Friday, June 27, 2008

B B King - The King of the Blues!

The History of BB King - Would You Play Blues Guitar In Street Corners for Dimes? by Zack Roberts

In his youth he played on street corners for dimes and pennies! He was born on 16 September, 1925 on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. He spent his youth playing on street corners for dimes. Today B.B. King (Riley B. King) averages 250 'packed to the rafters' concerts around the world each and every year.

In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, Tennessee to pursue his music career and it is first love. His first major break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio broadcast. As the years well by, King has developed one of the world's most identifiable guitar styles.

He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, incorporating his distinct and complex voice-like string blends and his left-handed vibrato, both of which have become vital components of a blues guitarist's vocabulary. His economy, his every-note-counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck.

In the mid-1950s, two men got into a fight during one of King's performances. The men knocked over a kerosene stove and set fire to the venue. King raced outdoors to safety and then realised he'd left his beloved acoustic guitar behind. He rushed back in to retrieve it and almost lost his life. He found out later that the fight had been over a woman.

He named his guitar Lucille to remind him to never do a crazy thing like fight for a woman. Ever since, each one of King's guitars has been called Lucille. Does your guitar have a name?

Zack Roberts is the founder of 50 Blues Music Studios. He is a professional full time musician and guitar instructor, specializing in classic blues and rock music. He also runs a recording studio in Jersey City, NJ.

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What are your favourite guitar solos of all time?

The 4 Best Guitar Solos Of All Time by Johnny Stall

The following is a list of the 4 best guitar solos ever to be played... well, at least in my opinion anyways.

I had the hardest time writing this because with all of the amazing music in the world, how the heck do you pick the top 4? What was even harder for me was to put them in order!

I have been working on this for days now and even though I have whittled the list down to 4, I still couldn't decide on the order to place each song in. So instead of numbering them from 1 to 4, I decided just to tell you my favorite and leave the rest of them un-numbered. I know, I know... I wussed out! But sit down and try it yourself someday and then see how hard it is.

You probably wont agree with my choices and that's ok because we all have different tastes. In fact, if everyone agreed with my picks, I would be worried. That's the beauty of music... we love what we think sounds good, what makes us feel good and what makes us jump out of our chair and play some air guitar.

Could you imagine if we all felt the same, liked the same music and had the same opinions? How boring would that be?

So here are my choices, the songs and guitar solos that send shivers up and down my spine every time I hear them. If you don't agree, that's ok. These are my picks... go make your own.

My favorite guitar solo of all time:

Eruption by Van Halen:

Written and performed by Eddie Van Halen on the Van Halen album. I picked this as my favorite of all because it's the one that I always, no matter where and when I hear it, have this urge to play some serious air guitar. I remember being blown away the first time that I heard this because a sound like that was never heard before. That one song inspired myself and many other young kids to pick up the guitar.

The strangest part of this track was that it wasn't even supposed to be on the album. Eddie was in the studio practicing one of the solos that he liked to do live because he had a gig on the weekend. His producer walked in and heard him playing and told him that he wanted to put it on the album. They recorded one take of the solo and that's what you hear on the album.

Honorable mentions:

Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd:

Starting off as a ballad, Freebird then turns into an up-tempo guitar boogie. My favorite parts of the song are the slide guitar solo at the beginning and the 3 guitars that solo for nearly a full 5 minutes at the end of the song.

Another cool fact about this song is the lyrics at the start of the song. "If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me?" was a question that a girlfriend of Skynrd guitarist Allen Collins asked him when she realized that music would always come before her in his life. Allen wrote those lyrics down and then were used in Freebird and recorded on their Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd album.

All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix Experience:

Jimi took a tape of the Bob Dylan song into the studio one day and immediately started recording a bunch of takes. Becoming more dissatisfied as the song went on, Jimi kept overdubbing more and more guitar parts. When you sit down and listen to the finished version, which is on the Electric Ladyland album, it's hard to imagine that this song started out as an acoustic ballad.

Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin:

From the famous Led Zeppelin IV album, this is the song that you usually see at the top of all of the "best guitar solos" lists. When you see videos of this song being played, you will see Jimmy Page playing a double neck Gibson guitar during the song. When recording the song for the album, Jimmy actually used a 1958 Fender Telecaster, Harmony acoustic guitar and Fender Electric 12-string.

Another interesting fact about "Stairway" was that it never was released as a single, which turned out to be a great marketing move. Just to get their own copy of "Stairway", fans were more than willing to shell out the cash for the whole album. It was a great investment anyways because the entire album is amazing.

There you have it, in my humble opinion, the 4 best guitar solos of all time. I have a much bigger list that I could have revealed here but because this is an article and not a book, I have kept it down to 4. Plus it really doesn't matter what my choices are, anything that I would have picked wouldn't be able to do justice to all of the great guitar players in the history of modern music. I'm just grateful that I've had the chance to experience all of their music.

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Today's Music is Just not as Good!

Where Has the Music Gone? A Tribute to the Late Vintage Guitar Greats by Dan DeRoeck

The 60's and 70's era brought us a plethora of vintage guitar greats. Anyone living during those turbulent times can probably still remember the feeling they got when Red House or Voodoo Chile played on the radio or a record. To this day, I listen in awe when either of these two great songs are played.

Jimi Hendrix is certainly one of the more famous guitarist to make his mark during the 60's music era, a period which we have come to know as Classic Rock. He was one of a kind that not only had a flair for the performance, he was a musical genius in his own right. He had total command of the fretboard and a dexterity matched by few. He of course later became known as "the Master of the Stratocaster." Jimi's talent was probably not fully appreciated until after his untimely death on September 18th, 1970.

The music of this era will continue to hold a special place in our heart and soul for many years to come. Sure the era was filled with dissension, war and bigotry. But the music played during this period was performed with such zest and pure love for the music itself, it somehow made us forget about the negative things going on around us. The fact that today, we still hear the songs from the 60's and 70's played over and over is legendary proof. Will today's music be played 30 or 40 years from now? Maybe, but I doubt it. Longevity is certainly a prime indicator of greatness and this music passes with pychedelic colors.

Although many of the guitar greats are still alive today such as Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Carlos Santana. Others such as Jimi, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ronnie van Zant and George Harrison, just to name a few, have gone to a place where they can play the guitar forever. A melancholy feeling resonates from the 1974 Righteous Brothers hit song Rock and Roll Heaven, "If there's a rock and roll heaven, well you know they've got a hell of a band," certainly tells all. Whenever I hear that song, I can't help to think that Jimi, Stevie Ray, Ronnie and George are looking down upon us smiling.

For a quick trip back in time with the guitar greats of the 60's and 70's, check out our Vintage Guitar website at We sell vintage guitars, amps and accessories from the pre-1980 era.

Listen to a couple of Hendrix's all time greats Red House and Voodoo Chile at

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Bob Marley's Inspiration

Bob Marley Was Naturally Driven to Create Music, Even When He Was a Small Child by Adam Fulford

Bob Marley, singer, guitarist, and song-composer, shook the world with his Reggae music and became an international superstar. In his songs, he eloquently conveys his strong spiritual beliefs and values. Before developing into a Reggae composer, he collaborated with many different musicians and singers, performing various styles of music, including Ska and Rock Steady

Born in 1945, Bob Marley grew up to the sounds of Jamaican music while he was raised by his mother who scratched out a bare subsistence existence at an area called Nine Mile in rural Jamaica. When Bob Marley was just three, he made waves with neighbors after he read their hands and told their fortunes with incredible accuracy.

At the age of 5, Bob Marley's mom sent him alone on bus to Kingston for schooling promised to him by his father, who lived there. His father dropped him off at an elderly woman's home, then disappeared. Bob Marley didn't receive his promised schooling during his 18-month stay there, but he seems to have had some significant exposure to music at this time. After his mother finally found him and took him back to Nine Mile, six-year-old Bob Marley declared, "I'm a singer now."

When Bob Marley was around 10, a little boy nicknamed Bunny moved to Nine Mile with his father Toddy Livingstone. Little Bob Marley and Bunny quickly formed a friendship. Bob and Bunny sang and performed music together. Bob Marley's mother then moved in with Bunny's father, and they became a family.

To find jobs, Bob Marley's mother and Bunny's father relocated the new family to Trenchtown, a Kingston shantytown built around a large reeking open sewer. In Kingston, Bob Marley was exposed to the music of Fats domino and Ray Charles. Bob and Bunny got some music training in a class taught by famous Jamaican singer, Joe Higgs.

In Kingston Bob and Bunny, who came to be known as Bunny Wailer, sang doo-wop harmonies on the street corners. They went on to land recordings And this was how the beginning of the Bob Marley legend. Music transported Bob Marley from a Life of Abject Poverty to Superstardom.

