My Sunday Song – “Don’t Give Up” by Ryan Star

My Sunday Song #72 is “Don’t Give Up” by Ryan Star.  Tomorrow is January 1st, New Year’s Day.  I thought it would be nice to end the year with this song as I think it is appropriate as 2017 saw a year where so many musicians took their own life and suicide prevention became top of mind.  Even a song was released with the suicide prevention hotline number as the title of the song (“1-800-273-8255” by Logic).

“Don’t Give Up” is a piano ballad and Ryan sounds amazing on it.  It is a moving and an inspirational song written by Ryan Star which is telling you to do just that…don’t give up!. There are people out there that love you no matter what happens in your life.  If 2017 was a bad year for you, think of the possibilities that 2018 might hold.  Get back on your feet and fight another day.

Ryan Star is one of my favorite singer/songwriters to come along in many years and I wish he got more press and radio time as he deserves it.  It is songs like this on why I love his music so much.  Give the song a listen and I hope it inspires you in some way!

God Bless!! And Happy New Year!!

Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “Don’t Give Up” by Ryan Star”

In Memoriam – 2017

Last year, I did a post memorializing all the musicians that we lost in that year.  I thought I would do that again for 2017 as it was another year where we lost some music legends and icons in their respective fields.  The list is really long and I guess each year it will get longer as all the bands I grew up with are getting older and it is bound to happen.  Though we have lost them, the live on in our hearts and in their music they left behind.  I guess we might as well get started.  Do realize this list isn’t every musician that passed away, it is really those that I have listened to over the years or were legends and icons in music.  So if I leave someone off, it is nothing personal but please add their name in the comments.

January 2017

January 28 – Geoff Nicholls – keyboardist for heavy metal giants Black Sabbath.  He was 68 and passed away from lung cancer.  He was with the band in the 80’s and 90’s starting with the 1980 album Heaven Hell and ending with 1995’s Forbidden.

January 31 – John Wetton – John was singer-songwriter and the bassist for the bands Asia and King Crimson just to name a few.  John was with Asia during their heyday in the 80’s performing and lead vocals on songs such “Heat of the Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell”.  He was 67 when he passed away from colon cancer.

February 2017

JarreauAlDuesseldorf1981February 12 – Al Jarreau – Al was 76 years old when he passed away after being hospitalized for exhaustion.  He was probably most famous for doing the theme song to the TV show for Moonlighting.  He was so much more than that though.  With around 17 albums he was Jazz legend.

February 18 – Clyde Stubblefield – Clyde was 73 when he passed away from kidney failure.  He is best know for two things…1) drummer for the amazing James Brown band and 2) he is one of the most sampled musicians in hip hop thanks to the James Brown song “Funky Drummer”.

March 2017

March 3 – Tommy Page – At only 46, Tommy died from Suicide.  He is most famous for his song “I’ll Be Your Everything” and and was a 90’s teen idol, even appearing on an episode of Full House.

March 11 – Joni Sledge – Joni was one of the sisters in Sister Sledge.  She passed away at the young age of only 60.  Sister Sledge was most famous for their hit song “We Are Family”.

Chuck Berry 1957March 18 – Chuck Berry – Chuck passed away at the ripe old age of 90.  He is one of the early innovators or rock & roll and has influenced so many over his career. He is such a legend that even in the movie Back to the Future references Chuck.  With hits such as “Johnny B Goode” and “Maybellene”, his legacy will live on forever.  He released one last album right around the time he died simply titled ‘Chuck’.  There weren’t many like and won’t be anyone like him to come.

March 22 – Sib Hashian – Sib passed away at 67 doing what he loved to do which was perform.  He is most famous for being the drummer for the band Boston.  He performed on their debut album as well as Don’t Look Back.

April 2017

April 5 – Paul O’Neil – Paul died at 61 years old and is most famous for his work as producer and songwriter with the band Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  He also produced numerous albums for the band Savatage.  For me, the best thing he did was write the song “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo”.

April 11 – J. Geils – J. Geils passed away at 71 and obviously is most famous for the band that bares his name ‘The J. Geils Band”.  He was such a great guitar player and gave the band such a strong blues rock sound, that was until they went more new wave in the 80’s.  Everyone knows those songs “Centerfold” and “Freeze Frame”, but it is the early albums that the band is a solid rock & roll band.

May 2017

ChrisCornellTIFFSept2011May 18 – Chris Cornell – Chris passed away at only 52 and his death was ruled a suicide. One of the greatest voices to come out of the Grunge scene in the 90’s, his work with Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of The Dog are unforgettable.  His solo work was equally as impressive and I thought his last solo album was one of his best.  His impact was felt by a lot of people by all the positive comments about the man after his passing.  He was well-liked in an industry that doesn’t always have nice people.

