Music (27)

Today's Song Your Should Know: 'Hot Child In The City' By Nick Gilder

Written by 20 October, 2020

Odds are that unless you're well into your 50s, you're not familiar with the song "Hot Child In The City." Despite the fact that it was a #1 hit in both the U.S. and Canada, it didn't really chart well outside of North America. And since the album that contained the song - 1978's "City Nights" -  isn't available digitally, people aren't like to just randomly run across the song. Which is a shame, because while Gilder's commercial success was short, he released some really solid pop-rock music. 

Gilder first hit the charts as the lead singer of the Canadian band Sweeney Todd, who had a #1 Canadian hit in 1976 with "Roxy Rolle." Gilder and guitarist/songwriting partner Jim McCulloch left the band and Gilder signed a solo deal that led to 1977's album "You Know Who You Are." His second album was 1978's City Nights, which contained "Hot Child In The City" as well as "Here Comes The Night," which charted in Canada's Top 20 and #44 in the U.S. 1979's album "Frequency" included the single "(You Really) Rock Me," which only reached the middle of the singles chart. That was essentially the last of the commercial success for Gilder, although he released five more albums, most recently 1999's "Long Time Coming."

While younger music fans might not be familiar with "Hot Child In The City," they might have heard his second most popular composition. Gilder co-wrote (with Holly Knight) the 1984 Top Ten hit "The Warrior," which was released by Scandal and remains a fixture on pop-rock "Variety" radio stations.

Last modified on Tuesday, 20 October 2020 14:49

Spotify Weekly Top 50 Global Album Music Chart: 10/09-10/15/2020

Written by 19 October, 2020

Last modified on Monday, 19 October 2020 08:54

Eddie Van Halen Dies At 65

Written by 06 October, 2020

Eddie Van Halen, the guitar hero who helped give Van Halen its name and sound, died Tuesday after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 65.

Mr. Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, released this statement shortly after word of his father's death became public:

"I can't believe I'm having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning.

He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I shared on and off stage with him was a gift.

My heart is broken and I don't think I'll ever fully recover from this loss.

I love you so much, Pop.

Born in Amsterdam in 1955, Eddie Van Halen's father was a Dutch musician and his mother an immigrant from the Indonesian island of Java. His family moved to the United States in 1982 and settled in Pasadena, California. Both Eddie and his older brother Alex took up piano lessons beginning when they were children. But as he later described it in interviews, as he entered his teens he became bored with the piano. So Alex began playing guitar and Eddie took up the drums. But Eddie quickly switched to guitar and he and his brother started their first band when he was in fourth grade.

Eddie and Alex Van Halen founded a band in 1972 that would two years later become Van Halen. After becoming a well-known fixture on the L.A. club circuit, they were signed by Warner Brothers records in 1977.

Their self-titled debut album was a Top 20 album and spawned the hit "Runnin' With The Devil." By the mid-1980s, the band was ubiquitous on MTV and their 1984 album sold more than five million copies and included the band's only #1 hit, "Jump." The band's well-known turmoil and changes of lead singers didn't stop the band from continuing to tour and the band released their last album of original material in 2012. "A Different Kind Of Truth" hit #2 on the U.S. album charts and was a Top Ten album across most of the world.

Like a lot of his rock contemporaries, Eddie Van Halen's personal life was tumultuous at times. He began drinking and smoking at age 12 and said in numerous interviews that by the time he began to find professional success, he needed alcohol to get through the day. He reportedly had been sober since 2008.

Van Halen was married once, to actress Valerie Bertinelli in 1981. They had one son, Wolfgang. Bertinelli filed for divorce in 2005 after the couple had been separated for four years.

He had battled health issues in recent years. Van Halen underwent hip replacement surgery in November 1999 and underwent treatment for tongue cancer in 2000. That led to surgery which removed about a third of his tongue, but he was eventually declared cancer-free two years later. Cancer reportedly returned about five years and it ultimately claimed his life.

Today's Song You Should Know: 'Ghosts' By Bruce Springsteen

Written by 24 September, 2020

"Ghosts" is the second track released off of Bruce Springsteen's upcoming album "Letter To You" and the song will be a treat for fans hoping to hear some of the classic E-Street Band sound. Springsteen's voice might be weathered around the edges, but the tune is vintage Springsteen at its best. Solid chugging guitars and piano, explosive drums and just a hint of saxophone at the end. The video cuts between classic performance footage of Springsteen & the E-Streeters (along with snippets of a couple of old pre-E-Street bands) and footage shot earlier this year as the band recorded the track live in the studio.

