Sunday, January 31, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (January 31 - February 6)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jan 31
1906 ● Roosevelt Sykes → Boogie-blues piano player
1921 ● Mario Lanza (Alfredo Arnold Cocozza) → Opera tenor, actor, singer "Be My Love" (1950)
1928 ● Harold "Chuck" Willis → "C.C. Rider" (1957)
1940 ● Sandy Yaguda → Jay & The Americans
1946 ● Terry KathChicago
1951 ● Harry Wayne "K.C." Casey → KC & The Sunshine Band
1951 ● Phil Manzannera (Targett-Adams) → Roxy Music
1956 ● Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) → Sex Pistols
1961 ● Lloyd Cole → Commotions
1966 ● Al Doughty (Alan Jaworski) → Jesus Jones
1967 ● Jason CooperThe Cure
1981 ● Justin Timberlake → *NSYNC

Feb 01
1937 ● Don EverlyEverly Brothers
1937 ● Ray Sawyer → Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
1938 ● Jimmy Carl Black (James Inkanish)Mothers of Invention
1948 ● Rick James (James Ambrose Johnson) → "Super Freak" (1981)
1950 ● Mike CampbellTom Petty & The Heartbreakers
1951 ● Fran Christina → Fabulous Thunderbirds
1951 ● Rich WilliamsKansas
1964 ● Jani Lane (John Kennedy Oswald) → Warrant
1968 ● Lisa Marie Presley → Only child of Elvis
1969 ● Patrick Wilson → Weezer
1975 ● Big Boi (Antwan Andre Patton) → Outkast

Feb 02
1927 ● Stan Getz → Jazz saxaphonist
1934 ● Clyde "Skip" BattinByrds, Flying Burrito Bros., New Riders Of The Purple Sage
1940 ● Alan Caddy → Tornados
1942 ● Graham NashHollies, Crosby Stills Nash & Young
1948 ● Alan McKay → Earth Wind & Fire
1949 ● Ross ValorySteve Miller Band, Journey
1963 ● Eva Cassidy → "Over The Rainbow" (1992)
1966 ● Robert DeLeo → Stone Temple Pilots
1971 ● Ben Mize → Counting Crows
1975 ● Billy Mohler → The Calling
1977 ● Shakira Isabell Mebarak Ripoll → "Hips Don't Lie" (2006)

Feb 03
1928 ● Frankie Vaughan (Frank Abelson) → "Green Door" (1956)
1935 ● Johnny "Guitar" Watson → "Space Guitar" (1954)
1940 ● Angelo d'AleoDion & The Belmonts
1943 ● Dennis EdwardsTemptations
1943 ● Eric HaydockHollies
1943 ● Shawn Phillips → "Lost Horizon" (1973)
1947 ● Dave DaviesThe Kinks
1947 ● Melanie (Melanie Safka) → "Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)" (1970)
1949 ● Arthur Kane → New York Dolls
1956 ● Lee Renaldo → Sonic Youth
1959 ● Laurence "Lol" TolhurstThe Cure
1990 ● Sean Kingston (Kisean Jamal Anderson) → "Beautiful Girls" (2007)

Feb 04
1941 ● John Steel → Animals
1944 ● Florence LaRue → The 5th Dimension
1948 ● Alice Cooper (Vincent Damon Furnier)
1951 ● Phil EhartKansas
1952 ● Jerry Shirley → Humble Pie
1962 ● Clint Black → "Killin' Time" (1989)
1975 ● Natalie Imbruglia → "Torn" (1997)
1975 ● Rick Burch → Jimmy Eat World
1976 ● Cam'ron (Cameron Giles) → "Oh Boy" (2002)

Feb 05
1919 ● Red Buttons (Aaron Chwatt) → Actor, singer
1923 ● Claude King → "Wolverton Mountain" (1962)
1935 ● Alex Harvey → Sensational Alex Harvey Band
1941 ● Barrett Strong → "Money (That's What I Want)" (1962), Motown writer/producer
1942 ● Corey Wells → Three Dog Night
1943 ● Charles "Chuck" Winfield Blood, Sweat & Tears
1943 ● Sven Johannson → Tangerine Dream
1944 ● Al Kooper → Blues Project, Blood Sweat & Tears, sessions, producer
1944 ● J.R. Cobb → Atlanta Rhythm Section
1964 ● Michael "Duff" McKagan → Guns N' Roses
1968 ● Chris Barron → Spin Doctors
1969 ● Bobby Brown → "My Perogative" (1988)

Feb 06
1941 ● Dave Berry (David Holgate Grundy) → "The Crying Game" (1964)
1943 ● Fabian (Fabiano Forte Bonaparte) → "Tiger" (1964)
1945 ● Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley → Reggae giant
1950 ● Mike Batt → "Summertime City" (1975)
1950 ● Stephanie Natalie Maria Cole → "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" (1975)
1962 ● Axl Rose (William Bruce Rose Bailey) → Guns N' Roses
1966 ● Rick Astley → "Never Gonna Give You Up" (1987)

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Moby Grape (1/30/72) 41 Years!

Hard core fans of psychedelic rock know Moby Grape was one of the premier bands of the era, despite the fact that they really weren’t a psych-rock outfit in a strict sense. Regardless of their genre label, the Grape had a terrific series of albums between 1967 and 1972, including their fourth, Moby Grape ’69, which came out on January 30, 1969. While their 1967 self-titled debut album is widely acclaimed as one of the best 60s albums of the psych-rock era, Moby Grape ’69 was no slouch.

