THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: The Velvet Underground

24 09 2016

220px-velvetundergroundthirdalbum

“If I could make the world as pure and strange as what I see,
I’d put you in the mirror,
I put in front of me.”

When I first started writing about music, I seemed to have one band on my mind all the time- The Velvet Underground, and it’s pretty obvious. They’ve been a band I have always fallen back on. A band that I listen to pretty much every single day. And if I’m not listening to them, I’m listening to Lou Reed. I think one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done was not go see him when he played back home, on the Isle of Man. Add that to a list of my poor decisions. I’ve made some good ones. I’ve made more good than bad. The Velvet Underground have always felt like a band that I couldn’t believe existed. What I mean by this is, I find it hard to believe a band so great could ever have been around. What on earth did we ever do to deserve such a perfect band?

I like to go through old records and write about them, there’s no reason behind it and sometimes I find it easier to do this than write about a current band. A few years ago I went and wrote about every single record by The Cure. Every single one. It was partly down to me not being able to sleep/scared to go to sleep and having nothing to do, but also because I love The Cure. I’ve covered The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed a lot, but I’ve never written about their 1969 self-titled release. It’s a Saturday night, I have a migraine that’s slowly fading- what else is there to do?

This record is my favourite by them. It always has been and if I ever sat down and listed my favourite records of all time, I am fairly sure that this would be in my top 5, probably top 3. I remember for a long time I was obsessed with playing Pale Blue Eyes. The person that it reminded me of didn’t have pale blue eyes. She’s got beautiful green eyes. But you find meaning wherever you can. It was a song I couldn’t listen to for a time, but then it all fixed and I was back to being obsessed with the song again. If I could sing and I was in a band, I’d cover this at every show. The lyrics are the kind I wish I could write, but nothing I or anyone else does can come close to it. It’s sad. Utterly sad but so beautiful.

Candy Says is another that holds a wealth of sadness, but the sadness it mixed with vulnerability. It’s a song that no matter what, I’ve always been able to relate to.  Regardless of how I am feeling, it’s just been a song that I’ve always gone back to and found a home in. it just says everything I probably don’t have the guts to say. I’ve always had a place reserved for this line, “What do you think I’d see if I could walk away from me?”  Nothing really matters when you listen to this song, or the whole record really.

This is a record that I have always played in order. What I usually do is play something in order the first few times, then after that it’s in whatever order I feel like. With this record I’ve always had to play it in the exact order from start to finish. There’s no reason behind it, but it doesn’t feel right I suppose, to play it any other way. It doesn’t just sum up my ideas of New York, but it sums up how I feel about music and what I look for in a record. I want something that has sort of smutty yet clever lyrics, something that’ll make me think, something that will be some form of escape and encouragement. A record that just takes me up and away. There’s no comedown from this record, and that’s why it is easily one of the greatest records of all time. It’s got this thing about it that I mentioned about The Velvet Underground in general, like you can’t believe something like this actually exists and you can hold this piece of perfection in your hands and have it echoing in your ears whenever you wish.

I don’t think there will ever come a time where Lou’s words aren’t important to me, and with this record I fell more in love with his song writing and his captivating way with words. I have no idea how much thought he ever put into how he put words together, but he always made it seem so effortless. They’re the ones that tower about the rest like Nick Cave, Patti Smith, and Morrissey. They’re the ones I’ve always gone to and will always go to. I don’t know how well this record was received when it came out and I’ve never really paid any attention to what anyone thinks of it now, but I just know that for me, it’s my favourite record by the band. I love how gentle it is and how tender the lyrics are. I’m Set Free is one of those songs you play when everything seems a bit uneasy and you have no idea what you’re supposed to do. It has this instant ethereal build up to it, and you can feel your heart race as it builds and builds. It’s a song that will make everything make more sense. It’s a solution to any problem. I’ll always advocate listening to The Velvet Underground as a solution to all problems.

Some records just stay with you. You may not remember when you first heard it, but the feeling you first got is always there. Every single time you go back to it is like hearing the band for the first time. I’ve always felt that way about The Velvet Underground. It’s a feeling that hits you in the stomach, takes over your mind and owns your heart.





