Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sweatin' to the Oldies

Today in Music History:

In 1974, Canadian Singer songwriter Gordon Lightfoot scored his only US No.1 single with 'Sundown'.
Homercat keepin' coolJust two more weeks and things will be back to normal in Good Rockin' land. Miss broken wrist is healing nicely and will be back to work soon and I'll finally have more time to irritate my readers. Depending on where you live, you could be bitching about the heat, the rain, the flooding, the fires or whatever. I recently had occasion to bitch about the heat. Vancouver Island is pretty moderate and we don't get many hot days or cold days. A few days back we set a record here with a temp of 30(86 for you Yanks). For three days it was this warm and everyones moaning and groaning about the heat and I had to break out my umbrella hat. Normal temps for this time of year is 20(68 for the Yanks again). We are so spoiled here with our wonderful weather that we actually were bitching about the heat. Then I see some of those 90 and 100's in other parts of North America and I realize we got it pretty darn good. For all youse guys that are suffering from real heat, a couple of heat related songs may cool you down.

From the album Lace and Whiskey, this is the opening track. Some consider this to be one of Cooper's less than stellar albums. It was recorded back in when Alice was boozin pretty hard. The album seems to be all over the place, but for myself I rather enjoy the album. Could it have been better? Yeah, but it's not a bad album either.
It's Hot Tonight by Alice Cooper
Buy It

This next track from Generation X was originally only available as a B side to Fridays Angels. For you younger folks a B side opposite side of a released single on a small flat, round thing, with a big hole in the middle called a 45 record. In some cases you bought little plastic thingys to put in the big hole so you could play it on a record player.
This Heat by Generation X
Buy It

Funny Toon

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Endless Vacation

Today in Music History:

1972 The Eagles chalk up the first of many hits with "Take It Easy." The song reaches Number Twelve. Three months later, "Witchy Woman" will do even better — Number Nine.
homercat hangs 12I started writing this a few days ago on the day of the summer solstice and it's finally done. Although people try to say the start of summer is that weekend at the end of May that has a holiday in it. Summer actually starts on that day when the daylight hours start growing shorter. Summer. The gals have put away their sweaters and suddenly we men are treated to skimpier clothes. The muscle guys break out their mesh shirts, and us fatter guys spend more time sucking in our guts. More and more folks are throwing shrimps on the barbie, and gas prices start heading up ever higher.

We've compiled CDs of driving songs and protest songs which I'll be using when homercat goes on a road trip in August. I need another one that has the best songs of summer on it. I've compiled 15 here and will take suggestions to round out my disc. Actually this could easily be a 2 disc set. spikin homercatBut my disc will not contain any Beach Boys songs as that is just too easy a choice. I want other, different representation of summer songs. A classic summer song doesn't have to be about summer, although that helps. It has a certain vibe andattitudee. Maybe it brings back an old memory of a past summer with fond memories.

Probably the best summer song ever is by War(not the Beach Boys), simply titled Summer. War was one of the most popular funk groups of the '70s. Just hearing any War song makes you think of summer. Low Rider, Spill the Wine, and The Cisco Kid are just a few examples of songs with that summer feel. Maybe it's the melding of soul, Latin, jazz, blues, reggae, and rock into an effortless funky groove that does the trick. Their music almost always had a sunny, laid-back vibe mirroring their Southern California roots. War kept the groove loose. Summer came out in 1976 and it turned out to be War's final Top Ten pop hit. Everytime I hear this song it just makes me want to do some chillaxion. Smooth grooves.
Summer by War
BuyIt

One long ago summer homercat spent time as an aspiring Joan Jett groupie and followed Ms Jett around to several concert appearances. I believe it was 6 times in one July. It was her tour in support of her album, Album. Alas a meeting was never arranged between the two of us, but Joan Jett will forever be associated with summer in my books. Especially this song, which is a live cut from originally on that album.
Everyday People(Live) by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Buy It

