Tom Petty 1950 – 2017

October 3, 2017

Tom petty

One of the true greats of rock music, Tom Petty, has passed away following a heart attack.  After a premature announcement by the LAPD, Tom’s family has now announced that he has gone – truly a rock ‘n’ roll great!

Read Rolling Stone Magazine’s tribute here.

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Walter Becker (1950 – 2017)

September 4, 2017

Walter Becker

Walter Becker, legendary guitarist, songwriter, and co-founder of Steely Dan passed away on September 3, 2017. 

Steely Dan bandmate, Donald Fagen, issued a memorial letter praising Walter’s talent and remarking that he was,

…smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter… He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny.

 Donald also said,

I intend to keep the music we created together alive.

 Read the full Rolling Stone obituary here.

 steely dan – my old school – 1973 – video

steely dan – fm (no static at all) – 1978 – video


Must be Love – James Gang – 1973

August 15, 2017

Must be Love James Gang 1973The band that must hold the record for the number or metamorphoses! The James Gang were active from 1966 to 1977, then in 1991, then in 1996, then in 1998, then in 2001, then from 2005 to 2006, then in 2012. Perhaps their most memorable song was released in 1973 – Must be Love.

james gang fax

  • The James Gang formed in the US city of Cleveland, Ohio in 1966. Original members were,
  • Greg Grandillo: guitar, Ronnie Silverman: guitar, Tom Kriss: bass, percussion, vocals, Jimmy Fox: drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals, Phil Giallombardo: keyboards, vocals.
  • The band later featured the guitar skills, first of Joe Walsh of Eagles fame (1968–71, 1991–96, 1998, 2001, 2005, and 2006), then Tommy Bolin of Deep Purple fame (1973–74).
  • Between 1969 and 1976, the band released nine albums and ten singles, having moderate success. Two of their albums went Gold in the US.  None of their singles even cracked the top 50; the closest being Walk Away which peaked at #51 in 1971.

must be love fax

  • Must be Love first appeared on the James Gang’s sixth album, Bang which was released in September 1973.
  • Co-written by Tommy Bolin, the single, Must be Love peaked at #54 on the US singles chart.
  • Must be Love lyrics.

must be love – james gang – 1973 – video

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Lights – Journey – 1978

August 4, 2017

Journey_Lights_CD_SingleThe first charting song from a band who have been around for over 45 years and are still touring; Lights, the 1978 single by supergroup, Journey.

journey fax

  • When remnants of Santana 60s band Frumious Bandersnatch came together in San Francisco in 1973, Journey was born.
  • Taking a while to get going, Journey hit their stride between 1978 and 1987 when their popularity peaked – their 1981 hit single Don’t Stop Believin’ is the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century.
  • While the lead singers may have changed over the years, the band continues to tour and record today.
  • Original band members were: Neal Schon (lead guitar), Gregg Rolie (keyboards and lead vocalist), Ross Valory (bass guitar), George Tickner (rhythm guitar) and Prairie Price (drims). Neal and Ross are still in the band.
  • The band’s peak popularity coincided with the fabulous Steve Perry on lead vocals. It is often mentioned that Randy Jackson was a member of Journey – while that is true, Randy was only in the band for less than two years (1986 – 1987).
  • Journey have achieved massive record sales; two gold albums, eight multi-platinum albums, and two diamond albums (including seven consecutive multi-platinum albums between 1978 and 1987). Added to this are, 18 Top 40 singles in the US; the second most without a achieving a #1 single (behind Electric Light Orchestra with 20).  This includes six Top 10 singles.
  • Journey has sold 48 million albums in the USA. That makes them the 25th highest-selling band in the US.  Worldwide they have sold around 90 million records.  That makes them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.
  • In 2017, Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Inductees included lead singer Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardists Jonathan Cain and Gregg Rolie, bassist Ross Valory, and drummers Aynsley Dunbar and Steve Smith.

lights fax

  • Lights was written by Steve Perry and Neal Schon and released in 1978 on Journey’s fourth album, Infinity
  • Lights peaked at #68 on the US charts. Other singles from the Infinity album were, Wheel in the Sky (Journey’s first single to make the US charts – peaking at #57) and Anytime (peaking at #83).
  • Lights is about San Francisco, but it didn’t’ start out that way. Steve Perry once said:

I had the song written in Los Angeles almost completely except for the bridge and it was written about Los Angeles. It was ‘when the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on LA.’ I didn’t like the way it sounded at the time. And so I just had it sitting back in the corner. Then life changed my plans once again, and I was now facing joining Journey. I love San Francisco, the bay, and the whole thing. ‘The bay’ fit so nice, ‘When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay.’ It was one of those early-morning-going-across-the-bridge things, when the sun was coming up and the lights were going down. It was perfect.

