Recently, I gave a presentation at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives about my books on 1960s folk-rock. Most of it was centered around rare film clips, but I was also asked to talk a bit about the research I’ve done at the library over the past two weeks (thanks to a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation). This is for the expanded ebook edition of my two-volume work on 1960s folk-rock, Turn! Turn! Turn! (published as a print edition in 2002) and Eight Miles High (published as a print edition in 2003), which I’m combining into a single ebook, Jingle Jangle Morning: Folk-Rock in the 1960s.
It would take many hours and many pages to cover all of the material I’ve discovered at the library. So I used just a few images to illustrate how rare items could shed some light on folk-rock’s history, even after having written about it for 600 pages in the print editions. All of these are taken from ads that appeared between 1965 and 1967 in Cash Box, the biggest music trade magazine besides Billboard, but (unlike Billboard) very hard to find copies of these ...
In March 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum invited fans around the globe to vote for the greatest festival moments in the history of rock and roll. Thousands of votes were cast, and when the results were tallied, a Top 10 emerged. Here are those amazing festival moments, from Newport Folk to Woodstock, Monterey Pop to Lollapalooza; from Bob Dylan to Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters to Nine Inch Nails.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, opens a new feature exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience, on April 25, 2014.
With a hastily assembled band, Bob Dylan changed the course of popular music in three songs on Sunday, July 25, 1965. The folk bard and 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee turned the Newport Folk Festival on its ear, plugging in and delivering amplified versions of "Maggie's Farm," "Like a Rolling Stone" and "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" – much to the chagrin of many in attendance.
Dylan's electrified Newport set in 1965 was a marked departure from his '63 show, where he played acoustic versions of "Blowin' in the Wind;" and '64 performances at the same festival, where he played acoustic versions of "With God on Our Side" and "Mr. Tambourine Man."
"Ladies and gentlemen, the person that's going to come up now has a limited amount of time ... His name is Bob Dylan," festival emcee Peter Yarrow announced. Taking the stage with a full band that included guitarist Mike Bloomfield and organist Al Kooper – both of whom had played on the recording of Dylan's recently released single "Like A Rolling Stone" – Dylan and company launched into a rollicking version of "Maggie's Farm," earning a barrage ...
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 ...
The musical odyssey of Cat Stevens is well documented, from teenage London art school songsmith (“The First Cut Is The Deepest,” the Tremeloes’ “Here Comes My Baby”) to introspective cornerstone of the 1970s singer-songwriter movement. Who can measure the courage it took him in the late 70s, after seven years of multi-platinum success in the U.S. (and over a decade in the UK) to convert to Islam, amidst the wave of turmoil and confusion that was engulfing the world? He left his touring and recording life behind and named himself Yusuf Islam. Inevitably, many longtime fans abandoned him, and he found certain international borders closed and worse yet, controversies on his doorstep despite his humanist background. It was 17 difficult years between his final LP as Cat Stevens (1978’s Back To Earth), and the first CD as Yusuf and more than a decade until his first pop album in nearly 30 years (An Other Cup in 2006). “When I accepted Islam,” he told Rolling Stone, “a lot of people couldn’t understand. To my fans it seemed that my entering Islam was the direct cause of me leaving the music business, so many people were upset. However, I ...
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 ...
James Taylor's 1970 hit single, and the album that spawned it, Sweet Baby James, helped launch the singer/songwriter boom of the early 70s. "Fire And Rain" reflected the movement's best qualities: limpid acoustic guitars, soulful double bass and Carole King's rippling piano are the backdrop for a sorrowful lament for a "lost" friend. More folk than rock, the song nevertheless boasts a deceptively tough edge, thanks to Russ Kunkel's popping drums and Taylor's in-your-face misery. The singer/songwriter era was often criticized as a self-indulgent, whiny time, but the best efforts, such as "Fire And Rain," could be as compelling as the blues. Though just 22 when he achieved fame, Taylor already had many reasons to sing the blues.
The offspring of an affluent family with roots in both Boston and North Carolina, he'd been in and out of mental institutions and struggled with hard drugs. His first serious foray into music came with friend Danny Kortchmar in the group Flying Machine, mentioned in "Fire And Rain." His self-titled ...
In the time it took Bob Dylan and his hastily assembled band to play three songs, the course of popular music was changed forever. Dylan, the folk bard revealed his rock and roll roots in full. Any barriers that had existed between the genres, as well as the generations that had embraced them, were obliterated. What rock and roll could become and the risks an artist could take became limitless in a single stroke.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe. Visit Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience to immerse yourself in this story.