Live on Stage 60's, 70's & 80's Artists

Rod Stewart & Ron Wood - "Mandolin Wind"



Rod Stewart composed and sang this ballad, which was sung from the point of view of an aging farmer husband. The song is a tribute to his loyal wife who stays by his side during a horrendous winter on the farm. Ray Jackson of the British folk/rock group Lindisfarne played the mandolin on this track. Stewart forgot Jackson's name and referred to him as "the mandolin player in Lindisfarne" on the sleeve credits. This was the only track on Every Picture Tells a Story, that Stewart composed by himself. He also penned the title track with Ronnie Wood.

Simon & Garfunkel - Full Concert



?Simon and Garfunkel met in grade school when they both appeared in a production of Alice in Wonderland. Paul was the White Rabbit and Art was the Cheshire Cat.
 

The duo began recording together in high school as Tom and Jerry, which was the name of a cartoon cat and mouse. They released a single in 1957 called "Hey Schoolgirl," which made it to #49 on the charts - not bad for 16-year-olds.

 

Garfunkel has done some acting; he appeared in the movies Boxing Helena and 54, and was a guest star on the TV show Laverne & Shirley. His first acting role was in the 1970 movie Catch-22, which he filmed while Simon worked on the Bridge Over Troubled Water album. According to Simon, this was the first time they fought, as Paul felt abandoned working on the music.

 

Their albums as Simon & Garfunkel were released from 1964-1970, which coincides with The Beatles. They had just five studio albums, but reunited many times to perform live.

 

Their liberal views on the political and social landscape showed up in many of their songs, and when they created a TV special called Songs of America, which was directed by Charles Grodin, they learned that large parts of America did not share their views on peace and tolerance. The show's sponsor, AT&T, pulled out of the special, which showed footage of the Vietnam War and Martin Luther King's funeral. The show found a new sponsor - Alberto V05 - and aired in November, 1969. It got killed in the ratings by a Peggy Fleming ice skating show.

 

Art Garfunkel did some serious long-distance walking. He walked across much of Japan and parts of Europe, and would also walk around America every now and then starting in 1984. By the mid-'90s, he had made 41 long walks around the US, with cumulatively took him across the entire country.

 

Art Garfunkel worked as a math teacher in a private school in Connecticut in the early '70s after splitting from Paul Simon.

 

They got a big boost when their songs appeared in the 1967 movie The Graduate. The film was directed by Mike Nichols, who cast the duo in his 1970 movie Catch-22, but wrote out Simon's part, which separated the duo and led to their breakup. Nichols is often blamed for their demise, but according to Simon's biographer Peter Carlin, the split was inevitable. "They would have found other reasons to break up without Nichols, and they have, repeatedly, again and again ever since," he told Songfacts.

Creedence Clearwater Revival | "Born On The Bayou"



Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty, who wrote the song, had never actually been to a bayou when he wrote the song - he researched it in encyclopedias and imagined a bayou childhood for the song's narrative. Fogerty, who is from the very unswamplike Berkeley, California, got his first look at a bayou courtesy of John Fred, the one-hit wonder who sang "Judy In Disguise (with Glasses)." Fred was from Louisiana, and when Creedence played a show in Baton Rouge in 1969, he met Fogerty at a rehearsal and offered to take him to a real bayou. They drove 15 minutes to Bayou Forche, where they ate some crabs and crayfish, giving Fogerty the idea for this song.

In Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitar Songs" issue, Fogerty explained that the song originated when Creedence Clearwater Revival were booked at San Francisco's Avalon Ballroom in 1968. Said Fogerty: "We were the #7 act on the bill, bottom of the totem pole. And as the first guys to go on, we were the last to soundcheck before they opened the doors. It was like, 'Here's the drums, boom, boom; here's the guitar, clank, clank.' I looked over at the guys and said, 'Hey, follow this!' Basically, it was the riff and the attitude of 'Born on the Bayou,' without the words." 

Drummer Doug Clifford remembers it happening in the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Fogerty says the song was inspired by gospel music and popular movies. He explained in Bad Moon Rising: The Unofficial History of Creedence Clearwater Revivial, "'Born on the Bayou' was... about a mythical childhood and a heat-filled time, the Fourth of July. I put it in the swamp where, of course, I had never lived. I was trying to be a pure writer, no guitar in hand, visualizing and looking at the bare walls of my apartment. 'Chasing down a hoodoo.' Hoodoo is a magical, mystical, spiritual, non-defined apparition, like a ghost or a shadow, not necessarily evil, but certainly otherworldly." 

Hoodoo was the name of a 1976 solo album by Fogerty that he never released. By his own account, it was terrible. A couple of singles leaked out, though. Unfortunately for Fogerty, at least one ("You've got the Magic") can be found on Youtube.

