Sunday, 10 August 2014

10 Great Songs With Random Guest Artists

Being in a band for a prolonged period of time allows someone to make some great friendships and connections from around the music industry. Sure it's a job to these people, but the love of their craft i'm sure still exists within them. So when these musicians get together for a few drinks and start chatting about being on each other's recordings the results of that are often times great. That's how I picture it going down in my head anyway. Here are 10 great songs that feature special guest artists.

1. "Don't Drink The Water" - Dave Matthews Band
Special Guest: Alanis Morrisette

From Dave Matthews Band fantastic album Before These Crowded Streets.  The song is about the slaughter of the Native American people during the colonization of the Americas by European settlers. Listen for Morrisette's trademark vocals at the end of the song, highlighting Matthews' own passionate wail.

2. "Money For Nothing" - Dire Straits
Special Guest: Sting

Perhaps Dire Straits' most well known song "Money For Nothing" features guest vocals by The Police frontman Sting. Sting was visiting the recording studio at the time and was asked to lay down some backing vocals. He was also granted writing credit on the song because near the end of it he can be heard singing "I want my MTV" which he did the tune of his own song 'Don't Stand So Close To Me'. Sting was embarrassed that his own Record Company demanded writing credit for the song just so they would receive royalties.

3. "The Widow" - The Mars Volta
Special Guest: Flea

The only song suitable for pop-oriented radio off of  The Mars Volta's Frances The Mute is "The Widow". That is not the only interesting thing about the song though as Flea, bass player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers performs on the track. He puts down his bass here in favour of a trumpet solo at the peak of the song. In Flea's younger days he was something of a trumpet prodigy. Flea has been known to contribute to many artists' works over the years including Alanis Morrisette, Jewel, Warren Zevon and Tom Waits.

4. "Don't Cry" - Guns n' Roses
Special Guest: Shannon Hoon

Guns N' Roses' juggernaut double album Use Your Illusion I & II had a vast array of musical guests on the tracks. I singled out Shannon Hoon because when he contributed his backing vocals it was before he had made it big with Blind Melon. Shannon's sister at the time was friends with Axl Rose in California and Axl was impressed with Hoon's vocal range. Not only did Axl invite him to sing backup on a few tracks, Hoon was also asked to be in the video for "Don't Cry".

5. "Somebody's Watching Me" - Rockwell
Special Guest: Michael Jackson

I know what you're thinking, who the hell is Rockwell and how did he get the King of Pop to sing on his track? Especially when this was released at the height of Michael's popularity. Well, Rockwell was the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, so of course he is going to have the means to make a record. Rockwell's sister at the time was married to Jermaine Jackson, Michael's brother. With both those connections he knew if he could get MJ on the track it would be a hit. It was. It hit #2 in 1984. Rockwell did little else after the buzz of this track died down.

6. "The Memory Remains" - Metallica
Special Guest: Marianne Faithful

Metallica has always been known as an iron-clad fortress. It's 4 guys and 4 guys only. No one else in charge or demand of their destiny but themselves. Which is why it is a notable occurrence that in 1997 they invited Marianne Faithful to add vocals to the lead off Reload single "The Memory Remains". Faithful's lines near the end of the song "Say yes...atleast say hello" were Marilyn Monroe's final onscreen words taken from her last movie The Misfits. The song is about an aging Hollywood starlet fading into obscurity and slowly losing her mind.

7. "Tranquilize" - TheKillers
Special Guest: Lou Reed

Sawdust is an album of b-sides, rarities and cover songs released by The Killers in 2007. "Tranquilize" was a song taken from the Sam's Town sessions and features the legendary Lou Reed. Reed has a reputation for being difficult to work with and the band reportedly had a 'respectable fear' of him. It took a day for Lou Reed to warm up to The Killers, but the energy that was created with him being there ended up helping the song considerably.

8. "Province" - TV On The Radio
Special Guest: David Bowie

TV On The Radio is a rock group from Brooklyn, NY. They don't tend to limit themselves to any one style of music, which is a trait I adore in bands in artists. The more i've heard from these guys the more i've enjoyed. Definitely one of my favourite groups at the moment. I'm not quite sure how David Bowie came to be on this track, probably one of those 'ask and ye shall receive' situations.

9. "I Will Buy You A New Life" - Everclear
Special Guest: Rami Jaffee

Rami Jaffee is probably best known for being the keyboard/organ player for The Wallflowers, but he is quite the sought after session musician. He's been on albums by artists like Foo Fighters, Coheed & Cambria, Stone Sour and Soul Asylum. I singled out his contribution to Everclear's "I Will Buy You A New Life" because he also appears in the video for the song. The guy on the accordion.

10. "Borne On The FM Waves Of The Heart" - Against Me!
Special Guest: Tegan Quinn

"Borne On The FM Waves Of The Heart" was Against Me!'s front woman's song to her wife. Laura Jane Grace was Tom Gabel at the time and was against falling in love. Tegan Quinn (from Tegan and Sara) was brought in to give the song a back and forth. A Conversational feel. Against Me!'s first song to feature a guest vocalist.

Thanks all for reading! I have internet back! So I should be updating more often!
Please follow and request and comment and all that good stuff!

JZ - OUT!!!


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