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

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."

Hall & Oates - "Rich Girl"

 

Live 1977. This is the first Hall & Oates single to hit #1 on the Billboard Top 100, and it propelled them to superstardom. The character in this song is based on a real person, the spoiled heir to a fast food fortune who had dated Sara Allen, Daryl Hall's longtime girlfriend. Her stories of him inspired Hall to write this song, but he had to change the character to a girl, since he was the one who would be singing it. According to Hall, his original lyric was: He can rely on the old man's moneyHe's a rich guy. 


In an interview with American Songwriter, Daryl Hall revealed that the guy he wrote this song about is named Victor Walker. He says Walker came to their apartment acting very strange, and Daryl realized that he could get away with it, since his father would pay to make his problems go away. Hall says that Walker knows the song is about him.

 

Daryl Hall was shocked to find out that the infamous serial killer David "Son Of Sam" Berkowitz claimed he was inspired to murder by this song. It is unlikely that this song actually compelled Berkowitz to kill, as it was released after he started his killing spree, and Berkowitz cited many influences, including his neighbor's dog, when asked why he killed. Nonetheless, it was very disturbing for Hall and Oates to have their song associated with Berkowitz, and they made reference to this in their 1980 song "Diddy Doo Wop (I Hear the Voices)" from their Voices album in the lyrics: "Charlie liked The Beatles, Sam he liked Rich Girl."

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.

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

The Bee Gees - "More Than A Woman"



Live 1977. This song was written by the Bee Gees for the movie Saturday Night Fever. They recorded their own version, but also had Tavares do it. Both versions were used in the movie and on the soundtrack, but the Tavares version was released as a single, peaking at #32 in America on May 6, 1978, the same week "Night Fever," another Bee Gees song from the film, was at #1. This was produced by by Freddie Perren, who was responsible for most of the Jackson 5's early hits. He later co-produced and co-wrote the classic Gloria Gaynor hit "I Will Survive." In 1978, Perren won a Grammy for his work on a couple of songs he did on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack: Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You" and this one.

Like the Bee Gees, Tavares is also a brother act: Arthur, Ralph Vierra, Perry Lee, Antone and Feliciano. They started performing in 1963 when they were known as Chubby and the Turnpikes. They changed their name to Tavares in 1969 and enjoyed several transatlantic hits in the mid 1970s including "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel," "Don't Take Away The Music" and "Whodunit."

Many disco songs are about dancing or celebrating the nightlife, but in this one the singer has discovered his love for a woman he hadn't noticed before, and he wants the world to know it. The sentiment is sweet ("This is the only way that we should fly"), but a little creepy ("If I lose your love I know I would die"), and it's told very quickly as the Bee Gees knew that getting to the chorus quickly was key to a disco hit.

A Ha - "Take On Me"



Live 1986. A-ha wrote and recorded the first version of this song in 1982 with the title "Lesson One" - it had different lyrics but contained the basic keyboard riff. In 1983, the song got the attention of industry veteran Terry Slater, who became their manager and helped them secure a contract with Warner Bros. Records later that year. In early 1984, they re-wrote the song as "Take On Me" and recorded it with producer Tony Mansfield. Released as a single only in Europe, it went to #3 in their native Norway, but didn't chart anywhere else, flopping particularly hard in the UK. A video was made for this version that was remarkably undistinguished compared with the one that came after.

At Slater's suggestion, they re-recorded the song with producer Alan Tarney, who beefed it up with more instrumentation and energy. Around this time, a record company executive named Jeff Ayeroff moved from A&M to Warner Bros., and championed the song. In the book I Want My MTV, he said: "I fell in love with the song. Then I saw a picture of the band, and it was like, Do people actually look like this? Morten Harket was one of the best-looking men in the world."

Ayeroff commissioned a new video, hiring Steve Barron, whose work included "Don't You Want Me" by The Human League and "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson, to direct.

The video was released in May 1985, and used the new version of the song produced by Alan Tarney. A promotional single was released at the same time with stills from the video in the sleeve art. Warner Bros. promoted the song through the video, getting movie theaters to show it before films and eventually getting it on MTV. When MTV picked it up, radio stations also played the song, and by August it was in the US Top 40. The song continued to climb the charts until it hit #1 on October 19, where it stayed for one week. A week later, the song also reached its UK chart peak, coming in at #2 behind "The Power Of Love" by Jennifer Rush.

