Monday, July 29, 2019

July 1969, 50 Years of Music

Photo source - The Year Men Walked on the Moon

I thought I couldn't let the month of July, 1969 go without a mention of the moon landing by Apollo 11. In a previous blog, I mentioned my father's Norelco reel to reel tape recorder which I used to record an audio tape of Walter Cronkite's broadcast of the moon landing. The tape and recorder have long disappeared, but sometime in my 20's I snagged the omnidirectional external microphone that I used to tape stuff off TV and albums. To this day, I keep the microphone in a glass cabinet of souvenirs, including my first 35mm Minolta camera Mary Kit gave me in 1974. 

This month, when I walked by the glass cabinet, I thought of the moon launch, landing and return to earth. That memory is very alive in my brain due in part to me knowing as a 14 year old how important this event was to mankind and the thought that I'd need to preserve an audio copy for history. Well, here's YouTube with "Uncle Walter" very much keeping what I had in my mind, back in the summer of '69.

As for the music of July of 1969, my outstanding memory is the song, Touch Me by The Doors. This song's got a bit of everything with the horns, the strings and Jim's vocals moving from gruff to smooth on the chorus, I loved this song!

Technically, the band's It's a Beautiful Day's by their self-titled first album was released in June, 1969 but wasn't on the Wikipedia list I was using and thus didn't make my June, 1969 playlist. Here I feature three songs from that album and didn't think you would mind...

I feature Delaney and Bonnie's second album The Original Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. The great musicians who passed through this band in the late 60's and early 70's is truly astonishing and a huge influence on why Eric Clapton quit Blind Faith to move towards Bonnie & Delaney's sound, not to mention co-opt much of their band when he formed Derek and the Dominoes in 1970.

I also love the Byrd's Preflyte album which was released in July, 1969 from their 1964 demo sessions when they were a little known band called the Jet Set.

Lastly, I have to mention my 8th grade home teacher, Mr. Richard Ziegler who got me hooked on collecting antique bottles and loved the band Canned Heat. I remember our last day of school in June, 1969 and Mr. Ziegler bringing in his record collection to play us his tunes.

Enjoy the Playlist my friends!

Monday, July 22, 2019

#QueenForum 7/20/19

Saturday was a great summer day! Mary Kit and I had so much fun driving up from San Diego and kicking around at Disneyland during the day, and then driving over at sunset to The Fabulous Forum to see Queen + Adam Lambert. Take a look at the Twitter #QueenForum pics, videos and comments of simply a wonderful fan experience. Here is a setlist from the 7/20/19 show.

The Forum does a bang up job for the big acts by putting a band's famous lyric lines on the columns surrounding the building. (Pictured here is a shot Mary Kit took of me before the show.)

I've been to three big concerts this summer with ELO, Paul McCartney, and now Queen. All of these shows have been great family entertainment draws. As I've said before, classic rock 'n' roll now brings out three generations of fans which often includes mom, dad and the kids all coming together. Right in front of us, we had mom, dad and two teenage sons who were rocking out as much as their parents! I'm trying to picture my parents taking me to a rock concert in the 60's and that image simply does not compute.

Forum - 7/19/19 - (Source iHeartRadio)
Anyway, I can't say enough how much Adam Lambert brings to creating a whole new generation of Queen fans for the 21st century. Adam does a fantastic job in that he doesn't pretend to be Freddie Mercury but embodies his spirit in every song! I've read some comments from hard core fans who say Freddie can't ever be replaced and that is so true, but Freddie is also dead. (Still too soon?) Wouldn't you rather see Brian May and Roger Taylor play live with someone who's got the vocal chops and personality to masterfully keep Queen's music alive, if not thriving? And what a power triangle these three produce with the two legends in their early 70's playing and singing like their 37 (Adam's age) and Lambert's voice carrying the day in every classic song. There's nothing like going to a concert where you can see all this acted out in real time. As we were walking out after the show, I heard a guy say, "I never would've believed Adam Lambert was that damn great!" As an older fan, I was watching and thinking of Brian and Roger throughout the show and how all their hard work together with Adam is not just about making piles of money, but they still get to do their passion in the present and on the big stage.

I hate to feature fan phone videos from the audience because of the sound and video quality, but I want to give you a little feel for Queen's two back to back shows in Los Angeles. I scoured the YouTubes here to find some worthy videos from the start of  The Rhapsody Tour which is sold out everywhere, not to mention the bump from the film Bohemian Rhapsody. Long live Queen!

Monday, July 15, 2019

1960's Favorite Female Singers and Songs

1965 Santa Maria, CA 
It's November 1964 and Petula Clark releases her single Downtown and by January, 1965 it is #1 on the U.S. Billboard charts.

A couple of years ago, I was talking to my mom who recalled 1965 and how she would pile my younger siblings- sister Stephanie, brother Steve, and myself into the car (no seat belts) and drive downtown. During this time, my mom was pregnant with our soon to be little sister Susan, born in May of that year. I loved going downtown with my mom as she would take us in different shops on Broadway or Main Street in Santa Maria, CA. Other times she would just leave us in the car to play while she did an errand, like run into the old W.A. Haslam department store. We would jump from the front seat to the back seat and back and forth, windows down and the car unlocked. It was a different time back then.

My mother would often take us into the Blue Chip Stamps store where she (and sometimes me) had licked and pasted the stamps into paper books, that were saved and accumulated to be later redeemed for merchandise at that store. I remember combing the store and making suggestions to mom for what I would like her to buy. She was way ahead of me as she would save for weeks or months to get that item she had in mind.

