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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…
B is for Bad Company – When I look at my iTunes library, probably the most songs that I have by a single artist, besides the Beatles, has to be Bad Company. I absolutely love every single Bad Company song there is, literally. Bad Company was the first concert I ever saw. Back when tickets were $6 (for Bad Company AND Kansas)!
Bad Company, the title track to their self-titled album “Bad Company”, that simple black and white album cover that is recognized by people the world over, is the first song I ever remember hearing by the band. And still to this day, when it comes on the radio (because so many Bad Company songs are still in regular rotation on radio stations all over America) I crank it up all the way and jam out. You can too, right now:
I guess I would say that my favorite Bad Company album is “Runnin’ with the Pack.” Off the Runnin’ with the Pack album, I love the title track Runnin’ with the Pack and Silver Blue & Gold. Here’s Bad Company performing both of those songs in a 2002 concert:
Another favorite of mine is Sweet Lil Sister. I love dancing to this song! (audio only; video is just a still of the album cover):
“Straight Shooter” is Bad Company’s second album and was released in 1975. One song I really enjoy singing is “Weep No More” (audio only; video is a still of the album cover):
That second album had several hits, including Good Lovin’ Gone Bad and Feel Like Makin’ Love. Their song Shooting Star, which told the story of a rock star dying early, was lyrically inspired by the drug and alcohol-related deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison.
Here’s Vh1 Classic’s “Behind the Music” special on Bad Company. Great documentary on the group:
This is a great song with which to end this Bad Company segment and the perfect little video to go with their song Seagull, from their first album “Bad Company”:
B is for Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath: 2 B bands that I just happened to see TOGETHER! For their Black and Blue tour. The year was 1980.
I actually wrote about this concert last year in another post so you can skip this part if you already read it (but scroll down to see my other B bands). It was such an epic concert! This is taken from my previous post:
There was the time at the Black Sabbath/Blue Oyster Cult concert –the Black & Blue tour they called it — when Blue Oyster Cult started to play “E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence),” one of their songs that didn’t get a lot of radio play but happened to be my favorite song on their Agents of Fortune album, and I shot up out of my seat, arm up over my head, fist pump and a scream Yeeah! And for what seemed like a really long minute, I was the only one standing in the entire convention center because I knew the song from the squeak of the first note while it took the rest of the people a few notes before they figured out what song it was. It was a weird moment, but a cool one.
I had gone to this concert with my friend Chris, one of the funniest guys you’d ever meet, who could keep me laughing for hours. Like the time we were trippin’ and walking around his neighborhood: well, not quite AROUND his neighborhood. We’d walk a few steps and then stop because we were laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe let alone walk; we were out in the street, laughing hysterically for nearly two hours and the farthest we got from his house was three houses down the road, probably in all a total of 180 feet. Anyway, that’s another story. So here we are back at the Black & Blue concert in the Niagara Falls Convention Center and don’t ya know we ended up getting stuck in the middle of what looked like a never-ending row of seats. It wasn’t like that when we sat down. We had great floor seats, 9th row from the stage, dead center. Of course the middle section was flanked by two other sections, one on the right, one on the left (duh!) with walkways separating the three sections. Well, sometime during Blue Oyster Cult’s set, people had moved up to get closer and their chairs filled both walkways. So when the lights went up for intermission, we got up so we could go use the lavatories but stopped short when we saw the row configuration had changed. We looked in both directions and then at each other and both of us, in unison, said, “Nah. We can wait.” We psyched ourselves into believing that we didn’t have to pee THAT bad when really we were just too high to try to navigate through and over the sea of people.
Crazy show. Here’s a little Paranoid from Black Sabbath, video of a 1970 performance. God, I love the 70s!
Iron Man is the iconic classic that I can’t get enough of:
B is for Blue Oyster Cult –
Don’t Fear the Reaper:
E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) – Music video by Blue Oyster Cult performing E.T.I. (C) 1978 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT:
Godzilla – Blue Oyster Cult performing “Godzilla” live at the iHeartRadio Theater on December 17, 2012:
Other favorite B bands
B is for Billy Squier – I spent many a night in bars listening to cover bands and dancing to Billy Squier songs! Here are the ones that evoke the fondest of fun memories and make me want to stop whatever I’m doing and dance every time I hear them:
My Kinda Lover:
Rock Me Tonight:
Everybody Wants You – Live in Detroit in 1983 during the Emotions in Motion tour:
In the Dark:
Emotions in Motion – This song was released as a single in 1982, with Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor lending vocals:
Here’s another Billy that you probably haven’t thought of in awhile:
B is for Billy Thorpe (March 29, 1946 – February 28, 2007) was an English-born Australian pop/rock singer songwriter and musician. Leaving his band, Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, he relocated to the U.S. and performed as a solo artist: Remember that uber cool song Children of the Sun? He released this “space opera” and it peaked in the Top 40 of the Billboard Pop Album chart in 1979. Here’s a video that provides a nice visual treat to go along with this very unique song (video produced by the Sandman368 Video Variety Channel on YouTube):
B is for Brownsville Station – an American rock band from Michigan most remembered for their hit Smokin’ in the Boys Room from their 1973 album Yeah!
B is for Boston – I used to listen to this album, and particularly this song, while winding down country roads in my 1971 Monte Carlo, joint in hand, pedal to the medal, flying on long tree-lined roads… Obviously, that was a Long Time ago:
B is for Bachman Turner Overdrive – My cousin Brad, God rest his precious soul, and I used to air-guitar to BTO when we were kids, back in the early 70s.
You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet 1974
Roll on Down the Highway in 1974
Hey You in 1972
Here’s Bachman and Turner, just a wee bit older:
Let it Roll – found this on the YouTube channel of Eagle Rock: “Randy Bachman and C.F. “Fred” Turner were the core members of Bachman-Turner Overdrive throughout their commercial heyday in the 1970s. Between them they also composed the vast majority of the band’s many hit singles.
Reuniting at the end of 2009 they released an eponymous album in 2010 and in November of that year they performed at the famous Roseland Ballroom in New York City as part of their North American tour. This video was filmed at the show.”
B is for Badfinger: How about some Badfinger? They were a British rock band who had some sad tragedy, culminating from the darker side of the music industry, the business side. Here is the story from Wikipedia:
“Badfinger was a British rock band that originally consisted of Pete Ham, Mike Gibbins, Tom Evans and Ron Griffiths. The band evolved from an earlier group called The Iveys that was formed in 1961 by Ham, Ron Griffiths and David “Dai” Jenkins in Swansea, Wales. They were signed by the Beatles’ Apple label in 1968 as The Iveys. In 1969, Griffiths left and was replaced by Joey Molland, and the band renamed itself Badfinger. In 1970, the band engaged American businessman Stan Polley to manage their commercial affairs. Over the next five years the band recorded several albums for Apple and toured extensively, before they became embroiled in the chaos of Apple Records’ dissolution.
Badfinger had four consecutive worldwide hits from 1970 to 1972: “Come and Get It” (written and produced by Paul McCartney), “No Matter What”, “Day After Day” (produced by George Harrison) and “Baby Blue”. In 2013, “Baby Blue” made a resurgence onto the “Hot Rock Songs” Billboard 100 chart at number 14, due to its featuring at the end of the series finale of the hit TV show Breaking Bad. Their song “Without You” has been covered many times, including a Billboard number one hit for Harry Nilsson.
They signed to Warner Bros., but Polley’s financial machinations resulted in a lawsuit by Warner over missing escrow account money. Warner’s consequent withdrawal from market of the 1974 album, Wish You Were Here (seven weeks after its release), cut off the band’s income. Three days before his 28th birthday, on 24 April 1975, Ham committed suicide by hanging himself, leaving a note that included damning comments about Polley.
