About Me

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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

THE WAX MUSEUM, THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO, and GARY FRENAY!


Tonight on This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio: hey, it's like TWO shows for the price of NONE! First, our pals at The Wax Museum with Ronnie Dark have invited us to sit in with them over at 87.7 WVOA, as they welcome their special in-studio guest GARY FRENAY, singer/songwriter/bassist/cool guy from THE FLASHCUBES and SCREEN TEST. Then, Dana and I will schlep over to Westcott Radio for whatever the hell it is that we do; tonight, that "whatever" will include JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, THE MONKEES, THE 88, and--one presumes--THE RAMONES and THE KINKS. Take an afternoon nap. Then get some coffee. And BE THERE SUNDAY NIGHT!

THE WAX MUSEUM is 7 to 10 pm Eastern, http://www.wvoaradio.com/listenonline.html, and its airs in Syracuse on 87.7 FM
THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO is 9 to Midnight Eastern, westcottradio.org
BOTH shows are also available via the TuneIn Radio app (Love FM and Westcott Radio)





Friday, January 29, 2016

KISS


 

In the mid-'70s, I was a pop-obsessed teenager in love with my AM radio.  I was old enough to remember Beatlemania, and my affection for '60s rockin' pop remained undimmed:  The Beatles.  The Dave Clark Five.  The Animals.  The Monkees.  The Hollies.  Paul Revere & the Raiders.  Over time, those stalwarts had been joined (but never replaced) by irresistible '70s radio fare by Badfinger, Alice Cooper, Slade, The Raspberries, The Sweet.  Somewhere in there, I developed an insatiable taste for The Kinks.  And in December of 1976, I went to my first rock concert.  I went to see KISS.

I was not all that much of a KISS fan at the time.  I knew a few songs from WOLF-AM in Syracuse--"Rock And Roll All Nite,""Beth," "Shout It Out Loud," maybe "Detroit Rock City"--and these were all certainly songs that I liked.  But the KISS concert experience made me a fan immediately.  I never quite joined the KISS Army, but I bought the KISS comic books from Marvel, and I received a copy of the Rock And Roll Over album as a high school graduation gift from my sister.  I was particularly taken with "Calling Dr. Love," and wanted to march in for graduation to that tune rather than "Pomp And Circumstance."  Man, I NEVER get my way...!

That period of late 1976 through the end of '77 saw a huge transition in my musical tastes. Or did it?  As I bought more records, as I burrowed through used records stores and flea markets, as I learned about exciting new stuff in Phonograph Record Magazine, as free-form FM radio drew my attention away from the increasingly disco-dominated AM airwaves...as all this was going on, I still loved The Beatles.  And everything else I loved was an extension of that.

And that included KISS.  KISS was a pop band, and a very good pop band at that.  The best KISS records were infectious in a way Led Zeppelin wasn't, accessible in a way Pink Floyd and ELP could never be, thrilling in a way that The Bee Gees would never even understand.  KISS, though certainly not a punk band, was also my gateway to punk, a whole new world that nonetheless still drew inspiration from the prevailing and pervasive appeal of 45 rpm records played loud and distorted over a tiny transistor radio speaker.  I saw KISS in December of '76; a year later, I wrote my first-ever piece of rock criticism, an emeritus contribution to my high school newspaper, drawing a line forward from the greatness of The Beatles to the virtues of The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Blondie, The Rubinoos...and KISS.  Punk.  Pop.  Rock 'n' roll.  For me, it was all part of the same continuum, and I loved it all.  I still do.

When KISS was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, I read through a lot of complaints that KISS was not deserving of this (or any) honor, and I became increasingly pissed off at such dismissals.  You don't like KISS?  That is certainly your right.  You think KISS is untalented, insubstantial, too gimmicky?  You think the members of KISS (one member in particular!) are obnoxious jerks?  I guess that's all fair game, too.  But KISS is important to me, and the band's impact transcends the mere happenstance of being my first rock concert.  Loud, garish, celebratory, and as infectious as an arena cheer, KISS's best records make me feel GREAT.  Awright!

The week of KISS's Rock Hall induction, THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO attempted to put KISS in context, to play a few of the best KISS records alongside a bunch of other terrific pop tracks, and to prove that maybe KISS could be discussed with Badfinger, Big Star, The Raspberries, et al., as among the best rockin' pop the '70s had to offer.  "Strutter."  "Comin' Home."  Anything For My Baby."  "Calling Dr. Love." "Detroit Rock City."  "Shout It Out Loud."  "Rock And Roll All Nite."  These are pop songs, and they sound...well, awesome on rockin' pop radio.  As one listener put it, "Stop giving me less reason to hate Gene Simmons!"  Turn it up.  Shout it out loud!  And if they tell you that there's too much noise, they're too old to understand....

Make way for ETERNITY MAN!

While I've been a music fan for my entire life, I've been a fan of superheroes for almost as long.  When the thought of becoming a writer first occurred to me (at my cousin Donna's wedding, oddly enough), my specific goal was to write superhero comic books.  I tried my hand at that several times over the years, beginning with Batman stories, creating a couple of (theoretically) original characters, and even submitting stuff to DC Comics.  Never sold anything, mind you--and that's fair, because my stuff actually wasn't very good--and I moved on from trying to write comics, and from trying to write fiction of any kind, into writing pop journalism instead.  That worked out okay for me.

But I'm going to try my hand at it again.  

In a few days, I'll be starting a brand-new feature on this blog:  ETERNITY MAN!  It's a serialized original prose story starring Eternity Man, a time-traveling 1940s superhero from the future, and his granddaughter in 2016, a 28-year-old bass guitarist named Jenny Woo.  I'll be posting one chapter a week for a few weeks, and then we'll see where we go from there.  Chapters are VERY short--my lovely wife Brenda compared them to a Ramones song, short 'n' sharp--meant to be consumed and enjoyed quickly.  It's been a lot of fun throwing together, so I hope you'll enjoy these fast-paced adventures of ETERNITY MAN!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Flashcubes, Syracuse Music Hall Of Fame


I have often spoken of The Flashcubes, a power pop band from Syracuse that has meant a great deal to me.  In 2014, it was my great honor to induct The Flashcubes into the SAMMYs (Syracuse Area Music Awards) Hall Of Fame:
 



Times change.  Things change.  Years ago, after an early Flashcubes gig, a club owner said he wasn't going to pay the 'Cubes because, whatever it was they had played, he didn't think it was actual music.  In the late '70s, even as the 'Cubes were gaining followers, there were a lot of people around town that hated The Flashcubes, or worse, thought that The Flashcubes were a joke.  Well, tonight, the joke's on them.  Tonight, we induct The Flashcubes into the Syracuse Music Hall of Fame.

I have three all-time favorite bands:  The Beatles, The Ramones, and The Flashcubes.  You all know The Beatles, and you probably know The Ramones.  Well, I was just as hooked on The Flashcubes.  They were energetic, cocky, irresistible--everything I ever thought a rock 'n' roll band could be.  And they were from Syracuse!  The first time I saw The Flashcubes play, they became one of my favorite bands in an instant, and nothing has ever changed that.

The Flashcubes began in 1977, a power pop band, inspired by punk rock but also influenced by The Raspberries, Badfinger, The Beatles, and The Kinks.  They were four separate forces combined as one:  bassist Gary Frenay was a pop guy, through and through; guitarist Paul Armstrong was pure rock 'n' roll, a punk since way before Sid Vicious ever saw his first safety pin; guitarist Arty Lenin was a six-string wizard, a kindred spirit to the artier bands you heard on the fringes; and drummer Tommy Allen was all of the above, a Partridge Family fan who played like Keith Moon.  Together, The Flashcubes were the Bomp! Magazine ideal of Shaun Cassidy + The Sex Pistols = the power pop sound of the early Who.  They wrote tons of original songs that lived up to their influences, and they put on a live show like no one else could.

