Remembering Freddie Prinze

Growing up I watched Chico and the Man and I still do occasionally. I remember that Freddie Prinze was a huge star. He was a hit with kids and adults a like. 

Freddie became a star practically overnight and burned brightly…but unfortunately, it was only for a brief amount of time. I was just 10 when he died and it seemed unreal a talented twenty-two year old tv star/comedian would kill himself. 

He was a comedian whose real name was Frederick Karl Pruetzel. He was born in 1954 in New York. His mother was of Puerto Rican descent and his father was of Hungarian roots…two things he used in his comedy.

He worked in clubs in the early seventies and then he got his break. He appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on December 6, 1973, and Johnny called him over to his couch to talk to him. That was a dream to performers then. Being called to the couch meant Johnny liked you and could make your career. Remember no internet or other exposure to this big of an audience. He became a star overnight. Freddie was 19 years old.

Within a few months, he was starring with Jack Albertson on the hit show Chico and the Man.

The show had a supporting cast of Scatman Crothers and Della Reese. It had a cool factor with teenagers at the time because of Freddie. Chico and the Man was not the greatest sitcom ever but a good one that captured a talented young comedian on his way up.

Freddie came out with a 70’s catchphrase “Looking Good” with a comedy album of the same name. He appeared in one TV movie called The Million Dollar Rip-Off and an HBO On Location: Freddie Prinze and Friends.

He suffered from depression and he had a dependency on drugs that kept growing like his fame.

Through all of this, he got married and had a son…the actor Freddie Prinze Jr… His wife started to move toward a divorce and a despondent Prinze shot himself in a hotel room and died the next day on January 29, 1977, only 3 years after his introduction to the world by Johnny Carson.

People don’t remember how big Freddie was then. He was so young and vibrant when he made it…he was just 22 years old when he died.

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John Hiatt – Window On The World

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday so far…I heard this song and liked it right away. Jimmy Buffett did a cover but I prefer John’s rawer version.

It came out in 2003 on the album “Beneath This Gruff Exterior” which peaked at #73 on the Billboard Album Charts.  I don’t see any chart history on this song. John’s reputation has always been better than his chart success but other artists have covered his songs with great chart success…Bonnie Raitt being one.

John mentions “Wes and Jimmy” and that would be Jazz musicians Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Smith.

Further Adventures of Jimmy & Wes: Smith, Jimmy, Montgomery, Wes:  4988005713223: Amazon.com: Books

This song really spoke to me the first time I heard it. It wasn’t a massive hit but occasionally I’ll hear it on radio.

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Window On The World

A broken promise i kept too long
A greasy shade and a curtain drawn
A broken glass and a heart gone wrong
That’s my window on the worldA cup of coffee in a shaky hand
Wakin’ up in a foreign land
Tryin’ to act like i got somethin’ planned
That’s my window on the world

[Chorus 1:]
That’s my window on the world
Could you stand a little closer, girl
Don’t let mama cut those curfs
That’s my window on the world

In broad daylight that circus tent pulled up stakes
I don’t know where it went
A close dark room with a busted vent
That’s my window on the world

I think about you when i’m countin’ sheep
I think about you, then i can’t sleep
I think that ocean is just so deep
That’s my window on the world

[Chorus 2:]
That’s my window on the world
Could you stand a little closer, girl
The queen of Sheba meets the duke of earle
That’s my window on the world

Down on indiana avenue
Wes and jimmy, man they played the blues
I guess they were only passin’ through
That’s my window on the world

[Chorus 1:]
That’s my window on the world
Could you stand a little closer, girl
Don’t let mama cut those curfs
That’s my window on the world

[Chorus 2:]
That’s my window on the world
Could you stand a little closer, girl
The queen of Sheba meets the duke of earle
That’s my window on the world

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Janis Joplin – Move Over

I listened to Pearl today and was remembering  Janis who died 50 years ago on this date at the Landmark Motor Hotel (now Highland Gardens Hotel) while working on her album Pearl.

Janis Joplin is my favorite rock/blues female singer. I like a gravelly voice and Janis had that covered. She put her soul in every song and left everything on stage. Like her or not she was genuine. She had a rough life growing up in Port Arthur Texas being bullied in High School and College and finally making it in 1967 with Big Brother and the Holding Company when she moved to San Francisco.

Move Over was the first track on the Pearl album, which sold four million copies and hit #1 on the charts, all after Joplin passed away. She wrote this one herself and recorded it the same day as Trust Me and Me And Bobby McGee.

The album was released January 11, 1971, three months after her death. It peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, and #20 in the UK.

Janis went on the Dick Cavett Show on September 25, 1970, to perform “Move Over.” On the show, she stated that the song was about men…specifically the guy who tells you your relationship is over but won’t move on, thus equating the way some guys hold on love to the way one would dangle a carrot in front of a mule.

