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Monday, February 28, 2011

Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)

In the history of rock and pop, there are watershed moments that one can look back on and say, "this was important". That also happened in year long blocks as well...stretches of time that a series of events occurred that shaped history. 1970 was one of those years, where between break-ups and death, the face of music
changed forever. It was not a surprise that Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were having problems and were going in totally different directions artistically. They had split once already when the song "Sounds of Silence" had been remastered and shot up the charts. This time it was evident that the end was near. Am not sure if these things were on his mind as Simon wrote these words, but nevertheless, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" became one of the biggest sellers of the decade and has become one greatest songs of the Rock/Pop era. Interestingly enough, Paul and Art both have commented that thought the vocals suited Simon's voice much better. For my money....I'm glad it turned out the way it did....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A note to fans of the blog....

First of all, to those who frequent the blog from all over the world,  thank you! After almost two months it has grown in a way that was hard to imagine at the first of the year, and all of you has made this possible.

I do have a favor to ask, if you are a regular reader to the blog, could you either follow us with google connect or friend us on our facebook page. It would certainly be a pleasure to know who you are, and we would like to grow as an "Omnibus" family. Or if you don't feel comfortable with, just drop me a note at and let me know that you are reading....Thanks!!

Sunday Morning Vault: Bill Amesbury--Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do) (1974

Bill Amesbury was a Canadian singer/songwriter who had quite a bit of success in his home country in the 70's. His only hit here in the states was a very catchy song called, "Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do)" which reached #59 in early late winter/early spring of 1974. It is most noted now for being the first release on Casablanca Records.  Due to sex reassignment surgery in the 80's,  Bill is now Barbra and still lives and works in Canada as a film maker. Have a great Sunday everyone.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Eagles: New Kid In Town (1977)

On this day in 1977, The Eagles hit No. 1 with this song. It was the first single off of the massive selling, "Hotel California"....enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Elvis Presley: I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1956)

On this day in 1956 Elvis celebrated his first major hit when, "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" hit #1 on the Billboard Country & Western charts. Of course, most people "forgot" this song, when a week later, "Heartbreak Hotel" made it's debut on the pop charts...and well... you know the rest.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Roberta Flack: Killing Me Softly With His Song (1973)

Today in 1973, Roberta Flack reached No.1 with "Killing Me Softly With His Song"

In Billboard Magazine dated June 22, 1974 (p. 53), writer Norman Gimbel explains the genesis of this song:

"I came to California in the mid-sixties. I was introduced to the Argentinean born composer named Lalo Shifrin (then of Mission Impossible fame). I ended up writing songs to a number of his motion pictures. I suggested we write a Broadway Musical together. He gave me an Argentinean novel translated into English from the Spanish to read as a possible idea. Suffice it to say, we never made a musical from the book -- but in one of the chapters, the principal character describes himself as sitting alone in a bar drinking and listening to an American pianist "Killing me softly with his blues". I put it in my "idea" book for use at a future time with a parenthesis around the word "blues" and substituted the word "song" instead. Many years later, Lori Lieberman saw Don McLean in concert. I then wrote the lyric and gave it to Charles Fox to set to music."

What he doesn't explain fully is that Lori saw Don McLean in concert and deeply moved emotionally. She described those feelings to Gimbel who put those ideas into words. There are some variances to this story (see, but in short, Lori Lieberman recorded the song in 1971 and then Roberta Flack covered it in 1973 and took it to #1. The Fugees also covered it and had a #2 hit in 1996....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ed Ames: My Cup Runneth Over (1967)

Ed Ames has had a long and varied career. His had great chart success during the 50's with The Ames Brothers. After the break up of the quartet in 1960, he took up acting and was in several on and off Broadway productions. This led him to a role as the Native American Mingo on the TV show Daniel Boone, which was interesting since his background was Ukrainian.   (The clip is in Spanish...but you get the drift..)
After TV he went back to music as a solo artist and had several hits including this one, which was his highest charting song (#8--1967). Here's Ed Ames with "My Cup Runneth Over"

Happy Birthday Rusty Young from Poco...

