Posts Tagged ‘Paul McCartney’

For you youngsters out there, a deep cut refers to a song that was buried deeply on an album, probably somewhere toward the end of Side 2. The song probably wasn’t expected to be a hit, hence the song placement. Wait. Does anyone under 40-years old even know what an album is? Does LP ring a bell? Nothing? Sigh. See, back then we bought the album, dropped the needle onto Side 1, listened to the 5 or 6 songs on that side, then flipped it over and listened to Side 2.

Let us continue . . .

We all have personal favorites of a particular artist or band, songs that may have never been a hit or played on the radio. Songs that weren’t critically acclaimed but just struck a chord with you. Struck a chord, get it? Musical reference. Boom. Anyway, it’s something that can’t be explained, that chord, that something that can bring tears to your eyes or make you want to listen to the song over and over. Sometimes the song can be something you’re afraid to admit you like.

Full disclosure: “If Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson comes on the radio, I always sing along. Killer pipes, lemme tell ya. Now THERE’S a guilty pleasure. Guilty Pleasures . . . there’s a blog idea.

Anyway, here we go. These are songs that aren’t guilty pleasures, but rather tunes that I’ve always loved but have never been recognized as their artists’ best work.

Enjoy . . .

Guilty – Alice Cooper

Sure, Alice is better known for songs like School’s Out or Eighteen, but my favorite has always been Guilty. It has a great guitar riff to open, then Alice growls out these lines:

Just tried to have fun,

Raised Hell and then some,

I’m a dirt talking, beer drinking, woman chasing minister’s son.

When I was an AD I used to include this song in my pre-game song mix. I still don’t know how I got away with it. Highly recommended. Here’s a link.

Acadian Driftwood – The Band

The Band has a ton of good songs, including The Weight and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, but I love Acadian Driftwood, in particular the live version on The Last Waltz. Originally recorded in 1975, it describes the forcible displacement of the Acadian people after the war between the French and the English over what is now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and part of Maine. Robbie Robertson’s lyrics were influenced by Longfellow’s poem Evangeline, which describes the deportation of the Acadians. Just a beautiful, haunting, intelligently written song. Here’s a link.

‘Til I Die –  The Beach Boys

Quite simply one of the most beautiful, sad, and heart wrenching songs ever recorded. I feel it’s one of the rock eras most underappreciated songs. It’s all about Brian Wilson and his slow descent into mental illness. How can you not be touched by these lyrics?

I’m a cork on the ocean

Floating over the raging sea

How deep is the ocean? How deep is the ocean?

I lost my way.

I’m a rock in a landslide

Rolling over the mountainside

How deep is the valley? How deep is the valley?

It kills my soul.

I’m a leaf on a windy day

Pretty soon I’ll be blown away

How long will the wind blow? How long will the wind blow?

These things I’ll be until I die.

Talk about a cry for help. I have never grown tired of this song, and I’m always touched by the lyrics. Here’s the original mix. Be sure and listen all the way through.

Lay Down Burden – Brian Wilson

Another Brian Wilson tune, this is a song from his great Imagination comeback album in 1999. It’s another sad one about the death of his brother Carl, and again he lets us in on his innermost feelings:

So many years spent running away H

ow many times I wished I could stay

Too much emotion a hole in my heart

Feeling alone since we’ve been apart

And if I had the chance I’d never let you go

Just want you to know.

Lay, lay me down, lay me down

Lay down burden.

Gorgeous melody and classic Wilson harmonies as well. Sigh. Here ’tis.

One Step Up – Bruce Springsteen

Like a lot of you I’m a big Springsteen guy. If you ever see him live you’ll never forget it. Born to Run, Jungleland, Thunder Road, he has so many great songs. Still, One Step Up hits me the hardest:

Bird on a wire outside my motel room

But he ain’t singin’.

Girl in white outside a church in June

But the church bells they ain’t ringing.

I’m sittin’ here in this bar tonight But all I’m thinkin’ is . . . I’m the same old story, same old act

One step up and two steps back.

Who can’t relate to that? Here’s the video.

Ol’ 55 – The Eagles

I know this may seem like an odd choice, what with all the classic Eagles songs out there. But, if I had one Eagles song to listen to on a deserted island, this Tom Waits penned release from 1973 would be my pick. It was on The Eagles 1974 album entitled On the Border, and although it isn’t an original Eagles song I still think it’s one of their best. It also happens to be the song that first introduced me to The Eagles. Check out this clip.

