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Old 08-10-2009, 02:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm going to cut against the grain here and discuss the big names in music history. I'll take a brief look at what they did and the influence they had on future acts. There will be no unknown people here, all bands or artists will be well known, even if it's by name alone, but hopefully one or two people will find it interesting enough to explore the music of those who shaped the course of music.

There will also be suggested albums for further listening, which may be a classic album or may be a compilation depending on the artist, as well as sample tracks from YouTube to give a taste for those who have yet to hear anything by them. The articles will be short and concise, just a quick intro and the reasons they deserve their place in history. The reason for this journal is simple: there is a lot of forum activity for current artists and new artists and lesser known acts. However, the big names in music, despite being important, don't get much of a look in these days (see George Harrison thread) and surprisingly some people are completely unaware of what they have done, what they sound like, who they have influenced and so on. So anyone who isn't aware, which will hopefully be in the minority here, can eventually browse through here and pick out someone they want to explore but were too afraid to ask.

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Old 08-10-2009, 02:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds an interesting thread this. Can't wait to see who you choose to highlight. Rest assured, I shall follow this with interest!
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know this is a stretch, but is the name a reference to the R.E.M. tune "King of Birds", in which Stipe sings "Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold?"


I'll be following this by the way.
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Little Richard

The sound of Rock & Roll was beginning to take shape gradually over the course of first half of the twentieth century. As a genre that took it's influence from so many other styles (blues, boogie woogie, country, rhythm and blues etc) it was some time before it's own unique style had a clear voice. The early 1950s saw some singles released that hinted at what was to come but when people turned on their radio in 1955 and heard Tutti Frutti, there was no doubt that this is how Rock and Roll was meant to sound.

Little Richard is often credited as cementing the sound of Rock and Roll, his infamous "A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom!" intro to Tutti Frutti, combined with his screeching vocals and boogie woogie piano burst onto the music scene and things were never the same again. He even calls himself the architect of Rock and Roll, which is hard to deny as hit's like Long Tall Sally, Good Golly Miss Molly, Tutti Frutti, Rip It Up and Lucille are all staples of the genre.

Born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5, 1932, he was only 22 when he re-defined popular music with his first single, a far cry from the churches he played at as a child. However, Rock and Roll wasn't received well by all, some viewed it as immoral and un-Christian, and Little Richard's persona played a part in that too. As a black, homosexual, flamboyant man who wore make-up when performing, he quickly enraged parents who were worried about the bad influence he could be having on their children.

Suddenly, in 1957, Little Richard stepped down from the limelight. His religious upbringing had caught up with him and he was having personal conflicts between his career and his beliefs. He stopped making music and became a born-again Christian. He would later come back in the early 60's, but his two year stint from 1955-1957 would be his most memorable and important.

The influence of Little Richard is a testament to the respect that later artists had of him. Otis Redding said that he was inspired by him to enter the music business. Mick Jagger's performance style was heavily influenced by that of Richard's and he states him as his first idol. Jimi Hendrix said that he wanted to do with his guitar what Little Richard did with his voice. As Rock and Roll was a huge influence to many big artists, most say that Little Richard was their first inspiration, from David Bowie and Rod Stewart to Bob Seger and John Fogerty. James Brown states that Little Richard put the first funk into rock and roll, which would later go on to have a huge effect on Brown's own career and sound.

Suggested Listening



Trivia

Tutti Frutti was voted by Mojo as the number one record that changed the world.

In 1962 he came back into music and toured Europe, at one time he was supported by some band called The Beatles.

He once starred as himself in an episode of Columbo.

He performed the theme song to television series The Magic School Bus.




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Old 08-10-2009, 03:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickenbacker View Post
I know this is a stretch, but is the name a reference to the R.E.M. tune "King of Birds", in which Stipe sings "Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold?"
No it's from Isaac Newton
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Les Paul

Les Paul. The first thing that springs to mind is the iconic guitar, but a lot of people fail to look beyond that to consider the man behind it. Those that do, however, discover a man who changed how music was made and how it sounded perhaps more than any other single individual.

I had Les Paul on my list to do and, after his death this week, decided to bump him up and talk about him now.

Lester William Polsfuss was born in 1915, started playing the harmonica at eight and then moved onto the guitar. He ended up playing semi-professionally when he reached thirteen and then joined a radio band at seventeen. He regularly played country music and then moved on to jazz in the 1930's playing on the Radio and released a couple of records in 1936.

Despite this promising career it was all threatened when he had a car crash in 1948. His right elbow and arm were shattered and he was told that he wouldn't have movement in it. Determined to continue his love for playing the guitar he told the surgeons to set his arm in a position of holding and picking a guitar, they did this and that was the position his arm continued to be for many years.

In the 50's he and his wife Mary Ford sold millions of hit singles and where a hugely popular couple. Their recordings took full advantage of the technology and techniques that Les Paul was creating and perfecting. The rest of his life he made music on and off, semi-retiring, but when he was 90 he won two Grammys for his Album Les Paul and Friends: America Made World Played.

But his music was only the background to everything else he was well known for. His technique of playing, his timing, licks, trills and so on were fairly unique among other guitarists of the day and heavily influenced how they played and how later musicians would play music.

