Tuesday, June 28, 2016

In Concert: The Jayhawks

image from kansascity.com

Venue: Knuckleheads Saloon; Kansas City, MO

Opening Act: Folk Uke

The Set List:

1. Waiting for the Sun 3
2. Leaving the Monsters Behind 9
3. Somewhere in Ohio 6
4. Stumbling Through the Dark 7
5. Lovers of the Sun 9
6. Save It for a Rainy Day 7
7. Pretty Roses in Your Hair 9
8. Nothing Left to Borrow 4
9. Comeback Kids 9
10. Bottomless Cup 5
11. Blue 4
12. Ace 9
13. Tampa to Tulsa 7
14. Quiet Corners and Empty Spaces 9
15. All the Right Reasons 7
16. The Devil in Her Eyes 9
17. I’d Run Away 4


18. Settled Down Like Rain 3
19. Angelyne 7
20. I’ll Be Your Key 9
21. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me 6
22. Tailspin 7
23. Bad Time 4

The Jayhawks' Discography:

1 The Jayhawks (1986)
2 Blue Earth (1989)
3 Hollywood Town Hall (1992)
4 Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995)
5 Sound of Lies (1997)
6 Smile (2000)
7 Rainy Day Music (2003)
8 Mockingbird Time (2011)
9 Paging Mr. Prous (2016)

Hollywood Walk of Fame

image from oddthingsiveseen.com

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is comprised of more than 2400 stars awarded to people in the entertainment industry for motion pictures, television, theater, recording, and radio. E.M. Stuart, the volunteer president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, is credited with conceiving the idea in 1953. The design for the star was approved by 1956 and between then and 1957 more than 1500 honorees were selected by a committee representing the different entertainment industries. Here’s a complete list of all those artists recognized with a musical star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame from 1957 through 2017:






  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Billy Eckstine
  • Nelson Eddy
  • Duke Ellington
  • Mama Cass Elliot (2016)
  • Mischa Elman
  • Emilio Estefan Jr.
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Melissa Etheridge
  • Ray Evans
  • The Everly Brothers



  • Kenny G
  • Juan Gabriel
  • Amelita Galli-Curci
  • Judy Garland
  • Erroll Garner
  • Lucho Gatrica
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Crystal Gayle
  • George Gershwin
  • Ira Gershwin
  • Georgia Gibbs
  • Beniamino Gigli
  • Vince Gill
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Mickey Gilley
  • Jackie Gleason
  • Arthur Godfrey
  • The Go-Go's
  • Ernest Gold
  • Jerry Goldsmith (2017)
  • Al Goodman
  • Benny Goodman
  • Berry Gordy Jr.
  • Eydie Gormé
  • Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald (2015)
  • Morton Gould
  • Robert Goulet
  • Amy Grant
  • Glen Gray



  • Ice Cube (2017)
  • Julio Iglesias
  • Pedro Infante
  • Jose Iturbi



  • Kitty Kallen
  • Danny Kaye
  • Sammy Kaye
  • KC & The Sunshine Band
  • Stan Kenton
  • B.B. King
  • Pee Wee King
  • Dorothy Kirsten
  • Kiss
  • Eartha Kitt
  • Evelyn Knight
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips
  • Kool & the Gang (2015)
  • André Kostelanetz
  • Dave Koz
  • Fritz Kreisler
  • Kay Kyser


  • Patti LaBelle
  • Frankie Laine
  • Mario Lanza
  • Milt and Bill Larsen
  • Cyndi Lauper (2016)
  • Steve Lawrence
  • Peggy Lee
  • John Legend (2017)
  • Lotte Lehmann
  • Jerry Leiber
  • John Lennon
  • Oscar Levant
  • Adam Levine (2016)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Terry Lewis
  • Liberace
  • Little Richard
  • Jay Livingston
  • LL Cool J (2016)
  • Kenny Loggins
  • Julie London
  • Israel "Cachao" López
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Los Tigres Del Norte
  • Jim Lowe
  • Norman Luboff
  • Art Lund
  • Frank Luther
  • Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers
  • Loretta Lynn


