Saturday, December 20, 2014

This Date in Rock Music History: December 21

1959:  The new single called "The Little Drummer Boy" by the Harry Simeone Chorale moved from 99 to 47.
                                 Marty Robbins' classic...

1959:  "Heartaches By The Number" by Guy Mitchell was #1 for a second week but it was the #3 song, which jumped all the way from 11, that was creating all the talk.  "El Paso" from Marty Robbins was that song.  Other new Top 10 songs--"Way Down Yonder In New Orleans" from Freddie Cannon at #5, "Among My Souvenirs" by Connie Francis and Fabian's "Hound Dog Man".
1960:  Elvis Presley was inducted into the Los Angeles Indian Tribal Council Creek by Indian Chief Wah-Nee-Ota in conjunction with the premiere of his movie Flaming Star.
1963:  The Beatles did their first Christmas show at the Gaumont Theatre in Bradford, England.
1963:  "Dominique" by the Singing Nun was #1 for a third week on the Easy Listening chart, which in 1979 became the Adult Contemporary chart.
1963:  People were flocking to see a gal with a message, and Joan Baez entered the Top 10 on the Album chart with Joan Baez In Concert.
1963:  The Singing Nun also achieved a third week at #1 overall with "Dominique".  The only new Top 10 for the week was "Popsicles And Icicles" by the Murmaids.
1964:  Charlie Watts, drummer of the Rolling Stones, published Ode to a High Flying Bird, a picture book tribute to Charlie Parker.

1965:  Shirley Bassey released the single "Goldfinger", the theme for the new James Bond movie. 
1966:  The Who played at The Upper Cut in Newham, England near London.

1967:  The Beatles had a costume party at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London to celebrate the showing of their movie Magical Mystery Tour on the BBC.
1968:  The newly-formed trio Crosby, Stills and Nash performed together for the first time.
1968:  Janis Joplin appeared as a solo performer at the Stax/Volt Yuletide Thing at Mid South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee.  

                     Hendrix with his last studio album...

1968:  Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell took over at #1 on the Album chart, completing a meteoric rise from 16 to 4 to 1.  Pretty impressive, especially considering Glen held off The White Album, the new release from the Beatles, which rose from 11 to 2 in its second week.  Cheap Thrills from Big Brother & the Holding Company fell from #1 with Feliciano!  from Jose Feliciano #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  The Second from Steppenwolf, Judy Collins rose from 31 to 6 with Wildflowers, jumping Electric Ladyland from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Glen Campbell's back catalog began to sell as Gentle On My Mind rose to #8 after 43 weeks, Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da Vida was #9 and Time Peace, the Rascals' Greatest Hits package, grabbed the final spot.
1968:  "Wichita Lineman" held on to #1 for a second week on the Adult chart for Glen Campbell.
1968:  A new talent first appeared on the chart on this day, although it would be seven long years before he made it big. Bob Seger debuted with his first career single "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man".
1968:  Tommy James & the Shondells were quickly becoming one of the 60's biggest acts and on this date, they jumped from 85 to 39 with "Crimson And Clover".

1968:  Marvin Gaye notched a second week at #1 with "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" although the song was so great that CCR and Gladys Knight & the Pips also had excellent versions.  "Love Child" by the Supremes was second with Stevie Wonder at #3 with "For Once In My Life".  Dion remained at the #4 spot with "Abraham, Martin And John" and Glen Campbell reached #5 with "Wichita Lineman".  The rest of an excellent Top 10:  "Stormy" from the Classics IV, Johnnie Taylor was in there with "Who's Making Love", bright newcomer Judy Collins reached the Top 10 with "Both Sides Now", "I Love How You Love Me" from Bobby Vinton was #9 and Steppenwolf was still flying with "Magic Carpet Ride".
1969:  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Canned Heat shared a bill at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California.
1969:  Diana Ross appeared with the Supremes for the final time on The Ed Sullivan Show, singing "Someday We'll Be Together".

1970:  Gordon Lightfoot released his first career single--"If You Could Read My Mind".
1970:  Elvis Presley visited U.S. President Richard Nixon at the White House to volunteer his services towards fighting the country's drug problems.
1970:  "Hey Old Man" by the Festfolk Quartet peaked at #5 in Sweden.  We know the Festfolk Quartet better now by their later name of ABBA.
1971:  Martha & the Vandellas broke up after playing at the Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan.
1971:  Charlie Fuqua, founding member of the Ink Spots, died at the age of 61 in New Haven, Connecticut.
1974:  Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin joined Bad Company on stage at the Rainbow Theatre in London.
1974:  He was the man of the moment.  Elton John continued to own the #1 album with his Greatest Hits package, now #1 for five weeks.  

1974:  Two of America's greatest groups, Chicago and the Beach Boys, teamed up for one great song--"Wishing You Were Here" reached #1 on the Adult chart.

1974:  Grand Funk's new song "Some Kind Of Wonderful" was rocking up the chart from 67 to 38.

1974:  Today was the day that the classic "Cat's In The Cradle", which is without question one of The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era* by Harry Chapin, reached #1.  
1976:  Barry Manilow on Broadway opened for a two-week run in New York City.
1978:  Rod Stewart settled out of court with drummer Mickey Waller, who had claimed he was not paid royalties for his work on Stewart's album Smiler.

