Monday, July 31, 2017

July 1967: Albert King released the Born Under a Bad Sign album

First posted November 13, 2008. Last updated September 10, 2018.

Born Under a Bad Sign

Albert King

Recorded: March 3, 1966 to June 9, 1967

Released: July 1967

Sales (in millions):
US: 0.5
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 0.5

US: --
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

Quotable: “One of the very greatest electric blues albums of all time” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Genre: blues

Album Tracks:

  1. Born Under a Bad Sign (8/26/67, #49 RB)
  2. Crosscut Saw (1/7/67, #34 RB)
  3. Kansas City
  4. Oh, Pretty Woman
  5. Down Don’t Bother Me
  6. The Hunter
  7. I Almost Lost My Mind
  8. Personal Manager
  9. Laundromat Blues (6/26/66, #29 RB)
  10. As the Years Go Passing By
  11. The Very Thought of You

Notes: In 1998, Sundazed Records reissued the album with two additional bonus tracks, both written by Albert King. Those tracks are the rare mono single B-sides Funk-Shun and Overall Junction, which originally appeared on the Stax singles ‘Laundromat Blues’ and ‘Oh, Pretty Woman,’ respectively.” WK

Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.


“Albert King recorded a lot in the early ‘60s, including some classic sides, but they never quite hit the mark. They never gained a large audience, nor did they really capture the ferocity of his single-string leads. Then he signed with Stax in 1966 and recorded a number of sessions with the house band, Booker T. & the MG’s, and everything just clicked.” STE They gave King “crossover appeal” WK with their “sleek, soulful sound,” WK “providing an excellent contrast to his tightly wound lead guitar, allowing to him to unleash a torrent of blistering guitar runs that were profoundly influential, not just in blues, but in rock & roll. STE Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan have acknowledged how King influenced them. WK

Born Under a Bad Sign collected singles released in 1966 and 1967 as well as additional studio cuts. WK “The concentration of singles gives the album a consistency – these were songs devised to get attention – but, years later, it’s astounding how strong this catalog of songs is: Born Under a Bad Sign, Crosscut Saw, Oh Pretty Woman, The Hunter, Personal Manager, and Laundromat Blues form the very foundation of Albert King’s musical identity and legacy.” STE

“The songs are exceptional and the performances are rich, from King’s dynamic playing to the Southern funk of the MG’s. It was immediately influential at the time and, over the years, it has only grown in stature as one of the very greatest electric blues albums of all time.” STE “It was the great divide of modern blues, the point at which the music was rescued from slipping into derivative obscurity.” WK

Review Source(s):


Related DMDB Link(s):

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Doors hit #1 with “Light My Fire” 50 years ago (7/29/1967)

Last updated 4/17/2020.

Light My Fire

The Doors

Writer(s): John Densmore, Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek, Jim Morrison (see lyrics here)

Released: April 1967

First Charted: May 27, 1967

Peak: 13 US, 11 CB, 11 HR, 1 CL, 7 UK, 2 CN, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 36.75 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

The song that “positively dripped with sexual desire” CR was a fitting launch for the Doors and helped establish their frontman, Jim Morrison, as one of rock’s most legendary sex symbols. Ironically, though, it was guitarist Robbie Krieger who had more to do with creating the song than Morrison. This was the first song Krieger ever wrote, although the band helped. RS500 Krieger explains: “Ray had the idea for the opening part, which was the real hook. Jim helped me out on some of the lyrics...and the beat was John’s idea.” BR1

The song had more than just sex. Its blatant reference to drug use with the line “We couldn’t get much higher” got the band in trouble with the Ed Sullivan Show. The band had promised to replace the word “higher” when performing the song on a live television broadcast, but sang it anyway, getting them permanently banned from the show. AMG

The group wasn’t thinking of the song as a single when they created the version that runs near seven minutes on LP. BR1 However, the song was whittled down to less than three minutes for radio consumption. After the song hit #1, though, many radio stations opted for the longer version, which today remains mainstay of album rock radio. BR1

Proving its power beyond the psychedelic and sexual revolutions of the sixties with which the song became synonymous, AMG the song also garnered José Feliciano a Grammy in 1969 for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance of his flamenco version of the song. More than two decades later, when Oliver Stone’s 1991 film biopic The Doors WK rekindled interest in the band, the song trounced its original #49 peak on the UK charts by landing all the way up at #7. The UK also gave Amii Stewart a #5 hit with the song in 1979 and Will Young took it to #1 in 2002.

