Sunday, February 14, 2010

 

Album of the Day: Heart (2/14/76) 34 Years!


Heart. A debut album from a sister act. Two hotties in longing poses on the cover. Dreamboat Annie, the title. Released on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1976. How perfectly arranged! (Find Heart’s playlist here).

It didn’t take long to discern that this was no fluff-stuff. Nancy and Ann Wilson shot Cupid’s arrow dead on - pure, straight-ahead rock from a female perspective. Yes, Pat Benatar and Joan Jett snarled and rocked harder, but Heart covered all the bases. Hard rock with harmonies (“Magic Man” and “Crazy On You”, both now classics), dreamy-folksy love songs (the title track), and sweet female vocalist MOR pop-rockers (“I’ll Be Your Song”), even though they never made the soft-rock AM radio charts (but should have).

The debut topped out at #7 on the album charts in the US and launched what became one of the most important female rock acts (and attractive sisters, no less) in the 70s and 80s. Dreamboat Annie is available on CD, LP or mp3 at Amazon. Downloads for iPods are on iTunes.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

 

This Week's Birthdays (January 24 -30)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jan 24
1936 ● Doug Kershaw → Country fiddler, "Louisiana Man" (1961)
1939 ● Ray Stevens (Harold Ray Ragsdale) → "Everything Is Beautiful" (1970)
1941 ● Aaron Neville → Neville Brothers
1941 ● Neil Diamond → "The Jewish Elvis"
1947 ● Warren Zevon → "Werewolves Of London" (1978)
1949 ● John Belushi → Blues Brothers
1953 ● Matthew Wilder (Weiner) → "Break My Stride" (1983)
1958 ● Julian Miles "Jools" Holland → Squeeze

Jan 25
1938 ● Etta James (Jamesetta Hawkins) → "Tell Mama" (1967)
1950 ● Michael Cotton → The Tubes
1954 ● Richard Finch → KC & The Sunshine Band
1956 ● Andy Cox → English Beat, Fine Young Cannibals
1958 ● Gary Tibbs → Roxy Music, Vibrators
1962 ● Peter Coyle → Lotus Eaters
1963 ● Carl Fysh → Brother Beyond
1971 ● China Kantner → Daughter of Grace Slick and Paul Kantner
1981 ● Alicia Keys (Alicia Auguello Cook) → "Fallin'" (2001)

Jan 26
1934 ● Huey "Piano" Smith → "Rockin' Pneumonia" (1957)
1945 ● Ashley "Tyger" Hutchings → Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span
1946 ● Deon Jackson → "Love Makes The World Go 'Round" (1966)
1948 ● Laurence Gordon "Corky" LaingMountain, West Bruce & Laing
1949 ● Derek Holt → Climax Blues Band
1951 ● Andy Hummell → Big Star
1951 ● David Briggs → Little River Band
1953 ● Lucinda Williams → "Car Wheels On A Gravel Road" (1998)
1957 ● Edward Van Halen Van Halen
1958 ● Anita Baker → "Sweet Love" (1986)
1958 ● Norman Hassan → UB40
1963 ● Andrew Ridgeley → Wham!
1963 ● Jazzie B. (Trevor Beresford Romeo) → Soul II Soul
1966 ● Pim Jones → Hipsway
1970 ● Kirk Franklin → Contemporary gospel
1972 ● Ya Kid K (Manuela Barbara Kamosi Moaso Djogi) → Technotronic

Jan 27
1918 ● Elmore James → Blues slide guitarist/songwriter
1919 ● David Seville (Rosdom Sipan "Ross" Bagdasarian) → Creator of Alvin & The Chipmunks
1930 ● Bobby "Blue" Bland (Robert Calvin Bland) → "Stormy Monday Blues" (1962)
1931 ● Rudy Mauger → The Crew Cuts
1944 ● Kevin Coyne → "Marlene" (1973)
1945 ● Nick MasonPink Floyd
1946 ● Kim Gardner → Ashton, Gardner & Dyke
1947 ● Nedra Talley → Ronettes
1951 ● Brian Downey → Thin Lizzy
1951 ● Seth Justman → J. Geils Band
1955 ● Richard Young → Kentucky Headhunters
1961 ● Gillian Gilbert → New Order
1961 ● Margo Timmins → Cowboy Junkies
1961 ● Martin Degville → Sigue Sigue Sputnik
1964 ● Miguel John "Migi" Drummond → Curiosity Killed The Cat
1968 ● Mike Patton → Faith No More
1970 ● Mark Trojanowski → Sister Hazel

