Childhood Classic: Sha Na Na Still Brings The Memories

Sha Na Na was released by Karma Sutra Records in 1971


 Every once in a while, I will be reviewing a release from my childhood or musical past that made an influence on me. Some of these will be well known, and others may have been passed by under the radar. Most will not be in the hard rock/metal genre. You can see some of those in that genre written by me in the Retro Review section on the webpage  With the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock this year, I thought this would be the perfect time for this release.


Before MTV came along, music listeners had to watch their favorite music acts on television, via shows like Solid Gold, American Bandstand, and variety shows. Two of the biggest acts that had their own variety show when I was growing up were The Bay City Rollers and Sha Na Na.

Even today in 2019, some people do not give Sha Na Na the respect they deserve. The band was started at Columbia University, where some of the members were studying graduate work. The act was featured in movies like Grease, American Graffiti and on Happy Days. The fact that they provided almost a whole side of the Grease soundtrack, which is one of the top selling movie records of all time, should say something right there (plus singer Scott Simon co wrote the song “Sandy” for the movie, which was a hit for John Travolta). They even played the original Woodstock Festival, right before Jimi Hendrix performed. Their variety television show lasted almost four years to many viewers, which provided music, comedy, and other guest stars. The band’s popularity was not only due to bass singer Jon “Bowzer” Bauman , but had quality musicians including Lennie Baker (who played with Danny and The Juniors) and Henry Gross (of the hit “Shannon”) was in the early lineup. The group’s greaser look, as a tribute to the 1950s -1960s music acts, gave a historical lesson to listeners like me who were too young to remember those days of music.

The act released several albums, mostly of cover songs from the early rock era, but one album that I listened to frequently from my childhood was 1971’s Sha Na Na record, known among followers as the “Gold Boots” record, due to the album cover.

The first side is a live concert from Columbia University, filled with the early rock staples like ” Yakety Yak,” Great Balls of Fire,” and “I Wonder Why.” These covers are great capturing the live energy of the band, including Bowzer’s bass parts on the up-tempo versions of Gene Chandler’s “Duke Of Earl” and “Blue Moon,” which ended up being a slower version on the Grease record.

One of my favorite songs off the first side is the cover of Ray Peterson’s “Tell Laura I Love Her,” which has a pop feel to it. I list this song as one of the few songs that is better than the original. Peterson’s version has a folk sound to it, where I like the more rock style that the act brings, with Johnny Contrado on lead vocals and the drumming by Jocko Marcellino. I used to love playing this version on my drums when I was younger, and wanted to play it in the bands that I was involved in, only to be vetoed each time.

The last song on the release, “Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay,” a tribute to Danny and The Juniors, is a memory for me only because there is a F- bomb thrown in there before the song. Before parental warning stickers, I wonder to this day how it got kept on the release, and how I listened to it for years and my parents never noticed it.

The second side is where I think the band impresses me the most, with studio songs, almost all written by Scott Simon. “Only One Song” has a ballad that has The Beatles-like harmonies and studio production on it that if I played it to a stranger , they may not know it was Sha Na Na. The song is wonderful and one of my favorites to this day from my childhood.

“Depression” has is a guitar driven song that I remember for being the theme song to my toy wrestlers. I was a big wrestling fan growing up, and would play with my wrestling figures (even using my G.I. Joes when I didn’t have enough figures). I would make up my own characters and created my own Supercards, where my figure who I chose to be me, would be on the same cards as wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Nick Bockwinkel, and others, regardless of the league they were in. Being a fan of the tag team The Rock N Roll Express, I would use “Depression” as my theme song. The rhythm and guitar work was perfect for my imagination.

“Canadian Money” is a song I always play when I get this record out, even sometimes just to hear it. A slow acoustic feel to it, talks about sites in Canada. I recently researched information for the song, and it has been mentioned that it was a protest song for the Vietnam War, with it’s line “No great Army doing it’s duty/Making waves across the sea.” If it is true or not, I love the song, and it should have been a release from the album.

One song that did chart from the band is “Top 40,” which has a old Southern Gospel feel to it, with some humorous lyrics. The song hit #84 on the Billboard charts. The song tells the story of someone who asks if they are going to be a hit in heaven because they were one on earth. The lyrics “Are you on the Top 40 of your Lordy?” has the tongue in cheek lyrics gives the song an unique take on heaven and how to live life on earth.

“Ruin Me Blue” reminds me of something that would have been on one of my favorite all time TV shows, W.K.R.P. in Cincinnati. It has strong piano and guitar work that drives the song, although the lyrics are pretty simple.

The final track , written by drummer Jocko, “Just A Friend” has a Rolling Stones-feel to the song. I think it is the weakest of the studio tracks, but the band still gets credit for writing some original work.

Sha Na Na may have started out as a novelty act, but listening to this record shows that the members had talent. The act has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, even finding some of the TV shows on Youtube to watch to this day. They were not a bunch of street gang people that they portrayed on television; these guys had talent and also had graduate degrees- they consisted of lawyers, writers, and great musicians who worked with some of the acts they covered. Bowzer has been an advocate for decades for preserving the names of the originals acts of the 1950s and 1960s, to where the groups have to let the public know how many original members are still in the groups.

The cover of this record , along with the music, takes me back to a great time of my early music childhood, being one of the first records I can remember getting as a child.


Track Listings:

  1. Yakety Yak 2. Jailhouse Rock 3. Duke of Earl 4. Tell Laura I Love Her 5. Blue Moon
  2. I Wonder Why 7. Great Balls of Fire 8. Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay
  3. Only One Song 10. Depression 11. Canadian Money 12. Top Forty 13. Ruin Me Blues
  4. Just A Friend.

Classic CD Review: The Arrival Of American Icons

  The Oak Ridge Boys Have Arrived was released March 30, 1979 by MCA Records, and was produced by Ron Chancey.


When the Oak Ridge Boys ventured into the mainstream country genre, they were well established as a gospel group with roots tracing back to the 1940s. The most famous lineup of William Lee Golden, Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, and Richard Sterban had two albums that had hit singles on the country charts by 1979. With the debut at the Y’All Come Back Saloon, and ordering Room Service, the band announced that with their third record that The Oak Ridge Boys Have Arrived. Released on March 30, 1979, the group ‘s release spawned three hit singles, along with a concert favorite.

The opener, “Sail Away” is one of my favorites of the hits that the group has put out. Sometimes the artist’s hits become redundant and overplayed, but I never grow tired of this song. Duane Allen’s soft, soul voice gives heart to the wonderful lyrics. The guitar fills throughout the song compliments the softness of the song. Another favorite part of the song is how the drum fills kick in before the last verse as well, also bringing in the tambourine to the song, before kicking into a more mid tempo beat until fade out.

“There Must be Something About Me That She Loves” brings William Lee Golden to the lead mike on this straight country song. The band was still in their early stages of their country career , so keeping the traditional style of country music is relevant here by the early 1980s. Richard Sterban’s bass vocals comes to help out in the chorus, which adds a nice sound to the song. I did not have this release on record, only getting it a year or so ago when I discovered the CD at a used store, so this song is a pleasant surprise listen for me in 2019.

“Sometimes The Rain Won’t Let Me Sleep” lets Allen takes the lead again. I have always said that he is one of the most underrated vocalists in all music, especially on ballads. Allen brings passion to every word, which may only be rivaled with Barry Manilow in my opinion. A solid ballad, that could have been placed on the AC charts for the time. The early Oaks records (especially up until 1983) has great orchestration on the tracks, especially with the strings, which Kenny Rogers also brought to his records. This is a great song, under 4 minutes long. No fillers on this song, and has a great run time.

After the first three songs showing a softer side to the band, “I Gotta Get Over This” gets the record to a moving beat. Even though Allen is signing lead, Sterban again adds to the song. The drumming on the song by Kenneth Buttrey (as credited by my re-released CD where no major liner notes are featured) brings an added touch to the song. being a drummer, one can appreciated the playing on this song, where the added playing is not too much that distracts the song.

“My Radio Sure Sounds Good To Me” has a catchy intro vocally to the song. The song has the 1960s Doo Wop feel to the song, which is not surprising since Bonsall and Sterban had links to that era (Bonsall being from Philadelphia and Sterban sang with Elvis Presley). This song is just a great sing-a-long gem that dares the listener NOT to try and sing along (let me tell you, if you can listen to is without singing, you are a brave person and have unlimited willpower). This would be a great addition to their live shows.

Another reason for the pop feel is the song was written by Larry Graham of Grand Station. Even though the Larry Graham version is awesome, I have to say I jammed more to The Oak’s version, which is a testament to their talents. There are several covers that The Oaks have recorded throughout the years that have been better than the original (a song called “Elvira” comes to mind), and this is one of the them, taking nothing away from the originals.

Speaking of covers, the next song, “Dream On,” which was once recorded by The Righteous Brothers, was a country hit for the group, and just barely missed the Top 40 singles charts on Billboard AC charts. This song is probably the most famous Sterban sings lead on, and is still performed at their live shows today. I was first exposed to the song on the Greatest Hits record I got as a Christmas present, along with my first drum set from my parents, and seeing it performed on the group’s 1981 concert that aired on my local PBS station from Akron, Ohio. I remember even as a young child that the Oaks was one of the only singing groups ( I was not aware of The Statler Brothers at this age) that had a bass singer singing a lead part.

Another cover, written by Rodney Crowell, follows. “Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight” was another song I was first exposed to via the Greatest Hits record and the PBS special. It then came to my attention on the television show “The Dukes Of Hazzard,” which the band appeared on. I was a big fan of the show, so having one of my favorite bands on the show was a treat for me (also John Schneider’s debut record was a major part of my childhood) The song, for me, had to be retired for a few years, due to overplaying it, but I have grown to re love the song in the past few years, seeing it live at their shows.

