Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In Concert: Simon & Garfunkel--"Bridge Over Troubled Water"

Another in our "In Concert" series, is the amazing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel, recorded live in Central Park...

The #65 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Timo Tolkki

This is the list built so far in The Top 100 Guitarists*:

100.   Mick Barr, Orthrelm
99.    Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains
98.    Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield Blues Band
97.    Danny Kirwan, Fleetwood Mac
96.    Daron Malakian, System of a Down
95.    Sam Totman, Dragonforce
94.    Kerry King, Slayer
93.    Robbie Krieger, Doors
92.    Ted Nugent
91.    Jason Becker, David Lee Roth
90.    John 5, David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson
89.    Jake E. Lee, Ratt, Ozzy Osbourne
88.    Michael Wilton, Queensryche
87.    James Munky Shaffer, Korn
86.     Uli Jon Roth, Scorpions
85.     Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi
84.     Rick Derringer, McCoys, Edgar Winter Group, solo
83.     Dave Mason, Traffic, solo
82.     Warren DeMartini, Ratt, Whitesnake
81.     Synyster Gates, Avenged Sevenfold
80.     Jack White, the White Stripes
79.     Alex Lifeson, Rush
78.     Chuck Schuldiner, Death
77.     Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, solo
76.     C.C. DeVille, Poison
75.     Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rossington-Collins Band
74.     Peter Frampton, Humble Pie, solo
73.     Neil Giraldo, Pat Benatar
72.     Keith Richards, Rolling Stones 

71.     Michael Schenker, Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Group 

70.     Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine 

69.     Neal Schon, Santana, Journey
68.     Vivian Campbell, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy

67.    Dave Mustaine, Metallica, Megadeth
66.    Danny Gatton


We've heard from 35 of the elite guitarists of the Rock Era.  #65 not only has great speed but a sense of melody, a dynamic combination:
#65:  Timo Tolkki, Stratovarius
31 years as an active guitarist

Timo Tolkki of Finland was the longest-standing member of Stratovarius before forming Revolution Renaissance in 2008.  Guitar World named Timo 27th of the Fastest Guitar Players in the World. 

But more importantly, Tolkki has a great knowledge of the guitar and he understands melody.  Many people can play fast, but it's another thing to be able to give some thought into the notes one is playing and make it something worth listening to.  Because you see, the more you do that, the more difficult it is to play fast.  If some of the fast shredders had to come up with melodic solos, they couldn't play near as fast as you hear them play random notes.  That really is the key, and the guitarists who can do it are the ones who get recognized and awarded.

Tolkki began playing guitar at age seven and he practiced relentlessly, often eight hours a day.  He played in the bands Antidote, Thunder and Road Block before joining Stratovarius in 1984.  In the early history of the group, Timo played all lead and rhythm guitars, and at times bass guitar, as well as handing the lead vocalist.  He later passed on the bassist role to Jari Kainulainen and the lead vocals to Timo Kotipelto beginning with the group's fourth album in 1995.

Tolkki released in first solo album, Classical Variations and Themes, in 1994, which focused on instrumentals.  A later solo album--Hymn to Life in 2002, dealt with emotional issues such as his relationship with God and his late father.


Tolkki also started his own recording studio, Goldenworks Mixing Suite. In 2005, Timo recorded a final album with Stratovarius before leaving the band in 2008. He decided to waive the legal rights to the group's name, allowing the band to continue. Timi then recorded a rock opera, Saana-Warrior of Light Pt. 1 which included several guest vocalists.

IN 2010, Tolkki formed Symfonia, a power metal group with Andre Matos, keyboardist Mikko Harkin, drummer Uli Kusch and former Stratovarius member Jari Kainulainen. The group played at the 2011 Finnish Metal Expo.  Tolkki has also traveled around the world offering the Masterclass Guitar Workshop:  Guitar & Music Beyond Infinity in which he talks about how music is connected to life and emotions. 


Tolkki began with a progressive, heavy sound but when Kotipelto took over as lead vocalist, Tolkki adopted neo-classical phrasing and shredding, featuring a faster and more melodic power metal tone.

Tolkki has always played ESP Guitars, primarily a customized M Series in solid black. He has also been seen playing an ESP EX series. Tolkki originally used Mesa/Boogie and Laney amplifiers, but witched to Marshall's in 2001 and since 2007, Timo has used an ENGL Powerball.


Tolkki has sold over 2.5 million records and his productions have sold over 5 million despite his music not being "mainstream".  His solos have been great to listen to, especially outside of Stratovarius.  Timo Tolkki ranks as The #65 Guitarist of the Rock Era*.

New Featured Unknown/Underrated Song--"Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits

We at Inside the Rock Era love songs like this one.  To the masses, they are the undiscovered gems of the Rock Era.  We feature them proudly in our category The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*, which you can find at any time by clicking on the Tab at the top of the web site.  


We will add to this list at the rate of at least one per week.  We don't just choose any song but rather try to select the "cream of the crop" of those songs that most people may not be familiar with.  Besides high quality, the only criterion is that the song did not make the Top 10 in the United States.  This song qualifies because although it was released as a single, it never even made the chart.  Really unbelievable.  The song was a Top 10 in both the U.K. and Ireland.   It is one of the lead tracks from the 1980 Dire Straits album Making Movies.
"Romeo and Juliet"
by Dire Straits


Words and Music by Mark Knopfler

A lovestruck romeo sings a streetsuss serenade
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made
Finds a convenient streetlight steps out of the shade
Says something like you and me babe how about it?

