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Welcome to the A-Z Musical Tour of My Life! I have wanted to put something like this together for a long time now and the A-Z Challenge just seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’ve compiled stories, trivia, research, music videos and live concert footage on all the bands and musical artists who have been important to me over the years, especially during my youthful years in the 60s and 70s. At first glance, the posts may seem long – and some of them are due to the number of videos included – but it’s really laid out in a way that will enable you to scroll through and read, see or hear just what you want and then either move on to the next A-Zer or linger and listen to the great music that you’ll find here. By all means, bookmark my blog so you can come back! In addition to individual songs, there are some full albums here for those who may want to enjoy some music while they’re surfing or working. I hope you find that the stories are entertaining, the information educational and the trivia interesting. It would be a tremendous honor if you would bookmark the A-Z Musical Tour of My Life as a resource for great music and music information! Now, let’s get started with…
K is for King Crimson – I love King Crimson. Aside from really digging the album cover, there are several songs on “In the Court of the Crimson King” that I really like. The title track is the only one that ever charted in the U.S.
From Wikipedia: “The Court of the Crimson King” is the fifth and final track from the British progressive rock band King Crimson’s debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King. It was also released as a single. It reached #80 on the US charts, and is the band’s only charting single in the United States”. Despite getting little radio or music video airplay, this progressive rock band from England has a large following. Here’s a 1971 live performance of The Court of the Crimson King:
Another song that really makes me feel introspective is I Talk to the Wind. See if it has the same effect on you:
Of course I have to include the song 21st Century Schizoid Man. As many bands of this era did with their music, the song makes reference to the Vietnam War (as exemplified in the lyric “innocents raped with napalm fire” and “politicians’ funeral pyre”). Before a live performance of the song on December 14, 1969 (as shown in the live album Epitaph), Guitarist Robert Fripp sarcastically remarked that the song was dedicated to “an American political personality whom we all know and love dearly. His name is Spiro Agnew.” (Spiro Agnew was Vice President, serving under President Richard Nixon).
Let’s move away from the dark mood and get up and dance!
K is for the Kinks! – an English rock band formed by brothers Ray Davies and Dave Davies in 1963, the Kinks were part of the British Invasion ad are considered one of the most important and influential rock bands of the era. When I think of the Kinks, I think FUN! Their single You Really Got Me was released in 1964 and made it to #1 on the charts in the U.K., #7 here in the U.S. and #4 in Canada.
My favorite Kinks song is Catch Me Now I’m Falling (album cover still):
Get up and dance! Here’s Do It Again:
Livin’ on a Thin Line –
Another move ‘n groove tune is Sleepwalker, followed by Celluloid Heroes recorded on the Merv Griffin show in March of 1977.
Lola. I didn’t even know what it was about until much later, I just loved the way it sounded, which for me is how I judge music. The lyrics are secondary for me; first the music has to grab me. So often I don’t even know the lyrics to songs, I just move to the music. Lola is about a confused romantic encounter with a transvestite. Interesting song for that era.
Destroyer was released in 1981 and here are the Kinks performing that hit in the same year:
Are you hot and sweaty from jumping around and dancing yet?? Well, don’t sit down yet. We have some KC & the Sunshine Band coming up!
K is for KC & the Sunshine Band! Founded in 1973 in Florida, their sound has included Funk, R&B and Disco. Here’s my favorite KC song, Get Down Tonight in 1977:
Here they are performing That’s the Way I Like It in 1975:
Shake, Shake, Shake – Shake Your Booty – from 1976:
I’m Your Boogie Man:
How about some Boogie Shoes?? Oh yeah!
Whew! That was fun! I’ll slow it down so we can catch our breath. Here’s a slow song by KC & the Sunshine Band, Please Don’t Go:
Geez, I didn’t realize there were so many KC & the Sunshine Band songs that I really like! Here’s Keep It Comin’ Love:
K is for Kansas – I saw Kansas at the very first concert I ever saw. They opened up for Bad Company in April 1976. This was before the release of their hit album “Leftoverture” later that year. The band’s signature sound is a mix of American-style boogie rock and complex, symphonic arrangements. The violin was a distinctive element of the group’s sound, being defined more by heartland rock than the jazz and classic influences which most progressive rock violinists followed. The band slowly developed a cult following and then exploded in 1976 and 1977 and they became major headlining acts when their albums “Leftoverture” and “Point of Know Return” put them on the charts with million selling singles Carry On Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind.