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Move Over

You say that it’s over baby, Lord
You say that it’s over now
But still you hang around me, come on
Won’t you move over

You know that I need a man, honey Lord
You know that I need a man
But when I ask you to you just tell me
That maybe you can

Please don’t you do it to me babe, no!
Please don’t you do it to me baby
Either take this love I offer
Or just let me be

I ain’t quite a ready for walking, no no no no
I ain’t quite a ready for walking
And what you gonna do with your life
Life all just dangling?

Oh yeah
Make up your mind, honey
You’re playing with me, hey hey hey
Make up your mind, darling
You’re playing with me, come on now
Now either be my loving man
I said-a, let me honey, let me be, yeah

You say that it’s over, baby, no
You say that it’s over now
But still you hang around me, come on
Won’t you move over

You know that I need a man, honey, I told you so
You know that I need a man
But when I ask you to you just tell me
That maybe you can

Hey! Please don’t you do it to me, babe, no
Please don’t you do it to me baby
Either take this love I offer
Honey let me be

I said won’t you, won’t you let me be
Honey, you’re teasing me
Yeah, you’re playing with my heart, dear
I believe you’re toying with my affections, honey

I can’t take it no more baby
And furthermore, I don’t intend to
I’m just tired of hanging from the end of a string, honey
You expect me to fight like a goddamned mule
Wah, wah, wah, wah, honey

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Rolling Stones – 100 Years Ago

Don’t you think it’s sometimes wise not to grow up?

100 Years Ago has a good melody and it changes it’s focus in the last three-quarters of the way through…a good song with an interesting outro. It’s an album cut and you never hear much on the radio. It’s worth a listen. If you see them in concert and want to hear this song…don’t hold your breath.

It was only played on the first two performances of European Tour of 1973, and has not been performed live since. Come on guys! Play it again…it’s not like the world can’t do without another version of Satisfaction.

I took an instant liking to this song. It starts with a little country influence and then ends with a funky free for all. I have the new version of Goats Head Soup and this one cleaned up really well.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, The UK, and Canada in 1973.

The Stones recorded this at Kingston’s Dynamic Sound Studios in November and December, 1972.  Jagger performs lead vocals and is accompanied by Mick Taylor on backing. Taylor performs the song’s guitars while Keith Richards and Charlie Watts perform bass and drums, respectively. Nicky Hopkins provides piano while Billy Preston performs clavinet.

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“100 Years Ago”

Went out walkin’ through the wood the other day
And the world was a carpet laid before me
The buds were bursting and the air smelled sweet and strange
And it seemed about a hundred years ago
Mary and I, we would sit upon a gate
Just gazin’ at some dragon in the sky
What tender days, we had no secrets hid away
Well, it seemed about a hundred years ago
Now all my friends are wearing worried smiles
Living out a dream of what they was
Don’t you think it’s sometimes wise not to grow up?
Wend out walkin’ through the wood the other day
Can’t you see the furrows in my forehead?
What tender days, we had no secrets hid away
Now it seems about a hundred years ago
Now if you see me drinkin’ bad red wine
Don’t worry ’bout this man that you love
Don’t you think it’s sometimes wise not to grow up?
You’re gonna kiss and say good-bye, yeah, I warn you
You’re gonna kiss and say good-bye, yeah, I warn you
You’re gonna kiss and say good-bye, oh Lord, I warn you
And please excuse me while I hide away
Call me lazy bones
Ain’t got no time to waste away
Lazy bones ain’t got no time to waste away
Don’t you think it’s just about time to hide away? Yeah, yeah!

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Chuck Berry – You Never Can Tell

And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell
“C’est la vie”, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

Now when I hear this song I think of Pulp Fiction because it was feature in the 1994 classic.

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #11 in Canada, and #23 in the UK in 1964.

You Never Can Tell was written at a time when Chuck Berry was in prison…he also wrote Nadine in there. He was convicted in late 1961 of violating the Mann Act. Berry served one and one-half years in prison, from February 1962 to October 1963.

When he returned he was now facing the British invasion with the Beatles and the other bands out of England.

This song was released on his album St. Louis to Liverpool album in 1964. The album peaked at #124 in the Billboard Album Charts. The album included No Particular Place To Go and Promised Land.

In 1977, Emmylou Harris had a Top 10 Country hit with her version, which she renamed “(You Never Can Tell) C’est La Vie.”

From Songfacts

This song tells the story of a teenage couple getting married and staying together. Many of Berry’s songs are written from the perspective of young people, but this one even takes a dig at the older generation: “‘C’est la vie,’ say the old folks,” Berry sings. (“C’est la vie'” is French for “That’s life”).

Most songs that describe a young couple in love on their way to adulthood don’t end well, as disaffection or tragedy strikes. This song is unusual in that the couple does just fine, settling in with a nice record collection and some Roebuck furniture. As they settle into married life, their love stays strong. It’s not the storyline you’d expect, but you never can tell.

This was one of the new batch of hits Berry produced after being released from prison in 1963 after serving 20 months for “transporting an underage female across state lines for immoral purposes.” Berry had met a 14-year-old girl in Mexico who he brought back to St. Louis to work in his nightclub.

