It’s become apparent that it’s time for another Icons of Rock post (because I decided it was) and for this one, the theme is going to be, well, sort of a best-of collection. These are well-known and talented artists, and the videos presented represent works that are (in my opinion) the very best of their portfolios.
First up is an artist that I generally don’t listen to much. Billy Joel is an undeniable talent, but his normal style doesn’t appeal to me as much as some other rockers; I’m more the head-banger type. But Piano Man is undeniably a masterpiece, and undeniably his best work.
Next up; Bob Dylan is best known as a folksinger, and in these virtual pages is generally (and justifiably) referred to as America’s Songwriter. But he could turn in some pretty good rock & roll when he put his mind to it, as he did in his 1976 Rolling Thunder Review. Here, from that bicentennial summer, is one of my favorites; Shelter From the Storm.
Jim Croce was a musical talent that was taken from us far too soon. Here’s what I think is his best tune, I Got A Name.
Moving back a little into head-banging territory; Foghat was a big deal when I was in high school, and they occasionally still pop up here and there at small venues. Their best tune was undoubtedly the bangin’ Slow Ride.
Finally, from the folks who gave you the Armageddon soundtrack, comes one of their very best tunes – and this band gives you a lot to choose from. Here is Aerosmith with a full instrumental cut of Dream On.
And on that musical note, we return you to her Tuesday, already in progress.
And now, for something completely different; my list of the five best guitar players in rock & roll history. Here they are, at their finest and in no particular order. These are all live shows – no studio riffs here.
First up: The irreplaceable Jerry Garcia, in 1990, playing lead in Eyes of the World. Mrs. Animal and I saw the Grateful Dead in 1991, and this was one of the best tunes in the almost 5-hour show.
Next, the irrepressible Frank Zappa, from a 1977 concert, with his favored show-closer The Muffin Man.
Next, the irreproachable Stevie Ray Vaughan, with a live rip of his Couldn’t Stand the Weather.
And then there’s the irredeemable Jimi Hendrix, with a 1970 performance of his famous Purple Haze.
And finally, the only member on the list still walking the mortal coil; the irresistible Carlos Santana. I didn’t pick one of his usuals for this; instead I chose a more intimate performance, where he met the radiant Faith Hill and accompanied her on her song Breathe.
So. Thoughts? I would have named my top ten, but I was running out of words that began with the ‘irr’ prefix, and besides, after five the choices widen out some. I suppose I’d put Eddie Van Halen in that list, and Jimmy Page, and maybe George Thorogood.
I think I like this better than Donna Summer’s original version. This is the percussion-heavy Blue Man Group with early 2000’s alt-band VenusHum – lead singer Annette Strean has some pretty good pipes. Enjoy.
Mrs. Animal and I have seen the Blue Man Group twice, once the full show in Las Vegas, once the road show with the aforementioned VenusHum; in fact we saw this very song performed. They’re worth checking out.
We haven’t had one of these for a while. In addition to classic old head-banger rock, I’m also partial to good country music. So, to commemorate today’s single-digit temps here in the Denver area, here is the Zac Brown Band with their great song Colder Weather. This one rings home for a traveling guy like me. Enjoy.
Summer 1980; yr. obdt. was a brand-new high school graduate, Ronald Reagan was running for President, the Cold War was in full sway and Boz Scaggs was one of the more innovative musicians of the day. Here is his hit from that summer, JoJo. Enjoy.
As we slip into winter, let’s have a little Saturday morning ode to warmer times. Here’s Kenny Chesney with Summertime. He does a great job of describing summers in the Seventies, when I was a teenager.