Entertainment

The Songs No iPod Should Be Without

MIKE PERCIACCANTE

This particular column should really be subtitled “Oh Yeah, You Can Dance To ‘Em.” Even people like me with two left feet, bad knees and poor circulation can dance to these five. If you’re old enough to know what they are, dive deep into your closet, find your white capezios and head out and show everyone how it’s done. If you don’t know what capezios are—just dance. So here they are, let’s get to dancin’.

67. Super Freak – Rick James
All out funk with a bass line that just won’t quit. James’ crowing achievement. High energy, somewhat salacious (for the time) lyrics, background vocals by The Temptations and a groove that makes you want to dance. Yup, it’s a winner.

Recommended versions can be found on: Street Songs (Motown, 1981), Greatest Hits (Motown, 1986) and Bustin’ Out: The Very Best of Rick James (Motown, 1994).

68. Fame – David Bowie
In 1975 Bowie was moving into his R&B/Funk stage with his Young Americans album and this song is one of his funkiest. John Lennon co-wrote it. James Brown basically ripped it off by using the same riff on his song “Hot.” If it’s good enough for Bowie, Lennon and The Godfather of Soul, it should be on your iPod/mp3 player.

Recommended versions can be found on: Young Americans (RCA, 1975), Changes One (RCA, 1976), Best of Bowie (EMI, 2004), The Very Best of Lou Reed (BMG, 2000) and Bowie At The Beeb (Virgin, 2000).

69. What’d I Say – Ray Charles
It’s Ray Charles’ signature tune. Yeah, it’s about sex. It’s erotic and it just makes you want to move. Check out these lyrics.

Hey mama, don’t you treat me wrong
Come and love your daddy all night long
All right now, hey hey, all right

See the girl with the diamond ring
She knows how to shake that thing
All right now now now, hey hey, hey hey

Tell your mama, tell your pa
I’m gonna send you back to Arkansas
Oh yes, ma’m, you don’t do right, don’t do right
Aw, play it boy

When you see me in misery
Come on baby, see about me
Now yeah, all right, all right, aw play it, boy

When you see me in misery
Come on baby, see about me
Now yeah, hey hey, all right

See the girl with the red dress on
She can do the Birdland all night long
Yeah yeah, what’d I say, all right

Well, tell me what’d I say, yeah
Tell me what’d I say right now
Tell me what’d I say
Tell me what’d I say right now
Tell me what’d I say
Tell me what’d I say yeah

And I wanna know
Baby I wanna know right now
And-a I wanna know
And I wanna know right now yeah
And-a I wanna know
Said I wanna know yeah

Spoken: Hey, don’t quit now! (c’mon honey)
Naw, I got, I uh-uh-uh, I’m changing (stop! stop! we’ll do it again)
Wait a minute, wait a minute, oh hold it! Hold it! Hold it!

Hey (hey) ho (ho) hey (hey) ho (ho) hey (hey) ho (ho) hey

Oh one more time (just one more time)
Say it one more time right now (just one more time)
Say it one more time now (just one more time)
Say it one more time yeah (just one more time)
Say it one more time (just one more time)
Say it one more time yeah (just one more time)

Hey (hey) ho (ho) hey (hey) ho (ho) hey (hey) ho (ho) hey

Ah! Make me feel so good (make me feel so good)
Make me feel so good now yeah (make me feel so good)
Woah! Baby (make me feel so good)
Make me feel so good yeah (make me feel so good)
Make me feel so good (make me feel so good)
Make me feel so good yeah (make me feel so good)

Huh (huh) ho (ho) huh (huh) ho (ho) huh (huh) ho (ho) huh

Awh it’s all right (baby it’s all right)
Said that it’s all right right now (baby it’s all right)
Said that it’s all right (baby it’s all right)
Said that it’s all right yeah (baby it’s all right)
Said that it’s all right (baby it’s all right)
Said that it’s all right (baby it’s all right)

Woah! Shake that thing now (baby shake that thing)
Baby shake that thing now now (baby shake that thing)
Baby shake that thing (baby shake that thing)
Baby shake that thing right now (baby shake that thing)
Baby shake that thing (baby shake that thing)
Baby shake that thing (baby shake that thing)

