Neil Young may not have been the best guitar player in super group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (that would be Stephen Stills) or the best singer (that would be David Crosby), but he was one of their best songwriters and has the solo success to prove it.
When I was growing up we had an old Ford station wagon that my mother would fill with kids in the summertime and drive to Biscay Pond for swimming lessons. The car had an 8 track player and we had three tapes, Glen Campbell - Gentle on My Mind, Paul McCartney - McCartney I (Cherries) and Herb Alpert – Fresh Cream, and an AM radio. Between the 8 tracks and the Top 40 sounds from WRKO in Boston we had music.
We’ve recently lost some very talented folks from the music industry.
David Bowie in January, the androgynous prince of Glam Rock who had us rocking out in the 70s and 80s
Merle Haggard in early April, the prince of hard-knock, Country & Western music who graced the airwaves over six decades
And Prince (Rogers Nelson), the androgynous prince of suggestive lyrics crossing nearly all genres of music
Music to My Ears: Bob Dylan
I saw the Boss with the E Street Band a couple of times in the 70s and then again a few years ago during Clarence Clemmons last tour with the band. No pyrotechnics, no multi-media show, no fluff, just straight-ahead, high energy, no apologies Rock ‘N’ Roll performed by one of the best songwriters of the latter 20th with a tight combo of the hardest working musicians in show business.
The Eagles were one of the most successful bands to come out of Southern California in the 70s. This was due, in no small amount, to the crossover sound for which they were known, great Pop hooks and nicely crafted harmonies in their Country Rock approach. Their influence can be heard today, more so in the songs of the Indy music scene and on Country radio than your standard Top 40 fare.
Led Zeppelin was a happy accident that gave us one of the most commercially and critically successful bands of the 20th century (in truth, initial reviews of Zeppelin’s albums were tepid at best, but the critics warmed eventually).
Duane Allman’s birthday was Nov 20th so I listened to music from The Allman Brothers Band all day. I was in the kitchen prepping for a houseful of guests scheduled to arrive Saturday for an early Thanksgiving celebration. More than once I found myself marveling at the genius of Duane’s slide guitar playing, the intricate harmonies of the dual guitar leads that he and Dickey Betts arranged, Gregg Allman’s soulful vocal deliveries and the solid foundation maintained by bassist Barry Oakley and drummers Butch Trucks and "Jaimoe" Johanson.
The most significant thing about The Beatles isn’t that they have had the most number one albums and the most number one singles on the US charts or that they’ve sold more music than any band or single act in history (nearly three times that of their contemporaries, The Rolling Stones, who are still together) or that, according to Forbes magazine, The Beatles earned a combined $71 million in 2013 from work they completed over 40 years ago.
I just watched the new documentary about Keith Richards (currently only available on NetFlix), guitarist and one of the songwriters for The Rolling Stones. I was fascinated to see how the once bad boy of Rock N Roll has transformed into elder statesman of the music genre. It seemed like yesterday when every guitarist in a rock band formed from the late 60s forward wanted to be Keith. The death-defying king of hedonism who produced more sweet riffs and memorable hooks than Carter has Little Pills.