Archive for June, 2010

Album of the Day: Queen (6/30/80) 30 Years!

Brit glam-rockers Queen entered the 1980’s riding the crest of the operatic, tongue-in-cheek hard-rock wave they created through five mega-albums and numerous Top 20 singles between 1974 and 1978. But The Game (released June 30, 1980) represented a sonic deviation from the immensely successful 70s formula. Gone was the promise of “no synthesizers were used on this album,” as the previous album liner notes had proclaimed. Instead, The Game included synthesizers galore, spun in with heavy disco beats (“Another One Bites The Dust”, #1 U.S., #7 U.K.), rockabilly (“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” #1 U.S., #2 U.K.) and power balladry (the reworked “Save Me” #11 U.K.).

The olio of different sounds and beats created an intentionally less edgy, more pop sound than the previous albums. The change helped push The Game to the #1 spot on the U.S. chart, becoming the first and only Queen album ever to reach top spot in America. The fan base in the U.K. responded as well, but Queen had always enjoyed a strong following at home: six of the band’s first seven LP’s reached the Top 5 in Great Britain.

The Game sustained the Queen surge into the 80s and is arguably one of the best in their catalog. It’s available as a CD and mp3 tracks on Amazon and as iPod tracks on iTunes. You’ll find Dr. Rock’s Top 25 Queen songs in the Playlist Vault.

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Album of the Day: Pink Floyd (6/29/68)

Pink Floyd’s second outing, A Saucerful Of Secrets was one of the top psychedelic albums of the 60s. Released on June 29, 1968, it began the transition from the shorter, more concise psych-pop songs written by co-founder Syd Barrett on their debut album (The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, August 1967) to the deeper, lengthier and stylistically progressive explorations of their next five LPs.

A Saucerful… also marked the end for Barrett as a member, chief songwriter, lead guitarist and de facto leader of the band. Barrett’s mental affairs were unraveling rapidly in late 1967, smack in the early stages of the recording sessions at EMI Studios on Abbey Road in London. In January 1968, David Gilmour was recruited to provide stability at lead guitar as Barrett faded away. Syd was out forever in March and his only written credit on A Saucerful… was the trippy, upbeat “Jugband Blues.” Taking control of the proceedings and the band’s direction, Roger Waters and Richard Wright (with obvious support from Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason), delivered lighter pop-psychedelic classics (“See Saw” and “Remember A Day” are baroque-poppers with a pastoral bend) and contrasting longer space-psych forays in “Let There Be More Light,” the title track and “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” (widely considered the aboriginal space-rock track).

With A Saucerful… Pink Floyd began the progressive art-rock voyage that would culminate in the massive hit album, The Dark Side Of The Moon in 1973. Casual Floyd fans, especially those who caught the bug with Dark Side, are advised to give an ear to A Saucerful Of Secrets. It’s a true gem and you’ll find it as a CD and mp3 tracks on Amazon and as iPod tracks on iTunes. My take on Pink Floyd’s Top 25 is in the Playlist Vault.

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Albums Released This Week (June 28 – July 4)

Here’s a sampling of the great albums of 60s, 70s and 80s rock and pop – the best music ever made! – which were released this week:

Jun 28

● Reeves, Martha & The Vandellas —— Come And Get These Memories >> 1963
John, Elton —— Caribou >> 1974
● Men at Work —— Cargo >> 1983

Jun 29

Pink Floyd —— Saucerful Of Secrets, A >> 1968
● Houston, Whitney —— Whitney >> 1987
● Idol, Billy —— Cyberpunk >> 1993
● Beck, Jeff —— Crazy Legs >> 1993
● Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark —— Liberator >> 1993
● Grand Funk Railroad —— Thirty Years Of Funk: 1969 – 1999 >> 1999
Cure, The —— Cure, The >> 2004

Jun 30

● Stills, Stephen —— Stephen Stills 2 >> 1971
Sly & The Family Stone —— Fresh >> 1973
● Kiss —— Love Gun >> 1977
Queen —— Game, The >> 1980
Madonna —— True Blue >> 1986
● Various Artists —— La Bamba [Sndtrk] >> 1987
Young, Neil —— Life >> 1987
● Harvey, P. J. —— Dry >> 1992
● Earth, Wind & Fire —— Plugged In & Live >> 1998
● Wilco —— Wilco (The Album) >> 2009

