Book Review: Experience The Album History of Alice Cooper

Cover photo by Rex Features via AP Images.

“Experiencing Alice Cooper: A Listener’s Companion” by Ian Chapman (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) is a track by track description of every album by the Hall of Fame Godfather of Shock Rock.

The compilation is one in a series of “Experiencing” titles, where the writer walks the reader through each album , song by song, and puts their opinions on the songs. Even though the opinions in this book is kept to a minimum, Chapman details the songs, its run time, and a small bit of information about the tracks.

The writing, as told in the beginning, is not a biography of Alice Cooper, or the band members; the author leaves that to the respected autobiographies by the band members, but it is a nice go to book for those that want a quick reference of the albums or songs. Each album covered has the year released, the track listings, and the U.S. and U.K. chart position of the album. There is also a nice timeline at the beginning of the book detailing the history of Alice Cooper.

The albums covers Cooper’s whole career, from the band’s first album, “Pretties For You” in 1969, all the way to 2017’s “Paranormal.” The chapters are set into two or three years of the albums, for instance Chapter 2 covers the years 1971-1973, and Chapter 6 details 1986-1989 (Chapter 3 is the only one covering one whole album, which is 1975’s “Welcome to My Nightmare.”)

Even though the writing is not a historical biography, Chapman’s take on some of the songs and albums are interesting, especially since he is from New Zealand, which shows the worldwide appeal of Alice Cooper. It is interesting to read a person from another country’s take on Cooper’s work, where an album may have sold better in that country as opposed to North America.

Chapman adds in the book the two times he saw Alice Cooper in concert; during the “Nightmare” tour in 1977, and when Cooper opened for Motley Crue in 2015, including the set list for both concerts. He writes that the 2015 show was filled with all of Cooper’s hits (including compliments for the great Nita Strauss playing guitar for Cooper) , while Motley had some filler songs in it. Seeing Cooper twice in concert myself, in 1996 (opening for The Scorpions, which Cooper blew the headliners off the stage) and in 2003 on his “Bare Bones” tour, I can attest to how awesome a show Cooper and his crew puts on.

Another nice aspect to the book is how Chapman gives props to some of my favorite Alice Cooper albums, 2000’s “Brutal Planet,” (which he calls Cooper’s heaviest album ever), 2003’s “The Eyes of Alice Cooper” (which he states the “songwriting is tight and concise,” along with the music is “refreshingly raw and direct”), and 2005’s “Dirty Diamond’s” album, which Chapman says that “for anyone looking to discover a relatively unknown gem by the artist, one need look no further than ‘Dirty Diamonds'” (Chapman, 158). These are some of my favorite later Cooper albums, and mostly underrated that many fans here in the U.S. seemed to forgot about.

“Experiencing Alice Cooper” is a book that will not educate the reader on the history or insight of Alice Cooper. This book focuses just on the music. However, throughout the writing, the reader can see that Chapman is a true fan of Alice Cooper, and for those that want to add to their Cooper collection a handy reference for track listings on the albums, this is a book to add. It is an easy read, and has a nice glossy hardback cover to it, which will not easily wear and tear. The die hard Cooper fans may not seek this book out for inside information that they may not have already known, but Chapman’s collection is a nice piece of writing.

 

 

The review copy of this title was given courtesy of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group

 

“Experiencing Alice Cooper: A Listener’s Companion” by Ian Chapman (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-4422-5770-2 eISBN: 978-1-4422-5771-9) can be found at http://www.rowman.com, or calling 800-462-6420.

 

For information on Ian Chapman, go to : http://www.ianchapman.co.nz/

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Book Review: Nature and Unity Combined in Book

#sponsored by faithwords.com

Jacket design by Edward A. Crawford. Jacket photography by Getty Images.

The dictionary describes the word murmuration as a flock of starlings. Other science sites define the word by a bunch of starlings that flock together, darting through the sky in unison. However the definition is used, it is a unique site in nature, with the birds all together in the same direction.

“Designed For More” (FaithWords, 2018) by Lucas Ramirez with Mike Devito, takes the theory of murmuration and applies it as a symbol for the Christian church as a call for unity and direction.

This Christian Living book takes one of the fascinating parts of nature, and encourages Christians to be more like the starlings, mentioning that if everyone is united , like the starlings, the focus and goals can be achieved for a better church. The book also looks into how the starlings approach murmuration, in regards to all being on the same goal and being unified, which helps prevent predators from invading the group.

Other concepts that Ramirez uses in his writings is the theory that even though members of the church have different opinions, they can still be a united front in the overall goal of the church, without fighting amongst each other. He encourages others to use these tools in the local communities , using some business techniques like “creative tension,” along with discussing egos and competition that creeps into the church, which divides the overall goal. “Designed For More” then goes in depth on 7 Principals that will unleash the movement of the church to become more united.

Ramirez’s and Devito’s book is an interesting and educational read. The word unity is used so much in today’s culture, especially in politics, that I almost was going to skip over this book when I was approached to review it. However, the creative symbolism of using the murmuration by the writers made the book appealing to me. Although it is a Christian Living book, that included Biblical verse in it (both writers are in the ministry), there are ideas in here that could be used for organizations and businesses as well. There are many good ideas in this writing, including the writers explaining the differences between discussion and dialogue, and other concepts that a person can use in any aspect in life, without having to be a church going Christian.

The publication includes bold type sentences to enforce the main parts of the section, along with Devito’s contribution to the work in a separate box on the page (both are nicely packaged for the book to make it easy to read and understand). There is not a bunch of deep Bible jargon as well, which the reader easily can apply the suggestions (and remember them), without being boggled down with in depth religious text that by the time the chapter is done, the reader can’t remember what the points were.

The only suggestion that I questioned from the authors dealt with what they called “Creating Seven Influential Neighbors.” The total idea is not a bad concept, but the writers make it out that the reader has so much free time in their world throughout the week or month that this is achievable. I understand changing priorities to help make the church and communities a better place to create unity, but this section, the suggestions are not possible to achieve between a person’s work, family, and church life to have that much time to spend monthly-something has to give. This is not a knock on the idea or the writers, but when reading the suggestion, this reader was questioning “How can all of this possibly be done in a month?” However this small part does not deter from the point of view the authors try to convey.

“Designed For More” is a book that should be read by church leaders, and even community organizers. Although it is a Christian book, there is great sections in here discussing the science (along with interviews with people who study starlings) that make it educational. The reader can take many things from this book, especially if they are struggling with where the goal of their church is heading.

