When the band released their first 2 albums in 1968 & 1969, they set off a musical revolution; the psychedelic sounds of the ’60’s were out and a return to the roots was back in style.  “Whispering Pines” is their most haunting, beautiful ballad, with a lead vocal from Richard Manuel that’s so vulnerable it makes you ache to hear it.  The Band were at their peak during this time, with every member writing & performing at their best.  Let me know what you think — write a review, leave a comment, and share with your friends!

“Whispering Pines” (R. Manuel and J.R. Robertson) Copyright 1970 Canaan Music, Inc.

I will admit that I can be prone to hyperbole, but I’m convinced this is The Best Album Of The 1980’s and one of the greatest albums of all time.  It is a perfect album.  A magnificent song cycle that reveals something new each time you listen to it.  A masterwork of songwriting and production.  I could go on…

This song is a blast of pure pop; catchy, clever and concise– 3 minutes and 20 seconds of pop genius.  It will make you smile.

NOTE: During the podcast, I reference “The Fool Guitar”.  More details on that legendary instrument can be found here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fool_(guitar)

“That’s Really Super, Supergirl” (Andy Partridge) Copyright 1986 Virgin Nymph Music, Inc (BMI) – Copyright 2010 Ape House Ltd

Forget talking about “women who rock”, Sass Jordan is one of the best rock vocalists out there, male OR female.  This Canadian singer & songwriter is not well known in the USA, which is a shame because she’s got a voice that’s unique, powerful and compelling.  This song is from her 1994 album, “Rats”, which is her hardest-rocking album (and, in my opinion, her best).  Check out this song, then go find more music by Sass Jordan.  And don’t forget to share & leave comments!

“Head” (Sass Jordan & Stevie Salas) Copyright 1994 WB Music Corp/Cat Sass Music/Green Lantern Music (ASCAP)/Songs Of Polygram International Inc. and Salidified Songs (BMI)

One of the most underappreciated bands in rock.  Undaunted by the ups & downs of the fickle music business, Cheap Trick have played over 5000 shows and released 20 albums, including “Rockford” in 2006, one of their best albums ever.  I could’ve picked any song from this album– it’s that good– but I settled on “If It Takes A Lifetime”.  If you don’t have this album in your collection, don’t wait– Go get it now.

“If It Takes A Lifetime” (Robin Zander, Tom Petersson, Rick Neilsen, Bun E. Carlos & Julian Raymond) Copyright Z.P.N.&C./Sony/ATV (BMI) and Maxiva (ASCAP)

A great hard rock & power pop band that somehow fell through the cracks in the late ’70’s, Starz had all the ingredients to make it big– a band of seasoned professionals with a charismatic frontman, a big-name manager, and a record deal with Capitol Records… but while bands like Foreigner, Styx & Boston sold millions of records, Starz just couldn’t break thru to a larger audience.  Too bad, because these guys had some great rock tunes.  Here’s one of their power-pop tracks that serves as a great example of how to write a catchy, memorable song.

Special thanks to the RockNPod Expo for connecting me with the guys in the band.

“She” (Peter Sweval, Joe X. Dube, Michael Lee Smith, Brendan Harkin & Richie Ranno) Copyright 1978 Starzongo Music, Inc/Rock Steady Music, Inc/ASCAP

Aretha Franklin recorded over 40 albums during her career; this episode, we revisit a song from her breakthrough album, “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” from 1967. This was actually her 11th album (!), but it was the first one recorded for Atlantic Records and it’s the one that made her a legend. Aretha Franklin was probably the single most influential singer of our time– just listen to any episode of American Idol for proof.

Aretha was not only a great vocalist, she was one of the greatest interpreters of songs in history. She didn’t just cover a song, she made it her own. “A Change Is Gonna Come” was Sam Cooke’s finest moment, but Aretha strips it down to its purest form and imbues it with pain, world-weariness, and hope – one of the greatest emotionally cathartic moments on record.

“A Change Is Gonna Come” (Sam Cooke) Copyright Kags, BMI

Who’s the greatest singer in rock history? You could make an argument that it’s Glenn Hughes. He’s played & recorded with Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Gary Moore, KLF… and released a collection of great solo albums. He’s an amazing hard rock vocalist & bass player, but my favorite stuff is when he’s getting funky– real funky. This track combines the funk with the hard rock – the best combo since Reese’s put peanut butter in their chocolate. (Do you have to be a certain age to get that reference?) Regardless, Crank It Up! 

“Crave” (Glenn Hughes) Copyright 2008 Ponce Songs (BMI)

Every artist wants to pay tribute to the people who inspired them.  No one’s ever done it better than The Replacements’ tribute to Alex Chilton.  This song has a great hook and a chorus that stays with you… It’s stayed with me so long that I named this podcast after it.  

“Alex Chilton” (Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson & Chris Mars) Copyright 1987 Done To Death Music (ASCAP), Nah Music (ASCAP) and Chris Mars Publishing Inc.

Living under The Beatles’ shadow was a blessing and a curse for Badfinger.  One of the greatest Power Pop bands of all time, they crafted a catalog of great songs that defined the genre.  “Day After Day” is one of the greatest singles of all time, featuring a beautiful melody, great performances, and a guest appearance by a Beatle.  What more could you want?  This song deserves a place in history.

“Day After Day” (Pete Ham) Copyright 1971 Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Adrian Belew is best known as a brilliant sideman & guitar foil (Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Talking Heads) and a member of King Crimson, but most people are unaware of his “band on the side”, The Bears.  The other 3 members are no slouches either– this was really a band of 4 equal members that could all write great songs.  The Bears blend Art-Rock and Power Pop in their own distinctive way.  This song features lead vocals by 3 members, and packs plenty of substance & meaning into a 4:53 pop song.  If you’re unfamiliar with The Bears, this song provides a great entry point.

“As You Are” (The Bears) Copyright 2001 Car Caught Fire Music/ASCAP