Playlist: Movember

Playlist: Movember

· music · playlists
Make a difference this Movember. Boogie down with Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa, Bob Seger, Motörhead & more. Each new Spotify follower benefits men’s health.

Movember is upon us and we want you to boogie down for men’s health. Each no-shave November, the nonprofit Movember raises funds and awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer—three serious health issues that often go undiagnosed and untreated. But we’d like to change that.

For every new Spotify follower in November 2022, Ultimate Ears will donate $1 to Movember to help “change the face of men’s health.”

Press play and let’s celebrate some of our favorite mustachioed maestros of rock and roll. And don’t forget to smash that “Follow” button on our Spotify profile to make a difference for men’s health this Movember.

Frank Zappa — “Peaches En Regalia”

The illustrious Frank Zappa tickles our true wireless earbuds to get Movember kicked off on the good foot with “Peaches En Regalia,” the hairy tangle of prog-rock and jazz fusion which opens Zappa’s 1969 opus, Hot Rats.

In terms of musicianship, Zappa’s tricky compositions have a reputation for being tougher than the 1972 Miami Dolphins (some gnarly ‘stashes in that lineup, by the way) and the instrumental “Peaches En Regalia” takes the cake when it comes to catchy-but-difficult musical passages. Keyboardist Ian Underwood stuffs this tune chock full of sweet and tasty piano and organ runs that’ll make every whisker on your stiff upper lip stand up and say “hello.”

Mastodon — “Blood and Thunder”

Call us fans. Mastodon makes a shaggy dog story out of a whale of a tale on “Blood and Thunder,” their densely packed, epic gale-force take on another epic: Moby Dick.

The opening lines of Herman Melville’s 1851 epic novel about the obsessive captain of a whaling ship who’ll stop at nothing to enact his revenge against the elusive white whale who bit off his leg receive an equally brutal heavy metal adaptation on this opening track from Mastodon’s 2004 thrash/prog/sludge metal masterclass, Leviathan.

Writing an intro to compete with “Call me Ishmael” is no easy task, but the mustachioed Atlanta sludge metal maniacs of Mastodon have us banging our heads—hook, line and sinker.

The Party of Helicopters — “The Toucher”

Guitar players may recognize Jamie Stillman as the founder of the popular effects pedal company EarthQuaker Devices, but before he velcroed himself to your pedalboard, Stillman shredded the six-string in The Party of Helicopters.

The Ohio dream-pop/post-hardcore quartet formed at Kent State University in 1996 and spent most of their initial run hovering outside the mainstream. However, an intense live show honed through endless DIY touring and the antagonistic corn-fed outsider stage persona of vocalist Joe Dennis earned POH a squad of dedicated fans in underground rock circles. Chief among them is The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. Carney, from nearby Akron, Ohio, says he became “obsessed” with POH for “a few years” after discovering his local music scene.

On “The Toucher,” from the Party of Helicopters’ 2003 album Please Believe It, Joe Dennis tells a cut and dry (and hilarious, we think) story about a mustache that we’ll take at face value.

Motörhead — “No Class”

Lemmy takes credit for causing the decline of western civilization (or at least “the metal years,” anyway) on “No Class,” the fuzzy sleaze-metal boogie that shuffles the B-side of Motörhead’s 1979 album Overkill into red-line overdrive. Before it was a bar in Cleveland, “No Class” was a regular in Motörhead set lists until the band’s breakup in 2015.

True to form, everything is louder than everything else on the second single from Motörhead’s sophomore album. To enjoy a proper Motörhead listening experience, turn the volume up and your brain off. Maximum volume yields maximum results.

ZZ Top — “El Diablo”

We know, we know—the only clean-shaven member of ZZ Top is Frank Beard. But there ain’t nothing ironic about the ZZ Top drummer’s wicked snare drum shuffle on “El Diablo,” a psychedelic deep cut of southwestern desert blues from the 66%-bearded Texas trio’s 1976 LP, Tejas. And besides—between two-thirds of their faces, Billy F. Gibbons’ guitar sound and actual furry guitars, ZZ Top has the market cornered on fuzz.

In a set of good earbuds, the trippy echo effects applied to the guitar and bass at 1:20 and again at 2:47 roll across the soundstage high and lonesome like tumbling tumbleweeds.

Santana — “Oye Como Va”

Tito Puente goes electric on Carlos Santana’s cover of “Oye Como Va,” the definitive version of Puente’s cha-cha-chá heard on Santana’s 1970 album Abraxas.

Abraxas danced straight to the top of the Billboard charts, the first of many hits by Carlos Santana. Smooth guitar licks and acid-fried Hammond organ solos meet Puente’s driving dance rhythms on this classic rock hit.

Sparks — “Moustache”

Get ready for a high-energy “Moustache” ride with tour guides Ron and Russell Mael. The Brothers Mael—known professionally as Sparks—don’t bother splitting hairs on this wacky, self-aware and semi-autobiographical ode to the often uncredited (and underappreciated) third Sparks Brother: keyboardist and songwriter Ron Mael’s mustache.

