Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Dave Grohl, the greatest rock star alive, went on The Street recently and proceeded to burn the neighborhood down with a song that was quite possibly the greatest ever written. With Elmo and Big Bird helping Dave on vocals, this beat will have you repeating that chorus for days. Listen to this burner and try not to tap your foot. You can’t.  Truly a rock classic.

PS- Elmo is shredding on the axe, man. And Big Bird is playing a tamborine the size of an extra latge pizza.

Yeah, I probably disagree with about half of these. I realize that “iconic” doesn’t mean “best” but come on. In my opinion they were about 3 for 10 in the 90s. Still, a fun video. Enjoy and give me your thoughts.

So my sister and I have been cleaning out my Mom’s house and property and I found some boxes I’d stored in the pole barn. Some of them had all my old cassette tapes, and there were a lot. Like hundreds. And hundreds. And hundreds. Anyway, included were a lot of mix-tapes I’d made or that people had made for me, and man did they bring back a ton of memories. By the way, a couple of guys made me the large majority of tapes I’d been given, so thanks to Jed and Goose. They both helped form my musical tastes back in the 80s and 90s, the glory days of the mix-tape if you will. Included are quite a few bootlegs, mostly of R.E.M. that were somehow procured by the aforementioned Jed, Goose or myself. Anyway, I thought I might post just a few photos of the tapes because I know they’ll jog some memories of quite a few former students and friends. Let’s begin with those R.E.M. bootlegs.

Trust me, there are some rare recordings in there, and I bet not too many exist anymore. Stellar stuff.

Here are some other notables. Some aren’t actually mix-tapes but just copies of regular tapes. Since these were spread around to a lot of people, anyone recognize anything? Click to enlarge and scroll.

Memories, man.

No? Huh.

If heaven was a town it would be my town
On a summer day in 1985
And everything I wanted was out there waitin’
And everyone I loved was still alive . . .

Click and scroll for the insanity.

For various reasons many cities have been the center of musical revivals, places where something special either started or was centered. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme (get it, rhyme?) or reason why the seed was planted there, but planted it was. Sometimes big cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Cleveland are New York City are involved, other times it’s a small college town like Austin, Texas. Some of the most famous musicians in the world came from places we don’t even associate with music. Hell, John Mellencamp grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. James Brown? Macon, Georgia. And although everyone thinks of Manhattan when hearing the Velvet Underground, they’re actually from Long Island. Of course, we all know what that hot-bed of music, Tupelo, Mississippi produced, right? The King himself, Elvis Presley. And Cleveland? While the term Rock ‘n’ Roll actually originated there with legendary DJ Alan Freed, it doesn’t really have its own sound, right?

I guess the old saying is true – it doesn’t matter where you’re from, it’s where you’re at. 

Anyway, what follows are 10 of the most influential musical cities, cities that changed the world of music as we know it. Let’s start our travels now . . .

DETROIT

  • We’re talkin’ Motown, baby. The Jackson 5, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Smokey

    Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

    Robinson, and Stevie Wonder all began their careers in Detroit in the 1960’s. Berry Gordy started Tamla records there in the early 60’s, and it eventually evolved into the legendary Motown Records. Without Motown we wouldn’t have songs like “Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, “Dancing in the Street” by Martha and the Vandellas, “Please Mr. Postman”by the Marvelettes, “My Girl” by the Temptations, “Super Freak” by Rick James, or “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. ‘Nuff said.

LIVERPOOL

  • Back in the 1950’s Liverpool was one of England’s biggest seaports. Sailors brought all sorts of American goods into the United Kingdom, including books, clothes . . . and records. A lot of these records were of the R & B variety. This made Liverpool one of the centers of American culture and American R & B music, and a couple young men named Paul McCartney and John Lennon were listening. The rest, as they say, is history. The British Invasion was on. Soon came not only The Beatles, but Gerry and the Pacemakers, Echo and the Bunnymen, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, The Las, The Searchers, The Wombats and more.

The King

MEMPHIS

  • Come on, man, Memphis could be argued as the birthplace of Rock and Roll. It had two legendary record labels, Sun Recored in the 50’s and Stax in the 60’s. The Memphis Sound was an eclectic mix of country, swing, gospel, and blues, and when you put them all together you got Rock and Freakin’ Roll. Legendary producer Sam Phillips once famously said this – “If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.” Two years later Elvis Presley walked into his studio, and the rest was history.

NEW ORLEANS

  • I mean, the Birthplace of Jazz has to make the list, right? Not only Jazz, but Ragtime, Dixieland, Cajun and Zydeco all have strong bases in The Big Easy. Want some names? How ’bout none other than Louis Armstrong, Dr. John, Fats Domino, Harry Connick Jr. and Jelly Roll Morton? And oh yeah, we can’t forget a famous rapper – Lil’ Wayne.

NEW YORK CITY

  • Hip-Hop, Punk, and Disco all have strong roots in The Big Apple, and the artists from NYC are as diverse as music itself. What city could boast such wide-ranging artists such as Lady Gaga, Simon & Garfunkel, Beastie Boys, Santana, Billy Joel, Lou Reed, Talking Heads, KISS, The Ramones, and Jay-Z? New York has so many different sounds that you can’t really choose just one. PS- I can choose one because it’s my website – Punk. 

