If you’re looking for my Monday’s Music Moves Me post, go here.

But first, stick around and participate in this all-important Battle of the Bands!



Oh, wait, this isn’t football. But it’s just as good!!

This is the Ultimate DOG v CAT Battle of the Bands Tournament SEMI-FINAL ROUND! (Round Three for those counting).

For the Dogs, it’s all coming down to this. The winner of this Semi-Final Round will advance to the CHAMPIONSHIP where that age-old question just might be answered. Who will come out on top, the Dog or the Cat?? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet. We have this all important Playoff Round.

You were there for Round One, the hard rock battle, in which Led Zeppelin kicked Ted Nugent’s ass and became the Tournament’s Hard Dog winner.

And you were there for Round Two, the soft battle, where Marvin Gaye handily beat out Lobo for the Soft Dog win.

And now, here we are, the SEMI-FINAL PLAYOFF ROUND, the battle that will decide who goes to the CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND. Who is going to REPRESENT the Dogs, the HARD dog or the SOFT dog??

It’s in your hands, folks. Give a listen to our Dog finalists here and cast your votes. And I can assure you that this system is hack-proof and at this time we are sure there is no Russian interference…

Without further ado, here is the SEMI-FINAL BATTLE, with no commercial interruption.

Led Zeppelin’s “BLACK DOG” vs Marvin Gaye’s “I’LL BE DOGGONE”

Contender #1   

Led Zeppelin with Black Dog:


Contender #2

Marvin Gaye with I’ll Be Doggone:


I wanted to also give you voters a taste of these songs performed live by our contenders so feel free to give a listen to these as well before making your decision:

Contender #1:This is Led Zeppelin performing at live at Earl’s Court May 24th 1975:

Contender #2:This video is a duet clip of Marvin Gaye and Tina Turner taking turns singing. Marvin starts signing “I’ll Be Doggone” at the :25 second mark. Realize that the audio quality isn’t up to par with today’s standards so if you’re using this clip in your decision, be sure to factor that in.


IT’S TIME TO VOTE! Keep your eye on the prize here and remember that not only are we choosing the winner of the DOG Division here, that winner will be advancing to the Championship Final and will be competing against the winner of the CAT Division (and that winner will be selected with the battle being held over at Mary’s place right now: Pantera doing “Cat Scratch Fever” vs. Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle”).

So now, which DOG song are you voting for to win this Semi-Final Round: Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” or Marvin Gaye’s “I’ll Be Doggone” ???

Place your vote in the Comments section below.

And then be sure go over to Mary’s place and CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE CAT SEMI-FINAL BATTLE! 

Remember, ultimately, this is a battle between Dogs and Cats! Mark your calendars for the Championship Round which will happen on September 1st! 



ROUND ONE of the DOG vs CAT Tournament RESULTS ARE IN!

The DOG vs CAT Battle of the Bands Tournament ROUND ONE Results are in!

(Hey, if you’re looking for the Monday’s Music Moves Me post, scroll down or click here).

In case you’re out of the loop and aren’t sure what’s going on here, Mary from Jingle Jangle Jungle and I have teamed up to do the Ultimate Dog vs Cat Battle of the Bands Tournament. You can go back to my original Round One DOG Battle post for full details, or Mary’s Round One CAT Battle.

For my Hard-Rock Dog Song battle (here if you missed it), the contenders were Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” going up against Ted Nugent’s “Dog Eat Dog” —

It was a bonafide dog-fight (although at first Zeppelin was getting all the votes).  Unfortunately it’s summer and the number of participants is way down so there were only nine voters.

First let me tell you how I voted: I chose Ted Nugent’s “Dog Eat Dog” for two simple reasons: as mentioned in the original post, the whole Free For All album brings back a rush of memories for me from the late 70s, which were my glory days, so to speak. And the second reason is, although I very much like Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” the song was soooo overplayed on the radio that I got sick of it. Even today it’s played frequently on Classic Rock stations so I find myself saying “Not again! Can’t they ever go deep???!”

So of course my vote went with the three others who voted for Ted Nugent.

And you know what that means: Five folks cast their votes and…

Led Zeppelin’s “BLACK DOG” is the victor in ROUND ONE of the Dog v Cat Tournament….but let it be known this song won only by a hair (of the dog)…

FINAL TALLY:   Led Zeppelin “Black Dog” –  5 votes

                         Ted Nugent “Dog Eat Dog” – 4 votes

To close out Round One, here is Led Zeppelin live, performing Black Dog:


They may be old(er) now, but they can still rock! Here’s Led Zep performing the winning song in their later years:


Be sure to go check out the Round One CAT results at Jingle Jangle Jungle where Mary featured Nitro and Pantera duking it out over Ted Nugent’s Cat Scratch Fever!

