I had one of two pictures to begin this post with. I chose this:
(SIDENOTE: The other is after the jump.)
I’ve long been a fan of the ol’ mouth
organ harp, probably since I first heard it in Elton John’s I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues. But through all my years, use of the ol’ juicebox has been left out to dry.
Not since Blues Traveler’s Run-Around, their infinitely better song, Hook, and Alanis Morissette’s Hand in My Pocket has a song with a harmonica solo gone mainstream. John Popper and Alanis were topping the charts with those songs in 1994 and 95. That’s fifteen years without a prevalent Mississippi saxophone presence. Was it merely a mid-90’s thing?
Let’s look at earlier performances that included the tin sandwich:
- Billy Joel’s Piano Man
- Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely
- Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ Mary Jane’s Last Dance
- The Beatles’ Love Me Do
- and almost anything by Bob Dylan
The only recent hope that the Reckless Tram has had has been courtesy of Jack White (The White Stripes’ Hello Operator) and The Helio Sequences’ aptly named Harmonica Song:
Am I missing any? (I’m sure I am.) Is the instrument dead to the pop music scene? Can you imagine the likes of Katy Perry, Justin Beiber, or Ke$ha sliding a foreign metal instrument across their lips?
Maybe that’s a question for an entirely different subject…