16 nov 2006, 22:45 av Dez89
8 nov 2006, 07:41 av hippiepunkpiratAh, the good ol' hard luck song. You know, I can't help but love a good hard luck song. "What's a hard luck song?" you ask. Well, I got the term from Mike Ness, the lead singer of Social Distortion. If you listen to the Social D album "Live at the Roxy", this is the term he uses to describe the song "Ball and Chain," which happens to be Social Distortion's earliest "mainstream" radio hit. If you aren't familar with that song, I would also describe the following well-known songs as hard luck story songs:
"Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash
"Renegade" by Styx
"Carry On, Wayward Son" by Kansas
"Friend of the Devil" by the Grateful Dead
I think you get the picture. But then you ask, "Why are you so big on the hard luck story songs?" Well, I guess I'll just have to tell you.
I grew up in probably the worst neighborhood in Flagstaff, Arizona. My family wasn't neccessarily below the poverty line, more like clutching the very fringe of lower-middle class and using a lot of effort to do so. My old neighborhood is called Sunnyside, and is comprised mostly of people of hispanic and Native American heritage. I have nothing against people of any race, but at my elementary school I was definitely the minority amongst everyone else, and I was a rather sensitive child, so you could say that I didn't look forward to going to school every day. It wasn't like growing up in Comptom or Harlem or even south Phoenix, and I wasn't completely outcast, but out of anyone else in my grade school classes, I was the number one target for redicule.
My life hasn't been horrible, I have so much to be thankful for, but still my early childhood background isn't the prettiest. And I have had my fair share of hard luck in love. That has to count for something. My favorite hard luck song, a Social Distortion number called "Story of my Life", is such a simple song, but is also a poetic masterpiece that seems so close to my own story. Mike Ness tells about being in high school and having a crush that doesn't know you exist. He tells of sitting on a bed singing a lonely love song and waiting for something to happen. That was me not so long ago. That's the beauty of a song like "Story of My Life." If you were a shy, nervous kid that would get dizzy even being approached by a girl, well if you were a kid like that, you know exactly what Ness is talking about.
I also love the hard luck songs about going to prison, or just about run-ins with the law in general. "Folsom Prison Blues" is an obvious one, and perhaps one the most classic amongst my generation. "Renegade" and "Friend of the Devil" also deal with this subject. I personally enjoy a Social Distortion song called "Prison Bound," which is definitely influenced by Johnny Cash's predeccessor. I've never been to prison or hell, even arrested, but like the Man in Black, I can symphasize with those who have been incarcerated. Of course, some people have no excuse and just plain deserve to be there, but honestly I feel like most of the people in our prisons and jails are just paying the price for the rest of us. They are paying the price for us to live in an aggressive, capitalistic, business orientated country. The businessmen strike it rich and other people are forced into poverty, and the poor enter into a struggle for their survival. When a person's number one priority is survival, laws get thrown out the fucking window. That's just how it is.
Imagine yourself as a 14 year old kid in southcentral Los Angeles. You have four younger siblings. Your dad disappeared when you were 8. Your mom works two full time jobs but she has six mouths to feed and hasn't made rent the last three months. The landlord has let it go for now, but if one of his other tenants stiffs him, your family could be living out of the 1981 Cadillac that doesn't start half the time anyway. Finding a job is hard because you're 14 and your mom wants you in school anyway. If you have some extra cash you'll be honest and pay for some groceries, but unless you want your mom to go hungry because she gave the kids all the dinner you have to steal food from the market every once if a while. That's some kids start their lives of crime and end up in the slammer, and hell, that's just the struggle for survival. To me, that's a fucking lot more respectable than the multi-conglomerate CEO or the Texas oil tycoon that jumps through the tax loopholes in order to keep an extra %1 of his filthy riches. The 1% of those riches that could be helping out the people that are forced to steal to live because of our wonderful western society.
I grew up with an elementary school full of kids that came from backgrounds similar to mine, but knowing I was comparably wealthier than most the other children, a lot of backgrounds that were considerably worse than mine. I know there are kids that I grew up with that are locked up now, and I feel for those kids. They grew up in fucked up, poor as hell households. I'm fortunate to come the same neighborhood and be where I am. I appreciate that. And I sure as hell respect the guy that's ais sitting in a cell because he got dealt a bad hand and did what he had to do so he wouldn't die, or his family could be a little closer to getting by.
That's what the hard luck story is all about. It's about knowing where people came from and respecting it. And that is why I love Social Distortion so much. Almost every one of their songs is a hard luck story, and it hits home for me. I love Johnny Cash for his hard luck story songs too, that was the best part about the guy. He was honest, genuine, and had respect for those who deserve. To me, Mike Ness is the best part of Johnny Cash but with a hard-nosed punk rock edge. That's probably the aspect of punk rock that really touches my soul. I used to be hardcore punk and found out where its downfalls are, but the connection between punk rock and the hard luck story is what still maintains my identification with the punk ideology.
The hard luck story is a big part of my life. It's a piece me of me that can never be taken away. When I went down to the polls today to cast my vote, I took my hard luck identity with me. When I hear a song that calls out in respect of the people of this world that get stepped on, I remember who I am, and I embrace that song in all it's truth, honesty and beauty.
Live at the Roxy
Ball and Chain
Story of My Life
Folsom Prison Blues
Carry On, Wayward Son
Friend of the Devil
22 apr 2006, 23:14 av chris3145I took this from Anord's journal (which he in turn took from somebody else) and improved it a little based on a suggestion left as a comment by user wiesengrund. It still isn't perfect (more on that later), but it's fairly accurate.
Find the number of listeners for each of your top 10 artists. Add them up and divide by 10 to get the average.
3.Rage Against the Machine-162,500
9.System of a Down-203,980
Average number of listeners for my top 10: 137214
Now we take the 10 bands with the most listeners and add up the number of listeners for each of those and divide the total by 10. It's quite difficult to find the 10 artists with the most listeners, so I just used the 10 most played bands, which I figured would get me a reasonable (albeit somewhat low) approximation. The average number of listeners for the 10 most played bands is 233,232
Now I divide the average for last.fm's top 10 by the average for my personal top 10. This gets me 58.83%
My top 10 bands have an average number of listeners that's 58.83% of the top 10 bands of everybody on last.fm. If I were obsessed with musical obscurity, that number would bother me. But I'm not, so it doesn't.
A few notes:
Like I said, I wasn't able to use the 10 bands with the most listeners for reasons of practicality. The band from last.fm's top 10 with the lowest number of listeners was Death Cab for Cutie (with 185,383). The Cure wasn't in last.fm's top 10, but they had slightly more listeners with 189,335. For the sake of a standardized top 10, I did not replace Death Cab for Cutie with The Cure.
Social Distortion, Rancid, and Misfits had a low number of listens to bring my average down. The Cure, The Beatles, and System of a Down all were in the top 10 or should have been, and brought my average up.
If I were able to use the 10 last.fm bands with the most fans instead of the 10 last.fm bands with the most plays, I'm sure my percent would have been lower. It would have probably dropped to somewhere between 50% and 55%, and it's possible that it could drop even lower.
And the final note is this: from my top 10 it may look like I only listen to punk, but I don't. Check my full page of top bands to see I listen to a lot of classic rock and indie/alternative as well.