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Pickled Priest Mixtape: Our Favorite Songs of 1975

If my 1975 mixtape stresses one key point, it's that we don't make these lists to impress anyone. If we did, we could list any number of obscure or alternate tracks to show how outside the box we think. The way I view it, the only question I need to answer is, "What would I pack in my 1975 suitcase if I had to leave the year behind and never revisit it again?" Here are the answers to that question.




PICKLED PRIEST'S FAVORITE SONGS OF 1975



SIDE A


26 "Slippery When Wet" | The Commodores

Soul music’s ability to turn just about any phrase into a song never ceases to amaze me. You’re driving down the street when you spot a road sign warning of potentially hazardous conditions and moments later you’re in the studio laying down a hit song titled "Slippery When Wet." That’s how it works! While the Commodores made a lot of money off Lionel Richie’s ballads, in my opinion they really peaked when they brought the funk, like they did on this hot 'n' juicy slab that stands with the prime examples of the genre. Love lessons don’t get any more succulent than this.


*Demoted 10 places for potentially influencing Bon Jovi’s hit album of the same name.



25 "Dy-No-Mite (Did You Say My Love)" | The Green Brothers

Many of you weren't alive in the mid-to-late 70s. If not, I'll assume that your parents were, at least. But if you breathed air back then, you couldn't escape hearing the ubiquitous catch-phrase "Dy-No-Mite!" which was made famous by lanky, black, string-bean comic Jimmy Walker on his hit TV show Good TimesGood Times was a groundbreaking show in its day. It told the story, in sitcom format, of a family trying to live, thrive, and survive in a Chicago housing project. (For a short time, none other than a young Janet Jackson played a role on the show.) The show was also notable for being a spin-off twice removed. It descended from Maude, which descended from the legendary All in the Family. But, with the realization that Wikipedia already exists, the point is this: You couldn't have a conversation in the late 70s without the threat of a bad Jimmy Walker-styled "Dy-No-Mite!" impression slipping in unexpectedly. At about the same time, fabled soul label Stax Records was similarly struggling to survive from major mismanagement issues and monumental financial woes of their own. It only seems natural, then, that a show about poor folks in Chicago would eventually cross paths with a flailing R&B label located in a rough section of Memphis to make a now long-forgotten single with the sole goal of capitalizing on the "Dy-No-Mite!" craze. Written by Mack Rice (co-writer of "Respect Yourself" and the classic Wilson Pickett hit "Mustang Sally") and legendary Stax bassist (and, yes, Blues Brother) Duck Dunn, the song can only be found these days on CD #10 of the third Stax box set, which highlights their final four years as an active label. (Truth Records was a subsidiary label of Stax at the time.) Most of the great Stax hits had already happened by the time of this box set, but you'd be very wrong if you thought ten more CDs of Stax singles would be overkill for your record collection. The set is jammed with numerous, relatively untasted goodies, not the least of which is this one-off single by the kings of poor timing, Detroit's the Green Brothers. 



24 "Shooting Star" | Bad Company

This song was Behind the Music long before there was Behind the Music. Not only that, “Shooting Star” both pre-dated and outlasted the rote VH1 rock doc program, taking its rightful place as the original “nightmare descent into drugs and alcohol” downturn that entered into each Behind the Music like clockwork around the 36-minute mark of each episode. If only BHM's stories were told as economically and crisply as this one. Even though it is fictional, in theory, it’s also a pretty accurate simulacrum of the real deal, although the names have been changed to protect the not so innocent. Somehow, main character Johnny goes from being a schoolboy turned on by the Beatles (of course) to being turned off permanently by an overdose six verses later. That’s a pretty efficient arc, if you ask me, but somehow the song still creates a vivid and completely believable series of events, albeit condensed into the length of a radio-ready rock song. A blazing chorus sure helps maintain the narrative thread while also acting as an harbinger of things to come. “Shooting Star” should be distributed with the rock & roll user’s manual to all bands on the rise. It could save us all a lot of heartbreak someday. 



23 "Hair of the Dog" | Nazareth

I am still lamenting that I lost my fight to make this the bride and groom “entrance” song at my reception wedding. It’s absolutely the right choice and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise.