Jul 01

Presley, Elvis —— Loving You >> 1957
● DeShannon, Jackie —— Lonely Girl >> 1968
Band, The —— Music From Big Pink >> 1968
● Hathaway, Donny —— Everything Is Everything >> 1970
Beach Boys, The —— Summertime Blues >> 1970
● Campi, Ray & His Rockabilly Rebels —— Born To Rock >> 1977
● Korgis, The —— Korgis, The >> 1979
● Korgis, The —— Dumb Waiters >> 1980
● Davies, Ray —— Return To Waterloo [Sndtrk] >> 1985
● Hole —— Pretty On The Inside >> 1991
● Buchanan, Roy —— Live >> 1999

Jul 02

● Jazz Crusaders, The —— Chile Con Soul >> 1965
Foreigner —— 4 >> 1981
Petty, Tom & The Heartbreakers —— Into The Great Wide Open >> 1991
● Crowded House —— Woodface >> 1991

Jul 03

● Buckingham, Lindsey —— Go Insane >> 1984

Jul 04

● Foo Fighters —— Foo Fighters >> 1995
● Brother Cane —— Seeds >> 1995

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This Week’s Birthdays (June 27 – July 3)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jun 27
1925 ● Doc Pomus (Jerome Felder) → Blues singer, prolific songwriter
1942 ● Bruce Johnston (Benjamin Baldwin) → The Beach Boys
1951 ● Gilson Lavis → Squeeze
1959 ● Loretta Lynn “Lorrie” Morgan → Country star, “What Part Of No” (1992)
1976 ● Leigh Nash → Sixpence None The Richer

Jun 28
1902 ● Richard Rodgers → Composer, songwriter, lyricist
1943 ● Bobby Harrison → Procol Harum
1945 ● David Knights → Procol Harum
1946 ● John Martyn → Folk-blues singer/songwriter

Jun 29
1942 ● Gilberto Gil (Moreira) → Brazilian singer, guitarist, culture minister
1943 ● Roger Ruskin Speare → Bonzo Dog Do-Dah Band
1945 ● Little Eva (Boyd) → “The Loco-Motion” (1962)
1948 ● Bill Kirchen → The “Dieselbilly King,” The Lost Planet Airmen
1948 ● Dervin and Lincoln Gordon → The Equals, “Baby Come Back” (1968)
1948 ● Ian PaiceDeep Purple, Whitesnake
1953 ● Colin Hay → Men At Work
1964 ● Steadman Pearson → 5 Star
1978 ● Nicole Scherzinger → Pussycat Dolls, solo

Jun 30
1917 ● Lena Horne → Actress/singer
1936 ● Dave Van Ronk → Folk/blues singer/songwriter
1937 ● Larry Henley → Newbeats, “Bread And Butter” (1964)
1939 ● Tony Hatch → Composer, pianist, songwriter, “Downtown” (1964)
1943 ● Florence BallardThe Supremes
1944 ● Glenn Shorrock → Little River Band
1946 ● Billy Brown → The Moments, “Love On A Two-Way Street” (1970)
1949 ● Andy Scott → Sweet
1951 ● Stanley Clarke → Jazz-rock bassist
1953 ● Hal LindesDire Straits
1956 ● Adrian Wright → Human League
1962 ● Julianne Regan → All About Eve
1969 ● Tom Drummond → Better Than Ezra
1984 ● Fantasia (Barrino) → R&B/soul singer, actress, “I Believe” (2004)

Jul 01
1915 ● Willie Dixon → Blues singer/writer, “Spoonful,” “Back Door Man”
1930 ● Bobby Day → R&B/Doo Wop, “Rockin’ Robin” (1958)
1933 ● Eddie Bond → Rockabilly star, “Rockin’ Daddy” (1956), radio DJ
1939 ● Delaney Bramlett → Delaney & Bonnie
1942 ● Andrae Crouch → Gospel singer, writer, producer
1945 ● Debbie HarryBlondie
1946 ● June Monteiro → The Toys, “A Lover’s Concerto” (1965)
1948 ● John Ford → The Strawbs
1951 ● Fred SchneiderThe B-52’s
1952 ● Dan Aykroyd → The Blues Brothers
1959 ● Edem Ephraim → London Boys
1960 ● Evelyn “Champagne” King → Disco queen, “Love Comes Down” (1982)
1963 ● Roddy Bottum → Faith No More
1971 ● Melissa “Missy” Elliott → Rapper, “Work It” (2002), producer

