Wednesday, June 30, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Queen (6/30/80) 30 Years!

Brit glam-rockers Queen entered the 1980’s riding the crest of the operatic, tongue-in-cheek hard-rock wave they created through five mega-albums and numerous Top 20 singles between 1974 and 1978. But The Game (released June 30, 1980) represented a sonic deviation from the immensely successful 70s formula. Gone was the promise of “no synthesizers were used on this album,” as the previous album liner notes had proclaimed. Instead, The Game included synthesizers galore, spun in with heavy disco beats (“Another One Bites The Dust”, #1 U.S., #7 U.K.), rockabilly (“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” #1 U.S., #2 U.K.) and power balladry (the reworked “Save Me” #11 U.K.).

The olio of different sounds and beats created an intentionally less edgy, more pop sound than the previous albums. The change helped push The Game to the #1 spot on the U.S. chart, becoming the first and only Queen album ever to reach top spot in America. The fan base in the U.K. responded as well, but Queen had always enjoyed a strong following at home: six of the band’s first seven LP’s reached the Top 5 in Great Britain.

The Game sustained the Queen surge into the 80s and is arguably one of the best in their catalog. It’s available as a CD and mp3 tracks on Amazon and as iPod tracks on iTunes. You’ll find Dr. Rock’s Top 25 Queen songs in the Playlist Vault.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Pink Floyd (6/29/68)

Pink Floyd’s second outing, A Saucerful Of Secrets was one of the top psychedelic albums of the 60s. Released on June 29, 1968, it began the transition from the shorter, more concise psych-pop songs written by co-founder Syd Barrett on their debut album (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, August 1967) to the deeper, lengthier and stylistically progressive explorations of their next five LPs.

A Saucerful... also marked the end for Barrett as a member, chief songwriter, lead guitarist and de facto leader of the band. Barrett’s mental affairs were unraveling rapidly in late 1967, smack in the early stages of the recording sessions at EMI Studios on Abbey Road in London. In January 1968, David Gilmour was recruited to provide stability at lead guitar as Barrett faded away. Syd was out forever in March and his only written credit on A Saucerful… was the trippy, upbeat “Jugband Blues.” Taking control of the proceedings and the band’s direction, Roger Waters and Richard Wright (with obvious support from Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason), delivered lighter pop-psychedelic classics (“See Saw” and “Remember A Day” are baroque-poppers with a pastoral bend) and contrasting longer space-psych forays in “Let There Be More Light,” the title track and “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” (widely considered the aboriginal space-rock track).

With A Saucerful… Pink Floyd began the progressive art-rock voyage that would culminate in the massive hit album, The Dark Side Of The Moon in 1973. Casual Floyd fans, especially those who caught the bug with Dark Side, are advised to give an ear to A Saucerful Of Secrets. It’s a true gem and you’ll find it as a CD and mp3 tracks on Amazon and as iPod tracks on iTunes. My take on Pink Floyd’s Top 25 is in the Playlist Vault.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

 

Album Releases This Week (June 28 - July 4)

Here's a sampling of the great albums of 60s, 70s and 80s rock and pop - the best music ever made! - which were released this week:

Jun 28

● Reeves, Martha & The Vandellas ------ Come And Get These Memories >> 1963
John, Elton ------ Caribou >> 1974
● Men at Work ------ Cargo >> 1983

Jun 29

Pink Floyd ------ Saucerful Of Secrets, A >> 1968
● Houston, Whitney ------ Whitney >> 1987
● Idol, Billy ------ Cyberpunk >> 1993
● Beck, Jeff ------ Crazy Legs >> 1993
● Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark ------ Liberator >> 1993
● Grand Funk Railroad ------ Thirty Years Of Funk: 1969 - 1999 >> 1999
Cure, The ------ Cure, The >> 2004

Jun 30

● Stills, Stephen ------ Stephen Stills 2 >> 1971
Sly & The Family Stone ------ Fresh >> 1973
● Kiss ------ Love Gun >> 1977
Queen ------ Game, The >> 1980
Madonna ------ True Blue >> 1986
● Various Artists ------ La Bamba [Sndtrk] >> 1987
Young, Neil ------ Life >> 1987
● Harvey, P. J. ------ Dry >> 1992
● Earth, Wind & Fire ------ Plugged In & Live >> 1998
● Wilco ------ Wilco (The Album) >> 2009

Jul 01

Presley, Elvis ------ Loving You >> 1957
● DeShannon, Jackie ------ Lonely Girl >> 1968
Band, The ------ Music From Big Pink >> 1968
● Hathaway, Donny ------ Everything Is Everything >> 1970
Beach Boys, The ------ Summertime Blues >> 1970
● Campi, Ray & His Rockabilly Rebels ------ Born To Rock >> 1977
● Korgis, The ------ Korgis, The >> 1979
● Korgis, The ------ Dumb Waiters >> 1980
● Davies, Ray ------ Return To Waterloo [Sndtrk] >> 1985
● Hole ------ Pretty On The Inside >> 1991
● Buchanan, Roy ------ Live >> 1999

Jul 02

● Jazz Crusaders, The ------ Chile Con Soul >> 1965
Foreigner ------ 4 >> 1981
Petty, Tom & The Heartbreakers ------ Into The Great Wide Open >> 1991
● Crowded House ------ Woodface >> 1991

