Had 90-second previews existed when I downloaded "On a Bicycle Built for Joy (Raindrops)," it is likely I would never have paid good money to hear a beloved childhood memory brought to its knees. Instead, the song remains in my iTunes library as a reminder that raindrops falling on one's head is the least of one's troubles.
I host an occasional segment of the Macworld Podcast called the Macworld Pundit Showdown. There are funny sound effects and thematically appropriate musical snippets played throughout, and we all have a good time recording it. Presumably, a fraction of the listening audience enjoys it as well. Anyhow, those songs have to come from somewhere, so I buy them off of the iTunes Store.
Butt out of this, Gopher. This doesn't concern you.
I'm mentioning this in case I unexpectedly slip off this mortal coil, and my next-of-kin, when going through my effects, discovers that I have a copy of the theme song from The Love Boat performed by something called The South Bay Groove System. Please alert my heirs that the song was specifically downloaded for this podcast episode and not because I secretly harbor dreams of hanging out with Gopher and Isaac on the Lido Deck.
Not after how they treated Julie the Cruise Director, I don't.
There's a lady-or-the-tiger quality to live versions of songs. Maybe this is the moment when it all comes together for the band--when the music and the vocals blend so seamlessly, when the energy of performing before an arena full of devoted fans--elevates a known commodity to new heights. Or perhaps the band is preoccupied with the thought of all the groupies waiting back at the after-party and rushes through the song with casual indifference. I leave it to your imagination as to where on that spectrum this Black Sabbath recording of "Iron Man" falls.
At least this album title--Live Evil--uses two accurate adjectives to describe the version of Iron Man contained within.
I'm not sure why I bought a copy of "Iron Man," other than it must be some federal regulation that every adult male between the ages of 30 and 60 must own that particular song. I don't know why I bought this particular version, though I hope it was because it was the only available copy of "Iron Man" on iTunes at the time. I do know I wish I had previewed the track first so that I would have learned that this particular edition of Black Sabbath was fronted by Ronnie James Dio and not Ozzy Osbourne. (I once asked no less of an authority than Jim Dalrymple for his opinion of the Ronnie James Dio-led Black Sabbath. "It serves its purpose," he said, before returning his attention to his Heineken.) About halfway through the song, Dio goes deliriously off-script and begins improvising lines, one of which is "I'm coming to claim your soul." It took me several dozen close listenings before I realized he wasn't singing, "I'm coming to clean your shelves."
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