And be sure to mark your calendars and come back on August 1st for ROUND TWO of this Ultimate Dog v Cat Battle of the Bands Tournament! Round Two will feature battles with Soft Rock Dog and Cat songs! What songs might those be?? Come back on 8/1 and find out!



Battle of the Bands RESULTS: Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin vs. Heart


It’s Battle of the Bands RESULTS Day for one of my most fun battles of all time. I couldn’t wait to see how this one turned out. I’m not surprised but I must say there were several voters who were surprised by their own votes. I love when that happens!

This battle featured the iconic song Stairway to Heaven, pitting legendary Led Zeppelin against Heart with Jason Bonham on drums (son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham), both presenting live performances.

Led Zeppelin was fantastic and I love their performance. But my vote went to Heart. Their performance absolutely blew me away. With the strings, the horns, the singers and the amazing full choir that popped up, it was simply spectacular. It literally gave me chills and brought me to tears!

Apparently, many other folks were moved too. Here’s how the votes shake out:

Led Zeppelin:  7 votes

Heart:  14 votes (including mine)

If you want to see the Heart performance again, here it is (I can watch this over and over, it’s that good!):

Thanks so much for participating. This one was really fun for me and I’m glad that so many of you enjoyed it as well.

See you on November 1st for the next battle…


Battle of the Bands: Stairway to Heaven


This song probably needs no introduction or explanation but here’s what Wikipedia says about the song: “Stairway to Heaven” is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in late 1971. It was composed by guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant for the band’s untitled fourth studio album (often called Led Zeppelin IV). It is often referred to as one of the greatest rock songs of all time.

The song has three sections, each one progressively increasing in tempo and volume. The song begins in a slow tempo with acoustic instruments (guitar and recorders) before introducing electric instruments. The final section is an uptempo hard rock arrangement highlighted by Page’s intricate guitar solo accompanying Plant’s vocals that end with the plaintive a cappella line: “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”

“Stairway to Heaven” was voted number 3 in 2000 by VH1 on its list of the 100 Greatest Rock Songs, and was placed at number 31 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. It was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States in the 1970s, despite never having been commercially released as a single there.

 Here are my battle contestants:


The footage is from the concert film “The Song Remains the Same.” The concert took place in Madison Square Garden, New York City.



Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, along with Jason Bonham, playing Stairway to Heaven as a tribute for Led Zeppelin on Dec. 2, 2012 at Kennedy Center.

It was televised by CBS on Dec. 26, 2012, but as a short version. This is the full version released on iTunes in 2013.

The honorees were truly impressed, I do believe. What do you think?


TIME TO VOTE! Which version do you like better and why? And when you’re done voting, please visit these other BOTB participants and check out their cool battles:

L is for Lynryd Skynyrd, Looking Glass, Lovin’ Spoonful, Loggins & Messina, Little River Band and Led Zeppelin!



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…

L is for Lynryd Skynrd – Three teenage boys, Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins got together in 1966 and started jamming as a garage band. In 1989 they sought a new name and settled on Leonard Skinnerd, mocking their high school gym teacher, Leonard Skinner, because he was apparently a hardass about enforcing the “no long hair” rule at school. (Later in 1970, the spelling changed to the distinctive Lynryd Skynyrd).

Best known for popularizing the southern rock genre, Lynryd Skynryd is one of my very favorite bands. I can put on their Gold and Platinum Collection and play it over and over and never get sick of it. I almost got to see Lynryd Skynrd but shortly thereafter, at the peak of their success, a terrible plane crash took the lives of three band members in 1977, including the heart and soul of the band, Ronnie Van Zant.

Although I didn’t get to see Lynryrd Skynryd, I did see the Rossington Collins band, which was the band formed by Allen Collins and Gary Rossington and two other remaining members of Lynryrd Skynryd. They didn’t want to come out as Lynryrd Skynryd because they didn’t want to taint the memory of Ronnie and the others who had put their life into the band, they wanted to honor their legacy so instead of coming out as Lynryd Skynryd they came out as Rossington Collins. It was when Rossington Collins first started touring that I saw them. It was incredibly emotional because the loss was still fairly recent and when they performed Free Bird, the spotlight shined on the spot of an empty microphone where Ronnie Van Zant would’ve stood. There were a lot of tears in the Niagara Falls Convention Center that night.

The surviving band members reformed in 1988 for a reunion tour with Johnny Van Zant as lead vocalist, the little brother to singer and founder Ronnie Van Zant. They continued to tour but suffered several more losses in 2004 and 2009. The story of the band is both a fairy tale dream-come-true and a tragedy. At the end of this segment I’ve posted the VH1 special Behind the Music – the story behind the music of Lynryrd Skynryd. You’ll see what I mean when you watch it. Very sad indeed.

