Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – Stop Me If You’ve Red This Before


Red is a very rock’n’roll colour. Red was part of the official uniform of Loverboy. Sammy Hagar is the red rocker. Elvis Costello knows the Angels wanna wear my red shoes, while the other Elvis was more concerned about his blue kicks, and Andrew Matheson has a thing for red shoes from Italy. Let’s colour this week’s column red.

Red – treble charger

Still by many considered to be their very best song. It was originally released on their debut record NC17 back in 1994. The band was forced to change their name to treble charger as NC17 was being used as a movie rating indicator in good old America. The song was re-recorded for their 1997 Sonic Unyon/BMG release “Maybe It’s Me” but the original recording (and low budget video) are still the ones for me. Although Greig Nori sang the majority of the band’s hits this one is brought to you by Mr. Bill Priddle.

Red Rider

One of the highlights of the CMW Industry Awards this year was when Red Rider rocked the stage at the Kool Haus. The Tom Cochrane led band owned the Canadian charts in the eighties with songs such as “White Hot”, “Good Times”, “Big League”, “Boy Inside The Man” and also made some serious inroads south of the border with the classic “Lunatic Fringe”.

Red Hot – Robert Gordon

A great rockin’ take on Billy “The Kid” Emerson’s 1955 rockabilly classic. Although the song was a minor hit for Billy Lee Riley and Bob Luman it took Gordon to bring it to the cool kids on his debut album “Robert Gordon with Link Wray” back in 1977. As a side note I can’t think of another song that utilizes the phrase “doodley squat”.  It kicks off the record and paved the way for a rockabilly revival. As usual the forerunners of the scene, including Gordon and Wray, would never reap the benefits of acts such as The Stray Cats.

Blonde Redhead

The New York noise-rockers have released nine albums since 1995 and their latest “Barragan” is scheduled for release this week. Twins Amedeo and Simon Pace were born in Italy but grew up in Montreal before heading down to Boston and then New York trying to expand their musical boundaries. Their most successful album to date is 2007’s “23” which featured the often used (TV/film) track “Silently”.

Little Red Corvette – Prince

(Editor’s Note: Tragically, Prince or his label or his lawyers, have removed every version of him performing this song from the Internet. After he sees this one remaining version of LRC by a known entity, they might want to consider putting his original back up. There are some covers and some homemade remixes and one by Tori Amos and another from the New Romantics, but this…this is some kind of ‘special’….)

Prince was building a solid reputation for himself on the R&B charts with albums such as “Dirty Mind” and “Controversy” but it took the album “1999” and especially the song “Little Red Corvette” to cross him over to the pop charts. It was also this track, along with Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” that opened the race door to urban artists on MTV. A ground breaker. The stunning guitar solo was by the great Dez Dickerson.

Red Roses Black

You never know where and when you are going to stumble upon a great band and a great band was the last thing I was expecting to see when I went to a small resort pub in Burleigh Falls in the mid-2000’s. They were a group of young kids playing to an uninterested crowd who were much more interested in who their next pool opponent was going to be. They mostly played covers but after their set I asked about a couple of tunes that I didn’t recognize and they told me they had written them. I kept up with them for a couple of years and tried to help where I could but they ended up working with Glass Tiger’s Alan Frew and then sadly broke-up about four years ago. Such great potential that was never realized, the story of thousands of bands across the country and around the world.

Red Rubber Ball – The Diodes

This was the lead track on the 1977 debut album from The Diodes. The song was a hit in the sixties for The Cyrkle and was actually co-written by Paul Simon and The Seeker’s Bruce Woodley. Simon hated punk rock and according to legend that is why The Diodes decided to cover the tune.

Red Fisher

(Editor’s Note: Unlike Prince, Red Fisher WANTS their fans to hear their music. Here’s everything they ever recorded…and Cam is right; this band is fantastic!)

The Winnipeg punk rock band was another of my favourites. Although the band never really broke across the country two of their members, John P. Sutton and Jason Tait, would join forces with former Propaghandi leader John K. Samson to form one of Canada’s best bands The Weakerthans. Tait still plays with the band but Sutton left in 2004.

Red Red Wine – The Replacements

No, not a cover of the Neil Diamond penned, UB40 hit song of the same name, but rather a rockier song about the joys of wine consumption which appeared on the band’s album “Pleased To Meet Me”. Glorious noise.

Red Army Red Star Chorus

When I need to hear “Moscow Nights” I usually head to this 1993 rendition by the Red Army Red Star Chorus. Granted, it is not often that I need to hear the song but I sleep a little bit more soundly knowing that it is only a click away on my iPod.

Red Sails – David Bowie

A somewhat hidden gem from Bowie’s 1979 album “Lodger” (the third installment of his German trilogy). Although somewhat inspired by the German band Neu there is also a distinct Japanese approach to the vocal delivery. Canadian Danny Michel covered the track on his overlooked Bowie cover album “Loving The Alien”.

Red Red Meat

Red Red Meat hold the honour of being the first Chicago band signed to Seattle’s Sub Pop Records. The band recorded three albums for the label and although they toured with such bands as The Smashing Pumpkins they never really broke out of the Chicago scene.

The Lady In Red – Louis Prima

Louis was a beauty and one of the first musical “band wagoners”, if there was a musical trend in vogue old Louis had no qualms about hitching a ride.  In the 1920’s he performed in an orchestra, the 30’s saw him move to New York as part of a five-piece, in the 40’s the big band sound flourished so he formed one, in the fifties he dabbled in jazz and performed with his wife Keely Smith and finally, in the sixties was the voice of King Louie in “The Jungle Book”. Louis recorded “The Lady In Red” in 1935.

Red Sovine

After struggling in the country music field in the late fifties and early sixties Red Sovine started to write and sing songs focused on cross-country truck drivers and found a niche he could call his own. His biggest hit, and pop crossover was 1976’s “Teddy Bear”.


Busy times ahead as TIFF kicks off next week in Toronto and a plethora of parties begin. September looks like it is going to be the summer that we missed and it should be a good month to visit the beautiful Tiki Bar high atop of The Bovine (who should be open late for TIFF) and you can always drop by The Kensington Lodge any Wednesday after 5 PM to hear me spin some classic tunes.

Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59.

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Cam likes to plant his butt on the roof of the Bovine and soak up a few rays.

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar and The Bovine. The Tiki Bar welcomes the mild to hot weather and The Bovine presents great bands downstairs at the legendary rock bar. Fill up next store at The Rock Lobster and then get your rocks off at The Bovine. 

DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener, The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

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