This b-side from 1982’s Angst In My Pants documents the artistic evolution of Ron Mael’s shapeshifting upper lip, which, like Sparks’ music, remains provocative, hilarious and unforgettable.

“The man knows how to work the 'stache like nobody this side of David Crosby,” says AllMusic critic Stewart Mason.

Bob Seger & the Last Heard — “Heavy Music—Pt. 2”

Bob Seger fans seeking some of that old time rock and roll sound should turn the page to the early days of the heartland rocker’s career and tune into the Last Heard.

Originally a single by Seger’s pre-Silver Bullet Band outfit, this 1967 garage-rock nugget struck AM Gold in Seger’s hometown of Detroit, but landed with a thud outside the midwest. Nationally, the song failed to crack the top 100 and Seger’s record label, Cameo-Parkway, folded just as the single was gaining traction. But rock and roll never forgets.

In 1976, “Heavy Music” proved to be a song worth its weight in gold, thanks to a blistering eight-minute live version captured on Live Bullet, the double-live album that (finally) launched Bob Seger, now backed by the Silver Bullet Band, to rock and roll stardom.

Black Sabbath — “Into the Void”

We’d follow Black Sabbath anywhere, but if we get to choose, we’re going “Into the Void.” The only thing heavier than the riffs on Master of Reality’s sludgy grand finale are the heavy-duty ‘staches Sabbath were rocking back in 1971.

The sculpted fuzz creations worn by Bill Ward, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi during the band’s early years are as thick as the detuned guitars on Sabbath’s creepy-crawly doom metal monolith.

Lionel Richie — “Dancing on the Ceiling”

If you want to talk about staying power, we need to talk about Lionel Richie. And yes, we mean both his musical career and his mustache. Richie has been rocking his perfectly manicured ‘stache since he fronted the legendary funk band The Commodores, possibly best known for their hits “Easy” and “Three Times a Lady.” In 1980 he went solo, and the hits kept coming.

“Dancing on the Ceiling,” from the 1985 album of the same name, wasn’t even the record’s biggest hit—”Say You, Say Me” managed to hit number one while “Dancing on the Ceiling” peaked at number two. Despite not taking the top spot on the charts, it remains one of Richie’s most enduring hits, thanks to its silly but undeniably fun mood.

In the 1980s, a hit needed a strong music video. A decade before Jamiroquai ruled MTV with the rotating “Virtual Insanity” set, Richie danced across the walls and, well, ceiling in the video for “Dancing on the Ceiling.” A tribute to Fred Astaire’s famous dance routine in the film Royal Wedding, the video’s effect was achieved by placing Richie in a rotating room while the camera mounted to the perceived floor.

Though Richie’s dancing doesn’t quite touch Astaire's, the result is a fun video whose vibe matches that of the song—goofy, good-natured and perfect for any party.

Daryl Hall & John Oates — “Private Eyes”

Go ahead, try and listen to “Private Eyes” without doing the claps, we dare you.

Daryl Hall & John Oates, the blue-eyed soul duo responsible for some of rock’s most unshakable earworms, had already been making music for 10 years by the time the Private Eyes record and its title track were released. Featuring a biting lead guitar, Daryl Hall’s signature piano comps and a melodic hook you can’t help but sing along to.

“Private Eyes” ended up becoming the duo’s third number one hit, reigning supreme over the Billboard Top 100 from November 7-20, 1981. A fun piece of music trivia, “Private Eyes” was knocked out of the top spot by Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical,” which was succeeded by Daryl Hall & John Oates’ next number one, “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).”

Haruomi Hosono — “Rock-A-Bye My Baby”

To call Haruomi Hosono one of the most influential Japanese musicians in history feels like an understatement. Kicking off his musical career with a string of psychedelic and folk rock bands, including Happy End, he shaped Japanese pop music for decades.

Hosono House, the album on which you’ll find “Rock-A-Bye My Baby,” is one of the earliest home recordings out of Japan in the 1970s. Wanting to emulate the classic Music from Big Pink by The Band, Hosano set up a 16-track mixing console in his home in Sayama, Japan and recorded for five hours a day until it was completed.

The first track on Hosono House, “Rock-A-Bye My Baby” feels somewhat different from the rest of the album, which has a distinctly Americana feel. The intimate Django-esque acoustic jazz tune has a gentle breeziness to it that manages to set the tone for the rest of the album despite being its sole acoustic ballad.

Spinal Tap — “Gimme Some Money”

Spinal Tap may have been a fake band, but the rock, legacy and mustaches were totally real. While the reports of armadillos are exaggerated, there’s no doubt that Spinal Tap “acts their wage” on “Gimme Some Money,” an early attempt at Beatlesque pop from the ‘Tap’s short-lived skiffle era.

Critics and fans remain divided when it comes to Spinal Tap’s musical merit, but you do have to admit “Gimme Some Money” is a whole lot better than anything on Shark Sandwich.

Hear and feel the difference.

Terms & Conditions. Ultimate Ears will donate $1 for each new follower on our Spotify account during the month of November 2022, up to $2,000, to the Movember Foundation.

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