Jan 28
1929 ● Bernard Stanley "Acker" Bilk → "Stranger On The Shore" (1962)
1936 ● Jack Scott (Giovanni Dominico Scafone, Jr.) → "Burning Bridges" (1960)
1943 ● Dick TaylorRolling Stones, The Pretty Things
1944 ● Brian "Chambers" KeenanChambers Brothers, Manfred Mann
1946 ● Rick Allen → Box Tops
1959 ● Dave Sharp → The Alarm
1962 ● Leslie "Sam" Phillips → "Holding On To The Earth" (1989)
1963 ● Dan Spitz → Anthrax
1968 ● DJ Muggs (Lawrence Muggerud) → Cypress Hill
1968 ● Rakim (William Michael Griffin, Jr.) → Rapper
1968 ● Sarah McLachlan → "Adia" (1998)
1977 ● Joey Fatone → *NSYNC
1977 ● Raphael "Tweety" Brown → Next
1980 ● Nick Carter → Backstreet Boys

Jan 29
1933 ● Alexandre "Sacha" Distel → "The Good Life" (1965)
1943 ● Kenneth "Tony" Blackburn → "So Much Love" (1969)
1947 ● David Byron (David Garrick) → Uriah Heep, solo
1952 ● Tommy Ramone (Tom Erdelyl)The Ramones
1953 ● Louie Perez → Los Lobos, Latin Playboys
1959 ● Johnny Spampinato → NRBQ
1961 ● Eddie Jackson → Queensryche
1962 ● Marcus Vere → Living In A Box
1964 ● Roddy Frame → Aztec Camera
1981 ● Jonny Lang (Jon Gordon Langseth, Jr.) → Blues guitarist

Jan 30
1928 ● Ruth Brown (Ruth Alston Weston) → "Teardrops In My Eyes" (1950)
1941 ● Joe Terranova → Danny & The Juniors, "At The Hop" (1958)
1942 ● Marty Balin (Martyn Jere Buchwald)Jefferson Airplane/Starship, solo
1947 ● Steve Marriott → Small Faces, Humble Pie, solo
1951 ● Marv Ross → Quarterflash
1951 ● Phil CollinsGenesis, solo
1952 ● Steve BartekStrawberry Alarm Clock, Oingo Boingo
1959 ● Jody Watley → Shalamar, solo ("The Queen of Cool")

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Friday, November 13, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Beach Boys (10/21/63)

BeachBoysLittleDeuceCoverThe Beach Boys (and Capitol Records) issued three separate albums in a seven month period in 1963, Surfin’ U.S.A. in March, Surfer Girl in September and Little Deuce Coupe on October 21. That’s a lot of surf oriented vinyl on the market in such a short period, all the more so considering the band’s debut album, Surfin’ Safari came out in October 1962 (making it four albums in 12 months!). But the rebirth of rock ‘n roll and Beatlemania were in full swing in the summer of ’63. America’s youth craved anything with a beat and harmonies with young studs to sing them. Capitalizing on the Beach Boys’ growing popularity was a smart decision with generally positive results; Little Deuce Coupe spent 49 weeks on the Billboard pop music chart, peaking at #4. Interestingly, the three best songs on the album, the title track, “409” and “Shut Down” all appeared on the previous albums, but the public didn’t seem to mind.

To view and download my Beach Boys playlist from the Playlist Vault at DrRock.com, click here.

Little Deuce Coupe is available as download tracks from iTunes (click here) and as a CD from Amazon (click here).

