Showing posts with label Bob Dylan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bob Dylan. Show all posts

Monday, January 15, 2024

Fifty Years of Music • January, 1974 • Forever Young

I rarely include every song from every album I feature, but I believe the January, 1974 releases were that good. 

Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell's most popular album of her career and is the album that cements her as one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time.

Wild Tales, Graham Nash

Graham Nash puts out a good solid album, nothing that compares to his old girlfriend, but he's in a very large group when being compared to Joni. 

The Phosphorescent Rat, Hot Tuna

Hot Tuna is a band I never listened to as a young person. As an older person I can now appreciate Jorma Kaukonen (guitars) and Jack Casady (bass) talent as musicians not only as former members of Jefferson Airplane, but also their ability to write very catchy songs that should have gained them more popular attention back in the day as Hot Tuna.

Grievous Angel, Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons makes the best album of his far too short career, cut short by a combination of a alcohol and morphine overdose. Parsons died at the tender age of 26 on September 19, 1973. I believe if Parsons had lived to see many more years, we would be talking about him in Willie Nelson terms. From my perspective, I see Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris as the modern birth parents of the Americana genre.

Planet Waves, Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan can still sing in 1974 and Planet Waves is one of his most passed over albums. Anybody who has The Band as their backup band is going to make an album people are going to listen to. I love that he includes both the fast and slow version of Forever Young on the same album. Bob's average work would be other artists greatest albums. 

Hot Cakes, Carly Simon

She and James are making babies and great albums together and I'm going to be shattered in a few years when they break up. It would be just another chapter in my personal end of the innocence moments of my early twenties. 

Billboard Top 100, January, 1974

Here are a few picks scattered about from the January, 1974 Billboard 100 as most of these songs were released in 1973 but hey, you don't mind.

Enjoy the playlist my friends. May you stay forever young.

Monday, August 28, 2023

60 Years of Music • March on Washington • August 28, 1963

March on Washington • August 28, 1963 • View from the Lincoln Memorial

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.
–Dr. Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream 

 Sixty years ago today, 250,000 Americans traveled to Washington D.C. for what would be called, the March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The purpose of the march was to advance the civil rights movement in America so that all men and women would have the same civil and economic rights under the law. The March followed the June 12, 1963 murder of Medgar Evers, a civil rights activist who was shot in Mississippi by a white supremacist and member of the Ku Klux Klan, Byron De La Beckwith. 

There were many speakers, artists and musicians who participated that day. My intent for writing this post today is three-fold: first, a few current thoughts of mine after watching Dr. King's, I Have a Dream speech this past week, second, to present Dr. King's full speech, and third, to highlight one of Bob Dylan's songs sung at the event, Only a Pawn in Their Game.

Dr. King's speech is one of the most famous in American history. It is framed beautifully in the context of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, where President Lincoln's decree freed 3.5 million African Americans from slavery. 

Dr. King said, 

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. 

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. 

One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. 

One hundred years later the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

My memory of August 28, 1963 is nonexistent. But, being an 8 year-old small town boy from that time, I can reflect and observe from of my own experiences, then and now. It would only be less than three months later, that John F. Kennedy would be assassinated on November 22, 1963. My memory of that day is still vivid and clear. For many children of that era, it would be a dawning, the pivotal moment when we were forced to face a bigger and scarier world out there. 

I'll start with Dr. King's line, "1963 is not an end, but a beginning."

It was a beginning. The beginning where everyone in America were truly going to be equal under the law, and equal in every way.  This new beginning was more than just an ideal, more than just a dream.

Prior to the early 60's, America had an original "deep state." The systemic deep state was an organized conspiracy passed on by wealthy white men who ruled the fifty States and the Federal Government under the "rule of law." Democracy is based on the rule of law, but for people of color, the law was living under the white man's thumb, in his world.

The March on Washington in fact, had an immediate impact on the laws of our land. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Act Right of 1965 were passed by Congress as direct results of the civil rights movement and the March on Washington. Later, The Civil Rights Act of 1968 containing, the Fair Housing Act was signed into law shortly after Dr. King's assassination. 

The OG deep state was about to be slowly turned, The times were indeed a-changin'. It didn't happen overnight, but as we moved forward as a nation in the second half of the 20th century and into this one, more underrepresented people began to have a voice, a job, and a vote with new laws not written by the OG's.

Fast forward to 2015, and the Trump slogan of "Make America Great Again" (MAGA). The slogan is a  code, a calling for, "Enough is enough," time to turn the clock and power balance backwards before the 1960's. The key word of this calling is, "Great." It can be substituted for: unapologetic, conservative, tough, isolationist, white, powerful, industrial, nationalistic, uncompromising. How about you pick a word here ________. 

When it comes to race, the 2020's is not black and white, it's a great deal more complicated. Today, there are a number of people of color involved in the MAGA movement. The majority of white Americans are not racists. 

I love the concept of compassionate conservatism. I love the two party system. Check out conservative commentator Charlie Sykes, I love the guy! He and many other conservatives see Trump for what he is, a narcissistic racist lazy gluttonous grifter. Sadly, their voices have been snuffed out within the new and devolving Republican mind-set. Self-righteous minds and angry hearts that have thrown away traditional conservative principles- limited government, free markets, individual liberty, respect and civility.

Trump and his pawns actually killed the old Republican party in pretty quick fashion. I actually miss it. He released a pandora's box of hate and discord that the majority of Americans were kind of getting a manageable lid on from our past history. Today, many Republicans are called RINO's (Republicans in name only). Yes, Trump even stole the name of the Grand Old Party. I miss the Howard Baker's. I miss the John McCain's. America needs the Adam Kinzinger's in congress, people who could communicate ideas, reach across the aisle, problem-solve. 

Back in 1963 it was all about race, common black people trying to get a fair shake in a society and system of justice where the blindfolded lady was heavily tipping the scale, not even close to a balance.

In 2023, the great experiment of Democracy sees the blindfolded lady of justice with a little more balanced scale these days. She's come a long way baby!

But, that does not sit well with the ol' OG powerbrokers . If justice and the balance of power are becoming more fair and accessible to all people, maybe it's time to unleash the MAGA pawns, to turn America on its head. Hey, what a wonderful new dirty trick from the likes of Roger Stone, "let's turn up to down and down to up." 

