Friday, February 03, 2023

My Appearance on Rock In Retrospect Podcast

   My latest appearance on Nick Bambach's Rock In Retrospect Podcast was a discussion on this year's 14 Rock Hall Nominees.  I was a guest with 5 other Rock Hall Watchers.  Lots of good opinions, facts and humor.

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Playlist for 2/1

Frank Sinatra - She Shot Me Down
Barbra Streisand - Live at Bon Soir
Homeward Bound: Grammy Salute To Paul Simon (TV Special) 
Jake Blount - New Faith
Neil Young - World Record
Am I Black Enough For You? (2022 Documentary)

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Playlist for 1/24

Elvis Presley - Elvis On Tour (Box Set)
Beach Boys - Sail On Sailor-1972  (Box Set)
Aaron Raitiere - Single Wide Dreamer
Pillbox Patty - Florida
Skippy White Story: Boston Soul 1961-67 - Various
Cowsills - Rhythm of the World
Dio: Dreamers Never Die (Documentary)
If These Walls Could Sing: Apple Studios (Documentary)
David Crosby Essential (Apple Music Playlist)


Friday, January 20, 2023

My Appearance on Rock In Retrospect Podcast

 Joined the Rock in Retrospect podcast to talk about Teddy Pendergrass. One of the few rankings that silly Rolling Stone Greatest Singers list got right was placing Teddy P. at #42.  He was a powerful and influential vocalist. Talking Teddy led to discussions on Philly Soul plus Old School R&B.  

Here's the link to the episode: Teddy Pendergrass Podcast Episode

RIP David Crosby

 The first time I really paid attention to David Crosby's voice, sometime in the early 70's, I was surprised by how tender, fragile and yes, angelic it was.  Crosby may have been one of the ultimate hippie counter-culture musicians of his era. Certainly one of the most unforgettable characters in Rock history.    

  His greatest moments are peppered throughout some remarkable records with the Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash (sometimes Young).  Not to mention his duo albums with Nash.  Then there's his solo career which got off to an amazing start with 1971's of its time masterwork, If I Could Only Remember My Name.  Some critics hated its managed to grow in praise over the decades. "Music Is Love", "Laughing" and "What Are Their Names" endure.  Oddly enough Crosby wouldn't release another solo album until 1989.  

  With the Byrds, Crosby's harmonies were often a highlight.  And he wrote or co-wrote some of their most interesting pieces like "Lady Friend", "Everybody's Been Burned", "Renaissance Fair" and the masterpiece "Eight Miles High". Leaving the Byrds his hookup with Stills & Nash resulted in even more classics like "Long Time Gone", "Guinnevere",  "Wooden Ships", "Almost Cut My Hair" and "Deja Vu".  And on his duet albums with Nash, "Carry Me".  But as the years rolled on Crosby's drug problems hindered his creativity.  Remarkably, he managed to make some of his best music in the last few years of his life.  Sky Trails and For Free, his last released in his lifetime are very strong, showing that Crosby's voice has maintained its immediacy.  

  Crosby reached a new generation of readers and listeners with his presence on Twitter.  Often playing the part of the great curmudgeon he really was, his opinions bounced off any topic that he or his followers could think of.  For more of that check out his excellent 2019 documentary, Remember My Name.

  A two-time Rock Hall inductee with the Byrds and CSN, plus a Songwriters Hall inductee with S&N, Crosby will always be linked with the 60's and early 70's Classic Rock era.  His best music from that era still ringing out from Laurel Canyon.


Thursday, January 19, 2023

2023 Rock Hall Nominee Predictions

  And so begins the Rick Krim era of the NomCom.  With Krim taking over for Jon Landau as the head of the NomCom many people are wondering how the 2023 ballot will differ from previous ones.  My guess is not that much.  Krim and John Sykes worked together at MTV/VH1 so expect to see continued focus on 80's/90's acts.  The question is what type of genres will get more representation on the ballot?  The NomCom will continue to do what they always do and that is present a mixture of genres for their ballot.  But will Krim's first ballot include more rap, metal, pop nominees than before?  What about R&B, alternative and indie rock?  

  But remember. The Hall and HBO want big names to promote for induction night. So always expect a few household names to populate the ballot. 

  If you listened to the Nick Bambach's  Rock In Retrospect 2023 Rock Hall Nominees Draft episode that myself and three others were guests on, then you have an idea of what my predictions are for this year. There's a lack of worthy (imo) first year eligibles that have a chance of getting into the Hall in 2023.  I'm predicting only one newly eligible this year. So 2023 should be a year for the NomCom to catch up on artists that have been waiting patiently for too long. 

  Predicting nominees is always the toughest part because we have so little information on what artists are mentioned at those yearly NomCom meetings. 

For the 2023 ballot I went with 17 artists because that's how many were nominated last year.

B-52's - Hey, Devo are great, but after 3 tries, it might be time to give them a rest. And these new wave legends are the perfect choice. They received a ton of publicity in 2022 for announcing their "farewell tour. No previous nominations. 

