Michael Jackson, Eddie van Halen and a six pack ,oh, and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Bowie.

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Have one great musician come up with a cool tune is one thing, but have another great musician enhancing that tune is just something else.

I don’t think there is any one on this planet who doesn’t know Michael Jackson’s classic album ‘Thriller”.

The 3rd single from that album was ‘Beat It’  it includes one of the finest guitar solo’s ever played, performed of course by Eddie van Halen, although his name is not on the credits.Not only was he not credited he also did it for free, well sort of, his fee was a Six pack of beer.

Quincy Jones the producer of the album(and so many others) approached Eddie van Halen to contribute to the song.Eddie agreed and following day he met with Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson in the recording studio.

Michael Jackson went out to take a break from recording or 30 minutes or so. Eddie asked the sound engineer if he could make some changes. this took 10 minutes Eddie then improvised 2 solo’s both in one take, and one of the solo’s was finally used in the song. The rest as they say is Rock N Roll history.

“Wait a minute” I can hear you say “You mentioned Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bowie in the title” and you’re right I did. Stevie Ray Vaughan has nothing to do with Beat It or Michael Jackson.

He did however contributed on David Bowie’s classic Album “Let’s Dance” produced by Nile Rodgers Vaughan plays lead guitar on several tracks, including two of the album’s many mega-hits “Let’s Dance” and “China Girl” and on the less-famous “Cat People (Putting Out the Fire).”

Vaughan met Bowie at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. After SRV’s performance, Bowie was so impressed that he later said, “He completely floored me. I probably hadn’t been so gung-ho about a guitar player since seeing Jeff Beck with his band the Tridents.”

Of Bowie, Vaughan said, “To tell you the truth, I wasn’t very familiar with David’s music when he asked me to play on the sessions. David and I talked for hours and hours about our music, about funky Texas blues and its roots. I was amazed at how interested he was.

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It is just so sad to realize that 3 of these 4 musical giants have shed their mortal coil and are now gigging in that concert hall in the sky.

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Sources

CNN

Guitar World

 

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Pink Kate Floyd

kate and david

I was struggling to find a suitable and catchy title for this blog, in order to avoid any juvenile remarks or giggling(I include myself) However I think I succeeded.

Now before you all go telling me that Kate Bush was never a member of Pink Floyd, you are absolutely right. But it could be argued that without Pink Floyd there would be no Kate Bush(at least in a musical performer sense), Or rather without Pink Floyd’s David Gilnour.

Pink Floyd was in the midst of completing the 1975 Wish You Were Here album when David Gilmour came across a youthful singer-songwriter named Kate Bush. Through his patronage, she made her first demo, and Bush’s celebrated career was underway. A friendship in music was born, too.

Wish you were here 1975

Kate Bush attended St Joseph’s Convent Grammar School, a Catholic girls’ school (later part of St Mary’s and St Joseph’s School, Sidcup), in Woolwich Road, Abbey Wood, south east London, in the mid-1970s. During this time her family produced a demo tape with over 50 of her compositions, which was turned down by record labels. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd received the demo from Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of Gilmour and the Bush family. Impressed with what he heard, Gilmour helped the sixteen-year-old Bush get a more professional-sounding demo tape recorded that would be more saleable to the record companies.Three tracks in total were recorded and paid for by Gilmour. The tape was produced by Gilmour’s friend Andrew Powell, who would go on to produce Bush’s first two albums,and sound engineer Geoff Emerick, who had previously worked with the Beatles. The tape was sent to EMI executive Terry Slater. Slater was impressed by the tape and signed her.

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David Gilmour would work with Kate Bush as an executive producer on 1978’s The Kick Inside, a producer and sideman on 1980’s “Passing through Air,” a guest vocalist on 1982’s The Dreaming, and guitarist on “Rocket’s Tail” and “Love And Anger”

The rest as they say is Rock N Roll history. Ending the blog with David Gilmour and Kate Bush on “Running up that Hill”

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Sources

Something Else

Rolling Stone

Special mention to my good friend Jochen Stäcker who drew my attention to this.

Rock songs by Non-Rock artists

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It was 1982, I was a young teenager and I was experimenting with all sorts of music. Although I had already developed a taste for Rock music it was a lady dressed in black leather that sealed the deal for me. The second I saw Joan Jett waking up to that Julebox in “I love Rock N Roll”. I was hooked to the music, there would be no turning back.

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Throughout the years there have been bands who recorded rock songs although they were not Rock bands, often far from it.

Here are a few of them, you might argue with me about the 1st one, but if you listen to the structure of the song there is no denying it is a Rock song.

ABBA-Does your mother know.

“Does Your Mother Know” was recorded in February 1979 and released as a single in April of that year. Written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the song is something of a pastiche to 1950s/early 1960s-style rock and roll and touches on the subject of a man responding to the flirting of a much younger girl.

