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Classic Rock History: 

From 1973, in no particular order:

  • Stuck In The Middle - Stealers Wheel
  • Band On The Run - Paul McCartney & Wings
  • Diamond Girl - Seals & Crofts
  • Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) - George Harrison
  • All The Way From Memphis - Mott The Hoople
  • Photograph - Ringo Starr
  • Bennie And The Jets - Elton John
  • The Real Me - The Who
  • Keep Yourself Alive - Queen
  • Shambala - Three Dog Night
  • Dream On - Aerosmith
  • My Music - Loggins & Messina
  • Rock On - David Essex
  • Still…You Turn Me On - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • Gimme Three Steps - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy - Alice Cooper
  • Let It Ride - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • China Grove - The Doobie Brothers
  • Ramblin’ Man - The Allman Brothers
  • The Joker - The Steve Miller Band
  • My Old School - Steely Dan
  • Radar Love - Golden Earring
  • Just You ’N’ Me - Chicago
  • Lady - Styx
  • Drift Away - Dobie Gray

Classic Rock History: Guitar Heroes: 

Jimmy Page is an iconic English guitarist, songwriter, and producer who is best known as the founder and leader of the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin. Born on January 9, 1944, in Heston, Middlesex, England, Page is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential guitarists in the history of rock music.

Early Life and Musical Beginnings:
Jimmy Page developed an interest in music at a young age and started playing the guitar as a teenager. He was primarily influenced by blues guitarists such as B.B. King, Albert King, and Elmore James. As a teenager in the 1950s, he joined a "skiffle" group, playing a type of folk music popular in England at the time.

Before forming Led Zeppelin, Page gained recognition as a session musician and played on numerous recordings for artists like The Kinks, The Who, and The Rolling Stones. He also worked as a member of the Yardbirds, a prominent British rock band of the 1960s.

Formation of Led Zeppelin:
In 1968, Page formed Led Zeppelin, a groundbreaking rock band that would go on to become one of the most successful and influential bands in history. The original lineup included Robert Plant on vocals, John Paul Jones on bass and keyboards, John Bonham on drums, and Jimmy Page as the lead guitarist.

Musical Style and Contributions:
Jimmy Page's guitar playing is characterized by his virtuosity, creativity, and diverse range of styles. He blended elements of blues, rock, folk, and psychedelia to create a unique sound that defined the sound of Led Zeppelin.

He was known for his innovative use of guitar effects, such as the violin bow technique, which he used to create distinctive sounds on songs like "Dazed and Confused."

Page's iconic guitar riffs, solos, and compositions played a crucial role in shaping Led Zeppelin's sound and making them one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Songs like "Stairway to Heaven," "Whole Lotta Love," and "Kashmir" are considered timeless classics.
Songwriting and Production:

Along with his exceptional guitar skills, Page was also a prolific songwriter and producer. He co-wrote many of Led Zeppelin's songs with Robert Plant, and his production work on their albums showcased his meticulous attention to detail.

Page's production techniques often involved layering guitars and experimenting with various studio effects, resulting in a rich and textured sound. His production work contributed significantly to the band's sonic identity.

Achievements and Legacy:
Led Zeppelin achieved enormous commercial success, selling over 300 million records worldwide. They released iconic albums like "Led Zeppelin," "Led Zeppelin II," "Led Zeppelin IV," and "Physical Graffiti," among others.

The band's live performances were legendary, known for their energy, improvisation, and extended instrumental jams. Page's guitar solos during live shows were highly acclaimed and showcased his mastery of the instrument.

Jimmy Page's influence on subsequent generations of guitarists is immeasurable. His innovative playing style and creative approach to guitar techniques continue to inspire musicians worldwide.

In recognition of his contributions to music, Page has received numerous awards and honors, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of Led Zeppelin) and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Beyond Led Zeppelin:
Following the disbandment of Led Zeppelin in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham, Page pursued various solo projects and collaborations. He released solo albums like "Outrider" (1988) and collaborated with artists like David Coverdale, Paul Rodgers, and The Black Crowes.

In the 1990s, Page participated in a Led Zeppelin reunion for the "Unledded" project.

