Rock and Roll 101 takes on a patriotic theme this week.
Tune in to SKY 7 on Sunday, June 30, for Rock and Roll 101 for two hours of “All-American Rock,” nothing but the Red, White and Blue for the week of Independence Day.
Nothing tricky here, and by no means is it possible to squeeze every American Rock act into a two-hour window. Simply put, it’s all Made In The U.S.A.
Grand Funk kicks off the first hour with its anthem “We’re An American Band’ -- one of two chart-topping hits for the Flint, Mich., band during a three-year stretch when they weren’t allowed to include the “Railroad” part of their name for legal reasons. In particular, their dispute with former manager Terry Knight.
Some of Rock’s most prominent founding fathers are represented by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, and Bill Haley & His Comets.
And you’ll hear one of the four tracks Elvis Presley recorded while doing his U.S. Army hitch. Duane Eddy, the pride of Coolidge, Ariz. (or at least he should be), appears with his 1986 collaboration with The Art of Noise, covering his own 1960 take on the “Peter Gunn” theme.
Roy Orbison had his first major hits as a songwriter. The Everly Brothers placed his “Claudette” (about his wife) on the B-side of their hit “All I Have To Do Is Dream.”
The Drifters, featuring the lead vocals of Rudy Lewis, turned in a memorable interpretation of Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “Up On The Roof.” Of all the lyrics he wrote, Goffin said his favorite was from this song. King also plays the piano on the session.
In the second hour, the Goffin-King songbook is visited by The Byrds for “Goin’ Back” from 1967.
So, what’s in a name? In 1960, Charles Westover’s producers suggested a better stage name. They came up with Del Shannon -- Del was derived from his favorite car, the Cadillac Coupe de Ville, and Shannon from a local pro wrestler.
Sharon Lee Myers grew up in Hazel, Kentucky and tried a number of different stage names before settling on Jackie DeShannon, which she believed to be the name of an Irish ancestor.
Del Shannon was one of the few American acts to have hits in the midst of the British Invasion, like “Keep Searchin’” from 1965.
Jackie DeShannon started out as a rockabilly cat. At Liberty Records, that meant rockabilly with a string section. You’ll hear Jackie from 1961, about four years before she had her first significant hits.
“Little Latin Lupe Lu” is the Cover of the Week, first, the 1963 original by The Righteous Brothers, followed by at Top 10 cover from 1966 by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.
When Paul Revere and the Raiders were the top show band in the Pacific Northwest, they had a large legion of fans enjoying their wild stage show, complete with pyrotechnics.
At Raider guitarist Drake Levin’s memorial service in 2009, fellow Raider Phil Volk told the story of a night in 1964 when they were playing at the Spanish Castle, located between Seattle and Tacoma.
Fang told about the Raiders show in those days, with Drake playing the guitar behind his head, doing the steps and so on.
Volk: “After the show, this shy, quiet guy walked up to Drake and said, ‘you were great. You really inspired me.’ Drake said, ‘What’s your name?’ He said, ‘Jimi Hendrix.’…”
The Young Rascals started out with garage-type rockers, like “You Better Run,” performed while wearing their Little Lord Fauntleroy threads. Pat Benatar covered it in the early 1980s.
Early on, The Byrds covered their share of Bob Dylan compositions. In fact, Dylan had more hits early on as a composer. That changed with Subterranean Homesick Blues in 1965.
Before Bob Dylan moved to the Greenwich Village part of New York and hit his stride, he was a piano player in Bobby Vee’s band the Shadows, touring the Dakotas and Minnesota in 1959.
Bobby had his share of success in the early 60s and by 1967, this was considered a comeback hit. You’ll hear Bobby count down the intro with finger snaps, and a rare instrumental open to “Come Back When You Grow Up.”
The show includes a Motown triple play, featuring Marvin Gaye, a comeback hit for The Marvelettes and Little Stevie Wonder from the summer of 1964.
One of Johnny Rivers’ great skills was reinventing the hits of others to his own style, including a couple of Motown classics. Here’s his 1967 reworking of The Four Tops’ “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” considered by some as the definitive version.
Jan and Dean’s 1964 hit “Dead Man’s Curve” would have a prophetic tone to it. Nearly two years later, Jan Berry had a near-fatal car accident that effectively ended his recording career.
Jan and Dean were friends with The Beach Boys -- Dean contributed vocals to their hit “Barbara Ann,” for example. And Brian Wilson co-wrote their hit “Surf City.”
In 1986, The Beach Boys covered The Mamas & the Papas’ classic “California Dreamin’,” with an assist from another friend, Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, who contributes the 12-string guitar solo.
Then, we hear The Mamas & The Papas from 1966 with the 45 RPM version of “I Saw Her Again.”
Originally known as Gary and the Night Lites, the American Breed had three regional Chicago-area hits before scoring big with “Bend Me, Shape Me.” The Breed, led by Gary Loizzo, scored their first national splash in 1967 with “Step Out Of Your Mind.”
The Doors were one of the first bands to pioneer the practice of issuing stereo 45s. Sometimes, you never know where these stereo single mixes will show up. This particular one appeared on a Warner Special Products box set in the early 1970s -- it’s the tightest stereo mix of “Touch Me” you may ever hear.
Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, yet very few rock acts really emerged from there. In the 80s, you had The Pretenders. Before that, it was The Outsiders and The Raspberries. You’ll hear The Outsiders cover The Isley Brothers’ “Respectable.”
Born in Indiana, John Cougar Mellencamp fashioned a homage to his own musical influences with this 1986 tribute to 1960s rock. We’ll wrap up this edition of Rock and Roll 101 with “R.O.C.K, in the U.S.A.”
All that, and Fats Domino and Chubby Checker! It’s all part of this week’s lineup for Rock and Roll 101 on SKY 7!
To listen, just log on to sky7phoenix.com, click on “Classic Hits and Awesome Variety,’ and the streaming audio will appear.
Rock and Roll 101 can be heard every Sunday night, exclusively on SKY 7.