Errols Weekly Music Update.

March 26, 2010

Weekly Update – 03/26/2010

Diana Ross at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. May 19. Pre-sale on now for American Express cardholders until 10:00 p.m. Sun. Mar. 28. General public tickets on sale Mon. Mar. 29 at 10:00 a.m.$54.50 – $114.50

Green Day with AFI at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sat. Aug. 14. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m.$20, $35, $59.50, $69.50 and $85.

Phish at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga NY on Sat. & Sun. June 20 & 21. Tickets on sale next Fri. Apr. 2 at 10:00 a.m. $50

Kings of Leon at Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Tues. Aug. 3. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $30.50 – $55.50

Cobra Starship and 3OH!3 at the Bay Stage at Jones Beach on Sat. June 12. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $25. Also appearing at the Stone Pony in NJ on Sun. June 13. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.$23.

Korn at Roseland Ballroom on Mon. May 10. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m.$47.50

Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Tour III featuring Rob Zombie and Korn at PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. July 28. Pre-sale tickets begin next Fri. Apr. 2. General public tickets on sale Fri. Apr. 16. More info to follow

Thirty Seconds to Mars at The Wellmont Theater on Thurs. Apr. 22. Tickets on sale today at noon. $29.50 ($30 day of show).

Darius Rucker at The Wellmont Theater on Sun. May 2. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30, $55 & $65.

Lynyrd Skynyrd with .38 Special and Bret Michaels at Comcast Theater in Hartford CT on Sat. July 10. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $25 – $59.50.

Styx with Foreigner and Kansas at the Mohegan Sun on Fri. June 18. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

Paramore at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Tues. July 27. Pre-sale tickets on sale now for Citi card holders. General public on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.$35

Apocalyptica at the Nokia Theater on Wed. May 26. Pre-sale tickets on now for American Express cardholders until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. General public on sale tomorrow at noon. $22.50

The Outlaws at BB Kings on Fri. July 9. Tickets on sale next Sat. Apr. 3 at 10:00 a.m. $35 ($40 day of show)

Nils Lofgren and friends (acoustic) at BB Kings on Thurs. Sept. 9. Tickets on sale next Thurs. Apr. 1 at 10:00 a.m. $25 ($30 day of show)

Huey Lewis & The News at the Theater in Westbury NY on Thurs. July 15. Tickets on sale this Sunday at 12:30 p.m. $59.50

Cascada at Webster Hall (first ever full live show in NY) on Wed. April 14. Tickets on sale now. $30 ($35 day of show).

Vampire Weekend at Radio City Music Hall on Fri. Sept. 17. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.50

Miike Snow at Terminal 5 on Wed. Rocktober 5. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25

M.I.A. at South Island Field on Governor’s Island on Sat. July 24 at 4:00 p.m. Pre-sale tickets on now for American Express cardholders until 11:00 a.m. this morning. General public tickets on sale today at noon. $40, $45 and $55.

Celtic Thunder (I saw these guys on PBS and they were good) at Radio City Music Hall on Fri. Rocktober 1. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $50 – $80.

Other items:

Recently I have been on a kick for purchasing “CD’s” as opposed to buying songs straight from I-Tunes and as you all know, trying to find a place that sells them is problematic. I know, I use “Amazon” but it’s just not the same. I love roaming the old record stores for hours just to see if something catches my eye and then I buy it and rush home to listen to it. Luckily I have passed this trait on down to my children and last weekend my oldest ask to go to “FYE” in Danbury CT, now this entity use to reside in the Danbury Mall but the rent was too expensive for them, so they bought up the old “Strawberries” (another former place to buy music) which is right in the vicinity of the mall-just not in it. So we walk in and the place always seems empty-that was not the case when it was located inside the mall (they actually had two stores-one on the upper level and one on the lower level-for a couple of years or so) and it still has the appearance of being unsettled-like when you first move into a new house or apartment-do you know what I mean? Anyway, I make a bee line for the “metal” section to look for Black Sabbath’s “Sabotage” and…nothing. How can a record store not have Sabotage by Black Sabbath? They have 65 copies of “Symptom of the Universe”-(a greatest hits collection) and little else. I make my way around the store and I notice the same trend-they don’t stock the most important albums from some of the biggest names in music. Very sad, I said to my son that I needed to open a store and run it the right way. Then the prices were really outrageous-I understand that they need to compete with I-Tunes and Amazon type places so they need to raise their prices but to the average price of $18.99? That is almost doubled what I-Tunes would charge? I am willing to pay some extra to get the case and liner notes (I can’t believe I just said that…) but not double the amount. We all know it doesn’t cost that much to make the CD and the case, so what gives? We ended up in the “used” section-which was even more depressing-but my son managed to pull two CD’s out and purchased them for less than $17. Boy do I long for the days of “The Record Store” on 86th street in Brooklyn NY between 4th and 5th avenues? In the immortal words of Simon and Garfunkle-“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio… our nation turns its lonely eyes to you..”

Then this past Tuesday I wanted to acquire the last album by The Scorpions-“Sting in the Tail” so I know there is a chance that I could get it at “Borders” in lower Manhattan on Broadway. Borders-are you kidding me? Of course I can’t get anyone to help even though workers are actually walking around on the floor seemingly everywhere (helping “others”). So I go upstairs, then downstairs and back upstairs for one last look. Nothing… So I went to I-Tunes later that night and retrieved it (but with no case, liner notes, etc..) I just realized I could have gone to J&R. Oh well… anyone in on opening the coolest record store on the east coast? I know I was in one on Cape Cod a few years back, I forget which town though. Oh by the way, in my angst to get the Scorpions new CD at Borders I saw a “greatest hits” collection by Saliva-which I did not know existed-so for the casual fan of this group-this may be the way to go. (I had most every song already).

I like to keep it positive on this page when talking about artists, bands, music shows, etc. but this past week’s American Idol show had some real clunkers and I have to say that I think we have been spoiled the last few years when there seemed to be at least 4-7 really good contestants; but this year.. not so good. I totally agree with Randy’s assessment on Paige Miles, who was eliminated Wednesday night, where he said it was the worst he’s probably ever seen on the show. I felt bad for her but there was no way she could not have been voted off or saved by the judges. Tim Urban has to be next to get the axe (how could he turn such a good Queen song into a lounge act but then slide across the stage like he was in the middle of a mash pit? What was he thinking?) and then Andrew Garcia after that. I’m sorry but Siobhan Magnus can not win this year-please we already had a screamer to win it last season. (oops sorry, it was Kris Allen but you know who I meant). I turn the channel on her performances because I know the screams and squeals are coming. Crystal Bowersox is the leading candidate in my opinion. By the way, both Kara and Simon have totally confused the contestants as well as the audience with their constant “flip-flopping” back and forth on song choice and sounding “contemporary.” They are continuously advising the contestants to “make the song your own” and when they do that-they tell them that it makes them appear old fashioned or not contemporary. There was nothing wrong with “The Letter” as a song choice-you are there to judge them on how it is sung Simon, it’s enough already. Bring back Paula, please.

The Stone Temple Pilots are back out on the road again and according to many people they flat out rocked the house down in Austin Texas last week and brought out a special guest-Robby Krieger- and played The Door’s –“Roadhouse Blues”- as well as the STP hit-“Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.” And just like the Thin Lizzy songs states-“The Boys are Back!!”

The Scorpions will be honored on Tues. Apr. 6 when they are inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame. It is the only sidewalk gallery dedicated to artists who have shaped the world of music. Well deserved boys!! Congrats!!

Speaking of the Scorpions, if you want to head “back to the future” to the late 1980’s then do yourself a favor and get their final studio album-“Sting in the Tail.” The loud and heavy guitar riffs are everywhere on this knock out of their final punch. Take a listen to “Slave Me” and let your “hair” down as you will immediately think of mullets while watching MTV when it was good. This is perfect “air-guitar” material and I wonder if Tawny will be available for the video. (Just think in a couple more weeks we can do it all over again with the release of Ratt’s new album-“Infestation.”) “Rock Zone” will have your head shaking up and down at break-neck speed. (Oh by the way these guys took a page out of AC/DC’s naming songs as the word “Rock” is 4 out of the 12 tracks) “Let’s Rock” is a slow head bang that get the juices flowing. And as usual they know how to take it down and in my opinion-“Sly”-ranks up there as the best track on the album. The last track recorded for this momentous band is the awe inspiring “The Best is Yet to Come” and it has already become the most popular download on I-Tunes already. Again Thank you Scorpions for providing your fans decades of music and we wish you nothing but the best on your next venture but we will definitely come out to see you on your final tour. Rock on my friends. \m/ \m/

The Bird and the Bee have put out a cover album of some of Hall & Oates greatest hits and it’s called Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1 and I have to tell you that I am pleasantly surprised, there are some excellent remakes here folks. Check out-“Rich Girl”-or –“Sara Smile”-this is some good stuff right here.

Christina Aguilera will release “Bionic” on June 8. This will be her fourth studio album and first since 2006 when she released “Back to the Basics.” You can check out her first single-“Not Myself Tonight”- which will premiere on her website tonight at 6:00 p.m. This song will come to radio the week of April 5 and make it to I-Tunes on April 13. For more info see http://www.christinaaguilera.com/

Ben Harper has received some help on one of his new songs for a new album with the Relentless7 gang with no other than legendary Beatle-Ringo Starr. How cool is that? He also received some help from Jackson Browne who sings background vocals on a song.

Neil Young is setting up a new tour-acoustic- with Bert Jansch– who Neil credits as being a major influence and you can see a picture of Jansch on the back of Buffalo Springfield’s second album. Neil states that Bert is on the “same level as Jimi Hendrix.” Only five dates have been set with none in the Tri State area just yet.

“And 5, now this is most important, Rat…comes down to making out… whenever possible.. put on side 1 of Led Zeppelin IV

She's So Unusual

Side 1 of “She’s So Unusual” by Cyndi Lauper. Released Rocktober 14, 1983.

Now for many of you out there you may know Cyndi Lauper as one of the celebrities on this month’s version of the Donald Trump show- “Celebrity Apprentice” – and may not know that for some time, she was at the top of the music scene in the early to mid 1980’s. I would say that she was most popular right after Pat Benatar and right before Madonna hit it big and she could rock out like Benatar (think “Money Changes Everything”) while churning out the “pop” standards a la Madonna. (think.. so many songs). “She’s so Unusual” was Cyndi’s debut album and it was released in Rocktober 1983; I had just graduated from Brooklyn Tech and was heavily into Van Halen at that time as well as The Cars and Foreigner. Now you know that I loved the music of Pat Benatar and Heart so it wasn’t like I didn’t listen to female music stars but at that time my friends were really getting into Sabbath, Nugent and the Crue. I wasn’t much for peer pressure and when this album came out I was drawn to it (and is the only album that I own from Lauper-again “Greatest Hits” doesn’t count as an album) and was not ashamed to admit. To me, it was a matter of diversity and I loved those other bands like my friends but also listened to other types of music that my metal militia would scowl at the very thought of even being around the sound of anything “pop.” Now I admit that Lauper was a bit of a stretch for me as I wasn’t into the “pop” world and as a matter of fact dropped The Police with their release of “Synchronicity” and my beloved Cars, when they released “Heartbeat City.” So it was a weird dichotomy, on one hand I was walking away from my favorite bands like The Police and The Cars (whom I followed for years) because in my mind they had become too “commercial” but on the other hand gravitated to artists like Lauper and to a certain extent Madonna, although I never admitted that I liked Madonna songs back in the 1980’s. (and never bought her stuff until the 2000’s). The song that lured me in for Lauper was “Money Changes Everything” and this was and always will be my favorite song by her. Now the entire album is super solid but side one is perfect.

Side one starts off with the aforementioned “Money” and the beginning sort of has that Springsteen feel to it until obviously when Cyndi starts singing. Her voice is raw and edgy which solidifies the fact that she can sing rock and roll when she wants to. If there is one thing that stands out to me for any Lauper song is her uncanny knack for getting you to sing along to her songs and I for one can sing this song all day long. “Ya think you know what you’re doing.. you don’t know a thing… money changes everything!!”- words so true right? Money ain’t everything but it certainly changes things. Now for 1983, this song had a little bit of a “new wave” sound but it clearly has a rock and roll feel to it and that is why I think the song will always having staying power. Which brings me to track # 2-“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”- talk about staying power? This song, in my opinion, has become sort of a “national anthem” for girls across the world. Think about it- this song is almost 30 years old and still sounds as fresh when it came out and exudes the same reaction for generations of women. Now this song brings me back to “Omaha Beef” which was located near Brooklyn Tech (no longer there as the “mall” has replaced it) and I worked with my uncle in this meat warehouse and this song was played endlessly on the radio during the summer of 1984. Now the other workers and I use to have a battle for the radio stations as they use to guard the door as WBLS always played but once they let their guard down I’d run inside and change the station. Now I knew I couldn’t change it to WNEW because everyone would immediately know it was me who changed the radio to that “rock crap,” so I’d put on WPLJ (they had already gone “pop”) because I knew there was a good chance that they’d play songs that were “radio friendly” and this track was played at least 3-4 times in an eight hour period. (sometimes the other workers would just give up and leave the “neutral” station on). By the way, who can forget the video with Lou Albano? Track # 3-“When You Were Mine”- is a cover of Prince’s song off his 1980 album-“Dirty Mind”- and in my opinion is totally different from Prince’s version. Now I will say that I do like both versions and Cyndi’s take definitely puts a lot more of a “pop” punch to it than Prince’s, which leans to the R&B style. Now some of you may be asking –“how can a cover be counted on a perfect album side?”- well if it is a good cover and adds to the perfection, then I am all for it. I like the way Cyndi passionately sings at the end-“I love you more.. I love you more..” One of the keys to a song being good is that it flies by and the five minutes ends very quickly, so you know it has to be good.