Irene Cara - "Flashdance What A Feeling"



Live 1983. Irene Cara wrote the lyrics with the songwriter Keith Forsey; Giorgio Moroder composed the music and produced the track. Moroder and Forsey wrote many songs that became hits when they were used in '80s movies: Moroder wrote "Danger Zone" and "Take My Breath Away" for Top Gun, while Forsey wrote "Shakedown" for Beverly Hills Cop II and "Don't You (Forget About Me)" for The Breakfast Club. The word "Flashdance" never appears in the lyric, but the song still relates to the movie, as it's specifically about dancing. Irene Cara was an accomplished dancer who not only sang the title song to Fame, but also starred in the film as an aspiring dancer. Said Cara: "'What a feeling' was a metaphor about a dancer, how she's in control of her body when she dances and how she can be in control of her life."

Sonny & Cher - "I Got You Babe"



Live 1987. Sonny Bono was an up-and-coming record producer when he got Cher a job with Phil Spector as a session singer. They started dating and moved in to their manager's house, where Bono would write songs on a piano in the garage. He came up with "I Got You Babe" and wrote the lyrics on a piece of cardboard. Cher didn't like it at first. She recalled to Billboard magazine: "Sonny woke me up in the middle of the night to come in where the piano was, in the living room, and sing it. And I didn't like it and just said, 'OK, I'll sing it and then I'm going back to bed.'"
 

Sonny changed the key in the bridge to fit her voice and she loved it.Depending on what side of the fence you stand, this is either a beautiful love song or pure schmaltz. To Sonny Bono, it was sincere - an earnest declaration of commitment and support. "The lyrics of my songs are very important to me," he told the New Musical Express in 1966. "I never write anything until that very moment when I feel the emotion conveyed in the words I write. I know what it is like to be kicked around because you dress differently. I know what it is like to see the girl you love hurt because a hotel refuses you admission because of your dress. I know what it is like to have that one person stand by you. There are a lot of other people who have experienced these things and I'm trying to put our feelings into words for everyone."Ahmet Ertegun, who was the boss at the duo's label Atco Records, didn't think much of this song, so he planned to issue it on the B-side of "It's Gonna Rain." Bono was sure "I Got You Babe" was the hit, but he couldn't convince Ertegun. 

 

This was an era when disc jockeys could overrule record executives when it came to airplay, so Bono brought a copy of "I Got You Babe" to the Los Angeles radio station KHJ, and made a deal with their program director, Ron Jacobs. If Jacobs played the song once an hour, he could have it exclusively. When KHJ started playing it, the song got a great reaction, leading Ertegun to issue it as the A-side.

songfacts.com

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.

Stevie Wonder & Ray Charles - "Living for the City"



One of Wonder's social commentary songs, this tells of a young kid from Mississippi who moves to New York City. In Mississippi, he dealt with many hardships, but was surrounded by caring people. In New York City, he is quickly taken advantage of and is caught with drugs. His dreams are destroyed when he is sentenced to 10 years in jail.Reflecting on the messages in his songs, Wonder said: "I think the deepest I really got into how I feel about the way things are was in 'Living For The City.' I was able to show the hurt and the anger. You still have that same mother that scrubs the floors for many, she's still doing it. Now what is that about? And that father who works some days for 14 hours. That's still happening."

This won a 1974 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song. The album it came from Innervisions won the Grammy Award for the Album of the Year.  Wonder asked one of the janitors at the studio to say the "Get into that cell, ni--er" line. Public Enemy later sampled the line on "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" a track on their 1989 It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back album.

The Faces - "Ooh La La"





Live 1974. It was Ronnie Wood, not Rod Stewart or Ronnie Lane, who sang the lead vocal for this song. Lane and Stewart were at odds at the time. Stewart did not think the song was up to his standards although both he and Lane recorded lead vocals for it. Their producer suggested Wood give it a try, and that's the version that was used for the album, which was Faces last studio album. Lane left the group after Ooh La La was released and The Faces disbanded after their 1974 tour.

