DISCLAIMER THAT APPEARS AT THE BEGINNING OF ALL A-Z 2015 PAGES:
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…
Wow, M is a big letter!! Talk about an eclectic mix here: from the Monkees to Madonna, the Moody Blues to Michael Jackson and all the great M’s in between!
M is for the Monkees – Let’s start with a close to my heart band: All music, to me, sparks memories but when I hear The Monkees, I just get all warm inside and I get a big grin on my face because it takes me back to those days when I was just a young girl of 9, trying hard to emulate my big brother so I’d spend afternoons digging through his albums. One of my favorites was The Monkees. I remember vividly the album cover and how I had a crush on — no, not Davy, like every other wide-eyed American girl did, my crush was on Mike Nesmith! I liked his hat.
I remember watch their TV show too. I think it ran on Saturday mornings. It may have been running in syndication by that time. The show ended on Labor Day 1968, after two seasons. Do you remember that show?
I didn’t realize that the Monkees started as a TV show then went into being an actual band. I thought it was the other way around. But formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by Robert “Bob” Rafelson and Bert Schneider for the American television series The Monkees, which aired from 1966–1968, the musical acting quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork, and Englishman Davy Jones. Described by Dolenz as initially being “a TV show about an imaginary band […] that wanted to be The Beatles, [but] that was never successful”, the actor-musicians soon became a real band. Although the sitcom was canceled in 1968, the band continued to record music through 1971.
This was very surprising to me: “At their peak in 1967, the band outsold both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined. As of 2012, their albums and singles have sold over 65 million copies worldwide.” (Wikipedia)
The Last Train to Clarksville – This video is a re-edited song from The Monkees TV series. This is from episode 2 with adds from episode 3 and live shot from episode 32.
I’m a Believer – December 1966. Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society
Pleasant Valley Sunday:
M is for Muddy Waters (April 4, 1913 – April 30, 1983)
On 22 November 1981, in the middle of their mammoth American tour, the Rolling Stones arrived in Chicago prior to playing 3 nights at the Rosemont Horizon. Long influenced by the Chicago blues, the band paid a visit to Buddy Guy’s club the Checkerboard Lounge to see the legendary bluesman perform. http://store.eagle-rock.com/muddywaters It didn’t take long before Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Ian Stewart were joining in on stage and later Buddy Guy and Lefty Dizz also played their part. It was a unique occasion that was fortunately captured on camera. Now, restored from the original footage and with sound mixed and mastered by Bob Clearmountain, this amazing blues night is being made available in an official release for the first time.
Dig this: I saw Muddy just one month before this performance! Here’s my ticket stub to prove it. October 16, 1981. He came to a venue in Niagara Falls called the Imperial Garage. This place used to be a garage before it became a live music venue, hence the name (which I think is a cool name, no matter the backstory). Of course Mick Jagger and “company” did not show up like they did in Chicago. How cool would that have been to be in THAT audience?? I’m thrilled I got to see Muddy because he died just 18 months after I saw him. And I remember him, just like you see in the video clip: hanging out on stage, sitting on a stool, jammin’. He never once got up off that stool all night long. But he wailed it, I’ll tell ya. Oh, what a night!
M is for Madonna – Although most people will tell you that I’m stuck in the 70s, there are some times that I like to go back to the 80s. Madonna always brings me back there. To my “modeling” days. I was getting my portfolio shot, determined to break into full-figure modeling.
I put together a mix tape for my photo shoot: the photographer was a pretty big deal at that time, having shot famous supermodel Christie Brinkley, so I needed to relax and the best way for me to feel at ease is to dance. So I asked if it was okay if I brought in a tape (yes, a tape, recorded from my vinyl records, mind you) so that I could move with the music. Madonna was one of several artists that reminds me of those days. Her Borderline was one of the songs on that mix tape. Regarding the modeling: This was all happening when I lived in DC. I did one runway fashion show and was a contestant in a pageant (Washington’s Miss Big & Beautiful Pageant); however, I had to drop out because I ended up getting a job offer in Austin, Texas and I had to move. But it was fun while it lasted).
