AC/DC / Aerosmith / The Allman Brothers Band / America / Angel / The Animals / Bad Company / Bad Religion / The Band /The Beach Boys / The Beastie Boys / The Beatles / Chuck Berry / Black Flag / Black Sabbath / Blind Melon / Gary U.S. Bonds / Boston / The Bouncing Souls / James Brown / Buffalo Springfield / The Byrds /Johnny Cash / Larry Chance & the Earls / The Dave Clark Five / The Clash / Joe Cocker / Coldplay / Sam Cooke / Cream / Creedence Clearwater Revival / Jim Croce / Crosby, Stills & Nash / Bill Deal and the Rhondels / Def Leppard / The Descendents / Dion / Donovan / The Doobie Brothers / The Doors / The Drifters / Bob Dylan / The Eagles / Electric Light Orchestra / Flo & Eddie / Flogging Molly / The Four Seasons / The Four Tops / Freddy Fender



TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. Whole Lotta Rosie 2. Back In Black 3. You Shook Me All Night Long
4.
If You Want Blood (You've Got It) 5. Shot Down In Flames
6.
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) 7. Let There Be Rock
8. Highway to Hell 9. Thunderstruck 10. Riff Raff
 

Bonus cuts:
The 5-Disc "Bonfire" box set contains three discs of previously unreleased live material from the Bon Scott era, one disc of studio rarities featuring Scott, and the complete Back in Black album which was Brian Johnson's first with the band. All of this stuff is excellent, and as an added bonus the set comes with some goodies that Bon, who drank himself to death, "would want you to have"...like an AC/DC bottle opener!

Comments:
It's hard to say who the definitive vocalist in AC/DC is. Bon Scott sang with the group from its inception (Dave Evens was actually their first singer though he never recorded with the band) until his death in 1980, and appears on most of the band's classic albums (Let There Be Rock, Highway To Hell, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, High Voltage, etc.) Brian Johnson, on the other hand has now been the band's singer for just about 25 years,(more than four times as long as Scott) and appears on the band's biggest success to date, the 15 million plus seller, Back In Black. The way I handle this question personally is to just shrug my shoulders and say that both singers are great, and besides, guitarist Angus Young has always been the band's front-man in my eyes!

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. What It Takes 2. Full Circle 3. Mama Kin 4. Back In The Saddle
5.
Draw the Line 6. Chip Away The Stone 7. Amazing 8. Cryin'
9.
Fly Away From Here 10. Dream On
 

Bonus cuts:
In a way, there are two Aerosmiths. There's the drunk and stoned, sports car crashing, toxic twins Aerosmith of the 70's and early 80's. And on the other hand, there's the clean and sober, hangin' with Run-DMC, bigger and better than ever Aerosmith of the second half of the 80's and beyond. Being truly one of the great American rock bands, Aerosmith has dozens of great songs in their catalogue. Depending on which Aerosmith you're into, there are different greatest hits albums out there for you to choose from. Aerosmith's Greatest Hits 1973-1988 covers the early days (and despite its title, doesn't really go up to 1988). The album Big Ones covers the band's second phase, including 1986's Permanent Vacation album which, as I mentioned, has no presence on the former collection. Finally if you're into both incarnations of Aerosmith, there's Young Lust: The Anthology, which truly covers the band's whole career, something even the 13-disc box set Box of Fire fails to do.


Comments:
Amongst the many similarities between Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones, is the fact that they both play blues-based rock & roll. A difference between the two is that the Stones began their recording career with albums of essentially straight blues covers (they even recorded in the studios of the legendary blues label, Chess Records in Chicago). Conversely, while they spoke of a blues album for years, Aerosmith had never attempted such a project. That is until early last year when Aerosmith released an album of all blues covers called, Honkin' On Bobo. Unfortunately, unless you're really into Aerosmith, the album is far from essential. It seems to me that instead of Aerosmith playing blues songs, the band tried to make the blues into Aerosmith songs. Much of the album sounds really forced and doesn't have the loose natural feel of the blues - there's very little raw emotion involved. I can say from experience that this is not the case when the boys play this stuff live. It looked like a natural. I guess just like that Dude they sang about in the 80's, looks can be deceiving.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index



   


TOP 10 TRACKS:
With Duane Allman (1969-1972)
1. Blue Sky 2. Mountain Jam 3. Whippin' Post 4. Dreams 5. Statesboro Blues 6. It's Not My Cross To Bear 7. Revival 8. Midnight Rider
9.
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed 10. Trouble No More

Without Duane Allman (1972-present)
1. Ramblin' Man 2. Jessica 3. Southbound 4. Melissa 5. Ain't Wastin' Time No More 6. Back Where It All Begins 7. Seven Turns 8. Wasted Words
9.
Come On In My Kitchen 10. Desdemona
 
   

Bonus cuts:
The Allman Brothers Band are a band that need to be experienced live to be truly understood. While their studio albums are almost all excellent, they all pale in comparison to what they do live. The band seems to know this as well as anyone. Over their 35-year career, they've released more live albums than they have studio albums. The best of the bunch (in my somewhat controversial opinion) are the albums, An Evening with the Allman Brothers Band 1st Set and 2nd Set. These albums recorded in the first half of the nineties and featuring guitarists Dickey Betts and Warren Haynes along with the late bassist Allen Woody, showcase some of the best musicianship I've ever heard. Dickey and Warren continuously out do each other, and the rest of the band never loses pace. Add to the mix that the two discs cover many of the best songs from every era of the Allman Brothers Band preceding them and you'll find that they are perfection. Start there.

Comments:
Personally my favorite Allman Brothers song, my number one if I could only make one list, would be Blue Sky, which was originally recorded with Duane Allman just before his death. However, my favorite version of "Blue Sky" is the one from the Evening with the Allman Brothers album (No Duane) which I recommended above.

The reason I decided to give the Allman Brothers Band two separate top ten lists was to make it clear that regardless of what the drunken know-it-all sitting behind you in the Beacon thinks, the band was/is just as good without Duane Allman as it was with him. People maintain the point of view that the band was never great without Duane even though they had the majority of their commercial success after his passing. I thought if I pointed out that Ramblin' Man, Jessica, Southbound and the like were recorded without Duane, some people might see the light.

This band has been amazing since it's inception, regardless of whether or not Duane Allman, or Berry Oakley, or Chuck Leavell, or Warren Haynes, or Allen Woody, or Dickey Betts were in the line up. They are the best there is at what they do, and when they need to find a new member you can bet they'll find the best person in the world for the job. They always have.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. Sister Golden Hair 2. A Horse With No Name 3. Lonely People
4.
Sandman 5. Ventura Highway 6. I Need You 7. Tin Man 8. Daisy Jane
9.
You Can Do Magic 10. Right Before Your Eyes
 

Comments:
America is another great harmony pop/folk rock group in the tradition of the Mamas & Papas, and like those great artists, America have their own unique and pristine sound.

They began in London as a quartet called Daze, but when they became a trio – Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peak, and Gerry Beckley – they changed their name to America. The first big hit, "A Horse With No Name" not only sounded like a Neil Young tune, but in fact it knocked his "Heart Of Gold" off the number one spot on the charts.

Legendary Beatles producer George Martin began working with the band in 1974 and produced seven of their albums. Dan Peek left in 1977 as Beckley and Bunnell continued on. In 2007 they released " Here & Now," a double CD with a disc of new material produced by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains Of Wayne and James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins, plus a second disc that contains most of the tunes listed above performed live.

"Highway", a boxed set that spans their entire career was released in 2000, and the late Phil Hartman of Saturday Night Live fame did the illustration for their Greatest Hits collection.

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. The Fortune 2. Tower 3. Feelin' Right 4. Can You Feel It
5.
Feelings 6. Cast The First Stone 7. Mirrors 8. Long Time
9.
Rock & Rollers 10. Don't Leave Me Lonely
 

Bonus cuts:
Broken Dreams / Mariner / On The Rocks / Telephone Exchange / She's A Mover / 20th Century Foxes / Better Days


Comments:
I can remember the Circus magazine's reader polls. First, it was the Best New Band honor, and then for years after that Angel keyboardist Gregg Giuffria became the ruler of the Best Keyboard Player award. I'm sure guitarist Punky Meadows and the rest of the band got their fair share of notoriety as well, but Angel was a band that revolved around keyboards. Instead of shredding guitar solos, you had lightning fast synthesizer solos with all of the coolest effects that were available at the time. Besides Giuffria's keyboard brilliance, this band had a singer that was the equivalent of a vocal arrow, with each song acting as his bow, and the listener was the target. I got shot down many times by the shrill of singer Frank Dimino, and I have always been fascinated by his voice.

Angel is a band that was always a "second fiddle" to the almighty Kiss, with both bands on the now defunct Casablanca Records label. Frank Zappa even ripped on the band's pretty guitarist Punky Meadows when he wrote "Punky's Whips." This band may have been one of the most underrated acts of all-time. With talented players and a stage show that included the band dressed in white satin tights, Angel reached only moderate success in comparison to their label mates, Kiss.

Listen to the first three Angel records, "Angel," Helluva Band," and "On Earth As It Is In Heaven" and you will find great songs unlike anything else being played at the time. Songs like "Tower," which starts off with what sounds like a laser gun battle; or "The Fortune" which has a sort of Egyptian feel to it; or "Feelings," which has a beautiful bouquet of classical poise and artistry. And, make no mistake, all of these songs are indeed rock and roll. Angel had five records of original material in the 70's, with their last two records falling way short of their first three. The fourth release, "White Hot," was weak yet yielded a few decent tracks ("Don't Leave Me Lonely" appears here), but it was their fifth album, "Sinful," that was an outright catastrophe. The band also appeared in the Jodie Foster flick, "Foxes," and recorded a disco-like tune for the film called "20th Century Foxes." (The film also featured some great acting from The Runaways lead singer Cherie Currie too. I do recommend the movie for those of you that don't mind re-living the 70's.) Angel released another record in 1990 called "In The Beginning." The disc brought back Dimino and original drummer Barry Brandt, with special guest performances by Punky Meadows and former bassist Felix Robinson. But due to some weak songwriting, and even a weaker Dimino, the album met with no acclaim.

I did find a real gem recently - a b-side track entitled "Better Days." This is a song from 1977, just before the band recorded "White Hot." The tune was left off of the "White Hot" record in exchange for "The Winter Song." I highly recommend wrapping your ears around this rare find. Here is a link to a download of that single: http://www.angelrocks.com/intro.html

Besides having the best logo ever, the band name in a design that can be read right side up or upside down, Angel had some of the best hard rock songs of the 70's. If you are unfamiliar with this band, seek out "Helluva Band" or the self-titled debut. You won't be disappointed.

Tracks compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. House of the Rising Sun 2. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
3.
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood 4. It's My Life 5. Don't Bring Me Down
6.
Bring It On Home To Me 7. Boom Boom 8. Monterey
9.
San Franciscan Nights 10. When I Was Young
 

Bonus cuts:
I'm Crying / See See Rider / Help Me Girl / Sky Pilot, Parts 1-2 / Baby Let Me Take You Home / Inside Looking Out / Good Times


Comments:
Next to The Rolling Stones, The Animals have been considered to be the best R&B-based band to emerge from the British Invasion. Formed in Newcastle, England in 1964, The Animals, with their raw, gritty blues/rock sound, were a hit almost overnight. Featuring singer Eric Burdon on lead vocals, the band's first single "Baby Let Me Take You Home" reached #21 on the British charts, but it was their second release "House of the Rising Sun" that blew the band wide open. Featuring the classic guitar riff by Hilton Valentine, "House of the Rising Sun" has gone on to become one of the greatest rock and roll records of all time. Over the course of the next 2 years, The Animals went on to have a string of successful top 10 hits, the final being "Don't Bring Me Down" in 1966. The original Animals split, but after relocating to San Francisco, Eric Burdon regrouped the band with new musicians and ventured in a new musical direction, having several more successful chart singles. In 1969 however, Burdon decided to disband the group to become a member of the Los Angeles-based soul band War, after which he went on to pursue a solo career. The original Animals regrouped in 1976 to record "Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted", an excellent album of rock, soul, and blues, which saw the band picking up where they left off in 1966.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Rock Steady 2. Shooting Star 3. Live For The Music 4. Burnin' Sky
5.
Bad Company 6. Simple Man 7. Rock and Roll Fantasy 8. Ready For Love
9.
Seagull 10. Feel Like Makin' Love
 

Bonus cuts:
Movin' On / Pretty Woman / Silver Blue And Gold / Can't Get Enough / Good Lovin' Gone Bad / Holy Water / Run With The Pack / Little Martha / Company Of Strangers / Hey Hey / Dangerous Age


Comments:
Bad Company was always the picture perfect classic rock band. A genuine singer with an extreme amount of raw talent, a rhythm section that consistently laid down a rock solid foundation, and a knack for writing great sing-along anthems and heartfelt lyrics. They had it all. So, when the band lost its' "genuine singer" and his "raw talent", things were expected to go south in a hurry; but they really didn't. Original Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers is one of the most talented singers in the business, and one of my personal favorites. I would confidently say that the Bad Company records with Rodgers as vocalist are the band's best efforts. But, when the band hired Brian Howe to take over singing duties, the material was not horrible. Howe wasn't nearly as talented as Rodgers, but he gave the band a fresh, new sound. The songs weren't great, but they weren't horrible either. In 1995, the band took in another singer by the name of Robert Hart, and let me tell you, this guy had a set of pipes! If you close your eyes and listen to this guy, you would swear on the life of your wife it was Paul Rodgers. Hart did an amazing job on the "Company Of Strangers" record, which I feel is one of the strongest albums in the Bad Company catalog. Although I did not choose any of the songs from "Company Of Strangers" for the Top 10, you could put just about anything from that record at number 11 and I wouldn't argue it.