“Time After Time” is a classic tune that has been covered over 120 artists across a broad spectrum of music genres since its release. Artists such as Willie Nelson, Eddie Money and Matchbox 20 have covered it. Is this a great song or what? This track highlights Cyndi’s ability to sing the soft songs so well and this is another tune that has stood the test of time as this sounds as creative today as it did back in 1983. Do you remember last year on American Idol when Allison Iraheta actually sang with Cyndi, forming a duet that in my opinion was spectacular? If you need a nice slow mix when you are on your work on Monday mornings, this is the perfect song to have on that list. The last song on side one is “She Bop” and gives Madonna a run for her money as Cyndi shows that she can “take it to the club” with a dance song that is infectious. Now you know that I can’t dance but I can’t help but move when I hear this song. And I bet this is not one of the first songs that you think of when someone asks-“What songs have a whistle in it?” [most will think “(Sitting On) the Dock of the Bay” by Redding or “Jealous Guy” by Lennon]. Now the “whistle” is prevalent throughout but especially in the middle of the song where it almost serves as a “guitar solo”- do you know what I mean? I like the laugh that Cyndi does towards the end of the song, a sign of deference as she made her mark on the world of music and she was here to stay. It’s hard not to sing along to this track.

“She’s So Unusual” is a great album and the proof is in the fact that Rolling Stone magazine placed this as number 494 out of the top 500 albums of all-time. Now go ahead and shrug it off if you will but someone has to be number 494 and to secure a spot on the all-time list is not something to easily dismiss. Side one is perfect in my opinion and is something that should be in your music library. The album has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide so you know it has to be good. Nice job Cyndi.

“TOP TEN”:

The Essential Cheap Trick

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Voices” by Cheap Trick so I decided to make my top ten list reflect my favorite songs by the boys from Rockford, IL. And since next Thursday is April 1 and the people of Illinois get to celebrate “Cheap Trick Day” every April 1st (the Illinois Senate passed this resolution back in 1997-Monica- I know you are so happy about that now that you live there) I propose that we all celebrate Cheap Trick Day next week as well as any other time you want to listen to this long lasting rock band. And just last Friday the band announced that “Mr. Bun E. Carlos” will not be playing with them on their upcoming/current tour (could it be because of his other band-“Tinted Windows?”)-But he is still a member of Cheap Trick as Rick Nielson’s son-Daxx Nielson- is filling in for Carlos. Now I have been a fan of these guys for a long time-I am not going to sit here and tell you I know every song that they have ever recorded (like I do with Van Halen-minus the Gary Cherone year or two)- but I have more than a few albums. My first introduction to them was based on their “live” album-“At Budokan” back in 1979 when I was in my second year of being a teenager. (similar to my intro to Kiss with “Alive”). Yes it was most likely the song-“I Want You to Want Me”- that lured me in and I never looked back. Say what you will about that song-I know you have heard it a zillion times-but you know what?- it still gets me pumped when I hear it, especially the live version. I remember the first time I saw the “Coke” TV commercial a few years ago-again I was torn-on one hand I was upset that they had “sold out” (in my eyes) but on the other hand, I was so excited to see (hear) a song from a band that I have followed for years was being used for a nationally known product make its way into millions of living rooms across the United States. And to boot I could brag to my kids that this was a band that I grew up with (yes, so OK I’m old-on a separate note I am still trying to get my boys to open up their minds to Trick and they actually did buy one of their songs for “Rock Band.”).

The first time I saw Cheap Trick I think it was back in the early 1980’s (1982?) when they were the headliners at Radio City Music Hall (UFO was the opener-talk about a double bill?) and the one take away that stayed with me that night was how much they seemed to enjoy themselves up on the stage-just playing their brand of music and not that they didn’t appreciate the huge crowd but I had the feeling that if they played to a couple of hundred people, it wouldn’t have mattered to them because they would have put the same effort into their performance due to their love of music. My point was proven because years later when I saw them again, they were the “openers” for one of Robert Plant’s solo tours at Madison Square Garden and how many bands could withstand the enigma of being the “stars” but “suddenly” losing that status and then be placed in a position of seemingly starting over again? Why were they able to do it and why are they still going strong today? Because they love what they do!!!

Cheap Trick are fast approaching their fortieth anniversary of being a band and just like Kiss (“I got my Kiss records out”) they possess one of the most loyal fan base out there and they show no signs of slowing down, so their fan base will have ample opportunities to see them perform live again as well as introduce family or friends to one of the hardest working groups in the history of rock and roll. Cheap Trick: I thank and salute you and picking just 10 songs is no easy task but again I am on an island where I have been informed I can only have that amount so “these are them:”

10.     This Time You Got It– This was the first track that I heard from “Rockford” and I was immediately struck on how good this band has remained after all these years. (And I have to admit to those who know what a Howard Stern freak I am that I actually saw them perform this song on Don Imus’s cable show when the album was released in 2006-I know-“Traitor”-but when it comes to Cheap Trick I will always make the exception). This is straight up rock and roll with Mr. Robin Zander proving that he still has his vocals and has to be considered one of the best singers for the past four decades in the arena we call “rock.” These guys exude fun and this song is right up there in that department-it just puts a smile on my face.

9.     Auf Wiedersehen– Don’t ask me about the title, I have no clue but in any language this is pure rock and roll. This also could be considered the “punk rock” version of Cheap Trick because the sound is raw with repetitive guitar licks backed by the pounding drums of Mr. Carlos. And Zander squeals and shouts out in defiance-isn’t that the definition of punk rock?I love the part with about a minute left in the song when Robin screeches out-“Bye Bye.. So Long.. Farewell!!!” This is head-banging stuff right here folks-yes from the band you think only makes “pop” songs.

8.     Voices– This has the Beatles influence all over it beginning with the whispering of voices as the groove is “McCartney-like” but he seems to sing it like John. Now it’s funny with Cheap Trick because on some songs (like above) you can bang your head until you get a headache and then you get a song like this and I picture immediately the crowd in “American Idol” swaying their arms side to side over their heads. But that is exactly what happens at their live shows when they play this track. I can remember a number of years ago a bunch of us MBIA guys (at the time) went to see them at The Town Hall in New York and of course we couldn’t sway our arms side to side because we’re men but you know we all felt like doing it. Love the chorus and this song is very addictive- I bet you can’t listen to it just once. Oh by the way, I have to give some props to Mr. Nielsen as his guitar solo is nice and smooth.

7.     I Can’t Take It– This is “pop” rock at its best. Is this band diverse or what? Punk, heavy, rock & roll and pop all mixed into their repertoire. It is straight to the point- an upbeat song that packs a nice punch with a message of defiance as Robin tells her to stay away but does he really mean it? The only complaint I have about this song is that it is way too short. Perfect sing along song. (as many of their songs are).

6.     I Want You to Want Me (Live)– I know what you are thinking? I usually leave off a band’s most popular songs but in this case even though I have heard it as much as I have listened to “Rock and Roll All Night” by Kiss (yes every version including the acoustic), I can’t leave this off the top ten-I have to remain true to myself and I absolutely know that I would need this song by them if I were really on an island. Now I need the live version though because of all the excitement in the background as the Japanese fans are out of their minds, almost like when The Beatles arrived here in the States. This song represents something in your life that you treasure, I think back to the days that I spent my summers in Otisville NY as a “tween-ager”-that is something that I will never forget and hold dear to my heart. This song is one of those reminders of “days gone by” of which you will always treasure and sometimes wish those things would never change. You can’t tell me you haven’t sung the chorus in this song just once in your life? Really?

5.     Everything Works If You Let It– I can’t get enough of this song- don’t let the beginning of the song fool you-this is not another ballad-give it a little time and then it takes off. Robin’s vocals on this track could be the best he’s ever recorded. Love the part when he sings “Good Times.. Bad Times… don’t know what to do…” I can picture going down the legendary Route 66 on a nice summer day with the top down in a nice car listening to this super cool song. Perfect sing along song.

4.     Love Comes A Tumbing Down– Now I know this is the most obscure song I have ever put down on any of my top ten lists but this truly is one of my favorites by Cheap Trick- Again I have to say true to myself and this is one of the first songs that popped into my head when I started thinking about what tracks to put down. I don’t expect many to know this song (but I know at least one of the readers does) because it comes off of the very under-appreciated album-“All Shook Up.” Now I have read comments about this album-knocking it left and right-such as “it sounds like an experimental Led Zeppelin on speed” but everyone has that album (or albums) they love while others scratch their heads and wonder what you are on. [I’ll give you another example of an album that I love and maybe six other people on the planet own (or who will admit to owning)-“Draw The Line”-by Aerosmith. That album is panned by almost everyone but yet I seem to listen to that more than any other album by Aerosmith and no I don’t do drugs…] Anyway back to this song- it is very fast moving and highlights the great drumming of Bun E and features a blazing guitar solo by Mr. Nielsen. This is a perfect song for a “sprint” or “breakaway” in your next Spin class.

3.     Surrender– Now go figure with this song I actually prefer the “studio” version-not that I do not like the live version (“…it just came out this week and the song is called Surrender..”) but for some reason, the “buttoned up” version on “Heaven Tonight” is more appealing to me. This is a song I can perform karaoke to and I wouldn’t need the “TV screen” that supplies you with the words. I like to drum with my hands on the table as Mr. Carlos has that “Wipe Out” effect before the beginning of every new verse. I can remember when I was a kid I used to sing “Mommy’s alright.. Daddy’s alright.. they just seem a little weird..” and now I’m on the receiving end of this lyric. Go figure? I know I have to seem a little weird to my kids but hey, we all do as parents, right? Go back and listen to the original recording and listen to when Robin sings “.. got my Kiss records out..” with focus on the word “records”-love it!!!

2.     Stop This Game– “Well I can’t stop the music… I could stop it before… now I don’t want to hear it… don’t want to hear it no more…no more…” How great is this song? C’mon it is even included on some of their “greatest hits” collection, you can’t say you never heard this one, can you? Yes it is from “All Shook Up” and starts off side one of which I named as a perfect album side a few months back. Again Bun E is at the forefront on this track (as he is on many of their songs) banging away on his drum set. (Have you ever seen them live? The drum set is very basic but he gets the most out of it-he’s very talented on those skins). And what about Zander’s vocals? Passionate all the way!! He puts so much into the recording and to me it’s pure perfection, you can “feel it” and that my friends is what music is all about-feeling it to the point where it moves you.

1.     Lookout (Live)– If you listen to this song LOUD there is no way that it does not pump you up. (“We are here to pump you up!!”-remember that saying by Ackroyd and Martin?). The song is straight up rock and roll with no chaser as it goes down fast and smooth leaving no bad “after-taste.” I have loved it since the first time I heard it in 1979 and when I go back and listen to it now, I get that same feeling-awesome!!!

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Three

2.     Heartbreak Hotel

3.     “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”-Dianne Warren

4.     Toys in The Attic

This week’s trivia (Cheap Trick, Cyndi Lauper)-

1.     How was the original singer for Cheap Trick? (Hint it was not Zander)

2.     The Beatles were a huge influence on Cheap Trick, name the producer who has worked with both The Beatles and Cheap Trick.

3.     True or False: Cyndi Lauper was born in Brooklyn NY

4.     True or False: Cyndi was part of the original “We Are the World” recording in 1985.

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “ Never My Love”- The Association

2.     “Never Can Say Goodbye”-Jackson 5 (written by Clifton Davis) Gloria Gaynor also performed it

3.     “Never Tear Us Apart”-INXS

4.     “Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)” – Rob Zombie

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “… All I need is a TV show.. that and the radio… down on my luck again…down on my luck again… I can show you… I can show you.. some of the people in my life…”

2.     “…Out there in the spotlight.. you’re a million miles away.. every ounce of energy you try to give away… as the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play …”

3.     “…The city streets are empty now… (the lights don’t shine no more)… and so the songs are way down low.. turning.. turning… turning …”

4.      “…Makes me want to move my body.. yeah, yeah, yeah… and when the drummer starts beating that beat.. he nails that beat with the syncopated rhythm with the rat, tat, tat …”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 2002, Randy Castillo-drummer for Ozzy and Lita Ford- passed away at the young age of 51.

