FMF Episode #21 – Flying

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DJ:  Cleared for takeoff…Hello and welcome to another episode of Feel Me Flow!  One of the best parts of summer is taking a summer vacation!  If you follow a school schedule, you might find yourself with a large amount of time off during the summer months.  With all that time off, why not fly somewhere and enjoy a nice vacation?  Today we’re going to focus on that celebrated (or dreaded) trip to the airport!  Commercial aviation started taking flight during the post-war days of the fifties.  Originally focused on an immaculate in-flight experience, featuring full bars and open space seating, air travel soon moved to a “let’s squeeze as many people in this tube as possible” mentality.  We’ve all been frustrated at one point or another in an airplane/airport.  I, for one, enjoy the experience as a whole.  Sure it can get bogged down, but those views from 36,000 feet are worth it!  We’re gonna play you some songs about airplanes, flying, flight attendants, some songs about clouds, jets, and even parachutes.

We launched the show with a back-to-back album cut featuring Steve Miller Band.  Originally separated as two tracks, “Space Intro” and “Fly Like An Eagle” come from their 1976 LP of the same name.  The album churned out 3 huge singles, the aforementioned, “Take The Money And Run”, and “Rock N’ Me”.  Let’s get up in the air with our first set, here’s “Fly Like An Eagle”.

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DJ:  Jet had a huge hit with “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” from their debut LP Get Born.  The song would go one to hit all kinds of, movies, TV shows, and commercials; including a spot in the famous silhouette Apple iPod ads.  Those ads were catchy, man.

Howlin’ Wolf, aka Chester Burnett, wrote “Mr. Airplane Man” in 1959 as a quasi-sequel to his 1952 b-side “Mr. Highway Man”.  The song would finally make its way onto an album in 1975 with the release of Change My Way.

Sixteen-year-old Alex Chilton and his band The Box Tops gave us less than two minutes of a solid rock and roll song.  Taking cues from old blues artist like Howlin’ Wolf, Chilton would make his voice rough and coarse for the song in order to sound raw and older.  The Box Tops would have a few more hits in the 60s before dissolving.  Chilton formed Big Star in 1971.

Punk rock bowling enthusiasts Me First And The Gimme Gimmes helped kick it up a notch with a ukulele-led cover of “I Believe I Can Fly”.  Originally recorded by R. Kelly for the Space Jam soundtrack, the all-star bar band would revive it for their R&B covers LP Take A Break.

Our second set starts off with the classic Kinks cut “Gotta Get The First Plane Home” from The Kink Kontroversy.

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DJ: Although many people confuse Paul Westerberg with being the asshole in the song, he actually took on the role after hearing about the experiences of his sister Mary Lucia who happened to be working as a flight attendant at the time.  Mary would go on to become a prominent radio voice in the Twin Cities area, where the two are from.

Canadian indie rockers Sloan lent us just over a minute of their time with the opening track to 2006’s Never Hear The End Of It.  “Flying High Again” leads into the first single from the album, “Who Taught You To Live Like That?”.

When former Death Of Samantha frontman John Petrovic’s mother died in 2008, he decided to get in the car and drive.  Heading East, he received a call from Witch bassist Dave Sweetapple and subsequently stopped by Dave’s house during the drive.  Dave had invited Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis over and they convinced John to vent his emotions through music.  Sweet Apple was formed shortly after and is a loose-fit rock band doing whatever they feel like; no drama.  We played “Flying Up A Mountain” from their debut LP Love & Desperation.  

Foo Fighters played us “Learn To Fly”; their smash hit from 1999’s There Is Nothing Left To Lose.  The third album from Dave Grohl and the gang won the Grammy for Best Rock Album that year, and Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video for “Learn To Fly”.  Dave was quoted in an AP interview saying “When we won for Best Rock Album, which we made in my basement, I was so proud — because we made it in my basement in a crappy makeshift studio that we put together ourselves. I stood there looking out at everybody in tuxedos and diamonds and fur coats, and I thought we were probably the only band that won a Grammy for an album made for free in a basement that year.”  It may have sold millions, but the DIY ethic is still strong on this LP.

The Stones are gonna back us off a bit now, with “Get Off Of My Cloud”.

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DJ:  One of the most award-winning, accolade sporting albums of all time, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On changed the direction of soul for the 70s.  Sly Stone and James Brown had taken funk/soul into a political direction, but Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye were about to thrust it into the living rooms of every family in America giving it a smoothed out feel.  Marvin received initial backlash from Motown’s Barry Gordy on “What’s Going On”, being told it was “the worst thing (Barry’s) ever heard”. “Flyin’ High (In The Friendly Sky)” is an allusion to being hooked on heroin.  Using the tagline from United Airlines, Marvin used wordplay to get the drug addiction message across.

Kool and Together originally started as three brothers supporting their dad as My Children + 2.  Once dad was out of the picture, they reformed as Kool and Together.  The band never broke out of the local scene, and it wasn’t until 2011 that their works received an official release.  We played “Fly So High” from that release; Original Recordings 1970-1977.