Trump's mantra ever since he came down the escalator is to pathologically lie about everything in manner that is the exact opposite of reality. Back in 1963, the boys on my block wouldn't hang with such a liar. We would have called him a "pussy, " smacked him on the side of the head, and told him, "Get outta here."

So Trumpy Dumpty speaks from his wall, and the MAGA faithful below follow, "Let's make truth nonsensical," where somehow MAGA's are now magically... oppressed!

On a walk this past Saturday, I was thinking about Trump and his cult followers as dinosaurs. People somehow suddenly hit by a new 21st century establishment meteor that's destroying their town's, their way of life, their very existence. So, I came up with an acronym for Trump and his doomsday flock, DINO's - Demigods In Nonsensical Oppression.

Sixty years later, the new upside-down liberal, "Deep State" is suddenly a transformed bunch of career government law enforcement employees conspiring against MAGA, because their cult leader has now 91(and counting) criminal charges in 4 indictments against him. So sad, from wealthy Swamp Thing powerbroker to victim.

The U.S. Department of Justice, traditionally made-up of many conservatives and former military personnel, are miraculously now a cabal of socialists? Didn't Senator Joe McCarthy already play that game way back in the 1950's where the government and Hollywood were secretly being run by a bunch of communists?

The radical right now say the "rule of law" is somehow inexplicably working against them. In 2023, Republican Presidential candidates in their lock-step jabberwocky, talk about the "Weaponization of the Department of Justice" as if they were now the oppressed people not getting a piece of the American pie. 

By God, what would Dr. King think about that? Yes, let's all revisit Dr. King's experience with the FBI.

Dr. King would probably LOL, and point out that that all eight of the Directors of the FBI have all been white and Republican, with the current Director, Christopher Wray appointed by President Trump himself in 2017. 

Whose conspiring against who? In 2023, the Federal Government still pretty much looks like a bunch of white men from 1963... still running the show. 

Oh that's right, I forgot, they're now all zombie elites trying to steal our children's minds in college and take away our country. We just might have to start a new civil war...


Who attacked the Capital on January 6, 2020 to try to overturn an American Presidential election? 

Does anybody remember The Weather Underground or Weathermen? The 1969 radical left must be turning over in its collective grave with such an unprecedented event to unseat Democracy. "Man... those little do nothing Antifa punks ain't got nothing on the Proud Boys!"

Wouldn't you just love to hear Dr. King speak to us in 2023. He'd cut right through the MAGA bullshit, "But a 160 years later..."

And maybe this 60 years later, in a blessed turn of events in time, he might also find some old gray-haired hippies, still listening to Dylan, now saying, "Hey man... America, love it or leave it!"

Dr. Martin Luther King's speech, I Have A Dream. 
Note -  The 17 minute 29 seconds time period here. I know you're busy, but please come back after you read my thing about Bob Dylan and listen to the whole speech. Bet you never heard the whole speech? Well, today is that day?

Bobby Dylan in 1963. 
He's becoming a big star. The folk world loves him, I would grow up to love him too. 

So, Medgar Evers gets shot and killed in June of 1963, and shortly after, Dylan writes and records, Only a Pawn in Their Gameabout the murder.

The lyrics attribute blame for the killing and other racial violence to the rich white politicians and authorities who manipulated poor whites into directing their anger and hatred at black people. The song suggests that Evers's killer does not deserve to be remembered by name in the annals of history, unlike the man he murdered ("They lowered him down as a king"), because he was "only a pawn in their game." Wikipedia

I personally came upon the song sometime in the 70's in college (where Ron DeSantis says my mind got corrupted). However, it really didn't register with me until sometime after 2015, when I started writing Monday Monday Music™ blog posts. 

Anyway, through the wonders of YouTube and AI, the song kept coming up in my YouTube feed as I was just having my own personal renaissance with Bob Dylan's music. Like many of Dylan's songs, people just can't believe that a young man in his early 20's could write the songs that he did. Well, this song is one of those songs.

The song's a history lesson. At the time and at the March on Washington it wasn't what you would call, "a hit." Sixty years later, I think it's one of most important songs ever written about America.

Again, take a few moments to read the lyrics here and listen to the song. For me, it's one of those enlightening moments when the past and present are a revolving circle. Don't be the weakest chess piece.

Only a Pawn in Their Game
by Bob Dylan

A bullet from the back of a bush
Took Medgar Evers' blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man's brain
But he can't be blamed
He's only a pawn in their game

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
"You got more than the blacks, don't complain
You're better than them, you been born with white skin, " they explain
And the Negro's name
Is used, it is plain
For the politician's gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool
He's taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
'Bout the shape that he's in
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game

From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoofbeats pound in his brain
And he's taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide 'neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain't got no name
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He'll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain
Only a pawn in their game

Here is the live broadcast of the song on the March on Washington, August 28, 1963. 
However, I'm going to follow this by showing a previous live recording of the song performed by Mr. Dylan on July 26, 1963 at the Newport Folk Festival. It's stunning a performance, and the very definition of singer-songwriter.

Bob Dylan, Newport Folk Festival, July 26, 1963

An almost last note - This actually is my second run at Only a Pawn in Their Game, I guess you can tell this song's had an impact on me. Back in 2017, I took a similar approach with Mr. Trump while he was still President. Won't he ever go away? Here's that post-  A-Changin' History Lesson: Only a Pawn in Their Game

And finally a last note - Trump's mug shot last week. You can so tell he practiced and practiced for that look. Now the god's honest truth. When I first saw the picture passed around the universe, forever, I thought back to when I was first married, the first time. What?

My wife Pam and I lived in an older house where the garages were entered from the back alley. Our garage had a steep roof line. Well one night, a big rat from the alley was walking the top roof line, made a misstep and rolled straight down the roof and landed in one of our empty old metal trash cans, bang! That night, he made quite a racket. I feared that something had fallen in and was hoping it would be dead the next morning when I went to investigate. 

When I looked down into the dark bottom of the can, there was this mean old fat rat looking back up at me. That look is the exact look that Donald J. Trump wanted to show the world. For me, it just reminded me of that ol' cornered rat.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Fifty Years of Music • July, 1973

Fifty years later, what holds up? Maybe by the summer of 1973, the albums coming out were a red flag that rock 'n' roll and R&B were morphing into slicker versions of their former selves from the 1960's.

