Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hits List: Foreigner

This group combined British and American musicians and apparently it was the best of both worlds because they became one of the top hard rock groups of the Rock Era.  Here is the complete Hits List from Foreigner:

1977:  "Feels Like the First TIme" (#4, #39 U.K.)
           "Cold as Ice" (#6, #24 U.K.)
           "Long, Long Way from Home" (#20)
1978:  "Hot Blooded" (#3, #42 U.K.)
           "Double Vision" (#2)
1979:  "Blue Morning, Blue Day" (#15, #45 U.K.)
           "Love Has Taken Its Toll"
           "Dirty White Boy" (#12)
           "Head Games" (#14)
           "Love on the Telephone"--one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.
1980:  "Women" (#41)--underrated.
           "I'll Get Even With You"

1981:  "Urgent" (#4, #1 Mainstream Rock, #54 U.K., #12 Germany)
           "Waiting for a Girl Like You" (#2, #5 Adult Contemporary, #1 Mainstream, #8 U.K., #29 Germany)
1982:  "Juke Box Hero" (#26, #3 Mainstream, #48 U.K., #24 Germany)--one of The Top Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.
           "Night Life" (#14 Mainstream)
           "Break It Up" (#26)
           "Luanne" (#75)
           "Urgent" (re-release in U.K.--#45)
1984:  "I Want to Know What Love Is" (#1, #1 AC, #1 Mainstream, #1 U.K., #3 Germany, #2 Switzerland)

1985:  "That Was Yesterday" (#12, #24 AC, #4 Mainstream, #28 U.K., #31 Germany, #29 Switzerland)
           "Tooth and Nail" (#47 Mainstream)
           "Reaction to Action" (#54, #44 Mainstream)
           "Growing Up the Hard Way"
           "Down on Love" (#54)
           "Cold as Ice" (remix in U.K.--#64)
1987:  "Say You Will" (#6, #41 AC, #1 Mainstream, #71 U.K., #22 Germany, #20 Switzerland)
1988  "I Don't Want to Live Without You" (#5, #1 AC, #18 Mainstream, #91 U.K.)
          "Heart Turns to Stone" (#56, #7 Mainstream)
          "Can't Wait" (#18 Mainstream)
1991:  "Lowdown and Dirty" (#4 Mainstream)
           "I'll Fight For You" (#42 Mainstream)
1992:  "With Heaven on Our Side"
1993:  "Soul Doctor" (#5 Mainstream)

1994:  "White Lie" (#58 U.K., #51 Germany)
1995:  "Until the End of Time" (#42, #8 AC, #86 U.K.)
           "Rain" (#84 Germany)
1996:  "Under the Gun (#28 Mainstram)
2008:  "Urgent" (#84 Switzerland)
           "Juke Box Hero" (#87 Switzerland)
2009:  "When It Comes to Love (#19 Mainstream)
2010:  "Can't Slow Down" 
           "In Pieces" (#21 Mainstream) 

That's 22 hits on the overall chart for Foreigner, with nine going Top 10 and one #1.

The Top 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time: December 17

Today's six songs will put us over 100 of The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time* that we have presented thus far since December 1.  I've listened to thousands of Christmas songs over the last 40 years and these are the ones that consistently rate as the most popular.  Unlike most lists of this type, we actually let you listen to the songs so you can decide on your personal favorites.
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
by the Carpenters

There must be something about the letter "C" in Christmas.  I say that because the four artists who have the most songs in The Top 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time* all start with the letter "C"; a very interesting factoid.  The Ray Conniff Singers have the most with 9, then it's the Carpenters and Bing Crosby with 7 each and Perry Como with 6.  That's 29 out of 150 whose artists begin with "C", including this one from the Carpenters.

"Please Come Home for Christmas"
by Charles Brown

This is one of the few early Christmas standards (done in 1947) to be topped by a remake (the Eagles has displaced it as the favorite version), but any list that doesn't still include it as one of the best probably was put together by a young person not aware of the first great version of the song.  The ringing of the Church bells, the understated but memorable guitar solo, and Brown's great sad style make this a Christmas favorite.

"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
by Darlene Love

This song was originally scheduled to sung by Ronnie Spector, but Darlene Love was called in and she delivered.  It was written by the famous team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.  Leon Russell adds his magic piano part at the end.

"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

Springsteen thinks it's funny he's singing a Christmas song; he laughs several times during the song.  Nevertheless, it is one of the most-played songs of the season.

"Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!  Let It Snow!"
by Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme

This was included on the 1964 album That Holiday Feeling.  There are three versions of the popular favorite among The Top 150*.  This one shares the standard-bearing with Dean Martin's version.

"Jingle Bells"
by the Ray Conniff Singers

This, like so many others that we've featured, is on the great album Christmas with Conniff.  The Singers bring a cheerful, crisp approach to everything they do and frankly, a lot of the memories we have of Christmas involves the Conniff Singers.  

The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era: Songs That Changed the World--"In the Ghetto" by Elvis Presley

Elvis sings this song so well.  I wasn't that old at the time (1969) but this song affected me, no doubt.  Just incredible lyrics that allow one to emphasize with others that may not be as lucky to be born into a great family in a great neighborhood.  That isn't something to just count your blessings and never think about it again.  Only when the lowest among is has a decent house, a decent life and a decent job should we be satisfied.
"In the Ghetto"
by Elvis Presley

Written by Mac Davis

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin'
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto
And his mama cries
'cause if there's one thing that she don't need
it's another hungry mouth to feed
In the ghetto

People, don't you understand
the child needs a helping hand
or he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me,
are we too blind to see,
do we simply turn our heads
and look the other way

Well the world turns
and a hungry little boy with a runny nose
plays in the street as the cold wind blows
In the ghetto

And his hunger burns
so he starts to roam the streets at night
and he learns how to steal
and he learns how to fight
In the ghetto

Then one night in desperation
a young man breaks away
He buys a gun, steals a car,
tries to run, but he don't get far
And his mama cries

As a crowd gathers 'round an angry young man
face down on the street with a gun in his hand
In the ghetto

As her young man dies,
on a cold and gray Chicago mornin',
another little baby child is born
In the ghetto

This Date in Rock Music History: December 17

1955:  Carl Perkins wrote "Blue Suede Shoes".
1957:  Sam Cooke ruled over the R&B chart for a fourth week with "You Send Me".
1961:  "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes was positioned at #1 for a fourth week on the R&B chart.
1961:  Jimmy Dean enjoyed week #1 at the top of the Easy Listening chart with one of the biggest hits of the early Rock Era--"Big Bad John".

1962:  Paul & Paula released the single "Hey Paula".
1962:  Bob Dylan arrived in England for the first time, getting ready for his first gig in the U.K. at the Troubadour Club.
1963:  As you know if you have followed this blog, the Beatles paid their dues and then some.  So when I tell you that when James Carroll of WWDC in Washington, D.C. became the first disc jockey to play a Beatles song in America ("I Want To Hold Your Hand") on this date, and that the demand was so great that the song was played hourly, you know the success wasn't overnight.  Carroll had obtained the 45 from his stewardess girlfriend who brought the song from the U.K.  Capitol Records, which had to this point ignored the group even though they had great success in the U.K., was forced to release the record earlier than planned.
1965:  The Supremes and Judy Garland gave a grand opening concert for the Houston Astrodome in Texas.
1966:  "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band topped the adult chart.  
1966:  "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by the Supremes was the #1 R&B song for a fourth consecutive week.
  "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" from Simon & Garfunkel's first great album...

1966:  The Monkees prevailed on the Album chart for a sixth week with soundtracks from "Doctor Zhivago" and "The Sound of Music still going strong after 40 and 92 weeks, respectively.  The Supremes A' Go-Go was fourth and today was the day that one of the great albums of the Rock Era--Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme by Simon & Garfunkel cracked the Top 10.  

1966:  The New Vaudeville Band took over at #1 with "Winchester Cathedral".  "Mellow Yellow" from Donovan was #2 again with the former #1 "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys third.  Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels were stuck with "Devil With A Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly" and the Supremes' former #1 "You Keep Me Hangin' On" hadn't dropped further than 5.  The rest of the Top 10:  Frank Sinatra's "That's Life", Roger Williams edged up with "Born Free", the Monkees flew up from 44 to 8 with "I'm A Believer", Nancy Sinatra joined father Frank in the Top 10 with "Sugar Town" and Stevie Wonder was at 10 with "A Place In The Sun".
1968:  The Doors' black and white documentary The Doors Are Open aired on British television.  The film shows footage of the group's show at The Roundhouse in London on September 7.  (Note:  Numerous websites show the date that the Doors' documentary, 'The Doors Are Open', aired on British television as October 4 or October 6.  But Granada Television, the company that filmed the documentary, has log sheets that show the airing date as December 17, and both 'The London Times' and 'The Guardian' confirm this.  Some sites show the date of the concert as September 6, but camera problems forced Granada television to come back to next night to film the footage that is shown in the documentary.)
1968:  Yes opened for the Who at a Christmas party at the Marquee Club in London.
1969:  John Lennon announced he was organizing a peace festival to take place in July of 1970 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

1970:  The Beach Boys performed for Princess Margaret at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
1971:  John Lennon appeared at a benefit at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York for families of the victims of the Attica State Prison riots.