Any longtime fan of this band is going to tell you that the self-titled debut is where it's at. The heart of Bad Company lies within that first record. I pulled four tracks from the record, and placed them on the list above. Before every fan drives the first nail into my palm, let me explain my omission of "Can't Get Enough". Let me first say, I love the song. Secondly though, I must say that I've heard it a bit too much in my lifetime. Almost every time I flip to a classic rock station, I hear "Can't Get Enough". I guess, to put it in simple terms, I got enough. With songs like "Rock Steady", "Ready For Love", and the eponymous "Bad Company", there were plenty of other rockers to choose from there. The other track I yanked off of that debut was the delicate and soaring "Seagull", which is a truly amazing ballad. The story of Johnny the schoolboy, and his hardships in the world of rock excess landed at number two on the list. "Shooting Star" is a beautifully crafted rock song, with meaningful lyrics and a rousing chorus. Between this, and the band's hard driving classic "Feel Like Makin' Love", their "Straight Shooter" LP is adequately represented here. Another classic album, "Run With The Pack", is represented with the explosiveness of "Live For The Music", and the powerful eloquence of "Simple Man", which just might be Rodgers greatest performance. The two records in the Bad Company catalog that I think are inferior to the rest would have to be "Desolation Angels" and "Burnin' Sky", but even those two are represented here with two excellent songs. The title cut from "Burnin' Sky" is one that still gives me chills, and "Rock And Roll Fantasy" from "Desolation Angels" still rocks me to my core.

For someone who is just being introduced to Bad Company, go get the first record, and then start to explore. For the casual Bad Co listener, get your hands on this list. You might not be so "casual" after hearing these songs. And for the die-hard fan of the band - I know you love "Desolation Angels" and "Burnin' Sky", and I also know that "Can't Get Enough" is the band's "defining moment." So, go ahead and start driving those nails, I can take it.

Tracks compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
I Wanna Conquer The World 2. You Are The Government
3.
We're Only Gonna Die of Our Own Arrogance 4. Hooray For Me
5.
Stranger Than Fiction 6. Billy 7. You 8. Kerosene 9. Drunk Sincerity
10.
No Control
 

Bonus cuts:
Fuck Armageddon . . . This Is Hell, The World Won't Stop Without You, Suffer, and pretty much everything else from 1980-1994 when founding member, lead guitarist and 50% of the band's songwriting nucleus Brett Gurewitz left the band. They had good stuff after that, but it wasn't as consistent.


Comments:
Newsflash for those of you that gave up on B.R. after Mr. Brett's departure . . . after three Brett-less albums in the late nineties and early 2000's, Bad Religion welcomed Gurewitz back into the band, and have since recorded two albums, The Process of Belief and The Empire Strikes First, with Brett, Brian Baker (his replacement) and Greg Hetson (the band's other long time guitar player) in a unique three guitar line-up.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
The Weight 2. The Shape I'm In 3. Up On Cripple Creek
4.
It Makes No Difference 5. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
6.
Acadian Driftwood 7. Life Is A Carnival 8.
Tears of Rage
9.
Rag Mama Rag 10. Chest Fever

Photo: Elliot Landy
 

Bonus cuts:
Atlantic City / I Shall Be Released / King Harvest / Stage Fright / When I Paint My Masterpiece / DVD of the concert film The Last Waltz (a must for every serious collection)


Comments:
'The Weight' is probably The Band's best known tune, but if you really really want to know what this group is all about listen to Rick Danko's emotionally charged vocal on 'It Makes No Difference' from the LP 'Northern Lights -Southern Cross.' No other group in history made records like that. That's what the Band is all about. By the way, Robbie Robertson wrote both tunes.
The final line up of Levon Helm & the Hawks; Helm, Robertson, Danko, Garth Hudson, and Richard Manuel were the guys who became The Band.

They spent years on the road mastering their craft as a back-up band for rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins. Then Bob Dylan picked them to be his group for his first electric tour. (Check out Dylan's Royal Albert Hall concert from 1966).

Dylan and the group ended up in Woodstock, N.Y. and spent a lot of time in a rented house that became known as Big Pink. 'The Basement Tapes' album was a collection of demos they recorded with Dylan in that house, and The Band's first album was titled 'Music From Big Pink.' ('Tears Of Rage' from that collection was co-written by Richard Manuel and Dylan).

Robertson is an amazing songwriter and his songs helped to define the Band's sound with tunes like 'The Weight,' 'Up On Cripple Creek' and 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.' After the release of their first two albums the group became superstars. Any and every Band album, including 'Cahoots,' 'Stage Fright,' 'Moondog Matinee,' and all the rest, are classics. They hold up extremely well and each one contains gems.

The album and DVD, 'The Last Waltz,' documents the last concert by the original line up along with many guest stars including Joni Mitchell, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and Dylan. Several members reunited in the early 80's and recorded under the Band name. (Springsteen's 'Atlantic City' is a standout cut), but Richard Manual committed suicide, and a few years later Rick Danko died.

Every rock fan knows the Band, they were big, very big, but as the years roll on their music shines on brighter and brighter. The Band belongs in rock's hierarchy with The Stones, and Beatles. (Dylan knew) they are that good, and in the long run may be, arguably, the best of the best.

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
God Only Knows 2. California Girls 3. Good Vibrations 4. Surf's Up
5.
Long Promised Road 6. Wouldn't It Be Nice 7. Don't Worry Baby
8.
Help Me Rhonda 9. I Get Around 10. Fun, Fun, Fun
 

Bonus cuts:
Sail On Sailor / Marcella / In My Room / All Summer Long / Sloop John B / Add Some Music To Your Day / This Whole World / Forever / Feel Flows / Cool Cool Water / You Need A Mess Of Help To Stand Alone


Comments:
Compiling a list of the best Beach Boys cuts is almost an impossible task given the enormous amount of quality material the band has recorded over the years. Under the leadership of Brian Wilson, the band rode the wave of popularity from 1964 to 1966, but under increasing pressure from record company executives to keep producing hit records, Brian succumbed to their demands. Suffering from nervous exhaustion, he decided to quit touring and stay at home to concentrate on the creation of their music. The band continued on however, but their popularity began to suffer due to changing times and a shift in musical taste. Surviving the upheaval of the 60s, The Beach Boys weathered the cultural storm and triumphantly emerged years later as "America's Band". Their remarkable catalogue of recorded works is one to marvel at and is one that will definitely withstand the test of time.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
So Whatcha Want 2. Fight For Your Right 3. Hey Ladies
4.
No Sleep Til Brooklyn 5. Professor Booty 6. Shake Your Rump
7.
Johnny Ryall 8.
Flute Loop 9. An Open Letter to NYC 10. Intergalactic
 

Bonus cuts:
The thing that has always appealed to me about the Beastie Boys is the way they seamlessly blend different types of music together. Looking through their albums, one finds hip-hop, punk, funk, Tibetan prayer, country, and a slew of interesting instrumentals. The instrumentals were compiled and released together on an album called The In Sound From Way Out. This is a great way to enjoy the band if the back and forth yelling of "fight for your right to party!" makes you want to do anything but.


Comments:
In the vein of historically interesting but pretty piss poor musically, you may want to check out the album Some Old Bullshit. The disc is a collection of, well of old bullshit that the boys recorded before they're classic debut album Licensed to Ill. There's a lot on here from when the boys fancied themselves a hardcore punk act rather than a group of hip-hop pioneers. "Cookie Puss" the song that answers the question, what would happen if we just set a prank phone call to a beat, is the highlight of the disc... "YO lemme talk to cookie puss!" In the vein of just plain cool, check out the two DVD Beastie Boys Video Anthology released a few years back by the good folks at Criterion. The set contains most of the guys' videos, the old ones you really really want like Fight For Your Right are not included because the band are now "embarrassed" by their disrespectful attitudes back then (yes, that is as lame as it sounds).but cooler than the videos themselves are the scores of ways you can watch them. There are tons of remixes and acapella versions of the included songs and you can watch each video with any version of the appropriate track!

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
I Saw Her Standing There 2. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (LP) 3. Yesterday 4. The Beatles (aka The White Album) 5. I Am The Walrus
6.
Help 7. Let It Be 8.
That Boy 9. Hey Jude 10. Abbey Road (LP)
 

Bonus cuts:
Eleanor Rigby / And I Love Her / Penny Lane / A Hard Days Night / Strawberry Fields Forever / Honey Don't / All You Need Is Love / We Can Work It Out / Free As A Bird / 8 Days A Week / Revolver (LP) / Magical Mystery Tour / Can't Buy Me Love / Norwegian Wood / Mr. Moonlight / You've Got To Hide Your Love Away / I Don't Want To Spoil The Party / She's A Woman / Yellow Submarine / And if that's not enough you may want to check out everything else they ever recorded.


Comments:
It's impossible to reduce The Beatles incredible body of work to this or any other limited format. If you disagree or feel a particular favorite has been omitted you are right. The Beatles are a very personal experience and we can all enjoy our own magical mystery mix.

Some insights into my selections:
1. I Saw Her Standing There – A perfect example of their early mid-60's days when their music was first released to the black and white post-JFK assassination world. Their originals, She Loves You, Love Me Do, and the R&B covers, Twist And Shout, Long Tall Sally were all part of the excitement of early Beatlemania. In this tune when Paul sang, "She was just seventeen, you know what I mean," and it was the first time a rock star broke the fourth wall, winked at us, and indicated that we were all in this together. From that moment on the world was divided into those who knew what he meant and those who didn't.

2. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band – The apogee of 60's rock, arguably the finest rock album start to finish. Simply put, they upped the ante and changed rock forever. Even the cover changed album art forever. Printed lyrics? Not until this one. "I'd love to turn you on," explains it all.

3. Yesterday – There were only two Beatles working on this cut. Paul McCartney singing and playing acoustic guitar, and the only real fifth Beatle, producer George Martin who added the string quartet. How does a 20 something McCartney come up with a lyric only a 60-year-old could possibly conceive? Genius, pure and simple.

4. The Beatles – Known as The White Album. This was the first sign of what the lad's solo work would sound like since basically they all brought in the stuff they wrote individually. Eric Clapton becomes the first non-Beatle guest star on George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps, a tune that stands up to any Lennon/McCartney composition.

5. I Am The Walrus – Where John takes everything accomplished on Pepper and condenses it to a single track. The Egg Man, by the way, is Eric Burdon.

6. Help – One of the great Beatle rockers featuring their unique harmonies. Now it's John's turn to be wiser beyond his years. When he was young he never needed help. Now "I've changed my mind. I've opened up the doors" and "I do appreciate you bein' 'round." He was teaching us major life lessons years before most of us understood his message.

7. Let It Be – McCartney the guru with advice that really works if you let it. "There will be an answer…let it be." He wasn't fond of Phil Spector's lush production, but a Beatles-Spector collaboration had to be. This is a perfect record.

8. That Boy – Features John Lennon's most passionate and greatest vocal performance, including his post Beatles work.

9. Hey Jude – How do you follow Sgt. Pepper? With an amazing and long single. We spent that summer trying to figure out what it was about. Turned out it was about a classic Beatles single.

10. Abbey Road – If an extraterrestrial landed and I could only play her one thing to explain The Beatles it would be this album. Come Together, George's Something, the medley…it is a sampler of all the things they do best…"and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make."

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Rock & Roll Music 2. Roll Over Beethoven 3. Johnny B. Goode
4.
Reelin' and Rockin' 5. No Particular Place to Go 6. Maybellene
7.
School Days 8. Sweet Little Sixteen 9. Around and Around
10.
You Can't Catch Me
 

Bonus cuts:
Brown Eyed Handsome Man / Too Much Monkey Business / Beautiful Delilah / Carol / Memphis / Sweet Little Rock & Roller / Little Queenie / Almost Grown / Back in the U.S.A. / Let It Rock / Down the Road a Piece / Nadine


Comments:
Chuck Berry is arguably the single most important artist in the development of rock and roll. Born on October 26, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, Charles Edward Anderson Berry developed an interest in music at an early age, and in 1954, formed the Chuck Berry Trio and began writing his own songs. After a conversation with his idol, Muddy Waters, it was suggested that he approach Leonard Chess, the head of Chess Records in Chicago who, after hearing Berry's demo tape, was particularly interested in a song called Ida Red. Chess scheduled a recording session for Berry and on May 21, 1955, rock and roll history was born when the name of the song was changed to Maybellene. The record was a huge success and was the first rock and roll recording to appeal to both black and white audiences alike. Maybellene was the first of many Top 10 singles for Berry over the next few years, and just when his own star was beginning to fade, his music reemerged once again becoming a major influence on The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and many others. Chuck Berry will always have the distinction of being known as one of the great innovators of rock and roll, and as John Lennon once said' "If you were going to give rock & roll another name, you might as well call it 'Chuck Berry'."

