Click on a book to learn more about it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Top 100 Guitarists of All Time



The list revised November 23, 2011.

This list first surfaced on 5/29/10 in a response to a voter-based list released by Gibson.com. Barely two weeks went by when an update became necessary thanks to an LA Times Magazine article listing the 50 greatest guitarists of all time. The DMDB’s revised list of best guitarists was posted on the DMDB Facebook page. On June 26, 2011, the list was first posted on the DMDB blog when another Facebook page, Todays Song Is…, evoked some discussion about whether Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck was the better guitarist. Then a couple days later, I posted a video clip in tribute to Jeff Beck’s birthday (born 6/24/1944). It all brought to mind this list, so I reposted it on the blog with some vid clips, photos, and links.

In November 2011, Rolling Stone posted a new list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. As such, this post has been revised yet again to reflect the inclusion of that list. 34 lists have been compiled to create this aggregate list.

Click on names to see their entries in the Dave’s Music Database Music Makers Encyclopedia. The highlights – selected by browsing best-guitar-solo lists – link to videos.



Jimi Hendrix



1. Jimi Hendrix Highlight: “Machine Gun”
2. Jimmy Page Highlight: “Stairway to Heaven” (with Led Zeppelin)
3. Eric Clapton Highlight: “Crossroads” (with Cream)
4. Stevie Ray Vaughan Highlight: “Texas Flood”
5. Eddie Van Halen Highlight: “Eruption” (with Van Halen)
6. B.B. King Highlight: “The Thrill Is Gone”
7. Jeff Beck Highlight: “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”
8. Angus Young Highlight: “You Shook Me All Night Long” (with AC/DC)
9. Chuck Berry Highlight: “Johnny B. Goode”
10. Duane Allman Highlight: “Dreams” (with the Allman Brothers Band)



Jimmy Page


11. Steve Vai Highlight: “For the Love of God”
12. David Gilmour Highlight: “Comfortably Numb” (with Pink Floyd)
13. Keith Richards Highlight: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (with the Rolling Stones)
14. Ritchie Blackmore Highlight: “Highway Star” (with Deep Purple)
15. Joe Satriani Highlight: “Surfing with the Alien”
16. Slash Highlight: “November Rain” (with Guns N’ Roses)
17. Randy Rhoads Highlight: “Crazy Train” (with Ozzy Osbourne)
18. Yngwie Malmsteen Highlight: “Black Star”
19. Tony Iommi Highlight: “War Pigs” (with Black Sabbath)
20. George Harrison Highlight: “And Your Bird Can Sing” (with the Beatles)



21. Pete Townshend Highlight: “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (with the Who)
22. Steve Cropper
23. Carlos Santana Highlight: “Europa”
24. Frank Zappa Highlight: “Zoot Allures”
25. Brian May Highlight: “Bohemian Rhapsody” (with Queen)
26. Robert Johnson
27. Mark Knopfler Highlight: “Sultans of Swing” (with Dire Straits)
28. Neil Young Highlight: “Cortez the Killer”
29. Kirk Hammett Highlight: “One” (with Metallica)
30. Les Paul



Eddie Van Halen


31. Tom Morello Highlight: “Bulls on Parade” (with Rage Against the Machine)
32. The Edge
33. John Frusciante Highlight: “I Could Have Lied” (with Red Hot Chili Peppers)
34. Robert Fripp Highlight: “21st Century Schizoid Man” (with King Crimson)
35. John McLaughlin Highlight: “Dream” (with Mahavishnu Orchestra)
36. Jerry Garcia Highlight: “Truckin’” (with the Grateful Dead)
37. Ry Cooder
38. Chet Atkins
39. Prince
40. John Petrucci Highlight: “Under a Glass Moon” (with Dream Theater)



B.B. King


41. Alex Lifeson Highlight: “Working Man” (with Rush)
42. Steve Morse Highlight: “Punk Sandwich” (with Dixie Dregs)
43. Buddy Guy
44. Peter Green
45. Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott Highlight: “Floods” (with Pantera)
46. Kurt Cobain Highlight: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (with Nirvana)
47. Rory Gallagher
48. Richard Thompson
49. Bo Diddley
50. Django Reinhardt


Jeff Beck


51. Eric Johnson Highlight: “Cliffs of Dover”
52. Steve Howe Highlight: “Starship Trooper” (with Yes)
53. Scotty Moore
54. Joe Perry Highlight: “Walk This Way” (with Aerosmith)
55. Mick Taylor
56. Billy Gibbons Highlight: “Sharp Dressed Man” (with ZZ Top)
57. Buckethead Highlight: “Nottingham Lace”
58. Albert King
59. Gary Moore Highlight: “Still in Love with You” (with Thin Lizzy)
60. Freddy King


Keith Richards


61. Phil Keaggy
62. Jack White
63. James Burton
64. T-Bone Walker
65. Mike Bloomfield
66. Marty Friedman Highlight: “Tornado of Souls (with Megadeth)
67. Wes Montgomery
68. Mick Ronson Highlight: “Moonage Daydream” (with David Bowie)
69. Eddie Hazel Highlight: “Maggot Brain” (with Funkadelic)
70. Michael Schenker Highlight: “Rock Bottom” (with UFO)


Chuck Berry


71. Dickey Betts Highlight: “Jessica” (with the Allman Brothers Band)
72. Jonny Greenwood Highlight: “Paranoid Android” (with Radiohead)
73. Charlie Christian Highlight: “Solo Flight” (with Benny Goodman)
74. Zakk Wylde Highlight: “No More Tears” (with Ozzy Osbourne)
75. Allan Holdsworth Highlight: “Devil take the Hindmost”
76. Joey Ramone
77. John Fahey
78. Link Wray
79. Johnny Marr
80. Warren Haynes


