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Classic Rock History: 

The history of blues music in the United States is deeply rooted in the African American experience, and its evolution over the years has had a profound impact on the broader musical landscape. Blues originated in the late 19th century, with its roots in African musical traditions, spirituals, work songs, and field hollers. It grew and developed in the rural areas of the Southern United States, particularly in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and other states with large African American populations.

...continue reading "How The Blues Became Classic Rock"
Classic Rock History: 

The development of the 33⅓ revolutions per minute (RPM) long-playing (LP) record by Peter Carl Goldmark was a significant milestone in the history of audio recording. The LP record revolutionized the way music was distributed, providing longer playing times and improved sound quality compared to the existing 78 RPM records.

In the late 1940s, the standard format for recorded music was the 78 RPM record, which typically could only hold about three to five minutes of music per side. Goldmark recognized the limitations of this format and sought to create a record that could accommodate longer musical performances, such as full symphonies or extended jazz sessions.

...continue reading "The 33⅓ RPM LP Record"
Classic Rock History: 

In addition to vinyl records, a significant amount of classic rock music, in its heyday, was consumed on 8-track tapes.

The 8-track tape player, also known simply as the 8-track player, was a popular audio playback technology that gained prominence in the mid-1960s and remained popular throughout the 1970s. It was a significant development in the history of portable and in-car audio entertainment.

The 8-track tape format was developed by Bill Lear, the inventor of the Learjet and founder of Lear Incorporated. Lear, along with his team, sought to create a reliable and convenient way for people to enjoy music in their cars. The 8-track cartridge was their solution.

...continue reading "1965: The 8-Track Tape Player"
Classic Rock History: In The News: 

MTV, "Music Television" debuted August 1, 1981. Instead of Disc Jockeys (DJs), there were "VJs" (Video Jockeys), including Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, JJ Jackson and Mark Goodman, all of whom hosted segments and introduced video clips.

The first ten videos to play on that day were:

1. "Video Killed the Radio Star" The Buggles
2. "You Better Run" Pat Benatar
3. "She Won't Dance With Me" Rod Stewart
4. "You Better You Bet" The Who
5. "Little Suzi's on the Up" Ph.D.
6. "We Don't Talk Anymore" Cliff Richard
7. "Brass in Pocket" The Pretenders
8. "Time Heals" Todd Rundgren
9. "Take It on the Run" REO Speedwagon
10. "Rockin' the Paradise" Styx

Of the 209 videos aired during the first 24 hours, many were run more than once. "You Better You Bet" by The Who, also the first video to be rerun, and "Just Between You And Me" by April Wine tied for the most airings at five apiece. Video number 100 was "Let's Go" by The Cars, which aired only once. "Lonely Boy" by Andrew Gold, also a one-timer, closed out the day.

Other notable first-day landmarks:

9. The REO Speedwagon video was the first live concert video to be aired on MTV, from their Live Infidelity home video release.

16. "Iron Maiden" by Iron Maiden was the first Heavy Metal song to be played on MTV.

41. "Angel of the Morning" by Juice Newton was the first country video to air.

62. "Rat Race" by The Specials was the first video featuring both black and white artists to air on MTV.

Songs You Didn't Realize Were Covers: 

"Jet Airliner" is a popular song written by Paul Pena, an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. However, it is important to note that while Paul Pena did write and perform the song, the version that is most widely recognized and popular is not his original recording. The better-known version of "Jet Airliner" was actually recorded and released by the Steve Miller Band.

Paul Pena originally wrote and recorded the song for his 1973 album titled "New Train." The album showcased his musical talents, fusing elements of folk, blues, and rock. Unfortunately, due to conflicts with his record label, the album was not released until 2000.

The song would gain widespread recognition when the Steve Miller Band covered it. Miller was made aware of the song by a former band member who also happened to produce Pena's 1973 album. This version, in addition to some slight changes lyrically, featured a more rock-oriented sound and became a major hit, receiving extensive radio airplay and charting well on music charts. Miller's band had recorded their version of "Jet Airliner" in 1975, during sessions for the "Fly Like an Eagle" album, but the song was not released until 1977, when it was included on their album "Book of Dreams."

