Happy 79th to Capitol Records

On this day in 1942, Johnny Mercer and Glenn Wallichs launched Capitol Records in the United States. Wallichs was the man who invented the art of record promotion by sending copies of new releases to disc jockeys. It wasn’t until 13 years later, in 1955, that the now famous Capitol Records building was built.

The first artist to record at Capitol was Martha Tilton in April of 1942. She recorded the song “Moon Dreams”

Capitol Records was home to some of the biggest musical artists in history! Here are just a few:

Nat King Cole –

(Mona Lisa, A Blossom Fell, Answer Me My Love, Unforgettable)

Louis Prima and Keely Smith –

(Just a Gigolo, Old Black Magic, Jump Jive & Wail, What is This Thing Called Love)

Peggy Lee –

(‘Deed I Do, Fever, Big Spender)

Dean Martin –

(That’s Amore, Return To Me, On An Evening in Roma)

Frank Sinatra –

(One For My Baby, I Get a Kick Out of You, Love & Marriage, All The Way, Young At Heart)

The Beach Boys –

(Help Me Rhonda, Fun Fun Fun, Surfin’ USA)

The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney –

(TOO many to list!)

Stan Freberg

St. George and the Dragonet, Yellow Rose of Texas, Heartbreak Hotel, The Great Pretender)

The Bee Gees, Garth Brooks, The Letterman, Jerry Lewis, Heart, Al Martino, Johnny Mercer, The Steve Miller Band, Katy Perry, Sammy Davis Jr., Tennessee Ernie Ford, Gene Vincent, Bob Seger …. The list goes on and on!

So many amazing singers and talents sang in the Capitol Records studios. Happy Birthday!!

Super Tune Top Ten

It’s been awhile since I posted a musical blog, so in a way this is overdue. In a way, it is also sort of a twist on a combination of older blogs.

What Prompted This Blog?

While I wouldn’t consider my daughter a “TV Head,” PBS Kids or Disney Channel is usually on in the background while Sam and I play with her. Sam has the PBS Kids app on her phone and every once in a while, she will watch a show on there. She knows that every time she presses a new character, the new show will play.

There are three shows on the app that are Super Hero oriented: Hero Elementary, Super Why!, and Word Girl. As Ella presses the buttons, she usually listens to the theme songs and then moves to another show. For whatever it is worth, she must have played the theme song to Word Girl about 6 times in a row the other day. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a pretty cool theme song. I love the driving bass line and horns in it! Give it a listen:

Kudos to the gal singing that! Those are some pretty difficult lyrics to sing that fast.

Anyway, that song got me to thinking about how most super heroes have cool theme songs. So I thought I would present my Top 10 Super Hero Theme Songs. I’m sure yours may differ from mine. Feel free to comment with your favorites, your top 10, or ones you feel I missed….

10. The Greatest American Hero

Probably the wimpiest Super Hero ever, I agree! However, the song went all the way up to #2 on the charts for Joey Scarbury. It also was so popular that George Constanza created his answering machine message to the tune of it…

Fun Fact – William Katt is the son of actress Barbara Hale, who played Della Street on Perry Mason.

9. Batman Movie Theme (1989)

This ominous theme song by Danny Elfman set the tone for the Batman movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Obviously, this is MUCH darker and more serious than the 1966 incarnation.

The Elfman score got it’s entire album. Some of the music went on to be a part of Batman: The Animated Series, and can be heard in many video games, too.

8. The Super Friends

Ok, maybe this is cheating a bit. This show contains many super heroes who will appear on this list separately with there own theme. However, this was the show that introduced me to many of them. From 1973-1986, there were 7 different versions of the Super Friends. The great Ted Knight (of Caddyshack and Too Close For Comfort fame) did the narration until 1977, when Bill Woodson took over.

As a bonus – here are all 7 intros to the show….

I never understood why the first series had Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog. They were more annoying than anything. I was never really fond of Aquaman, either, but thought Norman Alden (who voiced him) was a great actor.

7. Underdog

I saw this in reruns/syndication. It originally ran from 1964 to 1967, and again in syndication until 1973. The theme song may have been one of the first songs I learned how to sing. I loved Underdog as a kid, but never realized he spoke in rhyme until much later.

George S. Irving (the voice of Heat Miser in the Year Without a Santa Claus) was the narrator and Wally Cox voiced Underdog. Fun Fact: TV Guide ranked Underdog as number 23 on its “50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time” list

6. Superman

I remember seeing this in the theater. I was probably not in band yet, but I remember the trumpet fanfare opening of this song and it really caught my attention. I will forever think of this song when I think of Superman.

This is just one of MANY great movie themes written by the great John Williams (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc…)

5. Wonder Woman

Let me be clear – the TV show Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter was one of my first celebrity crushes. She was (and still is) one of the most beautiful women. The theme for the show is just “funky.” “In your satin tights, fighting for your rights, and the ole red white and blue….” The running bass line throughout the song and 70’s “gospel-ish” singers singing her name – what’s not to love?

Fun fact: Lyle Waggoner, who plays Steve Trevor, once did a screen test to play TV’s Batman!

4. The Incredibles

Yes, the entire family has a theme song – and it is awesome! The film score was composed by Michael Giacchino. The film’s director, Brad Bird, was looking for a specific sound as inspired by the film’s design — the future as seen from the 1960s. It truly is a musical masterpiece.

Full Credits Score is here – The horns in this are just amazing!!

3. Hong Kong Phooey

How can a theme song sung by the legendary Scatman Crothers not make the list? Ok, to be fair, I might be a little biased. This show only aired in 1974 (and in syndication until 1976), and it is technically only 40 seconds long, but it’s cool! It’s “groovy!” The “number one super guy” had to be on my list ….

Fun Fact: The band Subline covered this song in 1995.

2. Batman (1966)

In 1966, the campiness of Batman took the TV world by storm! Adam West was Batman, Burt Ward was Robin and the celebrity villains were larger than life. The theme song for Batman was created by Neal Hefti. The guitar riff is instantly recognizable. The song was a top 20 hit for him, despite the fact that the lyrics consisted of repeating “Batman” over and over and over….

Here is the “hit” version:

The TV version:

The Marketts also scored a top 20 hit with their version:

Fun Fact: Give the Beatles “Taxman” a listen and see if you can hear a Batman influence. George Harrison based the music for that song on the Batman theme. He was a big fan of the show.

and…..

#1 Spiderman

No surprise to anyone who knows me. This is one of the “baddest” and “coolest” theme songs. While I think there are other super heroes who are cooler than Spidey, he certainly has my favorite theme song! “Is he strong, listen bud, he’s got radioactive blood” – what a great line!!!

The original theme is cool, and then Michael Buble’ comes along and throws an amazing Big Band arrangement of it….. I absolutely love this! I wish I had the sheet music for this. Check out his cover:

Fun fact: The Ramones covered this, too, in 1995.