Classic Rock History: Signature Sounds of Classic Rock: 

The Gibson Les Paul is one of the most iconic and revered electric guitar models in history. Its rich history spans over several decades, beginning in the early 1950s. Here's a brief overview of the Les Paul's history:

Development and Introduction (1950-1952):
The Les Paul model was developed by Gibson in collaboration with renowned guitarist and inventor, Les Paul. The initial prototype, known as "The Log," was created by Les Paul himself in the late 1940s, named for the pine block running through the middle of the guitar. Hollow guitar sides or "wings" were added to achieve a conventional shape. Paul had brought his prototype to Gibson, but it was rejected.

In 1951, Gibson president Ted McCarty and his team began work on what would eventually become the Les Paul model. The intent in developing the guitar was not so much to compete with Fender's solid body electric as it was to outshine it; Gibson's would be a well-made-- and expensive-- guitar. McCarty's intent in approaching Les Paul for the right to imprint the musician's name on the headstock was mainly with an eye toward increased sales.

In 1952, Gibson officially introduced the Les Paul Goldtop model. It featured a solid mahogany body with a carved maple top, a glued-in mahogany neck, two P-90 single-coil pickups, and a trapeze tailpiece.

The Gibson Les Paul Custom (1954-1960):
In 1954, Gibson introduced the Les Paul Custom, also known as the "Black Beauty." It featured an all-black finish, multiple binding on the body and headstock, gold hardware, and an ebony fingerboard with mother-of-pearl inlays. The original Customs were fitted with a P-90 pickup in the bridge position and an Alnico V "staple" pickup in the neck. In 1957, the Custom was fitted with Gibson's new PAF humbucker pickups, and later became available with three pickups instead of the usual two.

When the original Les Pauls were discontinued in 1960, the Custom model's features and designation were transferred to a new SG Custom model.

Evolution and Innovations (Late 1950s-1960):
Gibson continued to refine and evolve the Les Paul model throughout the late 1950s and into the 1960s. In 1957, Gibson introduced the PAF (Patent Applied For) humbucking pickups, which provided a warmer and thicker tone compared to the original P-90 pickups. The Les Paul Standard was introduced in 1958, featuring a sunburst finish, a tune-o-matic bridge, and a stop tailpiece.

For all its innovations, the Les Paul Standard didn't sell well. The guitar was heavy, and Gibson was still marketing primarily to an older, jazz-oriented audience. As a result, fewer than 2000 of the model were sold 1958-1960.

In 1961, Gibson made some design changes to the Les Paul, giving it a thinner body and a double-cutaway shape. These models are commonly referred to as the "SG" (Solid Guitar) series. Les Paul did not approve of the changes, and asked his name be removed from the guitars. Even so, many press and promotional photos, and even album covers exist showing both Paul and his wife Mary Ford with 1961 SG Custom model guitars. And, for a period of time, some were still sold with "Les Paul" inscribed on the truss rod covers.

Discontinuation (1960) and Reintroduction (Late 1960s-1970s):
Despite its initial success, sales of the Les Paul declined during the late 1950s due to competition from other guitar manufacturers. As a result, Gibson decided to discontinue the Les Paul model in 1961 and replaced it with the aforementioned SG series.

In the mid-1960s, seeking to emulate their American blues guitar heroes, British rock guitarists began to embrace the original Les Paul models. Subsequently, popular demand prompted Gibson to reintroduce the Les Paul in 1968. This reintroduction included both the "Standard" and "Custom" models, featuring the original single-cutaway design and a range of finishes.

The Gibson Les Paul Deluxe (Late 1960s-1985):
In the late 1960s, Gibson also released the Les Paul Deluxe, which had mini-humbuckers instead of full-sized humbuckers. The pickups were surplus Epiphone inventory, and were fitted into pre-carved P-90 size cavities by means of an adapter ring. Several notable guitarists used Deluxes over the years, although many opted to switch the pickups to full-size humbuckers. The Deluxe went through multiple neck and body construction changes over the years, but was eventually discontinued in 1985.

Professional (1969-1971) and Recording (1971-1979) Models:
In 1969, the Les Paul Professional was introduced. The model forewent the cosmetic embellishments of the Standard and Custom and was aimed at the studio musician. Low impedance pickups replaced standard humbuckers, and two toggle switches provided additional tonal controls. The model was not popular, however, and was discontinued after selling less than 120 units. It would be replaced by the "Recording" model.

