My Favorite Singers

There are so many singers that I cannot possibly list them all. I could make a top 30 and not get them all. This is my personal favorite top 10 plus some extra.

For the most part, I like singers with soul and meaning to their singing…not vocal gymnastics.

1…Aretha Franklin – Aretha could make any song better by singing it.

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2…Van Morrison, Them and Solo  – Probably my favorite male singer.

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3…John Lennon, Beatles – John hated his voice and always wanted an effect on it…It didn’t need it…one of his best performances was “A Day In The Life”

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4…Bob Dylan – Bob changed popular singing.  I would rather hear Bob sing than many of the great traditional singers.

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5…Elvis Presley – Hey he’s Elvis…

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6…Otis Redding – Just a fantastic singer and performer and just taking off before he was killed in a plane crash.

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7…Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones – Mick makes the most out of his voice.

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8…John Fogerty…CCR – If I could have the voice of anyone…it would be Fogerty. The power that John has is incredible…his voice is its own instrument.

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9…Janis Joplin – She put everything she had in each song. Her last producer Paul A. Rothchild was teaching Janis how to hold back and sing more traditional to save her voice for old age…which never came.

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10…Johnny Cash – Last but far from least.  Only one man can sound like Cash…and that is Cash

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Honorable Mention…any of these could have easily been on the list.

Steve Marriott, Paul McCartney, Levon Helm, Bessie Smith, Little Richard, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Elton John, Neil Young, Roy Orbison, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, Joe Cocker, Billie Holiday, Freddie Mercury, Kate Bush, Ella Fitzgerald, Paul Rodgers, David Bowie.





John Lennon’s Gypsy Caravan

The caravan was initially bought by Lennon as a gift for his son Julian’s fourth birthday. He hired the pop art designing trio from Amsterdam who called themselves ‘The Fool’ to paint his son’s extravagant present with the famous Sgt Pepper motif and the art designs that were so popular amongst travelers at that time.

Lennon also had “The Fool” paint his Rolls Royce in a Sgt Pepper era motif.

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In 1967 John bought a small 21-acre island called Dorinish. He at first planned to build a house on it but never did. He did stay at the island some and had the caravan floated out to it for a while. Through the years he would take the caravan out some.

After John was murdered, Ringo Starr took ownership as part of the late Beatles estate.  In 1982, he called in Cookham-based vintage caravan restorer John Pockett to restore it. In September 1983 it was restored to its former glory from Mr. Pockett’s Cookham workshop and was placed beside Ringo’s swimming pool.

In 2013 it was found at Ringo Starr’s former Surrey home under a tarp. A charitable trust, the Ascot Lawyers Foundation, has taken ownership of the piece of Sgt Pepper memorabilia. They working on restoring it.

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John Lennon – #9 Dream

The number 9 popped up constantly in Lennon’s life. The song peaked at #9 (what else?) in the Billboard 100, #23 in the UK and #35 in Canada in 1974. I’ve always liked this unusual song and its approriate dream-like qualities.

John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool
Liverpool has 9 letters
The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, first saw the Beatles play in the Cavern club on November 9, 1961.
The Beatles’ record contract with EMI was secured on May 9, 1962.
The Beatles played the Ed Sullivan show on February 9, 1964.
John Lennon met Yoko Ono on November 9, 1966.
John and Yoko lived at the Dakota apartments on West 72nd Street (7+2=9)
Construction started on the Dakota in 1881 (1+8=9 and 8+1=9, 9+9=18, 1+8=9)
Their son Sean was born on October 9, 1975.
John Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980, in New York City at 10:50 pm, but because of the 5 hour time difference, it was December 9 in England, his place of birth.
1980: 1+9=10+8=18, 1+8=9.
He was taken to Roosevelt hospital on 9th avenue, where he was pronounced dead at 11:07 pm (1+1+7=9)

From Songfacts.

The mystery voice that calls Lennon’s name “John” during the first bridge was performed by his lover, May Pang – on the second bridge he reversed the tape of her saying his name. According to May Pang’s book Loving John, Lennon told her that he did not know what the song was about, but it was not about her. He also did not “convince” her to sing the vocals, she sang them because the female vocalist scheduled for the session did not show up. (Thanks to David Thoener, who was an engineer at the sessions.)

John admitted that he “borrowed” the string arrangement from Harry Nilsson’s “Many Rivers To Cross” from Nilsson’s album Pussy Cats – which John produced!