As headliners, they sold out the largest arenas available to rock bands at the time, including Madison Square Garden in New York. The band gained a solid reputation for faithful live reproduction of their studio recordings. This is significant to me because I have always preferred studio albums over live albums. I find that almost always the live performances don’t sound as good as the studio version of the songs, and therefore my record collection had very few live albums.
My favorite Kansas song is definitely the melodious Dust in the Wind. Here’s a Dust in the Wind Music video. (c) 2004 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
Carry On My Wayward Son – music video for their massive hit. In fact, ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ was the #2 Most Played Track on classic rock radio in 1995 and went to #1 in 1997.
Both Carry On Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind were certified gold singles, selling over one million units each. Dust in the Wind was certified gold as a digital download by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) in 2005, almost 30 years after selling one million copies as a single. That’s impressive!
Point of Know Return – the title track from their album released in October 1977. Music video by Kansas performing Point Of Know Return. (C) 1977 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.
In 1983 they released their “Drastic Measures” album, which didn’t fare as well as earlier albums. But their song Fight Fire with Fire did fantastic, charting at #3 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. Here they are performing the song at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus in August of 2012:
Here’s Play the Game Tonight, Live in Omaha in 1982. This song is from their “Vinyl Confessions” album:
How about a little funk?
K is for Kool & the Gang – Formed in 1964, the band is still around. In fact in 2012, Kool & the Gang toured with Van Halen! That seems like an odd pairing, no?
Celebration – This song reminds me of a trip I took to Dana Point, California back in 1988. I was working for WCXR Classic Rock in Washington, DC; the station’s owners had 5 other stations around the country and they brought all the sales people and managers together for a 4 day deal in Dana Point. The last night they had all of us come up on the risers and dance and stomp. Every time I hear this song I go back to that one night. I think that was the night I had too much to drink and ended up falling on the dance floor with my dance partner: both of us ended up on the floor. I couldn’t get up I was laughing so hard. Anyway, here’s Kool & the Gang performing Celebration. (C) 1980 The Island Def Jam Music Group.
Get Down On It – here’s a little dance music from 1981:
Ladies Night – good video performance. Not sure when it’s from but looks like the 70s.
We’ll end this K journey with a little Kiss:
K is for KISS – KISS is an American hard rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Well known for its members’ face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits and pyrotechnics. They have an extensive history and underwent many changes, details of which can be found at the KISS Wikipedia page.
Most people associate KISS with their stage makeup. I never really knew who they based their stage personas on until I read this, from, where else? Their Wikipedia page. Who doesn’t love Wikipedia??
“With their makeup and costumes, they took on the personas of comic book-style characters: Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley) and Catman (Criss). Stanley became the “Starchild” because of his tendency to be referred to as the “starry-eyed lover” and “hopeless romantic”. The “Demon” makeup reflected Simmons’ cynicism and dark sense of humor, as well as his affection for comic books. Frehley’s “Spaceman” makeup was a reflection of his fondness for science fiction and his supposedly being from another planet. Criss’ “Catman” makeup was in accordance with the belief that he had nine lives because of his rough childhood in Brooklyn…
Sensing it was time for a change, Kiss made the decision to unmask and abandon its trademark makeup and costumes. The band officially appeared in public without makeup for the first time on a September 18, 1983 appearance on MTV, which coincided with the release of the band’s new album, Lick It Up.”
I’m not a huge Kiss fan but I do like three of their songs:
I Wanna Rock ‘n Roll All Night. Here’s a 1996 performance under the Brooklyn Bridge.
And Shout It Out Loud with lyrics:
And Calling Dr. Love. Here’s a cool music video with various Kiss clips:
So who are your favorite K bands and artists? Who would you have included here? Who did I forget?