Tag Archives: Elton John

A Little Musical VD Help!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of the dear, sweet, gentle readers, I hope this post finds you with the one you love or at least someone you like a little. In honor of the beloved and mass marketed one day year love fest, I’m dropping a Mixed Tape Monday Special Edition VD List.

Click on the link below!

VD Mixed Tape

So, if you are one of those procrastinating types, take this list, hop on iTunes and download these fine tunes; run to your local grocery store, sift through the remaining sappy, mass produced cards and while you’re there pick up some not so fresh roses or other flowers conveniently available for this special day. To top it all off, grab a box of heart shaped chocolates and make your reservations at your local Applebee’s or Macaroni Grill, show that special someone how much you really care.

Great music awaits!


My Top 40 at 40!

Recently, and by recently I mean yesterday February 2nd, which just happens to be my day of birth, a buddy of mine threw down the musical gauntlet.  I have briefly and succinctly paraphrased the challenge below:

Top 40 Artists of your life. Not simply a list of 40, but a ranking from 40 to 1. You have to do it. It must be done. It’s your personal Hall of Fame. This is your preference, your jukebox, regardless of genre or generation. This isn’t educational or time relevant. It’s YOUR Top 40 of all time.

This did indeed get the blood rushing and made my musical pants go a little crazy.  I started to brainstorm a list (and by brainstorm I mean immediately sat down and pounded out 40 names, clarified his initial challenge, perused my list again, and started typing the first sentence you read. 

The initial list was not a difficult as I thought.  The ranking of 1-40 took a little bit of time as did my annotations (those are in my tiny, little head) as to why the band/musician made the list.  The list that lies before you is organic in nature and I believe it to be fairly finite to the time that it was written.  The list is not to be likened to a doctoral thesis, packed with statistics that verify the respective placement, resourced with renowned critical fawning, or any type of research other than my ears and their time on earth. 

Be mindful of the fact that there are only 40 spots on this list.  I can tell you that there are probably some glaring omissions on this list.  Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Waylon, Willie, and the boys, did not make the list as well as a litany of other great, well deserving artists.  This list is completely subjective and the omission of anyone is not meant to be a form of disparagement.  It is quite simply a list of bands/musicians that I have loved over the years and also value their contributions to the musical world. 

The final piece of the musical puzzle for this list was really a late night revelation.  I realize it has only been a moment or two since you began reading this but I actually have been running the various scenarios of greatness in my head all night.  And then it hit me, the true measure of an artist’s greatness is my personal commitment to that particular artist. 

  •  How much of myself have I invested in the artists? 
  • What percentage of their catalog do I own? 
  • Would I take the time to see them live if the following were aligned:
    • They are still alive
    • They band is still together
    • The venue was geographically conducive to seeing them live
    • The cost of the ticket did not require me selling my 1st born child.  Although at 15 years of age and being really good at being 15 I would be willing to barter for a really good show right now.

Oddly enough, this revelation did not greatly alter my original list, there were a few additions and subtractions of artists and then the harrowing process of ranking them, with reason, was underway. 

No musicians were harmed in this list.  Of course, egos might be slightly bruised if they ever happen to stumble upon this little read blog and realize their spot on or omission to the list.

So, I give to you my Top 40 at 40!

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Bruce Springsteen
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Led Zeppelin
  6. The Who
  7. Pink Floyd
  8. Tom Petty
  9. The Eagles
  10. Eric Clapton
  11. Elton John
  12. Jimi Hendrix
  13. The Doors
  14. U2
  15. Metallica
  16. Pearl Jam
  17. Van Morrison
  18. Billy Joel
  19. R.E.M.
  20. Rush
  21. Lynryd Skynyrd
  22. Simon & Garfunkel
  23. John Mellencamp
  24. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  25. Prince
  26. Nirvana
  27. Uncle Tupelo
  28. Eminem
  29. Nine Inch Nails
  30. Beck
  31. The Dave Matthews Band
  32. Rage Against the Machine
  33. Robert Earl Keen
  34. N.W.A
  35. The Black Crowes
  36. The Beastie Boys
  37. The White Stripes
  38. Ryan Adams
  39. Ben Harper
  40. Joe Purdy

 

Great music awaits!