The Les Paul Recording differed from the Professional in only minor ways, primarily the controls layout. It was, however, the model Les Paul himself preferred.

Les Paul Studio (1983-present):
The Studio followed the Recording as a model designed to appeal to those who wanted the classic Les Paul sound at a lower cost than Standard or Custom models, again primarily studio musicians. Unlike the Professional and Recording, the Studio was basically a stripped-down Standard with a slightly thinner body. Features such as body binding, neck binding, and headstock inlays were not available.

Over time, revisions were made to the Studio to improve playability and reduce weight, a complaint often lodged against the Standard and Custom. Ironically, Studio models gradually began to be offered with most of the cosmetic features the model was originally intended to eschew.

Modern Era and Variations (1980s-Present):
Since the 1980s, Gibson has continued to produce various Les Paul models, offering different finishes, pickups, and features to cater to the preferences of modern guitarists. Some notable variations include the Les Paul Classic, Les Paul Traditional, Les Paul Custom Lite, and Les Paul Custom Pro. Gibson has also collaborated with famous guitarists to create signature Les Paul models, such as the Jimmy Page Signature and the Slash Signature Les Pauls. Gibson also offers Les Paul models under their more economical Epiphone brand.

The Gibson Les Paul's timeless design, powerful tone, and notable association with legendary guitarists have made it a highly sought-after instrument, securing its place in music history as an iconic electric guitar model.

Guitar Heroes: 

Alex Lifeson is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and producer, best known as the guitarist and founding member of the progressive rock band Rush. Born on August 27, 1953, in Fernie, British Columbia, Lifeson began playing guitar at a young age and was heavily influenced by the British rock bands of the 1960s.

Lifeson formed Rush in 1968 with drummer John Rutsey and bassist Jeff Jones. Jones was replaced by Geddy Lee on bass and vocals in 1969, and the classic lineup of Rush was born. The band quickly gained a reputation for their virtuosic musicianship and unique blend of hard rock, progressive rock, and heavy metal.

As the guitarist for Rush, Lifeson was known for his intricate and melodic guitar playing, incorporating a variety of techniques and styles. He also played a significant role in the band's songwriting, contributing to the creation of many of their most beloved tracks.

Over the course of his career, Lifeson has received numerous accolades for his contributions to music. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Rush in 2013. In addition to his work with Rush, Lifeson has also worked on various solo and collaborative projects, showcasing his versatility and creativity as a musician.

Despite Rush officially retiring in 2018 after the passing of drummer Neil Peart, Lifeson remains active in the music industry, continuing to create and collaborate on new projects.

Classic Rock History: Signature Sounds of Classic Rock: 

The invention of the humbucking electric guitar pickup revolutionized the world of electric guitars by eliminating unwanted electrical interference and producing a rich, noise-free tone.

In the early days of electric guitars, single-coil pickups were commonly used. While these pickups were effective in converting string vibrations into electrical signals, they were also susceptible to external electromagnetic interference, commonly known as hum. This interference caused an audible hum or buzz in the signal, particularly in environments with electrical equipment or strong radio waves.

The humbucking pickup was invented by Seth Lover, an engineer working for Gibson Guitar Corporation in the 1950s. Lover's goal was to develop a pickup that would cancel out the unwanted hum while maintaining the tonal characteristics of a single-coil pickup.

The key innovation in Lover's design was the use of two coils instead of one. Each coil was wound in opposite directions, with one coil connected in reverse polarity to the other. This arrangement allowed the coils to capture the string vibrations but cancel out the hum by virtue of the opposite winding and polarity.

The first commercially produced humbucking pickup was introduced by Gibson in 1957 as the "PAF" (Patent Applied For) pickup. These early PAF pickups were featured on Gibson's high-end electric guitars, including the Les Paul models. The PAF pickups gained popularity due to their ability to provide a warm, full-bodied tone while effectively eliminating hum.

