Led Zeppelin – Rock And Roll

The title says it all with this song. It is one of the best Zeppelin pure rock and roll songs. As with most things with Zeppelin the drums made this song…John Bonham was the key element to their songs just as Keith Moon was to The Who. The two drummers helped shape the sound of their respective bands more than most.

This song came about when the band was working on “Four Sticks” at the Headley Grange mansion they had rented in Hampshire, England to record the album. With a pretty much unplayable drum pattern, John Bonham got frustrated with the session, and tensions rose. In a pique of anger, he started playing something completely different: a riff based on the intro to the 1957 Little Richard song “Keep a Knockin.'”

If you want more Led Zeppelin…yesterday Dave from A Sound Day had a post on their first album.

The band was not a singles band in any sense but this one peaked at #47 in the Billboard 100 and #38 in Canada in 1972. They didn’t release singles in the UK in the band’s lifetime.

The album did much better…it peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, and the UK in 1971.

1971 was maybe the best year of rock albums ever. A few months before this one…The Who released Who’s Next, The Allman Brothers – At Fillmore East, David Bowie – Hunky Dory, The Stones – Sticky Fingers, Doors – L.A. Woman, Alice Cooper – Killer, and many more.

Jerry Lee Lewis did a cover of this song with Jimmy Page…I like the short opening raw riff Jimmy plays.

Jimmy Page: “We were recording something else when John Bonham started playing the drum intro to ‘Keep a Knockin’ by Little Richard and I immediately started playing the riff for ‘Rock And Roll.’ Instead of laughing it off and going back to the previous song, we kept going. ‘Rock And Roll’ was written in minutes and recorded within an hour.”

Robert Plant: “We just thought rock and roll needed to be taken on again,” “I was finally in a really successful band, and we felt it was time for actually kicking ass. It wasn’t an intellectual thing, ’cause we didn’t have time for that – we just wanted to let it all come flooding out. It was a very animal thing, a hellishly powerful thing, what we were doing.”

From Songfacts

As the title suggests, the song is based on one of the most popular structures in rock and roll; namely, the 12-bar blues progression (in A). The phrase “Rock and Roll” was a term blues musicians used, which meant sex.

Robert Plant wrote the lyrics, which were a response to critics who claimed their previous album, Led Zeppelin III, wasn’t really rock and roll. Led Zeppelin III had more of an acoustic folk sound, and Plant wanted to prove they could still rock out.

Infused with creative energy, they put “Four Sticks” aside and started working on this new song, which they called “It’s Been a Long Time.” Jimmy Page blasted out a guitar part, and the bones of the song were completed in about 30 minutes.

The band often used this either as an encore or to open live shows from 1971-1975.

Ian Stewart, known for his work with The Rolling Stones (he was almost a member of the group, but their manager didn’t think he looked the part), played piano on this track. Stewart was on hand because Led Zeppelin was using the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording unit to record the album, as the Headley Grange mansion didn’t have a studio. Stewart was sent as a technician to assist with recording, but he came in quite handy on “Rock And Roll” when they needed some serious boogie-woogie piano.

Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones played this at Live Aid in 1985. It was the first time they played together since the death of John Bonham in 1980. Tony Thompson and Phil Collins sat in for Bonham on drums, which didn’t go over well with Page and Plant. When the band reformed for a benefit show on December 10, 2007, it was with John Bonham’s son Jason on drums. This was the last song they played at the show, which raised money for the Ahmet Ertegun education fund.

Besides Live Aid, the remaining members of Led Zeppelin played this on two other occasions. When Robert Plant’s daughter Carmen turned 21 in 1989, they played it at her birthday party. They also played it at Jason Bonham’s wedding in 1990. Jason is John Bonham’s son, and he sat in on drums on both performances.

This has been covered by many other artists, including Def Leppard and Heart. In 2001, it was recorded by Double Trouble (Stevie Ray Vaughan’s backup band), for their 2001 album Been A Long Time. Susan Tedeschi sang lead on the track.

All four band members got writing credits for this. Many Zeppelin songs are credited only to Page and Plant.

This was the first Led Zeppelin song used in a commercial. Cadillac used it to kick off a new advertising campaign in 2002 with the tagline “Breakthrough.” The company was going for a hip, new image, since their audience was slowly dying off. The spots aired for the first time on the Super Bowl, and sales rose 16% the next year.