Gregg Allman 1975May 27 – Gregg Allman – The legendary Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band passed away at the tender age of 69.  He had been suffering from liver cancer and it sadly took his life.  His influence on Rock and Southern rock is immense.  His songwriting was incredible and he penned hits such as “Whipping Post”, “Melissa” and “Midnight Rider”.  He will remembered forever as his impact was so large.

June 2017

June 27 – Dave Rosser – Dave Rosser was the guitarist from the acclaimed band the Afghan Whigs.  Dave is another who had been battling cancer prior to his death.  Dave was only 50 years old and at such a young age, who knows what more we could have gotten out of him.

July 2017

July 14 – Dave Z – Dave Z died in a tragic tour bus accident while he was touring as the bass player with his current band Adrenaline Mob.  Dave Z also performed with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, SOTO and the band I first saw him in Z02.  Z02 also had a great TV show about the band where they played rock stars by night and children party band by day.  This was definitely a tragic loss for a very talented young man.

Linkin Park-Rock im Park 2014- by 2eight 3SC0327July 20 – Chester Bennington – One of the saddest losses of the year was Chester Bennington.  Another suicide on the list and this one was 2 months after the suicide of his friend Chris Cornell and it was on Chris’ birthday.  Chester was the lead singer of Linkin Park and that band will never be the same without him.  He was so talented and the band had just released a new album and they were touring in support of the album.  He was only 41 years old.

August 2017

Glen Campbell 1967August 8 – Glen Campbell – Country legend and the “Rhinestone Cowboy” himself, Glen Campbell passed away from a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Such a cruel disease that took music away from him in the later years, but thankfully we have so much of his music left behind.  He was such an iconic Country singer and will be remembered forever.

August 20 – Jerry Lewis – Now Jerry is known mostly for being an actor/comedian and host of the Muscular Dystrophy telethons, but he was also a singer.  He was 91 years old when he passed and he was beloved by many (especially the French).  I thought I would put up the fun song he does with Dean Martin “That’s Amore”.

September 2017

September 3 – Walter Becker – Walter was the guitarist and co-founder for the band Steely Dan.  He was 67.  The band had such hits as “Reelin’ in the Years” and “Riki Don’t Lose That Number”.

September 3 – Dave Hlubek – Dave was lead guitarist and founding member with the Southern Rock Band Molly Hatchet. He died from a heart attack at only 66 years old.  The band is most famous probably for the hit “Flirtin’ With Disaster” so I will leave you with that song.

September 8 – Troy Gentry – Troy was one part of one of the most successful country duos, Montgomery Gentry.  Troy died at 50 from a helicopter crash.  Montgomery Gentry had such hits as “Something to Be Proud of”.

September 8 – Don Williams – Another country legend has passed.  At the age of 78, Don Williams had been around the country scene for more years than I can remember.  This Country Music Hall of Famer had such hits as “I Believe in You” and “Tulsa Time”.

September 14 – Grant Hart – Grant Hart was the drummer for the punk band Husker Du and later became the guitarist and singer for Nova Mob as well as a solo artist.  This versatile musician and songwriter left his mark on the world and for that we are grateful.

October 2017

Tom Petty Live in Horsens (cropped2)October 2 – Tom Petty – Wow!  What can you say about Tom Petty.  One of the finest singer/songwriters to ever grace us with his presence.  If there is anything that would definite American Rock, it would by Tom.  He is one of my favorite singers and the Heartbreakers just painted pictures throughout my life.  I remember hearing them on the radio and then the early days of MTV they were everywhere.  He gave us such hits as  “Refuge”. “Free Fallin'”, “You Got Lucky” and “Even the Losers” and so much more.  I can’t really say enough good things about Tom Petty, so I will let his music do that talking.  Tom Petty…R.I.P.

Fats Domino (1962)October 24 – Fats Domino – Another music legend.  That term gets used a lot, but with Fats, it is true.  One of the pioneers of Rock he gave is 30 top 40 hits and over 65 million singles sold only second to maybe Elvis.  Who doesn’t know the Song “Blueberry Hill”??  Really, who doesn’t as I don’t think anyone can say they don’t.  If they don’t, they have lived under a rock for their entire life or are under 20 years old maybe.

November 2017

November 9 – Chuck Mosley – The original vocalist for the band Faith No More.  Chuck was only 57 when he lost his life to his long battling of addiction.  He was a part of their first two album ‘We Care A Lot’ and ‘Introduce Yourself’.  This funked up rock was the antithesis to the Hair Band music of its time.

