Sunday, July 27, 2008

A John Lennon Biography

JOHN LENNON - The Man and His Times by Kathy Unruh

John Lennon wasn't always my favorite Beatle; at first it was Paul. But gradually, over a period of time, it was John Lennon who won my heart. I think the transition began sometime during the latter part of the 1960s. Back then, it seemed to my young mind, that the world was falling apart. Revolution and anarchy were on the doorstep. John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had each been assassinated, riots were springing up all over the south, Watts was burning and the war in Viet Nam was escalating. Out of the turmoil a growing hunger was born among many of my generation, including myself, for truth and peace.

During this period I had one brother who was fighting in the jungles of Viet Nam and another who had recently returned from overseas. I can remember taking part in some of the protests at my school, which consisted of "sit-ins", walking out of class, and wearing black arm bands in recognition of the soldiers who had died. The Peace Movement became very important to me and my hero in this effort was John Lennon. John and Yoko were staging several protests in hopes of raising public awareness and support for peace in Viet Nam, as well as other human rights issues they cared about. I followed their activities with great interest and gave what I could to their cause. So you can imagine how strange it seemed after all those years, to find myself standing in the boyhood home of John Lennon, quietly paging through a book which he had written.

It was the summer of 2003 and my husband and I were on an extended honeymoon in Britain. Two years earlier he had met a woman whose husband had gone to school with John Lennon. When she learned that we were planning a trip to England, she offered to give us a private tour of the Beatles' stomping grounds. Through a mysterious set of circumstances we were able to visit the home where John Lennon lived as a boy, as well as each of the other Beatles' homes in Liverpool. We also went to The Cavern, where the Beatles often played prior to being "discovered" by Brian Epstein, and Abbey Road Studios in London, where they produced their last album.

John Lennon was born "John Winston Lennon" October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England. His parents, Fred and Julia Lennon, divorced when he was about four or five years old, leaving him to be raised by his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George. John never saw his father again (except for one very brief episode in 1964), but Julia continued to make sporadic visits from time to time. As a little boy, John would sometimes hide when his mother Julia came to see him, because the emotional pain was too much for him to bear. Though his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George did their best to provide a good home, John always felt abandoned and unloved. He became angry and rebellious as a result and gained a reputation as a bully or "Teddy-Boy". Then one day he heard a new kind of music on the radio, called Rock and Roll, and his life was changed forever. From that point forward all he wanted to do was learn how to play the guitar.

Well, as they say, the rest is history. The Beatles soon emerged and later took the world by storm in 1964 when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Their first American single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was released and distributed through a small record label in December of the previous year, and by January it had leaped to number one. The song had sold 1.5 million copies within five days and was expected to reach two million in another month. This was an unprecedented phenomenon in the recording industry at the time when a hit song usually reached it's peak in sales at 200,000. Now all the other "big" record companies that had originally scoffed at them, were kicking themselves in the you know what for being so blind to the Beatles unique sound and charisma. Since then, the Beatles and their music have exceeded more than three decades of fame and popularity.

John Lennon was, himself, a very gifted writer, songwriter and poet. To this day, the "Songwriting Techniques of John Lennon; The Beatle Years" is one of the most popular classes offered at California's Berklee School of Music. His lyrics could be abstract and difficult to understand, or extremely simple and straightforward, often providing a rich spectrum of color and creativity through the use of metaphor and simile. John had a keen mind, quick wit and sharp tongue. It seemed as if he was always searching for something just beyond his reach, something to fill the emptiness and give meaning to his life. Happiness had somehow eluded him until he met Yoko Ono, after which he became completely disenchanted with the Beatles, and announced that he was leaving the group for good. "I want a divorce" he told Paul, and the Beatles were formally dissolved by January of 1971, each going their separate ways.

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot dead on the streets of Manhatten, New York, just outside his home, by a lone gunman named Mark Chapman. Chapman later signed a statement for the police saying "I never wanted to hurt anybody. My friends will tell you that. I have two parts in me. The big part is very kind; the children I worked with will tell you that. I have a small part in me that cannot understand the world and what goes on in it. I did not want to kill anybody and I really don't know why I did it..."

I don't know why it still seems so ironic and hard to believe that John Lennon was murdered. Maybe it's because he had come to represent a message of hope and peace for my generation. John had developed a social conciousness that was not unlike others who had gone before him; men like John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. None of these men were perfect, but they were all influential in making us aware of the larger picture. They pointed out the need for change and the importance of developing new ideas. They knew how to draw us in close and inspire us to dream, to imagine, and to pursue doing whatever we can to help establish a better world.

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Kathy Unruh is a singer/songwriter and webmaster of ABC Learn Guitar. She has been writing songs and providing guitar lessons to students of all ages for over 20 years. For free guitar lessons, plus tips and resources on songwriting, recording and creating a music career, please visit:

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Friday, July 18, 2008

A Biography of The Beatles

The Beatles Biography In A Nutshell (John, Paul, George & Ringo) by Alan England

John Lennon was the founder of the group back in 1957 and laid the foundation to what was to become the most famous rock band in the world. Originally calling the band ‘The Blackjacks’ Lennon played guitar and done the vocals, Colin Hanton played drums, Eric Griffiths on guitar, Pete Shotton on washboard, Rod Davis on banjo and Bill Smith played tea chest bass.

After lasting only one week, the name ‘The Blackjacks’ was written off and Lennon came up with a new name of ‘The Quarry Men’ using his old school name as inspiration. Bill Smith left the band and was replaced by Ivan Vaughan.

When John Lennon became a huge fan of American rock ‘n’ roll in 57 he introduced a number of songs by Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins. Later that year on 6th July, Ivan Vaughan invited Paul McCartney to see their bands gig at ‘The Woolton Parish Church Fete’ where McCartney was introduced to John Lennon, to form a fantastic writing partnership that was one of a kind.

‘The Quarry Men’ increased its band members to seven with McCartney now on guitar and vocals as well as George Harrison and Lennon, and John Lowe playing piano. Two band members left soon after including Eric Griffiths. ‘The Quarry Men’ now became a 5 piece band.

Over the forthcoming year the band had very few gigs and only played occasionally at various talent contests. However, by early 1959 the group wasn’t playing at all and some members lost contact. Lennon and McCartney kept in touch and continued to write songs, but George Harrison now joined the Les Stewart Quartet with Les Stewart and Ken Brown.

When Harrison joined The Les Stewart Quartet they had been booked to play as a resident band soon after at a new club called ‘The Casbah’. Ken Brown helped decorate the new club which caused upset between a few band members and Les Stewart refused to play there. As a result of this, Ken and George walked out of the group and George got in touch with John and Paul, reuniting ‘The Quarry Men’ as a quartet. After the newly formed band played over 5 gigs at the club, Ken Brown left the group after a disagreement. For about 4 months between October 1959 and January 1960 John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison continued to play as a trio and they called themselves ‘Johnny & the Moondogs’.

Both the band and John Lennon knew they needed a bass player so he asked two student friends in ‘The Liverpool College of Art’ where he attended if they would like the position. In January 1960 Stuart Sutcliffe sold one of his paintings to a John Moores exhibition in order to buy a bass guitar to play in the group John had asked him to join. By this time the group had changed its name to the ‘Silver Beetles’.

In addition to the new recruit and name change they also began changing drummers around, starting with Tommy Moore who toured with the group in Scotland then left. After this was Norman Chapman who left just after a few weeks and finally George Harrison suggested that Pete Best, (the son of Casbah club owner Mona Best) should become the group’s drummer.

McCartney contacted Pete Best and offered him the drummer seat, he took it. Following on from this the group finally settled on the name ‘The Beatles’ just before their first trip to Hamburg in the middle of 1960.

Now that the group had settled on ‘The Beatles’ John, Paul, George, Stuart and Pete could concentrate more heavily on performing and set off for Hamburg. In Hamburg they were under immense pressure by club owner ‘Bruno Koschmider’ to “make a show” and play very long hours. Along with the outstanding performances in Hamburg arranged by their unofficial manager ‘Allan Williams’ and many gigs they played in Liverpool, The Beatles started to broaden their reputation.

