Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Beatles notoriously hated lip-synching, and it’s never been more evident than in this video. There’s John, barely containing his disgust. Then we have Paul and George, gamely trying to stay professional. Finally we have Ringo, at times not even pretending to play drums. Classic stuff, man.

PS- Beatle videos are notoriously short-lived on YouTube. Watch this while you can.

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The one and only Freddie Mercury of Queen. He would have been 72 today. Legend has it that when Queen was trying out vocalists they told him they were planning to be the biggest band in England. His response?

“England? We’re going to be the biggest fucking band in the world.”

And he was right. Youngbloods, watch this video.

You’re never too old to rock out. Two elderly German men proved this to be true when they snuck out of their nursing home to attend the Wacken Open Air music festival, which is considered the biggest heavy metal festival in the world. The men didn’t go unnoticed, however, as the nursing home called the police to report them missing. Police finally found the two headbangers 25-miles from their nursing home at the music festival at about 3 a.m. where Merle Neufeld, a police spokesperson, told the press they were “disoriented and dazed.” 

First of all, Merle Neufeld, the phrase is “dazed and confused.” Get it right, dumbass. Secondly, what the hell, man? These heavy metal bros weren’t in jail, they were in a damn nursing home. If they want to go rock out to Warpig or Rammstein I say let ’em rock, man. No need to get the po-po involved. Just be careful to not, you know, snap a fibula or slip a disc or something.

Wait for it. It’s worth it.


One of my former students recently asked me how many concerts I had seen in my lifetime, and I told them I had no idea but it had to be over a hundred. I LOVE live music and always have, and I’ve been going to shows for approximately 45-years. Anyway, because I was asked I have attempted to recall all the shows I’ve seen, and believe me when I say there is no way I’ll remember them all. Because of this you can bet this blog will be updated often as the memories come flooding back or somebody reminds me of something I forgot. With all this in mind, let me begin. I’ll list the concerts along with notes on some of them, and they will be in somewhat of a chronological order but not really. An asterisk indicates a Rock Hall of Fame inductee, and I believe I’ve seen 25 bands/artists that have earned that honor. That said, I’ve also seen some shows that might surprise you. Let us begin . . .

Redbone

1974, Kings Island Senior Night. They were Native Americans, they wore full Native American regalia, and their big hit was “Come and Get Your Love.” I was front row and I was forever turned on to live music. Who could not be after seeing this?

Note: I have no idea if that’s politically correct or not, I just know it’s a great song.

Brownsville Station

These cool cats sang the original “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” and followed Redbone. I’ll never forget singer Cub Coda’s roaring vocals and drummer Henry “H-Bomb” Weck destroying the skins. Epic.

Seals & Crofts

Thanks to my Uncle Myrl we always had great seats at the Ohio State Fair. Hence the front row seats for the band that gave us “Summer Breeze” and “Diamond Girl.” It was a very good show.

The Stylistics

Believe it or not I saw this legendary R&B group at the Ross County Fairgrounds. Who booked them there I do not know, but it was the early to mid-70s so they were in their heyday.

Joe and Steven.

Aerosmith*

Ah, the famous (well, at least to me) Aerosmith concert. You know, the one where I drank Stroh’s beer with Joe Perry and Steven Tyler? That one? Yeah, I used to have a cool photo of me sitting between those rock Gods on a backstage couch, smiling broadly, luxurious locks cascading down our backs. Sorry, I got lost in the mists of time there for a second. Anyway, here’s the link: Steven, Joe and Me: Meeting Aerosmith. Read it. I would but it would make me cry again.

Note: I looked it up. It was March 24th, 1978 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Columbus.

Allman Brothers Band*

I saw these guys at an outdoor venue somewhere over near Zanesville. I don’t think it was Legend Valley, but I could be wrong. Anyway, they were as good as you might expect Southern Rock legends to be.

The Beach Boys* (6)

I’ve seen The Boys six times at various venues, including the big return of Brian Wilson sometime around 1977. They’re always a good show. Oh, and remember the time Mike Love tried to steal my girlfriend? If not, here’s the story: In the late 70’s I went to see them, again at Riverfront Coliseum in The Natti. We were once again right down front. From the get-go Mike Love was paying special attention to my date, at one point getting down on one knee and singing a song right up in her grillmix. I don’t remember the song, probably because I was too busy watching the security dude and figuring my odds of getting a shot at Love’s nose. Eventually Love actually sent a guy down to ask if she was interested. She said no and he never came close to us the rest of the show. Bizarre experience.

Chicago* (3)

Damn you to hell Cetera.

Chicago was always a good show, especially when they rocked and before they started with all the sappy ballads in the early 80s. The most memorable show was when Peter Cetera nearly stole my date. Yep, it happened again, and this show and The Beach Boys show were only a couple weeks apart. I guess I should look at the bright side and assume I had good taste in women? Anyway, here’s a link to the whole sordid affair: How Peter Cetera Once Ruined a Relationship. Mine.

Warren Zevon

I saw the legend back in early ’79 when I was living on West 8th Avenue, just south of The Ohio State University campus. I distinctly recall sitting at a table in the since demolished Serene Lounge, a misnamed establishment if there ever was one. As I sat there enjoying Happy Hour, a buddy came rushing in and said he had tickets to a show up the street at The Agora, which is now The Newport. Of course I asked who was playing, and he told me Warren Zevon. Being the sophisticated music aficionado that I was, I immediately jumped at the chance. O.K., truth be told I’d never heard of Warren Zevon. Seems I’d missed the whole “Werewolves of London” hoopla from a few months prior. Go figure. Long story short, I went, was blown away and became a huge fan.

Note. It’s odd but one clear memory I have of that night was Zevon mentioning that his dad was named Stumpy. That’s a cool dad name, don’t you think? Anyway, one of my big regrets (among many) is the fact that I never saw Warren Zevon live again.

Steely Dan

I think I saw these guys at St. John Arena, but I’ll be damned if I can remember exactly. Anyway, it was the late 70s, a period my loving father used to refer to as “my hazy period.”

The New York Dolls

Believe it or not I actually saw these punk legends at the Fairgrounds Coliseum where they opened for The Babys and, wait for it . . . REO Speedwagon. To say I’d never seen anything like them (spiked collars, high heels, multi-colored hair, hot pants) is an understatement. I’m pretty sure I stood there, mouth agape, during their entire show.

Steppenwolf

These rock legends actually performed at Sam’s Place, a big barn-type venue south on Chillicothe on Route 23. I believe the building is still there. Anyway, they rocked out “Born to Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride” right here in good ol’ Ross County USA.

The Babys

The Babys followed the New York Dolls, and although “Isn’t It Time” and “Every Time I Think of You” are great songs, following the Dolls was a tough gig ( not to mention everyone was there to see REO).

REO Speedwagon

I feel like I’ve seen REO more than once, but perhaps not. Anyway, it was a rockin’ show. I remember they closed with “Ridin’ the Storm Out.”

Electric Light Orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra* (12)

Yep, I’ve seen ELO 12-times at least, and every single show was a joy, a revelation and an absolute rock spectacle. Hey, who doesn’t like lasers, giant spaceships and giant butterflies and moths fluttering above the audience? I know I do. Seriously, Jeff Lynne is a musical genius and a rock legend, and I shall see him again in less than a month. However, the most memorable ELO show was the night I found myself in the middle of a Jeff Lynne/ELO scenario of which I wanted no part of. To fully understand, read this: Pimping for the Electric Light Orchestra.

Roxy Music

I saw Roxy Music open for ELO at Veterans Memorial in 1975, and Bryan Ferry did not disappoint, singing “Love Is The Drug” and others in all his Glam Rock glory.

Gentle Giant

Saw this Prog Rock band open for ELO in The Natti, circa 1977.

Steve Hillage

Hillage was a guitarist of note back in the 70s.

Rick Derringer (3)

I first saw Derringer on the “Frampton Comes Alive” tour at the Tangerine Bowl in Florida. There were several bands before Frampton, and one of them was Kansas. They came out and it was clear from the get-go they were tanked. Just smashed, drunk and/or high as hell. Midway through song two or three they just turned and walked off the stage. The crowd basically rioted until something pretty cool happened. Rick Derringer, who had played a short set earlier, returned to the stage and started playing. Slowly the crowd got into it and eventually he was actually playing requests. That’s a true pro right there, and he saved everyone from a potentially nasty situation. When Frampton finally came out he thanked Derringer profusely and even called him back out for an encore. I’ll always have fond memories of Rick Derringer because of that day.

