Votes due Thursday, April 28th at 8:00 PM EST: Just looking at the way that title came off my fingers gives me anticipatory shivers. LTDMT: Semi-Finals. No division, no Day 1, no need for modifier or anything beyond what it is. And it truly is what it is- 550 songs have become 4 songs. One of our match-ups features two championship contenders released in 1961 and 1963- two years apart, and a mere five tracks apart on Disc 1 of the LTDMT 128 Box Set. Our other, a pairing of Mercury…and a mirror. A magic mirror. That also has the Bowie in it. You know, it’s interesting- Janos has been pointing out race and gender trends these last few rounds, but in the end, we have: A white guy from Tennessee. A black guy from North Carolina and later Harlem. A bisexual former Zoroastrian who grew up in a combination of Zanzibar and Bombay. And the most androgynous individual in the history of rock and roll. I’d say we’re pretty equitable, all things considered (sorry Dusty.) Grooveshark link is here. Listen to the songs and vote by commenting on this post or by e-mailing LTDdotorg@gmail.com. Votes are due by Thursday, April 28th at 8:00 PM EST. Best of luck to all four of our survivors.
#1 Under Pressure (Queen & David Bowie) vs. #5 Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen): I’m not sure what else I can type beyond the long discussion Janos and I had on the podcast, starting around 10 minutes in. One song is longer than the other. One song has more bass guitar than the other. One has the Bowie, one has a capella. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the third best selling single in the history of the United Kingdom, behind “Candle In The Wind” (Round of 512 loss to Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”) and Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” (Really happy that wasn’t in here; if we were to include any holiday songs, it better have been the goddamn Monster Mash.) “Under Pressure” was the result of an impromptu jam session between the members of Queen and David Bowie at Bowie’s studio in Montreux, Switzerland. And anyone that mentions A1A Beachfront Avenue when they hear this song should be ashamed of themselves, as that is a no way to treat a Living The Dream Final Four survivor.
#3 Stand By Me (Ben E. King) vs. #7 Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)
What do Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, U2, Warren Zevon, Green Day, Lady Gaga, and Sting have in common? Well, they all got a shot in this tournament and have been eliminated. And all of them have recorded or performed covers of “Stand By Me.” SBM is also, according to BMI, the 4th most played song of the 20th century , behind “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Never My Love,” and “Yesterday.” (I was just thinking the other day I hope we see YLTLF in the PCT.) There have been over four hundred recorded covers of “Stand By Me.” Also, there was a music video that stars Ben along with Chris Chambers and Gordie LaChance themselves. This is a song about friendship. The no matter what kind.
To get to this final, Ben has one last obstacle and not one to be taken lightly. Again, for those that missed it, the story of “Ring of Fire” can be found starting at 47:30 of this episode of This American Life we saw in Aiko’s comments section a few weeks ago. And as Jacob reminds us, this pairing is a match of deep consistent loyalty love and burning wildfire crazy love. Each is indeed worthy of musical representations for its own reason, distinct from the other. A truly epic and surely difficult Final Four pairing for many of us to sort through. Let the best song win.