Never prone to the drawn out, self-indulgent, often pretentious instrumental improvisations of some of their San Francisco brethren, Moby Grape featured a five-man, three-guitar lineup with roots in Canada, the Pacific Northwest and Southern California. With all five musicians sharing the songwriting, the Grape produced a wide variety of sounds, blending elements of blues, rock ‘n roll, country and folk into a rootsy mix with just enough spacey, acid-rock to put them in the realm of psychedelia. Moby Grape ’69 found the band honing their sound with deeper country and folk influences, presaging the mellow country-rock of the 70s. Fans of Poco (click here) and the Eagles (here) in particular will enjoy Moby Grape ’69 and its predecessors, Truly Fine Citizen (July 1969) and 20 Granite Creek (1971).

Moby Grape ‘69 is available as downloads for iPods and mp3 players on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Simon & Garfunkel (1/26/70) 40 Years!

Simon & Garfunkel’s hugely successful folk-pop partnership was unraveling during the recording sessions for their fifth album. Bridge Over Troubled Water was released on January 26, 1970 and proved to be a fitting and reflective bookend to a turbulent decade and the stellar run for Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, the most popular folk duo of the Sixties – and inarguably all time.

S&G (see my playlist here) found a broad audience in all age groups and across the spectrum of pop and rock music with Bridge Over Troubled Water. With its gospel-tinged title track, the tambourine chops and light African rhythms of “Cecilia,” the haunting mandolin of “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” and the flowing introspection of “The Boxer,” the album won the hearts of the public, garnered multiple Grammy awards, spent more than ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard album chart, and sat for an astounding 33 weeks atop the British charts. But despite their lifelong friendship, the strains of a decade-long artistic association, Garfunkel’s move toward an acting career and Simon’s desire for freedom as a solo artist were causing a rift even before they began to record Bridge in October 1969. By the time the album came out, the ampersand was gone and the two were headed down separate paths.

One of the top selling albums of the 70s and a 25 million plus seller over 40 years, Bridge Over Troubled Water is available as downloads for iPods and mp3 players on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (January 24 -30)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jan 24
1936 ● Doug Kershaw → Country fiddler, "Louisiana Man" (1961)
1939 ● Ray Stevens (Harold Ray Ragsdale) → "Everything Is Beautiful" (1970)
1941 ● Aaron Neville → Neville Brothers
1941 ● Neil Diamond → "The Jewish Elvis"
1947 ● Warren Zevon → "Werewolves Of London" (1978)
1949 ● John Belushi → Blues Brothers
1953 ● Matthew Wilder (Weiner) → "Break My Stride" (1983)
1958 ● Julian Miles "Jools" Holland → Squeeze

Jan 25
1938 ● Etta James (Jamesetta Hawkins) → "Tell Mama" (1967)
1950 ● Michael Cotton → The Tubes
1954 ● Richard Finch → KC & The Sunshine Band
1956 ● Andy Cox → English Beat, Fine Young Cannibals
1958 ● Gary Tibbs → Roxy Music, Vibrators
1962 ● Peter Coyle → Lotus Eaters
1963 ● Carl Fysh → Brother Beyond
1971 ● China Kantner → Daughter of Grace Slick and Paul Kantner
1981 ● Alicia Keys (Alicia Auguello Cook) → "Fallin'" (2001)

Jan 26
1934 ● Huey "Piano" Smith → "Rockin' Pneumonia" (1957)
1945 ● Ashley "Tyger" Hutchings → Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span
1946 ● Deon Jackson → "Love Makes The World Go 'Round" (1966)
1948 ● Laurence Gordon "Corky" LaingMountain, West Bruce & Laing
1949 ● Derek Holt → Climax Blues Band
1951 ● Andy Hummell → Big Star
1951 ● David Briggs → Little River Band
1953 ● Lucinda Williams → "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" (1998)
1957 ● Edward Van Halen Van Halen
1958 ● Anita Baker → "Sweet Love" (1986)
1958 ● Norman Hassan → UB40
1963 ● Andrew Ridgeley → Wham!
1963 ● Jazzie B. (Trevor Beresford Romeo) → Soul II Soul
1966 ● Pim Jones → Hipsway
1970 ● Kirk Franklin → Contemporary gospel
1972 ● Ya Kid K (Manuela Barbara Kamosi Moaso Djogi) → Technotronic

Jan 27
1918 ● Elmore James → Blues slide guitarist/songwriter
1919 ● David Seville (Rosdom Sipan "Ross" Bagdasarian) → Creator of Alvin & The Chipmunks
1930 ● Bobby "Blue" Bland (Robert Calvin Bland) → "Stormy Monday Blues" (1962)
1931 ● Rudy Mauger → The Crew Cuts
1944 ● Kevin Coyne → "Marlene" (1973)
1945 ● Nick MasonPink Floyd
1946 ● Kim Gardner → Ashton, Gardner & Dyke
1947 ● Nedra Talley → Ronettes
1951 ● Brian Downey → Thin Lizzy
1951 ● Seth Justman → J. Geils Band
1955 ● Richard Young → Kentucky Headhunters
1961 ● Gillian Gilbert → New Order
1961 ● Margo Timmins → Cowboy Junkies
1961 ● Martin Degville → Sigue Sigue Sputnik
1964 ● Miguel John "Migi" Drummond → Curiosity Killed The Cat
1968 ● Mike Patton → Faith No More
1970 ● Mark Trojanowski → Sister Hazel