Angus Young


81. Johnny Winter Highlight: “Highway 61 Revisited”
82. Dick Dale Highlight: “Miserlou” (Dick Dale & the Del-Tones)
83. Glenn Tipton Highlight: “Beyond the Realms of Death” (with Judas Priest)
84. Derek Trucks
85. Roy Buchanan
86. Neal Schon Highlight: “Any Way You Want It” (with Journey)
87. Humbert Sumlin *
88. Paul Gilbert Highlight: “Price You Gotta Pay” (with Mr. Big)
89. Adrian Smith Highlight: “Powerslave” (with Iron Maiden)
90. Ace Frehley Highlight: “Shock Me” (with Kiss)


Duane Allman


91. Tom Verlaine
92. Leslie West *
93. Robin Trower Highlight: “Bridge of Sighs”
94. Mike McCready Highlight: “Alive” (with Pearl Jam)
95. Dave Davies Highlight: “You Really Got Me” (with the Kinks)
96. Danny Gatton
97. Andres Segovia *
98. Richie Sambora
99. Ron Asheton *
100. Dave Murray Highlight: “2 Minutes to Midnight” (with Iron Maiden)


* These are new to the list, replacing Dave Mustaine Highlight: “Hangar 18” (with Megadeth), KK Downing Highlight: “Painkiller” (with Judas Priest), Tommy Emmanuel, and Leo Kottke.




Resources:
  • Dave’s Music Database Facebook page: The Top 100 Guitarists of All Time (6/14/10)

    This ranked list is an aggregate of the best-of-all-time guitarist lists below.

  • About.com’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos

  • AssociatedContent.com Top 10 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Dennis Lindsay (12/29/08)

  • BBC News Zeppelin voted ‘ideal supergroup’ (7/10/05)

    Roughly 3500 music fans were polled at Planet Rock Radio for best singer, guitarist, bassist, and drummer. The top 10 of each are listed.

  • Buzzle.com Greatest Guitar Players. By Batul Nafisa Baxamusa. (4/13/10)

    Unranked list of 10 with commentaries. Another 15 with no commentary. Looks like a webzine.

  • Buzzle.com Famous Jazz and Rock Guitarists. By Madhura P. (date?)

    Commentary on only 5 guitarists (although another 11 are listed) and all from the rock genre, not jazz.

  • Digital Dream Door 100 Greatest Rock Guitarists. Edited by Andreas Haukenes, Jeffrey P., George F., and gminer. (5/11/10)

    List has no commentaries, but links to Nutsie.com where you can hear songs.

  • Digital Dream Door 100 Greatest Guitarists (All Genres). Edited by George. (2/13/08)

    This is an all-genre list with no commentaries, but links to Nutsie.com where you can hear songs. List actually includes 200 guitarists.

  • Digital Dream Door’s 100 Greatest Rock Guitar Solos edited by Eric/Lew (5/15/05)

  • EduBook.com The Greatest Guitarists of All Time. By Phil Dotree. (10/24/09)

    Top 5 ranked list with commentaries.

  • Gibson.com Top 50 Guitarists of All Time. By various writers. (5/28/10)

    List was compiled by votes over a month’s time. The end result is a ranked list with multiple ties and commentaries written by various writers. As the site indicates, votes came from the Gibson.com readers’ poll as well as Paolo Bassotti, Dave Hunter, Jeff Cease (Black Crowes), James Williamson (Iggy & The Stooges), Steve Mazur (Our Lady Peace), Martin Belmont (Graham Parker & The Rumour), and writers Ellen Barnes, Sean Dooley, Ted Drozdowski, Russell Hall, Arlen Roth, Andrew Vaughan, Aidin Vaziri, Bryan Wawzenek, Michael Wright.

  • Guitar World 30 on 30: The Greatest Guitarists Picked by the Greatest Guitarists. By multiple authors. (3/10)

    In celebration of their 30th anniversary, Guitar World asked 30 different guitarists to comment on a favorite guitarist of theirs.

  • LA Times‘s The 50 Greatest Guitarists Ever (6/10)

    Unranked list with no commentary but links to videos.

  • Mojo‘s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time (6/96)

    Link is for a ranked list which includes a recommended song or album and indicates the main guitar used by the guitarist.

  • MusicBanter.com 200 Greatest Guitarists in Rock. By Boo Boo. (6/05)

    List only. No commentary. Site looks like a fan-based billboard.

  • MusiciansFriend.com The 100 Greatest Guitarists Who Ever Lived. By Adam St. James. (year?)

    List is identified as being from Guitar.com and says the list is based on votes compiled at Guitar.com. A short bio notes that St. James has been the site’s editor and is an author of several instructional guitar books.

  • MyMusicLists.com Best Guitarists of All Time. (2006)

    Details of list are unclear. This appears to be a site in which fans can vote on favorites. The list includes 51 ranked guitarists, but does not indicate if ranking actually came from fan votes. There are brief comments from users.

  • PhilBrodieBand.com Greatest Guitarists. (2005)

    Page offers multiple lists (acoustic, blues, hard rock/heavy metal, jazz, R&B/soul, rock) which are identified as being from DigitalDreamDoor.com, but these same lists do not appear to be on that site. All lists are ranked without commentary. Most are top 100 lists, except for the hard rock/heavy metal and R&B/soul, which are top 30 lists.

  • RateItAll.com Best Guitarists of All Time. (Originated 1/19/04)

    This ranked list appears to be generated by voter ratings and reviews. Clicking on a guitarist’s name takes one to a page with voters’ comments. List is apparently ongoing with more comments and ratings being added.

  • RateYourMusic.com 25 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. By Fatman (10/12/06)

    Site allows users to generate lists. This ranked list offers brief commentaries.

  • Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. (2003?)

    This ranked list, with commentary, is difficult to navigate on the Rolling Stone site since each guitarist has a separate page. To just see the list, check out TheInsider.com.

