Today’s Top 40: October 5, 2022.

The songs featured below were all found on the Top 40 charts of the following music-oriented organizations: BBC Radio 1, CHUM-FM and Indie88-FM (from Toronto), Spotify, Billboard Magazine and KEXP-FM (from Seattle). All songs featured were found in the Top 5 of their respective charts for this past week. ***Because there are some repeat songs in this list that have appeared in previous posts, I am going to go into slightly greater depth for the songs that are new to this series this week. However, I will link to the past articles so you can enjoy those stories again or read them anew if you missed them the first time around. Here we go!

Late Night Talking by Harry Styles (CHUM-FM).

Harry Styles.

***This song was profiled in a previous post that you can read here.

Bad Habit by Steve Lacey (Billboard Magazine).

Steve Lacey.

***This song was profiled in a previous post that you can read here.

Unholy by Sam Smith and Kim Petras (BBC Radio 1 and Spotify)

Kim Petras and Sam Smith.

The song “Unholy” by Sam Smith and Kim Petras is a song that first gained momentum via the social media app TikTok. Both Smith and Petras have a strong social media presence and are followed by millions of viewers because of their music but equally for their position as role models for the LGBTQ2s+ community. Petras is from German and is a transsexual singer whose transformation from male to female was made completely in the public eye. Petras allowed each stage of her transition to be made public so that people could see that feeling trapped in the “wrong” body isn’t something that happens in isolation. Petras hoped to inspire others who were feeling lost in their bodies to summon the courage to be their true selves. Sam Smith is a singer from the UK who has won multiple Grammy awards for songs such as “Stay With Me”. He is very much known as a crooner. However, on social media, he has long been a very high profile Gay entertainment figure. In recent times, Smith has gone further and declared himself to actually be non-binary. So, the fact that one of Europe’s leading transsexual entertainers has teamed up to sing with one of the UK’s leading non-binary entertainers is news, in and of itself.

The song “Unholy” is a dark, pulsating song about living secret lives and the impact on those who are aware of such secrets and those who aren’t. The song is specifically about a man who has been frequenting a strip joint made famous by the show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. In the song, the man who attends these strip shows does so in secret. However, his daughter happens to see him there and thus, possesses a secret that she doesn’t wish to know because of the implications it has on the stability of her family life as she presently knows it. The daughter acts as the narrator of the song. While the song describes the dramatic scene that it does, Petras and Smith are also singing about their own lives and the cost associated with being forced to live their true lives in secret. As we know, they have bucked that trend themselves so this song is meant for the many others who live lives of emotional anguish, unable to be who they see themselves as being. For me “Unholy” falls into that category where sometimes a song is more than just a song. For Smith and Petras, “Unholy” is akin to leaving a light on at the porch. For those struggling in silence, “Unholy” means seeing that porch light and knowing that they have found their way home.

***The link to the lyrics version of this song can be found here.

Belize by Danger Mouse, Black Thoughts ft. MF DOOM (KEXP-FM).

Black Thought and Danger Mouse.

When it comes to Hip Hop, the pickings are either a feast or famine proposition for me. I am not a fan at all of the profanity-laced, overtly sexualized music that passes for much of what is considered Rap music these days. When it comes to Hip Hop, I tend to be more likely to go old school and listen to the sample-rich, jazz-influenced Hip Hop of performers such as DJ Shadow and his magnificent “Midnight in a Perfect World” *(which you can read about here). “Belize” by Danger Mouse, Black Thoughts and MF DOOM mines similar terrain. It is a beautiful sounding song that I could listen to for the background music samples alone. This is the type of song that I like to listen to in the dark, where each snippet of music can shine like the star that it is in this firmament. Good Hip Hop for me is also music in which the linguistic dexterity of the performers is allowed to be showcased in such a way that their skill as rappers is not overshadowed by the shock-content and vulgarity of the lyrics. MF DOOM puts on a masterclass of controlled rapping all throughout “Belize”. I know that for some of you, Hip Hop is not your cup of tea. Much of what I hear today doesn’t do much for me, either but “Belize” is different. It stands out from noise because it is a throwback song that honours the roots of Hip Hop and of Black musical culture. When I listen to music such as this, I hear poetry. I hear history.

***I am not sure if a lyrics version exists for this song but, if it does, you can find it here.

News Update: Lizzo Plays a Crystal Flute.

