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The A+ List – Dazed and Confused Edition

Before Sunriseish

Before Sunriseish

The 1993 Richard Linklater film” Dazed and Confused” only took in about $8 million during its theatrical release, but has become known as one of the most loved cult movies of the modern era. Set in 1976 at a suburban Austin high school, the movie balanced both the drama and aimlessness of the high school experience – ritual hazing, cruising endlessly while listening to the radio, keg parties/pot smoking, and random hookups. The movie benefited greatly by a deft selection of high quality ‘70s rock tracks and the soundtrack sold so well that a spinoff version of the soundtrack (“Even More Dazed and Confused”) was released. Not all of the songs listed below were in the movie or soundtrack, but they are representative of the mood of the era. You don’t have to know about the movie to enjoy these songs, but it would be a lot cooler if…

1. “Free Ride,” Edgar Winter Group. Sly Stone meets classic rock on this 1973 hit that sounds definitive of the era and is still a kick today.

2. “Highway Star,” Deep Purple. CREEM rock critic Richard Riegel once wrote that “Highway Star” is “forever” and he was eternally correct.

3. “School’s Out,” Alice Cooper. Such a classic that it still gets heavy airplay annually in late May/early June. You could stick about a half a dozen Cooper songs in your D&C soundtrack, since the theatrical rocker that once legitimately scared parents was a defining figure of the high school experience for many 1970’s grads.

4. “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” Rick Derringer. The Johnny Winter/Rick Derringer connection from “Free Ride” continues with this lawdy mama, light my fuse rocker. Crunchy, dumb fun.

5. “Paranoid,” Black Sabbath. A lean proto-punk number for that for my download is the best thing Sabbath ever did. Went Top 5 pop in the U.K. and makes its devastating point in less than three minutes.

6. “Stranglehold,” Ted Nugent. Impossible not to love. As determined as a dog in heat.

7. “Fox on the Run,” Sweet. You’d never confuse Sweet lyrically with Leonard Cohen, but this British glam band successfully bridged the gap between bubblegum pop and ‘70s hard rock, while always keeping frivolous fun in the equation (until the got as heavy as they could theme wise with “Love Is Like Oxygen”). Word on the street is that Little Willy remains homeless.

8. “Oye Como Va,” Santana. I include this only because I take great joy in singing the title as “Holy Cocoa Puffs” whenever it comes on the radio.

9. “The Boys Are Back in Town,” Thin Lizzy. Twin lead guitars never sounded better and Lynott always brought an edge of danger to the party.

10. “Tuesday’s Gone,” Lynyrd Skynyrd. The morning after – empty whiskey bottles, overflowing ashtrays, a wistful mixture of happiness and regret.

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