Errols Weekly Music Update.

May 27, 2011

Concert Review: The Cars at Roseland Ballroom on Wed. May 25, 2011

“The Cars Cruise Into NYC”

The Cars cruised into New York City this past Wednesday with a one night only show at Roseland Ballroom to showcase their new album-“Move Like This”- as well as a cross section of their body of work which ranged from 1978 through 1987 and there were moments of brilliance along with baited anticipation from the audience, that seemed to want more from them. Don’t get me wrong, their show was solid, especially when they played the “crowd pleasers” (see “Let’s Go” and “Just What I Needed”) and even when they played some of their new stuff (see “Keep On Knocking”) but I know that I wanted a longer performance with more selections from their first four albums. If you are a dedicated Cars fan and have seen them perform live before this tour then you know what you are going to get, like I mentioned in my review for their new album, they have picked up where they left off in 1987. It’s as if the years between 1988 and 2010 did not exist and as a fan you know that they are set in their ways and really don’t veer off the track. I get the feeling that most fans want them to pound on the accelerator just once and let loose with reckless abandon while keeping the hands on the wheel to avoid any crashes or fender benders. Again the word “restraint” comes into mind when I think of this band and when you see them live, it is literally like putting the albums on in your bedroom. Now there is nothing wrong with that because as I said they are so talented and have created some of the best tunes to come out of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s but again sometimes that “restraint” seems to hold them back from making their live shows a mind blowing experience. While I was at the show (having a great time I must add due to the excitement created by Jon, Chris, Diana, Mike & Eli) it occurred to me that The Cars could be the perfect band to have played in the movie “Titanic” because they are so “workman like” that they could still play and look calm while the ship was sinking. Overall I’m not sure if they felt the energy that the crowd was giving them but I was glad that my dream of seeing them again came to fruition and I hope they continue to drive around the block a few more times because I want to head back and hear more of their classics.

Let me set the day/night for you-I was so psyched that I was going to see The Cars that I actually had to pinch myself to see if it was real. All day long as I roamed the hallways of the building I work at looking for someone to share my enthusiasm but as usual no one would have known what I was so excited about or worse yet, they wouldn’t even know who The Cars were and I didn’t want to kill my buzz so I walked around all day (except for one phone call that I made to my friend Scott) like I had a canary in my mouth. But then it happened, all my enthusiasm came rushing back as I entered the apartment of Chris, who along with his brother Jon, were blasting songs from The Cars and were just as excited-if not more-than I to see the band from Boston. Ahhhh… this is what I was looking for. They were asking me about the new album and I was telling them what songs to listen to (which is basically the entire album). Then Eli entered the fray as well as Diana and Mike and this was the best “pre-game” party I had ever attended and it was that more special because they all love The Cars just as much as I do. I felt like I was part of a club, felt like a kid again and I want to thank all of them for making it a great night.

As we sat there listening to their songs, I mentioned that this band is like “clock-work” so we couldn’t let the time slip away and wouldn’t you know it-Chris burst into the room and said the guy on the phone said they would hit the stage at 8:10 p.m.-it was 7:40. We had to hustle as we were in the lower east side of NY having to head over to midtown on the West side, so we jumped into two separate cabs and of course there was so much traffic. Jon and his wife, Diana, and I jumped out of the cab at 45th street and moved briskly to get to 52nd street and wouldn’t you know it-Chris and the others were already there even though we caught the first cab. As I walked into Roseland Ballroom I was totally engulfed by the buzz of the audience, I could not believe how crowded it was and that energy that I always talk about was in the air and I felt it. Within ten minutes of us being in the place, the members of The Cars just casually walked out on stage. From our vantage point, due to the elevated stage, they appeared larger than life. To the left of the stage, almost in the corner, sat David Robinson behind the skins and if I am correct it looked as if he was sporting a pony tail. There he is, the man-Elliot Easton-standing near David most of the night with his guitar pointing in the opposite direction than what I am used to seeing (he is a “lefty”). Over to the right is Greg Hawkes with his snow cap covering but still with the massive skills that he had as a younger lad. And then here he comes, Mr. Ric Ocasek (reminds me of Howard Stern for some reason or Geddy Lee) walking out on stage as the opening riffs to “Good Times Roll” began and as he was closer to the stage we all see him look down and suddenly he stops playing. That guitar wasn’t the right one for him as someone quickly handed him another one and they started over again. Now that is a first for me as I had never seen anything like that but you know what, I loved it-I thought maybe this was going to be the night where they let their hair down and since it was a gaffe at the very beginning and no one cared, I was looking for improvising the rest of the night. As the song began, Chris-who was the most energetic person I have ever attended a show with- was out of his mind as we all began to sing-“Let the good times roll…let them knock you around..” We were all simulating that we were Mr. Hawkes by mimicking him with our “make believe” keyboards which were conveniently located at our finger tips. This was going to be a night of singing, dancing and “air-guitaring” as well as air-drumming along with “air-keyboarding.”

After that song they did the first song on the new album-“Blue Tip”-and most fans thought they knew the tune but they didn’t. It is an upbeat song so the energy of the crowd kept going but you could sense that they wanted an older “hit.” The crowd really became frenzied once they heard the opening licks of “My Best Friend’s Girl.” Our own little “crowd” all turned to each other and began the handclaps while belting out the lyrics as did everyone else. The “love-fest” was on and in full swing as we all put on our nuclear boots and drip dry gloves and we all bit our lips so that we could actually feel that this was the Cars playing again in 2011. How great is this? We all waited for Easton’s solo and exuberated as he hit it note for note. Did we expect anything less? Then a few songs later they totally blew me away by performing “I’m In Touch With Your World.” Wow did this take me back to my bedroom as a teenager with the door closed as I blasted this song out the window. Totally psychedelic with all these noises coming from every which direction and you know they did every one of them at the show. “It’s a sticky contradiction…it’s a thing you call creation…everything is science fiction…and I ought to know…” Jon was eagerly awaiting the cool new song-“Keep On Knocking”- and they obliged as we all were lifted off the ground-although I can not jump as high as Chris. This is a “jam-like” tune and Diana keenly pointed out this fact and stated that this type of music is now back and the younger generation would love this. I couldn’t agree more. In unison we were all singing-“They keep you in follow mode…they hold up their signs…they keep you in follow mode…all the time…They keep on knocking…” Finally here is Easton at the forefront with his one and only solo from the new album, we were all screaming for more, let him loose!!! Chris then almost hit the ceiling as “You Might Think” came on-the jumping became higher and he led all of us into singing-“You might think I’m crazy”- what do you want?-“All I want is you!!”

The latter part of the show included new songs spliced in between “I’m Not The One” and “Heartbeat City” and as I mentioned I think the “Sad Song” is destined for stardom in future shows. Then there it was, one of the few songs performed on this night that used to be sung by the late Benjamin Orr-“Let’s Go”- that put the crowd into fifth gear and now there couldn’t be any turning back to the “lesser known” songs. It was like a giant party as the entire Roseland Ballroom was singing, dancing and clapping hands and The Cars performed it to precision. “She’s a frozen fire…she’s my one desire…I like the night life baby!!!”This is what I was waiting for, this is what my life is all about!!!

The encores were all from the first album as the “creepy” “Moving In Stereo” began we were all out of our minds by then as we formed the old “doo wop” circles like they used to do on the corner blocks of The Bronx back in the 1950’s and belted out-“It’s so easy to blow up your problems…it’s so easy to play up your breakdown…it so easy to fly through a window”- could it get any better than this? I was on another cloud as I couldn’t believe that I was experiencing this all over again. As the opening notes to “Just what I Needed” began I was wishing that the entire world could have been inside of the Roseland Ballroom to experience the pure euphoria of the audience. Just like Dorothy, we were all going home again. “I don’t mind you coming here…and wasting all my time…cause when you’re standing oh so near…I kind of lose my mind.” Greg Hawkes keyboards took me to outta space as I felt the adrenaline being pumped into my veins and I didn’t want it to ever end. “I guess you’re just what I needed…I needed someone to bleed.” How great is Easton on guitar? The show’s finale-“You’re All I’ve Got Tonight”- was probably the best song of the night as the familiar drum beats by David permeated throughout the entire ballroom as our own little crowd continued the doo wop circle and sang along with Ric and we all could have jumped up on stage and let him take a break as we knew every word. We also knew that Easton was going to get the spotlight as his guitar work on this song is flawless. They did the old “Plant/Page” thing as Easton played blissfully behind Ocasek’s vocals. This song is so great, so powerful and we all blasted off as Easton took the lead and played it to perfection. I knew they could not top this song and realized the show was coming to its end but it was worth it, my dream had come true.

The Cars still have a lot left in the tank and I hope that they recognize this and that there are still fans out there clamoring for more. As I mentioned, the classic songs is what made this show and it’s not like they tour every year where we would all be sick of hearing it-it has been almost a quarter of a century-we want the old stuff as well as the new material. The Cars are now back on the road and just getting into second or third gear-I want to be there when they hit fifth gear. Thank you guys for a great night and taking me back to my youth. You are the best!!!!

Set List

1.       Good Times Roll

2.       Blue Tip

3.       Since You’re Gone

4.       Up and Down

5.       My Best Friend’s Girl

6.       Hits Me

7.       Touch and Go

8.       I’m In Touch with Your World

9.       Keep On Knocking

10.     You Might Think

11.     Drag on Forever

12.     Free

13.     I’m Not The One

14.     Sad Song

15.     Heartbeat City

16.     Let’s Go

Encore

17.     Moving In Stereo

18.     Just What I Needed

19.     You’re All I’ve Got Tonight

Weekly Update – 05/27/2011

George Thorogood & The Destroyers at BB Kings on Mon. & Tues. Sept. 26 & 27. Tickets on sale now. $49.50

Explosions in the Sky at the Wellmont Theater on Mon. Rocktober 3. Tickets on sale today at noon. $27 ($30 day of show)

Ellie Goulding at Terminal 5 on Fri. July 29. Tickets on sale today at noon. $36.70

William Elliot Whitmore at the Mercury Lounge on Tues. July 19. Tickets on sale today at noon. $12. (This is the dude that opened for Chris Cornell on his acoustic solo tour).

Other items:

Congratulations to Scott McCreery on becoming the next American Idol as he is surely destined for super stardom. I say he will be right up there with Carrie Underwood as far as album sales once he gets going. He has a remarkable confidence for someone who is only 17 years old. Did you see him singing along Tim McGraw like he’s been doing this for years, he’s a total natural. Congratulations also goes out to Lauren Alaina, in my opinion, despite her vocal chord trouble, did a better job on Tuesday night than Scotty. She really came on down the stretch and besides Carrie Underwood, I’d have to say she is the best female vocalist the show has ever had.

I have to say that I was a bit apprehensive about the show this year, especially after Simon left but I have to say that the addition of Jennifer Lopez was the best move the show has ever done. She is by far the best judge the show has ever had and that’s only after one season. Steven Tyler was another great addition, although the last few weeks he seemed to be a bit bored but I want them both back for next season. The show has been revitalized and should be in position to continue to be the best “reality” series on television for the next few years. It’s weird, it seems as if Simon was on the show like ten years ago. All the “negativity” in the air has been cleared and a breath of fresh air has cleared out all the nonsense and confusion from the last few years of the show where they didn’t know what they wanted-four judges, Ellen, no Ellen. I look forward to next January.

Again have to hand it to the producers of American Idol-each year it has to get harder and harder to improve beyond the prior year’s final show. The guests, were in Randy’s words-“Hot!!!” How cool was it to see Judas Priest on American Idol. Judas Priest??!! Are you kidding me. “Breaking the Law” is one of the best songs ever recorded and I have to say that Durbin improved on this song because I wasn’t feeling him on “Living.”

The only thing that saved me with the “Jacob” performance was Gladys Knight, if it wasn’t for her, I wanted to skip right over it. Surprisingly, Jack Black has a decent voice and he sounded better than Casey Abrams on their duet. One of the highlights of the show was when the girls sang along with Beyonce- how cool was that? It seemed larger than life, didn’t it?

The duet with Tony Bennett and Haley was off the charts and might have been the best moment of the whole night. I can’t wait for Tony’s second “duets” album to come out this fall. Did you see him out there? I ask you, who has a better voice? It’s a gift and Tony I thank you, that was tremendous.

Another highlight of the show was Marc Anthony’s performance-the man can sing and of course how cool and hot was it when his wife Jennifer joined the fray? I thought Randy was going to pass out. Did you see Sheila E playing the drums? She was so friggin’ good. Unbelievable performance.

How cool was it when Tom Jones came out with the guys? This could have been the best produced show that American Idol has ever done. Tom Jones sounded exactly as he did on the great records he made so long ago. The man still has his chops. And then there was GaGa. She started off calmly enough but you knew something was coming and once that guy entered the picture you knew the “family” viewing was about to end. I think we were all “on the edge” and took a big breath of relief as the song ended that nothing else happened.

My personal favorite highlight of the night is when Carrie Underwood came out to sing with Lauren. I don’t know what it is about that woman but just like when Frosty was locked in the steam room with the plants, I melt away. She is royalty in my opinion and to think she was unknown prior to American Idol is the reason I keep tuning into this show every year. Carrie Underwood is phenomenal.

I don’t know what it is but I am becoming more of a fan of Bono and The Edge as their “Spiderman” song was awesome. Bono seemed head and shoulders above any other performer on the show Wednesday night. He is “larger than life” and still commands an audience’s attention like no other.

Steven Tyler has reinvented himself and proved to all of America on Wednesday night that he still has it. Come on his performance had to give you chills down the back of your spine. If Joe Perry and the boys don’t start getting along with him, he might just not want them back and form his own band. Did you see how much Jennifer was into it? I love it!!!