PHILADELPHIA

  • Now you’re in my wheelhouse, baby. The Philly Sound! The Philly Sound combined the rhythms of Motown but added symphonies and dare I say Beatlesque production to make some of the best damn sound ever created. God how I loved the music coming out of Philadelphia during the early 70s. I loved a million of these artists, but I’ll list my absolute favorites – Blue Magic, the Delfonics, Hall & Oates, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the O’Jays, The Spinners, and The Stylistics. Also, there’s another legend that emerged from Philly during this time that doesn’t really fit any musical genre – Mr. Todd Rundgren. Put him in the Hall of Fame! Fun Fact: The O’ Jays were originally from Ohio!

R.E.M.

ATHENS

  • As in Athens, Georgia to be precise. In the late 70s-early 80s Athens became the city that produced a big part of the sound that was to be called Alternative Music. Bands like The B-52s, Love Tractor, Drive-By Truckers, Pylon, Widespread Panic, The Whigs, and the greatest of all, R.E.M. began playing in the little college town of Athens.

MINNEAPOLIS

  • Around the same time Alt Music was kicking off in Athens, another alt music revolution was taking place up north in Minneapolis. Bands such as Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, Soul Asylum, Babes in Toyland and Semisonic all came blasting out of the Twin Cities with their unique take on Alternative Music. Oh, and there was another sound coming out of the area as well – a nasty blend of funk-rock by some dude who called himself Prince.

CHICAGO

  • Although being famous for a lot of genres, Chicago is probably most famous for one – The Blues. Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy, and Bo Diddley all sharpened their skills in the Windy City. Other famous bands or artists that originated there? How about Chicago, The Chi-Lites, Rufus, REO Speedwagon and Cheap Trick?

SEATTLE

  • Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. Need I say more? Actually I need to. Why? Because bands

    The Melvins

    like Mudhoney, Green River, Screaming Trees and most notably The Melvins, all started the whole Grunge movement of the early-80s to mid-90s. Alice in Chains too! By the way, Grunge music was, in a nutshell, music that was loud, tough . . . and molasses slow.

So there ya go. My Top 10 Cities that influenced music. What did I miss? Who ya got? Lemme hear it.

One of the most iconic music videos in history, The Beatles singing “Hey Jude” on the David Frost Show in 1968. It was their first live performance in over 2-years. I love at the beginning when the lads are messing with Frost. Great stuff.

The album “Let It Be” by The Beatles was supposed to be a trip back to their roots – pared down, simple, no orchestration or strings, no overdubs, and no overwhelming production. They wanted the album to have an almost “live” feel. This from a band that had recorded albums like “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in which the studio work and production were groundbreaking in their complexity. Bottom line, The Beatles wanted to get back to their roots.

Here’s the album track list:

Side 1

  1. Two of Us
  2. Dig a Pony
  3. Across the Universe
  4. I Me Mine
  5. Dig It
  6. Let It Be
  7. Maggie May

Side 2

  1. I’ve Got a Feeling
  2. One After 909
  3. The Long and Winding Road
  4. For You Blue
  5. Get Back

The songs range from the silly (“Dig It”, “Dig a Pony” and Maggie May”) to the rockin’ (“Get Back”) to the almost country sounding (“One After 909”) to the beautifully legendary (“Let It Be”, “Across the Universe” and “The Long and Winding Road”). It was a truly a wonderful album in spite of the cracks that were beginning to show, fissures that would eventually tear the group apart.

Quick note – although “Let It Be” was the last album released by The Beatles, it was actually recorded before Abbey Road.

As I mentioned before, during the recording of “Let It Be” the relationships between all four Beatles was strained severely, almost to its breaking point. It was so strained, in fact, that the guys became so tired of the in-fighting they allowed manager Allen Klein (who Paul hated but John liked) to take over the finishing touches on the album. Klein ended up handing the project over to legendary “Wall of Sound” producer Phil Spector, who proceeded to completely defeat the original purpose of the album by adding orchestras and female background singers (which The Beatles had never used before) to songs like “The Long and Winding Road” and “Let It Be.” Paul McCartney has stated publicly many times that when he first heard the final product he was aghast at the results.

Years later, in 2003, the album was re-released by McCartney as “Let It Be . . . Naked” in an attempt to rectify the mistake and let the public listen to the album as it was originally intended. The result was a beautiful album of simple songs in which the voices and musicianship stand magnificently on their own.

Here’s a comparison of the original release of “The Long and Winding Road” with strings and background vocals, followed by the originally intended pared down, simple version:

Long and Winding Road (with added vocals and orchestration)

Long and Winding Road (original “naked” version)

Big difference. Sure, the first version is beautiful, but I much prefer the second one, especially since Paul wanted it to be heard that way originally. Again, all the added fluff went against the spirit of the album, which was to “get back” to the roots of The Beatles.

Here are some videos from the movie “Let It Be” which was basically a documentary regarding the making of the album. It includes the legendary surprise “rooftop concert”. Great stuff:

Let It Be

The Long and Winding Road

Get Back

Let It Be Factoids:

  • Piano legend Billy Preston played keyboard on the album.
  • During the recording sessions, tensions between George Harrison and Paul McCartney, grew so heated that Harrison left the studio.
  • Although recorded in 1969 and released on “Let it Be” a year later, the song “One After 909” was one of John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s first collaborations, dating back to 1959.
  • In the United States, advance orders for the album were the largest in the industry up to that point – over 3.7 million units.
  • Legend has it that when McCartney sang “Get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged” he was looking directly at Yoko Ono, who was in studio during the recording.

