Saturday, December 6, 2014

Doubling the Goodbyes

Last month on November 17th, American soul singer Jimmy Ruffin passed away at the age of 78 in Las Vegas, NV. Older brother of David Ruffin of The Temptations, this Motown legend had several hit records between the 1960s and 1980s, the most successful being the Top 10 hits "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" and "Hold On (To My Love)." Remaining one of the most-revived of Motown hits, the "What Becomes..." ballad reached #7 on the Billboard chart and #6 on the R&B chart in 1966. Jimmy Ruffin will be truly missed but his amazing voice will never be forgotten. Love this one.
This week on December 3rd, keyboardist for the rock bands Small Faces and Faces, Ian "Mac" McLagan, died of a stroke in Austin, Texas. The English musician (in yellow on the left), who also collaborated with The Rolling Stones, was 69 years old. With memorable songs like "Itchychoo Park" and "Tin Soldier," Small Faces' music output from the mid to late sixties remains among the most acclaimed British mod and psychedelic music of that era. Released in December of 1967 and peaking at #9 on the UK chart, here's a live performance of "Tin Soldier" with American singer P. P. Arnold on backing vocals and the iconic sound of Mac's keyboard.

And because it's a great tune, here's their best-known song, "Itchychoo Park," a #3 UK hit in 1967.  

Farewell to these great musicians.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Farewell to THE Bassist

This week, we lost one of the greatest bassists of all time: Jack Bruce. Known primarily as a member of the British power trio Cream, Bruce was an innovative multi-instrumentalist, combining blues, rock, and jazz music. A classically trained cellist (with a scholarship to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music) who learned jazz as a teenager, he performed with several bands including John Mayall & The Bluesbreaker (where he met Eric Clapton) and Manfred Mann, eventually forming Cream with Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker. Gaining international recognition playing blues-rock and jazz-inflected rock music, Bruce sang most of the lead vocals, with Clapton backing him up (who eventually sang lead himself). Before breaking up in 1968, Bruce co-wrote most of Cream's single releases with lyricist Pete Brown, including the hits "Sunshine of Your Love," "White Room" (previously featured here) and "I Feel Free." In addition to solo albums, collaborative efforts with musicians continued as a theme of Bruce's career. The Scottish musician died of liver disease on October 25th at the age of 71.

Released in December 1966, "I Feel Free" was the first song recorded by Cream and their second hit single, reaching #11 in the UK. Written by Bruce (with lyrics by Pete Brown), this classic tune showcases the band's musical diversity, effectively combining blues rock with psychedelic pop.

Written by Bruce and Brown with Clapton, "Sunshine of Your Love" was released as a single in January 1968, becoming Cream's only gold-selling single in the US. Featuring Bruce's distinctive bass riff and Clapton's iconic guitar solo, it reached #5 in the America and #25 in the UK. After Bruce and Clapton attended a Jimi Hendrix Experience concert in London, Bruce returned home and wrote the riff that runs throughout the song. Clapton later wrote the song's refrain (which also yielded the song's title) and drummer Ginger Baker came up with the song's temp, which was based on African drumming. Ranked among Rolling Stones' 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, be sure to also check out the famous live performance of Cream's Farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1968 (here).

Farewell to incomparable Jack Bruce.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Farewell to the Madman of Rock 'n' Roll

Paul Revere, leader of Paul Revere & The Raiders, passed away last Saturday in his Idaho home at the age of 76. As rock organist and founder of The Raiders, Revere (the blond on the left) teamed up with singer Mark Lindsay in 1958, and found their biggest success in the mid-'60s and early '70s with hits like "Kicks" (featured here), "Hungry," and the Platinum-certified #1 single
"Indian Reservation" (1971). With Revere's hyperactive, enthusiastic stage presence, the band's fame grew as The Raiders appeared on shows like American Bandstand and Where the Action Is, with thanks to Dick Clark.
Paul Revere remained active with The Raiders for decades, becoming a fixture on the oldies circuit in recent years.

 From their 1967 album Revolution!, "Him or Me - What's It Gonna Be?" was written by Mark Lindsay with the band's producer Terry Melcher, and became a #5 hit on the Billboard chart. Although they're missing their three-cornered hats in this video, here are The Raiders in their signature, Revolutionary attire. Gotta love the dance moves.