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “Sylvia’s Mother” by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show. “And the operator says $0.40 more for the next three minutes…please…” When is the last time you have heard this bad boy? This puts me right back in Otisville N.Y. where the clock still says 1974. This is classic.

You want to see a really cool video? My oldest son, who is knee deep into the “blues” played for me a clip of Howlin’ Wolf singing “How Many More Years.” Pay particular attention to the man in the background sitting on the stool moving his arm vertically and then horizontally. Unbelievable… so funny but yet at the same time you realize how great this man was. My oldest son states that he is often overshadowed by other “big names” but this guy is special. There is a reason he is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and this is exhibit A- Have fun listening and viewing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ou-6A3MKow

Nuggets

By the Way

The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It is weird how sometimes I have maybe an album or two from a certain artist (for instance-“Glass Houses” by Billy Joel) and even though the artist or band has decade’s worth of work, in my world they really have one or two. And that album for me with the Chili Peppers is “By The Way” which was released in 2002. (I do have “Stadium Arcadia” but as I have said before that should have been one album instead of a “double” album because on a combined basis it equals one good piece of work). If I had to pick a reason on why I was attracted maybe it was less of a “funk” selection of songs and rather melodic, where most of the melodies were written by John Frusciante, who has since left the group as the lead guitarist. Don’t get me wrong I have a bunch of “single” songs by the Chili Peppers but “By The Way” is really the only album I like from top to bottom. Now in my opinion, this is a great album but I acknowledge that the general public, could not listen to this album from track # 1 through #16 and probably the first reason is that it is way too long. Besides-“Superunknown” by Soundgarden, I can’t think of one other album that you need to invest almost 70 minutes just to listen to the entire thing. Hence that this falls into the category of the golden “nuggets” and there are really some spectacular songs on this album. I went to see the Chili Peppers on May 20, 2003 (there’s that date again, right May 20) at Madison Square Garden and they blew me away and they did so many songs from “By the Way” as it was the tour to promote this album. I was so impressed with the guitar work from Frusciante and of course the mighty Flea on bass. So here they are, some real golden nuggets from the album “By The Way.” (In no particular order)

By The Way – How great is this song? This was the song that pulled me in. It is a perfect work out song “by the way.” Who doesn’t like to sing the chorus-“Standing in line to see the show tonight and there’s a light on…heavy glow…by the way I tried to say I’d be there…” This still has the funk that Flea wanted and there is no way one can not move once they go back to the “fast pace” of this track. It is controlled chaos and I dance around in a circle and flail like a wild man all by myself, making believe I was big enough to join in on those mosh pits. What a way to kick off an album. It is hard to find a better song that starts off an album, can you name one? I think not.

Universally Speaking – Ok so far I am going in order because after the frenzied start with “By The Way” this track without a doubt proves that Mr. Anthony Kiedis is one heck of a vocalist. His voice is crystal clear and makes me want to become a singer. You can feel it in your throat as you try to mimic how he sings it. “Simply put I saw your love stream flow…simply put I saw your love stream flow.” Awesome tune with a nice guitar solo that takes the song out.

The Zephyr Song – I’m not sure why Flea thought that the “funk” was not as apparent in this album as in their prior selections. The great thing about the Peppers is how they can change the melody on a dime and make it a brand new song within a song-do you know what I mean? The chorus is so addictive and I feel like flying away when I hear Anthony sing it the way he does. Again there is a nice guitar solo that will have you floating on air. I look up to the beautiful skies because the northeast had it’s first great day of spring, no summer and listening to this song outside makes the day that much better.

Can’t Stop – I remember putting this song on a Spin CD class that Chris taught at MBIA and talk about getting psyched??!! There is nothing better than working up a sweat, you are losing your breath and thinking of taking it easy and A) Chris will have none of that and B) once this song kicks in you will find the energy to make it work. Once the drums start playing, I am out of my seat and bouncing along making believe that I am Flea and air-bass-guitar my way to oblivion. “Wait a minute I’m passing out win or lose…just like you…far more shocking than anything I knew…” Talk about a sing-a-long song and when the guitar plays behind Kiedis vocals, it’s like Page and Plant all over again. Anthony could be a rap star as well because he is lights out!!! “This life is more than just a read through!!!”

I Could Die For You – “Eye could die for you”- Anthony seems to take a little from Herman of Herman’s Hermits as he punctuates the word “I.”This song is from the heart-you can feel the passion of Kiedis’ lyrics and the way he sings it. A beautiful ballad that makes you close your eyes and just let the song take you to another place far far away. Listen to this song with a great set of headphones and let me know where you went. I am back in time floating around my 6th grade class at P.S. 169 and wonder where everyone is. (I know they are on “Facebook” but I’m not going there). This is a “beaut.”

Minor Thing – Wow what a tune. The jamming is incredible as Flea and John exchange their talents and the result is nothing short of spectacular. Listen keenly to the bass lines throughout the tune and hear why Flea is one of the most respected Bass players of all-time. Frusciante is no slouch either as I don’t think he gets all the accolades that he deserves. I can picture all the players in the studio with the headphones over their ears as they sit in separate rooms but the music brings them close. Anthony gets in his rap but again proves that he has the pipes that make him one of the most revered singers in the music business.

Midnight – Another “ballad” type that really takes you away, the music in the beginning sounds like wind that blows your hat off and as you turn around to run after it, you are now in another place. That place is in front of the Chili Peppers as they are jamming this song out and you are the only person at the concert. This is where the song takes me, it makes you feel like you are part of the band because you can feel “it.” The passion, the time it took to write and produce a song like this. “Everyone knows…anything goes…and now we are the lotus kids…so you better take note of this.” Phenomenal tune.

Don’t Forget Me – Listen to the thumps of the bass by Flea in the beginning and tell me you are hooked in. This is a slow trudging song that makes you want to do a slow head-bang, it will make you feel like there is something in the air, (think an Allman Brothers show) and as Frusciante blazes away in a low key way but you know he is there. Anthony’s vocals are mesmerizing as I am totally engulfed into what they are trying to sell. They did their job because it is like they took me into their kaleidoscope and spit me out once the song ends. When it does I hold my hand over my face and ask-“what just happened?”- I want another ride!!! Such an addicting song.

“Memorial” Weekend Playlist

Patriotic Hymns & Marches/Various

 

Since it feels like it has been winter and the longest coolest spring on record here in the Northeast, it was almost if Mother Nature looked up and realized that it is the end of May and that she needed to make us feel loved by providing a taste of what is to become the normal with the last two days really feeling like summer is finally upon us. Believe me, I know most everyone will not mind if we go straight to summer even if we feel cheated out of a warm spring because it really feels like it has been raining for the last two months and prior to that the Northeast still has snow on the ground in April. And to celebrate the beginning of summer we also have the honor and privilege to salute those who are serving and who have served in our Armed forces by never forgetting what they do (have done) and by being there for them in any way you can to help out. Make them feel like the special people they are. So with that in mind as we are all prepared to break out the grills and badminton nets for this weekend’s barbeques, I figured I would give you a set list of songs that you may want to throw on your party list. Here they are in no particular order:

Get TogetherThe Youngbloods – How cool is this song? And it will take you back to the good ole days as “they” don’t make songs like this anymore, right? The words are still very appropriate despite the fact that this song was written more than 40 years ago. The 1960’s produced some of the finest music in any decade with so many different genres it really is mind boggling when you think about it. Perfect way to begin the weekend by “getting Together” and enjoying the beginning of summer and remembering our brothers and sisters who protect and have protected this great Country.

U.S. Field Artillery MarchTraditional– There is nothing better than some good old classic band marching tunes which just make you feel good and this song will make you stand up and salute. This is “comfort food” type of song, as it has to put a smile on your face. It also signifies that the 4th of July is right around the corner.

Battle Hymn of the Republic Traditional– I purchased a “Patriotic” CD a few years back that has two discs worth of great American songs including this one. “Glory Glory Halleluiah…his truth is marching on!!!” Songs like this give us a sense of pride, make you sing along and yet at the same time make you think of all the people who have served this great Country. Sad but powerfully passionate.

96 Tears ? & The Mysterians– How great is this song? You have to include some of the 1960’s music because as mentioned there was some much great music to come out of that decade. Don’t you just love that monotone keyboard work-this is where the B-52’s picked up some of their influence, no? “You’re gonna cry 96 tears…you’re gonna cry, cry cry.”

I Saw The LightTodd Rundgren– Jon, Diana and I were talking about Todd Rundgren when we were headed up to Roseland Ballroom to see The Cars as they had gone to see Todd when he fronted “The New Cars” and informed them of this freak of a fan for him that worked in The Danbury Mall. He has produced some of the best songs and this one has to be included-such a great sing along song that I think that anyone could like. “I saw the light in your eeyyyyyeesss.”

Our CountryJohn Mellencamp – Who writes and sings about America better than Mr. Mellencamp? He just exudes “Country” pride. By the way John, there is nothing wrong with making songs like this-it comes from the heart and is so much fun to sing along to and has this way of bringing everyone together. Totally a summer tune in my opinion. I can smell the burgers and hot dogs on the grill with this song playing in the background.

Summer WindFrank Sinatra– What better way to kick off the summer with “the Chairman of The Board?” How great is this song? Remember that Bugs Bunny cartoon episode where he was doing his best Frankie impersonation and all the women were screaming and passing out? He was Elvis before Elvis and The Beatles before The Beatles. Take your partner and do a ballroom dance around the grass and smell the summer wind.

Sweet Child of MineGuns & Roses– What a song to listen to in the summer, no? There is something that just says that this song should be played in the summer time. We can all do our best Axl impersonation by swaying side to side and squealing-“She’s got eyes of the bluest skies.” Then we can all take off as Slash plays one of the best guitar solos on any song he has ever recorded and air-guitar along with him. I think even grandma won’t mind a “heavy” song or two just to shake out the winter cobwebs that we all have.

Swingtown Steve Miller Band– When is the last time you have heard this song? “Ooh who oh oh oh oh…come on and dance…come on dance.” This should get the “older” folks up there shaking a leg awkwardly while the younger generation says-“what is this stuff?” It has the psychedelic organ/keyboards and the sound of something washing up on shore-makes you feel like you are on the beach-which we all will be in a month or two.

After Party Ozomatli – This band has put out some real cool songs. This will get everyone at the BBQ out of their seats to form a “conga” line where the leader can snake around the backyard while dancing, clapping the hands to this great groove. This is pure fun. I am surprised that this band is not bigger than they are. Perfect summer song.

Ain’t No Other ManChristine Aguilera – I for one don’t really understand the recent fuss over her career, people are writing stories as if she is done. With a voice like hers, the career will always be far from over. She also has made songs (like this) that has to get you out of your seat and dance all around. Yes I know I can’t dance either but sometimes it is fun to try-so come on get up and dance.(It is going to be 85 degrees this weekend-if this song doesn’t do it for you then the temperature has to).

You’re A Grand Old FlagTraditional – Wow this song makes me stand at attention and salute. I’m telling you folks you have to buy this CD-“Patriotic Songs of America”- I am not sure who is singing this version but the vocals are perfect. Don’t forget it is Memorial Day as well, so thank those who have protected us and remember this day by playing songs that salute them. Where are the hot dogs and apple pie?

God Bless The U.S.A.Lee Greenwood – Even though the pace is real slow and it is a sad sounding song it also becomes inspirational as one listens to the lyrics. The words to this song is what this weekend is all about. Put your arms around the people to your left and right, sway back and forth and sing it loud-“I love this land, God bless the U.S.A.”

Got To Give It Up, Part 1Marvin Gaye – What is a summer party without Marvin Gaye? Incomplete right? As I mentioned last month on the page, I “re-discovered” this song while channel surfing about a year ago and was blown away on how great this tune is. I am trying to write about this song but I keep pulling away to move my arms and body while sitting. I could be the best “sitting down” dancer there is. (Maybe not but you get what I’m talking about). You need to have this song on this weekend at some point!!!

You and ILady Gaga – I can actually say that I was waiting for her new album-“Born this Way”- to be released this past Tuesday because I had seen a clip of this song when she performed it on her current tour and was so impressed that I couldn’t believe that I wanted a Lady GaGa song. Could it be for real? Yes and I think it is because there are some guitars in it but the arrangement is spectacular in my opinion. I don’t think there are any curse words but I am getting a little older so I may have missed it. Great song, period end of story.She showed me something with this track.

On The FloorJennifer Lopez – I know this song is now in overdrive and teetering on the edge of being played way too much but strike while the iron is hot and play this bad boy. If this doesn’t wake you up then go back in the house and wait for winter.

Tonight TonightHot Chelle Rae – Ok every party needs the latest bubble gum pop song to get things going, right? This teeters on cheesy but the beat is something that draws me in. I know my oldest son is going to squirm when he sees this song on the list. But I just picture a bright sunny day with a party going on and everyone just having a good time.

You Can Make It If You TrySly & The Family Stone – what is a BBQ without Sly? This is such a great song and makes you realize just how impressive this band is. You have to feel this and I certainly do and am strutting across the room. “You can make it if you try!!!” Love the bass lines from that dudes vocals.

Get On the Good FootJames Brown – Keeping with the funk vibe, who better than the King of Funk- Mr. James Brown. Now I don’t know about you but when I hear this song I think of Eddie Murphy doing his best impersonation on Saturday Night Live. You really can’t go wrong with any James Brown song, right? The bass line in this song is “sick.”

Hash PipeWeezer – Now this might get the neighbors as well as some of your family members (and might as well say some of your friends) very annoyed with this track but I love the high pitch vocal part by Rivers Cuomo. The topic of the song is not really conducive for a party with various generations, so you are better off playing this before everyone gets to the party. But I had to put this down because I love this song!!!!!

Heat WaveMartha Reeves & The Vandellas– Perfect song to kick off the summer weekend, no? “Whenever I’m with him…something inside” C’mon this is great stuff right here folks, you have to own this song. I love this track!!!