The lyric “It’s been a long time since the book of love” is a reference to the Monotones’ 1958 hit “Book Of Love,” which is also referenced in “American Pie.”

Since the death of his father, Jason Bonham has filled in behind the drum set for various Led Zeppelin reunion gigs. He told American Songwriter this is the hardest Zeppelin song to play as, “a lot of people out there try and play it, and really it’s a two-handed shuffle all the way through, playing the sixteenth notes, it’s not just boom bap-boom-bap-boom- bap, it’s boom-boom-bap-bap-boom-boom-bap-bap on the snare and the hi-hat. It’s a hard one to play properly.”

Stevie Nicks added this to her live set in 2001. 

Rock and Roll

It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled
It’s been a long time since I did the stroll
Ooh, let me get it back, let me get it back, let me get it back
Mmm, baby, where I come from

It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time
Yes, it has

It’s been a long time since the book of love
I can’t count the tears of a life with no love
Carry me back, carry me back, carry me back
Mmm, baby, where I come from, whoa, whoa, oh

It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

Oh, oh, ahh, ahh

Oh, it seems so long since we walked in the moonlight
Making vows that just couldn’t work right
Ah, yeah, open your arms, open your arms, open your arms
Baby, let my love come running in, yeah

It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

Yeah, hey, yeah, hey
Yeah, hey, yeah, hey

Ooh, yeah, ooh, yeah
Ooh, yeah, ooh, yeah
It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

Velvet Underground – Rock and Roll

Lou Reed wrote this song for the album Loaded. This was the last Velvet Undergound album to feature Lou Reed.

Reed left the band right after the album Loaded was recorded. They were booked at Max’s Kansas City in New York City. August 23, 1970.  Reed had played two sets when he simply left the stage, walked up to producer Sesnick, said, “I quit,” and walked out the back door, got into his parents’ car (they drove down from Long Island), and rode away. There was no drama or arguments.

Three months later the album was released and failed to chart. Other founding members Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker would leave in 1971  For this reason, it is often considered by fans to be the “last” Velvet Underground album.

In Reed’s 1971 interview with Lester Bangs for Creem magazine, Reed stated that the breakup wasn’t anybody’s fault, but just the way the music business is…he left because he wasn’t making any money, and felt that they’d never be successful.

The band also recorded this song in 1969, during their final weeks with the Verve label, but the well-known version appears on this album.

Lou Reed: “‘Rock and Roll’ is about me. If I hadn’t heard rock and roll on the radio, I would have had no idea there was life on this planet. Which would have been devastating – to think that everything, everywhere was like it was where I come from. That would have been profoundly discouraging. Movies didn’t do it for me. TV didn’t do it for me. It was the radio that did it.”

From Songfacts

Do remember that the album Loaded was supposed to have mainstream appeal. This song perhaps makes the definitive case that Lou Reed boxed in by executive meddling is not the same as Lou Reed given free rein to do whatever he wants by an avant-garde art house. Loaded is an album that divides fans.

Even though it is obviously tailored to mainstream appeal, Velvet Underground managed to slip a subversive edge around “Rock & Roll”: It inverts the standard three-chord progression and has five-bar verses with an especially laid-back approach to the lyrics. It’s done loose and lazy, perfect for the subject, but subtly averting it at the same time.

This looks like a good time to answer the question: What genre do The Velvet Underground belong in? Some say punk, some alternative, some experimental. It was all of those and none of those – Velvet Underground as it was originally formed would doubtless have had the same disdain of conventional labels as does Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead fame (by the way, Lemmy says he identifies more with punk than metal). The most correct identity that is widely accepted is “protopunk” or “inspiration for punk.” While not having a punk sound as it is understood today, they did bring characteristics to rock music (an aggressive attitude, a rebellious spirit, anti-establishment ideas, and a deliberately crude and minimalist sound) which have since become the hallmarks of the punk genre. Punk rock, when it came along in the early 1970s, was about yelling “You think too much and you don’t get it!” at establishment rock (and likely following with “It’s all about the money to you anyway!”). The Velvet Underground had that idea early on, even if they expressed it as John Cale smashing a whole stack of china dishes instead of Johnny Rotten snarling “Anarchy in the UK!” So, we’ll endorse protopunk, not punk.