  • Piero Scarufi, Greatest Rock Guitarists of All Times (1999)

    This is a list only with no commentary. For no explained reason, there are 53 guitarists in ranked list followed by another 100 names in no perceivable order.

  • Squidoo.com The Top 100 Guitarists of All Time. (year?)

    Ranked list with no commentary. List appears to have been generated by original author and then others could vote on it. Author and date not identified.

  • Time Magazine The 10 Greatest Electric-Guitar Players. By Josh Tyrangiel (year?)

    Short list with only one-sentence commentaries.

  • The-Top-Tens.com Greatest Guitarists Ever. (year?)

    This top 100 ranked list offers brief comments from site visitors. List appears to be voter-generated.

  • TopTenz.net Top 10 Greatest Guitar Players. By Clarence F. (2008?)

    Top 10 ranked list with commentaries and video for each guitarist.

  • Total Guitarist Magazine The Top 100 Guitarists. (8/3/02)

    Top 100 ranked list with no commentary. Voted on by Total Guitar readers.





  • Saturday, June 25, 2011

    The Longest-Charting Albums in U.K. Chart History

    Image from thepopcop.co.uk

    Originally posted on the DMDB Facebook page on 6/25/11.

    These figures are drawn from the third edition of The Complete Book of the British Charts: Singles and Albums and ChartStats.com. Ties were broken by first ranking albums by highest chart peak and then by overall points according to Dave’s Music Database.

    1. Queen…Greatest Hits (1981), 486 weeks
    2. Abba…Gold – Greatest Hits (1993), 479 weeks
    3. Fleetwood Mac…Rumours (1977), 477 weeks
    4. Meat Loaf…Bat Out of Hell (1977), 469 weeks
    5. Bob Marley & the Wailers…Legend (1984), 409 weeks
    6. The Sound of Music (soundtrack, 1965), 381 weeks
    7. Pink Floyd…Dark Side of the Moon (1973), 374 weeks
    8. South Pacific (soundtrack, 1958), 315 weeks
    9. Simon & Garfunkel…Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970), 303 weeks
    10. Mike Oldfield…Tubular Bells (1973), 291 weeks

    11. Simon & Garfunkel…Greatest Hits (1972), 283 weeks
    12. Phil Collins…Face Value (1981), 274 weeks
    13. Jeff Wayne…War of the Worlds (1978), 256 weeks
    14. Michael Jackson…Thriller (1982), 230 weeks
    15. Dire Straits…Brothers in Arms (1985), 228 weeks
    16. Madonna…The Immaculate Collection (1990), 207 weeks
    17. U2…Under a Blood Red Sky (1983), 203 weeks
    18. Michael Jackson…Off the Wall (1979), 203 weeks
    19. The King and I (soundtrack, 1956), 200 weeks
    20. Dire Straits…Love Over Gold (1982), 200 weeks

    21. Take That…Never Forget – The Ultimate Collection (2005), 194 weeks
    22. The Beatles…Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), 191 weeks
    23. The Beatles…1962-1966 (1973), 190 weeks
    24. Tracy Chapman…Tracy Chapman (1988), 188 weeks
    25. Nirvana…Nevermind (1991), 185 weeks
    26. R.E.M….Out of Time (1991), 183 weeks
    27. R.E.M….Automatic for the People (1992), 179 weeks
    28. Oasis…Definitely Maybe (1994), 177 weeks
    29. Guns N’ Roses…Appetite for Destruction (1987), 177 weeks
    30. Phil Collins…No Jacket Required (1985), 176 weeks

    31. West Side Story (soundtrack, 1961), 175 weeks
    32. Alanis Morissette…Jagged Little Pill (1995), 172 weeks
    33. Queen…The Platinum Collection: Greatest Hits I, II, & III (2000), 171 weeks
    34. Oasis…(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995), 170 weeks
    35. U2…The Joshua Tree (1987), 167 weeks
    36. Oklahoma! (soundtrack, 1955), 163 weeks
    37. Phil Collins…Hello, I Must Be Going (1982), 163 weeks
    38. Dire Straits…Alchemy (1984), 163 weeks
    39. Radiohead…The Bends (1995), 160 weeks
    40. Dirty Dancing (soundtrack, 1987), 158 weeks

    41. Buddy Holly & the Crickets…The Buddy Holly Story (1959), 156 weeks
    42. My Fair Lady (cast album, 1956), 155 weeks
    43. Michael Jackson…Bad (1987), 155 weeks
    44. Lionel Richie…Can’t Slow Down (1983), 154 weeks
    45. Lighthouse Family…Ocean Drive (1995), 154 weeks
    46. Guns N’ Roses…Greatest Hits (2004), 152 weeks
    47. Madonna…Like a Virgin (1984), 152 weeks
    48. David Gray…White Ladder (1998), 151 weeks
    49. Snow Patrol…Eyes Open (2006), 151 weeks
    50. The Beatles…1967-1970 (1973), 151 weeks

    51. Barry Manilow…Manilow Magic – The Best of (1979), 151 weeks
    52. U2...War (1983), 148 weeks
    53. Tina Turner…Private Dancer (1984), 147 weeks
    54. Dire Straits…Making Movies (1980), 147 weeks
    55. Kings of Leon…Only by the Night (2008), 143 weeks
    56. The Corrs…Talk on Corners (1997), 142 weeks
    57. George Mitchell Minstrels…From the Black and White Minstrel Show (1960), 142 weeks
    58. The Beach Boys…Best of (1966), 142 weeks
    59. Phantom of the Opera (cast album, 1986), 141 weeks
    60. Tina Turner…Simply the Best (1991), 141 weeks

