Author Archives: Steve Smith

About Steve Smith

Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Director of Film Studies at Millsaps College

Stepping Up: The Association, “Windy” (1967)

Nothing in 1967 affected me more strongly, more transportingly, than “Windy.” It’s true that the tune does not come out of the gate like three-weeks-at-#1 material. It’s stiff and slow, and the bass riff it offers is insipid (a simple … Continue reading

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Scary: The Who, “I Can See For Miles” (1967)

Next in my series of fifty-years-late appreciations of music in the year of wonders, I turn to a September 1967 (U.S.) release. Some tracks burst into your life sounding unnervingly good in a deeply unfamiliar way. (The uniqueness makes this … Continue reading

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Too Beautiful: Small Faces, “Itchycoo Park” (1967)

The year of wonders, 1967, is well-represented on the Hooks site, but I’d like to lift up one more wonder to mark its fiftieth anniversary. I’ve always found “Itchycoo Park” (released in August 1967) tremendous, but to protect the experience … Continue reading

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Greatest Dylan Hooks

What a great day, in a categorically confusing way: a popular songwriter has won the Nobel Prize for literature! We must pay our respects! What for you is the greatest hook in Dylan’s lyrics, and why do you pick it? … Continue reading

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Outro #4: On Paying Tribute

What good does it do to pay tribute? What does it accomplish to declare to the world that you see the worth of something, that you thrill to it? The question seems pressing to me after my last post, which … Continue reading

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Fluency: Robben Ford, “Talk To Your Daughter” (1988)

I’m breaking a cardinal rule for Hooks posts and writing one without any analytical idea about the track that calls forth my tribute. That’s the thing: that Robben Ford’s lead guitar licks in “Talk To My Daughter” are so deeply … Continue reading

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Great Love, “My man”: Laura Nyro, “Tom Cat Goodby” (1969)

What would it be like to hear real love in music? What would declare it adequately? Would there be a sound of ecstatic transport–soaring high notes, a fluttering up and down scales, Melisma City? Or would there be a sound … Continue reading

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