Dirk’s A-Z Rock Music guide

In general I do a lot of history blogs which are often hard hitting, but every once in a while I like to do something more lighthearted.

Aside from history, music is one of my great passions and especially Rock music. This blog is a compilation of an A-Z Rock music guide. I say a guide because it will contain not the most commonly known Rock bands. but bands I really like. So sit back and relax Dirk’s A-Z Rock Music guide.

All About Eve-What kind of Fool

BONFIRE – You Make Me Feel

Cinderella-Somebody Save me

Dokken-Unchain the Night

Eels – Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues (Road Trip)

FM – Just Like You

Golden Earring – Clear Nite, Moonlight

Heart – Never

Icehouse – Crazy

J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame

Krokus – Eat The Rich

Linkin Park-In the end

Magnum – Just Like An Arrow

Nazareth – Hair of the Dog

OZZY OSBOURNE – “Mama, I’m Coming Home”

Papa Roach-Last Resort

Queensryche – The Mission

Radiohead – Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Saxon – Ride Like the Wind

Tesla – Modern Day Cowboy

Uriah Heep “Stealin’

Vandenberg – Your Love Is In Vain

Witness-Do it till we drop

XTC – Senses Working Overtime

Y&T Summertime Girls

ZZ Top – Jesus Just Left Chicago—–Rest in Peace Dusty Hill

Happy Birthday Ronnie James Dio

If Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll, and if Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, then surely Ronnie James Dio must be the King of Heavy Metal. Not only was he the front man in bands like Rainbow, Black Sabbath,Dio and Heaven & Hell, he is also the one who popularized the sign of the horns in heavy metal.

He claimed his Italian grandmother used it to ward off the evil eye (which is known in Italy as malocchio). Dio began using the sign soon after joining the metal band Black Sabbath in 1979. The previous singer in the band, Ozzy Osbourne, was rather well known for using the “peace” sign at concerts, in an attempt to connect with the fans, Ronnie James Dio wanted to similarly use a hand gesture. However, not wanting to copy Osbourne, he chose to use the sign his grandmother always made. The horns became famous in metal concerts very soon after Black Sabbath’s first tour with Dio. The sign would later be appropriated by heavy metal fans.

Ronald James “Dio” Padavona was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Italian-American parents from Cortland, New York. His family moved to Portsmouth from Cortland as part of his father’s service in the U.S. Army during World War II, and they resided there for only a short time before returning to Cortland. Ronnie James listened to a great deal of opera while growing up, and was influenced vocally by American tenor Mario Lanza. His first formal musical training began at age 5, learning to play the trumpet. He participated in his high school’s band program.

It was also during high school that he formed his first rock-n-roll band, The Vegas Kings, which would later be named Ronnie and the Rumblers and then Ronnie and the Red Caps.

Dio’s musical career began in 1957, when several Cortland, New York musicians formed the band, The Vegas Kings. The group’s lineup consisted of Dio on bass guitar, Billy DeWolfe on lead vocals, Nick Pantas on guitar, Tom Rogers on drums, and Jack Musci on saxophone. The band changed its name to Ronnie and the Rumblers. In 1958, the band again changed their name to Ronnie and the Redcaps. Musci left the band in 1960, and a new guitarist, Dick Botoff, joined the lineup. The Redcaps released two singles: The first single was “Conquest”/”Lover” with the A-side being an instrumental reminiscent of The Ventures and the B-side featuring DeWolfe on lead vocals. The second single was “An Angel Is Missing”/”What’d I Say” featuring Dio on lead vocals for both tracks.

Explanations vary for how Padavona adopted the stage name “Dio”. One story is that Dio was a reference to mafia member Johnny Dio.

Another has it that Padavona’s grandmother said he had a gift from God and should be called “Dio” (“God” in Italian), although this was debunked by Padavona’s widow, Wendy, in a February 2017 interview. Padavona first used the name on a recording in 1960, when he added it to the band’s second release on Seneca. Soon after that the band modified their name to “Ronnie Dio and the Prophets”. The Prophets lineup lasted for several years, touring throughout the New York region and playing college fraternity parties.

In the history of metal, there are good singers and then there are legends – vocalists who are identifiable with the first note of song. Dio’s operatic vibrato was unmistakable and extremely versatile. His was a voice that could sooth like a soul crooner one minute and roar like vengeful tyrant the next. Even when he was embellishing tunes with melodic interjections like ‘alright,’ ‘yeah’ or ‘ooooohh-oooohhhh,’ he loomed high above most vocalists of his era – even though he stood at just about five-feet-four-inches tall.

