Saturday, February 25, 2012

The #76 Guitarist of the Rock Era: C.C. DeVille

We've learned the identities and the stories 24 of The Top 100 Guitarists of the Rock Era*.  We can really admire the great skill that each of these elite players have.  Some play extremely fast, some have played guitar for 50 years, some offer incredible riffs or melodic guitar playing.  The #76 guitarist has many of those abilities, plus he's a great entertainer, which I think as fans we really appreciate when someone shows emotion and looks like they're having fun!
#76:  C.C. DeVille, Poison
32 years as an active guitarist
(guitar solo on Live, Raw & Uncut DVD)
C.C. DeVille (real name Bruce Anthony Johannesson) was born May 14, 1962 in Brooklyn, New York.  He is famous for being the lead guitarist of Poison and has also done solo work.

C.C. was inspired musically after watching the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show when he was two.  He began playing guitar at age five after he was given a Japanese Telecaster copy.  He began listening to Led Zeppelin, the Rolling tones, Aerosmith, Queen, Van Halen, Cheap Trick and Black Sabbath and especialy liked Kiss.

DeVille formed his first band called Lace.  He began studying music theory at New York University but never completed.  Instead, C.C. moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and began playing in many bands, including Screaming Mimi, Lace Slip, St. James and Roxx Regime (which later became the acclaimed group Stryper). 
DeVille auditioned for Poison and won the job, beating out Slash, who would later join Guns N' Roses.  The riff he played would eventually be featured in the Poison single "Talk Dirty to Me", which DeVille had written.  Poison's album Look What the Cat Dragged In was released in August of 1986 and sold over three million copies.  DeVille also wrote many of the songs on the group's second album Open Up And Say...Ahh!, which sold eight million.  C.C. again wrote most of the material on the 1990 album Flesh & Blood, which also went multi-platinum.  Meanwhile, he provided the lead guitar part on Warrant's song "Cherry Pie". 

Hoever, substance abuse and tensions with other members of the band, especially lead singer Bret Michaels, led to DeVille being asked to quit Poison.

DeVille joined a band called Needle Park but he soon succumbed to cocaine and alcohol addictions and would not leave his house.  Year later, C.D. underwent rehabilitation.  He eventually conquered his addictions and launched several solo projects but none of DeVille's bands were near as successful as Poison.  And Poison wasn't the same without DeVille.
In 1998, DeVille re-established contact with Poison and made a successful return to the group for their Greatest Hits reunion tour of 1999.  DeVille continues to record and perform with the group.

C.C. has played the GMP V Series guitar, the Matty Baratto Flying V, a custom-made Stratocaster with disco-ball mirrors on it, an ESP Les Paul with a whammy bar and Washburn guitars, a Strat-style N-2 and a lime green Dimebag Darrell Signature model.  DeVille has used Peavey Triple XXX amps for bigger venues.  He also uses a Marshall JCM 800, a Carvin Legacy, a Doldano Hot Rod 100 and a Matchless SC-30 in various 4 x 12 cabinets.  C.C. uses the Rocktron Hush LLC noise gate and the Home Brew Electronics HBE "Power Screamer" Overdrive Pedal.

DeVille also has the speed and great melodic riffs.  But he's one of the best showmen in our feature.  C.C. comes in at #76 for the Rock Era*.

The Greatest Guitarists of the Rock Era, #100-#77

New Featured Unknown/Underrated Song--"Questions 67 and 68" from Chicago

Here's another great song that's an easy one for this category.  Now, we hear it and say "How could this be underrated?"  Everyone knows it's a great song now, but people who worked radio stations in 1969 and 1971 didn't know that.  This was Chicago's debut single in August of 1969 and it went all the way up to.......#71.  Yep, that is not a misprint. 

 They released it in 1971 after scoring hits with "Make Me Smile", "25 or 6 to 4", "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?", "Beginnings" and "Colour My World", thinking now that Chicago was known as a top group, the song would definitely be played by radio stations. This time it got to #24.  Alas, you just can't convince some people.

Which makes it one of The Top Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*...
"Questions 67 and 68"

Words and Music by Robert Lamm

Can this feeling that we have together

Ooh, suddenly exist between?
Did this meeting of our minds together
Ooh, happen just today, some way?

I'd like to know
Can you tell me? Please don't tell me
It really doesn't matter anyhow
It's just that the thought of us so happy
Appears in my mind as a beautifully mysterious thing

Was your image in my mind so deeply
Ooh, other faces fade away
Blocking memories of unhappy hours
Ooh, leavin' just a burnin' love

I'd like to know
Can you tell me? Please don't tell me
It really doesn't matter anyhow
It's just that the thought of us so happy
Appears in my mind as a beautifully mysterious thing
Yes, it does now, baby

Can this lovin' we have found within us
Ooh, suddenly exist between?
Did we somehow try to make it happen
Ooh, was it just a natural thing?