Back on this day in 1964, Barabara Streisand premiered on Broadway with “Funny Girl.”

Back on this day in 1965, Bill Wyman was knocked unconscious during a concert in Denmark by an electrical shock from a microphone.

Back on this day in 1976, Genesis kicked off their first American tour with Phil Collins as their lead singer.

Back on this day in 1994, Soundgarden hit the number one spot on the Billboard 200 album chart with their landmark-“Superunknown.” It was the only time they hit number one and it spent one week there.

Back on this day in 2000, Phil Collins won an Oscar for the Best Original Song with “You’ll Be in My Heart” from the animated Tarzan movie. (that was the song we told our kids would be our wedding song when we “re-marry.”)

If it is your birthday today you share the same birth date with Diana Ross, the late Teddy Pendergrass, Fred Paris (Five Satins), Steven Tyler, Fran Sheehan (Boston), Richard Tandy (ELO) and James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins).

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March 19, 2010

Weekly Update – 03/19/2010

Filed under: CD Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ea0217 @ 4:48 am

The legendary Diana Ross at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. May 19. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale on Sun. Mar. 21 at 10:00 a.m until next Sun. Mar. 28 at 10:00 p.m. General public tickets on sale Mon. Mar. 29 at 10:00 a.m. $54.50 – $114.50

Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden on Tues. July 6. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$54, $79.50, 89.50 – $179.50.

The Eagles with the Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Thurs. June 10. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders begins this Mon. Mar. 22 at 10:00 a.m until Sun. Mar. 28 at midnight. General public tickets on sale Mon. Mar. 29 at 10:00 a.m. $50 – $225.

Pearl Jam at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. & Fri. May 20 & 21. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. $79. Also appearing the XL Center (Hartford, CT) on Sat. May 15. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$66.

Iron Maiden and Dream Theater at Madison Square Garden on Mon. July 12. Pre-sale tickets begins this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: HEMAIDEN. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $64.50, $74.50 and $84.50. The “Final Frontier Tour.”

REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar at the Mohegan Sun on Thurs. June 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35 (that has to be a misprint).

Sting with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Mohegan Sun on Tues. July 6. Tickets on sale this Mon. Mar. 22 at 10:00 a.m. $86-$116

Kings of Leon at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Sun. June 6. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card holders on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $35.50 – $55.50. Also appearing in Atlantic City on Sat. June 5. They are doing a summer tour mostly in outdoor amphitheaters. Tickets on sale tomorrow for all shows across the States.

Jethro Tull at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sun. June 13. Tickets on sale now. $25.25 (lawn) $65.25 and $85.25

Bamboozle Festival at the Meadowlands Sports Complex on Sat. and Sun. May 1 & 2. Two day pass tickets on sale now. $110. 

Sugarland with Jake Owen and Danny Gokey at the Comcast Theater(Hartford, CT) on Sun. May 23. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $30.75, $41.50 and $55.50.

Jack Johnson at PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. July 13 and at Madison Square Garden on Wed. July 14. Tickets on sale Sat. Apr. 10 at 10:00 a.m. More info to follow.

Chris Botti at Carnegie Hall on Sat. June 19. Tickets on sale on Mon. Mar. 22 at 11:00 a.m. $40, $60, $75 and $90.

Jordin Sparks at the Theater in Westbury NY on Tues. May 4. Tickets on sale Sun. Mar. 28 at 12:30 p.m. $39.50 and $49.50. (Note: Her performance will be played in the Half Round, the stage WILL NOT revolve. Played to sections B through G with sections B & G are partial side view).

Weezer at the Borgota Event Center on Sat. May 1. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Psychedelic Furs with She Wants Revenge at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Fri. June 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35.

Passion Pit at Colonels’ Row on Governors Island on Wed. June 30. Tickets on sale today at noon. $32.50 ($35 day of show) Note: The ferry ride is $5 roundtrip.

Snoop Dogg at the Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Tues. Apr. 20. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 4:20 p.m. $51.50.Also appearing at the Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenue-11211) on Mon. April 19. Tickets on sale today at noon. $50.

The Beach Boys at the Theater in Westbury NY on Fri. July 23. Tickets on sale this Sunday at 12:30. $66.50

Boyz to Men at BB Kings on Sat. June 26. Tickets on sale today at noon. $39.50.

For Parents: Justin Bieber at the XL Center (Hartford CT) on Wed. June 23; at the Prudential Center (NJ) on Sat. Aug. 28 and Madison Square Garden on Tues. Aug. 31. Tickets on sale next Sat. Mar. 27 at 10:00 a.m. XL-$29.50-$49.50; “The Rock”-$32.50-$52.50 and MSG-$29.50-$69.50.

Other items:

Green Day will tour this summer and the opener will be AFI. The first show will be at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden NJ on Tues. Aug. 3. More information to follow.

Have to hand it to David Cook with his blistering performance of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” on Wednesday night on American Idol, I was actually very impressed with they way he and his band sounded. That Stones song is a hard one to cover but I have to admit that he nailed it. Not that I am the biggest Lacey Brown fan but America should not have voted her off this week, I am still baffled how Tim Urban was “safe” after that horrible rendition of “Under My Thumb.” Another “scratch my head on why this contestant is still around” goes to Andrew Garcia, he was so out of tune on “Gimme Shelter.” And I’m still not getting what the big fuss is all about with Siobhan Magnus, she is heading down the Adam Lambert path where screaming takes precedent over singing and everyone seems to buy into it, the theatrics are way over the top-just as with Adam. “Big Mike” was good but he too needs to step back on the theatrics, move around when it’s needed.

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “In My Room” by The Beach Boys. Now my father says these guys “ruined rock and roll” when they first hit the scene but I do like many of their songs and if I had to pick I’d probably say that this is my favorite song they ever recorded. Top notch recording.

My favorite new song of the week is “More” by Usher. Using Randy Jackson’s terminology- this song is “hot.” It has a great dance beat supplemented by some awesome vocals. This will be a hit in no time and my assumption is it must be playing at the clubs already. Check it out.

My other favorite song of the week is “According to You” by Orianthi. Yes it’s total pop with some pretty good guitar work. Did you see her on American Idol? She opened some eyes with that guitar solo. This song moves, it is very fast paced and is perfect for your next workout.

The Scorpions last studio album-“Sting in the Tail” – is out next Tuesday and not for nothing just listening to the 30 second previews on I-Tunes, the songs are smokin’ with a lot of heavy guitar riffs all over the place (think AC/DC). I think they are going out with a bang and ending their studio career on a high note. Don’t “pre-order” it from I-Tunes (I ALWAYS run into trouble with that)-just wait until Tuesday to get it. Can you believe if I actually want the CD (without ordering from Amazon) I can only get it a bookstore like Borders? Imagine that? Picking up The Scorpions next to Shakespeare, what is this world coming to?

I actually downloaded the free song on I-Tunes this week (been like a year or so) and the song is “Animal” by a band called Neon Trees. If you like The Killers then this song is right up your alley. Finally, a decent free song; I-Tunes doesn’t offer too many “buy backs” if you get my drift.

Vince Neil’s solo album-“Tattoos and Tequila” will be out on May 25. The title track has been out for a few weeks now and seems to be picking up steam. I’m not sure who is playing in his solo band but for this track it sure would appear that Mick Mars is playing lead because it has that classic Mars sound with the “microphone in the mouth” while playing lead guitar. There is a blistering solo in the middle of the track-this song rocks. \m/ \m/ Neil’s new album will feature a cover of CCR’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain.”

The Stone Temple Pilots first single off of their upcoming album (which is self-titled) will be released on Monday. The song-“Between the Lines” can be heard the band’s official twitter page at 11:00 a.m.

Thanks to the biggest Ratt fan I know-Monica- who sent me a link to Road Runner Record, you can now view the tracks from their new upcoming album-“Infestation”-which is due out April 20. Check out the list of songs here: http://store.roadrunnerrecords.com/RATT-Infestation

Album Review: “Pump” by Aerosmith released on Sept. 8, 1989

Pump

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on the super cool song-“Don’t Get Mad, Get Even”- by one of the greatest American band’s in the history of music- Aerosmith– and I had to go back and listen to the whole entire album for which this song comes from- the unbelievable “Pump” which is aptly named because if this album doesn’t pump you up then I don’t know what will. (I will focus on the positive and try to forget all about the nonsense of trying to replace Steven Tyler as the singer). And as for Mr. Tyler I’m not sure if there is a better album that he has ever done- he is so raw, so completely unbelievable on this body of work that its hard to put into words- Ok here is a word- he’s “possessed”- he’s everywhere on this album and puts all his sweat, blood, tears, guts and so much passion along with that never ending energy he seems to “possess” which resulted in the best album of 1989 to take out the 1980’s on a high note. Now I know there are many folks who will agree with me on that statement and I personally know of a bigger Aerosmith fan than myself, her name is Lori and we both worked in the same department in Standard & Poor’s back then, we would compare notes on how freaking great this album is. She loves Aerosmith, especially Tyler, and it was always fun to have other people appreciate the albums that are special to you. Now in my opinion, this was the album that catapulted them toward their “second” career. Now with no disrespect towards “Permanent Vacation” (which was the beginning)”Pump” is an explosion of music that was bottled up in them (think of the reaction when you shake a bottle of soda and then open it right away) for many years (as they battled their demons) and put them back on the map (yeah I know Run DMC gets some credit too but this is an entire album) and they have never looked back (except for this recent “blip”). There is an “energy” on this album that is unmatched and the results came through as more than 7 million purchases have been made since its release. In my opinion, this is their best work for their “second” career (“Rocks” during their “first” career) as Tom Hamilton, Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer, Joe Perry and Steven Tyler put that something special into this effort that puts this album into another stratosphere as there is not one “filler” on this incredible masterpiece.

Side one (yes boys and girls this was an album) starts off with the electrifying “Young Lust”- now of course the “engine”-Whitford and Hamilton-keep the train running with their undeniable skills as Mr. Perry nicely waits “in the wings” for his chance to shine (he is always on his game by the way) while in my opinion Mr. Kramer and Mr. Tyler steal the show on this track, especially in the beginning, as Joey is all over the place smashing and thrashing his drums while Steven is already screeching at a high pitch and it’s only the first song. What a way to start off an album-so much energy you can’t help but wail around in a complete frenzy trying to match the pace of this unreal rock song and when Joe comes in with his guitar solo-already I’m thinking this is the best album and I haven’t even reached the second song. This is perfect workout music-if you don’t move to this then just go to the couch and reach for the clicker. As this song ends there’s like this crazy stuff going on- hiccups and all- as “F.I.N.E.” begins. Wow that is the best flow into another song that there is in the history of music-period end of story. (You can e-mail me all the other songs which you think can match this but I will delete every last one of them). Wait -\m/ \m/- I can’t stop dancing all around the room. Excuse me while I get up from writing about this… I’m back.. my kids are telling me to turn it down as they are trying to do their homework (yes my wife is not home, how did you guess?) I love when Steven says “Ahh Joe Perry says I’m…” Now of course I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the content of the songs (but you can guess by the song titles) and some of the language is not meant for younger ears but the music is phenomenal. We used this song all the time for our boot camp workout class at MBIA for many years; this has to get you out of your seat. Track #3 is the ever popular “Love in an Elevator.” Love the intro, right as well as the video, right? Even though it’s “mainstream” there is no denying how good this song is especially Joe’s work on guitar. How great was it for them to be back in popularity and to ride the wave of MTV? (when MTV was MTV). This video was played endlessly and as a guitar player for the world’s most popular band at the time, it had to be cool to be Joe (or Brad) as he was prominently featured in the video. And what about the horn section? A horn section for Aerosmith and the way the song ends in harmonizing vocals just completely nails it as one of their best songs. “Monkey on My Back” is one of my favorites on this album (as well as “Don’t Get Mad”) and it confronts the problems that had been plaguing the band for so long. Love it when Steven says “The fortune teller looked into my eye balls.. the wrinkles on her face ‘bout to crack.. she said you best believe that you ain’t going no where.. unless you get that monkey off your back!!!”This is rock and roll at its best folks and the message is powerful for those who are trying to stop doing drugs (again back to that “Celebrity Rehab” thing) whether they are illegal or prescription. These guys lived the life but were able to come back and hopefully this latest escapade with Tyler is quickly over, they have to like this life better, no? This is four minutes of pure energy and all four songs so far have rocked your socks off. Side one ends with the socially disturbing issue of incest as “Janie’s Got a Gun” portraits a young woman’s struggle which results in murder. Talk about a song that remained on the radio (as well as MTV) for a long time? This song actually won a Grammy in 1990. The arrangement of this song is nothing short of spectacular as all the members of this band shine brightly with all of their respective parts. There is some heavy messages between “Monkey” and “Janie” which I don’t think a “younger” Aerosmith probably would have dealt with and to me this showed their growth as a band as well as cemented their legacy as one of the greatest bands in American music.