Jump by Van Halen on Grooveshark
1983:  Van Halen released the single "Jump".
1985:  Bruce Springsteen's album Born in the U.S.A. passed Thriller by Michael Jackson for the second-most weeks in the Top 10 of the album chart with 79 weeks.  The Rock Era record is still the Soundtrack to "The Sound of Music", which remained a top-seller for 109 weeks.
1985:  Heart's comeback was complete as their self-titled release completed its 24-week climb to #1 on the Album chart.  
1985:  "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie was #1 for a third week on the Adult Contemporary chart.

                                Newcomers Simple Minds ...
1985:  Richie also moved to #1 overall with "Say You, Say Me" in a pretty good Top 10.  Mr. Mister was toppled with "Broken Wings" while Eddie Murphy had the surprising hit "Party All The Time".  Simple Minds had one of their biggest with "Alive & Kicking" and the former #1 "Separate Lives" from Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin was #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Election Day" from Arcadia, the great new song "I Miss You" from Klymaxx, Dionne & Friends (Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder & Gladys Knight) moved from 14 to 8 with "That's What Friends Are For", John Cougar Mellencamp scored another Top 10 with "Small Town" and ZZ Top fell with their "Sleeping Bag".
1987:  John Spencer, original member with No Doubt, committed suicide at the tender age of 18.  So young and naïve.
1989:  Santana and his wife celebrated the birth of daughter Angelica Faith.
1991:  "Bohemian Rhapsody"/"These Are The Days Of Our Lives", a single released following the death of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, took over at #1 in the U.K. 
1991:  "I Love Your Smile" by Shanice was the new #1 on the R&B chart.

             The unmistakable harmonies of the Boyz...

1991:  Michael Jackson had his 15th Top 10 hit in his last 17 releases with "Black Or White" and it was his 12th solo #1.  Boyz II Men had a solid hit with "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday".  Color Me Badd was on fire as well with "All 4 Love" and PM Dawn only slipped slightly with "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss".  Michael Bolton's former #1 "When A Man Loves A Woman", the remake of Percy Sledge's classic, was fifth with another winner from Mariah Carey--"Can't Let Go" #6.

     An unforgettable tribute sparked Natalie's album...

1991:  Some of the best albums of the 1990's were in here:  Dangerous by Michael Jackson spent a second week at #1 but Ropin' the Wind from Garth Brooks, a former #1, wasn't going away.  Too Legit to Quit from Hammer moved to 3, switching places with U2's Achtung Baby.  Michael Bolton moved up to 5 after 33 weeks with Time, Love & Tenderness and Nirvana's landmark Nevermind was #6.  The rest of the Top 10:  Unforgettable With Love from Natalie Cole moved from 13 to 7, Cooleyhighharmony from Boyz II Men, Metallica with their debut and Use Your Illusion II by Guns N' Roses slipped to #10.

Keep Coming Back by Richard Marx on Grooveshark
1991:  Richard Marx rose to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with help from Luther Vandross with the great song "Keep Coming Back".
1994:  Mike Love and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys settled a dispute out-of-court over authorship of 35 of the group's songs, with Love receiving $5 million.
1996:  "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", the cover version of Bob Dylan's song written by Ted Christopher of Dunblane, Scotland, rose to #1 in the U.K.  Christopher wrote a new verse in memory of the children and teacher killed in the Dunblane massacre and the song features brothers and sisters of the victims singing the chorus with Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler on guitar.

Dont speak by Gwen Stefani on Grooveshark
1996:  Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt took over the #1 spot on the Album chart, just ahead of the great Falling Into You album from Celine Dion.  Alanis Morissette continued to amaze with Jagged Little Pill, moving back into the Top 10 after 78 weeks of release.
2003:  Ruben Studdard had the top album with Soulful.
2005:  Mutya Buena announced she was leaving the group the Sugababes.
2005:  The Human Rights Watch reported that the so-called "muzak" of Eminem and Dr. Dre was used to torture detainees at a CIA prison near Afghanistan.  I'll tell you anything, but please turn off that God-awful crap!

Born This Day:
1934:  Hank Crawford, who played saxophone for Ray Charles and Ike Turner, was born in Memphis, Tennessee; died in Memphis from complications of a stroke suffered in 2000 on January 29, 2009.

1940:  Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore, Maryland; died of prostate cancer in Los Angeles on December 4, 1993.
1940:  Ray Hildebrand of Paul & Paula was born in Joshua, Texas.
1951:  Kevin Scott MacDonald, guitarist of the Cutting Crew ("I Just Died In Your Arms").
1942:  Carla Thomas ("Gee Whiz" from 1960), who also recorded several duets with Otis Redding, was born in Memphis, Tennessee.
1943:  Gwen McCrae, solo artist ("Rockin' Chair" from 1975) and wife of her manager George ("Rock Your Baby" from 1975) was born in Pensacola, Florida.

1943:  Albert Lee, famous session guitar player, was born in Lingen, Herefordshire, England.  (Note:  some websites report his place of birth as Leominster, England; according to both the 'BBC' and the newspaper 'The Telegraph', Lee was born in Lingen.)

1946:  Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys was born in Hawthorne, California; died February 6, 1998 of brain and lung cancer in Los Angeles.
1948:  Barry Gordon ("Nuttin' For Christmas") was born in Brookline, Massachusetts.

