Another Rock Legend Gone: AC/DC’s guitarist and co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64

photo credit: Martyn Goodacre/Hulton Archive

Upon hearing the news about the passing of the driving force behind one of my very favorite rock bands, AC/DC guitarist and co-founder Malcolm Young, I was immediately taken back to those days when my 8-track player would blast out countless songs by this Australian band that played an important and starring role in the soundtrack of my life.

I put together a tribute playlist of my favorite AC/DC songs. And I have to wonder: what happens to the band now? Sharing with you below the two articles that I read tonight. They left me begging the question, is it over for AC/DC?

While you read the folowing articles about the great Malcolm Young, enjoy these incredible songs by one of the most influential bands that helped to shape my musical ear. And then tell me,  How would you answer the question?

 

From Rolling Stone, the news article by Daniel Kreps announcing the death of AC/DC’s Malcolm Young:

Malcolm Young, AC/DC Guitarist and Co-Founder, Dead at 64

Subhead: Musician who co-founded Australian rock legends in 1973 with brother Angus Young dies following battle with dementia

Malcolm Young, guitarist and co-founder of AC/DC, died Saturday at the age of 64. Young had been suffering with dementia for the past three years, an illness that forced his retirement from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band he founded with his brother Angus Young in 1973.

“Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young,” AC/DC wrote in a statement.

“Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC. With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band. As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man. He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.”

Angus Young added, “As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done.”

The Young brothers lost their older brother George Young, the Easybeats guitarist and AC/DC’s longtime producer, in October at the age of 70.

In an additional statement from Malcolm Young’s family, the band said that Malcolm Young died peacefully Saturday with his family by his side.

“Renowned for his musical prowess, Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many,” the statement said. “From the outset, he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans.”

As rhythm guitarist for the legendary rock band, Malcolm Young served as an indispensable foil to Angus Young’s arena-stuffing riffs. After forming AC/DC in 1973, the Young brothers would be credited as co-writers on every song the band recorded from their 1975 debut High Voltage through 2014’s Rock or Bust. That final album marked AC/DC’s first without Malcolm, who announced in September 2014 that he would permanently leave the band due to dementia.

“We miss Malcolm, obviously,” AC/DC singer Brian Johnson said in July 2014. “He’s a fighter. He’s in [the] hospital, but he’s a fighter. We’ve got our fingers crossed that he’ll get strong again… Stevie, Malcolm’s nephew, was magnificent, but when you’re recording with this thing hanging over you and your work mate isn’t well, it’s difficult. But I’m sure [Malcolm] was rooting for us.”

Malcolm Young last performed live with AC/DC when their tour for 2008’s Black Ice concluded in June 2010 with a concert in Bilbao, Spain.

Malcolm Young, like his older brother George and younger brother Angus, was born in Glasgow, Scotland before the whole Young family immigrated to Sydney, Australia in the early Sixties.

Malcolm and Angus’ first brush with rock stardom came courtesy of their brother George, who found global fame thanks to his band the Easybeats and their song “Friday on My Mind.” Although Malcolm’s two older brothers found success in the music industry, their father still made Malcolm work as a mechanic in a bra factory after leaving school at 15.

“I’ve never felt like a pop star – this is a nine-to-five sort of gig,” Malcolm told Rolling Stone in 2008. “It comes from working in the factories, that world. You don’t forget it.”

In 1973, Malcolm recruited Angus to form a new band, which the brothers named after the “AC/DC” electrical current marker they spotted on their sister’s sewing machine. After a few lineup changes, the Young brothers were introduced to singer Bon Scott by their brother George, who would serve as AC/DC’s producer on their early albums.

Throughout AC/DC’s tenure, Malcolm and Angus Young served as the band’s main creative force, crafting the unmistakable riffs that would make AC/DC one of the biggest bands in music. Together, the brothers would create the music for hits like “Back in Black,” “Hells Bells,” “Highway to Hell,” “Thunderstruck,” “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You),” “You Shook Me All Night Long” and dozens more rock staples.

However, Malcolm’s time in AC/DC was not without strife: A heavy drinker, he briefly left AC/DC in 1988 during the Blow Up Your Video Tour – his only absence from the band up to and until his dementia diagnosis – to go to rehab to curb his drinking problem. After a few months, Malcolm returned to the band and remained sober ever since. “I was not surprised,” George Young said of his younger brother’s sobriety. “When Malcolm puts his mind to something, he does it.”

Reactions to his death:

E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt said in a statement to Rolling Stone, “Malcolm was the essential rhythm guitarist of the world’s greatest working class Hard Rock band. An irreplaceable loss.”

 

Guns N’ Roses’ Slash told Rolling Stone, “Malcolm Young was one of the best ever rhythm guitarists in Rock n Roll. He was a fantastic songwriter and he had a great work ethic too. I toured with AC/DC on their ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ tour. I found Malcolm to be a really cool, down to earth fellow. The entire rock n roll community is heartbroken by his passing.”

 

Eddie Van Halen wrote following Young’s death, “It is a sad day in rock and roll. Malcolm Young was my friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC. I had some of the best times of my life with him on our 1984 European tour. He will be missed and my deepest condolences to his family, bandmates and friends.”

 

Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, who regarded Malcolm as one of rock’s greatest rhythm guitarists, tweeted Saturday following Young’s death, “I have to go…I am losing it that Malcolm is gone. I hate this…”

 

Kiss’ Paul Stanley added, “The driving engine of AC/DC has died. A tragic end for a sometimes unsung icon. One of the true greats. RIP.”

 

Tom Morello praised Young as “#1 greatest rhythm guitarist in the entire history of rock n roll.”

 

Foo Fighters’ leader Dave Grohl honored Young by writing about how, at age 11, watching a live AC/DC performance from Paris in 1979 in the movie theater was life-changing. “That film … was the first time I lost control to music. The first time I wanted to be in a band. I didn’t want to play my guitar anymore, I wanted to smash it,” Grohl wrote. “Thank you Malcolm, for the songs, and the feel and the cool and the years of losing control to your rock and roll.”

 

The Young brothers and AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. With over 110 million albums sold, AC/DC is also the best-selling Australian act of all time.

When Rolling Stone asked the Young brothers in 2008, “Who runs AC/DC?” Malcolm replied, “We both do, because we were there from the start.”

AC/DC's co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young

“We pay tribute to the unassuming genius of AC/DC’s late Malcolm Young, whose unwavering vision drove the legendary hard-rock band for four decades. Bob King/Getty

Another excellent article appeared on UltimateClassicRock.com. A heartbreaking end to a rock legend.

MALCOLM YOUNG’S FINAL YEARS by Dave Lifton (November 18, 2017)

Even before AC/DC concluded their Black Ice tour on June 28, 2010 in Bilbao, Spain, they were aware that there was a problem with founder Malcolm Young’s health.

As his brother Angus said in November 2014, Malcolm had issues with memory and concentration since before they started work on their 2008 album, but he was still able to participate in the recording and the promotion of the record. “[Malcolm] was still capable of knowing what he wanted to do. I said to him, ‘Do you want to go through with what we’re doing?’ And he said, ‘Shit, yeah.’”

During the tour, which lasted nearly two years, Malcolm “got good help, good medical care,” Angus continued, even though he had to relearn many of the songs he wrote, “which was very strange for him. But he was always a confident guy, and we made it work.”

Out of respect for his privacy, the band kept the truth about his health a secret from the press. In 2012, singer Brian Johnson said that a delay in their next project was because, “One of the boys is a little sick and I can’t say anything, but he’s getting better. He’s doing wonderful. Full recovery fully expected.”

But by April 2014, a few weeks before they were planning to start recording Rock or Bust, word started to leak out that Young’s health had deteriorated to the point where he would have to leave the band. “One of the boys has a debilitating illness, but I don’t want to say too much about it,” Johnson said. “He is very proud and private, a wonderful chap. We’ve been pals for 35 years and I look up to him very much.” Later that day, AC/DC put out a statement confirming that Young was “taking a break” from the band he formed more than 40 years earlier.

They tracked Rock or Bust in Vancouver, with Angus and Malcolm’s nephew Stevie, who filled in for Malcolm in 1988 while he sought treatment for his alcohol addiction. Johnson later admitted that Malcolm’s absence affected the sessions.

“We missed Malcolm, obviously,” he noted. “Stevie was magnificent in his stead, but when you’re recording with this thing hanging over you, and your work mate isn’t well, it’s difficult. I’m sure he was rooting for us the whole time we were over in Canada.”

On Sept. 24, 2014, AC/DC announced that Stevie was permanently replacing Malcolm in the press release that accompanied news of the arrival of Rock or Bust. Two days later, it was reported that Malcolm was being treated for dementia in a nursing facility in Sydney after having suffered a stroke the previous year. The band confirmed the diagnosis on Sept. 30, and the artwork for the record featured two tributes to the guitarist.

But, as we later learned, it was more than just dementia. On the day of Rock or Bust’s release, Angus said that his brother “had a lung operation; he had a heart operation.. everything hit him at once, besides his dementia.” But again, that was an understatement. In January, it was revealed that he was diagnosed with lung cancer after the Black Ice tour, and that he had a pacemaker installed.

AC/DC opened up their tour on April 10, 2015 with a 20-song at the Coachella Festival in Indio, Calif. But by that time, there was another change in the band. A month before Rock or Bust’s release, drummer Phil Rudd was arrested for threatening to kill someone and drug possession. He was replaced by Chris Slade, who had previously drummed with the band from 1989-94. Rudd eventually pleaded guilty to slightly reduced charges and was sentenced to eight months of home detention.

During the tour, Angus would often give an update on his brother’s health, saying that he goes out for a walk and a cup of coffee daily, and that, “Every now and then he’s still the Malcolm I know.” Six months later, he was spotted on one of those walks, in the King’s Cross neighborhood of Sydney, near a facility where he received part-time treatment. Around that time, Malcolm and his wife purchased a waterfront house in the exclusive Sydney suburb of Palm Beach, reportedly for more than $10 million Australian.

While on the road, AC/DC were forced to make another change in the lineup. In March 2016, Johnson was told by doctors that if he didn’t stop touring immediately, he would risk a total hearing loss. The tour’s 10 remaining shows were in serious jeopardy, but Axl Rose offered his services to the band, and the dates were rescheduled for August and September, while Rose was on a break from Guns N’ Roses’ Not In This Lifetime dates that saw him reunited with Slash and Duff McKagan.

However, as they were waiting to make up the days, bassist Cliff Williams, who had been in the band since 1978 and, after Angus, was the second-longest tenured member of AC/DC, announced that he would retire upon the conclusion of the tour. “Losing Malcolm [Young], the thing with Phil [Rudd] and now with Brian [Johnson],” he said, “it’s a changed animal. I feel in my gut it’s the right thing.”

The tour concluded on Sept. 20 in Philadelphia, with Angus bringing Williams out from his usual spot in the back to the front catwalk during the traditional closing song, “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You).” As the tour wound down, Angus acknowledged that Malcolm’s condition had gotten worse in the two years since his condition was made public. “It’s hard to communicate,” he said. “I do pass on messages. I can’t be 100 percent sure it goes in there. But I let him know there are a lot of people missing him.”

Angus also admitted that he wasn’t sure what was next for the band. “We were committed to finishing the tour,” he said. “Who knows what I’ll feel after? When you sign on and say, ‘I’m gonna do this and that,’ it’s always good to say at the end of it, ‘I’ve done all I said I would do.'”

But he added that Malcolm’s drive kept the band going through difficult times, saying, “I feel obligated to keep it going, maybe because I was there in the beginning with him.”

photo: Hulton Archive, Getty Images

 

RIP Malcolm. 

 

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Battle of the Bands – “Proud Mary”

battle-of-the-bands-botb-top-photo

Today marks the start of another Battle! I’m presenting two very different versions of the same song and both versions are charting hits.

“Proud Mary” is a rock song written by John Fogerty and first recorded by his band Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song was released by Fantasy Records as a single from the band’s second studio album, Bayou Country, January 1969. The song became a hit in the United States, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1969.

In a 1969 interview, Fogerty said that he wrote it in the two days after he was discharged from the National Guard. “In the liner notes for the 2008 expanded reissue of Bayou Country, Joel Selvin explained that the songs for the album started when John Fogerty was in the National Guard, that the riffs for “Proud Mary,” “Born on the Bayou,” and “Keep on Chooglin'” were conceived by Fogerty at a concert in the Avalon Ballroom, and “Proud Mary” was arranged from parts of different songs, one of which was about a “washerwoman named Mary.” The line “Left a good job in the city” was written following Fogerty’s discharge from the National Guard, and the line “rollin’ on the river” was from a movie by Will Rogers.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Tina Turner first covered “Proud Mary” in 1970 with her husband at the time, Ike Turner. The Ike & Tina Turner version was released as a single from their Workin’ Together album and the song differed greatly from the structure of the original, but is also well known and has become one of Tina’s most recognizable signature songs. The Turners’ version was substantially rearranged by Ike Turner and Soko Richardson. The song started off with a slow, sultry tone; after the lyrics are first sung softly by the Turners, the song is then turned into a funk rock vamp with Turner and assorted background singers delivering soulful vocals. It reached #4 on the pop charts on March 27, 1971, two years to the week after Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version was at its peak, and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1972. (Source: Wikipedia)