Jul 03

● Buckingham, Lindsey ------ Go Insane >> 1984

Jul 04

● Foo Fighters ------ Foo Fighters >> 1995
● Brother Cane ------ Seeds >> 1995

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (June 27 - July 3)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jun 27
1925 ● Doc Pomus (Jerome Felder) → Blues singer, prolific songwriter
1942 ● Bruce Johnston (Benjamin Baldwin) → The Beach Boys
1951 ● Gilson Lavis → Squeeze
1959 ● Loretta Lynn "Lorrie" Morgan → Country star, "What Part Of No" (1992)
1976 ● Leigh Nash → Sixpence None The Richer

Jun 28
1902 ● Richard Rodgers → Composer, songwriter, lyricist
1943 ● Bobby Harrison → Procol Harum
1945 ● David Knights → Procol Harum
1946 ● John Martyn → Folk-blues singer/songwriter

Jun 29
1942 ● Gilberto Gil (Moreira) → Brazilian singer, guitarist, culture minister
1943 ● Roger Ruskin Speare → Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band
1945 ● Little Eva (Boyd) → "The Loco-Motion" (1962)
1948 ● Bill Kirchen → The "Dieselbilly King," The Lost Planet Airmen
1948 ● Dervin and Lincoln Gordon → The Equals, "Baby Come Back" (1968)
1948 ● Ian PaiceDeep Purple, Whitesnake
1953 ● Colin Hay → Men At Work
1964 ● Steadman Pearson → 5 Star
1978 ● Nicole Scherzinger → Pussycat Dolls, solo

Jun 30
1917 ● Lena Horne → Actress/singer
1936 ● Dave Van Ronk → Folk/blues singer/songwriter
1937 ● Larry Henley → Newbeats, "Bread And Butter" (1964)
1939 ● Tony Hatch → Composer, pianist, songwriter, "Downtown" (1964)
1943 ● Florence BallardThe Supremes
1944 ● Glenn Shorrock → Little River Band
1946 ● Billy Brown → The Moments, "Love On A Two-Way Street" (1970)
1949 ● Andy Scott → Sweet
1951 ● Stanley Clarke → Jazz-rock bassist
1953 ● Hal LindesDire Straits
1956 ● Adrian Wright → Human League
1962 ● Julianne Regan → All About Eve
1969 ● Tom Drummond → Better Than Ezra
1984 ● Fantasia (Barrino) → R&B/soul singer, actress, "I Believe" (2004)

Jul 01
1915 ● Willie Dixon → Blues singer/writer, "Spoonful," "Back Door Man"
1930 ● Bobby Day → R&B/Doo Wop, "Rockin' Robin" (1958)
1933 ● Eddie Bond → Rockabilly star, "Rockin' Daddy" (1956), radio DJ
1939 ● Delaney Bramlett → Delaney & Bonnie
1942 ● Andrae Crouch → Gospel singer, writer, producer
1945 ● Debbie HarryBlondie
1946 ● June Monteiro → The Toys, "A Lover's Concerto" (1965)
1948 ● John Ford → The Strawbs
1951 ● Fred SchneiderThe B-52's
1952 ● Dan Aykroyd → The Blues Brothers
1959 ● Edem Ephraim → London Boys
1960 ● Evelyn "Champagne" King → Disco queen, "Love Comes Down" (1982)
1963 ● Roddy Bottum → Faith No More
1971 ● Melissa "Missy" Elliott → Rapper, "Work It" (2002), producer

Jul 02
1925 ● Marvin Rainwater (Percy) → "Whole Lotta Woman" (1958)
1936 ● Tom Springfield → The Springfields
1939 ● Paul WilliamsThe Temptations
1949 ● Roy "The Professor" BittanE Street Band, sessions
1952 ● Johnny CollaHuey Lewis & The News
1954 ● Pete Briquette → Boomtown Rats
1957 ● Mike Anger → Blow Monkeys
1965 ● Dave Parsons → Bush, Transvision Vamp
1970 ● Monie Love (Simone Wilson) → Hip-hop, "Born To B.R.E.E.D." (1993)
1983 ● Michelle Branch → Country-pop, The Wreckers, solo

Jul 03
1893 ● "Mississippi" John Hurt → Blues legend
1929 ● David Lynch → The Platters, "The Great Pretender" (1955)
1940 ● Fontella Bass → R&B/soul diva, "Rescue Me" (1965)
1940 ● Maureen Kennedy → The Vernons Girls (60s Brit-pop girl group)
1943 ● Judith Durham → The Seekers, solo
1946 ● Victor Unitt → Edgar Broughton Band, Pretty Things
1947 ● Betty Buckley → Stage, screen, TV actress, singer
1948 ● Paul BarrereLittle Feat
1949 ● John Verity → Argent, Phoenix, solo, producer
1955 ● Mike CorbyThe Babys
1957 ● Laura Branigan → Singer-songwriter, "Gloria" (1982), actress
1959 ● Stephen Pearcy → Ratt
1960 ● Vince ClarkeDepeche Mode, Yazoo (Yaz), The Assembly, Erasure
1969 ● Butterfly (Ishmael Butler) → Digable Planets, "Nickel Bags" (1993)
1969 ● Kevin Hearn → Barenaked Ladies
1976 ● Shane Lynch → Boyzone, "No Matter What" (1998)

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Friday, June 25, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Chicago (6/25/73)

Chicago was one of the most popular pop-rock acts in the U.S. in the 70s, offering solid, horn-based MOR chart hits amidst harder rock and jazz-rock fusion tracks that reached over and grabbed enough fans on the fringes of mainstream music to generate a uniquely broad following. The band’s aptly titled sixth LP, Chicago VI was released on June 25, 1973 and quickly became one of their most successful. (To view, download and comment my Chicago playlist, click here).

