John Fogerty, Fortunate Son & Survivor Of The Cutthroat Music Industry
The Story Of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Leader
“I am a bit of a control freak,” admits John Fogerty in his autobiography Fortunate Son: My Life My Music (Little, Brown & Co. – 2015).
It’s a justifiable sentiment, because if John Fogerty was not a control freak, Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) would never have become one of the most popular rock bands in the world.
Many CCR fans may be unaware, that Fogerty‘s bandmates; bassist Stu Cook, drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford and Fogerty‘s older brother, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, until CCR’s final album, contributed nothing to the band in terms of music, lyrics, production, mixing and arrangements of songs. Without John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival was nothing, according to Fogerty.
While that may sound like a self-inflated opinion, it is probably more of an objective fact. Between 1968 to 1972, John Fogerty as lead singer, sole songwriter, lead guitarist, arranger and producer, garnered over 20 hit singles and millions of album sales. CCR’s commercial success during that time was rivaled by no one except the Beatles and possibly Led Zeppelin. Continue reading →
Foghat Gives An Incredible Live Performance – 1974
Why is it that the 1970s produced dozens of incredibly talented rock bands?
Certainly one reason is creative singer-songwriters proliferated and produced songs that have stood the test of time.
Foghat c. 1974 standing: Tony Stevens, front l-r “Lonesome Dave” Peverett, Rod Price, Roger Earl photo: London Features
Foghat was one of the many bands that came from England and triumphed in America. Today it has been forgotten that Foghat was among the top grossing live bands of the 70s. Even with one double platinum and eight gold records, Foghat today have been mostly bypassed in rock history as a novelty boogie rock band.
Throughout the 1970s their albums and live performances won praise from music fans. Foghat was constantly heard on FM stations. Radio staples like Slow Ride and Fool For The City are still played today.
And boy could they put on a live show. Foghat were simply beasts on stage in front of an audience.
In this fantastic 1974 version of the Willie Dixon penned blues classic I Just Want To Make Love To You, Foghat makes eleven minutes go by awfully fast. Foghat looks like they are having the best time ever being in a rock band.
This is one incredible exuberant, fun and blistering performance from Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. Unfortunately the narcoleptic audience doesn’t realize what they are seeing regardless of the added applause track.
Boris Kosović, Multi-Talented Rocker In A Band That Shunned The Spotlight, Dies
Boris Kosović founder, lead singer and guitarist of Gruhak, in an undated photo
(We wrote a story about the amazing Croatian band Gruhak, in 2016 that can be read here.)
Boris Kosović the energetic vocalist-guitarist and sole remaining original member of the band Gruhak died on Thursday, September 20 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He had been battling cancer for a year and a half. Kosović was 40-years-old.
How do you take heavy metal music and turn them into lullabies?
Until the other day I wouldn’t have known.
Still, I’m quite aware, popular music can be given any type of rendition.
Once about 20 years ago at the venerable Strand bookstore, I heard classical music being played over their sound system. I wasn’t paying close attention to the song. But I started listening closer. It sounded familiar, yet I couldn’t distinguish exactly what was being played. After about two minutes it hit me – it was Metallica and the song Harvester of Sorrow! That was the first time I heard Apocalyptica, a classical group comprised of cellists and they had recorded entire albums covering Metallica.
So it was only a matter of time before someone came up with the bright idea of making lullabies out of heavy metal songs. Hence, I recently discovered Iron Maiden tunes done as lullabies. The question you might ask is, why?
Does it matter?
If you like Iron Maiden, this should put a smile on your face, The first song I heard was The Trooper.
Never Send Mom To The Record Store To Buy A Record – A True Story
There was a time when the only way to buy music was to purchase it on tape or vinyl, usually at a record or department store. The year was 1983 and a friend of mine, Kyle worked in the local record store.
His knowledge and love of rock n’ roll led him to pursue this part-time minimum wage position to help support his college tuition.
Kyle’s job was to stock the store with new product as it came in and help customers with any needs.
