Monday, January 23, 2017
Here's one of those songs that I'm sure you have heard since it was a top five hit in 1961. And most folks know nothing about the song or the group that recorded it. The String-A-Longs were from Plainview, TX. Guitarists Keith McCormack and Richard Stephens and bassist Aubrey de Cordova called themselves Patio Kids. McCormack's uncle was their manager. They added a third guitarist Jimmy Torres and changed their name to Rock 'n' Rollers. McCormack's mother paid for a recording session at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, NM. Of course Petty was best known for producing Buddy Holly. They added drummer Don Allen and changed their name to The Leen Teens. McCormack was lead singer. They released a single on Imperial that went nowhere. When McCormack had trouble with his voice at one session, Petty suggested they record an instrumental. He also gave them the name The String-A-Longs. Petty licensed Wheels to Warwick Records and it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. There has been some confusion about the songwriting credit as Warwick mixed them up on the single. Today the song is credited to Petty, Torres and Stephens. Apparently Wheels was a mix of two songs. It hardly mattered as Warwick went bankrupt to avoid paying recording royalties. They do get songwriting royalties. There have been many covers of Wheels, most notably by Billy Vaughn. The singles Brass Buttons and Should I also charted. And The String-A Longs moved to Dot Records and continued to record with little success. This Ace comp has all their early 60s recordings. McCormack and Torres wrote the 1963 Jimmy Gilmer smash hit Sugar Shack. And in 1968 McCormack was a member of The Fireballs when they recorded as The String-A-Longs for Atco. One thing is for sure. Wheels is a memorable instrumental classic. Here's a video for Wheels by The String-A-Longs.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Song:I Luv You Girl
Terius "The-Dream" Nash has had a lot of success as a writer and producer. He has also released a few albums and he had some hits from the 2007 album Love/Hate. He hasn't been as successful recently and he has had record company issues. But he has a new album coming out shortly. He was born Sept. 20, 1977 in Rockingham, NC but he grew up on Atlanta. He learned to play drums and guitar as a child. But his mother's 1992 death inspired Nash to write songs. He lives with his grandfather after his mom died. After writing the song Everything for B2K, producer Laney Stewart got Nash a publishing deal. This is when he started calling himself The-Dream. He also met Laney's brother Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and they have worked together ever since. Nash's first big hit was Rihanna's 2007 smash Umbrella. It's his biggest hit to date. But it got him a record deal with Def Jam. His debut album Love/Hate was released Dec. 2007. He had three top ten R&B hits from the album including I Luv You Girl featuring rapper Young Jeezy. The album was certified Gold. Nash wrote and produced it with Stewart and Carlos "Los da Mystro" McKinney. Rihanna and Fabolous made guest appearances. Nash won Best New Artist at the BET Awards. His 2009 album Love vs Money also did well. Since then his albums haven't done as well though he continues to have a lot of success as a producer especially with Beyonce, Jay-Z and Rihanna. Nash left Def Jam in 2014 and signed with Capitol. He seems to have left Capitol too. He says he has a new CD Love Affair coming in March. But it's not clear how this will be released. He doesn't have a website right now. In a recent interview with Billboard, he complained about racism in the record business. I think he would be better off sticking to writing and producing for others. Who needs the aggravation? Here's the video for I Luv You Girl by The-Dream featuring Young Jeezy.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Eric Paslay had success as a songwriter before releasing his 2014 debut album and scoring a top ten country hit with Friday Night. He has a new album coming out shortly. He was born Jan. 29, 1983 in Abilene, TX and he grew up on Temple. His grandfather had a local band. Paslay started playing guitar as a teen. He moved to Nashville to attend Middle Tennessee State University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree but a music business internship led to a publishing deal. After success writing hits for Jake Owen, Love and Theft and The Eli Young Band, Paslay signed with EMI Nashville. His debut album Eric Paslay was released Feb. 2014. It was produced by veteran producer and session musician Marshall Altman. Altman plays keyboards on the album. Friday Night reached #6 on the Country Singles chart. Paslay wrote the song with Rose Falcon and Rob Crosby who have recorded as solo artists but Crosby in particular has had a lot of success as a songwriter. Friday Night was first recorded by Lady Antebellum in 2011. Paslay's new album Dressed In Black doesn't have a release date but it should be out shortly as Paslay will begin touring in the spring. Two singles have already been released. He's a great songwriter and he will have a long career in Nashville. Here's the video for Friday Night by Eric Paslay.