Led Zeppelin*

Led Zeppelin

At some point a bit before The Who tragedy at Riverfront Coliseum (again, my dates are a little fuzzy) I saw Led Zeppelin there. The whole festival seating/general admission thing was in place, and it was pretty ugly. We got there real early to get in line. The coliseum’s policy at the time was to open just 4-doors at around 6:30 PM (again, hazy) for the 8:00 show. We were right up front, and a little after 5:00 PM things began to get ugly. Remember, 4-doors for 12,000+ people. Idiocy. People in the back began pressing forward and those of us in front were getting crushed against the doors. Guys were begging the security inside to open up, but they weren’t listening. A police chopper suddenly appeared and began hovering about 30-feet up, and a guy with a bullhorn was telling people to back up. Nobody was having it, and at one point I remember a beer bottle being thrown at the chopper and shattering off its side. By this time I was seriously in fear of not making it out of there. My arms were pressed against my sides so tightly that I couldn’t raise them. Occasionally my feet would rise off the ground and I’d have to completely go wherever the crowd took me. Scary stuff for sure. The worst part was when the crowd would start to lean and you feared getting crushed. It was hard to breathe and several people passed out but obviously didn’t fall down. Surreal as hell. Finally, an ignorant security guard did a dumb but ultimately good thing – he cracked a door open, ostensibly to tell somebody when the gates would open. At that point the door was ripped open and the crowd poured in. Glass was flying everywhere, and as I was being pushed through a guard reached out and ripped a flask from my neck, nearly slashing my throat. No tickets were taken and chaos ensued. After I got away from the rushing crowd, I sought out a cop and yelled, “If these people don’t start opening more doors somebody’s going to get killed here!” A prophetic statement, unfortunately. When the news came down months later that 11-people were killed at The Who show, I wasn’t surprised. I knew exactly what had taken place. Oh, and by the way, I scored a front row spot. Hey, it was Zep.

The Eagles, 1977

The Eagles* (3)

I first saw The Eagles during their Hotel California Tour, and I remember the big album cover backdrop. Joe Walsh had just joined the group and he was on fire. Great show. As a bonus, no band member tried to pick up my girlfriend.

Todd Rundgren (4)

I’ve seen the greatest rocker never to be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame four times, and every single time he has been amazing. Just a multi-talented musician and performer.

Elton John*

I was lucky enough to see Elton at the peak of his powers, during the legendary Yellow Brick Road Tour. I can’t recall who opened for him but I do remember Kiki Dee coming on stage for the song, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”. I also remember that we had seats w-a-y at the back of the arena, near the top. At one point Elton stopped to thank his writing partner Bernie Taupin and pointed him out in the crowd. They shone a spotlight on him, and he was sitting right behind me. I asked him why he was sitting in the cheap seats and he said he liked to hear what the acoustics were like from up there. Cool.

Marshall Tucker Band

No clue where this concert took place. Kentucky perhaps. Rupp Arena? I’ve no clue but it was during the “Heard It In A Love Song/Can’t You See” era. What can I say? I fell into the Urban Cowboy country rock phase for a minute.

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick*

This one was at St. John Arena in Columbus and I recall that it was on the same Monday night that Marquette won the NCAA Basketball Title. 1977 perhaps? Let me check. Hold on . . . . . . . yep, March 28th, 1977. 67-59 over Dean Smith and North Carolina. Al McGuire’s last game. Anyway, at one point some kid from Zane Trace threw his ZT hat on stage and Rick Neilson put it on and wore it for the rest of the show. Wild night. Can’t remember who opened.

Rush*

Went with a buddy who was a huge Rush guy, I believe it was in Dayton at Hara Arena. On a related note, Rush people are an interesting group.

Edgar Winter Group

“Frankenstein” baby! EWG rocks, man. Saw them at an outdoor show somewhere in Columbus. It was in a big parking lot and was sponsored by QFM-96. I think.

Joe Walsh

I saw Joe just before he joined The Eagles, just after he released his “But Seriously, Folks . . .” album. Dude was really good with the crowd, and of course his guitar playing was amazing.

Kansas

I told you about Kansas when I talked about Rick Derringer earlier. They sucked.

Peter Frampton (3)

Peter Frampton

I was a big Frampton fan back in the day, and myself and 3 friends followed him on his “Frampton Comes Alive” Tour. We saw him in Tampa, Louisville and back in Ohio. He was touring with the aforementioned Kansas, Rick Derringer and the J Geils Band. Trust me, Peter Frampton put on one hell of a show.

John Sebastian*

John Sebastian was the frontman for the Lovin’ Spoonful before embarking on a solo career. He didn’t have much success until he penned the theme song for the TV show “Welcome Back Kotter”. Anyway, I saw him as the opening act for, wait for it . . . Steve Martin. The show was at Mershon Auditorium in, I believe, the Spring of ’77 or ’78.

J Geils Band (2)

Saw these guys during the Frampton tour, and one thing sticks out in my mind. Their Louisville show was the last show of the tour and lead singer Peter Wolf busted out the champagne. As usual we’d worked our way down to the front row, and Wolf poured a good portion of the bottle right over my head before I tilted my head back and drank the rest. Good times indeed.

John Waite

Waite was the lead singer of The Babys before starting a solo career. I saw him at a small venue in Columbus (The Newport?) and he was really good. Remember “Missing You”?

Wild Cherry

Yep, I saw these guys sing “Play That Funky Music” in a small bar on High Street in Columbus j-u-s-t before they hit it big.

Barry Manilow

I told you some of the artists would surprise you. I went with my sister and her husband Jigger, and it was a really good show. Vets Memorial I believe.

Doobie Brothers

Thankfully I saw The Doobies before Michael McDonald arrived to wreck their sound with his so-called “blue-eyed soul”. Newsflash: It was not. I preferred the pre-McDonald days of “China Grove”, “Long Train Runnin'” and “Blackwater”. It was a fantastic show that I saw somewhere in Cleveland.

James Taylor* (5)

James Taylor

Ah, the original JT. I’ve seen him at least 5-times, the most memorable being the night I stole his jacket. From my original blog: I went to see him at Blossom Music Center back in ’78 with my friends Tom and Chris. After the show we ambled down to the side of the stage, just getting a look at the setup really. The roadies were tearing down the set, wandering around doing this and that. At some point I looked up and said, “Hey, look. He left his jacket hanging on the mike stand.” He’d worn it onstage and had taken it off during the show. Anyway, one of us (probably Tom) gets the bright idea to try to grab it. Nice plan but the place was crawling with security and roadies. I turn to Chris for ideas, turn back around, and Tom had already jumped the railing and was halfway across the stage. He was just casually walking like he belonged there. A couple of guys glanced at him but didn’t say a word, either because he looked like he belonged or because he was 6′-3″, 280-lbs and looked like he could rip your heart out and show it to you before you died (which by the way he could have but that’s another story). He casually grabs the jacket, throws it over his shoulder, and hops off the other side of the stage as Chris and I run frantically around to meet him. We walk away without looking back, expecting at any moment to hear, “Stop them! Thieves! They have James Taylor’s jacket! For God’s sake stop the bastards!” Except it doesn’t happen, and we make it to the car. At that point Tom tries it on. Obviously too small. Chris grabs it. Too big. Heh-heh. Fit me perfectly. Apparently, in ’78, James Taylor and I were exactly the same size. Anyway, that’s how I came to own James Taylor’s jacket. By the way, later I woke up wide-eyed in the middle of the night, realizing I hadn’t checked the pockets. The possibilities were mind-boggling. Carly Simon’s phone number possibly? Alas, nothing. Damn . . .

Charlie Daniels Band

Again, this was during my country rock phase, which lasted about, oh, a minute and a half. Charlie was cool back then though, although I felt that way partly because I wasn’t aware of the right-wing conservative assclownery he’s exhibited the last 20-years or so.

Blue Oyster Cult

Dayton, Ohio, in Hara Arena. At the end of the concert the drummer threw his sticks into the crowd. I got my hand on one but it slipped through my fingers, damn it.

Yes*

I was never a big Yes fan, but I attended this show with a friend. As I recall I wasn’t that impressed.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

See Yes above.

Grand Funk

Grand Funk Railroad

I watched Mark Farner, Don Brewer and the boys at St. John Arena in Columbus and they were great. I distinctly recall them blowing the roof off the joint with “We’re An American Band”. I think Farner found Jesus shortly after this tour.

Amy Grant

Another shocker, amirite? Yep, I saw Amy at the Ohio State Fair and once again we were right up front. My girlfriend at the time loved her, hence my presence at the show.

Hall & Oates*

Talk about a great opening act. I saw these guys open for ELO in Cleveland at Richfield Coliseum. Of course, they were incredible.

Pat Benatar

Yep. Big Pat Benatar fan, man. Saw her in Riverfront Coliseum back around ’82 ish. I remember being impressed with her lead guitarist and future husband Neil Geraldo too. Dude could shred.

Alabama

Another Ohio State Fair show where I couldn’t turn down the tickets. Hey, it was the early 80s and the band was pretty damn big.