Jan 28
1929 ● Bernard Stanley "Acker" Bilk → "Stranger On The Shore" (1962)
1936 ● Jack Scott (Giovanni Dominico Scafone, Jr.) → "Burning Bridges" (1960)
1943 ● Dick TaylorRolling Stones, The Pretty Things
1944 ● Brian "Chambers" KeenanChambers Brothers, Manfred Mann
1946 ● Rick Allen → Box Tops
1959 ● Dave Sharp → The Alarm
1962 ● Leslie "Sam" Phillips → "Holding On To The Earth" (1989)
1963 ● Dan Spitz → Anthrax
1968 ● DJ Muggs (Lawrence Muggerud) → Cypress Hill
1968 ● Rakim (William Michael Griffin, Jr.) → Rapper
1968 ● Sarah McLachlan → "Adia" (1998)
1977 ● Joey Fatone → *NSYNC
1977 ● Raphael "Tweety" Brown → Next
1980 ● Nick Carter → Backstreet Boys

Jan 29
1933 ● Alexandre "Sacha" Distel → "The Good Life" (1965)
1943 ● Kenneth "Tony" Blackburn → "So Much Love" (1969)
1947 ● David Byron (David Garrick) → Uriah Heep, solo
1952 ● Tommy Ramone (Tom Erdelyl)The Ramones
1953 ● Louie Perez → Los Lobos, Latin Playboys
1959 ● Johnny Spampinato → NRBQ
1961 ● Eddie Jackson → Queensryche
1962 ● Marcus Vere → Living In A Box
1964 ● Roddy Frame → Aztec Camera
1981 ● Jonny Lang (Jon Gordon Langseth, Jr.) → Blues guitarist

Jan 30
1928 ● Ruth Brown (Ruth Alston Weston) → "Teardrops In My Eyes" (1950)
1941 ● Joe Terranova → Danny & The Juniors, "At The Hop" (1958)
1942 ● Marty Balin (Martyn Jere Buchwald)Jefferson Airplane/Starship, solo
1947 ● Steve Marriott → Small Faces, Humble Pie, solo
1951 ● Marv Ross → Quarterflash
1951 ● Phil CollinsGenesis, solo
1952 ● Steve BartekStrawberry Alarm Clock, Oingo Boingo
1959 ● Jody Watley → Shalamar, solo ("The Queen of Cool")

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Friday, January 22, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Spirit (1/22/68) 42 Years!

Spirit was one of the more adventurous groups to emerge from the Los Angeles psychedelic rock scene in the late 60s. Over 20 years and more than a dozen albums they presented a quirky, amorphous blend of psychedelia, jazz, blues, hard-, folk- and art-rock that benefited first from the emerging, album-oriented FM radio of the late 60s and later from a devoted fan base during the early 70s progressive rock era.

Spirit’s 1968 eponymous debut was released on January 22, 1968 with songwriter/guitarist Randy California and his stepfather, drummer Ed Cassidy leading bandmates Mark Andes (bass), Jay Ferguson (percussion and vocals) and John Locke (keyboards). The album includes the heavy, thumping “Mechanical World,” which was pressed as a single but never caught on. Two better choices for chart action might have been “Uncle Jack” (pop-rock harmony vocals) or “Fresh Garbage” (a rocker in the vein of several contemporary Doors tunes). Two modest hits would come over the next few years with “I Got A Line On You” and “Nature’s Way,” both of which are now staples on the few classic rock radio stations that dig deeper into the period.

The revolving door of personnel changes doomed Spirit to remain a might-have-been band and a venue for California and Cassidy’s eclectic genre experimentalism. In 1971 and 1972, Ferguson left for Jo Jo Gunne and a solo career (remember 1977’s “Thunder Island”?), Andes went to Jo Jo Gunne and then Firefall, and Locke left for Nazereth. The two originals kept at it through the 80s and 90s with several decent art-rock LPs, but with California’s untimely death in 1997, Cassidy called it quits and Spirit’s long-run ended.

Spirit spent more than six months on the Billboard album chart through the summer of 1968, peaking at #31. It is available as downloads for iPods and mp3 players on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Jerry Garcia (1/20/72) 38 Years!

Jerry Garcia released his first solo album, Garcia on January 20, 1972, a few months before his Grateful Dead (see my playlist here) bandmates, Bob Weir (Ace) and Mickey Hart (Rolling Thunder) did the same. The three solo LPs provided some needed relief for Dead fans, who endured a three year gap in studio material by the Dead between American Beauty (1970) and Wake Of The Flood (1973).

Garcia is a delightful mix of bluesy rock ‘n roll (“Sugaree”), upbeat country-rock (“Deal”), off-tempo country-rock (“Loser”), full-textured folk (“Bird Song” and “To Lay Me Down”) and late-period psychedelia cum peddle steel twang (“The Wheel”). These six tracks, all co-written by long-time Garcia collaborator and Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, would quickly become staples in the Dead’s legendary on-stage set lists. Garcia is also a testimony to the breadth and depth of his musical prowess and a nearly pure solo effort. He sang vocals and played all of the stringed instruments and keyboards. Dead-partner Billy Kreutzman, who’s credited with co-producing the album and co-writing four of the 10 tracks thereon, handled the percussion. Otherwise, Garcia is all Jerry.

As I said in a previous post, I am not a tie-dyed-in-the-wool Deadhead, but am more than a just a casual Dead fan. For me, Garcia is a standout among the dozens of albums in Garcia’s long list of solo works, his various collaborative efforts, and releases as leader of the Jerry Garcia Band and de facto leader of the Grateful Dead. Incidentally, Jerry is ranked #13 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. And Garcia can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Pretenders (1/19/80) 30 Years!

Punk was cresting and the New Wave was just beginning to swell when the Pretenders (see my playlist here) floated their eponymous debut on January 19, 1980. Pretenders was one of those bridge-the-gap albums that clearly spanned the divide between the loud, raw energy of 70s British punk and the subtler, synthesized post-punk sounds of the 80s.

