Pieces of Vinyl vs. Digital Music – Which is Better?

Vinyl Records

Pieces of Vinyl vs. Digital Music – Which is Better?

I entered the record store and was immediately bombarded by the sound of Joe Walsh performing live and the faint aroma of mold, mildew, and dust.  I exchanged greetings with the owner behind the counter and then made a beeline to the first row of vinyl records.

At the head of the row resided several dozen vinyl records that just recently entered the establishment’s inventory.  I began to flip through them looking for classic releases and hidden gems.

The Rolling Stones… Exile on Main St.  Gotta have that.

Simple Minds… Once Upon A Time.  Need it.

The Blues Brothers… Briefcase Full of Blues.  Can’t pass that up.

Then I came across this high fidelity album called Do The Hula.  It actually contains a multi-page insert that teaches one how to do Hawaii’s unofficial dance step.  Finally, I came across a record of Sammy Davis, Jr. singing Mel Torme’s California Suite.  It’s a definite must have.

Later that night, I turned the lights down low and procured a cold beverage.  I sat back in my comfiest chair and enjoyed my new vinyl records.  It was musical nirvana.

So I guess I’ve answered the age old question—well, a question that’s at least a decade old—what’s better: vinyl records (a.k.a.pieces of vinyl – thanks baba-booey!) or digital music.

Actually the answer to that query is digital music.  There’s no way around it.  Digital music is ubiquitous, utilitarian, and user-friendly.

Most people already have a computer, laptop, and/or smartphone capable of playing digital music player.  Digital music is cheap, and let’s not be naïve, it can even be free.  Even better, digital music takes up no space and can be played indefinitely.

Depending on how deep you want to get into digital music you can use it for working out, entertaining at parties, and while you’re driving around town.

Digital music wins the head-to-head battle but that doesn’t mean it’s the only champion in the equation.  The true story that began this article could not have happened with digital music.  Vinyl records lend themselves to excitement.

Nothing beats the experience of flipping through a stack of records and finding a piece of vinyl that strikes your fancy.  And nothing beats putting that vinyl record on your turntable and setting the needle on the groove.

There are pops, hisses, and crackles, but those noises don’t distract from the experience they add to it.  They’re charming.  The fact that you have to flip the record over is endearing not an inconvenience.

Then there’s the album cover.  The album is the perfect canvas for a piece of art.  Digital music has no cover, no linear notes, and no inner sleeves.  What do you read while listening to a digital piece of music?  What do you look at?  How do you know who produced the album or who played bass on the opening track?

My love affair with vinyl records isn’t coming from nowhere.  According to Nielsen SoundScan, the sales of vinyl records went from 4.5 million in 2012 to 6 million in 2013.

We are in the middle of a vinyl renaissance.  And why not?  Like I’ve extolled, vinyl records offer a great experience and are a whole lot of fun to listen to.  The format also favors artists who are talented and creative enough to fill both sides of a vinyl record with quality songs.  Digital music is tailor made for one-hit wonders.

The vinyl records Nielsen counted are obviously new releases, or relatively new releases.  The real fun comes when you find that quaint, little record store on some sleepy downtown corner.  Inside are must-own platters from the last half of the twenty century; the more eclectic the better.

You don’t need to subscribe to digital music news to realize digital music is a workhouse and vinyl records are a show pony.  Digital music is the dependable car that takes you to work every day.  Vinyl records are the hot rod you drive on dates.  Digital music is the familiar restaurant where you go for lunch every day.  Vinyl records are the restaurant you frequent every once-in-a-while, you know the type, the one where they set your food on fire.

You need digital music.  You should want vinyl records.

Some audiophiles swear that vinyl records produce a better quality of sound than digital music.  I’ve never had the system or the ears to hear if that’s true.  It really doesn’t matter.  The joy of vinyl records isn’t really the sound quality but the experience.

Vinyl Records & Digital Music Milestones

>>Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877.

>>Twelve-inch records were introduced in 1903.

>>In 1948, Columbia Records developed and marketed the 33 RPM LP.

>>In February of 1949, RCA Victor released the first 45 rpm single.

>>A Japanese-based company sells a turntable that uses a laser to read vinyl discs.

>>On July 7, 1994, the Fraunhofer Society released the first MP3 encoder called l3enc

>>Karlheinz Brandenburg used a recording of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” to refine the MP3 compression algorithm.

>>Winamp was released in 1997 and was quickly downloaded 3 million times.

>>In 1999, the first large peer-to-peer file sharing network was launched.  It was called Napster.

>>iTunes was released on January 9, 2001.

Ten Or Twelve Of The Greatest Stand-Up Comedy Movies Of All-Time

RichardPryorTen Or Twelve Of The Greatest Stand-Up Comedy Movies Of All-Time

Gabriel Iglesias is one of the funniest and most likable stand-ups working in comedy today.  He sells out shows all over the world and his DVDs always threaten the million-units-sold plateau.  That’s why it’s a surprise to learn that his concert film, The Fluffy Movie, opened with a $1.3 million weekend.  As of Sept. 1, the genial funny man’s live performance flick has earned a total of $2.8 million at the old box office.

I think Guardians of The Galaxy earned more than that in its first 17 minutes of release.

The Fluffy Movie was filmed during two Gabriel Iglesias tour stops—one on Feb. 28 and another on March 1.  The movie was directed by Manny Rodriguez and it dropped July 25.  The project was filmed and released in less than five months.

Don’t feel bad for Iglesias or his release.  Despite the seemingly underwhelming returns, The Fluffy Movie is the tenth highest grossing comedy film of all-time (if time started in 1982).  By the way, the list was compiled by the Web site Box Office Mojo.

