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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.”
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.