Archive for February, 2012

    

Billboard.com

In memory of Davy Jones, here are 10 cool facts about his life.

1. The Monkees: David Thomas “Davy” Jones was a member of The Monkees and sang lead vocals on many of The Monkees’ recordings.

2. The Ed Sullivan ShowThe same night that The Beatles played on The Ed Sullivan Show, Davy Jones performed with the Broadway cast of Oliver! on Feb. 9, 1964.

3. 1967 Success: In 1967, The Monkees sold more albums than The Beatles and the Rolling Stones put together.

4. Auditions: Guitarist Stephen Stills originally auditioned for The Monkees but couldn’t come to an agreement with the show’s producers.

5. “I’m a Believer”: Many songs by The Monkees have been covered by famous bands like Coldplay and Weezer.

6. The Brady BunchDavy Jones guest-starred as himself on The Brady Bunch in the episode “Getting Davy Jones”. Soon after the airing of this episode, Davy Jones became a teen heartthrob and was named the #1 teen idol of all time in 2008 by Yahoo Music.

7. Hendrix: Jimi Hendrix opened up for The Monkees on their 1967 tour.

8. David Bowie: David Bowie was actually born David Jones but changed it as to not confuse himself with Davy Jones

9. His Voice: Davy Jones’ voice has been used in Spongebob Squarepants, Phineas and Ferb, and Scooby Doo.

10. A Job Before The Monkees: Before Davy Jones was a part of The Monkees, he was temporarily a jockey and won his first race in England on his prized  horse, Digpast.

Do you remember Davy Jones? What were some of your memories? Comment Below!

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U2

Lately, I’ve gotten so used to firing up the ol’ turntable that it’s started to feel like old hat. Today, however, I had a new record of choice, aside from my Dad’s seemingly endless collection. One of my best friends, Adam, lent me an album of his: “Rattle and Hum” by U2. Adam is a guitarist and is into the Classic Rock scene just as much as I am. You can find his music here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adam-Betters/240965849325093. This album was a double record, meaning it contained two separate disks. I was excited to listen to an album that my friend had presented to me and see if I liked it as much as he did.

As I mentioned before, I am now very used to setting up the turntable and its getting to be a bit repetitive for me. However, once I start to hear the music come from that spinning saucer of sound, I feel the warmth that listening to vinyl brings and it is all worth the while. The first song I listened to was, surprisingly, a cover of “Helter Skelter” by The Beatles. Although “Helter Skelter” is not one of my favorite Beatles’ songs, I was overjoyed to hear a familiar tune played in a new and different way. As I started to get into the groove of U2’s music, another one of my favorites came along. The song was “All Along The Watchtower” by Bob Dylan. This song was great already but U2 turned it from a folk rock kind of sound to more of a classic rock style that I enjoyed even more. This album was really fun to listen to and has made me want to listen to even more of U2’s work. I especially enjoyed the songs “Desire”, “God Part II” and “Hawkmoon 269”.

Released in 1988, “Rattle and Hum” was U2’s sixth studio album and included elements of blues-rock, folk rock, and gospel. The album was intended to represent the band paying tribute to rock legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Bo Diddley, and Billie Holiday. This album was highly successful, reaching the number one spot in several countries and selling 14 million copies.

What are your favorite records to listen to? Do you get a warm feeling when you listen to records? Comment Below!

sodahead.com

Today, I decided to change things up from the usual record review that I usually do. Unlike my normal album analysis, I decided to tell you about my top ten favorite classic rock artists of all time.

