This holiday season The Pretenders’ Christmas release “2000 Miles” turns 40! Although thought to be one of the most romantic holiday songs of the modern era, it was written by Chrissie Hynde during a time of grief and tragedy while launching a brand new era for The Pretenders. Who was James Honeyman-Scott, and why we should remember him every time we hear this seasonal favorite.
Come spend Christmas with the Sinatra Family! A look at the state of the Sinatra empire at the end of the 1960’s, and the only time that all the Sinatras – Frank, Nancy, Frank Jr and Tina, joined forces for an album. Bonus: The one time Tina Sinatra recorded a song and the imaginary scenario of how it may have happened.
In 1984 Michael Jackson’s big sister launched her solo career. No, not LaToya. His other older sister – Rebbie Jackson! Ever heard of her? Despite a trio of solid pop albums and the support of her famous siblings, iconisim seemed to pass Rebbie behind. A look at the life and music of the forgotten Jackson sister, and how she chose love and family over the madness of showbusiness.
In the 1930’s blues man Robert Johnson travelled through the Mississippi Delta playing juke joints for tips and drinks. Unknown during his lifetime, in death he would become known as the greatest blues man that ever lived. But legend has it that Johnson made a deadly deal with the devil at a crossroads at midnight to gain his mastery of blues guitar, and months before he would have found fame, the devil came for his payment. A look at Robert Johnson’s deal with the devil, and its surprisingly legacy which continues today.
In 1968 performance artist Arthur Brown brought his Faustian nightmare journey through hell to music audiences via his album “The Crazy World of Arthur Brown” and became the godfather of “shock rock.” Through his high pitched wails and the helmet that shot flames from his head, Brown would be considered a “one hit wonder,” but changed the face of rock performance forever. A look at the career of “The God of Hellfire,” the birth of shock rock and Arthur Brown’s continuing influence on the rock n’ roll landscape today.
Is Stevie Nicks a witch? Since her first commercial breakout on 1975’s “Fleetwood Mac,” rumors that the pop icon has a connection with old world magik have continued to be a part of her mythos. But, while she has denied being involved in witchcraft on many occasions, she leans into it in her lyrics, aesthetics and lifestyle. A look at her 1976 hit “Rhiannon” and an exploration into the spell that Stevie Nicks has her fans under.
In this world there are “Rocky Horror” people, and there are “Phantom of the Paradise” people. “Rocky Horror” fans seem, for the most part, to be ignorantly unaware of “Phantom of the Paradise,” while “Phantom of the Paradise” fans just simply know which film is better. A loving look at Paul Williams’ phantastic soundtrack to the 1974 cult film “Phantom of the Paradise.”
In 1967 country storyteller Red Sovine released a different kind of truck driving story about a different kind of dead person. The story of Big Joe and “Phantom 309” would become a spooky tale beloved by music fans But is there truth behind the tale? The heartbreaking true story of heroism and sacrifice that inspired the song “Phantom 309.” Extra: Tim Burton, Pee Wee Herman and Tom Waits’ tributes to Big Joe and “Phantom 309.”
When Duane Eddy met Lee Hazelwood in 1954 Lee was a country music disc jockey in the small farming community of Coolidge, Arizona and Duane was a high schooler looking to score free records. But pooling together their individual talents, by the end of the decade the pair joined forces and changed the shape of guitar rock with their hit collaboration “Rebel-‘Rouser.” The story of the Duane Eddy and Lee Hazelwood partnership, and its continuing influence on rock n’ roll.
In 1967 Frank and Nancy SInatra scored an unlikely hit with “Somethin’ Stupid,” becoming the only father/daughter team to ever reach #1 on the charts. A look at the unique bond between Frank and Nancy, and the historical, albeit it problematic, legacy of the song they recorded together. Extra: In 1998 Sam Tweedle says goodbye to his hero. A look back at the death of Frank Sinatra, and the gift that the Sinatra Family gave to his fans,.
In 1966 Nancy Sinatra became one of the biggest pop artists in the world when her mega hit “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” soared to the top of the charts in nations worldwide. However, the song wasn’t originally supposed to be hers until Frank made writer/producer Lee Hazelwood see his point of view. A look at the far reaching success of “Thee Boots Are Made for Walkin” and how it made Nancy Sinatra a cultural icon.
Despite being remembered as one of the most iconic pop singers of the 1960’s, during her early days in showbusiness Nancy Sinatra was a hard sell. After struggling for years to find a hit, in 1965 Nancy was nearly dropped from Capitol Records roster despite her father being the boss of Reprise Records. Enter a new producer, a new attitude and “So Long, Babe” – the forgotten hit that saved Nancy Sinatra from obscurity. A look at the pitfalls of Nancy Sinatra’s early years in pop music.
