Tuesday, October 27, 2009

VIDEOS: Jimi Hendrix and John McLaughlin - Together!

Hey readers!

I've just discovered some really rare soundbites on YouTube of Hendrix playing with John McLaughlin! Get a load of this:

Video #1: From the McLaughlin Sessions - thanks to dizwaltney:

Video #2: A Jam Between Jimi Hendrix and John McLaughlin; Intro and comment by John Mclaughlin. Recorded 25th March, 1969 at the Record Plant, NYC. Thanks to ferrymuskitta:

Video #3: Jimi Hendrix and John McLaughlin performing "Drivin South" jam; (in studio 1968). Thanks to MaitreShintod:

This stuff just blew me away! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

OPINION: The 5 Best 1970s Rock Bands

By Patricia Fields

This is a really tough list to narrow down. The 1970s were my favorite era of rock and roll, and some truly great bands emerged and thrived during this decade. 1970s rock bands were wild, glamourous, and all about the music. There were also plenty of long songs with great guitar solos, and you'd be hard pressed to find many mainstream songs these days that follow a similar structure. Anyway, here are my top 5.

5. Pink Floyd. Their trippy sound was unique and it paved the way for many bands who followed in their footsteps. Dark Side of the Moon was a truly great album, as were many of their others.

4. Lynyrd Skynyrd. The quintessential Southern rock band, this was a classic rock band in the purest form. Aside from their well known songs Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird, they produced many other great pieces of music.

3. Electric Light Orchestra. Known as ELO, Jeff Lynne and company produced so many great songs and albums. The 1970s were a prolific decade for this band and their space rock meets symphony orchestra sound was very unique.

2. The Band. They formed in the 1960s, but went strong all through the 1970s before finally splitting up in the early 1980s. This was a great band and possibly one of the most underrated out there.

1. Led Zeppelin. Perhaps the greatest rock and roll band of all time, depending on who you ask. The epic hits are too long to list.

If you have a kid between the ages of 2 and 5, you might want to look into the Little Tikes country kitchen, a great toy for all young children and one of the most popular forms of Little Tikes kitchen.

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Songs on the Beatle's Revolver That Are Better in Mono - "Taxman" & "Eleanor Rigby"

By Jackson Weinheimer

There are some mono lovers who will say that every song on Revolver sounds better in mono! And of course there are some who can't stand listening to music in mono and will prefer the stereo mixes even when they are mixed in a very strange way (which is the case with the songs I am highlighting in this article).

Personally I take it on a song by song basis. Some Beatles songs sound better in stereo and some of them sound better in mono. I believe these songs on The Beatles 1966 classic album Revolver do, indeed, sound better in mono (of course the original mono mix of Revolver has been made available on CD for the very first time as a part the Beatles In Mono Box Set).

"Taxman" - The panning on this song is totally off the mark. I wonder what they were thinking? They put almost everything in the left (the guitar, the bass, and the drums!) and the vocals are in the center which leaves the right channel almost totally empty. This sounds really unsettling when listening to the song on headphones.

Usually the one good thing about such extreme panning is how clear each individual part is, but because they put everything over on the left, that's not really the case with this track. Sure we can hear the percussion (which is about the only thing on the right for most of the song!) really clearly, but that doesn't make up for everything else being smushed together on the left! Not by a long shot.

In mono everything is up the center which works pretty well for a heavy rocker like this. The mono mix is much "punchier" than the stereo mix.

"Eleanor Rigby" - The stereo mix on Revolver of this song is nuts. On the verses the strings are in the center and the vocals are completely to the right and there's nothing over on the left at all. This is not good. The mono mix works very nicely on this song because there aren't very many elements (just vocals and the strings) so there's not much to get buried (which is my biggest complaint with mono mixes, usually).

Click Here for a complete track by track look at Revolver (mono vs. stereo).

Remastered Box Sets Price Comparison. A look at where's the best place to buy The Beatles remastered box sets (stereo and mono).

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Ska: An Unusual Genre

By Trisha Regan

A music genre which originated from Jamaica during the late 1950s is called ska. It is a predecessor to reggae and rocksteady. This genre is a combination of the constituents of Caribbean calypso and mento with American jazz and tempo. Ska is identified by a rhythmic bass line.

During the 1960s, ska became an official music genre and became really popular with the British mod. It then became very popular among skinheads. The history of ska can be divided into three periods: the original Jamaican scene of the 1960s (First Wave), the English 2 Tone ska revival of the late 1970s (Second Wave) and the third wave ska movement, which started in the 1980s.

There are many theories regarding the origin of the word ska. It was said by Ernest Ranglin that it was coined by musicians according to the sound of a guitar strum. Another theory is that during a recording session in 1959 by Coxsone Dodd, double bassist Cluett Johnson told Ranglin "play like ska, ska, ska." The other theory is that ska originated from Johnson's "skavoovie", this was his greeting for his friends. It was insisted by Jackie Mittoo to call the rhythm Staya Staya. Then finally Byron Lee presented the word ska.

There is another story about the origin of ska, it is about Prince Buster made it during the inaugural recording for his latest label Wild Bells. The guitarist started to accentuate the second and fourth beats in the bar. The drum beat was inspired from the traditional drumming and marching styles of Jamaica.

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The Fall Out After the Murder of Lord Lucan's Nanny

By William Coles

When Lord Lucan planned the murder of his wife Veronica, he could have had no idea of the immense amount of fall-out. At the time in 1974, Lucan presumably thought that the only loser in the whole affair was going to be his estranged wife Veronica, whose dead body was going to end up being dumped in the Channel.

But as it turned out, the events of that night were to have a quite catastrophic effect on a number of people. For a start, Lucan killed the wrong woman: it was his children's nanny, 29-year-old Sandra Rivett, who was mistakenly bludgeoned to death.

This blunder has come to cast such an extraordinary shadow over the lives of Lucan's family and his friends. For his poor wife Veronica, she is now estranged from all three of her children. His son George could, if he wanted, take the title and become the 8th Earl of Lucan. But the truth is that Lord Lucan has turned his title into a standing joke and George is unlikely ever to use it. Can you imagine how it would be go down if George were to book a restaurant table under the name Lord Lucan? It would be even worse if he were pulled over by the police.

But outside his family, Lucan's murder was also the direct cause of the suicide of one of his friends, Dominic Elwes. It sparked one of the longest libel actions in British history. And, incredibly, it also prompted the arrest of Britain's one-time Postmaster General. It is this last arrest which is so utterly bizarre as to be almost farcical.

In the autumn of 1974, a Labour MP, John Stonehouse, had drowned in the sea off Miami. It was to be Stonehouse's misfortune that a few weeks later, Lucan was to murder Sandra Rivett. The whole world was on the look-out for this British aristocrat on the run. Soon afterward in Australia, a bank teller spots a rather diffident Englishman. The Englishman looks rich and is very nervous; he wants to take out a large sum of money.

The police are immediately called in. Minutes later the tall Englishman is under arrest - only for the detectives to discover that they've caught not Lord Lucan, but the hapless British MP John Stonehouse, who'd faked his own death to set up home in Australia with his secretary. How very irksome for Stonehouse: arrested and dragged back to jail in Britain merely because he bore a passing resemblance to Lord Lucan.

William Coles is the talented English editor of Lord Lucan My Story. He is also the author of a moving novel, Prelude, which was published in the UK under the title The Well Tempered Clavier.

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Lord Lucan Failed As a Cool Hand in His First Real Crisis

By William Coles

For a man who fancied himself as a cool hand, Lord Lucan did turn out to be the most abject failure when he faced his first genuine crisis. Although, no-one can be sure about the exact turn of events, it seems likely that the 39-year-old Lucan had been planning Veronica's murder for about a year. Deep in debt and with his wife obtaining sole custody of their three children, murder must have seemed like the ultimate solution to Lucan's problems.

He must have felt like Alexander slashing at the Gordian knot: rather than continuing to lead his mind-numbingly pedestrian life in London, Lucan would have done with it all by killing his wife. With one bound he would be free. A few week's before the night of the planned murder, Lucan borrowed a friend's Ford Corsair. It was in this car that he planned to transport Veronica's body to Newhaven, before dumping it in the Solent.

He had also prepared not one, but two bludgeons - two 18-inch pieces of lead piping, with white taping wrapped round the end for a better grip. He'd planned the murder for a bleak night in November when the children's nanny, 29-year-old Sandra Rivett, had her day off. Veronica would be home alone with the children. But as it turned out, Sandra changed her night off - and Lucan ended up killing the wrong woman. A few minutes later, he fought with Veronica on the stairs of the one-time marital home in Belgravia - and this was another disaster.