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

 

This Week's Birthdays (November 8 - 14)

Happy Birthday this week to:
Nov 08
1944 ● Bonnie Bramlett → Delaney & Bonnie
1944 ● Robert Nix → Atlanta Rhythm Section
1947 ● Minnie Ripperton → "Loving You" (1974)
1949 ● Bonnie Raitt
1954 ● Rickie Lee Jones → "Chuck E's In Love" (1979)

Nov 09
1936 ● Mary Allin TraversPeter, Paul & Mary
1941 ● Tom FogertyCreedence Clearwater Revival
1943 ● Lee Graziano → American Breed
1944 ● Phil May → Pretty Things
1948 ● Alan GratzerREO Speedwagon
1948 ● Joe BauchardBlue Öyster Cult
1954 ● Dennis Stratton → Iron Maiden

Nov 10
1905 ● Tommy Dorsey → Band leader
1944 ● Tim Rice → Songwriter
1947 ● Dave Loggins
1947 ● Greg Lake → Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1950 ● Ronnie Hammond → Atlanta Rhythm Section
1954 ● Mario CipollinaHuey Lewis & The News
1958 ● Frank Maudsley → A Flock of Seagulls

Nov 11
1927 ● Mose Allison → Jazz singer and pianist
1929 ● LaVern Baker (Delores Williams) → "Jim Dandy" (1956)
1945 ● Chris Dreja → The Yardbirds
1945 ● Vince Martell → Vanilla Fudge
1947 ● Pat Daugherty → Black Oak Arkansas
1950 ● Jim Peterick → Ides of March, Survivor
1953 ● Andy Partridge → XTC
1956 ● Ian Craig Marsh → Human League, Heaven 17

Nov 12
1931 ● Bob Crewe → Producer/writer, Four Seasons
1943 ● Brian Hyland → "Sealed With A Kiss" (1962)
1945 ● Neil Young
1947 ● Buck Dharma (Donald Roeser)Blue Öyster Cult
1948 ● Errol Brown → Hot Chocolate
1949 ● Arthur "Pooch" Tavares → Tavares
1955 ● Leslie McKeown → Bay City Rollers
1964 ● David Ellefson → Megadeth

Nov 13
1934 ● Timmy Thomas → "Why Can't We Live Together" (1973)
1943 ● John Hammond Jr. → Blues performer
1947 ● Toy CaldwellMarshall Tucker Band
1949 ● Roger Steen → The Tubes
1949 ● Terry Reid → British rock guitarist
1951 ● Bill GibsonHuey Lewis & The News

Nov 14
1938 ● Cornell Gunter → Flairs, Coasters
1940 ● Freddie Garrity → Freddie & The Dreamers
1947 ● Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural → Buckwheat Zydeco
1949 ● James "J.Y." YoungStyx
1951 ● Stephen Bishop → "On And On" (1976)
1953 ● Alexander O'Neal → The Time, solo, "Fake" (1987)
1953 ● Frankie Banali → Quiet Riot
1956 ● Alec Jon Such → Bon Jovi
1964 ● Andrew Banfield → The Pasadenas

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

 

This Week's Birthdays (November 1-7)

Happy Birthday this week to:
Nov 01
1945 • Rick Grech → Family, Blind Faith, Traffic
1950 • Dan Peek → America
1951 • Ronald Bell (Khalis Bayyan) → Kool & The Gang
1957 • Lyle Lovett
1962 • Anthony Kiedis → Red Hot Chili Peppers
1962 • Mags Kuruholmen → A-Ha

Nov 02
1937 • Earl "Speedo" Carroll → The Cadillacs
1941 • Jay Traynor → Jay & The Americans
1944 • Keith Emerson → Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1946 • Leonard "Chip" Hawkes → The Tremeloes, father of Chesney
1947 • Dave Pegg → Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull
1952 • Maxine Nightingale → "Right Back Where We Started From" (1976)
1961 • k.d. lang

Nov 03
1933 • John Barry (Jonathan Barry Prendergrast) → Film scores
1943 • Bert Jansch → UK blues/folk guitarist
1941 • Brian Poole → The Tremeloes
1945 • Nick SimperDeep Purple
1946 • J.D. Souther → Souther Hillman Furay Band, solo
1948 • Lulu (Marie Lawrie) → "To Sir Love" (1967)
1954 • Adam Ant (Stuart Leslie Goddard) → Adam & The Ants