Ok, so what ones did I miss?

Guest Blogger: Beatles Songs Covered (Max – Part 2)

Making his triumphant return this week to my blog is my pal Max. His blog can be found here:

https://powerpop.blog/

Last week, he presented a blog of his favorite Beatles songs that were cover songs (songs originally done by other artists). This week, he looks at the other side of the coin. Here now, is his presentation of great covers of Beatles songs by other artists. I hope you enjoy it! Take it away, Max…

Beatle Songs By Others …

Hello everyone welcome back this week for the conclusion of the Beatlefest on Keith’s site. Today I’m going to list my favorite Beatle covers. Although I like these a lot…I usually still go with the Beatles version. There is one that I do like better than the original…and that is…well you will just have to read on. I did include some live versions of songs. 

I added two at the bottom as runner ups but they just as well could have been in this list. Many songs could have been…depending on which day I was deciding. . I never thought about how many covers there were out there until Hanspostcard started to have a series on Beatle covers…there are a bunch! (KEITH: Hans posted some rare ones that I have never heard before!)

10: Aerosmith – Come Together...Aerosmith did a good job on this song. They didn’t stray too far at all from the original off of Abbey Road. This song was the one good thing about the movie Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band…there weren’t very many bright spots. Peter Frampton fighting Steven Tyler on film was also a keeper. (KEITH: I certainly love this one – but their cover of “I’m Down” is my favorite!)

9: Chris Cornell  – You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away – Chris’s voice is incredible in this and it’s the way he phrases that I like so much…it’s a lot of depth and feel in his version. Eddie Vedder also has a good version. (KEITH: Great song, but I tend to lean toward the original)

8: Fats Domino – Lady Madonna – This song sounds like it was written just for Fats Domino. He did a great job. He did a wonderful job every  time he covered the Beatles. (KEITH: Fats was one of the great influences of Beatles music. I would tend to agree that this really sounds more like a Fats song)

7: Emmylou Harris – For No One – I can listen to anything she sings but on this she re-worked the song in her own way and it works great. I was told about this cover by Aphoristical a year or so ago and ever since…I’ve wore it out. It puts a new light on the song. (KEITH: I have a buddy, Ken, who just loves Emmylou. Because of our many conversations about her, I stumbled on this one. Great voice.)

6: Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out – Stevie puts his incredible spin on this song and lifts it up. (KEITH: Love that Stevie really made this on his own!)

5: While My Guitar Gently Weeps – At the 2004 Hall of Fame Inductions you had Tom Petty, Dhani Harrison, Jeff Lynn, Steve Winwood, and Prince. Prince stole this performance with his amazing solo…you could tell Dhani (George Harrison’s son) was really enjoying it. (KEITH: When I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a year or so ago, they played the video of this amazing song. Prince – WOW!)

4: Al Green – I Want To Hold Your Hand – I would have never put these two together but Al Green turns his version of I Want To Hold Your Hand into an Al Green song. (KEITH: How can you co wrong with Al Green + The Beatles?!)

3: Johnny Cash – In My Life – This version is heartbreaking to listen to knowing that Cash was looking hard at his own mortality. (KEITH: That was my thoughts exactly when I heard this cut. Johnny is VERY reflective in his vocal…)

2: Wilson Pickett – Hey Jude – Duane Allman was a studio musician at Muscle Shoals when he brought this up as a single to Wilson Pickett. The Beatles version was still on the charts at the time. No one wanted to do it but Wilson agreed when he heard Duane’s version.  They re-worked it and it worked. After Eric Clapton heard this version he wanted to know who the guitar player was at the end of the song. That is how Eric found out about Duane Allman. (KEITH: The Wicked Mr. Pickett! This one has been a favorite of mine for some time. )

1: Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends – This is the one cover that I like better than the Beatles original. He turned the song into a show stopper. (KEITH: A Cocker Classic! I agree, Max. Such a powerful cut!)

Runner Ups

Larkin and Poe – In My Life – Christian at christiansmusicmusings turned me on to. This one is a lovely version of In My Life. (KEITH: Have never heard this one before – but I like it!)

Aretha Franklin – Eleanor Rigby – She is the one and only Queen of Soul. My favorite female singer of all time. She turns this into a soul song. (KEITH: Everything she touched was gold! She was amazing! Great cut. I would say that Ray Charles version is equally as good!)

THANKS, MAX!

I want to take a moment and thank Max for taking the time to write for my blog. I guess I need to write my Beatles Blog now.

Guest Blogger: My Buddy Max

As I announced a few blogs ago, I am happy to present to you a blog written by my pal, Max. I stumbled on his blog when I first started blogging. I found he and I were around the same age, loved the same music, TV shows, and movies and we’ve become very good friends. You can find his blog here: https://powerpop.blog/

I mentioned that I have wanted to write a blog on the Beatles for some time. Max is quite a Beatles fan, too. I thought he’d be the perfect guy to write a Beatles blog for me. Actually, he’s gonna do two! He recently interviewed me for his blog regarding my radio career, so he kind of owed me at least one blog! LOL. So without any further ado, here’s Max and the first “official” Beatles blog on this page …

COVER SONGS BY THE BEATLES

Hello everyone! I want to thank Keith (nostaligicitalian) for allowing me to interview him for my blog. Keith mentioned to me about guest hosting his blog. I’m sorry to say this to all the readers, but I will be here twice! What I’m going to do is list my top 10 songs that the Beatles covered (today)…and my top 10 songs that people covered of the Beatles (next Saturday). I want to thank Keith for thinking enough of me to let me share this.

I first found the Beatles when I was 8 years old (in 1975) and have read and listened to them ever since. Their original songs are what set them apart from everyone else then and now, but they did play some interesting covers. 

The Beatles did mostly covers when they played Liverpool and Hamburg before their fame. They had great taste picking them and they also did some B sides because they wanted to do songs every other Liverpool band wasn’t doing. Although I’m a huge Beatles fan…I’m not suggesting that any of these are better than the original (Except a couple). In some cases though the Beatles brought attention to the song which the original artists were usually really grateful.

I’m only listing songs that were on studio albums not any live albums like Live at the BBC. So lets get this started!

10: Please Mr. Postman – The Marvelettes version will always be my favorite of this one…and I remember the Carpenters did it also in the 70s. 

The Beatles version was good, but I have heard a live version that is a little more up. Would American audiences be interested in a young white British group covering a black R&B pop smash hit? Capitol Records didn’t think so. They decided against including the song on their first album “Meet The Beatles!” for just that reason.

 After three million copies of the album had been sold by mid March, Capitol was ready to rush-release another album to cash in on the excitement. And you better believe they included “Please Mister Postman” on that next release, “The Beatles’ Second Album.”

9: Bad Boy – For me this is punk Beatles. John’s voice carries this song. They were in the middle of filming Help! when Capital Records in America requested a few more songs. 