Chicago VI held several firsts for the band. It was their first recording at a studio custom-built in Colorado by manager and producer James William Guercio, who had overseen all previous Chicago productions at studios in New York City (but not their hometown?). The album also welcomed Brazilian percussionist Laudir De Oliveira, who would command the skins for the next eight albums and bring a much smoother, Latin-tinged rhythm to the band’s sound. And it marked the first Chicago album on which trombonist James Pankow penned two hits to bandmate and keyboardist Robert Lamm’s none. On the first five Chicago albums, Lamm carried the songwriting and with one exception, “Make Me Smile” (1970), Pankow never could match Lamm’s parade of pop-rock hits. But with the #4 single “Just You ‘N’ Me” and the #10 “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” Pankow outshone Lamm (at least for one moment).

Chicago VI spent five weeks in the #1 position on the Billboard Pop Album chart, the second of four straight Chicago albums to reach the pinnacle and the fourth in a string of eight straight Chicago Top 10 albums from 1970 to 1977. That chart dominance places Chicago up there with Aerosmith and the Beach Boys among the top selling American rock bands in history. My Top 25 Chicago tracks are in the Playlist Vault, and Chicago IV is available as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon and as iPod downloads on iTunes.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

 

Album Releases This Week (June 21 - 27)

Here's a few of the great albums of 60s, 70s and 80s rock and pop - the best music ever made! - which were released this week:

Jun 21

● Byrds, The ------ Mr. Tambourine Man >> 1965
● Mayall, John ------ Bare Wires >> 1968
● Crosby, Stills & Nash ------ Daylight Again >> 1982
● Uncle Tupelo ------ No Depression >> 1990


Jun 22

● Ross, Diana ------ Touch Me In The Morning >> 1973
● Stevens, Cat ------ Saturnight (Live In Tokyo) >> 1974
● Black Sabbath ------ Dehumanizer >> 1992
● Pretenders, The ------ Viva el Amor! >> 1999
● Wilco ------ Ghost Is Born, A >> 2004
● Heart ------ Jupiter's Darling >> 2004


Jun 23

● Wonder, Stevie ------ Stevie At The Beach >> 1964
● Byrds, The ------ Byrdmaniax >> 1971
● Rolling Stones, The ------ Emotional Rescue >> 1980
● Tom Tom Club ------ Tom Tom Club >> 1981
● Fleetwood Mac ------ Mirage >> 1982
● Bowie, David ------ Labyrinth >> 1986
● Cliff, Jimmy ------ Breakout >> 1992


Jun 24

● Rascals, The ------ Time Peace: The Rascals Greatest Hits >> 1968
● Beach Boys, The ------ Endless Summer >> 1974
● Average White Band ------ Cut The Cake >> 1975
● America ------ Encore: More Greatest Hits >> 1991
● Marley, Bob & The Wailers ------ Live At The Roxy >> 2003


Jun 25

● Chicago ------ Chicago VI >> 1973
● Zappa, Frank ------ One Size Fits All >> 1975
● Moody Blues, The ------ Keys Of The Kingdom >> 1991
● Jay-Z ------ Reasonable Doubt >> 1996
● King Crimson ------ Thrakattak >> 1996
● Kiss ------ You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best!! >> 1996



Jun 26

● Beatles, The ------ Hard Day's Night, A >> 1964
● Rolling Stones, The ------ Flowers >> 1967
● Bad Company ------ Bad Company >> 1974
● Dylan, Bob And the Band ------ Basement Tapes, The >> 1975
● Grateful Dead ------ Steal Your Face >> 1976
● Queen ------ Live Killers >> 1979
● Icehouse ------ Sidewalk >> 1984
● Reed, Lou ------ American Poet >> 2001


Jun 27

● Mothers Of Invention, The ------ Freak Out! >> 1966
● Grateful Dead ------ From The Mars Hotel >> 1974
● Jethro Tull ------ 20 Years Of Jethro Tull >> 1988
● Ranking Roger ------ Radical Departure >> 1988
● Young, Neil ------ Mirror Ball >> 1995

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (June 20 - June 26)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jun 20
1924 ● Chester Burton "Chet" Atkins → Country-pop guitarist, created the "Nashville Sound", producer
1928 ● Eric Dolphy → Jazz flautist, influenced jazz-rock fusionists
1936 ● Billy Guy → Coasters, solo comedian
1937 ● Jerry Keller → Pop singer/songwriter, "Here Comes Summer" (1959)
1942 ● Brian WilsonThe Beach Boys
1945 ● Anne Murray → Canadian country-pop, "Snowbird" (1970)
1949 ● Alan Longmuir → Bay City Rollers
1949 ● Lionel Richie → Commodores, solo
1954 ● Michael Anthony (Sobolewski) → Chickenfoot, Van Halen
1960 ● Chris Gibson → Disco-salsa The Gibson Brothers, "Cuba" (1978)
1960 ● John TaylorDuran Duran, The Power Station, Neurotic Outsiders, solo
1960 ● Kelly Johnson → Girlschool
1968 ● Murphy Karges → Sugar Ray
1971 ● Twiggy Ramirez (Jeordie Osbourne White) → Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails touring band