Malcolm Young en 2010November 18 – Malcolm Young – The AC/DC co-founder and the heart and soul of the band lost hist life at only 64 to dementia.  He had left the band a few years earlier due to this cruel disease, but his memory will go on forever.  He is regarded as one of the best rhythm guitarist in rock and that says something about him for this is a very overlooked instrument in the band.  As the lead guitarist usually gets all the glory.

November 19 – Mel Tillis – Country music has taking a beating this year with a lot of its icons have passed.  Mel Tillis was 85 and was also in the Country Music Hall of Fame. With songs like “Coca Cola Cowboy”, “Southern Rains” and  “Send Me Down to Tucson”, he was a staple on the country scene for the 60s, 70s & 80’s even into the 90s.

David Cassidy Allan WarrenNovember 21 – David Cassidy – David Cassidy was a teenage heartthrob form the 70’s most famous for his role as David Partridge on the Partridge Family.  He was 67 and suffered from organ failure probably due to his years of addiction.  Most recently, he had been diagnosed with Dementia and had retired from touring as a result.  Through his numerous solo albums and some Partridge Family albums, he left his mark on Pop music in the 70’s and for that he will always be remembered.

December 2017

December 12th – Pat DiNizio – Pat was the lead singer for the band The Smithereens.  The band was big back in the late 80’s and early 90’s and are probably most notable for the song “Girl Like You” from their album ’11’.  Pat had been having health issues these last few years and

December 13th – Warrel Dane – Warrel was the lead singer for the bands Nevermore and Sanctuary.  He passed away of a heart attack while in Brazil.  He was working on his second solo album and has released over 15 albums in his career. He trained as an opera singer for five years and is know for his amazing range.

Wow, there were a lot this year just like there was in 2016.  I hope 2018 has a reduced number even though I doubt it as all the bands/musicians I grew up listening to are starting to reach that age where death is not all that uncommon…which of course means I am getting old too.  To all this musicians who impacted me in some way!  Say hi to the Big Man for me and Rest In Peace!!

Top Songs of 2017

It is time for the Top 20 Songs of 2017.  My previous post, if you missed it, was the Top 20 Rock Songs of 2017.  Go check it out by clicking on the link.  These 20 songs are all genres other than rock.  Some were popular and chart toppers and others were not.  They are my favorites, that touched me in some way so don’t expect any indie bands or anything trendy.  If you want that go to one of the cool sites out there, this ain’t it.

If you missed the Top Rock Albums of 2017 or the Top Albums of 2017 (that were not Rock), just click on the link and go check them out.

Let’s get started…

#20 – “Something Just Like This” by the Chainsmokers featuring Coldplay off the album ‘Memories…Do Not Open’:  This song was a family favorite during the year.  The one song the wife liked as well as all the kids and as a result, I heard it a lot and it grew on me to where I stopped and listened to it when it came on the radio.  A catchy little song with a great beat.

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Top Rock Songs of 2017

Welcome to the Top 20 Rock Songs of 2017.  These songs are my favorite songs of the year and were not necessarily played on the radio or even shot up the charts.  They just moved me in some way good or bad!

If you missed the Top Rock Albums of 2017 or the Top Albums of 2017 (that were not Rock), just click on the link and go check them out.

It is time to start the list so here we go…

#20 – “Make It Move” by Jonny Lang off the album ‘Signs’:  The loud stomping sound that opens the song and throughout feels like a train barreling down on you.  The opening track to the album starts it all off with a bang.  The song also delivers a great message that you need to make the move and not wait on something to happen.

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The Top Albums of 2017

The year is almost over so it is time to look back at what was awesome in music during the year.  I have already looked back at the Top Rock Albums of 2017 (click to read).   This list will cover all other genres that I listened to over the year including Pop, Country, Christian and whatever other genre you want classify these albums.  Rock is my favorite genre and that is why it gets it’s own list, but that doesn’t take away from any of these choices as I think they are great on their own.

Note:  These albums were my favorites and not necessarily the most played on the radio (which I hate the radio) or even the biggest sellers.  There aren’t the trendy indie bands on everyone else’s top albums list.  These are just what I came across during the year and connected with me in some way.  So, we might as well get started…

The #1 Album of 2017

A1gOoT2DCZL._SL1500_  Colton Dixon – ‘Identity’:  What??? Not Taylor or Harry or Ed??  Nope!!!  Colton Dixon’s album ‘Identity’ was the album that did it for me this year.  Colton’s very pop album, but a Christian based album, is what I found to be best this past year.  The album was a loosely based concept album which was broken down into 3 parts – The Mind, The Body & The Soul.  He was able to rock out, dance, and slow it down all with precision.  You couldn’t help getting caught up in the messages of the songs and I am still listening to it even though it came out real early in the year.  That says something right there.

