Welcome to Rock of Agers

Welcome to Rock of Agers

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Story Behind Jethro Tull's 'Aqualung'


Jethro Tull had already hit the top spot on the U.K. charts with their 1969 release, Stand Up, but success in America was a harder nut to crack.

Their third album, 1970's Benefit, came close to the U.S. Top 10, but stopped one mark short, landing at No. 11.

It wasn't until the band issued their landmark album Aqualung in 1971 that the doors to mainstream acceptance flung open in a big way, with the record going all the way to No. 7.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

How Gloria Became the 1st Lady of Garage Rock


"Gloria" is a classic rock tune built on just three chords that any garage band can play and that almost every garage band has.

Yet the list of artists who have covered this tune, originally written by Van Morrison (Them) and made wildly popular in America by the Shadows of the Night, has been covered by such revered artists as:
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • The Doors
  • Patty Smith
  • Tom Petty
  • David Bowie
  • Bruce Springsteen
So how did such a minimal song have such a huge impact? And why does it still reverberate today in arenas, festivals, and bars?

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Story Behind the Album Chicago II


Right at the start, Robert Lamm make one thing clear about Chicago II: "Nobody in the band - Chicago, that is - refers to their second record as Chicago II. 

"We actually just say 'the second album or the third album, and so on," Lamm says. When we started out out, we were called Chicago Transit Authority, which was the title of the first album - we call that one CTA. After the second album, we got into the numerals."

Released on January 26, Chicago II built on the success of the band's audacious debut a year earlier and put the genre-spanning group into the Top 5.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What Happened to Mitch Ryder?


For two years in the middle of the 60's, Mitch Ryder couldn't have been any hotter: the frenetic, soul-inspired frat-rock that he and the Detroit Wheels manufactured was one of the most exciting sounds on radio, a blast of purely American noise that drew on James Brown, Little Richard, and Motown.

There was, it seemed, no stopping Ryder and his band from becoming one of the decade's biggest acts.

You will not find many things that Bruce Springsteen and Ted Nugent agree on, but you will find each of them testifying on behalf of this raucous band from Michigan.

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Saturday, February 4, 2017

10 Cool (But Weird) Backward Messages on Records


Lots of songs have cryptic meanings (I'm looking at you, Bob Dylan), but sometimes, the hidden message is, literally, backwards. 

In a recording technique known as "backmasking", a vocal snippet is dubbed backwards onto an otherwise forward-sounding track, concealing the meaning of the original vocal. The secret message is revealed only when an enterprising listener plays the track backwards. 

In the golden age of vinyl, ferreting out the secret backwards message was usually a three-person operation. One person carefully spun the LP backwards with his index finger. A second person lit something to smoke. And a third person stood by in case he had to rush out to buy a new record needle or other supplies.

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