Resources and Related Links:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

50 Reasons to Still Listen to "New" Music

image from

I am continuously frustrated by claims that today’s new music sucks or that rock and roll is dead. Such proclamations are often spouted by people so stuck on their favorites from 25 years ago that they are afraid to let anything new seep through. In response to a recent Facebook post from a friend who said he “quit following any kind of new artists in the late ‘90s,” I put together this list of 50 reasons to still listen to “new” music (i.e. albums released by acts who formed since 2000):

1. Ryan Adams “Heartbreaker” (2000)
2. Adele “21” (2011)
3. Alabama Shakes “Sound & Color” (2015)
4. Animal Collective “Merriweather Post Pavilion” (2009)
5. Arcade Fire “Funeral” (2004)
6. Arctic Monkeys “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” (2006)
7. The Black Keys “Brothers” (2010)
8. Bloc Party “Silent Alarm” (2005)
9. Bon Iver “For Emma, Forever Ago” (2008)
10. Bright Eyes “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning” (2005)

11. Coldplay “A Rush of Blood to the Head” (2002)
12. Lana Del Rey “Born to Die” (2012)
13. Duffy “Rockferry” (2008)
14. Florence + the Machine “Lungs” (2009)
15. Fleet Foxes “Fleet Foxes” (2008)
16. Franz Ferdinand “Franz Ferdinand” (2004)
17. Gorillaz “Demon Days” (2005)
18. Interpol “Turn on the Bright Lights” (2002)
19. Keane “Hopes and Fears” (2004)
20. Alicia Keys “Songs in A Minor” (2001)

21. The Killers “Hot Fuss” (2004)
22. Kings of Leon “Only by the Night” (2008)
23. Lady Gaga “The Fame” (2008)
24. Kaiser Chiefs “Employment” (2005)
25. Kendrick Lamar “To Pimp a Butterfly” (2015)
26. LCD Soundsystem “Sound of Silver” (2007)
27. The Libertines “Up the Bracket” (2002)
28. Linkin Park “Hybrid Theory” (2000)
29. M.I.A. “Kala” (2007)
30. Mika “Life in Cartoon Motion” (2007)

31. Mumford & Sons “Babel” 2012)
32. Kacey Musgraves “Same Trailer Different Park” (2013)
33. My Morning Jacket “Z” (2005)
34. The National “High Violet” (2010)
35. Frank Ocean “Channel Orange” (2012)
36. Pink “M!ssundaztood” (2001)
37. Scissor Sisters “Scissor Sisters” (2004)
38. The Shins “Chutes Too Narrow” (2003)
39. Sam Smith “In the Lonely Hour” (2014)
40. Streets “A Grand Don’t Come for Free” (2004)

41. The Strokes “Is This It” (2001)
42. Sufjan Stevens “Illiois” (2005)
43. TV on the Radio “Dear Science” (2008)
44. Vampire Weekend “Vampire Weekend” (2008)
45. The Vines “Highly Evolved” (2002)
46. The War on Drugs “Lost in the Dream” (2014)
47. Kanye West “The College Dropout” (2004)
48. Amy Winehouse “Back to Black” (2006)
49. The XX “XX” (2009)
50. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Fever to Tell” (2003)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Eagles et al: Top 70 Songs

1972 lineup: l to r: Bernie Leadon, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Glenn Frey

1994 lineup: l to r: Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Don Felder

Happy birthday, Don Henley! Born on July 22, 1947, he turned 70 this year. He is known both for his solo career and as a singer and drummer with the Eagles. In honor of his birthday, here are the top 70 songs by the Eagles, including contributions from each individual member (Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Felder, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon).

1. Eagles…Hotel California (1976)
2. Eagles…Take It Easy (1972)
3. Don Henley…The Boys of Summer (1984)
4. Eagles…Lyin’ Eyes (1975)
5. Eagles…Desperado (1973)
6. Eagles…Best of My Love (1974)
7. Don Henley…The End of the Innocence (1989)
8. Eagles…One of These Nights (1975)
9. Eagles…Take It to the Limit (1975)
10. Eagles…Heartache Tonight (1979)

11. Eagles...New Kid in Town (1976)
12. Eagles…Life in the Fast Lane (1976)
13. Don Henley…The Heart of the Matter (1989)
14. Joe Walsh…Rocky Mountain Way (1973)
15. Eagles…I Can’t Tell You Why (1979)
16. Don Henley with Stevie Nicks…Leather and Lace (1981)
17. Joe Walsh…Life’s Been Good (1978)
18. Don Henley with Patty Smyth…Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough (1992)
19. Eagles…The Long Run (1979)
20. Don Henley…Dirty Laundry (1982)