Veronica bested Lucan, kneeing him in the groin before fleeing the house. She ran screaming down the street to the nearby Plumber's Arms. But Lucan's final blunder was the one that would inextricably link him to the murder. Lucan drove through the night to Newhaven, where he dumped the Ford Corsair.

There was no point trying to clean the car up: it was covered with his finger-prints and splashes of blood. But as Lucan raced away from the car, he forgot one crucial piece of evidence. He left the spare bludgeon in the boot. This piece of lead piping was near identical to the actual murder weapon that had been left at the scene of the crime. And it was this, more than anything else, which would prove beyond doubt that Lucan was up to his neck in the murder.

William Coles is the talented English editor of Lord Lucan My Story. He is also the author of a moving novel, Prelude, which was published in the UK under the title The Well Tempered Clavier.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Songs From the Road by Jeff Healey

By E. F Nesta

The posthumous release Jeff Healey - Songs from the Road is an eclectic set of covers that captures the energy and musicianship that became synonymous with a Jeff Healey performance.

Songs from the Road: I Think I Love You Too Much; I'm Ready; Stop Breaking Down; Angel Eyes; Come Together; Hoochie Coochie Man; White Room; While My Guitar Gently Weeps; Whipping Post; Teach Your Children Well; Santa, Bring My Baby Back [To Me].

Personnel: Jeff Healey: Guitar, Vocals; Dan Noordermeer: Guitar, Vocals; Dave Murphy: Keyboards, Vocals, Lead Vocals on Whipping Post; Alec Fraser: Bass, Vocals, Lead Vocals on White Room; Al Webster: Drums; Randy Bachman: Guitar on Hoochie Coochie Man

Jeff Healey - Songs from the Road, produced by Alec Fraser and released on the Ruf Records label, is a posthumous release of Jeff Healey's live performances. Jeff Healey was a multi-talented musician whose life was taken all too young, but through the dedication of long time friend, producer, and band mate, Alec Fraser, the release Songs from the Road was born. Songs from the Road is a collection of covers that Jeff and his band performed during live performances in London, at the Notodden Festival in Norway, and in his hometown of Toronto.

Songs from the Road opens with the Mark Knopfler song I Think I Love You Too Much, which shows Jeff's ability to retain the original song's fluid arrangement while laying down his own "version" with scintillating guitar work and emotional vocals against a backdrop of an exhilarating audience. The track I'm Ready is one of two covers from the legendary Willie Dixon and this blues rendition brings out elements of Jeff that only a live performance provides. He digs deep into his blues background emphasizing every note as though it was his last while the band performs a blazing complement to Jeff's guitar and vocals.

Stop Breaking Down (Robert Leroy Johnson) is down and dirty and the band gets funky as Jeff drives his guitar and vocals through this rousing cover. Angel Eyes, though not a Jeff Healey original, has been identified with Jeff Healey and each time I hear this track it takes on a new meaning and feeling. Sliced in the middle of an eclectic set of music, Angel Eyes holds its own as a tribute to a remarkable musician.

Jeff was a lover of all things musical with an extensive collection of jazz and other genres, so when he turns his attention to the psychedelic era with the Beatles tracks Come Together and While My Guitar Gently Weeps he knows how to emphasize the raw elements that cut through each chord, which was an important component of psychedelic music. The band's blues roots project new layers onto these classics creating refreshing and stimulating renditions.

Jeff, with the help of fellow Canadian and guitarist Randy Bachman, deliver a blistering track for Hoochie Coochie Man (Willie Dixon) and the band cuts a deep groove as they ride the Jeff and Randy wave.

Looking at his rock-n-roll roots he covers the classic White Room (Jack Bruce/Pete Brown) with a vigor and fervor that conjures up the members of Cream and the electrifying guitar work of Eric Clapton. Whipping Post (Greg Allman) leans in a different direction with a mix of blues, rock-n-roll, and Jeff Healey, as the band casts a new light on this classic while staying true to the original arrangement's swagger. The track Teach Your Children Well is carried by Jeff's slide guitar work, while the harmonies, though not of the legendary work of CS&N, are pure and hold to the pacing of the original song.

The last track on the release is the rockabilly track Santa, Bring My Baby Back [To Me] with the band having some fun and showing that life on the road is where they are in their element, but it is family that keeps them moving forward. The release closes with an all too apropos phrase from Jeff "That was fun, and that's what it's all about."

Websites where you can procure Jeff Healey - Songs from the Road are Amazon, CD Warehouse, Ruf Records, and CD Universe.

E.F Nesta is the owner, contributing writer, and Publisher of Luxury Experience Magazine (http://www.LuxuryExperience.com).

Luxury Experience Magazine is a monthly on-line publication, which is read in over 80 countries with a reach of over 100,000.

Luxury Experience Magazine features experiential articles on luxury products and services; we do not book reservations or sell products on-line.

Luxury Experience Magazine's mission is to provide experiential editorial exposure on luxury products and services, and introduce brands and products to an audience across 80+ countries.

Luxury Experience Magazine is a team of high-energy professionals who bring a broad and extensive international background to their writing.

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The Isle of Wight Festival 1969

By Tom Sangers

The 1969 opening of the Isle of Wight Festival was held at Wootton on August 30th and 31. It was extremely popular, having attracted approximately 150,000 people. They flocked to the festival in order to see Bob Dylan, The Who and Free. This was the second of three legendary festivals held on this island and they were all held between the years of 1968 and 1970.

The 1969 festival was considered to be well managed and comparatively trouble free, the 1970 event was anything but. Jimi Hendrix, Chicago, The Doors, The Who, Joan Baez and Free played to a crowd of up to 800,000 people that year. In 1970, the opposition to the festival was much better organized than they had been in previous years.

The Isle of Wight has always been a favorite retirement destination for those that were well to do. It has been a paradise for the yachting set. These well heeled, more traditional minded residents resented the invasion of the hippies and freaks. Renting a few acres in order to hold the music festival had been easy in the earlier years, however in 1970, the festival location was subject to a council/committee approval and the residents lobbied hard against it. This resulted in the festival not gaining entry to their preferred location and setting for East Afton Farm, Afton Down. It seemed that this location was deliberately selected for its inadequacy for the purpose.

One thing that happened was that the location made it possible for a large number of people to camp out on a hill that overlooked the festival, they got to view the whole thing for free. The Isle of Wight Festivals had already amassed a strong reputation in 1968 and 1969, greats such as Jefferson Airplane, T. Rex, The Move, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan and Pretty Things had already performed there. The Who was in their foundation phase when they took the stage at the festival.

The organizers of the festival, Fiery Creations, were determined that the 1970 event would be legendary and even under adversity, the festival definitely reached epic proportions. If you consider the fact that the island resident population is approximately 100,000, it's quite a feat to pull in over a 150,000 in 1969 and then up to 800,000 in 1970. The 1970 festival marked the end of the life span of the festival on the Isle of Wight for thirty-two years.

The artists that performed at this festival were astounding, they were very popular, very 'in demand' artists and they drew crowds strongly. With Bob Dylan at the microphone for the 1969 festival, there were members of the audience that were as notable as the performers on the stage. Among the 150,000 people were John Lennon with Yoko Ono. Ringo Star, and George Harrison were also present. The Rolling Stones were in the audience along with Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Eric Clapton, Elton John and Jane Fonda. With the legends of music on stage and off, who wouldn't want to have attended such an event?

This article was written by Tom Sangers for Garden Isle, a provider of Isle of Wight Holidays and accommodation in the Isle of Wight.

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The Magic of Nick Drake

By Robert Kirby

"I never felt magic crazy as this." - Northern Sky, Nick Drake (1970)

There aren't many artists in the world who can successfully create perfect art with every attempt. And there are even fewer who's art becomes new again each and every time you hear or see it. Nick Drake was one of those artists. Not only has his music transcended over forty years of change, but with each of those years it becomes more and more prevalent.

Five Leaves Left (1969): With his first album in 1969, Five Leaves Left, Drake creates an atmosphere of sadness and hope, combining his deep vocals with an acoustic guitar and string accompaniment. It was ranked number 283 on Rolling Stones' 250 greatest albums of all time. Songs such as "Cello Song" show his mature grasp of sensitivity at such a young age (he was only 20 at the time of it's release).

Bryter Layter (1970): Nick's second album, Bryter Layter, recorded in 1970, is said by many to be not only his greatest work, but his most accessible album as a majority of the songs are heavily accompanied by bass and drums. It was ranked number 245 on Rolling Stones' 250 greatest albums of all time. Songs like "Northern Sky" have a more mainstream sound to them compared with those on Five Leaves Left and could be attributed to his leaving Cambridge and moving to London after recording his first album.

Pink Moon (1971): Drake's third and final album, Pink Moon, is his greatest departure from his previous two albums. It was recorded in two 2-hour night-time sessions in 1971. It was ranked number 320 on Rolling Stones' 250 greatest albums of all time. All of the tracks are solo, just Nick and his guitar, except for one, the title track "Pink Moon," to where Nick lends a piano riff.