“Does Your Mother Know” deviated from the typical ‘ABBA at their most famous’ formula, in that the lead vocals were sung not by the female vocalists (Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad) as was usually the case, but by Björn Ulvaeus. This was one of the few ABBA singles to feature Ulvaeus as the sole lead vocal.

ABBA-Rock Me

Staying with ABBA, this song was used as the B-side to the group’s 1975 single “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”. However, after “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” hit number 1 in both Australia and New Zealand, “Rock Me” was released as an A-side, reaching number 4 and number 2 respectively. It was also issued as an A-side in Yugoslavia and in 1979. The lead vocals here was also done by Björn Ulvaeus.

The Osmonds-Crazy Horses

The squeaky clean boy band the Osmonds not only recorded a run of the mill Rock song, Crazy Horses can only be described as a Hard Rock song, it even borders to Heavy Metal Jay Osmond said of the 1972 song “The song changed the way we were perceived. Before that, we’d been called “bubblegum”. But suddenly we were getting invited to see Led Zeppelin at Earls Court, to sing Stairway to Heaven with them on stage”

Céline Dion – Think Twice

It was written by Andy Hill and Peter Sinfield. Production on the track was by Christopher Neil and Aldo Nova. The song is rock-influenced and features a guitar solo, one of only a few of Dion’s songs to do so, performed by Nova.

“Think Twice” was released as the fourth single from Dion’s third English-language album The Colour of My Love (1993), on 18 July 1994 in North America, on 10 October 1994 in the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan, and in February 1995 in other European countries.

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Funky Claude was running in and out.

Deep-Purple-Smoke-On-The-Water-1973

Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple is one of if not ‘the’ most iconic Rock anthems of all times, from the 1st nano second it starts you know what song it is. First the Guitar riff, followed by the Hi Hat, then the drums and the pounding bass, It just doesn’t get better then that.

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The song is the tale of a recording session in Montreux, Switzerland which didn’t go as planned.

Deep Purple were going to use a mobile recording studio which was in the Casino in Montreux. The were going to record straight after a live concert by ‘Frank Zappa and the Mothers of invention’ but a fire started and the place burned down, after a Zappa fan had fired a flare into the casino’s ceiling

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Now rather then listing all the events in the song, I will have the song at the end of this blog. I will however pick out 1 event. The heroic actions of Claude Nobs, he is the ‘Funky Claude’ mentioned in the song.

Claude Nobs who was the founder and the promoter of the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Nobs saved several young concert goers who did hide in the Montreux Casino , thinking they would be sheltered from the flames. Nobs, who had served as a volunteer fireman, knew that the casino wasn’t  a safe place and acted immediately to get them out. ‘Funky Claude was running in and out pulling kids out the ground’

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Nobs not only rescued concertgoers from the blaze, but also helped Deep Purple regroup afterwards, offering them a new place to record. Deep Purple wrote the song about that day and it became one of their biggest hits.

 

 

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Sources

Gibson

Bon Scott-Let there be Rock

bon scott

In the beginning Back in nineteen fifty-fiveMan didn’t know about a rock ‘n’ roll show
And all that jive.

The above line is the start of the AC/DC classic let there be Rock. The whole song is basically a history lesson in Rock N Roll, brought to us by the one and only Bon Scott.

It is not often I dedicate a blog to a musician but since it is 38th anniversary of Bon Scott’s death I thought it only to be fitting since he was the lead singer of one off my all time favourite bands AC/DC

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On a side note. something not many people know is that the founders of AC/DC ,Angus and Malcolm Young, had an older brother called George Young who had a massive hit with the Easybeats called “Friday on my mind” He also co wrote “Love is in the Air” and “Standing in the Rain” recorded by “John Paul Young a fellow Scots-Australian but no family.

Like the Young brothers Bon Scott was also Scottish Australian.Scott, he emigrated to Australia aged six,  he joined  fellow Scotsmen brothers Angus and Malcolm Young in AC/DC in 1974.

His distinctive voice was so recognizable, the second he would start to sing you’d know “That’s AC/DC with Bon Scott”. Not was he only a singer he was also an accomplished drummer. There was always this twinkle in his eyes as if he was up to no good.

In  July 2004 the magazinn Classic Rock, rated  Scott as number one in a list of the “100 Greatest Frontmen Of All Time” ahead of Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury.

In 1980 he had started working with the rest of the band on the album “Back in Black” but unfortunately he never got to finish it.He had only input  on drums on 2 songs of the album.

Back in Black

On Feb. 19, 1980, he was found dead. He had been out drinking with friends, in a London nightclub  — but the casual evening took a terrible turn as Scott passed out in his car, and ultimately choked to death on his own vomit. He was only 33 years old.