Jun 21
1942 ● O.C. Smith → Country-R&B-pop, "Little Green Apples" (1968)
1944 ● Jon Wiseman → UK jazz-rock drummer
1944 ● Ray DaviesThe Kinks
1947 ● Joey Molland → The Merseybeats, Badfinger
1950 ● Joey KramerAerosmith
1951 ● Nils Lofgren → Grin, E Street Band, Crazy Horse, solo, All Starr Band
1957 ● Mark Brzezicki → Big Country, The Cult, Ultravox, Procol Harum
1959 ● Kathy Mattea → Country-pop, "Goin' Gone" (1957)
1959 ● Marcella Detroit (Levy) → Vocalist, songwriter, sessions, solo, Shakespears Sister
1967 ● Tim Simenon → Composer, producer, Bomb The Bass
1968 ● Sonique (Sonia Clarke) → Dance-pop Diva/DJ, S'Express, All Saints
1975 ● Justin Cary → Sixpence None The Richer
1976 ● Mike Einziger → Incubus
1981 ● Brandon Flowers → The Killers

Jun 22
1936 ● Kris Kristofferson → Country-singer, songwriter, "Me & Bobby McGee" (1971), actor
1944 ● Peter Asher → Peter & Gordon, manager, record producer
1947 ● Howard KaylanTurtles, Mothers of Invention, Flo & Eddie
1948 ● Todd Rundgren → Nazz, solo, Utopia, New Cars, producer
1949 ● Alan Osmond → The Osmonds
1953 ● Cyndi Lauper → "Time After Time" (1983)
1956 ● Derek Forbes → Simple Minds
1956 ● Green Gartside (Paul Julian Strohmeyer) → Scritti Politti
1957 ● Gary BeersINXS
1958 ● Ruby Turner → R&B/soul, "I'd Rather Go Blind" (1987)
1959 ● Alan Anton → Cowboy Junkies
1961 ● Jimmy Somerville → Bronski Beat
1964 ● Mike Edwards → Jesus Jones
1965 ● Tommy Cunningham → Wet Wet Wet
1970 ● Steven Page → Barenaked Ladies
1973 ● Chris Traynor → Helmet, Bush, Blue Man Group, Rival Schools

Jun 23
1929 ● June Carter Cash → Country music matriarch, The Carter Family, solo, duets with the "Man In Black"
1940 ● Adam Faith (Terence Nelhams-Wright) → Teen-idol, actor,"What Do You Want" (1959)
1940 ● Stu Sutcliffe → First Beatles bassist, 1960-61
1941 ● Robert HunterGrateful Dead lyricist, songwriter, guitarist, poet
1944 ● Rosetta Hightower → R&B soul girl-group The Orlons, "South Street" (1963)
1955 ● Glenn Danzig (Anzalone) → The Misfits, Danzig
1957 ● Leee John (John Leslie McGregor) → Dance-pop trio Imagination
1962 ● Steve Shelley → Sonic Youth
1965 ● Paul Arthurs → Oasis
1975 ● Kate "KT" Tunstall → "Suddenly I See" (2005)
1977 ● Jason Mraz → "I'm Yours" (2008)

Jun 24
1939 ● Paul "Oz" Bach → Spanky and Our Gang, Tarantula
1942 ● Mick FleetwoodFleetwood Mac
1944 ● Arthur Brown → The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, "Fire" (1968)
1944 ● Chris WoodTraffic, Ginger Baker's Air Force
1944 ● Jeff Beck → Yardbirds, Jeff Beck Group, solo
1945 ● Colin BlunstoneThe Zombies, Alan Parsons Project, solo
1948 ● Patrick MorazMoody Blues, Yes, solo
1949 ● John IllsleyDire Straits
1950 ● Derrick "Duckie" Simpson → Black Uhuru
1957 ● Astro (Terence Wilson) → UB40
1959 ● Andy McCluskey → Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark
1961 ● Curt Smith → Tears For Fears
1967 ● Jeff Cease → The Black Crowes
1970 ● Glen Medeiros → "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You" (1988)

Jun 25
1935 ● Eddie Floyd → Memphis soul, "Knock On Wood" (1966)
1940 ● Clint Warwick (Albert Clinton Eccles) → Original bassist for Moody Blues
1945 ● Carly Simon → "You're So Vain" (1973)
1946 ● Allen LanierBlue Öyster Cult
1946 ● Ian McDonald → King Crimson, Foreigner
1952 ● Tim Finn → Split Enz, Crowded House, Finn Brothers
1954 ● David PaichToto
1963 ● George Michael (Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) → Wham!, solo, "Faith" (1987)
1968 ● Candyman (Byron Reed) → Rapper, "Knockin' Boots" (1990)
1972 ● Mike Kroeger → Nickelback
1974 ● Mario Calire → The Wallflowers, Ozomatli

Jun 26
1893 ● William Lee "Big Bill" Broonzy → Chicago blues pioneer, "Key To The Highway" (1941)
1909 ● Colonel Tom Parker → (Elvis Presley's manager)
1940 ● Billy Davis, Jr. → Fifth Dimension, solo, duets with wife Marilyn McCoo
1942 ● Larry Taylor → Canned Heat
1943 ● Georgie Fame (Clive Powell) → "The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde" (1967)
1955 ● Michael Geoffrey "Mick" JonesThe Clash
1956 ● Chris Isaak → "Wicked Game" (1990)
1957 ● Patty Smyth → Scandal, solo
1959 ● Stef Burns → Huey Lewis & The News
1960 ● Chris Duffy → Waterfront
1961 ● Terri Nunn → Berlin, "Take My Breath Away" (1986)
1967 ● Mark Decloedt → EMF, "Unbelievable" (1992)
1969 ● Colin Greenwood → Radiohead
1973 ● Gretchen Wilson → "Redneck Woman" (2004)
1979 ● Nathan Followill → Kings Of Leon

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Monday, June 14, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Emerson, Lake & Palmer (6/14/71)

Not just the first supergroup in progressive rock, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (aka ELP) was also the earliest prog-rock band to truly master the heady mix of classical, hard rock and pop music that became a significant and commercially viable force in the 70s. Formed in very late 1969, the trio issued their eponymous debut LP in 1970 and followed with the prog-rock seminal Tarkus on June 14, 1971.

