Welcome to Rock of Agers

Welcome to Rock of Agers

Monday, May 15, 2017

How Jimi Hendrix Set Black Music Artists Stone Free


“I get a kick out of playing. It’s the best part of this whole thing, and recording too. I wrote a song called ‘I Don’t Live Today,’ and we got the music together in the studio. It’s a freak-out tune. I might as well say that, ’cause everyone else is going to anyway…” – Jimi Hendrix
“Freak out” is an apt way to describe how the world reacted to Jimi Hendrix. In 1966, the rock legend arrived in London an unknown guitarist from New York City looking to establish himself as a star. 
In September, former Animals bassist-turned-music manager Chas Chandler began taking Hendrix around The Smoke, and actively recruited a band to support him, nabbing drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding. That same month, at a Cream show at Regent Street Polytechnic, Hendrix took the stage alongside that power trio to play a kinetic version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor.” After a short tour of France, The Jimi Hendrix Experience were signed to Track Records by Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, managers of The Who.
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

50 Years Ago: We First Get to Experience Jimi Hendrix


Released in May 1967 in the U.K. and three months later in the U.S., the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Are You Experienced was a game changer. After hearing the album for the first time, what guitarist doesn’t think, “Oh s—, what do I do now?”

There’s more than just standard Chuck Berry riffing going on here and more than Dave Davies-style power chords. Hendrix developed a whole new language for the electric guitar, a language that, all these years later, is still being translated by generation after generation of hopeful guitar heroes.

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Friday, May 12, 2017

It Was 40 Years Ago Today: Recording 'Exile on Main Street'


"You don't get a take till Keith starts looking at Charlie and moving nearer to him, and then Bill gets up out of his chair and stands up. Then it transforms into the Rolling Stones," says Andy Johns, the engineer who recorded much of the Stones' Exile on Main Street almost four decades ago. 

"The rest of the time, it's just rubbish. But if Bill gets out of his chair, and Keith's looking at Charlie, you know you're getting pretty close. And it goes from 'What the hell is this?' to 'Fucking hell!' It's an off-planet experience." 

Though Johns' résumé as engineer and producer includes more than 200 projects, with Number One albums stretching all the way from Led Zeppelin IV to Godsmack's IV, he has never quite escaped that sweltering basement in the South of France, with Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts — still young and lithe, shirtless and sweating — grinding out limping, out-of-tune versions of songs in progress over and over and over again, until the Rolling Stones suddenly materialized. 

Then again, the Stones have never quite escaped it either.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Led Zeppelin Albums Ranked


Led Zeppelin, the original hammer-swinging band of rock gods, is back—and all it took was Chris Hemsworth to pull it off. (Or is that Liam?) The English supergroup of the 1970s is now the supergroup for the 21st-century superhero set, with its stomping 1970 classic “Immigrant Song” powering the Thor: Ragnarok trailer to record downloads and entering the Billboard charts for the first time since its release. (There’s also a rumor swirling that Zeppelin may reunite for this summer’s Desert Trip Festival.)
Before it soundtracked a Marvel movie trailer, of course, “Immigrant Song” was the opening track from Led Zeppelin’s 1970 monument, Led Zeppelin III, with Robert Plant’s banshee wail heralding a new era of hard rock and metal. 
For all its innovation and impact, though, few fans rank Led Zeppelin III as the band’s finest hour. But now that it’s back on the air and seducing a new generation of listeners, perhaps it’s the perfect time to revisit the group’s catalogue and sort it out for an audience eager to explore Zeppelin’s legendary 11-year recording career.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sgt. Pepper to Be Celebrated


PBS will join the 50th anniversary celebration surrounding the Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band next month by airing a BBC documentary offering a look behind the scenes of the album’s creation and cultural legacy.

Titled Sgt. Pepper’s Musical Revolution and scheduled for a June 3 debut, the hour-long special promises “material never before accessible outside of Abbey Road Studios, including recordings of studio chat between band members and isolated instrumental and vocal tracks” while revealing “the nuts and bolts of how the album came together” and offering “insights into the choices made by the Beatles and George Martin.”

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Monday, May 8, 2017

It's Only Rock and Roll: Ranking All 374 Stones Songs


Time doesn’t apply to the Rolling Stones quite like it does to other rock bands. Their longevity is staggering — this band has been around for 55 years. Fifty-five years! 
Founding members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Charlie Watts have been hitched to each other for far longer than the vast majority of marriages last — longer than a lot of lives last, too.
That staying power is an incredible achievement, and it also has a distorting effect. If you’re a fan of the Stones, it’s hard not to always compare them with their glorious 1968 to 1972 peak, when they fully assimilated all their blues, rock-and-roll, R&B, and country influences and turned it into something decadent, dark, ironic, sexy, and wholly their own. 
That leaves 45 ensuing years of gradually declining cultural relevance and, if we’re being honest, more mediocre music than good, and a seemingly ceaseless parade of product — compilation albums, concert films, live albums, and, recently, the traveling “Exhibitionism” display of band memorabilia. In 2017, it seems equally reasonable to think of the Rolling Stones as rock gods or greedy dinosaurs. Either characterization, though, is inadequate.
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Friday, May 5, 2017

10 Great Power Pop Songs


Sure, classic rock fans love pop music – but they prefer it with a little extra punch. So, we’ve created the Top 10 ‘Power Pop’ Rock Songs, in honor of the 35th anniversary of a significant year in the subgenre: 1978. 

This was the year that Cheap Trick released the masterpiece ‘Heaven Tonight’ and played their legendary shows at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan (although the resulting live album wouldn’t hit the U.S. until ’79). It was the year that the Cars released their classic, self-titled debut, along with its three hit singles. And 1978 marked the founding of the Knack, who would land a power pop blockbuster the following year.

Although the phrase “power pop” had been coined in the ’60s (thank you, Pete Townshend) and the style would remain strong for decades to come (hello Fountains of Wayne and Matthew Sweet), the period between the early-’70s and early-’80s contains power pop’s strongest tunes. Here are 10 gems from that era.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

The History Behind CSN&Y's 'Ohio'



On May 4, 1970, National Guardsmen squared off against anti-war demonstrators on the campus of Ohio’s Kent State University.

The student protest was sparked by President Richard Nixon’s announcement on April 30 that U.S. troops would invade Cambodia, escalating the already unpopular war in Vietnam.

The deadly confrontation that followed would become known as the Kent State Massacre, and was immortalized in one of rock’s greatest protest songs, “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

60s/70s Song for Sunday: 'Aqualung' by Jethro Tull


I was never a big fan of Ian Anderson or Jethro Tull.

But I loved this song, especially the guitar solo and the energy it generates. It was on heavy play rotation during my college years at Villanova University and I did see the band once live in concert.