Friday, January 17, 2020

R&R Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees

We posted the list of nominees and ballot link not long ago, and now the results are out. The class of 2020 is:

Depeche Mode
The Doobie Brothers
Whitney Houston
Nine Inch Nails
The Notorious B.I.G.
T. Rex

The Ahmet Ertegun Award goes to both Jon Landau and Irving Azoff.

Depeche Mode had 54 single on the UK charts, has sold over 100 million albums, garnered 5 Grammy nominations, and is called by Q magazine one of the 50 bands that changed the world. In addition, Billboard Magazine recognized them as one of the most successful and influential dance bands in music history.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Have YOU Voted? R&R Hall of Fame 2020

Ballot is below....and the nominees for the Class of 2020 are:

Pat Benatar
Dave Matthews Band
Depeche Mode
The Doobie Brothers
Whitney Houston
Judas Priest
Kraftwerk
MC5
Motörhead
Nine Inch Nails
The Notorious B.I.G.
Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
Todd Rundgren
Soundgarden
T. Rex
Thin Lizzy

To cast YOUR vote, visit the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and follow the instructions!


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

50 Years Ago Today - 1970 in Music

WHAT AN AMAZING YEAR....

1970 saw incredible albums, tours, single, performances, festivals, and so much more.

Big winners at the 1970 Grammy Awards included Crosby, Stills, & Nash (Best New Artist), "Games People Play" by Joe South (Song of the Year), the self-titled album from Blood, Sweat, & Tears (Album of the Year), and 5th Dimension's "Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In" (Record of the Year). Other winners included Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Wendy Carlos, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, and more.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

50 Years Ago...this Month in Music

"Until you have won some victory for humanity, you should be ashamed to die." - Horace Mann

Its always hard to judge the day in which one lives, so I offer this - a look back at December of 1969 - as a stick of measure for our current collective creative output quality. Its also fun to see where we were as a culture (the music & entertainment culture as well as the larger culture). Expect a look at 1970 later this week!

So, 50 years ago this month, what happened?

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Are You "Healthy"?

(ed. note: By request, the following is a short overview that you, the reader, will hopefully find useful. These ideas are currently being expanded upon and will be available soon as a short e-book).

There are various types of health/wellness and I've seen interesting "health" break-downs over the years, but recently revisited the concept. I rather like the one listed below (which I have, admittedly, altered to how I best process information and attack goals).

Hoping you will find something serviceable, if not out and out useful, below.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

This Day in Music - August 3

THE DAY COLUMBUS set sale in 1492 with three ships; World War I begins when Germany invades Belgium & declares war on France (1914); the NBA officially forms in 1949; and births include Martha Stewart & some guy named Tom Brady.

Also.....1958, the Billboard Hot 100 chart is founded.

1963, the Beach Boys release the first song Brian Wilson ever wrote, "Surfer Girl". The album on which the song is found (also "Surfer Girl") stays on the charts a phenomenal 56 weeks and peaks at #7, while the song itself also peaked at #7 and went on to be covered by artists as diverse as Paul Simon to Maroon 5.

1968 saw the Doors with TWO songs simultaneously in the top 5 - their own version of "Hello, I Love You" hit #1 while Jose Feliciano's version of "Light My Fire" hit #3.

1971, Paul McCartney announces the formation of Wings; 1973, Stevie Wonder releases the now classic "Innervisions"; 1985 sees Tears For Fears hit #1 with "Shout"; 1987, Def Leppard releases "Hysteria" (which goes on the sell over 20 million units - among the biggest albums of all time); 1996, "Macarena" hits #1 and stays there for 14 weeks and sells 11 million units, and is later voted the best one hit wonder of all time; 2007, Brian May of Queen officially hands in his PhD thesis in Astronomy.

Born on this day.....Tony Bennett (1926), the Byrd's John York (1946), bassist BB Dickerson of War (1949), multi-instrumentalist Johnny Graham of Earth, Wind, & Fire (1951), Lee Rocker of Stray Cats (1961), and Metallica front-man James Hetfield (1963).


Monday, July 29, 2019

This Day in Music....

587 BC, the Babylonian Empire (in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II) sacks Jerusalem and destroys Solomon's Temple.....904 AD sees the sack of Thessalonica, second largest city of the Byzantine Empire.....and in 1588, Howard & Drake crush the Spanish Armada.

In happier news....

Born on this day: guitar wizard Carlos Santana (1947), Rush bassist and singer Geddy Lee (1953), guitarist & gun-for-hire John Sykes (Tygers of Pan Tang, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Blue Murder - 1959), country star Martina McBride (1966), Boyz II Men vocalist Wanya Morris (1973), producer & Gnarls Barkley co-founder Danger Mouse (1977).

