Thursday, December 08, 2011

John Lennon: Remembrance Around The Web

Today is the 31st anniversary of John Lennon's death. The world lost a visionary soul on December 08, 1980, one that brought a powerful message of peace to the masses. His words still resonate and impact our lives to this day. To mark the day, I've culled the following articles and tributes from around the internet: 

East Village Radio:
Today in Rock History: John Lennon is Shot Outside His Manhattan Apartment

Music Radar:
John Lennon's 10 greatest songs

Telegraph UK:
Yoko Ono pays tribute to John Lennon on the 31st anniversary of his death

Rolling Stone Magazine:
John Lennon's Last Interview

Ringo Starr Calls for Peace on the Anniversary of John Lennon’s Death

Time Magazine:

John and Yoko, as Never Before Seen: New Photos from the Famous ‘Bed In’

John Lennon - A Bit Of Groovy. We miss you.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In Celebration Of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix would have been 69 today. To celebrate his birthday (being that he's a major Bit Of Groovy), I made this 1600x900 Wallpaper:

Click Here To Go Get It!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Queen of Folk Rock - Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell, CC (born Roberta Joan Anderson; November 7, 1943) is a Canadian musician, singer songwriter, and painter. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Saskatchewan and Western Canada and then busking in the streets and dives of Toronto. In 1965 she moved to the United States and, touring constantly, began to be recognized when her original songs ("Urge for Going," "Chelsea Morning," "Both Sides, Now," "The Circle Game") were covered by notable folk singers, allowing her to sign with Reprise Records and record her own debut album in 1968.

Here is Mitchell performing "Chelsea Morning" on The Dick Cavett Show -
August 18, 1969:

Settling in Southern California, Mitchell and her popular songs like "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock" helped define an era and a generation. Her more starkly personal 1971 recording "Blue" has been called one of the best albums ever made.

Here is Mitchell performing "California" - a song from the album "Blue":

Musically restless, Mitchell switched labels and began moving toward jazz rhythms by way of lush pop textures on 1974's Court and Spark, her best-selling LP, featuring her radio hits "Help Me" and "Free Man in Paris."

Mitchell's wide-ranging vocals and her distinctive open-tuned guitar and piano compositions grew more harmonically and rhythmically complex as she explored jazz, melding it with her influences in rock n roll, R&B, classical music and non-western beats. Mitchell's experimental run of jazz-inspired albums, including 1975's The Hissing of Summer Lawns and 1976's Hejira, confused many and hurt Mitchell's sales at the time, but they are acclaimed today. In the late 1970s, she began working closely with noted jazz musicians, among them Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny and Charles Mingus, the latter of whom asked her to collaborate on his final recordings. In her later work Mitchell turned again toward pop, embraced electronic music, and engaged in political protest. Mitchell was also the sole record producer credited on most of her albums, including all her work in the 1970s. With roots in visual art, she designed her own album artwork throughout her career. A blunt critic of the music industry, Mitchell quit touring and released her 17th, and reportedly last, album of original songs in 2007. Now based in British Columbia, she describes herself as a "painter derailed by circumstance."

Mitchell has been deeply influential on fellow musicians in a diverse range of genres, and her work is highly respected by critics. Allmusic said, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century," and Rolling Stone called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever." I'm apt to agree. Mitchell's lyrics have been noted for their offhand poetic imagery, addressing social and environmental ideals alongside individual feelings of romantic longing, confusion, disillusion and joy.

Happy Birthday to Joni Mitchell - A Bit Of Groovy!

Source - Wikipedia
For more info, visit Joni Mitchell's Official Website:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Celebration of Jon Anderson on His 67th Birthday

Jon Anderson (born John Roy Anderson on 25 October 1944) is an English singer-songwriter and musician best known as the former lead vocalist in the progressive rock band Yes. He is also an accomplished solo artist and has collaborated with artists such as the Greek musician Vangelis, among others.

It is a commonly-held misconception that Jon Anderson sings falsetto, a vocal technique which artificially produces high, airy notes by using only the ligamentous edges of the vocal cords; however, Jon Anderson does not sing falsetto. His normal singing (and speaking) voice is naturally above the tenor range. In a 2008 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jon stated, "I'm an alto tenor and I can sing certain high notes, but I could never sing falsetto, so I go and hit them high." He is also noted for singing in his original Lancashire accent.

In 1962 Anderson joined The Warriors (also known as The Electric Warriors) where he and his brother Tony shared the role of lead vocalist. The Warriors appearance in the film "Just For You", 1964, performing playback of "Don't Make Me Blue". Featuring: Tony Anderson (vocals), Jon Anderson (backing vocals), David Foster (bass), Ian Wallace (drums). Featured on Spanish TV:

He quit this band in 1967, released two solo singles in 1968 under the pseudonym Hans Christian and then briefly sang for the bands The Gun and The Open Mind. One of Anderson's first producers at EMI was songwriter Paul Korda.

In March 1968 Anderson met bassist Chris Squire and joined him in a group called Mabel Greer's Toyshop, which had previously included guitarist Peter Banks. Anderson fronted this band but ended up leaving again before the summer was over. He remarks on his website that his time with the band consisted of "too many drugs, not enough fun!".

Anderson, Squire and Banks went on to form Yes with drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Their debut album was released in 1969. He stayed with the group until 1980. This is known as the classic period of Yes. Jon was a major creative force and band leader throughout this period. He has described himself as the 'team captain' and was nicknamed by his bandmates "Napoleon" for his diminutive stature and leadership of the band. He is also recognised as the main instigator of a series of epic works produced by Yes at the time. He played an indispensable role in creating such complex pieces as "Close to the Edge", "Awaken" and especially "The Gates of Delirium".

Anderson is responsible for most of the mystically-themed lyrics and concepts which are part of many Yes releases. The lyrics are frequently inspired by various books Anderson has enjoyed, from Tolstoy's War and Peace to Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. A footnote in Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi inspired an entire double album Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973).

He rejoined a reformed Yes in 1983 which produced their most commercially successful album 90125 with newcomer Trevor Rabin. He departed again in 1988 over creative differences relating to the band's continued pursuit of major commercial success and mainstream radio play. In 1989 Anderson and other former Yes members formed the group Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe (ABWH), augmented by bassist Tony Levin, who had played with drummer Bill Bruford in King Crimson. After the successful first ABWH album, a series of business deals caused ABWH to reunite with the then-current members of Yes, who had been out of the public eye while searching for a new lead singer. The resulting eight-man band assumed the name Yes, and the album Union (1991) was assembled from various pieces of an in-progress second ABWH album, as well as recordings that the "Yes proper" band had been working on without Anderson. A successful tour followed, but the eight-man line-up of Yes never recorded a complete album together before splintering in 1992. Many more personnel changes followed, but Anderson stayed in the band until 2008. He appears on all Yes albums except for their 1980 album Drama, and their 2011 album Fly From Here.

Anderson last performed with Yes in 2004. A tour planned for summer 2008 with Anderson was cancelled when he suffered acute respiratory failure. The band have since announced a tour without him and he has been replaced by Benoît David, the lead vocalist in Yes tribute act Close to the Edge.

Throughout 2009 and 2010 Jon Anderson has toured the USA and Europe both solo and with former YES band mate Rick Wakeman. Anderson and Wakeman released the critically acclaimed album 'The Living Tree' in 2010 on Voiceprint Records. On May 24, 2010 Jon shared the stage with the 112 member Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra and 60 member student chorus, which was shown on HDNet.

