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1975

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In 1975 I was 13. My musical tastes were in flux. I started reading Rolling Stone, Circus  and Creem. I became a fan of bands I had not actually heard, only heard of. One of these bands will be discussed in my next entry. This first act, was sort of shoved into my face.

I read an article about this guy. Two in fact. This scruffy dude appeared on the cover of the nations two biggest news magazine in the same week. The music magazines I devoured raved about this guy as the next big thing. By nature I’m skeptical of anything touted as “the next big thing.”  As it turns out, he was, and even that label was a gross understatement. His music helped foster the roots music revival that’s stronger today than ever.

Over the next few years Mr. Springsteen and his band would entrench themselves into my musical soul and remodel it. As a rabid reader and would-be writer, his  gift for language and metaphor would surpass even the beauty and power of his music for me.


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1974

Speaking of the Pompatus of love…..

In 1974 I was 12. I liked growing up in the Bay Area, because we had a  musical identity.  It was cool feeling like these bands were your people, your neighbors and members of your community, as distant as they were. Granted, a lot of them immediately migrated to L.A. when success came their way. We still like to think of them as ours. 

One of these was Steve Miller, a transplant from the Midwest who seemed to slide effortlessly into the SF music scene. As effortlessly as he  moved from one genre to another, effortlessly melding disparate of American roots rock into  a string of radio hits.  Here is a recent performance of his ’74  hit “The Joker”.  40 years  down the road and the guy still sounds amazing.

 


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1973

In 1973 I was 11.   It was also an amazing year for music. So may great albums that year it was a hard task picking a few, much less one piece of music to represent it.

This album, this band changed the game in a big way. A Bay Area band led by a journeyman guitar player who worked with greats such as Van Morrison and Edgar Winter, Montrose’ self titled debut was pure gold.  Everyone owned this record. It was mandatory listening. Eight tracks of pure power with no fluff. The influence of this one album is undeniable. The songs, and Ronnie Montrose’ style resonate through the classic rock world and are still influencing players today. Somewhere out there today some bored kid pulled this out of his parents stack, played it and went “Woah!”. Members of Montrose  became a Who’s-Who of classic rock, joining  up with the likes of Heart, Van Halen and Night Ranger among others. Here is the original quartet , playing their signature tune “Bad Motor Scooter”.


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Recapping 1962-1966

As I noted previously, I started this on Facebook. Before I continue, I wanted to recap the first 10 years of my journey here. These are the original posts from my FB page.

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I have a birthday coming up, so I’m picking a song from each year of my life and posting one a day until I finish or get bored. (Obviously I crapped out on the whole “one a day” thing). The year I was born, the Beatles released their first single. (There is no correlation between these events despite what you might have heard.) I felt this was both appropriate, since they were my first real taste of rock and roll as a child, and it marks the beginning of the career of arguably the most important artists of any generation.

In 1963, I was celebrated my first birthday, and Surf Music was sweeping the West Coast, spearheaded by artists like Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, The Ventures, and The Beach Boys. Surf music helped usher in the widespread use of guitar effects like distortion and reverb, and its sound has been credited as the seeds of heavy metal. In April 1963, “Pipeline” by The Chantays reached #4 on the Billboard 100. This is the original recording, which is unique in that The Chantays had a keyboard player. Most cover versions feature the iconic piano parts on guitar.

In 1964 I was 2, and the Beatles held the top two songs of the year on the Billboard 100, followed closely by Louie Armstrong and Dean Martin. Quite an eclectic mix. The British Invasion was in full swing, and this catchy song by  Manfred Mann with a unforgettable sing-along chorus hit # 15 on the charts.

In 1965 I was 3, and Motown records was bombarding the charts with hit after hit from their stellar family of artists. One of the most successful bands on the label was also the first band signed when legendary producer Berry Gordy founded Motown. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles charted 26 top 10 hits, including this gem, one of my favorites of the era.
Hi folks, Now that I’m on the other side of the super-flu, time to get back in the saddle. In 1966 I was 4, and its was a very good year for music. So good in fact that I picked two songs. My first selection is dark, brooding song wrapped in a facade of West Coast pop. I’ve always found it quite haunting and beautiful. The Mamas & the Papas vocal harmonies were always amazing, and this song showcases them perfectly.

Another entry for 1966, going from From West Coast Folk to East Coast Folk. My second selection is another example of the folk-pop movement that was exploding on both coasts, our theme today I guess. This one needs no introduction, but I will say this video is quite a gem, a rare live performance with excellent sound quality.