Woah! I feel all right now yeah (make me feel all right)
Said I feel all right now (make me feel all right)
Woooah! (make me feel all right)
Tell you I feel all right (make me feel all right)
Said I feel all right (make me feel all right)
Baby I feel all right (make me feel all right)

“What’d I Say” has elements of Gospel, Call and Response R&B, 12 Bar Blues and good old fashioned Soul. It rocks, it rolls and it’s just damn good. The song was supposedly improvised one night in 1958 when Charles, his orchestra, and backup singers had played their entire show but still had time left. The song received such a great audience response that Charles recorded it. And the rest is history.

Recommended versions can be found on: What’d I Say (Atlantic, 1959), the “Best Of” collections The Best of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years (Rhino, 1994) and Anthology (United Multi Consign, 2005) as well as the the five-disc box Genius & Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection (Rhino, 1997) and the eight-disc Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings 1952-1959 (Rhino/WEA, 2005).

70. White Lines (Don’t Do It) – Grand Master Melle Mel & The Furious Five
I know, most people think its Grandmaster Flash. But it isn’t. The song has a great bass line and still sounds fresh today over 25 years since it was released.

Ticket to ride, white line highway
Tell all your friends, they can go my way
Pay your toll, sell your soul
Pound for pound costs more than gold
The longer you stay, the more you pay
My white lines go a long way
Either up your nose or through your vein
With nothin’ to gain except killin’ your brain

The song wasn’t originally intended as a cautionary tale. When they added the “Don’t Do It” line, it became one. A quick aside…the following lines are about John DeLorean who was attempting to fund his failing auto company by selling coke:

A businessman is caught with 24 kilos
He’s out on bail and out of jail
And that’s the way it goes

Recommended versions can be found on: Grand Master Melle Mel & The Furious Five (Sugar Hill, 1984). Grandmaster Flash’s version can be found on the Hip Hop Essentials box set (Tommy Boy, 2006).

71. Flashlight – Parliament
Parliament’s first #1 Hit. Heavy synthesizers, funky relentless, double-tracked bass and a lead guitar that just won’t quit over nonsensical and nursery rhyme lyrics. C’mon sing-along! What’s not to like?

Flash Light
Now, I lay me down to sleep
Ooh, I just can’t find a beat
Flash light (ohh, I will never dance!)
Flash light [x3]

Ha da da dee da hada hada da da

Oh, it’s no use!

Flash light
Red light
Neon light
Ooh, stop light

Now I lay me down to sleep
I guess I’ll go count the sheep
Oh, but I will never dance

(oh, don’t make me do it)
(Dance, sucker! ooh ha ha!)
(oww! Get him!)

Most of all he needs the funk (shine it)
Help him find the funk (ha, funk it!)
Most of all he needs the funk
Help him find the funk (get him)
Most of all he needs the funk (I know we can get him)
Help him find the funk (ho!)
Most of all he needs the funk (ha, don’t!)
Help him find the funk (I know you will! Dance, sucker!)
Most of all he needs the funk (Shine the spotlight on him!)
Help him find the funk (Oh funk me!)

Ha da da dee da hada hada da da
(Dance, Nose! You know you on my funk street??)
Oh, funk me!
Ha da da dee da hada hada da da (get on down,
Nose! I like it! Dance, then!)

Flash light
Flash light (oh ho ho!)
Spot light
Neon light (neon light)
Street light (street light)

Recommended versions can be found on: Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome (Casablanca, 1977—reissued on Mercury/Island in 1990), George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic – Live at Montreux 2004 (Eagle Records, 2005), and the “Greatest Hits” collections Gold (Island, 2005) and The Best of Parliament – 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection (Mercury/Island, 2007).

As always, I’m going to end this column with a call to action. What are the songs you cannot live without? What are the songs that you must have on your mp3 player? C’mon! This is your chance to shine, to show off your musical knowledge. Send me an e-mail telling me what music you like and why. I’ll feature your song selection in a future column. E-mail me at: [email protected]­newsgroup.com. Type Can’t Live Without in the Topic. Til Next time!

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