Welcome to the first edition of a new GMC Special Feature that I’m calling Five-Star Favs. Here’s the scoop: like many of the folks who have a lot of music on their computer, I use the ‘rating’ capability of my media player (MusicBee – highly recommended) to assign each song a value of one to five stars. Those with five stars are, of course, my top favorites, and they’re the ones I’ll be showcasing as – big surprise – Five-Star Favs. Of course, it’s a little nervy of me to present the songs I like best and turn the process into a Special Feature, but what’s the fun of having a blog if I can’t do something like that?
So anyhow, to get us off to a good start I’m offering up a kind of two-for-one deal — a pair of songs that have a lot in common even though they were performed by two completely different bands, several years apart, on opposite sides of the Atlantic. But one song was inspired by the other, and both will get your pulse pounding.
When the popular British band known as the Hollies surged up the charts with “Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress)” in 1972, it was a departure from the group’s previous style. Instead of three-part harmony it featured a strong vocal lead by Allan Clarke, but what also made it special started with the very first notes — a driving, hypnotic guitar beat that continued throughout the song.
A very similar sound is evident in an earlier song that inspired the Hollies, as Clarke freely admitted. It was a 1969 release from the American group Creedence Clearwater Revival (which ironically enough was breaking up just about the time of the Hollies’ hit). Although “Green River” was an entirely different song, John Fogerty’s lead vocal and the accompanying guitar play certainly shared a lot of style points, and it was a favorite of many fans, including me.