I'd like to know
Can you tell me? Please don't tell me
It really doesn't matter anyhow
It's just that the thought of us so happy
Appears in my mind as a beautifully mysterious thing
Yes, it does now, baby

Questions 67 and 68

This Date in Rock Music History: February 25

1956:  One of the great R&B records of all-time--"The Great Pretender" by the Platters, remained at #1 for the eighth week on that chart.

1957:  Buddy Holly and the Crickets re-recorded "That'll Be the Day" with producer Norman Petty at Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico.  A previous version was recorded July 22, 1956 (released as the "B" side to the single "Rock Around With Ollie Vee") but this new one was the one they would release as their first single.   
1961:  "Elvis Presley Day" was declared in Memphis and Governor Buford Ellington also proclaimed it "Elvis Presley Day" in the state of Tennessee as Elvis performed for the first time since being honorably discharged from the United States Army.  A luncheon was given in Presley's honor, and Presley performed two charity shows at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis.

1963:  The Chantay's released the single "Pipeline", one of The Top 100 Instrumentals of the Rock Era*.
1964:  The Beatles recorded their next single "Can't Buy Me Love", as well as the flip side--"You Can't Do That" and began working on 'And I Love Her" and "I Should Have Known Better" at Abbey Road Studios in London.  The group had already taped much of "Can't Buy Me Love" on January 29 in Paris, so the group added vocal and guitar overdubs in London.  The Beatles recorded nine takes of "You Can't Do That", and worked on the other two songs, both of which were redone the next day. 
1965:  The Rolling Stones performed "The Last Time" on the BBC television show Ready!  Steady!  Go!
1965:  The Seekers reached #1 in the U.K. with "I'll Never Find Another You".

                    The Raiders' "The Great Airplane Strike"...

1967:  The Monkees' second album, More of the Monkees, was starting out just as their self-titled debut album had, as for the third week, it was #1.  In fact, their debut sat at #2.  S.R.O. by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass was third with the Soundtrack to "Doctor Zhivago" fourth.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Temptations Greatest Hits, That's Life from Frank Sinatra, the durable Soundtrack to "The Sound of Music" was #7 after 102 weeks of release, Winchester Cathedral from the New Vaudeville Band, Whipped Cream & Other Delights re-entered the Top 10 after 94 weeks by Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass and Boise, Idaho's Paul Revere & the Raiders had #10--The Spirit of '67.
1971:  One of the hottest new songs on this date was "A Horse With No Name", the first career hit for America. It moved from #84 to #47.
1974:  Grand Funk released their version of "The Loco-motion".  (Note:  some websites claim the song was released in May.  Grand Funk debuted on the Singles chart with "The Loco-motion" on March 9, 1974.  It is physically impossible for a song to be ranked on the Singles chart if it has not been released as a single.)

1974:  MFSB (which stood for Mother, Father, Sister, Brother) released the single "TSOP".

1978:  The great soul song "It's You That I Need" from Enchantment was #1 on the R&B chart.

1978:  Eddie Money first appeared on the charts with his first single--"Baby Hold On".

1978:  Jefferson Starship declared Earth Day! with the release of their new album Earth.
1978:  Paul Simon, James Taylor & Art Garfunkel remained in the top spot on the Adult chart with "(What A) Wonderful World".

                    "Deacon Blues" helped 'Aja' reach the Top 10.

1978:  The album that knocked Fleetwood Mac's Rumours out of #1 after a then-record 31 weeks--the Soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever" remained at #1 for a sixth week.  The Stranger by Billy Joel was a solid but distant second with Queen's News of the World third.  All 'N All by Earth, Wind & Fire remained in the #4 spot with Rod Stewart fifth with Foot Loose & Fancy Free.  The rest of the Top 10:  Styx's worst release out of its last three albums (still good) but best-selling The Grand Illusion, Running On Empty from Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton entered the Top 10 with Slowhand, Randy Newman's Little Criminals and the excellent Aja from Steely Dan was #10. 

1978:  The Bee Gees remained at #1 with "Stayin' Alive" for the fourth week.  They owned three of the Top 10 songs, a feat only accomplished by two other acts in the Rock Era--the Beatles in 1961 and Adele in 2012.  The Bee Gees' single "Night Fever" moved from 17 to 8 while their former #1--"How Deep Is Your Love", remained at #10.  
1980:  Bob Seger released the excellent album Against the Wind(Note:  several websites incorrectly place the date of release as February 27.  Usually, an artist's official website would be the authority, but in this case, we believe the February 5 date of release shown on Seger's website is a misprint, and should read February 25.  The album came hot on the heels of 'Night Moves' and 'Stranger in Town', and received immediate airplay, and debuted on the Album chart on March 15.) 