His Death: On the night of November 24th, 1974, Nick died of an overdose of a prescribed antidepressant. When asked to speculate on whether or not he did it purposely, his sister Gabrielle said she would prefer that he committed suicide, "in the sense that I'd rather he died because he wanted to end it than it to be the result of some tragic mistake. That would seem to me to be terrible..."

Popularity: In early 1999, BBC2 aired a 40-minute documentary called A Stranger Among Us - In Search of Nick Drake. The next year, a live documentary was made entitled A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake. In, 2000, "Pink Moon" was used in a car commercial for Volkswagen, and within 30 days, Nick Drake had sold more records than he had in the previous 30 years.

Robert Kirby has been writing articles about musicians like Nick Drake for years. He currently writes for online entertainment site Altered Eagle.

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Two Underrated Classic Rock Bands

By Patricia Fields

There have been many great rock bands over the course of the last 50 years. What started out as a music revolution in the 1950s has turned into a staple in the music world, and rock music is enjoyed the world over, with many different styles having emerged over the years.

One of my favorite styles of rock is the classic rock movement that permeated the 1960s and the 1970s. I think that some of the best music has resulted from this era, and I've always loved the epic anthems particularly. While bands like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and others all get their due, here are two bands that I feel deserve a little more respect than they get.

1. ELO. Standing for Electric Light Orchestra, this band, led by brilliant songwriter Jeff Lynne, churned out hits through the course of the 1970s. Some of these are songs that you already know and hear frequently, though you might not realize that the songs were by them. Their unique brand of space rock combined with symphonic orchestral elements was one of a kind.

2. The Band. This was a great band, and that was actually their name. Originally performing as Bob Dylan's backup band, they eventually found their way, emerging on their own. This Canadian band was one of the most talented collections of musicians we've ever seen, and their Americana is some of the best to ever hit the music world.

Listen to these two bands if you're in need of some good new music, I think you'll enjoy them.

Patricia Fields also writes about Truvia at http://truvia.org.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Tribute to Bob Dylan

By James W Morley

Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, artist, bard and, more recently, disc jockey, who has been a foremost character in fashionable music for five decades. Much of his largely celebrated handiwork dates from the 1960s when he was, at first, an informal chronicler and then an apparently reluctant figurehead of social instability. A quantity of his songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'," became anthems for both the civil rights and the anti-war movements.

If Bob Dylan is the very definition of a composition legend, you have to allot his fans acclaim for being pretty legendary themselves.

From the very start, Dylan fans have been a breed apart. They analyze his lyrics line by line, dig through his garbage to unearth them, and sign up for fully accredited college courses to understand them. On the Internet, the conversation - and dissection - of Dylan is no less intense, as his devotees pour over every trace of his life and music .

Dylan has always been, and will probably for eternity be, an enigma. He has produced as many impudent flops (Self Portrait, Knocked Out Loaded, and the majority of his work in the Eighties and Nineties spring at once to mind) as he has masterpieces like Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde, and Blood On The Tracks. He's written American classics like "Blowin' In The Wind," "Like A Rolling Stone," and "Just Like A Woman," as well as average fair like "Man Gave Names To All The Animals."

But the single thing Dylan has forever done is reinvent himself. The voice of remonstration for a generation in the Sixties and the born again believer of the Seventies, most recently Dylan has once again stunned the globe with a brilliant series of albums including Time Out Of Mind, Love and Theft, and Modern Times.

'He has received numerous awards over the years including Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Awards; he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2008 a Bob Dylan Pathway was opened in the singer's honor in his origin of Duluth, Minnesota. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for what they called his profound impression on popular music and American culture, "marked by poetic compositions of extraordinary poetic power".

Beyond all else, Dylan is arguably America's supreme songwriter and a national treasure.

Check out http://www.bobdylanshirts.info. Its well worth a look.

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The Formation of the Beatles

By Bobby A. Spider

The Beatles were a musical band that became a worldwide phenomenon during the 1960's. The hysteria they generated became known as "Beatlemania". Formed in Liverpool, the group included John Lennon on rhythm guitar, Paul McCartney on bass guitar, George Harrison on lead guitar, and Ringo Starr on drums. Depending on the song, each member sang in the group.

In March 1957 John Lennon formed a "skiffle group" that he called "The Quarrymen." Paul McCartney saw him perform at a church function, and when John realized that he could tune his own guitar, he asked him to join the group. Paul joined in July, 1957. In March of the next year, Paul's friend George was invited to see the group perform, and he soon joined as the group's lead guitarist. Finding a drummer for the group was to become quite the challenge. After much turmoil, Ringo Starr joined the group in the early 60s.

In the early years the group perfected their craft in the clubs that dominated the nightlife of Hamburg, Germany. Long hours of performing were the norm, and this lead to the development of some very talented musicians. When back in Liverpool, they perfected their chops at the Cavern Club, and their popularity continued to grow.

If there was ever a "Fifth Beatle", as Paul McCartney was to later say, "It was Brian Epstein". Brian started watching the Beatles when they performed at the Cavern Club, and by January 1962, the Beatles signed him as their manager. Brian opened the door to see George Martin, a producer at EMI, and the rest "as they say" is history.

The Beatles first entry into the UK record charts was their song "Love Me Do". Their single, "Please, Please Me" was more popular still. By the time "From Me To You" came along, they were well on their way to dominating the record charts for years to come.

Dominating the United States market was not immediate or a certainty. Entrance into this race was delayed for various reasons, but in December 1963, Capitol Records released "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and the Beatles domination of the US market was on it's way as well.

After dominating the UK and the US, the next stop was the world. In the years to come the Beatles either toured or did concerts in Hong Kong, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the list goes on ...

As time went on, cracks started to appear in the group. They recorded their final album, "Abbey Road", in the summer of 1969. Recording the song "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" was the last time all four Beatles were together in the recording studio.

On September 20, 1969 John announced his departure to the group, but this was not made public until legal
matters were resolved. Paul filed for a dissolution of the band on December 31 1971, and this finally took effect in 1975. The final "nail in the coffin", as they say, had been set.

Bobby A. Spider writes for the blog: http://www.BeatlesLetItBeNow.com

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OPINION: 5 Great Rock and Roll Bands

By Felicia Cranston

Here are five of my favorite rock and roll bands.

The Grateful Dead - Known for their fans called "Dead Heads," this band took it's grass roots upbringing and put out a ton of hits during an era where hippies loved listening to their music.

Pink Floyd - At times, they came off a little weird. They took chances, and for the most part succeeded in doing that. They were the most successful experimental band of all-time. One of their main highlights, "Dark Side of the Moon," solidifying their spot on the chart.

The Velvet Underground - Who? Yes, I am serious with this. Although not having commercial success, they were decades before their time and inspired countless people to start a band themselves. Their lack of success in sales made them a cult classic.

Eagles - A great band who had a lot of success for a long time. They, along with The Grateful Dead, were able to give rock and roll and country, a folk edge to it. Hotel California and Desperado remain two of the most successful classic rock songs of all-time, still receiving great airplay daily.

The Doors - Almost the opposite of The Eagles, this band didn't last that long but made a lasting impression on the world. Their 6 years as a true band (leader Jim Morrison died in 1971) allowed them to show off their originality and inspire countless others.

So there you have it. These are easily five of my favorite rock and roll bands of all-time.

Enhance your music experience by taking advantage of the cheap car stereos out there. Where it's cheap car CD players or something a little more high end, there's plenty of good stuff out there right now.

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OPINION: The Top 5 Rock and Roll Bands of All Time

By Felicia Cranston

I know this is a daunting task, and I am fully prepared to have people disagree with me. I tried to take any bias out of this, so without any more wasting of time, here it is.

1. The Beatles - Really about the only number most should be able to agree on. They inspired countless bands in the future and were pioneers when they became big. After they broke up, they all went on to have solid solo careers as well.

2. The Rolling Stones - This band has stayed together forever, and have also put out a bluesy taste of Rock and Roll. The past few years have been a little shaky, but they are sill solid. Songs like "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" have lived on as classics.

3. The Who - Part of being a great band is presentation, and no-one did it better at the time than The Who. Also, their 9/11 appearance easily stole the show and gave people some idea that The Who still had it.

4. Led Zeppelin - Ushered in the post-Beatles era by dominating headlines with a great collection of songs. They played a ton of advanced songs during that time, and even took themed music to a new level.

5. U2 - Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the band. That should not keep them from being this high on the list though. The group personified the 1980s, led by Bono. They ushered in the post-punk era.

There are the first five. Look for 6-10 to come.

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OPINION: The Beatles - Were They Really That Good?