Alice Cooper recorded a heavy version for his 2021 Detroit Stories album. Alice told Apple Music he loves the “New York heroin chic” vibe of the Velvet Underground original, but for his cover, he thought, “What happens if we take this song to Detroit and put a V8 engine, and soup it up?”

Alice recruited for his version guitarists “honorary Detroiter” Joe Bonamassa, and Steve Hunter, who played with both Alice and Lou Reed in the 1970s.

Rock and Roll

Jenny said
When she was just five years old
There was nothing happening at all
Every time she puts on a radio
There was a nothin’ goin’ down at all,
Not at all
Then one fine mornin’
She puts on a New York station
You know, she couldn’t believe
What she heard at all
She started dancin’
To that fine fine music
You know her life
Was saved by rock ‘n’ roll
Despite all the amputations
You know you could just go out
And dance to a rock ‘n’ roll station

It was alright
It was allright
Hey baby, You know it was all right

Jenny said
When she was just by five years old
You know why parents gonna be the death of us all
Two TV sets and two Cadillac cars –
Well you know it ain’t gonna help
Me at all
Then one fine mornin’
She turns on a New York station
She doesn’t believe
What she hears at all
Ooh, She started dancin’
To that fine fine music
You know her life
Is saved by rock ‘n’ roll,
Despite all the computations
You could just dance
To a rock ‘n’ roll station

And baby it was alright
And it was alright
Hey it was alright
Hey here she comes now!
Jump! Jump!

It was alright

John Lennon – Slippin’ and a Sliding’

I usually feature originals but I found this video of John covering Slippin and a Slidin’ that I never have seen before and I had to include it. My son listened to John Lennon’s Rock and Roll album (made up of entirely covers of mostly 50s Rock and Roll) and he flipped over it. Afterward, he played it so much I relistened to it and John’s love of that music really came through.

The song was on the Rock and Roll album released in 1975. I could listen to John sing the phone book.

The album made it to #6 in the Billboard 200, #6 in the UK, and #5 in Canada. Stand By Me made it to #20 in the Billboard 100. John Lennon did not make another album until Double Fantasy in 1980.

 

Slippin’ and Slidin’

Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, been told long time ago,
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, been told long time ago,
I been told, baby, you been bold, I won’t be your fool no more.

Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, won’t be your fool no more.

Oh Malinda, she’s a solid sender, you know you better surrender,
Oh Malinda, she’s a solid sender, you know you better surrender,
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, won’t be your fool no more.

John Lennon – Stand By Me

This is the version I like best…and I love Ben E. King’s version. I think it’s the reverb and John’s voice that makes this one the one I listen to the most.

“Stand By Me” was the name of a gospel hymn written by the Philadelphia minister Charles Albert Tindley in 1905. His hymn became popular in churches throughout the American South and was recorded by various gospel acts in the 1950s. The most popular adaptation was by The Staple Singers, who recorded it in 1955. It was this version that Ben E. King heard; he pushed The Drifters to record it, but the group’s manager rejected it.

Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller wrote the song based off the old hymn.

This was on John Lennon’s Rock and Roll album (made up of entirely covers of mostly 50s Rock and Roll). This version peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100 in 1975 for John…and at #4 in 1961 for Ben E. King.

Ben E King:  “David Ruffin from the Temptations did a great version of it. And, of course, the one that held up in my head the most was John Lennon’s version. He took it and made it as if it should have been his song as opposed to mine.

From Songfacts

Ben E. King recorded this shortly after leaving The Drifters in 1960. It gave him a solid reputation as a solo artist.

After leaving The Drifters, King auditioned for the wildly successful songwriting/production team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, singing a few popular songs before doing what he had of “Stand By Me,” which was just a few lines of lyrics with some humming to fill in the words. He agreed to collaborate on the song with Leiber and Stoller, who gave it a more contemporary sound and polished it into a hit. The bassline at the beginning was Stoller’s idea.

