Thursday, December 31, 2009

Billboard Top Pop Album Artists

image from

Based on the Billboard album chart, these are the top album artists in the history of the chart from 1955-2009:

1. Elvis Presley
2. Frank Sinatra
3. The Beatles
4. Barbra Stresiand
5. The Rolling Stones
6. Johnny Mathis
7. Elton John
8. Bob Dylan
9. Neil Diamond
10. The Temptations

11. Eric Clapton
12. The Beach Boys
13. Rod Stewart
14. Willie Nelson
15. Mantovani
16. Ray Charles
17. Neil Young
18. Ray Conniff
19. Prince
20. Paul McCartney

21. Aretha Franklin
22. George Strait
23. Jimmy Buffett
24. Pink Floyd
25. Chicago
26. David Bowie
27. James Brown
28. Bruce Springsteen
29. Andy Williams
30. The Bee Gees

31. Lawrence Welk
32. Van Morrison
33. Kenny Rogers
34. The Supremes
35. Grateful Dead
36. Henry Mancini
37. The Kingston Trio
38. Barry Manilow
39. Aerosmith
40. Jimi Hendrix

41. Michael Jackson
42. Herb Alpert
43. Stevie Wonder
44. Nat “King” Cole
45. Johnny Cash
46. Metallica
47. Madonna
48. Led Zeppelin
49. U2
50. Queen

51. Roger Williams
52. Kiss
53. Fleetwood Mac
54. Linda Ronstadt
55. The Ventures
56. Santana
57. Garth Brooks
58. Diana Ross
59. James Taylor
60. AC/DC

61. Rush
62. The Who
63. Billy Vaughn
64. Billy Joel
65. Alabama
66. Jefferson Airplane/Starship
67. Alan Jackson
68. Eagles
69. Dionne Warwick
70. Tony Bennett

71. Dave Matthews Band
72. Harry Belafonte
73. The Isley Brothers
74. The Doors
75. John Denver
76. Mitch Miller
77. Mariah Carey
78. Dean Martin
79. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
80. The Lettermen

81. Nancy Wilson
82. Journey
83. Marvin Gaye
84. Jethro Tull
85. Bon Jovi
86. Elvis Costello
87. Dolly Parton
88. Carly Simon
89. Bob Seger
90. The Kinks

91. Tupac Shakur
92. Gladys Knight & the Pips
93. Pearl Jam
94. Kenny G
95. Joan Baez
96. R.E.M.
97. Anne Murray
98. The Monkees
99. Glen Campbell
100. The Jackson 5/The Jacksons

  • Joel Whitburn (2010). Top Pop Albums (7th edition). Record Research: Menomonee Falls, WI. Page 951.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Last week, the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced. At the onset of the year, I inducted myself into the world of blogging by scrawling down my humble opinions about the 2009 crop of Rock Hall inductees (“How to Get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”). Obviously someone in high-up places at the Hall read my blog and made some adjustments, albeit minor ones.

A year ago I whined about an apparent bias against progressive rock. This year Genesis has finally broken down that door. Hopefully, Yes, Rush, King Crimson, and others will follow. Now, do we get to see Gabriel on stage with Collins, Rutherford, and Banks? Performing something from Lamb Lies Down on Broadway perhaps?

I also complained about an overemphasis on R&B acts and, lo and behold, this year there are no one-hit wonder doo wop groups from the ‘50s on the list. Instead we have Jimmy Cliff, a reggae artist who is best known for the soundtrack for The Harder They Come, not exactly a must-have for the average fan.

Then again, if it were just about the fans, the Stooges might have prolonged their decade-and-a-half overdue entrance into the Hall. Amongst this year’s batch, no act has more “rock cred.” As architects of what became the punk movement in the ‘70s, Iggy & Co. also can lay claim to being the godfathers of most of the alternative music that followed. The Nirvanas and Pearl Jams that are shoo-in inductees within the next-half decade wouldn’t be here if weren’t for the Stooges.

I also lamented a year ago that being a true rock and roll act doesn’t seem to be a requirement. The Rock Hall made it clear long ago that they were more about popular music of the rock era than actual rock. As such, Abba isn’t exactly what people have in mind when they utter the phrase “rock and roll,” but there’s no question they belong in a pop music hall of fame.

Finally, there’s The Hollies, which sort of straddle the line between pop and rock, but do so in such a way that they deserve being regarded as one of the important bands of the British Invasion.

On the nonperformer end of things, apparently there was an all-out effort to correct some gross oversights. David Geffen, the man who founded Geffen Records and signed artists like the Eagles; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Jackson Browne; and Linda Ronstadt, wasn’t in yet? How about Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, who helped define the “Brill Building” sound with classics such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” which alone should have been an automatic ticket to induction years ago. Similarly, the writing team of Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry, who crafted the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” have been astonishingly overlooked for years.

And when it comes to overlooked songwriters, how has Otis Blackwell been passed over for so long? Songs like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Don’t Be Cruel” are foundations of rock and roll and their creator wasn’t in the Hall yet? There’s also Mort Shuman, who along with Doc Pomus, wrote songs like “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “Viva Las Vegas.” Similarly, Jesse Stone crafted gems like “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” and “Money Honey.”

There’s still acts that need to be inducted (Kiss, Deep Purple, Rush, and more), especially in light of the head-scratching acts whose influence on rock and roll is questionable. Nonetheless, I tip my hat to some of the oversights which the Rock Hall has corrected this time around. I’m so glad I could be a voice of reason for you last year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Farewell, Eric Woolfson

It was the last week of March in 1984 that I became an Alan Parsons Project fan. “Don’t Answer Me” was climbing the charts, eventually becoming a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. I knew of the Project before that – “Damned if I Do” and “Games People Play” were album rock staples and “Eye in the Sky” had been a huge pop hit (the biggest of the Project’s career) a couple years before. However, I hadn’t plunked down change for an APP album – until that week when I took the leap and grabbed up not just Ammonia Avenue, which featured “Don’t Answer Me,” but also The Best Of collection which had been released just a few months earlier.

A year later I would joyously plump for 1985’s Vulture Culture and a year after that for Stereotomy. As I was prone to do when discovering music in the ‘80s, I started dipping into the back catalog. Beyond the hits, I stumbled across gems like “Old and Wise” and “Turn of a Friendly Card.” Most amusingly though was, in May 1986 when I was anticipating a new album by Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung. I fell in love with this song on the radio that I thought was surely by him. I was wrong – it turned out to be “Breakdown,” from the nearly-decade old APP album I, Robot.