Tracks compiled by Mildred Brisbane / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
My War 2. Nervous Breakdown 3. Beat My Head Against the Wall
4.
Rise Above 5. TV Party 6. Fix Me 7. Can't Decide 8. Black Coffee
9.
Wasted 10. Six Pack
 

Bonus cuts:
A few years ago, Henry Rollins organized a benefit cd called 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three. The disc was made up entirely of new recordings of classic Black Flag songs. The band for all of these new songs was the Rollins Band. However the vocalists varied from track to track and included Black Flag alumni Kira Roessler, Chuck Dukowski, Keith Morris and Henry himself as well as Tim & Lars from Rancid, Iggy Pop, Ice-T, Lemmy from Motorhead, Exene Cervenka from X and many others. The disc is great, and if you dig it as much as I do you may be interested in Henry's book, Broken Summers, which is essentially his journals from the time spent recording the album and on the subsequent tour.


Comments:
While Henry Rollins is probably the most well known Black Flag singer, he was actually the fourth guy to hold the job. An essential but often overlooked Black Flag disc, right up there with the My War and Damaged albums, is the compilation The First Four Years, which contains most of the band's pre-Rollins era music, including four tracks with lead vocals by future Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris. Also, for an amazing read and tons of insight into Black Flag, check out Rollins' award winning book, Get In The Van: On the Road with Black Flag. The book, like most of Henry's literary output, is made up of his journal entries from his time in the band, but it also features dozens of incredible photographs of the legendary group covering many of it's various line-ups.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Black Sabbath 2. WASP/Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B.
3.
War Pigs/Luke's Wall 4. Heaven And Hell 5. Symptom Of The Universe
6.
Sweet Leaf 7. The Wizard 8. Iron Man 9. Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath
10.
Children Of The Grave
 

Bonus cuts:
Paranoid / Sabbra Cadabra / Neon Knights / Fairies Wear Boots / Snowblind / Into The Void / Junior's Eyes / Children Of The Sea / Never Say Die / The Mob Rules

Comments:
Some things in life are just not fair. Picking only ten tracks from the greatest band to ever exist is just cruel. Yes, I am a huge Sabbath fan. If I had to pick a favorite band of all time, this is the one. Sabbath invented heavy metal. The gloom and doom, the Satanic lyrics, the ominous bombast of sound; this is metal at its finest. Black Sabbath released their debut album in the midst of a "peace and love" movement, and at a time when little yellow happy faces were everywhere. They took "peace and love" to the opposite end of the spectrum and delivered "war and hate" to the masses. Every little happy face started to weep as Sabbath pissed on the "peace parade." With the lyrics of the song Black Sabbath preaching "Big black shape with eyes of fire, Telling people their desire, Satan's sitting there he's smiling, Watches those flames get higher and higher," it was like listening to a horror movie musical. With the sound of falling rain, and Ozzy Osbourne's deep pleading of "Oh no, please God help me," this is the definitive Sabbath song. I remember hearing Iron Man for the first time, and feeling like I was worshipping Satan just by listening. I felt like this band were direct representatives of the devil. They were evil, I just knew it. Nobody could write songs like Children Of The Grave or War Pigs and be of this Earth. Every Sabbath song early on resonated with angst, fear, and intensity. It wasn't until the Technical Ecstasy release in '76 that Sabbath started to falter.

Although, the follow-up to the Technical Ecstasy record, 1978's Never Say Die!, had a few keepers - these last two records with the original lineup are far inferior than anything prior. Sabbath went through lineup after lineup, with guitarist Tony Iommi frequently the only original member, never really hitting the mark. Great vocalists like Glenn Hughes, Ian Gillan, and Ray Gillen came and went, but nobody could capture that magic that Ozzy had brought to the band . . . except, possibly, Ronnie James Dio. Two of the three records released with Dio are superb. Heaven And Hell and The Mob Rules are great records. The Dehumanizer album with Dio, that came years after Heaven And Hell and The Mob Rules, is far inferior to those first two; but Dio was, by far, the closest the band had come to recapturing the glory days they had with Ozzy. As you will notice, I have left the ever popular Sabbath classic Paranoid off the list. We all know this is a great song. We also know that it is overplayed on radio. And, at least I know, that I skip over it when listening to the album of the same name. Sabbath had so many great songs, don't waste your time with one you can hear every three minutes on the radio. In exchange, listen to the brilliant vocals of Symptom Of The Universe or Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath, the sledgehammer riffing of Sweet Leaf, or the thunderous rhythm section of Children Of The Grave. You won't regret it, believe me.

Arguably, there has never been a more influential force in music history, except possibly The Beatles, than Black Sabbath. Every single Hard Rock/Metal artist will tell you, if there was no Sabbath, there would be no Heavy Metal. They truly are the Godfathers of Metal, and a band that revolutionized music forever.

Tracks compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Change 2. Tones of Home 3. No Rain 4. Soup 5. Life Ain't So Shitty
6.
All That I Need 7. Galaxie 8. Hell 9. Vernie 10. Lemonade
 

Bonus cuts:
The song "Soup" on the above list, appears on the album Nico, a collection of unfinished and demo tracks released after vocalist Shannon Hoon's untimely death in 1995. The song's first official release however was on a compilation of tracks recorded live at Woodstock 94. The Woodstock version is amazing, and is a must have for all Blind Melon fans. Another great bonus cut is the opening tune on Nico, a cover of Steppenwolf's "The Pusher".


Comments:
In 1991, a full year before Blind Melon soared into the charts with the their song "No Rain", singer Shannon Hoon hooked up with an old friend of his sister's from back in Indiana..W. Axl Rose. Shannon joined Guns N Roses in the studio and added backing vocals to many cuts from their epic double album Use Your Illusion I & II. One of the tunes Hoon sings on is the hit single, "Don't Cry". Shannon can even be seen in the video for the song.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Quarter To Three 2. New Orleans 3. This Little Girl
4.
I've Got Dreams To Remember 5. Dedication 6. School Is Out
7.
Jole Blon 8. Club Soul City 9. Every Time I Roll The Dice
10.
Dear Lady Twist
 

Bonus cuts:
#4 and # 9 above are from Gary's latest CD "Back In 20." This disc also contains amazing tunes like "Murder In The First Degree," "Take Me Back," and "She Just Wants To Dance." The CD features appearances by Dickey Betts, Southside Johnny and Phoebe Snow. It is a stone-cold killer and available at www.garyusbonds.com


Comments:
Gary Anderson was born in 1939 and became Gary U.S. Bonds, a brilliant songwriter and rock & roll rhythm and blues singer.

Phil Spector, Carolina Beach Music, Harlem and Chicago soul were the sounds that influenced Bruce Springsteen, but one record, Gary U.S. Bonds' #1 hit from 1961, "Quarter To Three" contains all of the elements and magic that became the formula for Bruce's E Street Band. This primitive masterpiece was the template for one of the greatest rock and roll combo's of all time.

In payback it was Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt who used the power of their incredible popularity to give Bonds' career a great resurgence in the early 80's, writing, producing, and performing on two albums, "Dedication," and "On The Line." Both are available today on a single CD from American Beat Records. This is a must for any collection.

Along with Dion, The Four Seasons, Ben E. King, Del Shannon, Chuck Jackson, and Roy Orbison, Gary U.S. Bonds is one of the legends from the second wave of rock & roll. He is rock & roll.

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Foreplay/Long Time 2. More Than A Feeling 3. Don't Look Back
4.
Feelin' Satisfied 5. Peace of Mind 6. Smokin' 7. Rock & Roll Band
8.
Hitch A Ride 9. Dreams* 10. Cool The Engines
 

Bonus cuts:
Party / Amanda
/ We're Ready / I Think I Like It / Cant'cha Say (You Believe In Me) / I Need Your Love / Hard Luck* / What's A Fella To Do?* / Mean Woman Blues*


* Denotes a selection from the "Barry Goudreau" album

Comments:
If you think that guitarist and engineering genius Tom Scholz is the only member of Boston that matters, this article is not for you. Yes, the MIT grad that patented 24 electronic and mechanical designs and sold them all to Dunlop Manufacturing in 1995 is definitely the brains of the outfit, but it took a lot more than Scholz to make the booming sonic blast that became Boston. Now, if you think I am going to sing the praises of vocalist Brad Delp and tell you that he was the "other half" of Boston, it's now your turn to hit the door. Brad Delp was also a major force to the sound that was created by the band, but it was the other guitar player, Barry Goudreau, that I want to focus on here. You see, it was Barry's band back in 1969 when they cut their earliest demo tapes. Goudreau played all of the rhythm and lead guitar parts, Delp sang, and Scholz played keys. Boston was formed out of Goudreau's college band, Mother's Milk, when Scholz signed on as the keyboard player. It wasn't until a second set of demos was re-recorded and re-worked by Scholz, who had now become proficient on guitar, that the band started to attract attention from Epic Records. But it was Barry that composed and performed the lead guitar work on the list topper, "Foreplay/Long Time." It would be Barry doing the same for "Don't Look Back" as well. It is Barry Goudreau that is the root of the complex Boston family tree, and I will prove it to you.

In late 1979, Scholz became involved in legal and contractual battles with the band's manager, and later on, with CBS. Because of the situation that had unfolded, he informed the other members of the band that he would not be working on Boston material for at least a year and that they should feel free to do solo projects. So, in 1980, Goudreau released "Barry Goudreau" for Epic. He had Boston drummer Sib Hashian with him, and he had Boston singer Brad Delp recording with him as well. Epic started to promote the record as if it was a Boston record, and by golly, why shouldn't they?! You would never know that Scholz was at home watching soaps. This record – for all practical and unpractical purposes – is a Boston record. The album contains "Dreams," which got some early airplay. Ultimately, Scholz got his undies in a bunch about the promotion of the record, and threatened to withhold the third Boston album, which he had now written, if Epic did not cease all support of Goudreau's solo LP. The label abided by Scholz harsh threat, and Goudreau's solo album was put to death. Scholz would ultimately ask Goudreau to leave the band in 1980, and Goudreau would never return.

Goudreau would form another band in 1984 called Orion The Hunter. This time Brad Delp would co-write 5 songs on the album and sing backing vocals only. Singer Fran Cosmo, who sang lead on the first solo LP, and ironically would become Boston's lead vocalist in 1990 when Delp would leave to join Goudreau's RTZ project, would return to do all of the lead vocals on the Orion album. The album yielded a great hit called "So You Ran." In 1990, Goudreau formed RTZ with Delp, and they have recorded as Delp And Goudreau since that time also. It is said that Goudreau, Delp, Hashian, and original bassist Fran Sheehan can be found playing small clubs in the greater Boston area to this very day.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about the greatest debut record in the history of rock and roll. The Boston debut record was far ahead of its time in 1976 and it still sounds like we haven't caught up to it. I hate to focus these lists around any one album. I usually like to draw many different time periods and aspects of a particular artist when I do these lists - but Boston's debut record is definitely where it's at. With six of the eight songs on the album making the list here, it was still very difficult to leave the other two off. Boston's second album, "Don't Look Back," is not nearly as dynamic as the first, but there are three excellent songs to be had ("Party," "Feelin' Satisfied," and the title cut). "Third Stage" is much better than that with quite a few memorable moments ("Amanda," "We're Ready," "Cool The Engines," "Cant'cha Say (You Believe In Me) / Still In Love," "I Think I Like It"). Future releases, "Walk On" and "Corporate America" would prove to be extremely inferior to anything previous, with nothing really worth mentioning except possibly "I Need Your Love" from "Walk On."

Boston will always be known for their incredible debut and their "sound." I think it's just a matter of opinion as to where that "sound" comes from. Personally, I think the best formation of Boston was, of course, the lineup for the first two records. With Goudreau and Scholz having finally spoken to each other after some twenty years of bitter silence, who's to say that we won't see that lineup again sometime in the future?

Tracks compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Kate Is Great 2. No Rules 3. The Ballad of Johnny X 4. Quick Check Girl
5.
Low Life 6. Fight to Live 7. The Freaks, Nerds and Romantics
8.
I Like Your Mom 9. Neurotic 10. '87
 

Bonus cuts:
If I had to make a list of my fifty favorite records of all time, I'd be hard pressed to not include each of the Bouncing Souls first four albums: The Good The Bad and the Argyle, Maniacal Laughter, Bouncing Souls, and Hopeless Romantic. The first two conjure up memories of sneaking into CBGBs to see the band while my friends and I were underage, and later two remind me of helping to sneak kids into The Roxy when they were. No nostalgia necessary though this is great stuff regardless.