Side two starts off with the fast moving “The Other Side” which is preceded by the super cool “tribe” like sound of “Dulicmer Stomp.” There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD. When I’m in my car (Ok so its not a cool car) but when I roll down the windows to my Civic and blast this song as the neighbor kids give me this funny look like “what is that old man doing? What is he listening to?” I just shake my head and say “What do you know??” This is the stuff boys and girls that legends are made of and how much fun is this track? These guys sound like they had a ball recording this one, I love how the piano just plays along side the blasting guitars and drums but adds the flavor. “My Girl” is a foot-stomping, finger snapping, hand clapping song that makes me dance all around the room while I play air-guitar. Perfect exercise song, can beat it. This is the modern day Chuck Berry style and Perry’s guitar solo is on the money while Kramer is an animal on drums (on this song as well as the entire album-remember I met him on the streets of New York City by the Waldorfin 2008). Then its on to the aforementioned “Don’t Get Mad” this is my co-favorite. Love the blues laden funky groove as Tyler hums over the harmonica and as Joey breaks in with the drums it just makes the song that much better. Everyone joins the fray and creates this wall of sound as the harmonica seems to stick out amongst all the blaring sound. I love when it sounds like Steven is smacking someone as you can hear a “slap” as he says “just wait and see what I got in store for you.” The slow head banging sound is too much for me as I have to start the song all over again because I can’t get enough of this beautiful sound. My neck is hurt from moving my head up & down in a controlled motion to the beat of the drums… woo got a little dizzy.. this strolls right into “Voodoo/ Voodoo Medicine Man” and you feel like there are Cowboys and Indians running past you-this is especially cool when you have the headphones on-as Steven & Joey crash this party with the huge pounding of the drums as Tyler is lights out with his vocals on this stellar song. (This is my second favorite). Mr. Perry is all over this track as the “over-dubbed” sound makes this song “larger than life.” Man this is head banging music at its best. The album ends with the “power ballad”-“What It Takes” and yes this kind of song would never be on “Rocks” but…. But… who cares? Like I have always maintained-some things are good even it comes in a bubble gum wrapper. Think of how many “bazooka” bubble gums (the “square” ones, like when you were a kid) you have eaten in your life-some of the best tasting gum, right? So take a piece out and sing along to this song and recognize that Steven’s vocals are up to the task and he proves that it might be his best vocal ever. Now if you listen to the entire song Aerosmith comes back on and plays an instrumental, something like you’d hear at a carnival.

“Pump” is the perfect title to this album because that’s what it does to me every time I listen to it. Folks, even the most die-hard Aerosmith fan will admit that “Pump” is a great album (unlike the die-hard Metallica fan that doesn’t recognize anything beyond “Kill ‘Em All”). Is it mainstream- Ok yes-does it have a power ballad-Ok yes-but it does not in any way diminish the extraordinary efforts of putting this album together. This classic was a statement to the world that Aerosmith was back, that they were a force to be reckoned with and they set out to prove it in their live shows. Now I will find it hard to believe if you –as a “rock” fan- have not ever seen Aerosmith in concert because you my friend are totally missing out on a special event. Now you will have a chance to redeem yourself as it was announced recently that Tyler is in the band again and they will be touring soon at a city near you. Chances are real good that you will hear more than a few songs from this magnificent album. Oh by the way, you also need to have this in your music library.

“TOP TEN”:

Image of Elvis Presley

In honor of today being my father’s birthday I decided to make the top ten this week to be the one and only- The King- Mr. Elvis Presley. Now I would be remiss if I did not get my Dad’s favorite top ten songs because if there is anybody on this planet who knows more about Elvis, they are probably living at Graceland. As a child and teenager growing up in his household, I probably listened to approximately 98% of his entire catalog of songs. It was a ritual every Sunday morning in our home for my Dad to play his Elvis records for at least 20 years in a row. Now he thinks that I don’t like Elvis (or much of his genre of music-The 1950’s and early 1960’s) but it’s the total opposite, I love Elvis’ music (as well of lots of the “Doo Wop” era) but you know how it is, you want to listen to your music as well. If my boys think that I force feed them the music I listen to, then they have no clue to what was fed to me during my upbringing. And it’s no complaint, if anything I am completely amazed on how true my Dad has stayed with his love of Elvis music (as well as many artists in that era) and if it were not for him (and my mom) who have a undying affection for music, I would not be writing a page about music every week. My dad made me appreciate music to not only like it but to know the artist and their influence on every day life. Elvis will always have a special place in my heart because of my Dad and my Mom. My mother loved the music of Elvis just as much as my Dad and I can picture her singing many of his songs while closing her eyes and singing with the passion that his music invoked within many people. Now my wife and oldest son are also big fans of Elvis, so I have asked them for their top ten songs and each one said that the task was very difficult as he has so many songs to choose from. I informed them that they were on an island and have been notified that they can only have ten songs by Elvis, so they narrowed down their choices. So here goes a long list of ten Elvis songs selected by my Dad, (and notes I took from him) my wife, my oldest son (and his comments) and myself with my observations:

10.

Dad-     Love Me

Wife–     Love Me Tender

Son–     A Mess of Blues – When I had first discovered Elvis’ music a few years ago I would spear up and down that this would always be my favorite Elvis song. Unfortunately as you can see it did not make number one, still I have such a love for this song. I love the vocals in this song so much I used to sing this song all day long pretending I was Elvis. The piano is infatuating; it’s just a great song.

Me–     Good Luck Charm– Of course this song was played zillions of times on those Sunday mornings and this one has always been a favorite of mine. When most people try to emulate Elvis they use that “deep” voice (think “Thank You Very Much”) and this song perfectly depicts that saying because throughout the song you hear-“Uh-huh, huh”- in a deep voice but then again in an even lower octave. Love the part- “Don’t want a silver dollar.. rabbits foot on a string..’ (C’mon now this man had some voice) The “rock-abilly” groove makes this song go and it’s almost impossible not to move your hips.

9.

Dad-     I Need You So– (The “B” side of “Loving You”)

Wife–     Jailhouse Rock

Son–     Love Me – This is such a great ballad, I love the combination of Elvis’ voice and the background vocals. My favorite part of the song is when he sings “I want your heart beating close to mine…” What a voice he had.

Me–     Too Much– Wow does this song have a rocking groove or what? The guitar riff stands out on this song but its Elvis’ vocals that put it over the top. This is the way rock and roll was meant to be-a fun song that gets you rocking out in not time. Actually you can “air-guitar” on this track as well during the middle when one the Jordanaires has a solo in the middle. No one sings these types of songs like the way Elvis did. There’s a swagger to it that is unmatched.

8.

Dad-     I Was The One

Wife–     Can’t Help Falling in Love

Son–     Always On My Mind – Although many people will argue that Willie Nelson’s version of this song is better (my dad says this constantly) I will swear that Elvis’ version is better. I just feel the passion in his voice when this song is being played. Especially the part “let me keep you satisfied”, I love that line. Again no offense toward Mr. Nelson as I like his version of the song as well, but as for the best version I’ll stand by Elvis all the way.

Me–     Little Sister– I can remember my mother singing this song when it came on and she would move her arm above her head (an indication that she loved a song) while her and my Dad would sing together-“Well I dated your big sister and I took her to the show…little sister don’t you..” The drumming in this song is simple but yet so addicting and the guitar playing in the background makes it easy to sway your feet across the floor. This song sounds so fresh today like it was recorded a few weeks ago, it’s hard to explain but he was meant to sing rock and roll, he is so natural-listen to this track and you’ll know why. Awesome tune.

7.

Dad-     Playing for Keeps

Wife–     Suspicious Minds

Son–     In The Ghetto – This could easily be one of the saddest songs ever made. This was my first Elvis song and it holds a very special place in my heart. I would sing this song over and over and I’ll probably never forget the words to it as long as I live.

Me–     Memories– Yes there are many versions of this song, but in my opinion, no one sings it the way Elvis does. This is my wife’s favorite song by Elvis and is one of the two shared songs that we have on our lists. As I have previously mentioned on this page, this song took on a whole new meaning at my younger brother’s wedding in February 2009 when he danced with our Aunt during the part of weddings where the bride dances with dad, while the groom dances with Mom. I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my face- a memory that will remain with me forever.

6.

Dad-     Old Schep (My dad said my mom use to cry when she heard this song)

Wife–     Amazing Grace

Son–     Don’t Cry Daddy – Sometimes this is a difficult song to listen to, it’s a very sad yet touching song. It’s so powerful to listen to sometimes I imagine what it would be like to have a life like the children in the song. Then I thank God that I’m lucky enough to have a mom unlike the family in the song. This is definitely one of the most touching songs ever.

Me–     Don’t Cry Daddy– I always loved this song while growing up because I knew why it was written but it took on a much bigger meaning when my mom passed away in 2004. Even though it is now one of the toughest songs for me to listen to because I too was telling my Dad not to cry, it brings me to a place where I am back in the kitchen eating Sunday breakfast while listening to the King. Thanks Mom and Dad for all that you have done for me. Very touching song.

5.

Dad-     Take My Hand Precious Lord (The “gospel” side of Elvis)

Wife–     A Little Less Conversation

Son–     If I Can Dream – Talk about inspiration! The lyrics combined with Elvis’ flawless voice make this song fantastic. “Why can’t my dream come true?” If only everyone listened to the great message in this one of a kind song.

Me–     (Marie’s the Name) His Latest Flame– Every time I said to myself-“How could this song be in my top ten?” but the more I thought about it I knew I had made the right choice. This song is so addicting, especially the acoustic guitar and it is such a great song to sing along to. “Though I smiled, the tears inside were a burning…” as the pace picks up, then come back to that acoustic guitar riff. Only bad part about this song is that it is too short.

4.

Dad-     Peace in the Valley (Gospel)

Wife–     In the Ghetto

Son–     Memories – This song means a lot to probably every member of my family and it has a special meaning to me as well. This song reminds me of my mother, my grandmother, and of course takes me back to my uncles wedding when he played this song. That was a really powerful moment for everyone at the wedding when this song was on. I’ll never forget that feeling.

Me–     Are You Lonesome Tonight-This will always remind me of my mother (as well as my Dad), I can just picture her sitting at the kitchen table and feeling the emotion coming out of her as she would intently hang on to every word sung by Elvis. My Dad always took the part where Elvis would start talking-“I wonder if… you’re lonesome tonight.. you know someone said the world is a stage…” and my Mom especially loved the part- “Honey you lied when you said you loved me and I had no cause to doubt you…” (On a separate note-I never liked when Elvis “toyed” around with this song on a live album when he references a foot and kind of laughs). Anyway this is such an exquisite song and the original recording as well as the arrangement is spectacular. The connection that my Mom and Dad shared with Elvis was very unique and in my opinion, very rare- not too many times-that I have seen- where a couple shares a deep passion for the same artist. Elvis “moved” generations of people across this world and I personally know how much he affected both of my parents.

3.

Dad-     American Trilogy

Wife–     If I Can Dream

Son–     Are You Lonesome Tonight – This is a pure classic.It’s physically impossible to dislike this beautiful song. I can’t even count how many times I used to sing this; I even know the whole speech in the middle of the song. Every time I hear this song I can’t help but show off and say each line before Elvis sings it. This could be the ultimate heartbreak/love song.

Me–     Can’t Help Falling in Love-This is an absolutely stunning song that will last for generations to come. It is a perfect song to dance with that someone special in your life. A friend of mine just asked me this week for a list of wedding songs to have the first dance with his bride and I put this right at the top of the heap; it’s hard to think of a better tune for this occasion. In my opinion, this could be the best song he has ever recorded; his voice is majestic as ever.

2.

Dad-     I Want You, I Need You, I Love You

Wife–     American Trilogy

Son–     Pocketful of Rainbows – Most people will not know this song (true Elvis fans know it).Usually I don’t like any ‘movie songs’ by Elvis but this is the one exception.I feel like I’m floating on a cloud when I listen to this song!I absolutely love the part when Elvis sing “on a lonely night”, he sings it so perfectly.I lose myself in this song whenever I hear it.

Me–     If Every Day Was Like Christmas-Yes it’s a holiday song but honestly any time it comes up on my I-Pod shuffle during the calendar year, I will listen to it because it stops me right in my tracks and I can’t get enough of the beauty of this tune. Obviously during the holiday’s, it is more special and this song helps me to move into the spirit of the season at a much quicker pace. His vocal performance is majestic and I won’t even listen to another version of it-add this one to the list of songs that should never be re-recorded by anyone. Not only can Elvis sing rock and roll with the best of ‘em (he is at the top of the heap in my opinion) but he has this unbelievable knack for taking it down to a level where you will “Ssshh” anyone who makes noise around you as you listen to songs like this. Remember when I told you that sometimes when things are so good that it brings tears to my eyes, well this song falls into this category. I am absolutely mesmerized when I hear this magnificent song.

1.