The bus wants to say happy 65th birthday to Rusty Young who plays pedal steel for the country-rock group Poco. Let's celebrate by listening to one of his compositions, "Rose of Cimarron"....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Praise of: America

When growing up in the 70's it was cool for those of us in the hip "FM" crowd to put down groups like America. The lyrics didn't make a lot of sense (this coming from a progressive rock fan!), and the music just didn't ROCK. The truth was, I was a closet soft rock fan, and my ability to write music for that genre far exceeds my abilities to ROCK whatever that meant anyway. America crafted songs that were catchy and the lyrical imagery kept you off guard just enough to be interesting. We're gonna listen to several songs this morning including one off of their latest studio album, "Here and Now" (2007) which is as good as anything they did in the 70's.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Looking at 1954 (Pt. 3)

On tonight's blog, we are going to look at several different early TV shows and an ad or two....

Ambrosia: Holdin' On To Yesterday (1975)

One of my confessions musically is a real love for 70's era progressive rock. Groups like King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes were a regular part of my playlist. Like other sub-genres of Rock, it had a few years of true popularity before falling back to cult status. There were a hand full of groups however in that decade that were successful in merging progressive rock ideas to pop forms. Ambrosia was one of these groups. Listen especially to their debut album, and you could hear that merging done about as perfectly as it could be done. Musical forms that were not totally prog, but denser, musically and lyrically than your normal pop song. Even during the late 70's when they hit the charts with more poppier fare, the sophistication of the music couldn't be denied. They disbanded in 84, but have reformed and sound as good as ever.   Here is my favorite of their singles, from 1975....

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Amboy Dukes: Journey to the Center of The Mind (1968)

In the late 60's, there were more than a few groups who experimented with lyrical content that was psychedelic in nature. Looking at it 40 years later much of that content was nonsensical, however several of those groups had one song that far exceeded the rest of their output..The Amboy Dukes were out of Detroit and had a very fervent following in the Motor City, but could only make that leap to the national charts one time. One thing this group had going for it that none of the others had was Ted Nugent. Yep boys and girls, if you didn't know this already, Uncle Teddy cut his teeth with the Amboy Dukes and took them musically from your common regional garage band to something with a bit more substance. This was the only hit they had, and by 1973 Ted was the undisputed leader and the sound became much more of what you would hear from him by the late 70's. This is a clip from 1968...enjoy your Friday...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nancy Sinatra: These Boots Are Made For Walking (1966)

It must be very difficult to attempt a career in which your parent became one of the best of all time. However, Nancy Sinatra had success doing just that. Her "big" years were 66-68, but recorded up until the mid-70's and also some in the early 80's. The breakout hit, and her signature song is the one your going to see here, but she had several top tens like, "Somethin' Stupid", a duet with her dad, "Sugar Town", and "How Does That Grab You, Darlin?". Enjoy your day......

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Looking at 1954 (Pt. 2)

We continue to look at some of the happenings of 1954 (via You Tube). Remember that the Rock and Roll Omnibus hosts "The History of Rock and Pop" at 3pm, 10pm, and 6am and this weeks show focuses on the first quarter of that great year. So....let's get started.

First up we have our fashion segment featuring the ladies tonight....just absolutely fetching....
Before our feature film tonight....let's look at a trailer for future attractions....
Our feature film for the evening stars Gale Storm (gotta love the name) and her family as Chevy sponsors our movie, "How to Go Places". This riveting film tells about the do and don't of travel in a Chevy...either this will bring back memories (good or bad depending on the viewer), or just make you laugh out loud...or both.
We'll finish off with a hit  from Frank Sinatra.....good night all!

In Praise of: Herb Alpert

Believe it or not, there was a time in the mid 60's that one could not go anywhere without hearing Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. They certainly were not The Beatles in regards to record sales, although they did very well. Even if you can't remember the titles, any of the songs off of, "Whipped Cream and Other Delights", or "Going Places" will be recognizable. So instead of doing a bio, I thought it would be more fun to list some facts that you might not know about him.

1. Because of the flavor of the music, it has been assumed by many that Alpert was Mexican by heritage. In fact, Alpert was Jewish of Russian/Romanian ancestry.  He was born in LA and in the early 50's played trumpet in the USC Trojan Band.