Comments:
A live highlight from the Bouncing Souls has always been "These are the Quotes from our Favorite 80's Movies". During the tune, the band sings the quotes that appear on the album version, ("Mess with the bull get the horns" "All I care about is me, my drums and you") and then invites the audience to jump up on stage and add their own favorite quotes. This marquee moment in their live show is conspicuously absent from their way too short live album, Tie One On. Sure it's only seven bucks, but just 20 minutes..come on guys..so I guess you'll just have to go see it for yourself.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
I Got You (I Feel Good) 2. Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine
3.
It's A Man's Man's Man's Man's World 4. Cold Sweat (Pt.1)
5.
I Got the Feelin' 6. Please Please Please 7. Try Me
8.
Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (Pt.1) 9. Mother Popcorn (Pt.1)
10.
Say It Loud (I'm Black And I'm Proud)
 

Bonus cuts:
Make It Funky (Pt.1) / Think, Night Train / Get On The Good Foot / Papa Don't Take No Mess (Pt.1) / The Payback / Hot Pants (Pt. 1 - She Got To Use What She Got To Get What She Wants) / Get Up Offa That Thing / Living In America / Gonna Have A Funky Good Time / His classic 1963 LP 'Live At The Apollo / Also check out "Messin' With The Blues, a double CD / On DVD and/or video there's some great performances of the young vibrant James on the Ed Sullivan collections, also out there is the mid 60's T.A.M. I. Show which James steals from The Rolling Stones, and in more recent times there's an excellent 1999 performance taped at The House Of Blues In Vegas called "James Brown Live from the House of Blues."


Comments:
Mid 70's and I find myself Vice president of MCA Records and I'm sitting in my corner office on Park Avenue, New York City. My assistant buzzes me and says James Brown is on line three. Yeah, right, Mr. Brown was not on our label, and I never met the man sooooooo this had to be one of my crazy friends goofin' around, right?
So I pick up the phone and I go into my version of the famous James Brown intro. I say something like, "Is this Mr. Please Please Please, Try Me, Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, Soul Brother Number One, the hardest working man in show business, The Godfather Of Soul, Jaaaaaaaaaames Brown?" And then from the other end of the line I was shocked and delighted to hear the unmistakable hoarse voice of the one and only James Brown. He was laughing and saying, "Yeah, it's me man. How you been?" That set me back. When I woke up that morning I never thought anything like this would happen. Maybe I hadn't woken up. Maybe I was dreaming.

Mr. Brown said he was in town and he's got some very exciting new product and he'd like to drop by and talk about it. I said, "What time will you be here? And he said in about an hour. Now everybody who worked at 445 Park was used to seeing celebrities in the building all the time. Elton John, Olivia Newton John and dozens of other pop stars were on our label, and since Universal Pictures and TV also had offices in the building it was common to see James Garner or Telly Savalas walking around, but when the word that The Godfather was going to visit, people from every floor and department were descending onto ours. There was a buzz of electricity like never before.

Sure enough about an hour later Mr. Brown arrived. He was with two other guys, a well dressed Black man whose name escapes me, but was Mr. Brown's assistant, and a skinny young white guy in jeans and a beat up old sweater. I don't know who he was. They made up an interesting looking trio to say the least. Mr. Brown came down to my office and at least 50 MCA Universal staff members followed him. He was cordial and flashed that incredible James Brown smile at one and all. In the office, with the door open so everyone could hear and see, he played a new cassette of some music he was working on. It was the typical, but exciting James Brown kind of funk instrumental and to the delight of all James was dancing to it. He was putting on a show and everyone loved it.

He then signed autographs and posed for pictures until each and every person was satisfied and then he demanded that everyone, except me, leave the room. Was he looking for a record deal? Nope, James explained that the little guy in the funky sweater was a reporter following him around and working on a feature story. That morning when they were at breakfast the kid said something like, "You used to be the king of soul, you're not anymore." And a bet was made that James could take the phone book, turn to the section that listed the record companies and randomly pick one. He'd then call and the president of the company would see him instantly. That's when he called me. I wasn't the president, he was located on the west coast, but the point is by me seeing James, I allowed him to win his bet and show this punk (my word not his) that he was still the man. He thanked me, and I thanked him for all the music. It was some morning.

About 4 months later I got an invitation from him to see his show at midnight at Studio 54. Of course, I went. Once inside I moved up toward the stage and the gentleman who was with Mr. Brown in my office came out and greeted me and ushered me back stage where James was in conference with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Soon as he saw me, that big old James Brown smile flashed across his face. He hugged me, remembered my name, and introduced me to The Blues Brothers. Impressed isn't the word, I was astonished. A short time later I stood on an elevated platform on stage right and watched the dynamic show standing next to Jake Blues. What a rush!

James Brown, along with Dylan and Elvis, is one of the most important and compelling artists of our lifetime. He laid the groundwork for Prince, Parliament-Funkadelic and all modern funk. You don't know music – not just soul or rock – music period, until you know James Brown. Like Arthur Conley sang in "Sweet Soul Music," "He's the king of them all, y'all."

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
For What It's Worth 2. Bluebird 3. Mr. Soul 4. Rock and Roll Woman
5.
On The Way Home 6. Sit Down I Think I Love You 7. I Am A Child
8.
Broken Arrow 9. Uno Mundo 10. Expecting to Fly
 

Bonus cuts:
Hot Dusty Roads / Pay The Price / Burned / Go and Say Goodbye / Do I Have To Come Right Out and Say It / Pretty Girl Why / Special Care / Kind Woman / Four Days Gone / A Child's Claim To Fame / Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing / Good Time Boy


Comments:
With the exception of The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield has been credited for having more influence on the evolution of folk rock and country rock than any other band in history. The group was formed in 1966 and consisted of an impressive array of musicians: Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Jim Messina, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer, and Dewey Martin. Legend has it that Stills and Furay were driving down Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, when they spotted a customized hearse driven by Young, with Palmer in the passenger seat. Stills had crossed paths with Young before, and once reacquainted, the four musicians decided to put a band together, adding Dewey Martin on drums. (Messina joined in mid-1967, replacing Palmer on bass.) The group was only together for 2 years, but in that short period of time, they released 3 significant LPs featuring some of the best folk/pop/rock ever recorded. Their self-titled debut album featured their classic Top 40 hit, "For What It's Worth," a compelling protest song that established them not only as an influential folk rock band, but also as a voice for the revolutionist generation.

Buffalo Springfield had three very distinctive and talented songwriters in Stills, Young and Furay, but personality conflicts spelled doom for this remarkable band. The group split in 1968 just prior to the release of their final LP "Last Time Around," but most members soon resurfaced in other very successful musical entities: Stills with Crosby, Stills & Nash and also Manassas, Young with Crazy Horse, then as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Furay with Poco then the Souther, Hillman, Furay Band, and Messina with Loggins & Messina. Rumors of a Buffalo Springfield reunion had circulated for years, and were even hinted at in the Neil Young composition "Buffalo Springfield Again," but nothing ever materialized. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. Mr. Tambourine Man 2. Eight Miles High 3. Turn, Turn, Turn
4. I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better 5. My Back Pages
6. So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star 7. Jesus Is Just Alright
8. Have You Seen Her Face 9. Mr. Spaceman 10. All I Really Want To Do
 

Bonus cuts:
It Won't Be Wrong / She Don't Care About Time / The Bells Of Rhymney / Chimes Of Freedom /
5D (Fifth Dimension) / Set You Free This Time / I Am A Pilgrim / Hickory Wind / Old John Robertson /
Ballad Of Easy Rider / Goin' Back / Chestnut Mare / He Was A Friend Of Mine / From A Distance

Comments:
Emerging in the midst of the British Invasion of the 1960s, The Byrds went on to become one of the most innovative American bands of the era. Their unique sound featuring the jangling 12-string Rickenbacker guitar of Jim McGuinn (who later changed his name to Roger) was partly responsible for the evolution of folk-rock and also played a vital role in the development of psychedelic rock and country rock. The band was made up of McGuinn (guitar/vocals), David Crosby (guitar/vocals), Gene Clark (lead vocals), Chris Hillman (bass/vocals) and Michael Clarke (drums), all veterans of the acoustic coffee house scene in Southern California. Their first single, a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, was a huge hit and reached the top of the charts in June 1965. Their debut album of the same name, featuring superb interpretations of Dylan and Pete Seeger tunes plus some strong original numbers, was also a hit. After a few mildly successful single releases, the band topped the charts once again with Seeger's folk-rock classic Turn, Turn, Turn. In 1966, the band heralded the birth of psychodelia with Eight Miles High, a brilliantly-conceived single that was a complete departure from their folk roots with its very progressive sound and drug-oriented lyrical content. It turned out to be the band's final Top 20 single with many radio stations banning the record for its alleged drug references.


After the release of Eight Miles High, Clark, the primary songwriter and co-lead singer of the band departed, but the group continued on, expanding their musical horizons and developing more of a country-rock sound. They released several noteworthy albums including the country-influenced Sweetheart of the Rodeo, an album that served as an inspiration for upcoming bands like Poco, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Eagles. Despite several personnel changes, The Byrds remained active with Mr. McGuinn as leader, but finally split in the 1980s. David Crosby left the band in 1969 to achieve fame as a member of Crosby, Stills & Nash and most of the other original members went on to pursue solo careers with varying degrees of success. The Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Cocaine Blues 2. Spiritual 3. Folsom Prison Blues 4. Ring Of Fire
5.
Sea of Heartbreak 6. Unchained 7. Solitary Man 8. Singer of Songs
9.
Understand Your Man 10. Kneeling Drunkards Plea
 

Bonus cuts:
The list above is in no order and leaves out tons of my favorites. Covers alone, here's a few more to check out: "One", "I Won't Back Down", "Rusty Cage", "Hurt", "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby", and "Redemption Song" which is a duet with the late Joe Strummer. I read somewhere once that there were literally close to a thousand Johnny Cash albums released over his long career. Amazon has 342 CDs that come up if you type in his name. I have about twenty discs myself of the man in black, and I find new songs within that comparatively small collection all the time which absolutely knock me on my ass. There's just an indescribable amount of great stuff to discover here. That said, where do you start? If you're new to Cash, or an old fan, the posthumously released 5-disc box set "Unearthed" is an incredible selection of songs recorded over the last ten years or so during Johnny's extended collaboration with producer Rick Rubin. The first four discs are entirely previously unreleased material, and the fifth is a best of collection of songs from the four albums Cash and Rubin made together. If you'd rather start with older Cash, there's a relatively cheap box set called "Love, God, Murder" which contains three individually themed discs of Johnny's older work. These are available also separately, for more money, and without the cool Cash temporary tattoos that come in the box. If you insist on going with just one of them, I'd go for "Murder" first which features liner notes by Quentin Tarrentino. Finally, for live Cash, I have two suggestions. First, there's Johnny's most popular album, "At Folsom Prison". Then for something a little different, there's the duet album, "VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson" which is good if you like Willie or Johnny and great if you like them both.


Comments:
For even more Cash, and Willie for that matter, check out the country supergroup, The Highwaymen. The band consisted of Johnny and Willie as I mentioned as well as Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. The second of their three albums, "The Road Goes On Forever" is my personal favorite.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Remember Then 2. I Believe 3. Never 4. Eyes 5. Life Is But A Dream
6.
Amor 7. Ask Anybody 8. Kissing 9. Cross My Heart 10. Lookin' For My Baby
 

Bonus cuts:
There is a sensational acapella version of The Superiors doo wop killer Lost Love on several of the groups more recent CD's including Moonlight Kiss and Back On The Streets Of The Bronx.

Comments:
If the only thing they ever did was their classic doo wop riff . . . WOP WOP PATTY PATTY BOP BOP SHOE BOP DE BOP BOP OWOOOOOOO . . . in their big hit Remember Then, they would have made their contribution to the history of rock and roll. Of course, they did a whole lot more and there are plenty of other classic doo wop records – Ten Commandments Of Love by Harvey & The Moonglows and Speedo by The Cadillacs for example – but Remember Then by The Earls is a perfect rock and roll record, and 'WOP WOP PATTY PATTY BOP BOP SHOE BOP DE BOP BOP OWOOOOOOO' is part of the reason why.

So in my book, it's a slam-dunk, they earned their way into the rock and roll hall of fame, period. Let Johnny Maestro induct them. Then Paul Schaffer leads the house band as they do Remember Then with Springsteen, Fogerty, and all the usual suspects. There's just as much brilliant rock on that 2 minutes and ten second record as there is on Stairway To Heaven, or the entire Pet Sounds album. Point is the good stuff is the good stuff and The Earls belong with the greats because they are great! (Maestro belongs in the Hall twice, once for the Crests and once for The Brooklyn Bridge, but that's a whole other story. McCartney's in twice, yet Maestro and Chance aren't in at all….think about it!)