Juliet says hey it's romeo you nearly gimme a heart attack
He's underneath the window she's singing hey la my boyfriend's back
You shoudn't come around here singing up at people like that
Anyway what you gonna do about it?

Juliet the dice were loaded from the start
And I bet and you exploded in my heart
And I forget I forget the movie song
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong juliet?

Come up on different streets they both were streets of shame
Both dirty both mean yes and the dream was just the same
And I dreamed your dream for you and now your dream is real
How can you look at me as I was just another one of your deals?

When you can fall for chains of silver you can fall for chains of gold
You can fall for pretty strangers and the promises they hold
You promised me everything you promised me thick and thin
Now you just say oh romeo yeah you know I used to have a scene with him

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
You said I love you like the stars above I'll love you till I die
There's a place for us you know the movie song
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong?

I can't do the talk like they talking on the tv
And I can't do a love song like the way its meant to be
I can't do everything but I'd do anything for you
I can't do anything except be in love with you

And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be
All I do is keep the beat and bad company
All I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme
Julie I'd do the stars with you any time

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
You said I love you like the stars above I'll love you till I die
There's a place for us you know the movie song
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong?

A lovestruck romeo sings a streetsuss serenade
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made
Finds a convenient streetlight steps out of the shade
Says something like you and me babe how about it?

This Date in Rock Music History: March 7

1956:  Kay Starr ("Rock & Roll Waltz") suffered a serious car accident after running a stop sign in Corona, California.  She was hospitalized with neck, arm and leg injuries.
1960:  Percy Faith remained perched at the top for a third week with the great instrumental "Theme from 'A Summer Place'".  

1964:  Al Hirt had the top Easy Listening song for the third week with "Java".




1964:  Those lucky enough to be alive were seeing history unfold before their eyes.  The Beatles, who had launched their American careers on The Ed Sullivan Show just weeks before, now had the #1 song in the land for the sixth straight week with "I Want to Hold Your Hand".  And that was how it all began.  Reinforcements came in the form of "She Loves You" at #2 and "Please Please Me" at #4 and soon, it was a full-scale invasion.  
1964:  Meet the Beatles, the second U.S. album from the group, was #1 for a fourth week with their first one, Introducing...the Beatles in the #2 position.  Here was what the Rock Era sounded like prior to the Beatles:  Al Hirt with Honey in the Horn at #3, Peter, Paul & Mary with In the Wind, The Singing Nun were her self-titled debut, Nancy Wilson with Yesterday's Love Songs/Today's Blues moving from 13-6, the Soundtrack to "Charade" from Henry Mancini & His Orchestra, the Soundtrack to "Hello, Dolly!" moving from 25-8, The Wonderful World of Andy Williams and There!  I've Said It Again from Bobby Vinton.  Just in case you doubt that the Beatles changed music forever.

1966:  The Rascals released the single "Good Lovin'".




1967:  The Beatles recorded overdubs for "Lovely Rita" including harmony vocals and effects.
1967:  Sandra Dee received a divorce from Bobby Darin.
1970:  Sly & the Family Stone spent a fifth week atop the R&B chart with "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).
"The Only Living Boy in New York" on the incredible final album from Simon & Garfunkel

1970:  The great album Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel moved to #1 after just four weeks, toppling Led Zeppelin II.  Former #1 Abbey Road by the Beatles was still a strong third after 21 weeks.  Willy and the Poorboys, the great new one from Creedence Clearwater Revival was fourth with Chicago II edging up to #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  The debut from the Jackson 5 (Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5), Hello, I'm Johnny Cash, which moved from 13-7, Was Captured Live at the Forum by Three Dog Night, the self-titled Engelbert Humperdinck and Santana at #10 with their self-titled release.

        The Chairmen of the Board with their first single...

1970:  Simon & Garfunkel's new single "Bridge Over Troubled Water" had been out for five weeks and two of those were at 1.  The world's favorite #2 band--CCR was in their familiar position with their double-sided "Travelin' Band"/"Who'll Stop the Rain", Sly & the Family Stone's former #1 "Thank You" was now third but Brook Benton headed up strong (9-4) with "Rainy Night In Georgia".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Hey There Lonely Girl" from Eddie Holman, the Tee Set's one and only hit--"Ma Belle Amie", the Jaggerz headed into the Top 10 with "The Rapper" (the good kind--long before a group of misfits ruined the word...), Chairmen of the Board moved from 16 to 8 with "Give Me Just a Little More Time", B.J. Thomas was still in the Top 10 after 19 weeks with his #1 classic "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" and the Hollies were making their own story as "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" jumped from 17 to 10.
1971:  Harold McNair, saxophone and flute player who worked with Quincy Jones, Donovan, Melanie and Ginger Baker's Air Force, died of lung cancer at age 39.
1973:  While new signee Bruce Springsteen was giving a performance to celebrate his contract with Columbia Records, A&R man John Hammond suffered a heart attack.  John just got a little excited when the dollar signs started floating around in his head.

1976:  A likeness of Elton John was unveiled at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London.  Elton was the first rock star to be so honored since the Beatles.


1977:  Boz Scaggs released the single "Lido Shuffle".



 
 
   
  Benatar's remake of a Rascals song helped fuel sales.