What struck me about this conversation so many years later was her fondness for the Petula Clark song Downtown and how it would be playing on the car radio or in the stores as she was shopping. It's a great memory for her to share with me, and last week our family celebrated her 84th birthday in Arroyo Grande, CA after a little shopping there. Mom, here's to you and your lifetime love for shopping in many different downtowns across the United States.

My love for music started around 1964 at age nine with the English invasion of pop, and American radio and television. 1964 is just one year after John F. Kennedy's assassination as our nation was ready for some new positive energy and rock 'n' roll surely delivered that year!

It is during this wave of male dominated bands, that women singers start to shine too. More songs were starting to be written for women. Songs featuring solo female singers, mixed duos, mixed groups featuring a female lead singer, mixed groups, and all female groups were popping up everywhere.

Warwick and Bacharach
One such writing pair that literally created a gateway for women in song were Burt Bacharach and his collaboration with lyricist Hal David. These two composed some of the most beautiful pop songs of the 1960's that most often featured a woman's voice.

His music is characterized by unusual chord progressions, influenced by his background in jazz harmony, and uncommon selections of instruments for small orchestras. Most of Bacharach & David's hits were written specifically for and performed by Dionne Warwick, but earlier associations (from 1957 to 1963) saw the composing duo work with Marty Robbins, Perry Como, Gene McDaniels, and Jerry Butler. Following the initial success of these collaborations, Bacharach went on to write hits for Gene Pitney, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Jackie DeShannon, Bobbie Gentry, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert, B. J. Thomas, the Carpenters, among numerous other artists. He arranged, conducted, and produced much of his recorded output. Wikipedia

I then started thinking about another song writing pair Carole King and then husband, Gerry Goffin that delivered so many hits for many groups in the early-mid 1960's and before King became a superstar singer-songwriter herself in the 1970's. 

Ellie Greenwich
My friend, Paul Hobbs last week was telling me on a run at the beach how much he admired Ellie Greenwich as an all around singer-songwriter for many women singers in the 1960's. I then looked her up and dived into her collaboration with her then husband, Jeff BerryShe wrote or co-wrote "Be My Baby", "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)", "Da Doo Ron Ron", "Leader of the Pack", "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", and "River Deep – Mountain High", among others. Wikipedia

I then discovered that many of these talented writers worked around Bacharach and David with a host of other songwriting teams at the Brill Building in New York City during this magical time of music.

The Brill Building (built in1931) is an office building located at 1619 Broadway on 49th Street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, just north of Times Square and further uptown from the historic musical Tin Pan Alley neighborhood. It is famous for housing music industry offices and studios where some of the most popular American songs were written. It is considered to have been the center of the American music industry that dominated the pop charts in the early 1960s. Wikipedia

Laura Nyro
When I started this week's playlist, one of the first woman singer-songwriters that came to mind was Laura Nyro. She's one of those artists where her music is all over 60's radio whether sung by her or groups like The 5th DimensionBlood, Sweat and TearsThree Dog Night or Barbara Streisand. And, guess who also worked at the Brill Building, yes Laura Nyro was right there too!

I assume most of us have a great long-term radio memory as we listened and soaked up songs like a sponge. It's amazing when you hear a song after a long absence, the emotions of the past associated with the song comes pouring out. That is how I felt in putting this 60's women's playlist together and I'm thinking there's several here that will do the same for you.

One song that just rings a sponge of tears for me is Bacharach & David's Alfie. I don't know why this song effects me so, but I first heard the Dionne Warwick version on radio that just calls to me from my youth. I read that it's Bacharach's favorite song of all his songs. Alfie has a perfect blending of masterful lyrics and melody that simply pulls the emotions right out of your soul.

What's it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?

And if only fools are kind, Alfie
Then I guess it's wise to be cruel
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie
What will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie
I know there's something much more
Something even non-believers can believe in

I believe in love, Alfie
Without true love we just exist, Alfie
Until you find the love you've missed you're nothing, Alfie
When you walk let your heart lead the way
And you'll find love any day, Alfie
Alfie ...

Enjoy the women and their songs my friends in this exceptional period of songwriting and singing.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Rock 'n' Roll: The Concert Experience

The Classic Generation 1940 -1950 | The Concert Experience

The "Renovated" Forum, Inglewood CA
Photo - Eric Meyer, 10/5/74 - The Forum
In 1974, Mary Kit and I drove from Santa Maria, CA to Inglewood in LA to see Elton John at The Forum (setlist that night). The Forum is where the Lakers and Kings used to play from 1967-1999 and was a prestigious venue for big time rock 'n' roll bands. We sat in the cheap seats up top in the back and my most vivid memory of that concert was the volume and how the sound bounced off the walls. Mary Kit's most vivid memory were Elton's costumes and Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting. Elton sold out four straight nights and was on top of the world. 

After the Lakers left The Forum, the building really lost its luster and I think was forgotten by many. That all changed in 2012, when the Madison Square Garden Company purchased it for $25.5 million and put a whopping $100 million into renovation. Since the renovation, Mary Kit and I have seen Don Henley and Eric Clapton there and are excited to see Queen + Adam Lambert there later this month. In our opinion, the sound quality at The Forum is the best place to see an arena concert in Southern California, if not the west coast. 

I think a lot of people are into music in their teens and early twenties BC (Before Children), then life completely changes when a couple has children. For me, having children didn't wipe out my love of rock 'n' roll, I just kind of put it further down on my priority list and slowed way down in buying albums and cassettes, and then CD's. For many, one's career and family life takes over and going to a concert would be great fun, but just gets pushed to the back burner.