There is very little guitar on this track, which is driven by piano and saxophone.

When Berry sings, “The Coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale,” he’s referring to a brand of refrigerator called a Coolerator that was popular in the 1950s.

This was featured in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction. It was used in the scene where Uma Thurman and John Travolta dance to it in the twist contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s.

This is quoted in Stephen King’s 1995 novel, Rose Madder, when Norman – a policeman with a violent temper – contemplates his new promotion: “It made him think of a Chuck Berry song, one that went ‘C’est la vie, it goes to show you never can tell.'”

King referenced the tune again in The Institute (2019) to describe a successful teenage marriage like the one in the song.

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You Never Can Tell

It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished them well
You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell
“C’est la vie”, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They furnished off an apartment with a two room Roebuck sale
The coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale
But when Pierre found work, the little money comin’ worked out well
“C’est la vie”, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They had a hi-fi phono, boy, did they let it blast
Seven hundred little records, all rock, rhythm and jazz
But when the sun went down, the rapid tempo of the music fell
“C’est la vie”, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

They bought a souped-up jitney, ’twas a cherry red ’53
They drove it down to Orleans to celebrate the anniversary
It was there that Pierre was married to the lovely mademoiselle
“C’est la vie”, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell

,,,

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The Scruffs – She Say Yea —-Power Pop Friday

Introducing the Scruffs. I love that name for a band. They have been around since the  70s and have released an album in 2011.

Big Star wasn’t the only power pop band in Memphis in the 70s. This band formed in Memphis in 1974. It was started by writer/guitarist/vocalist Stephen Burns along with guitarist David Branyan, bassist Rick Branyan, and drummer Zeph Paulson.

“She Say Yea” was influenced by the Beatles and Byrds but also early 70s American power pop greats like the Raspberries and Big Star.

They used Big Star’s same studio (Ardent) and their producer Jim Dickinson who along with Big Star worked with the Rolling Stones,  Carmen McRae, Delaney & Bonnie, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dee Dee Warwick, Ronnie Hawkins, Sam & Dave, Dion, Brook Benton, Lulu, Sam the Sham and others.

I have heard some great power pop in the last 10 years but for me the golden era of Power Pop was in the 70s and 80s…I do believe in the last ten years it has made a comeback with newer bands…but I love these seventies bands that with a little more luck could have had major success.

The Scruffs  released their debut album in 1977 named Wanna Meet the Scruffs? The single from the album was Break the Ice  with  She Say Yea as the B side. Another single off the album was Shakin’ / Teenage Girls…we will go over that one in a few weeks.

All 13 tracks were written by guitarist Stephen Burns though lead guitarist Dave Branyan gets partial credit for three numbers.

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(Sorry… could not find the lyrics)

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Led Zeppelin – Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (She’s Just A Woman)

I forgot to post this yesterday with Heartbreaker so I thought I would get it in today.

I’ve always liked this song tacked on the end of Heartbreaker. This is a song about a groupie who bothered the band in their earlier days. She was a much older woman claiming and acting like she was really young. Radio stations would usually play both of these together. This was released as the B-side of “Whole Lotta Love.”

Zeppelin never played this song live because Jimmy Page hated it. Robert Plant played it on his solo tour in 1990.

The album Led Zeppelin II peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, the UK, and Canada in 1969.

It was rare when Jimmy Page did backup vocals…he did on this song.

And both together

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Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (She’s Just A Woman)

With a purple umbrella and a fifty cent hat,
Livin’, lovin’, she’s just a woman.
Missus cool rides out in her aged Cadillac.
Livin’, lovin’, she’s just a woman.

*Come on, babe on the round about, ride on the merry-go-round,
We all know what your name is, so you better lay your money down.

Alimony, alimony payin’ your bills,
Livin’, lovin’, she’s just a woman.
When your conscience hits, you knock it back with pills.
Livin’, lovin’, she’s just a woman.

* Chorus

Tellin’ tall tales of how it used to be.
Livin’, lovin’, she’s just a woman.
With the butler and the maid and the servants three.
Livin’, lovin’, she’s just a woman.

Nobody hears a single word you say.
Livin’, lovin’, she’s just a woman.
But you keep on talkin’ till your dyin’ day.
Livin’, lovin’, she’s just a woman.

* Chorus

Livin’, Lovin’, She’s just a woman.

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Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker

I talk about this a lot but this guitar riff is great and makes the song for me. I like how they ease into Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (She’s Just a Woman).

Heartbreaker was ranked number 328 in 2004 by Rolling Stone magazine, in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song was  credited to all four members of the band, “Heartbreaker” was produced by Jimmy Page and engineered by Eddie Kramer.

The solo is something different in this song. Jimmy Page does not play it with the band. He plays it by himself in a break in the song. Page didn’t find out until years later that the solo was in a different pitch than the rest of the song…but it sounded great.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, the UK, and Canada in 1969.