If you think about it, this is not only one of the smallest cinematic genres of all-time but it’s also on life support—only two of the two dozen films are from this decade.  Not only have YouTube and Netflix killed the stand-up comedy concert film but so has the price of movies tickets.

If I’m going to take out a mortgage to go to the Cineplex, the movie better have at least three dimensions and enough explosions to permanently damage my hearing.  I’m not the only one who thinks like this.  Combined, the 24 films on BOM’s list earned less than $232 million.

Eddie Murphy Raw (1987)
The highest grossing stand-up comedy concert film of all-time is Eddie Murphy Raw.  It made more than $50 million.  At the time, and until 1990, Raw held the record for the most utterances of the f-word.  That iniquitous curse was spoken 223 times.  Now, the movie isn’t even in the top 30.

The Original Kings of Comedy (2000)
The Original Kings of Comedy was directed by Spike Lee and contained sets from Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and Bernie Mac.  The film was a huge success making more than $11 million in its opening weekend.  It also inspired a bunch of similar enterprises like The Original Latin Kings of Comedy, The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, The Queens of Comedy, and The Comedians of Comedy.

Anecdotally, The Comedians of Comedy (starring Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, Brian Posehn, and Maria Bamford) was released on Nov. 11, 2005.  It was shown in two theatres and grossed $354 in its opening weekend and $549 overall.

Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982)
Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip was the most lucrative concert film of the legendary comedian’s career.  That’s saying something because his 1983 concert film, Richard Pryor: Here and Now, is sixth on the list with $16 million.  Remember, Pryor invented this genre in 1979.  His Richard Pryor: Live in Concert is the first movie ever released that was devoted to one guy doing nothing but telling jokes on a stage.  In Live on the Sunset Strip, Pryor discusses the infamous incident when he was freebasing cocaine and lit himself on fire.

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (2013)
Let’s look at the numbers.  Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain grossed $32 million at the box office and cost $2.5 million to make.  His traditional film, Ride Along (2014), grossed $153 million and had a budget of $25 million.  I wonder what kind of movie Hart will make next?  The diminutive comic’s 2011 stand-up film, Laugh at My Pain, comes in at number eight (thanks to $7.7 million in gate receipts).  Let Me Explain was filmed at Madison Square Garden while Laugh at My Pain was recorded at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat (2002)
Martin Lawrence has two stand-up concert films in the top ten: Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat is fifth with $19 million and 1994’s You So Crazy is seventh with $10 million.  Runteldat was filmed at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C the same venue where Eddie Murphy shot his television special Delirious.  You So Crazy was originally rated NC-17. It was then sold to another studio who released it as “unrated.”

Divine Madness (1980)
I’ve mentioned directly, or indirectly, nine of the top ten stand-up comedy concert films of all-time.  The only film I have yet to enumerate is number nine, Divine Madness.  Yes, the one with Bette Midler.  Although the 94-minute film has the Divine Miss M singing 16 songs it also has her performing several stand-up comedy routines.  Apparently, that qualifies it as a stand-up comedy film.  The $5.3 million it earned at the box office qualifies it for ninth place.

Comedian (2002)
If you reject Divine Madness then The Fluffy Movie moves to number nine and Comedian, starring Jerry Seinfeld, slides to number ten.  You can argue that Comedian should be disqualified from consideration because it’s more of a documentary than a performance concert.  If that’s the case then our new number ten is Eddie Griffin’s DysFunKtional Family (2003), which grossed $2.25 million.

Gabriel Iglesias
For the sake of argument let’s not count Divine Madness or Comedian.  If we do then all ten of the top grossing stand-up comedy concert films star minorities.  All but one, Iglesias’ The Fluffy Movie, star African-American comedians.

Also, of all the comedians in the top ten (or 12 if you include Midler and Seinfeld) only Iglesias and Hart are in their 30s.  In fact, everyone but Eddie Griffin (46) and Martin Lawrence (49) are in their 50s.  While many on the list still perform stand-up, all most all are working in film or television.  The only member of the top ten (twelve) that’s primarily a stand-up comedian is Gabriel Iglesias.

Garth Brooks To End Long Retirement With Tour And Album

GarthBrooksconcertGarth Brooks To End Long Retirement With Tour And Album

He’s back!

Garth Brooks is returning to the music industry with a world tour and a brand new studio album.  Both are firsts for the country music superstar since he retired in 2000.

His new tour begins Sept. 4 with a Garth Brooks concert in Rosemont (Chicago).  He has ten shows planned for the Windy City.  After that, Garth Brooks will be in Atlanta.

No word on when his new album will be released, but it’s been confirmed that he’s working on it.  When it does drop, it will be Brooks’ first new collection of songs since 2001’s Scarecrow.

Brooks officially announced his retirement on Oct. 26, 2000.  Yet, the following year he released a studio album and made a few promotional appearances.  That’s why you might see one Web site use “2001” and another use “2000” as the commencement date of his employment hiatus.  For the purposes of this article this Web site is using the 2000 date.

For the most part, Brooks has been relatively dormant during his retirement.  He released a couple of greatest hits collection, signed a deal with Walmart, and launched a four-year residency show in Las Vegas.  He certainly hasn’t been working on GarthBrooks.com.

You can argue whether or not he’s actually been retired but since the release of Scarecrow in 2001, Brooks hasn’t toured or recorded a new studio album.  Touring and recording is what singers do.  That’s why you can say, without fear of incrimination, that Brooks has been retired for nearly fourteen years.

Brooks’ break from making music is unprecedented.  Singers have stepped away from recording and touring for a few years but nothing close to nearly a decade and a half.

