My favorite Christmas memories are from growing up in North Adams, Massachusetts. A blanket of snow would typically cover everything, the Christmas lights twinkled and glowed everywhere, and as you walked up and down Main Street, classic Christmas carols were being played in all the stores and piped out into the streets. It was breathtaking, especially at night.
Then came the magic of Christmas Eve. As a family, we would walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church (now All Saints) for the midnight mass. It was cold; the air was crisp. Clean white snow covered everything, and the streetlights cast their light on the snowflakes that were often still falling. For a young boy, it was beautiful and truly magical and so, so special.
Anyone who reads my Tunes for Tuesday posts knows I enjoy a wide variety of music. But the Christmas music of yesteryear will forever hold a special place in my memories and my heart. So, take a few quiet minutes and join me as I take a little stroll down Christmas music memory lane …
Timeless Christmas Music Classics
White Christmas, Bing Crosby (1947)
The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole (Live Performance)
Merry Christmas Baby, B.B. King
O Little Town Of Bethlehem, Nat King Cole
O Holy Night, Andy Williams
Then every once and a while, you stumble on something new that gives you renewed hope for the future.
Over A Thousand People Came Together To Break a Record And Bring This Moving Christmas Hymn To Life.
The Piano Guys, Peter Hollens, David Archuleta, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir get together to sing “Angels We Have Heard On High.”
Wishing all of you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The Mamas and the Papas were an American folk rock vocal group formed in 1965 and performed until 1968. The group was a defining force in the music scene of the counterculture of the 1960s. The band was comprised of John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, and Michelle Phillips (born Holly Gilliam). Their unique sound was based on harmonic vocal arrangements by John Phillips, the songwriter, musician, and leader of the group who adapted folk to the new beat style of the early 1960s.
California Dreamin’ (Released 1965)
The song was written in 1963 while John Phillips and Michelle Phillips were living in New York City during an unusually cold winter. Michelle was missing sunny California. During this period, John and Michelle Phillips were members of the folk group the New Journeymen, which evolved into The Mamas and the Papas.
Monday, Monday (Released 1966)
This song was written by John Phillips and recorded by the Mamas and the Papas in 1966. Background instruments were played by members of The Wrecking Crew. This song was the group’s only #1 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and the first time this had been achieved by a recording act containing both genders.
I Saw Her Again (Released 1966)
Recorded in 1966 and co-written by band members John Phillips and Denny Doherty, this song peaked at number one on the RPM Canadian Singles Chart, number 11 on the UK Singles Chart, and number five on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart the week of July 30, 1966.
Dedicated To The One I Love (Released 1967)
This song, written by Lowman Pauling and Ralph Bass, became a hit for The “5” Royales, The Shirelles, and The Mamas and the Papas. The “5” Royales version was re-released in 1961 and charted at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1967, The Mamas and the Papas released their more popular cover version on the Dunhill label, and it climbed to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The number 1 spot was taken by “Happy Together” by The Turtles.
Creeque Alley (Release 1967)
Creeque Alley is an autobiographical hit single written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips in 1967, telling how the group was formed and its early years. The song peaked at #5 on the US Billboard pop singles chart the week of Memorial Day in 1967. It reached #9 on the UK charts and #4 on the Australian and Canadian charts.
The lyrics mention, directly or indirectly, many artists and bands who were part of the folk music scene at the time. Several locations significant to The Mamas and the Papas’ story are also mentioned. Michelle is referred to in the lyrics by her nickname “Michi” (“John and Michi were getting kind of itchy, just to leave the folk music behind”).
The song contains a repeated line that ends the first three verses, “No one’s getting fat, ‘cept Mama Cass,” a reference to the fact Elliot was making the most money, not to her life long battle with obesity. Cass Elliot thought it was hilarious. The final lyric line, “And California Dreamin’ is becoming a reality”, is a reference to their hit song “California Dreamin'”, and marks the point at which the group achieved its breakthrough, leaving behind the tough lifestyle described in the rest of the song.
Dream A Little Dream Of Me (Released 1968)
“Dream a Little Dream of Me” is a song from1931 written by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt with lyrics by Gus Kahn. It was first recorded in February 1931 by Ozzie Nelson. A popular standard, it has seen more than 60 other versions recorded. One of the highest chart ratings for this song was by The Mamas and the Papas in 1968 with Cass Elliot on lead vocals.
There was only one Mama Cass!