Lizzo playing James Madison’s crystal flute at The Library of Congress.

I am a big fan of Lizzo. She is someone with a razor-sharp mind. Lizzo knows her history and often uses her platform as a singer to make historical connections for her audiences. *(You can read about how she does this in a previous post that you can find here). Anyway, you may have heard about something Lizzo did recently in a live concert that has garnered a lot of attention from those on both sides of the political spectrum. A while ago, Lizzo was permitted to examine historically significant musical artifacts that were being stored in the Library of Congress. Being a lover of history and being someone who is passionate about cultural connections and the significance of stories on shaping identities, Lizzo was intrigued by a crystal flute that had once belonged to former US President James Madison. Lizzo was aware that Madison was connected to the odious practice of slavery. She also knew that, as a woman of colour, not only touching his flute but actually breathing into it and bringing it to life, musically speaking, would make a statement on so many levels. So, Lizzo was given permission to play Madison’s flute live, in concert. And so she did. Being the multi-instrumentalist that she is, Lizzo was able to make lovely sounds come out of the historic crystal flute. The symbolism of what she was doing was not lost on those who champion human rights. From those people, Lizzo was lauded as being a hero to the cause of civil rights in America. To those on the political right, touching a former president’s delicate crystal flute amounted to sacrilege.

While Lizzo stood on that stage, making beautiful music come out of an ancient instrument, she was connecting the dots for those who believe that the past matters and that there are stories that need to be told from the past so that we may all have a better tomorrow. She did this without raising her fists or her voice. She simply stood on a stage and played and smiled. There is power in simplicity. LIzzo wields her power well.

***The link to a video of Lizzo playing the crystal flute can be found here.

News Update #2: The L.A. version of the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert.

Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters checks in on 16 year old Shane Hawkins, son of former drummer, Taylor Hawkins, during a blistering rendition of “My Hero” in Los Angeles.

Three weeks after putting on a concert for the ages at Wembley Stadium in London, England, Dave Grohl managed to put together another stellar musical celebration of life for his dear and departed friend, Taylor Hawkins. This time, the concert was held in Los Angeles. The lineup included everyone from Alanis Morissette with “You Oughta Know”, to Heart with “Barracuda”, to Rush with “YYZ”, Wolfgang Van Halen ripping through his father’s hits, “Panama” and “Hot For Teacher”, Def Leppard blasting through “Photograph” and “Rock of Ages” with Miley Cyris by their side and, of course, plenty of Foo Fighters music all the way through. The highlight on this night was the same as it was at Wembley Stadium…when Taylor Hawkins’ son, Shane took his place behind the drum kit and pounded out “My Hero” along with the rest of the Foo Fighters, who repeated their caring and tenderhearted handling of Shane by constantly coming back to play alongside him as the song went on. I am not sure what Dave Grohl is going to do to top these two concerts but, whatever it is, I have faith it will be epic!

***You can watch the video of Shane Hawkins ripping it up on “My Hero” here.

Stonecatcher by Marcus Mumford ft. Phoebe Bridgers (Indie88-FM).

Phoebe Bridgers and Marcus Mumford.

Our final song of the day goes to Marcus Mumford. You may know him as the lead singer of the folk-rock juggernaut, Mumford and Sons. “Stonecatcher” comes from his debut solo album entitled, Self-Titled. The fact that he collaborated with my current favourite female singer Phoebe Bridgers made this a must-listen to song for me.

I have always liked Mumford and Sons from their very first album called Sigh No More. I have always found their music to be rousing, anthemic and very literate. My introduction to their work came when I discovered a video of the band performing a live version of their song, “The Cave” at the 2010 Reading Music Festival. *(You can watch that performance here). That performance was one of the most joyous videos I have ever witnessed. At that moment in their career, Mumford and Sons were just breaking as a major band. So, when they launch into the opening notes of “The Cave” and the audience instantly sings along, you can see the genuine expressions of joy on their faces. I dare anyone watching this to not leave the song smiling at the end. It is truly wonderful! Since then, Mumford and Sons have had a slew of hits such as “Little Lion Man”, “I Will Wait” and “Believe”. They have won Grammy Awards and many Brit Awards, too. One of the things I have always liked about Mumford and Sons is how literate they are. Their songs draw from Shakespeare, James Joyce as well as P.K. Chesterton. But before any of you come away with the impression that Mumford and Sons are a bookish, boring band because of the sources for many of their songs, let me tell you another thing about them. They very much believe in bringing music to everyone, not just those who can afford to pay hundreds of dollars for a seat at a stadium. In the true spirit of being troubadours, Mumford and Sons make it a point to include smaller, more out of the way locations whenever they are touring. An example is that they played a two day festival in Simcoe, Ontario a few years ago. The world is filled with Simcoe-esque festivals and Mumford and Sons attempt to play at as many of them as they can.

