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Debbie Harry is a certifiable pop culture icon. As the frontperson for Blondie, the chart-topping New Wave group that grew out of New York City’s fabled CBGBs-fueled punk scene, she became known worldwide as not just one of the premier fashion and style symbol of her era, but one of the most arresting lead singers of late-1970s and early-80s, and certainly the premiere female artist of the fertile, post-punk musical landscape. Her new memoir, the no-holds-barred Face It, is both a love letter to her early days fighting for attention amongst the litany of bands trying to make it on…

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More than a half a century since its original release, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society album is lauded as a landmark moment in rock and roll history and is lauded as one of the group’s signature classics. Yet its worthy follow-up album, 1969’s Arthur (Or The Decline and Fall Of The British Empire) has wrongly failed to earn the same gushing accolades. Now that’s about to change, with a 50th anniversary 4-CD deluxe box culling 81 tracks, including a newly remastered version of the original album having been released in late October. In addition to the above,…

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This month, enjoy a curated list of some of the most noteworthy “telephone songs” ever recorded — that is, songs all about the phone and our communal relationship with it! “A telephone survey says that 51 percent of college students drink until they pass out at least once a month. The other 49 percent didn’t answer the phone.” – Craig Kilborn “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone One-hit wonders Tommy Tutone scored a No. 4 hit in 1982 with “867-5309/Jenny,” a song that prompted thousands of crank calls to folks unlucky enough to have that number. The tune was written by Alex…

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In this latest Behind the Curtain entry, Steve Rosen recounts an unexpectedly serious chat with Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, then of the Doobie Brothers, all about survival.  Imagine the world is ending. Well, maybe not the end of the world but some very nasty stuff is happening. You can choose your own scenario about how it happens: Scenario One A giant meteor crashes through the earth’s atmosphere, causing all the planet’s oceans to overflow. Tidal waves 150 feet high wash over cities and turn the planet into one big swimming pool. Surfers the world over rejoice. Scenario Two A huge earthquake…

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The concept of a “hologram tour” might make some cringe, sure — but it’s happening, so you’d better get used to it. Eyellusion, the company responsible for this cutting-edge technological advancement as a means of presenting live shows from artists that have passed away, was already working on a Frank Zappa hologram tour, and now it’s set its sights on a Ronnie James Dio hologram tour, as well. The iconic hard-rock icon died in 2010, but Eyellusion is planning 100 live shows in 2019 featuring a hologram likeness of the singer. The Dio hologram made its first appearance in 2015 at…

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It is 10:30 on a Tuesday morning, a morning which can best be described as a “proper” English morning.  You must go to England to really experience a proper English morning, the sun shines brightly, but there is no oppressive heat.  There’s a crisp breeze blowing, which is all the better because all the streets nearby are decked out in bunting, Union Jacks, and English flags.  As far as the eye can see, there are decorations strung between building creating a sea of red, white and blue.  Why all the flags?  I’m here just a few days after the royal…

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“Punk rock was the tsunami that threatened to drown us all in 1977.” – Pete Townshend “Kick Out the Jams” by the MC5 “Kick Out the Jams” is the title track of the MC5’s 1969 debut LP, recorded over Halloween weekend at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom. The song gained immediate notoriety by its introduction. Singer Rob Tyner opens with “Right now it’s time to – kick out the jams, motherfuckers!” That would lead to censored and uncensored versions of the album and Elektra dropping the band from its label. “We picked ‘Jams’ as a single because it best summed up what…

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In almost any interview with Three Dog Night vocalist Chuck Negron, the conversation inevitably turns to drugs, their abuse, and redemption. Negron famously became a heroin addict at the height of his career, but eventually emerged from it in the 1980s, and you could say he’s been on a mission to warn others ever since.  He speaks very frankly and openly about it and doesn’t shy away from the conversation. I recently spoke with the legendary front man about a wide range of topics including his latest album, the fan-funded Generations, his time in Three Dog Night, his Latino heritage,…

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How many times have you been browsing the internet, clicked a link and been bombarded with a gloriously 1980s-ish music video and Rick Astley saying “We’re no strangers to love…”? The English singer/songwriter became an internet sensation nearly 20 years later, when the concept of the “Rickroll” was born. Suddenly, you’d find the song everywhere, when you least expected it, as a cyberprank of the (thankfully) clean and wholesome variety. The single was originally released by Astley on July 27, 1987 — 31 years ago today, to be precise, as the lead single from his debut album Whenever You Need…

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“The average lifespan of a teen idol is five years. You have to change musically. Bubblegum pop was good for the first time you have sex.” – Leif Garrett  “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'” by Crazy Elephant Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz of Super K Productions were major players in bubblegum music. The pair teamed with singer Robert Spencer of the doo-wop group the Cadillacs to record “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'” as Crazy Elephant, a No. 12 hit in 1969. The imaginary band was promoted by Kasenetz and Katz as a group of Welsh coal miners. “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'” was…

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