Alternate Music Timelines

This is an idea I’ve had for quite some time but it was not really big enough to really write about.  You know, some things are more Twitter-length, but if you don’t want to get sucked into multiple social broadcasting/publishing platforms, what can you do?  So, I just held on to the idea.

Then I had another of the same idea.  Now I’m up to two and it’s almost enough to make a post about.  All I need is a few paragraphs of intro/filler material (right here!) to describe the origins of the ideas so I can pad my word count.  But then, I had a third idea.  Now I was really set to go.  All I had to do was make sure I had enough words for each idea.  So, here’s the post proper.

You know sometimes when you hear a song, you think, “That sounds like this other band.”  Well, like everyone else, I get those thoughts too, but I think it happens less frequently, but more intensely with me.  Giving it some consideration, it’s not so much that one song sounds like another band did it, it’s more that the song would sound better by the alternative band because the song in question contains elements that that this other band does naturally.  I’ll try to explain how this applies for each song. 

So, for the 1000+ albums I’ve listened to, it might be strange to only come up with three cases where I would love to hear a one band’s song done by another band.  And if some of my reasons seem somewhat tenuous, you do have to consider that there’s a lot of music that sounds like other music and I don’t have a list of 100’s here.  To only have three instances must account for something.

Circle In The Sand, by Belinda Carlisle, performed by Fleetwood Mac.

This is actually part of a bigger “fantasy” of mine.  Fleetwood Mac was a little lost after Stevie Nicks moved on to her solo stuff and eventually separated.  This led to their album, Time, with Bekka Bramlett instead of Stevie Nicks, which was not well received.

I thought Belinda Carlisle would be an excellent replacement for Stevie Nicks because they both had a trademark vibrato in their voices and they both loved the fuck out of cocaine.  Not to mention, Fleetwood Mac was part English and part Californian, while Carlisle was Californian but grew some European sensibilities by moving to France.

In this Van Hagar-ish mashup, I would imagine Fleetwood Mac throwing a couple of Belinda Carlisle songs into their live set to give her something to sing comfortably, and one of those songs should be Circle In The Sand.  Fleetwood Mac has a real gift at creating moody atmospheres, like in Rhiannon and The Chain.  If they could apply that sort of mood to Carlisle’s song, that would sound incredible.  In my opinion, of course.

Sensurround, by They Might Be Giants, performed by Rush.


I’m sure that’s about at WTF as you can get.  Where would I even get that idea from?  Quite simply, the guitar.  Sensurround is a guitar-heavy song, a style featured on many TMBG tracks, but the playing on this track is unlike others that I’ve heard.  There are a few style elements that stand out to me in the song.  First is the use of very dense chords.  Another is the staccato chords used in the verses, reminiscent of Rush’s Natural Science.  The other is the arpeggiated chords in the chorus similar to those in the chorus of Tom Sawyer.

Maybe that sounds like a stretch to only have elements from two Rush songs validate an idea that Rush could have done the song, but that’s only the genesis of the idea.  To imagine how the song would sound with the drumming and bass work of Neal and Geddy would be awesome.  And Rush are no strangers to quirkiness.  Although they don’t have any silly songs to their credit, they do show a sense of humor in their live shows.  So maybe make the lyrics a bit darker and more serious, Peart-style, and it’d be complete.

Give A Little Bit, by Supertramp, performed by Yes (circa 1970).


I recently purchased a Supertramp compilation CD and although I’ve heard this song before, I didn’t know who had done it.  As I listened to the song, it reminded me of some jangly Yes songs, particularly, And You And I.  The vocal line seemed to be well within Jon Anderson’s range and even the lyrical subject was similar to something he might write, maybe from the Anderson-Bruford-Wakeman-Howe era.

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