I learned the requisite back story necessary to claim a band as a new favorite. It turns out the Project’s namesake did engineering work on classic albums such as The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. However, Alan Parsons wasn’t alone in the creation of those prog-lite concept albums forged from 1976 to 1987 that sold over 40 million albums worldwide. The group owed as much to Eric Woolfson – a songwriter, keyboardist, singer, and manager who lent his chops to some of the group’s best-known songs such as the aforementioned “Eye in the Sky” and “Don’t Answer Me.”

Following 1987’s Gaudi, the Project disappeared for three years, returning in 1990 with Freudiana. The thing confusingly was not credited to anyone, suggesting that it was a new group called Freudiana. However, this Eric Woolfson-helmed project was clearly the Project with Parsons producing and credits including longtime APP players Ian Bairnson on guitar, Stuart Elliott on drums, and orchestral arrangements from Andrew Powell. John Miles and Chris Rainbow, who’d warbled on past-Project tunes, also put in appearances.

There was something different, though. Peppered with far more guests and stretched to twice the length of the average APP album, this felt more like a musical cast album. Sure enough, there in the liner notes was the statement that “the first stage production of Freudiana has its world premiere in December 1990 in Vienna.” Hmm. This was definitely a new direction for the band.

It proved to be a new direction, but for Woolfson, not Parsons. While Woolfson was eager to explore musical theater, it was the jumping off point for Parsons. The Project was no more. Woolfson went on to craft the musicals Gaudi (1995), Gambler (1996), and Poe (recorded 2003, premiered 2009). He also wrote the music and lyrics for 2007’s Dancing Shadows, which won for Best Musical at the Korean Tony Awards.

This year, I was overjoyed to stumble across The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was, an album from Woolfson that combined some unreleased material from the Project days alongside songs crafted for his musicals. Sadly, it would be Woolfson’s finale. As I scanned the various comments on Facebook this morning about who was headed off to work and who needed coffee and who wasn’t enjoying the weather, I stopped sharply upon a fan notice: Eric Woolfson had died of cancer at the age of 64 on December 2, 2009 – a date that will now, sadly, overshadow that wonderful week in March 1984 when I became a fan. Farewell, Eric. You will be missed.

“Somewhere in the midst of time/ When they ask you if you knew me
Remember that you were a friend of mine
As the final curtain lifts before my eyes/ When I’m old and wise.”

- “Old and Wise” – Alan Parsons Project

Click here to hear an early version of the song that featured Eric Woolfson’s guide vocal.

Also check out my page on the detailed history of the Alan Parsons Project as well as the solo work of Parsons and Woolfson at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Thrill of the New

I am a download junkie. There’s no denying it – the 28,000+ songs on my hard drive weren’t all ripped from my CD collection that now does little more than keep one of the basement walls from being bare. A healthy chunk of my music has known no other home but the computer and isn’t likely to find its way to disc. Occasionally I still buy a CD (they still make ‘em, can you believe it?), but generally out of necessity – some of the stuff is obscure enough that I can’t find it to download.

Still, I get nostalgic for my former music buying habits – paying for an actual, tangible object that might have even required unwrapping. Hmm…I guess a benefit of the mp3 is that you don’t have to wait for your fingernails to grow before you can get the shrink wrap off a CD. How about those awful plastic cases CDs and cassettes used to come in that required super human strength or a machete to open?

I’ve survived a few music formats. Beyond 45 records, my first-ever album music purchase was a K-Tel compilation eight track. That might evoke more than a few chuckles, but there’s even more ammo when it comes to the cassette department, considering my first venture into the tape world was the Xanadu soundtrack. I am proud of my first CD buy – Marillion’s Clutching at Straws, even if I didn’t own a CD player when I bought it. I already had the cassette, but the CD had a bonus track and my buddy across the hall in the dorm let me play it on his CD player.

In my pre-digital adult life, Tuesdays were weekly holidays since that’s when new releases came out. In my college days, the only game in town was (shudder) Wal-Mart, but I occasionally hopped a ride with a buddy to Streetside Records thirty minutes away. In post-college days, my musical hunts often took me to Westport. For those unfamiliar with the Kansas City area, Westport is the kind of neighborhood where, well, there were lots of used record shops. My favorite was Music Exchange. It was one of those places that smelled of dust from the crates of old records and whose door and windows were wallpapered with notices of when and where local bands were playing.

Once the CD dominated, my most frequent stop was Disc Traders. Neither would win a best-name contest, but at the latter they knew me by name, knew my tastes well enough to make recommendations, and weren’t wearing brightly-colored smocks and asking if I needed a shopping cart. It was a relief to know that even in suburbia, I could hit a store that didn’t have a TM after their logo – or even a logo for that matter.

Wrapped or unwrapped, once the acquisition was home or in the car, I’d check out the album packaging, read off song titles, peruse the liner notes and lyrics, and plop the thing in for that virgin listen. What really heightened the experience is when the tunes of choice were either 1) new stuff by a favorite act, or 2) a been-on-my-most-wanted-list-forever item.

I can’t remember the last time I plopped down cash or credit card on an actual counter instead of clicking on the “Pay Now” button. While grabbing up 7 Worlds Collide on may not be the same as stumbling across that long-sought 3rd Matinee disc (complete with a “For Promotional Use Only” label) at whatever-the-name-of-that-place-was-on-75th-Street, both methods can still elicit joy.

Last Friday, two new Kevin Gilbert CDs greeted me in my mailbox. There hasn’t been a “new” KG album since 2002’s Kaviar Sessions. Of course, unless you’re Elvis, Hendrix, or 2pac, you aren’t moving a lot of product from the grave. To the credit of KG’s estate, they’ve released a handful of gems since his untimely passing in 1996, most notably The Shaming of the True in 2000 – my favorite album of the last decade. No worries if you don’t know the name – his solo stuff hasn’t even scraped the bottom of the Billboard charts. His greatest fame comes from his 1990 Toy Matinee project that sold a few hundred thousand shy of gold on the strength of minor album-rock hit “Last Plane Out” and his stint as one of the under-appreciated musicians behind Sheryl Crow’s success with Tuesday Night Music Club. If you’re curious about him, check out my Dave’s Music Database page on him or go straight to the official website.

However, I digress. The point of this blog wasn’t to convert you to KG’s music (well, maybe a little), but to simply relive those music buying experiences in era when phrases like “backmasking” and “dropping the needle on a stack of vinyl” dominated instead of “iTunes” and “synching up your musical device.” The names and formats in your own collection will vary, but there remains one constant among anyone who’s ever bought music – the elation of that perfect purchase, the discovery of a lost treasure, the arrival of a long-awaited must-have. Go ahead and break out that Xanadu soundtrack again – nobody has to know but you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Favorite 50 Albums of the Decade

My Favorite 50 Albums of the Decade, 9/20/09

Thanks to a Facebook invitation, I’m compelled to engage in one of the most inane and narcissistic endeavors – the compilation of a personal favorites list – and not a moment too soon – there’s barely 100 days left in the decade. Of course, I have a whole website ( devoted to music lists, but I’ve convinced myself that throwing in the occasional personal favorites list amongst bigger and more important lists passes for acceptable. A list entitled “The Biggest Selling Albums of All Time” just seems to carry more import than one called “The Best 50 Albums of the Decade – According to Me.”

It is hard to imagine why anyone would care what my #12 album is from the last 9 years and 9 months, so I won’t delude myself that the world is waiting with baited breath. It comes down to this – I just love music lists. I was drawn in to music charts and countdowns in my pre-teen years and my interest has yet to wane.

If you’ve read this far, I’ll assume you are mildly interested in my list – maybe not #49, but you might want to check out my top few faves. I’ll take this as a misguided sign that I can test your patience a bit more and offer some insights into my tastes of the past decade. If you’ve had enough already, you can scroll to the list below or just close this monster up and roll your eyes at my obsession. It’s not like I’ll know the difference.
First, there’s just no denying what drives tastes. I’m still enamored with the same acts I liked 25 years ago – and I won’t apologize for their decidedly mainstream leanings. I will, however, attempt to prop up my rep by saying my listening pleasures gravitate toward “intelligent pop” – what is largely referred to today as triple A or adult alternative music. What can I say – I fit perfectly into the demographic.

Unlike some of my forty-something peers, it isn’t that I can’t name a new band from the last quarter century – I’ll get to my discoveries in a minute – but like memories of long ago crushes, the albums from one’s youth just won’t go away. Hence my love of Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood (my favorite album of any era), Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. or U2’s The Joshua Tree hold lingering effects – those acts all register in my top 10 two decades after releasing what I consider their masterworks.

At least those acts and others such as John Mellencamp, Tori Amos, and Fish have steadily pumped out new product for 20 years or more. Others haven’t been quite so prolific. Amongst acts like the Hooters, Crowded House, the Eagles, Toni Childs, Tears for Fears, Guns N’ Roses, and the Who, the most recent pre-2000 release of new material was 1995. Not only had all those acts had at least nine year droughts since their last releases, but the well has dried up again since. The “one and done” comeback trend. Sigh.

My list isn’t devoid of new music, but the new stuff largely rehashes tastes I’ve had for years. The White Stripes, the Strokes, the Hives, and the Vines are all a return to the garage rock ethos of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and Scissor Sisters recall the dance-oriented new wave stuff of the early ‘80s.Finally, I have to give props to the Tuesday Night Music Club. This may click for people as the name of Sheryl Crow’s 1993 debut (and indeed she makes the cut here with Detours), but I’m referring to the collective behind it. In a much publicized spat at the time, Crow took credit for music that had been created by the most underrated supergroup that ever wasn’t. Amongst that talent was Kevin Gilbert, whose posthumous Shaming of the True claims my top spot on this list, Gilbert’s Kaviar project, and David Baerwald. Believe me, this list would be saturated with their contributions if only there were more. Sadly, KG died in 1996 and Baerwald all but retired from the music industry by the close of the ‘90s. What does show up on this list are retreads of their mostly ‘90s work, but the official release dates qualifies them for this list.

Well, I’ve blabbered enough. Here’s the list. Roll those eyes, scratch your heads in puzzlement, and stare in disbelief. Then, just maybe, give a few albums on this list a spin. You’ve still got time to make it one of your favorites of the decade! Click on the links below to read more extensive reviews at

1. Kevin Gilbert The Shaming of the True (2000)
2. Bruce Springsteen The Rising (2002)
3. Hooters Time Stand Still (2007)
4. Crowded House Time on Earth (2007)
5. The Finn Brothers Everyone Is Here (2004)
6. Eagles Long Road Out of Eden (2007)
7. Marillion Marbles (2004)
8. Tori Amos Strange Little Girls (2001)
9. U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)
10. Bruce Springsteen Magic (2007)
11. David Baerwald Here Comes the New Folk Underground (2002)
12. John Mellencamp Life, Death, Love & Freedom (2008)
13. U2 All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)
14. Toni Childs Keep the Faith (2008)
15. Dennis DeYoung One Hundred Years from Now (2007)
16. Uncle Devil Show A Terrible Beauty (2004)
17. Bob Walkenhorst The Beginner (2003)
18. Styx Big Bang Theory (2005)
19. The White Stripes Elephant (2003)
20. The Strokes Is This It (2001)
21. Green Day American Idiot (2004)
22. Mika Life in Cartoon Motion (2007)
23. The White Stripes White Blood Cells (2001)
24. Kevin Gilbert/Kaviar The Kaviar Sessions (2002)
25. Tears for Fears Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (2004)
26. Keb’ Mo’ Peace - Back by Popular Demand (2004)
27. Lyle Lovett My Baby Don’t Tolerate (2003)
28. Amy Winehouse Back to Black (2006)
29. Styx Cylcorama (2003)
30. The Killers Hot Fuss (2004)
31. Sheryl Crow Detours (2008)
32. The Who Endless Wire (2006)
33. John Mellencamp Freedom’s Road (2007)
34. Fish Field of Crows (2004)
35. Glenn Tilbrook Transatlantic Ping Pong (2004)
36. Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand (2004)
37. Ray Charles Genius Loves Company (2004)
38. Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy (2008)
39. Green Day 21st Century Breakdown (2009)
40. U2 No Line on the Horizon (2009)
41. Johnny Cash American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)
42. Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters (2004)
43. The Vines Highly Evolved (2002)
44. Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
45. The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
46. Eddie Vedder Into the Wild (2007)
47. Eric Clapton/B.B. King Riding with the King (2000)
48. Del Amitri Can You Do Me Good? (2002)
49. The Hives Veni Vidi Vicious (2000)
50. Eric Woolfson The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was (2009)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Confessions of a Non-Audiophile

In light of the much-celebrated remastered versions of the Beatles discography out today, I must make a confession that could ruin any chance I have at respectability in the music community. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it is time to come clean.

I am not an audiophile.

Whew! That feels good to get that out, even if it means ridicule and scorn are destined to come my way. I know, I know. Any serious critic of music should be able to tout big statements like “the violins on ‘Eleanor Rigby’ are crisper on the remastered Revolver than ever before” or “the sound is so natural that you’ll feel like you were in Abbey Road Studios while the Beatles were recording.” I’m lucky if I can correctly pick “A” or “B” in a multiple choice test of “Identify the Newer Version.”

