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!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

#17 Jimmy Page (+ ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead)


Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page graces card #17 in the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards set. This is obviously from a promo photoshoot based on the backdrop. Kind of an awkward pose. Can almost picture him singing the "I'm a Little Teapot" song.

Buckle up, because we're entering The Zeppelin Zone with this set. Jimmy has another card up next at #18. And shortly following that (after a couple cards for The Who), his band Led Zeppelin has a DiMaggian run of five consecutive cards. Plus we'll later hit a Historic Concerts card for them and then later a promo card (I plan to hit the promos at the end, giving me ample time to scoop them up-- I'm still working on building a "master set" of MusiCards). But yeah, that's a whole lotta Led.

Led Zeppelin - "Whole Lotta Love"





Yep, we've hit another variation. As with most variations in this set, the Super Stars logo travels from the upper left down to the lower right. The photo shifts to the left (revealing the head of the guitar) and the teal "Legends" banner shrinks a little and jumps to the top.


For easy comparison, here's a gif of the two cards.


Of course I'm familiar with Led Zeppelin, but gotta admit I've never heard of the Jimmy Page Band. Seems like his career has been relatively quiet since Zeppelin broke up way back in 1980. I know he's popped up once in a while here and there over the years, but seems he hasn't really done anything big in the past 40 years, which is kinda surprising for a guitarist of his stature.

Well hey, we've still got a whopping 8 cards in the pipeline to cover Page and his main band's work, so I'm just going to put a pin in it for now and jump right into the Custom Corner.

CUSTOM CORNER

Today's bonus band was likely influenced somewhat by Zeppelin, with many sprawling rockers in their catalog, but mainly I'm choosing them to feature now because I saw these guys live just the other day and wanted to post about it here.


...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead (often shortened to Trail of Dead) might have a long, scary name, but they're a band of good dudes who rock out. They're not super well-known, but they make my short list of bands I would enthusiastically recommend to anyone into rock music.

Trail of Dead - "Baudelaire"

I was first introduced to their music in the late 90s by my friend David DeVere who was a big fan of theirs. Dave wasn't at all shy online, so I'm sure he wouldn't have a problem with me using his full name here. We were online buddies for a few years and shared a lot of cool music with each other, but eventually we lost touch. I tried to reconnect a while back, but his email address had gone bad, and attempts to find him on social media have been a dead end. Davy, if you're out there, drop me a line and let's catch up!

As 2019 was winding down, I came to the grim realization that I hadn't been to a concert all year. And yep, 2019 ended up being the first year since 1994 that I went a full calendar year without going to at least one live music show. (I went to 3 stand-up comedy shows during the year, for what it's worth, but it's not the same thing.) Man, the younger version of myself would be sickened by this! I love live music, damn it! Feeling the need to end my dry spell, I secured a ticket to Trail of Dead for January and I'm glad I did.

It was such a great show. Sold-out crowd. I got lucky with a front-row spot and had a great time up in the thick of it. They were loud as fuck so I'm glad I brought ear plugs to protect my hearing (sorry; old fart alert). But man, having the drums/bass thumping away in your chest during a badass jam is such a great feeling. The band rocked to perfection, and it was cool how the guitarists all took turns on drums (3 of them).. impressive versatility. I had to wake up early the next day for a work thing, but no regrets.

Silly gif using a few photos I took.
What's really cool is I get to use my own photos for the custom(s). Sure there are countless better photos of the band to be found online, but it's awesome to be able to make it a fully in-house project. I've made hundreds of custom cards at this point in my life, yet I think these are the first made using photos I took myself. Pretty neat.


I even snagged a setlist from the stage immediately after the show. I've got a decent little setlist collection (highlighted by Weezer, Mercury Rev, and Rocket From The Crypt), but I don't think I've added to it in the past several years (not since I moved to Portland in 2009?).

