Whatever Gets You to the Heights, S’Alright

Nov 28, 2015 | 466 Views | 1 Comment

Imagine there's no Billboard to measure record sales. No song's the winner, no song ever fails. Imagine all releases treasured equally…. Imagine the most defining song of John Lennon's career NOT reaching the number one spot on the Billboard charts when it was released in October 1971. I wonder if you can.  Surprisingly, John's iconic peace anthem "Imagine" actually peaked at number three, which just goes to prove that chart position does not a legendary song make.  John's only solo career single to hit the number one spot during his lifetime was "Whatever Gets You Through the Night," which topped the U.S.... Read More »

Giving Thanks — To the Forces that Fueled Rock-n-Roll

Nov 26, 2015 | 853 Views | 6 Comments

Today, as I give thanks for all the people, events and opportunities that have enriched my life, I'd also like to acknowledge my gratitude for the cosmic forces that came together in the 20th century to create the music that saved my soul: rock and roll. I am thankful... That Woody Guthrie crusaded for the common people, inspiring hope and self-respect through his words, wit and wisdom. That blues great Robert Johnson went down to The Crossroads. That record producer and civil rights activist John Hammond chucked his aristocratic roots, devoted his life to the racial integration of music, and... Read More »

Drinking That Rock-n-Roll Kool-Aid with Stevie Van Zandt

Nov 22, 2015 | 1359 Views | 9 Comments

"Turn the station to Letterman. That guy you like, the one who wears the do-rag, is on the show." That's my mom calling to tell me that Steven Van Zandt is sitting in the guest seat talking to Dave. Good ol' mom...always keeping me abreast of rock star sightings. She may not have remembered the name of that head-wrapped wonder, but she knows I've been infatuated with him for years - as far back as April 12, 1976, when I saw him at my first-ever rock concert. "Who's the sharpie?" I wondered, as I watched this nattily-dressed... Read More »

Happy Rockin’ Velvet Revolution Day, Czechoslovakia!

Nov 17, 2015 | 1677 Views | 2 Comments

Post-communist Czechoslovakia was a country reborn of the fire of rock and roll! Today is the 26th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution, a peaceful student-led anti-government protest movement that led to the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia in December 1989. The name of the revolution stemmed directly from Lou Reed's Velvet Underground, the house band of Andy Warhol's Silver Factory art gallery/performance space in the 1960s. The Velvets' stripped-down subterranean sound and nihilistic attitude made them a favorite among avant-garde Czechs seeking mind-expanding alternatives to bland Soviet-spun art, literature, and music. Within six weeks of... Read More »

Art from an Evil Canvas: The Berlin Wall

Nov 8, 2015 | 2615 Views | 0 Comments

The Iron Curtain. That was a term I heard often as a kid growing up in the Cold War '60s. What exactly was this metallic barrier, and who or what was behind it, I wondered. Little did I know back then that British Prime Minster Winston Churchill had coined the term to refer to the ideological barrier that separated the free world from the Communist world. But in time, I came to realize that an actual curtain really did exist - one made of concrete. It was called the Berlin Wall, and it held much fascination... Read More »