Desert Island Singles: “If She Knew What She Wants” by The Bangles (1986)

Image from cat45.com

Image from cat45.com

“When (The Bangles) first started out as fresh-faced kids back in the mid-’80s, they captured the jangle of The Byrds, the melody of The Left Banke, the attitude of The Shangri-Las, and the rich harmonies of The Mamas and The Papas (without the Papas, of course) and wrapped them all up in a sweet and catchy package.” – Tim Sendra

“One of the two (well-selected) covers on the Bangles’ ‘Different Light’ album, ‘If She Knew What She Wants’ comes from the pen of Jules Shear whose band Jules and the Polar Bears were cult favorites, certainly of the Bangles. A mini-folk-rock gem, the song’s melody recalls some of Gene Clark’s stately work in the early Byrds canon, particularly ‘She Don’t Care About Time.’ The breezy arrangement and the band’s Mamas and Papas-inspired vocal arrangement is the cornerstone here; and overall it succeeds brilliantly, making the song one of the finest moments on the album. Although a seemingly perfect single (it was indeed released as such), the song was dwarfed in terms of commercial success by the somewhat disposable novelty cut, ‘Walk Like an Egyptian.’” – Matthew Greenwald

“You can keep ‘Manic Monday’ and ‘Walk Like An Egyptian,’ and I’ll take Susannah Hoff’s finest hour as a Bangle singing lead on ‘If She Knew What She Wants’ from ‘Different Light.’ The song only reached number 29 on the singles chart, but the video is a pure delight as it features The Bangles doing what they do best: combining harmonies and great musicianship, while looking great in the process.” – Steve Spears

Image from thebangles.org

Image from thebangles.org

I was long a fan of Jules Shear since his days with the Polar Bears and later as a solo singer/songwriter. I also was long a fan of The Bangles, ever since I saw this clip from 1984 on “Late Night with David Letterman” and instantly developed a life-threatening crush on drummer Debbi Peterson.

Jump ahead to 1986 and The Bangles’ second album “Different Light.” It spawned a single written by Prince, “Manic Monday,” a novelty song/video, “Walk Like An Egyptian,” and an excellent cover of Big Star’s “September Gurls.” The album is consistently great, but by far the standout song is Jules Shear’s “If She Knew What She Wants.” It kicks off with a soaring guitar riff, and when the band kicks in it’s magnetic. Hoff’s sultry voice is a little more subtle than usual, and the harmonies and musicianship of Debbi Peterson, guitarist Vicki Peterson (her sister), and bassist Michael Steele are stellar. Reminiscent of The Byrds and Big Star, it’s as close to a perfect folk-pop song as I can imagine.

This is the UK version of the video. Nice dance moves by Debbi. The American version, sadly, is god-awful stupid as it features cutaways where, one by one, each of the four women get smoochy with off-camera guys. No idea where they were going with that one.

If she knew what she wants
(He’d be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He could give her that too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can’t see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her

But she wants everything
(He can pretend to give her everything)
Or there’s nothing she wants
(She don’t want to sort it out)
He’s crazy for this girl
(But she don’t know what she’s looking for)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her

I’d say her values are corrupted
But she’s open to change
Then one day she’s satisfied
And the next I’ll find her crying
And it’s nothing she can explain

If she knew what she wants
(He’d be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He could give her that too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can’t see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her (giving it to her)

Some have a style
That they work hard to refine
So they walk a crooked line
But she won’t understand
Why anyone would have to try
To walk a line when they could fly

No sense thinking I could rehabilitate her
When she’s fine, fine, fine
She’s got so many ideas traveling around in her head
She doesn’t need nothing from mine

If she knew what she wants
(He’d be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He’d be givin’ it too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can’t see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her

But she wants everything
(He can pretend to give her everything)
Or there’s nothing she wants
(She don’t want to sort it out)
He’s crazy for this girl
(But she don’t know what she’s looking for)
If she knew what she wants
He’d be giving it to her
Giving it to her

(He’d be giving it to her)
(He could give her that too)
(But he can’t see through her)
Ooooooh, giving it to her
Giving it to her now


Desert Island Singles: “Lovesick Blues” by Hank Williams and His Drifting Cowboys (1949)

Image from secondhandsongs.com

Image from secondhandsongs.com

This is by far the oldest song I’ve nominated as a Desert Island Disc. The previous record-holder was from 1966.

