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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

As we walk, rock and or roll into 2020, a bit of music never hurt anyone and many songs have been written about the event. From old favorites to new these songs help us reflect on the year gone by and bring hope for the year ahead. I'll keep this short post brief and get right to the music!

So we of course need to start with the oldest New Year song, a tradition since the late 1700's in Scotland. The legendary Poet Robert Burns transcribed words he said he heard from an old man. It's an amalgam of old poems and folk songs put to the tune of yet another old folk song which is listed on the Roud Folk Song Index as number 6294 out of over 25,000 songs.

"Auld Lang Syne" is roughly translated into several meanings, according to Wikipedia "into standard English as "old long since" or, more idiomatically, "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times". Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appea…

Christmas and Holiday Songs

The most covered Christmas Carols and Holiday Songs



Most people love them, some loathe them and the rest perhaps are somewhat indifferent. Wherever you sit on the spectrum, this music is unavoidable at this time of year. From the traditional carol to the old favorites and the new there is never a shortage of choice and escaping it takes a lot of effort. So if you want to read a story about Christmas and Holiday Songs, I've got you covered. 😉

Just the numbers, for the most covered songs of all time according to Secondhandsongs.com we see 8 out of the top 10 are Christmas carols or songs.

Silent Night, 2758 versionsSummertime, 1898 versionsWhite Christmas, 1555 versionsSilent Night, 1454 versionsOh, Holy Night, 1442 versionsHave Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, 1414The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You), 1320 versionsA New Northern Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves, 1299 versionsWinter Wonderland, 1092 versionsJingle Bells, 1076 versions "Yesterday" the top covered…

Artists that Sing Covers = Not as talented

Artists that Sing Cover Songs are not as talented (as those who don't).

Ok hold your hand up if this is what you believe. Ok good, only a few of you did but you few are apparently not alone. The more research I do the more I run across some misinformed or misguided sentiment that if you 'only' cover a song(s) you are somehow not as talented. And some are wondering if perhaps there is some truth in this, the short answer is NO! The longer explanation is a bit more complicated. First, different genres have different 'feelings' for lack of a better term about who writes, who sings and who plays. But songwriters come from all over the music map, and making music is a lot more than just about the writers. With the odd exception as ...

once in a century you get a Bob Dylan
He can play several musical instruments, he can write songs like few others and he can sing. This Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees list of accolades include a Pulitzer Prize special citation, 10 Gr…

Rock Artists Sing Soul

Rock Artists Sing Soul

I've blogged about Soul and there are dozens' of songs sprinkled throughout my posts, but I want to focus on covers by Rock artists. While R&B was the main inspiration of most Rock musicians, Soul music is not far behind. Most of the biggest names in Rock history covered Soul songs and the influence can often be heard in their original material. Most notably this was a trend in the 1960's and there are plenty to choose. As with the Blues, bands from the UK were all over the Soul music scene. While I've dedicated some writing to Soul icons such as Ray Charles, James Brown and the legendary Aretha Franklin, I wanted to feature other artists today.

"Some Other Guy" by Richie Barrett (who discover discovered artists such as Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, the Chantels, Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Valentines, and the Three Degrees) co-wrote this with the famous duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, released in April 1962. …

Chess Records

Chess Records

Earlier this November I had the privilege and pleasure to visit the former Chess Records (1956-65) building in Chicago. It is an important landmark in the history of Blues and R&R music. It is now home to the Willie Dixon Blues Heaven Foundation and hosts tours of the partially restored original recording Studio room 'B' and the small room which was Studio 'A'. Firstly a thank-you to the Dixon Family for preserving this gem. Also a nod to the fantastic tour guide who's name I didn't catch but he's from Manchester so if you go there and are lucky enough to have him you'll know who I mean. They have lots of photos, great memorabilia and a neat little gift shop (got the t-shirt). I've long been a fan of Chess Records and the music they produced, so if you read this post there are spoilers for the tour but my words can't hold a candle to that experience. I'm happy that this, my 100th blog post coincides with a personally meanin…

Southern Rock

Southern Rock

As I have discussed in previous posts trying to pigeon hole bands into genres and subgenres in particular is a tough task at times. That said when we think of Southern Rock there are certain names that come to mind. Most likely those would be 'Lynyrd Skynyrd' (LS) and 'The Allman Brothers Band' (ABB). I've read that the late Ronnie Van Sant who was the lead singer of LS said they were "a rock band who just happen to be from the South" and this is certainly true. But there are some characteristics of the subgenre which set it apart in more ways than just geography. The all too obvious songs we can point to are "Sweet Home Alabama" by LS (1974) and Charlie Daniels "The South's Gonna Do It" (1975). The former I touched on a bit in my post on Neil Young as his "Alabama" and "Southern Man" both struck a nerve in the south and prompted LS to strike back with an 'answer song' both eschewing his vi…

Remembrance and Veterans Day

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day




In Canada and the Commonwealth on Remembrance Day we observe the end of WWI to remember those who sacrificed their lives and those that gave service. Since that time it has come to mark military service throughout our history, giving us the peace and prosperity we now enjoy. In the United States it is called Veterans Day and similarly those who served and sacrificed in the military are remembered and honoured. We of course must not forget the others who suffered, sacrificed and supported the military in other ways, least of all the parents and families.

There are many songs written about the military, the wars, the battles and the lives that were affected in tragic and profound ways. Some of the songs are patriotic and celebratory and many are somber and reflective. Equally there are songs that protest wars and military conflicts, speaking of peace and resolving conflict in a non violent fashion, and I believe most of us wish it could be that way.

Mike Pl…

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs #76-100

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs #76-100

Ok here is the last of my list, I could go on and as a matter of fact I will, just not with another set of 25 plus "to infinity and beyond!" I have to say it was easy to come up with more songs as this final list started at 43. But it was very difficult to decide which ones would make the final cut, so these last 25 songs became a list with a number of great ones left for another day.




76. "Flip Flop and Fly" is a song by the same collection that brought us the classic "Shake Rattle and Roll" written by Jesse Stone (credited to his pseudonym Charles E. Calhoun) and Lou Willie Turner, sung by Big Joe Turner (1955). The first time I heard this was at a club in my hometown I'll say around 1979 or so, performed by the talented Canadian Blues band Downchild Blues Band, later known as just 'Downchild'. Still the best cover for me although I've heard many fine ones out of some over 70 versions, this is a standa…