Chaka Khan - Her absence from the ballot last year, after 6 straight appearances, had many thinking she would get a Musical Excellence award.  But it didn't happen.  I'm hesitant about this nomination.  But we know that there's a least one member of the NomCom that still wants her in.  7 total nominations so far (4 w/Rufus, 3 solo). 

Cher -  This is what I mean by the Hall & HBO wanting big names.  This never before nominated legend would be the biggest icon on this years ballot. 

Cyndi Lauper - I like to use the Songwriters Hall of Fame as a gauge of an artists appeal in the music industry.  Lauper was inducted there in 2015.  With Pat Benatar and the Eurythmics finally inducted attention has to turn to Lauper as the next 80's icon to get in (I know she did many things after the 80's, but that is the decade she's most identified with). Never nominated. 

Dave Matthews Band - So is it a one and done for the 2020 fan ballot winner?  It would be odd if that happens.  So after a three year absence maybe it's time to bring Matthews back. One previous nomination. 

Dionne Warwick - Will it be three nominations in a row for Dionne?  This one has me torn.  Roberta Flack announced last year that she had ALS.  She has a PBS American Masters documentary showing in late January.  But Dionne's documentary was on CNN January 1st of this year.  Dionne's 82, Roberta will be 86 in February.  I think Roberta would have an excellent chance as an FYN.  Her baby boomer vote would be huge.  But going with Dionne again. 

George Michael - Keeping with the 80's legends, Michael is certainly near the top.  And he was still putting out solid albums in the 90's.  Six years after his death, now seems the right time for his first nomination. 

Iron Maiden - With Judas Priest finally inducted, attention turns to what Metal/Hard Rock act fills their slot.  Both Motorhead and Iron Maiden are the top names and both were nominated once before. 

Kate Bush - 2023 seems like the best chance for Kate Bush.  Thanks to Stranger Things, she had a resurgence in popularity.  My prediction is she's either voted in or gets a Musical Excellence award. But it's going to happen for her this year.  3 previous nominations.

Kool & The Gang - When Lionel Richie got inducted last year, many of us wondered why the never nominated Commodores were left behind.  Anybody remember R&B bands?  The last one inducted was Earth, Wind & Fire in 2000.  But give the NomCom credit, they've put up War, Chic. Rufus w/Chaka, Meters and the J.B.'s since. One of the oddest omissions from the Hall is the immensely popular, long-running Kool & the Gang. Now in its 54th!! year and amazingly, never nominated. They've got the longevity for sure, but they also have hits that everyone knows.  In 2018, four of its members were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  Besides, there aren't many R&B bands in the Hall.  Isley Brothers, Parliament/Funkadelic, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Sly & The Family Stone and EWF. 

Mariah Carey - Here's a name that everyone keeps waiting to happen.  But this is the first time I'm predicting her.  It's possible that the NomCom wants Mary J. Blige in first.  But there's no denying Carey's credentials.  Inducted into the Song Hall last year, she's racked up big stats and many awards.  This seems like her year, but don't discount another Blige nomination. 

Missy Elliott - So here we are in 2023 and not one female rapper has received a nomination.  But now comes Missy as an FYE and this might be why the NomCom waited.  The first female rapper inducted into the Song Hall (2019), I think she will be the first nominated for the Rock Hall.

New York Dolls - Sometimes you have to give the NomCom credit for perseverance.  Six nominations for the MC5 and three for the Dolls.  Are voters inching them closer?  Who knows?  I'm giving them another shot for 2023. 

Outkast - A Tribe Called Quest?  Didn't happen for them last year? De La Soul? Music finally streaming in March, but are they more popular than Tribe with voters?  However Outkast could break through.  A six time Grammy winner, including Album of the Year in 2004, they have the crossover hits those other two acts didn't. Never nominated. 

Sheryl Crow - Talk about being everywhere in 2022.  A documentary, a Rock Hall performance, a Kennedy Center Honors performance, inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame (which was shown on PBS).  She even showed up to introduce an act at the CMAS's.  So, if visibility is a plus, 2023 seems like her best shot at a first nomination. 

Soundgarden - Count me in as one of those who thought they would get in on their first ballot in 2020.  But looking back I can see how they missed out.  Other Rock nominees that year: Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, T. Rex, MC5. With T. Rex the only one getting in.  Talk about splitting votes.  So three years later it might be time for a second nomination. 

Warren Zevon - I don't really think Zevon has any more chance at a nom now than any other year.  But I'm using his name as an example that there's still plenty of life in the baby boomer vote.  Many popular names still out there like Joe Cocker, Roberta Flack, Harry Nilsson, Peter Frampton, Jethro Tull, Bad Company.  Zevon's not a household name like some of those, but he has a devoted fan base among many current Hall of Famers.  Never nominated.

