Etta James was a pioneer. Through a career that spanned more than six decades, James' raw, unharnessed voice crossed genres, with Fifties hits such as "The Wallflower" and "Good Rockin' Daddy" cementing her role in the genesis of rock and roll alongside Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and Little Richard, and her soulful pop and blues explorations of the Sixties ranking with the works of Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday. She continued to make her mark through 2011, with a string of award-winning, critically acclaimed releases that showcased her unique style.
James was born Jamesette Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938. Although brought up in the church singing in the gospel choir, she was drawn to rhythm and blues, and rock and roll, and by her mid-teens had formed a vocal trio named the Creolettes that worked up an answer song to Hank Ballard’s “Work With Me Annie” entitled “Roll With Me Henry.” The trio caught the attention of bandleader Johnny ...
More than any other musician, Jimi Hendrix realized the fullest range of sound that could be obtained from an amplified instrument. His boundless drive, technical ability and creative application of such effects as wah-wah and distortion forever transformed the sound of rock and roll. Hendrix helped usher in the age of psychedelia with his 1967 debut, Are You Experienced, and the impact of his brief but meteoric career on popular music continues to be felt. With such an incredible catalog of work, it's impossible to overstate the impact of the 1992 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. The Rock Hall selected 10 songs that we feel are essential listening. What songs would be on your list?
"The Wind Cries Mary" (Are You Experienced, 1967)
"Hey Joe" (Are you Experienced, 1967)
"Red House" (Are You Experienced, 1967)
"Little Wing" (Axis: Bold As Love, 1967)
For more than 30 years, Florida native Tom Petty has been the charismatic frontman and voice of among the most durable, resourceful, hard-working, likable, unpretentious and capable rock bands of all time. Together with the Heartbreakers – which has include bassist Ron Blair, guitarist Mike Campbell, bassist Howie Epstein, drummer Stan Lynch and keyboardist Benmont Tench – he mastered rock and roll's fundamentals and digested its history, leading a band of the people, writing of everyday struggles and frustrations – and offering redemption through tough-minded, big-hearted, tuneful songs. The 2002 Hall of Fame inductee turns 61 today.
Although they were not punk-rockers per se, Petty and the Heartbreakers did their part to revitalize rock in the mid-to-late Seventies with their first three albums: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (“Breakdown,” “American Girl”), You’re Gonna Get It! (“I Need to Know,” “Listen to Her Heart”) and Damn the Torpedoes – the latter one of the essential rock albums of the decade.
Strong from start to finish, Torpedoes contained the classic tracks “Refugee,” “Even the Losers,” “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Here Comes My Girl.” It also revealed Petty’s depth of conviction and fighting nature. When his record company changed hands, Petty ...
With his trademark stance – head down, eyes focused, legs shoulder-width apart, right arm furiously strumming a low-slung Mosrite guitar – Johnny Ramone became a punk icon. He was the ultimate guitar antihero, shying from gratuitous solos and obscure voicings, preferring deliberate playing over the more familiar guitar histrionics of the late-1970s. Torn jeans, T-shirt and black leather jacket were staples of a look that became his understated hallmarks, a far cry from the flamboyant stage outfits that predominated popular music. His rapid-fire, down-stroked barre chords fostered a style that owed little in the way of influence to any other musician or group. For decades, his "buzzsaw" technique was the blaring force behind the Ramones' sound, spurring songs such as “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Glad to See You Go,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” “Rockaway Beach,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” and “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” On September 15, 2004, Johnny Ramone passed away after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer. He was 55.
Born and raised in New York City, Johnny Ramone found kindred spirits in bassist Dee Dee Ramone, singer Joey Ramone and drummer Tommy Ramone. The brash quartet hailing from Queens ignited the punk-rock ...