Dad-     Don’t (this song is leaps and bounds ahead of all the others)

Wife–     Memories

Son–     Crying in the Chapel – This song gets me every time I hear it.I don’t think I know another song as powerful as this one.The lyrics are so inspiring and as always Elvis sings this with passion.I don’t know why I love this song so much but it just as such a powerful effect on me I can’t explain.I hope one day I “surely find that way.”

Me–     Stuck on You– When I told my wife and my oldest son that this was my favorite Elvis song of all time, they both made faces like they had just drank some spoiled milk. I guess that’s why I love doing the top ten lists because it evokes a reaction and in my case I bet there have been plenty of times where all of you have said-“What?? Are you kidding me? How could you pick that one as your best song?”- Am I right? That is why I loved doing this week’s top ten because everyone has their own favorites and reasons why the songs fall where they do. I love the beat of this track and could listen to this song all day. The chorus is infectious and it’s just an all around great song to sing along to. I recommend putting this song as the first “cool down” tune for your next Spin class and I guarantee you will get smiles from the Spinners as they come back to earth. There’s no one like Elvis-thanks Dad-Happy Birthday!!!

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     The Drew Carey Show and King of Queens.

2.     True (he doesn’t play guitar)

3.     Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

4.     Wolfman Jack (Brooklyn’s own Robert Weston Smith)

This week’s trivia (Elvis, Aerosmith)-

1.     How many Grammy’s did Elvis win?

2.     What was Elvis’ first number one hit?

3.     What is Aerosmith’s only #1 single, which was written by someone else?

4.     What is Aerosmith’s best selling album to date?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “On the Road Again”- Willie Nelson

2.     “The Old Man Down the Road”-John Fogerty

3.      “Roadhouse Blues”-The Doors

4.     “The Long and Winding Road”- The Beatles

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “..what makes you think love will end.. when you know that my whole life depends on you.. on you…”

2.      “..every time I think I’ve had enough.. I start heading for the door.. there’s a very strange vibration.. piercing me right to the core…”

3.      “..don’t ask me.. what you know is true.. don’t have to tell you.. I love your precious heart.. I.. I was standing.. you were there.. two worlds collided…”

4.     “..yeah my Durango number 95..take me to the home kick boots..and ultra live.. see heaven flash a horror show.. knock it nice and smooth…”

 

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day, Free guitarist-Paul Kossoff-passed away during a flight from CA to NY. He was only 25.

Sadly back on this day in 1982, Randy Rhodes, guitarist for Ozzy’s band, died in a plane crash. Three people including Randy died when the plane crashed into Ozzy’s tour bus.

Back on this day in 1957, Elvis purchased Graceland in Memphis for $100,000. It is now a national historic landmark.

Back on this day in 1970, David Bowie married his first wife-Angela Barnett in the U.K.

Back on this day in 1971, Jethro Tull released “Aqualung” which became their best selling album in the U.S.

Back on this day in 1974, Jefferson Airplane officially changed their name to Jefferson Starship.

Back on this day in 1975, Kiss recorded a concert in Detroit’s Cobo Hall which was included on the album “Kiss Alive!” (Rush was the opener that night)

Back on this day in 2001, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Aerosmith, Queen and Steely Dan were some of the acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Kid Rock did the speech for Aerosmith while Dave Grohl did the honors for Queen.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with “Diamond” David Lee Roth, Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big as well as DLR-it’s funny how all three of these guys played in the same band and all celebrate their birthday on the same date) and the late Ricky Wilson (The B-52’s).

March 12, 2010

Weekly Update – 03/12/2010

Black Eyed Peas at the Prudential Center on Wed. Aug. 4. Pre-sale starts this morning at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. tonight and password is TBEP312. General public on sale tomorrow at noon. $49.50 – $94. There is a 4 ticket limit per purchaser.

Tom Petty & Heartbreakers at the Madison Square Garden on Wed. July 28 and also at the Izod Center on Tues. Aug. 24. Pre-sale tickets for Citicard holders only (542418-thanks Chris!) on sale now until Sunday at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale this Mon. Mar. 15 at 10:00 a.m. Garden: $54, $79.50, $103.50 and $134.50. Izod: $49.50, $75 and $125. (“My Morning Jacket” will be opener at Izod, now word on opener for the Garden yet)Also there are “presale” passwords- Garden: HEPETTY; Izod: ACCESS. In addition Tom will be playing at the Comcast Theater (Hartford CT) on Tues. Aug. 17. Tickets on sale this Mon. March 15 at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Maxwell and Jill Scott at Madison Square Garden on Fri. June 25. Pre-sale tickets for Citicard holders only on sale now until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $41.50, $71.50, $91.50, $106.50, $156.50 and $256.50. (The $256.50 is out of control, c’mon are you kidding me?) Pre-sale password for MSG: HEMAX

Sting with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Mohegan Sun on Tues. July 6 and also appearing at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on Fri. July. 30. Mohegan: Pre-sale for American Express cardholders on now until Tues. Mar. 16 at 10:00 p.m. General public tickets on sale Mon. Mar. 22 at 10:00 a.m. Mohegan: $86 and $116; Bethel: Tickets on sale this Mon. Mar. 15 at 10:00 a.m. $42.10 (lawn) $70.70 (rear orchestra) $91.15-$162.80 (middle orchestra) $162.80-$193.50 (front orchestra).

Carole King and James Taylor have added another date at Madison Square Garden on Wed. June 30. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on now until 9:00 p.m. on Sun. Mar. 14. General public tickets on sale Mon. Mar. 15 at 9:00 a.m. $39.50, $89.50 and $154.50. Also appearing at the Prudential Center (The “Rock”) on Fri. June 25. Everything is the same as far as on sale and price information as The Garden.

Franki Valli & The Four Seasons at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park NJ on Sat. May 29. Tickets on sale now. $49-$249. (Benefit for The Boys & Girls Clubs)

Iron Maiden at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sun. July 11. Tickets on sale next Sat. Mar. 20 at 10:00 a.m.(Live Nation Event).

Slash at the Music Box at The Borgata on Sat. May 22. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

Faith No More (reunited) will perform at the Williamsburg waterfront (North 8 street and Kent Avenue in Brooklyn) on Mon. July 5. Tickets on sale at noon on Fri. Mar. 19.

Jacob Dylan at the Town Hall on Wed. Apr. 21. Tickets on sale today at noon $40 and $65.

Hole at Terminal 5 on Tues. Apr. 27. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35 ($40 day of show).

Hot Chip at the Central Park Summer Stage on Wed. Aug. 4. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35.

Echo & The Bunnymen at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Sun. May 2. Tickets on tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

Other items:

Is there anyone else who misses seeing Paula Abdul on American Idol? Call me crazy but the show is not the same without her. Yes she did some goofy things and yes she said things where you would scratch your head while saying “what??!!” But you know something- I would rather hear her opinion than Ellen’s. No offense, I like Ellen as a talk show host and a comedian but she adds nothing to the show. How many times has she used the word “great” so far in her comments back to the contestants? Can she say anything else? She actually appears like a “deer in headlights” many times and it’s so unusual to see her that way, she always appears to be comfortable in her own skin (outside of “Idol”) but when she is asked for her opinion first-watch for that “look.” And now there seems to be a “wall” up between the judges, where lately it has pitted Randy & Ellen vs. Simon & Kara. Now Paula during her tenure “seemed” to be on Randy’s side most of the time and we all know she had her battles with Simon but she also agreed with Simon many times as well. But maybe my attention has shifted to the judges since, in my opinion, there has yet to be one competitor that stands out this year. (Ok except for the amazing performance of Michael Lynche on Wednesday night on his stellar cover of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” that had every one thinking Maxwell was “in the house.” It brought tears to Kara). Maybe Paula knew something………what’s going to happen once Simon leaves?

I was channel surfing last weekend and came across the show-“Celebrity Rehab” with Dr. Drew on VH1 where the episode focused on Mike Starr, the former bassist for Alice-In-Chains, who still feels lots of guilt for not calling the police when his former band mate Layne Staley (former lead singer for AIC) was sick and eventually was found dead from a drug overdose. Mike was the last person to see Layne and told the gut retching story of how Layne did not want him to call “911” for help. Apparently they had been on a bender and Mike left without calling police and said that he crashed at his mother’s place for two weeks without even knowing what had happened to his best friend. Layne’s mother, Nancy McCallum, came on the show and it was the first time he had seen her in 8 years; he did not want to face her because of the guilt. She informed him that it was not his fault and pleaded with the entire group of people on the show that if they didn’t come clean they would end up like Layne. I could feel her pain of losing a child seep into my entire body and it was very hard to watch and to a certain degree I agree with Jerry Cantrell (lead guitarist for AIC) who has blasted VH1 for putting a show like this on TV. I couldn’t totally agree because I watched it. Stories like those of Layne (the man had so much talent) intrigue me to no end, it’s such a shame what happened to him as well as countless others around the world. I hope and pray those affected can get better. In the future I will not be watching the show, it was too disturbing.

Grateful Dead fans now have two places to visit (one in New York and one in California) as a new exhibition about the band has just opened at the New York Historical Society and a much larger scale of public viewing of artifacts collected over the years will be displayed at the University of California in Santa Cruz. The NY exhibit will run until July 4.

Meatloaf’s new album-“Hang Cool Teddy Bear”- is due out on May 11. He has grabbed Steve Vai and Brian May to help him out on a few songs. Kara DioGuardi of American Idol fame has co-wrote and sings on “If I Can’t Have You.” Jack Black does a duet with Meat and he has also enlisted Justin Hakes (“The Darkness”) to write a few songs. Sounds pretty interesting, I just may have to check it out.

A new Paul Rodgers collection of greatest hits from his time with Free, Bad Company and The Firm as well as some other songs will be released on March 29. I-Tunes will carry this 26 song disc.

Miley Cyrus and Bret Michaels? Yes it’s true, the Poison front man has recorded a duet with Miley and the song is called “Nothing to Lose.” Miley asked to join Bret in the studio as he was re-working “Every Rose Has its Thorns” and he wanted to know if Miley wanted to hear some of his new songs. She heard this song and fell in love with it and asked Bret if she could sing it with him and he said yes. Look for it on You-Tube.

I know I’m a little late on this one but I like the new Ratt single-“Best of Me”-I have to give it to them they stayed true to their sound and if you close your eyes while you listen to it you would think that it’s 1988 all over again.

My favorite old school song of the week is “Everybody Loves a Clown” by Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Have to give it to Jerry’s son, this is a quality song. “They” don’t make songs like these anymore.

Album Review: “Valleys of Neptune” by Jimi Hendrix released on Mar. 9, 2010

Valleys Of Neptune

Ok finally it is now the tenth week of the “new” year (2010 for those paying attention) and I actually bought a “new” CD, albeit from someone who passed away in 1970. Yes it is songs that you probably are familiar with but with a different “spin” on the songs. If you are a “die-hard” Jimi Hendrix fan you probably have all these tracks in some way shape or form but according to his estate there are songs that have never been released before (don’t ask me I’m not which ones those are). If you want to complain about the estate releasing “demos” of songs go right ahead but I for one am completely and utterly intrigued by the rawness of this album-“Valleys of Neptune”- and it takes me to a place that a “polished” song can’t do, a place where you can hear the unbelievable talent of this individual. I am not a guitar aficionado by any stretch of the imagination but this album makes me stand up and agree with the countless others who have stated that Jimi Hendrix is/was the greatest guitarist this world has ever seen. Take a listen to “Lover Man” and let it blow you away-this song alone is worth the price of admission for the entire album- its mind numbing stuff. If you love “guitar rock” you will absolutely love this album and if you don’t I’ll refund your money. He does a blistering cover of “Sunshine of Your Love”- (“Cream”) which will knock your socks off and you will like this song again (meaning this version will make you appreciate this song after hearing the original 5 zillion times on the radio for the past 25 years or so). And as I listen to the entire album all I have to say is “OMG this is Grr8!!!” So even though this is not a new artist or a new album for 2010 it is by far the best recording released this year to date and I doubt anything will come close for the rest of the century (unless his estate finds some more recordings that we haven’t heard).