Here's some great footage of Paul Revere & The Raiders on Hollywood Palace in late 1966 with host Ray Bolger (the famous scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz). A #20 hit, "The Great Airplane Strike" was based on an instance when all planes were grounded and The Raiders were forced to bus their way to their next gig. Oh yeah, forgot to mention: The Raiders hold the title of having more television airings in the decade of the 60's then any other rock band in history, over 750 airings!

And as a bonus video, this is another great quality one from NBC's Hullabaloo! Introduced by guest host Michael Landon, Paul Revere & The Raider serve up another rockin' performance of "Steppin' Out." (And where can I find a Mondrian dress like these dancers'!).

Farewell to this vivacious rock organist, lovingly referred to as the "Madman of Rock 'n' Roll."
 Paul Revere will be greatly missed!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

British Invasion Tour!

Well, it's been awhile since I've attended a concert, but looks like I picked a good one to get back into the swing of things! Last week at Harrah's Resort in Southern California, I witnessed the return of rock royalty on the British Invasion's 50th Anniversary Tour! Featuring iconic singers of the '60s rock revolution, the legendary lineup included Billy J. Kramer (&The Dakotas), Chad & Jeremy, Mike Pender (of The Searchers), Denny Laine (of The Moody Blues & Wings), and Terry Sylvester (of The Hollies and The Swinging Blue Jeans). What a treat seeing these musicians share the stage for the first time ever! Originally, Gerry & The Pacemakers were a prominent part of this tour, but after Gerry Marsden's forced pull-out due to illness, The Hollies' Terry Sylvester was a great addition to the ongoing tour. While I know many fans were disappointed to miss out on classic songs like "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'" and "Ferry Cross the Mersey," it was an enjoyable night of fine music!

All ready to go in my Union Jack attire, complete with vinyl record purse (which drew quite a bit of attention; a few people even asked to take a picture of it!). 

The night was really enhanced by the great mix of classic footage and live feed of each musician projected on the large screens on both sides of the stage. My seat was initially much further back but I was upgraded when a nice lady handed me an extra ticket!

Although The Hollies' Terry Sylvester started off the show with a tune that most of the audience seemed unfamiliar with ("I Can't Let
Go"), he really got the crowd going with the hit "Bus Stop," followed by "Carrie Anne." Before he joined The Hollies in 1968 (replacing Graham Nash on the higher harmonies), Sylvester was a guitarist/vocalist with another British Invasion group, The Swinging Blue Jeans. It was great hearing him wail their hit single, "Hippy Hippy Shake" (#2 in the UK in late '63). He was a pleasant surprise and sounded really great! Here's classic footage of The Hollies performing "Carrie Anne," with Terry Sylvester playing guitar on the left.

Next in the lineup was another famous Liverpool musician, Mike Pender of The Searchers, and this guy was adorable! OK, maybe that's the wrong description because he really rocked
on guitar and his voice sounded fantastic, but his banter in between songs was, well, adorable. He had a great set of songs including "Sugar and Spice," "Don't Throw Your Love Away," "Love Potion No. 9," and "Needles and Pins" (even gave credit to Sonny Bono for writing that last one). All his famous guitar licks sounded spot-on on his beautiful Rickenbacker. Like The Hollies, Swinging Blue Jeans, Gerry & The Pacemakers, and The Beatles, The Searchers also emerged from the Merseybeat scene and have that distinct, jangly-guitar sound. It was great hearing it live! Here's The Searchers' remake of The Drifters' 1961 hit "Sweets For My Sweet," his lead-off tune on this tour.

The third act of the night was the folk rock duo Chad & Jeremy, and these
talented blokes were hilarious!. They opened with the a cappella "You Are She," their last hit single from the '60s (or "we're going to sing this Acapulco for you," as Chad called it), but I can't for the life of me find the original recording (no thanks to YouTube and iTunes). But I was very impressed with their tight harmonies, and throughout the night, they even proved "they've still got it" with their guitar skills. They had the audience rolling with laughter as they told entertaining stories, even making fun of their appearances on American TV shows like Batman and The Dick Van Dyke Show. The backing band did join them on a few numbers like "Yesterdays Gone," "Willow Weep For Me," and "A Summer Song." I thoroughly enjoyed this guys. Here's classic footage of the duo's first hit single, 1964's "Yesterday's Gone" (arranged by film composer John Barry).