In the spring of 2011 Anderson toured the northeast US to full capacity audiences – the tour was a major success, with more summer dates currently being scheduled. June 14, 2011 marks the official release of Jon Anderson's new album 'Survival & Other Stories' on Voiceprint Records.
2011 interview and acoustic performance for television:

Happy Birthday To Jon Anderson - A Bit Of Groovy!

-Sources: Wikipedia  YouTube and

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy 65th Birthday to Daryl Hall

Daryl Hall (born October 11, 1946) is regarded as one of the best blue eyed soul singers of his generation. Guitarist Robert Fripp, who collaborated with him in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has written, "Daryl's pipes were a wonder. I have never worked with a more able singer."

In 1967, he met John Oates, also a college student from Temple, and embarked on a 30-odd year creative journey. Signed to Atlantic by Ahmet Ertegun and managed by Tommy Mottola in the early 1970s, Hall & Oates have sold more albums than any other duo in music history. Their second album, Abandoned Luncheonette, produced by Arif Mardin and released in 1973, yielded the single, "She's Gone", which went to #7 in the U.S. Top 10 on re-release in 1976 after reaching #1 on the R&B charts when it was covered by Tavares.

From the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, Hall & Oates would score six U.S. #1 singles, including "Rich Girl" (also #1 R&B), "Kiss on My List", "Private Eyes", "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" (also #1 R&B), "Maneater" and "Out of Touch" from their six multi-platinum albums - Bigger Than Both of Us, Voices, Private Eyes, H2O, Rock 'n Soul Part 1 and Big Bam Boom - the last five of which were released consecutively. The era would also produce an additional five U.S. Top 10 singles, "Sara Smile", "One on One", "Family Man," "You Make My Dreams", "Say It Isn't So" and "Method of Modern Love".

In addition to his work with Oates, Hall has made music as a solo artist as well as recording with Robert Fripp in the late ‘70s, working on Fripp’s critically praised, Exposure album from 1979. 1977 Fripp produced and performed on Hall's debut solo album, the much-acclaimed Sacred Songs. This album was released 1980.

In 1984, he co-wrote and produced, with Arthur Baker, the single Swept Away for Diana Ross, which reached US #19, US R & B #3 and US Dance/Club Play #1.

In 1985, Hall participated in the We Are the World session as well as closing the Live Aid show in Philadelphia. He also made an album with Dave Stewart that year, Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine. He has recorded such solo works as Soul Alone in 1993 and Can't Stop Dreaming in 1996, both of which were received well internationally.

Sacred Songs is Darly Hall's first solo album. It was produced by guitarist Robert Fripp, who also played on the album. The album was recorded in 1977 but Hall's label, RCA, did not release it for three years. According to Nick Tosches, who wrote Dangerous Dances, the authorized biography of Hall & Oates, "RCA refused to release Sacred Songs on the grounds that it wasn't commercial."

Very proud of the results, Fripp and Hall gave the album to RCA officials. Though still relatively pop-oriented, Sacred Songs was very different from Hall & Oates, and fearing the album might be unsuccessful and alienate Hall's mainstream fans, the company shelved the record, and release was postponed indefinitely.

Outraged, Hall and Fripp passed tapes of Sacred Songs to music journalists and disc jockeys. Tosches notes that a groundswell of interest was generated inside the music profession and from Hall's fans with a letter-writing campaign directed at RCA requesting the album's release. Upon release, Sacred Songs sold fairly well, peaking at #58 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart however, there was no hit single from the record. It has since come to be regarded as a high point in the careers of both Hall and Fripp.

Here is I'm In A Philly Mood from Sacred Songs:

In 2004, Daryl Hall was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and since 2007, he has hosted the web television series, Live From Daryl's House.

Speaking of his reasons for starting the Live From Daryl's House webcast, in June 2008 Hall told noted UK R&B writer Pete Lewis of the award-winning Blues & Soul: "For me it was sort of an obvious thing. I've been touring my whole adult life really, and, you know, you can't be EVERYWHERE! Nor do I WANT to be everywhere at this point! I only like to spend so much time per year on the road. So I thought 'Why don't I just do something where anyone who wants to see me anywhere in the world CAN?! And, instead of doing the artist/audience performance-type thing, I wanted to deconstruct it and make the audience more of a fly-on-the-wall kind of observer... I mean, what I've always done onstage is very natural. I talk to the audience and it's a very sitting-roomy kind of thing. So I just thought I'd basically bring that to the web."
-Source: Wikipedia

Explore at:
Happy Birthday to Daryl Hall - A Bit Of Groovy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Birthday To B.B. King

Riley B. King (born September 16, 1925), known by the stage name B.B. King ("B.B." short for Blues Boy), is an American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter acclaimed for his expressive singing and fluid, complex guitar playing.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No.3 on its list of the "100 greatest guitarists of all time". According to Edward M. Komara, King "introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that would influence virtually every electric blues guitarist that followed." King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980. In 2004 he was awarded the international Polar Music Prize, given to artists "in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music."

King was born in a small cabin on a cotton plantation outside of Berclair, near Indianola, Mississippi, to Albert King and Nora Ella Farr on September 16,1925. He grew up singing in the gospel choir at Elkhorn Baptist Church in Kilmichael. Some say at age 12, he purchased his first guitar for $15.00 although another reference indicates he was given his first guitar by his cousin, Bukka White. In 1943, King left Kilmichael to work as a tractor driver and play guitar with the Famous St. John's Quartet of Inverness, Mississippi, performing at area churches and on WGRM in Greenwood, Mississippi.

In 1946, King followed his cousin Bukka White to Memphis, Tennessee. White took him in for the next ten months. However, King shortly returned to Mississippi, where he decided to prepare himself better for the next visit, and returned to West Memphis, Arkansas, two years later in 1948. He performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program on KWEM in West Memphis, Arkansas where he began to develop a local audience for his sound. King's appearances led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis and later to a ten-minute spot on the legendary Memphis radio station WDIA. "King's Spot," became so popular, it was expanded and became the "Sepia Swing Club."

Initially he worked at the local R&B radio station WDIA as a singer and disc jockey, where he gained the nickname "Beale Street Blues Boy", later shortened to "B.B." It was there that he first met T-Bone Walker. "Once I'd heard him for the first time, I knew I'd have to have [an electric guitar] myself. 'Had' to have one, short of stealing!", he said.

King won a Grammy Award for a tune called "The Thrill Is Gone"; his version became a hit on both the pop and R&B charts, which was rare during that time for an R&B artist. It also gained the number 183 spot in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. He gained further visibility among rock audiences as an opening act on The Rolling Stones' 1969 American Tour. King's mainstream success continued throughout the 1970s with songs like "To Know You is to Love You" and "I Like to Live the Love".

For more on this incredibly talented man's career, see: (source of this blog post)

B.B. King - A Bit Of Groovy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Bit Of Groovy Video Goodness For Today's Classic Rock Birthdays - August 29th

Happy 68th to Dick Halligan of Blood, Sweat, & Tears:
(keyboards, trombone, horns, flute, backing vocals from 1967–1972)

Happy 58th to Rick Downey of Blue Oyster Cult:
(drummer from 1981-1985)

Happy 66th to Chris Copping of Procol Harum:
(bass guitar and organ, [also piano, banjo, guitar and vocal on stage] 1969-1977)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to Robert Plant, CBE (born 20 August 1948)

Robert Anthony Plant, CBE, has influenced the style of many of his contemporaries, including Geddy Lee, Ann Wilson, Sammy Hagar, and later rock vocalists such as Jeff Buckley and Jack White who imitated his performing style extensively. Freddie Mercury of Queen, and Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses were also influenced by Plant. Best known as the vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin, he has also had a successful solo career. Encyclopædia Britannica notes "Exaggerating the vocal style and expressive palette of blues singers such as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, [Robert] Plant created the sound that has defined much hard rock and heavy metal singing: a high range, an abundance of distortion, loud volume, and emotional excess".

