When Glen Campbell Visited Glen Campbell

May 21, 2012 | 1880 Views | 1 Comment

As I slowly wind down from the excitement of seeing the legendary Glen Campbell perform his fabulous hits last night at the Byham Theater in Pittsburgh, I think back to those days when his "Goodtime Hour" was the hot show on prime time TV, and the time he made a surprise visit to a tiny village not far from my hometown. Hey, when you're growing up in a semi-rural county, the visit of a big celebrity creates quite a stir. In 1971 Glen was at the height of his popularity, having already released more than a dozen... Read More »

All Good Rockers Thank Their Moms

May 13, 2012 | 1273 Views | 0 Comments

Every year when I watch the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's new inductees deliver their acceptance speeches, I'm moved to hear the titans of the music business thank their mothers - for buying them their first guitars, for putting up with their basement drum practice, for driving them to early gigs. Who could forget Bruce Springsteen in 1999, dedicating his award to his mother sitting in the audience, saying, "she gave me a sense of work as something that was joyous, and that filled you with pride and self-regard, and that committed you to your... Read More »

When White Artists Cover Black Music: It Rocks or it Flops

Mar 30, 2012 | 2155 Views | 0 Comments

Thirty-one years ago this week, Blondie's "Rapture" became the first rap song to hit the number one spot on the Billboard chart, introducing a whole new audience of white Americans to a provocative musical genre emerging from black artists like Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow and the Sugarhill Gang.  A blonde on blonde chick rapping about a man from Mars who eats up cars, bars and guitars? Yes, brave, sexy Debbie Harry and her band of New York / New Wave punk-hipsters put their own spin on a distinctly urban black musical style - and it worked!  The... Read More »

Micky’s Monkee

Mar 8, 2012 | 1751 Views | 1 Comment

With the sad passing of the ever-youthful Davy Jones last week, I beg the question: who was your favorite Monkee?  For me it was pixie-faced Micky Dolenz, who turns 67 today. Why Micky?  Well, like Ringo, the real drummer on which his TV character was modeled, he just charmed the heck out of me with his goofiness. The son of Hollywood actors George and Janelle Dolenz, Micky began his career in 1956 as a bleached-blond child star in the TV show "Circus Boy" and went on to perform with a number of unsuccessful LA-area bands, including Micky... Read More »

She Loves Them. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Feb 9, 2012 | 1462 Views | 1 Comment

Every family has its folk tales -- those sometimes sweet, often cringe-inducing stories we're forced to endure at every holiday gathering.  Like the time my grandfather decided to forgo dental expenses by removing his own teeth with the help of Canadian Club whiskey and a pair of pliers.  Or that day back in 1960 when my prankster dad deposited a piece of fake rubber vomit on my aunt's expensive new sofa. Ah, but not all of my family's folk tales are gauche, mind you. In fact, at many gatherings the most anticipated and charming story of... Read More »