Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year! This Date in Rock Music History: January 1

1955:  Elvis Presley performed at Eagles Hall in Houston, Texas.
1956:  "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley & the Comets returned to #1 in the U.K.
1957:  Love the title--A new rock & roll show, Cool for Cats, premiered on BBC television in the U.K.
1959:  Elvis Presley wrecked his BMW while driving on the Autobahn in Germany.
1962:  The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records, playing 15 songs for the A&R man.  He declined to sign them, opting instead to sign the Tremeloes.  Bad career move for the A&R man.

Handy Links To All Segments of the 2016 Rock & Roll Heaven Presentation

Our feature unfortunately was much longer than usual, so to make it easy for you to fully enjoy the entire tribute, here are link to each part of the feature:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

The Top 10 Songs of 2016

For the fifth year, Inside The Rock Era takes a look back at the year that was in music by presenting The Top 10 Songs of the Year*.  

Overall, a pretty good year--2016 marked the return of Adele and a "comeback" for Justin Bieber, but it will be best known for some pretty promising acts appearing on the scene, groups such as Twenty One Pilots and Chainsmokers.  

These rankings are based on the same factors that influence our database which ranks over 12,000 songs of the Rock Era--chart numbers across genres, single sales, album sales, airplay, YouTube views and statistics and awards won.  The rankings will change as new sales and airplay information comes in, but as it stands this New Year's Eve, these are The Top 10 Songs of 2016:



#1 for 10 weeks overall and #1 for 21 weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart.  American Music Award for Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist and nominated for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Song and Favorite Pop/Rock Album, won 5 Billboard awards--Top Artist, Top Female Artist Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album and Top-Selling Song, nominated for Top Hot 100 Song, Top Radio Song and Top Song Sales Artist, 7 MTV nominations, including Video of the Year, Best Female Video and Best Pop Video, Grammy nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Pop Solo Performance, , People's Choice nominations for Favorite Po p Artist and Favorite Female Artist, 8 million in single sales, over 16.5 million in album sales.


"7 Years"
Lukas Graham

Peak of #2, nominated at Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, 5.8 million in single sales, 700,000 in album sales.


"Stressed Out"
Twenty One Pilots

Peaked at #2, nominated for Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, won American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Duo or Group and Favorite Alternative Rock Artist and nominated for Artist of the Year, nominated for Favorite Group at People's Choice Awards, 4 million in single sales, 1.5 million in album sales


"One Dance"

#1 for 10 weeks, nominated at Grammys for Best Rap Album, Album of the Year, won AMA's for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist, Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album and nominated for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Album, Favorite Pop/Rock Song, Favorite Soul/R&B Song and Collaboration of the Year, won Billboard Award for Top Rap Artist and nominated for Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Song Sales Artist and Top Streaming Songs Artist, 6.1 million sales, 2 million in album sales.


"Can't Stop The Feeling"
Justin Timberlake

#1 for 1 week, #1 for 15 weeks on the AC chart, nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media at Grammy Awards, nominated for Best Original Song at Golden Globe Awards, nominated for Favorite Song, Favorite Pop Artist and Favorite Male Artist at People's Choice , 5.6 million single sales


Drake and Rihanna

#1 for 9 weeks, nominated at Grammys for Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group and Best Rap Album, Album of the Year, won AMA's for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist, Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album and nominated for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Album,  won Billboard Award for Top Rap Artist and nominated for Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Song Sales Artist and Top Streaming Songs Artist, 3.3. million sales, 2 million in album sales



#1 for 12 weeks, nominated for Best Pop Group/Duo Performance and Best New Artist at Grammys, AMA for Favorite Electronic/Dance Artist, nominated for New Artist of the Year at AMA's, 4.5 million single sales


"Cheap Thrills"
Sia and Sean Paul

#1 for 4 weeks, nominated for Grammys for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album, nominated for Best Female Video at MTV, nominated for Favorite Pop Artist at People's Choice, one of highest L-D Ratios, 5.5 million single sales, 150,000 album sales


