For many, it’s hard to live up to, or escape, the shadow of one’s parents — this is especially true in the music industry. While having that famous last name opens many doors, finding success and a large audience is a much harder struggle. While there have been many notable parent/child stories, there may be none as daunting as those of the kids who grew up in the glaring spotlight of The Beatles! Here’s a look at the careers of Julian and Sean Lennon, James McCartney, Dhani Harrison, and Zak Starkey. This is the first in a series of posts featuring the children of famous musicians, written by contributor Adam Kukic, host of The Coffeehouse on WYEP fm.
They didn’t ride motorcycles through the halls of L.A.’s legendary Hyatt House, pay hotel doormen to smuggle hot groupies into their rooms, or smash pricey guitars to smithereens during performances. In fact, they didn’t pull any of the typical stunts made famous by the male rock pioneers of the 1960s and 70s. Yet, they were trailblazers nonetheless. I’m talking about the mostly forgotten women of the early electric bands, who proved you didn’t need testosterone to have talent. They wielded Strats, hammered Ludwigs, went on tour, signed record deals…and then just faded into footnotes. Now maybe, had they become obscenely rich, spoiled rotten by record executives, and bored shitless from endless touring, they might have developed the rock star habit of tossing TVs out of hotel windows. Maybe. But we’ll never know. Here’s the first in a series of articles showcasing the electric girl groups you’ve probably never heard of.
Through the years, The Great and Powerful Walmart has banned countless CDs on the basis of album art and song lyrics they deem distasteful or obscene. These include releases by artists like Nirvana, Sheryl Crow, Prince, Marilyn Manson, The Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day. While profit-obsessed record company execs may take offense at Walmart’s music policing, the artists themselves probably couldn’t care less whether the world’s largest, most dehumanizing, morally righteous retail chain carries their wares. But there was one band from the 1960s – the MC5 – that didn’t take kindly to a local department store’s refusal to stock their record. And they sought revenge.
“Wanted: Charismatic crusader. Someone who can combine smarts, satire, moxie, and adrenaline to combat all that plagues modern society, from gas drilling to corporate pillaging.” Well, we have just the man for the job. Too bad he’s dead. Attention: this is an important history lesson for all you sweet young things born after the baby boom! The subject is Abbie Hoffman, who died 25 years ago today. He was one of the most colorful pranksters and political activists of the 1960s, and a hero to many. His outlandish behavior inspired many to become politically active, question authority and protest the Vietnam war. Hell, his FBI file consisted of over 13,000 pages.What an adorable little bad-ass Jew!
The first baby born to a Beatle inspired two of the band’s most famous songs before he turned five years old. As the legend goes, his drawing of classmate Lucy (in the sky, with diamonds) Vodden spurred John to write THE defining psychedelic song of the 1960s. He was also the inspiration behind the Beatles’ biggest hit of all time, “Hey Jude.” Paul McCartney has long maintained that he began writing the song as “Hey Jules,” in an effort to comfort young Julian during the divorce of his father and Cynthia Powell in 1968. It’s tough being the son of a rock legend, but Julian – with a voice hauntingly like John’s – has proven that he has talent and character in his own right.
If you look at popular music history of the 20th and 21st centuries, it seems that when a sound becomes stale, it takes about two to three decades for it to be reintroduced into popular music. From a sociological perspective, that makes sense, as the music that your parents were listening to as you went from womb to your formative years would lay the blueprint for your future musical interests. This is NOT to say we necessarily like the music that our parents listened to; rather, that the sounds of that music sneaked into our subconscious and will sneak out in our older days (and I am fully aware that music has often been used as a tool in the generational wars). The focus of this post is to examine the value of today’s neo soul movement by posing the question: are neo soul artists showing reverence, recreating or simply following a formula? An article by contributor Adam Kukic, host of The Coffeehouse on WYEP fm.
Okay, rock fans of the ’60s and ’70s, it’s time to get brutally honest and swallow your hipster pride. Can you please admit you’ve heard of country singer Tammy Wynette? And, if you know the name, are you self-assured enough to admit you’ve heard, or even enjoyed, her 1968 chart-topping single, “D.I.V.O.R.C.E.”? C’mon, fess up! It tells the syrupy story of a couple on the verge of splitsville, who spell out the “D word” so little J.O.E. won’t understand. This tune was just begging to be spoofed! And the first one to do it was Billy Connelly – a wild and woolly guy with a funny accent who lived far across the pond in Scotland.
All the king’s men. That’s a royal court that could include every seasoned rocker whose creative spark was first lit by the sight and sound of Elvis Presley. They started out wanting to be him, and spent their lives dying to meet him. Most artists had to wait till they were big league players before even contemplating a face-to-face with Elvis. And even then it wasn’t easy to enter his well-guarded world. But one late night in 1976, a young musician on the cusp of superstardom had the chutzpah to drop by Elvis’s Graceland mansion, and pay The King a personal visit.
“We did it because we loved him.” That was the caption under a photo of four smiling Beatles that graced the back cover of a special edition “Paul is Dead” magazine that I bought in 1970. Beatlemania had come and gone, but I wasn’t ready to let go – especially of Paul, who was my current favorite. That 50-cent magazine became my trusted guide, leading me to the clues that proved Paul’s demise. Yes, Paul was dead. And his bandmates covered up his disappearance by replacing him with a double — because they loved him. And, more importantly, because they loved the record-buying fans who loved him. The story of faux Paul – “Faul” – was so full of cryptic elements, how could a girl like me who savored all things dark and mysterious NOT believe it! Here, then, is the story of the granddaddy of all rock myths.
What do Nerk Twins, Glimmer Twins, and Toxic Twins have in common? They’re all pseudonyms for musical duos who, through some mystic alignment (or collision) of planets, came to front legendary rock bands. Today I’ll take a look at the origin of these monikers and offer up a few of my own