Two Hit Wonders!!

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Cub Koda and company are best known for their pro lung cancer anthem “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” which made it to #3 in 1973 and was covered by Motley Crue in 1985, becoming that band’s first Top 40 hit.

Carla DeSantis Black's GRL Talk

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“Such a tricky question, Steve!! But truly – anyone who stays true to their own vision and doesn’t allow the music business machine to sabotage their art is my hero – or heroine!”

Gil Scott-Heron – Too Black, Too Strong

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Scott-Heron’s catalogue is a mess, many of the albums he recorded for Arista from 1974 to 1983 are no longer on the market and there are too many bargain bin compilations to address. It’s hard to know in retrospect if Scott-Heron was a brilliant artist that never had the opportunity for the following he deserved

Essential Songs of 1989

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Public Enemy fought the power and The Beastie Boys released their brilliant Paul’s Boutique album. As we look back at the decade, we were able to survive a decade of synth-pop, kitschy videos, and electronic drums. As we peek around the corner to the ‘90s, I’m seeing flannel.

Essential Songs of 1988

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The Traveling Wilburys were the rare supergroup that deserved that designation and Public Enemy pushed rap music into a more stringent and confrontational direction. And if you haven’t heard Gary Stewart’s “An Empty Glass,” you’re missing out on one of country music’s most eloquently heart wrenching drinking songs

Essential Songs of 1987

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Bruce Springsteen contemplated married life and The Replacements saluted a Memphis legend and worked with The Memphis Horns. R.E.M. released their most muscular album while the Grateful Dead had a Top Ten pop hit.

Essential Songs of 1986

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Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys pushed a new rock/rap fusion into the marketplace and while punk rock and new wave had been put to bed, a new batch of college radio acts

Essential Songs of 1985

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During the early 1980s, R.E.M. had established Athens, Georgia as the alternative center of the universe, but by 1985, Husker Du and the Replacements shifted the eyes of the indie world to Minneapolis/St. Paul,

Essential Songs of 1984

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Bruce Springsteen and Prince ruled both the pop charts, while The Replacements released the best album of their messy career. Los Lobos proved that they really weren’t just another band from East L.A. and Leonard Cohen quietly released a song that would later become recognized as a classic.

Drew Nelson, Tilt-A-Whi​rl, Reviewed

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Nelson has a powerful voice, figuratively and literally. He can sound both world weary and triumphant and the record rocks harder than typical long haired guy with bare feet publicity photo shots might lead you to believe (including some nice lead guitar and B-3 organ spots). Nelson has the goods. Hopefully his music will find the audience it deserves.

Essential Songs of 1983

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Prince Rogers Nelson also became a pop sensation with his double album 1999 and that little ol’ band from Texas conquered the MTV generation and had their greatest success after a decade plus of recording. Ray Davies and The Kinks had the most heartwarming comeback of the year

Johnny Cash "The Posthumous Tapes"

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Imagine that you could record one more record with Johnny’s later period weathered vocals with Rick Rubin, taking a break from imagining what chicken fried steak tastes like, twiddling the knobs. Here are the tunes that Rock NYC would break out for the occasion.

The Essential Songs: 1982

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Visually appealing/interesting artists like Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls were crossing over from MTV to radio airplay. Synth pop was pushing guitar bands to the back of the classroom, Tommy Tutone created the best known telephone number in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, while The Clash had (merely) their most commercially successful album release.

The Essential Songs: 1981

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The 1970s had given the music world all female bands Fanny and The Runaways, but the Go-Gos were the first female band writing and performing their own music to top the Billboard album chart.

The Essential Songs: 1980

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Classic rock was in fine form in 1980 with Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and Queen having major success on the album charts. London Calling by the Clash and Bruce Springsteen’s The River topped the critic polls. John Lennon released his first album in over five years, while punk rock/new wave energy was still spitting out fantastic songs

The Essential Songs: 1979

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Blondie, the B-52s, and the Talking Heads were cross pollinating dance beats/rhythms into a traditional rock context. Pink Floyd built the wall, Cheap Trick brought Budokan to the States, and AC/DC paved the highway to hell. 1979 – the year is gone but it’s not forgotten.