Green Onions Booker T & The MG’s – You can time this perfectly-put this song on when people are lining up in your back yard waiting to grab some food. There is no singing on this tune but the groove is so infectious and totally reminds me of summer. This will have everyone shaking their butts while waiting for the goodies.

Twistin’ The Night AwaySam Cooke – How great is this song? Almost too much to take, this has to be on your set list this weekend. Doesn’t get much better than Mr. Sam Cooke. This is such a classic tune, you’ll be clapping and dancing all over the place.

Top Ten

Image of Willie Nelson

It is coming up on one year since that I saw Willie Nelson at Radio City Music Hall and I have to say that I am very happy that I was able to see one of the most legendary performers of the last few generations. Now of course you all should know that I have only recently started to delve into his music and I can’t even to profess to know a slither of what his “die-hard fan” knows. I won’t be able to do find an “obscure” song (for which I receive many comments that I tend to list tracks on these top ten lists that no one else knows about). I don’t have the usual intimate stories of where I might have been or how it affected my life but I suppose I will have them in the future. But even if I don’t all I know is that when I am on the train when I commute, I put his songs on and I drift off into another stratosphere. I will say I do hear my mother whispering in my ear-“See I told you that you will love “Country” music.” I guess she is right-can’t get any more “Country” than Willie Nelson, correct?

What else can be said about this Icon that hasn’t already been stated? His career has spanned six decades and there are no signs of slowing down. He has written some of the greatest songs that this Country has ever heard and there are songs that he has performed that may be he didn’t write but no one can come close to doing it like he can. I do have a funny story though, last year when I went to see Willie at Radio City my oldest son was curious to why I was listening to his music and didn’t understand the connection. I informed him that I was trying to broaden my horizons and there was something that now has my attention about his music that I did not encounter as a younger lad. After the show I told him that Willie played a mean guitar and he still didn’t believe it. Fast forward to this year as my oldest is totally consumed with the blues and any great guitar player(s). He recently purchased one of those annual “guitar” players festival DVD’s that Eric Clapton hosts each year in Chicago (which is usually hosted by Bill Murray) and guess who was a guest? That’s right-Mr. Nelson and my son said he was pretty good-now for those of you who don’t know my son, that is “high” praise because usually there is a quick dismissal accompanied with a scoff. So who knows, maybe he will discover Willie’s music at a much younger age than I.

Like I have said so many times on this page, it is never too late to discover music, whether it is contemporary or a bit older or whether the artist is still alive or not. Isn’t it an exhilarating feeling? I think so and that is what has happened to me with Willie Nelson. His music takes me back to a simpler time and when I hear his songs I am sitting at the breakfast table with my grandmother and mother over Norweigan pancakes (I know the Swedes say Swedish and so on but for today it’s Norweigan) discussing how much I miss them and how much I treasure them. Willie Nelson is a living legend and just like BB King you must make an effort to see them live to know what I am talking about. So here it is I am on an island and have been informed that I can only have ten songs by the genius named Willie Nelson-“These Are Them:” (Covers are allowed because as I have stated his versions are unlike any other’s)

10.     Hello Walls – Willie has this way of hypnotizing you and haven written songs that were made popular by Patsy Cline (“Crazy” “Faded Love”) his songs of heartache are something that you can turn away from. Whenever I hear this song, I stop in my tracks and listen so intently to his story of how she walked out on him and now he is talking to the walls. C’mon we’ve all been there at some point in our lives, I know I have been caught talking to myself. “Is that a tear drop… in the corner of your pane…now don’t you try to tell me that its rain…she went away and left us all alone.” He talks to every part of the room wondering how things turned out the way they did, I bet we all have said that at some points in our lives. Sad but excellent song.

9.       The Party’s Over – Again sadness seems to permeate many of his songs but it is so hard to not to love these songs. This has a wonderful melody, very simple and the backing vocals make it that much better. Willie’s voice is crystal clear-“Turn out the lights…the party’s over…call it a night…and tomorrow starts the same old thing again.” Now in this song it was him who did the wrong by partying too long and too many nights, so his love had to leave. This is a great sing along song.

8.       All of Me – Now I know there are so many versions of this song out there by various artists but does anyone sing it better than Willie? I think not. And to make it swing his way, he has an awesome guitar solo to pad the voting ballot. For some reason, I picture the middle of winter with the snow falling heavily as the fireplace is going and there are a few friends sitting around enjoying some coffee or hot chocolate while this plays in the background. Does it get any better? His vocals are stupendous. Awesome tune.

7.       Stay A Little Longer (Live) –Who says Willie can’t turn on the burners and pick up the pace? This is a knee slappin’, hand clapping, “dog on the bone” type of song that has an awesome piano solo as well as some pretty snappin’ guitar playing. My oldest son has to listen to this song and I think he will be impressed by Willie’s skills on guitar. I want to pick up the harmonica and start to wail just like the person in this song-reminds me of Steven Tyler when he gets going. There is something so “country” about this tune that I feel like I am at the Grand Ole Opry-not that I have ever been there-but his music takes me right there-don’t ask me why. I just feel it.

6.     Shot Gun Willie –I don’t know if there is such a genre as “funky-country-blues” but that is exactly how I feel whenever I hear this song. Willie has a righteous guitar solo that it makes me fall to the ground and pound the pavement with my hands- it’s that good. This is the “cool” Willie as he is so calm and collected as the music just pores out of his soul and into your ears for your listening pleasure. I could see this turning into a big jam song when he performs this live because the groove just opens itself for solo after solo. If the Allman’s covered this, it would be a minimum 20 minutes. This is funky-country-blues, I’m sorry.

5.      Uncloudy Day – Love Willie’s guitar work on this tune, this is a finger snappin’ kind of track and a perfect sing along song. There is something that is so natural, so innocent about work like this, this is pure like the season’s first snow fall or that first “real” day of summer when there is not a cloud in the sky and it is nice and warm, not too warm but just…real. The piano solo reminds me of an old Country & Western movie where someone is walking through those swinging wood doors into a saloon looking for a shot of some kind, either liquor or guns. Again, just like in a movie, nothing real, especially the gun part. “Oh they tell me of an uncloudy day!!”

4.       Angel Flying To Close To The GroundRight now I am sitting at a camp fire watching in amazement along with everyone else there as Willie serenades the audience with his comforting vocals. I look up to the deep dark skies that is illuminated by the moon as I picture that angel coming down from heaven and flying to sit right next to me and yes it is my mother. His guitar playing is absolutely breath taking as we are all in another world as the red of the flames from the campfire is bristling through our eyes as we think of all of our angels flying to close to the ground. How unbelievable is this song? I am so glad that I did not this slip by me any longer, I finally “got it” and will never look back. If you need a song by Willie to pull you in, look no further than this absolute masterpiece.

3.       Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain – Not too much here with this song except Willie and his guitar but that is what makes it so mesmerizing. I remember being foolish and young and used to think that Willie wasn’t such a good singer-boy was I wrong on that part. If anyone needs any proof that this man has a voice of gold-put this song on and listen to its beauty. It’s a very touching song as the melody tugs at your heart as the tranquility will bring you to wherever you want to be. For me, I feel like I am camp side with the fire going and Willie is there just playing his guitar and singing his magic. Imagine if that could happen? Imagine selling tickets around a camp fire outing? I think that would be one of the coolest and most intimate of settings. Maybe someone will build a setting and this could be a new venue? But please keep Ticketmaster and Live Nation out of the picture-we need purity, not a “monopoly” and greed.

2.       Always On My Mind– My oldest son and I always differ in our opinion on who sings this song better- Elvis or Willie. The first thing I’d like to say is that we are arguing over two legends and everyone has their opinion on what version they like better but for my money, no one sings this song like Willie. There is something so enthralling about this song that captivates me like few other songs do. I don’t know what I like better-Willie’s voice or the splendid guitar solo. “Little things I should have said and done…but you were always on my mind…” It has to be considered one of the greatest love songs ever written and performed, no? In my opinion, this is an absolute masterpiece and really like a once in a lifetime type of song.

1.       Night Life – This song started to grow and grow in stature for me over the last year or so and every time I listened to it, the more I was convinced that this is my most favorite song by Mr. Willie Nelson. I have to believe that one of his influences had to be Hank Williams because in the very beginning of the song he totally sounds like Hank, right?-“when the evening sun goes down… you will find me hangin’ round…the night life… ain’t a good life…but it’s my life…” When I listen to this song I feel like this is the most natural song that Willie has ever recorded, it just seems to flow out of him so naturally. If an artist can make you feel it then he or she has succeeded in pulling you into their world and his mixture of country music along with a tinge of blues again is so natural, that it is a “marriage made in heaven.” Thank you Willie for your gift of music to all of us, where would we be without it or you?

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Neil Sedaka

2.     Sebastian Bach

3.     Tom Jones

4.    Jefferson Airplane

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     My dad was an analyst for NASA. I have written most of the songs for a band that started out in the late 1970’s and this band was at the forefront of the “new wave” genre and we recently reunited and are on tour. I produced the “Blue” and “Green” albums by Weezer.Who am I?

2.     Who is Declan McManus?

3.     I am a rock diva who has been performing since the 1970’s and was part of a huge band in the 1970’s and we made a landmark album in 1977. I have recorded a popular duet with Tom Petty. I just recently put out a new album and appeared on the Oprah show where there were many “younger” divas who paid homage to me.Who am I?

4.     I made one of the most popular rock/folk albums in the 1970’s, I have won four Grammy’s and am in the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a song writer. I decided to give myself a new last name by looking through the phone book. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

2.     Julie, Do Ya Love Me – Bobby Sherman

3.     Laughter in The Rain – Neil Sedaka

4.     Positively 4th Street – Bob Dylan

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

1.     “…she’s winding them down on her clock machine…and she won’t give up because she’s seventeen…”

2.     “…I don’t care if you use me again…I don’t care if you can abuse again……”

3.     “…all I need is what you’ve got…all I’ll tell is what you’re not…all you know is what you hear, hear.…”

4.     “…I dream frequently…sometimes it comes out funny…I go through insan-tity…all they want is money…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1966, Bob Dylan invited the Beatles back stage before his performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall and Paul McCartney played “Tomorrow Never Knows” for him and Dylan responded by saying-“Oh you don’t want to be cute anymore.”

Back on this day in 1974, Lisa Marie Presley who was five years old at the time meets Michael Jackson for the first time when her dad performed a concert in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Back on this day in 1977, The Sex Pistols released “God Saved The Queen” as a single and it went on to sell over 100,000 copies despite being banned by the BBC. It peaked at number two on the UK charts.

Back on this day in 1987, U2 held a concert in Rome where neighbors flooded the local police station with calls asking if there was an earthquake running through their city as the sound system was so loud, they thought it was more than a rumbling.

Back on this day in 1998, The Monsters of Rock Tour kicked off their inaugural tour as Van Halen (with Hagar) were the headliners with The Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken and Kingdom Come made their way into East Troy, WI. I was at that show once it stopped at Giants Stadium later that summer. I was at Giants Stadium at 11:00 a.m and didn’t get back home to Brooklyn until 2:00 a.m.

Back on this day in 1994, The Eagles started their “Hell Freezes Over Tour” with what they thought was going to be five or more shows in Irvine CA. The tour lasted over two years.

Back in the day in 1999, Rush was the first rock band to receive a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame in Toronto.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship) and Sean Kinney (Alice In Chains).

May 20, 2011

Weekly Update – 05/20/2011

Foo Fighters at the Izod Center on Mon. Sept. 26. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $47.05 and $70.55.

Elton John at Bethel Woods Center for Arts on Sat. Sept. 3. Tickets on sale this coming Mon. May 23 at 10:00 a.m. $43.40 and $193.75.

Roger Daltrey performing “Tommy” at the Nassau Coliseum on Fri. Sept. 23. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $52.55, $73.05, $93.50 and $140.15.

Steely Dan performing seven nights at the Beacon Theater again this year on the following dates: Wed. Sept. 14 performing “Dawn of The Dan” and “Can’t Buy a Thrill” in entirety; Fri. Sept. 16-“Gaucho;”Sat. Sept. 17- Rarities and B-sides; Mon. Sept. 19-“Aja;” Tues. Sept. 20-“Royal Scam;” Thurs. Sept. 22-Request Night; Fri. Sept. 23-“21st Century Night” and “Everything Must Go.” Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $72.85, $100.45 and $243.25.

Crosby, Stills & Nash at the Beacon Theater on Wed. Aug. 31. Tickets on sale now. (they pulled a fast one as they went on sale yesterday at noon. Ticket sales should only be able to start on Friday’s) $59.55 and $178.20.

Marc Anthony at the Izod Center on Fri. Sept. 9. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $69.55 and $167.95.

Lil Wayne at the Comcast Theater on Wed. July 13. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 A.M. $38.75 and $116.55.

Nas and Damian Marley at the Central Park Summerstage on Thurs. Aug. 11. Tickets on sale today at noon. $56.90.

TV On The Radio at the Williamsburg Waterfront on Thurs. Sept. 8. Tickets on sale today at noon. $48.15.

Goo Goo Dolls at the Oakdale Theater on Wed. July 20. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $39.75 and $62.10.

Drop Kick Murphys at the Wellmont Theater on Thurs. July 28. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30.50.

Cyndi Lauper & Dr. John at the Wellmont Theater on Fri. Rocktober 14. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35, $60 and $75.

Anvil at the Bowery Ballroom on Sat. July 30. Tickets on sale today at noon. $20.

