Vocalist/keyboardist BurtonCummings and guitarist RandyBachman led the Canadian band TheGuessWho to legend and lore by the late sixties. Personnel changes ensued, with Bachman leaving to form BTO, and Cummings pursued a solo career. The band, though, touched the skies during their heyday. Randy Bachman’s composing and guitar skills were instrumental. Cummings leaves a legacy as one of the greatest vocalists ever to walk the earth.
In closing…the development of the BTO hit You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet deserves a read. Here.
Eric was simply otherworldly in his approach, especially on bass clarinet and alto saxophone. A number of jazz titans held him near and dear, including CharlesMingus and JohnColtrane, with whom some of his most stunning work was achieved. No one sounds remotely like EricDolphy. In his improvisations, he could be intensely intimate and tender, or utterly explosive and groundbreaking, or both, often in rapid succession.
Upon hearing of Eric’s death, at 36, Mingus said: ” Usually, when a man dies, you remember—or you say you remember—only the good things about him. With Eric, that’s all you could remember. I don’t remember any drags he did to anybody. The man was absolutely without a need to hurt.”
Dolphy’s shocking death came shortly before the release of his masterpiece Out to Lunch. He was supposedly very interested in playing in AlbertAyler’s group, and was even preparing to play with CecilTaylor.
Gifted with one of the most magnificent voices ever to be heard, Linda Ronstadt knew how to use it, as well. A vibrant performer with great presence, as is well-documented in the above vids. Can’t fault her material, either; she covered the likes of Emitt Rhodes, Warren Zevon, and Buddy Holly, to name just a few. A remarkable vocalist.
Noteworthy practitioners of drumming who also have pipes. Paper Lace with Philip Wright, Ozark Mountain Daredevils with Larry Lee, Jigsaw with Des Dyer, and of course Karen Carpenter, though she’s away from the set in this performance.
Saxophonist John Coltrane’s impossible power as an improviser simply cannot be described. He provided one of the high water marks in music history with his ground-and-everything-else-breaking work in the 1960’s.
Queen, featuring vocalist Freddie Mercury, and guitarist Brian May, with a live You’re My Best Friend, performed in December of 1979 at the Hammersmith Odeon. This shows Mercury in top form vocally; a true maestro at work.
Another shining exemplar of Queen’s formidable power is this iteration of the remarkable hit single Killer Queen. Recorded June 7, 1977 at Earl’s Court, this rendition is quite canonical. The synergy between Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May is really working, and both are in magnificent form. Speaking of Mercury, Roger Daltrey once stated that he was “the best virtuoso rock ‘n’ roll singer of all time”, and well known soprano Montserrat Caballé felt that “his technique was astonishing; he sang with an incisive sense of rhythm; he also had a great musicality, and he was able to find the right colouring or expressive nuance for each word”. An extraordinary, charismatic performer, Mr. Mercury was described by guitarist Brian May as being so magnetic “he could make the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected”. The British vocalist also was unafraid to rank 58th in a poll of 100 Greatest Britons, finishing just behind Alexander Graham Bell. And The Cliff Richard (??). George Harrison was bettered, however, and in the most controversial decision, legendary Welsh actor Richard Burton came-a-cropper, finishing behind—by a significant margin—the great vocalist. Observers reported the Welshman appeared visibly shaken, ashen-faced, and extremely bitter during the ceremony. Some claim he wiped away tears, as he abruptly stormed off to whereabouts unknown.
“Burton later claimed ill health, but those near him were positive the Welshman wept openly, clenched his fists in impotent rage, and frequently muttered uncomplimentary remarks whilst shaking with hysteria, losing his balance more than once.” -Thrustus Simmonds, noted author of “Titans of Britondom, and Such”.
Lastly, the rousing Keep Yourself Alive. Live, 1974, at The Rainbow. Truly uplifting, and the musicianship, as was typical from this band, occupied Upper-Echelon terrain. This band indeed changed lives.