Errols Weekly Music Update.

March 25, 2011

Weekly Update – 03/25/2011

Hall & Oates at PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. June 8 and at Jones Beach on Sat. June 11. Chris Isaack is opener. Pre-sale tickets available until 10:00 p.m. tonight and the password is: Concert. General public tickets on tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. PNC: $25 and $175.50; (What??!!! This is outrageous, talk about price gauging?) Jones Beach: $52 and $180.50. (The Government needs to undue this TM and Live Nation merger, this is outrageous).

Deep Purple at the Beacon Theater on Tues. & Wed. June 14 & 15. Also appearing at PNC Bank Arts Center on Fri. June 10. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. Beacon: $52.90 and $143.75; PNC: $51.85 and $106.20.

Los Lonely Boys at Irving Plaza on Wed. June 22. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $36.25.

Michael Buble at the Mohegan Sun on Tues. & Wed. June 14 & 15. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $100.10 and $115.45

Tim McGraw at the Mohegan Sun on Sat. July 23. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $89.85 and $110.30

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience at the Dome at Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Wed. May 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $46.70.

Death Cab For Cutie at the Bowery Ballroom on Wed. June 1. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $35.

Chris Botti at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. June 23. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $40, $60 and $85.

Youssou N’Dour at Terminal 5 on Fri. June 24. Tickets on sale today at noon. $50 ($55 day of show).

Guster and Jack’s Mannequin at the Summerstage in Central Park on Mon. Aug. 8. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35.

Other items:

Did you see the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony festivities that was broadcast on FUSE TV this past Sunday night? Have to give it to Darlene Love, she still has “it!!” Her vocals were just like the original recordings and to see Bette Midler up there with her was surprising to me but seeing how much fun she was having up there and listening to her induction speech is really what it is all about. I was expecting a little more passion from Rob Zombie on his induction speech for Alice Cooper-meaning I thought he would have told the audience what impact Alice had on his life because (this is a presumption on my part) it just seems he took what Cooper did and expanded it and made it his own. I was looking for that passion that he was the reason why Zombie decided to become a rock “villain.” His induction speech was good but again I was expecting a bit more. Alice Cooper’s band mates were gracious and I felt good for them! Their performance of “School’s Out”- especially with all those kids dressed up in make-up, along with Mr. Zombie helping out on vocals-was the highlight of the two hour show. Elton John’s passionate speech for Leon Russell and Leon’s subsequent response brought a tear to the eye-you had to feel good for Leon. His performance with John Mayer-one of the best young guitarists’ out today-was also the highlight of the show. Maybe it was because in his mind (and Paul Simon’s) that it took too long to finally induct him into the Hall but Neil Diamond’s lack of interest was quite surprising and disappointing. He knew about this induction for at least two months and had no speech prepared and then gets up there and curses? (Hey I expected Rob Zombie to curse). And then of all the songs he could pick, he performs one of his most boring songs? Surprised that FUSE ended the show with him. Everyone and every performance before him showed more class and more effort. I don’t know about you but if I were in their position, I would be so stoked to be there…what do I know?

Ok what am I missing about Jacob Lusk? Steven Tyler jumps up on stage and gives him a hug & kiss, Jennifer says he moves her and Randy states that Berry Gordy is somewhere sitting and smiling after his performance? He is so over-rated, it is down-right sickening and I am at a loss. I don’t even think he sings well when he is not screaming. It’s like they have already anointed him the next American Idol, what gives? Hopefully America doesn’t drink the cool aid. I was so glad the judges saved Casey Abrams. America is voting the wrong way with the folks that keep landing in the bottom three.

I love The Cars new single-“Sad Song”- from their upcoming studio album-“Move Like This”(out on May 10)- it is that “classic” sound that will remind you of songs from the album “Candy-O.” Oh man does it feel good to “go back home.” The world has been missing these guys for too long (Ok maybe me but lots of others as well). If you a Cars fan, this is a no brainer. Can’t wait for the new album. There is however, no Elliot Easton classic short guitar solo on this song.

According to Rolling Stone magazine Lady GaGa’s second studio album (due out on May 23) is going to be “huge.” Lady says it is a combination of electronic music with “metal or rock & roll” anthem style melodies combined with “hammering dance beats.” She enlisted the one and only Clarence Clemons to play saxophone for the song “Edge of Glory.” Clarence stated that it took him a few days to come down after the experience in the studio with her, claiming that it was a “day I will never forget.” Wow, strong words…could I be purchasing…nah…maybe?

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “See You In September” by The Happenings. Wow I hadn’t heard this song in a while and I was riding in my car listening to an “oldies” station when this came on. “Bye Bye…so long…farwewell…” They don’t make songs like this anymore.

If you are a “metal” fan head on over to I-Tunes this week as they have an assortment of heavy metal albums on sale for $7.99. Lots of good picks to choose from.

Former Kiss lead guitarist, Ace Frehley, will be the guest on this weekend’s “That Metal Show” to be aired on VH1 Classic this Saturday night at 11:00 p.m. Eddie Trunk, the main host, is a huge Ace fan and a Kiss fan-but only with Peter and Ace- he totally ignores the new Kiss with Eric and Tommy. So you know this show is going to have a segment (or more) where they bash Gene. I still say that if the sum doesn’t equal the parts, you have to get the parts to equal the sum.

The Foo Fighters will release a “cover’s” album- “Medium Rare”- on April 16 and will include songs by Paul McCartney, the Ramones, Prince, The Zombies, Pink Floyd, Thin Lizzy, Joe Walsh, Cream and others. Dave Grohl never stops working, it is incredible. I’m in for this one as well. Their seventh studio album-“Wasting Light”- is out on April 12. Totally in on the new studio, can’t wait.

Robbie Robertson is putting out his first work in 13 years when he releases-“How to Become Clairvoyant”- on April 5. Trent Reznor helps him out on a song called “The Right Mistake.”

Nuggets

Agent Provacateur

Ok it is near the end of 1984 and I am about to turn twenty in February 1985 and what is the saying? –“In the prime of my life”- I had just graduated Brooklyn Technical High School and then went to Brooklyn College (lots of Brooklyn, huh?) and I was waiting impatiently for the next Foreigner album. “4” had been released in 1981 and the band had been broken down to four guys (which I did not like, I wanted the original six because those of you who know me, know that I don’t like change too much, especially if something is working) but ironically it went on to be their biggest selling album. Of course I loved it. Have I ever told anyone that I wanted to be Lou Gramm? (I tell that to my kids all the time and they say “yes Dad I know… you wanted to be Lou Gramm”). During the 1980’s he was the best rock and roll singer, in my opinion-he could do no wrong and just had an incredible voice. Now I have to mention Mick Jones as he was a very integral part of the band, his guitar hooks are addictive (and he can sing also) and I know he needs to make a living so I don’t begrudge him for moving on without Lou (well maybe just a little) but as I have maintained on this page for sometime-there is no “Foreigner” without Lou Gramm, so save your breath, no one will ever convince me otherwise. I totally ignore the new singer and no longer will follow Foreigner as long as Lou is out of the picture.

Now trying to top “4” was not going to happen-it couldn’t because of songs like “Juke Box Hero” and “Urgent”-even at a young age I knew that was not going to happen. And who knows if that was a factor (trying to top “4”) from the record company point of view because they needed to sell more Foreigner albums, so they write a masterful “ballad” (“I Want to Know What Love Is”) and the rest they say is… “the beginning of the end.” Unfortunately when a rock band does one ballad, the entire world seems to turn on them. (see Warrant for “Cherry Pie”-not a ballad but you know what I am talking about with one song) The general public loved it but the “rockers” seemed to scoff and just moved on. Now I totally get why that occurred, who am I kidding- I did the same thing. When The Cars and the Police became too “pop”-ish, I dropped them like a hot potato. But I couldn’t do that with Foreigner-they had too much of a grip on me, I couldn’t let them go. And in my opinion, they still made some very rocking songs on “Agent Provocateur.” In my opinion, “I Want to Know What Love Is” is an absolute stunner of a song, I thought that when I first heard it in December 1984 and I still think that today but even Lou and Mick admit maybe they shouldn’t have recorded it.

Anyway, the point here today is that “Agent Provocateur” is still a solid album-not “exceptional” like some of their earlier albums-but still contains some quality songs and that is why it lands in the “Nuggets” section. I can remember playing some of these songs when it was released for my “brother” –Slats- and he always maintained that Foreigner was a rocking band. He is a drummer and knows good rock & roll when he hears it. As you probably know, I will listen to this album from top to bottom but again recognize its limitations. So here are some of the songs that are golden nuggets in my opinion, in no particular order.

Stranger In My Own House – I think this was the first song I played for Slats, the first song on side two. You want proof that Gramm was the best? Listen to this bad boy and let it rip!! This is straight up rock and roll laced with some funky blues riff-when Lou and Mick did songs like this, they were some “1, 2 punch”-there is no denying that. It has an edge, a toughness and a blazing guitar hook that reels you in, throws you to the couch and makes you pay attention. “I got the key to the door but I’m still locked out…Ahh honey…I’m home!!!” Tell me this is soft??!!

Tooth and Nail– Love this song, what a way to kick off the album. It has a driving head-banging beat that will have you “air-guitaring” in no time. “And I’m tired of all this cheap talk…when you walk next to me” Mick’s riff’s are “off the hook” and Lou is…well Lou- pure rock and roll voice. I could do this song at a karaoke night and would totally nail it. Don’t listen to Joey Ramone when he called it “corporate rock”-this is some good stuff right here folks.

She’s Too Tough – For some reason I just picture this song being done in a local bar (pub) somewhere in New York City for a band trying to make it in the music world-to me that is how raw it is. Yes, Ok the production is polished but the vibe is raw. These guys could rock out with the best of ‘em and listening to Mick’s short-but powerful-guitar solo has to make you pay attention to their talent. This is a perfect work-out song, especially a kick-boxing or boxing class-or if you like to jump rope-put this on your headphones and let the rope hit the floor to the pulsating bass and drums-you will love it.

Reaction to Action – This sounds like the “hair-bands” before the hair-bands made it big. The production is “big” with a loud heavy riff and Lou’s powerful vocals that scream for attention. Again the sound is raw and powerful and I never really hear about these songs on the album-it all falls to “Love Is.” But I am here (hear) to tell you that this album had some kick butt songs and again Mick’s solo is right on target. He probably has some of his “heaviest” work on this album. He tears it up.

That Was Yesterday – Ok they take it down on this “radio friendly” song but again they could do no wrong in my eyes (or ears). Say what you want but these guys knew “the formula.” What is very strange is that the “keyboard” is the most prominent instrument on this song but yet there were only “four” guys-which is a lie because they had studio help with the keyboards and it accompanied them on tour as well, so why did they get rid of the other guys? Lou’s vocals are stupendous; if you don’t “feel” him, then you don’t feel at all.

I Want To Know What Love Is – Ok I told you that I absolutely love this song and I never considered it a “mistake” to record. There is no denying the exquisiteness of this song and getting the New Jersey Mass Choir to back them up on vocals was pure genius. Ironically, this was their only number one song ever. (Hey Aerosmith’s only number one hit was “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – a ballad). This could be Lou’s best vocal performance ever. I know this song was a double edged sword for them-on one side of the blade is a number one song that attracted so many people from around the globe but on the flip side, this attraction lasted only a few songs for the general public once they realized that this was a rock band but their “rock” fans walked away from the band, except me. I only walked away once Lou was gone. Fantastic song, period end of story!!

Artist Profile

Image of Fats Domino

How important is Fats Domino to the world of rock and roll, rhythm & blues and just about any type of music that makes you move? His contribution to the world of music is so significant, so powerful that his influence has been engrained into the general fiber of anything that is rock & roll or rhythm & blues. And yet I get that feeling that he is often over-looked and this was especially true once the terrible disaster named Katrina disrupted his world (along with so many others, I don’t want to minimize any other suffering from the lives of so many affected who lost loved ones and much, if not all, of their personal possessions). Thankfully, many artists, including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Tom Petty and lots of others took part in a tribute where the proceeds went to help him as well as many others. Just on that fact alone, this album should be in your music library. (The covers by the various artists are fantastic). Now I was born many years after Fats made his mark on the music world and I do not profess to know all there is about this man, how could I? I can’t imagine what he endured (again as well as many others) in the music industry when many of his generation were stripped of earnings that should have gone in his pockets, rather than people who did not even create the magic that he did.

