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.
Posts By: Steve Crawford
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.
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
Wearing rudely tight purple spandex pants, a ripped Sex Pistols t-shirt, and sporting a ‘70s style Afro, he made repeated lascivious comments to the ticket buying females and shouted about “THE REVOLUTION” between songs, except when he was spewing obscenities
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.
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.
Ely enjoys rich lyrical images, check out this opening couplet from Butch Hancock’s “Row of Dominoes” – “Carmen must have been the Devil’s daughter/At least he taught her how to wear her clothes.”
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 Wheel brought their Christmas show to Fort Worth, with Benson noting, “Ever since Perry Como left us, there’s been a void and we are here to fill it.” The band has been Benson’s lifelong passion
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
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.