    61. Coldplay…Parachutes (2000), 139 weeks
    62. Shania Twain…Come on Over (1997), 138 weeks
    63. Led Zeppelin…Led Zeppelin II (1969), 138 weeks
    64. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass…Going Places (1965), 138 weeks
    65. Carpenters…The Singles 1969-1973 (1973), 137 weeks
    66. ZZ Top…Eliminator (1983), 137 weeks
    67. Norah Jones…Come Away with Me (2002), 136 weeks
    68. The Commitments (soundtrack, 1991), 136 weeks
    69. Simply Red…Picture Book (1985), 135 weeks
    70. Simply Red…Stars (1991), 134 weeks

    71. Take That…Beautiful World (2006), 132 weeks
    72. Dido…No Angel (1999), 132 weeks
    73. UB40…Best of – Volume One (1987), 132 weeks
    74. Dire Straits…Dire Straits (1978), 132 weeks
    75. U2…The Unforgettable Fire (1984), 131 weeks
    76. Abba…Greatest Hits (1976), 130 weeks
    77. Bruce Springsteen…Born in the U.S.A. (1984), 130 weeks
    78. Barbra Streisand…Love Songs (1982), 128 weeks
    79. Frank Sinatra…My Way – The Best of (1997), 128 weeks
    80. Lady Gaga…The Fame (2008), 127 weeks

    81. Michael Jackson…Number Ones (2003), 127 weeks
    82. Rod Stewart…Best of (1989), 127 weeks
    83. The Seekers…Best of (1968), 125 weeks
    84. Paul McCartney & Wings…Band on the Run (1973), 124 weeks
    85. Robbie Williams…Life Thru a Lens (1997), 123 weeks
    86. Bon Jovi…Slippery When Wet (1986), 123 weeks
    87. Madonna…Madonna (1983), 123 weeks
    88. Eurythmics…Greatest Hits (1991), 122 weeks
    89. Red Hot Chili Peppers…Californication (1999), 121 weeks
    90. James Blunt…Back to Bedlam (2004), 120 weeks

    91. Paul Young…No Parlez (1983), 119 weeks
    92. Coldplay…Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), 119 weeks
    93. Whitney Houston…Whitney Houston (1985), 119 weeks
    94. Snow Patrol…Final Straw (2004), 118 weeks
    95. Duran Duran…Duran Duran (1981), 118 weeks
    96. Amy Winehouse…Frank (2003), 118 weeks
    97. Barry White…The Collection (1988), 117 weeks
    98. Wham!...Fantastic (1983), 116 weeks
    99. Stereophonics…Word Gets Around (1997), 116 weeks
    100. Paul Simon…Graceland (1986), 115 weeks


    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Psychedelic Rock Goes Mainstream: June 24, 1967



    Psychedelic rock is a style of music which strives to replicate the experience of mind-altering psychedelic drugs. It grew out of folk- and blues-rock in the mid ‘60s and integrated non-Western sources such as Indian music. New recording techniques and effects also marked the genre. It was a stepping stone to progressive rock, glam rock, hard rock, and heavy metal. PR

    June 24, 1967 does not mark the birth of psychedelic rock. It does, however, make for a fitting place to plant the freak flag on mainstream music turf. Several significant recordings made their chart debuts, trumpeting the genre’s full-fledged arrival on British and American shores.

    In the U.K., Pink Floyd charted with their second single, “See Emily Play”. That same day Syd Barrett & Co. made their television debut performing it on Top of the Pops. The recording process for the song implemented studio trickery such as backward tapes, echo, and reverb. SP It hit #6 in the UK and makes the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the Top 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.



    By summer’s end, Pink Floyd released their debut album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which All Music Guide’s Steve Huey called “one of the best psychedelic albums of all time.” SH



    Click photo for more about the album.


    On American shores The Beatles debuted on the Billboard charts with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, another landmark psychedelic album. Many within the music industry, including Dave’s Music Database, call it the best album of all time.



    Click photo for more about the album.


    That same day, Jefferson Airplane debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with “White Rabbit.” With references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland as a means of relaying the experience of psychedelic drugs, the song could lay claim as the official psychedelic rock anthem. The group was on the bill of the Monterey Pop Festival which unofficially launched the Summer of Love. That moniker has become the go-to term for a transformative time when hippie lifestyles, complete with their own peace mantra and psychedelic soundtrack, converged upon San Francisco.



    Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” is another “stone cold classic of psychedelia” HS which captured “a moment in the summer of 1967 when, if you were fortunate enough not to have to work for a living and bought into the whole flower power freedom movement, anything seemed possible.” HS The song makes the aforementioned Rock Hall 500 list and is featured in The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999. It topped the list of Britain’s most heard songs in 2009. TS



    Certainly the development and proliferation of the psychedelic rock movement cannot be narrowed to one day. However, the convergence several game changers on June 24, 1967, is enough to give one a head trip.

    Resources:
  • HS Headfullofsnow.com “Procol Harum Week: A Whiter Shade of Pale” (10/4/09)
  • SH Steve Huey, All Music Guide
  • TS Ted Spangler, American SongwriterBritain’s 75 Most Heard Song List Topped By…Procol Harum?” (4/15/09)
  • PR Wikipedia entry on psychedelic rock
  • SP Wikipedia entry on “See Emily Play
  • Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds Goes to #1: June 23, 1962


    Click photo for more about the album.


    June 23, 1962: “I Can’t Stop Loving You” was sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100 for a fourth week when its parent album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, followed suit and topped the Billboard album chart. It remained there for 14 weeks, becoming one of the top 100 biggest U.S. #1 albums. The album is also in the Grammy Hall of Fame and, according to Dave’s Music Database, is
    one of the top 1000 albums of all time.

    While the album proved its commercial and critical clout, it was initially a risky proposition. In the ‘50s, middle-of-the-road white artists like Pat Boone sanitized popular R&B tunes, like Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame”, for white audiences. Artists like Elvis Presley had blended R&B and country. However, it was a test of the waters to see if white audiences would accept a black R&B artist covering country tunes, especially during a time of racial tension in the United States.