 

This review copy was sent courtesy of FaithWords and Hatchette Books.

 

“Designed For More” by Lucas Ramirez with Mike Devito (FaithWords, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-5460-3298-4 ebook: 978-1-5460-3296-0) can be found at : http://www.faithwords.com, @Faithwords (Twitter), @FaithWordsBooks (Instagram), and Facebook.com/FaithWords.

 

For information about these authors, check out: http://www.Lucasramirez.org, http://www.DesignForMoreBook.com, and social media: @thelucasramirez @mike_d_devito, and @DesignedForMoreBook.

 

Book Review: Creating An Inside Look Into Wrestlemania

Cover Design :Franco Malagisi

Being an honest reviewer, I admit I am skeptical of books released under the WWE brand. The books (at least in the past) have been mostly written with the wrestlers in character throughout, or sometimes, without the wrestlers’ involvement in the telling of their own stories. However, Jon Robinson’s  “Creating The Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life” (ECW Press/WWE Books, 2018) is an enjoyable book that dispels this notion of past WWE related books.

This book interviews many of the top WWE wrestlers, film producers, and other WWE employees to give an inside look at all the work that goes into the Wrestlemania card, including the events during the week that have grown beyond just having a wrestling show, which made its debut in 1985.

Vince McMahon Jr, who created the Wrestlemania concept, is interviewed early in the book, telling the story how he created the idea of Wrestlemania when he started to turn his then WWF league into a national, and eventually, world-wide extravaganza. Robinson interviews people such as John Saboor, the Executive VP of WWE Special Events, who details how the city of the event gets picked, and how the WWE wants the city’s community to be involved since Wrestlemania is full of events all week, including the Hall of Fame Ceremony, WWE Axxess (that includes fan events and meet and greets with some of the stars), and how the WWE expects to work with the city chosen for years to come, not just a one time deal with the big event. Saboor also states that the WWE plans their major PPV events three years in advance. This part was especially interesting when Saboor states a group of WWE executives meet every three weeks with the city officials, holding meetings that last as long as 8-10 hours a day. Most fans think that the WWE just shows up to the city and puts on the show, which is far from the truth. The planning and execution is extremely detailed and time consuming. The people behind the scenes are just as much champions as the talent seen in front of the cameras.

The book involves many of the WWE stars and their thoughts on Wrestlemania, their favorite Mania matches (as a fan or participant), along with some encounters that they have had, such as wrestlers getting knocked off the card, or matches being switched at the last moment due to injuries or the signings of new stars or celebrities.

The surprising part of this journey is how the writers and wrestlers discuss their involvement with other leagues. In the past the WWE would never mention that a wrestler was a part of another company, but this book mentions Ring of Honor, TNA, and Japanese leagues, which makes it a refreshing read. Another area that is surprising is that the people interviewed for the book talk about how some of the storylines were changed, and bring out subjects that fans may not have known about; such as Braun Strowman being scheduled to win the Andre The Giant Battle Royal before the WWE got football player Rob Gronkowski involved (which switched the ending) and how the creative team did not know if Brock Lesnar was going to beat The Undertaker until McMahon finally made the call during the day of the show. Proposed matches were set like Jason Jordan vs Kurt Angle, Kane vs Finn Balor, and how UFC star Ronda Rousey was going to be used in her first match are covered.

Interviews with Elias, Jeff Jarrett (right before his Hall of Fame Induction), and producer “Road Dogg” Brian James, who informs the reader how The Royal Rumble is planned, are informative, along with the Alexa Bliss/Nia Jax friendship turning into an on screen storyline. There is also a touching story about announcer Corey Graves, and how he had to learn the skills needed to be an announcer after his career ended by injury (His describing all the voices he hears in his headset during a program gives a new respect to the position for those that may not know what goes on during the televised parts of the shows).

“Creating The Mania” has great insights of the wrestlers stating their opinions on future storylines that they’d like to be a part of , or would like to see, including a possible Reigns vs Rock match. This was entertaining, and who knows a possible tease, for fans to converse.

Overall the book has insightful interviews by people in front and behind the screen, with plenty of photographs throughout the book. It takes the reader right before Wrestlemania. The last chapter has a summary of the WrestleMania 2018 results, so the reader can see what happened from the planning stages to the final product. “Mania” also has an interesting section where some of the wrestlers list their all time favorite Wrestlemania match, which is worth the read. The behind the scenes from planning storylines to how the television production is handled is refreshing compared to past WWE sponsored books. “Creating The Mania” is a different approach covering the WWE Universe. Robinson writes well and engages the reader, so much that the reader may go through the whole book in a few days (like I did). The interviews are wonderful, and the reader does not have to be a die hard fan to understand the topics, because it is easy to follow the flow of the stories. Do not let previous stereotypes of past WWE books prevent you from checking this one out. This is worth your time.

 

This review copy was sent courtesy of ECW Press and WWE Books.

 

“Creating The Mania: An Inside Look at How Wrestlemania Comes to Life” by Jon Robinson (ECW/WWE Books, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-77041-450-1 hardcover, 978-1-77305-271-7 ePub, 978-1-77305-272-4 PDF) can be found at http://www.ecwpress.com and is available August 7, 2018.

 

For information about the author, Jon Robinson’s Twitter account is  @JRobAndSteal.

Book Review: This Book Rocks: A Drummer’s Insight Into The Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion

Cover Design by Domini Dargoone. Cover Illustration @John Douglas

The first time I heard of drummer Bobby Rock was in 1990, when he was a part of the band Nelson. I became a huge fan of the Nelson brothers, and even had one of their shirts which I proudly wore to school, along with my Warrant shirt. I would play along to their debut album “After the Rain” on my drum set everyday when it was released for months. It wasn’t until years later that I found out Bobby Rock was the drummer for the ex-Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent in his band The Vinnie Vincent Invasion, which also involved members of what would become the band Slaughter; another favorite band of mine.

Bobby Rock went on to be a drummer for other bands, currently with Lita Ford, along with creating drum videos and books. His latest book , “The Boy Is Gonna Rock: A Drummer’s Journey From Houston To Hollywood In Search Of Hair Metal-Heaven” ( Zen Man Publishing, 2018), details his career as a drummer in several rock bands, including his time with The Invasion. The behind the scenes story of what happened inside of the Vincent band is the main theme of the memoir.