1973:  John Denver released the single "Sunshine On My Shoulders", one of his biggest and best career hits.

1973:  Sister Janet Mead released the single "The Lord's Prayer".
1975:  Aerosmith and Blue Oyster Cult appeared at the San Diego Sports Arena in California.
1977:  George Harrison made a surprise performance for regulars at his local pub in Henley-on-Thames in England.
1977:  Elvis Costello and the Attractions appeared on Saturday Night Live on NBC-TV after the Sex Pistols failed to get visas into the United States.
1977:  Earth, Wind & Fire dominated the R&B chart for the fifth week with "Serpentine Fire".
1977:  Linda Ronstadt's Simple Dreams (#1 on the Album chart for a third week) continued to hold of Fleetwood Mac's bid to return to #1 with Rumours.
1977:  The Bee Gees held on to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for a fourth week with "How Deep Is Your Love".

    Fleetwood Mac had another big hit from 'Rumours'...

1977:  Debby Boone set a Rock Era record that would last four years with her 10th and final week at #1 for "You Light Up My Life".  The rest of the Top 10 on that famous day:  "How Deep Is Your Love" from the Bee Gees, Linda Ronstadt had #3 ("Blue Bayou") and #5 ("It's So Easy"), Crystal Gayle was lodged between with "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue", L.T.D. was at #6 with "(Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again", Rita Coolidge held on to #7 with "We're All Alone", newcomer Player moved into the Top 10 with "Baby Come Back", Fleetwood Mac and "You Make Loving Fun" and Dolly Parton was at #10 with "Here You Come Again".
1982:  Karen Carpenter gave her final public performance as the Carpenters were in concert in Sherman, California.
1983:  The Police, Duran Duran and Culture Club appeared on the children's television show Saturday Superstore in the U.K.
1983:  Walter Scott, lead singer of the Whispers died at age 40.
1983:  A new singer debuted on the chart for the first time.  Cyndi Lauper was her name and her first single was "Girls Just Want To Have Fun".

1983:  "Laura" was a popular soap opera character on General Hospital on this date--everyone followed what was going on with Luke & Laura.  Christopher Cross's song wasn't about that Laura but he gave permission for the song to be played on the show and on this date, it was one of the fastest-rising songs--"Think Of Laura".
1983:  Lionel Richie was at #1 for a third week with his follow-up album Can't Slow Down.

1984:  Wham released the single "Careless Whisper".
1986:  The Doobie Brothers reunited for a benefit concert in Palo Alto, California.  The bros liked it so much they went on a full-fledged tour the following year.
1986:  The limousine that Paul and Linda McCartney were riding in en route to a television taping in Newcastle, England caught fire.  Luckily both were unharmed and were able to escape the burning car.
1987:  Robert Plant played Led Zeppelin songs for the first time as a solo artist in Folkstone, England, including "Trampled Under Foot" and "Misty Mountain Hop".

1988:  Boy Meets Girl took over at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Waiting For A Star To Fall".

1989:  Alannah Myles released the single "Black Velvet".

1989:  Paula Abdul to the rescue!  With the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund strained due to the earthquake in San Francisco California and Hurricane Hugo, Ms. Abdul performed a benefit at the America Has Heart show at the Universal City Amphitheatre in Universal City, California.
1990:  Olivia Newton-John starred in the NBC television movie A Mom for Christmas.
1991:  Gilbert O'Sullivan won a copyright infringement case against a rapper who sampled one of his songs without permission.  These guys don't think they have to play by the rules so you have to sting 'em--good job Gilbert.
1993:  Sting and his wife Trudie Styler celebrated the birth of son Giacomo Luke in London.
1994:  Richie Sambora, elite guitarist for Bon Jovi, married Heather Locklear.
1994:  Celine Dion married her manager Rene Angelil at the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
1994:  A remix of "December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)" by the Four Seasons reappeared on the chart, 19 years after it was first a hit.  With another 27 weeks on its second run, the song would set a Rock Era record with 54 combined weeks on the chart.
1994:  Ini Kamoze jumped up to #1 with "Here Comes The Hotstepper".