1951:  Nick Gilder of Sweeney Todd and later a solo artist ("Hot Child In The City" from 1978) was born in London.
1953:  Betty Wright ("Clean Up Woman" from 1971) was born in Miami, Florida.
1971:  Brett Scallions, lead singer of Fuel, was born in Brownsville, Tennessee.

While appreciating Foreigner...

A group is just ahead of them that not only set records, but helped launch the solo career of one of the top artists in the history of the planet.  We'll hear their decade of great music tomorrow, as The Top 100 Artists of the Seventies* continues on Inside The Rock Era!

New Featured Unknown/Underrated Song*: "In My Room" from the Beach Boys

The Beach Boys became known early in their career for good time music about surfing and hot rods.  The release of this introspective song from Brian Wilson revealed that his songwriting was becoming more complex and personal.  It probably stunned fans and radio stations, who only took it to #23 at the time.  Once the shock wore off, it has become one of the group's most-loved songs:

"In My Room"
Beach Boys
Written by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher
There's a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it's dark and I'm alone
But I won't be afraid
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time: December 20

We know you are enjoying the major music special The Top 100 Artists of the Seventies*, but take time to check out the 150 songs in our Christmas special:

Foreigner, The #20 Artist of the Seventies*

In 1976, former Spooky Tooth guitarist Mick Jones and keyboardist Al Greenwood began jamming with drummer Stan Williams and bassist Jay Davis in New York City.  Ian Lloyd began singing with the group, but Jones retained only Greenwood and continued searching for the right mix.  While at a session for Lloyd's solo album, Jones met former King Crimson member Ian McDonald, and Jones met drummer Dennis Elliott at a session for another artist.

The group auditioned dozens of singers with no luck.  Then Jones remembered an album by Black Sheep that had been given to him backstage at a Spooky Tooth concert by the lead singer of Black Sheep, Lou Gramm.  Jones called Gramm, who proved to be the one the group was looking for, and when bassist Ed Gagliardi joined, the group had the right combination.

At first, the band called themselves Trigger, but the group's demo tape was rejected by all the major record companies in all their wisdom.  Then, John Kalodner, A&R man at Atlantic Records, saved the day for Atlantic.  He heard the tape and convinced president Jerry Greenberg to sign this group immediately.  Jones came up with the name Foreigner because, no matter what country the group was in, three would be foreigners ( Jones, McDonald and Elliott were British, while Gramm, Greenwood and Gagliardi were Americans.)

After six months of rehearsing, Foreigner began recording their debut album.  The group also made another important move, hiring manager Bud Prager, who would be with the group for the next 17 years.  In 1977, Foreigner released their self-titled debut album.  The first single, "Feels Like The First Time", rocketed up to #4 in the United States and #7 in Canada, and sold over one million copies.

The great song "Cold As Ice" peaked at #6 in the U.S. and #9 in Canada, and it too went Gold.

The album was a best-seller for a year and sold over four million copies.  The single "Long, Long Way From Home" was a bit underrated at #20 in the United States and #22 in Canada.

With the song "Fool For You Anyway", the group proved they could do a ballad, something that would serve them well in the 80's. 
Another worthy track on the album is "The Damage Is Done".

Foreigner toured to get their name and music out there, and in March of 1978, played before over 200,000 at California Jam II.  The group then toured Europe, Japan and Australia and released the album Double Vision.  "Hot Blooded" reached the identical position of #3 in both the U.S. and Canada, and also sold over one million copies.

Double Vision sold five million copies for Foreigner.  The title song was up next, going to #2 in the United States and #7 in Canada, and topping two million in sales.

Foreigner released "Blue Morning, Blue Day", and it peaked at #15.

"Spellbinder" is another solid track on the album.

A solid album track is "Love Has Taken Its Toll".

Gagliardi left the group, replaced by Rick Wills.  In 1979, Foreigner released another super album, Head Games.  The first single, "Dirty White Boy", landed at #12 in the United States and #14 in Canada.  

Head Games sold three million copies in the U.S. alone.  The title song made it to #14 in both the United States and Canada.

"Love On The Telephone" is another of many Top Tracks* on the album.

"Women" also received considerable airplay.

We want to feature two other tracks from the album--another fan favorite is "The Modern Day".

The track "Blinded By Science" also got considerable airplay at the time, and does to this day.

Foreigner scored the biggest album of their career with Four in 1980, but that classic is not included in these rankings--they get to #19* with only their 70's output.  The 1982 compilation album Records sold seven million copies, with 60% of the tracks being from the 70's.  The group continued to enjoy success after that until Gramm left for a solo career.  Foreigner later reformed, and a version of the group still tours today. 

In 2013, Jones and Gramm were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Foreigner sold over 20 million albums in the Seventies.  They had eight hits, with half of them going Top 10.    

Friday, December 19, 2014

This Date in Rock Music History: December 20

1957: Elvis Presley received his draft notice from the United States Army.
1958:  John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison appeared as The Quarrymen at the wedding reception of Harrison's older brother Harry.  The reception was at the Harrison family home at 25 Upton Green, Speke, Liverpool.
1962: The Osmond Brothers made their television debut on The Andy Williams Show on NBC.
1966:  Otis Redding was in concert at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.

