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Recommended more for quality of live performance than for storytelling, VH1 Storytellers: Classics is a seven-song compilation from the popular VH1 series, bearing all the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the program. Some of the featured musicians are fine raconteurs, and the format of the show encourages them to share the genesis of their best-known songs. Pete Townshend explains that the title of "Baba O'Riley" was a combination of two people who inspired him when he wrote the song: Indian spiritual teacher Meher Baba and electronic musician Terry Riley (he added the "O'" for a touch of Irish flavor). David Bowie explains how "China Girl" arose from a collaboration with Iggy Pop after a moving experience in a Berlin punk club; and before launching into an outstanding performance, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen describes "Kid Charlemagne" as an allusion to the passing of the 1960s.
Other performers have little or nothing to say about the songs they perform (when asked, Rod Stewart shamefully can't recall who originally played mandolin on "Maggie May"), but virtually all of these performances are first-rate and fully deserving of their inclusion. Surprisingly--or perhaps not--Ringo Starr provides the highlight, recalling how his melancholy feeling of exclusion during the recording of the Beatles' White Album led him to take a holiday in Sardinia. It was there that he was inspired to write "Octopus's Garden," and his performance of that song--with his hand-picked band the All- Stars--is as purely delightful as the original recording. --Jeff ShannonFrom the Back Cover:
Every song has a story, and on this exclusive VH1 Storytellers compilation, we give you both. Seven legends take the acoustic set one step further when they reveal the secrets behind the songs you only thought you knew. This rare glimpse into the minds of your favorite artists can only be captured on VH1 Storytellers--rock's most intimate setting. 50 minutes.
1. Pete Townshend: Baba O'Riley
2. David Bowie: China Girl
3. Rod Stewart: Maggie May
4. Steely Dan: Kid Charlemagne
5. Sheryl Crow: My Favorite Mistake
6. Jackson Browne: Barricades of Heaven
7. Ringo Starr: Octopus's Garden
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