Australian Classic Rock of the 60s and 70s: Part 1

I went to Australia for my honeymoon and I absolutely loved it! I hope one day to come back. In the meantime, I’ll just be listening to some great Australian musicians! I’ve been talking about classic rock

Australia has a long rock history starting in the 50s with American rock music arriving there. Australia may be far away, but it isn’t isolated from American culture. The two countries are good friends. By the end of the 50s, pubs were staying open late, rock bands would play, and people would tune into the radio and TV to hear the latest music.

Australian rock music is largely an immigrant history, with many of the most famous Australian rock stars being European-born (mostly UK-born with a few Dutch-born). No doubt, the influences come from the musician’s birth countries, as well as America, where rock and roll began. Many rock bands from around the world made stops in Australia because there’s a significant following there.

Looking at the present, some of the best rock music of today comes from Australia: Tame Impala (Perth), Pond (Perth), King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard (Melbourne), The Babe Rainbow (Byron Bay), and The Murlocs (Melbourne). According to one of my friends who lives in Australia, you can hear classic rock everywhere and it’s a great place to go for those who love the 60s and 70s.

Australia is a great surfing destination and surf rock was very popular here, but one subgenre is very much Australian and got its start here, pub rock. Psychedelic rock and progressive rock also have a following.

Enjoy this A-Z of Australian rock! In the first part, we’ll go from A-F, AC/DC to Fraternity.

Continue reading “Australian Classic Rock of the 60s and 70s: Part 1”

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Indian Influences in Classic Rock

 Note from the author: I wanted to write this post for a while now. The sitar is my favourite instrument. I think it was an instrument that revolutionised classic rock and added something cool to the table, paving the way for other world music genres to influence classic rock. I believe that incorporation of world music influences in classic rock does a lot of good, broadening the minds of fans. It’s great to see musicians acknowledging their influences and giving credit where due. It’s not cultural appropriation. It’s art and it’s for all to enjoy.

 I grew up in a family that taught me about different cultures and encouraged curiosity. Not only did I learn about multiple cultures from being mixed race, I travelled a lot with my parents and my parents encouraged me to read from a young age. I encourage everyone to read about other cultures. I encourage you to travel and try new things. Maybe you can’t afford to travel or you’re unable to for other reasons, but the internet and the library are here for you – great places to learn about the world around you. Life is short, learn about this beautiful planet.

The 60s was a period where you saw Indian inspired fashions and heard Indian inspired music. The term for this embracing of Indian culture is Indomania.  It was more than just sitars in psychedelic rock and it wasn’t just superficial, let’s throw in a sitar in this rock song. In this post, you’ll see what I mean.

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Happy 40th Dreamboat Annie!

One of my classic rock idols is Ann Wilson. This blog is named after one of her songs, “Crazy On You”. I relate to her a lot. When I was young I was overweight, and while I wasn’t bullied for that, I was bullied for other things. As well, I lived in Canada for a time as a young adult. Throughout my life, I had people tell me that I can’t do things, but I never gave up. I’ve been told that I’m too girly to like classic rock, but people take it back when I show my knowledge. I don’t let people’s opinions stop me from reaching my goals.

One of my favourite years of the 70s was 40 years old. Yes, that year is 1976. The year that punk rock and disco went big. It was a great year for classic rock as well. Even a great year for fashion. At the moment I’m trying to grow my hair past my chest and continue to straighten it, a popular hairstyle back then. Maybe I’ll grow out my fringe. I’ve had my fringe since I was 15. Like any successful band, you gotta change with the times.