1981:  Christopher Cross won Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Record of the Year for "Sailing" and Best New Artist at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
1981:  Bob Seger won Best Rock Male Performance at the Grammys for his Against the Wind album.

1981:  Pat Benatar won Best Rock Female Performance with her album Crimes of Passion.
1984:  A new rock & roll band from New Jersey first appeared on the charts as their debut single "Runaway" was first heard on radio.  They would become quite well known to us as Bon Jovi.
1984:  Christopher Cross held on to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for the fourth consecutive week with "Think Of Laura".

1984:  Van Halen landed the new #1 song with "Jump", knocking Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon" out of the top spot.  Newcomer Nena was at 3 with "99 Luftballons" and Cyndi Lauper's first hit--"Girls Just Want to Have Fun" moved from 9 to 4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Michael Jackson with "Thriller", Kool and the Gang dropped down with "Joanna", the posthumous release from John Lennon--"Nobody Told Me", Shannon's "Let The Music Play", the Police moved to #9 with "Wrapped Around Your Finger" and Billy Joel slid in with "An Innocent Man".

      "My City Was Gone" from the incredible album 'Learning to Crawl'.

1984:  Thriller by Michael Jackson was the #1 album for the 30th week.  One more would tie Rumours by Fleetwood Mac as the longest-running #1 of the Rock Era.  Culture Club was somehow #2 with Colour By Numbers while Van Halen remained third with MCMLXXXIV and Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down at #4.  The Pretenders' excellent LP Learning to Crawl came in at #5, jumping Billy Joel's An Innocent Man.  The rest of the Top 10:  The former #1 Synchronicity by the Police, Duran Duran with Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Yes came in ninth with 90125 and the new John Cougar Mellencamp album Uh-Huh reached the Top 10.

1985:  Sade released the single "Smooth Operator".  (Note:  some websites erroneously report the date of the release as March 2, the date the song debuted on the Singles chart.  It is physically impossible for a song to be released as a single, be listened to and added by radio stations to their playlists, reported by the radio stations to the trade papers, and then printed and published by the trade papers, all on the same day.)

1985:  Madonna released the single "Crazy for You".
1987:  Frank Sinatra guest starred on Magnum P.I. on CBS-TV.

             Roy Orbison sang "Rattled" for the Traveling Wilburys...

1989:  Listeners chose Bobby Brown to have the #1 album with Don't Be Cruel.  One has to wonder if they're having second thoughts now.  Guns N' Roses remained second with Appetite for Destruction while the superb Volume One from the Traveling Wilburys was #3.  Another great album that got lost in the shuffle--Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars from Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians captured the #4 spot.  The rest of the Top 10:  Debbie Gibson with her debut Electric Youth, GN'R Lies from Guns N' Roses, the incredible Hysteria by Def Leppard, now in its 80th week, Paula Abdul entered the Top 10 with Forever Your Girl, in its 32nd week and the Bon Jovi album New Jersey was on its way down.
1989:  "The Living Years" was the new #1 song on the Adult Contemporary chart for Mike + the Mechanics.

                                Easton hit the Top 10 one final time...

1989:  Paula Abdul held on to #1 with "Straight Up" for the third week.  Debbie Gibson was one spot away with "Lost In Your Eyes" with Tone Loc third with "Wild Thing".  Sheena Easton's seventh and final Top 10 song ("The Lover In Me") was fourth while Bon Jovi dropped with "Born To Be My Baby".  The rest of the Top 10:  "She Wants To Dance With Me" by Rick Astley, New Kids on the Block had "You Got It (The Right Stuff)", Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians remained in the #8 position with "What I Am", Mike + the Mechanics moved from 16 to 9 with "The Living Years" and "Walking Away" by Information Society dropped to #10.

1992:  Jimi Hendrix was posthumously honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.

1992:  James Brown received the Lifetime Achievement award at the Grammys.
1993:  Toy Caldwell, guitarist and co- founder of the Marshall Tucker Band and brother of bassist and co-founder Tommy Caldwell, died of respiratory failure in Moore, South Carolina at age 45.  (Note:  some websites mistakenly list Spartanburg, South Carolina as Caldwell's place of death.  The news report where they got their information was in the Spartanburg newspaper, but in that report, as well as in the account printed by 'The New York Times', the Spartanburg paper says that Caldwell died at his home in Moore.)

1995:  Frank Sinatra sang before a live audience for the final time at a private party for 1,200 guests on the closing night of the Frank Sinatra Desert Classic golf tournament.  His final song was "The Best Is Yet To Come".
1995:  "Baby" by Brandy topped the R&B chart for a third week.

                        "Ode to My Family" by the Cranberries...