In 1974, Dio sang on the Roger Glover conducted and produced concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast. Along with other guest-singers, the album featured Deep Purple alumni Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. Dio provided vocals for the songs “Homeward”, “Sitting in a Dream”, and the single Love Is All

But of course we all will remember him for his Heavy Metal work and especially that from the band named after him’Dio’. I think it is safe to say that there is no such thing as a bad Dio song.

Unfortunately he died on May 16,2010 from stomach cancer.

The story behind Innuendo.

Some of you may not realize this but Queen only had 3 number 1 hits in the UK; Bohemian Rhapsody in 1975,Under Pressure in 1981 and 10 years later with Innuendo in 1991. Ironically their previous number one hit had been brutalized by a certain Mr. Vanilla Ice who used it for his Ice Ice Baby which only had been released a few months before Innuendo. Vanilla Ice completely denied that he used Queen and David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’ for his single. He must have realized though that even a deaf person could have heard he sampled the song.

Innuendo is one of Queen’s epic songs and their longest ever released as a single, exceeding “Bohemian Rhapsody” by 35 seconds.

Much like David Bowie’s Blackstar, to listen to Innuendo isn’t to be confronted with the sorrow of a man with one foot in the grave. Rather, the song and indeed the album comes off as the work of an artist staring sickness right in the eye and vowing to “keep working until I fucking drop,” as Mercury was once quoted as saying.

And from the sound of Innuendo, he meant exactly what he said. In many ways, Innuendo looked to be a triumphant continuance of the return to Queen’s early-Seventies hard-rock roots that began on 1989’s underrated The Miracle. Innuendo is also the only studio cut of the group’s to feature another guitarist: Steve Howe of Yes joined May in the song’s meticulously designed middle section.

On a break from a recording session in Geneva, Howe drove to Montreux and stopped to have lunch. There he ran into Martin Groves who had worked for Yes before and by this time was Queen’s equipment supervisor. Groves told him that Queen were in the studio at the moment.

As soon as Steve Howe went into the studios, Mercury asked him to play some guitar (according to producer David Richards, who had worked with Yes in the past as well). Another version is that Brian May was the one who asked him to play the flamenco bit.[5] When the members of Queen asked if Howe wanted to play on the title track, Howe politely suggested they’d lost their minds. It took the combined weight of Mercury, May and Taylor to persuade him.

According to Steve Howe:

“Inside, there’s Freddie, Brian and Roger all sitting together. They go: ‘Let’s play you the album’. Of course, I’m hearing it for the first time […] And they saved “Innuendo” itself until last. They played it and I was fucking blown away. They all chimed in: ‘We want some crazy Spanish guitar flying around over the top. Improvise!’ I started noodling around on the guitar, and it was pretty tough. After a couple of hours, I thought: ‘I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here’. I had to learn a bit of the structure, work out what the chordal roots were, where you had to fall if you did a mad run in the distance; you have to know where you’re going. But it got towards evening, and we’d doodled and I’d noodled, and it turned out to be really good fun. We have this beautiful dinner, we go back to the studio and have a listen. And they go: ‘That’s great. That’s what we wanted’.”

“Innuendo” began as a jam session in Switzerland amongst Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon in spring 1989. Freddie Mercury was upstairs and heard them playing the beat, and turned it into a song, creating the melody and starting off the lyrics. From then on all four worked on polishing the track and Taylor took over the lyrics (which were written as a tribute to Led Zeppelin and their song “Kashmir”)

The single was released on January 14,1991, hard to believe it has already been 30 years since I first heard that song. 10 months later Freddie Mercury died from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.

There will never be a singer and entertainer like him again.

sources

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/queen/innuendo

https://brianmay.com/reviews/innuendo.html

It’s all about the Bass

What is a band without a Bass player?

Not much really when you think of it. Yet bass players are nearly always underrated. Most people will be able to name a list of singers, guitarists, drummers and even keyboard players when asked, but they will struggle with listing bass players.

The bass is real the base of music, it is the foundation together with the drums. The vocals, guitars and keyboard are the rest of a song., the melody that makes a song recognizable. But without a solid foundation the melody would collapse. The bass is the most important part of that foundation.

I could mention 1000s of bass players but I will limit it to a few of my favourites.

Robbie Shakespeare-Sly & Robbie

Mark King- Level 42

John Deacon-Queen

Lemmy -Motorhead(performing with Metallica)

Peter Hook-Joy Division and New Order

Tina Weymouth-Talking Heads

Suzi Quatro

Chuck Wright-Quiet Riot

John Entwistle-The Who

James Jamerson was an American bass player. He was the uncredited bassist on most of the Motown Records hits in the 1960s and early 1970s (Motown did not list session musician credits on their releases until 1971), and is now regarded as one of the most influential bass players in modern music history.

