Category Archives: Music

A Great Beatles Cover Band – Blac Rabbit, Live In Central Park

A Central Park Treat

Blac Rabbit Plays The Beatles “If I Needed Someone” & “She Said”

Blac Rabbbit performs The BEatles If I Needed SomeoneIf you search on YouTube you will find many  videos of Beatles covers done by hundreds of artists. I think these guys are among the best.

Twin brothers, songwriters, singers, and guitarists Amiri and Rahiem Taylor from Rockaway Beach, NY, make up the nucleus of Blac Rabbit. The brothers have been featured on the Ellen TV show.

Here the duo play at the Mall in Central Park on September 4, 2020.

While videotaping I was flabbergasted that no one stopped to listen. People kept walking by as if this was just a normal performance. Uh, no. These two musicians are super talented, especially handling vocal harmonies.

Among the “crowd” were about 12 people sitting 50 feet opposite the brothers, politely clapping after each song.

As I watched them breeze through spot-on renditions of many Beatles classics, quite a number of people, including myself, did make a contribution in the guitar case. After 25 minutes, regrettably I had to leave.

I believe John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr would be pleased with the handling of their songs.

Blac Rabbit also compose and perform originals which are pretty good.

Though I did not start the camera quickly enough I did record a good amount of She Said.

Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson’s Memories of Producer Martin Birch

How Martin Birch Helped Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson

Iron Maiden 1982 (l-r) Clive Burr, engineer Nigel Green, Dave Murray, Martin Birch, Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Adrian Smith photo via The Walk of Fame

Martin Birch, the music producer who worked with more than a score of rock’s legendary groups died Sunday, August 9, 2020 at age 71. No cause of death was announced. He leaves behind his wife Vera and daughter Haley. Continue reading

“A French magazine printed my obituary. How did I die? I dunno, it was in French.” – Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister

20 Great Heavy Metal Quotes

Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead died in 2015, but supplied our headline quote a few years before his passing.

The man who spoke with Lemmy was Dave Ling. As a U.K. rock journalist, Ling has spent countless hours interviewing the greats of the heavy metal world. I strongly recommend his website.

Within Ling’s site there are hundreds of quotations from hard rock artists.

Here are 20 quotations that are funny, scathing and somewhat insightful.

“Lemmy came to me once and said ‘Alice, I have quit drinking,’ and he had a drink in his hand! I replied ‘That must be Coca-Cola?’, and he said ‘No, there’s a little whiskey in there’. His idea of not drinking was not drinking a bottle of whiskey each night. Maybe just five or six drinks.”
Alice Cooper in 2019

Do I have any theories on why our audience keeps coming back? Maybe it’s some kind of intense communal masochistic urge?”
Rush’s Geddy Lee.

“I’m sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sound exactly the same. In fact, we’ve made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.”
AC/DC’s Angus Young.

“People keep asking why we don’t play ‘Sinner’ anymore. I tell them it’s because we’ve repented.”
KK Downing, Judas Priest.

“Sharon told me about a place where they teach you to drink properly. It was the Betty Ford Centre. I thought, ‘That’s it! I’ve been doing it wrong!’. So I walk in, expecting a demonstration of how to drink a Martini, and I say, ‘Hi Betty Ford, where’s the bar?’ This receptionist is like, ‘What?!'”
Ozzy Osbourne.

“Mae West whispered to me, ‘Why don’t you come on back to my trailer?’ I said: ‘Because you’re 86 years old and I’m not even sure if you’re a woman or not’. But if I hadn’t have been married I would’ve gone. Definitely. Just for the experience.”
Alice Cooper.“

“Adding rap to rock music is a bit like taking the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen to a plastic surgeon, then asking him to give her a penis.”
Manowar’s Karl Logan. Continue reading

5 Of The Greatest UK Hard Rock Songs You (Probably) Never Heard Of

Five Of The Greatest & Least Known UK Hard Rock Songs (Unless You’re a Fan Of The Band)

Slade photo Paul Cox

Slade on stage photo Paul Cox

I’ve seen hundreds of rock bands live. Working in the music industry afforded me a close-up look at greatness. Unfortunately many times the public does not recognize, let alone buy greatness. Continue reading

Five Rock Songs You Didn’t Know Were Cover Versions

 Original Songs Made Popular By Other Bands

Badfinger photograph

Badfinger (l-r) Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans, Joey Molland

There are literally hundreds of songs that qualify for this category: hit songs, that are not the original version. Among these are some songs you probably never knew were cover versions. We’re focusing on classic rock songs so let’s cut right to the chase.