1967: Singer Ian Anderson formed Jethro Tull with bassist Glenn Cornick in Blackpool, England.  No, there is no one named Jethro Tull in the group; the name is from an 18th century inventor of farming tools. 
1967:  The Beatles recorded harmonies and bells for the song "When I'm Sixty-Four".
1967:  Joan Baez was sentenced to 45 days in prison for her role in anti-war demonstrations.
1969:  The Rolling Stones reached #1 on the U.K. album chart with Let It Bleed.
1969:  Before she left the Supremes, Diana Ross gave us this great song--"Someday We'll Be Together", #1 for a third week on the R&B chart.  The other Supremes did not appear on the song--it was all Ross.
1969:  For the third week, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" was #1 on the Adult chart.

1969:  The Shocking Blue were startling listeners with their amazing new song "Venus", up from #77 to #31.

        Diamond with one of his great early hits...

1969:  "Leaving On A Jet Plane", the final hit for Peter, Paul & Mary, rose to #1.  Diana Ross & the Supremes were closing with "Someday We'll Be Together" in a dynamite Top 10.  CCR had a single so good it generated two hits--"Down On The Corner"/"Fortunate Son" was up to 3 while the previous #1 from Steam--"(Na Na Hey Hey) Kiss Him Goodbye" was #4.  B.J. Thomas was up from 9 to 5 with his new song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" and the Beatles had a double-sided hit with "Come Together"/"Something".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday" from Stevie Wonder, R. B. Greaves dictated the #8 hit "Take A Letter Maria", Neil Diamond scored his fourth Top 10 and 15th hit with "Holly Holy" and Blood, Sweat & Tears dropped with "And When I Die".
            "Long Time Gone" from CSN's debut...

1969:  The #1 album was Abbey Road by the Beatles, just as it had been for the previous seven weeks.  Led Zeppelin II was a distant second with Tom Jones Live In Las Vegas right behind them.  CCR remained fourth with Green River while Let It Bleed from the Rolling Stones moved from #29 to #5.  The rest of the Top 10:  Puzzle People by the Temptations, the self-titled Santana, Blood, Sweat & Tears moved back up with their amazing debut that had now been out for 47 weeks, the initial release from Crosby, Stills & Nash was #9 and the Soundtrack to "Easy Rider" remained 10th.
1971:  The Rolling Stones released their first compilation album Hot Rocks 1964-1971.

1972:  The O'Jays released the single "Love Train".


1972:  Led Zeppelin performed at the Brighton Dome in England.

1973:  Bobby Darin died at the age of 37 while undergoing seven hours of open-heart surgery.

1975: Elite guitarist Joe Walsh joined the Eagles, replacing original member Bernie Leadon, who left for a solo career.
1975:  There were all sorts of wild rumors going on about "Love Rollercoaster", and the Ohio Players rode the publicity to #1 on the R&B chart.
1975:  Though he had achieved success as the lead singer of the Raspberries, Eric Carmen debuted as a solo artist on this date with his first single "All By Myself".
1975:  Neil Sedaka had gone 12 years without a Top 10 hit, and now he was bidding for his third in the last two years as "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" moved from 79 to 59.
The Bee Gees didn't know it but they were becoming one of the biggest acts in Rock history...

1975:  KC and the Sunshine Band reached #1 for the second time in their young careers with "That's the Way (I Like It)".  The Staple Singers couldn't budge with "Let's Do It Again" while the Silver Convention descended with "Fly, Robin, Fly".  The Bay City Rollers were an outfit on the move with "Saturday Night", the Ohio Players were causing a stir with "Love Rollercoaster" and Diana Ross reached #6 with her new song "Theme From 'Mahogany' (Do You Know Where You're Going To)".  The rest of the Top 10:  "Sky High" from Jigsaw, finally falling after 17 weeks, Barry Manilow collected his third Top 10 in four attempts with "I Write The Songs", Sweet was up to #9 with "Fox On The Run" and the Bee Gees' great new song "Nights On Broadway" was #10.

1975:  Chicago IX, the group's Greatest Hits package, remained at #1 on the Album chart but Earth, Wind & Fire were up from 7 to 2 with Gratitude.  History/America's Greatest Hits moved to #3 with the self-titled KC and the Sunshine Band fourth.  The rest of the Top 10:  Red Octopus from Jefferson Starship, Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon at #6, Elton John slipped to 7 with Rock of the Westies, Windsong from John Denver was #8, Joni Mitchell climbed from 26 to 9 with The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Grover Washington, Jr. found the Top 10 with Feels So Good.

1977:  Fleetwood Mac released the single "Go Your Own Way".
1980:  Twelve days after his death, John Lennon's "(Just Like) Starting Over" was #1 in the U.K.

1980:  Leo Sayer had his biggest hit since "When I Need You" as "More Than I Can Say" rose to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
1980:  Delbert McClinton had the fastest-rising song around--"Giving It Up for Your Love" moved from #69 to #38.

                        Air Supply had another smash....

1980:  Kenny Rogers had the #1 song for a sixth week with "Lady".  The only new entry in the Top 10 was "Every Woman In The World", the third consecutive Top 10 for Air Supply.
1981:  The play Dreamgirls, based on the Supremes, opened on Broadway in New York City.  (Note:  some websites say the date of opening was December 2, but the official playbill site shows the correct date as December 20.)
1986:  Newcomers Bon Jovi were up from 83 to 56 with "Livin' On A Prayer".

