The Beau Brummels appeared to be part of the British Invasion; their namesake was real, a 19th century English dandy known for his fashionable style of dress.


Mountain is considered the forerunner of the heavy metal bands that followed. Guitarist Leslie West, bassist Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight, and drummer Corky Laing roared through songs like the 1970 classic, “Mississippi Queen.” Laing, who co-wrote the track, had the task of cutting through the band’s stacks of Marshall amps with his drum kit—and provided the song’s iconic cowbell.

“Mississippi Queen” by Mountain

Laing takes us through the first 50 years of his life in Letters to Sarah, his 2019 autobiography written with Tuija Takala. As much of that half-century was spent on the road, Laing intersperses letters he…


This story appeared in Rock Cellar April 16, 2021

Nancy Wilson’s accomplishments and leadership in the music industry were recognized by the Women’s International Music Network at January 2021’s SheRocks Awards. Wilson joined the Go-Gos, Cherie Currie of the Runaways, Cindy Blackman Santana and others who have inspired women in music.

The singer-songwriter and guitarist will release her first solo album, You and Me, on May 7, 2021. Wilson recorded the album at her home studio in northern California without the benefit of having other musicians in the room. Wilson used a file-sharing service to distribute the tracks among the…


The British Invasion knocked many American groups off the charts in the mid-1960s. Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, who scored a number one hit with “Sugar Shack” in 1963, decided to adopt a grittier sound with “Bottle of Wine.” Gilmer still performed lead vocals, but the band shortened its name to the Fireballs to reflect ‘60s fans’ preference for groups.

“Sugar Shack” by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs

Recorded at producer Norman Petty’s studio in Clovis, New Mexico, where Buddy Holly got his start, “Bottle of Wine” reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. While the Fireballs’…


Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty abhorred the recording industry. His first success as a member of Stealers Wheel, 1972’s “Stuck in the Middle With You,” was a parody of Bob Dylan’s style that poked fun at an industry cocktail party.

“Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel

Rafferty’s opinion was reinforced by royalties that disappeared and an onerous management contract that took three years to unravel after Stealers Wheel dissolved.

“Gerry Rafferty” by monosnaps is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Unable to release any new material until his legal issues were resolved, Rafferty returned to Scotland, where he continued to write. …


Shannon’s haunting voice and the mystifying Musitron created a completely new sound

A Del Shannon record today is as immediately identifiable as when it crackled from a transistor radio 60 years ago. Shannon’s debut single, “Runaway,” was released in February 1961, a year when Billboard’s top three singles were “Tossin’ and Turnin’” by Bobby Lewis, “I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline and “Michael” by the Highwaymen.

Shannon was born Charles Westover in Grand Rapids, Michigan. By 1958, Shannon sold carpet by day and played guitar by night at a local club, where he met keyboardist Max Crook at a Battle of the Bands contest.

Crook, an electronics geek, recorded some of…


The drummer also shares tales from his just-released autobiography

Ten Years After fans will be thrilled at today’s release of the Deluxe Edition of A Sting in the Tale. The venerable blues rock band has added four live tracks to their well-received 2017 studio album: “Land Of The Vandals,” “Last Night of the Bottle,” “Silverspoon Lady” and “I’d Love To Change the World,” their biggest US hit.

The core of the original band — singer-guitarist Alvin Lee, drummer Ric Lee (no relation), keyboardist Chick Churchill and bassist Leo Lyons — formed in the UK in the mid-1960s as the Jaybirds. By 1967 they’d adopted the name Ten Years After.


Photo by Terence Burke on Unsplash

Hot rods—old cars that have been stripped down and souped-up with larger engines—have been around since the late 1930s. It took the record industry until 1950 to capitalize on the trend with “Hot Rod Race” by Arkie Shibley and His Mountain Dew Boys. In “Hot Rod Race,” a Ford and Mercury race down a highway until they are overtaken by “a hopped-up Model A” Ford.

“Hot Rod Race” by Arkie Shibley and his Mountain Dew Boys

“Hot Rod Race” has been called the first of a series of hot rod songs of the 1950s and ’60s. “Hot Rod Race” was…


The 1960s was a watershed era for blue-eyed soul, with multiple hits by the Rascals, Mitch Ryder and the Righteous Brothers. Add the Box Tops, whose 1967 “The Letter” became a number one single that would sell four million copies.

The band had been together four years before they were discovered by Memphis DJ Ray Banks, who asked Chips Moman of American Sound Studio to give them a break. Moman passed the group onto his assistant Dan Penn, who was anxious to produce his own records.

When the Box Tops arrived at American Sound in 1967, Penn was surprised that…


‘Spring training is the most hopeful time. It’s almost a metaphor for life’

Photo by Chanan Greenblatt on Unsplash

Finally: spring training. Major League Baseball players at Arizona and Florida camps begin their first day of full-squad workouts this week. For John Fogerty, the annual return of baseball also marked a career comeback.

In the mid-1980s, Fogerty found himself at a creative dead end. His most productive period had been from 1968–1972, when he and his band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, charted nine Top 10 singles.

But 1972 saw the acrimonious break-up of the group and Fogerty claimed he lost millions of dollars to money managers. Two solo albums earned lukewarm sales and reviews. …

Frank Mastropolo

Author, Fillmore East: The Venue That Changed Rock Music Forever (Fall 2021) & Ghost Signs: Clues to Downtown New York’s Past FB @fillmoreeastnyc @ghostsignsnyc

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