 2. In 1957, he teamed up with Rob Weerts to write several hits of the era, including, "Baby Talk", by Jan and Dean, "Alley-Oop" by The Hollywood Argyles, and "Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke.

 3. In a day where it is common for a musician to dabble in business pursuits, Alpert teamed up with Jerry Moss to form Carnival Records in 1962. When another label was found with the same name, it was changed to A&M records. A very lucrative business, it was sold to PolyGram records in 1987 for a reported 500 million dollars.

  4. Part of the reason why the music could be found everywhere was Alpert's shrewd business sense about his own brand. Several of the songs off of the "Whipped Cream" album was featured on ABC's "The Dating Game" The Clark chewing gum company also used, "The Mexican Shuffle" in the ads for Teaberry Gum. We see some of the examples here....

5. He was the only person in the history of the charts to have an instrumental AND vocal song represented during the same time period. The vocal was the first of 3 No.1's that Albert recorded. "This Guy's In Love With You"
6. Alpert spends much of his time now as an abstract expressionist painter, however still breaks out the horn from time to time. His wife Lani Hall recorded a fine jazz album, "Anything Goes" on Concord Records.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Looking at 1954 (Pt. 1)

This week on "The History of Rock and Pop" is looking at the first quarter of 1954. In honor of that, thanks to You Tube, we'll see what went on during that year in news and culture. You can hear the radio show on Live365 at 3pm, 10pm, and 6am Central Time US. Hope you like this feature....

1. First let's take a look at what men were wearing that year....

2. If you and your gal want to take in a movie at the local drive-in...we have just the double feature for you.....

3. Before we leave you this evening, a musical interlude..brought to you by Mario Lanza
We'll post some more tomorrow......please check out the radio show and hear more from early 1954 on "The History of Rock and Pop" the Bus!!

Was she as good as Aretha for a night?

On this date in 1969, hairdresser Vickie Jones was arrested for fraud in Flordia. It seems that one evening at a club in Fort Myers, Ms. Jones got on stage and for an entire concert made like she was Aretha Franklin! Can't find any information on this gig, but the great thing about it was that no one in the club asked for a refund. Now, the only thing I can figure out is that, a). She was so good that all the patrons were satisfied or b). they were so drunk/stoned/horny, there weren't paying enough attention to notice this wasn't the queen of soul. Either way, it makes for a great story......and since you came in to read this, we'll leave you with a bit of Aretha from 1969.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day: The Beatles--All You Need Is Love (1968)

Nothing much else to say today....but do something for the special someone today....Happy Valentine's Day.

Valentines Day: Janis Ian--At Seventeen (1975)

Some of you might be saying, "What's up with this?". There is a sweet story that goes along with today's theme and this song....

There is a lyric in the song goes:

I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew

Those who remember the entire song know it as a lament about the loneliness of being a teenager who isn't one of the "special" ones. I always found it a bit depressing, but not being a popular guy in school, the ideas were not lost on my 15 year old brain. 

However, the cool part of this story was that on Valentines Day the next year, she received 461 Valentines Day cards, just goes to show people do pay attention to lyrics. Janis has gone on to have a successful recording and writing career here and around the world. So for Janis, and all of the rest of you out there....have a wonderful Valentines Day

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Morning Vault: Airwaves (1978)

Airwaves was a short lived group from Wales consisting of Ray Martinez (vocals, guitar), John David (bass), and Dave Charles (drums). "So Hard Livin' Without You" was a moderate hit in the summer of 1978...enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Miracles--Shop Around (1961)

On this day 50 years ago, The Miracles with Smokey Robinson had Motown's first million seller....check it out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Gene Vincent.....

Happy Birthday Gene Vincent, who would have been 76 today.......