Concerts

We hear a song, purchase/download some music; it raises our awareness of the band and then we become a fan.  The concert is the culmination of our musical inclinations.  It is the holy grail of the musical experience.  At least, in our mind, it is. 

The concert is the musical equivalent of craps (the game of chance, not Jack in the Box 2 for $1 greasy tacos passing through your bowels)

Some nights go like this:

You purchase your ticket with the expectation that it will be musical bliss and a night to remember.  You get there, fight the crowd, listen to the mediocre, at best, opening act, and wait impatiently for the headlining show.   After what seems like an eternity, out stumbles the drunk/high lead singer, forgets the words to your favorite song, becomes enraged at the crowds displeasure and walks of the stage giving you the double fisted one finger salute. 

While other nights go like this:

You show up at some little dive barbeque joint and begin to think the show has been canceled because there are only four cars in the parking lot.  You go in, order some food and a beer, take you pick of the abundantly available tables and notice two chairs on the stage and a couple of guitars.  You take a seat, sip your bear and out strolls the singer and his buddy and the play for several hours, come sit down and thank you for coming to the show and take your request and play it before the night is over.

I’ve regaled you with some stories of concerts from my past and touted the greatness of Austin City Limits Music Festival but today, I’m going to chronologically list the concerts, to the best of my recollection, I’ve attended over the years.

Year Band
1983 Quiet Riot
Interesting Facts
7th grade, first concert to attend and broke my ankle that afternoon after being chased by a large classmate who took off his belt and began swinging it at me.  I left the hospital on crutches and planned on going to concert while my mother drove along beside me screaming at me to get in the car.  Being 12 and disabled, mom won and I missed the concert.  I did, however, get the t shirt as a consolation prize from my buddy who I gave the ticket to.
1985 Def Leppard
Interesting Facts
My first official concert that I actually got to attend.  Reunion Arena in Dallas, TX.  Oddly enough, I do not remember much about the concert other than it kicked much 14 year old musical butt.
1985-1989 Tom Petty

Stevie Nicks

Elton John

Don Henley

White Snake

Tesla

The Cult

Metallica

Interesting Facts
This period was the high school years and while there are funny stories, time has blurred the lines a bit.

  • One concert I went to with a group of girls and as soon as we got to Starplex Amphitheater, they all had to go to the rest room.  So, they opened the passenger door and all took turns squatting in the parking lot under the shroud of secrecy that was the afore mentioned door.  Don’t worry ladies; your identity is safe with me.
  • Another concert had some of the above mentioned girls and on the way home we got lost and drove around through an amazing fog which we likened to the moors, a Sherlock Holmes reference at the time, and eventually made it home.  Some of attendees were really upset with the turn of events.
  • White Snake concert we bought tickets from scalpers and got totally ripped off but thought we were so cool because we were seeing White Snake.
  • Metallica was an amazing show and the first time I had seen mosh pits and thoroughly enjoyed the frantic pace of the music.  Some fans really enjoyed the show and started lighting the lawn on fire and once security came out, the fire just seemed to move to another location.

 

1989-1992 Travis Tritt

Shenandoah

Various country acts at Billy Bobs

Interesting Facts
Some of my buddies were really in to country music and I would often tag along because I had nothing else to do and wanted to make some new female acquaintances. The Shenandoah concert was particularly memorable, not because the concert was good, in fact, I never actually saw them.  I got kicked out of the bar because I was 18 and using a fake ID to buy beer.  My buddies, of course, stayed and watched the show.  The crushing event of the night was that the girl I took to the show also stayed inside and I sat alone in the back of my friend’s truck for several hours.  The night was not a total loss, because I drank all of the beer in the cooler while sitting in the parking lot of Billy Bob’s.
1993-1995 Lots of local acts in the musical mecca of Denton, TX