In listing my rejection bullet points for this blog from July, 1973 in Music, it's kind of a bellwether for what's to come from my both sides now perspective as an 18 year old and 68 year old. 

  • 18+ minute songs from Cat Stevens and Jethro Tull. Sure artists are allowed to grow, but sometimes you miss their former hooks.
  • Elvis. Teenagers in 1973 were not listening to Elvis Presley. C'mon, pictures with Nixon, WTF.
  • New York Dolls. Only a few bands could really pull off glam.
  • Styx. The rock 'n' rock slick stuff, that just kept growing. So why do I like Queen here and not Styx? I don't know, I just always liked Queen, maybe a little more originality, creativity?
  • Barry Manilow. 1970's pop is getting so infected with these types of viruses.
  • 10cc. Clever little name for a rock 'n' roll band, that ended there.
  • Grand Funk Railroad. C'mon man, are you serious? Kiss is lurking too in 1973. My God, the horror!
  • Jim Croce. Folk has always had cornball singer-songwriters, I just didn't get into most of his songs.
  • Funkadelic. What's happening to R&B here?
  • West, Bruce, and Laing. They shoot horses don't they? 50 years later, it was hard to listen to their last album.

My more experienced ear is now more accepting to say the collaboration between John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana in Love Devotion Surrender.

The late 60's and early 70's had some wonderful western movies. In April 1973, the Eagles jump on that with Desperado, and I just loved Bob Dylan's soundtrack for Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Bob's big hit, Knockin' On Heaven's Door has always been a favorite of mine, and I just got into the soundtrack again this past week.

And I'll tell what really holds up 50 years later, Steely Dan.  A band that would help define the best of music in the 1970's and help carry the rock 'n' roll torch forward with their own unique sound.

Enjoy my friends.

Monday, May 15, 2023

60 Years of Music • May, 1963 • The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan starts with the front cover itself, a photo that will reflect a generation. Bob with his hip but too thin suede leather jacket for a cold February, 1963 day in New York City, walking in the middle of the street with his bundled up girlfriend, Suze Rotolo in the dirty snow. I just love how they are framed between the building and cars (not to mention the VW Bus that would be a symbol itself of the 1960's.)

This is a 21 year old with his whole life in front of him with most any young person looking at the cover and thinking the same. The photograph is a thoroughly spontaneous moment in time that communicates, you're going to like what's inside.

I of course was an oblivious 8 year old at the time. I can't recall the first time or 25th time I casually heard Blowin' in the Wind on the radio or TV. But, at some point in many a teenager's life since 1963, we let our minds purposely listen to this wonderful song for the first time, and ponder the big questions without any answers, for ourselves.

As an 8 year old, I lived in an household where abstract questions were presented with a singular answer. From my small town church community and parents, the answer wasn't blowing in the wind, it was Jesus Christ. He was the answer. The man who died for our sins so that we could have everlasting life... but with the caveat, only if we accepted him into our life... as our personal savior. Yes, I was told very strongly by the church as a child, that I personally needed saving. And please sit tight, don't ask questions, as we have all the big answers.

Bobby Dylan and his friends come along in the 1960's with their 'Protest Songs,' then, plug in an electric guitar into an amp, and the Billy Graham's suddenly got themselves some serious competition. 

This devil music just wasn't going away, and by the 1970's 'Christian Rock' actually became a thing.

In 1963, all my family, and all my close friends went to church. 

In 2023, none of my siblings, blended family, and close friends go to church. Guess we started asking some questions?

Blowin' in the Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Yes, and how many years must a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
And how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind
Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
And how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Before I get to the album, here's a clip I love of Bob Dylan singing Blowin' in the Wind with a few friends at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan would make Bob Dylan an international star and singer-songwriter for the ages. Still today, generation after generation of young people discover Bob Dylan for the first time. I could only be so lucky to have a young person hear this album here for the first time. 

The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Under The Influence • Songs of 1960-1962

Songs of 1949-19511952-19551956-19591960-1962

The Beatles at the Indra Club, Hamburg,  August 17, 1960. L-R: John Lennon, George Harrison, Pete Best, Paul McCartney, and Stuart Sutcliffe.

Songs of 1960-1962  concludes my mini-series Under The Influence. This series is based on my primary source, Wikipedia and their organization of music through the years. What I found interesting about Wikipedia's (Year) In Music entries is their succinct 'Events' highlights. Then, new albums released are listed alphabetically for the entire year, until 1963.

In 1963, Wikipedia entries go from a yearly album overview, to a month to month breakdown of mostly all popular albums from that month in time. As it turns out, rock 'n' roll is a lot bigger deal than the short-lived fad that many in the short-minded establishment predicted would quickly fade away.

In 1964, popular music just explodes with The Beatles coming to America and the The British Invasion.

On January 28th, 2019, I started my Fifty Years in Music • (Month and Year) Series starting with January, 1969. I noticed in going back to find that first post of the series, that I actually had skipped several months along the way. I will correct that, and at some point will have a Monday Monday Music™ historical record of the music that has influenced my life, and probably yours, since 1949.

My long-term game plan will be to have two concurrent 'Way Back' series– my current Fifty Years in Music that will cover the 1970's, and starting in 2023– Sixty Years of Music to cover every month and year of the 1960's, starting in 1963. 


No regrets.

Now one of the things I have mentally done over the years in the reflection of my life, is that I play the game, What If...

I've gone back to the fall of 1973 when I started college and started planning my life as a future teacher. My plan at the time was to become a special education teacher. I did that, and then I went on to become a general education elementary teacher, I did that, and so forth...

But, I did have an alternate plan of becoming a History major and teaching History at high school as it was my favorite subject in all of school. In my recent shoulda coulda reflections, that would have included a minor in English, but at 18 years of age, writing something more than a school assignment was something that I was never going to do. Later at San Diego State, I had to pay other students to type my assignments that required a typed finished product. 

So as a pretext here, I'm writing (typing on my laptop from the home row) about music every week that often goes back in history to the second half of the 20th century. 

Never say never.


