To keep students learning and having fun during the coronavirus pandemic, music teacher, Mr Burrows, has set key stage 3 students a challenge: pick a song of their choice and write a review of it.
Song reviews will be posted here and updated during the challenge!
Review of Helter Skelter by The Beatles – Jack, Year 12
What is often renowned as being the start of metal music all together, actually has a very interesting story behind it. In an interview with ‘GQ’ McCartney remarks that he found the inspiration of Helter Skelter actually came from when he was reading a music magazine and saw an article saying that The Who had just made the ‘dirtiest, loudest, filthiest song ever’. This made McCartney rather jealous and so the next time he went into the studio he explained to the rest of the Beatles that they also had to make a ‘dirty and loud’ song but it had to be even better than The Who’s. There was no real desire to make a heavy song more the fact that they simply or rather Paul simply wanted to outdo The Who.
The first attempt to record the song happened on the 18th July, 1968 however you wouldn’t think it if you listened to it as this take bares very little resemblance to the iconic song at all. The bass line is locked to the snare which creates a slow, bluesy groove this is then accompanied by George and Paul on the guitars. But, this is not what Paul was intending the song to resemble at all and so they left it and came back to the song on the 9th and 10th of September where they turned all the amps up and pushed everything to their absolute limits to create a frenzy of sound and to add to the cacophony a squealing saxophone and piano can be heard at the end of the track; they even got their roadie Mal Evans to chip in on the Trumpet. At the end you can famously here Ringo say that he has blisters on his fingers and according to Paul that was not a joke put on by Ringo he was actually bleeding by the end of the track because he’d been drumming so violently.
Helter Skleter really was one of their heaviest recordings and one that is often cited as being the first heavy metal song ever with many famous bands covering it. Like metal giants ‘Mötley Crüe’ and the punk rockers ‘Siouxsie And The Banshees’ however none of these covers quite do the songs energy or sheer power justice compared to the original on the White Album. What I think is sometimes over looked about The Beatles is that at their roots they are a Rock ‘n’ Roll band and while they’re often made out to be a pop group it’s songs like this that really break through that stereotype.
Rated 4 out of 5
Review of The Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin – Ellis, Year 7
The Immigrant Song is one of the most important songs in history because it inspired heavy metal bands including Iron Maiden, Saxon, Man War, Amon Amarth and many others.
By the band Led Zeppelin it was written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. It was written during their tour of Iceland and Germany in 1970. In the band were Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham.
The single was first released in November 1970 in the US without the band’s approval, and made it into the top 20 in the US Billboard chart.
Led Zeppelin were around for 12 years. The band broke up in 1980 when the drummer John Bonham died. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones are still alive and in 2007 they did a tribute performance in London with John Bonham’s son Jason playing the drums.
I first heard the song in2017 while watching Thor Ragnarök. It was awesome. The references in the lyrics to Norse mythology were perfect for the theme of the film.
Rated 5 out of 5.
Review of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen – Luke, Year 8
Queen were a British rock band formed in the 1970’s. The line-up included Freddie Mercury on lead vocals, Brian May on lead Guitar, Roger Taylor played drums and John Deacon played bass. The early work of the band was based in the Rock Music genre. In 1975 Queen released the album “Night at the Opera” and at the time was the most expensive album every released. The expense however was worth it for the best song ever, Bohemian Rhapsody.
The band spent a month at Ridge Farm Studio in Surrey rehearsing the song. Recording began on 24th August 1975. Producer Roy Thomas Baker recalls that rehearsals and recording of the song was “totally insane, but great fun” He claims that the band saw it as a joke, apparently Freddie Mercury kept adding Galileo’s, which all ended up in the final cut.
Bohemian Rhapsody is a huge six minutes long! Written by lead singer Freddie Mercury, it consists of several musical styles, and does not feature a chorus, which makes it unusual. It takes the listener through an intro, ballad, Operatic segment and a head banging hard rock section, made famous by the film Wayne’s World.
On its release it topped the UK charts for 9 weeks, selling more than a million copies. It is the number one commercial selling song grossing the most sales, and has been Christmas number one twice.
Bohemian Rhapsody received mixed reviews by the critics, but today the song is the most well-known of all Queens’s hits. Pete Erskine thought it would be interesting if the whole song ever got played on the radio, which it did to a great reception.
It is also the first song that had a full length music video attached to it, as the band did not want to mime it on the BBC Top of the Pops show.
In 2004 the song was inducted into the Grammys Hall of Fame.
In 1991 the song again reached number on in the charts following the untimely death of Freddie Mercury. He died due to AIDS on the 24th November 1991, but his flamboyant style of music lives on today.
I give this song 4.5 out of 5
Review of The Pretender by The Foo Fighters – Georgia, Year 7
Since the beginning of their career, The Foo Fighters showed us all that they were going to become a big thing in music. With their first song, ‘This is a Call’ being an amazing track, it was clear the band had some amazing music and ideas for new albums. They got a No.1 in the Canada Rock(RPM), and a No.2 in the US Alternative Songs. It was an immediate hit that was simply the first building block in the tower of their success.
One of their best songs, I think, is ‘The Pretender’. It came out in 2007, and immediately became a favourite of many. In 2008, it won the award for Best Hard Rock Performance. When ‘The Pretender’ had its 17th week at the top of the Modern Rock Tracks chart 2007, it became the longest-running chart-topper in the history of the Modern Rock Charts. It kept this title until 2013! This song truly deserved it. An amazing mix of rock and feelings, I think this song deserved more praise than it got.
The lead singer of the band, Dave Grohl, was originally a drummer for ‘Nirvana’. He founded Foo Fighters after the dissolution of his previous band. Dave Grohl originally meant to be a solo performer. When he decided to make one of his first songs, he recruited the bass player; Nate Mendel, and drummer; William Goldsmith. Grohl asked Pat Smear, was a touring guitarist in Grohl’s previous band. Both Mendel and Smear are now full-time members. From then on, this band went to get Chris Shiflett, Rami Jaffee and Taylor Hawkins. This iconic band was complete. They were ready to change rock forever!
Georgia rates this 4.5 out of 5.
Review of Hey Jude by The Beatles – Jack, Year 9:
The Beatles were an English band from Liverpool and they started in 1960.
The band members were John Lennon (rhythm guitar), Paul McCartney (bass guitar), George Harrison (lead guitar) and Ringo Starr (drums). There was another drummer to start off with, Pete Best, but he left before the band became famous.
Brian Epstein was their manager.
Paul McCartney wrote this song in June 1968. He originally wrote it as Hey Jules as it was for a child called Julian who was John Lennon’s son. Paul wrote it for Julian to help him as his parents were going through a divorce and he was upset.
Paul changed the name to Jude as he liked musicals and was inspired by a character in Oklahoma! called Jud.
It was recorded in Trident Studios in London and was produced by George Martin on the Apple label.
It was The Beatles longest single and ran at 7 minutes 11 seconds and when it was released was the longest song ever put out as a single.
I like this song because the premise is sad but he’s turned it into a positive and uplifting song. I give this 4.5 out of five. They could have faded into the happiness slower as I feel it goes from sad to happy very quickly that would have made it 5 out of 5.