First we’ll present the more famous cover version, followed by the original.

Hanging on the Telephone

Blondie’s 1979 breakthrough album, Parallel Lines, opens with a telephone ringing which is the intro to the frantic opening track Hanging on the Telephone. The album contains one catchy song after another. In a June 2008 interview with Sound on Sound magazine, producer Mike Chapman says he told the band, “Think of being onstage. Imagine you’re playing this to an audience, because we’re trying to record something that you’re going to have to listen to for the rest of your lives. So if this is not a high-energy performance, you’re going to say, ‘How come we now do it better live than on the record?’ In the case of ‘Hanging On The Telephone‘, that’s probably the best track on the album in terms of energy, although ‘One Way Or Another‘ has a similar edge.”

The Nerves, were a power trio comprised of Jack Lee, Paul Collins and Peter Case. They released only one four song EP in 1976 which included Hanging on the Telephone. In 1973 composer Jack Lee came up with the title for the song  after reading The Illustrated Beatles. The book contained a cartoon of a woman with a phone wrapping around her neck. The illustration was above the lyrics of All I’ve Got To Do. Lee thought Hanging on the telephone and kept repeating it to himself.

The next day the lyrics just came to him in a flash. He began playing G and E flat chords and banged out the song. Lee says,  “the quality of hanging of the telephone is a lot was sacrificed in time and in tension into that song and I think it really gave me such confidence in my skill. Because before anybody gave me any validation on the song I know I was on to something
and also the reaction I was getting from people that had other agendas other than to give me  unsolicited compliments that I knew that I was on to something.”

The Nerves never broke big, but Hanging on the Telephone results in a continuing music publishing income stream for Jack Lee.

Without You

Harry Nilsson had a string of top 10 hits in the late 60s through the mid 70s including  Everybody’s Talkin’; I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City, Coconut; Jump in the Fire and many others. But Nilsson’s career defining song was a 1971 release, Without You.

Without You was written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and released in 1970 on the album No Dice. Badfinger is much better known for No Matter What, Baby Blue, Come and Get It (written by Paul McCartney) and Day After Day. Their catalog of great songs runs deep.

But due to mismanagement, most music fans are familiar with songs the band released during its abbreviated period of popularity. Stan Polley, manager of Badfinger, should have his picture in the dictionary next to the word evil. Ham hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home in 1975 implicating Polley for his despondency. In his suicide note Ham wrote, “P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me.” Eight years later in 1983 Tom Evans, was arguing with bandmate Joey Molland about the royalties for “Without You.” Evans put down the phone, went to the garden and hanged himself. Many of Evans friends believe he had never gotten over Ham’s suicide. A sad story attached to a sad song.

Continue reading

Rush Drummer Neil Peart Dies At 67 – Brain Tumor Diagnosis Kept Secret

Neil Peart Had Brain Cancer For Over Three Years…And Told Almost No One

Neil Peart Rush drummer 1978

Neil Peart of Rush – A Farewell To Kings tour book 1978

The surprising news that Rush’s extraordinary drummer and lyricist Neil Peart has died at age 67, comes as a shock to the world. While music lovers will try to absorb the stunning news, only Peart’s family, band mates and a few close friends knew this day was imminently closer than anyone realized.

Peart passed away quietly in Santa Monica, CA on Tuesday, January 7 of brain cancer. For over three years Peart was fighting the disease. His close circle of friends knew his predicament. Everyone else had no idea.

Peart’s survivors include his wife Carrie and daughter Olivia. Peart escaped a media frenzy of reporting on his illness, as doubtless there would be, had anyone known about his cancer. That’s the kind of man Neil Peart was. Ferocious on drums. Private, quiet and introspective in life. Peart did not want consolation from the world by sharing that he was ill. His reticence to speak publicly, well established.

Rush in limo 1978 Peart Lifeson Lee

Rush 1978 (l-r) Neil Peart Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

On tour in the early 1990s I met both Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee backstage shortly after a show at Madison Square Garden. We talked for a minute. Continue reading

Why Def Leppard Doesn’t Want The Public To See This Video

The Original Def Leppard, LIVE In 1980 Perform Almost The Entire On Through The Night LP

Def Leppard Was Once A Heavy Metal Band: Then They Started Writing Pop

What Happened?