When I was a snotty know-it-all country music-hating fourteen-year-old, if you had told me that one day I would admire a Hank Williams song this much (or at all), I would have laughed in your face. Funny what a difference forty-some years can make. But this is a remarkable song, which shows the ingenuity of Williams and the timelessness of this song (though it was published the year before Williams was born).

“Lovesick Blues” was written by Irving Mills and Cliff Friend, and published in 1922. It was first performed that year in a musical called “Oh! Ernest.” (I suspect there’s a reason no one has ever heard of the musical “Oh! Ernest.”) It was recorded a few times, most notably in 1925 by blackface minstrel singer Emmet Miller, and in 1939 by country singer Rex Griffin. Williams listened to both versions and started performing it in 1948 on the popular “Louisiana Hayride” radio show. According to radio producer Horace Logan, “the crowd went crazy.”

Williams decided to record the song just before Christmas 1948, over the protests of his band and record producer. Its release was delayed till mid-February 1949, due to some uncertainty over the song’s publishing rights: Williams told his producer that he bought the rights from Griffin. The single sold 50,000 copies in the first two weeks, quite an accomplishment in 1949. It was Williams’ first number-one hit on Billboard’s country-western charts, where it remained for sixteen weeks.

(Turned out that Irving Mills stepped up and claimed he still owned the song. Months later Williams’ managers ironed out an agreement with Mills to share the rights. One wonders if Mills would have bothered to step up if Williams hadn’t scored such a hit.)

“Lovesick Blues” became Williams’ signature song, which he used to close his shows. It also garnered him the stage nickname of “The Lovesick Blues Boy.” On its strength Williams made his debut at the prestigious “Grand Ole Opry” on June 11, 1949, where he became the first performer to receive six encores. He remained with the Opry till 1952. In 2004, “Lovesick Blues” was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. It’s been covered by dozens of artists including Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Linda Ronstadt, Slim Whitman, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and LeAnn Rimes.

With the heartbreak in his masterful delivery and the tight performance of the Lonesome Drifters, Williams turned a cast-off song from a forgotten musical into a classic of country music. A Desert Island Single to be sure.

I got a feelin’ called the blues, oh, Lord
Since my baby said goodbye
Lord, I don’t know what I’ll do
All I do is sit and sigh, oh, Lord

That last long day she said goodbye
Well, Lord, I thought I would cry
She’ll do me, she’ll do you, she’s got that kind of lovin’
Lord, I love to hear her when she calls me sweet daddy

Such a beautiful dream
I hate to think it’s all over
I’ve lost my heart, it seems
I’ve grown so used to you somehow
Well, I’m nobody’s sugar daddy now
And I’m lonesome, I got the lovesick blues

Well, I’m in love, I’m in love, with a beautiful gal
That’s what’s the matter with me
Well, I’m in love, I’m in love, with a beautiful gal
But she don’t care about me

Lord, I tried and I tried to keep her satisfied
But she just wouldn’t stay
So now that she is leavin’
This is all I can say

I got a feelin’ called the blues, oh, Lord
Since my baby said goodbye
Lord, I don’t know what I’ll do
All I do is sit and sigh, oh, Lord

That last long day she said goodbye
Well, Lord, I thought I would cry
She’ll do me, she’ll do you, she’s got that kind of lovin’
Lord, I love to hear her when she calls me sweet daddy

Such a beautiful dream
I hate to think it’s all over
I’ve lost my heart, it seems
I’ve grown so used to you somehow
Lord, I’m nobody’s sugar daddy now
And I’m lonesome, I got the lovesick blues


Desert Island Discs: “Red Headed Stranger” by Willie Nelson (1975)

Image from willienelson.com

Willie Nelson’s “Red Headed Stranger” perhaps is the strangest blockbuster country produced, a concept album about a preacher on the run after murdering his departed wife and her new lover, told entirely with brief song-poems and utterly minimal backing. It’s defiantly anticommercial and it demands intense concentration — all reasons why nobody thought it would be a hit. – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Allmusic

I’ve quoted someone before about how country music seems to endure a vicious cycle of having its authenticity tainted by commercial compromise; dumbed down and lamed up, like it seems to be today. Then its authenticity is redeemed, however fleetingly, by an “underground” roots movement. This is exactly what happened with the “outlaw country” movement, which led to the release of one of the best albums of any genre in the 70s: Willie Nelson’s 1975 release “Red Headed Stranger.”

