Fifty years ago, in 1964, a group of musicians – Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark – came together in Los Angeles, California, calling themselves the Beefeaters. By December of 1964, the Beefeaters had recruited Chris Hillman on bass guitar and Michael Clarke on drums, and changed their name to the Byrds. Far more than a name change, the group charted a new course in rock and roll history, pioneering the folk rock sounds that would become so emblematic of an era and influential generations later.
Folk rock didn't necessarily begin with the Byrds' "Mr Tambourine Man" – four months before they recorded it, the Animals were topping the pop charts with "The House of the Rising Sun" – but its combination of song and performance epitomized the genre, with the happy effect of giving Bob Dylan (as songwriter, at least) a Number One hit. The only Byrd playing on it, though, was electric 12-string guitarist McGuinn. Producer Terry Melcher, doubtful of the new band's abilities, hired session musicians to back up the vocals of McGuinn, Crosby and Clark. Perhaps Melcher had heard the group's originally private 1964 recording of the tune, which sounds like an arrangement for a music ...
Buddy Holly embodied the well-mannered, first-generation rock and roll star. He aroused hysteria among teenagers, charting seven Top 10 singles in 1957 and 1958, but with his horn-rimmed glasses, bow tie, conservative haircut and winning smile, he wasn’t reviled by disapproving parents. He changed the definition of exactly who could become a rock star. Holly melded his love of country music and rockabilly into likable, catchy rock and roll tunes that stand as classics. Yet success wasn't just handed to Buddy Holly.
"That'll Be the Day," his first hit, was a chart-topping million seller. But it was slow to catch on, and Holly had been struggling professionally for well over a year beforehand. The unlikely inspiration for the song was actor John Wayne, who used the title phrase repeatedly in the 1956 western The Searchers. Holly and drummer Jerry Allison wrote the tune with producer Norman Petty, and then recorded it in Nashville during Holly's aborted stint as a Decca recording artist. Decca released two Holly singles, neither of them were "That'll Be the Day."
Seven months later Holly and Allison recorded the song again, as members of the newly formed Crickets. This time the ...
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University will honor rock and roll pioneers the Everly Brothers during the 19th Annual Music Masters® series this October. Don and Phil Everly were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of the first class of inductees in 1986. Two-time Grammy Award winner Rodney Crowell will serve as musical director for the tribute concert, which will take place on Saturday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theatre. Tribute concert artists will be announced in the coming months.
“I’m honored and proud as I know Phil would be for the recognition being given to the Everly Brothers,” said Don Everly. “I’d like to thank the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and fans for keeping the Everly Brothers alive and accept with great appreciation this special celebration. I wish Phil were here to share this honor with me. It has cost many tears and taken many miles and several decades to arrive at this point.”
Phil Everly passed away in January of this year, shortly before his 75th birthday. His family shared their thoughts on the ...
"Bye Bye Love" galvanized not one but three creative teams. Don and Phil Everly were floundering prior to this first hit single. "Bye Bye Love" was also the biggest hit to date for husband-and- wife songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. Last but not least, the pairing of the Bryants with the Everlys yielded a string of rock and roll pearls. The record's enormous success-Top Five on Billboard's country, pop, and R&B charts-followed a series of hurdles. Cadence, the Everlys' label, had rejected them once before but was giving the brothers a second chance. The Bryants' tune had been rejected by numerous artists before the Everlys got hold of it. Perhaps Don Everly's own guitar introduction made a difference; the brothers' close vocal harmonies were certainly new to a non-country audience. Not even a cover version by Webb Pierce-at that time the kiss of death for a country song's original recording-could slow the Everlys' million sales, as "Bye Bye Love" leapt across musical borderlines. The brothers went from tent shows to The Ed Sullivan Show; the era's top vocal duo was off and running.
The Everlys' third hit was their first ballad single. If their ...
This past weekend, we headed for the rolling hills of Southeastern Ohio for the 10th annual Nelsonville Music Festival. Family-friendly, ecologically-minded and produced by the non-profit Stuart's Opera House, the festival aims to have an impact on the region and the attendees who will take those missions home. Here are a handful of the top elements and moments we witnessed at the gathering.