This scorching album starts off with a totally different approach to “Stone Free” that I dare say that you will not recognize the song until the chorus. It’s almost “jazzed up” a little bit and seems a bit faster than the original. (It also doesn’t have the “cow-bell” effect you hear on the original). If this is a “demo” than I want to hear every one of his takes on all his songs. There is a “sophistication” feel to it as you will snap your fingers and try to decide if you like this version better than the original. Also you can hear his every note as well as the bass and every crack of the drums along the crash of the cymbals. The title track of the album has been all over the “classic rock “ radio formats across the country including here in NY at Q104.3 and I for one had not heard this song before and I was immediately struck on how “contemporary” it felt. It has that classic Jimi feel to it and you will swear that you know it as you sway your head back and forth to the gripping groove that evokes memories of the late 1960’s when it seemed like the greatest music of every genre was recorded. This is good stuff people. Track # 3-“Bleeding Heart”-starts off with Jimi singing with his guitar before he actually starts using his voice- the music exudes from every part of his being. The track has some “giddy-up” to it and you will be “air-guitaring” to this bad boy for the entire six minutes or so. Yes this has a “hippie” feel to it as you might think you are back in the country muddy fields in New York in August of 1969. Listen to his numerous solos and you can begin your “Wayne’s World” bows at any time and I’ll use a “Visa” commercial word- “Priceless.” The next song-“Hear My Train a Comin’”- is a psychedelic blues trip and I can say that Van Halen was listening to this track when they recorded “Fools” as the beginning of this track from “Women & Children First” sounds eerily similar to this song. (although since it was never released before.. but anyway you get my drift). OK I must say that I now know where Led Zeppelin received their claim to fame by having their infamous sound where Robert Plant sings alongside Jimmy Page’s guitar except Jimi Hendrix does it all by himself in one package. Listen to the unbelievable way his guitar follows his voice and vice-versa, truly a spectacular thing to listen to. His guitar sears with such a passion it’s almost like the guitar is alive- similar to all those entertainers who perform with as a ventriloquist. “Mr. Bad Luck” is almost Chuck Berry like and has a “Fire” feel to it as well. As Jimi takes off with his guitar solo you are thinking to yourself that this album is only a “quarter” over and if they only released these five songs it is worth the money.

But you know it’s only going to get better right? As mentioned above the cover of “Sunshine of Your Love” begins and right out of the gate it seems like Jimi is telling Eric-here…this is how you play it (no offense to Clapton as I totally recognize his mastery on guitar) as he immediately takes over the song with his guitar and before you know it two minutes have passed by and as the song trends into a “Steppenwolf” feel to it (think the long psychedelic version of “Magic Carpet Ride”) as the same verse is seemingly repeated over and over but you don’t seem to mind because you want more because you can’t wait to hear what is next. As a matter of fact the almost seven minute song will go by and you won’t even realize that he doesn’t even sing on the track-oh wait- his guitar does, I told you it was alive. The aforementioned “Lover Man” is the best song on the album in my opinion. There is no other way to listen to this song but VERY LOUDLY!!! This scorching number will make you forget all about the winter as again you will be taken back to that great summer of 1969. Music is meant to move you and if this song doesn’t move you, well then you need to check yourself at the door. This is FREAKIN’ PHENOMENAL!!! Like I said if this is the demo, then give me more. “Ships passing through the Night” makes you realize why artists such as the late Stevie Ray Vaughn and contemporary artist like John Mayer must have listened to songs like this from Jimi because some of their sound emulates the vibe in this track. I would go as far as saying this is the type of song that created the “jam band”-think of every current band that you know to be a jam band- and just like I realized with the Mighty Zep-it started with Hendrix, there’s no denying it. “Fire” sounds almost the same as the original-it doesn’t have the “big” sound that the version on “Are You Experienced” has and the one thing that clearly stands out for me are the background vocals (Noel Redding?) which seem to creep along side the big sound from Jimi’s guitar and voice. By the way, Mitch Mitchell is all over the place on the drums, if you want to take up drumming listen to him jam away on this tune and you will want to start taking lessons tomorrow. “Red House”- (also from “Experienced”) will put you in a “blues bar” in no time as you will pucker your upper lip as you air-guitar (remember he’s a “lefty” so turn it around) and feel that sweet sensation enter your body as you become as possessed as Jimi was when he recorded it. This is about five minutes longer than the original version but you won’t notice because you will be totally engulfed and mesmerized by Jimi- he could have made lots of money being a “hypnotist.”You get the feeling that this was all Jimi wanted to do was play guitar and jam with his buddies.

“Lullaby for Summer” picks up the pace again as Jimi appears to be very focused in nailing down the arrangement of this track. I betcha Joe Satriani or Steve Vai must have been listening to this sort of track while they were growing up because again-Jimi started it all and did it all- the “Babe Ruth” of guitar land. Welcome to the land of Jimi were admission is free (Ok.. ten bucks) but the ride will take you to a place where you’ve never been and no there will not be that guy there to turn the ride off, so lock yourself in and enjoy. Again before you know it, the song is over and it was only the guitar that sang. “Crying Blue Rain” is a slow trudging blues fest that again if you are not careful you will be totally hypnotized. With almost two minutes left in the track he really picks up the pace and is off to the races. Another song ends with out him singing a word (he hums in this song but no words). Now admittedly there are no words sung from “Lullaby for Summer” onwards and if you can not listen to just guitar for 4 straight songs, it might be monotonous for you. (Think of Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” album where the second side has at least 40 minutes of just guitar riffs and solos-again if you can listen to songs with no words then you will have no issues, especially if you love to listen to the guitar-who better than Jimi?) The last two tracks-“Slow Version” and “Trash Man”- are just straight out knockout displays of his awesome talents, perfect for a summer night out on the deck listening with people who love heavy guitar work.

“Valleys of Neptune” has fourteen tracks and the first eleven flew by for me as the mixture of Jimi with his voice and guitar (along with the drums and bass-how can I leave those guys out?) coupled with the “new takes” on songs that I was pretty familiar with, left me with this feeling of wanting more. Now the last three songs kind of made me feel like I was at Woodstock-even though I wasn’t- and as with George Harrison’s “Pass” album I know I will really have to be in the mood to listen to almost 20 minutes of just straight guitar. (Do you know what I’m saying?). In no way am I saying it’s not good-just the opposite-his playing is unbelievable and when he gets in that zone forget it, you will be reeled in “hook, line and sinker!!!” It’s just hard for me to be in that zone unless I see the artist live as opposed to listening in my car or on the train. Anyways, the guitar aficionado will absolutely love this album and even the most die-hard Jimi fan (who has every Jimi song there is) will be glad they purchased this. This album is a “buy!!”

“TOP TEN”:

My I-Pod shuffle this week kept playing songs from two artists that I like very much, so I decided to take these two entities-The Guess Who and Eddie Money– and put down my favorite five songs each to create this week’s top ten. Now there is no rhyme or reason for putting these two together, it really was just that I kept hearing songs from both on the shuffle. Now if there is one similarity, these two bands, in my mind, represent the “underdog” in the sense that neither get the “full” recognition that they deserve. I am not going to sit here and say they were the greatest bands ever but each has put their stamp on the rock music world in their own way and made some pretty awesome songs along the way. As I have always maintained on this page, The Guess Who were (are) a very talented band that created some of the best tunes during the late 1960’s/early 1970’s but for some reason it seems to slip everyone’s mind when it comes to naming the best songs of that era. (I acknowledge that there were “zillions” of songs to choose from in that time period). I will say that two of my favorite artists-Lenny Kravitz and Telsa- did not forget and paid homage to them by performing “American Woman” (for all you youngsters out there- Lenny was not the first) and “Hand Me Down World” and both were done with respect along with brilliance, in my opinion. It’s a shame that the tandem of Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman could not stay together because their fusion was awesome but their differences led to Randy leaving to form Bachman Turner Overdrive, or “BTO.” Eddie Money to me is the “blue collar” rock and roll guy who just seemed (seems) to have a blast making his music and make no mistake his song “Baby Hold On” blasted him on to the scene in the late 1970’s and he held the attention of many fans well into the 1980’s. Actually he is still touring today and like I said, this stuff just comes natural to him-this is what he was born to do. So here goes again- this time I’m on the same island and am told that I can have ten songs but has to be split in half between Eddie and The Guess Who- “these are the five” from each”

Eddie Money

Image of Eddie Money

5.     We Should Be Sleeping-Check out the beginning of this song and if you are a Van Halen fan you would think that the beginning riffs were part of Eddie’s repertoire- as a matter of fact I would say that it sounds very similar to “In N Out” from the Hagar years, now again- just the beginning. Not for nothing but this song rocks and is pretty heavy, almost “head-bang” like as it is pretty hard not to snap your head up and down to this tune. (And of course it has the obligatory “hand claps” throughout, no cowbell but the claps). The keyboards are also a mainstay of Eddie’s music and it follows the guitar beautifully in the background while the hammering drums have to get you off your feet. Mr. Money is on the money with this tune.

4.     Shakin’ –You know how with certain songs, you hear it and you are immediately reminded of where you were at a particular time and place. Well when I hear this song I am riding in a car with a friend Steve (back in the early 1980’s) as we were helping my uncle Gary move from the Bronx to Middletown NY. I remember thinking that this guy-Eddie Money- really has some good songs and I needed to pay attention to him because he had that “something.” He knows how to rock, he knows how to roll and just flat out have a good time. The funky groove in this song has to make your body gyrate, how can it not? “She was shakin’.. snapping her fingers.. that girl was shakin’..” I love the “stop and go” parts that lead up to the “shakin’.” Don’t kid yourself folks, there is some nice guitar work on this piece. “I love that little girl and I just can’t get enough.. shakin’.. snapping her fingers..” The only way to listen to this song is LOUD!!!

3.     Think I’m In Love– “Ooh something’s got a hold on me now..” Boy do I love this track. This song moves and is a perfect track for your next workout, especially a Spin class-this will get you out of your seat as you blaze up the hills or on a breakaway. The guitar solo is righteous and you need to have a great set of headphones to feel this one- you want to get closer to the tune, so if you squeeze it into your ears it will have a shorter trip to your heart as it will pump faster push into your blood stream. That’s what happens to me when I listen to it.

2.     Walk on Water-This came up on the I-Pod shuffle while we were all cleaning the house and I was like “wow this guy is good.” (Of course I had to rewind it to hear it again) and that is what set me off on the Eddie Money kick- that’s all it took, so you know I love the I-Pod shuffle. The drums really stand out in this song as well as the hand-claps to accentuate the driving beat and the guitar work is not too shabby if I say myself. Now one thing I have not mentioned is the vocals of Mr. Money- he has a perfect voice for these songs- it is very distinctive. It’s a passionate cry to make that someone special believe in his love for them, you can feel it pour out of him as he pleads for forgiveness. He really makes some fun songs and this one shines brightly as you can not help but sing and dance all over the place.

1.     Baby Hold On– In my opinion, this is one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever written. It doesn’t matter how many times I have heard throughout the years, any time I hear the opening notes I know I am going to enjoy the next three minutes and thirty two seconds. C’mon you know you have “air-drummed” to this song, don’t deny it. “..Baby what’s these things you’ve been saying about me behind my back?” You can’t help but sing along to this song it’s so addictive. The groove is infectious while the arrangement is of top quality. When the part of the song comes when it’s just Eddie and the drums well, is there anything cooler? “I said Ugh.. hold on.. Ugh hold to me tighter.. whatever will be will be..” This is so sweet and deserves to be mentioned as one of the best songs of the 1970’s. \m/ \m/

The Guess Who

Image of The Guess Who

5.     Undun This reminds me of a smoky jazz bar for some reason, the music sounds very sophisticated and the vocals by Mr. Cummings are phenomenal. This definitely has that “’’60’s” feel to it especially when the flute breaks in, takes me back to Woodstock-Ok I wasn’t at Woodstock- but you know what I mean. This also has a “Blood Sweat and Tears” feel to it so again I can picture the beatniks in the back of a dark smoky bar room just groovin’ to this powerful arrangement. Fantastic song.

4.     American Woman-Now I refuse to listen to the “radio” version where they cut out the first minute and fifteen seconds of the song which sounds totally different from what you are all use to listening to. The bluesy beginning where Burton spells out “ I say A.. I say M..”- I love that part. Now for a Canadian band to write this song it really was a slap in the face to the American woman but yet we all sing it with the same fervor as he does; why? Because the song rocks!!! This is probably their most popular song and with no offense to Lenny (who I also love to listen to) –the original version of this song is still the best.

3.     Hand Me Down World– After Randy Bachman left the group, Burton brought in two guitarists-Greg Leskiw and Kurt Winter – and Mr. Winter assisted Mr. Cummings in the writing of this fantastic song. Talk about a sing-along song? I can sing the chorus over and over- “Don’t give no hand me down shoes.. don’t give me no hand me down love..”- Burton has some voice and the “sliding” guitar sound is the signature in this song. If you listen closely you can hear almost every drum beat by Garry Peterson, the recording is excellent. As I mentioned Tesla covered this on their “Real to Reel” album and does an awesome rendition but again I have to stay with the original. Great tune.

2.     No Time– This song first appeared on their “Canned Wheat” album which was released in 1969 but was redone for its placement on their classic “American Woman” album in 1970 and had much more success. Either way, this track was very progressive and ahead of its time in my opinion. Again Mr. Peterson’s drumming skills stands out as he keeps the pace of the tune in check and how about the vocals and background vocals on this track? This may be their best song ever recorded. I love the guitar work by Bachman and again Burton does a phenomenal job with his voice as you can hear his passion shine brightly. This song has both a “rock” appeal as well as a “pop” sound that landed its way onto popular radio and has never looked back. You can hear this song on an “oldies” station as well as a “classic” rock station. This has to be in your music library.