1994:  Miracles - The Holiday Album by Kenny G was #1 for a second week.
1996:  Celine Dion announced that she was taking a break from music and would concentrate on starting a family.
1999:  When a fan seeking an autograph at the Russian Tea Room in New York City handed Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones a guitar to sign, Richards walked off with it.  Hey, sorry fan, but you have to know who you're dealing with.
1999:  Rex Allen ("Don't Go Near The Indians") died in Tucson, Arizona at the age of 78 after suffering a heart attack when his caretaker ran accidentally ran over him in his driveway.

1999:  Grover Washington Jr., saxophonist and solo artist, collapsed and died at the age of 56 in New York City after taping a performance for The Saturday Early Show on CBS.  (Note:  some websites report he died on December 16, others on December 11.  '' and 'MTV' both confirm that Grover died on Friday, December 17.)
2003:  In today's Dangerous Inmates Run Rap Music segment, Nas turned himself into police and was charged with assault for throwing a bottle at a man in the Greenwich Village club Ciclo in New York City.

2003:  Ruben Studdard owned the top album with Soulful.
2004:  Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis, agreed to sell 85% of his estate to businessman Robert Sillerman for $100 million.  Sillerman took control of the business portion of Graceland and owned rights to all revenue from Elvis's music and films, while Lisa Marie retained ownership of Graceland itself and her father's personal effects.
2005:  U2 finished the year with the top-grossing tour, as three million people watched the group, paying over $260 million (sixth all-time).  The Eagles were second with $117 million while Neil Diamond's tour grossed $71m.  Paul McCartney took in $60 million, Rod Stewart's tour grossed $49m followed by Elton John ($45.5m), the Dave Matthews Band ($45m), Jimmy Buffett ($41m) and Green Day with $36.5m as artists from the 60's and 70's continued to dominate.
2006:  Denis Payton, saxophonist for the Dave Clark Five, died in Bournemouth, England from cancer at age 63.
2010:  Sir Paul McCartney performed an intimate show before 300 people in an effort to keep the 100 Club in London open.  The club had threatened to shut its doors.
2010:  Captain Beefheart died from complications from multiple sclerosis at age 69.

Born This Day:
1937:  Art Neville, vocalist and keyboardist for the Neville Brothers, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1938:  Carlo Little, the first drummer of the Rolling Stones, was born in Sudbury, England; died of small cell lung cancer in Jarrow, England on August 6, 2005.  (Note:  '' and the book 'Sand Against the Wind' by Riccardo Maffey both state Little's birthplace as London; however, this contradicts three respected British newspapers, which all confirmed that Little was born in Sudbury.)

1939:  Eddie Kendricks, lead singer of the Temptations and a solo artist ("Keep On Truckin'" from 1974) was born in Union Springs, Alabama; died of lung cancer October 5, 1992 in Birmingham, Alabama.  (Note:  some websites report that Kendricks was born in Birmingham; according to the newspaper 'The Birmingham Record', Eddie was born in Union Springs.)
1942:  Paul Butterfield was born in Chicago, Illinois.
1947:  Jim Hodder, drummer for Steely Dan, who did session work for Sammy Hagar and David Soul, was born in Bethpage, New York; drowned in his swimming pool in Point Arena, California on June 5, 1990.  (Note:  some websites report Hodder was born on September 17.  Although there are no credible sources for either date, our best information indicates he was born on December 17.)
1948:  Jim Bonfanti, drummer of the Raspberries ("Go All The Way" from 1972) was born in Windber, Pennsylvania.

1949:  Paul Rodgers, the great vocalist of Free, Bad Company and the Firm, was born in Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, England.
1951:  Wanda Hutchinson of the Emotions ("Best Of My Love" from 1977) was born in Chicago, Illinois.
1958:  Mike Mills, bassist for R.E.M., was born in Orange County, California.
1959:  Bob Stinson, guitarist of the Replacements, was born in Waconia, Minnesota; died of drugs in Minneapolis, Minnesota at age 35 on February 18, 1995.  (Note:  several websites claim that Stinson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but according to 'The New York Times', Bob was born in Waconia.)
1961:  Sarah Dallin of Bananarama was born in Bristol, England.
1970:  Craig Bullock of Sugar Ray ("Someday") was born in Pasadena, California.
1978:  Neil Sanderson, drummer and co-founder of Three Days Grace, was born in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Blog Archives

I created the tabs at the top of the page that group all of the different stories and articles in all of your favorites, such as Hits List, Discography, Five Best Songs, In Concert, etc.  Another easy way to catch up on past articles is the Blog Archive, which runs down the left margin of the page.  It contains links to posts going back several months, so be sure to check that out as well.

