Archive for September, 2009

Vintage Video: Dave Clark Five (1965)

Dave Clark Five 2Shindig. Hulabaloo. Soul Train. Kraft Music Hall. The Midnight Special. Remember them? They’re all iconic 60s and 70s TV music programs that aired on the major U.S. networks and featured the hottest bands of the day lip-synching and fake playing their way through the hits of the day. And the Dave Clark Five’s appearance (click here) on Shindig in 1965 was typical of a mid-60s British Invasion challenge to the Beatles’ dominance. “Catch Us If You Can” was the DC5’s good-time signature song and made it to #4 in the U.S. in the fall of 1965. Shindig aired on ABC for about 18 months until January 1966 when it was replaced by a new series called Batman. Holy cow!

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This Week’s Birthdays

Happy Birthday this week to:
Sep 27
1936 ● Don Cornelius Promoter, Soul Train
1941 ● Don Nix “Going Down”
1943 ● Randy Bachman Bachman-Turner Overdrive
1947 ● Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday)
1953 ● Greg Ham Men at Work
1959 ● Shaun Cassidy 70s teen idol

Sep 28
1938 ● Ben E. King (Benjamin Earl Nelson) The Drifters, solo (“Stand By Me”, 1961)
1943 ● Nick St. Nicholas Steppenwolf
1946 ● Helen Shapiro “Walking Back to Happiness” (1961)

Sep 29
1935 ● Jerry Lee Lewis
1942 ● Jean-Luc Ponty French rock violinist
1948 ● Mike Pinera Blues Image (“Ride Captain Ride,” 1970)
1948 ● Mark Farner Grand Funk Railroad
1957 ● Mari Wilson “Cry Me A River” (1983)

Sep 30
1935 ● Johnny Mathis
1942 ● Dewey Martin (Walter Milton Dwayne Midkiff) Buffalo Springfield
1942 ● Frankie Lymon The Teenagers
1943 ● Marilyn McCoo 5th Dimension, solo
1947 ● Marc Bolan T. Rex
1952 ● John Lombardo 10,000 Maniacs, John & Mary

Oct 01
1930 ● Richard Harris “Macarthur Park” (1968)
1932 ● Albert Collins Blues singer/guitarist
1939 ● Scott McKenzie (Philip Blondheim) “San Francisco” (1967)
1943 ● Jerry Martini Sly & The Family Stone
1945 ● Donny Hathaway “Where Is The Love” (1972)

Oct 02
1945 ● Don McLean “American Pie” (1971)
1949 ● Richard Hell The Voidoids
1950 ● Mike Rutherford Genesis
1951 ● Sting (Gordon Sumner) The Police, solo
1962 ● Sigtryggur Baldursson The Sugarcubes

Oct 03
1938 ● Eddie Cochran
1941 ● Chubby Checker
1948 ● Lindsey Buckingham solo, Fleetwood Mac
1954 ● Stevie Ray Vaughan
1962 ● Tommy Lee Mötley Crüe

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Album of the Day: Cat Stevens (9/27/72)

41Q5E352HEL._SL160_For a time in the early 70s, Cat Stevens was the hottest folk-rock artist on either side of the Atlantic. Born Steven Demetre Georgiou, he took the stage name Cat Stevens in the mid-60s just as he was launching his musical career on the London club scene. His run of five Top 10 albums, Tea For the Tillerman (1970), Teaser And The Firecat (1971), Catch Bull At Four (September 27, 1972), Foreigner (1973) and Buddha And The Chocolate Box (1974) garnered millions of units sold, several Top 40 hits, and awards for songwriting, particularly with the oft-covered single “The First Cut Is The Deepest,” which Stevens wrote in 1967 and received ASCAP awards for songwriter of the year in 2005 and 2006. Catch Bull At Four came at the peak of Steven’s career, following the massively popular Tea For The Tillerman and Teaser And The Firecat, which blended folk, light rock and easy listening sounds and allowed Stevens to find avid listeners on both AM and FM radio. Although it hit #1 in the U.S., Catch Bull At Four was something of a letdown after the previous two albums and signaled the beginning of the end. Stevens seemed to lose the magic and delve deeper into religious themes and harder, non-pop sounds, and the album sold well for only a short time. The last two of the five album run plus a Greatest Hits release in 1975 were all that was left. Two modest sellers, Numbers (1976) and Izitso (1977) preceded Stevens’ announcement of his conversion to Islam, a name change to Yusuf Islam, and an official retirement from public performances. He finally released a retrospective album in 1990 and two studio works in 2006 and 2009, but the glory days were gone. Cat Stevens is in the Playlist Vault on DrRock.com. Catch Bull At Four is available as a CD on Amazon and as download tracks on iTunes.

