Cold Cassette 17
Maxell UR, 90 Minutes
George Harrison: My Sweet Lord
The Eagles: Lyin’ Eyes
The Guess Who: No Time
The Doors: Riders on the Storm
Derek & the Dominoes: Bell Bottom Blues
Pink Floyd: On the Turning Away
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
Carl Douglas: Kung Fu Fighting
The Kinks: Come Dancing
The Doobie Brothers: Long Train Running
The Beatles: Michelle
Blue Oyster Cult: Godzilla
The Kinks: King Kong
Electric Light Orchestra: Strange Magic
Pink Floyd: Any Colour You Like
Led Zeppelin: Rain Song
The Doors: Strange Days
The Doors: You’re Lost, Little Girl
The Doors: Unhappy Girl
The Doors: Horse Latititudes
The Doors: Moonlight Drive
The Doors: People Are Strange
The Doors: My Eyes Have Seen You
The Doors: I Can’t See Your Face In My Mind
Donovan: Season of the Witch
One of the things that amazes me going through these cassettes is that, fifteen or so year later, they’re nearly all in great shape. Most of them have played flawlessly. Since about 2003, they’ve been secured in a rack that’s typically been placed in a closet (right now, it’s under my desk, leaning against the modesty panel), so storage hasn’t been too harsh, but they did spend tons of time in hot cars and trucks back when I was using them regularly, so I guess I have to tip my hat to Maxell and Fuji.
This one is dominated by the big Doors block on side two—WAQY must have played all of Strange Days, and the whole album is here expect for its lengthy closer, “When the Music’s Over. The amazing thing is that this LP, which came out in November, 1967 hit #3 in the US, while their debut album, which came out that January, was still in the top ten. Say what you will about the Doors (and you have) but there was nothing like them when they first hit, and some of these songs are among their best, though “Horse Latitudes” is perhaps among the strangest combinations of awesome and ridiculous ever committed to tape.
Elsewhere, we have a dip into George Harrison’s broadly syncretic spirituality (via the Chiffons, allegedly by accident), Pink Floyd’s towering 80s heal-the-world ballad “On the Turning Away,” late Kinks, and “Lyin’ Eyes,” which is a song I once accidentally learned to play on the guitar—that distinctive opening D-sus chord is about as instantly recognizable as anything on the radio.
Around this time in my life—I was 16 or 17—I have this memory of eating French toast in a pancake joint somewhere in New England, no idea where exactly or what trip my family might have been taking, and hearing that chord. I remember looking up at the little round speaker mounted in the drop ceiling and thinking “man, you can hear this song anywhere, in a mix with any other type of music.”
And it’s true, I’ve heard the Eagles pop up in the midst of classic rock mixes, country mixes, general hits formats, plopped between modern pop songs, and pretty much everywhere in between. They’re the cheapest date in 70s rock—you can take them anywhere, and it’ll kind of work.
This may be why people hate them—of all the songs on this tape, “Lyin’ Eyes” is definitely the one that projects the least personality. Carl Douglas reportedly hated “Kung Fu Fighting,” but he still put himself out there a bit for it, and it was only supposed to be a b-side. It’s a novelty song for sure, but it’s sort of tough not to like, “ethnic” flourishes and all. Kind of makes you want to get on a dance floor and smack somebody.
The big-monster double bill on side two is from Flashback—I have a hazy memory of listening to that one. “Godzilla” is great, but I seriously considered taping over that Kinks b-side, even though it was a deep cut from a band I liked—it’s just not very good. Why would King Kong have a hydrogen bomb? Where would he get one? Would he even know how to use it or want to? Most great apes lack a working understanding of fission, and besides, I thought the whole point was supposed to be that the monster is us.
Anyway, an interesting, not half-bad tape.