The song was credited as being written by Leiber, Stoller and King. Charles Albert Tindley, who composed the original hymn, was left off the composer credits as his work had been sufficiently transformed. This wasn’t the first time Tindley was omitted from the credits of a song he originated: he also wrote “I’ll Overcome Someday,” which eventually became “We Shall Overcome.”

In an interview with the TV station WGBH, Jerry Leiber explained: “Ben E. is not a songwriter, he’s a singer, he might have written two songs in his whole career. I would guess that this comes out of church. The whole ‘stand by me’ and the way the release takes out, it sounds like a gospel-type song.”

This was used in the 1986 movie of the same name starring River Phoenix. The film was based on a short novel by Stephen King called The Body, but that title was a little to gruesome for a movie hoping to appeal to a wide audience.

Rob Reiner, who directed the film, met the song’s co-writter Mike Stoller at a party, and convinced him to play some of his classic songs on a piano while Reiner sang along. Months later, Reiner got the idea to use “Stand By Me” as the title and incorporate it into the movie when he heard the song at his house. This played up the friendship of the young boys in the film and downplayed the role of the dead body they find, which was a good move at the box office. The movie was a hit and propelled the song back to the charts, introducing the track to a new generation.

When this was first released in 1960, it charted US #4 and UK #27. When it was re-released to coincide with the movie, it hit US #9 and UK #1. Now a hit with two generations, the song started showing up at weddings and other special occasions, becoming a timeless classic.

The movie Stand By Me is set in 1959 – a little before this song was released, but pretty close. When Rob Reiner asked to use the song, its composers Leiber and Stoller thought he would want to re-record it with a contemporary artist like Tina Turner, but Reiner wanted the original so it fit the era. It was surprising then when the song vaulted up the charts, since it was the exact same song released in 1961.

According to BMI, this was the fourth most-played track of the 20th Century on American radio and TV.

This song has made an astounding nine appearances on the US Hot 100, plus two more that “bubbled under.” Here’s the breakdown:

1961, #4 – Ben E. King
1964, #102 – Cassius Clay
1965, #75 – Earl Grant
1967, #12 – Spyder Turner
1970, #61 – David & Jimmy Ruffin
1975, #20 – John Lennon
1980, #22 – Mickey Gilley
1985, #50 – Maurice White
1986, #9 – Ben E. King (re-release)
1998, #82 – 4 The Cause
2010, #109 – Prince Royce

Sean Kingston sampled this on his 2007 hit “Beautiful Girls.” Other songs that have used pieces of “Stand By Me” include “A Little Bit of Soap” by De La Soul (1989), “My Darlin'” by Miley Cyrus feat. Future (2013), and “Marvin Gaye” by Charlie Puth (2015).

Dionne Warwick sang backup on this song as part of a trio known as The Gospelaires. Soon after, songwriter Burt Bacharach helped Warwick launch a successful solo career. 

This was not released on an album until it had been out as a single for two years.

Cassius Clay (who would later change his name to Muhammad Ali) recorded this in 1963 on an album called I Am The Greatest!. In 1964, when he beat Sonny Liston to become the heavyweight boxing champ, Clay’s version of “Stand By Me” was released as a single, with his spoken-boast song called “I Am The Greatest” as the flip side. The single made the Billboard charts, bubbling under at #102 on the Hot 100.

During an interview with Spinner UK,  Now there’s a [Dominican] singer named Prince [Royce] – he has a version out there that I think is brilliant. And then there’s Sean Kingston, with ‘Beautiful Girls’ [chuckles] – that’s another one that did well. So many of them have done well. As a songwriter, it pleases me a lot – you don’t always have a chance to write a song that people can relate to.”

The Bachata singer Prince Royce released a cover of this song (with mostly Spanish lyrics) in 2010 as his first single. Royce had been selling cell phones in New York City when he started shopping his demo CD around. When he got little reaction to the songs he wrote, he decided to record one that was familiar, and he chose “Stand By Me” because it was one of his favorite songs. The ploy worked, as it garnered attention and jumpstarted his career.

Florence + The Machine covered the song for Final Fantasy XV. Her version features in the video game’s trailer. “I’ve always seen Final Fantasy as mythical, beautiful and epic,” Florence Welch said. “‘Stand By Me’ is one of the greatest songs probably of all time and you can’t really improve on it, you just have to make it your own. For me it was just about bringing the song into the world of Florence + The Machine and the world of Final Fantasy.”