The lyrics reflect a lot of the themes Springsteen has been discussing in interviews done to promote the new album. How we get to a certain age and we're both happy to still be here and doing good work. While still being haunted by the ghosts of all the loved ones we left behind. While the song is technically named "Ghosts," most people will probably refer to it by it's massive hook, "I'm Alive."

If this is a representative sample of what we can expect to hear on the new album, it can't get here fast enough.

Last modified on Thursday, 24 September 2020 09:28

Today's Song You Should Know: 'Super Cool' By Kiki Dee

Written by 09 October, 2020

If most people know the name of Kiki Dee at all, it's because of her connection with Elton John. At the height of his 1970s fame, John signed Kiki Dee to his newly formed Rocket Records and he tried hard to break her big as a solo artist. Dee had released her first solo single in 1964 and had released a number of well-regarded singles and several albums. But while some of the tunes got airplay in the UK, she never quite had a hit. She bounced from label to label and by 1970 became the first white artist signed to Motown Records.

Her fortunes changed when John signed her to his label and her first Rocket Records single - "Amoureuse" - became a Top 15 hit in the U.K. The resulting album "Loving & Free" also included "Super Cool," written by Elton John & Bernie Taupin. The single didn't chart anywhere, but it's a fabulous song and it is instantly recognizable as a John/Taupin track from that era. In fact, I suspect that if John had released the song himself it would have been a huge hit.

Dee's next album spawned the 1974 Top 15 U.S. hit "I've Got The Music In Me," but none of her follow-up singles charted. In 1976 she had her biggest hit when Dusty Springfield was too sick to record the duet "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Elton John. That song went to #1 in more than 20 countries and was John's first #1 in the U.K.

Dee has continued to record in the years since and had several modest U.K. hits. But her biggest chart success in recent years was in 1993, when the track "True Love" (a duet with Elton John off of his "Duets" album) went to #2 in the U.K. Her most recent release was the 2013 single "Steppin' Out With A Soul Man."


Last modified on Saturday, 10 October 2020 01:30

Today's Song You Should Know: 'Bad Girl' By The Bad Examples

Written by 10 October, 2020

There are certain moments in American rock when a town or region just seems to capture whatever cultural zeitgeist is in the air. The L.A. hair band scene in the early 1980s, the New York City punk scene of the late 1970s and the Seattle grunge sound in the 1990s propelled a bunch of local bands into the national spotlight. But the scenes that have always fascinated me are the ones that never quite caught fire, despite having a depth of talent as deep as any of the ones that are now household names.

I lived in Chicago in the 1980s and early 1990s and the city had a rock scene that was as strong as any that I've ever seen. But for some reason, the talent was never able to capitalize on the magic. A couple of bands managed a bit of commercial success (like "Off Broadway"), but most of the bands ended up being talented footnotes in rock scene that never quite caught fire.

The Bad Examples was one band that I was certain would be superstars. They were a tight band live and had a pop/rock sound that sounded like a ballsier, less condescending Squeeze. Yet despite releasing several really strong albums, they never managed to get signed to a major label and never really grew past the "really hot in our home town" phase.

"Bad Girl" was one of my favorites to hear live back in the day and listening to the song in 2020, I'm struck by just how radio-friendly the tune sounds in retrospect. It's always hard to determine why an individual song wasn't a hit, but if a radio station was to play "Bad Girl" as part of their 80s/90s format, I think most listeners would just assume it had been a hit and that they had just forgotten about it.

I highly recommend tracking down the band's music, especially the 1991 album Bad Is Beautiful, which includes the radio-friendly "Ashes Of My Heart" as well as their best-known song, "Not Dead Yet." In the end, it's an ironic twist of fate that despite the talent in the band, lead singer Ralph Covert became a success not as a member of The Bad Examples, but for his string of "Ralph's World" children's albums, one of which was nominated for a Grammy.

Last modified on Saturday, 10 October 2020 01:29

(Update) There May Or May Not Be A New Bruce Springsteen Album Coming In October

Written by 09 September, 2020

Most of the time it's pretty easy to ignore rumors about possible upcoming albums, because the truth is that they are almost always wrong. Still, for those of us who are Bruce Springsteen fans, this rumor is one we'd like to see come to pass. Although Springsteen fans have been burned before by album rumors that turned out not to be true.

On Wednesday morning, a West Virginia record store web site and a page on Amazon's U.K. web site briefly promoted a previously unknown Springsteen album, "Letter To You." According to the listings, the 2-album set is set for release on October 23rd.

Within hours, both pages had been pulled. Which mean the album was either some weird unauthorized bootleg or a title that a couple of places announced prematurely. 