22 "Sara Smile" | Daryl Hall and John Oates

Man, the fucking mid-70s. Few knew what the fuck was going on including these dudes conducting the H&O railroad. Why oh why did they tap Bowie's makeup artist to do the cover of this record? In what way does it even remotely reflect the material the band was cutting at the time, especially "Sara Smile," a world class blue-eyed soul masterpiece that would be one of their defining songs of their career? This is Philly Blue-Eyed Soul, not the waiting room for a permanent or curl and color. Nonetheless, as we all know, a great song can triumph over anything.



21 "SOS" | ABBA

Make fun of ABBA all you want, but if a new pop band released a song brimming with as much life as “SOS” in 2024, music publications would absolutely wet their collective pants while praising it as the next big thing. Someone find me that new artist, please, for we could use more songs like this one that manages to be uplifting and melancholic simultaneously. How did they do that? The gear-up to the chorus may be my favorite transition in a pop song ever, which is saying something. Sheer pop gold.



20 "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up") | Parliament

Where were you when the Mothership landed? Parliament graced us with two all-time funk classics in 1975—this song and “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off The Sucker)” and you can’t go funking wrong either way, obviously, but I get a major kick out of the running WE-FUNK DJ commentary from Lollipop Man on “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up).” He guides us through an interstellar self-help funk-fest of the freakiest order, eventually answering the only important question: “Is there funk after death?” His answer: “Seven up!” I don’t know for sure what that even means, but I have a theory. If we're buried 6-feet down, then 7-up means to return to and walk the Earth again, we have to "move up" at least 7-feet to get there. Like funk will ever die anyway. We have seen the power of funk in action, its healing powers now documented and undisputed. No doctor worth his white coat is going to tell you NOT to “improve your interplanetary funksmanship,” after all. It's built right there in the Hippocratic Oath, so to say otherwise would be malpractice.  



19 "Love is the Drug" | Roxy Music

Taking drugs to make music to make love to. Or something like that, with apologies to Spacemen 3. If I could write a prescription for this song, it would include a caution to avoid almost all the lyrics but for the chorus or risk suffering through lines like, “I say go, she say yes / Dim the lights, you can guess the rest.” This song is a vibe trapped inside a medicated haze, perfect for those moments when inhibitions are low and everyone is high. Bryan Ferry is so fucking debonair it sounds positively intriguing on his lips. Just don’t stay on the dancefloor until the lights come up.



18 "Stranglehold" | Ted Nugent

The Nuge’s self-titled debut solo record (sans Amboy Dukes) is without a doubt the greatest album ever made by a human being I absolutely abhor in almost every other respect. There’s a lot to overcome with Uncle Theodocious (as we used to refer to him back in the day), but his personal approach to life and his politics still haven’t soured me on one of the 1970’s finest front-to-back rawk masterpieces. I simply cannot live without it. When I look into the mirror, I’ll have to live with my hypocrisy and I’m sure he’d sooner shoot an arrow into my ass than acknowledge my presence, but I can live with that.


*The song gets extra credit also for being the final "warm-up" song for the Chicago Blackhawks just prior to puck-drop. An added bonus.



17 "Gloria" | Patti Smith

You can't talk about Patti Smith's perfect cover of "Gloria" without first commenting on its opening moments. which I did a few years ago on our Iconic Song Intros Mixtape. Here is what I said then: An iconic song intro doesn’t necessarily have to rock. Sometimes an opening can be laced with intrigue instead—like a great first sentence of a classic novel. If you pick up George Orwell’s 1984 and read “It was a bright cold day in April, and all the clocks were striking thirteen,” you’d better clear out some time in your schedule—you’re not putting the book down anytime soon. The same goes for the “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” opening of Patti Smith’s radical take on Van Morrison’s “Gloria.” I always thought it would be a great book opening, too. And it would kill as the first line of this Sunday’s sermon (let me know if they use it). If you want to grab attention, try it out. No matter when you say it, it’ll cause a stir and what more do you want from a rock & roll song?



16 "Wish You Were Here" | Pink Floyd

This is the first Floyd track to make one of my year-end mixtapes so far and it could be the last. Not that I’m not a fan, but there just aren’t many individual songs of theirs that hold such a strong grip on me that they can’t be left off. I’m more of a full-album guy when it comes to the band anyway, dictated historically by weed intake, but one thing I’ve always been sure of is that my favourite album has always been and will always be Wish You Were Here, a record that moves me beyond belief both conceptually and sonically. The title track is indeed a predictable choice, but I admit to being one of perhaps millions of lost souls around the world who can relate to the feeling of swimming in a fish bowl year after year. It's not something I'm proud of, but misery does love company and "Wish You Were Here" perfectly expresses that feeling of someone, or something, missing. What exactly that is varies from mind to mind, body to body.



