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
Posts By: Steve Crawford
There’s an exhaustive quality about performing each piece with such tremor shaking force. It’s like being hit by serial tidal waves with no time to recuperate. On a number like Joe Simon’s “Your Time to Cry,” it feels like the material is being sledge hammered.
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.
I acknowledge the following concerning this list – (a) it is subject to change as I discover other music released this year, (b) it’s only November, and (c) Iman Lababedi listens to more music during one day than I do in six months.
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.
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.
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.
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
Junior Brown plays guitar like a man that can orchestrate tornadoes. Stooped over his double electric and steel guitar, Brown played solos that sounded like Don Rich (of the Buckaroos) performing at the speed of light
I was given the dreaded 1960s overview assignment. This is particularly difficult on me for two reasons. One, I was toasted out of my skull on bad acid for the entire decade and, two, I was only four years old when 1970 rolled around.
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
Performing in bare feet and alternating between a sly “did you see what I did there?” grin and a huge Jimmy Carter smile, Snider kept the crowd in the palm of his hand
Whether the subject is western swing music, barbeque, or water conservation, Patoski has the Lone Star State covered like a blanket.
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
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
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.
I am personally boycotting the entire affair until Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds get their just due. Don’t pull your love out on me, RRHOF.
If this was an album, you could listen to side one forever. You would never have the need to rotate the vinyl to side two
Arkansas. A place where people spontaneously yell “Woo Pig Sooie!” for no particular reason. The state that gave us Wal-Mart and Tyson’s Chicken and Dillard’s Department Stores and Mary Steenburgen and Billy Bob Thornton… and some notable musicians
The year was 1985 and I was depressed. Deeply. Due to a combination of a lack of resources and a lack of imagination, I chose a stint in the United States military as my post high school launching point…
Steve Crawford continues to learn us in how completely weird it was 90 years ago: “We finish the 1920s with tuberculosis, racist lyrics, Al Capone, and slave instruments. Give me a beer. And a pigfoot.”
Mould simply shows how the old school punk rock house was built, raining sheets of sonic guitar blasts that rip potholes into the linings of your brainpan and then searing spackle into the remaining crevices.
Is this another gruesome tale of substance abuse, car wrecks, and brothels? Yes and it’s also the second installment of the essential songs of the 1920s.
He did not make it through the first verse of “Maybellene” or “Nadine.” He played “Rock and Roll Music” twice. The rhythm section was inept (they lost the back beat). When he walked off of the stage, exactly 59 minutes after appearing, it was a relief. It was an absolute train wreck of a performance.
The setlist has remained largely the same since he had his last Top Ten country hit in 1994. Multi-instrumentalist Joe Spivey has played with Anderson for years and his mandolin performance on “An Occasional Eagle” and his frenetic fiddle sawing on “The Orange Blossom Special” were two of the highlights of the evening. Spivey and drummer Tommy Rivelli locked into a viciously wonderful boot stomping groove on “Wild and Blue.”
This article is the first of a three part series on the “Essential Songs of the 1910s and the 1920s.” The determination of what songs are essential is based on simple listening pleasure instead of historical relevance. Archeology has its own rewards, but in the words of modern day philosopher Gretchen Wilson, “We’re here for the party.”
Loudon was in fine form for this show, with most of the material coming from either recently released albums or unreleased songs
Meteorology, geography, and earth science subjects. Mountains, rain, earth, the sky, the road, snow, rivers, waves, trains, raindrops, rainbows, highways, Dallas, Texarkana, Juarez, and Carlsbad Caverns all received their due mention. The Flatlanders are standing on terra firma yet reaching for the cosmos.
The major change for Cheap Trick during the past few years has been the replacement of Bun E. Carlos with Daxx Nielsen (one of Rick’s sons) on the drums. While Daxx does not match Bun E.’s resounding authority, the replacement has resulted in longer/more varied set lists.
The Essential Songs of 1969 closes the decade out on a high note. Creedence Clearwater Revival released three albums that year, tossing out superb singles like alt-country candy. Led Zeppelin were establishing a new brand of heavy metal while the Stooges were embracing the aesthetic that would evolve into punk rock in the 1970s
The best cover song ever recorded (Hendrix on Dylan), Glen Campbell continued to deftly deliver Jimmy Webb material, and the Byrds transition from jangle pop to a country band. Sam Moore and Dave Prater hated each other with such gusto that they refused to speak to each other for 13 years during their working relationship, but they could still create magic in the studio for 2 and a half minute intervals.
teppenwolf introduced the phrase “heavy metal” to music listeners, Sly and the Family Stone became one of the first popular racially integrated bands, and Jimi Hendrix was teaching electric guitars to play sonic assaults that they did not know were possible. The Beatles released a decent album that year, as well.
The Essential Songs of 1966 reflect the evolution of the album as being the central music experience for serious music fans – “Blonde on Blonde,” “Revolver,” and “Pet Sounds” represent a lyrical and sonic sophistication unimaginable a few years before. To compete with the British Invastion, the Monkees were created and in other genres garage rock and Motown continued to flourish.
The Essential Songs of 1965 introduces “groovy” to our musical lexicon, while Robert Zimmerman off-handedly released two classic albums. Gloria Jones was busy establishing the career of Soft Cell, the Statler Brothers were harmonizing about Captain Kangaroo, and the Sonics were gobbling the world’s most interesting drugs in the Pacific Northwes
The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming! Steve Crawford comes over all French and surrenders at the first sight of Dave Davies!!!
The Essential Songs of 1962 reflect the virtuosity of Ray Charles, who started the year with the boss nova based “Unchain My Heart” and ruled the rest of the year with his modern sounds in country and western music.
By 1962, a producer named Phil Spector started working with The Crystals and a band in England solidified their line-up by putting Ringo Starr behind the drum kit. In the meantime, Ben E. King had two chart toppers after leaving the Drifters, Patsy Cline added another classic to her repertoire, and Etta James continued her string of Top 5 R&B hits.
Includes established rock stars Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry; the soulful sounds of Ray Charles, James Brown, Jerry Butler, and Bobby Bland; as well as the first “girl group,” the wonderful Shirelles. Also, a little label in Detroit which eventually would be called Motown was open for business.
Historical relevance comes secondary to the basic listener quality test. In 1963, the Beatles were beginning to conquer the U.K., Bob Dylan’s artistic vision was becoming a reality, and Brian Wilson developed a new form of timeless pop music.
On their new album, the dB’s move away from their original edgy power pop sound and move alternately into smooth grooves and sounds from the Summer of Love
If you haven’t experienced the wit and passion of Ray Wylie Hubbard, this is a fine starting point. As Texas songwriters go, he’ll never have the gravitas of Willie Nelson, but in 2012, he’s more inspired than Joe Ely and less trigger happy than Billy Joe Shaver.
Everyone in the Wainwright family became fair game for Loudon’s often acerbic music. Martha received a parental divorce notification in “Your Mother and I” and a birthday song for “Five Years Old.” His breast feeding son was the subject of “Rufus Is a Tit Man.”
As the Boys once stated, “It’s not how you play the game, it’s how you win it.” The Beastie Boys were pioneers that fearlessly popularized a new style of music and continuously explored new avenues of creative expression