There was no indication of whether the album set - if it is indeed legitimate - is a solo Springsteen release or one that includes his longtime bandmates, the E-Street Band. Although based on the somewhat unsettling album artwork, it could easily just be a Christmas album. Springsteen had previously said that he had been writing a lot of songs for a new album he hoped to record with his band.

I've reached out to both Columbia Records as well as Springsteen's management company. Neither has yet responded at the time this story was posted.

UPDATE: The web site says it has confirmed more info about the album, which the site says is real and scheduled for release in October.

01 “One Minute You’re Here”
02 “Letter To You”
03 “Burnin Train”
04 “Janey Needs A Shooter”
05 “Last Man Standing”
06 “The Power Of Prayer”
07 “House Of A Thousand Guitars”
08 “Rainmaker”
09 “If I Was The Priest”
10 “Ghosts”
11 “Song For Orphans”
12 “I’ll See You In My Dreams”

The album was reportedly co-produced by Springsteen and Ron Aniello and the tracks include all of the members of the E-Street Band. "Janey Needs a Shooter," "If I Was the Priest" and "Song for Orphans" are new recordings of older songs not included on previous studio albums.

"Janey Needs A Shooter" dates back to 1978 and Springsteen has apparently worked on versions of the song several times over the years. Warren Zevon fell in love with the title after hearing the demo from Springsteen manager Jon Landau and wrote his own song using the title, which he changed slightly to "Jeannie Needs A Shooter." 

"If Was A Priest" is even older, dating back to 1972. Springsteen played it for Columbia exec John Hammond at their first meeting and according to Hammond, it was one of the reasons he signed the young singer-songwriter.

"Song For Orphans" is also from 1972 and while it's never been released officially, Springsteen inexplicably played it live once-at a 2005 Trenton, NJ concert that was part of his "Devils And Dust" tour.

There are also rumors that the first single off the album will be released on Thursday, but there aren't any other details so far.

The album cover was taken by photographer Danny Clinch in New York's Central Park in 2018. You can see the original, uncropped original of the photo on Clinch's site here.

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 September 2020 23:30

Brian May Offers New Insight Into Final Recording Sessions With Freddie Mercury (Sponsored Post)

On Thursday, Queen + Adam Lambert shared the first track from their forthcoming live album Live Around The World- A rousing version of "The Show Must Go On" from London’s 02 Arena. To coincide with its release, Queen guitarist Brian May has shared some unique history on the writing and recording process of the twelfth and final track on Innuendo, Queen’s final album released during Freddie Mercury’s lifetime, which was completed while Freddie was already in the final stages of his battle against the then incurable horror of AIDS: 

The song’s history
As the twelfth and final track on Innuendo, Queen’s final album released during Freddie Mercury’s lifetime, "The Show Must Go On” was completed while Freddie was already in the final stages of his battle against the then incurable horror of AIDS.   

Brian May says "Even though we were all aware of Freddie's impending tragedy, we had some inspired and joyful times in the studio, making the Innuendo album.  We didn’t speak much about Freddie’s illness - he just wanted to get on with ‘business as usual’ as far as possible.  But already there was only a day or two per week when Freddie was well enough to come in and work with us.  We grabbed those precious moments and made the most of them.  I’d been working on “The Show Must Go On” as an idea, but I was uncertain whether the title was too obvious.  Freddie heard it and loved it and dismissed any thoughts that there was a problem with the chorus or the title.  He wanted to work on it.  

We didn’t discuss what the meaning of the song was, but it was of course evident in the background that it was an attempt to give a voice to the feelings that Freddie’s valiant fight against AIDS created in all of us, and even in Freddie.  He was too low in energy to create it himself.  But I had one unforgettable special afternoon working together with him on solidifying the lyrics of the first verse of this embryonic song about a clown whose make-up hid his pain, before he slid out to attend another treatment.  That gave me enough lyrical material to later expand into the eventual two verses.  I finished mapping out the song, sang the whole thing as a demo, including the added “Wings of Butterflies” section, which somehow appeared in my head very late one night, and I played it to him when he was next in the studio.  The melody called for some very demanding top notes, and I’d only been able to 'demo' them in falsetto.  I said to Freddie … "I don’t want you strain yourself - this stuff isn't going to be easy in full voice, even for you!"  He said, "Don’t worry – I’ll f…ing nail it, Darling!”.  He then downed a couple of his favourite shots of vodka, propped himself up against the mixing desk, and… delivered one of the most extraordinary performances of his life.  In the final mix of TSMGO, when you get to “On with the Show” you are listening to a man who conquered everything to deliver his finest work." 

