One of the world’s truly classic groups, the Grateful Dead have become an institution in rock. From their early 60s beginnings, they evolved into a colorful and unique band, and the object of affection for millions of “Deadheads” globally, due in large part to immortal songs like Truckin, Sugar Magnolia, and Uncle John’s Band. Facile as both acoustic and electric players, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir relied on a folk-inspired, all-acoustic approach in Uncle John’s Band – which lent an earthy, down-home, and very inviting mood to this all-time favorite Grateful Dead track. (more…)
Kansas, an adventurous and multifaceted progressive rock band of the 1970’s, enjoyed an impressive array of hit songs, including the ambitious and artistic opus “Carry On, Wayward Son.” Dust in the Wind, a Top 10 single from 1977’s Point of Know Return album, is one of their most popular and enduring tunes. It reveals the softer side of Kansas with layered steel-string acoustic guitars, light percussion, and violin, producing a gorgeous tapestry of sound.
Heavy metal is alive and well in the alternative age, thanks to the work of bands like Metallica, Pantera, and White Zombie. With their ultra-heavy, rhythm-based approach, intriguing mix of punk, surf, hard-core, and low-budget movie soundtrack influences, and J.Yuenger’s mega-crunch guitar style. White Zombie was high in the charts, spent a full year in the Billboard Top 100, and on the playlists of MTV and alternative radio. Thunder Kiss ’65, the leading track from their fiendishly popular 1992 La Sexorcisto album, was their breakthrough song. Reputedly a piece of music that wrote itself, it is a hard-hitting blend of modern heavy metal and retro hard rock, dished out in characteristically raunchy and uncompromising White Zombie style. (more…)
Misirlou is the quintessential surf instrumental and Dick Dale’s sonic signature – or is that redundant? In any case, rock history acknowledges this tune as the first surf genre piece to feature the “wet” sound of Fender’s reverb unit. Coupled with Dale’s furious upside-down Strat attack through the immediately overdriven, 100-watt Dual Showman stacks, it is absolute dynamite. For most, the definitive surf sound. Misirlou has unusual origins for a seminal piece in American rock. Its roots are in Middle Eastern music, and it was a 1940’s pop hit in Turkey two decades before Dick revived and reinvented the piece in 1962 – when he gave it a high-energy twist by performing it on electric guitar with his Deltones band. (more…)
This bone crusher still packs so much power and punch it’s hard to believe that it’s almost 30 years old. A standout track from the landmark AC/DC album Back in Black, You Shook Me All Night Long embodies everything that was good about late 70s hard rock and metal, and points unerringly to the future of the genre. Heavy metal entered a golden age in the 80s, and this is one of the tracks that took it there. It abounds with tough, crashing guitar mayhem, taut, metallic song hooks and one of the most driving grooves in the form. At the center of the carnage is the dual-guitar rhythm machine that is the brothers Young. The two-prong attack of Angus and Malcolm is hard to resist under most circumstances, in You Shook Me All Night Long it’s darn near impossible. (more…)
You Oughta Know is the tune that broke it wide open for singer Alanis Morissette. A gutsy, no-holds-barred collaboration from the unstoppable team of singer Morissette and producer Glen Ballard, it was culled as the first single from the monstrously successful 1995 debut album, Jagged Little Pill – and she hasn’t looked back since. In fact, You Oughta Know is currently enjoying even more success these days as the flip side of the Top Ten Morissette entry, “You Learn.” In any event, You Oughta Know remains one of the power-pop diva’s most acerbic and unflinching releases to date. Bristling with emotion, top notch production, well-layered instrumental arranging, and some unexpected retro guitar touches, it is made even more significant by the presence and contributions of Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist and guitarist, Flea and Dave Navarro, on the track. (more…)