The Flashcubes' original career was brief.  First gig was September 1st, 1977 at the Brookside, opening with a super-charged cover of "Hold Me Tight" by The Beatles.  They did shows with The Jam, with The Ramones and The Runaways, The Police, The Romantics, Joe Jackson.  They played in Buffalo, Detroit, Boston, New York...everywhere.  They released two singles, "Christi Girl" and "Wait Till Next Week," on their own label, Northside Records, and a major label deal seemed certain.  In late 1978, before a show at SU, the announcer promised, "One day, very soon from now, you people are going to be able to say, 'I saw this band before they were famous.'"

And then...they didn't become famous.  Paul Armstrong was replaced by Mick Walker in 1979, and The Flashcubes broke up in 1980.  Not famous.  Not likely to be remembered.  But, oddly enough, destined to become legendary.

"Legendary?" Strange, but true:  During their long hiatus, from 1980 to about 1992 or so, an international mystique grew around this obscure band from Syracuse, and somehow--through cassette tapes traded hand to hand, through word of mouth, magazine articles, and the sheer, growing devotion of people who just KNEW--The Flashcubes became known as The Great Lost Power Pop Band.  Rhino Records included "Christi Girl" on a power pop anthology CD in 1993.  And The Flashcubes reunited:  Gary, Arty, Paul, and Tommy, together again!  They've been together ever since.  And each live show still earns them new fans, every time, in every place.  The Flashcubes even get called back for encores when they play at IPO, the International Pop Overthrow pop music festivals--and NO one gets an encore at IPO!

The Flashcubes have now released six CDs, including a live album from their first Japanese tour.  Wait--Japanese tour?!  Yep, The Flashcubes have toured Japan twice now, playing for enthusiastic audiences that sing right along, because the Japanese fans know every Flashcubes song.  The Flashcubes' most recent album, Sportin Wood, won the SAMMY last year for Best Rock Album.  So I guess that club owner--you remember him, the one that didn't want to pay these guys because they didn't play actual music?--he was just another part of a familiar story.  In 1962, The Beatles were told that guitar groups were on the way out.  In 1976, a radio DJ ripped The Ramones' first album off the turntable and threw it across his studio, yelling, "What is this?  We don't need this!"  And The Flashcubes were dismissed because they didn't play actual music.  That all seems funny now, quaint...and on the wrong side of history.  Times change.  Things change.  Because in 1962, guitar groups were just gettin' started; because in 1976, pop music was in dire need of a three-chord punk rock jolt; and because, right here in Central New York, The Flashcubes did play actual music--actual, great, unforgettable rock 'n' roll music--and that's why we honor them tonight.

And tomorrow night at the Palace, we all get another chance to see The Flashcubes play live! 

Music connects us.  The music we listen to, the music we love, is always there for us when we need it...and we always need it.  We've all had our hearts broken, we've suffered loss, we've endured setbacks; but there has also been joy, occasional peace, and a prevailing certainty that life can be wonderful, that life is worth savoring, that life is love, and love can be all you need.

And life is music.  The Beatles.  The Ramones.  The Flashcubes.  Times change.  Some things don't change.

I have waited over 36 years to say this, and I say it now with pride and delight:  Please join me in welcoming The Flashcubes into The Syracuse Music Hall of Fame.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g8z1cWmECY

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Death Of (Another) Rock Star

 
 
It's pretty damn obvious that our mortality is now deliberately trying to piss us off.

When we were younger, the only things that killed rock stars were plane crashes and drug overdoses.  Sure, there was the occasional violent death (like Sam Cooke, or Bobby Fuller), and Cass Elliot, Bobby Darin, and King Elvis I were indeed betrayed by their own failing bodies.  But rock stars generally didn't die from natural causes.  Natural causes only killed old people.  And rock stars would die before they got old.

Except that they didn't die before they got old, and neither did we.  We've lived long enough to regret the stupid notion of ever hoping to die before we got old.  Live fast?  Die young?  Screw that.  If we weren't just dumbass kids, we would have realized that a lot sooner.

So, we aged.  Our rock stars got old, too.  With each passing year, we lose more and more of our musical heroes, whether from the results of decades of hard livin', or just from the built-in obsolescence of us fragile little human beings. We break pretty easily.  Our shelf life is finite.

We have been reminded of that fact a lot lately.


The first such reminder to really hit me was the death of Joey Ramone, way back in 2001.  The Ramones were so important to me, and losing a Ramone to cancer was a tough thing to accept.  We also lost George Harrison that same year.  As years go by, the list of beloved pop icons taken by the Grim Reaper, and dead by means other than a bullet, a needle, or a plummeting aircraft, has grown numbingly, devastatingly vast:  Ray Charles. Johnny Cash. Wilson Pickett.  Alex Chilton. Michael Jackson. Solomon Burke. Lou Reed.  Lesley Gore.  ALL of the original Ramones.  Lemmy. David Bowie. Glenn Frey.

Music and art play such vital roles in our everyday lives.  When a performer we love dies, we feel a personal loss, even though it's just the death of a famous person we never actually met.  Those who ridicule us for feeling the loss are...what's the word?  Oh yeah:  they're assholes.  Because these artists and performers were a very real part of our lives.  Their lives and their work mattered to us; of course we feel bad when they're gone.

Why do we mourn David Bowie, or Glenn Frey?  I guess part of it does relate to the hardening certainty of our own sand slipping to the bottom of the hourglass, but it's too facile and glib to conclude that's the whole of it.  The largest part of it, I think, is just the knowledge that another cherished part of our lives has been taken away from us. Once again, we've been unable to hold on. We will fall, we will all fall, we will fall.

That hurts.  Every time.  2016 has already warned us that we had damned well better get used to it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Main Street Records, Brockport, NY


 

For every moment of celebration or heartbreak, there has always been a song.  There was an artist to create the song.  There was a DJ to play the song, and a pop journalist to tell us about the song.  And, if we were lucky, there was a kind, knowing soul at the record store to sell us the song, so we could take it home and listen to it over and over again.  In that role, there were no kinder souls than Bill and Carol Yerger, and there was no safer haven than Main Street Records in Brockport, New York.

When I went off to college in Brockport in August of 1977, Main Street Records did not yet exist.  I was already a vinyl hound, with a little stack of records scored at flea markets and retail outlets in Syracuse and Cleveland (where my sister lived).  I needed music, in any shape or form.  There were two record stores in Brockport in '77, both on Main Street:  the tiny Vinyl Jungle, which did not survive through 1978, and the larger (but hipper) Record Grove, which was managed by Bill Yerger.  My first Record Grove purchase was a pair of 45s:  "God Save The Queen" by The Sex Pistols, and a record I'd read about in Phonograph Record Magazine but had not yet heard, "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker" by The Ramones.  SWOON!  My life changed as soon as I played it the first time.  And there would be much more of that to come.

When Bill left The Record Grove to start Main Street Records in 1979 (with his wife Carol, an elementary school teacher fond of Bruce Springsteen, The Kinks and The Beach Boys), my allegiance followed him to his new digs.  Without Bill Yerger, The Record Grove lost its groove.  Though a smaller store, Main Street Records was cool beyond compare.