"Love Yourself"
Justin Bieber

#1 for 2 weeks, #1 for 8 weeks AC, nominated for Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance At Grammy Awards, won Favorite Pop/Rock Song, Favorite Pop/Rock Album and Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist at AMA's and nominated for Artist of the Year, won Top Male Artist and Top Social Media Artist at Billboard Awards, nominated for Top Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Song Sales Artist, Top Radio Songs Artist, Top Streaming Songs Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album, 6.5 million single sales, 3.6 million album sales


Twenty One Pilots

Peaked at #2, won American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Duo or Group and Favorite Alternative Rock Artist and nominated for Artist of the Year, nominated Best Rock Song Best Rock Performance by a Duo at Grammy Awards, won MTV Award for Best Rock Video and nominated for Artist to Watch, 2.5 million sales, 1.5 million album sales, one of highest Like to Dislike Ratios of the year.

Featured Unknown/Underrated Song*: "A Road Not Taken" by Bruce Hornsby & the Range

One of the top songs on a great album is on the spotlight:

"A Road Not Taken"
Bruce Hornsby & the Range

Music and Lyrics by Bruce Hornsby

Down in the southwest Virginia town of Richlands
I fell in love with an Appalachian girl
She lived in a long line of little row houses
On the side of an old strip mining hill
She walked along on the jagged ridge
And looked as far as she could see
But the hills out there so up and down
You only see as far as the next big ridge

Everytime I see her face
On the street in the hollow of on the hill
Another time and another place
I feel her in my heart still
Everytime I see her face
On the street in the hollow in the bend
I see her in my mind and then
I go down the road not taken...again

Oh the coal dust settles on the window display
They have to change it about every other day
Some things never change way out here
An outsider could always remain that way
She walked along on the jagged ridge
She told me she was thinking of me
But every time I tried to take her away
She alway ran back to the rocks and the trees

Everytime I see her face
On the street in the hollow of on the hill
Another time and another place
I feel her in my heart still
Everytime I see her face
On the street in the hollow in the bend
I see her in my mind and then
I go down the road not taken...again

Oh I went back there after many years
So curious and so secretly
As I looked on I held back a tear
The road not taken overcoming me
Oh I saw her she was sitting there
Older, thinner on the front porch
It seemed the light a little brighter there
Or maybe I still carried the forgotten torch

Everytime I see her face
On the street in the hollow of on the hill
Another time and another place
I feel her in my heart still
Everytime I see her face
On the street in the hollow in the bend
I see her in my mind and then
I go down the road not taken...again

The Top 10 Songs of 2016 Starts in 10 Hours

Our annual feature is a little over 10 hours away and the music in 2016 was pretty good; in fact, probably one of the best years of the new millennium.

The Top 10 Songs from the year gets underway at 2 p.m. Eastern, 11 a.m. Pacific on Inside The Rock Era!

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven, Part One

The number of Rock Era deaths in 2016 came close to 200, more than doubling the record set last year.  We have 17 segments, each of which will be presented within 2 minutes of each other.  They are organized so that they will be in alphabetical order when finished.  

You will be astounded at the depth of the losses this year, and not just from the artists you may have heard from "major" news sites.  Join us for all 16 segments to our feature:

Signe Anderson was an early member of Jefferson Airplane.  Anderson died of a heart condition in Beaverton, Oregon on January 28 at the age of 74.
Anderson was the group's lead singer before Grace Slick joined.

But she gave birth to her first child after the group recorded their debut album, and realized that it would be difficult to raise the child and be on the road as a rock star.  Anderson's last performance was October 15, 1966, and Slick made her debut with the group the following night.  

Robert Bateman, songwriter who wrote the #1 "Please Mr. Postman" for the Marvelettes and other songs for the group and also worked with Wilson Pickett, died October 12 of a heart attack in Los Angeles.

Bateman was 86.

1946:  Lennie Baker, vocalist and saxophonist with Danny & the Juniors and vocalist and saxophone player of Sha Na Na for 30 years, died February 24, 2016 in Weymouth, Massachusetts at age 69.  (Note:  some websites report that Lenny Baker of Sha Na Na was born on this date.  There was no such member of the group; the correct spelling of his name is Lennie.)

The group had an uncanny ability to perform some of the era's best songs and sounding great on them.