Keyboardist Keith Emerson and bassist Greg Lake met in 1969 while on tour with The Nice and King Crimson, their respective artsy hard rock bands of the time. Realizing the opportunity to form a new venture and deciding on a trio, they convinced drummer Carl Palmer to jump over from his group Atomic Rooster. (There is much truth to the rumor that they also courted Jimi Hendrix to join them and form “HELP”, but Hendrix declined and was dead a few months later, anyway). With the super-trio in place, ELP set about crafting their signature organ-dominated, pop-goes-cathedral sound for the self-titled first LP. For album #2, Tarkus, the band expanded the theme, gloomy at times and explosive at others, sharing compositions and instrumentation in a mostly glorious, thundering cannonade of early but now classic progressive rock.

Tarkus features the epic, 21 minute conceptual title track that consumed Side 1 of the original LP and taught everyone that such self-centered indulgences were acceptable (but only when they were credible and listenable!). On Side 2, ELP bookends a Bach-based hymn (“The Only Way”) and three more spirited rockers (“Bitches Crystal,” “Infinite Space (Conclusion)” and “A Time And A Place”) with two curious but acceptable matings of countrified rock ‘n’ roll with Emerson’s classical-turned-dancehall piano, “Jeremy Bender” and “Are You Ready, Eddy?” The whole is as good as the sum, although “Tarkus” the composition is the best of the album.

The album climbed as far as #9 in North America and opened the door for a broad range of successful 70s art/prog/avant-garde rockers, from Ambrosia to early Moody Blues to Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream and Yes (ELP’s chief competitors in the mid70s). My Top 25 ELP tracks will be up on DrRock.com shortly, and Tarkus is available as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon and as iPod downloads on iTunes.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (June 13 - 19)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jun 13
1940 ● Bobby Freeman → "Do You Want to Dance" (1958)
1942 ● James Carr → R&B/soul, "Dark End Of The Street" (1967)
1949 ● Dennis Locorriere → Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show
1951 ● Howard LeeseHeart
1954 ● Jorge Santana → Malo
1954 ● Robert "Bo" Donaldson → "Billy Don't Be a Hero" (1974)
1957 ● Rolf Brendel → Nena, "99 Luftballons" (1984)
1963 ● Paul DeLisle → Smash Mouth
1968 ● David Gray → "Babylon" (2000)
1968 ● Deneice Pearson → 5 Star
1969 ● Soren Rasted → Aqua, solo, producer, actor
1970 ● Rivers Cuomo → Weezer
1985 ● Raz-B (De'Mario Monte Thornton) → B2K

Jun 14
1909 ● Burl Ives → Folk singer, actor, writer, radio personality
1936 ● Renaldo "Obie" Benson → The Four Tops, co-wrote "What's Goin' On" (1971)
1943 ● Mervyn "Muff" Winwood → Spencer Davis Group, producer, record executive
1945 ● Rod ArgentZombies, Argent
1947 ● Barry Melton → Country Joe & the Fish, Dinosaurs
1949 ● Alan WhiteYes, Plastic Ono Band
1949 ● Jim Lea → Slade, songwriter, producer
1958 ● Nick Van Ede → Cutting Crew, "(I Just) Died In Your Arms" (1986)
1961 ● Boy George (George O'Dowd) → Culture Club, solo
1963 ● Chris DeGarmo → Queensryche
1969 ● MC Ren (Lorenzo Patterson) → N.W.A., solo
1971 ● Billie Myers → "Kiss The Rain" (1998)

Jun 15
1929 ● Nigel Pickering → Spanky And Our Gang
1937 ● Waylon Jennings Buddy Holly band, The Highwaymen, "outlaw" country star
1941 ● Harry Nilsson → "Everybody's Talkin'" (1969)
1943 ● Johnny Halliday → French pop singer
1946 ● Artemios "Demis" Roussos → Aphrodite's Child, solo
1946 ● Neville "Noddy" Holder → Slade
1949 ● Michael "Sam" Lutz → Brownsville Station
1949 ● Russell Hitchcock → Air Supply
1950 ● James Smith → The Stylistics, "You Make Me Feel Brand New" (1974)
1951 ● Steve WalshKansas, Streets
1954 ● Teresa Fay "Terri" Gibbs → Country-pop-gospel, "Somebody's Knockin'" (1980)
1956 ● Bernie Shaw → Uriah Heep
1958 ● Neil Arthur → Blancmange
1963 ● Scott Rockenfield → Queensryche
1966 ● Michael Britt → Lonestar
1966 ● Rob Mitchell → Sixpence None The Richer
1969 ● Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson) → N.W.A., solo
1976 ● Dryden Mitchell → Alien Ant Farm
1981 ● Billy Martin → Good Charlotte

