Errols Weekly Music Update.

January 28, 2011

Weekly Update – 01/28/2011

Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Apr. 6. If you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale tickets up until 10:00 tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $67.75 and $174.15.

Janet Jackson at Radio City Music Hall on Mon. Mar. 21. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $73.35 – $274.50 ($275 for one ticket? Are you kidding me? The world has gone mad).

Chris Cornell at the Wellmont Theater on Sat. Apr. 16. Tickets on sale today at noon. $40. Also appearing at the Town Hall (he has added another date as Apr. 12 is completely sold out) on Wed. Apr. 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $35, $45, $55, $60 and $65.

Drive By Truckers at the Bowery Ballroom on Tues. Feb. 15. Tickets on sale now. $25

Katy Perry at Nassau Coliseum and Prudential Center on Fri. & Sun. June 17 & 19. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. Nassau: $58.65 and $68.50; Prudential:$56.90 and $68.25

Twisted Sister at the Best Buy Theater on Fri. Apr. 29. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45

Meatloaf at Irving Plaza on Wed. Feb. 23. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $89.75 (again the regular price is $75-which is ridiculous-but then Ticketmaster and Live Nation add another $15 for fees-again the world has gone mad).

Three Days Grace at the Starland Ballroom on Thurs. Apr. 14. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $29.50

The Script at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Sat. June 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $47.35

Echo & The Bunnymen at Irving Plaza on Fri. May 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $52

Boyz II Men at the BB Kings on Thurs. Mar. 10. Tickets on sale today at 2:00 p.m. $39.50 ($45 day of show).

Sick Puppies at the Gramercy Theater on Thurs. Mar. 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $33.25

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of Gladys Horton, the powerful soul singer who co-founded “The Marvelettes” who passed away at the age of 66. The Marvelettes had huge hits in the 1960’s with “Please Mr. Postman,” “Playboy” and “Don’t Mess With Bill.” The band had their share of controversy and “tragedies” and Gladys left the group in 1967 to get married. She devoted herself to taking care of her handicapped child and mostly stayed out of the spotlight, returning once in a while to perform. Eventually the Marvelettes went on in name only as all the original members were replaced. Rest in peace Gladys.

Did you see American Idol on Wednesday night? They were in Milwaukee and I have to say there was some pretty decent talent. Now it’s early but I already know that I am going to like Steven Tyler as a judge-everyone knows that he has “the music in him” and he has an ear for good vocals, so from that vantage point-how can American Idol go wrong with him as a judge? He has been pretty funny (but has to watch his “salty” language) and has not really “passed” anyone on through that did not deserve to go to “Hollywood.” (Ok maybe that young girl who idolized him and actually dared to sing parts of “Dream On” but it was Randy who was pressured into the vote and maybe Miss Teen Tennessee-on Thursday night). The last person who auditioned was Chris Medina and folks if you did not see this, you need to go online and look for this piece. He was engaged to his long time girlfriend and she suffered a severe brain injury from a car accident. When he said that he would not leave her and would not give up his engagement, I have to admit I had a lump in my throat and was close to tearing up. Then he flat out nailed the Script’s “Break Even” and I was blown away on how good he sounded. Then the tears started to flow as he brought out his bride to be to meet the judges and I have to say that I watched Steven Tyler and he was so genuine to her & her family. Wow talk about tugging at the heart. It will be interesting to see how far Chris will go in the competition.

This week’s Rolling Stone magazine has a very interesting interview with Lil Wayne. He spent over 250 days at Rikers Island after his tour bus was stopped in NY and a weapon was found. It’s amazing how much money this man has made already and he should be at the top of the rap world for years to come.

Ozzy is reportedly going to be in a commercial with Justin Bieber during the Superbowl. Best Buy has hired the both of them to do a “futuristic” scene with both wearing black jumpsuits. On another note, Ozzy has stated that he would love to do a new Black Sabbath album with the four original members “before he dies.” Apparently Geezer Butler is not totally against it. (At least they are talking). Who knows there maybe another reunion tour and album.

Apparently Slash is not the only one who doesn’t want their music being spotlighted on the show “Glee.” The Kings of Leon have also said a “thumbs down” to the producers, and the producer of the show snapped back and stated that the band could have be brought to a younger audience. Members of King of Leon have also stated that they have never seen the show.

Kiss is supposedly going to release a new album by the end of 2011. Pretty quick turnaround this time after “Sonic Boom” was released in 2009. If they sell it in Walmart again, the workers better be dressed up in their face paint as I do not want another let down when this album is released. I want theatrics, workers walking around dressed like Kiss and the surround sound to be Kiss all day long.

Rumor of the Week: A two month tour during the summer featuring Def Leppard, Heart & Kansas. My first date with my bride was a Def Leppard concert and she loves Heart and I would love to see Kansas perform “Point of Know Return” in its entirety. Now that is a show I definitely would be up for. How about you?

Fans of the Grateful Dead, coming this fall will be a 60 CD release featuring 22 shows that were performed on their 1972 “Europe” Tour, which producers and band members consider to be one of the top three tours they ever had. It features singer-organist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan who passed away the following year.

Robbie Robertson will release his first disc in thirteen years when “How to Become Clairvoyant” hits the book stores (hey it is actually the first place I now think of that sells CDs, you see what it has come to?) in April. He gets some help from Clapton, Winwood, Tom Morello and Robert Randolph-that is a pretty diverse and talented help, should be interesting.

My favorite “hard rock” song this week is “Money Made” by AC/DC from their last album-“Black Ice”-this came up on my I-pod shuffle and I was wondering who it was because the groove was so cool and once the vocals came on I knew who it was. Maybe this was a sign to do my favorite top ten songs from AC/DC with Brian Johnson at the helm. I think this just might land in the top ten. Love this tune.

My favorite “rap” song of the week is “So What ‘Cha Want” by The Beastie Boys. I friggin’ love this song-the beat is too much to take. Two quick stories with this song-1) I threw this on a CD for Spin class and remember turning my saturated hat sideways and backwards when this song came on and remember Chris, the instructor laughing-totally cool song to Spin to. 2) My youngest son performed this song on “Rock Band” and completely nailed the vocals and as I watched him I got chills down the back of my spine. I will never forget either moment.


Show & Tell


Sometimes I come across bands/artists just by chance and love the music that is made by them but then for some reason the band seems to disappear into oblivion (or maybe it’s that I just didn’t pay close enough attention?) and I don’t ever see (or hear) from them again. This used to happen a lot with the hair bands in the 1980’s (think “Tora Tora”- I know-“who?”) but once Nirvana came in and cleared the music fields during the 1990’s, there was an opportunity to stand out with some good time rock and roll-which brings me to a band called “Silvertide.” Now of course I heard them on the only radio station in America that would play cool songs from a band like this and that was WCCC (106.9 on your FM dial) out of Hartford CT. The first time I heard-“Devil’s Daughter”- I was blown away. This band was a fusion of the Black Crowes (think “Shake Your Money Maker” and not the later Crowes), Jet (before Jet was Jet), AC/DC and the Rolling Stones with a Guns & Roses edge to their sound that was like a Mike Tyson left hook. Their guitar hooks and riffs were raw and bursting with energy that I had not heard in a long time (hey I love grunge but after a while you need a shot of adrenaline and this was the band to give it to you). Really their songs from “Show and Tell” sound like it was recorded last night, that’s how great their sound is (was). But then-“poof”- just like that I never heard from them, about them and I am left wondering-“what if?”

Now like I said maybe I don’t what happened to this band and if you know something, point me in the right direction but more than a few times I have scoured the internet or looked in CD stores (Ok, book stores you got me) or I-Tunes and I see very little information-again it’s like they disappeared into thin air. I am not sure if “Show and Tell” was their debut but from the sound of this album it sounds like something that a band that is really trying to make it and land a recording contract because this is flat-out rock and roll with a rough edge that makes you stand up and pay attention. Anyway, folks this album is like finding change at the bottom of a pay phone (if you old enough to remember) or walking up to an arcade and when you go to put your quarters in you realize that there are “credits” already in that pinball game so you now have a free game. Or if you are lucky when you find a $10 or $20 bill and realize that the bill has been there for some time and wasn’t from someone in front of you who may have just dropped it-that rush of a good feeling. This good feeling lasts for the entire album but admittedly there are one or two songs that I may skip over but overall this is a solid album. But on the flip side, it is lie eating cotton candy because it is sweet and tasty at the moment but not filling in the sense that there is no more after this awesome album and you are left with sticky hands and face looking for more but it does not happen. How can an album be this good and no follow up? I’m at a loss for words but these songs are my nuggets of the week, in no particular order:

Devil’s Daughter – Like I said the first time I heard this song it sounded like a band that I knew already- was it the Black Crowes going back to being a rock band again? But the vocalist is not like Chris, he sounds like him but it is not. Is it Guns & Roses minus Axl but with Slash, Duff and Matt with a new singer? This was like a “throw-back” song amongst the overflowing grunge music that many of us rock and roll fans were scouring for, we didn’t know how much we missed upbeat rock and roll until we heard this pure raucous sound. I immediately had to have it, I ran out and purchased the CD after I heard the DJ say the bands’ name after the song (don’t you hate when the radio stations don’t tell you the artist and the song?). Folks there is no other way to listen to this song (and album) but LOUD. The guitar riffs along with the drumming will make the hairs on your arm stand up-that’s how good this is. (Now be aware about the “saucy” lyrics and throughout the album there are multiple “F” bombs). They take a page out of AC/DC when the song ends there is a lot of screaming and clapping-totally reminds one of Bon Scott.

S.F.C. – Now you know I like to keep this a family page and am not a big fan of “cussing” on songs so this song has an immediate disclaimer on it-keep away from the “youngin’s” ears. This song’s title has the “F” bomb in it and normally I would not suggest songs like this but if you are an adult and can handle it, I say go for it because for me it is all about the music. The groove in this song is so righteous and the guitar solo in the middle of the song gets me so psyched up that I immediately hit the rewind button and have to hear this track over again. With this track I thought Guns & Roses were resurrected and had gone back to that dirty, raw sound (instead of mammoth productions like “November Rain”) and for some reason I want to put on boxing gloves and do that “kick boxing” class because this song will rock those gloves off as you will go wild especially when you air-guitar to the massive guitar solo. Whew…this is good stuff right here folks.

