Bloody Sunday: When Johnny O’Lennain and Paul McCartney Got their Irish Up

Mar 16, 2016 | 4581 Views | 5 Comments

In February 1972, Paul McCartney released a single that finally put him in the same league of controversy that his former Beatles bandmate John Lennon had long inhabited. That was the month Paul released his single, "Give Ireland Back to the Irish." It was his response to Bloody Sunday, a horrific event in which British soldiers shot and killed 26 unarmed civil-rights protesters and bystanders who were taking part in a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march on January 30, 1972. Paul's record company EMI reluctantly agreed to let him and his band Wings record and release... Read More »

Goldie and the Gingerbreads: Rock’s First All-Female Guitar Band

Mar 8, 2016 | 4962 Views | 2 Comments

They didn't ride motorcycles through the halls of L.A.'s legendary Hyatt House, pay hotel doormen to smuggle hot groupies into their rooms, or smash pricey guitars to smithereens during performances. In fact, they didn't pull any of the typical stunts made famous by the male rock pioneers of the 1960s and '70s. Yet, they were trailblazers nonetheless. I'm talking about the mostly forgotten women of the early electric bands, who proved you didn't need testosterone to have talent. They wielded Strats, hammered Ludwigs, went on tour, signed record deals…and then just faded into footnotes. Now maybe,... Read More »

Are Ya Ready, Boots? Start Talkin’!

Feb 25, 2016 | 6385 Views | 2 Comments

As the the existential Bugs-Daffy debate rages on - is it duck season or rabbit season? -  this Looney Tunes woman is only certain of one thing:  it's BOOT season!  And I'll endure the snow, slush, and sub-freezing temperatures of Pittsburgh for the rest of my life, as long as I can wear my pavement-pounding, cockroach-killing, arch-destroying boots. It's the thrill of fashion…and the Agony of De Feet. But I'm still standing. White boot, black boot, thigh boot, jack boot. From whence do my sartorial obsessions spring? From rock-n-roll, where else! Fifty years ago today Nancy Sinatra's hit... Read More »

The Day the Music (and Joe Meek) Died

Feb 3, 2016 | 6353 Views | 3 Comments

Okay, this is a strange story, but yer blogger is a pretty spooky gal, and she'd feel remiss if she didn't pass on this ghoulish, but essential, piece of trivia regarding Buddy Holly's possibly avoidable death-by-aircraft on February 3, 1959. The tale begins with a man named Joe Meek, a British songwriter and record producer who pioneered the use of quirky production techniques - echo, reverb, sampling, multiple overdubbing - in recordings that he made in his home studio above a leather goods shop in London. He wrote and produced the Tornados' 1962 novelty hit "Telstar," which... Read More »

The Sex Pistols’ John Lydon: Rotten…or Realist?

Jan 31, 2016 | 5358 Views | 1 Comment

I am an anti-Christ, I am an anarchist. One of rock’s great original voices, John Lydon – aka Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols – screamed those words to the punks, the privileged, and the politicians of England in 1977. He emerged from some Frankenstein-like laboratory on this date in 1956. But was he really such a demon? One day in 1975, t-shirt designer and aspiring rock manager Bernard Rhodes spotted the orange-haired Lydon walking down London’s once-fashionable King’s Road, wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt that he had altered by ripping holes through the eyes of the... Read More »