1995:  The Hits by Garth Brooks was #1 on the Album chart for the seventh week.  II by Boyz II Men moved up to challenge with Van Halen's Balance dropping.  Dookie from Green Day was still #4 after 53 weeks with the comeback album Hell Freezes Over by the Eagles #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  CrazySexyCool from TLC, Hootie & the Blowfish entered the Top 10 with Cracked Rear View, the great album Vitalogy from Pearl Jam, the Cranberries moved up with No Need to Argue and Smash came in at #10 for the Offspring.
1995:  Madonna had her 11th #1 song with "Take a Bow".

1998:  Bob Dylan won three Grammy awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, including Album of the Year for Time Out of Mind.

1998:  Bo Diddley received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.
1998:  Roy Orbison also received the Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously from the Grammys.  You were 10 years late, Grammys.
2002:  Dave Matthews purchased 1,261 acres from the University of Virginia Foundation, aiming to conserve trees and promote organic farming on the land.

2003:  Billy Joel was named the MusiCares Person of the Year in Los Angeles.
2003:  Paul McCartney and his band performed at the 50th birthday of fan Wendy Whitworth in San Diego, California.  McCartney was paid $1 million to do the show and, being the classy guy he is, Sir Paul donated his fee to the Adopt-a-Minefield charity.

2003:  Gary Rossington, elite guitarist and a founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, had to have emergency heart bypass surgery in a Atlanta, Georgia area hospital after a routine screening found him to be suffering from coronary artery disease.  (Note:  numerous websites incorrectly report that the surgery was February 27.  The 'Billboard' magazine article was February 27, but as they plainly state in it, the surgery was on Tuesday, which in 2003 fell on February 25.  The newspapers 'USA Today' and 'The Los Angeles Times' confirm that the surgery took place on February 25.)
2004:  A.C. Reed, blues songwriter, saxophonist, vocalist and bandleader, died at the age of 77 from cancer in Chicago, Illinois.
2005:  Edward Patten of Gladys Knight & the Pips, died in a hospital in Livonia, Michigan at age 65 after suffering a stroke two days before.  (Note:  some websites falsely report that Edward died in Detroit, Michigan.  He died at St. Mary's Mercy Hospital in Livonia, according to the newspaper 'The Chicago Tribune'.)

2009:  United States President Barack Obama honored Stevie Wonder with the highest award for popular music in America, the Library of Congress' Gershwin prize, at a White House ceremony.  (Note:  several websites mistakenly place the date of the ceremony as February 22 or February 23.  The truth is that newspaper reports saying that Wonder would be honored on February 25 at the White House were published on February 22nd and 23rd.  President Obama honored Wonder on February 25, according to the official White House website, the newspapers 'The Washington Times' and 'The Chicago Tribune', 'CBS News', and 'PBS Television'.)
2010:  Marie Osmond's teenage son Michael Blosil was found dead on the ground below an apartment balcony in Los Angeles after committing suicide.
2011:  Rick Coonce, drummer of the Grass Roots, died of heart failure at the age of 65.
2012:  Red Holloway, who played sax and harmonica for B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Billie Holliday, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and George Benson, died from complications of kidney failure at the age of 84 in Morro Bay, California.
2013:  Dan Toler, guitarist with the Allman Brothers Band, died at age 64 after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease).  (Note:  several websites, including '' and 'Country Music Television', report that Toler died in Sarasota, Florida.  This is incorrect.  Toler died in hospice care in Bradenton, according to the newspapers 'The Sarasota Patch' and 'The Bradenton Herald'.)

Born This Day:
1932:  Faron Young ("Hello Walls" from 1961) was born in Shreveport, Louisiana; committed suicide in Nashville, Tennessee on December 10, 1996.
1943:  George Harrison, the youngest and "The Quiet One" in the Beatles, a superstar solo performer and also member of the Traveling Wilburys, was born in Liverpool, Merseyside, England; died November 29, 2001 of lung cancer in Beverly Hills, California.
1947:  David Stensen, bassist of the Grass Roots, was born in San Bruno, California.
1957:  Stuart Wood, rhythm and bass guitarist of the Bay City Rollers, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1957:  Dennis Diken, drummer, percussionist, vocalist and co-founder of the Smithereens, was born in Belleville, New Jersey.
1959:  Mike Peters, lead singer of the Alarm, was born in Prestatyn, Wales.

1971:  Daniel Powter ("Bad Day") was born in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada.  (Note:  some websites report that Powter was born in Vancouver, British Columbia.  While there are no credible sources for either place, our best information indicates that he was born in Vernon.) 
1973:  Justin Jeffre of 98 Degrees was born in Mount Clemons, Michigan.

Who Had More Hits--the Bee Gees or the Rolling Stones?

Two of the biggest acts of the Rock Era are paired here, and there are many ways to compare them.  You could look at album sales, concert success, awards won, etc.  Obviously, both acts are super talented and admired the world over.

Here, we just look at hits.  When you throw in popular album tracks, the totals for both groups is much higher, but just for songs that were and are regarded as hit songs, the totals are:

Bee Gees 45
Rolling Stones 56

That said, most of the Bee Gees' songs were bigger hits than those from the Rolling Stones so there's a way to have them come out on top as well.