Ohio native Chrissie Hynde assembled her band in 1978 in London, where she’d been a music critic and aspiring songwriter. The band released several singles in 1979 and generated enough enthusiasm to produce a full album. The nucleus of Pretenders is several of those early tracks, including the cover of the Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing,” the glorious pop-rocker “Brass In Pocket” (#14 single in 1980) and a re-recorded version of staccato “The Wait” (a Dr. Rock favorite). Seven new songs round out the affair, notably a rolling “Tattooed Love Boys,” a jangly love song in “Kid” and a pop-based but still edgy “Mystery Achievement.” On all tracks, frontwoman Hynde’s beautifully confident, rich voice reaches above but still complements the riffs and solo spurts supplied by guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and the driving rhythm from bassist Peter Farndon and drummer Martin Chambers. (Sadly, Honeyman-Scott and Farndon would die from drug overdoses less than a year apart in 1982 and 1983).

Pretenders reached #1 on the U.K. album charts (#9 in the U.S.). I’ve included it as #10 on Dr. Rock’s Best Debut Albums (click here for the list) and #2 on my Top 25 Albums for 1980 (click here). Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #155 on their Top 500 Albums of All-Time. That should tell you enough about its place is your collection. Pretenders is available for download on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Monday, January 18, 2010

 

Album of the Day: ZZ Top (1/18/94) 16 Years!

No other rock band can match ZZ Top’s record for longevity and consistency (click here for Dr. Rock's playlist). They’ve been playing and recording for over four decades with the same line-up: Billy Gibbons (vocal and guitar), Frank Beard (percussion) and Dusty Hill (bass and keyboards). Since forming in Houston in 1970, the band has kept their sound firmly rooted in pounding, Texas-baked blues-rock with occasional updates to match the changing decades and musical tastes. Theirs is a remarkable test of time and critical and commercial success.

After seven straight-ahead blues-rock albums between 1970 and 1981, ZZ Top layered in New Wave synthesized backing sounds and a bit of MTV glamour to their trademark. There followed three Top 10, multi-platinum albums – Eliminator (1983), Afterburner (1985) and Recycler (1990) – that brought the band a level of success unmatched by even their best 70s discs. For their eleventh studio album, Antenna (released on January 18, 1994), the boys returned to the hard edge of Tres Hombres (1973 and Fandango! (1975) but maintained just enough synth-pop to keep the music relevant. Antenna is not their best, but it’s quite good and worth a long listen for its two Top 10 singles, “Pin Cushion” and the slow-burning “Breakaway,” the searing guitar on “Lizard Life” and the growling pump of “Fuzzbox Voodoo.”

ZZ Top has scheduled a concert tour of South America in mid-2010 and is expected to release a 15th studio album later in the year. Those events will kick-off the fifth consecutive decade for the “little ol’ band from Texas”. Antenna is available for download on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (January 17 - 23)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jan 17
1943 ● Chris Montez (Montanez) → "Let's Dance" (1962)
1944 ● Francoise Hardy → French pop singer
1945 ● William "Poogie" Hart → Delfonics, The Three Tenors of Soul
1948 ● Michael Kevin "Mick" Taylor → Bluesbreakers, Rolling Stones
1955 ● Steve Earle → "Guitar Town" (1986)
1956 ● Paul Young → "Everytime You Go Away" (1985)
1957 ● John Crawford → Berlin, "Take My Breath Away" (1986)
1959 ● Susanna Hoffs → Bangles
1971 ● Kid Rock (Robert James Ritchie)

Jan 18
1941 ● David RuffinTemptations
1941 ● Bobby Goldsboro → "Honey" (1968)
1943 ● Dave Greenslade → Thunderbird, Colosseum, Greenslade
1944 ● "Legs" Larry Smith → Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band
1953 ● Brett Hudson → Hudson Brothers
1957 ● Tom Bailey → Thompson Twins
1970 ● DJ Quik (David Martin Blake) → DJ, producer
1971 ● Jonathan Davis → Korn
1983 ● Samantha Mumba → Irish singer/songwriter

Jan 19
1939 ● Phil EverlyEverly Brothers
1941 ● Joe ButlerThe Lovin' Spoonful
1942 ● Michael Crawford (Dumble-Smith) → "I Dreamed A Dream" (1987)
1943 ● Janis Lynn Joplin
1944 ● Michelle Ann Marie "Shelley" Fabares → "Johnny Angel" (1962)
1945 ● Rod EvansDeep Purple
1946 ● Dolly Parton
1949 ● Robert Palmer → "Addicted to Love" (1986)
1951 ● Dewey Bunnell → America
1954 ● Francis Buchholz → Scorpions
1957 ● Mickey Virtue → UB40
1963 ● Caron Wheeler → Soul II Soul
1969 ● Trey Lorenz (Lloyd Smith) → "I'll Be There" (1992)
1971 ● John Wozniak → Marcy Playground

Jan 20
1889 ● Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter) → "Goodnight Irene" (1934)
1924 ● Otis Dewey "Slim" Whitman, Jr. → "Rose Marie" (1955)
1933 ● Ron Townson → Fifth Dimension
1942 ● William Powell → O'Jays
1945 ● Eric Stewart → Mindbenders, 10cc
1946 ● Malcolm McLaren → Manager, Sex Pistols and New York Dolls
1947 ● George GranthamPoco
1948 ● Melvin Pritchard → Barclay James Harvest
1952 ● Paul Stanley (Stanley Harvey Eisen) → Kiss
1952 ● Ian Hill → Judas Priest
1954 ● Michael Anthony (Sobolewski)Van Halen
1979 ● Rob Bourdon → Linkin Park

