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70's Rock Show - 27th July 2010

I've come to realise over the weeks that the first track on the show is quite important. This week we kicked off with something that, on the face of it, has nothing to do with rock, but "Beach Baby" does sound like a Beach Boys production, even though it was written & recorded in London. The First Class was formed by John Carter & Tony Burrows, who have surprising rock connections: Burrows provided backing vocals for The Who ("I Can't Explain"), Chris Farlowe ("Out Of Time"), Jeff Beck ("Hi-Ho Silver Lining") & Sir Tom Jones ("It's Not Unusual"), while Tony Burrows is in the history books as fronting three different acts on one edition of Top Of The Pops (& another a week later!). The pair came together in The Ivy League ("Funny How Love Can Be") & went on to be The Flowerpot Men (including Jon Lord & Nick Simper, who later helped form Deep Purple), Edison Lighthouse & White Plains amongst others! How's that for rock connections? As an opener, it's a GREAT summer record & it set the scene for some 'different' rock music on the show...

Manfred Mann's Earth Band took Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded By The Light" to the top of the US charts in 1976, an achievement Bruce has surprisingly yet to achieve with a single, even though he's had something like seven #1 albums in the States. David Bowie's final 'glam rock' single was "Rebel Rebel" & he went a little soulful after that, showcased in part by his production of Lulu's excellent & very cool version of "The Man Who Sold The World" - Bowie played sax & guitar for it too...

In the show we had two pairs of songs connected by a similar strange co-incidence: T. Rex scored their first UK #1 with "Hot Love", something 10cc also achieved with "Rubber Bullets", but both songs fared poorly in the US charts, stalling at #72 & #73 respectively. Both The Rolling Stones ("Angie") & James Taylor ("You've Got A Friend") reached the top in America, but in the UK reached #5 & #4 respectively. Taylor won a Grammy award for his performance, while Carole King won one for writing the song. Todd Rundgren wrote "I Saw The Light" in homage to Carole & other writers of 60's pop songs & his band Utopia included a certain Roger Powell, who was also a groundbreaker in music technology, in that he was key in the development of MIDI & worked with Apple for 12 years...

I mentioned we played some music that might be considered a bit different & that included the jazz fusion rock of Traffic "Glad" (extraordinary stuff) & Chicago "Beginnings" (what a final section!) & a couple of really 'out there' choices towards the end of the show. Steely Dan gave us their version of Duke Ellington's "East St. Louis Toodle-O" (simply joyful), the only instrumental from the band & the only track of theirs to credit Donald Fagan on saxophone; & Billy Joel's slice of original ragtime "Root Beer Rag", which I challenge anyone to listen to & not be tempted to play the air/table piano. Chicago is, of course, a city in the USA, as is Phoenix (the title track from Dan Fogelberg's 6th album) & Nutbush - well, actually Nutbush is not a city, so it can't have the 'city limits' that Mr & Mrs Turner sang about (a fabulous bit of R&B rock!), but hey, musical licence is a wonderful thing…

Heavy rock came in the form of Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, Rush & Van Halen, plus a wonderful bit of "Cheap Sunglasses" boogie from ZZ Top (catch those guitar licks!). The big finish was provided by Elton John live-ish performance of "Bennie & The Jets" (it inspired Axl Rose to become a singer) & Peter Frampton's live rendition of "Do You Feel Like We Do" (listen to it once, sing it for days & love it forever)…

Next week is a special show dedicated to the problems of 70's rock musicians (not to be taken too seriously).

The full playlist for this weeks show was as follows:

1 The First Class Beach Baby
2 Manfred Mann's Earth Band Blinded By The Light
3 David Bowie Rebel Rebel
4 Lulu The Man Who Sold The World
5 T. Rex Hot Love
6 10cc Rubber Bullets
7 Todd Rundgren I Saw The Light
8 Traffic Glad
9 Chicago Beginnings
10 Dan Fogelberg Phoenix
11 Ike & Tina Turner Nutbush City Limits
12 ZZ Top Cheap Sunglasses
13 Uriah Heep I Wanna Be Free
14 Wishbone Ash Queen Of Torture
15 Rush 2112 Overture/The Temples Of Syrinx
16 Utopia The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
17 Van Halen Dance The Night Away
18 The Rolling Stones Angie
19 James Taylor You've Got A Friend
20 Steely Dan East St. Louis Toodle-O
21 Billy Joel Root Beer Rag
22 Elton John Bennie And The Jets
23 Peter Frampton Do You Feel Like We Do

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