“Every Now And Then” is a country ballad that , if there is a filler on the song, this would be it for me. Taking nothing away from Allen’s strong vocals, especially hitting the higher note at the end of the song, the lyrics for me don’t move me as some of the other Oaks classic ballads. The orchestration helps the song give its power, and with the short run time, the song does not distract from the overall flow of the album; the listener does not have to get up to skip the song, because it is still an overall enjoyable song, but compared to the others on the album, it falls a little. I’m sure if the group performed it live, I would not be bummed or disappointed, due to how strong the musicians and the group is live.

“Dig A Little Deeper In The Well” may be known by fans of the group by it’s humorous video that was released on CBS that has made its appearance on Youtube. The video shows that the group did not take themselves so seriously that they could not have fun at times. I remember a manager of mine, when I worked at a grocery store, always loved this song off the album, and would sometimes sing it while we worked. I was only exposed to it on the PBS special, until I finally got a hold of the CD. It’s a old fashioned gospel song that gets people to feel good while listening with positive lyrics.

The album ends with one of my favorite songs in the whole catalog of the group, in fact I was going nuts when the band actually played it at a show I attended where I made many not so many requests via Twitter. “Dancing The Night Away” is the song that got me to search out this album. The song has been recorded by acts like Leo Sayer , Tanya Tucker, and the Amazing Rhythm Aces. The song was mentioned many times in Joe Bonsall’s writings as a favorite of fans, and I fell in love with the song. Once again, this is an example of the Oaks having a better version than the other acts who recorded it. The song is a strong ender for the album, starting off with the piano intro, and then by the end of the song, the song kicks up to a nice climax. The album started with a song about sailing, and ends with a guy staring across the shore. The band’s energy when I saw them perform it live, was almost became a hard rock song (my review of the concert can be found in the archives). If you see videos of the band doing the song, you’ll see how great a front man Bonsall is, and how he works a crowd. The song has a different take of a man looking back on a relationship.

With the exception of one possible song, The Oak Ridge Boys’ third record was filled with songs that was pleasing to everyone; it had country, gospel, and ballads. The format is still there listening to the released decades later. The band’s Ron Chancey produced releases covered all types of musical formats, and a few years later, the band would break into the pop music world , adding another dimension to their product. Sometimes earlier work of acts may have lesser quality songs, but this is not the case of The Oaks. The group still keeps growing musically, along with staying true to their pasts. If you get the chance, seek out this record which help develop the band into the country megastars, and American treasures, that they have become forty years later.


The Oak Ridge Boys are: Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, Richard Sterban, and William Lee Golden.


For information on the group, visit:

The Rare Mighty Oaks: Songs You May Not Know

american made album pic


The year was 1980, and for Christmas I received my first drum set, along with my first album that was all mine, not one I had to share with my older brother. The album was The Oak Ridge Boys Greatest Hits and as soon as my parents put the record on, without even hearing the songs, I was playing along with the songs as if I heard them before. From that day on I was a fan of the Oaks, even though my love for Country Music (especially today’s acts) has declined majorly.

I was a member of the Oaks Fan Club back then as well, which was a several page paper magazine with photos of the band which was free in the mail. I studied their records, especially the different vocal parts, although I could never sound as good as they were-at least I had the drumming to fall back on while playing in area bands.

I had the opportunity to see them live once in 1999 in Canfield, Ohio at the Canfield Fair. There were a few times when I got tickets to see them when nearby Salem, Ohio tried to restart Ponderosa Park, but the park kept cancelling the shows. I am waiting in anticipation to see them this August in Chester West Virginia, which will be my 50th concert.

Even though the band traces back to the 1940s, the band became the most popular in 1977 when the lineup of Duane Allen, William Golden, Joe Bonsall, and Richard Sterban crossed from the Gospel genre to Country (and even had a few hits on the Pop Charts with “Elvira” and “Bobby Sue.”).  Bonsall has some great books out as well, which I have the Kindle Editons , especially  2015’s “On The Road With The Oak Ridge Boys,” and “From My Perspective” from 2010.

I want to list a few of some of the band’s rarer songs that people may not be familiar with, or should check out. I am also focusing on the era of Golden, Bonsall, Allen, and Sterban, not the Steve Sanders years (that may be a future post because Sanders was a great singer as well).  In no particular order, here are some rarer Oak songs you should check out.


