Saturday, July 16, 2011

This Date in Rock Music History: July 17

1961:  "Buttered Popcorn" was released as the second single from a new group called the Supremes.

1961:  Brook Benton had the top Easy Listening song with "The Boll Weevil Song". 
1961:  Bobby Lewis had the top R&B song for the third straight week with "Tossin' And Turnin'".
1965:  The Kinks arrived in New York City to begin their first American tour.
1965:  Beatles VI was #1 on the Album chart for the second week in only its fourth week of release while Herman's Hermits On Tour was #2.

1965:  It was a good time in music with "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones remaining at #1, the classic Four Tops song "I Can't Help Myself" still at #2 after reaching #1 itself, Herman's Hermits with the fun "I'm Henry VIII, I Am" at #3 and the Byrds at 4 with their classic "Mr. Tambourine Man".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Cara Mia" from Jay & the Americans, Barbara Mason's "Yes, I'm Ready", "Seventh Son" by Johnny Rivers at #7, Ian Whitcomb's "You Turn Me On", Jackie DeShannon with "What The World Needs Now Is Love" at #9 and moving from 17-10, Tom Jones with "What's New Pussycat?".
1965:  The Four Tops were spinning right as "I Can't Help Myself" was the #1 R&B song for the seventh consecutive week.
1968:  The Beatles' animated film Yellow Submarine premiered at the London Pavilion.

1971:  Two solo artists debuted on the chart with their first singles.  Rod Stewart's first song was "Maggie May".

1971.  Bill Withers released his first single--"Ain't No Sunshine".

1971:  Detroit D.J. Tom Clay's great rendition of "What The World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin And John" moved from #84 to #49.
1971:  Carole King had the top Adult Contemporary song for the fourth straight week with "It's Too Late".

           Stanley, Idaho with majestic Sawtooth Mountains in the background...

1971:  Stanley, Idaho's Carole King remained at #1 on the Album chart for the fifth week with Tapestry.

Carly Simon hit the Top 10 with her first single...

1971:  Carole King had one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, "It's Too Late" at #1 for a fourth week.  Boise, Idaho's Paul Revere and the Raiders were at #2 with "Indian Reservation".  James Taylor was making a strong move (6-3) with "You've Got A Friend" while the biggest career hit for Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds--"Don't Pull Your Love" edged up to #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Treat Her Like A Lady", the great song from Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose, "Mr. Big Stuff" from Jean Knight, the Carpenters on their way down with "Rainy Days And Mondays", Tommy James' first solo hit "Draggin' The Line" moving from 14-8, an even faster riser "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" from the Bee Gees and "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" from Carly Simon.

1972:  Bread released the single "Guitar Man".
1974:  The innovative Moody Blues opened their own recording studio in London, which would be the first to allow recordings in quadrophonic sound.
1974:  The Eagles performed at the Mississippi River Festival in Edwardsville, Illinois.
1975:  Ringo Starr divorced his wife Maureen Cox.  (Note:  some websites incorrectly say the divorce was finalized on July 1.  The correct date is July 17, according to the book 'Penny Laine's Anthology' by Terry Rowan.)
1976:  Neil Diamond achieved his fourth #1 Adult Contemporary song with "If You Know What I Mean".

1976:  The Bee Gees stepped up from #51 to #25 with "You Should Be Dancing".

                                                The great title track from Breezin'...

1976:  Wings at the Speed of Sound was the #1 album, followed by the Beatles' Rock 'N' Roll Music, a #2 album released six years after their breakup.  George Benson's superb Breezin' was #3 with Chicago X moving up to #4 and the self-titled Fleetwood Mac at 5.  The rest of the Top 10:  Aerosmith's Rocks at #6, Frampton Comes Alive! at #7, Beautiful Noise from Neil Diamond, Look Out for #1 by the Brothers Johnson at 9 and Changesonebowie by David Bowie rounding out the list.

                                                       Starbuck hit the Top 10...

1976:  "Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band was #1 for the second week, with the Manhattans getting impatient waiting at #2 with "Kiss And Say Goodbye".  The Brothers Johnson held on to #3 with their great summer smash "I'll Be Good to You", the Andrea True Connection was at position #4 with "More, More, More" and newcomer Starbuck moved up from 13-5 with "Moonlight Feels Right".  The rest of a solid Top 10:  Gary Wright's "Love Is Alive", the Captain & Tennille with "Shop Around", the Beatles' 65th hit "Got To Get You Into My Life" at #8, "Silly Love Songs" from Wings at #9 and the Beach Boys' 45th hit "Rock And Roll Music".