In England, this was used in commercials for Levi’s jeans in 1987 before the movie was released there. The exposure helped lift the song to #1 UK. “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge, used in the same group of Levi’s ads, went to #2 at the same time.

Budweiser used a version of this song by Skylar Grey in a commercial that aired during the 2018 Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. The spot shows the beermaker’s plant in Cartersville, Georgia transforming to process water as part of disaster relief efforts in the wake of hurricanes and wildfires.

This has been played at countless weddings, but none more prominent than the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018. Before exchanging their vows in Windsor Castle, Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir performed a stirring gospel rendition of the song, which was chosen by the couple.

An ambient version by the artist Bootstraps (Jordan Beckett) got the attention of music supervisors and landed a number of placements, including the Power Rangers movie (2017) and episodes of MacGyver, Lethal Weapon and Hawaii Five-0.

Bootstraps included the song on his 2016 album Homage at the last minute. In a Songfacts interview, he explained why it works so well in visual media. “A lot of my songs that have done really well in the sync world are pretty linear – they don’t have these big, huge chorus hits,” he said. “‘Stand By Me,’ which has hands down been the biggest sync song I’ve done, has no kick drum. It has a lot of atmospherics, and the chorus is kind of slowly growing into a swell. So it’s really good for an editor, and that’s just the pragmatics of TV and film.”

 

Stand By Me

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won’t be afraid
No I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Whenever you’re in trouble won’t you stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Oh, stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Darling, darling stand by me
Stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Rock and Roll…Quotes

Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones.
John Lennon

The world used us as an excuse to go mad.
George Harrison

I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird.
Paul McCartney

America: It’s like Britain, only with buttons.
Ringo Starr

I’m still the best Keith Moon-style drummer in the world.
Keith Moon

I’ve never had a problem with drugs. I’ve had problems with the police.
Keith Richards

A kid once said to me “Do you get hangovers?” I said, “To get hangovers you have to stop drinking.
Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister of Motorhead

Rock ‘n’ Roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them
Pete Townshend

I was Marilyn Manson – times 10.
Alice Cooper

In the end you become part of everything you hate, basically.
Ray Davies

I’d rather be dead than singing “Satisfaction” when I’m forty-five.
Mick Jagger

The thing about my music is, there really is no point.
Neil Young

No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.
Bob Dylan

If there’s one thing I know about music theory, it’s that if you don’t believe the singer, you won’t believe the song.
Tom Petty

Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight.
Johnny Cash

I am the innovator. I am the originator. I am the emancipator. I am the architect of rock ‘n’ roll!
Little Richard

I grew up thinking art was pictures until I got into music and found I was an artist and didn’t paint.
Chuck Berry

I’m one of those regular weird people.
Janis Joplin

I sing to the realists. People who accept it like it is
Aretha Franklin

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.
David Bowie

Music was my way of keeping people from looking through and around me. I wanted the heavies to know I was around.
Bruce Springsteen

I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.
Jimi Hendrix

We lived the life with Keith Moon. It was all Spinal Tap magnified a thousand times.
Roger Daltrey

John Lennon – Rock and Roll Album

This album originated because of a lawsuit against John Lennon. On ‘Come Together’, John sings, “Here come old flattop”, a line that was originally in Chuck Berry’s 1956 hit, ‘You Can’t Catch Me’. When it was used, music publisher Morris Levy filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against John.

To settle out of court John agreed to cover three songs that Morris Levy had publishing rights on. John started to work on this when he separated from Yoko in the early seventies. John picked songs that influenced him before the Beatles.

Phil Spector agreed to produce the album and the album started in October of 1973.  The sessions dragged on. Phil Spector, as he often does, acted erratically during the sessions which included shooting a gun through the studio ceiling… Phil then disappeared with the tapes. Lennon could not get the tapes back. After that Spector was involved in a car wreck in March of 74 and was in a coma.

This should have been an easy thing to do… record some covers right? No, John couldn’t get the tapes back so he started on an album of mostly original material called Walls and Bridges which would include the #1 hit “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night.” He would come back to the covers album afterward.

