Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Five Most Overplayed Rock Songs of All Time

Those of us who are 30 years or older have probably spent a lot of time listening to the radio, whether in the car or at home. Over the years, classic rock radio - in particular - has a go-to list of songs, many of which are really, really overplayed. Check out our list of the top five most overplayed songs, and no doubt, some of these will resonate.

Bob Seger rocking in the 70s

1. "Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger

This song is probably the most played track on FM radio (AM too, for that matter). Released in 1979, it's safe to say "Old Time Rock and Roll" has been played a million times. Plus there's all the weddings, sports events, movie soundtracks, and parties, where it inevitably seems to get played. Again and again. Suffice it to say, it's a station changer when it comes on the radio. And someone should start a petition to get it permanently banned from radio.

2. "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf

This is a pretty good song that's just been around way too long and played way too many times. "Born to be Wild" was released as a single back in 1968, and while it coined the term "heavy-metal thunder", its worn out its welcome on radio. Interestingly, the song was written by Mars Bonfire as a ballad. We can credit Steppenwolf for turning it into a riff-rocker, but we can't credit radio stations for continually playing "Born to be Wild" ad nauseam.

3. "American Woman" by The Guess Who

It's bad enough "America Woman" got enough air time to make even the most casual radio listener bored to death. But then Lenny Kravitz decided to cover it in 1999 and it enjoyed a renaissance that really killed any faint luster left on the track, which was first released in 1970. What makes it worse, since the song is written by a Canadian band, it gets extra airplay in Canada, because of the Canadian content laws which state at least 35% of music played between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m Monday-Friday has to be Canadian.

Mick Jagger singing "Satisfaction"?

4. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones

We love the Rolling Stones here at Rock 'n Roll Insight, make no mistake, but "Satisfaction" needs to be taken off the radio. And the Stones need to stop playing it in concert. Mick Jagger famously said he would rather be dead than singing "Satisfaction" at age 45. Well he's 76 and still singing it. "Satisfaction" is a good song and was amazing when it was released in 1965. But we've endured 54 years of it in fairly heavy rotation. And, sadly, the Stones are still using it live, as the final encore to boot.

5. "More Than a Feeling" by Boston

No doubt when you first heard "More Than a Feeling" all those years ago, you probably liked it. But now, 43 years after its release, put your hand up if you change the station when it comes on. Overplayed to Death is the term. Apparently it took Boston guitarist/songwriter Tom Scholz five years to write, which is about the same time it takes to get sick of this song. In addition to more-than-enough airplay, "More Than a Feeling" has been used in countless films and TV shows. When will it end?

Needless to say, there are tons of overplayed songs. Fortunately, with today's Bluetooth technology in most vehicles, we can pick and choose what we listen to and avoid radio altogether. But rest assured, if you tune into an FM station for a day or two, you'll hear one of the above songs.

Check out our look at the five best Rolling Stones albums for people who want to get into the world's greatest rock 'n roll band

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Albums that Spent the Most Time on Billboard Charts

Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon
When you think about some of the truly great albums of all time that have spent time on the album charts, it's worth noting Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is still top dog.Released way back in March, 1973, the record spent an astounding 953 weeks on the Billboard charts, even spending a week at No. 1 in the U.S.

What's really interesting is it fell off the charts in 1988, only to re-appear with the introduction of the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart in May 1991, and has been a perennial feature ever since. It's a testament to the innovation and song writing the Pink Floyd brought to Abbey Road Studio when they created the masterpiece. 

Floyd's bassist and principal songwriter Roger Waters says he knew the band was onto something amazing when he played it for his wife.

"When the record was finished I took a reel-to-reel copy home with me and I remember playing it for my wife then, and I remember her bursting into tears when it was finished. And I thought, 'This has obviously struck a chord somewhere', and I was kinda pleased by that. You know when you've done something, certainly if you create a piece of music, you then hear it with fresh ears when you play it for somebody else. And at that point I thought to myself, 'Wow, this is a pretty complete piece of work,' and I had every confidence that people would respond to it."

