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Monday, February 19, 2018

#51: The Mt. Rushmore Series

For this iteration of my long running Mt. Rushmore series, I've got to know: Which four musical screams deserve to be enshrined on your mountain? Sorry about the baby boomer pitch on my monument; I welcome hearing from younger folks about their favorite screeches. My four are listed alphabetically by song title.

1.) Levi Stubbs (from the Four Tops) on "Bernadette": No name in music has ever been screamed so memorably as "Bernadette!" at the conclusion of this R&B classic. When Levi wailed he entered the same iconic territory as Stanley Kowalski caterwauling "Stella!" in "A Streetcar Named Desire".   

2.) John Lennon (the Beatles) on "I Want You - She's So Heavy": John had his share of shrieking moments (Paul was no slouch) but his primal scream preceding the long instrumental outro as side one of "Abbey Road" ends is his most blood curdling. This song was definitely about Yoko.

3.) Janis Joplin (with Big Brother & The Holding Company) on "Piece Of My Heart": Like Lennon, Janis could make your hair stand up on end. Just before the last repeated chorus, Janis unleashed one for the ages.

4.) Roger Daltrey (the Who) on "Won't Get Fooled Again": Two for the price of one - Daltrey lets it rip immediately preceding one of rock n' roll's greatest one liners - "Meet the new boss - same as the old boss". Who among us hasn't screamed internally at least once in life while thinking the same? Thank composer Pete Townsend and screamer Roger Daltrey for making your frustration manifest.

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