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Alterkaker Hot 3

September 17, 2015

Sonny Bono was not one of the great songwriters of his day, but he did manage to come up with a bunch of hits for he and Cher, as well as some tunes that others turned into hits. Perhaps his best song is the one few know he wrote (with Jack Nitzsche): “Needles And Pins,” which was a hit for Jackie DeShannon in 1963, and ten months later became a bigger hit by The Searchers. Petula Clark had a number one hit with it in France, and The Ramones covered in on their “Road To Ruin” album. The live version here is by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Stevie Nicks chipping in. It’s from 1985’s “Pack Up The Plantation.”

Sonny & Cher were ahead of the curve on folk-rock, and way ahead of the curve on their over-the-top flamboyant hippie couture. “Laugh at Me,” Sonny’s lament at being ridiculed for his fashion sense, is covered by Mott the Hoople on their eponymous 1970 debut album.

Where Do You Go” was released by Cher as a single in 1965. The ballad, from the duo’s second album “The Sonny Side of Cher,” was a modest hit but forgotten in time due to being sandwiched between two classics: “I Got You Babe” and “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).”

Needles and Pins, by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Laugh At Me, by Mott the Hoople
Where Do You Go, by Cher
Bang Bang, by Nancy Sinatra
March 3, 2015

The British Invasion, a musical and cultural phenomenon of the mid-1960s, had The Beatles at the forefront, but The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits, and all sorts of bands came over and hit it big. For this week’s AKH3 we take a listen to three of the most popular and most influential groups from the Invasion: The Who, The Yardbirds, and The Dave Clark Five.

Happy Jack by The Who

This song was The Who’s first top forty hit in the United States -- it was released in March 1967. It’s got that infectious British Invasion beat to it, and Keith Moon’s drumming is fantastic.

Glad All Over by The Dave Clark Five

Once upon a time, the two most popular bands in the world were The Beatles and The Dave Clark Five. This single of theirs, "Glad All Over" knocked the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top of the singles charts in January 1964. It’s got a big “air hammer” beat beneath a wall of sound production known back then as the “Tottenham Sound.” The DC5 had 17 Top 40 hits and – get this -- sold over one hundred million records. Rock and Roll Hall of Famers? Of course.

For Your Love, by The Yardbirds

The Yardbirds have to be considered the most impressive rock guitar band in history. Why? Because the band started with Eric Clapton on lead guitar (he was in the band for For Your Love, though there's not much if any guitar in the song). After he left the group, Jimmy Page took over. When Page left to form Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck became the lead guitarist. Rolling Stone’s 100 Top Guitarists list puts Clapton at #2, Page at #3, and Beck at #5. This song is one of a string of hits the group scored in the mid-1960s. Like The Who and DC5, The Yardbirds too are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Who, Happy Jack
The Dave Clark Five, Glad All Over
The Yardbirds, For Your Love
The Who Performing Happy Jack
February 24, 2015

Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Janis Ian all made their mark in the Sixties not just as great singers, but as accomplished songwriters as well.

California, by Joni Mitchell

This Joni Mitchell tune first appeared on her 1971 album Blue, which was rated the 30th best album ever made in Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". The song features James Taylor on guitar. As for Ms. Mitchell, AllMusic said, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century," and Rolling Stone called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever". (Check out video at bottom of page of Mitchell performing song and playing dulcimer as accompaniment).

At Seventeen, by Janis Ian

Janis Ian first entered the folk music scene while a teenager in the mid-1960s. Ian released this song, her biggest hit, in 1975 on the Between the Lines album. It won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1976, beating out Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John and Helen Reddy. She performed "At Seventeen" as a musical guest on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live in October 1975.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, by Carole King

This song was co-written by Carole King with Gerry Goffin and originally recorded by The Shirelles -- the first song by an all-girl group to reach No.1 in the United States. It comes from the 1971 Tapestry album, which is one of the best-selling albums of all time (over 25 million copies sold worldwide). It received four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Album of the Year – making King the first solo female artist to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, and the first female to win the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. Tapestry ranked number 36 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and remained on the Billboard charts for 513 weeks (second only to Pink Floyd's 724 weeks with "Dark Side of the Moon").

Joni Mitchell
Janis Ian
Carole King
Joni Mitchell singing California with dulcimer, 1970