Stereogum Classic

Over Glenmorangies and Hoegaardens at dba last night, Jen and Jeff suggested Stereogum go classic rock today. Didn’t take much convincing ’cause these artists have been on my mind this week…

ELVIS COSTELLO
Rhino’s finally completed its four-year purge of everything Elvis ever recorded. Unlike the previous expanded reissues, King of America gets a solo spotlight, not as part of a trio of simlutaneous releases. The album is reportedly the artist’s personal favorite.

Last week NY Times Magazine looked at the trend of repackaging old albums with bonus tracks, using Mr. Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus as an example.

As Elvis Costello kicked into “Chemistry Class,” at a live performance in Washington, on Feb. 28, 1978, a voice could be heard cutting through the boisterous crowd noise, shouting, “You’re brilliant!” Enthusiastic, uninhibited, barely articulate and kind of embarrassing — that’s a real fan. This performance can be heard on Costello’s Armed Forces. Not on the original album, from 1979, or the expanded CD version reissued by Rykodisc in 1993, but on a superexpanded version put out by Rhino Records in 2002.

Stereogum hearts Elvis Costello, so this reissue mania has been particularly frustrating. Which ones deserve our cash? Radar says of the expanded King Of America, “You need this, especially if you’ve never heard the live tracks.” Not that Radar knows anything. But I’m sure there are some Costelloheads out there who can shed some insight? Related: Elvis Costello: The Exact Moment When This Balding Fat Fucker Jumped The Shark (via Largehearted Boy). Some brutal stuff to peruse (“he’s kind of the Conor Oberst of his time”).
Elvis Costello – “Chemistry Class (Solo In Washington 2/28/78)” (MP3 link removed)

TOM PETTY
It’s been almost 30 years (!) since Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers released their first album. It’s fitting then that TP will be all over the place this fall. Matthew Sweet will cover “American Girl” for the High School Reunion CD, a tribute to 80’s movie tunes. It’s out 10/15 on American Laundromat Records. Def Leppard will also cover “American Girl” on their own all-covers album Yeah! out this fall. The book Conversations With Tom Petty hits bookstores in a few months. And Heartbreaker Mike Campbell plays on Rob Thomas’ new record.

ROLLING STONE: What are Tom Petty’s three greatest songs, in descending order?

ROB THOMAS: “Joe.” That came in late, but it haunted me. When he said, “You get to be famous/I get to be rich,” I went, “Oh, fuck, yeah! Wow!” Then “Refugee” and “You Got Lucky.” He’s always made really great records. I hear this next one is supposed to be fucking like old Petty all over again. Our sound guy was his sound guy, so I was getting all the dirt.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “American Girl” (MP3 link removed)

ERIC CLAPTON
Anton Newcome’s talk of toddler-defenestration elicited quite a response from trolling Clapton-haters. I VOD’d GoodFellas last weekend, which features the lovely instrumental finale to “Layla,” Clapton’s infamous rock ‘n’ roll love letter to George Harrison’s wife. The interlude was written by Jim Gordon, the crazy Domino who brutally murdered his mother in 1983. Gordon got 16 years to life, but “Layla” royalties give him a nice nest egg. Too bad about the paranoid schizophrenia.
Eric Clapton – “Layla” (MP3 link removed)

STING
I’m a huge Sting/Police fan. Embarrassing, I know. You probably think he jumped the shark after Synchronicity. Not true. He jumped after The Soul Cages. On the current Broken Music tour, Mr. Sumner’s retreated from the standby bullshit lite-FM setlist to revisit Police classics he hasn’t played in years. For example … Watch “Spirits In The Material World” on [email protected]. I also couldn’t help but notice Dead 60’s “Last Resort” has got a definite “When The World Is Running Down” vibe in the verses. Promise I’ll post those soon for contrast/compare purposes.

VAN MORRISON
Magic Time ain’t bad if you dig that Celtic R&B. Not as powerful as The Healing Game, and obviously doesn’t hold a candle to Tupelo Honey, but dude’s still got the voice and at least he’s never embarrassed himself like the dinosaur rockers mentioned above. Secret Machines give Van the Man a nice drone rock makeover on their new EP. Can’t wait to see these guys at Bonnaroo.
Secret Machines – “Astral Weeks” (MP3 link removed)

THE ROLLING STONES
Don’t get me started. But do check out the Concretes’ VU-inspired version of “Miss You.” MP3 available at Fluxblog.

Who are your favorite classic rockers and when did they jump the shark?