Lita Ford contributes to the book in the Forward, telling how she was in a bind for a drummer, calling Gunnar Nelson asking for help. Nelson informs her that Rock is the guy she needs on short notice. Rock is still playing with Ford years after the phone call.

The book is filled with great photographs, and stories, from Bobby’s first love of Hard Rock Music (when he bought his first Alice Cooper album), to learning drumming techniques throughout high school, and his time at Berkley School of Music. His goal of becoming a jazz drummer took a side turn when he called Dana Strum after hearing about an audition for Vinnie Vincent’s new band, who just parted ways with Kiss in the mid 1980s.

Rock’s book is an honest account of the dealings with Vincent, who has always had a stigma attached to him for being hard to work with on stage and in the studio. He takes the reader through the many frustrating attempts to record the debut Vinnie Vincent Invasion (more popularly known as VVI) album, and the tour that followed. He details his opinions on the band members, including first singer Robert Fleischman, who left the band right before the first tour, which the band ended up with singer Mark Slaughter.

If you are hoping for a bashing book that trashes the members, this is not the book. Rock tells the story from what he saw, what he felt, and is not a typical “I hate this guy” rock recollection. The text is not all rainbows either, which makes this one of the best rock biographies I have read in years, and is definitely in my Top 10 of all time in the genre already.

My Nelson band shirt ,featuring Rock, which is now a pillow.

Rock’s writing is just as skillful as his drumming. With many writings on his resume, Rock has taken this project seriously, and is a entertaining writer. Every musician, or aspiring musician, should read this book, with its commentary about the business of music, which was a major aspect that affected VVI ‘s break up. The book covers lawsuits, management and crew members’ darker sides, to the relationship Rock had with his on stage companions Strum, Slaughter, and Vincent. Slaughter fans would also enjoy the book, with Rock’s tales of just how behind the scenes Dana Strum was in The Invasion’s recordings and management side. The collection is recent as well, with Rock giving his opinion of the re-emergence of Vincent during the 2018 KISS Expo in Atlanta, after decades of being out of everyone’s radar. Rock tells his experiences with joining the Nelson Brothers (and dispels some rumors about how he joined, along with if he was to be the drummer in Slaughter), Lita Ford, along with some tales of the artists he almost ended up drumming for.

It’s hard to write a book that appeals to everyone, but Rock has succeeded. The stories are entertaining and honest, the pictures are wonderful and plenty, along with giving stories that fans of KISS, Nelson, Alice Cooper, Slaughter, and other Hard Rock acts of the 1980s-1990s will love, while describing the learning experiences of the inside workings of the music business. Many independent books are filled with grammar errors or wrong dates, but Rock ‘s book is void of these, with his detail to the writing process. There is some adult language in the book, but it does not deter from how great this book is, or come off as overtly offensive. The only complaint of the book, for me, was that since the book is mainly about his time in Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion, he only briefly mentions at the end about his time with Nelson (since I was a big fan of the band, I can plea that if Bobby has enough stories, to write a book just on his time with them).

“The Boy Is Gonna Rock” is not just a music book, but an American Dream tale from a guy who became the drummer of one of the most interesting (although short) times in an unique band. KISS fans must have this book to their collection, along with anyone who loves the 1980s Metal scene. This book definitely Rocks!

 

 

This review copy was sent courtesy of Bobby Rock, Tim Young, and Zen Man                Publishing.

 

“The Boy Is Gonna Rock: A Drummer’s Journey From Houston To Hollywood In Search Of Hair Metal Heaven” (Zen Man Publishing, 2018 ISBN-10: 0966859936 ISBN-13: 978-0966859935) can be found at http://www.bobbyrockstore.com

 

For information about the author, visit: http://www.bobbyrock.com

 

Classic Book Review: Ghoulardi Book Is A Piece of Cleveland/Horror History

Cover Design and photo illustration by Lawrence J. Nozik

Tom Feran and Rich Heldenfels’ book “Ghoulardi : Inside Cleveland TV’s Wildest Ride” (Gray & Company, 1997) is filled with tales and photographs of Cleveland’s late night host.

Television had many TV horror hosts , from Vampira, Svengoolie, “Chilly Billy,” and the most famous, Elvira. However, in the 1960s, “Shock Theater’s” host, Ghoulardi, was one of the most famous in the Northeast.

The character, played by journeyman radio and TV personality Ernie Anderson, who was approached by the heads of Channel 8 to create a late night show that would introduce old horror films. The character of Ghoulardi being created is discussed, from the station holding a fake contest in naming the host, to a makeup artist in Cleveland designing the look and never getting credit for his work.

The early parts of the story tells about Anderson’s early years in Cleveland, befriending people like Tim Conway (who ended up bringing Anderson out to Los Angeles after Anderson left the channel), and how another Cleveland TV host, “Big ” Chuck Schodowski worked during the show.

Anderson’s wild stories during his stint as Ghoulardi, such as riding his motorcycle in the studio, having crazy pets such as bulls and goats at his house, to eating and drinking at a bar (minutes before he was to go on air) and rushing to the station to make his on air spots. The book also talks about Anderson’s attitude towards host television host Mike Douglas, and his on air comments about local Cleveland celebrities and personalities during the show.

Anderson’s Ghoulardi was so popular that he had his own merchandise, which the authors shown with black and white photographs. Ghoulardi’s use of music for his skits are also covered, along with a list of the movies that were shown throughout the years. Anderson was so well liked that the station gave him more shows to host as the character. Anderson’s charity events, billed the All Stars, with their football, basketball, and softball games, were so popular that they sold out most of the events.

The authors also talk about the declining ratings of the Ghoulardi show (the authors state maybe too much of a good thing was part of the reason, along with the popularity of music shows like American Bandstand and other shows that got the attention of teenagers after Beatlemania), along with Anderson leaving Cleveland for Hollywood, where he ended up doing voice work, instead of being an actor. Anderson’s death is also covered in the book, and his influence on the industry, where his one time gofer Ron Sweed took over a similar role as “The Ghoul.”

“Ghoulardi” covers one of the legendary characters in Cleveland television. The book is filled with odd facts, movie lists, and photographs on the sides of the pages. There are nice interviews with those that worked with Anderson, including newspaper interviews and plenty of stories by Conway and Schodowski. Growing up after the Ghoulardi era, it is interesting to read about the character and the crazy things that went on during the show (both on air and off). Fans of Cleveland, television, and horror show history would enjoys this easy to read book.

