"Classics Rock! is the best of both worlds--music and books."
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Classics Rock! Halloween Playlist

If you're looking for something besides The Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, and Thriller to provide the soundtrack for your Halloween, then the songs below can help get you started. Some are obvious, others probably less familiar, but each one is appropriate to the season, either for exploring spooky subject matter or creating an eerie mood. In keeping with our mission at Classics Rock!, some even have literary sources, as noted below. We'd love to see this list grow--suggestions are welcome!

This Is Halloween - Danny Elfman

Theme from Halloween - John Carpenter

The Voice - The Alan Parsons  Project

One Stage Before - Al Stewart

Fear Of The Unknown - Martin Briley

Moon Over Bourbon Street - Sting (literary source)

Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revivial

Ave Satani (Theme from The Omen) - Jerry Goldsmith

(Don't Fear) The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult

Eye Of The Zombie - John Fogerty

The Legend Of Wooley Swamp - The Charlie Daniels Band

Life In Dark Water - Al Stewart

Walking With A Ghost - Tegan and Sara

Hurry Sundown - The Outlaws

The Raven - The Alan Parsons Project (literary source)

The Ghost Who Walks - Karen Elson

Charlotte Corday - Al Stewart

Invisible Man - Joe Jackson

Curse Of the Mummy's Tomb - World Party

Miss Ghost - Don Henley

Spooky - The Classics IV

Season Of The Witch - Donovan

Witchy Woman - The Eagles

Ghost in the Attic - Dave Nachmanoff

Dead Man's Party - Oingo Boingo

Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive - Men at Work (literary source)

Goodnight Moon - Shivaree

Tombstone - Suzanne Vega

Moondance - Van Morrison

Werewolves Of London - Warren Zevon

Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) - David Bowie

Scentless Apprentice - Nirvana (literary source)

The Resurrectionist - Pet Shop Boys (literary source)

At The Mountains Of Madness - H.P. Lovecraft (literary source)

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Time Machine/Alan Parsons

Alan Parsons' third solo effort following the dissolution of The Alan Parsons Project was called The Time Machine, released in 1999. Clearly Parsons was referencing H.G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine, but the fan site The Avenue says that "while it was inspired by the H.G. Wells story of the same name, the album is not a musical interpretation of his book. Instead, the album looks at time travel as a generic subject, as well as looking into other aspects of time and space."

Parsons was reportedly interested in exploring the theme of time travel on an album since the 1970s and wanted to devote the second Alan Parsons Project release to that concept. At the time his partner, the late Eric Woolfson, was more interested in the robot stories of Isaac Asimov, and the result was the album I Robot. As discussed previously in these pages, that album is very loosely associated with Asimov's book I, Robot (the placement of the comma is key).

Images on the cover of The Time Machine make sly references to time travel--for example, a photo of a London police box suggests the time-traveling TARDIS of Doctor Who fame, and a picture of a Delorean refers to the time machine of choice in the Back to the Future films.  The tracks on the album have titles such as "No Future in the Past" and "Far Ago and Long Away," and the song "Press Rewind" explores the idea of going back and doing your life over. The title of an instrumental called "Rubber Universe" refers to astronmer Edwin Hubble's theory that since galaxies are moving away from us, the universe must be stretching like an elastic band. Another instrumental, "Temporalia," interpolates physicist Frank Close talking about how looking at the stars is, in effect, looking back in time. (Interestingly, the audio of Close is taken from a documentary called The Rubber Universe, which aired on the British television show Equinox. It was directed by graphic designer Storm Thorgerson, who also designed the album cover art for The Time Machine. Also worthy of note is the band Rubber Universe, which has associations with The Alan Parson Project.)

The song that most closely captures the spirit of H.G. Wells's novel is "Out of the Blue," which seems to be specifically about a time-traveler:

Out of the blue
I come sailing
Through the years
Through the years
What can I do?
Now that I've seen
All our hopes
All of our fears

This "man from out of the blue" also states: I travel far/Yet no distance/I'm still here/Always here--as if he does not move through space at all, but only through time.

One other reference to Wells may be found on the Japanese release of The Time Machine, where the title tracks (Parts 1 and 2) were redubbed "H.G. Force."

The Time Machine (Kindle Edition)
I, Robot (Kindle Edition)