Barbara Mandrell

Same as the Alabama show with one big difference – Barbara Mandrell was smokin’ hot at the time.

Kenny Rogers

You’ll have to give me a break on this one. My mother was a big Kenny Rogers fan and I took her as a surprise for her birthday. She loved it. I’m such a good son.

The Alarm

The Alarm

This show was actually a surprise for me pulled off by my ex-wife Twana, and it was spectacular. I loved The Alarm (still do) and their show at Riverbend in Cincy was great. However, they were just the opening act for the big surprise, which was . . . drumroll please . . .

Bob Dylan*

It was 1988 and like I said, this was a surprise gift for me. Dylan was amazing as you might expect, putting on an unforgettable show.

Pink Floyd*

In June of 1975 I traveled to Pittsburgh to see Pink Floyd at Three Rivers Stadium, and they were insanely good. Obviously this was when Roger Waters was still with them, contrary to the American tour 20-years later when they were without him and I refused to attend. To me, the best part of Floyd was Roger Waters. Anywho, great show with flyin’ pigs and whatnot.

Meat Loaf

I saw The Loaf at a small venue near Lancaster in the mid-80s. This was after his success with Bat Out of Hell in the late 70s and before his big comeback in ’93, and he was in the middle of his well publicized emotional issues. At one point during the show he stopped mid-song and helicoptered his mic stand into the crowd, nearly decapitating myself and several others. It was like “Meat Loaf! YEAH! Woohoo! Wait . . . look out!” Fortunately he got it together and finished, but I remember his voice was freakin’ shot. Let’s just say Meat did not bring his A game that night.

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney* (9)

Yes, I have seen Sir Paul many times at many venues in cities ranging from Cincinnati to Indianapolis to Cleveland to Chicago. Perhaps my favorite show was the one in Columbus where a bunch of us went all out rented a suite. Our seats were right over the stage. Also, one year in Cincy I was in the front 8-10 rows which was incredible. With McCartney every song is legendary, plus there’s always that awareness that you’re watching a freakin’ Beatle.

Dan Fogelberg (4)

Fogelberg was always great live, and I saw him at Blossom in Cleveland, The Palace in Columbus and a couple other places.

Indigo Girls

I’d never heard of the Indigo Girls when  first saw them open for R.E.M. at Riverfront Coliseum, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out they were going to be big.

R.E.M.* (15)

I’ve seen R.E.M. more than any other band, first in ’83 at a gym in Springfield, Ohio in front of maybe 100-people, and the last time at Blossom in Cleveland in ’04 along with 20,000 other fans. It was pretty cool watching them grow from a small, relatively unknown band to a worldwide sensation. R.E.M. trails only The Beatles on my favorite bands list.

The Minutemen

I saw these alt legends open for R.E.M. at Vets Memorial a couple weeks before lead singer D. Boon was killed in an auto accident. Memorable concert for sure.

The O’Jays*

Ok, technically I never bought a ticket to watch these guys. However, I did hear them sing along with me on an airplane. Not kidding. Here’s the story: It happened when my late friend Jigger and I were heading to Vegas back in the early ’90s. You’ve got to remember that I’ve always been quite the Motown/Philly Sound fan and am pretty knowledgeable about a lot of the groups of that genre. We’d been in the air for a few minutes when I thought I recognized a guy a couple of rows in front of me. Was that Eddie Levert of The O’Jays? I loved The O’Jays! What the hell, I thought. I went up and sat by him (keep in mind there were only about 30-people on the plane). Sure enough, it was Levert and the rest of the group along with about eight roadies sitting here and there. Throwing caution and common sense to the wind, I started singing one of their big hits, “Love Train” and begging the guys to join in. What can I say? I was overcome with joy at meeting the O’Jays and I was pretty sure I’d never have this chance again. Long story short, in a couple minutes all three O’Jays were singing backup to yours truly on lead vocal. One of the guys (Walter Williams possibly) actually got up in the aisle and was doing the dance moves as I stood and sang beside him. Surreal. About halfway through I forgot the words and Levert took over. I then attempted to join the dancing but failed miserably, to the delight of the audience. I then took a theatrical bow with the group as the crowd went wild (at least in my mind, don’t tell me they didn’t), the stewardesses applauded and Jigger sat there shaking his head. I believe I even followed up by trying to start a rousing rendition of “Backstabbers” but my moment had passed. The group got off at our stopover in Minneapolis, bro hugs were shared all around, and the O’Jays went on their way. And you know what? To this day I can’t hear “Love Train” without getting a big grin on my face.

Fetchin Bones

The Bones opened for REM at Bogart’s and they were great. One reviewer described them as such: “a band that must be seen live for a full grasp of their eclectic frenzy.” Couldn’t have said it better.

The dB’s

These guys opened for REM in Dayton, at either Hara or UD Arena (I can’t remember which). The band was led by Pete Holsapple, who later sat in on many an REM gig.

The Neats

The Neats opened for REM at that show in Springfield, Ohio.

Toad the Wet Sprocket

I saw TTWS at The Newport sometime in the mid-90s. Can’t remember much about the show other than the fact that lead singer Todd Phillips didn’t wear any shoes.

Matthew Sweet

Ah, another great Newport show. I’ve loved Matthew Sweet since 1991 and he did not disappoint.

Hootie & the Blowfish

Once again I saw these guys at The Newport, just before they blew wide open. I remember Darius Rucker downed about 8 Budweiser bottles during the show, and he often had one in his hand as he sang.

The String Cheese Incident

I’m not really into Jam Bands, and I have no idea what inspired me to go to this show. Now that I think of it, I have no idea who I was with or where they played. Somewhere outside for sure.

Screaming Trees

Screaming Trees

The Trees were the middle act at College Park, MD in 1992. They followed Gruntruck and preceded Alice in Chains. Of those three bands, I loved the Screaming Trees the most. The show was at Ritchie Coliseum as I recall.

 

Alice in Chains

See above.

Gruntruck

Also see above.

Fugazi

Great show at the tiny City Lights venue in Indy back in 1993. I remember clearly that the tickets cost a mere $5.00.

The National

The National opened for REM at Blossom in 2004.

Brian Wilson

I was thrilled to see Brian Wilson during his Pet Sounds Tour in 2002. His backing band was the Wondermints and they were fantastic too. He played the album in its entirety, start to finish. Stellar, and the work of a musical genius.

Steve Forbert (3)

I put Steve Forbert in my Top 10 All-Time favorite artists. I’ve seen him at small venues in Newport, KY, and Granville and Worthington in Ohio. He always puts on a great show. One of music’s most underappreciated talents.

Faith No More

Caught these guys at The Newport (surprise!) in September of 1992. The main thing I remember is that lead singer Mike Patton had some absolutely killer pipes.

Helmet

I have very little recollection of this one. Sorry Helmet.

The Temptations*

I finally got to see The Temps around 2008, and they only had one original member remaining. Still a great show though.

Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley

I can attribute this one to pure luck. One night in the Caribbean I was sitting at a little Tiki Bar, and a guy came up and casually mentioned that Ziggy was playing a couple hundred yards down the beach. Wait. What? Hell yes mon. I hustled down there and the rest is history.

They Might Be Giants (8)

Man, I’ve seen the two John’s 8 times since 1992 (the last this past winter) and every show has been awesome. One of my favorite bands ever.

OK GO

This group opened for TMBG the night the electric went out at The Newport and everything was delayed a couple hours. They were great, but my main memory was after the show when the lead singer tried to pick up my nephew’s wife out by the merch stand. Musicians, man.

The Eels

Eels (7)

I’ve seen E and the boys on several occasions, usually in Columbus but at least once in Cleveland. Big, big fan and E never, ever fails to entertain. I’ve been on E’s bandwagon since his early solo albums “A Man Called E” and “Broken Toy Shop”.

The Flaming Lips 

Love the lips, and I saw them at the Nelsonville Music Festival a few years ago. And yes, Wayne Coyne got in one of those big bubbles and walked out over the audience. Fun aplenty.

Beck

I used to volunteer for a company that worked concerts around Columbus (actually I only did it twice) but on one occasion I ended up being Beck’s damn backstage bodyguard. He actually invited me to stand beside the stage and watch the show. Dude really liked me for some reason, man. You can read all about it here: Bodyguarding Beck. True story.

Martina McBride

I must have received good reviews for being Beck’s bodyguard, because a couple weeks later they asked me to be the bodyguard for Martina McBride. Once again I was allowed to watch from the wings. Hey, I’ve never owned a Martina McBride song but damn she was a hottie. Anyway, I protected two famous singers and neither were harmed under my watch. My record is unblemished.

Carbon Leaf (7)

Carbon Leaf

I’ve been a big Carbon Leaf fan since around 2000, and I’ve become acquainted with lead singer Barry Privett. I’ve seen them at Kelley’s in the Outer Banks, The Basement and a few other places in Columbus, a little bar in Chapel Hill, the Southgate House in Newport, KY and The 20th Century Theater in Cincy among other places. I highly recommend this band.

