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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Don't Leave Me This Way: Toni Braxton, Teddy Pendergrass, Morris Day And The Time

"YESTERDAY"                        TONI BRAXTON

Toni just turned 43 years old, she continues to be one of the most beautiful women in the world!    This sexy video is from her comeback CD, Pulse, and features Trey Songz and Ron Artest from the L.A. Lakers.    Since Toni's chart topping debut CD in the 90's, she has had a rough stretch:  bankruptcy, her son diagnosed with autism, even Toni was diagnosed with Lupus.   L.A. Reid just signed her to his label and is producing her new CD, I'm hoping she gets back to #1.


This song is a disco classic that went to #1 for Thelma Houston but Teddy sings the definitive version.    Clocking in at over six minutes, the song builds intensity and you can just feel Teddy's desire to "satisfy the need in me".    Originally recorded as lead singer of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Teddy's deep raspy baritone voice sets the mood for this R&B classic.   After being paralyzed from a car accident, Teddy continued performing until his death last year.  One of the most soulful voices ever.

"GET IT UP"                                THE TIME

From the 1981 debut CD from The Time.   The Minneapolis funk group featured Morris Day, Jesse Johnson, Terry Lewis, Jimmy Jam, a true all-star band.   But on this first album, Prince recorded all of the music, produced the song, sang backup vocals, and the only reason it's credited to The Time is because Morris sang lead vocals.   The Prince guitar solo and a funky bassline makes this one a classic.   TLC covered this one and gave "Get It Up" a whole new twist :)

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just A Kiss In Paris: Lady Antebellum, Nickelback, Bridget Kelly

"JUST A KISS"                  LADY ANTEBELLUM

Last Thanksgiving, I got to fulfill a lifelong dream to visit Paris.   It was an amazing adventure seeing the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, riding the Subway, and walking down the Champs Elysees after seeing the Arc de Triomphe.     This video captures a young couple falling in love on vacation in London and Paris.    It brings back so many great memories!   Thank you Barrie for such a great moment in my life.


A future #1 hit for Nickelback.    This is so radio-ready with a great chorus, "trying not to love you only went so far!".   People criticize Nickelback for being predictable, looking for hits over writing deep material.    While this criticism has merit, music should provide an escape and Nickelback has many songs that you can't help but sing along, smiling, and rocking out!


Originally written and performed by Sonyae Elise, winner of the reality TV Show, Platinum Hit.    Sonyae is an amazing writer and performer.   Bridget Kelly is probably best known for filling in for Alicia Keys on live performances with Jay-Z of Empire State Of Mind.    The lyrics on "Stranger To Love" are amazing, here's a sample:

Was suffocating, and then you gave me life
And now I crave for, for only you inside
Can't put my thumb on exactly how I feel
It's unfamiliar, but pleasantly surreal

Keep putting smiles on my face, I'm constantly amazed by what you do
And I can't keep up with my heart, It's beating me into someone brand new
I love how you just know how bad I need to take this slow
Like I'm a Stranger to Love

Pushed all my strength and managed to kiss me weak
You woke up the woman, and put the girl to sleep

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Hendrix Covers Chuck Berry: Nine Inch Nails, A Day To Remember

"COME ON (PART 1)"                 JIMI HENDRIX

Rolling Stone magazine voted Jimi the #1 guitar player of all time.   One of my favorite bits of rock trivia, Jimi started off as a session player for the Isley Brothers, then was the opening act for the Monkees!    Can you imagine that crowd?    Come On, aka, Let The Good Times Roll is a classic blues jam that Hendrix rips apart with such a complex solo, brilliant!

"HEAD LIKE A HOLE"                      NINE INCH NAILS

From the debut CD Pretty Hate Machine from Trent Reznor and NIN.    "Head Like A Hole" has the classic line - "I'd rather die than give you control".   The video is insane with vivid imagery, quick cuts, and of course, the band being trapped in a cage moshing out with their long dreads.   It's a prerequisite song of the 1990s.     The song has a techno trash metal feel to it.   When played live, Nine Inch Nails would destroy instruments after this one.

