Running with the Devil

I recently ran across this video on Youtube. This is supposedly the first live recording of the song “Running with the Devil,” the first track on side one of Van Halen’s self-titled debut album.  It was recorded in Pasadena on May 29, 1976.

I saw this song performed live in October 1982 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. The band was in the middle of their Diver Down tour. The show was on October 9, the day before David Lee Roth’s birthday, so the guys encouraged the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to him.

I saw this show the week after seeing 38 Special, which I saw a week after seeing Blue Oyster Cult. My ears were ringing until Christmas. Good times.

Go, Go Godzilla

I saw this on Youtube the other day. Blue Oyster Cult did a remote live performance of their hit “Godzilla.”

I saw this song performed live – and in person, when such a thing was the norm – back in 1982 in Potsdam, NY. I saw .38 Special the following week, and Van Halen the week after that. Needless to say, my ears were ringing for a few weeks afterward. But great shows all.

Programming note: I hope to have my Friday movie quote up by early afternoon tomorrow. I need to get back into the habit of regular posting here. I’ve been falling down on the job for too long.

critics gonna critic

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the disparity between critics and fans. Just look at the Rotten Tomatoes critic score for The Joker: 69%. The fan score is 88%. That’s a pretty big gap. But it pales in comparison that the critic-fan divide for Dave Chapelle’s Sticks and Stones. While 99% fans liked it, only 35% of critics gave it a thumbs-up. Were they even watching the same movie? (FWIW, I loved it.)

Of course, critics being out of touch with the hoi polloi is nothing new. I’m old enough to remember that there were critics who hated Star Wars when it was released in 1977. I was reminded of this when I saw this Youtube video yesterday. Our “betters” aren’t just out of touch when it comes to movies. They often miss the mark on music too. And probably a lot of other things, if we’re being honest here. It serves as a nice reminder that “appeals to authority” are logical fallacies for a reason.

35 years in the black

ACDC-BackInBlackOn this date in 1980, rock band AC/DC released the album Back in Black. It was the band’s seventh studio album, and their first with lead singer Brian Johnson, who replaced the late Bon Scott. It has been certified as the second best-selling album of all time. Back in Black, in my humble opinion, is tied with Led Zeppelin II as the greatest rock and roll album of all time. Hard to believe it’s been 35 years already. Time flies when you’re alive.

Here’s a video of the album’s title track.

sad news from the world of rock and roll

There has been speculation for months now about the medical condition of AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young. This week, we finally got an answer. And it isn’t good news.

The family of founding AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young has confirmed the illness that forced the 61-year-old to quit the band. “Malcolm is suffering from dementia and the family thanks you for respecting their privacy,” they said in a statement, according to People.

The group had previously announced in April that Young would be taking a break from the band and that it would be recording a new record without him. When AC/DC announced that it would be putting out the record, Rock or Bust, this fall, they confirmed that Young would not be returning to the band, “due to the nature of Malcolm’s condition.” They did not go into the specifics of the illness.

Young’s nephew, Stevie Young, played rhythm guitar in Malcolm’s stead on Rock or Bust. He will also be filling in for the elder Young on the group’s upcoming world tour in 2015.

Wow, that’s a tough break. Godspeed, Malcolm Young. Thank you for the years of rocking awesomeness.

this day in crime history: june 1, 1948

On this date in 1948, bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson (not to be confused with another musician who had appropriated his name), was murdered during a robbery in Chicago, IL. Williamson was walking home after playing a gig at Chicago’s Plantation Club when he was attacked. His last words were reported to have been, “Lord have mercy.”

Further reading:

The Blues Harp Page – Sonny Boy Williamson I

Fact Monster – Sonny Boy Williamson

Wikipdeia – Sonny Boy Williamson I

kiss off

So KISS is finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. About damned time, I say! Sadly, the band will not be performing at the ceremony. Apparently there’s some controversy over what lineup should perform. And there’s also still some animosity toward former members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Bummer. I’d like to see another performance by the original lineup. But hey, we’ll always have Youtube.