With this being the slow time of the year on the local music scene, and so much going on with the national scene, especially with losing some of our classic rock legends, my Editors have let me step off the local podium and look at three of the legends who have recently passed and put together a list of “must have” songs from David Bowie, Glenn Frey and Paul Kantner. The problem is that all three of them could encompass this entire 12-song list, but we’ll try to narrow it down to four each. This should lead to much discussion, as our four songs and your four songs will likely be very different.
Glenn Frey: Although Frey co-wrote with Don Henley some of the most popular songs in rock and roll history as members of the Eagles, there is only a handful that he wrote all on his own, many you likely never heard, so we’ll focus on ones you have heard.
1) Take it Easy – The song that essentially broke the Eagles into the mainstream, was actually a Jackson Browne song that Browne was having trouble finishing. Frey and Browne, along with J. D. Souther and most of the Eagles, were all living in the same apartment complex at the time and Frey took a liking to it and helped wrap the song. It’s Frey that is credited with the phrase “It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”
2) Hotel California – One of the most popular songs of all time and it won a Grammy in 1977 for Album of the Year. Much speculation has gone into what the song is actually about, much of it spread by the band itself, and had a number of factors built into it; the lights of Los Angeles at night, one of Henley’s ex-girlfriends and even a murder mystery.
3) Desperado – The title track from one of the lesser know albums, which is actually one of our favorites, Desperado. A western themed album about outlaws and train robbers and more. After the popularity of the first release, simply titled Eagles, the album didn’t garner critical acclaim of it’s predecessor, but did reap the single “Tequila Sunrise.”
4) Best of my Love – One of our favorite ballads of all time, also co-written my Don Henley and J. D. Souther, from the third album, “On the Border.” The album put the Eagles back on the map with three singles, including this one which hit #1 in 1975.
David Bowie: Where to start with this artist? So much ground breaking musicianship, band members that went on to fame in other acts and his flair for, well everything. Wirth over 20 albums to his credit, we’ll try to pick only four songs, and likely no one will agree with any of our picks, but that’s OK.
1) Heroes – From the 1977 album of the same name, co-written by keyboardist Brian Eno and featured guitarist Robert Fripp, who later went on to form “Fripp and Eno.” The song has been covered by numerous artists, including King Crimson and the Wallflowers but our favorite is the Blondie version.
2) Space Oddity – Better known as “Ground Control to Major Tom.” The song is about, space and the space program and a fictional astronaut, Major Tom. Originally recorded in 1969, it featured Rick Wakeman on keyboards, who later went on the band “Yes.”
3) Suffragette City – From the glam-concept album “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” the song featured Mick Ronson on guitar who later worked with Ian Hunter, Roger Daltry and even John Mellencamp. The song was offered to Mott the Hoople if it would keep the band from breaking up. It did not the that act did record another Bowie song and had a hit with ‘All the Young Dudes.”
4) Let’s Dance – The title track from the album by the same name. The album marked yet another new direction for Bowie, and one of the few albums that he did not play a single instrument, he only sang, referring to it as “… a singers album.” You may recognize the guitar work on the album, as it was the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan providing the licks and tone.
Paul Kantner – The “San Francisco Sound” that came out of the Summer of Love and Golden gate park in the ‘60s has been credited to many acts and individuals, but it was the Jefferson Airplane that were the cream of the crop. Started by Paul Kantner after Marty Balin approached him after a show and asked him if he wanted to start a band, according to Kanther in a 2008 interview we did with him, and history was about to be made. A San Francisco native until the end, Kantner actually never liked to leave the City. Again, trying to narrow down a career like his to four songs will be a challenge, bur here goes.
1) Volunteers of America – Balin awoke to see a truck drive by his house with the logo emblazoned on the side. He began writing lyrics and then Kantner wrote the music. It was as simple as that. Released in 1969 as a single to help promote the bands fifth release of the same name.
2) Wooden Ships – Yes, the David Crosby-Stephen Stills song was actually co-written by Kantner but due to contractual reasons was never given credit until years later. It could be the only song played twice at Woodstock, having been played by CSN&Y and then by the Airplane.
3) Ride the Tiger – From the Jefferson Starship’s second official album, the act was in transition with members, but features the hot-shot lead guitar playing of a young Craig Chaquico, who Kantner is crediting with “discovering,” although he denies it.
4) The Mountain Song – From one of Kantners only solo albums, “Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra” and came at a time when the Grateful Dead and the Airplane/Starship were not touring. Co-written by Jerry Garcia, the song debuted in 1983.
Annex Wine Bar
865 W. Napa St. Sonoma – 938-7779
Tonight, Feb. 5, Mark Larson Band – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6, the Drifting Rich – 7:30 p.m.
Blue Moon Saloon
19380 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma – 996-3055
Saturday, Feb. 6, Karaoke – 9 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 7, Blues Jam – all welcome – 10 p.m.
B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille
400 First St. E. Sonoma – 938-7110
Tonight, Feb. 5, DJ Isak– 9 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6, DJ Hi – C– 9 p.m.
Friday Farmers Market
Depot Park – 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, Feb. 5, Stewart Degner – 9:30 a.m. .
691 Broadway Sonoma – 935-9100
Tonight, Feb. 5, Jesse Hanson– 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6, Dan Martin – 8 p.m.
Murphy’s Irish Pub
464 First St. E. Sonoma – 935-0660.
Tonight, Feb. 5, Deluxe – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6, Andrew Freeman – 8 p.m.
Olde Sonoma Public House
18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs – 938-7587
Sunday, Feb. 7, Karaoke – 7:30 p.m.
420 First St E. Sonoma – 996-4466
Tonight, Feb. 6, John Stowell and Mike Zilber – 7 p.m.
Rossi’s 1906 Dancehall
401 Grove St. El Verano – 343-0044
Tonight, Feb. 5, the Cork Pullers – 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6, Saints and Sinners Ball with the Dixie Giants and T Luke and the Tight Suits – 8 p.m.
22900 Broadway, Sonoma – 996-5151
Saturday, Feb. 6, Butch Engle and Styx – 12:30 p.m.
Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall
452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma – 996-1364.
Tonight, Feb. 5, Incubators – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6, Mark Dennis, Mark Willson and Friends – 4:30 p.m. – Left Coast Syncopators – 8 p.m.
Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building
126 First St. W. Sonoma – 938-4105
Saturday, Feb. 6 – Sonoma Valley High Boosters Crab Feed – BackTrax – 6 p.m.
If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it.