Both Creedence Clearwater Revival’s and Ike & Tina Turner’s versions of the song received Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, in 1998 and 2003, respectively. And both versions charted in Billboards top five, #2 and #4, respectively. So this battle may be a toss-up. I know I like both versions.

To make it most fair, I’m presenting live performances by each band:

Creedence Clearwater Revival version:

 

Ike & Tina Turner version:

 

Such a great song! “Proud Mary” placed at #155 on Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Now it’s time for you to vote! Who’s version do you like best and why?

To check out the other Battle of the Bands participants, here is a list with links. Lots of great battles to explore:

Don’t forget to cast your vote! And thanks for playing along…

 

 

 

Z is for the Zombies and Z Z Top!

Z

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, today is the last day of the A-Z Challenge! And it all comes down to this:

Z is for the Zombies – The Zombies are an English rock band, formed in 1961 in St Albans, England, and led by Rod Argent (piano, organ and vocals) and Colin Blunstone (vocals). The group scored British and American hits in 1964 with “She’s Not There”. In the US two further singles, “Tell Her No” in 1965 and “Time of the Season” in 1969, were also successful. Their 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle, is ranked number 100 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. (Source: Wikipedia)

She’s Not There – This song was released in 1964 as their debut single and reached #12 in the UK charts:

Tell Her No –  Rod Argent’s “Tell Her No” became another big seller in the United States in 1965, peaking at No.6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1967 the Zombies signed to CBS Records and they recorded the album Odessey and Oracle (odyssey was accidentally misspelled by Terry Quirk, an art teacher who designed the cover). But by the time Odessey and Oracle was released in April 1968, the group had disbanded (in December 1967). The album sold poorly and was given a US release only because musician Al Kooper, then signed to Columbia Records, convinced his label of the album’s merits. One of its tracks, “Time of the Season”, written by Argent, was released as a single and eventually (1969) became a nationwide hit (Billboard Hot 100 peak position: No.3).

Time of the Season

After the Zombies disbanded, Rod Argent formed a band called Argent in 1969, with Chris White as a non-performing songwriter. Atkinson worked in A&R at Columbia Records and Grundy joined him there after a brief spell in auto sales. Colin Blunstone started a solo career after a brief period outside the music business, including working in the burglary claims section of an insurance company. Both Argent and White provided him with new songs. He also did studio vocals for The Alan Parsons Project.

 

 

And finally:

Z is for ZZ Top – I have been a fan of ZZ Top since their 1972 Tres Hombres album. My brother turned me on to their Texas boogie rock and I was hooked immediately. It ZZ Top stubwas cool then that my brother took me to see them back in 1983 at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Interestingly (for me, that is), Sammy Hagar opened for ZZ Top and kicked off his set with Bad Motor Scooter, a Montrose song that always reminds me of my brother.

So who are these bad boys from Texas? “ZZ Top is an American rock band that formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band comprises guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons (the band’s leader, main lyricist and musical arranger), bassist and co-lead vocalist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard. One of the few major label recording groups to have held the same lineup for more than forty years, ZZ Top has been praised by critics and fellow musicians alike for their technical mastery. Of the group, music writer Cub Koda said “As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers; Gibbons is one of America’s finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom […] while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support.”

Since the release of the band’s debut album in January 1971, ZZ Top has become known for its strong blues roots and humorous lyrical motifs, relying heavily on double entendres and innuendo. ZZ Top’s musical style has changed over the years, beginning with blues-inspired rock on their early albums, then incorporating new wave, punk rock and dance-rock, with heavy use of synthesizers. One of the best-selling musical artists in history, the band has had global album sales in excess of 50 million as of 2014.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Here are a few bits of ZZ Top Trivia for you:

In 1985, they turned down a $1 million offer to appear in a Gillette razor commercial, which would have required Gibbons and Hill to shave their beards. They claimed they were too ugly to be seen without them. According to Gibbons, “The prospect of seeing oneself clean shaven in the mirror is too close to a Vincent Price film…A prospect not to be contemplated, no matter the compensation.”