1981:  REO Speedwagon was #1 on the album chart with Hi Infidelity for the third straight week.  Double Fantasy remained second from the late John Lennon, "The Jazz Singer" Soundtrack by Neil Diamond came in third, just ahead of Styx with Paradise Theater.  The rest of the Top 10: Zenyatta Mondatta, Crimes of Passion from Pat Benatar, Blondie's Autoamerican, Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits at #8, AC/DC was still in the Top 10 after 29 weeks with Back In Black and Kool & the Gang entered the list with Celebrate!
1985:  "We Are the World" by USA for Africa premiered.

1987:  Bon Jovi controlled the chart for a fourth week with "Livin' On a Prayer".  Huey Lewis & the News had a solid #2 with "Jacob's Ladder" while the Jets were up to 3 with "You Got It All".  Bruce Hornsby & the Range moved from 12-9 with "Mandolin Rain" and Janet Jackson had her fifth career Top 10 with "Let's Wait Awhile".
1987:  The Jets had the #1 R&B song with "You Got It All".

1988:  Gloria Estefan released the single "Anything for You".
1988:  Gordon Huntley, pedal steel guitarist who was a member of Matthews Southern Comfort and also played for Elton John, Rod Stewart, Cliff Richard and others, died of cancer.
1992:  Michael Jackson moved to #1 on the R&B chart with "Remember the Time".        
     
           Grant had hit the mainstream...

1992:  Three new songs moved into the Top 10 and upped the quality--"Save the Best for Last" from Vanessa Williams at #5, Eric Clapton's "Tears In Heaven" at #6 and Amy Grant edged in at #10 with "Good for Me".
1992:  "Missing You Now" by Michael Bolton and Kenny G. moved to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
1994:  The United States Supreme Court ruled that parodies that make fun of an original work can be considered "fair use" that does not require permission from the copyright holder.

1998:  Madonna had her eighth #1 song in the U.K. with "Frozen".
2001:  Jerry Collins, formerly with the Trammps ("Disco Inferno") was convicted of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault of his wife.
2003:  Singer Adam Faith, who produced Roger Daltrey's first solo effort, died of a heart attack at the age of 62.
2004:  Britney Spears rose to #1 in the U.K. with "Toxic".
2009:  In today's edition of Inmates Run Rap Music, Coolio, whose real name is the rather plain Artis Leon Ivey Jr., was arrested for drug possession at Los Angeles International Airport.
2013:  Peter Banks, guitarist, singer and keyboardist with Yes, died in London of heart failure at the age of 65.


Born This Day:
1942:  Hamilton Bohannon, drummer and bandleader for Motown Records, was born in Newman, Georgia.
1943: Chris White, songwriter and bassist of the Zombies and Argent ("Hold Your Head Up"), was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England.

1946:  Peter Wolf, lead singer of the J. Geils Band ("Freeze-Frame") was born in The Bronx, New York.
1946:  Matthew Fisher, singer-songwriter and organist of Procol Harum ("A Whiter Shade of Pale"), was born in Addiscombe, Croydon, England.
1952: Ernie Isley of the Isley Brothers was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
1952: Jules Shear, who wrote "All Through the Night" for Cyndi Lauper and "If She Knew What She Wants" for the Bangles, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1962: Taylor Dayne (real name Leslie Wonderman) was born in Baldwin, New York.
1967:  Randy Guss of Toad the Wet Sprocket

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The #66 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Danny Gatton

We've heard from 34 of the most elite guitarists of the Rock Era.  The next guy was a wonder to watch:
#646  Danny Gatton
active guitarist for 35 years

Danny Gatton was born September 4, 1945 in Washington, D.C.  He fused country, rockabilly and jazz to create a unique sound. 


Gatton's father, Daniel W. Gatton Sr., played rhythm guitar but decided to give it up for a more stable profession to raise his family.  The younger Danny began playing in bands when he was a teenager.  People took notice when he played guitar and banjo for the group Liz Meyer & Friends in the 1970's.  Later, Gatton appeared with his group the Redneck Jazz Explosion and as a solo performer and backed up Robert Gordon and Roger Miller.


Gatton was known by some as "the Telemaster", a takeoff of Gatton's favorite guitar, the Telecaster.  Many called him the "greatest unknown guitarist".  Gatton never did achieve the commercial success that he arguably deserved, although he was nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 1990 Grammy Awards for his song "Elmira Street Boogie". 


Gatton played on stage with Alvin Lee, Jimmie Vaughan and Roy Buchanan.    Danny also performed with Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna as the group Jack and the Degenerates.  Gatton also played on Chris Isaak's 1993 album San Francisco Days.

Gatton favored his customized 1953 Fender Telecaster (Fender now produces a replica), with Joe Barden pick-ups and Nickel Plated Steel string.  For his slide, Gatton would often use a still half-full bottle of beer, without concern as to whether it would spill all over his guitar.  Danny always played with a jazz-style teardrop pick, and would use both the pick and his fingers, primarily his middle and ring fingers on his right hand.  Gatton would come up with these passages that combined Bluegrass and bebop and breakneck speeds.  An accomplished banjo player, Gatton learned the Scruggs style right-hand technique of banjo rolls.  His backward roll included a middle finger, then a pick upstroke, then a pick downstroke.


Gatton influenced many, included Les Paul, Joe Bonamassa, Albert Lee, Steve Vai, Richie Sambora and Slash.


On October 4, 1994, Gatton locked himself in his garage in Newburg, Maryland and shot himself.  He left behind no explanation for his despair.  In retrospect, those close to him believe he had gone in and out of depression for many years.


While he played, however, his guitar technique was amazing.  Gatton ranks #66 for the Rock Era*.

