Mick Jagger is 70 today. That’s right. 70.

Mick JaggerSir Mick is 70 today. Yeah, let’s let that one sink in a bit. I saw him and his mates play the Air Canada Centre in May and the energy the man displayed while constantly moving about the stage was a sight to behold.

Rather then try and pick out some of my favourite Stones songs,  here are a few highlights from his solo work. There’s actually some pretty good stuff to be found.

In no particular order:

Crank it up. It’s time for one-hit-wonder Wednesday. Seriously…crank it up.

david-lindley-elIt’s all about the slide. Released in 1981, David Lindley’s pedal to the metal version of this late 1940’s r&b track (which has also been covered by Steve MillerMeatloafDwight Yoakam and Alan Jackson among others) became an FM rock radio staple upon its release and has has become a permanent fixture on classic rock stations ever since. Lindley, who’s probably best known for his work with Jackson Browne, has been referred to as a “maxi-instrumentalist” in that he has mastered an incredible array of stringed instruments from all manners of electric and acoustic guitars to the mandolin, banjo and bouzouki.

After playing with Browne for about a decade, Lindley formed the rock band El Rayo-X and they released a handful of albums, the first of which was the most successful. That first album, simply titled “El Rayo-X” featured mostly covers, including The Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love” and The Temptations “Don’t Look Back” (also famously covered by Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger) but it was Mercury Blues that got the attention of radio programmers. Right from the intro with a drumbeat that grabs hold of the listener it’s three-and-a-half minutes of crank it up fun. And that slide guitar. He definitely put that sucker through its paces.

Lindley released a couple of more albums in the 80s under the El Rayo-X banner, and has continued to record and tour ever since. But it’s his version of a song originally written as a tribute to the American automobile that he will probably be most remembered for. That, plus you know that falsetto vocal on Jackson Browne’s version of “The Load Out/Stay” (another classic rock radio staple)? Yep, that’s Lindley. Check out the second clip below.

The RnR Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concerts

Rolling Stone

The new issue of Rolling Stone provides a comprehensive look at the two recent RnR Hall of Fame concerts held in New York City at the end of October. By all accounts, the two shows featuring the likes of the three kids pictured above plus Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, CSN and a whack of other legends were nothing short of historic.

You can see some great photos here.

Also, HBO will be showing a highlights special on November 29th (and sure to be re-run) so if you’re a subscriber, it will be worth tuning in. If you’re not a subscriber, footage is bound to show up somewhere on the internet, so no worries. Speaking of which, here’s a fan-filmed clip of U2, Springsteen and Patti Smith coming together to perform Springsteen’s ‘Because of the Night’, famously recorded by Smith:

1989: The Steel Wheels Tour. 2011: The Steel Wheelchairs Tour?

stones

When The Rolling Stones hit the road in 1989 in support of their album Steel Wheels, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were both in their mid-forties. At the time, critics dubbed the tour the Steel Wheelchairs tour. By today’s standards, rock stars launching world tours in their mid-forties doesn’t even raise an eyebrow, considering that so many mega-stars continue to tour worldwide well into their sixties and beyond. (Elton John, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney etc, etc.)

As for the Stones, Keith Richards recently told Rolling Stone magazine that he hopes to start working on a new album with the band early in 2010. If the last twenty years is any proof, with a new Stones project a tour usually follows. Keith has always said that he’d like to keep touring, so if there’s a new record next year, could the Stones be hitting the road yet again? If you’ve seen the Stones on any of their last few tours, you’ll no doubt know they always manage to put on one hell of a show, both musically and visually, so maybe they still have at least one more powerhouse tour in ’em. (For the record, as of January 1 2011, Mick and Keith will be 67, Charlie will be 69 and Ronnie will be 63.)

In the meantime, Keith has recorded a few new cuts with Jack White. Maybe a new Keith Richards disc is on the way? Personally, I would love to see a follow-up to 1992’s Main Offender. It’s not as strong as 1988’s Talk Is Cheap, but a good record nonetheless. Although Mick has released more solo work, his projects tend to be more pop/rock based while Keith’s are more bluesy and grittier. While I like both, I prefer the latter.