Below, Musicology-101 looks at the longest gap between albums for some of the biggest names in popular music.  What the following list doesn’t reveal is that all the singers released their first album long before Brooks’ debut.  Many of the acts on the rundown are from the decade of the sixties and their gaps occurred when they were in their sixties.

Longest Gap Between Albums
>>George Strait… 2 years
>>Madonna… 4 years (went seven years without touring)
>>Neil Diamond… 4 Years
>>Bob Dylan… 5 years
>>Elvis Presley… 5 years (but released several soundtrack albums during that time)
>>Paul McCartney… 5 years
>>Michael Jackson… 6 years (died without having released an album for 8 years)
>>Bruce Springsteen… 7 years
>>Elton John… 7 years
>>Billy Joel… 4 years (although he hasn’t released a rock album since 1993)

Just how long has Garth been on the sidelines?  He announced his retirement in October of 2000 and in January of 2001, iTunes was released.  Basically, Garth’s retirement from the music industry is older than the digital music industry.  He left when people were still buying albums and returns when they’re downloading songs from the internet.

To put the length of Brooks’ respite from touring and recording in perspective, Musicology-101 has put together a list of what was happening in the careers of today’s major recording artists.  As you’ll soon see, some of today’s biggest stars were barely old enough to pick up a guitar when Garth Brooks called a career timeout.

When Garth Brooks retired…
… Justin Bieber was 6…
… Harry Styles (of One Direction) was 6…
… Liam Payne (of One Direction) was 7…
… Louis Tomlinson (of One Direction) was 8…
… Niall Horan (of One Direction) was 7…
… Zayn Malik (of One Direction) was 7…
… Hunter Hayes was 9…
… Taylor Swift was 10…
… Miranda Lambert was 16…
… Jason Aldean was 23 and in between recording contracts…
… Florida Georgia Line was still a dozen years away from releasing “Cruise…”
… Sugarland, Lady Antebellum, and The Band Perry had yet to form…
… Vince Gill had only won 13 of his eventual 20 Grammy Awards…
… Brad Paisley was celebrating the release of his debut album…
… Keith Urban had just released his first solo album in the United States…
… Reba McEntire had yet to star in her own sitcom…
… Rascal Flatts had just one platinum album to their name (they now have seven)…
… Blake Shelton had yet to sign a record deal…
… Toby Keith owned exactly zero “I Love This Bar and Grills.”

Eight Of The Worst Names For Popular Musicians

Elvis Costello

Eight Of The Worst Names For Popular Musicians

John Lennon.  Mick Jagger.  Eddie Van Halen.  Dave Matthews.  Harry Styles.  If your parents gave you a name like that you had no choice but to join a rock band (in Harry Styles case a boy band).  The above names are strong and memorable.  They are easy to pronounce but hard to forget.  They are perfect names for popular musicians.

However, not all popular musicians are as lucky as Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Page.  Some were given names that are better suited to owning a comic book store then blowing the roof off of Madison Square Garden.  Below, Musicology-101 looks at eight of the worst names for popular musicians.  Some of these dorky appellations were dropped for sturdier sounding nom de plumes while some were actually kept (we admire their courage and loyalty).

Now, just because a name is on our list doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the artist or their music.  In fact, we here at Musicology-101 are big fans of all of the following artists.  All we’re saying is these eight names sound more like geeks into cosplay than musicians who play at Coachella.

Brantley Gilbert
The “Bottoms Up” singer is the epitome of cool.  All you need to do is check out Brantley Gilbert’s Web site to know he’s virile, rugged, and flawed (just enough to where you think you can fix him).  If anyone can turn “Gilbert” around it’s Brantley but there’s a lot of nerd in that sobriquet.   As names go, “Gilbert” immediately conjures up images of pocket protectors, Magic the Gathering, and Dr. Who.  It’s hard to believe that Brantley Gilbert’s Facebook page has three million likes.   You’d think with a name like “Brantley Gilbert” his only Facebook friends would be his mom and favorite hobby shop.

Maybe Brantley Gilbert can continue rehabilitating his dorky sounding name this summer during his “Let It Ride Tour.”  His trek begins Sept. 19 in Austin, Texas and ends Dec. 6 in Pikeville, Kentucky.  Highlights of his outing include Brantley Gilbert performing in Worchester on Sept. 27, Raleigh on Oct. 30, and Anaheim on Nov. 22.  Gilbert will be joined by Aaron Lewis or Tyler Farr (depending on the date)—now, those singers have cool names.

Chaim Witz
The Demon’s real name is “Chaim Witz.”  Then he changed it to “Eugene Klein,” followed by “Gene Klein,” and finally “Gene Simmons.”  “Chaim Witz” is not an awful name.  One could go through life as “Chaim Witz” and be happy and productive.  One cannot go through life as “Chaim Witz” and sing rock songs while wearing platform shoes, stage makeup, and leather pants.  “Chaim Witz” is the name of a computer programmer or a deli owner.  It can’t be the name of one of the founding members of KISS.

Declan MacManus
“Elvis Costello” is one of the most contrived sounding names in rock history.  That’s okay because E.C. is responsible for such great albums as This Year’s Model, Armed Forces, and Get Happy!!  He adopted the stage name in part to honor his father (who performed under the name “Day Costello”) and part because his real name is Declan MacManus.  That isn’t the worst name but it certainly doesn’t work if you’re one of the greatest songwriters of your generation.  He could have kept Declan MacManus had he been a drunk, Irish novelist or the assembly group leader of Sinn Féin.

