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…
V is for VAN MORRISON – ““Van the Man,” as he’s called, is a singer/songwriter musician from Northern Ireland who started his career as a teenager in the late 1950s. He played a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, keyboards and saxophone for various Irish show-bands covering the popular hits of the day. He rose to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the Northern Irish R&B band “Them”, with whom he recorded the garage band classic “Gloria”. His solo career began under the pop-hit oriented guidance of Bert Berns with the release of the hit single “Brown Eyed Girl” in 1967. After Berns’ death, Warner Bros. Records bought out his contract and allowed him three sessions to record Astral Weeks in 1968. Even though this album would gradually garner high praise, it was initially a poor seller; however, the next one, Moondance, established Morrison as a major artist, and throughout the 1970s he built on his reputation with a series of critically acclaimed albums and live performances. Morrison continues to record and tour…” (Source: Wikipedia)
His performances have been described as mystical and transcendental. I’ve never seen him live but I just know when I hear his music, I immediately get in a good mood! Especially being that I’m a brown-eyed girl myself, this song is one of my favorites:
Brown-Eyed Girl – “Captured on the 22nd take on the first day, this song was released as a single in mid-June 1967, reaching #10 in the US charts in 1967. “Brown Eyed Girl” became Morrison’s most played song and over the years it has remained a classic; forty years later in 2007, it was the fourth most requested song of DJs in the US.” Source: Wikipedia
Here is a video of Van at the “It’s Too Late to Stop Now” tour in 1973 with the never released live version of Brown Eyed Girl with the Caledonian Soul Orchestra. Originally on “Blowin’ your mind” 1969. Copyright lyrics and music Exile
Moondance – the title track from his third solo album, released in 1970:
In 1971, Morrison released the acclaimed album Tupelo Honey, which produced this big hit: Wild Night. Here’s the complete version, with Ronnie Montrose on electric and acoustic guitars and backing vocals (audio only with video being a still of the Tupelo Honey album cover):
Wavelength – LOVE this song!
Into the Mystic – Van Morrison’s music, and in particular this song, makes me feel like I’m sitting on the grassy edge of a lake, with soft breezes brushing my face, and clouds rolling by on a sunny sky. Here’s a lyric video of the song. Close your eyes: feel the music and tell me, to where does this song take you?
V is for VAN HALEN – Van Halen is an American rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. From 1974 until 1985, the band comprised guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony. In 1985, the band replaced David Lee Roth with ex-Montrose lead vocalist Sammy Hagar (who I covered in M is for Montrose and S is for Sammy Hagar sections of this A-Z). They were one of the most successful rock acts of their time. “Van Halen achieved worldwide fame for their many popular songs and larger-than-life stage performances; unfortunately, they also became known for the drama surrounding the departures of former members. Controversy surrounded the band following the exits of Roth, Hagar, and Anthony; this controversy often included numerous conflicting press statements between the former members and the band.” Source: Wikipedia. There is serious drama with this band and you can get your fill of it here.
One thing that they revolutionized in the industry is the use of contract riders. I had heard the stories of Van Halen’s “outrageous” contractual demands (they wanted a bowl of M&Ms in their room but there couldn’t be any brown M&Ms, only the colored ones). You may have heard that too. Well, they did that for a very good reason and it’s actually pretty darn smart. The explanation, detailed on Wikipedia, goes like this: ”Van Halen had a notable effect on the modern rock music tour with their use of the concert technical contract rider. They were one of the first bands to use contract riders to specify a “wish list,” a practice now used throughout the music industry. They pioneered extensive requirements including power availability and stage construction details. The band’s demands were not limited to technical issues; their now-infamous rider specified that a bowl of M&M’s, with all of the brown M&M’s removed, was to be placed in their dressing room. According to David Lee Roth, this was listed in the technical portion of the contract not because the band wanted to make capricious demands of the venue, but rather as a test of whether or not the contract had actually been thoroughly read and honored, as it contained other requirements involving legitimate safety concerns. If the bowl was present, then the band members could safely assume the other, legitimate, items in the technical rider were being fulfilled to their satisfaction. Conversely, if the bowl was missing, or brown M&M’s were present, then the band members would be within their rights to have the venue inspect the work, ask it be redone, etc. Their concern for safety was real: during their earlier tours, not only had equipment been damaged, but several members of their road crew were nearly electrocuted, both due to inadequate safety measures and preparation on the part of the local venue.” Impressive, no?
I could list umpteen Van Halen songs, but these are my ultimate favs:
Runnin’ with the Devil – a lyrics video:
The Best of Both Worlds – my theme song! I want the best of both worlds. Always. Don’t we all?? Here’s a performance from 1989, Live at Tokoyo:
Finish What Ya Started – This collection video clips are from Van Halen Video Hits Volume 1 recorded in 1999
Jamie’s Cryin’– (audio only):
And the Cradle Will Rock – from 1980:
V is for VANILLA FUDGE – Vanilla Fudge is an American rock band known predominantly for their extended rock renderings of contemporary hit songs. The band’s original lineup—vocalist/organist Mark Stein, bassist/vocalist Tim Bogert, lead guitarist/vocalist Vince Martell, and drummer/vocalist Carmine Appice—recorded five albums during the years 1966–69, before disbanding in 1970. … The band has been cited as “one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal.” Source: Wikipedia
Season of the Witch – extended song version (8+ minutes), with a very cool photo-montage video: (audio remastered in 2006):
This next song is probably their best known song and their biggest hit: their cover version of You Keep Me Hangin’ On, originally recorded by The Supremes. It was a Top 10 hit in the US and Australia and a Top 20 hit in the UK back in 1967. “This version featured Stein’s psychedelic-baroque organ intro and Appice’s energetic drumming… According to Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord, Vanilla Fudge’s organ-heavy sound was a large influence on the UK band Deep Purple, with Blackmore even stating that his band wanted to be a “Vanilla Fudge clone” in its early years.” (Source: Wikipedia)
That’s it for Letter V. Who are your favorite V bands and music artists? Who would you have included here?