What did I get from the Yergers?  Man...dozens and dozens and dozens of albums, with titles like Marquee Moon, Raw Power, Imagine, Mr. Tambourine Man, Damn The Torpedoes, L.A.M.F., and Pure Pop For Now People; various-artists sets like Hard Up Heroes, Ear Piercing Punk, The Motown Story, Battle Of The Garages, Wanna Buy A Bridge? and Beatlesongs!; LPs and singles by Blondie, Cheap Trick, Little Richard, Love, Radio Birdman, The Chesterfield Kings, The B-52's, The Left Banke, Devo, Them, The Five Americans, Joe "King" Carrasco & the Crowns,  Herman's Hermits, The Tremblers, The Damned, The Village People, Hendrix, Boston, Billy Joel, The Bongos, Earth, Wind and Fire, Led Zeppelin, Josie Cotton, Public Image, Stars On 45, Joy Division, The Laughing Dogs, The Boomtown Rats, Robin Lane & the Chartbusters, Blue Oyster Cult, The Crawdaddys, Dave Edmunds, Elvis Costello, Elvis Presley, The Knack, The Holy Sisters Of The Gaga Dada, The Doors, 20/20, The Cucumbers, Queen, Quincy, Blotto, Dylan, Phil Seymour, The Revillos, The Searchers, Graham Parker & the Rumour, Holly & Joey, The Rattlers, Great Buildings, Shrapnel, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, The Dead Boys, The Lords of the New Church, Roxy Music, Cherry Vanilla, Tommy Tutone, The Vapors, Kansas, Blue Angel, The Hypstrz, The Fast, Pete Shelley, The Quick, Soft Cell, Pat Benatar, The Cars, Gary Numan, Mott the Hoople, The Dictators, Squire, AC/DC, Kim Wilde, The Invictas, Alice Cooper, The Outsiders, The Music Explosion, and then all of the records listed on the playlist below.  And then still more stuff, and more after that.   I was voracious.  And I was satisfied.

Any clerk can sell you a damn record.  Bill and Carol could help you find the record you didn't even know you needed.  They could--and would--make recommendations:  "You'll like this.  I don't think you'll like that.  This one might be good.  Have you heard this?" Direction transcended the verbal; maybe it wasn't all that unusual to find a magazine like Trouser Press at a record store, but how many small shops in small towns also carried Bomp! magazine, or The Pig Paper?  How many little village stores had such a wealth of popular favorites and obscure nuggets available in such great supply, whether new releases, cutouts or used LPs (often from Bill's own collection)?   Main Street Records was a business, and it needed to turn a profit, but Bill and Carol had loftier goals alongside the necessity of making a buck.  "Carl," Bill told me, "we're gonna make a Beach Boys fan out of you yet."  Carol asked me what my favorite Beach Boys song was; when I answered "Sloop John B," she was appalled, and muttered as she turned away, "Who's favorite Beach Boys song is 'Sloop John B'...?!"  I had a lot to learn.  I loved every minute of learning it.

(As a further illustration of how much I owe the Yergers, consider my cherished Flashcubes live tape.  The Flashcubes were my favorite power pop group; if you think it's silly that my three all-time fave raves are The Beatles, The Ramones, and The Flashcubes, then go get your own radio show.  But The Flashcubes only released two 45s before imploding in 1980, and that certainly wasn't enough to sustain me.  I borrowed a cassette of a 1978 Flashcubes live show from a pal, I brought it to Main Street Records, and I asked Bill to copy it for me.  He did so, and that tape was the only long-form Flashcubes document I had for years and years.  It wasn't something Bill had to do, but he did it anyway.  To me, that was the most important cassette I ever owned, a tape I only had because of Bill's kindness.)

I moved out of Brockport in the summer of 1982, though I still visited sporadically for a couple of years thereafter, always making sure to stop at Main Street Records and add to my collection.  The very last time was in the summer of 1988.  Our friends Brian and Lisa were visiting my wife Brenda and me in Syracuse; on a whim, we decided to hit the highway and visit Brockport for the day.  Naturally, we had to check in at Main Street Records.

Bill recognized us immediately, and we chatted as if we were still regulars there.  Brenda talked about her apprehension in starting a new job as a preschool teacher, and Bill offered words of encouragement, just as teacher Carol had offered Brenda similar encouragement years before.  The talk turned to The Monkees, and I mentioned that I had never seen the group's then-rare 1969 TV special, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee.  Well, Bill owned a copy of it, and he promised to make a dub and mail it to me in Syracuse.  We chatted a bit further, we made our purchases--okay, MY purchases--and we said our goodbyes.

The VHS tape of 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee arrived in the mail some time thereafter, filled out with miscellaneous clips from Shindig and Hullabaloo, plus The Monkees' 1970 promo clip for the single "Oh My My," a fave track of Brenda's.  I still have the tape, and I still have the note that Bill sent with it:

"Dear Carl & Brenda,

Here's a tape full of hits--but I got carried away and the "Oh My My" clip isn't totally complete.  Anyway, someday I'll put it on another tape in full for you.  Okay?

Brenda, for what it's worth--I think you'd make a GREAT teacher, and I can speak with some authority on it because I've been married to a great teacher for years!

Anyway, I hope you both had a nice day in Brockport.  Your friend, Bill"

I only corresponded with Bill a couple of more times after that, via e-mail in the '90s.  He told me that he had sold Main Street Records because it wasn't fun any more.  I told him that, if nothing else, his long-ago efforts had finally paid off, for I was now a huge Beach Boys fan.  When I wrote a history of power pop for Goldmine magazine in 1996, I acknowledged Bill & Carol Yerger, and Main Street Records, among my primary inspirations; Bill e-mailed me his appreciation, and signed his note "Fuzz Bass Willy." 

It was the last contact I ever had with Bill Yerger; he passed away not very long after that.  He was younger then than I am now.  It's too late to mourn, but I still feel sad.  And I've grown so weary of feeling sad.

There are places I remember all my life. That line itself comes from one of Bill Yerger's favorite songs.  There has been a song for every place and every face, for each lonely teardrop, for each smile that's ever bust out at full speed.  Bill Yerger was the man who sold me records; he was a friend, and he was a mentor.  I learned so much about pop music just from shopping at Main Street Records, and that is one of the foundations upon which this show is built, the foundation upon which my brief career as a pop journalist was built.  It is a debt I can never fully repay.  But I believe that I do pay it back, just a little, whenever I play records...especially when I play records for someone else.  It was Bill Yerger's gift to me, and it's my own lasting legacy of the best little record store there ever was.

It's time for some songs.

This edition of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl is a tribute to Bill and Carol Yerger.  Every one of the tracks we played this week, including the 27 song-snippets heard in our opening medley, is a tune I got from the Yergers at either The Record Grove or Main Street Records.  It could have been a thirteen-hour show.  Bill and Carol, I thank you for the days.  And I turn it up loud, so that everyone can hear.

THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl streams live every Sunday night from 9 to Midnight Eastern, exclusively at www.westcottradio.org.

