Turkey Pardons

Turkey Pardons & Remembering Leonard Cohen

Every year, a turkey is saved from its Thanksgiving dinner fate by a presidential pardon. In that gracious spirit, Jim and Greg give their own Turkey Pardons. They share their picks of lousy artists who still had one redeemable musical moment. Plus, they pay tribute to the great singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

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Turkey Pardons

Gather around the family table for the Sound Opinions annual Thanksgiving Show! This year in honor of the presidential tradition, Jim and Greg will pardon some "musical turkeys." Turkeys are bands or artists that have had a lackluster career, but the hosts mercifully pardon them for one song they find redeemable.

Music News

2016 continues to be an awful year for musical deaths, and we've had four more in recent weeks. First, we lost Leon Russell, the famous session player and solo artist who recorded with a diverse roster of artists from Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin. The pianist and singer-songwriter Mose Allison also died recently at 89. Allison blended country blues and bebop and influenced rock musicians from Randy Newman to Pete Townshend. Though less of a household name, archivist Billy Miller also made great contributions to rock music. As co-founder of Norton Records, he brought much needed attention to neglected artists like Hasil Adkins, Link Wray, and The Sonics.

Leonard Cohen But the most significant loss was Leonard Cohen. The Canadian singer-songwriter established himself on the New York scene with his debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen in 1967. That record provided inspiration to filmmaker Robert Altman on his 1971 anti-western McCabe & Mrs. Miller, a collaboration that Greg feels is a key part of Cohen's career. Cohen's records, however, were often ill-served by overproduction, with his voice pushed to the rear. It took interpretations bu other artists to bring the songs to their full potential, most notably on the many covers of his most famous tune "Hallelujah," from John Cale to Jeff Buckley to Kate McKinnon on SNL. But remarkably, Cohen figured things out toward the end of his life. He played countless shows in the past decade and released some of the strongest albums of his career in his seventies and eighties. In fact, for the uninitiated listener, Jim and Greg recommend beginning with his 2009 Live in London album featuring his greatest songs in new, tighter arrangements.

Featured Songs

  1. Chicago, You're the Inspiration, Chicago 17, Warner Bros., 1984
  2. Chicago, 25 or 6 to 4, Chicago, Columbia, 1970
  3. Stone Temple Pilots, Interstate Love Song, Purple, Atlantic, 1994
  4. Stone Temple Pilots, Sour Girl, No. 4, Atlantic, 1999
  5. Kiss, Rock And Roll All Nite, Dressed To Kill, Casablanca, 1975
  6. Kiss, Detroit Rock City, Destroyer, Casablanca, 1976
  7. Coolio, Fantastic Voyage, It Takes A Thief, Tommy Boy, 1994
  8. Coolio, Gangsta's Paradise, Gangsta's Paradise, Tommy Boy, 1995
  9. Bob Dylan, Turkey Chase, Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, Columbia, 1973
  10. Kings of Leon, Sex on Fire, Only by the Night, RCA, 2008
  11. Kings of Leon, Molly's Chambers, Youth & Young Manhood, RCA, 2003
  12. America, I Need You, America, Warner Bros., 1971
  13. America, A Horse With No Name, America, Warner Bros., 1971
  14. The Verve, History, A Northern Soul, Hut, 1995
  15. The Andrew Oldham Orchestra, The Last Time, The Rolling Stones Songbook, London, 1966
  16. The Verve, Bitter Sweet Symphony, Urban Hymns, Hut, 1997
  17. Bush, Machinehead, Sixteen Stone, Interscope, 1994
  18. Bush, Glycerine, Sixteen Stone, Interscope, 1994
  19. Mose Allison, Autumn Song, Autumn Song, Prestige, 1959
  20. Leon Russell, Tight Rope, Carney, Shelter, 1972
  21. Mose Allison, I Don't Worry About a Thing, I Don't Worry About a Thing, Atlantic, 1962
  22. The Who, Young Man Blues, Live at Leeds, Decca, 1970
  23. The Sonics, Psycho, Here Are The Sonics, Etiquette, 1965
  24. Leonard Cohen, Sisters of Mercy, Songs of Leonard Cohen, Columbia, 1967
  25. Leonard Cohen, Winter Lady, Songs of Leonard Cohen, Columbia, 1967
  26. Leonard Cohen, The Stranger Song, Songs of Leonard Cohen, Columbia, 1967
  27. Leonard Cohen, Jazz Police, I'm Your Man, Columbia, 1988
  28. Judy Collins, Suzanne, In My Life, Elektra, 1966
  29. Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah, Various Positions, Columbia, 1984
  30. John Cale, Fragments of a Rainy Season, Fragments of a Rainy Season, Hannibal, 1992
  31. Kate McKinnon, Hallelujah, Saturday Night Live, NBC, 2016
  32. Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah, Live in London, Columbia, 2009
  33. Leonard Cohen, Darkness, Old Ideas, Columbia, 2012
  34. De La Soul, Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey), De La Soul Is Dead, Tommy Boy, 1991
  35. Marvin Gaye, Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), What's Going On, Tamla, 1971
  36. The Weakerthans, Plea From A Cat Named Virtue, Reconstruction Site, Epitaph, 2003
  37. The Tragically Hip, Grace, Too, Live Between Us, MCA, 1997
  38. The Poppy Family, Where Evil Grows, Poppy Seeds, London, 1971