Paul Weller and The Jam.

The angry, but smartly suited, young men of The Jam, featuring vocalist and “Modfather Paul Weller, combined briskly tempoed rock with Motown R&B to exceptional effect. Weller went on to further fine doings with The Style Council before launching a solo career.

Townes Van Zandt.

Composer/Vocalist Townes Van Zandt is responsible for many poignant masterpieces; this represents merely a small-ish sampling. Loretta would be a prime example; though the lyrics are warm, a sense of melancholy nonetheless pervades the song. His “hit” Pancho and Lefty was covered by Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard, and wistfulness clearly prevails. The powerful Waitin’ Around to Die speaks for itself.

Tremendously influential, Van Zandt led a life that was quite troubled, being tormented not only by his bipolar condition, but by numerous addictions which eventually cost the great man his life. He contributed in ways difficult to fathom, however, to the musical landscape, and will not soon be forgotten.

World’s Greatest Vocalist: Dwight Yoakam.

Dwight Yoakam can simply do the impossible with his voice. See North to Alaska, among many others, for evidence. He steps into the very large shoes of legend Johnny Horton, and…whoa. A transcendent, jaw-dropping, awe-inducing performance. And, the same can be said of his live 2013 reading of the Red Simpson-penned Close Up The Honky Tonks. Even a young, inexperienced Yoakam—in his 1985 performance above, he shyly asks the audience if they like the show—kills it. A not-many-times-an-epoch talent.

The Gary Numan: βˆ°.

“The High Priest of quasi-androgynous Synth-Pop/Electronica, the Impassive Alien Deity, The Gary Numan.” *That* is the gist of the above Volume Integral symbol. What has been used to calculate Flux Densities, and has served as one’s WordPress Profile “About Me” content, to boot, now is more—much more—much, much more.

We’ll lead off with four epoch-defining…”performances” {which will, I suppose, have to suffice, word-wise, as there exist no words suitable…}. He is **up** to something…..

The first and third videos are both from Dutch TV program TopPop, 1979. They are *not* identical, however. One, I believe, was not broadcast {the 1st; perhaps the “smiling” was considered too dangerous…}. Both are sublime.

By 1984, Numan was atop the globe.

Praying To The Aliens. {studio}.
Live, 1980: Santa Monica.

Spellbinding are Numan’s performances on Down in the Park, live at the Odeon, 1979 and 1984. Doom-y, dramatic, evocative, remarkable.

He created aural landscapes which allowed access to the unfathomable. His performances have been described in so many ways. Strikingly “robotic”. Otherworldly. Mesmerizing. And there’s an edge, accompanying his trenchant intelligence; a certain wariness. At times, an unnerving camaraderie with….whatever it may be, the ritual held out in the open, hauntingly obvious, yet impenetrable. A language we’ve forgotten; mind-argot beyond our ken.  

π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π·π‘–π‘“π‘“π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘™π‘¦-π‘…π‘’π‘Žπ‘™π‘š’𝑑 πΌπ‘Žπ‘› πΆπ‘’π‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘–π‘ .

Go ahead. Choose a realm, any realm. Ian’s not from there; he’s never taken up residence there, and, for that matter, spends precious little—if any—time there. Yes. It’s been proven.

It’s a damn shame that so little halfway decent video footage seems to be available, of Joy Division. The first two are the cream o’, that I have encountered. Prose ought not storm about in the Video {or Image} playground. I panicked. I’m stalling. Wingeing. And on, now, we go. Unto the Breach. We few. We happy few.

This is their greatest achievement. {Yes. In my opinion.} Lyrics such as “On stranger waves, the lows and highs, Our vision touched the sky” {I hear “skies”, but every “authority” says otherwise. It’s skies.} are lyrics that will stop one cold, transported. He’s Rimbaud, but lots better, genius-y-er. Getting It-y-er. And: past tense. Like he’s not there. Maybe never was. Haunting. As. ___________.

Means To An End’s Twin, spire-wise.

Isolation transcends the Isolation genre, or would, if such a genre existed. “I’m doing the best that I can” not to expound. I give you Ian: ” A blindness that touches perfection,
But hurts just like anything else…” I mean…

Also Quite “Good”.

Ian was not only brilliant, fiercely determined, and a de-framer-of-reference…to whom could he be compared?…but he was one brave man. To go out, in public, put self on display, and take unreal chances, and I mean here with his dancing…this must have been terrifying. For one afflicted with epilepsy, to *intentionally* lose control, physically…unreal. But, he *had* to.

π‘‡π‘Žπ‘™π‘˜π‘–π‘›π‘” π»π‘’π‘Žπ‘‘π‘ : π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘Žπ‘‘ π‘ƒπ‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘“π‘’π‘ π‘ π‘œπ‘Ÿ-π‘–π‘ π‘š π‘œπ‘“ π·π‘Žπ‘£π‘–π‘‘ π΅π‘¦π‘Ÿπ‘›π‘’.

What follows is a smattering of incredible live performances by this ensemble, some of which include guitar maestro Adrian Belew. David Byrne, it could be argued, virtually created “New Wave” {or *something*} with the inexplicable, unpinpointable, wondrous peregrinations of his vocals. Plus, the unusual “dancing”{or Nureyev/??-like movements}. Much more than an iconoclast, Byrne simply brought into the time/space continuum, things that were previously Noumenal, intangible. An epoch-defining genius.