1979:  The Little River Band released the single "Reminiscing". 
1982:  Ronnie Milsap maintained the #1 position on the AC chart for the fifth week with "Any Day Now".
1982:  Asia owned the top album for the fifth week with their self-titled debut.

                                                  .38 Special reached the Top 10...

1982:  The Human League held on to #1 for a third week with "Don't You Want Me" while Toto's superior "Rosanna" remained second for the third week.  "Hurts So Good" by John Mellencamp had #3 with "Hurts So Good" and Survivor were making their move with "Eye Of The Tiger".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Let It Whip" from the Dazz Band, Fleetwood Mac moved up from 12 to 6 with "Hold Me", Juice Newton scored her fourth straight Top 10 with "Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me", Soft Cell moved up to #8 with "Tainted Love", the Motels were at 9 with "Only The Lonely" and once again .38 Special claimed the #10 spot with their great song "Caught Up in You". 

1991:  Color Me Badd released "I Adore Mi Amor".
1991:  Lynyrd Skynyrd added several new members and began a world tour in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1991:  James Brown was released after two years in prison.
1992:  Cover your ears!  Guns N' Roses, Metallica and Faith No More were on the same bill as they began a tour at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
1993:  Take That reached #1 in the U.K. with "Pray".
1993:  U2 had the top U.K. album with Zooropa.
1993:  Music lovers had been starving for good music so much that Barbra Streisand's album Back to Broadway debuted at #1.  Janet by Janet Jackson fell to #2.  Core by the Stone Temple Pilots at #3 and Breathless from Kenny G at #7 are the only other Top 10 albums worth mentioning.

1993:  Expose rose to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with their great song "I'll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me)".
1994:  Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS made a surprise visit to a KISS Convention.
1995:  Robbie Williams left the group Take That.
1996:  Jimmy Chamberlin was fired from the Smashing Pumpkins, a week after being arrested in connection with the drug death of touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin.

1996:  Chas Chandler, bass guitarist for the Animals who later became Jimi Hendrix's manager, recruited musicians to be in the Jimi Hendrix Experience and managed Slade, died of a heart condition at Newcastle Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne, England at the age of 58.
1996:  The Eagles were in concert at Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
1997:  Michael Jackson performed at Wembley Stadium in London for the final night of his three-night gig.
1999:  Kevin Wilkinson, drummer with Howard Jones who also worked with Squeeze, hung himself at home in Baydon, Wiltshire, England at the age of 41.
2003:  Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck were interviewed on the NBC show Dateline.

2005:  James Blunt controlled the U.K. with "You're Beautiful" and Back to Bedlam holding down the #1 positions on the single and Album chart, respectively.
2005:  R. Kelly rose to the top of the Album chart in the U.S. with TP.3 Reloaded.
2006:  Dave Navarro, guitarist with Jane's Addiction, and Carmen Electra announced they were divorcing.  (Note:  several websites report the split occurring July 18, but the correct date is July 17, according to 'MTV'.  Navarro addressed the matter on his website July 18, but the two first announced the breakup to 'Star' magazine.)
2009:  Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon died of a heart attack at the age of 64.  (Note:  several websites report his death as being July 16.  Those websites pulled the plug on Waller a bit early.  He went into the emergency room in a hospital in Norwich, Connecticut on Thursday, July 16, and died early Friday morning, July 17, according to the newspaper 'The Los Angeles Times'.)

Born This Day:
1932:  Vince Guaraldi, who gave us the great instrumentals "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" and "Linus And Lucy", was born in San Francisco, California; died February 6, 1976 of a heart attack in between sets in Menlo Park, California.

1939:  Spencer Davis, founder, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with the Spencer Davis Group, a member of Traffic, and a solo star, was born in Bonymaen, Swansea, Wales.  
1942:  Gale Garnett ("We'll Sing In The Sunshine" from 1964) was born in Auckland, New Zealand.
1947:  Wolfgang Flur, who played electronic drums for the group Kraftwerk (the great song "Autobahn" from 1975), was born in Frankfurt, Gemany.
1947:  Mick Tucker, drummer of Sweet, was born in Harlesden, Middlesex, England; died of leukemia on February 14, 2002 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England.
1949:  Mike Vale, bass guitarist for Tommy James & the Shondells, was born in New Alexanderia, Pennsylvania.
1949:  Terry "Geezer" Butler, bass guitarist and lyricist of Black Sabbath, was born in Aston, Birmingham, England.
1949:  John Wetton, bass guitarist for King Crimson, and later with Roxy Music and Asia, was born in Derby, Derbyshire, England.  (Note:  some websites report he was born on June 12, and some report he was born in Willington, Derbyshire, England.  Unfortunately, there are no credible sources for either his birthdate or birthplace.  Our best research indicates he was born in Willington on July 17.)

