Archive for July, 2009
The Psychedelic Furs formed in London in the late 1970s and were far more influenced by the British punk scene than by the psychedelic rock of a decade earlier that their name implies. And they weren’t hard-core punkers in the slashing, all-out style of the Sex Pistols or The Clash. The Furs delivered a mix of punk’s raw simplicity with modern pop sounds, placing them closer to The Cure and reminiscent of Bowie and Roxy Music. An instant hit in the U.K. with five straight Top 30 albums, it took several tries and two memorable singles, “Pretty In Pink” and “Love My Way” to break the group in America in the early 80s. The Furs broke up in 1992 and reformed in 2000. The final album from their first incarnation, World Outside (released July 30, 1991), is as good as any Furs work and spun off the college radio and Billboard Modern Rock charts Top 20 hits “Until She Comes” and “Don’t Be A Girl.” World Outside is available for purchase as a CD or individual mp3 files on Amazon and as iPod files on iTunes. A Psychedelic Furs playlist is planned for Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.
Click here for a double-shot video of The Grass Roots performing two of their late-60s hits, “Bella Linda” and “Midnight Confessions,” on what appears to be Playboy After Dark (is that pipe-smoking stud-type Hugh Hefner on the right in the audience shots?). There were several incarnations of The Grass Roots between 1966 and 1975, each barely related to its predecessor but able to chart multiple AM pop hits. Somewhat like the Monkees, they were a manufactured band, in this case led by songwriter P.F. Sloan (he wrote “Eve Of Destruction” and others) and career-producer Steve Barri (he produced “Midnight Confessions”, and countless other 60s/70s/80s hits and bands). Enjoy!
The Temptations were given up for dead when Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams left the band in late 1971 (Kendricks went for a solo career and Williams began a long alcohol-fueled slide into dementia that led to his suicide in August 1973). Faced with the loss of two key members, the remaining Temptations, Otis Williams, Dennis Edwards and Melvin Franklin hired Damon Harris and Richard Street to revive the R&B quintet. Their first release under the new line-up, All Directions, came out on Motown on July 27, 1972. The album immediately silenced the doomsayers and placed the Temptations squarely back on the top of the R&B/soul heap. All Directions is a solid work by a band that seemed always to be recovering from a revolving door of key members. The prime cut, #1 Billboard hit and Grammy winner “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” pushed the album to #2 in the U.S., despite the fact that it clocked in at nearly twelve minutes and was unsuitable for radio airplay (at least at full length). All Directions is available for purchase as a CD or individual mp3 files on Amazon, but not on iTunes. The Temptations are featured in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.
“The Weight” is the signature song by The Band, one of the best known songs from the late 60s and one of the top folk-rock tunes of all time. It was released as a single off their debut album, Music From Big Pink, in June 1968. In November two years later, The Band performed “The Weight” live at the Syria Mosque, a popular concert venue in Pittsburgh, PA. Click here for a vintage video of “The Weight,” which includes lengthy shots of drummer Levon Helm, lead guitarist Robbie Robertson and bassist Rick Danko, but unfortunately lacks any views of organist Garth Hudson and only shows pianist Richard Manuel from behind at the end.
|Happy Birthday this week to:|
|1960||Gary Cherone||Van Halen|
|1933||Nick Reynolds||Kingston Trio|
|1942||Kim Fowley||Producer, writer, Runaways|
|1944||Bobby Gentry||"Ode to Billy Joe"|
|1963||Karl Mueller||Soul Asylum|
|1938||George Cummings||Dr. Hook|
|1945||Rick Wright||Pink Floyd|
|1948||Steve Morse||Deep Purple|
|1949||Simon Kirke||Free, Bad Company|
|1949||Steve Peregrine Took||T. Rex|
|1946||Neal Doughty||REO Speedwagon|
|1953||Patty Scialfa||E Street Band|
|1953||Geddy Lee (Gary Lee Weinrib)||Rush|
|1946||Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond||Jethro Tull|
|1947||Marc Bolan||T. Rex|
|1957||Rat Scabies (Chris Millar)||The Damned|
|1946||Bob Welch||Fleetwood Mac, solo|
|1947||Karl Green||Herman’s Hermits|
|1953||Hugh McDowell||Electric Light Orchestra|
|1931||Ramblin’ Jack Elliott|
|1942||Jerry Garcia||Grateful Dead|
|1943||Denis Payton||Dave Clark Five|
|1946||Boz Burrell||King Crimson, Bad Company|
|1947||Rick Anderson||The Tubes|
|1947||Rick Coonce||The Grassroots|
|1951||Tim Bachman||Bachman-Turner Overdrive|
In February 1980, AC/DC frontman and lead singer Bon Scott died suddenly (but not unexpectedly given his penchant for mixing booze and drugs in all-night parties). For most bands, the loss of a lead singer of Scott’s caliber would necessitate a major shift in direction to avoid a slow burn to irrelevance. But brothers Angus and Malcolm Young and the rest of the band quickly replaced Scott with Brian Johnson, who filled the shoes perfectly with a dead-on mimic of Scott’s scream and growl vocals. By July 25, 1980, AC/DC was back with their best album, Back In Black, and almost no one missed ol’ Bon when Brian was at the mic. With its predecessor, 1979’s Highway to Hell and follower, 1981’s For Those About To Rock We Salute You, Back In Black provided the world with a one-two-three punch of raucous, blaring rock that made AC/DC the biggest hard rock band in the early 1980’s. With nearly 50 million in unit sales, Back In Black is the #1 selling album by a group and the second highest selling album of all time behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It is available as a CD or individual mp3 files on Amazon, but not yet on iTunes. AC/DC is featured in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.
Fulfillingness’ First Finale was the fourth of five albums in Stevie Wonder’s remarkable run of R&B-soul classics from the early 70s. Released by Motown on July 22, 1974, Fulfillingness’ gathered three Grammy awards (including Album of the Year) and spawned two Top 5 singles, the funky “Boogie On Reggae Woman” (#3) and the militant, anti-Watergate “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” (#1, with backing vocals from Motown label-mates the Jackson 5). Remarkable as well is the fact that Stevie played all of the instruments on the album save for several appearances on specific songs by session musicians and cameos by Motown house bassist James Jamerson and Flying Burrito Brother steel guitarist “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow. Fulfillingness’ First Finale is available for purchase as a CD or individual mp3 files on Amazon, and as iPod tracks on iTunes. A Stevie Wonder playlist is in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.