Vortex-Open the Gate- Probably the worst Rock song ever, yet I still love it.

It is 1986 you get ready for your weekly dose of Heavy Metal on Sky’s Monsters of Rock. presented by Mick Wall.

You hear the opening theme ” Ice 9″ by Joe Satriani from his Epic album “Surfing with the Alien”

You sit back relax and get ready for an onslaught of Rock and Metal. Mick juts finished playing “Gonna get close to you” Queensryche’s cover version of a Dalbello song, one of those rare occasions where the cover is better then the original.

Then Mick announces a band from the Netherlands, called Vortex, the Dutch are not known for the abundance of Rock bands, So I have high hopes. ‘Vortex, who are they?’ I never heard of them, but they are on Monsters of Rock an international Rock show. They must be good.

Mick tell me the track is called “Open the gate” it is a bit of a cliché title, but hey I am willing to give it the benefit of doubt.

Four minutes of pure brutality follows, a brutal assault on my delicate ears. Would there perhaps by naked women in the clip, to soften the blow? No, just a few men and some dude singing into a bone, a character mash up between Mad Max and the Last of the Mohicans.

No redeeming features whatsoever.

Fast forward to 2021. I listen to the song again. It is just bad, in fact it is so bad it is good, I love it despite the lack of quality it did bring me back to that Sunday night in 1986.


Happy Birthday Kurt Cobain

I could say so much about Kurt Cobain but today I want to celebrate his birthday with his music.

He was a troubled soul, often referred to as the founder of the grunge music, which is not true because it was actually another Seattle band called Green River who pioneered the grunge sound. Kurt Cobain and many other of the so called ‘grunge’ scene did not like that label.

But as I said I want to celebrate his birthday, February 20,1967, with his music. Starting off with a picture of him playing drums in a high school band, it must be so caool for the other peole in the picture to be able to say they played with Kirt Cobain.

What if?.. The rockers that may have never been. A story of Kiss.

I am passionate about Music, especially Rock. One of my favourite bands is Kiss. When we hear one of their songs on the radio, songs like “I was made for loving you” or “World without heroes” we just sit back and enjoy and don’t give it a seconc thought.

However these songs and so many of their other classics , may have never been written or composed. The two lead men of Kiss Gene Simmons(aka Gene Klein and Chaim Witz) and Paul Stanley (aka Stanley Bert Eisen) are both lucky they were born.

Paul’s both parents are Jewish. He was the second of two children. His mother came from a family that fled Nazi Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands, and then to New York City. His father’s parents were from Poland.

His mother was born in Berlin, Germany on November 16, 1923. and fled the Nazi uprising she lived for a brief time in Amsterdam, the Netherlands with her mother and stepfather before moving to New York City in 1939. If they had stayed in Germany, like so many others did, they definitely would have been subjected to the cruelty of the Nazi regime.

Gene Simmons’s start in life could have been even more uncertain . He was born on August 25, 1949 in Haifa, Israel, to Jewish immigrants from Hungary. His mother, Florence Klein (née Flóra Kovács), was born in Jánd and survived internment in Nazi concentration camps. She and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only members of the family to survive the Holocaust.

Florence or Flora was 19 when she was liberated on May 5th 1945 , from Mauthausen concentration camp , by American troops.

I have written blogs on the Holocaust before ,contemplating how many talents were destroyed by this evil ideology and regime. Thankfully some people did survive and their legacy produced talented people like Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.

For some people the Holocaust may seem like a distant bit of history, but this is how close the Holocaust still is.

Finish up with my favourite Kiss song , I chosen a video with the lyrics because the song “A world without heroes” has such a powerful message and is still so poignant today.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

https://www.thesound.co.nz/home/music/2020/05/kiss-gene-simmons-shown-his-mother-s-nazi-victim-impact-statement.html

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/gene-simmons

https://www.geni.com/people/Eva-Eisen/6000000002765905416

The Look- Roxette’s accidental break through.

the look

The sad news reached us this week that Roxette singer Gun-Marie Fredriksson had died after a 17-year long battle with cancer.

Roxette were very successful in the late 80s and early 90s , in fact at some stage they were the biggest band in the world. But this success may never have been if it wasn’t for a young American exchange student Dean Cushman.

Roxette had already been quite successful in their native Sweden. The Look was the 4th single from their second album. It was actually their Christmas song “It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted)”  released in December 1987,which had not been included on any of their albums. that had been their biggest selling single to date

The song  became a top five hit in Sweden. In 1990 it was re-released for the movie “Pretty Woman” leaving out the Christmas for the Broken Hearted bit of the original title.