#9 Dream

So long ago
Was it in a dream?
Was it just a dream?
I know, yes I know
It seemed so very real
Seemed so real to me

Took a walk down the street
Through the heat whispered trees
I thought I could hear

Somebody call out my name (John)
As it started to rain
Two spirits dancing so strange
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse

Dream, dream away
Magic in the air
Was magic in the air?
I believe, yes I believe
More I cannot say
What more can I say?

On a river of sound
Through the mirror go round, round
I thought I could feel
Music touching my soul
Something warm, sudden cold
The spirit dance was unfolding
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse
Ah! Bowakawa, pousse pousse


December 8, 1980

I wrote this back in May but since it’s December 8th I thought I would repost it…I can’t believe it’s been 38 years ago… Seeing that date depresses me…this was not the way to start the decade that was my teens.

Since second grade, I’d been listening to the Beatles. While a lot of kids I knew listened and talked about modern music …I just couldn’t relate as much. By the time I was ten I had read every book about The Beatles I could get my hands on. In a small middle TN town…it wasn’t too many. I was after their generation but I knew the importance of what they did…plus just great music. The more I got into them the more I learned about the Who, Stones, and the Kinks. I wanted to get my hands on every book about the music of the 1960s. Just listening to the music wasn’t enough…I wanted to know the history.

I spent that Monday night playing albums in my room. Monday night I didn’t turn the radio on…I’m glad I didn’t…The next morning I got up to go to school and the CBS morning news was on. The sound was turned down but the news was showing Beatle video clips. I was wondering why they were showing them but didn’t think much of it.

Curious, I walked over to the television and turned it up and found out that John Lennon had been shot and killed. I was very angry and shocked. The bus ride to school was quiet, at school, it was quiet as well. Some teachers were affected because John was their generation. Some of my friends were shocked but some really didn’t get the significance at the time and some didn’t care. A few but not many kids acted almost gleeful which pissed me off…It was obvious their parents were talking through them.

I went out and bought the White Album, Abbey Road and Double Fantasy in late December of 1980…I can’t believe I didn’t have the two Beatle albums already…now whenever I hear any song from those albums they remind me of the winter of 80-81. I remember the call-in shows on the radio then…pre-internet… people calling to share their feelings for John or hatred for the killer.

The next few weeks I saw footage of the Beatles on specials that I had never seen before. Famous and non-famous people pouring their heart out over the grief. Planned tributes from bands and everyone asking the same question…why?

My young mind could not process why a person would want to do this to a musician. A politician yea…I could see that…not that it’s right but this? A musician? Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and JFK were before my time.  By the mid-1970s John had pretty much dropped out of sight…John and Yoko released Double Fantasy on November 17, 1980, and suddenly they were everywhere…Less than a month later John was murdered. The catchwords were Catcher in the Rye, Hawaii, handgun and insane. The next day we were duly informed on who killed John in the First, Middle, and Last name format they assign to murderers.

I didn’t want to know his name, his career, his wife’s name, his childhood…I just wanted to know why… he says now…”attention”

I noticed a change happened after that Monday night. John Lennon was instantly turned into a saint, something he would have said was preposterous. Paul suddenly became the square and the uncool one and George and Ringo turned into just mere sidemen. Death has a way of elevating you in life. After the Anthology came out in the 90s that started to change back a little.

I called my dad a few days after it happened and he said that people were more concerned that The Beatles would never play again than the fact a man, father, and husband was shot and killed. He was right and I was among those people until he said that. Dad was never a fan but he made his point.

Supergroup…The Dirty Mac – Yer Blues

Maybe the first “”Supergroup”…In 1968 John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Mitch Mitchell got together and played the Beatle’s Yer Blues. The Rolling Stones were taping a Television special featuring The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, called “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” but was shelved for 28 years.

Yer Blues was on the White Album and had only been released 3 weeks before this December 11th recording. John Lennon came up with the band name “Dirty Mac” from a play on words of the hot new group at the time…Fleetwood Mac.

The show did not see the light of day until 1996. The Stones were not happy with their performance which would be the last with Brian Jones. The Who had just returned from a tour and were really tight and some thought upstaged the Rolling Stones.

The best thing to come out of the film to me is this performance…and The Who performing “A Quick One, While He’s Away.”