By Steve Taite

Now that they have finally released the remastered Beatles albums, it seems a good time to reopen the classic argument. The Beatles - the best group of all time or just a matter of timing? Since 09/09/09 I've been listening to the fab four round the clock until I couldn't bear it any more, with mixed emotions (to quote Mick Jagger). As a whole there are a lot of good songs, several great songs and then quite a bit of rubbish some of it downright embarrassing, and I'm not just talking about Revolution 9.

Let's start from the very beginning (a very good place ... but enough of the kitch, I'll leave that for Paul).

Please Please Me - definitely one of their purer efforts, pure rock and roll, simple lyrics, but that was what was expected of them then. A good start and still good today.Of the fourteen tracks six were covers of other artists including songs written by Carol King and Burt Bacharach. Now remastered the harmonies and simple music renditions make it feel even more alive. A-.

With the Beatles - released only four months later. Another great raw album. You don't change a winning combination. Finally Ringo gets to play drums - not the best drummer in the world by far. Again six of the fourteen tracks are covers. A-

A Hard Days Night - down to 13 tracks, this album was entirely self written. Another strong production A-

Beatles for Sale. - the Beatles are by now tired and pressed for time and a bit fed up - thus the title. Between a concert tour in the U.S. and one in the U.K. they had all of five weeks to put together and record this album. Luckily they could lean heavily on succesful covers they sang on stage in their Hamburg days. Much due to this fact, the album is almost flawless and great fun to listen to, especially after being remasted. It has a very live, gritty feeling to it, something that was actually missing from their actual concerts (see my blog). A-

Help! - The soundtrack from their second film. Who could dare fault an album including Yesterday, Ticket to Ride and and the beautiful You've got to Hide your Love away. A

Up till this point definitely a great group. Not a rock group or a revolutionary force but still great enough to be worthy of all the hype.

Rubber Soul - the first hint that the Beatles wanted a change. There is a candid attempt to add hidden meaning to the songs. Here the Beatles try to go beyond the boy/girl lovey/dovey lyrics and attempt to make a statement. Hints at drug use are abundant as is the influence of Dylan and the Byrds. Ambiguity is the name of the game; Norwegian Wood, Drive my Car, Looking Through You. Though it has it's great moments, the album is uneven. There are initial signs of the banal McCartney love songs to emerge in future years - Michelle Ma Belle!!!. Gone are the rhythmic, exciting numbers that got all the girls screaming - the Beatles concert years are behind them. B

Revolver - Electric Rock has replaced the folk rock of the previous album and once again the vitality is back: Got to get You into my Life, Taxman, And your bird can Sing. Several songs, notably Tomorrow Never Knows, offer a shift to the East with the use of the sitar. At the time many critics hailed Revolver as one of the greatest albums of all time. In retrospect their praise seems overrated. The songs are strong but the mixture of different styles make it more a unconnected collection of songs than a concept album. B

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Often voted the best and most revolutionary album of the twentieth century, the real question is does it hold up to the test of time. In my opinion no. Marketed as a concept album it falls flat after the second song and leaves us with a batch of psychedelically touched pieces that are unlikely to get you excited today. On the one hand there's With a little help from my friends (Joe Cocker's half stoned version sounds far superior), A day in the Life (actually two songs knitted together) and When I'm 64 but how many times are you willing today to listen to Getting Better, McCartney's Lovely Rita (Wings are on the way) or Mr Kite (more of a joke than a song really). A great album cover but not my favourite album or even my favourite Beatles album by far. B-

Magical Mystery Tour - not really worth mentioning. A failing BBC TV special with no script, turned into a disasterous EP set and then reshuffled to make an album. Eleven songs in all, luckily including Fool on the Hill, Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane, otherwise worthless. Can you really listen to All you need is Love or Flying without throwing up? C-

The White Double Album - The Beatles didn't even bother themselves with a name or cover. Not really a group album at all. This album has enough good songs to fill a short, single album but it as a double album it is full of garbage. High marks for Back in the USSR, Dear Prudence and While my Guitar Gently Weeps, but new lows for Revolution 9, Why don't We do it in the Road and Happiness is a Warm Gun, not to mention Paul's idiotic Rocky Raccoon, and Mother Natures Son. Even George and Ringo got in the act with Piggies and Goodnight. Did they really believe they they could sell anything? A real embarassment. C- (and I'm being nice).

Yellow Submarine - Don't even get me started. Just let me give them an E and leave it at that.

Abbey Road - After three previous no shows, no one really saw this coming. True it's as much a George Martin album as a Beatles one, but finally it all comes together. My favourite Beatles album by far. The Beatles finally get it together again. A masterpiece A+

Let it Be - I wish they had. The title song is more gospel than Beatles. Then there's The Long and Winding Road - George Martin and Paul really went overboard there. Apart from Get Back and The One after 909, which returned them to their rock and roll era, the album isn't worth mentioning. D-

So there you have it. Six great albums, three not so great and four pretty awful ones. So were they really that great? As a rock and roll group they could even get your grandmother up and dancing. As rock psychedelic revolutionists they were out of their league.

Steve Taite - The Taite Gallery Blog


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Biography of Bob Marley

By Pauline Go

Bob Marley was born on February 6, 1945. At birth, he was christened Robert Nesta Marley. He is the most well known reggae musician of all times, and has been credited of popularizing this style of music outside of Jamaica. Most of his songs deal with how the poor and the weak of society have to struggle through life.

Marley was married to Rita Anderson, having 4 children together, including David Ziggy Marley and Stephen Marley. The two sons are still continuing with Marley's legacy through their band The Melody Makers.

Marley's mother was Cedella Booker, who was black, while his father was a Caucasian named Norval Marley. However, Marley never really got to know his father as Jamaican society did not approve of his relationship with his mother.

Initially Marley was into ska, but soon moved towards reggae as it grew. Marley formed the Wailers, and many believed that his best work was with the group.

Marley was a devout Rastafarian, and he worked as the unofficial missionary of the faith through his actions and music. He was instrumental in taking the faith to different corners of the world. In addition, he was all for peace and brotherhood. However, towards the end of his life, Marley joined the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and was baptized as Berhane Selassie.

In 1976, Marley was shot inside his home. It is believed that he was shot because of politics as the political scene in Jamaica was very violent at that point. He was supposed to give a concert that was seen to support the liberal and progressive Michael Manley, the Prime Minister of Jamaica. Marley's fans and supporters believe that the conservative party, the Jamaica Labor Party, was responsible for this. However, it was never proven who was responsible for the shooting. Both Marley and his wife were injured but they survived.

In July 1977, Marley was diagnosed with cancer in the toe. However, based on his Rastafarian beliefs, he refused to undergo amputation which was suggested by the doctor to save his life, although, he did have surgery to remove the cancerous cells from the toe.

However, the cancer metastasized to his lungs and brain. In 1980, Marley collapsed while giving a show at Madison Square Garden after which he consulted a cancer specialist named Josef Issels. But by then it was too late for any treatment.

Marley wanted to spend his last days in Jamaica but was too ill to fly. On May 11, 1981, Marley passed away at the Cedar of Lebanon Hospital in Miami, Florida. His funeral was held in Jamaica, and was a blend of Rastafarian and Ethiopian Orthodoxy. He was buried at Nine Miles, close to the place where he was born.

In 2001, he was conferred with Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

About Author:

Pauline Go is an online leading expert in the education industry. She also offers top quality articles like:

Famous Artist List, and Leonardo da Vinci Timeline

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Guitarists, Why Do They Name Their Guitars, But Pianists Don't Name Their Pianos?

By James Mckenna

Is there some strange mystical bond between the guitarist and his or her instrument, or are they just slightly mad? Does this peculiar funny connection somehow animate and colour their art?

From Eric Clapton's blackie, S.R.V.'s wives or even B.B. Kings Lucille, guitarists have often had this jealous bond with their favourite axe. Some won't even let the rabble touch their well handled, scratched, six stringed romance. Watching a master like Steve Via in action an alien may even wonder who's playing who.

Something precious that needs to be guarded in music is the emotional connection. If a singers voice is over produced, pitch corrected, compressed, layered, delayed etc in the end, apart from losing their own unique tone and nuance, they also lose the emotive ability to move and communicate with their listeners.

Enter the guitarist. Unlike his poor keyboard cousins, who are removed via hammers and levers from the centre of the action. His hard worn fingers are there at the scene of the crime. Bending and caressing, the very steel, or nylon fashioning the sound. The neck of his guitar is not quite like any other. The strings are the ones that she just loves. The action is perfect for just his style of music. She can smell the wood mixed with sweat of hours of practice, playing, a bit like a conversation with an old mate. The keyboard guy he just doesn't get it.