David Bowie died January 10 of liver cancer in Manhattan, New York at the age of 69.  He scored six Top 10 hits in his career.

Although he had bigger hits, one of the songs he is best known for is "Changes", an underrated hit in 1975.

Another song Bowie is best known for is "Space Oddity".

Later that year, Bowie and John Lennon teamed up to write "Fame", which Lennon also sang on.

Bowie scored another #1 with "Let's Dance" in 1983.

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven, Part Two

Our feature continues with more of the great talent we lost this year:

1937:  Bonnie Brown of the Browns ("The Three Bells" from 1956) died July 16 of lung cancer in Little Rock, Arkansas at the age of 77.

The group hit #1 for four weeks on 1959 with "The Three Bells".  They charted seven times, also collecting the #5 hit "The Old Lamplighter".

Pete Burns of Dead or Alive died October 23 in London from cardiac arrest at age 57.

Dead or Alive never found the Top 10, but they reached the Top 20 with both "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" and "Brand New Lover".

Nicholas Caldwell, co-founder of the Whispers, died January 5 of congestive heart failure in San Francisco.

The Whispers enjoyed their biggest hit with "Rock Steady" in 1987, but are perhaps best known for their 1980 Gold record "And The Beat Goes On".  Caldwell was 71.

Phil Chess, who founded the label Chess Records with his brother Leonard, died October 18 in Tucson, Arizona at age 95.  Little Walter, John Lee Hooker, Rufus Thomas, Bobby Bland and Howlin' Wolf were some of the major blues artists who recorded on the label.

One of Howlin' Wolf's most popular songs is this one. 

Don Ciccone, lead singer and songwriter of the Critters, died October 8 in Ketchum, Idaho, according to his social media manager Lynn Pattnosh.  Ciccone was 70.

Ciccone and the Critters had one hit, "Mr. Dieingly Sad", in 1966.  Ciccone later joined Frankie Valli's Four Seasons from 1973 to 1981 and was the bassist and musical director for a later incarnation of Tommy James and the Shondells.

Folk legend Leonard Cohen died November 7 in Los Angeles at age 82.

One of Cohen's best-known songs is "Suzanne". 

Jerry Corbetta (front, above), singer and keyboardist with Sugarloaf, died September 16 of Pick's disease in Denver, Colorado.  He was 68.

Sugarloaf enjoyed a #3 hit with "Green-Eyed Lady" in 1970.   They later returned to the Top 10 in 1975 with "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You".

Singer Attrell Cordes, who went by the stage name of Prince Be in the group P.M. Dawn, died June 17 in New Jersey after suffering from diabetes and renal kidney disease.  

Attrell and Jarrett Cordes formed the group in the late 1980's and enjoyed the big hits "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss" and "I'd Die Without You". 

Attrell was 46.

Patty Duke died March 29 of sepsis from a ruptured intestine in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho at age 69.  

Patty enjoyed her biggest hit in the Rock Era with "Don't Just Stand There" in 1965.

Doug Edwards of Skylark and Chilliwack died at the age of 70 on November 11 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Prior to joining Skylark, Edwards played guitar for the Fifth Dimension and once opened for Frank Sinatra.  He wrote the 1973 hit "Wildflower" for Skylark.

Edwards became a session guitarist for artists such as Olivia Newton-John, Terry Jacks, the Poppy Family and Glass Tiger.

Many people do not know Chilliwack, but as smart Inside The Rock Era viewers, you do.  Chilliwack recorded great songs such as "My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)" and "I Believe".  Edwards joined Chilliwack in a later reincarnation of the band in 1989.

Keith Emerson, founding member and legendary keyboardist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died of suicide March 11 in Santa Monica, California at the age of 71.

In 1973, the trio enjoyed a minor hit with "From The Beginning".

Emerson, Lake & Palmer recorded this timeless song.

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven, Part Three

We lost so much talent in 2016.  This man has given us the soundtrack of our lives from 1972-2016--no one we lost has been near as successful for near as long:

Glenn Frey, guitarist of the Eagles and solo star, died January 17 in New York City at the age of 67 of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.