15 "Fire On High" | Electric Light Orchestra

Personal Backstory Warning: In Chicago, The Loop (WLUP 97.9 FM, aka FM 98) was the radio station of choice for real rock and rollers during my formative years. It's where I first heard many of my favorite classic rock songs as a young kid (before moving on to WXRT later in life). It also featured, long before 24-hour sports networks and sportstalk formats, a great sports talk show every Sunday night for two hours (9-11PM) hosted by Chicago broadcasting legend, Chuck Swirsky. I loved the guy. I even wrote him fan mail. Each Sunday night I would tune in religiously to hear him talk sports in his stereotypical "sports announcer" voice live from some Chicago tavern (he would later do the PA at Bulls games). His show opened each week with ELO's "High On Fire," which I didn't even know at the time. You couldn't look this stuff up back then and I was only beginning to amass a record collection, so I posed the question in one of my letters to him. He responded to me every time I wrote, including the name of his theme song, which he played almost in its entirety (sans the 90-second lead-in on the LP) which I thought was a bit excessive. Looking back on it now, it made perfect sense. Some songs just can't be edited for time and this sprawling, over-the-top masterwork is one of them. This was also around the time I was transitioning from sports to music as my main passion in life and I've never looked back since. In a way, two worlds were colliding during those first four-minutes of the show. The composition is an absolute masterpiece full of the gauche excesses that make ELO such a deliriously fun band to listen to. I love the pomp and circumstance behind the production, the transitions, the choir, the majesty of it all. Sure, I could've picked "Evil Woman," and maybe should've, but nothing gets my juices flowing quite like "Fire on High." I only wish it was my personal theme song.



14 "Low Rider" | War

Not much premise, no backstory, no in-depth character sketch, no nothing, just the "Low Rider" hitting the main drag, full hydraulics on display, doing his thing—the thing that he loves above all else. And who would need anything more than that cowbell intro*, that bass line, that sax, that harmonica, and that ultra laid-back vocal? There's nothing better than having your own theme song (as noted in the previous entry) but this one was custom made, much like the hot rod the "Low Rider" drives. It's his, not ours. It's one of the greatest cruising songs of all time, but we listen on loan from the original "Low Rider" himself (or herself, gender is never mentioned), whoever that badass may be.


*In case you need it, here's a video by a genius time-waster named Les King, who was asked if he could "make a 10 hour loop of the cowbell part from "Low Rider" and actually delivered it to the waiting world. In case you were wondering if the internet had done everything yet. I challenge you, right here, right now, to play this in its entirety today. You owe it to yourself, especially if you've got a fever and the only cure is ten-hours of cowbell.




SIDE B



13 "Fighting My Way Back" | Thin Lizzy

Friday night, they'll be dressed to kill

Down at Dino's Bar 'n' Grill

The drink will flow and blood will spill

And if the boys want to fight, you better let 'em

-Thin Lizzy, "The Boys are Back in Town"


"Fighting My Way Back" doesn't get enough love. I've never seen it on anyone's list of the greatest Thin Lizzy songs. It makes no sense to me because it's a total bruiser. From the opening bass notes it literally comes out fighting. It just takes a roundhouse swing at you, announcing to a crowded bar that a brawl has erupted in the pool room. It's "tough, rough, ready, and able" from the first line, a real blue collar anthem about resilience and intestinal fortitude. It's "The Boys Are Back in Town" a year earlier, when the boys were still out of town scratching and fighting for their own survival. Yeah, they came back home eventually, but not before they kicked some ass and took some names.



12 "I'm On Fire" | Dwight Twilley

"I'm On Fire" was released as a single in 1975 with no album yet recorded to back it up, so it gets slotted in 1975 even thought it eventually appeared on Sincerely by the Dwight Twilley Band a year later. That business out of the way, the team of Dwight Twilley and partner Phil Seymour (who really got the shaft in the notoriety department) really found a unique power pop sound with "I'm On Fire" complete with not one, but two trademark moments that likely could've been split into two separate songs if they wanted to (but would it still have been a hit?). The first was the verse "You ain't, you ain't, you ain't, got no lover, lover, lover" which matched the songs reverby feel lyrically and is a blast to sing along with. That alone would've been enough for me. But it wasn't even part of the song's ultra-memorable chugboat "I'm in fire!" chorus that positively jumps up out of the speakers when its time comes, almost like it was waiting to surprise you from around a corner. RIP Dwight Twilley, dead on October 18, 2023. I hope you were cremated while this song played in the background.