Like I said, my love for music has never died, but something wonderful happened as I was getting closer to retiring from being a school teacher for 35 years. Mary Kit and I started going to concerts. There's nothing quite like seeing a live concert of an artist or band that you really like. For me, it's kind of like running a 10K or half-marathon with thousands of strangers. You're surrounded by people with the same shared interest and the energy is very positive and exciting!

Mary Kit and I have now gone to a number of concerts where we've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. I'm hoping even my seasoned concert going readers can pick up at least one idea here for future concerts. Every concert gives you a different experience but all share the wonderful vibe that live music brings to our hearts and souls.

Social Media
  • Follow artists and bands you like on social media. We often get our first alert to a concert we are interested in through social media.
  • In that same vein, follow venues you like as their concert series schedule will often be posted and you can start planning.

San Diego Civic Theatre
Tickets and Pre-sale for Large Venues
  • The ticket game is rigged and not in your favor! There is no fair first in line for the general public. The best seats or even blocks of tickets are already taken by the promoter and ticket agencies.
  • A rule of thumb - Purchase the most expensive tickets you can afford.
  • Knowing the ticket sale date and time is essential for purchasing a hot in demand concert.
  • Have a map of the venue printed out so you can refer to it when you are purchasing your tickets online. Literally, every second counts if you are wanting to see someone like Paul McCartney.
  • There is a way to get ahead of the masses in line and that means having a credit card account with the specific credit card holder that is aligned with the concert. This perk qualifies you for PRE-SALE. Pre-sale with that particular credit card, gets you a day or two head start and sometimes even a week on tickets sold before the official ticket date is opened to the general public. Yes, this means you have to have more credit cards in your life like American Express, Chase and Citibank, but just put them away and only use them for concerts.
  • Ticketmaster - If the concert is really a hot ticket, you have to act fast on your phone or computer. Ticketmaster is the largest ticket agency and be ready by having a Plan B like -
    The spinning wheel of death as the website is overwhelmed. Have both your computer and your phone logged into the site at the same time, and see which one hits first. It's weird, we've started with our phone or computer, and we haven't liked the "best seats" tickets presented. We then quickly switch to another device and low and behold we are offered better seats at the same price.
  • StubHub or Vivid - Third party ticket agencies will gouge you on price, but if you hear about a concert, later than sooner, sometimes you can find the seats you want and live with the price. Also, the artist may have their own lottery ticket plan (e.g. Mark Knopfler). We have not found this useful and just wastes time. If you want the tickets and venue, sometimes you just have to suck it up. Ironically, some of our best concert seats and experiences have been the Plan C of using StubHub or Vivid.
Direct Ticket Buy and Smaller Venues
  • In smaller venues, you can usually buy tickets over the phone with a human being. This is often preferable, because that person knows their venue and will usually get you the best seats for the price you can afford. The Belly Up in Solana Beach CA is a good example. The Belly Up often has general admission which is stand only. But, they do have upper loft reserved seating if you call the second the ticket sale date opens up for that show. 

