Tag Archives: Rush

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!


Musical Evolution

As music has evolved, so has the process of recording and distributing to the masses.  We can now download music to our phones, computers, and portable music devices.  The fact that I can carry my entire musical collection electronically on a gadget that is no larger than a deck of cards is crazy.

Technology has certainly advanced the music industry and created a more diverse consumer market but I wonder if the immediacy of the process has made us less informed about the music that we claim to love.

Being close to 40, I made the following musical format progression:

  1. 45’s
  2. LP’s
  3. Tapes
  4. CD’s
  5. Digital Files

In the halcyon days of my youth (pre high school), I could not wait to go and buy the latest album from my favorite band (Rush, Styx) and go home, analyze both sides of the cover, check out the linear notes, and drop it on the record player.  I had the cool Panasonic stereo that had a tape player (that recorded) so I could make a tape of the album and put it in my Boom Box and walk around the neighborhood.

I would wait all week to listen to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on Sunday afternoons and hope to hear my favorite song.

In high school, I had a huge collection of cassettes and would carefully select which ones I would load in my 48 tape carrying case.  And by carrying case, I mean luggage.  This thing was huge, had two handles and Velcro straps on both sides.  The stereo in my first car was worth more than the car itself.  I had the awesome tape deck that would actually fast-forward or rewind by song and a digitally tuned radio.  I was cool!

In college, along comes the small, thin, circular beauty of the Compact Disc, affectionately known as the CD.  It was revolutionary.  You would carefully place the CD on its tray, push a button and watch it disappear and then crisp, clear, CD quality sound emanated from the speakers.  The case was thin, square, and easily stackable.  The carrying case for multiple CD’s was thin, rectangular, and easily portable. As the technology progressed, there would be artwork on the disc, and the beauty of all beauties, the hidden track. 

Enter the digital age!  I embraced the digital age and purchased several MP3 players before I fell victim to the siren song of the iPod.  I own several iPods and a variety of docking stations to play them at home, work, in the truck, etc…

I am a fan of the portability of digital files however; I still buy CD’s in mass quantity.  To me, there is something pure about going into a record store, perusing the racks of music, and selecting a few must have items.  I still examine the covers, read linear notes, and enjoy every minute of each musical discovery.

Today, my kids have iPods!  The only albums they have ever seen are the few that I have left in my collection.  Record players and cassettes are completely foreign to them.  They have an awareness of CD’s but do not own any.  They like to purchase and download individual songs. 

As parents, we always want better for our children.  We want to afford them the opportunities we never had, we want to teach them from our mistakes, we want to raise them to lead a joyful, fulfilling existence. 

With all that is right with their world, I can’t help but feel a bit sad knowing that they will never have the kind of musical experience that I had as a child. 

Great music awaits!


50 Artists you should be listening to and own at least one album!

Ok, I thought yesterday’s blog was fun and elicited some reaction from you, the sweet , gentle reader  and a few David Cassidy fans( ITILY ladies and possibly gentlemen) and also caused a bit of a stir on facebook as well.  So, let’s go and reverse the whip.

I will attempt to continue to WOW you with my vast musical knowledge and then silently judge you if you are not impressed with my musical prowess.  Just kidding, I would never judge you or your poor musical taste. 

I do think that there are some artists that transcend genres and have universal appeal.  Others have a loyal following and then have that one album that regales the masses and they are beloved for generations.  Some of us grew up on music and we think it is greatness based solely on the nostalgia for the time and place in which we first heard it.  And then there are music purist who likes a band /artist because they respect the lineage and the impact that they had on music.

I tend to be a bit of all of the above.  There are some artists that I like because there is some form of connectivity that I really can’t explain, while others are truly a moment in time that has endeared me to an artist, and then there is the whole musical heritage piece.  I am intrigued by the evolution of music and the artists that find themselves compelled to play.  As mentioned previously in a blog, I have no musical talent.  I do not play and instrument, I do not sing close to well, and I’ve never had aspirations to do either.  I simply love to listen to music. 

As much as I have a propensity to scorn/judge, in my humble opinion, awful music, I really respect the fact that those dreadful musicians had the nerve to attempt to play, at some point get signed, and were able to release an album or at the very least a single.  When it comes down to it, I don’t judge the horrific musicians as mercilessly as I judge the faction who listens and procures the music.

So, below is a listing of artists/bands that you should be listening to and would be in any reputable music collection.  

  • Ryan Adams
  • The Band
  • The Beastie Boys
  • The Beatles
  • Beck
  • The Black Crowes
  • Jimmy Buffet (with love to Gwendolyn)
  • Johnny Cash
  • Eric Clapton
  • Credence Clearwater Revival
  • Drive-By Truckers
  • Bob Dylan
  • The Eagles
  • Steve Earle
  • Foo Fighters
  • Pat Green
  • Merle Haggard
  • Ben Harper
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Robert Earl Keen
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • John Mellencamp
  • Metallica
  • Willie Nelson
  • Nirvana
  • Pearl Jam
  • Tom Petty
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Pixies
  • Joe Purdy
  • Radiohead
  • R.E.M
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Rush
  • Paul Simon
  • Sonic Youth
  • Sound Garden
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • James Taylor
  • Traveling Wilburys
  • U2
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Wilco
  • Whiskeytown
  • The Who
  • Neil Young
  • ZZ Top

I just listed the artist and not the album or albums that you should be listening to and really own by said artist.  Also, I stopped at 50 and that took a considerable amount of restraint.

