Welcome to Rock of Agers

Welcome to Rock of Agers

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Small Faces Start Thinking Big

Having nipped smartly into the No. 1 best selling album slot with Ogdens Nut Gone Flake, the Small Faces are now deservedly considered big wheels in the progressive pop stakes.

To see how they were enjoying their new found status I journeyed to Immediate control headquarters where on a bright sunny afternoon, there was only a skeleton crew holding fort and things were strangely quiet.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How Nils Lofgren Almost Became the Next Big Thing

In the early '70s, Grin seemed like a band on the brink of big league success. Their stellar second album, 1+1 had shown that American rock didn't need to be lunk-headed or self-indulgent. Or strummed by laid-back guys who just wanted to chug all night.

Nils Lofgren, the band's founder and front man, was championed by almost everybody—especially rhapsodizing rock critics—as a prodigiously talented musician-singer-songwriter.

Lofgren was a bag of tricks: his voice could be plaintive and vulnerable or gritty and assertive; his guitar playing was fluid and inventive. At their best, his songs were a hybrid of power pop and riff-heavy rock; and Nils came up with some of the most infectious melodies this side of McCartney. He embodied all of the most-prized values of classic pop-rock. 

How could he possibly miss?

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What Happened to Savoy Brown?

Savoy Brown has never had a song on the pop charts and none of their albums have ever inched above the top thirty anywhere in the world. 

Yet, for aficionados of British blues, they hold a unique place. Between 1967 and 1974, Savoy Brown released nearly a dozen notable albums that took a holistic approach to the blues, snaking through an ever-evolving mix of boogie, R&B, jazz, and psychedelic rock.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Was Michael Bloomfield a Guitar God?

When Bob Dylan went electric at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, he made sure he had blues guitar god Mike Bloomfield at his side.
Of course! Bloomfield's fluid, dynamic virtuosity shaped pivotal moments during classic rock's creative surge.

His ear-opening forays with the swashbuckling Paul Butterfield Blues Band forged the template for future superstars like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck

Lyrical, acerbic, exuberant, and aching, Bloomfield's guitar stings with vibrato and channels chromatic flourishes, which have shaped pickers from Duane Allman to Joe Bonamassa.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

In Concert: Everybody Knows Stephen Stills and Judy Collins

The forthcoming album of duets by Stephen Stills and Judy Collins is called Everybody Knows

The title comes from the Leonard Cohen song they cover on the recording (which you can hear by scrolling down to the bottom), but it could also apply to the prevailing atmosphere inside the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., on Wednesday night (Aug. 16).

Nearly every member of the audience was old enough to know that Stills and Collins met in 1968, at the dawn of the CSN era, and had a brief but torrid relationship—and that she was the muse for his “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” one of that group’s signature songs.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ageless Ronnie Spector Talks Bond with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Let me tell you (a) little story of how I got to Asbury Park in the first place. I am walking down the street in New York City, mid-'70s and I hear this voice yell out, “Hey Ronnie, Ronnie Ronette,” so I turn around and it’s John Lennon. I actually met John the first night we landed in the U.K. in January '64. Anyway, John asked me how am I doing, and I tell him, "Not good, I need to make music." John said he was busy being a house husband taking care of his son, but introduced me to his engineer, Jimmy Iovine.

That night, Jimmy invited me down to the Record Plant where he was working with a band from Jersey. When I walked into the studio, I met Little Steven (Van Zandt), who was producing Southside Johnny. And (Bruce) Springsteen was there, too, and right on spot Bruce re-wrote a song for me and Johnny to sing as a duet, “You Mean So Much to Me Baby.” They were all excited when I showed up, and more excited when I started to sing. I was surprised they knew me.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

OTD (1970) - Lou Reed Leaves the Velvet Underground

The most famous and widely quoted observation about rock pioneers the Velvet Underground is generally credited to guitarist Brian Eno, who supposedly said that while only a handful of people bought their albums in their original release, every one of those people was inspired to go out and start his own rock band.

To judge from the number of artists over the last four decades whose sound and songwriting reflect the Velvets’ influence, Eno was right on the mark.

Arguably the most influential American band of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Velvet Underground had an impact on modern rock and roll that was well out of proportion to the popularity they achieved in their short-lived heyday. 

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Woodstock Performers: Where Are They Now?