Rush

Interesting Facts
The Rush show stands out for two reasons:To procure the tickets for this concert, my buddy and I left Denton very, very early on a Saturday morning after a very, very, late Friday night to go to Lewisville Mall to get tickets.  We arrived way too early and drove to Braums and got a double order of biscuits and gravy.  While this might not read as funny as it was, we were way hung over and those biscuits and gravy were the magic elixir that restored our health. Night of the concert we pick up our dates, have dinner and head to Dallas.  There is mild drinking, as colleges kids are known to do, and before you know it, we are on the floor of Reunion Arena basking in the glory of Rush.  On the way home there is some conversation of the concert and the girl that I took begins to nod off a bit and then suddenly hurls into and on the door.  We stop and ask if she is ok and she looks at us as if nothing happened and denies what is clearly on her chin, clothes, seat, floor, and of course door.  We get home she gets out like nothing happened.
1995-2005 The Dave Matthews BandMetallica

Linkin Park

Beastie Boys

Pat Green

Willie Nelson

Jack Johnson

Bob Dylan

Bruce Springsteen

Beck

G. Love & Special Sauce

Merle Haggard

Tori Amos

Korn

Chevelle

Robert Earl Keen

Interesting Facts
All pretty good shows and some artist like Dave Matthews and Pat Green I’ve seen multiple times.  The one stand out concert story is this:A group of folks went to see Willie Nelson at Lone Star Park which is an outdoor horse track.  His stage was set back a bit and there were risers and bleachers that elevated the fans to better see the stage.  I am walking up, wearing loose cargo shorts and minding my own business, when I feel something moving up my leg and heading north central.  I look down and there is an older woman with her hand up my shorts grabbing my junk.  I jump up and swat at her as if she is some form of annoying insect and she looks up, smiles with what teeth she has left and says “Oh, excuse me” as if she had accidently bumped into me as were passing on a sidewalk.  She then turned and walked away as if nothing had happened.
2006-Present Pearl JamBen Harper

Foo Fighters

Tom Petty

Beck

G. Love & Special Sauce

Wilco

Son Volt

Drive-By Truckers

State Radio

Brett Dennen

Bruce Springsteen

B-52’s

Robert Plant & Allison Krause

Joe Purdy

Cross Canadian Ragweed

The Killers

The Tragically Hip

The Eli Young Band

Pete Yorn

Bob Schneider

James McMurtry

Kris Kristofferson

Merle Haggard

Damien RiceDonovan Frankenreiter

Arcade Fire

The Shins

Okkervil River

Mason Jennings

The Black Keys

Ray LaMontagne

Queens of the Stone Age

Bob Dylan

Willie Nelson

Van Morrison

The Toadies

The Killers

John Mayer

Steve Earle

Bjork

Iron & Wine

Walt Wilkins

The Dead Weather

The Raconteurs

Lucinda Williams

Erin Ivey

Amos Lee

Interesting Facts
The majority of these artists have been seen at the Austin City Limits Music Festival which is an annual pilgrimage for me.  Some artist I have seen both at ACL and their own headlining tour.

So, there you have it, a little stroll down concert memory lane.  Let me know about some of your favorite or at least memorable concert experiences and who is a must see when they roll through town.

Great music awaits!


Guilty Pleasures!

Today we are going to talk about guilty pleasures.  Musically, that is.  Monday’s blog got a lot of great reaction and so today we are going to bare our soul and let loose our dirty little musical secrets.  Clearly, we have some love for David Cassidy and Howard Jones. 

Several people readily admitted that they did/do listen to some of the music that resides on the list of music you should not listen to.  The majority of those people also admitted that they listened to it when it was new and fresh and did not have the open disdain that might be associated with it today. 

However, we all have hidden secrets that we keep hidden deep on our iPod or tucked away on an unmarked CD.  There are also songs that we are connected to that we will roll the windows down, open the sun roof, or drop the rag top and crank up the tunes.  What are the songs that you will sit in the car, risk being late, and listen/sing until it is over?  What are the songs that you clandestinely listen to but do not or would not openly lay claim to? 