The Venue
The more you go to concerts, you learn the venues you like and the ones that are not so hot. Sometimes, the venue is actually the #1 thing that gets you looking at whose coming to play there.
Balboa Theatre, San Diego CA
  • Overall, smaller venues are generally better than larger venues. You're always closer with a cheaper ticket price at a smaller venue. Smaller venues also give you an opportunity to see either rising stars or a star that doesn't have superstar status or just doesn't want to play arenas anymore (Jackson Browne comes to mind). Here are our best venue types rated 1-5.
           1. Performing Arts Center or Small Theater (Seating <500)
           2. Concert Hall or Large Theater (Seating < 3000)
           3. Amphitheater (Seating <5000)
           4. Arena (Seating < 18,000)
           5. Stadium (Seating from 30,000>)
  • Indoor venues are better than outdoor venues. You don't have to deal with the weather conditions, airplanes, ambulance noise, and general lower quality of sound. Parking is 90% better at or around indoor events.
  • Parking - Avoid parking structures if possible, unless you are super early and can park in level 1. Otherwise, it seems like it will take you as long to get out of the structure than the concert itself. If the concert venue is in a safe area, park several blocks away in a small pay lot (usually cheaper) with easy street to freeway access. In any event, plan your exit strategy.
  • Travel and Lodging - If you are traveling to another city for a concert, make it a small vacation and get a hotel room for the night. Get a hotel that is walking distance to the concert venue and enjoy a few extra drinks without driving responsibilities. We like to scout out a restaurant near the venue, park at the hotel or in a small pay lot, have drinks and dinner, and then walk to the concert and avoid the crush of cars. Remember, if you buy tickets say for a show or two in Las Vegas, get reservations for nearby restaurants at the same time. In Vegas, it's amazing how many restaurants are sold out months before the night of a big show because a lot of people have figured out to play this concert game.
  • Women's Purse or Handbag - For security reasons more and more venues are now limiting the size of a woman's purse. As a rule, we would suggest you just carry in what Mary Kit calls a small "clutch" purse. At one large stadium venue, they were making women get out of line and this caused a lot of panic, especially if your car is parked outside the venue, or you didn't even arrive by car! We saw one women take out the contents of her purse and throw her purse in the trash can. Anyway, Mary Kit is now ready for the security people with her clutch packed as full as humanly possible.
  • Sound Quality is important for the money we are all paying for tickets in 2019! If a building is notorious for "poor sound" it may not be worth the money. For example many older sports arenas like The Sports Arena in San Diego (now called Pechanga Arena) are not the best place to see a loud rock band because the sound will bounce off the walls. I went to see James Taylor at the SD Sports Arena a couple of years ago, and the sound was bouncing off the walls with the king of soft rock!
  • Aisle End Seating - If you can, try to get an aisle end seat if the venue is broken into sections like an arena, as this generally does not apply to older theater seating with long miles of aisles. With an aisle end seat, you simply have a few more options. One, the largest person in your party gets a little more leg room. 
  • Flat Level or Theater Seating with Little to No Slope - Stack chair seating is a drag because you feel like a can of packed sardines. Mary Kit is smaller than me and always takes one for the team by sitting next to my aisle end seat. If the venue has plastic stack chairs all tied together (like Humphries Concerts by the Bay in SD), and Mary Kit has someone encroaching on her space, I can lean one cheek over my aisle end seat and she can slide my way. Also the easy exit is a no brainer. 
  • Floor Seating at an Arena - Unless you are young or willing to stand for two-plus hours do not buy seats on the floor. Floor seating at an arena is for STANDING, it's a concert rule!
  • Off the floor at an Arena are in Tiered Sections. We have found if we can sit in a section just above the floor and somewhere in the middle of the arena, we can get a great view of the stage and actually see the band without always looking at the big screen. We just no longer buy tickets in the noise bleed upper level where the band members are dots that you have to watch on the big screen. If you have to watch a live show with a big screen TV the whole time, well there's your sign.
  • Large Party - If your party of concert goers is larger than four, we suggest buying a group of seats in two rows. This allows you to freely talk before the concert and not be all strung out in a long line.
Concert Etiquette - Things You Can and Can't Control
  • Most people attending concerts are wonderful people! We are all having a blast together, and the great majority of people attending concerts are well-behaved fans.
  • Be a good neighbor for the people on other side of you, in front of, or behind you. Sometimes if you strike up a little small talk especially with the people directly in front of you before the show, that will pay off big time once the concert starts.
  • If two or more people are talking non-stop during the concert, politely ask them to stop and listen to the show. Most of the time this works.
  • Drunks are the worst. Never raise your voice or act mad, that will only explode the situation. I had a guy a couple of seats from me in my row at a Fleetwood Mac concert in Las Vegas try to get the drunks in front of him to settle down, he took the tough guy approach and the fists started flying. If you're at a stadium show and you have drunks next to you, scout the seats around. Mary Kit and I were at an Eagles/Doobie Brothers Concert at Safeco Field in Seattle and the drunks two rows down from us were killing the show for all the good people around them. I spotted a number of empty seats in the next section to our right, and got up and we sat over there. Soon, about 10 neighbors from our previous seats came over to join us.
  • Scenario - We are in theater type seating where all the seats are fairly leveled with one another. We get settled in our seats with average sized people all around us. The two seats in front of us are open and we're hoping, hoping, damn here comes a 6' 4" dude and a gal with a cowboy hat and sits right in front of us! The place is packed and under the category of "things you can't control," you are leaning left and right all night. Several years ago I went to a Jackson Browne concert at Balboa Theatre in San Diego. Jackson finishes his first song and the house lights come up. I look to my right and a few rows over I see Bill Walton sitting and cheering. I'm thinking about the guy behind Bill, poor bastard. Most concerts are a clear unobstructed view. Overtime, I have learned to relax and try to go with the flow...
  • If you are at a Boomer concert where the star or band are in their 70's, the vast majority of people attending the show are 60+ years old themselves. What is really uncool is when the person, couple, or group stand in front of you for most of the concert. Remember, prolonged standing is for the people who have purchased floor seats and know what they are in for. Sitting in a tiered section at an arena is for sitting, and then with bursts of standing for the "big hit songs." Then, sit your ass back down, because the person behind may be using a cane and needs to sit back down. You don't want them to weaponize the cane...
  • Category - Things I Can't Comprehend. The guy way up in section ZZ 250 in the rafters who stands and videos the entire concert with his phone! Do not watch these horrible quality self-uploaded videos on YouTube, life is too short.
  • If you like to smoke pot and relive your Grateful Dead years at concerts, don't. Boomers often bring their children, and they in turn bring their children. I see whole generations of families having a wonderful time together at so many concerts. Hey it's 2019, marijuana is legal in most states I visit. Simply go to your local marijuana Dispensary and get some THC gummy edibles (and know your dosage level). So simple and you won't have to blow smoke and smell up your concert neighbors. Nothing worse than someone yelling at a pot smoker at a Neil Young concert (that just doesn't seem right), but I understand. A gray-haired woman did this a few rows up from us at the Santa Barbara Bowl and was vocal because her 10 year old granddaughter was with her. In 1971, this woman probably smoked joints herself with all her peers seeing Neil at the Fillmore West, but that was then, and now she's bringing a little one to see her hero.
Go See Younger Artists and Bands -
  • If you are a Boomer, your rock 'n' roll heroes are not getting any younger. Almost all of the rock gods I talked about in last week's blogs are in their 70's (Ringo turned 79 yesterday, Happy Birthday Ringo!) Go see the great classic acts now!
  •  But also, go see younger artists and current bands on the run. Mary Kit and I have enjoyed so many younger people making great music today. I'm not going to tell you who to see, that's your own taste and passion. Also, many young artists are on the rise and not filling up arenas, yet. Kacey Musgraves and Jason Isbell are two examples of people who have recent Grammy wins but are mainly filling up large theaters and concert halls. This is often the ideal time to see your new and current favorites in that more intimate setting.
The Benefits of a Live Show - 
  • Science Says Regularly Attending Concerts Makes You Happier - "An Australian study involving 1000 people has concluded that people who regularly go to concerts are happier with their lives overall than those who don't. Basically, the survey reports that people who went to any sort of communal musical event said they were pretty satisfied with their lot, on a bigger scale than those who didn't."  
  • If you are a younger person reading this blog, don't stop seeing concerts AD (After Debt) with your newer responsibilities with spouse, children, or mortgage, etc. 
  • Music keeps us young in mind and spirit. We have so many options to listen to recorded music today. My suggestion here is that you include going out and experiencing live music when you can, it just might save your life.
If you missed Part I of this blog series you can catch it here and read about the great generation of rock 'n' rollers born between 1940-1950 that not only remain relevant today, but you can still see live.