Rock Artists from Boston

Boston hasn't produced big numbers of famous acts like you would find in San Francisco, Los Angeles, London or New York City, but they have produced some of the best.  Here are some of the top acts from Boston and nearby Worcester:


Bell Biv Devoe




J. Geils Band

Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Mighty Mighty Bosstones

New Edition

New Kids on the Block
Donna Summer
Al B. Sure!
James Taylor

Songs on Cosmo's Factory by CCR

Last year, Inside the Rock Era revealed that Cosmo's Factory from CCR is one of The Top 100 Albums of the Rock Era*.  Here is the song list from that great album:

Side one
1.  "Ramble Tamble" --7:09
2.  "Before You Accuse Me" 3:24
3.  "Travelin' Band" --2:07
4.  "Ooby Dooby" --2:05
5.  "Lookin' Out My Back Door" --2:31
6.  "Run Through the Jungle" --3:09

Side two
1.  "Up Around the Bend" --2:40
2.  "My Baby Left Me" --2:17
3.  "Who'll Stop the Rain" --2:28
4.  "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" --11:05
5.  "Long As I Can See the Light" --3:33

Friday, February 24, 2012

The #77 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Neil Young

The next guitarist has been a fixture of the Rock Era, he's been right there at the front line helping to shape it:
#77:  Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and solo artist
53 years as an active guitarist
("Cinnamon Girl" live)

Neil Percival Young was born November 12, 1945 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  He began performing at the age of 15 in Canada, before moving to California and co-founding Buffalo Springfield.  Young later joined Crosby, Stills & Nash as a fourth member in 1969 and has periodically rejoined his mates from time to time at live shows.  Neil has released over 34 studio albums as a solo performer.

Young is a great experimenter, delving into several musical styles and techniques.  He began to take an interest in popular songs that he heard on the famous radio station CHUM in Toronto in the early 1950's, particularly rock and roll, rockabilly, doo-wop and R&B.  Young idolized Elvis Presley; other influences were Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Monotones.  Young began playing a plastic ukulele, then progressed to a better ukulele to a banjo ukulele to a baritone ukulele.

Neil and his mother soon settle in Fort Rouge, Winnipeg and Neil went to Earl Grey Junior High School.  Neil formed his first band the Jades at Earl Grey and later played in several instrumental rock bands at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg.  Young's first stable group was the Squires.

After leaving the Squires, Young worked the folk music circuit in Winnipeg and wrote several songs including "Sugar Mountain" and "Flying on the Ground is Wrong", a Canadian hit for Winnipeg group the Guess Who.  In 1965, Young toured Canada as a solo performer, then joined the group Mynah Birds, which was led by Rick James.  The group signed a record deal with Motown but disbanded after James was arrested for being AWOL from the Naval Reserve.

Young and bass player Bruce Palmer moved to Los Angeles and met Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and Dewey Martin.  They started the group Buffalo Springfield, which played a mix of folk, country, psychedelia and rock.  The group was a critical and popular success but when Palmer was arrested and deported, the group split after just three albums. 

Young then signed a solo recording contract with Reprise Records, home of colleague and friend Joni Mitchell.  Young and manager Elliot Roberts began working on his debut album Neil Young from 1968.  For his follow-up, Young brought in guitarist Danny Whitten, bassist Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina on drums.  The three musicians named themselves Crazy Horse and the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere in 1969 is credited to Neil Young with Crazy Horse.  It includes the live staple "Cinnamon Girl".

Shortly after the release of his second album, Young joined the trio Crosby, Stills & Nash and the quartet debuted in Chicago, Illinois on August 16, 1969.  They were one of the featured attractions at Woodstock, although Young skipped the acoustic set and refused to be filmed during the electric set.   During the making of the CSNY album Deja Vu, Stills and Young argued and fought for control of the group.  Young wrote "Ohio" for the album, one of The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era*.

Deja Vu became a big hit and is still one of the great albums of the Rock Era.  Later in 1970, Young released the album After the Gold Rush.  He dismissed Crazy Horse early in the sessions and enlisted the help of Stills, CSNY bass guitarist Greg Reeves and Nils Lofgren.  It was some of Young's best work, including the biting "Southern Man" and "Only Love Can Break Your Heart".  Neil went on tour to promote the album, including a sold out show at Carnegie Hall in New York City and two acclaimed shows at Massey Hall in Toronto.

In 1972, Young released another of his great albums--HarvestHarvest included the #1 "Heart of Gold" as well as the popular "Old Man".  While Harvest was a commercial success, Neil's next three albums were collectively known as the "Ditch Trilogy", three failures that dealt with conflicts he was feeling and the decaying idealism of his generation in America.

