We can make it hap: Chicago, “Dialogue” (1972)

(Above: Terry Kath represents the hometown team.) Chicago guitarist Terry Kath died forty years ago today - January 23, 1978 - in one of rock and roll's stranger stories. Kath, who had fancied himself somewhat of a gun enthusiast, shot and killed himself at his home in California. Reportedly, his last words were "See, it's … Continue reading We can make it hap: Chicago, “Dialogue” (1972)

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Rest in peace, Edwin Hawkins: The Edwin Hawkins Singers, “Oh Happy Day” (1969)

(Above: The Singers, performing live) The music world lost Edwin Hawkins today at the age of 74 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The Edwin Hawkins Singers shared Gospel music in the late 1960s, a time when many others were singing about a desire for peace without relying on Scripture. The Singers released an LP … Continue reading Rest in peace, Edwin Hawkins: The Edwin Hawkins Singers, “Oh Happy Day” (1969)

Rest in peace, Dolores O’Riordan: The Cranberries, “Linger” (1993)

(Above: Dolores in concert.) The music world was surprised today to get word of the passing of Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of Irish band The Cranberries, at the age of 46. As of this posting a cause of death has not been shared, and the word "unexpected" has been used in several circles. The … Continue reading Rest in peace, Dolores O’Riordan: The Cranberries, “Linger” (1993)

Take a local joker and teach him how to act: Bruce Springsteen, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ (1973)

Forty-five years ago today - January 5, 1973 - the debut album of Bruce Springsteen was released. Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ didn't sell well, but caught the attention of critics. Creem magazine's Robert Christgau suggested that Springsteen had that same sort of "absurdist energy" that made Dylan a genius; in short, the "new Dylan" … Continue reading Take a local joker and teach him how to act: Bruce Springsteen, Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ (1973)

Rest in peace, Rick Hall: Arthur Alexander, “You Better Move On” (1961)

(Above: You may not know this man, but you know his work.) We might chalk this up as our first major musical loss of 2018: Rick Hall, who engineered the Muscle Shoals sound and, in the process, created dozens of classic R&B records, passed away today at the age of 85. The list of names … Continue reading Rest in peace, Rick Hall: Arthur Alexander, “You Better Move On” (1961)

‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the mall: Atlantic Soul Classics (1985)

(Above: The mall used to get a bit trashed on the day after Christmas.) In my career, I have worked in three main areas: Retail (1985-1988). My first job was selling cigarettes to minors at a gas station in Tinley Park, IL. From there I moved to working at the mall. Most of the time … Continue reading ‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the mall: Atlantic Soul Classics (1985)

The Graduate at 50: Simon and Garfunkel, “The Sounds of Silence” (1965)

(Fun fact: that leg belongs to Linda Gray, or so she claims.) Every semester, in every class I teach, I save time on the last day for a lecture I call "So, What Didn't I Teach You?" It's an opportunity for students to question me about anything that they were expecting to cover in the … Continue reading The Graduate at 50: Simon and Garfunkel, “The Sounds of Silence” (1965)

Christmas on the hi-fi: The Ray Conniff Singers, “Ring Christmas Bells” (1962)

(Above: Darn, that looks like fun in stereo.) When we think of classic Christmas albums, many of the same names come to mind, but one we don't think of by name was playing on darned near every hi-fi in the country 55 years ago. In 1962 Columbia Records released We Wish You a Merry Christmas, … Continue reading Christmas on the hi-fi: The Ray Conniff Singers, “Ring Christmas Bells” (1962)