Over the next three years, surviving members struggled to rebuild their personal and professional lives against a backdrop of lawsuits. The albums Airwaves (1978) and Say No More (1981) floundered, as Molland and Evans see-sawed between co-operation and struggle in attempts to revive and capitalise on the Badfinger legacy. Having seen Ham’s body after Ham’s wife had called him, Evans reportedly never got over his friend’s suicide, and was quoted as saying in darker moments, “I wanna be where he is.” On 19 November 1983, Evans also took his own life by hanging.”
Very sad. I love their music. But now when I hear it, I get an overall feeling of melancholy because of the sadness that surrounded the band. Here they are doing Baby Blue in 1972:
And No Matter What:
Come and Get It:
Day After Day: another performance from 1972:
B is for The Band doing The Weight:
B is for Bob Seger – I had great seats at the Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band concert, and let me tell ya: He just rocks a live show! Oh man, it’s hard to pick out a favorite Seger song but I would have to say that Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man is my ultimate favorite. I can play that song over and over and over…and over some more and never get sick of it!
Get ready to get up and dance: here’s Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man:
Beautiful Loser – Here’s a lyric video:
Turn the Page –
Fire Down Below – performance on the David Letterman Show:
Fire Lake – this is the only video of Fire Lake I could find! The sound isn’t great (at all) but I love this song so much I didn’t want to leave it off. Not sure where this concert footage came from but it was from a long time ago. If anyone comes across another Fire Lake video that allows embedding, please let me know in the Comments section.
Night Moves –
Her Strut –
Mainstreet – recorded in 1977 in New Orleans (audio only):
Against the Wind – 1980 concert at the Capital Centre in Largo, MD:
Rock ‘n Roll Never Forgets – Studio version (audio only):
B is for Blackfoot: How about a little Southern Rock? No self-respecting blogger posting about classic rock would leave out that southern rock genre and what better B band than Blackfoot to show us how it’s done! Here’s Blackfoot, Live in 2007:
B is for Billy Joel – American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer, his life was changed after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show and he decided to pursue a career in music. In an interview, Joel commented about the impact of the group: “After seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, Joel decided to pursue a career in music. In an interview he said of the group’s impact, “That one performance changed my life. Up to that moment I’d never considered playing rock as a career. And when I saw four guys who didn’t look like they’d come out of the Hollywood star mill, who played their own songs and instruments, and especially because you could see this look in John Lennon’s face — and he looked like he was always saying: ‘F— you!’ — I said: ‘I know these guys, I can relate to these guys, I am these guys.’ This is what I’m going to do — play in a rock band.”
He went on to have 33 Top 40 hits in the US, all of which he wrote himself. He’s a six-time Grammy Award winner and was nominated an impressive 23 times over the course of his career. Since releasing his first hit song, “Piano Man,” in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States. (Wikipedia)
Here’s an interesting tidbit, also found on Wikipedia: “Joel attended Hicksville High School until 1967, but he did not graduate with his class. He had been playing at a piano bar to help his mother make ends meet, which interfered with his attendance at the end of his senior year, Joel did not have enough credits to graduate. Rather than attend summer school to earn his diploma, Joel decided to begin a career in music: “I told them, ‘To hell with it. If I’m not going to Columbia University, I’m going to Columbia Records, and you don’t need a high school diploma over there’.” Joel did, in fact, eventually sign with Columbia. In 1992, he submitted essays to the school board and was awarded his diploma at Hicksville High’s annual graduation ceremony, 25 years after leaving.”
I love hearing someone play piano and there’s no one quite like Billy Joel. I saw him in concert back in 1990 at the Capital Centre in Washington DC.
Music video by Billy Joel performing Piano Man. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 4,421,628 (C) 1985 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT:
If you’re a Billy Joel fan – or would like to become one – give a listen right here. He has so many hits that his Greatest Hits comes in three volumes! Here’s a cool 6 minute compilation video of snippets of 12 of his hits:
A great interview with Billy Joel. I believe this is from 1985. He reveals some very intimate details about his life, his troubles, his fears.
