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Rebel Girl(s)

The song from the band Bikini Kill, " Rebel Girl " (1992) written by the band members Billy Karren, Kathi Wilcox, Tobi Vail and lead singer Kathleen Hanna is a good representation of the Punk subgenre 'Riot grrrl'. Kathleen Hanna A great cover from The Melvins.   However rebellious this music may seem to some, you need to go way back to understand this is nothing particularly new. There is a long history of women who created their own way to express themselves through music. I've mentioned some of them (pioneers if you will) in previous blogs like Sister Rosetta Tharpe in my first blog and Ma Rainey in my fourth posting. While some of these artists are hard to classify they fall generally under certain genres and subgenres. The aforementioned being primarily gospel and blues respectively, each type of music had its innovators and leaders, some well known, others much less so and even quite obscure. It will take more than one blog post but I'm going

The Greatest Songs Part 2

The Greatest Songs Part 2 Continuing on from the top 5 , according to Acclaimed Music are: #6 Johnny B. Goode which I covered in my Chuck Berry post.  #7 " Be My Baby ", the Ronettes with lead vocals by Ronnie Spector (Veronica Bennett) released in August of 1963. Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector who also produced the song with an early demonstration of his " wall of sound " formula. There is quite a bit to say about this song that hit #1 only on Cash Box, while it reached #2 on Billboard's Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B and UK charts. Backing vocalists included the other two Ronettes, Ronnie's older sister Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley, Sonny and Cher, Darlene Love (with The Blossoms) and one of the song writers Ellie Greenwich. The legendary drummer Hal Blaine's (who just passed away March 11) opening has been used in dozens of songs such as " Rag Doll " by the Four Seasons. Brian Wilson was q

More Country Classics

Country Classics (again) It will take a long time of blogging to get through all the best of Country music through the years and while I've examined a good percentage here are some more songs that deserve mention. What makes a song a "Classic" is somewhat subjective but these songs appear on several 'lists' and I have included my own personal bias and as well. As will you notice the numbers of cover versions is not always a measure of how great the song is. " I've Got a Tiger by the Tail " performed by Buck Owens and written with a frequent collaborator, Harlan Howard (1964). This song went to #1 in February of 1965 and also #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. While Harlan wrote many hit songs for a dozen or so other artists, I don't think anyone recorded more of his songs than Buck Owens. Covered about 30 times including Harlan Howard himself, Ray Charles and Stephanie Urbina Jones . " Blue Moon of Kentucky " written by Bill Monr

The Greatest Songs

The Greatest Songs I've talked about many of the prominent and enduring songs in my past posts, some are on the lists of the 'Greatest Songs'. Last week I posted the list of singles from Acclaimed Music . I like Acclaimed because they take all the top lists, sales and other factors into consideration. To expand a bit on the list; Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" sits at number one. The song is also #1 on Rolling Stone Magazines list of the  500 Greatest Song of all time  and tops Billboard Magazine's list as well. So, there seems to be consensus although some other well know lists like VH1 put it at #4 and Consequence of Sound (COS) has it at #3. When Dylan wrote " Like a Rolling Stone " he was exhausted having just returned home from a rather taxing tour schedule in mid June of 1965. The song hit the top 10 of most charts, but the only #1 ranking was from CashBox . Covered first in 1965 by ' The Soup Greens ' a Garage Band from N

The Greatest Artists

The 'List'(s) of Greatest Artists First, setting all lists aside we each have our own favorites and perhaps that will change over time as well, I know mine does and it looks a bit different from the 'official lists' for sure. Rolling Stone Magazine as most will know spends a lot of time compiling lists of the best and greatest and top this and that, and they do a fantastic job. One of the lists updated in 2010 is the 100 Greatest Artists . Most of you can guess who appears on the list I would imagine, the top 10 being; The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles. Perhaps the list that comes out in 2050 might even out the gender bias (not to take away from the talent here) but that's our history, like it or not. I've mentioned all of these artists in past blogs, some more than others so I'd like to take a look at other lists and artists. The RIAA (The Recordi