It’s been called the “Sgt. Pepper” of country music. It’s a minimalist, stripped-down, unified “concept album,” a blend of disparate styles, evocative originals, and classic songs from country’s past. It’s a story of heartbreak, betrayal, savagery, repentance, and redemption, with deep emotions coming through in every vocal, every instrumental. It’s nothing short of a miracle that this album got released; Willie’s new label Columbia thought it was only a set of unfinished demos. But despite the executives and the focus groups it got released, topped the charts, and changed the course of country music.

Image from secondhandsongs.com

Image from secondhandsongs.com

The album was inspired by the “Tale of the Red Headed Stranger,” a song written by radio DJ Carl Stutz and newspaper editor Edith Lindeman. Originally written for Perry Como but never recorded by him, it was eventually given to Arthur Smith and his Cracker-Jacks in 1954, and Nelson used to play it as a disk jockey on his program in Fort Worth.

“Red Headed Stranger” tells the story of a preacher, a fugitive who kills his wife and her lover. It begins with the Stranger describing his love for his wife whom he suspects is unfaithful.

It was the time of the preacher when the story began
Of the choice of a lady and the love of a man.
How he loved her so dearly, he went out of his mind
When she left him for someone she’d left behind.

And he cried like a baby
And he screamed like a panther in the middle of the night
And he saddled his pony
And he went for a ride.

The infidelity is revealed.

And I couldn’t believe it was true, oh Lord,
I couldn’t believe it was true.
And my eyes filled with tears and I must’ve aged in years,
And I couldn’t believe it was true.

The lovers are discovered.

But he found them that evenin’ at a tavern in town
In a quiet little out of the way place.
An’ they smiled at each other when he walked through the door
An’ they died with their smiles on their faces
They died with their smile on their face.

The Stranger feels remorse.

Love is like a dying ember
And only memories remain
And through the ages I’ll remember
Blue eyes crying in the rain.

He moves on, and commits another murder.

The red headed stranger had eyes like the thunder
And his lips, they were sad and tight
His little lost love lay asleep on the hillside
And his heart was heavy this night

The yellow haired lady came down to the tavern
And looked up the stranger there
He bought her a drink, and he gave her some money
He just didn’t seem to care
She followed him out as he saddled the stallion
And laughed as she grabbed at the bay
He shot her so quick they had no time to warn her
She never heard anyone say:

Don’t boss him
Don’t cross him
He’s wild in his sorrow:
He’s ridin’ and hidin’ his pain.
Don’t fight him
Don’t spite him
Just wait till tomorrow:
Maybe he’ll ride on again.

The Stranger continues southward, and there is a chance meeting.

She saw him that evening in a tavern in town
In a quiet little out of the way place.
And they smiled at each other as he walked through the door
And they danced with their smiles on their faces
And they danced with a smile on their face.

The Stranger lets down his guard to seek redemption and love.

Don’t know why, but the one I love left me,
Left me lonely and cold and so weak.
And I need someone’s arms to hold me
Till I’m strong enough to get back on my feet.

He declares his vows with his deceased wife broken, his grief is lifted, and he is free.

You told me once that you were mine alone forever
And I was yours till the end of eternity
But all those vows are broken now and I will never
Be the same except in memory

A brighter face may take my place when we’re apart, dear:
Another love, with a heart more bold and free
But in the end, fairweather friends may break your heart, dear
And if they do, sweetheart, remember me

The story ends years later where the Stranger has found redemption with his new love and a young boy, presumably their grandson.

And in the shade of an oak down by the river
Sat an old man and a boy
Settin’ sails, spinnin’ tales, and fishin’ for whales
With a lady they both enjoy.
Well, it’s the same damn tune, it’s the man in the moon
It’s the way that I feel about you
And with no place to hide, I looked in your eyes
And I found myself in you.