    It was also Charles’ way of testing his record company. He’d landed a lucrative deal with ABC-Paramount in 1959 when he jumped ship from Atlantic Records. Now he was seeing just how much artistic freedom they would afford him. He would become one of the first African-Americans to exercise such control over his own recording career.

    The album consisted completely of country and western standards reaching back as far as 1939. Charles touched on honky tonk with three Hank Williams songs, “old-timey fare” with Floyd Tillman’s “It Makes No Difference to Me Now”, and early countrypolitan with Don Gibson’s “I Can’t Stop Loving You”. SC

    Nothing was bigger than the latter song, originally a #7 country hit for Gibson in 1958. Charles transformed it into one of the greatest crossover songs of all time. It landed atop the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the adult contemporary (AC) and R&B charts. It also hit #1 on the sales-driven Cashbox chart and the U.K. charts. The song is featured in the book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999.



    The album also generated hits with “You Don’t Know Me” (#2 US, #9 UK, #5 R&B, #1 AC), “Born to Lose” (#41 US, #13 AC), and “Careless Love” (#60 US, #19 AC).





    For more information, check out the DMDB page for the Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music album and Ray Charles’ entry in the DMDB music makers’ encyclopedia.


    Resources:
  • BL Blender Magazine’s “100 Greatest American Albums” (10/08)
  • SC Stephen Cook, All Music Guide
  • CS Clarke Speicher, The Review The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time
  • TL Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light, Time Magazine’s “All-TIME 100 Albums” (11/13/06)
  • WK Wikipedia



  • Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    The Beatles’ First Recording Session: June 22, 1961


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


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





    June 22, 1961: The Beatles make their first studio recordings. At that time, the Beatles consisted of – as picture above, left to right – Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Pete Best, and George Harrison. Polydor Records’ Bert Kaempfert asked them to record as the backing band for an English rock and roll singer named Tony Sheridan. Sheridan knew the band from working with them at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg, Germany.

    The recording sessions took place not at a recording studio, but on a converted stage at the Friedrick Ebert Halle school in Hamburg, Germany. BB There is some debate as to which recordings actually featured the Beatles, but it is generally agreed that they were present on new arrangements of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” and “When the Saints Go Marching In”, known respectively as “My Bonnie” and “The Saints”. They also recorded a Sheridan original called “Why (Can’t You Love Me Again)”, a cover of Hank Snow’s “Nobody’s Child”, and Jimmy Reed’s “Take Out Some Insurance on Me, Baby” (sometimes known as “If You Love Me, Baby”). In addition, the Beatles recorded two songs by themselves – “Ain’t She Sweet”, with John Lennon on lead, and “Cry for a Shadow”, an instrumental. An eighth song, a version of “Sweet Georgia Brown”, was also recorded at a later date. Sheridan has reported that they also did “Rock and Roll Music”, “Kansas City”, and “Some Other Guy”. FT



    The first single from the sessions was “My Bonnie”/“The Saints”. It was credited to Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers; the word “Beatles” sounded too much like “peedles”, German slang for “penis”. It was released in two versions in October 1961, hitting #5 BB and selling 180,000 copies in Germany. FT



    The single was released in 1962 in the U.K. and U.S., but didn’t chart until after the Beatles had already hit #1 and the song was re-released. However, it did grab the attention of Brian Epstein, a record store manager in Liverpool. With the Mersey beat sound catching on, the Beatles were becoming increasingly popular. Epstein ordered copies of the single and later sought out the Beatles, famously becoming their manager. Once the Beatles became popular, the songs resurfaced and have been since been released on multiple singles and albums, both officially and unofficially. The most elaborate collection is Beatles Bop – Hamburg Days, but many other cheaper collections exist.




    For more information, check out The Beatles’ DMDB page and their entry in the DMDB music makers’ encyclopedia.


    Resources:
  • BB BeatlesBible.com Recording: My Bonnie
  • BD Beatles-Discogaphy.com The Beatles’ Tony Sheridan songs
  • CB Columbia.edu The Beatles’ Hamburg Recordings on Record
  • FT friktech.com The Beatles backing Mr. Twist, Tony Sheridan
  • WK Wikipedia Tony Sheridan recordings
  • Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    The Birth of the LP: June 21, 1948



    June 21, 1948: Columbia Records introduced its new 12” long-playing (LP) record at a New York press conference. It rotated at 33⅓ revolutions per minute (rpm) and became the standard for gramophone records. It also became the dominant music format for a large chunk of the second half of the 20th century, eventually succumbing to cassettes and compact discs.

    The Voice of Frank Sinatra is commonly referred to as the first LP and could be called the first genuine concept album. It was originally released in 1946 as a collection (or “album”) of four 78 rpm singles. It was actually released in a 10” format which was introduced at the same time as the 12” format. Also, the Sinatra album was only one of 100 different titles released simultaneously; it was simply the album given the first catalog number (CL 6001).




    The Voice of Frank Sinatra 78 RPM cover (left) and 33⅓ cover (right)


    Columbia’s president Ted Wallerstein was instrumental in the birth of the LP. He envisioned an entire movement of a symphony to be on one side of an album. Hence, the resulting LP format was particularly suited to classical music. This meant that the first official catalog number for the 12” format was actually for Felix Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 64. It was a performance played by Nathan Milstein with the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York and conducted by Bruno Walter.



    By 1949, Capitol Records also began releasing LPs, followed by RCA Victor in 1950. 1949 also marked the first appearance of LPs in Europe thanks to the UK’s Decca Records. Beyond classical music, the first genre to really gain success was cast recordings of Broadway musical, such as 1949’s South Pacific.


