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The 10 Greatest Christmas Songs of All Time?

by Suzanne Herrera McCullough
The #2 Top Christmas Song

The #2 Top Christmas Song

Any man or woman must be crazy to attempt to compile a list of “the best Christmas songs” without getting a lot of shoe-tossing their way.  Everyone has their version of what their favorite songs are.

The #3 Top Christmas Song

The #3 Top Christmas Song

Christmas is the only holiday that has such a large selection of songs due to culture, ethnicity, and nationality.  In some households the music is more important than the Christmas tree or gifts.

Somehow, Christmas songs make everything taste and look better throughout the holidays.

After doing some research, I found many different lists of “all time favorite Christmas songs”…and as predicted, no one agreed.  I came across a Top Ten List by Arts.Mic that I think does a good job at reaching every corner in the music world:

#1. The Christmas Song by Nate King Cole

#2. Silent Night by The Temptations

#3. White Christmas by The Drifters

#4. Let It Snow! by Frank Sinatra

#5. Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano

#6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by The Jackson 5

#7. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams

# 8. Baby It’s Cold Outside by Dean Martin

# 9. Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms

#10. Must Be Santa by Mitch Miller

The #1 Christmas Song

The #1 Christmas Song

The Christmas Song (aka Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) is pretty much everyone’s number one song, and will forever be synonymous with the American Christmas season. The song was written in 45 minutes in a 1944 heat wave by Mel Torme, the son of Russian Jewish parents. Nate King Cole recorded the song on Broadway & 52nd Street at the WMCA studio in New York City, and his version was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1974.

The Christmas Song has become the single most recorded Christmas tune of all time!

It would be hard to think of any recording artist that has not recorded a Christmas tune.  After all, it’s almost a guarantee that it will be played throughout the Holiday Season every year.

So no matter what song may be your favorite, you can be sure there will be no shortage of great music to pick from!

Happy Holidays!


 

Judge Will Rule on Marvin Gaye vs. Robin Thicke over “Blurred Lines”

His biggest hits, including "Got To Give It Up"

His biggest hits, including “Got To Give It Up”

A lawsuit brought by the family of late music great Marvin Gaye accusing Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams of infringing upon Gaye’s Got to Give It Up is going to the front burner in Los Angeles U.S. District Court.

Gaye’s estate contends that Thicke’s 2013 mega-hit Blurred Lines (written & performed by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams), bears more than a coincidental resemblance to Gaye’s 1977 soul classic, and they’ve already chalked up an early legal victory.

Blurred Lines...infringing? Click here and find out...

Blurred Lines…infringing? Click here and find out…

Thicke and Williams lost an early courtroom round when U.S. District Court Judge John Kronstadt denied their motion for a dismissal of the infringement suit, and instead ruled that Gaye’s family members “have made a sufficient showing that elements of ‘Blurred Lines’ may be substantially similar to protected, original elements of ‘Got to Give It Up.'” This means that the Gaye family’s lawsuit can proceed.

Kronstadt’s legal ruling specifically noted the similarity of various hooks in both songs, bass lines, keyboard arrangements, vocal phrases and elements of the songs’ melodic and harmonic composition. Kronstadt will presumably become something of a serious pop music critic by the time of trial early next year.

Take a listen to the two songs side-by-side… They’re both great hits…but YOU be the judge!


James Brown: Still the “Godfather of Soul”!

Available on DVD!

Available on DVD!

James Brown has hit the big screen – and from the reaction of audiences nationwide, any moviegoer will tell you that Chadwick Boseman’s performance is nothing short of stellar.

As Jackie Robinson in "42"

As Jackie Robinson in “42”

Like his portrayal of Jackie Robinson in last year’s 42,  this year Boseman plays another African American icon, and he does not hold back.  It’s a role as demanding as the life of James Brown itself, and Boseman delivers with full commitment to the man and to the music.

Although Chadwick Boseman doesn’t particularly resemble James Brown, his performance in Get on Up is electrifying, as he nails the personal and ethic of the “Godfather of Soul” in this long-awaited biopic.  Strutting around with Brown’s signature swagger, smiling with brilliance, the most crucial nuance he gets right is Brown’s speaking voice; when Boseman talks, his words are raspy as if they’ve come from the soul of James Brown himself.

