Ozzy Osbourne – Dreamer

Ozzy

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

 In the wake of global or personal tragedies, people tend to reach for musical anthems that provide a feeling of unification. After the attacks in Paris at an Eagles of Death Metal show, my Social Network feed was inundated with clips of John Lennon’s Imagine. Truly, one of the best songs in history by one of my favorite artists. I also found myself playing Dreamer by Ozzy Osbourne – a song that equally embraces hope while facing the realities of this world head on. One of Ozzy’s musical heroes is John Lennon and this song was written with a Lennon-esque vibe in mind. A plaintive ballad, it lays bare Ozzy’s voice along with some true emotion. You trainspotters might realize that Robert Trujillo plays bass on this song (and the album it is taken from, Down To Earth). Trujillo went on to play bass for Metallica and will soon be the longest tenured bassist in Metallica’s existence (no small feat!). At any rate, this is one of my favorite songs of all time. Ozzy goes through seemingly insurmountable problems – the destruction of Mother Earth, religion, prejudice – and dreams for an end to these problems. It might not be the worldview you think Ozzy would have or even the song you’d expect from Ozzy. Give it a try – what it is, is a perfect song in the style of The Beatles by an artist who isn’t always given a fair shake. “If only we could all just find serenity / It would be nice if we could live as one / When will all this anger, hate and bigotry… / Be gone? / I’m just a dreamer / I dream my life away”

The Beatles – Rubber Soul

beatles

Part 45 of a series that will run throughout 2013 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays

I debated whether I should really tackle an album by The Beatles – probably the most popular and biggest band of all time (sorry Rolling Stones fans). I 1st became obsessed with all things Lennon while still barely into my teens and the sickness has only progressed from there (I even developed an appreciation for Mr. Lennon’s 3 Amigos over the years). When I was 1st getting interested in buying albums by The Beatles a family friend advised me that the cut off for acceptable records was Rubber Soul (the thought was that this was the end of the soft “tea” era / prior to the lads moving on to harder, mind altering “tea”). Of course, I ignored all such conservative rationale and spent all of my paper route money on every CD by the band (that’s about 13 LP’s and 2 odds ‘n’ sods collections for a span of 7 years). I love every record, but I have to admit – Rubber Soul still remains my favorite.

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John Lennon – Now and Then

dakota

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores lesser known tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

John Lennon’s life is well documented – both in print and on film (usually at the request of Mr. Lennon himself as well as Yoko Ono). His work with The Beatles changed the way musicians record and made the path from The Beatles to the Pet Shop Boys very clear by way of tape manipulation and sampling. When you get to his solo career public opinion seems to be a little more divided – not so with me. The back to basics approach of his solo records really suits what Lennon was trying to do away from the band setting. His works have been reissued, remastered, and he even had some of his “works in progress” released in a box set about 15 years ago. Two of his demos were remade into Beatles songs for the anthology album / video series. One of the finest songs John Lennon ever laid to tape was considered for the Beatles reunion and rejected by producer Jeff Lynn (of Electric Light Orchestra fame) because of an incessant buzzing that is on the tape. It has never been officially released which is a damn shame – it is a haunting portrayal of love and loss. The track appears to have been cut at home (The Dakota) sometime between 1975 and 1979. The emotion in John Lennon’s voice feels very real and there is a sadness lurking beneath the surface. The piano accompaniment provides a melancholy atmosphere and allows the weight of Lennon’s words to sink in with the listener. I picked up a bootleg back in the mid 90’s and have returned to it quite often over the years. The perfect John Lennon song, still officially unreleased as of 2013 and it breaks my heart every time I listen to it. Key lyrics:

I know it’s true
It’s all because of You
And if I make it through
It’s all because of you…
You…

And now and then
If we must start again
And we will know for sure

John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band

Part 17 of a series that will run every Friday throughout 2012 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays

You cannot be an indie hipster or geeky music lover without at least some love of The Beatles as well as the solo careers of the mop tops (yes, even Ringo). It simply is impossible – the early Of Montreal albums built an entire career out of the whimsical nature of The Beatles’ track “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” (if we are being honest, this holds true for most of the Elephant 6 roster). Metal came to pass – not by early Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, but by a track called “Helter Skelter” – you may have heard of it. Yes, there are some days that I prefer to listen to The Monkees, but that is just because The Beatles are ingrained into my psyche so deeply – always there, waiting to be plucked out of my brain.

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