During the late 1950’s and the first half of the 1960’s, there were a massive number of groups that were perfecting the combined sound of the “doo-wop” vocal arrangement with a more pop-based r&b vocal. All across this era, many of the most memorable songs in the entire history of music were recorded, and there were few groups that had a larger catalog of such hits than one finds in the songs of The Drifters. Though the group were peers of many of the great vocal groups of the era, there is no question that they were far above almost any other collection of singers, and in many ways, it is the recordings of The Drifters that shaped the entire face of popular music for the entire second half of the century. In both their exceptional vocal abilities, as well as the level of feeling and emotion that they injected into every one of their recordings, the collected work of The Drifters is as close to “pop bliss” as one can find anywhere, and nearly every one of their songs remains just as fresh and powerful today as it was when it was first released. Due to their phenomenal level of talent, as well as the staggering number of songs they recorded that have since become “standards,” it is impossible to cite a single recording as their finest or most representative. However, while other songs they recorded may have fared better commercially, it is hard to argue that in terms of historical significance, as well as defining the groups’ sound, one would be hard pressed to find a finer work than The Drifters’ 1962 single, “Up On The Roof.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most beautiful songs in all of music history.
Going as far back as the earliest remnants of music in any form, it has been used as a vehicle for the expression of frustrations with the world as a whole, as well as a way to bring people together to create change. In the context of the past century, one can find countless examples of music being used to expose corruption, and there are few better avenues for protest than that of music. However, one can also make the case that during the 1970’s an 1980’s, much of the “deeper” purpose of music was pushed to the side in favor of songs of excess and self-indulgence, and in many ways, culture as a whole suffered due to this change. Yet there were a handful of bands scattered across various genres that never lost sight of this more “useful” purpose of music, and among the finest to pursue such a path were Australian rockers, Midnight Oil. In almost every aspect, Midnight Oil were truly unique within the world of music, as everything from their dealings with “the music industry” to the content of their lyrics to the actual form of their music was a far cry from that being done by any other band at the time. Due to this absolute uniqueness, the recorded catalog of Midnight Oil is filled with amazing examples of the overall power of the band, and yet one can argue that they were at their finest on their 1982 album, 10, 9 , 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Standing as the record that gave them more worldwide exposure, the album touches a number of different genres, and one can quickly understand why Midnight Oil remain one of the most highly respected bands in history by hearing their brilliant 1982 song, “Power And The Passion.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most uniquely powerful songs in music history.
Though many may not have looked that far back in history, the reality is that the differences in the music from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States was apparent far before the media-created “coast wars” in hip-hop during the 1990’s. Looking all the way back to the jazz-era, there were massive contrasts in form, style, and content, and yet one can easily see that these unique approaches were necessary to the overall progression of music. This remains true to the current era, and as the West-coast-based “gangsta” sound began to dominate the entire world of mainstream music, the more direct and raw sound of “hardcore rap” came forward from the East. As has been the case for a majority of the musical history of the United States, it was those artists coming from New York City that dominated this rising form, and there were few performers that defined the new sound as perfectly as one finds within the music of Mobb Deep. Compared to even their own peers, the duo’s style was far more bleak, almost hopeless in nature, and it was this dark vision of reality that makes their songs still powerful to this day. Reaching their own creative apex at the same time as hip-hop became the overly-dominant sound in mainstream music, the groups’ second record, 1995’s The Infamous, stands as one of the most pivotal recordings in music history, and there are few songs that define “hardcore’ hip-hop as perfectly as Mobb Deep’s 1995 single, “Shook Ones, Part II.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most pivotal moments in hip-hop history.
While it almost goes without saying that music in itself is an art form, it is odd that many times, when music takes on a more “artsy” form, it is seen as being of lesser value or talent. That is to say, when an artist or band takes a more avant, completely original take on music, often heavily influenced by other art forms, there are claims that it is “too out there,” and not a “valid” form of music. This has occurred many times throughout the history of recorded music, but it has rarely been more obvious than when one inspects the so-called “no wave” movement of the late 1970’s. Birthed out of the “performance art” community of New York City, this style of music stood in clear defiance of absolutely everything, and while many associate it with the punk sound, there is such a stark contrast between “no wave” and any other form of music, that it cannot be remotely compared to anything else. While there were only a handful of “true” “no wave” bands, as the style itself was one of the mots short-lived moments in music history, there is no question that James Chance stands among the finest and most influential, and his 1979 debut, Buy, may be the definitive album of the time period and musical style. Filled with wild musical arrangements and some of the most aggressive, if not confrontational vocals ever recorded, one can quickly understand the entire “no wave” sound by experiencing James Chance’s extraordinary 1979 song, “Contort Yourself.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most brilliantly unique moments in all of music history.