Young's eighth solo album, Zuma in 1975 included "Cortez the Killer", a retelling of the Spanish conquest of Mexico.   He did a project with Stills and in 1976, Young performed with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and others in the all-star concert The Last Waltz, the final performance by the Band.

By 1978, Young had formed a new Crazy Horse and went on the Rust Never Sleeps Tour, which featured an acoustic set and an uptempo, electric set.  It was highly successful and the two accompanying albums, Rust Never Sleeps (live recordings of new material with studio overdubs) and Live Rust (a mix of old and new songs recorded live).

Young did several albums with little success and appeared at the 1985 Live Aid concert in Philadelphia, reuniting with Crosby, Stills & Nash for the first time in ten years.  Neil's 1989 song "Rockin' in the Free World" from the album Freedom brought him back as a force in the music business.  The song deals with homelessness, terrorism and criticizes the policies of U.S. President George H.W. Bush.  The use of feedback and distortion on Freedom had a major influence on the rising grunge stars of the era, including Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. 

Alternative and grunge acts including Sonic Youth and Soul Asylum released a tribute album called The Bridge:  A Tribute to Neil Young later that year. and Social Distortion and Sonic Youth opened for Neil during a 1990 tour.  Young changed direction again, however, in 1992 with the release of Harvest Moon, which reunited him with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor, who had helped Neil with the Harvest album.  In 1993, Young collaborated with Booker T. and the MG's on a summer tour of Europe and North America.  Pearl Jam joined him for the encore with a rendition of "Rockin' in the Free World" on some shows.  Young reconnected with Pearl Jam in 1995 for the album Mirror Ball.  Later that year, Neil was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, introduced by Vedder.

Young recorded the Soundtrack to "Dead Man" and in 1998, shared the stage with Phish at the annual Farm Aid concert.  In 1999, Young reunited again with Crosby, Stills and Nash for the Looking Forward album and subsequent tour that netted the quartet $42.1 million, the eighth largest tour of 2000.

The studio album Silver & Gold and live release Road Rock Vol. 1 were released in 2000 and his 2001 single "Let's Roll" was a tribute to the victims of the September 11 attacks and effective action taken by the passengers of Flight 93.  While working on the Prairie Wind album in March of 2005, Young was diagnosed with a bran aneurysm. He was treated successfully, and eventually was back on stage, appearing at the Live 8 concert in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.

Young had resisted writing protest songs for some time, giving younger artists an opportunity, but when they didn't say anything, Neil came out with the 2006 album Living With War, another of his best career efforts.  The album dealt with themes from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the casualties that were escalating. 

Young's most recent appearance on an album was on Booker T. Jones' album Potato Hole, in which Young played guitar on nine of the album's tracks.  He continues to tour extensively as well, headlining the Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, England, where he was joined onstage by Paul McCartney for a rendition of "A Day in the Life".

An original founder of Live Aid, Neil is still on the board of directors for the project.  Each October, Neil and his wife host the Bridge School Concerts, which have drawn performers such as Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, the Who, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews, Sonic Youth and the Smashing Pumpkins in Mountain View, California.    Proceeds from the concert benefit the Bridge School, which uses advanced technologies to aid in the education of children with disabilities.

Young has received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1992 and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from San Francisco State University in 2006.  In 2006, Young was appointed to the Order of Manitoba, the highest civilian honour for a province and in 2009, Young was appointed to the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour in the nation.

Young uses a 1953 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop nicknamed "Old Black" as his primary electric guitar.  A Minihumbucker pickup from a Gibson Firebird was installed in the lead/treble position in 1972 and is a key component of his guitar playing.  The Martin D-45 is Young's primary steel-string acoustic guitar that was bought by Stephen Stills in 1969.  Young also plays a Martin D-28 nicknamed "Hank" after previous owner Hank Williams.  Young also plays a Taylor 855 12-string, a 1927 Gibson Mastertone, a six-string bajo tuned like a guitar, a Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins model , a GIbson Flying V, a Fender Broadcaster and a Gretsch White Falcon.

Young uses several vintage Fender Tweed Deluxe amplifiers.  The Tweed Deluxe is used in conjunction with a late-1950's Magnatone 280.  Young uses the Whizzer to control the Deluxe, which is connected to footswitches in the manner of an effects pedal.

A guy who has contributed much to the Rock Era--Neil Young at #77...

This Date in Rock Music History: February 24

1956:  Police in Cleveland, Ohio invoked a 1931 ordinance barring people under the age of 18 from dancing in public unless accompanied by an adult.  
1958:  For the fourth week the Silhouettes shadowed the #1 spot on the R&B chart with "Get A Job".  
1960:  Carl Dobkins, Jr., dressed in full military attire live from Fort Dix in New Jersey, where he was serving in the national guard, appeared on The Perry Como Show on NBC-TV.
                                         Dion's latest was hot...

