random music friday

I was listening to Miranda Lambert's new album, Palomino. She is now tied with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and Jeff Beck, as my 167th most-listened to artists. It's hard to imagine a concert with those three acts, although in the 60s, Bill Graham could have pulled it off. Robinson is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ... Beck is in twice (with the Yardbirds and as a solo act ... I admit I don't get the concept of multiple inductions). Nonetheless, if this concert happened today, Lambert would be the clear choice as headliner. She has more Academy of Country Music Awards than anyone in history. She has won six American Country Awards (these get a lot of crossover), eight CMT Music Awards, fourteen Country Music Association Awards, and three Grammies. She was named to the Time Magazine list of the top 100 most influential people of 2022.

Like many, I came to Lambert via her first crossover single, "Kerosene":

Without Smokey Robinson, there is no Motown:

Of course, the Beatles were everyone's favorite band back in the day ... I'm not trying to dispute that. But my other favorite band was The Yardbirds. I owned all four of their American albums back when I could barely afford to buy one album a year. Jeff Beck is one of the reasons I loved them. Here he is/they are, performing for Antonioni:


random music friday

It's odd, I've changed the format of Music Friday many times over the years, but I never get around to dumping the concept entirely. I used to do random lists ... I'll do something semi-random here. As I type this, Last.fm tells me the last song I listened to as I type this was "Better By You, Better Than Me" by Spooky Tooth. The website also tells me that Spooky Tooth is tied with five other artists for 310th place in the list of my most-played performers. So here are those six, with the songs I have played the most from each. First, Spooky Tooth:

Among the band members were Gary Wright, who had a couple of solo hits, and Luther Grosvenor, who later joined Mott the Hoople as Ariel Bender.

Curtis Mayfield:

Dire Straits:

The Eagles:

Radiohead:

Tony Bennett:

Spotify playlist:


music friday: the adam project

I've been sick, with little time to come up with anything useful to post here, so this is a quickie. The Adam Project is a time travel movie that takes place in 2050, 2022, and 2018. But for some reason, the soundtrack travels to a completely different time, hoping to please boomers, I guess. Here are a few tunes that pop up in the film.


music friday: the rock and roll hall of fame

The latest inductees were announced a couple of days ago. Perhaps most notable for this blog is the selection of Jimmy Iovine in the non-musicians category. Iovine (or someone pretending to be him, and why would anyone do that) commented on a 2003 post about Tony Peluso ("Did you go into therapy once you found out that 'Goodbye To Love' was conceived, written, and performed by the Carpenters?")

Two of the people I voted for are now in: Dolly Parton and Eminem. I also voted for the New York Dolls, Dionne Warwick, and A Tribe Called Quest, none of whom made it. Finally, Judas Priest adds themselves to the list of Hall of Famers I've seen live.

Here is a Spotify playlist of the above-mentioned artists:

Here is a video of Judas Priest:

And for those with no time for Spotify, here is the only Carpenters song I ever liked:


music friday: joan jett

I watched the 2010 movie The Runaways with Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart, which prompted this Music Friday. I was certainly aware of the Runaways back in the day, but didn't pay much attention to them, and even now I think of them mainly as the band where Joan Jett got her start. Here is the video of their biggest hit:

And here is the same song, with clips from the movie:

The movie focuses primarily on Jett and Cherie Currie, but in real life, it was Lita Ford who came closest to Jett in the popularity of her solo career. Here's Ford:

In 1982, a version of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts hit #1:

In 1987, Jett starred with Michael J. Fox in Paul Schrader's rock drama Light of Day, featuring a title song written by Bruce Springsteen:

Jett and the Blackhearts were 2015 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

Jett has been an inspiration to countless musicians over the years, and she has always managed to blend the charisma of a rock and roll star with the feel of a regular fan of the music. Robert Christgau got off what I've always thought was one of his best lines when he wrote, after four consecutive albums to which he gave a "B+" grade, "Though nobody else male or female puts out such a reliable brand of hard rock, lean and mean and pretension-free, and though being female gives her an edge in a quintessentially male subgenre, not since her start-up has she made something special of her populist instincts. It's almost as if that's the idea. B+." Then, some years later, he gave one of her greatest hits packages an "A" grade. That's Joan Jett: reliably B+, but with plenty of A to keep us all going.


music friday: fillmore auditorium, april 1966

Another odd bill by today's standards, but nothing new for Bill Graham. Two nights at the Fillmore, April 22-23.

