Happy 70th Birthday to Steve Cropper..an amazing guitar player, songwriter..and a guy who has an interesting connection to Madison.
When Otis Redding's plane went down in Lake Monona in 1967, one of Cropper's beloved guitars (I believe a Telecaster) went down with it. And he has said he never wrote another hit song after that.
Now I doubt there's much left of it after all these years...but it sure would be cool if a diver could find it.
Cropper co-wrote "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay," "In the Midnight Hour," among others, and as a founding member of Booker T and The MG's was involved in the recording of pretty much every record Stax Records ever put out.
And don't forget he's the "Steve" of "Play it Steve" on the song "Soul Man"...the Sam & Dave and Blues Brothers Versions.
He's still making records too..most recently puttingÂ out a great album called "Dedicated" features duets with B.B. King, Lucinda Williams, John Popper and Steve Winwood.
Find out more about Cropper's amazing career on his website at www.playitsteve.com.
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'."--John Lennon
Chuck Berry turns 85 years old today..and he's still gigging. I'm not sure he's doing his signature duck walk anymore..but just standing upright and holding a guitar for any length of time would be an accomplishment for most people his age. I checked his tour schedule, and he's playing BB King's Club in New York City on New Year's Eve!
I was lucky enough to see Chuck Berry several years ago as part of a double bill with Little Richard. While he was a little cranky (he thought video cameras being used to project the show on big screens were actually recording him and he got testy), and his guitar chops weren't seamless, it was still incredible to be able to see such an icon up close and personal.
Funny concert memory: Mike and I were sitting next to Madison sandwich tycoon Big Mike (of Big Mike's and Milio's fame), who was really getting into the show. At one point, Chuck asked all the pretty ladies to come up on stage and dance with him. While I was too shy, Big Mike (who lives up to his name) ran up on stage and gave it his all! I ran into Big Mike this summer and mentioned that to him, and he asked me, "Can you blame me?"
There are lots of great videos featuring Chuck Berry on youtube..and in many of them, he's playing with rock and roll luminaries that he influenced.
This one is from the documentary "Hail Hail Rock and Roll," and features a famous son of one of the biggest rock stars ever.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Add another honor to the list Â for Sir Paul McCartney. The legendary singer/songwriter will be honored as Grammy awardâs 2012 MusicCares Person of the Year. MusicCares is a program that ensures music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.
Sir Paul is being honored not just for his creative accomplishments, but also for his lifelong range of philanthropic activities said Neil Portnow, president of the MusicCares program .
Ever modest, McCartney had this to say: "I've been given a great gift -- a life making music -- and it's my privilege to try to make the world a better place by giving back," said McCartney. "For more than 20 years, MusicCares has helped so many music people in times of crisis -- whether with emergency financial assistance or access to addiction recovery resources -- and it is an honor to be recognized as the 2012 MusicCares Person of the Year."
Mccartney will be honored in February, 2 days before the 54th annual Grammy Award presentation. Â If you have the funds, thereâs a silent auction, with an exclusive selection of luxury items, VIP experiences and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia for bidding guests. The reception and silent auction will be followed by a dinner, the award presentation and a star-studded tribute concert. Â Proceeds from the February 12 concert and auction will go to the MusicCares program.
Congratulations to Sir PaulÂ Â McCartney!
The blues world is mourning the loss of David "Honeyboy" Edwards, who died early yesterday at his home. The last of the original delta blues performers has died, just shy of his 96th birthday.
I was lucky enough to see "Honeyboy" when he played the Belleville Blues Festival a couple of years ago, to introduce him and to shake the hand of a man who was a contemporary of Robert Johnson. It was an incredible honor.
This is a guy who was respected by every one from Robert Cray to Keith Richards, and was still a helluva performer almost until the very end. He played his last shows in April of this year.
There's a documentary available on DVD that tells his life story. Check out the trailer here and click here for more info.
If Keith Moon were still alive, he would have turned 65 this week. And while many argue that Moon was one of the best drummers ever (and I would be among them), most every one would agree that he was the maddest drummer out there. And by mad, I mean crazy.