"There is no question that one of the most difficult undertakings one can attempt within the world of music is to set out as a solo performer after being a part of a successful band. To this end, one can argue that the larger the band in question may have been, the more tricky and unlikely it will be for any single member to find success on their own. With this in mind, it can be easily understood that no four musicians should have had more of a problem making it on their own than The Beatles; and yet they stand as the finest example against the trend that most other performers fall into. While each of the four members of the band took very different directions after The Beatles broke up, there is no question that the finest songwriting and overall musical creations were coming from the “new” work of George Harrison, and some might say that his talents were the most underused within the configuration of his previous group."
Though every era of music certainly had a number of important developments and fresh approaches, one can easily argue that throughout the 1960’s, musical creativity reached its apex, and nearly every sound in the years since can be directly linked to this time period. While most concentrate such statements on the latter half of that decade, it was during the early years of the 1960’s that most of the vital inroads and stylistic endeavors can be found, and one of the most vital to the progression of music was in the so-called “wall of sound” approach. Pioneered through a number of bands, all under the direction of producer Phil Spector, one can find a number of examples of this brilliant technique, and yet it can be easily argued that the early phases of this approach were at their finest within the songs of The Ronettes. Though there were certainly other “girl groups” that showed more ability in terms of sheer vocal talent, there is no question that The Ronettes had as much spirit and soul as any other group, and in many ways it was their more authentic, straightforward approach that set them so far apart from their peers. Rattling off a string of hit singles all across the first half of the 1960’s, a number of their songs remain nothing short of iconic within modern music, and there is no other recording that even comes close to the sound and overall impact that can be heard on The Ronettes’ brilliant 1963 single, “Be My Baby.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most iconic recordings in the entire history of music.
Do you hear your child crying? I mean, I would hope so as he is sitting on the ground DIRECTLY next to your right leg. I can tell that you are not hearing impaired, as you’re having a conversation with the other gentleman that keeps looking down at the crying child in question from time to time. Also, even if you did have a hearing deficiency, the fact that I can hear the child’s wailing from the third floor, through closed windows AND my headphones tells me that it’s a rather piercing sound.
I understand that you might be one of those parents who believes in letting the child “cry it out,” but at the same time, I think that since we’re going on 20 minutes of this, maybe it’s due time to at least acknowledge the existence of said crying child.
I get that this is “the city,” and that it’s not going to be quiet. Really, I do. I am fine with that. It has not prevented me from writing at any point over the past few months. But the constant drone of a crying child? Well, that’s not as easy to block out…mostly because I have a heart…and ears.
So let me put this nicely…because I am a VERY patient man…if you don’t give your kid a wave or a hug or a candy bar or something to appease his clear frustration with life at the moment, I am going to grab my tack hammer and see if anyone will help YOU to stop crying.
Though it is not as blatantly clear in some genres, the reality is that the basis for most musical styles can be found well over a decade before it becomes part of the mainstream. It is during these early years that it is often disguised as another form of music, and yet once one gives the sound a new inspection, the seeds for later styles can be found. While many might wish to believe that the punk rock sound was a new idea in the 1970’s, the truth of the matter is that one can find the roots of this style throughout a majority of the previous three decades. A number of artists were clearly playing in the punk style in different ways during these years, and few can be more directly tied than what can be heard within the music of The Bobby Fuller Four. Though their name may not be instantly recognizable, a number of the songs the band recorded stand today as vital to the progression of popular music, and they remain one of the most important links between rockabilly and rock and roll. Pulling heavily from the style and sound of Buddy Holly, it would be one of their greatest tributes to their heroes that would cement The Bobby Fuller Four as true music legends; though the same track would also prove to be their final musical gift to the world. In terms of style, sound, and lasting impact, there is no other song that carries the same weight as what can be experienced on The Bobby Fuller Four’s 1965 recording of the classic song, “I Fought The Law.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the greatest songs in all of music history.