This one pretty much speaks for itself. Slam-bang punk-pop with infectious guitar hooks and a touch of '60s garage and '70s glam rock thrown in.
Here Comes the Summer by The Undertones
Buy It

This song is a great pub rock type tune. Back when punk was fun and it didn't have to be angry or only consist of three chords, there was aquirkyy little band called the Monks. The Monks were excellent musicians who never made it big, but had a little gem of an LP. Full of fun songs that will rock any party. Since you can see 'er legs it must be summertime. Also the song has that feel. Great tune.
Nice Legs, Shame About Her Face by the Monks
Buy It

Billy Idol's last release was in March of 2005. An excellent album, one I declared to be the best album of that year. Except for one song, the whole album is classic summertime fare. I have been praising the album here since the album came out and it seems I will continue to do so until everyone purchases a copy.
Summer Running by Billy Idol (RS)
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Remember I said I don't want any Beach Boys on my CD? Well I have changed my mind and made a compromise. Although not by the Boys themselves, I have agreed to include a medley of Beach Boys songs by those "cram a bunch of songs into one" guys, Stars on 45.
Beach Boys medley by Stars on 45 (RS)

If you're a female reader please don't think I'm sexist. Mrs. homercat can attest to that. What two things could evoke summer images in a heartbeat. Beer and boobs. Crack open a cold one at the beach and just sit back and watch the parade of boobs frolicking in the sun, possibly one of the creator's most magnificent creations. They have to be natural though, I frown upon the enhanced variety. A song about both summertime standards.
Titties and Beer by Frank Zappa (RS)
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Chad and Jeremy's biggest hit was this song and it just makes you want to sit under a shade tree and sip some lemonade. Chad and Jeremy's vocals and harmonies were simply stunning. Maybe that's too strong a word, but they were beautifully sung. These guys broke up around 1968, but it just wouldn't be summer without hearing this song at least once.
A Summer Song by Chad and Jeremy
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It gets hot in the summer and with the men and women showing off more skin, love might be a natural thing floating around, or more appropriately lust. In my book Cheap Trick is one of the greatest bands ever. This song could've been called Hot Lust because everything about the song is nasty, guitars, vocals and drums. A great track to get your blood boiling.
Hot Love by Cheap Trick
Buy It

Not exactly rock but still a great song with awesome vocals and harmonies. Summer is the best time for road trips and this is a song about a road trip gone bad.
The Tijuana Jail by the Kingston Trio
Buy It

One of my favorite Rob Zombie songs. It has thatattitudee and sounds great cranked up on the open road.
Girl on Fire by Rob Zombie (RS)
Buy It

I probably will invoke some arguments here, which would make a good discussion. This song contains one of the greatest riffs in rock n roll. If not the greatest. Instantly recognizable and I like it better than the Stones Satisfaction. When it's 90 degrees in the shade what could be better than a long cool woman.
Long Cool Woman in a black Dress by The Hollies
Buy It

It could be winter out and this tune could crank up the heat to summertime standards. Classic, hot rock n roll by Mitch and the boys. It doesn't get any better than this.
Sock it to me Baby by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
Buy It

The Travoltas are a Dutch band with a surf/pop punk sound that sounds like the Beach Boys mixed with the Ramones. Honestly everyone of their songs is a tribute to summertime fun. If you think you know summer and don't own any Travoltas, you are sorely mistaken.
The Return of Randy by The Travoltas
Buy It

An am classic from the early 70's that truly invokes images of summer.
Beach Baby by First Class (RS)
Buy It

And just because it couldn't possibly be summer without the Ramones
Rockaway Beach by the Ramones
Buy It

There you have it, some of the best summer songs ever. I still have a few slots to fill so any suggestions one might have would be taken into consideration. Also I have enough ideas for a part two of this series, if anyone thinks Homercat should, just let him know. Have a summery weekend everyone.