21. Eagles…Peaceful, Easy Feeling (1972)
22. Eagles…Tequila Sunrise (1973)
23. James Gang (featuring Joe Walsh)…Walk Away (1971)
24. Eagles…Witchy Woman (1972)
25. Eagles…Seven Bridges Road (live) (1980)
26. Eagles…Already Gone (1974)
27. Firefall (with Timothy B. Schmit on background vocals)…Just Remember I Love You (1977)
28. Joe Walsh…All Night Long (1980)
29. Glenn Frey…Smuggler’s Blues (1984)
30. James Gang (with Joe Walsh on vocals)…Funk #49 (1970)

31. Don Henley…Sunset Grill (1984)
32. Glenn Frey…The Heat Is On (1984)
33. Glenn Frey…You Belong to the City (1985)
34. Don Henley…All She Wants to Do Is Dance (1984)
35. Don Henley...Not Enough Love in the World (1984)
36. Joe Walsh..A Life of Illusion (1981)
37. Eagles…Please Come Home for Christmas (1978)
38. Eagles…Get Over It (1994)
39. Don Henley…The Last Worthless Evening (1989)
40. Glenn Frey…The One You Love (1982)

41. Randy Meisner…Hearts on Fire (1980)
42. Eagles…Victim of Love (1976)
43. Glenn Frey…True Love (1988)
44. Don Felder…Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride) (1981)
45. Eagles…The Last Resort (1986)
46. Don Henley…New York Minute (1989)
47. Eagles…Love Will Keep Us Alive (1994)
48. Glenn Frey…Sexy Girl (1984)
49. Don Henley…I Can’t Stand Still (1982)
50. Randy Meisner…Deep Inside My Heart (1980)

51. Don Henley…Taking You Home (2000)
52. Don Henley…Through Your Hands (1996)
53. Glenn Frey…I Found Somebody (1982)
54. Eagles…James Dean (1974)
55. Eagles…Hole in the World (2003)
56. Poco (with Timothy B. Schmit on vocals)…Keep on Tryin’ (1975)
57. Don Henley…How Bad Do You Want It? (1989)
58. Eagles…In the City (1979)
59. Glenn Frey…Part of You, Part of Me (1991)
60. Randy Meisner…Never Been in Love (1982)

61. Glenn Frey…All Those Lies (1982)
62. Eagles…Learn to Be Still (1994)
63. Timothy B. Schmit…Boys Night Out (1987)
64. Eagles…Outlaw Man (1973)
65. Joe Walsh…Things (1981)
66. Joe Walsh…Rivers of the Hidden Funk (1981)
67. Eagles…How Long (2007)
68. Joe Walsh…Space Age Whiz Kids (1983)
69. Don Henley…Johnny Can’t Read (1982)
70. Eagles…Those Shoes (1979)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Linda Ronstadt: Top 30 Songs

image from

Born July 15, 1946, in Tucson, Arizona, Linda Ronstadt established herself as a diverse recording artist with a cover-laden repertoire which dipped into pop, rock, adult contemporary, country, Latin, big band, and standards. She put her stamp on songs by Chuck Berry, the Eagles, the Hollies, Buddy Holly, Martha & the Vandellas, the Miracles, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, the Righteous Brothers, the Rolling Stones, Sam & Dave, Neil Young, and Warren Zevon. She often recorded with other artists including Emmylou Harris, James Ingram, Aaron Neville, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dolly Parton, Nelson Riddle, and J.D. Souther. In celebration of her birthday, DMDB presents her top 30 songs.

The Top 30 Linda Ronstadt Songs

Blue Bayou

1. Blue Bayou (1977)
2. Don’t Know Much (with Aaron Neville, 1989)
3. You’re No Good (1974)
4. Somewhere Out There (with James Ingram, 1986)
5. Hurt So Bad (1980)
6. When Will I Be Loved (1975)
7. Different Drum (with the Stone Poneys, 1967)
8. Heat Wave (1975)
9. It’s So Easy (1977)
10. The Tracks of My Tears (1975)
11. Ooh Baby Baby (1978)
12. An American Dream (with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 1979)
13. That’ll Be the Day (1976)
14. Long, Long Time (1970)
15. Back in the U.S.A. (1978)

16. How Do I Make You (1980)
17. Poor, Poor Pitiful Me (1978)
18. All My Life (with Aaron Neville, (1990)
19. Tumbling Dice (1978)
20. Just One Look (1979)
21. I Can’t Let Go (1980)
22. Love Has No Pride (1973)
23. Get Closer (1982)
24. Love Is a Rose (1975)
25. It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (1975)
26. Desperado (1973)
27. Someone to Lay Down Beside Me (1976)
28. I Knew You When (1982)
29. When the Morning Comes (with Hoyt Axton, 1974)
30. She’s a Very Lovely Woman (1971)


Resources and Related Links:

Van Morrison charted with “Brown-Eyed Girl” 50 years ago (7/15/1967)

First posted 7/15/2011; updated 4/17/2020.