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Forgotten Artist: Arthur Alexander

Arthur Alexander is one of the many examples of someone who had the musical skills to make it, but through mismanagement and just plain bad luck never achieved the success due him. He wrote songs that were covered by many artists such as The Beatles, Stones, Hollies, but basically sold the rights to his songs without realizing the consequences. (Many artists in the 50's an 60's suffered the same fate). His abilities vocally were such that his first major record company really had no idea what to do with him and so attempted to peg him as a pop star. On listening to his material now, it's easy to see that he was a master at the R&B ballad that had a solid country feel to it. Am not sure what the guys at Dot Records were thinking, but he never truly was given the chance to show his best with a major label. (However, check out ALL of his material on Judd Records)

In the mid 70's he finally tired of it all and went to driving a bus which is what he did until the early 90's when he made a very solid comeback album, "Lonely Like Me". He signed a recording/publishing contract in May of 93 and put together a new band. It seemed as if he was finally being recognized for his songwriting/vocal abilities. Before it could really get started however, he died in June of that year of a heart attack, being just 53.

It's very difficult to pick just three out of his songbook, the quality of his work was that strong. The first one is his first recorded single. "Sally Sue Brown". It is listed under "June" (as in Junior) is a very strong debut and it's easy to see what the folks at Dot could envision.
The next song is "You Better Move On", which was his highest charting hit (#24-US pop) in the spring of 1962. Artists from The Beatles, to George Jones covered this one.

He only had four songs that charted, three of them in 1962. In a last attempt for success he signed with Buddah records and recorded, "Every Day I Have To Cry Some" which reached #45 in the fall of 1975.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Love Unlimited Orchestra--Love's Theme (1974)

This blog becomes not only a place to share memories/ideas/information, but opinions and even confessions. This post falls into the latter category. I am not a fan of music invented for the sole purpose of dancing. Maybe it's my fundamentalist Christian background, or more likely the fact that I have no sense of rhythm from the waist down. However, I dig Barry White. His voice, the music, the persona is so over the top and so late-70's that  criticism is difficult....especially while getting into the music. Besides there are probably few people in rock/pop history to claim that his songs became the background music to the siring of a generation's worth of children. In 1973 he put together the 40-piece "Love Unlimited Orchestra", mainly for backing this female trio, "Love Unlimited". He later put this idea to even better use for his own recordings in the mid to late 70's. Today in 1974, "Love's Theme" hit #1 in the US....this version is taken from "The Midnight Special".

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Afrique: Soul Makossa (1973)

In 1972, Cameroon born sax player Manu Dibango recorded Soul Makossa. A nice funky sounding instrumental, it became a hit for him in Europe. However, a snafu in copywriting the song left it up for grabs and at least 20 copies of the song were recorded within the next year attempting to cash in on the mistake. Afrique was a group of 13 R&B session players which included David Walker (guitar), Chuck Rainey (bass), and Charles Kynard (organ). They came together to record Soul Makossa and some other tasty funk/soul numbers. This was their only release which reached #47 in the summer of 1973.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Addrisi Brothers: We've Got To Get It On Again (1972)

Don (b. 1938) and Dick (b. 1941) Addrisi were born in Massachusetts and were part of the acrobatic group, The Flying Addrisis. They chose early on to forgo the family business and moved to California to pursue a career in music. As songwriters it was easy to see they adapted well to the musical surroundings. Their first hit, "Cherrystone" (1959) was in an Everly Brothers style. The late 60's/early 70's sound brought them bigger success having written, "Never My Love" for The Association and then the song we are to hear this morning. The biggest chart action was when they hopped on the disco wagon in 1977 and released, "Slow Dancin' Don't Turn Me On" ...Have a great Monday everyone....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Morning Vault: Johnny Adams (1978)

Johnny Adams, known for years as the "Tan Canary", is a living legend in New Orleans. Although not making a large dent on the charts, his strong voice with the distinctive falsetto has been entertaining folks for 50 years. He did a group of stellar albums for Rounder Records during the 80's and if you can find his singles, they are worth collecting as well. This was the last song that charted on the R&B for him in 1978 cover of the great Conway Twitty song, "After All The Good Is Gone". Hope you have a great Sunday and if your out traveling...please be careful.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Little Jazz for a Saturday featuring the Cannonball.

Just a little Saturday night Jazz from the great Cannonball Adderley and Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (1967, #11) written by Joe Zawinul......

Happy 70th to a great soul songwriter........

The Bus wants to wish Barrett Strong a happy 70th birthday today. He was the first person to score a hit for Motown in 1960 with, (Money) That's What I Want. However, his main contribution was as a going to play a few of my favorites in his honor.....everyone have a great Saturday!