11 "Chevy Van" | Sammy Johns

I'm generally not one for reaction videos, but I must say I was charmed by this one mainly because their reactions mirror how I respond to this song every time I hear it. Just like these two earnest souls, it makes me want to just close my eyes, lightly sway my head to the relaxed tempo, and let its easy vibe wash over me. It captures life in the 70s like few other songs. It was a time where you could pick up a beautiful hitchhiker in your van, make love with her after she wakes from a "rock and roll dream" (at her urging, no less), and then drop her off at her rural destination never to be seen again; now just a pleasant memory of a sublime moment in time. These days, the sight of a Chevy van within 10 yards of this pretty young lady would send her hand quickly into her purse for a can of mace or worse. The lyrics, so innocent and free in the song, would now be construed as having serious serial killer vibes. But in the time machine that is Sammy Johns' "Chevy Van," none of those thoughts ever enter your head, just that acoustic guitar, some gorgeous background harmonies, and a late-night moonlit drive down the backroads of America. And that's all right with me.


Editor's Note: While I normally use the year of original album release for these mixtapes, in this case I made an exception. While Sammy Johns first released "Chevy Van" on his debut record in 1973, it flopped until it was re-released in 1975, where it became a Top 5 hit for Johns and still ranks as one of our all-time favorite one-hit wonders. Considering the song is now forever associated with the summer of 1975 for most people, that's where it will always remain, technicality be damned.



10 "Rhinestone Cowboy" | Glen Campbell

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, Glen Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy was the first album I ever fell in love with, causing me to lift the 8-track from my sister’s collection under cover of darkness (that just sounded better than “I walked into her room, took it, and never gave it back,” which is the actual truth). There’s no replicating the feeling of your first love, which is why the song “Rhinestone Cowboy” will never be knocked off its lofty perch in my personal history—hence its high position on this mixtape. The depth of my sentimental affection for the song cannot be overstated. The same goes for the album of the same title. Yes, I love the hits, of course, but I even retain great affection for the off-tracks like “Count of Me,” “Pencils for Sale,” and especially “I’d Build a Bridge” ("...Made of stone / And I would stand / And defend it!"). The record even had some psychic links to my future. Campbell covered Randy Newman’s “Marie” on the record, which is my wife’s name. And the B-side to “Rhinestone Cowboy” was titled “Record Collector’s Dream,” and you can see by this blog why that’s eerily on the nose as well (“Pick me up and take me home / I’ll make you wanna dance and feel so free / And honey, you won’t ever wanna reject me”—which I didn’t, of course, to the tune of about 10,000 records and counting, although being called “honey” by a 45 was awfully close to what they now call “grooming” in retrospect). But I digress. “Rhinestone Cowboy” is the perfect Nashville country song, the story of countless hopefuls with guitars on their backs and songs in their pockets, all hoping to be discovered and eventually beloved by fans everywhere someday. So, for now, the singer continues to play his songs anywhere and everywhere with hopes of a brighter future ahead. It's not autobiographical, more of a character sketch, but its dreamer mentality is universal. The perfect ending to this story, of course, is that the song hit #1 on the country and pop charts, becoming a timeless classic in the process. It’s been my constant companion from the time I sang it loudly at camp as a 10-year-old kid to just moments ago as I was checking my retirement benefits at work.  



09 "Jailhouse Rock" | ZZ Top

With apologies to Elvis, here's the definitive version of this song as heard at ZZ's "First Annual Texas Size Rompin' Stompin' Barndance and Bar B.Q." in Austin, Texas, on Labor Day, 1974. Even the late Jerry Lieber (may he RIP with our deepest gratitude) would agree that Top's take has the depth charge of a deep-fried lightning bolt and makes Elvis’s Broadway-ready version seem tame by comparison. This is how a prison band would rock in Texas. Billy Gibbons sounds like he's lighting up a blowtorch just prior to the opening riff. And sure enough, his strings sweat like they’ve been basting in spicy barbecue sauce all afternoon. Elvis's version will always be a classic, no slight intended, but when you think about satisfying a prison audience, only Johnny Cash could fit the bill better than ZZ Top.  