 

This review copy was sent courtesy of Gray & Company

 

“Ghoulardi: Inside Cleveland TV’s Wildest Ride” by Tom Feran and Rich Heldenfels (Gray & Company, 1997 ISBN: 978-1-886228-18-4) can be found at http://www.grayco.com, or contacting 1-800-915-3609.

 

 

Book Review: A Mysterious Life Is A Long Journey

One of the things I have realized by writing a blog page is that sometimes it is hard to write reviews on something that I did not like, without coming across as just bashing the topic. Granted, I have written a few book reviews that have “bashed” the writing, I still make sure that I want to let people know that reviews are just opinions. My background having a B.A. in English, being a former drummer in many bands, along with my years of studying professional wrestling and films (with some acting experience), gives me some credibility to give a more in depth and honest reviews.

Laura Thompson’s “Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life” (Pegasus Books, 2018) is such a book. Within the past three years, I have sought at as many of Agatha Christie’s books at book sales and libraries. Christie has become one of my favorite writers, so a biography about her would be a wonderful read for me.

However, Thompson’s book is not only a long read, but at times, filled with so many quotes, that it becomes a chore to get through. The chapters are long (some are 40-50 pages), which , as a reader, I like my chapters shorter so I could read a chapter or two at a sitting throughout my day at various times without getting stuck in the middle of a section. Thompson compares Christie’s characters in her books to Christie’s own opinions and people in her life. A writer does create characters from people and events around them, but some of the comparisons seem like a stretch at times, for instance, when a character in her book talks about not liking children, the author makes a big deal out of the fact that Christie hated kids, but liked her childhood. Either Christie was such a walking contradiction, or the author is reading too deep into things at times (I am not sure, but it makes a frustrating read; I am not taking away from Thompson’s research on the topic. She has more access than I ever will have).

The biggest complaint for me in this almost 500 page piece is how Thompson constantly cites from Christie’s autobiography, along with her book “Untitled Portrait.” Writing a book about a person who has an autobiography already released can give some great insight to the person, however, the book is almost a summary of Christie’s autobiography to the point that 1) the reader doesn’t need to ever read the autobiography because it’s all in this book, or 2) it detracts from this book and makes the reader want to read the autobiography, forget about this book, and get Christie’s take on events, rather than this long summary with interpretations thrown in.

“A Mysterious Life” has some good parts to it. As mentioned earlier, it is clear the author has done get research on the topic. A few interesting stories detail how low Christie’s first writing contract was (10% of any sale over 2,000 copies) , to detailing Christie’s different suitors of marriage before she married her first husband Archie. Another interesting part is when Thompson discusses the symbolism of finances to Christie’s life and her writings, stating that out of the 55 full length crime novels, 36 of Christie’s works has the basis for the crimes is money and finances.

Thompson’s book is for major die hard Christie fans who would like to add this to their collection of all things Christie. For the casual fan, this book might be too long and too deep with information, assumptions, and may be a struggle to get through. The book’s massive use of citation of Christie’s autobiography detracts from the book more than helps it.

 

The review copy of this book was given in thanks from Pegasus Books.

 

“Agatha Christie : A Mysterious Life” by Laura Thompson (Pegasus Books, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-68177-653-8) can be found at : http://pegasusbooks.com.

 

For information about Laura Thompson, and her other works, go to:             http://www.laurathompson.co.uk/

 

Book Review: Beach Boys Not The Only California Music

Cover images: Photofest

Author William McKeen takes his readers through a journey with many roads in his book about California music from the 1960s in “Everybody Had An Ocean: Music and Mayhem in 1960s Los Angeles” (Chicago Review Press, 2017).

McKeen writes in the last part of the introduction that he wrote this book while fighting cancer. Writing a book is a task in itself; while writing and fighting a disease is admirable and courageous.

“Everybody Had An Ocean” starts out by describing the many times McKeen tired to get Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson to open up and talk about Wilson’s encounters with Charles Manson, who Wilson was linked to before the brutal Manson murders. Although Wilson refused to discuss Manson, the book is a gripping introduction to get the reader engaged.

The book is basically a Beach Boys story, with tales of other musicians thrown into the story (sometimes in the other chapters, and many times right in the middle of the chapters). After reading many Beach Boys books and seeing movies made of the band, the information here is not that new; Brian Wilson writing the songs for the band when Dennis was the only brother who could surf, Mike Love’s competition with the other members of the band trying to be THE guy in the band, and the Wilson brothers’ father Murray controlling the band (and Brian) early on before being dismissed as manager are detailed.

Where this book differs from other Beach Boys stories is that the tales and some history of the other acts from California (or that moved out the L.A. after the New York music scene dried up for a while) are told intertwined into the story of The Beach Boys. For example, when Brian Wilson meets up with Jan Berry and Dean Torrence (who became Jan and Dean), the book goes into an in-depth history of Jan and Dean in the same chapter. Some background information is nice, but maybe waiting until the next chapter to get into a full history of the early days of how Jan and Dean made it on the charts would have flown better. This goes on throughout the book with musical acts like The Byrds, The Righteous Brothers, Phil Specter, Buffalo Springfield, and more. Being a fan of Jan and Dean myself, the stories about them are interesting, especially the association Dean had with the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr., which was rumored to have ended the Jan and Dean run on the charts, due to Sinatra Sr.’s connections.

The book covers some of the shady side of the music business in this time (like the subtitle suggests), including the inside fighting of the Mamas and The Papas (which I never knew existed) , Tommy James and his record company who was associated with the mafia, to the mystery of Bobby Fuller’s death. Stories of acts like The Doors, David Crosby, and Johnny Rivers are told in the book as well, which is all mixed throughout with the continuous tale of The Beach Boys.

The main complaint of the tales all being wrapped together throughout the book, and not being separated does not mean McKeen’s book is bad.; it is just different in its presentation. I learned much from the book that wasn’t about The Beach Boys, like the Sinatra Jr. kidnapping connection to Jan and Dean, to the inside information on Cass Elliot and John Phillips’ working relationship.

For collectors of books about The Beach Boys (or other music acts from this era), “Everybody Had An Ocean” is great to add to the collection. For those readers that get easily distracted (like this reviewer), the book is winding and curvy at times, just like Dead Man’s Curve , but it still has plenty of entertaining value to it.

 

The copy of this title was given courtesy of Chicago Review Press.