Eddie Van Halen: I think I got the idea of tapping watching Jimmy Page do his “Heartbreaker” solo back in 1971. He was doing a pull-off to an open string, and I thought wait a minute, open string … pull off. I can do that, but what if I use my finger as the nut and move it around? I just kind of took it and ran with it.

Jimmy Page: “The interesting thing about the solo is that it was recorded after we had already finished ‘Heartbreaker’ – it was an afterthought. That whole section was recorded in a different studio and it was sort of slotted in the middle.”

Eddie Krammer: “I met Page for the first time in Pye studios when I was working on sessions of The Kinks. Page had earned a certain reputation as a studio guitarist. I also worked with John Paul Jones on a few sessions, and we became friends. Jones was a brilliant musician. He wrote arrangements for chord orchestras and he could play many instruments extremely well. Before I left England to work with Jimi Hendrix at Record Plant studio in New York, in April 1968, Jonesy had invited me at his place to have me listen to a few demos of his new group, Led Zeppelin. I remember it sounded very heavy, and I was surprised that Jimmy Page played guitar because I didn’t know they were friends. Jonesy was very proud of John Bonham, an ex-mason from the north of England who could hit it hard on the drums, as well as of Robert Plant, their wild singer. While I wasn’t convinced by the name they had chosen, I wished them good luck. Then in ’69, I was working at Electric Lady studios when I received a call from Steve Weiss, Jimi’s right-hand man, saying that Led Zeppelin was in town. Page called later to tell he wanted I help him release what they had recorded and to make a few more tracks. Led Zeppelin had been a major success for Atlantic and they were urging Jimmy to finish the second album. Their schedule however wasn’t very arranging. So we ended up listening, doubling, recording and mixing in many different studios around New York, including Groove Sound, a nice R&B 8-track studio.

From Songfacts

This opens Side 2 of Led Zeppelin II and goes right into “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (she’s just a woman)” on the album. Radio stations usually play them together, but “Maid” was never performed live by Led Zeppelin.

A crowd favorite, Led Zeppelin sometimes opened live shows with it.

At concerts, Jimmy Page would stretch out the guitar solo and incorporate bits of other songs, like “Greensleeves,” “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” and Bach’s “Bouree in C minor.”

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones performed this at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in 1988 with Jason Bonham sitting in on drums for his late father.

Led Zeppelin opened many of their live shows in 1971 and 1972 with “Immigrant Song,” followed by a segue right into this. 

Eddie Kramer, sound engineer on Led Zeppelin II, told Guitare & Claviers in 1994 how he ended up working on the album:

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Heartbreaker

Hey fellas have you heard the news?
You know that Annie’s back in town?
It won’t take long just watch and see
How the fellas lay their money down

Her style is new but the face is the same
As it was so long ago
But from her eyes a different smile
Like that of one who knows

Well it’s been ten years and maybe more
Since I first set eyes on you
The best years of my life gone by
Here I am alone and blue

Some people cry and some people die
By the wicked ways of love
But I’ll just keep on rollin’ along
With the grace of the Lord above

People talkin’ all around ’bout the way you left me flat
I don’t care what the people say, I know where their jive is at
One thing I do have on my mind, if you can clarify please do
It’s the way you call me by another guy’s name when I try to make love to you, yeah

I try to make love but it ain’t no use
Give it to me, give it

Work so hard I couldn’t unwind
Get some money saved
Abuse my love a thousand times
However hard I tried

Heartbreaker, your time has come
Can’t take your evil way
Go away heartbreaker
Heartbreaker
Heartbreaker
Heartbreaker

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Bruce Springsteen – Greetings From Ashbury Park…Desert Island Albums

This is my ninth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 9 PICK 3- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN- GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK, NJ

The imagery flows like water with Greetings From Ashbury Park, Bruce’s debut album in 1973… It’s not very polished but that adds to it.  The songs have a stream of consciousness feel to them. It was critically praised but did not have huge sales. The album only peaked at #60 in the Billboard Album Charts.

I was around 19 (1986) or so when I found this album, or when the album found me, and I was going through an angry young man phase. I had just bought a 1976 Fender Musicmaster guitar (I still have it) and a black leather jacket. This album fit my mood at the time perfect. I wasn’t really angry but just realized I was considered a man now in the world but wasn’t sure what that meant and where I fit in. I listened to the album and it just seemed right.

Bruce Springsteen, 1973. : OldSchoolCool

I had this album picked and almost presented it with the 3rd or 4th pick but something told me to go with Big Star and the Zombies and wait. I originally bought this album in fall so it seems right that this pick will be my first pick in fall…if only I still had that leather jacket.