Gibson sought to protect their invention by applying "PAF" stickers to the backs of their humbucking pickups. Later, they applied stickers with a patent number to the pickups, and they came to be referred to as "patent number" pickups. This was actually a bluff, however, as the patent number referred to on the stickers was for the patent they had secured for the adjustable bridge on their guitars.

Over the years, other guitar manufacturers started incorporating humbucking pickups into their instruments, recognizing their benefits. The humbucker became a defining characteristic of many iconic electric guitars, including the Gibson SG, Fender Stratocaster HSS (Humbucker/Single-Coil/Single-Coil) models, and countless others.

As time went on, various variations and improvements were made to the original humbucking pickup design. These modifications included changes in magnet types, coil winding techniques, and the introduction of different wiring options, such as coil splitting and tapping. These advancements allowed players to achieve a wider range of tones and versatility.

Today, humbucking pickups remain a staple in the electric guitar world. They are favored by musicians across different genres for their noise-canceling capabilities and the distinct, fat tone they produce. The invention of the humbucking pickup by Seth Lover continues to shape the sound of modern electric guitars and has become an integral part of the instrument's evolution.

Guitar Heroes: 

Eddie Van Halen was a world-renowned guitarist, songwriter, and producer who was born on January 26, 1955, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He was best known as the co-founder and lead guitarist of the American rock band Van Halen.

Eddie Van Halen revolutionized the sound of rock guitar playing in the late 1970s and early 1980s with his innovative and virtuosic style. He was known for his dazzling finger-tapping techniques, intricate solos, and innovative use of effects pedals, the "whammy bar" and even an electric drill.

Van Halen's self-titled debut album, released in 1978, was a massive success and helped to establish the band as one of the biggest and most influential rock acts of the 1980s. The album featured hits like "Runnin' with the Devil," "Eruption," and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love."

Eddie Van Halen continued to push the boundaries of guitar playing throughout his career, and he remained a hugely influential figure in the world of rock music until his death on October 6, 2020, at the age of 65. He will be remembered as one of the greatest guitarists of all time and a true pioneer in his field.

While Eddie Van Halen is primarily known for his exceptional guitar playing, he was also a skilled pianist. He had a strong musical foundation and was classically trained on piano as a child. This training influenced his approach to guitar playing and contributed to his unique style.

Van Halen's piano skills can be heard in various songs throughout his career with Van Halen. The power ballad "Love Walks In" from the album "5150" (1986) prominently features his piano playing alongside the guitar work. He also played piano on the track "Dreams" on "5150", and on "When It's Love" from the album "OU812".

Although Eddie Van Halen's piano playing may not have received as much attention as his guitar work, it was an important part of his musical repertoire, demonstrating his versatility and musical prowess across multiple instruments.

Songs You Didn't Realize Were Covers: 

This Burt Bacharach and Hal David song from 1964 has been covered so many times, it's hard to believe no one in 1982 noticed the Naked Eyes hit was a fresh arrangement of a two decades-old song.

Before Naked Eyes released it, it had been covered by no less than three dozen artists, including Brenda Lee (1965), Burt Bacharach (1965), The 4 Seasons (1965), Lou Christie (1966), Wayne Fontana (1966), Johnny Mathis (1967), Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles (1967), Dionne Warwick (1967), Jay & The Americans (1967), Martha Reeves & The Vandellas (1968), José Feliciano (1968), R.B. Greaves (1969), Buddy Greco (1969), Peggy Lee (1970), Carpenters (medley) (1971), The Drifters (1973), Blue Swede (1974), Carpenters (medley) (1981), and a dozen more little-known acts.

Dionne Warwick recorded a demo in 1963, but the original release in 1964 was recorded by Lou Johnson. Sandie Shaw took the song to No. 1 in the UK that same year.

From The Vault: 

The American rock-blues band Tiny Town was formed in 1997 by "Tiny Town Residents" Pat McLaughlin (vocals, guitar), Tommy Malone (guitar, vocals), Johnny-Ray Allen (bass) and Kenny Blevins (drums). The group recorded only one album, the eponymous "Tiny Town", produced by ex-Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon, in 1998.

Malone and Allen were former members of The Subdudes (usually seen lowercase as just "subdudes"), a New Orleans-based roots rock band formed in 1987 whose sound blended folk, swamp pop, New Orleans R&B, Louisiana blues, country, cajun/zydeco, funk, soul and gospel. Subdudes had disbanded in 1996.

