Don Henley is one of those rare artists who has achieved huge success as part of a band – The Eagles, and as a solo artist. He is truly blessed with exceptional talent. While the music is always good, I’ve found it to be more of a backdrop of what he wants to communicate. Very few artists write lyrics that are this thoughtful and deep. It also usually easy to hear and understand what he is saying which is an underappreciated talent especially from someone who is obviously so well read and intelligent.
Rod’s work has had many phases and I’ve always enjoyed listening to where his muse is taking him next. This particular song, “Never Give Up On A Dream” isn’t well known, but is one of my favorites. It was written in 1980 and celebrates the gallant efforts of Terry Fox – a young man with cancer who attempted to run across Canada on one good leg as he struggled with his disease. Sadly, he passed away shortly thereafter. As always is the case you can hear when Rod is truly inspired (as many of us rightfully were at the time). He is truly in his element. Like all good songs, the lyrics transcend the original motivation and resonate on a higher level. Continue reading
Yusuf Islam formerly Cat Stevens has written some powerful songs through the years. There has been quite a bit of unfair criticism and misinterpretation of his religious beliefs. Anyone who has listened to his music knows that he is a thoughtful and peace loving man. In addition, at the peak of his fame in the mid 1970s, he left popular music and dedicated himself to building schools for underprivileged youth. It was only within the last decade that he recommenced his music career. His songwriting talent was missed and it’s nice to have him back. Continue reading
I’ve always been a Johnny Cash fan. There is something about his songs and lyrics that is purely American. He may not have been blessed with the best voice in music, but he sure made the most of his talents. Many of his songs are still classics and have been covered extensively by other artists. Continue reading
I’ve been a fan of the music of Rush for over 30 years now. It still boggles my mind how 3 people can make such amazing music. I’ve seen groups with more than twice the number of players not equal their sound. When you see them live there are no theatrics or distractions – they just play. Their musicianship is quite extraordinary with each of them probably being one of the top players of their instrument in rock music over the past 4 decades. However, it seems like they rarely seek recognition or adulation – they just go about their business and do what they love. They are content to write great songs with real thought and meaning behind them. My guess is that they tour for their own enjoyment and to celebrate the experience with their fans. It hasn’t been a question of money for a very long time. Continue reading
I’ve never quite understood why Paul Weller doesn’t get the critical acclaim and respect he deserves in the United States. In Europe he’s been a big star for a very long time. Starting in his late teens with the punk rock band The Jam and then in 1980s in his soul, jazz and classical influenced partnership with Mick Talbot called the Style Council he has been writing thoughtful, complex and sometimes provocative songs pulling from multiple music genres. His creative influences are vast and it’s obvious. It has been a pleasure to follow “The Modfather” on his 35 year artistic journey. You never know what’s coming next. He has been solo since the early 1990s and his experimentation and great songwriting have only improved with age like a fine wine. Continue reading
There are few combinations in rock music better than Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Much to Pete’s chagrin at times, Roger is often the better singer of his songs. There is something about this pairing which is both powerful and remarkable at the same time. You have one of the most thoughtful songwriters in rock & roll music history combined with probably the most potent lead singer. The creative tension is sometimes palpable and there is a sense that these two make each other better whether they like it or not. It is sometimes awe inspiring how Roger can give voice to Pete’s songs. Continue reading