After their first Hamburg tour ended, George was deported for being underage and their dispute with their current boss lead to a police complaint about an attempted fire to his premises. Stuart left the group after becoming engaged and Pete Best was looked at as the most regarded member of the band. The Beatles were now a four piece band and McCartney took over as bass guitarist.

Lennon, McCartney and Harrison were the three front-line guitarists and alternated as lead singers with Pete Best playing drums. Best sang occasionally but he had developed a distinctive drum sound nicknamed by the press the "atom beat", which many others tried to imitate.

The Beatles hired ‘Brian Epstein’ as their manager and he signed them up for an audition with ‘Decca Records’ but the head of Decca Records told Epstein: “Guitar groups are on their way out Mr. Epstein” and The Beatles were devastated by their failed audition. However, Brian Epstein secured them a contract with ‘EMI / Parlophone Records’.

In the middle of 1962 Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr who had been playing with The Beatles on several dates when Pete Best was sick. Later that year their first single ‘Love Me Do’ was issued. In 1963 the ‘Beatlemania’ craze had started and many fans across the world were known to have Beatlemania, which hit the United States hard after The Beatles performed on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1964.

That year the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ received the highest ratings in the history of television due to The Beatles and following on from this they then went on to tour America for the first time and starred in their first motion picture ‘A Hard Day's Night’.

Their biggest year was 1964 when they conquered the biggest record market in the world – America. In addition to this they also brought back rock ‘n’ roll to America and cheered those up who were still suffering the death of John F. Kennedy.

The Beatles’ second motion picture ‘HELP’ premiered later that year and they then went on to perform for a record live audience of 55,000 fans at the Shea Stadium in New York.

In 1966, The Beatles were under some heavy pressure from the press after John Lennon made a remark that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus and was made to apologise shortly after.
During the 1960’s The Beatles affected not only the music scene but styles and fashions of the decade! They transformed the music and record industry and started the ‘Pop Promo Film’, what is known as ‘The Music Video’ today. Most of their albums from ‘Please Please Me’ to ‘Abbey Road’ were all massively popular and unique in their own way.

However, things started to go a bit pair shaped in the middle of the 60’s when their manager Brian Epstein died. A tragedy like this shook the band and things started to fall apart. On top of this, the group started to be introduced to drugs such as marijuana and LSD. The Beatles played their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on August 29th, 1966.

After Epstein’s death there started to be some friction between the band members when Paul McCartney tried to become the leader of the group. John Lennon was the main member in protest but ties between them were still strong. During this time Ringo left the group for a short period because he felt left out but soon returned to find his drum kit decorated in flowers and John, Paul and George tried to include him more.

After The White Album the band started on the ‘Let It Be’ project where they planned to rehearse and record a whole new album of songs and at the end of it all they would perform a concert from a fantastic venue. The band began rehearsals at the Twickenham Film Studios but one day George walked out on a session after a disagreement with Paul McCartney but came back to finish up the album. John later explained: "We couldn't play the game anymore, we just couldn't do it".

At the beginning of the year in 1969 The Beatles played their final live performance on the rooftop of the ‘Apple’ building in ‘Saville Row’, London. The Beatles decided to get together to make one final album "Abbey Road" which would go on to become their biggest selling record in history. It was mainly Paul who kept the group together and encouraged them to make ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ back in 1967 after the death of Brian Epstein. In addition to this Paul tried hard to get them excited about recording and performing but the group were only interested in recording.

The Let It Be album was finally released on May 8th, 1970 - less than a month after Paul publicly announced he was no longer a member of the group.

Overall, The Beatles became true legends and their music and lives touched our lives in different ways. The Beatles wanted more than just to be ‘Beatles’. They wanted happiness that they once had back when they first became successful. The band members went their separate ways; John Lennon found happiness with his true love ‘Yoko’ and son ‘Sean’, Paul McCartney found happiness with ‘Linda’ his children and ‘Wings’, George Harrison found happiness with his solo career, ‘Olivia’ and his son ‘Dhani’ and Ringo Starr found happiness with his solo career, acting career and ‘Barbara’.

Many wished that a Beatles reunion was on the cards but John Lennon was murdered by a crazy fan in December 1980. However, a virtual reunion did occur in 1995 when 2 original Lennon recordings, which had the additional contributions of the remaining Beatles mixed in to create two hit singles, ‘Free as a Bird ’and‘ Real Love were released. Furthermore, 6 CD’s of unreleased material and studio outtakes were also released along with a documentary and TV miniseries in a Project known as ‘The Beatles Anthology’.

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The Story of Syd Barret

Syd Barret by Henk Rekers

In August 2006 a sixty year old, bald, stocky bachelor with a face at once stern and sensitive died of diabetes. He was living on his own in his home-town - the genteel city of Cambridge, England, world widely known for its university, which, in the UK, is rivaled only by the equally venerable one in Oxford.

His name was Syd Barret. Or was it? No. His name was Roger Keith Barret, known as Rog to the few people he bothered to see, mostly his family. Syd Barrett is the name the world will remember him by. He was a living legend. Now he is a dead legend.

Let me outline the birth of this legend in a few words. Do you know the magnolia? What makes its beauty so special is not only its features, but also that it blooms very early, and very short. In those seminal years of pop/rock music, the mid sixties, Barrett’s songs and music shared the same properties. As founding father and undisputed leader of a band called Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett was a pivotal figure in the emerging psychedelic scene in London, and, via his records, the rest of the world. It was a time when the world, in the words of Keith Richards, suddenly turned from black and white into Technicolor. And Syd Barrett was a most colorful being indeed, to the ear, to the eye and to the mind in equal measures. Brought up quite liberally, with well to do parents, and a particularly doting mother, young Syd was as gifted as he was attractive, and a humorous, impish fellow at that. Experimenting with a few things almost no one had heard of in these days, like LSD –until the sixties mainly used by the CIA as sort of a truth serum drug-and the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, the I Ching, his main occupations were painting and music. Painting came first, the music and songs that would make him famous came second in those early days.

In the music industry many things had changed in the slipstream of the Beatles fame. Musicians were no longer puppets on a string of shady, cynically-minded Tin Pan Alley-types, churning out product for whoever laid the money down. There was a new playfulness and originality in the music of the Beatles and also a completely un-self-conscious integrity, mainly brought about by the fact that the Beatles wrote their own songs, and became a role model for that. It was the Kennedy era. People were in some ways starting to be encouraged by the authorities to think for themselves and not to do simply what the same authorities expected them to do, which, of course, implies a paradox with a vengeance, but, lucky for those times, it took a while for us all to realize.

Back to our story. So the Beatle phenomenon became a trailblazer for a whole gamut of gifted young bands, all into writing their own material: The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, who does not know their names. Barrett’s Pink Floyd rose to fame a few years after the first batch of post Beatles bands. And in those heady days a few years made an enormous difference. Swinging London was already turning psychedelic and of that era Barrett was, is, and always will be one of the finest relics. It all went by so fast…

Syd Barrett was an almost devout non-believer in discipline, and had a frame of mind and body not heavy duty enough for the rough life of a rock star. Within two blasting years his behavior had become so erratic that he could not rationally function anymore in the band that was his brainchild. Forgetting guitars everywhere, sometimes refusing to speak to anyone, standing on stage like a statue, playing just one chord. Roger Waters, Rick Wright and Nick Mason had to incorporate guitarist David Gilmour, a good friend of the whole band, and already a highly rated session player.

A short while the band was a five some, David Gilmour delivering the sonic good, and Syd Barrett as a sort of far-out ornament. Then the idea was that he would be the home staying genius, with the other boys on the road a la Brian Wilson, but it al expired, Syd being so deranged that he temporarily became an inmate of the Terrapin Asylum, after which followed a few years in London, living in various trippy bohemian settings. During that time he did manage to create two albums that are still enjoyed by quite a few good ears: “The Madcap Laughs” and “Barrett’s” quirky, very asymmetrical songs with strangely evocative lyrics about almost nothing/everything, after which he stopped making music altogether. He ended up where he started, in Cambridge, living with his mother, and after her death on his own, picking up painting again and writing a history of art for his own enjoyment, without the slightest idea to let others read it, let alone publicize it.

All his life he had the status of a cult hero, also because his old band, Pink Floyd, became hugely successful in the line-up with David Gilmour, and the standard bearers of, let’s say, adult rock: always competent, creative, even poetic, skilfully performed on state of the art hardware, but with the elusive x-factor, which makes things creep under your skin, considerably reduced.