Adam F. enjoys creative pursuits and is highly appreciative of artists. He has established, an independent venue for musicians (and alternative to MySpace owned by Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News). is about music access. At, musicians, singers and music lovers may network, put of profiles, enjoy articles, share events, and even take advantage of features on the site to make money. Artists may sign up at

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A Tribute to James Brown

James Brown's Music Inspired the World by Adam Fulford

James Brown's Music Resonates In Throughout Every Corner of the World

"The Godfather of Soul," charismatic singer/songwriter James Brown is an American icon whose musical legacy deeply impacts the wider world. Caribbean Reggae star Bob Marley, Kenyan American Afro-Funk artist Victor Sila, Cuban jazz musician Arturo Sandoval, British rockers The Who, Japanese composer Shigeru Umebayashi, and American hip-hop star LL Cool J all cite James Brown as an inspiration and an influence.

James Brown's Music

Renowned for his musical diversity, and also famous for his dance moves, James Brown was a singer, composer, lyricist, and bandleader who played a range of instruments including keyboards, drums, and guitar. With a mastery of many musical styles -- Gospel, Blues, Jazz, R&B, funk -- James Brown's original music covers a wide range of genres, though he is primarily recognized as a soul stylist and as the original innovator of funk.

James Brown's Early Life

Born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina, James Brown lived a hard-scrabble childhood and youth. James Brown's musical career began early in his childhood. He practiced playing a harmonica that his father gave him. His parents divorced when he was only 4. As a child, he entertained WWII troops from Camp Gordon with song and dance, and picked up some change that way.

How Did James Brown Learn Music?

James Brown developed his musical skills largely on his own, but also got musical guidance from various musicians such as guitarist Tampa Red, pianist Leo Austin, and drum-player "Mr. Dink". In his early years, he took on a range of menial jobs to support himself. He even resorted to crime. Despite the difficult circumstances, he managed to hone his musical skills and evolve as a musician.

James Brown Demonstrated that One Can Network and Make Connections Anywhere

At age 16, James Brown was in reform school for armed robbery, where during a musical performance he impressed musician Bobby Byrd, who was in the audience. Byrd and his relatives went on to help and join James Brown in his musical career.

James Brown's Stints in Sports

Brown's musical calling was briefly disrupted by sports stints as a boxer and a baseball player.

Thankfully, James Brown Chose Music

Luckily for the world, James Brown went on to energetically followed his true calling -- music. The rest is earth music history. Thank you, James Brown, Soul Brother Number One, Mr. Dynamite, The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business, Minister of The New New Super Heavy Funk, Mr. Please Please Please...

Adam F. enjoys creative pursuits and is highly appreciative of artists. He has established, an independent venue for musicians (and alternative to MySpace owned by Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News). is about music access. At, musicians, singers and music lovers may network, put of profiles, enjoy articles, share events, and even take advantage of features on the site to make money. Artists may sign up at

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Reggae Music: A Different Slice of the 60s and 70s

Types of Reggae Music and Reggae Jargon by Andy Mullins

Jamaican Reggae music is a dynamic music form that is continually evolving and changing and it continues to do so to this day. Reggae music is a musical form of expression which artists have used to discuss topics ranging from cultural to social. Reggae musics' origins and beginnings can be traced back to the 1950's. This article will look at Reggae music genres from the earliest to the present. Also, we will define some Reggae jargon as it pertains to the genres.


Ska is a style of Reggae music created in Jamaica during the 1950's to 1960's. The music is heavily driven by drums and bass guitar over which a singer sings. Many music historians agree that Ska was the first genre to which Reggae music can be traced.

Rock steady

Rock Steady is another early genre of Reggae music. Rock Steady is basically Ska however the drum and bass are played at a different pace and slower than those found in Ska music. In this music form, Jamaican singers sing to Rock Steady instrumentals.


Following the era of Ska and Rock Steady, the word 'Reggae' was coined. No one is sure of the exact origins of the word 'Reggae.' Reggae music evolved from Ska and Rock Steady. Reggae has a distinct sound. Reggae music is driven by drums, guitar, bass and horns. Famous Jamaican singers initially began recording songs to this style of music beginning in the late 1960's through the 1970's.


Dub is Reggae instrumental music with no singing. Dub is not merely instrumental tracks of popular Reggae songs. Dub artists produce instrumentals with no intention of having someone sing to them. Usually Dub music has a lot of variation within it (the pattern varies) so it's very difficult to sing to or rhyme to Dub. Dub artists are often very experimental in their approach to this style of music but its baselines and drum patters can most definitely be identified as Reggae.


Toasting is basically talking or chatting over an instrumental track and rhyming while doing so. The person doing the Toasting is referred to as a Toaster. During the 1960's in Jamaica and throughout the 1970's a Toaster would introduce popular Reggae songs with a short and witty introduction that rhymed. Over time Reggae Toasters started saying more and more and were eventually invited into music studios to record entire songs. Toasting later evolved into Deejaying which will be discussed in more detail below.

Dancehall Reggae

Dancehall Reggae evolved from Reggae music during the 1980's. Dancehall Reggae is heavily influenced by drums and drum patterns. The evolution of Reggae into Dancehall Reggae coincided with the popularity of drum machines. Many of sounds of Dancehall Reggae are electronic drum patterns. The pace of the music in Dancehall Reggae is up beat and up tempo. Unlike the previous styles of Reggae music which are usually sung, Dancehall Reggae artist chat or speak in rhymes which is referred to as 'chatting on a mic.' Nowadays, those who 'chat on the mic' are known as DJ's. Furthermore, the act of 'chatting on the mic' is called Deejaying. Dancehall DJ's evolved from the previously mentioned Toasters who would Toast songs in Jamaica. Dancehall Reggae DJ's speak the Jamaican patois language to deliver the message in their songs. Dancehall Reggae is most popular among the youth and youth culture in Jamaica.

Within the main Reggae genres there many subcategories and further classifications of the music. The subclassifications may depend on the message of the song, or the style of music and you may find that a subcategory falls into one or several genres. Next, we'll look at a few of the subcategories of Reggae music.


Rockers is Reggae music that is a ballad or a love song. It is slow paced music which is sung.


Roots is Reggae music with a religious message.


Culture is Reggae music that speaks about history, culture or society. Culture is Reggae music that has a positive social message.

In conclusion, Reggae music is a dynamic and continually evolving art form. It is driven by island life, politics and youth culture. Reggae music ranges from mellow love longs sung in Standard English to the up tempo Dancehall Reggae songs sung in Jamaican Patois.

I write about travel, culture and language.

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A Tribute to The Doors

The Funky Music of the Doors by Victor Epand

Formed in 1965, The Doors became a well-known, controversial band that would become one of the many successful rock bands during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The band would have probably continued, but they decided to disband shortly after the death of Jim Morrison. Jim Morrison was the one responsible for bringing the band together in the first place. He was not only a singer and a song writer; he was also the author of a few poetry books and a film director. It was unfortunate that such a talented individual would pass away at the age of 27, but he had apparently become depressed. Exactly how he died has caused much speculation.

Coming together in 1965 and staying together until 1971, the band consisted of Jim Morrison, who was the singer, Robby Krieger who was the guitarist, Ray Mazarek, who was the keyboardist and John Densmore, who was the drummer for the band. The Doors covered a few music genres, including hard rock, blues rock, acid rock and basic rock. The group was fairly popular as many enjoyed their music, but the band was the center of much controversy; or rather, Jim Morrison was the center of some controversy. Though the band worked together on many of their songs and performances, Jim Morrison appeared to suffer under the tensions of his position. As time went on, he began to become more dependent on alcohol and he also started to have emotional outbursts on stage. Interest in his music began to wane. By the time The Doors were starting their year long tour, the concerts that were set during the year were canceled after Jim Morrison was arrested and charged for indecency and obscenity. While this could very well have been very discouraging for the rest of the band, they continued on and Jim Morrison continued to pursue some of his interest in poetry and filming.

During their time together, The Doors put out a number of successful albums that continue to sell very well today. The other three members did not seem to let Jim Morrison's problems get in the way of their music too much. From 1965 until 1971, the four members worked together to put together songs and compile numerous albums. After Morrison's death in 1971, the other three members of the band continued on for about one year. In 1972, they decided to dissolve the band. While this may have been the end of the band at that time, the surviving members did manage to come together for reunions a few years later, in 1978. They also had a partial reunion in 2001 and 2003. It is calculated that The Doors continue to sell about one million albums a year, which shows that though the life of the band was brief, they continue to be favored and well-liked by the general populace of North America. They may have been controversial, but the bottom line was that they had good music that people enjoyed listening to, despite whatever concerns or rumors may have existed about the band.

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments. You can find the best marketplace for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments at these sites for used the doors CDs and autographed the doors CDs.

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A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

The Wonderful Music of the Band Fleetwood Mac by Victor Epand

Fleetwood Mac is a band of both British and American musicians and singers that was formed in 1967. They continued well after 1974, and in fact, they are still together, but it is believed that the first seven years were their best years. The current members of Fleetwood Mac consist of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

The name of the band was created from the names of John and Mick, though, only Mick Fleetwood has been with the band from the time it began until now. In fact, John McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham may have been with the band for a long time, but they were not in the band when it was first created. The band is probably best known for its revolving door, in that there has been a high turnover of the other people involved in the band.