THE VELVET UNDERGROUND-Loaded.

25 03 2014

 

“Oh, I do believe
If you don’t like things you leave
For some place you’ve never gone before.”

 

All I want to do is listen to Lou Reed. All I want to do is listen to him so much it stops his death being true. A stranger’s death should not do this to me or anyone. But it has, and if I could make sense of why my brain is thinking this way and transporting it down to my heart, then I’d be really thankful of that. I’d like some understanding, but I know I’m not going to get anywhere with it. So all I can do is listen to his voice in any way that I can. Just to take in his words and to get some understanding from it all.

The past few days I’ve gone back to listening to Loaded. I always thought their first record was the one I adored the most, I really thought I had made a solid decision for once. But hey, I was wrong. I’m alright with that.

For me, Loaded is something else. There’s something about that record which is stronger than the others. Maybe it is stronger because there is no way you can tell that this band were once influenced by Andy Warhol. Sure the songs are more accessible than the likes of Heroin or Venus In Furs (but don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like those songs, or VU in general.) Loaded is full of songs that make you move in the most sassy way possible. Lou’s voice just makes you strut in the most flamboyant way possible. He embraced everything that is deemed as “weird” but on Loaded it seems more tame. For some, this may be shying away from all the Velvets were, but you must remember that they were a band that were ahead of their time. No one has ever come close to what they did, and still manage to do even though….well, you know.

Who Loves The Sun is a heartbreaking but beautiful sang by Doug Yule. Nothing matters once you’ve had your heart ripped out. No other songs sums it up more than Who Loves The Sun. However for me, the song that really does it for me is Rock & Roll. Rock & Roll sums up perfectly what it is like to fall in love with a song, and to then fall for the band behind it. It conjures up memories of falling in love with your favourite band(s) all over again as you listen to it. When I hear it, I just think about staring at that poster of Lou Reed and of Nick Cave on my uncle’s bedroom wall when I was about 3 or 4. I remember being in awe of them both, little did I know what would happen about 10 years later. I always think “Her life was saved by Rock & Roll” to be one of the most accurate lyrics ever written. I guess it’s probably because I feel it was written for me, I’m sure others feel exactly the same when they hear it.

I adore Lou’s vocals on this record. When he goes high and love on Cool It Down, and does something really gnarly with his voice on it. I think this just shows how brilliant he was as a vocalist. Sometimes he sounded bored on some songs, and that’s what lured you in. You wanted to see it all like he did, but obviously for the most part his voice just took you over with how sincere it was. His lyrics are a guide for life, and on Loaded it shows just how to have fun and to embrace every little thing that you can.

Loaded is a record that is pretty much taking over my mind at the moment. It’s the only thing I want to constantly listen to, and you know it has the greatest love song on it, right? I Found A Reason is a hopeful love song- especially if you’re hopeless like myself. I just love everything about it. I love the innocence to it, and in some respects you can say this about a few songs Lou Reed wrote (both with the Velvets and solo.) His innocent and vulnerable way with words just showcases how much of a genius he was, and his words are what he will always be remembered for. I Found A Reason is that one song that just captures everything love is. It doesn’t have to be in a romantic sense, if you don’t want it to be. It can be about finding a friend that finally gets you. Or maybe the whole song is a few minutes of irony, who knows.  But dear reader, if you happen to find a friend who really gets you. Like really fucking gets you, and doesn’t mind that 3am phone call when your brain won’t turn off- then please hold onto them. Even if you have a weak grip. They will probably turn out to be the best pal you ever had, and you went about everything in the wrong way. Because that is what you do.

Loaded is a proper Rock & Roll record. They’ve got the riffs that make you wish you could play the guitar, they’ve got the songs that just move you- in body and mind. It’s a fantastic record that I still think isn’t given as much attention as it rightfully needs. I’m all for people saying that the Velvets first record was a stroke of genius, because it really is. But the thing is with Loaded, it is a record full of hidden beautiful moments that you pick up on when you have it playing over and over. I don’t know if it is actually possible to pick a favourite record by them and to stick with it. Maybe next week I’ll go back to declaring their self-titled record as their best work, but that just shows how brilliant The Velvet Underground were. Every record sounds different and is a step up from the last.