1950:  Phoebe Snow (Phoebe Ann Laub) was born in New York City; died April 26, 2011 in Edison, New Jersey after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage in 2010.

1950:  Damon Harris, member of the Temptations from 1971-1975, was born in Baltimore, Maryland; died February 18, 2013 of prostate cancer in a Baltimore, Maryland hospice.

1952:  Nicolette Larson was born in Helena, Montana; died December 16, 1997 in Los Angeles at the age of 45 from cerebral edema brought on by liver failure.
1952:  Chet McCracken, drummer of the Doobie Brothers beginning in 1979, was born in Seattle, Washington.

1963:  Regina Belle was born in Englewood, New Jersey.
1971:  JC (Jarrett Cordes) of PM Dawn was born in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Discography: Joni Mitchell

This Canadian superstar wrote some of the most probing lyrics and beautiful melodies that have come our way in the Rock Era.  Here is a complete Discography of her albums:

1968:  Song to a Seagull (#189)
1969:  Clouds (#31, #22 Canada)

1970:  Ladies of the Canyon (#27, #16 Canada, #8 U.K. --superb album
1971:  Blue (#15, #9 Canada, #3 U.K.) --another great album
1972:  For the Roses (#11, #5 Canada)

1974:  Court and Spark (#2, #1 Canada, #14 U.K.) --Joni's best
1975:  The Hissing of Summer Lawns (#4, #7 Canada, #14 U.K.)
1976:  Hejira (#13, #22 Canada, #11 U.K.)
1977:  Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (#25, #28 Canada, #20 U.K.)
1979:  Mingus (#17, #37 Canada, #24 U.K.)
1982:  Wild Things Run Fast (#25, #33 Canada, #32 U.K.)
1985:  Dog Eat Dog (#63, #44 Canada, #57 U.K.)

1988:  Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm (#45, #23 Canada, #26 U.K.)
1991:  Night Ride Home (#41, #29 Canada, #25 U.K.)
1994:  Turbulent Indigo (#47, #24 Canada, #53 U.K.)
1998:  Taming the Tiger (#75, #86 Canada, #57 U.K.)
2000:  Both Sides Now (#66 #19 Canada, #50 U.K.)
2002:  Travelogue

2007:  Shine (#14, #13 Canada, #36 U.K.)

Live Albums:
1974:  Miles of Aisles (#2, #13 Canada, #34 U.K.)
1980:  Shadows and Light (#38, #73 Canada, #63 U.K.)

1996:  Hits (#161)
2003:  The Complete Geffen Recordings
2004:  The Beginning of Survival
           Dreamland (#173, #43 U.K.)
2005:  Starbuck's Artist's Choice:  Joni Mitchell
           Songs of a Prairie Girl

Five Best Songs: Little River Band

I'm told this Australia band was fantastic live, though I missed out on a chance to see them.  Their music has always been great, and nailing down their Five Best was not easy--very tough not to include "We Two" or "Lonesome Loser".  Here they are:

1.  "Reminiscing"

2.  "Lady"

3.  "Cool Change"

4.  "It's a Long Way There"

5.  "Help Is On the Way"

The #25 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Shepherd Moons" by Enya

Whereas you would expect all Top Songs of the Rock Era* to be highly successful on the singles chart, the same isn't necessarily true for The Top Albums of the Rock Era*.

Case in point this album at #25.  It is an example of why you don't want to factor in chart success too much and you don't want to factor in sales records too much.  And ultimately, it is the quality of the album that matters the most, both to the album-consuming public and to this countdown.  Shepherd Moons by Enya reached a peak of #17.  That certainly isn't going to get it into the Top Albums*.  But then you see that the album remained on the album chart for 238 weeks (over 4 1/2 years), meaning that the album outsold nearly all of the albums which supposedly were ahead of it at the time.  To remain on the best-seller list for that length of time means the album has a lot going for it; it's not just a flash in the pan but actually better than the albums most people were aware of at the time.  The album did reach #1 in the U.K. (hats off to my friends across the Atlantic.)

