Crazy Circles by Bad Company (1979)
I have a dream that one day all the citizens of earth will have their mobile devices filled to the brim with a generous helping of Retrospace music. Then, and only then, can we achieve world peace.
I give to you not only a mighty playlist of bitchin' grooves, but also some homespun album artwork courtesy Retrospace. This time 'round we've got a bunch of songs with one thing in common: all have the word "circle" in the title. Have no fear, Elton John's "Circle of Life" is nowhere to be found on this mix tape. Not only would that be an unforgivable affront to good taste, but I would also expect Disney lawyers to Kaiser Sosa my ass within five minutes of this posting.
Anyway, on with the mix tape. We'll spotlight a handful of songs, and the mix tape in its entirety is at the end of the post.
Walking in Different Circles - Ronnie Dio & the Prophets (1967)
Yes, it's that Ronnie Dio - future Sabbath frontman, and future Unholy Lord of 80s Devil Music.... here sounding a lot like Petula Clarke.
Width of a Circle by David Bowie (1970)
I like this Bowie phase the best. Before 1970, he sounded too much like a milquetoast folk singer, and after this album he got too glam for my tastes (and a tad self absorbed in his Germany phase). But in '70, he's got just the right amount of Lennon and Lou Reedishness (that's a word - look it up) to make me happy.
In Circles by Benjamin Orr (1986)
Eighties synthesizer music always sounds overly dated to me... to the point where I often can't even listen to it. However, Mr. Orr was a man of talent. It takes a lot for me to get past the Casio, but Benny manages to pull me in.
Circle Round the Sun by B.J. Thomas (1970)
This is a fucking brilliant masterpiece. I could listen to this in a continuous play for the rest of my life and still feel unsatisfied. A lot of people get turned off by the heavy use of strings and overblown orchestral accompaniment; however, I'm a sucker every time. George Martin had me at Strawberry Fields and still hasn't let go. Bring on the bassoons!
It's been said here a lot, but I don't think it can be said enough that The Monkees are the most underrated band of all time. Unfortunately, the tug o'war between pop stardom and counterculture cred was a losing battle from day one.
Like a lot of Nesmith compositions, it sounds like it wants to be on Sweethearts of the Rodeo. That being said, it's got that magical Monkee pixie dust that transforms a self-important Laurel Canyon yarn into pop music gold.
I'll also mention that this is from the infamous Jack Nicholson-Monkees film Head. It's about the only movie I can think of that requires 150 micrograms of lysergic acid for it to make any sense whatsoever.
Circle of Steel by Gordon Lightfoot (1974)
... And speaking of underrated and underappreciated, what better example than Gordon Lightfoot? For some reason, Gordon never got the hippie cred that similar unshaven troubadours like James Taylor and Kris Kristofferson received. He wasn't panned like the Monkees, but announcing your allegiance to Lightfoot at the schoolyard was likely to result in some form of Atomic Wedgie.
Lightfoot was drunken minstrel of incredible talent. Unlike Fogelberg and MaClean, he wasn't there to serenade you with elaborate prose. Lightfoot kicked ass... acoustically. You might say he was the Chuck Norris of folk music - prone to using expletives (see Seven Island Suite) and straight up murdering your ass (see Sundown).
Atlantic Starr - Circles
Bad Company - Crazy Circles
Belinda Carlisle - Circle In The Sand
Billy Preston - Will It Go Round In Circles
Captain Beyond - Everything's A Circle
Melanie - Center Of The Circle
Three Dog Night - Circle for a Landing
B.J. Thomas - Circle 'round The Sun
The Monkees - Circle Sky
The Friends Of Distinction - Going In Circles
Front 242 - Circling Overland
George Harrison - Circles
Gordon Lightfoot - Circle Of Steel
Highlight - Round In Circles
Benjamin Orr - In Circles
Iron Butterfly - Searchin' Circles
Joan Baez - Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Joni Mitchell - Circle Game
Judas Priest - Turning Circles
Louise Cordet - L'amour Tourne En Rond (Love Turns In A Circle)
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Earth The Circle
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Circles
Max Frost & The Troopers - Sittin' In Circles
Michael Brown - Circles
Ranking Devon - Pass The Chalice In A Circle
Praire Madness - Circles In The Sand
Ronnie Dio And The Prophets - Walking In Different Circles
Ten Years After - Circles
The New Seekers - Circles
Peppermint Rainbow - Walking In Different Circles
Small Faces - Green Circles (Italian version)
David Bowie - Width Of A Circle
Jimmy Swaggart - Will The Circle Be Unbroken