A short career and a long retirement. He regained his inner balance sufficiently to live as a quiet, withdrawn, strange but not crazy citizen, sustained by the royalties of his compositions on Pink Floyd’s and his own records. According to his family he could even be said to live with his very own brand of satisfaction. Syd Barrett will always be remembered as one of the most enigmatic characters in the pantheon of modern Western popular music.

Harry Rackers writes for File Sharing the site to visit if you want to download music, movies and/or games from the Internet.

You could find more info on Internet downloading at Music Movies Download where you will find lots of articles about downloading, and a directory of entertainment sites.

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A Personal View of Jimi Hendrix

The Jimi Hendrix Facts by Ricky Sharples

Jimi Hendrix was such a dominant presence in the late 1960's music scene his whole career was full of milestones of one kind or another. So what "facts" help us see this unique character more clearly? Jimi Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942 in Seattle. A family friend sold him a cheap acoustic guitar when he was fifteen years old. From then on he spent almost all his waking hours playing the guitar. He listened to records by B.B. King and Muddy Waters, and imitated what he heard. He got to know some other guitar lessons and learned from them.

After a short stint in the army where he met fellow musician, Billy Cox, Jimi moved to Clarksville, Tennessee and formed a band. Right from the start the outrageous Jimi Hendrix persona came to the fore with Hendrix learning to play the guitar with his teeth in imitation of other guitarists he had associated with during his short career. After a difficult time making a living in New York, Hendrix joined the Isley Brothers band and went on tour where he was hired as part of Little Richard's backup band.

In 1966, former bassist with The Animals, Chas Chandler, was looking for an artist to perform a song he had become attached to. The song was "Hey Joe" and Chandler liked the way Jimi Hendrix played it. So much so that he assisted Jimi in moving to London and helped him to enlist English bass player Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell as members of his new group, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. At this time Hendrix met and jammed with Eric Clapton during an appearance with his new band, Cream. As he became more well-known in London The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones became fans of his music.

Later that year, Jimi recorded "Hey Joe" as his first single with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, followed by "Stone Free", "Purple Haze" and "The Wind Cries Mary" (all Hendrix compositions). In March 1967 Jimi set his guitar alight on stage at the end of his act as part of a tour by The Walker Brothers. In May 1967 the group released their first LP, "Are You Experienced" which reached number two in England behind The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".

In June 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival, Jimi Hendrix got the opportunity to present his flamboyant stage persona and individualistic guitar playing to audiences in America at the Monterey Pop Festival. It was here that he became known internationally as the guy who burns and smashes guitars on stage. The following month Jimi heard Frank Zappa using a wah-wah pedal and immediately incorporated it into his music.

"Axis: Bold As Love", Jimi's second album was released in December 1967 and featured the wah-wah pedal and various other electronic effects. "Electric Ladyland" was released in 1968 and included "All Along The Watchtower", a song written and originally recorded by Bob Dylan as an acoustic number, and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)". It also featured Jimi on bass as Noel Redding was engaged in separating himself from The Experience at that time.

In August 1969 Jimi Hendrix was the main act at the Woodstock festival. He played for two hours and ended the set with his famous rendition of Star Spangled Banner.

Jimi Hendrix gave his last concert at the Isle Of Fehman Festival in Germany on September 6, 1970. His final public appearance was at a jam session with Eric Burdon and War at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London.

Jimi Hendrix died on September 18, 1970 after drowning in his vomit. He had drunk a large amount of red wine and, according to his friend Monika Dannemann, he had also taken sleeping pills.

Ricky Sharples has been playing guitar his whole life, and is presently engaged in building a blog which features free guitar lessons, videos, articles and reviews to help you Learn The Guitar for free. Ricky updates the blog constantly so if you are interested in learning to play guitar there will be an enormous variety of tips, tools and tutorials for you.

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A Tribute to the Rolling Stones

The Magic of the Rolling Stones by Victor Epand

Unlike many other bands that had started out in the early sixties, the Rolling Stones is still going strong. In fact, because the band has been around for so long, many of the original band members are no longer with the Rolling Stones. When originally formed in the year of 1962, the band members consisted of Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman. Brian Jones would be fired from the band in 1968 and Mick Taylor, who left the band in 1974, would take his place.

Ronnie Wood later joined the band and Bill Wyman left the band in the early nineties. Today, the band currently consists of only four members: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts. Even with the many changes that occurred throughout the years, including the turn over in the members, the band continues to tour and be enjoyed for its music.

The Rolling Stones focused more in rhythm and blues and rock and roll when they first started out, but were more or less labeled a rock and roll band after a hit in the mid 1960s. From then, they went on to become one of the most successful rock and roll bands in the twentieth century. They would create thirty albums and many compilations through the years. In 1994, they made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Even though they continued to tour and play together, many of the band members also created solo albums on the side. It is obvious through their dedication to their music and their want to continue playing that music is what these people love. For over forty years they have been playing together as a band and continuing to share their unique style with the world. In fact, they are quite experimental in their playing and have been extremely successful in doing so. Even though they are a rock and roll band, they always include many different music genres in their music.

Perhaps the reason why the Rolling Stones have been a success for so long is because they have such a passion and love for what they do. This is why they have been able to create music that has been enjoyed for more than forty years. It is an extraordinary achievement that other bands and musicians strive to do, and while there have been a few that were successful in having a lifetime career in music, there are few bands that have managed to entertain so well for so long.

The ironic thing about the band's success is that in the beginning Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were not terribly impressed with their music and were surprised when their first few songs had such a good turn out. That success helped them to build their confidence and they kept on going after that. They may have underestimated their abilities at first, but after some hard work they began to see what they were really capable of.

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 rolling stone CDs and autographed rolling stone CDs.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jim Morrison - A Biography

Jim Morrison Biography by Jordan Henrichs

Born James Douglas Morrison in Melbourne, Florida, he was the lead singer and lyricist of the popular American rock band The Doors. He was also an author of several poetry books.

James Douglas Morrison was the son of George Stephen Morrison and his wife Clara Clark Morrison, both employed by the United States Navy. His father was a strict military officer, who served as an admiral. Jim was raised by his conservative parents but would grow to express drastically different views than those taught to him.

According to Jim Morrison the most important event of his life came in 1947 during a family trip in New Mexico. He described the event as follows:

"The first time I discovered death... me and my mother and father, and my grandmother and grandfather, were driving through the desert at dawn. A truckload of Indians had either hit another car or something- there were Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death. I was just a kid, so I had to stay in the car while my father and grandfather went to check it out. I didn't see nothing- all I saw was funny red paint and people lying around, but I knew something was happening, because I could dig the vibrations of the people around me, and all of a sudden I realized that they didn't know what was happening any more than I did. That was the first time I tasted fear... and I do think, at that moment, the souls of those dead Indians- maybe one or two of them-were just running around, freaking out, and just landed in my soul, and I was like a sponge, ready to sit there and absorb it."

Morrison growing up, became a seeker, interested in exploring new avenues and new sensations, and led a bohemian lifestyle in California, attending UCLA, drifting about and sleeping on couches and rooftops, reading books voraciously. After graduating UCLA, Morrison read some poems to fellow student, Ray Manzarek and they both decided on the spot to start a rock band. To complete the band, two more members, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore joined the group. (The name The Doors came from an Aldous Huxley book, The Doors of Perception, in turn borrowed from a line of poetry by William Blake), "When the doors of perception are cleansed/ Things will appear as they are, Infinite". He developed a unique singing voice and a style of poetry leaning heavily on mysticism.

Jim Morrison took for himself the nickname "Mr. Mojo Risin'", an anagram of "Jim Morrison", and which he eventually used as a refrain in his final single, LA Woman. He was also called The Lizard King from a line in his famed epic poem Celebration of the Lizard, part of which appeared on the album Waiting for the Sun and which was adapted into a musical in the 1990s.
Even before The Doors formed, Morrison began consuming a variety of drugs, drank alcohol consistently, and indulged in various bacchanalia, sometimes showing up for recording sessions while inebriated (he can be heard hiccuping on the song "Five To One.") Jim Morrison's performances have influenced many, including Patti Smith. Live shows often possessed shamanistic qualities.