Jan 21
1924 ● Alfred Hawthorne "Benny" Hill → English singer/comedian
1938 ● Wolfman Jack (Robert Weston Smith) → Rock 'n Roll DJ
1941 ● Richie Havens → "Here Comes The Sun" (1971)
1941 ● Placido Domingo → Opera performer
1942 ● Edwin Starr → War
1942 ● Scott "Mac" Davis → "Forever Lovers" (1976)
1945 ● Chris Britton → The Troggs
1947 ● Pye Hastings → Caravan
1948 ● Peter Kircher → Status Quo
1950 ● Billy Ocean (Leslie Sebastian Charles) → "Caribbean Queen" (1984)
1956 ● Rob Brill → Berlin, "Take My Breath Away" (1986)
1965 ● Jam Master Jay (Jason William Mizell) → Run-DMC
1966 ● Wendy James → Transvision Vamp
1976 ● Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton → Spice Girls
1979 ● Nokio (Tamir Ruffin) → Dru Hill

Jan 22
1931 ● Sam Cooke → "You Send Me" (1957)
1940 ● Addie "Mickie" Harris → Shirelles
1949 ● Nigel Pegrum → Small Faces, Uriah Heep, Steeleye Span
1949 ● Steve Perry (Stephen Ray Pereira)Journey, solo
1952 ● Teddy Gentry → Alabama
1960 ● Michael Hutchence → INXS
1965 ● Andrew Roachford → Roachford
1965 ● Steve Adler → Guns N' Roses
1965 ● "D.J. Jazzy Jeff" Townes → D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
1981 ● Willa Ford (Amanda Lee Williford) → "I Wanna Be Bad" (2001)

Jan 23
1944 ● Jerry Lawson → Persuasions
1948 ● Anita Pointer → Pointer Sisters
1950 ● Pat SimmonsDoobie Brothers
1950 ● Bill Cunningham → Box Tops
1950 ● Danny FedericiE Street Band
1953 ● Robin ZanderCheap Trick
1955 ● Reggie Calloway → Midnight Star, Calloway
1955 ● Earl Falconer → UB40

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Paul Simon (1/14/72) 38 Years!

So far, this second full week of January has been a week of debut albums. My past two posts have featured Led Zeppelin’s 1969 debut and Aerosmith’s 1973 first LP. Today, January 14, Paul Simon’s eponymous first album is in the spotlight (and you can click here for Dr. Rock’s Rhymin’ Simon playlist).

Hot off his decade-long, multi-platinum gig with partner Art Garfunkel in the acclaimed 60s folk-pop duet Simon & Garfunkel (playlist here), Simon cooled off for two years to work on his debut album as a solo artist. When released 38 years ago today, Paul Simon became the first of three straight Top Ten, million-selling studio LPs for Simon (not including the 1974’s Live Rhymin’).

Paul Simon expands from the straightforward folk-pop music of his Simon & Garfunkel years and includes reggae influences (“Mother And Child Reunion,” a Top Ten hit), African rhythms and texture (“Duncan”), and Latin tinges (“Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard”). This subtle exploration of different musical genres continued with the R&B and gospel influences on 1974’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon and the jazzy sounds of 1975’s Still Crazy After All These Years, which hit #2 and #1 on the U.S. pop charts (Paul Simon made it to #4 in 1973). After a relatively quiet 10 year stretch, Simon returned in 1986 with Graceland, an album deftly mixing American folk-pop with South African mbaqanga music. Those four albums, plus the heavy Latin sounds of 1990’s The Rhythm Of The Saints are Paul Simon’s best five and an incomparable collection of world-pop from one of the best all-around folk-pop songwriters of all-time.

Paul Simon is available for download on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Aerosmith (1/13/73) 37 Years!

America’s favorite bar band-turned-rock superstars, Aerosmith (click here for my Top 25 Aerosmith playlist) burst from their Boston-centric fan base on January 13, 1973 with their self-titled debut album. They’d been touring the Northeast for nearly three years after frontman Steve Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry met in an ice cream parlor in central New Hampshire in the summer of 1970. Through constant road work, Aerosmith steadily honed the swaggering bluesy hard rock that made them the hottest hard rock band in America in the late 70s.

The debut LP Aerosmith attracted generous, but not universal attention. It peaked at #21 on the Billboard 200 album chart with two memorable rock gems (“Mama Kin” and “Walkin’ The Dog”) plus “Dream On”, a classic rock track and an early entry in the 70s/80s “power ballad” genre. As a single, “Dream On” peaked at #59 in 1973 and rose to #6 in 1976 when re-released after the band reached superstardom with the LPs Toys In The Attic (1975) and its follow-up, Rocks (1976).

Aerosmith is not available on iTunes but can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Led Zeppelin (1/12/69) 41 Years!

The original (and many believe still the best) heavy metal band, Led Zeppelin (click here for my LZ playlist) was formed in mid-1968 by ex-Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page, who recruited John Bonham, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant to his band when his dream of a supergroup featuring himself, Jeff Beck, Keith Moon and John Entwistle failed to materialize. By summer’s end they’d played several dates in Scandinavia as The New Yardbirds, then changed the band’s name and secured a recording contract and fat advance from Atlantic Records.