It’s hard for me to choose a favorite Skynryd song because I love so many of them but probably the first one that comes to mind is Gimme Back My Bullets. When I was leaving WCXR in DC to move to Austin where I had accepted a sales job at a Contemporary Hits radio station, my buddy who was the midday disc jockey at the station did an on-air dedication and farewell to me and then played Gimme Back My Bullets. I was in the station and heard it and went running into the control room and we cranked the music so loud the walls were shaking! So Mike Kelley, this one’s for you!

Gimme Back My Bullets, studio version:

You Got That Right – this video shows the album cover. You’ll notice the flames on the cover. I had that album – I won it in a contest in high school – but I turned around and sold it. And then after the plane crash, they discontinued the cover with the flames and all subsequent productions of the album cover were without the flames. So of course the album cover with the flames because a collector’s item. My friend Audrey refused to sell it back to me. Ha!

That Smell – performance prior to the release of the album with that song: the song was introduced by Ronnie Van Zant as “this is a BRAND NEW NUMBER THAT’S GOING TO BE OUT ON OUR NEW ALBUM”

On the Hunt – from performance at Winterland in San Francisco, 1975

Whiskey Rock-a-Roller

Ballad of Curtis Lowe – a photo montage video:

Tuesday’s Gone – from their Vicious Cycle tour in 2003:

Travelin Man – 1976 performance:

Simple Man

Gimme Three Steps – 1976 performance:

And finally, their first two hits: Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird.

Sweet Home Alabama– studio version:

Free Bird – from 1975 on The Old Grey Whistle Test, a British television music show that aired on BBC2 from 1971-1988.

If this hasn’t been enough Skynryd for you, here’s the VH1 Classics documentary special on Lynryd Skynryd – the story Behind the Music:


Onto the next L band:

Looking Glass – This early 70s American pop music group can be classified as one of those “one-hit wonders”: It’s song Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) climbed to #1 in August 1972 and stayed on the charts for 16 weeks. And that’s about all that band ever really did. But boy, was that song ever fabulous. One of my absolute favorites and of course, made it onto the jukebox in my bar!


L is for the Lovin’ Spoonful – The Lovin’ Spoonful is an American rock band that “had its roots in the folk music scene based in the Greenwich Village section of lower Manhattan during the early 1960s. John Sebastian, who grew up in contact with music and musicians, was the son of a much-recorded and highly technically accomplished classical harmonica player (also named John Sebastian). He had reached maturity toward the end of the American folk music revival that spanned from the 1950s to the early 1960s. Sebastian was joined in the Spoonful by guitarist Zal Yanovsky from a bohemian folk group called The Mugwumps (two other members, Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty, would later form half of the Mamas & the Papas), playing local coffee houses and small clubs. Drummer Jan Carl and bassist Steve Boone rounded out the group but Carl was replaced by drummer-vocalist Joe Butler after the group’s first gig at The Night Owl in Greenwich Village.” (Source: Wikipedia)

A little bit of trivia on the Lovin’ Spoonful: “the band’s members termed their approach “good-time music”. In the liner notes of “Do You Believe in Magic”, Zal Yanovsky said he “became a convert to Reddy Kilowatt [the use of electricity in music] because it’s loud, and people dance to it, and it’s loud.” Soon-to-be members of the psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead were part of the West Coast acoustic folk music scene when The Lovin’ Spoonful came to town while on tour. They credited The Lovin’ Spoonful concert as a fateful experience, after which they decided to leave the folk scene and “go electric.” (Source: the Lovin’ Spoonful Wikipedia page)

And another tidbit that’s interesting: At the peak of its success the band was originally selected to perform on the television show that became The MonkeesHmm, I wonder what that show would’ve been like had they assumed the role??

My favorite Lovin’ Spoonful songs:

Summer in the City

Do You Believe in Magic? – 1965 performance:

Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind – this song went to #2 in 1966:




L is for Loggins and MessinaAmerican rock-pop duo Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina, these singer-songwriters found their success in the early to mid ‘70s. They broke up in 1976; Jim Messina found only limited success afterward but Kenny Loggins went on to have many hits in the ‘80s. They did reunite for a few reunion tours, in 2005 and 2009. Their 1972 song Angry Eyes is my favorite Loggins and Messina song.

Angry Eyes:  

Your Mama Don’t Dance – Loggins and Messina performing on the Midnight Special:

Danny’s Song – “Danny’s Song” written by Kenny Loggins, first appeared on “Sittin’ In”, the debut album by Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina, released in 1971 on the Columbia Records. It was later released on CD on the Sony label. The song was a big hit for Anne Murray in 1972.