VINYL STORY SPECIAL. Sam Tweedle’s dreams of American Bandstand becomes more tangible when he talks to Bandstand ’67 dancer Peggy Waggoner. A revealing conversation with behind the scenes information on the You Tube videos that have inspired Vinyl Stories and growing up in Los Angeles during one of the most exciting eras in American music.
Journey back to 1989 when an international dance craze was started via French-Brazillian band Kaoma’s hit “Lambada” and the shocking crime which ended lead singer Loalwa Braz’s life. Extra: Just who wrote “Lambada” anyway, and how Kaoma’s success spawned Roberta and Chico – the 1980’s most uncomfortable kid’s act.
If this was the day thet I was going to die, than John Barry’s score to “Somewhere in Time” was good enough to be the final music I ever heard. You don’t need a coin to travel back in time. All it takes is a song. A personal memory from one of Sam Tweedle’s Hollywood adventures, and a tribute to his late friend Aron Kincaid. Extra: Come lunch with us at Musso and Frank Grill!
In 1970 director Russ Meyer introduced a new rock band, The Carrie Nations, to audiences in his film epic “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” With music written by Stu Phillips, and featuring the talents of Lynn Carey, The Strawberry Alarmclock, and The Sandpipers, the film contained some of the freshest and most dynamic rock music ever written for a film, reflecting the sounds and attitude of Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip culture. But the music would be ignored by the Billboard charts and barely found an audience while one of the key players was mysteriously missing from the soundtrack album. An introduction to the world of “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and the music of The Carrie Nations.
This week we said goodbye to The Sugar Man. In 2012 Detroit based singer/songwriter Sixto Rodriguez inspired struggling musicians and music fans world wide via the Oscar winning documentary “Searching for Sugar Man.” The lessons I learnt from Rodriguez, how his story changed the way I thought and wrote about music, and a loving tribute to his songs and legacy.
A forgotten soundtrack to an obscure French exploitation film, Jean-Pierre Mirouze’s exciting and exotic soundtrack to “Le Mariage Collectif” went ignored and undistributed when test printings were made in 1971. Nearly lost forever it wasn’t until a discarded acetate containing the music was pulled out of a Parisian garbage dump in 2010 that the world finally had the chance to hear the best film score you’ve never heard before, which gained a cult following amongst audiophiles and music hipsters.
In 1980, to celebrate his 40th Anniversary, Frank Sinatra blasted off into outer space for a kooky intergalactic song cycle called “The Future” on his album “Trilogy: Past Present Future.” A divisive recording amongst critics and fans, it’d be the biggest recording session of Sinatra’s career. A look at this bizarre entry into the Sinatra songbook. Extra: The release of “New York, New York” and how it recentered Sinatra’s legacy.
In 1956 Roy Orbison and his band, The Teen Kings, arrived at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee to recut their record “Ooby Dooby.” However, despite being signed by Sam Phillips, Roy would find himself floundering at the legendary label and wouldn’t find chart success until 1961 and at a different label. Why did it take Roy Orbison so long to make it, and how did Sam Phillips allow Roy Orbison to slip through his fingers? A look at Roy Orbison at Sun Records.
When Lesley Gore made her Billboard debut in 1963 she seemed to be the unlikeliest performer to become an early feminist icon. But after a string of hit singles where she played the role of the victim,, Lesley Gore changed the narrative of girls across America when she to recorded the first feminist anthem of pop music, “You Don’t Own Me.”
When Bruce Springsteen released “Born in the USA” he went from struggling singer/songwriter to a rock n’ roll icon. But when President Ronald Regan name dropped The Boss, perhaps he should have listened to Springsteen’s lyrics first. A look at “Born in the USA” and the history of Republican politicians who have foolishly tried to use it. Extra: How Bruce Springsteen keeps Sam Tweedle’s spouse up at night.
Although thier sound barely sounds like rock n’ roll by todays standards, in 1954 ,Toronto based vocal group The Crew Cuts drove 600 miles in a snow storm to Cleveland and became the first Canadian group to enter the Billboard charts with their doo wop classic “Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream).” A look at Canada’s earliest entry into the pop industry when rock was very young.
After getting thrown out of a Hollywood restaurant in 1965, a fed up Sono Bono wrote an emotional manifesto titled “Laugh at Me,” which became his only hit record, A look at “Laugh at Me,” Sonny’s fight for respect, and why he allowed the laughter to continue through the 1970’s and beyond. Extra: The lasting legacy of Sonny and Cher, and Chaz Bono’s attempt to reinvent “Laugh at Me” as a transgender anthem.
When Sonny met Cher in 1962, he was a struggling songwriter working as an underdog in Phil Spector’s studio, and she was a teenage runaway with dreams of stardom. Ambitious and in love, the pair spent three years being kicked around the LA scene until 1965, when Inspired by the love that bonded them together, Sonny Bono wrote one of pop musics greatest love songs, “I Got You Babe,” catupultiing them to the top of charts and international stardom. A look at the early days of Sonny and Cher.