Steve Miller's rendition of "Jet Airliner" propelled the song to greater fame, reaching a broader audience and becoming a staple in classic rock radio playlists. Its catchy chorus and upbeat melody contributed to its popularity, and it remains one of Steve Miller Band's most iconic and enduring songs.

Paul Pena's original version of "Jet Airliner" was rediscovered and gained some recognition after Steve Miller's cover became a hit. Paul Pena continued to pursue his music career and performed with various artists, showcasing his impressive talents as a musician and vocalist.

Overall, "Jet Airliner" is a song that highlights the journey of its original songwriter, Paul Pena, as well as the enduring success of the Steve Miller Band's cover version, which brought the song to a wider audience and secured its place as a classic in the world of rock music.

Guitar Heroes: 

Brian May is an English musician, songwriter, and astrophysicist, best known as the lead guitarist of the legendary rock band Queen. He was born on July 19, 1947, in Hampton, Middlesex, England.

May began playing the guitar at the age of seven and went on to form his first band, Smile, in 1968, which later evolved into Queen with the addition of singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor. Queen became one of the most successful and influential rock bands of all time, with May's distinctive guitar sound and musical contributions playing a major role in the band's success.

May is known for his unique guitar style, which features a blend of heavy distortion, melodic phrasing, and intricate harmonies. He also developed his own custom guitar, the Red Special, which he built with his father when he was a teenager, and has used it throughout his career. He is known for using a British sixpence coin as a guitar pick, and for his preference for Vox AC30 amplifiers, both of which contribute to his recognizable sound.

In addition to his music career, May is also an accomplished astrophysicist and holds a PhD in the subject. He has contributed to several scientific publications and was even appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University in 2008.

May's contributions to music and science have earned him several awards and honors, including the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2005 and the honorary title of Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association in 2014. He continues to perform and record music, both as a solo artist and with Queen, and remains a beloved figure in the world of rock music.

Songs You Didn't Realize Were Covers: 

"Love Hurts" was written by American songwriter Boudleaux Bryant. He initially composed the song in 1960, and it was first recorded by The Everly Brothers that same year. The Everly Brothers' version of the song, with their distinct harmonies, helped popularize it and established it as a classic. Roy Orbison also had some success with the song when he covered it in 1961. However, it was the cover version by the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth that achieved significant success and became their signature song.

Nazareth's rendition of "Love Hurts" was released as a single in 1974 and featured on their album "Hair of the Dog." The band's interpretation of the song transformed it into a power ballad with a heavier rock sound, differentiating it from the original version. The lead vocals were performed by Dan McCafferty, whose raspy and emotive voice added a unique depth and intensity to the song.

The Nazareth version of "Love Hurts" became a massive hit for the band, reaching high chart positions in various countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It remains one of their most well-known and beloved songs.

The lyrics of "Love Hurts" explore the theme of love and its accompanying pain. The song expresses the anguish and heartache experienced when love goes wrong, highlighting the emotional struggles and conflicts that often accompany relationships. With its heartfelt and relatable lyrics, the song struck a chord with listeners and became an anthem for those dealing with the ups and downs of love.

Over the years, "Love Hurts" has been covered by numerous artists from different genres, further solidifying its status as a timeless classic. It has been performed by the likes of Cher, Jim Capaldi, Rod Stewart, and Gram Parsons, among others. Each artist brings their own interpretation to the song, showcasing its universal appeal and emotional resonance.

Nazareth's version of "Love Hurts" remains an enduring rock ballad that continues to captivate audiences with its raw emotion and powerful delivery. Its timeless message about the complexities of love has made it a beloved song for generations of music lovers.