Human League at the Best Buy Theater on Fri. Sept. 23. Tickets on sale today at noon. Pre-sale tickets available up until 10:00 a.m. if you have an American Express card. $29.50

Other items:

Even though I think most people would have thought that a final matchup of-“Haley vs. Scotty”- would have been the “Knicks vs. Lakers” type of matchup, America voted correctly and put Lauren into the final competition, now slated for next Tuesday, instead of Wednesday, which the show had been on the whole year. I thought that Lauren Alaina did a better job this week singing her songs than Haley Reinhart and what else can one say about Scott McCreery-either way as soon as the show ends, he is getting a recording contract from someone. I kind of sensed a feeling of just a little bit of cockiness on the part of Haley the last couple of weeks and I think she sort of moved away from what put her in the top ten contestants. There was a “slight let down” from some of the songs she was singing and she seemed to have started to have a little bit of a “scream” going there in the last few weeks, as opposed to just singing. She went to the “growl” a few too many times. Meanwhile Lauren has simply become better with each week and it is amazing to me the vocals that stream out of those young vocal chords, she is actually kind of stunning. Again America made the right call and next week’s final appears to be the best one they have had in years, if not the best ever.

If you have some free time this morning at 10:30 EST log on to Ortsbo.com and have a live chat with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS who will hold the first ever interactive global chat which take place simultaneously in 53 different languages. You have to figure that there will also be 53 translations for some sort (or many sorts) of KISS paraphernalia, right?

What a way to start a tour together…Nikki Sixx recently stated that he did not apologize for putting down Poison as a band. Apparently Bret Michaels informed the press that Sixx had apologized to Poison as a band but Nikki came back with-“I never personally had anything against them as a people but Motley thought Poison sucked as a band but let’s give the people what they want and go out and have some fun.” Now there’s an endorsement, somehow I think once the contract ends on this tour-just like Godsmack-Poison will no longer be touring with The Crue. No offense to Nikki, but it’s not like Train is opening up for Metallica. Motley’s not that far off from Poison, but what do I know.

Want to see a really cool video? Check out this recently married “bride” who sits behind the drum kit to play “Master of Puppets” with the band that was hired for her wedding. This is after they are introduced as a couple and stroll in to “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” Totally cool and I wish I could have thought of this (although I’m not sure my lovely bride would have been up for it). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NfwM8BfiPQ

Joe Perry insists that Aerosmith will not be playing on American Idol this coming Wednesday night May 25 when the season finale is set for a two hour special. Tyler has stated that the band will play that night. Perry says that he has no problem with performing on Idol but would rather do it next year when they can promote their new album. He now says the “media” took the story about how he was upset that Steven was taking the gig as a judge for Idol. I guess we’ll see on Wednesday if they are playing or not.

My favorite “nu metal/rap” song of the week is “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against The Machine. Now as I have said many times, I don’t like all the rhetoric that is associated with their political views but songs like this prove that they were a musical force when they exploded on to the scene. Get the clean version though, too many “F” bombs.  “Huuuuggghhhhhhh!!!!” “Now you do what they told ya!!!” “Justifeeeyyyyeeee!!”

My favorite “old school R&B” song of the week is “Shining Star” by Earth Wind & Fire. I had forgotten how cool this song was and when I heard it on the radio I immediately came home and bought it on I-Tunes (I know, I know). I have been blasting it ever since…I wish I could dance.

Speaking of I-Tunes, there was a news report yesterday that said that “CD’s” are going to become extinct and that most kids in their “20’s” have never purchased a CD. What???!!! Are you kidding me? I can understand never purchasing an “8-Track” but a CD??!! Recently I have been on a kick of buying CD’s instead of I-Tunes…thanks to my oldest son. He is pulling me back.

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “Come On Children” by Small Faces. Talk about a soulful rocking tune?!! Steve Marriott was so friggin’ great as a vocalist (and a pretty good guitar player as well). This is rock and roll the way it ought to be!!!

Album Review: “Move Like This” by The Cars, released on May 10, 2011

Move Like This

It has been 24 years since The Cars have released an album together and I never thought that this day would ever happen, especially after they lost one of their most important parts of their sum, Mr. Benjamin Orr to cancer in 2000. For those who know me a long time, they understand how important this band was to my existence, especially during my teenage years. My mantra was that a growing boy needs food, water & The Cars to survive and my diet included a steady dose of great albums which included their debut (still one of the best rock and roll albums ever), “Candy-O” (very under-rated in my opinion) and “Panorama” (a hidden classic that the real Cars’ fan gets). And with every growing entity that becomes more popular, they grew their fan base with what I would call a “record company” decision to turn down Main Street USA and became one of the main ingredients for the initial success of MTV exploding on the scene. Sadly by that time, I became disenchanted and moved on. It wasn’t long after The Cars disbanded as the disagreements between the members escalated to the point where Ric Ocasek basically ruled out any chance of a reunion…until now.

So here it is-“Move Like This”-and if one does not look at the calendar, you would think that Emmett “Doc”Brown had just blasted in your living room with Marty McFly in his passenger seat because this Cars album puts you right back in the year 1985 or so. The album is exactly ten songs and less than 40 minutes-just like the way it used to be done, so I will treat the first five songs as side one and then, well you know what side two is. Now I have to be honest here and state that overall I think there is “restraint” in this work, whether this is calculated or not I don’t know for sure but just like when Metallica released –“St. Anger”- and there was not one Hammett guitar solo to be found, Elliot Easton is practically in the background throughout when his skill set as an “axe man” is worthy of much more attention, in my opinion. Besides Easton being near invisible, everything else is pretty much the same, as if the years between 1987 and 2011 didn’t even happen because their sound is exactly the same as we had come accustom with. Hence, if you are a Cars fan you will like their comeback album-there are the familiar “catchy” hooks crunched between Greg Hawkes psychedelic synthesizer work and Easton’s rhythm work on guitar topped with some of the best harmonizing background vocals in the game. If you were not a fan, there is nothing new here that will draw you in. There are moments on this album that I was waiting for Elliot to rip through one of his short, snappy, difficult-to-play- guitar solos, especially on some of the “big” sounding guitar songs (see “Keep on Knocking”) but it was not to happen, so at points I was left with a feeling that I wanted more. On the whole I would say that this has muscled its way past “Heartbeat City” and “Door to Door” and sits with “Shake It Up” as one of their better records. There are glimpses of maybe keeping pace with the first three albums but they sort of take the foot off the gas pedal in their car at certain points that make it slip back a bit.

Side one starts off with-“Blue Tip”- and one is immediately back in the 1980’s as the focus for this song (and most of the album) lies with the super cool talents of Greg Hawkes on keyboards (who also takes on the role of bass player in honor of their friend Ben). It’s “electron-ica” that is back and safe to say that there is no artist or band out there today that sound like The Cars. There has been a void in the life of a die-hard Cars fans’ life and just like when Dorothy and the Scarecrow applied oil to the Tin Man to get him going, the drumming of Mr. David Robinson soon gets the devotees out of their funk with his consistent beats as they realize it is easy to be Dorothy as you are tapping your heels more than three times to get home again. There it is that familiar hook, line & sinker that the Cars apply for your listening pleasure-“you got that look on your face…you like to be in the race”- lyrics that you will soon not be able to stop singing throughout the day. Ric Ocasek sounds exactly as he did almost a quarter of a century later-how many people can do that? It’s the “electron-ica” sound that has been missing from the airwaves, hey come on now we are in the 21st Century and some “outta space” music is appropriate, no? “Too Late” will soon be on the classic rock radio format (hey now Q104 has a couple of new songs to sprinkle along side “Sweet Home Alabama”) and dare I say that this might put them back on MTV as I could picture a dark love story going on here. The melody “hooks” you in and the background vocals are stupendous. Who needs a time warp? Just put this song on your ears and drift back to the “Wonder Years.” Track 3-“Keep On Knocking”- starts off real big with guitars sounding in every which direction and I can feel Elliot wanting to burst out of the seams to showcase his massive skills on lead guitar. I’m head-banging away as Ocasek shows that he can do the rock and roll thing and not just be limited to “new wave” (excuse me-“alternative”). I have to say that this is probably the best song on side one (and the album) and by far the “heaviest” track as it conjures up images of side two of their debut album as Easton has his one and only solo of the entire album, too short for my liking but he does come back to take the song out. Hopefully during their upcoming show Mr. Easton can improvise and blast away with a massive solo that one seems to be sitting there waiting for but at the end of the day, I could see this song cracking the top ten song list for many Cars fans’ out there. “Soon” is a beautiful song and I believe they must have had Benjamin Orr in mind for this track because I could definitely picture him singing this tune which is in the vain of “Drive.” I think it is a love song although from the lyrics one may think otherwise-“and soon the time will run…away from us like time it will do”- as the delightful melody will make you want to sing this to your significant other. But be careful because just like a rose has its beauty, look out for that thorn. Side one ends with the single –“Sad Song”-which may ultimately end up as one of the more popular songs on the album. Once the tune started I was thinking “My Best Friend’s Girl” mixed with a faster pace of “Victim of Love” and I was immediately impressed. This song could ultimately end up being the one that most people would point to if they were asked to pick one track that identified this outfit from Boston. I know without a doubt that this song will be played in concert almost every time they decide to go out and treat the fans with their presence on stage.

Side two starts off in the same fashion as the first as Mr. Hawkes is there with his keyboards and Dave is jamming away on drums and once Elliot jumps in the fray with his heavy hook the song becomes “Free.” The more I listen to this the more it reminds me of “Up and Down” from the awesome “Panaorama” album. Oh by the way, if you listen to this song with a great set of headphones you will experience the mind blowing power of rock and roll coming at you with such precision. Again the background vocals take this tune to another level and this could also be Hawkes best work on the album. This is a highlight on the album. “Drag on Forever” drips with a bluesy rock and roll sound which totally psyched me up when I first heard it because I again was thinking that Elliot was about to take off. The Cars are infamous for “strange” lyrics and sounds-c’mon who else puts the word-“glockenspiel” into a song and makes it work? Your hand will make believe it is playing that instrument as he says it but you will quickly go back to the slow head-banging pace and “air-guitar” to the riff that Easton has going on. Before you know it-because the tune is so good-the song ends and you realize that Elliot didn’t get to “go off.” By this time I am a bit confused on why they are seemingly holding him back but can’t get too upset because overall it is a solid tune. “Take Another Look” is another “quintessential” Cars song because of the arrangement as well as the lyrics. Who else would write-“don’t you want to take another look away?”-shouldn’t it be-“don’t you want to take another look?” but again they make it different as all their other songs-pure brilliance on their part, no? Ocasek’s vocals seem “broader” on this track as the tone is a bit more “open.” If you know Ric, then you know what I am talking about. I could easily see this song being turned into a video with MTV playing it as much as their other earlier hits. “It’s Only” picks up the pace a bit as Hawkes surrounds Ocasek’s vocals with his cool sounds on keyboards. This song will grow on you because at first I thought it was a “filler” but the more I listen, the more I like it. If you are not a Cars fan you will treat it like my two sons’ and say “every song sounds alike.” The album ends on a high note with “Hits Me” as it will conjure up images of Squeeze, especially with the keyboard parts but Mr. Robinson keeps the train moving along with his tight drumming. Again the term-“reserved”-comes to mind when I hear this song because by this time I am waiting for them to rip off their bow ties from their tuxedo’s and let loose. I just feel they could take some of these songs to another “excitement” level-just like when NYC put those “double decker” buses on the streets. One level is sufficient but when you see that second level, you shake your head and say-“now that is cool!” Same here, I find myself looking for that extra layer.

“Move Like This” is a respectable effort after being out of the spotlight for some time now and the more one listens, the better it gets, especially for The Cars aficionados’. When you put this album on, you will immediately receive that 1980’s nostalgic vibe (if you are old enough) and will look to see if “Alf” is on your television tonight. As I stated more than a few times, I felt myself clamoring for just a bit more-not much more-but if Elliot was given more freedom to showcase his talents, this would have been “an immediate classic” in my opinion. That said there are some real quality songs here and most Cars fans will not be disappointed when they are “sprinkled” in during the upcoming tour. These tunes will easily blend in with their notable classics, who says you can’t go home again? I am glad they are back and pray they do another album because I have a funny feeling there is a lot left in the tank. “Fill ‘er up please!!”

Songs That Should Be Included on Classic Rock Radio For The Next Ten Years

Playlist Plus: Classic Rock (Dig)

Portrait (He Knew)Kansas – Fantastic song from the “Point of Know Return” and it highlights everything about Kansas that we have all come to love-the vocals, the guitars, the violin, the keyboards and a rocking beat that just keeps giving. The beginning takes some time to get going but stay with me until the vocals begin-“He had a thousand ideas…you might have heard his name…he lived alone with his vision…not looking for fortune or fame”- and just keeps getting better from there. This is a finger snapping, head bopping tune that should get the juices flowing-at least it does for me. There is a sweet guitar solo in the middle and the arrangement gets all the other instruments involved in the fray. Perfect sing along song-“ He knew…he knew more than me and you…oh where was he going to?” The ending is killer.

Coming Home Lynyrd Skynyrd – Who knows, in some parts of the U.S.-especially in the South, this song maybe played many times on the classic rock format but I don’t hear it too much up here in the Northeast. I didn’t want to go to obscure with a song and I think this is the perfect substitute for “Sweet Home.” This track has everything-sweet soft music with sing along lyrics as well as picking up the pace at certain moments that makes it a arena classic. These guys were (are) so talented and this song showcases their amazing gifts as musicians and recording artists.

That’s The WayMighty Led Zeppelin – Ok it is damn near impossible to pick songs from this legendary band that we all haven’t heard at some point, especially since many classic rock radio stations have a nightly segment of “Get the Led Out” but since “III” is incorrectly viewed as their weakest effort, I say add this song to the set list instead of “Stairway.” This song displays their unbelievable method of taking it down to a level where it proves their multi-dimensional talent was so real. Take for instance my mother-she was not a big Mighty Zep fan but she loved some of their songs without even realizing it was them because their songs reached so many people in so many different ways. I believe this is another song that could reach out and draw in so many different people from “grandma” on down to the grandkids as it is so tranquil, so beautiful and stunningly amazing. Mighty Led Zep “III” is a classic album and this song is one of the main reasons why.