Junior’s Farm – Paul McCartney & Wings

This song is NEVER mentioned among Sir Paul’s greatest, but in my opinion it ranks right up there with Band On the Run, Live and Let Die, and Maybe I’m Amazed. It’s a rocker and features a searing guitar solo by Jimmy McCullough. Recorded on a farm in none other than Nashville, TN, I dare you to listen to this song without tapping your foot.

Nothingman – Pearl Jam

From 1994’s Vitology, Nothingman is one of Eddie Vedder’s best songs. Here’s his take on the lyrics. “The idea is about if you love someone and they love you, don’t fuck up, ’cause you are left with less than nothing.”

Amen to that brother. Of all Pearl Jam’s tunes, this is my favorite. Close second? Alive.

Paranoid Eyes – Pink Floyd

Big Pink Floyd fan here, and I think the album this song came from, The Final Cut, is one of their most underappreciated and underrated albums ever. It was Floyd’s last album before Roger Waters vamoosed, and it’s basically all Waters all the time, which is fine by me. Check out these lyrics:

Button your lip don’t let the shield slip

Take a fresh grip on your bullet proof mask

And if they try to break down your disguise with their questions

You can hide hide hide

Behind paranoid eyes. 

You put on your brave face and slip over the road for a jar

Fixing your grin as you casually lean on the bar

Laughing too loud at the rest of the world

With the boys in the crowd

You hide hide hide

Behind petrified eyes. 

You believed in their stories of fame fortune and glory

Now you’re lost in a haze of alchohol soft middle age

The pie in the sky turned out to be miles too high

And you hide hide hide Behind brown and mild eyes.

True dat, no? Trust me, when you’re 50 you’ll get it. Here ye be.

So there ya go. I’m sure y’all have some deep cuts. Let’s hear ’em.

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My boys. Well, for awhile at least.

I’ve been around long enough to have witnessed some pretty extraordinary things in the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I’ve had a life that has included several serendipitous encounters as well as a few interesting happenings at concerts. You know, those “in the right place at the right time” deals if you will. This is my attempt to share a few of these hopefully interesting anecdotes.

I’ll get to the really memorable experiences in a bit, so bear with me. Settle in, for this is a long blog. First, some quick thoughts. I’ve attended well over 300 concerts in my life, and I’ve been fortunate enough to witness The Eagles “Hotel California” tour, Brian Wilson’s “Pet Sounds ” tour, Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive” tour, Elton John’s “Yellow Brick Road” tour, and the recent Eric Clapton/Robert Cray tour that completely blew me away (mostly long blues numbers). In the early 80’s I saw R.E.M. with my buddy Goose at a gym in Springfield, OH that was attended by maybe 100 people tops. Michael Stipe was so shy he sang with his back to the audience or behind the drum kit most of the night. They didn’t have enough original material so they covered songs like “Born to Run.” In retrospect, an unbelievable night.

I’ve seen Paul McCartney several times, but the night 16 of us rented a suite at The Schott was the best. I’ve seen Springsteen, Bob Dylan (opening act – The Alarm!!!), and Jimmy Buffett several times. Trust me, even if you’re not a Parrothead it’s an experience every music fan needs to have at least once. Green Day was a great show, and the fact that My Chemical Romance kicked things off just made it all the better. I went to an REO Speedwagon show at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in C-Bus once circa 1976 and they had two opening acts – The Babys and . . . wait for it . . . The New York Dolls. The Dolls opened, and little did I know what this soon-to be legendary punk band would later become. All I saw was a bunch of dudes with a lot of make-up, 6-inch high heels and spiked collars around their necks. REO looked like Bieber by comparison.

If you’re a friend you’ve heard about James Taylor and the night he “lost” his jacket at Blossom Music Center near Cleveland. Fun night right there, especially since we didn’t get arrested. Hell, I went to the Electric Light Orchestra tour with all the lasers and the giant spaceship. It’s a pretty surreal experience to look up and see these huge laser-made butterflies and moths flying over your head. Oh, and I met Jeff Lynne and he had a special request for me.

Around 1977 a buddy asked me at the last second to go see a guy at what is now The Newport in Columbus. I’d never heard of the guy but, what the hell, the ticket was free. Suffice it to say Warren Zevon was pretty good.