This Date in Rock Music History: March 6


1951:    Ivor Novello, singer and composer from Wales, died at age 58. The annual British songwriter award is named after him.
1958:  The Everly Brothers recorded "All I Have to Do is Dream".
1961:  "Shop Around" by the Miracles was the #1 song on the R&B chart for the eighth week.
1962:  Frank Sinatra recorded his final session with Capitol Records in Hollywood, California.

1964:  The Elvis Presley movie Kissin' Cousins premiered in theaters.
1965:  The Rolling Stones Number 2 was the top album in the U.K.
1965:  Beatles '65 was the #1 album for the ninth week with the "Goldfinger" Soundtrack and the "Mary Poppins" Soundtrack the next best.
1965:  Roger Miller ruled the Easy Listening chart for the fourth week with "King of the Road".
1965:  "My Girl" by the Temptations took the top spot on the R&B chart for the sixth week.

1965:  After four releases, the Temptations had not only their first Top 10 but also their first #1 song--"My Girl".  Gary Lewis & the Playboys relinquished with "This Diamond Ring" and the former #1 "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by the Righteous Brothers was third.
1966:  The Rolling Stones began recording "Paint It Black".
1967:  The Beatles recorded sound effects for the song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" at Abbey Road studios in London.  
1971:  The Carpenters continued to own the #1 Adult song with "For All We Know".

1971:  The Temptations had not only their 10th #1 song on the R&B chart but incredibly the 19th song to make the Top 3 in that genre with "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)".
1971:  George Harrison had one of the hottest new songs as "What Is Life" moved from 66 to 27.

               Not too many voices purer than Karen's...

1971:  The Osmonds remained at #1 for the third week with "One Bad Apple", holding off "Mama's Pearl" from the Jackson 5.  The late Janis Joplin was up to #3 with "Me and Bobby McGee" while the Temptations jumped from 16 to 4 with "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)".  The rest of the Top 10:  Gordon Lightfoot with "If You Could Read My Mind" at #5, although many stations had it #1, Tom Jones shot up from 17-6 with "She's a Lady", "For All We Know" became the Carpenters' third straight Top 10, Jerry Reed's Amos Moses was at #8, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and "Mr. Bojangles" and Wadsworth Mansion fell with "Sweet Mary".
1973:  John Lennon's visa extension was canceled by the Office of the Immigration Department in New York State.  The extension had been approved just five days previous.
1976:  EMI Records re-released all 22 British Beatles singles and "Yesterday" was released in the first time in the U.K. as a 45.
1976:  The Sylvers grabbed the top spot on the R&B chart with "Boogie Fever".

            "Dream Weaver" took us through the night.

1976:  Although Smokey Robinson had left for a solo career, the Miracles rose to #1 with "Love Machine".  Eric Carmen was up to #2 with "All By Myself", the 4 Seasons challenged with "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" and former #1 "Theme from 'S.W.A.T.'" by Rhythm Heritage was now fourth.  The Eagles scored their fourth consecutive Top 5 song with "Take It to the Limit" and Gary Wright had a big first hit with "Dream Weaver".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" by the Captain & Tennille, Paul Simon's former #1 "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" was down to #8, Nazareth and "Love Hurts" and Hot Chocolate fell to 10 with "You Sexy Thing".
1977:  An Evening With Diana Ross was televised by ABC.

1978:  Jefferson Starship released the single "Count on Me".





1978:  George Benson released his remake of the Drifters' hit "On Broadway".
1982:  Dick Clark donated the podium he used for decades on American Bandstand to the Smithsonian Museum.
1982:  The Go-Go's had themselves a #1 album as Beauty and the Beat topped all challengers.  Escape from Journey was second.  
1982:  "Through the Years" by Kenny Rogers was the new #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1989:  Smokey Robinson's autobiography Inside My Life was released.
1989:  Steven Tyler and his wife Theresa celebrated the birth of daughter Chelsea Anna.
1991:  George Michael played the first of four sold-out concerts at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.
1993:  Kenny G achieved a #1 song on the Adult Contemporary chart with "Forever In Love".

1993:  Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle had the new #1 song with "A Whole New World", ending one of the most spectacular runs of the Rock Era.  Whitney Houston had held that position for 14 incredible weeks with "I Will Always Love You".  Duran Duran's big comeback hit "Ordinary World" was in third while Snow made a 10-4 move with "Informer".  Other notable songs in the Top 10:  Whitney Houston scored a second song in the week's list with her remake of the Chaka Khan song "I'm Ever Woman", Arrested Development dropped with "Mr. Wendal", Jade had their first Top 10 with "Don't Walk Away" and Bon Jovi moved to #10 with "Bed of Roses".

1993:  For the 13th week, "The Bodyguard" Soundtrack was #1 on the album chart.  Breathless from Kenny G was second.  Pearl Jam (Ten from #9) and Michael Jackson's Dangerous both entered the Top 10.

1995:  Real McCoy released the single "Run Away".




1999:  Monica owned the #1 song with "Angel of Mine".
2000:  Foxy Brown crashed her car into a fence in Brooklyn, New York.  Brown was admitted by a hospital and released the next morning, but she was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle.
2000:  Michael Jackson gave an emotional speech at Oxford University about his childhood.
2001:  In today's edition of Dangerous Inmates Run Rap Music, DMX proved that Rappers can't be rehabilitated, as he assaulted two corrections offers in Erie County Correctional Facility in New York State.
2003:  The death toll in the Great White nightclub fire rose to 99 when Mitchell Shubert died in a hospital in Massachusetts.