"ALL I WANT"                        A DAY TO REMEMBER

From the summer of 2011 comes this pop punk, metalcore, top 40 smash from A Day To Remember.    LOVE THIS SONG'S ENERGY!    The video has cameos from many of their friends from other bands including:  Silverstein, As I Lay Dying, Pete Wentz, MxPx, and many more.   Andrew WK singing in Times Square is a highlight.    Great beats, upbeat lyrics, fun song!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Today Was A Good Day : 30 Seconds To Mars, Ice Cube, Peter Cetera

"CLOSER TO THE EDGE"                     30 SECONDS TO MARS

Actor, Jared Leto, fronts the ever-improving band, 30 Seconds To Mars.    This 2010 summer song is pure inspiration.    The video is genius:   Capture the band performing live all over Europe, share their energy and the passionate and mesmerizing interaction between a band truly connecting with their audience.    "Closer To The Edge" is an all-time favorite video from the beautiful locations, the uplifting message, and a powerful rock performance.   Check out at 3:00, "Are You Ready?" then an amazing crowd shot, slow-motion drum beats, classic!

"HOLD ME"                       PETER CETERA and PAUL ANKA 

Peter Cetera?    What?   Yes, it's totally cheesy, it's one of those secret songs you have to roll up the windows if it comes on your car stereo but you don't turn the channel.    Beautiful romantic song that combines two "soft rock" giants.   I guess, two wrongs do make a right!


"IT WAS A GOOD DAY"                             ICE CUBE

I was lucky to have grown up in the 80s when rap took off.   I loved the creative rhymes mixed with hip hop samples from great R&B favorites of mine from the likes of James Brown, P-Funk, and Sly and the Family Stone.   Ice Cube was THE MAN, a true O.G.   After leaving N.W.A. he put out a string of classics including his biggest hit from 1993's The Predator.  The beats sample the Isley Brothers and has classic lyrics about scoring a triple double on the basketball court, name dropping Yo! MTV Raps, bragging he didn't have to use his AK,

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ludacris Rapping With Jason Aldean: Rosanne Cash, Black Stone Cherry


This is a Love It or Hate It song.   Jason mixes country with rap with lyrics about Southern pride, country values, and turns it into a party!    He even did a remix version with Ludacris.   Jason stated that both of them are from Georgia, they share the same roots, and both can appreciate a cold one on those hot Atlanta nights.   Brantley Gilbert wrote and recorded this one before Jason but never released it as a single.   Favorite Line:  "Memory Lane up in the headlights, got me reminiscing over good times"

"PEACE IS FREE"                             BLACK STONE CHERRY

Saw BSC open for Hinder in 2008 at Jannus Landing, St Petersburg, FL.  They recapture the Southern Rock style I grew up listening to.   This Kentucky rock band feels like a mix of Skynyrd, Shinedown, with a little Black Crowes thrown in for good measure.  You can FEEL the lyrics on this one. 

"MY OLD MAN"                                ROSANNE CASH

The 1985 CD, "Rhythm & Romance" hits so close to home.  Every song has personal meaning to me and it's an underrated masterpiece in my opinion.    This song is obviously about Johnny Cash, but the lyrics are totally about my dad too.   We had a similar difficult relationship and sadly I lost him in the late 1990s.

