Throwback Thursday – April 1980

wailers_tour76

At Zimbabwe’s Independence Day celebration on April 18, 1980, in the Rufaro Stadium, Bob Marley performed a concert which has come to be known as “The Riot Show”. Many mistake the April 18 performance to be the April 19 performance (which was recorded) when in fact, they were two separate shows. An internet search will show that there are many mislabeled bootlegs circulating claiming to be from the Independence Day celebrations but are actually from the second concert.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Accounts of the April 18 concert state that after the Zimbabwean flag had been raised, it was announced that Bob Marley & The Wailers would perform in front of a crowd made up of mostly dignitaries and the media, including Zimbabwe’s first Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, Britain’s Prince Charles and India’s Indira Gandhi. The band supposedly started off by performing the song “Positive Vibration” and went on to play “Roots, Rock, Reggae.” The Zimbabwean crowd outside of the stadium heard Marley singing and got angry. The enraged fans began pressing against the stadium’s gates and during the performance of “I Shot The Sheriff“, the Zimbabwean police answered the violence of the fans by firing tear teargas into the crowds. Marley and the band were quickly escorted to safety.

After a few minutes, Marley came back onstage and in true Bob Marley fashion shouted “Freedom!” almost immediately after a crisp English voice from the other end of the stadium announced: “Bob Marley, you have exactly two minutes left.” The band proceeded to play “War” which they would fade into into “No More Trouble.” Now running fifteen minutes over their scheduled “two minutes,” Marley performed to Zimbabwe, with the entire audience now joining in the chorus. It was then that the concert was finally cancelled and that was the end of the notorious “Riot Show.”

Share

Throwback Thursday – March 1960

adam clayton

Please join us in saying Happy Birthday to Adam Clayton, who was born on March, 13th of 1960. Now you you might ask Who is Adam Clayton? Well, he is the bassist for one of the worlds biggest bands, U2. Clayton is best known for his bass playing on songs such as “New Year’s Day“, “Seconds“, “Bullet the Blue Sky“, and “With or Without You“.

Adam Clayton

Adam Clayton

As a part of U2, Clayton has won 22 Grammy Awards, and helped pave the way for an entire genre that we now call indie rock. From their humble beginnings as a small high school rock band in Dublin, Ireland, U2 went on to become one of rock music’s premier international bands. U2 has released 12 studio albums and are among the all-time best-selling music artists, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide. In 2005, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone has labelled them the “Biggest Band in the World” and throughout their career they have campaigned for human rights and philanthropic causes, including Amnesty International, and the ONE/DATA campaigns.

U2 has inspired people not only with their music, but with their story. As a band they have gone from the bottom of the bottom, to the top of the top. Recently another layer of inspiration has been added with the release of a rejection letter that was sent to U2 Front-man Bono from RSO Records.The letter claims that the bands demo was “not suitable”, but the bad news didn’t keep the band down for long. U2 released its first public work, a three-song EP titled Three, in September 1979 and the rest is history. The band would go on to sign to Island Records and release their debut album Boy in 1980. U2′s story tells us that failure can be a step toward success and is a prime example of why you should never give up on your dream!

Oh and we thought that we should mention that this song also hit #1 on the UK charts, this month in 1987!

)
Share

Throwback Thursday – February 1970

1970-black-sabbath

What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black which points at me
Turn around quick, and start to run
Find out I’m the chosen one
Oh no !

These dark, mysterious lyrics open up an album that would spawn an entire genre called “heavy metal.” These lyrics are from the first track on the self-titled album Black Sabbath released  on Feb. 13 1970, the song encompasses the entire genre of what would become heavy metal. It features a chord progression known as “The Devils Third” which was actually illegal to play during the Medieval age because it was believed to conjure up evil demons. The heavy guitars on the album come as a result of an industrial accident which lead to guitarist Tony Lommi’s loss of two fingertips. Lommi’s loss of fingertips would require him to play slower and to slacken the strings by tuning his guitar down, creating Sabbath’s signature dark style. Adding to the heavy guitars are the dynamic duo of bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward, who provide ambient blues-rock lines that fully enrich and embellish their “satanic” lyrics. “Look into my eyes you’ll see who I am, my name is Lucifer please take my hand” from the song “N.I.B.” is a prime example of the content that caused mother’s to worry about their children. The combination of dark lyrics and the vocals sang in the dark menacing wails of a mad man, (Ozzy Osbourne) completes the sound of the band.

black-sabbath_black-sabbathAccording to Allmusic‘s Steve Huey, the album “transcends its clear roots in blues-rock and psychedelia to become something more”.The songs on the album’s first half feature simple but dark blues licks and deal with themes that would become the main characteristic’s of heavy metal,evil, paganism, and the occult. The second half of the album transitions to Cream like blues-rock. In the September 17, 1970 issue of the Rolling Stone Lester Bangs wrote “The whole album is a shuck — despite the murky songtitles and some inane lyrics….They even have discordant jams with bass and guitar reeling like velocitized speedfreaks all over each others musical perimeters yet never quite finding synch — just like Cream! But worse.”

