Category: Certain Songs

Certain Songs #797: Joe Walsh – “Life’s Been Good”

Album: But Seriously, Folks …
Year: 1978

The single most likable thing — perhaps the only truly likable thing as “Boys of Summer” gets by on art not charm — anybody associated with The Eagles has ever done, Joe Walsh’s unapologetic ode to the rock star life remains as fun and catchy and weird as it seemed when it was first released in the summer of 1978.

One of those songs that straddled the AM/FM divide with perfect precision, the 4:35 single version went to #12 on the Billboard charts, while the 8:04 album version blasted its way from car stereos for months.


Certain Songs #796: Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – “Burning Streets”

Album: Streetcore
Year: 2003

This is making me sad. Writing about St. Joe Strummer, and the last songs that he ever wrote and recorded.

I mean, it’s a sad time all around, I guess, so maybe it’s more that, but I keep thinking about what he would have done in the past fifteen years, and how such fucking wrong it is that a man that always felt so full of life was felled at such a young age. I mean, Jesus Fucking Christ, I’m four years older as I write these words than Joe was when he died.

If only his heart had been as strong as his soul.


Certain Songs #795: Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – “Arms Aloft”

Album: Streetcore
Year: 2003

Given the fact that a couple of years ago, I wrote about The Clash for an entire month, Joe Strummer already had a lifetime pass by the time he gave Mick Jones the boot, so in a way it didn’t even matter that Cut The Crap sucked, he’d already done enough.

Nor did it matter that his songs for the those great and insane mid-1980s Alex Cox films were underwhelming, he’d already done enough.


Certain Songs #794: Joe King Kologbo & His Black Sound – “Another Man’s Thing”

Album: Nigeria Rock Special: Psychedelic Afro Rock & Fuzz Funk
Year: 1973

Ever since I first wrapped my head around the immortal The Indestructible Beat of Soweto back in the mid-1980s, I’ve gone through occasional phases where I’ve waded through various compilations of African pop/rock/whatever music, looking for other songs that hit me as hard as some of those did.

This is just dabbling — I wouldn’t even remotely consider myself an expert on any of it — but I tend to really enjoy what I discover when I go through those phases. And so a few years ago, I came across (actually I think it came from Kirk) the wonderfully titled Nigeria Rock Special: Psychedelic Afro Rock & Fuzz Funk, which featured the truly bonkers 1973 track “Another Man’s Thing” by Joe King Kologbo & His Black Sound, which to me is proof positive that White Light / White Heat made it to Nigeria.


Certain Songs #793: Joe Jackson – “I’m The Man”

Album: I’m The Man
Year: 1979

Fuck yeah, “I’m The Man!”

It goes without saying that my favorite Joe Jackson song is the raver that that gave his second album not just its title, but its reason for existing.

With guitarist Gary Sanford frantically throwing out chords while drummer David Houghton and all-time killer bassist Graham Maby lay down cover fire, Jackson sets himself as the “I Write The Songs” guy of useless ephemera.