Jul 02
1925 ● Marvin Rainwater (Percy) → “Whole Lotta Woman” (1958)
1936 ● Tom Springfield → The Springfields
1939 ● Paul WilliamsThe Temptations
1949 ● Roy “The Professor” BittanE Street Band, sessions
1952 ● Johnny CollaHuey Lewis & The News
1954 ● Pete Briquette → Boomtown Rats
1957 ● Mike Anger → Blow Monkeys
1965 ● Dave Parsons → Bush, Transvision Vamp
1970 ● Monie Love (Simone Wilson) → Hip-hop, “Born To B.R.E.E.D.” (1993)
1983 ● Michelle Branch → Country-pop, The Wreckers, solo

Jul 03
1893 ● “Mississippi” John Hurt → Blues legend
1929 ● David Lynch → The Platters, “The Great Pretender” (1955)
1940 ● Fontella Bass → R&B/soul diva, “Rescue Me” (1965)
1940 ● Maureen Kennedy → The Vernons Girls (60s Brit-pop girl group)
1943 ● Judith Durham → The Seekers, solo
1946 ● Victor Unitt → Edgar Broughton Band, Pretty Things
1947 ● Betty Buckley → Stage, screen, TV actress, singer
1948 ● Paul BarrereLittle Feat
1949 ● John Verity → Argent, Phoenix, solo, producer
1955 ● Mike CorbyThe Babys
1957 ● Laura Branigan → Singer-songwriter, “Gloria” (1982), actress
1959 ● Stephen Pearcy → Ratt
1960 ● Vince ClarkeDepeche Mode, Yazoo (Yaz), The Assembly, Erasure
1969 ● Butterfly (Ishmael Butler) → Digable Planets, “Nickel Bags” (1993)
1969 ● Kevin Hearn → Barenaked Ladies
1976 ● Shane Lynch → Boyzone, “No Matter What” (1998)

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Album of the Day: Chicago (6/25/73)

Chicago was one of the most popular pop-rock acts in the U.S. in the 70s, offering solid, horn-based MOR chart hits amidst harder rock and jazz-rock fusion tracks that reached over and grabbed enough fans on the fringes of mainstream music to generate a uniquely broad following. The band’s aptly titled sixth LP, Chicago VI was released on June 25, 1973 and quickly became one of their most successful. (To view, download and comment my Chicago playlist, click here).

Chicago VI held several firsts for the band. It was their first recording at a studio custom-built in Colorado by manager and producer James William Guercio, who had overseen all previous Chicago productions at studios in New York City (but not their hometown?). The album also welcomed Brazilian percussionist Laudir De Oliveira, who would command the skins for the next eight albums and bring a much smoother, Latin-tinged rhythm to the band’s sound. And it marked the first Chicago album on which trombonist James Pankow penned two hits to bandmate and keyboardist Robert Lamm’s none. On the first five Chicago albums, Lamm carried the songwriting and with one exception, “Make Me Smile” (1970), Pankow never could match Lamm’s parade of pop-rock hits. But with the #4 single “Just You ‘N’ Me” and the #10 “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day,” Pankow outshone Lamm (at least for one moment).

Chicago VI spent five weeks in the #1 position on the Billboard Pop Album chart, the second of four straight Chicago albums to reach the pinnacle and the fourth in a string of eight straight Chicago Top 10 albums from 1970 to 1977. That chart dominance places Chicago up there with Aerosmith and the Beach Boys among the top selling American rock bands in history. My Top 25 Chicago tracks are in the Playlist Vault, and Chicago IV is available as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon and as iPod downloads on iTunes.

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Albums Released This Week (June 21 – 27)

Here’s a few of the great albums of 60s, 70s and 80s rock and pop – the best music ever made! – which were released this week:

Jun 21

● Byrds, The —— Mr. Tambourine Man >> 1965
● Mayall, John —— Bare Wires >> 1968
● Crosby, Stills & Nash —— Daylight Again >> 1982
● Uncle Tupelo —— No Depression >> 1990

Jun 22

● Ross, Diana —— Touch Me In The Morning >> 1973
● Stevens, Cat —— Saturnight (Live In Tokyo) >> 1974
● Black Sabbath —— Dehumanizer >> 1992
● Pretenders, The —— Viva el Amor! >> 1999
● Wilco —— Ghost Is Born, A >> 2004
● Heart —— Jupiter’s Darling >> 2004