One need look no further than the Track Rating* (9.29) for this album to understand its quality and significance.  It is the only New Age album in the Top 100, out-performing every other release in its genre.  Radio station disc jockeys and music and program directors are still scratching their heads trying to figure out how it could possibly be so popular since they didn't play it.  The reality is that the album was popular because of today's radio stations, which are so formulated and restricted in what they play (and the public knows it) that the music public doesn't trust the radio stations anymore to tell them what is good--they have plenty of other sources (like this blog!) that give them more reliable information.

Nope, popular radio did not play one song from this album, and yet it sold five million copies and is today the #25 Album of the Rock Era*.  "Caribbean Blue" was the one single in the United States; it was a fairly big hit on the more reliable Adult Contemporary stations but Top 40 radio essentially ignored it.  But this album, like the others in the Top 100, can be tracked through and contains a bunch of songs better than the single.  Millions of people have bought the album because it is inspiration--very tough to stay in a bad mood after listening to this album.  

The Title track is excellent and sets the mood.  "Angeles" is beautiful and pure as the driven snow.  "Book of Days" is another excellent track.  "How Can I Keep from Singing?" sounds like a voice from heaven and the final five tracks have you wondering if maybe you are in heaven.  Listening heaven anyway.  "Marble Halls", in fact, sounds as if it were sung by an angel and "Smaointe" in the perfect ending for the album with a particularly haunting oboe at the end. Since radio refused to play this album, most of the songs on it are thus among The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era* and I will be featuring them in future weeks and months Inside the Rock Era.

Shepherd Moons won a Grammy for Best New Age Album.

Shepherd Moons:

1.    "Shepherd Moons" --3:42
2.    "Caribbean Blue" --3:58
3.    "How Can I Keep from Singing?" --4:23
4.    "Ebudae" --1:54
5.    "Angeles" --3:57
6.    "No Holly for Miss Quinn" --2:40
7.    "Book of Days" --2:32
8.    "Evacuee" --3:50
9.    "Lothlorien" --2:08
10.  "After Ventus" --4:05
11.  "Smaointe..." --6:07

Enya played percussion, keyboards and piano in addition to singing.  Roy Jewitt played clarinet on the album, Andy Duncan and Nicky Ryan handled percussion, Liam O'Flynn played uillean pipes, and Steve Sidwell played cornet.

Shepherd Moons was recorded between 1989 and 1991.  Ryan produced the album while Gregg Jackman and Ryan engineered and mixed it.  Ryan and Enya were the arrangers; David Scheinmann provided photography.  The album was released November 4, 1991 on Reprise Records, a division of Warner Brothers.

The hauntingly beautiful Shepherd Moons lands at #25 All-Time, from Enya.

Friday, July 15, 2011

This Date in Rock Music History: July 16

1955:  Fats Domino wouldn't budge from #1 on the R&B chart for a seventh week with "Ain't That A Shame".  It was Domino's first single.
1959:  The Coasters recorded "Poison Ivy" at Atlantic Recording Studios in New York City.

1962:  Nat King Cole released the single "Ramblin' Rose".
1962:  The Beach Boys signed a recording contract with Capitol Records.
1963:  The Beach Boys completed recording of "In My Room" and "Catch A Wave".


1966:  Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker formed the supergroup Cream.
1966:  Frank Sinatra camped out at #1 for a seventh week on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Strangers In The Night".
1966:  The Temptations had the #1 R&B song for the eighth week with "Ain't Too Proud To Beg".


                    Sinatra tried to break through Herb Alpert's monopoly...

1966:  Once again Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass dominated the Album chart with three of the Top 10--What Now My Love at #1, Whipped Cream & Other Delights at #3 in its 62nd week and Going Places at #7 in its 40th week.  Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra was #2 and the Mamas & Papas had #4--If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.  The rest of the Top 10:  Lou Rawls Live!, the Soundtrack to "Doctor Zhivago" at #6, Wonderfulness by comedian Bill Cosby, the Soundtrack to "The Sound of Music" in its 70th week and at #10, Paul Revere & the Raiders from Boise, Idaho with Midnight Ride.

1966:  Tommy James & the Shondells moved up to #1 with their first single "Hanky Panky" (not bad).  The Troggs were at #2 with "Wild Thing" and the Cyrkle were still hanging around at #3 with "Red Rubber Ball".  Dusty Springfield edged up with her biggest hit "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" and the Beatles' former #1 "Paperback Writer" was at #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Strangers In The Night" from Frank Sinatra, the Association at #7 with their first single--"Along Comes Mary", the Syndicate of Sound with "Little Girl", Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs had a Top 10 with "Lil' Red Riding Hood" and Paul Revere & the Raiders from Boise, Idaho with "Hungry", moving 15 to 10.
1967:  Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins and Janis Ian were among those who appeared at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. 
1968:  Big Brother & the Holding Company and Sly & the Family Stone christened the newly-named Fillmore West in San Francisco with a live show.
1969:  Diana Ross & the Supremes were the guest hostesses on The Tonight Show on NBC-TV.
1969:  Janis Joplin was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show.
1969:  The Beatles worked on two George Harrison songs, "Here Comes The Sun" and "Something", in two sessions at Abbey Road Studios in London.

