Archive for November 2012

A Thanksgiving tradition…

Flower Power Friday

This song began its life in April 1967 when it was released as the B-side of the single “The Birdman of Alkatrash” by a Los Angeles group called Thee Sixpence. Radio stations preferred to play the “lesser” tune and the two sides were flipped and re-released in May, by which time the band had already changed its name to Strawberry Alarm Clock as a nod to the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever”. The new A-side “Incense and Peppermints” took four months to surface on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but once there it began a steady climb which peaked nine weeks later when it reached #1 on November 25. In December it was certified gold for selling one million copies.

Incense and Peppermints

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Incense And Peppermints

The Beatowls

Found on theBerry

New Wave Wednesday

Though a popular live attraction who achieved a certain amount of fame in Europe and especially their native Scotland, the band Big Country is often referred to in the United States as a one-hit wonder as this song represents their sole foray into the U.S. Top 40. The band’s frontman Stuart Adamson (1958-2001) was apparently at peace with such a characterization, once remarking in an interview that “If we’re known for nothing more than just that one song, I’d be pretty happy with that.”

The Crossing

From their debut album “The Crossing”, released in 1983, “In A Big Country” went to #17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: In A Big Country

Dave Clark Five Ad

The folks at Buzzfeed were kind enough to browse through the back issues of Billboard magazine on the Google Books archive and put together a gallery of old print ads promoting the hottest new trend of the 1960s – the British Invasion. Thank goodness for the diligence of the skinny-necktied mad men who created these ads or the world may never have heard of such groups as The Who…

The Who Ad

… or the even more obscure “Beatles”…

Help! Ad

View the entire gallery at Buzzfeed

Moon-day Music Match-up

If your music library is of any size at all, try searching it for the word “heart” and you should come up with a whole page full of results. Today’s MoonDay Music Matchup pairs off a couple of musical heavyweights, as might be expected where matters of the heart are concerned. Released only six years apart, both songs went all the way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and both are ranked in the Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs of All Time. Proof positive that, as Huey Lewis says, “The heart of rock and roll is still beating.”

MoonDay Music Matchup #2:

“Heart of Glass” by Blondie vs. “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young

“Heart of Glass” comes from Blondie’s 1978 album “Parallel Lines”. Released as a single in January 1979, the song reached number one in both the U.S. and U.K. It later went on to be named #255 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Songs of All Time.

From “Harvest”, the best-selling album of 1972, the single “Heart of Gold” went on to become Neil Young’s only #1 hit. Backup vocals on the track were provided by no less than James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. Rolling Stone ranked this song at #297 on their Top 500 Songs of All Time.

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Heart Of Glass

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Heart Of Gold

Found on AcidCow

Flower Power Friday

While in the future I shall try to keep Flower Power Friday entertaining by spotlighting some of the lesser-played songs of the sixties, I simply must include this all-time psychedelic classic. Inspired by the “Alice in Wonderland” stories of Lewis Carroll, “White Rabbit” was written and performed by Grace Slick while still with a band called The Great Society. Upon the departure of Jefferson Airplane’s original lead singer Signe Toly Anderson in late 1966, the group chose Slick as her replacement and she arrived bringing this song as well as “Somebody to Love”. Released in 1967 and included on the group’s second album, “Surrealistic Pillow”, both went on to become major hits and helped propel Jefferson Airplane to national and international success. “White Rabbit” reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the Summer of Love and is ranked at #478 on Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 500 Songs of All Time.

The video above is a recording of the Airplane’s appearance on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in 1967, notable not only for introducing psychedelic rock to a nationwide audience but also for being taped in full color with the early use of Chroma-Key or “green screen” technology being employed to replicate the light show effects presented at live Jefferson Airplane concerts.

buy the mp3 for 1.29 from Amazon: White Rabbit

Roger Daltrey Sheep

…Tommy, can you shear me?

New Wave Wednesday

Welcome to “New Wave Wednesday”, the latest ride in this musical amusement park I call a blog. Arising in the late 1970s, New Wave quickly separated itself from the contemporary punk rock movement and entered the 1980s as a distinct musical genre which came to define the sound of the first half of that decade. The 1981 launch of the MTV network provided a platform for the music to reach out to a wide audience, as did the release of numerous popular films incorporating New Wave songs in their soundtrack. Throw in an abundance of catchy one-hit wonder tunes and the age of New Wave, though relatively brief in retrospect, stands out as a rich and memorable era in popular music history.

“Once in a Lifetime” has to be one of the most famous songs to never crack the Billboard Hot 100. The first single from the Talking Heads’ 1981 album “Remain in Light”, it reached number 14 in the U.K., but failed to chart in the United States despite heavy rotation of the music video on the fledgling MTV music network. The song has since become one of the Talking Heads’ most popular songs as well as a favorite of pop culture historians. National Public Radio included this song on their list of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century, and the video above is shown in the New York Museum of Modern Art.