Trail of Dead - "Into the Godless Void"

As far as a rundown of the band's history, well here's the first paragraph of their Wikipedia entry:
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (often abbreviated as Trail of Dead) are an American alternative rock band from Austin, Texas, formed in 1994. The chief members of the band are Jason Reece and Conrad Keely. The two alternate between drumming, guitar and lead vocals, both on recordings and live shows. The band is known for their wild, energetic concerts. Their tenth studio album, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories, was released on January 17, 2020.

Now I'll try to narrow my favorite songs of theirs down to an album's worth.

Desert Island Disc - Trail of Dead

  1. Summer 91
  2. And the Rest Will Follow
  3. Caterwaul
  4. Classic Art Showcase
  5. Let It Dive
  6. Ebb Away
  7. Half of What
  8. When We Begin To Steal...
  9. Isis Unveiled
  10. Bells of Creation
  11. Inland Sea
  12. Ascending
  13. Eight Day Hell
  14. Witch's Web
  15. Into the Godless Void
  16. Don't Look Down
  17. It Was There That I Saw You
  18. Another Morning Stoner
  19. Baudelaire
  20. How Near How Far
  21. Relative Ways
  22. Source Tags and Codes

Ok, there's a solid "best of" collection right there, but man.. every album is a banger. Engaging music, thoughtful lyrics, a few "out of left field" sounding songs to shake things up.. just great stuff. Again, I can't recommend them enough if you're into alternative rock at all. Terrific band.

 Trail of Dead - "Summer '91"

If I ever end up doing a podcast/youtube version of this blog (which I probably won't, but never say never), "Summer '91" would be a perfect theme song to use. Its cautiously nostalgic head-nod to 1991 fits right in with our look back at the 1991 MusiCards set... plus it rocks. So yeah, I could totally see that being used as intro and/or outro music in a podcast-type situation.

Looking back at '91
Reflecting on those things we could have
Said and done
The dancing lights across a crowd
Remind us of another town
That's dead and gone
It's just dead and gone

That's going to wrap up this post. Sorry if I layed on my love for Trail of Dead a little thick! Over the past few years, they've really risen up the rankings of my all-time favorite bands, so I hope I've at least convinced someone reading to give them a curious listen, and maybe even find themselves being a new fan.

As always, please comment away below if you have any comments to comment. Otherwise, see you soon with card #18 which is Jimmy Page again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

#16 Bob Marley


Number 16 in the 1991 MusiCards set is reggae legend Bob Marley.


This same source photo also appears on the cover for his iconic posthumous greatest hits album Legend. Note the synergy of the Legends subset using an album cover of Legend on a card. Originally released in 1984, it's the best-selling reggae album of all-time.

As for the card, this is Bob's only card in the set, though his son Ziggy also has a card, coming up in a little while at #70. I think it's the first MusiCard we've come to that uses an album cover as the picture, though a card for The Doors came close.

Bob Marley "Historic Posters" custom
And the same photograph was used on a popular poster that adorned the walls of countless college dorm rooms in the late 80s and early 90s. Maybe still today?


Dig that logo. As the TM would indicate, it's an actual logo that the Bob Marley foundation uses. Variations of it can be found on stickers, patches, and the like.

Marley, as you likely know, was an extremely popular musician from Jamacha who helped popularize the genre of reggae music worldwide. He was known for his rastafarian spirituality and outspoken support for the legalization of marijuana. His incredible life was cut short, sadly passing away from cancer in 1981 at the age of 36.


As for me, I love Bob Marley. I got a used CD of Legend as a teenager and listened to it a bunch.