My connection to Fats is due to my father, he played his music around the house constantly while I was growing up. There was always something special about his music that hits me right in the heart. Every song, even though many are very short as far as length of time, told a huge story and you could feel his passion. He has “it!!” Fats’ songs are full of energy and he seemed to be so content just sitting in front of piano making some of the best songs in the history of rock and roll. He created infectious grooves that will last forever and we all know a few songs (if you don’t please don’t tell me because I will be crushed). C’mon everyone knows “Blueberry Hill,” right???!!! For those who know me a long time, you know that the 1970’s show-“Happy Days”- is one of my all-time favorite sitcoms and I idolized “Richie Cunningham” and many of my family & friends said that I reminded them of him. (I was stoked when I heard that). Anyway, what is the one song that Richie will forever be associated with? – that’s right-“Blueberry Hill.” “I found my thrill…on blueberry hill”-could be the most recognized lyrics in the history of music, no?! Anyway, I will list the following songs that I absolutely love by the “Fat Man,” in no particular order (of course there will be songs that I will leave out but not intentionally):

Blueberry Hill – Ok so I know we have all heard this song a zillion times but when is the last time you have listened to it? It’s been a while, right? From the opening piano note, it sounds as fresh as it ever did and you can’t help but sing along to this landmark song. I can picture Richie’s face as he sang the opening notes, it was with such joy and that’s what Fats has brought to this world- joy. This is one for the ages and I never tire of its existence. Elton John does a fabulous cover on the “Going Home” tribute album. If you don’t have either-buy both. Of course there is nothing like the original.

Blue Monday – What a funky blues groove in this song-so addictive, so infectious that I have to keep rewinding the tune to listen to it over and over again. “Saturday morning, oh Saturday morning…for it’s worth it for the times I’ve had.” Many of his songs contained saxophone solos and this one is no exception, love it. Like I said, his songs are short and sweet but pack a powerful punch.

The Fat Man – Wow what a song!!! This is “old school” rhythm and blues at its best. I wonder if it was a “78” record when it was first released? My friend Abel has this really old record player that plays “.78’s” (and he has a ton of .78’s as well) and I can imagine the “scratchy-ness” of this song once the needle is put down on the record. This is totally cool stuff and I highly recommend it for your next house party-this needs to be on your next I-pod set list when you create your next one. Love it!!

Walking to New Orleans – Wow this song takes on a whole new meaning after Katrina, no? This is one of his most “heart-felt” songs that he has recorded. It is an astounding arrangement that makes me drift off to another stratosphere. What a beautiful song. I love the part where he sings-“you used to be my huh-knee…till you spent all my ma-knee” Just a totally amazing song.

I Want To Walk You Home – Ok I’m squinting my eyes, scrunching my lips together (my brother Rich says that is the tell tale sign that I like a song) and snapping my fingers to this super cool groove. This is like walking through the park on a beautiful spring day with your partner holding their hand and singing to them- “You look so good to me…ooh ooh weee..I wish I was the lucky guy who could walk you right on down the aisle.” How great is the guitar work on this track, of course Fats is always there on piano but the guitar part is super awesome.

I’m Ready – This is what rock and roll is all about-this is a hand-clapping and a knee slapping song if there ever was on. If this doesn’t get you out of your seat to dance then I don’t know what will. It has the obligatory hand-claps so you know I’m in. I can remember every Sunday morning my dad would pull out all his records and I would get “schooled” in the right way as I was taught where rock and roll came from-and Fats was at the forefront. This is one of my favorites from him. (George Thorogood does a smoking version of this by the way).

Hello Josephine – C’mon these are some of the greatest songs ever recorded in the history of music, I’ sorry but “they don’t make songs like these anymore.” I picture my mom, dad and my aunt Carol sitting around the table singing songs like these for hours and hours. These songs are priceless, pure amazing you need to pass it on down to your children, grandchildren, neighbors and everyone else.

I’m In Love Again – Another one of his greatest accomplishments. Ahh I love to sing along to this one- “Eeeny, meeny, miney, mo…told me ya don’t want me around no mo’..” How great is the saxophone solo? The arrangement, as always, is superb. My only complaint is that it is too short. You need to own this as well.

My Blue Heaven – Wow I can be here all day and night writing down these awesome songs. The man knows how to rock and roll with the best of them and jazz it out, blues it out-looking for a good time? You better have some Fats albums or songs because they will keep the party going strong. Norah Jones does a fantastic version of this song, slows it down and adds a beautiful touch-unreal.

Please Don’t Leave Me – Love the piano work on this tune, absolutely stunning. Folks I am at a loss of words in trying to explain what his songs to do me. You have to feel this, it’s all from his heart and his gift to the world. Fats Domino is a national treasure!!!

Whole Lotta Loving – What a fun song!! Again the piano work is flawless. The hand claps are in there and why not? You can’t help but clap along. “I gotta a whole lotta love for you… I gotta whole lotta smooch smooch for you.” Lenny Kravitz does an absolutely amazing cover on this song and changes the whole arrangement around…but it totally works.

This list could go on for days… you need to familiarize yourself with this living legend. Fats thanks for all that you have given to us!!!

Top Ten

Image of Black Sabbath

This week’s I-pod shuffle landed on “Changes” by Black Sabbath and I had been contemplating doing a top ten list with Ozzy at the helm (with no disrespect towards Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillian, Glenn Huges or Tony Martin-and any I may have missed-who also were the lead vocalist for this legendary band) and hearing this song was the signal for me to do it, so I will attempt to do my best with naming my favorite top ten songs from this unbelievable quartet who has influenced more bands in the genre of heavy metal and hard rock than any other act that I can think of. Now for those of you who know me a long time, especially while growing up in Brooklyn, you are probably saying-“hey wait a second, he never listened to Black Sabbath when I hung around with him?!” And that would be correct. But just like Metallica, my discovery was a little late in the game but eventually my passion would rise to the level of the pure fan. Ironically, it was actually someone who is younger than me that introduced and opened up the world of Black Sabbath for me. His name is Jon and at one point in our careers we both worked at MBIA and he was the most knowledgeable student of “classic” rock and roll that I have ever come across for someone his age. His knowledge was a source of hope for me because at times I felt like the whole world was listening to Z-100 (not that there is anything wrong with that) and here was someone from the “younger” generation who knew way more than me, that just filled my gas tank to the full position and it has remained there ever since. His enthusiasm in explaining how great those albums with Ozzy were, inspired me to do my homework and dive into the world of Black Sabbath. (Remember as I have grown older, my taste in the “heavier” side of things increased along with my age).

Now of course, I did not live under a rock (like those guys on the “GEICO” commercial) and knew many of their songs that were constantly being played on the radio. (“Iron Man,” “War Pigs” and “Paranoid.”) But I didn’t know the lesser known classics (think-“Hand of Doom”) and the great joy of experiencing their catalog is something that everyone should feel (note, it doesn’t have to be Black Sabbath, it can be any band or artist-the joy of discovering music is something that will never go away). A few weeks back I mentioned that Black Sabbath was always in my rotation for the car ride for much of the six years that I worked at MBIA and made the 33 mile trip from New Fairfield, CT to Armonk NY. The more I listened, the more it opened my eyes (and ears) to the fact that this band could have single handedly been responsible for metal music. The musicianship between Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward is nothing short of phenomenal and arguably this quartet could have been one of the best-if not the best- band(s) in the history of hard rock/heavy metal. Folks, once you “get it” you will see (hear) what I am talking about. My younger son has really taken a liking to Sabbath and considers Bill Ward the greatest drummer ever (yes even above the “mighty” John Bonham-which I will not debate-everyone is entitled to their opinion) and I think my oldest son enjoys more songs than he lets on, but he acknowledges their importance to the world of music.

I hope that Tony and Ozzy can put aside their differences and have another “reunion” tour (or maybe a new album) but until then I can still listen to all their great albums and songs. I am now on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs from Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne as their lead singer-“These Are Them:”

10.     Warning– Ok so I know this is a blues cover of an Aynsley Dunbar’s “Retaliation” tune but I had to include this in my top ten. Listen to Geezer’s bass line throughout the song-it is absolutely incredible and you will feel like your chest is thumping as his playing just seems to rip the cover off the ball. Ozzy sings the song like he is at the bottom of a water well. Many of their early songs sound like they were recorded near a cemetery at around 2:00 a.m. (see the song “Black Sabbath”). Tony’s amazing guitar prowess is highlighted during the middle of the song and as the upbeat tempo changes right around the 4:45 mark, he takes off and “school’s” everyone-folks this is unbelievable how great these guys were (are). Tony’s guitar work is worth the price of admission. At some points it sounds like there are two guys playing at the same time, this could be one of the best “guitar” songs ever recorded. At the nine minute mark, Bill enters back into the fray and unfortunately you know the song is soon coming to an end as Ozzy comes back from a long break and takes the song to its end. “Just a little bit too stroonnnggg!!!” Awesome tune.

9.     After Forever – Talk about great guitar riffs? Iommi’s work is so distinctive and was so progressive and ahead of his time and I realized after I started listening to this man play why my friends from Sunset Park Brooklyn were so into Black Sabbath. I don’t want to just single out Tony because without the sum of the parts, they could have never been one as a group. Each individual was so impressively good at what they contributed, it is the main reason why their music will live on forever. Every once in a while a band creates magic that affects people’s life’s in a way no one can understand unless they live it. This song identifies the magic I am talking about. This is off their third album-“Master of Reality.” You need to own this song and that album.

8.     Symptom Of The Universe – Again the great guitar riff starts it off and Bill Ward’s drumming is so freaking out of sight that you will be head-banging in no time. Ozzy’s screams and squeals is pure metal-this song is one of the many reasons why he is so revered. He actually sounds like he is being plugged into an electric socket. Tony waits in the wings as Ozzy takes a break and launches into a blazing guitar solo that by this time should have your head snapping at break-neck speed. Then just like that, the tempo slows down to a funky groove as Ozzy comes back to sing at a nice pace. How freaking good is this song-the acoustic guitar now takes over and you’re wondering if this is still the same song. Tony plays a stellar acoustic solo to the songs’ end and you have just listened to greatness.

7.     She’s Gone –I’m sticking to my guns here, yes I know this is not what everyone would typically associate Black Sabbath with but it shows that these “demonic” guys had a heart and even though it is broken as you listen to the lyrics along with the entire composition, you realize that this is one of the most beautiful songs that you have ever heard. Ozzy pours his heart and soul into this one and you realize that beneath all the tough exterior from all these guys that there is a soul that yearns for the same thing we all do and they hurt just like we all do, especially if we lose someone we love. Awesome song.

6.     Children Of The Grave – Now you can’t judge a book by its cover and you can’t judge a song by its title either. It is not what you think, although with their “devil worship” image did (does) not help them, it is actually a song about their generation (at the time) was tired of all the fighting and they were determined to put an end to it. Musically this song is pure excellence. Listen to Ward’s drumming-if this doesn’t get you psyched up I don’t know what will. This makes me want to take drumming lessons. The heavy guitar riff is best when listened to with a great set of headphones as you try to make your ears meet in the middle of your head. Ozzy is in top notch form with his vocals. This is a great song!!! Rob Zombie does a cover of this song.

5.     Dirty Women –I love this song, there is something about it that just defines rock in my opinion. It has a slow trudging groove but just fast enough to slowly head-bang your way through while making believe you are Iommi as you air-guitar your way around the room. The song shifts momentum a few times as the musicians take over and at the 3:14 mark the pace really picks up as the rocking groove becomes steadier as Ozzy exclaims-“dirty women, they don’t mess around.” Their background vocals kind of remind me of the Beatles’ song-“Lovely Rita.” Iommi’s solo is so righteous, so amazing that it kind of leaves you in a state of awe (like many other compositions). Top notch song!!!

4.     Supernaut – I think I read somewhere that Frank Zappa stated that this was one of his most favorite Black Sabbath songs and mainly due to the guitar hook in the beginning-if this doesn’t reel you in, then I give up. “I want to reach out and touch the sky!!!” Folks, this is hard rock/metal at its best. If you look up this genre in the dictionary it may just have- see “Supernaut” by Black Sabbath. The best part of the song is right around the 2:44 mark as it seems like Carlos Santana’s percussion section must have pitched in to help because the groove becomes filled with various instruments that you used to play in band class that gives it a latin flavor. Ozzy is well…Ozzy, his vocals are pure rock and roll. This song will make you want to take guitar and drum lessons tomorrow. Awesome!! \m/ \m/

3.     Sabbra Cadabra – Oh my, how psyched do I get when I hear this song??!!!! From the opening guitar lick to the psychedelic slow down, this song makes me feel like Sabbra Cadabra-whatever that is. This is a foot stomping, head-banging, dance your way around the room like Robin Williams often did in his role as “Mork”-remember how he used to flay his arms all around like when an adult shows a kid that a pencil is “rubber-like” as they shake it to the child’s amazement. How great is Wakeman on piano? This song is a masterpiece, pure and simple. Metallica does a cover of this on “Garage Inc.” (but the original is better, sorry boys). Love the ending where Ward does his best Moon impersonation.