For me, I’ll always regard Lou and Mo Tucker to be two of the best at what they did..do..did. I’m not sure what tense to use anymore because the past tense just doesn’t sit right with me. Mo’s relaxed (yet furious when needed) drumming really fits with Lou’s soothing voice. If it was just those two making music, I still have every bit of confidence that they would have been the best band ever. When you listen to the music they made with each other, you can hear how they brought out the best in each other.

If you’ve got this far, I hope it makes you go and play Loaded in full. It’s just a romantic and perfect record. It is timeless and the lyrics are full of beauty. I just really miss Lou.





THE VELVET UNDERGROUND- The Velvet Underground.

15 03 2014

 

“If I could make the world as pure
And strange as what I see
I’d put you in a mirror
I’d put in front of me.”

 

There are some records that, regardless of how many years pass since it was first release will always sound new every single time you play them. The records that do this are the ones that will tower above anything else you expose your ears to. They are the records that have a significant part in your life and are etched upon your heart like nothing else. They are the records that have led you down a road to self discovery and aided with your self-loathing ways. One of the records that I regard this highly is 45 years old. I think it was yesterday or today that 45 years ago that The Velvet Underground released their third record, and in my mind it is the best thing the band ever did.

The record opens with the heartbreaking and relatable Candy Says (about Candy Darling.)  Candy Says is one of those songs that truly delves into self-disgust and being really uncomfortable in your own skin. Regardless of age, it is something anyone can relate to. What I’ve always loved about Lou Reed’s lyrics is the way he crafts his words in an old-fashioned, romantic poetic way. There will never ever be anyone else like him. As I listen to the songs on this record, I cannot help but miss him. I know I never knew him, and maybe this makes me stupidly weird, but not much has felt right since he died. I can’t explain what it is, but maybe someone else who loves Lou/Velvet Underground as much as I do will understand. Maybe they have the words to describe it, because I really don’t. Hand on heart, I firmly believe “What do you think I’d see, if I could walk away from me” to be one of the most beautiful lyrics of all time. It is fragile and hits you right in the sacred part of your heart. It’s the kind of lyric you’d want to have tattooed on you, as a reminder.

Whenever I mention The Velvet Underground I always end up talking about Pale Blue Eyes. There is just something about that song that rips your heart out. It can make you ache and can break you; but it is so beautiful. It’s a song that once did that to me, but I learnt very quickly to stop associating people with songs I love. I remember once speaking to someone I still hold quite dear to me about this song, and they got it. I’ve never met anyone else who understood how I felt about that song. You treasure those moments. Pale Blue Eyes has been covered quite a few times, but I think the only ones who have ever covered this song and really conveyed the meaning of it fully (and any song by The Velvet Underground) has to be The Kills, who are obviously influenced by them but not in a ripping off kind of way. Of course, you’ve got to mention how brilliantly messed up The Murder Mystery is. I never know what’s going on in that song, but when I listen to it through headphones it is like something is taking over. It’s mighty strange and fits perfectly on this record.

Sure their debut record was one of the best things to have ever happened to music, and let’s be honest no one is ever going to do for music what Lou Reed did; but their third record is one of the finer things in life. If this was their debut record, they probably would have caused more of a scene than they already did. This record is a just a body of dark poetry; words you wish you could write. Words you wish you had written.

The Velvet Underground’s third record is my favourite record because of how delicate it is lyrically. With their debut record, some of the sound is quite harsh but the one thing that has always been constant (and in his solo work) is that tone in Lou Reed’s voice. He has this way of singing about horrifically dark topics (if you listen to Heroin and you don’t feel the need to cry, then something is up with you) but at the same time really soothing your soul with his voice. His voice was one of a kind, and of course so was he. It’s really tough writing about him in past tense. It still doesn’t feel right.

I went through a phase some time ago of listening to Heroin followed by I’m Set Free. I just felt like those two songs had to played one after another. I have no idea what my mind was up to and why I decided to do it, but I did it. I guess it made me appreciate the songs more and in a different way. The way Lou’s lyrics really touch you are truly evident in those two songs. Play them one after each other, hopefully you’ll get what I mean.