Mary Jane – Take a listen to the beginning of this song and tell me this doesn’t “pump you up?” I have to hit the volume button to its highest level-for the first 30 seconds or so the guitar riffs along with the pounding drums will immediately have you wanting to become a rock star. Why can’t I be a rock star? If I were going to have my first concert in front of 18,000 or so screaming fans at Madison Square Garden I think I would want to kick off the show with this song. Now again the “F” bomb is prevalent throughout so I understand if you want to skip over it but the musicianship is such that I would be running all over the stage trying to perform the old Diamond Dave jumps and splits while banging my head up and down feverishly to this jammin’ song. I’m loving the guitar solo again as I feel like I am being lifted off the ground-friggin’ awesome. But again not for the kiddies as the “F” bomb is used extensively throughout.

Ain’t Coming Home “…Uh One, Two here we go…” and away we go as this first song on the disc knocks your socks off and you instantly know that this is something special here and you can’t wait for the rest of the album. (Really what happened to this band? This is so good, how can they not be together?) You can feel the “AC/DC like” guitar riffs and the raw energy bleeding through your speakers and when the guitar solo hits you could really picture Angus playing this with the same fervor that this guitarist does. And the background vocals are reminiscent of Van Halen when Michael Anthony was providing the bulk of those singing parts behind both Diamond Dave and the Red Rocker. This song rocks!! \m/ \m/

California Rain – “..Uhh One, Two Three…” I think this is the most “melodic” song on “Show & Tell” as the groove is a “mature” rock and roll tune and what I mean by that is the arrangement is something that would come from a band that had been together for a long time and made numerous albums (who knows maybe these guys were together for a long time and chiseled this track to perfection?) Remember those headphones that I said I bought for my younger son for Christmas, well he is not the only one getting use out of those bad boys-this song sounds “most excellent” in my ears right now. There are some female background vocals for this time, a la Kid Rock and/or the Black Crowes. Nice touch!!

You Want It All – This song will rip you to shreds as you will feel like doing a Braylon Edwards backward flip (I know…they blew it) with a guitar in your hands as the drumming in this song will have you head-banging in no time and when it is time for your guitar solo, everyone will be doing the “Wayne’s World-We Are Not Worthy” bow as the crowd will wonder-“what happened to this band?” Ok that really is my question. I’m not sure what record company signed these guys but if I were in charge I would put out a “wanted” poster for Silvertide. “You want it all…you only live once…so baby come on!!!” Folks this album is a hidden treasure-do yourself a favor and find it!!!

Artists You Are Scared To Admit You Like

The Definitive Collection

Ok there are certain songs that you sing when you are alone but when you are around other people you make believe that you don’t like it-especially guys-there is a bravado, “machismo” –an image that has to be upheld with no exceptions made, right? Well here I go again- I love the song “Dancing Queen” by ABBA and oh by the way, some of my all-time favorite songs have been recorded by the band ABBA and I am not afraid to admit it. (Although I have not seen the movie “Mama Mia”). If you were listening to the radio (either AM or FM) during the 1970’s there was a very good chance that there would be an ABBA song coming on that station you had tuned into-actually various different hits from this Swedish based quartet. Whenever I hear this band, it takes me back to those days when I would spend my summers in Otisville N.Y. with my grandparents and uncle. On the car ride up to Otisville from Brooklyn we were bound to hear at least two songs by ABBA within the two hour car ride, then when we shopped in the local supermarkets the radio in the store would be pouring out hits from this talented vocal band. It seemed every where one went during the 1970’s, ABBA was there. You could not avoid them and why would you? Some of their songs have to be considered national treasures and I can guarantee you there is at least one song by ABBA that you like-if you admit it. Now the big question everyone asked last year was-“did ABBA deserve to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?”-now if the Hall had stayed true to the meaning of “rock and roll,” then the answer is obviously a resounding-“No.” But as we all have seen, the Hall has expanded their arms and have welcomed in genres that have not been “rock and roll” which has included “pop.” (see Madonna). So with that factoid, then “Yes” – ABBA fully deserved to enter the prestigious Hall.

For me personally, like I mentioned, ABBA takes me back to my childhood days when things for me were so carefree but ABBA will forever make me remind me of my oldest son because at his eighth grade graduation, his class sang the song-“I Had a Dream”- and every time I hear that song I tear up because I think of when he was born and now he is almost in college. (What is going on? Why is time going so fast?). Now this coming June my younger son is graduating the eighth grade, so I will feel the same way and we’ll see what band/artist and song will win out. But as for ABBA I say thank you to this band for making some of the greatest songs in the history of music and their music will last for generations to come. Here are some of my favorite songs, in no particular order, from this fantastic band:

Waterloo”- If I had a vote, I would cast this song as one of the best songs for the decade of the 1970’s and in my opinion it would have to land in the…let’s say…the top 25 songs of the that decade (Ok should I say “pop” songs as I know there were some of the greatest rock and roll/metal/hard rock etc.- take a deep breath and come back). Now this song will forever remind me of my grandmother-we called her “Ma”- and I can picture her making “Norweigan” pancakes (I know the band is Swedish but can’t we all get along?) while I probably put WABC radio on and this song came on. The arrangement is spectacular and I love the saxophone throughout the background. (I used to play the Alto saxophone and have always regretted not staying with it). It has the obligatory hand claps and you know how I feel about those, right? If it moves you, it has to be good and one can not help but clap, sing or dance to this phenomenal song. Could be my most favorite ABBA song. “I feel like I win when I lose…Waterloo…Wa Wa Wa Waterloo…”

Take a Chance on Me” – For some reason whenever I create a party list or when I have people over to the house and have background music on, this song always seems to start it off. I am so drawn to this song and I think it is the background vocals as they are constantly singing “take a chance…take a chance…take a chance…” (Next time you listen just focus on that part and you’ll see what I am talking about-it drives my oldest son crazy that I always do this with songs). How can you not sing along to this song? I find it virtually impossible to not like this song because there is nothing really not to like. I love the “breakout” vocal solos when one of the girls blurt out-“…cause you know I’ve got…so much that I wanna do…” and the psychedelic keyboard work-again focus on that, totally cool.

Does Your Mother Know” – Between the years of 2002 through mid 2005, I belonged to a “crew”- yes a crew of gym rats that alternated every other day starting with Spin class on Monday’s, then Boot Camp on Tuesday’s. This all occurred at the gym at MBIA. Being a music freak, I became obsessed with creating cool play lists for both classes and the instructors were nice enough to play them (even though for them it probably became annoying) and I thank them for that. For the most part I think most everyone enjoyed the lists. Anyway, as you can probably guess I introduced them to a “heavy” set of songs (think Metallica, Linkin’ Park, Foo Fighters…) and when I started doing songs for Spin, I knew I had to mix it up and I remember scrolling through ABBA’s catalog and came across this song. To my surprise, this tune had some giddy-up (not full blown “sprint”) but could be used for warm-up or the beginning of the set. I don’t know if you feel better when you work out but I usually did and for some reason songs became better when you are going all out. I will always remember this song as a Spin song, love it. (Listen carefully to the background vocals-awesome).

I Have a Dream”- For the rest of my life I will forever have this song to treasure as the tears well up when I think back to the day my son graduated from the 8th grade and left his elementary school. Their class sang this song to perfection with style and grace. Love the beginning when she sings-“I have a dream…a song to sing…to help me cope…” then later on “…I believe in angels…something good in every thing I see…” As the background vocals fill in, it again reminds me of my sons’ entire class joining in behind the lead soloist and at that moment I felt like I was being lifted off the ground. Folks this is arguably their best song, in my opinion-you can’t go wrong with this tune.

The Name of the Game” – Talk about a cool groove? This is ABBA with an edge, not a sharp edge but maybe like a plastic butter knife. I love the trumpet (or other horn instrument) that quietly adds the spice to this song in the background. The track is so infectious that you will find yourself looking towards the sky as you hold your heart and sing “What’s the name of the game…can you feel it the way I do?..” Or how about the “doo doo” background vocals? You know you can’t stop singing that part. “I wanna know oh yes I wanna know…what’s the name of the game…does it mean anything to you?…what’s the name of the game?” And just like that the song is over-four minutes over in a flash.

Dancing Queen” – Ok I know this is their most popular song, right? Who hasn’t heard this song? Anyone? I’d argue besides a Michael Jackson song, this ABBA song is probably known by more people around the globe than any other artists’ song. (I can’t think one right away, can you?). This is a “fan favorite” at every wedding or special event because it takes you to back to a happy time, a memorable time or it creates an all out karaoke event as everyone sings-“you are the dancing queen…young and sweet only 17…” This also could be the greatest sing along song ever created. Love the piano parts throughout as well as the violin parts. This also lands in the top 25 songs (“pop”) during the decade of the 1970’s.

Fernando” –I think the chorus is one of the best that ABBA created-“there was this song all day and night. “If I had to do the same again, I would my friend” and I say to you my friends-this song is mesmerizing and deserves to be in you music library. Let’s all sing-“there was something in the air that night…”- I can’t get enough, love it!!!

Top Ten

Image of Bee Gees

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Too Much Heaven” by The Bee Gees and I immediately said that I need to this week’s “Top Ten” on this unbelievably talented three-some, who’s singing voices combined together created, arguably, the greatest harmonies in the history of music. Words cannot even begin to describe how much I love the Bee Gees music (no they are NOT in the category of “artists that you are scared to admit you like”) and yes even the “disco” years. As you all know by now, I was the teenager who lambasted against disco but as I grew older and wiser (the guys I have coffee with every Sunday morning-our own “Men of a Certain Age”-still say I have not grown up-which is a good sign to me) I recognized the greatness in many disco songs and have to say that my favorite disco songs have always been by the Bee Gees. Yes I liked it back then but could never admit that, I had an image to uphold. Anyways, these three brothers (sadly, Maurice, passed away unexpectedly in 2003) have created some of the most recognizable songs and the “proof is in the pudding”-they have sold in excess of 205 million records and singles worldwide; over 2,500 artists have re-recorded their songs (with “How Deep is Your Love” being covered the most as 400 artists have recorded that song); they are 6th on the all time list of albums, records and singles sold in the history of music and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. They had “two” careers (as some other bands have had-Aerosmith first comes to mind) with their first being in the mid to late 1960’s with all those sensational heart breaking songs-songs that had so much meaning-songs that one could not ignore and every one had to sing along to because it was impossible to not sing along. (Think- “To Love Somebody”- and tell me you haven’t sung out loud- “you don’t know what it’s like…baby you don’t know what’s it like…to love somebody…to love somebody…the way I love you…”…. Or how about “Lonely Days”–“Good Morning Mr. Sunshine…you’ve brightened up my day…come sit besides me…” Totally awe- inspiring).