  • Jeanette MacDonald
  • Johnny Maddox
  • Henry Mancini
  • Barry Manilow
  • Mantovani
  • Bob Marley & the Wailers
  • Bruno Mars (2016)
  • Dean Martin
  • Freddy Martin
  • Mary Martin
  • Ricky Martin
  • Tony Martin
  • Johnny Mathis
  • Clyde McCoy
  • Reba McEntire
  • Tim McGraw
  • Rod McKuen
  • John Meikle
  • George Melachrino
  • Lauritz Melchior
  • James Melton
  • Rafael Méndez
  • Yehudi Menuhin
  • Ethel Merman
  • Robert Merrill
  • Bette Midler
  • Luis Miguel
  • Glenn Miller
  • Mitch Miller
  • Steve Miller
  • Mills Brothers
  • Nathan Milstein
  • The Miracles
  • Guy Mitchell
  • Thelonious Monk
  • The Monkees
  • Vaughn Monroe
  • Pierre Monteux
  • Art Mooney
  • Russ Morgan
  • Ella Mae Morse
  • Mötley Crüe
  • Anne Murray


  • Ricky Nelson
  • New Edition (2017)
  • New Kids on the Block
  • Alfred Newman
  • Wayne Newton
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • N Sync (2017)




  • Queen
  • Selena Quintanilla (2017)


  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Lou Rawls
  • Johnnie Ray
  • Helen Reddy
  • Henri René
  • Lionel Richie
  • Nelson Riddle
  • Tex Ritter
  • Marty Robbins
  • Smokey Robinson
  • Kenny Rogers
  • David Rose
  • Diana Ross
  • Arthur Rubenstein


  • Carole Bayer Sager
  • Tommy Sands
  • Santana
  • Lalo Schifrin
  • Al Schmitt (2015)
  • Ernestine Schumann-Heink
  • Earl Scruggs
  • Neil Sedaka
  • Bob Seger
  • Rudolf Serkin
  • Tupac Shakur (2014)
  • Artie Shaw
  • Robert Shaw
  • George Shearing
  • Dinah Shore
  • Beverly Sills
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Nancy Sinatra
  • Slash
  • Carl Smith
  • Joseph B. Smith (2016)
  • Kate Smith
  • Keely Smith
  • Sons of the Pioneers
  • John Phillip Sousa
  • Britney Spears
  • Spinners
  • Rick Springfield (2014)
  • Jo Stafford
  • Kay Starr
  • Ringo Starr
  • Eleanor Steber
  • William Steinberg
  • Isaac Stern
  • Rod Stewart
  • Sting
  • Frederick Stock
  • Leopold Stokowski
  • Mike Stoller
  • Morris Stoloff
  • Gale Storm
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Yma Súmac
  • Donna Summer
  • The Supremes
  • Gladys Swarthout
  • Joseph Szigeti


  • Renata Tebaldi
  • The Temptations
  • Thalia
  • Blanche Theborn
  • John Carlos Thomas
  • Lawrence Tibbett
  • Mel Tormé
  • Arturo Toscanini
  • Helen Traubel
  • Randy Travis
  • Ernest Tubb
  • Tina Turner


  • Usher
  • Ritchie Valens
  • Luther Vandross
  • Sarah Vaughan
  • Billy Vera
  • Village People
  • Gene Vincent
  • Bobby Vinton


  • Robert Wagner
  • Jimmy Wakely
  • Bruno Walter
  • Fred Waring
  • Diane Warren
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Ted Weems
  • Lawrence Welk
  • Paul Weston
  • Barry White
  • Paul Whiteman
  • Margaret Whiting
  • Slim Whitman
  • Will.i.am
  • Andy Williams
  • Hank Williams
  • Joe Williams
  • Paul Williams
  • Pharrell Williams (2015)
  • Roger Williams
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Nancy Wilson
  • Bebe & Cece Winans
  • Hugo Winterhalter
  • Stevie Wonder


  • Dwight Yoakam
  • Victor Young


Monday, June 27, 2016

The Top 100 Broadway Songs


Top 100 Songs

Since the early part of the 20th century, musicals have fueled American music with some of its most beloved standards. In the first half of the 1900’s, many pop hits were recordings of songs which had originated on the Broadway stage. What follows is a list of the top 100 Broadway songs, as determined by an aggregate of 34 Broadway song collections and best-of lists. The show and the year of its stage premiere are listed after each song.

