Welcome to Rock of Agers

Welcome to Rock of Agers

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saying Farewell to So Many Stars in 2016


It’s not just your imagination—2016 was truly one of the most brutal years in music. We’ve lost so many great artists of all types since early January.
 Of course there were the giants who helped to define our culture—David Bowie, Prince, Leon Russell, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frey and producer George Martin among them—but then there were also the sidemen, the “one-hit wonders,” the influences and those who worked behind the scenes.
This following list is far from comprehensive and, with a month left to go in the year, it’s probably, unfortunately, not yet complete. Here we pay tribute to some of the artists who’ve left us in 2016. While it’s a cliché it’s also true that although they are gone, their music will always remain with those who are still here to listen.
(The names are listed alphabetically, followed by the date of death and a brief description of their place in our world.)
To keep reading this article, click here.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 In Review: Best Classic Rock Reissues


Here is an alphabetical list of the best reissues of individual classic rock albums - nearly all of them puffed up with bonus content like live recordings, alternate mixes, single B-sides, and demos.

To view the annotated, detail list, click here.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 In Review: Best of Boxed Sets and Collections

Here are some of the best of boxed sets and collections from classic rockers that were released in 2016.

There's some great listening here so enjoy.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 in Review: Best New Albums by Classic Rockers


Here are some of the best newly recorded albums by classic rockers that were released in 1966.

The list is arranged alphabetically.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Look Back at Some of the Best Albums of 1966


In a way, 1965 was the nascent start of the classic-rock era, that moment when the rock ‘n’ roll single yielded its power to the album format. But 1966 is when it all started to make sense.

Our list of 1966’s Best Rock Albums is almost equally divided between veteran acts (well, as veteran as rock ‘n’ roll bands could be in 1966, so we’re talking a period of two to three years) and new artists sprung from the shadows of their predecessors.

To keep reading this article, click here.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Jimi Hendrix Writes Purple Haze



After a stint in the U.S. Army and a creatively unfulfilling stretch as a session musician and sideman to acts like Little Richard and The Isley Brothers, 21-year-old Jimi Hendrix moved to New York City in 1964 to set about building a solo career. 

“Discovered” two years later by the British manager/producer Chas Chandler, a former member of the The Animals, Hendrix moved to England in 1966 and teamed up with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell to form The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The group scored an almost immediate UK hit with “Hey Joe,” which was released in mid-December. 

It was 10 days later, however, on December 26, 1966, that Hendrix wrote “Purple Haze”—the song that would not only give him his breakthrough hit in the United States, but also go on to define an entire musical era.

To keep reading this article, click here.

Encore 1 - "Purple Haze" Live

Sunday, December 25, 2016

If Your Christmas Day Was a Downer, Here Are A Few Tunes for You to Listen To

All Alone at Christmas - Darlene Love


Come on Christmas - Dwight Yoakam


Blue Christmas - She and Him



Father Christmas - The Kinks



Santa Can't Stay - Dwight Yoakam



Merry Christmas from the Family - Robert Earl Keen



Saturday, December 24, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas - Day 12: Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth - Bing Crosby & David Bowie


Friday, December 23, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas - Day 11: I Believe in Father Christmas

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

I Believe in Father Christmas - Greg Lake (of King Crimson & Emerson, Lake and Palmer)


Thursday, December 22, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas - Day 10: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas - Day 9: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas: Day 8: Run Rudolph Run

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Run Rudolph Run - Sheryl Crow


Monday, December 19, 2016

The 12 Musical Songs of Christmas - Day 7: Carol of the Bells

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Carol of the Bells - David Benoit


Sunday, December 18, 2016

The 12 Musical Songs of Christmas - Day 6: Christmas Time Is Here

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Christmas Time Is Here - Vincent Guaraldi

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas - Day 5: Mary Did You Know?

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Mary Did You Know? - Pentatonix

Friday, December 16, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas - Day 4: Happy XMas (War Is Over)

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Happy XMas (War Is Over) - John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas - Day 3: One Little Christmas Tree

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

One Little Christmas Tree - Stevie Wonder


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas - Day 2: Jingle Bell Rock

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Jingle Bell Rock - Daryl Hall and Jose Feliciano

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The 12 Musical Days of Christmas - Day 1: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Consider these holiday hits a musical Christmas gift from Rock of Agers to you.

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee


Thursday, December 8, 2016

ELP, King Crimson Bassist/Singer Greg Lake Dies


Greg Lake, singer, bassist, and guitarist with prog rock trio Emerson, Lake and Palmer died yesterday at age 69 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Lake, who came to fame on the first 2 King Crimson albums, formed ELP in 1970 with keyboardist Keith Emerson, who died earlier this year, and drummer Carl Palmer, who played with the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster, and later with Asia.

ELP, with its jazz and classical music-influenced compositions, became one of the most popular bands of the early 1970s.

Encore 1
My 5 Favorite Greg Lake vocal songs
"From the Beginning"


"Lucky Man"


"In the Court of the Crimson King"/ "21st Century Schizoid Man"


"Still You Turn Me On"


"I Believe in Father Christmas"


Encore 2
10 classic songs from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Happy 67th Birthday Tom Waits


Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is celebrating  his 67th birthday today. 
The widely admired composer, performer and actor is among the most celebrated American musicians since coming onto the scene with his 1973 debut LP Closing Time
His distinctively raspy, deep voice is as recognizable as his illustrative words and stories that make up his often covered songs.
One of those regularly covered compositions is the deep cut from the 1987 Waits LP Franks Wild Years entitled “Way Down In The Hole.” 
Many unfamiliar listeners likely were first introduced to the song through the opening credits of HBO’s defunct drama The Wire, which utilized a portion of a rendition by The Blind Boys Of Alabama for the program’s first season in 2002.
To continue reading this article, click here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

OTD - Stones Altamont Concert Turns Dark (1969)




On December 6th, 1969, The Rolling Stones hosted what proved to be one of the most tragic concerts ever at the Altamont Speedway, effectively silencing the rising counterculture movement and, in a sense, the 60’s themselves.