Mind. Montreux, 1982.

{Granted, Wild Wild Life is nowhere near the preternaturally edgy/”weird”/indefinable ventures into undreamt-of realms, which made this band legendary. But, it *is*, well, fun. And it shows Byrne’s mindboggling theatricality and capacity for adopting a bewildering array of disguises, and such.}

A few comments on our selections {NOT all of them!!}: Cities {1983, 1982, *and* 1980 versions} *might* be David Byrne’s high-water mark as an “umm, what???” (followed by audible hysteria, in my case…) vocalist. The Impossible writ upon a landscape. Pulled Up and Mind, at the very least, are looking uneasily over their shoulders. The “He’s come undone” staggerings/lurchings in Psycho Killer {1983} are also enough to keep one alive for several epochs; the 1979 Mudd Club version is electrifying, mystique-laden; ridiculously brilliant. Both versions of Drugs have an eerie, haunting element all of their own; Dollette McDonald and Adrian B contribute mightily. Crosseyed is simply a collective singe-fest.

π»π‘œπ‘œπ‘π‘™π‘’! {π‘€π‘œπ‘‘π‘‘, π‘‘β„Žπ‘’β€¦}

Mr. Ian Hunter, the lead vocalist and braintrust of Mott the Hoople {so named after a 1966 novel by Willard Manus}, realized early on in his life, that, at least in terms of music, he quite simply was *not* like the others. It affected him much, much more powerfully.

Hunter joined a band called Silence, which was then renamed on a whim by the svengali-like Guy Stevens, noted impresario and bon vivant. Mott enjoyed some success, but was nearing the end of its tether, when one David Bowie offered them a song. All The Young Dudes became, of course, a huge hit, an anthem, the sound of an era.

Ian continued with Mott until December, 1974, then led a somewhat less hectic and more varied lifestyle. He worked briefly with the great Mick Ronson; the final track we here offer is an almost impossibly beautiful, wistful piece of music, and it is enhanced by Ronson’s mandolin. Mott the Hoople leave a unique legacy; a band beloved well beyond what their fame/fortune would indicate…yet they are really not a “cult” band, either. How dare they.

π΅π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘Žπ‘› π‘€π‘Žπ‘¦, πΉπ‘Ÿπ‘’π‘‘π‘‘π‘–π‘’ π‘€π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘¦…π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ 𝑄𝑒𝑒𝑒𝑛.

Queen, featuring vocalist Freddie Mercury, and guitarist Brian May, with a live You’re My Best Friend, performed in December of 1979 at the Hammersmith Odeon. This shows Mercury in top form vocally; a true maestro at work.

Another shining exemplar of Queen’s formidable power is this iteration of the remarkable hit single Killer Queen. Recorded June 7, 1977 at Earl’s Court, this rendition is quite canonical. The synergy between Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May is really working, and both are in magnificent form. Speaking of Mercury, Roger Daltrey once stated that he was “the best virtuoso rock β€˜n’ roll singer of all time”, and well known soprano Montserrat CaballΓ© felt that β€œhis technique was astonishing; he sang with an incisive sense of rhythm; he also had a great musicality, and he was able to find the right colouring or expressive nuance for each word”. An extraordinary, charismatic performer, Mr. Mercury was described by guitarist Brian May as being so magnetic β€œhe could make the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected”. The British vocalist also was unafraid to rank 58th in a poll of 100 Greatest Britons, finishing just behind Alexander Graham Bell. And The Cliff Richard (??). George Harrison was bettered, however, and in the most controversial decision, legendary Welsh actor Richard Burton came-a-cropper, finishing behind—by a significant margin—the great vocalist. Observers reported the Welshman appeared visibly shaken, ashen-faced, and extremely bitter during the ceremony. Some claim he wiped away tears, as he abruptly stormed off to whereabouts unknown.

Burton later claimed ill health, but those near him were positive the Welshman wept openly, clenched his fists in impotent rage, and frequently muttered uncomplimentary remarks whilst shaking with hysteria, losing his balance more than once.” -Thrustus Simmonds, noted author of “Titans of Britondom, and Such”.

Lastly, the rousing Keep Yourself Alive. Live, 1974, at The Rainbow. Truly uplifting, and the musicianship, as was typical from this band, occupied Upper-Echelon terrain. This band indeed changed lives.

π‘Ίπ’‘π’“π’Šπ’π’ˆπ’”π’•π’†π’†π’.

The songΒ BadlandsΒ is belted out with supreme force (Get It Straight!!) and something else I won’t attempt to name. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd react in quite this way. 2002, in Barcelona.Β Badlands, defiant and uplifting,Β is one of Bruce’s best, to meβ€”the first cut off Darknessβ€”but this is simply transcendent. One sees here, for reals, why many witnesses to Springsteen’s legendary shows view him as an almost religious figure.

From 2009. The mighty and just a bit intense Bruce Springsteen unleashes the goods, ALL of β€˜em, on the moving Something in the Night. This song, from the great 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town, is, probably, if gun were put to head , to me, the greatest song the great man wrote. There are many. But this, this just totally embodies Springsteen.