Funny Toon

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Elizabeth McQueen

Today in Music History:

Born on this day in 1953, Alan Longmuir from the Bay City Rollers
Elizabeth McQueenA lot of the readers of Good Rockin' have educated homercat about new and old music. They've also introduced the cat to music he's unfamiliar with both old and new. Such is the case with Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands. Jeff pointed me towards her website which has a few mp3's for download. Since he recommended her, I snagged all the tunes she had available to download. Since then I've had the chance to really listen to them seriously and I'm really enjoying them. Now I've got to get a hold of her two albums. With a sound somewhere between Patsy Cline and roots rock, McQueen has a great voice, the band is tight, and they've got a sound that is distinctively their own.


Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands hail from Austin, Texas. Their second album, Happy Doing What We’re Doing, pays tribute to the music of England’s pre-punk/pre-new wave roots music scene known as "pub rock." Paying homage to such great acts as Graham Parker, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Squeeze and many others. Now I'm just going to reprint some stuff from her bio page. I can not take credit for writing this.

Among the bands whose songs she covers is Eggs Over Easy, the American group that moved to England and talked the governor of their local pub into letting them play there. Then the English band Brinsley Schwarz heard them and decided to do the same thing and perform in pubs. In their wake followed such diverse acts like Ducks Deluxe, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Dr. Feelgood, the Kursaal Flyers and many others, none of whom ever made much impact across the pond in America, though the songs by their members that McQueen covers here might make you scratch your noggin and wonder why.

And when British new wave and punk followed in the wake of pub rock, many of the musicians who cut their teeth in the scene began to break through. It was McQueen's affection for Costello, Squeeze, Graham Parker and Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe and their band Rockpile that led her to pub rock in the first place. Rounding it all out is her own "Dirty Little Secret," written (with Wendy Mitchell) in the spirit of pub rock. "It's happy music and I dig it," she explains. "And I dig it so much that I went back and learned all I could about it. It's total labor of love."
Here's a taste if you've never heard of her.

Cruel to Be Kind by Elizabeth McQueen and the Firebrands
Buy It

This tune and a cover of Ian Dury's What a Waste are available from her website, but do not appear on the album. There are also a few more there if you should want to head on over and check out a few more tunes or to learn more about her. Thanks for the heads up Jeff.

Funny Toon

Friday, June 16, 2006

Motorway

Today in Music History:

In 1984,Culled from roughly 100 songs recorded over the previous year and a half, Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the U.S.A.' is released. It becomes one of the biggest albums of the Eighties, remaining at #1 for seven weeks and selling more than 15 million copies. It also launches seven Top Ten singles: "Dancing in the Dark" (#2), "Cover Me" (#7), "Born in the U.S.A." (#9), "I'm On Fire" (#6), "Glory Days" (#5), "I'm Goin' Down" (#9) and "My Hometown" (#6).
Still working those crazy shifts. Tired as hell and couldn't even get close to the comp. It's almost summer anyway. Most people have better things to do than waste their reading this drivel. Besides I just spent 2 hours writing a great post and this blogger motherfucker just ate it. Which homercatis very disheartening. Especially when you're so pressed for time. Bottom Line is that this album from 1978 is a rock. 1978's Power in the Darkness by the Tom Robinson Band from the UK, was an occasionally stunning piece of punk/hard rock agitprop that, along with being ferociously direct, was politicized rock that focused more on songs than slogans. Tom was an openly gay dude who even sang about it and he was a highly charged political guy. Thanks to my blogger fuck up I am not going into everything I wrote before. I Know that the song I have here today is one of rock's great drive-all-night numbers, and I put it to good use back in the day. We chanted that mother. Especially fitting with my all nighters I've been putting in lately.

As to his current whereabouts, Robinson is rumored to be married to a woman and raising a family in England. He's still writing songs and occasionally performing, but it can be safely assumed that whatever he's doing, it's light years away from the radical energy and excitement of Power in the Darkness. Too bad y'all didn't get to see the original post. I have learned, save and save often.