On the official ZZ Top website, I discovered another interesting tidbit: ZZ Top had to quit playing their song Just Got Paid (from their 1972 Rio Grande Mud album) at concerts because every time they played it, fans would throw coins on the stage. And apparently getting pelted with coins kinda hurts! They’d typically end up with about $50 in change on the stage after playing that song. They took the song out of their set lineup for quite a while. Now it’s back in as the coin-throwing phase has passed.

And if you’ve ever wondered where they got their name: According to TodayIFoundOut.com, “the name ZZ Top, according to band member Billy Gibbons, came from a tribute to B.B. King. The band was originally going to call themselves “Z.Z. King” in King’s honor [and a nod to Z.Z. Hill as well, but they decided it was too similar to B.B. King. Since B.B. King was at the “top” of the Blues world, they changed it to ZZ Top.”

There are so many ZZ Top songs that I like and since this is the only band that I’m posting about, I’m going to include a bunch of videos. So sit back and enjoy some boogie and blues from “That Little Ol’ Band from Texas”:

Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers – ultimately, my favorite ZZ Top song, set to this cool motorcycle montage video:

Hot, Blue and Righteous – (audio only):

Jesus Just Left Chicago – Live at the Crossroads Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2010:

La Grange –  photo montage video:

Blue Jean Blues – Live at Gilford, 2007 (video ©U.S.Cellular Pavilion,NH USA)

Balinese – photo montage video of the Balinese Ballroom in Galveston, TX:

Mexican Blackbird – ZZ Top photo montage video

Tush – Live performance in 2014:

I Thank You – a photo montage video:

I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – a lyric video:

Cheap Sunglasses – a 1980 performance on BBC’s guitar heroes show:

Tube Snake Boogie – live performance at Rockpalast in Germany, April 1980:

Pearl Necklace – photo montage video:

Party on the Patio – 1983 performance for Sweden TV, right before the release of the Eliminator album:

Gimme All Your Lovin – official music video:

You Got Me Under Pressure – live at the Hellfest in Clisson, France on June 22nd, 2013:

Sharp Dressed Man – Official music video:

I Need You Tonight – a lyric video:

Legs – Official music video (from Rhino); I had that keychain that is featured in the video. I have no idea where it is but I’m sure it’s in my house somewhere…

Thug – audio only:

TV Dinners – official music video:

Sleeping Bag – official music video:

Stages – official music video:

Rough Boy – official music video:

My Head’s in Mississippi – official music video:

Doubleback – official music video:

Give It Up – official music video:

Arrested for Driving While Blind – Live at Rockpalast April 1980 in Germany:

 

So that’s it for the Letter Z. And that’s it for the Blogging A-Z Challenge! Wow, what a ride, huh? It’s been a blast exploring the soundtracks of my life and I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have this last month. 

Thanks so much for joining me on this musical tour of my life. All the posts have been compiled and indexed on one page (see the 2015 Blogging A-Z Challenge Collection) so please come back and visit soon! I’ve loved having you all here. Happy Trails! And as always, Rock On…

Y is for the Yardbirds, Yes and the Youngbloods

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…

 

Y is for the Yardbirds – “The Yardbirds is an English rock band that had a string of hits in the mid-1960s, including “For Your Love”, “Over Under Sideways Down” and “Heart Full of Soul”. The group is notable for having started the careers of three of rock’s most famous guitarists: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, all of whom are in the top five of Rolling Stone’s 100 Top Guitarists list (Clapton at No. 2, Page at No. 3 and Beck at No. 5). A blues-based band that broadened its range into pop and rock, the Yardbirds had a hand in many electric guitar innovations of the mid-1960s, such as feedback, “fuzztone” distortion and improved amplification. Pat Pemberton, writing for Spinner, holds that the Yardbirds were “the most impressive guitar band in rock music”.[2] After the Yardbirds broke up in 1968, their lead guitarist Jimmy Page founded what became Led Zeppelin.” (Wikipedia)

For Your Love – 1965 performance:

Heart Full of Soul – album cover photo montage video:

I’m a Man – a 1964 performance (with Eric Clapton):

Over Under Sideways Down – live (not sure of the date):

Shapes of Things – recorded in a sports stadium for French TV in 1966:

 

 

 

Y is for Yes – Yes reminds me of high school summer school. I went to summer school two years in a row, so I could get class credits and graduate early, which I did, one full year early. The first summer school, I took a history class with two of my hang-out buddies, Joe and Mike. Mike was a huge Yes fan and he turned Joe and I onto songs we didn’t know from Yes. Every time I hear a Yes song, it takes me back to those warm summer days sitting in a high school classroom, goofing off with my friends and getting yelled at by Mr. Letourneau…

“Yes is an English rock band that achieved success with their progressive, art, and symphonic style of rock music. They are distinguished by their use of mystical and cosmic lyrics, live stage sets and lengthy compositions, often with complex instrumental and vocal arrangements.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Although I wasn’t a Yes fan to the degree that my friend Mike was, I did like most of the songs that got commercial airplay and there are a few songs that I will crank up when they come on:

Going for the One

I’ve Seen All Good People – performance at the Beat Club in 1971:

Perpetual Change – from “The Yes Album” released in 1971:

Long Distance Run Around

Owner of a Lonely Heart – music video

Leave It – music video:

Wonderous Stories – music video:

Yours is No Disgrace – recorded live at the Rainbow Theatre December 1972

Roundabout – Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK. Dec 15 & 16, 1972 (‘Close to the Edge’ Tour):

Starship Trooper

It Can Happen – June 24, 1984 at Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany

 

Y is for the Youngbloods –  an American folk rock band consisting of Jesse Colin Young (vocals, bass), Jerry Corbitt (guitar), Lowell Levinger, nicknamed “Banana” (guitar and electric piano), and Joe Bauer (drums). Despite receiving critical acclaim, they never achieved widespread popularity. Their only U.S. Top 40 entry was the song Get Together. I love this song:

(studio version, audio only):

This is a slower version of the song, with fabulous video footage from (I think) Woodstock:

Here they are performing on a TV show (not sure which one) in 1970, combining the songs Get Together and Sunlight in their performance set:

Here’s Darkness, Darkness, a neat song from their 1969 album Elephant Mountain:

Here’s their performance of Grizzly Bear, with an introduction by Dick Clark. The interview discusses the song as well as some tidbits about the band members. Airdate: January 14, 1967 (video quality not great but it’s a wonderful snapshot of the past):

 

 

That’s it for the Letter Y. Hope you enjoyed these three bands that I showcased. What songs did you like best that I posted here? Who are your favorite Y bands?

 

 

X is for Xavier Rudd, XTC and X!

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…

I guess I’m essentially cheating on this letter because this is supposed to be a Musical Journey of my Life and I’ve been highlighting and showcasing bands and music artists who have been important to me over the years. But I simply was not aware of any bands beginning with the letter X. So I set out to find some. To my surprise, there are several bands that start with the letter X. I discovered these three that I actually like.

X is for Xavier Rudd – The first up is Xavier Rudd – I am so excited to have found this guy! I LOVE the first song that I’m posting here, Follow the Sun. And it has a fabulous video to go with it. “Xavier Rudd is an Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is well known on the music festival circuit for playing at musical festivals and concerts in Australia, North America and throughout Europe. His fan base is particularly strong in Australia and in Canada, where he has recorded several albums and performed live shows.”  (Source: Wikipedia)

Of his music: “Rudd is a one-man band who plays surrounded by instruments in a complicated array. Typically, he has three didgeridoos placed in front of him on a stand, a guitar on his lap, a stompbox by his habitually bare feet, and an assortment of drums, harmonicas & bells near at hand, or near at foot as the case may be. Several of Rudd’s songs incorporate socially conscious themes, such as spirituality, humanity, environmentalism and the rights of Aboriginal peoples. His songs include stories of the mistreatment of the indigenous people of his homeland. Rudd has included both Australian and Canadian Aboriginal vocals in some of his songs. He tends to play the Didgeridoo in many of his songs.” (Source: Wikipedia)  For more about Xavier Rudd, visit his website.

Follow the Sun – from the description on the Xavier Rudd Music channel on YouTube: ‘Follow The Sun’ is the first offering from Xavier Rudd since his 2010 release ‘Koonyum Sun’. The clip was filmed on location at Stradbroke Island, Queensland Australia. And it’s really good! Enjoy.

Lioness Eye – Xavier Rudd performs “Lioness Eye” from the album Spirit Bird – live at The Ogden in Denver, CO. Recorded 11-10-12:

The Letter – accompanied by a surfing video:

Spirit Bird – October 10, 2012 – Xavier Rudd with “Spirit Bird” in the Bing Lounge at 101.9 KINK.FM. Portland, OR. Presented by Intel.

X is for XTC – “a new wave rock band from Swindon, England, led by songwriters Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding [with Terry Chambers and Barry Andrews] and active between 1976 and 2005. The band enjoyed some chart success, including the UK and Canadian hits “Making Plans for Nigel” (1979) and “Senses Working Overtime” (1982).

Despite their three-decade career, XTC were a performing and touring band for only six of those years: they retired from live performance in 1982 … [after a breakdown of Andy Partridge]. In early 1982, while at the peak of their popularity, XTC embarked on a major tour. This was abruptly cut short when Partridge suffered a mental breakdown on stage during one of the first concerts of the tour in Paris on 18 March 1982.

On 2 April 1982, a Friday night, XTC were scheduled to play at the Palladium in Hollywood, California, but did not appear. The audience milled about the open festival floor for a long 45 minutes/hour after opening act Oingo Boingo departed the stage, and then finally it was announced that XTC would not take the stage due to the “illness” of one of the band members (later revealed as Andy Partridge’s ongoing fight with stage fright in Chris Twomey’s book XTC: Chalkhills and Children). The following day, XTC played one last concert at the California Theatre, San Diego, CA then never played another tour date. (XTC would perform several acoustic sets for radio only in 1989.)

Andy Partridge’s breakdown, which manifested itself as uncontrollable stage fright, was reportedly precipitated by his wife throwing away his supply of Valium. According to the band’s biography, Valium was prescribed to him as a teenager, but he was never taken off the drug and became dependent on it. Concerned about her husband’s dependence, Partridge’s wife threw his tablets away — without seeking medical advice — just before the Paris concert. Partridge particularly needed Valium to cope with the grinding monotony of concert touring, which he had always disliked but endured for the good of the band. In addition to “memory loss and limb seizures”, the sudden withdrawal of medication brought on anxiety attacks of such severity that he was soon forced to withdraw from performing permanently. The European and British dates were cancelled and after completing only one show in San Diego the whole US leg was also abandoned. After this XTC became exclusively a studio band (apart from occasional live-to-air performances from radio stations, and a handful of TV appearances).”  Source: Wikipedia

XTC Senses Working Overtime cover art

XTC’s Senses Working Overtime single cover art

 Senses Working Overtime – The first thing that jumped out at me in this video is that the guitarists and bassist are all left-handed players! I found that highly unusual, being a left-hander myself, but after some investigation, apparently they did that just for the sake of the video as other performances show them playing right-handed. They must have chosen to do that in keeping with the “senses working overtime” theme. I wonder how many people noticed. Does that stand out to you?

 

Making Plans for Nigel – First XTC hit single with remastered and synchronized audio. (C) 1979 Virgin records.

X is for X the Band – Here’s a band called X! From Wikipedia: “X is an American punk rock band, formed in Los Angeles in 1977. Established among the first wave of American punk, the original members are vocalist Exene Cervenka, vocalist/bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom, and drummer DJ Bonebrake. The band released seven studio albums from 1980 to 1993. After a period of inactivity during the mid to late 1990s, X reunited in the early 2000s, and currently tours.”

It was interesting to note that X appeared at the 2008 SXSW Festival. If you’re not familiar, SXSW (South by Southwest) is a huge music festival here in Austin Texas that happens every March. It started in 1987 and now includes a film and interactive sets of the festival. “SXSW Music is the largest music festival of its kind in the world, with more than 2,200 official performers and bands playing in more than 100 venues. The music event has grown from 700 registrants in 1987 to nearly 12,000 registrants. SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive events have grown every year, most recently bringing around 15,000 to 20,000 registrants to Austin every March.”

Footage of the X performance at SXSW is viewable on Crackle.

Burning House of Love – this is the first song I heard of X and it’s quite good!

True Love – from their 1983 album More Fun in the New World:

So, that’s it for my X bands. Like I said, they weren’t any that I was familiar with before now but I’m happy to have come across them. Do you have a favorite X band?