1.     No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature– Bachman actually wrote the “No Sugar Tonight” part while Burton had chalked up the “New Mother Nature”-they did it separately and then mixed in the two songs because their record company thought the “No Sugar” was too short, so since they had both written in the key of F#-they merged the songs. Now the story behind “No Sugar” was Bachman was walking down a street in California and was soon confronted by three “tough guys” but out of the blue a car pulled up to the men as a woman screamed out the window at one of the men. Two of them scampered away as the third guy slinked into the woman’s car, Randy said the last thing he heard her say was “And there will be no sugar for you tonight!!!” The record company forced him to change the lyrics to “in my coffee” and “in my tea” so as to make the sexual innuendos less noticeable. Anyways the “bridge” from “No Sugar” to “New” is nothing short of spectacular and in my opinion turned into their ultimate masterpiece. Not for nothing but Burton has to be considered way up there in terms of being one of the best rock and roll singers of the 1960’s and 1970’s, his vocals along with the immensely talented musicianship makes this their best song ever. (I said “American Woman” may be their most popular song but this is their best song). I can listen to this all day long.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     To blast the press which took a false story about Ann and Nancy and ran with it.

2.     False it was another “Guns” guitarist-Gilbey Clarke

3.     Ten

4.     Johhny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson

This week’s trivia (Eddie Money, Guess Who)-

1.     Name two televison sitcoms that Eddie Money appeared as himself.

2.     True or False: Eddie Money plays the saxophone.

3.     What popular movie has both versions of American Woman in it? (Guess Who and Lenny Kravitz versions).

4.     What DJ did The Guess Who pay homage to by writing a song about him? (Hint: He also appeared on an episode of “The Odd Couple” TV show).

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “On the Road Again”- Willie Nelson

2.     “The Old Man Down the Road”-John Fogerty

3.      “Roadhouse Blues”-The Doors

4.     “The Long and Winding Road”- The Beatles

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.“..you can dance.. you can jive.. having the time of your life.. see that girl… watch that scene…”

2.“..automatic.. systematic.. full of color self contained.. tuned and gentle to your vibes.. captivating.. stimulating…”

3.“..everybody here is out of sight.. they don’t bark and they don’t bite.. they keep things loose.. they keep it tight…”

4.“..crazy ways are evident.. in the way that you’re wearing your clothes.. sippin’ booze is precedent.. as the evening starts to glow…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1974, John Lennon and Harry Nilsson were both ejected from the popular Troubadour club in Los Angeles for being drunk and causing a disturbance during a performance by Tom Smothers.

Back on this day in 1969, Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman at the Marylebone Registry Office in London. John, George and Ringo did not attend. Has to be a tough day for Paul.

Back on this day in 1975, Alex Lifeson married his longtime girlfriend Charlene and they are celebrating their 35 anniversary. Congrats to both.

Back on this day in 2003, the Chinese government ordered the Rolling Stones not to play such classics as “Brown Sugar,” “Beast of Burden,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Honky Tonk Woman” for their upcoming concerts. These shows were cancelled anyway due to the breakout of SARS.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with James Taylor, Paul Katner (Jefferson Airplane), Mike Gibbins (Badfinger) and Steve Harris (Iron Maiden).

March 5, 2010

Weekly Update – 03/05/2010

Willie Nelson & Levon Helm at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. July 28. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders go on sale today at noon until next Thurs. Mar. 11 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale next Fri. Mar. 12 at noon. $49.50 – $129.50 (How ironic I wrote about Willie below and his show is announced last night-has to be a sign that I need to go to this show).

Tom Petty at Madison Square Garden on Wed. July 28 and also at the Izod Theater on Tues. Aug. 24. General public tickets on sale Mon. Mar. 15 at 10:00 a.m. Further details to follow.

Atoms for Peace at Roseland Ballroom on Mon. & Tues. Apr. 5 & 6. The information for this event has been all over the place, now the tickets will be sold through Live Nation tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Now Live Nation for some odd reason doesn’t post prices but according to information on Ticketmaster’s site (oh yes I forgot these two are joined at the hip-good move Justice Department) last week the price per ticket is $48. Good luck on trying to get these tickets, if you do- you are good.

Sugarland at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sat. May 22. Pre-sale tickets for Citi cardholders on sale now until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $32 (lawn); $42.75 and $56.75.

Brooks & Dunn at the Comcast Theater on Fri. June 25. Pre-sale tickets for Citi card members on now. General public on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.$28.25, $49 and $74.25.

Yes & Peter Frampton at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel NY on Fri. June 18. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.45 – $90.65.

Pat Benatar & REO Speedwagon at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel NY on Sat. Aug. 28. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $30.35 (lawn) $39.45 (rear) $49.70 – $70.15 (middle orchestra) $70.15 – $90.65 (front orchestra).

Moody Blues at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel NY on Sat. July 10. Tickets on sale now. $39.00 (rear) $59.45 – $75.80 (middle orchestra) $75.80 – $100.35 (front orchestra).

Alice In Chains at the MAC at Monmouth University (West Long Branch NJ) on Thurs. May 20. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.$45.

Third Eye Blind at the Wellmont Theater on Tues. April 13. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30 ($35 day of show)

Corrine Rae Bailey at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tues. May 2. Tickets on sale today at noon. $32.50.

Massive Attack at Terminal 5 on Tues. & Wed. May 11 & 12. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale now until 11:00 a.m. General public tickets on sale at noon. $52

Les Claypool at the Wellmont Theater on Sat. June 5. Tickets on sale this morning at noon. $29.50

Thirty Seconds to Mars at the Roseland Ballroom on Wed. April 21. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale now until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $32.49.

The Fray at Borgota Event Center in Atantic City NJ on Sat. April 17. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

As Tall as Lions at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza on Thurs. May 6. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event)

Sublime at Roseland Ballroom on Sat. May 1. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Other items:

The sound track for the new Johnny Depp movie –“Alice in Wonderland”- was released this week and I have to say that “Almost Alice” sounds pretty good (albeit from the 30 second samples on I-Tunes but some other tunes I went to “You Tube” to hear the entire versions). Of course one of my favorites-Shinedown- leads the charge with “Her Name is Alice.” (I saw a review by some dude in Toronto Canada and he said that Shinedown was a “3 Doors Down” clone and that tells me the man doesn’t know his music. I like “3” but these two bands are totally different). On another note, check out the cover of the great song-“White Rabbit”- (originally done by Jefferson Airplane) by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Their sound fits Tim Burton like a glove.

My oldest son is coming around slowly on agreeing with me that the radio station-“WCCC 106.9”- out of Hartford CT is the best radio station in America. I’m telling you folks, you will hear songs on this station that you’d never hear on a “regular” rock FM station. Reason my son is starting to come around is he heard “Wasting My Time” by Default and even though it was made almost ten years ago, he thought it sounded brand new and fresh. Now I know that is the artist that makes the sound but no one but WCCC plays this and a whole lot more solid stuff. You need to check this station out if you are ever driving up north to the Cape or whatever. Awesome station. \m/ \m/

Remember last year’s contestant on American Idol-“Danny Gokey?” Well he has put out a Country album and his debut “dropped” this past Tuesday. I did not know that he was going down this route (I was thinking more of an “R&B” thing) but again listening to both You-Tube videos as well as the 30 second I-Tune samples I have to admit that I like it. The most popular song right now is “I Still Believe.” Check it out.

I-Tunes put out their top ten list of the most downloaded songs which include a couple that belong to the Black Eyed Peas featuring the number one of all time- “I Gotta Feeling” as well as the number 3 song with “Boom Boom Pow.” Lady Gaga squeezed into the number 2 spot with “Poker Face.” The very cool song “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz finished fourth while Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” rounded out the top five. I have four out of the top ten which appear in the top five, the only one I don’t have is “Viva.” (I’m still not there with Coldplay).

My favorite “old school”song of the week has a hippie flavor to it-“I’d Like to Get to Know You”- by Spanky & Our Gang. Love when Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane breaks in with “Well I can’t promise that I’ll spend the day with you…” The music from the late ‘60’s was so freaking phenomenal you have to own this.

Slipknot’s drummer-Joey Jordison– will play for Rob Zombie’s band while they tour during the spring and summer this year. Zombie’s band called him up and asked if he knew of a drummer and he jokingly said “What about me?” They made it happen.

Pink Floyd’s songs, including “Wish You Were Here,” “Mother,” “Comfortably Numb” and “Hey You,” will be featured on the Mar. 21 episode of “Cold Case” on CBS TV. I love “Hey You”- (Yes I do like some Floyd songs).

Artist Profile: Willie Nelson

Image of Willie Nelson

Recently I have listened to more and more of Mr. Willie Nelson and have become “enlightened” to this man’s unbelievable contribution to American music. Now some of you may be thinking-“How does he go from Metallica to Willie Nelson?”- But if you have been a reader for a while, I hope that I have put it out there that I am open to most all types of music. For those of you who know me, you may be saying “boy is he getting old or what?” (No offense meant to Mr. Nelson, it’s me they are picking on Willie). No just the opposite- I am finally getting wise or have finally seen the light. I freely admit that it could be my age because I know that I was not listening to Willie when I was in my twenties or even thirties. But as I enter the second half of the “forties” I think I finally get it. (Hey just like fine wine, it takes time). But as I have been also hammering away at is the fact that sometimes youth clouds vision and in this case it clearly has. Another thing I make known is that it’s never too late to discover music-new or old. Now I have always acknowledged and respected his contribution to music. My mother was a fan and she had to be because he wrote the song “Crazy” made famous by Patsy Cline, who was her favorite female singer of all time. So obviously I am not going to sit here and tell you that I know his entire library-again just the opposite- I will tell you the songs that I think are great and look for the die-hard fan to post comments on what albums/songs that I should further explore. Another message is to all the “youngsters” out there (18-39) “don’t be like me” and take the time now to listen to one of America’s greatest treasures.

Now it’s not that I didn’t know his songs, I mean every one has to know “On the Road Again” or “Always on My Mind,” right? By the way, my oldest son and I go back and forth all the time on “Always” as I say that his version of the song is the best but he insists that the Elvis take on it, is better. (We have a similar disagreement on “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” where I feel that the only version to listen to is by Dusty Springfield but again he goes with Elvis-at least this should make his grandfather happy, right?). Getting back to “Always on My Mind,” when I hear the opening notes on the piano I become frozen in time-I don’t want to do anything but focus on the beauty of this song. Now some may say that they don’t like his voice (it did take Willie a while to get a recording contract because there was some doubt about his singing voice) but there is absolutely nothing wrong with his pitch, tone or anything else on this flawless version. (Hey I have stated more than a few times, I am not the biggest Dylan fan but even I admit there are songs that he really can sing and should only be sung by him). Take a listen to his first number one hit-“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”- (a cover which was written by Fred Rose) and tell me the man can’t sing? Wow this is a spectacular song which was a hit for him in 1975 and it’s 2010 and I am finally getting around to this, shame on me but like I always say-it’s never too late to discover music: that’s what it is all about folks-music is food for the soul and sometimes you need to look at different choices on the menu. (Hey I despised eating fish as a child and in my early twenties but then something clicked and I now love it).

If you don’t mind I will just keep naming songs that I have been listening to for the past few months that again have opened my eyes. Now to all his “die-hard” fans a song like “Uncloudy Day” would be the equivalent to “My Way” by Frank Sinatra- a staple of his repertoire, right? Now I love the guitar work by Willie in this song and not for nothing I can picture sitting around a campfire singing along to this tune. “Oh they tell me on an uncloudy day…” Now with country music there is usually a story and some times the songs are slow and sad but yet it still feels good and right. Willie has a knack for this, especially writing a most famous song by Patsy Cline- the aforementioned “Crazywhich fit Patsy like a glove and she had a way of singing that would rip your heart out but yet I can’t stop listening to those types of songs. Actually Willie’s version of “Crazy” is very good and is something I do not skip over. (Usually if I like another artist version of a song, I won’t even listen to anyone else’s rendition). Willie also performed another song made famous by Patsy-“Faded Love”- which he sings along with Ray Price and I have to tell you-this one is close to being as good as the version that Ms. Cline sings. Both versions make you stop in your tracks and pay attention. “I miss you darling more and more everyday…” –again there’s that pain and heartache that Willie is so good at singing about and I absolutely love the way he plays the guitar on this track-pure perfection. Keeping on the theme of songs that he wrote that were made famous by others- how about “Pretty Paper?” This spectacular song was made famous by the legendary Roy Orbison and is definitely in my top ten songs of all-time. Now as a listener we tend to forget the writer behind many of these great songs and in this case I automatically think of Orbison (rightly so) but all these years I have never thought about Nelson and that is a mistake. Believe me, from now on I will always remember that he wrote it when I hear it. Now, with no offense to Willie, I only listen to Orbison’s version (not even Raul Malo’s version does it for me).

