Best Songs, Part 1: Chameleon
My dad has been putting together a playlist of all-time great songs, and mentioned to me and my brothers that we should do the same and share with one another. “Great” songs in this case don’t have to be by any particular measure other than personally important to yourself — either ones you got enjoyment out of when younger, ones that have an emotional connection, or just fun favorites you always tune in to when you hear it come on.
I started putting together my own playlist and thought I’d share them here in no particular order.
The first on my list is Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon”, from the 1973 album Head Hunters.
So many excellent elements in this song, which is now a standard covered by jazz bands at festivals year in and year out. The walking bass line, the synths, wild electric piano solo, and my personal favorite: Harvey Mason’s backbeat snare followed by double bass kick.
This was one of the early hits in the emerging genre of jazz fusion. It takes an infectious song to make 15 minutes feel so short.