They say youth is wasted on the young. That sentiment is expressed succinctly in this song, as the grandfather says:

I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger


It's something every grandfather says at some point (typically in regards to matters of the heart), and this time he might be getting through, as the grandson heeds his words. The song was written by Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood.

 

Lane soon recorded his own version after leaving the Faces in 1973 with his new group Slim Chance, featuring lyrics slightly altered from those he wrote for the Faces. Although Lane's studio version was never released during his lifetime, it appeared as the title track of the 2014 Slim Chance compilation Ooh La La: An Island Harvest. Lane did however regularly perform the song at concerts and on radio shows throughout his solo career, until he retired from the music business due to bad health in 1993.

Wood also performed the song in his solo concerts from 1987 to 2012.

The Marshall Tucker Band - "Can't You See"



September 10th, 1973. Grand Opera House - Macon, GA. This became the anthem song for The Marshall Tucker Band, similar to "Free Bird" for Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was never a Top 40 hit, but was very popular on Album Oriented Radio (AOR) and continues to get a lot of airplay on Classic Rock stations. The song was named the #1 greatest Southern Rock song ever recorded by Ultimate Classic Rock with Sweet Home Alabama as runner-up. The open in unusual - it starts with the picking of a guitar and the playing of a flute. Jerry Eubanks of the Marshall Tucker Band played the flute, giving the song a very distinctive sound - it's not a common instrument in the world of Southern Rock.

The Eagles - "Best Of My Love"



On The Border was the Eagles third album, and like their first two, they started recording it in London with producer Glyn Johns. This time, the band abandoned the sessions and recorded most of the album with Bill Szymczyk. Glyn Johns thought of the Eagles as an acoustic act, and helped them create several hits with this sound, including "Witchy Woman" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling." The band members, especially Glenn Frey, thought they should be rocking harder, and the Eagles eventually found success with rockers like "Life In The Fast Lane" and "Heartache Tonight." This song was one of two that was leftover from the Glyn Johns sessions and included on On The Border, and it became the Eagles first #1 hit.

This song is often played at weddings and anywhere else one wants to demonstrate affection, but it's really a breakup song: "You see it your way, and I see it mine, and we both see it slipping away." No happy ending here, just a guy who gave it his best, but things didn't work out.

According to Don Henley, he Souther and Frey wrote some of the lyrics over libations at the Los Angeles restaurant Dan Tana's where they were regulars. There, they studied women and relationships. Henley says they were "typical, frustrated, young men" at the time.

Earth, Wind & Fire - "Fantasy"



Earth, Wind & Fire made a smooth transition into the disco era, adapting their R&B sound to the new groove. "Fantasy," written by group members Maurice and Verdine White along with the keyboard player/composer Eddie del Barrio, fit right in at Studio 54, but also had a deeper meaning, which was typical of Maurice White's productions: he would put a message on top of an infectious beat.

Talking about the message in this song, Maurice told Melody Maker: "The song 'Fantasy' is motivated about escapism in the sense of living on a world that is untrue, a world that is unjust, a world that is very selfish and envious, there is a place that everyone can escape to which is their own fantasy. I had to write the song in the sense of sharing this place with people. It's an escape mechanism."

Player - "Baby Come Back"



This was written by Peter Beckett and J. C. Crowley, the two founders of Player. Beckett was the lead singer and guitarist. He is originally from Liverpool, England (home of The Beatles). After the demise of Player, Beckett joined Australia's Little river Band, who included this on a live album. Beckett also wrote "Twist of Fate" for Olivia Newton-John and "After All This Time" for Kenny Rogers.

According to Beckett's webmistress Patricia, he and a girlfriend of five years had broken up, and Beckett wrote the song from what he was feeling in his heart. She told us: "I had asked him if he ever heard from the girl again and he said 'No! Thank God!'"

A staple of soft rock radio, "Baby Come Back" exemplifies what would later be known as "Yacht Rock": mellow, sophisticated (and often maligned) music. Nicholas Niespodziani of the Yacht Rock Revue told us that this song is a crowd-pleaser. "'Baby Come Back' is such a great tune melodically, and the emotion of it really connects with people," he said. "I noticed that when we do it, there's something undeniably sexy about it, and it still works for those dudes all these years later."