2.     Hole In The Sky – How great is this song? I believe my youngest son likes this Black Sabbath song the best out of any they have recorded. The only way to listen to this song is LOUD!!!! This is the best!!! This could be Ozzy’s greatest vocal performance ever. (The guy next to me on the train just looked over at me because it is 6:30 in the morning and he can hear the music coming out of my ears-that’s how loud I have it-but I will turn it down because I don’t want to be like the general public who don’t seem to care about their neighbors). This song depicts what I am saying about having “it.” When a band has “it” you feel “it” and “it” becomes a part of you. I could wake up and immediately put this song and start my day. That is when you know the “it” factor. Another masterpiece!!!!

1.     Jack The Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots – I was going to put this on my list of songs with “great beginnings” but for some reason held back, I shouldn’t have. As soon as I hear the opening notes, I am completely hooked and can’t wait for the action to begin. Now I know there are other “masterpieces” that Sabbath has done (“War Pigs”) but in my opinion, this is their “ultimate” masterpiece. This song is so raw, so full of energy and again sounds like these songs were recorded in a dungeon but yet with fire breathing dragon force (if that makes any sense). I can recall when Sal and I went to see Saliva at the now “Best Buy Theater” in New York City in the early 2000’s and the pre-game music featured this song. I told Sal to look around to see if the kids knew this song and to my pleasant surprise almost everyone on the floor was singing the song word-for-word. My “meter” again went to the “full” side and I will never forget that moment because to me, it was a sign that their parents, grandparents or whomever did their job and passed down the beauty of Black Sabbath. There was hope again. How great is it when Ozzy starts singing-“Going home late last night, suddenly I got a fright…yeah I looked through a window, surprised what I saw…all riggghhhttt nooooowww!!!” This is one of the best head-banging songs ever recorded, so addictive-I have to listen again. Listen to Geezer on bass-unbelievable. Thanks Jon for opening my eyes (and ears)!!!

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Linkin’ Park

2.     Godsmack

3.     Aerosmith

4.     Steve Winwood; Spencer Davis Group

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     We exploded on to the scene with our brand of heavy metal rap complete with a furiousness that was seemingly unmatched and right out of the gate we had something to say and didn’t care who we offended. Our political views is how we were able to get our music out. We are always up for a protest. Our band split up for a while and we recently reformed but who knows if we will make a new album, we toured last year for the first time in a long time. Who are we?

2.     We are one of the hardest working bands in rock and we are from Sacramento CA. Most think we are a “one-hit” wonder band (and that wasn’t even our song). We were lumped in to that “hair-band” genre but our fans know we have been straight up rock and roll for more than two decades now. Who are we?

3.     We recently shocked the music world by stating that our band was breaking up. Most of our fans are wondering what is was that made us decide to disband but it was just time. We have decided to release a whole bunch of “never heard” before songs and outtakes which we will begin releasing in the near future. Who are we?

4.     We are still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland despite being eligible for some time now. We are one of the most successful three-some in the history of rock music? We still tour and make a studio album every five years or so and we will continue to exert our freewill. Who are we?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Your Song – Elton John

2.     Feels Like The First Time – Foreigner

3.     You Got It – Roy Orbison

4.     California Girls- The Beach Boys

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

1.     “…see the man with the broken heart…you’ll see that he is sad…he hurts so bad (so bad, so bad) see the girl who has lost the only love she had…”

2.     “…every morning I would see her waiting at the stop…sometimes she’s shop and she would show me what she bought…all the people stared…”

3.     “…drums keep pounding rhythm to the brain…la de da de dee…la de da de daa…the grocery store, the supermart uh huh……”

4.     “…Come with it now…Come with it now…the microphone explodes, shattering the mold…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1967, The Who made their concert debut in the U.S. by performing at the RKO Theater in New York City, located on 58th street.

Back on this day in 1969, John Lennon & Yoko Ono began their week long bed-in at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel to promote world peace.

Back on this day in 1986, Guns & Roses were signed to a record contract with Geffen Records after one of their executives, Tom Zutaut, saw them perform live just one time and immediately signed them thereafter.

Back on this day in 1990, Tommy Lee was arrested in Augusta GA for exposing his “bottom” at a concert there.

Back on this day in 1991, Michael Jackson escorted Madonna to the Academy Awards.

Back on this day in 1995, Eddie Vedder was rescued off the coast of New Zealand after being swept away about 250 feet from shore by a riptide while swimming.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin, living legend Sir Elton John and the late Jeff Healey.

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March 17, 2011

Concert Review: Elton John at Madison Square Garden on March 16, 2011

“There’s No Place Like Home”

Elton John received a hero’s welcome last night at his “home away from home”- Madison Square Garden-his 61st appearance there, a place that he believes is the “greatest stage” in the entire world to perform on. As I have always maintained, walking down the corridor to enter The Garden is really like entering the “Land of Oz.” Elton performed his magic and left everyone with the feeling that there is no place like home. I will equate his show to that of “The Wizard of Oz” whereby I felt like there were moments of “black and white” and also moments of amazing “color.” Remember in the movie before Dorothy opened her door after it had landed on a witch where the background was in black and white, followed by the grandiose colors that opened up a whole new world once she opened that door? Both parts were magnificent, but you know that the color represents the “deserts” and the black & white parts are the “meat and potatoes” portion of the show. And I would venture to say that most of the audience at the Garden had a sweet tooth, clamoring for that extra slice of pie. There were moments where I felt like I was being lifted off the ground (“Candle in the Wind” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me”) and there were also times whereby I “wasn’t in the moment.” This is not to say that Elton did not give it his all, no just the opposite-he is an amazing pianist and singer- and like my wife stated-“I love to watch him play.”

A few months back, our whole family was in the car listening to the radio when a commercial came on and stated that Elton John would be coming to The Garden to perform all his hits. My wife and I looked at each other and said –“We’re going!!” So this would be the first time that my immediate entire family would be going to a show together. Since the boys and I have been to a few shows together (like last Friday night when my oldest and I went to see The Allman Brothers at the Beacon) we decided to let my wife in on our “pre-game” festivities. This always includes a visit to our favorite pizza parlor in all of New York City-“Freddie and Peppers”-basically located across the street from the back of The Beacon Theater. (Yes we trekked backed up-town from Grand Central and then headed back down to the Garden after having our pizza). Now I guess the build-up about this place was so great that my wife walked away with a feeling that it was “good” but it wasn’t the “greatest.” My oldest son was shaking his head as we headed down to the Garden but we shook it off because we were entering the “Mecca” of all buildings to see a show-the legendary Madison Square Garden. Maybe it was due to the e-mail that many of us received that said to be at your seats by 8:00 p.m. because there was no opening act but I had never seen that many people entering the Garden last night and we were there around 7:45. We made our way all the way to the top-section 421-and yes we did the “tourist” thing by asking a woman behind us to get a family portrait as we couldn’t wait for Elton to take the stage.

The crowd was a mixture of seasoned veterans as well as plenty of rookies. As Elton came out from behind the keyboard section and walked out on stage the Garden erupted into an appreciative applause filled with admiration and joy as we all couldn’t wait to follow him down the yellow brick road. The stage setting was very “spacious” in the sense that there was not an over-load of equipment or stage props-it included Elton’s grand piano to the left side of the stage (for most of the audience) and towards the middle of the stage was a microphone for the lead guitarist. The bass guitarist stayed mainly behind Elton most of the night while there was a set of drums and percussion for the two drummers. To the far right (or left depending on where you were sitting) there were 4 microphones for the lovely ladies who provided the most excellent background vocals for most of the songs that were performed. There were two “HD quality” screens on each side of the stage that highlighted Elton and his band mates for the entire night. At the front edge of the stage there were lighting fixtures that illuminated various colors and were separated just enough to make it seem like those water fountains that spit water out where it seems the water is broken into pieces. All of this was punctuated by a massive array of circling lights (think “Hollywood”) that changed colors throughout the night. As Elton entered, he walked all around the stage waving his arms in an upward movement imploring the audience to get off its feet. As he settled in to play the piano, one could hear the beginning to one of his longest songs-“Funeral for A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” which has a great introduction as well as a middle and ending. The crowd roared with appreciation as Elton and his band ripped into “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” and even though it was a Wednesday night there were plenty that were getting a belly full of beer. This was a great “one-two punch” to start the show and I was wondering where he was going to go with the momentum and he slowed it down but not the excitement as everyone knew from the opening piano notes that “Levon” was about to sweep everyone into a nostalgic mood as the six women in front of us all went arm in arm and they swayed back & forth while singing with the same fervor as Elton- “And he shall be a Levon…And he shall be a good man.” The four back-up singers made their entrance for this song and added their sweet sound as Elton had a smoking piano solo that rocked the Garden. I looked over at my younger son who plays piano and he was awestruck on how great he played. As the song ended, there were two women in the front row that were doing the “Wayne’s World We Are Not Worthy Bow.” I was loving it. And then from my stand point of view, the show had one of those “black and white” moments as he then performed the title song from “Madman from Across The Water.” He took a chance and even though it worked, only his die-hard fans knew the song and he may have taken a cue from the Allman Brothers as the band jammed away for a really long time.  The “color” instantaneously came back as he performed “Tiny Dancer” to perfection and then made some people jump out of their seats and start dancing to “Phildadelphia Freedom.”

There was much audience participation and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was no exception. At points, as I predicted a few weeks back, there had to be many dogs in the midtown area whose ears were hurting as many were trying to hit those high notes. “Ahhhh…Ahhhh…Ahhh” permeated every open space in the Garden but it was all good because everyone was having an excellent time. I guess since the Allman Brothers had the night off, Elton’s band wanted to show New York that it could jam with the best of them as “Rocket Man” could have given “Mountain Jam” a run for its money as far as the length of a song. As some crew members rolled out another piano to the stage, I thought that Elton was just going to switch sides and play the piano from that side of the stage but he brought out the legendary Leon Russell to play with him. By now we all know that Leon is Elton’s idol and his career has been resurrected by “The Union” which was released last Rocktober. Now for my wife, the “black and white” scene came back and she thought that they were going to play a few songs together. It went much longer than that as I believe Elton mentioned that it was Leon’s first performance on the stage at Madison Square Garden since 1971 and he told the audience he was taking time out of the “hits” to perform songs with his mentor. I thought his set with Leon was very good as there were some really good songs including “Hey Ahab.” The highlight for me during the Leon set was when Elton brought out his friend and colleague in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the legendary Gregg Allman. Since Gregg had the night off from the Beacon he came to do the Neil Young part on the beautiful song-“Gone to Shiloh.”

As Leon exited the stage, the “color” came back to the Garden as one of the highlights of the show was the performance of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me” was perfectly executed. Again that nostalgic feeling came over the Garden as I could feel that most everyone was going back in time to that place they were when they first heard this song. “Close the door…and left me blind by the light…” The band members walked off the stage and left Elton by himself at the piano and the best part of the night was about to occur. Folks, you know how I have informed you of all those “magic” Garden moments-well the mantel space needs some more room as Elton’s “Candle in the Wind” was done so beautifully, so poignantly and the Garden became lighter as people illuminated their cell phones (instead of lighters) while drifting off to another stratosphere. Wow what a moment, it really was something to behold. From that point onwards, the yellow brick road was shining brightly as he brought down the house with some of his best songs. His piano playing was stupendous on “Burn Down The Mission” and I loved the surprisingly rocking “Bitch is Back.” Another great moment was when the crowd sang along to the classic-“Crocodile Rock”- as he stopped and let the audience do the “La…La, La, La” part and it was pure fun. This song always reminds me of my dad, as he loves this song.

Elton came back out to do one last song-“Your Song”-and melted the cold outside the Garden as that warm feeling we all had inside seem to leave our bodies and heated up this March evening, because when we all finally exited the Garden, the winter seemed to have disappeared.  Sir Elton, thank you for a very memorable evening you proved that there really is no place like home; thanks for taking us there again!!

