Gotta Get Up

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HARRY NILSSON: “Gotta Get Up” Play this track

Nilsson’s first “rock” song. That voice. —Rock Stamberg

THE KINKS: “This Time Tomorrow” Play this track

Another great—yes, great—Kinks song that flew under the radar. No more. —RS

PAUL SIMON AND GEORGE HARRISON: “Homeward Bound” Play this track

From SNL circa 1976. A rare acoustic gem featuring top-notch performances from both. A treat. Check out George’s cool little run down the fretboard at the end. —RS

Rarely is music exceptional on TV. But this is one of those exceptions and exactly the kind of performance we were thinking of when we started NHT. S&H also played “Here Comes the Sun” on the show. —John Stix

THE TEMPTATIONS: “Just My Imagination (A Cappella)” Play this track

There is something so gentle about this vocal performance. It’s ethereal, like it’s happening in the clouds. It’s an emotional musical exhale. If you’re one who is drawn in more by a whisper than a scream this track is for you. —JS

VAN DYKE PARKS: “The Four Mills Brothers” Play this track

Could this be the first time a song incorporated a “sample” off another record? It would likely be a 10-inch 78 rpm record, mind you. Maybe made of shellac. Parks’ pedigree precedes him, of course. The orchestra is majestically arranged and played. —RS

NRBQ: “I Got a Rocket in My Pocket” Play this track

This is one of the two best live versions of this song NRBQ ever released, in my humble opinion. Great original rock ’n roll played with verve. They don’t use a set list and never play the same show twice. Inspired potluck guaranteed every time out. We’ll be playing my other favorite version soon, I promise. —RS

STEVE WINWOOD: “Different Light” Play this track

This is one of Winwood’s best-ever tunes and studio performances. An honest-to-god mid-to-late career highlight, this all-but-forgotten diamond ought to delight Traffic fans. —RS

The syncopated plucked chords tap out a rhythm and you’re hooked. When that signature Winwood organ sound enters you already know this song is destined for the mixed tape or, these days, NHT. Like Paul Simon coming up with Graceland out of the blue, Steve Winwood brought us back to his heyday with “Different Light.” You’ve got that groove, that great voice and even a Traffic-like sax solo. A great songwriter can pull another classic out at any time, we just don’t know when, so we keep listening. —JS

THE BEATLES: “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey” Play this track

After years of playing The BEATLES, a/k/a “The White Album,” thousands of times, this oddball track seemingly full of edits and other aural abandon grabbed me by the collar and demanded I give it its due. So I have. This track kills. Paul’s one-take “trial” overdub of the fire bell pushes this thing into overdrive. Hellacious. —RS

This, from the undisputed best pop band in the world. What we’ve got here are great guitar parts, a raging vocal and a fireman’s bell for the ages. Plus, the Beatles show they know how to rock (harder than The Stones). —JS

FLEETWOOD MAC: “Station Man” Play this track

Another underrated keeper. Guitarist/composer/singer Danny Kirwan’s abilities are in full swing here. A forgotten track from a forgotten album (Kiln House) by a pre-mega fame Fleetwood Mac. —RS

ROBERT PALMER: “Man Smart (Woman Smarter)” Play this track

This is the one that got me into Robert Palmer. Little Feat meets The Meters with an amazing British vocalist who’s workin’ every angle. Oddball funk. The lyrics are great, too. —RS

MICK JAGGER AND KEITH RICHARDS: “Country Honk” Play this track

Just the two of ’em relaxing in the backstage area prior to a show in Cuba a few years back. The chemistry still resonates. More of this, please. —RS

JOHN CALE: “Paris 1919” Play this track

What a great track. Unexpected and unclassifiable pop from someone you’d least expect. As with the Van Dyke Parks song in this playlist (“The Four Mills Brothers”), the orchestration is impeccable. —RS

STEVE VAI: “Salamanders in the Sun” Play this track

Like his mentor Frank Zappa, Steve Vai is a composer who is also an astonishing guitar player. Both talents are on display here. As the song begins, I think it’s an outtake from George Martin’s scoring of Yellow Submarine. Majestic and cinematic, we are flowing effortlessly under the sea. There’s also this open-sounding Aaron Copland-like tonality at play. Now we are in the sky and his guitar swoops and sails on the wind. I imagine this is the sound of birds playing high in the clouds. To put a cap on it, I am thrilled to listen to this song three times in a row as I write this. —JS

DAVE EDMUNDS: “I Hear You Knocking” Play this track

John Lennon loved this song. It may only be rock ’n roll, but it swings right here. There’s enough grit and genuine feel to fool you into thinking it’s a classic blues, but it’s more than that. —RS

SQUEEZE: “Time Is Tight/In Quintessence” Play this track

What can anyone say about Squeeze that isn’t positive? Beware: This blithe medley will creep up on you. —RS

Composers often look to other songs for inspiration. I recall Joe Perry telling me Aerosmith once took one of their hits and played it backwards and used that sound as the bedrock for another song. It’s pretty easy to tell where Squeeze got the inspiration for their song “In Quintessence.” In fact, they not only use the inspiration of Booker T’s “Time is Tight” but on this live track, they play the whole song as an intro to their own original. They just turn the beat around and voilà, you’ve got another hook-laden pop song from one of the finest U.K. bands ever. This is the kind of thing I dream about when a band plays live: Have fun with it. Squeeze do. —JS

DAVID GRISMAN: “Dawg Jazz” Play this track

What we have here is big band bluegrass swing with mandolin and horns. David Grisman has open ears. Deadheads know him for his work with Jerry Garcia. Years before that his partners in bluegrass and jazz included the likes of Tony Rice, Stéphane Grappelli, Rob Wasserman and Daryl Anger. This is fusion music at its finest. —JS

JERRY GARCIA: “Russian Lullaby” Play this track

Solo Jerry Garcia was a wildly different stylistic animal than Grateful Dead Jerry Garcia. His unexpectedly jazzy spin on the Irving Berlin standard proves it. —RS

ROBBIE ROBERTSON: “Showdown at Big Sky” Play this track

I just adore the creepy intro, the booming sound and, frankly, every nuance of this track. Robertson’s vocals are spectacular and producer Daniel Lanois’ spooky atmospherics deliver. I never get tired of this song. —RS