Discography: Earth, Wind & Fire

Here's one of the great acts of the 1970's and early 80's.  They've lost a few to heaven but the group is still in demand for live shows.  The thing that I like is that they all seem like really great people.  It's really a shame that the rest of the world was pretty much in the dark regarding this group.  Here is the complete Discography of the incredible Earth, Wind & Fire:

1971:  Earth, Wind & Fire (#172)
1972:  The Need of Love (#89)
           Last Days and Time (#87)
1973:  Head to the Sky (#27)
1974:  Open Or Eyes (#15)

1975:  That's the Way of the World (#1)
1976:  Spirit (#2)
1977:  All 'n All (#3, #13 UK.)
1979:  I Am (#3, #5 U.K.)
1980:  Faces (10, #10 U.K.)

1981:  Raise!  (#5, #11 U.K.)
1983:  Powerlight (#12, #22 U.K.)
           Electric Universe (#40)
1987:  Touch the World (#33)
1990:  Heritage (#70)
1993:  Millennium (#39)
1997:  In the Name of Love
2003:  The Promise (#89)
2005:  Illumination (#32)

Live Albums:

1975:  Gratitude (#1)--excellent album
1995:  Live in Velfarre
1996:  Greatest Hits Live
2002:  That's the Way of the World:  Alive in 75
            Live in Rio

1974:  Another Time (#97)
1978:  The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1 (#6, #6 U.K.)--essential.
1986:  The Collection (#5 U.K.)
1988:  The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 2 (#190)--essential.
1992:  The Eternal Dance
            The Very Best of Earth, Wind & Fire (#40)
1996:  Elements of Love:  Ballads
            Boogie Wonderland:  The Very Best of Earth, Wind & Fire (#29 U.K.)
1998:  Super Hits
            Greatest Hits
1999:  The Ultimate Collection (#34 U.K.)
2002:  The Essential Earth, Wind & Fire
2004:  Love Songs
2006:  Beautiful Ballads
2008:  Playlist:  The Very Best of Earth, Wind & Fire
2009:  The Music of Earth, Wind & Fire
2010:  The Greatest Hits (#116, #9 U.K.)

Hits List: Moody Blues

What can I say about this group?  The truth is, I can't say enough good things about them.  When they were starting out in the 1960's, the general consensus was that they were years ahead of their time.  Which means that now, they should be one of the most popular acts in the world.  I had the great fortune of seeing them live and I thought going in, "Man, it's going to be hard to replicate the incredible sound they achieved in the studio."  I walked away floored of how great they were live.  They do incredibly sensitive ballads and can also do straight rock and roll with the best of them; hence one of the more appropriate names of the Rock Era--Moody Blues.

I'll preface this Hits List by saying that, since they were indeed years ahead of their time, they have many songs that were highly underrated.  Even with the world taking time to catch up with the Moodies, they stil rank as one of The Top 100 Artists of the Rock Era*.

1964:  "Steal Your Heart Away"
           "Go Now" (#10, #1 U.K., #2 Canada, #8 Netherlands)
1965:  "I Don't Want to Go on Without You" (#33 U.K.)
          "From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)" (#93, #22 U.K., #23 Canada)
          "Everyday" (#44 U.K.)
1966:  "Stop!"  (#98, #88 Canada)
          "This Is My House (but Nobody Calls)"

1967:  "Life's Not Life"
          "Fly Me High"
          "Love and Beauty"
          "Nights in Whte Sain" (#2, #9 U.K., #1 Canada, #2 Netherlands)
1968:  "Tuesday Afternoon" (#24, #12 Canada)--highly underrated.
           "Voices in the Sky" (#27 U.K.)
           "Ride My See-Saw" (#61, #42 U.K., #33 Canada, #16 Netherlands)--highly underrated.
1969:  "Never Comes the Day" (#91, #74 Canada)
          "Watching and Waiting"