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Album of the Day: Robbie Krieger (9/22/89)

1d9012bb9da00569addda010_L__SL500_AA240_After Jim Morrison died suddenly of an apparent drug overdose in the summer of 1971, the remaining three members of The Doors tried to make a go of it as a trio, but their two albums, 1971’s Other Voices and 1972’s Full Circle failed to gain much attention and the band parted ways. Guitarist Robbie Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek found some success as solo artists, while drummer John Densmore dropped mostly out of site (except for a brief stint with Krieger in the mid-70s Butts Band and on Krieger’s late 70s solo albums). Krieger released seven albums between 1977 and 2000, including Door Jams (September 22, 1989). All are decent (but hard to find) instrumental jazz-rock fusion collections where Krieger returns to his pre-Doors interest in almost anything but the trademark blues-rock of The Doors. And the reworks of old Doors tunes on Door Jams provide an opportunity for Krieger to remind us that he wrote many of the Doors’ biggest hits, including “Light My Fire,” “Love Her Madly,” “Love Me Two Times” and “Touch Me.” The Doors are in the Playlist Vault on DrRock.com. Door Jams is available as a CD on Amazon.

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This Week’s Birthdays

Happy Birthday this week to:
Sep 20
1946 ● Sylvia Peterson The Chiffons
1949 ● Chuck and John Panozzo Styx
1959 ● Alannah Currie Thompson Twins
1967 ● Matthew and Gunnar Nelson Nelson (sons of Ricky Nelson)

Sep 21
1932 ● Don Preston Mothers of Invention
1934 ● Leonard Cohen
1947 ● Don Felder Eagles

Sep 22
1913 ● Leroy Holmes 50s hitmaker
1930 ● Joni James (Giovanna Carmella Babbo) “You Are My Love” (1954)
1949 ● David Coverdale Whitesnake
1956 ● Debbie Boone “You Light Up My Life” (1977)
1960 ● Joan Jett “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll (1981)

Sep 23
1930 ● Ray Charles
1939 ● Roy Buchanan Underrated blues-rock guitarist
1940 ● Tim Rose “Morning Dew” (1967)
1943 ● John Banks The Merseybeats
1943 ● Julio Iglesias
1946 ● Anthony “Duster” Bennett British blues-rocker
1949 ● Bruce Springsteen
1970 ● Ani DeFranco

Sep 24
1931 ● Anthony Newley Actor, singer, pop songwriter
1940 ● Barbara Allbut The Angels
1941 ● Linda McCartney
1942 ● Gerry Marsden Gerry & The Pacemakers
1942 ● Phyllis Allbut The Angels
1946 ● Jerry Donahue Fairport Convention

Sep 25
1943 ● John Locke Spirit, Nazereth
1945 ● Onnie McIntyre Average White Band
1955 ● Steve Severin Siouxsie and the Banshees, solo
1968 ● Will Smith Rapper aka The Fresh Prince, TV/film star

Sep 26
1889 ● George Gershwin
1925 ● Marty Robbins (Martin David Robertson) “El Paso” (1959)
1945 ● Bryan Ferry Roxy Music
1948 ● Olivia Newton-John
1954 ● Cesar Rosas Los Lobos
1954 ● Craig Chaquico Jefferson Starship

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Album of the Day: Neil Young (9/19/70)

41v5P79h86L._SL160_For his third album, After The Gold Rush, Neil Young returned almost entirely to the plaintive country-folk songs of his self-titled 1968 debut LP. Only one of the tracks on the September 19, 1970 release matched the harder country-rock of his second album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969). On “Southern Man,” Young’s stinging electric guitar punctuates the commentary on slavery, which earned Neil a sharp rebuke from Lynyrd Skynyrd in their song, “Sweet Home Alabama.” Otherwise, After The Gold Rush is all about love and romance and broken dreams (the title track is a lament to a bygone America) centered on Young’s acoustic guitar. It ultimately proved to be his breakthrough album and capped a period of prolific songwriting and playing, both as a solo artist and as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Stephen Stills is featured on After The Gold Rush). Rolling Stone ranked After The Gold Rush #71 on the Top 500 Albums of All-Time. A Neil Young playlist is in the Playlist Vault on DrRock.com. After The Gold Rush is available for download on iTunes and as a CD on Amazon.

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Artist of the Day: Mary Travers (11/9/36-9/16/09)

PPMIn case you missed the news (what, no Wacko-Jacko, CNN helicopter coverage?), I’m here to mourn the passing of Mary Travers, the long blonde, clear soprano and founding member of the vastly influential 60s folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary. Mary died yesterday at age 72. A full story and obituary are on the New York Times website (click here). From my perspective, with her passing goes one of the biggest folk musicians of all time. Mary and her bandmates, Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, defined the early 60s guitar-and-vocals folk scene. They epitomized the free-wheeling yet grounded pre-hippy Greenwich Village music scene. They brought Pete Seeger out of political ostracism with their 1962 cover of his “If I Had A Hammer.” With their 1963 reading of his “Blowin’ In The Wind”, they helped launch Bob Dylan’s career and thereby created a commercially successful base for dozens of other pure folk and upcoming folk-rock artists. And with their various versions of Yarrow’s “Puff (The Magic Dragon)”, they bridged folk and rock with children’s music and made it OK for serious adults to sing songs meant for toddlers. But most importantly, Mary and Peter and Paul were the first mainstream, commercially successful act of any genre to openly sing about social and political issues, and they did so almost unceasingly for the next 4 decades. For her poise, her voice, her beauty and her sensibility, Mary was always in the center of it all. Goodnight, Mary. We’ll always remember you. (A Peter, Paul & Mary playlist in the Playlist Vault on DrRock.com).

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