There's the legendary story of Moon adding extra explosives to the special effects for an appearance on the Smothers Brothers show, knocking out 90 percent of Pete Townshend's hearing in one ear.
And the other story of him driving a Cadillac into a Holiday Inn swimming pool to celebrate his 21st birthday.
Moon definitely added a sense of humor to the Who, something that was clearly missed after his death. Not that I necessarily think causing deafness or criminal damage to property is funny, but there was just always something a little cheeky about him. (Get it? Moon? Cheeky?)
I bet he spent a lot of time in the headmaster's office during his school days.
Here's the famous Smothers Brothers clip:
Check out how rubbery Keith's arms seem to be! This is from an episode of Shindig. Amazing!
Back before anybody ever heard of "singer-songwriters," there were very talented folks who wrote the songs, but rarely sang them where any one could hear.
We lost two greats on Monday when Jerry Leiber died of cardiopulmonary failure at the age of 78, and Nick Ashford died of throat cancer at age 69.
Leiber, along with his writing partner Mike Stoller, came up with some songs that were something more than "classic," if there were a word for that.
Leiber was barely out of high school when he co-wrote Hound Dog for Big Mama Thornton, that Elvis eventually made a hit. Leiber said it was written in 12 minutes flat! Other songs with the Jerry Leiber credit include Stand By Me, Jailhouse Rock, Spanish Harlem, On Broadway, and even a novelty hit or two, including Yakety Yak for the Coasters.
Nick Ashford was one-half of the songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson. He and his wife Valerie wrote lots of great Motown hits, including Aint No Mountain High Enough and Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand) for Diana Ross. They had a hit that they sang in the in the 1980's. Remember Solid As A Rock?
Do you think maybe Leiber and Ashford will team up and write some songs for a new demographic, on the other side?
I was a little surprised when I heard that Ted Nugent was coming to Madison to play the Capitol Theater at the Overture Center.
For one thing, I don't think he'll be sporting a Wisconsin 14 shirt, like The Nightwatchman Tom Morello might when he comes to Madison in September.
The last time I saw Ted Nugent (yes, I've seen him twice) he opened for KISS at the Kohl Center. Neither his music, or his political ranting were my personal cup of tea. (But I did think it was kind of awesome when he shot an arrow off a specially made bow-guitar).
At one time, I thought I could have been friends with Ted Nugent. There used to be a cool hippie bar in Stevens Point called the Yacht Club, which had a very big picture of the bar's owner posing with none other than Ted Nugent, holding up some kind of dead game. (Pheasants, perhaps?) Ted and Ray apparently were hunting buddies.
Now I've got nothing against hunting, and any friend of Ray, I thought, could be a friend of mine.
The first time I saw Ted was during a Damn Yankees concert at the Coliseum in 1990. I had won the tickets, and had no idea Ted was even in the band. "Why is this band doing Cat Scratch Fever?" I wondered.
When I was in the restroom, I was chatting with some other concertgoers, and pointed out that I had been unaware that Nugent was in the band, and said "I grew up listening to his music." To that, another gal asked.."How old ARE you?"
Here's Ted with his old band, the Amboy Dukes. Who knew where his journey would take him back then?
Naming your band after an animal is certainly not new. And you'd think that eventually there would be no suitable band names left in the entire animal kingdom.
That's where you would be wrong.
In the first wave of bands named after critters we had... the Crickets, the Byrds, the Beatles, the Animals, the Eagles, the Turtles, and yes, even the Critters.
Then we had the second wave, which include Counting Crows, Black Crowes, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Whitesnake, and Phish.
Some of my favorite newer bands include Frightened Rabbit, Super Furry Animals, Fleet Foxes, Panda Bear, Freelance Whales, and Eagles of Death Metal.
I'm not really quite understanding the latest obsession with bands with the word Deer in the name..they include Deerhoof, Deer Tick, Deer Camp, Deer Woman, Starved Deer, and even Festival of Dead Deer.