Set List

1.       Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding

2.       Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting

3.       Levon

4.       Madman Across The Water

5.       Tiny Dancer

6.      Philadelphia Freedom

7.       Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

8.      I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues

9.       Rocket Man (I Think it’s Going to be a Long, Long Time)

10.     If It Wasn’t For Bad (with Leon)

11.     Hey Ahab (with Leon)

12.     The Best Part of the Day (with Leon)

13.     Gone To Shiloh (with Leon and Gregg)

14.     Monkey Suit (with Leon)

15.     When Love Is Dying (with Leon)

16.     Never Too Old (To Hold Somebody) (with Leon)

17.     A Dream Come True (with Leon)

18.     Sad Songs (Say So Much)

Piano Solo – Elton

19.     Take Me to The Pilot

20.     Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

21.     Candle In The Wind

22.     Burn Down The Mission

23.      Bennie And The Jets

24.     The Bitch Is Back

25.     Crocodile Rock

Encore

26.     Your Song

March 11, 2011

Weekly Update – 03/11/2011

Jimmy Buffet at Jones Beach on Fri. Aug. 19. Tickets on sale this Mon. Mar. 14 at 10:00 a.m. $70.40 and $182.

Phish at PNC Bank Arts Center on Tues. & Wed. May 31 & June 1.Tickets on sale today at noon. $57.50 and $74.

Darius Rucker at the Best Buy Theater on Thurs. Sept. 1. Tickets on sale today at noon.If you have a American Express card you can buy pre-sale tickets until 10:00 a.m. this morning. $38. Also appearing at NYCB Theater on Sat. Sept. 3. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $52 and $64.50.

Sugarland at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sat. May 21. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $43.50, $56.25, $71.75 and $90.90.

The Disco Biscuits at the Best Buy Theater on Thurs. & Fri. Apr. 14 & 15. Tickets on sale today at noon.If you have a American Express card you can buy pre-sale tickets until 10:00 a.m. this morning. $42.50.

Drive By Truckers with Alejandro Escovedo at the Wellmont Theater on Sat. June 11. Tickets on sale today at noon.If you have a American Express card you can buy pre-sale tickets until 10:00 a.m. this morning. $30.

Warren Haynes Band at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. May 12. Tickets on sale now. $52.90 and $63.15.

Snoop Dogg at the Gramercy Theater on Tues. Mar. 29. Tickets on sale today at 4:20 p.m. $47.20.

Emmylou Harris at the Bowery Ballroom on Tues. Apr. 26. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35.

The Decemberists at The Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn on Tues. June 14. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35.

Artic Monkees at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Tues. May 24. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35 ($43 day of show).

Kenny Loggins at the NYCB Theater on Sat. June 18. Tickets on sale this Sunday at 10:00 a.m.$62.45

Neil Sedaka at the NYCB Theater on Sat. July 16. Tickets on sale this Sunday at 10:00 a.m.$52 and $74.

The Monkees Reunion tour stops at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. June 16. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $63.15, $73.35, $93.85 and $169.55.

Night Ranger with Journey and Foreigner at Jones Beach on Wed. Aug. 17 and PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. Aug. 24. Ticket info to follow.

Other items:

Sad news came out this past week-Mike Starr, former bassist for Alice-In-Chains, passed away at the young age of 44. He was found dead in an apartment near Salt Lake City’s downtown area. Mike had appeared on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew” back in 2009 and I caught the painful exchange between him and the mother of Layne Staley (who died at the very young age of 34). Mike was the last person to have been with Layne before he was found days later and that was the first time he had faced Layne’s mom since he passed away. There is no definitive news on how he passed away. Rest in peace Mike, our thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and friends.

Ok for the first time this year on American Idol I am confused about the judges praises for Jacob Lusk– his performance of “I Believe I Can Fly” was absolutely terrible. America has another Adam Lambert on its hands. Just because someone can scream or seemingly hit a high note doesn’t automatically make it good. I’m not feeling it with his performances. Casey Abrams did a nice job with the Joe Cocker version of the Lennon/McCartney written “Little Help from My Friends.” (That fact was not mentioned, they made it seem like it was a Joe Cocker song and they also made it seem that “All By Myself” was originally done by Celion Dion and not Eric Carmen). Scotty McCreery could get a Country music contract right now. Stefano Langone was also very good with his cover of “Lately” by Stevie Wonder.

This week’s issue of Rolling Stone magazine (with a shameless provocative picture of Snookie on the cover) has an excerpt from the upcoming book release from Sammy Hagar which contains fascinating information about his time spent with Van Halen. I couldn’t put the article down and immediately finished it and then wanted more. It always amazes the things you find out about people (in this case both Eddie and Alex) from someone on the “inside.” Now we all know there are two sides to every story (and in this case maybe three) but descriptive information about what the “5150” studio looked like is most likely fact and for someone as big as Eddie to have his equipment laying amongst empty beer cans and ashtrays all over the place is really shocking to me, don’t ask me why, it just is. I will forever love “Van Halen” music (from both Diamond Dave and Sammy) and will attend any future shows but over the years it seems apparent from both Dave and now Sammy, that Eddie is a handful. When Sammy first joined VH, they made it seem like it was all Dave’s fault for the breakup but after reading part of his experience with Eddie and Alex, an apology from Sammy to Diamond Dave may just be in order.

Hey have you seen the new “Ford” commercial that has been playing the “Light of the Morning” song by the Band of Skulls? (You know-“I want to see you in the morning.. you got to go… you got to go…”). I told you about this band about 18 months ago or so. Their first album-“Baby Darling Doll Face Honey”- is something you should own. And what about Ford? Wow there must be a young executive in the marketing department that knows his or her new music. I don’t associate Ford with being “hip” but their selection of this song has opened my eyes.

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “If I Fell” by The Beatles. How great is this song? John’s vocals are splendid and the harmonizing during the “cause I couldn’t stand the pain” part is absolutely beautiful. Fantastic song, when is the last time you have heard it? Go and listen today!!!

My favorite “old school classic rock” song of the week is “Natural Born Bugie” by Humble Pie. What a rocking song mixed with the blues!! This band was so good and it really is such a shame that Steve Marriott is no longer with us, he was “rock and roll.” Peter Frampton on guitar-this was a “super group” before super group’s were super group’s-love this band!!!

I almost fell out of my seat when I saw the members of Glee performing “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band because it was actually one of the songs that I put on my “songs you are scared to admit you like” and now I am more scared, right? Hey John Stamos was featured in the song, so….Speaking of Glee, the show’s star-Matthew Morrison-has released a single-“Summer Rain” this past Tuesday. Summer rain?? Should have renamed it “March Rain”-I am so done with this winter.

Seether has released a new single-“Country Song” this week from their upcoming May 17, 2011 release-“Holding on to Strings Better Left to Fray”- (OK??!!) and despite the negative comments coming out, I kind of like it. Despite the word “country” being in the title, the song rocks.

My favorite “old school rap song” this week is “Jump Around” by House of Pain. Last weekend, my family and I traveled up to Springfield MA to see a minor league hockey game between Springfield Falcons and Connecticut Whale and in between time outs the DJ was playing this song a lot. I hadn’t heard it in a while and I was jamming in my seat. I will never forget Robin Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire” when he was up on the table dancing as Sally Field walked in-she ruined all the fun.

Steven Tyler’s memoir-“Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?” arrives in book stores on May 10. That should be a great read.

Believe it or not: Lars Ulrich will be featured in a new movie with Nicole Kidman. The movie called “Hemmingway and Gellhorn” is an HBO feature, no word on its release date.

The 26th annual “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” ceremony will take place this Monday night (and will be played on Fuse TV the following Saturday night, Mar. 20 at 9:00 p.m.)  Alice Cooper will be inducted by Rob Zombie (can’t wait to hear that-it has to be such an appreciation); Dr. John by John Legend; Neil Diamond by Paul Simon; Darlene Love by Bette Midler and Tom Waits by Neil Young. Elton John will also present his idol Leon Russell with a “musical excellence” award by a sideman.

Nuggets

Love Gun

Ok back in the middle to late 1970’s, Kiss was the hottest band in the world. (“You wanted the best…You got the best…the hottest band in the world…KIIIISSSS!!!”) You can ask anyone (Ok don’t be funny by saying-“Yeah you could ask any 12 year old”). Ok maybe it was all do to the mystique of trying to obtain pictures of the members without their make-up on. I remember as a kid that the Daily News, a local newspaper in NY, would always tease their readers by showing some photos on the front page where you would see half of a face or something covering the face of Gene, Paul, Peter or Ace (sort of like the next door neighbor-“Wilson” on “Home Improvement”) and they would tell you to look on page 24 or something to see the full picture. And there was nothing. But for the “Kiss Army” it was about the music. Struggling with their popularity in their first few studio albums they ignited overnight once they released-“Kiss Alive”- and the rest as they say is “Kiss-story.” I don’t know of too many bands that became popular after a “live” album was released (the other artist I think of is Frampton with his “Come Alive” album but he was already in Humble Pie before that, so maybe that is not a good example) but with Kiss it turned their whole career around and I think made more people go back and purchase their studio albums.

So the year is 1977 and yes I am 12 years old and waiting for the next Kiss album to be released-“Love Gun”-(which is the subject of our “nuggets” discussion today) and it was supposed to be their best yet. (Unfortunately it was the last studio album done with the four original members). These guys must have had the best publicity team assembled because the buzz created was at an all-time high and part of the reason was due to the fact that there were going to be “costume” changes for each character.For the first half of 1977, there was no “wiki-leak” or a “napster” attack or a “You-Tube” video to get a sneak peak into the new songs or costumes-only those “in the know” actually knew and the build-up was so great that June 30, 1977 couldn’t come fast enough for me.

Then it happened, the Kiss Army could now see the cover of the album as they rushed to the favorite “record” store and by now you all know mine was “The Record Store” and “The Little Record Store” which used to be located across the street from Century 21 in Bay Ridge Brooklyn on 86th street between 4th and 5th avenues. Ok this is a lot different than I expected, a little too “metro” for me as I thought I was going to see more costume instead of skin but I couldn’t wait to take the 8th avenue bus home (sometimes it took so long I ended up walking back home to 51st street anyway) to listen to the new songs. The first song-“I Stole Your Love”-blew me away and I knew instantaneously that I was going to love the album. I could have done a perfect album side (one) but there had to be some way for me to get the title track in here, so hence the “nuggets”. Now of course I love all the songs but admit there are songs that most people don’t know or would skip right over. So here are the golden nuggets from the last studio album with Peter, Paul Ace and Gene: (in no particular order)

Got Love For Sale – Ok spare me the sarcastic comments on their lyrical ability-I say take Kiss for what they are instead of always trying to point out the negative. Say what you want about Gene Simmons but he can sing and play bass and I point to this song as “Exhibit A” for highlighting those abilities. His bass lines fly throughout the song and his vocals are pure rock and roll in my eyes (ears). This song moves as Peter’s head-banging crushing drum beats will surprise those faint of heart and when Ace takes off into space with his guitar solo-watch out I am “air-guitaring” right now-love it!! This could be my most favorite song on the album. \m/ \m/

Tomorrow and Tonight – Ok so yes they were trying to recreate the “Rock and Roll All Nite” magic and this song is easily dismissed by most everyone-except those of us in the “Army.” So it didn’t take off but I love it-sort of reminds me of an old rock and roll song that could have been recorded in the 1950’s. “Owwww…listening to the teachers, bosses and the preachers ain’t never done nobody good…” This is signature Paul at the microphone and don’t you love the female background singers. Ace has another nice solo-he is all over this album-the dude from The Bronx-in “The Bronx Hall of Fame.” “Tomorrow and Tonight…we can rock all day we can roll all night!!!”

I Stole Your Love – Go on and tell me this isn’t a great song??!! I dare you. I don’t care how anyone feels about Kiss-love ‘em or hate ‘em-this is a fantastic song. This is straight up rock and roll- the beginning guitar riffs supplied by Ace and Paul really have to get you amped up, no? And Peter’s drumming gets me so pscyhed. I remember throwing this song on a Spin CD for the afternoon class at MBIA and freaking lovin’ it-(even if nobody else did) as I tried to spin my legs as fast as the song moves. If I were to start a rock and roll bar band this would be the first song I would make our band practice. Can you imagine seeing Kiss in a small club performing this song? That would be a dream come true.

Christine Sixteen – This song was played all the time on WABC radio on your AM station and it was always a real treat for me because you never heard Kiss on the radio back in those days. Now of course “Rock and Roll All Nite” is played all over the classic rock radio format. But this song should be right up there for equal play-time, c’mon you know you love this song!!! Did you know that both Eddie and Alex Van Halen played on this song when they did the demo for it? (Actually Eddie was rumored to want to join Kiss when he was having trouble with Diamond Dave but Gene talked him out if it). This is the perfect pop rock song that is designed for the general public.

