For as long as I’ve been on the radio, and definitely for as long as I’ve been writing a blog, I will occasionally make a reference to a song being “One of the Greatest Songs Ever Recorded!” (GSER)
I would usually follow that by saying that I would eventually start a category for it, but then never get around to it.
Well, now I’m getting around to it!
It will pretty much follow the pattern of The Most Awesomest Song of the Day.
I’ll select a song to celebrate and then give my thoughts about it. Nothing really brand new here that hasn’t been done before. But since I have a website, I can collect them and lay out what my own greatest songs are.
My radio show, “Prime Time Theme Attic,” is on Monday nights 8PM-10PM ET but is on hiatus because of the pandemic.
Here’s the link for when the show returns: http://rdo.fm/r/4qntu )
Even though I always emphasize new music and artists, it’s always fun to take a short drive through the legendary artists, since they influenced those other artists!
But a song doesn’t have to be old or done by a legendary Theme Attic Hall of Fame member to be thus honored.
I can think of several songs that are only a few years old or less that I could identify as One of the Greatest Songs Ever Recorded.
This will be fun, and hopefully you will join me on my journey…at least sometimes!
If I ever had an air guitar song, “Piece of My Heart” by Theme Attic Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Janis Joplin was it! It’s from the classic, “Cheap Thrills” album. That’s the one with the R. Crumb (Robert Crumb) artwork cover.
A little tidbit: The album was supposed to be entitled, “Sex, Dope, and Cheap Thrills.” It was wisely decided to shorten the title.
The song was written by Jerry Ragovoy and another two Hall of Famer, Bert Berns.
It was originally recorded by Erma Franklin, Aretha Franklin’s (another two Hall of Famer!) sister.
Erma’s version had a nice, mellow R&B soul groove with a nice horn arrangement.
Sam Andrew of Big Brother and The Holding Company–the band that Janis was singing with, put together a cover arrangement that remained true to the melody, but added several shredding guitar solos that took the song to a whole other stratosphere!
The song is such an incredible work of art!
Besides Sam’s driving guitar lines, the amazing work between drummer Dave Getz and bassist Peter Albin is so good it’s stunning! The grooves sound as if they can literally lift off of the recording and materialize!
It truly sounds like the proverbial “lightning in a bottle” was captured!
I honestly don’t think it could have ever been better!
And then add Janis Joplin‘s unique vocals on top of that!
It has always been difficult for me to describe her voice. It sounded like it was so painful for her to sing, I almost felt sorry for her.
My mom, who was much older than any other of my friends mothers, seemed baffled by my taste in music, and Joplin in particular. However, she always could recognize her voice if she heard it.
My mother also wasn’t very good with names and would always refer to her as “Janis Poplin.”
Now every time I play Janis, I also think of my mom!
What my parents didn’t know, is that when I was left alone, I would crank up the Curtis-Mathes stereo console, grab a badminton or tennis racket, and then proceed to mimic Sam Andrew’s guitar licks while jumping on the chairs and sofa in the living room!
I would use a cymbal stand from my drum set as a microphone.
And as great a song that “Piece of My Heart” is, the last snare hits and that other worldly final wail by Janis finish the song just as strong as it started!
I often played the song several times in a row!
It is a psychedelic tour-de-force!
Here’s the original Erma Franklin version:
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