2 4 6 8 Motorway by the Tom Robinson Band
Buy It


Funny Toon

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Freakin' Sweet

Today in Music History:

In 1986, Three fans died during an Ozzy Osbourne concert at Long Beach Arena, California after falling from a balcony.
SweetWell after theast two posts who didn't see this coming. After 210 posts, Good Rockin' has yet to showcase Sweet in their own post, although they've been mentioned a few times. After listening to HellRaiser and hearing that riff, that riff stuck in my head. I kept thinking where in the heck have I heard that before.That's when I realized that Motley Crue had used that riff in one of their songs. The Crue were obviously influenced by Sweet. When motley crue were in the process of forming they considered hiring Andy Scott(then lead singer for sweet)for their lead singer, vince neil was second choice. In fact if you look at most of the pop metal groups of the 80's, you can tell that most of them were influenced by Sweet.

Originally, the Sweet were called the Sweetshop and consisted of Brian Connolly (vocals), Mick Tucker (vocals, drums), Frank Torpey (guitar), and Steve Priest (bass). In 1970, the group shortened their name to the Sweet and signed a record contract with Fontana/EMI, releasing four unsuccessful singles. Following the failure of the four singles, Torpey left the group and was replaced by Andy Scott. The new lineup of Sweet signed to RCA Records in 1971. A then unknown song writing team, consisting of Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman were brought in by the group's management to help get the ball rolling. The duo wrote light bubblegum tunes which gave the band their first taste of success. Sweet initially attempted to combine various musical influences, including 1960s bubblegum pop groups such as the Archies and The Monkees, with more heavy rock-oriented groups such as The Who. Sweet adopted the rich vocal harmony style of The Hollies, with distorted guitars and a heavy rhythm section. This fusion of pop and hard rock would remain a central trademark of Sweet's music. Another influence on Sweet's music was 1960s drummer Sandy Nelson, who partially influenced Mick Tucker's drumming style. Sweet tracks such as Ballroom Blitz, and Man With The Golden Arm, all contain elements of Sandy Nelson's 1961 U.S. Top 10 hit, Let There Be Drums. Songs such as Funny Funny, Wig Wam Bam and Little Willy soon climbed the charts. I first became aware of them, thanks to Little Willy. The B sides to these tracks were songs written by The Sweet themselves and they were harder than Chinn and Chapman's songs, featuring crunching hard rock guitars. only served to confuse their teenage fan following. In fact, The Sweet's live performances consisted of B-sides, album tracks and various medleys of rock n roll classics, rarely were the singles played live. So the songwriting team started writing harder edged tunes for the group. It was also during this time that the band really defined the extreme glam rock look, glitter, platform boots, chain mail shirts, and makeup.

By the summer of 1974, the members of Sweet had grown tired of the control Chinn and Chapman exerted over their career and decided to record without the duo for the album Sweet Fanny Adams. It was also around this time that they dropped the The and just became Sweet. In the spring of 1975 Sweet had their first self written Top 10 hit with Fox on the Run, which appeared on the album Desolation Boulevard. This was also the first Sweet album homercat owned. It seemed to me the only Sweet songs you ever heard on the radio were Little Willy, Ballroom Blitz and Fox on the Run. For the remainder of their career Sweet focused on album oriented rock and their last hit came in 1978 with Love is Like Oxygen. Brian Connolly left the band after "Love Is Like Oxygen" and the group replaced him with keyboardist Gary Moberley. The group carried on for three more years, releasing three more albums that all achieved little success. After several years of little success or attention, Sweet broke up in 1982. Through the years various incarnations of the band would reunite and tour.

Brian Connolly died from liver failure in February 1997, aged 51, having been content in his final years, to appear in retrospective documentaries, to demonstrate the damage he had inflicted upon himself. Mick Tucker also died in February 2002 from leukaemia, aged 54.

Sweet's two remaining members are still active in the music industry. Andy Scott currently continues to tour as 'Andy Scott's Sweet'. February 2006 saw the release of a new Suzi Quatro album, "Back To The Drive", which was produced by Andy Scott. March 2006 saw the release of a new AS Sweet album, "Sweetlife".