Also on this day: 1965 - the Beatles 2nd film "Help" premiered.....1966, John Lennon's interview hit the stands and caused a stir when he said "The Beatles are now bigger than Jesus"; Eric Clapton's band Cream made their live debut; and Bob Dylan suffered extensive injuries in a now famous motorcycle crash (ironically, he had been injured in a car accident exactly 5 years earlier).......1967, the Doors "Light My Fire" hits #1 in the US.....1968, the Beatles record "Hey Jude".....1974, Cass Elliot of the Mamas & the Papas dies in her sleep.....1978, the soundtrack for the movie "Grease" goes to #1 in the US....

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sam Cooke

(editorial note: Inspiration to write this article came from the sad fact that so few of the younger budding musicians I come across seem to know of Same Cooke, and so this is my small step to rectifying that condition, as I will be referring them to this article henceforth.)

DURING HIS LIFETIME - 29 Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (and on the R&B charts, 4 of those landed at #1 and 20 of those were top 10); inventor of a musical style that opened the door for the rise of artist like Aretha Franklin to Al Green, Curtis Mayfield to Stevie Wonder; helped popularize James Brown and Otis Redding; composed his own songs in a pop music world typically separating writers from performers and demonstrated a business savvy that not only rivaled the label owners & management companies (he started his own label in 1961, a move unheard of for an artist at the time)....and all this in an all-too-brief 8 year career.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

David Bowie & the Guitar

I've been either teaching or performing various Bowie songs as of late, and since I teach primarily guitar, discussion of Bowie's guitarists has come up a lot. It occurred to me that I should jot all this info down for anyone & everyone who may find it of interest.

David Bowie had an incredible career full of splendid musical challenges (and much more, but remember our focus is on guitar), and he had an entire stable of incredible musicians with whom he forged this path; his '70s work saw players from Mick Ronson in the early days to tag team Carlos Alomar & Earl Slick to Robert Fripp to Adrien Belew as well as guests like John Lennon, followed by his '80s output with the likes of Nile Rogers & Stevie Ray Vaughan to Peter Frampton (with Carlos a constant traveling companion) as well as guests like Charlie Sexton, to his 90s catalogue featuring the introduction of Reeves Gabrels (with a brief return of Rogers & Ronson & Alomar) and guests like Lenny Kravitz. The 2000s saw a collaboration with David Torn and Gerry Leonard, and guests ranging from Pete Townsend and David Grohl and more as well as a return of Earl Slick and, for his final album, Ben Monder.

And the list is longer than this.

But even so, the above list is far too dense for this medium. As such, I'm going to trim it down to only a half dozen so we can focus with greater depth the players on the brief roster. Apologies in advance, as I'll be leaving out some amazing guitarists....including Fripp (who created the long sustaining guitar soundscape of "Heroes"), SRV (who played on much of the "Let's Dance" album), and Bowie himself, who handled much of his own guitar duties throughout his entire career (including the lone 12-string of "Space Oddity", the amazing chord riffing of "Ziggy Stardust", and the iconic electric signature riff of Rebel Rebel").

That said, here we go....

Friday, January 4, 2019

Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps

I first read this a few years ago when it went viral. It is among the best fitness pieces I've ever read. Right up there with Henry Rollins' piece "The Iron".

Check it out:

I’ve spent the past year losing 80 lbs and getting in shape. A lot of people have been asking me how I did it; specifics like what diet I was on, how many times a week I worked out, etc etc. So I thought I’d just answer everyone’s questions by giving you guys step by step instructions on how you can achieve everything I have… IN JUST 4 EASY STEPS! Ready? Here we go!!!

1.) NO BEER
This is a big one, and one that you’ve probably heard before. Every time you drink a beer, it’s like eating seven slices of bread. That’s a lot of bread!

2.) PORTION CONTROL
This is especially true when you go out to eat at restaurants. A good trick to do is when your meal comes, cut it in half and right away ask for a takeout container, so that you can save the rest for later — and even better, if you start your meal out right by ordering lean meats and veggies, you’ll slim down in no time!

3.) HAVE YOUR HEART BROKEN
And not just broken; shattered. Into itsy bitsy tiny little pieces, by a girl who never loved you and never will. Join the gym at your work. Start going to the gym regularly, and even though you don’t know that much about exercise and you’re way too weak to do pretty much anything but lift 5 lb weights and use the elliptical machines with the old people, do it until your sweat makes a puddle on the floor. Then go home and go to bed early and the next day do it again. And then again. And then again.