08 "Blue, Red and Grey" | The Who

The choice of possible Who songs from 1975's The Who By Numbers is deceptively tricky. We've got one of their greatest, and most undervalued, singles ever in "Slip Kid." The obvious choice! We've also got to consider "Dreaming From the Waist," a song that not only references a priest in the lyrics (Sound like a priest and then I'm shooting dice), but is also one of my favorite album tracks from the band. A sentimental choice for sure. But in the end, the song from the album that has always stopped me in my tracks is Townshend's understated ukulele turn on "Blue, Red and Grey," a poignant moment unlike any other in the Who's catalog. In fact, it's a Who song in name only, sung and played by Pete with beautiful, unadorned simplicity. Understatement can often make the grandest statement in the right hands and here the optimistic, vulnerable Townshend delivers what may be his most subtle performance ever and it never fails to catch me off guard and put a bit of a lump in my throat.



07 "Fly By Night" | Rush

I didn't become a card-carrying Rush fan until Permanent Waves, so everything pre-1980 had to be backfilled retroactively. It didn't take me long to sort through the key sub-five-minute AOR tracks, but it took much longer to relate to some of their more ambitious themes. Even then, I'm not sure I've completely digested "The Necromancer" or "The Fountain of Lamneth" to this day. Working knowledge, yes, mastery of concept a resounding no. But "Fly By Night" was immediate, bless its heart, accessibility and complexity all at once, which is what eventually turned Rush into mega-superstars. The song is the earliest of the Rush "singles" to do both and well within the strict boundaries of the conventional radio format at the time. The opening riff alone puts it on this list. The chorus cements its place forever.



06 "Young Americans" | David Bowie

I love this song not necessarily because it is an amazing and unlikely creation musically and lyrically—which it is—but mainly because it helped me come out of my shell in college. "Young Americans" was a group event whenever it came on at a party, no pairing up allowed, and the highlight was always everyone bellowing, "Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry??!” in unison, and then returning effortlessly to the rest of the song almost like that outburst never happened. It's one of Bowie’s most playful and brilliantly structured recorded moments and I thank him for it. The song was recorded in Philly for maximum credibility, the end result of Bowie's obsession with American soul music at the time. In retrospect, I wonder if I related to it so much because I was also in the early years of my lifelong obsession with classic soul music at the time. It can't be a coincidence, right? We all know that songs soundtrack memories, but sometimes they make the memories, too. This song will always cause me to travel back to those “Animal House” days when this song would bring a small group of fellow young Americans together for a few glorious minutes.



05 "Landslide" | Fleetwood Mac

This is a song that’s been sung by just about everyone, but there’s no substitute for the original because it captures, in real time, a heartbreaking truth that is non-transferable to other parties. The poetic lyrics and singular voice create the song's essence together. They cannot be separated. Stevie Nicks famously wrote it in Aspen, before joining Fleetwood Mac, about her "rocky" relationship with then boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham. You can feel a fragile ache in her voice that others simply can’t achieve—emotionally or vocally. None of this is new to anyone with ears, of course. While the Rocky Mountains have inspired countless songs over the years this is one of the best. There's no substitute for nature as inspiration. Is there a better analogy for love than scaling a mountain? Is there a better analogy for heartbreak than an avalanche? Sure, picking “Landslide” may seem like an easy choice, but for me I know it’s the right choice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played it and then played it again immediately thereafter not quite ready to let go of that vulnerable fleeting just yet. Languishing in melancholy is a specialty of mine. I don’t know why such songs resonate with me so much. Is it because I relate to the fact that life itself is one volcano, one hurricane, one landslide away from indiscriminately wiping out everything in its path? I’ve carried that feeling with me for a long time, almost liberated by the fact that life can bury you when you least expect it, be that metaphorically or literally. But that awareness doesn't necessarily mean you have to live in fear. So, acknowledge the small magical moments like this song whenever they present themselves just in case.   