Then in the 1970’s-thanks to the great “Saturday Night Fever” movie (filmed in the greatest borough ever-Brooklyn) they wrote and performed some of their biggest hits which catapulted them to another level of fame-which will forever have them at that level in my opinion. Folks, stop a minute and think about that album (or soundtrack) and what it did for their career-or to put it another way-think of what they did to make that album as big as it is. It really is mind boggling. As I sit here and listen to their library of songs, this is nearly impossible to pick just ten songs-their work is so extensive, spanning over 40 years. I think every “hit” song they had in the 1960’s are my favorite. I know that I stated that trying to come up with the Mighty Led Zeppelin’s top ten songs (yes Ok I know I said the same about Tesla, Shinedown, Beatles, etc.) was the hardest since I started doing these “top ten” lists but I have to be honest and say that naming the top ten Bee Gees songs has been just as hard as the Mighty Led Zeppelin (I know I still haven’t done my favorite Metallica songs-maybe I have purposely avoided that task without knowing it-just thinking about it, I run away). My wife says that the “early” Bee Gee songs are too sad for her and I have to admit on many of their early songs I tear up because they do tug on one’s heart strings. (Think “Words”). Once I get into a “Bee Gee’s” trip, I can’t stop listening because those songs make you think of your life and of course there are happy moments, along with the tough moments. For me the tough moment was my mother’s passing and when I hear songs like “Words” for whatever reason I think of her and the tears start flowing. And you might ask-why listen? And sometimes I ask myself the same question but the song(s) is (are) so beautiful to ignore and I try to sing like the record –“It’s only words and words all I have to take your heart away…”-and when I am in that zone-I consider them the best vocalists of all time.

But here I am, stuck on an island and informed that I can only have ten songs by the legendary band called The Bee Gees (by the way Steven Spielberg is making a movie about their lives and yes Barry and Robin are involved-they may have to use the original recordings because who can match Barry’s falsetto’s?). Folks try and do this and see what would make your list. Here goes mine: (Now for those of you following along-like my oldest son- two years ago I put down that my favorite Bee gee song was “I’ve Gotta Get a Message To You” but fast forward two years it is not the number one song, so like everyone else, tastes change, right?)

10.     Night Fever – This song barely beat out “New York Mining Disaster 1941”as my number 10, it was neck and neck but I have to be honest with myself and say that if I am on an island, I could quickly sing “New York Mining” but then start off with this classic from Saturday Night Fever. “Here I am…waiting for this moment to dance…” I always wanted to dance like John Travolta (who didn’t?) but of course couldn’t like this because it was disco-I loved the movie because it was based in Brooklyn and “Tony” was all about Brooklyn. I always loved the music from the soundtrack but kept it a secret from my “rock” brethren. I wish I could dance…

9.     I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You – This song has fallen from the ranks but still lands in the top ten. It is a story of a man who is awaiting his execution in an electric chair and has to get a message to his wife. He begs the jail’s chaplain to deliver the message. Again the vocals are spectacular and of course that is the draw and knowing what the words mean, it has to hit your heart. Passion is the word of the day folks when it comes to this song-they sing it like they mean it.

8.     You Should Be Dancing – The first thing I do when I hear this song is take my two fists and twirl them around each other in a circle, then raise it to the left, the middle and the right while trying to move my legs like “Tony” but it doesn’t work, hey I can dream, right?!! This song has to move you, it is impossible to sit still when you hear it and you really “should be dancing.” Don’t cha just love the “yeahhhhh…yeahhh” When the bongos and other percussion enter in towards the end of the song it makes it that much better. This is a world wide classic-how many times have you heard it at a party?

7.     How Can You Mend a Broken Heart – For some reason I just picture a bunch of people in a pub somewhere in England sitting at the bar, holding the mugs while swinging them back and forth singing-“I could never see tomorrow…but I was never told… about the sorrow”. How beautiful is this song? “How can you stop the sun from shining?…what makes the world go round?” This is such a great song to sing along to and I sway from side to side (like those folks in the front row of American Idol) and drift away to another place. The age old question- “How can you mend a broken heart?”-that never really gets answered, right? I love the “la la’s” towards the end of the song.

6.     To Love Somebody – I can see an argument made that this could be their best song ever. The groove in this song is so outstanding; I wish I could have written it. There are so many great parts to the song and put it all together and again this could be their best song ever. I love the “cello” part that follows along after he sings-“That never shone on me…” Or the part-“I’m a man…can’t you see what I am? I live and I breathe for you…” Talk about passion? Find me passion than-“I live and I breathe for you…” Phenomenal song.

5.     Lonely Days–Mesmerizing is the word that quickly comes to mind once the song starts, I can’t move, I don’t want to move because I don’t want to miss any part of this tune. This is a national treasure for the entire world to experience. Love the hand claps before they sing-“lonely days…lonely nights…where would I be without my woman?..” I also love the trumpet part that blares out the emphasis but then it quickly becomes light again as we all say “good morning to Mr. Sunshine…” And then it happens again you wait for that piano part that takes it back up as the trumpet returns-“lonely days…lonely nights…” As the orchestration fills in at the end, it kind of reminds me of a Beatle production. Masterpiece.

4.     Staying Alive –Ok if this song doesn’t define Brooklyn N.Y. then I don’t know what does. If you look up the word “Brooklyn” in the dictionary, somehow “staying alive” has to appear in the meaning. It is so weird because even though the Bee Gees are singing this awesome tune, the only thing I can picture is the Brooklyn born “Tony Manero” (I know Travolta was born in New Jersey but we won’t hold that against him) walking underneath the “L” train that trails through Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. C’mon folks this could arguably be the greatest disco song ever recorded-how many times have you been at a wedding and the DJ throws this song on and everyone gets up out of their seat doing their own interpretations of Mr. Travolta? I know when I go to work and I have my headphones on and if this song comes on the “shuffle” there definitely an extra bounce in my step as I head to the dreaded #4 train at Grand Central. Songs like this make the commute bearable.

3.     Don’t Forget to Remember– Talk about a sad song, wow. If you have someone in your life that has left you-don’t listen to this song as the pain of losing someone cries through this tune. I love this song and love to sing along to it because it is so melodic. (almost “country like” at certain points). It is one of the fastest three minute songs for me as it is over before I know it. “Don’t forget to remember me…and the love that used to be…” The lines-“but I can’t get myself over you”- hits home a little in a different context when I think of my mother. This is a simply amazing song.

2.     Words – From the opening piano note I am fully entranced and close my eyes while Barry takes over-“This world has lost its glory…let’s start a brand new my love..” I am clutching my hands over my left part of my chest as I grab my heart and sing “it’s only words…and words are all I have…to take your heart away…”The poignant lyrics-“And I will give all my life…I’m here if you should call to me…”-makes me think of my mother again as I would do that for her as well as my wife and my sons. This fills my heart with love, I can’t get enough of this song. Beautiful. ‘Nuff said.

1.     How Deep is Your Love For the last few years, every time this song came on my I-pod shuffle I found myself liking it more and more. Their background vocal harmonization could be the best that has ever been recorded in the history of music. The song is so soothing, so relaxing and the arrangement is beyond spectacular and again the lyrics are filled with so much passion. This past weekend, we played a family game of “Scrabble” and I had this song on a playlist and every one of us were singing along word-for-word. Yes, even both of my boys. I think this is their masterpiece and I could listen to this song 24 hours a day. “Haaaaaa…how deep is your love…I really need to learn…”

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Christie McVie

2.     Rob Zombie

3.     Mick Mars (oh..Motley Crue for those of you who don’t know who he is)

4.     Salt N Pepa

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I was part of an up and coming hard rock band during the 1980’s and we used to play at “Lamours” in Brooklyn N.Y. before we exploded into stardom. I sat in front of congress to defend my heavy metal brethren from Tipper Gore. After our fame decreased I became a DJ and then had my own reality show for like 5 episodes. I am currently on Broadway doing a part in the “Rock of Ages” play. Who am I?

2.     I was most popular in the 1970’s and am still going strong today. I was somewhat of a music/political activist with “No More Nukes”- do you remember that? I have written so many songs and co-wrote one of the Eagles most popular song. I am on my “back-nine” but am not running on empty, who am I?

3.     I have maybe had a relationship with Kid Rock and we have made more than a few songs together. I dabble in Country, Rock and my latest album was my tribute to “R&B.” I am a cancer survivor and have a great frend from “Friends.” Who am I?

4.     I have been playing guitar and singing now for at least four decades. I came into a popular band in the 1970’s from a recommendation by my good friend-“JY”- and catapulted them to stardom. During the “hair-band” era I jumped ship and formed a band with a gun toting activist (who didn’t fit the image as a hair-band member) and we did a few albums. I went back to my original band and we had a 2010 fall tour where we played two of our most popular albums in their entirety. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Red Barchetta – Rush

2.     I’ve Gotta Be Me – Sammy Davis Jr.

3.     Heavy MetalSammy Hagar

4.     All I Want To Do – Sheryl Crow

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

1.     “…welcome to your life…there’s no turning back…even while we sleep…we will find you acting on your best behavior…”

2.     “…the ice age is coming…the sun’s of an end…meltdown expected…the wheat is growing thin…”

3.     “…every time I need you say you won’t be there…and you’re always there…every time I cry your name at night…you pull close and say it’s alright…”

4.     “…talking to myself and feeling old…sometimes I’d like to quit…nothing ever seems to fit…hanging around…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 2005, Jim Capaldi, drummer for Traffic, past away at the young age of 60 to stomach cancer.

Sadly back on this day in 2009, Billy Powell, keyboardist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, passed away at the young age of 56 from an apparent heart attck.

