So Old It’s New set list for Monday, May 20, 2024

The set is tied to Victoria Day here in Canada and features songs which, either by title or lyrics, reference royalty. My track-by-track tales follow the bare-bones list.

1. The Kinks, Victoria
2. Aerosmith, Kings and Queens
3. The Rolling Stones, Jigsaw Puzzle (contains the lyric ‘and the queen is bravely shouting ‘what the hell is going on?’)
4. Wishbone Ash, The King Will Come
5. Elton John, The King Must Die
6. Bruce Springsteen, Mary Queen Of Arkansas
7. Queen, Great King Rat
8. David Bowie, Queen Bitch
9. Metallica, King Nothing
10. Van Morrison, Queen Of The Slipstream
11. Guns N’ Roses, Rocket Queen
12. Bob Dylan, Queen Jane Approximately
13. King Crimson, The Court Of The Crimson King
14. Chuck Berry, Little Queenie
15. Rainbow, The Temple Of The King
16. Steely Dan, King Of The World
17. Jefferson Airplane, Crown Of Creation
18. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, King’s Highway (live)
19. Rush, A Farewell To Kings

My track-by-track tales:

1. The Kinks, Victoria . . . A tradition for me the last few years; last year I used a live version of the song for the show which happens to fall on Victoria Day weekend here in Canada. Victoria is a well-known Kinks song and was a single taken from 1969’s Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) album. And while this is a deep cuts show I’ve always employed the caveat that I’ll play occasional singles that didn’t do well on the charts, or that you may no longer hear very often. Victoria fits that bill. Except in the Toronto market where, according to Wikipedia, it reached No. 9 on one of the big charts of the day, CHUM radio’s top 30 list. It did less well in home country UK, hitting No. 33, and No. 62 in the US.

2. Aerosmith, Kings and Queens . . . The band obviously liked this one from the Draw The Line album, released in 1977, because they included it on their first greatest hits package even though it wasn’t really a hit, making No. 76 in Canada and No. 70 in the US. A good one, though, reminds me a bit in song structure of one of my favorite Aerosmith deep cuts or songs of theirs in general, Nobody’s Fault from 1976’s Rocks album, the one preceding Draw The Line. To quote lead singer Steven Tyler: “This one was just about how many people died from holy wars because of their beliefs or non-beliefs.”

3. The Rolling Stones, Jigsaw Puzzle . . . What’s this got to do with kings, queens or royalty? It’s the only song in my set that doesn’t, title wise, mention kings, queens, crowns or royalty BUT 1. it’s a Rolling Stones track and I always play the Stones, my favorite band and 2. the song contains one of my favorite lines in rock music – “and the queen is bravely shouting what the hell is going on?”

Oh there’s 20,000 grandmas
Wave their hankies in the air
All burning up their pensions
And shouting ‘it’s not fair!’

There’s a regiment of soldiers
Standing looking on
And the queen is bravely shouting
‘What the hell is going on?’

With a blood-curdling ‘tally-ho’
She charged into the ranks
And blessed all those grandmas
Who with their dying breaths screamed ‘Thanks!’

and hell, in Mick Jagger’s voice, is heard with heavy emphasis, as ‘what the HELL is going on?”
I can just envision a scene out of Monty Python.
So, that’s why it’s in the set. 🙂 But one of my alltime favorite Stones’ tunes, regardless.

4. Wishbone Ash, The King Will Come . . . From the Brit hard rock progressive band’s most successful album, 1972’s Argus. Truly gratifiying is the fact that, since I play Wishbone Ash periodically, an old (and renewed) high school and college friend of mine, tells me he’s gotten into the band a bit via my playing them on occasion. It’s not why I’m here, necessarily; I just play what I like and what moves me and all great if others like it or are turned on to it, which has happened in this case and isn’t that the beauty of the shared experience of music?

