That Pentecostal fervor informs his music – he can sing a straightforward ballad, but on the uptempo numbers, he howls and screams and bellows and throws his entire body into the music. He is a naturally unique and gifted performer.
Posts By: Steve Crawford
Van Halen erupted on the scene in ’78 with Eddie’s unmatched guitar pyrotechnics and David Lee Roth’s tongue-in-cheek (and elsewhere) macho posturing. Pretty much a coin flip on whether to select this one or “Dance the Night Away,” but the campy “I been to the edge” monologue makes the difference for me.
“Alison,” Elvis Costello. Declan MacManus delivered a debut album that couldn’t be ignored; pairing pub rock licks with punk rock attitude and the wordplay/songwriting skills of a learned veteran, not a rookie that had just quit his day job. On “Alison,” he stumbles across an old flame that is drowning in unsalvageable sorrow
He is most famously known for his songwriting partnership with Carole King (the couple were married from 1959 to 1968). As a lyricist, Goffin was known for his acute writing from a female perspective and as King has noted, his ability to put “big ideas into simple words.”
“Anarchy in the U.K.,” The Sex Pistols. In November of ’76, a sea change occurred in the U.K. music scene as Johnny Rotten introduced himself as an anti-Christ/anarchist. While Rotten was declaring his goal to destroy passersby, the multi-tracked guitar of Steve Jones roared in violent agreement with the sentiment.
If Kasem had been simply spinning platters and telling chart positions, he would have been imminently replaceable. The bits of trivia, the stories about the artists and the songs, the dramatic build to the #1 hit of the week was all part of an ongoing narrative – part mystery, part discovery, always leading to the next week’s chapter in the ongoing saga of pop music history.
“Ballroom Blitz,” Sweet. Mixing bubblegum pop with Townshend power chords, songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman wrote a series of U.K. hits for Sweet, including “Little Willie,” “Wig-Wam Bam,” and the excitingly punctuated “Block Buster!” “Ballroom Blitz” is Sweet at their irresistible best and was a major international hit – it went to #2 in the U.K. in 1973 and #3 in the U.S. in 1975.
He truly displayed the versatility of the Texas Playboys during a stretch from 1935 to 1938, when the band recorded material influenced by blues, jazz, jug band, big band, pop, and country sources to make his uniquely rhythmic and upbeat brand of dance music
He could be catchy and clever at times, but his calling card was restraint, not emotion. He didn’t make me laugh or cry or belt out a chorus – at best, he just didn’t make me lunge to change the station when his latest hit was played.
John Prine penned “Angel” for his extraordinary 1971 debut album. Raitt gave this despondent tale of a woman living a passionless life an even more touching treatment. Always remember, common side effects of Zoloft include sleepiness, nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, skin rash, headache, diarrhea, upset stomach, loss of appetite, abnormal ejaculation, dry mouth, and weight loss.
The rag kicked off its new venture with, of course, a list. The website trumpeted loudly this week – “The Greatest 100 Country Songs of All Time.” The specific country was not designated.
“Love Train,” The O’Jays. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the kings of the Philly soul sound, wrote and produced this #1 hit. The O’Jays formed in the late 1950s, but had no success until 1972, when Gamble and Huff produced “Back Stabbers” for the group. The O’Jays smartly stayed with G&H for the rest of the decade. For the love of money, if nothing else.
There is nothing inherently wrong with glitz, but Dolly has spent so much time focusing on her image and her bank account, that she has no energy left to put any heart into her music. I spent over $150 for two of the cheap seats at the sold out casino gig and in return my money, I got a lengthy Milli Vanilli tribute show.
This list heavy on alt-country No Depression Americana, but that’s just the way I roll these days. The #1 slot is by the band with the best album of the year so far (and the #3 slot comes from the second best album of the year). I have no idea if Parker Millsap is being sincere or ironic on “Truck Stop Gospel,” but in either case, he’s made me a believer. In Parker Millsap.