1960 through 1962  is still about Elvis, but the King is already transitioning to ballads as many rock 'n' roll bands are forming in England and America and preparing for their own ascent to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, if not the rock 'n' roll throne.

In putting the playlist together, I was amazed at how many electric guitar instrumentals were huge Billboard 100 hits creating the whole surf music craze of the early 1960's. I think the public had just fallen in love with the electric guitar and you could see how every kid interested in playing music, simply had to have one.

Note- All dates and timeline descriptions below in italic are from Wikipedia. What I have done in this cut and copy exercise is to only include the interesting and influential stuff (from my perspective) from 1960-62. I have also interjected some (mostly sarcastic) commentary of my own in regular text.

1960 in Music

  • January – Stuart Sutcliffe joins the Liverpool band Johnny and the Moondogs and suggests they change their name to the Beatals; after several variations this settles on The Beatles in August. Stu was quite the looker, no doubt the best looking and coolest BEATAL starting out.
  • January 14 – Elvis Presley is promoted to Sergeant in the United States Army. Really.
  • January 25 – The National Association of Broadcasters in the United States reacts to the payola scandal by threatening fines for any disc jockeys accepting money for playing particular records. The music business has always been such a slimy business.
  • March 5 – Elvis Presley returns home from serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, having stopped off on March 2 at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, his only time in the U.K. Really, with all those #1's in the U.K. I would have thought he played there.
  • April 4 – RCA Victor Records announces that it will release all pop singles in mono and stereo simultaneously, the first record company to do so. Elvis Presley's single "Stuck on You" is RCA's first mono/stereo release.
  • April 17 – Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Cochran's girlfriend Sharon Sheeley are injured in a car accident near Chippenham in England. Cochran dies in a hospital in Bath, Somerset, from severe brain injuries. Police officer David Harman, who attends the incident, starts learning to play the guitar using Cochran's impounded Gretsch, later becoming professional musician Dave Dee. I've never heard the last part of that story.
  • April 20 – Elvis Presley returns to Hollywood for the first time since coming home from Germany to film G.I. Blues. Bring on those "B" slock movies.
  • May 2 – The Drifters' Ben E. King leaves the group and signs a solo record contract with ATCO Records.
  • May 20–28 – The Beatles, as the Silver Beetles (uncredited), play their first ever tour, as a backing group for Johnny Gentle on a tour of Scotland. The lineup comprises John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Tommy Moore.
  • July – The Shadows' instrumental 'Apache' is released in the U.K. I Love that song!
  • August 17 – The Beatles make their debut under this name in Hamburg, Germany, beginning a 48-night residency at the Indra club. The band at the time comprises John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums. (see photo above, credit to The Beatles Bible.)
  • The last 78 rpm records are released in the U.S. and the U.K.
  • English rock musician Ritchie Blackmore's musical career begins.
  • 14-year-old Neil Young founds The Jades with Ken Koblun. Neil loved The Shadows and playing Apache, not to mention his affinity for surf-style guitar.