A young guitarist goes in the guitar shop to look dream and touch; they all just feel so good. You can almost hear the music they can play before you pick them up; no two are ever quite the same. And if you are lucky enough to own more than one chances are you will pick up one before the others, (hard to explain ... strange).

So what are you waiting for could be the start of something cool check it out.

Or go to http://muzoflight.info.

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The Beatles - Were They Just a Band That Made it Big?

By Daniel Dunne

"We were 4 guys. I met Paul and said do you want to join me band? Then George joined and then Ringo joined. We were just a band that made it very, very big that's all" - John Lennon.

We were just a band that made it very, very big? That is like saying Michelangelo was just a painter/sculptor, or that Shakespeare was just a guy who wrote plays.

The Beatles did in fact have phenomenal commercial success. The band still has the most number one singles (20) and most number one albums (19) in America. The Beatles also currently have 3 albums in the top 20 on a list of the world's best-selling albums (excluding movie soundtracks and stage productions).

But the Beatles of course were more than a band that made it very, very big. Along with being commercially successful, the Beatles have won much deserved critical acclaim over the years. For example in 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine proclaimed that the Beatles have 4 of the top 10 greatest albums of all time (1) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 3) Revolver, 5) Rubber Soul, 10) The Beatles- "The White Album"), and in 2004 rated the Beatles the number one group of all time.

Moreover, the popularity of the Beatles is not waning. In fact it has been almost 40 years since the band broke up and their music is more popular than ever. Each year that passes brings more and more Beatles fans. Consider that the Beatles digitally remastered collection sold more than 2.25 million units in Japan, North America, and the United Kingdom in just 5 days after it was released on 9/9/09. Furthermore, Viacom announced that it sold 25% of the Beatles Rock Band game inventory in one week.

What is the reason for their continued popularity? Ringo Starr recently was quoted as saying "The music stands up. It's not the silly haircuts or the shoes or the suits. New generations of musicians and fans are still talking about the music."

One could go further in stating that the music that the Beatles made is still relevant among recording artists. Over the years, Beatle songs have been performed and covered by countless musicians. The most notable among the bunch is the song 'Yesterday' which was written by Paul McCartney when he was a Beatle. The Guinness Book of Records listed the song 'Yesterday' as having the most cover versions (over 3000) of any song ever written.

The Beatles were not just a band that made it very, very big - they made music that mattered. Their music has stood the test of time and it will still be relevant 40 years from now.

Dan Dunne


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Blues Guitar Lessons - Play the Blues Like Clapton

By John Tuggle

Today I want to give you a few tips on how to play the blues guitar like Eric Clapton. He is often cited as one of the world's most known blues guitarists of this generation. He has played with all the greats and been inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame 3 times.

These three things will get your playing more close to this blues guitar master.

  1. Using triplets in your playing - This is where you count 3 notes per beat, and is often played over a 6/8 time signature, but 4/4 will work as well. Eric uses triplets all the time and you should too to sound more like ol' Slowhand.
  2. Develop a strong vibrato - Vibrato is one of the most recognizable traits of a guitarist. You can usually tell how skilled a player is by the sound of his vibrato. If your vibrato is very uneven and shaky sounding, then you will have a hard time sounding like Clapton. His vibrato is very relaxed and natural. You will have to develop this to sound like the blues Master.
  3. Don't overplay - A sign of a mature blues guitar player is the ability of restraint. You don't have to always play fast, and loud to play the blues. Often times it will be better to play some simple phrases to build up the drama of your playing.
This is just the start of learning to play the blues like Clapton. You will also need to learn scales, and how to use them, and also how to present the feeling of the blues in your guitar playing.

To learn more about playing blues guitar like Eric Clapton, sign up for my FREE 5 part Blues Guitar Lessons mini-course here http://www.learningguitarnow.com.

I've taught thousands of students of the past 15 years and I want to help you achieve that Eric Clapton sound.

John W. Tuggle

Gibson recommended Blues Guitar Teacher

http://www.learningguitarnow.com Let's Learn the Blues

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Will Lord Lucan's Disappearance Remain a Mystery Forever?

By William Coles

One of the reasons that the Lord Lucan mystery exerts such a peculiar fascination is that, for many people, there is something very enticing about the idea of ... disappearing off the face of the earth. Men, in particular, seem to love the dog of abandoning their wives, children, jobs, mortgages and all the other bits of paraphernalia that we acquire in our lives. And with one single slash, we can be done with this great Gordian knot of mundane boredom that binds us to our middle-class lives.

Of course we can, if we want to, get a divorce and leave our jobs and abandon our children ... yet the actual practicalities are always going to be rather difficult. Going to take a few months to get shot of your commitments, and in that time - well, your resolve might start to falter. You might start to see your wife in a slightly better light; children might not be such a pain; even the job might not seem so bad. Life, in short, might be a bit boring, but not worth abandoning completely. However, there remains that little bit in all of us which thinks, just for the briefest of seconds, "Wouldn't it be great to have done with it all?"

Lucan didn't just manage to disappear, he did it from a standing start. One moment he's booked in to have dinner with three friends at the Clermont Club; the next, he's on the run and never to reappear. No time for him to change his clothes; get a passport; grab some money. Lucan, quite literally, fled in the clothes he stood up in. Is there a family man on earth, married with children, who hasn't at some stage fantasized about just that. Why else was Britain so in awe of John Darwin, the famous Port Seton canoeist who faked his own death.

We wanted to know all of the details - though I must admit, the whole story did rather turn to farce when it became apparent that he'd been spent at least a year skulking in a secret apartment. For a few short seconds though, we all of us were living the dream. We were the man who'd faked his own death and gone on to carve out a new life in Panama. John Darwin, of course, was caught. Lucan, however, is of a quite different category altogether. Because there's quite a sporting chance that Lucan is in fact living the dream: that not only did he cut loose, but that he made it out to the other side.

And, part of the proof of his success is that, even 35 years on, none of us have a clue what happened to him. I wonder if, in the next 50-odd years, some new clue will turn up. Or will Lord Lucan become like the Marie Celeste and remain a mystery for all time?

William Coles is the talented English editor of Lord Lucan My Story. He is also the author of a moving novel, Prelude, which was published in the UK under the title The Well Tempered Clavier.

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What Happened to Lord Lucan?

By William Coles

I would hazard that hardly anyone, over the age of 35, in Britain today has not at some stage wondered what happened to Lord Lucan. And the sheer beauty of this conundrum is that no-one has the first clue what happened. There are so few facts to go on, that you can surmise anything you like - he could be dead; ekeing out his life as a vagabond in South America; or even living like a sultan in some Asian palace. Who knows?

All we know for certain is that his nanny, Sandra Rivett, was murdered in November 1974 - though by Lucan's hand or someone else's, no-one has any idea. We know that Lucan made a few phone calls, wrote a few letters, dropped in on a friend, and then ... disappeared off the face of the earth.

Despite his thoroughly pedestrian life before then, Lucan has become one of the most extraordinary legends in British history. How different it would have been if, a few weeks after the murder, Lucan's body had been discovered. It would have been a great scandal for a few months - but within a year or two, Lucan himself would have been forgotten.

No, what makes it so interesting is that we all of us revel in this delightful mystery. The murder itself is now forgotten, and few people can even remember the name of the nanny. Instead, all that we are left with is this intoxicating tale of a very handsome British Earl becoming a fugitive.

Anyone else, of course, wouldn't have stood a chance of getting away from the country. A mere English citizen would have been caught within a few weeks, because without help and money, it would have been quite impossible to have stay hidden.

But Lucan was quite, quite different. He had contacts the like of which we can only dream of. Not only were they rich, but fabulously rich. The likes of Sir James Goldsmith and John Aspinall didn't just have the means to help Lucan out; they'd have loved to have helped out their old mate. They wouldn't have minded in the least at helping out a mate who was a murderer. Breaking the law of the land? No problem at all - at least not to help out a friend. This, then, is what makes the Lucan story so enticing. Not only is it possible that the fugitive Lucan managed to escape from Britain, it's highly probable.

But did they do it? Could they have done it? Both of them had a well of low-life contacts who could easily have spirited Lucan out of England. Aspinall, in particular, was thick in with several London gangsters; the actual mechanics of making Lucan disappear were not going to be a problem.

And, the sheer beauty of this mystery is that both Aspinall and Goldsmith did their old one last big favour - by taking his secret to their graves. They both of them died without revealing a single word about Lucan's whereabouts. In fact, the very contrary: right to the end, they both maintained that Lucan had killed himself.

William Coles is the talented English editor of Lord Lucan My Story. He is also the author of a moving novel, Prelude, which was published in the UK under the title The Well Tempered Clavier.