When Fleetwood Mac was first created in 1967, it consisted of Mick Fleetwood, who was interested from the start, Peter Green, who brought up the idea of putting the band together, Jeremy Spencer and Bob Brunning. Peter Green had wanted John McVie in the band from the start and had partly named the band after him in order to win him over, but he had other interests at the time. However, Peter Green was not going to give up. He brought in Bob Brunning, but he and Bob Brunning had the understanding that if Peter Green was able to get John McVie into the band, Bob Brunning would have to leave.

It was not until after Fleetwood Mac's debut that John McVie became interested and agreed to join the band. Their first album together was released the year after, in 1968, which was not long before they released their second album in the same year. Before their third album, the band added in one more member, because Peter Green was not happy with Jeremy Spencer's lack of interest in cooperation with his music.

This was the start of the high turnover of the members of the band that would continue for a number of years. Even Peter Green, who was the one who formed the band, was unable to continue with the band throughout its long life. Apparently, he had been spiked with LSD, which led to the deterioration of his mental health.

For a time, it was believed that Fleetwood Mac was the most popular band in the United Kingdom. They were never a controversial band like The Doors, and were more focused in their music. They mostly focus on three music genres, including blues rock, pop rock and basic rock. These particular genres were popular at the time the band first formed and are still genres that are enjoyed by young and old alike today. They have been so successful, that Fleetwood Mac was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, but it would not mark the end of the band. The band would continue to play and tour, even with the retirement of another member shortly after the induction.

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments. You can find the best marketplace for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments at these sites for used Fleetwood mac CDs, autographed Fleetwood mac CDs.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Genesis - Selling England by the Pound

Classic Rock Albums Revisited - Genesis by Charlie Beers

In late 1972, as Genesis set about making its sixth album, Selling England by the Pound, Steve Hackett was becoming fed up with his role as the group's guitarist. He had already recorded two albums with the English prog-rock act-Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot-for which most of his compositions had been rejected. What's more, the group's keyboard-dominated music was providing him with few opportunities to stretch out as a guitarist. "At times, playing guitar in Genesis was very difficult," acknowledges Hackett. "You'd often have a very busy keyboard part, and the guitar had to be wedged in."

The band's lineup at the time certainly left little room for the guitar pyrotechnics for which Genesis would later be celebrated. The five-piece act consisted of Hackett and bassist Mike Rutherford, keyboardist Tony Banks, drummer Phil Collins and vocalist Peter Gabriel. Successfully integrating the artists' distinctive styles required a delicate balance. "You couldn't come in like Hendrix with the whammy bar and do a 'Star-Spangled banner' on too much of the stuff. It wasn't tolerated," says Hackett. "I had to try very hard to find guitar tones that would be subtle."

Hackett was about to be surprised, however. Not only would his compositional abilities be in demand for the making of Selling England by the Pound but his guitar talents would come to dominate the album, making it the most guitar-centric record of the group's oeuvre. Selling England by the Pound marked the rare occasion in which room was made for Hackett and Rutherford to assert themselves, both on lengthy, extended solos and at the forefront of the mix.

Although the sessions for Selling began auspiciously, it soon became clear that the band was in short supply of musical inspiration. Anticipating that most of his contributions would be rejected once again, Hackett had brought with him only "a number of little riffs that might go into people's songs," and an instrumental called "After the Ordeal."

"It was a hard album to write," says Rutherford. "We went in, and the first couple of days were fantastic. We just steamed off with ideas. The next month to six weeks we had to work a little harder."

One winner, however, was "Dancing with the Moonlit," and eight-minute, medieval-themed piece with politically pointed lyrics, which supplied the album's title. Beyond its provocative imagery, the song gave the band the opportunity to stretch out musically during a high-speed interlude that features some of the hottest soloing ever committed to record by Genesis.

"Once the song portion ran out, it caught fire musically, 'cause everyone was kind of willing to go with it-certainly Phil and I were," recalls Hackett. Collins was also supportive of Hackett's desire to employ two-handed tapping for some of the jam's swifter runs. "I think some of the group thought that it was a bit too 'muso' for the band and too technical," says Hackett. "There was a sense of wanting to play down technique and for everyone to be accompanists. But I wanted to be a soloist at that point and felt it needed to go up a gear."

There were other opportunities for the musicians to stretch out on Selling, however. Rutherford says that the lengthy instrumental passage in "The Cinema Show" was "a product of Phil, Tony and myself taking off on our own." However, Rutherford admits that, 25 years after recording the song, he'd be hard pressed to reconstruct the song's chiming introduction.

"I was going through my weird tuning era," he says, "which definitely made for strange harmonics. But I've forgotten the tuning! I could never play the start of 'Cinema Show' again. It was very weird."

Selling also gave Genesis its first single, the gently rolling "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)." Short enough to court airplay, the song hit the Top 30 in the U.K. and helped Selling become Genesis' first charting album in the U.S.

While "Wardrobe" was hardly a guitar opus, it did provide Hackett with some satisfaction. Just the previous year, when Genesis was working on Foxtrot, he had introduced it to the group as "a little guitar ditty," only to have it rejected.

"Phil and I were playing the riff, and some guys in the band thought it sounded too much like the Beatles, so we didn't do it," Hackett says. "When it came time to do Selling England by the Pound, Phil and I started playing the same riff, and everybody joined in. And it became our first hit Single. "I think the lesson was, if something sounds too much like the Beatles, you're probably on the right track."

Charlie is the owner of Gear-Vault a Used Music Equipment online auction site. And Gear-Monkey Musicians online Talk forum Both sites reflect his love for music and geared toward the music community.

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Do you remember these unusual hits?

Ten Unlikely Hit Songs That Broke the Rules by Jon O'Bergh

Few songs that break the rules of pop songwriting ever achieve mainstream success. Deviate from the predictable verse/chorus structure in 4/4 time arranged for a basic grouping of guitar/keyboards, bass and drums, and you can pretty much guarantee being marginalized. During a 20-year period from roughly 1965-1985, however - a period that witnessed a flowering of musical creativity and widespread openness to experimentation - it was possible to break the rules and have a hit record. Here are ten unlikely hits from that period.

Good Vibrations - Beach Boys - 1966, #1

Brian Wilson spent six months and an unheard of $50,000 perfecting this pop masterpiece. While it starts out with the usual verse/chorus alternation, it moves into a contrasting section that could be a bridge except that it moves on to something yet different. The music quiets down to a hush - highly unusual for the middle of an uptempo song - before the voices launch back into the chorus. Rather than fade out on the chorus at this point (the standard formula), a completely new section intercedes before the outer space theremin from the chorus returns minus the vocals to lead the fade-out.

White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane - 1967, #8

This quintessential example of pyschedelia is built on an unusual AAB structure. In the first half, the melody follows a folk song pattern: rather than a chorus, the two verses each conclude with a melodic tag. The song then breaks free from this structured section and moves into something that feels more improvisatory. The melody rises higher as the music intensifies and climaxes with the final phrase repeated twice.

Suite Judy Blue Eyes - Crosby, Stills & Nash - 1969, #21

True to its name, this is a mini-suite of four contrasting sections: ABCD. There are no choruses, only a changing sequence of verses. After slowing in the B section, the rhythm picks up in the C section. The sequence of verses becomes condensed in section D, propelling the music to its climax.

Black Dog - Led Zeppelin - 1969, #15

A song in which the music keeps stopping and starting breaks the rule of continuity, but there is a play between symmetry and asymmetry in the structure of "Black Dog" that is both surprising and satisfying. The structure is: A (verse three times) / B (instrumental) / A (verse two times plus "ah ah" melody) / C (contrasting bridge). Then the entire structure is repeated.

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey - Paul McCartney & Wings - 1971, #1

Two disparate songs were combined to create this study in contrasts. The opening, slower "Uncle Albert" song is comprised of three verses, two sung and one spoken. The second song, "Admiral Halsey," by contrast, is uptempo and uses a verse/chorus structure. But McCartney further plays with our expectations by putting the chorus first, and instead of a second verse he goes into a third contrasting section in an even faster tempo ("little little be a gypsy"), before returning to the chorus.

Living in the Past - Jethro Tull - recorded 1969 but released 1972, #11

Money - Pink Floyd - 1973, #13

These two songs used unorthodox time signatures: 5/4 and 7/4 respectively (Apparently the irregular beat did not interfere with general public's ability to enjoy the music). The clever use of cash register sounds to set the rhythm in "Money" is also an unusual introduction for a song.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen - 1975, #2

The blending of a soulful ballad, a rousing rock-out section, and a tongue-in-cheek opera make this virtuosic song an unlikely hit, but it has become one of the most enduring songs of the 20th century. Probably no other popular song has captured the essence of the surreal so well.

O Superman - Laurie Anderson - 1981, #2 (U.K.)

