The Best Classic Rock Spotify Playlists

Author: Danny Abriano, Entertainment

When people first hear about my taste in music, I’m often told I was born in the wrong generation.

While being born around 1950 (as my father was) and experiencing this music fresh in my teens and 20s would’ve been awesome, it’s great that it’s all at my fingertips now.

And while I prefer vinyl over all else, you can never go wrong with an awesome Spotify Playlist. Here are five of the best classic rock ones out there…

 

Acoustic Classic Rock (user: julesrobinson)

The word ‘acoustic’ doesn’t immediately come to mind when thinking of classic rock, but the era produced a few mainly acoustic acts – such as Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, and Nash (featured here).

But even Led Zeppelin, one of the most kickass bands ever, stripped things down every now and then. The classic Going To California is here, as is Over The Hills And Far Away and more.

Also included are lesser-known but revered songwriters such as Harry Chapin and Jim Croce, as well as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and others.

 

Classic Rock Workout (user: dannyschwartz25)

If you’re heading to the gym, working out at home, or just want something to amp you up, this playlist is for you.

I’ll admit, though, that the presence of songs from the Rocky IV soundtrack is what first attracted me to this playlist. But it’s awesome.

Also included are songs from Queen, Journey, Boston, Van Halen, BTO, Aerosmith and more.

One of the highlights here is the Beastie Boys’ Fight For Your Right, which is technically rap, but has classic rock elements. Just a great inclusion.

 

Classic Rock Greatest Hits (user: Scott Pruden)

I couldn’t possibly write this article without including a playlist that has tons of songs from the Beatles, and this one has over 60 of them – roughly a quarter of the bands’ catalogue.

The Beatles tracks here run the gamut, from their early Beatlemania days to the much more involved tracks on the Abbey Road LP.

While I’m going on about the Beatles, check out ten of their most under appreciated tracks.

Other highlights of this playlist include plenty of songs from The Band (whose members don’t always get their due), Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison and Badfinger – whose last surviving member, Joey Molland, performed at The Fest For Beatles Fans a few weeks ago in Chicago.

 

Classic Rock Road Trip (user: Daniel Fanaroff)

When I think of road trips and the summer, The Eagles are the band that comes to mind. And lots of their classics, such as Hotel California, Peaceful Easy Feeling and Tequila Sunrise are included here.

Another one of my favorite tunes – Into The Mystic by Van Morrison – is the first song on this playlist.

Also included here are tracks from Bruce Springsteen (whose storytelling style fits perfectly), AC/DC, The Allman Brothers, Cream, Tom Petty and more.

 

Classic Rock (user: Filtr Finland)

This article couldn’t possibly be complete without tracks from Jimi Hendrix, whose All Along The Watchtower and Foxey Lady can be found here.

The amazing and oft-overlooked ELO also has three tracks here, including the incredible Mr. Blue Sky.

Rounding this playlist out are songs from Lou Reed, The Romantics and Santana – whose set at Woodstock is one of the best things you’ll ever see.

The Game of Thrones Concert Experience is Coming

Author: Danny Abriano, Entertainment

Game of Thrones won’t be returning for Season 7 until some point in the summer of 2017, but there will be something to keep fans occupied between now and then.

The Game of Thrones Concert Experience, which will feature an orchestra, choir and imagery from the series that will be displayed on an enormous screen behind the stage, is set to open next February 15 in Kansas City and tour various spots around the United States.

The show will feature the music of Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi.

I already had my mind set on going before I saw the amazing staging for it, though I was a bit skeptical of what the experience would be like. Now, how can any Thrones fan look at the above image and not be pumped?

Thrones executive producers/writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss released a statement about the Concert Experience:

“The GoT Concert Experience will be unique in the history of concert tours, an eye-popping, ear-splitting, phantasmagoric blend of the show’s visuals and Ramin’s powerful compositions. We are more excited for it than anyone.”

Throughout its first six seasons, the music on Thrones – along with the sharp dialogue, blood, gratuitous sex, and humor from Tyrion – has been one of its staples. The opening sequence, the ominous Rains of Castamere before the Red Wedding episode scarred everyone for life, the Winds of Winter from the last episode of Season 6, the various themes for each house…it’s all insanely good.

And having it come to life in large venues with staging to match seems like something that will be quite special.

Tickets for the shows went on sale on August 13 and there are still lots of tickets available at reasonable prices. Snatch yours up before Winter comes.