After a brief intermission, another Liverpool lad was up next, Billy J. Kramer (originally with The Dakotas). While I most enjoyed the first half of the show, this part wasn't bad, but just not what I was expecting. Billy J. was a stud during the British Invasion, but I think he may of been having an off-night, plus I wasn't a fan of his current long hair. In the '60s, his manager was Brian Epstein (who also managed The Beatles), so Billy J. did give a nice tribute to Brian Epstein with his performance of a newer song called "To Liverpool With Love," and mentioned how he fought for Epstein to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Billy J. was friends with The Beatles, and he performed several of his hit songs written by Lennon-McCartney, including, "Bad To Me," I'll Keep You Satisfied," "From a Window," and "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" Here's a delightful 1964 performance of "Little Children," produced by George Martin; wasn't Billy J. a absolute doll back then?!
For the final act of the night, Denny Laine of The Moody Blues concluded the show on a high note, killing on guitar and sounding great on vocals. Although likely unfamiliar to much of the audience, I was
pleasantly surprised by one his songs, "Say You Don't Mind," which became a hit when recorded in 1972 by Colin Blunstone (lead singer of The Zombies). Denny's set was surprisingly short but definitely sweet, finishing with The Moody Blues' first hit in 1964, "Go Now." After a standing ovation, the encore was a great "all hands on deck" rendition of Paul McCartney's "Band On The Run" (as Denny Laine was also a member of Wings with McCartney from '71-'81, this seems totally appropriate). So fun seeing all the musicians of the British Invasion tour having a blast together. Here's more great footage of Denny Laine leading The Moody Blues on "Go Now."

Thanks again to all these talented Brits for treating us to a great night!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Farewell to a Songwriter

This month on the 11th, we lost 83-year-old Bob Crewe, a New Jersey-born songwriter, dancer, singer, manager, and record producer. He was known for producing, and co-writing with Bob Gaudio, a string of Top 10 singles for The Four Seasons. He was also known for his hit recordings with  Freddy Cannon, Lesley Gore, Oliver, Michael Jackson, Bobby Darin, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, and Roberta Flack.

Here are just a few of those hit records Crewe co-wrote and produced. Written with Bob Gaudio (keyboardist/backing vocalists of The Four Seasons), "Big Girls Don't Cry" was the second #1 hit for The Four Seasons in 1962, spending 5 weeks topping the charts, like its predecessor "Sherry." Sung mostly in falsetto by Frankie Valli, this song helped The Four Seasons become the first rock-era act to hit the top spot on the Hot 100 with their first two chart entries.

First made famous by The Rays in 1957, Bob Crewe's "Silhouettes" appeared on the charts again in the mid-'60s with Herman's Hermits. Crewe saw a couple embracing through a window shade as he passed on a train and quickly set about turning the image into a song. From 1965, this Hermits' version reached #5 in the US and #3 in the UK. 

Another Crewe and Gaudio collaboration, "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" was originally released as a single by Frankie Valli in 1965, however, was more successful when recorded by The Walker Brothers in 1966. A #1 hit in the UK and #13 in the US, this version was an imitation of Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" style, including a wordless chorus, strings, and echo effect, with the Walker Brothers even sounding like the Righteous Brothers.

"Music to Watch Girls By" was the first Top 40 hit by Bob Crewe using his own name, recorded by his group The Bob Crewe Generation. Crewe first heard the song performed in a "jingle demo" for a Diet Pepsi commercial, composed by Sidney "Sid" Ramin. The big-band, horn-driven recording went to #15 on the pop chart and #2 on the Easy Listening chart. According to Greg Adams, writing for All Music Guide, the song "exemplified the groovy state of instrumental music at that time."

And finally, we'll conclude with a 1967 single by Frankie Valli, the Crewe/Gaudio tune "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." Reaching #2 and becoming one of Valli's biggest solo hits, this song has had a major cultural impact, with hundreds of cover versions, many of which have been on the charts themselves in different countries. The song is a staple of television and film soundtracks, even being featured as part of the plot of some films, such as when the lead characters sing or arrange their own version of the song.