Everything about this song, from its half sung/half spoken lyrics to its vocoder vocals to its minimalist arrangement and rhythmic pulse built from repetitions of the sound "ha" cry out "anti-pop." Yet its eccentricity was its charm. Groups like Kraftwerk, the B52s and Devo were also having success with eccentric, anti-pop music during this period.

When Doves Cry - Prince - 1984, #1

Prince had to fight hard to stand his ground against Warner executives who could not imagine that a dance song without a bass part could be successful. But the brilliant omission of the bass line heightens the plangent, high register cries of his voice at the end of each chorus. With the minimal arrangement - drums, vocals and simple keyboard motive (augmented by strings in the final chorus) - Prince distills the music into its most basic elements: the percussive rhythm and the expressive lament of the voice.

While many artists continue to write music that isn't a slave to pop song format, such songs have largely vanished from the hit charts since the mid 1980s. Musically, the public has become much more conventional, shifting its focus from musicality to image and celebrity, which increases the pressure on artists to stick to the formula. Perhaps we'll someday see a resurgence of mainstream music that isn't afraid to break the rules.

More music articles at Song of Fire (

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BOOK REVIEW: The History of Rock Music

The History of Rock Music - Book Review by Joy Cagil

During the fifties and later, vital, energetic, and rebellious youth produced their own music in contrast to traditional music, becoming a target for censors and conservatism. When I saw this book with an Elvis-like drawing on its cover, I had to pick it up, because it reminded me of the times when most of us in my generation were, musically speaking, in love with Elvis and his successors.

The type of music called rock music sprung up from peacetime America but was adopted by the youth through the entire world. Although it started as an act of a rebellion, rock music became the governing music form for the next few decades, eventually turning into a customary music genre and leaving its throne of rebellion to other types of music. Rock music involves a vocal melody accompanied by musical instruments such as guitars, drums, and keyboard instruments.

When rhythm and blues met country music, rock music was born. The book, “The History of Rock Music,” gives this type of historical information alongside with the biographies of and information about famous rock stars who determined and shaped the course of rock music from early on. In addition to the musicians, Dick Clark with his television show “American Bandstand” promoted the rock music and coerced its respectability by the general population.

Among the earlier artists mentioned are Little Richard, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Woodie Guthrie, and Bob Dylan, and from the sixties on come the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Motown, Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. Later, when hard rock surfaced, its representatives became Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, and Black Sabbath. From seventies on, singer-songwriters came into the music scene like Jackson Browne, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell.

The book not only gives information about music groups and presents several features from actual history, but it also provides details on the instruments and the evolution of rock music trends to the end of the nineties, from before Elvis’s time to Curt Cobain’s grunge.

“The History of Rock Music” is a volume from the Masters of Music Series, in hardcover and 64 pages, with ISBN-10: 0764151371 and ISBN-13: 9780764151378.

The author, Andrea Bergamini, has written other books on music like Beethoven and the Classical Age, Music of the World, and Le rock. Also, a great deal of appreciation goes to the book’s illustrator, Ivan Stalio, who has illustrated numerous volumes such as: The Atlas of World Religions, Adapting to the Environment, The Animal Atlas, The History of Technology, Life Cycles, Mammals, and Plants.

With its large pages filled with bright photos, graphics, and illustrations, this young adult book is a delightful book to read and enjoy for people of all ages.

Joy Cagil is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Story of Pattie Boyd

Layla, You Still Got Me On My Knees, Pattie Boyd by Nick Oliva

I received as a Christmas gift a personalized autographed copy of "Wonderful Today." This is a very good marketing device for a premium price, but worth it for those who value the author's dedication in their own handwriting.

Beatle George Harrison wrote "Something" for her and it remains one of the most covered Beatles songs ever. Eric Clapton, the guitar hero of the world for over three decades wrote the Derek and the Dominoes 1974 Album "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs," that fast and furious super-hot rock and roll epic about his love for this model and former wife of George Harrison and eventually Eric's-Pattie Boyd. She's the only woman to have two superstars write songs to her, and in her prime, her intoxicating beauty was that of a sexual siren driving men's souls to the rocks in pure passion. Her new book "Wonderful Today" is a biography that seems to want to tell all, and indeed sheds light on this wonderful woman who came from an abused childhood to make it as one of the world's top models. Ms. Boyd begins in a chronological fashion with pictures of family and tales of Kenya with snakes, tigers, and scary natives. Quite the childhood, but then when her parents separate she is forced back to England with an abusive and cruel step-father.

The voice of the book is sweet and innocent, but the sixties flower children go through an innocence of their own and as the drugs they use to free their minds and give them empowerment for hope eventually drive them to pure misery as well. She became the wife of Mr. Harrison at the end of a fairy-tale courtship, but due to the heavy hand of the Beatle's Manager Brian Epstein, was denied a proper wedding, as the public was not to know George was "no longer available" in the heady days of Beatlemania. She and George lived a simple life, in a relatively small house with George off to the studio each day and Pattie embracing the role of wife, lover, cook, and home keeper. It was all she wanted and needed. George on the other hand became intensely involved in meditation, ironically because of Pattie's suggestion, to fill a need for a childhood he never completely experienced, and they all went off to the Yogi Master Maharishi Mahesh in India.

For those who haven't read past books on the Beatles, her book is full of references such as their Los Angeles house on "Blue Jay Way" and Prudence Farrow, Mia's sister, was the "Dear Prudence" who would not leave her house in India with the Maharishi. Sergeant Pilcher was the British police officer who busted John Lennon, George, and many other rock and rollers of the day for drugs including Mick Jagger. "Jennifer Juniper" was a Donovan song for Pattie's sister Jennifer who was also Mick Fleetwood's main squeeze off and on and there are many other tidbits of rock trivia that have their place in history connected to Pattie's life with George.

George eventually became emotionally unattached to her as he began binging on drugs and then meditation trying to find his way through a lost childhood. Eric Clapton then appears writing her passionate letters and begging her to leave George for a life with him. At first, she thinks this is all very nice and flattering, but then Eric goes on a heroin binge because of her refusal to give in and be with him much like a spiteful boy. Eventually George's lack of attention and Eric's determined persistence, get the best of Pattie and she leaves George to follow Eric on tour. Years go by and the addiction to drugs, alcohol, and heroin take their toll on "Slowhand" and he shows no attempt to stay faithful to any one woman. As much as Pattie wants to understand and deal with the issues of his dalliances and drunkenness, she indeed compromises her own principles in doing so, the relationship grinds to an inevitable crash as Eric "keeps on keepin' on," in full persona of what a rock star is all about After Midnite-sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Pattie was and is only looking for love with someone who can make her laugh, and treat her as an equal. This book is not a kiss and tell epic, and one would love to hear some of the intense times of emotion and vase throwings I'm sure, but one can sense the immense pain she had in finally putting this to words for all to read without destroying her relationships especially with Clapton. Her only mistake was believing in young men that couldn't tie their shoes on their own, and needed to grow up and take their marriage seriously. But now at last she is on her own, enjoying her life without expectations and has accepted her responsibility in enabling these "boys" and being a part of the problem. She still maintains great beauty within and without and is and will always be the mythical lady immortalized much like Helen of Troy in that Pattie launched a million flickers of light for encores at concerts everywhere in the world.

"Layla, you still got me on my knees..."

Nick Oliva (O-lee-va') has been a musician, composer, photographer, an audio engineer, an Entertainment Director and Technical Director for over twenty-five years and is a successful self-made money manager. Website: View my blog and buy my latest book at

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VIDEOS - Miles Davis: "Bitches Brew" live in Copenhagen, 1969

Hi all,

Enjoy this great series of videos of Miles Davis doing Bitches Brew live in Copenhagen in 1969. The line-up is:

Miles Davis - Trumpet
Wayne Shorter - Sax
Jack De Johnette - Drums
Chick Corea - Keyboards
Dave Holland - Bass

The videos are in six parts and comprise the entire Bitches Brew suite. If you've never seen or heard this, it's a real treat!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:


VIDEO: King Crimson - 21st Century Schizoid Man

Have a listen to this! One of my favourite psychedelic tracks - "21st Century Schizoid Man" by King Crimson from their great 1969 album "In the Court of The Crimson King". Some great jazz-rock here! Robert Fripp at his best.


VIDEOS: Lynyrd Skynyrd in Concert!