L is for Little River Band – Formed in Australia in 1975, the band chose its name on the way to a performance as it passed a road sign for a little Victorian township called Little River! I guess they had to come up with a name for themselves and waited until the last minute! Good story. I love finding out how bands came up with their names.

During its career the band sold over 25 million records and had 13 U.S. Top 40 hits. I saw these Aussies about ten or so years ago here in Austin. They performed at a great outdoor venue called The Backyard and it was a fabulous show. They played all their hits and engaged so nicely with the audience, I really liked them. Here are my favorites by the Little River Band; there are quite a few:

Lonesome Loser:

The Night Owls – 1981 performance:

Cool Change – The video has nothing to do with the band but it is a riveting dolphin video by “Earthstudy” on YouTube. Enjoy:

Help Is On Its Way – 1977 performance:

Reminiscing – from 1978

Take It Easy On Me:

Man on Your Mind:

The Other Guy – Little River Band performing on Australia’s the Don Lane Show, 1983:

Happy Anniversary – performing in Germany, 1981:

Aren’t they great? Little River Band has such a good sound!

Now here’s a totally different sound.

L is for Led ZeppelinFormed in England in 1968, the band consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. Originally called “the New Yardbirds,” the band set out to change its name. Accounts of the origin of the name Led Zeppelin differ but most sources report that the name for the band came from snide remarks made by The Who members: According to the rumor, when Jimmy Page was assembling the group, Keith Moon (drummer from The Who) got word of his plans and predicted the group would go down “like a lead balloon” – this is a common English expression. John Entwistle (bassist and keyboardist from The Who) thought it would be “more like a lead zeppelin.” Page like the phrase and they changed “lead” to “led” to avoid mispronunciation. (Other accounts say that it was a newspaper article or review that said the band would “go over like a lead balloon.”)

With their heavy guitar-driven sound, Led Zeppelin is regarded as being progenitors of hard rock and heavy metal. Wildly successful, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995; the museum’s biography of the band states that they were “as influential in that decade [the 1970s] as the Beatles were in the prior one.”

The men of Led Zeppelin were honored by President Barack Obama in 2012 at the Kennedy Center Honors. Heart paid tribute to Led Zeppelin by performing their classic Stairway to Heaven and I posted the article and video on my blog because it was absolutely incredible –and I don’t say that lightly. So much so that it brought Robert Plant to tears. If you’d like to read the article, click here. I’m posting Heart’s version here and then I’ll post Led Zeppelin performing it. Heart blew me away doing this rendition and if you haven’t seen it, it is sure to blow you away too. They hired an amazing choir to accompany them and it was brilliant!

Stairway to Heaven – often referred to as one of the greatest rock songs of all time. It was the most requested song on FM radio stations in the United States in the 1970s, despite never having been officially released as a single here.

On the 20th Anniversary of the song’s release, Esquire magazine featured an article on the song’s success and lasting influence. Writer Karen Karbo wrote:

“It’s doubtful that anyone knew it would become the most popular rock song of all time. After all, it’s eight minutes long and was never released as a single. Even [the Beatles] “Hey Jude” was shorter, was a 45, and enjoyed the benefits of comprehensible words and a sing-along chorus. But “Hey Jude” isn’t the most requested song of all time on FM rock stations. Nobody ever had a “Hey Jude” theme prom or played the song at weddings and funerals like “Stairway.” “Stairway” couldn’t succeed today. Back in 1971, FM deejays prided themselves on digging deep into albums to come up with oddball, cultish favorites. With its near-oppressive length, erratic changes, and woo-woo lyrics, the quasi-medieval anthem was a perfect choice. It continues to be a favorite among music listeners who are younger than the song itself, listeners who, in some cases, were no doubt conceived while the tune blasted from car speakers.”

Here is Led Zeppelin performing the iconic anthem. The footage is from the concert film “The Song Remains the Same”. The concert took place in Madison Square Garden, New York City. © Warner Brothers

Other Zeppelin greats include:

The Immigrant Song (with lyrics): Led Zeppelin was known to have very obscure and often cryptic lyrics.


Whole Lotta Love – 1997 promo video (© 2010 WMG. Official Video Channel):

Over the Hills and Far Away – promo video (© 2010 WMG. Led Zeppelin promo video for “Over the Hills and Far Away”. From the official Led Zeppelin DVD (2003).

Going to California – Live performance

Black Dog – live version of “Black Dog.” The song’s title is a reference to a nameless black labrador retriever that wandered around the Headley Grange studios during recording.

When the Levee Breaks:

Dazed and Confused – 1969 performance:


So who are your favorite L bands? Who would you have included here? Who did I forget?