And like last week, no new playlist but just some of my all-time favs.

My 100 Songs

My Second 100 Songs

Monday, July 01, 2019

Rock 'n' Roll: The Classic Generation 1940 - 1950

The Classic Generation 1940 -1950 | The Concert Experience

The Founding Generation of Rock 'n' Roll (1910 - 1925)

Robert Johnson
Technologically the beginning of the 20th century captures a newly recorded generation of Blues men and women through the development of the phonograph record.  I start with Bessie Smith (1894) as "Mother of the Blues, and five key individuals as the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll- Howlin' Wolf (1910), Robert Johnson (1911), Sonny Boy Williamson (1912), Willie Dixon (1915), and Muddy Waters (1915). 

Muddy Waters
Here's a video clip of Muddy Waters where he talks about the Blues and how white kids in the 1960's started to imitate the Blues and instrumentally could play the Blues very well, but to vocalize the Blues, well Muddy tells it like it is. I first saw this clip on the Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars documentary, where Eric obviously agrees as he learned from the authentic masters who lived the Blues.

Woody Guthrie
Recorded folk music during that same birth era begins with the legendary Woody Guthrie (1912). I view Woody Guthrie as the 'Father of Folk' in that he lived the life of a common man who connected his music to democracy and people living at or below the poverty line. Woody labeled his guitars with the slogan, "This Machine Kills Fascists" and carried the torch for the power of the protest song.

The Pioneering Generation of Rock 'n' Roll (1925 - 1940) 

Chuck Berry
Building off the Blues, Folk and Country music, the next generation of artists birthed rock 'n' roll's beginning with- B.B. King (1925), Chuck Berry (1926), Fats Domino (1928), Bo Diddley (1928), and then the 1930's birth years of Little Richard (1932), Carl Perkins (1932), Johnny Cash (1932), Willie Nelson (1933), Elvis Presley (1935), Buddy Guy (1936), Kris Kristofferson (1936), and Buddy Holly (1936).

Phil and Don Everly
Here, I also have to include The Everly Brothers, Don (1937) and Phil (1939) as a major influence merging acoustic county harmony into many popular hits in the late 50's and early 60's leading to groups like Simon and Garfunkel and The Beatles.

I know I've left out other legends I should've included like Jerry Lee Lewis, but sorry, he was never a favorite of mine and remember, he married his 13 year old cousin for God's sake!

On the folk side, I've got to include Lead Belly (1888) that leads to Pete Seeger (1919) that leads to Bob Dylan (1941). 

You can make all kinds of linage links like- Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters to B.B. King to Eric Clapton. There is no one straight line because the above lists are a small but definitive collective of influential artists that stood on the shoulders of the previous generations.

The Classic Generation of Rock 'n' Roll (1940 - 1950) 

The Beatles
Building off the founding and pioneering generations of artists and music, the great majority of the classic generation of rock 'n' roll artists were born in Britain, the United States, and Canada between 1940 - 1950.

In my humble opinion, this is the greatest generation of rock 'n' rollers the world has ever produced, large in part to the effects and after effects of World War II.

In regards to the after effects of World War II, the greatest generation of now parents got busy making babies from 1946 - 1964 and created the largest generation of children that in the USA became to be known as the "baby boomers." I land in the middle with the birth class of 1955 where I'm too young to see The Beatles and Stones in the 60's, and too stupid not to catch Dylan, the Stones and The Who in the 70's.

Bob Dylan
So, all these babies being born during World War II through the mid-sixties, represented a new and very large group of young people who by and large lived a more affluent life than their parents did as children. The greatest generation also created the greatest middle class where their children had global access to mass media through television, radio, movies, magazines and most importantly vinyl 45's and records.

An explosion of musical talent emerged onto USA and UK stages and on television as these now twenty somethings were landing record deals, not to mention that they were by and large writing their own material that went on their records.

The Rolling Stones
The following is an absolutely stunning list of artists and bands starting in the 1960's and 1970's and for the most part, carry on today in some form or another as top grossing live acts across the globe!

This Part I blog is also a precursor to a Part II guide (from my baby boomer's perspective) of current music concerts. This includes the boomers themselves, to their children, and to their grandchildren, all attending these live shows with artists still performing in their 70's. Look for The Concert Experience blog next week as a follow up to this time line in history.

Now for the essential 1940-1950 rock 'n' roll birth list with my little commentary and personal opinion... and that's why it's called a blog.

1940 - John Lennon and Ringo Starr. John Lennon only lived to 40 years old and is still is one of the top 10 songwriters of rock 'n' roll. Paul McCartney and John Lennon are the best songwriting duo of all time.

Ringo Starr simply gets overlooked by many, but is the best rock 'n' roll drummer of all time. Ringo tours with his All-Star band, a rotating group of top hit making musicians. You have to see Ringo, he tours constantly. I saw him in concert several years ago and sat in the second row with my wife, Mary Kit. We were 10 feet from Ringo and that's the closest we're ever going to be get to a Beatle.

Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band

The Beatles are the greatest band of all time and the most influential band ever, in any genre .

1939/1940 - Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson. The princes of Motown. Nobody sang like Marvin. Smokey is what I call a "5 tool musician" - songwriter, leader of the band, singer, producer and influencer.

1940 - Levon Helm. The original band leader of 'Levon and the Hawks' before the band renamed itself to The Band in 1968, one of the most influential bands in rock 'n' roll history. In my opinion, Levon Helm is the 'heart beat' of The Band who never wanted The Band to split in 1975.

1941 - Bob DylanThe most important song writer in rock 'n' roll history. Bob wrote the anthems for a generation. A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall (1962), Blowin' in the Wind (1963), The Times They Are a-Changin (1964), Like a Rolling Stone" (1965), I could go on and on, but listen to his lesser known songs like, Only a Pawn in their Game (1964) and With God on our Side (1964) and you realize nobody writes like Bobby Dylan.

Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon
1941 - Paul SimonOne of the Top 10 songwriters of rock 'n' roll. Simon and Garfunkel is the best folk-rock duo of all time. Paul is a musician's musician and a fantastic singer. His blending of different genres into pop hits is an infectious marvel. Like Smokey, he's a 5 tool musician including a master at guitar. His farewell tour last year was a must for me, and woke me to the fact that if you want to see one of the greats, DO IT NOW!

1941 - Harry Nilsson. The Beatles favorite singer, and one of mine too. Harry's voice was kissed by the gods.

1942 - Paul McCartney. The greatest singer-songwriter in rock 'n' roll history. His career speaks for itself. Paul releases a new album of new material every several years and tours constantly. I saw Paul last week in Phoenix. At 77, he plays for 3 straight hours without a break other than to tell great short stories and does a total of 38 songs. Paul will keep you young my friends.

The Beach Boys
1942 - Brian WilsonOne of the Top 10 singer-songwriters of rock 'n' roll and one of the most influential. The Beach Boys are one of the greatest bands in rock 'n' roll history. Brian Wilson invented the "California sound" and elevated the record industry in Los Angeles. He is a total 5 tool musician.

1942 - Aretha Franklin. Queen of Soul. Grew up with Smokey Robinson in Detroit just a couple of blocks away and they always looked out for each other throughout their lives. She sang so many great songs, including You Make Me Feel Like a Nature Woman, written for her by the next person on this list.

1942 - Carole KingOne of the Top 10 singer-songwriters of rock 'n' roll who writes more than two dozen top hits for other artists in the 1960's with first husband Gerry Goffin, and then writes and sings her own huge hits in the 1970's. Tapestry held the record for most weeks at No. 1 by a female artist for more than 20 years.

1942 - Jimi Hendrix. Often called the Greatest electric guitar player of rock 'n' roll. However, Jimi was only on the world stage for three years from 1967 - 1970 and his tragic death at 27 due to an overdose puts him into my category of "Sure Could Have Been." It would have been great to see Jimi Hendrix at the Forum in 2019, we all could only wish...

The Byrds
1942 - Roger McGuinn. Leader of The Byrds, one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands of the 1960's and literally instrumental in developing the "jingle-jangle" sound compressed in recording of his Rickenbacker guitar. That sound is the lineal link to Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, need I say more.

1943 - George Harrison. The youngest Beatle who also died way to young at 58. He wrote great songs with The Beatles and in his solo career, and with The Traveling Wilburys. One of the greatest things George ever did was create the concept of Love the theater production with Cirque du Soleil's Guy Laliberté. You have to go see Love at the Mirage in Las Vegas. Here is the ticket information, just do it. The Beatles live on here like nothing you've ever seen or heard. Thank you George!

1943 - Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The two founding members of the Best Rock 'n' Band of all time, The Rolling Stones. What's the distinction between greatest (The Beatles) and best you say? Well you figure it out. I will say longevity has something to do with it. I remember in the 80's, some in the media were calling U2 the best rock and roll band, please that just made me laugh out loud.

Mick Jagger is the best front man/lead singer in a band of all time. Keith Richards trading off between lead and rhythm guitar is the creator of the greatest riffs of all time. Keith Richards is also the greatest band leader of all time. One of my favorite documentaries is the 1987 Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll. What I love about this movie is Keith Richards trying his level best to lead Chuck towards the best performance he and the band can give in front of the cameras. Richards tells the story (I can't remember if it's in the movie) that Chuck, his boyhood idol gets mad at him and slugs him in the mouth. Jealousy runs deep in rock 'n' roll, but don't you think in Chuck's heart of hearts he knew Keith Richards was a very special cat and very much at Chuck's level.

Joni Mitchell
1943 - Joni Mitchell. One of the 10 top singer-songwriters in rock 'n' roll and one of the most influential artists to inspire generations of musicians. Joni's been in poor health the last several years and stopped touring long ago. What I would give to have been at one of her shows in the mid-1970's.

1943 - Randy Newman. One of the greatest songwriters of all time. Randy's songs are good stories and there's nothing better than a good story.

1943 - Roger Waters. Founding member of Pink Floyd and still touring!

1943 - Jim Morrison. Founding member of The Doors and still dead. Jim is one of rock's great coincidences of rock stars dying in their 27th year. Light My Fire is one of my top 10 favorite rock 'n' roll songs and one hell of a coming of age song for a 12 year old.

1943 - Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, and
The Band
Richard Manuel
. Along with Garth Hudson (1937) and Levon Helm (1940) were all members of The Band, one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands of all-time and fathers of the 'Americana' genre of music.