Other names I considered predicting:  Roberta Flack, Willie Nelson, Pointer Sisters, Sade, Motorhead, War,  Los Lobos, Beck, Mary J. Blige, Destiny's Child

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Missing From the Songwriters Hall of Fame (2023 Inductees Updated)

The 2023 Songwriters Hall Inductees have been announced: Sade, Snoop Dogg, Gloria Estefan, Jeff Lynne in the Performers category.  Liz Rose, Glen Ballard and Teddy Riley in the Non-Performer category.

Who qualifies for a nomination. This from the Song Hall: "A songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first significant commercial release of a song"

Here's my list of songwriters not inducted as of 2023: 

B.B. King
Bert Berns
Beyonce
Billy Joe Shaver
Bo Diddley
Bob McDill
Bobby Womack
Bonnie Raitt
Boz Scaggs
Bryan Adams
Bryan Ferry
Carl Perkins
Chips Moman
Chrissie Hynde
Chuck Willis
Curly Putnam
Dallas Frazier
Dan Fogelberg
Dan Penn
David Gates
Dean Dillon
Dean Pitchford/Michael Gore
Debbie Harry/Chris Stein
Dion DiMucci
Donna Summer/Giorgio Moroder/Pete Bellotte
Doobie Brothers
Doors
Dwight Yoakam
George Harrison
George Michael
Guy Clark
Harry Nilsson
Harry Wayne Casey
Heart
J.J. Cale
Janet Jackson
Jerry Chesnut
Jerry Fuller
Jimi Hendrix
Jimmy Cliff
Joe South
John Hiatt
John D. Loudermilk
Kate Bush
Kenny Loggins
Led Zeppelin
Lefty Frizzell
Lindsey Buckingham/Stevie Nicks/Christine McVie
Lou Reed
Lucinda Williams
Luther Vandross
Madonna
Mark Knopfler
Mary J. Blige
Matraca Berg
Max D. Barnes
Mike Chapman/Nicky Chinn
Mike Love
Morrissey/Johnny Marr
Muddy Waters
Neil Young
Nick Lowe
Outkast
Pam Sawyer
Paul Overstreet
Percy Mayfield
Pete Townshend
Peter Gabriel 
P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri
Phil Ochs
Prince
Randy Goodrum
R.E.M.
Ric Ocasek
Richard Thompson
Robbie Robertson
Robert "Mutt" Lange
Rod Stewart
Rod Temperton
Rodney Crowell
Roger Miller
Roger Waters/David Gilmour
Rosanne Cash
Ryan Tedder
Rudy Toombs
Sandy Linzer/Denny Randell
Shania Twain
Shel Silverstein
Sheryl Crow
Sly Stone
Sonny Throckmorton
Spooner Oldham
Steve Earle
Steve Perry/Neal Schon/Jonathan Cain
Steve Winwood
Talking Heads
Tim Hardin
Todd Rundgren
Tom Waits
Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart
Tony Macaulay
Tony Joe White
Toots Hibbert
Townes Van Zandt
Tracy Chapman
U2
Vince Gill
Walter Becker/Donald Fagen
Warren Zevon
Waylon Jennings
Whitey Shafer
William Bell


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Monday, January 16, 2023

Music Years Of My LIfe: 1964-69

Also known as the early years.  What was the first song you remember hearing?  Doing these posts on my music life had me going way back to my childhood for the answer.  My conclusion is that the first songs that I heard had to have come from sister's bedroom.  It was there that the radio and turntable were playing the latest hits.
And I'm convinced that the first sounds I heard were from the Beatles.  My sister had the 1966 album, Yesterday and Today, which was a collection of songs from the '65/'66.  The song that stuck with me was "We Can Work It Out", which topped the charts in early '66.  Is is the first?  Maybe.  But it's possible that I heard that album in 1967.  "Hello Goodbye" is  another Beatles contender.  Released in late '67 and getting lots of airplay through early '68.  But there was another song released earlier and discussed below.

Here's the story.  I was born in 1964. But I can still recall hearing certain records even at the age of 2 or 3.  My sister had a small collection of singles and very little albums.  But AM Top 40?  Always on.  Most of the records I remember are from '67-'69.  Her 45 of "Daydream Believer" ('67) was played a lot.
Other songs from that time frame that I never forgot:
"These Eyes" - Guess Who  ('69)
"Good Morning Starshine" - Oliver ('69)
"Love Is Blue" - Paul Mauriat  ('68)
"Like To Get To Know You" - Spanky and Our Gang  ('68)
"People Got To Be Free"  - Rascals  ('69)
"In The Ghetto" - Elvis Presley  ('69)
"Whiter Shade Of Pale" - Procol Harum  ('67)
There are others, but none would qualify as first heard.

But here's the surprise.  Is it possible to remember something when you're a year old.  The Beatles' "Eight Days A Week" always held a special place in their pantheon for me.  And I think the reason is pretty obvious.  Released in early '65, it has to be the song I heard first.  I'll never know for sure, and it's not something one discusses with their parents, but if it's a Beatles song that lodged into my brain first, and set me on my way to being the music nut I am today, then so be it.  Could have been something worse.  

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