Birthday Shout-Outs!

Beatle Bob Speaks!



March 02, 2010

Happy birthday Lou Reed!

The man who revolutionized rock & roll: Lou Reed turned 68 today ! Especially when he was a member of the avant-Gard rock & roll band The Velvet Underground, reed broke new ground for the rock genre in several important  dimensions, introducing more mature and intellectual themes into what was considered a largely simplistic genre of music. Although the Velvet Undergound’s music never became a big commercial sell, Lou Reed set the seeds for the growth of underground and alternative music scene from which they sprang.
As a guitarist, he made innovative use of abrasive distortion, volume driven feedback, and nonstandard tunings. Reed’s flat, New York voice, stripped of superficial emotions, and like Bob Dylan’s, flaunting it’s lack of conventional training, was no less important to the music’s radical effect.

To hear one of Lou Reed’s alltime classic songs performed live, hit this link:


One of the greatest unsung heroes of blue & R&B piano players has passed away. St. Louis’ Clayton Love had died at the age of 82. Mr. Love performed on some of the greatest blues & R&B records of the 50′s and 60′s and was a full time member at one time of the legendary Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm. Hit the link below for a wonderful tribute to Clayton Love.

February 26, 2010
Happy Birthday Fats Domino: The King of New Orleans Rock & Roll turns 82! From 1950 through 1963 Domino scored at least one Top 25 hit each year, a run of dominance virtually unparalleled in the annals of popular music. Fats sold over 110 millions records throughout his career and his 85 total hits rank behind only Elvis Presley, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles, among rock artists, while only Presley and The Beatles have more gold singles than Domino.

And Fats didn’t need the blatant sex appeal of Elvis Presley or Jackie Wilson, nor the musical anarchy of wild rockers like Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard. And compared to the constant daring musical experimentation of Ray Charles and James Brown, the prolific Domino stuck to the same basic course he embarked on when he started his career. Fats didn’t need controversy, matinee idol looks or drastic musical overhauls to sell records. He just layed down that beat heavy New Orleans sound that fueled the 50′s musical spirit solely due to his incredibly consistent songwriting, playing and singing. Hits such as “Ain’t That A Shame,” “Blueberry Hill,” “Walking To New Orleans,” were just a few of the smash hits that inspired generations of rock & rollers even today. The British Invasion may have left Fats and many his comtemporaries off the charts and radio airplay, but they covered many of Domino’s songs themselves. Paul McCartney wrote “Lady Madonna” as a Beatles’ tribute to Domino, while Van Morrison had a Top Ten hit with a song named his beloved hero: “Domino.”

Few names in rock history were as dominant as Fats Domino and few left a bigger legacy behind them as he. On the Mt. Rushmore of Rock & Roll, Domino’s familar smiling face and flattop hairdo are assured of being carved.

To see Fats Domino in action live hit this link for a superlative version of “Blueberry Hill.”
Happy Birthday Mitch Ryder! The unsung hero of the 60′s Motor City rock & roll scene turns 65 today!  Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels blue-eyed R&B attack boasted a gritty passion and incendiary matched by few artists on either side of the color line. As a teen Ryder sang with a local black quartet dubbed the Peps but suffered so much racial harassment he quit the group to from his own combo Billy Lee (taken from Mitch’s real name Bill Levine), and The Rivieras. while opening for The Dave Clark Five in 1965, they were discovered by veteran producer Bob Crewe, who  immediately signed the group and rechristened the singer Mitch Ryder after randomly selecting a name from the phone book. Backed by the peerless Detroit Wheels originally guitarists James McCarty and Joseph Cubert, bassist Earl Elliot and one of my Top Ten rock & roll drummers of all-time: Johnny “Bee” Badanjek, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit wheels hit the Top Ten in 1966 with “Jenny Jenny”; the single a frenzied combination of Little Richard’s “Jenny Jenny,” and Chuck Willis’ “C.C.Rider,” remains one of the quintessential moments in blue-eyed  soul, it’s breathless intensity setting the tone for the remainder of the band’s output including such R&B rave-ups as “Little Latin Lupe Lu,” “Sock It To Me Baby,” and their biggest hit the Top 5 “Devil With a Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly.” Mitch Ryder still remains today intensely popular overseas, especially in Germany where he is regarded as a rock & roll hero.
Catch Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels raving it up in ’66:

And you email Mitch Ryder a birthday greeting at:

Happy Birthday Sandie Shaw! The barefoot pop princess turns 63! Sandie Shaw was one of the most successful British pop female singers of the 1960s. She was seen as epitomizing the “swinging sixties” and her trademark barefoot performances endeared her to the public. She scored 15 Top 40 hits in U.K. from 1964-1969, including three #1s, and eight Top Ten Hits.