They went back in their Hamburg/Cavern days and picked two to record – Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Bad Boy. The Beatles don’t stray too far from the original Larry Williams rendition of the song while compensating for the saxophone and piano dominated arrangement with guitars and subtle organ/electric keyboard work…it is a bit more energetic than the original. (KEITH: I actually had no idea this was a cover song, until I bought a Larry Williams album!)

8: Slow Down – Larry Williams wrote this song. They recorded 3 of his songs. More than any other songwriter but themselves. 

There was no internet or a good way to get lyrics back then. Ted “King-Size” Taylor from the rival Liverpool group The Dominoes remembers that The Beatles all sat in a row and took down one line each of all the songs they did… Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Slow Down all of those – and “the next time we saw them they were playing all our stuff.” (KEITH: I never heard this story!! That’s great!!!)

7: Money – It fit their style perfectly but John sounded as if he held back a little on this one. I still like it but it probably could have been better.

The Beatles performed the song live, vocals and all, for six full takes until everyone was satisfied. George Martin play piano on this song. (KEITH: Barrett Strong’s version was a staple on Michigan oldies stations. It was written by Barry Gordy and was the first Motown hit!)

6: Dizzy Miss Lizzy – This is one of the first guitar riffs I learned on guitar. It’s simple and if played right it can light up a club or bar. A song written by Larry Williams, John Lennon would later cover this live in 1969 at the concert in Toronto. 

This was recorded on the same day as Bad Boy. (KEITH: I think the Beatles version of this has a bit more “oomph” to it. Larry’s version sounds weak in comparison.)

5: Long Tall Sally – Paul did his Little Richard best on this song. They were playing this song way back in 1957.

Long Tall Sally has the longest legacy of all the songs in The Beatles catalog, but that is the song held an affectionate place in the hearts of The Beatles all of those years. (KEITH: What a vocal on this one! Paul knocks it out of the park!)

4: Rock and Roll Music – I was introduced to the song by the Beatles.

Their backs were up against a wall. They were not able to compose enough material on such short notice to fill an entire album. So they were happy to record their renditions of some of their favorites. “Rock And Roll Music” fit the bill. It’s another song that they knew well. They kept playing this song through their touring career. (KEITH: A classic by Chuck Berry, however, the Beatles kick it up a notch. Such a great sound to this one.)

3: Roll Over Beethoven – Everything from George’s guitar to his vocals are spot on in this Chuck Berry cover. “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’” John Lennon.

They had perfected this song on stage during the last seven years. It was the first of two numbers immortalized by The Beatles from the catalog of the most influential songwriter/performer of the fifties…Chuck Berry. (KEITH: The song itself is a great track. I always though the Beatles version was better than Chuck’s. If I had to pick a favorite version – it might be the version by ELO.)

2: Twist and Shout – John Lennon sounds demented in this song in all the right ways. It was the last song they cut that night after recording the entire album and John just got through it. They adapted the original arrangement within their limited ‘guitar-bass-drums’ format and did so very well.

Although The Beatles’ adaptation was a direct reflection of the hit version by The Isley Brothers, I feel safe to say that this version became the definitive version of the song. (KEITH: I would agree. How can you even touch this version of Twist and Shout?!)

1: You Really Got A Hold On Me – This is my personal favorite. The popular opinion would probably be on Twist and Shout as being the best song they covered…and  I think John was beyond great on that…but these harmonies are hard to beat on this one. You can’t compare Smokey to anyone…but the versions are apples and oranges. 

It had been recently recorded by its writer Smokey Robinson and The Miracles and first hit the charts only earlier that year, debuting on the Billboard singles chart on January 12, 1963. Yet just over six months later, The Beatles chose to translate the song themselves. This was the first song they chose to record for the album. They do a unique version of it that has stuck with me. Below we have a bonus…an isolated vocal of this song. (KEITH: I like their version better than Smokey’s. Cool vocal track. Never heard it before. Thanks for sharing.)

More next week….

Thanks, Max!

These are some of my absolute favorite Beatles cuts!

I’m looking forward to Max’s follow up next week, which will feature songs by the Beatles that were covered by other artists! I hope you are, too!!

Tunes from Toons

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I spent a lot of time in the car with my sons this past weekend.  My oldest son asked me if I remembered some of the shows he used to watch as a kid.  We began listing the shows he and his brother watched and had many laughs as we remembered specific episodes.  This led to us talking about songs from shows. With every song we recalled, the more I thought about the possibility of it being a topic for a blog.

The picture above may be a little misleading.  The Beatles cartoons all featured a Beatles song.  There were cartoons that were about bands like Josie and the Pussycats, Jabberjaw, Butch Cassidy, The Banana Splits, The Archies, and The Chipmunks.  I am not talking about these cartoons.  This blog is about songs that were featured in cartoons NOT about bands.

The songs I wrote down are all songs that I remember instantly when I think about these cartoons.  They are NOT the theme songs to the cartoons themselves, although many of those theme songs are just awesome.  Some of these songs will stem from cartoons my kids watched, while many will be from toons I watched growing up.

I also want to point out that these songs are NOT from movies.  Almost every Disney film has 2-5 songs that come from them.  Yes, they are animated cartoons, but I am specifically talking about non-movie songs.

Let me start with a classic.  In the Bugs Bunny cartoon “Hillbilly Hare”, an innocent square dance becomes a physical brawl between two brothers (thanks to Bugs).  This scene and song was something my morning show partner and I talked about on the air one day!

My brother grew up watching Animaniacs.  We always laughed that they had a character based on Perry Como, who they called Perry Coma. Anyway, they have a few songs that stand out – one naming all the countries in the world, another naming all the presidents (up to Clinton, if I remember right), and one naming the all the states and their capitals.  I wish I had this song to memorize when I was growing up.

There was a season of Scooby Doo where they would play songs during the “chase scenes”.  There was always one song that stood out for me.  I never knew the name of it until I found it on an album of Scooby Doo songs.  It was called “Tell Me, Tell Me”.  Remember this one?

My boys watched a lot of SpongeBob Squarepants.  There were some episodes that were very funny, and others I found extra annoying.  One song from this show that my boys just loved was “Sweet Victory”, which they performed at the “Bubble Bowl”

They weren’t all “Rock” songs, but the Flintstones certainly had a few that stick out to me.  Hoagy Carmichael (one of the great songwriters of all time) appeared as himself on the show and sang “Yabba Dabba Doo”, there was the Soft Soap jingle, “Listen to the Rockin’ Bird”, and my favorite – The Bedrock Twitch, sung by Rock Roll (or in this clip, Fred).

There are some who would argue that the best song from the Flintstones came from Pebbles and Bamm Bamm, so here is that one.

There was one song from the Jetsons that I always remember.  Judy loves singer Jet Screamer (played by Howie Morris).  Elroy’s secret code gets sent into a song writing contest and becomes his next hit record.  Remember Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah?