Cass Elliot (born Ellen Naomi Cohen; September 19, 1941 – July 29, 1974), also known as Mama Cass, was an American singer and actress best known for her time with the Mamas and the Papas. After the group broke up, she released five solo albums. In 1998, she was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her work with the Mamas and the Papas.
If you enjoyed this post, I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of the other Tunes for Tuesday posts on my blog by clickinghere!
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Heart is an American rock band formed in 1970 in Seattle, Washington by Steve Fossen (bass guitar), Roger Fisher (guitar), David Belzer (keyboards), and Jeff Johnson (drums). Heart is actually an evolution from an existing band called White Heart. The Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, joined the band in 1973 as vocalists. Also, Nancy became an essential part of the band’s guitar-driven sound.
Magic Man (1976)
The band sold over 35 million records worldwide. They produced 20 top forty singles and seven top-10 albums. They also collected four Grammy nominations. Heart hit the Billboard Charts with singles and top ten albums in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s: a four-decade run of top ten albums that set a record for a female-fronted band.
I saw Heart in concert shortly after getting out of the Army in 1983. I am not sure exactly which year; that was some time ago. I am guessing 84 or 85. I do remember it being one hell of a show! I remember getting my daughter a Heart cassette tape for a birthday present one year, and being somewhat shattered when her reaction was … “meh!” LOL!
Little Queen (1977)
I have to admit, in my teen years, I had quite a crush on Nancy Wilson. Both sisters were quite beautiful, and Anne sure could sing. Possibly one of the greatest female rock vocalists ever! But there was something about Nancy that stole my heart. I guess it was the guitar!
Listen to this …
Crazy On You
Heart also had a real knack for great Zeppelin covers! Here is one shining example!
Black Dog (Led Zeppelin Cover, 2013)
Okay, can’t end it there. Here’s a couple more!
Heart has graced us with an interesting variety of songs and sounds. Everything from hard rock to heavy metal, and pop rock to folk songs.
Never (Official Music Video)
Heart was a multi-dimensional rock band with great talent … great musicians, great vocals, and great music. In 2006, Ann Wilson was listed as one of the “Top Heavy Metal Vocalists of All Time” by Hit Parader magazine and Heart was ranked number 57 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.”
These Dreams (Filmed 2002, Life in Seattle)
Decades later, and Nancy Wilson still has it!
At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 18, 2013, the original members of Heart (the Wilson Sisters, Howard Leese, Michael Derosier, Steve Fossen, and Roger Fisher) reunited for the first time in 34 years to play “Crazy on You.”
If you enjoyed this Tunes for Tuesday post, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clickinghere!
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Cheap Trick is an American rock band formed in Rockford, Illinois, in 1973. The band’s classic lineup consisted of frontman Robin Zander, guitarist Rick Nielsen, bassist Tom Petersson, and drummer Bun E. Carlos.
Cheap Trick released its self-titled debut album in 1977. Later that same year, the band became a huge success in Japan with the release of its second album, In Color. The group achieved mainstream popularity in the US with its breakthrough album Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan, released in 1979. Cheap Trick reached the Top 10 in the US charts in 1979 with the Budokan live version of “I Want You to Want Me.”
I Want You to Want Me (Live from Budokan)
Cheap Trick topped the charts in 1988 with “The Flame.”
The Flame (Live Dayton, 1988)
Cheap Trick performed live more than 3,700 times and has sold more than 20 million albums. Throughout their career, Cheap Trick has experienced several resurgences of popularity.
One of my favorites in the late 1970s was Surrender. I had a college roommate who could jam this song on his fender Strat!
Surrender (Live From Budokan)
Cheap Trick toured Japan in April 0f 1978. The band was welcomed with a hysteria that hadn’t been seen since The Beatles. During the tour, Cheap Trick recorded two concerts at the Nippon Budokan. Ten tracks selected from both shows were compiled and released as a live album entitled Cheap Trick: Live at Budokan. This album was intended to be exclusive to Japan. Thankfully, sales were not limited to Japan.
Ain’t That a Shame (Live, 1980)
While perhaps you could classify Cheap Trick as a pop rock group, they did branch out into several other styles over their career.
Don’t Be Cruel (Live, 1988)
The band even danced on the fringes of heavy metal with songs like Gonna Raise Hell.
Gonna Raise Hell (Capitol Theatre, 1980)
On April 8, 2016, Cheap Trick was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If you enjoyed this Tunes for Tuesday post, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!