As the turbulent decade went on, what started as a utopian dream of free love and grinning madness born of sunshine and an infectious, enthusiastic hope sadly faded into screams in the dark at Altamont. 
The Stones front man Mick Jagger beseeched the crowd for a return to sanity, but the wave of heady change that had gone out years before had finally came crashing back in, drowning a dream.
To continue reading this article, click here.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Stones Return to Their Blues Roots

When they first started performing, the Rolling Stones set list was heavy with songs from American blues artists. Now, with their latest CD entitled Blue and Lonesome released earlier this month, the Stones have returned to their blues roots.

The album features 11 covers by such legendary bluesmen as Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, and Jimmy Reed.

Here the Stones talk about how the retro-yet-still-new CD came to be in a feature article in Rolling Stone magazine.

And here you can read Rolling Stone's 4-and-a-half-out-of-5 star review of Blue and Lonesome.

And finally here is a Spotify playlist that NPR compiled of the new Stones covers and the original versions, as well as some of the earlier blues and R&B covers that the then-young Stones first played.

The early Rolling Stones live ...
... and the Stones today more than 50 years later

Friday, December 2, 2016

What's It Like Meeting Bruce Springsteen

2 Jersey boys hanging out in Kennesaw, Georgia.
For the later years of the 1960s, The Animals were my favorite band. If the Animals had a leader, it has always been singer Eric Burdon. Now I've never met Eric personally, but I should remedy that in February when I plan to interview him for a book on classic rock I'm intending to complete before 2019.

From 1969 to the end of the 20th Century, my favorite band was the Rolling Stones. I wouldn't say I was obsessed with them, but I did adopt much of their swagger and convinced my wife to name our only son Michael (Mick Jagger) Keith (Keith Richards). But despite my fandom and the fact that I've only missed one Stones tour since 1969, I've never even been close to meeting Mick or Keith and I doubt that will ever happen.

For the past 15 years or so, my favorite group has been Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. As a fellow Jersey boy, I have long admired Springsteen's songwriting and political/humanitarian stands. In fact, of all the artists of the 3rd age of Classic Rock (the 70s), Springsteen is the most accomplished and the most relevant today. And the E Street Band which he dominates is, and has long been, the greatest bar band in the land.

Today, I got the chance to meet my most admired rock and roll icon when Bruce Springsteen appeared at the 2nd and Charles book store in Kennesaw, Georgia.

I truly am amazed that I got one of the much sought-after tickets to the event. This was the second mini-tour Springsteen had undertaken in support of his widely-praised autobiography Born to Run. In Philadelphia, tickets had sold out in minutes and resellers were offering a chance to get close to Bruce for as much as $1,500. (The actual cost of the ticket was the price of a book and a service fee).

When I saw Springsteen was coming to Kennesaw, which is only a half-hour from our Atlanta apartment, I knew I had to try to be there. The tickets went on sale at noon on the Monday before Thanksgiving and I promised to try to get one immediately.

However, since I was in Orlando at Universal Studios having fun with my 2 grandkids, I didn't remember to check the website until 12:13. I was absolutely certain I was too late, but you can imagine my jubilation when I saw the message: To complete your purchase click here.

Now normally, as a writer, I would detail the Meet and Greet. But instead I decided to just enjoy the "magic" moment and chat with fellow fans in our 2-hour wait to see Springsteen, exchange a few words with Bruce, have a picture taken, and receive an autographed copy of the new Born to Run autobiography, which is currently number 8 on the New York Times best seller list.

I was certain I could find a first-person account of the extremely exciting, well-run event (and yes, the crowd did scream Bruuuuuuuuuuuce when we first spotted the artist arriving in an Escalade). As I anticipated, I did find such an account written by Craig Schnieder of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Here it is:
So I’m talking with Bruce Springsteen Friday morning and ...
Wait, let’s stop right there. That sentence was four decades in the making. For me, the idea of talking to Bruce Springsteen is crazy high-end bucket list stuff.
But there I was, sharing a moment of his undivided attention. It only lasted seconds, as I took my turn stepping up to him at an event where you receive a signed book of his in Kennesaw. But those seconds will last the rest of my life.
Much as I dreamed about meeting him, I fretted over it.
To continue reading the article to discover what it's like to meet Bruce Springsteen, click here.
Encore
Here is the Facebook entry I posted about the event ...
It might not be quite as powerful as a personal prayer from the Pope, but I got a benediction from The Boss today.
When I thanked Bruce Springsteen for his music and his stands for social justice at his meet and greet in Kennesaw, Georgia, he grabbed my hand and said, "Thanks and bless you brother."
So I have now officially been blessed by Bruce.
He laughed when I told him we were both Jersey boys, but he got all the musical and the writing talent.
By the way, his autobiography Born to Run, which was why he was in town, is a great read. You should check it out.
We also chuckled at the fact we both saw the same concert in 1966 - The Blues Magoos, The Who, and Hermit's Hermits. Bruce saw it in Asbury Park and I saw it in Philly.
Even though it was only a brief encounter, it was definitely worth standing in line for 2 hours with hundreds of southern Springsteen fans with all of us swapping concert stories.
I spent much of that time talking to Jennifer, a 39-year-old single mother who drove 6 hours from Muscle Shoals, Alabama to meet Bruce.
Jennifer was nervous and kept asking me what to say. But Bruce took care of that when he smiled, hugged her, and kissed her on the cheek. All she could do was beam.