Ike & Tina Turner - "River Depp Mountain High"



This was written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector. Greenwich and Barry were married from 1962-1965 but kept working together after their divorce. They were one of the most successful songwriting teams of the '60s, with a string of hits that included "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" and "Leader of the Pack." Spector was a legendary producer famous for his "Wall Of Sound" recording technique, which he had used with great success on other songs he worked on with Greenwich and Barry, including hits by The Ronettes and The Crystals. Greenwich, Barry and Spector each had separate ideas for songs which they combined to form "River Deep - Mountain High." The melody is a composite of three different unfinished songs.
 

  • It had been over a year since Phil Spector produced a hit record, and he went all out on this one. When it flopped in America, he was shocked and very upset. He announced his retirement, went into seclusion and stopped working until 1970, when he returned to the studio to work on The Beatles Let It Be album and produce solo works by George Harrison and John Lennon.

  • This was written specifically for Tina Turner to sing. Phil Spector made very dense recordings that required a strong vocalist to cut through, and he knew Turner and her flamethrower voice could handle it.

  • Although this is credited to Ike And Tina Turner, Ike had no part in the recording process. Phil Spector wanted his own people to record this, and made sure Ike was not in the studio during the sessions.

    Bob Krasnow, the then president of the Blue Thumb label, for whom Ike and Tina recorded in the late 1960s, was interviewed in Rolling Stone magazine (issue 93) in 1971. He recalled how Phil Spector, who had been won over by Ike and Tina's work as a substitute act in the rock and roll film T'N'T Show, hooked up with the Turners: "Spector had just lost The Righteous Brothers, and at the same time, Ike was unhappy (having switched to Kent Records). Spector's attorney Joey Cooper called and said Phil wanted to produce Tina - and that he was willing to pay $20,000 in front to do it! So Mike Maitland [then president at Warners] gave them their release, and they signed with Philles (Phil Spector's record label.)"

  • Spector offered $20,000 upfront to Ike Turner in exchange for total control over the production. Ike happily counted the money and agreed to stay away from the sessions, even though his name still appeared on the record. When it flopped in America, though Spector was distraught, Ike wasn't, as it meant the end of their association and put him back in charge.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Simple Man"



 

Shortly after Ronnie Van Zant's grandmother and Gary Rossington's mother died, they got together in Van Zant's apartment and started telling stories about them. Rossington came up with a chord progression, and Van Zant wrote the lyrics based on advice the women had given them over the years. They wrote it in about an hour. Even though the lyrics state, "Sit beside me, my only son," Ronnie was not the only son. He had 2 younger brothers along with one older sister and one younger sister.

 

Skynyrd producer Al Kooper didn't like the way this was coming out, so the band recorded it without him and had him add his organ part later. He didn't think they should release it, but realized he was wrong when it went over so well with their fans.

 

When Skynyrd toured in 1987, they dedicated this to Van Zant. The studio and live versions of this song are tuned to different keys. The studio is in Ab while the live is the key of A. 

Bob Seger - "Mainstreet"



 

    Seger wrote this song about his high school years in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The song explores the promise of youth, and what Seger calls his "awakening" after being a quiet, awkward kid for most of his youth.


?    The actual street Seger sings about in this song is Ann Street, which was off of Main Street in Ann Arbor. Seger recalled to the Chicago Sun-Times: "It was a club. I can’t remember the name of the club, but the band that played there all the time was called Washboard Willie. They were a Delta and Chicago blues band. Girls would dance in the window. They were a black band, and they were very good. That’s where I would go but I was too young to get in. It wasn’t in a great part of town but college students loved to go there." The nostalgic tone of this song led many critics to compare Seger to Bruce Spingsteen, sometimes unfavorably. The NMEwrote, "Leaning heavily on anyone so personally stylized as Springsteen has got to qualify as an error of judgment."


       Seger acknowledges Springsteen as an influence at that time, but insists he wasn't going after Bruce's sound or image. There weren't many rock musicians writing introspective hit songs about life in working-class America at the time, and with Springsteen in a legal dispute with his manager that kept him from recording, Seger had 1977 to himself.

 

        Seger recorded this song at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Sheffield, Alabama. The studio was owned by four of the guys who played on the track: David Hood (bass), Jimmy Johnson (rhythm guitar), Roger Hawkins (drums) and Barry Beckett (keyboards). The lead guitarist on the session was Pete Carr.

While most of Seger's work was done with his Silver Bullet Band, he did make a few trips to Alabama to record at MSSS, taking advantage of the talented musicians and lack of distractions. His hit "Old Time Rock And Roll" was also recorded there.

