…rock n roll ain’t gonna die”… I was 18 when I heard the song for the first time on my trusty Sony Walkman (yes… I was born in the 80s and no one around me was spinning wax anymore 🙂 ) and as Brian Johnson crooned along the crunchy guitar riffs, I thought to myself – three decades after the term was coined, it was still going as strong as when the young brothers wrote that tune and it sure as hell will see the end of time along with cockroaches and the likes of Lemmy Kilmister (Hint : “Aces of spades” )… C’mon you’ve gotta hand to it to the man for standing strong through years of abuse.. for being cool and making kick ass music 😉
It started as a hobby, which slowly turned into an obsession and ended up as a way of life for me – A LIFESTYLE ! ! And I’ll bet all the money in the world that my fellow rockers out there agree, no matter when or where they were born. The power of the genre comes from the timeless truth the artists sing about. The truth about life, about love, about death.. and everything in between. It’s uncanny ability to influence cultures around the globe and to transcend all boundaries of age, race and language is nothing short of a phenomenon.
I know what you’re thinking….. Another stoner’s blog about Rock history… or Top 100 artists.. Or Top 500 songs. … NADA! ! It is a fanatic’s blog about 5 songs which changed his life 😉
I am gonna go out on a limb here and say that these tracks have taught me and will probably teach you more about human emotions and life than any silly shrink-esque self-help book out there – and will do that without any pretense. Oh.. also, the sheer musical genius will blow your effing mind.
So here goes… and if you don’t catch my drift…. THINK AGAIN! !
5) Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) – Ranked 163 on the Top 500 songs of all time by Rolling Stone, this track has had one too many controversial interpretations. It sorta gives you an inside look into Freddie Mercury’s complex personality. Funny and energetic on the outside, but deeply insecure about his life and childhood inside. Although Mercury never really explained the meaning of the song, it is clear that the song is about a murderer who is being haunted by his demons, and describes the events leading to his execution. It has also been said, that Mercury tried to describe the 5 stages of grief as the song goes through the verses – Denial, Anger, Depression, Bargaining and Acceptance….. (Basic Human emotions… ring a bell??? ).
Somewhat dark lyrically, the composition on the other hand is sheer genius. One of most diverse rock n roll tunes of all time, the intro to the song starts with harmonies, leading to a ballad style verse, with a gut busting guitar solo, which then transitions to a pseudo-opera style midsection leading to a sinister hard rocking guitar riff…… BLOW YOUR BRAINS OUT YET??? There is just so much going on in this song musically, you’ve got to have a keen ear to keep up. Nonetheless you WILL head-bang, even if you’re tone deaf… m/.
4) Imagine (John Lennon) – Inspired by a poem written by Yoko Ono in 1964, this was a song which defined John Lennon as an artist post The Beatles. This track has been included in numerous “Most influential songs of all time” lists by journalists from around the world. What started as a part of the anti-war, peace movement, for many fans this song also helped them get through Lennon’s untimely death. The beauty of the song lies in the simplicity of the lyrics. What appealed to me most was the thought of a world without governments, religions and material possessions. No hate, no war – Only Love and PEACE ! ! The simplicity is also clear in the composition. The haunting piano intro followed by Lennon’s soulful voice, singing about an ideal world – About a dream, yet to be realized.
3) Time (Pink Floyd) – The fourth track on Floyd’s most iconic album “Dark side of the moon” (One of my all-time favorite Rock albums). To me it’s simply a song about time passing by, and one trying to keep up. It’s about how you never prepare for what’s coming, and only realize it when you’re in the middle of it. The highlight of the song is the introduction with the chiming clocks, which represent the weight of time that each one of us feels with every passing day. Each clock was recorded individually in an antiques store and synthesized together as a quadraphonic by Alan Parsons, who till date is considered to be one of the best audio engineers of all time.
2) Freebird (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Released as a single in 1974, is one of most popular songs by the southern band Lynyrd Skynyrd. A tribute to Dwayne Allman (from the Allman bros. band), this song to me personifies freedom –Freedom of expression, Freedom to fly like a bird, freedom from worldly ties, and freedom from reality. After all Rock n Roll is all about freedom, isn’t it?? And that guitar solo…. voted as the third best guitar solo of all time (second to ‘Comfortably numb’- which BTW changed my life in a whole other way ;)), is one of the most technical guitar pieces of all time. The use of triple guitars is impeccable and is one of the most recognizable solos of all time.
1) Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin) – Does this song need an introduction?? It doesn’t matter if you are a wannabe rocker or a Rock n Roll nut, for most of us it is the BEST SONG IN THE WORLD by the biggest band in the world. Released as a part of the Led Zeppelin IV album, this track still tops numerous ‘Iconic Rock n Roll songs’ list. It was conceived by Page and Plant, while they were spending time in a remote cottage in Wales. According to Page, the music was written over a course of time as individual guitar pieces, which came together to form this sectional track.
Lyrically, this song takes me away from life, feeds my imagination about what could be out there. As far as I know, there is no set interpretation to the song and is said to have been inspired by Robert Plants readings about antiquities and occult beliefs in Celtic Britain. Musically, it blows my mind every time I listen to it. As a musician, this track single-handedly changed my approach towards musical composition. The blend of the acoustic and electric guitars, the flute harmonies, Plants haunting vocals – Everything just fits and still gives me Goosebumps every time I listen to it. To me, the song embodies all the emotions in Jimmy Page’s most famous quote – Power, Mystery and the Hammer of the Gods. m/
So that’s it!! ! Now, I know that there are tons of other tracks which many would relate to as life changers. And I completely agree. Hell!! I have a whole playlist of them, but these 5 songs probably mean the most to me. They have cheered me through my bad days and made the good ones really memorable.
Comrades!! Go ahead… chime in, tell me if you are a Rock n Roll fan, tell me if there was an album or a song which you heard over and over, till you busted the CD/Tape/LP and had to buy it again… and am sure everyone has had that situation before MP3s were born 😉
So, until my next whim… PEACE OUT!!! V!!!
Today’s guest Blog post is by Shashwat Mohapatra – a long time Rock n Roll fanatic who dreams in binary. A Software field engineer in New York City by day and a rock star the rest of the time, he has been the vocalist and guitarist for a few bands that definitely are not in the category of “noise pollution”.
So, do you rock n roll too ? Which track would you like to add to this list ? Shashwat and I would love to hear back from you.