The song, “Stonecatcher” comes from a story in the Bible. If you know your Bible stories at all, you will know that Jesus was portrayed as being a man who preached peace and compassion and love for all people. He was viewed by the authorities as being a troublemaker so the story goes that one day they decided to set him up and expose him as a fraud in front of his followers. The authorities did this by bringing a woman accused of adultery into the town square. The punishment for adultery was stoning to death. Jesus was brought to the square and was asked to denounce this woman and her crime of adultery and then to cast the first stone at her. The authorities were banking on Jesus refusing to cast the stone, at which time they would declare him as being in favour of such immoral behaviour as adultery. However, when Jesus was handed the stone, he simply turned and faced the crowd that had gathered and challenged anyone without sin to cast that first stone. When no one stepped forward, the implications were clear. No one was without sin. Since no one, including Jesus, would cast a stone, the authorities were forced to release the woman. From that point onward, people who stand up for the oppressed and stop or limit pain and discomfort have become known as stonecatchers.

When Marcus Mumford decided to put together a solo album, it wasn’t because he was thinking of leaving Mumford and Sons. It was because he had things that he wanted to say that seemed too personal to issue under the banner of the band. One of the things he wanted to address was the fact that he had suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse as a child. Mumford claims that there was no one there to help him when the pain was his to bear. So, he decided to create an album to discuss the impact that abuse has had on him and those in his life. The song, “Stonecatcher” specifically addresses a promise that he is making to the world. Mumford promises that he will be a better person to others in need than others were to him as a child. He sings of wishing to be a stonecatcher for other abuse victims. That he is able to do this all the while harmonizing with the incomparable Phoebe Bridgers is an added bonus.

So, I will close by urging us all to be stonecatchers for those in our lives. Letting no one suffer on my watch is a promise and a pledge I make willingly and completely. If you feel so willing then, I urge you to do likewise in your world. This is how we make things better.

***The link to the lyrics version of this song can be found here.

Today’s Top 40: Glastonbury Edition…the Stories Behind the Most Memorable Performances from the 2022 Glastonbury Music Festival.

NOTE: In this edition of Today’s Top 40, I am abandoning my usual format of showcasing the top songs on various music charts. Instead I am going to focus on the recent Glastonbury Music Festival. There are several major music festivals that typically take place around the world over the course of the summer, with Glastonbury being one of the biggest and most important of them all. This year’s edition of Glastonbury was the first live, in-person gathering since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. I think that everyone was happy to be there, and the festival did not disappoint. Unfortunately, the politics of Roe v. Wade being overturned in the United States cast a pall over the proceedings. Many of the performers and audience members had opinions on the matter and were not afraid to state those aloud. This politically-charged atmosphere produced some unforgettable moments, many of which you will read about below. For now, for what it is worth, know that I completely and unreservedly support a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body. My social media platform is not that large but I will use it to champion this cause. To start, I present some of the best and most memorable performances from female acts at this past Glastonbury Music Festival. This is, in no way, tokenism. All performers were outstanding and worthy of the spotlight. So, without further delay, here are the festival highlights from Glastonbury 2022.

Stoned at the Nail Salon by Lorde (featuring Arlo Parks and Clairo)

Arlo Parks, Lorde and Clairo sing “Stoned at the Nail Salon” at Glastonbury.