All About The Fest For Beatles Fans

Author: Danny Abriano, Entertainment

The Fest For Beatles Fans, originally known as Beatlefest, began in New York City 42 years ago and has been going strong there ever since.

Shortly after its New York debut, which came with John Lennon’s blessing, the Fest also started having yearly conventions in Chicago, where it celebrated its 40th anniversary at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in 2016.

I’ve been attending the Fest since I was four years old and have been working for them for the last three years on social media, communications, planning and more, so the awesomeness of it is ingrained in me. For those who have never attended a Fest, though, it’s truly something that needs to be experienced to be understood.

And if you’re a Beatles fan who lives anywhere near New York or Chicago and haven’t gotten yourself to a Fest yet, remedying that should be at the top of your list.

Before going into details, here’s the gist…

The Fest — which was founded by Mark Lapidos, who still produces each one — takes place each March or April in the New York Metro area and each August in Chicago, running from Friday to Sunday, with every single event and activity included in the price of admission.

If you only spend one day at the Fest (many fans spend the entire weekend there, staying over at the aforementioned hotel), you might not be able to see everything, but the highlights include…

Special guests, which in Chicago have included Klaus Voormann (recorded with all four Beatles, designed the Revolver cover), Peter Asher (of Peter and Gordon, legendary producer), Joey Molland of Badfinger, guitar virtuoso Albert Lee and Ringo Starr’s former producer Mark Hudson.

All of the above guests except Voormann have performed in their own concerts, telling stories of their experiences with the Beatles and mingling with fans. But their presence just scratches the surface of what the Fest is all about.

Other events and activities at the Fest include the Battle of the Beatles Bands, the Giant International Beatles Marketplace, Beatles Yoga and Transcendental Meditation, the Beatles Art Contest, movie screenings and an all-day video room, the FABoratory Beatles experimental zone, Beatles art exhibits, an interactive 3D Paul McCartney exhibit, panels and discussions with Beatles authors and historians, the Beatles sound-alike contest, puppet shows, the Beatles parade and the Apple Jam stage — a second stage where local acts will be playing Beatles-centric shows Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday.

While all of that Beatleness is going on throughout the hotel, the Main Stage goes strong each day with concerts from the musical guests listed above, The Weeklings, School of Rock Chicago and many others. There are also charity raffles and Beatles auctions on this stage, appearances by George Harrison’s sister, Louise, the world premiere of the Mad Day Out book, whose photographer took snaps of the Beatles in 1968 and lots more.

The highlight of each night is the concert by Liverpool — truly the greatest Beatles tribute band in the world — whose performances are strictly music-based. Translation? These guys don’t dress up or talk like the Beatles, since true Beatles fans shouldn’t be infantilized.

Liverpool’s focus is on note-for-note covers of Beatles hits and lesser-known (if you’re a die-hard fan there’s no such thing as lesser known) cuts, which they attack with the same ferocity and drive of the Fab Four.

In 2016, Liverpool played Revolver in full as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of that groundbreaking album, and also played dozens of other Beatles cuts and jamming with the Fest’s special musical guests — and their Saturday and Sunday concerts featuree a light show. And raucous Grand Jam finales where some of the fans are regularly pulled up on stage.

But even with all of the incredible things going on at the Fest, one of the most integral parts of it – and a big reason why fans keep coming back year after year — is the communal feeling.

When I tell people about the Fest, their most common reaction is to ask if it’s akin to a convention at the Javits Center or similar to Comic Con. No. This is more like a three-day party that invites you in, eventually engulfs you and makes you wish it would never end.

From when the Fest kicks off on a Friday until it technically ends late Sunday night, fans gather throughout the hotel for small and large jam sessions. And decorate their hotel room doors with all things Beatles. And dance. And party.

So, from the time you walk into the Fest until the time you leave, no matter where you are in the hotel or what time it is, there will be Beatles music in the air while like-minded Beatles fanatics celebrate the continuing power of the greatest band in history. What more could you possibly ask for?

Why I’m a Boy Band Addict, Part 1

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

Ah yes, the specific sub-genre of pop music so hated and loved by so many: boy bands.

I’m a 27-year-old with a Bachelor’s degree and a job in my chosen field, but I’ve still got a thing for guys who sing songs about love while gesturing toward their hearts — you know the move I’m talking about, and I’m betting you just pictured it too. After nearly 19 years as a massive pop fan, I’m resigned to the fact that I am, and probably always will be, a boy band addict.