Love Gun – How freaking great is this song? This is always played at most every Kiss concert as it is supposedly one of Paul Stanley’s favorite Kiss songs. I love the double barreled effect of Ace and Peter creating such a rocking jam-“I really love you baby…I love what you’ve got!!!” And what about Ace’s playing behind the boys? –again he was so on his game in the late 1970’s it is such a shame things couldn’t work out with him (as well as Peter) still being part of Kiss. This song has to rank way up there as one of their best songs! \m/ \m/

Shock Me – Ok how could I not have this song on the list? The album “Love Gun” featured for the first time Mr. Ace Frehley behind the microphone. For those of you not in the Kiss Army the story goes that while on tour for the “Rock and Roll Over” album Ace was “electrocuted ” one night in FL when he stepped onto a metal staircase which was ungrounded and was knocked out for at least 30 minutes. But like a trooper he did return to finish the show. I know this is not the same thing but as a teenager when I worked with my uncle John, I was wrapping meat but was unaware that someone else had washed the machine and there was still water on the top of machine and as I wrapped a package of meat and laid my hands down I became stuck to the machine and couldn’t let go. I too was being “shocked” and if one of the butchers had not lowered his shoulders and knocked me to the ground, who knows what would have happened. Anyway back to the song-I love the rocking groove and Ace’s vocals are super cool and his solo again is spot on. “and baby if you do what you’ve been told…don’t pull the plug on me…oh no keep it in…shock me!!!”

Songs With Great Beginnings

About a month ago, I wrote about songs that had terrible endings and that came to me as I was seemingly shoveling my way out of my driveway every day in the month of January and beginning of February. Well I was listening to my I-pod and had it on shuffle and heard a few songs that had just great beginnings so I figured that could be another category to experiment with. Now I know this list could be never ending and it is all in the “ear of the beholder” but here are some songs that I think have great beginnings and the rest of the song as well.

Mississippi QueenMountain– This was the song that had me thinking about this category. I know when I first hear the cow-bell and that guitar riff from Mr. Leslie West I become instantaneously psyched up to the tenth degree and immediately reach for the volume button as I try to burn my ears out. How great is this song? Everyone who knows this song, recognizes that the beginning of the song is what hooks us in with the rest of the ride being as beautiful as the start.

LimelightRush – The guitar riff by Alex Lifeson is a thing of beauty and once you hear it, you are immediately hooked and can’t wait for the ride to begin. Now I wonder if some would say that the guitar riff does hook you in but doesn’t really follow through with the rest of the song-that would not be me because I love the entire song but I bet some out there who think that the intro is just a tease. Love the intro as well as the whole song.

For Whom The Bell TollsMetallica – Whew…talk about an introduction to a song? When these first notes are played at one of their concerts, the level of “psyche-ness ” (if there is such a word, you get my drift) ascends to a level that is beyond measuring. For more than two whole minutes, the mosh pit works itself into a frenzy as the pulsating guitar and bass riffs are one of the best introductions to any of their songs, ever. Classic stuff.

Purple HazeJimi Hendrix – Even though we have all heard this song like a zillion times, the beginning chords always get us, doesn’t it? Your immediate reaction is to turn up the volume as you know you are going to excuse yourself to kiss the sky. The head-banging drum beat is so infectious and we all scream “Purple Haze” with Jimi. Great all around song but the beginning hooks us in.

Hells BellsAC/DC – I have to put this song in here even though the very beginning is the sound of a bell but that is what makes it so freaking great. You know what lies ahead as you prepare to “air guitar” along with Angus and then hit the “cymbals” as you “air-drum” and then you add the foot pedal bass drum and it is off to the races. The head-banging is at a feverish pitch as Brian Johnson begins to sing-“I’m a rolling thunder, pouring rain…I’m coming on like a hurricane.” Awesome.

Car Wash Rose Royce – Hey who said this list had to be just rock songs? This song could have the most distinctive beginnings of any song ever recorded. You immediately recognize it on the first hand clap and the way the arrangement builds up to the dancing part of the song is very impressive. You are on your way to having a blast dancing the night away as Rose starts to sing-“You might not ever get rich…” Awesome song and great beginning.

Life’s Been Good Joe Walsh – This is one of my favorite songs of the 1970’s as I love the guitar hook-you all know that you sing along to the guitar part in the beginning just like I do-it’s like I have some food under my tongue as I try to imitate the guitar part. Then about one minute into the song you have the acoustic part come in to make it that much sweeter and then Joe comes in with “I have a mansion…forget the price…ain’t never been there…they tell me it’s nice…” Could be the coolest song of the 1970’s.

L.A. Woman The Doors– Great beginning to a song as I remember Chris playing this for us in our Spin class at MBIA. If you take Spin classes, suggest this song to your instructor you won’t be disappointed. I am not the biggest Doors fan (for those who know me you know that) but I do like some of their songs with this one near the top of my list.

Bat Out of Hell Meatloaf– Could arguably be the best beginning to a song ever, no? Starts off with a blistering piano solo- how many songs can you think of that uses the word-“blistering”- associated with a piano? The guitars are also blazing into action-even when it slows down to a crawl with just the nice soft piano you still are psyched because this could be the most dramatic song ever created. Meatloaf gives it his all on this track and leaves nothing on the table, every portion on the plate is eaten. Unbelievable song

Top Ten

Image of U2

This week’s I-pod shuffle landed on “Get On Your Boots” by U2 and it had me thinking that I needed to put down my favorite U2 songs. Now if you have been following along over the past few years, I haven’t really been the biggest proponent of this band. My history with them goes back to when they first hit the scene, it had to be somewhere around 1981 or 1982, when I was a sophomore at Brooklyn Technical High School and one of my friends was going to a concert at a small club in New York City and he predicted that this new band was going to be “huge.” Looking back it is one of those “should have” moments as I definitely “should have” gone to the show that night but it wouldn’t be the last show that I “should have” attended. Anyway, Nick was right because over the next few years U2 would become the biggest band on the planet. I loved their first few albums but for some reason, I lost touch with this band (maybe because they became too big? You never know-again I was young) as the 1990’s approached. Who knows maybe it was because Nirvana was just about to do their “cleansing” and seemingly make every other genre disappear as “grunge” took over and lasted for much of the 1990’s decade but I did not “hold on” to this band like everyone else.

During the latter part of the 1990’s when “rock” radio stations were changing their format almost every six months to try and figure out what the kids were listening to at that time, the one constant was U2. The radio station-92.3 KROCK in NY- was one of those stations and at times they were all grunge or alternative but guess what band was played on that station even though they weren’t grunge or alternative-Yes-U2. KROCK would go on to have numerous format changes-totally ignoring classic rock (which I get if one is tired of the same old thing) or even new rock bands. I think if they would have changed their format to “Gregorian Chants”- somehow you would have heard-“Beautiful Day” by U2 being slipped in during the day or night. Now I know you are going to think this is “off the wall” but it drove me crazy that U2 always had a home while other deserving bands, that played the same type of music in my mind, were ignored. And this actually drove me away from the band-I know it wasn’t their fault but it was my childlike behavior that was the major contributor. However in reality, again in my opinion, I didn’t think there were that many great songs or albums made by them during the 2000 decade-yes there were some great songs made, I admit it and because of I-Tunes I was able to buy the songs I wanted. (Yes I know this  goes against every grain of my existence because I always felt like consumers should purchase the entire album or body of work-you see I can change).

Then it happened, lightning in a bottle or however you want to categorize it, the magic of U2 came back to me with their 2009 masterpiece-“No Line on The Horizon.” I was completely blown away by this album and even now almost two years later I still love this album.(It received a 5 star rating from Rolling Stone magazine, their only one but the sales figures are not as good as other U2 albums and apparently there was not a “hit” on this album-hey maybe that is why I came back). And I know this will upset their most die-hard of a fan (which obviously I am not) but I stand by my statement that this is the best album they have ever made. I can listen to every song on this album and get ready….brace yourself…I skip over songs on “The Joshua Tree”-there I said it-yes the almighty Joshua Tree.

I recognize and respect the power of U2 and their impact on the world of music and yes I agree that they will go down as one of the greatest bands in the history of music long after they retire and long after we are on to our next journey. I can say that I am a fan of their music (and yes I have seen them perform at Madison Square Garden) after a long battle with myself. So I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by U2 (and they all can’t be from “No Line”). “These are Them:”

(Please note that the song “One” which is arguably one of the best songs ever written will not be on this list. It would be hypocritical of me as I have a few “cover” versions of this song but not the original and my oldest son would never let me live it down but I acknowledge its greatness).

10.     Angel of Harlem This is such a great song to sing along to (as with many of their tunes). I can remember this song being played incessantly on the radio but I didn’t seem to mind because I love the groove. I guess there is no “genre” that you can slap on these guys because of songs like this. What would you call it? Blues, R&B, rock? What ever you call it, there is no denying how good this song really is. I am swaying my head back and forth as I squeeze the headphones harder towards my inner ear tubes. Love it!! “Eyes swollen like a bee sting…angel in devil’s shoes…Angel of Harlllll…ummmmm”

9.     New Year’s Day – This was the first song that I ever heard by U2 and I immediately went out and purchased their “War” album. U2 songs usually carry a message and this one is no different-the lyrics deal with a tough subject but they manage to make it a “sing-along-song” as you all know you have screamed –“Yeaahhhhhhh”- or “All is quiet on New Year’s Day…”- or “I want to be with you, be with you-night and day.” The groove is infectious and arguably one of their most well known songs. I haven’t heard this in a while so it was refreshing to hear it again as I know this is played endlessly as well on classic rock radio stations.

8.     With or Without You – For some reason this song reminds me of The Police as I could picture them doing this song. (sort of like-“Every Breath You Take”). There is no denying this song’s greatness no matter how many times you have heard it over the years-sometimes you get to the point where you have to turn the dial (see “Sweet Home Alabama” or “Stairway”) but I have never reached this point with this song. I find myself being lifted off the ground and heading into another dimension when I hear this song as the beauty of the arrangement is only matched by Bono’s awesome vocal style. As I look out the train window, songs like this puts life in perspective-a thing of beauty. Great tune.

7.     Pride (In the Name of Love) – You know that “word association game” where you are told to say the first word that comes to your mind after hearing one word, well if someone said “U2” to me, the first thing that comes to mind is “Pride.” (now I know it has “In the Name of Love” in the rest of the title but you get the picture). The Edge’s easily identifiable guitar hook in the beginning has been heard around the world more than a few times, huh? Bono’s passionate vocals make you feel this song, it gets into your system and for almost four minutes you are off in a different zone, love the way he sings the chorus-“In the naaaaaaame of looovvveee…what moooorrreee in the naaammmme of looovvve…” This is always a highlight at their live shows-again a great song.

6.     Moment of Surrender – I can remember listening to this song for the first time when it came out in Feb. 2009 as I was headed to my one and only job that I had in the state of Connecticut (unfortunately it was only a three month contract that wasn’t renewed) in my car driving on this two lane “route” where the road seemed like it was just dropped in the middle of a forest equipped with a running river and thinking to myself that this is as a “majestic” song that they have ever recorded. The passion of Bono’s vocals is really unbelievable; you can tell that he was in a zone and I can picture him in the studio singing this song with his eyes closed as the music that was in him came roaring out which had to leave him “spent” as he finished it. I would think that every time he performs this at a show it has to take a lot out of him-“I did not not notice the passer-by’s and they did not notice me…”- love that part. The lyrics are poignant, for example-“It’s not that I believe in love, it’s if love believes in me” or how about-“a vision over visability”- Ok so maybe you have to listen to the song but once you do you will know what I am talking about. The Edge has a sweet guitar solo in the middle-all in all one of their most beautiful songs ever recorded.

5.     Vertigo – I think this is their best “heavy” song as the Edge’s guitar playing is stellar and the whole vibe of the song is really top notch. I love the way it starts off-“Uno, dos, tres…catorce” while the drumming is so infectious and the pulsating bass lines that follow behind The Edge’s guitar makes it one of their most “complete” songs- meaning sometimes Bono’s singing takes over a song or The Edge’s guitar playing takes over but in this song, in my opinion, there is no one part that is overshadowed by another. This is rock and roll at it’s best-just a straight up and knock ‘em dead kid (Motley Crue) kind of song. If you listen carefully (with headphones on of course) and follow along with the Edge you realize what a great guitarist he is. This is pure perfection.

