OLLIE's Soundtrack [Part 1]

It should go without saying that anything depicting the 1970s would be remiss without a proper soundtrack. So many things were in flux at that time, and music remains one of the best ways to snapshot all that was going on, not only in lyrical topics, but even in the very evolution happening in sound itself. But Ollie is more than just a casual listener: he's an avid Rolling Stones fan caught up in the bad boy imagery and rebellion associated with rock 'n' roll. It would go without saying that someone like Julian, a Beatles fan who adheres to the more free love counterculture, would infuriate Ollie absolutely. Interestingly, you might note that both groups played important roles in the counterculture, albeit in opposite ways -- much like our rivals here. 

But for those looking to vibe a bit with OLLIE and his world, I'm going to note some fun facts about every song that floats by Ollie in the summer of 1973. We'll start with the first ten and keep going until we've listened to them all! Some of these were once chapter titles when the story shifted perspectives between Ollie and Julian, and though that aspect has been adjusted, it'd be a crime to remove such great music from such a playlist. 

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1. Sittin' on a Fence - The Rolling Stones - [1965] - This song title was the original title for OLLIE, but was subbed out. I thought it would be better to make the title a clear indication that this story is about Ollie, not the Stones. The song discusses the demerits of settling for a bland life and the indecision of what to do instead -- a nice dig at social conformity if there ever was one. This stark, folksy song is acoustic and fairly stripped down for a Stones song, but it shows the band's willingness to play with other styles than than their usual blues-driven tunes. It might have been a demo, since it doesn't seem to have been particularly finalized, but that almost lends itself to the song's theme. 

2. Can't You Hear Me Knockin' - The Rolling Stones - [1971] - This song is one of the Stones' longer offerings, which can be attributed to a jam session that came about completely by chance while the tape was rolling. Talk about lightning in a bottle! Off the iconic album, Sticky Fingers, this song was originally the title of OLLIE's first chapter. Sticky Fingers features one of the most iconic Stones album covers, designed by Andy Warhol. It featured the lower half of a man in tight jeans, which had an actual working zipper. The zipper was eventually modified in future pressings because of the production difficulty and also because it was scratching the record inside. Contrary to popular belief, the man in the photo is not Mick Jagger. This album was also the first time the 'Hot Lips' logo was used. 

3. Brown Sugar - The Rolling Stones - [1971] - Also off of Sticky Fingers, this is one of the sexual songs that the songs were both famous for and also constantly in trouble for. Jagger famously instructed the rest of the band to make sure the track sounded 'fucking dirty.' With its slinky brass and bluesy influence, they nailed it. A song like this is exactly the kind of thing that attracts Ollie to the Stones. This one, in particular, is one he uses to cajole his prudish friend, Fred. 

4. Crossroad Blues  - Robert Johnson - [1936] - There isn't much known about Robert Johnson despite his profound impact on Delta blues. This song famously refers to the folklore that blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for unending guitar prowess. This song is mentioned in OLLIE not only to establish Ollie's interest in blues beyond just the Stones, but also to implicate the lengths Ollie is willing to go for success. 

5. Baby, Please Don't Go - Muddy Waters - [1953] - Muddy Waters is a Chicago blues icon and a great influence on the sound of the Rolling Stones (and many other coexisting bands). The Muddy Waters version of this particular song was recorded by Chess Records and was covered by a large number of rock 'n' roll acts of the 60's and 70's. Chess was a famously blues and R&B label based in Chicago. Ollie will be happy when the year 1981 rolls around, and his heroes record a live performance with Muddy Waters at the Checkerboard Lounge, also in Chicago. 

Keep it tuned here for another chat about the next songs on OLLIE's soundtrack. There was no way a story about the 70's could exist without integrating the iconic sounds of the day! I've often been asked how much research I did for OLLIE. Honestly, not as much as you'd think, since I pretty much live in this sound cloud at all times. I hope you enjoy yourself with these great songs as well! Happy listening!