The appeal for me is simply undeniable. Their marketing is brilliant, their songs are always so darn catchy and it’s fun! I guarantee if you bust out a boy band track it will have you dancing before the first chorus comes around. Truth be told, I’ve had a love affair with multiple boy bands over the years — Backstreet Boys, New Kids on the Block, 5ive, Westlife and One Direction (I’m not ashamed to admit it, that concert was super fun) to name a few. I’ve even been known to listen to The Wanted, 98 Degrees and O-Town.

I wasn’t always this way though, I had a life before boy bands… a life before my first headlong dive into bubblegum pop… a life before *NSYNC…

Okay, so I didn’t have much of a life. I was eight! The year was 1998 and boy bands were on the rise again after grunge had invaded the airwaves a few years prior. I for one was vehemently against boy band pop… at least for a little while. I grew up listening to my mother’s music in the car. Lady powerhouses like Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Whitney Houston and my idol Celine Dion filled up the soundtrack of my life.

Girls in my elementary school were already fangirling over boy bands but I just didn’t get it. I didn’t want to be into what everyone else was going crazy for. So what if they were good looking boys?! So what if they could dance?! I wanted to be different! I was not going to like something just because it was gaining popularity! And then it happened…

It seems strange that one of the strongest childhood memories I can recall involves a band. But I think this is the exact point where I began to appreciate other styles of music beyond what my mom listened to. It was February vacation and my then 13-year-old cousin was sleeping over at my house. My cousin turned around from her place in the front seat of the car and took out a CD. She asked me if I knew the band pictured on the front and of course I didn’t. The band was called *NSYNC and within ten minutes, she made sure I knew each of the members by name.

Chris was the one with the messy hair hanging down in front of his face, Joey had a goatee and mustache. JC had brown, spiky hair and Justin and Lance were both blonde. As soon as we went to my room and set up the sleeping arrangements for the night we popped *NSYNC’s album into my boom box (there I go again, making myself feel old).

From the very first line of Tearin’ Up My Heart I was hooked! To make matters worse, my eight-year-old heart had been captured by one blue eyed, frosted haired guy — Justin Timberlake.

I watched the Disney Channel concert special, memorized the choreography from I Want You Back and Tearin’ Up My Heart and I even liked to pretend Justin Timberlake was singing God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You just to me.

*NSYNC’s sophomore album No Strings Attached smashed CD sale records but also brought up unpleasant feelings against former boy band mastermind, Lou Pearlman. When you hear your favorite boy bands (yup, that’s more than one) have been cheated out of hard-earned cash, the fangirl claws will come out! Pearlman threatened the band members with stripping them of their name, and fans came out in droves to support them.

*NSYNC got the last laugh as their second album gave them the chance to defy the manager who sought to ruin them and poke a little fun at him as well (get it? Because they cut ties with him… and they won’t be his puppets?) all while selling millions of albums in the first week. I wore the No Strings Attached album out-so much so that I had to get a replacement for Christmas that year!

On their third studio album, Celebrity, Justin Timberlake took the lead for a whole song, a track entitled Gone and perhaps this should have been a sign of things to come. Breakout single Pop promised fans that the band wasn’t going anywhere and anyone who didn’t like their brand of music was jealous…but it wasn’t meant to last. Chris, Lance, JC, Joey and Justin went on a break and although fans assumed it was in preparation for a new album after a successful tour, those rumored plans never came to fruition.

In August 2013, *NSYNC reformed as part of the opening medley performed by Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award recipient and band mate Justin Timberlake on the occasion of the MTV Video Music Awards. After a few moments of the 15-minute set, the eight- year-old who first fell in love with pop music was back and squealing louder than ever!

Even after 14 years, I can still listen to *NSYNC’s albums and not feel one bit badly that I’m a (sometimes) grown-up who jams out to the bubblegum music that made up her childhood. After all this time I still know all the words and can vividly picture myself rocking out in my mom’s green Oldsmobile or watching Disney Channel for a second’s glance at the guy who is still the man of my dreams.

So here’s to my first favorite band and my first favorite boy band and the band that started this unending obsession with slick dance moves and multi-part harmonies. “Do Your Thing.”