4.     Where The Streets Have No Name– This song reminds me of the folks I used to work with in Dan’s Supermarket back in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn (I won’t put NY because everyone knows there is only one Brooklyn and where it is located) and I believe this was a favorite of Ms. Casey as I recall she used to select this song all the time when we all hung out at “Peggy Kelly’s.” This song could also be added up above as a song with a great beginning because the build-up to this song is fantastic. Back in those days, U2 was in such a zone where the “hits” just kept coming and again they all seemed to make you drift off into another stratosphere. This song is a masterpiece. By the way, the streets in our Brooklyn neighborhood did not have names….just numbers, so you see the song was written for us.

3.     I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – Wow what a song, huh? “I have climbed highest mountain…I have run through the fields…only to be with you…”-has to be one of the most recognizable lyrics ever written, right? This is another masterpiece that will forever stand the test of time. Ok, I agree this song should be played on any radio format-forgive me for my “Gregorian Chant” comment above but I was in the moment. Not much more to say that this is one of the most supreme songs ever recorded.

2.     I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight – This was really close to being my all time favorite song by U2. I get confused when it is stated that there were no “hits” from “No Line on the Horizon”-well what is this song? This is absolute perfection and this song alone is what brought me back to U2. Again the lyrics astounding hit home-“every beauty needs to go out with an idiot”- now how true is that? Guys, you know exactly what I am talking about- the girls you thought were the most beautiful while growing up always seemed to be attracted to the neighborhood idiots, right? Or how about the poignant-“every generation gets a chance to change the world…because the sweetest melody is the one we haven’t heard”-so true. I love the bridge where Bono sings-“baby baby baby I know I’m not alone…” and the guitar solo that follows is so nice. This is a powerful song folks and one of their best ever. Oh by the way-it should be labeled a “hit.”

1.     Bad – I can remember the first time I heard this song, it was almost instantaneous that this would forever be my favorite U2 song-don’t ask me why but there is something about this song that just makes me want more-it is already a long song but I could listen longer. I love the drumming parts towards the end of the song that seem to be all over the place-it’s like he is in his own world drumming away as Bono is screaming-“I’m wide awake…I’m wide awake!!!” The familiar guitar riff is so sleek and comfortable-like a 100% cotton sheet that sits on your bed during a cold winter night-it lulls you into another atmosphere. I love to just close my eyes and listen to the entire song with them shut while exuberate in the magnificence of the entire arrangement.“Isolation…Desolation…let it go and slowly fade away…” Come on all at once- “I’m wide awake…wide awaaaaayyyyy ake…”

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     George Michael

2.     Joe Jackson

3.     Evanescence

4.     Stephen Stills; Buffalo Springfield; CS&N; CSN&Y

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     We exploded on to the scene with our brand of heavy metal rap complete with a furiousness that was seemingly unmatched. As our career went on, we kind of distanced ourselves from this genre and now make albums that are more subdued and no one can label us as a band that plays a certain kind of music any longer. Who are we?

2.     We are a band out of Boston who put in our time in the heavy metal scene and now firmly sit as one of the most popular metal bands out there today. Our manager is the drummer for the band called Extreme. Who are we ?

3.     We are also a band out of Boston and have survived more than four decades of turmoil and rehabs while be considered one of the best-if not the best-American bands to have ever graced the stage. The lead singer is still doing “American” but the other members consider it a foreign thing to do. Who are we?

4.     I was 17 years old when I first sang with this band and we had a few major hits that have been covered many times. The band Chicago covered our “I’m a Man” song. I went on to have a very successful career and am still going strong today. Who am I and what band was I in when I was 17?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week: (nice job Chris)

1.     Can’t Explain – The Who

2.     Switch – Will Smith

3.     I’ve Seen All Good People – Yes

4.     Tell Her No- The Zombies

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

1.     “…It’s a little bit funny…this feeling inside…I’m not one of those who can easily hide…don’t have much money…”

2.     “…I have waited a lifetime…spend my time so foolishly…but now that I’ve found you…together we’ll make history…”

3.     “…every time I look into your loving eyes…I see a love that money just can’t buy…one look…from you…”

4.     “…I’ve been all around this great big world and I’ve seen all kinds of girls…yeah but I couldn’t wait to get back in the States…back to the cutest girls in the world…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1967, The Beatles music publisher Dick James announced that the song “Yesterday” had been covered 446 times. As of today, that number is over 3,000 times.

Back on this day in 1970, Crosby Stills & Nash released their debut album- “Déjà vu”-which later moved to number one on the Billboard charts and has gone on to sell over 7 million copies in the U.S.

Back on this day in 1974, Janis Joplin’s manager Albert Grossman was awarded $112,000 on her life insurance policy. The company tried to argue that her death was a suicide but lost.

Back on this day in 1983, Styx kicked off a U.S. tour in support of their latest release-“Kilroy Was Here” in San Diego, CA. There was a theatrical stage and the members of the band also had acting parts-I guess that was the last straw as Mr. DeYoung seem to have all the power.

Back on this day in 1994, The Supremes received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Back on this day in 1997, Paul McCartney was “knighted” by Queen Elizabeth II. Wow was it that long ago?

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge) and George Kooymans (Golden Earring), Cheryl Lynn (“Got To Be Real”) and the late Lawrence Welk.

March 4, 2011

Weekly Update – 03/04/2011

Brian Wilson at the Wellmont Theater on Thurs. June 9. Tickets on sale today at noon. $45, $75 and $95.

Def Leppard and Heart at Jones Beach on Fri. July 12 and at PNC Bank Arts Center on Sat. July 13. Pre-sale tickets for those with Citi-cards begin next Wed. Mar. 9 at 10:00 a.m until next Fri. Mar. 11 at 10:00 p.m. General public on sale next Sat. Mar. 12 at 11:00 a.m. Jones Beach: $39.50 and $186; PNC: $32 and $143.50 (I really hate this new pricing system they have going on here-“nothing in the middle any more”-this is all Live Nation and Ticket Master crap).

Phish at the PNC Bank Arts Center on Wed. June 1. Tickets on sale today at noon. $57.50 and $74.

New Kids on The Block and Back Street Boys at The Izod Center on Mon. June 13. 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. $39.85, $83.85 and $104.35

Josh Groban at The Mohegan Sun on Sat. July 30 and at the Prudential Center on Tues. Aug. 2 and at Nassau Coliseum on Fri. Nov. 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m for Mohegan: $110.35 and $166.60; Prudential “Pre-sale” tickets available until 10:00 p.m. tonight if you have a Citibank Card. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $69.90 and $111.40; Nassau-tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $72.50 and $113.45.

KT Tunstall at the Webster Theater on Mon. Apr. 11. Tickets on sale today at noon. $27 ($32 day of show).

Ray LaMontagne at The Rumsey Playfield (Central Park) on Tues. May 31. Tickets on sale today at noon. $50 ($60 day of show).

Seether at the Gramcery Theater on Tues. May 24. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $47.20.

Black Label Society at Irving Plaza on Sat. June 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $44.70.

Danzig at NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Wed. May 18. . Tickets on sale today at noon. $28.50 and $34.75.

The Monkees at NYCB Theater in Westbury NY on Fri. June 17. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m.. $52.50 and $62.95

Miranda Lambert at the Mohegan Sun on Wed. June 8. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $53.55 and $74.55

Other items:

The Foo Fighters released their first single-“Rope”-off of their upcoming album-“Wasting Light”- to be released on April 12 and you know I love these guys and I have to be honest and tell you that this needs to grow on me. It happens a lot with this band for me, at first I am like-“Ok sounds good but…” and then a few months later I am blown away. You can definitely hear the influence of “Them Crooked Vultures” in this song with all the “program” changes. There is a blazing guitar solo that one is not particularly used to with the Foo Fighters. It sounds like both Josh and John Paul Jones helped Dave write this song.

Speaking of Mr. Grohl, he has signed on as one of the performers to make a tribute album for the late Ronnie James Dio. He reportedly will sing lead vocals on “The Mob Rules” from Dio’s days with Sabbath. I can’t wait for his take on it and I can’t wait for the entire album. \m/ \m/

My favorite new song for the second week in a row is “Come On Get It” by the amazing Lenny Kravitz. This song may have just sky rocketed to the top of his “top ten” list. The horn section is so reminiscent of James Brown and the funk-a-fied rock beat is off the charts. This has to be the best single released so far this year. Friggin’ love this song!!! I can’t wait for the new album and of course to head out to see him again. This man creates excitement!!!

There is really something different about this year’s American Idol, I’m not sure if it is due to going back with the original producer or the new judges but this year seems to be about the contestants and their ability to sing. I don’t recall a season where it has been so hard to eliminate the talent pool down to 13. I have totally forgotten about Simon and for some reason I think the talent this year has been better than ever. Could it be because of Steven and Jennifer (and of course-“The Dog”) who are all in the music business and have the right ear or maybe the “want” to be the next “Idol” has lifted everyone’s game. Who knows but there were some talented kids left off last night.

Sammy Hagar is doing a “book” tour for his “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock” and he will be at The Borders in Columbus Circle in NYC (10 Columbus Circle-near 59th street) next Tues. Mar. 15 at 7:00 p.m. Also appearing earlier that day in Ridgewood N.J. at 1:00 p.m. at “Bookends” located at 211 E. Ridgewood Avenue. Go check out The Red Rocker and get an autograph.

Rob Zombie has squashed all the rumors that he will be directing “The Dirt”- the film version of the Motley Crue’s memoir. He doesn’t know where it started from and stated that he will be directing “The Lords of Salem” (of course a horror flick) and then will record his next CD.

The glam is back- have you heard the new single by Whitesnake-“Love Will Set You Free?”- I have to tell you this is right up my alley. Coverdale still has the vocals and the sound is pretty heavy and of course the video is just like their old videos from the 1980’s. (think Tawny) . I was going to give you the link but some might be offended, so look on You Tube for the video. The album- “Forever More”-is slated for release later this month on the 29th.

Stephen Pearcy twitted the other day and stated that “Ratt will not be active in 2011 and maybe longer.” What?? Is he kidding me? They come back with a new decent album-“Infestation”- and he is now again going to make a solo record. Haven’t we all heard this before??!! I’m exhausted and done for that matter.

Judas Priest will do a European tour with Queensryche over the summer, so hopefully their last tour will hit the States later this year-maybe “Rocktober??!!” Who is in??!!!

Paul Stanley and his wife, Erin, are now expecting their third child this year. Congrats!! Again I couldn’t do it at his age but….

Nuggets

Diver Down

The year is 1982 and I am at my favorite age- 17- and it is also my favorite number as this really is the only number I want(ed) to wear when I play(ed) on softball or football teams. (I make exception sometimes for the number “5” as this was the number my Dad always used when he played ball). Anyways, by 1982 I was at Brooklyn Tech High School and so deep into Van Halen at this point, I guess one could describe it as an obsession. In my opinion, there was no one like Diamond David Lee Roth in his prime-he was the most acrobatic front man in rock history and could perform physical phenomena’s upon the stage that I have never seen replicated. And talk about cool? Everyone in the early 1980’s wanted to be David Lee Roth-he had “it”-the rock and roll look, the voice that is so distinctive and again could do these amazing stunts which included jumping high above the Madison Square Garden stage seemingly at eye level with the mezzanine section. And what about the rest of the guys? Eddie Van Halen by this time had become a “god” on guitar and who couldn’t wait for his “solo” at every one of their concerts? Talk about some jaw dropping stuff? His craft was being idolized by the future metal bands that may have been 5 or 6 years old at that time-or may have not even been born yet. His brother-Alex, is in my opinion often over-looked as one of the best rock drummers of all time. If you have never been to a Van Halen concert, you don’t know what you are missing. Alex seems completely buried behind a wall of drums and it sounds like three other guys are helping him play, but he is the only one-he is in complete command at all times. Now I know Michael Anthony is no longer with the band but his pulsating bass playing was the back-bone of every album they did with him.Attending a Van Halen concert is the equivalent of having a ticket tape parade down the “Cannon of Heroes” located on Broadway in New York City for every New York sporting team at the same time. Think of the excitement if every team had won a championship at the same time and they threw a party for all of them at the same time. (c’mon make believe, I know it can’t happen) Can you imagine the excitement, electricity and the happiness in the air? Do you have that feeling yet? Well I just described sitting in Madison Square Garden waiting for Van Halen to take the stage. Attending their shows was magical and the bigger they became, the bigger the shows became. I can remember Diamond Dave surfing high above the crowd at MSG on an oversized surf board looking down at the absolute frenzy going on below him; it was like it was yesterday. But of course it was always about the music behind all those great stage antics-they were the best live band from 1980 – 1985 in my opinion. (And their reunion tour with Diamond and Wolfie was also phenomenal).

