This week it’s a classic-rock package of the past and the present. Along with three songs you already know and love, we’ve got our first-ever release of a brand new song, one that you can download and play before it’s even out on CD. Not just any new song either: This is the spankin’ new Motley Crüe single, “Saints of Los Angeles. As you’ll hear, it’s a sensitive ballad with a depressing theme….Just kidding.
Nope, it’s a stomping and snarling ode to Hollywood decadence, just the sort of thing that put the Crüe on the map in the '80s. It’s the first new release from the original lineup in ten years, the teaser for a new album they’re releasing this summer (the album is tentatively called The Dirt, same title as the Crüe’s notorious tell-all biography). Be prepared for a special announcement from the Crüe today at 7PM EST over at http://www.therockvine.com/. If this one doesn’t get your blood pumping and your heart kick-started, you need to make a call to Dr. Feelgood.
As for the classic tracks…
The Police — “Message in a Bottle”
Another classic Police track for your collection, this lonely guy’s anthem was a more successful US single than “Roxanne” had been. At four minutes-plus and sporting keyboard overdubs, it was longer and lusher than anything on the Police’s debut, pointing the way to their later singles. The band’s US fans got to hear “Message in a Bottle” for months before it was released, as the song was part of the concert set for their first American tour. Trivia note: If Sting found 100 million bottles on his island, that would mean that one of every eleven people alive in 1979 had sent him one.
Blondie — “Call Me”
Before digging your parents’ spandex suits out of the closet, a few words on just how groundbreaking this record was. Rock bands just weren’t supposed to make disco records in 1980, especially not rock bands who cut their teeth at the punk mecca CBGB. Blondie was among the first to break that taboo with “Heart of Glass,” and this one went even further: It was their first and only collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, the German synthesizer player best-known for Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.” Hit singles about male escorts weren’t easy to come by either; but it’s easy to hear how much fun Debbie Harry is having with the concept. Written for the movie “American Gigolo” (remember when Richard Gere was a sex symbol?), this song didn’t appear on any of Blondie’s regular albums, but became the biggest hit single of their career. Okay, you can put on the Spandex now.
Lynyrd Skynyrd — “Simple Man”
Amazingly enough, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first album wasn’t a huge hit out of the box. They loved ‘em in the South, but the band was a few months away from a national breakthrough—That would come after they toured with the Who, opening the “Quadrophenia” tour, then hit nationally for the first time with “Sweet Home Alabama.”. A sweeping ballad, “Simple Man” is of course now recognized as one of Van Zant’s great vocal moments This song closed side one of Skynyrd’s debut album, but it was somewhat overshadowed by the song that closed side two—a little ditty called “Free Bird.”
“I Want My, I Want My DLC!”
The songs in Rock Band are only the beginning. Each week we’ll be rolling out more downloadable songs, essential tracks (and sometimes whole albums) from every era of rock history. Check the Rock Band website to find out what’s new.
Tracks will usually sell for $1.99 each; with three-pack specials costing $5.49. (On the Xbox 360, that’s 160 Microsoft Points per track and 440 per three-pack). Occasional special or discounted tracks may cost a dollar more or less.
Downloadable content for the Xbox 360 is available through the XBOX LIVE marketplace. Downloads for the PLAYSTATION 3 version of Rock Band are available through the PLAYSTATION Network Store. In each case, the songs are downloaded onto your hard drive.
If you’re playing solo, you can start rocking right away. For head-to-head or multi-player online, all players will need to download the song.