5 Musical Acts to See Before it’s Too Late

Author: Danny Abriano, Entertainment

Even in the age of digital music, with pretty much every song a click away via Spotify, there’s nothing quite like live music, when the sound goes right through you as you scream every word. But if you’re a fan of classic rock, time might be running out for you to see some of your favorites before they stop touring and ride off into the sunset.

There are still dozens of stars from the ’60s and ’70s putting on concerts, but here are five acts you should be sure to see before it’s too late…

Paul McCartney
The former Beatle, who was the only member of the Fab Four who loved playing live all the way through the group’s time together, has been touring regularly since the mid-’70s.

At 74 years old, Paul McCartney’s stage presence and energy remains second-to-none. And if you’ve never seen him before, the little stories he tells between songs are, collectively, one of the highlights of the show.

If you see Sir Paul in concert, you’re guaranteed to get close to three hours of awesomeness, with him playing mostly his Beatles hits and solo hits while mixing in just a bit of his more obscure and/or newer stuff. And you might get a surprise, too, as fellow rock stars often show up to his shows to jam. Ringo Starr recently said he’d love to tour with McCartney, so don’t be surprised if he shows up to a show sometime soon.

Want to sing Let It Be with 50,000 people as McCartney sits behind the piano? This show is for you.

Currently on Tour? Yes, touring the U.S. through August, with four additional shows in California in October.

Bob Dylan
Full disclosure: I’m an enormous Bob Dylan fan but have yet to see him live. Why? Because friends who have seen him in concert have told me his shows are either vintage Dylan or total disasters.

My love for all things Dylan is so high that I haven’t yet been willing to risk attending a ‘bad’ show, thus skewing my image of him. But I’m probably being foolish and will most likely see him soon.

Dylan, 75, plays smaller venues these days, and his recent set lists have included only a few of his more popular songs. His show on July 17 included only three songs casual Dylan fans would know – She Belongs To Me, Tangled Up In Blue and Blowin’ In The Wind.

But is it worth the price of admission to hear vintage Dylan sing just one of those songs? I’d say yes.

Currently on Tour? No, but he has two dates at the ‘Desert Trip’ in California this October.

Billy Joel
I’ve seen Billy Joel twice – once at Madison Square Garden in the early-2000s and again at Shea Stadium during the Last Play at Shea in 2008. And both shows were life-changing.

If you’re from the New York area and dig classic rock, odds are that you love Billy Joel. And if you haven’t seen him yet, what are you waiting for?

Joel is 67 years old but his shows are still raucous, energy-filled affairs where he plays 25 or so songs (including legendary encores). And unlike the aforementioned Dylan, Joel gives the fans what they want, playing mostly his biggest hits.

Currently on Tour? Yes, this summer and fall in the U.S. and Europe, with shows each month at his residency at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

The Rolling Stones
Mick Jagger just turned 73 years old this week and the Stones – with guitarist Keith Richards understandably not having the playing chops he had in the early days – don’t rock quite as hard as they used to. But they’re still the Stones, one of the best bands ever. And as long as Jagger and Richards (who reportedly despise each other) are willing to play together, they’re worth seeing.

Like Dylan, I haven’t yet seen the Stones live, but they’re right at the top of my list.

As far as what to expect at a Stones show, it’ll be shorter than the ones McCartney and Joel put on (about 18 songs including the encore), but will be filled with hits. At a show this past March, they tore through classics such as Paint It Black, Honky Tonk Women, Gimme Shelter and Satisfaction.

Currently on Tour? Yes, the Stones have two shows in California and one in Las Vegas in October.

Bruce Springsteen
I saw The Boss at the old Meadowlands about ten years ago, before the place was torn down, and it was everything I hoped it would be. Springsteen is famous for his incredibly energetic, ridiculously long concerts, and he’s kept that legacy going even at the age of 66.

What makes Springsteen’s shows extra special is the continued presence of the E-Street Band, including drummer Max Weinberg and guitarists Steve Van Zandt and Nils Lofgren. The band absolutely wails while Springsteen does his thing, and it’s one of the most perfect combinations you’ll ever see.

Springsteen and the band will ordinarily play for three hours or more – they rocked out to 35 songs during their most recent concert, with hits mixed in with obscure tracks and some covers.

Currently on Tour? Yes, Springsteen is touring Europe right now, but will be heading back to the U.S. in August, with the first show in Jersey.