1986:  The Bangles reached the pinnacle with "Walk Like An Egyptian", one of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era*.  Bruce Hornsby & the Range surrendered with "The Way It Is" while Wang Chung partied up to #3 with "Everybody Have Fun Tonight".  Duran Duran were up to 4 with their latest--"Notorious" and Gregory Abbott had a big hit with "Shake You Down".  The rest of the Top 10:  Billy Idol's "To Be A Lover", Huey Lewis & the News slipped to 7 with "Hip to Be Square", Robbie Nevil moved from 14 to 8 with "C'est La Vie", Ben E. King was up to #9 with his big hit from 1960--"Stand By Me" (re-released from the movie of the same name) and Sun Valley, Idaho's Peter Cetera dropped with his former #1 with Amy Grant--"The Next Time I Fall".

1997:  "Candle In The Wind 1997" from Elton John passed both Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" and "Physical" from Olivia Newton-John with its 11th week at #1.  That enabled EJ to tie "Un-Break My Heart" from Toni Braxton, "I Swear" by All-4-One and "I'll Be Missing You" from Puff Daddy, Faith Evans and 112.  
2004: In today's episode of Dangerous Inmates Run Rap Music, a man was shot and another wounded at a party for Ja Rule in Peoria, Illinois. If this is what happens when they're happy, you don't want to have anything to do with them when they live their normal life as losers.
2008:  Circus by Britney Spears was the #1 album.

Born This Day:
1944:  Bobby Colomby, drummer of Blood, Sweat & Tears, was born in New York City.

1945:  Peter Criss, drummer of Kiss, was born in Brooklyn, New York.

1948:  Alan Parsons, engineer for the Beatles, musician, producer (Abbey Road and Let It Be for the Beatles and Dark Side of the Moon for Pink Floyd) and the leader of the Alan Parsons Project, was born in London.
1948:  Steven Wright, singer with the Easybeats ("Friday On My Mind") was born in Leeds, England.
1956:  Anita Ward ("Ring My Bell") was born in Memphis, Tennessee.
1956:  Guy Babylon, keyboardist with the Elton John Band, was born in New Windsor, Maryland; died September 2, 2009 of a heart attack while swimming in his pool in Thousand Oaks, California.  (Note:  some websites report he died in Los Angeles; according to the newspaper 'The Baltimore Sun', Babylon died in Thousand Oaks.)
1962:  Ray Coburn, keyboardist and songwriter with Honeymoon Suite ("New Girl Now")
1966:  Chris Robinson, lead singer of the Black Crowes, was born in Marietta, Georgia.  (Note:  some websites list his birthplace as Atlanta; according to the newspaper 'The Augusta Chronicle', Robinson was born in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta.)
1990:  JoJo was born in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Tips for Listening to the Next 20 Artists...

Technology still hasn't caught up to Inside The Rock Era to the point that everyone with a computer can fully enjoy the sensational experience we have lined up for you.  Here are some tips for getting the most out of the wonder you're about to hear in the next 20 days.

1.  Prior to listening to each artist, clean the cache of your Internet browser, and defragment your computer.

2.  Restart your computer.  When the special started, we featured about 6-8 songs per artist.  The artists ahead of us are so good and have so much material that they each have dozens of great songs in the decade.  Allow two hours or more for each of The Top 20--essentially, you will hear a "concert of studio recordings" representing the best work of each of the 20 artists.

3.  Only open one tab on your browser for Inside The Rock Era.

4.  Listen to every song of each artist.

5.  We have it designed for you to listen to this major music special as if you were hearing it on the radio.  Read the short blurb we have prepared for each artist, and when you get to the first song, click on the "Play" icon and listen all the way through, while reading the next bit of information.  When you get near the end of the song, start the next song, with no "dead air" in between.  Continue this until you have heard and read the entire feature for each artist.

6.  If you do experience issues with your video player, simply hit Refresh a couple of times and it should work better. 

This is one of the major productions we have done in our three years--it took considerable time researching, writing, producing, and publishing.  We hope you will take the time to enjoy it!

The Top 100 Artists of the Seventies*: #100 to #21

If you haven't listened to all 80 artists thus far, you've seriously missed out.  Use the time you have to catch up through these checklists.