Dragon Attack Queen – To this day I still can’t understand why this song isn’t played everyday on classic rock radio. It has one of the funkiest, rockin’ grooves that Queen has ever produced. You want loud guitars? It’s here. You want strong backing vocals-it’s here. You want bone crushing bass lines-it’s here. What about massive drumming? It’s all here folks packaged into one of their best rock songs ever created and only the Queen fan knows this song-the general public has been ripped off for years. “Take me to the room where the red’s all red…take me out of my head, that’s what I said…” Friggin’ awesome tune that needs your attention.

I Wanna Know WhyAerosmith – Even though I apparently am one out of nine of the total population who owns “Draw The Line” and consider it one of their best albums, this song has to be included on classic rock radio. This is raw rock and roll at its best, it has a fast twist of blues tinged in there for the “purist.” The hard driving groove has a funky feel to it that gets the juices flowing and it makes me dance around the room-forget about all those “experts” who say “Draw The Line” isn’t a good album. Would I steer you wrong? Check out this song for yourself-it moves and will make you move.

A Man I’ll Never BeBoston – Ok so it is very hard to pick a song from this band that you have not already heard on the radio. This speaks to their greatness but also to the fact that they didn’t put out that much material during their stellar career. This song is played less than all their others on the classic rock radio format, so that is why I think they should play it a bit more than usual. This is my ultimate Boston song and epitomizes the greatness of Brad Delp. I know I say this all the time but I will continue to do so, I miss his vocals and wish he were still around to bless us with his great rock and roll voice. His passing remains one of the saddest stories in rock. This song is the greatest!!!

The Unforgiven IIIMetallica – Most classic rock radio formats steer away from the “core” of Metallica, so here is a new song that should be able to fit in their box. It is a “slower” and “somewhat less heavy” song where just about anyone can sing along to-“how can I be lost?…how can I blame you when it’s me I can’t forgive.” Don’t kid yourself folks this is a fantastic song and in my opinion it has grown to the point where it has to be considered one of the best songs on “Death Magnetic.” The arrangement is stupendous and the boys prove that the “Unforgiven” series is no fluke. Kirk’s solo is friggin’ awesome. \m/ \m/

RespectableRolling Stones – Again it is so hard to find songs from a band that has so many tunes on classic rock radio, the key here again is to find some that are played much less than the “classics.” I can remember when “Some Girls” came out WNEW FM radio used to play this song a lot but since that time, I don’t think I have heard it since. This is pure rock and roll and Richards is off the charts with his guitar, this is the closest the Stones have ever come to “head-banging” music. I friggin’ love this tune!!!

Boris The SpiderThe Who – C’mon if Jimi Hendrix loved this song then you know it needs more air-time. OK at points it sounds like the “Cookie Monster” has taken over on vocals for Mr. Entwistle but what’s wrong with that? This tune demonstrates John’s tremendous talents on bass guitar. Play it now!!!

Black WaterDoobie Brothers – Who knows maybe in your neck of the woods you hear this song a lot but I consider it a treat when I hear it on the classic rock radio format. Many of you are probably screaming for other songs to be played but I have always considered this my most favorite Doobie Brother’s song. There is something so cool about this tune and I can remember being a teenager and thinking the same thing way back when. You may disagree and you may be right but I’d rather hear this track for the next ten years instead of “China” or “Taking It to the Streets.”

I will skip over The Doors because I really don’t have any other songs to recommend, just don’t play “Road House Blues.”

Gypsy Black Sabbath – I had this song blasting out of my car last weekend and wondered why I never hear this song on the radio? It has that Santana flavor in the beginning (please no more “Oye Como Va”) and it’s not that heavy where it could not be played on the classic rock radio format. The riff and chorus are almost too much to take-Ozzy’s vocals are spot on-what else can be said about this historic line-up? They have to land in the top 25 of the most influential bands of all-time, so why keep playing “Paranoid.” Listen to this song and tell me it’s not great…you won’t be able to do it.

I will skip over Ozzy (c’mon I just did him albeit with Black Sabbath) as well as Van Morrison and Pink Floyd because I really don’t…know too much, if any, of their catalog. To be quite honest, I don’t think I could name another song written or performed by Van Morrison other than the nerve damaging “Brown Eyed Girl.” I could name some Pink Floyd songs but they would probably fall into the category of “I have heard this too many times already.”

ChinatownThin Lizzy – This and a whole lot more songs should be added to the list (but I will leave that to John who is the “in-house” expert on Tin Lizzie) I was watching “That Metal Show” and they have a segment where they pick their “top five” on various topics and the category on this specific episode was “best front man” and Phil Lynott only appeared once and didn’t even crack their combined list-a travesty in my opinion. Thin Lizzy ripped the cover off the ball on so many tunes-especially this one. Rock on my friends!!!

Pictures of HomeDeep Purple – How much does it upset me that this band is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? There are many deserving artists/bands that need to be in those sacred halls and if Deep Purple is not the first in line to go, they are at least fifth in that line. You know how baseball players get in to the baseball hall of fame on a specific at-bat or play? If that is the case- Deep Purple- has to get in just for “Machine Head.” Talk about a landmark album? So instead of picking “Smoke on the Water” I implore radio programmers to use any other song on “Machine Head”-let’s start with this one for the next ten years. I physically get sick on the fact that they are not in the Hall.

BreatheU2 – Who says the song has to be “old” to be played on the classic rock radio format. This is a classic from the classic “No Line on the Horizon” album just released a few years ago. Remember Rolling Stone magazine gave this album a “FIVE STAR” rating-which indicates an “instant classic.” This is another sore topic with me because “everyone” just easily dismisses this album because it had “no hits.” What does that mean? That is a bunch of crap, this album is fantastic and it is because of songs like “Breathe.” This should be constantly played on the radio-friggin’ phenomenal. No more “New Year’s Day” please!!!!

Top Ten

This week’s top ten is real personal for me as today-May 20-marks the seventh year since my mother passed away and I miss her dearly. It’s funny how that date-May 20-seems to come up all the time, either in conversation or when I read something in the newspaper or hear about upcoming events (such as concerts). It’s sort of like when one purchases a car, maybe it’s a model or make that you never thought you wouldn’t buy and as soon as you start driving it around, you see the same make and model everywhere, right? Everyone can remember where they were when they have received sad or bad news and I can clearly recall sitting with my Dad and brothers in the house where my parents lived. The final episode of “Friends” was being repeated that night Thurs. May 20, 2004 and I was sitting in the recliner dazed and confused from the days’ events. Then it happened, the phone rang and my Dad answered and we could all see by my Dad’s reaction that the matriarch of our family was no longer going to be with us.

As the years go along there are moments where I am taken by her presence and it can occur at any time. My wife and I will each share those moments with one another as my Mom and my wife became very close, especially once our children were born. Most times for me it comes in the form of music (of course, right?) and every once in a while my I-pod shuffle will land on a song that is totally my mother. I can picture her saying-“Hey, remember me??”- and sometimes it happens when I am on the Metro North heading into Grand Central as I look out the window into the blue sky and feel her waving her to me.

As I wave back I can recall various events and times in my life where I have my memory bank to fall back on. One particular event was our dance together at my wedding. For those of you who didn’t know her, she struggled with Lupus for most, if not all, of her adult life and it was sometimes hard for her to walk, never mind dance. But not on that day, nothing was going to get in the way of attending and having a grand time with her family and friends. The funny thing is that I did not pick out a specific song for us, weird right? I brought all my heavy metal/hard rock albums for the DJ to make sure there was a segment of the music that I listened to that was going to be played at our wedding…but I didn’t think of a song for our special dance??!! Well I have no regrets even though the DJ picked out the weirdest song ever because I was able to hold her hands and smell that distinctive perfume she would wear when there was a special event as we danced in a circle. We were surrounded by many people in the small room that we rented out at the GJOA club but the only person I saw was her. I could see the pride she had in her eyes and at the same time the sadness as one of her children was leaving the flock. She never wanted me to leave the nest that she had so perfectly built for my brothers and I. As the song was nearing its end, I couldn’t help my tears from flowing as we both started to cry and when we made it to the “sidelines” my Dad and both my Aunt Carol and Gayle were wiping away tears. I can always “go back” to that moment and feel everything all over again.

There are so many other occasions that flash through my mind that I could spend hours writing about and again a lot of times it is due to a song that I will hear that will remind me of her. Music was a big part of my mother’s life and I don’t know if I have given her as much credit for my love of music as I have allocated to my Dad. She loved the doo-wop genre and Elvis like my Dad but she also opened my ears to classic Country music (Patsy Cline) and “obscure” wonders that have often made me lean towards the “lesser” known songs or artists. When Jane (as most knew her as) was fond of a song (or artist) everyone around her knew it too as she would put so much passion into singing the lyrics. One could see her lift her arm or move her shoulders and that was a tell tale sign that the song was a classic. One of the best moments of our wedding video is when “Hot Legs” by Rod Stewart was played by the DJ and she arose from her chair as my brother joined her for the dance. Once the shoulders move up and down I fall to the floor in laughter because it brings back so many memories of her telling me to open my bedroom door and put the volume up-she absolutely loved that song.

Another quality that she instilled in me (besides passion) with music was the ability to open myself to other genre’s of music or other “era’s of music.” As I have stated many times before, my Dad has been “stuck in neutral” (or stuck in the 1950’s) since he was 16 and never really indulged in much of other music besides doo-wop or rhythm & blues. (And of course, The King-Elvis Presley). But my mother was a lot more open to listen to the music that I enjoyed-for the most part-I’m not going to sit here and tell you that she wanted to see Van Halen with Diamond Dave at the helm but she definitely would have been up for the Mighty Led Zeppelin (if they played the blues or acoustic only), in my opinion. I grew up with oldies being played every Sunday morning for hours upon hours and my mother was able to listen to what she wanted to about every third or fourth Sunday. My world was exposed to Patsy Cline and initially I used to think that this music was “old” or “corny” but once I “got it”- my life changed forever. (And I have passed it on down to my oldest son who now also loves Patsy Cline). Now when my I-Pod shuffle lands on a Patsy Cline song, it is her way of letting me know that she is still around and I immediately reflect on the good times.

Even though this is a sad day I am going to pick out my favorite top ten songs that I know my mother loved. Now of course I don’t know what would be her top ten list but these songs made an impact on my life when I was younger and they will forever live on in my heart as songs that will always remind me of her. “These Are Them:”

10.     The Show Must Go On – Three Dog Night – This takes me back to the days when I used to spend my summers in Otisville New York and I can recall being in my Dad’s car when they were driving us up to drop off to our grandparents and somehow this song was always on the radio. As soon as my mother would hear the “circus” like beginning, she would turn up the volume and the whole car would wait for her to sing-“Baby!!!” I don’t know about you but I get totally psyched up when I see other people really get into a song-it always had a way of making me think that I was missing something. She would try and hit the “high wire” notes as you could see and feel her passion. And her favorite part of the song is with about 58 seconds left in the track where the singer pleads-“Baby…I wish you help me escape…help me get away.” I love this song because of my mother but I also think it is a great track and I usually try to put this on the set list for our annual Memorial Day BBQ. Thanks Mom!!

9.       These Boots Are Made For Walking – Nancy Sinatra –There is something so “tough” about this song. I can picture someone squinting their eyes when they are “daring you to do something”- like go ahead if you think you have the guts. I used to love it when my mother would look over at my father and say-“one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.” My favorite part of the song is when Nancy says “HA!!!” (right after the part where she says-“you keep thinking that you’ll never get burned.”) giving it that added-“yeah right” attitude. And my mother’s favorite part is at the end when Nancy gives the directive-“Are you ready boots?…start walking!!!” The groove in this song is too much to take, I love it!!!

8.      I Fall to Pieces – Patsy Cline – My friend Ed is always giving me a hard time about writing about Patsy Cline and I don’t think I have written about her in a while but I will always treasure Patsy because of my mother. My father had Elvis and she had Patsy-to me they were both on a first name basis. I can just picture my mother sitting at the kitchen table on a Sunday morning (after making all of us the big Sunday morning breakfast which always included eggs) listening and singing along to Patsy’s captivating vocals. Her songs seemed to take my mother to another place, a place where she loved to be-it was like she was sitting in the kitchen with Patsy singing along with her like they were long lost friends. Patsy Cline’s voice is so mesmerizing and whenever I hear her songs on my I-Pod shuffle I look up to the heavens and thank my mother for educating me on the sweetness of this wonderful woman. Thanks again Mom.

7.       Are You Lonesome – Elvis –I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like at least one Elvis song, it’s pretty impossible. Again I am back at the kitchen table on a Sunday watching both my parents go off into another stratosphere as they both sung and recited each lyric like they were the ones who wrote the song. My mother always loved the part where Elvis begins to talk-“I wonder if…you’re lonesome tonight…you someone said that the world’s a stage…” and especially the part-“honey you lied when you said you loved me…and I had no cause to doubt…but I rather go on hearing your lies…than to go on living without you…” Such a beautiful song for a beautiful couple. Thanks Mom & Dad!!!

6.       Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da – Beatles –The right arm would go up immediately and start to bounce up & down once the song started. My mom wasn’t the biggest Beatle fan but she liked many of their songs but I think she loved this song more than any other Beatle tune. She loved to sing along to the chorus because it is just fun to. She loved all the things going on in the background-the vocals and especially when the “laughing” part would come up-“Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha…” My dad would always say he liked the “early” Beatles and I don’t think he realizes that this is from the “White album” but I won’t let him know because I know he loves this song as well; if he finds out it was the “late” Beatles, he might change his mind.