The Wallflowers

I have no earthly idea where I saw these guys. Maybe the old Capital Theater on High Street in Columbus?

Paul Westerberg

I’d waited many a year to see the former Replacements frontman in person, and it was one helluva show. It was at The Newport, which was perfect, and one of my friends said it was the first time he’d actually seen a real life rock star. Westerberg growled/wailed his tunes in black jeans, boots and a leather jacket, all the while smoking a cigarette and barking at the occasional roadie. At one point he played while laying on his back, and he added covers like “If I Had a Hammer” and “Daydream Believer” along with his solo stuff and some Replacement classics. Just an amazing, powerful performance from a rock legend that I’ve admired for years. I’ll never forget it.

Ben Folds (4)

Ben always puts on a great show, and the interaction with his fans is incredible. I last saw him in the fall of last year and he hadn’t lost a step.

Billy Bragg

This show was at Mountain Stage, West Virginia, and was actually broadcast live on National Public Radio. For some reason I remember Billy telling the audience that on the way to the show his bus had passed a little town with an interesting name – Bragg. Weird the stuff you remember.

MC Honky

MC Honky was actually Mark Oliver Everett, otherwise known as E of the Eels. He opened for, you guessed it, The Eels. Strange but interesting night.

Taylor Swift

Yep, I saw her at OU-Chillicothe at the very beginning of her career back in 2007, performing before maybe 2500 people. She’d only had a couple hits at that time, and I remember she stood at the back of the gym after the show until she’d signed every single fan’s autograph. There was no dancing or anything like that, she basically just sat on a stool and played her songs solo.

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band*

Quite simply one of the best live performers to have ever lived. There was no big light show, no video screens, no theatrics. Just Bruce and the band playing straight ahead rock and roll. I saw The Boss at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, and it was unforgettable.

Buddy Guy*

Buddy opened for Clapton at The Schott in the late 00s, and he was spectacular.

Bon Jovi* (4)

An ex of mine had a deep, unapologetic love for Jon Bon Jovi, hence the many trips to see the band. They’re crazy good live, and the trips were worth it to me to watch Richie Sambora play guitar. All the shows were at large arenas.

Goo Goo Dolls

I saw the Goos in their heyday, which was sometime around 1998-1999. according to my internal heyday meter. I must say Johnny Rzeznik and the boys were pretty damn good. I cannot recall where I saw them.

Cracker (3)

Love me some Cracker, and I’ve seen them at Kelley’s in the OBX, the Southgate House in northern Kentucky, and the Picktown Palooza (yes, such a thing exists). I’ve had the pleasure to meet guitarist Johnny Hickman a few times and am happy to report that he’s a good dude.

Green Day*

I took my son to see these guys at The Schott in Columbus as part of my Expose My Kid to The Legends Project (he’s seen McCartney, R.E.M., AC/DC, The Eels, and several others) and they were just about what you’d expect. Those little dudes are like Energizer Bunnies, man. It was their American Idiot Tour I believe.

AC/DC*

AC/DC

Tremendous show at The Schott, and for some reason I was pleasantly surprised at how good of a guitarist Angus Young is. I should have known I guess? Anyway, there were more 50-year old boobs on display than I care to recall.

Eric Clapton*

Saw Slowhand at Nationwide Arena, and it was something to behold. See, even though the show was 2 1/2 hours long Clapton didn’t play that many songs. All the tunes were a long, bluesy numbers and every one was breathtakingly good. Although a few morons were yelling for them there was no “I Shot the Sheriff” or “Tears in Heaven.” To top off the greatness of the show, Derek Trucks was a part of the band and Robert Cray came out to jam during the last 30-minutes or so. Legendary.

Robert Cray 

See Eric Clapton above.

Angels & Airwaves

A & A is led by Blink-182’s Tom Delonge, and I went to The Newport with my son to see the band in the mid-00s. Kip wanted to get down front, so we worked our way down to the right front of the stage with yours truly against a railing. Suffice to say the mosh pit was deadly, my ribs were crushed repeatedly against the railing, and I could barely get out of bed the next day. Hey, you have to sacrifice for family. On a related note, it was totally worth it.

The Color Fred

These guys opened for A & A and I have very little recollection as to whether they were any good.

Fuel

I caught Fuel at a small venue in Columbus, but I can’t remember the exact location. Interesting crowd at Fuel shows.

The Smithereens

I saw these guys at the Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo, NC as part of a big summer show with 4 other acts. I’ve always loved The Smithereens and they did not fail me.

Scars on 45

Scars on 45 are English band that was a part of the Mateo show. They impressed me.

Gin Blossoms (3)

I’ve seen these guys at the Manteo Festival, Summerfest and Bogey’s in Dublin, OH.

Spin Doctors

Another band at the Manteo concert, and believe me when I say they still have it.

Joan Jett*

Joan headlined the big Manteo show and she was stunningly good. On a related note, the Roanoke Festival Park is a stunning venue with the backdrop to the stage being the Roanoke Sound. Beautiful.

Social Distortion’s Mike Ness

Social Distortion

After years of trying I finally got to see Mike Ness and Social D at what was then LC Pavilion in Columbus a few years ago. They were everything I expected them to be.

Mudhoney

My buddy Goose and I caught the legendary grunge rockers at tiny Café Bourbon Street in Columbus in 2010. Lead singer Mark Arm, the man who coined the term “grunge”, was in top form. I felt lucky to have seen them, and Arm gave me the setlist. Boom.

Manchester Orchestra

This band opened for My Chemical Romance and Blink-182 in Cincinnati. My only recollection is that they had a lush, orchestral sound, hence their name choice I guess.

My Chemical Romance (2)

I’ve seen MCR twice, once opening for Green Day in Columbus and once for Blink-182 in Cincinnati. On both occasions they were very good, and it turned out that the Cincy tour was their last.

Blink-182

Blink-182

My son was a big Blink guy and this show was pretty special. I recall sitting in the parking lot waiting for the rain to stop, and when it did we debated whether to make a run for the gates. We decided in the affirmative, and when we were exactly halfway to our destination the torrential downpour began anew. We were drenched for the entire show. I also remember that the banter between Tom Delonge and Mark Hoppes was hilarious. Really good show.

Band of Horses

Saw Band of Horse open for My Morning Jacket a few years ago and I thought they were fantastic. I actually enjoyed them more than the headliner.

My Morning Jacket

I don’t know, there’s something about these guys that’s sort of monotonous to me. Can’t say I loved it.

Bowling for Soup

A couple years ago I went to see Bowling for Soup at the A&R in Columbus. The show was at 7:00, but as I am want to do I went up around 4:00 to scout out the terrain. I could hear the band doing a soundcheck inside, and there was a line of probably 150 people sitting outside the door and down the sidewalk. I thought what the hell, I’ll take a shot at this. I walked past all the people, up to the door, and as luck would have it the door was open. I walked in, nodded at a few security guys in A&R polos, and sauntered on to the front of the stage and watched the guys warm up. After a bit I walked to the back of the venue and was leaning against the wall when I was approached by a very large dude. I was expecting the worst, but the guy said, “Hey, have you seen Greg?” I looked around as if I knew who the hell Greg was, then told him, “No, not recently.” He then thanked me and gave me a knuckle-bump before departing. Crisis averted. Then, a short while later I swear this happened: The band stopped and the lead singer looked straight at me and asked, “Whaddaya think? Is that enough bass?” The world stopped for a second as the entire band and everyone in the venue looked at me. I nodded knowingly and gave the thumbs-up sign as the bass player shot me a return thumbs-up before kicking into another tune. At that point I had cred with the entire place so I could basically do whatever I wanted. What can I say? The secret is acting like you belong. Bottom line, I saw the soundcheck and the show, and both were great.

Bacon Brothers

I was invited to this show at an outdoor mall somewhere in Dayton, and I have to say Kevin Bacon and his brother were pretty good. Somebody opened but I can’t recall the band name.

Lit

I saw Lit along with the Gin Blossoms and the next three bands during the Summerland Tour a few years back. Lit was excellent, Gin Blossoms were very good, Marcy Playground was Ok, Sugar Ray was surprisingly amazing and Everclear was disappointing.

Sugar Ray

See Lit.

Marcy Playground

See Lit.

Everclear

See Lit.

The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady

Caught these guys in Cincy at Bogart’s (I think). They were excellent. Really underrated band in my opinion.

Nathanael Rateliff & the Night Sweats (2)

Saw their show at the Nelsonville Music Festival a couple years back and they were great. They also opened for Kings of Leon last summer.