04 "Bohemian Rhapsody" | Queen

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality


Speaking of landslides, here's another one. Except this time it's a creative landslide. It's not real life, it is a fantasy, and it is most certainly an escape from reality. One of my base settings is “fascination” (found between "incredulousness" and "unimpressed" on my control panel) especially when it comes to music. I'm captivated by the notion that one day a song doesn’t exist and then another day it does. Nothing peaks my fascination more than the preamble to something mind-blowing. How amazing must it be to be the source of such a big bang? Sometimes I’ll just sit and listen to a song and wonder how it got converted from the blank page to this masterpiece that plays before me now. "Bohemian Rhapsody" has become so much a part of the fabric of rock and roll that many now take it for granted, but to state the obvious, in 1974 this song didn't exist—in 1975, it does. There are obviously many great songs, but this sensation doesn't happen with all of them. Take “Yesterday,” for example: we all know and love it, but it doesn't necessarily blow my mind and that's mainly because its existence makes sense to me. It's built entirely from relatable human feelings or experiences. Who doesn't pine for the past every once in a while. Fuck, I', in the middle of a list of my favorite songs from 1975 for chrissakes! “Bohemian Rhapsody,” on the other hand, is a magnificent invention all its own. Sure A Night at the Opera is a common occurrence, but this is unlike any opera I've ever heard. The fact there's no other song, before or since, that is even close to it makes it a continual source of fascination to me no matter how often I hear it.



03 Houses of the Holy" | Led Zeppelin

Holy shit! Has anyone else heard this album? Fucking amazing. Here's my favorite song on the record. This is the not reason I love it, but I do like songs that have the same title as a different album by a band*, which always causes some confusion, not to mention glee for trivia buffs at the local pub. In this case, “Houses of the Holy,” which was inexplicably left off its namesake album only to find eventual release on Physical Graffiti a couple years later. I ask this: In what charmed world was Zep living that they could hold back such a great song for any reason? And don’t tell me the, “It didn’t fit with the other songs on the album”—it would’ve fit in just fine on Houses of the Holy. And don’t try to convince me it sounded a little too similar to “The Ocean” either. It stands out in any crowd, thank you very much. It’s a sacred text from the altar of rock and roll and it fucking rules.   


*Other notable examples: “Brain Salad Surgery” not on the ELP classic LP of the same name, instead on Works, Volume 2; Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” can be found on News of the World; Def Leppard’s “On Through the Night” is not on their debut, but on High 'n' Dry one album later; PJ Harvey’s “Dry” is on Rid of Me; The Smithereens “Especially For You” is actually on Green Thoughts, etc.. Fill in your favorite example here...



02 "Tangled Up in Blue" | Bob Dylan

There is an understandable tendency on “favorite songs” lists to steer away from an artist’s greatest work in favor of something more unpredictable, something that breaks from the so-called status quo and demonstrates independence of thought. Even I am tempted to shine light somewhere else for a change. After all, what’s the benefit of another person throwing their support behind a song already acknowledged as an all-time classic? To protect myself from doing exactly this, I have to imagine living without a song before I eliminate it in favor of another track from the same artist. Why would I be biased against or turned off by acclaim and/or commercial success? Should I fault a great painting for being looked at by millions of viewers every year? That's where the litmus test can assist in the decision-making process. When confronted with one of the greatest albums ever made, like Blood on the Tracks, some will legitimately steer their boat toward another of the many timeless songs on the album. I, too, love those songs. But when it comes down to living without a song, I don't think I could willingly give up the storytelling brilliance found in “Tangled Up in Blue” with my integrity intact.



01 "Thunder Road" | Bruce Springsteen


"Thunder Road" is not only my #1 song of 1975, it's my #1 song of all-time going on about 40 years now and, unless Taylor Swift writes a flattering song about me, it will never change. I admit, it's nice to have that settled so I can move on to more important topics. The case for "Thunder Road" is air-tight, making it an easy choice. I won't bore you with every reason here and most people reading this already will know why anyway. OK, maybe just a couple. First, it's one of those rare songs that is equally untouchable in almost any version, be it the original on Born to Run or its "acoustic" live version (most notably the one recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, included here for convenience). I've often compared the song's storyline to a playwright's script and even re-wrote it in that format for fun (see below) to reinforce its rightful place as an American epic worthy of mention in the same breath as some our greatest stage plays. The exercise only reinforced our other favorite part of the song: its sense of humor. At Pickled Priest, that's one of our main reasons for living. We love when human drama is coupled with some laughter, mainly because that's how people make it through this life—by realizing the absurdity of it all. Not always right away, of course, but eventually. I mean, "You ain't a beauty, but hey you're all right"? That's just genius. "Thunder Road'' is a triumphant rock and roll romance with youthful naivete and rebellion built in, accented with a tinge of subtle humor, the perfect distillation of everything this blog celebrates.

__________________


I'd sell your soul to the devil right now in exchange for a single day of record shopping in 1975.


Cheers,


The Priest

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