Now on to the album…Bruce’s manager Mike Appel (who is another story) and John Hammond (who signed Bruce, Dylan and many others) wanted a more singer songwriter album, while Springsteen and Jimmy Cretecos (co-producer)  preferred a band dominated album. A compromise was reached but when Clive Davis listened to the album he said there wasn’t a commercial single…Bruce wrote a couple of songs to include on the album. Blinded By The Light and Spirit in the Night. They were no doubt band oriented songs…so the album swung that way…but it still is very sparse with instruments. No big screaming guitars or anything like that. The melodies and lyrics are the focus.

Bruce Springsteen and band played for their Christmas money in 1973

Springsteen picked out the musicians who would help him out on this album. David Sancious, Gary Tallent, Vini Lopez and Steve Van Zandt were a few. However, Van Zandt barely participated because of a prior commitment to tour as a member of The Dovells backing group. Other musicians who would help out were Clarence Clemons, Richard Davis, and others.

1973 » Bruce Springsteen

I hear Dylan and a very strong Van Morrison influence on this album. It is rough and raw and unpredictable. When we first started this draft I knew this album would be in it either by me or someone else. I feel luck y that it fell this far down.

The most famous song on the album is “Blinded By The Light” which was covered later by Manfred Mann Earth’s Band that peaked at #1 in 1977. I just want to say…Bruce’s lyrics were “cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night” a “deuce” is a hot rod car…that is all I’ll say… Well I jumped up, turned around, spit in the air, fell on the ground, Asked him which was the way back home, He said take a right at the light, keep goin’ straight until night, and then boy, you’re on your own

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“It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City” is another great track and one of the most powerful songs he ever wrote. The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street, Showin’ me a hand I knew even the cops couldn’t beat
I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat

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“Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?” is a journey through an enjoyable play of words. This song is about as wordy and catchy as you can get. It was written about a bus journey to a girlfriend’s house. I listened to it so many times that I know every word to this day. I was surprised to see that he still plays this in concert every now and then…but you can’t beat the studio version. Wizard imps and sweat sock pimps, interstellar mongrel nymphs Oh, Rex said that lady left him limp, love’s like that (It sure is)

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My personal favorite is “Spirit of the Night.” This song hints at some of the characters and places that start populating Bruce’s musical world. Well, Billy slammed on his coaster brakes, And said, “Anybody wanna go on up to Greasy Lake? It’s about a mile down on the dark side of Route 88
I got a bottle of rosé so let’s try it

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This is a crazy good debut album. His first two albums were building up to everything that was crystallized in his third…Born to Run. That doesn’t make the first two any less. Greetings doesn’t “sound” as well as Born To Run but Bruce delivers.

After his second album The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, Bruce made his career making album Born To Run. He never has returned to the free form lyrics of his first two albums. I do wish he would try a song or two like these again…but maybe you have to be a certain age to write these types of songs and free of life distractions…After Blonde on Blonde, Dylan also left this style of song behind and he was 25 years old. Bruce was 24 in 1973 when he released Greetings from Ashbury Park and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.

I really love the albums on the island and with this one I’ll enjoy the characters of Crazy Janey, Mary Lou, Broadway Mary, Wild Billy, Hazy Davy, and Killer Joe. All these characters grew up through his albums and we knew our own versions of these people… they matured in front of our eyes and ears…much like Bruce did and we all grew together…and this album was the beginning of the story that we are still following.

Blinded By The Light
Growin’ Up
Mary Queen Of Arkansas
Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?
Lost In The Flood
The Angel
For You
Spirit In The Night
It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City

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Frankie Miller – I Can’t Change It

This is the kind of song and artist I like posting. I call it New Old music because not everyone has heard of Frankie Miller like Neil Young and other artists.

I was watching Life On Mars when this song came on in an emotional scene. I’d never heard of it before. I never heard of Frankie Miller but what a singer. He wrote this song when he was 12 years old. Ray Charles ended up recording it also. Frankie’s voice plus this song is incredibly powerful.

Ray Charles did his usual fantastic job on it but I like Frankie’s stark arrangement. I can’t say enough about his voice. In some of his other songs, he reminds me of Bob Seger with even a little stronger voice. He wrote Ain’t Got No Money that Seger covered.

In 1994 while he was forming a band with Joe Walsh he had a brain aneurysm. He has fought back but sadly he can no longer perform.

If you don’t know much about him he is worth looking up.

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I Can’t Change It

My friends can’t find some things I say
Must be the way I say those things
My friends can’t find some things I do
Must be the way I do those things
I can’t change it
But I’m trying to do right

I used to steal I used to fall
Was I wrong I can’t recall
I stole in love but all in all
Was I wrong I don’t recall
I can’t change it
But I’m trying to do right

Is it bad to look inside yourself and decide to go
To someone who can show the way complete
Are you glad to lose the doubts you thought would never go
When them inside hallucinations had you beat

My own true love has gone away
What can I say she left that day
The moon still shines a different way
What can I say
She left that day
I can’t change it but I’m waiting patiently

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Neil Young – Old Man

Neil Young wrote this about the caretaker of the ranch he bought in 1970.