1970:  Diana Ross released the second single of her solo career--"Ain't No Mountain High Enough".

1972:  Smokey Robinson performed with the Miracles for the final time at the Carter Barron Amphitheater in Washington, D.C.
1976:  The Allman Brothers Band called it quits.  The band later reformed.
1976:  Loggins & Messina split up.
1977:  The Johnny Mathis Collection was the top album in the U.K.
1977:  "Easy" by the Commodores earned the #1 position on the R&B chart.


                                    Foreigner sure didn't sound like newcomers...

1977:  Barry Manilow Live was the new #1 album, dislodging Fleetwood Mac's Rumours from the top spot temporarily.  Peter Frampton's I'm in You was #2 while Steve Miller Band's Book of Dreams moved up to #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Streisand Superman from Barbra, Love Gun by KISS was #6, the Commodores' self-titled album was at #7, Foreigner's debut remained at #8, Heart and Little Queen was at #10 and the Bee Gees album Here At Last...Bee Gees...Live finished the list.

1981:  Harry Chapin died in an automobile crash while on the Long Island Expressway on his way to give a benefit concert.  He was 38 years old.


1982:  Paul McCartney had one of the hottest songs on the chart as "Take It Away" (moving from 55 to 31) was going to be his best solo hit in years.
1983:  DeBarge took over at #1 on the AC chart with "All This Love".
1983:  Michael Jackson's Thriller spent its 19th week at #1 on the Album chart, second only to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, which registered 31 weeks as the #1 album.  Michael wasn't done yet.
1984:  Roger Waters and Eric Clapton performed in the first of two nights in Stockholm, Sweden.
1984:  Billy Williams ("I'm Gonna' Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter" from 1957) died following a heart attack at the age of 74 in Manhattan, New York.
1988:  Eric Carmen rose to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Make Me Lose Control".


                                INXS kept a strong presence on the radio...

1988:  There were some new songs coming into the Top 10 in what otherwise was a horrible summer for music.  Cheap Trick remained at #1 with "The Flame", Pebbles was once again #2 and Def Leppard remained at 3 with "Pour Some Sugar On Me".  INXS had yet another smash from their great album Kick--"New Sensation", and Richard Marx was moving up with his great song "Hold On To The Nights".  The rest of the Top 10:  Steve Winwood moved from 12-6 with "Roll With It", Al B. Sure! had song #7--"Nite And Day", Breathe breezed up from 14-8 with "Hands To Heaven", Eric Carmen posted his 12th solo hit with "Make Me Lose Control" and Poison had #10--"Nothin' But A Good Time".
1992:  Charlie Watts, drummer of the Rolling Stones, walked off the set of Late Night with David Letterman after a disagreement with the producer.
1993:  Sonic Youth and Hole performed on the opening day of the three-day Phoenix Festival in England.

1994:  Janet Jackson's "Any Time, Any Place" was the #1 R&B hit for the sixth straight week.
1995:  Wayne Osmond had a brain tumor operation at the prestigious Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina.
1996:  The Eagles performed at the Flanders Expo in Ghent, Belgium.
1996:  Michael Jackson performed at a birthday party for the Sultan of Brunei at the Jerudong Amusement Park.  

1996:  Joe Panozzo, drummer of Styx, died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage at the age of 48.
1999:  The Beach Boys were on the NBC television program Today.
1999:  Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLachlan performed at Coors Amphitheater in San Diego, California on the Lilith Fair tour.
2000:  Coldplay's album Parachutes led the way on the U.K. chart.

2000:  Matchbox 20 rose to #1 with the smash "Bent".
2002:  The Dave Matthews Band released the album Busted Stuff, which contained material from bootlegged sessions recorded prior to 2001.
2003:  The reunited Duran Duran performed at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, California.

2003:  Carlos Santana donated $2 million in Africa to help fight the AIDS virus.
2008:  Jo Stafford ("Suddenly There's A Valley" from 1955) died of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles at the age of 90.