Jun 16
1939 ● Billy "Crash" Craddock → 50s teen-pop then country-pop, "Rub It In" (1974)
1941 ● Lamont DozierMotown songwriter (Holland-Dozier-Holland)
1942 ● Edward Levert → The O'Jays, "Love Train" (1973)
1942 ● John Rastill → The Shadows
1945 ● Ivan Lins → Jazz-pop, Latin vocalist
1946 ● Ian Matthews (Ian Matthew McDonald) → Fairport Convention, Southern Comfort, solo
1949 ● Emil "Peppy Castro" Thielheim → Blues Magoos, "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet" (1967)
1952 ● Gino Vannelli → "People Gotta Move" (1974)
1953 ● Ian Mosley → Marillion
1958 ● Patrick Waite → Musical Youth
1987 ● Diana DeGarmo → American Idol runner-up, Broadway actress

Jun 17
1940 ● Chuck Rainey → Jazz bassist
1942 ● Norman Kuhlke → Swinging Blue Jeans
1943 ● Barry Manilow (Barry Alan Pincus) → "I Write The Songs" (1976)
1944 ● Chris Spedding → Solo, sessions, Greedy Bastards
1947 ● Gregg RolieSantana, Journey
1947 ● Paul Young → Sad Café, Mike + The Mechanics
1954 ● Garrick "Garry" Roberts → Boomtown Rats
1969 ● Kevin Thornton → Color Me Badd

Jun 18
1942 ● Carl Radle → Derek & The Dominos, Eric Clapton band, sessions
1942 ● Paul McCartneyBeatles, Wings, solo
1952 ● Ricky Gazda → Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes
1961 ● Alison Moyet → Love Resurrection
1963 ● Darren Arthur "Dizzy" Reed → Guns N' Roses
1969 ● Sice (Simon Rowbottom) → Boo Radleys
1971 ● Nathan Morris → Boyz II Men
1975 ● Silkk The Shocker (Vyshonne Miller) → Tru, solo

Jun 19
1936 ● Shirley Goodman → Shirley & Lee (50s), Shirley & Co. pre-disco hit "Shame Shame Shame" (1974)
1936 ● Tommy De Vito → The Four Seasons
1939 ● Al Wilson → "Show and Tell" (1973)
1942 ● Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane → Spanky and Our Gang
1948 ● Nick Drake → UK folk-rock guitarist, singer/songwriter
1950 ● Ann WilsonHeart
1953 ● Larry Dunn (Lawrence Dunhill) → Earth, Wind & Fire
1959 ● Mark "Marty" DeBarge → DeBarge
1960 ● Dennis Fuller → London Boys
1962 ● Paula Abdul → Dance-pop diva, producer, TV star
1964 ● Brian Vander Ark → The Verve Pipe, "The Freshmen" (1997)
1970 ● Brian "Head" Welch → Korn, solo

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Eagles (6/10/75) 35 Years!

The Eagles were on a roll in early 1975. Their first three albums went multi-platinum, they’d issued four Top 30 hits, the last of which, “Best Of My Love” was still charting over a year after its parent album (On The Border) was released, and America (plus the rest of the world) was beginning to really dig their laid-back, light country-rock “L.A. Sound” (nevermind that none of the band members were actually from L.A).

One Of These Nights (released June 10, 1975), the Eagles fourth studio LP, continued their soaring but also marked a turning point for the band. The album was dominated by the growing leadership of premier light country-rock songwriters Glen Frey and Don Henley and by the imminent departure of original member Bernie Leadon. Bernie was soon out (replaced by Joe Walsh), Don and Glen became de facto leaders, and within 18 months the Eagles achieved mega-stardom with the incomparable Hotel California. But in mid-75, One Of These Nights was the best of the pre-Hotel Eagles. It featured four enduring Eagles songs: the title track; “Take It To The Limit;” “Lyin’ Eyes;” and “After The Thrill Is Gone.” Deeper still is Bernie’s swan song, the spacey country-rocker “Journey Of The Sorcerer” and the curious “I Wish You Peace,” co-written by Bernie and Ronald Reagan’s renegade daughter Patti Davis.

One Of These Nights also features soon-to-be-gone Randy Meisner, who sang lead on “Take It To The Limit” and is credited as co-writer on “Too Many Hands.” The Eagles were in transition on One Of These Nights, with the best to come. My Top 25 Eagles tunes are in the Playlist Vault and One Of These Nights is available as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon and as iPod downloads on iTunes.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Rolling Stones (6/9/78) 32 Years!

Soon after the release of the masterpiece Exile On Main Street in 1972, the Rolling Stones got caught in a fog of self-indulgent superstardom and lost their bearings. The four subsequent albums - Goats Head Soup (1973), It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (1974), Black And Blue (1976) and Love You Live (1977) - were all chart toppers, but, with few exceptions, the material was largely mediocre. Ominously, while the band enjoyed its drug, booze and celebrity lifestyle, disco and punk rock were creeping in from the fringes of the mainstream, threatening to render the Stones superfluous to a new generation of rock and pop music fans.

Some Girls (released June 9, 1978) could aptly be named The Stones Strike Back. With Mick Jagger’s leadership and focus (Keith Richards was distracted by legal trouble from a heroin bust in Toronto in early 1977), the band settled into a five-month recording schedule in Paris that produced dozens of new tracks, many of which ended up on the LP. Some Girls takes direct aim at the mirror ball dance crowd with the thumping disco beat of “Miss You.” The steady roller “Shattered” serves up a 70s New York City street groove with a slice of proto-rap. “Lies” is straight-forward rock ‘n’ roll built on punk influences. “Before They Make Me Run” is Richards’ faux-country answer to the Toronto constabulary. The cover of the Temptations “Just My Imagination” provides a grittier, faster and louder version than the soul classic. “Respectable” and “When The Whip Comes Down” are decent second-tier Stones rockers. “Far Away Eyes,” and the title track add off-center flavor, and a personal favorite, “Beast Of Burden” is one of Jaggers’ best mid-tempo ballads, topping out the whole disc.