So where am I going with this? Ok you know it pains me to select an album by the great Van Halen and put it in the “Nugget” section but I have to be honest with myself and admit that “Diver Down” has some songs that I have skipped over-sometimes, not all the time-and also succumbing to the criticism that this album contains too many covers. (To be totally honest I skip over the most songs on “1984” than any other VH album with Diamond Dave). But know this- I own the album, I upgraded to the CD and now these songs sit very comfortably on my I-Pod and I have every song on Diver Down in my I-Pod. So, I will admit there are a few too many covers but it doesn’t mean that I don’t like them, well Ok I am not too crazy about “Pretty Woman” but maybe that is because I heard it so many times since it came out. Anyway, here are the golden “nuggets” from the often over-looked Van Halen album-“Diver Down:” (in no particular order)

Happy Trails – I need to thank my friend John for reminding me about this song-he made me a CD of “cover” songs and he squeezed this one in at number 20 because it’s only 66 seconds long. I friggin’ love this cover of the Dale Evans classic. Who doesn’t love the –“bum ba deed a…bum ba deed a…bum ba deed a..?” Or “who cares about the clouds when we’re together??!!” Happy Trails everyone this is the best!!!

Hang ‘Em High – For all the naysayers out there who criticize this album tell me this song isn’t fantastic? Don’t even try to say this isn’t vintage Van Halen-Eddie is all over this bad boy with his blistering guitar work and his solo is over the top-I always need to put the volume up higher. Alex sounds like he is getting help from five other drummers but again it is only he that makes that sound-incredible. The bass lines with thump your chest as you run all around the room or make you perform your favorite “Bo Jackson” imitation when he ran up and then down the outfield wall when he was playing left field for the Kansas City Royals-but make sure you don’t scruff the walls with your shoes.There is no other way to listen to this song but LOUD!!!! Perfect work-out song. \m/ \m/

Little Guitars – (including the “Intro”)- This song could arguably be one of Van Halen’s most recognized and popular songs ever written and performed. Eddie is pure genius on that sweet guitar riff. How doesn’t love the “flamenco” acoustic guitar in the beginning? Then Alex starts that slow head banging groove and the guitar riff makes me want to the “robot” for a bit and then it’s off to the races as Diamond Dave starts singing “Senorita I’m in trouble again and I can’t get free…” C’mon folks this is good stuff right here, there’s no denying this. With the quickened pace I feel like I am on a magic carpet ride while Eddie is just jamming away-“I can see you don’t know which way to turn but the sun still shines…” This is the highlight of the album, no question about that!! Love the way it ends with just Eddie’s guitar.

Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) – C’mon it had to be so cool for Eddie and Alex to play along side their dad-who plays the clarinet on this “throw back” song they covered. It has that “1920’s” or “1930’s” flavor as I could picture this being played in a Marx Brothers movie. You want proof that Diamond Dave was the coolest? Listen to the way he sings this song- as the boys from Brooklyn would say-“for get about it.” The clarinet solo is righteous and the “brush” noise playing by Alex is so infectious it gives the song that “scratch” effect once you drop the needle down on the 78 record. “Yeah!!!”

Where Have All The Good Times Gone? – Yes I know it is a cover but I’m pretty sure The Kinks were proud of this version. There is a “heaviness” that spruce’s this bad boy up. This is a great “air-guitar” song and should be on Guitar Hero (if it isn’t already). “Won’t you yell me?…where have all the good times gone?”- Love the background vocals- Van Halen was always “tops” in this department.

The Full Bug – Oh Baby!!! How friggin’ great is this song? Talk about getting psyched up? I can just picture a bug that you have spotted in your house and it is trapped in a corner or something and it has to get away from you as you try to swat it-his life is in danger and he needs to run-if that bug put on some headphones and listened to this song it would easily get away from you because this song gives you power. You know those mice that run on treadmills? If they had headphones and this song came on, that treadmill would be smoking because the mouse would be running so fast, the friction would cause smoke. Eddie’s guitar solo is blazing and again it sounds like Alex is getting help from some other drummers because the sound is so full-controlled chaos. You have to feel this. This is the best song on the album.

Album Review: “21” by Adele released on February 22, 2011

21

So here it is, 60 days into the New Year and I have finally purchased a “new release.” It seems like each New Year, it takes that much longer for something to catch my attention but as I mentioned last week, I kind of knew that this album was going to be part of my musical library. And this was due to the favorable reviews that seem to be coming in from everywhere as well as the free 90-second preview allotted to each song on I-Tunes. Now I have to be honest and let you know that this album for me is an exploration, as this is normally not my “forte,” or should I say-“genre.” But if there is anything you have learned from this page, it is that I am not wed to one particular form or type of music, so with that I will give you my opinion on this work and it is the first work that I have encountered with Adele. (I know- I need to own-“19” but let me do this first).

I will let you in on how I try to listen to a new piece of work by anyone-I put the CD in and do not read any song titles and I do not read the booklet that comes with the CD that contain the lyrics. I just listen and store in my memory bank-“hey I liked track # 4, #7, etc.” Now this is a complete reversal from the way I used to listen to new material when I was a younger lad. In prior years, I would have to take out the lyrics and read along to every word while listening to each song but lack of time along with the fact that I mostly listen to music in my car, on the train or when I clean the house on the weekends, has given me a new outlook on life without reading along to the lyrics. This makes me focus more on the melody and overall arrangement of the songs and I think it has made me appreciate (or not) the effort (or lack of) of the artist/band by just listening-it has worked for me. So after giving “21” a few turns before starting to learn the song titles, I have to say that she is a very soulful woman for someone who just tuned twenty-on. Her vocals, in my opinion, are a mixture of Joss Stone, Edie Brickell and believe it or not-Amy Winehouse. She has a way about her that demands your attention, her vocals are confident as well as mesmerizing and the fact that she is only 21, makes one wonder what she has in store for us in the coming years. Folks, this album is a real pleasant surprise to me and I highly recommend it. You can use this for your next “dinner party” or “house party” with family and/or friends. It contains songs filled with “classic R&B,” “soul,” “jazz-like” and “funk” along with stellar arrangements that at some points will leave you speechless. There are really some amazing songs on this album and if I am completely honest-one cover-“Lovesong” by The Cure that should have been left off but overall, a solid effort by this new sensation from England that will easily have the U.S. audience at her fingertips for a long time coming.

The album kicks off with the soulful “Rolling in the Deep” which has a “funk-a-delic” feel to it-think of the Supremes fused together with Amy Winehouse. There is an edge to this song that makes it seem she is up for a brawl or something like when Carrie Underwood “keyed” her ex-boyfriend’s car. The arrangement of the song is very tight and with about a minute left, there is lots of percussion and handclapping that will make you twist and turn your body to the beat. “Rumor Has It” starts off with a pounding bass drum as Adele slick vocal style conjures up visions of a smoky bar room and the emphasis to the drum beats are highlighted with successive hand claps and the tambourine is consistent throughout. Then all of a sudden it slows down to a real slow pace and I picture a shadow walking under a street lamp on a city street on a foggy spring night but then the bass drum kicks it back up and the hand clapping is not only part of the song-you will be applauding this effort. “Turning Tables” takes the pace down a bit as the piano playing behind her beautiful voice is just as magnificent as her singing. “Turning Tables” kind of reminds me of “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol a little bit-in the title, but musically as well but obviously her voice is different from Gary Lightbody.I can picture this being played on pop radio stations across America and also being performed on American Idol at some point in the future. “Don’t You Remember” actually reminds me of Stevie Nicks a little bit, especially the beginning. The song is a stunning ballad which should have you completely mesmerized about one minute into the song, her vocal range is solid. I feel like I have heard this song before but can’t put my “ear” on it. When the song hits the “bridge” the production behind the song is powerful as she exclaims-“why don’t you remember??!!!…remember me once more…” Sounds like a heart-break song to me. Track # 5-“Set Fire to the Rain”-(cool name for a song, no?) starts off like a Journey song with the piano giving way to her vocals as the steady groove will have you shaking your head up and down as you drift off as you listen to the lyrics and it seems quite apparent she has experienced a bad relationship while she was writing for this album. She sounds more like Joss Stone on this song more than any other song, again in my opinion. “He Won’t Go” has that Winehouse feel to it as I am back in a bar room as the spot light is on Adele as she stands next to the piano and not a single word is spoken in the audience because they are almost hypnotized by her vocals. Listen to how she says the word-“risk”- “…I’m willing to take the riiii….ee…ssskkk.” This is one of the better tracks on the album.

Making believe it is now side two, track #7-“Take it All”-starts off very “a-capella”-ish with just the piano playing behind her. Wow what a voice, folks you need to really pay attention to her talents. She has this way of captivating you and not letting go-this is pure talent that comes from within-you have to feel it because I know she feels it. Adele is unique and it is songs like this that cement this observation. “I’ll Be Waiting” starts off very “Carole King-ish” as I could picture Ms. King singing this song if she was just starting out like Adele. This is a finger snapping tune that will have you wanting to know the lyrics right away because you will want to sing along with her. “I’ll be waiting for you…when you’re ready to love me again…” but I get the feeling she won’t be there when he is ready again. This has an “old school” feel to it and the background vocals make it seem like this is contemporary 1960’s-if you know what I mean. “One and Only” is the best song on the album. This is the game winning catch with a few seconds left in the Superbowl or hitting a homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the seventh game of the World Series. Folks, this is a “knee-bending” worthy song and you just may need something to hold you up as listen to this masterpiece. I’m at a loss on what else to say-you need to hear this song. I guess maybe since “One and Only” was so phenomenally good, it is hard to top and maybe that is why I am not so keen on her cover version of The Cure’s “Lovesong.” Of course the vibe is different from the original but it’s not that bad, like I said maybe it is coming off the high of the prior song. It drags just a bit. Track # 11-“Someone Like You”-brings me back to that place where she takes you-off in your own little world as her voice is melting the snow and ice from the winter blues. Remember those old “Bugs Bunny” cartoons where the aroma of a carrot would have Bugs floating in the air towards the grand prize-same thing here and my guess is the grand prize is seeing her live in concert as I bet she will make you feel like you are the only person inside the Beacon Theater when she sings this song. I just did the Wayne’s World “We Are Not Worthy” bow (hey I know it’s a different genre but when you feel it…). The last song on this fantastic album is “I Found a Boy” and to me it has the feel ofSusan Tedeschi because of the bluesy sound punctuated by the guitar playing which sounds like something Derek Trucks (Susan’s husband) would play. It’s hard to believe this woman is only 21, dare I say that she reminds me of Christina in the sense that I don’t think there is anyone out there who sings like Christina, well I may have just found someone who is not that far behind. Folks, this is the best new female vocalist to come out in the last few years-I had heard all the rumors and praises but I now own the proof. What a way to end an album with this heart-felt passionate victory-unreal.

So what are you waiting for? I say that you stop what you are doing right now and run out and purchase “21.” Not only will she make you wish that you are 21 again but you will also wish that you could sing like her. The best release of 2011 so far and so worthy of your attention.

Top Ten

Image of The Who

This week’s I-pod shuffle landed on the “Overture” (from “Tommy”) by The Who and it had me thinking that I have done the top ten songs by“three” of the “Big Four” British bands that forever changed the world of rock music and so I figured it was time to try and tackle this list. Now again I will not sit here and profess to know all there is about this legendary band, who are still touring and recording, albeit without two of their brothers-John Entwistle and Keith Moon-who have since passed on. However, when I look at my I-Pod I do have 100 songs of theirs and I would consider myself a fan and I have seen them in concert. I am a creature of habit (for those of you who know me you know that is so true, right? –ask my bride) and I have been getting my haircut at the same place for the past 11 years and the woman who cuts it for me is a huge fan of The Who, with “Tommy” being her all-time favorite. She has passed her enthusiasm on down to her seven year old son who has known the words to every song on “Tommy” now for a couple of years. I love when I hear anecdotes like this; it gets me so psyched-if that makes me weird…then so be it. But I love it when music gets into the blood stream of folks and that sheer expression of happiness as they display their joy is what music is all about.

