Sunday, April 18, 2010

The MJ Show #76 (Guests Series - Parag Kamani's Top 10 Songs)

It's a great pleasure I have today...for today I have with me a gentleman I really respect and have the pleasure of calling one of my really good friends, as my Guest on my show.
He has worked with several record labels in the past and is currently working as a consultant to the Entertainment Industry and is the Convenor of the Home Entertainment India Summit 2010.
He has also had a long running column in the Hindustan Times and I absolutely LOVE his style of writing. I think he one of the finest writers I've read and he is one of the first to write on my online music magazine In fact, it is thanks to conversations with him that I'm bringing it back soon. Will tell you that when I'm ready with it...but for now...let just say this to summarize.

I've not met too many people in my life who are kinder, nicer and genuinely passionate about something than Parag Kamani. And it is my great pleasure to bring you his top 10 list today!
So without much else, let's get straight into it!

1st Song - The Beatles - Things We Said Today
PK: If memory serves me right, I first heard the song as the B-side of "A Hard Day’s Night", during my school days, an era which still had vinyl as the preferred listening format. While the A-side was the obvious "hit", there was something about the tune that made me sit back and enjoy the melody and the easy, sing-along lyrics that went with it. Not my first introduction to The Beatles, though, as that credit should go to The Chipmunks Sing The Beatles Hits.
MJ: What a BRILLIANT way to kick off a show Parag. As you know, I'm a huge Beatles fan too and I remember listening to this song when I was very young too. I'll admit that I didn't look at it the way you did. I guess it's just that I never got a chance to enjoy The Beatles in vinyl. Wish I had though. What a time that must have been! :)
Here's something I hope you all like. Here's a live version of the song!

2nd Song - Justin Hayward - Forever Autumn
PK: I discovered the voice of Justin Hayward through The Moody Blues and when I heard the vinyl of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds which, by itself, is a brilliant album containing narration [courtesy Richard Burton, among others] and music, Forever Autumn just stood out. Ideal lyrics to go with the setting. Brilliant arrangements to support a fine song.
MJ: What a beautiful song this is. I've got to hear that. I remember you telling me about it once. (Okay :) I've done some researching and wait till you see Episode #77. Parag! I've got something awesome for you in the next show!)
But till then, let's listen to "Forever Autumn".

3rd Song - Ananda Shankar - The River
PK: I must thank the self-titled debut album from the nephew of Ravi Shankar, Ananda, for my discovery of The Rolling Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash and The Doors' Light My Fire. This instrumental track, though, is from "Ananda Shankar And His Music", and has become an enduring favourite, once again first discovered during my school days.
MJ: Listening to it now. Just brilliant!

4th Song - Queen - ’39
PK: A Night At The Opera is the second Queen album in my vinyl collection; the first being Sheer Heart Attack, purchased at Mumbai’s Rhythm House. Opera was purchased by my father from a Virgin store in London in 1976. While Bohemian Rhapsody remains the flavour of the album, the acoustic '39 – also the B-side of the single, You’re My Best Friend – just enamoured me completely; still does. The song is apparently the 39th song in the Queen studio album chronology. I cherish my UK pressing of Opera as it was signed by drummer Roger Taylor in Kolkata in 1996 during his first visit to India. Little did I know then that, in 1999 or so, I would look after Freddie’s mother, Jer, and sister Kashmira, who travelled from UK to Mumbai to attend the Freddie Mercury Photographic Exhibition.
MJ: Wow!! That's some story! :) Tell me more sometime about the time you met Roger Taylor :) I'm sure there's more to hear :) And I'd love to hear it all!
Here's a studio version of the song...

And here's a live version of the same song from a 1977 concert at Earl's Court.

5th Song - Eagles - Desperado
PK: When I first heard the band’s Their Greatest Hits 1971-75 – now the largest selling album in the US – in 1976, the two songs that I avoided were the slowies: Best Of My Love, and Desperado. However, with age, my tastes appear to have mellowed and, of the two, Desperado now happens to be my favourite song from the Eagles. Just love the lines: "It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you…"
MJ: This is incidentally one of my top songs by The Eagles too. To listen to and to sing! I said as much In the mammoth Eagles Special I did (In case you missed it it's here: The MJ Show #47 (Eagles)). The other songs that are in my top 3 are "I Can't Tell You Why" & "Wasted Time".
Here's ... Desperado.

6th Song - The Who - Squeeze Box
PK: I can’t recollect whether I heard the original first or a rendition of it at a music event that I attended during college days in the ’70s called, if I recollect correctly, 'The Evolution Of Mr Rock', which had slides appearing in the backdrop, depicting the lyrics of the songs being performed live. Nevertheless, the song – consisting of obvious innuendo – became a freak UK Top Ten chart smash for The Who and, for me, was a pure fun, pop song, with a banjo playing midway through the song. From an outstanding album, "By Numbers", a foreign pressing which I still own on vinyl, originally released in 1975.
MJ: Now strangely enough, this is one band I never got into and I keep procrastinating doing that too. Don't know why. I do love some of their songs but I've got to sit down and listen to some albums. Maybe I'll do that now :)
Meanwhile, here's Squeeze Box!