So one day as Kyle is sorting vinyl he notices a middle-aged woman looking at the bins that hold the records. She was obviously not finding whatever it was she was searching for in the “R” section.
Kyle approached the woman, smiled and said. “Can I help you find something?”
“Oh, yes,” the woman replied, “my son sent me to buy the new rubber plant record, but I can’t seem to find it.”
Kyle’s eyebrows went up and he repeated the name to her, “rubber plant?”
“Yes, rubber plant,” the woman confirmed distinctly emphasizing-the last r in rubber. Continue reading →
Hearing Classic Rock’s Greatest Voices Like You’ve Never Heard Them Before
Rare Audio From 10 Great Rock Bands With The Vocals Isolated
Unlike the garbage pop music that is popular today, the vocalists of the great rock bands of the 60s and 70s did not have an array of modern gadgets to fix their voices. Either you could sing or you couldn’t. In the pre-digital era there was no autotune and multi-track studio trickery was limited to looping and a few other production tricks.
So it should come as no surprise that their were once were musical giants that walked the earth. Bands such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Heart, Queen, Boston and dozens of others where the vocalists could not only cut it live, but could go into a recording studio and leave pure magic on tape and vinyl.
Without having access to the master recording tapes, some enterprising music fans have made a hobby of isolating each individual part of a band’s recording to see how the song breaks down. The most interesting of these efforts are the vocal isolations.
If you ever had any doubt as to how much talent each of these musicians had, then prepare to be blown away by these performances.
First up, if Heart’s Ann Wilson doesn’t have the best pure voice in rock n’ roll then I don’t know who does. 40 plus years later Ann Wilson hasn’t lost much of her range. The singing on Barracuda is a careful balance between pyrotechnic raw emotion and incredible vocal control.
There are a handful of people who still dismiss Led Zeppelin and the vocal prowess of a young Robert Plant. For those who think that Robert Plant and Zeppelin were nothing special check out the unadulterated vocals with absolutely no effects from Ramble On off of Led Zeppelin II.
Probably the song with THE single greatest acrobatic vocal performance EVER in rock ‘n’ roll. Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan hits unimaginable heights on Child In Time from 1970. Continue reading →
Things You Will Find At The Allentown Book & Paper Show
On a cloudless Saturday at eight forty in the morning, a line of about 200 eager men and women snaked its way around Agricultural Hall at the Allentown Fairgrounds in Allentown, PA.
They were anxiously awaiting the April 21 opening of the two day Allentown Book and Paper Show, an all encompassing smorgasbord of anything and everything collectible that has a relationship to paper.
On the show floor a few minutes before 9:00 am,, show promoter Sean Klutinoty announced to the 170 dealers over the public address system, that the anxious crowd would soon be admitted. This was the cue for the dealers to return to their tables. They had set up their stalls the day before but quite a few dealers were scurrying about making some last minute purchases from one another.
Searching through hundreds of thousands of postcards
At nine sharp, customers started filing in. Like bees who fly precise routes to pollinate flowers, the mad dash began for people to get to their favorite dealer. For those who do not have a special dealer to go to, there is a rush to visit each booth methodically row by row.
Each patron is searching for something particular and they ask dealers if they possess whatever special item they seek, before the competition, real or imagined, swoops in and beats them to it.
Another aisle of postcard row
If it made of paper and you cannot find it in Allentown that is the exception.
Unlike a book show where you have books and some ephemera, at a paper show there is literally no limit on what antiquity or modern collectible you may find. Continue reading →
If They Had, It Probably Wouldn’t Have Sounded As Good As Randy Jackson Of Zebra’s Acoustic Solo Version
Led Zeppelin never got to perform Carouselambra live. It’s a ten minute thirty four second synthesizer driven opus.
This version of Carouselambra performed by Zebra’s Randy Jackson is absolutely spectacular.
Carouselambra is one of the radio’s least played Led Zeppelin songs. Maybe it is because of the length of the song or maybe it is the mix which is not up to the usual Led Zeppelin standards. Whatever the reason, besides its enigmatic and haunting lyrics, Carouselambra has some very strong points.