Morrison moved to Paris, France in March 1971 with the intention of concentrating on his writing.

Jim Morrison died in Paris, France on July 3, 1971, in his bathtub at the age of 27; many fans and biographers have speculated that the cause of death was a drug overdose, or possibly an assassination by American government authorities. Morrison remarked several times near his death that he was "number 3". Referring to himself as likely to be the third person to die mysteriously; Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin being the first two. The official report listed "heart attack" as the cause of death. Morrison is buried in the famous Le Père Lachaise Cemetery in eastern Paris: because his fans there are generally perceived as nuisances, leaving litter and graffiti behind them, it has been suggested that a new burial site will have to be found.

Some fans believe that Jim Morrison faked his death in order to escape the spotlight. Conspiracy theorists point out that Morrison's longtime girlfriend, Pamela Courson, initially told the press that Morrison was merely "very tired and resting in a hospital", that very few people had actually seen the corpse prior to its burial, and that Morrison,in the months prior to his 'death', had often talked jokingly with his bandmates about "splitting to Africa". Doors drummer, John Densmore, upon visiting Morrison's grave for the first time, is said to have remarked that it was too short. To some, Jim Morrison was a rebel, to others a rock-n-roll poet.

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The Doors - A Biography

The Doors Bio & Top 10 Songs by Andy Jackson

The Doors were an American band and were formed in Venice Beach in 1965 and consisted of Jim Morrison (Vocals), Robby Krieger (Guitarist), Ray Manzarek (Keyboards) and John Densmore (Drums).

Jim Morrison made the band famous with his controversial lyrics and outrageous stage performances and antics. Jim was originally a poet and songwriter, and being my favourite singer of all time has inspired me to write many poems and songs over the years and until recently I have never shared them with anyone.

The Doors have sold over 80 million albums worldwide and still continue to sell roughly 1 million per year and have had numerous chart-toppers such as Light My Fire, People Are Strange, Break On Through, L.A. Woman, Riders On The Storm, Touch Me, Love Me Two Times and The End.

The Doors released many albums during their years before Jim's death, the most notable being The Doors, Strange Days, Morrison Hotel, L.A. Woman and not forgetting Jim's An American Prayer (which was a great inspiration to me and my poems when I was younger).

Jim unfortunately died age 27 on July 3rd 1971 and with him went the end of an era but even though he is gone memories of him will live forever. Jim was found dead in his bathtub and there has been many debates over the years about the actual cause of death but as there was never an autopsy the actual cause of death will forever be a mystery.

My top 10 favourite Doors songs are:

01. People Are Strange
02. Touch Me
03. Break On Through
04. The End
05. Back Door Man
06. Stoned Immaculate
07. Alabama Song/Whiskey Bar
08. Love Street
09. Five To One
10. The Wasp (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)

View the full blog for my top music reviews of bands songs and artists and share with me your comments and your top songs.




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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Santana Announces New Tour Dates

Since his musical debut in the 1970’s, Carlos Santana has successfully redefined what it means to be a great guitarist. With his explosive, exciting and innovative guitar melodies, the Mexican-born musician has grown to become a living legend and idol for generations of fans around the world. In addition, Santana’s eclectic mix of Latin rock, blues, hard rock and Jazz fusion has granted him a reputation as one of the most unique artists in rock and roll history.

Music has always been in Carlos Santana’s blood, as he was born in 1947, in Mexico, to a Mariachi violinist father. Santana took advantage of his musical roots and by as early as age five, began perfecting his craft, as a member of his father’s Mariachi orchestra. By the 1960’s, a young and inspired Carlos Santana formed a band in San Francisco and in 1969, the band got their big break, performing live at the infamous “Woodstock” music festival. Santana’s performance at “Woodstock” shot the young group and its lead guitarist to superstardum. This early success allowed Santana to release their debut album in 1969, titled Santana. The self-titled debut went two times platinum and helped to further put Santana on the mainstream musical map. In 1970, the group released their second album, Abraxas. Abraxas was an instant classic, eventually becoming five times platinum, selling over four million units and reaching number one on the music charts.

To date, Santana, as a band, have released over fifteen hit albums and garnered the attention of millions of fans around the world. Carlos Santana has also achieved success as a solo artist. He has released a total of over thirty albums (both solo and group work), was named the fifteenth greatest artist in Rock and Roll by Rolling Stone Magazine and in 1998, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

After releasing a greatest hits album in 2007, this year marks the return of Carlos Santana to the live stage in a big way. The guitarist’s massive “Live your Light” concert tour is set to hit various venues around the world, July through October. “Live your Light” will see Santana performing his numerous classic hits and fan favorites, in front of stadiums packed with diehard fans. The concert will make stops in Europe, Canada and the United States over its five month touring period.

Santana Tour Dates: European Tour: June 20, 2008- July 20, 2008 Canadian Tour: September 7, 2008-September 10, 2008 United States Tour: September 6, 2008; September 13-October 12, 2008.

Jamaican Reggae Music

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 Jamaican patois to deliver the message in their songs. To learn Jamaican patois language visit: for lessons. 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 culture, language and visiting countries. Learn the Jamaican language

Traps Magazine Issue 6, June 2008 - A New History of Jazz-Fusion Drumming

San Jose, Calif., -- Enter Music Publishing, publishers of hip, drum/percussion magazines worldwide, today released its Summer Issue of Traps Magazine. Committed to covering “The Art of Drumming”, this issue of Traps extensively explores the history of jazz-fusion drumming through the pioneering players of these highly related genres in 90 pages.

Traps editor, Andy Doerschuk, in his "Entrance" Editor Column, best summarizes this compelling issue of Traps. As he notes: “Our cover stories continue to be the most expert and in-depth drumming coverage you can find, while other stories (covering jazz and fusion) remain focused on pertinent information for the discerning drummer, who wants to learn about the legends, their sound, techniques and gear.”

Lenny White: Reunited With Return To Forever, By Any Means Necessary

Lenny White, without a doubt, is one of the most well respected drummers of jazz and fusion. His incendiary contributions with Return To Forever ignited the fusion era, fusing rock rhythms with jazz harmonies. The passion and zeal with which he attacked the drums in his early days has never dimmed. When Return to Forever decided recently to reunite, White he met up with the other members of the band to rehearse for their upcoming summer tour, even though he was suffering from a broken shoulder and hadn't actively drummed for nearly four months. As he says in the cover story, “I couldn't play for 30 seconds on a pad it (the pain) was so bad.” Yet his band mates – keyboardist Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke and guitarist Al Di Meola didn't notice any difference is his ability to pull of the precision playing necessary to hold down the throne. Bill Milkowski takes the reader on a journey through White's impressive career, particularly his contributions to Miles Davis' seminal fusion recording, Bitches Brew, which also included drumming legends Jack DeJohnette and Billy Cobham.

Is the winner Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson or Elvin Jones?

While drum battles are rare today, they were a popular publicity gimmick in the 50's and 60's, challenging g the drummers and tantalizing audiences who had the opportunity to witness some of the greatest jazz drummers in history. Writer, Bruce Klauber, takes the reader on a historic tour of these exciting drumming moments. One of the highlights of this story is the ongoing series of drum battles between Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. The battles between these drummers were not meant to be boxing matches for the two rivals had tremendous respect for each other: As Krupa commented, “Anyone that goes up against Buddy in these (battle) situations is going to get blown away." A discography of rare battles is included.

Brian Blade In A Q & A

During this intriguing article, Blade is asked about how and why Joni Mitchell is one of his heroes. In his response, Blade explains how two of her recordings, Hejira and Mingus, have been influential to his ability to write well-crafted songs, “particularly the harmonic aspects of Hejira," which continues to impact his writing style.

Six Progressive Percussionists – Miles Camp, Weather Report Syndicate Or Both

These six percussionists – Moreira, Alias, Mtume, Un Romao, Acuna and Badrena – were active participants in the fusion revolution. Generally speaking, they all had “Latin-tinged styles and did stints with Miles, Weather Report, or both. Traps explores the impact of each of these artists and how they're contributions stand up three decades later.