    Resources:
  • thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameatlonglast.com World’s First LP Record
  • Wikipedia Columbia Records: The LP record 1948-1959 entry
  • Wikipedia Gramophone record entry
  • Wikipedia LP record entry
  • Wired.com June 21, 1948: Columbia’s Micogroove LP Makes Albums Sound Good
  • Monday, June 20, 2011

    The Final Recordings of Robert Johnson: June 20, 1937



    June 20, 1937 marked the final recording session for Robert Johnson. This Mississippi-born blues singer, guitarist, and harmonica player only had one minor hit – “Terraplane Blues” BH – but his influence has been immeasurable. Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards said, “You want to know how good the blues can get? Well, this is it.” RJ Eric Clapton called him “the most important blues singer that ever lived.” WK The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls his work “the bedrock upon which modern blues and rock and roll were built.” RH



    Richards and Clapton comment on Johnson


    His brief 27 years have fueled popular myth. He sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to develop his guitar-playing ability. He was poisoned with strychnine by a jealous husband after flirting with the man’s wife. As Johnson was dying, John Hammond, a legendary talent scout with Columbia Records, was trying to track Johnson down for a gig at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. RJ

    His slim body of work consists of 29 songs recorded for the American Record Corporation. These were captured in two series of recording sessions. The first occurred in 1936, taking place over three days (November 23, 26, and 27). During those sessions in a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas, Johnson laid down the classics “Cross Road Blues”, “Sweet Home Chicago”, and “Ramblin’ on My Mind”.



    The Mythical Tale of Robert Johnson


    His second series of sessions happened the following year in Dallas (June 19-20, 1937). Here he laid down thirteen more songs, including “Travelling Riverside Blues” and “Love in Vain”. 22 of the recordings were released on eleven 78 rpm records within his lifetime. RJ

    Johnson is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and four of his songs have been named to their Top 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll list (“Cross Road Blues”, “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Hellhound on My Trail”, “A Love in Vain”). His 1990 collection The Complete Recordings is one of the top 1000 albums of all time according to Dave’s Music Database. It is also in Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry and a Blues Hall of Fame album inductee.




    Resources:
  • BH Blues Hall of Fame Past Hall of Fame Inductees: The Complete Recordings – Robert Johnson
  • The Daily Post King of the blues by Tony Neilsen (6/16/11)
  • NPR Robert Johnson At 100, Still Dispelling Myths by Joel Rose (5/7/11)
  • RH Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Robert Johnson Biography
  • RJ RobertJohnsonBluesFoundation.org “Biography
  • WK Wikipedia.org entry on Robert Johnson



    Also check out the DMDB page for the The Complete Recordings album and Robert Johnson’s entry in the DMDB music makers’ encyclopedia.



  • Sunday, June 19, 2011

    R.I.P. Clarence Clemons



    Like many of my generation, I discovered Bruce Springsteen in 1984. I knew who he was before that – who could escape “Born to Run” or “Hungry Heart” if they’d ever listened to a radio in the early ‘80s? However, it was the Born in the U.S.A. album which really brought Springsteen to the attention of the pop world through seven top ten hits and inescapable MTV videos.

    Springsteen, however, became an icon not because of chart singles or videos, but through legendary live performances. His stage presence had much to do with the joy and musicianship he shared with the E Street Band. Perhaps no one from that collective has been more beloved than saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who sadly passed away at 7:00 p.m. on June 18, 2011 from complications of a stroke the Sunday before. He was 69.



    Springsteen said of Clemons: “Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.” BS



    Resources:
  • DailyVault.blogspot.com “The stars above just got a little brighter” by Jason Warburg (6/18/11)
  • BS BruceSpringsteen.net “Bruce Springsteen’s Statement on Clarence Clemons’ Death” (6/18/11)
  • WNDU.com “Clarence Clemons dies” (6/19/11)
  • Thursday, June 16, 2011

    The Monterey Pop Festival: June 16-18, 1967



    June 16-18, 1967: The Monterery Pop Festival was held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California. Pete Townshend smashed his guitar, Jimi Hendrix lit his on fire, and the Summer of Love ignited.



    More than 200,000 people turned out for a lineup of 32 performers at what the Encyclop√¶dia Britannica called “the first commercial American rock festival.” It set the template for large rock festivals, most notably 1969’s Woodstock. Included on the bill were future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees the Animals, Booker T. & the MGs, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin (as part of Big Brother and the Holding Company), the Mamas and the Papas, Otis Redding, Simon & Garfunkel, and the Who. See the set list here

    Also performing were the Association, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Canned Heat, Country Joe & the Fish, the Electric Flag, Al Kooper, Hugh Masakela, Scott McKenzie, the Steve Miller Band, Moby Grape, Laura Nyro, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Lou Rawls, Johnny Rivers, and Ravi Shankar.

    Most of the artists performed for free so that revenue could be donated to charity. The festival boasted an innovative sound system which served as the model for the larger-scale PA systems of the future. The electronic music synthesizer developed by Robert Moog was also introduced at a booth at the festival.

    Read a couple first-hand accounts from festival attendees here and here. Also check out John Bassett McCleary’s summary of Monterey Pop’s place in shaping the hippie counterculture in The Herald.

    Then, in the next best thing to being there, check out the 3-disc DVD collection The Complete Monterey Pop Festival: The Criterion Collection. It extends the 1968 Monterey Pop documentary shot by D.A. Pennebaker. You can also check out the 2-CD collection Monterey International Pop Festival.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Waxing Nostalgic: The Mantras of the Music Geek

    Originally published in my "Aural Fixation" column on PopMatters.com on June 20, 2011. See original post here.

    image from popmatters.com

    Paul managed a record store in the early ‘90s. For those unfamiliar with the concept, music was once purchased at actual physical locations on actual physical media. Quaint, isn’t it?

