On Feb. 9, 1964, The Beatles played The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. The Beatles are pictured here, with Sullivan. From left: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Sullivan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

On this date in music history, The Beatles rocked Ed Sullivan

On Feb. 9, 1964, The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and the music world was never the same.

The first music column I wrote for the St. Cloud Times three years ago addressed the anniversary of The Beatles’ appearance on Sullivan’s program. Over the 2.5 years I wrote for the Times, I gave The Beatles the spotlight on a handful of occasions. The group was my first musical love, and remains one of my absolute favorite bands to this day.

I was born too late to be one of the 73 million people who tuned in to watch The Fab Four perform on Sullivan’s stage, but I’ve certainly watched the footage enough to feel almost like I was there. (Almost.)

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Is this the cover to Bob Dylan's upcoming "Triplicate" album? It's what Google Play and Amazon are showing.

New-release news: Bob Dylan and “Triplicate”

Short entry, but please bear with me …

According to a new post on YouTube by the official BobDylanVEVO account, there’s a new Bob Dylan album coming, called “Triplicate.”

You can check out a new video (and the description with the minimal “Triplicate” details) here:

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Queen's 1989 album "The Miracle" was the group's first since Freddie Mercury's diagnosis of AIDS. It was the band's 13th studio album.

When feeling down, remember “The Miracle” that’s available to you

Look, I’m going to be straight with you: So far, 2017 hasn’t been much better than 2016 was.

There have been a number of decisions made by the executive branch of the U.S. government that are troublesome. And the job I had lined up has been slow in getting me details on starting. Socially, politically and fiscally, 2017 has already been a challenge. That can certainly color one’s perspective, right?

I don’t mean to complain. Many folks have it far, far worse. And I think about those poor souls, too. We have many challenges coming our way. There will be a lot of bumps, bruises and tears coming. Many sleepless nights. We can hope for the best, but it’d be wise to follow the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.

The motto of The Boy Scouts of America is
The motto of The Boy Scouts of America is “be prepared.”

Preparation can mean vigilance. It can mean protest. It can mean education. It can mean … well, anything. Preparation can vary from person to person, interest to interest, cause to cause.

It also can mean looking for bright sides. It can mean finding the things in life that make the struggles worthwhile.

Continue reading “When feeling down, remember “The Miracle” that’s available to you”

Billy Joel is touring again. As much as I'd love to see him on July 28 at Target Field in Minneapolis, I am not sure I'll be able to make it happen. Still, I'm sure it'll be a fantastic show.

Thoughts on Billy Joel and on my dad’s birthday (a two-fer)

I’m not always the world’s biggest birthdays guy. I don’t get too excited about my own, and most of my family members (even in the extended orbits) are well into their adult years. This kind of dims the enthusiasm for birthdays and general holidays (you love watching kids tear into gifts, right? But adults exchanging greeting cards or going out for dinner is NICE, but it isn’t exactly Norman Rockwell territory).

But there are a few birthdays I like to honor. My brother’s birthday, my wife’s birthday and the birthdays of my parents. I’m not exactly rolling in cash, so these tend to be phone calls and greeting cards, but the sentiments are true and heart felt.

My parents at my Oct. 1, 2011, wedding. Good people, my folks.
My parents at my Oct. 1, 2011, wedding. Good people, my folks.

And here we are, with my dad’s birthday coming right up. His birthday is Jan. 27, which is tomorrow as I type this. As music is my major passion and my dad influenced a lot of my music tastes, it seems fitting to talk about him a bit here.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Billy Joel and on my dad’s birthday (a two-fer)”

Yes, this is me. A young, young me. Here I am, back in my high school days. I loved music a lot back then, too. That guitar was the first I owned. Alas, I never learned to play much of anything with it. As for the hair, I was aiming for The Beatles but it came out more like Lloyd Christmas. Youth.

Current trends on social media: influential albums

Sorry for the lack of recent posts. I’ve been working (yay!), so I haven’t had much time for writing.

I’m afraid this will be a relatively short post, but maybe it’ll be something fun for you.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook (as well as some tweets on Twitter) about influential albums. You know, like, which albums were the most influential for you during your teens? Or, during your pre-teens? Which albums made a big impact on you during high school. That kind of stuff.

Yes, this is me. A young, young me. Here I am, back in my high school days. I loved music a lot back then, too. That guitar was the first I owned. Alas, I never learned to play much of anything with it. As for the hair, I was aiming for The Beatles but it came out more like Lloyd Christmas. Youth.
Yes, this is me. A young, young me. Here I am, back in my high school days. I loved music a lot back then, too. That guitar was the first I owned. Alas, I never learned to play much of anything with it. As for the hair, I was aiming for The Beatles but it came out more like Lloyd Christmas. Youth.

I gave it some thought, and I decided to try to make these lists myself.

Ready for them?

Continue reading “Current trends on social media: influential albums”

If you unfold the cover to the 1975 release of "The Basement Tapes," you get some more of the surreal cast of characters that feature on the album.

Bob Dylan, The Band, The Basement Tapes

I removed the majority of the music on my iPhone a few months back. I did this mostly for the sake of clearing up space, and also because I use Spotify to stream a lot of my favorite music.

But as I don’t want to eat up a ton of data and risk paying overages for exceeding my data plan, I usually keep some music on my phone so I can use it like an iPod when it is convenient.

(Bob Dylan’s “Series of Dreams” always captures my imagination, and it definitely made the cut to be added to my iPhone.) 

I was adding some Bob Dylan materials to my phone the other night, and that can be tricky. What do you add? What do you leave off? A lot of the man’s recorded output is worthy of appreciation and study. But I don’t have unlimited space, so I was doing a lot of picking and choosing. Darn few albums were included in their entirety (and among those was “Love and Theft,” the 2001 release that may just be my favorite Dylan album of all his works).

Sometimes it was pretty difficult to filter out songs. But for one era of Dylan’s recording, I made the effort to include lots and lots of material. That era involves The Band, and the collected works fall under the banner of “The Basement Tapes.”

Continue reading “Bob Dylan, The Band, The Basement Tapes”

Avenged Sevenfold's self-titled effort released in 2007 was the last studio release to feature Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan on all the songs.

Dec. 28: Remembering Dennis Wilson, Lemmy and The Rev

I think we all can agree that the year 2016 has seen way too many of our heroes pass away. Actors, actresses, musicians, authors, time claims us all. But 2016 seems to have claimed more than its fair share, including the recent passing of George Michael and Carrie Fisher.

Today is Dec. 28, and so far I haven’t seen any notices of new deaths to add to the list … Something for us to be grateful for!

But over the years, this day has seen many notable (and sad) deaths. With this posting, I’d like to focus on the lingering losses of Dennis Wilson (singer, songwriter, drummer and more for The Beach Boys), Lemmy Kilmister (singer, songwriter, bass player and frontman for Motorhead) and Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan (singer, songwriter, drummer and inspiration for Avenged Sevenfold).

Three very different musicians from very different eras, but so key and moving in their own ways.

Continue reading “Dec. 28: Remembering Dennis Wilson, Lemmy and The Rev”