Top 10 Favorite Groups

On January 8, 2010, in Favorite Music, Uncategorized, by admin

And now to continue with the top 10 favorite groups in order, starting with number 5.

Journey  One of the several groups dubbed as “supergroup” of the 70’s this band started in the SF bay area with a strong line up of initial songs, but most importantly, one of the strongest and best voices in the music business, Steve Perry. Interestingly, the line up changed after the first few albums and in came Jonathan Cain to play keyboards, replacing Greg Rollie. Cain came from another famous group, The Baby’s.  It was his infusion of influence that changed Journey into the hits machine it became.  Fortunately, they did not loose their harder rock sound completely as Neal Schon continued to a force on guitar, but the merge of the styles hit straight to pop chart home. Perry left the group over a 15 years ago, but Schon and Cain still anchor Journey, importing an amazing slew of replacement singers that sound very close to Steve Perry. No other group has done a better job of copying the lead vocalist, by voice anyway, because the latest incarnation of the copycat is a short  guy of Phillipino descent with supposedly dead on voicecopy of Perry….hmm.  Failed to mention, original member Ross Valory still in group as well.

Bread  I am gonna get shot for this one, but it is what it is. This goes back to my early influences in music, before I turned angry and got into hard rock. David Gates led this group and has most recognition, but in reality, this was a very talented group. The late James Griffen (whom I have met) wrote nearly as many songs for Bread as Gates, though most were not the chart toppers, he was the rocker of the group. He passed away in his native Memphis Tenn. of  Leukemia. The original group contained Rob Royer on bass. He too wrote some of the early hits. But the last line up gained most recognition with Larry Knechtel, a well know LA studio musician on bass and Mike Botts on drums (Larry played base for my beloved Doors on Strange Days album). My iPod is filled with these guys songs. When I am in a rocking mood, I just shuffle past the Bread songs

Great White Somebody needs to help these guys with SEO on their website, they barely make the first page. I remember exactly where I was when I heard of the nightclub fire in Rhode Island killing 99 people as a result of pyro technics in the concert. This was an unfortunate incident that took the life of their bassist at the time Ty Longely….(better known in porn movies). These guys came from Redondo Beach CA, and rode success of what most people remember now as one or two songs.  But they have a rich catalog of great music lead by Jack Russell’s (not the dog) unique voice, and Mark Kendall’s blues laced rock guitar riffs. I have seen these guys 16 times and concert (the most by far of any group), and will go see them again, as they continue to tour…and fortunately for them, most people have forgotten of that dreaded night in January 2001

Styx  Back to the Illionois connection. I am from Kenosha Wisconsin. This group, in the earliest of 70’s played many local venues in the area. The hit song “Lady”, which was a chart topper around 1975, actually was known to us in the area since about ’72. Styx was founded by The Panozzo brothers and Dennis DeYoung (no, JY is not the godfather of Styx like they like to say in concert). DeYoung, a trained musician and music teacher has a unique voice and brought in keyboards.  James Young came shortly thereafter, bring a growling rock guitar style. After their first album on a national label A&M,(there were four on the Wooden Nickel label which had a distrubution agreement with RCA at that time), a member left the group.  Styx recruited Tommy Shaw, and the stage was set for them to become their 70’s supergroup. Everyone could sing, most could write, and inspite of DeYoung being quite egotistical, he at least was smart enough to understand the talen of Shaw. After their run in the 70’s, the strain took its toll, DeYoung was forced out of the group as he wanted to write ballads and just plain nutty ass songs, and the rest wanted to rock. Lawsuits  later, Styx still is Tommy Shaw and JY, with an occassional visit by Chuck Pannozzo, founder on bass. Bother John died of natural causes related to excessive alcohol consumption (as did the other member who left the group).  DeYoung releases his solo music today, with little fanfare with the exception of popularity in Canada (Quebec).  See much earlier post on DeYoung in this forum. I have seen these guys 12 times, adn the still tirelessly tour today, and I will continue to  see them as long as they are out on the road.

Doors  No surprise here for those of you who know me. I have had a strange facsination with these guys from the late 60’s.  Sure Light My Fire was wildly popular, but I cut my teeth on the “Waiting for The Sun” album, whose only hit on it was Hello I Love You. (See favorite songs post). Totally misunderstood, controversial, and accused of many things in the day, they sold millions of albums in a relatively short period of time before Morrison’s death on July 3 1971. I will not attempt to explain my love for this group, it works on so many levels for me. I admit to being somewhat of a historian on the Doors and  Morrison. And yes, the movie released over a decade by Oliver Stone was a decent portrayal of the personality and captured the times.  I am not certain how many of you realize just how crazy these times were in America….they certainly made an impression on me.

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