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12:37 p.m. - November 13, 2005
Dear iTunes - Can I Buy These? Please? I Have the Cash Money!
Ever since I got iTunes, I’ve been finding a lot of interesting music that I never thought I’d find again. Songs that were stuck in my head, records I had on vinyl only, all sorts of odds and ends that I’d never plunk down the money for the full album – I’ve found them there.

Certainly, the vast majority of my iTunes collection comes from CDs that I currently own, so I don’t know the (legal) availability of them online. Yet, even with that, there are some things that are currently eluding me that I wish to rectify.

Oh, I know some of my vinyl may never be online, on iTunes. Stuff like Translator, The 77’s, early Leaving Trains, for example, may never see the light of day. I think most of the SST music catalog is unavailable as well, which is a shame for students of LA punk rock.

And I know I need to download a whole mess of Dylan. I just have to sit down and figure out what Dylan I really want – that and get an iTunes gift card. I have a lot of Dylan vinyl and all of Dylan’s albums are available on iTunes – I just have to decide which songs or if I want to get the entire album. Decisions, decisions.

Apple does seem to take its time in putting stuff online as well. Just this morning, I finally found “Bust A Move” and “Funky Cold Medina” on line. (“Bust A Move” had been available only on certain soundtracks that you had to buy, you couldn’t just pick the song). For those of you who lived under a rock, or fell down a well, that’s Young MC and Tone Loc, which were the shiznit in the hizzy back in the day. (Is that what those whippersnappers say nowadays? I get so contused…)

To be fair, it’s not all Apple’s fault. They have to wait for record companies and / or artists to give clearance. That’s why there’s not a lot of bubblegum on there from Buddah Records (Ohio Express, 1910 Fruitgum Company, etc.), why it took so long to get “96 Tears” on line, etc.

In an effort to enhance my collections, I glanced over Robert Christgau’s record review books from the 70’s and 80’s, looked through my vinyl, again, and scoured the recessed of my mind. I have compiled a listing of songs and artists that are missing from iTunes. Sometimes the artist is just not there, in other cases they have SOME of the artists work on there, but not all of it. Again, I know that some of my more arcane wishes won’t be there (Bang Tango, anyone? How about King? Indecent Obsession? “The Captain of Her Heart” by Double?) but some are quite reasonable.

In my heart, I will pine away for Translator or the Unforgiven. Let’s explore Smed’s PRACTICAL wishlist, shall we.

Pete Townshend - Townshend did release a few solo albums whilst he was a member of the Who. (Ok, he’s STILL a member of the Who, but really, “It’s Hard” is the last Who album, I don’t care what anyone thinks. Dangit!) There are a few vital tracks, like “Rough Boys” and “Let My Love Open the Door”. In fact, the latter is so catchy, just thinking of it has the chorus implanted in my brain for days. So why is all of the Who available, yet nothing by the mastermind? That doesn’t make sense to me.

(A very much side note – did you realize that Pete’s brother Simon Townshend also recorded some songs. He joins Livingston Taylor (and his siblings) and Mike McGear in the “my brother’s famous and rich, so I got a record contract, too” club.)

Midnight Oil - If there was any band that stood by its principles in the 80’s (and beyond), it was Midnight Oil. They were ferocious punk rockers who didn’t really compromise their sound much when they hit it big with “Beds are Burning”, and it wasn’t their fault that stooopid people mis-interpreted the song. While I had one CD by them, I wanted to get some of their earlier stuff, and also songs like “Blue Sky Mining” that I failed to buy back in the day. Nowhere to be found, except on a live album that I don’t know is 100% legitimate or not.

”Sandinista!” by the Clash - There is a lot of Clash available online. However, there are not a lot of full albums, for whatever reason. And when you’re dealing with a sprawling album like “Sandinista!” you really need to have all of it available. I think everyone who owned the thing boiled it down into a cassette tape of the songs they thought were vital, and everyone’s mix tape is different. I got it onto a 90 minute tape that had all of the killer and none of the filler – however, some of the cuts I want aren’t there. My biggest beef, “Lose That Skin” is nowhere to be found. Your mileage may vary.

”Twisting By the Pool” by Dire Straits - Dire Straits was a fine band in the day, and early on, Mark Knopfler and the band really staked out a unique sound. Their first album and “Making Movies” are classic records, and even “Communique” has its uses. Before they made the big move to MTV stardom, they released an EP of fun songs, one of which was “Twisting By the Pool”. It got some play on MTV and it was just a rip-roaring good time. I think it’s one of their greatest hits collections, and some of those songs are on iTunes. But not this one. Hmmmm..

(Speaking of brothers, David Knopfler quit the band after two albums and tried a solo career. Who? Exactly.)

Squeeze - They had a long and storied career with lots of hits over the years. I am fortunate to have a lot of their classic albums on CD. I wanted to try to get some of the good songs off of “Sweets From a Stranger”, their debut album, and pick and choose from their later hits. Nada. Just a smattering from their Greatest Hits CD (they don’t even have all the songs from the classic “Singles: 45’s and under” release) and “East Side Story”. That’s a shame – they deserve better.

Genesis - While I’m not all crazy about Genesis, I do have some curiosity about their early work with Peter Gabriel, especially the studio versions of some of their long suites like “Supper’s Ready”, “The Musical Box”, and “Watcher of the Skies”. Plus, they hardly have any tracks from “And Then There Were Three…” which has some interesting moments. I don’t understand the exclusions of some of that stuff, and the inclusion of the pop piffle. Oh, that was POPULAR. Not good, just popular.

Well, that’s a short list. I’m sure there are others that I can find. However, I’ll keep plugging away. If the record companies don’t want people to download illegally (which I don’t do, because I do like to have my favorite artists paid once in a while) – then they should make this stuff available.

The soapbox is now open…


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