Dancing In The Street

by The Struts

~ That’s how you do a cover ~

Lord knows there’s been enough versions of this out there between the Motown originals, Van Halen, and Jagger & Bowie, among others. But The Struts took it and made it all their own with an up-tempo beginning, some razor sharp production, slightly synthesized guitars, and Luke’s incomparable vocals that just make you want to join the party whether you know how to dance or not.

The video even includes a couple call-back camera shots to the famous Jagger/Bowie video with the camera circling Luke.

Any Way You Want It

by Journey

~ Sing along and air guitar all rolled up in one ~

There are sing-along-songs and there are air-guitar-songs but there aren’t many that are both. The big booming chorus of this one and Neil’s riffs between the vocal lines & the verse place this squarely in the middle of the overlapping circles of that Venn diagram.

It got a brief resurgence thanks to the a cappella version in one of the Pitch Perfect movies, but this song deserves to have a full band treatment, but especially the riffs that launched a thousand air guitars right alongside everyone singing along with the top down in the car.

Since You Showed Me How to Be Happy

by Jackie Wilson

~ Layers of Sound ~

If you look through my music collection, one of the things you’ll notice is that I like well-produced music. There’s certainly a place for a raw, rough performance, especially live. But when you’re crafting that perfect three or four minute radio song, take the time to get it right.

On this one, there’s about five distinct layers of music in here, from the heavy driving backbeat by the drummer, to a simple repeating chord riff by the guitarist. There’s two separate horn sections on here and they’re both fantastic. It would be awesome to isolate just that horn riff leading into the bridge, that also doubles as the “guitar solo” and use that as my ringtone for the rest of my life.

Instead, we’ve got to be happy with this near perfect bit of radio rock.

There’s about 11 different versions of this song out there. This video is the closest mix I can find to the album version I’ve got, and many of the others have much muddier production that make the layers of sound that much harder to identify.