Saturday, July 25, 2020

#24 Led Zeppelin (+ Steppenwolf bonus)


Number 24 in the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards set is another Led Zeppelin card. This one features a wholesome posed photo looking not too far from a Sears shoot for a family Christmas card or something like that.


No second photo on the back this time, but rather a wordmark/logo. The blurb seems to credit Zeppelin for coining the term "heavy metal" for hard rock music, though I'm not seeing anything to back that up on Wikipedia's heavy metal music entry, instead crediting producer Sandy Pearlman for using the term to describe The Byrds.


We've come to the first card that has a corresponding promo! Let's take a look at the relatively-rare early version of this card...


The front is very similar to the base card, though note the different font for "Pro Set" and "MusiCards" in the logo, plus instead of "Legends", it's marked "Hall of Famer" in the teal bubble.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was established on April 20, 1983. The museum in Cleveland didn't open till 1995, which was the same year Led Zeppelin was inducted. So technically they weren't Hall of Famers at the time this card was created, which might be a reason Pro Set switched the subset name to "Legends" instead.


The easiest way to spot these promos is they are unnumbered. Some other minor differences on the back, but the basic layout isn't too far from the mass-produced finished product.

I believe these promos were available with the Pro Set Gazette magazine/catalog thing, but couldn't say for certain. There are another group of MusiCards promos with a completely different design (that are numbered), but that's for another day. Actually those would be the "first promo set", so this Zeppelin is actually part of the "second promo set". Kinda confusing.

Led Zeppelin - "Kashmir"

Since the back of the promo card mentions Physical Graffiti, here's one of the best-known tracks off that double LP.

"Kashmir" was an idea from Page and Bonham, and was first attempted as an instrumental demo in late 1973. Plant wrote the lyrics while on holiday in Morocco. Jones played Mellotron on the track, and arranged strings and brass parts that were played by session musicians. The song was one of the most critically acclaimed on the album, and was played at every gig from 1975 onwards. Page and Plant played it on their 1994 tour, and it was reworked in 1998 by Sean "Puffy" Combs for his single "Come With Me" which featured Page on guitar. [wiki]



The back of the featured card in this post mentions the origins of the term heavy metal in regards to music. So let's go with Steppenwolf, who were the first band to mention "heavy metal" in lyrics.

Steppenwolf - "Born to Be Wild"

"Born to Be Wild" was a solid hit for Steppenwolf in 1968, and the song gained even more popularity by being featured in the 1969 film Easy Rider. It's sometimes described as the first heavy metal song, and the lyric "heavy metal thunder" (describing a motorcycle) marks the first use of this term in rock music.


Steppenwolf formed in 1967 and had a nice run of success from 1968 to 1972, scoring three top 10 hits: "Born to Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride", and "Rock Me".

The band originally split after a farewell concert in Los Angeles on Valentine's Day in 1972, but later reunited in various forms over the years. Lead singer John Kay (now 76) is the only original member these days, and he announced last year that the band would no longer perform live.

Steppenwolf - "Magic Carpet Ride"

I don't know much about Steppenwolf other than their few hit songs, but let me know in the comments if you've got any lesser-known favorites of theirs I should check out.

Just one more Led Zeppelin Legends card up next, then we'll dive into the pop music section of Series 1. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

#23 Led Zeppelin (+ Hum bonus)


1991 MusiCards #23 is another Led Zeppelin card. Looks like a pretty glammed up photo, eh? The name in lights behind them calls to mind KISS (who are included in this set later, but didn't make the cut to be considered "Legends" apparently). It's not always easy to get a live shot that features every band member while still being close enough to tell who's who, so cap-tip to Pro Set on this one. Looks like this might have been taken between songs, with Robert Plant talking to the crowd and the other guys primed to start the next song. Check the roadie in the yellow shirt who seems to be helping out bassist John Paul Jones with the cord or strap of his boomstick.


The back features a dark posed photo of the four fellows. Blurb here doesn't say much beyond what the previous Zeppelin cards have said; just a broad overview of the band's run in a couple sentences.

As I was having my "musical awakening" as a teen in the early 90s, my buddy Doug got into Led Zeppelin before me, spending his allowances on their CDs at Music Trader-- our preferred local second-hand music store back then-- over the course of a few weeks. I think he ended up with pretty much all their main albums. While I knew of their biggest hits, I'd say my real introduction of them was from borrowing Doug's CDs one week and making my own compilation of my favorite tunes from them.


And hey, I happen to still have that disc. So this is the first "desert island disc" of this blog that actually exists as a real disc!



  1. Over The Hills And Far Away
  2. D'yer Mak'er
  3. Black Dog
  4. Rock And Roll
  5. Misty Mountain Hop
  6. When The Levee Breaks
  7. Kashmir
  8. Bron-Yr-Aur
  9. Dazed And Confused
  10. The Song Remains The Same
  11. Dancing Days
  12. The Rain Song
  13. Going To California
  14. Stairway To Heaven

Yep, this CDR got a lot of play in my cars over the past 30-ish years (happened to be one of those couple dozen discs that I felt belonged among my "car discs" selection), and is still in the rotation today. If I had to pick a favorite track, I might go with "Over the Hills and Far Away".. something about that song seems to comfort me when I'm stressed out on the road.


You may be asking "how come there's no songs from Led Zeppelin II on there?" And well that's because that was the only Zeppelin CD I owned back then, so it was excluded from my CDR.

But for the record, the II tracks I'd include would be as follows:
15. Whole Lotta Love
16. Heartbreaker
17. Ramble On

As always, please consider yourself invited to post a comment letting me know I'm an idiot for leaving off any of your favorite songs. ...I mean, don't be a dick about it, but I am always interested to hear what songs folks really like that I may have overlooked.