McLaughlin is a Nashville-based songwriter who found early success in the 1980s with hits such as "Lynda", recorded by Steve Warriner, and "Tell Me About It" by Tanya Tucker and Delbert McClinton. Other McLaughlin compositions have been recorded by numerous artists including Bonnie Raitt, Alan Jackson, Taj Mahal, Trisha Yearwood, Al Kooper, Nanci Griffith, Josh Turner, Gary Allan, Shawn Camp and Don Williams.

Drummer Kenny Blevins, a Louisiana native, has been involved with more than 80 albums in his music career. Though best known for his work with John Hiatt and Sonny Landreth, he also has performed with Li'l Queenie and the Percolators, and The Continental Drifters.

Allman Brothers and Dickie Betts Band veteran Johnny Neel majorly contributes to the album on Hammond B-3 as a "Tiny Town Guest".

The album was praised for its musicianship and polish but criticized for a lack of cohesive style. It is still quite listenable, nonetheless. Highlights on the album include the opener "I'm Sorry Baby" and "Save It For A Rainy Day". "Hollywood" has a distinctly Steely Dan-ish feel to it. The swampy "Follow You Home" from the album was featured on NBC's "Homicide." The funky title track "Tiny Town" closes out the album.

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Classic Rock History: Landmark Albums: 

The self-titled album "Montrose" by the band Montrose was released in 1973. Montrose was an American rock band formed by guitarist Ronnie Montrose and featuring lead vocalist Sammy Hagar, bassist Bill Church, and drummer Denny Carmassi. The album is often regarded as a classic in the hard rock genre and is considered one of the band's most influential works.

"Montrose" is known for its energetic and heavy sound, blending elements of hard rock, blues, and early heavy metal. The album's production was handled by Ted Templeman, who had previously worked with bands like Van Morrison and The Doobie Brothers, and the result was a raw and powerful sound that became a blueprint for many subsequent hard rock bands.

The album kicks off with the iconic track "Rock the Nation," which immediately grabs the listener's attention with its driving guitar riffs and Hagar's powerful vocals. Other notable tracks on the album include "Bad Motor Scooter," a high-energy rocker that became one of Montrose's signature songs, and "Space Station #5," a song characterized by its heavy guitar riff and memorable chorus.

"Montrose" received positive reviews upon its release and has since become a cult favorite among rock enthusiasts. It showcased the impressive guitar skills of Ronnie Montrose, who was known for his innovative playing style and precise execution. Sammy Hagar's vocals also stood out, displaying his range and ability to deliver energetic and passionate performances.

Despite its critical acclaim, the album did not achieve significant commercial success upon its initial release. However, over time, it gained a strong following and is now recognized as a classic album in the hard rock genre. It influenced many musicians and bands, including Van Halen, who later recruited Sammy Hagar as their lead vocalist.

Montrose genealogy and discography
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Guitar Heroes: 

Carlos Santana is a renowned Mexican-American guitarist and songwriter, widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He was born on July 20, 1947, in Autlán de Navarro, Mexico, and raised in San Francisco, California.

Santana's music is a fusion of rock, blues, jazz, and Latin American rhythms. He first gained recognition with his band Santana, which formed in the late 1960s and released their debut album in 1969. The band's second album, "Abraxas," released in 1970, contained the hit single "Oye Como Va," which became a worldwide sensation and helped establish Santana as a major force in music.

Santana's guitar style is known for its unique blend of melodic and rhythmic elements. He often incorporates Latin American rhythms, such as salsa and samba, into his playing, and he has a distinctive tone that is instantly recognizable. His playing has been praised for its passion, soulfulness, and technical virtuosity.

In addition to his work with Santana, Carlos has collaborated with numerous other artists throughout his career, including John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, and Eric Clapton. He has won numerous awards and accolades for his music, including ten Grammy Awards, three Latin Grammy Awards, and a Billboard Century Award.

Beyond his music, Carlos Santana is known for his spiritual beliefs and his activism. He has been a vocal advocate for social justice and the rights of indigenous people, and he has established several charitable foundations to support these causes.

Santana genealogy and discography
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