Borderline: © 2006 WMG
Material Girl: from 1985, the Virgin tour:
Like a Virgin: Live at the MTV Awards, 1984:
Vogue: LOVE this video!! © 2006 WMG
Let’s make a big shift here to some southern rock with M is for Molly Hatchet:
Flirtin’ with Disaster – Every time I hear this song I see the album cover in my head:
Here’s the song with video of the lyrics:
Here’s an awesome 2007 live performance of one of my favorite Molly Hatchet songs, Whiskey Man:
Here they are in 1983 performing Dreams I’ll Never See. Credits:
Molly Hatchet performs “Dreams I’ll Never See” on 1983 TV/radio simulcast of Rock N’ Roll Tonite from Los Angeles, CA. Band Members are Danny Joe Brown on vocals, Dave Hlubek, Duane Roland & Steve Holland on guitars, Riff West on bass and Barry Borden on drums.
M is for the Mamas & the Papas – I love the folksy sound of the Mamas & the Papas. Every time I hear one of their songs, I’m transported back to a long-ago time and it always makes me smile at the memories.
The Mamas & the Papas was an American folk rock vocal group that recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968, reuniting briefly in 1971. They released five studio albums and seventeen singles, six of which made the top ten and sold close to 40 million records worldwide. The group was composed of John Phillips (1935–2001), Denny Doherty (1940–2007), Cass Elliot (1941–1974), and Michelle Phillips née Gilliam (b. 1944). Their sound was based on vocal harmonies arranged by John Phillips, the songwriter, musician, and leader of the group who adapted folk to the new beat style of the early sixties.
The group was formed by husband and wife John and Michelle Phillips, formerly of The New Journeymen, and Denny Doherty, formerly of The Mugwumps. Both of these earlier acts were folk groups active from 1964 to 1965. The last member to join was Cass Elliot, Doherty’s bandmate in The Mugwumps, who had to overcome John Phillips’ concern that her voice was too low for his arrangements, that her physical appearance would be an obstacle to the band’s success, and that her temperament was incompatible with his. The group considered calling itself The Magic Circle before switching to The Mamas and the Papas, apparently inspired by the Hells Angels, whose female associates were called “mamas”.
The group was not without shakeup. “Their second album, The Mamas and the Papas, is sometimes referred to as Cass, John, Michelle, Dennie, whose names appear thus above the band’s name on the cover. Recording was interrupted when Michelle Phillips became indiscreet about her affair with Gene Clark of The Byrds. A liaison the previous year between Michelle Phillips and Denny Doherty had been forgiven; Doherty and John Phillips had reconciled and written “I Saw Her Again” about the episode, [I didn’t know that’s what the song was about! Did you?]… This time, Phillips was determined to fire his wife. After consulting their attorney and record label, he, Elliot, and Doherty served Michelle Phillips with a letter expelling her from the group on June 28, 1966.
Jill Gibson was hired to replace Phillips. While Gibson was a quick study and well regarded, the three original members concluded that she lacked her predecessor’s “stage charisma and grittier edge”, and Michelle Phillips was reinstated on August 23, 1966. Jill Gibson, so nearly a full-time Mama, left and was paid a lump sum from the group’s funds.”
You might not know who you’re listening to on their second album and no one may ever know: “It remains unclear whose vocals appear on The Mamas and the Papas album as released on August 30, 1966. Gibson says she sang all but two songs. Studio documents appear to show that Michelle Phillips had already recorded six songs for the album in April 1966, including the singles “I Saw Her Again” and “Words of Love”. Record Producer Lou Adler has said, “We recorded Jill on six songs … got six vocal performances out of her, which we later replaced, some of ’em.” Michelle Phillips has said that she does not know who is singing on the album: “There’s no way to know who sang on what, because we both sang on all the parts, and it was up to Bones [Howe; recording engineer] and Lou [Adler] and John [Phillips] what was in the final mix. And they had a lot to choose from! When you listen to the second album … listen to it … because I swear I don’t have any idea who’s singing on it.” Interesting, that!
Cass Elliot and John Phillips had some definite personality conflicts which ultimately led to the disbanding of the group in 1968. “[The band’s] chart performance had become increasingly erratic, with three of its last four singles failing on both sides of the Atlantic. As John Phillips recalled, “Times had changed. The Beatles showed the way. Music itself was heading toward a technological and compositional complexity that would leave many of us behind. It was tough to keep up.” The group made it official at the beginning of 1969: “Dunhill released us from our contracts and we were history.”” (Source: Wikipedia)
Cass Elliot went on to carve out a successful solo career, billed as Mama Cass, and toured the U.S. and Europe. She also appeared frequently on television, including two specials (The Mama Cass Television Program on ABC in January 1969 and Don’t Call Me Mama Anymore on CBS in September 1973). Though popular, none of the three albums she recorded produced a charting single.