Nov 04
1938 • Harry Elson → Friends of Distinction
1940 • Delbert McLinton
1947 • Mike Smith → Amen Corner
1954 • Chris Difford → Squeeze
1956 • James Honeyman-ScottPretenders
1965 • Jeff Scott Soto → Yngwie Malmsteen Band, Journey

Nov 05
1931 • Ike Turner
1941 • Art Garfunkel
1946 • Gram ParsonsThe Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers
1947 • Peter Noone → Herman's Hermits
1948 • Donnie McDougall → The Guess Who
1948 • Peter Hammill → Van Der Graf Generator, solo (Rikki Nadir)
1950 • Dennis Provisor → The Grass Roots
1957 • Mike Score → A Flock Of Seagulls
1959 • Bryan Adams → "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" (1991)

Nov 06
1933 • Joseph Pope → Tams
1937 • Eugene Pitt → The Jive Five
1938 • P.J. Proby (James Marcus Smith) → "Hold Me" (1964)
1941 • Doug Sahm → Sir Douglas Quintet
1947 • George Young → The Easybeats
1948 • Glenn FreyEagles, solo

Nov 07
1938 • Delecta "Dee" Clark → "Raindrops" (1961)
1942 • Johnny Rivers
1943 • Joni Mitchell
1943 • Dino Valente → Quicksilver Messenger Service
1951 • Nick Gilder → "Hot Child In The City" (1978)
1960 • Tommy Thayer → KISS

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

 

This Week's Birthdays

Happy Birthday this week to:
Oct 25
1942 ● Helen Reddy → "I Am Woman" (1971)
1944 ● Jon AndersonYes
1947 ● John Hall → Orleans
1948 ● Glenn Tipton → Judas Priest
1956 ● Matthias Jabs → Scorpions
1957 ● Robbie McIntoshPretenders

Oct 26
1946 ● Keith Hopwood → Herman's Hermits
1952 ● David Was → Was (Not Was)
1953 ● Keith StricklandB-52s
1963 ● Natalie Merchant10,000 Maniacs

Oct 27
1949 ● Byron Allred → Steve Miller Band
1949 ● Gary Tallent → E Street Band
1951 ● "K.K." Downing → Judas Priest
1958 ● Simon LeBonDuran Duran
1967 ● Scott Weiland → Stone Temple Pilots

Oct 28
1936 ● Charlie Daniels
1941 ● Curtis Lee → "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" (1961)
1941 ● Hank Marvin → Shadows
1945 ● Wayne Fontana → The Mindbenders
1947 ● George Glover → Climax Blues Band
1948 ● Telma Hopkins → Tony Orlando & Dawn

Oct 29
1944 ● Denny LaineMoody Blues, Wings
1946 ● Peter GreenFleetwood Mac
1948 ● Ricky "Ricochet" Reynolds → Black Oak Arkansas

Oct 30
1937 ● Frank Ifield → "I Remember You" (1962)
1939 ● Eddie Holland → Holland-Dozier-Holland
1939 ● Grace SlickJefferson Airplane/Starship
1945 ● Henry Winkler → "The Fonz"
1946 ● Chris Slade → Manfred Mann, The Firm, AC/DC
1947 ● Timothy B. SchmitPoco, Eagles

Oct 31
1937 ● Tom Paxton → Folk singer
1940 ● Eric Griffiths → The Quarry Men
1944 ● Kinky Freidman → Country singer/bandleader
1947 ● Russ Ballard → Argent
1951 ● John Ford Coley → Partner of "England Dan" Seals
1952 ● Bernard Edwards → Chic
1961 ● Larry MullenU2

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Cheap Trick (10/24/08)