When you do the math, it’s not too surprising that a great number of artists who performed at the Woodstock festival on August 15-18, 1969, are no longer with us. The good news is that many still are, some of them still creating brilliant music. 

Here is a brief guide to the status of most of the artists who made history and helped define classic rock that weekend in upstate New York.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Dancing in the Dark: A Solar Eclipse Soundtrack

Today is the day for the big solar eclipse.

To enhance the experience, we've put together a musical playlist for your solar eclipse watching (and listening) pleasure. Pink FloydYusuf/Cat Stevens, Bonnie Tyler, Death Cab for Cutie and TV On The Radio bring us songs about the moon and the sun; as well, we have Carly Simon's classic song about a self-absorbed lover who flew a Learjet to Nova Scotia "to see the total eclipse of the sun." 

You can plan your eclipse party here; however, just like eclipse glasses are a must, be sure to have this solar eclipse playlist ready! Listen below.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Manufacturing Bob Marley

When Bob Marley died, on May 11, 1981, at the age of thirty-six, he did not leave behind a will. He had known that the end was near. 

Seven months earlier, he had collapsed while jogging in Central Park. Melanoma, which was first diagnosed in 1977 but left largely untreated, had spread throughout his body. According to Danny Sims, Marley’s manager at the time, a doctor at Sloan Kettering said that the singer had “more cancer in him than I’ve seen with a live human being.” As Sims recalled, the doctor estimated that Marley had just a few months to live, and that “he might as well go back out on the road and die there.”

Marley played his final show on September 23, 1980, in Pittsburgh. During the sound check, he sang Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” over and over. He asked a close friend to stay near the stage and watch him, in case anything happened. 

The remaining months of his life were an extended farewell, as he sought treatment, first in Miami and then in New York. Cindy Breakspeare, Marley’s main companion in the mid-seventies, remembered his famed dreadlocks becoming too heavy for his weakened frame. 

One night, she and a group of women in Marley’s orbit, including his wife, Rita (to whom he had remained married, despite it being years since they were faithful to one another), gathered to light candles, read passages from the Bible, and cut his dreadlocks off.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Look at the Late Gregg Allman's Last Song

Photos of the late Gregg Allman can be seen in the new lyric video for “My Only True Friend,” the first taste of his upcoming posthumous album Southern Blood.

Allman completed the album, which will be released on Sept. 8, in the weeks leading up to his death in May at the age of 69, following a series of health setbacks. He continued to lead a successful career since the death of his brother Duane in a motorcycle accident nearly ended the Allman Brothers Band in 1971.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Linda Ronstadt Fused Country Roots and 70s Rock

In the late ’60s and ’70s, folk and classic rock music began incorporating more country rhythms and themes. Bands like the Eagles and Creedence Clearwater Revival built their reputations on rock ‘n’ roll that often ventured into the hushed melodies and shuffled percussion common to country music. It was a time of blurred genres and open-ended rhythmic possibilities—bands weren’t consigned to a single approach, which led many to experiment with sounds. It was also around this time that pop music began its clear march to the heart of country music, with some mainstream artists looking toward a more pastoral production in their work.
There were a few artists, however, who found a truly sublime success in the meeting of various sounds, delivering song after song of emotional constriction and release. Linda Ronstadt, a country singer whose work delicately balances between the pop world and its twangy cousin, is one of the musicians who saw the boundless opportunities inherent in this confluence of sounds. She was always looking for how aesthetics could mesh and entangle themselves, leading to her collaborations with such musicians as Philip Glass, Frank Zappa, Neil Young and Warren Zevon, among a handful of others.
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

OTD (1965) - The Beatles Play Shea Stadium

These days it’s no surprise when your favorite superstar rock band plays a ballpark or stadium. But for those of you too young to have lived through Beatlemania, step into our time machine and come back 52 years with us.
Rock music was still far outside the mainstream. Rock concerts were rather rare events. But in the mere 18 months since The Beatles had first arrived in America in February 1964 they’d had five #1 hits and the landscape was rapidly changing.
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Friday, August 11, 2017