Despite the album not being critically acclaimed at the time of its release, Sabbath appealed to the underbelly of society, the misfits of the world that had felt disenfranchised. People wanted heavier music that was more representative of what their generation had seen growing up in a post WWII England filled with industrial factories and rubble of buildings that had been bombed during the war. Black Sabbath was dark and that is what they capitalized on, there was nothing like them, they made people think. The darkness and the occult that surrounded the band made them mysterious and it attracted a following. Black Sabbath pushed the boundaries of how dark a group could be, and Ozzy Osbourne would become the outline of  the quintessential lead singer and go on to have a very successful solo career. Impressively, the band has been highly active throughout the years with various front-men such as Ronny James Dio. Even more impressive this band, who debuted some 44 years ago in 1970 is still alive and kicking, in fact just a few weeks ago their album “13” was nominated for the “Best Rock Album” Grammy. We’re willing to bet that the there were a few bands nominated that were influenced by Black Sabbath.

Share

Throwback Thursday – February 1994

Green+Day+BMT

If Nirvana‘s Nevermind was responsible for effectively killing the age of hair metal with its dynamic hard hitting music and the gravely voice of Kurt Cobain, then Green Day‘s Dookie brought us out of the haze of grunge and over produced pop music. With Dookie, Green Day made punk music commercially acceptable. Dookie flipped the bird to authority and convention while smiling in the frowning face of grunge music. Dookie swept three snot nosed punks off of the streets of Berkley, California and in a wave of youthful rebellion and teenage angst, Dookie inspired a generation and served as a launching pad for one of the most successful bands in the world. This month, the diamond certified album turns twenty and is just as relatable in 2014 as it was in 1994.

2012GreenDayDookie950G211112In 1992, Green Day released Kerplunktheir second studio album through the independent, Lookout! Records. Pop-punk hooks and lyrics caught the attention of Rob Cavallo who was junior A&R scout at Reprise Records. Cavallo signed the band and agreed to produce Dookie. While the punk scene in Berkley disowned them, the rest of America loved Green Day after their legendary performance at Wood Stalk 1994, which was dubbed “Mudstock” after the band started a mud fight with the crowd. Dookie produced five hit singles, won them a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album, and to date, has sold over 8 million copies in the United States. With Feb. 1, 2014 marking the 20th anniversary of Dookie’s release we’ve put together a track by track examination of one of punk’s favorite albums.

1. Burnout : Billie Joe Armstrong sings “I declare I don’t care no more”  to open this misfit’s manifesto. It’s the perfect opening line for a major label debut of a post-Nirvana album filled with teenage angst and hormonal rage. It’s a two minute burst of buzzsaw guitar and snotty hooks that sets the tone for the album.

2. Having a Blast: The band keeps the early album energy going here with the angsty “Having a Blast.” Armstrong sings about tying explosives to himself, “think about the times we’ve spent and what they’ve meant” in this breakup rant. Melodic hooks over choppy guitars keeps the edge alive early in the album.

3. Chump “Chump” follows the model laid down by bands like the Ramones and Sex Pistols. “Chump is punchy and likable in its own right, its most memorable moment is probably its closing guitar swells and drum groove. This would lay the ground work  for Dookie’s first big hit.

4. Longview Best known for Mike Dirnt’s infectious walking bass line, this is song where the three Green Day instruments are used in such isolation that the whole band deserves recognition for selling their parts and adding to the eventual buildup. Starting with Dirnt’s Bass lines and Tre Cool’s Slow intense drumming, it’s when Armstrong’s driving power chords kick in, that the song reaches the apex of it’s adolescent rock catchiness.

5. Welcome to Paradise: This was the Only Kerplunk track to be re-recorded for the major label debut. While similar to the three opening tracks, but with a more socially aware hook, this song is a tribute to the band’s humble surroundings and would become Dookie’s second single.

6. Pulling Teeth: Though this song never achieved the “a classic Dookie single” status, “Pulling Teeth” shows off Armstrong’s songwriting skills. With a Beatles-like melody in the verses, as usual, Armstrong is in a distressed state, pledging his allegiance to his girl-friend even though it is obviously an abusive relationship.

7. Basket Case: The distress of “Pulling Teeth” is almost a prelude to Armstrong’s mental torment by covering his anxiety attacks and panic disorder diagnosis. “Basket Case” became one of Dookie’s”biggest hits, with Green Day fans relating and singing along.