Brown-Eyed Girl

Van Morrison

Writer(s): Van Morrison (see lyrics here)

First Charted: June 24, 1967

Peak: 10 US, 8 CB, 7 HR, 1 CL, 60 UK, 13 CN (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 8.0 radio, 99.82 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

In the mid-’60s, Van Morrison had brief fame with Irish R&B band Them with hits like “Gloria,” “Here Comes the Night,” and “Baby Please Don’t Go.” However, by 1966 he was a 21-year-old has been living back at home with his parents. BBC Bert Berns, Them’s American producer and the owner of Bang Records, still believed in Morrison and flew him to New York for some recording sessions in March 1967. BBC After signing a contract which, according to biographer Clinton Heylin, Morrison probably still regrets, WK Van recorded eight songs intended for use as four singles. WK

Hit records weren’t at all what Morrison was interested in and consequently most of what he recorded for Bang was decidedly uncommercial. TB Hits, however, were exactly what Berns had in mind and he was determined to fashion a hit out of “Van’s introspective and personal material.” BBC

He found it with “Brown-Eyed Girl,” the song now generally considered to be Morrison’s signature song. WK In the history of rock music, teen lovemaking has possibly never been “more perfectly captured or more lovingly celebrated.” WI It is, though, more than just a song about sex and youth; it is also “very wonderfully a song about singing.” WI

Van sings the “infectious pop melody with such effervescence” MA it is difficult to grasp that the “gloomy...genius” MA despised its success. However, as he told Rolling Stone in 1970, “It put me in some of the worst joints I ever worked...It just put me in some awkward positions. Like lip-syncing to the record on a television show. I can’t lip-sync.” RS500

His next time out, Morrison effectively shut the door on mainstream success with Astral Weeks, a critically-acclaimed, but “deeply personal acoustic song cycle that sold practically nothing.” RS500

Resources and Related Links:

  • Van Morrison’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • BBC BBC Radio 2 (2004). “Sold on Song Top 100
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Page 282.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 92.
  • WK
  • WI Paul Williams (1993). Rock and Roll: The Best 100 Singles. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. Page 51.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In Concert: Michael Franti & Spearhead

image from

Venue: Grinders at Crossroads; Kansas City, MO

Opening Act: Kawehi

Wow. Wow. Wow. I posted earlier this week about the dilemma of whether to see Robert Cray or Michael Franti tonight. I chose the latter and, boy, did I choose right.

I've seen maybe 40-50 shows in my life - more than some people, a lot less than others. This, however, was a transformative experience. I've never seen a performer more dedicated to making a connection with the audience. He had maybe an 8YO kid up on stage with him about 2 songs in singing and dancing. I figured it would be the highlight of the show. Boy, was I wrong. There was much more to come.

He told plenty of stories which evoked both tears and laughter. He wandered out into the audience for about a six-song set and then came back out again several more times during other songs.

He often asked the crowd to raise their hands in the air, jump up and down, hug someone, or introduce yourself to a stranger. At one point he pulled nearly a dozen kids on stage to sing and dance with him.

Oh, and this was all done as he sang songs with a very distinct "let's all love one another and get along" hippie vibe.

After the show, as the crew packed up the stage, Franti hung around talking to fans and taking selfies. When I left he was still at it and I imagine he doesn't leave until anyone who wants to hug him, take a picture, or share a story gets their chance.

Sorry all other performers I'll see in the future. Michael Franti has set a new bar which none of you may ever reach.

The Set List (based on Columbia show day before):

1. Light Up Ya Lighter 5
2. Hey Hey Hey (No Matter How Life is Today) 7
3. Yell Fire! 5
4. Hello Bonjour (w/ I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For)
5. The Sound of Sunshine 7
6. Stay Human (Family Affair) 3
7. I Got Love for You 9
8. Crazy for You 9
9. Good to Be Alive Today 9
10. Summertime Is in Our Hands 9
11. Get Myself to Saturday 9
12. We Are All Earthlings 9
13. Hey World (Don't Give Up Version) 6
14. Enjoy Every Second (new song)
15. Life Is Better With You 8
16. I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like) 8
17. 11:59 8
18. I Don't Belong (new song)
19. Say Hey (I Love You) 6
20. My Lord 9


1 Home (1994)
2 Chocolate Supa Highway (1997)
3 Stay Human (2001)
4 Everyone Deserves Music (2003)
5 Yell Fire (2006)
6 All Rebel Rockers (2008)
7 The Sound of Sunshine (2010)
8 All People (2013)
9 Soulrocker (2016)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Lorde’s Melodrama debuted at #1

First posted 12/13/2020.