I looked to the stars, tried all of the bars
And I’ve nearly gone up in smoke
Now my hand’s on the wheel, I’ve something that’s real,
And I feel like I’m goin’ home.

“Red Headed Stranger” is both forward-looking and an archive of country’s past. Willie found a way to weave some lesser-known classics into the tapestry: Fred Rose’s “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” which became Nelson’s first number-one hit and one of his signature songs; Eddy Arnold’s “I Couldn’t Believe It Was True”; Hank Cochran’s “Can I Sleep In Your Arms”; the hymn “Just As I Am”; and the ragtime/barrelhouse instrumental “Down Yonder.” All fit seamlessly with songs written and co-written by Willie and his band.

When this album came out, I was eighteen and still thought myself too hip for country music. Fortunately my parents played it in the living room and I grew to appreciate it. Willie is a storyteller who transcends categorization. This is an album that rewards attention and repeated listenings, and is nothing short of genius.


Desert Island Discs: “Damn The Torpedoes” by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (1979)

Image from Wikipedia

“Those who thought that Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were punk or new wave when they started releasing albums in the late 1970s were missing the point. At a time when heavy metal and guitar rock was dominating the airwaves, this was a group that harkened back to the sounds of the British Invasion and embodied the spirit of the great American garage band. The common denominator on these songs is their basic simplicity. Lyrically the dominating theme is one of the pain of relationships and the tone is almost relentlessly melancholy, like on ‘Even the Losers.’ Even a ballad like ‘Louisiana Rain’ wallows in the sadness of pain. The result is one of the best rock albums of the 1970s and although Tom Petty came close to this level again, this remains the album you find on the top of the mountain.” – Lawrance M. Bernabo (Duluth, MN)

I’ve said here before that 1979 was the second-best year ever for rock’n’roll. And it’s hard to remember a time when Tom Petty wasn’t all over “classic rock” radio. But yes, there was such a time, and TP and The Heartbreakers took the music world by surprise in the fall of 1979 with this, their third album.

They weren’t quite new wave, whatever the flexible meaning of that term was at the time. Nobody knew into quite which cubbyhole they should be placed. With their need for easy categorization, reviewers at the time used to lump TP in an odd sort of clump with Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp (still John Cougar at that point), and Bob Seger. “Heartland rock,” I guess it could be called.

I loved this album. My roommate Hoky and I played it incessantly that fall and winter. My bohemian hypster friendz openly mocked me when I pronounced this the best album of 1979. (Yeah, 1979 was a hard year to be the best in, and I guess it was tough to surpass “Dirk Wears White Sox” by Adam and The Ants.) But thirty-seven years on, this album still gives me a rush. This release caused Springsteen to hold off on his two-disc album “The River” till the following year, as “Torpedoes” sounded too much like what he imagined creating. Not surprising: legendary producer Jimmy Iovine helmed “Born To Run,” “Darkness On The Edge Of Town,” and the reconfigured “The River.”

Iovine’s production is brilliant on this one, as much as part of the band as the musicians themselves. Mike Campbell’s Rickenbacker guitar and Ben Tench’s keyboard riffs get exactly the right placement in the mix. (Campbell lent TP the Ricky to pose with for the cover pic. It’s now on display at the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.)

I believe this is the album The Rolling Stones wish they could have made instead of 1978’s “Some Girls.” The Heartbreakers were every bit as a tight a band as the Stones at their peak. “Torpedoes” rose to #2 on the Billboard album charts, and stayed there for seven weeks (kept from #1 by Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”).

There is not a bad song on this album. For me the best are “Even The Losers,” “Shadow Of A Doubt (A Complex Kid),” and “Louisiana Rain,” a great lost-her-on-the-road song like “Me And Bobby McGee,” but it’s a difficult choice.