Getting back to the songs I have delved into the last few months- how about the enchanting “Angel Flying Too Close To the Ground” from the movie soundtrack “Honeysuckle Rose.” Love the guitar work it really puts me in a trance and this quickly has risen to the top of my favorite songs by Willie. I must have listened to this song like a hundred times in the last month. How about the Hank Williams sound alike-“Hello Walls”- I don’t know why but that is who I am reminded of when I hear this song. This song puts you in a good place, so traditional such a nice sound that it brings you back to the days of “Andy Griffith,” well for me anyway. Love it. “Funny How Time Slips Away” is gentle trip down memory lane as again the pain bleeds through the speakers and this type of music pulls me in-hook, line & sinker. I become mesmerized. Actually I remember seeing him & Johnny Cash perform this song on VH1 Storytellers back in 1998. Or how about the “honky-tonk” like “The Party’s Over”-c’mon folks this is classic stuff- yes I know I just discovered it but I knew instantaneously that it was “classic.” And the lyrics hit home for many men across the country as too much partying usually ends a relationship. “Life for me was just one big party.. I broke her heart so many times.. had to have my party wine…” The slow rocking groove of “Shotgun Willie” has to move your body-you can even have a slow “head-banging” thing going and you will be “air-guitaring” to this “funk-a-fied” tune. Willie creates this fusion of country, blues, “rockabilly” and jazz like sounds that have been engaged by so many artists. “Forgiving You Was Easy” is another sad, heartfelt song and just like many country songs, this too has a story behind it. “Forgiving you was easy but forgetting seems to take the longest time..” The song “Night Life” again reminds me of Hank Williams and sounds like it was recorded in a room with the door closed. The beginning actually reminds me of the guitar work of George Harrison, Willie does a nice job performing his own “Zep” where he sings then plays the guitar throughout. Have you heard the knee slapping “Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer)?” Boy this stuff is so good, like a sweet cool refreshing slice of watermelon on a hot summer’s day. You can eat up all these songs and not gain weight. How great is that? This one should be on your menu. “Time of the Preacher” is a phenomenal tune that kicks off one of his greatest albums (according to many)-“Red Headed Stranger.” I guess this is the album that kicked off his “outlaw” image. Folks this is good stuff right here.

Now I could go on & on, so I will a little more and name some songs that he didn’t write but he put his stamp on with his style of singing and playing guitar. And the first song that comes to mind is the aforementioned “Always on My Mind” (see above) but the second one that I think of is “All of Me” from the “Stardust” album. Wow there is something about this song that totally knocks me out. I know I have heard others sing it but this version is the best. “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” was meant for Willie, who better to sing about cowboys than Mr. Nelson? I can honestly say that I won’t listen to anyone else’s version but Willie, it’s that good. Then what about the “duos” that he has done? How many artists has this man worked with? Probably more than any artist in the history of music-he crosses every genre even doing a “My Medicine” with Snoop Dogg. He even played with the legendary Wynton Marsalis. C’mon no one plays with him, he’s a whole entire segment of music history in jazz by himself and who cooly just played along with him like they were jamming in a garage-Willie. If you are an Aerosmith fan you have to hear the song he recorded with Steven, Joe & the rest of the boys-“One Time Too Many”- is a country rocking song that could be played at every “country” club in the country and I guarantee every one will be “line dancing” in no time. Willie’s vocals mixed in with Tyler is like those “sour tarts” that you eat but I bet you just can’t eat but one, right? You keep going for more. This song will knock your socks off. Now of course I would be remiss to not include his favorite partners in Waylon Jennings, (“Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”) Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash as well as countless others in the country circle. Or how can I leave out John Mellencamp or Neil Young who joined Willie to start the infamous “Farm Aid?” The accolades for this American treasure can go on forever. I am just glad that I finally jumped on the bandwagon and now I have to see him live, which I think I will purchase tickets today for his show in July. I can then say I saw another music legend. Thanks Willie for all that you have done for the world in your song and charity work, I salute you!!

“TOP TEN”:

Image of Heart

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Will You Be There (In the Morning)” by Heart and this is one of my favorite songs from this gifted band so I decided to make them this week’s “top ten” entrant. Now I know there have been various musicians backing this band over the years and they deserve much credit for the success of this outfit but without a doubt Heart is all about Ann and Nancy Wilson. These two sisters boldly entered the rock scene which during the mid-seventies were dominated by the male population and basically turned the rock world on its head as they not only proved that they belonged but as many of their beholders believe, Heart pumped new blood into the veins of this thing called rock & roll and forever changed its landscape. Ann Wilson is arguably the greatest female rock vocalist of all-time (I can’t really think of anyone else that comes to mind quickly) and like I have mentioned more than a few times on this page, her voice is not limited to “rock,” she can flat out sing most any song. Nancy Wilson is an accomplished guitarist who put her stamp on many of their songs. Nancy and Ann are still going strong today and in my opinion are “back to the basics” as most of us know that during the mid to late 1980’s, it seemed that they had more “power ballads” all over the radio as opposed to the “Barracuda” like songs that catapulted them into the spotlight. Now again, that’s not always a bad thing but just like in many other aspects in our lives, too much of anything is probably not the way to go. Heart is my wife’s favorite band and we try to see them every time they hit the Tri-State area. So I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by Heart- “these are them:”

10.     Little Queen-Is this classic Heart or what? This is what rock and roll is all about. You can hear the “rawness” is Ann’s voice as she digs down deep with this groovin’ track. This is “Led Zeppelin-esq” as one could picture Robert Plant and Jimmy Page going back and forth on this track. Ann is just way too cool on this song, you need to have this in your music library-this is smokin’!!!

9.     Alone-Yes this is the “power ballad” Heart but sometimes you have to recognize greatness even if it comes in a “bubble-gum wrapper.” “Whew”- is all I have to say when you listen to the phenomenal vocals of Ann Wilson on this tune. I laugh when many of the American Idol contestants try to do this song and I agree with Randy when he tells them “Yo Dog.. that song is too big for you..” A word of advice to the future contestants- just walk away from this song. This is one of those songs that should have a sign on it-“Do Not Attempt” because no one will ever sing it like Ann. I’m sorry, this lands in the category of “American Pie” where there should be a law against “covering” it.

8.     If Looks Could Kill– This song reminds me of my wife as she would sing this song (as well as others) word for word in our long car rides to anywhere (hey we live in the “boondocks”, so most all trips is a minimum of 45 minutes). She sings it with such passion trying to match Ann’s fervor and like I always say- I love to see when people are totally into a song, for some reason it gets me so psyched up. Anyway I found myself putting this track on in my car when I would drive alone and I love the hard rocking sound, it has a real edge, before I knew it, this had become one of my favorites as well.

7.      Who Will You Run To– There is something about this song that keeps me coming back for more. Is it one of their best songs; probably not. Is it one of their more popular song, again, probably not but for me, it is the arrangement as well as Ann cool vocal style. In the beginning of the song, her octave is lower and then she turns up the heat and hits those trademark notes that make you stare in awe. She takes it up and down throughout-love the part where she exclaims-“You can tell the whole wooorrlllldd…” The guitar work that follows Ann’s vocals throughout is the icing on the cake, I can listen to this song over and over.

6.     Will You Be There (In the Morning)– Hey take a listen to Nancy’s vocals as she takes the lead for this beautiful song. Yes I’ll admit it- I sway my head back and forth (like the American Idol audience who sway their arms back and forth high above their heads) to this song and try to sing like both Nancy and Ann. Their voices together create one of the best harmonizing sounds heard in the world today. You can’t but help sing along to this song, it is very pleasing to the ear. This is an uplifting song and a smile breaks out on my face every time I hear it. Awesome tune.

5.     Even It Up– I don’t know why but when I hear this song I think of the Mighty Zep. Heart has been compared to the Might Zep (unfair to them as well any one else) and Ann has been said to be the female version of Robert Plant. Now there are probably other songs that come closer to a Zep song but for some odd reason when I hear this track, I go to Zep. Now this song is very addicting, the groove and the beat are so infectious that I can’t get enough of it. This used to be played on WNEW FM back in the day all the time, the guitar work is flawless and the solo “hits the spot.” Remember last week when I told you to follow each individual of The Cars when you listen to their songs?; well do the same for this song. If you follow Ann’s vocals throughout you will be amazed on how freaking awesome she is. (especially the part where she says “When you were hungry.. I brought you breakfast in be-eee-ah-ed”) Or focus on the guitar work? This is a flawless tune, rock and roll at its best!!! \m/ \m/

4.     Straight On-Love the bass in this song as it provides the funky cool groove that makes your body gyrate across the dance floor (or the living room floor, that’s my choice of “floors.”) This sort of has a slight tinge of the blues with a twist of R&B and the vocals are what brings the song home. “What the winner.. the gambler understands…” – I love that part and have to rewind it many times. Heart makes you want to sing along to their songs-“Coming straight on for you.. straight on, straight on for you..” Watch out because this tune will knock you out.

3.     Crazy On You-Do you have those songs where when you hear it, you feel at “home”-meaning it brings you to a good place-this is one of the songs that does it for me. I love the acoustic beginning (because you know what lies ahead) and as Nancy comes to the part where it sounds like she is going to stop playing at she hits that last note but then you hear the strumming of those acoustic strings as the electric guitar strolls in to give it that flavor of your favorite meal-do you know what I’m talking about? Sometimes music can be like food and in this case, the song is “comfort” food-think “chicken pot pies”-or whatever gives you comfort. Anyway this track has to be considered one of the best rock songs ever, a masterpiece.

2.     Barracuda– Ok to all of you out there that say I leave off the “best” songs on my lists, well what do you have to say now? There-“Barracuda”- made the list. Honestly how could it not? Now I know we all have heard this song zillions of times over the years but I’ll use Ed’s argument-this is “ground-breaking” stuff right here, there is no denying this fact. And oh by the way how friggin’ psyched does this song get everyone? They had everyone on the opening guitar licks (now again “props” go out to the other musicians on all these tunes as they were part of this historic song). If you have never seen this performed live, you are truly missing out-talk about a “head-banging” tune. Wow it’s like a “religious experience” to see so many people truly rocking out to the max as it is a prerequisite to “air-guitar”- if you are not, please leave and try not to let anyone see you exiting; if someone does, make believe you have to go to the bathroom by holding your pelvis area. (For a while members of Alice In Chains played with Heart and I saw them perform this song and it was unreal). There have been more than a few times on TV the last few years that this song has been “covered” and last year (or the year before) Ann & Nancy performed it on American Idol along with Fergie and they brought the house down, in my opinion. Again this is an American classic, a historic song.

1.     Magic Man-I remember being a teenager and thinking that this was the coolest rock song ever made. I thought I had found a buried treasure and still think that, although there are many other people along side me flicking up the gold coins in the air from the chest lodged up on the water front. This is their prime masterpiece. C’mon you all know that you love the guitar solo as well as the keyboard/synthesizer solos that define this song. I have “air-guitared” and “air-keyboarded” to this track so many times; it could be the most for any song I have ever listened to. The guitar work is flawless throughout and the groove makes me picture a snake coming out of a vase. (remember that Abbott & Costello movie?) I would have loved to been in the recording room when they had nailed this song down, can you imagine having a set of headphones, sitting at the control board, listening to this “magic”-al experience? At the end of the song I would have threw off the headphones and jumped as high as I could toward the sky (as if the Jets had just won a Superbowl for those of you who know me) and given everyone high fives and hugs. Then after that I would have thanked them for letting me be part of history-totally awesome tune. \m/ \m/.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     “Modern Day Cowboy”

2.     “Everything I Own”

3.     “Moving in Stereo”

4.     Todd Rundgren

This week’s trivia (Heart, Willie)-

1.     What is the supposed story behind “Barracuda?”-meaning why did Ann write it?

2.     True or False: Izzy Stradlin played with Heart?

3.     How many Grammy’s has Willie Nelson won?

4.     Willie was part of the “Highway Men”-name at least two other members?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Born in the U.S.A.”- Bruce Springsteen

2.     “Born to be Wild”-Steppenwolf

3.      “Born to be My Baby”-Bon Jovi

4.     “Born in the ‘50’s”- The Police

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “.. like a band of gypsies we go down the highway.. we’re the best of friends.. insisting that the world keep turning our way…”

2.     “.. He take the thunder from the mountain… he take the lightning from the sky.. he bring the strong man to his bending knee…”

3.     “.. Ah keep your eyes on the road… your hands upon the wheel… keep your eyes on the road.. your hands upon the wheel…”

4.     “.. the wild and windy night that the rain washed away… has left a pool of tears.. crying for the day.. why leave me standing here…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1963, Patsy Cline died in a plance crash near Camden, Tennessee along with country stars Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. She was only 30.

Sadly back on this day in 1982, John Belushi (Blues Brothers) died of a drug overdose. He was only 33.

Back on this day in 1955, Elvis made his first television appearance, on the “Louisiana Hayride” program.

Back on this day in 1960, Elvis was discharged from the U.S. Army.

Back on this day in 2002, The Osbournes premiered on MTV. The first season of that show was the most watched that MTV has ever had.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the late Andy Gibb (he would have been 52) and John Frusciante (former? Guitarist for Red Hot Chili Peppers).

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