  1. “Hold On Til Sunday” (1980) This song was the b-side of “Trying to Love Two Women,” which went to #1. I had the 45 single and, no offense to those that love the song “Women,” I listened more to “Sunday” than the A- side.  The song has a pop feel to it, but I loved how smooth Duane Allen’s voice is in the song, who is one of the most underrated musicians in music history. When I found the song on youtube, I was transferred to my youth and how much I loved the song. I miss B sides on songs, especially songs that didn’t make the albums.
  1. “Live In Love” (1981). While talking about B-sides on songs, this ballad was the B-side to the Pop Hit “Bobbie Sue.”  This song could have been played on AC Charts on any channel during the 1980s.  I like most how the pace of the song switches after the second chorus and at the end. Once again, I spent hours playing this song on my record playing trying to be as smooth as Allen’s voice.
  1. “Down The Hall” (1983). There are some gems on the hit album “American Made,” such as “Heart on the Line (Operator, Operator)” with Joe Bonsall’s voice, but one of my favorites is this one. “Down The Hall” was one of the songs back in the day I would record from album to cassette tape and pass around to my friends to introduce them to some of the bands other songs. The song was written by Mike Reid, who wrote songs like Ronnie Milsap’s “Stranger in My House” and had a solo career in the 1990s. The song talks about a man who have not been to the big sites of the world, but he “hasn’t missed a thing at all” because he’s in love. Great written song. If you can find it, check it out.
oaks albums1
The three Oak Ridge Boys Albums of my collection. The covers are a bit worn out, but I still kept them.
  1. “Baby When Your Heart Breaks Down” (1999). When I saw the band at the Canfield Fair, they were promoting this song off of their Voices Album. Although the rest of the album was not that great, this song was wonderful, and I was shocked how great it sounded live. The song was written by Kix Brooks before he joined Brooks and Dunn, but I like this version better, which all the vocals adding to the song. This song is great because it is a fairly recent song, which shows how the band still has their harmonies years after their heyday.
  1. “Dancing the Night Away” (1979). The Oaks have been known to do several remade songs and make it their own, such as ‘Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” (1979) and “Dream On” (1979), which were both on the same album. This song is one of my favorite off of the album “The Oak Ridge Boys Have Arrived,” and was a concert favorite for years, although I’m not sure why it is no longer used. The song was originally recorded by The Amazing Rhythm Aces, and Tanya Tucker at one time. Leo Sayer also had a great version of it, but I think the Oak’s version has a rocking beat to it, as opposed to the mellower versions. I couldn’t imagine anyone but Bonsall singing this one in the group.


  1. “Any Old Time You Choose” (1983). This was off of the “American Made” album and is a great ballad sung by Allen again. Written by J.L. Wallace, Ken Bell, and Terry Skinner, who also wrote Air Supply’s “Even The Nights Are Better, “the song has a slow start that builds with a big orchestration that reminds the listener of Air Supply. The blends of the famous Oaks harmonies compliment the arrangements. It also has a nice guitar solo that would have fit in the AC or Pop Charts of the 1980s.
Oaks CDs 1
My Oaks CD Collection.
  1. “I Would Crawl All The Way (To The River)” (1981). The Oaks have never shied away from the Gospel roots, although some fans criticized them at first for leaving the Gospel scene, but even on major labels like MCA records, the band still threw on a Gospel song or two on their albums. As a whole, I think the “Fancy Free” album is one, if not the best album they recorded track for track, and one of my favorites is the last song on the album, which is “River.” Not only is the song have a southern gospel feel to it, but it also isn’t a preaching song that may turn audiences off. This is one of my favorite Gospel songs the Oaks ever recorded.


  1. “When Love Calls You” (1981). I could list the whole “Fancy Free” Album to listen to, with even the rare tracks, the whole album just flows (as mentioned in a previous blog I wrote This song isn’t just a sad Country ballad, but when listening to the lyrics, the listener will find that it’s a song of hope of the future in spite of a bad past. This is one of the themes I love about Barry Manilow’s music as well. With the orchestration again bringing more power to the song makes it almost a soft rock song. This was one of my favorite songs from my youth.

Everyone knows the famous songs by the Oaks but hopefully these may help you dive deeper into their catalog, especially if you are like me and are frustrated with the lack of good music being released. Feel free to comment, email me your Oak Ridge Boys stories and favorites.

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Over and Over – The Most Overplayed Rock Songs of the 1970s

One aspect of music is that it is subjective. One person thinks is a great song, another may hate. Granted, musicians may have more liking to songs due to its complexity or lack of, but music is a major part of life. We remember where we were when a song is released (back in the day, when it was actually released on radio and was charted, unlike the downloaded society we have now). The song brings back certain memories of where we lived, what we were doing, or who were with when that song has that special meaning.

However, songs end up being overplayed throughout the years, and with today’s limited radio format, the same songs get played every hour. That is why I made this list of overplayed songs of the 1970s (I will do one of the 1980s later).  Keep in mind that a regional aspect is also in play in my list. I may hear this song every hour in Ohio, but someone in California may not hear these on their radio stations. I do not have satellite radio either, so that is a non-factor. The qualifications are that it is overplayed throughout the years in my area. I also want to state that these songs are not bad songs-they are remembered throughout the years for a reason, but I would like a break from these songs.