An earworm that drove parents everywhere crazy came from the Ren & Stimpy Show.  Time to get Happy Happy with Stinky Wizzleteats…

The Simpson’s has had their share of amazing music in their over 30 years on the air.  There have even been albums of just music from the show.  There is one little gem that I can’t get enough of – and it is only about 45 seconds long.  Homer becomes a Stonecutter and they have their own song!  Yes, I often hit repeat when this comes on the iPod.

Ok, technically, this entire cartoon is a song.  I have to include it on my list, because, well, it’s my list and I love this!  Stan Freberg tells the story of the Three Little Bops with music by Shorty Rogers!

If I had to pick one cartoon that I LOVED watching with my kids, it would be Phineas and Ferb.  If you have never seen the show, its just plain fun with a new song in almost every episode.  Candace is always trying to bust her brothers (Phineas and Ferb – who make the most out of every single day of summer) while Perry (their pet platypus – who is also a secret agent) tries to save the Tri-State area from the evil scientist Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

There are many songs I could pick from (My Undead Mummy and Me, My Nemesis, My Goody Two Shoes Brother, Busted, S.I.M.P – Squirrels In My Pants, and Perry’s Theme), but I will turn to one of their early episodes for my favorite.

In one episode, Flop Starz, they decide to write a hit song.  Their mom explains what a “one hit wonder” is and they are off to write it!  The result – Gitchee Gitchee Goo.  The song itself has been reviewed by critics who have said that the song could have easily been a hit song!

Your turn.  What songs do YOU remember from your favorite cartoon shows?

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Back in Time?

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All writers get writer’s block.  I am hardly a “writer”, but sometimes stare at the blank page and wonder what to write about.  Since I began blogging, I have stumbled on blogs written by others who share some of the same interests as me.  I have followed blogs that feature movies, TV, music, nostalgia, positive thoughts & quotes, and more.  There have been many instances where I read another blog and an idea will pop into my head.  My friend Max and I tend to “borrow” ideas from each other often.

Many ideas I adapt from those blogs.  For this blog I am literally stealing the idea, and giving credit, and creating some rules for it.  The Anxious Teacher wrote a blog after watching Back to the Future III.  You can read it here:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/94480307/posts/2458827458

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What a great idea for a blog!  If you had a time machine – where would you travel?  As I thought about this, I wanted to limit myself to a few things.  First of all, because I have watched the Back to the Future movies, I know that if you go back and change something in the past – it will affect the future.  So Limit #1:  If I go back, I am simply there to observe.  Many of the things I thought I would like to go back and witness happened over a period of time, so Limit #2 – no real time limit.  Limit #3 – wherever I go, I will be dressed appropriately as to not raise suspicion.  I know, it’s silly, but it’s my blog and my rules.

I actually thought about adding what I would call the “Ebenezer Scrooge” element to this.  What is that?  Well, remember when Scrooge was transported into the past, present & future?  He could witness everything, but he could not interact with anyone.  Those events happened and the people were not aware he was even there.  Perhaps that would be the best thing, right?  That way, if I went back in time, I would not be tempted to change things.

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General times and places

As my blogger friend said, I think it would be very cool to visit the old west.  I have watched many westerns on TV and in the movies.  I have read many books set in the old west.  I think it would be pretty cool to walk through one of those western towns.  How cool would it be to visit the saloons, or the general store?  I think it would be cool to don a cool cowboy hat, boots & spurs and ride a horse to get from place to place.

I also think it would be cool to visit the ancient times and watch the building of the pyramids, or buildings like the coliseum.  Those historic buildings are still standing.  How awesome would it be to see just how they put them together?

As someone who has been a huge fan of the 1950’s, I would love to live a year or two in this decade.  It’s fun to see how the ’50s are portrayed in movies like Back to the Future, and I would love to see it in person.  I would love to hear the old radio stations playing those early rock and roll songs.  I would love to see those classic films in a theater.  I would love to have a meal at a real 50’s diner or drive a classic car!

I would love to visit the 1940’s, too!  The music of the great band leaders, the early music of Sinatra, and of course, those great old radio shows! Of course, World War II was going on, but it would be interesting to see how life in America was at that time.

Everyone wants to visit the future … that peaks my interest, but is it something I would do?  I don’t know.  I’d be tempted to come back to the present and use the information for personal gain, or to alter outcomes.   I’m not sure visiting the future would be something I’d want to do – unless I knew it was something specific I wouldn’t be able to see.

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General People of Interest

I would love to watch Beethoven or Bach (or any composer, really) writing and composing a piece of their music.

I would love to watch someone like Edgar Allen Poe or William Shakespeare writing a poem or story.

I would love to sit on a set and watch them shooting a Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy film.

I would love to be in the room where the First Continental Congress held meetings and watch men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others in action.

I would love to attend a taping of an old episode of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or a taping of the Dean Martin Show.

I would love to be in the audience at a Rat Pack show in Chicago or Las Vegas.  Come on!  Dean, Frank and Sammy!!

I would love to be an extra in one of my favorite movies.

I would love to watch Elvis in the recording studio.

I would love to watch Thomas Edison working on the phonograph or the electric light.

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Specific Events

I would love to watch the moon landing (on TV or from space).

I would love to watch the first flight with the Wright Brothers.

I would love to see JFK’s inauguration.

I would love to see a Beatles concert.

I would love to see Lincoln deliver his Gettysburg Address.

I would love to witness the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I would love to witness the launch of Titanic on her maiden voyage.

I would love to be in the stands at Tiger Stadium at the final game of the 1984 World Series.

I would love to be in the crowd at 1985’s Live Aid concert.

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Personal Things

I know I put some limits on what can or cannot happen if I went back in time, but if there were no limits there are a few things I would like to do with that time machine.

I would love one more conversation with my mom.

I would love one more pinochle game with grandma and grandpa.

I would love one more Christmas Eve with grandma and grandpa.

I would love one more radio show with Rob.

I would love one more cribbage game with my grandpa.

I would love to play my trumpet in one more high school band concert.

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Just One Day

For whatever reason, writing this blog made me think of the Nat King Cole song, “That Sunday, That Summer”.  The lyrics of the song say:

“If I had to chose just one day, to last my whole life through, it would surely be that Sunday, the day that I met you.”

With a time machine, you could go back to one day.  You could pick the day.  You could relive whatever happened that day.  What day would that be?

I don’t know that I could pick just one.

What I do know is that there are plenty of days that I am looking forward to that haven’t happened yet – the birth of my daughter, the graduations of my sons, etc…. I am perfectly content moving forward and experiencing the days to come.

Here is sit, remembering the past – loving the present – and looking forward to the future.

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Time. Life. Death. Ripples.

