While he was born Marvin Lee Aday, we knew and loved him as Meat Loaf. The son of a former policeman (Orvis) and school teacher (Wilma) he was in over 50 movies and TV shows and performed in Broadway type musicals. However, Meat Loaf will always be best known for the iconic album BAT OUT OF HELL.
When that album first came out and started selling at a brisk pace, most people thought that he was an overnight sensation. That was hardly the case.
We have lost one the most unique voices of all time to Cancer. Ronnie Spector was one of the most respected and loved singers of all of Rock and Roll history. No one else ever sounded like her.
The signature song for Ronnie, “Be My Baby” is just about the most perfect song you will ever hear. The song was recorded in 1963 as the second song recorded by the group known as the Ronettes. However, the only voice on the record is that of Ronnie Spector. The Phil Spector produced record was enhanced by the group of outstanding studio musicians that later became known as The Wrecking Crew.
Are you ready? Cue the trumpets for a fanfare. Rolling Stone Magazine has announced their new list of the top 500 songs of all time. Like nominations to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there are bound to be many lively discussions about who and what made the list.
Almost everyone will find fault with the list in some fashion, but let’s take a little closer look anyway. One might very well say, I wouldn’t not have picked these songs. However, it has been 17 years since the last time Rolling Stone took a survey of a cross section of writers and musicians (including some Classic Rock stars) to compile their list. There’s no way you would have made the same selections this year as you would have made back then. There are bound to be a lot of changes.
The other day a headline “Why do Old People Hate New Music?” for a story in Psychology Today caught my eye. With a headline like that, the story had to be read.
The premise of the story was that older people often turn up their noses at new music because they think it is nothing but noise or it all sounds the same. The article went on to present evidence that our brains lose the ability to accept new music because as we age the part of the brain than enables us to make the subtle distinctions between different chords, rhythms and melodies starts to fail. This gives us the impression that all new music sounds alike.
Back in the 50’s the Philadelphia based group Danny and The Juniors had a hit record with their song called “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay”. At the time, Rock and Roll was considered a fad and only music for teens. It was their soundtrack for their years to rebel against the establishment as well as their parents.
The establishment fought back. Preachers called for the burning of the devil’s music records. Mayors of many cities banned having Rock and Roll concerts. Predictably, instead killing of the music, it only added fuel to the passion of the young music lovers.
In the mid to late 60’s and a little beyond, clubs started to spring up all over the Philadelphia area. There were The Main Point, The Trauma, The Bijou Café, The Theater of the Living Arts, The 2nd Fret. The Artist Hut, The 2nd of Autumn, The Magic Theater and The Focal Point.
Some had semi known nationally artists perform, but most were mainly for local talent that were springing up at that time. Bands like Elizabeth, Noah’s Ark, The Nazz, Thunder and Roses, The Mary Jane Company. The American Dream, Sweet Stavin’ Chain, Woody’s Truck Stop (at one time Todd Rundgren was the lead guitarist) ,Good News (featuring Kevin Bacon’s brother) ,High Treason and Edison Electric were able to build a local following and get record contracts in large part because of these clubs.
Performer Category - honoring bands and solo artists who, in their careers, have created music whose originality, impact and influence has changed the course of rock 'n' roll:
• Carole King
• Todd Rundgren
• Tina Turner
• Foo Fighters -- Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear
• The Go-Go’s -- Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin
Seeing Eric Andersen for the first time at the famed Main Point in Bryn Mawr, PA, was a very special night. The acoustic set was a quietly moving performance from the poetic singer and songwriter. The lyrics seemed very personal and yet very universal.
Meeting him after his performance in the basement of the Main Point (that also served as a dressing room) was the first if many conversations we would have over the years. Our talks were always very interesting and surprisingly candid.
The name Roy Harper doesn’t mean very much to the average Rock fan in the US. This is despite the fact that the English Folk Rock singer songwriter has released 32 albums to date. Such stars like Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Pete Townshend , Kate Bush, the members of Pink Floyd and Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull are among his biggest fans. Even more recent acts like Kate Bush and Fleet Foxes cite his song writing as a big influence.
So how is it that so many people have no idea who Roy Harper is? Perhaps one reason is his songs are often very complex in both musical and lyrical structure. He has always stayed true to his own way of doing things which often meant writing songs that the average person didn’t understand or could hum along to as they walked down the street.
Despite many very impressive reviews, TROUT MASK RELPICA by Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, sold very poorly when it was released. Over time it has become widely acclaimed as a work of genius and one of the most influential albums of the entire Rock era. The songs were all written by Beefheart, arranged by drummer John “Drumbo” French and produced by Frank Zappa.
If you were to do a poll of Rock stars asking them to pick the best Sax player in the history of the genre, at or near the top would be Bobby keys. Since he was rarely in the spotlight, many fans of his playing don’t even know his name.
Robert Henry Keys was born on the Lubbock U S Army Airfield in Texas. His father served in the U S Army Air Corps.
After his father moved on, Bobby stayed in Lubbock. At a very early age he discovered the legendary Sax player King Curtis. Unlike other Sax players, Curtis wasn’t just a Jazz man. King Curtis played the same way that guitar players did and fit right into Rock and Roll.
Every year we turn the page on the calendar to a new year. When the calendar was first conceived, someone must have put some thought as to where a year should end and begin. Perhaps some thought was given to the time of the year. A good part of the world that uses the calendar that we know here in the United States is knee deep in winter. The weather is often cold and harsh. A good time for a holiday break and a look forward to a new start.
Does the bug that is sweeping the world have you sheltered in your home? With all the concerts being canceled, you may have the cabin fever blues.
Ok, you can’t get out to see your favorite acts in concert but seeing them at home are the next best thing. There are literally hundreds of in concert DVDs or streaming movies you can watch.
The only problem is picking them. There are a lot of inferior quality films out there. Some of it due to the filming itself and others border on just being a rip off. Unfortunately, some film makers (to make a quick buck) have dug up old footage that has never been released. Much of it wasn’t released for some very good reasons.
Then you have those that look appealing on the surface with big names. You view them only to find out that it concerts film of the groups in the near present with only one or two original members. One highlighted a band that was one of those “pretend to be them” bands. It is a buyer beware.