There’s probably a million people who make this claim, but I had tickets to see Lynyrd Skynyrd in late 1977 while living on the Ohio State campus. I’ll never forget when my roommate woke me up with the news about the plane crash. Being a poor college student I returned my ticket and got my $7.50 back. Yep, pretty sure it was just $7.50. What a dumbass.

Some of the best shows I’ve ever seen were in small venues. Former Replacement Paul Westerberg rocked The Newport like a madman. A friend of mine said it was the first time he ever felt like he was watching a real rock star. Steve Forbert at a bar in Newport, KY was special, as were the Eels at The Odeon in Cleveland (twice) and The Newport in Columbus. They Might Be Giants always put on a hell of a show, and watching legendary grunge rockers Mudhoney at tiny Café Bourbon Street in Columbus in the summer of 2010 was an extraordinary experience. My son Kip and I went to see the reunited Blink-182 a couple years ago and they were ungodly good. GREAT show even though we got soaked to the bone walking in.

Alright, enough rambling. Sorry if I’ve bored the life out of you. Hopefully you’re still with me though, because I’ve saved the best for last.

At some point a bit before The Who tragedy at Riverfront Coliseum (my dates are a little fuzzy) I saw Led Zeppelin there. The whole festival seating/general admission thing was obviously in place, and it was pretty ugly. We got there real early, around 2:00 PM in order 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.

Assclown.

In the late 70’s I went to see The Beach Boys, again at Riverfront Coliseum in The Natti. It marked the return of Brian Wilson, quite a big deal at the time. Anyway, 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 to her face. 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. And oddly enough, a few years later almost exactly the same thing happened with Peter Cetera of Chicago.

I once attended the “Frampton Comes Alive” tour,  a huge outdoor show 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 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 KANSASeventually 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.

Back around 1980 Aerosmith was on a bit of a downward spiral. Something about drug addictions and whatnot. Anyway, it was after “Dream On” but before the album “Permanent Vacation” marked their return to prominence. A friend of mine was a regional roadie, one of those guys who doesn’t travel with the bands but works a certain area where he helps set up shows and the like. Well, he had backstage passes to Aerosmith and asked if I wanted one.

Well, yeah.

I watched the show (not so good actually – something about drug addictions and whatnot) then headed backstage for the festivities. I don’t really know how to explain it other than saying it’s exactly what you’d expect it to be. Lots of girls, drugs, alcohol, and things I didn’t recognize and haven’t seen since. Rock and Roll decadence at its highest form. Back in those days I blended right in. My hair was as long as theirs and I looked like a taller Charley Manson, minus the God complex and murderous intentions (well, maybe just the murderous intentions).

I worked my way over to Steven Tyler and struck up a conversation, probably saying something witty and insightful like “nice show” which incidentally would have been a complete lie. He looked at me through glazed-over eyes and offered me a beer (for the record, it was a Stroh’s). One thing led to another and I ended up on a couch sitting between Tyler and Joe Perry. Kids, there once existed a picture of me, between those two, all three of us holding up a beer for the camera with half-crazed smiles on our faces. Later, in one of the dumbest moves of my life, I gave the picture to a girl I was dating. She displayed it proudly on her apartment wall. Sadly, when we had an ugly break-up, she hit me where it hurt most – she burned the picture. For years I waited for her to show up and say she had really kept the picture, then hand it to me with a smile. Never happened, but there’s still hope, right? Right?

Dang it.

So there you have it, some highlights from my life attending live shows. You now know that Kansas blows, Rick Derringer is cool, Mike Love is a tool, I’m lucky to be alive, I’m a fool for getting reimbursed for that Skynyrd ticket, and I’m an idiot for giving away the greatest picture I’ve ever had taken.*

*Not that I still think about it. Every damn day.

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Yeah, yeah, we all know Paul McCartney isn’t dead. If he did indeed die back in the late 60’s, his replacement has sure made some damn good music for the past 40+ years. Band on the Run, Jet, Maybe I’m Amazed, and Live and Let Die were pretty good songs if written by some replacement. Still, something was going on back then, because the lads left way too many clues for it to be a coincidence. Was it a prank? Were The Beatles just messin’ with us? Who knows, but one thing’s for sure – it’s fun looking at the clues they left.

For those out of the know, it all started back on October 12th, 1969 when some shady character called a Detroit radio station (WKNR-FM on your dial!) and told disc jockey Russ Gibb about the rumour and its clues. Gibb and other callers then discussed the rumor on the air for the next hour. Thus, the firestorm had begun. Soon people were discovering clues everywhere, on album covers, in song lyrics, hell, even when you played certain Beatles songs backwards. The clues dated back to Sgt. Pepper’s in 1967.