Iris DeMent's "Sing The Delta" Reviewed

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This is music of Dement’s geographic and spiritual roots, songs inspired by the Arkansas Delta based upon church piano and organ instrumentation. If you can make peace with DeMent’s voice, which often savors every syllable on the slower songs, you may fall in love with this album.

The Essential Songs: 1978

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Saturday Night Fever ruled the box office and the soundtrack did the same to the pop charts, creating a series of smash hits by The Bee Gees, Yvonne Elliman, and The Trammps. The Clash had replaced The Sex Pistols as the great hope of the punk rock movement and Elvis Costello was truly that year’s model. Sprinkle in a high quality albums by veterans like The Rolling Stones and Neil Young with fine debut efforts by Van Halen and The Cars and the result is a very good year.

Peoria Haunts Me

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Dan Fogelberg passed away from prostate cancer in 2007, yet will most likely taunt me from the grave every holiday season for the rest of my life. Nobody gets the last laugh on Dan Fogelberg.

The Essential Songs: 1977

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Punk rock was proving to be an excellent singles medium, with The Buzzcocks and The Jam and The (non-Tom Petty) Heartbreakers undeniably making that point. An English nerd named Declan MacManus excited critics with his wordplay and craftsmanship. Disco and Fleetwood Mac ruled the Top 40 airwaves, while groups like Television and The Ramones and The Talking Heads were establishing a New York dump named CBGB’s

The Essential Songs: 1976

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While citizens across our great nation were celebrating our Bicentennial, Jeffry Hyman, John Cummings, Douglas Colvin, and Thomas Erdelyi entered a recording studio in New York and created a new genre of rock ‘n’ roll that would remain viable for decades. The Ramones started the revolution.

Neil Young 2012: Rust Getting Drowsy

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Neil has gotten the boys together for two head scratching releases this year (perhaps Cortez told Neil to race the Mayan calendar) and there is one undeniable conclusion – the man needs an editor.

The Essential Songs: 1975

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it was in 1975 that Mr. Springsteen ran onto the cover of both Time and Newsweek. He faded into obscurity the following year and is believed to be manning a hot dog stand in Atlantic City at this time. Patti Smith reaped critical hosannas with her unhinged, beatnik, word slinging persona and an English blues band named Fleetwood Mac morphed into a pop sensation

Peter Criss' "Makeup To Break Up" Reviewed

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Criss takes on his old cronies, accusing Gene of having indiscriminate taste in groupies and often reeking of body odor. Stanley’s feminine mannerisms and lifestyle choices are detailed, without getting in the legal trouble of calling him gay. Of course, Ace was a train wreck.

The Essential Songs: 1974

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As we continue our Soul Train line dance through the 1970s, we’ll note that 1974 was the first year that music was produced as much for the dance floor as it was the transistor radio

The Essential Songs: 1973

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Satan was working overtime in ’73, loading the pop charts with demonic material by Tony Orlando and Down, the Carpenters, and Marie Osmond. However, during Beelzebub’s lunch breaks, the New York Dolls and Bruce Springsteen and Iggy Pop pushed some timeless goodies into the marketplace.

The Essential Songs Of 1972

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In 1972, David Bowie took his space age glam rock into the stratosphere with assistance from Mick Ronson, who served as the guitarist for the wonderfully named Spiders from Mars

The Essential Songs: 1971

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Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison were proactively making the early transition from rock star to worm food (they would combine to release 3, 478,279 posthumous records). On a positive note, John Prine released what was both his debut and career album, Marvin Gaye took Motown soul into the world of political consciousness, and the Rolling Stones raised glucose levels throughout the English speaking world

The Essential Songs Of 1970

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As we begin out trip through the essential songs of the 1970s, we will note that the disco ball production line didn’t start in 1970 and safety pins were still a clothing tool, not a facial accessory. The Jackson 5 were at the top of their classic singles run; Neil Young, Van Morrison, and The Velvet Underground released timeless albums; and James Brown was solidifying his position as the funkiest musician in the galaxy.