Goodbye Chuck Berry

ChuckBerry

I wanted to acknowledge the passing of Chuck Berry.  Just about anyone who has picked up a guitar to play rock and roll owes a debt of gratitude to this man.  His influence on us is immeasurable.  He truly was one of the early architects of rock and roll music.

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Goodbye to a true music legend, a pioneer and trailblazer.  Goodbye to the great Chuck Berry.

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Troy T.

Led Zep – My 10 Favorite Songs

Just my opinion, but I feel that Led Zeppelin is the greatest rock band of all time. Their catalog defines well written, iconic songs, outstanding musicianship and extremely well produced albums. Add to that the fact that Jimmy Page seemingly wrote nearly every great guitar riff ever.  Has any rock band, besides The Beatles, been more influential on popular music?

All that being said I would consider myself a causal fan of the band.  I love many Zeppelin songs, however as great as they were there are other bands, many heavily influenced by Zeppelin, that appeal to me more. But that does not mean that I do not recognize their greatness. Over the years I have heard most of the band’s catalog, either through the cassettes and cds that I’ve owned or borrowed, as well as from the massive airplay that the band has gotten on rock stations in my area.

A few days ago I was reading an article on the recording and release of Presence, so of course I had to play the cd. Hard to believe that it was released 40 years ago.  That got me to thinking about my ten favorite Led Zeppelin songs.  Here they are, in no particular order.

The Immigrant Song – Short and sweet, 2 minutes and 24 seconds of metallic fury.  As an aside, Stryper recently recorded a great cover version.

Nobody’s Fault But Mine – So heavy, how did Page write SO many great riffs?

Kashmir – I consider Kashmir, and not Stairway To Heaven, to be the band’s best song.  That riff is so hypnotic.

Bring It On Home -A great example of Page’s guitar army, massive guitar riffage here.

The Ocean – One of the best guitar riffs ever.

The Song Remains The Same – Such a great prog rock track.

No Quarter – I always loved this song’s atmosphere.

Dancing Days – Great guitar riffage, along with Plant’s incredibly cool vocal make for an amazing tune.

All Of My Love – The band didn’t need heavy guitars to be great. Includes some very tasty, understated guitar work from Page.

Fool In The Rain – Like so many of Zep’s songs this one has an incredible groove.  Another great vocal from Plant.

Rock And Rollers Do Grow Old And Die

Over the past several months rock music has lost some heavy hitters. Just to name a few: B.B. King, Chris Squire, Scott Weiland, Lemmy, David Bowie and most recently Glenn Frey.  Somehow we as fans want to foolishly believe that rock and rollers will never die.  In some respects rock and roll is a sort of fountain of youth.  Look at the aging artists and bands that are still recording and touring 20, 30, 40+ years after their formation.  But unfortunately rock and rollers grow old and die. Somehow we believe that because they have a microphone in one hand and a guitar in the other that they will live forever.   Sadly this is not the case.  Rock and roll may never die, but those who create it do.

Rock And Roll Rebels

Stone-Wall-smallThe essense of rock and roll is rooted in rebellion and nonconformity.  Heavy metal takes this to even higher heights. In a genre that many believe to be filled with suicidal mother killing satanists one would think that nonconformity would in fact be the norm.  However, so many bands fall in line with the sterotypical conventions of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

But if there is one band that stands apart from so many of the others it has to be Stryper.   Stryper has primary spent their career singing about God, His love for mankind and salvation through His son Jesus Christ.  During their concerts it is not uncommon for the band to toss Bibles out into the audience.

The band’s lead singer, Michael Sweet, recently gave an interview and made the following statement, “I feel like we’re bigger rebels than most bands out there because of what we stand for.”   That comment was met with lots of dismissive replies on the internet.  Stryper’s a Christian band, how rebellious can they be?

Far to many bands are content to regurgitate the same old dark cliches in order to fit into the metal scene.  Stryper on the other hand, by their lyrical content, set themselves so far from the norms of the genre. A great example of a typical Styper lyric can be heard in the band’s song More Than A Man.  The song contains the following chorus, “God I will follow you because you died for me. Gave to me your life to set me free. Anyone who asks shall receive, Jesus in your heart, It’s time for you to start giving God all the glory.”  Not at all what one would expect from a heavy metal song.  I have to agree with Michael Sweet, Stryper are indeed rock and roll rebels.

Motorhead Is Dead

Lemmy passed away yesterday.  I was never a Motorhead fan.   However, being a metalhead I was always aware of the presence of Lemmy and his loud power trio.  It’s fair to say that every metalhead from the 80’s knew the band’s signature song Ace Of Spades.  As I said I was never a fan but many bands that I have listened to over the years site Lemmy and Motorhead as a major influence on their own music. Obviously I never knew Lemmy.  He was notorious for his wild rock and roll lifestyle, so in many ways it is a miracle that he lived to 70.  That being said, upon reading of his death I felt an unexplained sadness that sat with me for a time today.  Eventhough I was not a fan, Lemmy and the latest edition of Motorhead was always there rocking out, loud and proud.  Lemmy was not one of my musical heroes, but his passing brings home the fact that my own personal musical heroes will not be around forever. Motorhead is dead, long live rock and roll.