Holy shit man, was Paul really dead?

As the story goes, Paul had gotten into a huge argument during a recording session, rushed off and was killed in a horrific traffic accident. He was then replaced by the winner of the Paul McCartney look-alike contest, the contest that was held with no winner ever being announced. I know, pretty preposterous and obviously untrue. But still, a bazillion and three clues were left, some more credible than others, but all incredibly compelling. Let’s discuss some of my favorites . . .

“Turn me on Dead Man”

This one was a d-o-o-o-z-y (anyone get the Groundhog Day movie reference? Sigh). Here’s the deal. If you put the song “Revolution #9” on the turntable (it’s on the White Album by the way) and turn it backwards slowly you hear “Turn me on dead man” over and over. Now, that song was freaky anyway, but listening to it backwards in the middle of the night was downright chilling.

“Paul is dead, man. Miss him. Miss him.”

Also from The White Album. At the end of the song “I’m So Tired” and before the beginning of “Blackbird” there is some mumbling. When played backwards you can hear the words, “Paul is dead, man. Miss him. Miss him.” Again, I have the audio right here for y’all, more proof that I’m not your average run-of-the-mill blogger. Enjoy.

“I buried Paul.”

This is a good one. If you listen to “Strawberry Fields Forever,” at the end of the song there’s a fade-out followed by a fade-in of gibberish and noises. Then, right before the second fade-out you hear the words, “I buried Paul.” John said later he was saying “cranberry sauce” but I never bought that. Of course, at another time he said he was saying “I’m very bored” so John was either forgetful, messing with us, or high (definite possibility). Click here and you be the judge. It begins at the :13 second mark.

There are numerous other lyrics people point to when declaring that The Beatles were trying to tell us something…

“He blew his mind out in a car, he didn’t notice that the lights had changed.”

These are lyrics from “A Day in the Life,” on 1967’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album, and of course they fit right in with the conspiracy theorists macabre conjectures.

“You were in a car crash, and you lost your hair.”

From Ringo’s “Don’t Pass Me By,” which was on 1968’s White Album. Sure are a lot of references to car wrecks, huh?

“Yes, he’s dead” and “We loved you yeah, yeah, yeah.”  

If you listen to “All You Need is Love” closely, which you will in a second, you’ll hear “Yes he’s dead” and shortly thereafter the words “We loved you yeah, yeah, yeah.” I’ll give you the link shortly.

“Will Paul be back as Superman?”

At the very end of the “Sgt. Pepper’s” album you hear some weird voices with unintelligible words. When played backwards you can hear “Will Paul be back as Superman?” Cu-reepy.

I actually found a video with the last four examples included (as well as some others I have and have not mentioned). You can hear “Yes he’s dead” at the 1:20 mark and “We loved you yeah, yeah, yeah” at 1:29.  The others are pretty clear-cut. Here’s a link to said video. It also includes the “Walrus was Paul” line from Glass Onion. The walrus was apparently the symbol of death in Scandanavian culture, and Paul was dressed as one on the “Magical Mystery Tour” album cover. Good stuff.

There are other weird lyrics, like in “Come Together” when John sings “One and one and one is three” which could be the lads trying to tell us there were only three Beatles left. No way, right? But still . . .

There are also several clues located on album covers, in album sleeves and elsewhere. I’ll begin with the most famous . . .

Abbey Road Album Cover 

Everybody knows this one, right?

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Here’s the way this one was interpreted. You see, from left to right we have George dressed as a gravedigger, Paul as the corpse (left-handed Paul is holding the cigarette in his right hand and he’s also out of step with the other three), Ringo as the undertaker and John as the preacher, ambulance driver or heavenly figure according to what you read.

And on the back of the Abbey Road album we have this:

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Check out those dots before the word BEATLES. If you connect them can you make a 3? As in 3 BEATLES? Some people can. In addition, some can see a skull in the shadows to the right of BEATLES. A stretch? You be the judge.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album Cover

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Well, the first clue is pretty obvious, since there’s a grave on the cover. But check out that guitar made of flowers. Is it possible they spell out PAUL?, including the question mark? Can you see it? Oh, and did I mention that’s a left-handed guitar and Paul was left-handed?