125 Years Strong – Gretsch Drums

The Gretsch drum company has been building drums in pretty much the same way for 125 years. Played by legends from Tony Williams to Phil Collins, Gretsch remains one of the world's leading brands. TRAPS photo star Robert Downs and writer Jared Cobb take readers on a photo-essay tour of the Gretsch factory. One thing is quite clear from this story; Gretsch drums will outlive any drummer, based on the fine crafting of these special sounding drums.

Epilogue: A Definitive Miles Davis Discography

As previously discussed, many of the drummers written about in this issue of Traps played at some time in their career with Miles Davis. In a thoughtful introduction to this discography, which is part 2 of an overview of the drummers who worked with Miles, Phil Hood, publisher of Traps, writes, “There is no way to quickly characterize Miles or his music, for he was always in transition." This discography takes readers through all the musicians who played on his important recordings from 1961-75

Traps Issue Six is now available on newsstands, in music equipment stores and at Borders, Barnes & Noble and other chains in North America and selected foreign outlets.

About Enter Music Publishing

Founded in San Jose, CA in 1992, Enter Music Publishing, Inc. is a leading publisher of drum/percussion magazines, with distribution in 40 countries. DRUM! is the flagship publication of Enter Music Publishing, Inc. and continues to set the industry standard for editorial quality and innovation. In addition to DRUM! And DRUM! Digital, the company publishes TRAPS and HOW TO PLAY DRUMS. Additional information about the company can be found at:

An Interpretation of "Puff The Magic Dragon"

Recently, while discussing song titles with a friend , the lyrics of "Puff the Magic Dragon" came up. I innocently recalled as a young girl wanting to strangle that Jackie Paper for leaving Puff sad and alone in his dark, dismal cave. My reminiscing friend, openly laughed at my interpretation and exalted, that the song wasn't about the lost innocence of a child at all. She explained it was about smoking marijuana and getting high from drug use. That intrigued my interest to actually look up the history of my favorite, childhood song.

Having always thought the lyrics were written by Peter, Paul and Mary I was surprised to learn that they were originally based on a 1959 poem written by Leonard Lipton. He was a nineteen year old Cornell University student at the time. Only later was the poem passed on to Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary) who added more lyrics and music to create a song.

Looking into some of the 1960's alleged drug references, I discovered Jackie Paper was considered by some drug suave entrepreneurs, as zigzag rolling papers. "Autumn mist" was interpreted as marijuana smoke and the "Land of Hanah Lee" was in reference to a Hawaiian Island called Hanalei, that was known for it's large amount of marijuana plants. "Puff was the smoking of a joint. "Cherry" was considered the burning ember of a marijuana cigarette, and "Lane" was the cigarettes length.

I tend to believe the original author of the poem Leonard Lipton. He consistently stood by his original statement that the poem he wrote back in 1959 at the age of 19 was indeed a poem of lost childhood. Peter, Paul and Mary have agreed with Mr. Lipton that this is a child's song. They also have conveyed the fact that they could interpret the "Star Spangle Banner" in such a way that it too, could be construed as a drug related song, if they chose.

After briefly researching my childhood favorite, I have come to my own conclusions. I believe that when 19 year old Leonard Lipton first wrote his poem, he was a young man entering a stressful, college world and was faced with the realization that he was no longer a child.

I know deep in my friends heart that she believes "Puff the Magic Dragon" is a 1960's drug song. That is very sad to me. She has absolutely missed one of the most mystical, childhood experiences that so many of us felt, while listening to that magical song.

I may be disillusioned, but I'd rather believe for the rest of my life that the name "Puff" was a chosen name for a wonderful, fantasy friend. And the reference of "autumn mist" was merely in reference to a glistening, dew covered meadow. I refuse to believe that green dinosaur scales is a synonym for drug paraphernalia. Which in turn has guided me down to Cherry Lane, where I will always be convinced that, "Little Jackie Paper, did love that rascal Puff!"

VIDEO: Janis Joplin Documentary

Here's a fantastic documentary on Janis Joplin I just found on YouTube:

Part 1:

Part 2:

This is really worth seeing. Enjoy!

VIDEOS: Janis Joplin Live

Hi all, there has been a request for some information on Janis Joplin so I'm including a few live videos here to bring back some memories and also for those young ones who have never seen someone sing and perform with such passion. I'll also include some articles on Janis Joplin very soon. Enjoy:

Summertime (live in Stockholm, 1969)

Try (live at Woodstock, 1969)

Ball and Chain (live at Monterey Pop, 1967)

Work Me Lord (live at Woodstock, 1969)

Cry Baby (live in Toronto, 1970)


Friday, July 11, 2008

The Beatles Greatest Psychedelic Tracks

The Beatles Greatest Psychedelic Tracks by Marvin J Markus.

Send Feedback to Marvin J Markus. More Details about psychedelic music here.

The Beatles played almost every style of music imaginable during their career. Some prefer their early pop songs, some prefer their straight ahead rock songs, some prefer their ballads, and others prefer their tripped out psychedelic songs. I'm the type of Beatles fan that appreciates all of their music but I do have do have a special appreciation for their more psychedelic songs. And that's what this article is all about, the best five psychedelic songs of The Beatles in no particular order.

1. "I Am The Walrus"
Without a doubt one of the all time great psychedelic masterpieces. Everything about this song from the bizarre lyrics to the imaginative chord changes to the amazing production makes it one of the greatest psychedelic songs not only by The Beatles but by any band, ever. This is one of those songs that can be heard countless times without ever growing tired of it. I'm sure I've heard this song close to 1,000 times yet I still find it fresh. There's so many layers, so many little twists & turns that I still hear new things in the song even when I listen to it now.

2. "Strawberry Fields Forever"
I often look at "I Am The Walrus" & "Strawberry Fields Forever" as brothers of sorts. They both have so many amazing ideas and incredible production. While "Strawberry Fields Forever" is more of an introspective "acid" song, "I Am The Walrus" is a bit of a "freak out." "Strawberry Fields Forever" is a song that would have been great even if it were played simply on an acoustic guitar but it was taken to an incredible level by the remarkable production and the imaginative arrangement.

3. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"
I almost didn't include this track because it's almost become a cliche in some ways. But in the end, the song is still great. The vocal effects on John Lennon's voice are great. Paul McCartney's bass is fantastic. And as usual the song's production is incredible.

4. "A Day In The Life"
The final track on Sgt Pepper's is usually thought of as a "psychedelic" song at least not like the first three songs I Listed are, but it very much is. The orchestral freak out is a truly insane psychedelic bit of music for one thing. Bit's definitely so much more than just that. I personally feel this is the greatest song of all time, psychedelic or not. It's musically deep and lyrically impressive. The arrangement is one of The Beatles many great musical achievements.

5. "Sun King"
This song reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon (which of course came out about 4 years after this track did on Abbey Road.) I sometimes wonder if David Gilmour, the guitarist of Pink Floyd, was influenced by this song. They surely heard it. For the most part I am referring to the guitar tone. The "ahh ahh" bits are very Beatles and are also very psychedelic.

Marvin J. Markus is a writer for the Music By Day music blog where he often writes about The Beatles. Markus is also a huge Radiohead fan. Contact the AuthorMarvin J Markus More Details about psychedelic music here.

Keywords: psychedelic music, The Beatles, I Am The Walrus, Strawberry Fields Forever, A Day In The Life, Sun King, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fashion in the 1970s

Fashion In The 1970s by Priyanka Arora

The 1970s continued the hippie look reminiscent of the past decade. Worn out jeans remained popular as well as the tie-dye. The fashion for unisex was on the upswing. Afro hairstyle and platform soles became in with the rise of the radical chic.

It is said that male appearance got changed more in this decade than any other time in the century. In the US, fashion was focused on simple and longer skirts. Jeans became more popular, becoming an accepted item in the fashion scene. Some of the designers who rose to popularity were Calvin Klein and another US designer, Ralph Lauren. Meanwhile, Pierre Cardin popularized a staple style of clothing featuring narrow shoulders with tight fitting lines, having no tie and interfacing, and coupled with jackets and tunics. Men also opted to dress down, regarded as hippie', and this gained recognition as more of a deliberate look.

One of the more innovative designers of the decade was Kenzo Takada, who mixed Western and Oriental influences to create a new fashion trend. Another name worthy to mention is Sonia Rykiel, who created figure hugging knits. An Italian designer who made waves in this decade was Giorgio Armani, who made a distinctively successful collection of clothes for women in 1975.