1944 - Jeff Beck. He is often called a "guitarist's guitarist" as he is not a singer but pure instrumentalist. Jeff Beck has played with everyone, and has been overlooked by the public, but every electric guitar player knows Jeff Beck.

The Who
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. The Who for
many is synonymous with "rock band" and one of the first bands to show the world how to be a counter-culture rock band by destroying their instruments on stage. But The Who were much more than that- with Daltrey as the front man lead singer twirling his mic, Townshend's windmill guitar flying in his white jumpsuit, John Entwistle's (1944) driving bass line, and Keith Moon's (1946) unique drumming style that is my personal favorite with his tum-tum beat effortlessly rolling through the songs. Pete and Roger are still doing it, and I'm going to see them October 16th at San Diego State. Bucket list time, once again.

1944/1946 - Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons. I call both, "The Godfathers of Country Rock" for their influence in the seminal album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo with The Byrds, and The Flying Burrito Brothers.  Gram then left The Flying Burrito Brothers and did two solo albums with Emmylou Harris before dying at the tender age of 26 due to a drug overdose.

1944/1948 - Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Interesting that the leaders of Led Zeppelin follow Townshend and Daltrey here as both bands have great showman lead singers and guitar phenoms. Led Zeppelin powered 1970's rock like no other and all the heavy metal bands that followed them never even come close to writing and performing songs like Led Zeppelin.

The current Fleetwood Mac
1945/1947 - John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.  These two are the constant nucleus of the 1960's and early 70's Blues band Fleetwood Mac, and then, the more pop Fleetwood Mac band from 1974 to today. With McVie on bass and Fleetwood on drums, these two are my favorite rhythm section along with Entwistle and Moon from The Who. Fleetwood Mac has had more line up changes with the possible exception of the Cleveland Browns at quarterback. By the way, if you know who Peter Green (1946) and Danny Kirwan (1950) are, you know your rock 'n' roll! And, if you are lucky to see the current Fleetwood Mac with Mike Campbell, he even plays a Peter Green song.

1945 - Eric ClaptonOne of the Greatest Guitarists of all time in so many fantastic bands including - The Yardbirds, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominos.
But what separates Eric from all the great electric guitar players of his generation is he could sing better than any of them. Clapton is also one of the greatest songwriters of all time spanning the Blues, rock 'n' roll, pop, rock and country rock. A 5 tool musician who is currently doing select concerts here and there. I saw Clapton two years ago with Gary Clark Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the The Forum, the best place to see an arena concert on the west coast.

1945 - Neil Young. Right behind Bob Dylan as the most important songwriter in rock 'n' roll. Along with Stephen Stills and
Buffalo Springfield
Richie Furay
 (1944), Young created one of the greatest short-lived bands (1966-68) in rock 'n' roll history, and also one of my favorites Buffalo Springfield. His albums of the 1970's stand with the best in rock 'n roll and he's simply a complete original. Don't go through life without seeing him at least once, for many it's something they never will forget, as he spans all generations of fans, like being the "Godfather of Grunge" in the 90's.

1945 - Stephen Stills. One of my all time favorites with Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Manassas with Chris Hillman (1944), and his solo albums.

1945 - John Fogerty. Creedance Clearwater Revival, one of my favorite bands in 7th grade (1967-68). Saw him several years ago in Las Vegas and he blew the room away, fantastic show!

1945 - Van Morrison. Starts his career with the band Them and writes the mid-sixties monster hit Gloria. Morrison then goes solo and the hits keep coming with, Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance, Domino, and Wild Night. "Van the Man" has put out 40 studio albums and just never stops with new material and its all very very good. Celtic Soul baby.

1945 - Leo Kottke. My favorite acoustic guitar instrumentalist. His unique style of finger picking bends the strings and the genres. Nobody plays quite like Leo.

1946 - Linda Ronstadt.
Linda Ronstadt
My favorite female singer in rock 'n' roll history
. She could do the slow songs with conviction and blast that voice into the stratosphere and over the Stratocasters on the rockers. Linda gave her last concert in 2009 and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2012, which left her unable to sing. I cried upon this news and although I'll never see her live in concert, I enjoy her conversations on video and watching her sing on video. YouTube has a place in rock 'n' roll.

1946 - John Prine. Another Godfather of Americana and creative songwriter of his generation. Nobody writes songs like John has he has been described as the 'Mark Twain' of singer-songwriters. Both Prine and Randy Newman are in a songwriting category of their own, right next to Bobby Dylan.

1946/1947 - Freddy Mercury and Brian May. Queen is the best live show in rock 'n' roll history, not that I have ever seen them live but I've seen the video. This month, I get to see Queen + Adam Lambert at The Forum. Now won't that be a blast!

- Elton John. From 1970 - 1975, nobody was bigger. In 1975, my girlfriend won a lottery for two tickets to see him perform a benefit for the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the 300 seat capacity Troubadour in Los Angeles. This is the best concert I have been to in my life, not to mention that my girlfriend got kissed by Bernie Taupin that night, I didn't mind. That same girlfriend is going to see Elton John at the Tacoma Dome in September and his quote, "farewell tour," but I wouldn't believe that.

1947 - David Bowie. In 1973 that same girlfriend turned me on to Ziggy Stardust and my little world was starting to get a little bigger...

Gram Parson/Emmy Lou Harris
1947 - Emmylou Harris. I saw Emmylou perform with her Hot Band back in the late 70's in Pacific Beach in a theater long torn down. It was magic, not to mention I was totally memorized and thought she was the most beautiful creature on the planet! If you look at her body of work as a solo artist as well as her collaborations with Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton, Rodney Crowell, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler - I call her, "The Godmother of Americana genre of music."