Donavon Frankenreiter
If you think Donavon Frankenreiter is an odd name for a rock and roller just think how weird it sounds for a surfer.  Before becoming a successful recording artist, Frankenreiter was a professional surfer.  We doubt they did a lot of hanging ten in the Motherland.  If things weren’t bad enough for herr Frankenreiter, one of his closest friends is the Jack Johnson, a musician with a great name.

Lemmy Kilmister
Now that we’ve placed Lemmy Kilmister on a list of the worst names for popular musicians we’ve decided to enter the witness protection program.  Anyone named “Lemmy Kilmister” must own an embarrassing amount of anime.  They can’t front a hard rock band named Motorhead.  Of course, the real Lemmy Kilmister is the exact opposite of an anime-watching nerd.   He claims to have slept with more than one thousand women (a thousand more than most nerds), he used to drink a bottle of Jack Daniels a day (many nerds can’t even stand the taste of beer), and he collects German military regalia (as compared to Star Trek memorabilia).  Kilmister might be the guy who shoves nerds into lockers, but he has an awful name for a rock star.

Reginald Dwight
“Reginald” is okay.  So is “Dwight.”  But, if you put them together you have the perfect name for a twit.  “Reginald Dwight” is the guy who tells your boss all the bad things you said about him during lunch or points out a stain on your tie when you’re talking to a pretty girl.  It’s easy to understand why Reginald Dwight pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose one last time and changed his name to “Elton John.”   Selling 300 million albums is a good indication that the nomenclature switch worked.

Robert Zimmerman
“Robert Zimmerman” isn’t too bad but it’s no “Bob Dylan.”  Think about it.  Statements like “Dylan has gone electric” and “I’m seeing Dylan tonight at the Fillmore” just roll off the tongue.  Meanwhile, “Robert Zimmerman” an insurance salesman.  “Hello, I’m Robert Zimmerman.  Can I talk to you about your policy?”  It’s a god thing Zimmerman altered his designation.  “Bob Dylan” sounds like one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.  “Robert Zimmerman” sounds like the Twin Ports insurance salesman of the year.

Rufus Wainwright
In 2009, Rufus Wainwright wrote an opera.   You can get by writing operas with a name like “Rufus,” but making pop albums is a little bit harder.  Still, Wainwright has managed to make more than half dozen of them.  “Rufus Wainwright” is the name of the wealthy trust fund baby in every movie that has a wealthy trust fund baby.  High affluent names run in the family, Rufus’ father is folk singer Loudon Wainwright III.  You can’t help but say both names like your Mr. Howell from Gilligan’s Island.

Five Moody Blues Songs You Must Have In Your Music Library

Five Moody Blues Songs You Must Have In Your Music Library

Moody Blues

On Aug. 1, The Moody Blues will launch their “2014 Timeless Flight Summer Tour.”  The trek keeps them on the road through Sept. 5.

Fans of the band are already showing their excitement on The Moody Blues’ Facebook page and other similar sites.  As sad as it sounds, this may be the last time they tour.  The three remaining Moody Blues members are a combined 208 years old.

For those who have never heard of The Moody Blues, or their music, please excuse us for saying so, but what is wrong with you?  They are one of the great bands to come out of the 1960s.  Furthermore, The Moody Blues of today are not a nostalgic act.  They don’t whisk hippies back to a woebegone era; they take fans of all ages on a musical journey.

Now, to really appreciate The Moody Blues you need to listen to their music on vinyl, via large speakers, while sitting on beanbags, under a black light, with maybe some “other stuff” there too.  That’s a huge commitment to make for a band you’ve never heard before.

Instead, Musicology-101 has compiled a list of five Moody Blues songs you must have in your music collection.  These five songs are a great introduction to their catalog as well as proof that they’re not your traditional old fogey band.  After all, you’d probably love these songs if you thought they were originally crafted by Wilco or The National or Phoenix or Passion Pit or…

“Tuesday Afternoon”
What good ever happens on a Tuesday afternoon?  It might be the dullest part of the week, but it’s definitely not a boring Moody Blues song.  The album version, from the Days of Future Passed, clocks in at 8:21.  The single version, released in January of 1968, is only 2:16.  Get the longer album version.  It’s a baroque pop masterpiece.

Moody Blues’ lead singer, Justin Hayward, wrote this song on his guitar while sitting in a field on a sunny afternoon.  He claims the tune just came to him.  The orchestra part of “Tuesday Afternoon” is performed by the London Festival Orchestra and arranged by Peter Knight.

“Nights In White Satin”
“Nights In White Satin” is probably the Moody Blues’ most famous song.  Like “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Nights In White Satin” comes in multiple varieties.  There are two singles versions and another one from the album.  Once again, download the track that appears on the album (Days of Future Passed).  It’s 7:38 but contains all the great orchestra parts and the poem (“Late Lament”).

The song was written by Hayward when he was 19 after a girlfriend gave him a gift of satin sheets.  Graeme Edge composed the poem and it’s spoken by keyboardist Mike Pinder.  Graeme is still a part of The Moody Blues and their concert tours, Pinder is not.

The string parts during the main body of the song are not from an orchestra but from Pinder’s keyboards.  The string sound he produces is known as the “Moody Blues sound.”  The symphonic part in the second half of the song was performed by The London Festival Orchestra.

“The Story In Your Eyes”
The Moody Blues released “The Story In Your Eyes” in 1971.  It’s found on the studio album Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.  This is an upbeat tune with a pronounced guitar riff.  Still, the song employs that famous Moody Blues sound.  In fact, it’s the last Moody Blues single to use a Mellotron.