Sandie quickly went to #1 in the U.K. with her second single “(There’s) Something Always There To Remind Me,” in  the autumn of 1964. Somehow the single only made it to #52 in the U.S. charts. Mysteriously, none of Shaw’s brilliant hit U.K hit singles would ever make a significant dent on the U.S. charts. In fact her third U.K. single “Girl Don’t Come,” (Dec. 64- #3) would be her highest reaching single on the American charts reaching only as high as #42.

Other Shaw smashes ensued in England: “I’ll Stop At Nothing” (Feb. ’65- #4), “Long Live Love,” (May, ’65 – #1); “Message Understood,” (Sep. ’65 – #6), “How Can You Tell,” (Nov. 65 – #21), “Tomorrow” (Jan. ’66 – #9), “Nothing Comes Easy,” (May ’66 – #14), “Puppet On A String” (March ’67 – #1).
Sandie Shaw was also the first British artist to win the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna in 1967. She was asked to sing “Puppet On A String,” a song she disliked, however it won the contest and was the best selling single in Germany that year as well being one of the biggest selling singles in Europe that year.

You can see Sandie Shaw performing this song at:
And you can email Sandie a birthday greeting at:

FEBRUARY 14, 2010

Hope everyone had as great a Valentine’s Day as I had. As you can from the pictures I’ve posted, It was a great one for me attending two out-a-site concerts on Feb. 14th.

First, on that snowy V-Day night, I was at  the legendary St. Louis concert venue- The Sheldon Concert Hall -to see the 12-time life-time Grammy Award nominees (and who won for Best Traditional World Music CD -Shaka Zulu-1987), 7-member South Africa vocal group: Ladysmith Black Mambosa. I also had the  honor of dancing on stage (see first picture) with these world-beat shake-hoofers.

Later that evening I went down to a very very special Valentine’s day concert and dinner at the Old Rock House and caught the fab-u-lous blues diva Janiva Magness!!! This smoldering blues-belter is winner of the 2006 and 2007 Blue Music Awards for Best Contempoarary Female Artist. She was also nominated for the coveted BB King Entertainer of the Year Award in 2008. She has eight superlative CDs out on the market, and she is dedicating the new CD to children at risk. And if you knew her story, you can see why.

Janiva Magness was born in a working-class family in Detroit. She had a tough childhood as both parents battled alcoholism, her mother was depressive and Janiva suffered molestation by age six. Shortly after her 13th birthday, she lost her mother to suicide. Within a year of that tragedy, she ran away from home to Berkeley,Ca. where she endured homelessness, substance abuse and isolation.

She later escaped life on the streets and headed to Minneapolis to stay with a family friend. By the age of 14, she had attempted suicide multiple times. Over the next two years, she would experience three psychiatric hospitalisations and would live in 12 different foster homes, including a group home for girls with mental retardation.

She began hanging around local blues clubs where she discovered the distinctive sounds of legendary blues guitarist Otis Rush. She says the music made her want to “hang on to life.” Although this musical awakening would become an essential part of her future success, the trials of her young life would continue. When Janiva was 16, her father committed suicide and she became pregnant with a daughter she would later give up for adoption.

With all the doors closing around her, Janiva went to a local youth center where they connected her to Carrie, a divorced mother of five children who often provided temporary shelter to rrunaways. moved by her plight, Carrie decided to become a certified foster parent because she couldn’t bear to abandon this young girl.

Janiva recalls: “Carrie showed me kindness and compassion. She had the capacity to say ‘no’ when I needed it most. Music inspired me to go on, but Carrie set boundaries that truly saved my life.”
Bolstered by the guidance and support of a caring adult, Janaiva continues the long journey of healing that continues today. she and her band travel the world touring 200 days a year. when she’s not on the road, she resides in LA with her husband Jeff. And, after 16 years apart, Janiva reconnected with the child she gave up for adoption. She enjoys a close relationship with her daughter, an accomplished musician, and is a proud grandmother to six-year old  Henry.

Today, Janiva continues to give back. This April, she will perform for the troops in Iraq as part of a Bluesapalooza tour. In addition to her work on behalf of foster care, she is active in the Blues in Schools Program. On May 31, she will return to Phoenix, where she once lived and formed her first band in the early ’80s, to perform the National Anthem before the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game accompanied by a choir of youth in foster care from the Florence Crittenton group home.

“I have a life today that I could have never have imagined. You know, your fate does not have to be your destiny. Fate is what you are handed. Destiny is about what you could be. I’m living proof. The tragedies of my life no longer define me.”

It was a great time to be had with Janiva and her smoldering band and many thanks to her for the Valentine’s hug and kiss she gave me later that evening.

Beatle Bob

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