Boseman as Brown

Boseman as Brown

Rather than telling the story in standard chronological order, the writers drop the needle on various, out-of-sequence grooves in the Brown timeline. The narrative jumps backward and forward through the decades, from flashbacks of Brown’s painful childhood to triumphant, goosebump-inducing performances in Paris circa 1971. The writers also allow Boseman’s Brown to frequently break the fourth wall and speak directly to camera.

Although the film left out critical parts of Brown’s chaotic life (i.e. his other two wives), ultimately, James Brown fans will crave this tribute to witness the artist who has come to define Soul Music, and the movie does more than justice to the man’s funk.  Boseman truly becomes “Soul Brother Number 1” in an enlightening and brilliant performance!

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Do You Know These Five Fun “Elvis Facts”?

"Where Hollywood Hides" - the book. Overnight shipping here...

“Where Hollywood Hides” – the book. Overnight shipping here…

Rockin' it in 1954

Rockin’ it in 1954

We still hear his voice almost daily, which makes it hard to believe that it was sixty years ago,  on July 5, 1954, that 19-year-old Elvis recorded “That’s All Right (Mama),” his first hit.

But did you know that…

A pretty special baby...

A pretty special baby…

1. Elvis had a twin brother?  Sadly–who knows what talent he may have shared with Elvis?–Jesse Garon Presley was stillborn and is buried in an unmarked grave.

2. Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker–never the most popular man in show business for his tight control of every aspect of Elvis’ life–had immigrated to the U.S. illegally, and was a former carnival barker and dog catcher?  Sounds about right, considering Elvis’ eventual downward spiral into drug addiction.

Workin' the home crowd

Workin’ the home crowd

3. Elvis never sang before an audience outside of North America, because Col. Parker was afraid to travel overseas due to his illegal residency status in the U.S.  This was in spite of the fact that nearly half of Elvis’ record sales came from overseas fans.

4. Elvis once owned President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential yacht, The Potomac.  He later donated it to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, and it was eventually seized by U.S. Customs agents when they discovered drug smugglers using it.

ElvisArmy5. Elvis was a real Army “grunt”, serving as a Jeep driver in the Second Armored Division stationed in Germany.  He was inducted into the U.S. Military at the age of 23, when he was at the height of his popularity, and when he had his head (and those trademark sideburns) shaved, it made international headlines.

The King...forever

The King…forever

He’s been gone from the world music scene for nearly 40 years now…but nobody has ever managed to replace “the king”.

Legendary Posters


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The “New” Nashville

DylanAsk a Nashville native about rock music in the home of country music, and you’ll be reminded that Bob Dylan made Blonde on Blonde in a Music Row studio, and that R.E.M. recorded Document at the legendary Sound Emporium.

The symbiotic relationship between country and rock once symbolized by Elvis Presley is now  kept alive by hit makers like Luke Bryan and Brantley Gilbert, extending from the grassroots to the mainstream.

Nashville rocker!
Nashville rocker!

Jack White, The Black Keys, and Kings of Leon not only reside in Nashville; each cultivates lesser-known bands through their own labels or as producers. On the club scene, Nashville bands have serious followings, from mosh pit generators like Diarrhea Planet to pop pastoralists like  Apache Relay. And then there are those hopefuls driving their used Subarus packed with futons and gear across the water toward new roommates or lovers who might soon be in their bands.

The one, the only...
The one, the only…

Nashville will always be known for country music, but a new generation of music-makers has built a lifestyle that’s irresistible to newcomers and visitors, making it  profitable to some, and an intangible dream for others.

Rock on, and never forget The King!

 

Disco Fever 1974-77

by Suzanne Herrera McCullough 
Classic Disco Music!

Classic Disco Music!

"Where Hollywood Hides" THE BOOK!

“Where Hollywood Hides” THE BOOK!

Forty years ago one of my brothers showed up at my parents’ house on Thanksgiving looking…different. I couldn’t help asking “What are you wearing?”  He had on tight flared pants, a dressy long sleeve shirt and high heel shoes!   These weren’t at all like ladies high heel shoes…they were called “platforms” and quickly became the rage.