While “electronic music” has existed in some form or another all the way back to the 1940’s, it took a very long time for it to catch on within the mainstream in any meaningful way. Even as recently as the 1980’s, as a whole the electronic style was seen as a “lesser form” of music that was exclusively enjoyed by a relatively small group of people. However, as music and culture exploded during the first half of the 1990’s, electronic music finally crossed-over into the mainstream, and few groups were more important to this transition than Orbital. Bringing an edge to their music that seemed to be pulled from the hard rock sound, the duo proved that there were no limits within the electronic world, and yet even with this new melding of sounds, they never abandoned their “hardcore” fans within the dance and techno communities. This ability to simultaneously work in multiple musical arenas opened the floodgates to a massive number of electronic-based artists, and this in turn had a ripple-effect on almost every genre of music as the decade came to a close. However, few other artists came close to the sound and importance of Orbital, and each of their first five albums remain some of the finest that the electronic genre has ever produced. Due to this high number of exceptional albums, there are a number of tracks that can be cited as the finest the group ever created, and yet one would be hard pressed to argue against both the sonic and artistic perfection that one can experience on Orbital’s magnificent 1996 song, “The Girl With The Sun In Her Head.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most impressive electronic moments in music history.
When one discusses the most famous and successful acts in the entire history of music, it is often forgotten than many artist who should be in such a conversation made their names in the 1940’s and 1950’s. However, in most cases when such a discussion occurs, any artist from the “pre-rock and roll” era are left out, though in some cases they easily out-performed later acts. From the tail-end of the “ragtime” era to early folk to the beginnings of jazz music, there are countless singers and bands that made a massive impact on the world of music to this day, and few performers from any era have been as important as The Andrews Sisters. Charting with more than one hundred individual singles and selling more than seventy-five-million albums, there is no arguing that they stand as one of the most commercially successful acts in history, and yet their contributions are often tragically overlooked or downplayed. The reality is that over the course of their career, The Andrews Sisters set the standard for many recording styles, mixing together blues, folk, r&b, and jazz in fantastic fashion, and it was the stunning way that their voices combined that turned the trio into absolute icons. With so many memorable singles, it is impossible to cite just one as their “definitive” recording, and yet one can easily argue that in terms of both representing their sound, as well as historical significance, The Andrews Sisters never bested their iconic 1941 song, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most pivotal moments in all of music history.
"Though one can find similar trends throughout almost every mainstream and underground sound in history, the fact of the matter is that it is often the imagery associated with the movement in question that can send a musical style completely off course. To put it more directly: posers have always ruined great music scenes.
While one can find this in every counter-culture style, it has rarely been more apparent than in the world of punk rock, and soon after the sound “exploded” in the late 1970’s, it seemed that the image was becoming more important than the actual music. With bands that were more obnoxious and flashy being vaulted above those with a far better message and more musical talent, it seemed that punk rock was doomed to have an exceptionally short lifespan. Thankfully, there was The Clash.”
Throughout the course of music history, even long before it was a recorded commodity, the link between the art of musical creation and that of theatrical performance were closely linked. As far back in history as one can find, there are songs for both entertainment, as well as historical documentation, and yet one can argue that over the past century, much of the “theatrics” within music has been lost. While such a style would not have fit into many current musical trends, it is strange that given its history, those who do attempt to create a dramatic sense within their music are often looked down upon. However, there are a handful of artists over the past few decades that have mastered this approach, and few are as unmistakable in every sense of the word than the one and only King Diamond. Having made his name as a solo artist after creating quite a stir with his previous band, Mercyful Fate, there are few performers form any period of recorded music that have shown as much sheer charisma and creativity as one finds in King Diamond, and this works perfectly along with his truly unparalleled vocal range. Perfecting the idea of “the concept album,” there are few records as outright disturbing, yet flawlessly crafted as one can experience all across his 1987 release, Abigail, and it is the soaring, extravagant, and yet unquestionably haunting title track that stands as the definitive moment in the entire career of King Diamond.
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the greatest moments in heavy metal history.
