Category Archives: Essentials

The artists which should have a place in every record collection: the Essentials.

The Doors

the doors

Named after a book from Aldous Huxley, The Doors Of Perception, the Doors rocked the world in a short time. With 9 albums in 8 years (or 6 albums in 6 years if you look at the period that Jim Morrison), they were extremely productive. Read the rest of this entry

Simon & Garfunkel

Simon-and-Garfunkel

Meeting in high school as the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat in the play Alice In Wonderland, this couple soon developed into one of the most famous duo’s in pop music. Read the rest of this entry

David Bowie

david-bowie

A man who can do everything. A man who changed his style everytime before the world changed. A man who changed the world.

David Bowie (real name David Robert Jones) was born on the 8th of January 1947. He listened to quite some jazz albums in his youth and therefore learned to play the saxophone. He joined some bands and became familiar with the world of pop music. His first record which really charted was Space Oddity, a number 5 hit in the UK. In 1971, Bowie released his first album, The Man Who Sold The World. From this album, it is immediately recognizable that Bowie would change the world: some claim that glam rock started with this album! Hunky Dory (with Life On Mars and Changes) and The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars followed. It became clear that David Bowie not only sung about a character: he WAS the character. It brought big success, in which he managed to release Aladdin Sane (photo) and the controversial Diamond Dogs.

David Bowie became more interested in the American music styles. These influences can be heard in, of course, Young Americans, but also Fame, which he wrote with John Lennon. Station To Station followed, in which the influence of the German writer Bertold Brecht and electronic music become more important. It was a sign for the next move: the Berlin Period.

Experimenting with sound and surrealistic items were the main themes. Low was the first to be produced in this period. The grey, black and white style, together with angled forms, became clear in the second album of the Berlin Period: Heroes. The title track was hugely inspired by the Berlin Wall and the division of the country. Lodger closed this period.

The eighties began, which brought a lot of activity: Scary Monsters was released, and Bowie worked together with Queen on the song Under Pressure. In 1983, he worked together with Nile Rodgers, to produce the (disco-influenced) album Let’s Dance. In the years that followed, collaborations became more frequent: with the Pat Metheny Group (This Is Not America), Tina Turner (Tonight) and Mick Jagger (Dancing In The Street). The nineties meant an electronical period, partly looking back on his career, but no big hits followed anymore. Bowie seemed to be gone from the big pop scene.

And then, suddenly, when everyone thought we would never hear of David Bowie again, there was the album The Next Day in 2013. The world was excited: David Bowie was back! Everyone thought The Next Day would be his last, as he looked back upon his life. They were wrong: Blackstar was released on the 8th of January 2016, his 69th birthday. On the 10th of January 2016, Bowie died, suffering from cancer.

Bruce Springsteen

bruce-springsteen

Some artists have problems with their fame and become uncool because of these problems. Some don’t. Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen certainly does not! He knows who deliver him his fame (namely his fans) and he keeps them happy at all times. He’s in time for his performances (which is quite special these days) and he keeps playing for hours. Furthermore, he feels one with his fans and if they get wet, he gets into the audience and gets wet too (referring to the Goffertpark, the Netherlands).

He makes music which is comprehensible and with critical texts (try listening to Born In The USA and hearing a positive word in it). The music around it is just great. Making use of several instruments like guitars and most famous: the mouth-harmonica on The River, in performances mostly given away. He has become a legend with the performance of Dancing In The Dark, where he makes a dance with a fan.

Live superb, on albums superb, great music and an incredible career. Worth a place in the Hall of Fame, isn’t it?

(By the way: I have never seen him live, but I’d like to)

U2

U2 photographed by John Wright

With a new album coming up and new hits on the radio, it would be a good time to finally place U2 in the Hall Of Fame. If we’re looking to one of the greatest bands from the last centuries, I would probably go for them. Their album ‘The Joshua Tree’ was a full hit album, with great songs like ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ and ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’. Their music was good from the beginning on, and the quality was high in every album. In the nineties they had a very good song, One, the zeroes had Magnificent, and Ordinary Love is one of the biggest hits in the 2010s. I can’t wait to hear their new album, and for their work which they have already done, they are granted a place in the Hall Of Fame! Carry on!

The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones

With adding the Beatles to the Hall Of Fame, I should not forget this band! Some say they are better than the Beatles, others say they aren’t. And that’s allowed. Fact is, that in the sixties, you were either fan of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. I am both, but the conflict has died down a bit. And that’s good, because I really can’t choose. The Beatles are nice boys, making nice songs, but the Rolling Stones are a bit more rough, but also make great music! Thinking about songs as Satisfaction and my personal favourite Paint It Black, I really can’t make up my mind which band is better. They both added something to music, and the Rolling Stones are still great. Rock on, and well deserved: a place in the Hall Of Fame!

The Beatles

beatles

Time to add one of the greatest bands in the world to the Hall Of Fame. Or should we say: THE greatest band in the world? Fact is, that they still earn a lot with their albums, whether they are on vinyl or CD, downloads, streaming, etc. Recently, their work was remastered, a “new” CD was released with never released work, and their Number one hits were compiled in a remastered version. The Beatles are still alive and kicking, or at least: their music is. John Lennon has died, unfortunately, as is George Harrison. The only two alive are Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. And they proved that they could do their old trick on the Grammy’s from 2014. After more than fifty years, their music still sounds great and most of them belong to the finest music in the History of Music. They did a lot for music, and therefore this place is well deserved!

Nile Rodgers

nile_rodgers

For the people who’ve read this blog longer, or who have read a lot of posts, this choice is not a big surprise. They already know I’m a very BIG fan of disco. And this man has influenced disco a lot. Actually, he did not make a lot of  solo work, but I have not yet heard it. However, he was the brain behind lots of good disco acts. The man formed the group Chic, who are good!, he was the brain behind Sister Sledge, and later he was responsible as a producer for The Reflex (Duran Duran), Like A Virgin (Madonna), Let’s Dance (David Bowie) and that were just some of the records.

Nile Rodgers showed us in 2013 that he was never really away, by showing up for “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. Again, he had a big hit. And for 2014, he played on “Calling All Hearts”. This man changed the music in a very positive way, and therefore he definitively deserves a place in the Chris Hall Of Fame!

Queen

Queen

This band is one of the best bands in the world (or so I do think). Their music is just fantastic (although there are some songs which are not my cup of tea), and the voice of Freddie Mercury is a big part of that. The rest of the band is important, too, because what would Queen be without Brian May to play the guitar, or the drums of Roger Taylor? And then I forgot the great bass play by John Deacon.

They have had lots and lots of hits, and actually I should compile a list of the best Queen-songs. Maybe for later…

Dire Straits

DireStraits

One of my favourite bands at the moment. Their music is great because of the guitar work of Mark Knopfler, the songs, and especially the live versions! My favourite is, although I have not heard all their work yet, a live version of Calling Elvis (over 10 minutes long!) Of course they can’t miss from this Hall of Fame!