 

“Everybody Had An Ocean” by William McKeen (Chicago Review Press, 2017 ISBN: 978-1-61373-491-9) can be found at http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com.

 

The author’s work can be found at: http://www.williammckeen.com

Book Review: Rush Drummer is in Sync with the Road

Cover design: Hugh Syme

 

 

One of the many things that I find interesting about musicians are some of the hobbies they have outside of the music world, or how they spent their time after a tour. Ron Wood and Paul Stanley paint, Rod Stewart collects trains and follows soccer, and William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys, along with Bryan Adams are avid photographers. In his book “Far And Wide: Bring That Horizon To Me,” (ECW Press, 2016) Neil Peart takes his readers through his motorcycle rides throughout North America, while giving his thoughts on the road about what was possibly his last tour being the drummer for the band Rush.

Peart has written several books of this nature, but this was the first one I have read, especially because I wanted to see how his views about no longer touring with the band came about. The early chapters of this book gets into the mind of one of (if not THE greatest Rock drummer of all time) and how he views one final tour with the band. What was interesting is that the previous tour is when Neil wanted to stop playing, but due to guitar player Alex Lifeson, Peart decided on one more tour.

Peart’s sense of humor is shown throughout this travel book, including some humorous text messages between him and Police drummer Stewart Copeland, mishaps while riding on the road, and some heart-filled comments made by Peart’s young daughter when seeing the band for the first time. The book covers also Neil’s suggestions for naming the final tour, along with his health issues before and after the shows. There are stories about Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, and roller skating at the backstage at the arenas.

Although there are plenty of Rush stories, the book is mainly about his traveling throughout the tour on his motorcycle with fellow bike riders and the scenery he encounters along the way, with wonderful colored photos of the roads and monuments they come across. The book is filled with beautiful glossy photos (some black and white for the older Rush photos, but mostly in color). The reader gets into Peart’s mind as he rides and plots out his routes, along with the philosophy and his world views he believes, while riding down the long side roads of the U.S. and Canada, without sounding preachy or having an in your face style of stating his opinions.

Throughout the book I wondered how Peart could handle not only the stress on his body by playing his complex music (being an ex drummer myself), but how he managed to plot the routes needed to be taken , all with a few health issues along the way, while still making it to every show and play as well as he does, then do it over again the following night (especially since Peart is in his 60s).

There was quite a bit of things I learned from this book, from some of Peart’s thoughts on how he approaches the drums and his shows, to his knowledge of historical landmarks, and even his opinions on why he never took selfie photos with fans. There are stories about him taking his American Citizen’s Test, describing “the worst crash ever” he took on his bike, to what cities Rush originally wanted to play for the last show of their final tour. I was also entertained by Peart’s mention of the band Icehouse, drummer Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys, and having “George Harrison eyes”. Peart’s taste in music while traveling in his cars is also an interesting read.

“Far and Wide” is a splendid book filled with rock stories and traveling. The reader does not have to be a Rush fan to enjoy this road trip throughout the U.S. and Canada. The pictures alone in this 282 page glossy book is worth the view alone, along with the suburb writing style that Peart possesses. Readers of motorcycles, cars, music, and travel will all find something to enjoy in this book. Peart may have retired from music touring, but he has proved with this book that he does not have to retire as an author.

 

 

This review copy was sent courtesy of ECW Press.

 

“Far And Wide: Bring That Horizon To Me” by Neil Peart (ECW Press, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-77041-348-1 (hardback) 978-1-77041-366-5 (special edition) 978-177090-894-9 (PDF) 978-1-77090-893-2 (ePub) ) can be ordered at http://www.ecwpress.com.

 

For more info about the author, go to : http://www.neilpeart.net

 

Music: Albums That Influenced Me.

Many of my posts I write about music that influenced me as a child growing up. As a drummer in local bands in the Youngstown, Ohio area, I was exposed to many different types of music. I played jazz, country, rock, blues, and even some polkas. I listened to oldies and country when I got my first drum set, along with the Top 40 hits of the time. I have seen on Facebook recently challenges to list albums that influenced the person that they still have on rotation. Although there are many albums that have influenced me that are not one this list, such as Garth Brooks’ “No Fences,” Andy Gibb’s “Greatest Hits,” Huey Lewis and The News’ “Sports”, and Rick Nelson’s “Live At The Troubadour,” these are my top influential albums in my life that I still listen to today.

  1. Rick Springfield ” Working Class Dog” (1981). This was the album that most people fell in love with Rick’s music, although it was his 5th album. I was introduced to him when my next door neighbors (all girls) and I would hang out after school at their house listening to their records. They were the first people I knew that got MTV, along with cable TV. They had a bunch of records, and I remember the first time hearing Foreigner’s “Waiting For A Girl Like You” over there. They would watch the TV Show “General Hospital” and be in awe of Dr. Noah Drake (Springfield’s character on the show). When Springfield broke out with “Jessie’s Girl,” everyone knew who he was. This album influenced me not only because he was an actor that put out great music (this will be a common theme throughout this post), but there is not a bad song on the whole album. I remember listening to the CD way into college, especially deeper songs such as “Daddy’s Pearl,” which was played constantly in my elementary days at school (I had a crush on one girl who was madly in love with him and just to play this song at school), but I always thought “Inside Silvia” was such a great written song. This album also introduced me to Sammy Hagar’s music with Rick’s cover of “I’ve Done Everything For You.” The album was one of my earliest introduction to an actor who could also rock out. To this day, I love this album especially with the great songwriting and catchy tunes.

  1. The Oak Ridge Boys “Greatest Hits” (1980). It’s hard to pick one Oaks album that influenced me, more less choosing a “Greatest Hits” one, but this was the first record I got that was all mine, and not shared with my brother. It was also the first album I received (as a Christmas gift) along with my first drum set. I remember my parents putting the needle on the record and walking into the kitchen to get their breakfast tea, and by the time they walked back into the room, I was playing beat to beat along with the record, without hearing most of the songs before (I was around 7years old- call it “A God Thing”). I’m not sure how I wanted the album, maybe seeing the band on TV, but this album not only introduced me to the band, and my first memories of drumming, but it is still one of my go to albums to listen to orchestration and production on songs, along with studying vocals. I can’t say how many hours I spent in my childhood playing drums along to this album. To this day, The Oaks are one of my all time favorite music acts, and even though I upgraded it to CD, I still have the worn out record with the ripped cover, just for memories.

