Archive for August, 2013


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

I had spent the better part of a day with a friend, who is certain that Led Zeppelin sits at the right hand of God, discussing music. As his attempts to throw me off my Beatle wagon fell on deaf ears, he resorted to idiocy and asshat-ery. His premise became threaded with examples of Beatle thievery; stealing songs from others and claiming them as their own.  I decided to do some checking into the prevalence of plagiarism in popular music. The findings may surprise you.

george1john1Yes indeed,  George Harrison was found guilty of plagarism.  “My Sweet Lord” was ruled a case of subconscious theft of The ChiffonsHe’s So Fine“.  It cost him a little of $500,000,00 and 75% of the song;s North American sales.  John Lennon‘s “Come Together” was ruled to have plagarized Chuck Berry‘s “You Can’t Catch Me“. Lennon agreed to record 3 more of the writer’s songs as a settlement. Well, John only recorded 2 and the writer sued him. Lennon was ordered to pay $7000.00.

The Doors have been accused of lifting “Hello, I Love You” from The KinksAll Day And All Of The Night“. Staunchly denied by Doors guitarist, Robby Krieger who said that The Doors did lift the drum beat of the song from Cream‘s   Sunshine Of Your Love“.  Johnny Cash‘s “Folsom Prison Blues” is an almost carbon copy of Gordon Jenkins‘ “Crescent City Blues“, which was penned 2 years before Cash wrote his bbsong.  Johnny Cash paid Jenkins about $75,000.00. The Beach Boys‘ “Surfin’ USA” can actually be sung to the Chuck Berry tune “Sweet Little Sixteen“. Brian Wilson admitted to ripping off the melody and Chuck Berry was given co-authorship of the song and a portion of the royalties.

The Rubinoos

The Rubinoos

Other notable mentions include Ray Parker Jr;, writing “Ghostbusters” after stealing the melody from Huey Lewis‘  “I Want A New Drug“; The Oasis song “Whatever” was lifted from Neil Innes‘ “How Sweet To Be An Idiot“; The Rubinoos song   “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” was reworked into Avril Lavigne‘s hit “Girlfriend“. And The Rolling Stones‘ “Anybody Seen My Baby?”, lifted from k.d. lang & Ben Mink‘s “Constant Craving” was resolved by giving lang & Mink writing credit. Interesting, but not what I was looking for.




I had already known that Led Zepplin had ripped off Spirit‘s 1968 song “Taurus” and used it in “Stairway To Heaven” and that Spirit had toured with Led Zepplin in  1969. But there had to be more. And then I found it. An extensive list of Zep-pilfering. “Black Mountain Side“, appearing on the 1st Led Zeppelin album is a traditional English folk song that appears on Bert Jansch‘s 1966 album, Jack Orion as “Blackwaterside“, yet it is credited on the Zeppelin album as a Jimmy Page composition. Pretty slick!!  The same Zepnique was used again on “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You“, written in the 1950s by Anne Bredon (covered by Joan Baez in the 1960s) and credited by Zeppelin as “trad.,arr. Page”. In the 1990s it was changed to give Bredon credit for writing the song. The Led Zeppelin III song, ” Since I’ve Been Loving You” features lyrics taken from the  Moby Grape song “Never“. Is it coincidental that Moby Grape was one of Plant’s favorite bands? HA!

Bobby Parker

Bobby Parker

The guitar riff in “Moby Dick” is a nearly note for note rip-off of Bobby Parker‘s 1961 single, “Watch Your Step“. Jimmy Page was a Parker fan and at one time tried to sign him to Swan Song Records. “In My Time Of Dying“, a traditional blues song that has been recorded by many musicians since the early 1960s, was credited as being written by “Page, Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham”.  Great Zepnique. Again. Off of Zeppelin II, “The Lemon Song” borrows heavily from the Howlin’ Wolf song, “Killing Floor“. Credits again attribute the song to Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham. Another Zeppelin II song, “Bring It On Home” was written by Willie Dixon. However Willie Dixon was not given writing credit and Led Zeppelin was sued for copyright infringement. The case was settled out of court.

Jake Holmes

Jake Holmes

Whole Lotta Love“, again from Zeppelin II and the band’s 1st hit single, is not an original composition as the album credits originally claimed. The lyrics were taken from Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love” and this was settled out of court. Released on Zeppelin’s 1st album, “Dazed And Confused” was originally credited as being written by Jimmy Page. However, this is not the case. It was originally written by folk singer Jake Holmes who opened for The Yardbirds while Page was a member. Page arranged a version of it for The Yardbirds but he didn’t record a studio version until 1969 with Led Zeppelin. HA!