1962:  Pretty solid Top 5 here:  "Duke Of Earl" from Gene Chandler, Dion moved to second with "The Wanderer", Sue Thompson with "Norman", former #1 "The Twist" from Chubby Checker and Bruce Channel shot up from 13 to 5 with "Hey!  Baby".
1965:  The Beach Boys recorded "Help Me Rhonda" at Universal and Radio Recorders Studios in Hollywood, California.
1967:  The Bee Gees signed a management deal with Robert Stigwood.

1968:  The Beatles remained at #1 on the Album chart for the eighth week with the Soundtrack to "Magical Mystery Tour", the movie in which they starred in.  John Wesley Harding by Bob Dylan was second with Blooming Hits from Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra jumping to #3.  Axis:  Bold As Love from the Jimi Hendrix Experience moved from #24 all the way up to #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  Diana Ross and the Supremes Greatest Hits, the Rolling Stones with Their Satanic Majesties Request, Herb Alpert's Ninth by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, The Turtles!  Golden Hits at #8, Are You Experienced? from the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream took position #10 with Disraeli Gears.

1968:  "Love Is Blue" was #1 for a third week for Paul Mauriat.  
1969:  The Jimi Hendrix Experience, which adopted England as its second home, played its final British concert before breaking up at the Royal Albert Hall in London.  The show was recorded, and some songs performed in London were later released as the album Hendrix in the West.  

1970: The Jackson 5 released the single "ABC".
1973:  The Byrds (with Roger McGuinn, Gene Parsons, Clarence White and John York in their final lineup) were in concert for the final time at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey.

1973:  "Love Train" by the O'Jays has the distinction of being on three prestigious lists.  It is one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, one of The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era* and one of The Top 100 R&B Songs of the 1970's*.  "Love Train" remained #1 again on this date on the R&B chart.  

1973:  Roberta Flack reached #1 for the second time in her career with "Killing Me Softly With His Song".  Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell were second with "Dueling Banjos" while previous #1 "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John fell to #3.  Carly Simon's former #1 "You're So Vain" was still hanging around after 13 weeks while the Spinners were up to #5 with their latest--"Could It Be I'm Falling In Love".  The rest of the Top 10:  Steely Dan with "Do It Again", newcomer Edward Bear with "Last Song", which rose from 13 to 7, Lobo's "Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend", the O'Jays rode from 15 to 9 with "Love Train" and John Denver spent a second week at #10 with "Rocky Mountain High".

1975:  Led Zeppelin released the album Physical Graffiti.

1975:  Elton John released his single "Philadelphia Freedom".
1976:  The Eagles' Greatest Hits became the first album to be certified platinum (one million sales) by the RIAA.
1978:  Barry Manilow starred in The Second Barry Manilow Special on ABC-TV with guest Ray Charles.

1979:  One of the main New Wave acts to cross into the mainstream, this group first appeared on the radio as their debut single "Roxanne" entered the charts.

      "In the Gallery" was helping Dire Straits become a sensation...

1979:  Rod Stewart owned the top album for a third week--Blondes Have More Fun.  The Bee Gees were close behind with Spirits Having Flown.  Cruisin' by the Village People amazingly was third while the Blues Brothers dropped with Briefcase Full of Blues.  The rest of the Top 10:  Billy Joel proved he was a star with staying power with the album 52nd Street, the debut from Dire Straits came in #6, Totally Hot from Olivia Newton-John, the Doobie Brothers entered the Top 10 with Minute By Minute, the self-titled Toto at #9 and Love Tracks by Gloria Gaynor ranked 10th.
1979:  Anne Murray had the #1 Adult Contemporary song for a third week with "I Just Fall In Love Again".

1979:  Rod Stewart spent a third week at #1 with "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?"  The Bruce Springsteen-penned song "Fire" by the Pointer Sisters rose to #2 with Olivia Newton-John a solid #3 with "A Little More Love".  Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" edged closer while "Y.M.C.A." by the Village People was #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Bee Gees shot up from 19 to 6 with "Tragedy", Chic's former #1 "Le Freak" was still at #7 after 18 weeks, Nicolette Larson's "Lotta' Love", Barry Manilow had his 14th hit ("Somewhere In The Night"), with an impressive nine of those reaching the Top 10 and Leif Garrett had #10--"I Was Made for Dancin'".
1981:  Peter Noone of Hermans Hermits and Stephen Bishop appeared on Laverne & Shirley on ABC-TV.

1982:  Double Fantasy by  the late John Lennon won the Grammy for Album of the Year.
1982:  Sheena Easton captured the Grammy for Best New Artist.

1982:  Kim Carnes won Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards for "Bette Davis Eyes".  The writers of the song--Jackie DeShannon and Donna Weiss, won the Grammy for Song of the year.

1987:  Ray Charles posthumously received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.  The Grammy voters, realizing that they had snubbed him while he was alive, heaped all kinds of praise on him now that he was dead, also adding a record-tying eight posthumous Grammy Awards onto the festivities.