2012:  Jon Lord, elite keyboardist with Deep Purple, died of a pulmonary embolism at age 71 in London.


2012:  Bob Babbitt, bassist who worked with Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Phil Collins, Jim Croce and Edwin Starr, died of brain cancer in Nashville, Tennessee at age 74.

Born This Day:

1939:  Denise LaSalle ("Trapped By A Thing Called Love", a gold record in 1971) was born in LeFlore County, Mississippi.  (Note:  several websites report that Denise was born in Belzoni, Mississippi.  According to the books 'Ladies of Soul' by David Freeland and 'Chicago Soul' by Robert Pruter, she grew up in Belzoni, but was born 40 miles away in rural LeFlore County.)
1940:  Tony Jackson of the Searchers was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England; died August 18, 2003 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England after suffering from several ailments due to years of heavy drinking.  (Note:  some websites list Tony's birthplace as Dingle, England, or Dingle, Liverpool, Lancashire, England.  Dingle is an inner-city area of Liverpool and is not listed on an official birth certificate.)
1941:  Desmond Dekker ("Israelites" from 1969) was born in Kingston, Jamaica; died of a heart attack in Surrey, England May 25, 2006.  (Note:  some websites claim Desmond was born in St. Andrew, Jamaica.  According to the newspaper 'The Guardian' and other reputable sources, he was born in Kingston, a suburb of St. Andrew.)
1944:  Thomas Boggs, drummer of the Box Tops from 1968-1970, was born in Wynne, Arkansas; died of cancer May 5, 2008 in Memphis, Tennessee.
1952: Stewart Copeland, drummer of the Police, was born in Alexandria, Virginia.  (Note:  some websites claim he was born in Egypt.  The son of an agent in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the family did move to Cairo a few months after his birth, but Stewart was born in Alexandria, according to his official website.)
1971: Ed Kowalczyk of Live and now a solo performer, was born in York, Pennsylvania.
1978:  TJ (last name Jackson), vocalist with 3T ("Anything" from 1996)

Today's Top Five Countries

Thanks to everyone for checking out the blog today!  We were eight people shy of the record so far.  Especially good job by India, nearly beat the U.K. today.

1.  United States 152
2.  Germany 33
3.  Canada 14
4.  U.K. 12
5.  India 11

Five Best Songs: Kinks

This British group has been putting out music for parts of five decades now.  Here are their Five Best*:


1.  "You Really Got Me"

2.  "Tired of Waiting for You"


3.  "All Day and All of the Night"


4.  "Lola"


5.  "Sunny Afternoon"

Match 3

In this edition of Match 3, the three columns consist of an instrument, a musician and a group.  The easiest way to solve it is to match the musician in Column 2 with the group they are from in Column 3, then match with the instrument in Column 1.  There is at least one instrument in which more than one musician has played so the third part has to be reached through process of elimination (Example:  if Paul McCartney and Janis Joplin were the musicians, both have sung lead vocals in their group.  However, only McCartney played bass so he would be the bass player and Joplin would be the lead singer.)

The answers can be found by clicking on the link "Read More".

Instrument                                Musician                                               Group
Lead Guitar                               Brad Delp                                             Fleetwood Mac
Drums                                      Clarene Clemons                                   Rush
Keyboards                                Roger Waters                                        Boston
Lead Singer                              Neal Peart                                             E Street Band
Saxophone                               Christine McVie                                     Pink Floyd

The Top Instrumentals of the Rock Era, Part 7

You will find several lists of the top instrumentals so this one is far from being the only one.  I tried to base it on what the public thinks, leaving my personal bias out of it.  For it doesn't matter what a so-called "expert" or professional in the music business thinks.  History will always record what the public likes.

So I base a good deal of this list on chart performance at the time, single and album sales to this point in history, and how the song holds up today.  I have put a considerable amount of time and effort into coming up with this list.  Although I believe it contains the Top 100 Instrumentals of the Rock Era*, it doesn't start getting great until the top 85 or so.  

What is great about instrumentals is that the songwriter is free to focus solely on the music.  Artists today have gotten away from that--when you strip the song from its jive and 21st century sound effects, all you have is the music.  By listening to these instrumentals, hopefully we'll get back to what matters when composing a song. 

 Of course, I do realize that beginning in the 1980's, we as a society began cutting music programs to the bone so really we have only ourselves to blame for the poor quality of "music" these days.  I know my own knowledge of music (I play the saxophone, clarinet and have played piano since age 5 and was in a group of 12 that was selected to sing at our church's world conference in Portland, Oregon and then toured throughout the country...) would not have been as great were it not for music education in the schools.  I hope we can get back to providing more funds for that, to stimulate our children's interest in music.

