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


Paul Anka capable and comfortable being the ‘Keeper of the Cool’

Paul Anka is a lot of things: singer, songwriter, entertainer, actor, author, one-time teen idol, boyfriend of Mouseketeer Annette Funicello when they were kids and de facto Rat Pack member and confidante.

Add Keeper of the Cool to that list.

Frank, Dean and Sammy would be proud. Anka is a professional, a showman and has always realized the importance of being a snappy dresser. At age 75, he still dances with the one that he brought and closes his show with “Diana,” a song he wrote as a teenager and recorded in 1957 that was a No. 1 hit in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and reached No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

Certainly one’s level of cool is subjective in the eye of the observer. And this was my first time seeing Anka perform live. But here’s how cool he was at his Dec. 16 … Read more

Still stone in love with the music of The Stylistics

It was pretty exciting when my dad got me a cassette tape recorder and a handful of blank tapes. Given the audio technology of the times, my plan in 1972 as a 13-year-old eighth-grader was to record my favorite songs off the radio onto the blank tapes and create my own music library.

Recording songs off the radio wasn’t an exact science. Growing up in central Illinois, I was listening to WLS out of Chicago. If the disc jockey didn’t give the listeners an advance heads up as to what songs were going to be played, one had to be able to recognize a song from the first fews notes, then simultaneously push “play” and “record” on the recorder.

I wasn’t very good at that. And I didn’t want to start the tape during the commercials because I didn’t want the ads messing up my music. Thus, I had entire … Read more

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