5.       Hot Legs – Rod Stewart – By now all of you who read this page consistently know that I used to listen to this in my bedroom back on 53rd street on 8th Avenue and close the door but when my mother heard this song she demanded that I open it and to also put up the volume. She loved pure rock and roll and does it get any more real than this song??!! I bet you everyone who attended my wedding will never forget when the DJ put this song on. As I mentioned, lupus kind of limited her mobility so she had to pick and choose what songs she could get up and dance to but once she heard the opening drum “bang” she was out of her seat in no time and waving the arm and moving the shoulders. It was on-“Whose that knocking on my door…its gotta be a quarter to four!!!”- I can picture everyone gathering around her to enjoy the spot light that was broadcast upon her. She didn’t care who was around, the music seeped into her being and it was like she was all by herself in the kitchen dancing around the room with such passion. I’m telling you folks for the people who didn’t know her-come to my house and watch the video-you will feel it and this could become one of your most favorite songs!!!

4.      Boggie With Stu – Mighty Led Zeppelin – Thanks to my uncle Gary for these next two songs on this list because when we lived with him in Otisville he used to play this album all the time and once we moved back to Brooklyn I had to buy “Physical Graffitti” and this song was always a favorite of my mother and I. She loved the groove in this song provided by the piano and of course Bonzo on the drums. How cool was my mother? Listening to the Mighty Led Zeppelin and loving it. The weird thing is that most of the general public has probably never heard of this song but I know the real Zep fans know this great song. The piano is almost too much to take while the disco beat makes me picture my mom jamming to the song. She loved the ending part where Bonham is just playing that funky groove with his drums-c’mon everyone clap your hands. That’s what my mom and I used to do.

3.       Black Country WomanMighty Led Zeppelin– I know where I received the “squinting of the eyes” and “biting of the lip” when I hear a song that I like-it came from my mother. She would almost close here eyes when this song came on and it was like she received a shot of country rock blues into her system because she immediately became Robert Plant. “Hey Hey Mama…whatz a matter here…” I used to love when my Dad was around for this song because he couldn’t tell me to turn it off because my mother would have none of it-she was in a zone. Again once Bonzo comes in with that hard drum beat, it took my mother to another level as she would bop her head up and down-just like me!!! “Oh yeah-oh…you didn’t have to tell me I was just your kid!!!” When Bonham explodes on the cymbal for that one power accent, I completely lose it. This is the best!!! “Whatz a matter wit joo mama…”

2.       Sweet Dreams (Of You) – Patsy Cline – My mother’s wish was to have this song played at her funeral but we never thought that it would come that soon. You know how in conversation people will say what they want (or don’t want) once they are gone and usually I know that I try to change the conversation. It is still a very tough song for me to hear because I am always brought back to that moment in time I never thought was going to happen. She would always play this song on Sunday morning’s but we all go back to that very solemn moment when we all said –“until we meet again.” This song is so beautiful and is the most important song in my life-if there is such a category-I think you know what I mean.

1.       Brand New Key – Melanie Safka – I think this song defined my mother and it is my most favorite song that she loved with such fervor that I had to put this song down as the number one song. I think her favorite line is-“some people say I done alright for a girl”- because sometimes my Dad would drive her crazy with the old “boys vs. girls” thing and she always wanted to “show him.” How fantastic is Melanie’s vocals? This has to rank up there as the best “obscure” song of all-time. (Although the song is now used in the TV commercial for Hewlett Packard printers that shows a baby speeding through a desert in a walker, so it might not be too obscure…I don’t mind at all because it display’s my mother’s knack for picking out great songs). “I rode my bicycle past your window last night…I roller skated to your door at daylight…” I have listened to this song five times already as I try to describe what it means to me as well as my mother. You had to be there, I had the lucky fortune of experiencing it. I love you mom and miss you dearly. Thank you for being you.

My younger brother wanted to remember my mother as well today and he wrote about ten songs that remind him of our mother. Here is what he wrote:

It’s been seven years since our mother passed away and personally for me, this has been a very tough & emotional week. Growing up, music was a big part of our lives, my parents loved playing music from the 1950’s and 1060’s. Some of their favorites was “Doo-Wop,” rock and country. My mom, in particular, loved country music and Elvis. I’ve decided to make a list of my top ten songs that remind me of my mother.

10.     Somewhere Out There – Our Lady Peace – The words of this song always remind me that she is out there, watching over me.

9.      Memories – Elvis – As mentioned Elvis was one of her favorites and this is such a beautiful song. I actually danced with my Aunt Gayle to this song at my wedding as a tribute to my Mom.

8.     American Pie – Don McLean – This song is on my list because of a family game we all played one night at Errol’s house with our great friend-“Johnny Boy.” My mother was trying to give him a clue (as they were partners) and it was “Don McLean” as he had to name the title of this song. But Johnny had no clue who Don McLean was and asked for more clues but all my mother kept saying was- “Don McLean”- because she couldn’t think of another clue and the more she laughed, we all laughed-it was a great night spent together as a family.

7.     Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers –Not only did my mother love this song but she actually recorded herself singing this tune and when she played it back, she burst into a fit of laughter because of how bad she thought she sounded.

6.       Broken – Seether –This song is a reflection of how I felt after she passed away. The lyrics of the song described how I felt at that time.

5.       Rise Above This – Seether –This song goes hand in hand with “Broken.” I knew things would eventually get better and this song was a symbol of that. In my opinion, Seether is a very under-rated band, whose songs and lyrics are very deep.

4.      Crazy – Patsy Cline – Mom would play this song all the time in the house and at that time, I used to hate it. As I have grown, I’ve come to appreciate it and to this day I can not help but smile when I hear it. Thanks for playing it more than 1,000 times Mom!

3.      Queen of HeartsJuice Newton Another song I heard 1,000 times while growing up. I can remember being around five or six years old and singing this song with my mother, I know this was one of her most favorite songs.

2.       In My Life – The Beatles –No list can be complete without a Beatles’ reference and this I’m not sure how much my mom liked the Beatles but this song really makes me think of her. I’m sorry to get sentimental here but “in my life,” I really did love her more. She was the best mother I could have asked for and I will always be thankful for her.

1.       Islands In The Stream – Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers – I used to sing this song with my mother all the time. She would sing all of Dolly’s parts and I would sing all of Kenny’s segments. It’s a great memory of my childhood and shows how silly my mom could be with me. We would always do fun things like that with one another. I love and miss you mom, everyday.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Billy Squier

2.     REO Speedwagon

3.     Bill Withers

4.     Bonnie Raitt

This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I have been around since the 1960’s and have scored many hits. I play piano and still write and perform songs. I made my “comeback” during the 1970’s when I wrote a song for the Captain and Tenille. Who am I?

2.     I was the lead singer of a hard rock/metal band that exploded on the scene in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s but after disagreements I left (or was asked to leave). One of my best friends is Axl Rose and together we re-recorded an Aerosmith classic. I recently goofed by being arrested for possession. Who am I?

3.     I still drive women wild but I especially did during the 1960’s & 1970’s. I hail from England and have many hits here in the U.S. I am still recording and touring and one of my songs was always sung by Carlton on the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Who am I?

4.     Our band was from San Francisco and we were at the forefront of the psychedelic hippie movement of the 1960’s and had a female lead singer. As the years progressed the band changed names as well as members but we will always be revered as one of the most important bands to come out of the 1960’s era. Who are we?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     Stone In Love – Journey

2.     In My Room – The Beach Boys

3.      In the City – The Eagles

4.     In The Dark – Billy Squier

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

1.     “…well open up your mind and see like me…open up your plans and damn you’re free…”

2.     “…being alone at night makes me sad girl…yeah it brings me down ole right…tossin’ and turning…”

3.     “…after a while we run under a tree…I turn to her and she kisses me…there with the beat of the rain…”

4.     “…you say I let you down…you know its not like that…if you’re so hurt why don’t you show it…you say you lost your faith…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1966, Pete Townshend & Roger Daltrey performed with the opening band’s rhythm section as Keith Moon & John Entwistle were both late to the concert that night in Windsor England. When they finally arrived, Townshend hit Moon over the head with his guitar. Both Moon & Entwistle quit the band that night but came back a week later.

Back on this day in 1971, Peter Cetera of the band Chicago had to have emergency surgery after he lost four teeth in a fight at Dodgers stadium in Los Angeles as he watched a Cubs game. The unruly fans objected to his long hair and a brawl ensued.

Back on this day in 1989, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers performed on the season finale of Saturday Night Live and performed “Free Fallin’” and “Running Down a Dream.” alone.

Back on this day in 1998, Tommy Lee was sentenced to six months in jail for spousal abuse.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Cher, Joe Cocker and Jane Wiedlin (Go-Go’s).

May 6, 2011

Weekly Update – 05/06/2011

The Big Four are coming to the East Coast and will arrive at Yankee Stadium on Wed. Sept. 14. Tickets for Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer & Anthrax go on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $225, $125 and $90. (I’m already in)

Soundgarden at the Prudential Center (“The Rock”) on Fri. July 8 and at Jones Beach on Sat. July 9. Tickets on sale next Fri. May 13 at 10:00 a.m. The Rock: $51.15 & $78.35; Jones: $52 & 104.25

Kings of Leon at Jones Beach on Wed. Aug. 10. Pre-sale tickets for Citi Card holders begins this Mon. May 9 at 10:00 a.m. until next Fri. May 13 at 10:00 p.m. General public tickets available next Sat. May 14 at 11:00 a.m. $47.35 and $143.50.

Death Cab for Cutie at the Williamsburg Waterfront (North 8th street and Kent Avenue) on Tues. Aug. 2. Tickets on sale today at noon. $47.15.

Alicia Keys at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. June 30. Tickets on sale today at noon. $43.65 and $171.05. (Who is going to stop this madness of this widening ticket prices? It’s really not fair to the consumer).

Panic at the Disco at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Thurs. Sept. 1. Tickets on sale today at noon. $37.49.

Taking Back Sunday at the Best Buy Theater in New York on Sun. July 17 and at Oakdale Theater in Wallingford CT on Thurs. July 21. Best Buy: Pre-sale on now until tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. for AMEX cardholders. General public on sale today at noon.$35; Oakdale: Tickets on sale at 10:00 a.m. $34.50.

Rascal Flatts at the Comcast Theater on Thurs. Aug. 11. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $30.75 and $91.15.

O.A.R. at the Comcast Theater on Fri. Aug. 12. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $33 and $45.50

The Kills at Terminal 5 on Mon. Aug. 8. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30 ($35 day of show).

Fountains of Wayne at the Bowery Ballroom on Wed. Aug. 3. Tickets on sale today at noon (pre-sale for AMEX cardholders until 11:00 a.m. this morning). $29.10

Ratatat at the Summer Stage at Central Park on Wed. July 13. Tickets on sale today at noon. $30 ($40 day of show).

Ray LaMontage and the Pariah Dogs at the Rumsey Playfield (Central Park) on Mon. Sept. 26. Tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m. $50 ($60 day of show).

George Thorogood at the Wellmont Theater on Sat. Rocktober 1. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35 ($40 day of show).

Straight No Chaser at the Beacon Theater on Tues. Nov. 22. Tickets on sale now. $29.50 – $49.50.

The following shows all go on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. If you have a Citi Card you can purchase “pre-sale” tickets until 10:00 p.m. tonight.

Jones Beach

Price

PNC

Price

Yes & Styx

Mon. July 11

$26 & $101.70

Tues. July 5

$21.55 & $101.55

O.A.R.

Sat. July 9

$32 & $89.70

Motley Crue, Poison, New York Dolls

Sun. July 17

$38.50 & $115.80

311 and Sublime

Fri. July 22

$40.50, $62, $101.70

Thurs. July 21

$39, $69.85 & $101.55

Aretha Franklin

Thurs. July 28

$40 & $143.50

Sat. July 30

$25 and $143.50

Weezer & Flaming Lips

Fri. July 29

$74.40 & $106.75

Thurs. July 28

$77 and $106.70

Maroon 5 & Train

Fri. Aug. 12

$36, $48, $69.90, $80.20 & $146.50

Fri. Aug. 26

$32, $58, $79.90 & $144

Janet Jackson

Sat. Aug. 6

$32, $51.85, $73.50, $90.20, $106.20 & $143.50

The NY Pops perform music of Billy Joel

Sat. Aug. 13

$31.50 & $102.25

Miranda Cosgrove

Sat. July 23

$24.50 & $116.80

 

Other items:

Whew…I thought America was going to get it wrong again but they finally voted off Jacob Lusk last night and it is now down to the final four. I have a feeling that James Durbin will pull it off but would not be surprised if any of the remaining contestants win it all. My bride loved the performance by Jennifer Lopez last night and thinks her new song-“On The Floor”- is the best new song out there. I have to admit that was some production and with the smaller venue it looked larger than life.

Have to hand it to the producers of Glee, this past Tueday night’s episode utilizing the songs from the landmark album-“Rumors”-by Fleetwood Mac was probably the best vocal show this season. The return of Kristin Chenoweth, the Broadway actress, was a perfect way to kick off the show with her singing “Dreams” with Will and starting the “rumor” that he was leaving for Broadway. The versions were all stripped down to the bare essential which made it that much better and the highlight, in my opinion, was the cover of “Never Going Back Again.” It was impressive having all those people playing the acoustic guitars around Artie. The story line around Sam’s dad losing his job was apropos for these tough economic conditions and made the cover of “Don’t Stop” that more emotional. The idea of writing story lines around one album is something that I hope they do more of, think of the possibilities in the future. Very cool.