My affliction with sub-par sound goes back to my first experiences with music. In my elementary school days, I listened to music I’d recorded off the radio via a hand-held tape recorder shoved in front of a stereo speaker. For years, I didn’t know what the ending of Billy Joel’s “My Life” sounded like because I’d cut the song off early to cancel out the DJ chatter.

Of course, the transgressions of youth might be overlooked if I redeemed my mediocre ways in later years. Alas, when I tramped off to college, it was with crates full of cassettes and merely a ghetto blaster on which to play them.

When I’d overcome “poor college student” status, my music expenditures were predominantly on the music itself and rarely on the means by which to play it. So even while my CD collection grew to a four-digit number, my stereo never went beyond a three-digit price tag.

At one point, I ironically subscribed to Stereo Review, but only for the album reviews and even then I dismissed their recording quality ratings as irrelevant.

Even now, I am perfectly happy listening to my MP3’s on my computer while the stereo sits idle in anticipation of the occasional swish of the dust rag.

Perhaps the blame lies in my failure to learn an instrument. I was one of those grade schoolers for whom even the recorder was beyond my capabilities. I never grasped that when playing the violin, you were NOT supposed to saw away on all the strings at once.

Maybe it’s a hereditary thing. My mom likes show tunes but my dad proclaims marches to be his favorite kind of music. There really isn’t, to my knowledge, an audiophile contingent devoted to marches.

It could be my complete lack of rhythm. There’s no quicker way to make me feel like the dumbest person in the room than formal dance. Left foot here, right foot there…I need a GPS to navigate even the simplest of dance steps.

For those whose lingo is peppered with words like “woofer” and “tweeter,” it must be incomprehensible that I could enjoy listening to music so much, but at such low quality. Enroll me in AAA (Anti-Audiophiles Anonymous) or some other twelve-step program. I admit it - I have a problem and need help! Listen to my pleas carefully, though; they won't come through as loud and clear as your refined ears are used to.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Train charts with "Hey, Soul Sister": September 5, 2009

Originally posted September 5, 2011.

The group Train hadn’t had a hit in the U.S. in five years when they released “Hey, Soul Sister” as the debut single for their fifth album. In the UK, they hadn’t charted since 2001. The song became Columbia Records’ most downloaded song and is the eight most downloaded song in history. WK This lands the song on the DMDB’s list of the top 100 best-selling songs in the world.

The song also topped the charts in sixteen countries. WK Surprisingly, even with its massive sales in the U.S., it only peaked at #3. However, it stayed atop the adult contemporary charts for 22 weeks, making it one of the top 100 adult contemporary songs of all time according to Dave’s Music Database. The DMDB also rates it as one the top 100 songs of the 21st century.

The lyrics are about “a woman who’s got all the right moves.” SF Train’s lead singer and songwriter, Pat Monahan, was inspired by Burning Man, an annual event in the Nevada desert in which a wooden man is burned at the end of the festival and everyone dances around it naked. He had never been, but imagined beautiful women dancing around the fire. WK

He collaborated on the track with Espionage, a Norwegian production duo comprised of Espen Lind and Amund Bjørklund. Previous writing credits included Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” and Chris Brown’s “With You”. SF Monahan told the pair he wanted an INXS-style song, but after getting down the melody and singing it, decided it didn’t sound right. Espen tried it out with ukulele and Monahan, while initially reluctant, decided the approach “made my words dance.” WK He has also said that the use of the ukulele “made everybody happy…people gravitate towards that positive part of it.” SF

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lady Antebellum charted with “Need You Now”: August 29, 2009

Originally posted August 29, 2012.

image from

Lady Antebellum first made its mark in 2008 with its eponymous debut, an album which included the country chart-topping “I Run to You.” The country-pop trio had no problem battling the sophomore slump. The second album’s lead-off single, “Need You Now,” was a multi-format smash which first topped the Billboard country charts, but later reached the top slot of the adult contemporary and adult top 40 charts as well. It peaked at #2 on the pop charts.

The song also took home Grammys for Song and Record of the Year, as well as ACM Awards for Single and Song of the Year. It was named the #2 song of the year by Billboard, behind only Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” WK and the most-played song on jukeboxes in 2010. SF As of April 2011, it was one of the top ten most downloaded songs in history and the top country download of all time. WK

Lyrically, the song (which all three band members helped write) is basically a booty call. Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott said, “All three of us know what it’s like to get to that point where you feel lonely enough that you make a late night phone call that you very well could regret the next day.” SF Member Charles Kelley said record execs were leery about the line, “I’m a little drunk,” but were convinced to leave the line in. WK

Billboard’s Ken Tucker said the song “will connect with anyone who’s ever dumped a significant other and regretted it in the early morning hours.” WK Critics also commented on how Scott’s voice fit perfectly with the song’s dark tone (Jim Malec, the 9513). WK Roughstock’s Bobby Peacock said her traded-off lead vocals with, as Tucker said, “a soulful Kelley,” WK gave the song more depth. WK

Need You Now


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Friday, August 14, 2009

Woodstock "Remembered" - by Someone Who Wasn't There

Check the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page for daily music-related posts. Also check out books by Dave Whitaker, including the collection of past blog entries, No One Needs 21 Versions of “Purple Haze”…And Other Essays from a Musical Obsessive. This essay is included in that book.

Note: the original 8/14/09 post was re-edited in August 2011 with images and videos added.

When the original Woodstock thrust itself upon the world four decades ago, I was all of two years old. Considering my parents were neither interested in rock & roll nor the counterculture, I have no great tale of toddling along in a diaper amidst the hippie masses. I didn’t behold Jimi Hendrix wailing on “The Star Spangled Banner” or witness Country Joe’s infamous – ahem – “FISH” chant (or any of the behavior it advocated). There will be no firsthand accounts from me of seeing people destined for the “freak out” tent or slithering nude through the mud. All I’ve got to “remember” what transpired at Yasgur’s farm on that August weekend in 1969 is a computer hard drive stocked with hours of live performances.

There’s an old joke that if all those who claimed to be there really were, then the 400,000+ official festival goers would swell to millions. Subtract those who may have been present physically but not necessarily otherwise, and there’s no telling how many people were or weren’t there. It begs the question of whether actually being there was a prerequisite to claiming the event as one’s own.