For today’s blog, we will have three; count them, 1, 2, 3 categories:

  1. Top(car, not clothing) down & loud
  2. Sit in car and be late
  3. Guilty & A Little Ashamed

Below are some of my guilty musical pleasures:

Artist Song Category Own CD
R.E.M. It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine) Top Down & Loud & Sit in Car Yes
Bon Jovi Blaze of Glory Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
Elton John Little Jeanie Sit In Car Yes
Cinderella Don’t Know What You Got Tell It’s Gone Sit In Car No
Corey Hart Sunglasses at Night Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
Tom Petty Break Down Top Down & Loud Yes
Violent Femmes Blister In the Sun Top Down & Loud Yes
Van Halen Right Now Sit In Car & Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Stevie Nicks & Don Henley Leather & Lace Sit In Car & Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Styx Renegade Top Down & Loud Yes
Foreigner Juke Box Hero Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Journey Wheel In the Sky Top Down & Loud Yes
Beck Loser Top Down & Loud Yes
Butthole Surfers Pepper Top Down & Loud Yes
The Cult She Sells Sanctuary Top Down & Loud Yes
Elton John Tiny Dancer Top Down & Loud & Sit in Car Yes
Faith No More Epic Top Down & Loud Yes
Fine Young Cannibals Good Thing Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Five For Fighting Superman (It’s Not Easy) Sit In Car & Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Gin Blossoms Hey Jealousy Top Down & Loud Yes
Grateful Dead Touch of Grey Top Down & Loud & Sit in Car Yes
David & David Welcome to the Boomtown Sit in Car Yes
Billy Squier The Stroke Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Charlie Sexton Beat’s So Lonely Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
The Moody Blues The Voice Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
Glenn Frey Smuggler’s Blues Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
REO Speedwagon Time for Me To Fly Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
Night Ranger Sister Christian Guilty & A Little Ashamed No

Great music awaits!


25 more albums you should own!

Greetings music lovers,

Today’s blog is about 25 albums you should own and has the following parameters:

  •  Album must have been recorded/released prior to 1990
  • No duplication of artist
  • No live albums or greatest hits (kind of an all encompassing copout to include either)
  • Listing of my favorite track from said album (This is not so much a parameter but a mere bonus for your reading pleasure)

Twenty Five albums you should own! (In no particular order):

Artist Album Song
U2 The Joshua Tree (1987) With or Without You
Bob Dylan Oh Mercy (1989) Most of the Time
Bruce Springsteen Nebraska (1982) Nebraska
Paul Simon Graceland (1986) You Can Call Me Al
James McMurtry Too Long in the Wasteland (1989) Angeline
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Hard Promises (1981) The Waiting
Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987) Mr. Brownstone
The Eagles Hotel California (1976) The Last Resort
Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here (1975) Have a Cigar
Robert Earl Keen No Kinda Dancer (1984) Rolling By
Eric Clapton Journeyman (1989) Running On Faith
The Who Quadrophenia (1973) Love Reign O’er Me
Elton John Madman Across the Water (1971) Tiny Dancer
Metallica And Justice For All (1988) Dyers Eve
R.E.M Document (1987) It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
The Pixies Surfer Rosa (1988) Where Is My Mind
John Mellencamp Scarecrow (1985) Minutes To Memories
The Band Music from the Big Pink (1968) The Weight
Van Morrison Moondance (1970) And It Stoned Me
Lynyrd Skynyrd Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin- Nerd (1973) Simple Man
Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique (1989) Shake Your Rump
The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 (1988) Congratulations
Warren Zevon Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School (1980) Play It All Night Long
Townes Van Zandt Townes Van Zandt (1969) Lungs
The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed (1969) Gimme Shelter
Jackson Brown The Pretender (1976) The Pretender

 So, there you have it, another list of musical bliss.  Take your time, check them out and let me know what you think.

 Great music awaits!


The High School Years:A Shout Out to the Class of 89 (75115)

We all have a favorite song or songs, one that we will sit in the car and listen to completion even when we are running late, one that we hear and can’t help but smile.  Songs are snapshots along our continuum that allow us to recall special times, people, and places.

This list is a remembrance of my high school years (85-89) and a shout out to the 75115.   Not all of these songs were released during those years, but were the soundtrack to my life at that time.  And no, Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young” despite being the class theme and I’m told prom song, did not make the list.  Sorry to both Rod and the class of 89 from 75115.

Twenty years later, when I hear any of these songs, I fondly remember the times and the friends I shared the moments with.  I contend that these artists and their songs stand the test of time and are just as relevant today as they were many years ago.