Quick personal anecdote.. My mom took a vacation to Jamacha in the mid 70s before I was born, and among the highlights of her trip was discovering an impressive local musician. She brought home a vinyl copy of Catch a Fire and tried to introduce her friends to her discovery, only to realize that just about everybody in the US already knew about Bob Marley. lol

I'm not going to list out a "desert island disc" for him here, but if I did it would basically just be Legend, a damn near perfect collection of songs, though I'd probably swap out the edited live version of "No Woman No Cry" that fades out a couple minutes early for the full-length live version. Additional tracks I'd tack on would include "Lively Up Yourself", "Trenchtown Rock" (live), and "Iron Lion Zion"


I can't say I'm a reggae aficionado or anything (unlike my friend DJ Short Change), though I dig Bob Marley and a handful of other stuff, such as some tracks on the The Harder They Come soundtrack. I also enjoy the likes of The Congos, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and good ol' UB40. I can also get into some stuff from other folks out of the Bob Marley crew such as Bunny Wailer, Damian Marley, Ziggy Marley, and Peter Tosh.

Peter Tosh 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were custom
That's it for today. How about you.. Are you into reggae at all? Any recommendations?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

#15 John Lennon (+ Flaming Lips bonus)


After a month hiatus (sorry 'bout that), our journey through the 1991 MusiCards set picks back up with John Lennon at card #15. Here he is flashing a peace sign in front of an old brick building. Can't quite read what the pin on his lapel says, but I'll assume it reflects an anti-war sentiment.



Hey, it's the first card in the set that features a variation!!



The variation flips the photo and moves the Super Stars logo box down to the lower right from the top left. The teal "Legend" bubble moves from near the bottom of the photo to up in the top border. My copy has some surface wear (scuff across his chest), so I'd like to upgrade it at some point. (Please let me know if you've got one to trade.)

Here's a gif comparing the 2 variations
According to TCDB hearsay (no image provided to corroborate), there's a third variation where John's left hand is giving the peace sign (as in the 1st card) and the logo is in the lower right (as in the 2nd card), but again there's no physical evidence of this and some have questioned if it actually exists. It probably doesn't. Hey, if you've got one of those, please let me know, send me a pic, and I'll make the update here. Otherwise, we'll assume that's just bullshit and there are really only two versions of this card. (No other MusiCard has more than 2 known variations.)


I'm a big Beatles fan, yet I had never heard of the 1988 Imagine soundtrack (not to be confused with his 1971 album by that name) nor the 1990 Lennon box set. But there have been no shortage of compilations of his music since this card came out, with remasters and rarities, which have surely built on and surpassed those two collections.


Here's the video for the 1991 update of "Give Peace A Chance" referenced in the second sentence on the back of the card. This version was credited to Peace Choir (spearheaded by Yoko Ono and Lenny Kravitz) and was originally released February 1, 1991. Lots of big names in there. I still remember when this premiered on MTV. Wasn't quite as big of a deal as say the similar all-star charity effort of "We Are The World", but I think it still had a strong positive impact.

Funny enough, this is the only true Beatles-related card in the entire main (US) MusiCards set. The UK edition has a Beatles card, however, plus a Julian Lennon card.. but that's it. I've already made a George Harrison custom, and will likely eventually whip up separate cards for Paul and Ringo.

John Lennon - "Instant Karma!"

I don't think I could pick a favorite between John and Paul.. they've both got a ton of songs that I love. From a personality standpoint, Paul would probably be more fun to hang out with, as John had a reputation of being a bit of a miserable asshole much of the time. But damn it if he didn't come up with some of music's all-time greatest songs during his tragically too short life.

I was too young to be affected by his murder, so by the time I "discovered" the Beatles (and non-children's music in general) around the mid 80s, he was already long gone. Such a huge bummer, though. I'd like to think there's an alternate universe somewhere with an elderly John Lennon still cranking out a solid album every few years, like Paul.

My main introduction to Lennon's solo work was when my mom bought the 1989 reissue of The John Lennon Collection, a greatest hits CD, during a brief Columbia House music club stint where she added several CDs to our household music collection. "Instant Karma!" and "Imagine" were my favorite songs then, and I suppose the same is still true today, though I've since dug deeper into his post-Beatles work and have found several more tunes I really like.