I was trying to decide between a couple other bands for today's Custom Corner.. But then I just found out yesterday that one of my all-time favorite bands put out a surprise new album, their first output in 22 years!


I'm talking about Hum. Maybe you haven't heard of them, or if you vaguely know them as the band who had a minor 90s alt rock hit with the "(She thinks she missed the train to Mars, She's out back counting) Stars" song. But I love 'em. Heavy alternative nerd rock with lots of guitars. Their previous album, 1998's Downward Is Heavenward would be in the discussion if I ever had to come up with a Top 10 Favorite Albums of All-Time.


The band would come out of hibernation for the occasional live show, but they've basically been on hiatus since the turn of the millenium. There was always that tiny shred of hope they'd come out with a new album someday, but I wasn't holding my breath.

So yes, it's a wonderful surprise for this Hum fan and a much needed good thing in 2020. Inlet, the new one, is actually really good! A lot of times reunion albums are terrible and the band ends up kinda pissing on their legacy a bit.. but not this time! Sounds like you want a beloved band's new album to sound.. not staying exactly the same, but progressing what you love about their music into new territory. A perfect new chapter in the book of Hum. Hopefully not the last.

Ok, sorry for all the slobbering, but again, a key role of this blog is to provide a place to ramble about music I love.

They don't have much in the way of high quality photos online, so I've had to get a little "arty" with these customs.
A quick bio on Hum-- check their wiki entry for the longer version-- is they started in Champaign, Illinois back in the late 80s and put out a two or three indie releases before signing with RCA for 1995's You'd Prefer An Astronaut, garnering some attention with the quiet/loud song "Stars". The follow-up Downward Is Heavenward was well-received by critics and fans, yet failed to see much commercial success. They toured a lot for that album, but were eventually dropped by RCA and decided to call it quits, playing their final show on New Year's Eve 2000.


Other than a handful of reunion performances over the years, they'd been quiet until Inlet popped up for sale on their Bandcamp page June 23, 2020. Physical versions of the album are are tentatively scheduled to ship at the end of August.

I suppose a tour supporting the new album is out of the question anytime soon (damn covid), but I'd love to catch them live someday. (I'm kicking myself because I just found out they played Portland back in 2015-- Had I known, I definitely would have gone.)


I think I originally got into them thanks to "Stars", though today I consider that song a bit played out and wouldn't necessarily say it's one of my favorite songs of theirs. That album is really good, don't get me wrong, but now I'm all about Downward Is Heavenward. Love to put that on and listen start-to-finish every so often, especially in the summer.

They're part of the 90s alternative rock bands with 3-letter names triumvirate I love along with Paw (covered earlier) and Dig (who I'll cover at some point). I've got a couple Hum shirts in storage somewhere-- traded to me by somebody who worked with the band back in the day-- and thought of snapping pics for this post, but gave up after not finding them quickly enough (One is black with a microscope on it, the other is white with Ultraman or similar Japanese superhero on it.. both of which are just slightly too nerdy for me to wear on the regular these days). I've got a Stars 7" single on green vinyl that's kinda cool. And I think I've got copies of all their rare tracks that are circulating, plus several live recordings. Several years back, I played a role in unearthing a previously uncirculated demo tape called Its Gonna Be A Midget Xmas that I got hooked up with from a different guy-who-knew-a-guy.

So wrapping up here, yep, Hum is a favorite band of mine and a surprise new album from them out of the blue is a big highlight of my 2020 so far.




Next up on the blog is more Led Zeppelin. Still a couple more of those then we finally move on to the true base cards after that.

Monday, June 1, 2020

#22 Led Zeppelin (+ Butthole Surfers bonus)


Led Zeppelin is back at card #22 in the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards set. Looks like this copy here has a less-than-perfect top corner. Might have to poke around for an upgrade. I think I've got 2-4 copies of each Series 1 card at this point, so I've likely got a better one around somewhere. Sorting all of them is an ongoing process. If anyone is working on this set (or just looking for a favorite band's card), let me know and I should be able to help out with my dupes.

Oh, and along these lines, congrats are in order for Night Owl recently completing his 1991 MusiCards set! I appreciate the plug in that post, too!

That reminds me of another quick thing I wanted to mention. In my efforts to get more eyes on this blog, I've been trying to get it included in the Sports Card Blogroll run by James B. Anama. If you're not familiar, it's a handy list of pretty much every active blog in the cardsphere. A lot of folks browse that to find blog posts to read, so if you're a blogger, you want to be sure your blog is included there. James is usually very nice and quick to add new blogs. But the fact this is a non-sports blog throws a wrinkle and he's been reluctant to accept my add request. I feel this blog would fit right in under the "SET SPECIFIC BLOGROLL" section. Hey, the Gint-A-Cuffs blog is in there, and that's not strictly a sports card blog either. But I'd also be fine with a new little "NON-SPORT BLOGROLL" section added with this blog among the inaugural class. James might be wary of a flood of Pokemon/Magic The Gathering/Star Wars/etc blogs, but honestly I think that stuff is a whole different "cardsphere" altogether.. one that I'm not even sure exists, or if it does, I haven't stumbled upon it yet. I don't think I've gotten any commenters on this blog other than usernames I'm already familiar with from sports card blogs. I think most of us are familiar with MusiCards being everywhere in the early 90s right there with all the other "junkwax" we ripped at the local card shops back then. So I consider MusiCards closer to sports cards than other stuff that would fall under the "non-sports" umbrella. It's my belief that most card collectors are familiar with MusiCards and would appreciate the variety in blog reading with the occasional music post. And backing me up on that is a Twitter poll James did where the vast majority of respondents voted in favor of him adding the blog.