Back on this day in 1956, Elvis made his television debut on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show. Jackie Gleason, who was a guest that night, stated that he would never make it.

Back on this day in 1978, The Doobie Brothers made a guest appearance on the show “What’s Happening.” I remember watching it that night, I couldn’t wait to see rock and roll on TV.

Back on this day in 1978, Ted Nugent was approached by a fan who wanted Ted to sign his name on his arm…with a bowie knife…Ted obliged the fan.

Back on this day in 1985, USA for Africa recorded “We Are The World” which included so many different artists. Great event for great cause.

Back on this day in 1997, Pat Boone recorded an album of all covers of heavy metal music. It was bad all the way around for Pat as he lost his show on Christian TV and the metal world still hasn’t recovered from this. This stands second with only Metallica losing out to Jethro Tull as metal’s darkest moments. I haven’t recovered from either.


January 21, 2011

Weekly Update – 01/21/2011

Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks (Heart & Soul Tour) at Madison Square Garden on Sat. March 26. If you have an American Express card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $64.75, $116.35 and $174.15

Chris Cornell performing songs from his entire career Acoustically will be at the Town Hall Theater in New York City on Tues. Apr. 12 and also at the Wellmont Theater on Sat. Apr. 16. Town Hall: If you have an American Express card you can begin purchasing “pre-sale” tickets next Wed. Jan. 26 at 10:00 a.m. until Fri. Jan. 28 at 8:00 a.m.. General public tickets on sale next Fri. Jan. 28 at 10:00 a.m. $44.15 and $75.35. Wellmont Theater: General public on sale next Fri. Jan. 28 at noon. $40. (the Wellmont it is)

Trey Songz at the Theater in Madison Square Garden on Fri. Feb. 11. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $64.15 and $117.35

Trey Anastasio and his band at Terminal 5 on Tues. Feb. 22. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. $39.50 (Acoustic and Electric evening)

The Kills at Terminal 5 on Fri. Apr. 29. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($30 day of show).

James Blunt at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. Apr. 21. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $52.90, $63.15 and $73.35

Kylie Minogue at the Hammerstein Ballroom (I ain’t calling it by its new name) on Mon. May 2. If you have an American Express card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $100.40, $139.30 and $164.90 (Really? No tickets under $100 for Kylie Minoque? What am I missing?)

Good Charlotte at Irving Plaza on Tues. Mar. 8. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.50 (keep in mind that the actual ticket price is $27.50 but the approved merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation allows them to rip off the consumer by charging $12 in fees, which represents almost 50% of the actual ticket price).

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of Don Kirshner who passed away on Jan. 17 at the age of 76. Don’s legacy with the world of music is legendary as he presented so many artists to the viewing TV audience during the 1970’s and 1980’s with his show “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.” And back in those days (before MTV) one could never find musicians on TV until Don came along (sort of the modern day Ed Sullivan). I loved watching those shows. He was a big influence on The Monkees and they were never the same once they fired Don. He was also the manager of Bobby Darin and involved in countless other musicians lives. Rest in peace Don and thanks for those great shows.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of all the victims that were killed and wounded in Arizona a few weeks back. I am not sure if you caught this but at the funeral of the little girl-Christina Taylor Green- the very sad ceremony ended with Billy Joel’s version of “Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel).” Talk about a heart crushing moment? For the rest of my life whenever I hear this song (and the poignant words) I will never forget that it was played at her funeral. I’m crying now while typing these words to you-too heartbreaking.

For those of you headed out to see John Mellencamp on tour this winter and thinking you are going to see his greatest hits-think again. According to an interview in the latest issue of Rolling Stone he states-“if you think that I will be playing my greatest hits you might as well stay home.” Ouch. I hear he does some of his classics but with a new twist on the songs. He has used T. Bone Burnett as his producer, so you can forget “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”

My father should be proud as my favorite “old school” song of the week belongs to The Platters with their classic-“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” I had forgotten how much I loved this song and sadly it came about because of a Honda commercial. But that commercial made me go and purchase this unbelievable song. I wish I could sing like that-“they don’t make songs like this anymore.” Thanks Dad!!

Continuing with the “oldies” theme, my other favorite song of the week is “Since I Don’t Have You” by The Skyliners. Boy does this song bring back wonderful memories of my mother and Aunt Carol, along with my Dad as I can picture them all sitting around the kitchen table singing this wonderful song. Again-“they” don’t make songs like this anymore.”

The famous Dire Straits song-“Money for Nothing”- will no longer be allowed to be played over Canadian air-waves in its current format because of the “F” word-no not that one, the other one. “…that little ____, he’s a millionaire…” Unless that word is edited out of the song, it is now illegal to play that song. Weird thing though is that the “single” originally had that word taken out and MTV had edited that word out when they showed the video all those years ago. Canada must be “old school” and only play from vinyl’s.

Queens of the Stone Age front man-Josh Homme-recently said in an interview that he almost died last year on the operating table after complications arose following surgery on his leg. He had to remain in bed for three months and was only given the green light to begin working by doctors in the middle of December. Whew, thank goodness he is on the mend.

Slash has put it out there that he will never allow any of his music to ever be done on the hit TV series “Glee.” He says he can’t tolerate the show. I would love to see them perform “Sweet Child of Mine” (LOL!!) but I guess that will never happen…unless they ask Axl….

With all the hoopla surrounding Steven Tyler as an American Idol judge, apparently Aerosmith is NOT going to break up, as a matter of fact rumor has it that Steven has moved his band mates to CA and they will begin recording their next album very soon. Tyler told anyone who would listen that reports of the band’s demise has been totally overblown by the press and his gig with AI will not get in the way of the band or touring. So far the new lineup has been a “love-fest” and at points Steven looks like he isn’t paying attention but I get the sense he is genuine with his responses to the contestants. There were a few kids that they put through that I know Simon would have never done-and so I guess it starts-this whole season everyone who has watched this show from year one will be saying-“Simon would have never…..”

Vince Neil has been sentenced to two weeks in jail after being picked up for a DUI. He begins the jail time on Feb. 15. Back in 1984, he served 20 days after causing an accident that killed Nicholas Dingley-drummer for Hanoi Rocks.

Marilyn Manson has apparently signed a contract to be a judge and coach on an Austrian talent show called “Tomorrow’s Heroes.” (Hey if Steven can do it, then why not Marilyn?) If you know anyone in Austria, the show begins tonight.



When I did the last posting, I received an e-mail from someone letting me know that he read my blog for the first time and he liked the format and stated that the page is “informative.” Thanks! He also suggested doing something on Sly & the Family Stone. Now I am not going to sit here and profess that I know everything about this band-I can’t-I was a toddler when they exploded on the scene but I do know one thing-this band could have been the most important and exciting band to ever grace the stage. People are still talking today about their performance at Woodstock and besides maybe the Jimi Hendrix set, one would be hard-pressed to find an artist or band to have played better than the “Family” at the three day festival in 1969. Now we all know the turbulent times of the 1960’s and this band was right there in the thick of things, fighting to get their point across while preaching “togetherness” but outside forces (from what I have read) were there to try and break up this family. Now since this is a music page, I will concentrate on the music but with this band, one can not ignore the message. Think about some of the songs that this legendary band has recorded? These songs are etched into our soul and will last for generations to come. “Dance to the Music” could arguably be the greatest record ever recorded in the history of music-no really, if this song doesn’t land in the top ten songs ever recorded, then I don’t know anything about music. Can you imagine being in the recording studio when this was recorded? (Every one had to be jumping in the air and giving “high fives” around the room-I wonder if they knew that they were making recording history?) Who didn’t want to be “Cynthia” or “Jerry?” It has to be considered one of the coolest songs ever recorded, no? Or how about “Everyday People?”-which is from their fourth album “Stand”-which was made in 1969 and is the focus of today’s discussion on “golden nuggets.” Next time you hear this song, listen to the lyrics and realize the social impact, it is really unbelievable and this was recorded after the death of Martin Luther King (for whom we celebrated his life this past Monday) and all the other social unrest during those turbulent times. This has to rank up there with “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye or “A Change is Gonna Come” by Same Cooke in my opinion but again I will get back to the music.

Sly & the Family Stone is one of my “brothers’” –Slats- favorite bands and more than a few years ago he wanted to know if I had the song-“M’Lady”-which is off their third album-“Life”-which I think is my favorite album from this great band-and I sent him a CD playlist which included this fan favorite from the band. I can picture Slats singing along to this song and moving and gyrating, which is what the song does to you. On another note, he had a totally cool encounter with some members of the “Family” band at BB Kings in the past year and was able to hang out with them and listen to them jam the night away. By the way, Slats is the best drummer that I personally know.

Getting back to the album-“Stand”- which is the album that shot the band to superstar status (now I would be remiss if I didn’t mention their other landmark album-“There’s a Riot Going On”-which many believe is their masterpiece but the focus for today is “Stand”) and I say that because of the amount of sales it sold-now you know that for me that doesn’t mean that albums with less “fan fare” don’t rate-probably the exact opposite from me, right? How many songs or albums have you read on this blog and said “he writes about the most obscure things!” I just mentioned that “Life” may be my most favorite album by them and that did not have the same commercial success. Anyway, in the case of “Stand” it did have the commercial success and it is a great album but I have to be totally honest and say that there is one song that I don’t want to write about and one other song that is over 13 minutes long, so I have to be honest and say that each of these songs appear on side one and side two, thus eliminating “perfect” album sides for me. Now granted I listen to the entire album (though I really have to be in the mood for “Sex Machine”-great groove but way too long for me) but I have to be honest and say it lands here in the section I label “Nuggets” but you can not go wrong by obtaining the entire album (including the “add-ons”-which is cool). Now usually I say “What if?” about those artists who have passed on and in the case of this band, I often think “What if this band did a reunion tour?” I’d have to say it would sell out just as fast as the Mighty Led Zeppelin-yes I just said that. Here are the golden nuggets from the album “Stand” by Sly & the Family Stone in no particular order:

Sing a Simple Song – How freaking great is this song? The greatest thing about this band was the way is meshed so many different genres of music into one “bag.” Funk, soul, blues, R&B and plain old rock and roll-who did it better? The groove in this song is so infectious, the bass lines will make you move your body in ways you never thought possible. This song has been “sampled” by so many artists (including Tupac) and that is a sign of how much this track is loved and revered. It is so hard to pick my favorite song on this album but if I had to make a choice, this may just be it-so freaking phenomenal.