Farewell to the talented Bob Crewe. Your numerous hits will continue to play on.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Movie Themes

Movie Themes: Part 1

I love classic movies. And one of the best parts of these films from the 1960s is their iconic theme songs. So looks like it's high time we had a new post featuring the music that lives beyond the silver screen.
From the quintessential episode in the James Bond series, "Goldfinger" was the title song of 1964 film of the same name. Composed by John Barry, the song was performed by Welsh singer Shirley Bassey for the film's opening and closing credits. In 1965, Bassey enjoyed her only Top-40 Billboard hit with this title song, which peaked #8, while the original soundtrack of Goldfinger hit #1 in the US the same year. While technically a one-hit wonder, Bassey always sold out concerts in Las Vegas, and was a bigger star in her native Britain. Don't think anyone will ever forget this classic Bond number!
American composer, conductor, and arranger Henry Mancini is cited as one of the greatest composers in the history of film, having earned 4 Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, 10 Grammy Awards, and a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.        Remembered for so many movies and TV scores, he is best known for the jazz-idiom theme to the The Pink Panther film series, the first film in 1963. The tune was issued as a single in 1964, reaching the Top 10 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart and won three Grammy Awards.With the tenor sax solo played by Plas Johnson (a Wrecking Crew session musician!), "The Pink Panther Theme" is noted for its quirky, unusual use of chromaticism which is derived from the Hungarian minor scale (gypsy/romani scale) with raised 4th and 7th degrees (that's for all your music theory nerds).
Speaking of Henry Mancini, he also composed the classic tune "Moon River" with lyricist John Mercer.  It received an Oscar for Best Original Song for its first performance by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. It also won Mancini the 1962 Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Mercer the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. Covered by many artists, it became the theme song for Andy Williams, who first recorded it in 1961 and performed it at the Academy Awards ceremonies in 1962, going on to sing the first eight bars at the beginning of his eponymous television show. Although his version never charted and Hepburn's version was not even included in the original soundtrack, an album version recorded by Mancini and his chorus was released as a single and became a number 11 hit. Here's the most famous version today by the late Andy Williams.

Next, we have the 1967 spy comedy film Casino Royale, loosely based on Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel.
The original music is by Burt Bacharach, an American singer-songwriter, composer, record producer, and pianist known for his 73 Top-40 hits in the US. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass performed some of the songs with Mike Redway singing the lyrics to the title song as the end credits rolled (a version of the song was also sung by Peter Sellers). The title theme was Alpert's second #1 on the Easy Listening chart where it spent two weeks at the top in June 1967 and peaked at #27 on the Billboard Hot 100. I tried to like this movie, but even with actors like Peter Sellers, David Niven, Ursula Andress, and Orson Welles, it was still an odd debacle. 
Now here's a movie I do love, and with another big Burt Bacharach song as well (also written with his lyricist buddy Hal David). The 1969 American Western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid featured pop singer B. J. Thomas performing "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," which won the Oscar for Best Original Song that year and hit #1 on the US chart in January 1970. Sales of also exceeded one million copies, with Thomas being awarded his third gold record.

It was recorded in seven takes, after Bacharach expressed dissatisfaction with the first six. In the film version of the song, B. J. Thomas had been recovering from laryngitis, which made his voice sound hoarser than in the 7-inch release. The film version featured a separate instrumental break when Paul Newman undertook stunts on a bicycle (clip of from the scene here). Here's a TV performance by the distinctive B. J. Thomas (I think he may have inspired Han Solo's wardrobe in Star Wars).

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Farewell to a Songwriter

Today, we lost American lyricist Gerry Goffin, known for his successful songwriting career with first wife Carole King. Goffin was born in Brooklyn in 1939. Twenty years later, he married King, whom he'd met while both were attending Queens College, when he was 20 and she was 17. During his career, Goffin co-wrote seven #1 Billboard hits and a total of 59 Top-40 hits, including The Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday," The Everly Brothers' "Crying in the Rain," Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care of My Baby" and James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend."
In 1990, Goffin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with King. He passed away of natural causes at the age of 75, but leaves quite the musical legacy.

The husband-wife songwriting team found their breakthrough hit with "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," which was recorded by The Shirelles and went to #1 on the Billboard chart in January 1961.

In 1962, Goffin and King gave a huge hit to Little Eva with 'The Loco-Motion," a song notable for appearing in the American Top-5 three times, each time in a different decade with a different artist: Little Eva (1962, #1), Grand Funk Railroad (1974, #1), and Kylie Minogue (1988, #3). Eva Boyd was initially the babysitter for Goffin children before the couple discovered she had a good voice. There was no dance when the song was originally written and Boyd ended up having to create a dance to go along with it.

