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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Mayor of the Sunset Strip - Original Soundtrack

MUSIC REVIEWS

Original Soundtrack Album-Mayor of the Sunset Strip (Shout! Factory)

Rodney Bingenheimer of Los Angeles' KROQ-FM is arguably the most influential disk jockey of the last thirty years.  He's certainly one of the few ever who has had a documentary made on his life and career.  This soundtrack to the film has the same shaggy dog eclecticism as his show, and the man himself.  In his years on the airwaves (he started on the station in 1976) Rodney on the 'ROQ has never felt it the least bit strange to follow-up a song by Black Flag with a song by the Monkees.  Because of this great appreciation of music itself, Rodney has been visited over the years by some of the biggest names in rock to talk and do impromptu gigs. 

He doesn't necessarily have a "radio" voice and he isn't a polished interviewer. But this every guy living out the rock-n-roll dream facet of his persona is just another part of his charm.  He started at the bottom of the musical food chain (Rodney was a gofer for Sonny & Cher in their glory days) and worked his way up to be one of the most influential forces in music.  Rodney was one of the first people to play punk on the airwaves and yet he loved the Beach Boys. 

This soundtrack just touches on some of this unconventional appreciation of music as music, not as the programmed and focus-grouped to death "product" making up most of the rest of modern radio.  It touches on some great songs that Rodney has championed over the years... from big hits like T-Rex's glam-rock classic "Get It On (Bang A Gong)," Alice Cooper's rocking "School's Out" and the Ramones' proto-punk "I Wanna Be Sedated" to more obscure but still terrific songs like Ronald Vaughan's surprisingly pretty reverb-laced "Jennifer Love Hewitt," Blur's shoulda-been-a-smash Brit-pop pastiche "Parklife" and Hole's touchingly vulnerable "Malibu." 

More interesting, though, are the songs that are exclusive to the show.  Brian Wilson's tribute "Rodney on the 'ROQ" is pure pop nirvana.  There are some cool exclusive live-in-studio tracks as well, including an obscure early-David Bowie song called "All the Madmen," a solo piano performance of "Yellow" by Coldplay leader Chris Martin and a concert version of "Los Angeles" by X. 

All of this is book-ended by Rodney's interviews and intros, which is the way it should be.  No album could even scratch the surface of all the music Rodney is responsible for opening the world's eyes to.  But this is a nice opening primer for those of you that weren't there.  (3/04)    

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2004 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 23, 2004.

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Copyright 2004 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: March 23, 2004.