1970:  "Question" (#21, #2 U.K., #8 Canada, #1 Netherlands)--highly underrated in U.S.
1971:  "The Story in Your Eyes" (#23, #7 Canada, #11 Netherlands)--underrated
1972:  "Isn't Life Strange" (#29, #13 U.K., #9 Canada)
1973:  "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)" (#12, #36 U.K., #4 the Netherlands)--underrated.
1978:  "Steppin' in a Slide Zone" (#39, #41 Canada)
          "Drfitwood" (#59, #60 Canada)
          "Had to Fall in Love" (#18 the Netherlands)
1981:  "Gemini Dream" (#12, #13 Mainstream Rock, #1 Canada)
           "The Voice" (#15, #1 Mainstream, #9 Canada, #46 the Netherlands)--underrated.
           "Talking Out of Turn" (#65, #27 Canada)
1983:  "Blue World" (#62, #32 Mainstream, #35 U.K., #40 Canada)
           "Sitting at the Wheel" (#27, #3 Mainstream, #18 Canada)
1984:  "Running Water"

1986:  "Your Wildest Dreams" (#9, #1 Adult Contemporary, #2 Mainstream, #55 Canada)
          "The Other Side of Life" (#58, #18 A, #11 Mainstream)
1988:  "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" (#30, #9 AC, #2 Mainstream, #52 U.K., #15 Canada)
          "No More Lies" (#15 AC)
1991:  "Say It with Love" (#22 Mainstream, #36 Canada)
          "Bless the Wings (That Bring You Back)"
1999:  "English Sunset"
2003:  "December Snow"

Top 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time, Part Four

We are now 16 days into our Christmas spectacular in the Winter of 2011, nine days to go.  Here is a recap of the songs featured so far (click on the link for each date to view those six songs):

December 13
"The 12 Days of Christmas"
by the Ray Conniff Singers

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing"
by Amy Grant

"Please Come Home for Christmas"
by the Eagles

"The Little Drummer Boy"
by Perry Como

"My Favorite Things"
by the Supremes"

Do You Hear What I Hear"
by Whitney Houston

"Christmas Eve Sarajevo" 
by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra

"Where Are You Christmas?"
by Faith Hill

"Jingle Bells"
by Brian Setzer Orchestra

"I'll Be Home for Christmas"
by Elvis Presley

"Sleigh Ride"
by the Boston Pops

"Joy to the World"
by Anne Murray

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
by Judy Garland

"I Heard the Bells"
by Three Irish Tenors

"Happy Xmas" (War Is Over)"
by John Lennon

"Silver Bells"
by the Supremes

"The Christmas Waltz"
by Frank Sinatra

"Silent Night"
by Josh Groban

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
by Ella Fitzgerald

"Santa Claus & His Old Lady"
by Cheech & Chong

"All I Want for Christmas"
by Vince Vance & the Valients

"What Child Is This"
by Charlotte Church

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
by Bing Crosby

"We Need a Little Christmas"
by Johnny Mathis

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time--December 16

Inside the Rock Era is presenting six new songs each day.  All of them make up The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
by Ella Fitzgerald

Fitzerald recorded her version of the song first introduced by Judy Garland in the movie Meet Me in St. Louis.

  "Santa Claus & His Old Lady"
by Cheech & Chong

This song was released in 1971 prior to the Christmas season that featured this song, not available on any album.  It quickly became a favorite holiday tale.  We have traditional Christmas favorites, Christmas carols, secular songs and yes, we have a few that help us laugh.

"What Child Is This"
by Charlotte Church

Another holy and reverent song is next, that was written in 1865.  English writer William Chatterton Dix suffered a near-fatal illness at age 29 and was confined to a bed for several months.  Despite going into a deep depression, Dix wrote many hymns during this period, including "What Child Is This".  Charlotte recorded this song on her Dream a Dream album.

  "All I Want For Christmas"
by Vince Vance & the Valients

Vance and the Valients originally did this song in 1989 and it has continued to pick up popularity since.

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
by Bing Crosby

This song was recorded June 8, 1942 with John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra and Max Terr's Mixed Chorus.  The album Merry Christmas was released in 1945 on Decca Records, consisting of five 78 rpm records, each of which had been previously released.  Merry Christmas has now sold over 15 million copies, second only to Elvis's Christmas Album among Christmas recordings.

"We Need A Little Christmas"
by Johnny Mathis

Here is a song from the Broadway musical Mame, first performed by Angela Lansbury in 1966. In the musical, the song is performed after Mame lost her fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and decided that she, her nephew Patrick, and her two servants "need a little Christmas now" to brighten them up. This song was first released on the album Christmas Eve with Johnny Mathis in 1986.