Don’t let the title fool you. This is such a lovely and intelligent song. The live performance is absolutely stunning. “Stoned at the Nail Salon” appeared on Lorde’s latest album from 2021 called Solar Power. It is a delicately-constructed song that is almost sung a cappella, with only a subtle acoustic guitar accompaniment in the background. The song is a rumination on the life path of young women in today’s world and the choices one gets to make or not, according to society’s norms. In particular, it is a song about how gender defines a woman’s journey. Specifically, as a male, I was always encouraged to follow my dreams and ambitions and taught that how successful my life ended up being viewed by others depended upon my job and income, the size of my car and house, the beauty of my wife and so on. That this sort of valuation is nonsense doesn’t matter. It is how society’s game is played. For many women, they can be encouraged to follow their dreams and ambitions, too, but woven into that journey is the expectation of having children…a family, and of living a life in which domesticity plays a part. In “Stoned at the Nail Salon”, Lorde writes about having a good home, a loving partner and a dog who comes when she calls, and yet she wonders if she is missing anything in life because of how the path she is on was chosen for her in a lot of ways by societal expectations for women. What really makes this performance special is that Lorde unselfishly shares the stage with two other female singers…Arlo Parks and Clairo. Both of these young ladies are in their twenties like Lorde, but they have had very different life experiences up until now. However, when they sing, the most glorious harmonies occur. It is easily the best live singing performance I have seen in a long, long time. From the very first notes of this song, the audience and the three singers all realize that something magical is happening. It is wonderful to bear witness to. That three talented young women of differing backgrounds could sing together and speak as one is especially poignant given all that happened this week in America.

***Note: the link to the live performance can be found in the song title that begins this section of the post. However, starting today, I am going to include a “lyric” version of each song for any reader who is experiencing difficulty understanding the words of the songs I am highlighting. So, the link to the lyric version of “Stoned at the Nail Salon” can be found here.

Both Arlo Parks and Clairo have good careers of their own. In order to give each woman her due, I am including a link to their websites and a link to a song video of theirs as well.

So, for Arlo Parks, who is a poet and folk-pop singer, the link to her website can be found here. The link to the official music video for her beautiful song “Hope” can be found here. The lyric version of “Hope” by Arlo Parks can be found here.

For Clairo, who has been producing alternative folk-pop for many years now, the link to her website can be found here. The link to her live performance of “Bags” can be found here. The lyrics version can be viewed here.

I Know the End by Phoebe Bridgers (featuring Arlo Parks)

Phoebe Bridgers and Arlo Parks sing “I Know the End” at Glastonbury.

Phoebe Bridgers is a singer who has already achieved much success in the US with several Top 40 hits such as “Motion Sickness”, “Kyoto” and “Sidelines”. Bridgers released her debut album in 2017 and won several awards for it including “Best New Artist”. Bridgers is known for alternative and folk-rock music and models herself after the legendary singer/songwriter Elliott Smith *(you can read about Smith and Bridgers in this post about Smith’s hit “Miss Misery” here). The song “I Know the End” comes from her most recent album and is referred to as a three-piece suite. That is helpful to know because it is a song that can fool you into thinking it is a dreamy ballad when, in fact, it is a song with three distinct sections, all of which have different tempos and styles. The song represents Bridger’s thoughts on the direction life in America is heading. Being an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ2 rights, Bridgers is very fearful of the future for anyone who loves differently and seeks to live openly. The talented Arlo Parks shows up to lend her presence to Bridger’s song. It is instructive to see Parks with Bridgers after seeing her with Lorde and Clairo because both songs are very different, requiring Parks to be a different performer for each.

***The link to the lyrics version of “I Know the End” by Phoebe Bridgers can be found here.

Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves performs “Rainbow” at Glastonbury.

Kacey Musgraves is a country and western singer. But, she is a bit of a rare breed for that genre because she is an outspoken advocate for causes that tend to be on the left of the political spectrum whereas the genre, as a whole, tends to skew more toward conservative politics. Musgraves is a Grammy award winner, as well as being a multiple Country Music Association award winner, too. Because of her willingness to use her platform to further the causes she supports, Musgraves had some things to say about the Roe v. Wade decision handed down by the increasingly religious-minded US Supreme Court. You can hear her words at the beginning of the video for her song, “Rainbow”. “Rainbow” is from Musgraves’ third album. The video for this song won the CMA award for Video of the Year. Her album won the Grammy award for Country Album of the Year. The song is about finding the strength to overcome adversity. Musgraves states that “Rainbow” was the last song of hers that her grandmother ever heard her sing before passing away and that singing it at her funeral was the toughest performance of her life. Not surprisingly, Musgraves has dedicated the song to the LGBTQ2 community and has invited them to use it as an anthem for any parades, meetings or promotional campaigns.