It was also during the '70s when fashion trends began to cross borders quickly. Western fashion trends were looked upon by the rest of the world. Synthetic materials were also introduced. The decade also got inspiration from fashion trends in the previous decades.

Buy handmade shoes from the most popular online shop where you can buy more than 5000 unique fashion products for men, women, teens & kids shipped to you absolutely free anywhere in the world. offers safe and secure online purchase of embroidered chiffon churidar set, gold earring with diamonds and different types of apparels and accessories.

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A Touch of Hippie Culture

Get in Touch With the Hippie Culture by Jay Brandley

The term hippie is often misunderstood by many. When thinking of the word or term hippie, many people often picture a bunch of people with beards and headbands with peace signs and bell-bottom jeans.

Well, there is much more to the definition of what a hippie or the hippie movement is. The term hippie was popularized in the 60s, and is said to be derivative of the word hipster. The hippie movement originated and was popularized in the United States of America. Since the 1960s, the hippie movement has been spread worldwide and you will most likely see many people around the world wherever you go favoring the hippie movement.

The hippie movement was all about peace and love and freedom. These concepts are commonly known. The 1960s was a time of big change and adjustment. It was a time of war. I am sure that you are familiar with the Vietnam War. During this time, older men as well as young boys who had just turned eighteen were being drafted to join the army. Many of these older men and young boys who were sent to fight in the Vietnam War did not make it home alive. This is a very touchy subject for many, so I will not delve too deep in it. The point that I am trying to stress is that the 60s was molded by people who fought in the war happening at that time, the people who supported this war, and the people who sought for peace and strongly believed in love and freedom.

These people who strongly believed in love and freedom were called hippies. These concepts were the root of the hippie culture, and the hippie movement with this foundation of beliefs has stood the test of time up until today. There are still many people who consider themselves to be hippies.

As with many concepts and movements, there are other things that spring from this belief and the hippie movement also has its own fashion trends and a sort of stereotyped clothing and apparel.

Now when we look at the fashion aspect of the hippie movement, things like colorful tie dye t-shirts and patchwork bell-bottom jeans and even Boho tribal styled skirts come to mind. The hippie trends and fashions of the 60s has survived and made it to the twenty first century.

The hippie movement along with its beliefs and fashion trends has survived up until today making it nearly fifty years old.

For more great hippie fashion trends, check out Jays site Paisley Days. Paisley Days keeps you updated with great hippie clothes and accessories.

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VIDEO: A Hippie History

Wow! Get this!

Hippies Documentary, Part 1:

Hippies Documentary, Part 2:


VIDEO: Scott McKenzie, 1967

Interesting video of hippie dancing, culture and partying to the sounds of Scott McKenzie in 1967:


Warren Wallace Interviews The Grateful Dead - 1967

Here is an interesting interview by CBS news reporter Warren Wallace who talks to the Grateful Dead at the bands home at 710 Asbury:

A bit of 60s history before your eyes!

Miles Davis - The Birth of the Cool

Miles Davis History - The Birth of the Cool by Murray Hubick

The first major development in the life of Miles Davis was when he started started his recording career in 1945 in New York City. Initially he was heavily under the influence of Charlie Parker becoming a member of his unofficial quintet and appearing on many of Parker's originative bebop recordings in the autumn of that year.

In Davis' very first recordings he was accompanied by tenor saxophonist Herby fields and the blues singer Rubberlegg Williams. It was early days as yet though and Davis, although already having a distinctive style lacked confidence and his technique needed development. He was known to play his notes somewhat throttled at times and he would stumble in his solos now and then.

This novice segment in his career would not last that long because by 1948 he was beginning to flower as a solo artist. He had now served his apprenticeship on stage and record as a sideman and began to work with a nonet which is, for those who are not familiar with the name a piece of music or group for nine instruments or voices. Unusually for the time, this particular nonet featured the French horn and tuba.

After a number of gigs at New York's Royal roost the group were signed by Capitol records and recorded several singles that were released in 1949 in 1950. These Recordings featured arrangements by Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis and Gil Evans. Davis found at this time a productive collaboration with Gil Evans which would continue over the next 20 years on many of his major works. The recordings produced at this time saw little use until 1957 until they were released as the album the "birth of the cool".

The year 1949 saw the artists first visit to Europe where he performed in the Paris Jazz Festival in May of that year. This visit was to prove seminal in Davis' life if for no other reason than the fact that to the French they had become something of a cult. The experience of this cult status was so different then hewas used to in America that are affected him strongly, so much so that Davis dated his problems with narcotics from this point on. Returning to America Davis now found himself, while playing in the jazz clubs of New York, in frequent contact with people who used and sold narcotics and like many at the time became a heroin addict.

Between 1950 and 55 Davis mainly recorded as a leader in a variety of small group settings. Included were sideman such as Sonny Rollands, John Lewis, Kenny Clarke, Jack McLean, Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, J. J. Johnson, Percy Heath, Milt Jackson and Charles Mingus. It was a productive time but Davis was now a heroin addict and because of that he became unreliable and developed a reputation for unreliability.

It was a big problem and his solution was to return to St. Louis where, in the winter of 1953 -- 54 he locked himself in a guest room. This was in his father's farm and lasted for 12 days until the drug was out of his system. It is notable that during this period he did have help with his addiction from the famous boxer sugar Ray Robinson.

After this and in 1954 after going clean, Davis made a series of important recordings which were eventually collected on albums including; Walkin', Bags' Groove and Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants. One other very important development did occur in 1954 which must be made note of and that was that Davis started to use the Harmon mute.

For those who are not familiar with the term the Harmon mute is a trumpeter's device that darkens and subdues the trumpet sound. If you have ever seen Davis or many other trumpeters live you will have seen him using this device in front of his trumpet. You could not help but notice the distinctive muted trumpet tone that it creates. It was this tone that would be associated with Davis for the rest of his life.

Murray Hubick is an accomplished artist and writer who is also a self proclaimed jazz addict. To read his latest series of articles on the Miles Davis history; his influences, who inspired him how this artist consistently held the position of being at the forefront of just about every major development in jazz from World War II to the 1990's go to

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The First Miles Davis Quintet

Miles Davis History - The First Miles Davis Quintet by Murray Hubick

In the life of Miles Davis the year 1955 saw the first version or incarnation of the Miles Davis Quintet. In this band there were featured some of the biggest names in jazz of the time such as John Coltrane, red Garland, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.

It must be said that in the world of jazz this was new stuff and did not move along the lines of the rhythmic and harmonic complexity of the then prevalent bebop. It was a progression towards modal jazz where Davis was allowed to play long, legato, melodic lines. The pianist Ahmad Jamal played a role in the formation of this style at around this time because Davis was strongly influenced by his sparse style which contrasted strongly with the busy sound of bebop.

In 1955 Davis was still under contract to Prestige Records at this time but due to a contract arrangement made the first recordings for this group at Columbia records. The new music was released on the album 'Round About Midnight. This was followed by the product of two days of recording in 1956 which was released as; Relaxin' and with the Miles Davis Quintet, Streamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet, Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet and cookin' with the Miles Davis quintet.

In all this quintet amounted to a very productive collaboration but it was never stable. The problem of drugs was never really far away and several of the other members of the group used heroin which caused the band to disband in the early months of 1957. It must be said here that following this, in 1958 the quintet reformed as a sextet but this time with the addition of Julian "Cannonball" Adderley and subsequently recorded "Milestones".

But first, and later on in 1955 Davis traveled again to France but this time it was too composed the score to Louis Malle's Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud. In this work he recorded the soundtrack entirely with the aid of French session musicians which included Barney Wilen, Pierre Michelot, Rene' Urtreger and the American drummer Kenny Clarke.

Returning to America and later on in the 1950s and early 1960s Davis started a period of outstanding and diverse creativity in collaboration with the noted jazz musician Gil Evans. These two artists recorded a series of albums together which saw Davis often playing flugelhorn as well as trumpet. The first product of the sessions was an album called "Miles Ahead" and showcased Davis' playing with at jazz big-band, the horn section beautifully arranged by Evans.