    Me holding my Oak Ridge Boys record Christmas 1980

 

  1. “Grease The Original Soundtrack From The Motion Picture.” (1978) Once again, my childhood neighbors are the ones that introduced me to this album. I remember staring at the double album intensely when they showed it to me, and I fell in love with the music. “Grease” is also my all time favorite movies of all time, so much that I refused to even see it on stage or the remade “live” version on television from a few years ago. To me “Grease” is Olivia -Newton John, John Travolta, and Sha Na Na. Loving the 1950s music, especially in my early years, this album combined the early rock era songs with a Broadway play. I remember playing along with my neighbors, singing Danny’s parts as they took turns singing the female parts on the album. This influenced me as not only exposing me to vocal ranges, but also into (once again) actors being able to sing (and vice versa). The record, along with the hit “Islands In The Stream,” made me discover the Bee Gees, and Barry Gibb’s songwriting, who wrote the theme to the movie.

  1. Al Denson “Be The One” (1990) and Michael W. Smith “Go West Young Man” (1990) – TIE.

Christian music was considered mainly cheesy growing up, with the exception of the Gospel sounds of The Oaks. It wasn’t until bands like Stryper came along that showed that Christians could rock out. I did not enjoy Stryper until later on, even though my buddies were huge fans. In 1990, two acts really inspired me with their albums.

I saw Al Denson in concert opening for the band Petra, and in my opinion, he blew Petra off the stage and he only had a keyboard. After going to a church retreat that summer, I became more of an Al Denson fan with this album, with my buddy playing it constantly in the car all the way to and from the retreat, along with the theme of the retreat being “Be The One.” I even used the title track “Be The One” as my audition song when I tried out for my senior musical as a dare from one of my friends (I got a part in it). The same friend and I wrote for the school paper, covering the entertainment page, and we constantly raved about the songs on this album. Denson’s work helped me get serious about my religious views, and saw him several times in concert.

Michael W. Smith’s “Go West” album gave him exposure to the pop world with his single “Place In This World.” To this day, it is one of the albums that doesn’t seem too dated to me from this era. Just like Denson’s release, songs from this album helped shaped me spiritually, including singing several of the songs on cassette soundtracks on church concert nights (back when vocal track cassettes were the rage, along with the Al Denson tracks). Songs like “Love Crusade” and “How Long Will Be Too Long” were also mentioned by my friend and I in the newspaper, and he even used the song during his magic act at one time. It’s hard to pick just one of these albums so that is why it’s a tie for helping me on my journey.

  1. Barry Manilow” Greatest Hits” (1978). My earliest exposure to Barry Manilow was listening to a couple 45s that my parents owned; one was “Memory/Heart of Steel” and the other was ” The Old Songs”/Don’t Fall In Love With Me.” When I was in college, I joined the BMG Music Club, and one of the first cassettes I got was this greatest hits package. I would listen to this album walking to and from classes, and once I got to actually see Manilow in concert, I proudly wore my T shirt as well on campus afterwards (most people didn’t know who he was, and thought it was Rod Stewart-college kids!!). Just like The Oak Ridge Boys, it’s hard to put in words the influence Manilow has had on me as a musician and a person. Most of my relatives like his music, so it ties us together, which is rare among parents, grandparents, and children. This release helped me through days in college when I was struggling with life, and his music also combines hope, good feelings, and reminiscing of younger days. This was the first full album I got of his, and made me want more and more of his catalog.

6.The Bay City Rollers “Rock N’ Roll Love Letter” (1976) . Growing up in the 1970s-1980s, before cable television, kids would spend Saturday Mornings watching cartoons. One of the big shows in my youth was the “Sid and Marty Kroft” show, which due to the popularity of this band, was renamed “The Bay City Rollers Show.” The show featured childhood favorites like H.R. Pufnstuf, “Horror Hotel,” and footage of the band performing. The show was one of the first memories I remember of seeing a show with pyro, a huge lighted stage, and screaming girls throughout the songs. Singer Les McKeown was an underrated front man, and the production of the concert parts of the show was well done. This album in the U.S. combined two of their UK releases into one package. Even though they were teen idols, the music (to this day) is still good pop music. They wrote their own songs, and played their own instruments. I remember drumming and singing along to this album, and it influenced me not only drumming, but vocals as well. It also introduced me to different types of instruments, including acoustic work on the song “Eagles Fly” and the use of a voice box on “Wouldn’t You Like It” (I was not exposed to the use of it by artists Joe Walsh and Peter Frampton until decades later). This band was one of my early heroes in music, along with the Oaks, Andy Gibb, and David Cassidy. Although many think they were One Hit Wonders (which they weren’t), the band was a major influence on me, to the fact that years ago I purchased the two UK releases so I could combine them so I had all the songs from that U.S. release.

  1. Kiss “Destroyer” (1976). There are many Kiss recordings that have influenced me. My early experiences with the band was when my cousin would play their music while we would visit them, and had Kiss posters all over his wall. I never got their music until the late 1980s when I became a huge fan of drummer Eric Carr. The first cassette I got of the band was “Destroyer,” which I found in a bargain bin at the local Fishers Big Wheel (which was like a K-Mart)in my hometown of Columbiana, Ohio. My friend and I would walk across town and browse the bin of cassettes. He would buy Rush tapes and I started collecting the Kiss ones. Although this is not my all time favorite release of the band, it was still my first purchase, which I drummed along with for many hours. The band was a major influence on me , especially since each member sang, played, and had an individual identity.

  1. John Schneider “Now Or Never” (1981). Another actor turned singer, John Schneider’s album was filled with Pop, Adult Contemporary, and Country songs. I actually like his cover of Elvis Presley’s “Now Or Never” more than other acts’ covers of Presley’s songs. The album also had songs written by Eric Carmen and Lionel Richie, which introduced me to those artists. Being a huge fan of the TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard” growing up, when I saw his record in the stores, I begged my parents to get it for me. I would sing and play along with the album many many times, and throughout the years, still listen to it. There are many good songs on it, and one of my favorites (to this day is) “No. 34 In Atlanta,” about the singer’s record isn’t charting well in the major markets, but he’s proud to play music his way.This was another early childhood memory for me, buying albums and spending my summers practicing my drumming.

 

  1. The Blues Brothers “Briefcase Full Of Blues” (1978). Being a fan of acting and music growing up, I always watched comedy acts like Johnny Carson, Jackie Gleason, and “Saturday Night Live” (back when it was actually funny). One of my favorite acts on the show was The Blues Brothers. This album introduced me to blues music before I played in my first blues band in 1992. The great thing about this album was that not only did it have two of my favorite comedy actors in John Belushi and Dan Akroyd, but they took the act seriously that they went out and got some of the best blues players to be in the band. In my junior high years, I would wear a Blues Brothers T Shirt, and I played this cassette while playing drums. I also was a big fan of the movie, along with my brother and our friends. During school recess I would imitate Akroyd’s Elwood Blues by singing my version of the album’s cover of “Rubber Biscuit.” This was my earliest memory of blues music. Guitarist Matt “Guitar” Murphy recently passed away who plays on this album. This record is one of the all time best selling blues albums ever, and it is never mentioned when people discuss great blues records for some reason. This was the album that later helped my playing in later years playing in blues bands.

  1. The Beach Boys “The Beach Boys” (1985). This, as mentioned many times on this page, was one of my favorite albums of the 1980s. I knew of the Beach Boys growing up, hearing their songs on the oldies radio channels, but this was the cassette that really got me into the band, thanks to the single “Getcha Back.” I remember seeing the band perform it on the TV show “Solid Gold,” which was a staple must watch show for me on Saturday Nights every week. The album was the first release after the death of drummer Dennis Wilson, but this album made me go back and re-discover their work, going to the Fisher’s Big Wheel and buying bargain bin cassettes of the band, from the many Capitol Records compilations that were put out (like “Your Summer Dreams,” and “Surf’s Up”). Even though the album driven by drum programming, there is still the big sound that made the songs fun to play along with. My summer days were filled with practicing my drum playing in the morning, then hanging out with my friends at the local pool, then riding bikes until dusk. This was an introduction to the band for me in the era where many of us were listening to Duran Duran and other pop acts.

  1. “Sha Na Na” Sha Na Na (1971). This act got their start as a comedy act at Columbia University and grew in popularity, that they ended up with their own television show that lasted from 1977-1981. The act opened for acts like The Grateful Dead, John Lennon, and Frank Zappa. They were also the act before Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. The act was mainly remembered for the singer Jon “Bowzer” Bauman who had a deep voice and dressed like a greaser. However, one of the original guitar players was Henry Gross, who had the hit “Shannon” in 1976.

The reason this album influenced me was not only was I a huge fan of the television show, this album was another one of my very first albums. Side 1 was a live set recorded in 1971, and Side 2 was original work in the studio. This was the first record that I remember having a live side and recorded side (and this came out before Kiss “Alive 2” who used the concept as well). Side 1 had a great version of the hit “Tell Laura I Love Her,” which is my favorite version of the song (even better than the original). Side 2 had some great original songs mostly written by “Screamin’ “Scott Simon. The songs “Only One Song” (which is a Beatles like song) and “Canadian Money” are still songs I play often off the record. Years ago, I was excited to get a copy of this on CD ( a double album pack). The album , made me love the band and the cover arrangements,, while combining original work, which lead me to loving the “Grease” soundtrack and movie (they play Johnny Casino and The Gamblers in the movie and provide most of the second side of the album soundtrack, in fact Simon co wrote the song “Sandy” in the film). This band may have been seen as a novelty act in the 1970s, but the music was very underrated, and I still enjoy watching their work on YouTube from the past, including the TV show. This was a major album from my childhood, from enjoying oldies music with an updated feel to it.

 

 

There are many albums that I like, and have special memories of, but these are some of the major albums that influenced me as a person, drummer, and learning music in general. From childhood memories to practicing the artist’s on the albums, these are just a few of the ones that I remember. One great aspect of music is that it not only provides the listener with great songs, but lasting memories.

Music Playlist: Do You Have These Songs on Your Summer List?

Summertime is one of the most anticipated seasons , especially in the Northeast, where we deal with cold winters filled with snow and bitter temperatures. Summertime was filled with great memories as a child; hanging out with friends at the park pool, playing my drums to the radio, and in later years, going to concerts. In honor of the first day of summer on June 21, I thought I would list some of my favorite songs of summer.

There are a few criteria I use for this list. First, the song needs to have a summer feel, or mention summer in the song; it can’t be a song that was released only in the summer (like Huey Lewis and The News “The Power of Love,” which was released during the summer movie season). I first heard Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do (I Do It For You) in the summer, and telling all the lifeguards at the pool that is was going to be a smash (they disagreed with me), but it doesn’t have a summer feel to it, even though I have summer memories of that song. Next, it has to have summer as the setting (Richard Marx’s “Endless Summer Nights” actually takes place in the winter time looking back on the summer-the same goes Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” in which summer is over which is why these are missing, or I’d put them on the list).      There are many summer songs that people associate with the season, such as “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Summer In The City,” “In The Summertime,” and every Jimmy Buffett or Jan and Dean song (“Dancing In The Streets” is another). As great as these songs are, I want to try and escape the obvious choices , although it is hard not to include a few of them on this list, but maybe suggest a few songs that some may not put on their normal play list. With that in mind, here are some of my best summer song choices from the 1960s-today (In no particular order).

  1. “Getcha Back” -The Beach Boys (1985). I constantly mention this album by The Beach Boys as my favorite album they have done. This album has so many memories for me as a youth when it was released; spending my summer days playing my drums to the cassette, along with spending time with my best female friend, who was a big fan of the band as well. Any summer list has to have a Beach Boys song on it, and this one is my pick because it talks about reminiscing about the past when the narrator breaks up with the girl and tries to see if they can re-connect. Even though it doesn’t have the summer themes of a beach or surfing, it talks about a guy in his fancy car wooing the girl with his money. Summertime in my youth was filled with the couples breaking up at the end of school to have their summer flings or be free. This has many summer for me.

2. “Cruel Summer”-Bananarama (1984). This song has a darker feel of summer to it, filled with the hot streets and being left all alone for the season. This song actually was released a year earlier, but gained momentum when it was played in the movie “The Karate Kid” in the U.S., although it wasn’t on the soundtrack. Several other acts recorded it after, but the original is still the best. This is for those that need a song that’s not all sunny and beaches.

  1. “Goodbye” -Night Ranger (1985). A summer play list needs a power ballad on it, and this was my choice by Night Ranger. It is actually about the death of a relative of Jack Blades, but mentions the 4th of July in the lyrics. People mistake the song for a failed relationship, which is how good the lyrics are, that it can be interpreted as a failed summer romance. I like the guitar solo at the end of the song as well. I can picture this song played at a beach party at night for a slow dance.