I have now been awake and writing for about 50 hours. I tried to sleep; but my brain would not shut off because it is well aware of how much more writing I have to do to complete my book on schedule (November 17).
I have decided that once I am through this next section, I am going to give my laptop to The Girlfriend and tell her I can’t have it back until I sleep at least 6 hours.
I have about 9,000 words to write before I get to that point.
With that in mind, please forgive any ramblings I might post in the next few hours. Anything concerning over-sized marshmallows and their relation to squirrels and vases should just be ignored as should any attempt to justify the existence of green beans.
Messages to keep me focused (ie, “stop Tumbling and go write”) are more than appreciated but not required.
I am glad we had this talk. I feel better about our relationship now; don’t you?
Though there may only be one or two in each generation, there are a handful of songs that were so perfectly crafted and fitting for their time, that they have gone on to completely represent and entire era of human history in their sound and style. Whether it is the absolutely perfectly orchestrated recordings of Fats Waller and the way that they vividly depict the “depression era,” or the way that Jerry Lee Lewis was able to define the mischievous rush of the 1950’s, one can easily point to music perhaps more than any other form of art to understand the culture of a time period. This was certainly true during the rise of the “counter culture” of the mid-to-late 1960’s, and while there were many, few groups represented the sentiments of the youth of the time as perfectly as one finds in the music of The Mama’s & The Papa’s. Blending together absolutely serene vocal harmonies with a perfect balance of folk, blues, soul, and rock and roll, the recordings of The Mama’s & The Papa’s stand as some of the finest representations of the “psychedelic sound,” and many of their songs have perhaps even outshone the group themselves. Most of these amazing singles can be found on the groups’ sensational 1966 debut, If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears, and there may be no better a definition of the group, nor the entire “hippie” movement than The Mama’s & The Papa’s unforgettable 1965 single, “California Dreamin’.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most unforgettable recordings in all of music history.
While they are extremely few and far between, the handful of bands that have proven to make music that fits into no previously established category seem to go one of only two ways within the eyes of the general public. They are either quickly hailed as geniuses and visionaries of the “new sound,” or they are written off as “noise” and forced to fly under the radar most of their career. Regardless of which direction they end up in, the reality is that the impact and significance of their musical efforts are clearly equal, and there are few bands that have pushed forward music as a whole as forcefully as one can find in the catalog of Pere Ubu. In many ways responsible for the entire “underground” music scene of the past three decades, Pere Ubu brought a sharp, completely unique sound that pulled from a wide variety of influences. Within their songs, one can hear everything from Jimi Hendrix to Can to Howlin’ Wolf, and it is the way that the group was able to blend these examples that makes their music so significant. It is also the powerful, perhaps even harsh musical arrangements that the band created which makes Pere Ubu so unique from their peers, and one can hear everything that makes the band so great all across their 1978 debut, The Modern Dance. Filled with a controlled musical chaos that is unlike anything else, and some of the most unforgettable vocals in history, there are few recordings more important to the progression of music than Pere Ubu’s brilliant song, “Non-Alignment Pact.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most uniquely powerful songs in music history.
Throughout the long history of recorded music, there are a handful of bands and songs that while are without question important to the progression of music, are often misconstrued as the decades pass. While it is rarely the result of something that the artist in question has done, the actual meaning and impact of a song can be altered by urban legends and simple miscalculations. However, even when this occurs, it rarely detracts from the artist or music in question, and this can be seen many times throughout the late 1960’s. As various aspects of culture found their way into the music of the time, new sounds and approaches were being displayed, and their distinctive take on the psychedelic sound is what set Steppenwolf far apart from their peers. In modern times, the name of the band is recognized all over the world, as they are responsible for some of the most treasured songs of the entire decade, and it is also this band that coined one of the most heavily used terms in all of music history. Finding an amazing balance between the soaring, almost experimental sounds of the world in which they lived, and the slightly more aggressive spirit of a different counter-culture, there are few records that can measure up to Steppenwolf’s fantastic 1968 self-titled debut. While the entire album is impressive in itself, there are few songs that are more important to the progression of music, or simply more iconic than Steppenwolf’s unforgettable 1968 single, “Born To Be Wild.”
Check the link above to read my full review on my main site and get learned on one of the most unforgettable songs in music history.