Too often in life, for whatever reason, beauty falls through the cracks. It’s one of life’s many tragedies. Why does everyone know “The Macarena” while other works of genius are relegated to the shadows, lost in the mist of time? The following are a collection of colossal songs you’ve never heard, which is a crying shame, because you really should – and now you will. Before you musicologists jump all over me, I understand some of you may recognize some of them, but I’m talking to the general music listening audience here! So enjoy these lost gems, they’re worth your time – trust me.
Johnny Bravo –James at Fifteen
In 1996, Johnny Bravo released an album on Arista Records, produced by The Cars front man Ric Ocasek called Then Again Maybe I Won’t — it would be their last major label effort. They got lost in the shuffle when boy band shlock subsumed rock and roll. Sadly, the genre would never recover. This ode to the falsity of convention shines and remains as relevant as the day it was recorded.
The Phoids –Walk Away
Another ‘90s casualty of war, The Phoids were a hard rocking little outfit from NYC that penned a number of tunes that in another era would have been radio staples. “Walk Away” is a great example of their ragged melodicism and ‘fuck off’ attitude.
Lizard Music –Care for any Coffee?
Lizard Music may be the greatest band you’ve never heard of. They released two albums for World Domination Records and then split up to pursue their separate musical paths. It’s hard to pick just one song of theirs to showcase, but “Care For Any Coffee?” will do nicely. Lead singer and guitarist Erik Paparazzi was the main songwriter and an undiscovered genius. He went on to become the bass player for Cat Power and still remains in the business as a much sought after musician on the LA scene. Bassist Chris Apple also needs to be highlighted as an incredible player and songwriter. He too remains in the biz, teaching the next generation of kids how to rock.
Frank Sinatra –For A While
Sure, everyone knows Frank, but too few know about his greatest record Watertown, a brilliant theme album about the sorrow of a broken marriage and all the painful ambiguities that go along with it. The whole record is fantastic, but this one is a stand out.
Andrew Vladeck — Waiting For The Coffee To Kick In
Andrew Vladeck is an incredible songwriter/musician who has been working on the NYC scene for a couple of decades now. In my opinion, he could have been a major star but the timing was off. In another era he would have been recognized for his talents. “Waiting For The Coffee To Kick In,” is a lost gem…ironic, melodic, and relatable to anyone who’s ever woken up with a poison hangover and a bellyful of regret.
Guided By Voices — Game of Pricks
Ok, I know some of you know this song…but not enough of you! Guided By Voices has always been a fringe band, woefully underrated. They’re part Beatles, part car crash…a beautiful mess. “Game of Pricks,” in my opinion, is one of their best songs.
The Beach Boys — Busy Doing Nothing
Brian Wilson’s rambling list of his day’s activities is a sublime work of utter mundanity. Released on the Beach Boy’s incredible album Friends, this track stands out as one of Brian’s last flashes of true brilliance.
Oliver Onions — Zorro is Back
This tune is off the soundtrack to the film Zorro, starring Alain Delon. It’s pretty much unheard of in the states, but was a pretty decent hit in France. Growing up there as a child, I was obsessed with this movie, mostly because of this song. I had it on 45 would listen to it on repeat for hours on end. Hardly anyone knows about it, a true lost classic – though it was featured in Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket.
The Occasion — All Over Idaho
To be honest, I know nothing about this band, The Occasion. Years ago, I was recording in a small studio in Brooklyn and the producer I was working with had just finished mixing this track. I’ve always been fascinated by its dark melancholy and musicality.
Bob Dylan — On A Rainy Afternoon
True Dylan fans will recognize this incomplete song from the last scene of his unreleased film Eat The Document. It’s classic Bob…wistful, gentle, and of course those lyrics. I always wished he’d finished the fucker and threw it on one of his albums.