Quora: What is the best instance of a band or musician “stealing the show” despite not being the main act?

Answer by Brian Moore

In the mid-70’s, folk-rock trio America (“Horse With No Name”, “Ventura Highway”, “Sister Golden Hair”, etc.) were near the peak of their popularity, and I decided to get tickets to their show at Detroit’s Masonic Auditorium. When I got the tickets, they indicated that there was an opening act – Eric Carmen, who had recently released his debut album and had a fairly big hit with the ballad “All By Myself”. Not knowing any of his other music, I figured I could suffer through his 45-minute set in order to see the main act.

Little did I know that prior to going solo, Eric was in a power-pop band called The Raspberries, who had had a few minor hits in the early 70’s. We showed up expecting a “snoozer” of an opening act, but when Eric came out, the majority of his material was rockier music from his Raspberries days. Songs like “Go All The Way” and “I Wanna Be With You” completely surprised the crowd, who were expecting a soft-rock balladeer.

Eric ended up doing multiple encores, which was unheard of for an opening act. When America came out for their part of the show, they were almost booed off the stage by fans in the crowd, begging for Eric to return for another encore.

Video of the Week: Is THIS the best song of ALL TIME?

She Spent Two Years Writing for an Acclaimed Album — and Made Only $4,000

(via Rolling Stone) Brian Hiatt

Writing songs for top acts used to be a reliable source of income. Now, thanks to a rapidly changing industry, songwriters face trouble making ends meet 

AFTER YEARS OF struggle and even a few months of homelessness, Kimberly “Kaydence” Krysiuk was sure her big break as a songwriter had finally arrived. In August 2018, Ariana Grande released her fourth album, Sweetener, and there, at Number 12 on the track list, was the acerbic kiss-off ballad “Better Off,” co-written by Krysiuk two years earlier over a Hit-Boy beat. At age 27, she had achieved every young songwriter’s dream, her lyrics and melodies sent aloft via a superstar’s silky voice. The world was hearing her work. Big money, she assumed, was on its way.

At the time, she didn’t mind that Grande took 10 percent of the songwriting credit for what Krysiuk describes as “changing three or four words,” tweaking the lyric that ended up as “watch you smoke and drink.” (Producer Tommy “TBHits” Brown, who worked on “Better Off,” disputes Krysiuk’s account: “That was definitely not [Grande’s] only contribution,” he says. “We sat down there with the entire song and worked on it together. [Grande] is very, very hands-on with everything she does. She’s not one of the artists that just take songs and doesn’t do anything.”)

Read more: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/pop-songwriters-industry-broke-1234662448/

The Death of the Key Change

(via Tedium.) by Chris Dalla Riva

One of the strangest things about Michael Jackson’s solo career is that he didn’t release that much music. In the two decades after his adult debut—1979’s Off the Wall—Jackson only released 5 solo albums, totaling 59 songs. As a point of comparison, in the two decades after his solo debut, Paul McCartney—the only realistic competitor to Jackson’s title as King of Pop—put out 14 albums containing 176 songs.

Nevertheless, given that nearly 40 percent of Jackson’s songs during this period were top 10 hits, it’s safe to say that he still wears the crown. Among those hits, there’s always been one song that’s stood out to me: “Man in the Mirror”.

Man in the Mirror” is gospel record that sees the narrator looking to make a positive change in the world but quickly realizing that he first needs to make a change in himself:

I’m starting with the man in the mirror.

I’m asking him to change his ways.

And no message could’ve been any clearer:

If they wanna make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself and then make a change.

Part of the reason this record stands out among Jackson’s solo songs is his vocal performance. From “Billie Jean” to “Dirty Diana” to “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” the vocals on many of Jackson’s hits sound frantic, like he’s navigating through a labyrinth. “Man in the Mirror” is not like that. Jackson sounds comfortable and empowered. That performance makes the record distinct in his oeuvre.

But there’s another reason it stands out: the key change from G major to G# major that occurs at around 2 minutes and 52 seconds…

Read more: https://tedium.co/2022/11/09/the-death-of-the-key-change/

I’m the Last Person on Earth Still Buying CDs. Here’s Why…

I seek order in the form of a ludicrously large CD collection.

(via CNET) by Erin Carson

One dark day, a fresh-faced person in a lab coat will try to coax an old Spoon record out of my ancient, gnarled hands. And upon that day there’ll be a tussle. 

I won’t be letting go of that jewel case easily, and I look forward to that day when, with whatever strength I’ve got left, I get to educate that youth about CDs.

Approximately 82 million people in the US paid for music streaming services as of 2021. In 2022, vinyl sales hit a ludicrous 43 million in the US

Yet here I am, vowing to be the last person on Earth buying CDs…

Read more: https://www.cnet.com/culture/entertainment/im-the-last-person-on-earth-still-buying-cds-heres-why/

Quora: Why didn’t The Beatles record ‘A World Without Love’?

(via Quora) Answered by Eli Matawaran

John Lennon thought the first line, “Please lock me away”, was laughable. And he added:

“I think it was resurrected from the past…I think he (Paul McCartney) had the whole song before the Beatles.”

Yes, McCartney had written it when he was only 16 and before the Beatles but it was an unfinished song.

Maybe Lennon didn’t realized it was unfinished because he had already rejected it based on the first few lines.

When McCartney moved into the London home of his then girlfriend Jane Asher, he shared a room with her brother Peter, a singer-guitarist…

Read more: https://www.quora.com/Why-didn-t-The-Beatles-record-A-World-Without-Love

Video of the Week: Glen Campbell’s Phenomenal Guitar Solos

On a Lighter Note…

Video of the Week: How Jimi Hendrix Discovered The Band Chicago

‘The soul of L.A.’: 20 years after his death, the stars are aligning for Warren Zevon

The late singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, whom Billy Joel, among others, successfully promoted for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)

(via Los Angeles Times) BY MIKAEL WOOD

Shooter Jennings knew “Carmelita.” He knew “Lawyers, Guns and Money.” And of course he knew “Werewolves of London,” Warren Zevon’s 1978 rock hit about a “hairy-handed gent” on the prowl for “a big dish of beef chow mein.”

“It’s kind of the low-hanging fruit” of Zevon’s catalog, Jennings says of “Werewolves,” which after scraping the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot 100 went on to reach new audiences in the late 2000s when Kid Rock borrowed its strutting groove for his song “All Summer Long.”

But until three or four years ago, Jennings — the Los Angeles-based musician and Grammy-winning producer whose father is the late outlaw-country pioneer Waylon Jennings — had never dug deeply into Zevon’s work. That’s when a friend pushed him to check out “Desperados Under the Eaves,” the gut punch of a closer from Zevon’s self-titled 1976 LP in which the booze-soaked narrator contemplates his sorry situation from an air-conditioned room at the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel…

Read more: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2023-01-31/warren-zevon-rock-hall-of-fame-shooter-jennings

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