Certain Songs #919: Lee Michaels – “Do You Know What I Mean”

Album: Fifth
Year: 1971

Yes, while Lee Michaels had another top 40 hit — his cover of “Can I Get a Witness” got to number #39 on the coattails of this one — he really was the quintessential one-hit wonder.

And you know how you can tell he’s a one-hit wonder: you can’t name a single other song by Lee Michaels — and in fact, you didn’t even know he covered “Can I Get a Witness” until I just told you (and I sure as hell didn’t know until I read it on Wikipedia 10 minutes ago) — but if you listened to the radio at all in the early 1970s, you know every single word of “Do You Know What I Mean.”

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Certain Songs #918: Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir (Knebworth, 1979)”

Album: Led Zeppelin DVD
Year: 1979

This is really a quick little postscript capping a month or so of Led Zeppelin posts. For the longest time, “Kashmir” was the one Certified Led Zeppelin Classic that I just couldn’t get behind.

On Physical Graffiti it was, as needs be, too perfect. It was like an impenetrable tank that was impossible to get inside of, every attempt at understanding its deep dark mysteries beaten back by a phase-shifted drum roll. So it wasn’t like I skipped it, or even changed the channel when it came on, I just didn’t love it, even though I could hear how amazing and groundbreaking it was.

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Certain Songs #917: Led Zeppelin – “In The Evening”

Album: In Through The Out Door
Year: 1979

So what if John Bonham hadn’t died? What if, instead of being Led Zeppelin’s last studio album, they continued to record — ever more sporadically, of course — for the next couple of decades instead?

How would In Through The Out Door be looked at then? Obviously, it’s now seen as The Last Led Zeppelin Album, with all of the psychic weight that entails. Added to that is the fact that In Through The Out Door is clearly their weakest studio album, continuing the decline that some detected (wrongly!!!) in Presence, and some folks might even assume that it was a good thing they had an excuse to break up before further tainting their legacy, like other ::coughs:: The Who ::coughs:: bands didn’t do.

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Certain Songs #916: Led Zeppelin – “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”

Album: Presence
Year: 1976

See that’s the thing about Presence: it’s got three of my top 10 — hell, practically three of my top 5 — Led Zeppelin songs.

I’ve already written about the grandly epic “Achilles Last Stand,” and the sleazy, dirty “For Your Life,” so now it’s time to tackle what’s probably my favorite of all of their songs, the upside-down blues of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.”

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Certain Songs #915: Led Zeppelin – “For Your Life”

Album: Presence
Year: 1976

Working much of the same lyrical territory as “Sick Again,” the sticky, sweaty, sleazy, stomping “For Your Life” is one of the those songs that chronicles the backstage excess that made Hammer of The Gods such a salacious success.

With Robert Plant alternating between resisting temptation and succumbing to temptation, knowing full well the risks he was taking, “For Your Life” utterly captured the those moments where you know you shouldn’t be doing any more drugs or having any more sex . . . but you keep thinking maybe you should.

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