Tag Archives: Prince

Super Bowl Musical Hype

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about Super Bowl hype.  Fear not Steelers Nation, we will be back!  Not the hype of the game, or the rivalries that pit storied franchise against each, but the musical hype that surrounds the game.  With such a high profile venue, I mean come on, it is the Super Bowl, and the expectations are high.  In some years, the game is a distant second or third to the music and commercials.  Love the Darth Vader commercial and the finger licking Dorrito dude! 

The Half Time Show has become a separate entity within the game.  In recent years, we have had a range of talent that skewered towards the top of the musical stratosphere with such notables as Paul McCartney, Prince, The Rolling Stones,U2, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, and last year, The Who.   

Historically, the half time performance was a college marching band and maybe a single special musical guest who sang a song.  This all changed in 1993 when Michael Jackson, in all his uniqueness, turned the half time performance into the Half Time Show.  Since 1993 some of the performances have included the following artists:

  • Clint Black
  • The Judds
  • Travis Tritt
  • Teddy Pendergrass
  • Tony Bennett
  • Dianna Ross
  • Boyz II Men
  • Mary J Blige
  • U2
  • Shania Twain
  • Janet Jackson (I’m pretty sure we all remember that one)
  • Paul McCartney
  • Prince
  • Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Phil Collins
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Aerosmith
  • N Sync
  • Britney Spears
  • Nelly
  • Miami Sound Machine
  • No Doubt
  • Sting
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Kid Rock
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  • The Who
 

Perusing this fine list, you can see that there have been some hit and miss performances.  Some of the performances such as The Boss, U2, and Tom Petty were deserving of a solo show that covered a few of their big hits and maybe a mash up medley or two.  Other lesser known or listened to artists shared the bill with other spares. 

Last night, I was decidedly underwhelmed at the prospect of The Black Eyed Peas taking the stage for even the briefest of moments.  So, much to my surprise, they sucked so much more than my lowest of expectations.  While I try, albeit not very hard, to appreciate their take on music and their apparent enthusiasm for a good time, I just think everyone would have had a better time if their music and their performance did not suck quite so much.  I realize that their brand of music is hard to recreate live.  I would imagine it is excruciatingly difficult when the entire band consists of talentless hacks that look like they should be in another remake of Lost in Space and your lead singer is vocally challenged. 

A quick side note: As if Axl Rose does not have enough anger issues, Slash, what they hell were you thinking?  I suggest you shave your head, lose the hat and go in to hiding.  Your playing guitar while Fergie brayed out what I think were the lyrics to Sweet Child O Mine makes you complicit and just as guilty in the crime that was The Half Time Show.  Clean living has clearly altered your ability to make good musical decisions.  Someone get that man a fifth of Jack, some black tar heroin, any G n R groupies that might be left, and a new agent.

Oh, and I think Usher was on the stage as well.  Well, I think his musical relevancy at this point is the fact that he is partly responsible for exposing the entire world to Beiber Fever. With that being said, he is definitely deserving of the front row on the Hell Express.

I would be remiss if I did not discuss the National Anthem debacle with Christina Aguilera.  I can only imagine the pressure of singing that song in front a hundred thousand live people and also being viewed by millions.  I give her a partial pass on the words.  However, I do not give her a pass on the bluesy, sultry, diva type delivery that she tricked up last night.  I’m just spit balling here but I bet the words would be a little easier to remember if you just sang them straight!  We all know it is a difficult song to sing and we have seen it screwed up countless times by far less talented people.  We all know you have an amazing voice with great range.  We also know that by your quickly released statement, you have a great management team.  Here is a hint fellas, big, theatrical award show let the pipes blow, nationally televised, time honored traditional song, stick to the damn script!

As for the game, I’m more than a little disappointed in the outcome.  I’m a huge Steelers fan and really held on until the last fatal mistake of the game.  Hats off to The Pack and their fans, they did the Super Bowl proud.  This is more than I can say for the music.

Great music hopefully 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!


A Bloggers Musical Look at 40!

Well, my dear, sweet, gentle blog readers, today is a milestone day for me.  Or, so I’m told.  Yep, it is my 40th birthday.  Feel free to comment on how old I am or must feel.  Candle jokes are always funny, and yes, I am actually typing this attired in black and with one foot in the grave.

I like to think that I have made my musical feelings abundantly clear over the last year or so in this blog.  Songs are snapshots along our continuum that allow us to recall special times, people, and places. Music shades us in many ways, some so beautifully moving that we are overcome by emotion, others etched in our fabric like a familiar scent that recalls the halcyon days of our youth, while others are just simply attached to a moment in time.

In my forty years, I have lived and experienced more life than I probably deserve.  I know I certainly lived more than my parents deserved.  Through it all, music is the one constant that I have turned to regardless of the situation.  Adolescent love, loss, birth of children, marriage, divorce, and death, and yes, much living in between, music has been my salvation. Music resonates within me at many different levels. The basic premise behind music is notes, keys, chords, rhythm, etc….   It is analogous to food in the fact that there is music for all occasions.