Perhaps more importantly is the question of whether it still matters. Certainly Woodstock has been co-opted as the definitive symbol of a generation’s passions, be they the more hedonistic pleasures of sex, drugs, and rock & roll or the more idealistic dreams of peace, love, and harmony in the face of the Viet Nam War and the draft. Interestingly, there isn’t complete agreement on the significance of Woodstock even among actual attendees. Some “treasured the festival as an adventure that changed their lives. Others found it nothing but a messy, dirty, disorganized debacle.” BWC

So what lasting effect can that “Aquarian Exposition” boast amidst debate over what it meant even then? In the USA Today article, writer Jerry Shriver asks if “Woodstock’s organic, peace-and-love-through-music legacy still resonates – and whether it’s relevant to young people living in a high-tech, marketing-driven era of splintered musical tastes, widely diverse political views and short attention spans.” JS

Festival co-founder Michael Lang asserts that “a lot of those seeds planted in the Woodstock era are beginning to flower…From the green movement to sustainable development and organic gardening, all these things seem to be coming back to us.” JS Sam Yasgur, whose father Max Yasgur offered up his farm as the festival grounds, says that Woodstock was about “the right to gather, the right to criticize, the right to dress funny, the right to listen to your own music.” JS That message resonates with the youth of any generation.

Max Yasgur

Then there’s the business model of Woodstock. As Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell points out, “the staging of Woodstock, haphazard as it was, remains important because it influences every large concert and festival staged today.” JS The original festival treated its guests to a bevy of inadequate conditions including lack of shelter, food, water, bathroom facilities, and parking. Today’s festivals have largely heeded those lessons – even if the variety of festival options has spread the audience thin enough that today’s festival planners are unlikely to face gate crashing on the scale of Woodstock.

Here’s the thing – even if you dismiss Woodstock as a symbol of ‘60s counterculture and the “make love, not war” ethos or as the how-to-make-a-buck-at-a-festival-gone-haywire business model, it mattered. It wasn’t just what ABC News called “the most celebrated rock festival of all time” SDJ for those reasons – it was also about the music, stupid! As Justin Gage, founder of the music blog Aquarium Drunkard, asks, “Were people going to Woodstock for change or to party and listen to music? I think it’s more of the latter.” JS

Creem magazine editor Dave Marsh cynically states, “It wasn’t utopian…Utopian has plumbing. It wasn’t idyllic. Woodstock is important because it was big.” JS Oddly, what generates the least press is the festival’s astounding lineup – Jimi Hendrix; the Who; the Grateful Dead; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Creedence Clearwater Revival; Janis Joplin; Santana; Jefferson Airplane; Sly & the Family Stone; the Band; Joan Baez; Joe Cocker; Blood, Sweat & Tears and more. Oh sure, there were some “where are they now” performers thrown in the mix (the Keef Hartley Band? Quill? Bert Sommer?), but mostly the big names at Woodstock are still big names today.

So, in response to the question of whether or not Woodstock still matters, I can speak only from the perspective of a rock music fan who wasn’t among the throngs. I’ll be spending as much time as I can this weekend glued to my computer, downloading and listening to music while scouring the Internet for others’ reminiscing about the events of 40 years ago. Alas, there will be no mud or nudity involved in my exploit; I’ll be wearing a freshly-laundered tie-dye shirt.

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Les Is More

image from

Elvis gave rock and roll its swagger. The Beatles gave it pop. But Les Paul, dead at age 94, gave it its sound. Rolling Stone called him “the father of the electric guitar” and “the most influential rock guitarist ever” (Mark Kemp). MTV’s blog said “it’s impossible to overestimate the impact guitarist and inventor Les Paul…had on rock music.” Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards said, “without Les Paul, generations of flash little punks like us would be in jail or cleaning toilets” (Jay Lustig, New Jersey’s Star-Ledger).

As the inventor of the first solid-body electric guitar at a time when hollow-body guitars were the norm, Paul “revolutionized music and created rock ‘n’ roll as surely as Elvis Presley and the Beatles” (Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Associated Press release). That alone would have snared him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but in transforming “the way sound is recorded via innovations such as multi-tracking, reverb and close-miking” (Lustig), Paul also became an Inventors Hall of Fame inductee. Who knew?

While it wasn’t until 1952 that first issued a Les Paul solid-body guitar, Paul’s inclination for retooling the guitar dates back to 1929. Disappointed that he couldn’t get more sound from his guitar, a thirteen-year-old Paul placed a telephone receiver and later a phonograph needle in the guitar to amplify the sound (Moody), creating “a working prototype of the electric guitar” (Moody).

By 1936, he recorded as country act Rhubarb Red and appeared on records by blues singer Georgia White. He later formed a jazz trio and, in 1938, moved to New York to work with Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians’ popular dance orchestra (Billboard). He also would work with Bing Crosby, Nat “King” Cole, and the Andrews Sisters. He and his wife Mary Ford landed a slew of hits on the pop charts in the ‘50s.

In 1947, Paul released “Lover,” “the first commercially available multi-track recording” (Lustig). The song “changed the course of popular music as much as Elvis Presley’s ‘Sun Sessions’…[Paul] layered eight guitar tracks on top of each other: he would record one part on a wax disc, then record himself playing along with the earlier recording. He kept doing that until all eight parts were on one disc” (Lustig).

At his death, he was still doing a weekly gig at a New York jazz club, despite arthritis that forced him to reinvent, yet again, how to use his guitar.

As Paul said when inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “I have been credited with inventing a few things you guys are using…About the most I can say is, ‘Have fun with my toys.’” Speaking on behalf of rock and roll fans everywhere, your toys have given us great joy. Thank you, Les Paul.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm with the Drummer

Some 30 years ago, a new family moved into the cul de sac where my family lived. One of the four kids, Matt, was a couple years younger than me and ended up being the kind of playmate whose phone number is still lodged in your brain decades later. He was your average kid - until he got his drum set. Then he became that guy everyone knows will make it big - the guy who will be the celebrity at his high school reunion, the guy whose name will be dropped by people writing entries in personal blogs.

Oh, Matt isn't a household name, but he sure plays with one. In 2001, after a stint with Blondie, he became a technician for Rod Stewart, eventually turning that into an onstage gig as a percussionist and drummer. In the last decade, Matt has logged hundreds of nights all over the world supporting rock music's most famous gravelly voiced icon. However, at Kansas City's Sprint Center on July 28, 2009, there was a sizable crowd gathered for more than just Rod. One need only look at the 30 or so people gathered afterward to go backstage as Matt's guests.

