Oh Boy! Buddy Holly!

Today is the birthday of Buddy Holly, who died young but remains one of the greatest legends of rock ‘n’ roll.

Born in Lubbock, Texas, on September 7, 1936, he started recording in 1956 and had his first hit in 1957 with That’ll Be the Day. Two years later, it was all over. He died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, with two other stars, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, when their small, chartered aircraft flew into a storm in Iowa during a concert tour.

But in his shortlived career, “he wrote more memorable licks — and more hummable hits – than most rockers get in their entire lives”, said the Rolling Stone magazine.  That’ll Be the Day is 39th in Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. [Read more...]

The Beatles and Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule

Today is the birthday of Malcolm Gladwell. He is 51 today. I have been reading David and Goliath, but my favourite is Outliers because of the chapter headed The 10,000-Hour, which begins with the epigraph, “In Hamburg, we had to play for eight hours.”

 That’s a quote from John Lennon, talking about the Beatles’ early days, performing at a Hamburg strip club called the Indra.

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The sound of Phil Spector

An article in the Guardian recalls the genius of Phil Spector. It talks in detail about one of his famous songs, To Know Him Is To Love Him, which he recorded with the Teddy Bears. He played the guitar and sang the backing with Marshall Leib while Annette Kleibard sang the lead. They were classmates at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1958.

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Roll over Beethoven! Chuck Berry and rock ‘n’ roll music

So what was so great about rock ‘n’ roll? It was teeny, it was silly, it was fun, It got your toes tapping and then you were up on your feet, swinging your hips, dancing and singing along, belting out the lyrics as fast as you could for rock ‘n’ roll was loud, rock ‘n’roll was fast, the guitars jangling, the drums pounding, and the singers singing like crazy.

It was music with a rush that put you into motion, animating you from your lips to your toes, music that got you reelin’ and rockin’ like Chuck Berry here. He could rock with the best — such as John Lennon. [Read more...]