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The longest song I ever played on the air was Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie which is just over 18 minutes long.  We played this on the classic rock station (and sometimes on the oldies station) every Thanksgiving.  To those who love the song, it was the perfect length.  To those who hated the song, it went on too long.  Their feelings about the song depended on their perception of time.  (Incidentally, the shortest song I ever played on the radio was Her Majesty by the Beatles.  I think it clocks in at just over 20 seconds long.)

Time. I have found myself thinking a lot about time over the past month or so. I have had the word “time” written on my list of blog topics for a while, but have never felt that I am ready to blog about it.  In all honesty, I am still not ready, but I had to write something to clear my head.

There is no shortage of great quotes about time:

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” – William Penn

“Time isn’t the main thing.  It’s the only thing” – Miles Davis

“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted” – John Lennon

“Lost time is never found again” – Benjamin Franklin

Time is one of those things that is constantly moving.  It moves second by second.  Hour by hour.  Day by day.  Year by year. The truth of the matter is that time is constant.  3 minutes is 3 minutes.  How one perceives that 3 minutes depends on the situation.  In some cases, 3 minutes can feel like 10 minutes. In others it can feel like just 1 minute.  Think of an 8 hour work day and compare it to 8 hours on vacation.  Vacation time is flying by while the clock at work moves slowly.

Earlier this month, Facebook was flooded with “First Day of School” pictures.  My friends posted pictures with captions that read: “Where did the time go?”, “Wasn’t she just in kindergarten?”, “How did he grow up so fast?”, and “Last First Day of School”.  I can relate to that last one as my oldest son started his Senior year this year.  My Facebook “Memories” feed has been full of my own kid’s “first day of school” pictures, and I, too, have wondered those same questions.

So why am I rambling about time??

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In my 49 years on this planet, I have lost many people close to me, many at a young age.  Some of them, I have blogged about: my mom (who was only 58),  my grandpa (mom’s dad, also 58), my radio buddy, Rob (only 56), and my Uncle Tom (just 68).  This week, I found out a good friend passed away unexpectedly at only 47 and another friend was basically told her days are numbered – she is 48.  I can’t imagine how time will proceed for her.

I understand that death is a part of life.  I am reminded of a quote from my psychology class that said, “The hardest part of losing someone isn’t having to say goodbye, but rather learning to live without them – always having to fill the void, the emptiness that’s left inside your heart when they go.”  This is so true.  Leo Buscaglia said, “Death is a challenge.  It tells us not to waste time.”  Also true.  Bruce Lee, who died at the young age of 32, said, “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” 

I sit here staring at this computer screen and my thoughts are all over the place.  Is this blog about Time or Death?  I don’t know.  I guess they both tie together somehow in my mind.  I guess Life also ties in with them.  “Live every day as if it were your last. Someday, you’ll be right.” That quote, which I read on the band room announcement grease board 31 years ago, will always remain with me.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that those three things (life, death, and time) do all go together.  Looking back at the people I have quoted, they have all passed away, yet their words are still here making an impact.  I guess this proves the quote of another person who is no longer here.  The late author Terry Pratchett says this: “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”  

I still talk about my mom – ripples.

I still tell stories about my Uncle Tom – ripples.

I still laugh along with Rob when I listen to our old shows – ripples.

Thinking of my buddy Rob, I remember ad-libbing a poem on the air about an upcoming station event.  He looked at me and his Elvis character voice he said to me, “Man! You’re a real Carl Sandburg today.”  It’s probably a coincidence that I have a Carl Sandburg quote about time to share:

“Time is the coin of your life.  It’s the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg

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As I re-read this blog, I realize that it is a jumbled mess of thoughts.  For that I apologize to anyone who has ever read my blog and said “You’re a good writer.”  Usually my blogs have a point to them, I am not sure this one does.  Hell, I don’t even have a title yet!  I really wish I had planned this out a little better.  Tell you what, for now, let’s say this blog is a “tease” to the “real” blog about “time” to come at a future date.  And as far as the point, or moral, or lesson?  Uh….how bout this….

Make good use of your time and live your life so that you will be forever causing ripples.

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Tune Tuesday – Queen & ELO

I have to admit that I almost picked a Ringo Starr song today, because of his birthday this week.  I didn’t because I really couldn’t decided whether to pick a solo song or some of his Beatles stuff.  I am guessing that’s a future blog – I’ll add it to my “blog topics” list.  Instead, the picture below was posted on Facebook this week and prompted the songs I am writing about.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I did my share of recording songs off the radio.  I cannot remember how old I was when I got my first “boom box.”  I do remember getting it for a birthday gift.  I remember buying tons of cassette tapes to record songs on, and I spent many hours listening for my favorite songs.

Not knowing that I would eventually become a radio DJ, I remember how difficult it was to record a song without the DJ talking over the intro.  You would hope to catch the song coming out of a jingle or sweeper – that was usually a good way to catch it with a “talk free” intro.  Guys like me got pretty good at timing and using the pause button.

I can distinctly remember being the listener that would eventually drive me crazy!  I spent many hours calling up the radio station asking for songs.  When I didn’t hear them, I would call back and ask again.  Of course I didn’t know how radio worked and that with each call, I was just pissing off the DJ!  The more you call, the more likely the DJ will NOT play your song!  I also did the “kid disguising my voice to sound like an adult” thing, which every DJ can hear immediately!  (You’re not fooling us, kids!)

At any rate, there are two songs that I can distinctly remember trying to record on tape.  (Let me interject here that I am sure I had my paper route at this time, and why I just didn’t go buy the record is beyond me).  I guess I remember these two in particular, because I have two specific memories to accompany the songs.  On to song #1:

Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love

I remember calling over and over to ask for this song.  I remember I was in elementary school and my friend Billy used to get his mom to give us a ride home.  This song always seemed to play on our ride home (I know this probably was not the case now, knowing how music is scheduled and such).  I remember us both asking his mom to turn up the radio when it played.

The story goes that Freddie Mercury wrote this while the band was touring in Germany.  He wrote it on an acoustic guitar and it didn’t take him long to do it.  He said it “took me five or ten minutes. I did that on the guitar, which I can’t play for nuts, and in one way it was quite a good thing because I was restricted, knowing only a few chords. It’s a good discipline because I simply had to write within a small framework. I couldn’t work through too many chords and because of that restriction I wrote a good song, I think.”

Some sources say he wrote it as a tribute to Elvis. Roger Taylor said he wrote it while lounging in a bath at a hotel during one of their extensive Munich recording sessions.  Some stories say that Freddie also played the original guitar solo, but it was lost and Brian May then played it for the single (Not sure how true this is).  Brian played the solo on a Telecaster guitar (Perhaps to make it sound like an older song.  Many artists played Telecasters).  Brian, however, didn’t really care for the Telecaster and when playing the song live, he’d play the solo on it, and go back to his favorite guitar (his Red Special).

One of my favorite parts of the song is when the bass guitar has its solo moment toward the end.