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The album was finished 5 months later with AC/DC’s new front man Brian Johnson.

To end this tribute to Bon Scott I will use the words sang by the other AC/DC singer, Brian Johnson. “For those about to Rock we salute you”.

 

 

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Picture Sources

TeamRock

Erenow

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Sister Rosetta Tharpe-Hail,Hail Rock N Roll.

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I hang my head in shame. For decades I have been boasting about my knowledge of all things music, and especially rock music,when suddenly it hits me like a wet fish in the face, I KNOW NOTHING.

Well that might be too harsh but the fact is I had never heard of one of the founders of Rock and Roll before,Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

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Chuck Berry borrowed her guitar stylings. Little Richard said she was responsible for his career. Elvis was influenced by her. Who was the real Sister Rosetta Tharpe?

Born Rosetta Nubin in Cotton Plant, Arkansas in 1915, the young prodigy was performing gospel music with her mother at churches and revivals by age six, when the two moved north to Chicago. Tharpe’s singing and guitar style developed with both rural and urban elements, which gave her a broad appeal. In her teens, she married a preacher, who she soon left, heading to New York CIty. There, she played with Duke Ellington and other top musicians. By her twenties, she’d hit her stride; after years working up north with swing bandleader Lucky Millinder, she toured the south with fellow gospel icons the Dixie Hummingbirds. In 1945, her jaunty single “Strange Things Happening Every Day,” with its hot guitar solo, was the first gospel single to cross over on the Billboard race charts.

strange-things-happening-every-day

In 1946 Tharpe saw Marie Knight perform at a Mahalia Jackson concert in New York. Tharpe recognized a special talent in Knight. Two weeks later, Tharpe showed up at Knight’s doorstep, inviting her to go on the road. They toured the gospel circuit for a number of years, during which they recorded hits such as “Up Above My Head” and “Gospel Train”. Though dismissed by both artists as gossip, several in the Gospel community speculated that Knight and Tharpe maintained a romantic and sexual relationship.

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Tharpe’s relationship with Knight eventually faded, and in 1951 – over two decades before Sly Stone thought to get hitched in Madison Square Garden – Tharpe got married to her third husband in Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. The concert and promotional stunt drew 25,000, many with gifts.

Tharpe’s career waned over the next decade. In 1964, as the folk revival was cresting, she was booked for the Folk Blues and Gospel Caravan tour in England, and she played a famous gig in an abandoned railroad station that was broadcast nationwide by Granada television. It was a cold and rainy day, but Tharpe got out of a horse-drawn carriage like royalty, strode across the wet platform, picked up her electric guitar, plugged in, and played “Didn’t It Rain,” electrical-shock risk apparently be damned, soloing and singing her heart out in front of a crowd of young people.

VARIOUS - 1960'S

Tharpe’s career didn’t get the same bump that male blues musicians did in the late Sixties and Seventies, no doubt in part because of her devotion to religious material. Her last known recording was in 1970, for Danish TV, singing the Thomas Dorsey gospel standard “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” a song Elvis Presley had recorded, among many others.

Tharpe’s performances were curtailed by a stroke in 1970, after which one of her legs was amputated as a result of complications from diabetes.On October 9, 1973, the eve of a scheduled recording session, she died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a result of another stroke. She was buried in Northwood Cemetery in Philadelphia.

On April 14 2018, she will be inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame together with Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, and Nina Simone.

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Please allow me to introduce myself.

685_26_16. Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil -ok

No I haven’t suddenly gone all ultra nice, as many of you know the title of this blog is actually the 1st line of the classic Rolling Stones song”Sympathy for the devil”

A song which is often misunderstood for being some satanic worshiping bit of musical poetry, but it couldn’t be further away from that. The song is really a summary of events the Stones contribute to Beelzebub, but from the perspective that an element of him is in all of us.I have also heard people, who hate history, say how much they love this song not realizing it is a song only about historic events. Below is a breakdown of some of the events.

“I was ’round when Jesus Christ Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate Washed his hands and sealed his fate”

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During the crucifixion, while in pain, Jesus cries out asking God why he has been forsaken. The narrator claims to have witnessed this but also may be insinuating that he (the devil) influenced this. The devil is also said to cause believers in God to doubt their faith.

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Elohai, Elohai, lama shachachthani?’ which is, being interpreted, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken (forgot) me?’” – Mark 15:34

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According to the Bible, Pontius Pilate was the judge at Jesus’s trial and the man who ordered his execution. He is said to have “washed his hands” of the matter (refusing responsibility)

“I stuck around St. Petersburg. When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers”

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In the song Satan(as the narrator) admits to once again influencing major (and majorly questionable) global events, taking credit for the Russian Revolution of 1917 which led to the rise of Communist Soviet Union (or U.S.S.R., Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). On July 17, 1918, the Bolsheviks executed the royal family of the last Czar Nicholas II of Russia sealing the fate of their former rulers, and of their country.

