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Leone’s Legends: Driving a bit too fast

Wow what a great winter so far, snow, snow and more snow. Yes!

Just be careful when you are driving as I've noticed many folks driving a bit too fast in wintry conditions. Which of course brings me to the subject of this installment in my "Legends" column. The Seven Greatest Songs that may cause you to "driving a bit too fast." Now with all due respect to our local law enforcement officers, I must admit that when I'm driving and a certain song comes up on my iPhone in shuffle mode, I have to keep my cool and my foot from jamming down the pedal and imitating my childhood idol Steve McQueen in "Bullitt." Lets face it, driving and music go hand and hand, or foot and hand, or brain and foot, oh whatever! So away we go.

#1. "Highway Star" by Deep Purple. This song has an amazing driving groove powered by drummer extraordinaire Ian Paice, as well as a killer guitar solo by Richie Blackmore. Oh, and the lyrics are about cars - well kinda, it's a veiled double entendre about the similarities between a woman and a car, novel idea. There is also a great version of this song on the album "Live in Japan."

#2. "Ace of Spades" by Motörhead. Yes, fellow headbangers you know the opening riff to this song and it says one thing and one thing only "foot to the floor." Lemmy's vocal and jackhammer bass guitar fuel this burning tune, but the lyrics, guitar and drumming combine to make this a Top Ten All Time Heavy Rock Song. (Warning: when listening, do watch your speed!)

#3. "Mizerlou" by Dick Dale. This is the ultimate up-tempo surf instrumental of all time. The "king of the surf guitar" takes a traditional Jewish wedding songs melody and speeds it up, adds a ton of reverb and barrels his was through this three minute trip down an icy luge of coolness. This song has been used in movies, commercials and video games mostly because it rocks, but partially, I think, it is also due to the fact that the music (do to the age of the song) is "public domain" so there is no payment required.

#4. "Going Down" by Freddie King. This monster tune is a staple for many cover bands all over the world, mostly from the Jeff Beck version, but Freddie's version released in 1972 is a bit more groovy and simmering. The track, produced by the great Leon Russell, is fueled by the drumming of southern studio drum legend Larry Londin. What a Groove!

#5. "Helter Skelter" by the Beatles. This is another one of those songs whose intro just says "faster, faster, faster" (or at least that's how my foot interprets it.) From the Beatles most diverse and eclectic non titled "White Album" Paul's manic vocal and guitar riffs play a card that was usually played by John Lennon, it was "the Beatles song your parents might not like." Play it loud!

#6. "LA Woman" by the Doors. This song has been a consistent in my live show for years, and one I can always count on to get people up on the dance floor. Like most songs on this list it has the necessary combo of a great drum part, a relentless musical hook (in this case Ray Manzarek's Farfisa organ) and a truly original vocal. It stands the test of time.

#7. "Ezy Ryder" by Jimi Hendrix. I love this song as it is the song that first inspired me to make this list up many years ago. The groove on this song is special because the drummer is R&B legend and future Band of Gypsy Buddy Miles, not Mitch Mitchell whose groove was more "jazzy" and linear then Buddy's knee deep-in-the-rhythm approach. This record came late in Jimi's career, and is one of the last great recordings he made IMHO.

Honorable Mention should go to these other great examples of hype tunage. "Rumble" by Link Wray, "Southbound Train" by Leslie West, "Sins a Good Mans Brother" by Grand Funk Railroad, "Anarchy in the UK" by the Sex Pistols, and all of "Paul's Boutique" by the Beastie Boys.

Now, I say, listen to these songs and react accordingly, in the safety of your favorite comfy chair!

Peace, love, and music,


Tagged: Leone's Legends