Monday, June 30, 2008

Death Valley '69

The last song on Sonic Youth's second LP Bad Moon Rising is called "Death Valley '69."

A hit? Hit it!!!

This song could easily be Sonic Youth's first real "hit". The song was released as a single before Bad Moon Rising was recorded. The more raw 7" featured no vocals from Lydia Lunch and was track to a 2-track machine by Wharton Tiers. The "demo" is much more slower than the album version.

Co-written by Lydia Lunch, Sonic Youth finally managed to write a pop song! It features a normal verse, chorus, breakdown/bridge and then back into the verse/chorus for a final finish!

As stated before, Bad Moon Rising was the first Sonic Youth record to feature full songs with alternate tunings. Death Valley 69 is the first song to feature the F#F#F#F#EB tuning. This is open of the longest surviving tunings which is still used today. Thurston was more prone to alternate tunings mostly because he had a hard time playing chords with his large hands. He preferred to jsut play barre chords with his thumb and alternate open tuning made that possible and gave the band a large palate of sounds to use.

This song was played almost nightly until the 1988 Daydream Nation tour. It was layed to rest until 1998's Thousand Leaves tour where it was the last song in EVERY set. The song has not been played since 2000 but was part of the bands sound check at several shows in 2006.

The first video was Sonic Youth's first music video directed by the great Richard Kern. The second is from the Gila Monster Jamboree video on 1-5-85.

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