Everybody goofs now and then. That’s why they put erasers on pencils. But once in awhile someone makes a mistake that’s so good, you just have to leave it alone. This week we look at four songs with mistakes that the artists chose to retain because they thought it made the song better.
EDITED to fix the link. Which makes the first sentence of this post just a little more poignant, no?
Hey, everybody makes a mistake now and then. That’s why they put erasers on pencils, am I right?
But once in awhile, someone will make a mistake that manages to enhance rather than detract (“Eminence Front,” I’m looking at you.). And that’s where we’re going this week: we’ll look at four songs that had mistakes in them where the artists made a conscious decision to keep the error in place because it actually makes the song a little bit better.
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It was on this day in 1977 that a plane went down in southwest Mississippi, in a small town called Gillsburg. Even today, forty years later, Gillsburg looks like little more than a wide spot in the road, but its main claim to fame is that plane crash, which took the lives of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines, along with Gaines’ sister Cassie, all members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd. Also killed in the crash were assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray. Other band members and passengers on the plane suffered serious injuries.
The band’s album, Street Survivors, had been released only a few days earlier and had already gone gold. The publicity from the crash helped push the album to multi-platinum status and a spot in the Top Five on the Billboard Album Chart. The unfortunate cover of the album was swiftly replaced until just a few years ago.
But this week we’re looking at a song from their first album, titled (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) that became the band’s signature tune, and the punchline to pretty much any concert-related joke. “Free Bird” was a song that was over two years in the making, and it was assembled through a combination of necessity, serendipity and a flash of Ah-HA! inspiration. And I’ve managed to make this particular podcast longer than any recorded version of the song.
Here’s the clip of the band playing during the Vicious Cycle Tour in 2003. Check out the piano introduction and how sweet the strings make it:
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Today we’re commemorating the 40th anniversary of the plane crash that killed several members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd and their manager with a look at the song that became their signature tune.
This week we’re going to dive into famous songs that were recorded by other artists first. Some of them you’re going to know about because practically everybody knows about them, but I think there will be a few surprises in there. I know that one of them came as a pretty big surprise to me!
If you hit me up on Twitter and ask real pretty, I may tell you which Stevie Wonder song I was talking about.
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This week’s episode takes a look at a bunch of songs that are covers of other artists’ work. Some of them I guarantee you know, others I’m sure will come as a surprise.
This was the song that heralded the Dylan Goes Electric era, and when he first played it live at the 1965 Newport Music Festival, he was met with boos and charges that he’d sold out, or was somehow a “traitor” to his folk roots.
But Bob Dylan stuck to his guns, and “Like a Rolling Stone” became, and remains, his biggest single ever.
If it hadn’t been for a quartet from Liverpool and their obvious cry for Help!, it probably would have gone all the way to Number One on the Billboard chart.
This episode is now available through your favorite podcatcher, or you can download it or you can listen to it right here:
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During the podcast I mentioned an interactive video that’s connected to this song. Here’s the teaser trailer:
But the real fun lies here: you can play with the original video on your own by clicking on this link. I will refund every dime of your money if you don’t think this is cool.
This week, Dylan Goes Electric and changes the face of Rock and Roll.