The city council of Lake City has yet to formally vote on the name change, but that is most likely a mere formality. “Rocky Top,” a tune written in ten minutes to celebrate an idyllic, fictional Tennessee lifestyle will soon morph into a manufactured, t-shirt selling tourist trap. I bet Hooter’s is already looking for property.
The common theme of ‘70s rock criticism was “this decade is horrendous, everything great happened in the ‘60s,” which is a sentiment that proves that The Beatles were more effective as a hangover than they were as an intoxication. 1972 was actually an embarrassment of riches and this listing could easily be doubled. So, let’s groove on back to the Nixon era without being nattering nabobs of negativity.
Like most documentaries, this is a labor of love and director Garcia does a fine job at highlighting the key events in Thunders’ life. However, the limited ability he had for licensing is a shortcoming of the film – most of the music used in the film is clamorous stage footage that doesn’t adequately display Thunders’ skill as a songwriter
Rambunctious and sloppy and chaotic and hysterical with songs that you can both sing with and scream along to. If you’ve forgotten how thrilling traditional rock ‘n’ roll can be, this is one hell of a reminder. Play it loud. Knock back a few shots. Piss off your uptight neighbors.
Poverty among rural farm families was the norm in that era and as you drive down the rough dirt road where Cash lived, you can easily imagine long walks into town on humid summer days – surrounded by nothing but dirt, cotton, and endless blue skies
1971 was a great year for what we now call classic rock – Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who all released indispensable albums. Boiling down 1971 to 20 A+ tracks was no easy feat – my apologies to the Chi-Lites and the Stylistics, among others.
This record gets the Best Supporting Cast award for 1970. Motown legends Holland/Dozier/Holland wrote the tune under a lawsuit avoiding pseudonym and The Funk Brothers played on the track. Ray Parker, Jr., who was still attending classes at Detroit’s Northwestern High School, played lead guitar.
It was an abbreviated set – approximately 45 minutes long (or, one minute for each member of the audience). Jordan even apologized for the weak performance prior to the encore
Following the pre-taped introduction, the band hit the stage like a tornado – using wireless equipment gives the guitarists the freedom to stomp around the stage like rabid pachyderms. There’s plenty of flash, crunch, and bombast typical of a heavy metal show
Blunstone and Argent really haven’t lost a step; Blunstone still sounds more like a rock star than a man pushing 70. Argent gave the original hits “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No” a jazzier feel with his signature keyboard style. There were plenty of pleasures in the nineteen-song set.
Cochran’s wasn’t interested in clever wordplay or innovative song structures. His specialty was traditional country heartbreak, served up in a simple ballad format. Listed below in chronological order are some of his most enduring contributions to country music.
Every year during the last weekend of April, the small West Texas community of Turkey, Texas celebrates the legacy of their most famous citizen with Bob Wills Day, as a huge fan of both Bob Wills and general weirdness, I’ve wanted to attend this event for years
As attentive readers know, the theme of this piece is great songs by different artists that share the same title. In the first article on this subject, we learned to “Walk Like a Man” with The Four Season and Bruce Springsteen (but forgot Grand Funk), we observed “Love Is All Around” from the Troggs and Joan Jett, and we were infatuated with “Starry Eyes” by The Records and Roky Erickson.
Inspiration can come at odd times. On one of my recent trips to Rock NYC Headquarters, Helen Bach and I got into a wee bit of legal trouble. It’s a long story that started with us…um…borrowing all of the money in the petty cash fund
Speaking of money, AC/DC’s Black Ice tour that started in 2008 and ended in 2010 grossed over $440 MILLION DOLLARS. This is, of course, the same amount of money that the United States military recently spent on inflatable balloon antennas.
Rachael Price, the great granddaughter of Seventh Day Adventist leader George McCready Price, is a superb vocalist and this song has a ‘70s classic pop structure. This is a band that displays retro influences without smelling like a pet rock.
The program is an eclectic mixture of Texas legends (Nelson, Bob Wills, Ray Price), one hit wonders, and rarities. Rock, blues, country, and Tejano music are all part of the mix, with the emphasis being on rocking fun
There were some major setbacks for the music industry in the 1940s. Shellac, the material used for 78 RPMs before vinyl, was needed for World War II military purposes. Also, there were two strikes by the musician’s union during the ‘40s that halted the production of new records.
