Monday, September 1, 2014

Audio Matters

I've been on the road a lot over the last few days and so I've listened to a lot of radio. Some thoughts and questions:

-- Kudos to one of the OKC "classic rock" stations (I can't remember which one, and they probably can't either) for playing the long version of the Steve Miller Band's "Jet Airliner." A lot of instrumentation, left off the single version, which makes the song that much better for highway cruisin'. Which also, of course, includes the brief synth song "Threshold," often thought of as the intro to "Airliner." The two became so linked in radio land that Miller actually included "Threshold" on the band's Greatest Hits 1974-1978 album, even though it was never released as a single, never charted and thus can't be considered a "hit."

-- And kudos to another oldies station for doing the same with KC and the Sunshine Band's "I'm Your Boogie Man." For whatever reason, I hated disco as a teenager (probably a mixture of liking punk and rarely having the courage to ask girls to dance), but I heard enough of these songs at junior high social gatherings that I almost get a an actual Kool-Aid and cookie sugar rush when they play. Harry Wayne Casey led a funky band.

-- Naturally, as August neared its end, a couple of stations trotted out Earth, Wind & Fire's "September," another fa-funky booty shaker.

-- "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock 'n' Roll)" actually shrinks the distance between two points when played on a vehicular radio. "You Shook Me All Night Long" does the same.

-- You know, I realize that all of the words Night Ranger drummer Kelly Keagy sings in "Sister Christian" are English. And I realize that the rhyming couplets are either complete sentences or sentence fragments that represent actual human speech patterns. And I also realize that he wrote the song for his teenage sister Christy as a kind of "Hey, slow down,'ll grow up quick enough" meditation, and his enunciation of the lines "sister Christy" during the recording led bassist and usual lead vocalist Jack Blades to think he was singing "sister Christian," so they changed the words.

But I still have no idea what in the heck that song is talking about -- it strikes me as an excellent example of a power ballad which strings together complete sentences that may be profound to the writer but sound like jabberwocky that was matched up "'cause it rhymes."

Oh well, time to be motorin'...


CGHill said...

It's always perplexed me that my two favorite Steve Miller tracks -- "Jet Airliner" and "Mercury Blues" -- were songs he didn't write. (And "Threshold" leads into "Jet Airliner" on Book of Dreams, and nobody I know bothered to start the record on track two.)

Friar said...

Be funny if some creative radio DJ somewhere decided to play "one of Steve Miller's greatest hits" and just spun "Threshold."