Friday, January 20, 2017
Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of Warrant
The 1989 power ballad heaven was the biggest hit for the hard rock group Warrant. They faded in the early 90s partially due to the rise of grunge and also a revolving door of personnel changes. Warrant was formed in Los Angeles in 1984 by guitarist Erik Turner. None of the original members stayed with the band. Bassist Jerry Dixon replaced the original bassist. So the band is playing Los Angeles clubs without much success. When lead singer Adam Shore left to form Hot Wheelz, Turner was watching a band called Plain Jane in Sept. 1986. He was impressed with lead singer Jani Lane. So he invited Lane and drummer Steven Sweet to jam in the studio. The key thing was Lane was also a songwriter. Guitarist Joey Allen completed the lineup. This was the band lineup during their prime. So they recorded a demo and signed with Columbia Records in 1988. They were assigned to producer Beau Hill who had success with similar bands like Ratt and Winger. Warrant's debut album Dirty Rotten Stinking Filthy Rich was released Jan. 1989. Heaven was the second single and it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified 2XPlatinum. But there was controversy about if Turner and Allen played guitar on the album. Hill admitted that both guys were weak at guitar solos. So he brought in session musician Mike Slamer to play all the solos. Warrant's second album Cherry Pie was equally successful as it was certified 2XPlatinum. Cherry Pie and I Saw Red were both top ten hits. With the 1991 album Dog Eat Dog, the rise of grunge began to affect Warrant negatively. It didn't do as well as the first two albums and there were no hit singles. Columbia dropped them and Lane left to go solo. This budget comp has all their hits. Allen and Sweet left. Lane recorded a solo album that was never released so he returned to Warrant in 1994. They recorded two albums that didn't sell. There were more departures and Lane left and released a solo album in 2002. Lane attempted to form his own version of Warrant but he was threatened with legal action. He formed a new group Saints of the Underground and they released an album in 2008. He returned to Warrant in 2008 for a tour but he would only stay a few months. Lane died of acute alcohol poisoning on Aug. 11, 2011 at age 47. Except for lead singer Robert Mason, the Warrant on tour is the same band that was popular in 1989. They last recorded in 2012 but it says on their website that they are planning to record soon. Here's the video for Heaven by Warrant.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
|Shizuka Sugiyama, Yukari Nabe|
Song:Once Bitten Twice Shy
The hard rock group Great White scored their biggest chart hit with the 1989 single Once Bitten Twice Shy. They were very successful as an album and concert draw. Unfortunately, their success is overshadowed by the tragic 2003 fire in Rhode Island that killed a hundred people. Great White are from Los Angeles. Singer Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall met in 1977. They formed a band that ended in 1979 when Russell was sentenced to eight years in prison for a botched robbery. Kendall formed a new band Dante Fox but when the singer left, he discovered that Russell was released from prison. They hired manager Alan Niven who had success with Motley Crue. He suggested the name Great White because of Kendall's very light blonde hair. The band was Russell, Kendall, bassist Lorne Black and drummer Gary Holland. They released an EP and played local clubs. They signed with Capitol and their debut album was released in 1984. Holland was replaced by Audie Desbrow and keyboard player Michael Lardie joined for the 1986 album Shot In The Dark. By the time Once Bitten is released in 1987, Great White has built enough of a following through constant touring that the album was certified Platinum. Black was replaced by Tony Cardenas AKA Tony Montana. The 1989 album Twice Shy was an even bigger hit. It was certified 2XPlatinum. Once Bitten Twice Shy reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. And now they are headlining shows for the first time. Though Russell and Kendall usually wrote all of Great White's songs, Once Bitten Twice Shy was written and first recorded by Mott The Hoople leader Ian Hunter in 1975. Then Great White started to fade and after two more albums, they left Capitol. This budget comp covers their Capitol hits. After three albums on three different labels, Kendall left Great White in 2000. Russell attempted to keep the band going and they were going to record for Columbia. But it was scrapped and Russell announced the end of Great White in Dec. 2001. Russell and Kendall recorded solo. But when that went nowhere, Russell revived Great White as Jack Russell's Great White. It was during this tour that the fire happened on Feb. 20, 2003 at The Station in Warwick, RI. Pyrotechnics caused the fire. One hundred people died including Great White guitarist Ty Longley. After that the band played concerts to benefit the victims families. Russell went into rehab for alcohol and cocaine. And he also had a facelift that was chronicled on Extra. Great White reformed in 2006 and there are now two bands. Great White is led by Mark Kendall and there is Jack Russell's Great White. Both are currently touring and Great White plans to record. Russell has released a few singles. Here's the video for Once Bitten Twice Shy by Great White.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Song:Life's Been Good