Jun 23

● Wonder, Stevie —— Stevie At The Beach >> 1964
● Byrds, The —— Byrdmaniax >> 1971
● Rolling Stones, The —— Emotional Rescue >> 1980
● Tom Tom Club —— Tom Tom Club >> 1981
● Fleetwood Mac —— Mirage >> 1982
● Bowie, David —— Labyrinth >> 1986
● Cliff, Jimmy —— Breakout >> 1992

Jun 24

● Rascals, The —— Time Peace: The Rascals Greatest Hits >> 1968
● Beach Boys, The —— Endless Summer >> 1974
● Average White Band —— Cut The Cake >> 1975
● America —— Encore: More Greatest Hits >> 1991
● Marley, Bob & The Wailers —— Live At The Roxy >> 2003

Jun 25

● Chicago —— Chicago VI >> 1973
● Zappa, Frank —— One Size Fits All >> 1975
● Moody Blues, The —— Keys Of The Kingdom >> 1991
● Jay-Z —— Reasonable Doubt >> 1996
● King Crimson —— Thrakattak >> 1996
● Kiss —— You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best!! >> 1996

Jun 26

● Beatles, The —— Hard Day’s Night, A >> 1964
● Rolling Stones, The —— Flowers >> 1967
● Bad Company —— Bad Company >> 1974
● Dylan, Bob And the Band —— Basement Tapes, The >> 1975
● Grateful Dead —— Steal Your Face >> 1976
● Queen —— Live Killers >> 1979
● Icehouse —— Sidewalk >> 1984
● Reed, Lou —— American Poet >> 2001

Jun 27

● Mothers Of Invention, The —— Freak Out! >> 1966
● Grateful Dead —— From The Mars Hotel >> 1974
● Jethro Tull —— 20 Years Of Jethro Tull >> 1988
● Ranking Roger —— Radical Departure >> 1988
● Young, Neil —— Mirror Ball >> 1995

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This Week’s Birthdays (June 20 – 26)

Happy Birthday this week to:

Jun 20
1924 ● Chester Burton “Chet” Atkins → Country-pop guitarist, created the “Nashville Sound”, producer
1928 ● Eric Dolphy → Jazz flautist, influenced jazz-rock fusionists
1936 ● Billy Guy → Coasters, solo comedian
1937 ● Jerry Keller → Pop singer/songwriter, “Here Comes Summer” (1959)
1942 ● Brian WilsonThe Beach Boys
1945 ● Anne Murray → Canadian country-pop, “Snowbird” (1970)
1949 ● Alan Longmuir → Bay City Rollers
1949 ● Lionel Richie → Commodores, solo
1954 ● Michael Anthony (Sobolewski) → Chickenfoot, Van Halen
1960 ● Chris Gibson → Disco-salsa The Gibson Brothers, “Cuba” (1978)
1960 ● John TaylorDuran Duran, The Power Station, Neurotic Outsiders, solo
1960 ● Kelly Johnson → Girlschool
1968 ● Murphy Karges → Sugar Ray
1971 ● Twiggy Ramirez (Jeordie Osbourne White) → Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails touring band

Jun 21
1942 ● O.C. Smith → Country-R&B-pop, “Little Green Apples” (1968)
1944 ● Jon Wiseman → UK jazz-rock drummer
1944 ● Ray DaviesThe Kinks
1947 ● Joey Molland → The Merseybeats, Badfinger
1950 ● Joey KramerAerosmith
1951 ● Nils Lofgren → Grin, E Street Band, Crazy Horse, solo, All Starr Band
1957 ● Mark Brzezicki → Big Country, The Cult, Ultravox, Procol Harum
1959 ● Kathy Mattea → Country-pop, “Goin’ Gone” (1957)
1959 ● Marcella Detroit (Levy) → Vocalist, songwriter, sessions, solo, Shakespears Sister
1967 ● Tim Simenon → Composer, producer, Bomb The Bass
1968 ● Sonique (Sonia Clarke) → Dance-pop Diva/DJ, S’Express, All Saints
1975 ● Justin Cary → Sixpence None The Richer
1976 ● Mike Einziger → Incubus
1981 ● Brandon Flowers → The Killers