This thing called love
I just can’t handle it
This thing called love
I must get round to it
I ain’t ready
Crazy little thing called love

This thing (this thing) called love (called love)
It cries (like a baby) in a cradle all night
It swings (ooh, ooh), it jives (ooh, ooh)
It shakes all over like a jelly fish,
I kinda like it
Crazy little thing called love

There goes my baby
She knows how to rock-n-roll
She drives me crazy
She gives me hot and cold fever
She leaves me in a cool, cool sweat

I gotta be cool, relax, get hip
Get on my tracks
Take a back seat, hitch-hike
And take a long ride on my motorbike
Until I’m ready
Crazy little thing called love

I gotta be cool, relax, get hip
And get on my tracks
Take a back seat, hitch-hike
And take a long ride on my motorbike
Until I’m ready (Ready Freddie)
Crazy little thing called love

This thing called love
I just can’t handle it
This thing called love
I must get round to it
I ain’t ready
Crazy little thing called love [repeat to fade]

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The second song I have a distinct memory of is from ELO.

ELO – Rock and Roll is King

The reason why I remember recording this song off the radio is simple – I screwed it up the first time I tried to record it! It has what we call in the radio biz a “fake cold.”  A cold ending is when a song doesn’t fade out, it just stops.  This song has a point before the last line, where the song stops….there is silence….and then the band comes back for the final line and the real cold ending.  I remember it because when the fake cold happens, I hit the pause button on my cassette player and messed up the recording because I missed the end of the song!

The song could be found on ELO’s 1983 album Secret Messages.  I read an article that said the song was originally called something else and had an entirely different set of lyrics before it was re-worked.  The song reminds me a bit of their 1981 hit “Hold on Tight,” as it has the same sort of feel to it.  The song only made it to #19 on the charts in the US.  This was one of the first songs I heard from ELO, and it made me start picking up more of their stuff.  I really thought it was cool how they used string instruments in their songs.

“Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King”

 

Listen everybody let me tell you ’bout the rock ‘n’ roll
Feel that rhythm and it’s really gonna thrill your soul
She said come along with me, to a land of make believe

She said wamalamalamalama rock ‘n’ roll is king

She loves that rock ‘n’ roll and she plays it all night long
That’s all she ever tells me when I call her on the telephone
She says feel that jumpin’ beat, and git up on your feet

She says wamalamalamalama rock ‘n’ roll is king

 

[Chorus:]
Oh let those guitars play
Play for me play for me
Oh let that song ring out

That’s how it’s meant to be

It rolls like a train that’s comin’ on down the track
She rolled over Beethoven and she gave Tchaikovsky back
She loves that drivin’ beat, she goes dancin’ on down the street

She said wamalamalamalama rock ‘n’ roll is king

 

[Chorus]

When she comes around and I’m listenin’ to the radio
She says you can’t do that ’cause all I wanna do is rock ‘n’ roll
Now here I’m gonna stay where that music starts to play
She says wamalamalamalama rock ‘n’ roll is king
Jeff Lynne wrote the song and I love the line “She rolled over Beethoven and she gave Tchaikovsky back.”  It is obviously a nod to Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven (which ELO covered, and is awesome!).
Jeff, continues to tour with his current version of ELO, and also was a member of the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison.
What songs do YOU remember taping off the radio??
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I Miss Record Stores!

My first job was a paper route.  I delivered for both the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News.  I guess I was probably about 10 or 11.  Some of your customers paid the paper directly, but most of the time, you had to go door to door to “collect” for the week’s deliveries.

My dad decided since I was making money, I’d need to have a bank account to put the money in.  He went with me and I opened an account at Michigan National Bank.  I think he had hoped that I would put money in there and save it for when I needed a car or something.  The fact that the bank was basically in the parking lot of the Hoover Eleven shopping center, which was almost directly across from my paper route, was probably a bad idea!

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There were two stores in the shopping center that ended up with most of my money.  The first was Circus World, a long gone toy store where we bought the latest Star Wars toys, Matchbox cars, and toy guns.  The second store, and the one that got most of my money, was a record store called Harmony House.  Oh, Harmony House, how I miss you!!!

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When I had my paper route, Harmony House was located in the original wing of the shopping center.  I had a turntable in my bedroom and I would go and buy 12 inch LP’s, 45 singles, cassettes, and eventually CD’s.  Some of the music blogs I follow have often said, “You never forget the first album you bought with your own money.”  I can say that isn’t true.  I don’t remember mine.  I can tell you the ones I bought, but don’t remember my first.  This is probably because many of the albums my dad had ended up in my collection.

What I remember is walking in and there was a wall which had a pegboard on it.  On the pegboard, there were pockets which had the new 45 singles on it.  Each pocket contained about 20-30 45 records in it.  On the front of the pocket was the title of the song and the artist.  If you were to compare that wall to the Billboard chart, it was basically the Top 30 or 40 songs that were being played on the radio.  I remember buying “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen on 45.

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The above pic is not really what the wall in Harmony House looked like, but it gives you an idea.  Looking at the picture, it reminded me that I lost the adapter that you put on the turntable to be able to play 45’s.  With an LP album, there was a small hole in the middle of it that the spindle went through. In the above picture you can see that hole on the “Creepers” record.  The hole on a 45 was much bigger, as you can see in the majority of the 45’s shown in the picture.  It seems to me that I had about 50 of those yellow 45 adapters at home for my collection!  It snapped in the record so you could play it.

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The singles were often released in hopes that you’d buy the album when it came out.  I was buying albums from artists that my dad introduced to me like Roy Orbison, Elvis, and others.  If I had to take a good guess, I would imagine one of the first albums I ever bought was from the Beatles.  Probably Beatles 65 or Beatles VI – both of which I loved!  In elementary school we had a “Record of the Week” which each class voted on and we could all bring songs in for the class to vote on.  I remember bringing in a Beatles Album.

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I used to spend hours in Harmony House!  I remember that occasionally there would be a huge cardboard cut out of a local DJ (like Arthur P from WRIF) with a spot for 45’s.  It would be their “Pick of the Week”.   They had a listening station where you could put headphones on and listen to the 45’s and you could probably find me there 50% of my visit!  I used to love talking about music with the people who worked there and became good friends with them in doing so.  It was always cool to have one of them say, “If you like that … you will really like _____!”

Vinyl sales started to decline with the rise of cassette tapes and cassingles (a single song on a cassette).  I used to take a vinyl album and record it to cassette so I could play it on my Walkman.  Then, I just started buying albums on cassette.  I DO remember the first album I bought on cassette –

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Eventually, CDs became the way to get your music.  I remember when they first came out, they came in a HUGE box!  The CD would sit at the bottom of the packaging, and the top half of it was pretty much nothing.  Now, when you buy a CD, all you have to do is remove the cellophane around it – back then you had to crack open that huge box!