"Watching The Wheels" (acoustic) - John Lennon

John Lennon - Desert Island Disc

If I were to round up my favorite John Lennon solo tracks onto one CD/playlist, it'd probably look something like this:

  1. Instant Karma
  2. Working Class Hero
  3. Beautiful Boy
  4. Real Love (demo)
  5. Gimme Some Truth
  6. Nobody Told Me
  7. Mind Games
  8. Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple)
  9. Mother
  10. I Found Out
  11. Isolation
  12. God
  13. #9 Dream
  14. How Do You Sleep?
  15. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
  16. I'm Stepping Out
  17. Cold Turkey
  18. Woman
  19. Imagine
  20. Watching the Wheels (acoustic version)


COVER TIME


I think my favorite cover of a John Lennon song is the Flaming Lips' chaotic rendition of "Nobody Told Me" from the mid 90s. I remember when it first came out on a tribute album called Working Class Hero that my buddy got an advanced promo CD of. Crazy to think that when that came out, it was closer to when Lennon died (15 years passed) than the length of time between when that tribute CD came out and today (25 years). Just yet another "make you feel old" moment.


I was planning to forgo a "custom corner" bonus section of this post, mainly because I'm ashamed/frustrated I've taken so long between posts and didn't want to drag it out any further. But screw it, I've already brought up the Flaming Lips, a band heavily influenced by John Lennon, so let's go ahead and whip them up a custom.

CUSTOM CORNER

Flaming Lips 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were
The Flaming Lips broke through to the mainstream with their wacky hit "She Don't Use Jelly" in late 1993, though they had been around since the early 80s, and are still at it today despite not having another U.S. Billboard Hot 100 hit since. Coming out of OKC, they are a wonderfully weird band who've done stuff like release a song that is 24 hours long, as well as release an EP "on a flash drive embedded in a bubblegum-flavored fetus made of gummy bear material."

I'm a big Lips fan, especially their output from the early 90s through the early 00s. I've seen them live once-- 11/19/2000 at 4th & B in San Diego-- and they always go all-out putting on a spectacle. I remember lots of balloons and confetti. Fake blood also.

It'll be tough culling my favorite songs of theirs down to just 20 or so tracks, but I'll give it a shot...

[...gavin goes and tries to narrow down his top 20 favorite Lips songs...]

Ouch, ok-- no, I'm not. Too tough! They've got a streak of 7 consecutive albums that I love and think are nearly perfect from start to finish:

Those albums are all classics in my book. So I think I'll try coming up with a list of my favorite Lips songs that aren't included on any of those 7 albums.


THE FLAMING LIPS - DESERT ISLAND DISC excluding their albums from 1990 thru 2002

  1. Jets Part 1
  2. Jets Part 2 (My Two Days As An Ambulance Driver)
  3. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (edit)
  4. Vein of Stars
  5. Haven't Got A Clue
  6. The W.A.N.D.
  7. Blow Job
  8. Up Above the Daily Hum
  9. 1000 Ft. Hands
  10. Ma, I Didn't Notice
  11. Tubthumping [Flaming Lips remix of Chumbawamba song]
  12. It Was A Very Good Year [Sinatra cover]
  13. Sun Arise [Alice Cooper cover]
  14. Nobody Told Me [Lennon cover]
  15. Life on Mars? [Bowie cover]
  16. The Golden Path (edit) [with Chemical Brothers]
  17. Headphones Theme From Seemingly Infinity [Steven Drozd]
  18. The Switch that Turns Off the Universe
  19. We Can't Predict The Future
  20. It Remained Unrealizable

Flaming Lips - "The Switch that Turns Off the Universe"

Yeah, that'd work for me as a companion 8th cd to go along with the 7 albums previously mentioned.


Any feelings on John Lennon to share? Favorite songs of his? Or how about the Flaming Lips? Let me know in the comments if you wanna.