 

 

I’m not generally a fan of covers. I just normally prefer originals, especially where The Beatles are concerned. After all, you cannot top perfection, ya know? That said, there are some pretty amazing covers out there, even of the legendary Fab Four. Let’s get right to it . . .

Paul Westerberg – Nowhere Man

Love this version of Nowhere Man. Simple, acoustic, with plaintive vocals. This was on the “I Am Sam” soundtrack and it’s simply majestic.

 

Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Dhani Harrison and Prince – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

This live cover was performed at a tribute concert for George Harrison, and Prince absolutely shreds on guitar. Great, great version.

 

Wilson Pickett and Duane Allman – Hey Jude

What a pairing, and what an amazing cover. Just listen . .

 

Beach Boys – I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

This was recorded during one of Brian’s absences from the band so Bruce Johnston sings lead, and it sounds pretty much exactly how you’d expect it to sound. Good stuff.

 

Elton John – Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

Elton and John Lennon had become good friends, so it’s no surprise Elton performed this cover. He sticks to the original pretty closely, and Lennon himself actually sang on the single.

 

Black Oak Arkansas – Taxman

Bet you’ve never heard this blistering, badass version of Taxman from the Black Oak boys. Better buckle in first.

 

Elliott Smith – Because

Great Abbey Road cover by another artist we lost way too soon. This song was on the American Beauty soundtrack.

 

Pixies – Wild Honey Pie

More proof that the legendary Pixies were the psychotic version of The Beatles. Don’t be scared to listen to this cover from the White Album.

 

Link Wray – Please Please Me

Wonderful instrumental cover by the legendary Link Wray.

 

U2 – Helter Skelter

Pretty faithful version of quite possibly the first ever metal song.

 

Amy Winehouse – All My Loving

Beautiful cover performed as only Amy could perform it.

 

The Carpenters – Ticket to Ride

Karen Carpenter had the voice of an angel and it’s on display here. A good example of how the music of The Beatles can be performed in a variety of ways.

 

Jeff Lynne and Dave Grohl – Hey Bulldog

Oh, hell yes. Love the introduction by Dave Grohl too. So good.

 

Otis Redding- A Hard Day’s Night

This sounds exactly how you’d imagine Otis Redding singing “A Hard Day’s Night” to sound. Amazing stuff.

 

Michael Jackson- Come Together

I know, I know. But I like this cover even more than Aerosmith’s. So shoot me.

Yeah, I know I left out Aerosmith’s cover of Come Together, Joe Cocker’s cover of With a Little Help From My Friends, and all those horrible covers in that god-awful Sgt. Pepper’s movie from the late 70s. There are others as well. So, whaddaya got? Let me know what you think I missed.

This the latest in my series of Top 10 songs (or with The Beatles a Top 30 because it’s The Beatles damn it) of some of my favorite musical artists. It’s sort of a silly exercise really because taste in anything is pretty arbitrary, ya know? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that. Anyway, what follows are my personal favorites and nothing more, and if you don’t like them you can go to hell.

Kidding. Feel free to let me know your favorites. Here we go . . .

My Hero (1997)

Everlong (1997)

The Sky is a Neighborhood (2017)

Long Road to Ruin (2007)

Best of You (2005)

Monkey Wrench (1997)

Big Me (1995)

 

Times Like These (2003)

Learn To Fly (1999)

M.I.A. (1999)

These Days (2011)

Next Year (1999)

OK, I lied. I listed 12. I couldn’t break it down to 10. Live with it. Anyway, Foo Fighters man. Keeping rock ‘n’ roll alive.

I don’t think I missed an episode of Soul Train or Midnight Special. Watch these dancers groove to Love Train by my buddies the O’ Jays. On a related note, Don Cornelius was the coolest cat around back then.

Woodstock 50 has been cancelled. Earlier today officials with Dentsu Aegis Network, which is funding the festival, released the following statement to Billboard:

“Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees.”

The statement goes on, “As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”

Big shocker here, huh? This is so 2019 it hurts. “A event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name?” BWAHAHAHAHA! They realize the original Woodstock was held in a torrential downpour, without adequate lodging or toilet facilities, little medical staff, and everyone in attendance was risking death by electrocution, correct? Still, the show went on. Hell, people gave birth in the mud, muck and human waste as Hendrix, Joplin, The Band, The Who, CCR and others rocked on.

Good God, man. 2019, 1969 if laughing in your face right now.

Note 1: Promoter Michael Lang, does not agree Woodstock 50 is sunk. He says Dentsu’s announcement was a “complete surprise,” but adds “we’re not giving up on the festival yet.”

Note 2: Does Fyre Fest really have people that skittish? Sad really.

Note 3: Have you ever really taken a hard look at the original Woodstock 3-day lineup? Sweet Mother of Rock. And these bands are just the highlights:

Friday:

  • Richie Havens
  • Ravi Shankar
  • Arlo Guthrie
  • Joan Baez

Saturday

  • Country Joe & the Fish
  • Santana
  • John B. Sebastian
  • Canned Heat
  • Mountain
  • Grateful Dead
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Janis Joplin
  • Sly & the Family Stone
  • The Who
  • Jefferson Airplane

Sunday

  • Joe Cocker
  • Ten Years After
  • The Band
  • Johnny Winter
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Jimi Hendrix

 

To begin, there’s no way I’m ranking these songs. They’re all just too good. I’ve been a huge fan of Motown and the Philly Sound since I was a little kid and nothing has changed since then. I’ve seen bands like The Temptations, Stylistics and Chi-Lites live and I once sang “Love Train” with The O’ Jays on a Columbus to Detroit flight. Not even kidding. I even wrote about it in this blog:

The O’ Jays and I

Good times with two great friends I miss very much. That said, what follows are twenty of my very favorite Motown/Philly Sound songs. Every single one touches me in one way or the other.