Another interesting note, their biggest UK hit, Blockbuster!, has the same riff as one of David Bowie’s most famous songs, The Jean Genie, which was the first release from the Aladdin Sane album. There was some controversy in the UK at the time as the song was considered very similar to Sweet’s “Blockbuster!”, written and recorded at a slightly later date, but in the charts at the same time. Both Bowie and Nicky Chinn have claimed not to have heard the other’s song before writing their respective tracks. If they didn't the songs are eeriely identical. Crunchy guitars, catchy riffs, and great sing along lyrics make Sweet freakin' sweet.

New York Connection by Sweet

Need a Lot of Lovin' by Sweet

Funny Funny by The Sweet
Buy It

Funny Toon

Friday, June 09, 2006

Quickest Post Ever

Today in Music History:

1990, Wilson Phillips went to No.1 on the US with 'Hold On'. 25 years earlier to the day Wendy and Carnies father Beach Boy Brian had been at No.1 with 'Help Me Rhonda'.
homercat idolIt's Friday and homercat apologizes to his readers for his lack of output this last little while. A gal at work broke her wrist, so the cat and one other person have been covering for her until she recovers. This means less time to entertain my public. Also a serious lack of sleep makes for a grumpy homercat who can't think good. So I didn't want anyone thinking that Good Rockin' was going to the blog graveyard. I usually try to post something really yummy on Fridays to get you guys over the weekend. I'll throw up a few here and if y'all can hang in there the cat will be making his normal rounds pretty soon. Before i forget, I meant to mention this in my last post about Def Leppard in regards to The Sweet's HellRaiser track. Is it just me or did Motley Crue totally steal that Opening riff from the Sweet for their song Kickstart My Heart. I mean it's exactly the same.

A song about famous boobs
Dolly Parton's Tits by Maclean and Maclean

Some song I got from the Budweiser music site for buying beer.
Non Stop by Start Trouble
Buy It

A tune that wick introduced to me, maybe he can supply us some more info on these guys.
Ms. Demeanor by The Merrymakers
Buy It

A great funny tune by those Canadian folkie pranksters
Carrot Juice is Murder by The Arrogant Worms
Buy It

From one of the best albums of this year
Game of Fools by Willie Nile
Buy It

And just so I can use the word butthole in a post.
TV Star by The Butthole Surfers
Buy It

So which one did you like the best? Hang in there, have a gooder and the homercat will be seein ya in a few days.


Funny Toon

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Youth Rediscovered

Today in Music History:

In 1969 the number of British singles in Billboard's Top 100: 8
Def LeppardIn 1982 Def Leppard toured the states in support of their High N Dry album. A buddy of mine had an extra ticket when they were appearing in our city. They were playing in the college gymnasium, that seated around 1500 people. When my buddy asked me if I wanted to go, I said no. I had to work that night and besides I had never heard of these guys, and I wasn't about to lose hours over some band I had never heard of, and besides even he wasn't sure what they sounded like. He had just "heard" they were pretty good. Jumping Jeebus on a pogo stick, what a missed opportunity that was. After the concert he was telling me how great it was and he had picked up the album and was playing it for me. Two years later the Leppards were taking over the 80's. I never got a chance to see them again until last year in August. For me it was finally a dream come true after pissing away a golden opportunity in my youth. Made so much sweeter by winning tickets to the show and not having to shell out 90 bucks a piece to see them. They rocked hard and nearly blew the roof off of our new 8,000 seat arena.