Hi all,

Here's some great videos of Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert:

Free Bird:

Tuesday's Gone:

Sweet Home Alabama:

Saturday Night Special:


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

VIDEO: Moody Blues - Legend of a Mind

One of my favourite Moody Blues tracks - Legend of a Mind - about Timothy Leary, recorded live in France in 1969.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Personal View of Classic Rock Drummers

My 10 Favorite Rock Drummers on Record by P Hershon

Unless I see a group live, I usually don't notice that many rock drummers strictly on the basis of their recordings. The following musicians are my favorite rock drummers on record in that they either have a signature sound I love and can immediate recognize and/or play to a certain type of groove that I can recognize. In any case, their drumming to me is integral to their group's sound and would be missed if someone else was on drums. This list is based on strictly rock recordings not folk rock, straight blues, jazz, funk, soul, folk, etc. and is based on consistent recording performances for one rock group, I'm sure I left a bunch of people out that are equally deserving and included a bunch of people you either said "Huh" or "Who's he". For instance I left Ringo Starr out, and as a non-musician, I can't say the Beatles wouldn't sound like the Beatles without him, but I'm guessing many trained drummers would. Anyway, here is my list of my 10 Favorite rock drummers in alphabetical order with some brief comments and a prime example of their drumming:

Ginger Baker - Cream - His drumming to me made Cream's blues rock sound mystical "NSU" from "Fresh Cream"

Dino Danelli - The Rascals - Gave the Rascals a deep driving foot tapping fun beat. "Good Lovin'" from "The Young Rascals"

The Big Figure - Dr. Feelgood - Gave Dr. Feelgood one of the best blues rock grooves and bottom ever. "Going Back Home" from "Malpractice"

Bruce Finley - The Sorrows - You're probably going who? The Sorrows were an incredible English Freak Beat group in the 60's and Bruce's punchy "burlesque type" drums made them sound like the Rolling Stones would if they just drank and didn't use drugs with a mod drummer! "You Got What I Want" from "Take Her Heart"

Kenny Jones - The Small Faces (only) - His drums and Steve Marriot's voice and guitar gave the Small Faces a driving mod beat that couldn't be beat. Funny enough, his drumming seemed to lose something in translation when he joined the Who. "My Way of Giving" from almost any Small Faces Collection

Simon Kirke - Free - Simon's drums gave Free an incredible beat and groove. To me, Free though commercially successful, should have been the third biggest rock group ever as everyone in the group was fantastic and their songwriting was great too. Other then songwriting,l I'd rate Free, and I know this is heresy, a better group then the Beatles and the Stones. They had the greatest rock singer in the world, Paul Rodgers, one of the best and innovative Bass players ever in Andy Fraser, Paul Kossoff on guitar who played wailing single notes that bled like you couldn't believe, and of course Simon, who set the beat and groove and played incredible fills."Wishing Well" from greatest hits album

Keith Moon - The Who - Most manic rock drummer ever and the perfect drummer for The Who. "I Can See For Miles" from "The Who Sell Out"

Greg Sowders - The Long Ryders - I'm sure you're going "who" here as well. The Long Ryders were and are an excellent American Roots group and to me Sowders' drums almost sounded like riffs as they just totally power the group along. "Run Dusty Run" from "Two Fisted Tales"

Charlie Watts - The Rolling Stones - Forget Keith the Riff. Without Charlie, there is no Rolling Stones sound."Honky Tonk Woman" from any Greatest Hits Album

BJ Wilson - Procol Harum His Majestic beat and Matthew Fisher's Hammond Organ made thier sound. "The Devil Came to Kansas" from "A Salty Dog Returns"

I supplement my income on the following Online Discount Stores (Please click the Blue Link): is a great discount Music and Stereo site to find most of the CDs listed here at the lowest discount prices as well as great Home Audio Equipment including speakers, home theater systems, receivers, CD players, etc.

Discount and Bargain Books featuring Music Books, the Latest Book Releases, Books on Health, Relationships, Personal Care, Sports, Biographies, Science fiction, Mysteries, Romance, Fiction, Non-Fiction, old, cheap and used hardcover and paperback books, graphic novels, comic books and more at the lowest prices, delivered right away to your door.

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BOOK REVIEW - A Time it Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties

Book Review - A Time it Was - Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties by Terry Divyak

Two hundred thousand American soldiers at war with troop surges that would rise to half a million. A shooting at the University of Texas that left 14 dead and thirty one others wounded. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, the rise of Eugene McCarthy. A country with the enraged spirit of the young that was not only felt in America, but over most the world.

Does this sound like a familiar story? It was forty years ago and still the politics of war and policies of paranoia grip a nation.

The one shining light that gave the nation hope was extinguished before his time and Life Magazine Photographer Bill Eppridge was able to capture the enthusiasm and possibilities that Robert Kennedy brought to the country in "A Time it Was"

The book starts with a great introduction by Author and Journalist, Pete Hamill. Pete was a friend of Robert Kennedy's and persuaded him to run for President. He shares with the reader the early beginnings of the campaign and details the night of joy in winning the California primary and remembers the chant of "We want Bobby, we want Bobby" as Sirhan Sirhan stepped into the light and created another dark chapter in this nations history.

Bill Eppridge shares his story where he took a photo of Bobby as he smoked a cigar on Air Force one, during President Lyndon B. Johnson's Northeast campaign tour. This was the first time a Life photographer was able to document an entire trip of the president of the United States. He then narrates many of the images, many with detailed captions. I was also surprised to see one from my hometown of Everett, Washington, with a photographer from the then, Everett Daily Herald, as he captures an image of Robert.

The book is almost two hundred pages and is filled with many images that were never published. Bills wife was cleaning out some boxes and ran across 2,000 photographs - in unopened boxes - that were sent to him when Life magazine folded in 1972. Among them were 500 photos from his Kennedy assignment.

Many images cover one and third pages and Bill was able to capture so many wonderful moments of Kennedy interacting with people from his convertibles that he insisted on using. Along with isolated photos of faces in the crowds during his speeches.

Especially interesting is the contact sheet that recorded the scene in the ballroom, just before the shooting and right after with the infamous photo of busboy Juan Romero holding Kennedy's head. Bill shares these last moments as he explains frame by frame what he saw and captured on film.

Those of us who were not old enough to understand the politics of the Sixties will get a good visual history lesson. I also came away with a sense what it must have been like to be a photojournalist with access during a simpler time. Where everything is not so polished and perfected down to every minute detail. Where the world was in a crazy time like today, but hope was just an election away.

Terry Divyak is a photographer based in the Pacific Northwest. His credits include various magazine covers as well as being recognized as a top 10 photographer in international competition. His work has also been featured as a winner in the travel category in Photo District News Magazine. His photography can be seen on his personal website at and he also runs the photography related e-zine,

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More Reading on Marley!

Bob Marley Posters, Passion and Pride by Chris Campbell

What is it that allows for the popularity of certain pop culture celebrities to endure long after their passing. Take Bob Marley for example. Here is an artist that has been gone for over twenty five years, yet his popularity continues. Albeit in a somewhat more subdued tone compared to the height of his career in some circles. But in the more niche reggae circles, his influence continues to be pervasive. What is it that separates Bob Marley from the rest of his contemporaries in the world of music and other endeavors.

Certainly, the passing on at a young age of 36 may have an influence, but there's far more to it then that. It's the body of work that Marley laid down in those years that contributed to his enduring legacy. Additionally, there was the work he did outside of music and using his music as a tool. He was an instrument for peace and change throughout his career.

Having grown up in what could arguably be described as a challenging childhood, Bob Marley was used to overcoming obstacles. From being raised by one parent, to having very little money, and to being a member of a cultural class with very few advantages. The one thing he had though, was a passion for the art of music. It is what drove him in many of his endeavors. Even during periods of his life when he was forced to sidetrack his musical career, music was never forgotten.

Many of the posters and photographs of Bob Marley reflect an ever appealing image of the man his music, beliefs and culture. As with posters of many musicians, there are many aspects of them that appeal to youths of all ages. There is of course the flagrant disregard for authority in all it's forms. I'm just imagining the one poster where there are three pictures of him smoking his favorite herb. Each image displays a very different emotion. Serious, humorous, and pondering. All filtered through the haze and flow of the smoke.

Although, it's his concert posters that really strike me with a sense of awe. It's humbling to watch a man so enthralled with a passion for his music, that it just radiates for the photographs and posters. Bob Marley posters are really some of my favorite posters. And, I've been a big fan of posters ever since my younger days. I think most young people are, as they provide a senses of expression the we all long for.

If you like to see the absolute Bob Marley posters bargain, or simply browse through a listing of the Bob Marley posters reviews in your inbox be sure to visit

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A Tribute to Bob Marley

Some Bob Marley History by Chris Campbell

How did Bob Marley start into the world of music? As with many people, Bob's path was a long and winding one, with may forks that eventually led him from very humble beginnings to musical prominence on the world stage. His father was a quarter master of a ship in the British West Indian regiment. His mother was actually 32 years younger then his father at the time. His fathers family was white, and due to increasing pressure from his fathers family, Bob Marley saw little of his father.

In his early teens, his mother moved the family from the northern part of Jamaica to Kingston. Not actually Kingston proper, but a small shanty town on the outskirts of Jamaica called Trenchtown. It was here, the Bob Marley would meet the future members of his band. Those included Bunny Livingston and Peter McIntosh. Here, in Trenchtown in very humble beginnings to say the least laid the seeds of one of the most remarkable and influential set of musicians to ever hit the world stage.

It certainly doesn't seem to be the most likely recipe for fame and success, but the music business is a funny place. At least it was back then, before the big corporate moguls had their say and control. They did exert an influence to be sure, but not the way they do today. Back then, a talented artist, with a message, a little luck, and desire to break out of their surroundings was enough to create an incredibly rich and resonant musical success story the likes of which have never been duplicated. Whether such a remarkable story could happen today is debatable.

