Entries by Bob Marshall

11. Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Meatloaf

Unlike other artists whose work I consistently bought (see TK sidebar, above), Meat Loaf burst onto the rock scene like a Bat Out of Hell with one transcendent, explosive, almost-perfect record, so good you felt there was nothing more to say. Sure, Meat (or should I say Mr. Loaf) bowed to commercial interests and put […]

12. Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton

If music is about romance, this is about the most romantic song I know. Also, the slowest slow-dance number since the Flamingos’ I Only Have Eyes for You (the “shrub-de-bup” song) or, going further, Golden Teardrops, which doesn’t move at all. It would be a crime, not to mention awfully uncomfortable, to dance to Wonderful […]

13. No Woman, No Cry, Bob Marley & Wailers

I first heard this song on New York island radio in 1976, adopted it as my own in a little incident in Antigua that winter, and have never heard it since without, first, smiling, and by its end, feeling I’m a better person. Of course I’m not, but that’s the effect Bob Marley has had […]

14. The Boxer, Simon & Garfunkel

The climax of Simon & Garfunkel’s career (see Sidebar, below), The Boxer has, in spades, everything that made one of the rock era’s two greatest duos so great: harmonies that melt your heart, folk-rock purity, insinuating rhythm, literate lyrics and an intriguing story you think you understand, but don’t, really. Humility the listener can identify […]

15. Lyin’ Eyes, The Eagles

Lyin’ Eyes has the peaceful, easy rolling rhythm that’s an Eagles trademark and the cool, non-emotional tone of Southern California – a dotted line runs from the Beach Boys in the ‘60s to the Eagles in the ‘70s. The story is as old as the Hollywood hills, but never in rock music has it been […]

16. With or Without You, U2

Like the sea rolling over the sand, With or Without You seeps from every pore of the speakers and takes hold of every nerve of my body. It becomes an environment all to itself. The 4/4 tomtom beat of the bass grabs me and holds on, then halfway through, the drum starts pounding the backbeat. […]

17. Runaround, Blues Traveler

John Popper’s harmonica sound is practically unique in rock’n’roll, but that is not even his most distinctive contribution to Run-Around. Rather, it is his gravelly but relentlessly upbeat voice which runs through a full narrative lyric while leaving me with no clue what he is saying or singing about. Or even what is a “run-around.” […]

18. Stop! In the Name of Love, The Supremes

Polished commercial perfection and deeply expressed emotion don’t often come together, but when they do, as they do here, it is a gem. The Motown rhythm section chugs along with Southern-school marching band precision and the Supremes are given a readymade dance move, with gloved hand extended at every “Stop!” But then, before each verse, […]

19. I Wonder Why, Dion and the Belmonts

A Morse-Code barrage of “din-din-dins” announces one of the great bass lines in rock, a line that flares and swoons but never lets up. The last “din” in the opening line morphs into the first word of “don’t-know-why-I,” with each word adding a singer to the mix, in harmonic thirds. All join together then for […]