And talk about being in the fabric of some many people’s lives? Think about how The Who has changed people’s lives over these past five decades-their music is everywhere. And just like their British partners, they made landmark albums that forever changed the landscape of music and these albums will always stand the test of time. We are responsible for passing it on down to our children and our children’s children with no exceptions. The one moment that will forever be etched into my memory (and I think many other people will have the same memory) is when they played Madison Square Garden, along with many other superstars, a month or so after 9-11, as part of a benefit for the victims of that horrible day. There were other major stars but in my opinion, The Who will forever be the highlight of that incredible night. I will never forget the smiles on the faces of the firemen in the audience amongst the pain and tears as they watched their heroes perform up on the world’s greatest stage. The audience sang with such passion trying to match the fervor of Mr. Roger Daltrey as that night could have been his best performance ever, it was as if he was having an “outer-body” experience, he was so “lights out.” Pete and John were also fantastic, I don’t want to make it just about the lead singer-they all had to be because they knew what the moment meant to so many.

In my opinion, The Who were different from their “British Brothers” in many ways, especially in their recordings. Yes I know they were “brash” as The Stones when they first hit the scene-you want proof-“hope I die before I get old”- that lyrical line alone will forever be associated with them. They did their own “Sgt. Pepper’s” concept album but added a twist of “opera.” The Mighty Led Zeppelin seem to get the upper nod when it came to musicianship but Mr. Entwistle was a beast on bass, Keith an “Animal” (Muppets) on drums; Mr. Townsend on guitar is one you just can’t easily dismiss and Roger held his own as one of the greatest front-men in the history of music but that all said-I still maintain their sound and approach to their music was different from their brothers. (“Tommy” and “Quadrophenia”-C’mon?!). Anyway I don’t want to turn this into a competition between all of them because they each added something special to the world in their own way and we are the lucky ones because we will forever have their recordings to fall back on and to pass on down to future generations.

So here it is I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by The Who- here is my list: (By the way if I could have “eleven” that would be the live version of “Baby Don’t You Do It”)

10.     The Punk and the Godfather– By the time The Who made Quadrophenia, I think they were in “fifth” gear and fully in stride. Listen to Entwistle on the bass on this song-he is flat out spectacular and with the “wheel house” lead guitar riffs from Pete-can it get any better? I love the arrangement-which takes the “normal Who break” as Pete takes it down with his soft vocal part while Roger waits in the wings for his turn as the composition roars back with his rough and gritty vocals. And all throughout the song, Keith’s drumming is spotless and for some reason it seems to be in the background but if you listen to just his part-it really makes me want to take drum lessons. This song is phenomenal and addictive.

9.     New Song – How can I not have this song on my list? This was the song that made me buy my first ever Who album-“Who Are You”- and then set me on the course of exploring all their classics. Now this song deserves to be on my list because I love the arrangement and the groove is so good. Listening to this song on my younger son’s headphones is something to behold-it is so good. And even though they goof on their fans by stating that “…I write the same old songs with a few new lines…and everybody wants to cheer it…” I would say that this song sounds a bit different from their late 1960’s and early 1970’s powerhouse albums and they are right-I do want to cheer it. “…let it rain…let it rain…let it rain…let it rain…let it raaaaaaiiiiiiinnnnnn yeahhhhhh..”-I love that guitar rip after that part. Great song and I don’t want any complaints.

8.     Let’s See Action – I know what you are thinking-“with all The Who songs out there how can this make your top ten?” My answer is –“to each his or her own”-I absolutely love this track. The piano part in the beginning actually reminds me of “I Call Your Name” by The Mama & Papas (the cover of The Beatles song) and the piano playing throughout the rest of the song is flawless. This song is perfectly constructed around Roger’s vocals as Pete’s guitar playing is also flawless. Keith and John provide the fuel behind the fire as their rhythm is always solid. Again there is a “Pete” break as he takes it down to a low level (…I don’t know where I’m going…I don’t know what I need…) as we all know the song will build back up again. Put on a great set of headphones and squeeze your hands as hard you can into your ears and let this song take you to another stratosphere. Awesome tune.

7.     Getting In Tune – A seemingly “forgotten” tune from arguably their best album-“Who’s Next”- but not by me- I love this song. You see, (or hear) Roger can take it down and his beginning vocal solidifies the fact that he is one of the best singers in rock history. He sings perfectly along to the background music-“…I got it all here in my head…there’s nothing more needs to be said…I’m just banging on my old piano”- which is amplified by the pounding drums of Mr. Keith Moon. The Who made many songs that are “bar songs” meaning a whole row at the bar can take their mugs and sway their arms back and forth while singing out loud-I can picture this being done to this song. Great sing along song!!

6.     Baba O’Riley– No matter how many times I thought this song was not going to be in my top ten, it kept winning the battles against other songs. Now the reason I say this is because we all know how many times we have heard this song throughout the years. (Has to be right up there with “Stairway” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” no?) But the moment you hear the opening keyboard notes, you can’t help but get psyched, right??!!! Then when the piano kicks in and Keith is chomping at the bit to add the drums, well it’s already at a fever pitch and you have to turn the volume up a couple of notches. This song will forever remind me of when I was dating my wife and had introduced her to my friend, Johnny Boy. Now for those of you who know Johnny Boy you know what I am talking about. Well we were headed to a NY Mets game to meet fellow co-workers from S&P and we were riding on the “Interboro” parkway (which is now the “Jackie Robinson” parkway) and it was a deluge of rain coming down on the road with such furiousness that the two lane highway could not handle all the water. My wife was very nervous driving and we encountered a big puddle of water and had to go through it and by this time this song had come to the part at the end where the pace really picks up and here was Johnny playing “drums” on the back of her driver’s seat and was literally possessed by the song-he was in a different world and his antics proved to be the calming influence on a pretty intense situation. Just as we parked in the Shea Stadium parking lot, the sun came out.

5.     The Seeker – This arguably could be one of their best songs ever written and recorded and I would put this song up to any other rock song-yes “toe-to-toe” and I bet this song would go far in those March Madness brackets. The guitar riff is so righteous and the melody is so sweet. “…I asked Bobby Dylan…I asked the Beatles”- c’mon who calls Bob Dylan- “Bobby?”-it’s like calling Robert DeNiro-“Bobby.”-Only close friends can call them that (not even relatives). Listen to the piano playing, listen to Pete’s phenomenal struttin’ on the guitar and tell me this song isn’t great? Roger Daltrey’s voice is fantastic and when Pete helps him out on the background vocals at the part-“…I’m looking for me…you’re looking for you…”- well that could just be the best part of the song. I can listen to this song all day long. Once the spring time rolls around, slip this song in your car and roll down the windows and play this semi loud as you drive past your neighbors-they will turn and give you a thumbs up!!!

4.     Squeeze Box – I remember being “pre-teenager” and walking around the house singing the words to this song and I knew something was not right but I could never get the melody out of my head-I love this song so much. Now the lyrics are a bit “risqué” but maybe they are really referring to a music box-any way- the only thing wrong with this song is that it is too short. Just as I am really getting into it, the song ends. I love the “bango” type playing throughout the song and Roger is flawless. “Cause she’s playing all night and the music’s alright.” Love it!!!

3.     We’re Not Gonna Take It – This song should be put into the Smithsonian Institution. Or maybe Congress should put into law that every one living in the U.S. should own this song. “We’re not gonna take it…never did…and never will…” This song arguably solidifies the fact that “Tommy” is the best rock opera concept album ever recorded. When Daltrey slows down things and is basically singing a capella, his vocals-“See me…feel me…touch me…heal me” puts me in such a trance that I feel like I am inside a kaleidoscope spinning in a circle and when Pete and Roger sing together-“listening to you…I get the music…gazing at you”-this could be the best part of a song ever recorded.(sort of reminds me of The Beatles at that point). This has to bring you back to a point in time where you were younger and had less to worry about, right?A complete masterpiece.

2.     Love Reign O’er Me – In Dec. 2009 I did a top ten “screamers” of all time and of course Mr. Daltrey was on the list and I stated at that time that this was the best “scream” song ever recorded. I still believe this. Everything about this song is so perfect-the beginning with the rain which sounds like it is coming in through the basement door into the vestibule (just like the houses built in Sunset Park Brooklyn, where almost every house had a basement entry) and the middle with the Keith getting into the action with “up and down” scaling on the drums matching the fervor of Roger as the “screaming intensifies” and of course the dramatic ending which is complete with one of the best screams ever-“LOOOOO-OHHHH-VVVVVEEEEEEEE.” What else can I say but this is another masterpiece.

1.     The Real Me – Wow…double wow…how friggin’ phenomenal is this song? John Entwistle is a pure beast on the bass guitar-I could write the whole review for this song just on the bass part. Folks, I’m telling you right now-please listen to this song carefully and follow along to the bass guitar.This song is what I call-“controlled chaos”- as it sounds like each member of the band is doing their own thing but yet it comes all together to make their greatest song-in my opinion. Keith Moon’s drumming is so infectious that it makes me feel like I am inside a box that I can’t get out of, so I resort to frantically running to each corner to try and knock down each “wall” of the box. Pete Townsend is so focused on his lead guitar riff that it appears to be in the background (because of the bass) but again, if you listen carefully, you realize just how important his part is to the song. And what about Roger?- I absolutely love the part where he sings-“I went back to my mother…I said I’m crazy Ma…help me…”- I have to rewind the song again over and over just to hear that part and who doesn’t love the ending when his voice echoes with –“can you see the real me…me (me) me (me) me (me)…” Hopefully I have put into words just how phenomenal this song is-a total team effort on the part of The Who. Thank you gentlemen for this and so many other songs. Taking a cue from AC/DC- “We Salute You!!!!”

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Charlie Daniels Band

2.     Train

3.     Zebra

4.     Young MC

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I have been around since the 1980’s and most thought I’d probably not last long but after leaving the group I was in, I embarked on a very successful solo career. I don’t tour that often but when I do, I can easily sell out Madison Square Garden because I have faith in myself. Who am I?

2.     I started out as a “new wave” guy during the late 1970’s and then after a few albums I became bored with that genre and then put out a “big band” type album, complete with trumpets, saxophones and other wind instruments. I then went on to so many other genres, including jazz, pop and various others-I will not be held down to one genre. Like fine wine, I get better with age and whenever I come back to New York, my entire band comes along with me and we sell out every night. I never did go back to the “new wave” stuff but I know there are fans out there who want me to do it one more time. Who am I?

3.     In the mid 2000’s, our band exploded on to the scene seemingly breathing back life to the world of rock. Our best known song was getting so much air play it was a little overwhelming and subsequently the band had some squabbles and broke up. The band continued on in name but has not had the success of that one song. Who are we?

4.     Before I joined this three-some I was part of a band that also had a star as big as I was. This star would then play with our three-some and for a while we became a four-some. All four of us are still playing today after getting our start in the 1960’s. Who am I? What was the name of the band I was part of before the three-some and four-some? What is the name of the three-some and four-some?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Guitar Man – Bread

2.     Knock Three Times – Tony Orlando & Dawn

3.     With or Without You – U2

4.     Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd

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

1.     “…dizzy in the head and I’m feeling blue…the things you said well maybe they’re true…and getting funny dreams again and again…”

2.     “…when I was an amateur spitting before the scripts were written…first one in, last one out the club…”

3.     “…cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time and its news is captured…for the Queen to use …”

4.     “…I know she’s the kind of girl who’d throw my love away…but I still love her so…don’t hurt me now…don’t hurt me now…”

Back on this Day

Sadly back on this day in 1986, Richard Manuel, pianist for The Band, took his own life at the very young age of 42.

Sadly back on this day in 2001, Glenn Hughes of The Village People passed away from lung cancer, he was buried in his leather biker outfit.

Back on this day in 1967, The Rolling Stones single-“Ruby Tuesday”- reached number one on the Billboard Charts-making it their fourth number one song at the time.

Back on this day in 1970, Janis Joplin was fined $200 for using obscene language at a concert in Tampa FL in November 1969. My how times have changed.-seems like every song now has a curse word in its title, never mind being sung or said.

Back on this day in 1972, Badfinger received its first and only “Gold” single for the song-“Day After Day.” It was such a shame the tragedy that band suffered, they were really good.

Back on this day in 1973, Pink Floyd kicked off a U.S. tour in support of their latest release-“Dark Side of the Moon” in Madison Wisconsin.

Back on this day in 1978, the IRS raided the home of Jerry Lee Lewis and confiscated $170,000 worth of automobiles because of back taxes that he owed.

Back on this day in 1983, Neil Young collapsed on stage in Louisville Kentucky while performing and it was due to exhaustion.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Chris Squier (Yes) and Jason Newsted (former bassist for Metallica)

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