Of all the songs on this list, “The Story In Your Eyes” sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday.  In fact, Fountains of Wayne covered the song in 2010.  It was written by Justin Hayward.

“Ride My See-Saw”
“Ride My See-Saw” was the first U.K. rock single to be made on an 8-track tape multi-track recording machine.  The song, from the album In Search for the Lost Chord, was written by John Lodge.  It was released in 1968.

Often, you’ll hear this song coupled with the track “Departure,” a short spoken-word/soundscape. “Departure” begins the album and leads right into “Ride My See-Saw.”  A hardy laugh overlaps the end of one and the beginning of the next.

“Ride My See-Saw,” with its thick vocal track, sounds a little dated, but it’s so unique and innovated we had to include it.  They don’t write songs like this anymore.  The Moody Blues often end their live shows with “Ride My See-Saw.”

“Lovely To See You”
“Lovely To See You” is the only song on our list that was not released as a single.  Don’t worry, you can still download it from iTunes.  The track is from the 1969 album On The Threshold of a Dream and is widely considered the LP’s most popular song.  It too was written by Justin Hayward.

“Lovely To See You” is a fast-paced, feel-good tune that will get stuck in your head (in a good way).  It’s also one of the group’s most straight-forward songs.  By that we mean it doesn’t need a 50-peice orchestra.  The band uses this song to kick off most Moody Blues concerts.  You need it to kick off your Moody Blues music collection.

Brief History Of Popular Music And Food

Zac Brown Band

Brief History Of Popular Music And Food

Before most Zac Brown Band concerts you can meet the band and enjoy some fantastic food.  The events are called “Eat and Greets” and they are opened to members of the ZBB fan club, affectionately known as the “Zamily.”

Regardless if Zac Brown Band is in Boston or Eugene, Oregon, you won’t find any rubber chicken at an “Eat and Greet.”  Chuck Yarborough from The Plain Dealer attended an “Eat and Greet” prior to Zac Brown Band’s concert at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.  He raved about the grub. Yarborough said they had the best coleslaw he had ever tasted, and when it came to dessert (chard flavored with pistachio, balsamic vinegar, chickpeas) he didn’t know whether to eat it or rub it over his body.

An “Eat and Greet” is not the only time Zac Brown Band involves itself with food.  Since 2011, the band has hosted the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.  The fourth edition of the three-day event kicks off Oct. 11.  The festival is both a feast for the ears and the taste buds.  Attendees get to enjoy great music (ZBB headlines each night) as well as delicious chow.

Popular music and food have a long history together.  If you think about it, music and food satiate two of our three biggest appetites (if you know what I mean).  Below, Musicology-101 takes a brief look at some of the most significant examples of when food and music crossed paths.

“Shake, Rattle and Roll”
“Shake, Rattle and Roll” was recorded by Big Joe Turner and Bill Haley & His Comets in 1954.  Turner’s version is a classic blues number while Haley’s rendition is one of the earliest and most successful rock and roll songs.  The lyrics to “Shake, Rattle and Roll” are as dirty and misogynistic as anything you’ll find in today’s musical clime.  That includes the line “I’m like the one-eyed cat peeping in a seafood store/Well I can look at you tell you ain’t no child no more.”  Interestingly, Haley was blind in one eye.

“MacArthur Park”
“MacArthur Park” is a very successful song.  Richard Harris had a number two hit with it in 1968.  Then, a decade later, Donna Summer took the ditty all the way to number one.  Yet, Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” is widely considered one of the worst songs ever recorded.  It’s pretentious as a cucumber finger sandwich and contains some of the worst lyrics ever put down on paper.  That includes the famous line “Someone left the cake out in the rain.”  During the recording of the song, Harris sang “MacArthur’s Park” instead of “MacArthur Park.”  Webb, who produced the recording, tried to correct the bombastic actor but eventually gave up after Harris failed to correct his pronunciation.

“Savoy Truffle”
“Savory Truffle” appears on The Beatles’ White Album (1968).  It was written by George Harrison about Eric Clapton’s legendary sweet tooth.  A lot of the lyrics came from a box of Mackintosh’s Good News chocolates: “Creme tangerine and montelimat/A ginger sling with a pineapple heart.”  Apparently all of the desserts Harrison mentions re real except for cherry cream and coconut fudge.

“The Lemon Song”
Led Zeppelin’s “The Lemon Song” (1969) evolved out of the band performing Howlin’ Wolf’s “The Killing Floor” in concert.  Today, “The Lemon Song” gives Chester Burnett (Howlin’ Wolf’s his real name) a songwriting credit.  In “The Lemon Song” you’ll find a line that can be traced all the way back to the 1930s.  This line is just as dirty as the one previously cited from “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”  That line is: “Squeeze me baby, till the juice runs down my leg/The way you squeeze my lemon, I’m gonna fall right out of bed.”

“Cheeseburger in Paradise”
Jimmy Buffett took a boat trip where he had to subsist on canned food and peanut butter.  With his stomach growling he dreamed of eating a juicy cheeseburger.  When he arrived at his destination, Road Town in the British Virgin Islands, he was amazed to find a restaurant serving American hamburgers.  That story is the inspiration behind “Cheeseburger in Paradise” (1978), one of Buffett’s most popular songs and a staple during his live show.  Historically, there’s been some confusion as to whether or not Buffett croons “in paradise” or “is paradise.”  There’s evidence that he sings both.

“Weird Al” Yankovic
“Weird Al” Yankovic has made a living combining popular music and food in hilarious song parodies.  His most famous is 1984’s “Eat It,” a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”  Other Yankovic songs involving food include “Addicted to Spuds,” “Fat,” “Girls Just Want To Have Lunch,” “I Love Rocky Road,” “Livin’ in the Fridge,” “Spam,” “Taco Grande,” and “Waffle King.”