There’s also a photo of the boys on the inside fold-out. Paul has a patch on his sleeve that apparently has the letters OPD on it. Let’s see . . . Officially Pronounced Dead? Sure.

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On the back cover there was a photo of the band and only one member has his back turned. Yep, you guessed it. Here’s a close-up:

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You can’t see the lyrics George is pointing to, but they say, “Wednesday morning at 5:00 as the day begins.” Since Paul supposedly left an all-night recording session in an angry state, could this be referring to the time he was killed?

One more thing regarding the Pepper’s album I must mention. On the cover there is a hand above Paul’s head. This, according to the experts, is a European symbol of evil and/or death. Here’s a closeup:

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There are several examples of this hand over Paul’s head on the Magical Mystery Tour album as well.

Magical Mystery Tour Album

There was a booklet contained in the album, and it included this picture:

Yep, Paul has a black rose, everybody else has a red rose (the pic is enlarged in the corner for your benefit – again, top-notch blogging). The black rose, obviously, is a symbol of death. Why the hell did it take a phone call to a radio station to get people to see these clues? Geez.

Here’s another photo from the booklet:

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Sure enough, there’s Paul with a sign saying, “I was” on it. Can’t get much clearer than that.

As I said, these are just a few of my favorite clues. The list goes on and on . . .

There are tons of websites dedicated to the rumor that Paul McCartney died back in the 60’s. If you don’t believe me just Google “Paul is Dead” and see what happens. Insanity.

To reiterate, we all know that Paul is indeed alive. Still, it’s pretty clear to me that The Beatles were having some fun with us. There’s just way too many clues to be coincidental.

But it’s 2015, and Paul still isn’t dead.

Rock music creativity, though? Yeah, definitely on life-support.

People have been asking me since I started this site to list my favorite all-time bands. I kept putting it off because the task seemed way too daunting. Well, I began breaking it all down a couple weeks ago and finally I’m prepared to unveil my picks to the masses. Remember, these are my personal choices, so chillax. You may be shocked to find there’s no Rolling Stones, no Nirvana, no Aerosmith. Sorry, good bands all, just not in my upper echelon. Without further ado, my favorites.

1. THE BEATLES

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George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr.

I know, shocking right? If there ever was a no-brainer this is it. My respect and love for The Beatles is well documented, and you can check out a few of my Beatles blogs by clicking any or all of the following titles:  The Transformation of a KidThe Fab 30: My Favorite Beatle Songs, Tomorrow Never Knows, but The Beatles Did, and The Beatles overrated? You, sir, are an idiot. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times – The Beatles advanced music more in 7-years than music has advanced in the years since. As much as I love the bands that follow, they are all very, very far behind.

2. R.E.M.

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I have loved these guys since the early 80’s and saw them live at several small venues back then. It’s hard to imagine now, but their sound was so different at the time. There have been so many imitators that their sound doesn’t seem so unique anymore, and that’s a testament to how influential they were. Any student I had in class from 1984 to 1996 will tell you – I’ve been an R.E.M disciple for a long time.

3. Eels

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Mark Oliver Everett, A Man Called E.

Eels are basically a one man band, and that man is Mark Oliver Everett, also known as “E”. I wrote a pretty extensive piece about him called Mark Oliver Everett: A Man Called E awhile back that pretty much explains my love for him and his music. His music can be hauntingly beautiful, but he also plays full bore, raw rock and roll. Love E and The Eels.

4. Paul McCartney

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Sir Paul.

Listen, I love Lennon and Harrison’s solo work too, and they almost made the cut. However, I’ve always been a McCartney guy at heart. John is always looked at as the “experimental” and “avant garde” Beatle, but Paul was actually the first to begin experimenting with different sounds and alternative styles and methods. Because of his wonderful ballads like “Yesterday” and “My Love” great, one-of-a-kind rockers like “Helter Skelter” and “Junior’s Farm” get lost in the mix.

5. The Beach Boys

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Bottom: Mike Love, Carl Wilson. Top: Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and Dennis Wilson.

I wrote extensively about The Beach Boys in my two blogs entitled “The Beach Boys: America’s Most Misunderstood Band” and “Just a Little More on the Beach Boys”. Brian Wilson was a musical genius if there ever was one. The harmonies he arranged, the beautiful melodies he constructed, and his ground-breaking work in the studio have been unsurpassed in music history. In addition, the album “Pet Sounds” is widely considered, along with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” as the best ever recorded.