So there it is. There are many other cases of plagiarism in music, far too many to mention. This is not intended to slam Led Zeppelin but rather to ask my pal, Mr. K. is Led Zeppelin really a farce as implied on Howard Stern  or just the greatest cover band in music history? In any event, there you have it, my friend. Thievery, pilfering, song snatching, whatever you wish to call it, seems to run rampant on the Zeppelin. Should we start to question if the Zeppelin is actually theirs?


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

ss1Toronto’s Social Strife has just released their self titled 5 track EP.  Born out of their discouragement with typical radio fare, singer Sean Farro and guitarist Terry Doucette formed Social Strife to bring relevant social issues back to music.

The album opens with ‘You Were Nothing“, a classic punk-rock tune with guitar solos that rock, powerful drumming, and a great Ramones feeling. “Reign, with power chords and the customary guitar solo is a good hard rock song with great transitions and changes. The reggae influence of “MDMA”, merged with the power rock transitions create a unique sound for this band. The cool melody and tempo changes enhance the angst in the vocals. “Social Strife” is another hard rock-punk number. My favorite track, “Aliens And Freaks“, is more melodic than the others allowing Farro’s voice to stand out. The song incorporates strings and I swear I heard pizzicato violins! Steady drums, quieter guitar and great rock transitions make this a wonderful song.

ss2Social Strife have made good on their vow to bring the strife back to rock and roll. Lyrics entrenched in socio-political commentary and classic punk melodies combined with power chords and heavy drums, has created what can only be described as punk and roll. The songs are well crafted and the music is powerful. A solid debut effort and well worth a listen or two.

To listen to Social Strife, click the link:

You can see Social Strife live at Lee’s Palace in Toronto,on August 31, 2013


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

americaI was recently at the local track here in Toronto, and was surprised to see a billboard advertising a performance by America. America? “Ventura Highway“, “Lonely People“, “Sister Golden Hair“, America? Yep, that America. I was surprised for two reasons: What was this band doing playing at at race track, and secondly, can there really be an America without Dan Peek?

3dognightIt has become increasingly common for bands to continue on following the death or departure of one of the founding members. Years ago I went to Casino Rama to see Three Dog Night and was somewhat disappointed that only two of the Dogs appeared. Chuck Negron was not touring with the band at that time. It was a great show, but Chuck’s vocals were noticeably absent.

It appears that if the “front man” is strong and charismatic enough a band can go on without missing a beat following the departure of a member. The Rolling Stones moved on following the departure and subsequent untimely death of Brian Jones, replacing him with Mick Taylor and then with Ronnie Wood. Bill Wyman’s departure had no impact either-he was replaced by Darryl Jones. Following the death of Keith Moon in 1978, The Who released 2 albums of moderate success and disbanded in 1983. The remaining 3 members continued to perform until John Entwhistle’s death in 2002. Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend continue to perform as The Who, but are they really?

yes-band-np01Yes has taken to touring, performing entire albums of The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, and Going For The One. I was always a huge Yes fan. From Time And A Word up to Relayer. Never really like Going For The One or subsequent albums.. Hard to imagine Close To The Edge without Jon Anderson! Hard to imagine Yes without Jon Anderson!

INXS1INXS is another failed attempt to carry on. Following the death of singer Michael Hutchence in 1997, the band attempted to replace him with vocalists Jimmy Barnes, Terrance Trent D’arby and Jon Stevens. Really? With little success, the band participated in a reality show, Rock Star:INXS in 2005 and selected J.D. Fortune as their new lead singer. He was replaced by Ciaran Gribbon in 2011 and the band formally put an end to their misery in 2012.

Skynyrdpic7301The saddest of these attempts at carrying on, is Lynyrd Skynyrd. Following the death of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines in 1977, Skynyrd disbanded. 10 years later, they reformed, using Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie’s younger brother as vocalist. (There is a 3rd brother, Donnie, better known as the lead singer for 38 special). Currently there is only 1 original member left in the band. Yet they tour and record as Lynyrd Skynyrd!  Apparently, owning the name or getting consent to use the name, gives anyone an opportunity to try to be Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have heard this incarnation, and no one, and I mean no one can sing “Gimme Three Steps  “, “You Got That Right“, and “What’s Your Name” like Ronnie Van Zant. May as well they bring on “Miami” Steve Van Zandt as the front man! Yeah, I know its spelled differently, but what difference does it make? Still not Ronnie Van Zant!

