Jun 222015

We’ve spent many summers in the Halls of Rock, yet I don’t believe we’ve ever determined…once and for all…the best song about summer. Not your favorite song about summer, but the best, objectively speaking, according to the following criteria—and probably then some:

  • Groove that most feels like summer (real summer, not that winter-like summer I hear they experience south of the equator)
  • Lyrics that best represent summer experiences and observations
  • Appropriateness for all summer activities, regardless of individual tastes and north-of-the-equator geography
  • Evocative power of the song title
  • Most appropriate complimentary image of performing artist

I look forward to settling this debate…once and for all.

Apr 112013



It was 43 years ago yesterday that Paul McCartney‘s self-interview that accompanied the release of his first solo album effectively announced the beginning of the end of The Beatles.

Q: Do you foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?
A: No.

That was some way to announce the end of a band! Did Paul Weller make some self-important splash when he decided to end The Jam? Didn’t they put out an EP announcing the break up and coming farewell tour? A few songs into The Gift I’d already broken up with them.

I recall Little Richard and David Bowie each broke up with themselves in dramatic, once-and-for-all fashion a few times. What other artists staged memorable break ups?

Mar 012013


Last week, I was in England visiting friends and family, and during my journeys several songs came to mind relating to the places I was traveling. You may be able to imagine what was going through my head at Baker Street Station, Waterloo Station, Victoria Station, and along The Strand.

On my flight back to the US, I picked up a copy of The Guardian, and came across an article that also referenced music and place, “Beltway Belter.”

“In 2007 Laura Barton wrote an ode to a Jonathan Richman song. Inspired, Massachusetts now wants it as a state anthem. What is it about Roadrunner?”

In the article, Ms. Barton mentions about her previous newspaper piece, for which she traveled along good ol’ Rt. 128 to visit the locations mentioned in the song. Apparently, the article has since spurred a bill that “seeks to anoint Roadrunner the official rock song of Massachusetts,” and if passed, will join the other official Massachusetts songs (a folk song, a glee club song, a polka, and The Official Song).

So tonight I did a little web research and found the original article, a pleasant foray into music obsession that I believe many of us can relate to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2007/jul/20/popandrock5

But wait, there’s more. If you thought Jonathan Richman had the nomination for Official Rock Song of Massachusetts wrapped up, you can Dream On: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013/feb/27/roadrunner-massachusetts-dream-on-aerosmith

What do you think? I’m reaching out to you, bostonhistorian, misterioso, diskojoe, and others, to help us understand, weigh the evidence, and sort out with this controversy of Official Rock Song of Massachusetts.

And while you all are mulling over all this, does your state have an official song? Apparently, Oklahoma locked on to the Flaming Lips‘ “Do You Realize” in 2009; that’s a lovely song, but is it worthy enough to be official? Does it match Ohio’s “Hang On Sloopy”? Or Washington’s “Louie, Louie”?

RTH, help us determine, ONCE AND FOR ALL, what should Massachusett’s Official Rock Song be, AND what is the best official state song?

Feb 272013

Wait! Before Once and For All February ends I think you’ll agree it’s time we determine—once and for all—Star Trek‘s Best Singer. The following John Peel special does as nice a job to set up the competition as I could do on my own in the limited time available to me today.

In the few minutes I do have available, however, let’s break it down a little further. No RTH People’s Poll is necessary. Take this opportunity to lobby for a winner…after the jump!

Feb 262013

Rock Town Hall’s Once and For All February hits the homestretch with the topic we’ve been eagerly awaiting to decide since Townsman Al first raised it way back in September 2012: What Is Rock’s Most Distinctive Opening Guitar Chord?

Offlist lobbying has been fierce since this topic was originally raised and a call for a field of 64 was put forth. The judges weeded through a wealth of suggestions, tossing aside songs that actually opened with an instrument or vocal sound other than a guitar chord, such as the cowbell that precedes the distinctive guitar chord of “Honky Tonk Women” and the count-ins to “Wooly Bully” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” as barely inaudible as it is. Arpeggiated chords are allowed, including, the arguably loosely arpeggiated harmonics that kick off Yes’ “Roundabout.”

Studio/best-known versions only are being considered. Please feel free to consider the special qualities of the way the opening guitar chord sounds. This factors into just how distinctive your choice is.

A chord is composed of 3 notes, so the single-note octave intro to Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and the 2-note intros, like U2’s “I Will Follow,” are not included in this competition. Likewise, there is a muted third note in the opening riff of The Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing,” which the judges have determined disqualifies it from this competition.

Over the next 3 days we encourage Townspeople to vote early and vote often for their choice in the extensive RTH People’s Poll that follows…after the jump!

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