Matt and I recently did the reconnect on Facebook thing, but before tonight I'm not sure when I last saw him. However, seeing him tonight was a wonderful treat. On stage, the highlight of the evening was when Matt and the other drummer, Dave Palmer, got their spotlight during the "Downtown Train" drum solo (or, I guess, drum "dual"). It was the most emotionally moving moment I've ever had at a concert. I heard this guy playing drums in his basement as a kid!

However, this wasn't just about bragging rights to say "I knew him when." This was about the powerful experience of seeing someone do what he loves, what he's been dedicated to for years, and seeing him reach the level of success he deserves for his passion and dedication.

Matt doesn't just deserve to be where he is because he's good at hitting things. When my brother and I and the rest of the "Matt groupies" chatted with him afterward, he was gracious, humble, and appreciative. You gotta figure the Blondies and Rod Stewarts and anyone else on his resume are there because of those skills as well as Matt's talent. Bravo to you, Matt. You've come a long way from a basement on Baltimore Ct. - and deservedly so.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Steve Howe Show

After watching Steve Howe & Co. perform for three hours at Kansas City’s Uptown Theater, I know two things – Steve Howe is neither the centerpiece of Asia nor Yes. He may have been the most technically proficient performer of the night – he certainly has the most impressive resume – but rather than trolling the stage like any good classic rock axeman should, he stood guard over a square foot patch left of center. He occasionally bent his knees or lifted a leg in the air; hell, I think he jumped in the air once; but mostly his frail frame looked in need of a walker to prop him up. I swear he was leaning against the wall during the encore.

Okay, okay, I shouldn’t go to an Asia and Yes concert if I’m looking for young, energetic performances. Oh, wait, there was that, too – however sadly out of place. Unfortunately, Yes’ longtime frontman Jon Anderson was laid up by a respiratory illness and, in true dinosaur band fashion these days, the other members perused YouTube videos scouting out lead singers for Yes tribute bands until they found a guy young enough to date their granddaughters. In this case, Canadian Benoit David drew the lucky lottery ticket and figured if he pranced about enough on stage, the audience might forget he was a nobody. Let’s face it, though, other than Queen’s Freddie Mercury, no other rock singer has ever pulled off prancing. On top of that, David sported a mostly white outfit that certainly recalled the ‘70s – it just had the misfortunate of reminding one of Saturday Night Fever more than Yes’ dinosaur prog-rock.

Based on my tirades against Howe and David, one might think that I was dragged to this show against my will. Not the case. I went eager to appreciate these Gods of Prog. They kickstarted the genre forty years ago. They are the grand masters at stripping a record of every last bit of commercialism and leaving ten minutes of instrumental prowess behind. Howe’s guitar is still at the forefront of every memorable Yes song – and was highlighted midway through Yes’ set with a two-song solo – although Howe still wasn’t physically center stage.

And for all of David’s gyrations, give props to anyone who can tackle Jon Anderson’s vocal gymnastics. Add Howe and Chris Squire as a triple threat on the mike for gems like “I’ve Seen All Good People.” Speaking of Squire, he made a great case, at least in Anderson’s absence, for being the true heart of Yes (he is, after all, the only member to survive every incarnation of the band). His hulking figure towered over Benoit and, despite what seemed a perpetual fan blowing his wispy white hair, he appeared to be the only performer to break a sweat, drenching his shirt by the end of the night.

Anyone looking for Yes music from the last 25 years was out of luck. Their only post-1980 song was “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and, judging by the lukewarm response, they could have jettisoned it. In fact, other than “Owner” and a pair of songs from 1980’s Drama, perhaps the band’s low point yet well received in this concert, this could have been a tour to support 1972’s Close to the Edge album.

While Yes represented the original prog rockers, opening act Asia symbolized the next wave. Exploding on the scene in 1982, the members’ resumes included Yes; King Crimson; and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but instead of the second coming of prog rock, Asia delivered their brand of ‘80s corporate rock – slick, commercial, and arena ready. Here’s where my musical roots reveal themselves and I commit sacrilege – I enjoyed Asia more than Yes. Trot out all the 40 Year Old Virgin jokes you want, but there’s no denying one’s first musical love. I was born in 1967 and after surviving disco, was just grateful for pop radio hits that actually featured guitar solos. I would later become a classic rock junkie, but bands like Asia were still my gateway drug.

Seeing the original Asia lineup of John Wetton (vocals, bass), Steve Howe (guitar), Carl Palmer (drums), and Geoff Downes (keyboards) was more satisfying than a Jon-Anderson-copycat-fronted Yes lineup. And if we’re going to have a drum-off, Palmer would embarrass Yes’ Alan White, as the solo on “Fanfare for the Common Man” would attest. Then there’s the matter of keyboards. As the only man to play on every Asia album, Downes deservedly took his place near mid-stage. Rick Wakeman was featured as the keyboardist on nearly every Yes album, but his son Oliver takes the reigns here – and promptly fades into the background so much that they could have just put up a cardboard cut-out of Pops and piped in the music over the speakers.

Since the original Asia lineup lasted for only two albums (and last year’s 2008 reunion album Phoenix), they mixed in songs from the various members’ pre-Asia days. Palmer delivered the show’s highlight with the aforementioned “Fanfare,” which he’d previously done with Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Downes got a showcase with “Video Killed the Radio Star,” which he’d done with the Buggles. Wetton whetted the prog-rock crowd’s appetite with “In the Court of the Crimson King,” a 1969 gem from King Crimson, who Wetton joined four years later.

That may well have been the theme for the night – songs that had been made famous long before some of tonight’s players got their hands on them. Still, even with Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman stand-ins, Yes championed the durability of their catalog. And even if Asia was largely forgotten a quarter century ago, they earned their title of super group, proving that sometimes the same players, such as a Steve Howe, can figure prominently in the story of two genres of rock and roll.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Birth of Rock and Roll - Not Quite So Black and White

A new book by Elijah Wald sports the instant-get-you-up-in-arms title How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ’N’ Roll. An online Kansas City Star review (7/11/09) by James Brinfield ( asserts that the book "traces the strands of intermingling influences of black and white cultures upon popular music filtered through the marketplace." Brinfield says that "Wald's insights destroy one myth after another," most notably that "popular music was race-based." How the Beatles destroyed rock, as explained through Brinfield's interpretation of the book, appears to be a marketing issue. That is, the Beatles began to push their work as albums and the predominantly white critics began to accept that as the new direction for rock music.

It is not my intent to refute Wald's premise that the Beatles destroyed rock music. I'm sure I can bash that rant out in a blog after actually reading the book. For now, I am compelled to address the nagging question of "Daddy, where does rock and roll come from?" The Cliff Notes version of the birth of rock and roll purports that white and black music were mutually exclusive entities, growing, if you will, in separate gardens divided by a fence. It was only when whippersnappers like Elvis hopped the wall, stole some R&B goodies, and replanted them in the white garden that the masses gobbled them up.