Of all the albums that spent the most time on the Billboard 200, only two of the top five are non-compilations - Dark Side of the Moon and Metallica's Black Album, which sits at No. 4 with 542 weeks on the chart. Bob Marley's Legend (No. 2), Journey's Greatest Hits (No. 3), and Johnny Mathis' Greatest hits (No. 5), are all compilations.

The Black Album Shows Longevity

Metallica's Black Album
Metallica's 1991 record marked a massive change for the thrash band. The San Francisco quartet brought in uber producer Bob Rock to help them find a different sound as the band went from the brutally produced ...And Justice For All to a clear, hard-hitting sound that made the band more accessible to a much wider audience. It also helped that "Enter Sandman" became a staple of modern rock radio. The band also made a concerted effort to slow down, going from pure thrash to more grinding metal.

"…And Justice For All album sounds horrible, awful, can't fucking stand it," says Hetfield "That was our fancy stage, showing off too much. We knew we had to move on and the Black Album was the opposite. So when me and Lars got back together after a short break, I said, 'We gotta really try and write some shorter, to-the-point songs.'"

Metallica fans at the time were outraged the band was "selling out", which they were, to a certain extent, but there aren't many artists who don't want their work to be heard or seen. James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Jason Newsted, and Lars Ulrich can't be faulted for wanting to broaden their horizons and change things up.

Time, the ultimate arbiter of what becomes legendary, has shown how well the Black Album has held up and appealed to multiple generations, much like Dark Side of the Moon.

Check Out: How Pink Floyd created The Wall album

Monday, March 25, 2019

New Guns N' Roses Album in the Works

Duff Mckagan, Axl Rose, and Slash 
After wrapping up their "Not in This Lifetime" tour in December, 2018, it looks like the touring Guns N' Roses lineup is going to record a new album. That means three-fifths of the original band will be at it again with vocalist Axl Rose, guitarist Slash, and Duff McKagan on bass. Additional members would include guitarist Richard Fortus and (hopefully) drummer Frank Ferrer.
Slash, McKagan, and Fortus have all said there is an intent to record a new GNR album, but in the Gunner's world, nothing comes quickly. "Oh, it’s real, but the fun part and the cool part about Guns N’ Roses is we don’t really talk about it, and what happens next just happens,” said McKagan, who has heard a few new songs written by Rose, on Trunk Nation. “It’s never been that band that there’s a direct schedule of how we do things. I’ve heard some magnificent stuff that Axl has, really cool stuff he’s been working on. So I’m excited about the possibilities with that, of course. I don’t mean to get anybody rabid. Our day will happen when it happens, that’s for sure.”
Slash echoed those sentiments in an interview in Japan where he noted: “Axl, Duff, myself and Richard have all talked about… there’s material and stuff going on already for a new record,” said Slash. “It’s just, with Guns N’ Roses, you don’t go, ‘Oh, there is a plan, and it’s gonna be like this,’ because that’s not how it works. So, basically, the only real answer to give is we’re hoping to put a new record out, and we’ll just see what happens when it happens.”
Slash currently has touring commitments with Myles Kennedy through August, so presumably the top-hatted one would be working with Rose and the rest of the band after that.
"Slash is on tour right now. Once he gets back from that, we’re gonna get some more recording done and hopefully get an album out soon. And then we’ll get back to touring," Fortus told the St. Louis Dispatch. He went on to say a new record could come around "faster than you think."

Chinese Democracy Took a Long Time to Record

The most recent Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy, which was some 11 years in the works, features only Rose as an original band member. While it would be great for the Gunners to make a record with the original lineup, including drummer Steven Adler and guitarist Izzy Stradlin, chances are it won't happen.
And if the band is indeed working on a new album, knowing Rose's perfectionist OCD tendencies, it likely won't be released in 2019.
Given Rose wrote at least two albums worth of material during the Chinese Democracy period, one wonders how many of those tracks will see the light of day on a new record and get some input from Slash and McKagan.

Can Slash and Axl Rose Get Along?