  1. “Summer of ’69”- Bryan Adams (1984). This is one song that’s an obvious choice for the list, but it has to be on a play list. The Adams/Jim Vallance penned song is filled with reminiscing about the best summer of their lives (among other themes to it). Playing in bands during the summer was a big part of my life, so trying to get a band together and play out in the clubs is a familiar part of the song I can relate to. The song hit #5 in the U.S. gave Adams a bigger success than his last album. The song is filled with Drive Ins, being young, and working in the summer. Summer is all over this song.

 

  1. “Summer Nights” -Olivia-Newton John, John Travolta (1978). Another obvious choice for some, but how can this song NOT be on the list? “Grease” is one of my favorite movies of all time (no I won’t watch the remade “Live” show that was on TV due to my loyalty), and this song is one of the most sung song for karaoke ever. The song hit #5 in U.S. and is filed with summer romance, going bowling, visiting the arcade, and being at the beach. If this is not on your summer play list, your list is not complete.

 

Van Halen’s 5150- the album “Summer Nights” is on.
  1. “Summer Nights”- Van Halen (1986). This track off of the first Sammy Hagar era Van Halen song is another song that must be on a play list. Hard Rock fans need to be represented as well, and this song has summer written all over it , with the lyrics “Summer Nights and my radio.” This was one of the first songs Hagar recorded with the band, according to his book. This song brings back the time friends and I would sit in the park and jam cassettes during the summer days, and this was one of the cassettes we always had on hand, just for this song.

 

  1. “Tender Years”- John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band (1983). This band is mostly remembered for the song “On The Dark Side” from the soundtrack for “Eddie and The Cruisers,” but this song was also released from the movie, and is a great summer ballad. The lyrics talk about a summer romance on the beach, or boardwalk (since the band is from New Jersey). A pop ballad with a great saxophone solo in it brings a throwback to the 1960s style music in ways without it sounding dated. I first heard the song when the band appeared on the TV Show “Solid Gold,” which was a favorite of mine, and it got a lot of local radio play where I live in Columbiana, Ohio. This is one of my favorite ballads form the 1980s and is one of the most overlooked from the time.

8.”Guess You Had To Be There”-Brian Wilson/Kacey Musgraves (2015). Most of this list has been from the 1980s, and I tried to get a few other decades in here as well. This song was from the Brian Wilson album “No Pier Pressure,” and has several interpretations to it- a relationship being failed, or just missing a great party (or both). Country fans will like this due to Musgraves’ singing (who is one THE best thing in Country Music today). Granted the song doesn’t mention summer directly, but the setting could be in the summer after a great beach party. This song may go against my criteria, but this is a great song to be played in the summer, with a swing feel to it that people missed when this album was released. A good feel good song with the melody.

  1. “Wasn’t That A Party”- The Rovers (1980). Another Country act (this song was a Country cross over hit) by the Irish/Folk singers The Irish Rovers, who had a big hit in 1968 with “The Unicorn.” This is a total party song, and I remember my uncle playing this song when deejaying at parties, and weddings. The song is filled with drinking, running down the road, and having the police called on them. The singer forgets half of the stuff that went on at the party as well. I’m not supporting these activities, but it has a good party vibe to it. The actions of the singers could usually be done in the summer (who has track meets and cuts down trees in the winter?). The song reminds me of a bunch of people hanging out by a bonfire trying to outdo themselves with crazy stuff. The song has humorous lyrics to it.

 

Rush : Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.

 

  1. “Lakeside Park”- Rush (1975). Classic Rock fans need their summer songs as well, and this is a Rush song that fits nicely. The song is not a 20 minutes epic, like some of their other songs, and talks about hanging out in the summer at parks (this one being in Canada where drummer Neil Peart hung out as a child). Even though singer Geddy Lee has stated he does not like the song , it’s a great slow grooving song that deserves on a summer play list. It even talks about the month of May, referencing Queen Victoria’s birthday.

 

  1. “Palisades Park”-Freddy Cannon (1962). The 1960s was filled with summer-filled songs, and this song gets overlooked at times. Written by Chuck Berris (yes the host of “The Gong Show”) this song talks about amusement parks, rides, and falling in love at the local festival. The song has references to roller coasters, hot dogs, and dancing to a local band-all things needed for summertime. The song was also recorded by The Beach Boys, Gary Lewis, and the Ramones, but Cannon’s is the best version. Berris wrote in his book that the money he received from this song helped him finance the TV shows he created. This was Freddy Cannon’s biggest hit, but he had other good songs as well.

 

Chicago
  1. “Saturday In the Park”-Chicago (1972). What other season can people have picnics and parties in the park than summer? This song hit #3 in the U.S., written by Robert Lamm, who was watching film footage that he shot years earlier and created the song by what he saw. Sung by Lamm and Peter Cetera, the song talks about bands playing, people singing, ice cream, and more. This list covered pop, country, musicals, oldies, so why not throw in a song with lots of horns? The song is not a rocker, but a peaceful, mellow song (the listener does need a break time to time). The setting in this song is totally summer and filled with enjoying the outdoors.

13. “Anything But Mine”-Kenny Chesney (2005). This is a perfect song for either the end of summer or during, with all the fairs and festivals that go on. The song was written by Scooter Carusoe, who has worked with Rascal Flats, Dierks Bentley, and other acts. The video is focused more on the end of summer (the single was released in January) , but unlike Henley’s or Richard Marx’s songs about summer, this song’s setting could be at anytime. Even though us in Ohio like the line about the city of Cleveland, it’s actually the Tennessee city, not Ohio, but we can claim it anyway. Just like the John Cafferty song, this has the boardwalk carnival theme to it, along with the summer romance. This is one of my favorite Chesney songs, where I couldn’t see another act giving the song the special touch like Chesney, especially since he is known as the summertime guy in Country.

 

There are many other summer songs that I could have put on the list, from Country, Pop, and even Rap songs (which I will not do-I’m not a Rap fan, so no Will Smith songs here). These are a few songs that are obvious choices, but a few suggestions that you may not have thought to add. I tried to show a variety of genres as well. Maybe some of these will make it on your play list for this summer!

 

Feel free to send me your summer play list songs here, or follow me on Twitter @lovelylancel