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Let me preface this by saying I realize that I am probably gonna sound like an old man here, but I hate the fact that more and more music is being delivered digitally.  That being said, I will say that in some cases it is great – like for DJing.  All my new music is downloadable and clean edits.  It does make that very easy.  However, I miss the days of listening to an entire album from start to finish.  I miss picking out the songs I hoped I would hear on the radio.  I miss comparing “notes” with other friends who bought the album to hear what songs were their favorites and why.

It seems that there is little interest in albums anymore.  Hell, back in the day, there was a radio format called “AOR” which stood for “album oriented rock” and you got to hear those cuts that weren’t being played anywhere else!  My Tune Tuesday blog this week about Dwight Yoakam was about a song that never played on the radio, but it is still a great song and one of my favorites!  Think about growing up – no doubt you have an album that you could put on and play it from start to finish and you loved every song!!  Right??

I guess one of the things I miss most about record stores, aside of the music that I bought, is talking with people about music.  I loved being able to talk to staff members about music that had just come out.  I remember talking to a guy at Harmony House all the time about the “Future Releases” that were coming out.  We’d look at the list each week and talk about it.  It was always a great conversation when an artist would do something “different” from what they normally did (Pat Benatar’s True Love album comes to mind).

I had the same experience later on with a place in Roseville called Record Time.  My buddy Ken was the manager of the Oldies Department there and would steer me toward great imports and hard to find songs.  I had so many rare and hard to find CDs in my collection because of him.  Even though our music preferences weren’t always the same – it was always great to share thoughts with him.

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The other great thing about a record store is bumping into other music lovers.  So many times I’d be looking at the back of an album and another customer would walk up and say, “That’s a great LP!”  Those random conversations could also lead to discovering new music too.

It is nice to see that vinyl records are making a comeback.  I think it’s crazy that they are trying to sell them for $30 an album, especially when you can get the CD for $15-$20!  There is something to be said about hearing a song on vinyl, though.  I don’t really even know how to describe it, maybe you can help me do that, but the best I can do is – it sounds “fuller” and more “real”.  I don’t know, maybe that’s just the old man in me….

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Today, I am forced to look for CDs (if I am buying any) at Walmart, FYE (which is slowly becoming non-existent), Barnes & Noble (which is usually WAY overpriced), or online.  It’s not the same.  If I am at Walmart, the guy next to me looking at CDs is really there to buy toilet paper, not there solely to buy music.  With the internet, we have instant access to album reviews, which can be useful if you know what you are looking for.  I miss hearing about something that I didn’t know about from a fellow music lover.  I miss walking into the record store and hearing something playing in the store and wondering “Wow!  I like that!  Who is this and how can I get it?!”

Thank goodness there are still a few stores around that sell used CD’s, records, and even movies.  Sadly, they are as close as we’ll come to Harmony House or Record Time.

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“Cleveland Rocks!”

For our anniversary, my wife and I wanted to plan a little getaway to celebrate.  Neither one of us had too much PTO in our “banks” at work, so we decided on a weekend trip.  During the planning the destinations changed frequently.  Originally, we had hoped to head back for another trip to Florida, but due to the lack of time available, we decided on something a bit closer to home.

There was talk of going to Nashville and maybe catching a show at the Grand Ole Opry.  Then there was talk of Gatlinburg, where my mom so often talked about.  I think we even chatted about Pennsylvania, too.  Eventually, we decided that Chicago was where we wanted to go, but then realized that it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and we figured it might be just a tad crazy (although seeing the river turned green would have been cool.

Cleveland??

To be honest, I am not even sure how we decided on Cleveland, Ohio.  I had mentioned that my dad had gone to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and said it was cool.  I started to look at things in Cincinnati.  There was a lot to do there, but why wasn’t the Hall of Fame coming up in any of my searches?  I knew that Cincy was close to Louisville, KY and thought that we could maybe do something there, too.  I had gone as far as to drop a radio buddy a note to say we were gonna be down there and asked for good restaurants to eat at … only to then realize the Hall of Fame was in Cleveland!

Now that we had cleared that up, we were set for Cleveland.  Now, I will be the first to admit “Cleveland,Ohio” as the answer to “Where did you and your wife spend your first wedding anniversary?” is not at all romantic.  Many people laughed when I told them.  Here is the thing about my wife and I, the destination really didn’t matter – it was simply the fact that we were going to be together.  To me, this is just one of the reasons I love her.  We can be content with just having time with each other, no matter where we are, or what we are doing.

We have made it a tradition to go to restaurants that local wherever we go.  If we can go there at home, we’ll go there at home!  By doing this, we have really been treated to some amazing food.  We always try to find a good steak house or something very unique to the city we are in and we have yet to be disappointed.

The Hall of Fame

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Personally, I think Sam loves watching me get excited about stuff like this.  We both love museums, but I must have been like a little kid on his birthday during this trip!  I had, of course, seen pictures of the Hall of Fame, but it was something else to be standing in front of it.  The big red block letters that sit upon the sidewalk read “LONG LIVE ROCK”.  As I walked up the steps, there are phoney concert speakers erected by the hand rails. The excitement builds as you walk in.

As you enter, you walk into a huge foyer/lobby.  The gift shop is to your right, to the left a cafe/coffee shop, and in front of you there is an escalator to take you down to purchase tickets.  After buying our tickets, you get ready to enter and above the doors the perfect AC/DC quote to welcome you: “For those about to rock …”

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Walking into the main exhibition hall, the first thing I noticed were pictures of John Lennon and Ray Charles on the wall.  The first thing I am drawn to is a glass case containing Bill Haley’s guitar.  Bill is often credited as being the singer of the first “rock and roll” song – Rock Around the Clock.  There is a picture of him playing it in the case as well.  I am not sure why I was so taken in by it, but I was.

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The next thing we saw was a line of bass guitars that belong to Geddy Lee of Rush.  I didn’t count , but there had to be like a dozen of them.  The information said that this was only part of his massive collection.

The Roots

One thing I was thrilled to see here was the fact that the “roots” of Rock and Roll were well represented.  Rock really evolved from a combination of Gospel, R&B, Bluegrass, Country, Folk, and Blues music. Each of those genres was represented here.  Among my favorite things I saw:  a suite belonging to Hank Williams Sr.; Louis Jordan’s music folder with his music and cue sheets; stuff from Muddy Waters, BB King, and Mahalia Jackson; Ray Charles sunglasses; Carl Perkins Guitar; salutes to Johnny Otis, Big Joe Turner, and Sam Cooke and so much more.   The roots of rock were so well represented.  Without these people and the genres of music, there would be no rock and roll.

Elvis

There is a pretty cool section devoted to Elvis, who was one of the first 10 artists inducted into the Hall of Fame.  The Hall has a standing agreement with Graceland in Memphis (which is a museum in itself) and they send memorabilia to them often, so the exhibit changes often.  There was a very cool motorcycle that was custom-built for Elvis.  His gold sequins suit is there, and a jukebox which was given to him as a gift from RCA Records – it contains only Elvis records.  Also on display was a double Gibson guitar which he played in his film Spinout.