TIRnRR # 634, 6/17/12:  A Tribute To Main Street Records

*MAIN STREET MEDLEY:
*THE RAMONES:  "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" (Sire, End Of The Century)
*THE NEW YORK DOLLS:  "Babylon" (Mercury, Too Much Too Soon)
*THE ROMANTICS:  "What I Like About You" (Nemperor, The Romantics)
*BLUE CHEER:  "Summertime Blues" (Philips, Vincebus Eruptum)
*THE ROLLING STONES:  "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" (Atlantic, Sticky Fingers)
*RICK JAMES:  "Give It To Me Baby" (Motown, VA:  25 # 1 Hits From 25 Years)
*CAST OF ROCKY HORROR:  "The Time Warp" (Epic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show OST)
*BOW WOW WOW:  "C30, C60, C90, Go!" (EMI, single)
*BRAM TCHAIKOVSKY:  "Girl Of My Dreams" (Polydor, Strange Man, Changed Man)
*THE BEAT:  "Rock And Roll Girl" (Columbia, The Beat)
*NIKKI & THE CORVETTES:  "Just What I Need" (Bomp!, Nikki & the Corvettes)
*THE VELVET UNDERGROUND:  "Rock And Roll" (Cotillion, Loaded)
*JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS:  "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Boardwalk, I Love Rock 'n' Roll)
*R.E.M.:  "Radio Free Europe" (IRS, single)
*CHUCK BERRY:  "Roll Over Beethoven" (Chess, Chuck Berry's Greatest Hits)
*DAVID BOWIE:  "DJ" (RCA, Lodger)
*DAVID JOHANSEN:  "Frenchette" (Blue Sky, David Johansen)
*GEN X:  "Dancing With Myself" (Chrysalis, single)
*THE MODERN LOVERS:  "Roadrunner" (Beserkley, The Modern Lovers)
*JOE JACKSON:  "On Your Radio" (A & M, I'm The Man)
*DONNA SUMMER:  "On The Radio" (Casablanca, On The Radio:  Greatest Hits)
*KISS:  "Rock And Roll All Nite" (Casablanca, Dressed To Kill)
*JOAN JETT:  "Bad Reputation" (Boardwalk, Bad Reputation)
*SLADE:  "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" (Polydor, Sladest)
*THE GO-GO'S:  "We Got The Beat" (IRS, Beauty And The Beat)
*THE JAM:  "In The City" (Polydor, single)
*THE BEATLES:  "Penny Lane" (Capitol, Rarities)
--
THE RAMONES:  "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker" (Sire, single)
THE ROLLERS:  "Roxy Lady" (Epic, Ricochet)
THE RUNAWAYS:  "School Days" (Mercury, Waitin' For The Night)
THE DAVE CLARK FIVE:  "Nineteen Days" (Epic, 5 By 5)
THE PLEASERS:  "The Kids Are Alright" (Arista, single)
SPLIT ENZ:  "I Got You" (A & M, True Colours)
--
THE ROMANTICS:  "Little White Lies" (Spider, single)
SHOES:  "Tomorrow Night" (Elektra, Present Tense)
THE ROLLING STONES:  "Happy" (Atlantic, Exile On Main Street)
UTOPIA:  "Silly Boy" (Bearsville, Deface The Music)
MARSHALL CRENSHAW:  "Cynical Girl" (Warner Brothers, Marshall Crenshaw)
THE MOVING SIDEWALKS:  "99th Floor" (BFD, VA:  Pebbles Volume 2)
--
THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS:  "You're Gonna Miss Me" (Sire, VA:  Nuggets)
THE GREG KIHN BAND:  "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)" (Beserkley, single)
PAUL COLLINS:  "Walking Out On Love" (Bomp!, VA:  Waves, Vol. 1)
THE FLAMIN' GROOVIES:  "Shake Some Action" (Sire, Shake Some Action)
THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR:  "Another Sad And Lonely Night" (Rhino, The Best Of The Bobby Fuller Four)
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND:  "I'll Be Your Mirror" (Verve, The Velvet Underground & Nico)
--
THE MONKEES:  "Love To Love" (Arista, Monkeemania)
DOLENZ, JONES, BOYCE & HART:  "You Didn't Feel That Way Last Night (Don't You Remember?)" (Capitol, Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart)
THE SCRUFFS:  "She Say Yea" (Power Play, Wanna' Meet The Scruffs?)
THE RAMONES:  "All's Quiet On The Eastern Front" (Sire, Pleasant Dreams)
THE REAL KIDS:  "Now You Know" (Bomp!, VA:  Experiments In Destiny)
THE BEACH BOYS:  "God Only Knows" (Capitol, Pet Sounds)
--
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN:  "The Ties That Bind" (Columbia, The River)
THE NOW:  "He's Takin' You To The Movies" (Midsong, The Now)
DAVID WERNER:  "Too Late To Try" (Epic, David Werner)
EDDIE COCHRAN:  "Nervous Breakdown" (United Artists, The Very Best Of Eddie Cochran)
STIV BATORS:  "It's Cold Outside" (Bomp!, single)
THE GO-GO'S:  "Vacation" (IRS, Vacation)
--
BIG STAR:  "September Gurls" (Ardent, Radio City)
THE RAMONES:  "Blitzkrieg Bop" (Sire, Ramones)
NEW MATH:  "Die Trying" (Reliable, single)
THE KINKS:  "Animal Farm" (Reprise, The Village Green Preservation Society)
THE PRETENDERS:  "Stop Your Sobbing" (Sire, Pretenders)
THE JAM:  "That's Entertainment" (Polydor, Sound Affects)
--
THE SEX PISTOLS:  "God Save The Queen" (Virgin, single)
THE WHO:  "The Punk Meets The Godfather" (MCA, Quadrophenia)
THE BARRACUDAS:  "I Wish It Could Be 1965 Again" (Voxx, Drop Out With The Barracudas)
THE CLASH:  "Spanish Bombs" (Epic, London Calling)
THE UNDERTONES:  "Teenage Kicks" (Sire, The Undertones)
DAVID JOHANSEN & ROBIN JOHNSON:  "Flowers In The City" (RSO, VA:  Times Square OST)
--
THE MONKEES:  "Naked Persimmon" (from 33 1/3 REVOLUTIONS PER MONKEE)
THE BEACH BOYS:  "Our Prayer" (Capitol, 20/20)
JOHNNY THUNDERS:  "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory" (Sire, So Alone)
THE RAMONES:  "I Want You Around" (Sire, VA:  Rock 'n' Roll High School OST)
THE RECORDS:  "Hearts Will Be Broken" (Virgin, Crashes)
THE FOUR TOPS:  "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" (Motown, Greatest Hits)
THE FLESHTONES:  "Let's See The Sun" (IRS, Roman Gods)
THE ZONES:  "New Life" (Arista, VA:  That Summer! OST)
DIRTY LOOKS:  "Let Go" (Stiff/Epic, Dirty Looks)
THE KINKS:  "Better Days" (Arista, Give The People What They Want)
EDDIE & THE HOT RODS:  "Do Anything You Wanna Do" (Island, single)
THE VENTURES:  "Walk--Don't Run" (Liberty, The Very Best Of The Ventures)
THE BEACH BOYS:  "Pet Sounds" (Capitol, Pet Sounds)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO # 810



Oh, this week’s extravaganza on THIS IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl? Yeah, flawless again. Resolutely okay, at the very least. We even had brand-new music from former KLAATU drummer TERRY DRAPER (with backing vocals from TIRnRR’s own A & R Gal, Elizabeth “BABY” Racz!). We then padded our billable hours with all of the varied delights listed below, and felt pretty damned good about ourselves. Great radio is its own reward! And this is what rock ‘n’ roll radio sounded like on a Sunday night in Syracuse this week.

THIS IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl streams live every Sunday night from 9 to Midnight Eastern, exclusively at www.westcottradio.org

Want more pop TIRnRR-style pop musings? Please check out my new blog, www.carlcafarelli.blogspot.com One new entry a day, until long after I’ve run out of ideas. Join me!