Sister Hazel

Urban Meyer’s favorite band played Bogey’s in Dublin/Muirfield a couple years ago along with the Gin Blossoms. And yes, Urb and Shelley were in attendance. I used to know Shelley back in the day, and here she is giving me a shout out:

Soul Asylum

For the life of me I cannot recall where I saw Soul Asylum, but I remember it being a grungy little bar type of establishment. Go figure. It was towards the beginning of their success.

Kings of Leon

Attended a KOL show at Riverbend in Cincinnati last summer. Great band, great show.

Guided by Voices

One of my friends is a big fan so I went with him to see his hero Robert Pollard. I’m glad I went.

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Amazing band I saw during their Wheels of Soul Tour back in 2015 at the PNC Pavilion in The Natti. They’re unbelievable live.

Avett Brothers (7)

The Avett Brothers

I first laid ears on The Avetts around ’05 in the Outer Banks, and have since seen them in Raleigh, NC, The Louisville Palace in KY, and several other venues in Ohio. One of my favorite live bands currently.

Tall Heights

I saw this band open for Ben Folds last fall. Cool sound.

Todd Snider

Todd is one of my friend’s favorite artists, and I must say I enjoyed the show. I think we saw him in Cincinnati. I think. UPDATE: I checked. It was at the Madison Theater in Cincy.

The Pixies (2)

The Pixies were on my Bucket List, and thankfully I’ve seen them twice in the last year or so. The first was at Express Live! in Columbus and the second at an amazing show I’ll talk about shortly. Just a legendary, influential alternative band.

John Hiatt

I love John Hiatt and I finally got to see him a couple years ago in Columbus. I think it was The Palace, and it was just John and his guitar. Incredible performance.

Rick Brantley

Opened for John Hiatt, and I remember his song “Hurt People” the most.

G-Love

G-Love opened for Jack Johnson and he was great. He came out later with Jack to sing “Rodeo Clowns” and it was amazing.

Jack Johnson

I was never a huge Jack Johnson fan but he won me over a few weeks ago at Riverbend in Cincinnati. It was a laid back, mellow show with a tremendous vibe.

Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters (2)

Ah, The Foos. I’ve seen them twice in the past 10-months and they blew me away. The first show was in Cincy at US Bank Arena (formerly Riverfront Coliseum) and just the other night at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center in Noblesville, IN outside Indianapolis. The Indy show was special because we were 12-rows back. Incredible night. PS – Dave Grohl is a God.

The Struts (2)

The Struts are a Queen-influenced group fronted by a guy named Luke Spiller, who is fantastic. They opened for the Foo Fighters both times I saw them. High energy, rockin’ band.

The Wombats

I loved The Wombats back in the late 80s, and if you didn’t like “Let’s Dance to the Joy Division” you are a phony, a pretender, and you have the musical taste of a ferret. I finally saw them a couple weeks ago as the opener for The Pixies and then Weezer, and as expected they killed it.

Weezer

Weezer

To be honest I went to the Weezer show for opening acts The Wombats and The Pixies, but to my surprise Weezer blew the roof off at Riverbend. I mean, I knew they’d be good but they were way better than I expected. Incredible show that actually shocked me, and I don’t shock easily.

Jimmy Buffett (3)

I first saw Buffett in 1977, again in the late 80s, and finally a couple weeks ago in Cincinnati. Buffett shows are basically one big beach party, replete with leis, bikinis and margaritas, among other things [clears throat]. You get the picture.

And those are all the concerts I can ever remember attending, although I know I’m going to think of more. When I do I’ll update this blog. There were also a couple notable shows I missed, as well as some cool upcoming concerts I’m pumped about . . .

J-u-s-t Missed Shows:

The Who

Yep we had tickets to Riverfront Coliseum the night of the tragedy where 11-people were crushed to death, and we were actually on the way to the concert. Fortunately we were stupid enough to think a party in Chillicothe would be more fun, and it might have saved our lives. And yes, I know about a million people claim to have had tickets to that show. We actually did.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

I had tickets for a show at St. John’s Arena in Columbus on October 28th, 1978, but unfortunately we all know what happened 8-days prior – their plane crashed in Mississippi. I’ll never forget waking up the morning and my roommate Jed telling me what had happened. And, being the 21-year old jackass that I was, I returned my ticket because I thought I needed the $8.25 or whatever the hell the ticket cost back then, probably to buy beer.

Upcoming Shows:

Blackberry Smoke (Riverbend, Cincinnati)

ELO (Little Caesar’s Arena, Detroit)

Pearl Jam (Wrigley Field, Chicago)

Nathanael Rateliff & the Night Sweats (Express Live, Columbus)

Tedeschi Trucks Band (The Palace, Columbus)

TV theme songs. What the hell happened to them, man? Back in the day all the good shows had cool, catchy theme songs. Today, not so much. You know what else I miss? Prime time cartoons. Sure, we have The Simpsons and Family Guy and stuff like that but back in the day we had must-see TV like The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Johnny Quest. Good stuff man.

Anyway, without further ado let us take a trip down memory lane, back to a simpler time, to a time when television shows had catchy, memorable theme songs. Here are my favorites:

Cheers – “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

Perhaps the greatest TV theme song of all time is sappy as hell, but sometimes we really do want to go where everybody knows our name. This one does what a great theme song should do—set the scene while being catchy as hell at the same time.

Friends – “I’ll Be There For You”

Could “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts be a more perfect song about friends that feel like they’re your family? Although not written specifically for the show, it fit perfectly.

The Flintstones – “Meet the Flintstones”

The Flintstones. They were the modern stone-age family, man. And for anybody over the age of 50, somewhere in your brain there is an image of Fred Flintstone sliding down the back of his dinosaur crane into his waiting rag-top car. The closing theme was stellar as well. “W-I-L-M-A!!!”

Rawhide

“Keep those doggies rollin’, Rawhide! All those things I’m missin’, good vittles love and kissin’, are waiting at the end of my ride.” And who can forget The Blues Brothers singing this song in the movie? Classic stuff, and you can watch it here.

Mr. Ed

Mr. Ed was a show about a talking horse, and this song rhymes horse, of course, source, endorse, and hoarse. The 60s were a weird time, man.

Hawaii Five-0

Of all the songs on this list, this is the one that you’ll have stuck in your head for the rest of the day. The theme was later recorded by the Ventures, whose version climbed to No. 4 on the charts. And remember when Bill Murray famously butchered it as part of his Nick the Lounge Singer bit on Saturday Night Live? Good stuff.

WKRP in Cincinnati

Loved this show. “I’m living on the air in Cincinnati, Cincinnati WKRP.” So damn good.

The Courtship of Eddie’s Father – “Best Friend”

Just a great, catchy song about a father who’d lost his wife and is raising his son by himself. Fun Fact: The song was written by rock great Harry Nilsson.

Batman

Hey, the lyrics are essentially one word, but damn if this isn’t a catchy tune. And don’t mistake the campy, hilarious 1960s Batman with the dark Batman movies of today. Totally different vibe, kids.

Welcome Back Kotter – “Welcome Back”

Nearly a decade after the break-up of Lovin’ Spoonful and the mostly unsuccessful solo career that followed, frontman John Sebastian found himself with a No. 1 hit when he wrote “Welcome Back” for the TV show. Great tune.

Andy Griffith Show

This theme is quite simply an American treasure and probably the most recognizable theme in TV history. By the way, that’s song co-writer Earle Hagen you hear whistling the intro. Just beautiful in its simplicity.

The Jetsons

“Meet George Jetson! His Boy Elroy. Daughter Judy. Jane, his wife.” Yep, that’s about it, but if you were there you’ll never forget it.

Twilight Zone

This theme is so iconic that people still sing it today when something strange happens. Admit it, you’ve all done it. “Doo-do-doo-do, doo-do-doo-do . . .” Still chilling after 60-years.

Beverly Hillbillies – “The Ballad of Jed Clampett”

That’s Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs on guitar and banjo kids, two of the most famous bluegrass musicians of all time. The first time through Jerry Scoggins sings the premise, and then Scruggs goes nuts on banjo. Again, just an amazing, iconic song.

M*A*S*H – “Suicide is Painless”

Yes, the song was called “Suicide is Painless”. I loved M*A*S*H, and it was unique in that it was a tragedy with a laugh track. M*A*S*H was a black comedy pointing to the absurdity and horror of war. There are really haunting lyrics to the song, but they were left out for the show. All that was needed was that beautiful melody.

Spider-Man

This song from the 1966 sitcom was the bomb-diggity, man! “Is he strong? Listen bud, he’s got radioactive blood!” LOVE this song.

The Jeffersons – “Movin’ On Up”

Let’s all sing it together!

Well we’re movin on up, to the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up to the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie!

Gilligan’s Island – “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island”

Another iconic song that nearly everyone can sing along to. And did you know the original version (below) left out the Professor and Mary Ann? That’s cold, man. Cold.