1987:  The Fat Man, Fats Domino, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.
1988:  Alice Cooper announced he would run for Governor of Arizona as a member of the "Wild Party".  Yeah, good one there Alice.
1990:  Bob Dylan, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman sang "Mr. Tambourine Man" in Los Angeles as a tribute to the late Roy Orbison.  

1990:  Johnnie Ray, singer-songwriter and pianist, died of liver failure in Los Angeles at the age of 63.
1990:  "Opposites Attract" by Paula Abdul was #1 for a third week.  Janet Jackson was second with "Escapade".  Roxette moved to #3 with "Dangerous".

1990:  "Here We Are" by Gloria Estefan was #1 for the fifth week on the AC chart.
1990:  Paula Abdul racked up her fifth week at #1 on the Album chart with Forever Your Girl.  Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 was second.

1993:  Eric Clapton won six Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, for "Tears In Heaven".
1995:  Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys left a hospital in London after two weeks of treatment by an AIDS specialist.

1996:  Nineteen weeks after it left the #1 position on the Album chart, Alanis Morissette's landmark Jagged Little Pill returned to the top.  

1996:  "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men made history with a 13th week at #1.  That tied "End Of The Road" by Boyz II Men for third in the Rock Era for the most weeks at #1.  Only "I'll Make Love To You" by Boyz II Men and "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston, each with 14 weeks, were ahead of Carey & the Boyz at this juncture.

1997:  Third Eye Blind had a hot new single on the desks of radio station Music Directors on this date--"Semi-Charmed Life".

1998:  The genius John Fogerty was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Orville H. Gibson award ceremony in New York City.

1998:  Elton John was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London.

1998:  Tommy Lee, drummer of Motley Crue, was arrested in Malibu, California and charged with abusing his wife Pamela Anderson and his son Dylan.  After he was convicted, the loser was thrown in jail for six months.  Not near long enough.

1999:  Lauryn Hill received five Grammy awards for her debut solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

2002:  Bon Jovi, Christina Aguilera, N' Sync, Kiss and Moby performed at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

2002:  Paul McCartney performed "Yesterday" at a concert tribute to the late George Harrison in Liverpool, England.
2002:  Arthur Lyman, who gave us one of The Top 100 Instrumentals of the Rock Era* ("Yellow Bird" from 1961) died of throat cancer in Honolulu, Hawai'i at the age of 70.
2002:  Sting, the Very Best of was the #1 album in the U.K.

2004:  Estelle Axton, co-founder of Stax records, which included Booker T. & the MG's, Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes, died of natural causes at age 85 in Memphis, Tennessee.  (Note:  some naïve website owners, believe that the dates of newspaper reports are the dates that something occurred, falsely report that Estelle died on February 25.  As most people know, newspapers report news that happened the previous day, and according to the newspapers 'USA Today', 'The Los Angeles Times' and 'The Sun-Sentinel', as well as 'Billboard', the correct date of death is Tuesday, February 24.)
2006:  In today's episode of Dangerous Inmates Run Rap Music, Black Rob was arrested on a fugitive warrant in New Jersey after he did not turn himself in to begin a sentence for burglary.
2008:  Larry Norman of the group People ("I Love You" from 1968) died of heart failure at age 60 in Salem, Oregon.
2011:  Eddie Serrato, drummer with Question Mark & the Mysterians ("96 Tears") died of a heart attack in Detroit, Michigan at the age of 65.

Born This Day:
1932:  Michel LeGrand, jazz composer who wrote the music to the great Dusty Springfield song "Windmills Of Your Mind" from 1969, was born in Bécon les Bruyères, France, a suburb of Paris. 
1942:  Paul Jones (real name Paul Pond), singer and harmonica player of Manfred Mann, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.
1944:  Nicky Hopkins of Quicksilver Messenger Service and a session pianist on The White Album by the Beatles, Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane and more than a dozen Rolling Stones albums, among others, was born in Perivale, London; died September 6, 1994 in Nashville, Tennessee of complications of intestinal surgery, presumably related to his battle with Crohn's Disease.   
1947:  Rupert Holmes, who had the great album Partners In Crime and also wrote "Timothy" for the Buoys, was born in Northwich, Cheshire, England.
1947:  Lonnie Turner, bassist of the Steve Miller Band, was born in Berkeley, California.
1959:  Colin Farley of the Cutting Crew "(I Just) Died In Your Arms"
1962:  Michelle Shocked was born in Dallas, Texas.
1974:  Chad Hugo, who along with partner Pharrell Williams, has produced for Britney Spears, 'N Sync, Nelly, Jay-Z and Mystikal, wad born in Portsmouth, Virginia.
1974:  Noah "Wuv" Bernardo, Jr., drummer and founding member of P.O.D.