***The link to the video containing the lyrics version of “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves can be found here.

Chaise Longue by Wet Leg.

Wet Leg.

Wet Leg are a female duo from the Isle of Wight. The two musicians are Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers. The name of their band comes from a local saying on the Isle of Wight that states you can always tell the tourists from those who live there because the tourists often get their pant legs wet disembarking from the small ferry that brings visitors to the island. Thus, those known as “wet legs” are wanderers and explorers and in many ways, outsiders. So, too, are the band, as they travel the world. I can tell you from my own YouTube music feed that Wet Leg are one of the hottest bands in the world at the moment. I have watched them appear everywhere from late night talk shows on TV, to appearances on any and every radio show that broadcasts live performances, all the way to music festivals such as Glastonbury. Wet Leg play a variety of musical styles but they are becoming best known for the energetic style of rock that they play. “Chaise Longue” is their biggest hit to date and is one of the most popular songs on music charts at the moment, too. Their performance at Glastonbury was one of the more widely anticipated ones on a roster packed with hit makers. If this is your first time watching/listening to Wet Leg, I can guarantee you that it will not be the last time you hear of them. They are on the cusp of being the next big thing. You heard that here first.

***The link to the video containing the lyrics version of “Chaise Longue” by Wet Leg can be found here.

F*ck You by Olivia Rodrigo (featuring Lily Allen)

Lily Allen and Olivia Rodrigo at Glastonbury.

I will close this post with a performance that made headlines when it happened. Right now, Olivia Rodrigo is one of the shiniest of stars in the world of music today. It is fair to say that she is well-positioned to be this generation’s version of Taylor Swift should she care to continue along the path she is currently on. *(I have profiled Olivia Rodrigo before. You can read that post here). So, a lot of attention was paid when Rodrigo took time from her Glastonbury set to address the Roe v. Wade decision. Rodrigo stated very passionately that the Court’s decision was one that will cost many women their lives. She proceeded to list the names of the conservative judges who authored the decision overturning abortion rights laws that had been on the books for half a century. Then she introduced a special guest singer named Lily Allen. Allen is a well known singer, particularly in the UK. She has had many hits of her own and was the winner of the Ivor Novello award for songwriting, as well as the Brit Award for Top Female Performer. The song “F*ck You” is a Lily Allen song. She wrote the song over a decade ago in response to the policies of US President George Bush. Since Bush has left office, “F*ck You” has been an all-purpose song that is used to take aim at whichever politician is trying to implement policies that cost lives, in the opinion of Allen. So, what better song for Olivia Rodrigo to dedicate to the US Supreme Court than “F*ck You” and who better to sing it with than Lily Allen herself.

Just one of the many articles written about The Dixie Chicks controversy.

As a lover of music and a student of history, the parallels between how Rodrigo spoke about conservative US policies at Glastonbury and how the all-female band The Dixie Chicks spoke about the Bush government after 9/11 are striking. For those unaware, The Dixie Chicks criticized President Bush for seeking to invade Iraq in the wake of the terrorist attacks in NYC on 9/11. Lead singer Natalie Maines simply said that they were embarrassed to have Bush for a president. The fallout from that public statement given during a concert in Paris was swift. The Dixie Chicks were the subject of an organized campaign to blacklist them from appearing in concert, on TV or radio in the US ever again. There were death threats against all three members of the band. Their record sales plummeted. Their song “Not Ready To Make Nice” was written in reaction to the experiences they endured. *(You can watch that video here. The lyrics video is here). In my opinion, it was a shameful chapter in US music history. Many have speculated that much of the reason for the ferocity of the pushback from conservatives in America was because the members of The Dixie Chicks were all female. Many have concluded that male singers have said and done much worse and have gotten off with light taps on the knuckles, if even that. That a strong female such as Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks caused such an over-the-top reaction twenty years ago makes me wonder how Olivia Rodrigo will fare when she returns to the US. I applaud her for having the courage to speak out on behalf of other women whose voices are never heard. I wish her luck in the coming days, weeks and months. I hope that she doesn’t need it. In the meantime, enjoy one of the most talked about performances from Glastonbury 2022.

***The link to the video containing the lyrics version of “F*ck You” by Lily Allen can be found here.

The link to the official website of The Glastonbury Music Festival 2022 can be found here.