Jimi, Noel, and Mitch recorded “Up From The Skies” on the last day of recording their album Axis: Bold As Love in 1967.  Featuring a jazzy, triplet-style beat, the song is a departure from earlier, blues-based recordings.  The song was about an concerned alien landing on Earth and wondering what the hell we did to the place since the last time he visited.  Man, I’d hate to see that alien’s reaction now!

We played a 1969 pop hit with The Flying Machine doing “Smile A Little Smile For Me”.  The song would pigeonhole the band into a one-hit wonder, only releasing one follow up album and calling it quits a few years later.

Let’s jump into our Set 4 with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti doing a cover of a 1966 tune by The Rockin’ Ramrods; here’s “Bright Lit Blue Skies”.

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DJ:  Our Set 4 Score this week features Minneapolis’ Fury Things; a perfect band to play after Hüsker Dü.  Coincidentally, they actually opened a show for Bob Mould in 2017.  Playing loud-energy filled rock and roll, Fury Things have been blasting ears for the past five years and released their debut LP VHS in 2015.

Bob Mould, Grant Hart, and Greg Norton formed Hüsker Dü in 1979 along with keyboardist Charlie Pine whom they fired after their first show.  The band’s name came from covering Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” and not knowing the “Qu’est-ce que c’est?” part, so they shouted whatever foreign words they thought of. Hüsker Dü stuck.  

Real Estate’s Martin Courtney released Many Moons in 2015, his first solo effort.  Originally started as a stress relief project during Real Estate’s Atlas recording sessions, Martin eventually wrote and recorded enough songs to comprise an album.  We played “Airport Bar” from that album.  

Fellow indie rockers Dawes played us “From A Window Seat” off their third LP Stories Don’t End.  Frontman Taylor Goldsmith wrote the song from the perspective of a man observing other passengers on an airplane.  The end of the song finds the narrator describing himself in within those passengers.  Released as the second single from the album, it peaked highest at number 10 on the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs.  

Now, we’re gonna fly by night north of the border to Canada and grab some Rush.  Here’s their fourth ever single taken from 1975’s Fly By Night.

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DJ:  Kevin Barnes formed of Montreal in 1996 after relationship issues with a girl from Quebec.  The track “You Are An Airplane” comes from the band’s 2006 EP The Bird Who Ate The Rabbit’s Flower.  Of Montreal are considered part of the Elephant 6 collective, a group of artists and musicians originally based out of Denver, and then Athens, GA, focused on 60s psych pop.  Other Elephant 6 artists include Beulah, The Apples In Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, and much more.

Faces played us “Flying” from their debut 1970 album First Step.  The album was their first with the new lineup; the band was formed from the ashes of Small Faces.  The end of the sixties claimed all kinds of bands, and many others split or reformed into new groups for the upcoming decade.  After the Small Faces split, Faces would form with the inclusion of Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood.  Small Faces singer Steve Marriot would go on to form Humble Pie.

Another band that didn’t survive the 70s was The Turtles.  After breaking up in 1970, Turtles guitarist Mark Volman and singer Howard Kaylan joined Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention as Phlorescent Leech & Eddie, respectively.  When Frank got hurt in 1971, Vollman and Kalyan recorded The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie and continued on with the monikers.  We heard “Flyin’ High” from The Turtles’ 1966 LP You Baby.

British new wave punks The Vibrators formed in 1976 with Knox Carnochan, Pat Collier,  John Ellis, Eddie Edwards.  Their debut album earned them plenty of credentials in the UK punk scene and the single  “Baby Baby” would go on to become their calling card.  We played “Flying Home” from their 1984 LP Alaska 127.

Alright, let’s kick off our final set with a cover of John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane” by Spanky And Our Gang.  Guitarist and lead composer Malcolm Hale would, unfortunately, join the 27 club in 1968, succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty space heater compounded with having bronchitis.

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DJ:  I just wanna fly!  Sugar Ray started as a metal/rock band, and most of the songs on 1997’s Floored represent that sound with one glaring exception.  The band would pivot (or sell out, depending on who you ask) in their sound and start putting out pop-rock records throughout the rest of their career.  We previously played their cover of a John Cale/Brian Eno track; “Spinning Away” on our International Surfing Day episode.

Before Mark McGrath and gang, we heard Bobby Womack doing his soul-ified cover of “Fly Me To The Moon”.  Originally written by Bart Howard and titled “In Other Words”, the song was also covered by Frank Sinatra and Count Basie for the 1964 album It Might As Well Be Swing.

Speaking of Frank, we played another aviation tune of his with “Come Fly With Me”.  Frank wasn’t too pleased after seeing the mockup of the album’s artwork, claiming it looked like an ad for TWA.  The album was a loose concept album of songs about traveling the world.

Prior to the Sinatra double-dose, we played a deep track by The Pretty Things called “Parachutes”.  The track sounds like it could’ve come from one of The Beatles’ heavier drug-laden recording sessions and caps the album off with a huge ascending noise representing takeoff.  It makes a nice transition into the Sinatra strings beginning his tune, which were also representative of an airplane taking off.

Well everyone, on behalf of FMF Airlines and the entire crew, we’d like to thank you for joining us on this flight and we are looking forward to seeing you on board again in the near future.  Thanks for listening and come back tomorrow when we celebrate Day Of Action on Feel Me Flow!

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