Last I heard from James, he was still considering adding the blog, though that poll was about a month ago now, so probably not at the forefront of his mind. If you think you can articulate reasoning for adding this blog to his blogroll beyond my pleas, please consider leaving James a friendly email or Twitter comment encouraging him to add the blog. Today is the 8-month anniversary of the 1991 MusiCards Blog, but still feels like we're having trouble getting out of the gate, and extending reach in blogrolls such as the one James maintains would be great. I'm not just looking for more page views, but more voices in the comments are very appreciated and make each post much more interesting for everyone. I'm always intrigued to hear other thoughts on the bands/songs/etc being covered.. feelings and memories readers have.. sometimes alined with my experience, other times a much different perspective. I'm not trying to boost my ego with lots of views and comments, rather I'd love to build a little online community for-- as the sidebar intro states-- "taking a trip back in time to the awesome 80s & gnarly 90s [...] talking about the music and more from the era (and beyond)."

Gah, I'm sorry for spending so much of the post on this!

But as for the card, looks like the fellas are in the middle of a seated, acoustic performance. I've watched The Song Remains The Same-- the concert film type thing recorded in '73 and released in '76-- a while back, but otherwise I haven't checked out much live Zeppelin, so I'm not sure if this was a common occurrence at their shows.


The back features a live photo-- electric, this time-- and a blurb focusing on Led Zeppelin IV.


"Stairway to Heaven" is an undeniably great song, right?! Maybe if you listened to a lot of 70s and 80s rock radio, you might be sick of it at this point. But for somebody like me who was only discovering this stuff around the time these MusiCards were first on shelves, it's still exciting when you hear the song quietly starting up. You know you're in for a ride. Even though I don't really have any idea what Robert Plant is singing about, it makes for an epic narrative song that feels like a short story or film.

With a duration of 8 minutes, it's very long as far as popular songs go. That and "Hey Jude" (7 minutes) were what radio DJs would play when they needed a bathroom break. Listeners couldn't get enough. "Stairway to Heaven" was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States in the 1970s.

CUSTOM CORNER

Going with the first thing that pops into my head here, I figured I'd go with the Butthole Surfers for today's accompanying Custom Corner. They've got an album titled Hairway to Steven (1988), hence the connection.


Butthole Surfers are a weird rock band that formed in San Antonio back in 1981. Their albums in the 80s weren't commercial hits but were big in the underground rock scene. Kurt Cobain was a fan and met his future wife, Courtney Love of Hole, at a Butthole Surfers/L7 concert.


The band eventually signed with Capitol Records in 1992, a surprising move that some fans felt was selling out their indie roots. Capitol hooked them up with a big-time producer to helm their major label debut.. (and hey, coincidentally fits well with this post). John Paul Jones, best known as the bassist for Led Zeppelin, produced Independent Worm Saloon (1993), with the single "Who Was in My Room Last Night?" garnering decent alternative radio play, plus got the band on MTV when the video was featured in an episode Beavis & Butt-head during the show's prime.

The follow-up album Electriclarryland (1996) saw the band reach the height of their mainstream success, with the single "Pepper" topping the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and its video getting solid rotation on MTV. Record label squabbles took some wind out of their sails and they seemed to settle back into "underground" status after that record.


They haven't been very active in recent years (latest album was released way back in 2001), though they play live once in a blue moon and may finally come out of hibernation for a new album one of these years.. who knows?

"I'm a surfer!"
I can't claim to be a huge Butthole Surfers fan, though I've got several songs of theirs in my iTunes library.

DESERT ISLAND DISC

  1. Who Was In My Room Last Night?
  2. The Wooden Song
  3. You Don't Know Me
  4. Human Cannonball
  5. Revolution, Pt. 2
  6. Lonesome Bulldog II
  7. Golden Showers
  8. P.S.Y.
  9. Lonesome Bulldog IV
  10. Concubine
  11. Eye of the Chicken
  12. Dum Dum
  13. Cough Syrup
  14. Pepper
  15. Thermador
  16. Jingle Of A Dog's Collar
  17. TV Star
  18. I Saw an X-Ray of a Girl Passing Gas
  19. Night of the Day
  20. One Hundred Million People Dead

There's my personal "best of" playlist for them. Frontman Gibby Haynes has also guested on a couple other songs I like, singing lead vocals on "Jesus Built My Hotrod" by Ministry and "Fire In The Hole" by Deconstruction. The early 90s side project P (with Johnny Depp and Flea) also had a couple tunes I like ("Michael Stipe" and "The Deal").


Ha, turns out Gibby was a star on the court back in high school.


Good enough excuse to whip him up a basketball card custom. Who says this blog isn't a sports card blog?! lol

That'll do it for this post. More Led Zeppelin on deck.

Any thoughts to share on "Stairway to Heaven" or the Butthole Surfers, please feel free to sound off in the comments.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

#21 Led Zeppelin



Here's probably the quirkiest photo we've seen so far, as we arrive at #21 in the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards set. John Bonham is playfully poking his smiling face above the yellow barrier, with the rest of Led Zeppelin being partially obscured. Works well with the design in a "modern art" type of way (step back and look at it.. It's pleasing, right?). If this was the Beach Boys, that'd be a big yellow surfboard, but Zeppelin don't surf, so who knows.. just a wall, I guess.


The back features a live photo.. Looks like an acoustic performance.. back before "MTV Unplugged" made that a trendy thing to do. Zep always ahead of the game!

Led Zeppelin has a total of 7 MusiCards by my count. This one kicks off 5 consecutive Legends cards, then they've got a Historic Concerts card later on in the set (#258), plus a promo card. Like with the previous band in the checklist, The Who, funny that these legendary Brit rockers don't have a card in the UK edition of the set. Gotta wonder what was going on in the Pro Set meetings when they were deciding which bands to feature. Licensing red tape played a part, I'm sure, but we're left with some head-scratching questions.