The-BeatlesIs everyone replaceable in a band? Impossible to believe that any one of The Beatles could have left and the band carried on. Perhaps they would have had to find look a likes. AC/DC replaced Bon Scott and had remarkable success. Journey replaced Steve Perry with a sound alike. So who is dispensable? It doesn’t make much of a difference to me. Don’t try to sell me tickets to The Grateful Dead without Jerry Garcia. Don’t tell me The Band is reuniting without Danko, Helm and Manuel. And don’t ask me to listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd without Ronnie Van Zant.

Is it really so difficult to disband and carry on under a new name?  Would U2 be U2 without The Edge? Jefferson Airplane had the decency to reform as Jefferson Starship. Its not about respect but rather a belief that the great music that had been created should be a legacy of a great band. Leave it as such. Reform under a different name, but let me remember Lynyrd Skynyrd, INXS, America and many others as they were. Amazing bands with a catalog of great music. Replacements never quite do the music justice, and more often than not, destroy the legacy left by these incredibly gifted musicians.

A music scene in Buffalo?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

From out of Buffalo,New York, the home of The Goo Goo Dolls and Rick James, comes something old and new.  Two bands, with vastly different sounds have come to our attention and we believe they are worthy of a few listens.

simplexitySimplexity, a Progressive-Rock/Fusion band, formed in 1980. They play instrumental music that creates wonderful images. The songs are long and contain several different movements in one piece. With great off beat drumming, incredible guitar riffs and a fullness created by keyboards, the sound is reminiscent of King Crimson and Yes. The changes in tempo and time signature are so intriguing, that I didn’t mind that there were no vocals. The tracks that I listened to were from their Event Horizon CD, nearly 10 years old.  Currently working on a new project, Black And White, these guys are amazingly talented musicians.  A great listen and inspiring music.

To listen to Simplexity:

crc&haumsCRC & Haums, a new Buffalo band play what they refer to as Rock/Alternative Americana music. I listened to 3 tracks off a demo and was surprisingly glad I did. The instrumentation is simple, with only Haums’ guitar and electronic drums, keys, steel drums and horns. CRC (C.R. Couche) has a great voice. Intense yet sublime, falling somewhere between Johnny Cash and Jerry Garcia. There are great guitar riffs and solos and interesting melodies. These guys  make the kind of music they are interested in making. Original and very cool. Great songs and fun to listen to.

To listen to CRC & Haums:

ARMS OF THE GIRL-Versions Of Happiness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

aotg1The Ottawa based Arms Of The Girl released their third EP in late 2012. As a follow up to Recipe For Living (2008) and Warning Signs (2010),, Versions Of Happiness emerges as a slightly heavier project than the earlier recordings.

The EP is filled with power chords and clean, crisp guitar riffs. The songs have great hooks and melodies. The vocals are strong and are the focus of each song. There are country elements, but they are not overpowering, and are held in check by the rock riffs and strategically placed drum shots. “Going Down” has a subtle country twang to it, but David Cutler’s guitar keeps it rocking. The resulting sound works. In “Falling“,  a folk melody is sung over rock music. In “Easiest Hangover” , slide guitar appears, and the vocals are melodic and  soothing, singing “The easiest hangover I ever cured was you.” Great line.

aotg2Versions Of Happiness is a wonderful listen. Cathy Cote can sing. The band can play. The songs are well written and fun. The lyrics are insightful and ironic.  These are talented musicians with a cool EP.  Entertaining and enjoyable.  Alternative folk-rock, with a subtle country influence. A sort of Blue Rodeo bumping into Poco. Pretty cool.

You can hear Arms Of The Girl here:

THE COMEDY-Deadlights

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

comedy2Hailing from Montreal, The Comedy have unleashed a new take on Progressive Rock. The release of their album Deadlights, officially launched in June 2012, showcases beautifully created images through words and music.

The album is filled with dark, yet wonderfully haunting melodies within Progressive Rock themes. The vocals are disturbing dark and brooding and layered within the music so as not to be overpowering. The music itself is perfectly arranged and executed to induce images of social discontentment. The lyrical themes of alienation, isolation mechanization and desolation are prevalent throughout the album. From the somber mood of “Lighthouse” and “Lights/Depth” to the harsher sounds of “Dystopia” and “Machines”,  lines such as “…Keep these machines from killing me.”,  reflect on the bleak outlook of society and progress.

comedy1This is Alternative Progressive Rock with an edge. There are shades of King Crimson and Pink Floyd . The haunting guitars, heavy bass and drums and eerily set vocals have me believing that if Stephen King were to write music, it would sound like this. Interestingly, in the Stephen King novel IT, the monster’s eyes were referred to as deadlights.  John Cafferty sang about being On The Dark Side, but The Comedy are it.  A wonderful album, worthy of repeated listens and a place in your collection.

You can listen to Deadlights here: