behind The Dead Boys’ 1977 classic “Young, Loud, and Snotty.”

“The Knight Ain’t Long Enough” is from her “Urban Desire” album from 1978. Ravan is a fantastic, gutsy vocalist and this cougar anthem is so ferocious and so heavy, it would make Warren Beatty and Mick Jagger go home crying to their mothers. Key lyrics: “I’ve got a bottle of wine … a couple of lines … C’mon sweet thing, don’t make me lo-oo-oo-se my mind!!!!” Yowsah!

And yes, Ravan, is banging a cowbell in this clip. However, your snark should proceed with EXTREME caution. Ravan means business here and unless you’re ready to drop trou and get busy, she’ll eat you alive, hipster boy. Along with Garbage’s “Bad Boyfriend,” this is my favorite “bad girl” song of all time.

“I Can’t Live Without My Radio” – LL Cool J


The rap version of the Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer.” This is a song about someone whose self-worth is based on how loud he can play his music. It may be annoying, but it’s just someone who needs to show the world they matter. It may be misguided, but it’s sincere. Fortunately, this song (like “Sonic Reducer”) is awesome to crank in any way you see fit. From the classic 1985 album “Radio.”

“Sonic Reducer” – Dead Boys (live from CBGB’s 1977)


The signature song from the premiere Cleveland bad boys of punk. This is a ferocious performance captured live at NYC’s legendary punk club CBGB’s in 1977. I’m not quite sure what this song is about, but I’ve always thought it was about someone who felt small in their life who felt bigger by blasting music from their car, their home, etc. as a way to show they’re significant and that they mean something. I try to remember this every time I get annoyed by someone who’s pumping their bass a bit too loudly when I’m stopped at a light. It’s just someone who needs to show the world they matter. It’s misguided to be sure, but it’s sincere.  Probably the same reason Pearl Jam relentlessly covered this song for several years in concert.

“Ain’t it Fun” – Guns N’ Roses


Guns N’ Roses’ killer cover of Peter Laughner’s / The Dead Boys’ sad, nihilistic classic “Ain’t It Fun.”  Recorded for their punk cover album “The Spaghetti Incident,” this is the best version of this song I’ve heard.  There have been some good versions (Dead Boys, Rollins Band) over the years, but the Guns N’ Roses version is probably the best, in my opinion.  It’s probably no coincidence that this ended up on their greatest hits CD.  If any song sums up composer Laughner’s life, it’s this song.  If you have any interest in what you’ve just read, please read Lester Bangs’ legendary obituary of Laughner “Peter Laughner is Dead” for context (located in the Bangs’ compilation “Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung”).