Their Main Hard Rock Songwriter & Guitarist Was Fired

Can We Forget About The Past?

Here is Pete Willis and the original Def Leppard performing almost in its entirety, one of the ten greatest debut rock albums of all-time.

UPDATE JULY 8. 2020 – No surprise, you will not see the video. For now it has been pulled by original poster – FresnoMediaRestoration. I wonder why??? Hmmmmm.

UPDATE JULY 21 – The video is back! (For now…)

When Def Leppard recorded their first major label album, they were a heavy metal band though they never called themselves that.

l-r Rick Savage, Joe Elliott, Pete Willis, Rick Allen & Steve Clark c 1980

It was 1980 and Def Leppard had just been signed to a deal with Mercury Records. They were signed on the basis of what three years of honing and craft perfection had wrought – On Through The Night. Previously in 1979, the band printed its own EP and sold an astounding 18,000 copies.

Within the music industry, in order for any band to get a record deal, the band must put forth only their best material. And that is what On Through The Night is. Eleven mostly blistering songs played at a frantic pace with songwriting that displays an ear for catchy and memorable songs.

Here’s the most incredible thing about this video performance of that first album — singer Joe Elliott is 21, guitarists Steve Clark & Pete Willis are 20, bass player Rick Savage is 19 and drummer Rick Allen is – are you kidding me? — 16!!!!

Continue reading

The Story Of The Beatles Butcher Cover – 1966

The Beatles Choose A Bizarre Photograph For A Controversial Album Cover – 1966

And The Alternate Covers You’ve Never Seen

Beatles Yesterday and Today original LP cover

The Beatles decided to use this photograph for their Yesterday and Today album cover.

The four normally squeaky clean Beatles had dressed in smocks resembling butcher’s garb with dismembered dolls and pieces of meat dripping crimson. It was supposed to be a bit of fun. The Beatles “Butcher cover” ended up a big fiasco.

Maybe today this cover would not even raise an eyebrow. But in 1966 this album cover shocked the music industry.

Billboard Magazine June 25, 1966

‘Salesman of the various Capitol records Distributing Corp’s branches are recuperating from a busy weekend spent stripping the latest Beatles album, “The Beatles Yesterday And Today’.
Some 750,000 albums, which were pressed, packaged and shipped to the factory branches, have been recalled for repackaging. Reason for the recall is the cover art, which shows the Beatles in white smocks surrounded by what appears to be dismembered baby dolls and butcher shop cuts of meat.

According to some reliable reports, none of these albums have reached dealer shelves, although some have been received by reviewers and rack jobbers. Capitol has a new cover printed, showing four nearly neatly dressed Beatles inside and draped around a trunk.

Alan W. Livingstone, president of Capitol Records, explained the cover recall: “The original cover in England was intended as ‘pop art satire’. However, a sampling of public opinion in the United States indicates that the cover design is subject to interpretation. For this reason, and to avoid any possible controversy, or undeserved harm to the Beatles’ image or reputation, Capitol has chosen to withdraw the LP and substitute a more generally acceptable design.

Meanwhile, Capitol is making a painstaking effort to recall the covers to make sure they are destroyed. Reviewers are requested to return the cover to Capitol, and dealers who have received streamers are asked to hold them until a salesman calls.

The butcher cover was and still is one of the most controversial record covers ever produced. So what is the story behind it?

Photographer Robert Whitaker had worked with the Beatles previously so he was no stranger to having them before his lens.

On March 25, 1966 Whitaker took a series of promotional photographs of the Beatles. Instead of the typical boring shoot, Whitaker had the Beatles doing wacky things with props in unconventional poses.

Whitaker posed the band holding sausages. George Harrison had his head placed in a birdcage. Continue reading

K.K. Downing Of Judas Priest Returns To The Stage Minus Judas Priest

Combine 3 Former Priest Members With Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson, And You’ve Come Up With A Band That Sounds Better Than The Current Judas Priest Line-Up

Judas Priest founding member, guitarist K.K. Downing retired from the band in 2011 due to concerns about conflict within the band, its management company and the quality of their live performances. Since then Downing has talked about reuniting with his former band, especially after Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton stepped down from touring in 2018 due to his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

But hard feelings remain between elements of the band and their management, with Downing so no reunification is foreseeable.

K.K. Downing, 2019

So what did Downing do a couple of weeks ago? He performed with a band that proved it can out-Priest, Judas Priest.

How do you accomplish that? Continue reading