Getting back to the other "lists" you may see on the web.  They are great, but what is a music site without music?!  Thus, you actually get to hear the songs that are in the list.  Many I was not familiar with until I started researching for this special.

For navigation, the song titles are below the embedded YouTube video.  To make it easier to listen to all the tracks, there are 10 segments of 10 songs each.  Part 8 will appear on the blog July 18.  I strongly recommend playing each song in order--with any luck (if I've done my homework (and I have!)), each one should sound better than the last.  At least that's the goal.

40.   Walk--Don't Run" by the Ventures

The Ventures chose this song as their first single after being asked to perform it six times a night at concerts.  A Seattle disc jockey used this song to lead into every newscast.  It went on to become a national #2 smash.  The group re-recorded the song and it too hit the Top 10 as "Walk Don't Run 1964".  The Ventures also re-recorded it in 1968, 1977 (disco version), 1986 (hard rock version) and 2000.
The group's founders, Don Wilson and Bob Bogle, met when Bogle was looking to buy a car at a dealership owned by Wilson's father.  When Howie Johnson quit the band in 1957 after four albums, the group replaced him with Mel Taylor, drummer at the Palomino in Hollywood, California.  Taylor had already been a session drummer on the song "The Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett, "Alley Oop" by the Hollywood Argyles and "The Lonely Bull" by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.
39.   Dueling Banjos" by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell

This song was written in 1955 by Arthur Smith and called "Feuding Banjos".  When the song became a hit, he had to sue to receive credit for writing it.  "Dueling Banjos" reached #2 for four weeks in 1973 and #1 for two weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart.  The single and album both went gold. 
Weissberg went to Julliard School of Music and enjoyed a career as an accomplished session musician, playing for Billy Joel, John Denver, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, Jim Croce, Judy Collins, the Talking Heads, Melanie, Art Garfunkel and others.  When Weissberg heard that the movie Deliverance wanted to use a song with banjos, he called up friend Steve Mandell, whom he had met while both worked with Collins.
38.  "The Horse" by Cliff Nobles & Co.

Nobles formed the group at a commune in Norristown, Pennsylvania with guitarist Bobby Tucker, bass player Benny Williams and drummer Tommy Soul. The four earned a recording contract with Phil-L.A. of Soul Records. The group released "Love Is All Right" as a single, with "The Horse" as the flip side. "The Horse" was merely an instrumental version of the single, but it was the one that became popular. Lead singer Nobles doesn't even appear on the song. The horn section featured in the song became part of the group MFSB ("TSOP" in 1974).

When "The Horse" began to receive huge airplay, Nobles developed a dance to it and spent several weeks appearing on television showing people how to do "The Horse". The song reached #2 for three weeks in a competitive field in 1968. "This Guy's In Love with You" by Herb Alpert kept it out of the top position. "The Horse" also reached #2 on the R&B chart for two weeks and sold over a million copies within three weeks of release.
 Nobles didn't develop an interest in music until high school when he joined a group called the Delroys.  Nobles recorded several other songs after "The Horse" but did not chart. He later worked as a construction worker and in the electricity generation field.
#37:  "Hang 'Em High" by Booker T. & the MG's

Dominic Frontiere's theme from the movie "Hang 'Em High" was first covered by Hugo Montenegro, who had enjoyed the hit "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" the year before from another Clint Eastwood movie.  It was Booker T & the MG's that had the hit with it, reaching #9 in early 1969.
Booker T. (Jones) and the MG's were one of the most respected and influential groups of their time.  Jones (organ and piano), guitarist Steve Cropper, bass player Lewie Steinberg and Al Jackson, Jr. (drums) were the house band of Stax Records, playing on hundreds of songs by artists such as Wilson Pickett, Bill Withers, Otis Redding, Sam & David and others.
36.  "Honky Tonk" by Bill Doggett

Bill Doggett's trio formed in 1951 and their first single release,"Honky Tonk", reached #2 for three weeks in 1956 on the popular chart and #1 for an incredible 13 weeks on the R&B chart.  It is one of the top R&B songs of the Rock Era.  The song features Clifford Scott on saxophone and sold over a million copies.  
Doggett's mother, a church pianist, introduced him to music at age nine.  In 1942, Doggett was hired to be the pianist and arranger for the famous group the Ink Spots.  He also arranged for performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Lionel Hampton.  
35.  "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield 

The single "Tubular Bells" is taken from a song that is 25 minutes long and is featured in the classic movie The Exorcist.  Oldfield played more than half (20) of the instruments himself.  All of the major record labels turned down Oldfield, who finally signed with a minor company, Virgin Records, that had just started.  Oldfield's Tubular Bells album was the first one that Virgin released.  