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Happy Birthday Jesus! – “Birthday” by the Beatles

Merry Christmas Everyone!!  It will be a busy day with opening presents, spending time with family and hopefully listening to new albums I might get for Christmas.  I wanted to take a second and wish all my loyal followers and fellow bloggers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays.

The biggest thing to do today is to celebrate someone’s birthday.  Actually, two someones. Today we celebrate two very special Birthdays.  One is the Big Guy, Jesus!  We have to wish Jesus a Happy Birthday as He is the reason for the season.  He is what Christmas is all about.  He puts the “Christ” in Christmas.  BUT!!!…He isn’t the only one that has birthday on Christmas.  Nope.  I do as well.  I won’t tell you my age, but it is less than 50 and greater than 48.

And to celebrate our Birthdays, I am going to leave you with a great Birthday song by the Beatles simply called “Birthday”.  I like this one because when I sing it for Jesus, I tell him its his birthday, but it is my birthday too, yeah.  So enjoy and Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!

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My Sunday Song – “Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy” by David Bowie & Bing Crosby

My Sunday Song #71 is “Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy” sung by David Bowie & Bing Crosby.  Since tomorrow is Christmas, why not do a Christmas song and this is one of my favorites as I thought the combination of these two was weird and beautiful at the same time.  It covered two different generations as you had the newer generation for Bowie and the old fogeys (I was young when this came out) could enjoy Bing Crosby.

The song was recorded on September 11, 1977 for an Bing Crosby television special that was coming soon. From what I have read about the song, David didn’t really want to sing Little Drummer Boy as he didn’t like the song.  In a panic, the “Peace On Earth” part was written to appease Bowie and it was mixed in with the song.  Whatever the reason, the two pieces together are pure Christmas magic.  I found an article on the story behind the song by Gary Shannon.  (Click on his name to go read the article).

I am not going to ramble on about the song as I will let it speak for itself.  Plus, Christmas is tomorrow so go spend time with you friends and/or family.  Merry Christmas!!


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The Top Rock Albums of 2017

2017 has been a fabulous year in music, but mostly for all the Anniversary Editions of some of my favorite albums from Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Stone Temple Pilots.  However, there were some stellar Rock albums this year as well.

This list will be my favorite “Rock” albums of the year.  All other types of music will be for a later post.  I am going to leave this one to my favorite genre.  It is a broad genre, but these are the albums that I consider to be ROCK!!

Also note, these are MY FAVORITES!!  These are not the most popular or trendy albums.  These are the albums that I connected with during the year and kept coming back to again and again.  And without further adieu, here are the Top Rock Albums of 2017:

My #1 Album of the Year:

61hNZekCmAL._SS500 Jonny Lang – ‘Signs’This album is straight-up Blues Rock and was one of two albums I can’t stop listening to this year.  With songs like “Make It Move” and “Wisdom” how could I vote for any other album as #1.  If that isn’t enough, Jonny’s guitar playing is sensational and his vocals are filled with so much emotion you are attached to these songs.  Here is what I said in my review…He has brought a rawness back to his music that brings a more authentic blues sound and brings a lot of emotion.  There is no reason you should skip out on listening to this album. (Click at the top to see the review).

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The Original vs. The Cover – “All Along the Watchtower”

For this month’s The Original vs. The Cover, we are tackling the classic song “All Along the Watchtower” written by Bob Dylan.  We are going to explore the Bob Dylan version and the Jimi Hendrix version.  The two versions of this song couldn’t be more different.  You have Bob Dylan’s version which is more Folk Rock and then the Hendrix version which is pure guitar rock.  Each version is a classic in its own right so how do you choose.  Let’s learn about each version first before we decide.

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan wrote and recorded the song back in 1967.  It was on the album John Wesley Harding which was released in December 1967.  The song itself wasn’t released as a single until November 22, 1968 which was actually after The Jimi Hendrix Experience released it as they released it as a single on September 21, 1968.  If we base the original and the cover based off single release date, then Hendrix’s is the original…right?  No, it isn’t but one could make an argument if they so choose.

The song itself is a slow, almost ballad like for part of the song.  Instrumentally, the standout is the harmonica which is the main driver of the song.  The guitar and drum parts were background and their simplicity is what makes it work.  The folksy sound and Dylan’s gritty voice were magical and he sings with such emotion.  This is one of the few songs I actually could understand what he was saying.

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