The Addams Family

Kudos to Vic Mizzy, who also wrote the theme to Green Acres, for writing awesome rhymes like “they’re altogether ooky” and “they really are a scree-um.” And how in the hell did this show get canceled after only 3-years?

Laverne & Shirley

The show was a spin-off of Happy Days—a theme song that could have made this list in its own right—and the theme was composed by the same team of Gimbel and Fox. Fun Fact: “Schlemiel = “a habitual bungler”, schlimazel = “an extremely unlucky or inept person”, and Hasenfeffer =“rabbit stew”. Oh, and that’s Cyndi Grecco singing.

Just Missing the Cut:

Combat, The Monkees, Taxi, All in the Family, The Brady Bunch, Frasier, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Simpsons, Sanford & Son, Pink Panther, The A-Team, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Three’s Company, The Love Boat, I Love Lucy, Magnum P.I., Happy Days, The Office, Green Acres.

So, who did I miss? Let me hear your favorites!

Before we begin, understand that I didn’t choose these songs for their historical significance, their legendary lyrics or for the amazing musicianship contain within. I simply picked the songs that I never get tired of listening to, that make my earholes happy every single time I hear them. So without further ado, let us commence . . .

We Gotta Get Out of This Place – The Animals (1965)

Believe it or not this tune was initially slated to be sung by The Righteous Brothers, who would’ve got the brooding right but would’ve never had the grubby, throaty force legend Eric Burdon brings to the song. Just an amazing song with a soaring chorus that blew me away from the get-go. Listen to the bass that kicks things off.

Caroline No – Beach Boys (1966)

Quite simply the saddest, most beautifully written song I’ve ever heard. Proof that Brian Wilson is an absolute musical genius.

Where did your long hair go?

Where is the girl I used to know?

How could you lose that happy glow?

Oh Caroline, no . . .

Nowhere Man – The Beatles (1965)

It should come as no surprise that the four guys from Liverpool were the first to write a song that made me think. Before “Nowhere Man” I just liked music for the beat and the melody, never expecting to learn anything. Still, when I heard these lyrics I was mesmerized . . . “Doesn’t have a point of view, Knows not where he’s going to, Isn’t he a bit like you and me?” You know, I was just a kid but I knew exactly what they were saying – wake up, young man, and see what’s all around you.

Helter Skelter – The Beatles (1968)

Paul McCartney has said that he wanted to record a song, “as long as dirty as possible”. He succeeded. Some say this was the first speed metal song, and I cannot disagree. Wildly original for 1968. Prepare your ears for this one.

Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan (1965)

In 1965, Bob Dylan was about to pack it in. Having finished an exhaustive tour of England he’d lost interest in the music game, but the creation of this track – one of his finest moments made even better with Al Kooper’s signature organ line – reinvigorated his love for music. Of course the six minute monster went on to become a worldwide hit and one of the most influential pieces of music of all time. “How does it f-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-l?”

I Started a Joke – Bee Gees (1968)

Here’s the deal. The Bee Gees have gotten a bad rap for one reason- disco. However, there is way more to the Brothers Gibb than falsetto dance songs, and this tune proves it. There are a many interpretations of this song, including one that believes it’s about organized religion. Whatever the case, I’ve always loved the plaintive, aching vocals and melody of this song.

Positively 4th Street – Bob Dylan (1965)

I always loved the lyrics to this Dylan song, but especially these:

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you
Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And you’d know what a drag it is
To see you.

Burn, man.

Chimes of Freedom – The Byrds (1964)

This is vintage Byrds, complete with the music-changing jangly guitars and beautiful harmonies. It’s easy to why The Byrds were The Beatles’ favorite American band. Many groups to come, including Tom Petty and R.E.M., were heavily influenced by The Byrds. You can tell why after listening to this song.

I Will – The Beatles (1968)

It’s hard to explain the allure of this song to me. It’s simple in every way, from the lyrics to how it was written. Still, it touches me on a most basic level.

The “Fish” Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag – Country Joe & The Fish (1967)

Well, if I hadn’t figured out Viet Nam yet Country Joe drove the point home for me with these lyrics:

Well, come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on fathers, don’t hesitate,
Send ’em off before it’s too late.
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box.

Ouch. Needless to say the song didn’t get a lot of airplay on conservative WLW over in The Natti. After midnight I could get WLS out of Chicago though, and my ears were forever cooked.

Universal Soldier – Donovan (1965)

Universal Soldier” is a song written and recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. The song was originally released in 1964. It was not a popular hit at the time of its release, but it became a hit a year later when Donovan covered it.

He’s the universal soldier,
And he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away, no more,
They come from here and there,
And you and me and brothers,
Can’t you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

Touch Me – The Doors (1968)

A lot of people didn’t like this one, mainly because it was a bit of a departure for Jim Morrison and the boys. Why, you ask? Because it had horns. Gasp! As for me, I Ioved it. Here’s Jim Morrison at the peak of his powers.

White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane (1967) 

This psychedelic number divvied up Alice In Wonderland references with not-so-subtle winks at drug assisted mind expansion. Grace Slick perfectly captured the mid-60s hope that narcotics could change perceptions and the world. A counter-culture classic, and it blew my young, impressionable mind away.

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head, feed your head.

Groovy, man.

That’s the Way – Led Zeppelin (1969)

A beautiful acoustic song from Led Zeppelin II, this one is about two youngsters who can no longer be playmates because one’s parents and peers disapprove of the other because of long hair and being generally from “the dark side of town.” As a kid it really touched me, and it still does today.

I don’t know how I’m going to tell you
I can’t play with you no more
I don’t know how I’m gonna do what mama told me
My friend, the boy next door
I can’t believe what people saying
You’re gonna let your hair hang down
I’m satisfied to sit here working all day long
You’re in the darker side of town.

Walk Away Renee – The Left Banke (1966)

I love this song mainly for one reason – the soaring, gorgeous chorus. The vocals, the harmonies, they just blew me away. Bill Bragg did an exceptionally funny and poignant spoken word version of the song which us great as well.

Lightnin’ Strikes – Lou Christie (1966)

Again, the soaring chorus won me over again with this song. It’s nothing special musically or lyrically, it’s just has a melody that gets me every single time I hear it. Can’t help it kids, I love this song.

Do You Believe in Magic? – The Rascals (1965)

From the moment John Sebastian begins strumming that autoharp at the beginning of this song I was sold. Again, it’s a just a simple song about the power of music, and it contains this great line – It’s like trying to tell a stranger about rock ‘n roll.

Fun fact: Prior to starting The Lovin’ Spoonful, Sebastian was in a band called The Mugwumps. The Mugwumps broke up when Mama Cass Elliott and Denny Doherty left NYC to go to California, where they formed The Mamas & the Papas.

People Got to Be Free – Rascals (1968)

Featuring a lead vocal from Felix Cavaliere, this is a musically upbeat but impassioned plea for tolerance and freedom. Believe me when I say it is very relevant today. Read these to the lyrics and tell me I’m wrong:

If there’s a man
Who is down and needs a helpin’ hand
All it takes is you to understand and
To pull him through,
Seems to me
We got to solve it individually, 
And I’ll do unto you what you do to me.

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

Sly and the Family Stone was the first major American rock group to have a racially integrated, male and female lineup, and they were incredible. They called their sound “psychedelic soul” and this was my favorite song of theirs. Just an amazing groove.

Tears of a Clown – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (1967)

Oddly enough, this great song wasn’t a hit until it was re-released in 1970. Although essentially a sad song, it’s sung with an upbeat melody. Awesome vocals by Smokey as well.

Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf (1968) 

This is the first song where the term “heavy metal” was used, and it is famous for being included in the legendary movie Easy Rider. John Kay growls out the lyrics like the badass that he was, and the crunchy guitars give it a tough, gritty vibe. Love it.

Love Is All Around – The Troggs (1967)

I’ve just always loved the slow, dirge-like melody of this song. The other big hit by The Troggs? None other than Wild Thing.

Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys (1966)

Yep, Brian Wilson again. It wasn’t the lyrics that blew me away with this song, but rather the music. Brian Wilson’s “pocket symphony” showed me that a rock song could go deeper musically than it ever had before. The varied instrumentation was groundbreaking (A cello? Are you serious?). And what the hell was that woo-woo sounding thing? I found out later it was an electro-theremen, but all I knew at the time was that it sounded cool as hell. We all know that Lennon and McCartney were trying desperately to keep up with Wilson in the studio production department during the mid-60’s. The album Pet Sounds, and this song, illustrates why.

Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison (1967)

Morrison’s most enduring song, and although it’s been covered by a million people, nobody does it like Van the Man.

Eve of Destruction – Barry McGuire (1965)

Loved the lyrics to this one, and it was played repeatedly on the stereo on Taylor Street in Southern Ohio back when I was a kid.

