Thursday, February 03, 2022

Talented After All: Summers, Prince, Petty

Listening to a rock history podcast, one comes up on things barely remembered, or not at all, because after 1975 I didn't listen much until my oldest son started in in the 1990s. I almost skipped over some episodes because they were about people I didn't much care about. Learning more has given me at least some appreciation. All three of these were included because they not only had major hits, but because they worked in multiple styles. I grant that, though I am not particularly interested in any of those styles, no matter how well they are done. If you can do disco, funk, punk, and techno I might be impressed - I can't do any of them - but I'm still not likely to sign up. Yet over the course of the episode I learned that all three of these had done songs I had never attributed to them, especially if they had written them for others (all did). And in the mix there would be something that I did like, and along the way I would hear with new ears what they could do. All three are dead now.

I obsessed over the whole overlush Richard Harris album when I was a freshman and became a Jimmy Webb fan for life. Yet I really like Summers's version. BTW, when I listened to an interview, she had a Boston accent and looking it up, yep, she's from Mission Hill, which is where Brigham and Women's and New England Baptist hospitals are.

You wouldn't think I would ever like anyone's guitar solo on this after hearing Clapton's, but Prince really is amazing at the George Harrison installation into the Rock Hall of Fame.  I didn't know he could do this.  When he died I recall people rhapsodising about how excellent he was just as a musician, even outside his showmanship.  I didn't believe them.  Because of this performance and others, now I do. Probably not enough to buy anything, but still, he went up in my estimation. Petty is also on this track, but he doesn't do so much.  Apparently he organised everyone here for the performance, which is valuable, and often difficult.
I mostly knew Petty as a name, not associating him with any of his hit songs, even though I learned I had heard many of them over the years when I listened to the podcast.  In later years I knew him only from the Traveling Wilburys, wondering how this young twerp had inserted himself in with Harrison, Dylan, etc.  Oops.  Petty was born three years before I was.  It shows how much I know. Like the previous two, he worked in a lot of styles.

1 comment:

Grim said...

I remember that year I went to late high school in the city, after spending my life in the country, and asked one of my fellow students what kind of music he liked.

“Ska, techno, and industrial,” he said, which meant as much to me as telling me he liked Bamboozle and Wadi music. (There may well be both of those now.)

I learned what each was, and they each have things to recommend them — but especially ska.