One Hit Wonders: 

Here are some of the most popular one-hit wonder songs of the 1970s:

"Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum (1970)
"In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry (1970)
"War" by Edwin Starr (1970)
"Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone (1974)
"Rock the Boat" by The Hues Corporation (1974)
"The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace (1974)
"Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas (1974)
"Lovin' You" by Minnie Riperton (1975)
"Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry (1976)
"Afternoon Delight" by Starland Vocal Band (1976)
"Fly, Robin, Fly" by Silver Convention (1975)
"You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone (1977)
"Disco Inferno" by The Trammps (1977)
"Baby Come Back" by Player (1977)
"Magnet and Steel" by Walter Egan (1978)

Note that some of these artists may have released other singles, but these songs are considered their only true hit.

Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

The Dumble Overdrive Special amplifier is considered one of the most sought-after and iconic guitar amplifiers in the history of rock music. Created by Howard Alexander Dumble, a reclusive amp builder based in California, the Dumble Overdrive Special has gained legendary status due to its unique tonal characteristics and its association with some of the world's most renowned guitarists. Let's delve into the history of this remarkable amplifier and the guitarists who have embraced it.

...continue reading "The Dumble Overdrive Special Amplifier"
Guitar Heroes: 

Stevie Ray Vaughan, born on October 3, 1954, and tragically died on August 27, 1990, was an immensely talented American guitarist and songwriter. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists in the history of blues and rock music. Known for his passionate playing style, soulful tone, and virtuosic skills, Vaughan left a lasting impact on the music world during his relatively short career.

Early Life and Musical Journey:
Stevie Ray Vaughan was born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in the nearby city of Oak Cliff. He grew up in a musical household, with his older brother Jimmie Vaughan, who would also become a renowned guitarist. Stevie Ray Vaughan began playing guitar at the age of seven and quickly showed great aptitude for the instrument. He was heavily influenced by blues musicians such as Freddie King, Albert King, and B.B. King, as well as rock guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Lonnie Mack.

In his teenage years, Vaughan started performing in various local bands, showcasing his exceptional guitar skills. He gained recognition in the Texas music scene, and by 1982, had formed a power trio version of his band Double Trouble, consisting of himself on vocals and guitar, bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton. The trio would become Vaughan's primary band configuration for the rest of his career. They became a four-piece by 1985 after adding Reese Wynans on keyboards.

Breakthrough and Success:
Stevie Ray Vaughan's breakthrough came at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where he caught the attention of David Bowie's guitarist, Mick Ronson. Ronson, impressed by Vaughan's talent, invited him to contribute to Bowie's album "Let's Dance." This exposure helped introduce Vaughan's music to a wider audience.

In 1983, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble released their debut album, "Texas Flood," which received critical acclaim and established Vaughan as a guitar virtuoso. The album showcased his fiery guitar playing, soulful vocals, and a deep understanding of the blues. It included standout tracks like "Pride and Joy" and the title track "Texas Flood."

Over the next few years, Vaughan continued to release successful albums, including "Couldn't Stand the Weather" (1984) and "Soul to Soul" (1985). He gained a reputation for his electrifying live performances, often captivating audiences with his passionate playing and incredible improvisational skills.

Legacy and Influence:
Stevie Ray Vaughan's impact on the music world cannot be overstated. He played a pivotal role in revitalizing the blues genre, bringing it to a new generation of listeners. Vaughan's technical proficiency, coupled with his emotional expressiveness, made him a unique and influential guitarist.

His playing style combined elements of blues, rock, and jazz, creating a signature sound that inspired countless guitarists. Vaughan's use of the Fender Stratocaster and his mastery of techniques like string bending, vibrato, and fast-paced blues licks became synonymous with his musical identity.

Tragically, Stevie Ray Vaughan's life was cut short on August 27, 1990, when he died in a helicopter crash at the age of 35. His death shocked the music community and led to an outpouring of grief from fans around the world.

In recognition of his contributions, Stevie Ray Vaughan was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. His albums continue to be celebrated, and his recordings are studied by aspiring guitarists seeking to understand his unique style.

Notable Discography:
"Texas Flood" (1983)
"Couldn't Stand the Weather" (1984)
"Soul to Soul" (1985)
"In Step" (1989)
"The Sky Is Crying" (1991)

Stevie Ray Vaughan's music remains a testament to his immense talent, and his influence continues to inspire guitarists and music lovers to this day.