Turkey Pardons & Remembering Leonard Cohen

Turkey Pardons

Every year, a turkey is saved from its Thanksgiving dinner fate by a presidential pardon. In that gracious spirit, Jim and Greg give their own Turkey Pardons. They share their picks of lousy artists who still had one redeemable musical moment. Plus, they pay tribute to the great singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

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Turkey Pardons

Gather around the family table for the Sound Opinions annual Thanksgiving Show! This year in honor of the presidential tradition, Jim and Greg will pardon some musical turkeys. Turkeys are bands or artists that have had a lackluster career, but the hosts mercifully pardon them for one song they find redeemable.

Jim

  • Chicago, 25 or 6 to 4
  • KISS, Detroit Rock City
  • America, A Horse With No Name
  • Bush, Glycerine

Greg

  • Stone Temple Pilots, Sour Girl
  • Coolio, Gangsta’s Paradise
  • Kings of Leon, Molly’s Chambers
  • The Verve, Bitter Sweet Symphony

Music News

2016 continues to be an awful year for musical deaths, and we’ve had four more in recent weeks. First, we lost Leon Russell, the famous session player and solo artist who recorded with a diverse roster of artists from Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin. The pianist and singer-songwriter Mose Allison also died recently at 89. Allison blended country blues and bebop and influenced rock musicians from Randy Newman to Pete Townshend. Though less of a household name, archivist Billy Miller also made great contributions to rock music. As co-founder of Norton Records, he brought much needed attention to neglected artists like Hasil Adkins, Link Wray, and The Sonics.

Leonard Cohen

But the most significant loss was Leonard Cohen. The Canadian singer-songwriter established himself on the New York scene with his debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen in 1967. That record provided inspiration to filmmaker Robert Altman on his 1971 anti-western McCabe & Mrs. Miller, a collaboration that Greg feels is a key part of Cohen’s career. Cohen’s records, however, were often ill-served by overproduction, with his voice pushed to the rear. It took interpretations bu other artists to bring the songs to their full potential, most notably on the many covers of his most famous tune Hallelujah, from John Cale to Jeff Buckley to Kate McKinnon on SNL. But remarkably, Cohen figured things out toward the end of his life. He played countless shows in the past decade and released some of the strongest albums of his career in his seventies and eighties. In fact, for the uninitiated listener, Jim and Greg recommend beginning with his 2009 Live in London album featuring his greatest songs in new, tighter arrangements.

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