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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.

Songs You Didn't Realize Were Covers: 

"Blue Bayou" is a popular song recorded by American singer Linda Ronstadt. It was released in 1977 as a single from her album "Simple Dreams." The song was written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson and had previously been recorded by Orbison in 1963. However, Ronstadt's rendition of "Blue Bayou" became the more well-known and successful version.

"Blue Bayou" is a heartfelt ballad that showcases Ronstadt's powerful vocals and emotional delivery. The song has a timeless quality and resonates with listeners due to its themes of longing, nostalgia, and a desire for a peaceful escape. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a yearning for the tranquility and simplicity of a place called Blue Bayou.

Linda Ronstadt's version of "Blue Bayou" became one of her biggest hits, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. It also achieved success internationally and remains one of her most recognizable and beloved songs. Ronstadt's interpretation of the song earned critical acclaim and contributed to her reputation as one of the finest vocalists of her generation.

"Blue Bayou" has since been covered by various artists, further cementing its status as a classic. It has been recorded by notable musicians such as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison (the original songwriter), and even Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo. The enduring appeal of the song lies in its timeless melody, evocative lyrics, and the emotional depth conveyed by Linda Ronstadt's interpretation.

Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

Melody Maker Single Cut

The Melody Maker is a popular model of electric guitar produced by Gibson. It has a long history dating back to its introduction in 1959. The Melody Maker was initially designed as an affordable option for beginners and students, but it gained popularity among professional musicians as well due to its unique sound and simplicity.

...continue reading "The Gibson Melody Maker"
Guitar Heroes: 

Steve Lukather, born on October 21, 1957, is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known as the co-founder and lead guitarist of the rock band Toto. Lukather's versatile playing style and exceptional guitar skills have made him one of the most respected and sought-after guitarists in the music industry.

Lukather was born in Los Angeles, California, and began playing guitar at a young age. He was heavily influenced by rock and blues musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page. Lukather's musical career took off in the late 1970s when he co-founded Toto with his childhood friends David Paich and Jeff Porcaro.

Toto achieved great success in the late 1970s and early 1980s with hits like "Hold the Line," "Rosanna," and "Africa." Lukather's distinctive guitar playing and his ability to seamlessly blend different styles, from rock to jazz to R&B, contributed to the band's unique sound. He became known for his melodic guitar solos, tasteful phrasing, and precise technique.

In addition to his work with Toto, Lukather has been an in-demand session guitarist. He has collaborated with numerous artists and played on hundreds of recordings across various genres. Some notable collaborations include sessions with Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Elton John, and many more. Lukather's guitar playing can be heard on some of the biggest hits of the 1980s and beyond.

Lukather has also released several solo albums. His debut solo effort, "Lukather," was released in 1989 and showcased his diverse musical influences. He has since released several more albums, including "Candyman" (1994), "Ever Changing Times" (2008), and "Transition" (2013). Lukather's solo work demonstrates his versatility as a musician, incorporating elements of rock, jazz, pop, and fusion.

Throughout his career, Steve Lukather has received numerous accolades and awards for his contributions to music. He is a five-time Grammy Award winner and has been recognized for his guitar skills by publications like Guitar Player magazine. Lukather's influence as a guitarist extends far and wide, and he continues to inspire aspiring musicians with his playing style and musicality.

In recent years, Lukather has remained active both as a solo artist and as a member of Toto. He has also participated in various tribute concerts and collaborated with other musicians on special projects. For many years, he has been a core member of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band, a touring group made up of musicians from several classic rock bands, which performs Beatles hits as well as those by others who happen to be in the band's current lineup. Lukather's passion for music, his dedication to his craft, and his incredible guitar skills have solidified his status as one of the greatest guitarists of his generation.