Plant has received many awards and high ranking in several "greatest of" music magazine reader polls. For instance, he received the Knebworth Silver Clef Award in 1990, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours for his "services to popular music", and in 2011, a Rolling Stone readers' pick placed Plant in first place of the magazine's "Best Lead Singers of All Time".

The inspirations for Plant's often mystical, philosophical and spiritual lyrics are, in my opinion, too many to list, but here is a small taste: The passion for diverse musical experiences drove Plant to explore Africa, specifically Marrakesh in Morocco where he encountered Egyptian singer, songwriter, and actress Umm Kulthum, who is widely regarded as the greatest female singer in Arab music history. That musical inspiration eventually culminated in the classic track "Kashmir" (which is not in North Africa, but rather in India). Below: 8mm film clip of Led Zeppelin performing "Kashmir" in Los Angeles 1975 - courtesy of via their Channel:

Both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page revisited these influences during their reunion album No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded in 1994. In his solo career, Plant again tapped from these influences many times, most notably in the 2002 album, Dreamland.

Arguably one of Plant's most significant achievements with Led Zeppelin was his contribution to the track "Stairway to Heaven", an epic rock ballad featured on Led Zeppelin IV that drew influence from folk, blues, Celtic traditional music and hard rock among other genres. Most of the lyrics of the song were written spontaneously by Plant in 1970 at Headley Grange. While never released as a single, the song has topped charts as the greatest song of all time on various polls around the world.

After the break-up of Led Zeppelin in 1980 (following the death of John Bonham), Plant pursued a successful solo career, in the middle of which he joined a short-lived all-star group with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck called The Honeydrippers. Plant performed with living members of Led Zeppelin both on 13 July 1985 for Live Aid (with Phil Collins and Tony Thompson on drums) and on 15 May 1988 for Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary. He then teamed up again with Jimmy Page for a time to tour and release two albums (1994-1998). In 1995, Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Plant performed at the induction show with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Jason Bonham, Neil Young, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, performing spirited versions of "Bring It On Home", "Honeybee", and "When the Levee Breaks." 

After years of reunion rumors, Led Zeppelin performed a full two-hour set on 10 December 2007 at the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert, with Jason again filling in on drums. Starting in mid-1999, Plant performed until the end of 2000 at several small venues with his folk-rock band, named Priory of Brion. In 2002, with his then newly-formed band Strange Sensation, Plant released a widely acclaimed collection of mostly blues and folk remakes, Dreamland. Contrasting with this lush collection of often relatively obscure remakes, the second album with Strange Sensation, Mighty ReArranger (2005), contains new, original songs. Both have received some of the most favourable reviews of Plant's solo career and four Grammy nominations, two in 2003 and two in 2006. From 2007-2008, Plant recorded and performed with bluegrass star Alison Krauss. A duet album, Raising Sand, was released on 23 October 2007 on Rounder Records. Raising Sand also won Album of the Year at the 51st Grammy Awards.

In July 2010, Robert Plant embarked on a twelve-date (summer) tour in the United States with a new group called Band of Joy (reprising the name of his very first band in the 1960s). The group includes singer Patty Griffin, singer-guitarist Buddy Miller, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Darrell Scott, bassist-vocalist Byron House, and drummer-percussionist-vocalist Marco Giovino. A new studio album called Band of Joy was released on 13 September 2010 on the Rounder Records label. The band played their final scheduled show together at the Big Chill Festival at Eastnor Castle Deer Park in Herefordshire on 7 August 2011. The show ended with Plant bidding his bandmates "a fond farewell".

The Official Video for "Angel Dance" from "Band Of Joy" Album:

With a career spanning more than 40 years, Robert Plant is regarded as one of the most significant singers in the history of rock music, and also happens to be..

A Bit Of Groovy!
Source - Wikipedia
For more information, visit:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Woodstock, August 15-18, 1969

Today marks the 42nd Anniversary of Woodstock. Billed as "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music", it was held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm in the Catskills near the hamlet of White Lake in the town of Bethel, New York. It is widely regarded as one of the most pivotal moments in popular music history.

Originally, Woodstock was designed as a profit-making venture, aptly titled "Woodstock Ventures". It famously became a "free concert" only after it became obvious that the event was drawing hundreds of thousands more people than the organizers had prepared for. Thirty-two acts performed outdoors in front of an estimated 500,000 concert-goers.

List of Performing Artists:

Friday, August 15

Richie Havens
Swami Satchidananda – gave the invocation for the festival
Bert Sommer
Ravi Shankar
Tim Hardin
Arlo Guthrie
Joan Baez

Saturday, August 16

Country Joe McDonald
John Sebastian
Keef Hartley Band
The Incredible String Band
Canned Heat
Grateful Dead
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band
Sly & the Family Stone
The Who
Jefferson Airplane

Sunday, August 17 to Monday, August 18

The Grease Band
Joe Cocker
Country Joe and the Fish
Ten Years After
The Band
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Johnny Winter featuring his brother, Edgar Winter
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Jimi Hendrix

Although the festival was remarkably peaceful given the number of people and the conditions involved, there were two recorded fatalities: one from what was believed to be a heroin overdose and another caused in an accident when a tractor ran over an attendee sleeping in a nearby hayfield. There also were two births recorded at the event (one in a car caught in traffic and another in a hospital after an airlift by helicopter) and four miscarriages. Yet, in tune with the idealistic hopes of the 1960s, Woodstock satisfied most attendees. There was a sense of social harmony, which, with the quality of music, and the overwhelming mass of people, many sporting bohemian dress, behavior, and attitudes helped to make it one of the enduring events of the century.

John Fogerty regarding Creedence Clearwater Revival's 3 a.m. start time at Woodstock: "We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn ... there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud. And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: a quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, 'Don't worry about it John. We're with you.' I played the rest of the show for that guy."

After the concert, Max Yasgur, who owned the site of the event, saw it as a victory of peace and love. He spoke of how nearly half a million people filled with possibilities of disaster, riot, looting, and catastrophe spent the three days with music and peace on their minds. He states that "if we join them, we can turn those adversities that are the problems of America today into a hope for a brighter and more peaceful future..." Source - Wikipedia

For more information, visit

Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music, and A Bit Of Groovy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Led Zeppelin and Les Paul

In the rock music world, August 12 is a significant date for two connected, yet contrasting, reasons: The birth of the mighty Led Zeppelin in 1968, and the passing of the legendary guitarist Les Paul in 2009. [Edit: Some sources state the date of Les Paul's death as being August 13, 2009. Even if the two events are a day apart, which they may be, I think they are significant enough to justify this post.]

The members of Led Zeppelin played together for the first time on August 12, 1968. According to the band, this took place in a tiny London rehearsal room where they played Train Kept A-Rollin'. Hear Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham performing the song less a year later at the Newport Jazz Festival:

This brings me to the man whose name is synonymous with that of Jimmy Page's main guitar: Les Paul.

Les Paul was an American jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.

His innovative talents extended into his playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many guitarists of the present day. He recorded with his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s, and they sold millions of records.