TIRnRR # 810: 1/24/16

THE RAMONES: Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio? (Rhino, End Of The Century)
--
THE RAMONES: Surfin’ Safari (Captain Oi, Acid Eaters)
JOEY RAMONE & GENERAL JOHNSON: Rockaway Beach (Rhino, VA: Godchildren Of Soul)
THE ANIMALS: We Gotta Get Out This Place (Abkco, Retrospective)
DAVID BOWIE: Sound + Vision (Rykodisc, Sound + Vision)
KLAATU: California Jam (Klaatunes, 3:47 E.S.T.)
THE POOH STICKS: 1-2-3 Red Light (Fierce, Multiple Orgasm)
--
TERRY DRAPER: Younger Girl, Flower Girl (Bullseye, Searching)
THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL: Daydream (Buddha, Greatest Hits)
THE KINKS: Here Comes Yet Another Day (Velvel, Everybody’s In Show Biz)
WARREN ZEVON: Poor Poor Pitiful Me (Rhino, Genius)
ONE LIKE SON: One More Time (https://onelikeson.bandcamp.com/, Ugly)
BILL LLOYD: Whole Wide World (Groove Disques, VA: The Stiff Generation)
--
SPINAL TAP: Stonehenge (Polydor, Spinal Tap)
MOTORHEAD: Ace Of Spades (Cleopatra, The Singles Collection: The Bronze Years 1978-1984)
TONI BASIL: Nobody (Razor & Tie, The Best Of Toni Basil)
DAVID BOWIE: Queen Bitch (Virgin, Bowie At The Beeb)
THE AMERICAN BREED: Bend Me, Shape Me (Varese Sarabande, Bend Me, Shape Me)
DAWN EDEN: They Don’t Know (Groove Disques, VA: The Stiff Generation)
--
STYX: Kiss Your Ass Goodbye (Sanctuary, Cyclorama)
THE SINGLES: He Can Go, You Can’t Stay[demo] (Rainbow Quartz, VA: Promo Sampler)
THE SMITHEREENS: Just Got Me A Girl (D-Town, Girls About Town)
DAVID BOWIE: Black Country Rock (Rykodisc, Sound + Vision)
LULU: The Man Who Sold The World (Rhino, From Crayons To Perfume)
DAVID BOWIE: The Laughing Gnome (Deram, The Deram Anthology)
--
THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Roxy Lady (7T’s, Ricochet)
MOTT THE HOOPLE: Golden Age Of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Columbia, Greatest Hits)
THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway (Atlantic, 1059-1965 All-Time Greatest Hits)
WARREN ZEVON: Lawyers, Guns And Money (Rhino, Genius)
THE FLETCHER PRATT: Electrocute! (Rainbow Quartz, Nine By Nine)
THIN LIZZY: The Boys Are Back In Town (Mercury, Dedication)
--
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes (Columbia, Magic)
THE FLAMIN GROOVIES: Milk Cow Blues (Charly, The Flamin’ Groovies)
THE KNACK: Your Number Or Your Name (Capitol, Get The Knack)
SUZI QUATRO: Born To Run (Parlophone, Greatest Hits)
ROXY MUSIC: Love Is The Drug (Reprise, Street Life)
BADFINGER: No Matter What (Apple, No Dice)
--
THE GRASS ROOTS: Midnight Confessions (Rhino, Anthology 1965-1975)
WARREN ZEVON: Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner (Rhino, Genius)
THE BEACH BOYS: That’s Why God Made The Radio (Capitol, That’s Why God Made The Radio)
DAVY JONES & THE KING BEES: Liza Jane (Columbia, DAVID BOWIE: Nothing Has Changed)
PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS: Louie, Go Home (Sundazed, Midnight Ride)
JERRY LEE LEWIS: Don’t Be Cruel (Sun, Whole Lot Of Shakin’)
THE MOONEY SUZUKI: In A Young Man’s Mind (Gammon, Electric Sweat)
DAVID BOWIE: All The Young Dudes (Columbia, Nothing Has Changed)
THE JIVE FIVE: What Time Is It(Collectables, Their Greatest Hits)
TWICE AS MUCH: Sitting On A Fence (EMI, VA: Good Vibrations)
HOLLY GOLIGHTLY: Time Will Tell (Damaged Goods, Truly She Is None Other)
PETER NOONE: Oh You Pretty Things (EMI, VA: Good Vibrations)
THE LONG RYDERS: 10-5-60 (Polygram, The Long Ryders Anthology)
BIG STAR: September Gurls (Big Beat, VA: Thank You, Friends)
TERRY DRAPER: Swami River (Bullseye, Searching)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

THE KINKS




Of my five all-time favorite groups, I have the most difficulty articulating precisely why I am such a fan of The Kinks.  The other four are easy:  I fell hard for The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania, I was captivated by the weekly televised escapades of The Monkees, and hearing The Ramones' records and seeing The Flashcubes live combined to liberate me from my '70s suburban teenage doldrums.  But The Kinks...why The Kinks?  Why not The Rolling Stones, or Paul Revere & the Raiders, or KISS, or Badfinger, or The Beach Boys, or any of dozens of other worthy acts that I also love, but which aren't in my pantheon of the very Toppermost of the Poppermost?  I guess I love The Kinks...well, because they're The Kinks.

Because they're The Kinks:  the most quintessentially British of British Invasion groups.  When I was a teenager, my knowledge of The Kinks was limited to their 1970 hit single "Lola," and to my sister's copy of a single album, The Live Kinks (from which I only ever listened to their version of "The Batman Theme").  The Kinks didn't really appear on my radar until Christmas of 1976, when my burgeoning interest in all things British Invasion manifested in a double-LP British Invasion compilation under the tree.  Among the many gems on that set was "All Day And All Of The Night" by The Kinks, an eruption of LOUD rock 'n' roll energy that made me wanna jump up and down and sideways.  This from the band that did "Lola?"  Really?  Some words of wisdom from my sister led me to "You Really Got Me," which was even more basic and primal than "All Day And All Of The Night."  Listening to an oldies show on local radio, hearing a wonderful song about being so tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for you, prompted me to whisper to myself, "Is this...The Kinks?" before the DJ confirmed that it was.  BAM!  Tipping point.  "Lola."  "All Day And All Of The Night."  "You Really Got Me."  "Tired Of Waiting For You."  I was now a Kinks fan.  I tried to learn more about them, to hear more of their old stuff, to check out their new stuff.  I bought a used copy of the Kinks-Sized LP for fifty cents from Mike's Sound Center in North Syracuse; I bought the 2-record set The Kink Kronikles, really just to get "Lola," but found myself ushered into an undiscovered world of The Kinks after those early hits and leading up to "Lola."  I sought out more, and marveled that it did indeed seem like exploring an undiscovered world.

See, few of my friends knew about The Kinks.  I hooked a couple of 'em, but it was almost like The Kinks were this secret group that only a privileged few were allowed to discover.  And it was a privilege, even after the fact, to discover The Kinks in all their myriad glory, to thrill to the savagery of "You Really Got Me" and "All Day And All Of The Night," to ache with the beauty of "Waterloo Sunset," to swoon with the pastoral perfection of the entire Village Green Preservation Society album, to chant in affirmation with "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion," to mourn with "Death Of A Clown," to laze on a "Sunny Afternoon."  It was music worth discovering, worth the effort of seeking out and becoming immersed in the sheer wonder of it all.  It is still a privilege, and it is still a thrill to re-discover.  Why do I love The Kinks?  Because they're The Kinks.  And God save The Kinks.

The Bay City Rollers' ROLLERMANIA: A Hard D-A-Y's Night




 

Teen idols seem to have a built-in obsolescence, virtually guaranteeing a short career for any artist whose primary appeal is to a fickle preteen female market. For the self-consciously hip, the teen idol tag carries a stigma beyond easy redemption, and the artists who cater to this market risk being forever branded as uncool.

In this context, no band was less cool in the '70s than The Bay City Rollers, whose management went so far as to tout this harmless Scottish quintet as the “next Beatles.” That claim may seem ludicrous now (just as it did then), but the Rollers were nonetheless one of the biggest pop phenomena of the decade.

We'll dispense with the standard rap on The Bay City Rollers' tartan-clad teenybop image and all the hype. At this point, suffice it to say that the Rollers were an often-underrated, occasionally (if infrequently) terrific power pop group.

The Bay City Rollers began circa 1967 as an Edinburgh, Scotland cover band called The Saxons. The Saxons included brothers Alan and Derek Longmuir, on bass and drums respectively, with singer Nobby Clarke. That trio remained through various Saxons line-ups. Seeking a more American-sounding name, a pin was struck randomly into a map of the United States. The pin landed on Bay City, Michigan, and The Bay City Rollers were born.

The Bay City Rollers' first single, a cover of The Gentrys' "Keep On Dancing," became a # 9 British hit in 1971. But follow-up singles, including an early version of "Saturday Night," were comparative flops. By now, Clarke and the Longmuirs had been joined in Rollerdom by guitarists Eric Faulkner and Stuart "Woody" Wood. Clarke himself soon quit, to be replaced on lead vocals by Les McKeown.

The Rollers didn't play on any of their records until "Bye Bye Baby," a cover of The 4 Seasons' hit. Rollermania took Britain by storm, and was eventually exported to America via a new, McKeown-sung version of "Saturday Night" (a song which directly inspired the Ramones' own chanting "Blitzkrieg Bop," believe it or not).