This is fundamentally meant to light the candle of thought and get you to think about your 50 artists.  If you only had 50 artists that you could listen to, who would they be?  Think of yourself as Tom Hanks in Cast Away and instead of Wilson the volleyball, you have an iPod with 50 artists and their entire catalog. 

So take some time, peruse the list and let me know who you would have added or deleted from the list or send me you complete list.

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

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Great Music Awaits!


Live albums you should be listening to!

The live album is always a risky proposition.  In years past, it was the other give up album (hello Greatest Hits) that was done to fulfill the contract with the record company.  Not to say that there have not been great live albums but there have been some less than stellar albums that have not quite stood the test of time (“Frampton Comes Alive” anyone?). 

 I think, as music has progressed, the live album was a great way for bands to better connect with their audience.  Some bands have earned the reputation as a great “Live” band and the live album was just an obvious avenue for them.  Artists like Phish and The Dave Matthews Band have more live albums in their discography than studio albums.  In 2000 Pearl Jam, in an attempt provide their fans with a better quality and affordable live recording, recorded all of their concerts. 

 So, here is a list of great live albums.  This is by no means a list of the greatest live albums, but merely an installment of great live albums.

Metallica S&M 

This album features Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony.  Such a brilliant merging of two seemingly polar opposites sounds and styles.  The set list takes a bit from each of the early works as well as their late 90’s work.  Definitely worth adding to your collection.

Tom Petty Live Anthology

This album is a compilation of thirty years of live concerts.  Petty is timeless and the music is amazing.  Radio staples such as “Refugee”, “American Girl”, and “Free Falling” are comfortably arranged around deeper cuts like “Louisiana Rain”, “Angel Dream (No.2)”, and “”Straight Into Darkness”.  The covers on this four disc set are a real treat including The Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” and Fleetwood Mac’s ”Oh Well”. 

The Dave Matthews Band The Central Park Concert

This is a three disc set that is a typical Dave Matthews jam session with the usual song suspects in the lineup and has a great cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” with Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers & Govt. Mule) and Dave sharing the vocals.  It is not overly produced or reworked so you get more of the raw concert sound and vibe. 

 Ben Harper Live from Mars

If you are going to own one Ben Harper album, this is the one.  This two disc set is a great cross section of his work as well as covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” and The Verve “The Drugs Don’t Work”.

Counting Crows Across A Wire Live in New York

This two disc set is actually two separate concerts.  Disc one is an acoustic set while disc two cranks up a bit electrically.  The set list is comprised of songs from their first two albums “August and Everything After” and “Recovering the Satellites”. 

Undone: A Musical Tribute to Robert Earl Keen

This two disc live album has great covers of Keen’s music by the likes of:  Walt Wilkins, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers, Reckless Kelly, Chris Knight, Cody Canada (Cross Canadian Ragweed), and Max Stallings.  Robert also appears on the last few song son disc two. 

Alice in Chains Unplugged

This album captured the essence and greatness of the late, great Layne Staley.  All acoustic (hence the unplugged) set that include “Would”, “Angry Chair”, and ‘The Killer is Me”.  This was one of the final performances of the original band. 

Chris & Rich Robinson (The Black Crowes) Brothers of a Feather

This two man acoustic set is the brothers and their guitars at their greatest.  The album is a variety of cuts from their shows at the Roxy Theater.  It features songs from The Black Crowes and a few cover tunes.  My favorite tracks are “Thorn in My Pride” and “My Heart is Killing Me”. 

Rage Against the Machine Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium

Great album recorded during their last two shows in September 2000.  The intensity of the album lasts al sixteen tracks.  Standout tracks on the album are “No Shelter”, “Bulls On Parade”, “Bomb Track”, and “Killing In the Name of”. 

Pearl Jam Live (any of the band produced live albums)

In an effort to better connect with the fans and provide quality and affordable live recordings Pearl Jam recorded a series of concerts in the early 00’s.  Sets often included “Crazy Mary”, “State of Love and Trust”, covers of Neil Young’s “Rockin in the Free World”, Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”, The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”.  So, take your pick as any of the live series is a treasure.

Dispatch All Points Bulletin

This two disc set is the final farewell concert that was held in Boston that had over 100,000 fans in attendance.  It is the subject of the DVD “Last Dispatch.  This album has an early version of the State Radio song “Riddle In Londontown” and a fan sing along to the Dispatch tune “The General”.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live in New York City

Amazing two disc set that at the time of release has two new and unreleased songs “Land of Hopes and Dreams” and “American Skin (41 Shots)”.  Both stellar songs but in my opinion, “Youngstown” is the gem of this album. 

Paul Simon’s Concert In the Park

This live recording was done in New York’s famous Central Park on August 15th 1991. The album opens with one of my all time favorite Simon songs “The Obvious Child”.  He also covers the Simon and Garfunkel period with “The Boxer”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and closes the set with “The Sounds of Silence”.  This concert also featured many of the South American and African musicians that played on “Rhythm of the Saints” and “Graceland” respectively.

Rush Different Stages

It is a three disc set that covers several of their concerts in 1994 and 1997.  Disc three is a concert in London from 1978.  They cover quite a bit of their catalog but the one glaring omission is “Mystic Rhythms

 Bob Dylan The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration

This tribute concert was a star studded event with performances from: John Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson, Stevie Wonder, Lou Reed, Eddie Vedder, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, George Harrison, The Band, and Roger McGuinn to name just a few!  While all of the performances were amazing, Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready’s cover of “Masters of War” was the highlight of the show. 

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Great Music Awaits!