Hold On, I’m Comin’ 45 by Bill Medley

May 8, 2012

Bill Medley is a member of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of The Righteous Brothers.

When The Righteous Brothers were on hiatus, Bill Medley released a number of albums and singles, none of which became a big hit. Oddly his only big success outside of The Righteous Brothers was another duet with Jennifer Warnes, when their “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” reached number one.

He always had a soulful voice and he gave a credible performance on the soul classic, “Hold On, I’M Comin.'” It was a difficult song to make unique as it will always be associated with Sam & Dave and his version did not chart.

Bobby Hatfield passed away during 2003 which ended The Righteous Brothers. Bill Medley continues to perform at the Dick Clark Theatre in Branson, Missouri.

Shake, Rattle and Roll by Big Joe Turner

April 30, 2012

Big Joe Turner, 1911-1985, began his career during the late 1920’s. For the next 20 plus years he made a name for himself as a blues artist.

All that changed during the 1950s when he moved his style over to a rock ‘n’ roll sound and suddenly, at the age of 43, he found himself a star.

“Shake, Rattle and Roll” was one of the seminal songs of early rock ‘n’ roll. The lyrics were raw and the vocal frenetic but the music was able to fuse blues and black rhythms into a mix that formed early rock.

During the 1960s he would return to his blues roots. He was elected to the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1983 and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during 1987.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On 45 by Jerry Lee Lewis

April 19, 2012

Jerry Lee Lewis and His Pumping Piano was one of the original early rock ‘n’ roll madmen. His high octane live performances and high energy music were some of the highlights of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll.

His debut chart single was “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” It first reached the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart June 24, 1957 and peaked at number three. It was the second biggest hit single of his career.

Jerry Lee Lee Lewis is now a member of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and The Rockabilly Hall Of Fame.

His Sun Label bandmates, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash may be gone but now in his late 70s, Jerry Lee rocks on.

Perfidia 45 by The Ventures

July 8, 2011

The Ventures are now safely enshrined in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. They sold millions of albums during the course of their career and placed 14 singles on the BILBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

They are best remembered for their early single hits, “Walk Don’t Run” and “Ram-Bunk-Shush” which were released during 1960 and 1961.

Right in the middle of these two hits was their second single release. “Perfidia” was an old Xavier Cugat hit from 1941. The Ventures version would reach number 15.

“Perfidia” would help to establish The Ventures as one of the leading instrumental groups in the world.

Hawaii Five-O 45 by The Ventures

April 27, 2011

The Ventures placed 14 singles on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart on their way to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. “Hawaii Five-O” was their13th and second biggest.

Before the days of cable, people had to be content to watch the basic networks. There were alot less options and millions of people turned in to watch HAWAII FIVE-O each week. The first thing they heard was the theme song.

It was a different song than The Ventures usually produced. It had heavy drums and brass leading off the song. It was catchy, memorable, and was an instant radio favorite.

“Hawaii Five-O” was released March 8, 1969 and reached number four on The American singles charts.

The 25th Anniversary Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Concerts by Various Artists

October 14, 2010

Get ready for this: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame just dropped a big one in the form of a close to six-hour, three-CD box set chronicling their 25th anniversary concerts at Madison Square Garden on October 29 and 30, 2009. Originally aired as an HBO Special, these shows now return in an extended version with unreleased tracks and extended performances.

The concerts began to take shape when Bruce Spingsteen and U2 agreed to headline the events. Mick Jagger quickly climbed on board, and it mushroomed from that point until it included a virtual Hall Of Fame live onstage.

It’s the format that made the evenings so special. Each headliner served as a house band and backed a number of guests. It allowed for quick transitions and combinations that may never be seen and heard again. The only possible complaint was the lack of younger artists, as the older or post-‘50s and in many cases ‘60s crowd dominated the evening. Still, time does pass and it was nice to see and hear this generation of rock stars.

Each night started with Jerry Lee Lewis at his piano. He is represented here by his classic “Great Balls Of Fire,” complete with knocking over his piano bench.

The first house band was Crosby, Stills & Nash, who rock through a rendition of “Woodstock” before David Crosby shows what a beautiful voice he still has on his own “Almost Cut My Hair.” They provide backing for Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne before James Taylor joins them for Stephen Stills signature song, “Love The One You’re With.”