Click here to see other genre-specific song lists.

1. Memory (Cats, 1981)
2. Ol’ Man River (Show Boat, 1927)
3. Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific, 1949)
4. Tonight (West Side Story, 1957)
5. If I Were a Rich Man (Fiddler on the Roof, 1964)
6. You’ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel, 1945)
7. Send in the Clowns (A Little Night Music, 1973)
8. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ (Oklahoma!, 1943)
9. Seasons of Love (Rent, 1996)
10. What I Did for Love (A Chorus Line, 1975)

11. The Sound of Music (The Sound of Music, 1959)
12. If I Loved You (Carousel, 1945)
13. On the Street Where You Live (My Fair Lady, 1956)
14. All That Jazz (Chicago, 1975)
15. Don’t Cry for Me Argentina (Evita, 1978)
16. The Impossible Dream (Man of La Mancha, 1965)
17. I Don’t Know How to Love Him (Jesus Christ Superstar, 1971)
18. Aquarius (Hair, 1967)
19. I Dreamed a Dream (Les Miserables, 1985)
20. Tomorrow (Annie, 1977)

21. Cabaret (Cabaret, 1966)
22. Defying Gravity (Wicked, 2003)
23. Bewitched, Bothered, & Bewildered (Pal Joey, 1940)
24. The Music of the Night (The Phantom of the Opera, 1986)
25. I Could Have Danced All Night (My Fair Lady, 1956)
26. Climb Ev’ry Mountain (The Sound of Music, 1959)
27. My Favorite Things The Sound of Music, 1959)
28. Till There Was You (The Music Man, 1957)
29. My Funny Valentine (Babes in Arms, 1937)
30. Somewhere (West Side Story, 1957)

31. Oklahoma! (Oklahoma!, 1943)
32. On My Own (Les Miserables, 1985)
33. There’s No Business Like Show Business (Annie Get Your Gun, 1946)
34. I Got Rhythm (Girl Crazy, 1930)
35. Luck Be a Lady (Guys and Dolls, 1950)
36. Put on a Happy Face (Bye Bye Birdie, 1960)
37. Seventy-Six Trombones (The Music Man, 1957)
38. Getting to Know You (The King and I, 1951)
39. Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (The Lion King, 1997)
40. The Time Warp (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1973)

41. Hello, Dolly! (Hello, Dolly!, 1964)
42. Do-Re-Mi (The Sound of Music, 1959)
43. Sunrise, Sunset (Fiddler on the Roof, 1964)
44. Day by Day (Godspell, 1971)
45. Shall We Dance? (The King and I, 1951)
46. Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man (Show Boat, 1927)
47. If Ever I Would Leave You (Camelot, 1960)
48. The Party’s Over (Bells Are Ringing, 1956)
49. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Roberta, 1933)
50. As Long As He Needs Me (Oliver!, 1960)

image from the odysseyonline.com

51. All the Things You Are (Very Warm for May, 1939)
52. Summertime (Porgy and Bess, 1935)
53. Circle of Life (The Lion King, 1997)
54. Everything’s Coming Up Roses (Gypsy, 1959)
55. Written in the Stars (Aida, 1999)
56. One (Singular Sensation) (A Chorus Line, 1975)
57. Someone to Watch Over Me (Oh, Kay!, 1926)
58. You’re the Top (Anything Goes, 1934)
59. Maria (West Side Story, 1957)
60. I Love Paris (Can-Can, 1953)

61. Hello, Young Lovers (The King and I, 1951)
62. New York, New York (On the Town, 1944)
63. Almost Like Being in Love (Brigadoon, 1947)
64. I Get a Kick Out of You (Anything Goes, 1935)
65. The Lady Is a Tramp (Babes in Arms, 1937)
66. People Will Say We’re in Love (Oklahoma!, 1943)
67. Once in Love with Amy (Where’s Charley?, 1948)
68. Maybe This Time (Cabaret, 1966)
69. You Can’t Stop the Beat (Hairspray, 2002)
70. Falling in Love with Love (The Boys from Syracuse, 1938)