Baby, time meant nothing, anything seemed real
Yea, you could kiss like fire and you made me feel
Like every word you said was meant to be
No, it couldn’t have been that easy to forget about me
Baby, even the losers get lucky sometime
Even the losers keep a little bit of pride
They get lucky sometime

There goes my baby, there goes my only one
I think she loves me but she don’t wanna let on
Yeah, she likes to keep me guessing
She’s got me on the fence
With that little bit of mystery
She’s a complex kid
And she’s always been so hard to figure out
Yeah, she always likes to leave me with a shadow of a doubt

Louisiana rain is falling at my feet
Honey, I’m noticing a change as I move down the street
Louisiana rain is soaking through my shoes
I may never be the same when I reach Baton Rouge

Louisiana rain, yeah, it’s falling just like tears
It’s running down my face, washing out the years
Louisiana rain is soaking through my shoes
I may never be the same when I reach Baton Rouge

In five decades now TP, as a solo act as well as with The Heartbreakers and The Traveling Wilburys, has created an incredible legacy of music. But none of his work since “Torpedoes” has ever affected me the same way. It’s his best work.


Desert Island Singles: “New Slang” by The Shins (2001)

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Image from wikipedia

Whether you’re in a hometown you can’t stand, have a relationship in your past that you wish had ended better (or not ended at all), or have strange thoughts about the buns from your local bakery, “New Slang” is a song worth knowing more about… If someone never “took to (you) like a gull takes to the wind” it’s not likely to happen in the future, regardless of how much you want it to. This song isn’t full of good cheer, but neither is Hamlet or Macbeth. There’s value in examining the sadder pieces of art. Fortunately, this one comes with a catchy melody. – The Shmoop Editorial Team

“New Slang” could be a lost single from a brilliant, obscure ’60s psych-folk band, while still sounding far ahead of its time. – Charles Spano, Allmusic

A song about boredom and regret and failed relationships, about feeling stuck and dashed hopes. A song about wanting something you will never have, about not wanting to be where you are. A melancholy song with a peppy singalong tune.

R-1281741-1258909735

Image from discogs.com

I first heard this song on an episode of “Scrubs,” which featured amazingly good music for a major-network sitcom. It was also in Zach Braff’s first major motion picture “Garden State.” Natalie Portman puts her headphones on Braff and tells him this song will change his life. I had many requests for it on KBEK, and many more listeners who called to ask, “Who is that band?”

From the very first listen I liked how the song speeds up after the fade-out of the last verse. It’s like waking up from a dream. Nice touch, that.

I can’t believe how many reviewers compare this to Simon and Garfunkel. That never occurred to me.

Gold teeth and a curse for this town were all in my mouth
Only I don’t know how they got out, dear.
Turn me back into the pet I was when we met
I was happier then with no mind-set.

And if you’d ‘a took to me like a gull takes to the wind
Well, I’d ‘a jumped from my tree
And I’d ‘a danced like the king of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would ‘a fared well.

New slang when you notice the stripes, the dirt in your fries
Hope it’s right when you die, old and bony.
Dawn breaks like a bull through the hall,
Never should have called
But my head’s to the wall and I’m lonely.

And if you’d ‘a took to me like a gull takes to the wind
Well, I’d ‘a jumped from my tree
And I’d ‘a danced like the king of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would ‘a fared well.

God speed all the bakers at dawn
May they all cut their thumbs,
And bleed into their buns ’til they melt away.

I’m looking in on the good life I might be doomed never to find
Without a trust or flaming fields am I too dumb to refine?

And if you’d ‘a took to me like
I’d ‘a danced like the queen of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would ‘a fared well.


Desert Island Singles: “Too Late” by Shoes (1979)

Image from discogs.com

Image from discogs.com

“At a time when major labels were trying to figure out what punk and new wave could provide, Shoes just found a perfect balance.” – Ned Raggett, Allmusic

If 1966 was the best year ever for rock’n’roll, as I’ve often said, then 1979 was quite possibly the second-best. For one brief shining moment the (ironically) tone-deaf music and radio industries weren’t stuck-on-stupid, and instead of their customary weaksauce they embraced and promoted power pop. And temporarily the airwaves were awash in jangling guitars, chimey power chords, and three-minute pop songs. Yes, kids, good and inventive music was actually popular. It was fated not to last, for reasons I’ve theorized before, but what a great run it was.

Image from shoeswire.com

Image from shoeswire.com

Shoes was formed in 1974 in Zion, Illinois by high school friends Gary Klebe and brothers John and Jeff Murphy. They decided to form a band after graduation, though at the time none of the guys knew how to play an instrument. Not really uncommon, so each picked one to learn. Within a year the three got back together to rehearse, and in 1977 recorded their first DIY album and single on a four-track recorder in Jeff’s living room. It must have worked out okay, because Shoes has been recording great power pop for thirty-seven years since.

