Wish I’d written that song: “Pretty Ballerina” by the Left Banke. The hypnotic melodic figure that runs throughout the song, the lyrics when he says, “I begged for her to tell me if she really loved me / Somewhere a mountain is moving.” It runs a shiver up my spine every time I hear it, and even when I just think about it. Like right now.
Favorite song to cover: “I Feel Fine” by The Beatles. The opening guitar figure, vocal harmonies, Ringo’s Latin drumming, just everything about it makes me feel fine.
First record I bought with my own money: The Beatles’ Second Album. I went to Duckwalls [record chain] and bought the mono release, because stereo was a dollar more. “You Can’t Do That” was the heaviest, rockingest recording ever, pre-distortion era. I wore that album out.
Essential Saturday night listening: “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer. The single, with the quasi-fake intro. One of the greatest grooves ever, and Andy Taylor’s screaming guitar solo is just rock music at its most gritty and fun. Remember when music was supposed to be fun?
Essential Sunday morning listening: “Everytime You Go Away” by Paul Young. One of the best recordings I’ve ever heard. Production and arrangement second to none. Pino Palladino’s bass playing is off the charts with creativity and adds so much to the arrangement, which is part of what makes the record so great. I can never listen to it just once.
Latest online discovery: Chicago Live at Tanglewood, 7/21/70. The entire concert on YouTube. Chicago at their peak with Terry Kath leading the band and tearing it up on guitar. I’ll never forget seeing them at the Colorado Springs Municipal Auditorium right about the time their second album came out. What a band!
Artist more people should know about: Michael Johnson in his pre-Nashville days. His first three albums — There Is a Breeze, which was released by Atco, followed by For All You Mad Musicians and Ain’t Dis Da Life on Sanskrit — are so packed with great songs, incredible guitar playing, and Michael’s amazing voice, that every singer and musician should hear them. Period.