6. The Band

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Richard Manuel, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson.

The Band may be the finest group of musicians and vocalists ever assembled. They started as a backup band for the legendary Ronnie Hawkins, and then for some cat named Bob Dylan. When The Band went solo, however, their true talents were unleashed on the world. Do yourself a favor and rent “The Last Waltz” to watch these guys live, or buy the entire “Music from Big Pink” album, put on your headphones, turn off the lights and get lost in everything that is The Band. Quite possibly America’s first real country rock band.

7. Todd Rundgren

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A Wizard, a True Star (look it up).

Todd Rundgren is not in the Rock Hall of Fame and that’s an absolute travesty. Not only did he record what in my opinion is one of the greatest albums in history (Something/Anything?), he’s produced the albums “Straight Up” by Badfinger, “Stage Fright” by The Band, “We’re an American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad, “Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf,  and “New York Dolls” by the New York Dolls among many others. Folks, those are some amazing, historical albums. Rundgren also plays nearly every instrument extremely well, so there’s that. If you want to read my blog about his greatest album, click this link: Something/Anything?: Todd Rundgren’s Magnum Opus. Seriously, though, Todd needs to be in The Hall, man.

8. Bruce Springsteen

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B-r-u-u-u-u-c-e!

Young rock fans don’t realize this, but Bruce came along right when we needed him. In 1975 the rock world was full of glam, rhinestone covered jumpsuits, laser shows, dudes with makeup, elaborate stage shows, and overproduced bullshit. Along came Bruce with his straight ahead, hard-drivin’ rock and roll that was delivered with a no-frills, pared down stage show. Bruce and his  band wore leather or jean jackets, boots, and depended on the music to make the show, not a giant inflatable pig or dancing midgets. In addition, he’s a great songwriter, with the evidence being “Born to Run”, “Jungleland” and “One Step Up.”  Just a legendary, electric performer.

9. Paul Westerberg

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Paul Westerberg.

Paul Westerberg was the lead singer of the legendary alt band The Replacements, and Mats fans will be infuriated that I chose the solo career of Westerberg over them. Tough luck, because I love Paul’s stuff as much or more than anything the Replacements ever did. He can rock with the best of them, then turn around and write a beautiful ballad like “Good Day” or “Sunrise Always Listens”. I took a buddy to a Westerberg show a few years ago, and as we walked to our car he said this: “That’s the first time I ever felt like I was watching a real rock star.” Amen brother. You can read my take on Westerberg here: Man Without Ties: Paul Westerberg.

10. Steve Forbert

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Steve Forbert.

Steve Forbert is a rock troubadour, a master of the turn of phrase and a lyrical mastermind. He never made it big and had just one top selling single, called “Romeo’s Tune”, way back in 1979. Back then he was compared to Bob Dylan, which set expectations unrealistically high but never stopped me from buying every album he’s released in the last 37-years. He’s one of those guys that somehow, someway, fell through the cracks. He’s had a solid career, but nothing like he deserves. Just as amazing singer, songwriter and lyricist.

So there you have it. Believe me, cutting it to the Top 10 was tough for me. Leaving out some of the bands and artists below was nearly impossible. That said, I’ve separated my remaining bands into three categories: Extra Special Mention, Special Mention and Honorable Mention. Here ya go:

Extra Special Mention (Just missed the cut): John Lennon, George Harrison, Warren Zevon, Al Green, Electric Light Orchestra, Bob Dylan, They Might Be Giants, Carbon Leaf, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Avett Brothers, Neil Young, Traveling Wilburys.

Special Mention: Tom Petty, The Byrds, Fury in the Slaughterhouse, The Replacements, Cracker, Jimmy Buffett, Fountains of Wayne, Matthew Sweet, America, Dramarama, Jim Croce, Nerf Herder, Hoodoo Gurus, John Hiatt, Nick Lowe, Johnny Cash, The Ramones, Del Amitri, E, Eric Clapton, The Flaming Lips, James Taylor.

Honorable Mention: John Mellencamp, Ronnie Hawkins, Chi-Lites, Social Distortion, Blue October, Michael Jackson,  Alan Parsons Project, The Moody Blues, Meat Puppets, The Alarm, Alanis Morissette, Bob Marley, Chicago, Dan Fogelberg, The Doors, Frank Sinatra, The Stylistics, Meat Loaf, Sister Hazel, Teenage Fanclub, The Who.

So damn good.