  • This was the second single from the Night Moves album, following the title track. Both songs are very nostalgic and a departure from high-energy rockers that dominate his album Live Bullet, which was released in 1976 six months before Night Moves. By this time, Seger had been at it in earnest for over a decade and was just starting to break through to a national audience. Live Bullet was his first album to find a broad audience; many who bought it snatched up Night Moves when it came out, and weren't disappointed. Both albums ended up selling over 5 million copies, making Seger a star.

The Eagles - "Rocky Mountain Way"



Live 1977.  After his group the James Gang at the end of 1971, Joe Walsh moved from Cleveland to Boulder, Colorado, where he wrote this song, which celebrates the scenery and the lifestyle of Colorado. In some ways, the song is a Rocked-up version of John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High, which was released the previous year. Both songs use the famous Rocky Mountains as a focal point for the virtues of Colorado. When Walsh moved to Colorado, he formed a band called Barnstorm, whose first, self-titled album came out in 1972. Their next album was The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get, which contained this track. The song was co-written by the group: Rocke Grace (keyboards), Kenny Passarelli (bass), Joe Vitale (drums), and Walsh. The music was written before Walsh added the lyrics.

Joe Walsh left the James Gang just as they were building momentum, having scored minor hits with "Walk Away" and "Funk #49." Splintering the band as they were on the verge of stardom didn't go over well with Walsh's bandmates or their record company, but Joe felt creatively limited in the 3-piece band and wanted out. Colorado put him near James Gang producer Bill Szymczyk, who continued to work with Walsh and produced this album.

"Rocky Mountain Way" reflects Walsh's range of emotions after making the big move. He explained in the book The Guitar Greats: "I got kind of fed up with feeling sorry for myself, and I wanted to justify and feel good about leaving the James Gang, relocating, going for it on a survival basis. I wanted to say 'Hey, whatever this is, I'm positive and I'm proud', and the words just kind of came out of feeling that way, rather than writing a song out of remorse. It was special then, and the words were special to me, because the words were like, 'I'm goin' for it, the heck with feeling sorry for this and that', and it did turn out to be a special song for a lot of people. I think the attitude and the statement of that have a lot to do with it – it's a positive song, and it's basic rock'n'roll, which is what I really do

The Rolling Stones - "Start Me Up"



The Stones first recorded this at the Some Girls sessions in 1977. After the first two takes, they recorded it with a reggae beat a bunch of times, but didn't like the result. They put it away until four years later, when they needed a song for Tattoo You. They went back to the second take and reworked it for the album. The Stones first recorded this at the Some Girls sessions in 1977. After the first two takes, they recorded it with a reggae beat a bunch of times, but didn't like the result. They put it away until four years later, when they needed a song for Tattoo You. They went back to the second take and reworked it for the album.

Keith Richards: "The story here is the miracle that we ever found that track. I was convinced - and I think Mick was - that it was definitely a reggae song. And we did it in 38 takes - 'Start me up. Yeah, man, cool. You know, you know, Jah Rastafari.' And it didn't make it. And somewhere in the middle of a break, just to break the tension, Charlie and I hit the rock and roll version. And right after that we went straight back to reggae. And we forgot totally about this one little burst in the middle, until about five years later when somebody sifted all the way through these reggae takes. After doing about 70 takes of 'Start Me Up' he found that one in the middle. It was just buried in there. Suddenly I had it. Nobody remembered cutting it. But we leapt on it again. We did a few overdubs on it, and it was like a gift, you know? One of the great luxuries of The Stones is we have an enormous, great big can of stuff. I mean what anybody hears is just the tip of an iceberg, you know. And down there is vaults of stuff. But you have to have the patience and the time to actually sift through it." 

America - "Horse With No Name"



America was formed in England by sons of US servicemen who were stationed there. Lead singer Dewey Bunnell wrote this when he was 19. Although the song is commonly misinterpreted about being on drugs, it is not: Bunnell based the images in the lyrics on things he saw while visiting the US. This was originally titled "Desert Song," since Bunnell wrote it based on the desert scenery he encountered when his dad was stationed at an Air Force base in Santa Barbara County, California.

The song tells a rather abstruse tale about a trip though the desert. While the landscape is unforgiving, the singer also finds comfort in that scenario. 

According to Dewey Bunnell, the "horse" represents a means of entering a place of tranquility, and this tranquil place was best represented by the desert, which sounded pretty good to him while he was stuck in rainy England.

As for why the horse had no name and why it went free after nine days, Bunnell doesn't have any answers - it seems the various listener interpretations are far more colorful than any meaning he assigned to it.

The group's self-titled debut album was released in the UK in late 1971, but didn't contain this song. When they were contemplating a single, they considered "I Need You," but decided to come up with a new song instead. The group went back to the studio and recorded "A Horse With No Name," which Bunnell had written.