Such an account gives a handful of artists too much credit for discovering what was already there and overlooks those who planted the original crop. Of course, musical genres are also not so tidy as to fit nicely into garden plots with R&B over here, country over there, and so on. Elvis didn't become the King of Rock and Roll because he did anything new or even because he was the best at doing it - his mix of crops simply was the best marketed.

My guess is that Wald doesn't hold the Beatles responsible for the destruction of rock and roll any more than Elvis should be crowned the undisputed father of the same genre. Wald's book needed a provocative title that would attract the widest possible audience, hopefully generating controversy for those focused only on the condensed version of the tale. The beginning - or end - of rock and roll just isn't that black and white.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Black Eyed Peas Knock Themselves from #1: July 11, 2009

Originally posted July 11, 2011.

From April to July of 2009, the Black Eyed Peas spent an amazing twelve weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Boom Boom Pow”. The song finally slipped to #2 the week of July 11, 2009 - succumbing to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling”. The Peas became the ninth act in the history of the chart to accomplish the feat. JW They also became only the fourth group in history to hold down the top two spots in one week.

Even more impressive is what “Feeling” went on to do. It spent a whopping 14 weeks in the pole position, making it one of the biggest #1 pop songs in U.S. chart history. On the Hot 100, only Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet Day” with Boyz II Men spent more weeks at the peak (16). Prior to the Hot 100, Francis Craig’s “Near You” lodged 17 weeks on top and during the 1990s when some big hits never saw official release as singles, the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” and No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” racked up 18 and 16 weeks respectively.

The combined 26-week run of the two Black Eyed Peas songs also made them the only act in history with as many consecutive weeks at #1. Only Usher spent more weeks on top within one calendar year – 28 weeks in 2004 – but it took four songs over non-consecutive weeks to do it.

Both of the Peas’ songs have other distinctions worthy of boasting. Both songs make the Dave’s Music Database list of the top 100 songs of 2000-2009. Both also secure spots on the list of the world’s top 100 best-selling songs of all-time. Both also have bragging rights to “song of the year” titles. “Pow” took the honor from Billboard while “Feeling” secures the spot from the DMDB.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Michael Jackson - Icon or Ick?

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

So are you on the fence about how to feel about Michael Jackson’s death? Sure, you tell yourself, he was a musical icon. He was arguably this generation’s Elvis. However, the King of Pop possessed enough eccentricities to make The King of Rock and Roll’s quirks look positively bland. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches? Hah, that’s nothing compared to sleeping in a hyperbolic chamber or buying the Elephant Man’s bones. Bloated and looking goofy in a jumpsuit? How about applying Ted Turner’s controversial movie colorization technique to one’s own skin? Or letting plastic surgeons carve up your face so bad that it looks like your nose was taken out of a Mr. Potato Head set? Shooting television sets? Oh, please. MJ topped the list of celebs not to hire as babysitters. And here’s something Elvis never did – parade a sham marriage to another musical icon’s daughter in front of the world declaring, “nobody thought this would last” – less than two years before proving that exact statement true.

MJ’s fans and staunch defenders would immediately cry fowl to the accusations above. He didn’t really sleep in that chamber or buy those bones. He had a skin condition. Plastic surgery is one’s own business. He really loved Lisa Marie! He was never found guilty of those child molestation charges.

It is all irrelevant. Well, except the stuff about sleeping with the pre-teen set. Did he do it? Did he not? He paid tens of millions of dollars to try to make that problem go away and still went on TV saying he didn’t see anything wrong with it. That behavior made him downright creepy. It showed really poor judgment at best and, at worst, well, it would mean the man who sang for our sympathy in “Childhood” may just show up as the villain in some other future pop star’s lament about his lost youth.

Michael did, in fact, sing for our sympathy. He also sang “Leave Me Alone” and “Beat It” and, in general, begged and pleaded for the tabloids to back off. They never did and, even in death, will still hound him. In the weeks and months to come, astonishing nuggets will explode all over the news that make the MJ we knew in life look tame compared to the one we will come to know in death. And we’ll have no idea what to file under fact and what to toss as fiction.

Toss out or keep what you wish, depending on your blind devotion or abject disgust with the man. But here’s what we can file under fact - MJ was an icon. He taught us the “ABC”s of how to become a child star, showed us how to be “Off the Wall” and still make great music, and taught us that being “Bad” is sometimes just “Human Nature.” There was an ick factor to MJ the man, but MJ the musician more than earned the title of King of Pop. Whether it makes you sad or relieved, there will never be another like him.

  • Michael Jackson’s DMDB page
  • Michael Jackson’s DMDB music maker encyclopedia entry

  • Saturday, April 18, 2009

    The Black Eyed Peas hit #1 with “Boom Boom Pow”: April 18, 2009

    Originally posted April 18, 2012.

    With their lead single from their fifth studio album, The E.N.D., the Black Eyed Peas achieved a feat they hadn’t accomplished before – they topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. The song spent an amazing 12 weeks atop the charts – but it was only the beginning. The Peas didn’t have to wait long for their next #1 – the album’s follow-up single, “I Gotta Feeling,” followed “Pow” into the pole position, giving the Peas the rare distinction of knocking themselves from the top. “Feeling” proved even more successful, holding on to #1 for 14 weeks – giving the Peas a full six-month lock on #1!

    All four members –, Fergie, Taboo, and – have solo raps in the futuristic-sounding, auto-tuned song. Boston Globe described the song and others from the album as “substance-free, grammatically suspect dance floor jams” which were nonetheless “booty-shaking pleasures.” WK Digital Spy’s Nick Levine called it “a fairly ridiculous robopop stomper” but also said, “Frankly who cares? Right now this just sounds cracking.” WK Rolling Stone said it was “an assault on the senses, and on good taste. And it’s the best thing The Black Eyed Peas have ever recorded.” WK acknowledge the song’s unusual and repetitive nature when he told Rolling Stone, “It has one note. It says ‘Boom’ 168 times. The structure has three beats in one song. It’s not lyrics – it’s audio patterns, structure, architecture.” SF He told Billboard the song “was made for underground clubs. Like, if I would’ve thought that was gonna be a radio song, I would’ve made it different…‘Boom Boom Pow’ is proof that if something’s dope, regardless of if it has that sprinkled radio vibe, that it should be played on the radio and the people are gonna like it.” WK

    People definitely liked it. They watched the video on YouTube more than 100 million times WK and scooped up 6 million copies of the song in the U.S. and another 2.5 million internationally. It was the best-selling song on iTunes in 2009. It was a big seller right out of the gate, hitting 465,000 downloads in its first week, making it the highest sum which had been achieved at that point by a group in one week. SF

    Boom Boom Pow

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    Monday, January 26, 2009

    2009 Grammy Nominees for Album of the Year

    Check out these books by Dave Whitaker available through or Amazon.