I picked up the new album by Sixx: A.M.-: “This Is Gonna Hurt” and I have to say that I am pretty impressed. Nikki Sixx’s “side project” is no longer a project-these guys are for real. Weird thing is that there are only three members listed so they must have had a “session” drummer. The lead singer-James Michael- reminds me of Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, he has that same rock vibe with his vocals. The album really flows and I think the song-“Lies of the Beautiful People”- will be real big very soon. They have the right ingredients a la Nickelback, in the sense that they have some “power ballad” types (see “Smile”) that have that contemporary sound. I would say that this is a “buy.”There is a “heaviness” sound to it but it doesn’t run too deep, it is melodic. Check it Out.

The Beastie Boys-“Hot Sauce Committee: Part 2”- is picking up rave reviews from most everyone including Rolling Stone which gave it a four star rating. I almost pulled the trigger but then I kept hearing curse words and it just bummed me out. I am not going to sit here and tell you that I don’t have songs/records with curse words in them but with these guys-who are veterans in the game now- I just don’t understand why it’s needed. I do like their sound and they seem to have gone back to the basics, Who knows I may take the plunge but for now I will wait on the sidelines until more songs like-“Makes Some Noise”- pull me back in.

Slipknot members are stating that they are going to be moving forward with or without front man-Corey Taylor- who has not yet committed coming back to the band. The band has welcomed back former member Donnie Steel into the mix and he will be back on bass guitar.

Rage Against The Machine are not in the studio or working on any new songs contrary to the rumors out there. Tom Morello said that they will play one show this year but that is as much activity that is planned so far. Don’t you find that weird? I do. Most of their fans were waiting many years for their comeback and this is what they get? One year of touring and nothing else? Just weird. My gut tells me it’s Zack holding things up.

Workout Songs

Rock Mix Workout 2

Here is a mixture of boot camp and Spin work out songs in no particular order.

Ready to Go (U.S. Mix) – Republica – Perfect song for Spin and for the most part I think it could work for boot camp. This track is “ripping” and should be great for any type of work-out. I can recall being in a Spin class in Danbury CT and this song came on towards the end of the class and just kicked our butts. Not really sure if this band is still around but if they can make quality songs like this, I say bring it on. (5:00)

Roll On Down The Highway – Bachman Turner Overdrive – Boy do I remember Chris putting this song on his set list when he taught us how to Spin at MBIA and he usually saved it for the last song before the cool down. He kicked our *ss until we all screamed “Uncle” but it was all in good fun. He used to make us stand up and give it our all during the guitar solo and I never realized how long this solo was until we were all pleading for it to end as our quads were screaming in pain. This is one of the best Spin songs ever. I think it could work for boot camp or if you are running or doing any other physical activity and you need motivation. Look no further than this track. Thanks again Chris!!!(3:56)

Paradise City – Guns & Roses – This was another Chris song that he purposely put at the end of Spin class so as to make you scream out in pain. But the results are huge and believe me there is nothing better than this song once it gets rolling. I used to make believe I was blowing the whistle and it was off to the races. This is a mixture of a hill climb and then towards the end it becomes an all out sprint. “So far away…so fa—ar awy…so fa-ar away” C’mon turn up that resistance, I want a real seven-don’t cheat yourself. Ok get ready to put that resistance down to a five, here we go-sprint….faster…match the speed of Slash’s guitar… “I want to go…oh won’t you please take me home…” Oh I don’t know how much more I can give, I want to throw up. Friggin’ phenomenal ending to a song!!! Whew I’m gasping for air.(6:46)

Birthday – Beatles – We used to use this song for Boot camp class at MBIA and it’s a good song to get the juices flowing as it has a consistent beat which can make you bounce around. Isn’t that what you are really looking for when you work out? Something that keeps you moving along. And you can clap along as well, what could be better? Singing along is.(2:42)

My Girl – Aerosmith – Aerosmith just knows how to rock and roll, don’t they? This knee slapping song will get you out of your seat and move your booty to the beat. If this doesn’t get the juices flowing you better check for a pulse. Steven Tyler was flat out fantastic through “Pump” and he gives it that extra kick in the pants-you have to feel it. This could be utilized for Spin or Boot camp, take your pick. “My Girl!!!!”(3:10)

Revival – Allman Brothers – I remember this was one of the first songs I threw on for a Spin class for Meagan when she worked at MBIA. The beginning takes a while to start but once the 1:35 mark hits and Gregg starts singing -“People can you hear it”- well in my opinion this is one of the best songs to spin to. You can feel the love and can have a lot of fun with this one as you can do the “up and down” thing where you come off the seat. If you get the urge to sing and dance don’t worry, you won’t be the only one.(4:05)

Round & Round – Bodyrockers – Not sure who these guys are but remember I used to scour I-Tunes looking for moving work out songs and I came across this track and immediately downloaded it. For those of you who like loud guitars-it’s here; for those of you who like to dance-it’s here. It sort of like a rock band meets a “house” band and the result is a pumped up groove that will knock you out. This is lots of fun. Get it now!!(3:24)

Desperado – Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Ok not the best covers you will come across, especially with such a “scared” song. These guys turn this song on its head and turn it into a heavy/punk anthem. But you know what? It moves…it really moves. And the best part is that you probably know all the words, so why not take a chance? (2:28)

Stone Cold Crazy – Metallica – Love Queen but Metallica’s blistering version of this song knocks you right off your seat. I would say that this could be used for either Spin or Boot camp. Lars is lights out on the drums but before you know it-poof the song is over. (Always a sign that a song is great). Note: There is an “F” bomb here so be advised.(2:17)

Say Hey (I Love You) – Michael Franti & Spearhead – Just a pure fun song and can be utilized for any time of workout. Granted it is a bit slow for the hard hitting boot camp but this could be used as a cool down or stretch song. You could have a blast with this song in a Spin class as almost everyone should like this type of music, I really can’t believe that one would not like this song. Hand claps everywhere. “Hey I’ll be gone today but I’ll be back.” (3:55)

Rockin’ Robin – Jackson 5 – I can just picture the big smile on the face of Taxter when I threw this song on a mix for boot camp class. Their take on this classic tune is probably better than the original. Another song where hand clapping is mandatory. I told you that some “oldies” song can really get you moving and this one falls into that category. Is it simple? Yes. Is it fun? You bet and that is the number one reason why you should have it in your set list (2:33)

Kick Start My Heart – Motley Crue – What better song title than this one to get you moving? Consistent drum beats will have you head-banging in no time. “Wooo yeah…kick start my hear…woo yeah…baaaaabbbyyy”Mick Mars guitar riff should make it easy for you to slide your feet across the floor. I am air-guitaring right now as I jump around the room like a mad man. Perfect for boot or Spin. Ok I now it slows down in the middle but don’t stop; keep going as Tommy will drum you back into shape. (4:42)

Your Mama Don’t Dance – Poison – We played this song so much at the MBIA boot camp that I really haven’t listened to this song since 2005 (self imposed) but I figured that if you need a little pick me up, Poison does a nice job with this Messina & Loggins classic. Have at it!!!(3:00)

Don’t Phunk With M y HeartBlack Eyed Peas –This band makes some cool grooves and most times you can really move to them. Love the way he says “comfort” now in a public setting sometimes the language can get a little salty but for the most part this is a fun band. “Crazy is what crazy do.” (4:05)

Songs That Should Be Banned From Classic Rock Radio For The Next Ten Years

Playlist Plus: Classic Rock (Dig)

Last Sunday afternoon as our family gathered for lunch, my oldest son came up with this theme (I guess in his car ride home with his mom after going grocery shopping he must have heard “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas) and I immediately said I loved it. He is only 16 and has claimed to have heard the following songs “like a million times already.” Hence for those of you out there who are older than16, you have probably endured at least two times that amount and if you are a “rock” fan then you could possibly get physical ailments that may cause you become sick if you hear “that song again.” At the beginning of our lunch, the entire family was into it as each of us were naming songs that are played every day of every year on the “classic” rock radio format. An hour later it was just my oldest and I as we scoured my record collection (ha isn’t that funny?!) by way of my I-pod and came up with many songs and my guess is that this theme could be used more than a few times as I am assuming some of you out there might list some of yours. Now the one thing I want to make absolutely clear is that we all love these songs but unless it is a one hit wonder our family believes that there has to be other songs from the particular artist/band that classic rock radio can choose from to play for their audience. So here are some songs that we feel that should be put away for the next ten years on classic rock radio stations across the nation so that when it is played 10 years from now a whole new generation will discover what we already know-these songs are great but it’s enough already.

Carry On Wayward SonKansas – How many albums has Kansas made? Better yet how many songs do you think they have recorded? Is it a great song? Yes. Is it their most popular song? Well if one goes by the program directors across the States at class rock radio stations who claim to have a “no repeat day” – I would bet that they have a .45 of this song and nothing else by Kansas (Ok maybe they also have “Dust in The Wind” but that’s it). Maybe the term should be rephrased to “No Repeat Decade!!”When we hear the opening words of this song in the car-“Carry on my wayward son…there’ll be peace when you are done”- every one screams in unison- “Turn It Off!!!”

Sweet Home AlabamaLynyrd Skynyrd – Oh my this is another song which is a classic but I would bet that this song has been played more on the classic rock radio format than any other song in the history of radio (until we get to the next song). No offense but instead of using a bull horn to break up a crowd just put this song on and when folks hear the “Turn it Up” part they will scatter faster than those bugs that you see on the TV commercials when “Raid” is coming to get them.

Stairway to HeavenThe Mighty Led Zeppelin – Yes you know that it kills me to put the Mighty Led Zeppelin on this list but I have to be honest with myself-I can’t listen to this song anymore. I think I have must have put this rule into effect a long time ago because even when I am by myself in the car and could listen to the whole song and claim to have not heard it in at least seven years, I still can’t do it. I immediately turn to any pre-programmed station and take deep breaths.

We Will Rock You / We Are The ChampionsQueen – This was the greatest song ever when it was released. Who didn’t like the –“Boom Boom Pow-(Oh wait that is another song) but you know what I am talking about. Banging on the drum part on the piano was ingenious and infectious. Then if your favorite sports team won a championship this song was played. I say that the only time they should play this song in New York is the earlier of: A) Ten Years or B) If the NY Jets win a Superbowl or the NY Mets win a World Series. (Could be “A” right?)

Sweet Emotion / Dream OnAerosmith – Our family couldn’t agree on which song to pick so we decided to put both of these songs down. For me personally, when I hear “Sweet Emotion” I start to break out in hives and immediately seek shelter. My youngest-who is 13- says that he can’t take “Dream On” anymore. Can you imagine if he is already sick of it what you and I are going through? Love Aerosmith but they have so many other great songs but you’d never know it if you listened to classic rock radio.

Any Boston Song from Their Debut AlbumBoston – Ok this album is arguably one of the greatest debuts in the history of music but we all agreed that every one of the songs on this album should not be played for the next ten years. (My oldest wanted to exempt “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” but I was having none of it). Listen I love Boston and miss Brad Delp but they have other songs that can be played on the radio besides “More Than a Feeling” and “Peace of Mind” and…you get the picture.

Enter SandmanMetallica – My oldest wanted this song on the list and would not take “no” for an answer and I have to admit he is right. On the classic rock radio format one only hears this song from them and then maybe the cover of Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page.” You know how I feel about Metallica but if the Mighty Led Zeppelin can be on this list then they can appear as well with this track.

(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction/ Jumping Jack FlashRolling Stones – Another two songs that we could not decide on, so both appear. Whenever I hear the opening guitar riff to “Satisfaction” (yes I know it’s legendary) I run for the hills because I can’t…I can’t deal with it…I want to scream…I can picture a “robotic” Charlie Watts hitting the drums-“onetwothree”…And I have the same reaction with “Jumpin’ Jack” and I really can not distinguish between the two songs any longer. Sorry Stones fans but these two songs have been played more than a zillion times and I can’t take it any more.

Baba O’ReillyThe Who -I know that my best man Johnny loves this song and never gets sick of it so I know he has a problem with this song being on this list and I recognize that this song made my top ten songs by the Who but my oldest was adamant that this tune is played way too much. Begrudgingly I have to agree but I did not say that you couldn’t listen to these songs-we’re just asking for radio programmers to not play it on the airwaves. (satellite or free). By the way, my bride says any song by The Who.

China GroveDoobie Brothers – Again I recognize the quality of the song and it is a perfect “air-guitar” tune but I’d take “Black Water” for the next ten years instead. Don’t you agree? As soon as I hear the opening guitar licks I hit the dial so fast that I could audition for hitting the buzzer on Jeopardy (not saying I could answer the “answer” but I could team up with someone and when the answer is posted all I would need is for someone to play the opening notes…I would win the buzz battle every time).

Road House Blues (Live)The Doors – If someone (thing) from another planet landed on earth and spent a few months listening to classic rock radio, they’d be convinced that the Doors only recorded one song and this would be it. I’m not the biggest Doors fan as you know and as a teenager I liked this song a whole lot but now as an adult (because of hearing it every day on the radio) I almost physically get sick. I get an immediate headache and look for the Tylenol. “Let it roll…baby…all night long.” Pleaaasssseeee get me out of here.

ParanoidBlack Sabbath – As you all know I have been on a steady diet of Black Sabbath for the past month or so but without this song. To think that this song was a “throw in” as they needed a few more minutes to complete this landmark album but there are so many other songs that can be played by this unbelievable band. It’s enough already.

Crazy TrainOzzy – How many times have you heard-“All aboard…ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…eye..(eye)..(eye)?” Don’t you feel like slapping something when you hear it? Ok so maybe it’s only me but I can’t any more. Could be the best hard rock anthem ever made but it makes me “crazy…and that’s how it goes.” Sorry folks.

Brown Eyed GirlVan Morrison– When ever I hear this song I want to break something. Yeah I know it’s a great song by a legend…blah, blah, blah…If I had enough money I would buy up every recording of this song and lock it up in a vault and throw away the key. I was at a “silent auction/dinner dance” event last year and the DJ sensing an older crowd threw this song on and I almost threw up my food. I had to run out of the room until it was over and had to zig-zag through the crowd because everyone else was headed out to the dance floor. Using my brother’s phrase…Really?