***As always, all original content found in this post is the sole property of the author. No portion of this post may be reblogged, copied or shared in any form without the express written consent of the author. ©2022 tommacinneswriter.com

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #123: Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #123: Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve.

Part #1

I am going to do something today that I have never done before in this countdown. The story of “Bittersweet Symphony” involves a legal situation that, as it played out, ended up involving some of the biggest names in the music business, stretching back to the very beginnings of Rock n’ Roll. It is a story that is “Watergate”-esque, in calibre and speaks to the very organizational structure of the Music Industry, as a whole. But, just like how ‘Watergate” started with a petty break-in but, was never just about that break-in, the story of “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve was about a four-second sample of some violin music but, in the end, it went everywhere and touched everyone. So, in order to do this story justice, I am going to tell the tale in two parts: in Part #1, I will talk about the song and the band, as I normally would in a regular music post. In Part #2, I will lay out the historical significance of what happened to the band as a result of that four-second sample. It is, truly, an amazing story. Buckle up, my beauties! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The Verve were a British band that formed in the early 1990s. They were fronted by a charismatic frontman named Richard Ashcroft, who sang lead and who wrote and composed the majority of their songs. In the mid 90s, the band released an album called, “Urban Hymns”, which turned out to be one of the biggest selling albums of that decade. Because of their success, The Verve were included, by the UK Music Press, in that movement called BritPop, along with bands such as Oasis, Blur and Pulp. As it turned out, the manufactured BritPop Movement (which was the UK response to the Grunge Movement in the US) was, also, meant to spark some sort of competition between the bands at home. While Oasis and Blur took the bait and had many public battles in the Press, Richard Ashcroft of The Verve was actually quite chummy with most of the other bands and did not actually play much of a role in any contrived feuds. The album, “Urban Hymns” yielded several hits, including “Lucky Man”, “When the Drugs Don’t Work” (which went all the way to #1) and their most famous song, “Bittersweet Symphony” which is listed at the #3 top BritPop song, after “Love of the Common People” by Pulp and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis.

The lyrics to “Bittersweet Symphony” talk about Life and how it can be both, a blessing and a curse at the same time. The song title and the video that accompanied the song, were both inspired by Trip-Hop stars, Massive Attack and their big hit a few years earlier, “Unfinished Sympathy”. In the video for Massive Attack’s song, the lead singer walks down a publc street, oblivious to the on-lookers watching her. The video was shot all in one take and set a standard that was copied by a number of other artists such as Elliott Smith, Phoebe Bridgers and, as well, The Verve. In the video for “Bittersweet Symphony”, Richard Ashcroft really became a figure of note in the public eye because of how he managed to walk down a public street in London. Ashcroft’s demeanour in the video perfectly captured the sense of bewilderment and distain that the song was speaking of. Ashcroft is totally “in his zone”, as the song states, as he knocks into his fellow pedestrians and almost gets hit by a car. Ashcroft is a tall, boney individual so his loping gait made for a very distinctive look at he ambled off down the road while singing “Bittersweet Symphony” aloud.

In the end, “Bittersweet Symphony” was noted for its video but, also, for the use of violins throughout the song. The violins lent “Bittersweet Symphony” a sweeping sound quality that gave it an air of epicness which set it apart from much of the other music fare of the time. The song was originally written without strings but Ashcroft remained ambivalent about it while the song was in that state. But, when the studio producer suggested adding the strings, the song became the wonderful song that it is. And, that is where the trouble began. “Bittersweet Symphony” was a huge hit when it was released; making it all the way to #2 on the charts. However, when it was nominated for the Songwriting Award at The Grammys the following year, the nature of the weird trap that the band had stumbled into was revealed for all to see. Because, when the list of Songwriting nominees was read aloud, it was not Richard Ashcroft’s name that was spoken. Instead, the presenter said, “Bittersweet Symphony….songwriters, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards”. Why were The Rolling Stones getting the Grammy nomination for a song they had nothing to do for? Let’s find out in Part #2!

For now, here is the award-winning video for “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve. In the comments below, I will, also, re-post the original video by Massive Attack that inspired Ashcroft as he took his own walk through town. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve, can be found here.

The link to the official website of The Verve, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Massive Attack, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Miss Misery” by Elliott Smith, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Elliott Smith, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Motion Sickness: by Phoebe Bridgers, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Phoebe Bridgers, can be found here.

Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.