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Once In A Lifetime (Remastered LP Version )

Vote Beatles

There’s really no wrong way to vote today.

Found on the tumblr of Dominique Pruitt

Popular music has always been associated with style, and most artists have a look that is as unique as their sound. For reference purposes, we present this handy guide to aid in the field identification of musicians spotted in the wild:

A Visual Compendium of Notable Haircuts in Popular Music

Notable Haircuts in Popular Music

(Click on image to view full size)

Found on Top Cultured

Moon-day Music Match-up

Good morning, and happy Moon-day to you! Today sees the premiere of another new feature, the Moon-Day Music Match-up, in which I present two songs that have been just asking to battle to the death for your affection and leave the outcome in your hands. Inspired by last week’s musical card trick, we will kick things off with a showdown reminiscent of the card game “War” we all all spent countless hours playing in our childhood.

Moon-Day Music Matchup #1:

“Queen of Hearts” by Juice Newton vs. “Queen of Spades” by Styx

“Queen of Hearts” comes from Juice Newton’s 1981 album “Juice”.
In September of that year it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold.

“Queen of Spades” is from the 1978 Styx album “Pieces of Eight”.
The album went triple-platinum and made it to #6 on the Billboard album chart.

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Queen of Hearts

buy the mp3 for .99 from Amazon: Queen of Spades

I have seen photos of various cool turntable rings floating around the internet. In the name of being a full-service blog, I took it upon myself to find out out whether these were actual products one could purchase, and if so, where. The good news is these are indeed actual items of jewelry. But I am sorry to report the results are quite disappointing in terms of availability and price. They are still fun to look at, however.

Turntable Ring 1
$147 but out of stock at Oye Modern

Turntable Ring 2
$79.20 but sold out at 80s Purple

Turntable Ring 3
One available for $550 on Etsy

SyFy’s Blastr site has a collection of their 57 favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy Album Covers. These are just a few of the ones which caught my eye. Have a favorite? Share it in the comments!

Ringo Starr - Goodnight Vienna
Vangelis - Hypothesis
Asia - Alpha
Chevelle - Sci-fi Crimes
Iron Maiden - Brave New World
Starcastle - Citadel
Queen - News of the World

Rick Rolls

Except this once.

Found on imgfave

Flower Power Friday

Welcome to “Flower Power Friday”, the first of a few new features on this blog which I will be rolling out in the next week or two. On Fridays I will be sharing songs which hail from the glorious days of the counterculture revolution. The late 1960s and early 1970s were a time of great social upheaval and cultural change. The hippie counterculture made its home base in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, where creative bohemian types explored new frontiers in music and art. The key word was experimentation, which they did on their minds with psychedelic drugs and in their music by pushing the boundaries of song structure and lyrical content. Join me here each Friday and we will take our own acid trip of discovery into this rich musical wonderland.

“San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)” was written by John Philips of the Mamas and Papas and sung by Scott McKenzie as a welcoming call to the Monterey Pop Festival, which in June 1967 helped kick off the Summer of Love and gave a jolt of momentum to the entire hippie movement. Released in May 1967, it reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 by July and remained there the whole month. In the U.K. and much of Europe the song went all the way to number one. Its popularity is said to have been a major influence on the thousands of young people who heeded its words and came to San Francisco in the late 1960s to join the flower-power revolution.

Scott McKenzie recently passed away on August 18, 2012, at the age of 73.

buy the mp3 for 1.29 from Amazon:
San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) (Album Version)
Or get the live version from the Monterey Pop Festival:
San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)

How Were You Born

My dad was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus rolling down Highway 41. I guess there’s not really a good icon for that.

Found on the Berry

Like everything else in life, card tricks are infinitely more enjoyable when they come with their own soundtrack.

Paul McCartney: Yoko Ono didn’t break up the Beatles

Beatles with Yoko Ono 1969

Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting. In one of Paul McCartney’s longest interviews ever, the former Beatle recently sat down with David Frost and spoke for an hour on a wide range of topics. The program is scheduled to air next month, but has already made news with the publication of Sir Paul’s comments on the genesis of the pop-culture quake that shook the world in 1970 – the breakup of the Beatles.

“She certainly didn’t break the group up.” Vilified by Beatles fans for over four decades now, Yoko Ono could not ask for a more unequivocal statement from a more authoritative source. McCartney went on to note that “the group was breaking up [anyway]”, and that as John Lennon’s tastes and interests were changing, “it was time for John to leave, he was definitely going to leave [one way or another].” In what may be one of the greatest understatements of all time, McCartney pronounced himself at peace with the timing of the breakup due to the fact that the group was able to part ways having accomplished “a neat body of work.”

Full story at The Guardian

photo by Linda McCartney


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My as-yet unpublished novel - The Great American Rock-and-Roll Detective Story, "Jack Chance and the End of Paradise".

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