“Light and shade,” Jimmy Page once told me, speaking to the secret of Led Zeppelin’s universal popularity, and never was that combination more on display than on the title song to Jethro Tull’s September 1975 “Minstrel in the Gallery”.
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“The Principle of Moments”, Robert Plant’s second solo album, first convinced us that Plant could sustain a viable solo career outside of the legendary Led Zeppelin, which he fronted for twelve fabled years, but for me personally it was “Shaken ‘n’ Stirred” in 1985, served pre-release on a Walkman at 40,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, that began my professional relationship with the complicated singer.
The mid-Eighties was a most difficult time for the titans of rock’s Second Generation. The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Who were no longer recording, touring, and in some cases even SPEAKING together. Rock’n’roll was officially in full-blown midlife crisis …Pete Townshend joins me In the Studio for Deep End Live.
Debut release Foreigner became the fastest-selling debut album in Atlantic Records’ long storied history. Foreigner founder Mick Jones and original singer/co-writer Lou Gramm join me here In the Studio for realization of their collective dream in the stories behind the songs “Cold As Ice”, “Headknocker”, “Starrider”,”Long Long Way from Home”,”At War with the World”, and the time-less “Feels Like the First Time”.
In January 1967 when John Densmore’s snare drum cracked like a rifle shot before Ray Manzarek’s nimble fingers made their intricate run of baroque-sounding notes on that reedy Farfisa organ, all on the introduction to jazz/flamenco guitarist Robbie Krieger’s composition “Light My Fire”, it clearly and boldly announced a unique approach to rock and roll that really has no peer. And all of that before Jim Morrison stepped up to the microphone to introduce one of the greatest voices and hedonistic personalities in rock history. Not unlike Creedence Clearwater Revival from the same period, no other American bands put out more albums in less time which were more influential in the last 50+ years. And like CCR, no one ever sounded like The Doors ever since. Here is Doors co-founder the late Ray Manzarek with me In the Studio to mark The Doors anniversary. -Redbeard
Men At Work managed to occupy the peak slot in America for 15 weeks. The songs “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Down Under” followed the Business As Usual debut album from Men At Work to #1 sales for all three in the U.S., something never before done by a rookie band, not even the Beatles.
For its thirtieth anniversary, “Metallica” (affectionately known as “The Black Album” in the same way The Beatles had been dubbed “The White Album”), Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and lead throat James Hetfield show how the band sits atop the family tree of hard rock/heavy metal evolution.
with 100,000 people for Live Aid US, I stood back of center stage about ten feet behind Phil Collins who was seated at a black grand piano. Beside me looking over his 3″x 5″ recipe cards with notes for stage announcements stood Jack Nicholson. Collins, fresh off the Concorde supersonic jet which had conveyed him from his earlier performance at the London Live Aid concert, sang his surprise movie hit “Against All Odds” and then “the other song I know on piano”…
It is the fiftieth anniversary of The YES Album , a progressive rock touchstone. If the British Invasion bands led by The Beatles and Rolling Stones wanted to be rock’n’roll’s second verse after “Be Bop a Lula” and “Maybe Baby”, then London’s King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and YES were determined to be rock’s “C” section, the musical bridge which takes the listener somewhere unexpectedly before returning to the familiar refrain.
Showco introduces the concept of the portable custom P.A., commissioned by and traveling with the bands; John Tedesco‘s pneumatic lighting towers; Kirby Wyatt, Randy Blair, Steve Jander, & Led Zeppelin play with lasers; the “gel-change project”; after ten years of non-stop expansion and reinvestment back into the company, double near-disasters force a fires sale and […]