    Also check the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page for daily music-related posts.

    Blog updated on 1/11/2012 to include images and links. Content untouched.

    With the Grammy nominees out now, it is time to let the complaining begin...except that I don’t have much to complain about, at least not about the Album of the Year nominations. This year’s crop – Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand, Lil’ Wayne’s Tha Carter III, and Ne-Yo’s Year of the Gentleman is better than most years. All were successful and critically acclaimed. There’s not a lemon in the batch and nothing is completely out of left field.

    Click to read more about the album.

    So this year’s winner will be...Raising Sand. It’s the safest and most middle-of-the-road. Not a bad choice, actually. It’s hard to argue with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss walking home with album of the year honors. Both are artists well deserving of any accolade thrown their way. It was also an interesting experiment in pairing two artists from seemingly opposite sides of the fence that paid off.

    Click to read more about the album.

    Still, it would be nice to see Radiohead or Coldplay crowned with the award, but it would be yet another case of getting an album of the year award for the wrong album. Radiohead’s unquestionable pinnacle was 1997’s OK Computer while Coldplay won much more attention and critical acclaim for 2000’s Parachutes or 2002’s A Rush of Blood to the Head.

    Click to read more about the album.

    Radiohead and Coldplay also fall into too similar a genre and will end up canceling each other out anyway. The same problem is true of Lil’ Wayne and Ne-Yo. The rap and R&B crowds will be split between the two choices.

    Click to read more about the album.

    So, not a bad crop this year and any of them could win and be less of a head scratcher than some year’s winners.

    Related DMDB Blog Posts:

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    How to Get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

    Check out these books by Dave Whitaker available through or Amazon.

    Also check the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page for daily music-related posts.

    Blog updated on 1/11/2012 to include images and links. Content untouched.

    Well, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees have been announced for 2009. As always, there’s a mix of unquestionable inductees (Metallica), those that are somewhat deserving, but debatable (Jeff Beck) and those that make you go “huh?” (Little Anthony? Bobby Womack? Run-D.M.C.?).

    What always makes the latter category more dramatic is when you consider those acts who haven’t been inducted (Kiss, Genesis, Yes, Rush, Deep Purple, Bad Company, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop & The Stooges). So, here’s a little guide on how to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

    1. Don’t be prog rock. Genesis, Yes, Rush, Jethro Tull – this means you. Apparently being a hugely influential and successful rock band is insignificant if you’ve ever done a thematic album, written a song longer than 8 minutes, and dared to integrate classical music into good ol’ rock and roll.

    You aren’t likely to see The Rock Hall nominating committee wearing these.

    2. Being an authentic rock and roll act is not required. Now that the Hall has caught up with the rap era, they’ve seen fit to induct Grandmaster Flash & Run-D.M.C. Do they belong in a rap hall of fame? No question. But rock and roll?

    However, the nominating committee might wear these.

    3. In fact, you may be better off being an R&B act. Now, no one should be signing any petitions to get the likes of Ray Charles, Fats Domino, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Sam Cook booted from the Hall. They are great examples of acts that have hugely influenced both R&B and rock. However, the Rock Hall seems to have taken it upon themselves to represent whatever R&B act they see fit, regardless of whether they have much to do with rock & roll or its development. Little Anthony & The Imperials? The Flamingos? The O’Jays?

    The Rock Hall nominating committee practically has this mantra tattooed on their foreheads.

    4. Being a blues pioneer is a huge plus. Actually, I don’t have a quibble with this one. Rock and roll is so rooted in the blues that you’d have to question the credibility of a Hall without B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, and Howlin’ Wolf.

    You could definitely hear the Nom Com spout this mantra.

    5. Last of all, don’t be Kiss. Look, when the weird kid in my junior high argued about how great Kiss was, it was easy to dismiss him. I’ve never been a fan of the band anyway. When you think of how huge they’ve been in rock and roll, however, it’s time to get a grip. Apparently, the Rock Hall is about politics and Kiss have rubbed them the wrong way. Perhaps the Hall could use a little reminder that the roots of rock and roll is all about rubbing people the wrong way. Get a clue and put in the act that most deserves it that isn’t in yet.

    A face only a mother could love? Certainly the Rock Hall has no love for this face.

    Other Related DMDB Blog Posts:

    Saturday, January 3, 2009

    Lady Gaga hits the charts with “Poker Face”: January 3, 2009

    Originally posted January 3, 2013.

    image from

    Writer(s): Stefani Germanotta/ Nadir Khayat

    Released: 23 September 2008 First charted: 3 January 2009

    Peak: 11 US, 13 UK, 75 RB, 12 AA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

    Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 1.0 UK, 9.8 world

    Airplay (in millions): 0.5

    Review: As her follow-up single to the #1 “Just Dance,” Lady Gaga had her work cut out for her with “Poker Face.” With lyrics about gambling and her own experiences with bisexuality, she wasn’t exactly going for the most radio-friendly theme either. She told Fashionista 101 that the song was about “playing with guys as if she was a poker player.” SF As she said to an audience at an April 11, 2009, performance in Palm Springs, California, the song was about being “with a man but fantasizing about a woman, hence the man in the song needs to read her ‘Poker Face’ to understand what is going through her mind.” WK

    No worries, though – the song not only followed “Just Dance” to the top of the U.S. charts, but peaked at #1 in sixteen other countries as well. WK It made Gaga the first artist to top the U.S. charts with her first two entries since Christina Aguilera did it nearly a decade earlier WK with “Genie in a Bottle” and “What a Girl Wants.” It became “the song with which she placed her stamp on the waning months of the decade.” LR

    Producer RedOne, with whom Gaga wrote “Poker Face” and “Just Dance,” told Billboard magazine how the two clicked immediately. “We’re not overthinking. We just do what we feel right.. Before you know it the song is pretty much done…We wrote ‘Just Dance’ in one hour. Done. ‘Poker Face’? One hour. It just happened. Magic.” SF

    Both songs sold 4 million downloads in the U.S., making her the first artist in digital history to do so. WK The songs have gone on to sell six million each. Another 900,000 downloads in the U.K. also made “Face” the most downloaded song in Britain since they introduced the download chart in 2004. WK

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