Randy Jackson (lead singer and guitarist of Zebra) not only does the song justice, but turns in an amazing solo performance. Remember, this song was originally recorded with swirling keyboards, guitars, bass and drums. (At end of our story is the original Zeppelin recording.)
The Story of Carouselambra
After the sudden death of Robert Plant’s five-year-old son Karac from a virus in 1977, touring came to an immediate halt and the band went on hiatus. Robert Plant distanced himself from his band mates.
After a long period of self-introspection, Plant decided he was ready to make music again. In December 1978, Led Zeppelin convened to make their final studio album, In Through The Out Door. Three weeks of recording time in Stockholm’s Polar Studios, owned by members of ABBA, were mainly consumed by bassist John Paul Jones and singer Robert Plant. The pair, who had never been the closest of friends, spent a lot of time together and ended up writing almost all of the music and lyrics for the album.
John Paul Jones told Zeppelin biographer Barney Hoskyns, “The band was splitting between people who could turn up at recording sessions on time and people who couldn’t,” Continue reading →
Sweet – The 1970s Band That Should Have Been As Big As Anyone. They Released Their Final Hit In January 1978 – Love Is Like Oxygen
A Story of Sweet Success And Missed Opportunities
Sweet in their glam band outfits circa 1973. From l-r Brian Connolly, Steve Priest, Andy Scott and drummer Mick Tucker holding guitar.
If you were to name a rock band that should have had long-lasting, international success and made a major musical impact but didn’t, one of the top contenders would have to be Sweet.
In the pantheon of great rock bands, Sweet has been forgotten.
There are many reasons for this amnesiac neglect. Possibly the reasons add up like this: a series of bad breaks; not being taken seriously by a dismissive, indifferent critical press; an insufficient amount of American touring and radio exposure; and unsure musical direction. But certainly not because of a lack of producing great rock music.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sweet’s final hit Love Is Like Oxygen which was released in January 1978. We’ll discuss the song at the end of this article, but here is an abbreviated version from the TV program Top of The Pops.
A very similar band from the same time, Queen, became, a juggernaut, filling arenas and stadiums, having tens of millions of album sales and critical acclaim – all things Sweet seemed destined to achieve, but didn’t.
And if you don’t think Queen was heavily influenced by Sweet, then maybe you should have a listen.
Despite over 35 million album sales and moderate touring success around Europe, Sweet never lived up to their potential. With the exception of a handful of songs, Sweet was rarely played on American radio, hampering whatever breakthrough success they deserved.
Today, younger listeners unfamiliar with Sweet during their heyday, will rarely be able to name the band when they hear them. They recognize the songs, but often mistake the band’s music for that of E.L.O., the Bee Gees, Queen or some other band.
In the 1970s, Sweet, an English glam pop band, morphed into a serious hard rock band with a long list of hits in the United States and England. Originally they recorded songs written by others, primarily their managers and main songwriters Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn.
But Sweet was more than just a Three Dog Night, Grass Roots or Monkees sort of band. Those bands could barely get by playing an instrument live and never or rarely wrote any of their own songs.
Sweet’s bass player Steve Priest, drummer Mick Tucker, guitarist Andy Scott and lead vocalist Brian Connolly were all accomplished musicians who could write and play their own music and do it damn well.
What made Sweet stand out was their vocal harmonies.
Frequently featured on the weekly British music show Top of the Pops, Sweet would, as the custom was at the time, go on stage and lip synch what they had done on record. Their disdain for lip synching was apparent and they would often make a mockery of their own performances.
Their early “hits,” all written by Chapman and Chinn, were simple but immensely catchy ditties, in the genre known as “bubblegum rock.” Innocent lyrics with just a bit of double entendre intended for a teen audience.
Blockbuster, Wig Wam Bam, Funny Funny, and the American crossover hit Little Willy were just a few of their early chart successes. These were followed by more hits Hell Raiser, No You Don’t, AC-DC, Turn It Down and Sweet’s most famous song The Ballroom Blitz. Continue reading →