No matter how hard I tried to ignore it, Disco fashions became trendy in the mid-to-late 1970’s.

Stylin' in 1974

Stylin’ in 1974

High-end designers like Diane von Furstenberg  and  Halston turned their attention to Discotheque-goers as they dressed women in extravagant and sometimes expensive sheer flowing blouses and dresses, along with shiny polyester Qiana shirts for men with long, pointy collars…and let’s not forget those double-knit leisure suits!

The story behind the styles

The story behind the styles

In the 60’s, the initial Disco audience was club-goers from African-American Latino, gay, and Italian-American communities whose musical influences included funk, Latin, and soul music.

But it seemed to really hit the main stream in the 1970’s in New York City at a disco-style private club called “The Loft“, considered by many as one of the forerunners to first bring Disco music to the masses.

IsaacHayesAllMusic (the online music guide website) claims that Isaac Hayes and Berry White were the first to create early Disco music in 1971. For me it all happened in 1974 when I heard “Love Theme” by Barry White…and I was hooked!

What a voice!

What a voice!

Dancing to his songs with a good partner was like flying.  I was out every night dancing in disco clubs and, yes, wearing those crazy clothes!

Then Disco truly became mainstream with hits from Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, The Jackson Five, Gloria Gaynor, The Pointer Sisters and hundreds of other disco songs performed by different artists. And when Saturday Night Fever was released in 1977, “The Magical 70’s” became part of history.

So I guess my brother had the last laugh while he was moving on to electronic music and the “Disco sucks ” movement, I had a hard time giving up my Hot Pants, Spandex tops, Gold Lame and my collection of platform shoes.

And just for the record, I still remember how to do The Hustle, The Bus Stop, The Funky Chicken and The YMCA .

Anyone remember any of these “cool words” of the 70’s?Disco3

DiscoWordsWhether you loved or hated Disco, the 70’s had some pretty far out groovy kids, boogying all night. It was so Right On!

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“Who doesn’t like Bob Marley?”

by Suzanne Herrera McCullough

bob-marley“Who doesn’t like Bob Marley?” is what I heard from a couple walking by on State Street in Santa Barbara California last week as I entered an outdoor marketplace filled with beautiful things from India.   What they were reacting to was the biggest poster of Bob Marley I’d ever seen…and they were right: most of us love Marley’s music, myself included…and, to be honest, I didn’t know much about him other than the fact that his music makes me feel good.

1979 was considered a good year in my family.  I finally got married and my parents were happy!  I was considered “an old bride” for my generation but it had finally happened. Mom & Dad could stop worrying about me dying alone, and they just might get some grandkids!

But something else exciting was happening in Santa Barbara, California in the fall of 1979. Bob Marley and his band The Wailers went on tour to promote their album, Survival

MarleySurvivalThe Wailers were in their second incarnation in 1979, and had become little more than a backup band after the departure in 1974 of core members Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. This would be one of the last tours for Marley, who had been diagnosed with cancer two years earlier.

A "must see"...Available here and now.

A “must see”…Available here and now.

My husband Bob and I recently watched Marley, Kevin MacDonald’s Just Real Films documentary on Netflix.  It’s a riveting production and a compelling story, to say the least…a “must see”!

His real name was Nesta Robert Marley, and he was a Jamaican singer and songwriter who rose to fame through the release of several “crossover” reggae albums. He started in 1963 with his group The Wailers and created a unique songwriting and vocal style that eventually captivated a worldwide audience. 

MarleySoulRebelTo this day, fans continue to enjoy the brilliant and evocative music that Bob Marley—who has been called  “the first Third World superstar”, “Rasta Prophet,” “visionary,” and “revolutionary artist”–gave to the world.   His recordings of Soul Rebel, Duppy Conquerer, 400 Years and Small Axe became classics and defined the future direction of reggae.

On November 25, 1979–just 16 months before his death—36 year-old Marley appeared live at the Santa Barbara County Bowl with a camera crew shooting his last recorded show, The Legend, Live in Santa Barbara, directed by Don Gazzanaga.  Check it out…it’s a great piece of musical history!