He made one of the first solid body guitars named The Log and went to Gibson with it in 1945/46 but they rejected it. It wasn't until the Fender Esquire, the first commercially successful solid body electric guitar, was made in 1950 that Gibson and Les Paul finally got together again and designed what would become the famous Gibson Les Paul. It is unknown how much of the design actually came from Les Paul, but it looks as though it was really limited as Gibson already made electric hollow guitars and already had their own ideas for how it should look. Indeed, some accounts state that other than agreeing for his name to appear on the guitar, he had no other contribution to its design. Needless to say, though, the Gibson Les Paul had a huge impact on music, it's iconic look can be seen in the hands of some of the most successful and important guitarists of the twentieth century.

Another innovation was multi-track recording. In 1948 Les Paul's "Lover (When You're Near Me)" became the first recording where multi-tracking was used. It involved eight different parts of Paul playing the guitar, some were played at half speed and sped up. During the years he perfected his technique and the technology used and would go on to co-design the first eight-track recording deck. As well as this invention he is also responsible for overdubbing, delay effects, phasing effects and many more, all which would open up a whole new world of how to create music in the studio.

Suggested Listening




The Millennium Collection: The Best of Les Paul

Trivia

His early aliases were Red Hot Red and Rhubarb Red

At one point he backed Bing Crosby

He is in the Grammy Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Godfather of Steve Miller, from Steve Miller band, and also gave him his first guitar lesson.



A snippet of Chasing Sound, a feature length Les Paul documentary that can be found here
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great journal idea Toe, pointing out the greats. Music really wouldn't be what it is today without them and it'd be a shame if no one gave them due credit for it! MB owes you one. Can't wait to see your next pick, I'll be keepin' an eye on this for sure. Les Paul- RIP.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I like this thread a lot but unknown artists should be bigged up too. Classic artists do become disregarded for sure but also journals on MB highlight the lesser known and a chance for cult artists to be heard amidst the raft of commerical artists.
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Old 08-15-2009, 02:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I like this thread a lot but unknown artists should be bigged up too. Classic artists do become disregarded for sure but also journals on MB highlight the lesser known and a chance for cult artists to be heard amidst the raft of commerical artists.
I would normally agree but not when it comes to MB. Big artists like Little Richard or Les Paul are hardly ever mentioned. For me MB is about exploring new music, and all my life I've been in the dark- about everything. The past week and a half I learned about Buddy Holly, Little Richie, Les Paul... I didn't even know who the Jackson 5 were before MB.

My point is I'm learning about the god's of music much later then all the cult classics. I think if ToeAndno didn't mention them nobody ever would... ever.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly may have only been recording for around 18 months when he died in 1959, but that short career had one of the greatest impacts on the Rock and Roll world.

He was born Charles Hardin Holley in Texas 1936 and from a very young age learned how to play the guitar, the piano and fiddle, plus he won a singing contest at just five years old. At thirteen he teamed up with another musician and started playing at school talent shows and well as clubs in the area. By the time he was nineteen he was already doing the same gig as Elvis and also opening for Bill Haley & His Comets. He was then signed to Decca Records and released three albums, his first one when he was twenty one. Although an unlikely star by today's standards with his thick rimmed glasses and nerdy looks, Buddy quickly shot to fame and earned a wealth of fans in the U.S. and became even more popular in England. He was a hero that people realised they could realistically attain to, he was a normal guy unlike Elvis who had the looks and charisma of a big icon. Holly's charm and politeness also shone through i interview and at shows, warming him to those who watched. His vocal style made him stand out from his peers, employing what has been nicknamed the 'hiccup' technique when emphasising certain words.

Then, famously, during a three-week tour Holly died in a plane crash along with Ritchie Valens and 'The Big Bopper' J.P Richardson. He was twenty two years old.

Despite his short career, Buddy Holly holds a lot of influence on music, especially Rock and Roll. He became one of the first to write, perform and produce his own songs, something that gradually became the standard among the greats. His band The Crickets set the standard for what a rock band should be: drums, a bass and two guitars. His is one of the main reasons why the Fender Stratocaster became so popular, using it in almost every song he performed influencing Hank Marvin to own the first one in the UK. He also influenced Hank's look by not being afraid of wearing his glasses whilst performing, a look that also influenced Elvis Costello later on. The very name of his band was a huge factor in influencing the name of The Beatles, a group who were heavily influenced by his music. He also had a big impact on The Rolling Stones, they also had a hit with his song 'Not Fade Away' after Keith Richards saw him play live. Buddy's live shows also greatly affected Bob Dylan when he was a teenager, who went to a show two days before Holly died.


Suggested Listening



Buddy Holly - 20 Golden Greats

Trivia

Nirvana's In Bloom music video pays tribute to Buddy Holly

Was the first rock star to have a career-spanning box set.

Paul McCartney bought the song rights in 1975 and ensured his wife got all the money she was owed (manager Norman Petty previously had the rights after adding his name to the writing credits, though not having any writing input, and made more money than Buddy, the group, or the family after the death).








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