His name was Louis Avila. The ranch was the Broken Arrow Ranch, purchased for $350,000 in 1970 (I have to wonder what it would cost now). Reportedly, Avila was giving Young a tour of the place and asked him how a young man like him could afford a place like this. Young, aged 25, replied “Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.’ And Louis said, ‘Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.’

Neil Young Archives on Twitter: "February 71' Neil and Louis Avila on  Broken Arrow Ranch,1970, just around the time it was purchased. Neil lived  there for 44 years. Taking care of the

Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor sang backing vocals on  Old Man and another Harvest track, Heart of Gold. James Taylor played six-string banjo.

Old Man peaked at #31 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in Canada in 1972. Looks like Canada got this right.

Linda Ronstadt: “I can’t remember why Neil wanted me to sing with him – I guess he just figured I was there and could do it but we went in there and they were doing ‘Heart of Gold’ and ‘Old Man’ and I thought they were such beautiful songs. I loved them.

And I knew how to do harmonies. I’d listened to the Buffalo Springfield harmonies and I knew how to get that 7th they always used. I don’t think we started until midnight and it was dawn when we came out, and it was snowing – we came out to this beautiful snow storm in the rising sun. It was really exciting. I just thought I’ve been part of something really wonderful.”

Neil Young: About that time when I wrote (Heart of Gold), and I was touring, I had also — just, you know, being a rich hippie for the first time — I had purchased a ranch, and I still live there today.

And there was a couple living on it that were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avala and his wife Clara. And there was this old blue Jeep there, and Louis took me for a ride in this blue Jeep. He gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, ‘Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?’

And I said, ‘Well, just lucky, Louie, just real lucky.’ And he said, ‘Well, that’s the darndest thing I ever heard.’

From Songfacts

This was the first song recorded for the Harvest album. Neil Young arranged the session the previous night when he was at a party held at Quadrafonic Studios in Nashville (he was in town to record a segment for Johnny Cash’s TV show). The studio owner Elliot Mazer was also a producer who had worked with a band Young admired called Area Code 615. Young asked if he could record there the next day, and Mazer complied, supplying not just the studio, but also the musicians.

The session took place on Saturday, February 6, 1971 with a group of Music City studio pros: Ben Keith on pedal steel guitar, Tim Drummond on bass and Kenny Buttrey on drums.

It was never the metric on which he wanted to be judged, but “Old Man” was the second-biggest hit for Neil Young as a solo artist, reaching #31 on the Hot 100. His biggest hit, by far, was his previous single, the Harvest track “Heart of Gold,” which went to #1.

There was some conflict over a hi-hat when Young recorded this song. When drummer Kenny Buttrey played it, Young told him not only to refrain from the hi-hat, but to only play with his left hand, which Buttrey thought was ridiculous. The drummer complied, however, literally sitting on his right hand to resist temptation. Buttrey later quipped: “He hires some of the best musicians in the world and has them play as stupid as they possibly can.”

It was immediately after the success of “Old Man” and the Harvest album that Danny Whitten, central to Young’s band Crazy Horse, passed away. Young invited Whitten to audition for his backing band the Stray Gators on the condition that he cleaned up his substance abuse. Young gave him a trial, but it looked to be the same old story with Whitten, so he fired him. Whitten promptly went home and overdosed, found dead with Valium and alcohol in his system.

Young got the call that night, and was devastated. Whitten’s death was part of the darkening of Neil Young’s act during the time following “Old Man;” it wasn’t just the success or being “headed for the ditch.”

Young told Jimmy McDonough that the line “Does it mean that much to me, to mean that much to you?” is meant to be directed towards the audience.

James Taylor is credited with playing “guitar-banjo” on this song. Taylor, who along with Linda Ronstadt was in the studio recording vocals, saw the banjo and started playing it. The instrument belonged to Young; it was a called a “guitar-banjo” because it was a banjo tuned like a guitar.

Bob Dylan covered this song throughout his 2002 tour.

This song has appeared in various films over the years, including Due Date, Lords of Dogtown, and Wonder Boys.

2015 The Voice champion Sawyer Fredericks covered the song during the show’s finale. The following week his version reached #63 on the Hot 100.

In 2018, a 72-years Young said during a concert in Chicago: “It’s hard to do ‘Old Man’ now. It’s like, ‘Old man take a look at my life, I’m a lot like I am.”

At the memorial service for actor Heath Ledger, “Old Man” was chosen as the song to play over a slideshow showing his various roles and life.

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Old Man

Old man, look at my life
I’m a lot like you were
Old man look at my life
I’m a lot like you were

Old man, look at my life
Twenty four and there’s so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two

Love lost, such a cost
Give me things that don’t get lost
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you

Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes and you can tell that’s true

Lullabies, look in your eyes
Run around the same old town
Doesn’t mean that much to me
To mean that much to you

I’ve been first and last
Look at how the time goes past
But I’m all alone at last
Rolling home to you

Old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes and you can tell that’s true

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Billy Joel – You May Be Right

You May Be Right was released on the Glass Houses album in 1980. I liked this song…it was more of a rock song from Joel.