“Ice Cream”
In the earlier 1990s, Sarah McLachlan sang: “Your love is better than ice cream/better than anything else that I’ve tried.”  Wow, that’s high praise.  She continues: “Your love is better than chocolate/better than anything else that I’ve tried.”  That’s even higher praise.  I’d settle for my love being better than spray cheese or peanut butter M&M’s.  “Ice Cream” was not released as a single but it’s found on S-Mac’s breakthrough opus Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1993).  Still, the song is very popular.

Paul McCartney And His Greatest Achievements By Decades

McCartney Paul McCartney And His Greatest Achievements By Decades

The 2014 U.S. leg of Paul McCartney’s “Out There Tour” begins June 14 in Lubbock, Texas, which just so happens to be the hometown of Buddy Holly.  McCartney’s string of dates ends Aug. 7 in Salt Lake City.  His itinerary includes several cities Sir Paul has never performed in before including Lubbock, Louisville, Albany, Fargo, and Lincoln.

Macca has been in the music business for over 50 years and has accomplished just about everything one guy can do with a song.  Below, we look at the biggest McCartney moments from each decade.  Musicology-101 begins with the 1970s and ends with the 2010s.  We skipped the 1960s since we all know what he did during that decade. 


In the 1970s, McCartney was responsible for seven Platinum albums, four number one albums, and six number one singles.  He formed the successful band Wings, launched one massive tour after another, and released “Mull of Kintyre,” the first single to sell more than two million copies in the U.K.  Out of all that, we picked “Live and Let Die” as the quintessential McCartney moment of the 1970s.  We picked it not so much because the single peaked at number two or because it was nominated for an Academy Award.  We picked “Live and Let Die” because it’s the epitome of a James Bond song.  Leave it to the greatest songwriter of all-time to write the greatest Bond theme ever.


Music tastes changed in 1980s.  This made it a tough decade for many classic rockers.  They needed a few years to reinvent themselves in the Brave New World of synthesizers, drum machines, and rap, but not Paul McCartney.  He began the decade by releasing the classic album, McCartney II.  Later in the decade, he played Live Aid (McCartney has always been into causes), recorded “Ebony and Ivory” with Stevie Wonder, and launched his first world tour in over a decade.  What’s often lost about McCartney’s musical contributions in the 1980s is his appearance on a little album called Thriller.  McCartney and Michael Jackson recorded “The Girl is Mine” in April of 1982.  It was released as the album’s first single the following October.  Singing on “The Girl is Mine” means McCartney played a part in two of the greatest albums ever made, Thriller and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).


In the 1990s, McCartney launched forays into classical and electronic music.  This decade was also wrought with tragedy.  In April of 1998, Linda McCartney succumbed to cancer.  After spending a year mourning her passing, Paul returned to the studio to record Run Devil Run.  Released in October of 1999, the 15-track opus only contained three original McCartney compositions.  The rest were covers of obscure songs from the 1950s—back when Paul was a teenager.  The critics loved Run Devil Run and McCartney showed the world that while he had mastered the technical side of his craft, he could still make music with energy and vibrancy.


Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001?  Paul McCartney was on the Tarmac at JFK Airport.   His close proximity to the attacks of 9/11 inspired him to organize the “Concert for New York City.”  The event took place on Oct. 20, 2001 and featured performances by David Bowie, Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bon Jovi, Elton John, and several others.  McCartney closed out the concert by singing “Freedom,” a song he wrote in response to the attacks.  Yet, it was The Who who stole the night.  Their performance of “Baba O’Riley” brought down the house.  This was also the first decade you could follow Paul McCartney on Facebook.


Despite turning 70 in 2012, Paul McCartney has managed to stay relevant and vital in the 2010s (for proof just check out Paul’s Twitter accout).  In 2013, he performed at three memorable events.  In June, he closed Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubliee Concert.  Then in December, he performed with the three surviving members of Nirvana to wrap the “12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief.”  It’s the middle of the three shows, however, that makes our list.  On July 27, McCartney was the final act of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  It was seen by more than 900 million people.  For his time and effort, McCartney was paid £1.  Although, the concert for Sandy Relief was seen by two billion people, we went with his Summer Games performance because… well… the Olympics are the Olympics.

Linkin Park Three Past and Three Present Achievements

Linkin Park In ConcertLinkin Park Three Past and Three Present Achievements

This is a big year for Californian rock band Linkin Park. They’re releasing an album and going on tour.

While 2014 is shaping up to be special, it’s definitely not “make-or-break” for LP. The band is long past that stage of their career. In fact, it’s time to start talking about their legacy as in where they stand in the annuals of rock and roll.

Linkin Park combined rap and metal and did so in a palatable way. Some of their fans may find that remark insulting, but it’s not meant to be disparaging. It’s undeniable; the band can sell records and concert tickets. That ability should be applauded not jeered.

Below, Musicology-101 looks at three of Linkin Park’s past achievements as well as three more on the horizon. After reading our list, you’ll surely agree with us, and their millions of fans, that they are one of the all-time greats.

Past Achievements

Hybrid Theory Gets Certified Diamond
On June 14, 2014 at the Download Festival in Leicestershire, England, Linkin Park will play their seminal album, Hybrid Theory, in its entirety for the first time ever. Hybrid Theory has been certified Diamond (10 million sales in the United States) by the RIAA. Worldwide, it has sold 27 million units. That’s not bad for a first album. In fact, Hybrid Theory is the bestselling debut album of the 21st century.