Now Lennon was getting sued by Levy because Levy already expected the Rock and Roll album to be out. Lennon explained what was going on and John did record one of the three songs on Walls and Bridges called Ya Ya with his son Julian.

John finally got the tapes back from Spector and started the album with the same musicians. He gave Levy some demos to show him the progress that was being made…Levy turns around and has the demos pressed and released them as a record called “Roots: John Lennon Sings the Great Rock & Roll Hits.” They were sold on TV for 3 days before EMI filed an injunction and stopped the record.

Lennon_Roots.jpg

Lennon then finished the real album in 5 days with John himself producing. It was released in February 1975. Only four songs are used on the album that was produced with Spector. I will say this about the record. This isn’t just some star singing old hits…you can tell John loved the songs and treated all of them with reverence.

The album made it to #6 in the Billboard 200, #6 in the UK, and #5 in Canada. Stand By Me made it to #20 in the Billboard 100. John Lennon did not make another album until Double Fantasy in 1980.

The cover features a young John Lennon while in Hamburg.

I’m taking nothing away from the Ben E King’s version of Stand By Me because I love it… but for me, this is my go-to version. Lennon’s voice cuts through the song like a knife.

Rock Music… Where have you gone?

Rock Music… Why is it not breaking through to the mainstream anymore? Yes, there are a lot of good bands out there…just check on Youtube and you will find many that are really good and some great. That is the problem though…you should not have to search them out. Mainstream rock stations will not play them…they play classic rock (which I love for the most part) but artists today have a bleak way of life. The only way they make real money is to tour and tour and tour. Since downloading began they are left with ticket sales. There are college radio stations and less powerful stations that play new rock but they are not prevalent.

The older rock stars really made the money… album, tours, 8 Track, cassette, CD, and some download sales. Today’s artist has downloads on Itunes and CD’s that sell at concerts Some are releasing vinyl which is on the rise and that is cool. My son is 20 and he likes some new acts like Jake Bugg, Foster the People and The Black Keys. But for the most part though it’s the Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Band etc…

I don’t think people take music as seriously as before because there are so many other options to do. When an album came out we would rush to the record store (Cats, Port 0 Call, Tower or Columbia House) and study the album’s artwork and liner notes. Music was a big part of a teenager’s life in the 60’s through the 90’s…. With me, I bought a lot of older albums but I would get new ones also. Bands that came to town were announced on the radio and also posters on telephone poles everywhere. It was hard to miss a band or artist coming. We would line up and wait for tickets. I can’t say that I miss that part but I do in a way.

I appreciated the concert more because of the effort and the long wait times. We would all talk…all strangers while waiting in line on how much we liked the artist we were getting tickets for…. Talking face to face and not on a phone or in a chat room…a different feel altogether for all of us kindred souls. It was not a concert…it was an event. An event that you planned for weeks or months to attend and get excited about. After the concert, we would wear our concert shirts…bootleg or otherwise like a badge of honor.

The music scene now is fractured into smithereens. Everyone is put in a box. The rock station I grew up with would play a new song, old song, and even new songs by older artists. Now it’s divided up and if you listen to one you don’t hear the other.

We would go to school arguing over rock groups and music in general…. like The Kinks “You Really Got Me” or Van Halen‘s cover of the song. New Wave vs Rock… Heavy Metal vs just rock n roll. They were all fun arguments with all of us liking some of both.

Yes, some weak music appeared in the 60-90s as in every decade but no one took music from The Partridge Family etc… seriously. Now boy bands or “divas” are embraced with corporate driven muzak. Record companies want a sure thing and will not try anything new….just the proven formula. Why can’t they put muscle behind more talented rock bands? I would like to see a revival of rock bands that you don’t have to search for on the internet.

In high school, there were a lot of bands. The group I was in played more straight rock and roll but we had bands that played heavy metal to punk. Today in that school…no bands exist. We would play in the gym for the entire school and the theater. During the time in high school (sneaking into bars that would let us play being underage on weekends). After we graduated from high school we would play bars and clubs. It was fun, exciting and we made a little money doing something we loved. The customers which included bikers were always great to us because they wanted entertainment. If anyone tried to mess with us they are surrounded by bikers who loved their rock and roll…thank goodness.

Rock music may remain underground but I hope not…

keith Richards.jpg