2006:  King Floyd, who gave us one of The Top 100 R&B Songs of the 1970's ("Groove Me" from 1970) died of complications from a stroke and diabetes at age 61.
2008:  A charity in the U.K. warned that nine out of ten young people had already experienced the first signs of hearing damage from listening to loud music.  The group said that fans should wear ear plus to protect their hearing without getting in the way of their love of music.  Experts said nearly all concerts, bars and clubs included prolonged exposure to noise over 85 decibels.  That's not being a wussie; that's being smart.
2010:  Stevie Wonder was made a Commander of the Arts and Letters by the government of France in Paris.


2013:  Alvin Lee, great guitarist with Ten Years After, died at age 68 in Spain after complications from a routine surgical procedure.

Born This Day:
1936:  Sylvia Robinson, who had the hit "Pillow Talk" on her own and "Love is Strange" with Mickey Baker as Mickey & Sylvia, was born in New York City; died September 29, 2011 in Secaucus, New Jersey from congestive heart failure.   
1939:  Jerry Naylor, lead singer of the Crickets after Buddy Holly died, was born in Stephenville, Texas.
1944:  Mary Wilson of the Supremes was born in Greenville, Mississippi.
1945:  Hugh Grundy, drummer of the Zombies, was born in Winchester, England.

1944:  David Gilmour, songwriter and lead guitarist of Pink Floyd, was born in Cambridge, England. 


1947:  Kiki Dee ("I've Got the Music In Me" and her duet with Elton John--"Don't Go Breaking My Heart") was born in Little Horton, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England.  
1977:  Bubba Sparxxx (real name Warren Mathis) was born in LeGrange, Georgia.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Five Best Songs: Commodores

This group from Alabama was red-hot in the mid-to-late 70's.  An Honorable Mention goes to "Nightshift".  Here are the Five Best* from the Commodores:
 
1.  Three Times A Lady



 

2.  Easy


 

3.  Still

 
 

4.  Sweet Love

 

5.  Sail On

Hits List: Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR)

For most of the Rock Era, this San Francisco band ranked among The Top 10 Artists.  They still are way up there.  Creedence was together less than four years--you can look at their unbelievable track record and just wonder what they could have achieved had they stayed together for 10-20 years.  It's highly impressive; they did more in four years than most groups do in 10 or 20.  They loved the #2 spot, hitting that spot seven times.  Here is the complete Hits List from CCR:

1968:  "Suzie Q" (#11)--highly underrated.
            "I Put a Spell On You"--highly underrated.

1969:  "Proud Mary" (#2)
            "Bad Moon Rising" (#2)
            "Lodi" (#52)--highly underrated.
            "Green River" (#2)
            "Commotion" (#30)
            "Down on the Corner" (#3)

1970:  "Travelin' Band" (#2)
            "Who'll Stop the Rain" (#2)
            "Up Around the Bend" (#4)
            "Run Through the Jungle" (#4)
            "Lookin' Out My Back Door" (#2)
            "Long As I Can See the Light" (#2)
1971:  "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" (#8)
            "Hey Tonight" (#8)
            "Sweet Hitch-Hiker" (#6)

1972:  "Someday Never Comes"
1976:  "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (#43)--vastly underrated.


That's 20 hits in four years, and they didn't even release many of their great songs.  13 of them made the Top 10 and most very high.  Most of the others that didn't should have, but radio blew it.  

The #67 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Dave Mustaine

Inside the Rock Era has featured 34 guitarists so far in our countdown of The Top 100 Guitarists of the Rock Era*:

100.   Mick Barr, Orthrelm
99.    Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains
98.    Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield Blues Band
97.    Danny Kirwan, Fleetwood Mac
96.    Daron Malakian, System of a Down
95.    Sam Totman, Dragonforce
94.    Kerry King, Slayer
93.    Robbie Krieger, Doors
92.    Ted Nugent
91.    Jason Becker, David Lee Roth
90.    John 5, David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson
89.    Jake E. Lee, Ratt, Ozzy Osbourne
88.    Michael Wilton, Queensryche
87.    James Munky Shaffer, Korn
86.     Uli Jon Roth, Scorpions
85.     Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi
84.     Rick Derringer, McCoys, Edgar Winter Group, solo
83.     Dave Mason, Traffic, solo
82.     Warren DeMartini, Ratt, Whitesnake
81.     Synyster Gates, Avenged Sevenfold
80.     Jack White, the White Stripes
79.     Alex Lifeson, Rush
78.     Chuck Schuldiner, Death
77.     Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, solo
76.     C.C. DeVille, Poison
75.     Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rossington-Collins Band
74.     Peter Frampton, Humble Pie, solo
73.     Neil Giraldo, Pat Benatar
72.     Keith Richards, Rolling Stones

71.     Michael Schenker, Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Group

70.     Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine

69.     Neal Schon, Santana, Journey
68.     Vivian Campbell, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy


Which brings us to #67, a veteran of two "thrash metal" groups:
#67:  Dave Mustaine, Metallica, Megadeth
35 years as an active guitarist
(Some of his best guitar solos...)
David Scott Mustain was born September 13, 1961 in La Mesa, California.  He has played both heavy metal bands Metallica and Megadeth.

Mustaine listened to music from AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motorhead.  By the late 1970's, Mustain had bought a B. Rich guitar and joined a band named Panic.  In 1981, Dave answered an ad from Lars Ulrich, drummer for Metallica.  The group was looking for a lead guitarist.  Mustaine met the group and was warming up.  He walked out and asked, "Well, am I gonna' auditon or what?" and the members of Metallica said, "No, you've got the job."  It was that easy.

