The Vinyl Dialogues Blog

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

The making of the Beach Boys’ ‘Holland’ album and the back story on ‘Sail On, Sailor’

On Jan. 8, 1973, the Beach Boys released the “Holland” album, which included the hit “Sail On, Sailor,” featuring Blondie Chaplin on lead vocals. Here is an excerpt from a chapter in The Vinyl Dialogues Volume IV: From Studio to Stylus that includes an interview with Blondie Chaplin about the making of the “Holland” album and the back story on how he was chosen to sing lead on “Sail On, Sailor.”

After spending about three months recording in Holland over the summer of 1972, the Beach Boys had returned to the United States thinking they had finished their 19th studio album.

But when they presented the album — called Holland — to Warner Brothers, record company officials rejected it because it didn’t appear to the suits that it had a song that could be marketed as a potential hit single.

Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson had co-written another song — … Read more

Whoa-oh-oh, listen to the music: The best concerts of 2019

Generally, there’s no such thing as a bad concert, and 2019 was no exception. While my criteria for what’s constitutes a good concert experience changes a bit from show to show — the location of my seat, the ticket price, whether I got to go to the meet-and-greet, the quality of the photos I get — I can usually find a lot of things I like about a show. 

I couldn’t limit the list to the Top 10 shows of 2019, so I made it Top 11 this year. Really, all the concerts were very good, it’s just that these were just a little bit better.

11. Steely Dan — The Met/Philly (Nov. 9) — There was a lot right and a few things wrong for me at this show. First and foremost, the music was brilliant, Donald Fagen can still deliver the goods, and his band is nothing short … Read more

New album ‘Ghost Town’ masters the art of the story song

In August of 2013, Gordon Glantz had gone to a Steve Earle concert in Sellersville, Pa. During the show, Earle started talking about the kinds of songs he had written for “The Low Highway” record he was touring behind.

Earle related anecdotes about traveling through smaller towns and seeing boarded up factories, which offered him a look at a different side of America. That had an impacton Glantz.

“My interpretation of what Earle said was that there are people out there whose stories aren’t being told,” said Glantz, a veteran journalist in the Philadelphia area. “It comes out of the Springsteen cloth a little bit. All of the songs on ‘The Low Highway’ album were right to the point, no layers, no interpretation of poetry.”

The inspiration provided by Earle redirected Glantz’s longtime passion for songwriting, the end result of which is a collection of 19 songs on the recently … Read more

The Tubes enthusiastically moving forward with ‘The Completion Backward Principle’ tour

The Tubes were getting close to finishing what would become their sixth studio album, The Completion Backward Principle, when producer David Foster went to lead singer and frontman Fee Waybill and said, “We really don’t have a rock radio song on this record.”

The band was making its first album for Capitol Records in the fall of 1980 after having been released by A&M Records. They had recorded a big power ballad, “Don’t Want to Wait Anymore,” co-written by Foster and the band members, which Capitol had decided to release as the first single.

Band members had a couple of songs they had submitted to Foster for consideration, but none of them were what he was looking for in a rock radio song to fill out the album.

“So David asked me what I thought about meeting Steve Lukather of Toto,” said Waybill. Foster and Lukather had worked together … Read more

Brian Wilson and The Zombies add a touch of ‘Philly soul’ to the show

When I was a kid in the 1970s, listening to WLS out of Chicago, I used to keep a cassette recorder loaded with a blank tape on my nightstand next to the radio. As I lay there trying to fall asleep, I would listen to the music, and when a song came on that I liked, I’d fumble through the darkness and attempt to hit the “record” button.

That’s how we put a setlist together back in those days. And even though I got fairly adept at hitting the “record” button when one of my favorite songs came on (actually you had to hit “play” and “record” at the same time, which increased the degree of difficulty when doing it in the dark), my reaction time was always a tick or two behind. So my setlist of favorite tunes I played on that cassette recorder was inevitably missing the intros … Read more

It’s still easy to celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music with Three Dog Night

When I was a teenager in the mid-1970s, there were three songs I played over and over: “Sister Golden Hair” by America, “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers, and “An Old Fashioned Love Song” by Three Dog Night.

Not surprisingly, those three bands have always been — and remain to this day — among my favorite bands. I still turn those songs up when they come on the radio.

And although I’ve seen America and the Doobie Brothers live several times, I’d never seen Three Dog Night in person, until this past weekend.

After 52 years — Three Dog Night formed in 1967 with founding members Cory Wells, Chuck Negron and Danny Hutton on lead vocals; Jimmy Greenspoon on keyboards; Joe Schermie on bass; Michael Allsup on guitar; and Floyd Sneed on drums — time has taken it toll. Wells, Greenspoon and Schermie have died; Sneed has retired from public … Read more

Eddie Money, rock star: Gracious, honest and always entertaining

In the early 1970s, Eddie Money, mostly broke and trying to make it in the music business, was dating a woman who was a student at the University of California, Berkeley. But the woman’s mother didn’t like her daughter hanging out with the young musician.

“She was in a sorority and her mother didn’t want her to be involved with a rock star, so to speak,” said Money.

So Money wrote a song about the experience.

“It was about being broke and going with a rich girl at the time, which was good for me because she moved out of the sorority house and her mother didn’t know it,” he said. “She was living with me in North Oakland and paying my rent. And she was also bringing steaks home for the icebox, which was fantastic. So it all worked out great.”

Oh, and the song worked out great, too. … Read more

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