Luckily for those of us who were around during the ascension of Reggae music to world prominence, Bob Marley did happen. And his influence was felt everywhere. Not just in his music, but his religion, and his message of peace. A young boy growing up in what must have been very confusing times, managed to become an inspiration and spokesman for thousands world wide. His music and message still survive today. Bob Marley posters, art, music, and prodigy survive and flourish to this day.

We live in a lucky age, that allows for music to be recorded and passed on through the generations. It's been over forty years since Bob Marley made his first album, and much of his music is still ingrained in out generations youth. One has to wonder, how many more years the next lucky generations will hear his gift.

If you like to see the best Bob Marley posters deals, or simply browse through a listing of the Bob Marley posters sales in your inbox be sure to visit.

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Bob Marley Paraphenalia Available!

Bob Marley Posters and a Little Reggae Music by Chris Campbell

Bob Marley's full name is Robert Nesta Marley. He was born on Feb 6, 1945. If he was still alive today, he would be over 60 years old. Kind of hard to imagine isn't it. Would the college kids still be jazzed about hanging pictures of some old reggae rocker on their dorm walls if Bob was still alive. A gray haired Rastafarian dancing and rocking on the stage like a man many years his junior. Of course, if Mick Jagger can do it (minus the dreadlocks) then why not Bob Marley. While I haven't done the research, I would bet there are a lot more Marley posters, then Rolling Stones posters decorating the dorm walls of this generation.

You have to wonder, if music was still the path he would have chosen to follow after all these years. Bob that is. We already know which way the stones have gone. I like to think that he would have. While he was a man of many beliefs and causes, it was his music that seem to run central to most of it. It was the must that spread his message of love, equality, and peace to his generation, and to the generations that have followed.

Would his message have been so widespread without his tragic early departure, or would he have just went down in the annals music / reggae folk lore. He was incredibly influential and widespread during his time. Simply because his message was so universal. While many pop culture celebrities become more famous after their demise, I don't believe that was Bob Marleys legacy. While it may have given some legs and stamina to his music and art, it never would have happened in the first place if he wasn't one of the legendary music elite.

There is a bit of martyr spiced mixed in with his life, as part of the reason for his early departure had to do with his religious beliefs. Rastafarian beliefs don't allow for amputation of body parts, even if they are cancerous and deadly as Bob's was. His foot developed cancer from a soccer related injury years earlier. While many martyrs die at the hands of the oppressive persecutors, this was not the case here. Still, given how often he sang about persecutions, and being such a man of faith, it can be easy to make that mistake here.

Thankfully, today we still have Bob Marley posters to hang on our walls . . . Bob Marley music to listen to . . . and Bob Marley words to lull us to a more peaceful existence.

If you like to see the absolute best Bob Marley posters music, or simply browse through a listing of the Bob Marley concert posters in your inbox be sure to visit.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

VIDEO: Mahavishnu Orchestra Live in New York, 1973

Hi all,

Here is an unbelievable video of the Mahavishnu Orchestra live at Bananafish Garden in New York in 1973.

The line-up is John McLaughlin on acoustic and electric guitars, Billy Cobham on drums, Jan Hammer on electric and acoustic piano and synthesizer, Rick Laird on bass guitar, and Jerry Goodman on violin.

Here's the URL for 9 minutes of bliss:


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Woodstock - a landmark event

Concerts - Woodstock by Michael Russell

In this article we're going to reflect on one of, if not the most famous concert in history, Woodstock.

If you were growing up in the 60s and were part of the hippie movement you were probably at the concert at Woodstock, even if you weren't there. Over the years, the number of people who claim to have been at Woodstock has gone from thousands to millions. Everyone has a story to tell about that. What follows, is the actual story in a very brief summary.

The actual name of the concert was The Woodstock Music And Art Fair, held in 1969 in Sullivan County in New York. This was truly the biggest concert of its kind to that date in history. The actual number of people in attendance was about 450,000. The concert itself ran for four days. The site itself has become a self appointed shrine. During the concert, in a time when drugs were most illegal, drugs were everywhere and people were having sex out on the lawn. And unfortunately, that is mostly what is written about when it comes to anything involving this event. But there was more to Woodstock than just sex and drugs.

Woodstock was a musical event the likes of which we will probably never see again. The concert itself cost more than $2.4 million to produce. Back then, that was a lot of money. The four men responsible for getting this piece of history together were John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang. These were men who couldn't be more different from each other. Yet, they all had a vision to put something like this together.

The idea first originated when Roberts and Rosenman met on a golf course in 1967. What started as a screwball situation comedy ended up to be the plans for Woodstock that would take almost two years to complete. The work involved was enormous, not the least of which was getting all the musicians to show up. How many musicians? Over 20. This was something that was just unheard of at the time. And not just your run of the mill musicians. These were some of the biggest acts of the period, including Joan Baez, Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and of course the act that pretty much defined the concert, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

In the four days of performing the 450,000 plus people got to hear some great classics like Freedom by Richie Havens, Green River by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Try by Janis Joplin, I Want To Take You Higher by Sly and the Family Stone, We're Not Gonna Take It by The Who, Somebody To Love by Jefferson Airplane, and of course all the great tunes by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Ironically, the song "Woodstock" was not sung at the actual concert itself. This was a song that CSN&Y recorded after they performed at the concert.

A book could be written about this concert and probably was. We've only scratched the surface here. And while you can't relive the concert itself, there is a great box set of the whole concert, digitally remastered, that you can get. Enjoy!

Michael Russell, Your Independent guide to concerts.

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VIDEOS: Allman Brothers live at Fillmore East

Some tracks from the famous "Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East" album.

"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"

"Whipping Post"


VIDEOS: Hendrix live at Woodstock

Classic videos of Hendrix live at Woodstock:


"Voodoo Child"

"Hey Joe"

"Purple Haze"

"Red House"

Roger Waters on Pink Floyd's famous pink pig

Interesting interview in Rolling Stone with Roger Waters on the famous pink pig:

Conspiracy theory or an element of truth? Controversial interview with Mae Brussell on assassination of John Ono Lennon

A short while ago we had the pleasure of talking to noted assassination
/conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell at her home in Carmel, California. Mae was kind enough to share some of her thoughts on the murder of John Lennon last December 8, 1980 in New York City. She is just starting her 11th year of broadcasting on radio KLRB, Carmel, CA. Tom Davis.

Tom: What would be the motive to kill John Lennon on December 8, 1980? Lennon had been in seclusion for many years and had not yet released his new album.

Mae: Both the date of Lennon's murder, and the careful selection of this particular victim are very important. Six weeks after Lennon's death, Ronald Reagan would become President. Reagan and his soon-to-be appointed cabinet were prepared to build up the Pentagon war machine and increase the potential for war against the USSR. The first strike would fall on small countries like El Salvador and Guatemala. Lennon, alone, was the only man (even without his fellow Beatles) who had the ability to draw out one million anti-war protestors in any given city within 24 hours, if he opposed those war policies. John Lennon was a spiritual force. He was a giant, like Gandhi, a man who wrote about peace and brotherly love. He taught an entire generation to think for themselves and to challenge authority. Lennon and the Beatles' songs shout out the inequalities life and the messages of change. Change is a threat to the longtime status quo that Reagan's team exemplified. On my weekly radio broadcast of December 7, 1980, I stated that "the old assassination teams are coming back into power." The very people responsible for covering up the murders of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, Reverend Martin Luther King, for Watergate and Koreagate, and the kidnapping and murder of Howard Hughes, and for hundreds of other deaths, had only six weeks before they would again be removing or silencing those voices of opposition to their policies. Lennon was coming out once more. His album was cut. He was preparing to be part of the world, a world which was a worse place since the time he had withdrawn with his family. It was a sure bet Lennon would react and become a social activist again. That was the threat. Lennon realized that there was danger coming back into public view. He took that dangerous chance, and we all lost!

Tom: The common assumption is that Mark David Chapman, arrested the moment he killed John Lennon, was acting out his personal love-hate relationship with Lennon. Why do you have to look for a larger conspiracy than the conflicts in Chapman's own head?

Mae: Single crimes of passion are easy to explain and easy to solve. When someone is gunned down who is controversial, has political enemies, is hated by wealthy and well-organized religious movements, and is an open opponent of government policies at home and abroad, that kind of murder requires much more inquiry into the background of the assassin. The conclusions about the murder motive may turn out to be simple. Yet, in every political assassination since 1963, there were always more unanswered questions that led to a broader supposition of intention to kill by a group of people rather than one single individual.

Tom: What is the first clue you look for if you are suspicious of a larger conspiracy to assassinate, whether it is John Lennon, President John F. Kennedy, or the recent attempts on President Reagan and Pope John Paul II?

Mae: There are necessary connecting links in every assassination conspiracy. If any link of that chain falls apart and becomes exposed, the parts of the larger plot are more visible. When every element of that chain holds together and is present in the evidence and testimony regarding any particular murder, there has to be a larger conspiracy. The most important link in that chain is the selected decoy or patsy. Whoever is arrested at the scene of the crime, to the exclusion of other suspicious persons, becomes the "assassin." This single person must serve a purpose, namely, to divert all attention away from those people who have armed him and located him at the scene of the crime. Letters and diaries are always present and easily located to support the predetermined cover story. They provide a "motive", and are the glue that cements (we are told) the "loner" to his single purpose. In preparation for his "act", the decoy or patsy is moved across countries or overseas, traveling and staying at safe houses. He has no friends, no jobs, no means of support while at the same time staying at fancy hotels, spending lots of money, getting phone messages, and meeting lots of people. Very few people have the money to spend years in transit like these patsies, whose chances of being in selected locations at the precise moment their victim is murdered are minute and impossible without assistance.

Tom: Who was Mark David Chapman? What was there in his background that made you suspicious that he had been selected for a "decoy" or "patsy" by other persons who wanted Lennon dead?

Mae: Chapman came from a conservative military family who had moved from Fort Worth, Texas to Florida. He had become a "Jesus Freak" at the time Lennon and the Beatles were getting death threats during the anti-war period. Joining this movement while supposedly loving and admiring Lennon was a gross contradiction, for the religious fundamentalists were furious that Lennon considered himself better known and loved than Jesus. DeKalb County, Georgia, just to the east of Atlanta, figures prominently in Chapman's life as it had some years earlier in that of Martin Luther King. In 1977 in a court affidavit, Robert Byron Watson, former employee of Magellon's Art Gallery, Atlanta, named several citizens as having planned and bragged about the "future murder of Reverend Martin Luther King." King's death came just one week after the plans were discussed. These same people also talked about murdering Senator Robert Kennedy. Chapman attended DeKalb Junior College in the area where these kinds of plans were laid and such political anger was being vented. From DeKalb County, Chapman was sent to Beirut, Lebanon. He was handed the funds both ways. Beirut was the center for George Habash and CIA assassination teams also identified in the Watson testimony before the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1977-78. On March 31, 1981, United Press International exposed the connection of "military training in a guerrilla camp" in Beirut, Lebanon to "worldwide Nazi ties."After six months in Lebanon, Chapman went to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas to work with Vietnam refugees recently arrived from Southeast Asia. Members of the CIA were with him at this military base. William Colby's Vietnam Phoenix program, staffed with agents who intensely hated the anti-war, social activists like John Lennon, had both the intent and the means to move persons like Chapman to their training camps and then to specific places planned as sites for future assassinations. Colby came back to the U.S. to become Director of the C.I.A. at a time (1973) when "Operation Chaos" was in full swing against the hippies, rock musicians, and anti-war protestors. Many of them were killed or otherwise neutralized. From Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, Chapman moved to Lookout Mountain, Tennessee to attend Presbyterian College. Martin Luther King, a victim of plans made in DeKalb County, Georgia, was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee. Senator Howard Baker from Tennessee and CIA Director William Colby were making deals to cover up Watergate crimes in 1974-75, year before Chapman moved to Tennessee. According to news reports, Chapman "fled" Tennessee to Hawaii in 1976. His earliest arrest records indicated he had committed crimes in Florida, but the authorities later blamed these crimes on another person, excusing the mix-up as a "computer mistake." Many patsies and decoys have earlier arrest records that are used to keep them silent and actively cooperative for fear of going to jail. Was there any connection between the Florida identification and the reason for Chapman's flight to Hawaii? Hawaii has been the scene of many clandestine operations. Many CIA Vietnamese and members of the Special Forces, now safely removed from Vietnam, were assembled in Hawaii. The Nugan Hand Bank, an Australian conduit for CIA "black money", actually assassination funds, kept a branch in Hawaii. Herbert Mullen, convicted of mass murders in California, appeared perfectly normal until he was sent to a military hospital in Hawaii. It was in Maui that he went through his "religious thinking" and evolved as a killer. Ed Sanders, author of The Family, a book about the Manson Family, obtained documents regarding a mysterious trip Mullen took to Hawaii before he later became a programmed killer. The years from 1976 to 1978 in Chapman's biography are still vague and murky: two years of limited employment and "mental treatment." Allegedly, he was in the hospital for a mental breakdown. On the other hand, if there were any evidence of mental instability, would not his permit application to buy the murder weapon have been denied? There were many years, months, days when Chapman could have been mentally programmed to become like the "Manchurian Candidate," specifically to murder John Lennon, if and when he re-entered public life. Lennon was not threat until the U.S. was getting close to another war. Subsequently, Chapman took a long "vacation", including a trip around the world. During this voyage he made a trip to Switzerland to meet a pal from DeKalb County, Georgia, the same man who earlier had arranged the original trip to Lebanon. The journey culminated in London with a rare visit to a live Lennon concert. Chapman's wife, who worked for a travel agency, "arranged his itinerary". The source of the money for his fare, hotels, food, concerts, has never been identified, although Pacific Holding Ltd., a "tourism" company formed by the CIA and Special Forces, may be implicated. Both groups had funds to hire assassination teams. When Chapman left his job in Hawaii, October 23, 1980, he flew to Atlanta, GA. From Georgia, he went to New York City with the intention of killing John Lennon, but was apparently able to resist the "master inside himself", a conflict he describes, and returned to Hawaii. Before long, however, Hawaii was again behind him, and Chapman arrived in New York on December 5, 1980 with the specific plan to kill John Lennon, which he did three days later.

Tom: What you are talking about is only circumstantial. There is no proof that the CIA or any government agency manipulated Chapman for their purposes. When does the proof of a conspiracy ever become apparent?

Mae: The burden of proof of conspiracy is put upon the private investigator. The common denominator in all these cases are those links in the conspiracy chain which show the relevant questions to be asked: Were there other persons along with Chapman shooting at Lennon to make sure he died? Who fled the scene in a hurry, never sought again by law enforcement agencies? Why did the New York police adamantly refuse to accept pictures of Chapman taken autographing an album earlier in the evening of the murder? Why were they donated to a newspaper after the police refused to accept them? When Chapman's wife was called by the New York Police, why did they instruct her, "Don't release any picture of him."? How could Miami Police issue an erroneous description of a criminal record having the same last name, date of birth, race, and approximate height as the slaying suspect? Can we ever see the picture of the Florida suspect? If Chapman was treated for mental illness in Hawaii, how did he procure the weapon in Hawaii? How did Chapman transport the gun from the Island to the Mainland? (This question was dismissed by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents, who said, "No investigation was in progress"). Money was never a problem for this wanderer. He and his wife lived in a $400 a month apartment and were able to support his hobby of collecting expensive works of art. Owning original Norman Rockwell lithographs worth $7,500, and traveling around the world aren't impossible, if there is some kind of occupation that provides the money for these luxuries. If Chapman wrote "John Lennon" on his job work sheet on October 23, 1980, it would seem impossible for someone not to notice this message until the day after Lennon was murdered. Employment log sheets are usually added up regularly to determine the hours worked and amount of pay checks. It is more probable that Chapman wrote this name at that time so that his cover story, his defense after the murder, would be his mental identification with John Lennon. Chapman's intention to find Lennon, as just another adoring Beatle fan, must be separated from the question of who transported him from Hawaii to Georgia to New York, back to Hawaii, and back again to New York, with lots of cash, and with the sole purpose of killing Lennon. Jimmy Breslin, New York columnist, was impressed that Mark David Chapman could be such a "good shot" with "no military background at all." But Chapman had been trained to shoot. He had learned to become a security guard in Georgia before his trips to Lebanon and to the many countries where he could have been instructed in killing. What about Ft. Chaffee? Why not shooting practice in Tennessee? What about military bases in Hawaii? What gives Breslin and the New York Daily News the right to make such statements without an inkling of Chapman's background? Like all the other "loner" drifters, Chapman stayed at expensive hotels. His last evening before killing Lennon was spent at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in New York. He was carrying more than $2,000 in cash along with his credit cards. Where did he get these cards, and on what basis was the money earned and saved to establish credit to qualify for these cards?

Tom: You apparently believe there was a government conspiracy to assassinate and silence John Lennon which was conducted by the same people who murdered other political figures and musicians in the past eighteen years?

Mae: Absolutely! The federal government has maintained active programs to eliminate rock musicians and disrupt rock concerts. Senator Frank Church's Committee hearings in 1975 and the FBI Cointel-Programs clearly document the intent to break up any gatherings of the "new left". Nothing brought anti-war demonstrators together with political messages more effectively than music festivals. There is hard evidence the CIA assigned agents to "investigate the music industry." After the murders of Tim Buckley, Jim Croce, and Mama Cass Elliot, more information surfaced about earlier mysterious deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin. Listed below, but not updated this past year, are some of the rock musicians who have died since the Huston Plan and the FBI Cointel-Program were activated. If these people had been taking any kinds of drugs, there is the distinct possibility that specific poisons were added to their drugs, enough to be fatal, to make it appear that they had died from a simple "overdose".