The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era: Songs That Changed the World--"Shambala" by Three Dog Night

In the 1960's, we were as close as we've ever been to a people who worked for good in the world, so much so that Three Dog Night spoke of the Tibetian paradise Shambala.  It set a goal for humankind and told of what we could become.
by Three Dog Night

Written by Daniel Moore

Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain
With the rain in Shambala
Wash away my sorrow, wash away my shame
With the rain in Shambala

Ah, ooh, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Ah, ooh, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind
On the road to Shambala
Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind
On the road to Shambala

Ah, ooh, yeah
Yea, yeah, yea, yeah, yeah
Ah, ooh, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

How does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala
How does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala

I can tell my sister by the flowers in her eyes
On the road to Shambala
I can tell my brother by the flowers in his eyes
On the road to Shambala

Ah, ooh, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Ah, ooh, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

How does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala
How does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala
Tell me how does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala
(Tell me how) How does your light shine
In the halls of Shambala

Ah, ooh, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Ah, ooh, yeah
On the road to Shambala

Ah, ooh, yeah
Shambala, la
Ah, ooh, yeah
On the road to Shambala

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Date in Rock Music History: December 16

1957:  For the fourth week, Sam Cooke sat atop the R&B chart with "You Send Me".
1959:  Mark Dinning released the single "Teen Angel".
1965:  The Beatles appeared in the tribute The Music of Lennon-McCartney on BBC-TV, along with Peter & Gordon, Lulu, Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black, Marianne Faithfull, Esther Phillips and Peter Sellers.
1965:  "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper", released as a double-A side 45, both made #1 in the U.K. on this date.
1966:  The Jimi Hendrix released their first single "Hey Joe" in the U.K.
1967:  The Rolling Stones announced that Marianne Faithfull was the first artist signed to their new Mother Earth Records.
1967:  Gladys Knight & the Pips made it three weeks at #1 on the R&B chart with their remake of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".

1967:  Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. by the Monkees topped the Album chart for the third straight week.  It was the group's fourth consecutive #1 album to begin their career.
1967:  The Monkees topped the singles chart for a third week with "Daydream Believer".  

1968:  Bob Seger released his first career single "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man".

1970:  CCR was as hot as anyone in the late 1960's and on this date was awarded five gold singles ("Down On The Corner", "Lookin' Out My Back Door", "Travelin' Band", "Bad Moon Rising" and "Up Around The Bend") and five gold albums (Cosmo's Factory, Willy and the Poor Boys, Green River, Bayou Country and their self-titled Creedence Clearwater Revival).
1972:  Living in the Past by Jethro Tull moved from 12 to 5, the only new entry among the Top 10 albums.
1973:  Stephen Stills lost a paternity suit in California.

1974:  America released the single "Lonely People".

1974:  John Lennon released the single "#9 Dream".
1974:  Mott the Hoople broke up.

1977:  The landmark movie Saturday Night Fever premiered in New York City.  (Note:  many websites list the premiere date as December 14, but this is at odds with the book 'America's Film Legacy, 2009-2010:  A Viewer's Guide to the 50 Landmark Movies Added to the National Film Register in 2009-10' by Daniel Eagan as well as the official website for the American Film Institute.)
1978:  Bob Dylan played the final show of his Street Legal world tour at the Hollywood Sportatorium in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
1978:  Chic and "Le Freak" commanded attention at the top of the R&B chart for the third straight week.
1978:  One of the hottest songs moved up the chart from 78 to 45--"Please Come Home For Christmas" by the Eagles.

1978:  Billy Joel led the way on the Album chart for a fifth week with 52nd Street.  Steve Martin continued to sit at #2 with A Wild and Crazy Guy, Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits, Volume 2 was a big-seller and Donna Summer remained fourth with Live and More.  The rest of the Top 10:  Foreigner's Double Vision, the Soundtrack from "Grease", Comes a Time from Neil Young, C'est Chic by Chic entered the Top 10, Queen moved from 30 to 9 with Jazz and Al Stewart crawled into the Top 10 with Time Passages.

All proceeds from this song released at the height of the Bee Gees' popularity went to UNICEF.

1978:  Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond moved to #1 with "You Don't Bring Me Flowers".  Chic relinquished with "Le Freak" while the Bee Gees had their fourth Top 10 song in a row, as "Too Much Heaven" rose from 12 to 3.
1979:  The original members of KISS performed for the final time at the Toledo Sports Arena in Toledo, Ohio before their 1996 reunion.  (Note:  Numerous websites report that drummer Peter Criss performed with KISS for the final time on November 29.  However, the book 'Going Platinum:  KISS, Donna Summer, and How Neil Bogart Built Casablanca Records', however, by Brett Ermilio and Josh Levine states that Criss performed on drums for the final time on December 16, 1979 before the 1996 reunion of the original members.)
1983:  The Who officially called it quits.