Here he is performing Caravan in 1991:

Sadly, Les Paul left this world on August 12, 2009. However, his influence in rock music reaches far and wide, and still lives on through his namesake guitars, innovations, and music.

Led Zeppelin and Les Paul - A Bit Of Groovy times two.

Sources for this post:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

August 9th,1963, Ready Steady Go! launches on UK TV

Ready Steady Go! or simply RSG! was one of the UK's first rock/pop music TV shows. It was broadcast from August 1963 until December 1966. The show gained its highest ratings on 20 March 1964 when it featured the Beatles being interviewed and performing their songs "It Won't Be Long", "You Can't Do That" and "Can't Buy Me Love" - the last of which was a hit at the time.

Initially, RSG! artists mimed to records but by late 1964 some performed live and the show switched to all-live performances in April 1965. It was noted for allowing artists to perform the full version of their songs rather than the short versions demanded by other shows. Despite its popularity in the UK, the show was never broadcast in the United States.

It featured successful artists of the era, including The Beatles, The Hollies, The Zombies, Dusty Springfield, The Supremes, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Donovan, The Animals, Cilla Black, The Who, Lulu, Marvin Gaye, Gene Pitney, The Beach Boys, Small Faces, Them, and many others.

Here is a highlights clip:

Jimi Hendrix made his first TV appearance in England on RSG! with "Hey Joe". Apparently, only the audio survives:

After this appearance, Hendrix's club tour sold out and he was quickly added to a nationwide tour headlined by the Walker Brothers.

The Who proved particularly popular and in 1966 had an episode to themselves entitled Ready Steady Who. The programme no longer exists, but an EP of the name marked the show (although no recordings were from the show).

In 1966, the time that the 'beat boom' was fading, the show was cancelled. Its disappearance at the height of its popularity enhanced its status. Many years later the British musician Dave Clark bought the rights to the surviving recordings of the show. Compilations were broadcast on Channel 4 in the 1980s and VHS videos were issued. In 1989 the show was seen for the first time in the US, on Disney Channel. During that time, Disney was a pay channel, that aired programming aimed at adults at night. Ready Steady Go! has not been officially released on DVD. Source - Wikipedia

Ready Steady Go! - A Bit Of Groovy!

Friday, August 05, 2011

American Bandstand Premiered Nationally in America on August 5, 1957

American Bandstand is an American music-performance show that aired in various versions from 1952 to 1989 and was hosted from 1956 until its final season by Dick Clark, who also served as producer. The show featured teenagers dancing to Top 40 music introduced by Clark; at least one popular musical act—over the decades, running the gamut from Jerry Lee Lewis to Run DMC—would usually appear in person to lip-sync one of their latest singles. Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon holds the record for most appearances at 110.

Clark would often interview the teenagers about their opinions of the songs being played, most memorably through the "Rate-a-Record" segment. During the segment, two audience members each ranked two records on a scale of 35 to 98, after which the two opinions were averaged by Clark, who then asked the audience members to justify their scores. The segment gave rise, perhaps apocryphally, to the phrase "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it." 

In one humorous segment broadcast for years on retrospective shows, comedians Cheech and Chong appeared as the record raters:

The show's popularity helped Dick Clark become an American media mogul and inspired similar long-running music programs, such as Soul Train and Top of the Pops. Clark eventually assumed ownership of the program through his Dick Clark Productions company.

It premiered locally in late September 1952 as Bandstand on Philadelphia television station WFIL-TV Channel 6 (now WPVI-TV), as a replacement for a weekday movie that had shown predominantly British movies. The show was picked up nationally, becoming American Bandstand on August 5, 1957.

Dig this crazy scene: "Captain Beefheart on the Hot Line at American Bandstand on June 18, 1966. After Don answers some probing questions from one of the shows dancers everyone gets to jump around to Diddy Wah Diddy" - YouTube Clip:

For a comprehensive read about the show, visit the source used for this blog post:

For a complete list of acts who appeared on American Bandstand, visit this page:

American Bandstand  - a Bit of Groovy!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Buddy Guy

George "Buddy" Guy (75) (born July 30, 1936) is an American blues guitarist and singer. He is a critically acclaimed artist who has established himself as a pioneer of the Chicago blues sound, and has served as an influence to some of the most notable musicians of his generation. Guy is known, too, for his showmanship on stage, playing his guitar with drumsticks, or strolling into the audience while playing solos. He was ranked thirtieth in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". His song "Stone Crazy" was ranked seventy-eighth in list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time also of Rolling Stone.

Buddy Guy appeared onstage at the March 1969 Supershow at Staines, England that also included Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Jack Bruce, Stephen Stills, Buddy Miles, Glen Campbell, Roland Kirk, and Jon HisemanThe Misunderstood Roland Kirk.

While Buddy Guy's music is often labeled Chicago blues, his style is unique and separate. His music can vary from the most traditional, deepest blues to a creative, unpredictable and radical gumbo of the blues, avant rock, soul and free jazz that morphs at each night’s performance.

For almost 50 years, Guy performed flamboyant live concerts of energetic blues and blues rock, predating the 1960s blues rockers. As a musician’s musician, he had a fundamental impact on the blues and on rock and roll, influencing a new generation of artists.

Buddy Guy has been called the bridge between the blues and rock and roll. He is one of the historic links between Chicago electric blues pioneers Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf and popular musicians like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page as well as later revivalists like Stevie Ray Vaughan. Vaughan stated that, "Without Buddy Guy, there would be no Stevie Ray Vaughan."

Guy previously served on the Hall of Fame’s nominating committee. Guy has won six Grammy Awards both for his work on his electric and acoustic guitars, and for contemporary and traditional forms of blues music. In 2003, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. This medal is awarded by the President of the United States of America to those who have made extraordinary contributions to the creation, growth and support in the arts in the United States. By 2004, Guy had also earned 23 W.C. Handy Awards (more than any other artist has received), Billboard magazine's The Century Award (Guy was its second recipient) for distinguished artistic achievement, and the title of Greatest Living Electric Blues Guitarist.

In 2008, Buddy Guy was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame while performing at Texas Club in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Guy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2005 by Eric Clapton and B.B. King. Clapton recalled seeing Guy perform in London’s Marquee Club in 1965, impressing him with his technique, his looks and his charismatic showmanship. He remembered seeing Guy pick the guitar with his teeth and play it over his head—two tricks that later influenced Jimi Hendrix. Guy’s acceptance speech was concise: "If you don’t think you have the blues, just keep living." Source - Wikipedia

Happy Birthday to Buddy Guy - A Bit Of Groovy!

More Info:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to Geddy Lee of Rush

Gary Lee Weinrib, OC, better known as Geddy Lee (58) (born July 29, 1953), is a Canadian musician, best known as the lead vocalist, bassist, and keyboardist for the Canadian rock group Rush. Lee joined what would become Rush in September 1968, at the request of his childhood friend Alex Lifeson, replacing original bassist and frontman Jeff Jones.

An award-winning musician, Lee's style, technique, and skill on the bass guitar have inspired many rock and heavy metal musicians, such as Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, John Myung of Dream Theater, Les Claypool of Primus, Juan Alderete of The Mars Volta, and Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine.

In addition to his composing, arranging, and performing duties for Rush, Lee has produced for various other bands, including Rocket Science. Lee's first solo effort, My Favorite Headache, was released in 2000.

Along with his Rush bandmates – guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart – Lee was made an Officer of the Order of Canada on May 9, 1996. The trio was the first rock band to be so honoured, as a group. Lee is ranked 13th by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal vocalists of all time.

Lee's stage name, Geddy, was inspired by his mother's heavily-accented pronunciation of his given first name, Gary, and it later became his high school nickname before he adopted it as his stage name. In an interview written in Bass Frontiers Magazine, Geddy Lee explains; "My born name is Gary. My real name, now, is Geddy. Okay, it's like the same story of Leave it to Beaver. (laughs). The story goes: my mother is Polish and she has a very thick accent. When I was about twelve years old, I had a friend who, whenever he heard my mother pronounce my name, he thought she was calling me, 'Geddy'. He started calling me 'Geddy', and eventually, all of my friends started calling me 'Geddy', and eventually my mother started to call me 'Geddy', for real. And eventually, I changed my name legally to 'Geddy', so that's the story and that's my name, Geddy."

The bulk of Lee's work in music has been with Rush. However, Lee has also contributed to a body of work outside of his involvement with the band through guest appearances and album production. In 1981, Lee was the featured guest for the hit song "Take Off" and its included comedic commentary with Bob and Doug McKenzie (played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, respectively) for the McKenzie Brothers' comedy album Great White North. The following year, Lee produced the debut (and only) album from Toronto new wave band Boys Brigade. On the 1985 album We Are the World, by humanitarian consortium USA for Africa, Lee recorded guest vocals for the song "Tears Are Not Enough". Apart from band contributions, Lee sang the Canadian National Anthem in front of a full crowd at Camden Yards for the 1993 All-Star Game.

Another version of "O Canada" in rock format was recorded by Lee and Lifeson on the accompanying soundtrack CD for the Trey Parker and Matt Stone film South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut released in 1999.

My Favorite Headache, Lee's first solo album, was released in November 2000 while Rush was on a hiatus due to tragedies in drummer Neil Peart's life. Lee appeared in Broken Social Scene's music video for their 2006 single "Fire Eye'd Boy", judging the band while they perform various musical tasks, and in 2006, Lee joined Lifeson's supergroup the Big Dirty Band, to provide songs accompanying Trailer Park Boys: The Movie.

Lee also plays bass on Canadian rock band I Mother Earth's track "Good For Sule", which is featured on the groups album "Blue Green Orange", released in 1999.

Lee's voice has been referred to as an "astoundingly high" tenor. During Rush's early period, Lee's voice was described as a "Robert Plant-esque wail." Beginning with the Permanent Waves album in 1980, Lee gradually changed his vocal style to a more restrained sound. Source: Wikipedia

The video below is the title track from the fifth studio album by Rush, A Farewell To Kings, released in 1977:

Geddy Lee - A Bit Of Groovy!

For all things Rush:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Happy 68th Birthday to Mick Jagger

From the time that the Rolling Stones developed their anti-establishment image in the mid-1960s, Mick Jagger, along with guitarist Keith Richards, has been an enduring icon of the counterculture. This was no doubt enhanced by his controversial drug-related arrests, sexually charged onstage antics, provocative song lyrics, and his role of the bisexual Turner in the 1970 film Performance. One of his biographers, Christopher Andersen, describes him as being "one of the dominant cultural figures of our time", adding that Jagger was "the story of a generation".

Jagger, who at the time described himself as an anarchist and espoused the leftist slogans of the era, took part in a demonstration against the Vietnam War outside the US Embassy in London in 1968. This event inspired him to write "Street Fighting Man" that same year and served to reinforce his rebellious, anti-authority stance in the eyes of his fans.

Jumping ahead several decades...

On 12 December 2003, Jagger was knighted for Services to Music, as Sir Michael Jagger by The Prince of Wales. Mick Jagger's knighthood received mixed reactions. Some fans were disappointed when he accepted the honour as it seemed to contradict his anti-establishment stance. Charlie Watts was quoted in the book According to the Rolling Stones as saying, "Anybody else would be lynched: 18 wives and 20 children and he's knighted, fantastic!"

In 2010 a retrospective exhibitions of portraits of Mick Jagger was presented at the festival Rencontres d'Arles, in France. The catalogue of the exihibition is the first photo album of Mick Jagger and shows the evolution of the artist in 50 years of career.

Maroon 5 and Adam Levine's new single "Moves Like Jagger" that was released in June 2011 on the television programme The Voice, is about Mick's onstage and ladykiller-esque swagger.

Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger, born 26 July 1943, English musician, singer-songwriter, actor and producer, and A Bit of Groovy!

Learn more:
Mick Jagger's Official Website:
Rolling Stones Official Website:
Source of all info in this post other than video:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to Carlos Santana

Carlos Augusto Alves Santana (born July 20, 1947) is a Mexican rock guitarist. Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered rock, salsa and jazz fusion. The band's sound featured his melodic, blues-based guitar lines set against Latin and African rhythms featuring percussion instruments such as timbales and congas not generally heard in rock music. Santana continued to work in these forms over the following decades. He experienced a resurgence of popularity and critical acclaim in the late 1990s. Rolling Stone named Santana number 15 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2003. He has won 10 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Grammy Awards.

Around the age of 8, Santana "fell under the influence" of blues performers like B.B. King and John Lee Hooker. He also credits Jimi Hendrix, Mike Bloomfield and Peter Green as important influences; he considered Bloomfield a direct mentor, writing of a key meeting with Bloomfield in San Francisco in the foreword he wrote to a biography of Bloomfield, Michael Bloomfield: If You Love These Blues-An Oral History in 2000.

In 1966, he gained prominence by a series of events all happening on the same day. Santana was a frequent spectator at Bill Graham's Fillmore West. During a Sunday matinee show, Paul Butterfield was slated to perform there but was unable to do so as a result of being intoxicated. Bill Graham assembled an impromptu band of musicians he knew primarily through his connections with the Grateful Dead, Butterfield's own band and Jefferson Airplane, but he had not yet picked all of the guitarists at the time. Santana's manager, Stan Marcum, immediately suggested to Graham that Santana join the impromptu band and Graham assented. During the jam session, Santana's guitar playing and solo gained the notice of both the audience and Graham. During the same year, Santana formed the Santana Blues Band, with fellow street musicians, David Brown and Gregg Rolie (bassist and keyboard player, respectively).

With their highly original blend of Latin-infused rock, jazz, blues, salsa, and African rhythms, the band (which quickly became known simply as Santana) gained an immediate following on the San Francisco club circuit. The band's early success, capped off by a memorable performance at Woodstock in 1969, led to a recording contract with Columbia Records, then run by Clive Davis.

In 1970, the group reached its early commercial peak with their second album, Abraxas, which reached number one on the album charts and went on to sell over four million copies. Instrumental in the production of the album was pianist Alberto Gianquinto, who advised the group to stay away from lengthy percussion jams and concentrate on tighter song structures. The innovative Santana musical blend made a number-four hit out of the English band Fleetwood Mac's "Black Magic Woman" and a number-thirteen hit out of salsa legend Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va". Source: Wikipedia

For much more info:
Official Santana Site:
Wikipedia -

Happy Birthday to Carlos Santana - A Bit of Groovy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Trevor Horn: Architect Of Sound

Trevor Charles Horn CBE (born 15 July 1949) is an English pop music record producer, songwriter, musician and singer. He was born in Houghton-le-Spring in north-east England.


Trevor Horn began his professional career as a session musician in the late 1970s, including playing on Come Dancing. Most notably, he played for disco star Tina Charles and her producer Biddu, whose backing tracks was an influence on Horn's early work. One of the other members of her backing band was keyboard player Geoffrey Downes.