  • Lights is often played at Levi’s Stadium when the NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers win a home game.
  • Lights lyrics.

lights – journey – 1978 – video

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Night Moves – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band – 1976

July 14, 2017

Night Moves Bob Seger 1976A few name changes along the way, but Bob Seger and his band have been rockin’ the music scene since 1961 and are still going strong.

bob seger fax

  • Bob Seger began his life as a musician in Detroit, performing as Bob Seger and the Last Heard, then Bob Seger System (three albums), then as Bob Seger, from 1971 – 1975, (five albums), then as Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, from 1976 – 1995, (seven albums), then as Bob Seger again, 2006 -present (another two albums) – plus a number of live and compilation albums along the way.
  • It was with the Silver Bullet Band and their 1976 live album, Live Bullet that Bob first found success; quickly followed by the wonderful studio album, Night Moves.
  • On his studio albums, Bob worked extensively with the Alabama-based Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which appeared on several of his best-selling singles and albums.
  • Despite phenomenal success, Bob had only one #1 album on the US charts (Against the Wind – 1980) and only one #1 US single, (Shakedown – 1987). Bob produced some GREAT recordings though – Katmandu, Mainstreet, Night Moves, Stil the Same, We’ve Got Tonight, Old Time Rock and Roll, Against the Wind, Hollywood Nights, to name a few.
  • Bob was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.

night moves fax

  • Night Moves was written by Bob Seger and appeared on the album Night Moves by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.
  • Some music critics state Night Moves to be the song that lifted Bob from being a Detroit star to a national star.
  • Bob based Night Moves on a teenage love affair he experienced in the early 1960s.
  • Because the Silver Bullet Band were not around at the time of recording, Bob used local session musicians from around Ontario.
  • Released as a single in December 1976, Night Moves peaked at #4 on the US singles chart, #5 on the Canadian chart and #45 on the UK singles chart.
  • In 1977, Rolling Stone magazine named Night Moves as the Best Single of the Year. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.
  • Night Moves lyrics.

night moves – bob seger and the silver bullet band – 1976 – video

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The Thrill is Gone – BB King – 1970

June 19, 2017

The Thrill is gone BB King 1970Occasionally, in seventiesmusic, we feature a song by an artiste about whom little can be said – the name alone says it all. BB King is such an artiste.

bb king fax

  • Born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, back in 1925, BB King was attracted to music and the guitar in church. BB died, aged 89, on May 14, 2015.
  • In between those two dates BB became one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, even earning the nickname, “The King of the Blues.”
  • From early in his career, which continued until very shortly before his death, BB was a tireless performer. Even into his 70s he would often perform 200+ shows a year.  It’s said that, in 1956, he performed 342 concerts!
  • BB was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

lucille

  • In 1949, BB was playing a gig in Arkansas. During a performance, two men began to fight, knocking over a barrel of burning oil used to heat the venue.  The hall burst into flames, and the building was evacuated.
  • Once outside, BB realised that he had left his beloved $30 Gibson guitar inside – he ran back into the burning building to retrieve it.
  • The next day, BB heard that the two men had been fighting over a woman who worked at the hall named Lucille. BB named that guitar, and every guitar he subsequently owned, Lucille, as a reminder never again to do something as stupid as run into a burning building or fight over women.

bb trivia

  • BB was had a certified private pilot’s licence and would often fly himself to gigs around the US.
  • BB’s favourite singer was Frank Sinatra. In his autobiography, BB wrote that he went to bed every night listening to Frank’s album In the Wee Small Hours.  During the 1960s, Frank had arranged for BB to play clubs in Las Vegas.  BB praised Frank for opening doors to black entertainers who were not given the chance to play in white-dominated venues.
  • Married twice, BB was said to have fathered 15 children to various women.
  • BB suffered throughout his later life with diabetes and was active in the campaign to warn people of the spread of diabetes.

