(SNN) - Some will have to ask their parents or grandparents who the hell some of these people are here. Please remember, rock and roll is more than 60 years old. So call your folks or Mr. Google. They’ll be glad to hear from you.
- Aretha Franklin just released a new album. All’s well with the world.
- If you are against the death penalty, Auto-Tuning should make you reconsider.
- Before they became more famous as singers, Louis Armstrong played trumpet, Nat Cole played piano, and Glen Campbell played guitar better on their worst days than you ever did on your best.
- The best examples of romantic love put to music are Ravel’s “Bolero,” Wagner’s (instrumental version of) “Love/Death” from Tristan und Isolde, and anything by Sinatra. “Baby’s Got Back” finished last.
- It is not a contradiction of terms when I say I missed the Country Music Awards this year and didn’t miss the Country Music Awards this year one damn bit.
- When it was time for a perfect female country-folk singer to grace the planet, God created Emmylou Harris and said, “My work is done."
- Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” is the perfect piece of music to fall in love to, fall asleep by, meditate during, or decide what you’ll order at the bar as soon as the wedding ends.
- Electric bassists who bass best, bass least, except the late John Entwhistle and that fretless South African master, Bakithi Kumalo on Paul Simon’s album, “Graceland.” Bass solos suck. On the other hand where would “All My Lovin’” be without McCartney’s great lines?
- The two greatest sax moments in Rock and roll history were (#2), Raphael Ravenscroft’s riffs on Jerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street,” and (#1) the E Street Band’s towering Big Man, Clarence Clemons’ climbing, soaring, passionate, operatic, and heartbreaking piece of rock and roll immortality on Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland.” Kenny G finished last.
- Nobody looks cooler with ax in hand than Eric Clapton in mid-solo. No distorted guitar face, no running about the stage, no showy, look-at-me moves. I guess he already knows he’s God. Nigel Tufnel finished last.
- For sheer technical virtuosity, I rank musical genres in this order. 1. Classical. 2. Bluegrass. 3. Everything else. Kazoo music brings up the rear.
- Songs with call and response are Catnip to this particular Cat’s ears. A few examples: Ray Charles shouting out to the Raelettes on “What’d I Say?” Billy Joel’s “River of Dreams,” Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” I’m also a sucker for a twelve-string Rickenbacker, especially in Roger McGuinn’s mitts. (“Turn, Turn, Turn,”)
- A Threefer: Dolly Parton’s version of “I Will Always Love You” is more Soulful than Whitney Houston’s. Ray Charles covered the great Amphibian-American artist, Kermit the Frog, on “It’s not Easy Being Green,” and blew the emotional doors off the song. Fats Domino, Clyde McPhatter, Ivory Joe Hunter, Big Joe Turner, and a half dozen doo wop groups sang more soulfully than Pat Boone on songs Boone got rich covering.
- The coolest TV ad involving a musician is the one where the old guy asks the young guy to borrow his guitar, plays it, then has the perfect response when the young guy asks him his name. (SPOILER ALERT: It’s Les Paul for a beer I don’t drink.)
- Many great composers claim some of their best works were not created by them, but “given to them” from some unknown Spirit or Dimension. I believe the “where does music come from?” issue is as daunting a mystery as UFO’s, Ghosts, and Michael Bolton’s career.
- Bonus—Comments and dissenting opinions welcome.
Image: The writer sitting behind the wheel of a Ferrari.
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