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!

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." 

Simon & Garfunkel - "The Sound Of Silence"



Live in Central Park, NY. 1981. Paul Simon was looking for a publishing deal when he presented this song to Tom Wilson at Columbia Records. Wilson thought it could work for a group called The Pilgrims, but Simon wanted to show him how it could work with two singers, so he and and Art Garfunkel sang it to the guys at Columbia Records, who were impressed with the duo and decided to sign them. This was one of the songs Simon & Garfunkel performed in 1964 when they were starting out and playing the folk clubs in Greenwich Village. It was their first hit. Simon & Garfunkel did not write this about the Vietnam War, but by the time it became popular, the war was on and many people felt it made a powerful statement as an anti-war song.

The first recording was an acoustic version on Simon & Garfunkel's first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, which was billed as "exciting new sounds in the folk tradition," and sold about 2000 copies. When the album tanked, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel split up. What they didn't know was that their record company had a plan. Trying to take advantage of the folk-rock movement, Columbia Records had producer Tom Wilson add electric instruments to the acoustic track, and released it as a single. Simon and Garfunkel had no idea their acoustic song had been overdubbed with electric instruments, but it became a huge hit and got them back together. Had Wilson not reworked the song without their knowledge, the duo probably would have gone their separate ways. When the song hit #1 in the States, Simon was in England and Garfunkel was at college. 

Paul Simon took six months to write the lyrics, which are about man's lack of communication with his fellow man.

Source: Songfacts.com

Bob Seger - "Mainstreet"



Live 1980. Rare old time footage of Mainstreet performance. 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.

 

Songfacts.com

Paul McCartney & Billy Joel - "Let It Be"



Live at Shea Stadium, 2008. t takes a lot to upstage Billy Joel at Shea Stadium.
But late on Friday night, nearly three hours into a career-spanning performance advertised as the last concert at Shea before it was to be demolished, Mr. Joel seemed happy to turn over the spotlight to Paul McCartney, who, he said, had just flown in from London. The sold-out crowd of 55,000 people let out an ear-splitting roar as Mr. McCartney sang the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There,” with Mr. Joel singing backup and, fitting his reputation as a self-deprecating rock star, looking on from his piano as if he were just another fan himself. Before beginning “Let It Be,” Mr. McCartney alluded to the Beatles’ first concert at Shea in 1965, the year after the stadium opened.“It’s so cool to be back here on the last night,” he said. “Been here a long time ago — we had a blast that night, and we’re having another one tonight.”

 

The concert was the second of two farewell shows by Mr. Joel, who told the crowd earlier in the night: “They’re tearing this house down. I want to thank you for letting me do the job and keep doing it — the best job in the world.” Mr. McCartney wasn’t the only big guest. The country star Garth Brooks, dressed in a Mets T-shirt, sang Mr. Joel’s “Shameless,” which was a big hit for Mr. Brooks; Steven Tyler of Aerosmith performed “Walk This Way;” and Roger Daltrey of the Who — which played at Shea in 1982 — sang “My Generation” as Mr. Joel smashed a guitar on the center-field stage. Before the show, fans praised Mr. Joel, Long Island’s favorite son, as an approachable superstar whose songs chronicle everyday New York lives and struggles. “Only New Yorkers have a true sense of what he talks about,” said Lauren Marchiano, 26. As an avowed follower of both Mr. Joel and the Mets, she said, the night was doubly poignant for her. 