And, if you love a good action-adventure story, check out the novel, Montagnard, by award-winning author, D.C. Gilbert.
Def Leppard is an English rock group formed in Sheffield in 1977and is considered part of the new wave of British heavy metal. Since 1992, Def Leppard has consisted of Joe Elliott (lead vocals), Rick Savage (bass, backing vocals), Rick Allen (drums, backing vocals), Phil Collen (guitars, backing vocals), and Vivian Campbell (guitars, backing vocals). This line-up has been the band’s longest-running. And, these boys don’t fool around.
The band’s most significant commercial success came between the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Their 1981 album, High ‘n’ Dry, was produced by Mutt Lange, who helped them begin to define their style, and the album’s leading track, “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” became one of the first rock videos played on MTV in 1982.
Bringin’ on the Heartbreak (Version 1)
Many like to compliment the vocal harmonic genius of other groups such as Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Queen, The Mamas & the Papas, or The Beach Boys. And nobody would argue they are not great all great. However, Def Leppard put out a lot of music with terrific vocal harmonies as well. I think it mostly went unrecognized because, well, it is British metal after all. Metal doesn’t harmonize … does it?
As one of the world’s best-selling rock music artists, Def Leppard has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and have two albums with RIAA diamond certification, they are Pyromania and Hysteria.
Near the end of recording the album Hysteria, during a production break, lead singer Joe Elliott was jamming with a riff he had come up with two weeks earlier on an acoustic guitar. Producer Mutt Lange, expressing great liking of it, suggested that it be developed into another song. That riff went on to become a song that could instantly transform the shyest, most introverted, prim and proper young lady into an amazingly sexy pole dancer wannabe.
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Some of you may have noticed that in the earlier videos, the drummer had two arms. On December 31, 1984, drummer Rick Allen lost his left arm in a car crash on the A57 in the hills near the band’s home city of Sheffield.
Allen and his Dutch girlfriend, Miriam Barendsen, were in his Corvette when it swerved off the road on a sharp bend and went through a drystone wall. Despite the severity of the accident, Allen was determined to continuing his role as Def Leppard’s drummer. and realized that he could use his legs to do some of the drumming work previously done with his arms.
All the members of the band supported Allen’s recovery efforts and never sought a replacement. Allen was given a separate studio to practice his new drums. After a few months, the band gathered together to hear Allen perform the intro to the Led Zeppelin version of “When The Levee Breaks.” His progress was amazing. Allen’s comeback was announced at the 1986 Monsters of Rock festival in England, with an emotionally charged ovation after Rick Allen’s reintroduction by Joe Elliott.
On 9 October 2018, Def Leppard received an induction nomination from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to the 1,000 members of the Hall of Fame voting committee, the general public also had an opportunity to participate in the “Fan Vote”.
On 13 December 2018, Def Leppard was named in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019. The band won the Klipsch Audio Fan Vote, beating 14 other nominees with 547,647 general public votes (119,803 and 28% more than second vote receiver Stevie Nicks.
Not everybody realizes that these guys are not just crowd-pleasers. They also embody such amazing technical excellence. They have it all. I regard all these guys as great friends and kind of part of my family, that’s why it’s so important for me to be here. I wouldn’t have let anybody else do this.
Brian May, inducting Def Leppard into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2001, Hysteria – The Def Leppard Story, a made for television movie, was released. I have seen it a couple of time. It’s not too bad for a rock documentary.
Anyway, I will sum it up by saying these guys from Sheffield, England were a pretty damn fantastic rock band, with some real musical talent, and under-appreciated vocal harmonies. Are you getting it?
Armageddon it (Live)
If you’ve got any Rock and Roll Soul, please take a few minutes and check out some of my other Tunes for Tuesday blog posts by clicking here!
And also, if you enjoy reading a good action-adventure story, check out my new novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com! It’s getting really rave reviews.
Lynyrd Skynrd is an American rock band that formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964. They performed under different names and with varying line-ups for several years, finally settling on the name Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969.
Growing up in Massachusetts, I was aware of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but I did not fully appreciate the southern rock genre until I later moved to Tennessee. However, once I began to listen more, I was hooked. These good ole boys set the standard for southern rock with genius-level musical talent combined with the ability to write songs that spoke to the hearts of American listeners across this nation.
So much of their music was just good foot-stomping fun. This was always one of my favorites. I still sing along with it today when nobody is in earshot!
Gimme Three Steps (Knebworth Fair, 1976)
I sometimes think life would be so much better for us all if people would take to heart the simple advice in this next song, another of my favorites.