10 Great Driving Songs: From Drive My Car to Born to Run

As the Stones were wont to say about the swelter season, the most tune-a-licious prospects for the well-appointed classic rocker are just down the road apiece. All you need to do is get in your car and drive.
Is there anything that goes together better than cruising in your wheels and with some great tuneage blasting away to set the soundtrack? Actually, yes. Make the music some cool driving songs and it all aligns as a peak experience.
The right driving songs set the pace, enhance the experience, and provide hi-test fuel for the driver and passengers. And these classic cuts will have you bouncing up and down in the fast lane, so remember to keep your seat belt buckled.
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Atlantic City Pop: The Great Lost Music Festival of 1969

Forty-eight years ago in August of 1969, a groundbreaking rock festival took place, one of the best ever, witnessed by many thousands of people and featuring an amazing cast of diverse bands. No, I’m not talking about Woodstock, although that one wasn’t bad either. I mean the Atlantic City Pop Festival.
Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it. Most people haven’t, even the most fanatical baby boomer rock fans. For some reason, the three-day Atlantic City, NJ bash that took place over the first weekend of that August barely registers a blip in most accounts of rock history.
It’s most likely because AC Pop was overshadowed by the events of a couple of weekends later in upstate New York. Crowds didn’t storm the site to make it a free festival. No foxy hippie girls got naked and went skinny dipping. No one died. No groovy babies were born. It didn’t close the Interstate due to people trying to get to the fest. It was not declared a disaster area. And Joni Mitchell didn’t write a song about it even if she did play at AC Pop (briefly; see below), unlike Woodstock.
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

OTD (1995) - Jerry Garcia Dies

Few if any American rock musicians have achieved the iconic stature of guitarist, singer, songwriter of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, viewed by many as the band’s leader (a role he eschewed) and figurehead as well as the musical embodiment of the 1960s counterculture. 

He died of a heart attack at age 53 on August 9, 1995, at the Serenity Knolls treatment center in Forest Knolls, California, where he was undergoing treatment for addiction to heroin and cocaine.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

50 Greatest Guitarists in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

It's the instrument most associated with rock and roll. It's also one of the handful of things on Earth that's undeniably cool as hell.

The guitar has been the centerpiece of music since the early days, from acoustic-driven folk and blues to British rock and heavy metal. And one place to celebrate the best axe men of all time is, not surprisingly, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

For this list, we only considered guitarists that have been INDUCTED into the Rock Hall. That rules out players whose bands aren't quite eligible yet (Tom Morello, Jonny Greenwood, Jack White, etc.) and snubs like Link Wray, Robert Fripp of King Crimsons, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.

We present our picks for the 50 greatest guitarists among the Rock Hall's inductees based on influence, skill, musicality and showmanship. Judge us if you must.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Lennon Remarks Spark Fiery Beatles Backlash

On the precipice of a 1966 U.S. tour, the Beatles had a problem. Though throngs of devoted fans eagerly awaited the Fab Four’s August trek, many others sought to protest at scheduled shows, cancel shows or ban the group entirely.

This was the fallout from John Lennon comparing the popularity of the Beatles and Jesus Christ earlier in the year. The singer-guitarist told British journalist Maureen Cleeve, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity.”

The quote caused little irritation in the U.K., but in July, when it was reprinted without context in America (via teen magazine Datebook), the storms of controversy flared. Some folks, from Alabama DJs to church leaders, misunderstood that Lennon was claiming his band was superior to Jesus. Certain southern radio stations refused to play Beatles songs, church groups organized bonfires of Beatles records and the band received countless death threats.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Reflecting on the Great Jerry Garcia on What Would Have Been His 75th Birthday

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jerry Garcia was best known as a founding member of the Grateful Dead, the rock band for which he served as de facto leader for 30 years, from 1965 until his death in 1995. Concurrently for much of that time, he also led his own Jerry Garcia Band (JGB), and he performed and recorded in a variety of configurations and a variety of styles, particularly styles of folk and country music, sometimes switching to banjo or pedal steel guitar for the purpose.
But the Grateful Dead remained his primary musical outlet, and he performed thousands of concerts with them and appeared on dozens of their albums (many of them live recordings), 28 of which reached the Billboard charts during his lifetime, including the million-sellers Workingman's DeadAmerican BeautyEurope '72Skeletons from the Closet: The Best of Grateful DeadWhat a Long Strange Trip It's Been: The Best of the Grateful Dead, and In the Dark, and another eight that went gold.

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