With Don Henley, Frey formed one of the most powerful and successful partnerships in music history as members of the Eagles.

Frey co-wrote this with Jackson Browne.  Browne had written much of the song for his 1971 debut album, but couldn't finish it.  His friend and then-neighbor Frey heard the song and liked it so much that Jackson gave it to Glenn for his new band.  Frey finished the second verse,  "...such a fine sight to see, it's a girl, My Lord, in a flatbed Ford..."

Frey and the Eagles went into the studio to record it, it reached a highly underrated peak of #12, and the rest is music history.

Frey also wrote and sang lead on "Peaceful Easy Feeling" in 1973, which we now know is one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.

Frey also sang lead on the underrated gem "Already Gone", which is one of the best examples of the Eagles' superb harmonies.

The Eagles soon flew into the stratosphere.  In 1975, "Lyin' Eyes" peaked at #2.

Frey also co-wrote the #1 smash "One Of These Nights".

The group was back in 1977 with the #1 smash "New Kid In Town".

The follow-up to that became one of The Top 10 Songs of the Rock Era*.

Frey sang lead on another #1 smash from 1979.

The Eagles enjoyed a minor hit with this highly underrated song, with their harmonies nothing less than spectacular. 

After the Eagles went on "an extended hiatus" after the great album The Long Run, Frey became a big solo star, hitting #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart with "The One You Love".

The director of the movie Beverly Hills Cop called upon Glenn to record a song for the soundtrack album, and he came through with this #2 smash.

Frey also recorded music for the television show Miami Vice--"Smuggler's Blues" was underrated at #12.

Frey scored another huge hit from Miami Vice with "You Belong To The City".

In 1994, the Eagles reunited in one of the greatest comebacks of the Rock Era.  They first toured the world and released the album Hell Freezes Over.  They then recorded an amazing double album in 1997 called Long Road Out of Eden.  The album has now sold over seven million copies in the U.S. alone.  It features many great songs, one of which is "Hole In The World", representing how the group felt after the murders of September 11, 2001.

Another great song is "How Long".

There are many gems on the album--we'll leave you with this one, co-written by Frey and sung by Don Henley... 

lenn Frey--one of the great talents of our lifetime.  He will be greatly missed, but he gave us so much great music.

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven, Part Four

Two great trumpeters died this year; Wayne Jackson, who played on 116 Top 10 songs, and Mic Gellette, who also played for scores of artists.  Inside The Rock Era salutes the great brass players as well as the others who we lost in 2016:

Mic Gillette, founder and trumpet and trombone player with Tower of Power, who also worked with Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, the Doobie Brothers, Jefferson Starship, Huey Lewis and the News, Santana, Heart, America, Sheryl Crow, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Melissa Manchester, Little Feat, Link Wray, and many others, died January 17 at age 64 of a heart attack in Concord, California.

The Tower of Power quickly established themselves as one of the top horn sections in the nation and soon were in demand.  They scored a minor hit with "You're Still A Young Man" and are best known for their 1973 hit "So Very Hard To Go".  

The great horn section will be remembered for their other hit, "You're Still A Young Man". 

Elton John used the Tower of Power on his 1974 album Caribou.  Gillette helped turn Elton's "The Bitch Is Back" into a #1 hit.

Gillette also played on "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me".

In 1977, Mic played horns on the Brothers Johnson smash "Strawberry Letter 23".

Giorgio Gomelsy, first manager for the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds, died January 13 of cancer in New York City at age 81.

Gomelsy was the owner of the famous Crawdaddy Club in London.  He brought in the Stones as the house band and later took over their early management.  

As the Stones took off into stardom and hired Andrew Loog Oldham as manager, Gomelsy recruited the Yardbirds as the house band at Crawdaddy.  Gomelsy served as the group's manager from 1964-66 and produced their first two albums, including their first hit "For Your Love".  

Gomelsy produced solo projects for Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page and also produced for Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart, among others.

Paul Gordon, keyboardist and guitarist who worked with Prince, America, Chaka Khan, the Goo Goo Dolls, Mandy Moore, Natasha Bedingfield, the B-52's and the New Radicals, died February 16 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Gordon wrote songs for Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick, James Ingram, Juice Newton, Kenny G, Laura Branigan, Deniece Williams and Peter Cetera, among many others.  Gordon co-wrote "The Next Time I Fall" for Cetera's duet with Amy Grant.