5. Elton John, The King Must Die . . . From Elton’s second album, the self-titled 1970 release that followed 1969’s Empty Sky, which I need to get back to, amazing title cut on that one, among other songs. As for the 1970 album, it’s arguably the one that announced Elton John to the world via the hit single Your Song but the depth of the album is apparent in the deep cuts, like this one, as would be the case throughout his amazing run of great albums through the mid-1970s.

6. Bruce Springsteen, Mary Queen Of Arkansas . . . Acoustic Dylan-like ballad (and Springsteen at least early on was talked about as the next Dylan) from his debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. Based on research, it was played by Springsteen in an audition to record company execs and earned him his first album contract with CBS Records in 1972. His first album was released in the first week of January, 1973.

7. Queen, Great King Rat . . . Hard rock, progressive, whatever you might want to call it, it’s all of it, suffice to say it’s early Queen and it’s great. From the first, self-titled album, 1973.

8. David Bowie, Queen Bitch . . . Very Lou Reed-ish or, more likely, Reed was very Bowie-ish and of course Bowie, along with his bandmate Mick Ronson, produced Reed’s breakthrough solo album Transformer in 1972. Queen Bitch is from Bowie’s 1971 album Hunky Dory.

9. Metallica, King Nothing . . . Depending which chart you consult, this was either a hit or it wasn’t. It made No. 90 on some charts, No. 6 on others, as the fourth single released from the 1996 album Load which represented a further departure from Metallica’s thrash metal past and caused untold angst within some of their fanbase because the band, egads, cut their hair and went even more mainstream than the previous album monster hit Metallica (aka the Black Album). All of their stuff is worthwhile listening, if you ask me.

10. Van Morrison, Queen Of The Slipstream . . . Beautiful romantic ballad from Van The Man’s 1987 album Poetic Champions Compose, released as a single but it didn’t chart, perhaps because the song really has no easy hooks to draw those who need that sort of stuff in, but whatever. It’s Van Morrison, it’s great.

11. Guns N’ Roses, Rocket Queen . . . Sexual intercourse moans incorporated into the song (really, listen) from, as the story goes, a groupie screwing lead singer Axl Rose, and maybe other members of the band, during the recording. In any event, a good rocker from the Apetite For Destruction album that broke the band big via such songs as Welcome To The Jungle, Sweet Child 0′ Mine and Paradise City.

12. Bob Dylan, Queen Jane Approximately . . . Folk/garage rock from Dylan’s 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited which not only included the title track, later covered by Johnny Winter, but arguably Dylan’s signature tune, Like A Rolling Stone.

13. King Crimson, The Court Of The Crimson King . . . King Crimson in all their prog-rock glory, title cut from the amazing debut album, 1969.

14. Chuck Berry, Little Queenie . . . The father of The Rolling Stones, arguably, certainly their early stuff and of course the Stones covered it on early studio albums and later on one of the best live albums ever, 1970’s document of the 1969 American tour, Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out! which is when I really got into the Stones doing it.

15. Rainbow, The Temple Of The King . . . Mid-tempo ballad, one of my favorite Rainbow tunes, Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals. It’s from the first Rainbow album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, released in 1975 after the guitarist left Deep Purple, for the first time, later to reunite, break up, reunite, then break up with Purple for good. At least so far.

16. Steely Dan, King Of The World . . . Funky, galloping type tune from 1973’s Countdown To Ecstasy album.

17. Jefferson Airplane, Crown Of Creation . . Title cut from the Airplane’s 1968 album; typical of their psychedelic rock fare.

18. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, King’s Highway (live) . . . Nice acoustic live version from the Playback box set released in 1995, taken from a Florida show in 1993. The original studio version appeared on the 1991 album Into The Great Wide Open.

19. Rush, A Farewell To Kings . . . As we say farewell, for this show, this week with the title cut to likely still my favorite Rush album and the one I most grew up with, 1977. Bought it for the single, Closer To The Heart, wound up listening to everything else on it, even more.

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