HAHAHA :D I just heard the song. :) HAHAHA :D I get your point about the "squeeze box" :) "Momma's got a squeeze box. Daddy never sleeps at night!" :D hahaha

7th Song - The Rolling Stones - Honky Tonk Women
PK: Cowbells, drums, and then that distinctive guitar riff. Still get goose bumps listening to this Rolling Stones song from 1969. For the trivia-minded, it is rumoured that the riff was "composed" by guitarist Ry Cooder. Meanwhile, I missed the band performance in India in 2003, being stuck in the land of black gold: Dubai/UAE.
MJ: I discovered the joy of The Stones when I was asked by Rolling Stone magazine to do a tribute for the band. I had heard their big hits of course...but I discovered a LOT more songs...and this one as well while I was researching for that gig. We did this song live as well and I've gotta tell is just SO MUCH fun doing the Stones' songs live. One of the best bands ever!!
Oh and I didn't miss that gig! :) Actually saw them in Mumbai. Full fun!
Here are the Rolling Stones doing this in 1969!!

8th Song - Jethro Tull - Someday The Sun Won't Shine For You
PK: Blues personified from Jethro Tull’s 1968 debut album, "This Was". First heard the track when Ian Anderson, at a press conference in a five-star hotel sometime in the ’90s, played the minus-one track on what appeared to be a DAT player, topped by playing harmonica and singing live on this song, also featured on "A Little Light Music", certainly one of Jethro Tull’s outstanding albums. I had my first opportunity of interviewing Anderson via telephone while he was fish farming in Scotland and, thereafter, on a numerous occasions, face-to-face, in India.
MJ: I've also had the pleasure of meeting Ian Anderson when he came to India and played at the Shanmukhanda Hall. I remember that was the first BIG event that was an online partner for.
I will however admit that I'm not the biggest Jethro Tull fan. Dunno why. Maybe I've not heard the right albums. But yeah he's an entertainer for sure.
Here's the song.

Oh wait! I like this song. This is not like the crazy stuff that he did later on is it. This is indeed "blues personified" to quote you. Fab stuff!

9th Song - Paul McCartney & Wings - Mrs. Vanderbilt
PK: “Ho, hey ho...” was the reason behind the catchiness of the song that I first heard on the All India programme, Saturday Date, sometime in the mid-’70s. Without any indication to the name of the song or the artiste, I wrote to the Station Director asking for details and, much to my surprise, I not only received a response, but complete details of the album too: "Band On The Run". This led me into becoming a huge fan of the Wings through "Venus And Mars", and "At The Speed Of Sound"; also a paid member of the UK-based Wings Fun Club. I still enjoy listening to the song and, of course, the album on which it appears.
MJ: He's one of the people I would LOVE to meet for sure. What a man! What songs!
This one's brilliant too! :)

10th Song - Robert Johnson - Sweet Home Chicago
PK: I should have begun my list with this artiste, but I thought it would be befitting to end it with a person who is surely the progenitor of the blues, if not modern music. Sweet Home Chicago is referred here only as an example of the musician’s amazing talent and, among the artistes that have recorded it through the years include: Buddy Guy, Foghat, Status Quo, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and The Blues Brothers [check out the movie with their name]. Yes, that much awaited visit to Africa for me remains pending to discover the true genesis of blues, but listening to Robert Johnson, at the moment, is just fine by me.
MJ: I remember us talking about the history of the blues. Man! The BLUES! What would music be without the blues. I don't even want to think about it.
Love Robert Johnson's music. What incredible songs. Also loved Clapton's tribute album to him. "Me And MR.Johnson".
Here's the man. The man who started it all. Mr Robert Johnson!!

Okay then :) Here's a parting gift.
Eric Clapton & Buddy Guy doing...this brilliant blues standard!

PK: There is so much more to write on about my other favourite tracks, and the musicians behind them, but I will wait for another opportunity, Mihir, to foist my passion on your dedicated listeners/viewers. Thanks!
MJ: Parag, here's an open offer to you. Anytime YOU have the time and you sit down and put your thoughts to any 10 songs. Not your top 10 or anything. It could be 10 songs that just occured to you...or topical...or whatever. Any time you write out something and you send it across, I WILL share it with my viewers here. I can guarandamntee that they will love it, as will I :)

Thank you for being on this show and thank you for these brilliant songs that you've shared with me and everyone else here :)

If YOU enjoyed the show...please let Parag and me know that. Put in a few words in the comments at the bottom of this page. I assure you, it will be much appreciated :)

Right is now time for me to say...take care...and have a nice day! :)
This is your Musicman Mihir...signing off!

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