Some Girls jumpstarted the Stones’ career and led to three great albums and three major tours (two U.S. and one European) in the five years following its release. It registered #1 on Billboard’s Pop Album chart (#2 in the U.K.) in 1978 and is ranked #269 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 albums of all time. There are two Stones playlists for review and download (comments welcome!) in the Playlist Vault and Some Girls is on Amazon and iTunes.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (June 6 - 12)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jun 06
1936 ● Levi Stubbs (Stubbles) → The Four Tops
1939 ● Gary "U.S." Bonds (Gary Levone Anderson) → "Quarter To Three" (1961)
1942 ● Howard Kane (Kirschenbaum) → Jay & The Americans
1944 ● Edgar Froese → Tangerine Dream, solo
1944 ● Peter AlbinBig Brother & The Holding Co.
1959 ● Robert "Bobby Bluebell" Hodgens → The Bluebells
1960 ● Steve Vai → Guitarist, Frank Zappa band, Whitesnake, solo
1961 ● Tomas Enrique "Tom" Araya → Slayer
1965 ● David White → Brother Beyond
1970 ● James "Munky" Shaffer → Korn
1974 ● Uncle Kracker (Matthew Shafer) → Kid Rock DJ

Jun 07
1940 ● Tom Jones (Woodward) → "It's Not Unusual" (1965)
1944 ● Clarence WhiteByrds, Kentucky Colonels
1955 ● Joey Scarbury → "Theme From The Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not)" (1981)
1957 ● Patrick Joseph "Paddy" McAloon → Prefab Sprout
1958 ● Prince (Rogers Nelson) → "When Doves Cry" (1984)
1964 ● John "Ecstasy" Fletcher → Whodini, "Five Minutes Of Funk" (1984)
1966 ● Eric Kretz → Stone Temple Pilots
1967 ● Dave Navarro → Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers
1974 ● Terry "T-Low" Brown → Next, "Too Close" (1998)

Jun 08
1936 ● James Darren (James William Ercolani) → "Goodbye Cruel World" (1962)
1940 ● Nancy Sinatra → "These Boots Were Made for Walking" (1966)
1940 ● Sherman Garnes → The Teenagers, "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" (1956)
1942 ● Chuck Negron → Three Dog Night
1944 ● William Royce "Boz" ScaggsSteve Miller Band, solo, "Lido Shuffle" (1976)
1947 ● Julie Driscoll → Brit pop diva, Brian Auger & The Trinity, solo
1947 ● Mick Box → Uriah Heep
1951 ● Bonnie Tyler (Gaynor Hopkins) → "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (1983)
1953 ● Jeff Rich → Climax Blues Band, Status Quo
1960 ● Michael James "Mick" Hucknall → Simply Red, solo
1962 ● Nick Rhodes (Bates) → Duran Duran
1965 ● Rob Pilatus → Milli Vanilli
1966 ● Doris Pearson → 5 Star
1967 ● Neil Mitchell → Wet Wet Wet, "Love Is All Around" (1994)
1970 ● Nichole "Nicci" Gilbert → Brownstone, solo
1977 ● Kanye West → Producer, rapper, "Jesus Walks" (2004)
1981 ● Alex Band → The Calling, "Wherever You Will Go" (2001)

Jun 09
1891 ● Cole Porter → "I Get A Kick Out Of You" (1934)
1915 ● Les Paul (Lester William Polsfuss) → Singer, songwriter, guitar inventor
1929 ● Johnny Ace (John Alexander) → "Pledging My Love" (1955)
1934 ● Jack Leroy "Jackie" Wilson → "Lonely Teardrops" (1958)
1941 ● Billy Hatton → The Fourmost
1941 ● Jon LordDeep Purple, Whitesnake
1946 ● John "Mitch" MitchellJimi Hendrix Experience
1949 ● George Bunnell → Strawberry Alarm Clock
1950 ● Trevor Bolder → Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash
1953 ● Errol Kennedy → Imagination, "Just An Illusion" (1982)
1962 ● Eddie Lundon → China Crisis, "Wishful Thinking" (1984)
1967 ● Dean Dinning → Toad The Wet Sprocket
1967 ● Dean Felber → Hootie & The Blowfish
1970 ● Ed Simons → The Chemical Brothers

Jun 10
1910 ● Howlin' Wolf (Chester Arthur Burnett) → "Smokestack Lightning" (1956)
1922 ● Judy Garland (Frances Ethel Gumm) → "(Somewhere) Over The Rainbow" (1939)
1941 ● Shirley Alston → The Shirelles
1942 ● Janet Vogel → Skyliners, "Since I Don't Have You" (1958)
1944 ● Rick Price → The Move, ELO, Wizzard
1961 ● Mark Shaw (Mark Robert Tiplady) → Then Jericho, "The Motive" (1987)
1961 ● Maxi Priest (Max Alfred Elliott) → Brit reggae star, The "King of Lovers Rock"
1964 ● Jimmy Chamberlain → Smashing Pumpkins
1965 ● Joey Santiago → The Pixies, The Martinis
1967 ● Human Beat Box (Darren Robinson) → Fat Boys
1969 ● Dan Lavery → Tonic
1971 ● Joel "JoJo" Hailey → K-Ci & JoJo
1973 ● Faith Evans → R&B pop, "I'll Be Missing You" (1997)
1973 ● LeMisha Grinsted → 702, American Music Awards "Best New Soul/R&B Artist" (2000)

