Errols Weekly Music Update.

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).

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