The old man is laughing tonight
He's young beyond his fears
But then the smile drops from his eyes
And we all wind up in tears
The old man's crying tonight
'Cause it all happened so fast
He's frightened by the future
Embarrassed by the past
So let him be who he wants to be
'Cause he ain't ever gonna be young again
And let him see who he needs to see
'Cause he never had too many friends
And ask him how he remembers me
'Cause I want to know where I stand
How I love my old man
The old man's restless tonight
Just trying to kill his pain
He believes what he says he believes
But that don't make him a saint
The old man's lonesome tonight
And he just wants to go home
All those fools who stand in his way
Why can't they leave him alone

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Got You Where I Want You: Mishka, Susan Tedeschi, The Flys

"HURT SO BAD"                               SUSAN TEDESCHI

Who'd have guessed a young, attractive Italian female from Boston would go on to become one of the most respected Blues singers of our generation?    Susan tackles the classic "Hurt So Bad" and owns it with this powerful vocal performance that reminds you a mix of Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt, Blues Royalty.    Susan is now leading the Tedeschi Trucks Band with her husband, guitar virtuoso, Derek Trucks.

"STARS WILL BE SHINING"                     MISHKA

I discovered Mishka listening to an interview by his friend, Matthew McConaughey, who was talking about the perfect chill-out music on the beach.   Mishka is a white reggae artist from Bermuda who Matthew signed to his record label.   You can feel the island breezes and picture the shining stars in the sky on this beautiful tropical song. 

"GOT YOU WHERE I WANT YOU"                     THE FLYS

A total one-hit wonder from the 1998 CD "Holiday Man".    This song reached #5 on the Rock charts but it's claim to fame is being used in the horror film "Disturbing Behavior" starring James Marsden and Dawson's Creek star, Katie Holmes (how her life has changed since then!).   The video got publicity for the suicide theme of people jumping off a cliff but it's over the top and the song deserved more credit.   It's simply one of the best songs of the 1990s!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Vampire Version Of INXS Classic : Halestorm, Twisted Sister, Kazy

"I GET OFF"                        HALESTORM

A seductive, sexy, hard-driving song with an amazing female singer named Lizzy Hale.  Halestorm's debut CD in 2009 kicked off with this single.   This Pennsylvania band led by Lizzy and her brother opened for Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace in Tampa last year.   Another great track is a killer duet version of "Breaking Inside" with Shinedown where Lizzy added vocals.

"NEED YOU TONIGHT"                       KAZY

Here is a song just waiting to get put into a vampire film and I'm not talking one where the emo vampires sparkle.     This is obviously a cover of INXS but here the tempo is slowed, the vocals are creepy, and the seductive pauses build up the passion.      The feedback over "I'm lonely" really works well!

"THE PRICE"                                TWISTED SISTER

Dee Snider's hair metal band is famous for their rockers, "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock" but this power ballad from 1984's Stay Hungry is a forgotten treasure.    MTV loved the over the top videos and the make-up but this gem features Twisted Sister without makeup (a much better look in my opinion) and it's my all-time favorite song by the band.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

United States Of Pop 2009:DJ Earworm, Jaheim, SOS Band

"UNITED STATES OF POP 2009"               DJ EARWORM

Mashups are huge in Europe and gaining popularity in the States on the radio or TV Shows like Glee!  A mashup is a blending of two or more songs, overlaying the lyrics or beats into a seamless mix.   DJ Earworm is someone to check out, love his work!   He's from San Fransisco/London and a mashup expert who yearly puts out these year-end tributes.   The '09 mix features Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Kings of Leon, Beyonce, Rihanna, Eminem..........How many of the songs and artists can you name?  


From 2010, this jam sounds like a smooth Philly Soul track from the 70's with a little hip hop flavor.  There is also a remix version with Jadakiss but the original has a timeless, classic feel to it.   Jaheim hasn't become a major R&B superstar but he puts out quality, consistent CD's year after year.   "Another Round" also includes "In My Hands", a gorgeous ballad that would make an incredible first dance song for a wedding.   

"TAKE YOUR TIME"                        S.O.S. BAND

This classic from the 80's was produced by a friend of mine, Terry Lewis, from Minneapolis.  Terry was fired by Prince from The Time, so he switched gears and with Jimmy Jam became the hottest producer of the 80s and 90s!   S.O.S. (Sounds of Success) Band was such an underrated funk/disco band.   "Just Be Good To Be" was their other #1 hit.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Usher's World Wide Party: Daughtry, Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Guetta

"GONE TOO SOON"                  DAUGHTRY

Everyone has lost someone special at one point in their life.    Questions arise:   What If They Were Still Here?    Why?    "Gone Too Soon" will go down as THE SONG people remember Daughtry's 3rd CD for.

