of the Best A-F
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
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!
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!
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
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.
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. 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.
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
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
6. Back Where It All Begins 7. Seven Turns 8. Wasted Words
9. Come On In My Kitchen 10. Desdemona
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.
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
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
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
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.
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.
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
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
Broken Dreams / Mariner / On The Rocks / Telephone Exchange / She's A
Mover / 20th Century Foxes / Better Days
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
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.
compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter
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
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
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.
compiled by Brian McAlley
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'
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
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.
compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter
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
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.
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.
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
1. The Weight 2. The Shape I'm In 3. Up On Cripple Creek 4. It Makes No
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
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)
'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.
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
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
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
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.
compiled by Brian McAlley
1. So Whatcha Want 2. Fight For Your Right 3. Hey Ladies 4. No Sleep Til
5. Professor Booty 6. Shake Your Rump 7. Johnny Ryall 8. Flute Loop 9.
An Open Letter to NYC
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.
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!
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
1. I Saw Her Standing There 2. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (LP)
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)
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.
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
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
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."
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
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
9. Around and Around 10. You Can't Catch Me
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
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'."
compiled by Mildred Brisbane
1. My War 2. Nervous Breakdown 3. Beat My Head Against the Wall 4. Rise
5. TV Party 6. Fix Me 7. Can't Decide 8. Black Coffee 9. Wasted 10. Six
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.
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.
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
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
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
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
compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter
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
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
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.
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
1. Quarter To Three 2. New Orleans 3. This Little Girl 4. I've Got Dreams
5. Dedication 6. School Is Out 7. Jole Blon 8. Club Soul City 9. Every
Time I Roll The Dice
10. Dear Lady Twist
#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
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.
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
1. Foreplay/Long Time 2. More Than A Feeling 3. Don't Look Back 4. Feelin'
5. Peace of Mind 6. Smokin' 7. Rock & Roll Band 8. Hitch A Ride 9.
Dreams* 10. Cool The Engines
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
* Denotes a selection from the "Barry Goudreau" album
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
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?
compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter
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.
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.
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.
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
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)
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."
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
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."
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
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
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
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.
compiled by Brian McAlley
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
8. Have You Seen Her Face 9. Mr. Spaceman 10. All I Really Want To Do
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
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
compiled by Brian McAlley
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
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.
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
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
Chance & the Earls
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.
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
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.
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!
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
Dave Clark Five
1. Glad All Over 2. Bits and Pieces 3. Can't You See That She's Mine 4.
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
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.
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.
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.
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
1. Clampdown 2. Safe European Home 3. Jimmy Jazz 4. Death or Glory 5.
6. 1-2 Crush On You 7. The Magnificent Seven 8. London Calling 9. Should
I Stay or Should I Go
10. Career Opportunities
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.
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
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.
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
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.
7. I Can Stand A Little Rain 8. Up Where We Belong (with Jennifer Warnes)
9. Cry Me A River 10. Unchain My Heart
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."
compiled by Mark Witner
TOP 10 TRACKS:
2. Viva La Vida 3. Yellow 4. In My Place 5. Trouble 6. Speed of Sound
8. The Scientist 9. Fix You 10. Don't Panic
Put a Smile Upon Your Face
/ Shiver / The Hardest Part / Don't Panic
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
today... nothing to do with Beatlemania
when you love
someone but it goes to waste
lead vocals, keyboards, guitar
drums, backing vocals, other instruments
two dark bars tattooed on your hand
And open up your eyes, open up your eyes, open up
your eyes, open up your eyes
. a chemistry
you dont have to understand
. all you have to do is listen
. and enjoy the 78th best band ever....... best band ever
compiled by Lady Jane Rushmore
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
"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
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.
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
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
Anyone For Tennis / Sweet Wine / Sitting On Top of the World / Rollin'
and Tumblin' / N.S.U. / World of Pain / Swlabr
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.
compiled by Brian McAlley
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.
10. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
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
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
compiled by Brian McAlley
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
7. Workin' At The Car Wash Blues 8. Speedball Tucker 9. New York's Not
My Home 10. I Got A Name
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
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.
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.
compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter
Stills & Nash
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
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
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.
compiled by Brian McAlley
Deal & the Rhondels
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
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.
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
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
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)
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.
compiled by Scott "Dr. Music" Itter
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
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.
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.
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
1. The Wanderer 2. I Wonder Why* 3. Abraham, Martin, and John 4. Runaround
5. That's My Desire* 6. Love Came To Me* 7. Donna The Prima Donna 8. Drip
9. Lovers Who Wonder 10. Where Or When* *with The Belmonts
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)
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
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
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
1. Catch The Wind 2. Sunshine Superman 3. Mellow Yellow 4. Season of the
5. Hurdy Gurdy Man 6. Atlantis 7. Lalena 8. There is a Mountain 9. Wear
Your Love Like Heaven
10. Jennifer Juniper
Epistle to Dippy / Barabajagal / Colours / To Susan on the West Coast
Waiting / Universal Soldier / Cosmic Wheels / Riki Tiki Tavi
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
compiled by Brian McAlley
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
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
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.
compiled by Brian McAlley
1. Light My Fire 2. Roadhouse Blues 3. Touch Me 4. LA Woman 5. When The
6. Riders On The Storm 7. Spanish Caravan 8. Love Me Two Times 9. People
10. Love Her Madly
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
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.
compiled by Brian McAlley
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
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."
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
1. It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) 2. Don't Think Twice It's All Right
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
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.
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.
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
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
Witchy Woman / Already Gone / Peaceful, Easy Feeling / Life In The Fast
Lane / Tequila Sunrise / I Can't Tell You Why / Hollywood Waltz
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,
compiled by Brian McAlley
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
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 .
compiled by 'J.J. MacDade' Nunez
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: 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.
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:
They started out as a Dick Dale instrumental-type band called The Crossfires.
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.
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
. . .
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.
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.
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.
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
compiled by Ray D'ArianoTurtles
** Flo & Eddie
1. If I Ever Leave This World Alive 2. Death Valley Queen 3. Whistles
4. Rare Auld Times 5. The Worst Day Since Yesterday 6. To Youth (My Sweet
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
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
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!"
compiled by Mike D'Ariano
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
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.
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.
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.
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
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
8. Something About You 9. Shake Me Wake Me (When It's Over) 10. Standing
In The Shadows Of Love
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
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
compiled by Ray D'Ariano
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
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
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
compiled by Ray D'Ariano