Glass Houses was more of a rock album than his previous albums. He did that on purpose because he wanted something different than his previous albums The Stranger and 52 Street.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #9 in the UK and #6 in New Zealand.

This is the opening track to Billy Joel’s album Glass Houses. Right before the song, there is the sound of shattered glass, to match the cover picture of Joel throwing a rock into the window of an all-glass house…it was a parody of the saying “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” This was Joel’s statement to his critics.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote: “It may not be punk — then again, it may be his concept of punk — but Glass Houses is the closest Joel ever got to a pure rock album.”

You May Be Right was the first single released from Glass Houses…The song peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100, #6 in Canada, and #23 in New Zealand in 1980.

Billy Joel: “I could have come out with a record that would have guaranteed a certain amount of sales – just by repeating either The Stranger album or the 52nd Street album, by doing something similar,” Frankly, I would have been bored to do that. I would have been a dead duck, career-wise. You have to discard an audience to pick up another one.”

“It’s a definite temptation to repeat a successful formula. But I have never done the same thing twice. I don’t care what anybody says,”  “After Stranger, I could have done Son of Stranger, but I’ve never done that. To keep me interested, there always has to be something new, something different.”

From Songfacts

In this song, Joel takes the persona of a guy who is told he is reckless. Joel confirms the suspicion, admitting that he is crazy and extolling the virtues of a more carefree, but dangerous existence.

This was used as the theme song to the TV show Dave’s World, which ran from 1993-1997 on CBS. Like Joel’s “My Life,” Billy didn’t sing the version used on the show. The version of “You May Be Right” on Dave’s World was sung by Southside Johnny.

The Chipmunks covered this song on their 1980 album Chipmunk Punk. Joel says he thought it was great.

Joel tends to prefer his more obscure songs over his hits, but “You May Be Right” is one of his favorites. Speaking with Stephen Colbert in 2017, he listed it as one of his Top 5.

In The Office episode “WUPHF.com” (2010), Michael sings this after Pam tells him Ryan is taking advantage of him. It was also used on Glee (“Movin’ Out” – 2013) and in the movies Girl Most Likely and The Edge Of Seventeen (2016).

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You May Be Right

Friday night I crashed your party
Saturday I said I’m sorry
Sunday came and trashed me out again
I was only having fun
Wasn’t hurting any one
And we all enjoyed the weekend for a change

I’ve been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford Stuy alone
Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I’m insane

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for
Turn out the light
Don’t try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

Remember how I found you there
Alone in your electric chair
I told you dirty jokes until you smiled
You were lonely for a man
I said take me as I am
‘Cause you might enjoy some madness for a while

Now think of all the years you tried to
Find someone to satisfy you
I might be as crazy as you say
If I’m crazy then it’s true
That it’s all because of you
And you wouldn’t want me any other way

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for
It’s too late to fight
It’s too late to change me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for
Turn out the light
Don’t try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
You may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right

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AC/DC – Thunderstruck

One of the best intros ever! We tried a little tenderness with Otis Redding this morning so now lets all insert some ear plugs and turn it up.

Brothers and  guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young wrote this song. This led off The Razors Edge album, but in America it wasn’t sold as a single, which helped propel the album sales. The more radio-friendly Moneytalks was the US chart hit from the album, peaking at #23 in the Billboard 100.

Thunderstuck peaked at #13 in the UK and #20 in Canada in 1990. The Razors Edge peaked at #2 in the Billboard Album Charts, #4 in the UK, and #1 in Canada.

A side note to this song. In 2012 a couple of Iranian uranium-enrichment plants were hacked and their computers shut down but not before blasting Thunderstruck at maximum volume like you are probably doing right now or will be soon.

The album was recorded with producer Bruce Fairbairn at his Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver, where he also produced Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet and the Aerosmith albums Permanent Vacation and Pump. It was the group’s first time working with Fairbairn.

Angus Young: “It started off from a little trick that I had on guitar. I played it to Mal and he said, ‘Oh I’ve got a good rhythm idea that will sit well in the back.’ We built the song up from that. We fiddled about with it for a few months before everything fell into place.

Lyrically, it was really just a case of finding a good title, something along the lines of ‘Powerage’ or ‘Highway To Hell.’ We came up with this thunder thing and it seemed to have a good ring to it. AC/DC = Power. That’s the basic idea.”

From Songfacts

According to The Story of AC/DC: Let There Be Rock, Angus Young created the distinctive opening guitar part by playing with all the strings taped up, except the B. It was a studio trick he learned from his older brother George Young, who produced some of AC/DC’s albums and was in a band called The Easybeats.

This song marked a return to form for AC/DC, whose previous three albums didn’t generate any blockbusters. It was the song that set the tone for the album, a truly thunderous track that electrified the crowd as the opening number on The Razors Edge tour. The apostrophe-free album title gels with the song: Australians call the dark clouds of an approaching storm “the razor’s edge.”