Jun 22
1936 ● Kris Kristofferson → Country-singer, songwriter, “Me & Bobby McGee” (1971), actor
1944 ● Peter Asher → Peter & Gordon, manager, record producer
1947 ● Howard KaylanTurtles, Mothers of Invention, Flo & Eddie
1948 ● Todd Rundgren → Nazz, solo, Utopia, New Cars, producer
1949 ● Alan Osmond → The Osmonds
1953 ● Cyndi Lauper → “Time After Time” (1983)
1956 ● Derek Forbes → Simple Minds
1956 ● Green Gartside (Paul Julian Strohmeyer) → Scritti Politti
1957 ● Gary BeersINXS
1958 ● Ruby Turner → R&B/soul, “I’d Rather Go Blind” (1987)
1959 ● Alan Anton → Cowboy Junkies
1961 ● Jimmy Somerville → Bronski Beat
1964 ● Mike Edwards → Jesus Jones
1965 ● Tommy Cunningham → Wet Wet Wet
1970 ● Steven Page → Barenaked Ladies
1973 ● Chris Traynor → Helmet, Bush, Blue Man Group, Rival Schools

Jun 23
1929 ● June Carter Cash → Country music matriarch, The Carter Family, solo, duets with the “Man In Black”
1940 ● Adam Faith (Terence Nelhams-Wright) → Teen-idol, actor,”What Do You Want” (1959)
1940 ● Stu Sutcliffe → First Beatles bassist, 1960-61
1941 ● Robert HunterGrateful Dead lyricist, songwriter, guitarist, poet
1944 ● Rosetta Hightower → R&B soul girl-group The Orlons, “South Street” (1963)
1955 ● Glenn Danzig (Anzalone) → The Misfits, Danzig
1957 ● Leee John (John Leslie McGregor) → Dance-pop trio Imagination
1962 ● Steve Shelley → Sonic Youth
1965 ● Paul Arthurs → Oasis
1975 ● Kate “KT” Tunstall → “Suddenly I See” (2005)
1977 ● Jason Mraz → “I’m Yours” (2008)

Jun 24
1939 ● Paul “Oz” Bach → Spanky and Our Gang, Tarantula
1942 ● Mick FleetwoodFleetwood Mac
1944 ● Arthur Brown → The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, “Fire” (1968)
1944 ● Chris WoodTraffic, Ginger Baker’s Air Force
1944 ● Jeff Beck → Yardbirds, Jeff Beck Group, solo
1945 ● Colin BlunstoneThe Zombies, Alan Parsons Project, solo
1948 ● Patrick MorazMoody Blues, Yes, solo
1949 ● John IllsleyDire Straits
1950 ● Derrick “Duckie” Simpson → Black Uhuru
1957 ● Astro (Terence Wilson) → UB40
1959 ● Andy McCluskey → Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark
1961 ● Curt Smith → Tears For Fears
1967 ● Jeff Cease → The Black Crowes
1970 ● Glen Medeiros → “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” (1988)

Jun 25
1935 ● Eddie Floyd → Memphis soul, “Knock On Wood” (1966)
1940 ● Clint Warwick (Albert Clinton Eccles) → Original bassist for Moody Blues
1945 ● Carly Simon → “You’re So Vain” (1973)
1946 ● Allen LanierBlue Öyster Cult
1946 ● Ian McDonald → King Crimson, Foreigner
1952 ● Tim Finn → Split Enz, Crowded House, Finn Brothers
1954 ● David PaichToto
1963 ● George Michael (Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) → Wham!, solo, “Faith” (1987)
1968 ● Candyman (Byron Reed) → Rapper, “Knockin’ Boots” (1990)
1972 ● Mike Kroeger → Nickelback
1974 ● Mario Calire → The Wallflowers, Ozomatli

Jun 26
1893 ● William Lee “Big Bill” Broonzy → Chicago blues pioneer, “Key To The Highway” (1941)
1909 ● Colonel Tom Parker → (Elvis Presley‘s manager)
1940 ● Billy Davis, Jr. → Fifth Dimension, solo, duets with wife Marilyn McCoo
1942 ● Larry Taylor → Canned Heat
1943 ● Georgie Fame (Clive Powell) → “The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde” (1967)
1955 ● Michael Geoffrey “Mick” JonesThe Clash
1956 ● Chris Isaak → “Wicked Game” (1990)
1957 ● Patty Smyth → Scandal, solo
1959 ● Stef Burns → Huey Lewis & The News
1960 ● Chris Duffy → Waterfront
1961 ● Terri Nunn → Berlin, “Take My Breath Away” (1986)
1967 ● Mark Decloedt → EMF, “Unbelievable” (1992)
1969 ● Colin Greenwood → Radiohead
1973 ● Gretchen Wilson → “Redneck Woman” (2004)
1979 ● Nathan Followill → Kings Of Leon

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