B is for Bruce Springsteen: And I can’t visit the B bands without mentioning Bruce Springsteen, who I also saw in concert. The year was 1987, it was his Tunnel of Love tour and I was up in a hospitality box (sky box) as a guest of the CBS affiliate in Washington DC (WUSA). They treated us buyers (I was a media buyer at an advertising agency at the time and a client of the station’s) with a fun dinner, a trip to the stadium and a gift bag with all kinds of cool stuff, including binoculars! That was a super fun night. And of course it was an awesome show. They don’t call Bruce “the Boss” for nothin’!
My favorite Springsteen song? Probably has to be Dancin’ in the Dark: Music video by Bruce Springsteen performing Dancing In The Dark. (C) 1984 Bruce Springsteen
Thunder Road –
B is for Billy Preston – I didn’t realize that Billy Preston had such a significant relationship with the Beatles! He was an American musician whose work included R&B, rock, soul, funk and gospel. A virtuoso keyboardist, Preston was recognized as a top session musician in the 1960s, during which he backed artists such as Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and the Beatles. He then went on to achieve fame as a solo artist, with hit pop singles including “That’s the Way God Planned It”, “Outa-Space”, “Will It Go Round in Circles”, “Space Race”, and “Nothing from Nothing”. In addition, Preston co-wrote “You Are So Beautiful”, which became a number 5 hit for Joe Cocker. Preston continued to record and perform with other artists, notably George Harrison after the Beatles’ break-up, and Eric Clapton, and he played keyboards for the Rolling Stones on many of the group’s albums and tours during the 1970s.
Preston first met the Beatles as a 16-year-old in 1962, while part of Little Richard’s touring band, when their manager Brian Epstein organized a Liverpool show, at which the Beatles opened. The Washington Post explained their subsequent meeting:
”They’d hook up again in 1969, when the Beatles were about to break up while recording the last album they released, Let It Be (they would later record Abbey Road, which was released prior to Let It Be). George Harrison, a friend of Preston, had quit, walked out of the studio and gone to a Ray Charles concert in London, where Preston was playing organ. Harrison brought Preston back to the studio, where his keen musicianship and gregarious personality temporarily calmed the tension.”
Preston is one of several people referred to by commentators as the “Fifth Beatle”. At one point during the “Get Back” sessions, John Lennon proposed the idea of having him join the band (to which Paul McCartney countered that it was difficult enough reaching agreements with four). Preston played with the Beatles for several of the Get Back sessions, some of the material from which would later be culled to make the film Let it Be and its companion album. Preston also accompanied the band for its rooftop concert; the group’s final public appearance. In April 1969, their single “Get Back” was credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston”, the only time such a joint credit had been given on an official Beatles-sanctioned release (as distinct from an unsanctioned reissue of some Hamburg-era recordings on which they were the backing group for Tony Sheridan). The credit was bestowed by the Beatles to reflect the extent of Preston’s presence on the track; his electric piano is prominent throughout and he plays an extended solo. Preston also worked, in a more limited role, on the Abbey Road album, contributing to the tracks “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Something.”
In 1978, he appeared as Sgt. Pepper in Robert Stigwood’s film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was very loosely based on the Beatles’ album of the same name, and sang “Get Back” as the penultimate song.
I love this photo of him, visiting the White House in 1974. He has a great smile and happy eyes, doesn’t he?
Will Go Round in Circles – a 1973 appearance and performance on the Midnight Special:
Nothing from Nothing – Billy Preston’s biggest hit was Nothing from Nothing, stemming from his favorite quote “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.” This is from a 1975 performance:
B is for Bread – An American soft-rock band whose mellow songs from the early 70s always make me swoon when I hear them:
Everything I Own
Make It With You – 1977 performance on the Midnight Special:
If – David Gates of Bread performs a live studio performance, taped in 1975, from the BBC’s “Musical Time Machine” TV series.
Baby I’m-A Want You (video with lyrics):
Guitar Man (1972)
It Don’t Matter to Me (1969)
B is for the Bee Gees – “Britain’s First Family of Harmony” consisted of three brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb. They had two distinct periods of success: as a rock act in the late 60s and early 70s and as a prominent performer in the Disco era of the late 70s. Who can forget Disco?? While some would prefer to forget Disco, I happen to have fond memories of it. I went to two kind of bars in the 70s: those that had rock cover bands and those with disco balls, strobe lights and cocky DJ’s spinning disco tunes on the turntable while lots of Italian guys wearing flashy silk shirts swaggered and flirted.
The Bee Gees were quite the success, selling more than 220 million records worldwide. According to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame citation, “Only Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks and Paul McCartney have outsold the Bee Gees.”
Here are a few of my favorite Bee Gee hits:
Jive Talkin’ – from a 1975 performance on the Midnight Special:
Lonely Days – this is a fabulous 1971 concert performance of the song from the impressive Reelin’ In the Years archive (Reelin’ In the Years Productions, LLC):
The soulful Nights on Broadway from a 1975 performance on the Midnight Special:
No Bee Gees reference would be complete without including the song Night Fever, the main song featured in the 1978 movie “Saturday Night Fever”, starring John Travolta. This song remained the number one Billboard Hot 100 Single on the charts for over 2 months after being released.
Stayin’ Alive music video
You Should Be Dancin’ – this is the song that catapulted them to Disco stardom (includes video clips from the movie “Saturday Night Fever” and live performance of the song during the Bee Gees 1979 Spirits Having Flown tour featured the Bee Gees’ younger sibling, Andy Gibb, on backing vocals):
If I Can’t Have You another Saturday Night Fever favorite:
B is for the B-52s: The B-52s are a new wave band formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976. Rooted in new wave and 1960s rock and roll, the group later covered many genres ranging from post-punk to pop rock.
Like many people, my first experience with the B-52s was their hit Rock Lobster. It was their first single and it became an underground success in 1978, selling over 2000 copies. It was re-released as a single and in Canada, released on the Warner Bros. label, the single went from cult hit to bona fide smash, eventually going on to reach the No. 1 position in the RPM-compiled national chart on May 24, 1980.
Here are my other favorite B-52s hits:
B is for Beatles: Okay, I wasn’t going to mention the Beatles because, well, it’s a given that I’m a Beatles fan. Who isn’t?! I’m mostly fond of their psychedelic period and prefer Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the White album and the Magical Mystery Tour albums over the others. I was also quite intrigued by the rumors that Paul McCartney was dead with the release of the Abbey Road album and really got into all the “clues” on the album, including when some songs were played backward. It was quite the mystery back then and everyone was talking about it. I obviously had a very cool school teacher in elementary school because she brought in a record player and shared it with the class. I don’t know what I thought back then, but now I think it was a brilliant publicity stunt! Here are a few of my favorite songs from each of those albums:
From Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album (June 1967):
With a Little Help from My Friends
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – a very creative video including lyrics in both English and Spanish!
From the Magical Mystery Tour album (November 1967):
All You Need is Love – a photo montage video:
Baby You’re a Rich Man – The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour – Song Number 10; theblehedgehog® You- Tube OfficialChannel; New Premium Productions Video.
I Am the Walrus –
From the White album (November 1968):
Back in the U.S.S.R. – one of my very favorite Beatles songs:
While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Here I go again, about to say “one of my very favorite Beatles songs”… So many great songs it’s certainly hard to pick one out of the mix to declare as a true favorite!
From the Abbey Road album (September 1969):
She Came In Through the Bathroom Window – a lyrics video:
Here Comes the Sun – LOVE this song!
So…After all that: Who are your favorite B bands? What do you think of the music I spotlighted here? What or who would you have picked?