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The Summer of Love

With the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love”, there were some very cool things here.  I saw groovy outfits from the Mama’s and the Papa’s, clothing from Jimi Hendrix, and the HUGE mixing board that was used to record some of Jimi’s music.

On thing I really liked to see was the various things that song lyrics were written on.  There were quite a few original pieces of paper where the beginnings of songs were scribbled.  There were also plenty of hotel pads of paper with lyrics on them.  Loved seeing where changes were made to lyrics.

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Cities and Sounds

I loved that there was a section of the hall that saluted cities and sounds.  There was a section devoted to Memphis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Liverpool, Seattle, and of course, Detroit.

In the Memphis section, there were plenty of neat things from Sun Records.  Johnny Cash, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison all recorded there.  To stand in front of Roy Orbison’s glasses and guitar was pretty awesome.  My earliest musical memories are of my dad playing Roy’s music for me.

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A nice tribute to Motown is here with stuff from Barry Gordy, The Supremes (you can see some of their dresses), Smokey Robinson, and the Temptations are all here.  They were playing the episode of To Tell The Truth with Barry Gordy as we walked through this section.

The Beatles and the Rolling Stones each have a nice section at the Hall.  I thought Mick Jagger of the Stones was taller, but standing by some of his outfits, he’s shorter than I thought.  There is the Asher family piano that Paul McCartney donated, some of John Lennon’s outfits, and the handwritten lyrics to “In My Life”.  A very cool documentary was playing in their section as well.

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I jumped ahead a bit because the next section was London and Liverpool.  There were some very neat things from the Yardbirds, Peter and Gordon, Herman’s Hermits and the Zombies too.  All in all a nice salute to the British Invasion.

San Fran featured stuff from The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin, while LA featured stuff from The Eagles, Jackson Brown, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.  One cool thing here was a duffle bag full of hotel keys.  I don’t recall, but I think it said it belonged to one of the Eagles.  They basically kept the hotel key (and keychain) from every place they stayed while on tour.  The bag was stuffed full of some very cool looking keychains!

This section also had tributes to grunge music, punk music and a section called “Rave On” which focused on the “pioneers” of rock.  Those pioneers included Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly.  Soul Music was also spotlighted here with some awesome suits from James Brown, stuff from Aretha Franklin, pieces of the wreckage from Otis Redding’s plane crash, and Sam and Dave.  Featured in the soul section were two amazing things – guitars from Donald “Duck” Dunn and Steve “The Colonel” Cropper.  They played on almost every Atlantic and Stax record.  They were members of Booker T and the MG’s, and also played with the Blues Brothers.  Very cool to see!!!

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Don’t worry metal heads, there was a section for Heavy Metal too. Oh, and a section for Rap, as well.

Protests

When Rock and Roll started to make waves, it wasn’t too popular with folks.  We tend to forget the hatred toward the genre, but they had plenty of newscasts about burning records, and protests that happened.  It was weird to watch the hatred toward the Beatles and read hate mail to the Rolling Stones.  Other artists that were discussed in this section were Frank Zappa and ELO.

On the Radio

As a radio guy, it was cool to be able to walk up to an interactive touch screen and select a region of the US and then listen to old airchecks of DJ’s from different eras.  Naturally, I had to listen to some of the Detroit personalities:  Dick Purtain, Robin Seymour, and The Electrifying Mojo!  There were plenty of familiar names from all over the states and it was nice to get to listen to their stuff too.

The Power of Rock

On the third level, there was a wall with each “class” inducted into the Hall of Fame by year.  You could also go to a touch screen and search by class, by year, or by artist, and listen to their music.  SO many great songs!!!

The Power of Rock is a short film by Jonathan Demme which features many performances from past Hall of Fame inductions.  So many stars and so many great songs were in this film.  The theater had a light show and great sound for the film and it was almost like you were watching a concert live.  The film ends with Prince’s guitar solo on While My Guitar Gently Weeps – WOW!  Forgot how amazing that was!  They also had some of the great quotes on the walls of the hallway that you left the theater by.  Prince’s outfit from that show and other outfits were there as well.

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Rock on TV

It was also very cool to see some of the TV show memorabilia on this level.  You could go and record something about your favorite singer or album in special booths.  It was pretty cool to stand in front of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand podium!  His microphone was in a glass case with other things like the set design for the Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan.  They had TV cameras there, Don Cornelius’ suit from Soul Train, outfits from the Jackson Five and Sonny & Cher and the coat worn by Davy Jones of the Monkees that he wore on The Brady Bunch.  There was also some cool musically related stuff from Saturday Night Live, and from various music videos we all watched on MTV.  It was neat to see Paul Shaffer’s keyboard that he played for so many years on the Late Show with David Letterman.

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On the Radio – LIVE

One thing I didn’t realize was that Sirius XM broadcasts their “Classic Vinyl” station out of the Hall of Fame.  Rachel Steele was on air when we went through.  There is a glass window that allows you to look into the studio and watch them broadcast.  I actually felt bad for her.  One thing radio people like is the fact that they can go in to work without really worrying about what to wear, because….who is going to see you!?  Whoever is on the air here, really has to “doll up” every day.

Over all, I loved every second of my visit here!  Any music lover would enjoy themselves!!  If you have never been …. you have to!

Christmas in March

The final stop on the trip was The Christmas Story House.  It is the house featured in the holiday classic.  They renamed the street “Cleveland Street” in honor of the movie.  The Leg Lamp proudly sits in the front window and the Bumpass House is next door.

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This is such an inexpensive treat!  The house looks a little different on the inside, but they have restored much of it to be exactly like it looks in the film, which took a bit because there were a few owners since the movie.

We were allowed to take as many pictures as we liked.  There was a guide who took us through the house and told some stories.  You can see the bathroom where Ralphie solves Little Orphan Annie’s secret message, you can see the many plugs the tree was plugged into, pick up the phone that Mrs. Parker calls Flick’s mom on, see the boy’s room, and see the damper in the kitchen that billows black smoke because of the “clinker” furnace.

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From the backyard you can see the steel mill (still in operation), which helped Jean Sheppard (the author) pick that particular house for the film.  Across the street is a museum with the actual Red Rider BB gun used in the film, outfits from the cast, Darren McGavin’s plaster life mask (used for make up and such), plenty of behind the scenes pictures, and the Old Man’s car.  The gift shop is full of great items and yes, you can purchase a pink bunny suit or a leg lamp (in various sizes).

Sam told me she’d buy me a bunny suit, but only if I wore it every Christmas!  Incidentally, if you have the $$, you can spend the night in the house or next door at the Bumpass house.

The trip was short, but full of good memories.  I love that we were able to do it and I love that we got to spend time with each other. It was the perfect anniversary trip.

Cleveland, does indeed, ROCK!