So here are my picks for the Most Overplayed Songs of the 1970s (in no particular order). Feel free to dispute them.

Eagles Hotel California Album
  1. Hotel California-The Eagles (1977). I like the Eagles, and a lot of their songs are classics. This song made it to #1 on the charts, but it is long and a guitar player’s song. As a drummer, I can’t tell you how many bands I was in that had to play this song just because the guitar player wants to solo for 5 minutes. The audience got bored very quick playing this in a cover band. Many people still dispute what the song is about (Christians claim it’s about the church, which was disputed by the band themselves, to others saying it’s about the record company).  Regardless of what the song is about, this is a song that the deejay steps out of the booth to take a lunch break. There are other great songs that the band does not get played on the air (I love 1974’s “James Dean” and “Ol ‘55” from “On The Border” album).  This Hotel needs to shut down for a season.


As great as the band Queen is, they do need a few songs to go into the vault.
  1. We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions- Queen (1977). This song is played together at every sporting event in the world it seems. I think it is one of Queen’s lesser quality songs. I can’t name the many Queen songs that I’d rather hear than this one (“Bohemian Rhapsody” is another one that can be added to this list). Freddy Mercury was one of the greatest singers is all music, and I feel gets ignored in the Greatest Rock Singers of all time argument.  I think many people are tired of this song.
ronnie van zant
Ronnie Van Zant
  1. Freebird- Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974-1977) . This song charted a few times, with the most famous in 1975 at #19. The live version hit #38 in 1977. Like “Hotel California,” this is a guitar player’s song, and when it comes on the radio or a band plays it, it is bathroom break time. The song is very long, and I got tired of it being a pro wrestling fan when The Fabulous Freebirds used it during their runs. I have never been a fan of Southern Rock and every band ends up playing the song if they play covers. By the time the song is over, the band could have played 2-3 more songs in their set list. The song is usually played late at night or after midnight on the radio stations. Some stations have limited it’s play due to it being so long, but it’s still play too much.  If I don’t hear this song for 20 years, it’ll still be too soon. Plus the fact that every person on the planet shouts out the name of the song at every concert, regardless of the artist, makes me hate the song even more.
bob seger
Bob Seger
  1. Turn The Page-Bob Seger (1977 studio track, 1979 live version). Much like other songs in the 1970s, this song was never released as a single, but the way it gets played, you’d think it was a #1 hit worldwide. It seems everyone has done a version of this song. I saw Garth Brooks perform it when I saw him in concert once. Seger is another artist that I am not a major fan of, so it may sound bias, but this song is another too long to be played on radio. Yes, I know albums were huge in the 1970s and people wanted longer songs, and listened to the album in whole, as opposed to today’s single downloaded songs. This song is as long as the road trip it describes in the song. The song is slow and boring-it does not rock.
cheap trick
As much as I love Cheap Trick, one song could use a rest.
  1. I Want You To Want Me-Cheap Trick (1977 studio, 1979 live). I love Cheap Trick, and even though they have been finally inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame, they are still underrated. I have seen them in concerts several times, and I know they have to play some of the hits, but this is a song I could handle if it was retired for a while (it’ll never happen even though the band does a great job mixing their set lists). Most casual fans do not know that the studio version is different and is used to the live version.  This song was tough for me to add to the list because it rocks, and has a catchy guitar and drum beat, but it seems to be the only song played on radio by the band besides “Surrender” or “The Flame.”  I’d love to hear “Voices,” or “I Can’t Take It” played on the radio.


kiss shirt
Most Kiss fans would agree to this song on my list.
  1. Rock and Roll All Night-Kiss (1975 studio, 1976 live). I love Kiss. Kiss, The Beach Boys, and The Oak Ridge Boys were the earliest music experiences I had as a child. I like all the versions of Kiss- I am particularly a big fan of the Eric Carr Years. I am not one of those fans that say that Ace and Peter are not in the band, so Kiss does not exist. That being said, I know this is a song that put the on the map and is a Rock and Roll Anthem, but I could handle the song being less played on radio and at events.  Even though the live version is better than the studio version, I was never a huge fan of the song. The same goes for “Detroit Rock City.” I would love to hear songs like “Mr. Speed” or “Crazy, Crazy Nights,” or “Reason to Live.” Radio stations; play something from Revenge album, which I feel was one of their best albums. I am older now, and don’t need to Rock and Roll All Night.
led zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
  1. Stairway To Heaven –Led Zeppelin (1971). This is another song that you’d think was a huge hit all over the world, but the song did not chart in the U.S.  Another thing that amazes me is how some people claim that this band is the greatest band in music history. I have nothing against the musical talents of the band members, but I would state bands like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, and The Who could be listed before I’d named Zeppelin.  The song is credited as one of the greatest songs of all time, but there has been several lawsuits stating the song was ripped off (as of this writing, the matter has enough steam to go into the courts).  If it is the greatest songs of all time, what is it about? Many cannot even tell you what all the words are to the song either. I think the greatest Rock and Roll Song should actually be Rock and Roll, not an orchestrated ballad.
doobie brothers
It may be a guitar classic, but give this Doobie’s hit a rest.
  1. China Grove-The Doobie Brothers (1973). This song has been taught in many guitar lessons ever since it came out and hit #15 on the U.S. Charts. The song has a basic beat to it, but is played to death in my area. To me the song bores me musically. If someone was going to have me suggest a song by the band, I’d choose “The Doctor” from 1989, which was their last hit on the charts.  China Grove is another guitar player song, where guitar players in cover bands always want to play the song. From the Classic Rock to the Oldies Radio stations, this song is heard almost every hour or two hours of the day, and always ends up being played on top of it whenever the stations have caller requests. This song amazes me of its popularity and it’s continued playing.