The Velvet Underground made music that has influenced so many bands. Lou Reed’s solo work has obviously done the same. Anyone who loves both has probably tried to write something similar to them. I have, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. Of course nothing I’ve written has come close to it, not even a fraction. If anything, Lou Reed (and others) told me to write from the heart. It is easy to write all this down about his music and his words. I can take my time with it. But I probably would struggle to physically talk about the music because it just does something that is beyond expression.

In another 45 years I hope I am still listening to this record and feeling this way. Some bands, some records just stay with you throughout your life. They don’t go, they become something you really cannot do without. The Velvet Underground are a band I have taken walks by myself to, just to figure shit out. I’ll never figure anything out, and I’m okay with that. I’ll probably always feel a little uncomfortable in my skin, but I’m okay with that. The darker and things that are classed weird by others will always appeal to me, Lou Reed taught me that that’s okay. It’s really fucking okay to not be like everyone else. It’s okay to feel a little awkward in yourself and to want to shut off for a while. Lose yourself in a book, in a record. When it’s over, you’ll find whatever it is you were looking for.

Lou Reed taught me more than any teacher could. The things they don’t tell you about or prepare you for, he taught me it all. Music heals, music teaches. Just listen to this record. Play I’m Set Free so loud and with your eyes closed. If you want to cry, then cry. Just cry. It doesn’t matter. The record oozes freedom from others and from your mind. You won’t always be trapped.





Nico.

4 09 2011

So if we’re going to talk distinctive voices there’s quite frankly only one that is more superior than most. Now, my opinion on this is more than likely going to be biased due to the fact that this goddess of a woman was once part of my second favourite band ever in the history of bands. She was part of a movement that, at the time was truly wonderful. But now? Most under the age of 20 that listen to this band are culturally starved and self absorbed fools who take photos of themselves with their camera phone in shot. Oh and whilst they do this they complain of how fat they are when they weigh about 4 stone.

This isn’t going the way it should, but I don’t want to delete that paragraph because it is true. These woe-is-me hipster kids don’t know much, they’ve not lived. I mean I’m nearly 25, but I don’t claim to have lived much. I exist, and when life improves- I’ll go from existing to living.

I should really make my point rather than going on. I guess I’ve just got a lot to say.

Christa Päffgen quite simply had the most distinctive voices, ever. Seriously, ever. Okay so you may know her as Nico. The model, actress, singer, mother, daughter- regardless. She had talent. More than you have and more than I have. She had SUCH powerful voice. Husky at times and seductively deep. The way she sang on The Velvet Underground’s debut album just gripped me. It’s my favourite debut album ever; Nico’s vocals are a huge reason as to why I love it so much.

It’s not just her work with Velvet Underground that gripped me so; her solo work is equally as gorgeous.

My mum always seemed to play singers around the house that had strong voices. Voices that sounded like no other from Bob Dylan to Billie Holiday, I was blessed to hear them all. Joan Baez to Grace Slick, I had a healthy consumption of stunning music whilst growing up. I like to think I’ve honoured all my mum taught me about music by continuing to listen to music that can be held up against its predecessors.

Nico’s deep voice evidently inspired so many. Her sound wasn’t Punk, soul, pop, rock, folk or funk. It was her own. At best, I suppose if you want to label it- it was highly experimental. At the time, no other singer had this kind of voice. The way her voice complimented Lou Reed’s was just utterly stunning.

Before she met Lou and the rest of The Velvet Underground, she was a solo artist and before that she was a model. Now, as I’m no expert in the modelling department, I’m going to focus on her music. Not that I’m an expert in music, but you know what I mean.

Nico’s first solo single was the insanely wonderful, I’m Not Sayin’. I adore this song so much, for so many reasons. It’s just highly captivating and so moving. It’s such a beautiful, honest and heartbreaking song. Read the lyrics, you’re not human if you cannot relate to the lyrics at all. Oh, and Morrissey digs this song a whole lot too. Anyone that has seen him live with has been exposed to the glorious videos he plays before he comes on stage, and this is one of them.