My Girl – The Temptations (1965)

Ah. The soaring vocals, the beautiful melody, this Smokey Robinson penned song one has it all. And David Ruffin’s vocals? Heaven, man. HEAVEN.

The Tears of a Clown – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (1970)

How could a song written by  Hank Cosby, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder fail, you ask? Answer: It could not. Love the upbeat melody combined with the terribly sad lyrics.

I’ll Be There – Jackson 5 (1970)

How Michael Jackson pulled this off at such a young age is beyond my comprehension. I’ll let Melody Maker give their take: “Rarely, if ever, had one so young sung with so much authority and grace, investing this achingly tender ballad with wisdom and understanding far beyond his years.” Listen to this song and understand that Michael Jackson turned 12 one day after it was released.

Here’s a bonus link from 1983. Stellar stuff.

Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) – Marvin Gaye (1971)

Marvin Gaye not only sang an amazing political song called “What’s Going On”, he also released this tune about our environment. Beautifully sang, great lyrics.

Let’s Stay Together – Al Green (1972)

Quite simply one of my very favorite songs of all-time, regardless of genre. One of my Bucket List goals is to go to the Reverend Al’s church in Memphis. It will happen. For now I have to be content watching this cool cat sing via video. Check him out:

Love Train – O’ Jays (1972)

This one is extra special to me, partly because I actually sang it with them. Well, sort of (check the link I posted above). Just an upbeat, happy song that you can’t help singing along to.

Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight & the Pips (1973)

Love this song, and Gladys Knight’s voice is at the peak of its glory. Still, it wouldn’t be what it is without the background vocals of the legendary Pips. Absolutely gorgeous.

Oh Girl – Chi-Lites (1972)

Without a doubt one of the saddest, most gut-wrenching songs ever recorded. Beautifully sung by Eugene Record, who also wrote and produced it. Again, a favorite regardless of genre.

Sideshow – Blue Magic (1974)

The song is noted for its gorgeous melodies and introduction, in which one of the band’s members acts like a master of ceremonies, declaring: “Hurry!! Hurry!!! Step right up! See the saddest show in town for only 50 cents!” Then the song kicks in . . .

Easy – Commodores (1977)

Love Lionel Richie’s vocals, the raw guitar sound in the middle, and of course the lyrics . . . “I’m easy like Sunday morning . . .”

I’m Stone in Love With You – The Stylistics (1972)

Believe it or not I saw The Stylistics at the Ross County Fairgrounds, sometime around 1973 or ’74. And yes, Russell Thompkins, Jr. had the voice of an angel.

So Very Hard To Go – Tower of Power (1973)

The Tower of Power Horns Section absolutely kills in this song, and when you combine that with Lenny Williams’ soaring vocals and a beautifully sad melody you have one of the best R&B songs ever recorded. Again, never ever gets old.

Too Late To Turn Back Now – Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose (1972)

Eddie Cornelius had a helluva run back in the early 70s with songs like this one and “Treat Her Like a Lady”, and he, brother Carter and sisters Rose and Billie Jo are flawless on vocals. Random thought: I have no idea why Billie Jo isn’t mentioned in the group’s name. Fun fact: The Cornelius clan hailed from Dania Beach, Florida and had a member named Cleveland E. Barrett who was killed in a car accident just before the band hit it big.

Note: The band isn’t seen in this video but some of the best damn Soul Train dancing surely is.

Keeper of the Castle – Four Tops (1972)

This is a lesser known Four Tops song that is a social commentary on men’s roles in relationships, and I always liked it. It might be a little dated as far as content was concerned but it still carries a great message. Love it.

Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly & the Family Stone (1969)

Quite simply the best song about summertime ever recorded. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. On a related note, Sly was about the coolest cat in music for years.

Everybody Plays the Fool – Main Ingredient (1972)

There was a period when many R&B songs began with somebody talking, and this is an example of that trend:

Okay, so you’re heartbroken
You sit around mopin’
Cryin’ and cryin’
You say you’re even thinkin’ about dyin’?
Well, before you do anything rash, dig this . . .
Oh, and that lead singer is Cuba Gooding Sr.

Ghetto Child – The Spinners (1973)

This is one of The Spinner’s less famous songs, but one of my favorites, Great message too. Love the dueling vocals.

Nothing from Nothing – Billy Preston (1974)

From none other than the man who played piano for The Beatles on “Get Back” and just happened to be on the rooftop with them during their last performance together. Also, greatest afro ever.

I Just Can’t Get You Out of My Mind – Four Tops (1973)

I’m not sure what it is about this song I love so much. The melody, the vocals, there’s just something about it all that appeals to me. Maybe it’s because the voice of Levi Stubbs never sounded better.

The Love I Lost – Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes (1973)

Ah, Harold Melvin. Amazing voice and an incredible song with poignant, aching lyrics. Doesn’t get a whole lot better than this one. I also love the slow buildup with the guitar and keyboards, as the vocals don’t even begin until the 45-second mark.