The Dirty Mac performed two songs…Yer Blues and “Whole Lotta Yoko” with Yoko…uh…”singing” so we will stick with this one.

A DVD of this event was released in 2004…It’s worth buying.

Yer Blues

Yes, I’m lonely, wanna die
Yes, I’m lonely, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
In the morning, wanna die
In the evening, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
My mother was of the sky
My father was of the earth
But I am of the universe
And you know what it’s worth
I’m lonely, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
The eagle picks my eyes
The worm he licks my bone
I feel so suicidal
Just like Dylan’s Mr. Jones
Lonely, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
[Instrumental Break]
The black cloud crossed my mind
Blue mist round my soul
Feel so suicidal
Even hate my rock and roll
I’m lonely, wanna die
If I ain’t dead already
Woo! Girl you know the reason why
[Instrumental Break]
Wanna die, yeah, wanna die
[Instrumental Break]

John Lennon – Mind Games

I bought this in the late seventies at Port ‘O’ Call Records in Nashville. One of my favorites of John’s radio hits. It was released in 1973 and peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100, #26 in the UK and #11 in Canada.

Mind Games is not my absolute favorite song on the Mind Games album…my favorite would be “I Know, I Know.” but this song was the only single released from it.

Usually, I don’t mention much about the video…but this one is great if you like John Lennon.

From Songfacts.

This was the only single released from Lennon’s Mind Games album, which was a modest success but nowhere near as popular as his Beatles output. This song has held up well, getting significant airplay on a variety of radio formats. In a 1998 interview with Uncut, Yoko Ono posited that the song may have been ahead of its time. “I think that people didn’t quite get the message because this was again before its time,” she said. “Now, people would understand it. I don’t think in those days people knew that they were playing mind games anyway.”
This started off as a song called “Make Love Not War,” which had a strong antiwar sentiment. Lennon eventually abandoned that theme and wrote an entirely different lyric to the melody.

Mind Games

We’re playing those mind games together
Pushing the barriers planting seeds
Playing the mind guerrilla
Chanting the Mantra peace on earth
We all been playing those mind games forever
Some kinda druid dudes lifting the veil
Doing the mind guerrilla
Some call it magic the search for the grail

Love is the answer and you know that for sure
Love is a flower
You got to let it, you gotta let it grow

So keep on playing those mind games together
Faith in the future out of the now
You just can’t beat on those mind guerrillas
Absolute elsewhere in the stones of your mind
Yeah we’re playing those mind games forever
Projecting our images in space and in time

Yes is the answer and you know that for sure
Yes is surrender
You got to let it, you gotta let it go

So keep on playing those mind games together
Doing the ritual dance in the sun
Millions of mind guerrillas
Putting their soul power to the karmic wheel
Keep on playing those mind games forever
Raising the spirit of peace and love

Tom Snyder – The Tomorrow Show

People seem to have really liked Tom Snyder or really disliked him. I’ve watched many of Tom’s interviews and he is quirky and quick to laugh (and laugh) at his own jokes but many of his interviews are remembered. The show lasted from 1973 to 1982. It was canceled to make room for David Letterman.

This was no Tonight Show. You didn’t see skits or monologues, you only saw Tom interviewing his guests and joking with his off-camera assistants. He wasn’t hip nor was he completely square. Someone called him at the time a hip square. It was just him and his guest on a dark set.

I liked Tom because he seemed real and genuine. He could laugh at himself and conducted some really good interviews. After this show ended he did a radio show out of Los Angeles, a few tv guest appearances and he guest hosted the David Letterman Show a few times.

David Letter quote

“Tom was the very thing that all broadcasters long to be — compelling,” “Whether he was interviewing politicians, authors, actors or musicians, Tom was always the real reason to watch. I’m honored to have known him as a colleague and a friend.”

One of the many SNL skits I liked was Dan Aykroyd imitating Tom Snyder…this is Aykroyd as Tom interviewing Mick Jagger.

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The John Lennon interview in 1975. This would be the last TV interview he gave. John is battling his immigration status and has his lawyer Leon Wildes with him to explain what is going on. John comes off open and honest in this interview.


The Saturday Night Live cast before the first show. This is a partial look at the interview.


This is one a good one. Tom has KISS as guests and I just love how a drunk Ace Frehley (The Trout Player) takes over the interview and infuriates Gene Simmons. You can see Gene’s eyes shooting daggers at Ace and Peter.