1961 in Music

  • January 15 – Motown Records signs The Supremes. Have you ever heard of anyone not liking the Supremes? It's like someone saying, "I don't like pizza."
  • February 9 – The Beatles at The Cavern Club: The Beatles, at this juncture John, Paul, George and Pete, perform under this name at The Cavern Club for the first time following their December return to Liverpool from Hamburg. Beginning with this lunchtime session, the group would go on to make almost 300 appearances here in total. Practice, practice, practice.
  • February 12 – The Miracles' "Shop Around" becomes Motown's first million-selling single. Smokey Robinson's influence is off the charts.
  • February 13 – Frank Sinatra forms his own record label, Reprise Records, which will later release recordings by The Beach Boys, Ella Fitzgerald, The Kinks and Jimi Hendrix. Frank knew his way around a recording studio. Frank was very business savvy, like reading the script and not making "B" movies.
  • The 3rd Annual Grammy Awards are held in Los Angeles, hosted by actor Lloyd Bridges. Lloyd must have had a great agent! Ray Charles wins the most awards with four. Ray's on fire! Bob Newhart's The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart wins Album of the Year, Percy Faith's version of the "theme from A Summer Place" wins Record of the Year and Ernest Gold's "Theme from Exodus" wins Song of the Year. Newhart also wins Best New Artist. Really, Percy Faith? Love Bob Newhart who was the young part of that older generation tradition of being a lifetime comic and actor on TV.
  • June 14 – Patsy Cline is hospitalized as a result of a head-on car collision. While she is in hospital, the song "I Fall to Pieces" becomes a big Country/Pop crossover hit for her. Bigger news coming...
  • June–July – Stu Sutcliffe leaves The Beatles to resume his art studies in Hamburg. Man, who's gonna play bass now?
  • July 17 – Billboard magazine first publishes an "Easy Listening" chart, listing songs that the magazine determines are not rock & roll records. The first #1 song on this chart is "The Boll Weevil Song" by Brook Benton. This chart will be renamed a number of times, becoming the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. The kids are driving the bus now.
  • October 17 – Former schoolfriends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, later of The Rolling Stones, meet each other again by chance on Dartford railway station in Kent, England, on the way to their respective colleges and discover their mutual taste for rock and roll. Turns out, the whole universe is a series of random events.
  • November 9 – The Beatles at The Cavern Club: Future manager Brian Epstein first sees The Beatles. A huge part of The Beatles early success.
  • December 8 – The Beach Boys release their debut 45rpm single: "Surfin'"/"Luau" on the small California label Candix Records. If you love The Beach Boys, you have to read David Marks' book, 'The Lost Beach Boy.'
  • December 9 – The Beatles play their first gig in the south of England, at Aldershot. Due to an advertising failure, only 18 people turn up. In the early hours of the following morning they play an impromptu set at a London club. You mean Facebook screwed up back then too.
  • The Country Music Association (CMA) creates the Country Music Hall of Fame and inducts, Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose and Hank Williams as the first three members.
1962 in Music
  • January 1 – The Beatles and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes both audition at Decca Records in London which has the option of signing one group only. The Beatles are rejected, mainly as they come from Liverpool and the others are Dagenham-based, nearer London. Decca will come to regret that decision.
  • January 5 – The first album on which The Beatles play, My Bonnie, credited to "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers" (recorded last June in Hamburg and produced by Bert Kaempfert), is released by Polydor.
  • January 24 – Brian Epstein signs on to manage The Beatles. Good move lads.
  • March 19 – Bob Dylan releases his debut album, Bob Dylan, in the United States, featuring mostly folk standards. The New Folk Movement gets their superstar.
  • April 7 – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards meet Brian Jones at The Ealing Club, a blues club in London. What if Brian Jones had lived past 1969? It sure would have made things even more interesting with their very interesting band.
  • April 10 – Former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe dies from cerebral paralysis caused by a brain hemorrhage in Hamburg, Germany. The good die young.
  • April 12 – A recording is made of Bob Dylan's concert at the Town Hall, in New York City by Columbia Records. (Columbia eventually release the recording of "Tomorrow is a Long Time" from this concert.)
  • April 24 – Bob Dylan begins recording The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in New York. Look out world.
  • May 29 – The 4th Annual Grammy Awards are held in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Henry Mancini wins the most awards with five, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for his song "Moon River". Judy Garland's Judy at Carnegie Hall wins Album of the Year, while Peter Nero wins Best New Artist. The old guard will run the Grammy's for years to come and mostly be out of touch with the changing culture.
  • June 6 – The Beatles play their first session at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London.
  • June 19 – The film version of the musical The Music Man is released to theaters by Warner Bros. "Ya got trouble, my friend, right here, I say, trouble right here in River City."
  • August 2 – Robert Allen Zimmerman legally changes his name to Bob Dylan in the New York Supreme Court. Bob has repeatedly said that he did not take his name from Dylan Thomas. His quote, " I have done more for Dylan Thomas than he's ever has done for me."
  • August 16 – The Beatles fire drummer Pete Best and replace him with Ringo Starr. Single best decision the lads ever make as a band.
  • August 17 – 'Instrumental Telstar,' written and produced by Joe Meek for English band The Tornados, is released in the UK. The song will eventually be the first song by a British group ever to reach the top spot on the Billboard Top 100 in the United States, proving to be a precursor to the British Invasion.
  • August 18 – The Beatles play their first live engagement with the line-up of John, Paul, George and Ringo, at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight on the Wirral Peninsula.
  • August 20 – Albert Grossman becomes Bob Dylan's manager. Colonel Tom Parker with a beard?
  • August 23 – John Lennon marries Cynthia Powell in an unpublicized register office ceremony at Mount Pleasant, Liverpool. She would not be treated well by John.
  • September 21 – New Musical Express, the British music magazine, publishes a story about two 13-year-old schoolgirls, Sue and Mary, releasing a disc on Decca and adds "A Liverpool group, The Beatles, have recorded 'Love Me Do' for Parlophone Records, set for October 5 release."
  • September 22 – Bob Dylan appears for the first time at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of a hootenanny including the first public performance of "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall". I've heard live 1963 and 64 recordings of Hard Rain and they are extremely powerful, I got chills the first time I heard these live recordings just a few years ago.
  • September 23 – Opening concert at the New York Philharmonic's new home, Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, conducted by Leonard Bernstein and broadcast live on television across the United States by NBC. The opening work, Aaron Copland's specially commissioned Connotations, sends "shock waves through the world of music".
  • October 5 – The Beatles' first single in their own right, "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You", is released in the UK on EMI's Parlophone label. Look out world!
  • October 17 – The Beatles make their first televised appearance, on Granada television's local news programme People and Places.
  • October 20 – Peter, Paul and Mary's self-titled debut album reaches No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Like a Hard Day's Night, I found this album in my grandfather's 'Columbia House Record Club' collection in his stereo console after he died and snatched it to be part of my new record collection in 1967.
  • Joan Baez has all of her first three albums on the Billboard charts, on their way to Gold status. I was not a fan of Joan Baez as a young person, but have grown to admire her life-long activism and singing. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Baez is a great example to anyone in how to take care of yourself over the years.
  • Two Pete Seeger classic songs reach the Billboard pop charts:"Where Have All the Flowers Gone" recorded by The Kingston Trio reaches No. 21. "If I Had a Hammer", recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, reaches No. 10. Pete is such an influence to kick-starting the new folk movement and bringing folk music into U.S. classrooms across America. 
  • The first American Folk Blues Festival, initiated by German promoters, tours Europe; artists include Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and T-Bone Walker. Its only UK date, 21 October at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, is influential on the British R&B scene, with the audience including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones with Jimmy Page, Paul Jones, John Mayall and other musicians, and with a second show filmed and shown on Independent Television. Sad to learn years later that American Blues and Jazz treasures had to go to Europe to get the recognition they deserved. In a large sense Europe is like a boomerang for American music, where we put it out there, it's appreciated and absorbed by European fans who in turn bring it back around to American audiences. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

List Your FAV FIVE: Bob Dylan Songs


Songs • Albums • Singer-songwriters • Rock 'n' Roll Bands • Guitar Players 
Beatles Songs • Bob Dylan Songs • Rolling Stones Songs • Neil Young Songs

Let's continue the FAV FIVE Series by moving from the recent readership participation of creating a group Beatles playlist. 

This week, your assignment should you choose to accept it- 
LIST Your FAV FIVE: Bob Dylan Songs

You will make your list in the Comments section at the end of the blog post below. 

So to begin, let's start at the end. The big idea is for all of us to create a Monday Monday Music™ Readers: Bob Dylan Songs Playlist.

I'll start the playlist with my favorite five Dylan songs and then, as readers leave me their five in the Comments section below, we will grow the playlist together. Note- I'm sure we will have duplicates which is great, but I will only include a song once in the YouTube playlist as I receive the lists.

Songs must be originals recorded by Bob himself, that can include any collaborations like his work with the Traveling Wilburys. So, no covers from other artists doing Dylan songs, which is another whole blog in itself that I will do someday. 