Stevie Wonder is the next headliner and he runs through “For Once In My Life” before backing Smokey Robinson for “Tracks Of My Tears.” B.B. King, Sting, and Jeff Beck follow in quick succession. Wonder breaks down about halfway through an emotional cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”

Paul Simon is the third headliner. “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard” flows into “You Can Call Me Al.” David Crosby and Graham Nash join him for some harmonizing on “Here Comes The Sun” before he reaches back into to rock ‘n’ roll history with the original Wanderer Dion, and Little Anthony and The Imperials. Art Garfunkel joins Simon for “Sounds Of Silence,” “The Boxer,” and a soaring “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Aretha Franklin brings the first night to a close ending with a scintillating duet with Annie Lennox on “Chain Of Fools.”

The second night rocks from beginning to end. Metallica opens with “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and in succession backs Lou Reed on “Sweet Jane,” Ozzy Osbourne on “Iron Man/Paranoid,” and finally Ray Davies with “All Day And All Of The Night.”

U2 was next, and after presenting “Vertigo” and “Magnificent,” they blister through “Because The Night” with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith. The combination of U2, Mick Jagger, and Fergie on “Gimme Shelter” was sheer brilliance.

Jeff Beck is next, and when he picks up his guitar, he demands your attention. His warm-up is with Sting on “People Get Ready.” Things heat up with Buddy Guy and especially Billy Gibbons on “Foxy Lady.

Bruce Springsteen and The E Sreet Band are the final act of the night. Tom Morello joins in on a jolting edition of “The Ghost Of Tom Joad” before John Fogerty runs through “Fortunate Son” and an ode to one of their heroes, Roy Orbison, with a cover of “Oh Pretty Woman.” Billy Joel and even Darlene Love of Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound combine with Springsteen as they rock into the night. All the artists unite on stage for a tribute to Jackie Wilson with “Higher and Higher.”

My feeling is that the songs on the bonus disc could have been integrated into the regular sets as they seem lost here. Four songs by Stevie Wonder would have fleshed out his performance. Why “London Calling” by Morello and Springsteen is regulated to this disc is beyond me. The same for Metallica’s cover of Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page” and Simon & Garfunkel’s medley of “Mrs. Robinson/Not Fade Away.”

The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concerts present music that shall not pass this way again. It was a historic concert by a roster of artists that will become an essential listening experience.

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame + Museum Live (DVD)

December 10, 2009

The first Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony took place in 1986 and has continued on a yearly basis since that time. The introductions and acceptance speeches by the honorees have been interesting and sometimes poignant, but it was the performances afterward that became the stuff of legend. The powers that be had the foresight to record these performances and store them away. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has now released 43 of these gems on the three-DVD box set, Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame + Museum Live.

There are reunions, odd and brilliant pairings, and long-deceased legends; plus everyone looks so young. It was all cleanly and clearly filmed and the sound is excellent. One should note that this is not the nine-disc set sold at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Disc one contains 15 induction speeches and performances. It begins with Mick Jagger inducting the Beatles and Billy Joel providing the vocals for “I Saw Her Standing There” with a back-up band including Jagger, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Beck, Neil Young, John Fogerty, Les Paul, and Ringo Starr. Cream’s first performance together in 25 years follows as Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce blast through “Sunshine Of Your Love.” Clapton gives a brilliant and seemingly effortless guitar performance. Some other highlights include Eddie Vedder providing the vocals on “Light My Fire” for The Doors, Roy Orbison with Bruce Springsteen singing “Oh, Pretty Woman,” Clapton standing in with The Band, Santana with Peter Green giving a blistering rendition of “Black Magic Woman,” and Paul McCartney singing “Let It Be.” That still leaves out performances by Springsteen, The Jefferson Airplane, and Jackson Browne, among others.

Disc two, except for a few artists, has a harder rock edge. Kid Rock sits in with Aerosmith on “Sweet Emotion,” ZZ Top rocks through “La Grange” and “Tush,” Metallica blasts away at “Master Of Puppets,” and AC/DC travels the “Highway To Hell” as they all rock the night away. Also on board are The Rolling Stones with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” followed by Tina Turner joining Mick Jagger for a scintillating version of “Honky Tonk Women.” Springsteen, U2, James Taylor and R.E.M. also perform.

Disc three moves around quite a bit. The Rolling Stones are inducted to “Start Me Up,” Fleetwood Mac performs “Say You Love Me,” The Who play “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” plus The Byrds, The Righteous Brothers and The Mamas and The Papas are all on stage with fine performances.

Each disc has a multitude of bonuses which include induction speeches, documentaries, backstage footage, and rehearsals.

This is an essential box set for any music fan as the history of rock ‘n’ roll comes alive in all its grandeur and mortality. So here’s a tip of the hat to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for some great years and a job well done.