Category Archives: music

Goodbye, Marie Fredriksson

(May 30, 1958 – December 9, 2019)

Marie Fredriksson Roxette

Singer and songwriter Marie Fredriksson, best known for her work with the 1980s pop duo Roxette, died yesterday in Sweden from complications from a brain tumor. She was 61 years old.

Marie Fredriksson Roxette

Roxette’s debut album, Pearls of Passion, was released in 1986, but it was 1988’s Look Sharp! that put the group in the spotlight, selling 9 million copies across the globe. The follow-up, Joyride, was released in 1991 and sold 11 million worldwide. They scored four #1 hits in the US: “The Look,” “Listen To Your Heart,” “It Must Have Been Love,” and “Joyride.” One of my personal favorites, however, failed to reach the top spot…

Per Gessle Roxette

Per Gessle Roxette

Fun Cards: 1974 Topps Judas Priest “Rookie Rockers”

1974 Topps Judas Priest

The 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees have been announced, and heavy metal icons Judas Priest appear for the second time. They were previously nominated in 2018.

The other nominees are Pat Benatar, Dave Matthews Band, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston, Kraftwerk, MC5, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, The Notorious B.I.G., Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Todd Rundgren, Soundgarden, T.Rex, and Thin Lizzy. Fans can vote via Google…just type in “Rock Hall” or one of the nominees, and the ballot appears. You can select up to five nominees.

I expect NIN and B.I.G. to get in, and probably Soundgarden. Past that, it’s a toss-up. I would love to see Priest and Motörhead make it in, but the Hall is notoriously anti-metal.

A new blog for Pro Set MusiCards!

Pro Set

Gavin (of Baseball Card Breakdown fame) has created a new blog dedicated to the 1991 Pro Set MusiCards set. I had toyed with a similar idea last year, but glad I never went forward with it. I would have probably flamed out about card #12 and I’m sure Gavin’s posts will be far better than anything I could have written. Blogs are a lot of work, and my interests have shifted to other areas. While I still collect cards, the hobby has taken more of a backseat now and my focus is elsewhere.

What interests me most about Gavin’s site are the custom cards. I love creating “fun cards,” and I’m not alone. Gavin is one of the best out there. So far, he has created custom Pro Set MusiCards of Paw, George Harrison, J.J. Cale, and Neil Young, as well as some non-Pro Set cards for the blog. I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with.

Gavin is also running a contest to promote the blog. Follow his instructions on this post for a chance to win some pretty awesome baseball cards. If I win, I’m definitely going for the Sadaharu Oh card.

Goodbye, Ric Ocasek

(March 23, 1949 – September 15, 2019)

Ric Ocasek

The Cars frontman and producer extraordinaire Ric Ocasek was found unresponsive in his Manhatten townhouse today. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death has not been released.

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.15)

Random Awesomeness


Purchase the Nylon Metal II from Thomas Zwijsen!
 

Thirty-five Years Ago Today: Dio avoids the “sophomore slump”

Dio Last in LineIn 1983, Ronnie James Dio released an epic debut album called Holy Diver. In 1984, he recorded with the same core lineup of Vivian Campbell, Jimmy Bain, and Vinny Appice, adding keyboardist Claude Schnell to the mix, and unleashed The Last In Line. The album reached #23 on the Billboard 200 charts, and three singles—“Mystery,” “We Rock,” and the title track—received a lot of attention from rock radio stations in the United States. The album was certified platinum in 1987.

Campbell, Bain, Schnell, and Appice used the name of this album to form a new band in 2012, teaming up with vocalist Andrew Freeman to perform Dio classics and write new material. The group has released two albums so far, Heavy Crown in 2016 and II in 2019. Sadly, Bain passed away in 2016; Phil Soussan took over bass guitar duties.

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.12)

Random Awesomeness


Purchase Let’s Rock by the Black Keys!
 

Twenty Years Ago Today: “Weird Al” encourages dangerous exercise

Weird Al Yankovic Running With ScissorsRunning With Scissors, “Weird Al” Yankovic’s tenth studio album, was released on June 29, 1999. Not as strong as 1996’s Bad Hair Day, but infinitely better than 2003’s Poodle Hat, Running With Scissors features parodies of The Offspring, Barenaked Ladies, Puff Daddy, and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and a polka medley that pokes fun at the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Beastie Boys, Hanson, Matchbox Twenty, and more.

The most enduring song from the album, however, is a parody of Don McLean’s 1971 hit, “American Pie.” Yankovic took the song and transformed it into an ode to George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

In addition to all the parodies, Yankovic shows his chops as a songwriter with six original compositions in various styles. My personal favorite of these is the 11-minute opus “Albuquerque” that closes the album.

I have loved “Weird Al” since I first discovered his music in elementary school, though he has currently stopped performing in concert a couple of the songs that drew me to his brilliance—“Eat It” and “Fat,” both parodies of Michael Jackson hits. He has not decided whether he will retire them permanently or not, but with the renewed scrutiny of Jackson’s alleged indiscretions, Yankovic has decided to remove them from his current repertoire.

Thirty Years Ago Today: Faith No More gets epically real

Faith No More The Real ThingWill you hate me if I say that Faith No More is epically overrated? “Epic” was a pretty good (and pretty overplayed) song from the band’s third album, The Real Thing. I love the piano outro, but the rest of the song (and album) never truly resonated with me. The album, released June 20, 1989, was certified Platinum in September 1990 and peaked at #11 on the Billboard 200 in October 1990.

The Real Thing was nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 1990, but lost to Metallica’s “One” (both albums and songs are eligible for such nominations in pop categories). “Epic” was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1991, but lost to Living Colour’s album Time’s Up. Another song from FNM’s album, “Falling To Pieces,” won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects in a Video in 1991.

Thirty-Five Years Ago Today: Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck collaborate again

Rod Stewart CamouflageHardly a groundbreaking album, but somewhat entertaining nonetheless, Rod Stewart released Camouflage on June 18, 1984. The record saw the reunion of Stewart with guitarist Jeff Beck, who he worked with on the first two Jeff Beck Group albums. Beck contributed his guitar wizardry to three songs on Camouflage and made a cameo in the video for “Infatuation.”

Stewart hit the Billboard Hot 100 charts with three singles: “Infatuation” (#6), a cover of the Persuaders’ song “Some Guys Have All The Luck” (#10), and a cover of the Free classic “All Right Now” (#72). Stewart (with Beck) also recorded a cover of Todd Rundgren’s 1978 song “Can We Still be Friends. Rundgren’s original reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978, and Robert Palmer scored a minor hit with it in 1979. Stewart’s version was not released as a single.

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