Most of us know the situation in Northern Ireland has been tense for decades. That tension bubbled over into tragedy on January 30, 1972, when a group of unarmed civil rights activist, protesting Britain’s practice of imprisoning suspected Irish radicals without trial.
British troops opened fire on the crowd, killing 13. As you might expect, British investigators bought the soldiers’ claims of “self-defense” and exonerated them.
A little over 10 years later, the Irish rock band U2 wrote a song about it for their album War.
U2’s front man, Bono, claims the song is not meant to be partisan, just a simple plea for peace and calm.
BTW – In 2010, the British government finally accepted responsibility for the massacre, calling it “unjustifiable.”
A singer who landed 16 songs in the Top 40 and 4 in the Top 10… 22 songs in the British Top 40… a songwriter who penned Top 10 hits for 3 other artists… an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… yet he is almost forgotten today.
He is Gene Pitney.
Pitney was born in 1940 in Hartford, Connecticut. By high school he was singing with a local doo-wop group called the Embers. By 1959, he was recording with a young woman named Ginny Arnell under the name Jamie & Jane.
Pitney also started working as a songwriter and actually had his first success there, writing “He’s a Rebel” for Darlene Love & the Blossoms (recording as the Crystals), “Rubber Ball” for Bobby Vee and “Hello, Mary Lou” for Ricky Nelson.
And Decca passed on the chance to sign the Beatles - let that sink in...
More than anything, the Who craved success in America. Despite overwhelming success in their native England, the band had trouble selling records in the States. They had reached the American Top 10 with their singles “I Can See for Miles” and “Magic Bus,” but their album sales were abysmal with many of their early releases languishing in the cutout bins for a buck or two.
Concept albums had been all the rage since the release of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper LP. Yet the Who’s own concept album The Who Sell Out could get no higher than #48 on the Billboard LP chart. Clearly, the Who needed something more.
Then Pete Townsend had the brilliant idea to write a “rock opera.”
The Doors (1967)
Was there ever a debut album as brilliant as the Doors?
Recorded in the summer of 1966, released in January of 1967 and on almost every rock radio station and Baby Boomer’s turntable during the “Summer of Love,” the album spawned the monster hit “Light My Fire” and helped reshape the parameters of rock radio, killing the 45 single and paving the way for longer album cuts to finally start getting airplay.
There is not one wasted track on the album. Side 1 open with “Break on Through,” establishing the album’s goal. The energy continues unabated through the appropriately-titled last track, “The End.”
We’re all part of the great big rock & roll family, but today, let’s look at some of the actual brothers who have made up some of rock’s biggest acts...
Everly Brothers – Of course, Don and Phil
Beach Boys – 3 of the 5 founding members were the Wilson brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis
Jackson 5 – Last seen on their “Victory” tour after brother Michael really hit it big
Isley Brothers – With hits spanning multiple decades, these are the brothers who gave us “Twist & Shout” among so many more
Bee Gees – Which stands for “The Brothers Gibb
Allman Brothers Band – Duane and Gregg
Van Halen – Eddie and Alex
The Kinks – With battling brothers Ray and Dave Davies
Dire Straits – Mark and David Knofler
Creedence Clearwater Revival – John & Tom Fogerty
AC/DC – Malcolm and Angus Young
Cowsills – Not only 5 brothers, but sister Susan as well
2016's simultaneous release of Eight Days a Week and Live at the Hollywood Bowl reignited interest in the Beatles live shows. But these are not the only places you can find Liverpool’s favorite sons performing live.
Here’s an overview of all the ways you can experience the Beatles in concert:
“Shout” by the Isley Brothers was already a classic when the movie Animal House launched it into a kind of musical immortality few songs ever achieve. It might surprise you to know that “Shout” was never really intended to be a song at all.
Like a lot of R&B acts at that time, the Isleys were hugely influenced by Jackie Wilson, who was pioneering an energetic style of performing that was electrifying audiences. In 1959, the Isleys were closing their shows with their version of Wilson’s “Lonely Teardrops,” a song that had been a hit just a year before. The Isley Brothers were booked into the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia as part of a soul revue, with 15 other acts. The group’s lively rendition of “Lonely Teardrops” landed them the coveted spot closing the bill.
One night during the run of this engagement, the audience got particularly excited, leaving their seats and dancing in the aisle. Lead singer, Ronald Isley began improvising lyrics to keep the song going. One of those ad-libs was “You make me wanna shout!” The band responded with “Shout!,” so he repeated the line. Now, the crowd joined in with “Shout!”
The brothers continued to perform the song this way for the rest of their engagement. When they next entered the recording studio, they discussed recording the song with their producers, Hugo & Luigi. It was the producers who suggested they drop “Lonely Teardrops” and just concentrate on the “Shout” portion.
When they were finished, the Isley Brothers had a song that was too long for just one side of single. So, they cut it in two and released “Shout Part 1” and “Shout Part 2” as a single. And from that time until today, they still close every live show with “Shout.”
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