So here's my five to kick this thing off.
  1. Like a Rolling Stone
  2. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
  3. It's All over Now, Baby Blue
  4. Don't Think Twice
  5. With God On Our Side
Now if you want a little help in making your list, here's a great resource.
Also, here's the same little tutorial I made for The Beatles list.
  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the blog to the Comment section. Number and name you Bob Dylan songs 1-5.
  2. Comment as: If you're logged into your computer, tablet or smartphone with a Gmail (Google) account, pick the first selection. I would recommend using the Chrome browser.
    Or, pick Name/URL, write your name and leave URL blank,
    Or, if you pick Anonymous, just write your first and last name in the Comments box itself.
  3. Hit the Publish button, and I'll list your five songs in the post here (if you provided your first and last name), and then I will mix your list in the Youtube playlist.
  4. One last thing, if someone else has picked one of your favorite 5 already, still include it in your list. It may reveal a clear winner that in the end needs to sit at the top of the playlist.
Thanks in advance for playing along and come back later in the week to listen to OUR growing playlist!

Monday, February 07, 2022

Under The Influence • Songs of 1956-1959

Songs of 1949-1951 • 1952-1955 • 1956-1959 • 1960-1962

Elvis Presley's first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (September 9, 1956).
Scottie Moore is on guitar, Bill Black is on bass.
1956 through 1959 is Elvis Presley. As a young good looking white singer from Memphis, Elvis has a ton of charisma and sex appeal with the ability to take other people's songs and make them his own. More than anyone in the 1950's, he makes 'the devil's music' mainstream in the bible belt and the rest of the world. In England, guys like Keith Richard are listening and watching too. Elvis' guitar player Scottie Moore is Keith's blueprint and nine years later will be in the same role opposite Mick Jagger on the Ed Sullivan stage.

Rock 'n' roll is by its various influences a force of integration. The music becomes an instrument of change beginning with radio stations who stray from their local programming format. Black and white artists and groups from Pop, R&B, Country, and Rock 'n' Roll start to appear on a single radio station's rotation. Listeners across America tune in and absorb the impact. In the years ahead, live performance shows and concerts will slowly evolve into integrated audiences all loving the same music. In 1956 I'm literally a baby, as the post World War II generation known as the "boomers" feed off this pioneering group of rock 'n' rollers, including: B.B. King (born in 1925), Chuck Berry (1926), Fats Domino (1928), Bo Diddley (1928), Little Richard (1932), Carl Perkins (1932), Johnny Cash (1932), Elvis Presley (1935), Gene Vincent (1935), Buddy Holly (1936), Eddie Cochran (1938), Duane Eddy (1938), The Everly Brothers, Don (1937) and Phil (1939), Ricky Nelson (1940), and Richie Valens (1941) .

Note- All dates and timeline descriptions below in italic are from Wikipedia (1950's in Music). What I have done in this cut and copy exercise is to only include the interesting and influential stuff (from my perspective) from 1956-1959. I have also interjected some commentary of my own in regular text.

1956 in music

  • January 26
    • Buddy Holly's first recording sessions for Decca Records take place in Nashville, Tennessee.
    • Roy Orbison signs with Sun Records.
  • January 27 – Elvis Presley's single "Heartbreak Hotel" / "I Was the One" is released. It goes on to be Elvis's first #1 hit.
  • March – The Coasters' recording career begins, with "Turtle Dovin'".
  • March 10 – Carl Perkins' single "Blue Suede Shoes" enters the R&B charts, the first time a country music artist has made it on the R&B charts. Carl Perkins would never get his due in my opinion.
  • March 24 – The first regularly scheduled nationally broadcast rock & roll show, Rock 'n Roll Dance Party, with Alan Freed as host, premières on the CBS Radio Network.
  • March 26 – Colonel Tom Parker formally becomes Elvis Presley's manager. This would probably be one of Elvis' biggest mistakes as agents like Parker stole from both white and black artists alike.
  • April 6 – Paramount Pictures signs Elvis Presley to a three-picture deal. Elvis is too young and stupid to see 'the big picture.' Most of all his movie roles will not bode well on his image now and into the 60's. Again, Tom Parker is only there for the quick buck and not helping Elvis for the long run.
  • April 10 – A group of racial segregationists (followers of Asa Earl Carter) rush the stage at a Nat King Cole concert in Birmingham, Alabama, but are quickly captured.
  • May 2 – For the first time in Billboard magazine history, five singles appear in both the pop and R&B Top Ten charts. They are Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" (#1 pop, #6 R&B), Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" (#4 pop, #3 R&B), Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" (#9 pop, #1 R&B), the Platters' "(You've Got) The Magic Touch" (#10 pop, #7 R&B) and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers' "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" (#7 pop, #4 R&B). Presley's and Perkins' singles also appeared on the country and western Top Ten chart at #1 and #2 respectively.
  • June 5 – Elvis Presley introduces his new single, "Hound Dog", on The Milton Berle Show, scandalizing the audience with his suggestive hip movements.
  • July 9 – Dick Clark hosts American Bandstand for the first time. He essentially looks the same for the next 50 years. 
  • July 22 – The first UK Albums Chart is published, in Record Mirror; Frank Sinatra's Songs for Swingin' Lovers! tops it for the first two weeks. Frank had the girls screaming in the 40's, Elvis in the 50's, who would be next?...
  • Summer – John Lennon forms a skiffle group, The Quarrymen, with friends from Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool, England, originally Eric Griffiths and Pete Shotton.
  • November 5 - Nat King Cole becomes the first major black performer to host a variety show on national television, when The Nat King Cole Show is broadcast. Racism is alive and well as Cole gets NO national corporation brand sponsors.
  • November 28 – Yoko Ono, recently divorced from Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi, marries Anthony Cox. How old is Yoko now? 88.
  • December 4 – Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash record together at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. The sessions are later released under the name "the Million Dollar Quartet." I'm sorry folks, I cancelled Jerry Lee way back when I was a teenager in the 70's. I always thought he was an ass, and then you find out the perv married his 13 year old cousin when Lewis was 22 at the time in 1958. 
  • December 19 – Breaking the record for the highest number of concurrent singles by a single artist, Elvis Presley holds 9 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Presley would hold the record until 1964 when the Beatles hold 14 positions on the chart.