    Anyway, reminiscing around a table at Joe’s Crab Shack, Paul recounted his memory of the resurgence of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” courtesy of Wayne’s World. When the song first charted in 1975, it was a number one in the UK and went top ten stateside. On its second go-round in 1992, it topped the charts again on British soil and bested its original US peak, this time going all the way to #2.

    Paul is a college buddy with whom I shared crab balls – insert joke here – at a mini-reunion over dinner. Also along for the trip down memory lane were Lance and Forrest. This put the four of us in the same place for the first time in 20 years. To picture our motley little crew, think of four athletic frat boys who were – and still are – always the coolest guys in the room. Now imagine exactly the opposite.

    We did the requisite reminiscing about bawdiness and debauchery of days long ago, but I’ll refrain from those tales to protect the guilty. What happened in New York stays in New York.

    Instead, my dear readers, you get to eavesdrop on conversations sparked by questions like “What would your theme song be when you entered a room?” and “What song that you used to love can you no longer stand?” I know. Alert the Center for Disease Control to quarantine these losers so that no one else is infected by their music sickness.

    Even more annoyingly, there is a lesson to be found in all this. Hard to believe, but some people remain clueless as to how to become a music geek. Thanks to the Shack Pack, you can now be privy to the 4 Mantras of the Music Geek.


    Mantra 1: Berate all generations after your own.

    Our crab-eating collective were pre-teens during the first chart run of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, so upon its revival Paul was well-versed in its history. However, the new music-buying generation was not. By the time customer #402 asked him for “That new song from Wayne’s World” Paul was ready to remove someone’s spleen.

    Paul similarly went into spasms confessing, “My four-year-old sings Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ to soothe his infant sister.” I withheld admitting that Selena Gomez’s cover of “Magic”, originally a top 5 US hit by Pilot in the – you guessed it – ‘70s, is one of my kids’ favorites. I boasted instead of their love for the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop”.

    Lance also convulsed at Paul’s suggestion that Bob Seger should cue up Lance’s arrival into a room. For a devotee to blues man Buddy Guy, such a suggestion was sacrilege. Besides, it is disturbing to picture Lance sliding across a wood floor in his underwear doing a Tom Cruise Risky Business impression while “Old Time Rock and Roll” blares out of the speakers.

    Still, lyrics about how “today’s music ain’t got the same soul” are apropos. Lance dismissed current music as distracting him from his bid to fully digest the Bob Dylan catalog. “Are you sure you aren’t just making up the name Arctic Monkeys?” he asked when I announced what had most recently downloaded.

    Forrest was already dismissing his own generation’s music at eighteen. He sounded like the grizzled old blues men already populating Lance’s music collection. Forrest was listening to Wilson Pickett in our college years, not Rick Astley. Yeah, “Never Gonna Give You Up” came on before we left the shack.


    Mantra 2: If it sells, it sucks.

    Joe’s Crab Shack offers indescribable ear torture for a gang of geeks whose tastes are rooted in classic rock and the blues. Every 45 minutes or so, the wait staff were tasked with hoofing to chestnuts such as Rose Royce’s “Car Wash”, Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.”, and some weird remix of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” infused with a rap break.

    One might assume that my Crab Crew would compare and contrast those ‘70s disco nuggets with a more acceptable contemporary – like “Bohemian Rhapsody”. That would be a gross misunderstanding of the music geek’s talent for steering conversation to the obscure. I ribbed Forrest about donning a white suit a la Saturday Night Fever with “Stayin’ Alive” soundtracking his entrance. However, he and Lance segued into a discourse on why Queen’s “March of the Black Queen” was superior to the group’s calling-card tune.

    This brings us to the eponymous debut from Boston. Hating that album is almost a mantra by itself. Full disclosure: I still like it, an admission which may get my music aficionado club membership revoked. There isn’t a non-hit to embrace since the entire track listing populates classic rock playlists. This makes band mastermind Tom Scholz a natural target thanks to his proclivity to polish everything with a studio sheen in the name of amassing monstrous commercial success. Forrest relayed this story :“I bitched about that album one time to a guy who turned out to be Tom Scholz’s cousin.” Forrest is still removing bits of sneaker from his mouth.


    Mantra 3: Vinyl is king; all other formats are crap.

    Within five minutes into any conversation, it is mandatory that a music aficionado express undying love for vinyl and denounce all other comers. This obsession is largely focused on sound fidelity, but also nostalgia over the tried-and-true wax disc.

    The Shack Pack reminisced over 45 RPM vinyl singles, the only way to get individual songs in our day. Today record companies whine about digital downloads trumping album sales, but in days of yore Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” single easily outdistanced its parent album at the cash register.

    Record company greed and the arrival of the eight track reversed this trend. In the seventies, every adolescent boy with a Trans Am wanted to blow out his car speakers with Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever.” None of these Detroit City Madman worshippers were doing it with a turntable in their backseats.

    About five seconds after the eight track arrived, the maddening click that interrupted the music, sometimes mid-song, sent execs back to the drawing board. The cassette arrived, offering more portability, recordability, and a slight return to the singles market. However, by the ‘80s, record companies needed to hamstring people like me who spent their middle school years taping songs off the radio. The compact disc, and a chance to sell AC/DC’s Back in Black to customers for the umpteenth time, arrived.


    Mantra 4: The digital age is destroying music.

    The CD reaped huge benefits for the recording industry from the mid -‘80s through the whole of the ‘90s. Then Napster hit. I ranted to my Shack Pack buddies about the record companies’ short-sightedness in wrestling the digital giant to the ground and beating it to a bloody pulp. Latch on to what’s already there, I argued. Tag a reasonable subscription fee to the service. Sit back and reap the benefits of making money from an established brand name – all without reinventing the wheel.

