Music

Stories Behind Classic Rock Songs

At the height of her career, Joni Mitchell took a trip to Paris with a small group that included the head of her record label, David Geffen. She wrote “Free Man in Paris” about the music mogul shortly after their return.

For his part, Geffen always claimed the lyrics made him sound more unhappy with the music business than he really was.

 

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (1966)

Its title sounded more like a cookbook than a record album, but Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme capped a spectacularly rapid rise to superstardom for a duo who had been trying to make it in the music business since 1957.

It was technically Simon & Garfunkel’s third studio album, but it was really the first where they were allowed to exercise creative control.

As comeback albums go, you can’t do much better than EB ’84, a return to recording greatness for Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Don and Phil Everly.

One of early rock’s most reliable acts, the Everly Brothers had watched their career go into reverse following the British Invasion. Several prominent Brits would help power this totally satisfying album.

Are You Experienced (1967)

This is the album that changed everything. Music was never the same after Jimi Hendrix’s debut album, Are You Experienced, hit record stores like a proverbial bombshell.

Nobody had sounded like this before. The first time you heard, it sounded loud, ugly, and discordant.  By the third or fourth listening, you were hooked.

If your parents thought the Beatles and Rolling Stones were “noise,” here was an album that would really piss them off! What a great reason to buy it and play it loud.

The band’s line-up was unique, too. Two Brits and one American. Two white guys and one black guy.

But the album you were listening to was not the same album listeners in other countries were hearing.

"Sweet Baby James" (1970)

James Taylor might be the first superstar to emerge in the 1970’s. His classic album, “Sweet Baby James” was released just two months into the new decade.

In point of fact, it was Taylor’s second studio album. His first, titled after himself, had been released on the Beatles’ Apple label two years earlier. It was a respectable debut, garnering favorable reviews and a smattering of FM airplay. But Taylor’s drug usage put him in the hospital when he should have been on the road promoting the album.

Here’s the story behind the making of this classic.

Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane (1967)

If someone were to ask us what is was like during the summer of love, we’d be tempted to just give them this album, “Surrealistic Pillow” by Jefferson Airplane and leave it at that. With the possible exception of “Sgt. Pepper,” there is no other single LP that could capture the feeling of that magical summer season.

This wasn’t the Airplane’s first album. That honor goes to “Jefferson Airplane Takes Off,” which was released on the RCA label in August, 1966. But that album gained very little altitude, not even charting on the Billboard Hot 100 Albums. Soon after, the band’s drummer Skip Spence and female singer Signe Toy Anderson departed. They were replaced by experienced jazz drummer Spencer Dryden and the former lead vocalist for the Great Society, Grace Slick. Together with male vocalist Marty Balin, guitarist Paul Kantner, lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Cassidy, they formed the classic Airplane line-up until Dryden departed in 1970.

It is with great sadness that we report that Paul Revere, leader of the classic rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders has passed away at 76 after what was reportedly a long battle with cancer.

The Raiders were among the most popular bands in America during the mid-to-late 1960's with an impressive string of hits that included "Kicks," "Hungry," "Steppin' Out," and many more.

 

 

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Cat Stevens announced this week that he will begin a six-city tour of North America this December. The singer/songwriter said he will be touring under that name rather than the name Yusef Islam that he has used in the years since he converted to Islam. Stevens also assured his fans that the concert will be filled with the songs that made him a pop music superstar in the 70’s.

It marks Stevens’ first U.S. tour in 38 years. Prior to the tour, he is also releasing a new albums of blues tunes, Tell ‘Em I’m Gone (due out Oct. 27th).

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