Anyway, there must have been something in the water in that Philadelphia neighborhood where Larry Figueiredo grew up. Chubby Checker, Danny & the Juniors, Lee Andrews and The Hearts, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian came out of there. Ok, so maybe Fabian didn't drink as much of it as the others, but he was there. In 1955 Larry moved with his family to The Bronx where there seemed to be a doo wop group on every corner. He formed one of his own called The High Hatters. A little more time rolled by and The Earls picked their new name from the dictionary. That original group consisted of baritone, Larry Palumbo, first tenor, Robert Del, second tenor, Eddie Harder, and bass, Jack Wray. In 1961 they put out their first single, a cover of Life Is But A Dream by The Harptones. The following year they began recording for Hy Weiss' Old Town label and scored a nationwide Top 30 hit with Remember Then. They followed up with Never, and then Eyes.

When The British Invasion roared over the American charts, The Earls along with so many other great acts paid the price. Their sensational vocal style was out of vogue. Hey, not for nuthin', a lot of great groups came out of that so called invasion – The Fabs, The Stones, DC5 – but there were a bunch of others, like Freddie and The Dreamers, Herman's Hermits, The Honeycombs etc., who couldn't hold a candle to the pure sound of The Earls! But like the old song says, that's the way it goes. So while Murray The K became the fifth Beatle and Ed Sullivan went ga ga for any British band with bangs, the first record billed as Larry Chance & The Earls was released. Hy Weiss felt it was such a strong record that he insisted Larry get top billing.

It has been written that Cry, Cry, Cry, and the B-side, Kissing, could have been a two-sided smash. Unfortunately Do The Freddie or some other such pop ear candy took its rightful spot on the charts. Even though they never had a huge number of chart topping hits, The Earls recorded great music. I believe if their career had began a decade earlier with the same releases, they would have racked up a dozen hits. Their records were that good! Check them out . . . the tunes listed above can all be found on various Earls compilations. Of course, the thing that set The Earls apart from all the other groups was Larry's vocal talent. The man is an outstanding vocalist, be it doo wop, pop, or standards, this kid from Philly can sing.

They don't make groups like The Earls anymore. They are an endangered species and you should take every opportunity you can to see them. The current line up includes Bobby Tribuzio, George Tuzzeo, Bobby Coleman, Chuck Mearizo, and Johnny Mosca. To this day their live show features The Earls' flawless and classic harmonies. In each performance a magnificent version of the old Frankie Lane record I Believe, dedicated to original Earl, the late Larry Palumbo, brings the house down. Larry Chance and The Earls are what early 60's vocal harmony rock and roll was all about. Today there are few acts that can still deliver the way they can. For information on their live dates check out their web site: www.larrychanceandtheearls.com
Their CD's are available at different music web sites like Oldies.com. Go buy them and enjoy!

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Glad All Over 2. Bits and Pieces 3. Can't You See That She's Mine
4.
Because 5. Any Way You Want It 6. Catch Us If You Can
7.
Everybody Knows 8. You Got What It Takes 9. Do You Love Me
10.
Come Home
 

Comments:
For a while in late '64 and a good part of '65, it was The Beatles on top with the Dave Clark Five breathing down their necks. They were number two and they had a great run until they were knocked off by The Rolling Stones. Because the drummer, Dave Clark had his name up front, many thought he was the lead singer, but for anyone who saw the group on their many Ed Sullivan appearances, they knew that Mike Smith, the keyboard player, sang lead on all the above mentioned hits.

Dave Clark was a film stuntman who put an ad in Melody Maker looking for musicians to form a band. Three years after they began, Mike Smith joined when their former singer missed a gig. Three years after that they had their first hit, Glad All Over, written by Clark and Smith. The song replaced The Beatles' I Want To Hold Your Hand on the top of the U.K. pop charts. 1964 thru 1967, The DC5 appeared countless times on The Ed Sullivan Show and Shindig, had their own version of A Hard Days Night with a film called Having A Wild Weekend, and were a big part of the entire swingin' British Invasion. They were quality artists who held their own with the best of them. In 1986, the musical Time, which was written and produced by Dave Clark, opened in London and starred British superstar Cliff Richard. It had a long and successful run.

The Dave Clark Five – not in sound, but in stature – are The Beach Boys of England. Get a hold of their music and enjoy 60's kick-ass London style rock and roll.

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Clampdown 2. Safe European Home 3. Jimmy Jazz 4. Death or Glory
5.
White Riot 6. 1-2 Crush On You 7. The Magnificent Seven
8.
London Calling 9. Should I Stay or Should I Go 10. Career Opportunities
 

Bonus cuts:
The Clash recently released what can only be called the Super Duper edition of London Calling, the 1979 album many people consider their best. The 3-disc set contains a remastered edition of the original album plus a full disc of unreleased songs and demos from the recording sessions. The third disc is a DVD featuring a Don Letts documentary about the band.


Comments:
If you really want to own everything by the Clash, take a look at your copy of their self titled debut album, jot down what songs are on it, and then go buy it again. Much like The Beatles early work, the first Clash album was sequenced differently and both gained and lost songs when it was released in the U.S. Both the U.S. and U.K. versions of the album are now available on CD. Now I know it doesn't quite seem punk to make people buy the same album twice when the extra four or five songs could easily have fit on the end of either version of the album as bonus tracks…but you can bet this was the label's doing, not the band's, and when you consider that the band literally tricked their record company into releasing the triple album Sandinista! (It's a long story, but trust me the label said no to the triple album and the band got it out anyway), it seems like everything's about even.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Feelin' Alright 2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3.
Delta Lady 4. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
5.
You Are So Beautiful 6. The Letter 7. I Can Stand A Little Rain
8.
Up Where We Belong (with Jennifer Warnes) 9. Cry Me A River
10. Unchain My Heart
 

Comments:
After an unsuccessful attempt at stardom singing pop tunes under the name Vance Arnold, Cocker came into his own in the late sixties when he changed his style to soulful rock and hooked up with the dynamic backup group The Grease Band. He hit the top of the charts in the UK with his cover of The Beatles' "A Little Help From My Friends" and really took off after his appearance at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. An added boost to his career was having legendary singer/songwriter Leon Russell sign on as his music director. Russell was responsible for organizing Cocker's enormously successful Mad Dogs and Englishman tour, which featured over 40 musicians and resulted in a gold double album and a top-grossing theatrical concert film.

By the end of 1970, Cocker had 3 gold albums and several hit singles under his belt, but future projects were less successful. He developed a problem with alcohol, which took a toll on his physical condition and his voice, but he did however, make a comeback in 1975 with the Top Ten hit "You Are So Beautiful" along with the chart-topping duet with Jennifer Warnes, "Up Where We Belong" from the 1982 film "An Officer and a Gentleman." Cocker endured over the years and has survived through good times and bad. Today he is still a very popular concert attraction and his records have become a staple on classic rock radio. When asked about the future, Cocker stated "As long as being on stage is fun – as long as I enjoy that part and still get a buzz out of performing, then I'll keep going out there."

Tracks compiled by Mark Witner / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Clocks 2. Viva La Vida 3. Yellow 4. In My Place 5. Trouble
6.
Speed of Sound 7. Politik 8. The Scientist 9. Fix You 10. Don't Panic
 

Bonus cuts:
God Put a Smile Upon Your Face / Shiver / The Hardest Part / Don't Panic

Comments:
“I used to rule the world… Seas would rise when I gave the word… Now in the morning I sleep alone… Sweep the streets I used to own”…. COLDPLAY… today... nothing to do with Beatlemania… disco… rockabilly… Pavarotti…. NOW… today… when you love someone but it goes to waste… COLDPLAY…. British… Chris Martin… lead vocals, keyboards, guitar… Jonny Buckland… lead guitar… Guy Berryman… bass guitar… Will Champion… drums, backing vocals, other instruments… now… then… tomorrow…. today… two dark bars tattooed on your hand… Now…. today… tomorrow…”And open up your eyes, open up your eyes, open up your eyes, open up your eyes”… right now…. a chemistry you don’t have to understand…. all you have to do is listen…. and feel…. and enjoy the 78th best band ever....... best band ever… ever…. best…. best…. band… ever… best band…. band… band… ever… ever… 78th.

Tracks compiled by Lady Jane Rushmore / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Bring It On Home To Me 2. Wonderful World 3. Sad Mood
4.
That's It, I Quit, I'm Movin' On 5. Twistin' The Night Away
6.
Sugar Dumpling 7. Somebody Have Mercy 8. You Send Me
9.
Having A Party 10. Cupid
 

Bonus cuts:
"Sam Cooke Live At the Copa" is probably the album that Sam is best known for, but I'm of the opinion that not only is it not the best Sam Cooke album to buy, it's not the best Sam Cooke live album either. That honor goes to "Live at Harlem Square" a much grittier, and by most accounts truer performance by Cooke recorded in 1963. The general theory is that Harlem Square represents Cooke's normal show, complete with a screaming audience in a steamy club, and that the Copa represents a more clean-cut performance designed for a white audience in an upscale nightclub. I enjoy them both but if I could only have one, I'd take Harlem Square.


Comments:
Sam Cooke was ahead of his time. While most artists, especially black artists, were being conned out of royalties and other monies owed to them, Cooke was forming his own record label, SAR Records. Sam was involved in almost every aspect of the label from signing artists (including his brother L.C. Cooke) to producing and even singing on many of the recordings. The two disc compilation, The SAR Records Story is a fantastic collection of the music Sam was involved with up until to his tragic death. Some of the artists on the albums include The Soul Stirrers (Sam's gospel group from before he hit as a solo artist), Johnnie Taylor, The Valentinos, and The Womack Brothers. This is an excellent, if not essential, addition to your Sam Cooke collection.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
White Room 2. Sunshine of Your Love 3. I Feel Free 4. Strange Brew
5.
Tales of Brave Ulysses 6. Crossroads 7. Spoonful 8. Badge 9. I'm So Glad 10. Those Were The Days
 

Bonus cuts:
Anyone For Tennis / Sweet Wine / Sitting On Top of the World / Rollin' and Tumblin' / N.S.U. / World of Pain / Swlabr

Comments:
Cream were considered to be the first "supergroup" of rock and roll. Eric Clapton, who had just completed a year-long stint as lead guitarist with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, joined forces with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker to form one of the most durable blues/rock bands of the late-60s. Despite the fact that they only recorded 4 albums and were together just a little over 2 years, their influence on the music scene was immense. There first album, Fresh Cream, made the British Top Ten in early 1967 and featured classics like I Feel Free, I'm So Glad, and the legendary cover of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. Fresh Cream was a very successful debut, but it was their second release, Disraeli Gears that really put the band over the top. Reaching the Top 5 in the United States and Europe, Disraeli Gears featured their first international hit, Sunshine of Your Love, which made them superstars overnight. In 1968, their third release, Wheels of Fire, topped the charts and established them as one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Despite their overwhelming success, the band decided to call it quits after 2 years due to the enormous pressures of touring plus ongoing personal problems within the group. After a farewell tour of the United States, the band split in November 1968, but did reunite for one more appearance together when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 12, 1993.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. Proud Mary 2. Bad Moon Rising 3. Green River 4. Born On The Bayou
5. Who'll Stop The Rain 6. Down On The Corner 7. Fortunate Son
8. Lookin' Out My Back Door 9. Lodi 10. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
 

Bonus cuts:
It Came Out Of The Sky / Keep On Chooglin' / I Heard It Through The Grapevine / Travelin' Band / Up Around The Bend / Susie Q / Commotion / It's Just A Thought / Chameleon / Pagan Baby

Comments:
Hailing from El Cerrito, California, a tiny suburb across the bay from San Francisco, Creedence Clearwater Revival emerged as one of the hottest bands of the rock era, dominating the charts from 1968 until 1972. Consisting of drummer Doug Clifford, bassist Stu Cook, guitarist Tom Fogerty, and Tom's younger brother, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and group leader, John Fogerty, the group got its inauspicious start in the late 50s when brother Tom formed The Blue Velvets. After a few obscure singles, they signed with Fantasy Records as The Golliwogs, again releasing a handful of forgettable 45s. It wasn't until John took over as singer and chief songwriter that their fortunes improved dramatically. In 1968, with a name change to Creedence Clearwater Revival, their first self-titled album was released and became an immediate hit based on the success of their cover of the Dale Hawkins classic, Susie Q. Their straight-forward, blues-based rock and roll sound took the music world by storm, and over the course of the next 4 years, the band racked up an amazing eight consecutive gold singles and eight consecutive gold albums. Even though they were considered by many to be a singles band, their albums were generally very solid efforts thanks to the unbridled energy and songwriting prowess of John Fogerty. The only LP that dropped below their usual standard was their final disc, Mardi Gras, as Fogerty decided to share the songwriting and singing duties with the rest of the band. After Tom Fogerty left in 1971, the band was reduced to a trio, but the remaining members split shortly after the release of Mardi Gras. John Fogerty pursued a relatively successful solo career after the band split but was initially non-existent for close to 10 years while embroiled in several business disputes with Fantasy Records. Creedence Clearwater Revival were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Box #10 2. Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)
3.
Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy) 4. You Don't Mess Around With Jim
5.
Time In A Bottle 6. Roller Derby Queen
7.
Workin' At The Car Wash Blues 8. Speedball Tucker
9.
New York's Not My Home 10. I Got A Name
 

Bonus cuts:
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown / Big Wheel / I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song / Lover's Cross / Tomorrow's Gonna Be A Brighter Day / Hey Tomorrow / Photographs & Memories / Next Time, This Time / The Hard Way Every Time / Walkin' Back To Georgia

Comments:
It's hard to write this text without shedding some tears. On September 20, 1973, at the tender age of only 30 years, one of the greatest singer/songwriters the world had ever seen died in a plane crash. Jim Croce, before his untimely death, left behind a plethora of songwriting wonderment. This was a man that lived and breathed his work. There has never been a more "down to earth" singer/songwriter than Jim Croce. Listening to his songs made you feel like a part of his world. It's a rare effect that only the best songwriters in the world can obtain, and every song that Croce wrote had this effect. A former truck driver with a vocal tone that had a "bedside manner" to it, and a simple, innocent artistry that was always captivating and heartfelt - Croce was one of a kind. The first thing you may notice when you look at the list above is the fact that the radio staple, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown is missing, right? Well, like so many other classic artists that have stacks of great songs - the songs that make it big are usually not part of the best material in the artist's catalog. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown is a good song, but Croce's heart and soul lies elsewhere.

Six of the ten songs above just happen to be drawn from the same great album, You Don't Mess Around With Jim. Awesome songs like Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels) and Time In A Bottle were the biggest hits from the album, but the spirit of that record would not be complete without songs like Box #10 and New York's Not My Home. With lyrics that deal with real people, and feelings that the average person can relate with, Croce's style was very soothing and comfortable. Even when he played more upbeat songs like Speedball Tucker or Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy), with their cartoon character-like personalities, he kept it real. He wrote tales of real people, with real feelings, and created glorious melodies in which to present them. Whenever I talk to people about Jim Croce, one of two things always happens. The person either says "Who is that again?", in which I have to bring up either Bad, Bad Leroy Brown or Time In A Bottle to jog something. Or, I get "Yeah, I have Photographs & Memories and it's really good!" Of course, I would agree that the latter Croce hits package is a great one, but I would also add that it is just a sampler of his passionate, ingenious work. I would highly recommend getting your hands on all of Jim Croce's songs if you can do that. If you are limited to just a greatest hits package, upgrade your copy of "Photographs & Memories" to a more extensive set such as 1992's 2-disc 50th Anniversary Collection. You won't regret it.

Tracks compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes 2. Wooden Ships 3. Helplessly Hoping
4.
You Don't Have to Cry 5. Long Time Gone 6. Marrakesh Express
7.
Carry On 8. Teach Your Children 9. Woodstock 10. Helpless
 

Bonus cuts:
Almost Cut My Hair / Our House / Déjà Vu / Everybody I Love You / Ohio / Wasted On The Way / Southern Cross / Daylight Again / Shadow Captain / Just A Song Before I Go

Comments:
David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash were all members of very popular groups - The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies, respectively. In 1968 the trio got together and started to comprise material for what would turn out to be one of the biggest selling albums of the late-60s. When their self-titled debut album was released in 1969, it was perfectly in tune with the times and therefore became a smash hit. Their unique blend of vocal harmonies were the centerpiece of the music, as they soared over a mix of folk, pop and rock and roll. By the time of their first tour, which included their appearance at Woodstock, Neil Young had joined the band and was included on their second chart-topping album, Déjà Vu. The follow-up to Déjà Vu, the live 2-record set, "Four Way Street" also went to #1, but just prior to its release, the band split acrimoniously. The next several years saw the band regrouping then splitting several times, and even though they continued to record quality material, they were never able to achieve the excellence of their first two trend-setting releases.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
May I 2. I've Been Hurt 3. What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)
4.
Are You Ready For This 5. Nothing Succeeds Like Success
6.
Hooked on a Feeling 7. Swingin' Tight 8. Harlem Shuffle
9.
Change My Mind 10. Soulful Strut
 

Comments:
These guys were a rock and soul good time party band who tore the roof off everywhere they gigged all along the southern Atlantic seaboard. They never achieved the recording success of Blood, Sweat & Tears or Chicago, but they were one of the first white rock and soul horn-driven bands from the late 60's. The members changed frequently over the years, but the classic lineup consisted of Ken Dawson on sax, Don Quisenbery on bass, Jeff Pollard & Mike Kerwin on trumpets, Ronny Rosenbaum on trombone, and Bill Deal on organ.

Deal was an R&B fan in his youth and worked as a session musician before forming The Rhondels. For example, you can hear him playing organ on the 1963 hit by Jimmy Soul, "If You Wanna Be Happy." The group released "May I" on their own. It was soon picked up by Heritage Records and shot up to number 39 on the national charts. They toured the USA, played Madison Square Garden in New York City opening for Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and Deep Purple, but soon found their way back to the east coast beach venues.

In 1996 Steve Buscemi wrote and starred in an independent film, "Trees Lounge." The film featured The Rhondels' "What Kind Of Fool (Do you Think I Am,)" and "I've Been Hurt."

Bill Deal suffered a fatal heart attack in late 2003. His music is a joy to behold and worth seeking out.

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Let It Go 2. Rock Of Ages 3. Rock Brigade 4. Mirror, Mirror
5.
Bringin' On The Heartbreak 6. Too Late For Love 7. Photograph
8.
Tear It Down 9. Two Steps Behind 10. Foolin'
 

Bonus cuts:
Desert Song / Hello America / Rocks Off / Wasted / Women
/ Pour Some Sugar On Me / Animal / Armageddon It / Let's Get Rocked / Ride Into The Sun / Lady Strange / High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)

Comments:
I remember when I first heard this band. They were hungry teenage rockers from England that had a really cool album cover. As I held that On Through The Night cover (it was a 12" square at that time), I heard the first track scream off the vinyl.. It was Rock Brigade, and it was a killer. The next track on that album was Hello America, and it was another winner. The youthful angst, and raw hunger for stardom was overtly obvious on that debut. Since those early days, the band's drummer lost an arm and they've turned into a full-fledged synth pop act. If you want to hear the sounds of a struggling British hard rock band fighting to break it big overseas, listen to any of their first three records (On Through The Night, High 'N' Dry, and Pyromania). These three discs are all excellent – packed with many great hard rock songs worthy of making the list above. From the moment drummer Rick Allen lost his arm and the band decided to "work around it," the band's sacrifice of style was evident. They crafted a drum set for their handicapped musical brother that was electronic, and equipped with foot pedals that triggered different drum sounds. As much as I admire the loyalty of the band, and the perseverance of their drummer, I was not thrilled with the synth pop metal results. The music lost it's raw edge, and became overproduced "hair pop metal," if you will. Although I did much prefer the early days, I did find quite a bit to like on their "Hysteria" record – none of which you will find in the list of ten songs above though.

The real soul that lives and breathes for this band can be found in the first three albums. You can find killer tunes like Rock Brigade, Rocks Off, and Wasted on their debut, On Through The Night. You get my favorite Leppard song, Let It Go, on the High 'N' Dry record, along with Mirror, Mirror, and the classic Bringin' On The Heartbreak. And, of course, the breakthrough Pyromania album gave us Rock Of Ages, Too Late For Love, Photograph, and Foolin'. The only songs that are not from one of those first three records on the list are the poignant ballad Two Steps Behind from the Retro Active disc, and a throwback to the earlier days called Tear It Down from the album Adrenalize. The Retro Active disc is actually a very worthy disc in itself. Besides Two Steps Behind, this is a disc that harbors the bonus cuts Desert Song and Ride Into The Sun, which was the very first song that Leppard committed to vinyl. The more recent Def Leppard albums like Slang and X are all but pathetic parodies of 80's pop metal, but this is a band that at one time had a bright fire in its belly – a fire that can be heard on any of the first three records.

Tracks compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Kabuki Girl 2. I'm The One 3. 'Merican 4. Myage 5. Nothing
6.
When I Get Old 7. Coffee Mug 8. Coolidge 9. Thank You 10. She Loves Me
 

Bonus cuts:
The best known album by the Descendents is probably Milo Goes to College. While I personally prefer Everything Sucks, most people new to the band will want to start with Milo. If that's your decision, I can offer one piece of advice -for less money than the Milo Goes To College album ($16.98 at Amazon), you can buy a CD called Two Things At Once ($14.98 at Amazon) which features the entire Milo album plus the entire Bonus Fat e.p. ($11.98 at Amazon) which is an extra eight songs! When you're done with that buy Everything Sucks and remember who told you it was better.

Comments:
After the album ALL was released, the Descendents broke up due to the fact that singer Milo Aukerman wanted to continue his pursuit of a higher education and biochemistry. It was something that he started when he left the band for three years following the release of 1982's Milo Goes To College. The remaining band members recruited a new singer and renamed the band All (that's right, Milo sings on the album All but isn't in the band All). Several years and several All albums later, (which featured two singers before settling on the current and longest standing vocalist, Chad Price) Milo returned and a new Descendents album was released. Following a short tour, Milo once again left the band and returned to his other life as a biochemist. Shortly thereafter, Chad resumed vocal duties with All. In 2004, Milo and the Descendents released their first album together in eight years. Although it's not official, I would count on a new All album within the next year or so.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
The Wanderer 2. I Wonder Why* 3. Abraham, Martin, and John
4.
Runaround Sue 5. That's My Desire* 6. Love Came To Me*
7.
Donna The Prima Donna 8. Drip Drop 9. Lovers Who Wonder
10.
Where Or When* –
*with The Belmonts

 

Bonus cuts:
A Teenager In Love / Book Of Dreams (Written By Springsteen) / Lonely Teenager / Shu-Bop / Little Diane / And The Night Stood Still / Ruby Baby / Midtown American Main Street Gang / Sweet Surrender / Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night (Written By Tom Waits)

Comments:
All of the tunes mentioned here plus many more are contained on the 3-CD Boxed Set "Dion: King Of The New York Streets." In addition to the 3 CD's, there is a sensational 49-page booklet with photo's and Dion's entire story. For example:

The year was 1959; the tour was called "Winter Dance Party." It featured Buddy Holly and The Crickets, The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Dion and The Belmonts. It was freezing in the Midwest. The tour was traveling in an old yellow school bus. Here's the rest of the story from the booklet in Dion's own words: "It was 30 below. Buddy and I huddled under a blanket and shared stories, just to keep warm. Buddy was a very decisive guy. Making plans to charter a plane from Clear Lake, Iowa. Buddy recruited to get enough of us to share the cost of thirty six dollars a seat. I couldn't bring myself to spend the thirty six dollars for a short flight to our next show. This was my parent's whole months rent back in the Bronx. I heard them fight over that amount, more often than not, as to where the money was coming from. Richie Valens and The Big Bopper (aka J.P. Richardson) both had the flu, so I gave up my seat to the Big Bopper and rode in the bus with the troops. We pulled into Moorhead, Minnesota to do the show the next day."

Once inside the hotel, Dion learned via television that the plane had gone down and there were no survivors. He lived on "the day the music died."

In 1989, Lou Reed inducted Dion into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and said, "(I wanted to escape…) the world of SAT tests, the college boards - leap immediately and eternally into the world of Shirley and Lee, The Diablos, The Paragons, The Jesters. The lyrics sat in my head like Shakespearian sonnets with all the power of tragedy: "Gloria," "Why Don't You Write Me Darling." "Send Me A Letter" - The Jacks. And then there was Dion - that great opening to "I Wonder Why" engraved in my skull forever. Dion, whose voice was unlike any other I had heard before. Dion could do all the turns, stretch those syllables so effortlessly, soar so high he could reach the sky and dance there among the stars forever. What a voice that had absorbed and transmogrified all these influences into his own soul, as the wine turns into blood, a voice that stood on its own, remarkably and unmistakably from New York. Bronx Soul. It was the kind of voice you never forget. Over the years that voice has stayed with me, as it has, I'm sure, stayed with you. And whenever I hear it I'm floored with memories of what once was and what could be."