1. The Beatles: As I have mentioned before, I am a big Beatles fanatic. I love their distinct sound and how you can recognize a Beatles song within the first few seconds of the song. “All you need is love”

2. Grateful Dead: My parents were pretty big Dead Heads when they were younger so my Dad has lots of records by the Grateful Dead. One thing I like about their music is how they would have a different set list for each show. I also love the way that they have super long jam sessions during their songs. You can really tell they loved what they did.”Come hear Uncle John’s Band by the riverside”

3. CSNY: One of the best super-groups of all time, CSNY is made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young. Their trademark has to be their amazing vocal harmonies in songs such as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”. With some of my favorite artists in one musical group, this band is awesome! “I am yours, you are mine; You are what you are”

4. Led Zeppelin: Most famous for their hit “Stairway to Heaven” but also for their amazing guitar licks and stage presence. I find it amazing that they were able to write one of the best songs of all time, as well as many other hits such as “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love” “There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold; And she’s buying a stairway to heaven”

5. The Rolling Stones: As part of the British Invasion, The Rolling Stones had a string of eight consecutive studio albums reaching number one in the United States. Frontman Mick Jagger’s distinctive voice and performance and Keith Richards’ guitar style became The Rolling Stone’s trademark throughout their career. “I know it’s only rock and roll but I like it”

6. Pink Floyd: As one of the most commercially successful and influential rock music groups of all time, Pink Floyd is known for their Psychedelic Rock music and philosophical lyrics. We’re just two lost soulsSwimming in a fish bowl”

7. Aerosmith: Sometimes referred to as  “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”, Aerosmith’s style was rooted in blues-based hard rock and has  inspired many subsequent rock artists. I am particularly fond of one of their most famous songs “Dream On”, was their best charting single of the 1970s. “Dream on, dream on, dream on; dream until your dreams come true”

8. Santana: Founded by Mexican Rock guitarist Carlos Santana, this band helped to pioneer rock, salsa and jazz fusion. I really like how Santana includes Latin American instruments such as congas which are not usually heard in rock songs. I especially like their songs “Oye Como Va” and “Smooth”. “You got the kind of lovin’ that can be so smooth; Gimme your heart, make it real, or else forget about it”

9. Eagles: The Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s and had one of the best selling albums of all time with their album “Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)” which sold over 40 million copies. I love their hits “Hotel California” and “Take it Easy”. “Welcome to the Hotel California”

10. Nirvana: Nirvana found unexpected success from their hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” off of their first album “Nevermind”. This album widely popularized their band, as well as alternative rock as a whole. “I feel stupid and contagious; Here we are now, entertain us”

What are your favorite bands? How do they compare to mine? Comment below and share your story.

Yes

Today, I decided to listen to The Yes Album by Yes. I decided to listen to this record because my Dad always reminds me when this band comes on the radio. He always asks me if I know which band is playing and I calmly reply “Yes”. “Who is it then?” he replies. “Yes!” I say. This goes on for a while until I finally give up. However, despite the fact that this corny joke comes up every time I listen to Yes, I was still interested in what their music was like.

As I placed the needle upon the record, I was soon joined by the sounds of drums and guitar, accompanied by the crunchy organ. This first song, “Yours Is No Disgrace”, seemed to go on forever and, by the standards of my generation, it did. The song was about ten minutes long! Nowadays, a song that is three minutes is considered a long song, but when this song was released it was pretty common. After I had finished this song and a few more, “Starship Trooper” began to play. I heard many poetic metaphors in this song, as well as the lyric written in the title. I, myself, am a poet and a songwriter so I am always excited to hear poetic lyrics and rhymes I hadn’t heard before.

Released in February 0f 1971, “The Yes Album” was the third studio album released by Yes. Not to be confused with their first album, “Yes”, this was one of the first albums that used a flanger to create a spacey electronic sound. This sound was used on the song “Starship Trooper. Upon its release, this record went platinum and peaked at #4 on the UK Albums Chart.

Learn How To Use a Turntable

Posted: February 23, 2012 in Music
Tags: , , , , ,

 

For most people of my generation, a turntable is just an antique. For those  who would like to someday have their own vinyl experience, I will teach you how to use a turntable and take care of records.

