R&RHOF Playlist

R&RHOF Playlist – Spotify

Steve Miller Band

From the fourth album, of the same title.

I didn’t buy it, although I did go to the Fillmore East to see the band headline. I got turned on to this track by XM, before the merger, on Deep Tracks. Funny how these gems are sitting there waiting for discovery. It’s the Steve Miller Band track that goes through my head most these days.

Steve Miller Band

The opening cut on the third album, which is still my favorite, that inspired me to go see the band at the Fillmore.

We’re driving fast
From a dream of the past
To the brave new world

Aficionados were disappointed by the third LP, which featured a simple yellow gatefold cover and little information. Maybe they were mad at the departure of Boz Scaggs, but the album’s a gem that will reward upon listening. I discovered it in the basement of a fraternity house on the University of Chicago campus, wherein I made friends with Paul Volberding, ultimately a famous AIDS doctor in San Francisco, who spun it constantly.

Steve Miller Band

The best track on “Brave New World,” labeled just “Kow Kow” upon initial release, this is magical, illustrating the importance of arrangement and the attraction of Steve Miller’s voice. Hang in there until the end when it becomes much more intense. This is the essence of classic rock, when it was about testing limits more than having a hit, and there wasn’t one on “Brave New World,” not one that would play on AM radio.

Steve Miller Band

The most famous track on “Brave New World,” an instant classic you got upon the first listen, it was all over FM radio for years, is the younger generation even aware of it?

Steve Miller Band

The closing track on “Brave New World,” listen for Paul McCartney’s unmistakable backup vocal, never mind drums and bass.

Steve Miller Band

The cut that made me a satellite radio fan, I’d never heard it on the radio ever, when it came pouring out of the speakers on XM in January of 2004 I was transported back to that summer in Chicago. If you think you know Steve Miller, when you listen to this, you will find out you don’t. It sounds nothing like the radio hits from years later. This is dreamy and fantastic. If you listen to one cut on this playlist, let this be it.

Steve Miller Band

From the 1968 debut LP, “Children Of The Future,” this is arguably Boz Scaggs’s finest moment. Ethereal…from back when music set your mind free, adrift, so it could get into nooks and crannies and you could discover who you truly were, when being an individual was important.

Steve Miller Band

From the second album, the second in 1968. You may not know this is Steve Miller, you may not have even heard it. But when you listen to it not only will you instantly get it, you’ll regret that you were not around to experience it and the lifestyle that inspired it, back in 1968, when you had to leave your house to communicate and we were not competing for likes on social media, when everything was truly about the momentary experience, and your friends.

Steve Miller Band

Somebody give me a cheeseburger!

It’s about career-defining tracks more than hits. Cut one that’s indelible and eventually the audience will catch up with you.

Also from “Sailor,” the second album.

Steve Miller Band

Because it was such a surprise, emanating from the car speakers, Steve Miller was already in the rearview mirror and then he dropped this less than three minute magical moment and suddenly he was back.

Steve Miller Band

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future

Ain’t that the truth.

Once upon a time this was just an album track, part of Steve Miller’s oeuvre, now it’s a cultural institution. Sure it was a hit single, but no one ever thought it would be REMEMBERED!

Steve Miller Band

Why they still come out to see Steve, why his audience always regenerates. It’s the power of rock and roll. We need a return to roots.

Steve Miller Band

Written by Paul Pena, this is my favorite latter-day Steve Miller Band track, it’s the riff, the changes, the vocal…and the way that guitar stings.

Come on, this goes through your head every time you go to the airport, right? Or maybe you never fly.

I might get rich, you know I might get busted

Back from when life was a lark, when you weren’t buying insurance, from when you had no idea what an investment bank was, before tech, when everything good was going on in your head.

And now, here’s a special treat, the original Paul Pena recording of “Jet Airliner,” due to the magic of YouTube, it’s not on Spotify.

Paul Pena – Jet Airliner (The Original)

He’s dead now, but before he passed I saw him at the Wiltern, in the early part of this century, he demonstrated the Tuvan throat-singing he was famous for and sang this.

Steve Miller Band

Who came up with the riff first, Joe Walsh or David Denny who wrote this? It may not matter, both tracks kill. And notice that Joe Walsh, who recorded “Rocky Mountain Way” first, did not sue. Oh, how times have changed.

Steve Miller Band

From 1986’s “Livin’ In The 20th Century,” you might have heard this instrumental leading up to the news, back when they used to do that.

It’s incredible.

Cheap Trick

It’s all about the second album, “In Color,” word spread, it was the talk of Rhino Records, when that was still a shop on Westwood Boulevard. There was never a new Beatles, but Cheap Trick digested the essence and built upon it. Sure, the hit was ultimately the one on the “Budokan” album, but despite its energy, I still prefer the studio iteration.

Cheap Trick

“I Want You To Want Me” is on the first side, but the second side is “In Color”‘s masterpiece. There’s a Beatlesque change in the middle of this, despite rocking harder than so much of the Beatles’ catalog.

Cheap Trick

This comes next. It’s a tear. With a rockin’ Robin Zander vocal akin to that of Paul McCartney’s when he’s doing his best Little Richard.

Cheap Trick

Reminiscent of “California Girls,” but not. It’s got a great, hooky chorus that puts a smile on your face.

Cheap Trick

Zander is imploring you. And we were receptive, we went along.

Cheap Trick

The second side closer, it’s my favorite cut on the LP, even though I’d never say it’s the best.