Def Leppard is one of only five rock bands with two original albums selling over 10 million copies each in the U.S. The others are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Van Halen. Good company. The band's songs generally feature simple guitar hooks and catchy, melodic choruses. The Def Leppard sound is also characterized by its combination of hard rock and polished melodic backing vocals. They are the creators of some of the best and most recognizable riffs of the last 25 years. Whether you want to classify them as hard rock, glam rock, AOR, pop metal, heavy metal or part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. You can't deny the massive amount of records sold. By the mid-90's, the music scene had virtually erased the band from existence. But talent holds true and most of the grunge bands that had supposedly signaled the end of Def Leppard are now defunct. And really that whole grunge scene was worse than the disco era back in the 70's. Whereas some critics wished to pass off Def Leppard as only a guilty pleasure, their songs had in fact set a standard for rock bands who wanted to incorporate a melodic edge into their otherwise heavier style of rock with little artistic compromise. In recent years, newer stars such as Nickelback, System of a Down, The Darkness, All-American Rejects and even artists in other genres like Justin Timberlake, Allison Krauss and Faith Hill have expressed admiration for the Leppards.

Def Leppard has endured death, dismemberment, drugs, alcohol and are still kicking ass today, almost 30 years since their formation. On May 23 2006, Def Leppard released an all-covers album titled Yeah!. The disc pays homage to the musical heroes of their childhood, including David Bowie ("Drive-In Saturday"), The Kinks ("Waterloo Sunset"), Blondie ("Hanging On The Telephone"), Electric Light Orchestra ("10538 Overture"), among others. It debuted at #16 in the states (their tenth consecutive Top 20 album). After listening to the disc and reading the liner notes it's obvious that the band has put a lot into this effort. It's not a reinvention of the wheel or a trip into groundbreaking new territory. An all out rock n roll record that shows exactly what their roots and influences were. The CD's liner notes are extensive with lengthy commentary on each track. There are photos of the band members posed on classic album covers, which look worn and used, complete with the worn spot where the round vinyl was. Joe ElliottThe notes even have smudges and stains as if they have been handled and read numerous times over the years. I think this is a cool touch. I remember back in the seventies that whenever I would get a new album, I used to sit for hours and listen and hold the album cover and read it over and over again. With only am radio, two, maybe three TV stations and an occasional purchase of a music magazine such as Creem or Rolling Stone, these album covers were our only link with our favorite bands. This is cool because they remember how it was, sitting in your room with your favorite album. Just like I used to. I realize that the youth of the digital age have no clue what this was like, but it was all we had. I remember when I was ten and hearing Hello Hooray, the first cut off the Billion Dollar Babies album by the Alice Cooper Band and holding that faux paper snakeskin album cover in my hands, with the punch out cards of the band members inside and oh my God, lyrics on the album sleeve and the billion dollar bill inside. I was absolutely giddy. If I had the money and could play, that would be one of the first songs I would record.

Rick AllenThis is a project that Joe Elliott has been wanting to do for about for 26 years. All the tunes are British pop rock from the early to mid 70's. Except for the one Blondie tune, which was originally recorded by The Nerves. A couple of the tracks are instantly recognizable for us Yanks. Most are not, as half the lot were not major players in the US market. The covers of T Rex, Mott the Hoople and Badfinger are to be expected. The covers of Roxy Music, The Kinks and ELO are unexpected. Also it was nice to see Phil taking the lead vocal on one track (you guess which one). Hell this album is worth the price of admission just to hear the reinvention of the obscure Sweet classic, Hell Raiser. If I had to pick a low point of this album it would be Drive-In Saturday, a Bowie cover. Not because it's bad. It's just probably my least favorite Bowie song. Honestly, their interpretation of that song makes me think that maybe it wasn't that bad. Meanwhile their version of Rock On kills.

The track listing for YEAH! is as follows:

10538 Overture (originally recorded by Electric Light Orchestra in 1972)
20th Century Boy (originally recorded by T.Rex in 1973)
Don't Believe A Word (originally recorded by Thin Lizzy in 1976)
Drive-In Saturday (originally recorded by David Bowie in 1973)
Hanging On The Telephone (originally recorded by The Nerves in 1977, and Blondie in 1978)
He's Gonna Step On You Again (originally recorded by John Kongos in 1971)
Hell Raiser (originally recorded by Sweet in 1973)
Little Bit Of Love (originally recorded by Free in 1972)
No Matter What (originally recorded by Badfinger in 1970)
Rock On (originally recorded by David Essex in 1973)
Stay With Me (originally recorded by Faces in 1971)
Street Life (originally recorded by Roxy Music in 1973)
The Golden Age Of Rock & Roll (originally recorded by Mott the Hoople in 1974)
Waterloo Sunset (originally recorded by The Kinks in 1967)