Her first album, Chelsea Girl was released in 1967, which is the same name of the Warhol film Nico appeared in.

Before she released her debut solo album, she recorded one album with The Velvet Underground- yes the one with the banana on. Quite simply the best debut album ever.

Her voice on Femme Fatale always amazes me, it doesn’t matter how many times I listen to it. Each time feels like I am listening to it for the first time. That’s when you know a band have something truly special.

Hard to believe that at the time, this album was basically ignored.

You’d think that when an artist puts out a solo album they are free to do what they want. Say if they are in a heavy metal band, then can release an opera solo album if they wish. Why? Because they have no one to answer to and they can do whatever they wish.

Sadly, this wasn’t the case for Nico. She wanted more drums and guitars on her solo albums. What did she get? Flutes. Lots and lots of FLUTES! It broke her heart.

Her next two albums, Desertshore and The End had less flutes and more synths. Drama of Exile was the first album she recorded without John Cale (The Velvet Underground.) Her final album, Camera Obscura, however did feature John Cale on the album’s title track and he also produced the album.

Her take on My Funny Valentine is easily one of the darkest versions of the song recorded. There was so much pain in Nico’s voice on this song.

With such a distinctive voice and a catalogue of remarkable albums, it is no wonder that Nico has influenced so many artists. She never had an act; she was just true to herself and her art. The best kind never make compromises, they do what feels right to them. That’s how it should always be, no matter whom you are and what you do.

She’s influenced the likes of Bat For Lashes, Siouxsie Sioux, Bauhaus, Patti Smith and Morrissey. All of which have always stayed true to their art. Her delicate but powerful performances have influenced so many, more recently- Florence Welch.

A talent like Nico’s is extremely rare, voices as powerful as hers do not come around often, it’s just a shame it took her death for people to actually see how talented she truly was. She wasn’t just another girl in a Warhol film nor was she just another model. She had a gift, a rare talent. Something we hope and dream of having. Her voice had so much in it, and the pain you could feel in certain songs just made you connect with her in a way you’ll probably never feel again. You’ve probably only felt it when listening to Billie Holiday or Janis Joplin.

“I find it hard to believe you don’t know, the beauty you are. But if you don’t let me be your eyes, a hand in your darkness, so you won’t be afraid.”





New York.

14 08 2011

New York City. The birthplace of two genres of music that own my heart. Punk and Hip Hop. Oh, I can’t love the two? I can’t possibly love Hip Hop because my favourite band of all time is The Smiths? I can’t love Hip Hop because I think Warpaint are one of the best bands around right now? Oh okay then, I guess I’ll just start being small minded like the rest.

Or not.

New York City has given us some of the greatest musicians of all time. From Disco to Salsa- it all started in NYC. Going through most of the music I own, most of it comes from NYC. It’s something that I’ve recently picked up on and as a result, I am fascinated with all music that is created in this city. I hate flying. It shits me up a stupid amount. I have a brief panic attack whenever I fly to see my family on the Isle of Man and that’s only a 20 minute flight. However, if I had the money and a doctor gave me enough tablets to knock me out for the duration of the flight- I’d go to New York. I’d explore the birthplaces of the bands I love, the venues that they’ve played. I’d go to underground clubs and watch bands play that nobody has ever heard of. I’d wander round eating a bagel and explore the record shops. I’d take a virtually empty suitcase and bring back a load of records and books with me.

I’d take everything in and refuse to go back home. Knowing me, I’d probably take copies of my CV with me whilst there and give it to various record and book shops. That would be the best thing ever. Not only would I no longer be in England, but I’d be constantly surrounded by good music.

I can dream I suppose. Or, I make that dream a reality. I’m going for the latter.

So, New York City. The home of The Strokes, Ramones, Mos Def, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liars. I could list them all.

It’s quite possibly the home to the greatest. I am tempted to say Manchester because of Morrissey- and of course, I regard this one person to be greater than thousands. Always.

The city has given us, within the last 10 years, bands such as The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Battles, TV on The Radio and Brand New. All of which have their own distinctive sound.