I just realized I have a very narrow window where R&B is concerned. My Top 20 songs were from the following years: 1965 (1), 1969 (1), 1970 (2), 1971 (1), 1972 (7), 1973 (5), 1974 (2), 1977 (1). Interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, I know, many of you will know some of these. I mean, everyone knows how the Rollling Stones got their name, right? That original guitarist Brian Jones was doing an interview over the phone for Jazz News and was asked what the name of his band was. On the floor was a Muddy Waters LP and Jones noticed the track “Rollin’ Stone” on the case. He promptly said that was the band’s name, and they stuck with with it, only modifying it to The Rolling Stones. That said, some band name origins are not well known at all. Hence, this blog. Enjoy . . .

The Beatles: Who else did you think I’d start with, man? The Beatles name was inspired by Buddy Holly, whose backing group was called the Crickets. All four Beatles were big fans, their earliest shows often featured his music and Paul McCartney later purchased the publishing rights to Holly’s songs. Prior to this The Beatles were called The Quarrymen and The Silver Beetles. They ditched the “Silver”, changed “Beetles” to “Beatles” (get it? Beat?) and the rest is rock history.

Nirvana: Kurt Cobain himself stated that they went with Nirvana because “I wanted a name that was kind of beautiful or nice and pretty instead of a mean, raunchy punk name like the Angry Samoans.” Previous band names – Ted Ed Fred and Pen Cap Chew. So yeah, Nirvana is much better.

Eels: I’ve heard Mark Oliver Everett explain this many times. Before Eels, Everett was known simply as E and had released two excellent albums under that name. When he formed a band he wanted a name that would allow his new CDs to sit alongside his old ones in the record stores (E, then Eels). What he didn’t consider was band names like The Eagles that would make his name choice inconsequential.

R.E.M.: No, REM doesn’t stand for Rapid Eye Movement. The truth is the band got its name by way of a random dictionary grab by Michael Stipe. Previous band names- Twisted Kites and Cans of Piss. True story.

AC/DC: Malcolm and Angus Young’s sister Margaret came up with this one. She suggested it to the guys after seeing the letters “AC/DC” on a vacuum cleaner or sewing machine, nobody can remember exactly which. Not the most exciting story in the world, but there it is.

The Doors: The boys got this one from Aldous Huxley’s book “The Doors of Perception,” which Jim Morrison particularly liked. By the way, it is an amazing book.

Pink Floyd: Syd Barrett named Pink Floyd by combining the names of two bluesmen from his record collection: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Anderson Council didn’t sound right, hence Pink Floyd.

Meat Loaf: Meatloaf was the nickname given to Marvin Lee Aday by his high-school football coach. Original band name- Meat Loaf Soul.

They Might Be Giants: I’ll let TMBG’s John Linnell explain this one: “It’s the name of a movie. It’s not a good movie and it doesn’t hold that much significance for us.” Alrighty then.

Guns N’ Roses: Hollywood Rose member Izzy Stradlin spent some time in the mid-’80s as roommates with L.A. Guns member Tracii Guns. When L.A. Guns needed a new singer, Hollywood Rose’s Axl Rose came aboard. This led to the 1985 formation of Guns N’ Roses. Previous ideas for a name- Heads of Amazon and AIDS. Yikes.

Bob Dylan: Young Bobby Zimmerman was a fan of Matt Dillon – the sheriff on the TV western Gunsmoke. In 1958 he told his high-school girlfriend that he planned to devote his life to music and assume the name Bob Dillon. He changed the spelling because he thought it looked better.

Badfinger: Once the band was signed to Apple Records by The Beatles the band took the opportunity to change their name. The name “Badfinger” was derived from “Bad Finger Boogie,” the working title of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends”. Original band name – The Iveys.

REO Speedwagon: The REO Speed Wagon was introduced in 1915 as a predecessor of the pickup truck. Fast forward to 1967 and keyboardist Neal Doughty was in a college class that studied the history of transportation. One day he walked in and REO Speed Wagon was written on the blackboard. Boom. Band name born.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: This name was a tongue-in-cheek swipe at Leonard Skinner, their high-school gym teacher who had often clashed with them for having long hair and being rebellious hippies.

Alice Cooper: Alice Cooper was originally the band name, selected as a replacement since the Nazz had already been taken by Todd Rundgren. The fictional Alice was envisioned as a demented, possibly homicidal elderly woman, and singer Vince Furnier played the part onstage so well that he ultimately became more associated with the name than the band did.

KISS: When Peter Criss brought up the fact that he had previously played in a band called Lips, Paul Stanley chimed in with the name that would accompany the band to superstardom – KISS. Original name – Wicked Lester. Note: KISS does not stand for Kids In Satan’s Service as many believe.

Three Dog Night: Supposedly, it was June Fairchild, then girlfriend of Three Dog Night’s Danny Hutton, who came up with the name. She’d heard a story about Australians sleeping with dingos for warmth on the coldest nights.  The colder the night the more dogs they slept with, and a really cold night was a 3-dog night.

Led Zeppelin: The Who’s Keith Moon and John Entwistle joined Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones on the Jeff Beck single “Beck’s Bolero” in the summer of 1966 – leading to studio chatter about the prospect of forming a new group. Moon joked that it would go over like a lead balloon. While trying to come up with a name for a new group featuring Jones, John Bonham and Robert Plant two years later, Page remembered Moon’s line – and thus became Led Zeppelin.