There are countless hours of reading and lots of recordings and pictures about Bob Marley, but one thing is certain: his music still makes me feel good!

Here’s one of my favorite quotes I’d like to share with you…I love this one:

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” 

                                                                                                                                       –Bob Marley
Great poster...available on Amazon!

Great poster…available on Amazon!

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20 Feet From Stardom: The Unsung Singers of Our Time

by Bob McCullough

20FeetWhile I’m a movie addict, I’m certainly no film critic.  And while I’ll sit through almost anything if the popcorn’s any good, it takes more than the usual hype to get me to leave the convenience of home and Netflix to buy a ticket for what the major studios are trying to pass off as entertainment these days.

But when an old friend enthusiastically recommended that we see 20 Feet From Stardom, we took it on faith, went downtown, found a parking spot near the theater, and paid our $30, popcorn combo included.

As the film began, we were immediately drawn into the lyrics of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side as it introduced the untold story of the background singers whose  vocal performances helped create the music of our lives.  Check out this clip of Lisa Fisher backing up Mick Jagger at The Stones’ recent Staples Center appearance, and you’ll see what the film is all about…This documentary—directed with precision by Morgan Neville and produced with the passion of  A&M Records‘ late president and industry mogul Gil Friesen—is a compelling tribute to  the anonymous “backup singers” behind some of Pop and Rock’s greatest sounds.

Darlene Love...workin' it!

Darlene Love…workin’ it!

Using archival performance footage and contemporary interviews of musical forces like producer Lou Adler, David Bowie, Merry Clayton, Sheryl Crow, Lisa Fisher, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Tata Vega, Judith Hill, and the incredible Darlene Love, the film celebrates musical careers that remain somehow just “beyond the spotlight” of fame.

Merry Clayton...the female Rolling Stone!

Merry Clayton…the female Rolling Stone!

The movie is filled with legendary music and amazing performances… but those onstage triumphs are in stark contrast with the harsh realities of the music business and of the roll simple “luck” plays in any career.

This is not your typical “music movie” or pop-rockumentary; it’s an entertaining, educational, emotional, and hard-hitting cautionary tale in which backup singer David Lasley sums it all up with “Once you get hooked on music, you’re f*cked.”

Will I see it more than once?  You bet.

And so will you.

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Twist the Night Away!

by Suzanne Herrera McCullough
Let's Twist Again!

Let’s Twist Again!

If you’re even close to the Baby Boomer Generation, you remember the most infectious and catchy song of 1960, Chubby Checker’s “The Twist”.

Okay, I admit it was a little before my time, but in 1960 the Cartwright sisters–a couple years older–lived next door and were always playing their music loud enough for the neighbors to hear.  I, of course, was in my bedroom listening intently to everything they played.

More than once I’d see the Carwright sisters out in their backyard dancing to their music, and that’s when I discovered that I too could dance; I could do The Twist!

The Twist was the first dance I ever learned, and it was one of the first purely inspired by rock ‘n roll music.  In the early 1960s it became the dance craze of an entire generation, enjoying immense popularity while drawing fire from the critics who thought it was “too provocative” for young people.

The Twist was the first of many dance fads, and inspired the Jerk, the Pony, the Watusi, the Mashed Potato, the Monkey, and the Funky Chicken.

The original...available on Amazon.com (click here)

The original…available on Amazon.com (click here)

As the first of its kind, The Twist broke out just after the release of the songby the same name which was ironically on the B-side of Chubby Checker’s 1960 cover of the Hank Ballard & The Midnighters’ 1959 single Teardrops on Your Letter.

The dance has actually been traced back to the 1890s, when its original inspiration was the African-American plantation dance known as “wringin’ and twistin’ “.  Its origins included the use of shuffling feet and pelvic movement, with ancestry all the way back to West Africa.  Over the next 70 years, the dance evolved until it was introduced to a mass audience in the 1960s.

So that was the beginning of my own “wild and crazy” dancing days which eventually led to the entire disco phenomenon of my generation.  I’m proud to say that I was the first of my friends to do The Twist…and the last to realize I was wearing out my best Buster Brown shoes!

