Saturday, December 20, 2008

High School & College Years

I am continuing today with my early musical influences. In the early 1970’s, as I entered high school, the popularity of the “long play” album began to grow. Along with the album came liner notes and inserts. I really loved to read the inserts and the liner notes. It often gave insight into the making of the music on the album. There were some great albums that come out from 1970 to 1975. Aqualung, Machine Head, Can’t Buy a Thrill, Derek and the Dominos, Paranoid, Tapestry, Madman Across the Water; I could go on for hours. I really enjoyed how the songs fit together and began to appreciate the concept of developing an album.

When I went away to college the opportunity presented itself to be a DJ at the college radio station. That was a great experience! We had so many songs in our library and so much information about music and the performers at our fingertips. Two times per month all DJs were required to pull the midnight to 6 AM shift at the station. These were the only times we were on for 24 hours, normally we signed off at midnight. On these shifts we would play nothing but album sides. This would give you about one half hour at a time between album sides. I would take my school books and study but I also spent a great deal of time reading the album covers and liners. We also had large three ring notebooks filled with rock and roll trivia, facts and other information. I would often read these by the hour. By doing these things I learned not only the lyrics to songs but often the composer and other facts about the recording of the song. This knowledge has stayed with me through the years and I still enjoy learning the inside facts of rock and roll music.

If you would like to share your thoughts or experiences I would greatly appreciate it and love to hear them. Until next time, Merry Christmas and peace on earth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Elvis - Blue Christmas

Monday, December 8, 2008

Working Class Hero

Twenty eight years ago today the music world lost the genius of John Lennon to an assassin's bullets. It was a senseless killing perpetrated by an insane idiot. Earlier that day Lennon had signed an autograph for David Mark Chapman. I think this was a case of hero worship and stalking that went way too far and led to a tragic end.

John Lennon was far from a perfect person. The young John was cynical and angry and could be very cruel in his deeds and with his tongue. In listening to the song "Getting Better" from Sargent Pepper the line "I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her from the things she loved" always stood out to me. I think John was very cruel to Cynthia and it is well documented how cruel and mean he could be towards Brian Epstein and even his band mates. The mature John somehow found an inner peace with himself and the world. I have always blamed Yoko for being the catalyst that set in motion the break up of The Beatles. Now I wonder if that was the trade off for John metamorphosing into a good person and finding inner peace in his later life. Maybe it was just the fact of no longer having the pressure of being a Beatle. Perhaps it was the birth of Sean with an older and wiser John being more attuned to the gift of fatherhood. Whatever it was the John Lennon that died that fateful day twenty eight years ago was a very different person from the John of the early 1960's. He was not only a musical genius, he was a good man.

"A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year let's hope its a good one without any fear".

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Beatles Arrive

February 9, 1964. The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. I described it in my last entry. As I stated I feel that rock and roll changed forever that night. The genius of the Beatles is forever embedded in my brain. The songs, most of which were so simple at the start, were masterpieces. No complex guitar solos, no difficult riffs or chords, just a rhythm and a melody that were uplifting and made you want to sing along. A great deal of the early songs were silly love songs, as John said years later, but they just made me, and pretty much everyone else, want to sing along. Some of my favorites are Love Me Do, Please Please Me, I Want to Hold Your Hand, aw hell I love them all.

I always have wondered about the circumstance of their success. Would it have been the same without Brian Epstein? How about if Pete Best had stayed? What if some other producer instead of George Martin had been assigned to them? Remember, they had a difficult time finding a record company. Nobody wanted them. One executive even told Brian Epstein that "guitar groups are on the way out". Even EMI assigned them to their Parlophone label. Not exactly a ringing endorsement! Would we have had the pleasure of The Beatles if fate had not conspired to place all these people in the right place at the right time?

Once the Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan it opened the door for dozens of British groups to infiltrate the American radio airwaves. The Stones, The Who, The Animals, Herman's Hermits, The Dave Clark Five, Billy Joe Kramer and the Dakotas (how many of you remember them?), Gerry and the Pacemakers. The list is extensive. By the way Billy Joe Kramer and the Dakotas had a big hit with the song "Bad to Me". The authors of the song were none other than Lennon/ McCartney. I read somewhere that John actually wrote it but it sounds more like Paul to me.

I really enjoyed the guitar group music of the early mid 1960's and I still do to this day. To me it is timeless. I am really sorry I didn't purchase more records at that time. Most of my listening was done via AM radio. There is no doubt in my mind that this music fostered my love of rock and roll that exists to this day.

That's it for this time. Please share your thoughts and comments. Take care and long live rock!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Werner Regrets Building Rock Hall in Cleveland

In an early post I voiced my displeasure with the opening of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in New York. Apparently, Jann Werner co-founder of the Rock Hall wishes it would have been built in New York in the first place. Read the article and comments here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Beatles Video

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex

A spinoff of Cleveland’s Rock Hall will open soon in the SoHo district in Manhattan. Here’s the question......WHY? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, not New York. I guess this is just another effort to eventually move the Rock Hall to New York. It’s bad enough that the awards ceremony is usually held in New York, not Cleveland. To put an annex there is just another slap in the face. The city of Cleveland needs the Rock Hall AND the awards ceremony to get people to visit the area. New York seems determined to steal everything away from Cleveland. First LeBron James and now The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What do you think?