Horn and Downes formed The Buggles in 1978, in which Horn played bass, guitar and percussion as well as providing vocals. However, just prior to The Buggles, Horn signed with Sonet Records and recorded two singles under the moniker of 'The Big A'. One single "Caribbean Air Control" was released in the United Kingdom, but failed to chart. A few months later the song was remixed into a disco track under the name of "Chromium" ("Chrome" in the US) with no vocals and a synthesised and percussion backbeat. Again this song failed to chart, but did well in the disco clubs, especially in the US and Canada. An entire album was released in 1979 titled Star to Star. Around this time Horn, Downes and Bruce Woolley (Tina Charles' guitarist) co-wrote "Video Killed the Radio Star", which was released by The Buggles in 1979 reaching #1 in the UK Singles Chart and was the first music video to be played on MTV. The song also appeared on the group's first album, The Age of Plastic, which was released in 1980.

Later in the same year Horn and Downes were invited to join the rock group Yes.

Horn became the lead vocalist of Yes, replacing Jon Anderson. He recorded one album with the band, Drama, on which he also plays bass on one track. However, he left after seven months, at the beginning of 1981, to concentrate on his production work.

He also completed a second Buggles album, Adventures in Modern Recording, mainly alone after a disagreement with Geoff Downes.

Horn did work with Yes again, not as a band member, but (co-)producing their next two studio albums, including the 1983 "comeback" album 90125, and also went on to be a founding member of the Art of Noise. He is known for performing on albums he produces. His latest band is The Producers, in which Horn plays with various musicians/producers, namely Lol Creme, producer Steve Lipson and singer/songwriter Chris Braide. The band performed its first gig at the Camden Barfly in November 2006.


Horn has produced commercially successful songs and albums for numerous British and international artists. As a musician, he has had chart success with the bands The Buggles, Yes and Art of Noise.

Horn's first production success came with the pop band Dollar in 1981 and 1982. Four UK Top 20 singles, "Mirror Mirror", "Hand Held in Black and White", "Give Me Back My Heart" and "Videotheque" can all be heard on The Dollar Album (UK #18 1982), which is released on CD for the first time in February 2010 on Cherry Pop Records, and includes bonus previously unreleased alternate mixes of all the singles by Horn.

He produced The Lexicon of Love (1982) by ABC, which reached #1 in the UK Albums Chart. It was during the Lexicon sessions that Horn first assembled the production team that would characterise and define the sound of a Horn production in the 1980s: Anne Dudley on keyboards and arrangements, Gary Langan (later Stephen Lipson) as chief engineer, J. J. Jeczalik on programming for the Fairlight CMI, backing vocalist Tessa Webb plus percussionist Luis Jardim. Originally brought in to play keyboard, Dudley was soon co-writing with the group and scoring the album's orchestrations.

He achieved his greatest commercial success in 1984, firstly with the Liverpudlian band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. He was approached by Bob Geldof to produce the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?", but he was unavailable. Instead, he gave use of his studio, SARM West in London, free of charge to the project for 24 hours, which Geldof accepted, assigning Midge Ure as the producer instead. On 25 November 1984, the song was recorded and mixed. Horn did produce the B-side featuring messages from artists who had and had not made the recording (including David Bowie, Annie Lennox from Eurythmics, Paul McCartney, all members of Big Country and Holly Johnson from Frankie Goes to Hollywood) was also recorded over the same backing track as the A-side.

Other artists he has produced include John Howard, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, Cher, Grace Jones, Seal, Propaganda, Tina Turner, Lisa Stansfield, Pet Shop Boys, Simple Minds, Eros Ramazzotti, Mike Oldfield, Marc Almond, Charlotte Church, t.A.T.u, LeAnn Rimes, and Belle & Sebastian. Horn received a Grammy Award in 1996 for Seal's second album.

Horn is also the executive producer of Jeff Beck's album, Emotion & Commotion, released in early 2010. He returned to work with Yes again, producing their 2011 album, "Fly From Here".
- Source: Wikipedia

Paul Morley, Horn’s co-founder on projects such as Art of Noise and ZTT Records: “If in the 60s, Phil Spector created a ‘wall of sound’,” he says, “by the middle of the 80s Horn had already established his sound, a whole room of sound, the walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, decorated with absolute flourish. As an architect of sound, Horn is unashamedly an exhibitionist, an utter show off... He has proved time and time again that pop is an art form, and that he is the supreme pop artist.”
- Source:

Happy Birthday to Trevor Horn - A Bit Of Groovy!

For more information on Trevor Horn:

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Happy Birthday to Jack White

Jack White (John Anthony Gillis) was born July 9, 1975. Often credited as Jack White III, he is an American musician, record producer, and occasional actor. He is best known as being the guitarist, pianist, and lead vocalist of The White Stripes. White began playing an instrument, a drum, at the age of six, and grew up in a lower middle-class neighborhood in southwest Detroit. As a teenager, he was already listening to the blues and 1960s rock that would influence him in The White Stripes, Son House and Blind Willie McTell being among his favorite blues musicians.

To be honest, The White Stripes weren't on my radar at all when their first album came out in 1999. Several years later, a good friend had enthusiastically recommended that I give the band a listen and gave me a few albums to hear. I wasn't expecting much. I was bored with most of the music being fed to the masses at the time, barely paying attention to any of it.

If you haven't already guessed from reading my previous blog posts, or my Twitter feed, my true loves are blues and rock from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. It was, for a long time, unusual for me to get excited about an unknown artist or group. Everything new that I did manage to hear seemed over-produced and had no raw edges; it was dead. So, I had nearly lost all faith that any artist under the age of 40 would produce an authentic rock sound I could love.

Jack White (with Meg, at the time) returned my faith. Rock wasn't dead after all. I began seeking and finding again, beneath and outside of the mainstream. I realized that there was, and is, a vibrant, younger generation that gets it. I owe that realization entirely to Jack White. (And, of course, to that very good friend who turned me on to the music. You know who you are!)

There is much more to Jack than The White Stripes, but White's popular and critical success with the band enabled him to collaborate as a solo artist with other renowned musicians, such as Beck, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan, Electric Six, and Loretta Lynn, whose 2004 album Van Lear Rose he produced and performed on. In 2005, White became a founding member of the rock band The Raconteurs. In 2009, he became a founding member and drummer of his third commercially successful group, The Dead Weather.

Also in 2009, Jack was featured in It Might Get Loud, a film in which he, Jimmy Page, and The Edge come together to discuss the electric guitar and each artist's different playing methods. White's first solo single, "Fly Farm Blues", was written and recorded in 10 minutes during the filming of the movie, in August of that year.

(This is far from being a complete list of Jack's accomplishments and projects. My intent is to share with you some of the highlights that stand out for me.)

According to Joe Chiccarelli, engineer for Icky Thump, White is not very technical when it comes to capturing his sound on record: "Usually he wouldn’t talk in terms of compression or EQ or any of those things, it was always about what can we do to give something more aggression or hit you in the face more. Jack’s brilliance is his understanding of great emotional performances, and of what it takes to make something come alive through the speakers and have an impact."

Happy 36th birthday to Jack White, this generation's torch carrier of rock and roll and a massive Bit of Groovy!

For further information on Jack White: (independent record label founded by Jack White)

Search for Jack White

Information Source: Wikipedia
All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Wrecking Crew

The Wrecking Crew was a nickname coined by the drummer Hal Blaine after the fact for a group of session musicians in Los Angeles, California, who earned wide acclaim in the 1960s. They backed dozens of popular singers, and were one of the most successful "groups" of studio musicians in music history.