1. Try not to get fingerprints on the surface of the record: Unlike a CD, there is music on both sides of a record. And unlike an mp3, you can pick it up and handle it! It is safe to hold the record by its edges. To hold it in one hand, place one finger in the hole in the center of the record and your thumb around the edge.

2. Place the record on the turntable: After choosing which side you wish to listen to, place that side face up on the turntable.

3. Clean the record: You should always wipe the record clean before playing to remove any stray fingerprints or dust. This will help the record to play more smoothly and sound better. Next, press the “cueing” button on the turntable and move the needle towards the record and let it hover above. This will cause the record to start spinning. Gently hold the cleaning brush on the record in the same direction as the grooves.

4. Check the needle for dust: If dust is on the needle, the record will not sound right.

5. Gently place the needle on the record: Visually determine where the music starts for the song you wish to listen to. The beginning track is towards the outer edge of the record and each succeeding song is closer to the center. Press the “cueing” button once again to allow the needle to drop.

6. Listen and enjoy your record!

P.S. Be prepared to flip your record after 20-22 minutes.

Neil Young

As I looked through the records upon the shelf once again, I decided to choose an album by the godfather of grunge himself, Neil Young. I decided to listen to the album “Harvest” because I had heard that it was a classic. According to my Dad, this album was such a big mainstream hit that soon after, Neil became a recluse and wrote several dark and intense records in a row. I was excited to hear the music that was popular in the ’70s.

As I watched the record spin round and round upon the turntable and listened to the record start to play, old memories suddenly flashed before my eyes. I remembered listening to these songs when I was younger, back when my Dad used to play these records more often. Just hearing the melodies and rhythms brought me back to a time of the past, a time when records and tape cassettes were still commonly used. Even though I may only be sixteen years old, I too remember these days.

Released February 14, 1972, this album’s 40th anniversary was just last week. This album topped the Billboard 200 album chart and included the two hit singles “Old Man” (#31) and “Heart of Gold” (#1). With the guest vocals of David Crosby, Graham Nash, Linda Ronstadt, Stephen Stills, and James Taylor, this album was the best selling album of 1972.

Have you ever been listening to a song and had a flashback moment? Comment below and tell me your story.

Santa Barbara, CAColdplay

This weekend I decided to go to another record store and browse some new music. I decided to go to Just Play Music, another one of the only record stores in Santa Barbara and one of my favorites. With a large variety of musical merchandise (records, CDs, posters, T-shirts), Just Play Music is the perfect place to go when looking for some new songs to swim around in that melodic mind of yours. You can find Just Play Music’s contact information here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/just-play-music-santa-barbara. As I scanned the wide selection of records, I noticed the diversity of the albums in each row. There were albums from artists of my parents’ generation, such as Led Zeppelin and Neil Young, as well as more recent artists, like Adele and Coldplay. I was particularly interested in the Coldplay albums since Coldplay is one of my favorite bands. I have started to notice many new artists releasing vinyl records and I think it’s terrific. I’ve loved listening to Coldplay on my iPod so I was excited to experience the vinyl perspective of their music. I decided to buy Coldplay’s most recent album “Mylo Xyloto” because I had heard it was amazing.

As I placed the needle upon the newly spun record, my ears were first met with the sounds of a string orchestra. The sounds gave a sense of suspense and began to increase in speed and volume. Suddenly, the harmonious strings were joined by the renowned rhythm  of the drums. The rest of the album included the toe-tapping, finger-snapping, hand-clapping kind of music Coldplay is so famously known for creating, met with the vocal melodies and lilting lyrics of just as much fame.

Released October 24, 2011, “Mylo Xyloto” was Coldplay’s fifth album and was the best selling rock album in the UK, as well as at the top of the charts across the globe. Leading with its hit singles “Paradise” and “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”, this was Coldplay’s fifth album to debut at number one making Coldplay the third group to accomplish this feat behind The Beatles and Oasis.

Comment below and tell me what your thoughts are on vinyl records. What do you think is better: mp3 or vinyl?