Until the next tour, here’s a great clip of the boys from the Shine A Light DVD. They still got it.

And because I’m also a Keith fan, here’s the music video for his 1988 single Take It So Hard:

Rockin’ All Over The World (July 13, 1985)

Live Aid

What an event it was. A globally televised concert to raise money for famine relief. Concerts were held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, and broadcast to countries around the world. I can remember watching from my parent’s basement and making sure I had enough Beta(!) tapes to record the whole thing. The list of performers at both shows was simply mind-boggling, and a big deal was made about Phil Collins performing at Wembley and then jetting across the pond via the Concorde to perform in Philly. I remeber watching the ABC telecast towards the finale when Led Zeppelin came on stage and all ABC showed was Dick Clark yammering away, and you could hear Zep playing in the background. I kept yelling “shut up already and show Zep!” but to no avail.

What are your memories of that day? If I had to pick my three favourite performances they would have to be Status Quo singing John Fogerty’s “Rockin’ All Over The World” to kick off the London portion (perfect song choice), U2’s “Bad” with snippets of the Stones and Lou Reed (one of my favourite U2 cuts) and Mick Jagger & Tina Turner’s duet on “State of Shock/It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll”, complete with wardrobe malfunction.

Enjoy.

The Best of Both Worlds

Homer Rocks

So it’s Sunday night, and the weekend’s winding down. I was relaxing, doing a little channel surfing on the ol’ Aquos when I landed on an episode of the Simpsons from 2002 called “How I Spent My Strummer Vacation”. It’s one of my favourites. It’s the episode when Homer goes to a rock and roll fantasy camp. For me, it was the best of both worlds: rock and roll, and tv. (And speaking of the best of both worlds, I have two songs by that title, one by the late, great Robert Palmer from his 1978 album “Double Fun” and the other by Van Halen, or “Van Hagar” if you prefer.  Each great songs in their own right. But I’m getting off topic…)

The Simpsons episode features cameos by Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Lenny Kravitz and Brian Setzer. One of my favourite lines is when Mick, sitting at an adding machine, turns to Keith and says they need to find a cheaper brand of oatmeal for the camp. Priceless.

So this episode got me thinking about music on tv, going back to the days when Muchmusic was just an idea on paper. These were the days of classics like American Bandstand, Soul Train, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, and The Midnight Special. Later there was NBC’s Friday Night Videos, Solid Gold and in Toronto there was Toronto Rocks, Citylimits, and the CBC had Good Rockin’ Tonight. I’m sure I’m leaving out some.

 

One memory that stands out was in 1975 when on an episode of American Bandstand, Dick Clark aired the video for Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I can still remember thinking how incredibly cool it was. Music videos had of course existed for years before that, but in my opinion I think it was this video in particular that launched the music video generation.

(BTW: I saw Queen live in 1982 and even got to meet drummer Roger Taylor when I was working at a radio station in Montreal. My brush with greatness!)

What are your memories of music on tv? Anything really special stand out?

Bonus Post!  “The Shuffle Report”

To continue on a theme from the last post, here just for fun are the last 10 songs I’ve listened to in shuffle mode on my iPod at the time I wrote today’s post (no editing):

1. I Had A Dream–Ray Charles (The Birth of Soul, Disc 3)

2. Reason To Believe–Bruce Springsteen (Nebraska)

3. Is She Really Going Out With Him?–Joe Jackson (Two Rainy Nights–Live)

4. Take Me To The Pilot–Elton John (Here and There–Live)

5. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)–The Beatles (Abbey Road)

6. No No Song–Ringo Starr (Photograph–The Very Best Of)

7. Strange Days–Matthew Good (In A Coma)

8. Mr. Soul–Buffalo Springfield (Retrospective)

9. Dark Angel–Blue Rodeo (Five Days In July)

10. Here To Stay–Pat Metheny Group (We Live Here)