Elliot died of heart failure in London on July 29, 1974, after completing a two-week engagement at the Palladium. The shows were mostly sold out and prompted standing ovations. Her former bandmates and Lou Adler attended her funeral in Los Angeles. Elliot was survived by her only child, Owen Vanessa Elliot (b. 1967).
John Phillips and Denny Doherty embarked on solo careers, without much success. John Phillips was plagued with drug addiction and Doherty was an alcoholic for most of the 60s and 70s, though he got sober in the early 80s and stayed sober for the rest of his life. Michelle Phillips did only one solo album after the band’s breakup, with little impact, but went on to build a successful career as an actress in both film and television. I was a big fan of the TV show Knots Landing; she had a prominent role in that series. She is the only surviving member of the Mamas & the Papas.
Here are my favorite songs by them:
California Dreamin’ –
I Saw Her Again – 1966 video:
Monday, Monday –
Creeque Alley – great music video with commentary from a 2005 documentary by American Public Television called “California Dreamin’ – The Songs of the Mamas & The Papas”:
Words of Love –
M is for Montrose – I never saw Montrose in concert but I did see lead singer Sammy Hagar when he opened for ZZ Top in Buffalo back in 1983. He opened the show with my favorite Montrose song, Bad Motor Scooter. Here’s Montrose performing that epic song in 1974:
Lead Guitarist Ronnie Montrose took his life on March 3, 2012 after a long battle with prostate cancer and in 2012/2013, Montrose did a tribute tour to honor Ronnie and came together with Sammy Hagar, Denny Carmassi (drums), Bill Church (original member on bass) and featured Joe Satriani on Lead Guitar.
Here’s another favorite Montrose song, Rock Candy, (audio only):
M is for Mountain – When you think Mountain, inevitably one song comes to mind: the only song that I know of that starts out with a cowbell: Mississippi Queen. Who doesn’t dig this song??! I couldn’t find a live version that I liked so here is a video of Mountain album covers to go along with this beloved 1970 song:
M is for Mitch Ryder – Mitch Ryder is an American musician best known for these two songs. Remember Go-Go Girls? Here’s a few dancing to Mitch Ryder performing C.C. Rider/Jenny Take a Ride at the Hollywood-a-Go-Go in 1965:
My favorite Mitch Ryder song, Devil with the Blue Dress On:
M is for the Marshall Tucker Band – that American Southern Rock/Country band hailing from Spartenburg, South Carolina whose music serenaded me on long rides with the windows down and the volume cranked. Their easy-going instrumentation, harmonious vocals and meaningful lyrics make me sway just thinking about them. The flute delightfully highlights many of their songs and the piano solos blow my mind. Here are my favorite Marshall Tucker Band songs. (by the way, there is no Marshall Tucker in the band. Here’s the origin of the band’s name, taken from Wikipedia: “The “Marshall Tucker” in the band’s name does not refer to a band member, but rather a Spartanburg-area piano tuner. While the band was discussing possible band names one evening in an old warehouse they had rented for rehearsal space, someone noticed that the warehouse’s door key had the name “Marshall Tucker” inscribed on it, and suggested they call themselves the “The Marshall Tucker Band,” not realizing it referred to an actual person. It later came to light that Marshall Tucker, the blind piano tuner, had rented the space before the band, and his name was inscribed on the key. In his book, Top Pop Singles, 1955-2002, music historian Joel Whitburn attributes “Marshall Tucker” to the owner of the band’s rehearsal hall.”
Can’t You See:
Here’s Heard It in a Love Song (a lyrics video):
Fire on the Mountain – another amazing song. I love the incorporation of the pedal steel guitar:
Here’s one that is a great song when you’re just done fed up with the one you’re with: you can belt out the chorus and feel the freedom!
See You Later, I’m Gone:
Another one from the “Carolina Dreams Tour ‘77” DVD, with an incredible sax solo, I Should Have Never Started Loving You:
M is for the Moody Blues – If it’s one band that I regret not seeing, it’s the Moody Blues. For years I have heard about the incredible shows they put on. They are an English band whose first album was released in 1967 and stayed on the charts for over two years! They have been active ever since with one original member from when the band formed in 1964 and two more from the 1967 lineup. They still perform the world over. Their music was dubbed as “art rock”: a progressive sound blending orchestra and classical infusions with rock. Their music is truly timeless and so it was fitting that they just embarked on a 50th Anniversary Tour and titled it “Timeless Flight.” Indeed! Kick back for some classic Moody Blues concert and performance footage and a few really good music .
