Can't Get It Outta My Head








                A Baby Boomer


       Muses on The Music

The Album that Smelled

Last week’s post about the musical “Hair” got me thinking about Laura Nyro, and thus the Album that Smelled. It’s not quite “Seven Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon,” but follow me here: the 5th Dimension had a hit with a medley from the musical, but had more success with songs penned by Nyro. The album that smelled? We’ll get to that later. Like most people, I was first exposed to Nyro’s music via other performers’ recordings of her songs. That coverage started when she was 17, with Peter, Paul and Mary recording “And When I Die,” for which their record company paid the precocious New York teenager $5,000. PP&M recorded the song in 1966, but the trio — which had had four Top 10 hits up

‘Hair’ Yesterday, Gonged Tomorrow

Forty-five years ago this month, I attended a revolutionary musical production in Madison, Wis. Okay, “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” had been revolutionary at it’s debut two and a half years earlier. But, hey, we here in Flyover Country need some time to catch up, or so we’re told. Anyway, the first rock musical already had had an impact on The Music, in the Midwest as well as nation- and worldwide. I actually saw the touring company production twice, on consecutive nights, but not because I liked it that much the first time. I had already asked the current object of my affections to go with me, when a former flame offered me a Dutch treat date the night before that assignatio

Heavy Metal, with Wheels

One of my everyday reads is the Hemmings Daily, the online blog put out by the collector car magazine folks. A lot of the vehicles pictured and featured therein are from the 1960s; looking at them, I often find myself thinking about the music inspired by America’s love affair with the automobile. Those “love songs” constituted a sub-genre of The Music, at least in its earlier years. For those of us coming of (teen)age in the’60s, the AM airwaves offered lots of affirmation of our lust after things wheeled, fast and cool. The heyday of Gearhead Rock was the mid-60s, but car-themed songs seemed destined to be part of The Music before its beginning. What is considered to be the first rock and r

The Bell Tolls for Two More

2016’s Bad Month for Makers of the Music has spilled over into February. Coming after the deaths of David Bowie and Glenn Frey earlier in the month, and Paul Kantner’s passing late in the month, we find that we have lost two more musicians. Kantner’s former Jefferson Airplane bandmate Signe Toly Anderson Ettlin died the same day he did, Jan. 28, at age 74; the tape ran out for Earth Wind and Fire founder Maurice White, also 74, early in the new month, during the night of Feb. 3-4, Parkinson’s disease claiming his life. Anderson’s death was overshadowed by that of Kantner, a founding Airplane member. I didn’t learn of it until several days after the fact, after I had already posted last weeke

What If the Music Hadn’t Died?

I post this on the 57th anniversary of what some call the Day the Music Died. But what would The Music have been like if things had played out differently on the night of Feb. 3, 1959, when the crash of a small airplane in the Iowa countryside claimed the lives of three of rock and roll’s up-and-coming stars at the time? Besides Buddy Holly, J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens, also perishing in that cornfield near Clear Lake was the pilot, Roger Peterson, who had already worked a 17-hour day and was trying to fly in bad weather despite not being certified for instrument-only flight. For starters, the future of popular music could have been different, even without changing the fa

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