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Elton John

Elton John Elton and Bernie 1968 Rocketman , the story of Elton John is due in theatres May 31 Sir Elton Hercules John CBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, 25 March 1947 in London, England. Surrounded by music at an early age he learned to play on his grandmother's piano. The young Reginald could play back anything he heard including complex classical compositions. His music career started with his band 'Bluesology' but really began gaining traction when he met Bernie Taupin at Liberty Records, writing songs for people like Roger Cook a noted British songwriter and recording artist who co-wrote " Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress) " by the Hollies. His first release as Elton John is now a very rare song " I've Been Loving You " Written entirely by Elton but he gave Bernie songwriting rights to help him establish his publishing credit. He has gone on to become the fifth best selling artist (alb

The Guitar

The Guitar A simple enough word 'guitar' but that is where the simplicity ends. The instrument is both beautiful and complex and in the hands of the right person it can make a sound unmatched by any other instrument. Just to clarify things I can't play myself (unlike my two older brothers) and I'm no expert on the topic but I wanted to blog a bit on it regardless. So here, briefly the history of the guitar as I understand it. Firstly a definition from Dr. Michael Kasha who was a Physical Chemist and molecular spectroscopist. Apart from that impressive gig he spent many years researching and designing guitars. From a work done by Paul Guy, he quotes Dr. Kasha as saying a guitar has "a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with in-curved sides". According to Guy the first known guitars date back about 4000 years and the oldest representation is a stone carving at Alaca Huyuk in Turkey, of a 3300 year old Hittite "gui

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones When you have released your 26th compilation album ' Honk ', you know you've been around a long long time. Their 30 studio albums however does not put them anywhere near the top album producers in numbers (Brian Carroll known as ' Buckethead ' has released over 300) that said it is the most impressive and unprecedented body of work. As most will know they were formed in 1962 with the basic original lineup of; Brian Jones who was the original bandleader (guitar, harmonica, keyboards), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts (drums), and Ian Stewart (piano). Stewart soon left but continued to play under contract for many years. Brian Jones would spiral downward due to addiction and be replaced shortly before his drowning death in 1969. Mick Taylor who replaced Jones would leave after Ronnie Wood joined in 1975. No secret the heart and soul has always been Jagger and Richards. If

Post #75 One Year of Blogging

One Year mark for my blog is May 6, 2019 Thank you to my subscribers and everyone else who reads my blog, and an extra thanks to those who share the blog with others whether via posting on your timeline in FB, twitter, email or word of mouth. One year ago I made my first  blog post (thanks Darren) not knowing how it might work out but I'm really enjoying sharing my thoughts on cover songs and artists and find the time it takes (average 14 hrs.) to produce and edit a post well worth it. Optimistically, as time goes on I'll get a bit better at it as well. Many of you are familiar with some of the material I talk about but hopefully there's a bit of new stuff in there to keep you reading every week. I also know the diversity of topics might have you skipping the odd post as well. To the new readers and to those who don't know me, I have no musical talent myself and I'm just now remembering a phrase I've heard "those who can't do, teach". Well I

Crooners

Crooners As defined in a google search; croon·er, noun. a singer, typically a male one, who sings sentimental songs in a soft, low voice. Rudy Vallée I've read most singers we might put into this category don't or didn't identify with the classification and even today some feel the term is somewhat pejorative. That said I may actually be able to find one song like "As Time Goes By" and list a cover version from just about every crooner in history, but I won't do that to you today. However as it happens that song was written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931 and was used in the Broadway musical 'Everybody's Welcome' performed by Frances Williams. First recorded by one of the original crooners  Rudy Vallée in July of that same year. If you are a movie buff you will recognize the song from Casablanca (1942), sung by Sam (Dooley Wilson) , later released as a record in 1943. Covered over 430 times. Chronologically here is a list of Crooners from an

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