Anyways, one of my favourite albums of 1976 was Heart’s Dreamboat Annie, released on Valentine’s Day. I am happy to say I have this album on vinyl. Ann Wilson described this album as having an ocean vibe. I can definitely hear that and as a kid I loved going to the beach so listening to this album definitely reminds me of all those good times. I remember my parents telling me it was time to go home and I wanted to keep swimming. I wanted to be a mermaid or a dolphin. It opens with the hit “Magic Man”. If my life had a soundtrack, this song would definitely be in it and it would describe the past year and some and even the near future. Like Ann Wilson, at the age of 20 I fell in love with a man who lived in a different country, although our stories are a bit different from each other. I met my boyfriend while I was studying abroad in Ireland and I practically lived with him when I was there. I went home 9 months into the relationship and the relationship stayed strong even being on opposite sides of the Atlantic. I will be moving back to Ireland in August and I’m so happy that we will be living together again. It’s a song I relate to and I think it’s wonderful to hear love songs that are written by women and are from a female point of view.

The album continues with “Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)”, one of three songs on the album titled Dreamboat Annie. I think of these songs as the glue that holds the album together and that’s part of why I think it’s amazing. It reminds me a bit of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in that there’s multiple versions of the title track. All three versions are beautiful in their own way, but I like the “Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)” the best (I also happen to like the Reprise version of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” the best too) because of the flute and orchestra. “Crazy On You” follows the first version of “Dreamboat Annie” and Nancy Wilson’s guitar intro is classic and one of the best Heart moments ever. It’s a classic rock radio staple and it did well when it first came out, reaching the top 40 in multiple countries. “Soul of the Sea” comes next and this song reminds me a bit of Jefferson Airplane. I love how this song has two parts to it. It’s one of the underrated songs on the album. After the second version of “Dreamboat Annie” comes “White Lightning and Wine”, a funkier, slightly country sounding song. “(Love Me Like Music) I’ll Be Your Song” also is a bit country rock inspired, but has a soft rock song. You can really hear Nancy’s backing vocals on this and it’s really nice. Re-listening to this album, I realised I don’t listen to this song enough and I forgot how good it is. I can really relate because music got through me the most difficult times in life, like secondary school, when I first got into classic rock. This album is on my perfect albums list for a reason. “Sing Child” reminds me a bit of Led Zeppelin and to me it’s the hardest, heaviest sounding song on the album. The flute in the song especially reminds me a bit of Focus and Jethro Tull. “How Deep It Goes” is a softer song and it’s another song I forget that I like. I love how I can picture the story the song tells.

To conclude, I love how all of the songs are well written and the band do an amazing job and I love how there are multiple guitars and it all sounds good together. Two lead guitars (and in some cases on this album 3) are better than one!

I Love 1976

Now this is a little different from the other Diversity of Classic Rock posts and I’m mixing it up a bit here. The semester is halfway done and that means projects, tests, quizzes left, right, and centre. Just a little tip for the third years, or second years, first years, or those not even in university: While it is easy to slack, don’t slack in fourth year! Make it count! If you have a high GPA, keep up the good work! If you don’t have a high GPA, work hard to raise your GPA.

I’m going to be working on a video editing project that will be part tribute to 1976 and part music video. Picking just one song from 1976 was not an easy task because there’s so many good songs to choose from, but ultimately I picked “The Boys Are Back In Town” by Thin Lizzy. A great choice because it gets stuck in your head in a good way, it’s well known because chances are you’ve heard it on a classic rock station, and who doesn’t love dual lead guitars? Also, it reminds me a lot of my time studying abroad in Ireland.

Sadly, I did not live in the 70s, but I’ve heard a lot of stories from my parents about the 70s. My dad was my age, 21, and was in university in his final year, just like me. My mum graduated from secondary school that year. I wore her secondary school class ring to my secondary school graduation, so I’m pretty sure that’s when she graduated. From talking to them, I found out that discos were cool, you gotta have a nice record collection, and that decade was a lot of fun. While the 60s would be my first choice as far as decade to live in, my second choice would easily be the 70s.

The 70s were a great decade in music because of glam rock, prog rock, punk rock, disco, funk, and the mod revival just beginning. 1976 itself was great too. Why is that?