Album:The Definitive Collection
Guitarist Joe Walsh is best known for his days with The James Gang and Eagles. But he has also had a successful solo career and as an in demand session musician. Life's Been good was his biggest hit single in 1978. He was born Joseph Fidler Nov. 20, 1947 in Wichita, KS. His mother was a classically trained pianist. After his father died in a plane crash, he took his stepfather's name Walsh. Walsh grew up on Columbus, OH and then his family moved to Montclair, NJ and that's where he attended high school. He was in the popular local band The Nomads. While attending Kent State University, Walsh played in several bands in the Cleveland area, especially The Measles. They released a couple of singles. Then Walsh got involved in what would eventually be The James Gang. They signed with ABC Records in 1969. This was when Walsh first met producer Bill Szyczmyk who would go on to produce Eagles. The James Gang appeared in the 1969 film Zachariah. They had success in the early 70s with hits like Funk #49 and Walk Away. Walsh left The James Gang in Dec. 1971. He was invited to replace Peter Frampton in Humble Pie. But Walsh decided against that and he moved to Boulder, CO to form Barnstorm. They released two albums though both were marketed by ABC as Walsh solo albums. The 1973 album The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get did very well featuring the hit single Rocky Mountain Way. Barnstorm split up in 1974 and Walsh released the album So What. It was around that time that Szyczmyk suggested that Walsh should replace Bernie Leadon in Eagles. He has been a member ever since. But Walsh has continued to record solo. He moved to Asylum Records for the 1978 album But Seriously, Folks... The single Life's Been Good is about the life of a rock star. It reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is Walsh's biggest hit to date. He also scored the 1980 top 20 hit All Night Long from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack. You can get all of Walsh's hits on this budget comp. Walsh continued with Eagles and recording solo. He has also toured with Ringo Starr & His All Star Band. Walsh's latest CD Analog Man was released 2012 on Fantasy Records. Beginning in April, he will be part of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 40th Anniversary tour. Here's Joe Walsh performing Life's Been Good on Night Music 1988.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Album:The Best Of Volume 1
Silverchair was one of the more durable bands of the 90s. Tomorrow was their first single in 1995 and it's also their biggest hit. Silverchair is from Newcastle, Australia. They were teens when they were formed in 1992 as Innocent Criminals. Lead singer Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies were schoolmates. They met bassist Chris Joannou at Newcastle High School. At first they were a cover band but then Johns and Gillies started writing songs. Their big break came when their demo for Tomorrow got them on a competition called Pick Me on the SBS TV show Nomad. They changed their name to Silverchair for the show. The name comes from The Chronicles Of Narnia series. After winning the contest, Silverchair signed with Sony's Murmur label. Tomorrow was first released on an EP. Producer Kevin Shirley had Silverchair re-record Tomorrow for their 1995 debut CD Frogstomp. The single was a worldwide smash hit including topping the Billboard Hot 100. The album Frogstomp was certified 2XPlatinum. Tomorrow would turn out to be Silverchair's biggest hit. They had one other top five hit Abuse Me from the 1997 album Freak Show. They recorded three albums for Sony and then signed with Atlantic for the 2002 CD Diorama. This budget comp covers their Sony recordings. After touring to support Diorama, Silverchair went on hiatus. They returned and released a CD on their own label in 2007. By this time, Silverchair are still a big deal in Australia but not anywhere else. They continued to tour and attempted to record their next album. But they stopped recording and announced they were splitting up in 2011. Johns released a solo CD in 2015. Gillies leads his band Bento. Joannou seems to have left the music business. Gillies says the final Silverchair album was almost finished when they split up so it may still be released. Here's the video for Tomorrow by Silverchair.