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How Motown Changed the American Sound

By Christina Pomoni

When thinking of Motown, the legendary record label of Detroit that characterized an entire era, a few names come to mind triggering wonderful memories. Diana Ross and The Supremes, the epitome of glamor and glitz; Marvin Gaye with his irresistible sensuality; Stevie Wonder, the essential one-band man; Smokey Robinson with his easiness to belt out hits; and, of course, Berry Gordy Jr., the bona fide leader.

Before Motown' birth, black music was seen as a minority taste, as a product of migration of many black people from the agricultural South to the industrial North during World War I. This population shift created a new demographic group, which developed R&B music in the late 1940s. In the mid-50s, black music found its expression in Soul music as a result of the confluence of R&B, gospel and doo-wop. At that moment in history, Soul got associated with the black civil rights movement through the transformation of black music into a type of funky affirmation.

Besides, before Motown, in the late 40s and early 50s, Detroit had a prominent jazz scene of white musicians such as Frank Morelli, Leo Osebold and Red Ray. The postwar economic boom had favored Detroit by creating a variety of challenging jobs for jazz musicians, shaping an audience with an interest in supporting jazz and creating a network of business people with an interest in catering to that audience. The advanced instrumental techniques of white musicians and the secrets of improvisation seemed to leave no room for the black artists to enter the magic world of jazz, soul and music industry at a large.

The founding of Motown in 1959 signified a paradigm shift of cultural preferences towards the integration of black music into the white society. Although black auto workers in Detroit were experiencing extreme racial discrimination and racism, their black music found its way to millions of white American households and crossed the color line in an unprecedented way.

Furthermore, the music per se changed. Featuring catchy grooves, hand-clapping, impulsive body moves, improvisational embellishments, and regular interplay between the soloist and the chorus, Motown capitalized on the dynamic roster of local jazz talent, thriving nightclubs and hall venues and competing independent labels, making Gordy's vision of Motown to change the course of music in America and around the globe, a musical entity to be deemed throughout the 60's well into the 80's.

Smokey Robinson and The Miracles were among Motown's first artists that topped the charts with their 1960 release 'Shop Around', which also became the label's first million-selling album. Besides, the extraordinary talent of Robinson to identify tunes that could become smash hits and his contribution to other Motown artists such as The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Brenda Holloway, The Contours, The Marvelettes and others, made him practically an architect of black music.

Decade by decade, Motown created a blueprint that would be worshiped for generations to come. Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, The Jackson Five, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Commodores, The Marvelettes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, all worked passionately and eagerly to bring to the world a new sound and make history. Today, after all these years of musical influences and experimentation, of the emergence of a variety of different, yet confluent music genres, the Motown Sound remains fresh. In reality, Motown shook up the music industry with a stream of back-to-back hits forging the road for continued dominance of modern R&B music.

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The Social Impact of Motown Music on American Culture

By Christina Pomoni

Music echoes social change and as such it bears the weight of the expression of the people. In the 1950s, in the fear of racial segregation, black communities were still fighting for their right to social freedom. The founding of Motown Records in Detroit in 1959 joined the ardent opposition of the civil rights movement to racial, social, economical and political discrimination and individual, police and mass violence against black people. By assembling an impressive roster of talented artists, Motown managed to break down the social and racial barriers and become the most important independent record label of the early 1960s in the history of pop music.

Racism was extremely present in the lives and careers of American black artists and musicians in the 1950s. However, even before Motown, there had been examples of successful black musicians such as Jackie Wilson, who had topped the Billboard Top 40 chart countless times between 1958 and 1963, and Ruth Brown, who had sold more albums than any other artist in the 1950s with Atlantic Records. But, Motown managed to bring all available talent together, under one record label, and at the same time, to associate its birth and success with the broader socio-political setting of its era.

Echoing the frustration of black people in the turbulent setting of the mid-1950s in the United States, Motown associated music with black civil rights struggle by being the first record label owned by an African-American. Under the leadership of Berry Gordy Jr., who aspired to bridge the gap of racial discrimination by producing music that could appeal to all people, regardless of the color of their skin, Motown became a vehicle of black pride and self-expression. Besides, the broad appeal of Motown integrated the political and cultural aspects of the broader socio-political environment and associated music and the right of black communities to social equality.

Through the creation of a distinctive soul sound with obvious elements of pop influence, Motown produced unique dance music featuring artists such as The Jackson Five, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and many others. What became known as The Motown Sound was much more than great music full of energy and emotion. The tambourines that enhanced the back beat; the melodic bass guitar slides that anchored the gospel vocals; the chord and horn sections; all orchestrated in innovative pop production techniques was the way of black community to artistic expression and financial freedom.

Motown's recording of Martin Luther King's 'I have a Dream' speech, delivered on August 28, 1963 in Detroit on 'The Great March for Freedom' is considered the most important contribution of Motown to the civil rights struggle. King declared the March as 'the largest and greatest demonstration for freedom ever held in the United States' and Gordy realized the historical importance of that March before taking its historical place with the American Revolution.

That recording was made so that every American child, black or white, could listen to history. Although, until then, Motown was not really involved in political issues, in the altering political climate it released 'Down To Earth' by Stevie Wonder (1966), 'Love Child' by The Supremes (1968), 'War', by Edwin Starr (1969), and 'What's Going On?' by Marvin Gaye (1971), beginning a trend for message songs.

The 1967 Detroit riots led Motown to the production of music that could evoke radical sentiments and drastic action. However, because the city upheavals had rather a class than racial character, which undermined to a certain extent Motown's aspiration of being a vehicle of improvement for the black community, they actually marked the end of an incredible era. The decline of Detroit and the auto industry as a result of the struggle of the poor against the rich was bound up with the decreasing energy of the people who produced the Motown Sound. Marvin Gaye's surprise 'With the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?' echoed the reality of an era, full of social problems and contradiction that were evolving with explosive energy.

In reality, Motown created the grounds on which broader cultural integration would follow in the 1970s with the emergence of hip-hop as a massive cultural phenomenon. Through the mixing of astonishing percussion riffs and rhythmic drum breaks of funk and disco elements, hip-hop expressed political speech and opposition to social inequality and discrimination against African-Americans. For many, Motown has emphasized on race relations and community life as a means to create an impact on popular music and social structure.

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Beatles' Revolver and Rubber Soul Are the Band's Best Two Albums

By Rachel Morgans

The Beatles put out a ton of great albums, but some time in between when the Beatles were doing a lot of pop and before they got to the end of their career, they put out the best two albums of their career. Revolver and Rubber Soul, which could technically be considered a double album, marks the best time to be a Beatles fan.

Songs like "She Loves You" were fun, but looking back, they lacked originality and complexity. The Beatles were busy touring and making a name for themselves, which hurt their creativeness.

Soon after they decided to stop touring, a pair of albums were launched with new complexity. Rubber Soul and Revolver had stuff never tried before by musicians, and became must-have albums.

I personally became a pretty big fan of these two albums because it was during a transition period. They were signifying things to come, while still holding on to their past. The climax of their career if you would.

Later, they would begin to get a little too experimental and become lost on some people. Don't get me wrong, the Beatles' worst song is better than most band's best, but none show the variety one can find on these albums.

Songs like "The Word," "Michelle," "Run for Your Life","Taxman" and "Good Day Sunshine" are just some of the songs that show off the way they changed for the better spending more time in the studio.

After all, can you find two more different songs than "Yellow Submarine" and "Tomorrow Never Knows?"

Since we're on the subject of music, I'd recommend taking a look at cheap car stereos. Prices have dropped like a rock, and with technologies out there like DVD car audio, you can get some great deals for yourself.

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The Amazing Life of Berry Gordy

By Christina Pomoni

Motown is a symbol of African-American pride; an example of how a self-assured young man with an aspiration to bridge the gap of racial discrimination and social divide managed to bring together black and white audiences by assembling an abundance of talented black artists and producing distinctive sound. With a dream to make Motown synonymous to excellence and a family loan of $800, Berry Gordy established the most successful independent record label of the 1960s.

Born in Detroit in 1929, Gordy grew up in a supportive family environment with strong morals. Being a high-school dropout in the eleventh grade, he used to divide his time between composing songs on the piano and training for professional boxing under champion trainer Eddie Futch at a local Detroit gym until he became 19 years old.

In 1950, he was drafted by the US Army for the Korean War from where he returned in 1953 and got married to Thelma Coleman. Gordy made an effort to open his own record store, 3-D Record Mart, featuring jazz music, but his endeavors were quite unsuccessful. With the help of his family, Gordy met the singer Jackie Wilson at the Flame Show Bar, with whom he co-wrote some smash hits including 'Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want To Meet)' (1957), 'To Be Loved' (1958) and 'Lonely Teardrops' (1958), which all ranked in the top-ten of the R&B charts.

