Dec 232012

John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time.” Amazing, isn’t it, that the John vs. Paul thing can be expressed so perfectly in the Christmas songs that each released.

John’s anti-religion (“Xmas” instead of Christmas), anti-war, thought-provoking song:


Paul’s silly love song, holiday edition”

I think John’s song is the better, more creative, more distinctive one but, damned, if I’m not singing along every time Paul’s comes over the radio waves.

How about you?

SHOWDOWN (Choose One): "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" or "Wonderful Christmas Time"?

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Oct 252012


If a picture is worth a thousand words, this image is the freaking War & Peace of, you know, everything that I know you know this picture stands for. Just look at Lou Gramm for a second here. No, wait — linger thoughtfully for a few minutes and consider what this picture is saying — about rockin’, about kickin’ serious ass; about bein’ Hot Blooded; about takin’ it to the limit. Then see if you can find an image that beats it in terms of, you know, all that stuff.

I look forward to your responses.


Oct 202012

Has any group of dedicated group of backing vocalists added more to a song than the Pips do behind Gladys Knight on “Midnight Train to Georgia”? Their performance is essential to the song. If you must throw studio backing vocalists and band members who sing background vocals as well as play instruments into the discussion to make it a challenge, go for it with the knowledge that I’ll be tsk tsk-ing you for taking the easy way out. If I weren’t playing the “bigger man” you’d be fed up with me for my silly exclusions and seemingly on-the-fly rules.

I’m not the world’s greatest fan of backing vocals, but when done so when and when arranged as such an essential part of the song I can’t help but be dazzled. Whoo-hoo!

Oct 182012

Ike and Tina Turner’s Ikettes raised the bar for groovy backing vocalists. They may indeed be the grooviest ever, but let’s consider whether any set of groovy backing vocalists has come close, especially, for purposes of this discussion, groovy hippie backing vocalists.

The sight of the half-dozen long-haired, bare-footed, overalls-wearing backing vocalists primed at the 26-second mark of the following Joe Cocker live take on “The Letter” must have been a great inspiration to 1960s-era choir kids gone to pot.

Sep 292012


Is there a better movie still available on the Web from a rock film than the above shot of Kyle MacLachlan as Ray Manzarek from The Doors? If so, post a link to the superior rock movie still.

A few things jump out, particularly wigs and sideburns. Wigs and sideburns hell, I should say. – Kyle MacLachlan, on his participation in The Doors

I look forward to your gems.


Sep 082012

[If you’ve ever entered Rock Town Hall through its root URL:, you were greeted by a Townsman strumming the opening chord of “The Kids Are Alright.” Our apologies to anyone who’s ever jumped out of his or her seat at that automatically generated sound. Those of us in The Back Office typically don’t support such obtrusive devices, but I think you’ll agree that it’s appropriate for our lot. My apologies, more importantly, to Townsman Al for the long delay in posting an idea he put forth in an offlist message a few months ago. This is a worthwhile initiative to determine—once and for all— rock’s most distinctive opening chord. But first…let us develop the Field of 64. Here’s Al to take you home. – Mr. Moderator]

Rock seems to have any number of single opening note/chord that instantly identifies the song and gets you singing it immediately. “The Kids Are Alright” is one example. Another great example is “A Hard Day’s Night.” Or The Move’s/ELO’s “Do Ya”—or maybe that needs those 4 crunches (although one does it for me). Anyway, I’ve never figured out a good way to structure it.

How about a Battle Royale, using the Field of 64 playoff structure, like the recent backing band tournament? First, let’s identify 64 worthy competitors. List your suggested competitors in this thread and hash it out with your fellow Townspeople. Next week we’ll release the brackets and let the games begin!

Jul 032012

Backstage footage of musicians in their natural habitat, away from the groping public, is often quite telling, even inspiring. Sometimes musicians you’d never expect to see sharing a stage are caught yukking it up in the wings. Ah, the glorious bonds of music know no bounds! In the above clip, videotaped backstage in Ocean City, Maryland, Dion and Marty Balin share a moment over a hair that fell into a third man’s beer. I’m not sure this tops the legendary footage of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed backstage in 1985, discussing the art of recording their music as it was meant to sound, but it comes close.

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