Rose and Slash rocking it on the "Not in This Lifetime" Tour
Also too, it remains to be seen if Slash and Rose can work together in the studio. Remember those ugliest feuds. In his 2007 biography, Slash stated he left Guns N' Roses because of Rose's constant lateness to concerts, the alleged legal manipulation Rose used (since denied by Rose) to gain control of the band, and the departures of original drummer Steven Adler and guitarist Izzy Stradlin. For his part, Rose stoked the fire with some nasty words in a 2009 interview, saying "Personally I consider Slash a cancer and better removed, avoided — and the less anyone heard of him or his supporters, the better." No doubt Rose knew Slash had lost his mother to cancer and the comments didn't sit well with the guitarist. Rose also told Billboard in 2009 (when there was talk of a GNR reunion back then): "What's clear is that one of the two of us will die before a reunion and however sad, ugly or unfortunate anyone views it, it is how it is."
Well they got together for the reunion tour (money has that type of influence), so fans are hoping they can get through making another album together.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Appetite for Destruction: Making Guns N' Roses' Masterpiece

Guns N' Roses original lineup back in 1987.
When it comes to debut albums in the rock and roll world, it doesn't get much better than Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction, an out-of-control train that became one of the best-selling albums of all time.
The record burst onto the scene at a time when hair metal was all the rage and spandex suppliers were making a killing. Guns N' Roses and Appetite ripped into the fabric of  L.A.s' hard rock scene and tore it apart with hard-edged tracks and lyrics paying homage to the rock and roll lifestyle and living on the edge.
Recorded from Jan. 18-March 31, 1987 at four L.A. area studios, including The Record Plant, with Mike Clink producing, Appetite for Destruction has sold more than 30 million copies and stands among the finest works in modern rock.
Prior to working with Clink, the Gunners' record label (Geffen) considered hiring uber-producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, but decided spending the kind of money Lange commandeered wasn't worth it (imagine if Lange had produced the album??!!). So Clink was chosen to oversee the album and got to know the band by recording a test track called "Shadow of Your Love" which was subsequently released as a B-Side for "It's So Easy/Mr. Brownstone" and again in 2018 on the Appetite boxed set.
Finding that they clicked with Clink, the band began work on the album in January 1987 with recording the basic tracks, which took two weeks. Interestingly, Clink was a workaholic who spliced together the best takes with a razor blade and then worked 18 hour days with Slash and Axl Rose on guitars and vocals. 
Slash was having trouble finding a sound he liked, but settled on a copy Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall amp. Drummer Steven Adler says his drum parts took six days, but much of the $370,000 recording budget was used up by Rose, who insisted on recording his vocals one line at time, which took forever and forced the rest of the band out of the studio and into the local watering holes.
Geffen A&R man Tom Zutaut, who took a chance on the band, recalled to Loudwire.com: "There are some bands that just can't be stopped and you can sense it. No amount of alcohol or drugs will slow them down. Guns N' Roses were able to consume those things, yet deliver at a live show and deliver in the studio."

The Songs Make Appetite a Success

Original artwork for the Appetite Cover
What really stands out are the songs on Appetite for Destruction. From the rawness of the tracks to the lyrics, everyone is a testament to what the band was living through at the time: sex, drugs, and rock and roll. They didn't apologize for a song about heroin addiction (Mr. Brownstone), were unrepentant about how wasted they would get ("Nighttrain"), and women who would give them anything they wanted ("It's So Easy"). 
A prime example of the desire to be as authentic as possible came when Rose was set to lay down vocals for "Rocket Queen". He wanted to incorporate the live sounds of having sex on the album, so he asked Adler's girlfriend if she wanted to do it and she said "yes". They had sex in the studio and put the sounds on tape. It's the epitome of what Guns N' Roses is all about.

Appetite Fizzles on Release

When Appetite for Destruction was released on July 21, 1987, it received little fanfare. After six months, it had sold only 250,000 and MTV wasn't playing the "Welcome to the Jungle" video. Finally, after much persuading from Geffen, MTV relented (playing the video at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning) and gave the song some air time, as did Much Music in Canada. Soon the song was getting tons of requests and the band found a larger audience. But it was "Sweet Child O' Mine" that really took them into the stratosphere when it was released as a single in August, 1988.
Zutaut predicted to David Geffen that Appetite would sell 10 million copies. Turns out even he was wrong.

Check out why Izzy Stradlin was such an integral part of the original Guns N' Roses lineup.