So today, is my musical look at 40!  Below are 40 songs that have colored me indelibly. I will offer no explanation as to why these songs resonate with me nor will I debate their worthiness of inclusion.  After all it is my birthday, my blog and my computer at which I type. 

Below is this Bloggers Musical look at 40:

Song

Artist
  • Blinded By the Light *note* Cause Mama that’s where the fun is!
Bruce Springsteen
  • Everybody Hurts
R.E.M.
  • Simple Man
Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Tiny Dancer
Elton John
  • With or Without You
U2
  • Louisiana Rain
Tom Petty
  • Dyer’s Eve
Metallica
  • Touch From Your Lust
Ben Harper
  • Fire Lake
Bob Segar
  • Masters of War
Bob Dylan
  • See What Tomorrow Brings
Arc Angels
  • There Is So Much More
Brett Dennen
  • Mystic Rhythms
Rush
  • Jimi Thing
The Dave Matthews Band
  • It’s In the Way That You Use It
Eric Clapton
  • Rearview Mirror
Pearl Jam
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine
Guns N’ Roses
  • The Sea and the Rhythm
Iron & Wine
  • Waiting for the Sun
The Jayhawks
  • Little Wing
Jimi Hendrix
  • Highwayman
The Highwaymen
  • Gimme Shelter
The Rolling Stones
  • Chloe Dance/Crown of Thorns
Mother Love Bone
  • When You Come Back Down
Nickel Creek
  • I’m Trying To Find It
Pat Green
  • Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd
  • Slip Sliding Away
Paul Simon
  • Sideways
Citizen Cope
  • Wheel In The Sky
Journey
  • Sign O’ The Times
Prince
  • What a Crying Shame
The Mavericks
  • Sweet Caroline
Neil Diamond
  • Minutes To Memories
John Mellencamp
  • Band on the Run
Paul McCartney
  • Killing In the Name
Rage Against the Machine
  • Shades of Gray
Robert Earl Keen
  • Life Without You
Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Plush
Stone Temple Pilots
  • Badfish
Sublime
  • Into the Mystic
Van Morrison

When I hear any of these songs, I vividly remember the moments, feelings, situations, and the friends I shared the moments with.  I contend that these artists and their songs do or will stand the test of time and are just as relevant today as they were in the past or will be in the future.  At least for me!

So there you go, me sharing a little of my birthday with you.  Enjoy and come over later for some cake and ice cream.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Doyle Bramhall II !

Doyle Bramhall II is a Dallas, Texas born guitarist, singer/songwriter who just happens to be the son of, wait for it…… Doyle Bramhall, friend of the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan.  While in his late teens, Doyle Bramhall II toured as the second guitarist with Jimmie Vaughan and his band The Fabulous Thunderbirds. I thought my high school job was cool and I only I worked at the local video store.

In1992, he and fellow Texan, Charlie Sexton, co-founded the rock band Arc Angels. Doyle and Charlie completed the lineup with the former rhythm section from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s backing band, Double Trouble (Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon).  Although they have only recorded one album, the band was well received critically and had several radio hits.  Their second album is due sometime in 2010

In 1996, he released his self titled debut solo album which featured Wendy and Lisa who formerly worked with the artist formerly known as Prince.  Bramhall wanted to establish himself beyond a guitarist and the album did not do well commercially but by critics gave it some praise.  His second album Jellycream was released in 1999.  It was met with low sales and led to his label, RCA, to stop funds for his new musical project.  Bramhall eventually asked to be let out of his contract. 

Shortly thereafter, he caught the ear of Eric Clapton and worked on Clapton’s 2001 album Reptile.  It was around this time that Bramhall formed his new band Smokestack which, ironically, opened for Clapton on his 2001 tour and by 2004 he was Clapton’s second guitarist.  Bramhall also played guitar with Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd greatness, on his In the Flesh tour.

Doyle Bramhall II Discography:

  • Doyle Bramhall II
  • Jellycream
  • Welcome

Top five Doyle Bramhall II Songs:

  1. Ain’t Goin’ Down Slow (Doyle Bramhall II)
  2. Marry You (Jellycream)
  3. Green Light Girl (Welcome)
  4. So You Want It To Rain (Welcome)
  5. I’m the One (Jellycream)

What sets the music apart, is the diversity of Bramhall’s talent; songwriting, passionate, soulful vocals, and virtuoso guitar playing.  His sound is taut, unyielding and haunting.  Clearly influenced by the guitar greats of the past but individualized enough to claim a sound all his own.

Check out Doyle Bramhall and let me know what you think www.doylebramhall2nd.com.

Doyle Bramhall’s music is available at iTunes, record stores and www.doylebramhall2nd.com.

Great music awaits!