“The Look” was released as the  fourth single of their 2nd album “Look Sharp” in January 1989,=reaching the top 10 in Sweden. American exchange student from Minneapolis, Dean Cushman, had been an exchange student in Sweden where he bought the album and brought it home to the US., giving a copy of it to his local Top 40 radio station, KDWB 101.3 FM. “The Look” soon became very popular, and the station began distributing the track to their sister radio operations. EMI America had previously rejected the duo as unsuitable for the American market, and Roxette didn’t have a recording contract in the US.

“The Look” had already entered the top fifty of the Billboard Hot 100 before the duo began official promotion. It would go on to peak at number one eight weeks later. It gradually became a global hit over the next year, topping the charts in 25 countries.

To put things in perspective,their debut album Pearls of Passion which was only released in Scandinavia and Canada sold 800,000 copies(this number includes the sales of th remastered version released in 1997) Where “Look Sharp” sold 9,000,000 copies worldwide.

 

RIP Marie- You always had the look.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

EMI

YouTube

When Rock N Roll and Science collide.

Hugh

It might surprise some of you that Rock N Roll and science can be, and indeed often are good bedfellows. Below are just a few examples.

Eels.

Eels an American rock band, formed in California in 1995 by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett, known by the stage name E. It is the father of this same Mark Oliver Everett who was a highly regarded scientist. Hugh Everett III  was an American physicist who first proposed the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum physics, which he termed his “relative state” formulation.

After graduation in September 1956, He joined the Pentagon’s newly-forming Weapons Systems Evaluation Group . There is so much to say about this man ,but I won’t have enough space or time to cover all his life. I would highly recommend the watch the documentary “Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives (2007)” about Hugh Everett III which is narrated by Mark Oliver Everett.

eels

 

Brian May

Brian May one of the best guitarists in the world and of course known from the band Queen.  Brian has a Ph.D. in astrophysics. He studied physics and mathematics at Imperial College London and was in the process of getting his Ph.D. when Queen became big. Thirty years later, in 2007, he completed his dissertation.  The man who wrote “We Will Rock You” also wrote A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud. QUEEN

Greg Graffin

Greg Graffin is the lead singer with the LA based punk band “Bad Religion”, but he also double-majored in anthropology and geology at UCLA and got a master’s degree in geology from the same school. His Ph.D. in zoology comes from Cornell University and was titled “Monism, Atheism and the Naturalist Worldview: Perspectives from Evolutionary Biology.”

Yes, sometimes Truth is stranger then fiction

bad

Dexter Holland

Dexter Holland is best known as the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and primary songwriter for the punk rock band The Offspring.

However he is also a molecular biologist.He was a doctoral student at the Laboratory of Viral Oncology and Proteomics Research,  In March 2013, Holland and co-authors published a paper in PLoS One regarding micro RNA in HIV genomes,titled “Identification of Human Micro RNA-Like Sequences Embedded within the Protein-Encoding Genes of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus”.

That must have worked wonders on his self esteem.

Dexter

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

IMDb

GizModo

WikiPedia

Bohemian Rhapsody

Freddie

Bohemian Rhapsody is probably the most unlikely title for a Rock song and yet it became a classic , if not THE classic Rock song for many generations.

This musical masterpiece lasted 5 minutes and 55 seconds, another reason why it should not have become a hit. Because prior to that, 3 minutes was the magic number for Rock hits.

It is not just a s song but in fact a mini opera consisting out of 6 pieces.

Part i.

Intro (0:00–0:49) it starts of with  an .acappella introduction, just to set the story line. “Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?” When I first heard it I didn’t know. I was mesmerized.

Part 2.

Ballad (0:49–2:37) The piano begins in B♭ major along with the entrance of John Deacon’s bass guitar.

Part 3.

Guitar solo (2:37–3:05) as we get toward the end of the ballad part we already hear the unset of Brian May’s guitar piece, soon to explode into a solo

Part 4

Opera (3:05–4:07) a succession of a various rhythmic and harmonic changes .

Part 5

Rock (4:07–4:54) The operatic section leads into a rock interlude with a guitar riff written by Mercury. It really is a piece of Heavy Metal

Part 6

Outro (4:54–5:55) as the intro the outtro slows down the Opera to bring it to a smoot conclusion.

The song has inspired some spoof versions none as funny as “Bad News” (You might recognize them as the Young Ones)

What is amazing about the song it was written by one man,Farrokh Bulsara aka Freddie Mercury who would have been 73 today. Happy Birthday Freddie

All that is left for me to do is to end the blog with probably the best Rock song ever written.

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Source

You Tube

Queen