Category Essays

BOBBY KEYS & IAN McLAGAN: Sounds Of Stones Sidemen (and Rock ‘n’ Roll) Silenced

MAC & KEYS: Two years ago this week we lost two titans who helped shape the sound, course, and texture of roughly a half-century of rock music, not to mention that of their frequent collaborators and employers, the Rolling Stones, who benefitted greatly from their skillful, soulful mastery on the horns and keys. I’d like to […]

THE KING IS DEAD (But Johnny B. Goode Lives On): Chuck Berry, Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Pioneer Architect of Youthful Abandon, Dies at 90.

Chuck was/is a progenitor of the gloriously messy swamp of cross-pollinated sounds we call rock ‘n’ roll. With his own influences as disparate as T-Bone Walker and Nat “King” Cole, Berry burst on the national scene in the early 1950s as a five-tool artist who wrote, sang, played, performed, and created an exciting new form from existing traditions, effortlessly fusing elements of nascent Teenage Pop (which he helped invent), Tin Pan Alley, Blues, R&B, Rockabilly, Swing, and even Country and Western.

THE OTHER “NEW YORK, NEW YORK”: Ryan Adams’ accidental anthem for a stricken city

Originally posted on RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog:
The cover of Ryan Adams’ second solo album, “Gold,” released Sept. 25, 2001. By tragic coincidence, the album’s lead single, “New York, New York,” dropped Sept. 11, 2001. The jarring image of an American Flag turned upside down on the album cover,  and the single…

A HIT OF SYMPHONIC BLOTTER ACID: Forever Changes But Love’s Masterpiece Endures

The “Summer of Love” it may have been, but much of the music on those iconic records of 1967 contained a far more complicated series of emotions and refracted a darker reality shot through with chaos and doubt, turmoil and altered perceptions. Unlike some of its contemporaries, the music on Love’s ‘Forever Changes’ – not to mention the mystique that continues to surround the work — seems only to have deepened with time.

IT WAS 40 YEARS AGO TODAY: The Stones and the Spirit of ’76

It’s now almost farcical to consider that for a spell during the mid-1970s, the Rolling Stones were not only grappling with questions of relevance as a creative and cultural force, but struggling to just stay afloat (even with that inflatable phallus – or perhaps in spite of it) as a working unit.

OF PRIMES PRE & PAST: College Back Pages and Stages in the Summer of ’85

RPM TBT: Throwing it back to “RPM’s” ’85 college daze when yours truly’s first music-related by-lines debuted for the first time in my college newspaper, the Daily Collegian (New England’s largest, or so the slogan went). Even back then, it had been a four-year run-up to pseudo-Bangs-ian bliss. I had already been writing professionally, since I was […]

GUIDED BY VOICES THAT CARRY: Listening & Living To Bee (A) Thousand

I am a scientist – I seek to understand me all of my impurities and evils yet unknown I am a journalist – I write to you to show you I am an incurable and nothing else behaves like me I am a pharmacist prescriptions I will fill you potions, pills and medicines to ease […]

FOREVER YOUNG & CUTTING EDGE: Bob Dylan Turns 75, Approximately

To hear these inspirations and ideas unfurl like a slow flag or burst like fireworks, explode into the stratosphere, and twist crazily this way and that, you get the sense that this must be what it would have been like to watch Van Gogh mix his colors and apply those bright yellows and brilliant blues to the swaying sunflowers and starry nights he dreamt into being.

THE TIES THAT BIND: The Timeless River That Runs Through Bruce Springsteen’s America

The best way to understand why Bruce Springsteen matters to his audience, and the American cultural landscape in general, is to turn to the man himself. Throughout his career, it has been virtually impossible to separate the rock star from the hippie kid who grew up in Freehold, New Jersey and the populist songwriter whose lyrics owe as much to John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie as Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry

BOWIE ON RECORD: VINYL FROM THE VAULTS

Much in the same way Miles, Elvis, Aretha, Dylan, Jagger, Jimi, Lennon, Bruce, and Madonna telepathically triggers an instant association, so does that particular arrangement of vowel-heavy letters in “Bowie” conjure an identity, a personae, an attitude, a style (or many of them) — even a perspective and way of looking at the world.

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