1) Pokey LaFarge
The sound of Pokey LaFarge proves there is no such thing as "revival" music, rather, it lives forever. The Bloomington, Illinoise born musician combines elements of swing, country and folk for a unique blend of authentic Americana. Besides seeing Pokey and his 5-piece backing band (which includes bassist Joey Glynn, guitarist Adam Hoskins, Ryan Koenig on harmonica, washboard, and snare drum; TJ Muller on cornet and trombone; and Chloe Feoranzo on clarinet and saxophone) on the main stage, we witnessed an unplugged set on the front porch of the No-Fi cabin on the back of the festival grounds. It was a scene right out of the earliest of music festivals, where people tightly gathered to hear the songs of troubadours and traveling ramblers.
2) Musicians interacting with ...
Linda Ronstadt dominated popular music in the 1970s with a voice of tremendous range and power. She was one of the most important voices in the creation of country rock, in part because she understood how to sing traditional country songs like “Silver Threads And Golden Needles.” She regularly crossed over to the country charts in the ’70s, a rarity for rock singers. Working with producer Peter Asher, Ronstadt crafted a repertoire of songs that roamed throughout rock history that she interpreted with beautiful, precise phrasing. Ronstadt was especially good at singing early rock and roll; she had a long string of hits that revived interest in rock’s pioneers: Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” the Everly Brothers' “When Will I Be Loved” and Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” among them. She was equally comfortable with Motown music and the beginning of new wave. Her finest work was the run of four consecutive platinum albums in the mid 70s: Heart Like A Wheel (1974), Prisoner In Disguise (1975), Hasten Down The Wind (1976) and Simple Dreams (1977). In the 1980s, she expanded her musical vocabulary by recording songs from the classic American songbook (What’s New, Lush ...
Although it originated in Ireland, the tune and melody of "Londonderry Air" is known worldwide, its flowing cadence inextricably linked to Irish heritage. When English lawyer and songwriter Frederic Weatherly was introduced to the tune in 1913, he recast lyrics he'd previously penned to match the "Londonderry" melody, giving rise to "Danny Boy,"arguably the most celebrated version of the song.
For more than a century, the stirring folk ballad has been adapted by a diverse cast of performers, including various Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Here, we look at versions of "Danny Boy" by Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Jackie Wilson, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eric Clapton.
Cooke cut a beautifully soul-infused version of "Danny Boy" for his 1958 self-titled debut album, adding a charismatic lilt to the arrangement.
Cash recorded a hauntingly solemn version of "Danny Boy" for his 1965 Columbia Records release Orange Blossom Special, an album that included various folk and country standards as interpreted by the incomparable Man in Black.
Wilson, who could effortlessly transition from rock to blues to soul, transformed "Danny Boy" – reportedly one of his mother's favorite songs – in ...
What happens when two musical giants collide, when two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees defying genres and generations share the stage? On October 28, 1970 just that happened on Johnny Cash's TV variety show, when he welcomed "the great Louis Armstrong." Cash opened the introduction, remarking: "This country has given the world three original art forms – country music, jazz and Louis Armstrong."
Promoting his 1970 collection of country and western standards (fittingly titled Country & Western) and sporting an oversized cowboy hat, Armstrong sang "Crystal Chandeliers," the country classic originally sung by Charley Pride; and "Ramblin' Rose," a song made popular by Nat King Cole.
With the performance wrapped, Armstrong took a seat beside Cash, both musicians holding their instruments of choice: a trumpet and a guitar, respectively. "You've been at it a long time," Cash said to Armstrong. "I know that. We did a little research on some of your recordings; we find that on July 16, 1930, you played trumpet on a session with the late Jimmie Rodgers, the Father of Country Music. That was in Hollywood, right?"
Armstrong explained the ostensibly unlikely pairing: "We had a meeting one morning and Jimmie said, 'Man, I ...