Def Leppard: Singer Joe Elliott initially coined the name “Deaf Leopard” while writing reviews for imaginary rock bands in his high-school English class. Tony Kenning, percussionist for the band’s original lineup, suggested modifying the spelling to make the name seem less “punk.” Def Leppard was born.

Steely Dan: It should come as no surprise that literate rockers like Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were reading some pretty twisted stuff in their college days. They got their name from William S. Burroughs’ legendary 1959 novel ‘Naked Lunch,’ in which a steam-powered, strap-on dildo is referred to as the “Steely Dan III from Yokohama.” Glad they chose Steely Dan over Strap-On Dildo.

So there ya go. Have anything to add? Let me know!

Hollywood- Rapper Rich the Kid is OK after being attacked in an armed robbery in West Hollywood.

A representative for the 26-year-old rapper, born Dimitri Roger, told USA TODAY that “Rich is OK” following the attack outside of the esteemed Westlake Recording Studios. 

In a statement, Deputy Trina Schrader said three suspects, who she described as black males, assaulted and robbed three victims of their jewelry and money in an alley. TMZ reports that the victims included Roger and two members from his entourage.

Wow, tough day for Rich the Kid, huh? Of course when you name yourself “Rich” you’re sort of putting a target on your back I guess. Oh, and I guess it could’ve been the photo he posted outside the studio a couple hours before the robbery:

Yeah, it was definitely the photo he posted outside the studio a couple hours before the robbery.

Mirror: The Beatles Abbey Road album cover is one of the most famous in the world. The album’s sleeve shows the four members — Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr — walking across the street outside Abbey Road Studios in North London.

However, if you look closely at the photo of the Fab Four, you’ll notice a suited gent standing on the pavement. For years fans have been trying to track the mystery man down, and it is an American tourist called Paul Cole. He was tracked down and said he was included in the snap purely by chance. Paul said he was standing by the side of the road waiting for his wife, who had been looking around a museum.

“I just happened to look up, and I saw those guys walking across the street like a line of ducks. ‘A bunch of kooks,’ I called them, because they were rather radical looking at that time.”  

He said: “I saw the album and I recognized myself right away. I had a new sports jacket on and I’d just bought new shell-rimmed glasses.
I said to my children, ‘Get a magnifying glass out and you’ll see’.”

Paul Cole died in 2008 at the age of 98.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked at that cover and wondered who the dude was standing on the street in the background. I just figured it was somebody who worked in the area and was used to seeing the boys around. Turns it was Paul Cole, an American who was tired of touristing with the wifey and had gone out for a quiet moment and some fresh air. Little did he know he’d end up being on one of the most iconic rock and roll album covers in the history of mankind. That’s wild stuff, man. Anyway, Paul Freakin’ Cole. Check him out:

Good stuff.

Good stuff.

Obviously that’s Freddie Mercury on the left, actor Rami Malek on the right. If Malek doesn’t win an Oscar for his performance it’ll be a shame. For a little insight, due to throat problems Freddie had been advised by his doctors not to perform, and in rehearsals he couldn’t hit the notes. Hence, the looks of astonishment from his bandmates. Elton John met Freddie as he left the stage and said, “You bastard, you’ve stolen it”, as in stolen the show. Which he absolutely had.

 

Here’s the dilly. I’ll list the names given at birth to famous musical artists and you tell me the name they became famous under. Take the test, then tell me your score. There are 50 names so you’ll get 2-points for every correct answer. Don’t cheat by Googling names, ya filthy animals! WARNING: Some names will surprise you.

Answers are below. And seriously, don’t cheat. As a seasoned educator I’ll be able to tell, and you will be called out.

ORIGINAL NAMES

  1. Saul Hudson
  2. James Osterberg
  3. Calvin Broudus
  4. Christopher Bridges
  5. Ellen Cohen
  6. Otha Bates
  7. Faroukh Bulsara
  8. Eric Patrick Clapp
  9. James Todd Smith
  10. Trevor Smith Jr.
  11. Jeffrey Isbell
  12. William Broad
  13. Barry Allan Pincus
  14. John Francis Bongiovi Jr.
  15. Ann Mae Bullock
  16. Vincent Furnier
  17. Edward Louis Severson III
  18. Hugh Cregg III
  19. David Evans
  20. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
  21. Henry John Deutschendorf
  22. John Anthony Gillis
  23. O’Shea Jackson
  24. Joan Marie Larkin
  25. Paul Hewson
  26. Eilleen Regina Edwards
  27. Steveland Morris
  28. David Robert Jones
  29. Cherilyn Sarkasian La Pier
  30. Marvin Lee Aday
  31. Curtis Jackson
  32. Steven Victor Tallarico
  33. William Bailey
  34. Alecia Moore
  35.  Yvette Stevens
  36. Brian Warner
  37. John Beverly
  38. Gordon Sumner
  39. Stanley Burrell
  40. Lesane Parish Crooks
  41. Declan McMananus
  42. Robert Van Winkle
  43. Richard Penniman
  44. Robert James Ritchie
  45. Katheryn Hudson
  46. John Baldwin
  47. Ronald Belford
  48. Steven Georgiou
  49. Paul Charles Caravello
  50. Joseph Saddler

ANSWERS:

Saul Hudson – Slash (Guns ‘n’ Roses)

Easy one, right? Trust me, they get harder.