#100:  ZZ Top

#99:  Journey

#98:  Cheap Trick

#97:  AC/DC

#96:  Van Halen

#95:  Jefferson Starship

#94:  Bachman-Turner Overdrive

#93:  England Dan & John Ford Coley

#92:  Neil Sedaka

#91:  Kansas

#90:  KISS

#89:  Ringo Starr

#88:  Seals & Crofts

#87:  John Lennon

#86:  Andy Gibb

#85:  Beatles

#84:  Gordon Lightfoot

#83:  K.C. and the Sunshine Band

#82:  Temptations

#81:  Jim Croce

#80:  Stylistics

#79:  Little River Band

#78:  Michael Jackson

#77:  Dr. Hook

#76:  Bob Dylan

#75:  Peter Frampton

#74:  Heart

#73:  Cars

#72:  O'Jays

#71:  Who

#70:  Guess Who

#69:  Jackson Browne

#68:  Lynyrd Skynyrd

#67:  Aretha Franklin

#66:  George Harrison

#65:  Eric Clapton

#64:  Grand Funk

#63:  Bad Company

#62:  Simon & Garfunkel

#61:  Spinners

#60:  Marvin Gaye

#59:  Roberta Flack

#58:  War

#57:  Steely Dan

#56:  Supertramp

#55:  Paul Simon

#54:  Cat Stevens

#53:  Barry White

#52:  Tony Orlando & Dawn

#51:  Captain & Tennille

#50:  Diana Ross

#49:  Al Green

#48:  Commodores

#47:  Santana

#46:  Anne Murray

#45:  Carly Simon

#44:  Elvis Presley

#43:  Gladys Knight and the Pips

#42:  Crosby, Stills, Nash (& Young)

#41:  America

#40:  Queen

#39:  Helen Reddy

#38:  Boston

#37:  Aerosmith

 #36:  Styx

#35:  Carole King

#34:  Kenny Rogers

#33:  Joni Mitchell

#32:  Rod Stewart

#31:  Bread

#30:  Steve Miller Band

#29:  Three Dog Night

#28:  Electric Light Orchestra

#27:  Pink Floyd

#26:  Rolling Stones

#25:  Bob Seger

#24:  Barbra Streisand

#23:  James Taylor

#22:  Donna Summer

#21:  ABBA

Listen to every song...

Only by listening to every minute of every song presented in The Top 100 Artists of the Seventies* will you appreciate the depth and the mind-blowing talent of each artist, especially those coming up.

If you've ever tried to write or record a song, you know first-hand how tough it is.  These guys and gals made a career of it, and they are in amongst the elite of the decade.

So if you're swamped by the holidays, come back on a weekend or the first chance you get to listen to all the songs.  We promise it will be an experience you'll never forget.

Britain + America = The #20 Artist of the Seventies*...

While enjoying the amazing music of ABBA in the decade, prepare for The #20 act--we'll hear their rockin' music tomorrow on Inside The Rock Era!

Larry Henley Has Died

Larry Henley, a member of the Newbeats ("Bread And Butter", and co-writer of "Wind Beneath My Wings", died yesterday of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases in Nashville, Tennessee.  In addition to Bette Midler's smash, Henley's songs have been recorded by Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Perry Como, and Judy Collins.

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time: December 19

Inside The Rock Era has just the songs to keep you in the Christmas spirit:

ABBA, The #21 Artist of the Seventies*

Benny Andersson and his group the Hep Stars performed covers of big international hits, with Anderson playing keyboard.  Soon, Anderson was writing songs for the group, including three that reached #1 in his native Sweden.

Meanwhile, Björn Ulvaeus was a singer and guitarist with a popular Swedish folk-skiffle group called the Hooteanny Singers.  Ulvaeus began writing English-language songs for the group and began a solo career as well.

The two groups met while touring.  In 1966, Andersson and Ulvaeus wrote a song together that the Hep Stars recorded.  Stig Anderson, manager of the Hootenanny Singers and founder of Polar Music Records, was impressed, and encouraged the two to collaborate more.

In 1969, Andersson composed a song for the Melodifestivalen, the Swedish festival that would select the country's entry in the annual Eurovision Song Contest.  There, he met his future wife, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who also had an entry in the festival.  The two were married a month later.

Andersson's and Ulvaeus's groups broke up in 1969, so the two recorded as a duo in 1970 and enjoyed several hits in Sweden. 

Agnetha Fältskog sang lead for a local band led by Bernt Enghardt, who sent a demo to Karl Gerhard Lundkvist.  This led to Agnetha recording two of her own songs, one that reached #1 in Sweden.  Fältskog recorded four solo albums between 1968 and 1971 and scored several hits in her native country.

During the filming of a Swedish television special, Fältskog met Ulvaeus, and the two were married in 1971.  The couple contributed to each other's albums, and soon, Andersson and Lyngstad added vocals to Fältskog's third studio album.  In 1972, Fältskog starred in the Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar and received great reviews.

The four sang their first record together in 1971, which was credited to Benny and Björn.  Anderson urged Ulvaeus and Andersson to write a song for Melodifestivalen, and their entry in 1972 came in third place.  The single "People Need Love" (credited to Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid), which featured prominent guest vocals by the women, was released in 1972.  It peaked at #17 in Sweden, and received airplay in the United States.

In 1972, the foursome recorded the album Ring, Ring together and released the single "Nina, Pretty Ballerina", a Top 10 hit in Austria.  The single let the four (as well as Anderson) know the incredible sound they could make together, and it was just a taste of things to come.

The single "Ring, Ring" reached #5 in the Netherlands and #7 in Australia.  The four entered it in the Melodifestivalen, but it came in third.       
 The four members knew they had something magical together, and Anni-Frid, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid formed an official group, with the name ABBA being an acronym of the first letters of the members' first names.  

ABBA launched their career by winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with "Waterloo", which in 2005 was voted the best song in the 50-year history of the contest.  Afterwards, ABBA toured Europe and performed on major television shows. 

The group recorded their second album, Waterloo, and the title song raced to #1 in the U.K., Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway, and #2 in Austria, #4 in Australia, and #6 in the United States.