 

- New York Times 

George Thorogood - "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"



 

7/5/1984 - Capitol Theatre "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" (or "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer") is a blues song written by Rudy Toombs and recorded by Amos Milburn in 1953. It is one of several drinking songs recorded by Milburn in the early 1950s that placed in the top ten of the Billboard R&B chart. Other artists released popular recordings of the song, including John Lee Hooker in 1966 and George Thorogood in 1977.Amos Milburn's "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer" is a mid-tempo blues song, sometimes described as a jump blues, with pop-style chord changes. It tells the story of a man who is "in a bar at closing time trying to get enough booze down his neck to forget that his girlfriend's gone AWOL, harassing a tired, bored bartender who simply wants to close up and go home into serving just one more round". During the one break in the song, Milburn implores the bartender:

One more nip and make it strong
I got to find my baby if it takes all night long
One scotch, one bourbon, one beer

The song was a hit, reaching number two in the R&B chart during a fourteen-week stay in 1953.[1] The single lists the performers as "Amos Milburn and His Aladdin Chickenshackers" after his first number one single "Chicken Shack Boogie". Mickey Baker provided the guitar parts. Several of Milburn's contemporaries commented on his indulgence;[3] for his part, Milburn added "I practiced what I preached".

Don Mclean - "American Pie"



According to McLean (as posted on his website), this song was originally inspired by the death of Buddy Holly. "The Day The Music Died" is February 3, 1959, when Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash after a concert. McLean wrote the song from his memories of the event ("Dedicated to Buddy Holly" was printed on the back of the album cover). The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album was also a huge influence, and McLean has said in numerous interviews that the song represented the turn from innocence of the '50s to the darker, more volatile times of the '60s - both in music and politics.

Talking about how he composed this song when he was a guest on the UK show Songbook, McLean explained: "For some reason I wanted to write a big song about America and about politics, but I wanted to do it in a different way. As I was fiddling around, I started singing this thing about the Buddy Holly crash, the thing that came out (singing), 'Long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.'

I thought, Whoa, what's that? And then the day the music died, it just came out. And I said, Oh, that is such a great idea. And so that's all I had. And then I thought, I can't have another slow song on this record. I've got to speed this up. I came up with this chorus, crazy chorus. And then one time about a month later I just woke up and wrote the other five verses. Because I realized what it was, I knew what I had. And basically, all I had to do was speed up the slow verse with the chorus and then slow down the last verse so it was like the first verse, and then tell the story, which was a dream. It is from all these fantasies, all these memories that I made personal. Buddy Holly's death to me was a personal tragedy. As a child, a 15-year-old, I had no idea that nobody else felt that way much. I mean, I went to school and mentioned it and they said, 'So what?' So I carried this yearning and longing, if you will, this weird sadness that would overtake me when I would look at this album, The Buddy Holly Story, because that was my last Buddy record before he passed away."

This song made the 26-year-old McLean very famous very quickly, which was difficult for the songwriter. McLean was prone to depression, losing his father at age 15 and dealing with a bad marriage when recording the album. So when the song hit, it thrust him into the spotlight and took the focus away from the body of his work. In a 1973 interview with NME, he explained: "I was headed on a certain course, and the success I got with 'American Pie' really threw me off. It just shattered my lifestyle and made me quite neurotic and extremely petulant. I was really prickly for a long time. If the things you're doing aren't increasing your energy and awareness and clarity and enjoyment, then you feel as though you're moving blindly. That's what happened to me. I seemed to be in a place where nothing felt like anything, and nothing meant anything. Literally nothing mattered. It was very hard for me to wake up in the morning and decide why it was I wanted to get up."

 

Source: Songfacts.com  (learn more at songfacts.com) 

Neil Young - "Heart Of Gold"



Live at Farm Aid 1985. 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. By far, this was the biggest hit for Young as a solo artist, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 on March 18, 1972 (the Harvest album went to #1 a week earlier, supplanting Don McLean's American Pie). A very influential musician, he was never too concerned about making hit records. His next-highest Hot 100 entry was his next single, "Old Man," which reached #31.

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.

Source: Songfacts.com

The Eagles - "Rocky Mountain Way"



Live at the Capital Center, 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. 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.

"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."

Joe Walsh described writing the lyrics to this song during an interview with Howard Stern. Walsh explained he had the track recorded but had no ideas for lyrics. He had been living in Colorado after leaving the James Gang over creative differences with the direction of the music. He was mowing his lawn and looking at the Rocky Mountains and the lyrics came to him. He ran inside to write the lyrics but forgot to shut off the lawn mower. The mower ran into his neighbor's yard and ruined the neighbor's garden.

 

credit: songfacts.com

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