One area of the animal kingdom that seems under-represented is undersea creatures. So I've come up with a few names that I believe would be awesome. Or least better than Festival of Dead Deer.
In no particular order, I present:
Sea Cucumber Salad
The Lowly Snails
You wanted the best you've got the best...we're proud to introduce..Muskellunge!
It had been a while since I had listened to my CD of Life's Rich Pageant. So when I threw the new 25th anniversary remastered CD into my Bose Wave radio, I wasn't sure how it compared to the old one.
I listened to the album A LOT when it first came out. How I even came to own it is actually kind of a funny story. I'll cut to the chase. I wanted Robert Palmer's Riptide for Christmas, but my younger brother bought me Life's Rich Pageant instead, because it was better.Â And what do you know, he was right!
Listening to this album again reminded me of how I listened to R.E.M. back in the day, on vinyl.Â I really had no idea what any of the songs were about, and for the most part couldn't understand what exactly Michael Stipe was singing.
A lot of phrases of the songs stuck in my head back then..like "this is where we walked, this is where we swam, take a picture here, take a souvenir." "My sweet hyena..." "Run and turn into butter."
After I listened to the CD I put my old one in for comparison purposes, and sonically, the new one is a big improvement. If you're just going to load it onto your iPod, I'm not sure its worth rebuying..but if you have a good stereo or even a Bose CD player like I do, it's worth it to get the upgrade. The remastering sounds great...not different, just better..less tinny, more full.
The bonus CD that came with it was a disappointment. It's made up of 19 songs from a previously unreleasedÂ concert, and for the most part sounds too much like the record..and includes early versions of some stuff that would show up on later records! The last song is kind of interesting. "Get On That Way" is an earlier version of "What if we Give It Away," so I guess it's somewhat cool to hear it with different words.
A big fan of R.E.M.? Go buy this 2 CD set.Â A so-so fan who already owns the CD? Keep the one you've got. Just discovering the band and want to see what the fuss was about before they started singing stuff like "Shiny Happy People?" You should go buy this. They really were quite good.
And so much better than Robert Palmer singing "Addicted to Love."
Now some people accuse me of having too much free time. And that may be the case. I've spent hours making creations out marshmallow peeps. And don't even ask me about how much painstaking detail I've gone to in order to create a Halloween costume that, in the end, no one understands.
But all of that's nothing compared to a group of Lego artistes who took more than 2 years to create a video of the Coldplay song Viva La Vida in Lego's.
Hey, at least they got it finished before Coldplay's new album came out!
It's actually quite well done. Kudos!
(Hey, maybe I could make some kind of video out of Kudos granola snacks!)
Critics have been saying some good things about the new biographical Jimi Hendrix movie that's debuting at SXSW later this month.
For one thing, Jimi: All Is By My Side comes from film-maker John Ridley, who wrote the screenplay for the much...
"Move it in, move it out, move it in roundabout, Disco Lady!"
Those lyrics were just a little too suggestive to Kitty back in 1976 when this song was a hit. But lots of folks appeared to be in a disco mood this morning when we played that number one...
I made jambalaya for supper last night--today I think I'll celebrate Mardi Gras with my favorite Louisiana export, Sonny Landreth!
I've had a chance to see Sonny around a dozen times, and he never fails to impress. When he opened Eric...
To get through the Monday Blues, you're going to need something extraordinary (what makes the difference is that little extra), and here it is: Neon Trees' latest Sleeping With a Friend (slightly off-putting title insanely awesome jam!)
You may have driven by that seemingly rundown brick building on East Washington Avenue hundreds of times, but you probably never got to go behind the scenes at the iconic recording studio that brought us so much great music in the 1990s.
What are you doing Sunday March 9th? Why not spend the afternoon supporting a great cause, and enjoying some fantastic music?
It's a benefit for the family of a young Madison girl, Anna Mischnick, who is battling brain cancer.
The event goes...
Coldplay is supposedly working on a new album to follow their 2011 release, Milo Xyloto. But we don't have to wait until that album comes out, whenever that will be, to hear a new song.
This week the band debuted the song "Midnight" on their...