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jerryking : country_rock   16

Why Hotel California marked a watershed for rock
Peter Aspden

APRIL 3, 2017

It started, as things did in the heyday of rock music’s golden era, with a few strums of a guitar on a beach sofa in Malibu. Don Felder, guitarist of The Eagles, improvised a chord progression that he recorded on to a cassette, and handed to the rest of the band.
Don Henley started to write a lyric, set in a West Coast hostelry, and addressing the issue of America’s slow implosion into decadence. “Hotel California” was born.

The song was the title track of an album of the same name, released in December 1976, which represented The Eagles’ finest hour. They started as a wannabe country rock band with great hair and sumptuous harmonies. After Hotel California, they lost their touch. The release of “Hotel California” as a single marked a watershed for the band, but also for the course of popular music.
music  California  '70s  songwriters  country_rock  the_Eagles  rock-'n'-roll  songs  golden_age  turning_points 
january 2018 by jerryking
Gregg Allman, Influential Force Behind the Allman Brothers Band, Dies at 69
MAY 27, 2017 | The New York Times | By BILL FRISKICS-WARREN.

The band’s lead singer and keyboardist, Mr. Allman was one of the principal architects of a taut, improvisatory fusion of blues, jazz, country and rock that — streamlined by inheritors like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band — became the Southern rock of the 1970s.

The group, which originally featured Mr. Allman’s older brother, Duane, on lead and slide guitar, was also a precursor to a generation of popular jam bands, like Widespread Panic and Phish, whose music features labyrinthine instrumental exchanges.

......Gregg Allman’s vocals, by turns squalling and brooding, took their cue from the anguished emoting of down-home blues singers like Elmore James, as well as from more sophisticated ones like Bobby Bland. Foremost among Mr. Allman’s influences as a vocalist, though, was the Mississippi-born blues and soul singer and guitarist known as Little Milton.

“‘Little Milton’ Campbell had the strongest set of pipes I ever heard on a human being,” Mr. Allman wrote in his autobiography, “My Cross to Bear,” written with Alan Light (2012). “That man inspired me all my life to get my voice crisper, get my diaphragm harder, use less air and just spit it out. He taught me to be absolutely sure of every note you hit, and to hit it solid.”

The band’s main songwriter early on, Mr. Allman contributed expansive, emotionally fraught compositions like “Dreams” and “Whipping Post” to the Allman Brothers repertoire. Both songs became staples of their epic live shows; a cathartic 22-minute version of “Whipping Post” was a highlight of their acclaimed 1971 live album, “At Fillmore East.”

More concise originals like “Midnight Rider” and “Melissa,” as well as Mr. Allman’s renditions of blues classics like “Statesboro Blues” and “Done Somebody Wrong,” revealed his singular affinity with the black Southern musical vernacular.
music  singers  Southern_rock  obituaries  country_rock  songwriters 
may 2017 by jerryking
Glenn Frey, Eagles Founding Member, Dies at 67 - The New York Times
By BRUCE WEBERJAN. 18, 2016

The band’s hit songs included yearning, battle-of-the-sexes musings like “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Heartache Tonight,” and the cool-cat lifestyle statements “Take It Easy” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” all of which featured Mr. Frey’s light, casual, relaxed lead vocals, as well as the No. 1 hit “Hotel California,” the band’s signature song from its 1977 album of the same name.

Its imagistic, vaguely mystical lyrics — the song was written by Mr. Frey, Mr. Henley and Don Felder — hint at a drug-fueled state of being, perhaps promising rapture, perhaps not, and have supplied fuel for countless interpretations:
singers  music  obituaries  California  '70s  songwriters  country_rock  the_Eagles  rock-'n'-roll 
january 2016 by jerryking
Glenn Frey, Founder of The Eagles, Dies at 67 - Speakeasy - WSJ
January 18, 2016 | WSJ | By JOHN JURGENSEN.

Glenn Frey, a founder of the Eagles who helped create some of rock’s biggest hits with fellow songwriter Don Henley, including “Hotel California” and “Lyin’ Eyes,” died Monday in New York at age 67....Frey, who would help define the California sound of the 1970s with the Eagles’ tight vocal harmonies and country-inflected rock, had his roots in the Midwest.
obituaries  singers  songwriters  '70s  music  the_Eagles  country_rock  rock-'n'-roll 
january 2016 by jerryking
Southern rock's passion and romance is marred by racism and bigotry | Music | The Guardian
Barney Hoskyns
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 5 April 2012

The film, Sweet Home Alabama ,pulls us back to the early 70s peaks of the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd, making us reflect anew on what southern rock really meant.