1985:  Newcomers Mr. Mister released the single "Kyrie".  "Kyrie Elieson" means "Have mercy, O Lord."

1985:  Jefferson Starship released the single "Sara".
1986:  Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram released the single "Somewhere Out There".
1988:  Sylvester James ("You Make Me Feel Mighty Real" from 1978), who also sang backing vocals for Aretha Franklin, died of complications from AIDS in San Francisco, California at age 41.
1989:  Billy Joel moved to #1 with his new album Storm Front.  Phil Collins had a hot new release, ...But Seriously, that rose from 16-6 in just its third week.

           Cher continued her comeback with "Just Like Jesse James"...

1989:  "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel was #1 again with Phil Collins in hot pursuit with "Another Day In Paradise".  Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville moved to 3 with "Don't Know Much", Soul II Soul were next with "Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)" and Taylor Dayne reached #1 "With Every Beat Of My Heart".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Blame It On The Rain" from Milli Vanilli, Technotronic were at 7 with "Pump Up The Jam", Janet Jackson collected another hit with "Rhythm Nation", Bon Jovi's "Living In Sin" was up to #9 and Cher had her 25th career solo hit with "Just Like Jesse James".
1989:  The top Adult Contemporary song was "Another Day In Paradise" by Phil Collins for the third week in a row.

1991:  Mr. Big released the single "To Be With You".
1993:  Oasis opened for the Verve at the Krazy House in Liverpool, England.
1995:  Whitney Houston had the #1 R&B song for a fourth week with "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)".
1995:  Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men had a big hit on their hands with "One Sweet Day", #1 for the third week, and they weren't close to done.

1997:  Oasis played the first of three nights at Wembley Arena in London.  (Note:  numerous sources state that this concert was on December 9 but as you can see from the t-shirt, it was December 16.)

1997:  Nicolette Larson ("Lotta Love" from 1978), who worked with Linda Ronstadt, the Beach Boys, the Doobie Brothers, Neil Young and Jimmy Buffett, died in Los Angeles at age 45 from a seizure arising from cerebral edema after symptoms of depression.  According to close friend Astrid Young, her death "was in no small way related to her chronic use of Valium and Tylenol PM".   

1999:  Celine Dion officially went over 100 million in career sales in the United States.
2001:  Stuart Adamson, lead singer of Big Country, was found dead in a Honolulu, Hawai'i hotel room a month after he had disappeared from his home.
2003:  Ron Wood, guitarist of the Rolling Stones, joined the Stereophonics on stage to play "Handbags And Gladrags" and the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" at Earls Court in London.  (Note:  numerous websites incorrectly spell the venue as Earl's Court.)

2004:  Freddie Perren, Grammy Award-winning co-producer of Saturday Night Fever who wrote "I Will Survive" for Gloria Gaynor and hits for Tavares and Peaches & Herb and co-wrote and produced "ABC" and "I Want You Back" for the Jackson 5, died at age 61 in Los Angeles.  He had suffered a massive stroke 11 years earlier.
2005:  Jessica Simpson filed for divorce from Nick Lachey.

2007:  Superstar singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg died at his home in Deer Isle, Maine at age 56, after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2004.

2011:  The Beach Boys announced plans to reunite (with Brian Wilson included) for a 50th Anniversary Tour.
2013:  Ray Price ("For The Good Times") died in Mount Pleasant, Texas at the age of 86 from pancreatic cancer.

Born This Day:
1945:  Tony Hicks, guitarist of the Hollies, was born in Nelson, Lancashire, England.

1946:  Benny Andersson of ABBA was born in Stockholm, Sweden.  (Note:  some websites report Benny's place of birth as Vällingby, Sweden.  According to the book 'Abba:  Bright Lights Dark Shadows' by Carl Magnus Palm, Andersson was born in central Stockholm, then lived in Vällingby.) 

1949:  Billy Gibbons, lead singer, songwriter and great guitarist from ZZ Top, was born in Houston, Texas.
1968:  Christopher Thorn of Blind Melon was born in Dover, Delaware.

1972:  Michael McCary, bass singer of Boyz II Men, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Note:  some websites report his birth year as 1971 (one even shows it as June 7, 1958!).  According to both 'Billboard' and 'MTV', McCarty was born in 1972.)