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.
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 http://www.shinedown.com/updates/watch-the-video-for-diamond-eyes-boom-lay-boom-lay-boom/
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 Empty – Jackson 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”).