Today could've been the day
That you blow out your candles
Make a wish as you close your eyes
Today could've been the day
Everybody was laughin'
Instead I just sit here and cry

Who would you be?
What would you look like
When you looked at me for the very first time
Today could've been the next day of the rest of your life

Not a day goes by that i don't think of you
I'm always asking why this crazy world had to lose
Such a ray of light we never knew
Gone too soon, yeah


It's hard to believe but the Chili Peppers have been around almost 30 years!    I read Anthony Kiedis' biography years ago and it was cool to hear in high school that Anthony saw Flea getting picked on for being small and kind of became his bodyguard.   They became friends and started a garage band together.   From small beginnings to the mega-selling band who has influenced punk, ska, hip hop, rock, and funk music for three decades.   This is from their new CD and features new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer, plus amazing basslines by Flea!


French DJ, David Guetta, with his 3rd U.S. #1 single.    This song builds intensity as it moves to its infectious chorus.   The video shows scenes from Brazil, Thailand, California and South Africa all in sync for one giant world party!    "Without You" has the feel-good vibe perfect for the start of any morning.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Randy Rhoads Gone Too Soon : Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Randy Rhoads


This Tuesday, Ozzy will release the DVD, "God Bless Ozzy Osbourne" produced by his son, Jack.  Teenagers nowadays picture Ozzy as "that guy from the MTV Show" or see him acting silly in commercials with Justin Bieber.     Ozzy has been making incredible music for the last 40 years and he's STILL going strong.  This single from 2011's Scream CD is full of positive energy.  "Life Won't Wait" sounds current, relevant, and another great song in Ozzy's illustrious career.

Every second you throw away
Every minute of every day
Don't get caught in a myriad
Because life won't wait for you
No, life won't wait for you, my friend.

Stay strong stay true be brave - it all comes down to you


An awesome extended version of Ozzy's anthem that features   Randy Rhoads' guitar magic.    Randy played lead guitar for Quiet Riot before joining Ozzy's band.   His style influenced by his classical guitar background changed rock music.   So many classic riffs in such a brief career.   Randy was reportedly "afraid of flying" and tragically died in a plane crash outside of Orlando.


Keeping on the Ozzy theme, Black Sabbath, along with Led Zeppelin, started the Heavy Metal genre.    When Ozzy was dismissed from Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio was brought in and they released "Heaven & Hell" in 1980.    The CD went multi-platinum and featured  "Lonely Is The Word" as a beautiful power ballad highlighted by Tommy Iommi's finest guitar solo.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Raw Kurt Cobain: U2, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana

"SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY"                     U2

U2, Live At Red Rocks, one of the greatest concerts captured on film.   U2 wasn't the Mega Arena band at this point in 1983, they were 4 lads from Ireland singing songs about Faith, Liberation, Change, and this classic about one historic day in Irish history.   Sunday Bloody Sunday features a militaristic drumbeat, a classic Edge guitar riff, and Bono's melodic chants of "No More" punctuating a reminder of the day British troops killed North Ireland protesters and bystanders.  


What a tragic loss.    This version of the song from the BBC Radio One Network captures Kurt's haunting vocals mixed with a totally raw guitar solo punctuated by Dave Grohl's punishing drum beats.   "Something In The Way" was the last song on Nevermind.   Rolling Stone magazine said of Nevermind, "No album in recent history had such an overpowering impact on a generation—a nation of teens suddenly turned punk."