Was Skynyrd's anthem of the same name a song of defiant pride, cocking a snook at Neil Young's Southern Man, or was it something much worse – a strutting defence of old Confederate values, complete with egregious tip of the stetson to segregationist governor George Wallace? Sweet Home Alabama is a stonking song, but Skynyrd's singer Ronnie van Zant wanted it both ways: to be both a bourbon-chugging rock rebel and the Yankee-baiting bigot that Young was decrying.

"Those of us who have characterised [Van Zant] as a misunderstood liberal," wrote Mark Kemp – one of Maycock's interviewees – in his excellent book Dixie Lullaby, "have done so only to placate our own irrational feelings of shame for responding to the passion in his music."

At least the Allman Brothers had an African American – drummer Jai Johnny "Jaimoe" Johanson – in their ranks. Jaimoe had toured with Otis Redding, arguably the key influence on southern rockers from the Allmans to the Black Crowes, and it was Redding's former manager Phil Walden who, in 1969, set up the label most identified with southern rock – Macon, Georgia's Capricorn Records.

"To the young white southerner, black music always appealed more than white pop music," Walden, who died in 2006, told me. "Certainly the Beach Boys' surfing stuff never would have hacked it in the south. It was too white and it just wasn't relevant. The waves weren't too high down here."

Sweet Home Alabama doesn't shirk from the fact that southern rock was born partly of the deepening racial divide that opened up after Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968. "By the end of the decade, a lot of the results of the civil rights era had served to urbanise black music," Walden said in my 1985 interview with him. "A lot of the people we had considered friends were suddenly calling us blue-eyed devils."

The racial cross-pollination of the southern soul era in Alabama hotspot Muscle Shoals (namechecked in Skynyrd's Sweet Home) came to a shuddering halt. Black music got blacker while white southern rock went back to its first principles of melding country music with rhythm'n'blues.

"In a sense the evolution of southern rock was a reactionary attempt to return rock'n'roll to its native soil," suggested the Texan writer Joe Nick Patoski. "After the decline of interest in rockabilly, white rock in the South had taken a back seat to country and western and soul."

Not that anyone anticipated the way southern rock effortlessly flowed into the post-60s counterculture, with the Allmans eventually co-headlining 1973's colossal Watkins Glen festival with the Band and the Grateful Dead. Along with Skynyrd, who were managed by Phil Walden's brother Alan and whose epic Free Bird mourned the death of Duane Allman, a second wave of southern groups – from the Marshall Tucker Band to Black Oak Arkansas – was soon sweeping the US. Some of them even played a modest part in getting peanut-farming Georgia boy Jimmy Carter into the White House.

Carter, of course, was a liberal and 180 degrees from the segregationist politics of Wallace. So indeed were most of the bands that recorded for Capricorn until the label went bust in the late 70s. Yet the supposed "romance" of the south touted by those outfits is hard to separate from the legacy of slavery and racism.

Southern rock has lived on in the very different iterations represented by the Black Crowes, the Georgia Satellites, the Kentucky Headhunters, Kings of Leon, Drive-By Truckers, American Idol contestant Bo Bice, and of course REM (whose Mike Mills reminisces in Sweet Home Alabama about attending Capricorn's annual picnics). The music's ornery fuck-you spirit meanwhile endures in the work of the charming Toby Keith and his kind. Yet the ambiguities of Van Zant's famous lyric are as troubling as ever, despite the apologia for it offered in Maycock's film by self-styled "redneck negress" Kandia Crazy Horse.

White skin, red necks, blue collars, black music: Sweet Home Alabama tells a quintessential American story that never quite ends.

Sweet Home Alabama: The Southern Rock Saga is on BBC4 at 9 pm on Friday 13 April.
'70s  Black_Crowes  films  Lynyrd_Skynyrd  MLK  movies  music  Muscle_Shoals  the_South  country_rock  Southern_rock  bigotry  racism 
september 2012 by jerryking
Nov. 25, 1976 / The Band gives its farewell concert
Nov 25, 2010 | G& M. pg. A.2 | Brad Wheeler. The evening
at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom that began with a Thanksgiving
feast ended with a sung-along I Shall Be Released . Billed as Robbie
Robertson and the Band's final show, The Last Waltz was more than that -
it was rock 'n' roll's Last Supper, attended by such stars as Neil
Young, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, and another signpost for the death
of the Sixties. A mostly Canadian outfit with an American-music soul,
the Band was an inventive group that, by the mid-1970s, had run out of
ideas. Its era over, the Woodstock-spawned crew called it quits - a
uniquely noble act among tie-dyed types who would keep their seats on
the commercial-music gravy train. "Catch a Cannonball now, t'take me
down the line," the Band sang. "My bag is sinkin' low, and I do believe
it's time."
Band, the. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
ProQuest  music  The_Band  anniversaries  Brad_Wheeler  Bob_Dylan  farewells  country_rock  roots_rock  concerts  live_performances  Southern_rock  '70s 
april 2011 by jerryking

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