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Jewish Classic Rock and Oldies Musicians Part 2: US and Canada part 1

The United States has the most Jews of any country besides Israel with estimates ranging from over 5 million to over 6 million. Canada has a Jewish population of 375,000. Jewish Americans and Canadians have contributed to rock and roll in performance and songwriting, but this post will be focusing on the music side of things, but many of these musicians are songwriters. While doing research for this post, I found out that there were so many Jewish musicians from the US and Canada that this post will have to be broken up into two parts. A usual post for the Diversity of Classic Rock is more or less 2000 words and this post had it been released all together would be more than double that. I strive to showcase as many musicians as possible from the well-known to the deep cuts who deserve more recognition. These musicians are in a variety of types of rock from punk to hard rock to folk to power pop to blues rock to progressive rock. A diverse range of subgenres in rock.

This series of posts was a really important to me as someone who is Jewish. I am an atheist but identify culturally as Jewish. Writing this made me think of all the times that my dad would say that “it seems like everyone is Jewish.”

Continue reading “Jewish Classic Rock and Oldies Musicians Part 2: US and Canada part 1”

LGBT Musicians from the 1960s-1980s

There have been many musicians who have openly identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender in classic rock. Many of them were in the closet for years or even decades before coming out. Many of these musicians are people you’ve heard of.

Classic rock is for all to enjoy, no matter your sexual orientation. I am writing this post from Ireland, where people voted on a referendum for marriage equality. This is a huge step in the right direction. Thank you to all of the people who voted yes. In honour of that I want to talk about my favourite LGBT musicians from the 60s and 70s.

Note: I have since updated this post to include LGBT musicians from the 80s. There has been quite a bit of demand for it, so I will deliver. This is the most popular post on the blog and I am very proud of this post! Thank you for reading! Enjoy! 

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Get Well Wishes For The Fish

I read the news today about Chris Squire being diagnosed with Leukaemia. It really made me sad and worried especially since I read it was a rare form of leukaemia. I hope that Chris Squire will get better. It really makes me sad that musicians from the 60s and 70s are getting older and so many of them have died. Very recently, B.B. King died. Yes were one of those bands where almost all the members are still alive and I think that’s incredible, especially since they went through many lineup changes. Peter Banks died a few years ago. He was the original guitarist for Yes and played on their first two albums Yes and Time and a Word.

Now if you don’t know who Chris Squire is, he’s the bassist for the prog rock band Yes. He was responsible for great basslines such as the very recognisable one for “Roundabout”.

He was the only original member in the current lineup of the band. Steve Howe joined in June 1970 and Alan White joined in 1972 during the Close To The Edge Tour, so while they are not original members, they played on key albums for the band. Geoff Downes joined Yes in 1980 during the Drama era. He was in The Buggles with Trevor Horn. The newest member is Jon Davison. He was in an American prog band called Glass Hammer. I’ve seen this lineup of Yes in 2013 in Toronto. It was an excellent concert and I’m glad I went. They played 3 albums in their entirety: The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, and Going For The One. I’m very lucky that I got to see one of my favourite bass players live.

The show will go on for Yes and they will continue to play concerts and the Cruise To The Edge with Billy Sherwood on bass.

I want to end this little blog post on a happier note. I want to celebrate the great music that Chris Squire and Yes have made. So here are my Top 10 Yessongs (see the reference I made to their live album?). Chris Squire, his family, and his bandmates are in my thoughts.

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Native Americans in Classic Rock and Oldies

Here are some Native American musicians who have made contributions to music in the 60s and 70s. As well as rock and roll, Native American musicians in the 60s and 70s have made contributions to folk music, disco, blues music, and country music. Even before the invention of rock and roll, Native American musicians were very important in blues music and there were influences from Native American music in the blues. Here’s an interesting article from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian about it. Many of your favourite musicians are also of partial Native ancestry such as James Brown, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and Cher.

Continue reading “Native Americans in Classic Rock and Oldies”

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