Good times!

Good times!

Come on, baby, let’s do the Twist!

Come on, baby, let’s do the Twist!

Take me by my little hand and go like this…

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Can We Go On “The Record”?

by Suzanne Herrera McCullough

Do you remember when buying a record use to be such a special treat that we’d savor the experience?

beatlesI still have my first Beatles album, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys ,and my husband Bob still has some of his original Elvis 45’s.

The King on vinyl...

The King on vinyl…

Hendrix on vinyl!

Hendrix on vinyl!

Whenever I bought a new “LP”, I loved studying the artwork and reading the liner notes; then I would gently pull the disc out of its sleeve, trying not to get fingerprints on it. And then carefully lowering the turntable’s needle, hearing the crackle, and then sitting back to enjoy the album.
The experience today is certainly different: it takes less than a minute to download a song from iTunes.

But if you still prefer collecting and listening to vinyl records from an earlier era instead of today’s digital recordings, you may be hipper than you think. According to recent Nielsen SoundScan data, as many as 4.6 million vinyl albums were sold last year, and that number is rapidly growing.

Collectors believe that with its cool artwork and liner notes, vinyl is a better medium, and some aficianados say it actually sounds better; many music lovers believe vinyl has a warmer sound than CDs, MP3s or any other digital format.

Stevie Wonder on vinyl

Stevie Wonder on vinyl

I can vouch for that, because nothing beats listening to Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life or Led Zeppelin as they were originally recorded on vinyl. This recent retro-sound resurgence among boomers and young hipsters has been surprising and welcome trend in today’s retail music industry.

So if you have any albums or 45’s packed in a box get them out and enjoy! Or if you want to buy a cool gift for a friend buy them a “real record”, because one thing is certain: vinyl is cool again!

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Neil Young Was Right!  Black Sabbath Returns with 13

By Bob McCullough
The video is sooo cool.

The video is sooo cool.

When Neil Young wrote and sang the lyric “Hey hey, my my…Rock and roll will never die” for his 1979 Rust Never Sleeps album, I wonder if he ever imagined today’s Boomer-driven revival of our generation’s music.

If I say “best heavy metal band of all time”, who comes to mind?  Only one name: Black Sabbath.

Sbbathportrait

Geezer Butler – Ozzy Osbourne – Tony Iommi

Why Black Sabbath?  Because  they practically invented the genre!   And when we hear the searing vocals of frontman Ozzy Osbourne, we know this is the real deal!

And now—after decades of personnel changes and working through alcohol and drug problems, not to mention Ozzy’s ground-breaking television show The Osbournes that was really the beginning of todays’ “reality” programming and his personal resurrection (rehabilitation?) that followed—Black Sabbath has just announced the release of a new album, 13, via Republic Records within the month.     Ever the astute marketing machine, the band has posted an amazing 3-minute Facebook video to whet our appetites.  You gotta check it out:

“One of my biggest concerns was that I didn’t want it to be a follow-up to Never Say Die,” Ozzy remarked to the press, adding “I wanted it to be current, yet still be Black Sabbath.”

Awesome as it gets

Awesome as it gets

The influence of Black Sabbath upon the world of Rock Music—they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006—is undisputed and has been acknowledged by their brethren from Guns N’ Roses Slash to Metallica’s Lars Ulrich who once described them as “synonymous with heavy metal”.

Amen to that.  Neil Young was apparently right. As long as we’ve got immortals like Ozzy Osbourne to lead the way, Rock ‘n Roll will never die…

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50 years ago…and Big Girls (Still) Don’t Cry!

by Suzanne Herrera McCullough

 In 1963, regardless of the California weather outside, in my room  I always had The Four Seasons (playing day and night).

The original Jersey Boys

The original Jersey Boys

Although it was a little before “my time”,  the Cartwright sisters next door–who were a few years older than I was–would leave their bedroom window open and play their favorite songs by Frank Valli and The Four Seasons. That was my first introduction to the teenage music that became “rock and roll”!