The question, name 5 CD's you take with you if you were stranded on a desert island?    Bruce Springsteen's 1980 release, "The River" would be on my list.    A double LP that never gets boring as each song tackles a new genre.   There are rockers like "Cadillac Ranch" and "Hungry Heart" (originally written for The Ramones) to introspective songs like the title track and "Stolen Car".   Along the way, "The River" adds some classic New Jersey fun, "Sherry Darling" is the best of those!


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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sexiest Country Song Ever : Tim McGraw, Aaron Lewis, Julie Roberts

"LET ME LOVE YOU"                    TIM McGRAW

Sometimes I close my eyes
And imagine you're with me
Chasing passion into the night
All tangled in a dream.

Oh if you could see my heart
The way I feel inside
You would know just how far
I'm willing to go to get to you
There is nothing I won't do.

Show me what its like to lose control
Free the desire in your soul
Oh oh let me love you.

Passionate lyrics mixed with a Spanish guitar solo that Santana would be proud to call his own.    This song from 2001 is the gem of the Set This Circus Down CD.   The video is from General Hospital but it captures the intensity of the song.

"COUNTRY BOY"                          AARON LEWIS 

The lead singer of Staind caught the Country Music bug after tourning with Kid Rock in 2010.  "Country Boy" reminds me of a classic Hank Jr tune, Southern Pride, patriotic, and 100% real.   One version of the video featured cameos by Charlie Daniels and George Jones.


Julie Roberts put out an amazing debut CD.  But the music industry is unpredictable and after a weak 2nd CD, she was dropped from her label.   This powerful song from her debut CD speaks to how fate and making one single decision can change your life forever.     Her voice has a bluesy, rough feel at times but that only amplifies the genuine pain in these lyrics of a love gone wrong. 

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Friday, November 18, 2011

I Want To Do Bad Things To You (True Blood) : Melanie Amaru, Jace Everett, Gian Marco

"BAD THINGS"                     JACE EVERETT

The theme song to HBO's True Blood oozes sex appeal.    Jace captures the mood of a sweltering hot night in New Orleans.  This song reminds me of Chris Isaac's "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing".   At 1:23, the spoken word builds up the passion of the song before coming back to the chorus, "I want to DO bad things with you!"   Brilliant and creative song!

"DIAS NUEVOS"                 GIAN MARCO

The 2011 Latin Grammy Award winner from Peru.   Gian Marco has become the pride of Peru after a 15 year history of making great music.    His career initially got a boost by Emilio Estefan (husband of Gloria) early on.   This song translates to "New Days Ahead" with lyrics about taking risks, ending every night with a kiss so deep, and promises of new days with the one you love"

"LISTEN"                               MELANIE AMARO

This song hasn't even been released by Melanie.   She's only 18 years old out of Miami.    But this audition for the TV show, X Factor in the fall of 2011, was AMAZING!     Melanie's version of a Beyonce original takes it to a new level.     Watch as the judges are moved by her breath-taking performance and even better, watch the pride in her family after her audition.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Will Not Bow : Breaking Benjamin, Concrete Blonde, Pendulum

"I WILL NOT BOW"                       BREAKING BENJAMIN

"I'm not giving in, I will not bow, I will not break"..... motivation song with a powerful rhythm section.     Breaking Benjamin added a little scream-o on this "ballad" and other tracks on Dear Agony.   This band out of Pennsylvania has grown with each CD and adding a little more aggression to their sound really works here.   

"JOEY"                                      CONCRETE BLONDE

Johnette Napolitano and her band, Concrete Blonde, hit the Top 20 with "Joey" in the early 90's.    They did an amazing acoustic version of this song which ups the intensity level.   Concrete Blonde retired in 2006 and Johnette left this message to her fans, "Music lives on. Keep listening. Keep believing, keep dreaming. Like a ripple, the music moves and travels and finds you. Drive to the music, Make love to the music, cry to the music. That's why we made it. Long after we're gone the music will still be there."


First heard about Pendulum before seeing them open for Linkin Park.    "The Island" is a 9 minute epic song with 2 parts, Dawn and Dusk.    Pendulum is an electronica band out of Australia that relies heavily on drum/bass.    The positive energy on this track is overwhelming, you can't sit still on this one.


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sexiest Song Ever? : Nas, Barry White, Quincy Jones, James Ingram, Bobby Caldwell


If you made a mix CD of the sexiest songs ever, this slow jam would have to be on it.  Barry White's deep voice saying "Tell Me A Secret, not just any secret, I want that One Special Secret"...... the classic R&B voice of James Ingram on the chorus, the falsettos of Debarge and Al B. Sure, just a perfect mix of voices blended with the smooth backing track orchestrated by Quincy Jones.   It's from the 1989 release, "Back On The Block".

"LET THERE BE LIGHT"                     NAS

Nas is a poet and one of the most intelligent MC's ever.   From his debut masterpiece, Illmatic, until now, Nas has written some of the best rhymes in rap history.    This song from 2006 samples "Take The Money And Run" from the Steve Miller Band and was released on the classic Def Jam label.

As I walk through the shadow of death
I know that I ain't got much time left
And they don't really wanna see the good in me
Ain't satisfied until they see the fool in me
(And I) I know my business, so my sins great
(And I) I thank the hood for all the love they gave
(And I) Forgive 'em all, they did they best to hate
Oh, let there be light


Blue eyed soul from 1978.    One of the smoothest, timeless slow jams ever.  Bobby owns the title, "The white guy most often mistaken for an African American vocalist." : )  The song was also featured in the brilliant Mafia film, Donnie Brasco starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp.  

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Don't Want This Night To End: Adele, Luke Bryan, Chickenfoot

"SOMEONE LIKE YOU"                        ADELE

A total tearjerker ballad featuring Adele accompanied by a piano.  Many think Adele wrote this song but although she didn't write it, she owns this one!   The lyrics are a reminder of a love lost.    Adele ended a relationship and shortly afterward, her boyfriend was engaged to someone else.    It was devastating and rather than let her get her down, Adele recorded this intense song to free her mind and move on.   Music is the best therapy!    It's the #1 selling song on 2011.  

"DIFFERENT DEVIL"                CHICKENFOOT               

 Sammy Hagar back to his "Red Rocker" ways.  Joe Satriani's guitar isn't indulgent and this song has a classic 80's rock groove to it.   Just a fun, roll down the windows and let it blast kind of song!   Their 2nd CD released in September 2011 blows away Chickenfoot's debut.


Totally SEXY song, the lyrics are awesome, passion's running high, so distracted, you don't want the night to end.    High energy, hot song, best of Luke Bryan!     

And I don’t know what road we’re on
Or where we’ve been
From staring at you girl
All I know is I don’t want this night to end

Gonna cuss the morning when it comes
Cause I know that the rising sun
Ain’t no good for me
Cause you’ll have to leave

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Needs More Cowbell: Motley Crue, Alice In Chains, Saigon Kick


The debut song from 1982 from Motley Crue might be their best song ever.   Saw them in concert this summer, they sound as good as they did back in the 80s!     I went skydiving this summer and used "Kickstart My Heart" as my theme song.     "Live Wire" is the greatest use of COWBELL ever in a song!    The tight rhythm section of Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, and Nikki Sixx put Motley Crue on top of all of all of the 80's hair bands.    


From 1992, this Miami based hair band put out one of the most beautiful of the power ballads of the decade.   The song features a Spanish guitar strumming throughout the song.   Although the song only hit #12 on the charts, it gave Saigon Kick their 15 minutes of well-deserved fame.


Layne Staley had one of the most intense, haunting lead vocals ever in Rock Music.   The guitar solo by Jerry Cantrell on this one is as sad as it is uplifting.   Layne was the heart and soul of the Seattle Grunge sound and he left us way too early.     This one is from 1994 from the Jar Of Flies CD.

I saw them perform this live when they opened for Guns N Roses in the early 90s and Daughtry covered it when I saw him in 2008.

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