Hallelujah

The word is Hebrew in origin and means "Praise you, Jehovah" and is the older of the similar "Alleluia" which is apparently of Christian origin. We all know how the word/phrase gets used in everyday life, literature and of course song.  According to Secondhandsongs.com there are over 20 songs with one of these two words in the title. When you hear the word, if you are like me the song "Hallelujah" written by Leonard Cohen (1984) comes to mind. I've read Cohen had drafted some 80 different versions of this song before landing on the one recorded in June of 1984 for his seventh studio Album, " Various Positions ".  Cohen's strain is one of those songs that has taken on a life of its own, covered 'officially' 300 times both vocal and instrumental, unofficially this song has been sung no doubt millions of times. Suffering from over exposure due to programs like American Idol and to any local talent production as well inclusion

Country Classics

Here are covers of some of the best Country songs ever recorded. I've touched on a few of the great songs but there are more to talk about as theses originals have inspired country legends and many others to keep the songs alive. " I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry " written and performed by Hank Williams (1949). Certainly near the top of any list of the best of all time. There is some small controversy that the lyrics were written by someone else, I'm in no position to debate this but this song seems to be in the same style and consistency as Williams other songs and he still maintains official writing credit. It's little wonder the song resonates with so many people, the lyrics are poetic and paint a vivid picture of the heartache being portrayed. Released as a 'B' side this song peaked at #4 in 1949. Covered some 220 times, Johnny Cash , Tommy James and The Shondells , B.J. Thomas , Inger Marie Gundersen , and Wonder Woman- Lynda Carter. The 'b

1960

The Year 1960 It was a big year for animated TV series and the debut of the ' Flintstones ' which ran until 1966, for me and my family there were many hours spent watching and this one too  Mr. Magoo ! Following the year theme, I'll sneak another in before I change it up again. Leaving the 1950's behind ushered in something very different in the age of music but it didn't happen overnight. You have to look for the most part, beyond the Billboard Hot 100 to see anything actually 'new' from the year before. That said there were still many great songs produced they were just by a lot of the same people from the late 1950's. Elvis returned from Military Service and placed two top 10 hits on the year end chart. Others to have multiple hits on the Year-End Billboard Hot 100 were the Everly Brothers (4), Connie Francis (4), Brenda Lee (4), and Paul Anka (3). Rock and Roll took a bit of a beating as the " Payola " (or pay for play) investiga

Oscar Songs

Academy Award for Best Original Song This award began with the seventh Oscar's in 1934. The award goes to the composers and writers of the songs, not to the performer unless they contributed to the creation of the song. So typically for the performer there is only the exposure, adulation and people buying their music, but no statue. I discuss this in 'From the Movies' posts (parts 1 & 2) though not all of them Oscar winners so there are many more great songs to talk about. The first winner was "The Continental" performed in the movie by Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Erik Rhodes and Lillian Miles. Con Conrad (music) and Herb Magidson (lyrics). From the Movie 'The Gay Divorcee', I'm guessing this title meant something different back in 1934. This song was first released on a record in 1934 by Will Osborne and His Orchestra with vocals by Will Osborne, it has been covered over 70 times. Frank Sinatra (1954). The winner in 1936 is a song I gu

1959

The Year 1959 That's 60 years ago if you're counting. A five cent piece was actually made of nickel hence the nickname, and you could actually buy things with it, now it's mostly steel and only 2% nickel and not worth the metal its made from. Among other events that year, Fidel Castro arrived in Havana, February 3 was "the day the music died" and the Barbie doll was born on March 9th. Call it reflection, self indulgence or a bit of both, here is a look at some of the popular songs from the year that myself and many others in my life were born. " Don't Take Your Guns to Town " written and performed by Johnny Cash. While released in December of 1958 this was a chart topper from 1959 hitting #1 on Feb. 23 and finished the year ranked #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Country Songs.   U2 (2001). Bobby Darin was the only artist to have two songs finish the year in the top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100. I blogged the #1 song ('Grammys' Johnny