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Mike Bennett writesFriday iPod/MP3 Shuffle—Happy Birthday Frida Edition

Today, we’re celebrating the birthday of one-quarter of one of the greatest pop groups of all time, ABBA. Anna-Frid Lyngstad was the most well-known of the four members of ABBA, having won a talent contest in Sweden in 1967. She didn’t have any hit records, but sang a Swedish entry in Eurovision, where she met future husband/bandmate Benny Andersson. She was the last to join the group known as ABBA, who, after some minor hits in the early ‘70s, hit it big with Eurovision winner “Waterloo”, which was an international smash. Frida went on to sing lead on ABBA classics such as “Fernando” (which was originally sung in Swedish on a 1975 solo album), “The Visitors”, “The Name of the Game” and “Super Trouper”. Of course, she harmonized with Agnetha Faltskog on ABBA’s masterpiece, “Dancing Queen” – when Benny brought the demo of the backing track home, Frida was moved to tears upon hearing it for the first time. Frida had the greatest solo success of all ABBA members, successfully collaborating with Phil Collins on the hidden pop gem Something’s Going On. Frida has continued to work on and off for the past decade or so. In honor of Frida, please grab your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first 10 songs that come up.

  1. Squeeze – Strong In Reason (Argybargy Deluxe Edition): A live version of a tune from the first Squeeze album. Live bonus discs are rarely an incentive for me to pick up a deluxe version of an album, but I made an exception for Squeeze, who were a fantastic live band, especially when Jools Holland was manning the keyboards. This is one of Chris Difford’s lead vocals on a song that’s a bit more new wave on the post-punk side than a typical Squeeze tune. Great performance, especially from the rhythm section, which pounds.
  2. Bob Dylan & The Band – Ruben Remus (The Basement Tapes): There is something off kilter about this folk tune, though you can hear The Band developing the sound that flowered on their early classic albums.
  3. The Jackson 5 – Someone’s Standing in My Love Light (Come And Get It: The Rare Pearls): Last year, this 2 CD compilation came out, chock full of outtakes from the J5's Motown years. Berry Gordy had them constantly recording, never knowing what might hit. This song is somewhere between The Supremes and The Four Tops and is, like much of the collection, much better than what one would consider an outtake.
  4. ABBA – Thank You For the Music (The Album): A show stopping ballad from ABBA’s best album which sounds like it is ready for the Great White Way. Indeed, the year before The Album came out, this tune was part of a four song live concert sequence that was conceived as a mini-musical. A bit cheesy, but it works.
  5. Stevie Wonder – Creepin’ (Fulfillingness’ First Finale): A laid back number that mixes in funk and jazz with a gentle and insinuating melody. The blend of urban sounds and classic pop was pure Stevie. Oft-imitated but never equaled.
  6. The Screaming Blue Messiahs – Big Brother Muscle (Bikini Red): A chuggin’ mid-tempo tune from the Messiahs, from their second and best album. There’s not really much to the tune - a slowed down rockabilly guitar riff fuzzed up, a rubbery bass line and a basic drum part. All the elements blend well for a fun little ditty.
  7. Poor Luther’s Bones – Hey Sleepyhead (Jukes ‘n’ Junk): A sweet acoustic ballad from one of my favorite bands that no one else has every heard of. Garth Forsyth finds a melodic sweet spot, using every bit of his range on a rootsy tune with a nice melody.
  8. The Damned – Generals (Strawberries): Another tune from The Damned album I need to get to know better. This is goth tinged psych-rock number, with reverbed guitars and a singalong chorus about a somber subject. Wow – great chorus. I need to pay a lot more attention to this record.
  9. Chris Isaak – Can’t Help Falling in Love (Beyond the Sun): It was inevitable that Isaak would get around to cover the ‘50s tunes that inspired him. Recording them at the legendary Sun Studios is a bonus. Isaak’s croon was always one part Elvis to two parts Roy Orbison, so this is as terrific as one might anticipate.
  10. Cinderella – Baby Baby (I Still Love You)(Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found): Not the ‘80s glam rock band, but a girl group in the vein of The Ronettes and The Crystals. Indeed, this is a pretty Spector-ish pop tune, but instead of a wall of sound, it has more of a nice fence of sound. Seriously, fun tune from one of the all-time great box sets.
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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: frida, ipod, mp3

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