Simple Man (Oakland Coliseum Stadium, 1977)
Following a concert at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, on October 20, 1977, the band boarded a chartered Convair CV-240 bound for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they were scheduled to appear at LSU the following night. Running out of fuel, the plan crashed in a heavily forested area five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi.
Ronnie Van Zant. Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, the assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact. Other band members, including Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins, as well as the tour manager Ron Eckerman and several road crew members, suffered severe injuries.
The band later reformed with Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother, Johnny (formally of .38 Special), taking over as lead vocalist. In the video below, Johnny Van Zant and the boys are performing a rare live version of The Ballad of Curtis Lowe. The original Skynyrd line-up only played the song once on stage. It was not played again until the tribute tour with Johnny.
The Ballad of Curtis Lowe (Virginia, 1998)
How’s about a little boogie … Lynyrd Skynyrd style!
I Know A Little (Coca Cola Star Lake Amphitheater, 1997)
While in their early years, the band had a reputation for partying hard and brawling on occasion, one thing they always got right was the music!
You Got That Right (1977, Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ)
Of course, in today’s “oh so perpetually offended” society, I am sure Lynyrd Skynyrd would catch hell because of the rebel flags and “southern whiteness” of their music. It’s really too bad. These good ole boys put out some great music that appealed to rockers of all races, religions, and creeds.
I think the narrow-mindedness of so many people today deprives them of some really great opportunities to expand their cultural awareness. Oh well!
I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of my other Tunes for Tuesday blog posts by clicking here!
And also, if you enjoy reading a good action-adventure story, check out my new novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com! It’s getting really rave reviews.
I bought the live double album when I was probably 15 or 16. Side one and two were fantastic. Unfortunately, my set had 2 copies of the record with parts 1 and 2 and no 3 and 4. I never bothered to return it since I got it in the mail from Columbia Record Club. I eventually heard all the songs on the album anyway!
Do You Feel Like We do (Midnight Special, 1975)
This first video is Peter Frampton’s performance at Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special, circa 1975. This is the extended version, unlike many of the other ones out there, with the end missing
Peter Frampton is an English-American rock musician, singer, songwriter, producer, and guitarist. He began his musical career with the bands Humble Pie and The Herd. As a solo artist, Frampton released several albums, including his international breakthrough album, the live release Frampton Comes Alive!. The album sold more than 8 million copies in the United States and spawned several hit singles.
Baby, I love Your Way (Oakland Coliseum Stadium, 1977)
An interesting side note, both Peter Frampton and David Bowie, who was three years older, were students at Bromley Technical School, where Peter’s father, Owen Frampton, was David Bowie’s art instructor
Show Me The Way (Classic, 1976)
Peter Frampton is the artist who made the talkbox famous. The talkbox transfers the guitar’s sound through a plastic tube attached to a microphone. The effect is Frampton’s melodic guitar simulating speech while asking the audience on the live track “Do You Feel Like We Do?” Peter Frampton now sells his own line of custom-designed “Framptone” products, including the talkbox.
I’m In You (Oakland Coliseum Stadium, 1977)
Frampton is best known for such hits as “Breaking All the Rules,” “Show Me the Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Do You Feel Like We Do,” and “I’m in You,” which are still well-loved staples on classic rock radio. He has also appeared as himself in television shows such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Madam Secretary
Lines On My Face (Oakland Auditorium, 1976)
Now that’s some really great music. I hope you enjoyed some of these clips as much as I did! And, I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here! And please, if you like to read, check out my new novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com! It’s getting great reviews.
Sorry, this post is a little late. It has been a busy day putting some finishing touches in place for the release of my new book, Montagnard. If you are interested, you can check it out here!
Sometimes when you have limited time, you have to make a sacrifice. So, let’s head back in time to 1969 and Woodstock, and check out Soul Sacrifice by Carlos Santana.
Soul Sacrifice (Woodstock, 1969)
Carlos Santana was one hell of a guitar player. You’ve heard of blues guitarists making a deal with the devil at a crossroads for fame and success. Sometimes I wonder it Carlos Santana made a deal with some black magic woman.
Black Magic Woman (Tanglewood, 1970)
I once wondered if I could make a deal like that, but when I looked around, she wasn’t there.
She’s Not There (1977)
This was a poor sound quality video later dubbed over with the CD)
Santana’s guitar playing spoke may languages and his music is still appreciated around the globe.
