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The Four Seasons – An Appreciation

Written by admin on January 12, 2012 – 10:16 am -

Harley Payette provides an overview of the Four Seasons many career highlights and explains why he regards them as one of the most compelling musical acts of the 1960s.

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The Elusive, Frustrating, Unappreciated Genius of Rod Stewart

Written by admin on December 9, 2011 – 9:50 am -

Harley Payette discusses the many musical highlights of Rod Stewart’s long career.

It seldom fails, I’ll be riding down the road and “Maggie May” will come on the radio and I’ll just be arrested by those final phrases from Rod Stewart. “I’ll get on back home, one of these day-aaays” and that glorious final falsetto howl. “Wooo hoo hooh.” My spine will tingle a bit and I’ll think “Man, that guy used to be a really terrific singer.” Then the old hand wringing will come out, “too bad he didn’t keep it up” or some such. I’m probably not alone in that feeling. The idea that Stewart was one of the people who had it and then lost it is close to pop consensus. It’s almost the Elvis after the army of the next generation. Maybe there’s not a clear demarcation like there was there, but many listeners believe that Rod Stewart at some point, relatively early on, lost “it” in a bid for mainstream stardom, and never quite got “it” back. Rod Stewart 1976

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Posted in British Invasion | 2 Comments »

Blue Hawaii – Elvis’ Fatal Success

Written by admin on November 22, 2011 – 8:46 pm -

On the 50th anniversary of the release of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii,” Harley Payette explores how the success of the film and the soundtrack album changed the direction of Elvis’ career.

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Posted in 60s pop, Elvis, Rock 'n' roll | 4 Comments »

Dion’s “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer” – 50 years on

Written by admin on October 21, 2011 – 7:56 am -

Harley Payette celebrates the 50th anniversary of Dion DiMucci’s classic back-to-back singles “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer.”

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Jerry Leiber – A tribute

Written by admin on August 27, 2011 – 1:13 pm -

Harley Payette pays tribute to the legendary songwriter Jerry Leiber, who passed away on August 22.

A few years back there was a tribute to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the great rock ‘n’ roll songwriting team, on American Idol. Reviewing the show, my local arts critic wondered in print just who Leiber and Stoller were. According to the writer, such figures were too obscure for a full blown “Idol” tribute. Some would say that this was a sign that Jerry Leiber, who died August 22 of cardiac arrest, had outlived his fame. Maybe Leiber, the lyricist, in the songwriting duo, and his partner Stoller were never famous enough. They made their greatest impact in an age where the roles of songwriters and singers were often rigidly segregated and unlike the golden age of Tin Pan Alley, the media focused almost exclusively on the performers. The sheer number of classic titles though that they contributed to the rock ‘n’ soul pantheon- “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Kansas City,” “Ruby Baby,” “Drip Drop,” “Stand By Me,” “On Broadway,” “Yakety Yak” and on and on – made a lot of people find out who they were. Whether or not they were ever household names or whether some hack writer knew who they were in 2007, is not what’s important. The people who really care about pop music know Leiber and Stoller because they were unbelievably good at what they did and because what they did was so profound and helped create much of what was best about the pop world of the last half century. Leiber’s death does not change that.

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