Run For Glory – I: On Your Marks

Hello everyone, and welcome to my new feature ‘Run For Glory’, which is in conjuction with my campaign to raise funds for and awareness of the Motor Neurone Disease Association via my participation in this year’s Great North Run. Over the next few weeks this epically named feature will provide a series of thematically linked songs that will provide you with an insight into not just what I’m running to, but what’s really driving me or pumping me up as I run across the various roads, trails and towpaths of West Yorkshire, England.

This first installment focuses on the only place this could start: the beginning. As in, the songs that prompt you to get up and get out. In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing lists based on other varying themes, progressing from the start right to the triumphant finish. Let’s get cracking. And leave your appropriate suggestions in the comments box while you’re at it!

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Judas Priest – Battle Hymn/One Shot At Glory
[from ‘Painkiller’, Columbia, 1990]

Judas Priest may have more in common with motorbikes than running, and thematically this song has sod all to do with running the open pathways, but there’s an undeniably epic feel about warming up and heading off to this track. The ‘Battle Hymn’ intro is dispensable, but it serves ably as a warm-up track to mentally prepare you for the miles ahead.

Key lyric: ‘Let me hear the battle cry/Calling in the wind’. It’s the opening salvo and its hard to pick out another lyric to motivate as much as that one, but Halford delivers it with such authority you can’t help but be fired up.

 

wpid-From-Out-Of-Nowhere.jpgFaith No More – From Out of Nowhere
[from ‘The Real Thing’, Slash, 1989]

This selection owes as much to its musicality as it does any wordplay, but the opening riff sets up the beginning of a run perfectly. Of course, it’s a song about a fleeting obsession with a person of extreme beauty before said beautiful person heads off into the never. But portions of its lyrics can be interchanged with that which drives us as runners – but mainly, it’s the riff and the pace of the song that makes this such an excellent track to set off to.

Key lyric: ‘Sifting to the bottom/every day for two/all energy funnels/and all becomes you’. And ‘One minute here, and one minute there/and then you wave goodbye’ – the set up for the driving riff.

wpid-bronx.jpgThe Bronx – Along For The Ride
[from ‘The Bronx (IV), White Drugs/ATO, 2013]

‘Along For the Ride’ possesses a great melodic riff, an anthemic chorus and all round perfect structure to get up and run to. Lyrically it’s perfect as well, with several lines in the song relatable to our eagerness to get up and get out of the door, though the song is seemingly a resignation of trying to be perfect. It sums up exactly what life as a amateur runner should be all about – don’t try too hard to be the best. Just enjoy it.

Key lyrics: The chorus: ‘We’re all flawed by design/we used to be alive but now we’re just along for the ride/there was a time when the world was under our control/but that time has died, so now we’re just along for the ride

 

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Rollins Band – Do It (Live)
[from ‘Insert Band Here’, 2.13.61, 1990]

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The Rollins Band took on this Pink Fairies classic with gusto and morphed it from a psychedelic blues rock number into a…with Rollins as drill sergeant as he barks out the lyrics. As a staple of their live set in their earlier days, the intensity went up another notch, from Rollins’ vocals to the rest of the band. You’d be mad not to follow his commands as he yells ‘Get up off your ass/DO IT!’ 

Key lyric: “I don’t think about it/DO IT!” And pretty much the rest of the song too.

 

 

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Beastie Boys – Alive
[from Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science, Capitol, 1999]

OK, so its not exactly a rock track, but good hip hop deserves a much a place in my playlist as any rock or metal soundtrack, and while ‘Alive’ lyrically has no place in a running context, its opening line, as stated below, is emphatic in terms of a primer for when you exit the door or prepare yourself for the mileage ahead.

Key lyric: Its opening statement: I have never been more ready in my entire life to do this right now, never/all building up to this moment…’ That ought to pump you in action.

Peter Clegg

I’m running the 2013 Bupa Great North Run to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Please click the link at the top corner to view my sponsor page or click here instead. Thank you.