Led Zeppelin’s debut album was recorded in a total of 36 hours in several sessions during October 1968 and released on January 12, 1969. It’s a great blend of different styles and moods, with most of the songs coming from the band’s set lists from the just-completed Scandinavian tour. Notable tracks are two decent Willie Dixon blues covers (“You Shook Me” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”), a longer, tougher blues-rock original by Jimmy Page (Dazed And Confused"), the frantic, punk-precursor “Communication Breakdown,” a sweetly folksy acoustic instrumental “Black Mountain Side” and the rolling “How Many More Times.” The lone single, “Good Times Bad Times” reached #80 on the U.S. Billboard charts in the U.S. and is #19 on my 25 Best of Led Zeppelin playlist.

Led Zeppelin is available as download tracks from iTunes (click here) and as a CD and mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (January 10 - 16)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jan 10
1912 ● Woodrow Wilson "Buddy" Johnson → R&B pianist/songwriter/bandleader
1917 ● Jerry Wexler → Atlantic Records executive/producer
1927 ● Johnny Ray → "Cry" (1951)
1935 ● Ronnie "Mr. Dynamo" Hawkins → The Hawks, "Forty Days" (1959)
1939 ● Scott McKenzie (Philip Blondheim) → "San Francisco" (1967)
1943 ● Jim Croce → "Time in a Bottle" (1973)
1945 ● Rod Stewart → Jeff Beck Group, Small Faces, solo
1946 ● Aynsley Dunbar → John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Jefferson Starship
1946 ● Bob Lang → The Mindbenders
1946 ● Neal Smith → Alice Cooper band
1948 ● Cyril Neville → Neville Brothers
1948 ● Donald FagenSteely Dan
1953 ● Pat Benatar (Patricia Andrzejewski) → "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" (1979)
1955 ● Michael Schenker → Scorpions, UFO
1956 ● Shawn Colvin → "New Folk" singer/songwriter
1959 ● Curt Kirkwood → Meat Puppets
1964 ● Brad Roberts → Crash Test Dummies
1965 ● Nathan Moore → Brother Beyond
1973 ● Aerle Taree → Arrested Development
1979 ● Chris Smith → Kriss Kross

Jan 11
1895 ● Laurens Hammond → Hammond organ inventor
1924 ● Slim Harpo (James Moore) → "Rainin' In My Heart" (1961)
1942 ● Clarence ClemonsE Street Band, solo "You're A Friend Of Mine" (1985)
1943 ● Tony KayeYes
1946 ● Naomi Judd → Country singer
1949 ● Frederick "Denny" Greene → Sha Na Na
1958 ● Vicki Peterson → Bangles
1968 ● Tom Dumont → No Doubt
1971 ● Mary J Blige
1971 ● Tom Rowlands → Chemical Brothers

Jan 12
1904 ● Mississippi Fred McDowell → Blues performer
1930 ● Glenn Yarbrough → Limeliters, solo
1936 ● Charlie Gracie (Charles Graci) → "Butterfly" (1957)
1939 ● William Lee Golden → Oak Ridge Boys
1941 ● Long John Baldry → UK blues singer
1945 ● Maggie Bell → Stone The Crows, solo
1946 ● Cynthia RobinsonSly & The Family Stone
1951 ● Chris Bell → Big Star
1954 ● Felipe Rose → Village People
1959 ● Per Gessle → Roxette
1960 ● Charlie Gillingham → Counting Crows
1965 ● Mark Moore → Starlight Express
1966 ● Rob Zombie (Robert Cummings) → White Zombie
1968 ● Raekwon (Corey Woods) → Wu-Tang Clan
1974 ● Melanie Chisholm → Spice Girls "Sporty Spice"

Jan 13
1930 ● Bobby Lester → Moonglows
1948 ● John Lees → Barclay James Harvest
1954 ● Trevor RabinYes, solo, sessions
1955 ● Fred White → Earth, Wind & Fire
1961 ● Graham "Suggs" McPherson → Madness
1970 ● Zach de la Rocha → Rage Against The Machine

Jan 14
1936 ● Clarence Carter → "Slip Away" (1968)
1938 ● Alain Toussaint → New Orleans R&B songwriter/performer/producer
1938 ● John Allan "Jack" Jones → "Wives And Lovers" (1963)
1948 ● Joseph Henry "T Bone" Burnett → Producer, session guitarist, solo artist
1948 ● Tim Harris → Foundations
1959 ● Chas Smash (Cathal Smyth aka Carl Smyth) → Madness
1959 ● Geoff Tate → Queensryche
1961 ● Mike Tramp → White Lion
1962 ● Patricia Morrison → Sisters of Mercy
1965 ● Slick Rick (Richard Walters) → Rapper
1967 ● Steve Bowman → Counting Crows
1968 ● LL Cool J (James Todd Smith) → Hip-hop artist
1969 ● Dave GrohlNirvana, Foo Fighters
1981 ● Pitbull (Armando Christian Perez) → Southern rap (crunk) artist
1982 ● Caleb Followill → Kings Of Leon

Jan 15
1909 ● Gene Krupa → Jazz drummer
1930 ● Earl Hooker → Blues singer/guitarist
1941 ● Captain Beefheart (Don van Vliet)
1942 ● Edward Bivins → The Manhattans
1945 ● Joan Johnson → Dixie Cups
1947 ● Pete Waterman → Record producer
1948 ● Ronnie Van ZantLynyrd Skynyrd
1951 ● Martha Davis → The Motels
1952 ● Melvyn GaleElectric Light Orchestra
1953 ● Boris Blank → Yello
1959 ● Pete Trenavas → Marillion
1967 ● Lisa Velez → Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam

Jan 16
1937 ● Bob Bogle → The Ventures
1939 ● Ray Phillips → Nashville Teens
1942 ● Barbara Lynn (Ozen) → "You'll Lose A Good Thing" (1962)
1942 ● William Francis → Dr. Hook & The Medecine Show
1944 ● Jim Stafford → "Spiders & Snakes" (1974)
1944 ● Ronnie Milsap → "Any Day Now" (1982)
1948 ● John Carpenter → Film producer/director, composer
1950 ● Damo Suzuki → Can, solo
1959 ● Sade (Helen Folasade Adu) → "Smooth Operator" (1984)
1962 ● Paul Webb → Talk Talk
1966 ● Maxine Jones → En Vogue

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

 

Vintage Video: The Byrds (1965)

Bob Dylan (click here for Dr. Rock’s playlist) wrote “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1964, recorded it in January 1965, and released it on Bringing It All Back Home in March 1965. The Byrds (click here) released their version as a single on April 12, 1965. It quickly shot to #1 on both the U.S. and U.K. singles charts and eventually settled at #79 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 songs of all-time. Click here for a Vintage Video of the Byrd’s lip-synching and fake-playing their way through “Mr. Tambourine Man” on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1965.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

 

Album of the Day: David Bowie (1/6/67) 43 Years!

Two years and many moons before David Bowie stepped onto the world stage with his 1969 single “Space Oddity,” he released his eponymous debut album on Deram/Decca records on January 5, 1967. Long out of print as a vinyl record and available now in several expanded CDs (with multiple early Bowie bonus tracks), the album’s nothing like the David Bowie (aka “The Chameleon”) we came to know and love starting with “Space Oddity.” David Bowie is a mixed bag of vaudevillian stage songs (“Uncle Arthur”), tuba-based marching tunes (“Rubber Band”), slightly twisted MOR pop-rock tunes (“Love You Till Tuesday”), and a few memorable mid-60s psych-pop ditties (“Maid Of Bond Street”).

You needn’t listen carefully at all to hear Ziggy Stardust, Major Tom, Thin White Duke and other 70s/80s Bowie characters waiting for their time to come on David Bowie. If you’re a Bowie diehard, this album should be in your collection. If you’re just a casual Bowie fan, it’s worth a close listen.

For Dr. Rock's D.B. Top 25 playlist, click here. David Bowie is on Amazon (click here) as an expanded CD and on iTunes (click here) as individual downloads playable on iPods or mp3 players.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Bruce Springsteen (1/5/73) 37 Years!


Bruce Springsteen’s (click here for my B.S. playlist) rough-and-ready debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. ended up in a dead-end South Jersey alley with nowhere to run. It received positive but limited response from music critics after its January 5, 1973 release. Columbia Records followed the LP with two terrific singles, “Blinded By The Light” and “Spirit In The Night,” but they flopped badly and even the early accolades (“the next Bob Dylan”) had little impact on the album’s sales or Springsteen’s fan base. Shaken but undeterred, the Boss soldiered on, releasing The Wild, The Innocent And The E Street Shuffle in September 1973. That album, too, generated critical praise but meager sales. Springsteen pushed one more time, realizing that the three strike rule would apply with Columbia. But record company executives, aware of the critics and his huge cult following in the Northeast, gave Bruce a big production and promotion budget for 1975’s Born To Run, and the rest is history.

It’s difficult to fathom why Asbury Park tanked early on (it retroactively went gold once Bruce hit the big-time). It’s a great debut album, mixing Dylanesque lyrics with a 50s rock ‘n roll electrified sound with piano, horn and acoustic guitar accents and Bruce’s deep, sometimes growling vocals. Thematically, it explores teenage angst (“Growin’ Up”), one-way love (“For You” – a Dr. Rock favorite), tragedy and despair (“Lost In The Flood”), and exuberant optimism (“Blinded By The Light”). Largely overlooked 37 years ago, Asbury Park is a classic roots-rock album and one of the better debuts of all time.

Asbury Park is #389 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Greatest albums of all time. I think it should be in the top 200 (they didn’t ask me). You’ll find Asbury Park as a CD on Amazon (click here) and download tracks on iTunes (click here).

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Monday, January 4, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Yes (1/4/72) 38 Years!

Yes released their fourth album, Fragile on January 4, 1972, a scant six months after Rick Wakeman left the Strawbs and joined Yes (click here for my playlist), bringing synthesizers and another strong classical music background to a band on verge of breakthrough. While contractual issues precluded any official credit for his keyboard and co-writing work on the album, Wakeman’s presence solidified the band, their sound and their place in rock history. Fragile quickly rose to #4 on the Billboard 200 and pushed the band to the forefront of the burgeoning prog-rock movement.

The whole affair owes everything to the surprise hit single version of the 8-plus minute “Roundabout,” which became a cross-over AM and heavy FM hit after a shortened version was released as a single. That extremely unusual achievement lifted an otherwise excellent prog-rock album to unheard of heights and began a nearly 40 year reign for Yes as the quintessential and longest-running prog-rock show on Earth.

Surprisingly, Fragile is not on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of all time, but it should be in the first 100. However, it is available as a CD on Amazon (click here) and download tracks on iTunes (click here).

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Syd Barrett (1/3/70) 40 Years!

Syd Barrett founded Pink Floyd, played lead guitar and wrote most of the material on the band’s highly regarded first LP, 1967’s The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. But beneath the melodically playful acid-based pop-rock of his music was a tormented psychotic whose freewheeling LSD use contributed to mental degradation and ouster from the band in 1968.