Stop showing me the way Mr Frampton.
  1. Show Me the Way-Peter Frampton (studio 1975, live version 1976). Most people know this song by the use of Frampton’s talk box effect during the song, which helped the song go to #6 on the U.S. Charts. Frampton wasn’t the first artist to use the effect, but many fans of the 1970s think of him when that effect is discussed.  This song has been covered by many artists, but it seems this song is played almost every hour on Classic Rock and Oldies radio stations. This is another song that can retire for several years from radio rotation.



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My Rare Favorite Manilow Songs, and Why I Like Barry!

There are several early childhood memories I have concerning music. I started playing drums around 5 or 7 years old, and have gotten to play with some great musicians throughout the years. Some early records I can remember are The Oak Ridge Boys, The Bay City Rollers, Andy Gibb, and even The Village People. I remember seeing the cover of Kiss’s “Alive II” at my older cousin’s house, and my uncle had his own record store for a while, where I remember seeing some of the posters and album covers throughout the store.
One artist I remember listening to in my grade school and junior high years was Barry Manilow. My parents had 2 of his 45’s in the house, “The Old Songs/”Don’t Fall in Love with Me,” and his “Memory”/”Heart of Steel” singles. I would listen to them many times over, and even though I was into the Pop Hits of the time, I still enjoyed these two records.

Manilow CDs DVDs
My Collection- a few DVDs, Cassettes, and Cassette Single. I ran out of photo room. There are maybe 3 or more CDS I also have.

Flash forward to my first year of college, and I somehow stumbled onto his music again. I’m not sure how or why, but I just had to see him in concert. In 1994, I was convinced I had to see him live. I stood outside of the local National Record Mart store and waited in line to get my tickets. I had my cash with me, and I remember that the price was expensive for me, including the service charges (at the time it was $40.75 a ticket, not sure what the charge was). My mother just happened to have some extra money, and I’d never forget that she helped me cover the rest of the cost. After seeing him live at the show, I was hooked even more on his music.

Manilow Albums
My Collection. A few are just the covers. These are called Albums, for those that may not know.

The first Manilow CD I ever purchased was his 1989 “Barry Manilow” album, the first cassette I bought when I joined Columbia House Record Club in college was his red covered Greatest Hits. I have seen him in concert a total of 6 times, more than any other artist. He was also the only artist I paid over $100 to see (the tickets with the service charge combined sent it over that number).
Even though I listen to different types of music, from The Beach Boys and Kiss, my friends still wonder why I like Manilow so much. Besides the small history I just gave, his music shows not just sappy love songs, but themes such as mistakes, missed and failed friendships, to fighting for your dreams when no one else believes in you, or everyone wants to hold you down.When I felt like nothing went right in college, to feeling there were no friends around, he was the one artist I could listen that kept me going. He was also the only artist that my parents, my uncle, and my grandmother seemed all to like-it was a common thread. My father took me and my Uncle to see Barry in 2004 with a company he worked with and we saw his concert at The Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, in the lodge seats. I have seen Manilow in Pittsburgh, PA, 4 times, Cleveland, Ohio, once, and in Youngstown Ohio with the Youngstown Symphony.

1st Shirt Front
My faded shirt from my first Manilow Concert. I used to wear it on campus at Kent State, and I remember this one girl coming up to me and saying “Nice Shirt. I love Rod Stewart.”

One of my best concert experiences ever happened in Pittsburgh the first time I saw Manilow when I took my friend to see Barry in concert days after he broke up with a girl named Amy. Thinking he would like to get out of the house and see someone (not the best artist for a breakup looking back), Manilow was going into a Broadway song he recorded called “Once in Love with Amy.” We were back 12 rows back from the stage and he yells “NOOOO!” Barry laughed and said something like “I guess someone knew Amy.”
There are many big hits that Manilow has recorded by I’d like to list a few of his maybe not well known songs that I like, and the album you can find them on. Maybe you’ll like some of these underrated ones.



1.”Lay Me Down” (1975 “Trying to Get the Feeling Again” Album). This song was written by Larry Weiss, who also wrote “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Bend Me, Shape Me,” and the theme to the TV Show “Who’s The Boss.” I first heard this song when Trisha Yearwood sang it on CMT’s 2000 Special “Manilow Country” and the lyrics blew me away. The song is about a man who’s reading the goodbye letter to himself and fighting to get over the girl when he runs into her on the street with a new person. The song was also recorded by Anne Murray and Glen Campbell. But Manilow has the touch one this one. Very Sad song.


2. “The Old Songs” (1981 “If I Should Fall in Love Again” Album) As I mentioned earlier, this song was one of my first experiences to Manilow’s music. The song dealing with trying to get a relationship going and if nothing works, he’ll try the old records to help him out. This song shares the power of music in people’s lives, and has so many memories for me. It hit #15 on the Pop Charts, but it is not well talked about when Manilow’s music comes up.


3.”Read Em And Weep” (1983 “Greatest Hits Vol. 2” Album). This song was originally written and recorded by Meatloaf for his 1981 “Dead Ringer” album, but was not a hit until Barry took it over. Written by Jim Steinman, the song takes a love song and ads a literary and acting aspect to it. I just recently discovered the Meatloaf version last year, and although it is good, it seems to lack the emotion that Manilow adds to it. This was also Barry’s last Top 40 Hit on the Pop Charts, hitting number #18.

4. “Why Don’t You See The Show Again” (1976 “This One’s For You” Album) Even though he didn’t write the lyrics, he did write the music, and has to be autobiographical about a man that is surrounded by people when he plays his music onstage, but once the show is over, what’s next? This song is a favorite because usually when played, it’s just Manilow and his piano. Frank Sinatra recorded this song later on. I discovered this one during his “Music and Passion: Live From Las Vegas DVD.” This song any musician can relate to.


Books and Programs
Two Concert Programs from my collection. Also is Manilow’s book-I have the Hardback and Paperback.

5. “The Best Seat in the House” (1990 “Live on Broadway” and 2012 “Live in London” Albums). Much like “See the Show Again,” the song combines the musician on stage with love for a person. This song can not only be interpreted for a lover, but even a friendship. Being a drummer, I was able to look around the crowd or people while playing in the audience and maybe see friends out there that I had great memories with that I can sit and reminisce. This is just a great song with symbolism in it.

Some other Honorable Mentioned songs- “”Sweet Heaven “ (1985 “Manilow,” “2 Nights Live,”), “You Ought to be Home With Me” (1976 “This One’s For You”).

Manilow Shirts
3 Concert Shirts I still have (some I outgrew and had to get rid of) and coffee mug from my collection.


Maybe you haven’t heard these songs before, or maybe you had the albums and forgot about them, but give these songs another chance. You may find a new appreciation to them. With that, I wanted to add a final video, which is one of my favorites, found on his “Live on Broadway.

Not Skipping Around-Albums That Must Be Heard!

I had a few people submit me some topics for future writings, and this one caught my eyes when I read this. Being a drummer since I was around 6 or 7 years old, and being a lover of all music, I was asked about albums that I could listen all the way through without skipping a track. Now we all have favorite artists but sometimes they have filler songs on albums that were just made to complete the project, or use a B-Sides of singles. So I thought I would list some that have no bad songs on it (in my eyes, or ears if you want to be technical). Keep in mind that Greatest Hits and Live projects are not counted in this list, only official studio albums. (U.S. compilations that were from other foreign albums do not count either). Some may be rare and surprise you. Now, in no particular order:


1. Kiss “Love Gun” (1977). Even though my favorite KISS albums of all time are “Revenge” and “Crazy Nights,” they have a few songs that I skip over. However “Love Gun” is pure joy to listen to, and at a run time of under 33 minutes, it doesn’t drag on. Of course many die hards like this because of Ace’s “Shock Me” on the album, I like everything on it, including Peter’s “Hooligan.” I remember getting this on cassette and listening to it constantly (I still have the cassette).

rick springfield

2. Rick Springfield “Working Class Dog.” (1980). This is the album many discovered Rick, even though he had several albums before this. This one made him into a star. Even some of us who weren’t familiar with him as Noah Drake on General Hospital, were hooked on this album, which had the #1 Hit “Jesse’s Girl”, and the remake of Sammy Hagar’s “I’ve Done Everything For You.” However, the deeper cuts like the ballad “Inside Silvia” and “Daddy’s Pearl” are true pop gems. This album was s staple growing up for me in Grade School and even in my college days. A true masterpiece.

beach boys
3. The Beach Boys “The Beach Boys” (1985). This album was, again, a big album of my childhood (on cassette). This was the first album since the death of drummer Dennis Wilson, and went into the 1980s synth-pop sound, but the harmonies and summer feel is still intact. It only had 1 Top 40 Hit, the underrated “Getcha Back,” which is a classic boy loses girl, boy meets girl years later. I still listen to this on CD and takes me back and reminds me of my best friend growing up in Junior High.
4. Huey Lewis and The News “Picture This” (1982). This album is where most people discovered the band (they had one before this one). Even though most think of “Sports” as THE Huey Lewis album (it was the most popular), this one still is my favorite. It is not as polished as “Fore” (another one with no bad songs), keeping it raw feel to it. It only had 2 Top 40 Hits, with the most popular being “Do You Believe In Love,” but songs like “The Only One,” and “Is It Me” are my favorites.

