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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.