Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language.
These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available.
Come along and enjoy.
Rock and Roll originated in the good ol’ United States and was created by the mixture of country music, western music, rhythm and the blues. The genre revolutionized music tastes in America (especially with teenagers) and ever since then the music world changed.
This week we highlight some American bands in advance of Independence Day.
Let’s get started with the group that is second on the list of American bands with the most record sales.
Chicago was formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois. They have recorded 37 albums, sold over 100,000,000 records, and continue to tour.
A few months ago Chicago released a new single titled “If This Is Goodbye,” their first new music in eight years.
This summer Chicago is on tour co-headlining with Brian Wilson.
The current Chicago lineup includes three active original members: singer and keyboardist Robert Lamm, trumpeter Lee Loughnane and trombonist James Pankow. Original member Walter Parazaider, who plays saxophone, flute and clarinet, is still a member but retired from touring in 2017.
Overshadowed by their contemporaries such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and the Beach Boys, The Byrds are regarded as being just as influential. While the group began as a folk-rock band, over time, they transitioned to have a more psychedelic sound.
This song reached #1 in December of 1965, composed by Pete Seeger after he responded to a letter from his publisher that read, “Pete Seeger composed “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in 1959 in response to a letter from his publisher. “Pete, can’t you write another song like ‘Goodnight, Irene’? I can’t sell or promote these protest songs.”
Seeger was reluctant.
“You better find another songwriter. This is the only kind of song I know how to write.”
But Seeger gave it a shot, turning to the Bible and words from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
“A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap; a time to kill, a time to heal” Seeger chose the words almost verbatim and added his own lyrics referencing the war: “A time of peace; I swear it’s not too late.”
His publisher’s reaction? He didn’t catch on, paving the way for a huge hit.
“Wonderful,” he wrote back, “just what I’d hoped for.”
And yes, that was legendary rocker David Crosby on the far left.
From Rolling Stone:
On September 20, the group will release The Byrds: 1964-1967, which crams 500 photos (some previously unseen), into 400 pages, all documenting the legendary L.A. band that created folk-rock, country-rock, and arguably psychedelic rock too. Focusing on the original lineup of Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark and Michael Clarke, the tome includes in-studio photos, alternate takes of album covers, backstage and tour-bus glimpses, goofy group publicity photos (including one of them in bathing suits with a beauty-pageant winner), and many shots of a startlingly cherubic-looking Crosby.
The book also features new, running commentary from surviving members McGuinn, Crosby and Hillman and ends with a final section devoted to photos from the sessions for their ill-fated but underrated 1973 reunion album. Of that project and the way he lorded over it, Crosby admits, in his comments, “I tried to be nice, but I’m pretty sure I was a dick.”
These memories will cost you. A so-called “standard edition” of the book will be priced at $125. A deluxe edition signed by McGuinn and Hillman will go for $350; another limited edition, signed by McGuinn, Hillman and Crosby, can be had for $475. If you really want to make a dent in your savings account, another autographed “Super Deluxe” edition, which comes with a fine-art print of one of the book’s photos and will be limited to 75 copies, will set you back $1,700.
Among the many aspects of Byrds history that are rekindled by the book is the Beatlemania level of fan worship that greeted the band the year after “Mr. Tambourine Man” put them on the charts. Photos show fans grabbing at the band or swarming around Crosby as he exits a limo. “America’s answer to the Beatles,” chuckles McGuinn, who will turn 80 next month. “It was like being in A Hard Day’s Night. It was exciting, but a bit dangerous. Sometimes our limo would be parked on the street and we had to run from the car to the venue and the girls would tackle you and say, ‘I got ’em!’ They didn’t have good security back then.” McGuinn also recalls one loyal fan stealing his trademark Byrds granny glasses in Chicago: “We were doing an in-store and coming down the escalator and some girl grabbed them. They were gone.”
Duane and Gregg Allman are the sound of Southern Rock. They provided fans with a two-guitar attack and music that ranged from hard blues to feel-good road trip songs.
This clip is from ABC-TV’s “In Concert,” a Friday night music show a la NBC’s “The Midnight Special,” on November 2, 1972.
Gregg Allman married Cher in 1975, a year after Cher and Sonny Bono split. Allman and Cher separated just over a week after their marriage, then reconciled. They were on the verge of divorce when he learned she was pregnant with their son Elijah, but the marriage eventually did end.
Gregg Allman died in 2017 at the age of 69.
Duane Allman, the leader and driving force behind the band, died in November 1971 from massive injuries received in a motorcycle crash in Macon, Georgia. He was 24.
These next rockers could boast about their five-part vocal harmony. Not to mention five number-one singles and six number-one albums, six Grammy Awards and five American Music Awards.
Formed in Los Angeles in 1971 the Eagles became one of the most successful acts in America during in the 1970’s and are still going strong today. In October 2020 the Eagles released their concert album “Live From the Forum MMXVIII.” Vince Gill sings the lead vocals on a few tracks, one of them was originally sung by late Eagle Glenn Frey who died on Jan. 18, 2016, at the age of 67 from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. In 2017, Gill and Glenn’s son Deacon Frey were hired by the Eagles in place of Glenn.
The concert from the Forum in LA premiered on ESPN over the Fourth of July weekend in 2020.
“In my mind, I always thought I’d have made a good Eagle,” Gill said. “But in a million years, I never would have seen this coming. It’s pretty surreal. I turned 60 recently, and to get to be a part of this amazing legacy of songs, that’s the greatest part of all this for me.
With apologies to fans of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Steely Dan, and many others, just couldn’t fit them all in.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
And Happy Birthday America!
Saw these guys when I moonlighted working security at the Main Stage at the WI State Fair in the 1990’s. Drummer Don Brewer would come offstage late in the show to don a special flag top hat and vest that I had to keep an eye on.