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

Month: January 2017

When you get caught between America and Christopher Cross, the best that you can do is fall in love with the music

There’s a lot to like about Christopher Cross, not the least of which is that I once used one of his songs to impress my then 10-year-old daughter.

My daughters grew up on my music – the Beach Boys, Hall & Oates, America, the Doobie Brothers, Three Dog Night. But like all of us, they eventually developed their own musical tastes and starting following the bands of their era.

In 1997, the boy band NSYNC invaded our family’s musical sensibilities. The 10-year-old girl in our house had a Beatles-like fanaticism for the boys – Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass. And like our parents did for us and our music, we bought her the debut self-titled NSYNC album on cassette tape.

You remember cassettes, right? They were the preferred technology of listening to music for a time between 8-track tapes and CDs. And our car … Read more

The Lords of 52nd Street: We still like them just the way they are

Billy Joel had made four albums for Columbia Records in the early to mid-1970s – “Cold Spring Harbor” in 1971; “Piano Man” in 1973; “Streetlife Serenade” in 1974: and “Turnstiles” in 1976. Joel had moderate success with a couple of those albums, but not enough for the Columbia suits. They wanted better sales results.

Columbia thought that Joel needed a strong producer on his next album, which would be called “The Stranger.” And Sir George Martin, the man who had produced the Beatles and was famous enough at that time to be known as “the Fifth Beatle,” was interested. He was coming to see Joel and his band, which included Liberty DeVitto on drums, Doug Stegmeyer on bass, Russell Javors on electric and acoustic guitar and Richie Cannata on saxophone and clarinet, all of whom had contributed to the “Turnstiles” album.

Martin liked what he saw and after the show … Read more

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