The Wrecking Crew's members typically had backgrounds in jazz or classical music, but were highly versatile. The talents of this group of 'first call' players were used on almost every style of recording, including television theme songs, film scores, advertising jingles and almost every genre of American popular music, from The Monkees to Bing Crosby. Notable artists employing the Wrecking Crew's talents included Nancy Sinatra, Bobby Vee, The Partridge Family, The Mamas & the Papas, The Carpenters, The 5th Dimension, John Denver, The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, and Nat King Cole.

The figures most often associated with the Wrecking Crew are producer Phil Spector (who used the Crew to create his trademark "Wall of Sound"), and Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson, who used the Crew's talents on many of his mid-1960s productions including the songs "Good Vibrations", "California Girls", the acclaimed album Pet Sounds, and the original recordings for Smile.

Members of the Wrecking Crew played on the first Byrds single recording, "Mr. Tambourine Man", because Columbia Records did not trust the skills of Byrd musicians except for Roger McGuinn. Further recordings of the Byrds were conditional on the success of the single. All of the Byrds played on their subsequent recordings.

Spector used the Wrecking Crew on Leonard Cohen's fifth album, Death of a Ladies' Man.

A book, Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew: The Story of the World's Most Recorded Musician, co-written by Blaine, was published in 1990.

The Wrecking Crew were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame on November 26, 2007.

The Film:

The Wrecking Crew were featured in the 95-minute 2008 film The Wrecking Crew directed by Tommy Tedesco's son, Denny Tedesco. The film has screened at several festivals and was featured on National Public Radio. As of the date of this post, it has not yet been commercially released. -Source: Wikipedia

Learn more:
The Wrecking Crew: the inside story of LA's session giants |

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 73rd Birthday to Bill Withers

William Harrison "Bill" Withers, Jr. (born July 4, 1938) is an American singer-songwriter and musician who performed and recorded from 1970 until 1985. His life was recently the subject of the documentary film Still Bill.

During early 1970, Clarence Avant of Sussex Records signed Withers to a record deal and assigned Booker T. Jones to produce Withers' first album. Four three-hour studio sessions were planned to record the album, but funding caused the album to be recorded in three sessions with a six-month break between the second and final sessions. Just as I Am was released in 1971 with the tracks "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Grandma's Hands" as singles. The album features Stephen Stills playing lead guitar.

The album was a success and Withers began touring with a band assembled from members of The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band: drummer James Gadson, guitarist Benorce Blackmon, keyboardist Ray Jackson, and bassist Melvin Dunlap.

At the 14th annual Grammy Awards on Tuesday, March 14, 1972, Withers won a Grammy Award for Best R & B Song for "Ain't No Sunshine." The track had already sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in September 1971.

During a hiatus from touring, Withers recorded his second album, Still Bill. The single "Lean on Me" went to number one the week of July 8, 1972. It was Withers' second gold disc awarded track with confirmed sales in excess of three million.

His single "Use Me" released in August 1972, became his third million seller, with the R.I.A.A. gold disc award taking place on October 12, 1972.

A Friday, October 6, 1972 performance on a rainy night was recorded for the live album Bill Withers, Live at Carnegie Hall released November 30, 1972. In 1974 Withers recorded the album +'Justments. But he became involved in a legal dispute with the Sussex company and was unable to record thereafter.

During this time, he wrote and produced two songs on the Gladys Knight & the Pips record I Feel a Song, and in October 1974 performed in concert together with James Brown, Etta James, and B. B. King at the historic Rumble in the Jungle fight between Foreman and Ali in Zaire. Footage of his performance was included in the 1996 documentary film, When We Were Kings, and he is heard on the accompanying soundtrack.

Withers signed with Columbia Records in 1975. His first release with the label, Making Music, Making Friends, included the single "She's Lonely" which was featured in the film Looking for Mr. Goodbar. During the next three years he released an album each year with Naked & Warm (1976), Menagerie (1977, containing the successful Lovely Day) and Bout Love (1978) and Get On Down, the latter song was also on Looking for Mr. Goodbar soundtrack.

Due to problems with Columbia, he concentrated on joint projects between 1977 and 1985, including the successful "Just the Two of Us", with jazz saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., which was released during June 1980. It won a Grammy on February 24, 1982. The song appeared on Washington's album Winelight. It reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, and stayed there for 3 weeks. The song won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. Bill Withers recorded another version of the song which is included on a CD of his greatest hits.

Withers next did Soul Shadows with The Crusaders, and In the Name of Love with Ralph MacDonald, the latter being nominated for a Grammy for vocal performance.

In 1985 came Watching You, Watching Me, which featured the Top 40 rated Rhythm & Blues single "Oh Yeah". Withers ended his business association with Columbia Records after this release, which as of 2010 is his last studio album.

In 1988, a new version of "Lovely Day" from the 1977 Menagerie album, titled "Lovely Day (Sunshine Mix)" and remixed by Ben Liebrand, reached the Top 10 in the United Kingdom, leading to Withers' performance on the long-running Top of the Pops that year. The original release had scored #2 in the UK in 1973, and the re-release scored to #1.

In 1987, he received his ninth Grammy award nomination and on March 2, 1988 his third Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Song as songwriter for the re-recording of Lean On Me by Club Nouveau on their debut album Life, Love and Pain, released in 1986 on Warner Bros. Records.

In 1996, a portion of his song "Grandma's Hands" was sampled in the song "No Diggity" by BLACKstreet, featuring Dr. Dre. The single went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold 1.6 million copies and won a Grammy in 1999 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

Withers contributed two songs to Jimmy Buffett's July 13, 2004 release License To Chill. Following the reissues of Still Bill on January 28, 2003 and Just As I Am on March 8, 2005, there was speculation of previously unreleased material being issued as a new album. In 2006, Sony gave back to Withers his previously unreleased tapes.

In 2007, "Lean On Me" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Source: Wikipedia

For all things Bill, visit The Official Bill Withers Site:

Bill Withers - A Bit Of Groovy!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Happy 61st Birthday to legendary Queen of Glam Suzi Quatro

Susan Kay "Suzi" Quatro (born in Detroit, Michigan, June 3, 1950) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actress.

She scored a string of hit singles in the 1970s that found greater success in Europe than in her homeland, and had a recurring role on the popular American sitcom Happy Days. American fans are probably most familiar with her hit "Devil Gate Drive", which she performed as Leather Tuscadero, during season 5, on the episode, "Fonzie and Leather Tuscadero, Part II".

Quatro is the aunt of actress Sherilyn Fenn, whose mother is Quatro's sister Arlene. Quatro began her musical career at the age of fourteen. She played the bass guitar in the all-female band Pleasure Seekers and Cradle with her sisters Patti, Nancy, and Arlene. Also, according to her autobiography, her first bass guitar was a 1957 Fender Precision, given to her by her father. Patti Quatro later joined the band Fanny, one of the earliest all-female rock bands to gain national attention. She has a brother, Michael Quatro, who is also a musician.

Quatro moved to the United Kingdom in 1971 after being discovered in Detroit by the record producer Mickie Most, who produced The Animals, Jeff Beck, Lulu, and Donovan. Most introduced Quatro to the songwriting and production team Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Following a support slot on a UK tour with Thin Lizzy and headliners Slade, her second single "Can the Can" (1973) was a number one hit throughout Europe and in Australia.

