The Vinyl Dialogues Blog

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

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The backstory of making the ‘Groovin” album by The Young Rascals

Musicians work primarily on Friday and Saturday nights. And the women in their lives, well, they don’t like that too much.

That’s the way it was in the mid-1960s for Felix Cavaliere of the Young Rascals. By the end of 1966, the band’s self-titled debut album had reached No. 10 on the Cashbox album chart and No. 15 on the Billboard Top 200 albums charts. The record featured the group’s first No. 1 single, “Good Lovin’” and positioned the band to begin writing and recording more of their own material.

It made the Young Rascals in demand as well, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights, much to the dismay of their wives and girlfriends.

“That’s not exactly their cup of tea because, hey, you can understand when they say, ‘What do I do while you’re out there entertaining?’ So it’s a normal situation and any musician will tell you that … Read more

It’s easy to listen to Lionel Richie sing ‘Brick House’ and other hits all night long

There was a moment in the Lionel Richie concert Saturday night at the Hard Rock in Atlantic City, just as Lionel was finishing up the final verse of “Endless Love,” where there was a bit of a commotion in the front row.

A gent had gotten down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend while Lionel was singing the song. Now that’s some pretty romantic and memorable planning by that dude, and it didn’t go unnoticed by Lionel. After he finished the song, he stopped the show and made a big deal out of the moment, the happy couple was shown on the big concert screens, and it all seemed unscripted to me from my vantage point. Lionel seemed to not know about the proposal in advance and veteran performer that he is, he rolled it right into the show.

He dedicated the next song to the woman who … Read more

Mike and Micky: The Monkees are still magnificent

It was early 1967 The Monkees were frustrated. Sure, they had a successful television show — wildly more successful than anybody could have imagined at the time — and their first two albums, “The Monkees” and “More of the Monkees,” had reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 200 Albums chart.

But The Monkees — Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Davy Jones — weren’t being taken seriously as musicians and songwriters. And that was beginning to wear on them heavily.

So when it came time to make the third album, they went on strike, which was spearheaded by Nesmith.

“Mike had become very frustrated, and I don’t blame him because he had bought into this whole thing (The Monkees),” said Dolenz in a July 11, 2017, interview with The Vinyl Dialogues. “He was a singer-songwriter and he came into The Monkees with that in mind. I know … Read more

Were it not for thin walls, England Dan & John Ford Coley’s biggest hit wouldn’t have happened

Sometimes, thin walls can be a good thing. For England Dan (Seals) & John Ford Coley, thin walls were responsible for making “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” a hit single.

After being dropped by A&M Records in early 1976, the duo wandered for a year or so, not because they were lost, according to Coley, but because they were perfecting their craft in the hopes of landing another record deal. And then their manager, Susan Joseph, brought them the song, “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” written by Mississippi-based songwriter Parker McGee.

“We really didn’t want to do it,” said Coley in an interview for The Vinyl Dialogues Volume I, which features a chapter on the making of the duo’s 1976 album, Knights are Forever. “We thought it was more of a female song. But our manager said, ‘Please try it,’ so we did.”

They brought … Read more

Seeing the original Jersey Boy Frankie Valli live: Oh, what a night!

While sitting around killing time, people watching and shooting the breeze before the Frankie Valli concert Saturday night, Feb. 9, at the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, it occurred to me that we were about to witness a quintessential New Jersey event.

Here was the original Jersey Boy performing at a casino in the state’s premiere entertainment town, a town in which he’s played for nearly 60 years. It’s as classic a scene as the Rat Pack playing the Sands in Las Vegas in the early 1960s. If you’re gonna see Frankie Valli live — especially for the first time like we were — what better place than at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J.?

So I said to The Blonde Accountant, “Why wouldn’t the cast of The Sopranos show up tonight to support one of their own?” Given that the iconic HBO series about a New Jersey crime … Read more

The story of the Bar-Kays will be forever tragically linked to Otis Redding

Otis Redding had just finished a show at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee, and wanted to check out the local music scene in the spring of 1967.

So he started asking people what the hottest club in town was at the time and was told there was a place called the Hippodrome that was currently featuring a young band called the Bar-Kays.

Redding made his way to the Hippodrome to check out the Bar-Kays and was so impressed with the band that he sat in for a set.

“He was so amazed when he sat in with us that he asked us if we would be his touring band right then,” said James Alexander, the young bassist for the Bar-Kays, which also included Ronnie Caldwell on electric organ, Phalon Jones on saxophone, Jimmy King on guitar, Carl Cunningham on drums and trumpeter Ben Cauley. “But we were underage and … Read more

With George Martin producing, America was always looking for the ‘egg-and-bacon’ take

It wouldn’t be an America concert if it didn’t include the mention of George Martin. And the band’s Dec. 7, 2018, concert at the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading, PA, would be no different.

So just how did legendary Beatles producer Martin end up working with the Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek of America? And what role did bacon and eggs play in that pairing?

As detailed in Volume I of The Vinyl Dialogues, there were days during long recording sessions when Dewey Bunnell would look forward to the “egg-and-bacon take.”

Bunnell, Beckley and Peek were recording their fourth studio album, Holiday, in 1974 at AIR Studios in London. They were working with Martin, who had produced all of the Beatles’ original albums.

Bunnell remembers it as a special time. During the days of recording the album, he and his bandmates would frequent a little cafe in … Read more

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