1957 in music

  • January 16 – The Cavern Club opens in Liverpool, England, as a jazz club.
  • January 6 – Elvis Presley makes his final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. I find this shocking. I think Colonel Tom Parker thinks he doesn't need Sullivan's show (the most influential gig in the world) anymore because he's got all the record and movie contracts making himself rich.
  • February 8 – Bo Diddley records his songs "Hey Bo Diddley" and "Mona" (aka "I Need You Baby").
  • March – Chicago's Cardinal Stritch bans all rock and roll and rhythm and blues music from Catholic-run schools, saying that "its rhythms encourage young people to behave in a hedonistic manner." Meanwhile the Catholic priests are...
  • March 1 – The Everly Brothers record in Nashville their first single "Bye Bye Love" for Cadence Records. In an era that is often time-locked, The Everly Brothers are timeless and relevant in any era.
  • March 19 – Elvis Presley purchases a mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, and calls it Graceland. Elvis keeps his bedroom dark and at deep freeze temperature, yeah come on in Priscilla!
  • March 26 – Ricky Nelson records his first three songs. Ricky did have a leg up when he started performing on his parents TV show, but he did have real talent and think he was swept under the 60's rug. A very underrated talent. In fact, how many artists who became stars in the 1950's would be stars in the 1960's? Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. Muddy Waters and B.B. King finally got their due in the 60's when the white kids finally discovered them, but artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Rick Nelson would have to wait to the 1970's to be seen and heard again.
  • July 6 – John Lennon and Paul McCartney of The Beatles first meet at a garden fete at St. Peter's Church, Woolton, Liverpool, England, at which Lennon's skiffle group, The Quarrymen, is playing (and in the graveyard of which an Eleanor Rigby is buried).
  • August 5 – American Bandstand begins its 30-year syndicated run on US network television.
  • August 7 – The Quarrymen first play at The Cavern Club in Liverpool in an interlude spot between jazz bands; when John Lennon starts the group playing Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel", the club's owner at this time hands him a note reading "Cut out the bloody rock 'n roll".
  • Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel name themselves Tom and Jerry and begin their recording career. Their first single, "Hey, Schoolgirl", backed with "Dancin' Wild", hits #49 on the Billboard pop charts. Garfunkel is Tom Graph (so called because he likes to write the pop charts out on graph paper) and Simon is Jerry Landis, a pseudonym he used during his early 1960s solo recordings. They tour for eighteen months before retiring to become college students and then reforming in 1963 as Simon & Garfunkel.

1958 in music

  • January 1 — Johnny Cash performs at San Quentin Prison. One of the audience members is Merle Haggard, in the midst of a two-year prison term for burglary.
  • January 24 – Paul McCartney makes his first appearance at The Cavern Club in Liverpool with The Quarrymen.
  • February — Struggling singer-songwriter Don Gibson finally gets a career break when his first major hit, "Oh Lonesome Me" reaches No. 1 on Billboard's "C&W Best Sellers in Stores" and "Most Played C&W by Jockeys" charts. The flip side of the single is "I Can't Stop Loving You," which went on to be recorded more than 700 times. Gibson is considered by many to be one of the originators of the Nashville Sound, a form of country music that uses pop music-styled arrangements (such as orchestrated strings) rather than traditional honky-tonk sounds.
  • February 19 - Motown released its first record Got a Job (Smokey Robinson and The Miracles).
  • March 24 – Elvis Presley enters the U.S. Army.
  • July 12 – The Quarrymen (Paul McCartney, John Lennon (lead vocals), George Harrison, Colin Hanton (drums) and John Lowe (piano)) record a single 78 rpm shellac acetate disc at Phillips' Sound Recording Services in Liverpool: "In Spite of All the Danger" (McCartney–Harrison) and a cover of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be the Day".
  • August 4 – Billboard magazine launches its "Hot 100" singles chart, with Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool" as the #1 record.
  • Marvin Gaye begins recording with his first group.
  • Otis Williams & the Distants begin their musical career. They will later join with The Primes and become The Temptations.
  • Phil Spector begins his recording career. Underneath that hairball is a psychopath.
  • RCA introduces its first stereo LPs.
  • The major record labels begin to cease production of 78 rpm records.
  • Bob Bogle and Don Wilson founds the surf instrumental group The Ventures.
  • The Country Music Association (CMA) is founded as the first trade association dedicated to a single music genre.

1959 in music

  • January 22 – Buddy Holly records some acoustic demos in his New York City apartment, the last songs he will record. Songs included "Peggy Sue Got Married", "Crying, Waiting, Hoping", "Learning the Game", "What to Do", "That's What They Say", and "That Makes It Tough."
  • February 3 – "The Day the Music Died": Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper are killed in a plane crash in Iowa. Future country star Waylon Jennings was scheduled to be on the plane, but instead gave his seat up to The Big Bopper. What was incredible in doing the blog this week is to realize that Buddy Holly was only 22, and Riche Valens was only 17!
  • March 2–April 22 – The recording sessions for the extremely influential Miles Davis jazz album Kind of Blue take place at the CBS 30th Street Studio in New York City. 
  • May 4 – The 1st Annual Grammy Awards are held in Los Angeles. Henry Mancini's The Music from Peter Gunn wins Album of the Year,.
  • November 29 – Though they are held in the same year as the inaugural ceremony, the 2nd Annual Grammy Awards are held in Los Angeles and New York and are notable for being the first televised Grammy Award ceremony. Frank Sinatra's Come Dance with Me! wins Album of the Year, Bobby Darin's version of "Mack the Knife" wins Record of the Year and Jimmy Driftwood's song "The Battle of New Orleans" wins Song of the Year. Darin is also awarded Best New Artist.
  • Joan Baez performs at the first Newport Folk Festival as a surprise guest and becomes an underground favorite.
  • The Supremes are founded as a quartet ("The Primettes").
  • Jimi Hendrix buys his first electric guitar: a White Single pickup Supro Ozark 1560 S. So in 1959 Jimi Hendrix gets his first electric guitar and 8 years later he's the best electric guitar player in the world! 
The trio starting out left to right in 1955,
Scottie Moore, Elvis, and Bill Black
In the early 1960's, I remember as probably a 7-9 year old going over to my friend, Albert Lopez's house. Albert had a much older brother named Frankie. Frankie was way ahead of his time because he had converted a backyard shed into his personal man cave. Frankie had carpet in this room, painted the walls, a record player, and hung every one of his Elvis Presley records on the walls of his pad. Albert and I would sneak in there and play Elvis, Chuck Berry or other records from Frankie's collection when he wasn't home. I remember thinking, why is this Elvis guy Frankie's idol? 