5. The Oak Ridge Boys “Fancy Free” (1981). The first album I ever had was their “Greatest Hits”, but this studio record (which I still have on vinyl) is true Oak classic. The self titled single, along with their best-known hit “Elvira” both topped the Charts. However the deeper cuts like “When Love Calls You” and “Somewhere in The Night” show not only how underrated Duane Allen’s voice is, but also the arrangements that he helped orchestrate the band to become one of the biggest acts in the 1970s-1980s. The last track “I Would Crawl All The Way” keeps their Gospel roots history going, which is something since they were considered a Country-Pop act. Good vocals hold up in any era, and this never sounds outdated.

6. Warrant “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich” (1989). In the so called Hair Metal decade (I do hate that term!!), one of the big acts was Warrant. This was their first CD, and I remember proudly wearing their T Shirt in High School, much to be laughed at by the die-hard Metal fans. However, to this day, the CD holds up. It had 3 Top 40 Hits, including the famous “Heaven,” but there is not a song that can be skipped. Cuts like “In The Sticks,” and “32 Pennies” still rock. Most forget the lead single “Down Boys,” but I was hooked on them when I first saw that video on MTV.

7. Skid Row “Skid Row” (1989). Also the same year was this band that somehow got lumped in the Hair Metal genre, even though they changed that with their second album a few years later. I cannot really name a bad Skid Row album with the first singer Sebastian Bach, but I’m picking this one as one that I cannot skip a track. Most know “Youth Gone Wild,” and the ballads “18 and Life” and “I Remember You,” but “Can’t Stand The Heartache” and “Big Guns” are true Metal classics. I liked this band from day one, and still like the stuff they are putting out.

van halen
8. Van Halen “Van Halen II” (1979). Van Halen is a strange band for me. I LOVED them in my High School Days, especially with Sammy Hagar as the singer (it was the first concert I ever saw in 1991). But throughout the years, the band has just dulled me out. I still think Sammy was a better VOCALIST but David Lee Roth was a great front man, and very few of their albums I can listen to anymore without some of the songs sounding dated. However this one still has the great songs on it, such as “Dance The Night Away” and “Bottom’s Up.” Even though “You’re No Good” as the opener is a cover, it’s not bad that you have to skip it. Ending the album with “Beautiful Girls” is a nice touch of some humor added that Van Halen sneaked into their songs. I still enjoy “Women In Love.” Most people pick the first album as their favorite, and I have no problem with it, but I think “Running With The Devil” is very overplayed so it lessens my love for the album. This one I still don’t get tired of.

9. Nelson “After The Rain” (1990). Most people laugh when I say I am a huge fan of the Nelson Brothers. I loved Rick Nelson, their father, and his music as well. Most people unfairly judged them by the hair, but not realizing 1. They haven’t had the hair for years and 2. They paid their dues just to get to the first record. This album had 3 Top 40 Hits (most people wrongly thought they were a One Hit Wonder), and was some great Pop Hard Rock tunes on it, along with some ballads, all with vocal harmonies thrown into the mix. Songs like “Everywhere I Go” and “Only Time Will Tell” are great ballads that would fit in that era’s Power Ballads. One of the best concerts I have gotten to see in the past 10 years was getting to see the brothers perform, although it was a tribute to their Dad’s work, it was still a great show. These guys are great musicians as well. For those that always made fun of them, this album put them in the Guinness Book of World’s Records for being the first 3rd Generation Act to have Top 40 Hits.

10. Poison “Open Up and Say..AHH!” (1988). This was the album, like many that got hooked on the band, with the hit “Nothin’ But A Good Time” and “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.” Although one of my favorites is their first album, it had some fillers that I tend to skip. Even though I think “Rose” is overplayed (I was a roadie for a local Country Band that played the freaking song-Line Dancers and Power Ballads-made me sick!), I can still tolerate it. The rare songs on here like “Back To The Rocking Horse” and “Bad To Be Good” are enjoyable. I always thought that “Fallen Angel” never gets the respect it should when it comes to Poison songs. I never get tired of hearing “Good Love” on the album. From beginning to end, this was a solid Poison album, which is not always the case in their catalogue in my view, but I still like the band.
There are some of my picks for albums that I do not skip a track on. What’s your take? Care to tell me some of yours? There are a few others I probably could name, so maybe that’ll be another time.