71. Superstar (Jesus Christ Superstar, 1971)
72. Comedy Tonight (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, 1962)
73. This Is the Moment (Jekyll and Hyde, 1997)
74. People (Funny Girl, 1964)
75. The Flesh Failures/Let the Sunshine In (Hair, 1964)
76. All I Ask of You (The Phantom of the Opera, 1986)
77. Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz, movie: 1939)
78. Edelweiss (The Sound of Music, 1959)
79. Wouldn’t It Be Loverly (My Fair Lady, 1956)
80. Try to Remember (The Fantastics, 1960)

81. Mack the Knife (The Threepenny Opera, 1928)
82. Younger Than Springtime (South Pacific, 1949)
83. Bill (Show Boat, 1927)
84. Summer Nights (Grease, 1972)
85. Hernando’s Hideaway (The Pajama Game, 1954)
86. June Is Bustin’ Out All Over (Carousel, 1945)
87. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, 1965)
88. I Enjoy Being a Girl (Flower Drum Song, 1958)
89. This Can’t Be Love (The Boys from Syracuse, 1938)
90. The Phantom of the Opera (The Phantom of the Opera, 1986)

91. So in Love (Kiss Me, Kate, 1948)
92. Camelot (Camelot, 1960)
93. Where or When (Babes in Arms, 1937)
94. Close Every Door (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, 1972)
95. For Good (Wicked, 2003)
96. There’s a Small Hotel (On Your Toes, 1936)
97. Wheels of a Dream (Ragtime, 1996)
98. Springtime for Hitler (The Producers, 2001)
99. Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast, 1998)
100. It’s a Hard-Knock Life (Annie, 1977)

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 6/27/2016.

Monday, June 20, 2016

50 years ago: Bob Dylan released Blonde on Blonde

Blonde on Blonde

Bob Dylan

Released: June 20, 1966

Charted: July 23, 1966

Peak: 9 US, 3 UK, 4 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.3 UK, 10.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: folk rock


Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 [4:36] (4/16/66, 2 US, 2 CB, 2 HR, 2 CL, 7 UK)
  2. Pledging My Time [3:50]
  3. Visions of Johanna [7:33] (5 CL)
  4. One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) [4:54] (4/14/66, 32 CL, 33 UK)
  5. I Want You [3:07] (7/2/66, 20 US, 25 CB, 22 HR, 9 CL, 16 UK)
  6. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again [7:05] (16 CL)
  7. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat [3:58] (5/20/67, 81 US, 97 CB, 86 HR, 16 CL)
  8. Just Like a Woman [4:52] (9/10/66, 33 US, 28 CB, 26 HR, 5 CL)
  9. Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine [3:30]
  10. Temporary Like Achilles [5:02]
  11. Absolutely Sweet Marie [4:57] (21 CL)
  12. 4th Time Around [4:35]
  13. Obviously 5 Believers [3:35]
  14. Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands [11:23]

All songs written by Bob Dylan.

Total Running Time: 72:57


4.675 out of 5.00 (average of 28 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“In 1965 and 1966, Bob Dylan went on a creative sprint that has never been matched. Over the course of fourteen months, Dylan recorded Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited – and then capped it off with Blonde on Blonde, rock’s first significant double album.” TL “If Highway 61 Revisited played as a garage rock record…Blonde on Blonde inverted that sound, blending blues, country, rock, and folk into a wild, careening, and dense sound.” TL It “is an album of enormous depth,” AMG with “a tense, shimmering tone” TL that “reaches some of Dylan’s greatest heights – which is to say, the very pinnacle of rock.” TL Dylan himself said of the album was “‘the closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind.’” JD

It “is comprised entirely of songs driven by inventive, surreal, and witty wordplay, not only on the rockers but also on winding, moving ballads.” TL “Dylan is having fun…playing with words as much for the way they sound as for what they mean.” JD “The music matches the inventiveness of the songs, filled with cutting guitar riffs, liquid organ riffs, crisp pianos, and even woozy brass bands.” AMG It was “a brilliant tour through the music of America past, present and future, touching on everything from Chicago blues to country waltzes to New Orleans marches, all delivered with a voice that was full of rock ‘n’ roll passion, and the ferocity, scorn and lust of a man at the end of his rope.” JD In Howard Sounes’ Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, Kooper said, “Nobody has ever captured the sound of 3 a.m. better than that album… even Sinatra, gets it as good.” JD