The pieces that were produced at this time included music by Dave Brubeck and Leo Delibes and the sessions were notable because they included Davis' first piece of European classical music. This was important and innovative stuff for the time notably because of its editing which in joining the tracks together created a seamless musical experience between each side of the album.

During this period also and in 1958 Davis and Evans recorded Porgy and Bess. This was a great recording which consisted of an arrangement of pieces from George Gershwin's opera of the same name and featured members of Davis' band such as Paul Chambers, Cannonball Adderley and Philly Joe Jones. Davis himself said that this album was one of his favorites.

In 1959 the atmospheric and now famous "Sketches of Spain" was recorded. These were evocative and beautiful pieces of music, by and large arranged by Gil Evans and some of which recorded at a concert in Orchestra under Evans direction. This was all about Spain and the embodiment of the feel and soul of Spain. These Recordings were a spirited interpretation of the music of two of Spain's most gifted contemporary composers; Joaquin Rodrigo and Manuel de Falla as well as and including Gil Evans originals with a Spanish theme.

Davis' collaboration with Gil Evans would go on for most of Davis' life but 1962 was the last year in which they created a full album together. Throughout the two men had a great deal of respect and friendship for each other. In his autobiography Davis noted ;"... my best friend is Gil Evans".

Murray Hubick is an accomplished artist and writer who is also a self proclaimed jazz addict. To read his latest series of articles on the Miles Davis history; his influences, who inspired him how this artist consistently held the position of being at the forefront of just about every major development in jazz from World War II to the 1990's go to

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Miles Davis - The Early Years

Life of Miles Davis - The Early Years by Murray Hubick

The life of Miles Davis started in Alton Illinois where he was born to a relatively affluent family. Dr. Miles Davis, his father, was a dentist who moved the family to East St. Louis in 1927. In all, it could only be considered a relatively privileged life. For instance, there could not have been many children in his time and place who had the advantage of a substantial family ranch, in northern Arkansas, as did Davis where as a boy he learned to ride horses.

From an early age Miles' mother, Cleota Mae Davis, wanted Miles to play piano as she was very good blues pianist herself, a fact she kept hidden from her son. Davis' father however had other ideas and when Miles was 13 his father gave him a new trumpet and arranged lessons for him with the local music teacher.

You could say that Miles Davis' career as a trumpeter was someone due to serendipity because as Davis was later to suggest, his fathers choice of instrument was made largely to provoke his wife who disliked the instrument. Davis' instructor Buchanan could in a sense, also be considered serendipitous because unlike the fashion of the time he stressed the importance of playing without vibrato. It was this which informed Davis' playing and his clear signature tone throughout his life.

By way of enforcement Buchanan would slap Davis' knuckles every time he started using heavy vibrato. In time the way of playing his trumpet without vibrato became very important to his signature sound to the point where he once remarked;"I prefer the round sound with no attitude in it, like around voice with not too much tremolo and not too much baseline bass. Just right in the middle. If I can't get that sound I can't play anything."

Davis was a member of the musicians union by the age of 16 and when not at school was working professionally. During the following year and at the age of 17 he played with the bandleader Eddie Randles' Blue Devils. At this time another early and important influence came in the form of the musicians Clark Terry and Sonny Stitt who tried to persuade him to join the tiny Bradshaw band that was then passing through town. However, this was at yet not to be because Davis's mother felt it more important that he finished his final year of high school.

In these early days Davis' parents were both very insistent on his continuing formal academic studies. But for this, Davis would have been on the road with the Billy Eckstine band which had visited St. Louis in 1944. Already in the band were Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, Davis was taken on his third trumpet for a couple of weeks because of the illness of Buddy Anderson. When the band left town Davis had no choice but to stay behind and continue his studies.

These same studies would take him to New York City and a scholarship at the Juilliard school of music. Study however, became secondary because in New York he came into contact with and was introduced to the music of Charlie Parker. It was this meeting more than anything else that would set the direction of his music for many years to come.

Murray Hubick is an accomplished artist and writer who is also a self proclaimed jazz addict. To read his latest series of articles on the Life of Miles Davis; his influences, who inspired him how this artist consistently held the position of being at the forefront of just about every major development in jazz from World War II to the 1990's go to

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Beatles - Revolver

Track by Track - Revolver by the Beatles (1966) by Johnny Moon

1966's Revolver was perhaps The Beatles first fully realized album. While you could make an argument that A Hard Day's Night or Rubber Soul deserves that title, to me it seems like Revolver is their first album to be completely artistic statement. Rubber Soul had duds like "Wait" and "Run For Your Life" on it after all. This is a track by track look at Revolver.

1. "Taxman"

"Taxman" was one of three songs on the album written by George Harrison. Revolver was really Harrison's "coming out party" as a serious songwriter. Harrison was the lead guitarist for The Beatles but he actually did not play lead guitar on this song. Paul McCartney played lead guitar on this track. McCartney's frenetic lead part was inspired by new guitarist that was just hitting the scene at the time, Jimi Hendrix.

2. "Eleanor Rigby"

One of The Beatles most timeless classics. This is mostly a Paul McCartney solo song really as he's the only Beatle to be heard on the track. McCartney sang along with a double string quartet arrangement. There are no guitars, bass, or drums on the track. McCartney wrote the song largely on his own although John Lennon did contribute somewhat to the lyrics.

3. "I'm Only Sleeping"

A dreamy song that's either about taking acid or just sleeping in, or perhaps it is about both? The song features some very cool backwards guitar parts.

4. "Love You To"

This is a George Harrison written song and almost everything heard in the song was played by Harrison. Ringo Starr was the only other Beatle to be heard on the track, he played the tambourine. It was the first Beatles song to incorporate classical Indian style music.

5. "Here, There, & Everywhere"

A timeless Paul McCartney ballad. McCartney has said in interviews that this is one of his favorite songs he has ever written.

6. "Yellow Submarine"

In my opinion this is the one fault with Revolver. While I like "Yellow Submarine" well enough on it's own, it doesn't fit that well into the flow of the album. That being said, in some ways it's one of The Beatles more memorable songs. It features Ringo Starr on lead vocals, McCartney was the song's main songwriter. It was of course also the title for The Beatles animated movie released in 1968.

7. "She Said She Said"

One of the earliest "acid rock" songs. The lyrics were inspired by an LSD trip John Lennon had. He was on LSD at a party when the actor Peter Fonda (who was also on LSD) apparently kept saying that he "knows what it's like to be dead."

8. "Good Day Sunshine"

Written by Paul McCartney who said he was inspired by The Lovin' Spoonful's "good time music."

9. "And Your Bird Can Sing"

Features one of The Beatles most memorable guitar lines which is actually a dual guitar riff played by both Harrison & Lennon. The song was written by Lennon, but of course as with all Lennon and/or McCartney songs was credited as Lennon/McCartney.

10. "For No One"

Another stunning classic from McCartney who was perhaps at his peak during this time. The Beatles were always looking for an original approach and in this song it was the unusual french horn solo that set it apart arrangement wise.

11. "Doctor Robert"

Another "acid rock" song by John Lennon to go along with "She Said She Said." Who "Dr. Robert" is exactly is open to debate, Lennon said that he was actually "Dr. Robert," as he was the one who "carried around all of the pills." The song's lyrics include some of the Beatles most overt drug references.

12. "I Want To Tell You"

Harrison's 3rd song on the album. It has an interesting "dissonant" sound to it that. The song is built mostly around a "drone" which shows Harrison's huge Indian music influence of the time.

13. "Got To Get You Into My Life"

Paul McCartney's "ode to marijuana" was heavily influenced by the Motown sound, in particular songs released by the Stax label.

14. "Tomorrow Never Knows"

One of The Beatles most experimental tracks. Incredibly, given how incredibly futuristic it sounds, the song was actually the first one recorded for the album. The song is based on a C drone (another sign of Indian music influence) and everything about the recording was revolutionary at the time. It makes use of backwards guitar, heavily compressed drums, and cut up tape. The lyrics were inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

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The Beatles in the USA - The 'Cherry Bomb' Tapes

They went out with a bang: Did someone throw a firework at the Beatles in Memphis - and did it end their touring career? Colin Fleming on the discovery of a remarkable lost tape of a seminal gig.