In 1957, Berry Gordy discovered The Miracles (at that time known as The Matadors) and under the urging of their leader and songwriter, Smokey Robinson, he began building a portfolio of talented artists. On January 12, 1959, with a family loan of $800, Gordy founded Tamla Records, an R&B label and produced 'Come To Me' by Mary Johnson that ranked #6 on the R&B charts.

In the same year, he purchased a modest two-floor building that used to be a photographer's studio at 2648 West Grand Blvd, which he converted into Motown's administrative building and mixing, mastering, recording and rehearsal studio to become the famous Hitsville U.S.A. studio. On April 14, 1960, Motown Records was incorporated with Tamla Records into Motown Record Corporation.

'Shop Around' by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles (1960) topped nationally at #1 on the R&B charts and at #2 on the Billboard pop charts; 'Please Mr. Postman' by The Marvelettes ranked #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and on the R&B charts. Soon Motown and Tamla Records were joined by various subsidiaries such as Workshop Jazz for jazz, Mel-o-dy for country, Rare Earth for rock, Gordy, Soul, and V.I.P., all together gave birth to the 'Sound of Young America' that thoroughly took the nation by storm.

From 1961 to 1971, Hitsville became one of the hottest hot-factories in the United States. A remarkable roster of artists, musicians, composers and songwriters appeared under the Motown label including huge names such as Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Four Tops, The Jackson Five, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Commodores, The Marvelettes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and many more.

Keeping the studio open 24/7 at its zenith, Berry Gordy and his artists were practically living there, working passionately and enthusiastically, feeling like home, recording new songs, experimenting with new sounds and making history. One of the most impressive statistics demonstrating the huge success of Motown was the hit singles to single releases ratio that reached 75 percent throughout 1960s. In a way, because of one determined young man, black music would never be ignored again as a minority taste and black communities would find their vehicle to financial and artistic freedom.

In 1972, Gordy decided to move Motown to Los Angeles, and although the label continued to flourish, the move marked the end of an incredible era. Today, the Motown Sound still sounds fresh and vital and many of Motown's artists of that era such as Diana Ross or Stevie Wonder are still selling millions of records worldwide. After all these years of wonderful music, there is no doubt that, if it hadn't been for Berry Gordy, the world would have never had the chance to enjoy such an innovative sound. What started as a modest two-floor building has grown to become a global influence because of the extraordinary vision of a determined young man.

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How Stevie Wonder Got His Start at Motown

By Christina Pomoni

Stevie Wonder is an acclaimed American icon and an irrefutable genius not only of R&B, but of popular music at large. Blind almost since birth, Wonder's sharp awareness of sound helped him produce energetic, colorful music full of life and ambition. Nearly all his recordings reflect his bright, cheerful positivity. Regardless if it is about racial, social, and spiritual issues or romantic uncertainty, he always finds a way to echo an underlying sense of brightness.

Born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1950, Stevland Hardaway Judkins was born premature and it was likely an excess of oxygen that worsened a visual condition known as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) that caused his permanent blindness. However, he never allowed this as an obstacle or a handicap to his extraordinary career. His moving to Detroit in 1954 was the beginning of his exciting journey to music prominence.

His involvement in his church's choir allowed him to develop his talent in piano, harmonica and drums, which he all mastered by the age of nine. He also learned to play the bass during his early years. Eventually, in 1961, Ronnie White of The Miracles discovered Stevie while he was singing for some of his friends outside a street corner and arranged an audition with Motown's CEO Berry Gordy. Fascinated by the young musician's talent, Gordy signed Wonder to Tamla label under the name Little Stevie Wonder.

His first minor hit, 'I Call It Pretty Music, But the Old People Call It the Blues' was released in 1961, followed by Wonder's first two albums 'The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie Wonder' (1962) an orchestral jazz album highlighting his instrumental skills on piano, harmonica, and assorted percussion and 'Tribute to Uncle Ray' (1962) that featured covers of Wonder's inspiration, Ray Charles.

In 1963, Wonder released 'Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius', which featured 'Fingertips, Part 2'- the extended version of the harmonica instrumental 'Fingertips'. The track topped #1 of both the Billboard Pop Singles and R&B Singles charts, while the album became Motown's first chart-topping LP. Over the following years, Wonder studied classical piano at the Michigan School for the Blind, putting his career on hold for a while. He also dropped the 'Little' part from his name in 1964 and he released 'Uptight (Everything's Alright)' in 1965 that topped #1 Billboard Hot R&B Singles for five consecutive weeks. The magnificent journey of Stevie Wonder in music had just started.

Much like his idol, Ray Charles, Wonder had an avid enthusiasm for many different kinds of music, and did not confine himself to a sole sound or music style. He managed to master Motown's distinctive blend of soul, funk and pop by composing unique music, an idiosyncratic fusion of R&B and Tin Pan Alley chord, anchored with reggae, jazz and African grooves.

Wonder took it all and crafted it into his own artistic expression alongside his elastic voice with the unequaled melodic facility. Besides, his groundbreaking use of synthesizers during the '70s altered the setting of R&B. By employing a broad range of contrasting textures and voices, Wonder became an essential one-band man and brought R&B into the album age by producing his records as unified, unfailing statements with masterpieces that often took time to make their point.

1971 was a turning point in Wonder's career as his contract with Motown expired. He released his first self-produced album, 'Where I'm Coming From', which also marked his debut ion writing or co-writing every sing of the LP. Freed from the dictates of Motown and owner of his publishing company, Black Bull Music, Wonder began following a more personal and distinctive muse. Since then, he has been consistent in his output, even with some excesses of sentimentality, which however have not lessened the respect in which he's long been held.

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The History of Motown Records

By Christina Pomoni

Motown Records has been, admittedly, one of the largest and most successful independent record labels in the history of music. Founded by Berry Gordy Jr., an inspirational and insightful leader, who assembled a diligent group of musicians, producers, songwriters, and artists, Motown has changed the sound of music in the 1960s, not only in the United States, but also around the globe.

Founded in 1959 in Detroit, Motown was the equivalent of the Big Three in automobile industry. Being, in effect, a manufacturer of pop music, Motown has gathered the soul and pop classics that altered America. Although it was owned by an African-American and focused on the social problems of the black communities, it gave white America a wonderful, romantic, grooving, moving, and exuberating music.

Unlike other successful labels of that time such as Island Records, Warner Bros Records, or Epic Records, Motown associated music with black civil rights movement and managed to bridge the gap of racial discrimination by producing music that appealed to all people, regardless of the color of their skin.

Berry Gordy Jr., a former professional boxer, Korean War veteran and automobile worker was a promising songwriter when he took the decision to establish Motown Records. Under the urging of Smokey Robinson, a prominent songwriter and producer and founding member of the Miracles (at that time known as The Matadors), Gordy began building a portfolio of talented artists.

On January 12, 1959, he founded Tamla Records, an R&B label with an $800 family loan. In the same year, he purchased the property that would become Hitsville U.S.A. studio at 2648 West Grand Blvd. Originally being a photographer's studio, the property was converted into Motown's administrative building and mixing, mastering, recording and rehearsal studio. On April 14, 1960, Motown Records was launched and was incorporated with Tamla Records into Motown Record Corporation.

Over the next decade, a great number of chart-topping artists produced by Motown captured the audience and the critics. Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Temptations, The Jackson Five, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Commodores, all became part of what would become known as the Motown Sound. Featuring great melodies, unique soul sounds, chord and percussion sections, tambourines, hand-clapping, bass lines, horn grooves, foot-slapping drums, all orchestrated in revolutionary pop production techniques, the Motown Sound became recognizable and memorable.

Between 1961 and 1971, Motown had 110 top-ten hits. The Motown Corporation operated several labels that featured releases in other genres such as Workshop Jazz for jazz, Mel-o-dy for country and R&B, and Rare Earth for rock aiming to enjoy widespread popularity among black and white audiences alike.

It is believed that Gordy modelled Motown after the Detroit car assembly line with which he was so familiar. He manufactured a good end-product, and then he made something similar really quickly with the valuable assistance of the golden trio of songwriters Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland, widely known as Holland-Dozier, Holland, or H-D-H. Besides, Smokey Robinson was the basic songwriter of The Temptations, while he contributed to some of the greatest hits by The Marvelettes ('Please Mr. Postman', 1961), Brenda Holloway ('When I'm Gone', 1965), Marvin Gaye ('Ain't That Peculiar', 1965), The Contours ('First I Look at the Purse', 1965) and The Four Tops ('Still Water (Love)', 1970).

Throughout the 1960s, Motown produced a barrage of unparalleled songs.

'Where Did Our Love Go' (1964), 'Baby Love' (1964), 'Stop! In the Name of Love' (1965), 'You Can't Hurry Love' (1966), 'You Keep Me Hangin' On' (1966), and 'Love Is Here and Now You're Gone' (1967) by Diana Ross and The Supremes.

