Songs from the Dearly Departed David Bowie, Eagles, Prince + others: Odd Couples

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Kings and queens, princes and popstars – all go down swinging sooner or later.

DAVID BOWIE, “LAZARUS” vs. LED ZEPPELIN, “HOT DOG”: At first glance these two songs have little to do with each other, but hang in there for a bit. Rumor has it that if you take David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, and leave the LP cover out in the sun, the large black star on the front turns all sparkly. Similarly, some metal heads from the 70s might remember that the first pressing of Zeppelin’s final studio release In Through the Out Door also had a secret: a black and white inner sleeve that turned all colorful if you wiped or spilled water on it. Both of these songs reflect their respective album artwork: sooner or later, by accident or design, you’ll get something extra out of them.

Winner: David Bowie, who knew the end was coming and planned accordingly. Drummer John Bonham’s death was perhaps not unforeseen, but accidental nonetheless — making Zeppelin the victims of the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll tragedy: bad timing.

KISS, “KING OF THE NIGHT TIME WORLD” vs. PRINCE, “KISS”: How is KISS royalty? Well, they’re knights of some kind, duh. Close enough. And they did have to live though the death of drummer Eric Carr, so there’s more to their brush with mortality than “Detroit Rock City.” In any case, their songs starts out: “It’s so sad, livin’ at home. It’s so bad, goin’ to school. I’m the king of the night time world — and you’re my headlight queen.” Sure, whatever, guys: Sounds like a teenage whinefest/fantasy, though admittedly, a catchy whinefest/fantasy, courtesy Bob Ezrin’s hyper production on the Destroyer album. In the meantime, Prince struts his way through a minimalist, Prince-ified idea of a standard 12-bar blues, while tossing out lyrical gems like “You don’t have to watch Dynasty to have an attitude.”

Winner: Prince, who likely wrote 10 more of these before lunch that same day and just stuffed them in the vault.

THE EAGLES, “DESPERADO” vs. THE BEATLES, “HER MAJESTY”: With the passing of Fifth Beatle George Martin, and prior passing of George Harrison and John Lennon, there are now no official (or unofficial) original Beatles left who were even close to the studio when this song was recorded. (Ringo was actually a replacement for Pete Best, and, as everyone knows, “Paul” might be a replacement as well.) Still, it’s too easy. Though the Eagles manage to invoke both the Queen of Diamonds and the Queen of Hearts in this Don Henley/Glenn Frey co-write, the Beatles manage to make the Queen of England kind of approachable and still be cheeky in under half a minute.

Winner: The Beatles. As if the Eagles could have ever raised the Queen to the level of coolness that Macca did. And of course, he is Sir Paul — if that’s really him.

JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito spends most of his day keeping the wolves from the door. When he's not occupied with this pastime, he's interested in all things rock and roll -- which may or may not have died back in the late 1950s, the late 1970s, or the early '90s, depending on who you believe. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
JC Mosquito
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