51eCrYWkBrL._SL160_Cheap Trick hired former Beatles producer George Martin to oversee their fifth studio LP, All Shook Up, which was released on October 24, 1980 (to view my Cheap Trick playlist, click here). Despite Martin’s extraordinary work with the Fab Four – he produced all but one of their original albums, arranged and conducted the classical music instrumentation in many of their more complicated songs, and played piano on several – he and the band were unable to turn the trick. All Shook Up was widely labeled a disappointment, especially after the huge success of 1979’s Dream Police. All Shook Up couldn’t crack the Top 20 in the U.S., peaking at #24, and only had one single, “Stop This Game,” which reached to #48. All Shook Up wasn’t a bad album at all, it just wasn’t up to the level of raw, crunching power pop of Cheap Trick’s first four albums and the celebrated At Budokan live set.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Led Zeppelin (10/22/69)

41UGySBN4OL._SL160_We’ll argue forever about which Led Zeppelin album is better, their debut or Led Zeppelin II, which came out 40 years ago today on October 22, 1969, nine months after its predecessor. If you’re on the “other side’, you still can’t deny that Led Zeppelin II was a monster album, and together they are a formidable duo of highly influential hard blues-rock music (tracks from both are included in my LZ playlist on DrRock.com). One interesting fact: while Led Zeppelin I was recorded at a leisurely pace in the fall of 1968, Led Zeppelin II was laid down during breaks in the band’s hectic touring schedule in the U.S. and U.K. between January and August 1969. With no time for unlimited retakes and overdubbing, II is a raw and energetic album, a full set of great guitar riffs, distorted vocals, heavy metal rhythms and very memorable tunes (“Ramble On,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Thank You” and “What Is And What Should Never Be” are the best).

Now back to the argument at hand. Rolling Stone magazine fails provide any true guidance on the issue of which is better. Led Zeppelin II is listed on the RS Top 100 albums at #59, is included on the RS200 (there were no rankings on that one), and takes the #75 spot on the RS Top 500 list. Led Zeppelin I isn’t on the Top 100 or Top 200 lists, but finds itself at #29 on the Top 500 list. Go figure.

Led Zeppelin II (my pick of the two) is available as download tracks from iTunes (click here) and as a CD from Amazon (click here).

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Human League (10/20/81)

21N6ESNY12L._SL160_New Wave synth-pop band Human League had a rough go from formation in 1977 until the hugely successful third album Dare!, which came out on October 20, 1981 and featured the hit “Don’t You Want Me” (one of the highest selling British singles of all time). HL started out as an all-male quartet playing art-synth-rock, although only two of the members (Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh) had any real depth in music. After two disappointing albums and with mounting debts and pressure from their record label, HL splintered and Ware and Marsh quit to form Heaven 17. That left Philip Oakley (lead vocals) and Adrian Wright (not much more than an equipment manager) to hire accomplished musicians to support them while Wright began to learn the synthesizer. Oakley ended up recruiting two teenagers, Joanne Catherall and Susanne Sulley, as backup vocalists, but they quickly moved to the front next to Oakley. Dare! was released on the heels of and includes three U.K. singles from mid-1981, “The Sound Of The Crowd” (#36), “Love Action (I Believe In Love” (#3) and “Open Your Heart” (#6). But it was the unexpected, runaway success of the chart-topping single lifted off the album, “Don’t You Want Me” that drove Dare! to #1 on the British album charts and #3 in the U.S.

Dare! is available as download tracks from iTunes (click here) and as a CD from Amazon (click here).

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Monday, October 19, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Fleetwood Mac (10/19/79)

4159ESEEGJL._SL160_Fleetwood Mac scored two chart-topping albums in the late 70s, their self-titled “debut” in 1975 and the massively popular Rumours in 1977. Despite riding a huge wave of rock popularity, any chance of three-in-a-row was largely squelched by the semi-incestuous turmoil tearing at the band in the wake of Rumours, plus the decision to issue a double album with Lindsey Buckingham providing most of the creative direction. The result, Tusk (released on October 19, 1979) was too long, overly ambitious and musically uneven. While it sold handsomely and reached #4 in the US, it could have and should have been released as a single disc. The three hits from the album, Christine McVie’s “Think About Me” (#37), Buckingham’s “Tusk” (#8) and Stevie Nicks’ “Sara” (#7) might have fit nicely with “Angel,” “The Ledge”, “That’s Enough For Me” and another two or three McVie floating ballads to create a neat single disc package. The rest is weird and unnecessary Buckingham experimentation.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