Europa (Live, 1982)
Santana is an American rock band formed in San Francisco in 1966 by Mexican-American guitarist and songwriter Carlos Santana. The group has undergone several line-up changes in its recording and performance history, with Carlos Santana being the only common denominator.
Maria, Maria (Live at Montreux, 2011)
This post does not have as much text and commentary as some of my other Tunes for Tuesday posts. Sometimes you just have to let the music speak for itself!
The Who are a British rock band that formed in London in 1984. The original line-up consisted of Roger Daltrey (Vocals), Pete Townshend (Guitar, Vocals), John Entwistle (Bass), and Keith Moon (Drums).
The Who performing a full live set in front of 600,000 people at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970 at 2:00 a.m. on August 30th. It was one of the most memorable concerts of their career.
Pinball Wizard (Live at the Isle of Wight, 1970)
The Who were one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide and releasing countless amazing songs.
I saw The Who at the Frankfurt Festhalle in April of 1980. It was one of the most amazing concerts I have ever attended. There was no warm-up band. It was two-plus solid hours of The Who, and there was not a bad song in the set. You literally could not sit down! Kenny Jones was the drummer by this time … almost two years after Keith Moon’s tragic death.
Take a look at the set list. Do you see a bad song
I can’t Explain
Behind Blue Eyes
Dreaming From The Waist
Who Are You
See Me Feel Me
Long Live Rock
I Can See For Miles
Won’t Get Fooled Again
The Real me
My favorite Album has always been Who’s Next. There is not a bad song on it. Just one great number after another. This has always been one of my favorites.
Behind Blue Eyes (Kilburn 1977)
The Who performing Won’t Get Fooled Again at Live Aid in front of 72,000 people in Wembley Stadium, London, on July 13, 1985. The event was organized by Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for the Ethiopian famine disaster. Broadcast across the world, the concert was seen by approximately 40% of the world’s population.
Won’t Get Fooled Again (Live Aid 1985)
The Who’s many significant contributions to rock music include the development of the Marshall stack, large PA systems, use of the synthesizer, Entwistle and Moon’s unique playing styles, Townshend’s feedback, and power chord guitar technique, and the development of the rock opera.
Who Are You (LA Second Set, 1989)
Tommy was perhaps the most famous rock opera written by The Who. And it was undoubtedly remarkable. However, I think a lot of its popularity stemmed from appearances by Elton John and Tina Turner.
My favorite rock opera was always Quadrophenia, the story of a young working-class “mod” named Jimmy who likes drugs, beach fights, and romance, and finds himself in a real struggle … searching for a sense of self-worth. A lot of great music came out of Quadrophenia. This was one of my favorites.
It there was ever a rock band that I would have loved to be a part of, it would have been Bad Company. So much of their music touch my soul. Bad Company could rock the stage, sing a love song, fired up that rebellious spirit, and hit every emotion … all in one song!
Bad Company is an English rock supergroup formed in Westminster, London, in 1973. The original lineup included Paul Rodgers (Vocals), Mick Ralphs (Guitars), Simon Kirke (Drums), and Boz Burrell (Bass). They were managed by Peter Grant, who also managed Led Zeppelin.
Bad Company (1974)
A word about Paul Rogers. Many consider Rogers to be one of the best rock vocalists in history. In 1982, Paul decided he needed a break, and the band was heading for trouble. Bad Company had become bigger than its members, and Rodgers felt that to continue would have destroyed things. From a business standpoint, it was the wrong thing to do, but Paul took a hiatus from 1982 to 1998.
Burning Sky (Live, 2010)
But still, the music played on …
If You Needed Somebody (Video, 1990)
Those were the days. Long hair and great music! I must be getting old. I miss this kind of Rock and Roll. Music with a soul. For you youngsters out there, this is what you call classic rock music.
Feel Like Makin’ Love (1975)
I’m a big Paul Rodgers fan, but I must admit I also loved the Brian Howe songs.
Brian Howe became Bad Company’s lead singer from 1986 – 1992 during the Paul Rodgers hiatus. Brian had some enormous shoes to fill, but fill them, he damn sure did.
Holy Water (Brian Howe)
Brian Howe left the band in 1994. He recently died from a heart attack on May 6. 2020. RIP.
Rock n Roll Fantasy (1999, with a Special Guest)
The special guest should need no introduction to you southern rockers out there!
Anyway, that is this week’s Tunes for Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed it. It’s all part of my rock and roll fantasy!