As easy as it was to get the job, it was difficult to keep it because of Mustaine's obsession with alcohol and drugs.  After just two years, the other members couldn't take it any long and fired him.  Out on his own, Mustaine met bassist Dave Ellefson in 1983.  He then recruited guitarist Greg Handevidt and drummer Dijon Carruthers.  Guitarist Chris Poland soon joined the band and in November, Megadeth signed a recording contract with Combat Records.
In 1985, Megadeth toured he United States and Canada.  The following year, Capital Records signed the group which released Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?  In 1990, Marty Friedman filled a vacant position as lead guitarist and the album Rust in Peace continued the group's success.  Megadeth opened for Judas Priest on tour.  In 1991, the group performed before 145,000 at a festival in Brazil and also went out on tour.  The following year, Megadeth released their most successful album, Countdown to Extinction.    The group released several other albums and toured extensively, notably on the Monsters of Rock tour.  Megadeth earned a Grammy nomination for their remake of "Paranoid" in 1996 and "Trust" reached #1 on the Modern Rock charts.

Megadeth closed the Woodstock '99 music festival and opened for Iron Maiden on a tour of Europe.  As the new century opened, Megadeth continued to release albums and tour with various musicians, including one tour in support of AC/DC.  On April 3, 2002, Mustaine announced in a press release that he was disbanding Megadeth due to a freak injury to his left arm that left him unable to play guitar.  Over the next few months, Dave underwent intense physical therapy and slowly began to play again.
In 2004, Mustain began recording what started out as a solo album with drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and bassist Jimmy Sloas.  Poland contributed guest guitar solos and soon the project became a new Megadeth album The System Has Failed.

Musicians continued to come and go in the group with no continuity in Megadeth.  The group continues to tour and release material.  On December 10, 2011, Mustaine reunited on stage with Metallica for five songs at the Fillmore Theater in New York City as part of Metallica's 30th anniversary celebration.


Mustaine has a flair for melody not often seen in thrash metal.  He has great speed and loves to wail away on the same three notes.

As mentioned, Mustaine started out with a B.C. Rich guitar but switched to Jackson in 1987.  He approached the company asking for a custom-built guitar.  The existing Jackson King V model was adapted by adding two more frets to the standard 22-fret King V.  Mustaine helped reshape the King V into the new Mustaine KV1 Model with slightly shorter fins, a Kahler bridge and Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz pickups. 
Dave later switched to guitars from ESP.  In 2005, Mustaine and ESP teamed up for the ESP Axxion to celebrate Megadeth's 20th anniversary.   At the end of 2006, Mustaine announced he was shifting his endorsement, however, to Dean Guitars and his new signature guitar would be called the Dean VMNT.  Now, he likes Jackson's and the Y2KV.  Dave also uses Ovation acoustic guitars, as he has for most of his career.  He also has a signature acoustic from Dean which he calls the "Mako". 

Mustaine recently collaborated with Marshall amplifiers to produce the 1960DM Dave Mustaine Signature Cabinets, which he uses on tour.  Dave also uses a Marshall JVM410 100W Amp Head, a Fractal Axe FXUltra Preamp,a DigiTech GSP1101 Preamp and a Marshall EL34 100/100 Dual Monobloc Power Amp.  He plays his own signature Zoom pedal, called the Zoom G2.1DM. 

Dave Mustaine has had his share of troubles, both inside and out of music, but he does rank as The #67 Gutiarist of the Rock Era*.

This Date in Rock Music History: March 5

1955:  Elvis Presley made his television debut on The Louisiana Hayride show.  The show was broadcast on KWKH-TV from Shreveport Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana. 
1955:  Johnny Ace had the top R&B song for the fourth week with "Pledging My Love".
1957:  Disc jockey Alan Freed was a guest on To Tell the Truth on CBS-TV.
1959:  Bobby Darin recorded "Dream Lover".

1960:  Elvis Presley was honorably discharged from the Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey.  Presley, who attained the rank of buck sergeant, was given a commendation by Tennessee Senator Carey Estes Kefauver that was entered into the congressional record. 
1962:  The Marvelettes became the first Motown act to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS-TV.
1963:  The Beatles began recording "From Me to You" just five days after the song was written.  Originally, "Thank You Girl" was slated to be the single but once the group came up with the new song it was released with "Thank You Girl" moving to the "B" side of that 45.
1963:  Frankie Avalon was a guest on The Jack Benny Program on CBS-TV.
1965:  The Mannish Boys, featuring a young David Bowie, released their first single "I Pity the Fool".
1965:  Neil Sedaka was a guest star on I've Got a Secret on CBS-TV.
1966:  SSgt. Barry Sadler had the new #1 Adult song with "The Ballad of the Green Berets".
1966:  The Rolling Stones were anxious to get to the top as "19th Nervous Breakdown" moved from #46 to #12.

1966:  "The Ballad of the Green Berets" was the new #1 song, sending Nancy Sinatra backwards with "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'".  Lou Christie's former #1 "Lightnin' Strikes" was third with Herman's Hermits jumping from 13 to 4 with "Listen People".  The rest of the Top 10:  The Mamas & Papas with their classic "California Dreamin'", Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly", Petula Clark was at #7 with "My Love", Stevie Wonder was down with "Uptight (Everything's Alright)", the 4 Seasons edged up with "Working My Way Back to You" and the Supremes' former #1--"My World Is Empty Without You" was #10.