 

This Week's Birthdays

Happy Birthday this week to:
Oct 18
1926 ● Chuck Berry
1938 ● Ronnie Bright → The Coasters
1943 ● Russ Gigure → The Association
1947 ● Laura Nyro
1961 ● Wynton Marsalis

Oct 19
1934 ● David Guard → Kingston Trio
1944 ● Peter Tosh (Winston Hubert McIntosh) → "(You Gotta Walk) Don't Look Back" (1978)
1945 ● Jeannie C. Riley → "Harper Valley PTA" (1968)
1946 ● Keith Reid → Procol Harum
1950 ● Patrick SimmonsDoobie Brothers

Oct 20
1945 ● Ric Lee → Ten Years After
1950 ● Tom Petty
1951 ● Al GreenwoodForeigner
1964 ● Jim "Soni" Sonefeld → Hootie and The Blowfish

Oct 21
1917 ● John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie
1940 ● Manfred Mann (Manfred Lubovitz) → Earth Band, solo
1941 ● Steve CropperBooker T & the MGs
1942 ● Elvin Bishop → Paul Butterfield Blues Band, solo
1947 ● John "Rabbit" Bundrick → Free, solo, The Who
1952 ● Brent MydlandGrateful Dead

Oct 22
1942 ● Annette Funicello
1942 ● Bobby Fuller → Bobby Fuller Four
1945 ● Leslie WestMountain, West Bruce & Laing
1946 ● Eddie BrigatiThe Rascals

Oct 23
1939 ● Charlie Foxx → "Mockingbird" (1963)
1940 ● Fred Marsden → Gerry & The Pacemakers
1943 ● Greg Ridley → Humble Pie, Spooky Tooth
1956 ● Dwight Yoakham
1959 ● Weird Al Yankovic

Oct 24
1930 ● The Big Bopper (J. R. Richardson)
1936 ● Bill WymanRolling Stones
1944 ● Ted Templeman → Producer
1950 ● Dale "Buffin" Griffin → Mott The Hoople

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

 

Album of the Day: R.E.M. (10/17/88)

51GC6VDF3ZL._SL160_Alternative rock pioneers R.E.M. released Eponymous on the IRS label on October 17, 1988. The album is a collection of some of the best material from R.E.M.'s first five albums. But it’s not a “Greatest Hits” collection, since there were few R.E.M. “hits” in broader sense, anyway, prior to 1987. Before “The One I Love” came out with Document in 1987, R.E.M.’s only real chart action was on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock listing for airplay on album rock stations. “The One I Love” was their first placement above #65 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for all sales and airplay, and it topped out at #2 in late-87. IRS released Eponymous shortly after R.E.M. left for a new contract with Warner Brothers. The album was a last chance for IRS to cash in on R.E.M.'s growing popularity. Nevertheless, Eponymous is also a great compilation of eight of R.E.M.'s better-known songs from 1981-1987, plus a the original version of “Radio Free Europe,” remixed versions of “Finest Worksong” and “Gardening At Night,” and a previously unreleased track, “Romance.”

For the uninitiated looking to explore R.E.M. for the first time, Eponymous is a good place to start (but only after you view my own R.E.M. "Best Of..." playlist in the Playlist Vault at DrRock.com). In addition, Eponymous is available as download tracks from iTunes click here) and as a CD from Amazon (click here).

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Friday, October 16, 2009

 

Vintage Video: The Tremeloes (1967)

Tremeloes1964The Tremeloes (click here for today’s Vintage Video) had what it took to give The Beatles a run for their money in the mid-60s. Catchy tunes, good looks, respectably long hair, a supportive record label (Decca) and a growing legion of fans. But the recipe didn’t bake cake, and the Fab Four pasted the Tremeloes in the race to British Invasion superstardom. That left Brian Poole (lead singer and guitarist) and his bandmates to swallow their pride, which wasn’t hard to do with more than a dozen British #1’s and two Top 20 US hits. The Tremeloes broke up in 1970, just a few short years after they recorded this version of their hit cover of Cat Stevens’ “Here Comes My Baby” in 1967 for the BBC.