Released as a single in the UK, it shot to #3 in January 1972, prompting the group's label, Warner Bros., to issue the single in the US and also release the album with the song included. On March 25, both the single and album hit #1 in the US; the song stayed at the top spot for three weeks, the album for five.

The album was recorded in London where the band was located. In February, when the song started climbing the charts in the US, the group embarked on a tour of the States, playing club shows before supporting the Everly Brothers as the opening act on their North American tour. 

"I Need You" was released as the follow-up single, reaching #9 US. The group would become one of the most successful acts of the '70s and score another US #1 hit with "Sister Golden Hair."

Neil Young - "Heart Of Gold"



With a straightforward metaphor and complete lack of pathos, this is not a typical Neil Young song. It finds him mining for a "heart of gold," which depending on your perspective, is either a touching and heartfelt sentiment, or a mawkish platitude. Rolling Stone took the churlish view, complaining that the album evoked "superstardom's weariest clichés." The listening public and Young's fans were far more accepting, however, and the song became his biggest hit.

Young wrote this in 1971 after he suffered a back injury that made it difficult for him to play the electric guitar, so on the Harvest tracks he played acoustic. Despite the injury, Young was in good spirits (possibly thanks to the painkillers), which is reflected in this song. The next few years were more challenging for Young, as he suffered a series of setbacks: his son Zeke was born with cerebral palsy, his friend Danny Whitten died, and he split with his girlfriend, Carrie Snodgress. His next three albums, which became known as "The Ditch Trilogy," expressed these dark times in stark contrast to "Heart of Gold."

This song was recorded at the first sessions for the Harvest album, which took place on Saturday, February 6, 1971 and were set up the night before. 

Neil Young was in Nashville to record a performance for The Johnny Cash Show along with Tony Joe White, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. Elliot Mazer, a producer who owned nearby Quadrafonic Studios, set up a dinner party on February 5, inviting the show's guests and about 50 other people. Mazer was friends with Young's manager Elliot Roberts, who introduced the two at the gathering. Young and Mazer quickly hit it off when Neil learned that Elliot has produced a band called Area Code 615. Young asked if he could set up a session the next day, and Mazer complied.

Nashville has an abundance of studio musicians, but getting them to work on a Saturday could be a challenge. Mazur was able to get one member of Area Code 615: Drummer Kenny Buttrey. The other musicians he found were guitarist Teddy Irwin, bass player Tim Drummond, and pedal steel player Ben Keith. All were seasoned pros.

Keith, who had never heard of Neil Young, recalls showing up late and sitting down to play right away. He says they recorded five songs before they stopped for introductions.

James Taylor - "Carolina In My Mind"




 

 A track from his self-titled debut album, James Taylor wrote and recorded this song in 1968 while staying in an apartment in London. In this song, James sings about longing to return to North Carolina, the place he and his siblings called home in their childhood days. He says it's about "that feeling of being called away to another place." There has been a great deal of speculation as to the identity of Karin, the woman he sings about in the line, "Karin, she's a silver sun." Until 2009, Taylor would not reveal her identity, leading listeners to create their own theories: Some felt that Karin was a poetic name for Carolina, others believed that Karin was a beautiful young woman that James met while on a trip to Spain, and many have said that this song is about drugs, since at the time it was written, Taylor was trying so hard to kick a serious addiction to heroin.

Taylor cleared this up in a concert screened by BBC Television in March 2009, when he revealed the identity of the Karin alluded to in this song.

The album was recorded in London the same time the Beatles recorded their White Album and was released on their Apple label; at some point Taylor skipped across to the island of Formentera, where he met Karin. This appears to have been a fleeting relationship, or perhaps simply a meeting, but he never saw her again. She was Scandinavian, about twenty-four years old, and had shoulder length blonde hair, reminiscent of Annalena Nordstrom in the Wishbone Ash song "Blowin' Free." Her ghost was still haunting him 35 years later, and with the advent of the Internet he decided better late than never, located a police artist and commissioned him to draw a sketch of what she would look like after all this time. The artist e-mailed him a most unflattering sketch the next day as a joke. Though Taylor was pleased with the real sketch, he said that try as he may he couldn't stop thinking of her now as a criminal.

Hall & Oates - "Sara Smile"



Daryl Hall wrote this for his collaborator/girlfriend Sara Allen. Her sister, Janna Allen, co-wrote their hit "Kiss On My List." Janna died of leukemia in 1993 at age 36. They never got married, but Daryl and Sara were together for about 28 years before they broke up in 2001. In Entertainment Weekly October 16, 2009, Hall listed this as one of their favorite songs and explained: "That was a postcard to Sara Allen, who was my partner for many, many years, a 'having a great time, wish you were here,' kind of thing. I cannot tell you how many girls have told me they were named for it!"

 

  • The album's cover photo by Mick Jagger's makeup designer Pierre LaRoche is a glitzy shot of Hall and Oates in heavy makeup. John Oates talked about the eye-catching image in Nick Tosches' biography Dangerous Dances: "We decided that if we were going to put our faces on an album cover for the first time we wanted to do it in a big way. Pierre said, in that French accent of his, 'I will immortalize you!' And he just did. To this day it's the only album cover that people ask us about."

    David Bowie said that LaRoche was the best makeup artist he ever worked with.

  • According to Barry Rudolph, who was an engineer on the session, Hall sang his vocal live with the band. The only edit they made was to punch in over the word "Sara" in the beginning of the second chorus. With the backing vocals, Hall was trying to get them to sound like the doo-wop group The Dells.

  •  

Neil Young & Paul McCartney - "A Day In The Life"



New And Improved Stunning Sound For Neil Young & Paul McCartney A Day In The Life Live From Hyde Park 27th June 2009. The beginning of this song was based on two stories John Lennon read in the Daily Mail newspaper: Guinness heir Tara Browne dying when he smashed his lotus into a parked van, and an article in the UK Daily Express in early 1967 which told of how the Blackburn Roads Surveyor had counted 4000 holes in the roads of Blackburn and commented that the volume of material needed to fill them in was enough to fill the Albert Hall. Lennon took some liberties with the Tara Browne story - he changed it so he "Blew his mind out in the car." Regarding the article about Tara Browne, John Lennon stated: "I didn't copy the accident. Tara didn't blow his mind out. But it was in my mind when I was writing that verse." At the time, Paul didn't realize the reference was to Tara. He thought it was about a "stoned politician."

A 41-piece orchestra played on this song. The musicians were told to attend the session dressed formally. When they got there, they were presented with party novelties (false noses, party hats, gorilla-paw glove) to wear, which made it clear this was not going to be a typical session. The orchestra was conducted by Paul McCartney, who told them to start with the lowest note of their instruments and gradually play to the highest.

David Bowie - "Imagine" Tribute to John Lennon



 

The last show of the Serious Moonlight tour, 8th December, 1983, was the 3rd anniversary of John Lennon's death, whom Bowie and Slick knew. Slick suggested a few days prior to the show that they play "Across the Universe" as a tribute; but Bowie said, "Well if we're going to do it, we might as well do 'Imagine'." They performed the song on the final night of the tour as a tribute to their friend. John Lennon wrote and recorded this song at his Tittenhurst Park estate in the English countryside where he and Yoko took up residence in the summer of 1969. When they moved to Tittenhurst, The Beatles hadn't officially broken up, but they were on the outs and would never record together again (the last Beatles photo shoot took place there in August, 1969).

Lennon had released two avant-garde albums with Yoko: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins and Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions. At the end of 1969, they released another: Wedding Album, which contained sounds gathered at their wedding and "bed-in" honeymoon. In 1970, after a round of primal scream therapy, Lennon released his first commercially viable non-Beatles album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, with contributions from Ringo Starr and production by Phil Spector.

n early 1971, Lennon worked up songs for a new album - "Imagine" was one of them. In May, he summoned several of his musical cohorts to Tittenhurst to record it, including Spector, George Harrison, bass player Klaus Voormann, piano man Nicky Hopkins, and drummers Alan White and Jim Keltner. They recorded on-campus in the studio Lennon had recently built, which he called Ascot Sound Studios. It was a genial atmosphere; footage from the sessions shows Lennon and his cohorts enjoying each others' company, but also getting down to business when it came time to work - Phil Spector kept the sessions on track, and Lennon was exacting in his musical detail. "Imagine" was one of the first songs they recorded. With a very simple arrangement designed to spotlight the lyric, it required just Lennon's vocals and piano, Voormann's bass, and White's drums. Strings were overdubbed later.

Eric Clapton - "Old Love"



Live 1999. Clapton wrote this song with Blues artist Robert Cray.
In 1988, after nine years of marriage to Pattie Boyd, Clapton divorced the model and photographer. This song documents the end of their relationship. Boyd told the Guardian newspaper December 13, 2008 that she was hurt that he should write a song about such a sensitive subject. She said: "The end of a relationship is a sad enough thing, but to then have Eric writing about it as well. It makes me more sad, I think, because I can't answer back."
Pattie Boyd has been the inspiration for several well-known songs. Her first husband, George Harrison, wrote "Something" about her, Eric Clapton's then unrequited love for the beautiful model was documented in "Layla" and after they'd moved in together, Clapton penned "Wonderful Tonight" for Boyd.

A Flock Of Seagulls - "Ran So Far"



Lead singer Mike Score recalled the day he wrote the song to Billboard:

"We'd just been to the Cavern in Liverpool and saw a band play a song called 'I Ran' and thought, 'What a great name,' although we didn't particularly like the song. And then the next day saw a picture from the 1950s of a flying saucer and two people running away from it. And because we had this sci-fi thing going on, it was like 'look at that! First 'I Ran' and now that!' So even though we had the basics of the music already, we went to rehearsal that night and the picture was in my head and we started to try to formulate words about that. 

And when I'm playing live, that picture comes back into my mind. And of course movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the flying saucer coming out of the clouds, that contributed to lyrics, and all that comes through your mind and it makes you smile."

 

  • Flock leader Mike Score said in a VH1 interview: "Every time I perform live, everyone just wants to hear 'I Ran'... I'm sick of it!"

    He softened his stance when he spoke with Songfacts in 2018. "I don't think it's the best song we've got, although it was the biggest hit. I have moments where I think 'Space Age" target="_blank">Space Age' is a lot better, or 'Wishing' is a lot better. It depends on the mood I'm in, or the emotional state I'm in at the time. But I like to play it live, because the crowd loves it. Especially at nostalgia gigs like this tour, you want to give people what they remembered, and they remember 'I Ran,' and they all get into it and have a great time. It puts a big smile on your face."

songfacts.com

Blondie - "Heart OF Glass"



Blondie members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein (who were a couple) wrote the first version of this song in early 1974, shortly after they first met. They didn't have a proper title for the song, and would refer to it as "The Disco Song." Harry explained on the show Words and Music: "Lyrically, it was about a stalker who was pursuing me, and Chris saved me from him."It wasn't until they recorded this song in 1978 that Stein came up with the title "Heart Of Glass." He didn't know that it was also the title of a 1976 German movie directed by Werner Herzog.

 

  • According to Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 Songs, Harry and Stein wrote the song in their dingy New York apartment and keyboardist Jimmy Destri provided the synthesizer hook. The result brought punk and disco together on the dance floor. Said Destri, "Chris always wanted to do disco. We used to do 'Heart Of Glass' to upset people."

  • Debbie Harry (from 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh): "When we did Heart Of Glass it wasn't too cool in our social set to play disco. But we did it because we wanted to be uncool. It was based around a Roland Rhythm Machine and the backing took over 10 hours to get down."

    Chris Stein added, "We didn't expect the original to be that big. We only did it as a novelty item to put more diversity into the album."

  • Blondie re-recorded this in 1978 in a reggae style, but their producer Mike Chapman suggested reggae didn't sell in America. As Harry and Stein had a fascination with the disco sound that was then sweeping the country, so they adopted a sound that was an amalgamation of their New Wave background and Eurodisco.

songfacts.com

Queen - "Somebody To Love"



Live in Milton Keynes,1982. This song is sung in a gospel style, with the voices of Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor multitracked to sound like a choir. According to Brian May, the gospel sound was inspired by the music of Aretha Franklin. Freddie Mercury wrote this. The lyrics reflect a man calling out to God, asking why he works so hard, but can't find love. At the end of the song, he finds hope and decides he will not accept defeat. This is widely reputed to have been Freddie Mercury's favorite song he ever wrote. Queen performed this with Elton John on lead vocals in Paris in January 1997. 

  • Peter Hince, the head of Queen's road crew, recalled to Mojo magazine September 2009 that "among the road crew there were songs you liked and songs you didn't like." He added that this was, "always one of Queen's best. The studio version was very polished, but on-stage there was so much more guts to it."

  • Hince recalled to Mojo the video was "filmed at Wessex Studios while they were making the A Day at the Races album." He added: "Aesthetically, you had to have all four around the microphone, but John (Deacon) didn't sing on the records. By his own admission he didn't have the voice. He did sing on-stage but the crew always knew to keep the fader very low."

    Several bootleg recordings and live videos exist where evidently John's mic was not turned down, and it becomes painfully obvious that the above statement is true - one particular live performance of "In The Lap Of The Gods" is wince-inducing!

Albert Collins - "If Trouble Was Money"



Live 1990. This performance is legendary, the master of the telecaster. "The Ice Man" Albert Collins is featured in a legendary live performance in 1990. Albert Collins formed his first band in 1952 and two years later was the headliner at several blues clubs in Houston. By the late 50s Collins began using Fender Telecasters. He later chose a "maple-cap" 1966 Custom Fender Telecaster and developed a unique sound featuring minor tunings, sustained notes and an "attack" fingerstyle. 

He began recording in 1958 and released singles, including many instrumentals such as the million selling "Frosty" (1962), on Texas-based labels such as Kangaroo and Hall-Way. A number of these singles were collected on the album "The Cool Sounds Of Albert Collins" on the TCF Hall label (later reissued on the Blue Thumb label as Truckin? With Albert Collins.) 

In the spring of 1965 he moved to Kansas City, Missouri and made a name for himself there. Many of Kansas City's recording studios had closed by the mid-1960s. Unable to record, Collins moved to California in 1967. He lived in Palo Alto, California for a short time before moving to Los Angeles and played many of the West Coast venues popular with the counter-culture. Collins remained in California for another five years, and was popular on double-billed shows at The Fillmore and the Winterland. 

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Collins toured the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. He was becoming a popular blues musician and was an influence for Coco Montoya, Robert Cray, Gary Moore, Debbie Davies, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jonny Lang, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayer and Frank Zappa.

After falling ill at a show in Switzerland in late July 1993, he was diagnosed in mid August with lung cancer which had metastasized to his liver, with an expected survival time of four months. Parts of his last album, Live '92/'93, were recorded at shows that September; he died shortly afterwards, in November at the age of 61. He was survived by his wife, Gwendolyn. He is interred at the Davis Memorial Park, Las Vegas, Nevada.
 

BB King - Live Prison Performance, "Sing Sing"



B.B. King , Joan Baez and other great artists came to New York's Maximum Security Prison, Sing Sing, and gave one of the best shows of their lives. B.B. called it one of his greatest performances. New York's Daily News called it one of the greatest moments in live entertainment.This entire film is a must-see. Get it at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00061U15C. This clip is a portion of my feature-length documentary, Sing Sing Thanksgiving, recorded in 1973 at the prison outside New York City. We got permission to present the concert from the Warden and took full of it to create and then record this incredible event plus tell the lives of some of the inmates who helped make it happen.

The Doors - "Light MY Fire"



Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970. Most of the song was written by Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, who wanted to write about one of the elements: fire, air, earth, and water. He recalled to Uncut: "I was living with my parents in Pacific Palisades – I had my amp and SG. I asked Jim, what should I write about? He said, 'Something universal, which won't disappear two years from now. Something that people can interpret themselves.' I said to myself I'd write about the four elements; earth, air, fire, water, I picked fire, as I loved the Stones song, 'Play With Fire,' and that's how that came about." Krieger came up with the melody and wrote most of the lyrics, which are about leaving inhibitions behind in flames of passion.

 

  • At first, the song had a folk flavor, but it ignited when Jim Morrison wrote the second verse ("our love become a funeral pyre...") and Ray Manzarek came up with the famous organ intro. Drummer John Densmore also contributed, coming up with the rhythm. Like all Doors songs of this era, the band shared composer credits.

  • This became The Doors' signature song. Included on their first album, it was a huge hit and launched them to stardom. Before it was released, The Doors were an underground band popular in the Los Angeles area, but "Light My Fire" got the attention of a mass audience.

  • On the album, which was released in January 1967, the song runs 6:50. The group's first single, "Break On Through (To The Other Side)," reached just #126 in America. "Light My Fire" was deemed too long for airplay, but radio stations (especially in Los Angeles) got requests for the song from listeners who heard it off the album. Their label, Elektra Records decided to release a shorter version so they had producer Paul Rothchild do an edit. By chopping out the guitar solos, he whittled it down to 2:52. This version was released as a single in April, and the song took off, giving The Doors their first big hit.

    To many fans, the single edit was an abomination, and many DJs played the album version once the song took off.

    Elektra founder Jaz Holzman recalled to Mojo magazine November 2010: "We had that huge problem with the time length - seven-and-a-half minutes. Nobody could figure out how to cut it. Finally I said to Rothchild, 'Nobody can cut it but you.' When he cut out the solo, there were screams. Except from Jim. Jim said, 'Imagine a kid in Minneapolis hearing even the cut version over the radio, it's going to turn his head around.' So they said, 'Go ahead, release it.' We released it with the full version on the other side."

  • This was the first song Robby Krieger wrote to completion. Jim Morrison did most of the songwriting for the album, but he needed some help and asked Krieger to step in. The 20-year-old guitarist asked him what to write about, and Morrison replied, "Something universal."

Songfacts.com 

Tracy Chapman - "Fast Car"



Live from the Oakland Coliseum Arena, 1988. This won the Grammy Award in 1989 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. When the then-unknown Tracy Chapman was booked to appear down the bill at the Nelson Mandela birthday concert at Wembley Stadium on June 11, 1988, little did she know her appearance would be the catalyst for a career breakthrough. After performing several songs from her self titled debut during the afternoon, Chapman thought she'd done her bit and could relax and enjoy the rest of the concert. However, later in the evening Stevie Wonder was delayed when the computer discs for his performance went missing, and Chapman was ushered back onto stage again. In front of a huge prime time audience she performed "Fast Car" alone with her acoustic guitar. Afterwards the song raced up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Chapman (from Q magazine): "It's not really about a car at all... basically it's about a relationship that doesn't work out because it's starting from the wrong place."

