World Cup fever is here, and in honor of anthems past, local pop merchants Eux Autres have created an unofficial song and video for the event. The band's singer-guitarist Nicholas Larimer is following the action, which requires him to wake up early in the morning, but the midnight hour is another time that he knows a thing or two about. He has a keen appreciation of Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special, a TV gem that, under the watchful eye of Mary Hart's current husband (then married to Carol Wayne), presented live performances by chart-topping acts from 1972 until 1981. I asked him to choose five favorite moments from the show and sound off about them.
Eddie Money, “Baby Hold On”
SFBG What do you think of Eddie's somewhat Jaggeresque but East Coast tuff – complete with tie over bare chest – look here? The band on this clip is pretty tight and he sounds great.
Nicholas Larimer I always liked this song, but I never expected this performance to blow me away. He absolutely nails it. An epic performance. And then the camera pans over and you see he's doing it all in front of an audience of silent people sitting there with their hands in their laps.
AC/DC, “Sin City”
SFBG That's quite an intro AC/DC gets here – double your rock star pleasure. How long do you think it took Bon to get into and out of the jeans he's wearing? If Eux Autres could build their own Sin City, what would it include?
NL The first time I saw this, I thought they couldn't possibly top that tag team Nugent/Tyler intro, but I was wrong. The thing about Bon's pants is not only are they unbelievably tight, the waist is oddly high. I always like to imagine this song is about Kurriemuir, Scotland, where Bon Scott was born, and where my ancestors hail from. After visiting, I have a feeling this isn't true.
Fleetwood Mac, “Over My Head”
SFBG It's always good to cast a vote for Ms. McVie. I like the effect of her face projected within the moon.
NL I always like to stick up for Ms. McVie. I feel like her songs don't get enough credit from some people. The backdrop is my favorite part of this performance, edging out Lindsay Buckingham's kimono.
The Bee Gees, “Nights On Broadway”
SFBG This is sort of a bridge between the Saturday Night Fever-era Bee Gees and the folkier, rockier Bee Gees. They possess an impressive array of keyboards. Robin has this sort of permanently tear-y look. This song has an excellent interlude. Doesn't it seem like musicianship of this caliber was common back then, and rare today?
NL This does seem like the bridge between early and late Bee Gees. I think that's why I like it so much. They were in the process of harnessing the power of the falsetto, but not yet abusing it. This is one of my favorite songs ever, by any band. Robin's near nude outfit is crazy, and then he does those weird dance moves. The level of musicianship on all of these clips is higher than today. I guess it was just required that if you were in a band, you were insanely tight live. So many of the Midnight Special performances sound better than the actual records.
Heart, “Crazy On You”
SFBG Terrific extended guitar intro by Nancy Wilson here. Is this your favorite Heart song?
NL Yes. The vocals have always seemed so difficult to me. This is flawless.