MoneyPink Floyd – Whenever I hear the “cash register” sound I’m out, literally I think I faint from exhaustion from this song. In my opinion, it is one of the most boring songs ever recorded. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize its importance from the legendary album it comes from but if I never hear this song again it wouldn’t be long enough.

Boys Are Back In TownThin Lizzy – I apologize John but my oldest again stated that this song had to be on the list because if you listen to classic rock radio you would think that this is the only song this freaking under-rated band ever recorded. It’s a damn shame because it is so not true and if you need any convincing, I will put you in touch with John to enlighten you as he did to me.

Smoke On The WaterDeep Purple – This kills me to put on the list as well but I have to admit that it is played all the time on classic rock radio. This band has so many other songs (with various lead singers) and this song is always played. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but it is time to pick another great song by this band and wear it out for the next ten years.

New Year’s DayU2 – Another song which is constantly played. You may remember that I wrote a few months back that I was always confused on why and how U2 songs ended up on so many different radio formats. With respect to the classic rock format I am making a plea to all radio programmers-PICK ANOTHER SONG TO PLAY!!!

Top Ten

This week my I-Pod shuffle seemingly kept landing on songs by Joe Jackson and Squeeze so I was convinced that it was a sign to do a combined top ten for this week. And this makes sense to me (I know, I’m weird) because I only followed Joe Jackson’s career for a very short time and basically lost touch after ‘Jumpin’ Jive” which was released in 1981. That same year was the last album that I purchased by Squeeze-“East Side Story”-so again it makes sense in my mind to do five songs from both of these artists because I really was on each respective bandwagon for a short period of time and do not purport to know all there is to know about either. But I will say that in my opinion, both of these artists produced some of their best songs ever during this stretch and I would contend that many of you out there fall into the same boat as I do when it comes to favoring this period of time whereby each were in their “prime” once 1981 came to a close.

As I have previously mentioned, the first concert I ever attended was a Joe Jackson show in Central Park in 1980. When he hit the scene in the late 1970’s I thought he and his band were one of the most talented bunch of musicians to emerge with that “new wave”-(now referred to as “alternative”) style of music that exploded at the turn of the 1980’s decade. There was the Talking Heads, The B-52’s and in my opinion Joe Jackson (and to a certain extent Squeeze) which fall into that category of “new wave.” Joe made some more “conventional” new wave (unlike the Talking Heads and early B-52’s) music which had so much energy and force. I had the feeling back then (and still do now) that Joe sort of easily dismisses the kind of music he made during “Look Sharp” and “I’m The Man” as sort of a novelty, like he did it as a goof or something. Once he left that new wave world, he has never returned and I scratch my head on why he couldn’t do a reunion tour with his original band-even if it were for just one show in New York City. I can guarantee it would sell out in a matter of moments but he has stuck to his guns so I guess it’s one more dream that I have to move on from. (Hey I received a dream come true when The Cars announced a show at the Hammerstein later this month, so it is not all bad). Who knows maybe he does play some of these classic songs when he tours every once in a while but I get the feeling he does the “Sting” thing where he changes the original vibe of the song and adds new “flavors” to the sound. (I don’t want that, I can’t have that and I won’t deal with it). Anyway, for a two-to-three year period Joe Jackson was “The Man” and made some of the best songs that still resonate with many of us out there and I bet a whole new generation of fans as well.

With Squeeze it was a whole new ballgame for me (although my friends back in Brooklyn would say that it was right up my alley) because I initially though their music was “weird” (c’mon- “I think I’m go-go…go-go…go-go?”) sort of like The B-52’s weird…Okay not that weird, but you know what I am getting at. I have to again thank my Uncle Gary for turning me on to Squeeze (as well as The B-52’s and Talking Heads) as he exposed me to “Argy Bargy” which turned out to be one of my most favorite albums of the 1980’s. Once I “got it,” then I thought Squeeze was one of the most talented musicians and song writers of their generation. But after “East Side Story” they kind of fell off my radar as there were many personnel changes and apparent in-fighting that caused delays and in my opinion affected future outputs of their work. (But I could be wrong). I saw Squeeze at Giants Stadium with David Bowie and Lisa, Lisa & The Cult Jam (again weird comes to mind) and Squeeze was the highlight that night as Bowie refused to do any of his “popular” stuff. (Remember I recently “discovered” a lot of Bowie’s work just a few years ago so take a deep breath). In a short period of time, Squeeze just kept the “hits” coming and had to be considered one of the premier bands during that occasion. Paul Carrack entered the fray and took some of their songs to another level but was gone in a New York minute. But at least we still have the original recordings and I think Tillbrook and Dilford are still back together (which in my opinion was the best recordings of Squeeze) and still touring.

So here I am on this island and have been informed that I can have ten songs but only five each from Joe Jackson and Squeeze. “These are Them:”

Image of Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson

5.     Don’t Wanna Be Like That – I think if I had to pick one song that identified Joe Jackson during his “new wave” phase this tune would be the winner. It has everything that identified him as an artist: an edge you can feel, a certain rawness that he delivered better than most, a particular “don’t mess with me” type of attitude and a his vocals are just so “natural” for this type of genre. Who knows maybe he did the right thing by moving on to other genres because he set a high bar to top. But there is a part of me that feels that there is still a “rebel” inside of him that loves this type of music…at least that is what I tell myself. “Take me away…don’t wanna be like that!!!” Excellent musicianship.

4.     One More Time –Love the opening riff on this track, it immediately caught my attention way back when and once the bass enters the fray it makes the groove that much better. Don’t kid yourself folks this band was hot when they were around and could play with the best of them. If there is one quality that I think separates Joe from the rest of the pile is his ability to create hooks and melodies that keep you singing all day long. “One more time…say you’re leaving…say goodbye…one more time…” Joe please come back with the original band for one night (maybe two) and start the show off with this song, make one of my dreams come true!!

3.     Sunday Papers – If there was another adjective that I could use to describe Mr. Jackson, it would be-“cool.” C’mon how cool is this song? Could be one of the coolest songs recorded in the 1970’s. Don’t cha just love the bass line? And what about the lyrics? “Mother doesn’t go out anymore…just sits at home and rolls her spastic eyes…if you want to know how to be a star…you can read it in the Sunday papers…” Again there is such an infectious groove and chorus that keeps this tune in your head all day long. “Sunday papers…don’t ask no questions…don’t get no lies…” Rock on my friends!!

2.    Look Sharp – The only way to listen to this song is LOUD!!! How cool is this song? I love the arrangement and the drums give it that extra kick in the pants. “Well hey shut your face…maybe you will see or hear!!!” I hope Joe realizes this song is one of the best songs of the 1970’s-yes that’s right I said it. This deservedly was played incessantly on the radio for like two straight years. The break where the piano trades “barbs” with the drums is flat out phenomenal. Tell me you don’t “air-drum” to every part that the drummer performs and then the lead guitarist takes off with a solo that makes the song take off. I love the lyrics, could be his best ever. “Check your watch and wallet before it’s too late!!”

1.     I’m The Man – Oh my…once I hear this song I feel like a mouse running on one of those treadmills that just keep spinning and spinning. I think I could keep a generator going if it were hooked up to a treadmill if I just kept playing this song over and over in my headphones. “I had a giant rubber shark…and it really made a mark…did you looka looka looka all the blood…” Boy do I feel like I am back in the MBIA boot camp class going out of my mind as this song is blaring within the small walls of that exercise room. “Right Now!!!!!!… I think I’m gonna find a new trend!!!…anything from a thin safety pin to a pork pie hat…” My bride hates when I play this song in the house because the walls shake and she doesn’t like all the screaming. What??!!! That’s the best part!!! Joe this is the best!! Thanks and if you did come back for one show in New York please be sure to play this phenomenal tune!!

Image of Squeeze

Squeeze

5.     Separate Beds – I never knew who sang the lead vocals between Glenn and Chris but whoever sings the lead on this track is the voice that I know very well. His vocals are pure perfection with respect to tone and clarity. This is from Argy Bargy which was released in 1980 and in my opinion was so different from everything that was out there. In a weird way, these guys remind me of a “new wave” version of The Beatles. (take a deep breath, I said reminds). This song brings back so many great memories of my teenage days spent in Sunset Park Brooklyn. I can remember listening to this album (and many others) while laying on the hardwood floor with my head close to the two tall speakers and when no one was home…well lets just say I hope the neighbors liked my music. This wasn’t the heavy stuff so I’m assuming there were not too many windows shut when it came on.

4.     Another Nail In My Heart – “The case was pulled from under the bed…she made a call to a sympathetic friend and made arrange..ma..uhhh…uhhhh..uhhh…uhhh…ants…” How great is this song? I can listen to this tune all day. Love the drum work especially when it accentuates the –“with where have you beens”- one, two on the cymbals. Then there is a sweet guitar solo that is friggin’ awesome. These guys are super talented-“and here in the bar the piano man’s found another nail for my heart”-this is a perfect Spin song. Love the way the piano takes the song to its end.

3.     I Think I’m Go Go – This is like “psychedelic new wave,” I remember when my uncle played this song for me and at first I thought it was one of the weirdest songs that I had come across. But just like sometimes when you have a fight with the bully on your block then later you become the best of friends, this song became one of my favorites. The arrangement is so good as it takes on different shapes and sizes and is exemplified by the phenomenal vocals, lead and backing. I love the part when they come back from the “military beats” (“PIX and rock and roll”) and the lead vocalist sings- “Buckingham Palace… trains all late…funny men all out in the rain…”The ending is psychedelic with all those “missile”-like noises from the organ. Just an all around fantastic song.

2.     Tempted – It’s ironic that this is arguably their most popular song ever and it is sung by Paul Carrack who was essentially in the band for a “cup of coffee.” (Black coffee that is…in bed). Paul added that classic R&B sound to this song and together they created a masterpiece. Love the intro with the keyboards and bass while Paul whispers-“I bought a tooth brush”- before he actually starts singing those words. I’d have to say that this track has to land in the top ten songs for the 1980’s decade. I love the part where Paul sings-“At my bedside empty pocket…a foot without a sock…your body gets much closer…”-does it get any better than this song. This was soclose to being my most favorite Squeeze song.

1.     If I Didn’t Love You – It came down to this song and “Tempted” but the more I “battled” between the two, I kept leaning towards this classic and it is due to the overall arrangement which shifts gears and timing with such precision. These guys had a way of repeating words and phrases but did it in a way where you weren’t annoyed. I think this is their best vocal performance as well-listen carefully the deep voice follows the lead vocalist just as good as when the moon seems to follow you everywhere when you take a walk on a nice summer night (you know what I’m talking about)-every time you turn around, the backing vocals are there making the song that much better. “Hmmm…if I…if I…if I…if I…if I” Love the guitar work where it sounds like someone jumping up steps two at a time to get to the top of that stoop so you can ring the bell for that someone special to look out the window and let you know they are coming down. I think this is their ultimate masterpiece.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Joe Satriani

2.     Patsy Cline

3.     Johnnny Nash- I Can See Clearly Now

4.     The Romantics – What I Like About You This week’s trivia (Random)-

1.     I was one of the biggest artist’s during the 1980’s and was there for the birth of MTV as plenty of my videos were played. One of them probably hurt my career as I disappeared from the music scene for a long time. I am now back currently touring and was one of Ringo’s guests on his annual summer tour a few years ago. Who am I?

2.     As a band we had most of our success as a result of us releasing one of our most popular albums in 1980 (we have fifteen studio albums). We are still touring today as we have captured another generation of fans as we will always take it on the run. Who are we?

3.     I have won three Grammy’s in my life time, each for best Rhythm & Blues song, with the first in 1971 and then in 1981 I shared the award with two other song writers. A few years ago, Pete Carroll (then the head coach at USC) brought me in to give a pep talk to his team and to sing as well. I am so grateful for my grandma’s hands. Who am I?

4.     Between 1991 and 1994, I was the recipient of five Grammy awards and this was well after I had already had four Grammy’s. I released two albums for those years which have sold over 14 million copies combined. I was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and I am the daughter of a Broadway musical star. Who am I?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     I’m Into Something Good – Herman’s Hermits

2.     Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd

3.     Mainstreet – Bob Seger

4.     Why Can’t This Be Love? – Van Halen

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

1.     “…those crazy nights…I do remember in my youth…I do recall…those were the best times most of all…”

2.     “…do my dreaming and my scheming lie awake and pray…do my crying and sighing laugh at yesterday…”

3.     “…somewhere out on the horizon…out beyond the neon lights…I know there must be something better…”

4.     “…life isn’t easy from the singular side…down in the hole some emotions are hard to hide…it’s your decision…”

Back on this Day

Back on this day in 1965, Keith Richards stated that he fell asleep in a hotel in Florida and when he woke up he discovered that he composed the riff to “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

Back on this day in 1973, Paul Simon began his first solo tour without Art Garfunkel with a show the Boston Music Hall in Massachusetts.

Back on this day in 1978, Kansas’s album-“Point of Know Return” (my favorite) peaked at number 4 on the Billboard album chart. It went on to sell over 4 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Back on this day in 1994, Pearl Jam began their fight against Ticket Master by filing a memorandum that they were a monopoly (still are and the Justice Dept. allowed Live Nation to join them…makes sense). I salute the members of Pearl Jam for their fantastic effort to end the monopoly and wish the outcome could have been different. Shame on the others who didn’t help out. Now look what we have-only two ticket prices now- “a lot” and “a little.”

Back on this day in 2006, Axl Rose appeared on the “Eddie Trunk” show and stated that the long awaited “Chinese Democracy” was to be released in the fall 2006. He was off by two more years-it was finally released in November 2008.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with Bob Seger.

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