Originally recorded by Earl-Jean of The Cookies in 1964, England's Herman's Hermits turned the Goffin/King tune "I'm Into Something Good" into a #1 UK hit and US Top-20 hit that same year.  

Goffin co-wrote rock hits for other British Invasion bands like The Animals, who reached #6 in the  UK with "Don't Bring Me Down" in 1965. Rolling Stone magazine would later write that "Don't Bring Me Down" represented one side of the Goffin-King "boy-girl, loneliness-togetherness" duality

In 1967, powerhouse soul singer Aretha Franklin scored a bit hit and standard for her with Goffin/King's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Carole King also recorded this classic on her landmark 1971 album Tapestry, and has been covered by many other artists.

This isn't even the tip of the musical iceberg that came from this celebrated writing-producing team but demonstrates the great variety of tunes that have touched millions of people over the decades. Farewell, Mr. Goffin!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Out of Limits

Wrecking Crew: Part 6

OK, so my lack of posting over the last few months (well, this last year, really) is annoying, but what can I say? We recently uprooted our life in Southern California and relocated to Virginia! Gotta love the military. Since it's only taken a whole year to get through my cute Wrecking Crew series, it's about time we wrap things up.

In case you're just jumping into this blog for the first time and haven't heard of the Wrecking Crew, they were a top-notch session musicians in L.A. that played on dozens of hit records in the 1960s and '70s. This impressive group played wide of variety of styles including pop, jazz, and even easy listening, like this next Rat Pack tune. Released in 1964, Dean Martin's recording of "Everybody Loves Somebody" surprised everyone and topped the Billboard and Easy Listening charts. The middle aged Italian crooner had not had a Top 40 hit since 1958, and despite the British Invasion ruling the charts, Martin defied the odds and knocked The Beatles "A Hard Days Night" off the #1 slot on Billboard. It ultimately replaced "That's Amore" as his signature song, and he sang it as the theme of weekly TV variety show from 1965 until 1974. Written in 1947 by Sam Coslow, Irving Taylor, and Ken Lane, here's Dino's laid-back live version of this classic (song starts after 2 minutes in).

Another classic song featuring the Wrecking Crew musicians was Shelley Fabares' debut pop single, "Johnny Angel" in 1962. This million-selling record first premiered on an episode of Fabares' sitcom The Donna Reed Show, and reached #1 on the Billboard chart, Best Sellers chart (Cashbox), as well as Canada and New Zealand. While Darlene Love and her group, The Blossoms, sang backup vocals on the track, Fabares felt intimidated by their beautiful voices since she did not consider herself a singer. An echo chamber was also featured, where the intro of the repeated title words ("Johnny Angel, Johnny Angel") was used by Fabares and the backup singers. Earning her a gold disc, here's Shelley Fabares' premiere performance on The Donna Reed Show.

Formed in Hollywood, CA, The Marketts were an American instrumental pop group featuring Michael Z. Gordon and various session musicians including members of the Wrecking Crew. They are best known for the 1963 million-seller "Out of Limits," a surf rock instrumental piece written by Gordon. First pressings were issued as "Outer Limits," named after the TV program of the same name, however, Rod Sterling sued The Marketts for quoting the four note motif from his TV show, The Twilight Show, without his approval (which resulted in the change of title to "Out of Limits"). In February 1964, the song peaked at #3 on the Billboard chart, as well as the Cashbox.

