Cultureguru's Weblog

Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy


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RIP Pete Quaife

Having gotten a little behind on checking in on Kinks news, I found out only today that Pete Quaife had died. Pete was the original bassist for The Kinks, a founding member of the band who left in 1969. So his bass lines underscored all their great early hits, starting with “You Really Got Me.” His bass is particularly prominent in the opening of one of the most beautiful songs ever, “Waterloo Sunset”. And he even got to sing lead once, on the country-esque “Willesden Green.”

Pete also happens to be the only member of The Kinks I’ve met personally. It was at an academic conference, of all things, albeit one on the subject of Popular Culture. The conference was in Toronto, and Pete was living in Canada at the time. He presented a session on the British Invasion in general, and The Kinks in particular. His presentation was funny and engaging, and he was very congenial about shaking hands afterward.

So, I find myself pretty bummed that he’s gone. At 66, he is the first of the four founding members of The Kinks to die.

Really nice tribute to Pete from the maker of the Do It Again documentary (a quest to reunite the original Kinks. Now I’m bummed again.)

Another artifact of Pete’s time in Canada: A YouTube video of his appearance on On the Road Again

Pete spent years on dialysis. He passed the time making cartoons about it. Actually pretty funny…


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The Shuffler

Spent some time today reading this thread in Salon

Inspired by The Onion’s Random Rules feature. Select “Shuffle Songs” from your iPod’s main menu and tell us the first five songs that it plays. No cheating, no skipping embarrassing songs you’d rather not tell us you have on your iPod, and feel free to give some commentary on the songs themselves or how you feel the five songs do or do not work in conjunction with one another.

Considering it was mostly just a very random list of songs, it was fairly interesting. I wasn’t too surprised at the number of people with songs I’d never heard by cool new bands I’d never heard of, because the list of cool new bands I’ve never heard of is just so very long. But I was surprised at the number of people with only classical musical on their iPod. At least, there were only classical pieces amongst their five songs.

Anyway, of course I had to try this. Not that I hadn’t shuffled all songs many times before, but this was the first time for this purpose. Here is what I got:

1. The Kinks – Property

OK, so one of my favorite Kinks songs ever. That’s a good start.

2. I’m a Believer – Smashmouth (from Shrek)

I don’t even know where I got this song from. I like it, though. Not too different from the Monkees’ original.

3. Layla – Eric Clapton (from Live Aid)

I extracted this from the DVD. It’s a lively version.

4. It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night (Live) – Prince

Ooh, iPod bringing in the funk!

5. Flash! U96 (from Queen Dance Traxx)

Oh, I love Queen Dance Traxx! Though I bet the vast majority of Queen fans find it completely appalling. But I love dance versions of Queen songs. This one is basically a dance remix of Flash!, with Freddie and band’s original vocals retained.

(I stopped the pod then, but it was heading into the Classical, with some Schubert.)

Nothing too embarrassing, though if I’m not embarrassed by Queen Dance Traxx, perhaps I’m not embarrassed by much…