ABBA had now broken through in America, and it allowed the group to visit there and appear on The Mike Douglas Show.  The follow-up single, "Honey, Honey", went to #2 in Germany but had spotty success elsewhere.  "Hasta Manana" was also released as a single.

ABBA did a major European tour in 1974 and '75, then released their self-titled album in 1975.  But the lead single, "So Long", again received only spotty success, reaching #3 in Austria. 
But the follow-up, "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do", was another big international hit, going to #1 in Australia and New Zealand, #2 in Norway, #3 in the Netherlands, #4 in Austria, #6 in Germany, and a highly-underrated #15 in the United States.

"SOS" was the song that made them solid stars.  It topped charts in Germany, Australia and New Zealand, and reached #2 in Austria, the Netherlands and Norway, #4 in Ireland, and #6 in the U.K.  Once again, the United States, brought up the rear at #15.  All that does when radio goofs up is to make "SOS" one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.

ABBA scored another smash hit with "Mamma Mia", #1 in the U.K., Germany, Australia, and Ireland, #2 in New Zealand and Norway, and #3 in Austria.  America blew it big time, as even they would find out years later, as the international smash stalled at #32 in the U.S.  The fault wasn't just with radio, but with the trade magazines.  This was proven when BMI calculated airplay for the year 1975 and "Mamma Mia" was one of the most-played songs of the year in America as well. 

Although ABBA had now enjoyed success in the U.S., that success was limited to singles.  However, the critics praised the group:  Cashbox said "there is a recurrent thread of taste and artistry inherent in Abba's marketing, creativity and presentation that makes it almost embarrassing to critique their efforts," and Creem wrote "SOS is surrounded on this LP by so many good tunes that the mind boggles".

The group had already caught on big in Australia, as their music videos on the television show Countdown triggered a great interest for ABBA music.

In 1975, ABBA released their Greatest Hits album, which went Platinum, and became the group's first #1 album in the U.K.  The group recorded a new song for the compilation, "Fernando".  The single became one of their biggest hits, hitting #1 in every major country in the world except for Sweden, oddly enough, Norway, both of which took it to #2, and the United States, again bringing up the rear at #13, although "Fernando" was a #1 hit in the U.S. among adults.  "Fernando" was #1 in Australia for an incredible 14 weeks, tying "Hey Jude" by the Beatles as the longest-running #1 song in Australian history.  It has now sold over 10 million copies worldwide, one of the top-selling songs of all-time.

ABBA had enjoyed incredible worldwide success, and, while they had scored hits in the U.S., they wanted to conquer it the way they had every other country.  The album Arrival in 1977 was intended to symbolize the group's "arrival" in America, and it did that.  Not only that, but rock-oriented publications such as Melody Maker and New Musical Express recognized a new level of songwriting and studio work from the group.

The lead single "Dancing Queen" was #1 in every country in the world (including the U.S. this time!), except Austria at #4.  Plus, it sold over one million copies in the United States alone. 

The single "Money, Money, Money" hit #1 in Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, and #2 in Ireland and Norway, and #3 in the U.K. and Austria.  The United States (at #56) still didn't quite get it completely.  But they would. 

The amazing single "Knowing Me, Knowing You" topped charts in the U.K., Germany and Ireland, hit #2 in Austria and the Netherlands, and reached the Top 10 in every country in the world except the United States (#14).

Arrival became the first album to go Gold in the U.S., but the U.S. shared something in common with only France and Austria, as being the only three countries in the world where Arrival wasn't a #1 album.  The vocal talents of Anni-Frid and Agnetha gave them incredible versatility, being able to release rockers as well as ballads.  Another great track on the album is "My Love, My Life".

Arrival also contained the beautiful instrumental title track.

In 1977, ABBA went on a major tour.  Shows were lavishly produced and included a few scenes from their self-written mini-operetta The Girl with the Golden Hair.  The media flooded the group with interview requests and stories throughout Europe and Australia.  ABBA played before 160,000 people at 11 dates in Australia.  The tour ended with two sold-out shows at London's famous Royal Albert Hall.  Tickets for those two shows were only available my mail application.  It turned out that the box office in London received 3.5 million requests for tickets, which would have filled the Hall 580 times.  One of the concerts in London was filmed and later released as part of ABBA:  The Movie.

The group released ABBA:  The Album to coincide with the release of their movie.  The single "The Name Of The Game" gave them a sixth #1 in the U.K., as they were quickly becoming one of the top artists in the history of the Kingdom.  Ireland, the Netherlands, and Sweden also took the song to #1, and it peaked at #3 in Norway, and #4 in New Zealand.  The United States and Austria were the only countries in the world that didn't have the song in their Top 10.

"Take A Chance On Me" also went to #1 in the U.K., as well as Ireland and Austria, and rose to #2 in the Netherlands, and #3 in the United States and Germany.  The single sold over one million copies.

Most people know the hits of these incredible artists.  We like featuring the other songs on their albums in music specials as spectacular as this one, because doing so shows the immense depth that they have.  Great songs like this one ("One Man, One Woman") took the album to Platinum status in the United States.

We want to feature three other songs from this great album--this one reached the Top 10 in Germany and the Netherlands--"Eagle".

