Category Influential Albums

HEART OF THE STONES: In Praise of Charlie Watts, June 2, 1941-August 24, 2021

“Charlie’s good tonight in’nit he?” — Mick Jagger, Madison Square Garden, 1969. Charlie Watts’s drum kit was a pitch-perfect reflection of the man who sat behind it for The Rolling Stones for nearly 60 years: modest yet essential. Charlie famously eschewed rock drum solos as frivolous, show-offy expressions of ego. A lifelong jazz devotee and […]

PHAIR WEATHER FRIEND: Hanging Out In Guyville 25+ Years Later

It’s been a life-altering twenty five-plus years since we were all twenty five (or thereabouts), an age when most of us don’t have much of a clue about how life-altering the next twenty five years are going to be.

Welcome To The Breakfast Show: 50 Years of Living With Let It Bleed

Talk about setting a high bar. How do you match an album (1968’s “Beggars Banquet”) that has “Sympathy For The Devil” as its opener? Simple. Make “Gimme Shelter” the opening salvo on your follow-up record. Some of us didn’t need a big box set (out now) marking the golden anniversary of “Let It Bleed” to […]

Leaving Traces and Circles Around The Sun: Farewell Neal Casal (1968-2019)

Neal Casal was a multi-tasking, multi-genre musical threat: a fine singer, composer, and detail-oriented storyteller; a fluid and lyrical lead player as well as bedrock-solid rhythm guitarist; and an unassuming personality who proved a versatile sideman and good-natured complement to the legends and stars in the spotlight.

OLD GODS HIDING IN LONG GRASS: The Clientele’s Music for the Age of Miracles

Oh, hi there! Don’t mind the bobbing balloons and confetti streaming about, kids. We’re just having a little party. You see, here in the comfy, wood-paneled confines of RPM HQ, we’ve been celebrating the fact that one of our most beloved bands of the past fifteen-plus years, the Clientele, are back — at least for […]

WALTER BECKER (1950-2017), STEELY DAN’S CO-ARCHITECT OF IMPOSSIBLE COOL

What sometimes seemed like so much shiny “Pop” on the outside  — and yes, much of it certainly was intelligent, immaculately crafted pop music (“Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”; “Hey Nineteen,” “FM” etc.) — Steely Dan’s music held a far more slippery substance, both instrumentally and lyrically, that simmered and squirmed inside that lacquered shell of crisp studio perfection.

ONE WAY OUT: Gregg Allman, 1947-2017

Along with his brothers (biological, spiritual, musical or otherwise) , Allman certainly left his mark on the vast and variegated landscape of American rock & roll and the deep reservoirs of blues, soul, gospel, and country from which his group’s music drew.

CHRIS BELL’S PURE POP COSMOS: Big Star’s Other Bright Light

News that a biography and at least three vinyl compilations of the work of Big Star co-founder Chris Bell are coming out this year — including “The Complete Chris Bell,” a massive six-LP (!) retrospective due July 7 by Omnivore Recordings (the same folks who’ve issued some tasty Big Star releases in recent years, including […]

TIME CAPSULES WITH TAPE HEADS: Filling The Road Trip Memory Tank With The Gaslight Anthem

My collection of music tapes have now taken on properties purer and more powerful than the mere music they contained: They’ve banded together to become an immortal, indispensable, untouchable part of my personal cosmos of memory and experience. It’s music that drove a landmark road trip, played through it, came from it, and helped to define it.

NOTES FROM THE MEMORY MOTEL: Half A Century of Stones in Two Days

To truly consider the Rolling Stones, it’s simply not adequate to ponder a clutch of hit singles or a few best-selling albums, or even an epochal moment or movement in music history. No, to properly contemplate the Stones is to throw a wide net across the stretching seas of the decades encompassing music, fashion, and culture that’s informed their existence (and vice versa). And bring your magnifying glass and microscope.

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