8. She The fifth and final single from the album. The band continues whipping out more rapid-fire punk riffs and sneering melodic hooks. Armstrong wrote the song in response to a feminist poem his ex-girlfriend showed him; she then dumped him and moved to Ecuador.

9. Sassafras Roots: With the pop-punk barrage of noise hardly slowing down, Armstrong sings what sounds like a conversation with himself about getting ready to call a crush on the phone. “I’m always like you with nothing else to do; can I waste your time, too?” when in reality, it was written about the same ex-girlfriend that inspired “Chump” and “She.”

10. When I Come Around: If there’s one track that pushes the album from punk rock to straight up rock, its “When I Come Around.” Green Day proved themselves to classic rock fans and it’s no surprise this song is still heard on rock radio. “When I Come Around” showed Greenday’s rock aspirations for the first time.

11. Coming Clean: In one of the record’s often forgotten songs, Armstrong offers some of his most confessional lyrics, opening up about questioning his sexuality: “I’ve found out what it takes to be a man; now mom and dad will never understand what’s happening to me.”

12. Emenius Sleepus : This song continues the trend of brief, less-than-two-minute tracks. “Emenius Sleepus” helps close out the album a tale about an old friend that comes off a tad underwritten compared to other cuts. Although “Emenius Sleepus” is the only song on the album with lyrics written by bassist Mike Dirnt.

13. In the End: Another brief melodic song, at this point, the album reverts to a more familiar flow for a punk album with a heavy Operation Ivy feel that inspired Green Day in the first place. But even when operating with less than two minutes, the band preserves the classic verse/chorus/bridge pop structure.

14. F.O.D. : While it’s not quite Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”  Green Day closes the album of charged-up punk songs with an acoustic guitar. Well, until the electric guitars ruin the whole wet dream right around the minute and a half mark. The title stands for “f&*# off and die” with Armstrong sending a literal good riddance.

15. All By Myself (hidden track): If you made it through the silence after “F.O.D.” you will find this hidden track, written and sung by Tré Cool. It was sadly or happily, (depending on how you feel about songs sung by drummers about masturbation) his last major vocal contribution to Green Day.

Take some time to listen to an album that revolutionized the music industry and the minds of America’s youth.

Share

Throw Back Thursday – January 1994

Nas

This month marks the 20 year anniversary of when Nas‘s debut full-length LP Illmatic, entered the charts. Released in 1994, the groundbreaking album changed the face of hip-hop, especially in East Coast.

Nas

Nas

What impresses us the most, is that Nas was only 20 years old when he released this classic record. Packed with references to the Queensbridge projects in which he grew up, Nas displayed an ability to express himself with a maturity beyond his years. Even more impressive, is that Nas was only 19 when he recorded the album, or even younger if you include “Halftime” which was recorded and released in 1992 for the Zebrahead soundtrack when he was still known as Nasty Nas.

While Illmatic may not have been the highest selling rap album of the ’90s, it was the most universally critically acclaimed record with The Source Magazine awarding its prestigious, highest rating of five mics. Beyond critical or commercial acclaim, Illmatic as a record has truly stood the test of time.

The album is held up as the blueprint for a truly classic hip-hop release. “But is this the new Illmatic?” has become the common question asked of new records when artists drop highly anticipated albums.  Illmatic is regarded as the the Queensbridge rapper’s finest work, but it is also considered by most as one of the quintessential 1990′s hip-hop releases. When Illmatic was released  it was unlike anything else up to that point. We are forever grateful to Nas for creating Illmatic and being responsible for shaping the New York hip-hop sound from that point forward.

Share

Throwback Thursday – January 1976

2175847-Sex-Pistols-sex-pistols-4058394-1280-747

The Sex Pistols played at Watford College in England on January 23, 1976. This would be the first of 65 gigs in the “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour of 1976. The tour would Feature the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned. This tour goes down in history as one of the shortest, yet most influential tours ever, due to the fact that half of the shows were canceled because of the reputation the three punk bands had gained. By the end of the tour, the three bands were banned from playing in many of the major cities and towns throughout the U.K. When the Sex Pistols returned home to London, punk had blown up and was the newest “kiddy fad.” The impact of the tour was felt across the U.K. and even in America as word spread that a filthy punk band from England was breaking down walls.

Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols

The “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour is viewed as the beginning of the Sex Pistols’s rise to fame, but also as the beginning of the end of the band. The tour included a memorable showcase gig held during London’s first punk festival, at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, which featured the band Siouxsie and the Banshies (staring future sex pistols bassist Sid Vicious) and the Sex Pistols would go on to sign with major label EMI. The band’s first single,”Anarchy in the U.K.” was released on  November 26, 1976 and served as a statement of angst, anger and youthful energy. By the time the song was released, the Sex Pistols were known to be obnoxious revolutionaries and their single only added to the reputation. The Sex Pistols would be dropped by EMI 30 days later and were picked up by A&M records almost immediately.

