Picture this: You’re a successful chart-topping band, but your managers are writing all your hits and ignoring the songs you’re writing. You wrote a track on your latest album that has potential, but the record company thinks you can improve it. So, without your managers knowing about it, you re-record it & release it as a single– and it’s a hit. That’s the story of Sweet and “Fox On The Run”.

“Fox on The Run” (Andy Scott, Steve Priest and Brian Connolly) Copyright 1975 (Renewed) Sweet Publishing Ltd. All rights in the US and Canada Administered by WB Music Corp. 

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It Came From Boston (Vol. 3): MIT graduate/Polaroid employee Tom Scholz recorded an album’s worth of songs in his basement in Watertown, MA after work, and somehow the record eventually sold 25 million copies worldwide. Along with Brad Delp, Sib Hashian and some other guys (maybe?), were they the inventors of Corporate Rock or the most successful DIY debut of all time? You decide.

“Hitch A Ride” (Tom Scholz) Copyright 1976 Pure Songs – All Rights Administered  by WB Music Corp.

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Pink Floyd released “Us & Them” in 1973, but it feels like it could’ve been written yesterday. Can we ever get past our compulsion to separate “us” from “them”? This is a song for the ages, with some brilliant performances across the board from everyone involved– band members, guest artists, backing singers and recording engineers alike. Let’s try to listen to this song afresh and rediscover what makes this classic track great.

“Us & Them” (Roger Waters, Richard Wright) Copyright 1973 Pink Floyd Music Publishers and Warner/Chappell Artemis Music Limited

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This being Episode # 57, I thought it would be fun to revisit ’57 — as in the year 1957. With the loss of Little Richard recently, virtually all of the early pioneers of Rock ‘n’ Roll are gone now, so let’s take a look back at the music and the musicians behind rock’s first big year.

This episode was also inspired by the book “The History Of Rock & Roll, Volume 1” by Ed Ward. Most of the research, facts & figures came from this excellent book, and I highly recommend it. You can find it here:

There’s also an audiobook version available.

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Earth, Wind & Fire’s 6th album, That’s The Way of The World, was ostensibly a soundtrack album; when the film bombed, the album was on the verge of fading away, too– until “Shining Star” was released as a single and it became their first (and surprisingly only) #1 Top 10 Hit. The whole band is on fire here; beneath the pop sheen is the heaviest of funk grooves, with particularly tasty guitar & bass work. Let’s climb inside this funk machine & see what it took to create this stellar track.

Earth Wind & Fire – “Shining Star” (Maurice White, Philip Bailey and Larry Dunn) Copyright 1975 (Renewed 2003) EMI April Music Inc. 

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A Todd Rundgren album can vary between pure pop to bossa nova, guitar rock to wild experimentation; like the proverbial box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get with the next Rundgren album. Released in 1989, the Nearly Human album is Todd at his best, a pop masterpiece of well-crafted songs performed impeccably, live-in-the-studio. “Parallel Lines” is one of the strongest cuts, initially written for an off-Broadway musical based on the script for a never-produced 3rd Beatles movie.

“Parallel Lines” (Todd Rundgren) Copyright 1989 Fiction Music, Inc./Todd Rundgren BMI

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The best British band from the ’60’s that never hit the bigtime in America– Small Faces. Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones and Ian McLagan would become rock legends due to their future projects (Humble Pie, The Who, The Faces, etc) , but it all started for them here. Small Faces recorded a number of psychedelic pop gems, but “Tin Soldier” may be the pinnacle. Shall we have a listen?

Small Faces – “Tin Soldier” (Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane) Copyright 1967 EMI United Partnership Limited

Back in ’77, one thing UK punk bands didn’t have much use for was love songs. But Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks wrote what could be called “modern love songs”; honest songs about longing, romance, loneliness, and yes, love — all laced with self-deprecating humor. But their music was aggressive, all raging guitars, pounding drums & pummeling bass. With those thoughtful (dare I say, sensitive) lyrics on top, it was the best of both worlds. On this episode, we take a deep dive into the Buzzcocks classic “What Do I Get?”.

If you’re a Buzzcocks fan, check out The Hustle Podcast’s interview with Steve Diggle.

Buzzcocks – “What Do I Get?” (Pete Shelley) Copyright 1978 Complete Music Limited

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“War” was originally written for The Temptations, but when Motown was too squeamish to have one of their top acts release an overtly anti-Vietnam song, Edwin Starr stepped up and secured his place in history. His no-holds-barred delivery of “War” resulted in one of the most commercially successful protest songs ever recorded. Though Edwin Starr never reached these heights again, he left his mark with a song that transcended its Vietnam-era roots: It was one of the songs on Clear Channel’s no-play list after September 11, 2001.

“War” (Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong) Copyright 1970 Jobette Music Co, Inc.

It Came From Boston (Vol. 2): Local boy from Wellesley, MA pays his dues in & around Boston and New York; eventually becomes a solo artist and strikes gold on his 2nd solo album, Don’t Say No. “Lonely Is The Night” was the 2nd single and my favorite track from the album, so let’s have a listen to this classic track from the early ’80’s.

“Lonely Is The Night” (Billy Squier) Copyright 1981 Songs Of The Knight

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