Saturday, December 10, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 11

1958:  The Coasters recorded "Charlie Brown", with guest saxophonist King Curtis.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 10

Other sources will give lists of The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time; this site actually lets you hear them so you can see which ones you like the most.  We have 150 of them and six more are featured below!

Friday, December 9, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 10

1949:  Fats Domino recorded his first songs for Imperial Records, including "The Fat Man", which later became his nickname.
1961:  After their first live concerts in south England, the Beatles returned to Liverpool for a show at Hambleton Hall.
1961:  James Brown performed at the Evergreen Ballroom in Lacey, Washington.
1961:  The Beatles and Brian Epstein reached an informal managerial agreement, on the condition that Epstein would get the group a recording contract.
1963:  Donny Osmond made his debut with the Osmonds on The Andy Williams Show on NBC.
1964:  The Beatles scored their sixth #1 in the U.K. with "I Feel Fine".

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 9

We have five more great Christmas favorites for you right now:

Thursday, December 8, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 9

1957:  Smooth Sam Cooke remained at #1 on the R&B chart for a third week with "You Send Me".

Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era and Top 100 Female Artists of the Rock Era

Both Inside The Rock Era books are going fast this Christmas.  We offer the cheapest prices on both on this website.  These are the most comprehensive books of their kind (both over 600 8 1/2 x 11" pages!) and are the cheapest, by far, of any book you can find regarding their subject matter.  Order yours today by clicking on the appropriate link(s) on the right-hand side of the website!

1,974 Page Views on Tuesday, December Shaping Up to Be Brisk Month

Thank-you for a record 1,974 page views Tuesday.  December is already looking like one of the top months in Inside The Rock Era's nearly five-year history.

There have been five months to go over 25,000 page views since that time, and December has a good chance to make it six.  We're just going to continue what we've been doing, providing the world's most accurate daily Calendar* of music news and special music features, including Rock & Roll Heaven* and The Top 10 Songs of 2016* on December 31.

You won't want to miss The Top 100 Artists of the Rock Era* coming up soon after the New Year.  This major special will be one of your favorites you've ever heard.

The Rock Era has now lost 46 significant artists, musicians and producers this year

2016 has taken its toll on some of the greats of the Rock Era--Glenn Frey, Prince, Robert Stigwood, George Martin and Paul Kantner just to name a few.  We will salute the new members of Rock & Roll Heaven* in our annual tribute on December 31, but regrettably, the list continues to grow.

Greg Lake Has Died of Cancer

Bassist Greg Lake, an original member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer and later a member of Asia, died yesterday after battling cancer.

The news comes nine months after Lake's bandmate Keith Emerson died.  Guitarist Steve Hackett, an early member of Genesis, said "Music bows its head to acknowledge the passing of a great musician and singer, Greg Lake."

Rick Wakeman, elite keyboardist in Yes, said, "Another sad loss with the passing of Greg Lake...You left some great music with us my friend & so like Keith, you will live on."

Lake was born in Bournemouth, England and began playing guitar at age 12.  He co-founded King Crimson with friend Robert Fripp in 1969.

After the breakup of that group, Emerson, who had opened for King Crimson on a tour of North America, asked Greg to be a singer in his new band.  With drummer Carl Palmer, ELP debuted live at the Guildhall in Plymouth in 1970 and wowed fans at the Isle of Wight Festival.  

Emerson, Lake & Palmer were one of the leading exponents of progressive rock, with each of their first seven albums attaining Gold status in the United States.  They were one of the best live performing acts of the period, featuring an elaborate stage show.  ELP broke up in 1979 with Lake joining the group Asia briefly.

Lake was 69.

Simply "The Best"...Tina Turner in The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*

Tina Turner gets an entry in our most popular feature, this great song from her album Foreign Affair that charting companies failed to rank in the Top 10:

"The Best"
Tina Turner

Written by Mike Chapman and Holly Knight

I call you when I need you
When my heart's on fire
You come to me, come to me
Wild and wired

You come to me,
Give me everything I need

Give me a lifetime of promises
And a world of dreams
Speak the language of love
Like you know what it means

It can't be wrong
Take my heart and make it strong, baby

You're simply the best
Better than all the rest
Better than anyone
Anyone I've ever met
I'm stuck on your heart
I hang on every word you say
Tear us apart
Baby, I would rather be dead

In your heart I see the start
Of every night and every day
In your eyes I get lost
I get washed away

Just as long as I'm here in your arms
I could be in no better place

You're simply the best
Better than all the rest
Better than anyone
Anyone I've ever met
I'm stuck on your heart
I hang on every word you say
Tear us apart, no, no, no
Baby, I would rather be dead

Each time you leave me I start losing control
You're walking away with my heart and my soul
I can feel you even when I'm alone,
Oh, baby, don't let go!