I Want to Take You Higher – This band had it all- the great psychedelic grooves with phenomenal vocals, awesome horn section, guitars, bass and drums that fused everything together and created magic. Don’t you just love the baritone voice that appears throughout-“Sound is in your city too…” which was then offset by the high pitched vocalist-almost too much to take. “Boom laka laka boom…” How great is this song? I have rewound it so many times, it’s like “Ground Hog Day.” This “funkadelic” classic is timeless and it’s impossible not to like this song. By the way, the album version is the better version than the “single” version only because it is about 3 minutes longer.

Stand – The title track is such a fun song to sing along to and the lyrics behind the music are poignant. This is a finger snapping song that could be used at your next Karaoke party and you can bring up your friends if you are afraid to be in the spotlight to help you sing the tune. “There’s a midget standing tall and a Giant standing beside him that’s about to fall”.” The song kicks it up a notch with about 50 seconds left in the song as the drums become more persistent while causing you to glide your feet across the dance floor a la Michael Jackson style.

Everyday People What else can I say about this song? Not only is it one of the most important songs ever written, the groove is totally infectious as it grabs you in a headlock and doesn’t let go. How can anyone not sing along to this song? I defy you!!! “I am every day people…there is a blue one who can’t except the green one…and so on and so on…” Isn’t it amazing how these lyrics still apply, especially since our Country has become so polarized? I love how the horn section follows behind the vocalists throughout the tune. Next time you listen to this song just follow the horns and you’ll see what I am talking about. This song has to move you-in more ways than one.

You Can Make It If You Try – For some reason I can picture an older version of the Jackson 5 doing this song (and of course adding Janet to do the female part). The drumming in this song is what gets me all the time-I love it and can’t get enough of it-I want to take lessons right now just because of this song. Listen to the musicianship on this track-starts off with the “James Brown” like horn section and when Sly plays the organ part, I want to go back in time and go to Woodstock. I was born too late!!!! Folks these are some of the most bodacious grooves ever created in the history of music, I’m sorry. This is so classic it is like it’s brand new-it sounds like it was recorded yesterday. Simply amazing. It is so good it is over before you know it.

Songs With Terrible Endings

Last week the snow storm that “missed” the New York City area and only dumped 9 inches on them, blanketed my town New Fairfield CT with a whopping 28 inches, so needless to say it was going to take some time to dig out the driveway. Anyway, I knew I was going to be out there for some time, so I decided to put on my I-Pod beneath my noise resistant headphones which I use when I mow my lawn. I was so bundle up that I couldn’t move and I was hoping for a really good mix because like I mentioned it was so cold that I really couldn’t stop, take my gloves off, dig into my sweats (which was covered by nylon workout pants so as to not get soaked) to find the I-Pod and hit the next button- you know what I mean, right? So the mix of songs is going good and then a song by the Black Rebel Motorcyle Club comes on-“What Ever Happened to My Rock and Roll”- and the beginning is going real nice and I am feeling the vibe. But then I start to hear all this noise and I didn’t know if it was still the same song, it went to the point where I was out of my mind, so the thing I did not want to do-I had to- I let go of the reigns of the snow blower and checked for the artist and song and it still was the same tune. It turns out that the last 80 seconds of the song slowed down and started making all these weird noises and so totally annoying. (yes I must have forgotten that when I purchased it). So that had me thinking-“what other songs have terrible endings?”- and could I make this a category on the page? Folks, here are songs, in my opinion that are really good but have terrible endings-again in no particular order:

What Ever Happened to My Rock and Roll” – Black Rebel Motorcyle Club – Starts off with a bang as I wonder why this band doesn’t have more popularity than it currently does. They are a mix of Jet and Oasis (maybe?) and the song has a driving groove that works well when you are shoveling or utilizing the snow blower because one needs all the energy they can get while doing this physical workout. I was loving it but then at the 1:20 mark left in the song it happens- the song crashes and burns and this could be the sole reason they are not more popular. Beware, you may look to break something.

Black Diamond” – Kiss – It pains me to put down a song from one of my favorite bands’ but I have to be honest here. “Out on the streets for a living”- yes those classic words from Peter Criss on vocals and don’t get me wrong I love this song but once it gets to the end where it  s  l  o  w  s  d  o  w  n…..I have to turn it off. I wonder who thought of making the ending like that? Was it Gene, Paul, Ace or Peter? Or maybe the production guys? Whomever thought of it…..bad idea.

Shooting StarBad Company– You know I love these guys and love this song but it seems to drag on forever. How many times can one say-“don’t you know that you are a shooting star?”- and once the “Nah…Nah…Nahs” start I shut it down. Sorry boys but this song could have ended at the four minute mark. Even on “Rock Band” it is annoying…..

I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home” – Grand Funk Railroad – Talk about the longest ending of a song ever, huh? It’s weird sometimes I can actually listen to the entire 10:00 minute version of the song but it is a rare occasion. Again I love the song and the band-you know I have always stated that this band is one of the most underrated bands in the history of music-but I’m not sure how many times I can sing-“I’m getting closer to my home…”

Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – Harry Connick Jr. – I know the holidays are over (but it wasn’t that long ago we were listening to Christmas music and you know I love to gather more and more songs by various artists so as to have more of a flavor of the great Christmas classic tunes and I took a listen on I-Tunes (remember they now let you listen for 1:30) and I said cool, I’ll buy it. The problem is they play the middle of the song-which is very cool just like the beginning. But then with about 40 seconds left in the song it is a free-for-all with all these horn instruments playing as loud as they could so as to top one another and I found myself looking to break the CD that I put this song on for Christmas. These types of songs are supposed to be enjoyable-not sound like an alley way of screaming cats-rest assured this song will never make my future Christmas playlists.

Voodoo” – Godsmack – Now there is actually nothing wrong with the musical ending to this song but for some reason, the band decided to have the last 4:25 of “nothing”-that’s right-Nothing-so if you wanted to throw this song on a mix for a party or for whatever reason-you can’t because there is no sound for over 4 minutes but the song is not actually over. Very annoying.

Layla” – Derek & the Dominos – Now I know by putting this song down it is considered blasphemy and I struggled with my decision to put it here as I do respect the greatness of this song but I have to tell you, the ending is seemingly the longest ending to a song ever and literally I often look for something to break by the end of the tune or I have to turn the dial. But you know it was made in the 1970’s and that was the thing back in those days- to have long drawn out endings to songs-probably because they didn’t want their songs ending up on pop radio.

Top Ten (of an Artist You Are Scared to Admit You Like)

Image of Rob Zombie

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Electric Head Pt. 1 (The Agony)” by White Zombie and it had me thinking, do I admit that I like Rob Zombie and his musical career to date? I’d have to say yes. Now this is another artist where you probably don’t admit to the general public that you listen to, he is definitely an acquired taste. Now you know I learned my lesson with Marilyn Manson, of whom I tried very hard to be discreet about and the same goes for Mr. Zombie. (C’mon don’t cha just love the way that sounds-“Mr. Zombie??!!”-I know there is something wrong with me). Anyway, about six years ago I left MBIA and headed back to S&P and I was doing this “blog” but it was only to a few friends via e-mail. When I arrived back at S&P, my friend Scott informed me that there was someone in the group who I needed to add to my e-mail list because they were definitely into some of the music I listened to. Now I think this person would not mind me stating that they are into Rob Zombie but just in case, I will not reveal the name (hey we work in the business world and admitting something like this might just make people look at you a bit differently-but in my case the cat is already out of the bag with the admission of liking some of Marilyn Manson’s music, so how bad can Rob Zombie be?-Ok don’t answer that!). Anyway we really connected on the genre of metal, so I threw some names out there and to my surprise I actually found someone else who had heard of Rob Zombie and liked him as well. And then to be further surprised, the person pointed out someone else in the group who was into him-so you know what happened next, right? “Road-Trip!!”- We all went to see him perform live at the Nokia Theater (now “Best Buy” Theater) in March 2006 and what a blast we all had. The energy that he and his band had that night was electrifying-the mosh pit grew so large we almost ended up near the entrance of the place.

My first introduction into Mr. Zombie was of course-“Thunder Kiss ‘65”- and I was blown away-the sound and the energy was so raw that I needed to find out who this guy was but in a weird way I was afraid to venture down that path and I did not purchase White Zombie’s “debut” album (I know all you die hards this was not his first). It wasn’t until I heard “More Human Than Human” that I decided to take a chance and I bought-“Astro-Creep: 2000.” At first I did not get it (or like it) but just like Soundgarden’s “Superunknown” I went back and gave it another try and eventually it grew on me. This was by far the weirdest music I had ever heard but intriguing enough (and of course filled with massive guitar riffs) to keep me coming back. And as soon as I considered myself a fan of White Zombie-they disbanded. (Maybe they were getting too soft if I was listening, huh?) Anyway I followed Rob’s career and believe it or not, I think he added “funk” and “soul” to his solo career-of course he is still strange and his music leans mostly to the heavy side but he made some solo songs that most anyone could listen to, albeit that they were cover songs-most notably-“I’m Your Boogie Man” by KC & The Sunshine Band. Then he hooked up with one of my favorites-Howard Stern-and did a song with Howard-“The American Nightmare”- for the movie-“Private Parts.”

Now I am not a fan of scary movies so I do not follow his theatrical career with his crazy scary productions of Halloween and other “creature of the night” type movies-not for me, never was, never will be. I can’t say that I am his biggest fan and do not purport to know all there is about this man, I will say that I wish he would take the same approach Kid Rock did and try to not make an album where every other lyric has to be “hey mother f****r”-that is getting old in my book but I still like many of his songs. So here it is I am on an island and informed that I can only have ten songs by Rob Zombie (including his days with White Zombie)-“These are Them:” (Now there is one song that is one of my absolute favorites but even I can not list it here as the title, lyrics and every thing about the song is so wrong. I only listen to it on my headphones or in my car by myself. I don’t play it around my wife or kids-it is that bad)

10.     Two-Lane Blacktop –I introduced the MBIA boot camp team (Dave, Tricia, CIC, Nick) to this song back in 2003 and it became one of the staples in our energetic class. First of all, it has “hand-claps” so you know in my book it is good, right? If you are looking for a great work-out song, look no further than this ball of fun. I can remember “air-guitaring” down the middle of the gym when I came to the “wind-sprint” station and singing-“come on baby…come on baby…hook me up…hook it up”- and then making believe I was playing the drums. Awesome tune.

9.     What? – Almost every one of his songs (including White Zombie) starts off with some one talking (who knows maybe it is from old movies?) and some kid says-“I don’t have to tell you anything” and then the guitar riff kicks in and you are ready to join the mosh pit. This is a short song but packs a wallop of a punch but I have to admit that his vocals are one of the wackiest he has ever done but there is something about this song that keeps me coming back for me. Good-weird-stuff right here-the organ sounds like it is from a scary movie made in the 1950’s with a twist of blazing metal.

8.     Mars Needs Women – This sounds like he did the song with Alice Cooper (or at least with Alice Cooper in mind). It starts off with some nice acoustic guitar (almost AIC like) and it does take some time to get started but then the big bass drum kicks in as Rob states that “Mars Need Women.” Then the big guitar riff enters the fray and before long you have a bone crushing sound that turns into a crowd favorite as the buzz raises to a fever pitch just like when a bee hive is disturbed and you have to run for your life. This is a modern day Alice Cooper, the bass lines will have your chest pulsating. Of course watch out for the F-bombs.

7.     Superbeast – I also have to mention another friend of mine who likes Rob as he seem to frequently put his songs on his list of Spin songs for the classes he taught at MBIA. I can remember the first time Chris put Rob Zombie on in class and I was out of my mind. If you have never “spun” to a song by Rob Zombie-well you just haven’t lived just yet. Please I’m begging you, ask your Spin instructor to put this song on his or her mix of songs and tell me this doesn’t get you moving-you will spin yourself right out of your seat and you will be able to turn the knob up to a “nine” and be able to get over that mountain. Or on the flip side, take it down to a “2” and sprint your legs away.

6.     (Go To) California – I can remember the first time hearing this song and being totally mesmerized by the groove. If anyone tried to hypnotize me, they could use this song-it just might work. I told you I bought my youngest son these super cool headphones that almost cover your entire head and let me tell you when you hear this song with those headphones-you are in another stratosphere. The groove is super infectious and even though it may be simple, it is so addictive; this is “metal” dance music.

5.     Bring Her Down (To Crippletown)– Rob always seems to put that scary organ type sounds into his songs (a la Frankenstein) and no one can do it like him. Folks this is some good stuff right here. I can picture Frankenstein slowly getting off the operating table (like in the classic Abbott & Costello movie where they meet Frankie) as he busts all the metal holding him down on the table and then he slowly starts to move like a monster…but wait…what is he doing? Why he is starting to dance??!! He then breaks a chair into pieces and uses one of the longest pieces of wood to make believe he is playing guitar, forget electricity to keep him alive-he has this song to keep him going. Rock on my friends!!! \m/ \m/

4.     Demon Speeding – Another great exercise song-no not that kind of “exercise” (though the beginning sounds weird, right?) for your next work-out. “Why don’t you ask me what it feels like to be a freak?” This is great rock and roll folks right here-a little heavy-yes Ok-but bearable. Chris definitely threw this on his play list for our Spin days at MBIA. I think Rob Zombie and his agents should put out a disc of “workout” tapes (a la Jane Fonda) and this track would definitely be part of that work-out. I love the guitar solo, I actually hit the volume to a bleeding pace on that part. This song rocks. \m/ \m/

3.     Never Gonna Stop– This song will forever remind me of Chris, who was our Spin instructor at MBIA, as he definitely threw this Zombie song into his rotation more than any other Zombie song. Man, did he ride us hard but we all loved it and he always did his part as he very rarely jumped off his bike because he showed us who was in charge. I can remember almost passing out from exhaustion but this song kept me going as I kept saying to myself-“never gonna stop…never gonna stop” as I tried to keep pace. Then we would all “Scream if you want it…cause I want more…scream if you want more…cause I want more.” This has to rank up there as one of the best songs to “spin” to-yes give it a chance-don’t just blow it off-I am telling you-“this is the bomb.”

2.     Super Charger Heaven – Now for someone who attends mass every Sunday morning at 7:30, this song puts me in a quandary. As you know to me it has always been about the music and I focus on the lyrics on a secondary basis. For those of you who don’t know this song (which I am assuming is most of you reading this) the only words I know to this song (even though I have heard it hundreds of times) is “yeah…devil man…devil man…call me…” So you see…but the freaking music behind it is so high energy with pounding beats and blazing guitars. I have no idea what Rob is singing until the chorus-“devil man”-but I don’t care because I am running around the room in a wild frenzy wishing that I could enter the mosh pit (with my kids, who am I kidding?) right now. Wow this is 3:37 seconds of thrash metal that puts hair on your chest. Awesome!!!

1.     Thunder Kiss ‘65I know what you’re probably thinking (especially if you are a fan of Mr. Zombie)-how can you put this at number one? Isn’t this his “Stairway?” Yes it is but EVERY time I hear this song it is like I am hearing it for the first time. The opening guitar riff could be the best ever to start a song. It is again like trying to disturb a bee’s nest in the middle of a summer day-you know it is not a good idea but put this song on in your headphones and believe me you will knock that nest down and run so fast that you will not get stung. I love the part in the middle where the woman says-“I never try anything, I just do it…you want to try me?”-then as the screaming goes on in the background-I am out of my mind again-where is that mosh pit? This time I am going. This song has to be considered one of the best head-banging songs ever created-who would’ve believed that a Zombie created it?.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Ray Charles

2.     James Taylor

3.     Josey Scott from Saliva

4.     George Thorogood

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I was part of one of the most popular bands during the 1970’s and we made one of the most popular albums in music history. The band is still touring after having a reunion but I did not join them. I am perfectly happy living in England and do not like to fly which was part of the reason I did not sign up for the reunion. Who am I?

2.     I did a raunchy cover of “Brick House” about eight years ago and actually had Lionel Richie help me in the recording. I made it contemporary by adding some rap in the tune. I also like to make horror films in my spare time. Who am I?

3.     I am the lead guitarist in one of the most popular hard rock bands to come out of LA but most people don’t even know who I am (even though the lead guitarists typically grabs the spot light) as the three other personalities in this band sometimes becomes too much as we have split up and “reunion-ized” as well. There was talk of replacing me when we did our reunion tour because of sickness, but I wouldn’t let that happen and I played a steady lead as I always have done. Who am I?

4.     Our group was one of the pioneer leaders in the field of rap and opened the door for many artists to follow in our footsteps. We recently had a “reality” show after being out of the spotlight. But when we were in that spotlight in the 1990’s we really liked to push it to another level. Who are we?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Stills & Nash

2.     Anticipation – Carly Simon

3.     Time After TimeCyndi Lauper

4.     You Light Up My Life – Debby Boone

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

1.     “…my uncle has a country place that no one knows about…he says it used to be a farm before the motor law…”

2.     “…whether I’m right…or whether I’m wrong…whether I find a place in this world…or never belong…”

3.     “…headbangers in leather…sparks flying in the dead of the night…it all comes together…when they shoot out the lights…”

4.     “…I like a good beer buzz early in the morning…Billy likes to peel the label from his bottles of Bud…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1984, Jackie Wilson (“Mr. Excitement”) passed away after being in a coma for 8 years and 4 months after he had a heart attack on Sept. 29, 1975 while performing “Lonely Teardrops” on stage. He fell and a lack of oxygen to his brain left him a comatose state. Sadly, his mother passed away two weeks after his heart attack as she was distraught. Jackie was 49 when he passed on. Very sad.

Sadly back on this day in 1999, Charles Brown (“Merry Christmas Baby”) passed away at the age of 76.

Sadly back on this day in 1999, Peggy Lee passed away at the age of 81, she was best known for her version of “Fever.”

Back on this day in 1966, George Harrison married Pattie Boyd. (They divorced in 1974). Paul McCartney was the best man. They met while filming “A Hard Day’s Night.” (I think George has set a record for consecutive appearances with “Back on this Day”).

Back on this day in 1984, Yes Reached the top of the Billboard charts (Hot 100 singles) for the only time with the hit-“Owner of a Lonely Heart.”

Back on this day in 1995, Tony Bennett sang during halftime of Superbowl XXIX in Miami.

Back on this day in 2006, a chartered plane carrying Bon Jovi skidded off the runway in Hamilton Ontario-no one was injured.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the late Wolfman Jack and Richie Havens.

January 7, 2011

Weekly Update – 01/07/2011

Elton John at the Mohegan Sun on Fri. Mar. 11. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $141.05 – $202.40

Diana Ross at the St. George Theater in Staten Island NY on Sun. Mar. 20 performing her “greatest hits.” Tickets on sale next Sat. morning Jan. 15 at 9:30 a.m. $72.15 – $193.40.

The Allman Brothers have added more shows for their “March Madness” shows at the Beacon Theater (Mon. & Tues. Mar. 21 & 22; Thurs.-Sat. Mar. 24 – 26) and if you have an American Express card you can purchase pre-sale tickets until 10:00 p.m. tonight. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $63.29, $106.29 and $169.74

Explosions in the Sky at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. Apr. 6. Tickets on sale this morning at 11:00 a.m. $39.50.

Due to overwhelming demand a second Utopia show featuring Todd Rundgren at the Highline Ballroom has been added for Sun. Jan. 30, 2011. Tickets on sale now. $40 ($45 day of show).

Deftones at Best Buy Theater on Fri. & Sat. May 13 & 14. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders on sale until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $30

Bobby Vinton at the NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Sat. June 25. Tickets on sale this Sun. Jan. 9 at noon. $41.50 – $74.

Other items:

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Gerry Rafferty who sadly passed this past Monday at the young age of 63. He is mostly known for the fantastic song-“Baker Street”- but to his many fans, he was more than this “one hit” wonder. Admittedly, this is the only song that I own from Gerry Rafferty (I do have “Stuck in the Middle” when he was with Stealers Wheel) on his own and I absolutely love this song. I can remember as a teenager I couldn’t wait to hear this song when it came on the radio. The Foo Fighters covered this. Rest in peace, Gerry.