Fleetwood Mac - "Sara"



 

Live 1979. "Sara" was the name Nicks gave to her unborn child before she had an abortion. In 1977, she dated Don Henley, and later confirmed that she became pregnant with his child and terminated the pregnancy. Henley spoke about it in a 1991 interview with GQ, where he stated: "I believe to the best of my knowledge she became pregnant by me. And she named the kid Sara, and she had an abortion and then wrote the song of the same name to the spirit of the aborted baby. I was building my house at the time, and there's a line in the song that says 'And when you build your house, call me.'"Nicks, who was furious that Henley made this public, confirmed the story in 2014, speaking to Billboard magazine. "Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara."

Stevie Nicks wrote this in 1978 and may have named it after her friend, the singer and model Sara Recor. At the time, Stevie was secretly dating drummer Mick Fleetwood, who had recently divorced. A few months later, Fleetwood fell in love with Sara Recor and broke up with Nicks. He and Sara were married in 1988 but later divorced.

This is a very personal song for Stevie. It is about a combination of things that were going on in her life, including the band, her friend Sara Recor, her relationship with Mick Fleetwood, and her aborted child with Don Henley. But she considers "Sara" to be her alter-ego and her muse - the "poet in her heart."

Elton John - "Your Song"



Live at Wembley, 1984. This was Elton's first single to chart. Before he hit it big, he worked as a songwriter and studio musician, and for a time was the warm-up act for Three Dog Night, who recorded this song on their 1970 album It Ain't Easy (they had previously recorded Elton's "Lady Samantha"). When it looked like Elton might finally make it in the States with his own version of "Your Song," Three Dog Night chose not to release it as a single in an effort to give this young upstart a chance to make it on his own. This was one of the first songs John wrote with Bernie Taupin. They met after a record company gave John some of Taupin's lyrics to work with. Eventually, they both moved into John's parents' house, where they started working together.

The song was written in 1967, when Bernie Taupin was 17 ("hence the extraordinarily virginal sentiments," he has said). Elton has said that this song is not about anyone in particular, so Taupin has refused to reveal the identity of the person - if such person exists - who inspired this song. He explained in a 1989 interview with Music Connection: "It's like the perennial ballad 'Your Song,' which has got to be one of the most naïve and childish lyrics in the entire repertoire of music, but I think the reason it still stands up is because it was real at the time. That was exactly what I was feeling. I was 17 years old and it was coming from someone whose outlook on love or experience with love was totally new and naïve.

Elton's version was released on his second album, but the single did not come out until seven months later, when it was released to promote his tour. Elton issued his third album, Tumbleweed Connection, before the single came out, and by this time he was established enough to have his own hit, thanks in large part to a triumphant run at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in August 1970.

Now I could never write that song again or emulate it because the songs I write now that talk about love coming from people my age usually deal with broken marriages and where the children go. You have to write from where you are at a particular point in time, and 'Your Song' is exactly where I was coming from back then."

David Bowie - "Let's Dance"



Filmed at Sydney, Entertainment Center, 7th and 9th November 1987. The title track to Bowie's 15th album, "Let's Dance," was produced by Nile Rodgers, who was responsible for the album's funky sound. Rodgers founded the disco band, Chic, and produced hits for Diana Ross, including "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out." He also produced Madonna's 1985 album Like a Virgin. On the surface, this song is about dancing with a lover, but according to Nile Rodgers, there's a deeper meaning. He told Mojo: "When David wrote those lyrics, he was talking about the dance that people do in life; the conceptual dance of not being honest. He sings, 'put on your red shoes and dance the blues.' Like you're pretending to be happy but you're sad."

 

  • This was Bowie's only transatlantic #1, a very upbeat song with mass appeal. He described it as "positive, emotional and uplifting." Said Bowie: "I tried to produce something that was warmer and more humanistic than anything I've done for a long time. Less emphasis on the nihilistic kind of statement."

  • The official video was directed by David Mallet. It was filmed in Australia and features an Aboriginal couple who are struggling against Western cultural imperialism. The video was described by Bowie as a "very simple, very direct" statement against racism.

    According to Mallet, they shot the bar scenes in the morning, which didn't go over well with the locals, who didn't appreciate Bowie and fashionable crew. Some of the patrons also resented the Aborigines who starred in the clip, and mocked them with their own dance moves. Mallet shot this on film and edited it into the video - the white people dancing in the bar were actually making fun of the couple.

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