For more check out his web site: www.diondimucci.com

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Catch The Wind 2. Sunshine Superman 3. Mellow Yellow
4.
Season of the Witch 5. Hurdy Gurdy Man 6. Atlantis 7. Lalena
8.
There is a Mountain 9. Wear Your Love Like Heaven 10. Jennifer Juniper
 

Bonus cuts:
Epistle to Dippy / Barabajagal / Colours / To Susan on the West Coast Waiting / Universal Soldier / Cosmic Wheels / Riki Tiki Tavi

Comments:
Donovan Leitch was born May 10, 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland, and upon his emergence on the music scene in the mid-60s, he was known as "Britain's answer to Bob Dylan." In 1965 at the age of nineteen, he released his debut single, the thought provoking folk classic, "Catch The Wind" which reached the Top 5 in Great Britain. He made his debut on American shores at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and was an immediate hit. Signing with Epic Records in 1966, he released his breakthrough album, "Sunshine Superman," which was an international smash containing 2 huge singles - the title track, which reached #1 worldwide, and its Top 5 follow-up, "Mellow Yellow." The following year was the most successful of his career, and in 1969, Donovan collaborated with the Jeff Beck Group on "Barabajagal," the album which contained his final Top 40 hit, "Atlantis." In 1971 he retreated to Ireland where he lived in seclusion and although an occasional album was released, he was never quite satisfied with the results, commercially or artistically. He decided to retire from recording altogether in 1983, but witnessed a renewed interest of his music in the early 90s. Today Donovan still performs and his music remains a major influence on a whole new generation of artists.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Takin' It To The Streets 2. Listen To The Music 3. China Grove
4.
Black Water 5. Long Train Runnin' 6. Jesus Is Just Alright
7.
What a Fool Believes 8. It Keeps You Runnin' 9. Minute By Minute
10.
Rockin' Down The Highway
 

Bonus cuts:
Toulouse Street / Natural Thing / South City Midnight Lady / The Captain and Me /
Sweet Maxine /
Another Park, Another Sunday / Neil's Fandango / Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While) / Rio /
You Belong To Me / Livin' On The Fault Line / Real Love

Comments:
The Doobie Brothers were one of the most popular and successful pop/rock bands to emerge from Southern California in the 1970s. Evolving from a short-lived country-rock band called Pud, guitarist/vocalist Tom Johnston and drummer John Hartman decided to form a new band when the pair began jamming with guitarist Patrick Simmons and bassist Dave Shogren. They called themselves the Doobie Brothers after a slang term for marijuana and soon developed a huge following on the West Coast which led to a recording contract with Warner Brothers in 1971. Their debut album received very little exposure, but it was their second release, 1972's "Toulouse Street" that became the group's breakthrough, fueled by the enormous success of the singles "Listen to the Music" and "Jesus Is Just Alright." In 1973 their rollicking follow-up, "The Captain and Me," spawned an even bigger pair of hits – "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove."

The band continued their rampage up the charts with 1974's "What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits," which contained their first number one single, "Black Water." The album also featured major contributions from former Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, who officially joined the Doobie Brothers on the 1975 release, "Stampede." Just prior to the album's release, Tom Johnston was hospitalized and replaced by keyboardist/vocalist Michael McDonald, who was instrumental in leading the band in a new musical direction. Through McDonald's influence came the Doobies' first platinum release, "Takin' It To The Streets," a superb collection of highly-polished funk, rock, soul, and jazzy pop. McDonald made an indelible mark on the band as his unique writing style and soulful voice had become an integral part of the new Doobie Brothers sound. In 1978, the band hit an all-time high with the release of "Minute By Minute," a Grammy award winning album which spent five weeks at the top of the charts on the strength of the number one single "What a Fool Believes."

The following year, the band started to splinter as several of the original members decided to leave. They had one more platinum release titled "One Step Closer" then decided to call it quits when the band announced their farewell tour in 1982. After the split, Michael McDonald pursued a very successful solo career and in the coming years, various incarnations of the band reunited for tours and recording, attaining one final gold record with the release of their 1989 disc, "Cycles."
There are several greatest hits packages available, but for a concise overview of their work, "The Doobie Brothers Greatest Hits" on the Rhino/Wea label (2001) is highly recommended.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Light My Fire 2. Roadhouse Blues 3. Touch Me 4. LA Woman
5.
When The Music's Over 6. Riders On The Storm 7. Spanish Caravan
8.
Love Me Two Times 9. People Are Strange 10. Love Her Madly
 

Bonus cuts:
The Unknown Soldier / Moonlight Drive / Hello I Love You / Wishful Sinful / Take It As It Comes / You're Lost Little Girl / The End / Five To One / Not To Touch The Earth / Queen Of The Highway

Comments:
Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger, and John Densmore, collectively known as The Doors, were veterans of the Los Angeles Sunset Strip club scene when they were signed to Elektra Records in 1966. Their first single, "Break On Through", was an impressive debut, but it was the enormous power of their second release, "Light My Fire" that brought the band overnight success. They became both a staple on FM rock stations and one of the biggest concert attractions of the late-60s. But success comes with a price and after 2 years of unprecedented record sales and sold-out concerts, the band started to unravel as a result of the self-destructive, alcohol-induced behavior of Morrison. Often out of control on stage, he would incite riots and cause general mayhem, being arrested on several occasions for his unruly behavior. This played quite heavily on the band's reputation and promoters worldwide began canceling shows for fear of violence. The band continued on with their excellent studio work however, and after the final sessions for LA Woman, their 6th album, Morrison decided that a move to Paris was in order. But on the morning of July 3, 1971 at the age of 27, he died of an apparent drug overdose. The loss of Jim Morrison sent shock waves throughout the world and his gravesite in Paris has become a shrine for his many followers. The legacy that The Doors have left behind is one of enormous proportions, and is one that will continue to grow with each new generation.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Under The Boardwalk 2. Up On The Roof 3. Some Kind Of Wonderful
4.
This Magic Moment 5. Save The Last Dance For Me
6.
There Goes My Baby 7.
I Count The Tears
8.
Saturday Night At The Movies 9. On Broadway
10.
Dance With Me Bonus cut: White Christmas

 

Comments:
There were actually two totally different groups called The Drifters and many members who drifted in and out of both combos.
Clyde McPhatter was the first lead singer in the group that began in 1953. My all time favorite version of the holiday classic White Christmas was recorded by that group. Sorry Bing. You can find it today on numerous Christmas CD's. It is a must for any rock and roll collection. The Drifters name was owned by their manager. He'd pay the group members for their recording sessions, but they received no royalties. He also hired and fired members at will and in 1959 this original group disbanded. An entirely new group of Drifters was formed and 1959 to 1964 became their golden era of hits. Carrying on what had become the group's tradition, the lead singers drifted in and out. During that time Ben E. King, Rudy Lewis, and Johnny Moore all took turns singing lead on top ten records before moving on to other pursuits.

The group's material was incredible. They recorded tunes by all the top rock writers of the day including Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Lieber and Stoller, Bert Bacharach, Doc Pomus, Laura Nyro, and Carole King. These mellow soul pioneers paved the way for groups like Boys To Men and Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. The use of strings on There Goes My Baby took R&B to a new level of romantic sophistication, and foreshadowed many great records to come like The Temptations Just My Imagination. The Drifters influenced more than just soul groups. One of the better Grand Funk Railroad tunes is their version of Some Kind Of Wonderful. Jay and The Americans had a hit with their remake of This Magic Moment. Out of respect they would never perform the tune if they were on the same bill with The Drifters. Of course, The Drifters didn't write those tunes, but it was their recordings that influenced the other bands to record them. That influence couldn't be more evident than on The Grassroots hit, Lets Live For Today, and out and out rip off of I Count The Tears.

The Drifters were one of the most romantic and smooth vocal groups in history. The pictures they paint in Under The Boardwalk are so vivid you "can almost taste the hot dogs and French fries they sell." Interestingly enough, artist Guy Peellaert, in his legendary collection of paintings, Rock Dreams, has a beautiful interpretation of The Drifters under the boardwalk. It's there that Nik Cohen writes, "The Drifters were masters of escape . . . their basic message was always the same: Somewhere in this city, so vast and impersonal, so loud and harsh and filthy, their is still a refuge, where nothing can reach you, where fun is still fun."

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) 2. Don't Think Twice It's All Right
3.
Mississippi 4. Like A Rolling Stone 5. Not Dark Yet 6. Highlands
7.
Simple Twist of Fate 8. Desolation Row 9. Visions of Johanna
10.
Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)
 

Bonus cuts:
With more than 500 songs to choose from, and that's not including scores more available on bootlegs, I would have to list a few hundred bonus cuts here before I could cover all my favorites. That said, the albums The Freewheelin Bob Dylan, Bringin It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blood On The Tracks, Time Out Of Mind, and Love and Theft are all more or less perfect albums…. give those a listen and then start digging through the rest of Bob's massive body of work…. save his gospel period (Saved, Slow Train Coming) and his early seventies work (Self Portrait, New Morning) for last.

Comments:
There may be close to a thousand covers out there of Bob Dylan's songs which leaves no doubt about his influence. The albums, Good as I Been To You and World Gone Wrong represent the other side of that coin, as Dylan takes on songs that influenced him throughout his career. Most of the songs are fairly obscure, but if you're interested in hearing the originals, a good number of them appear on the compilation, The Blues Roots of Bob Dylan.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Hotel California 2. New Kid In Town 3. One Of These Nights
4.
Take It Easy 5. Lyin' Eyes 6. Take It To The Limit 7. Heartache Tonight
8.
Desperado 9. The Long Run 10. Best of My Love
 

Bonus cuts:
Witchy Woman / Already Gone / Peaceful, Easy Feeling / Life In The Fast Lane / Tequila Sunrise / I Can't Tell You Why / Hollywood Waltz

Comments:
The Eagles rank among the most successful artists of the 1970s, with five #1 singles and four #1 albums. In the Spring of 1971, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner formed the Eagles, and later that year were signed to David Geffen's new record label, Asylum. They were a hit right from the start with their self-titled debut album, reaching the Top 5 in 1972. Their follow-up LPs, "Desperado," "On The Border," and "One Of These Nights" all went Top 5, with the latter topping the charts at #1. The band went through several personnel changes, the most notable being the addition of former James Gang guitarist Joe Walsh, who added a harder edge to their familiar country-rock sound. Eighteen months after the release of "One Of These Nights," the band followed up with their classic, "Hotel California." Released in December 1976, it was certified platinum in one week and went to #1 the following month, selling a total of over 10,000,000 copies. Their sixth album, "The Long Run," which contained three Top 10 hits, followed almost 2 years later with the same overwhelming success, earning multi-platinum certifications. In May 1982 the band officially announced that they were breaking up, but in 1994 they did regroup to tape an MTV special and pursue a year-long reunion tour. They reunited once again at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1998 and also for a millennium concert in Los Angeles on December 31, 1999.

Tracks compiled by Brian McAlley / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Strange Magic 2. Don't Bring Me Down 3. Livin' Thing 4. Evil Woman
5.
Can't Get It Out Of My Head 6. Telephone Line 7. Last Train To London
8.
Turn To Stone 9. Hold On Tight 10. All Over The World
 

Comments:
The songs of ELO can be considered timeless and will be heard by generations of folks due to their unique, unmistakable, orchestral style that was the brainchild of guitarist/composer Jeff Lynne. The band got its auspicious start in Birmingham, England in the autumn of 1970 as Lynne reunited with vocalist Roy Wood, bassist Rick Price and drummer Bev Bevan, all former members of the eccentric art-pop combo The Move. French horn player Bill Hunt and violinist Steve Woolam were recruited and their self-titled debut album was recorded. The LP sold well in the UK, but it was their second outing, "ELO 2" that brought them worldwide fame, as their extravagant cover of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" caught fire around the globe. Their 1975 album "Face the Music" went gold, generating the hits "Evil Woman" and "Strange Magic," and the follow-up, "A New World Record," sold over five million copies internationally thanks to the hit singles "Telephone Line" and "Livin' Thing." During their reign on the charts the lineup changed constantly, but Lynne and Bevan remained, perfecting their elaborate stage shows and their grandiose rock and roll sound. It is this style (and any particular song) that allows their music much flexibility for a variety of radio station formats. Of course this adds to their longevity. Although Lynne is no longer a member of the band, their music lives on in concert under the careful eye of Bevan as ELO II .

Tracks compiled by 'J.J. MacDade' Nunez / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1.
Happy Together* 2. Elenore* 3. You Showed Me* 4. Keep It Warm**
5.
It Ain't Me Babe* 6. Marmendy Mill** 7. She'd Rather Be With Me*
8.
Afterglow** 9. You Baby* 10. Mama, Open Up**

* The Turtles ** Flo & Eddie
 

Bonus cuts:
The Turtles: She's My Girl / Grim Reaper of Love / You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain / Flo & Eddie:
Feel Older Now / Another Pop Star's Life / Just Another Town / Nikki Hoi / plus their amazing cover of The Ronette's, Best Part Of Breaking Up. Then there's the reggae album, Rock Steady with Flo & Eddie and of course their work as members of Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention on the LPs: Chungas Revenge, Live At The Fillmore, 200 Motels, Just Another Band From L.A. and the You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore series.