Released: June 16, 2017

Peak: 11 US, 5 UK, 11 CN, 11 AU

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.1 UK, 1.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/alternative


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

  1. Green Light (3/2/17, 19 US, 29 AC, 18 A40, 4 AA, 9 MR)
  2. Sober
  3. Homemade Dynamite (9/15/17, 92 US, 28 AA)
  4. The Louvre
  5. Liability (4/1/17, 78 US)
  6. Hard Feelings/Loveless
  7. Sober II (Melodrama)
  8. Writer in the Dark
  9. Supercut
  10. Liability (Reprise)
  11. Perfect Places (6/1/17, 16 MR)

Total Running Time: 40:58


4.373 out of 5.00 (average of 27 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Growing up in public has been a rite of passage for pop stars since at least Frank Sinatra but, as with any classic storyline, what matters is the execution. Lorde, the preternaturally talented New Zealand singer/songwriter who became an international sensation at the age of 17, knows how to execute not only songwriting and public narrative but also a melding of the two.”

After the success of her Pure Heroine debut in 2013, Lorde “retreated from the spotlight, and travelled between New Zealand and the United States to examine the world around her. Initially inspired by her disillusionment with fame, she wrote Melodrama to capture heartbreak and solitude” WK after breaking up with James Lowe, her boyfriend of three years. She described the album as “enlightment after love lost.” WK

The album presents “Lorde as a young woman, not a sullen teenager. Tonally and thematically, it's a considerable shift from Pure Heroine, and Melodrama feels different musically too, thanks in part to Lorde’s decision to collaborate with Jack Antonoff, the leader of Fun. and Bleachers who has been nearly omnipresent in 2010s pop/rock. Antonoff’s steely signatures – a reliance on retro synths, a sheen so glassy it glares – are all over the place on Melodrama but Lorde is unquestionably the auteur of the album, not just because the songs tease at autobiography but because of how it builds upon Pure Heroine.” AMG

“Lorde retains her bookish brooding, but Melodrama isn’t monochromatic.” AMG “The final product is an electropop record incorporating piano-based melodies, pulsing synthesizers, and dense electronic beats.” WK She cited Kate Bush, Sinéad O'Connor, and Laurie Anderson as inspirations for her vocal delivery. WK

Critic Carl Wilson of Slate compared the album to artists like Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. WK The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis described the album as a “cocky challenge being issued to her musical contemporaries.” WK Drowned in Sound’s Joe Goggins said Lorde operates “at the highest artistic level yet [puts] it acrss as easy-access modern mainstream pop.” WK Slant’s Sal Cinquemani said it was “cathartic, dramatic, and everything else you could want an album titled Melodrama to be.” WK It was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year.

Green Light opens the proceedings with a genuine sense of exuberance and it's an emotion she returns to often, sometimes reveling in its joy, sometimes adding an undercurrent of melancholy.” AMG She called the song “a traditional break-up song.” WK The writing process for the song took 18 months. WK New Musical Express (NME) named it the single of the year. WK

Sadness bubbles to the surface on occasion, as it does on the stark Liability, and so does Lorde’s penchant for blunt literalism – Writer in the Dark, where our narrator sings ‘bet you rue the day you kissed a writer in the dark,’ thereby suggesting all of her songs are some kind of autobiography.” AMG That song was, in fact, inspired by her “waking up in the middle of the night in a stranger’s bed, feeling naughy and empowered.” WK

“Instead, Lorde is embracing all the possibilities the world has to offer but then retreating to the confines of home, so she can process everything she’s experienced. This balance between discovery and reflection gives Melodrama a tension, but the addition of genuine, giddy pleasure – evident on the neon pulse of Homemade Dynamite and Supercut.” AMG

She wrote “Homemade Dynamite” with singer Tove Lo while other songs drew inspiration form other artists. “Supercut” was inspired by Paul Simon’s Graceland album. WK The Louvre was inspired by Frank Ocean’s Blond album and Hard Feelings/Loveless used a sample from Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” from 1981. WK Perfect Places was inspired by the deaths of David Bowie and Prince, who Lord said were her two most influential artists while recording Melodrama. WK

Lorde was inspired to write Sober after playing a show at Coachella. Sober II (Melodrama) was a continuation of “Sober” with the focus on “the emotions and sense of loneliness after a party is over.” WK

Notes: In Japan, a remix of “Green Light” was added. Spotify added a remix of “Homemade Dynamite.”

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