Colin Fleming
Tuesday July 1, 2008


In the summer of 1966, the Beatles had just recorded Revolver, rock's first full-on foray into what a band could pull off in the studio. But they were still every bit a live, coming-to-your-town touring band when they trekked off for world tour number three. It was a tour that, in the wake of John Lennon's claim that "we're more popular than Jesus", would lead to record burnings and death threats in America's Bible belt.

Beatles obsessives have long talked about what happened on that tour, and in particular what happened at a gig in Memphis. Someone shot at the band, goes one theory. A car backfired, runs another. The general consensus, though, is that someone lobbed a cherry bomb, a powerful type of firework, at the stage, while the Beatles performed their second set. Depending on who you listen to, or which web chatroom you log on to, the Beatles stopped short - or carried on as though nothing had happened. Some people say the band were frightened by the explosion - they had mistaken it for a gunshot, each looking around to see if one of them had been shot down. Whatever the truth, collective decisions rarely come faster. As Lennon said, that was it. Last tour. We're done here.

And then, late last year, word started going around: a tape that had long been hoped for, but no one really thought would ever turn up, would soon be up on the web. It turned out that two teenage girls had lugged a portable tape recorder to the Memphis show. There were already plenty of 1966 shows available as bootleg recordings, including a number from Tokyo in near-perfect fidelity for the era. But the Memphis gig was the stuff of fantasy.

If you collect bootlegs, as I do, you live for that moment when incredulity gives way to wonder. The tapes of the 1966 Tokyo gigs don't inspire any wonder: they're a good indication of how poor the band was throughout much of their final world tour. But when I first heard what has been dubbed the "Cherry Bomb Tapes", after tracking it down online, I heard a group raring to go. These guys were up for it. However, once we get to If I Needed Someone, swagger turns to humility mighty fast. Someone does indeed set off a cherry bomb, or some kind of backyard explosive, and the men of the moment blast off into double-time, Lennon positively flogging his rhythm guitar.

With audible proof of the explosion comes debate. What, for instance, would have happened if that cherry bomb had never gone off? Touring was still a possibility for the Beatles, pre-cherry bomb. That firecracker is the sound of a decision, a ne plus ultra moment for a band that was already contemplating a seismic shift in how they were going to do business: in the studio, with rock'n'roll taking life as collage art, rather than the stuff of teenybopper caprices and the night out at the baseball stadium.

The Beatles' alleged telepathy gets a lot of play in the assorted versions of their story - like George Harrison's oft-cited remark that he wasn't sure what "we" thought about God yet, as though thoughts passed from Beatle to Beatle without need for articulation. But to have the life all but scared out of you - to share that experience with three other people, and arrive at the same conclusion - isn't so much telepathy as basic humanity coming to the fore. The band who get terrified together tend to retreat together, especially when their art is better served in doing so.

Let's consider Pepperland, and how the distance from the band's final tour to the experimentation of Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane was bridged by what went down in Memphis. Once that cherry bomb went off, with no need to worry about recreating their studio work on stage, the Beatles were free to tear loose. Before long, the rest of the heavy hitters would follow suit. The Stones ended up with the jumbled Their Satanic Majesties Request, while Brian Wilson, forever in heated competition with Lennon and McCartney, soon found himself going mad. Studio fever, almost. But the demarcation had been established. Touring was no longer at the heart of what it meant to be a rock'n'roll band. If what you did in the studio was big enough, you didn't have to worry about whose town you weren't going to next. It was all about the vinyl now.

The best bootlegs function as great lost masterpieces: the 1966 Bob Dylan show in Manchester was the classic live recording of his career, but languished in the vaults for 40 years before getting an official release; check out the Stone Roses live at Glasgow Green in the summer of 1990, when even their staunchest followers were wondering if they could still cut it. Most bands, if they're lucky, have one great live album. If you want to know what those bands were really like at their best, you have to go underground.

The Beatles didn't even really get their one classic live album, unless you count the patched-together Live at the Hollywood Bowl, from 1977. But the Cherry Bomb Tapes are much more than just a live recording. It's not especially uplifting to hear a band playing as though they have just been shot at, and a lot of listeners will find their pleasure quotient ratcheted down by the sound quality. But what you're really listening for is history, the sound of a collective, immediate decision. And while the historical cachet of bootlegs typically centres on their artistry, the Cherry Bomb Tapes are different. They're about history itself, a distillation of a tall tale into the here and now, folklore becoming tangible.

Led Zeppelin - Claims of Plagiarism

Did Zeppelin Plagiarize? by Anthony Chuinard

Like many other bands that became famous, these musical icons had their share of lawsuits regarding copyright infringements. One of Led Zeppelins song that allegedly copied was their prelude album "Bring it Home". The company that sued them was Chess Records. They did not go on trial. Both parties decided just to have an out of court settlement. However, the bands issue on plagiarism did not end there. They were again confronted with another accusation of copying when their song "Whole Lotta Love" had the same lyrics as the song "You Need Love/Woman You Need Love" by Willie Dixon. Some say that it was supposed to be collaboration between Jimmy Page and Willie Dixon. However, the communication was not that good and resulted to a lawsuit.

In an interview published in Guitar Word. Jimmy page explained that they did try to do the good thing and not copy. The problem was basically lyrics. They had instructed that the lyrics be changed but somehow it did not. The melody was definitely theirs and they only intended to make a better version of the song. I do understand his side of the story. It is actually not a taboo to make a remake of a song and make a better version. I also believe that some of the issues of plagiarism could have been avoided if the promoters and producers have just acknowledged other composers. It would have been nice to give them credit because it was what other composers want, that is to be acknowledged for their contribution.

For more information about Led Zeppelin, and a complete listing of their lyrics, visit Led Zeppelin Lyrics.

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Led Zeppelin - Beginnings

Led Zeppelin's Beginnings by Anthony Chuinard

Just like any other band these musical icons experience a lot of obstacles before they achieved there legendary status. Starting a band requires a lot of effort and requires a lot of luck. Luck, in a sense that choosing band members does not come easy as anyone would like to think. Even though the Beatles had paved the way for rock and roll music to be appreciated by English listeners, pop culture was still the dominant music that Britons mostly listens. For a starting band like Led Zeppelin they were facing insurmountable odds. Forming a band was hard enough they needed a lot of patience to perform countless gigs in order to get noticed by a music company.

Finally, the band was given their chance. In 1968 the band managed to get the attention of the music industry. There album was finally was set to be released. In 1969 when the album was released it was a hit. It was not surprising because their song offers so much influence. Their music was a blend of blues, pop, rock and many more. They captured the heart of not only Britons but also Americans as well. There concert tours was a sure hit that was why Atlantics Records investment did not go to waste. They had a signing of 200,000 dollars which was at that time the biggest ever made in history in the music industry. The record company did expect that the band would be popular but not to this extent. Concert auditoriums were always full and tickets were always sold out.

For more information about Led Zeppelin, and a complete listing of their lyrics, visit Led Zeppelin Lyrics.

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Led Zeppelin - Hard Times

Led Zeppelin's Struggles by Anthony Chuinard

Before achieving their superstar status Led Zeppelin had its share of ups and downs just like any other band. From the accusations of being plagiarists which would lead some music critics to question their originality to having face the reality of their mortality when one of its band members died from alcohol induced asphyxiation. One of its band members also faced a struggle with heroin addiction.

The issue of plagiarism had haunted them for several years. It gave them bad publicity at that time. To make matters worse Robert Plant and his wife had been in a car crash in Rhodes Greece which led to the band member's injury and would require him to recuperate for months. His wife was severely injured and required transfusion. Page had also his own struggles to overcome which was his addiction to heroin. Some music critics say that because of his addiction they made a sloppy album which did not meet the fans expectations. Bonham also was suffering from alcohol addiction himself which eventually led to his death in 1980. His death was the turning point of the bands journey. The members' that was left behind decided to call it quits and disband. The reason being Bonham was one that unites them and they would not go on without him.

Even though the band encountered lot of struggles they still achieved the dream of becoming a rock star that shaped rock music. They influenced a lot of musical artists that we knew. It was fitting to remember them as musical geniuses who inspired the world through their magnificent music.

For more information about Led Zeppelin, and a complete listing of their lyrics, visit Led Zeppelin Lyrics.

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