Dr. Rock’s take on the best 50 tracks from the British Invasion includes another Tremeloes hit song, “Silence Is Golden”, also from 1967.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Yes (10/15/69)

316ZDSWKM0L._SL160_The eponymous debut album by British prog-rockers Yes is considered to be the first progressive rock album. And Yes the band (for my Yes playlist, click here) is considered to be the most venerable and commercially successful prog-rock band. Their debut album was released on October 15, 1969 in the waning days of psychedelic rock, and just ahead of the big splintering of rock music into a multitude of sounds and genres that made the 70s the best decade for rock music. With their next three albums, Yes became a major and defining force on the progressive side of rock music. But the debut LP didn’t fare well, even though it’s a decent collection of early Yes songs. The biggest reason: Yes was released within a few weeks of several notable late-1969 rock albums by the heavy hitters of the time, including Tommy by The Who, Led Zeppelin II, and the Stones’ Let It Bleed. By 1973, that would all change.

By the way, Yes includes two very ambitious and interesting covers of songs by the Beatles (“Every Little Thing”) and the Byrds (“I See You”). To download Yes from iTunes, click here. For a CD from Amazon, click here.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Jethro Tull (10/14/74)

416C4XVJ70L._SL160_War Child, Jethro Tull’s seventh studio album, was released on October 14, 1974 (a Tull playlist and albums are on DrRock.com). Originally conceived as a two-disk soundtrack epic (similar in length and/or style to the two previous Tull albums, 1972’s Thick As A Brick and 1973’s A Passion Play), War Child became a single disk when the movie project was abandoned for lack of financial resources. That in itself was probably a good move, but it also spared us from a double album with material of questionable strength without a movie behind it. As it turned out, three tracks on War Child weren’t written for the movie soundtrack anyway, but were leftovers from the 1972-73 recording sessions for Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play. Killing the movie project brought “Only Solitaire,” “Bungle In The Jungle” and “Skating Away On Thin Ice” to vinyl, with the latter two becoming minor chart hits. Overall, War Child spent a short time in the Billboard Top 20, reaching #2 for several weeks.

For more about the aborted movie, click here to visit Tull’s website and read band leader Ian Anderson’s recollections. To download War Child from iTunes, click here. For a CD from Amazon, click here.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Billy Joel (10/13/78)

51wG0Y3dNAL._SL160_Billy Joel’s first #1 album, 52nd Street, was released on October 13, 1978 (to see my B.J. playlist and albums, click here). Following on the breakout success of 1977’s The Stranger, Joel’s rise to superstardom was complete with 52nd Street. The album sold over two million copies in the first month after its release and won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1979. For those thrilled with Joel’s piano-based pop-rock, 52nd Street was and still is a triumphant album. Three Top 40 hits (#3 “My Life,” #14 “Big Shot” and #24 “Honesty”) drove radio airplay and sales, but the remaining tracks, including the jazzy “Zanzibar”, the staccato “Stiletto” and the ballad “Until The Night” are not filler by any stretch. In fact, those three are among the best of Joel’s recordings from the late 70s. 52nd Street is included at #352 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 albums of all time. It’s further distinguished by being the first rock album to be issued on CD when the new format entered commercial distribution in 1982. 52nd Street is available on Amazon (as a CD) and iTunes (as track downloads).

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Monday, October 12, 2009

 

Album of the Day: U2 (10/12/81)

