Category Archives: Early Rock

Remembering Fred Milano

Runaround Sue/ Dion


Fred Milano, founder of the Belmonts passed away on New Years Day.  The Belmonts may not sound familiar, until you add Dion to the mix.  Yes, Dion and the Belmonts, one of the early superstars of early (really early) rock and roll.  Most of the bands major hits were in late 50’s and early 60’s.  “A Teenager In Love”, “Runaround Sue”, “When You Wish Upon A Star”, we all know the words and can belt them out in the shower.  We can all appreciate and remember Fred through, the immortality of these songs and others.  In memorial, I have attached the classic “Runaround Sue”.


Runaround Sue

Remembering Jimmy Norman

time is on my side - car

R&B/Jazz singer and songwriter Jimmy Norman passed away yesterday.  Paying tribute to these greats is fitting, as they created most of what we listen to today, yet they languish without recognition.  A lot of the time they are known only for writing or recording one great song.  All of the time, they were exceptionally talented musicians and songwriters, with a lifetime body of work that demands we pay attention, even if only for a moment in remembrance.  This is why I write these tributes.  Whether we realize it or not, the soundtrack of our life has been written by these people.  Jimmy Norman is a prime example of this.  His body of work includes session work with Jimi Hendrix (Groove Maker, a Norman composition), playing and writing for Bob Marley (Chances Are album), writing for Johnny Nash,as well as having Peter Tosh record some of his songs.  He also was also a member of the Coasters for a while.  His most notable song composition though is “Time Is On My Side” the Rolling Stones classic of the mid sixties.  Not well known, but an important cog in the formative years of our music.  I have included an interview with Jimmy discussing songs as stories, Jimmy doing one of his solo songs “Here Comes The Night” and a video of the Stones doing the classic “Time Is On My Side”.


Listening to Classics – Janis Joplin

Piece of My Heart

Image via Wikipedia

Janis Joplin, what can you say.  Gone to soon?  Stupendous voice.  A whole genre of female singers trying to be the next Janis.  Her voice still makes me sit up and pay attention.  Heard this song on the radio the other day and I thought to my self, self, this one can sing.  Everyone else is a wannabe.

Live from Toronto, in 1970, Janis Joplin.

Listening to Classics – Eric Burdon & War

Eric Burdon today.

Eric Burdon Today - Image via Wikipedia

I heard this on CKUA on my way in to work this morning and knew I had to find it.  Needless to say, as I am posting it, I found it and a live version at that.  What a great groove.  Eric Burdon was the power behind the Animals, a British invasion band that was right up there with the Rolling Stones and The Who.  Eric branched off with War and did many great tunes with that ensemble.

Listening to Classics – Derek and the Dominoes

Clapton performing with The Allman Brothers Ba...

Image via Wikipedia

An amazing video.  Derek and the Dominoes on the Johnny Cash Show.  They are not playing Layla either.  Watch the whole video.  After the first song, Eric Clapton is interviewed by Johnny, then Carl Perkins comes out and they all play a tune together.  Quite the combo, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Eric Clapton.

Listening to Classics – The Yardbirds

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page - Blue Ey...

Image by Père Ubu via Flickr

The Yardbirds!  One of the great bands of all time.  One band, three special guitarists.  Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page all played with this band at one point in their career.  I have attached 2 videos of the classic tune, “Heart Full of Soul“, one featuring Jeff Beck, the other Jimmy Page.  Page brings a different energy and a slightly different sound.  Either way, superb playing by two of the best.

Listening to Classics – Joe Cocker and The Box Tops – A 2fer

Joe Cocker and the Grease Band performing at W...

Joe Cocker at Woodstock Image via Wikipedia

Thinking of old songs and the classic “The Letter” by The Box Tops popped into my head.  While listening to it, Joe Cocker popped into my head with the version he did with Leon Russell during “The Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour.  A great contrast, the original from 1967 and a version that claimed this song for eternity by Joe Cocker, done in 1970.  The Box Tops version is a standard here is the band on a TV show and we are playing this song we wrote, whereas the Cocker version is live and filled with what appears to be a very stoned Leon Russell on keyboards and the moves characteristic of Joe Cocker, made famous by John Belushi in his parodies of Joe.

Enjoy, 2fer 1.

Listening to Classics – Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson and Michael Barre, Jethro Tull in...

1973 - Ian Anderson and Martin Barre - Image via Wikipedia

Jethro Tull is one of the more interesting bands to make it big in the 70’s.  I would have posted “Thick as a Brick” but it is kind of a lengthy tune.  (old time inside joke)  Ian Anderson is at his wildest (Insanest?) best in this live version of “Aqualung” and features Martin Barre on guitar.

Listening to Classics – Donovan

The very first record I bought was Donovan’s Greatest Hits, right around the time of Hurdy Gurdy Man and Atlantis.  Doing some nostalgia surfing while watching the Bruins destroy the Canucks and came up with this one.  Sunshine Superman.  Donovan is still around.  He recorded as recently as 2004 and has recently been placed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He still tours on occasion.

Listening to Classics – Jeff Beck

Anyone remember Jeff Beck?  If you do, do you remember his instrumental album “Blow by Blow“.  Doing some browsing and ran across this live video of Jeff Beck doing “Scatterbrain” off the album.  Pretty scary how good these guys are, and the guys are:

Jeff Beck – Guitar

Max Middleton – Keyboards

Phil Chenn- Bass

Richard Bailey – Drums

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