During the first half of the Beatles era, The Four Seasons  were one of the few American groups to consistently enjoy commercial success.

A great album of pure hits!

A great album of pure hits!

When “Walk Like A Man” began its three-week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on March 2, 1963, it was their third Number One song within a six month period. “Sherry” (5 weeks), “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (5 weeks) and “Walk Like A Man” (3 weeks) topped the charts for a total of 13 weeks, making The Four Seasons the most successful American group of 1962-1963.

All three songs were similar in style and sound, with Nick Massi’s bass vocals as the ground work for the harmonies with Frank Vallli’s unique falsetto sing the lead. Their songs had such a distinctive sound that they were honored in The Rock Hall Of Fame as one of The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock And Roll.

Rumor has it that in one of their recording sessions the studio building caught fire while the group was recording and Bob Crewe, their producer who heard the fire alarm and fire trucks arriving, just told them to keep singing until they were forced to evacuate, which showed the group’s dedication and gave us all another great song.

In concert...Greatest Hits

In concert…Greatest Hits

Things started to fall apart for The Four Seasons and their Vee Jay label (founded in 1953) when litigation erupted and contracts were broken.  The group later signed  with Philips and went on to record “Dawn (Go Away)” and “Rag Doll.

The Four Seasons—featuring Nick Massi, Bob Gaudio on keyboards & vocals and Tommy DeVito on lead guitar & vocals behind Frankie Vallie–were inducted into The Rock and Roll of Fame in 1990 and remain one of the most successful groups American pop music history.

50 Years ago they were sitting on top of the music world… And I was dreaming about boys!

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A 50-year debate: Stones or Beatles?

by Suzanne Herrera McCullough

My husband Bob and I have always had a running debate about which was the best rock ‘n roll band: The Beatles or The Rolling Stones…?

The Fab Four

The Fab Four

The Rolling Stones 1963

The Rolling Stones 1963

Fifty years ago this month, The Beatles first saw the Stones performing  on April 14th, 1963 in London’s Crawdaddy Club, packed with screaming girls going crazy!

In his 1998 book Stoned: A Memoir of London in the 1960s, Andrew Loog Oldham, The Stone’s first manger and now a Sirius XM deejay’, wrote “It was a match made in heaven, rampant youth colliding”.

Stoned…A Memoir: worth reading

The night the two bands met, they stayed up until 4am, as George Harrison lobbied Decca Records, already shamed by failing to sign The Fab Four the year before, to sign the Stones…and Oldham closed the deal.

“If Decca’s doorman started whistling, they would have signed him,” said the humble Oldham.  Desperate to find a song for his new group, Oldham saw John Lennon and Paul McCartney getting out of a taxi and they later gave the Stones I Wanna Be Your Man.  That song was released by the Stones in November 1963,  hitting No.12 on the British charts, and starting the bands’ commercial rivalry.

Rumor has it McCartney turned Jagger on to pot; not long after,  a stoned Jagger and Brian Jones sang backup on The Beatles’ 1966 hit Yellow Submarine.

Charlie, Keith, Mick, Ronnie

Charlie, Keith, Mick, Ronnie

The Stones recently honored those days by opening their 50th anniversary concert in 2012 with their only Beatles song, I Wanna Be Your Man.   Here’s an amazing video:    So who was the best band?

I guess it depends upon whom you ask. Many considered the Stones as “the bad boys of rock and roll” in contrast to the Beatles who were the clean-cut “good boys”.

George, Paul, John, Ringo: Immortal

Which ever band you favor, there is one thing we can all agree on: We’ll never again see anything like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, as both groups define Rock Star Royalty!

I’m sure the debate will rage on:  Bob will insist that the Stones are the best pure rock band, and I will remind him that The Beatles have had much more of a profound influence on all musical genres. Besides,  Paul was more my type… really cute!

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Sound City Documentary Brings Back Classic Rock Memories

by Bob McCullough

soundcityThe Sundance Film Festival screening of Dave Grohl’s Sound City documentary brought the magical days of the 60’s-70’s L.A. Rock scene back into mainstream media awareness…and reminded those of us who were there and looking for the magic just how special those days and that place were.