It was followed up by three further hits: "48 Crash" (1973), "Daytona Demon" (1973), and "Devil Gate Drive" (1974) on RAK Records. "Can the Can", "48 Crash" and "Devil Gate Drive" each sold over one million copies, and were each awarded gold discs.

Quatro continues to record and perform live around the world. She has a new album, the first in five years, called "In The Spotlight" (release date August, 29, 2011). For ordering info on her new album, visit: Cherry Red Records. For all things Suzi, visit her site: and follow her on Twitter: @suzi_quatro

Happy 61st Birthday to Suzi Quatro, who proved it was possible for a woman of small stature to proudly and raunchily wear leather, sing and play bass. She had a direct influence on The Runaways and Joan Jett, and is A Bit Of Groovy!

Sources: Wikipedia, VVN Music Almanac, and Cherry Red Records

Friday, July 01, 2011

Willie Dixon - Chicago Blues Master

William James "Willie" Dixon was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 1, 1915. He was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as one of the most prolific songwriters of his time.

Willie Dixon performing one of my favorites - It Don't Make Sense If You Can't Make Peace:

Dixon is recognized as one of the founders of the Chicago blues sound. His songs have been recorded not only by himself, or that of the trio and other ensembles in which he participated, but an uncounted number of musicians representing many genres between them. A short list of his most famous compositions include "Little Red Rooster", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Evil", "Back Door Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "I Ain't Superstitious", "My Babe", "Wang Dang Doodle", "Bring It On Home", and "Spoonful".

Next to Muddy Waters, he was the most influential person in shaping the post World War II sound of the Chicago blues. He also was an important link between the blues and rock and roll, working with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley in the late 1950s. His songs were covered by some of the biggest artists of more recent times, including Styx, Bob Dylan, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Foghat, The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Megadeth, The Doors, The Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead, and a posthumous duet with Colin James.

Here's Muddy Waters with the Rolling Stones:

And Led Zeppelin performing Dixon's Bring It On Home:

Dixon signed with Chess Records as a recording artist, but began performing less and became more involved with the record label. By 1951, he was a full time employee at Chess where he acted as producer, talent scout, session musician and staff songwriter. He was also a producer for Chess subsidiary Checker Records. His relationship with the Chess label was sometimes strained, although his tenure there covered the years from 1948 to the early 1960s. During this time his output and influence were prodigious. From late 1956 to early 1959, he worked in a similar capacity for Cobra Records, where he produced early singles for Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and Buddy Guy. He later recorded on Bluesville Records. From the late 1960s until the middle 1970s, Dixon ran his own record label, Yambo Records, along with two subsidiary labels, Supreme and Spoonful. He released his 1971 album Peace? on Yambo, as well as singles by McKinley Mitchell, Lucky Peterson and others.

He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the "early influences" (pre-rock) category in 1994. Source: Wikipedia

Willie Dixon (July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) : He is The Blues, and A Bit Of Groovy!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dancing In The Street

On June 29th, 1985, David Bowie and Mick Jagger recorded a version of the Martha Reeves and the Vandellas 1964 hit "Dancing In The Street" for the forthcoming "Live Aid" fundraising event. The single went on to become a No.1 UK hit.
Source: This Day In Music

The original plan was to perform a track together, live, with Bowie performing at Wembley Stadium and Jagger at John F. Kennedy Stadium, until it was realized that the satellite link-up would cause a half-second delay that would make this impossible unless either Bowie or Jagger mimed their contribution, something neither artist was willing to do.

In June 1985, Bowie was recording his contributions to the Absolute Beginners soundtrack at Abbey Road Studios, and so Jagger arranged to fly in to record the track there. A rough mix of the track was completed in just four hours, at which point the pair went straight out to London Docklands to film a video with director David Mallet. Thirteen hours after the start of recording, this also was completed. Jagger arranged for some minor musical overdubs in New York.

The video was shown twice at the Live Aid event. Soon afterward the track was issued as a single, with all profits going to the charity. "Dancing in the Street" topped the UK charts for four weeks, and reached number seven in the United States.

Bowie and Jagger would perform the song once more, at the Prince's Trust Concert on June 20, 1986.

The song has been featured since on several Bowie compilations. It was also shown in movie theaters before showings of "Ruthless People", for which Jagger had recorded the theme song. It was the first instance in which a promotional clip was used outside of MTV or broadcast television. Source: Wikipedia

Oh, you know that's A Bit Of Groovy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

One Size Fits All

Released June 25, 1975, One Size Fits All is a rock album by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. It is the last Zappa album to be released with the subheading of "Mothers of Invention". One of Zappa's heroes, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, guests on two tracks.

The album features the final version of The Mothers of Invention, with George Duke, Chester Thompson, Ruth Underwood, Tom Fowler and Napoleon Murphy Brock. It also features one of Zappa's most complex and well-known tracks, "Inca Roads".

Early U.S. LP pressings of One Size Fits All are particularly notable, for two reasons:

Many early copies contain a skip during "Inca Roads" at approximately 4:40 into the track. This error was a manufacturing defect not caught during the test pressing stage. The album was recalled after the mistake was caught, but a significant number had already been sold. The highly complex nature of the music made it difficult to recognize the error without comparing it to the correct version.

Some copies also have the catalog number "BS 2879" inscribed - and crossed out - in the runoff matrix, indicating that at one point One Size Fits All was (perhaps mistakenly) planned to be released on Warner Bros. Records, whose Reprise Records subsidiary distributed Zappa's DiscReet Records label. The album was ultimately released on DiscReet with a catalog number in Reprise's sequence, DS 2216. Warner Bros. did not reassign the number BS 2879 to another album.

In 1988, One Size Fits All was released on CD by Rykodisc.

Frank Zappa was an innovator, a master of fusion, and an eccentric genius of unparalleled creativity. Today, he's A Bit Of Groovy!

Sources: Wikipedia, VVN Music Almanac

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy 67th Birthday To Jeff Beck

Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck (born 24 June 1944) is an English rock guitarist. One of three noted guitarists, with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, to have played with The Yardbirds, Beck also formed The Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice. He was ranked 14th in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and the magazine has described him as "one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock". He was also ranked second greatest rock guitarist of all time in Digital Dream Door, a site that ranks movies and music. MSNBC has called him a "guitarist's guitarist"

Much of Beck's recorded output has been instrumental, with a focus on innovative sound and his releases have spanned genres ranging from blues-rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion and most recently, an additional blend of guitar-rock and electronica. Beck has earned wide critical praise; furthermore, he has received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance six times.

He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: as a member of The Yardbirds (1992) and as a solo artist (2009). Source: Wikipedia

For more, including tour dates, go to Jeff Beck's Official Site:

See him get inducted and perform at the Rock Hall of Fame 2009 Awards Ceremony:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hot Tuna talk about 'Steady As She Goes'

Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady talk about the new Hot Tuna record, 'Steady As She Goes' on Red House Records.

The deluxe record, which hits shelves and online music stores on June 28th, is perfect for audiophiles, as it was mastered at half-speed and pressed on premium 180 gram vinyl.

To buy the album, go to

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Today in 1966, Jimmy Page made his live debut with The Yardbirds

Today in 1966, Jimmy Page made his live debut with The Yardbirds at the Marquee Club, London. Source -

The Yardbirds are one of my favorite bands and Jimmy Page is, without a doubt, my favorite musician. He has influenced countless guitarists around the world from the 1960s to the present day. Simply put, rock music would not be what it is without Jimmy Page.

That's why Jimmy Page is today's Bit Of Groovy!

Although not footage of the Marquee Club, here are a few videos of The Yardbirds with Jimmy Page: