He’s got all the best tunes, you know.

It has often been said that the Devil has all the best tunes. There is also supposed to be something diabolic about certain types of music and there is the interval known as diabolus in musica (the Devil in Music) a.k.a the tritone, an interval known for dissonance.

Diabolic and Satanic imagery has long been associated with heavy metal and Goth has always been as much about decaying ruins, vampires and death as it has about music.

Jimmy Page was, at one time, deeply interested in Aleister Crowley, the so-called Wickedest Man Alive and founder of the occult religion of Thelema (motto – Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law) and the late Graham Bond was so obsesed with Crowley that he formed a band called Holy Magick and believed himself to be Crowley’s son.

Earlier still, it was said that Robert Johnson bacame a blues guitar phenomenon because of a pact with the Devil, signed at midnight, down at the crossroads. This idea later spawned a film about the same subject, culminating in a guitar battle between the Devil’s guitar hero, played by Steve Vai and the hero of the film, Eugene (guitar work by Ry Cooder).

So, music has a long tradition of dealing in the Black Arts and this playlist covers all the bases from posession and exorcism, through witchcraft, occult ceremonies and the Undead athrough to Hell and Damnation.

As you can see, we have 11 tracks. The task here is to decide which one will be saved from the Pit and which one will be cast into the Outer Dark forever.

The track listing is:

Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Siousxie and the Banshees – Spellbound
David Byrne and Brian Eno – The Jezebel Spirit
Dr John – Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya
Black Widow – Come To The Sabbat
Bauhaus – Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Cassandra Wilson – Hellhound On My Trail
John Martyn – I’d Rather Be The Devil
King Crimson – The Devil’s Triangle
The Clash – Straight To Hell
AC/DC – Highway To Hell

The Crimson-Yes Axis

This post was inspired by those Pete Frame “Rock Family Trees” diagrams that I’ve always found so engrossing and which are a great way to waste an afternoon.

The idea for this particular one came from me listening to the first, eponymous album by the band UK, which featured Bill Bruford, John Wetton, Eddie Jobson and Alan Holdsworth, with Bruford and Wetton being the rhythm section that powered the great “Lark’s Tongues In Aspic”, “Starless And Bible Black” and “Red” incarnation of King Crimson. The presence of Eddie Jobson reminded me that he did some violin overdubs for the KC live album from this period, “USA”.

Then I wandered mentally from UK and USA to Asia, another band that featured John Wetton and which also had Steve Howe from Yes, the band where Bill Bruford started out. You can see where this leads, can’t you?

So, I thought I’d put together a playlist that had one rule; the music must feature at least one member of either Yes or King Crimson playing under a different banner.

The musicians I have used are Greg Lake (KC’s original bassist/ELP), Ian McDonald and Michael Giles(also from the original KC line-up/McDonald and Giles), Bill Bruford (Yes and KC/Bruford/AWBH), John Wetton (KC/Asia – also played live with Roxy Music), Robert Fripp (KC – obviously/David Bowie/Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins), Mel Collins (KC/Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins), Steve Howe, Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman (all Yes/AWBH), Vangelis (Yes/Aphrodite’s Child), Boz Burrell (KC/Bad Company and Eddie Jobson (KC in the studio/Roxy Music)

So, the track listing is;

Emerson, Lake and Palmer – The Barbarian
McDonald and Giles – Flight Of The Ibis
Asia – Only Time Will Tell
Aphrodite’s Child – The Four Horsemen
Roxy Music – Out Of The Blue
David Bowie – “Heroes”
Bill Bruford – Beelzebub
John Wetton – New Star Rising
Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins – The Other Man
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe – Order Of The Universe
Bad Company – Bad Company

There are lots of other connections that you can find if you are an obsessive about such things. If you wanted to branch out, you could link Yes to UK to Soft Machine and to Gong via Bill Bruford and Alan Holdsworth (because Holdsworth played with UK, the Softs and Gong). You can also link King Crimson to Gong via Theo Travis, who has played live with Robert Fripp. There are also links via Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn, Tony Levin and Adrian Belew. You can even link King Crimson to Hall and Oates via Fripp and his work on Darryl Hall’s first solo album, “Sacred Songs”. It goes on and on. I am sure that people can find other links.

Incidentally, the only reason I don’t have a UK track here is that for some reason I don’t understand, my PC was unable to open the CD.

Besides ……..

……….. No one ever plays the B-Side, do they? So no one cares what it sounds like.

OK, so you have an album out and you’ve picked the killer single, what do you do about that pesky flipside?

There are a few schools of thought;

1) Stick on another album track.
2) Put out something from the back catalogue that no one really likes enough to release on it’s own merits.
3) Use that song that wasn’t good enough for the album itself but is OK really.
4) Put the drummer’s new song on. It will stop him moaning that no one takes his stuff seriously.
5) Do a cover version of something you used to do live before you had a decent set-list.
6) Remix the single and bang that on.
7) Put on a really good song that will be a genuine treasure for the fans.

I suppose that there are other options but these seem to cover most bases, judging by what I’ve heard over the years.

I always liked singles back when they were releases in their own right, not radio fodder for the album’s marketing campaign, but most bands stopped doing that a long, long time ago.

I suppose that Factory, and also Rough Trade, kept on with the stand-alone single for longer than most, it fitted in with the real indie ethos that came out of punk and therefore, they probably kept the genuine B-side alive for longer than a lot of other labels.

Anyway, this is a rag-bag of different songs that in their own ways all fit into the options I’ve mentioned above.

In A Lonely Place was the B-side of New Order’s first single, “Ceremony”

A House Is Not A Motel was on the back of the USA single release of the great “Alone Again Or” by Love.

Dusty backed her single “Son Of A Preacher Man” with Just A Little Lovin’.

The Sundays I Kicked A Boy was the B-Side for “Can’t Be Sure”.

Him Dancing was remixed as the flip for Throwing Muses’ “Not Too Soon” (this though is the album version from “The Real Ramona”)

The Clash remixed “Magnificent Seven” as Magnificent Dance as the B-Side for that one.

Siouxsie and the Banshees put out An Execution as the B-Side for “Cities In Dust”, but left it off the original album release of Tinderbox.

AC/DC stuck another album track, Have A Drink On Me out when they released “You Shook Me All Night Long” from the classic Back in Black album.

Novelty was the B-Side on Joy Division’s “Transmission” single.

And finally, that well-known regular chart-topping beat combo King Crimson released the instrumental improvised piece Groon as the flipside for their 1970 smasheroo “Catfood”.