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Aerosmith – Shut Up and Dance

Despite the fact that the song I’m about to analyse was one of seven singles from the 1993 album ‘Get a Grip’, charted at #24 in the UK singles chart, was a staple of their set for a time during the 90’s and also appeared in the soundtrack for the righteous Wayne’s World 2, Aerosmith’s ‘Shut Up and Dance’ doesn’t feel like its ever got the same recognition as some of their other hits around this period of the band’s history. It holds a place dear in my heart and deserves analysis to that end. I beckoned for it to be played during their headlining set at Download Festival 2010 – it wasn’t – and was disappointed to find it not included on ‘Guitar Hero: Aerosmith’. I’d have loved to have five-starred that.

It had obvious single appeal; a classic Joe Perry riff right from the office, Joey Kramer’s 1-2-3 on the toms, and all in with Steven Tyler singing ‘Talk is cheap, shut up and dance’. If that riff doesn’t get you rockin’ out or shaking your ass or whatever it is you do, and if you don’t find yourself singing along that chorus at all, you best check you have a pulse.
 
Tyler’s vocals during the first two verses, at first, lie in the low end; unusual for Aerosmith, as either he’s usually belting it out or at least maintaining a higher pitch, rather than bubbling under the surface. After those first two lines of each verse, it’s back to the status quo. The verses are short, pretty concise and really help the song keep its flow.

Aerosmith – Shut Up and Dance (Live at Woodstock ’94)
 
The song has a nice chunky midsection, the sort they used to make when you were a kid. Following the conclusion of the third chorus, it heads into a rickrolling riff driven by a ride cymbal tinker in the backdrop. Lyrically, its get a little more interesting and closer to what the song title implies. It implies that talking isn’t going to get you any – just do it. Tyler makes this clear during the bridge:
 
“When you work your fingers/to the bone
Now what does that get you? Nothing”
 
Perry’s solo is amazing on this song. Not the greatest by any stretch, but certainly worthy of the plastic guitar treatment. It’s a classic rock ‘n’ roll solo, joyous in its abandon and with plenty air of showmanship. And speaking of showmanship, Tyler doesn’t mess around with the double entendrés when his vocals return – for example:
 
“Sex is like a gun
You aim, you shoot, ha ha, you run”.
 
Fair enough, it’s not the most engaging of songs – its yet another Aerosmith song about sex. It’s hardly going to get you changing your political mindset or get you opening up to any sort of personal themes. But ‘Shut Up and Dance’ doesn’t need to be one of the songs – that much is abundant in its title alone. Just loosen up and lose yourself in one of the 90’s greatest and most-often overlooked of rock hits. As the song itself says, “don’t get deep, shut up and dance!” I can’t sum it up much better than that.
 
Peter Clegg
 
 

Previously in this series:

The Wildhearts – Rooting For The Bad Guy
AC/DC – Ain’t No Fun (Waiting ‘Round To Be A Millionaire)

True Norwegian Black Metal

[PHOTO BY PETER BESTE]

Continuing today’s black metal theme, and indeed in direct contrast to Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s vision; I stumbled upon this, unbelievably, whilst reading an article on the BBC website this morning about photographer Simon Wheatley’s work on documenting London’s grime scene. One reader decided to comment and pointed other readers in the direction of Peter Beste’s working capturing images of the Norwegian black metal scene. I’m not a massive follower of black metal so I wasn’t aware of this thing when it first came out – but my word, this is a stunning catalogue of work by Beste.

He’s worked at capturing the imagery of some of Norwegian black metal’s most iconic names in some visually striking settings.  The likes of Abbath from Immortal, Mayhem, Enslaved, Fenriz from Darkthrone and many, many more besides are all featured here, in what is an impressive portfolio of work. It captures everything that the scene is – cold, grim, menacing, haunting, and numerous other superlatives that escape me right now.

There’s also a book that accompanies this, called ‘True Norwegian Black Metal’. According to Beste’s site, the book is currently sold out, although if you contact him you can get on the waiting list for one. Nonetheless, there’s plenty to browse through in the meantime, so why not go over and take a look?

Peter Beste Photography: True Norwegian Black Metal

Peter Clegg