The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 June 2004

Gone to pieces, bits and pieces

This started with retroCRUSH's 50 Coolest Song Parts survey, which is based on the perfectly reasonable notion that "sometimes there are pieces of songs that are cooler than the song itself." With a nod to Michele, who's already worked up a list, here are some of my favorite fragments. The criterion for inclusion is simple: does it make the hair on the back of my neck stand up, even now, however many years later? These do.

  • The very last line of "Rag Doll," the 4 Seasons (Philips, 1964), in which Frankie Valli proclaims, "I love you just the way you are."

  • Hal Blaine's drum break, leading into the outro to the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" (Philles, 1963).

  • Roger Daltrey's scream right before "Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss" in the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" (Decca, 1971).

  • "It doesn't matter what you wear / Just as long as you are there" in "Dancing in the Street", Martha and the Vandellas (Gordy, 1964).

  • The second instrumental break (the one without the sound effects) and the outro of the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City" (Kama Sutra, 1966).

  • Jimi Hendrix' extended break in the middle of "All Along the Watchtower" (Reprise, 1970).

  • Diana Ross' cries of "I'll always love you" in the outro of the Supremes' "Love Child" (Motown, 1968).

  • The interplay of drum and piano after Badfinger sing the title of "Day After Day" (Apple, 1971).

  • The a cappella section midway through the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B" (Capitol, 1966).

  • Silence, followed by a fierce drum pounding, and then "Came the dawn", twice in "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" by the Electric Prunes (Reprise, 1966).

  • "One, two, three, FOUR!" The Beatles, "I Saw Her Standing There" (Capitol, 1964).

  • The ersatz Wall of Sound surrounding T. Rex's "Metal Guru" (Reprise, 1972).

  • The stop-time beat right before the invocation of the title, all through Lesley Gore's "That's the Way Boys Are" (Mercury, 1965).

  • "At the bottom of this mine lies a big, big man: Big John." Jimmy Dean, "Big Bad John" (Columbia, 1961).

  • The six-note riff that opens J. J. Jackson's "But It's Alright" (Calla, 1966).

  • "You're so vain / You probably think this song is about you." Carly Simon, "You're So Vain" (Elektra, 1972).

  • The plodding, almost sorrowful opening to Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (Soul, 1966).

  • The spooky opening to "With You There to Help Me," the lead track from Jethro Tull's Benefit (Reprise, 1970).

  • The fade of the Walker Brothers' "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" (Smash, 1966).

  • Arthur Alexander's rueful "Every girl I've ever had / Breaks my heart and leaves me sad / What am I, what am I supposed to do?" in "Anna" (Dot, 1962).

  • Whatever the hell that is in the middle of the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird" (Garrett, 1963).

Feel free to contribute your own bits.

Posted at 6:29 AM to Screaming Memes , Tongue and Groove


TrackBack: 9:37 AM, 9 June 2004
» Musical Moments from Better Living Through Blogging!
Inspired by the RetroCrush feature, and spurred on by both MoFi and Charles, here are some of my favorite musical moments:......[read more]

TrackBack: 9:58 AM, 9 June 2004
» Cool Song Intros from Monsters from the Id
The other day Retrocrush posted their list of 50 Coolest Song Parts. Since it was listed on Fark I'm sure that everyone and their brother has already seen it. It's really a fun list to go through. I don't agree......[read more]

I blogged this as well, over the weekend, and said that any such list that does not include the drum break -- consisting of ever-faster triplet tom fills -- in John Mellencamp's "Jack & Diane" (just before the "Let it rock, let it roll" bridge) can be considered canon. :)

(For fun, there's also my list of 10 great unsung guitar solos.


The a cappella section midway through the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B"

The liner notes for the first CD issue of Pet Sounds, discussing this track, say something to the effect of, "The Boys could go a capella sometimes and bring tears to your eyes." It's absolutely true.

Posted by: Phil at 7:08 AM on 9 June 2004

I've had this brewing for some time, but it always got shoved to the back burner; apparently the rise of the meme motivated me to get off the dime and do something with it.

I'm quite a bit older than your average blogger, and of course these selections will reflect that, but the best stuff is always timeless, right?

Posted by: CGHill at 7:15 AM on 9 June 2004

The end of Sleep Walk (Santo & Johnny, 1959, Canadian-American Records)

Puts all my hairs at attention. :D

Posted by: Deb at 8:51 AM on 9 June 2004

Frank Sinatra's version of "Luck Be A Lady" just as the horns kick in. It just *swings*.

And Republica's "Ready To Go" when the hard, pulsing drums/guitars kick in.

And "Bootzilla" when Bootsy begins his wild, delightful, eerie "Yabba dabba..."

And for non-singing music: the opening notes of "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly."

And when Teddy's voice is first heard on "Wake Up Everybody."

And - more Teddy P. - his first words in "The Love I Lost."

Posted by: David at 9:26 AM on 9 June 2004

Nothing could be more lush and evocative than Clapton's guitar and the piano taking us home at the end of "Layla." Those bars drip with devotion and made a young teen dream of finding love......

Posted by: herne's heir at 11:33 AM on 9 June 2004

> Silence, followed by a fierce drum pounding, and then "Came the dawn", twice in "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" by the Electric Prunes

Before I read this one I was recalling an equivalent and earlier slice from "Keep On Dancing" by The Gentrys.

That was a good post to stir up the memory cells.

Posted by: Mike at 12:24 PM on 9 June 2004

According to legend, "Keep On Dancing" originally ended at 1:30, way short for a single even then. Producer Chips Moman therefore decided to fade it at that point, creating the fake ending, and then spliced in a copy of the first verse, effectively starting the song over again before fading out about 2:08.

As with a lot of such stories, even if it's not true, it should be.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:56 PM on 9 June 2004

Billie Holiday, "Solitude."

Posted by: Robb at 7:34 PM on 9 June 2004

Junior Brown, playing string band standard "Sugarfoot Rag" and ending it with Jimi Hendrix's three ethereal chords from "The Wind Cries Mary". He's recorded a couple of versions of this, one has a little too much Hendrix, poorly applied.

Posted by: triticale at 2:51 PM on 11 June 2004

The underwater guitar in Billy Idol's "Flesh for Fantasy"

The two looooooong twangs in the bridge of "The Body" by Public Image Ltd

Posted by: Fûz at 11:30 PM on 15 June 2004