Now from my perspective and from my peer group – the later boomers born in the mid-1950's, Elvis Presley was always an old guy. As a 9 year old, my experience with rock 'n' roll begins in 1964 with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones being on The Ed Sullivan Show. How did Elvis become so irrelevant by 1964? 

A couple years back, I ran across a Bob Dylan song that was first recorded on the New Morning album in 1970, Went To See The Gypsy. This song is a supposed scenario about Dylan meeting 'The King' in a hotel. Now Dylan's far too smart or coy to say, Went To See The King, as songs are written for our own interpretation. Anyway, I like to think it's about Elvis although Dylan actually never met Presley as he says, and we'll take him at his word on that. In 2009, he did give Rolling Stone magazine an interview that does land on the subject. I love this following quote here as I think Dylan captures my and many other's thoughts about Elvis Presley.

“I never met Elvis, because I didn’t want to meet Elvis. Elvis was in his Sixties movie period, and he was just crankin’ ’em out and knockin’ ’em off, one after another. And Elvis had kind of fallen out of favor in the Sixties. He didn’t really come back until, whatever was it, ’68? I know the Beatles went to see him, and he just played with their heads. ‘Cause George [Harrison] told me about the scene. And Derek [Taylor], one of the guys who used to work for him. Elvis was truly some sort of American king. His face is even on the Statue of Liberty. And, well, like I said, I wouldn’t quite say he was ridiculed, but close. You see, the music scene had gone past him, and nobody bought his records. Nobody young wanted to listen to him or be like him. Nobody went to see his movies, as far as I know. He just wasn’t in anybody’s mind. Two or three times we were up in Hollywood, and he had sent some of the Memphis Mafia down to where we were to bring us up to see Elvis. But none of us went. Because it seemed like a sorry thing to do. I don’t know if I would have wanted to see Elvis like that. I wanted to see the powerful, mystical Elvis that had crash-landed from a burning star onto American soil. The Elvis that was bursting with life. That’s the Elvis that inspired us to all the possibilities of life. And that Elvis was gone, had left the building. from Bob Dylan’s Late-Era, Old-Style American Individualism, Rolling Stone, May 14, 2009.

But let's remember here as Bobby says so eloquently, "the powerful, mystical Elvis that had crash-landed from a burning star onto American soil"... and in song, "So I watched that sun come rising from that little Minnesota town."

In putting together the playlist this week, I hear and see the brilliance of all these burning stars and their impact on Frankie Lopez and the youth of the world in the 1950's. Long live the king.

Update - 2/26/22
On a run the other day, a song came up on my phone from Bruce Springsteen's Broadway show, Growin' Up that just completes this whole blog post and playlist. It's a 12 minute song/dialogue that I've now included as the last song on the playlist. Bruce tells a wonderful story about the 7 year-old Bruce Springsteen watching Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan ShowSeptember 9, 1956 and the impact it had in that moment and time.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Fifty Years of Music • October, 1970

B.B.King's Indianola Mississippi Seed released in October, 1970 is an outstanding album and one of my favorite album covers of all-time. The album begins with "Nobody loves me, but my mother, And she could be jivin` too." I can't remember where I first heard that lyric, but I do remember laughing out loud it was so funny! This was B.B's 18th studio album and he finally gets his mainstream attention due as Producer Bill Szymczyk decided to follow up on the success of the [1969] hit "The Thrill Is Gone" by matching King with a musical all-star cast [including Leon Russell, Carole King, Joe Walsh and Russ Kunkel]. The result was one of King's most critically acclaimed albums and one of the most highly regarded blues crossover albums of all time. Wikipedia

Bob Dylan's New Morning released in October, 1970 was purchased by my friend Bill DeVoe, who I remember invited me over to his house to listen to it. His parents had an old portable turnable with crackling speakers that gave it an older feel like you were listening to an old 78 rpm rather than a 33 1/3 LP. The record player was set up in their dining room that led right into the kitchen. I mention this because we would often make a snack of Oroweat® 'HoneyWheat Berry' toast and would wash it down with a Coke. I had many a snack and meals at that table with Bill and his parents. So my memory of listening to New Morning for the first time is fondly associated with toast, my all-time favorite morning, noon, or night snack. 
This album has the song, If Not For You that I really liked and was happily surprised when George Harrison also recorded it for All Things Must Pass, a month later. 

I was a Johnny come lately to Dylan, and was really impressed that Bill had purchased this album, and as a result started listening to him more and more. I'm kind of disappointed that Bob Dylan has only released two songs from that album on YouTube (If Not For You and The Man In Me) and found one more (Went To See The Gypsy) to include on the playlist this week. So here are the links to the album on Spotify and Amazon Music. It's really worth a complete listen, I suggest in the morning with toast, butter and apricot jam.

New Morning on Spotify

New Morning on Amazon Music

I was never a huge Led Zeppelin fan like so many of my peers, but Led Zeppelin III kind of woke me up that this band was more than just a hard rock band. The folk and blues roots really jump out here and I just loved listening to this whole album the past several weeks. I've said this many times, my blog is just an excuse for me to go back and appreciate all the albums I didn't zero in on when I was young and stupid.
This week's playlist has enough songs for several sits, walks or runs. Two weeks ago, I featured Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection (read here) and have included all the songs again here as I simply love that album! This playlist also includes an outtake that I recommend you hear. It is an early version of Mad Man Across the Water, which in 1971 we all thought was Bernie Taupin's thoughts about Richard Nixon. Bernie Taupin had this to say: Back in the seventies, when people were saying that "Madman Across the Water" was about Richard Nixon, I thought, That is genius. I could never have thought of that. (Wikipedia). I wonder if he's thinking that now about Donald Trump? This version features Mick Ronson on guitar and I think you will enjoy this one.
Also on tap are songs from Arlo Guthrie (see- Arlo Guthrie Retires From Touring: ‘It’s Time to Hang Up the Gone Fishing Sign’), Joan Baez, Genesis, Tom Rush, Don McLean, The Supremes, Tony Bennett, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Pink Floyd, Paul Siebel, The Strawbs, and Frank Zappa. 

Enjoy my friends, stay well, mask up and vote. Eat it up!