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Author Ken Sharp

Outspoken and brash, arrogant and opinionated, profane and vulgar, supremely narcissistic and sexist, are among the colorful descriptions both the public and media foist at KISS’ founding member Gene Simmons. Acutely aware of how he is perceived, Simmons even named his last solo album Asshole. When meeting with the “God of Thunder,” one will notice he’s polite and gracious, proving there’s much more behind the self-proclaimed “Man of 1000 Faces.” Currently on the road with KISS for their “Freedom To Rock” jaunt of the U.S., the band, or brand, as Simmons often likes to describe the Roll & Roll Hall of…

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Long before Fleetwood Mac owned the Billboard record charts for years in the mid to late ’70s with a string of mega-selling albums/singles culled from the albums Fleetwood Mac, Rumours and Tusk, their formative sound was rooted in something altogether different. Fleetwood Mac mark 1 drew from a heavy blues-rock sound that stood in diametric opposition to their reputation as traditional pop alchemists in a later configuration featuring Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Fronted by one of Britain’s most respected and revered lead guitar players, Peter Green, the early form of Fleetwood Mac was a raw blues band that won over audiences with its dynamic, blues-drenched sound with such signature…

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The term “Yacht Rock” was created by music critics to describe the smooth commercial and in their words, slightly cheesy sound of a litany of successful late ‘70s pop/rock acts. Both Ambrosia and Player, whose music is often labeled as “Yacht Rock,” racked up huge charts in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s with How Much I Feel, Biggest Part of Me, This Time I’m In It For Love and the number one smash, Baby Come Back. “Yacht Rock” be damned, these bands have nothing to ashamed of; their exquisitely crafted, picture perfect songs affixed with sublime melodies, soaring harmonies…

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At age 68, Steven Tyler continues to surprise. Long-time Aerosmith fans might be scratching their heads with news that Steven Tyler has just completed a country solo album, We’re All Somebody From Somewhere. But upon closer listening to the band’s rich catalog, the DNA of country holds flavor in the group’s body of work. From the wistful delicacy of Seasons of Wither and Dream On to late ‘80s mega hits Cryin’, Amazing and What It Takes, all of these aforementioned tracks and more stylistically fit comfortably alongside the pop-country hits of 2016. And adding further credence to that notion, the new…

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The title of the first solo album by Moody Blues guitarist/lead vocalist Justin Hayward is Songwriter. Judging by Hayward’s remarkably inventive output penning such enduring hits as Nights In White Satin, Tuesday Afternoon, Question, The Voice and others, that moniker is apt for this legendary artist — whose magnificent body of songs, jettisoning image and changing fads and trends, has kept him a vital part of popular music for over 50 years. Hayward’s new solo jaunt, dubbed Stage Door 2016, is named after a key song culled from that debut. “‘Stage Door’ has a particular resonance for me as when we were small boys, my…

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Decades since ELO first disbanded, its legacy has gotten bigger and bigger. The band’s inventive orchestral pop/rock farmed by band mastermind Jeff Lynne’s Technicolor “everything but the kitchen sink production” shamefully didn’t garner the respect and accolades they deserved from a jaded press corps. But in 2016, ELO, once wrongly written off by critics, is now rightfully regarded as high art. As architect of ELO’s sound, production and songwriter, Jeff Lynne is now being afforded the respect he deserves as one of music’s most consummate and skilled record makers. The new Jeff Lynne’s ELO album, Alone in the Universe, has…

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Delta Lady: A Memoir is the apt title of Lafayette, Tennessee-born singer Rita Coolidge’s new autobiography. That classic Leon Russell-penned track and his signature A Song For You were inspired by Coolidge — also the muse of onetime beau Stephen Stills, who wrote Cherokee about the talented singer/songwriter. But apart from her qualities as a muse of the highest order, Coolidge is a first class singer and songwriter– She co-penned Superstar, a monster hit for The Carpenters and also served as background vocalist for the likes of Eric Clapton’s After Midnight, Stills’ Love The One You’re With, Ray Charles’ Busted, Joe Cocker, Delaney…

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Via such epic singles as Shapes Of Things, Heart Full of Soul, For Your Love, Over Under Sideways Down, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago and others, The Yardbirds made their mark in the ’60s with a sound awash in gritty blues rock swagger. It also didn’t hurt that the band showcased in its ranks three of rock’s greatest guitar players, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. A pivotal influence on the likes of Aerosmith, The Black Crowes and sundry other bands, The Yardbirds legacy lives on through a new ensemble numbering original drummer Jim McCarty and new recruits, John…

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In commemoration of their 50th anniversary, The Monkees have pulled off the impossible with Good Times, the group’s first new studio album in 20 years. The LP is truly a timeless record that stands up proudly against their most revered recordings (i.e.-Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Jones Ltd.) Marrying disparate strands of pop, folk, country, bubblegum and psychedelia, the album, produced by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne fame, is a well-considered and welcome throwback to their classic ’60s sound with strong contributions from surviving members Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork along with the late Davy Jones — who is represented…

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It takes a special artist to merit induction into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and an even more extraordinary one to be inducted twice into that hallowed institution. Graham Nash is one of those extraordinary artists who has found his way into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as both a member of ’60s British sensations The Hollies and with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. And while he’s celebrated as a consummate master of exquisite harmonies amply displayed in both of those legendary outfits, he’s managed to carefully and diplomatically circumnavigate disharmony in the ranks of those groups with…

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