1966:  So hot were Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass that they owned the top two albums, and very few in the Rock Era have ever done that.  Going Places took over at #1 from Whipped Cream & Other Delights, which was in its 43rd week.  Both were ahead of Rubber Soul by the Beatles.  The durable Soundtrack for "The Sound of Music" was #4 after 51 weeks while September of My Years from Frank Sinatra remained fifth.
1968:  Jerry Lee Lewis opened in the rock adaptation of Othello in Hollywood, California.
1968:  Syd Nathan, manager of King Records, which released albums by James Brown and Little Willie John, died in Miami Beach, Florida at the age of 63.
1969:  The first issue of Creem magazine was published.
1969:  Dusty Springfield collapsed while taping a show for television.

1971:  Led Zeppelin started out a new tour at Ulster Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland and premiered their new song "Stairway to Heaven", as well as "Rock and Roll", "Black Dog" and "Going To California".  The tour was a "Thank-you" to fans who supported them from the beginning and concert tickets were the same price as they were from Led Zep's early days in 1968.


1973:  The Edgar Winter Group released the single "Frankenstein".
1973:  Michael Jeffrey, former manager of Jimi Hendrix, was one of 68 people killed in a plane crash in France.
1974:  Smokey Robinson was a guest star on Police Story on NBC-TV.
1977:  Glen Campbell enjoyed a fourth week at #1 on the Adult chart with "Southern Nights".

ABBA was finally conquering the U.S. as it had the rest of the world..

1977:  Barbra Streisand registered her third career #1 with "Evergreen" as the Eagles surrendered with "New Kid In Town".  Steve Miller was up to #3 with "Fly Like An Eagle", Kenny Nolan's "I Like Dreamin'" was next and Manfred Mann's Earth Band was down to #5 with their former #1.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Night Moves" from Bob Seger, ABBA had their second Top 10 with "Dancing Queen", Al Stewart jumped into the Top 10 with "Year of the Cat", newcomer Mary MacGregor fell with "Torn Between Two Lovers" and Barry Manilow remained at #10 with "Weekend In New England".

1979:  England Dan & John Ford Coley released one of The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era*--"Love is the Answer".
1979:  MCA Records, which had recently acquired ABC Records, dissolved their new family member.
1982:  John Belushi, noted comedian for Saturday Night Live and part of the project the Blues Brothers ("Gimme' Some Lovin'"), died from drugs at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles at age 33.
1983:  Wham!  made their television debut in the United States on the ABC-TV show American Bandstand.
1983:  "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson was top dog on the R&B chart for the fourth consecutive week.
1983:  After the Fire had one of the hot new songs as "Der Kommissar" moved from 55 to 31.

               The Stray Cats were back with another hit.

1983:  Michael Jackson moved to #1 with "Billie Jean", just ahead of the great song "Shame on the Moon" by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band.  The Stray Cats held steady with "Stray Cat Strut".  The only new Top 10 was the Pretenders song "Back on the Chain Gang".

1984:  Three great new songs awaited Music Directors at radio stations on this Monday in 1984.  The Cars released the single "You Might Think".




1984:  Rick Springfield released the single "Love Somebody".




1984:  Night Ranger released the single "Sister Christian".


                             Gloria Estefan's new song...

1988:  George Michael once again had the #1 song with "Father Figure".  Rick Astley was up to #2 with "Never Gonna' Give You Up".  Patrick Swayze and Wendy Fraser were motionless with "She's Like the Wind" with former Go-Go Belinda Carlisle moving from 8 to 4 with "I Get Weak".  The rest of the Top 10:  The Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield with "What Have I Done to Deserve This?", Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine were up to #6 in their 16th week with "Can't Stay Away from You", David Lee Roth had a solo hit with "Just Like Paradise", Richard Marx had his third consecutive Top 10 to begin his career with "Endless Summer Nights", Michael Jackson shot up from 17 to 9 with his 27th career solo hit, and his 13th in the last four years ("Man in the Mirror") and Cher moved to #10 with "I Found Someone".
1988:  Faith by George Michael remained as the album to beat for the sixth week.  The Soundtrack to "Dirty Dancing" was next with Kick from INXS third.

"Refugee", one of the gems on Tom Petty's Greatest Hits...

1994:  Music Box by Mariah Carey returned to #1 on the album chart for the third time and a seventh total week at #1. That meant a short stay for Toni Braxton's self-titled debut.  Other albums of note:  The Counting Crows were at #7 with August and Everything After, Celine Dion was up to #8 with The Colour of My Love, Ace of Base cracked the Top 10 with The Sign and Greatest Hits from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers was #10.

1994:  Celine Dion remained at #1 for the fourth week with "The Power of Love".  Ace of Base was patiently waiting with "The Sign" while Salt 'N' Pepa and En Vogue combined for #3--"Whatta' Man".
2000:  Hammer (the album Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em) locked himself in a makeshift jail in San Jose, California to protest Proposition 21, California's "Juvenile Crime Initiative", that would give police the power to define groups of four or more people as a "gang".
2001:  Michael "Smitty" Smith, drummer of Paul Revere & the Raiders was found dead of natural causes.
2001:  Paul Stanley of Kiss was given divorce papers by his wife, Pamela Bowen.