Jun 11
1934 ● James "Pookie" Hudson → The Spaniels, "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight" (1954)
1940 ● Joey Dee (Joseph DiNicola) → "The Peppermint Twist" (1961)
1946 ● John Lawton → Lucifer's Friend, Uriah Heep, solo
1947 ● Glenn LeonardThe Temptations
1947 ● Richard Palmer-James → King Crimson, Supertramp
1948 ● Skip Alan → The Pretty Things
1949 ● Frank BeardZZ Top
1951 ● Lynsey De Paul (Rubin) → Singer, songwriter, "Sugar Me" (1972)
1952 ● Donnie Van Zant → .38 Special, Van Zant
1961 ● Kim and Kelley Deal → The Breeders, The Pixies
1961 ● Rob B. (Robert Charles Birch) → Stereo MC's

Jun 12
1909 ● Archie Bleyer → Bandleader, producer, Cadence Records owner
1941 ● Roy Harper → Brit folk-rock, lead vocals on Pink Floyd's "Have A Cigar" (1975)
1942 ● Len Barry (Leonard Borisoff) → The Dovells, solo, "1-2-3" (1965)
1943 ● Reg Presley → The Troggs, "Wild Thing" (1966)
1948 ● Barry Bailey → Atlanta Rhythm Section
1951 ● Brad DelpBoston
1951 ● Bun E. Carlos (Brad Carlson) → Cheap Trick
1952 ● Jamieson "Junior" Brown → Country-rock guitarist, Asleep At The Wheel, solo
1952 ● Peter FarndonPretenders
1953 ● Rocky Burnette → Rockabilly, "Tired Of Toein' The Line" (1980), son of Johnny
1959 ● John Linnell → They Might Be Giants, solo
1960 ● Michael Hausman → Til Tuesday, "Voices Carry" (1985), artist manager
1962 ● Grandmaster Dee (Drew Carter) → Whodini, "Five Minutes Of Funk" (1984)
1968 ● Bobby Sheehan → Blues Traveler
1969 ● Bardi Martin → Candlebox, "Far Behind" (1994)
1977 ● Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Brobst) → Blues-rock guitarist, "Blue On Black" (1997)
1979 ● Robyn (Robin Miriam Carlsson) → Dance/pop, "Do You Know (What It Takes)" (1997)

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Bruce Springsteen (6/2/78)

Born To Run was Bruce Springsteen’s breakthrough album and a monster commercial and FM radio hit. But a three year legal impasse with his former (fired) manager delayed a follow-up LP until he released Darkness On The Edge Of Town on June 2, 1978. True to the title, it’s a subdued, deeper and somber exploration of the middle and lower-class people themes he’d introduced on his first three LPs, Greetings From Asbury Park in early 1973, The Wild, The Innocent And The E-Street Shuffle in late 1973 and the classic Born To Run in 1975.

The time lag, the legal troubles and the weight of sudden superstardom after years of toil quite plainly took their toll on Springsteen. But the result was positive. Darkness… trades the exuberant rock & roll, romantic ballads and full production of its predecessor for a heavier and tighter sound of brooding cynicism, melancholy dirges and repetitive, thumping rhythms. Although not a single Top 30 hit came off the album, there’s plenty of classic Boss music, with solid tracks like “Badlands,” “Adam Raised A Cain,” “The Promised Land” and “Prove It All Night.” For hard-core Springsteen fans and lovers of “deep cuts,” there’s “Candy’s Room,” “Factory” and the title track.

Born To Run pushed him over the top, but Darkness… carried the Boss into a remarkable 25 year run atop the pop-rock heap. The album reached #5 on Billboard’s Pop Album in 1978 and was selected as the #1 album of the year by New Music Express. Rolling Stones ranks it as #151 on their Top 500 albums of all time. You can download my Springsteen playlist from the Playlist Vault, and Darkness… is on Amazon and iTunes.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

 

Album of the Day: The Beatles (6/1/67)

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (released June 1, 1967) is an album of superlatives. It’s oft-described as the most influential pop album ever released, the first “concept” album, the album that launched FM radio, the best Beatles album of all, and the first by any artist anywhere/anytime to truly combine so many of music’s disparate elements – rock ‘n’ roll, pop, R&B, psychedelia, jazz, orchestra, Big Band, country, Eastern, and so much more.

Hyperbole notwithstanding, I still won’t argue any of those descriptors. Yes, it was all of that, and more. But despite being #1 on so many lists (including Rolling Stones’ Top 500 albums and my Top 25 for 1967), it’s still not the best Beatles album. In my book, The White Album claims that title, but Sgt. Pepper’s ... paved the way and deserves a close second. The album completed the bridge between the pop-love fests of Please Please Me and Help! and the exhilarating, experimental sounds the Beatles produced on Revolver and The White Album. No longer a touring act but a cohesive band of mature musicians, composers and lyricists, the Beatles abandoned forever the notion of a carefully rehearsed and recorded, 3 minute and 30 second AM radio song for a free-format assemblage of tracks carefully crafted and spliced together from pieces and sections recorded at different times and (often) different places.

Sgt. Pepper’s… opened an artistic freedom and expression that rock music hadn’t seen, and quickly became the standard against which all future concept albums were judged. Unfortunately, its creators lasted only a short three years following the album’s release. The Beatles split up for good in 1970. There are two Beatles playlists in the Playlist Vault. Sgt. Pepper’s… is for purchase as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon (but not on iTunes).

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