Gordon played for the New Radicals on their 1998 hit "You Get What You Give".

He was the keyboardist with the B-52's from 2007 until his death. 

Gogi Grant, who had one of the great early hits of the Rock Era, "The Wayward Wind",  died March 10 at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 91.  Grant sang all the songs for actress Ann Blyth in the movie The Helen Morgan Story.  

Grant's "The Wayward Wind" topped the chart for eight weeks in 1956.

Eddie Harsch, former keyboardist with the Black Crowes, died at the age of 59 on November 4 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Harsch joined the group before their 1992 album Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.  He played on four other albums by the group.  The Crowes enjoyed their biggest hit with the #26 song "Hard To Handle".  The biggest hit Harsch had with the group was the #48 song "Remedy".    

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven, Part Five

We mourn the loss of nearly 200 artists, musicians, songwriters, managers, record company owners and executives who died in 2016:

Jimmie Haskell (shown above, right, with Ricky Nelson), who won Grammys for arrangements of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode To Billie Joe", "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel and Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now", died February 4 at the age of 79 in Laguna Nigel, California.

All the strings you hear in some of your favorite songs are the work of Jimmie.  Haskell worked with hundreds of artists including Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, Linda Ronstadt, Barry Manilow, Diana Ross, the Doobie Brothers, the Everly Brothers, the Moody Blues, Dan Fogelberg, Sheryl Crow, Steely Dan, Seals & Crofts, Glen Campbell, Rick Nelson, the Monkees, Bobby Darin, the Grass Roots, the Drifters, Blondie, B.B. King, Ambrosia, Bette Midler, Pat Boone, Dean Martin, Guy Mitchell, Pure Prairie League and Patti Page, just to name a few, and also wrote the theme song of the popular television show The Hollywood Squares.

One of Haskell's first assignment was arranging the backing music behind Ricky Nelson's #1 "Travelin' Man".

In 1967, Haskell was called upon to arrange the songs for an up-and-coming talent from Mississippi.  Bobbie Gentry gave us one of the classics for the ages.

Haskell first arranged for Simon & Garfunkel on their outstanding 1968 album Bookends.  "Mrs. Robinson" is one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.

Haskell's work also shines on the duo's song "America".

Haskell again worked with Simon & Garfunkel on their masterpiece Bridge Over Troubled Water in 1970.

Haskell provided the arrangements on this great song. 

Jimmy turned his attention to Chicago in 1976.

Haskell arranged for Billy Joel on his early albums Cold Spring Harbor and Piano Man.

He then worked with Steely Dan for three albums, providing the arrangements for the horns on "My Old School", among others..

After working for numerous other acts, Haskell provided orchestration for Barry Manilow's album Even Now.

In 1981, Haskell provided the horn and string arrangements for Blondie on their album Autoamerican.

Leon Haywood, singer who backed up Sam Cooke in the early '60s before becoming a recording artist, died April 5 in Los Angeles at the age of 74.

Haywood achieved his biggest career hit with "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You" in 1975.

Fred Hellerman, member of the Weavers, who also worked with Joan Baez and produced Arlo Guthrie's famous "Alices' Restaurant Massacree", died September 1 at age 89 in Weston, Connecticut.

Guthrie's 18-minute long dialog recounts a story of when an 18-year-old Arlo spent Thanksgiving weekend in 1965 at a deconsecrated church, which was the home of two of his friends, Alice and Ray.  Alice did in fact own a restaurant, but other than being the subject of the chorus, none of the events involve the restaurant.

Guthrie volunteered to take the church's large amount of trash to the local dump, not realizing until he got there that it was closed.  When he took it to a cliff and dumped it off, he was arrested for littering, and the tale goes from there.  Many of the lyrics in the song are either true or describe events which actually occurred.

Preston Hubbard, the bassist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, died August 17, 2016 after a lengthy illness in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Thunderbirds are best known for their hit "Tuff (sic) Enough".