1947 - Jeff Lynne. In 1970 Jeff Lynne created the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and along with Badfinger keep the spirit of The Beatles alive at least through their hit songs. Jeff would become fast friends with George Harrison and formed the Traveling Wilburys together in the late 1980's. I just saw ELO a couple of weeks ago in Anaheim and it was a fabulous show, you must see ELO! Here is my recent blog on that concert.

1947/1948 - Don Henley (1947), Glen Frey (1948),
and Joe Walsh (1947).  The Eagles are one of the few bands, I actually saw in the 1970's and have been fortunate enough to see several times after their reunion in the 90's. Desperado is one of the best albums in rock 'n' roll historyThe History of the Eagles - Live in Concert tour in 2015 with Glen Frey (his last tour before his death) and with Bernie Leadon at SDSU is one of my favorite concerts of all time. The Eagles are my wife's favorite band, and she see's them and Don Henley as much as humanely possible. In September, she will be off to Vegas again, this time with daughter in tow to see them at the MGM Grand. Great place to see a concert by the way, yes both Vegas and the MGM Grand.

1948 - Steve Winwood. Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith and a great solo career. He's still on my bucket list. How could Eric Clapton leave Steve and Blind Faith?  That Eric is a fickle one...

1948 - James Taylor. Influenced by my friend Paul Hobbs, I started listening to James and believe he is one of the best singer-songwriters in rock 'n' roll history. Sweet Baby James is one of the top 10 songs in rock 'n' roll. James has a singing voice for the ages and is one of the best pickers around. I finally got to see James in the late 80's and then a second time in 2015 at the San Diego Sports Arena.

1948 - Jackson Browne. Jackson grew up in Los Angeles and traveled up US 101 as the beginning tapestry for his songwriting that just pulled me to him musically. He is one of the five top songwriters in rock 'n' roll history, but as Woody Guthrie said about Bob Dylan, "it's his singing voice." Jackson in fact has the perfect voice to communicate his writing, it is so real and he makes it look and sound so easy. A gift for the ages! Late for the Sky is my favorite Jackson Browne album, I burned the grooves out of that vinyl record. And hey, if I couldn't be James Taylor, I'd be Jackson Browne in 1970.

1949 - Bruce Springsteen. He represents the last group of superstars born before the 1950's that sustained classic rock 'n' roll with fresh talent in the mid 1970's, that continues to this day. Bruce is one of the rare artists who keeps putting out fresh material decade in and decade out. Check out the east coast boss of rock 'n' roll do a little west coast sound on his latest album just released in June, Western Stars. I still have not seen Bruce live, another bucket not yet fulfilled.

1949 - Mark Knopfler. One of my BFF Bill DeVoe's favorite rock 'n' rollers of all time, mine too. So WTF dude why haven't we gone to a concert together to see him? Like Bruce Springsteen, Mark Knopfler keeps putting out fresh material all the time and it just gets better. Mark's my favorite guitar player, both acoustic and electric, but he's also one of the greatest songwriters in rock 'n' roll history too. Like Jackson Browne, his singing voice matches his writing and I'm so excited to see him at the Santa Barbara Bowl in September!

- Stevie Wonder. You forget how young Little Stevie Wonder was when he was signed by Motown at age 11 and had a No. I hit, Fingertips at age 13. Here he is in the last group of rock stars born in the "classic period" in 1950 and already had a big hit in 1963! But that was only the start as he and Elton John lead the 1970's. His songs are so infectious and probably he did more for racial harmony through his music than any other artist in rock 'n' roll history. He is one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time. Have you ever met anybody that did not love Stevie Wonder?

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

1950 - Tom Petty and Mike Campbell. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers just next to the Stones, are the best rock 'n' roll band of all time. I remember being at my neighbor's house in the early 90's and listening to his tricked out video/stereo system with a laserdisc concert film of the band. I literally had never heard and seen anything to match Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Tom took everything from the masters born in the 1940's and made it into his own hybrid of pure classic rock 'n' roll. Mike Campbell is one of my favorite electric guitar players and I just love how he just walks the stage playing so effortlessly.

Mary Kit and I had the chance to see Tom and the band at Safeco Field in Seattle in one of his last concerts in August, 2017 just before he died that October. Tom, Mike and the band toured constantly over the decades and I thought after the Safeco concert, "Next time I want to see him at The Forum."

Hail! Hail! rock 'n' roll!

Okay, who did I leave out? You may be are saying, Stevie Nicks (1948), my wife is gasping at this omission, or Billy Joel (1949), or Peter Gabriel (1950), or Sting (1951) Relax, I love all these people, (well Stevie Nicks is okay I guess), just didn't include them here as that's Rolling Stone's job, and I'm determined to publish this blog by midnight on this Monday.

Lastly, so our great classic rock stars born between 1940 - 1950 are mostly in their 70's today and not getting any younger. The time for seeing these "classic live wires" is a window that is sadly starting to close. So, go see them in concert whether it is the first time or tenth time. You won't regret it!

Check out my Part II next week for tips and tricks on seeing your favorite artists in concert!

And, no new playlist this week by the Monday publishing deadline. But not to fret, I have My 100 Songs, Second 100 Songs, and (now updated) Third 100 Songs to classically fall back on. Enjoy my friends! An update- I've added my Fourth 100 Songs here, and I'm currently working on my Fifth and last coming sometime in the future!

My 100 Songs

My Second 100 Songs

My Third 100 Songs

My Fourth 100 Songs