Chuck Berry who is 84 years young startled fans in Chicago at the “Congress Theater” on New Year’s Night when he slumped over his electric piano and waved for help as he needed assistance off the stage. He returned 30 minutes later and did a short song and duck walked off stage and did not return after that. Audience members were shouting-“ We Love You Chuck”- Hotel workers stated they saw Mr. Berry on Sunday morning and he looked fine. Berry’s representatives said it was a case of exhaustion and he will be back on the road again in no time. Whew.

The apparent illness that had plagued the Queen of Soul-Aretha Franklin– has been successfully healed according to reports out of her camp. That is great news!!!

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “You Are So Beautiful” by the living legend Joe Cocker. There is something magical about his version (sorry Billy Preston-who co-wrote the song), it is pure genius. Let your special partner know that they are so beautiful and mean some much to you.

My favorite “nu” metal song of the week is “Justice” by Rev Theory. This is not for the faint of heart-this song rocks!!!\m/ \m/ I heard this on the only radio station in the U.S. that plays these kinds of songs- WCCC 106.9 on your FM dial out of Hartford CT. This song friggin’ rocks!!!

Have you seen the new video from Shinedown yet? “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom Lay)” – the song was made for the Sylvester Stallone movie-“The Expendables” and the video incorporates clips of the movie as well as a live performance by this most excellent band. Folks I don’t know how long I have to keep singing their praises-this band does not disappoint. Check it out here

Tesla is currently in the studio working on a “acoustic type” album to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the “Five Man Acoustic Jam.” Also Frankie Hannon and Jeff Keith recently appeared on “That Metal Show” and Hannon proclaimed that Guns N Roses had stolen “Patience” from them. It turns out that Frankie was “joking” and he has apologized to Eddie Trunk as well as to G N R.

I have to admit that I did like the new Paula Abdul show – “Live to Dance”- and I thought she was very good in her analysis of the prospective dancers. One thing Paula has always seemed to be is genuine and her comments to the dancers came from the heart. The format of the show is similar to others where there are three judges and she has her familiar spot in the middle-there is no “Simon”-meaning no “cut to the bone” criticism of the contestants. All three judges were nice but firm in their opinions and it was a breath of fresh air. (even though I do like Simon).


Hunky Dory

For the past few years and for reasons unknown, I really started to dive into the early years of David Bowie albums and “discovered” what I had been missing all these years-that is what I have been preaching for the past few years-it is never too late to uncover any type or form of music-if it moves you-then you need to move in and begin your research. Now for the Bowie “die-hards” I know they are going to cringe for what I am about to state- I love “Hunky Dory” in its entirety but I feel that it is an “acquired” taste and so that is the reason for which this album lands into this “Nuggets” section of the page. Also, in my opinion, this album doesn’t seem to get the accolades that it truly deserves, this is one of those “diamonds in the ruff” that easily seems to go unnoticed (again except for the die-hards) but again I am trying to put myself into the shoes of the general public and I am not too sure that songs like “Eight Line Poem” is going to completely bowl one over-the beauty of this song (and others) might need a few more turns for many to “get it.” So for that reason – and only that reason- the “Hunky Dory” album lands in the category of containing many good songs but not enough for a perfect album side or entire album review. So without further adieu here are the golden nuggets (in no particular order) from “Hunky Dory:”

Life on Mars” –I know when I did my top ten songs by David some time ago (at least a year ago) I had put “Dream Genie” as my all time favorite tune but as time has gone on, “Life on Mars” may have catapulted to number one but I will stick to my original list. I can’t say enough about this song and I’d have to say that this song totally lands in my top ten songs of all time. Ask my two sons how many times I have played this song around the house or in the car? This is one of the greatest compositions ever recorded in the history of music-that’s right-ever. I say that this song should be submitted to the Smithsonian and forever be protected. It should also be a requirement for everyone in the world to own this song-how’s that for emphasis? (This could have helped that structured deal that securitized those Bowie records-“Bowie Bonds”) And if anyone could honestly say that they don’t like this song, then I’d refund the $0.99-oh excuse me now $1.29. I defy anyone to tell me this song isn’t one of the greatest songs ever recorded. (Yeah I know…more than half of you probably never even heard it…no matter I will listen to it over and over to make up for the rest of you).

Changes” – Has to be considered one of the best recordings that David has ever done, no? The overall quaintness and beauty of “Hunky Dory” is exemplified so well with this song, don’t you think? There is tranquil calmness to this song that makes it very enjoyable and this entire album highlights the keen ability of Mr. Bowie to show everyone that he is a world class singer. This is pure greatness.

Kooks” – I can remember the first time I heard this song (again only recently) and how awestruck I was-could this really be David Bowie? I think of the rocking tunes that he had made (what I was used to hearing on the radio) and then to hear such an exquisite tune caused me to realize just how talented this man is. This is a spectacular song which shows how diverse Mr. Bowie can be. Love the piano work-flawless-and the chorus is addicting.

Quicksand” – You talk about “hidden gems?”-Look no further than this unbelievable song. Again the word that comes to mind is “awestruck.” Folks this composition is staggering. I wish I could write songs like this. There is such calmness to this entire album and this song could arguably be the best song on the album. Now again you have to give it a chance, you just can’t hit the “skip” button-force yourself to sit down and take a true listen and feel the magic.

Song For Bob Dylan” – This is the type of song where you hold the ale mug while swinging it back and forth with the crowd behind you at the pub and everyone sings along word for word. You will be “air-guitaing,” “air-pianoing” and “air-drumming” to this wonderful song. Bowie pays homage to Dylan, a true tribute from the heart on how Dylan affected the life of Bowie (and so many others). Love the line that describes Dylan’s singing voice – “…like sand and glue…”

Songs That You Are Scared to Admit You Like

Ok I decided this week to go with songs that you like to sing when there is no one else around like maybe when you are in your car or in the shower or whatever place you feel that you are safe where no one else can enter your zone. I know I have plenty of songs, why just this past New Year’s Eve I had a set list of songs that my best man –Johnny- and my brother –and yes even my boys- were giving me a hard time about and when I started to doze off around 1:15 in the morning, Johnny asked my oldest son for my I-Pod and was trying to figure out how to remove all my songs- nice, huh? Well despite that, I will always stick to my guns on what I like and even though I may be ridiculed-it’s no longer enough-now that I am older- to make me shy away and say “yeah of course I don’t like that song!!” “Who me?…I never listen to that song!!!” Well this could be a section that could last throughout the year but for today I will let you know the songs that quickly come to mind, so in no particular order- here are some:

I Want It That Way” – The Backstreet Boys – I can clearly remember like it was yesterday but it was actually in 1999 and I still lived in Ringwood N.J. and would commute to NYC out of the Fairlawn N.J. train station and this one particular morning, I heard this song on the radio and when I pulled into a spot I sat that with the car turned off but the radio still playing and my good friend, Shirley, was walking by my car and knocked on the window. Well I immediately hit the radio button to its off position and made believe I was looking for something in the passenger seat. When I came out of the car, she was laughing and said-“you were listening to that song?” Now as I mentioned-if I had been younger I would have never stayed in my car-I would have immediately left as soon as I parked but I had to come clean and state that I actually liked this song a lot. It is the harmonizing vocals- is this the “poppy-est” of the Pop world? Yes…but I am here to tell you I like this song.

Leaving on a Jet Plane” – Peter, Paul & Mary– Wow at the New Year’s party, everyone (except for Cathy & Dave) wanted to kill me for putting this song on the set list. I think this is one of the best sing along songs especially at a party where some may have had a bit too much to….well that didn’t happen. It was a “sober”-ing experience as I had to duck from all the junk that was thrown at me. I love this song, always did-always will.

Afternoon Delight” – The Starland Vocal Band– This was the second song that I had to duck for cover at the same party. People were actually looking for things to break- I almost fell off my chair from laughing so much. I love this song!!! It brings me back to my early childhood days when I spent the summers in Otisville, N.Y. with my grandparents and uncle-this song was a “staple” on AM radio-yes boys and girls there is music on AM radio. This is the perfect summer song hanging out under a tree on a blazing hot day with a blade of grass stuck in between your teeth. I can listen to this all year round, any time, any day.

Saturday Night” – Bay City Rollers– A third song I had to run for cover. C’mon, how can you not love this one hit wonder from the Bay City Rollers. It teaches you how to spell and clap along to the spelling-what can be better than that? This is a perfect party song for those of us “on the back nine.” ‘Nuff Said.

Beautiful Sunday” – Daniel Boone– I can remember I put this song on a Spin CD back at MBIA and it was a “cool down” song and Taxter looked over at me and said “Really?” I don’t know what it is but I love songs like this-the groove is so much fun and so easy to sing along to. “…when you say…say..say…say that you love me…oh my, my, my… it’s a beautiful day…”

Jackie Blue”- The Ozark Mountain Daredevils– This is another one of those great 1970’s songs that take me back to such wonderful times when you’re a kid and don’t have as much worry as you do as an adult. Songs like these remind me when I was on 8 different softball teams, 2 football teams and worked at Dan’s Supermarket or just taking my glove with me as I told my mother I would be home for dinner as I went to the local school yard to shag flyballs in centerfield from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This song takes me home-music does that to me, what about you?