2002:  Brandy released the album Full Moon.
2003:  Donatella Versace announced that the company's new clothing line was inspired by Christina Aguilera, who would be their new spokeswoman.
2004:  Paul McCartney's wealth was estimated at $1.3 billion, more than Elton John, Mick Jagger and Madonna combined.  That shouldn't surprise anyone given how good the Beatles were and how good McCartney continued to be with Wings and as a solo artist.  What it does do is tell you the separation between the Beatles and everyone else is immense.
2005:  Brian "Head" Welch, who left Korn, was baptised in the famous Jordan River in Israel.
2005:  Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys was arrested in Huntington Beach, California for driving under the influence.

2006:  Corinne Bailey Rae's self-titled album was #1 in the U.K.
2007:  "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones and the incredible Graceland album by Paul Simon, along with "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins and "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes, were chosen by the United States Library of Congress for preservation by the National Recordings Registry, which preserved the works for future generations.
2008:  Lou Pearlman, who was behind the success of 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, plead guilty to a $300m fraud scheme.  Pearl admitted in a Florida court that he had been running scams that defrauded investors and major banks for more than 20 years.  Pearlman faced up to 25 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.

Born This Day:
1939:  Tommy Tucker ("Hi-Heel Sneakers from 1964) was born in Springfield, Ohio ;died January 22, 1982 in Newark, New Jersey.
1946:  Murray Head ("Superstar" from 1971 and "One Night In Bangkok" from 1985) was born in London.
1948:  Eddy Grant ("Electric Avenue" from 1983) was born in Plaisance, Guyana.
1952:  Alan Clark, keyboardist for Dire Straits
1956:  Teena Marie ("Lovergirl") was born in Santa Monica, California.

1958:  Andy Gibb, superstar singer-songwriter, host of Solid Gold on television and the younger brothers of the Bee Gees, was born in Manchester, England.
1962:  Craig and Charlie Reid of the Proclaimers "I'm Gonna' Be (500 Miles)"

1970:  John Frusciante, elite guitarist, singer-songwriter with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was born in New York City.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The #68 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Vivian Campbell

At #68, a veteran guitarist who became known when one of the world's top groups, Def Leppard, hired him as their new guitarist:
#68:  Vivian Campbell, Dio, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy
36 years as an active guitarist
(Some of his best guitar solos)

Vivian Patrick Campbell was born August 25, 1962 in Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.  He has been a member of many groups, most notably Whitesnake and Def Leppard.  


Campbell attended Rathmore Grammar School and began playing guitar at age 12.  He was the original guitarist of Dio beginning in 1982 and has played for Sweet Savage, Trinity, Whitesnake, Riverdogs, Shadow King and briefly with Thin Lizzy.  Campbell joined Sweet Savage when he was 15.  The band was cited as an influence of Metallica, which covered the song "Killing Time" on their Garage Inc. covers album.


In 1983, Campbell left Sweet Savage to join Dio after Jake E. Lee took a job as the lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne.  Much of the material for the album Holy Diver was already written that included Dio's biggest hit, "Rainbow in the Dark".  The group also performed at the Monsters of Rock festival later that year.  Last in Line followed up that album and a concert video from the tour called A Special from the Spectrum was released.  Sacred Heart also did fairly well and "Hungry for Heaven" was included on the Soundtrack to "Vision Quest".  Dio also recorded "Hide in the Rainbow" for the "Iron Eagle" Soundtrack, the last song Campbell recorded with the group.

Campbell left Dio for Whitesnake in 1986, the promising group of talented musicians from several different groups, including Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple.  David Coverdale, the leader of the group, had fired several of the members and regrouped.  Along with Campbell, the new Whitesnake included Adrian Vandenberg, Tommy Aldridge, who played with Black Oak Arkansas and Ozzy Osbourne, and Rudy Sarzo, who had become known after stints with Osbourne and Quiet Riot.  Campbell left Whitesnake after the group's 1987-1988 world tour.  


When guitarist Steve Clark of Def Leppard died in 1991, the group needed a replacement and turned to Campbell.  Vivian made his debut with the group in Dublin, Ireland.  A week later, Def Leppard played at the Freddie Mercury Concert for Life, performing "Animal", "Let's Get Rocked" and the Queen song "Now I'm Here" with Brian May.


In addition to being with Def Leppard, Campbell has helped the groups Clock and Riverdogs.  In 2005, he released a solo album Two Sides of It, featuring covers of his favorite blues songs as well as an original.  Campbell contributed guitar work on Foreigner's Lou Gramm for Gramm's second solo album Long Hard Look.


In September, 2009, Vivian agreed to join a reformed Thin Lizzy and he has done more solo work since.    

Campbell played a Les Paul guitar with DiMarzio pickups early in his career.  In the mid-80's, he switched to a Charvel.  Vivian also began playing a blue B.C. Rich ST.  When he joined Whitesnake, Campbell purchased a pink-red and yellow Rand, a 27-fret guitar made by a former employee of B.C. Rich.  The guitar featured sculpted wings, almost no neck heel, a pao ferro fretboard, custom inlays and a Floyd Rose bridge.  During this time, Campbell commissioned Buddy Blaze to make him a custom guitar he calls the Shredder, a Strat-shaped mahogany body with a 24-fret neck, a pointy reverse headstock and two Seymour Duncan humbucker pickups.  The Shredder went into production by Kramer Guitars with the name NightSwan.    

After leaving Whitesnake, Campbell played a Tom Anderston Strat-style guitar and then played custom Andersons with Def Leppard. He then switched back to Les Pauls and currently plays Gibson guitars.

Campbell has bounced around so often that many rock fans aren't familiar with him. But those in the business are and he is quite respected. Vivian Campbell ranks #68 for the Rock Era...