I realize that 25 songs is a relatively short list to sum up the high school years and while there are no duplicate artists on the list, these artist and songs shaded and formed a critical time in my life and it is a safe bet the album from which the song came, was and is currently in heavy rotation in my car, home, IPod, and office.

Below are the top 25 songs that harken back the halcyon days of my youth:

Simple Man                       Lynyrd Skynyrd

It’s The End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)     R.E.M.

Louisiana Rain                  Tom Petty

Seven Bridges Road         The Eagles

Tiny Dancer                        Elton John

Dream On                             Aerosmith

 Shooting Star                    Bad Company

Jungle Love                        Steve Miller Band

 The Weight                         The Band

Fire Lake                              Bob Seger

My Hometown                  Bruce Springsteen

Drive                                    The Cars

I Believe In You              Don Williams

It’s In the Way That You Use It                  Eric Clapton

Sweet Child O’ Mine          Guns ‘N’ Roses

The Pretender                    Jackson Brown

Jackie Brown                       John Mellencamp

Dyers Eve                             Metallica

Rockin’ In the Free World                Neil Young

With Or Without You         U2

Gimme Shelter                     The Rolling Stones

Mystic Rhythms                  Rush

Don’t You Forget About Me            Simple Minds

Copperhead Road                Steve Earle

Congratulations                    Traveling Wilburys

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great Music Awaits!


Under the Covers: Cover songs you should be listening to

Some songs are so great that everyone wants to sing them and add their own unique style.  Some do it to pay homage to an artist, others feel a certain connection to the song and/or artist, and yet others are just looking to be the next American Idol.

The cover tune is the metaphorical equivalent of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Anyone can do it but not everyone does it right.   To make it right, PB&J requires lightly toasted bread, an abundance of peanut butter on both slices of the bread, and a generous slathering of jelly.  I’m a grape or raspberry fan myself. 

So, let’s get under the covers:

  • “Masters of War”                       Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “War Pigs”                                  Faith No More
    • Original Artist                   Black Sabbath
  • “Hurt”                                          Johnny Cash
    • Original Artist                   Nine Inch Nails
  • “Hard to Handle”                        The Black Crowes
    • Original Artist                   Ottis Redding
  • “Chimes of Freedom”                 Bruce Springsteen
    • Original Artist                   Bob Dylan
  • “Cortez the Killer”                      The Dave Matthews Band
    • Original Artist                   Neil Young
  • “Billie Jean”                                 Chris Cornell
    • Original Artist                   Michael Jackson
  • “Paradise”                                   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   John Prine
  • “Hard Sun”                                 Eddie Vedder
    • Original Artist                   Indio
  • “Play it All Night Long”             Drive-By Truckers
    • Original Artist                   Warren Zevon
  • “Climbing up the Walls”            Erin Ivey
    • Original Artist                   Radiohead
  • “Rocket Man”                             My Morning Jacket
    • Original Artist                   Elton John
  • “Such Great Heights”                 Iron & Wine
    • Original Artist                   The Postal Service
  • “Hallelujah”                                 Jeff Buckley
    • Original Artist                   Leonard Cohe
  • “Little Wing”                               Stevie Ray Vaughan
    • Original Artist                   Jimi Hendrix
  • “Lungs”                                       Lyle Lovett
    • Original Artist                   Townes Van Zandt
  • “Breadfan”                                  Metallica
    • Original Artist                   Budgie
  • “Badfish”                                     Jack Johnson
    • Original Artist                   Sublime
  • “Hey Ya”                                     Obadiah Parker
    • Original Artist                   Outkast
  • Love Reign O’er Me                   Pearl Jam
    • Original Artist                   The Who
  • “The Ghost of Tom Joad”          Rage Against the Machine
    • Original Artist                   Bruce Springsteen
  • “Levelland”                                 Robert Earl Keen
    • Original Artist                   James McMurtry
  • I’ve Got to Know                         Son Volt
    • Original Artist                   Woody Guthrie
  • “Signs”                                         Tesla
    • Original Artist                   “Five Man Electrical Band
  • “Ruby’s Two Sad Daughters”   Pat Green
    • Original Artist                   Walt Wilkins

So, now that I have lit the candle of thought of great cover songs; let me know some of your favorites.

Great music awaits!