"Tubular Bells" peaked at #7 in 1974.  Oldfield received a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition. The album reached #2 in the U.K. and #3 in the United States.  It spent 279 weeks on the U.K. chart and sold over 15 million copies worldwide.    Oldfield's album was highly influential in both the progressive rock and new age movements.  Oh and by the way, major record labels--Virgin is now a major company that owns record stores, an airline and is also involved in the cell phone industry.
Oldfield later wrote the score to the important movie "The Killing Fields".

34.  "Feels So Good" by Chuck Mangione

CHUCK MANGIONE: Maui-Waui / Feels So Good
"Feels So Good" reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and just didn't go away--it was one of the most popular songs for 27 weeks.  It peaked at #4 on the popular chart in 1978.  The song was nominated for a Grammy for Record of the Year, an honor not usually bestowed upon an instrumental.  
Mangione went to the Eastman School of Music in New York City.  His "Chase the Clouds Away" was used as the theme song for the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics and "Give It All You Got" was the theme to the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York.  He won Grammys in 1977 and 1979 for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Pop Instrumental, respectively.
33.  "The Lonely Bull" by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

"The Lonely Bull" was written by Sol Lake and was the first single released on the record company that Alpert had just begun--A & M Records.  It was originally called "Twinkle Star".  Alpert achieved the sound while experimenting with an overdubbed trumpet in his garage.  He later added crowd noise from a bullfight in Tijuana, Mexico.  "The Lonely Bull" peaked at #6 while the album was a fixture on the album chart for over three years.  The song is featured in the great movie Jerry Maguire.
After serving in the army, Alpert was hired by Keen Records and co-wrote "Wonderful World" with Sam Cooke.  Alpert and Jerry Moss originally wanted to call their new record label Carnival Records after a popular Broadway musical but when they found out there was already a company with that name, they changed it to A&M to reflect the initials of both last names.  A&M was home to stars such as Cat Stevens, Burt Bacharach, Procol Harum, Joe Cocker, the Carpenters, the Police, Supertramp, Sting, Bryan Adams and many more.

Alpert has won eight Grammy Awards and sold over 72 million records.
32.  "Music Box Dancer" by Frank Mills

Frank Mills first recorded "Music Box Dancer" in 1974, but it was not released as a single until 1978.  Even then, Polydor Records had it as the B-side.  But David Watts, a DJ in Ottawa, Canada, flipped the song over and word spread of the B-side.  It reached #3 on the popular chart and #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  The single sold over a million copies, the album over two million in the United States and airplay has now exceeded one million plays.  "Music Box Dancer" reached #1 in 26 countries. 

Further popularity of the song is evidenced by the fact that sheet music sales of piano players wanting to play the song has now exceeded three million copies.  In 1978 and through the early 1980's, CBS-TV used "Music Box Dancer" as the theme to the documentary "2 on the Town"; the song was also featured on the BBC2 golf program Around with Alliss
Frank Mills' mother was a piano player, his father a tenor, and Frank learned to play the piano by ear by listening to his sister practice.  He also became quite proficient at the trombone.  At age 17, both his parents, who had been ill for most of his memory, died of cancer.
Mills got his formal training at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  He scored a 98% on his entrance exam.  Mills then joined the group the Bells, who scored a #1 hit in 1971 "Stay Awhile".  
31.   "Canadian Sunset" by Eddie Heywood and Hugo Winterhalter
"Canadian Sunset" reached #2 for two weeks in 1957 and remained on the chart for 31 weeks.  The single sold over a million copies.  

Heywood's father, Eddie Heywood Sr. was also a jazz star performer in the 1920's.  The junior Heywood moved to New York and soon was backing Billie Holiday.  He played several solos for the Coleman Hawkins quartet.  Between 1947 and 1950, however, he suffered partial paralysis of his hands.  But he didn't give up and made a comeback.  

Winterhalter studied violin at the New England Conservatory of Music, played saxophone and sang in two choirs.  He became an arranger for Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie and arranged and conducted recording sessions for singers including Dinah Shore.  In 1948, Winterhalter was named musical director at MGM Records.  In 1950, he signed with RCA Victor and arranged sessions for Perry Como, Eddie Fisher and the Ames Brothers.