Barrett recorded two solo albums before he tripped into seclusion for over 30 years until his death from cancer in 2006. Released on January 3, 1970, Barrett’s first solo album, The Madcap Laughs, was engineered at Abbey Road Studios in two disjointed sessions, one in mid-1968 and the other a year later. Barrett’s nonsensical lyrics and acoustic guitar were laid down first, with session musicians and members of prog-rock group Soft Machine forced to provide overdubs based on Barrett’s increasingly whimsical and difficult direction. The result is a grab bag of sunny pop psychedelia and dark acid rock, a bit tough to follow at times but a period gem nonetheless.

Although Roger Waters and David Gilmour fired him from his band, they nonetheless were invited to produce parts of The Madcap Laughs. And they saluted Syd on their 1975 release, Wish You Were Here. The Madcap Laughs available as a CD on Amazon (click here) and download tracks on iTunes (click here).

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This Week's Birthdays (January 3 - 9)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jan 03
1926 ● George MartinBeatles (and others) producer
1941 ● Van Dyke Parks → Singer, sessionman, lyricist (co-wrote "Heroes And Villains")
1945 ● Philip Goodhand-Tait → UK singer/songwriter
1945 ● Stephen Arthur Stills → Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash, solo
1946 ● John Paul JonesLed Zeppelin

Jan 04
1944 ● Volker Hemback → Tangerine Dream
1946 ● Arthur Conley"Sweet Soul Music" (1967)
1956 ● Bernard Sumner (Albrecht, Dicken) → Joy Division, New Order
1957 ● Patty Loveless (Patricia Lee Ramey) → "Chains" (1990)
1960 ● Michael StipeR.E.M.
1962 ● Martin Macaloon → Prefab Sprout
1962 ● Robin Guthrie → Cocteau Twins
1965 ● Beth Gibbons → Portishead
1965 ● David Glasper → Breathe
1966 ● Deana Carter → "Did I Shave My Legs For This?" (1995)
1967 ● Benjamine Darvill → Crash Test Dummies

Jan 05
1923 ● Sam Phillips → Founder of Sun Records
1940 ● George Malone → Monotones
1949 ● George Brown → Kool & The Gang
1950 ● Chris SteinBlondie
1951 ● Biff Byford → Saxon
1964 ● Grant Young → Soul Asylum
1966 ● Kate Schellenbach → Luscious Jackson
1969 ● Marilyn Manson (Brian Warner) → "The Beautiful People" (1996)

Jan 06
1924 ● Earl Scruggs → Foggy Mountain Boys, solo
1929 ● Wilbert Harrison → Canned Heat
1937 ● Doris Troy → "Just One Look" (1963)
1944 ● Van McCoy → "The Hustle" (1975)
1946 ● Roger Keith "Syd" BarrettPink Floyd, solo
1947 ● Sandy Denny → Fairport Convention, solo
1951 ● Kim Wilson → Fabulous Thunderbirds
1953 ● Malcolm YoungAC/DC
1959 ● Kathie Sledge → Sister Sledge
1959 ● Neil Simpson → Climax Blues Band
1964 ● Mark O'Toole → Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Jan 07
1936 ● Eldee Young → Ramsey Lewis Trio
1937 ● Paul Revere (Dick) → Paul Revere & The Raiders
1938 ● Rory Storm → The Hurricanes
1939 ● Lefty Baker (Eustace Britchforth) → Spanky & Our Gang
1941 ● Jim West → Innocents, Gee Whiz
1942 ● Danny Williams→ "White On White" (1964)
1943 ● Leona Williams → Helton Family Band (Loretta Lynn)
1944 ● Mike McGrear → Scaffold
1945 ● Dave Cousins → The Strawbs
1946 ● Andy Brown → The Fortunes
1946 ● Jann Wenner → Rolling Stone magazine founder, editor
1948 ● Kenny Loggins → Loggins & Messina, solo
1959 ● Kathy Valentine → The Go-Go's

Jan 08
1931 ● Bill Graham (Wolfgang Grajonca) → Rock promoter
1935 ● Elvis Presley
1937 ● Shirley Bassey → "Goldfinger" (1994)
1940 ● Jerome Anthony Gourdune → Little Anthony & The Imperials
1943 ● Lee Jackson → The Nice
1943 ● Marcus Hutson → The Whispers
1946 ● Robbie KriegerThe Doors, solo
1947 ● David Bowie (David Robert Jones)
1947 ● Terry SylvesterThe Hollies
1948 ● Paul King → Mungo Jerry, Skeleton Krew
1955 ● Mike Reno → Loverboy
1957 ● Dr. Rock → Chief Musicologist, DrRock.com
1959 ● Paul Hester → Crowded House
1964 ● Peter "Ped" Gill → Frankie Goes To Hollywood
1968 ● R. Kelly (Robert Sylvester Kelly) → "Bump N' Grind" (1994)
1969 ● Jeff Abercrombie → Fuel
1975 ● Sean Paul (Henriques) → "Hot Gal Today" (1999)

Jan 09
1915 ● Les Paul → Guitar virtuoso, desginer
1941 ● Joan Baez
1943 ● Dick Yount → Harper's Bizarre
1943 ● Kenneth Kelly → The Manhattans
1944 ● Jimmy Page → Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin
1944 ● Scott Engel → Walker Brothers
1948 ● Bill Cowsill → Cowsills
1948 ● Cassie LaRue GainesLynyrd Skynyrd
1948 ● Paul King → Mungo Jerry
1950 ● David Johansen → New York Dolls, solo
1950 ● Steve McRay → .38 Special
1951 ● Crystal Gayle (Brenda Gail Webb)
1963 ● Eric Erlandson → Hole
1967 ● Carl Bell → Fuel
1967 ● Dave Matthews → Dave Matthews Band
1967 ● Steve Harwell → Smash Mouth
1978 ● A.J. McLean → Backstreet Boys

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