Written in 1940, this next song was a popular one covered by numerous artists including Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey, Etta James, Brenda Lee, Doris Day, and Elvis Presley, to name a few. However, Ricky Nelson's version of "Fools Rush In" was an enormous hit in 1963, reaching #12 on the Billboard pop charts and became the most famous version of the song. From 1957 to 1962, Nelson had 30 Top-40 hits, more than any other artist (except Elvis and Pat Boone), but this was one of his last big hits before his career came to a dramatic halt in the wake of the British Invasion. Also recorded with Wrecking Crew musicians, here's Ricky Nelson performing on his family's TV show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
Written by producer Phil Spector with songwriting team Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, "River Deep - Mountain High" was among the first recordings that Ike & Tina Turner did for Phil Spector's Philles Records. Spector was well aware of Ike's controlling attitude in the studio, and drew up an unusual contract: this album and single would be credited to "Ike & Tina Turner," but Ike was paid $20,000 to stay away from the studio, and only Tina's vocals would be used on record. The track was recorded using Spector's "Wall of Sound" production technique, cost a then-unheard-of $22,000, and required 21 session musicians (the Wrecking Crew, of course!) and 21 background vocalists. Due to Spector's perfectionism in the studio, he made Turner sing the song over and over for several hours until he felt he had the perfect vocal take for the song. Although the single reached #3 in the UK in 1966, its original release flopped in the US, but was re-released in '69 after Eric Burdon & The Animals covered the song in '68. It has since become one of Tina Turner's signature songs.

 Our last featured song is the commercially successful yet often parodied "MacArthur Park" performed by Richard Harris. Originally composed as part of an intended cantata by Jimmy Webb, he first brought the song to The Association but the group rejected it. British actor Richard Harris approached Webb about releasing a record and selected this song for his pop music debut. It'was one of the longest singles at the time (7:21) and includes four distinct sections (or movements) with great instrumental features. Several Wrecking Crew musicians played on this original recording including Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Knechtel on keyboards, Joe Osborn on bass, and Mike Deasy on guitar, along with Webb himself on harpsichord. Despite some cheesy lyrics (something about leaving the cake out in the rain), the 1968 single reached #2 on the Billboard chart, #4 in the UK, and #1 in Australia, and even received the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) in '69. No offense to Richard Harris, but I think this song could been amazing if it had been recorded by a vocal group like The Association or The 5th Dimension. Here's a video by Music Mike who gives a little more insight.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Farewell to a Folk Legend

This week on January 27th, we lost American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger at the age of 94. A prolific songwriter, Seeger was first heard on national radio in the 1940s and released a string of hit records in the 1950s as a member of the folk quartet  The Weavers. After being blacklisted during the McCarthy Era, Seeger re-emerged in the 1960s as a prominent singer of protest music in support of civil rights and counterculture causes. His best-known songs include "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" (with Joe Hickerson), "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)" (with Lee Hays of The Weavers), and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" (lyrics adapted from Ecclesiastes), which have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are sung throughout the world. "Flowers" was a hit recording for The Kingston Trio in 1962 (previously featured on The '60s Beat here) and Johnny Rivers in 1965. "If I Had a Hammer" was a hit for Peter, Paul & Mary in 1962 (also featured here), while The Byrds had a number one hit with "Turn! Turn! Turn!" in 1965 (featured here).

Here's Pete Seeger performing "If I Had a Hammer" live in Australia in 1963. It was first written in 1949 in support of the progressive movement and recorded by The Weavers.

From a controversial episode on The Smothers Brothers, Seeger performs the South African folk song "Wimomeh"  (also known as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight") and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" Originally, Pete sang his song "Waist Deep In The Big Muddy" in between these two songs but CBS deemed it too political to air and deleted it from the broadcast. However, he did perform the song on a subsequent broadcast and this time CBS allowed it to air.

Farewell to a folk legend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Farewell to a Brother

 I'm a bit late in the game but wanted to make sure this legend received his due respect. Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers passed away a few weeks ago on January 4th due to acomplications of emphysema and bronchitis. The duo were American country-influenced rock and roll singers, known for their close vocal harmonies and steel-string guitar playing. Together with his older brother Don, The Everlys found early success in 1957 with the release of "Bye Bye Love," a rockabilly/country/rock 'n' roll tune that reached #2 on the US pop chart, #1 on the country chart, and even #5 on the R&B chart. Touring extensively with Buddy Holly & The Crickets during 1957 and 1958, the brothers continued to score several US and UK hits including "Wake Up, Little Susie," "All I have to Do is Dream," and "Bird Dog." Their distinct harmony singing influenced many successful rock groups in the 1960s like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, The Bee Gees, and The Hollies, many of which developed their early singing style by performing covers of Everly songs. The Everly Brothers had 35 Billboard Top-100 singles (more than any other duo) with 26 in the top 40, and they were among the first 10 artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Written by Don and Phil, here's a performance of "Cathy's Clown," their biggest-selling record in 1960.

Farewell, Phil Everly. Your music will always stand the test of time!