The behavior of the Sex Pistols brought them just as much national attention as their music. December 1, 1976 the band would create a storm of publicity during an early evening live broadcast of Thames Television’s “Today” program. The band was appearing as a last-minute replacement for Queen, and their entourage took full advantage of the green room facilities, consuming large amounts of alcohol and creating an overall ruckus. During the interview, lead singer Johnny Rotten created a stir by using the word “s–t” and “dirty sod” while host Bill Grundy, (who was drunk at the time) flirted openly with Siouxsie Sioux. Grundy encouraged the band to continue with the language telling them they had five seconds to say something outrageous. In classic Sex Pistols form, Jones called Grundy a “dirty old man,” “dirty bastard,” “dirty “f—–r” and a  “f—-n rotter.”

Even though the program was only broadcast in London, the public display of anger and violence occupied the tabloid newspapers for days. The Daily Mirror famously ran the headline ‘”The Filth and the Fury“, while the Daily Express led with “Punk? Call it Filthy Lucre.” Thames Television suspended Grundy, and though he was later reinstated, the interview effectively ended his career.

The interview resulted in a full blown media circus with newspapers reporting that the band spat on their fans, puked on fans and even had sex on stage. The band’s growing reputation would both attract and detour media and fans alike.

The Sex Pistols go down in history as one of the most influential bands of all time and the “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour will forever be recognized as one of the defining moments in punk music.Though the Sex Pistols only hand one album and were really only a band for two years, they have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Rancid, Green Day, blink-182, and Motley Crue have openly admitted the Sex Pistols’s heavy influence in their own sound. The band’s unique individuality has carried on in virtually every field of music and their presence is felt in all different forms of rock.

Share

Throwback Thursday – January 1987

Beastie-Boys-Studio-red_610

On January 16th, 1987 The Beastie Boys became the first act ever to be censored on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Although this story starts before The Beastie Boys even hit the stage. The Beastie Boys were given four $800-a-night Villas at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angles, seeing as how the show was paying for the rooms and all expenses the Beastie Boys decided to have a little fun. They went from room to room without using the doors, they climbed out windows and went through side doors. they also racked up hefty T.V. and phone bill. The boys pestered room service numerous times, asking for pointless favors such as “Hey man can I get a glass of water?”. On the second night in L.A. they rented the hotel’s Rolls Royce and refilled the car’s minibar multiple times.

The Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys

In the words of their manager at the time, Russel Simmons “By the end of their stat the rooms looked like they had been hit by a tornado or something”.  Simmons explains that once they “dragged” the band down to American Bandstand the band was “in bad shape” due to the nights of partying prior to the performance. The Beastie Boys made it a point not to edit them selves and would even insulted the make-up of a woman who they would later learn was Dick Clark’s wife at the time. Simmons later stated that “the Guys (Beastie Boys) sent Mrs.Clark a bundle of flowers with an apology card”. Up until this point, no artist had ever be censored on American Bandstand and most artists performed edited versions of their songs, with the exception of The Doors, who had the infamous performance of “Light my Fire” when Jim Morison “accidentally” sang the lyric “Girl we couldn’t get much higher”. That Doors incident along with the story of The Beastie Boys go down in rock folk lore as classic acts of disobedience and rebellion. The whole experience and story can be summed up in the words of Dick Clark himself “Oh, the Beastie Boys were pretty memorable”

Share

Throwback Thursday – January 1992

1993photo

January 11, 2014 celebrates the 22nd anniversary of the day that Nirvana‘s Nevermind hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. nirvana-nevermindThe album was the band’s second studio album, but it was their major label debut on DGC Records and was produced by the now legendary Butch Vig. Front-man Kurt Cobain wanted to make music that sounded different than the rest of the Seattle grunge scene. The album was heavily influenced by groups like the Pixies and Mudhoney.

Despite low commercial expectations by the band and the record label, Nevermind became a surprise success in late 1991, largely due to the popularity of its first single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit“. The song was written, recorded, and produced with out knowing that “Teen Spirit” was a teenage girls deodorant. By January 1992, Nevermind had replaced Michael Jackson‘s album Dangerous at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

The album also produced three other successful singles: “Come as You Are“, “Lithium“, and “In Bloom” and is filled with a slew of classic, gut pounding grunge songs. Teenage angst isn’t the album’s only theme. Softer songs like “Polly” show the song writing of Cobain in classic form. The album has been certified diamond and has sold over 30 million copies world wide.

Share