51pbVxKom4L._SL160_When U2 (click here for my playlist at DrRock.com) formed as a band in 1976 in Dublin, all of the four members were still in their mid-teens and three (Bono, The Edge and Larry Mullen) were practicing Christians. A short five years later, they released their second album on October 12, 1981. Appropriately titled October, it was less a progression forward than a reaffirmation of the booming rockers that marked their debut LP, Boy in 1980. More so than Boy, October’s lyrics tended toward religious themes and subjects (“Gloria,” “Tomorrow” and “With A Shout” in particular). In early 1981, Adam Clayton was the only U2 member who didn’t join a certain Christian group in Dublin. The experience led the other three to question the inevitable conflict between their religious beliefs and their growing rock n’ roll stardom. And they used that effectively on October, for combining religious statements with their signature sound placed them in a totally different realm than those of their early 80s punk-rock and synth-pop contemporaries. However, October didn’t sell well and is rarely counted among U2’s better albums. Nevertheless, it’s a good predecessor to their third studio album, War (1983), which launched U2 on the trajectory that made them global megastars by the end of the decade. October is available on Amazon (as a CD) and iTunes (as track downloads).

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

 

This Week's Birthdays

Happy Birthday this week to:
Oct 11
1949 ● Daryl Hall → Hall & Oates
1950 ● Andrew Woolfolk → Earth, Wind And Fire
1962 ● Scott Johnson → Gin Blossoms

Oct 12
1935 ● Sam Moore → Sam And Dave
1942 ● Melvin FranklinThe Temptations
1948 ● Rick Parfitt → Status Quo
1955 ● Pat DiNizio → The Smithereens
1960 ● Bob Mould → Husker Du, solo

Oct 13
1940 ● Chris Farlowe (John Henry Deighton) → "Out of Time" (1966)
1941 ● Paul Simon
1944 ● Robert LammChicago
1947 ● Sammy Hagar → Montrose, solo, Van Halen
1950 ● Simon Nicol → Fairport Convention


Oct 14
1927 ● Bill Justis → "Raunchy" (1957)
1930 ● Robert Parker → "Barefootin'" (1966)
1940 ● Cliff Richard
1945 ● Colin Hodgkinson → Whitesnake
1946 ● Justin HaywardMoody Blues
1958 ● Thomas Dolby → "She Blinded Me With Science" (1982)
1965 ● Karyn White → "Superwoman" (1988)

Oct 15
1935 ● Barry McGuire → "Eve Of Destruction" (1965)
1938 ● Marv Johnson → "I'll Pick a Rose For My Rose" (1968)
1942 ● Don Stevenson → Moby Grape
1946 ● Richard Carpenter → The Carpenters
1948 ● Chris de Burgh → "Lady in Red" (1986)
1953 ● Tito Jackson → The Jackson 5

Oct 16
1937 ● Emile Ford (Emile Sweetman) → The Checkmates
1942 ● Dave Lovelady → The Fourmost
1943 ● C.F. Turner → Bachman-Turner Overdrive
1947 ● Bob "Ace" WeirGrateful Dead
1953 ● Tony Carey → Rainbow
1960 ● Gary Kemp → Spandau Ballet
1962 ● Flea (Michael Peter Balzary) → Red Hot Chili Peppers
1969 ● Wendy Wilson → Wilson Phillips

Oct 17
1941 ● Jim Seals → Seals & Crofts
1942 ● Gary Puckett → Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
1946 ● James TuckerThe Turtles
1968 ● Ziggy Marley
1972 ● Wyclef Jean → The Fugees, solo

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

 

Album of the Day: Talking Heads (10/8/80)

41KKVNSS1QL._SL160_For their fourth studio album, Remain In Light, the Talking Heads added African flavors to their tight, eccentric and edgy brand of post-punk, New Wave pop-rock. Using a recording studio in the Bahamas probably helped as well, for the result was a lighter, more upbeat and danceable album than anything previous. Remain In Light was released on October 8, 1980 and begat two singles, “Crosseyed And Painless” and “Once In A Lifetime.” The latter features frontman David Byrne’s preaching lyrics chanted from a gospel-revival pulpit atop a polyrhythmic African jam, and like the rest of the album it finds the link between the listener’s head and feet. Remain In Light was the third and final Heads’ album produced by Brian Eno. A marginal seller despite reaching #19 on the U.S. album charts (only briefly, though), it is nevertheless one of their best and ranks #126 on Rolling Stones’ list of the Top 500 albums of all-time. The Talking Heads are in the Playlist Vault at DrRock.com and Remain In Light is available on Amazon (CD) and iTunes (track downloads).

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