The next song became one of the featured songs in a play many years into the future that finally had America going ga-ga over this group--"Thank You For The Music".  For our American friends, there's a lot more to this group than their hits.  Never released as a single, it has become one of the most-loved ABBA songs of all-time.

ABBA has recorded numerous songs, but I don't know if any capture the human spirit more than this one. Another great track on the album is "Move On".

By this time, ABBA were one of the top acts in the world.  They converted an old movie theatre in Stockholm, Sweden into a state-of-the art recording studio called the Polar Music Studio.  Several other groups, including Led Zeppelin (In Through the Out Door) and Genesis, recorded there.  ABBA appeared with Andy Gibb on Olivia Newton-John's television show in the United States.

In 1979, ABBA scored another #1 album in the U.K. with their Greatest Hits, Volume 2, which also went Gold in the United States.  The single "Summer Night City" became another huge hit, topping charts in Ireland and Sweden and hitting #5 in the U.K. and #6 in Germany.

In 1979, ABBA performed "Chiquitita" at the Music for UNICEF Concert at the United Nations General Assembly.  ABBA donated all proceeds from the single to UNICEF.  The single was released the following week, and went to #1 in ten countries, including Ireland, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.  It was a Top 5 song in every country in the world except the U.S. (#29).  They still didn't get it.  But they would.

In 1979, Ulvaeus and Fältskog announced that they were getting a divorce.  The media hounded them with questions about how this would affect the future of the group.  To escape the press, Andersson and Ulvaeus secretly travelled to the Bahamas, where they would spend the next two weeks preparing for the group's next album.

In 1979, ABBA released their sixth studio album, Voulez-Vous.  The album went to #1 throughout Europe and in Japan and Mexico, hit the Top 10 in Canada and Australia and Top 20 in the United States.  The single "Does Your Mother Know" reached #3 in Ireland and the Netherlands and #4 in the U.K.

Another huge international hit was the title song, hitting #3 in the U.K., Ireland and the Netherlands.

The group scored another big hit in the U.K. when "Angel Eyes" hit #3.  The single "Gimme!  Gimme!  Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" was released from the Greatest Hits, Volume 2 album. The song topped the Irish chart, and reached #2 in Austria, Norway and the Netherlands and #3 in the U.K. and Germany.

Incredibly, ABBA achieved a fifth Top 5 song in the U.K. from Voulez-Vous--even the Beatles never did that.  The song that gave them six was the single "I Have A Dream", at #2 in the U.K.  The song topped charts in Austria and the Netherlands, and rose to #2 in Ireland and #4 in Germany.

ABBA went a tour of North America (their first and only), and they played 17 sold-out dates, 13 of them in the United States.

The group released two more albums in the 80's and collected 10 more hits before splitting.  Despite that, ABBA are one of a select number of acts that are more popular now than they were during their heyday.  The French children's television musical Abbacadabra generated new interest in ABBA.  The duo Erasure released covers of ABBA songs.  When U2 arrived in Stockholm in 1992, they invited Ulvaeus and Andersson onstage for a version of "Dancing Queen".

In 1992, the album ABBA Gold:  Greatest Hits was released, and it has now topped six million in sales in the U.S. alone.  Since most of the group's music and big hits were in the Seventies, a large percentage of that album's sales are naturally factored into the rankings for this special.

Ulvaeus and Andersson went on to tremendous success writing music for the stage.  Then in 1994, the Australian cult films The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Muriel's Wedding, both focusing on admiration for ABBA, attracted interest from the media.  This renewed interest led to the formation of numerous tribute bands.  The four-disc box set Thank You for the Music was released that year as well.

American critic Chuck Klosterman wrote "By the end of the twentieth century, it was far more uncool to not like ABBA than to love them."  And a phenomenon was about to occur in which ABBA's American fans would grow exponentially.

 In 1999, Ulvaeus and Andersson finally finished a project that they had poured their hearts into.  They adapted ABBA's music into the highly successful musical Mamma Mia!, that was a smash hit on Broadway and has toured to every part of the globe.  All four members of ABBA appeared at the premiere of the musical Mamma Mia!, which told a humorous tale featuring the music of the group.  The movie version of Mamma Mia! was released in 2008, with all four members again reuniting for the film premiere.  The soundtrack to the movie went to #1 in the United States, ABBA's first #1 album there.  The movie starring Meryl Streep was extremely successful, becoming the highest-grossing film in the U.S. that year.  The play is still attracting sold-out crowds each night on Broadway 15 years after it opened.

Americans, who were blind to the incredible music of ABBA during their worldwide peak, all of a sudden finally embraced the group.  They let their enthusiasm and love for the group be known through countless standing ovations throughout America, from Broadway to every city in the country.  Yes, America finally "got it"! 

In 2000, ABBA turned down an offer of one billion U.S. dollars to do a reunion tour.  In 2002, ABBA was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.  In 2004, the members of ABBA were presented an award from Universal Music and Polar Music for worldwide record sales (both single and album) of 360 million between 1974 and 2004. 

The album ABBA Gold:  Greatest Hits, released in 1992, returned to #1 on the U.K. album chart for the fifth time in 2008. 

In 2010, ABBA was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Earlier this year, the book ABBA:  The Official Photo book was published to mark the 40th anniversary of ABBA's win at Eurovision.

ABBA is featured on two postage stamps in Sweden, issued in 1983 and 2000.