July 15: Happy 73rd Birthday Linda Ronstadt

I have always believed that one learns more from failure than from success.
~Linda Ronstadt, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir

The essential elements of singing are voice, musicianship, and story. It is the rare artist that has all three in abundance.
~Linda Ronstadt

Ronstadt is Blessed with arguably the most sterling set of pipes of her generation … rarest of rarities – a chameleon who can blend into any background yet remain boldly distinctive … It’s an exceptional gift; one shared by few others.
~Christopher Loudon (Jazz Times, 2004)

Ronstadt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014.

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July 13: Happy 77th Birthday Roger McGuinn

Roger McGuinn’s sparkling, chordal 12-string Rickenbacker riffs on the Byrds’ early hits were the sonic bridge between folk and rock – and an irreplaceable color in rock’s palette: Every indie band who’s more interested in beatific strumming than screaming solos owes him a debt (the striking break in “Bells of Rhymney” could be on a Smiths record). McGuinn could do a lot more than chime, however, as demonstrated by his still-astonishing psychedelic-raga-Coltrane licks on “Eight Miles High.
rollingstone.com

James Roger McGuinn (born James Joseph McGuinn III on July 13, 1942) known professionally as Roger McGuinn and previously as Jim McGuinn, is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for being the lead singer and lead guitarist on many of The Byrds‘ records. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with The Byrds.

The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn (aka Jim McGuinn) remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973.

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July 10: The Beatles released A Hard Day’s Night in 1964

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We were different. We were older. We knew each other on all kinds of levels that we didn’t when we were teenagers. The early stuff – the Hard Day’s Night period, I call it – was the sexual equivalent of the beginning hysteria of a relationship. And the Sgt Pepper-Abbey Road period was the mature part of the relationship.”
– John Lennon (1980)

A Hard Day’s Night is the third album by The Beatles; it was released on July 10, 1964. The album is a soundtrack to the A Hard Day’s Night film, starring the Beatles. The American version of the album was released two weeks earlier, on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records, with a different track listing. This is the first Beatles album to be recorded entirely on four-track tape, allowing for good stereo mixes.

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In 2000, Q placed A Hard Day’s Night at number 5 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 388 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The soundtrack songs were recorded in late February, and the non-soundtrack songs were recorded in June. The title song itself was recorded on April 16.

…but A Hard Day’s Night is perhaps the band’s most straightforward album: You notice the catchiness first, and you can wonder how they got it later.

The best example of this is the title track– the clang of that opening chord to put everyone on notice, two burning minutes thick with percussion (including a hammering cowbell!) thanks to the new four-track machines George Martin was using, and then the song spiraling out with a guitar figure as abstractedly lovely as anything the group had recorded.”
– Tom Ewing, Pitchfork

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July 7: Happy 79th Birthday Ringo Starr

Ringo was a star in his own right in Liverpool before we even met. Ringo was a professional drummer who sang and performed and was in one of the top groups in Britain, but especially in Liverpool. So Ringo’s talent would have come out one way or the other … whatever that spark is in Ringo, we all know it but can’t put our finger on it. Whether it’s acting, drumming, or singing, I don’t know. There’s something in him that is projectable and he would have surfaced as an individual … Ringo is a damn good drummer.
~John Lennon (Sept 1980)

Beatles accept award Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions 1988:

Nice tribute video from youtube:

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July 6: Happy 66th Birthday Nanci Griffith

I got to know Nanci Griffith through the seminal music paper Beat (norwegian music magazine), this music magazine has been extremely important in my musical upbringing. They made it ok to say that you loved country music. This was a big step for us rock/punk youth. Anyway, they praised Nanci Griffith very early and we listened and we agreed, this was very special indeed.

Her voice, her way of singing, especially other people’s’ songs, it was and is beautiful. My first entry into her world was John Prine’s The Speed of The Sound of Loneliness, it is still the best song in her catalogue. Hell, it would be the best song in almost anybody’s catalogue!

Speed of the sound of Loneliness (with John Prine who wrote this masterpiece):

Nanci Griffith, (born Nanci Caroline Griffith, July 6, 1953, Seguin, Texas) is an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter based in Austin, Texas.

Straddling the fine line between folk and country music, Nanci Griffith has become as well-known for her brilliant, confessional songwriting as her beautiful voice. A self-styled “folkabilly” singer, Griffith began as a kindergarten teacher and occasional folksinger. The country scene took her to heart in the mid-’80s, giving her a reputation as a quality songwriter through hit covers of Griffith’s songs by Kathy Mattea and Suzy Bogguss. Finding no luck with commercial country radio however, Griffith recorded several pop-oriented albums and then returned to her folk roots by the mid-’90s.
-John Bush (allmusic.com)

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July 4: Happy 81st Birthday Bill Withers

I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.
~Bill Withers

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, It’s not warm when she’s away, Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, And she’s always gone too long, Anytime she goes away.
~Bill Withers (Ain’t No Sunshine)

Ain’t No Sunshine (Live 1971):

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