Welcome to our final Extended Play list of the 2015-16 season! As usual, all the tracks below relate in some way to articles in the May 2016 issue. Tracks 1-2 draw from our Music Notes section with songs by Billy Joel and Lukas Graham. Tracks 3-7 were all recorded at the same fabled location: London’s Abbey Road Studios. Tracks 8-14 feature some of the most well-respected rhythm sections in pop music history, including the Wrecking Crew (on the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby”), the Funk Brothers of Motown (on the Four Tops’ “Bernadette”), and reggae legends Sly and Robbie (on Mighty Diamonds’ “Right Time”). Track 15 spotlights our Now Playing instrument for the month, the Optigan. Its wobbly lo-fi organ sound makes an appropriate accompaniment for a, well…let’s just call it an unusual vocal performance by Tom Waits. And if you want to actually see an Optigan in action, keep scrolling down.
Last but by no means least, here’s a cool video demonstration of an Optigan (using the “Cha Cha Cha” disc, no less). Thank you for inventing this strange but wonderful instrument, Mattel, Inc.!