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what exactly was a “rock & roll album” in those days?

WHAT EXACTLY IS A ROCK & ROLL ALBUM? To an­swer that ques­tion, we need to an­swer an­other: What is rock & roll music? After sixty years, we still don’t have a de­f­i­n­i­tion that everyone agrees with! Ar­gu­ments about its de­f­i­n­i­tion and its origin in the early ’50s—no wait, was it the late ’40s?—have [Continue reading]

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understanding riaa gold and platinum record awards

MOST INFORMATION on the In­ternet about gold and plat­inum records of the Six­ties is crap! That is, most of the “in­for­ma­tion” re­garding RIAA Gold and Plat­inum Records awarded to al­bums from the ’60s and early ’70s is fac­tu­ally in­cor­rect. This applies to al­most every web­site: the few that aren’t plain in­cor­rect are often un­in­ten­tion­ally mis­leading, and this in­cludes the RI­AA’s own website! [Continue reading]

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sex, love, hitchhiking, and other excitations

JUST AS LOVE AND SEX are not syn­ony­mous, nei­ther is a great song syn­ony­mous with a great record. Hell’s Belles, in such genres as rock & roll and rhythm & blues and even country & western, a great song may ac­tu­ally im­pede the making of a great record! This is es­pe­cially so if the artist and the pro­ducer focus too much on a pretty melody or a clever lyric and not on the ac­tual making of the record. [Continue reading]

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did sid vicious, elvis, and sinatra really do it their way?

HOW HAVE WE MISSED THE OBVIOUS for so long? Look, I know that old-school rock & roll fans in gen­eral and Elvis fans specif­i­cally are sup­posed to re­ac­tionarily hate punk rock—and most do! But the punks of the ’70s were car­rying on some of the spirit of the ’50s rock & roll that we love so much—especially the un­tamed Elvis of the Dorsey Brother Shows! [Continue reading]

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cantaloupe eyes come to me tonight

WHEN I ARRIVED AT MY OFFICE on a day in early 1987, I was handed a package that had ar­rived ear­lier. As I worked at home more often than “at work,” my schedule of ar­riving and de­parting varied from day to day. My job was ed­itor of a line of price guides for record col­lec­tors pub­lished by O’­Sul­livan Wood­side and for­merly as­so­ci­ated with other authors. [Continue reading]