AC/DC shook Iran all night long when a computer virus infected nuclear establishments there in July 2012. One of the effects of the worm was that the machines were forced to play this track at full volume during the small hours.

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David Mallet, who directed the video for “You Shook Me All Night Long,” returned to work with the band on this clip. Mallet wanted to create the “ultimate performance video,” showcasing AC/DC’s live energy. It was shot at Brixton Academy in London with some innovative camera work. Mallet had Angus do his duckwalk over plexiglass to get footage from underneath, and small cameras were placed on the guitar and on one of the drumsticks.

The Croatian cello duo 2Cellos released an instrumental version of the song in February 2014. The pair are best known for their cover of “Smooth Criminal,” which was performed on the Michael Jackson-themed episode of Glee.

The song was featured in the film Varsity Blues during one of the games when the team is hungover from the night before. AC/DC charged a massive $500,000 for its use, the biggest deal that music supervisor Thomas Golubic (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead) has ever brokered. “I remember being absolutely horrified when I heard that number,” Golubic recalled to Variety. “And we spent a lot of time coming up with what we thought were great alternates, but there was going to be no budget on that, and they had money so they paid for it.”

In 2004, an Australian movie called Thunderstruck was released. It’s a comedy about five guys who go to an AC/DC show in 1991 and agree to bury the first one who dies next to Bon Scott. 

In Australia, this was used in commercials for the Holden Commodore SS Ute. The commercials were about an Australian Built Ute making a storm in the outback. >

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Thunderstruck

Thunder, thunder, thunder, thunder
I was caught
In the middle of a railroad track
I looked round
And I knew there was no turning back
My mind raced
And I thought what could I do
And I knew
There was no help, no help from you
Sound of the drums
Beating in my heart
The thunder of guns
Tore me apart
You’ve been
Thunderstruck

Rode down the highway
Broke the limit, we hit the town
Went through to Texas, yeah Texas, and we had some fun
We met some girls
Some dancers who gave a good time
Broke all the rules
Played all the fools
Yeah yeah they, they, they blew our minds
And I was shaking at the knees
Could I come again please
Yeah them ladies were too kind
You’ve been
Thunderstruck

I was shaking at the knees
Could I come again please

Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck
It’s alright, we’re doin’ fine
It’s alright, we’re doin’ fine, fine, fine
Thunderstruck, yeah, yeah, yeah
Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck
Thunderstruck, baby, baby
Thunderstruck, you’ve been Thunderstruck
Thunderstruck, Thunderstruck
You’ve been Thunderstruck

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The Festival Express

Transcontinental Pop Festival… better known as the Festival Express. Great idea on paper… rounding up musicians in 1970 and placing them on a train going across Canada and stopping along the way to play festivals. What could go wrong? Actually, I would have loved to have been on that train.

The lineup:

The Band

The Grateful Dead

Janis Joplin

Buddy Guy Blues Band

The Fly Burrito Brothers

Sha Na Na

Delaney & Bonnie & Friends

There were artists that were not in the film like Traffic, Ten Years After, Tom Rush, Ian & Sylvia, Mountain and more.

A DVD was released of this in 2004. All these musicians on a train full of liquor and an assortment of drugs… liquor was the popular choice among the musicians on this ride. The tour was to have events in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver. The Montreal event was canceled as was Vancouver. In Toronto, protesters were saying the festival promoters were price gouging so The Grateful Dead played a free concert in a park nearby to ease tensions with the protesters.

There are some very good performances on the film. My favorite is Buddy Guy and Janis Joplin’s performance. I also like the Dead’s “Don’t Ease Me In” with Pigpen on blues harp. The festival lost money and the film was thought lost for over 30 years. Janis would be gone a few months after this but her performance of Cry Baby is electrifying.

The train was where the fun was at. They actually stopped at a liquor store and bought out the complete store…including the giant display bottles. The Dead’s crew even dosed some of the liquor…and cake with LSD as you will see below… on board. When watching the film you can see the performers are having a ball jamming with each other because they didn’t get a lot of chances to do that on the road.

Bill Kreutzmann (drummer for the Dead) from his book “Deal”

We celebrated Janis Joplin’s birthday at the last stop the traditional way: with birthday cake. In keeping with our own kind of tradition, somebody—within our ranks, I would imagine—had secretly infused the cake with a decent amount of LSD. So it quickly became an electric birthday celebration. Allegedly, some generous pieces of that birthday cake made it to the hands and mouths of the local police who were working the show. “Let them eat cake!” (To be fair, I didn’t have anything to do with that … I was just another cake-eating birthday reveler, that night.)
And that was it for the Festival Express. It was a wonderful time and I think what really made it great was the level of interaction and camaraderie among the musicians, day and night, as we were all trapped on this train careening across the great north. It probably helped that we were all trashed the entire time. Whiskey was in the conductor’s seat on that ride.

I would recommend getting the DVD of this event. It’s a great time capsule of that time in music and culture.

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