'The Show Must Go On' inevitably took on an additional poignancy after Freddie's death.  The tragedy of AIDS denied him the opportunity ever to perform it in a Queen live show.  But the song made its stunning on-stage debut in the star-studded Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at London’s Wembley Stadium on 23 April 1992.  Elton John took the lead vocal, and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi guested on guitar.

The song has another strong emotional resonance in the history of Queen. 

Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon performed the song live for only the second time at the opening in Paris of Maurice Béjart’s ‘Ballet For Life’.  Created by legendary choreographer Maurice Béjart in collaboration with Gianni Versace, both now sadly departed, 'Ballet For Life' celebrated the life and work of Freddie Mercury and Béjart’s former principal dancer, Jorge Donn, who also had died of AIDS.  Set to music by Queen and Mozart, it was first performed on 17 January 1997 at the Théâtre de Chaillot in Paris.  As the finale of the performance, the three surviving Queen band members performed ‘The Show Must Go On’ live with Elton John.  It was to be John Deacon’s last live performance with his fellow band members.

The new live version
As the emotive Live Around The World take reveals, ‘The Show Must Go On’ is now very much a contemporary highlight of the Queen + Adam Lambert experience.  Adam Lambert says: “’The Show Must Go On’ is a song with a very deeply resonating message.  I think we all have moments in life where we feel the odds are against us and the climb is a steep one.  I always sense a great cathartic release throughout the audience during this song.  I think we all recognize that it was a big statement for Freddie at that point in his journey as well: He was fighting for his life."

This performance of the song was captured at the second of the band’s two spectacular shows at London’s 02 Arena on July 4th 2018. Both concerts attracted widespread critical acclaim, with critics noting that “many thrilled fans leaving the arena were calling it one of their all-time favourite gigs” and declaring “this is as good as live shows get."

This version of ‘The Show Must Go On’ more than attests to that. Played with an undeniable depth of feeling, it’s the perfect showcase for the singular talents of Adam Lambert.  Though the singer has categorically stated "There is never going to be another [Freddie Mercury] and I'm not replacing him” on many occasions, Lambert’s bold yet dignified performance of ‘The Show Must Go On’ is enough the stop even the most casual of observers in their tracks.  As one prominent critic said, “He is his own man, he brings his own distinctive style, identity and nuances to the songs” and he does this nowhere more so than on ‘The Show Must Go On’.

‘The Show Must Go On’ was created by the band as a tribute to Freddie Mercury’s lust for life even while the Queen frontman’s health was failing, but in this socially-distanced global world of 2020 ‘The Show Must Go On’ - perhaps now more than ever - feels like the perfect anthem for our times. 

For drummer Roger Taylor, who with Brian May and Adam Lambert occupy a place of vanguards of rock in the 21stcentury, "the song says it all."

Click here to Pre-order Live Around The World


Last modified on Friday, 28 August 2020 00:00

Badfinger's Joey Molland To Release Solo Album In October

Written by 18 August, 2020

Joey Molland, the last surviving member of the classic lineup of Badfinger, is releasing a new solo album in October.

"Be True To Yourself" is co-written with producer Mark Hudson and features contributions from Julian Lennon, Micky Dolenz, Jason Scheff and Steve Holley. Lennon also contributed the front and back cover photos for the album.

Here is the track listing from the album, which is set for release on October 16th, 2020:

1. This Time
2. Better Tomorrow
3. Rainy Day Man
4. Heaven
5. All I Want To Do
6. I Don’t Wanna Be Done With You
7. All I Do Is Cry
8. Loving You
9. Shine
10. Be True To Yourself

Molland recorded with The Masterminds and Gary Walker & The Rain in the mid-late 1960s before joining The Iveys. That band changed its name to Badfinger and released a series of hit singles and several well-received albums before Molland left the band in 1974. He released an album with former Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley under the name Natural Gas in 1975.

Badfinger disbanded in 1975 following the suicide of Pete Ham. But in 1978, Molland and band guitarist Tom Evans reformed the band and released two albums under the band's name before the two split, with each performing under the band's name until Evan's suicide in 1983.

In the years since, Molland has toured under the Badfinger name or as "Joey Molland's Badfinger." He has also released four previous solo albums, the most recent being 2013's "Return To Memphis." In early 2019, he toured with Todd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz, Christopher Cross and Jason Scheff on a tour entitled "It Was Fifty Years Ago Today – A Tribute to the Beatles’ White Album."

You can pre-order "Be True To Yourself" at Omnivore Recordings.

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