I remember when I first listened to The Pains of Being Pure At Heart and thinking it was the early 90s and in hope that The Jesus And Mary Chain were still going, coming back to reality wasn’t nice.

The city has so much to offer for anyone. It doesn’t matter what your race, religion, sexuality- anything. None of it matters (it never should anyway) there’s just something for everyone. It’s just this ridiculously huge place that has everything.

When I listen to the Ramones, I always think what it must have been like to have been around in New York when the whole Punk scene started. Imagine going to CBGBs and seeing a band start out- years later, they become one of the most influential bands of all time.

Imagine being part of the Factory scene- being in awe of Edie Sedgwick’s beauty every single time she walked past. Or being around when the Velvet Underground first emerged.

New York City, responsible for so much- yet it doesn’t have to answer to anyone. Ever.

You cannot mention New York without naming one of the best bands to have come from the city- A Tribe Called Quest. They were one of the first hip hop groups I remember falling in love with. I remember watching the video to Scenario on MTV at a very very young age, and just being obsessed. I loved the way Q-Tip pronounced his words and the words he used. I just loved everything they did.

I loved Q-Tip’s solo work- anyone who doesn’t love Breathe & Stop is a twit. Seriously. I just couldn’t get enough of them. The Low End Theory is easily one of the greatest Hip Hop albums created. It mixes Jazz with Hip Hop in a way that has not been done since, if it has, it hasn’t been done as well. The production on the album is mind-blowing. The samples used on it are just insane. From start to finish, it is sheer perfection.

I remember in 2001 first hearing The Strokes. For the past 10 years they have got me through bad times and have been there through the good. Two years ago I had Is This It tattooed on me. The album is so personal to me. I obviously don’t need to tell you why, but it was a crutch for so much- it still is. It always will be. I fail to see why many overlook First Impressions of Earth- the bass on Juicebox is mental. Heart In A Cage is just perfect. Evening Sun is beautiful. All four of their albums mean a lot to me for various reasons. They have that same rawness that the Ramones had. They don’t have to explain or define what they do to anyone- that’s how it should always be.

Music from New York has this type of edge to it. I can’t think of a better word, so I’ll go with edge. It has a distinctive sound. When you listen to band from the city, you know they are from there. It’s this raw, powerful sound. The feel of Punk still lies within a lot of bands from New York- even if they don’t realise it. Punk wasn’t just a genre of music- it was a way of life, a state of mind, an attitude. It’s in bands such as The Stokes, Vivian Girls, Yeah Yeah Yeahs etc- the way they play and how they are on stage just shows this.

Some may regard Punk as a music genre as dead, and that is the case. But the true spirit of it is alive and well within certain bands from New York City.

When I think of the music that has come from New York, I think of all the cultural aspects that are with it too. It’s such a vibrant place. It is full of all forms of Art. Whether it’s break-dancing, graffiti, theatre, cinema, Salsa- it’s everything. It has everything.

So many songs have been written about New York. It’s the Hip Hop community that you feel can truly sum up what New York is, and what the place is to true New Yorkers.





Punk And Poetry.

21 07 2011

A couple of years ago, I was in my last year of university. Struggling to think about what to do my final project on. I was heartbroken and I was consolling myself by getting drunk and watching The Wire. I went to the occasional gig to attempt to pick myself up again. So, I had some kind of brainwave one night as I was listening to Morrissey. I decided to do my project on lyrics. One article in particular was on Punk and Poetry. The link between the two has always owned my heart. Punk music and poetry are two of my greatest loves and throwing myself into an article where I got to express my love, and just listen to music in such great detail meant a lot to me. We had to send the articles off to get published, and as ever- I was rejected. So, I might aswell put the article here :

When you think of Punk, what is your first thought? That all Punks were not educated and spat in the streets? That all Punks beat up folks and started riots just for the hell of it?

If it is, then I wish to enlighten you. Punk music was one of the most influential genres of music. The passion, the angst, the love, the despair- everything about it seemed so raw and beautiful.

One of the biggest influences of artists such as Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and Richard Hell was the French 19th Century poet, Arthur Rimbaud. After reading a lot of his work, it is plain to see as to why he was such an influence.