the thrill is gone fax

  • The Thrill Is Gone was written by blues musician Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell in 1951. Roy’s recording, released the same year, peaked at #6 on the US R&B charts.
  • BB King recorded his version of The Thrill Is Gone in June 1969 for his album Completely Well.
  • When released as a single in December 1969, The Thrill is Gone, became one of the biggest hits of BB’s career, peaking at #15 on the US singles chart.
  • BB’s recording won the 1970 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1998. It was ranked at #183 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
  • Other artistes to cover The Thrill is Gone include: Aretha Franklin (1970), Barbara Mandrell (1982), Jerry Garcia and David Grisman (1991), The Manhattan Transfer (1995), The Marshall Tucker Band (1975) and Christina Aguilera (2014).
  • The Thrill is Gone lyrics.

the thrill is gone – roy Hawkins – 1951 – video

the thrill is gone – bb king – 1970 – video


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Memphis, Tennessee – Roy Orbison – 1972

May 5, 2017

One of the greatest ever songs of all time was a hit for neither Chuck Berry nor Roy Orbison – but it’s a great song all the same – Memphis Tennessee

roy orbison fax

  • Born in Texas in 1936, died in Hendersonville, Tennessee in 1988 – he was only 52, but what a ride!!
  • Most of Roy’s success was in the early rock and roll era from 1957 to 1964. At the height of his popularity, Roy had 22 songs on the US top 40, 6 Top five hits and, 2 went all the way to #1 – Running Scared and Oh, Pretty Woman.
  • In the UK Roy had ten Top 10 hits between 1960 and 1966, including three #1’s – Only the Lonely, It’s Over, and Oh, Pretty Woman.
  • In the 1980s there was a resurgence in Roy’s popularity via The Traveling Wilburys (with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and George Harrison).
  • Roy’s start in music came thanks to Sam Phillips at Sun Records where he had moderate success.
  • Later he recorded several songs at Monument Records under producer Fred Foster. With Fred and song writing partners Joe Melson and Bill Dees, Roy wrote songs that were more suited to his unique voice.
  • Roy died of a heart attack on December 6, 1988. He had taken on a heavy workload and had complained to Johnny Cash that he was having chest pains that he feared were health related.
  • Two posthumous albums have been released. Mystery Girl, just after his death (1989) – he was working on it at the time of his death.  And, King of Hearts (1999) which was put together from master sessions and demos by Jeff Lynne for Virgin Records.
  • Most of the16 singles Roy released in the 70s didn’t even dent the charts. He did, however, do a great version of Memphis, Tennessee, which peaked at #84 in Australia; it didn’t chart anywhere else in the world – but is a great version.

memphis, tennessee fax

  • Memphis, Tennessee was written and first recorded by Chuck Berry.
  • Chuck released it in 1959 – surprisingly, it failed to chart anywhere in the world except the UK where it peaked at #6 in 1963.
  • Interestingly, at the same time as Chuck’s release was in the UK charts, Decca Records issued a cover version in the UK by Dave Berry and the Cruisers – it also became a UK Top 20 hit single.
  • Johnny Rivers covered the song in 1964 – his version made it to #2 on the US charts.
  • Memphis, Tennessee may be one of the most covered songs of all time. Artists to have covered it include: The Beatles, The Animals, The Who (as The High Numbers), Paul Anka, Count Basie, The Dave Clark Five, Bo Diddley, Faces, Al Green, The Hollies, Jan and Dean, Tom Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Led Zeppelin, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Johnny Rivers, The Rolling Stones, Del Shannon, Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders, The Statler Brothers, Rod Stewart, George Thorogood, Conway Twitty, and Hank Williams Jr.
  • Chuck Berry later composed a sequel, “Little Marie”, which appeared in 1964 as a single and on the album St. Louis to Liverpool.
  • The Beatles first performed this song for their failed Decca audition on 1 January 1962, with Pete Best on drums.
  • Memphis, Tennessee lyrics.

memphis, tennessee – roy orbison – 1972


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