The group signed to Elektra Records in April 1979 and released their first major label album “Present Tense” that September. Recorded in England, the album peaked at number 50 on the Billboard 200; “Too Late” reached number 75 on the Billboard Hot 100. Four videos, including “Too Late,” were in hot rotation on MTV in its beginning days a couple of years later.

It’s “Shoes,” by the way, not “The Shoes” as some Elektra releases billed them. According to John: “I guess Shoes just sounded right, like ‘look at those cool shoes’ or ‘where are my shoes?’ It was like Sparks or Wings or Faces or even Big Star. The first time we heard the ‘the’ was from a writer. We winced and corrected him: ‘No, no… it’s just Shoes.’ The Shoes just rubbed us wrong.”

“Too Late” is classic late-70s power pop. “A lesson in power pop dynamics,” according to reviewer Perry M. Koons. “Even when the guitars kick in and start crunching on the chorus, the vocals stay soft and sweet.”

Economic forces and a return to stuck-on-stupid would soon steer the music and radio industries back toward their usual weaksauce. But just like in 1966, great music was both happening and popular in 1979 and Shoes were part of it. A Desert Island Single to be sure.

 


Desert Island Singles: “Sultans Of Swing” by Dire Straits (1978)

Image from 45cat.com

Image from 45cat.com

“Some of the most enduring songs are the ones that completely buck tradition and convention; that is, they’re songs that a publisher would laugh you out of his office over if you were pitching. It’s possible that, if Dire Straits hadn’t cut ‘Sultans Of Swing,’ it might never have been recorded. Four verses, a guitar solo, another verse, another solo and out, almost six minutes – no chorus or bridge? Almost unheard of. Thankfully the writer of that song was an artist as well, and what an artist. Great writer, great guitar player, distinctive vocalist – Dire Straits leader Mark Knopfler was the whole package, and when the world finally heard his group’s debut album in 1978 a star was born.” – Rick Moore, American Songwriter

“Knopfler’s speak-sing delivery, a laissez-faire drawl reminiscent of Tom Petty and Lou Reed, contributes little in the way of emotion. Instead, snaky guitars — including a twang-dusted bridge that underscores Knopfler’s fluid, effortless playing — tell the tune’s story: a love letter to a bar band called the Sultans Of Swing, who live and die for the Friday night gigs where they can forget day jobs and immerse themselves in their tunes.” – Annie Zaleski, Ultimate Classic Rock

“(The band in the song) has no hope whatsoever at making it big. It is not a stepping-stone to someplace else. It is, take it or leave it, the meaning of their lives, and much of the record’s greatness is in the tremendous respect it evokes in every listener for these persons (whether they be great musicians or not) and the choices they’ve made. The ways they’ve chosen to live.” – Paul Williams, founder, Crawdaddy Magazine

Image from Wikipedia

“Sultans Of Swing” took everyone by surprise during the winter of 1978-79. It wasn’t disco, thank goodness, but it wasn’t new wave either. It told a story, but not in a “novelty-song” way. From the flam of Pick Withers’ drum it launched into a narrative about a London bar band. No one knew quite what to make of it. Despite that, or maybe because of that, it became a Top Ten hit and put Knopfler and Dire Straits on the map.

(When I bought the LP, a hipster sales clerk at the old Northern Lights Music on Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis ranted quite indignantly because some ignorant customer had the audacity to say that Dire Straits weren’t new wave. Considering how loosely-defined the term “new wave” was, he sort of had a point. Bad retail skills, though.)

I put this one on when I’m feeling low, and it always picks me up. “You feel all right, when you hear the music ring” sums it up for me. This is a feel-good song, one that puts you into another world for six minutes. The fluidity of Knopfler’s Stratocaster carries the song, not only in the signature riff at the end of each verse but also on the two soaring solos.

I’ve referenced Dire Straits in “Desert Island Discs” before, but this is by far my favorite song of theirs. They arrived complete with this one. A nice tribute to musicians who play their hearts out for the love of the music.