Go Now – Here they are from way back in 1964, when they appeared on the “Top of the Pops” British music charts BBC television program:
Ride My See Saw – from a 1968 performance on Colour Me Pop, a British music TV program broadcast on BBC2 from 1968-1969:
Tuesday Afternoon – a performance from 1970:
Nights in White Satin concert performance:
Your Wildest Dreams – Music video by The Moody Blues performing Your Wildest Dreams. (C) 1986 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc:
I Know You’re Out There Somewhere – Music video by The Moody Blues performing I Know You’re Out There Somewhere. (C) 1988 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc:
Question – playing at Royal Albert Hall:
The Story in Your Eyes – recorded around 1970 with vintage shots:
The Voice – from 1982. I don’t know that I can specifically choose a favorite Moody Blues song but I sure do like this one:
I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock n Roll Band):
M is for Marvin Gaye – (born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American singer, songwriter and musician. Gaye helped to shape the sound of Motown Records, first as an in house session player in the 1960s and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, including How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) and I Heard It Through the Grapevine, and duet recordings with Mary Wells, Kim Weston and Tammi Terrell, later earning the titles Prince of Motown and Prince of Soul.
During the 1970s, he recorded the concept albums What’s Going On and Let’s Get It On and became one of the first artists in Motown to break away from the reins of his production company.
Gaye’s later recordings influenced several R&B subgenres, such as quiet storm and neo-soul. [I never heard of “quiet soul,” did you??] Following a period in Europe as a tax exile in the early 1980s, Gaye released the 1982 Grammy Award-winning hit Sexual Healing and the Midnight Love album.
On April 1, 1984, Gaye’s father, Marvin Gay Sr., fatally shot him at their house in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. Since his death, many institutions have posthumously bestowed Gaye with awards and other honors—including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Every time I hear a Marvin Gaye song it reminds me of a very sexy fling I had with a 1st Calvary Division Army Sergeant back in early 2000. We used to play my “Hey Love” album over and over, sipping wine by a roaring fire and slow dancing in the living room. So very sexy.
Here are my favorite Marvin Gaye songs:
How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You) – (album cover still):
Your Precious Love – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell:
Ain’t That Peculiar – Live performance 1965:
You’re All I Need to Get By – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell:
I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Live at Montreaux (not sure of the year):
Too Busy Thinking About My Baby – extended version:
What’s Going On –
Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell:
Mercy Mercy Me – from Live at Montreaux DVD:
Let’s Get It On – a lyrics video:
Got to Give It Up – a Soul Train appearance performance:
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell:
Sexual Healing – Music video by Marvin Gaye performing Sexual Healing. (C) 1982 Sony BMG Music Entertainment:
M is for Michael Jackson – We can’t have an M category and not include the King of Pop! I can’t find my concert ticket but I saw him in 1987 in Washington DC for his first solo tour, the BAD tour. The 16-month tour grossed over $125 million, more than any entertainer had on a single tour. The wickedly cool thing about that concert was the just three days earlier, I saw Prince perform at the same stadium, the Capital Centre, located in Landover, MD, just outside Washington DC. (I’ll talk more about the Prince concert when we get to the P’s. BTW, I can’t find my concert ticket stub for that concert either!)
No matter your opinion on Michael Jackson, the man, you have to admit he was supremely talented and a performer of the highest caliber. It was a shame how he died, but at least he left the world with a wealth of fantastic songs and epic music videos.
For the Michael Jackson section, I’m going to start way back when he was a wee lad, leading his brothers in the Jackson 5. I just love some of those Jackson 5 songs and one in particular makes me smile every time I hear it because it reminds me of days gone by when I was just 9 or 10 years old. Probably my favorite Jackson 5 song, here’s Rockin’ Robin from 1972:
Here’s I’ll Be There, performed on a Diana Ross TV special in 1971:
On to Michael, the grown-up: Here’s Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough from the “Off the Wall” album:
Here’s BAD, the video (this is the album being promoted on the concert tour in which I saw Michael):
Here’s Thriller: credits: Music video by Michael Jackson performing Thriller. (C) 1982 MJJ Productions Inc.#VEVOCertified on October 29, 2010
Billie Jean – Music video by Michael Jackson performing Billie Jean. © 1982 MJJ Productions Inc:
Beat It – Music video by Michael Jackson performing Beat It. © 1982 MJJ Productions Inc.:
The Way You Make Me Feel –Music video by Michael Jackson performing The Way You Make Me Feel. © 1987 MJJ Productions Inc :
Well that was quite an eclectic collection. So who are your favorite M bands or musicians? Who did I forget?