Collision Course
In 2004, Linkin Park teamed with Jay-Z on the EP Collision Course. Each of the albums six tracks is a mash-up of a Linkin Park song and a Jay-Z song. The album is just over 21 minutes long and took a mere four days to make. Critics hated it—Rolling Stone magazine gave it two out of five stars—but what do they know? Collision Course has sold more than five million copies and peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. If you don’t think that’s an accomplishment then you form a nu metal band, team with a hip hop legend, make an album of mash-ups that sells five million copies, and tell us how easy it is.

Triple Threat
Some artists can sell records, some can win awards, and some can win-over critics. Linkin Park can do all three. In a recording career that started in 2000, they’ve sold more than 60 million albums. That’s impressive when you consider that most of their career has occurred in an era when no one buys records. Linkin Park has been nominated for more than 170 music awards winning 60 of them. On the top shelf of their trophy case are two Grammy Awards. The band has placed high on various “all-time” and “best-of” lists compiled by the likes of Billboard, MTV2, and VH1. The critics may not have liked Collision Course, but overall they love Linkin Park.

Future Achievements

The Hunting Party
MTV favorites Linkin Park will enter the “six album club” on June 14, 2014. That’s the date their newest studio offering, The Hunting Party, is set to drop (yes, it’s the same day they’re set perform at the Download Festival). The band released the album’s first single, “Guilty All the Same” featuring Rakim, on March 6. Founding member Mike Shinoda said the track is a good representation of the album.

Carnivores Tour
On Aug. 8, Linkin Park will launch a 25-concert tour of North America. Joining them on the road will be 30 Seconds to Mars and AFI (who will miss two shows in mid-September). Dubbed the “Carnivores Tour,” it ends Sept. 19 in Concord, California. Highlights of their massive excursion include Linkin Park in Mansfield, Massachusetts on Aug. 16; Linkin Park in Toronto on Aug. 24; and Linkin Park in Los Angeles on Sept. 15.

Mike Shinoda: “‘Carnivores’ is a metaphor that is meant to convey an appetite for something visceral and substantive. I feel that’s exactly the hunger this tour will feed.”

Record Store Day
The Hunting Party won’t be the only album Linkin Park releases this year. To celebrate annual Record Store Day on April 19, they, along with Jay-Z, are re-releasing Collision Course. The EP just so happens to be celebrating its tenth anniversary. The Record Store Day edition will come on transparent blue vinyl. It will also come with a DVD of Jay-Z and Linkin Park in concert. Other artists coming out with special LPs on vinyl’s big day include Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, The Flaming Lips, Green Day, and Soundgarden.

Jimmy Buffett: His 7 Biggest Accomplishments

Buffett ticketsJimmy Buffett: His 7 Biggest Accomplishments

April 19th is the first U.S tour date of the year for Jimmy Buffett. On that day, you’ll find Jimmy in Tampa, Florida for a gig at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. The last concert on his itinerary is Aug. 21 in New York City at Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre.

All of Buffett’s April shows (Tampa, Raleigh, Charlotte, and West Palm Beach) are part of his “Songs from St. Somewhere Tour”—a venture that began in 2013. This trek is dedicated to his latest album, Songs From St. Somewhere.” The album dropped Aug. 30, 2013.

Beginning May 24 in Virginia Beach, Virginia at Farm Bureau Live, Buffett launches his “This One’s For You Tour 2014.” The outing is set to visit several cities including Houston, Cleveland, Chicago, Mansfield, and Philadelphia. After a month off, Buffett returns to the concert stage in Paris, France for two shows at La Cigale. Including the Parisian gigs, Buffett has a total of 19 concerts planned for the rest of 2014.

Jimmy Buffett is without a doubt a legend; he’s one of the all-time greats. Below, Musicologly-101 looks at Buffett’s seven biggest achievements. These accomplishments range from the tangible (i.e. album sales) to the intangible (creating a massive army of fans), but each is a testament to the popularity and longevity of the “Son of a Son of Sailor.”

18 Platinum & Gold Albums
As of 2013, Jimmy Buffett has nine Platinum and nine gold albums to his name. That’s an amazing accomplishment since for a large majority of Buffett’s career he received little airplay—he didn’t have a number one album until 2004 (more on that later).

Parrot Heads
A parrot head refers to a hardcore Jimmy Buffett fan in the same way a “Deadhead” is a fervent supporter of the Grateful Dead. The term was coined by former Coral Reefer Band member, and current member of The Eagles, Timothy B. Schmit. Yes, parrot heads like to party (a lot), but as an organization they’ve contributed tens of millions of dollars to charity and worked thousands of hours of community service. Buffett should be proud that his fans have embraced both his beach lifestyle and generosity.

Margaritaville” is one of the most popular songs ever written. It’s like “Happy Birthday,” “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow,” and “Baby’s Got Back” in that everyone knows the lyrics. There’s a very good reason why “Margaritaville” anchors the greatest hits collection Songs You Know By Heart. Few composers have had the fortune of writing such a catchy and well-known song.

The Buffett Brand
Jimmy Buffett is just as good of a businessman as he is a singer-songwriting and that’s saying something. Over the years, “Buffett Enterprises” has included The Margaritaville Café, Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chain, Land Shark Lager, two minor league baseball teams, and a record label. Buffett may lack the glamour of a traditional rock star but he has parlayed his brand into big bucks. After all, the Jimmy Buffet Facebook page has over 1.4 million likes.