“I rode a tank. Held a general’s rank.When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank”

Schlacht um Kursk, Panzer VI (Tiger I)

This implies that the narrator was right with Hitler throughout the Holocaust, associating Hitler with the devil. He was in the battle field, leading Blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) attacks through Europe (mostly Poland and France), of which tanks were an important part.

The 1939 Blitzkrieg in Poland took place in hot weather. The German army was moving fast and killing civilians as well as Polish soldiers, leaving the bodies to rot. However, the lines are ambiguous enough that they might also be a reference to the genocide perpetrated against the Jewish population of Europe. The reference is elided enough to contain both interpretations in describing, in its satanic glee, the horrors of WWII.

“I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’” 

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This song was recorded before Robert Kennedy died, so the original line was “Who killed Kennedy?” (referring to JFK).It was changed after Robert’s death, since now both brothers were gunshot victims.

“When after all It was you and me”

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By saying “you and me”, the devil associates all of mankind with himself. He doesn’t put the blame of the Kennedys deaths on the shooters, but on the character and corruption of all humans.

“And I laid traps for troubadours. Who get killed before they reached Bombay”

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This line possibly refers to the notorious Thuggee cult, who worshiped Kali, the Hindu goddess of death. They would waylay travelers on the roads of India, then kill the entire group in order to make off with their valuables. This seems to be the closest well known historical incident to fit the lyrics. Also, the Thuggee would have been well known in England, since the British Army put a stop to the cult during the colonial period.

“Just as every cop is a criminal. And all the sinners saints”

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There is good and evil in everyone, don’t try to make it such a black and white statement.

So next time you listen to this song show it some courtesy some sympathy, and some taste..

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Rebel without a clue

petty-1

I could not call myself a music fan and more specifically a Rock music fan without paying tribute to one of the all time greatest Rock musicians, Tom Petty.

I have to confess I was quite late getting to know the music of Tom Petty,it was really by chance.Back in the 80s I was a great fan of a music show called “Monsters of Rock” on Sky Channel presented by Mick Wall.

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It predominantly showed hard rock/heavy metal videos, but occasionally they would put on other rock acts. So one time they showed the clip of “Don’t come around here no more” by a certain Mr Tom Petty, and I was hooked.

Written by Tom Petty and David A. Stewart of Eurythmics,who has a cameo appearance in the video.

Although I hadn’t really actively listened to any Tom Petty songs prior to that, I did recognize his voice immediately. And I think that is what made him so unique, people may not always have known his name, his distinctive voice was just so recognizable.

Not only was he a great singer he was also a great songwriter and guitarist, so many songs with so many  great guitar riffs.

Photo of Tom PETTY

In 1976, Petty, with himself as lead singer and guitarist, formed “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” with Mike Campbell (lead guitarist), Ron Blair (bass), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards). The Heartbreakers began their recording career with a self-titled album, released through the Shelter label.

Tom_Petty_and_the_Heartbreakers_1977

He did also release 3 solo albums and did get Hollywood Walk of Fame star as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

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Such was the greatness of the man that he wasn’t intimidated by being a member a super band with Rock N Roll royalty like George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.The Travelling Wilburys.

 

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Alas with Tom Petty’s passing away this week there are only 2 of the Traveling Wilburys left, Bob Dylan and  Jeff Lynne. I am sure Tom has already being playing some sessions with George Harrison and the Big O , up in that place which is more and more becoming a Rock N Roll heaven.

Dear sir I salute you and hope you will your place in that great wide open , you may have been a rebel without a clue but when it comes to music there is no one else like you.

 

RIP Tom Petty.

Elvis Presley and Robert Johnson

Why did I use the names of these 2 artists as the title of this blog? For they had nothing in common.

Well that is not entirely true. Both were born in Mississippi and both died on the 16th of August, Elvis 40 years ago today and Robert Johnson 79 year ago today. Both were pioneers in their music genre.

Also they both shaped my musical taste. It is a simple fact that there will never be any stars of their magnitude again.

Elvis was and is the undisputed King of Rock N Roll.

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Whereas Robert Johnson was and is the undisputed King of the Blues.

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Both men were legends and met untimely deaths and both were victims of circumstance.

I will not go to deep into their lives because there is nothing more that I can add to their stories. Below are 2 blogs though I have done in the past.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/02/23/elvis-and-the-colonel/

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/04/27/did-robert-johnson-sell-his-soul-to-the-devil/

Let’s celebrate their lives with some of their music.

 

RIP Elvis and Robert. Thank you for the music