In the past month, we have tried to give various coverage and recognition to some of the music greats that have passed, all in such a short span of time. With it being Memorial Day Weekend, I thought it was a great opportunity for us to highlight the musicians who have passed in recently by doing a five song playlist in dedication to these artists.
Donna Summer: “I Feel Love”
While I would be lying to you if I acted like a huge disco guy (I’ll take it in doses), I did realize this week that upon Donna Summer’s death, that I definitely underestimated her impact. Much of the house and club music you hear today may not be here if it wasn’t for the influence of Donna Summer, and this is very apparent on a song like “I Feel Love”, a song that is surprisingly pretty ahead of its time looking back on it.
Bee Gees: “Turn of the Century”
I also won’t pretend like I’m a big Bee Gees fan, but there is no doubt that on the occasion that “You Should Be Dancing” or “Jive Talkin’” comes on, I can get down. For my song choice, I decided to veer into pre-Saturday Night Fever when the recently passed Robin Gibb acted as more of the frontman before Barry Gibb’s disco falsetto took over in the late 70’s. “Turn of the Century” is side one, track one of their debut album and was back when they were part of the British Invasion competing with the likes of the Kinks and the Beatles, which can definitely be heard. While not quite up to par with those bands, there is still some decent stuff in their early years.
The Band: “Ophelia”
Levon Helm holds a special place in the heart of many, since his music captures the feel-good rock ‘n’ roll spirit few others do. “Ophelia” is one of the best songs by the Band sung by Levon; a joyous rock ‘n’ roll parade funneling through one ear, throwing out candy in your head, and then strolling out the other.
Beastie Boys: “Shadrach”
We gave some love to Adam “MCA” Yauch with our Top Ten Beastie Boys Songs List, but MCA is no doubt worth more love. “Shadrach” is a nonstop funky tour-de-force with the three playing off each other spectacularly. Plus the attached video is also spectacular, with the white rap trio performing “Shadrach” on Soul Train.
Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers: “Bustin’ Loose”
Chuck Brown didn’t get the pub with his death as much as the other May deaths, so here goes some love for the “Godfather of GoGo”. “Bustin’ Loose” is one of my all-time favorite jams, and its hard for a song to sound more fun than this. I think I could be having the worst day ever and just hearing Chuck say “Gimme da bridge now” would instantly fix my sorrows.
Click here to hear this list in Spotify.