TalkingHeads77Four reasons why a 40-year-old* LP still matters to me:

  1. Psycho Killer 
  2. It’s one of four punk albums I bought at House of Guitars in late 1977 that I still have. (My turntable is still hooked-up too.)
  3. It’s before Brian Eno produced them.
  4. We scalped our Styx tickets to buy Talking Heads tickets instead, 1978.11.09, (true story).

*Released from Sire on Sept. 16, 1977

Burgess CHART London Calling

Mapping the British punk scene — influences and connections late-70s into the 80s — with The Clash at the center of the Universe (because that’s the way it was for me).

Chart from 1977: A Punk History coming from Ravenna Press (2018).

“Spleen” is a riff on a Baudelaire line from “Good Dogs” in his Le Spleen de Paris. 

I sing in praise of destitute dogs, under-dogs, whether those who wander all alone through the tortuous ravines and gullies of the vast metropolis, or those who have said to some old outcast, with a wink of their witty, spiritual eyes, ‘Take me along with you, then perhaps we can make some sort of happiness out of our two poverties!’

Samples by James “I Wanna Be Sedated” Nugent.

ElvisCostelloElvis Costello releases My Aim Is True on July 22, 1977. E L V I S  I  S  K  I  N  G  E  L V I  S  I  S  K  I N G is repeated in reversed single letters in the black squares of the checkerboard pattern. 25 days later the King, Elvis Presley, dies on Aug. 16. It is a symbolic death — how bloated rock and roll has become — and ironic — just days after a new King is declared. That fall “Watching the Detectives” goes into high rotation in my dorm room at Mohawk Hall.


Influences and connections. Mapping the NYC punk scene from the mid-70s. Chart from 1977: A Punk History coming from Ravenna Press (2018).

Burgess CHART Release

40 years ago today I was bored. Listening to Blonde on Blonde (Visions of Johanna and Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands) on repeat. Drinking beer. Working as a stock boy at a small-town department store. Reading Camus and Sartre. Writing poems no one read.

Ramones_-_Ramones_coverRamones released their first LP on April 23, 1976 — six days after I turned 18 and could drink legally in NY then. My graduation money that June went for an amp, receiver, turntable and Advent loudspeakers (that I still have!). My summer job was stock boy at the local department store before heading to junior college. My first Ramones LP was their third, Rocket to Russia, at the end of 1977. My vinyl Ramones Ramones is from early 1978.