You may leave here for four days in space,
But when you return it’s the same damned place.
The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next-door neighbor,
But don’t forget to say grace.

So, what did I miss? What are your favorite song from the 1960s? And don’t tell me it was before your time. You’ve heard the songs. Music is timeless. Let’s hear it.

A company called Sachs Media Group partnered with a photo restoration and manipulation company called Phojoe to create a gallery of rock legends who passed away and what they’d look like today. Interesting stuff. Credit to Bored Panda for the pics.

[click on the first photo and scroll to read the captions]

I’ve said it a million times – Todd Rundgren should be in the Rock Hall of Fame, and until he is the whole thing is meaningless. I’ve written about it many times, including my latest and cleverly titled blog Put Todd Rundgren in the Hall of Fame! Bottom line, Todd should be in and it’s a damn cryin’ shame that’s he’s not there already. But back to the point of this blog, and that is my Top 15 favorite Todd songs. Read, listen and I dare you to tell me I’m wrong. Let’s do this . . .

I’ll include Utopia as well.

Hello, It’s Me (Something/Anything?) – 1972

I know, I know, it’s a simple love song. But this gem was on the “live” side of the legendary Something/Anything? album and it was done in one take. ONE. TAKE. Give a listen to absolute pop brilliance . . .

Lysistrata (Swing to the Right) – 1982

Todd recorded this song with his group Utopia, and believe it or not it’s about an ancient Greek queen that caused a war. Just typical rock content, right? I think not. What a great song.

I Saw the Light (Something/Anything) – 1972

Just an absolute confection of pure pop magic. So good. Here’s Todd performing the song with Daryl Hall in Hawaii. Enjoy.

It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference (Something/Anything) – 1972

Just a great song about the insanity of jealousy. I mean, if someone is going to be jealous of you even though you’re faithful, then what’s the point? “If I ever thought of lyin’, I’d rather think of dyin’ instead.

We Gotta Get You a Woman (Runt) – 1970

Todd’s first big hit, from the album Runt. LOVE it. It had me from the opening chords.

It Takes Two to Tango (Something/Anything) – 1972

An apologetic song about Todd’s lost loves. Sort of. Because you know, it takes two to tango. Plus you must admit you learned a bit . . .

Feet Don’t Fail Me Now (Utopia) – 1982

Love the Beatlesque harmonies in this one. Another song Todd recorded with his band Utopia. Roger Powell actually sings a lot of the lead, but it’s still a great Rundgren song.

One World (Swing to the Right) – 1982

Yet another Utopia release, and it’s one of Todd’s signature rock anthems. Good stuff.

Can We Still Be Friends (Hermit of Mink Hollow) – 1978

From the underrated Hermit of Mink Hollow album. I wore this record out in my apartment at 178 West 8th Avenue, Apt. C just off the Ohio State campus. Ah, the memories. The song reflects on the age old and difficult task of maintaining a friendship even after the intimacy has ended. Here’s Todd, again with Daryl Hall:

Drive (The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect) – 1982

Have you noticed how prolific Todd was in 1982? Anyway, this may be my second or third favorite Rundgren tune. The guitar intro, the soaring vocals, the harmonies. Just a stellar song.

One More Day (Something/Anything?) – 1972

A pretty amazing song about having just one more day, whether is be in Vietnam, a relationship, a job, whatever. Poignant.

Couldn’t I Just Tell You (Something/Anything?) – 1972

Some think this song was a prelude to punk, and who am I to argue? The raw vocals, the distorted, loud guitars, it’s all there. Todd? He refers to it as “power pop” and it’s that too.

Piss Aaron (Something/Anything?) – 1972

This is a song about high school we can all relate to. It’s about kids who were, well, a little weird. The outcasts if you will. Todd had literally no boundaries where song content was concerned.

Some Folks is Even Whiter Than Me (Something/Anything?) – 1972

Straight ahead rock and roll with a message that’s entirely relevant today. Listen to Todd shred on guitar, and the sax wails as well. Love. This. Song.

You Left Me Sore (Something/Anything?) – 1972

Yeah, this song is pretty much what you think it’s about. There’s no misreading the lyrics, man. Only Todd could make a cool song about STDs. It’s from the famous Side 4 of the album, where everything is live and loose, hence the false starts and laughing during the song. Just a great little inappropriate pop song.

Yes, I know a lot of the songs I chose came from one album, and that’s ok. You know why? Because Something/Anything? is one of the best albums ever recorded. So there. Click on that link for my opinion.

As some of you know, I’ve had a lifelong habit of running into famous people, and it happened with Todd too. From an earlier blog:

I was casually walking through City Center in C-Bus a few years ago when I literally ran into the man himself. My hands flew to my face as I yelled, “TODD RUNDGREN!” Immediately his hands flew to his face as he responded, “YES!” Bastard was mocking me. After a couple minutes of my blathering on about his music and what it meant to me and him realizing not only that I wasn’t a lunatic but I in fact knew what I was talking about, we had quite the in-depth conversation about the state of music in general. Nice life-moment for me I must admit.

Todd, man. Appreciate him.

 

 

Great cover of a great Byrds song, originally written by Bob Dylan.

So good.

Love it.

While researching artists I thought should be in the Hall of Fame, Warren Zevon in particular, I came across this gem of Eddie singing Zevon’s last song before he died. Blew me away. So damn good. Enjoy.

To me, the Rock Hall of Fame has become a bit of a joke. I mean, some of the artists who have made it in are a bit of a joke. I mean, Chic? Really? Anyway, what follows are 10 bands or artists that I think should be in, some obvious, others not so much. Let us commence . . .

Todd Rundgren

How is Todd Rundgren not in the Rock Hall of Fame? HOW? Todd Rundgren not only recorded what is in my opinion one of the greatest albums in history, Something/Anything?, he’s an amazing, ground-breaking producer as well. He produced the albums Straight Up by Badfinger, Stage Fright by The Band, We’re An American Band by Grand Funk Railroad, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf, and New York Dolls by the New York Dolls among many, many others. Folks, those are some amazing, historical albums.

Todd was a forerunner in creating music videos, and his video for the song Time Heals was one of the first videos played on MTV. In addition, his song “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” has had a major influence on artists in the power pop musical genre.

Oh, and in 1985 Todd recorded the incredible album A Cappella, which was recorded using his multi-tracked voice, accompanied by arrangements constructed entirely from programmed vocal samples. Again, no instruments, just his voice imitating instruments. I’d like to see Hall of Famer Robin Zander of Cheap Trick try that.

Rundgren has also played nearly every instrument on many of his albums, and he’s played them well.

If you want to read my blog about his greatest album, click this link:

Something/Anything?: Todd Rundgren’s Magnum Opus

Todd needs to be in The Hall, man.

The Replacements

Quite simply, The Replacements are considered one of the pioneers of alternative rock. Paul Westerberg, Bob and Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars formed the group, and their catalog is one of the most admired in rock. From the high octane “Kids Don’t Follow” and “Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash” through their mid-period stuff like “Hootenanny” and “If Only You Were Lonely” they never let up. And everything that contributed to the band’s failure to achieve breakthrough success — contempt, self-doubt, drug and alcohol abuse, and pure hatred for each other — also contributed to their mythology. This is one band that deserves a Hall of Fame nod precisely because they didn’t make it big. Westerberg’s solo stuff is amazing as well.

Big Star

Big Star’s potent mix of power pop, psychedelia and adolescent angst made them the definitive cult rock band and informed generations of indie rockers. They were formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971 by the legendary Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel. The group broke up in 1974, and reorganized with a new line-up nearly 20 years later. So damn good. Groups like REM and Pearl Jam bow at the feet of these guys. Give a listen to September Gurls and tell me they’re not great:

The Pixies

The Pixies became a defining leader of alternative rock in the 1990’s, which ought to be enough for the them to earn consideration for a place in the Hall. The Pixies introduced introspection, poetic absurdity and killer hooks into punk rock, establishing a template for those to follow like Nirvana, Pavement, Guided by Voices, Liz Phair and, even later, Weezer and Green Day. Formed in 1986, the original line-up comprised Black Francis (who performed awesomely solo as Frank Black), Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and David Lovering.

The Smiths

The most English of England’s major ’80s alternative-rock bands, the Smiths never rose above cult status in the United States. But their unique style — nostalgic, understated, sarcastic, a little snarky — has been enormously influential, especially in Scotland (Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub, the Vaselines). But whatever chemistry went into the Smiths’ brief, electric career has never been rediscovered — not even by former Smiths Morrissey or Johnny Marr.

Television

The offbeat guitar heroes of New York’s original CBGB scene, Television defied the punk ethos with long, intricate songs that were part prog rock, part New Wave, with elements of garage rock and jazz fusion thrown in. Television owes an obvious debt to the Velvet Underground, but dozens of other important bands — from U2, R.E.M. and Sonic Youth to XTC and the Talking Heads — owe something considerable to Television. Television was AMAZING. Check them out and tell me if you agree:

Kraftwerk

Electronic music has been such an important part of rock music in the ensuing decades. Can’t these guys get in under the “influences” tag if nothing else? In fact, where are any of the great German bands, like Fury in the Slaughterhouse? My first introduction to Kraftwerk was in the 1981 when I heard “Pocket Calculator” on the album Computer World. Classic stuff. Listen up:

New York Dolls

Madonna made it in. David Bowie made it in. Iggy & The Stooges made it in. What kind of grassroots push is it going to take to put in these guys? Or will Buster Poindexter be admitted first? Can they at least be considered “influences”? Good God man. I am proud to say I once saw The Dolls at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Columbus as part of the really weird lineup of the New York Dolls, The Babys and REO Speedwagon. Crazy stuff.

Warren Zevon

I swear to God I had to research this because I was convinced Zevon was in. How? Why? And do you know how many times he’s been nominated? ZERO, although he’s been eligible since 1994. This makes no sense on any level. With songs like “Werewolves of London”, “Excitable Boy” and his final song just before he died of cancer, “Keep Me in Your Heart” he just has to get in soon. Artists like REM, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty have all publicly agreed with me. Fun Fact: I was in the Serene Lounge just off Ohio State campus in 1978 when a friend walked in and told me he had an extra ticket to see Warren Zevon at what was then Zachariah’s Red Eye Saloon. I’d never heard of him, but I said sure and was blown away. Anyway, put him in!

The Hoodoo Gurus

OK, maybe the Gurus are a stretch. Still, I believe these guys are one of the most underappreciated bands in rock history. In fact, I wrote about them in a blog called The Best Band You’ve Never Heard: The Hoodoo Gurus. The Gurus style is based on straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll, no doubt about it. From 1960s power pop to garage punk to hard driving rock and funky psychedelic kitsch their music pretty much covers the spectrum. The kicker for me though, as always, is the hook. Gotta have the hook in my opinion, and the Gurus deliver them in abundance. They also are a lyrically intelligent group who invariably bring a smile to my face whenever I hear them. So, if you want to hear some good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll peppered with a dash of wit, catchy hooks, jangly guitars, and some occasional scathing social commentary, The Gurus are for you. And although they won’t get in, they should be considered.

So, who ya got? Anyone you think needs to be in? Then again, like I said, KISS, Donovan, Chic and ABBA are in there, so what does it all mean anyway?

I’ve said it 17-million times. It’s a damn shame Todd Rundgren is not in the Rock Hall of Fame. I wrote about it in the acclaimed blog Something/Anything: Todd Rundgren’s Magnum Opus. Bottom line? Todd should be in the Hall of Fame. Anyway, take some time and listen to one of the Top 10 albums of all time and get back with me. Thank you and goodnight.

Great song with great lyrics. Incredibly, Jackson Browne wrote this song when he was just 16-years old.

These days I seem to think a lot about the things that I forgot to do for you,
And all the times I had the chance to . . .

One of the great R&B bands of the early 70s. On a related note, the hair and jumpsuits were spectacular.

So noisy, so amplified, so distorted, so rock and roll.

Here’s the interesting thing about this video – Walter Orange sings lead, and not Lionel Richie. Richie is in the background, playing a saxophone. Richie usually sang lead for the Commodores but the group thought Orange’s voice fit the song better. On a related note, this was when the band roared with unadulterated funk and before they became known for Richie’s ballads. Of course Lionel ended up going solo and the rest is history.

Stunning performance. Although Paul McCartney, Sting, Elton John and David Bowie all performed in Wembley Stadium that day, Queen was the band that blew everyone away. My favorite Freddie Mercury story is this one – when he joined the band as a vocalist after they had tryouts for a lead singer, they told him they planned to be the biggest band in England. His response? “England? We’re going to be the biggest band in the world.” And for a while they were.

The Beatles had a specific clause in their contract, even in 1964, that stipulated they would never play for a segregated audience.

 

On Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album, the music on most of the tracks was played by the band Toto.

So 76-year old George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic was interviewed by Rolling Stone, and man did this dude bring some things into perspective. He was asked about Cultural Appropriation, that is, whites doing “black music” and stuff. The question seemed a little dated to me anyway, but George responded with a great take:

I’d bite off the Beatles, or anybody else. It’s all one world, one planet and one groove. You’re supposed to learn from each other, blend from each other, and it moves around like that. You see that rocket ship leave yesterday? We can maybe leave this planet. We gonna be dealing with aliens. You think black and white gonna be a problem? Wait till you start running into mother***kers with three or four d**cks! Bug-eyed mother***kers! They could be ready to party, or they could be ready to eat us. We don’t know, but we’ve got to get over this shit of not getting along with each other.”

BOOM! I do not believe I’ve ever heard it stated better.

You know, George would make a great president. Too bad he’s in his 70’s and half crazy, nobody would ever vote for a guy like that. Wait . . .

!!!!!!!!!!

 

I’m heading to see the two Johns again this Thursday for the umpteenth time but for the first time in awhile, so this is a timely blog. Well, at least for me. It may not be timely at all for you. Anywho, I have loved They Might Be Giants and their quirky tunes since 1985, and every show is a joy, a delight and an outright lovefest. Without further ado, my favorite songs of They Might Be Giants:

Everything Right is Wrong Again

As only the boys could do, they incorporated a 1950’s Lucille Ball movie into the lyrics. “The long, long trailer” is a reference to the 1954 movie The Long, Long Trailer. Taking a honeymoon road trip, a trailer creates plenty of hijinks and slapstick problems for Lucy and Ricki, including one scene where the motor trailer, Lucy inside, becomes unhinged from the car, their dishes falling from the shelves, and the car continues away, hence these lines:
Just like in the long, long trailer,
All the dishes got broken and the car kept driving
And nobody would stop to save her .”

Admit it, TMBG fans. You did not know that.

I Palindrome I

Ah, what an amazing tune. It’s about, well, palindromes, which are words or sentences that can be read the same forwards or backwards. LOVE this song and its great opening line . . .

“Someday mother will die and I’ll get the money . . .”

Note – My 5 favorite palindromes:

A man, a plan, a canal – Panama.

Sit on a potato pan, Otis.

Eva, can I stab bats in a cave?

Mr. Owl ate my metal worm.

Dammit, I’m mad.

Classics.

Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head

An amazing song about so many subjects, including OCD. However, I love the homage to the line from ‘Guitar Man’ by Elvis that they snuck into the song – “Well, I quit my job down at the car wash, left my mama a goodbye note.

Enjoy.

Don’t Let Start

Includes these immortal lyrics:

“No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful,

Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful,

They want what they’re not and I wish they would stop, 

Saying Deputy Dawg dog a ding dang depadepa,

Deputy Dawg dog a ding dang depadepa

D, world destruction,

O-ver an overture

N, do I need

Apostrophe T, need this torture?”

Only TMBG, kids. Only TMBG.

Mammal 

Animal song about, well, the beauty of mammals. So TMBGish.

Standing in between extinction in the cold
And explosive radiating growth
So the warm blood flows
Through the large four-chambered heart
Maintaining the very high metabolism rate they have.

Mammal, mammal
Their names are called
They raise a paw
The bat, the cat
Dolphin and dog
Koala bear and hog . . .

Dinner Bell 

About Pavlov’s dog, among other things.

Birdhouse In Your Soul

The absolute classic, and the song that put the boys on the map. Enjoy, kids.

Istanbul (Not Constantinople) 

This is actually a cover of a song written in the 1950s, and it’s basically a little history lesson. Catchy as hell.

Particle Man 

A science teacher’s favorite, and there are many interpretations to this song, way too many to mention here. Lend it an ear and tell me what you think.

Twisting

Such a rocker live. It’s about a couple that constantly breaks-up and makes- up. We all know the type.

They Might Be Giants

A quirky little song about who-the-hell-knows. You tell me. I think it’s about the band, how they got their name from the movie, and how Don Quixote thought that windmills were giants. Then again, perhaps I’m quite insane.

Meet James Ensor

Love this song about the obscure Belgium painter. Good stuff.

Kiss Me, Son of God

Although this song was written 30-years ago, it could have been written about Donald Trump. Eerie really. Listen . . .

Man, It’s So Loud in Here

A newer song about, according to John, “The dawning awareness of old age.” 

Bastard Wants to Hit Me

Great tune about a weird encounter with a crazy dude. So typically weird it hurts. TMBG through and through.

[BONUS SONGS]

Your Racist Friend

“This is where the party ends, I just sit here wondering how you can stand by your racist friend.”

Timely.

Dr. Worm

Just a simple song about a common subject –  a drum-playing worm who’s also a doctor. Enjoy.

 

Looks like a really cool apartment.