I can't find much about the opening act, the Family Tree, so this might be all made up. Bob Segarini from Stockton was in a band in Los Angeles with Gary Duncan, later of the Quicksilver Messenger Service. Later, Segarini formed the Family Tree ... they recorded a few tracks for a small label and were picked up by RCA. They released one album in 1968, but that seems to be all, and I'm looking at 1966, which I suppose was very soon after the band was formed. Anyway, here's what they sounded like in 1966:

The aforementioned Quicksilver was next on the bill. They were one of the core examples of the "San Francisco Sound". Their first album didn't come out to 1968 (that's one vinyl LP I wore out at the time), although they had appeared with the Steve Miller Band and Mother Earth on the soundtrack to the movie Revolution. This Fillmore gig was very early ... best I know, they had only played their first show as Quicksilver Messenger Service a few months earlier. Here is their earliest existing live recording, from later in '66:

And here they are in 1969:

The headliners ... well, nothing wrong with them, but their fame would come with hit singles, not a typical Fillmore headliner. Now, I'm going to be honest ... I can not figure out exactly who were the Grass Roots who performed at the Fillmore in April of 1966. I'll quote extensively from the All Music site:

The Grass Roots was originated by the writer/producer team of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri as a pseudonym under which they would release a body of Byrds/Beau Brummels-style folk-rock. Sloan and Barri were contracted songwriters for Trousdale Music, the publishing arm of Dunhill Records, which wanted to cash in on the folk-rock boom of 1965. Dunhill asked Sloan and Barri to come up with this material, and a group alias under which they would release it. The resulting "Grass Roots" debut song, "Where Were You When I Needed You," sung by Sloan, was sent to a Los Angeles radio station, which began playing it. The problem was, there was no "Grass Roots." The next step was to recruit a band that could become the Grass Roots. Sloan found a San Francisco group called the Bedouins that seemed promising on the basis of their lead singer, Bill Fulton. Fulton recorded a new vocal over the backing tracks laid down for the P.F. Sloan version of the song. ... "Where Were You When I Needed You" was released in mid-'66 and peaked at number 28, but the album of the same name never charted. Amid the machinations behind Where Were You When I Needed You, no "real" Grass Roots band existed in 1966.

So who were those guys at the Fillmore?

Eventually, The Grass Roots got very, very popular. They had three top-ten hits, and 21 singles in total that made the charts. Here's an early version of the band lip-syncing to an early version of their first hit ... I don't know if anyone in the video was actually on the record to which they were miming.

Here they are on Ed Sullivan in 1970, with a medley of hits:

Eventually, The Grass Roots entered popular culture in an entirely different way. A musician named William Schneider changed his name to Creed Bratton and joined The Grass Roots, with who he played from 1967-69. Later, while still making music, he took up acting. On the U.S. version of The Office, Bratton got a continuing role as one of the office workers, who happened to be named Creed Bratton. Who happened to have once played with a band called The Grass Roots.


music friday: fillmore auditorium, april 1967

Howlin' Wolf came to town for several dates at the Fillmore in mid-April of 1967. The bills were diverse, as Bill Graham's often were in those days. April 15 was the second of three nights for Wolf and the openers.

The Loading Zone were a local act out of the East Bay. Their primary claim to fame was vocalist Linda Tillery, but she hadn't joined the band in 1967, so I have no idea what they sounded like. Perhaps this comes closest, an instrumental from their first album that I admit is the only song of theirs I recall from back in the day.

Country Joe and the Fish were also from Berkeley, and their subsequent fame surpasses that of the Loading Zone. While their first album, Electric Music for the Mind and Body, wouldn't be released for another month, they were known in the area for their two EP releases associated with the underground magazine Rag Baby.

Joe's mother Florence was a notable figure around Berkeley for many years, known for her radical politics and time served on various Berkeley city government positions.

It's not clear how the great Howlin' Wolf fits into this bill, except that's how Bill Graham did things back then. Wolf, a titan in music history, was enjoying new attention in the 60s thanks in part to the British bands who revered him (The Rolling Stones only agreed to appear on the TV show Shindig! after Howlin' Wolf was added to the episode). That's James Burton on guitar and Billy Preston on piano.