Top Ten

If you own an I-pod and you utilize the “shuffle” effect to receive a random selection of all the songs loaded you then know that the I-Pod seems to pick an artist and play more of their songs in the first ten random songs. For me this past week, the I-pod wanted me to listen to both Carly Simon and Linda Ronstadt because no matter how many times I tried to hit that shuffle button, I was drawn back to both of these women. So in my mind, it was a sign to somehow get them into my weekly update and I decided to do this week’s “top ten” list using both artists, hence I will pick my favorite five songs from these magnificent stars who have made an impact in my life as well as yours because each has at least one song that you know by heart. (And no- they do not qualify for the “artists you are scared to admit you like” category because they are living legends-that’s right both are legends). Take Carly Simon for instance, her career has spanned more than four decades now and her library is filled with so many songs and no I do not profess to know her career inside out (nor Linda’s) but I do know that she has made some unbelievable songs that will last for generations to come. The same can be said for Linda. Now I can remember always hearing both artist’s songs as a kid when my family and I used to make trips up to Otisville New York and we all sang the songs word for word because they were enjoyable for everyone. Hey when my Dad-the doo wop king- can listen to songs from any other era besides doo wop, then you know it must be good, right? (Take my word for it- he especially liked Linda’s songs a little better if my memory serves me correct). I can remember when I used to hear-“Haven’t Got Time for the Pain”- and I would look at the rushing roadway going under our wheels and how that song took me to another place. Yes it seems like a sad song but there was a “positive” message (sorry Monica), so ultimately it puts a smile on your face. Many of Carly’s songs put a smile on your face and isn’t that what music is all about? Now with Linda, she is so dynamic in my opinion because she seems to have participated in every kind of genre of music and has succeeded in everything she has done. As a teenager, I can remember listening to her songs (yes she covered many tunes but so what?!) and thinking that she had so much fun recording them because so many of them were so upbeat and rocking. (eg.-“Heatwave” and “Back in the U.S.A.”). Then I will never forget one day when I came home from work and my wife was listening to some Mexican songs and I heard this woman’s voice and it was so mesmerizing and even though I had no idea what she was saying (as my wife was singing along word for word as these were “classic” songs) I was loving what I was hearing and listened to the whole album with my wife. And I am not lying when I tell you that I can listen to the entire “Canciones de mi Padre” album even though I do not understand one word- it is pure beauty. Apparently at some point in Linda’s career, she left “American Pop” and went back to her roots and recorded more than a few albums in Latin. Linda also came to us right before we were married when we were trying to decide what our wedding song should be and her duet with Aaron Neville-“Don’t Know Much”- was very close to being our first dance song-as it turned out we used it when we danced together during the middle of the reception-we somehow had to get that song into our wedding day-it was too good to not have it. This amazing woman has somehow been a constant throughout my life (and yours) and I didn’t even realize it. So I say “thank you ladies” for your unbelievable contribution to the world of music because without it, there would be a huge void in all our lives. We are lucky to have you in our lives.

Linda Ronstadt

Image of Linda Ronstadt

5.     Y Andale (or “Get On With It”) – Ok like I said I have no idea what is being said in this song but I fell in love with this song because of my wife. I can remember when my mother-in-law came to the house and both her and my wife would sing along to this song (and the entire album) and the joy it brought to them was so infectious that it soon became one of my favorites. I love the arrangement with the horns and string section and her mesmerizing voice. Pure perfection.

4.     When Will I Be Loved? – How many times did I hear this song on WCBS-FM radio in my lifetime? Whew but you know what? Every time I hear it, it is like the first time all over again because the recording sounds like it was made yesterday-so crystal clear, so full of life-this song contains the “it” factor. “I’ve been cheated…been mistreated…when will I be loved?…” The drums are kicking and Linda’s vocals are spot on. My only complaint is that the song is way too short, before you are going to do you’re next-“when will I be loved?!!”-the song is over. But don’t cha just love the ending when all the background vocalists collide with Linda and take the song out-“…looooovvvvvvvvveeeeedddd…” Love it!!!

3.     Don’t Know Much – Linda has performed with so many artists her Facebook account could overflow but if I had to pick I think this song would be the most well known duet she has ever done. This duo’s harmonies are pure perfection as Aaron Neville compliments Linda so well it is surprising to me that they never made a whole album together. Like I mentioned above, this song was a close contender of being our first wedding dance with my lovely bride. (It was my cousin Jenny’s wedding song with her husband, Mike). This song has a way of putting me into a trance and taking me to another stratosphere and it also takes me back to one of the happiest days in my life when I married my bride.

 2.     Heatwave – With no disrespect to Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, this is my favorite version of this song. Now I usually don’t veer off from the original versions of a song (and I love Martha’s version) but I love the spin that Linda put on this song. It has a lot of kick-think of those spicy hot buffalo wings you’ll be having tomorrow night watching the Jets play the Colts- and the groove is rocking with a very surprisingly good guitar solo in the middle. This song takes me to the summer-far away from the current cold spell we are in. Linda’s vocals are nothing short of spectacular. I love the “oooh oooh oooh” that takes the song to its finish.

1.     Different Drum – I remember as a kid growing up I would hear this song once in a while on the radio and wondered who had performed it and most times the DJ would just say “The Stone Poneys.” Now I think it was Harry Harrison (the long time DJ for WABC AM and then WCBS-FM radio stations) who informed me that Linda was part of this band and I knew there had to be a reason I loved this song. Isn’t it funny that many times artists’ early career releases are usually the best? Why is that? I’ll go with “hunger”-meaning that they strive very hard to make it in the music business and know they need a “distinctive” sound that separates them from the rest of the pack. Now listen to this masterful arrangement with the splendid vocals from Linda and can’t you hear that “separation?” This has to land in my top 50 songs of all time-I don’t move when I hear this song-it is too important to do anything else for a few minutes.

Carly Simon

Image of Carly Simon

5.     You Are My Sunshine – Yes this is the American classic and wow when I first heard Carly’s version I was stunned, it immediately became my favorite take on this tune. Now it is much slower than what you are probably used to hearing but that is what it makes it so special-it is just Carly and a piano. If you listen intently, especially at the very beginning of the song you will hear Carly sing “You” and it immediately reminded me of the very beginning of “Doll” by The Foo Fighters as Dave starts off with the word “You.” Carly’s song is perfect if you are trying to soothe a baby or toddler to fall asleep as the entire song is quite appeasing. Give it a listen-it is from one of her most popular albums-“Into White.”

4.     That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Could Be – Carly has this way of making “sad” sounding songs (nothing wrong with that-there are many an artist or band who have done that) that completely grips you and doesn’t let go. The arrangement of this song is especially gripping as you can feel the emotion and then the passion as the instrumentation gets gradually louder (as well as the pounding drums that clearly is the leader in that department) and then it slips back to the melancholy feel. Her vocals are magical and you can’t help but listen with the same passion as she is singing to all of us. She deserves that!! Great song!!!

3.      You’re So Vain – I forget who this song was written for (sorry Chris-was it Warren Beatty? Mick Jagger?) Anyways, you can’t help but sing along to this song, no? “…You’re so vain…you probably think this song is about you…I bet you think this song is about you…don’t you?…don’t you!” C’mon sing along with me!! There is nice guitar solo in the middle. “Clouds in my coffee….clouds in my coffee…” Could be one of the best sing along songs ever recorded? Whomever it was written for, Ouch!!!

2.     Haven’t Got Time For The Pain –I love her vocals as she starts off the song behind the backdrop of the piano and you can instantly feel that this is going to be a good song. Music, when it is done with passion and soul, hits one in the heart and soul that makes you feel it. Carly accomplishes that in this awesome arrangement of a song. “…Oh those crazy nights…when I cry myself to sleep…now mellow drama never makes me weep, anymore…” Sometimes it hard to put into words how great a song is but for me if one continually goes back and listens to a song (or album) over and over again-you feel it. ‘Nuff said.

1.     Nobody Does It Better– Again love the opening piano notes and when Carly starts to sing I drift off into another zone where I am entranced with her voice and do not want to come back to reality. I can picture being in the recording room because I would have loved to been there just listening to Carly singing it a capella with no other instruments behind her. My oldest son makes fun of me because I really try to concentrate on a certain part of a song while blocking out all the rest that is going on with the song and usually I do not like when there are “alternate” versions of famous songs (yes I am talking to you Bon Jovi!!!) but I would love to just hear Carly sing this by herself with nothing else in the background. That said this song, in my opinion, is her masterpiece-every thing about this song is fantastic and for nearly four minutes I can take a trip out of reality and enjoy every second of it.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Steve Marriott

2.     Rod Stewart

3.     Kenney Jones

4.     Art Garfunkle

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I was a legend in R&B, Gospel and even Country music and of course I rocked and roll with the best of them. I offended many fans of Elvis when I said that he was “a punk.” But I think my music may have soothed their anger over the years and I think they couldn’t stop loving me. Who am I?

2.     I was the first artist signed by the Beatles when they created their Apple record company. I am a living legend and recently just finished touring with a good friend of mine. Who am I?

3.     I was a guest on the Howard Stern radio show (when he was on “free” radio) and on that particular day he had Simon Cowell on the show. Howard made me “audition” for Simon (Simon couldn’t see me) and he said if I was a contestant on American Idol there was no way I would make it past the first showing, meanwhile I already had a recording contract and had albums out with my band already. Who am I and what band am I in?

4.     I have been playing guitar for a very long time and love to play good time rock and roll. Me and my band usually hit BB Kings in NYC at least once a year and we have a blast. I like to drink alone and when I order it’s usually one bourbon, one scotch and one beer. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week: (Nice job Steve)

1.     Devil Inside – INXS

2.     Lonely Teardrops – Jackie Wilson

3.     Running on EmptyJackson Browne

4.     99 Problems – Jay-Z

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

1.     “…sometimes it hurts…so badly I must cry out loud…I am lonely…I am yours…you are mine…you are what you are…”

2.     “…we…can never know about the days to come…far… we think about them many way…and I wonder …”

3.     “…after my picture fades and darkness has turned to gray…watching through windows you’re wondering if I’m OK…secrets… stolen… from deep inside…”

4.     “…so many nights… I’d sit by my window…waiting for someone…to sing me his song…”


Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1974, Carly Simon and James Taylor became parents for the first time when they welcomed their daughter Sarah Maria into the world.

Back on this day in 1980, Foreigner’s “Head Games” was certified gold and platinum by RIAA and later went on to sell over 5 million copies in the U.S.- Yes of course I bought it the first day it was released and know it inside out.

Back on this day in 1992, John Mellencamp began his first tour in over 4 years in Savannah Georgia. (On another note did you see in the news that he is now dating Meg Ryan only weeks [days?] after divorcing his wife of 18 years?)

Back on this day in 1994, Nirvana performed their final concert in the U.S. at the Seattle Center Arena.

Back on this day in 1997, George Harrison’s garden was robbed of two bronze busts worth more than $70,000. (Weird this is like the third week in a row where poor George was robbed “back on this day.”)

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the late Kenny Loggins and Paul Revere. (of Paul Revere & the Raiders-not the guy who screamed “the British are coming”).

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