James Osterberg – Iggy Pop

Sadly, James grew up in Michigan. I’ll let it slide for Iggy though.

Calvin Broadus – Snoop Dogg

Another fairly easy one I think? Love Snoop. I once named a cat after him.

Christopher Bridges – Ludacris

Yep. Chris Bridges would never do.

Ellen Cohen – Mama Cass Elliott (Mammas & The Poppas)
Otha Bates – Bo Diddley
Faroukh Bulsara – Freddie Mercury (Queen)

Good call Faroukh.

Eric Patrick Clapp – Eric Clapton

Trust me on this one – Clapp was not a great name to have in the 60s.

James Todd Smith – LL Cool J

Again, James Todd just destroys your street cred.

Trevor Smith Jr. – Busta Rhymes

See LL Cool J and Ludacris.

Jeffrey Isbell – Izzy Stradlin
William Broad – Billy Idol
Barry Alan Pincus – Barry Manilow
John Francis Bongiovi Jr. – Jon Bon Jovi

Another easy one.

Ann Mae Bullock – Tina Turner
Vincent Furnier – Alice Cooper

In an odd way his real name sort of fits his image.

Edward Louis Severson III – Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)
Hugh Cregg III – Huey Lewis
David Evans – The Edge (U2)

Hard to top a name like “The Edge”, amirite?

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta – Lady Gaga

Did you know Lady Gaga is named after the Queen song “Radio Gaga”?

Henry John Deutschendorf – John Denver

Yeah. Good choice John.

John Anthony Gillis – Jack White
O’Shea Jackson – Ice Cube

Oh Good Lord. That wouldn’t do at all. Couldn’t have a bro named O’Shea in NWA.

Joan Marie Larkin – Joan Jett

Love Joan. She’s still rockin’.

Paul Hewson – Bono

U2 was good with their name change choices.

Eilleen Regina Edwards – Shania Twain
Steveland Morris – Stevie Wonder
David Robert Jones – David Bowie

David Jones changed his name to David Bowie because there was already a famous rocker with that name – Davey Jones of The Monkees.

Cherilyn Sarkasian La Pier – Cher
Marvin Lee Aday – Meatloaf

Have you seen Meatloaf? The name fit.

Curtis Jackson – 50 Cent
Steven Victor Tallarico – Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)

I read his book, and he grew up in an affluent neighborhood. Fun Fact: He’s 5-10. Seems taller to me. Oh, and I met him once.

William Bailey – Axl Rose (Guns ‘n’ Roses)
Alecia Moore – Pink
Yvette Stevens – Chaka Khan
Brian Warner – Marilyn Manson

Young Brian was an Ohio boy as you probably know. Grew up in Canton.

John Beverly – Sid Vicious
Gordon Sumner – Sting
Stanley Burrell – MC Hammer
Lesane Parish Crooks – Tupac Shakur

Lesane is an odd name. That’s all I got.

Declan McMananus – Elvis Costello

Fun Fact: Before he hit the big-time he worked as a Data Entry Clerk. True story.

Robert Van Winkle – Vanilla Ice

There’s something so awesome about that.

Richard Penniman – Little Richard
Robert James Ritchie – Kid Rock
Katheryn Hudson – Katy Perry
John Baldwin – John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)
Ronald Belford – Bon Scott (AC/DC)
Steven Georgiou – Cat Stevens

And he later became Yusaf Islam.

Paul Charles Caravello – Eric Carr (KISS)
Joseph Saddler – Grandmaster Flash

An alt classic.

Sigh . . .

Local radio stations across the country have officially started to air their Christmas playlists as the holiday quickly approaches. But when it comes to Cleveland’s Star 102’s festive lineup, one classic won’t be heard.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” may have been a fan favorite in the past. However, after one listener called in to flag the song’s lyrics, the station’s emcees realized that there may not be a place for the “manipulative” connotations of the song in 2018.

Written in 1944, the song’s lyrics detail an interaction between a man and woman, when the woman expresses her desire to leave his house, and he lures her to stay:

“My mother will start to worry (Beautiful what’s your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (Listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I’d better scurry (Beautiful, please don’t hurry)
Well maybe just a half a drink more (Put some records on while I pour).”

“We used to play the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” but the executives told us it’s no longer appropriate,” employee Glenn Anderson wrote on the station’s site.

Aaaand so it begins. First “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, and next they’ll come after “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” because it’s about adultery (yes, I know Santa was actually the father but you get the point). Seriously, I understand the Me Too Movement and its importance. I realize certain attitudes need changing, but isn’t this going a little too far? We’re talking about a Christmas song from another time. It was written in 1944 after all, and music reflects the time in which it was written. And have any of these people listened to rap lyrics? Hell, John Lennon sang about killing his girlfriend if she left him in 1964. Don’t believe me? Check it:

Well, I’d rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man
You better keep your head, little girl
Or you won’t know where I am
You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand, little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end, little girl.

But hey, Lennon never killed anyone as far as we know. But this is not a new story where music is concerned. Remember back in the 80s when some kid committed suicide and his parents blamed an Ozzy Osborne song? You know, because it had nothing to do with the fact they were inattentive, lousy parents. Yeesh.

Anyway, lighten up people. It’s a song.