'Shop Around' (1960), 'You've Really Got a Hold on Me' (1962), 'Tracks Of My Tears' (1965), 'Baby, Baby Don't Cry' (1968) and 'The Tears of a Clown' (1970) by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.

'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' (1967), 'Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)' (1971), 'What's Going On' (1971), 'Trouble Man' (1972), and 'Sexual Healing' (1982) by Marvin Gaye.

'Fingertips - Part 2' (1963), 'Uptight (Everything's Alright)' (1965), 'For Once In My Life' (1967), 'I Was Made To Love Her' (1967), 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours' (1970), 'Higher Ground' (1973), 'You Are the Sunshine of My Life' (1973), 'Boogie On Reggae Woman' (1974), 'Sir Duke' (1977), 'Ebony and Ivory' (1982) and 'Part Time Lover' (1985) by Stevie Wonder.

'The Way You Do The Things You Do' (1964), 'My Girl' (1965), 'Get Ready' (1966), 'Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (1966), 'All I Need' (1967), 'I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)' (1968), 'I Can't Get Next To You' (1969), 'Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)' (1971), and 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' (1972) by The Temptations.

'Baby I Need Your Loving' (1964), 'I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)' (1965), '(Reach Out) I'll Be There' (1966), 'Standing In The Shadows Of Love' (1966) and 'Bernadette' (1967) by The Four Tops.

'I Want You Back' (1969), 'ABC' (1970), 'The Love You Save' (1970), and 'I'll Be There' (1970) by The Jackson Five.

'Fancy Dancer' (1976), 'Brick House' (1977), 'Easy' (1977), 'Say Yeah' (1978), and 'Three Times A Lady' (1978) by The Commodores and the list goes on.

Simple, straightforward love songs that told simple stories in a happy or a heartbreaking way; yet they all focused on the pride of Detroit and the pride of African-Americans echoing the 'Sound of Young America', the usual stamp on the label's vinyl.

In 1967, Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown over royalty payment disputes. Under the production on Norman Whitfield, The Temptations, Gladys Knight & the Pips and Marvin Gaye had some major hits, while Gordy established a television subsidiary, the Motown Productions for the produciton of TV specials for the Motown artists. In 1971, Motown released Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On', the album that changed the setting of R&B scene by featuring a social view about racism, war, drug addiction, police brutality, environmentalism and urban disintegration in America.

In 1972, Gordy decided to leave Detroit for Los Angeles. The main objective of Motown's relocation was to expand into the motion picture industry. To that end, Motown Productions released two films starring Diana Ross: the Billie Holliday biographical film 'Lady Sings the Blues' (1972), and 'Mahogany' (1975).

Because Motown was losing money, in 1988, Berry Gordy Jr. sold Motown Records to Music Corporation of America (MCA) for $61 million. In 1989, Motown Productions was sold to Motown executive Suzanne de Passe who renamed it to de Passe Entertainment and runs it until today. In 1994, Motown Records was purchased by PolyGram and in 1998, PolyGram was acquired by Seagram leaving Motown Records officially to Universal Music Group, the current owner.

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Motown's Legacy to American Music

By Christina Pomoni

Berry Gordy's renowned Motown Records emerged in the 1960s as an overwhelming force of social and cultural change making its mark not only on the music industry, but on society at large. Featuring a distinctive soul sound, full of energy and emotion, Motown has become one of the most important musical undertakings and spectacular success stories of the 20th century.

Explaining the Motown Sound like any musical phenomenon is an intricate task, for the most part, because it can hardly be taken as accidental. Motown emerged at the heart of American industry, where, for the first time, a generation of young black people were prosperous enough and had the leisure time to go along with it. Besides, it emerged at a time when the mass struggle for civil rights and social and racial equality had a profound impact on youth.

Besides, Motown was the product of the glory days of independent record labels. In the 1950s, Capitol Records and Columbia Records almost disregarded the emerging sounds of rock and roll. But Motown focused on R&B, blues, and rock and roll and produced a blend of upbeat music that seemed to eliminate color lines with its colorless culture.

Motown's historical value stands for more than its outstanding music. The label and its incredible legacy is a manifestation of the hard work of dedicated individuals overcoming implausible obstacles to achieve great success. On January 12, 1959, Berry Gordy Jr., an African-American songwriter, former professional boxer, Korean War veteran and automobile worker, founded Tamla Records with a family loan of $800 marking the birth of the Motown Records Corporation. A visionary and talented individual, an insightful leader and a determined entrepreneur, Berry Gordy assembled a group of remarkable African-American artists, musicians, composers and songwriters and gave to the world a brand new sound.

Motown's phenomenal success is a tribute to all that Berry Gordy symbolizes and all the talent that he brought out in others. His efficiency in the mass-production of smash hits is often compared to Ford Wayne's Assembly Plant production methods. As the plant cars started out as frames and transformed into sparkling, brand new cars, unknown kids walked in the Motown's door and came out as recording artists. Under his leadership and guidance, and through willpower and support of the Motown family of artists, Gordy shaped new grounds for minorities and made the "Motown Sound" a global phenomenon dearly-loved by millions.

Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Commodores, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Marvelettes, their music communicated and united a racially divided nation and isolated society, around the world, having a huge appeal on all people of all ages and race. No other record label in the history of music has put forth such a massive influence on both the style and essence of popular music and culture. Besides, with more than 180 number one hits worldwide, Motown's influence is still being felt today around the globe.

Motown became a state of mind, a lifestyle, the 'Sound of Young America'. The unique, upbeat music, a blend of soul and pop, black and white, old and young, ignored any racial or social background and became the heartbeat of American pop music. Gordy broke down barriers by having pop radio promote Motown artists, booking his artists on popular TV shows and fascinating national audiences with repeat performances. Besides, Diana Ross and The Supremes was the first R&B group to play on 'Copacabana', New York's most prestigious night club, an event that opened the way for other R&B groups into the top cabaret circuits worldwide.

Today, Motown remains a symbol of unity for the black communities. Gordy bridged the gap of racial discrimination and integrated the black culture into white society by producing music that touched all people, regardless of the color of their skin, making Motown a vehicle of black pride and self-expression. After Motown, black music has never been regarded as a minority taste. Instead, it has been unequaled and relentless. And this is, admittedly, Motown's greatest legacy for the black people and for our world.

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Motown's Role in Helping Integrate American Life

By Christina Pomoni

One of the elements that made Motown so popular, apart from its music, is that it was born in the middle of an unfavorable socio-political setting for the black communities. In the 1960s, the racial discrimination that welcomed migrating black auto workers in Detroit was extreme. Besides, America had just elected John F. Kennedy as a symbol of hope for the nation and minority groups, but it had also entered the Vietnam War.

Social revolution and unrest were integral parts of an angry society that demanded fair treatment of black citizens. Amid all this, Motown emerged as an oasis that seemed to wipe out color lines with its upbeat music and colorless culture.

Motown managed to conquer the white market in times of a cataclysmic social and racial mayhem. The newly born black music style took over a great part of the white music industry and managed, not only to reach the white audiences, but also to have a great impact on the civil rights movement. Berry Gordy Jr., Motown's founder, apparently did what many people of his time thought could never be done: by bringing black music into millions of white households, he helped black artists, musicians, composers and songwriters to gain acceptance and he opened the doors for the black culture to be widely integrated into white society.

Besides, the diligent determination of black communities, whose ambitions were underwritten by social cohesion, was expressed by the spirit of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X within the broader context of cultural and civil-rights struggle. Detroit's 1967 riots were the result of extremist positions from both sides of the color line overriding moderate, peace-making factions, leading the city toward a turmoil that permanently divided the region's black and white communities.

Motown's response to the era of social division was the release of great hits in 1967 such as 'Respect' by Aretha Franklin; 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' by Marvin Gaye; 'You're My Everything' by The Temptations; 'Love Is Here and Now You're Gone' by Diana Ross and The Supremes; 'I Was Made To Love Her' by Stevie Wonder, among others.

The Motown Sound was not as raw or edgy as that of Chess or Stax Records, but managed to include some of the most ever-lasting, popular and legendary songs that were ever written and produced. Gordy recognized the immense talent of influential artists like Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson and introduced them to the world. Besides the miraculous solo artists, Motown featured The Supremes, The Four Tops and The Temptations as some of the best vocal groups that ever existed. Even today, so many years after Motown's numerous corporate changes, Gordy's outstanding contribution established Motown as synonymous to excellence.

From all perspectives, Motown's historical legacy involves exceptional contributions to the history of popular music and to the history of civil rights movement and race relations. If it weren't for the insightful leadership of Berry Gordy Jr., and the unique talent of all Motown's miraculous artists, black music would have never been so popular and white audiences would have lost a great opportunity to a magnificent upbeat groove.

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