    A music geek realizes that it isn’t just that record company mismanagement has hurt music. Forrest lamented, “it no longer takes any effort to discover music.” Lance agreed, saying “I remember my cousin raving to me about this song he’d heard by Pink Floyd called ‘Another Brick in the Wall Part II.’ We waited around to hear it on the radio; sure enough, it eventually came around again.” This was 1979 when hearing a favorite song wasn’t a YouTube or iTunes click away.

    ***

    Maybe everything really does come around again, as the saying goes. The digital age has restored the singles market. “Bohemian Rhapsody” might re-emerge again in Wayne’s World: The Next Generation where we follow Wayne and Garth’s offspring in the new era.

    One thing is certain: music geeks have some maddening mantras. If you stumble across a motley group of 40-somethings at Joe’s Crab Shack, you can pull up a chair and we’ll be happy to explain them in depth. Otherwise, you might be better off heading across the parking lot to Old Chicago’s, instead.


    Clyde McPhatter: An R&B Legend



    Clyde McPhatter, 1932-1972


    June 13, 1972: One of R&B’s greatest singers, Clyde McPhatter, died of a heart attack in a New York hotel room. Only 39, he had struggled for years with alcoholism and depression and was, according to Jay Warner’s On This Day in Music History, “broke and despondent over a mismanaged career that made him a legend but hardly a success.”

    McPhatter fronted two of the most influential groups in R&B history, helping to make him one of the top 1000 music makers of all time according to Dave’s Music Database. From 1950 to 1953, he was a member of the Dominoes. “Sixty Minute Man” was the biggest R&B hit of 1951, AMG topping the Billboard R&B charts for 14 weeks. All Music Guide called it “the first identifiable rock & roll record…by a black group to make the jump from the R&B to the pop charts.”



    It was sung by Bill Brown, but generally McPhatter handled lead vocals, such as on 1952 #1 R&B hit “Have Mercy Baby.” With the group at one point billed as Billy Ward and His Dominoes, Ward collected the lion’s share of the profits. McPhatter wasn’t making enough to live on and quit. Atlantic Records’ co-founder Ahmet Ertegun offered him a chance to form a new group and the Drifters, a name suggested by McPhatter, were born. Ertegun once proclaimed them “the all-time greatest Atlantic group.”

    The Drifters became a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee which, as their Rock Hall bio says, “epitomized the vocal group sound of New York City.” McPhatter saw two more long stays at #1 on the R&B charts with “Money Honey” and “Honey Love,” which was the biggest R&B hit of 1954. AMG



    By 1955, McPhatter left for a solo career, landing R&B #1 songs with 1956’s “Treasure of Love”, 1957’s Long Lonely Nights”, and 1958’s “A Lover’s Question.” The latter was a top 10 U.S. pop hit as well.



    The monstrous success of Motown groups like the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the Miracles owe a debt to the blueprint McPhatter forged. Significantly, McPhatter’s own ex-groups enjoyed success with and without him. The Dominoes landed a dozen top ten R&B hits in the 1950s with five different singers. The Drifters used six singers on 25 top ten R&B hits over a twenty-year chart run. The group’s most notable frontmen were fellow DMDB top 1000 music makers Jackie Wilson, who helmed two top ten R&B hits for the Dominoes (“You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down”, “Rags to Riches”), and Ben E. King, who sang lead with the Drifters from 1959-61 on six top ten R&B hits, including “There Goes My Baby” and “Save the Last Dance for Me.”

    Both men also enjoyed solo success on the R&B and pop charts. Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops” and “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” were both top 10 pop hits. King pulled off the same feat with “Spanish Harlem” and “Stand by Me.” The latter makes the book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999.

    Like so many gifted musicians, McPhatter led a troubled life. However, his legacy remains in tact, thanks to the music and influence he left behind.




    For more information, including special recognitions for acts, songs, and albums, check out individual entries in the DMDB music makers’ encyclopedia for the Dominoes, the Drifters, Ben E. King, Clyde McPhatter, and Jackie Wilson.



    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Boston: The Band People Love to Hate



    Brad Delp, 1951-2007


    Brad Delp was born June 12, 1951. He was the voice of Boston on four of their five studio albums sporadically released over more than a quarter century before his suicide in 2007. Boston’s most noted accomplishments happened right out of the gate. The 1976 eponymous debut ranks in the NARM/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Definite 200 Albums list and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has certified it for sales of 17 million, placing it just outside the top 10 best sellers of all time.

    The group’s first single, “More Than a Feeling,” has been dubbed by the Hall as one of the Top 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll and has been cited as an instrumental source for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (page 17, The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999).



    So why is Boston such a despised band? The derision seems especially targeted at Tom Scholz, who is referred to at SportsJournalists.com as “the paragon of pretentious studio perfection until Axl Rose took the mantle for all times.” Boston is also mocked for copying a slew of its classic rock counterparts. Ironically the band “reviled by some as the creators of corporate rock” (www.thirdstage.ca) began as one of the most DIY efforts in rock history, as MIT graduate Tom Scholz assembled most of the debut album in his basement.

    There’s something about an anal, egotistical task master that just doesn’t scream “rock and roll.” Notorious time delays between albums don’t help. The general consensus is that rock and roll is meant to be immediate; it should be rough around the edges and played live, not tweaked and prodded for nearly a decade in the studio.

    However, most fans like bands just because they like them, not because they pass certain tests. As critic Sarah Rodman says at thirdstage.ca, “sometimes holding up your lighter, rocking out, and playing air guitar is a fun thing to do. And if you’re going to do it with any band, I would choose Boston over almost any other band from that time period.”




    Click photo for more about the band’s debut album.




    For more information, including special recognitions for acts, songs, and albums, check out individual entries in the DMDB music makers’ encyclopedia for Boston, Brad Delp, and Tom Scholz. Also check out the Boston’s DMDB page for a detailed bio and links to reviews of their albums and related material.