Comments:
I like Percy Sledge. I think he goes down in history, tied with Richard Harris, as the one hit wonder of all time. His 'When A Man Loves A Woman' and Richard's 'MacArthur Park' are incredible, one of a kind, classics. Percy had a few other minor hits. 'Take Time To Know Her' comes to mind and I'm sure he had some hits on the R&B charts, and turns in a fine live show. I have no problem with Percy, but I do have one with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You put this one hit wonder in and you ignore Lynyrd Skynyrd? You act like The Sex Pistols never existed?
But this isn't about Skynyrd, Johnny Rotten, or Percy Sledge. This is about two guys who absolutely should be in the Hall because THEY HAVE DONE IT ALL and they've done it with clever humor and wit, intelligence, most likely a lot of Mother Nature, and above all, sensational, imaginative music. Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, aka The Turtles . . . aka Phloresent Leech & Eddie . . . aka Flo & Eddie, are rock and roll, and they've been dishing it out in one form or another for over 4 decades. You can break their rock career up into 5 sections:

1. They started out as a Dick Dale instrumental-type band called The Crossfires.

2. They became a pop folk/rock Top 40 band when they released Bob Dylan's 'It Ain't Me Babe' as The Turtles. When the record was a Top 20 smash, Dylan heard them perform it in New York and told them, "That's a great tune, it should be a record." They did the usual 60's pop star things like The Dick Clark Caravan of Stars with a young Tom Jones, Peter & Gordon and the like, they did TV shows like Hullabaloo and Ed Sullivan, and once they appeared at The White House, as they were Trisha Nixon's fave raves and of course, they had a slew of top ten hits.

But these guys weren't The Grassroots or The Buckinghams. There was some other subversive satire going on under their little Happy Together ditties. I always thought of The Turtles as The Beatles with a southern California sensibility and sense of humor. They had more in common with Monty Python than they did with Paul Revere and The Raiders. If the original cast of Saturday Night Live was a rock group, they would have been The Turtles. Exhibit A: Their 1968 masterpiece 'The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands.' It was a satirical concept album that came out the year after The Beatles disguised themselves as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. On this LP, The Turtles appeared in the guise of many different groups doing lots of different kinds of rock. They were Natures Children, The Quad City Ramblers, Chief Kamanawanalea and his Royal Macadamia Nuts, and even The Crossfires showed up with a Beach Boys-like 'Surfer Dan.' One of my all-time favorite records 'Elenore' is from this album and contains that great line, "You're my pride and joy, etcetera." The word etcetera is part of the lyric, you understand? A rock first. Major legal hassles with their record company and managers (read greed and ego) killed The Turtles. Mark and Howie couldn't use the group's or their own names due to the legal BS, so the next phase of their career began as they became . . .

3. The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie and full-time members of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. They went from Top 40 stars to singers in one of the most progressive and just plain far out musical groups of all time. FM radio didn't even play much of Zappa's music due to some of the colorful lyrics, but Frank recognized the guys' vocal and performing talents, and zany counter culture style humor. They toured the world with The Mothers. They were in Switzerland when the concert hall they were booked in burned to the ground. Check out Deep Purple's 'Smoke On The Water' for the whole story of that gig. After Zappa was put out of action by a fan that attacked him in London, the boys began the next phase of their career.

4. They began recording and touring as Flo & Eddie. The sound? Turtles meet Zappa, the best of both groups and they had albums on Warners and Epic. It was great stuff that was kind of lost in the 70's shuffle, but did get some FM airplay. It's worth seeking out, and there is a 'The Best of Flo & Eddie' that came out on Rhino in 87. It's a fine overview.

5. With legal actions cleared up, they next became Flo & Eddie and The Turtles and still perform today. There are two different versions of the show though. There's the type of gig that they did for years at New York's Bottom Line on New Years Eve where they mix Flo & Eddie material with Turtles hits and just a dab of Mothers just to make it interesting. This is all covered with a heavy dose of their head trip, rock style satire and the result is a trippy Off Broadway musical. Then there's the other act they do at Epcot and 60's oldies shows around the country. This performance offers a dozen or so of their greatest hits in a fun for the whole family kind of presentation. Both shows are great and I suggest you catch them live when you can.

There's a line from ' Mama, Open Up' that goes, "It started out so simple and got so far out of hand/making show biz out of what was fun." – the story of Flo & Eddie – two great and under-rated rock and rollers!

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. If I Ever Leave This World Alive 2. Death Valley Queen
3.
Whistles The Wind 4. Rare Auld Times
5.
The Worst Day Since Yesterday 6. To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)
7.
With A Wonder and A Wild Desire 8. The Likes Of You Again
9.
Every Dog Has It's Day 10. What's Left of the Flag
 

Bonus cuts:
Still Screaming at the Wailing Wall / The Seven Deadly Sins / The Sun Never Shines (On Closed Doors) / Tobacco Island / Black Friday Rule / The Wrong Company / Salty Dog / Rebels of the Sacred Heart

Comments:
With no offence to The Skels or The Mahones, or The Real McKenzies, or any of the other great bands on the compilation of Celtic folk punk, Shite and Onions Vol. 1, there are really only three bands in the genre with relatively widespread popularity. First come the fathers of the idea of taking traditional Irish music and fusing it with punk rock, The Pogues. Then there's the wildly popular Boston punk band, The Dropkick Murphys. Finally, there's Flogging Molly.

While The Pogues lean towards a more traditional sound and the Dropkick Murphys are more or less just a punk band with a bagpipe player, Flogging Molly offers a perfectly balanced approach to mixing the two sounds. They jump around easily from acoustic ballads to raucous punk romps, often within the same song.

As for their lyrics, the word brilliant comes to mind. There's a playfulness and a spitefulness to the songs along with a sense of both desperation and hope which rivals even the best stuff Shane MacGowan wrote for the Pogues. One example of this comes in the song "Death Valley Queen", which is about falling for a girl and having her reject you. In the second verse, you'll find the following lines: "So I found me a whore/with a face just like yours/after several gallons of porter!"
Nuff said.

Tracks compiled by Mike D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. Big Girls Don't Cry 2. December 1963 (Oh What A Night)
3.
Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye) 4. Sherry 5. Dawn (Go Away)
6.
Candy Girl 7. Rag Doll 8. Let's Hang On 9. Who Loves You
10.
Workin' My Way Back To You
 

Bonus cuts:
I've Got You Under My Skin / Walk Like A Man / Stay / Ronnie / Save It For Me / Big Man In Town / Tell It To The Rain / C'mon Marianne / Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow / Also a hit that is the result of the group fooling around in the studio while recording some album tracks, Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice, released under the name The Wonder Who.

Comments:
Somewhere between Little Richard and The Beatles, rock and roll's second wave was washing over the audio sands of the transistor radios owned by every teen. It was an era of one hit wonders like Paul & Paula with "Hey Paula," The Cascades with "Rhythm Of The Rain," and Ruby & The Romantics with "Our Day Will Come." It was a time when Lou Christie's string of hits shared the charts with the new Motown tunes like "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" by The Miracles, and the Spector "Wall of Sound" classics like "He's Sure The Boy I Love" from the Crystals. Back then Dion, Jackie Wilson, and Del Shannon were on the same charts as Eydie Gorme, Johnny Mathis and The Rooftop Singers.

The Four Seasons stood out from the pack. They weren't from the neighborhood like The Belmonts, they weren't as soulful as The Dells, but they had a sound like no other and the falsetto of Frank Castelluccio (Frankie Valli) was that sound. They formed in Newark, New Jersey in the fifties and went through a number of lineup and name changes before they settled in as The Four Seasons. At different times they were known as Frank Valley and The Travelers, The Variations, and The Four Lovers. When Bob Gaudio - who had a hit called "Who Wears Short Shorts" with a group that also featured a young Al Kooper, The Royal Teens - joined up, they became Frankie Valley and the Romans. As years rolled on, Gaudio would become the writer and producer of the group's biggest hits.

The Four Seasons name was attached to their first hit single "Sherry," which was the beginning of an amazing run of 29 Top 40 hits. Interestingly enough, an album released on the now-defunct Vee-Jay label that consisted of two vintage LP's, "Introducing The Beatles," and "Golden Hits Of The Four Seasons," bombed upon release. Today that album, "The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons" is a much sought after collectible.

Unlike many vocal groups, the Seasons hung tough during the British Invasion and scored chart hits through the 70's. They have sold over 85 million records and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. An award winning musical telling their story called "Jersey Boys" is currently running on Broadway - a genuine tribute to their amazing and timeless music.

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. I Can't Help Myself 2. Reach Out I'll Be There 3.
Baby I Need Your Lovin'
4. It's The Same Old Song 5. Ain't No Woman (Like The One I Got)
6.
Ask The Lonely 7.
Walk Away Renee 8. Something About You
9.
Shake Me Wake Me (When It's Over) 10. Standing In The Shadows Of Love

 

Bonus cuts:
When She Was My Girl / Bernadette / 7 Rooms of Gloom / If I Were A Carpenter / Still Water / Keeper Of The Castle / Are You Man Enough

Comments:
I consider myself blessed. Somehow over the years I've had the privilege of seeing hundreds of incredible music artists live and in concert. Elvis, Dylan, James Brown, Skynyrd, Queen, Dion, Elton, Chuck Berry, Rancid, Phish, The Allmans, the list seems endless and blows me away. But it all began in the 60's back at New Rochelle High School when I saw my first concert performance by a hit-making recording group, The Four Tops. I guess you could say it was an evening that changed my life. The soulful and emotional vocals of Levi Stubbs souring over the Tops' silk-like harmonies were the stuff legends were made of. It was an amazing experience and I set out to duplicate it as many times as I could. The time I've spent seeing and hearing live concerts certainly have been some of the best times of my life and it began when Levi, Obie Benson, Abdul Fakir and Lawrence Payton worked out with I Can't Help Myself all those years ago.

With the passing of Obie Benson on July 1st, only two of the original group are still with us – Levi Stubbs, who left the group in 2000 due to illness, and "Duke" Fakir. Lawrence Payton died in 1997.

The Four Tops' body of work, both their recordings and live performances, equal 4 decades of incredible Detroit soul. The music will live forever via CD and/or whatever new technology comes down the pike in the future. Benson put the group together while all 4 members were still in high school in 1954. They began as The Four Aims, and worked for 10 years as a jazz act with the Count Basie Orchestra and Billy Eckstein. Motown's Berry Gordy signed them after seeing them perform a jazzy version of In The Still Of The Night on the Tonight Show. They recorded Baby I Need Your Lovin' and there was no turning back. They had hits on Motown, ABC, and Casablanca Records.

Here's a fascinating story from Benson's obituary in The New York Times:
"One afternoon in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, he was sitting with a friend, enjoying the street life. He was stunned when police descended on a crowd of hippies, pummeling them for no apparent reason, Mr. Benson recalled in an interview last year. Returning to Detroit, Mr. Benson wrote the lyrics for what became the protest song "What's Goin' On." Knowing the tune did not fit the Tops upbeat style, he offered it to Marvin Gaye, who embraced it despite the initial objections of Mr. Gordy, who doubted the tune would sell."

There were many great soul groups in the 60's, but The Temptations and The Four Tops, both from the Motown label, stood head and shoulders above the rest. The CD, Anthology: The Four Tops 50th Anniversary is a must for any serious collector or casual fan of great music.

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index





TOP 10 TRACKS:

1. Before The Next Teardrop Falls 2. Wasted Days & Wasted Nights
3.
You'll Lose A Good Thing 4. Talk To Me 5. Secret Love 6. Vaya Con Dios
7.
Since I Met You Baby 8. Livin' It Down 9. The Rains Came
10.
If You Don't Love Me (Why Don't You Just Leave Me Alone)

 

Comments:
When introducing him, David Letterman called Freddy "One of the greatest voices in all of music." Amen to that.

He was born Baldemar Huerta in the town of San Benito, Texas. At 16 he joined the Marines and served for 3 years. Then he became known as "El Be-Bop-Kid." His first few records were Spanish versions of American rock & roll hits like Elvis' "Don't Be Cruel" which topped the charts in South America and Mexico.

In 1975 he broke through big time in the United States when he released a perfect record - "Before the Next Teardrop Falls." The recording is brilliant in its simplicity, and the sincerity of Freddy's vocal is priceless. This is a man with a broken heart, but a man who still has hope and wants the object of his affection to know that he'd still be there for her in a teardrop…before the teardrop falls! He cut this tune in Houston in 1974. ABC-Dot Records bought the master and in the spring of '75 the tune was number one on the Billboard country and pop charts.

How does a simple Tex-Mex ballad top the charts over great records by Elton John, LaBelle, The Bee Gees, The Eagles, David Bowie, Barry White, Earth Wind & Fire, Wings, and Al Green? Like I said, IT'S A PERFECT RECORD . . . PERIOD. After "Teardrop" in the mid 70's he had a string of country and pop hits including "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights." He won Grammys, played the White House and even focused on an acting career highlighted by an appearance in the 1988 Robert Redford film The Milagro Beanfield War. In 1990 Fender helped form the Tex-Mex supergroup Texas Tornados and recorded several popular albums with them.

After being diagnosed with cancer in the early months of 2006, he was quoted as saying, "I feel very comfortable in my life. I'm one year away from 70 and I've had a good run. I really believe I'm OK. In my mind and in my heart, I feel OK. I cannot complain that I haven't lived long enough, but I'd like to live longer."

Sadly, Freddy Fender succumbed to his disease and passed away on October 14, 2006.

Tracks compiled by Ray D'Ariano / Back to index



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