Bing Crosby, the Ink Spots, and the Andrew Sisters provided the safe pop fare, while Duke Ellington and Count Basie played sophisticated jazz pop for white and black audiences.
The gliding organ on “Time is Tight” was pure pleasure and the funk guitar lick on “Potato Hole,” reminiscent of “Bustin’ Loose” by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, gave another dimension to the M.G.’s sound
George-Warren hits every note perfectly as Chilton’s biographer. She has the background in journalism to be heavily invested in the facts and she’s an astute critic that can convey both the technical and emotional aspects of the music Chilton produced.
“People think of us only as a one dimensional metal band. That’s an insult to me. We have done a number of ballads that have been directly influenced by Graham Russell and that other guy – the cute, pudgy short bastard.”
Koch has done an excellent job summarizing the life and legacy of a truly underappreciated and original American voice. As for me, I’m ready for a Saturday night choo choo ch’ boogie reet petite fish fry. Take me right back to the track, Jack.
If this sounds like an old man “get off of my lawn” piece, please note that I felt the same way about the fatuous pop metal of the 1980s, when I was a much younger man.
Not all of the songs listed below were in the movie or soundtrack, but they are representative of the mood of the era. You don’t have to know about the movie to enjoy these songs, but it would be a lot cooler if…
English Oceans, the latest release by the Drive-By Truckers, debuted at #16 on the Billboard album charts last week, marking their highest position ever While not their best album, this showing does reflect that through the combination of their touring, endless self-promotion, and longevity, they have managed to establish a sizable fan base – one that will automatically purchase any product as soon as it’s released
Long show, VERY long show. Not particularly good. Elton’s vocal range has narrowed like many performers on the wrong side of 60, and when performing 1970s pop music, vocals matter. He alternated between barking out lyrics on rockers and croaking like a besotted frog on the ballad
Patterson was fantastic – telling inside jokes (“I recorded this in Muscle Shoals – Percy Sledge was supposed to sing it but he got too drunk”), incorporating disc jockey raps, off color humor, and dancing in the crowd. Patterson plays hard hitting, dance oriented R&B and strapped on a guitar at the end of the set to unleash a barrage of fiery blues licks. Patterson didn’t bring the house down, he set it on fire
Where weak spots on early DBT records could be overlooked due to momentum and energy, now every composition stands alone. This is an album about bruising regret, pensive remembrances, and inevitable loss.
The Ramones boiled down everything they loved about rock ‘n’ roll to its essence – this is a band that had major fights about whether they could put a guitar solo on a song. The basic punk rock chord structures are now ubiquitous in modern rock, but this was music that was deemed both offensive and dangerous
Tthe list clearly shows that the quality of Springsteen’s work has declined since the 1990s. Maybe he established a standard that was impossible to maintain over time, but here are the stats: 72% of the list is from the ‘70s and ‘80s; 80% of the Top 50 are pre-90s; and a whopping 88% of the Top 25 precede the Clinton era
You won’t confuse Iron Orchard with a bunch of big city pretty boys. These are twang rockers that buy PBR because they can’t afford a premium brand and sing about a man married to his semi-truck.
They have taken a traditional hard rock formula and made it relevant through both the power of their music and their ability to write trenchant, moving lyrics whether through stories, legends, or observations
I’ve decided to jump into the game with my own somewhat random A+ list, the first being focused on ‘90s rap. Two things to remember. One, this is not an attempt at an all-inclusive list. Two, money talks, but it don’t sign and dance and it don’t walk.
On Valentine’s Day weekend, De La Soul made the large majority of their catalogue (their first six studio albums and some rarities/greatest hits packages) available for free download. I, of course, jumped on it like a junkie seizing a clean needle
There is a timeless element to DeMent, given her universal themes and the bedrock simplicity of her musical accompaniment. Beyond those aspects, it is her bravery – her emotional honesty and intelligence and passion – that makes DeMent a major artist. She is genuine and moving and a truly gifted songwriter.