John Lennon, Paul Kossoff, John Bonham, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Steve Parson, Buddy Holly, Berry Oakley, Bob Marley, Otis Redding, Tim Buckley, Sal Mineo, Brian Jones, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, Jimi Hendrix, Richard Earina, Brian Epstein - Beatles manager, Janis Joplin, Lenny Bruce, Jim Morrison, Larry Williams, Michael Jeffery - Jimi Hendrix manager, Duane Allman, Bon Scott -AC/DC, Mama Cass Elliot, Richie Valens, Rod McKernan, "Pig Pen" of the Grateful Dead, Gram Parsons, J. P. Richardson, Phil Oakes, Ronnie Van Zandt, Marc Bolan, Steve Gaines, Donald Rex Jackson- Grateful Dead manager, Keith Moon, Sid Viscious.

The murder of John Lennon is the tragic finale to an entire era, the reminder that once an artist becomes as popular and as political as he was, his enemies will be waiting to make sure his messages never appear again to awaken the slumbering youth.


BOOK REVIEW: Memoirs of an ex-hippie

Memoirs of an Ex-Hippie: Seven Years in the Counterculture by Robert Roskind

Review by Skip Stone

Just as the Beats immortalized their lives and times in such books as On The Road, Robert Roskind likewise commemorates the liberated lifestyle of the hippie era. This look back, while very personal, is also the archetype for a whole generation whose quest for freedom and the meaning of life led to some mind-blowing experiences. Whether it was dealing with parents and the “generation gap”, or trying to avoid getting sent to Vietnam or tripping out on LSD at Altamont, we hippies trod the same path, often in the same places. This implies our common experience was a result of an underlying phenomenon that ultimately changed ourselves, our society and the world.

Roskind’s nostalgic trip down hippie lane is a travelogue of life’s alternative byways and an exploration of the communal mindset of the period. His honest recollections about his psychedelic drug use, run-ins with the cops, communal life, free love, and self-discovery were all part of the hippie trip. Roskind’s tales of many cross-country journeys, picking up hitchhikers in his converted bus, leave us longing for those simpler times, when total strangers would become friends faster than you could light a joint. Those days are over now, but still very much alive for those who lived them.

While many original hippies “sold out” long ago and joined the “establishment”, some of us have held true to our beliefs and continue to explore alternative lifestyles and businesses. Roskind likewise shows us his crisis of faith and how he resolved to live a life of service to others and carry on the hippie philosophy in practice. Having realized that Love is the answer to many of life’s questions, he now teaches others the transcendental power of unconditional love through his books and lectures.

The only flaw I find in the book is its title. Roskind is no Ex-hippie. The hippie inside still lives on and his love for the hippie way and how it changed his life comes thru loud and clear in this well written autobiography. Memoirs of an Ex-Hippie is liberating reading, and will take the reader on the same voyage we all experienced back in the 60s, without drugs!

Ray Manzarek on new Doors documentary

Marking the 41st anniversary of the release of the Doors' classic self-titled album are several band-related projects already in shops and on the horizon. Tops on the list is an as-yet-untitled documentary that will chronicle the group's entire career.

"We have plans for a big Doors documentary film in the works," Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek tells "I saw the first cut of it yesterday, and it's looking real good. But that won't be out 'til another six months."

Although Manzarek is keeping a tight lip at the moment on specifics about the documentary, he did confirm that it would feature a large amount of rare
footage. "Absolutely -- that's the whole point of it. Never before seen! This is the anti-Oliver Stone [referring to Stone's 1991 film, 'The Doors']. This will be the true story of the Doors."

Already out is a "Classic Albums" DVD from Eagle Rock that focuses on the Doors' aforementioned 1967 debut. "Everybody's there -- Densmore, Manzarek, Krieger, Bill Siddons, Bruce Botnick. It's very insightful," Manzarek says. Also interviewed for the DVD are longtime Doors fans Henry Rollins and Perry Farrell.

Another just-issued Doors release is the 16-track live CD, "Live in Pittsburgh 1970," via Rhino. Recorded on May 7, 1970, the album captures the group during its final U.S. tour with late singer Jim Morrison.

Manzarek is getting ready to hit the road for a European tour in July as part of Riders On The Storm, a group that also features ex-Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger (and former Fuel singer Brett Scallions).

The keyboardist also recently issued a collaborative CD with guitarist Roy Rogers, "Ballads Before the Rain," via Friday Music. "It's all-instrumental -- me playing the piano, and Roy playing some absolutely beautiful guitar. It's lovemaking music. It's 'a glass of white wine as the sun is setting' kind of music."

And lastly, Manzarek is working on several movie scripts. "I've got four scripts. So what, who doesn't have four scripts," he says with a laugh. "I've got a film script based on 'L.A. Woman,' and another one in which three UCLA film school guys go to the desert to take peyote with the Native Americans at the Native American Church."

"And they run into the people from the Native American Church -- the peyote church," he continues. "And all the shit that happens to them, you can imagine. Out in the desert, rednecks, psychic visions and reincarnation visions. Raymond White Eagle Daniels is the old wise man running the peyote ceremony. And that will of course never be made into a film, because it's about peyote [laughs]. It's a journey into manhood."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Check out this video of Jefferson Airplane - 'Miracles'

Check out this video on YouTube of Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane doing 'Miracles':

Alton Kelley, artist from the 60s SF rock scene, dies

Alton Kelley, psychedelic poster creator, dies, Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Alton Kelley, one of the founding members of the '60s San Francisco rock scene, died Sunday at his home in Petaluma after a long illness. He was 67.

Mr. Kelley will be remembered as the creator (with his artistic partner, Stanley Mouse) of hundreds of classic psychedelic rock posters, such as the famed "skull and roses" poster for a Grateful Dead show at the Avalon Ballroom. Mr. Kelley and Mouse created 26 posters for just the first year of the Avalon's operation.

But Mr. Kelley was also one of four people who called themselves the Family Dog and decided to throw the world's first psychedelic dance-concerts at Longshoreman' s Hall in September 1965, essentially starting the San Francisco scene. The quartet had just returned to the Bay Area after spending an LSD-drenched summer restoring a silver rush dancehall in Virginia City, Nev., called the Red Dog Saloon.

Mr. Kelley, a motorcycle enthusiast since his New England youth who painted pinstripes on bike gas tanks, designed the flyers advertising the original Family Dog shows, but lacked drafting ability. When he met Stanley Mouse, who had recently relocated from Detroit where he
made a name for himself doing hot rod art, Mr. Kelley found the draftsman he needed. The two formed Mouse Studios and cranked out art together, Mr. Kelley's drawing skills eventually improving to the point where left-handed Mr. Kelley would be working on one side of the easel, right-handed Mouse on the other.

"He had the most impeccable taste of anybody I knew," said Mouse, "He would do the layouts, and I would do the drawing."

They worked together steadily for 15 years and on and off thereafter. Their Mouse Studios was located in a converted Lower Haight firehouse where Janis Joplin first rehearsed with Big Brother and the Holding Company. They also opened a store called Pacific Ocean Trading Company (POT Co.), one of the first head shops in Haight-Ashbury. Recently, the two collaborated on the cover to the program for this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner.

Mouse said they could work for hours in silence. "We knew what to do," he said. "We didn't have to talk."

During the heyday of the Avalon Ballroom, the pair would frequent the public library looking for images they could employ in their poster-making; Edward Curtis photographs of American Indians, illustrations from 19th century novels (the skull and roses was adapted from "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"), often laughing so loud at what they found the librarians would ask them to leave.

"They thought it was the funniest stuff in town," said Paul Grushkin, author of "The Art Of Rock. "The twinkle in Kelley's eye - he knew it was all a giggle."

"Stanley and I had no idea what we were doing," Mr. Kelley told The Chronicle last year. "But we went ahead and looked at American Indian stuff, Chinese stuff, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, Bauhaus, whatever. We were stunned by what we found and what we were able to do. We had free rein to just go graphically crazy. Where before that, all advertising was pretty much just typeset with a photograph of something."

The work of Mr. Kelley and Mouse has come to be recognized as a 20th century American counterpart to the French poster art of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec during the Belle Epoque, although the two psychedelic artists never imagined at the time they were creating anything of
enduring value, anything more than another crazy poster for this week's Avalon show.

"We were just having fun making posters," said Mouse. "There was no time to think about what we were doing. It was a furious time, but I think most great art is created in a furious moment."

Mr. Kelley continued to make posters all his life, although his artwork in the recent past concentrated on his air-brushed paintings of hot rods and custom cars that was both sold as fine art and reproduced on T-shirts.

He is survived by his wife, Marguerite Trousdale Kelley, and their children: Patty of San Diego, Yosarian of Seattle and China of Sacramento; two grandchildren; and his mother and sister.

Memorial plans are pending.

Contributions can be made to the Washington Mutual Western Street branch in Petaluma for a memorial bench in Sonoma County Park.