The studio itself–tucked into a nondescript Van Nuys, Ca. backwater where drums, guitars, and stacked Marshall amps wouldn’t drive the neighbors to distraction–was as raw and basic as you could imagine. Think soiled brown(?) shag carpeting from floor-to-ceiling, smokey (not Marlboro’s) unfiltered air and dim lighting, and you get the idea.

The big attraction for musicians, of course, wasn’t the decor, but the unique pre-digital sound it was possible to get out of the Neve console, and the vibe of fellow rockers who seemed to live there day and night.

Director-Rocker Dave Grohl

Everybody rehearsing and putting tracks down at Sound City worked with an obsessive passion for the best possible sound. Some–like Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Dr. John, Spirit, Tom Petty–did everything right and became legendary.

Dave Grohl is clearly one of those, and I’m thrilled that he’s brought our memories and the magic of that place back to life.

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50 Years Later…The Rolling Stones Are Still the Hottest Ticket Out There!

by Bob McCullough

The hottest ticket in town!

 

With the uptick in the economy, the 2013 Rock-Pop-Country concert tour season is heating up quickly with schedules announced by every act from Lady Gaga to the Who to Fleetwood Mac. What’s missing is the most highly-rumored tour of all, the only one predicted to be an automatic sellout no matter the size of the venue: The Rolling Stones!

50 years and going strong

The expected “50 Years & Counting” Tour fuels the media rumor mill every day with speculation of the exact dates, arena locations, and ticket availability…with nothing confirmed by The Stones, other than Mick Jagger’s comment that “We’ll announce it when we’ve figured it out.” With fewer than 20 U.S. tour dates expected, promoter Virgin Music is building the tension to the max.

Like many others of my generation, rock concerts were the fix for our music jones…and there was no greater jolt than a night spent with the Stones. I was front-and-center at the Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas when it pulled into the Inglewood Great Western Forum on Sunday, July 13, 1975, and–second only to a night spent personally talking to Chuck Berry at The Whiskey A Go-Go in 1974–it remains a significant rock ‘n roll memory.

The show was pure theatrical extravagance, featuring a spectacular steel lotus flower sitting center stage in a shaft of white light. The place then began to reverberate with the opening bass-guitar intro to “Honky Tonk Woman”, and the flower opened up to reveal the band. The show also featured Billy Preston at a white piano, as well as a bizarre 30-foot tall inflated phallus which only contributed to the over-the-top vibe. Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts were at their performing peak that night, and while the rest of the tour became known as a model for rock-chaos, that night in Inglewood was pure rock ‘n roll magic.

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Fleetwood Mac Ready to Rock on 2013 Tour

by Bob McCullough

John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood

 

Rehearsals begin in two weeks for what has been hailed as one of the most significant Classic Rock events of this
or any year as Fleetwood Mac prepares to hit the road on a trans-global tour that kicks off in Columbus, Ohio on April 4th.

FleetwoodTour

FleetwoodTour

The band has nearly 40 dates booked in North America between then and June 12th, when they depart for festival and major concert venues throughout Europe and Australia.

“2013 is going to be the year of Fleetwood Mac,” lead singer Stevie Nicks announced as she revealed their initial tour schedule, the first since 2009.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the band has remained a generational talisman since 1975 when they moved past their original blues roots of the late Sixties and broke onto the international scene with their first album featuring the collaboration of Christie & John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and Mick Fleetwood. That single album produced the classic singles Over My Head, Rhiannon, and Say You Love Me…which were followed in later years by classics that included Go Your Own Way, Gold Dust Woman, and Lies.

FleetwoodMac2

Back in the day…

Any band still playing together after 46 years of concerts and recording has had its fair share of drama, and Fleetwood Mac is certainly no exception. No less than a dozen high-profile members have come and gone, but McVie, Buckingham, Nicks, and Fleetwood have survived both periods of “transition” as well as unbridled mainstream success. The proof of the pudding, as always, is in the music…and this Spring promises to be filled with the sounds of musical history in the making.

Whether it’s at Madison Square Garden or The Hollywood Bowl or anywhere in between, this will not be be a show to miss. Rock on!

 

 

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