His words had love, hate, disgust and despair. As I am quite crap at reading French, I managed to stumble across some (accurate) translations of Rimbaud’s work. This is poetry that should be studied in schools. This is poetry that comes straight from the heart. Reading his work, it’s plain to see as to why he is such an influence on the mentioned artists.

Take, Night In Hell for instance, “I have just swallowed a terrific mouthful of poison. –Blessed, blessed, blessed the advice I was given!” It probably reads better in French, but how great is that? A Season In Hell is probably Rimbaud’s best work, it is so good

Richard Meyers became Richard Hell. However, the influence did not just end there, oh no! His band mate (and front man) from Television, Thomas Miller became Tom Verlaine, after Paul Verlaine whom Rimbaud had an affair with.

Labelled as the “Godmother Of Punk,” Patti Smith has mentioned Rimbaud numerous of times in both songs and poems. Land is one of her greatest songs. The way it is free flowing is just magnificent, it is a truly remarkable song- and poem. Throughout the song, you can hear “Go Rimbaud, go Rimbaud.” Reading through Patti Smith’s song lyrics, it is easy to see why and how she loves Rimbaud’s work.

Without Rimbaud, would there Patti Smith? Who knows, regardless of who has influenced her- she is still a motivation force to many female singer/songwriters today, and not just songwriters, poets too.

Godmother, or Goddess of Punk- whatever you wish to call Patti Smith, you cannot deny just how relevant she will always be. Her words, whether in song or poem, hypnotise you and send you to another world.

Although Because The Night was originally by Bruce Springstein, he couldn’t find a place for it on his album. Luckily Patti Smith took it and made it not only one of the best love songs ever, but it reads as a beautiful poem.

Imagine someone being so in love with you, that they recited this song to you. Astounding.

She has influenced a vast amount of people from Shirley Manson to Morrissey, who is known to occasionally cover Redondo Beach at some of his concerts.

If Patti is the Godmother of Punk, then who is the Godfather? Lou Reed or Iggy Pop? Everyone has their own opinion on it, maybe there’s no right or wrong answer. Both are equally as influential as each other.

Lou Reed’s Heroin is punk at its poetical best. Not moved by it as a song? Then read it, you will see just how heartbreaking it is but at the same time, it is a fine piece of poetry. Picking out a standout line from Heroin is hard, every line moves into another perfectly, so to just pick one is probably going to cause me another headache! I think, “I have made the big decision, I’m gonna try to nullify my life” may just sum up the whole song. It’s so sad, especially that line.

Some may say Lou Reed’s music is an acquired taste, if that’s the case then I urge anyone who dislikes his songs to just read the lyrics. Read the lyrics and you will see that this man is a poet, and not many can compete with his writing ability- especially nowadays.

Say what you want about Iggy Pop (would you buy car insurance from him?!) but the guy is timeless.

The Stooges were THE best punk band, and the opening riff to I Wanna Be Your Dog will always be the best intro to a song ever! God Bless you Ron Asheton.

Iggy Pop may not have created poetry in the same sense as Patti Smith or Lou Reed, but the guy has given us a lot of one-liners that just take you by surprise, like “Did HE just say that?!” His on stage (and off) antics may have caused some to immediately dislike him, but Iggy is charming. You can tell just by reading his lyrics. I will declare my love for I Wanna Be Your Dog for the rest of my life, so I won’t bore you right now with it. The Passenger as a song is Iggy at his best, read it lyrically and you’ll see just how good a song writer he is, a flawless piece of music and words.

I’m Sick Of You is the perfect “leave me alone, I can’t stand you” kind of song. For the angst side of punk, Iggy And The Stooges blessed us with a number of songs releasing their frustrations and disappointment with every day life. In a few weeks Iggy will be putting out a new album which is like nothing he has done before- it’s self described as “quieter album with some jazz overtones.”

There will never be another genre of music quite like punk, just like there will never another Patti, Lou or Iggy- and that’s just fine. They’re all in their 60s now and still going, something tells me they will still be an influence to so many regardless of what they do, and the type of music the ones they influence do.

Punk may be dead, but it’s still relevant.