The Rollers' recorded legacy is a mixed bag, offering a fair amount of drippy ballads and some bona fide rockin' pop. The debut album Bay City Rollers is notable mostly for "Saturday Night." Rock N' Roll Love Letter contains four of the group's best power pop tracks, "Money Honey," "Rock And Roll Love Letter," "Wouldn't You Like It" and "Too Young To Rock & Roll." "Wouldn't You Like It," in particular, is a dynamic power pop number that should have been a single.

Alan Longmuir was replaced by Ian Mitchell on Dedication. Produced by Raspberries veteran Jimmy Ienner, Dedication suffers from weak material, including very lame attempts at Beach Boys and Raspberries covers, but is redeemed by the rockin' Faulkner-Wood "Rock 'N Roller," a reasonably cool cover of Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want To be With You" and a superb reading of Vanda and Young's terrific "Yesterday's Hero." Mitchell then split after a scant six-month stint; his replacement, Pat McGlynn, didn't even stay that long.

As a quartet, the Rollers released the slick It's A Game album as an attempt to bridge the adult and teen markets, eschewing both standard teenybop ballads and power pop. Instead, it offers an unlikely melange of Manilowesque crooning, disco styling and even a cover of David Bowie's "Rebel, Rebel."  Greatest Hits represents the final cash-in at the end of the group's commercial reign. A perfunctory best-of, it includes the American singles, both hits and misses, but omits essential LP tracks "Wouldn't You Like It," "Too Young To Rock & Roll' and "Rock 'N Roller." Arista reissued it on CD in 1991.

In 1978 the group (with Alan Longmuir back in the fold) starred on NBC in a Saturday morning kiddie TV show produced by Sid and Marty Krofft and released the forgettable Strangers In The Wind. When the TV show ended, McKeown split.

Duncan Faure, formerly of the South African group Rabbit, was McKeown's replacement. The group changed its focus, dumped the tartan outfits and teen image, and shortened its name to simply The Rollers. Elevator was the result, the most aggressive-sounding album the group had made to date. Granted, there's nothing on Elevator to equal "Rock And Roll Love Letter," "Wouldn't You Like It" or "Yesterday's Hero," but it is far more consistently listenable than any other Rollers album. Key tracks include "Elevator," "Playing In A Rock And Roll Band," "I Was Eleven," "Turn On The Radio," "Instant Relay" and "Who'll Be My Keeper." The resulting sound could be compared to The Babys, or a more AOR-oriented version of The Records. If nothing else, it shows The Rollers as contenders, if not quite the next Beatles. It stiffed horribly, and was the last Rollers album issued in America.

The rare and little-heard Voxx was a contract-breaking set of odds and ends (if not sods), and it's pretty damned good. Ricochet follows in Elevator's footsteps, but is not quite its equal. I have never heard or seen the very rare, cassette-only Rollers album Burnin' Rubber, the soundtrack to a very obscure Rollers film.  The original group got back together in the mid-'80s for a reunion concert, and released one awful synth-dominated album, Breakout, and the 2-LP Live In Japan, before splitting yet again.  A later version of the group, still featuring Faulkner and Wood, released Bye Bye Baby, a pathetic collection of remakes of old Rollers tunes. It is surely not representative of how one might wish to remember The Bay City Rollers.

An attempted reunion in late 1999 ended badly, but did last long enough for the group to welcome 2000 with a live New Year's Eve concert in Glasgow.  Almost all of the original Rollers albums have been reissued on CD, with bonus tracks; there is also a solid Bay City Rollers career retrospective called The Definitive Collection, and a '70s Japanese concert preserved on a CD called Rollerworld.  Only Breakout, Burnin' Rubber, and Live In Japan remain unavailable.  McKeown, Wood, and Alan Longmuir reunited as The Bay City Rollers in 2015; Derek Longmuir has retired from music, and Eric Faulkner has not yet rejoined his former bandmates at this writing.

That neither The Bay City Rollers nor the just-plain Rollers were the next Beatles is hardly a startling revelation. Maybe they were the next Herman's Hermits, or the next Banana Splits. Who cares? No matter how many self-appointed arbiters of hip despised the Rollers, there were nonetheless others who thought they were... well, kinda neat. Dee Dee Ramone was a Rollers fan; according to Johnny Ramone, The Bay City Rollers were a much bigger influence on The Ramones' brand of pop-fueled punk than anyone would have ever thought likely. And Nick Lowe's "Rollers Show," whether parody or pastiche, had to have some affection behind it.

Evidence for the Rollers' case still survives in the grooves. A quick spin of "Wouldn't You Like It," "Yesterday's Hero," "Who'll Be My Keeper," "Too Young To Rock & Roll," "I Only Want To Be With You," "Rock 'N Roller," "Saturday Night," "Money Honey" and "Rock And Roll Love Letter" makes a convincing argument for The Bay City Rollers as power pop savants.

And, perhaps more importantly, there are thousands of grown-up little girls who will cherish a memory of The Bay City Rollers forever. For that, even by itself, The Bay City Rollers were cool.

Friday, January 22, 2016

ROCK THE COIN RIGHT INTO THE SLOT: The Definitive Rock 'n' Roll Jukebox





A jukebox is only as good as the records it plays.  Oh, you can argue about the kitsch-nostalgia aesthetics of your classic jukebox, but it still comes down to the tunes.  Whether the juke fodder of your choice involves George Jones declaring that the race is on, or LL Cool J warning you not to call it a comeback, a great jukebox is defined by its selection of great records.
 
Our task today is to stock the definitive rock ‘n’ roll jukebox.  The jukebox we’ve chosen (from a perusal of the Jukebox Museum at www.wurlitzer-jukebox.com) is a Wurlitzer Model 2300 from 1959, a beautiful record machine that offers 200 selections; to stock it, we need to compile the 100 45s that, taken as a whole, offer the best time capsule of the jukebox experience.  Such a jukebox would rely heavily on records that stand up to endless replay in a mythic roadhouse on a weekend night, blastin’ out a soundtrack for an inebriated mob pissing away its hard-earned paychecks in pursuit of a good ol’ time.  This is not a Pet Sounds crowd.

The singles are listed alphabetically by artist (with one exception; see below).  Each entry was released as a  7” 45 rpm single in the U.S., and no Oldies 45 reissues are allowed.  On the other hand, this is one of the few times that vinyl junkies needn’t be concerned with collectibles; we don’t need the rare original version of “96 Tears” by ? and the Mysterians (Pa-Go-Go 102) when the # 1 hit single re-release (Cameo 428) suits our purposes just fine.
 
The list tries to strike some sort of uneasy balance between obvious jukebox crowd-pleasers and a few idiosyncratic, outta-left-field choices, just to give our jukebox some personality.  B-sides are certainly a factor; for example, Benny Spellman’s “Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)” is specifically included for its B-side, the oft-covered “Fortune Teller.”  Many of our other selections are likewise enhanced by cool B-sides, from Johnny Cash (whose “Get Rhythm” is juke-worthy in its own right) to Prince (whose “Erotic City” might get you slapped, or it might get you...well, who knows?)
 
The first single listed on our jukebox is “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen.  Simply put, “Louie Louie” is the sine qua non of jukedom:  the top, the Coliseum, the Louvre Museum, etc.  White Castle, even.  This warhorse was first written and recorded by Richard Berry in 1956, and has subsequently been covered by everybody, but not one other version has ever equaled the cathartic rush of The Kingsmen's triumphantly inept hit reading.  A sonic mess, badly recorded and marginally played, it is nonetheless a strong candidate for the title of Greatest Record Of All Time.  And it appears before the start of our otherwise-alphabetical listing simply to re-state its preeminence in rock 'n' roll:  a jukebox that doesn't include "Louie Louie" forfeits any claim to being a rock 'n' roll jukebox.

(One could make a compelling case that “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley And His Comets should occupy this position, since it’s [perhaps arguably] considered the record that officially began the rock ‘n’ roll era.  Consider this a judgment call, just one of several such judgment calls you’ll encounter along the way.)
            