The Buffet Mythology
Like KISS, Jimmy Buffett has created a mythology around his image and music. While KISS takes the fantasy offered by rock and roll to the extreme, Buffett’s mythos involves beaches, boat drinks, cheeseburgers, and relaxing in the sun. This mythos strikes a major chord with middle-management types—those who work in cubicle farms and have the resources to vacation in the tropics. KISS fans love the face paint and the pyrotechnics; parrot heads love the sand under their feet and umbrellas in their drinks.

Jimmy Buffett In Concert
A Jimmy Buffett concert is always better than a Jimmy Buffett album. When his career first began, Buffett sold more concert tickets than records. Buffett’s live shows are in high demand for more than the party atmosphere he and the parrot heads create. Buffett is an energetic and dynamic performer. He’s funny, charming, and makes sure everyone has a good time. It’s not an accident that Buffett has successfully toured every year since 1976.

“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”
In 2003, Buffett teamed with Alan Jackson to record and release “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere.” The single went to number one on the U.S. country charts and won the Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year. Amazingly, it was the first major award Buffett had ever won. The following year, his album License to Chill debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 giving Buffett his first chart-topper. Just when did his career begin? Well, Buffett released his first album, Down to Earth, in 1970.

Bruce Springsteen: Everything You Need To Know About ‘The Boss’


Bruce Springsteen: Everything You Need To Know About ‘The Boss’

Bruce Springsteen kicks off his 2014 U.S. tour on April 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio at the U.S. Bank Arena. His trek spans 16 concerts in 15 cities. Uncasville, Connecticut hosts two shows—the last two—on May 17 and May 18 at the world famous Mohegan Sun.

For the pending spring, Springsteen has routed a tour of the Eastern part of the United States that includes several locales missed during the final leg of his epic “Wrecking Ball Tour.” That odyssey ended in September of 2013.

Look for Springsteen in Pittsburgh on April 22, Tampa on May 1, and Houston on May 6. Bruce and the E Street Band are also slated to perform at the Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans on May 3.

Judging from comments made by E Street guitarist Steven Van Zandt, Springsteen may add additional North American dates later in the year. Perhaps a slew of stadium concerts in July and August.

To get you ready for The Boss’ upcoming U.S. concert circuit, Musicology-101 has compiled a list of interesting and amusing Bruce Springsteen facts. Even if you’re one of those hardcore Springsteen fans—you know, one of those guys who actually shelled out $40 for a USB wrist band containing a recording of one of his 2014 concerts—keep reading. You’re bound to learn a few new things about rock’s greatest poet.

>>The Boss’ full name is “Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen.” I can’t see “The Boss” being as big as he is if he went by his first middle name. “I’ve seen the future of rock and roll and his name is Fred Springsteen” just doesn’t sound right.

>>In the late 1960s, Springsteen was drafted to fight in Vietnam. Thanks to a concussion he suffered when he was 17, he was declared 4F.

>>Before hitting it big, Springsteen played in, or fronted, a number of groups: The Castiles, Earth, Steel Mill, Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom, Sundance Blues Band, and The Bruce Springsteen Band.

>>Springsteen’s seminal Born to Run album took 14 months to record. The title track alone took half a year to complete.

>>During the same week in October of 1975, Springsteen appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek.

>>“Hungry Heart” is Springsteen’s first top ten hit. He’s never had a number one single.

>>In 1982, Springsteen recorded a bunch of acoustic tracks on a low-tech machine. These demos were later released as Nebraska. The idea was to have the E Street Band record them but Springsteen and producer Jon Landau eventually realized the demo tracks were special enough to be released on their own.

>>Born in the U.S.A sold more than 30 million copies and placed seven singles inside the Top Ten.

>>The video to “Dancing in the Dark” starred Courteney Cox.

>>Springsteen sang on “We Are the World.”

>>Springsteen’s Live/1975-85 is the first box set to ever debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Demand for the box set was huge. A record store in New York City sold the album right out of the delivery truck.

>>In 1988, Springsteen played for 300,000 fans in East Germany. Some believe Springsteen’s concert hastened the fall of the Berlin Wall.

>>In 1992, Springsteen and new wife, Patti Scialfa, moved to Los Angeles. This outraged some fans who felt Springsteen was going “Hollywood.”

>>In the video to the song “Streets of Philadelphia,” Springsteen isn’t lip-syncing. He’s singing into a hidden microphone along to an instrumental track. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

>>During the “Ghost of Tom Joad Tour,” Bruce Springsteen had to remind the audience to be quiet and refrain from clapping.

>>The Rising dropped in 2002 and was mainly about the attacks of September 11. Springsteen had called families of victims whose obituaries mentioned that they were fans of “The Boss.”

>>At the 2003 Grammy Awards, Springsteen paid tribute to Joe Strummer by performing The Clash’s “London Calling.” He was joined by Elvis Costello and Dave Grohl.

>>Springsteen wanted to join forces with Starbucks to sell his 2005 album Devils & Dust, but the coffee retailer rejected the idea because of Springsteen’s anti-corporate stance.

>>In 2005, Sirius Satellite Radio premiered “E Street Radio.” It became a permanent station, playing Springsteen’s music 24-7, in 2008.

>>In February of 2009, Springsteen served as the halftime entertainment at Super Bowl XLIII. He performed “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “Born to Run,” “Working on a Dream,” and “Glory Days.”

>>On Twitter, Springsteen is following Hoda Kotb.

>>On July 31, 2012, in Helsinki, Bruce Springsteen played for four hours and six minutes. It’s considered the longest concert of his career. In addition to the four-plus hours, Springsteen performed a 30-minute acoustic set a couple of hours prior to the show.

>>Springsteen is a member of three different Halls of Fame.

>>Springsteen has won 20 Grammy Awards.