Archive for the ‘Rock Music’ Category

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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.

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

 

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!

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.

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.

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.

I hate myself for that title right now. Anywho, there was a brouhaha, a kerfuffle if you will, at the Rockets-Lakers game the other night, and guess who wanted a piece of Rocket Chris Paul? None other than Red Hot Chili Pepper Anthony Keidis, who went after Houston’s point guard with a flurry of profanity as he was ushered off the court. His buddy and bandmate Flea, who was sitting with him, stayed out of the fray. Keidis was tossed too, but no

t before shooting Paul an aggressive and ill-intentioned bird. Good times, man.

PS- I just posted this because I wanted to write that title.

The Beatles were the most innovative band in rock history, and it wasn’t limited to the music. Their dress, their hairstyles their album covers and more all influenced the world. Below you’ll find, in no particular order, my favorite Beatle album covers, with a little commentary and factoids thrown in for good measure. Enjoy, my Beatlemaniac friends.

[click on the cover to read the caption]

Bonus covers! I like these because The Beatles recreated an early 60s cover with a new photo of the band in 1969. Cool look.

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.

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.

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)

Yep. This guy.

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.”

Jeff Lynne

Electric Light Orchestra* (13)

Yep, I’ve seen ELO 13-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. UPDATE: Caught ELO again on 7/30 at Nationwide in Columbus. Once again it was an outstanding show.

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* (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 (5)

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. Most recently I saw him at the Taft Theater in Cincinnati and he was amazing as always.

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*

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)

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 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 Meat 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* (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 (4)

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 (2). 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

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.

Eels (7)

Eels

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”. One of the most underappreciated artists of my lifetime.

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 & 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*

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 D

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

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 (3)

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, and I saw them at Express Live! in early October. Always stellar.

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 (2)

One of my friends is a big fan so I went with him to see his hero Robert Pollard. I’m glad I went. Update: Caught GBV again at the Bellwether Festival in Waynesville, Ohio. Once again a fantastic performance.

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)

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 (4)

Ah, The Foos. I’ve seen them 4-times in the past year 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. The third time I saw them was at CalJam ’18, which I’ll talk about below. Finally (for now) I saw them at the Sonic Temple Festival in Columbus, Ohio and they were epic. We had backstage passes and spent some time in keyboardist Rami Jaffee’s private box. Amazing stuff.

PS – Dave Grohl is a God.

The Struts (3)

The Struts are a Queen-influenced group fronted by a guy named Luke Spiller, who is fantastic. They opened for the Foo Fighters all three 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

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.

Some of the bands below have been mentioned before, but I saw them all at Cal Jam ’18 the weekend of 10/4-10/6. What an amazing experience:

Foo Fighters/Nirvana

1111111111111111111111111111111111111111

Joan Jett, Pat Smear, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl.

Still can’t believe I was at this legendary show where Nirvana (minus Kurt Cobain of course) reunited with Joan Jett and Deer Tick lead singer John McCauley to perform seven songs at the end of the regular Foos show. When Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic walked out the place erupted, and Joan and John sounded great singing the lead with Dave Grohl back on the drums. Incredible.

Post Pop Depression

LOVED these guys. PPP is Godfather of Punk Iggy Pop (The Stooges), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal), Dean Fertita (QOTSA, The Dead Weather) and Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) among others. Amazing show, and at 71 Iggy is still going strong.

Garbage

I really liked Garbage a lot. Shirley Manson definitely still has it, and her band was tight.

Yungblud (2)

I was surprised how much I liked this guy. Trust me, angry British punk is alive. The Sex Pistols would be proud. I saw him at both CalJam and Sonic Temple.

Metz

Enjoyed this show as well. Rockin’ young band.

Tenacious D

Yep, Jack Black’s band was there too, and I have to say I didn’t love them. Hard to take Jack Black seriously as a musician after School of Rock, you know?

Greta Van Fleet

Honestly, I can take or leave these Led Zeppelin sound-alikes. Didn’t dig it at all.

Deer Tick

LOVED these guys. Great band with 3 different lead singers. Reminded me a little of The Band in that way.

Gang of Youths

I really liked frontman David Le’aupepe and this Australian band. Sort of a cross between U2, Springsteen and The Alarm. Lots of anthemic rock.

The Front Bottoms

The Front Bottoms

Probably my favorite new band I saw in California. I got to meet lead singer Brian Sella briefly, and I can report he is a good dude.

Thunderpussy

This all-girl band rocked the hell out of it, and Foos drummer Taylor Hawkins sat sidestage and watched their drummer, who was fantastic.

Giants in the Trees

This is Krist Novoselic’s band, and I cannot say I’m a fan of the dreamy, psychedelic vibe they were putting out.

Billy Idol

Billy played the first night, and he did not disappoint. Dude still has the pipes, and guitarist Steve Stevens was as good as ever.

Cal Jam Bonuses:

At the backstage layout, I absentmindedly asked out loud what kind of pasta they were serving. From behind me I heard a voice say, “That’s Couscous Mac ‘n Cheese, man. You have to try it.” I turned around and it was Foo Fighter’s drummer Taylor Hawkins.

I also got to meet and spend a little time with the man who played drums on one of my favorite songs of all-time, The Church of Logic, Sin and Love by The Men. Suffice it to say that Dave Botkin was a great guy.

The Hives

Caught these guys at Sonic Temple and they were great. I’s always wanted to see them and was glad I did.

The Interrupters

At the Sonic Temple again, and if you like music akin to Elvis Costello you’ll love these guys.

Phish

My buddy had been begging me to see these guys for years but I just didn’t get the whole Phish thing. Having gone, I must say I had a good time. It was great music, great people and a great vibe. I’m not going to quit life and follow Phish, but I’ll certainly go again.

Selo

Saw this band at the Bellwether Festival and I was impressed. Good new band.

Strfkr

Yep. That says what you think it says, and they were a lot of fun. Because hey, who doesn’t like spacemen crowd surfing and blow-up dolls beingtossed into the audience?

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.

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.