We’re using a pretty broad definition of rock ‘n’ roll, encompassing pure rock ‘n’ roll (from Chuck Berry to The Beatles and so on), and also including rockabilly, soul, R & B, punk, funk, garage, psychedelia, doo-wop, hard rock, new wave, power pop, even a little country and disco.  Singles that seem evocative of an imaginary Jukebox Aesthetic are natural choices.  These include singles which deal specifically with jukebox themes:  “You’re Still On My Mind” by George Jones opens with George moaning that, “The jukebox is playin’ a honky tonk song;” in “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” a prospective lover urges Joan Jett to put another dime in the jukebox.  And “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” by The Greg Kihn Band is an irresistible choice for its tale of listening to the jukebox as what used to be Your Special Song plays a mere hour after you and Your Special Someone have finally, irrevocably said sayonara.  They don’t write ‘em like that anymore.

Working class anthems also make good jukebox fare.  Fats Domino's “Blue Monday,” The Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind,” Little Richard’s “Rip It Up” and The Vogues’ “Five O’Clock World” are exactly the sort of last-call to arms for which a wage slave AWOL on a Friday night wants to surrender his or her quarters.  The same goes for singles that celebrate partying, call the crowd to dance, or chronicle the many ups and downs of romance, from the mating rituals of the horny American male described in The Coasters’ “Searchin’”/“Youngblood” to the soulful sense of loss crying from the grooves in The Chi-Lites’ “Have You Seen Her.”

Stocking a definitive rock ‘n’ roll jukebox demands a historical perspective, which is why most of the stuff here ranges from 30-60 years old.  Nirvana’s 1991 grunge landmark “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a relative newbie at a mere 25 years of age.  The only exception is “Making Teenage Faces,” a 2002 single by The Exploding Hearts, a dynamic young group from Portland, Oregon, whose career was tragically cut short by a fatal traffic accident in 2003.  “Making Teenage Faces” is an exuberant throwback to late ‘70s UK pop-punk, a la The Undertones, The Buzzcocks, The Boys and Generation X, and it needs to be here as a rockin’ memorial to these guys, and as a potent reminder that great rock ‘n’ roll is still being made today.

The Exploding Hearts record is one of those outta-left-field choices mentioned above, the less-obvious (and occasionally obscure) records mixed in just to shake it up, baby.  Others include Eddie and the Hot Rods’ liberating power pop manifesto “Do Anything You Wanna Do,” Adam Faith’s beat raver “It’s Alright,” The Lyres’ Nuggets-inspired “Help You Ann,” The Moving Sidewalks’ Texas garage gem “99th Floor” (featuring a pre-ZZ Top Billy Gibbons), Billy Riley’s rockabilly touchstone “Red Hot,” Ronnie Spector’s ace realization of Billy Joel’s Ronettes tribute “Say Goodbye To Hollywood” and Wilmer and the Dukes’ forgotten soul classic “Give Me One More Chance.”  These are on our definitive rock ‘n’ roll jukebox because, c’mon, we need something beyond just the hits, the crowd-pleasers, the recognized classics. 

Why do we need more?  Well, if you chanced across a promising-looking jukebox in your travels, would you as a record fan be more thrilled to see a bunch of great but predictable selections, or would you instead be knocked out to discover something unexpected?  Forget about your personal all-time Top 10 45s--wouldn’t you just love to find that obscure single you dug back in junior high, sitting there on a jukebox, waiting for your pay to play?  I love The Beatles more than any other group, but if I found a jukebox with, say, “Good Grief Christina” by Chicory Tip or “Mr. Monday” by The Original Caste, I’d forget all about the Fabs for a few minutes.

Which leads us to this point:  before we even start, we have to concede that this is a fool's errand.  There's no such thing as a "definitive" jukebox.  Hell, even the list you’re about to read changed about a zillion times between conception and publication.  But no two people are ever gonna agree 100% on a list like this one, so there’s lots of room for argument here.

But we can argue later--that's why the good Lord above invented the comments section to begin with.  Meanwhile, grab some quarters and grab your honey, as the definitive rock 'n' roll jukebox cordially invites you to haul your ass to the dancefloor.  Let's get this juke joint jumpin'!   

(And a quick tip of the lid to Dave Murray, Dana Bonn, John M. Borack, Randy Myers, Tim Neeley, and Ron Wray for helping us stock this jukebox right.)
           
THE DEFINITIVE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL JUKEBOX:

1. THE KINGSMEN:  “Louie Louie”/“Haunted Castle” (Wand 143)
2. THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS:  “You're Gonna Miss Me”/“Tried To Hide” (International Artists 107)
3. AC/DC:  “You Shook Me All Night Long”/“Have A Drink On Me” (Atlantic 3761)
4. ARTHUR ALEXANDER:  “You Better Move On”/ “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” (Dot 16309)
5. THE ANGELS:  “My Boyfriend's Back”/“(Love Me) Now” (Smash 1834)
6. THE ANIMALS:  “It's My Life”/“I'm Going To Change The World” (MGM 13414)
7. BADFINGER:  “Baby Blue”/ “Flying” (Apple 1844)
8. THE BEACH BOYS:  “I Get Around”/“Don't Worry Baby” (Capitol 5174)
9. THE BEATLES:  “I Want To Hold Your Hand”/“I Saw Her Standing There” (Capitol 5112)
10. CHUCK BERRY:  “Johnny B. Goode”/“Around And Around” (Chess 1691)
11. JAMES BROWN AND THE FAMOUS FLAMES:  “Please, Please, Please”/“Why Do You Do Me” (Federal 12258)
12. SOLOMON BURKE:  “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love”/“"Looking For My Baby” (Atlantic 2241)
13. THE JOHNNY BURNETTE TRIO:  “The Train Kept A-Rollin'”/“Honey Hush” (Coral 61719)
14. JOHNNY CASH:  “I Walk The Line”/“Get Rhythm” (Sun 241)
15. THE CASTAWAYS: “Liar, Liar”/“Sam” (Soma 1433)
16. RAY CHARLES:  “(Night Time Is) The Right Time”/“Tell All The World About You” (Atlantic 2010)
17. CHEAP TRICK:  “Surrender”/“Auf Wiedersehen” (Epic 50570)
18. THE CHI-LITES:  “Have You Seen Her”/“Yes I'm Ready (If I Don't Get To Go)” (Brunswick 55462)
19. THE DAVE CLARK FIVE:  “Bits And Pieces”/“All Of The Time” (Epic 9671)
20. THE COASTERS:  “Searchin'”/“Young Blood” (Atco 6087)
21. EDDIE COCHRAN:  “Somethin Else”/“Boll Weevil Song” (Liberty 55203)
22. ARTHUR CONLEY:  “Sweet Soul Music”/”Let’s Go Steady” (Atco 6463)
23. THE CONTOURS:  “Do You Love Me”/“Move, Mr. Man” (Gordy 7005)
24. SAM COOKE:  “Bring It On Home To Me”/“Having A Party” (RCA 8036)
25. DICK DALE AND THE DEL-TONES:  “Miserlou”/“Eight Till Midnight” (Capitol 4939)
26. BO DIDDLEY:  “You Can't Judge A Book By It’s Cover”/“I Can Tell” (Checker 1019)
27. DION:  “Ruby Baby”/“He'll Only Hurt You” (Columbia 42662)
28. FATS DOMINO:  “Blue Monday”/“What's The Reason I'm Not Pleasing You” (Imperial 5417)
29. THE DRIFTERS:  “On Broadway”/“Let The Music Play” (Atlantic 2182)
30. THE EASYBEATS:  “Friday On My Mind”/“Made My Bed” (United Artists 50106)
31. EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS:  “Do Anything You Wanna Do”/“Ignore Them (Always Crashing In The Same Bar)” (Island 093)
32. THE EVERLY BROTHERS:  “All I Have To Do Is Dream”/“Claudette” (Cadence 1348)
33. THE EXPLODING HEARTS:  “Making Teenage Faces”/“Your Shadow” (Vinyl Warning 05)
34. ADAM FAITH WITH THE ROULETTES:  “It’s Alright”/“I Just Don’t Know” (Amy 913)
35. THE FOUR TOPS:  “Reach Out I'll Be There”/ “Until You Love Someone” (Motown 1098)
36. ARETHA FRANKLIN:  “Respect”/“Dr. Feelgood” (Atlantic 2403)
37. THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR:  “Let Her Dance”/“Another Sad And Lonely Night” (Mustang 3006)
38. MARVIN GAYE:  “Ain't That Peculiar”/“She's Got To Be Real” (Tamla 54122)
39. THE GO-GO'S:  “We Got The Beat”/“Can't Stop The World” (IRS 9903)
40. BILL HALEY AND HIS COMETS:  “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock”/“Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town)” (Decca 29124)
41. THE HOLLIES:  “I Can’t Let Go”/“I’ve Got A Way Of My Own” (Imperial 66158)
42. BUDDY HOLLY:  “Peggy Sue”/“Everyday” (Coral 61885)           
43. THE ISLEY BROTHERS:  “Twist And Shout”/“Spanish Twist” (Wand 124)
44. WANDA JACKSON:  “Let’s Have A Party”/“Cool Love” (Capitol 4397)
45. RICK JAMES:  "Bustin’ Out”/“Sexy Lady” (Gordy 7167)
46. TOMMY JAMES AND THE SHONDELLS:  "Mony Mony"/"One Two Three And I Fell" (Roulette 7008)
47. JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS:  “I Love Rock 'n' Roll”/“You Don't Know
What You've Got” (Boardwalk 135)
48. THE JIVE FIVE:  “What Time Is It?”/“Beggin’ You Please” (Beltone 2024)
49. GEORGE JONES:  “You’re Still On My Mind”/“Cold, Cold Heart” (Mercury 72010)
50. THE GREG KIHN BAND:  “The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)”/“When The Music Starts” (Beserkley 47149)
51. BEN E. KING:  “Stand By Me”/“On The Horizon” (Atco 6194)
52. THE KINKS:  “Till The End Of The Day”/“Where Have All The Good Times Gone” (Reprise 0454)
53. KISS:  “Shout It Out Loud”/“Sweet Pain” (Casablanca 854)
54. GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS:  “Midnight Train To Georgia”/“Window Raising Granny” (Buddah 383)
55. JERRY LEE LEWIS:  “Great Balls Of Fire”/“You Win Again” (Sun 281)
56. LITTLE RICHARD:  “Rip It Up”/“Ready Teddy” (Specialty 579)
57. THE LYRES:  “Help You Ann”/“I Really Want You Right Now” (Ace Of Hearts 105)
58. MARTHA AND THE VANDELLAS:  “Nowhere To Run”/“Motoring” (Gordy 7039)
59. THE MELLO-KINGS:  “Tonite, Tonite”/“Do Baby Do” (Herald 502)
60. THE MIRACLES:  “Going To A Go-Go”/“Choosey Beggar” (Tamla 54127)
61. THE MOVING SIDEWALKS:  “99th Floor”/“What Are You Going To Do” (Wand 1156)
62. NIRVANA:  “Smells Like Teen Spirit”/“Even In His Youth” (DGC 19050)
63. ROY ORBISON:  “Crying”/“Candy Man” (Monument 447)
64. CARL PERKINS:  “Blue Suede Shoes”/“Honey, Don’t!” (Sun 234)
65. WILSON PICKETT:  “In The Midnight Hour”/“I’m Not Tired” (Atlantic 2289)
66. GENE PITNEY:  “Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa”/ “Lonely Night Dreams (Of Far Away Arms)” (Musicor 1034)
67. THE PLIMSOULS:  “A Million Miles Away”/“Play The Breaks” (Geffen 29600)
68. THE POLICE:  “Roxanne”/“Dead End Job” (A&M 2096)
69. ELVIS PRESLEY:  “Hound Dog”/“Don’t Be Cruel” (RCA 47-6604)
70. PRINCE:  “Let’s Go Crazy”/“Erotic City” (Warner Brothers 29216)
71. ? AND THE MYSTERIANS:  “96 Tears”/“Midnight Hour” (Cameo 428)
72. THE RAMONES:  “Do You Wanna Dance”/“Babysitter” (Sire 1017)
73. LOU RAWLS:  “Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing”/“Memory Lane” (Capitol 5709)
74. OTIS REDDING:  “Try A Little Tenderness”/“I'm Sick Y'All” (Volt 141)
75. PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS:  “Just Like Me”/“B.F.D.R.F. Blues” (Columbia 43461)
76. CHARLIE RICH:  “Lonely Weekends”/“Everything I Do Is Wrong” (Phillips 3552)
77. THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS:  “Little Latin Lupe Lu”/“I'm So Lonely” (Moonglow 215)
78. BILLY RILEY AND THE LITTLE GREEN MEN:  “Red Hot”/“Pearly Lee” (Sun 277)
79. THE ROLLING STONES:  “Honky Tonk Women”/“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (London 910)
80. THE ROMANTICS:  “What I Like About You”/“First In Line” (Nemperor 7527)
81. SAM AND DAVE:  “Soul Man”/“May I Baby” (Stax 231)
82. DEL SHANNON:  “Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow The Sun)”/“Broken Promises” (Amy 915)
83. THE SHIRELLES:  “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”/“Boys” (Scepter 1211)
84. PERCY SLEDGE:  “When A Man Loves A Woman”/“Love Me Like You Mean It” (Atlantic 2326)
85. SOFT CELL:  “Tainted Love”/“Memorabilia” (Sire 49855)
86. SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY AND THE ASBURY JUKES:  “I Don't Want To Go Home”/“Snatchin' It Back” (Epic 50238)
87. RONNIE SPECTOR:  “Say Goodbye To Hollywood”/“Baby Please Don't Go” (Cleveland International 50374)
88. BENNY SPELLMAN:  “Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)”/“Fortune Teller” (Minit 644)
89. THE SPINNERS:  “I'll Be Around”/“How Could I Let You Get Away” (Atlantic 2904)
90. EDWIN STARR:  “Twenty-Five Miles”/“Love Is My Destination” (Gordy 7083)
91. DONNA SUMMER:  “I Feel Love”/“Can’t We Just Sit Down (And Talk It Over)” (Casablanca 884)
92. THE SWEET:  “Ballroom Blitz”/“Restless” (Capitol 4055)
93. THE TEMPTATIONS:  “My Girl”/“(Talking 'Bout) Nobody But My Baby” (Gordy 7038)
94. THE TRAAMPS:  “Disco Inferno”/“That’s Where The Happy People Go” (Atlantic 3389)
95. IKE AND TINA TURNER:  “I Can’t Believe What You Say (For Seeing What You Do)”/“My Baby Now” (Kent 402)
96. CONWAY TWITTY:  “It's Only Make-Believe”/“I'll Try” (MGM 12677)
97. RITCHIE VALENS:  “Donna”/“La Bamba” (Del-Fi 4110)
98. THE VOGUES:  “Five O'Clock World”/“Nothing To Offer You” (Co & Ce 232)
99. WAR:  “Low Rider”/“So” (United Artists 706)
100. WILMER AND THE DUKES:  “Give Me One More Chance”/“Get It” (Aphrodisiac 260)

            And, since Frank Sinatra's "One For My Baby" predates 45s, we've gotta presume that this joint has a tape of that track all set to play each night at closing time.  "One For My Baby" isn't a rock 'n' roll record, but it's the most appropriate thing to play as the definitive rock ‘n’ roll jukebox concludes its business day.  So let's have one for my baby...and one more for the road.   (Better make it a Dr. Pepper--I’m drivin’.)  

(NOTE:  these listings were compiled from various reference works, including Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles book.  Corrections are welcomed.)