Oh, and Jimmy Page has already had a pair of solo cards, too! That brings the Led camp count up to 9 MusiCards. That might seem like a lot until you realize Madonna has a whopping 15 MusiCards. Geesh!

Led Zeppelin - Moby Dick (live drum solo)

Since John Bonham is the star of the featured card, I figure I'll spotlight him for this particular post.

I'm not going to go too deep here in these days of Wikipedia (Bonham's wiki), but the short version is John Henry Bonham was born May 31, 1948 in England. He never had a formal drum lesson, but started pounding away at an early age and along the way befriended Robert Plant, eventually joining him in the young band Led Zeppelin. 

Bonham used big-ass drum sticks ("trees", he called them), and his heavy hitting is apparent on several of Zep's hits. I'll save listing off my favorite Zeppelin songs for one of the many future posts they've got in the pipeline, but there are plenty of good ones.

Led Zeppelin - "When The Levee Breaks"

As far as heavy-hitting hits of theirs, figured I'd go with "When The Levee Breaks". John really lays it down hard on that one. (And if you already started playing the Moby Dick clip above, that's fine.. just play this one on top of it.. it will add a unique touch to the rock!)

Unfortunately, John liked to not only hit the drums hard, but also party hard. And one fateful night in September of 1980 he partied a little too hard and passed away. The rest of the band were devastated by the loss and Led Zeppelin was no more after that (not counting a few half-hearted partial reunions over the years.. such as Live Aid in 1985, with both Phil Collins and Tony Thompson filling in on drums).

John left behind his wife Pat and their two children, Zoƫ and Jason. I was thinking I'd feature Jason Bonham, a distinguished drummer in his own right, in the Custom Corner section of this post.. but hold on, his 90s band Bonham does have a real MusiCard coming up at #153. LOL, oh well, looks like I've got to find another band for the custom.

CUSTOM CORNER

Yeah, I don't think I'll pick another band for this post, but instead here are a few John Bonham customs for ya!







Full disclosure: John Bonham never really played second base for the Padres.

Up next: More Zeppelin.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

#20 The Who (+ a Dimebox Dad custom set)

Ok, we're back! Neglected this blog for a few weeks, overshadowed by the covid-19 craziness we've all been dealing with since the previous post. But I'll try to get back on track. I promise this blog will never die until we reach the final card in the set or I'm physically unable to post for whatever reason (you know.. like death or significant mental impairment). But as long as I'm still kicking, this blog will keep inching forward, even if it takes us a freakin' decade or longer to get through the set! This I vow! LOL

Another reason that I was dragging my feet writing this post is I got to the end of the card images I had prepared, so that means the chore of scanning or photographing the next several cards in the set in preparation to post about them (Sure, I could find "stock" images online, but for whatever reason, it's important to me to use my own images with these MusiCards).

And another reason for my procrastination is it's hard to finalize those "desert island disc" lists (Best Of playlists) because sometimes I agonize over them more than I should. I know it's not a big deal, but I'm weird about it. I might try moving away from doing those lists since they're standing in the way of this blog moving along at a good pace.

But really, I'm looking forward to getting beyond the Legends subset that begins the set. Dealing with very popular bands means there's more history there to try to cover. And more notable songs to feature. More thoughts and memories of mine to ramble on about. So that makes the posts take longer to write. I'm anxious to get past the Legends and onto the pop acts of 1991.. especially lesser artists who were just a blip on the Billboard 200 radar and then disappeared forever. Bands I'm unfamiliar with. Bands where I'll struggle to have anything to write about. Those are the kind of posts I'm excited to research.. no offense to The Who and other greats of their ilk.

1991 Pro Set MusiCards Super Stars #20 The Who
I'd say this card is a significant improvement over the previous card that featured a distant live shot of the band. Here we see the four fellows hunkered tightly together for a promo photoshoot, Pete and Keith looking at the camera, with John and Roger looking off distracted.


The back features another posed shot, this time with the guys dressed up a bit fancier.


"The Kids Are Alright" is a great song and I'm kicking myself for forgetting about it in the last post. (See what I mean about stressing over which songs I pick? haha) I don't think I've seen the 1979 doc with that title the card mentions, but I wouldn't mind catching it sometime. Honestly, I don't think I've watched Tommy or Quadrophenia either. Maybe someday.


Something I have watched! The short-lived TV show from a year or two ago called The Kids Are Alright was a solid sitcom that took place in the 70s. (And it featured baseball cards sometimes!) Bummer it got cancelled. But that doesn't really have anything to do with The Who other than the title.


As far as The Who themselves on TV, well the first thing that pops in my mind is their guest appearance on The Simpsons. That was way back in 2000 ("A Tale of Two Springfields").


The Simpsons also snuck in a subtle Who reference in a different episode with this "file photo" from Springfield that's clearly an homage to the photo on the back cover of the album Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy.

I remember my mom owned Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy on cassette when I was a kid, and it was always very awkward whenever either of us said the title, as you can imagine. But yeah, that's a great Who best-of, originally issued in 1971 on vinyl (and 1980 on cassette).

I guess that's enough to say about The Who for now, but they'll be back on the blog with a pair of Historic Concerts cards coming up later in the set.


Hmmm... um... I can't really think of a band. Well, I was planning on a big Pearl Jam write-up (they were heavily influenced by The Who), but that would be a whole can of worms and I want to keep this short so I can hurry up and publish this post. So I'll save Pearl Jam for another day.

Tell you what, I'm just going to show off this custom set I made recently for Dimebox Nick's dad. A few years back, we worked out a deal where I whipped up some custom cards of a few of his favorite musicians in exchange for some decent baseball cards. And then he came up with a new list of names for "Series 2". He gives me free reign in choosing designs to use, though he digs 70s oddballs most of all. Here's how they turned out:



I wasn't familiar with many of these folks (best know the Minutemen and Replacements out of the lot), but it was cool learning about them all while putting the cards together (they all have backs, too).

Speaking of hooking people up with printed-out customs, I'm working on a limited special offer where readers can score a custom of their choice from me. Like a "MusiCards Blog Supporter Pack" thing where you throw a little "donation" to the blog and then I send you a custom card or two and other cool stuff like a mix CD and an exclusive "print edition" blogpost. I think it'll be fun!.. Stay tuned for this offer to show up in a future post once I get it all sorted out.

Next up on the blog, we kick off a stretch of Led Zeppelin cards. I'm hoping to bust thru them quickly, since as I mentioned, I'm anxious to get out of the Legends section and into the meat of the MusiCards set. See you soon!

Friday, March 6, 2020

#19 The Who (+ MusiCards master set quest update)


1991 Pro Set MusiCards #19 The Who. The light show here is kinda cool, but ultimately it's not a great photo as it's so far away and most people couldn't really tell which band this was without being clued in.


Hey, what are these Brits doing snoozing under our US flag! lol.

I like The Who. Seems to me that most fans of rock music like them, though in the rankings of all-time "classic rock" bands, they're generally behind the likes of The Beatles, The Stones, and Zeppelin. But they're still in "first ballot Hall of Famer" territory, no doubt.

I'm sure you're aware of them, but for the uninitiated, I'd point you to The Who's Wikipedia entry. The short version of their history is they're an English rock band formed in 1964. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and sometimes-singer Pete Townshend (writer of most of the songs), bass guitarist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide, with "My Generation" likely being their most recognizable song amongst several hits.



The Who - "My Generation"

Moon passed in 1978 (drug overdose) putting an end to the classic era of the band, with Entwistle following in 2002 (heart attack induced by a drug overdose). The core duo of Daltrey and Townshend still regroup as The Who for a tour and/or album every few years. Zak Starkey (Ringo's boy) has been their drummer since 1996.

THE WHO - DESERT ISLAND DISC

  1. Baba O'Riley
  2. I Can See for Miles
  3. So Sad About Us
  4. Bargain
  5. Love Ain't For Keeping
  6. My Wife
  7. The Song Is Over
  8. Getting In Tune
  9. Going Mobile
  10. Behind Blue Eyes
  11. Won't Get Fooled Again
  12. Water
  13. My Generation
  14. (I'm A) Road Runner
  15. Young Man's Blues
  16. The Seeker
  17. Squeeze Box
  18. Pinball Wizard
  19. See Me, Feel Me
  20. We're Not Gonna Take It
"Who Are You" is another one that should be on there. You know what.. I'm thinking I might check out some more Who tracks on Spotify between now and the next post and maybe I'll have an updated D.I.D. tracklisting for you then. I'm admittedly not a huge Who fan-- I've been meaning to dig into their stuff more-- and may have missed some quality tracks, so feel free to point me to any other good ones in the comments below.


Though it's probably not one of their better known tracks, I might pick "Going Mobile" as my favorite song of theirs (or at least neck-and-neck with "Baba O'Riley" and the ending part of "We're Not Gonna Take It" from Tommy).

The Who have four (4) MusiCards total.. with another card coming up next, plus a couple concert poster cards coming up later. (Funny enough, this renowned UK band doesn't have a card in the UK edition of the set.) But yeah, we'll have more time to talk about The Who on this blog.


MUSICARDS MASTER SET UPDATE

No Custom Corner for this post, but I wanted to show off some recent pickups relevant to this blog. I'm trying to build a "master set" of MusiCards, meaning I want to obtain every card put out under the "MusiCards" product label, including all variations and promos. I already have the full base sets (Series 1, Series 2, UK edition, plus the Yo! MTV Raps set [both Series 1 and 2]), but there are still variations, inserts, and promos I've been trying to track down.


Here is the 10-card "Promo Pack". I was pretty thrilled to find all 10 of these in a reasonably priced lot on eBay a month or so ago. The listing's title was a mess, so it's nearly a miracle I was even able to find it. But find it I did! I had originally planned to do separate posts for these once I finally finish with the main set, but now I see that these cards are nearly identical to their base card equivalents, so a new post would be redundant. Instead, I'll include each promo card with its retail version. The first one we'll take a closer look at will be the Led Zeppelin card, which matches up with card #24. These promo versions are unnumbered on the back, so I'll have to visually match them up based on the photo. The other main difference is that the text in the Super Stars logo is a different font than the final version. The write-ups on the backs may have differences too, though I haven't checked yet. But yeah, we'll take a closer look at each of these on the blog in the future.

I had already bought the Debbie Gibson promo elsewhere, so I've got a dupe available for trade.

Oh, and there's apparently also a Promo Pack header card I need which I'm left to assume came with this promo set, but I might be wrong. The text in the Super Stars logo isn't the same script as the promos. Plus it says they're "on sale now" but I've got to assume the promo cards came out before packs were actually on shelves, building hype and whatnot. Not sure. If anyone can shed light on when/how these promo cards came out, please let me know! [Update: I now believe they were distributed with copies of the Pro Set Gazette, a magazine/catalog the company put out around the time that typically included promotional cards such as these. But I'm still not sure which cards came together.. I doubt all 11 cards came in one sealed "promo pack", more likely they came in packs of 3 cards or perhaps even mixed with other Pro Set promo cards. But who knows? I've yet to see any still-sealed MusiCard promos that could help me wrap my head around it.]


Ok, these aren't technically in the MusiCards family, but close enough. Included in the aforementioned promo lot eBay auction was this collection of 10 lenticular discs originally available via the bottom of specially-marked Slurpee cups at the convenience store 7-Eleven in 1985. I can't find these listed in TCDB, so I'm not sure if this is a complete set or not**. Some of these artists have MusiCards and some don't. These things are awesome-- stirring childhood memories of scraping up enough change in the sofa cushions to buy myself a cherry slurpee and hoping for a cool bonus disc in the bottom. These will likely be featured later on in the blog (again) if I remember, such as taking a closer look at the Police disc when we eventually get to the band in the MusiCards checklist. These things are blank on the back (stickers, apparently), though, so there's not much to them other than the 2 pictures that change with the viewer's angle (either 2 photos, or 1 photo and 1 logo/wordmark). But yeah, cool bonus for an eBay auction that I was already bidding on regardless.

UPDATES
**No, it's not complete.. I see another lot on eBay right now that includes a RATT disc that I'm missing. I don't think I'll hunt down and buy any more of these, but if you have any to trade that I need, I'd be interested in working out a deal.
***Oh crap, there's a Tears For Fears one of these?! One of my all-time favorite bands.. I might need to track down one of those badboys.
****Looks like there's also a similar set of 7-Eleven music discs from 1984 that includes Huey Lewis and the News, R.E.M., Big Country, and 38 Special among others (including some acts that were repeated in the '85 set). 7-Eleven also put out plenty of sports disc sets along these lines in the 80s, generally more common than the music ones.
*****Ok, I've just gone ahead and pulled the trigger on a 1985 complete set (14 discs) for $11 shipped. I was mainly after the Tears For Fears disc, but the completist in me is happy to have the full set now. (Maybe I'll keep an eye out for the 1984 set [11 discs] to go along with it.) So bottom line is the 10 discs in the above photo are now all available for trade so let me know if you're interested in any.


I only see one full set of '84 discs on eBay currently, and it's a master set also including the '85 set, but it seems way overpriced at nearly $100. No thanks.
But that eBay listing has some good info, so I'm going to copy and paste it here for posterity:

7 Eleven 7-11 Slurpee 3-D Lenticular Rock Disc Card Master Set of 25 from 1984/1985
There were 14 of the 7-Eleven Rock Star discs released in 1985, one disc per purchase of 7-11 slurpee drink.
There were 11 of the 7-Eleven Rock Star discs released in 1984.
There were 7 Bands that were issued for BOTH years of 1984 and 1985 and stamped accordingly as seen in my scans.
There were 4 Bands that were ONLY issued in 1984 stamped "84".
There were 7 Bands that were ONLY issued in 1985 stamped "85".
Such a cool set here and makes for an amazing Rock Music display.
Master Set of 25 discs includes:

14 total of disc produced for both 1984 and 1985 sets

•   Night Ranger (Both in 1984 and 1985 versions)
•   Loverboy (Both in 1984 and 1985 versions)
•   38 Special (Both in 1984 and 1985 versions)
•   The Police (Both in 1984 and 1985 versions)
•   Journey (Both in 1984 and 1985 versions)
•   Huey Lewis and the News (Both in 1984 and 1985 versions)
•   Ozzy Osbourne (Both in 1984 and 1985 versions. *1984 version was BLACK, 1985 version was RED)

7 total of disc just produced for 1985 set

•   RATT (Just produced for 1985 set)
•   Tears for Fears (Just produced for 1985 set)
•   Bryan Adams (Just produced for 1985 set)
•   Dio (Just produced for 1985 set)
•   Go West (Just produced for 1985 set)
•   Billy Squier (Just produced for 1985 set)
•   RUSH (Just produced for 1985 set)

4 total of disc just produced for 1984 set

•   The Tubes (Just produced for 1984 set)
•   Big Country (Just produced for 1984 set)
•   Krokus (Just produced for 1984 set)
•   R.E.M. (Just produced for 1984 set)

These are collectible discs that turn to different pictures when you turn them from angle to angle. These are NOT music CDs.
These lenticular discs come with their original backing that were meant to be peeled off when you wanted to stick them somewhere. 
Wow, I didn't expect to go down that Slurpee discs rabbithole, but moving on...


So I already have a complete set of the UK edition, but after a few drinks one evening, I went ahead and snagged this partially-opened box on eBay (about half already-opened and the other half still in sealed packs). It seemed like a good deal. Maybe there are upgrades for me, or if not then at least trade bait (Anybody out there working on a set?). But really the main thing I wanted was that "Time to re-order" insert (found loose at the bottom of the box) pictured upper right above. Yes, it's a dumb thing, but when I say I'm after a "master set" I mean it! LOL. And the master set wouldn't be complete without that insert. It's pretty hard to find (because why would anybody want that?!) and I feared I wouldn't be able to score it unless I went all-in on a box. Thankfully the previous owner who opened half the packs didn't take it.

There's still one more insert I need before the UK edition is fully complete: It's an ad for "MusiCards Collector Files", which is a pair of officially branded binders with pages for storing your cards. (I believe similar binders were offered on the back of packs, including those in the US editions.) I didn't see that card among the opened cards in this box, but perhaps a copy is within the unopened packs. I'll probably rip them soon in search for it. I suppose if I really wanted to get anal, those folders would be a part of a MusiCards Master Set, too. However, I generally keep my collection "cards only" and so I don't plan to track down non-card items... unless maybe I stumble upon a good deal. (Or if anyone has one for trade, let me know.)

Another note about the UK edition: The backs of the packs refer to them as Series 1. But I guess they didn't sell as well as Pro Set was hoping, as a second series was never released in the UK.


Early, alternate-design promos! These are pretty cool, giving you a look at what the folks at Pro Set originally had in mind for their MusiCards before revamping to the finished design we all know. The checklist for these is 6 cards deep, but with Madonna having error and corrected versions, so 7 cards total. Again, I plan to take a closer look at each of these on the blog in the future, though I'm not sure if I'll make them their own separate posts (at the conclusion of the base set) or just include them in the main posts as we go, such as my plan with the other promos I showed before (so like, include the Madonna promo card[s] in a post featuring a card with a similar Madonna photo [I'm not sure if all 6 photos correspond to respective base cards or not, but I suppose I could look into it].)

Anyways, I've now got all of these promos-- either in-hand or waiting in my COMC account-- with the exception of #2 Lita Ford. So I've got an eye out for Lita in the alt. design.

There's also another promo header card that was recently added to TCDB called Borden's Promo Pack Header. Not sure if that came in snack packs or what. Doesn't seem to be related to these early-design promos. But yeah, that's another card I need for my master set.


More incoming cards here. That hologram up top is from the Yo! MTV Raps set (technically still under the MusiCards umbrella). Personally I think the Super Stars hologram is cooler looking than this one, but happy to score the big "chase card" from the Yo! version (seeded one per case?). Now all I need are the Instant Winner inserts from the Yo set. The red one is from Series 1 and is more common (I have one, but it's been scratched off.. want to upgrade to unscratched), plus there's a harder to find Instant Winner insert available in Series 2 packs which can be identified by green/purple in the design.

The game card pictured up here comes to me courtesy of Jon at the Penny Sleeve blog, who kindly set it aside for me after picking up an unopened pack of Series 2 MusiCards. The Series 2 contest was for a trip to Australia. The more common version of this is from Series 1, which was for a trip to London. Thanks to Jon, I've now got both the Super Stars vacation contest cards!

There is still one card from Series 2 that I need: the 10¢ Coupon with pink spots. The more common version from Series 1 features yellow spots (I've got a ton of these, as they came in every other Series 1 pack [platooning with the London trip contest card]).

As for the Dread Zeppelin "wardrobe malfunction" card.. sigh.. man, this is a frustrating one for me. I see variations online where the nad is lighter (skin-colored) (see TCDB), but then I always end up with this "hot pink nad" version (which I suspect happened somewhat similar to how Fleer first handled the '89 Billy Ripken situation). And yes, I hate the fact that part of my card collecting hobby involves taking a close look at some dude's nuts for slight variance in skin tone, but here we are. LOL

Anyways, let's go ahead and put all the cards I need in one handy list:

MusiCards Needs
Series 1 #166 variation - Dread Zeppelin (skin-colored nad)
Series 2 NNO 10¢ Coupon (Pink Spots)
UK Edition NNO Advert ("Pro Set MusiCards Collector Files" binder ad)
Early Design Promo #2 Lita Ford
NNO Promo Pack Header ("On Sale Now")
NNO Borden's Promo Pack Header ("free with purchase of 2 Borden snacks")
Yo! MTV Raps - Series 1 NNO Be an Instant Winner (red)
Yo! MTV Raps - Series 2 NNO Instant Win Game (green/purple)

(This is as of March 2020. I'll try to remember to update this list crossing off cards as I secure them.)

Looks like I've got just a few needs remaining, then I'll have a full 1991 MusiCards MasterSet! If you have any of those available or could point me to where I could find them, I would be very interested. Will trade or buy for the right price.

OTHER STUFF THAT MIGHT TECHNICALLY BE INCLUDED IN A MUSICARDS MASTER SET THOUGH I WON'T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME TRYING TO FIND:

According to the Instant Win cards, there were 10 autographed (and framed) Yo! MTV Raps MusiCards available as first place in that contest (behind the Grand Prize which was a trip to NYC to watch the show taped live). I'm not sure if these cards featured a special design or were just base cards from the set that were signed. And I'm unsure which ten artists were included. If there are actually any of these certified auto cards "out there", I'd be interested in them (at least seeing pictures of them, even if you want to hold onto them, which is totally cool.)

And I've seen claims online (perhaps confused or purposely misleading) that there are variations of the hologram cards (different colors other than the standard "green"), though I'm skeptical of that. If anyone has a MusiCard hologram variation, I'd be very interested in seeing it.

There's also that purported third variation of #15 John Lennon (Logo at bottom right; left hand raised). I'm dubious of this existing, though I'll keep my eyes open for it.

And then there's the aforementioned MusiCards Collector Files binders (one regular size and a smaller one for dupes, apparently). Again, I'd be open to picking it up if I find it for a good price, but not a priority for me at this point.

And as for all those "10¢ Coupon" insert cards? Those were good toward purchases from the Pro Set Gazette, a free magazine/catalog thing you could send in for (published 2 or 4 times a year) and use to order stuff like band shirts and posters (as well as other Pro Set related goods, such as NFL and NHL stuff). Not sure if there were specifically branded MusiCards items available (other than probably the binders they always seemed to be pushing), or more likely were simply regular merchandise from the musical artists that Pro Set was offering as a reseller. But figured I'd mention them. It's now occurring to me that the promo cards mentioned earlier in this post (both varieties) were probably originally distributed as freebies with Pro Set Gazette issues.

One more thing.. on the back of the Borden's Promo Pack Header card, it mentions a send-in offer for Fairy God Dude posters. No idea who or what Fairy God Dude is (a band? the mascot for Borden Snacks or something?). But if this is a MusiCards branded item, I figure I'll mention it here. But again, I'm mainly just focused on the cards and don't plan to track down any non-card items as part of this collecting quest of mine.

Oh, and lastly, stuff like wrappers and empty boxes and even magazine ads could probably also be included in a (deep voice:) "master set"... but (for the fourth time), I try to keep my collection cards-only.


Geez, long post! And sorry it was a bit of a mess as I was basically researching for it as I was writing it and just kept it stream-of-consciousness instead of rewriting like a good writer would have done.

Thanks for reading! More of The Who next time.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

#18 Jimmy Page (+ Joe Cocker bonus)

1991 MusiCards #18 Jimmy Page
Woah, this might be the first "metal" card we've come to in the set so far. You could have told me that photo was of RATT or Quiet Riot and I would have believed you. But no, it's apparently Jimmy Page in that getup shredding on a two-headed guitar. I suppose that'd be John Paul Jones lurking in the background on bass.






Yep, for the second card in a row, we've got a variation that reconfigures the design a tad (chiefly, moving the MusiCards logo to the opposite corner). I believe variations such as these were available from "Series 2" packs (These packs also included Series 1 cards mixed in). Series 1 packs were produced in much greater quantity, so the variations (and Series 2 base cards) often carry a premium compared to Series 1 base cards. There are no variations in the Series 2 part of the checklist, by the way.

The next variation in the set isn't until card #43.


That blurb is pretty badass. Jimmy Page is practically a damn wizard!

I don't recall ever hearing of The Firm or The Honeydrippers before this, but I've just now checked them out briefly.

The Firm - "Midnight Moonlight"

Looks like The Firm were active 1984-1986, and also featured singer Paul Rodgers (Free and Bad Company), drummer Chris Slade (Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Uriah Heep, and AC/DC), and bassist Tony Franklin. The track "Midnight Moonlight" was a reworked Zeppelin leftover.

The Honeydrippers were a vintage R&B-inspired band helmed by Robert Plant from 1981-1985, with Page and Jeff Beck sometimes being involved. They've got a nice version of the classic "Sea of Love" that was a big hit for them. Plant was worried people would start considering him a "crooner" so he pulled the plug after only one release: an 18-minute EP.

Skimming Jimmy Page's Wikipedia entry now-- wow, didn't realize he was such an in-demand session musician in the 60s.

Page was the favoured session guitarist of record producer Shel Talmy. As a result, he secured session work on songs for the Who and the Kinks.[33] Page is credited with playing acoustic twelve-string guitar on two tracks on the Kinks' debut album, "I'm a Lover Not a Fighter" and "I've Been Driving on Bald Mountain",[34] and possibly on the B-side "I Gotta Move".[35] He played rhythm guitar on the sessions for the Who's first single "I Can't Explain"[31] (although Pete Townshend was reluctant to allow Page's contribution on the final recording; Page also played lead guitar on the B-side, "Bald Headed Woman").[36] Page's studio gigs in 1964 included Marianne Faithfull's "As Tears Go By", the Nashville Teens' "Tobacco Road", the Rolling Stones' "Heart of Stone", Van Morrison & Them's "Baby, Please Don't Go", "Mystic Eyes", and "Here Comes the Night", Dave Berry's "The Crying Game" and "My Baby Left Me", Brenda Lee's "Is It True", and Petula Clark's "Downtown".
Petula Clark - "Downtown"

CUSTOM CORNER

That leads us right into the artist I wanted to spotlight on today's Custom Corner: Joe Cocker.

Not long ago, I read that the iconic guitar in the studio version of Joe Cocker's "With A Little Help From My Friends" is played by Jimmy Page, and-- mind blown-- I penciled in Joe as the companion custom for this post.

Joe Cocker - 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were custom

Joe Cocker - "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Cocker's reimagining of the Ringo-sung Beatles classic is dynamite! A new generation (myself included) was hit over the head with it thanks to its use as the theme for The Wonder Years, a coming-of-age comedy-drama that ran on ABC from March 15, 1988 until May 12, 1993. I liked the show back then, and watched through it again a few years back.


I touched on The Wonder Years back in a past Baseball Card Breakdown post. I had a lot of fun writing that, and-- along with other posts where the music I grew up on played a big role-- it could be considered a precursor to this MusiCards blog, helping me realize I really like rambling about not just cards but also music and pop culture stuff.

But back to Joe Cocker... His career began in 1961 under the stage name Vance Arnold (No relation to Kevin Arnold, fictional character). He didn't have much success as a pop singer, so he later dropped the stage name and embraced the gritty voice and spastic on-stage movements he became known for. Later in the 60s, he formed a backing band called The Grease Band. "With a Little Help from My Friends" really put him on the map, reaching #1 in the UK in November 1968.

Other Joe Cocker tunes that've stood the test of time include a cover of Billy Preston's "You Are So Beautiful" (1974) and "Up Where We Belong" (a duet featuring Jennifer Warnes for the soundtrack of the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman, which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the Oscar for Best Original Song and Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo.)



Joe Cocker - "Fire It Up"

Joe Cocker put out 22 studio albums from 1969 through 2012. Gotta admit I think I've only listened to one of them in its entirety, though I've been meaning to dig deeper into his back catalog. I checked out 2012's Fire It Up on a whim back when it was released and was surprised how much I liked it. The tracks "Fire It Up", "Younger", and "Walk Through the World With Me" are especially good. It ended up being his swansong, as he passed away from lung cancer at the end of 2014 at the age of 70.

If you've got any Joe Cocker favorites to recommend (or non-Zeppelin Jimmy Page work), feel free to let me know in the comments below. Page will find himself back on the blog soon, as a stretch of Led Zeppelin cards aren't far off.

But in the more immediate future? Prepare yourselves for a humorous skit:

Who's next?
Yes.
Yes?
No, not Yes. Who.
I want to know which artist is next. Please reveal them to me.
But we've already covered Them.
Then Who?
Exactly.
Oh, forget it!