If the band had never done anything more, I’d have said they deserve to be in the R&RHOF. But they wandered and were never quite this consistently great again, even though people love “Dream Police,” but…if Rush is inside, Cheap Trick should be too!

Cheap Trick

Jack Douglas did the first LP, and despite the band opening shows with “ELO Kiddies,” this is the best cut on the record. You may not know it, but you should.

Cheap Trick

Tom Werman did “In Color” and he did “Heaven Tonight” too, although the latter rocked harder, and ultimately so did Werman, with Ted Nugent and Molly Hatchet and more. This second side opener is my favorite on “Heaven Tonight,” it’s the one I sing in my head, it’s made by Rick Nielsen’s thunderous riff.

Cheap Trick

A classic, kinda like the “hits” of the Ramones, those in the know loved it but it didn’t penetrate the public consciousness upon release, that took decades. The best lines…

Then I woke up
Mom and dad are rollin’ on the couch
Rollin’ numbers, rock and rollin’
Got my KISS records out

Too many tracks live in their own rarefied air, but the KISS reference always cracked me up, Cheap Trick were definitely living in the mid-seventies.

This is Cheap Trick at its greatest, and when I think of all the wankers who never achieve this height these days I reconsider my earlier statement and must declare…CHEAP TRICK ABSOLUTELY BELONG IN THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME!

Cheap Trick

Written by Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne’s long forgotten compatriot in the Move. Just think of an Englishman writing this…

Cheap Trick

What “Dream Police”‘s reputation is built upon. It’s nine minutes and twenty seconds long and entrances you, especially if you’ve got zits and have never been laid.

Cheap Trick

Almost as long, this closes side two of “Dream Police,” just like “Gonna Raise Hell” ended side two. This sounds as good to me as it did back then.

Cheap Trick

And then the band went into the wilderness. Lost the plot. Stopped having hits. It’s almost as if “Budokan” sapped the band’s energy, stopped them in their tracks, delayed their career course, and they could never get back on track. One of their experiments, while at loose ends, was to work with Queen’s majordomo, Roy Thomas Baker, and this magical track appears on 1982’s “One On One.” It holds up extremely well.

Cheap Trick

And after working with Todd Rundgren, the band returned to its initial producer, Jack Douglas, and came up with this gem that got little traction but is as great as anything the band has ever done. It’s got all the elements, an enticing Robin Zander vocal and walls of Rick Nielsen’s guitars.

Not to mention the power and the changes, it channels all the teen angst in the world and its only equivalent is the Tubes’ “White Punks On Dope,” that’s the only track I know that also channels teen frustration and climbs to the mountaintop. Yes, listen to “Tonight It’s You,” it starts at sea level and goes all the way to the top of Mt. Everest. All the Active Rock posers should check this out and realize they’re not shooting high enough.

Cheap Trick

I know, they didn’t write it, they hate it, but whomever is responsible for the underlying material, they positively made it their own. A gigantic hit, a return to form, this is everything Cheap Trick represents, emotion and feeling, changes and rock and roll religion, all encapsulated on wax. Can you ask for more?

I can’t.

Deep Purple

I know, they had a hit back in ’68 with “Hush,” on Bill Cosby’s Tetragrammaton Records, their “In Rock” was a hard rock classic, but it was this, in its live iteration on the “Made In Japan” double live album that earned the band its place in rock history. Shame on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for not inducting Deep Purple before this.

I know, Michael Jackson is a cultural icon who’s sold 30 million records, but I’d argue more people have heard “Smoke On The Water,” it was certainly more influential. It cemented riff rock, it inspired legions of young men to pick up the guitar, turn it up and it eliminates all other thoughts and sounds in the universe. It got me through the summer of ’73, when I was doing a minimum wage job and wondering how I was gonna survive. Come on, with a Frank Zappa reference to boot!

The highway stars with multiple lead singers and players should crank the Marshalls to the point where the effete Manhattan industrialists who believe music is about the head and not the heart, the eyes and not the genitals, put their fingers in their ears and run streaming from the induction hall.

If you don’t think “Smoke On The Water” is the essence of rock and roll, pure bedrock, you’re sentenced to listening to Patti Page on endless repeat, you’re just damn LAZY, HA!

Chicago Transit Authority

I certainly do. It’s way past the time I was due for dinner, and I feel guilty, a friend I rarely see is leaving town tomorrow and I want to connect, so…

Let me just say it’s all about the first double LP. CTA built upon the horn section ethos pioneered by Electric Flag and Blood, Sweat & Tears and took it into the stratosphere!

A double album debut at a discount price, it’s one of the great musical experiences, from this to “Beginnings” to their cover of “I’m A Man” to “Questions 67 And 68” to “Listen” the debut is a forgotten masterpiece of musicality that is a calling card for a deserved induction.

Sure, they ultimately had hits, they got ballady and syrupy, but when Terry Kath was alive and in the band they rocked harder than so many wimps already in the Hall.

Why is it a crime to know how to play?

And while we’re at it, who’s going to bring horns back?


We didn’t know. They were right. They were speaking the truth of the street.

Hip-hop still rules, Dr. Dre is a legend who cannot get enough respect.

Furthermore, the message applies just as much today as it did back then.

Sure, we’ve got to be safe, but before that and first and foremost we need RESPECT!

About time these deserving, overlooked acts from the past were included in the canon installed in Cleveland.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

And now we can say the same thing about the committee.

And although I’m laughing, I’M HAPPY ABOUT IT!

Comments are closed