PS- Anyone under 25 won’t be listening to this song or give a damn anyway.

 

We all know that instruments can cover up some god-awful vocals. Just ask Taylor Swift or Britney Spears, amirite? On the other hand, taking away instrumentation can reveal what amazing talent some singers really possess. That said, what you’re about to hear below may surprise you. But enough babbling, let’s take a listen . . .

Let’s start with the Voice of an Angel himself, Mr. Carl Wilson. Oh, and wait for the rest of the boys to jump in after the first verse . . .

Sticking with the Beach Boys, listen to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and for the love of God wait for the group harmonies. They nearly bring tears to my eyes.

If you enjoyed those, just go to YouTube and type in “Beach Boys Isolated Vocals” to have your mind and ears blown.

Next up we have none other than Kurt Cobain singing lead on “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. In a way, it’s even better this way. Love it.

Here we have the King of Pop singing “Beat It.” Not bad, but I really miss Eddie Van Halen’s searing guitar solo.

I really like listening to Soungarden’s “Black Hole Sun” with just Chris Cornell’s amazing vocals. So beautifully haunting.

I absolutely love the acapella version of “Your Imagination” from Brian Wilson’s 1999 comeback album. So pretty.

Want some hip-hop? Here ya go . . .

Alicia Key’s doesn’t need any damn instruments to sound gorgeous. Wow . . .

Oh, you’ve been waiting for this one. Stunning. Freddie Mercury was the best. PS- If you like this one check out “We Are The Champions” isolated vocals on YouTube. Stellar.

Here’s an old school Kansas track. You never realize the space between actual vocals in this tune until the instruments are taken out. Wild.

Aw, man. How I love this song. Grace Slick does perfectly fine without the music, thank you.

Back to Freddie, this time with Bowie on “Under Pressure.” So damn good.

Let’s finish up with Fleetwood Mac and Lindsey Buckingham. Good stuff.

We could go on all day with this stuff, and let’s just say you can find some pretty cringeworthy stuff if you look around a little. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed. Have a good one.

Ah, the 60s. I entered them as a 4-year old listening to my Dad’s Al Martino records and left them rocking out to Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Creedence Clearwater. And in between, of course . . . The Beatles. Hell of a decade for music, man, because the leap was incredible and music hasn’t changed so dramatically since. Narrowing down my list wasn’t easy, but nevertheless it was done. Without further ado . . .

The Beatles

Der. No brainer, kids. Everything you hear today owes something to The Beatles. John, Paul, George and Ringo were all individual talents in their own right. As a band they were the best ever and if you say otherwise I will fight you. Favorite song: Nowhere Man. Favorite album: Abbey Road.

The Beach Boys

Probably the most underrated band in rock history. The Boys are much, much more than songs about the beach, girls and fast cars. And Brian Wilson? Genius. Favorite song: Caroline, No. Favorite Album: Pet Sounds.

The Band

The Band had a unique, never duplicated sound. They were the greatest collection of musicians since The Beatles. Favorite song: Acadian Driftwood. Favorite album: Music From Big Pink.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Swamp rock from a bunch of California boys, mainly John Fogerty. Again, a unique sound. Favorite song: Bad Moon Rising. Favorite album: Green River.

The Doors

Another band with an amazingly new and different sound, and the combination of Jim Morrison’s vocals and Ray Manzarek’s keyboards made it all happen. Favorite song: Touch Me. Favorite album: The Soft Parade.

Bob Dylan

The greatest rock poet ever, period. He changed the music world with his intelligent, thoughtful lyrics. Favorite song: Positively 4th Street. Favorite album: Highway 61 Revisited.

The Byrds

The favorite American band of The Beatles. Their jangly guitars were legendary and influenced future artists like Tom Petty and REM. Favorite song: Bells of Rhymney. Favorite album: Turn! Turn! Turn!

Led Zeppelin

When Zep released their first album it was pretty clear they brought a different vibe. By their fourth album and Stairway to Heaven they were legends. Favorite song: Battle of Evermore. Favorite album: Led Zeppelin IV.

The Who

LOVED The Who. They had the knack for combining hard rock with catchy melodies and hook-filled songs, not as easy task. Roger Daltrey’s voice and Pete Townsend’s guitar was one helluva combination. Favorite song: Won’t Get Fooled Again. Favorite album: Tommy.

Van Morrison

Van the Man brought a bluesy mood to 60s rock that was fresh and exciting. I heard Brown-Eyed Girl and I was done. Favorite song: Already told ya – Brown-Eyed Girl. Favorite album: Astral Weeks.

Special Mention:

The Animals

We Gotta Get Out of This Place rocked my world., and Eric Burdon’s voice is amazing.

The Rolling Stones

I’ve always liked but not loved The Stones. So shoot me.

Elvis Presley

I liked 50s Elvis (Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock) mush better than 60s Elvis (Suspicious Minds, In the Ghetto).

Honorable Mention:

Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bee Gees, Jimi Hendrix, The Four Seasons, Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, the Grass Roots, Herman’s Hermits, Neil Young, The Rascals, The Hollies, The Righteous Brothers, The Guess Who, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Tommy James & the Shondells, Steppenwolf, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Buffalo Springfield, Stevie Wonder, Chuck Berry, The Yardbirds, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Velvet Underground, Sly & the Family Stone, The Kinks, Cream, Marvin Gaye.

So, I showed you mine. Now you show me yours.