Dylan initially began recording in New York with his touring group, The Hawks (who later became the band). When “he couldn’t seem to find his groove” JD producer Bob Johnston suggested moving the sessions to Nashville, where Dylan assembled local session musicians along with New Yorkers Al Kooper on organ and the Hawks’ Robbie Robertson on guitar. JD Dylan was moving toward “leaving coffee bars behind forever…to bring country into rock & roll.” BL In addition, he recorded live, having musicians “record in a circle, playing off one another during a series of gloriously sloppy extended jams. Most of the 14 tracks were captured on the first or second take, shortly after Dylan finished writing them. ‘The musicians played cards, I wrote out a song, we’d do it, they'd go back to their game and I’d write out another song,’ the artist said in 1968.” JD

The album “veer[s] wildly between the silly, the serious and the surreal – sometimes all in the same song. But if there is one recurring theme at its heart, it isn't politics or spirituality (the topics the folkie purists hoped the sage would tackle), but something much more familiar yet elusive.” JD The first track, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, “epitomizes the album” JD with its “absurdist title” JD and “a delightfully ragged march (the loose feel was achieved by forcing all of the musicians to switch off from their regular instruments).” JD “The song is at once a devilishly playful and unapologetic pro-drug anthem (one of rock’s first, and most daring for the time, with its recurring refrain of ‘Everybody must get stoned’); a sarcastic and cautionary tale of how society demonizes outsiders and rebels.” JD

“A romantic masquerading as a cynic, Dylan approaches the concept of love from several different angles, equating eroticism with spiritual transcendence in Visions of Johanna; pleading for satisfaction like a clumsy, hormone-crazed teen in I Want You; summoning his full powers of poetry as a tool for seduction in Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands (Dylanologists debate whether this one was about Joan Baez or his then-wife, Sara), and finally giving up with near-misogynistic disgust in Just Like a Woman and comic resignation in Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine.” JD

Blonde on Blonde was “the culmination of Dylan’s electric rock & roll period – he would never release a studio record that rocked this hard, or had such bizarre imagery, ever again.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 5/16/2013; last updated 9/5/2021.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame

image from today.com

The famed Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, dates back to the mid-19th century when Civil War General Edward Ferrero founded Apollo Hall as a dance hall and ballroom. In 1872, his lease expired and the building was converted to a theater. It closed shortly before the turn of the century, but the Apollo Theater resurfaced around 1913 in a new building at 253 West 125th Street. It declined again in the 1960s and ‘70s, but was revived in 1983. It gained fame over the years for featuring almost exclusively African-American performers.

In recent years, they launched their own Walk of Fame (also called the Legends Hall of Fame). There doesn’t seem to be a complete list of inductees, but here’s what the DMDB has compiled from various sources:


Saturday, June 11, 2016

50 years ago: The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” hit #1

First posted 10/19/2020.

Paint It Black

The Rolling Stones

Writer(s): Mick Jagger/Keith Richards (see lyrics here)

Released: May 7, 1966

Peak: 1 US, 1 CB, 1 HR, 1 CL, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 188.0 video, 369.0 streaming


About the Song:

This was the sixth #1 hit for the Rolling Stones in the UK and their third in the United States. The song was featured on the U.S. version of Aftermath and the UK version of the Big Hits (High Tides and Green Grass) compilation. The song “broke free of the blues and R&B influences” AMG of previous hits, showcasing singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards as “versatile, growing writers who could compete head-to-head with the best rock composers of the era, such as their chief rivals, the Beatles, of course.” AMG

The song holds the distinction as the first number-one hit to feature a sitar WK and “perhaps the most effective use of the Indian instrument in a rock song.” AMG Brian Jones started exploring eastern instruments out of frustration from being overshadowed by Jagger and Richards. WK Jones used the sitar to arrange the basic arrangements for “Paint It Black” after a discussion with George Harrison, who had recently used the sitar on the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood.” WK It may have been Jones’ “greatest musical achievement,” AMG but he got no songwriting credit for it. Richards explained that Jones never presented a finished song to the group, hence his omission from the credits. SF