Over the course of their career, Def Leppard has produced a series of classic groundbreaking albums that set the sound for generations of music fans and artists. Not to mention more than 65 million albums sold. This album is definitely a labour of love for the band, and it shows. Is it just a cop out and a push for money with no creative input for this band? Nope. They honestly believe in these songs and are giving them new life. No klunkers here, but are they as good? You be the judge. I'll say this though, if one kid picks up this album and rediscovers Sweet and Mott the Hoople, his life will be changed forever and he'll be forever thankful to Def Leppard for reminding us of the really great music. I know I was, I had forgotten some of these classics. That's a bit dramatic, but is it?? Remember when you first heard them? Helluva lot better and exciting than most of the crap that passes for music these days eh? If you're a Leppard fan, Buy It. If you're a fan of 70's Brit pop metal, buy it. If you're a hip hop fan and have no clue who these artists are, then I truly feel sorry for you.
You can stream 20th Century Boy here. For more streaming go to the sidebar and look for that Yeah picture and click it.

For a very, very limited time here is

Hell Raiser
by Def Leppard
Rock On Indeed.
Buy It

Funny Toon

Friday, June 02, 2006

This Band Needs More Lovin'

Today in Music History:

In 1973, Paul McCartney had both the No.1 positions on the US charts when 'Red Rose Speedway', went to the top of the album chart and 'My Love', started a four week run as the No.1 single.
You'll have to forgive me if today's post looks familiar. Way way back I did a post on these guys but it was kinda half assed. I will give them the star treatment this time. Full assed, so to speak.

off broadwayIf you grew up in the Chicago area, then you've heard of these guys and have probably even seen them perform. Off Broadway was a late-'70s power pop group from Chicago. This band was similar to Cheap Trick with their hopped-up melodies and catchy hooks, but with a little more quirky, almost new wave sort of bent to it. But they were doomed to obscurity because they did not have the personality or the hardness that Cheap Trick did. Opening for heavy metal acts didn't do much for their careers either, putting two different genres of music together is risky at best and metalheads are not particukarly fond of powerpop, thus a lot of people hated them. They wrote catchy songs and managed to sell around 200,000 copies of their 1979 debut album, On. They may never have reached the big time but they are remembered quite fondly by power pop enthusiasts such as myself. I saw these guys back in 1981, I think they opened for Nazareth. They had a good set and the music was good, but unfortunately their stage presence was less than exciting. Vocalist Cliff Johnson had nowhere near the style and range that Robin Zander did. The band slogged it out until 1983 and finally called it quits. I think the comparisons to Cheap Trick literally killed them.

Four members of the original band got together in the late '90s as Black on Blond and began playing clubs in the Chicago area. Due to audience requests, they began adding Off Broadway material to their set and soon decided to become Off Broadway again. In 1997, the band recorded and released their first record in 17 years, Fallin' In, and followed it with a live set in 1998, Live at Fitzgeralds.
But I still like these guys and I consider their first album a classic, must own album. In fact if you can find either of their first two albums, you might be pleasantly surprised. In fact homercat demands you find and buy.

Their first album On has to be one of the most criminally overlooked albums in rock history. While some bands were getting "hits" with songs about sleazy girls named Sharona, this group was showing how it's really done with 10 great powere pop songs dealing with issues that young people really face. Simply put, this is one of the best pop albums of all time! This cut was their only minor hit from that album.
Stay in Time by Off Broadway
Buy It

Their second album is obviously not the stunner their first one was, but still there's not a bad song on it. This album's production is actually rawer than the first one, with more of an emphasis on rock rather than pop. This is the first track from that album.
Automatic by Off Broadway
Buy It

Good weekend all and stay safe.
Funny Toon