Tag: James Brown

Vince DiCola, ’80s Soundtrack Master

Vince DiCola, ’80s Soundtrack Master

Movies, Music
Few movies are more quintessentially '80s America than Rocky IV. It really is a masterclass in nationalistic cinematic propaganda not seen since the era of Sergei Eisenstein and a young USSR. Only in the heady days of the Reagan/Cold War era could a film depicting America (through its proxy, Rocky Balboa) as a plucky underdog be seen as somewhat credible. And if the simplistic political clichés weren't all bad enough, the Rocky IV story is so weak that Sylvester Stallone had the balls to stack two separate training montages right on top of each other. Together they account for nearly ten percent of the movie's run time, and that's not counting the other musical interludes or James Brown's performance of "Coming to America." I caught a showing of Rocky IV on cable a few weeks ago -- b
8 More Christmas Albums You Need To Own

8 More Christmas Albums You Need To Own

Listcruft, Music
Several years ago I shared eight of my favorite (and best, if I may humbly say so) Christmas albums. I think it's high time to add to that list, so here are another eight Yuletide platters that would make worthy additions to any holiday music collection. As on the first list, there's enough variety here that you should be able to find something new to love. So here we go, in no particular order... #1 A Time to Be Jolly (1971) Bing Crosby Bing was in his late 60s and in the last decade of his legendary career when this was released on the brand new Daybreak Records label in 1971. The only thing that gives this away, however, are the vintage late-'60s/early '70s MOR musical arrangements, which are really quite nice. Most of the tracks on A Time to Be Jolly kick off with some sl
Album review mini-roundup: Anthrax, Ladytron, and The New Mastersounds

Album review mini-roundup: Anthrax, Ladytron, and The New Mastersounds

Music
Anthrax, Worship Music (Megaforce Records) -- No disrespect to John Bush, but Anthrax only sounds like Anthrax to me with Joey Belladonna behind the mic. Interestingly enough, his first album with Anthrax in more than 20 years is a much more modern-sounding album than I expected. While parts of Worship Music -- tracks like "Earth on Hell" -- are right out of the Persistence of Time era, others ("Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" and "I'm Alive") sound more the like modern, radio-friendly hard rock found on more recent discs. Belladonna was in a tough spot here, as he and Scott Ian publicly admitted that Worship Music was largely complete when he was brought in. So he was basically singing over songs that were written with former singer Dan Nelson in mind. To his credit, Belladonna sounds at hom...
“Hope I die before I get old” — Do famous musicians really die young?

“Hope I die before I get old” — Do famous musicians really die young?

Featured Posts, Music, People
With her tragic and untimely death, Amy Winehouse became the latest member of a grim group -- the so-called Club 27, whose only entrance requirement is to be a famous musician and to die at age 27. The club also includes legends such as Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain. This got me to thinking -- is it really true that the brightest stars burn out the earliest? Or does it just seem that way because of our fascination with stars who die young? Curious, I decided to conduct a little research so I compiled a list of famous and influential dead musicians. Of course that list could be limitless, depending on your standards for fame and influence. I ultimately opted to use Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, first published in 2004/05 and...
Why the Hell Should I Like… post-‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson?

Why the Hell Should I Like… post-‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson?

Music
“Why the hell should I like… ?” is an experiment of sorts between Popblerd and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. What we’re going to attempt to do is to pick 10 songs from our favorite artists — one for which the other has professed dislike or disinterest — and show them why they’re wrong. On June 25th, 2009, the world lost one of the greatest entertainers of all time -- Michael Jackson. Although recent history had not been kind to Michael, after his passing it seemed like a light switch went on in the collective mind of the American public and they began to view him with respect again. Because let's face it, despite his obvious issues, the man was a one-of-a-kind talent. A fantastic singer, a great dancer, a solid songwriter and producer, and, if you look over the current pop mu
My favorite music: 1972

My favorite music: 1972

Music
If there's one thing the internet lacks, it's pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here's a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let's say, 1972. Fleetwood Mac, Bare Trees -- Oh sure, I love Rumours as much as the next person. But there's something about this particular, pre-Buckingham/Nicks incarnation of the band that speaks to me. Bare Trees is a bit uneven in spots but I keep coming back to it just the same. That said, the original version of Bob Welch's "Sentimental Lady" found on this record is far superior to the 1977 hit single version. Steely Dan, Can't Buy a Thrill -- I don't care if Donald Fagen and Walter Becker want to disown this record, I love it and I know a ton of Dan fans love it. Like all classic Steely Dan records, the hits are only part o...
So fresh — 10 Led Zeppelin songs that will never get old

So fresh — 10 Led Zeppelin songs that will never get old

Music
If you listen to classic rock radio enough, you'd think that the only songs Led Zeppelin recorded were "The Ocean, "Whole Lotta Love," or "Over the Hills and Far Away." As much as I love those songs, enough already. The good news is that despite a lot of Zep's catalog being way overexposed, plenty of their songs still sound fresh to this day. So here's a list of 10 Led Zeppelin cuts that will never, ever get old. 1 -- "Poor Tom" (from Coda, 1982) It's hard to imagine Led Zeppelin III being any better, but this track (recorded during those sessions) would've done just that. Above all else -- Robert Plant's understated vocals or Jimmy Page's delicate acoustic guitar -- John Bonham's ridiculously bouncy drumming makes this track. 2 -- "Communication Breakdown" (from Led Ze...