The intent of the song lyrically was to use color-based metaphors to describe the grief one suffers after the loss of a spouse or partner, WK reportedly inspired by the death of a former girlfriend of Jagger’s. AMG There are also claims Jagger drew on the 1922 novel Ulysses by James Joyce and its themes of desperation and depression. WK Jagger explained that the song’s exploration of a character “so entrenched in his depression and rage that he has lost all hope” WK fit with the theme of Aftermath, where each song offered insight into “the darkness of his psyche.” WK When Jagger sings that he wants to “see the sun blotted out from the sky, [it is] surely one of the most despairing images in popular music.” AMG

Amusingly, the song was originally released as “Paint It, Black.” The comma, however, was an error on the part of Decca Records and not meant to be part of the title. The incorrect title implied that a person named “Black” was being encouraged to do the painting. AMG Some fans interpreted it as a statement on racial relations. WK

Resources and Related Links:

Friday, June 3, 2016

Michael Franti Soul Rocker released

Soul Rocker

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Released: June 3, 2016

Peak: 38 US, -- UK, 96 CN, 65 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: alternative rock


Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Crazy for You [3:39] (5/8/17, --)
  2. My Lord [3:55]
  3. Get Myself to Saturday [4:18]
  4. Summertime Is in Our Hands [3:48] (5/27/17, 28 AC)
  5. We Are All Earthlings [3:44]
  6. Still Standing [3:46]
  7. Good to Be Alive Today [4:14] (5/29/16)
  8. My Favorite Wine Is Tequila [4:08]
  9. Once a Day [3:57] (6/22/15, 30 A40, 17 AA)
  10. We Do This Every Day [4:14]
  11. I Got Love for Ya [3:58]
  12. Do You Feel the Way That I Do? [4:56]
  13. Love Will Find a Way [3:42] (11/5/16, --)

All songs written by Michael Franti.

Total Running Time: 52:19


3.952 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

A reviewer on Amazon called Michael Franti “the Bob Marley of our times,” AZ praising him a “a champion for peace, love, veterans, and all ‘earthlings’ in general.” AZ Another reviewer said, “there’s really NOTHING that can compare to a live Michael Franti and Spearhead show. You will leave that show a better person. You will want to help others. You will want to make a difference in the world.” AZ

I saw him in concert for the first time in the summer of 2017 when he was supporting the Soul Rocker album. The reviewers on Amazon nailed it. Michael Franti is a modern-day Bob Marley, desperately trying to bring the world together through his message of peace in his music and the communal spirit of his concerts. It is the best show I’ve ever seen.

The album is stocked with songs begging to be played in front of an audience. My Favorite Wine Is Tequila has a definite party vibe. It “may go the full Jimmy Buffett, but a classic, vintage reggae sample makes it the right kind of cheeky.” AMG Get Myself to Saturday showcases “honest and vulnerable lyrics coming from a man who kicked off his career with the political attack squads the Beatnigs and the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.” AMG

Franti is also a consummate activist using his songs to spotlight various causes. He somehow manages, however, to keep the atmosphere light and fun instead of preachy. “We Are All Earthlings is like a Greenpeace sticker plastered over a Recycle sticker stuck on a flyer for clean water, and Franti covers the same ground (grew up confused, got mad at the world, then things got better) on a couple autobiographical songs.” AMG

Perhaps no song showcases Franti’s message of peace and love more than Once a Day. The lyrics have a positive, hippy vibe that dares the listener not to sing along: “Everybody oughta hug somebody, at least once a day / And everybody oughta kiss somebody, at least once a day / Everybody’s gonna miss somebody, at least once a day / And everybody gotta love somebody, every day.”

Franti seamlessly melds multiple genres together, tapping into reggae, hip-hop, alternative rock, and even electronica. My Lord, a “chugging EDM-meets-rootsy-music tune.” AMG “Bright dance music is an easy fit” AMG for Franti considering how much he is “aiming for a crowd singing in unison.” AMG

“If the strings on Love Will Find a Way are synthetic, the song and the performance are still angelic, connecting immediately and giving Franti his own ‘Redemption Song.’” AMG

The album is “inspired, warm, and inviting, plus in parts, it is diminutive in the best sense of the word.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 8/20/2021.