Stories behind memorable albums of the 1970s as told by the artists

Month: June 2014

Daryl Hall, Amos Lee and Mutlu: ‘I’m in a Philly Mood’

There are a lot of cool things about living in Philly, especially for a guy who spent the first 40 years of his life in and around the cornfields of Illinois and Iowa.

Cheesesteaks (yes, they’re that good), Phillies baseball, cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell, cheesesteaks, Independence Hall, cheesesteaks, the Jersey Shore right next door and . . . cheesesteaks (Wiz, witout: Philly people will know what that means.)

But the coolest of the cool for me is the music scene here, specifically the Philly sound, also known as Philly soul. And for me that means Hall & Oates, The O’Jays, The Stylistics, Lou Rawls and the next generation that includes Amos Lee and Mutlu.

If you’re a Hall & Oates or Amos Lee fan, you likely know Mutlu. He’s the next generation of Philly singer-songwriters and he’s collaborated with both Hall & Oates and toured extensively with Lee providing backup … Read more

Grand Funk’s Mark Farner rocks the ‘Happy Together’ lineup

Howard Kaylan admitted on stage Tuesday night at the Keswick Theatre that the Turtles used to be a drug band. And he added that more than 40 years later, they still are.

It’s just that now, the drugs aren’t cocaine and marijuana, they’re Lipitor and Viagra.


Old-age jokes worked with the packed house on June 24, 2014, in Glenside, PA, because most of us are old now. We’re not ancient, just seasoned. Classic may be a better word. And by the way, we had the best music, you young whippersnappers.

Kaylan, longtime front man for the Happy Together tour, and his Turtles partner Mark Volman, who went on to become Flo & Eddie after the Turtles disbanded in 1970, have been doing the Happy Together gig now for several years. They first started it in the mid-1980s, took some time off, and then revised the idea again in 2010. … Read more

Hall & Oates leave them wanting more at the Borgata

You know that old adage, “Always leave them wanting more?” I’m pretty sure that just about everyone in the sold-out Borgata ballroom in Atlantic City Friday night, June 20, 2014, would have been happy to sit there for a few more hours and listen to Hall & Oates.

The recently inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers performed a tight, 90-minute set, that included two encores, and certainly left me wanting more.

The thing that strikes me about Daryl and John at this stage of their careers is that they genuinely seem to still be enjoying what they do. And, no breaking news here: they’re very good at it.

Of course, all the hits were there:

“Maneater” – No. 1 from the “H2O” album (1982).
“Out of Touch” – No. 1 from “Big Bam Boom” (1984).
“Do It For Love” – No. 114 (and should have been higher) from “Do … Read more

Roger McGuinn’s ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ a classic

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds played a solo gig June 12, 2014, at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA.

Hearing Brian Wilson sing “Surfer Girl” in concert.

Listening to America’s Gerry Beckley from the fifth row as he sings “Sister Golden Hair.

Seeing Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers rock out to “China Grove.”

Hearing great songs in person sung in their original versions by the artists who made them famous has always appealed to me. And now I can cross another one off my list: Hearing Roger McGuinn of The Byrds sing “Mr. Tambourine Man” in person.

I know it’s a Bob Dylan song. And certainly one can argue that hearing Bob Dylan sing it would be hearing “Mr. Tambourine Man” in its original form. Dylan released the song in March 1965 and The Byrds’ version was released in April 1965.

But it’s the harmonies of McGuinn, Gene … Read more

A special kiss, courtesy of Three Dog Night

It wasn’t my first kiss, but it was a special kiss.

In the spring of 1976, I was the 17-year-old president of the junior class at Pekin Community High School in central Illinois.

One of my “duties” — in addition to running around being a teenage goof-off — was to help plan the junior-senior prom.
For the record, I was much better at goofing off than I was at planning a prom.

Three Dog Night had split up by 1976 but I was still a big fan in those days, despite having never had the chance to see the band perform in concert.

My big contribution to the prom that year was pushing for “An Old Fashioned Love Song” — written by Paul Williams and made into a hit by Three Dog Night — to be the theme of the dance. As class president with hip Elvis sideburns and a … Read more

Lunch with Annie Haslam of Renaissance

Annie HaslamAnnie Haslam tells a story in “The Vinyl Dialogues” that involves flying potatoes, white pants and a British a cappella group named The King’s Singers.

It’s a pretty funny story.

So when I had lunch recently with the lead singer of the band Renaissance at a quaint little place called the Vintage Grille in Doylestown, PA, I was keeping a wary eye on what she was going to order.

Annie ordered a breakfast plate, which included fried potatoes cut into squares. Fortunately, I had the good sense to not wear white pants to that lunch. One never knows which establishments these days serve the flying potatoes.

It was the first time I had met the wonderfully charming Haslam. Our telephone interview for the book in March 2013 was about her recollections and memories of the Renaissance album “Scheherazade and Other Stories,” released in 1975.

Still a head-turner at age . … Read more

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