In 1986 The Monkees had a resurgernce of popularity on MTV, and at eleven years old Sam Tweedle fell into Monkeemania when discovering them vai a TV commerical. How he fell in love with the Monkees, and the heartbreaking moment he found out not everyone felt the same way.. A personal tribute to Monkee fandom, and how the Monkees became an important, albeit unlikely, gateway band.
Were The Monkees a real band, or four guys who were hired to play a band on TV? For nearly six decades, fans have been arguing with cynics and music snobs over the legitimacy of Davey, Mike, Mickey and Peter who, despite being one of the most successful pop acts in the history of music, have never been able to escape their preassembled origins. A defense of The Monkees and why their music matters.
When Bob Dylan released his sacond album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” in 1963, he gained world wide fame for his political writings and anti-war musings. But behind the songs was the influence of his then girlfriend Suze Rotolo, who was immoralized walking with him on the album’s front cover. Who was Suze Rotolo, and how did she help shape the legend that would become Bob Dylan? A look into their relationship and Suze’s important place in the Bob Dylan mythos.
Remember Sahjid Khan? When India spiritualisim became cool in the 1960’s, teen magazine maven Gloria Stavers jumped on board with her own teen star from the middle east,, keeping him in the hearts of girls all over America. A look at Sajid Khan’s short but groovy career, and the last ditch effort to keep him relevant by cutting a forgotten pop album.
Whether you know it as the theme song to “The Young and the Restless,” “Nadia’s Theme” or “Cotton’s Dream,” Perry Botkin Jr and Barry De Vorsan’s composition has become one of the most recognizable instrumentals of the 20th Century. A deep dive into the song’s many incarnations and lives from “Bless the Beasts and the Children,” to the 1978 Olympics to….David Hasselhoff?? Extra: Who were The Sounds of Sunshine, and why did they successfully sue The Dead Kennedys?
After more than two decades of interviewing celebrities, Sam Tweedle has heard a lot of stories about Elvis Presley, but this is the best Elvis story he was ever told. A story about a former child star’s encounter with the King of Rock n’ Roll, and an insight into one of the quieter moments of Elvis’ life, humanizing a legend.
If Jethro Tull and The Doors had a love child, it’d be Mashmakhan. Montreal based prog-rockers Mashmakhan had a massive hit in Canada and Japan with “As Years Go By” but the less commerical psychadelic infused tracks that made up the remainder of their 1970 debut album confused radio programmers and record buyers, making them a “one hit wonder.” An appreciation of one of the best underappreciated Canadian albums ever recorded.
How a wobbly voiced Hollywood garage band got the best of everything, and moved to the top of the charts. Was it nepotisim, or being in the right place at the right time? A deep dive of 60’s pop act Dino, Desi and Billy. Extra: Billy Hinche reveals the real story behind being signed by Frank Sinatra, and D,D & B’s special relationship with The Beach Boys.
Despite being one of the best American bands of the 1960’s, Paul Revere and the Raiders never found the legacy they’ve deserved. Was it the gimmicky costumes, their association with Dick Clark Productions or the animosity between Paul Revere and front man Mark Linsday which prevented them from becoming top tier rock legends? A look at the rise and fall of Paul Revere and the Riaders, and why they need to be rediscovered.
Although it was one of the biggest box office bombs of the all time, Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1970 film “Zabriskie Point” spawned one of the best soundtrack albums of the era with original music by The Grateful Dead, The Youngbloods, Kaleidoscope and Pink Floyd. The resu.t was a soundtrack album more culturally relevant and remembered than the film that spawned it. Extra: A brief overview of the lives of the couple on the cover, Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin,.
On February 9th, 1964 73 million viewers tuned in to watch The Beatles on TheEd Sullivan Show. But they weren’t the only British pop stars making their American television debut that night as a young Davy Jones watched from the wings.. A look at the early days of Davy Jones’ career from the Artful Dodger to his 1965 pre-Monkees debut album “David Jones.”
40 years after her self exile from the music industry, singer/songwriter Bobbie Gentry has finally found appreciation amongst modern music fans. Too honky tonk for rock fans and too progressive for country fans, Bobbie was perhaps too ahead of her time in the 60’s and 70’s, but is finally gaining a modern cult following for her swampy blues-country originals and genre spanning crossover masterpieces. However, while the world finally listens, Bobbie doesn’t want to be found.
His first solo album in years, David Bowie’s 1993 album “Black Tie/White Noise” got little attention upon it’s original release, but has reemerged as one of Bowie’s most powerful statements about racial conflict and American hate. How the LA riots juxtopossed with his mariage to Iman inspired Bowie to write an overlooked masterpiece which deservesd rediscovering.
In 2022 Kate Bush hit the mainstream for the first time when a new generation discovered her via the hit Netflix seriesd “Stranger Things.” Sam Tweedle travels back to 1989 when he disocvered Kate Bush at age fifteen with her album “The Sensual World” and how it changed the way he listened to music forever.