Friday, February 4, 2011

In Praise of Sister Rosetta....

    Being a history geek (or any other kind of geek for that matter), we are constantly enamored by the small bits that we find in our searches. Sometimes it's just small fragments that illuminate a larger picture. Other times, we find things that have been out there but WE have not found it ourselves. Take Sister Rosetta Tharpe for instance. I had never heard of her until just a few months ago. It's not like her story has changed over the last 50 years either, but as opposed to her contemporary Mahalia Jackson, she has been largely forgotten. That's a shame, but looking at her body of work we see that she should rank in the same strata as those pre-rock performers who were a mighty force in rock's development.

     She made her name in gospel, and she never left the music or the faith that inspired it. However, during the 50's she experimented with "secular" music and was criticized by many in the church who were against playing in clubs AND churches. Overall however, the style and message of the music never changed. She took her gospel music message wherever she went. She was never quite a popular again as she was in the 40's.

     Secondly, and maybe more importantly, she was a guitar player, and a very good one as well. She was a pioneer of the electric guitar, and correctly or incorrectly I believe that she has not been given her due as a forerunner to Rock and Roll. I am not one to crusade about anything openly, however it seems as time and the R&R Hall of Fame has overlooked Sister Rosetta 

    Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard and Johnny and Roseanne Cash have all cited Sister Rosetta as a major or direct influence. A pretty impressive list, and as you will see in the next few videos, Chuck Berry could also list her as well. The first two of these were taken from the early/mid 60's when her career was making a bit of a comeback, especially in Europe. Notice not only the smoking guitar work, but her showmanship. On "Down By The Riverside" (my favorite You Tube video ever), you see moves that not only Chuck Berry developed, but many guitarists have used over the decades. The third is a clip from 1941, and even then you can see that her scope musically was going far beyond the confines of what we now consider gospel music. A true musical pioneer.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The first UK group to chart a #1 in the US (hint: it's not the Beatles)

Believe it or not, the Beatles were NOT the first UK band to chart in the US charts. Surprised? Just assumed this occurred during the British invasion. However the answer to our trivia today is The Tornados with "Telstar". There had been three occasions where Brits had been on the chart as solo acts. Vera Lynn in 1952, Laurie London in 1958 and Acker Bilk in 1962, however this was the first group so hear ya go and happy Thursday!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Day The Music Died (1959)

     It was the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa Feb 2, 1959. The Winter Dance Party featuring Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valens had been miserable. A colder than normal winter, a bus that had faulty heat and long overnight trips had made it very difficult. This night Holly decided to take action, so he chartered a plane to take them to Fargo, North Dakota, from there they could catch a flight to Moorhead, MN. They left under clear skies, but no one had briefed the pilot of an impending blizzard just miles ahead. The men hopped on the plane and around 12:30 on Feb. 3 they took off in the Beech Bonanza never to be seen alive again.....

   I consider there to be five pillars of the "Rock and Roll" era. Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly. By December of 1959 when Berry was arrested all five had either had major career setbacks, in the Army (in Elvis' case), or dead. For me this was when Rock and Roll went into a mode of expansion, but no true direction until the Beatles in 1964.

    Of the five mentioned, one could argue that Holly's music predated the  "Rock" era of the mid to late 60's more than any of the other four.  The song forms and production techniques that Holly mastered became the cornerstone of Rock groups for years. I would contend that his death effected Rock just about more then any other event in it's early years. 

    So today we remember "The Day The Music Died".....

Rainy Days and Neil Sedaka

When Neil Sedaka hit the charts in a big way again in the mid-70's, I thought he was old. Of course, being in my mid-teens it didn't occur to me that he was very young when hitting it big the first time. In my way of thinking, anyone who recorded before the Beatles HAD to be old. Neil came up in that bumper crop of pop songwriters out of New York City such as Carole King, Jerry Goffin, and Neil Diamond. Along with many others, he was swept away in Beatlemaina but continued to write for others. Artists such as Captain & Tennille and Elton John helped him back into prominence and he stayed there until the early 80's. My favorite song of his hit No. 1 today in 1975...."Laughter In The Rain"....He continues to perform and write at the age of 71.