You're the best
Better than all the rest
Better than anyone
Anyone I've ever met
I'm stuck on your heart
I hang on every word you say
Tear us apart, no, no
Baby, I would rather be dead

You're the best

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 8

 "Ring Christmas Bells"
by Ray Conniff & the Singers

We've already heard "Carol of the Bells" in our special.  Minna Louise Hohman wrote an alternate version that includes more Nativity-based lyrics.  When you hear that version, the song is called "Ring Christmas Bells".

And who better than the group that may as well have called themselves the Christmas Singers for it is Christmas songs that they excelled at and they did it better than just about 
"The Prayer"
by Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli

This is one of the newest songs to make The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time.  It was written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Albert Testa and Tony Renis.  It was featured on Celine Dion's album These Are Special Times and was also included in the move Quest for Camelot in 1999.  The song won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1999 and for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with vocals in 2000.
"A Marshmallow World"
by Johnny Mathis

This song was written by Carl Sigman and Peter DeRose in 1949.  Bing Crosby had the first hit with it but when Mathis included it on his Sounds of Christmas album in 1963 it became the most popular version.

"The First Noel"
by Kenny G

Here we have a traditional carol, generally thought to be from the 18th century.  The word Noel is from the French word meaning "Birthday".  The song was first published in 1823 in Carols Ancient and Modern, edited by William B. Sandys and arranged, edited and with extra lyrics added by Davies Gilbert.

Kenny G included it on Faith:  A Holiday album and his special touch generated interest enough to include it in this special.
"Winter Wonderland"
by Aretha Franklin

A young Aretha recorded an exciting and passionate version of this song in 1964.  It was good enough to make The Best 150*.
"Silent Night"
by Perry Como

This was on the album Perry Como Sings Christmas.  Como's reverent tone is not lost on listeners and is the reason for its great appeal.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 8

1958:  A new artist was introduced that would continue to hit the charts for the next 30 years.  Neil Sedaka debuted with his first career single "The Diary".
1958:  "A Lover's Question" by Clyde McPhatter was the #1 song on the R&B chart.
1960:  Fabian visited Elvis Presley at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 7

Welcome to Day Seven of The Best 150 Christmas Songs of All-Time*:

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 7

1958: George Harrison joined the Quarrymen, named after John Lennon's school. The group also included Paul McCartney, Len Garry and John Lowe.  (Note:  most websites show this date as February 6, however, David Bedford, in his book 'The Fab one Hundred and Four', contradicts this date.  Bedford points out that guitarist Eric Griffiths left the group because he was being replaced by Harrison.  In new research conducted by Bedford, he shows the Merchant Navy records of Griffiths, who joined his first ship on February 11.  Obviously, one doesn't just hop aboard a ship right after deciding to join the Navy.  In fact, Eric qualified as an officer cadet in January, 1958, meaning that in order to complete his training, he would have had to sign up for the Merchant Navy no later than mid-December, 1957.  All sources agree that Harrison joined the Quarrymen following an audition at Wilson Hall in Liverpool.  Records showed that the Quarrymen played the venue on December 7, after which time Griffiths quit music and joined the Navy.)   

Beyonce Leads Grammy Nominations with Nine

BeyoncĂ© was nominated for nine Grammy Awards in an announcement made on the television show CBS This Morning.  Rihanna, Drake and Kanye West each received eight nominations.  Adele was nominated in the three major categories:  Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year.

Adele's "Hello", which is a strong contender for the #1 Song of 2016 on Inside The Rock Era, will face competition from BeyoncĂ©'s "Formation" in both Song and Record of the Year, with "7 Years" by Lukas Graham, "Work" by Rihanna and Drake and "Stressed Out" from Twenty One Pilots the other Record of the Year nominees.

The awards will be presented February 12.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 6

There are now thousands of Christmas songs, and it's hard to sort through them.  Don't go through the hassle; we already did it for you.  Here are six more of The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time*:

Monday, December 5, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 6

1964:  The movie Ferry Cross the Mersey, starring Gerry & the Pacemakers, premiered a the New Victoria Cinema in London.

The Top Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 5

We've included a good mix of songs, not only in the Top 150, but also each day, so you'll get a good variety of songs by a variety of artists in a variety of styles.  Here are six more coming at ya on December 5:

Sunday, December 4, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: December 5

1959:  Gene Vincent ("Be-Bop-A-Lula") met television producer Jack Good upon arriving in England.  It was Good who convinced him to adopt an all-leather look.
1960:  Elvis Presley raced to #1 with his new album G.I. Blues, his fifth #1.
1961:  Ray Charles was arrested in Indianapolis, Indiana for possession of drugs.
1964:  "Ringo" by Lorne Greene was the #1 Easy Listening song for a third week.

The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time, December 4

December 4, three weeks before Christmas Day.  Here are six more of The Best Christmas Songs of All-Time*: