Rock and Roll Heaven
For this Episode we’ll feature singers and their signature songs or songs that have become fan favorites after their passing. Many of these rockers blended their sound with soul, folk, and other styles, so I hope you’ll feel like you’re listening to an eclectic music jam in the next world.
Rock and Roll Heaven The Righteous Brothers (00:00:45)
Hello, I Love You The Doors (00:04:38)
Little Wing Jimi Hendrix (00:07:09)
Piece of My Heart Janis Joplin (00:09:46)
Time In a Bottle Jim Croce (00:14:06)
Try a Little Tenderness Otis Redding (00:16:58)
Dream Lover Bobby Darin (00:20:40)
Unchained Melody The Righteous Brothers (00:23:34)
Not Fade Away The Crickets (00:27:45)
Chantilly Lace Big Bopper (00:30:11)
La Bamba Ritchie Valens (00:32:52)
American Pie Don McLean (00:35:28)
James Dean Eagles (00:44:38)
Travelin’ Man Ricky Nelson (00:48:33)
A Change Is Gonna Come Sam Cooke (00:51:22)
Have You Ever Loved Somebody The Everly Brothers (00:55:06)
Daydream Believer Monkees (00:58:14)
Oh, Pretty Woman Roy Orbison (01:01:12)
Dream a Little Dream of Me The Mamas & The Papas (01:04:42)
With a Little Help From My Friends Joe Cocker (01:07:54)
A Song For You Leon Russell (01:12:57)
If I Can Dream Elvis Presley (01:17:36)
I Started a Joke Bee Gees (01:21:02)
Something The Beatles (01:24:45)
Imagine John Lennon (01:28:15)
Sentimental Lady Bob Welch (01:31:30)
Annie’s Song John Denver (01:35:15)
Cat’s In The Cradle Harry Chapin (01:38:12)
Same Old Lang Syne Dan Fogelberg (01:41:52)
Free Bird Lynyrd Skynyrd (01:47:45)
Without You Nilsson (01:57:02)
Shining Star Earth, Wind & Fire (02:01:09)
Still You Turn Me On Emerson, Lake & Palmer (02:04:27)
Heroes David Bowie (02:07:38)
Pride and Joy Stevie Ray Vaughan (02:11:41)
One Year of Love Queen (02:16:28)
Addicted to Love Robert Palmer (02:20:46)
Freedom! ‘90 George Michael (02:26:29)
I Would Die 4 U Prince and The Revolution (02:33:30)
Man In the Mirror Michael Jackson (02:36:22)
(Your Love is Lifting Me) Higher and Higher Jackie Wilson (02:43:11)
What’s Going On Marvin Gaye (02:45:58)
Night Shift Commodores (02:49:43)
Hello and welcome to LoveLane Radio, where we celebrate life with love, joy and music. I’m your host, Linda Davison. As the years go by we’re losing more and more of our music legends, with many passing away at a young age. This show, Rock and Roll Heaven, will be a tribute to extraordinary singers who left us too soon. I hope to devote future shows to more brilliant musicians on the other side, there are so many! For this Episode we’ll feature singers and their signature songs or songs that have become fan favorites after their passing. Many of these rockers blended their sound with soul, folk, and other styles, so I hope you’ll feel like you’re listening to an eclectic music jam in the next world.
Let’s get started with our Show’s title track, Rock and Roll Heaven, which was a 1974 Hit for The Righteous Brothers.
SONG 1 Rock And Roll Heaven The Righteous Brothers
The Righteous Brothers sang of six music legends who were gone two soon, and we’ll start our show with music from these six. The first three were 60’s Superstars who all passed at the age of 27.
Los Angeles declared January 4, 2017 as “Day of the Doors” to mark the 50th Anniversary of this band’s debut album. Jim Morrison was a UCLA graduate and LA’s famed Whiskey a Go Go helped launch this California band. From 1968, here’s songwriter Jim singing a rocking song that would become the group’s first international hit.
SONG 2 Hello, I Love You The Doors
Jimi Hendrix was one of the most influential electric guitarists ever and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.” Jimi dazzled the world with performances at the Monterey Pop Fest, Woodstock, and the Miami Pop Festival, which was the first major rock event on America’s East Coast.
We’ll play “Little Wing” which was written by Jimi and is one of several of his songs about a woman who might be a guardian angel.
SONG 3 Little Wing Jimi Hendrix
Like Jim and Jimi, Janis Joplin passed at age 27, and stunned the world when she died only 16 days after Jimi. Janice also became a music star after incredible performances at the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock. She touched people with her uninhibited approach and a voice filled with raw power and emotion. “A Piece of My Heart” is one of Rolling Stone’s Greatest Songs of All Time and a Rock Hall Song that Shaped Rock and Roll.
SONG 4 Piece of My Heart Janice Joplin
In addition to Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, the Righteous Brothers sang of another Jim – Jim Croce, who passed at only 30. His band’s chartered plane crashed after he wrote his wife a letter saying that he wanted to stop touring to spend more time with her and their young son, A.J. From Jim Croce, here is a song he wrote for A.J., “Time In a Bottle.”
SONG 5 Time in a Bottle Jim Croce
Our next singer in Rock and Roll Heaven is King of Soul Otis Redding. Another singer/songwriter, Otis also died with his band in a plane crash, at only 26. One of the best singers in American music history, he was known as the Sound of Stax Records. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was recorded a few days before his passing, and became Billboard’s first posthumous #1 single. The album of the same name was also Billboard’s first posthumous #1 album. It’s a timeless song but I’d like to play another song by Otis that perhaps is a better showcase for his vocal talents. Here is Mr. Redding with, “Try a Little Tenderness.”
SONG 6: Try a Little Tenderness Otis Redding
The sixth music legend from our title song is Bobby Darin, who passed at only 37. After a childhood illness damaged his heart, he knew he had to make the most of what may be a short life. Bobby was a professional songwriter at age 19 and in his 20’s topped the charts with songs like “Splish Splash,” “Mack the Knife” and Beyond the Sea.” For this show we’ll play one of his first international hits, “Dream Lover.”
SONG 7: Dream Lover Bobby Darin
Before moving on from the music greats recalled in our first song by the Righteous Brothers, known for their “blue-eyed soul,” we should pay tribute to a member of this duo, Bobby Hatfield. Bobby died hours before a Righteous Brothers concert. His masterpiece was “Unchained Melody,” a Top 10 Hit in 1965 and again in 1990 because of the sultry Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore pottery scene in the movie, “Ghost.”
SONG 8 Unchained Melody The Righteous Brothers
Our Lovelane goes back in time now to memorialize some of the first inductees to Rock and Roll Heaven: Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.
Buddy was only 22 when he passed but had already written and recorded almost 50 songs. John Lennon and Paul McCartney named their band the Beatles as an homage to the Crickets, the Rolling Stones cover of “Not Fade Away” was one of their first hits, and Buddy also influenced Elton John, Eric Clapton and countless other rockers. On Rolling Stone’s List of the Greatest Songs of All Time, here’s Buddy with his original 1957 release, “Not Fade Away.”
SONG 9 Not Fade Away The Crickets
J.P. Richardson was a singer, songwriter and DJ known as the Big Bopper. Here’s his hit song “Chantilly Lace” which was the third most-played record of 1958.
SONG 10 Chantilly Lace Big Bopper
At the age of only 17, singer-songwriter and guitarist Ritchie Valens was already a pioneer of the Chicano rock movement. He led the way for Los Lobos, Carlos Santana and others to blend traditional Latin American music with rock. Here’s Ritchie’s most influential song, “La Bamba,” which is the only tune on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Songs of All Time List not sung in English.
SONG 11 La Bamba Ritchie Valens
On the fateful night of February 3, 1959 Buddy, J.P. and Ritchie boarded a chartered plane while on a “Winter Dance Party” tour. Buddy’s band member and future country music star Waylon Jennings was supposed to be on the flight but gave up his seat to the Bopper because J.P. had the flu. The plane crashed in Iowa, killing all on board.
Here is Songwriters Hall of Famer Don McLean with his #1 Hit from 1972 about “the day the music died,” “American Pie.”
SONG 12 American Pie Don McLean
Before we leave the 1950’s, let’s pay tribute to a man who left us in 2016 but gave us a classic rock song about a 50’s icon, James Dean.
Glenn Frey was an extraordinary singer, songwriter and founding member of the Eagles. He also spent part of his career as a successful solo artist. In November of 2015 the Eagles announced they would postpone their appearance on the Kennedy Center Honors until an ailing Glenn Frey could be with them. Unfortunately, Glenn passed in January, one of the first legends lost in 2016. Here’s Glenn with a song he cowrote and loved to sing, “James Dean.”
SONG 13 James Dean Eagles
Other icons of the 1950’s include Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, and their son Ricky became not only an actor but a singer-songwriter inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He had 53 songs on the Billboard Top 100 charts before passing in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1985. Here’s one of Ricky’s biggest hits, from 1961, “Travelin’ Man.”
SONG 14 Travelin’ Man Ricky Nelson
One of Ricky’s counterparts in the 50’s and early 60’s was a man known as the King of Soul but who also was a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and also the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Sam Cooke. Even though he was on this earth for only 33 years, with a distinctive voice and the ability to write great songs like “You Send Me” and “Another Saturday Night” some credit Sam with “inventing” soul music.
I’d like to play for you a song that was especially close to his heart, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Twelfth on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Songs of All Time, it was released two weeks after Sam died in December of 1964, and became an anthem for the Civil Rights movement.
SONG 15 A Change is Gonna Come Sam Cooke
One of Sam’s counterparts was Phil Everly. Phil and his brother Don were good friends with Buddy Holly and toured with him in the late 1950’s. Don is still with us but Phil passed in 2014. The vocal harmonies of the Everly Brothers influenced other music legends like The Beach Boys, the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, the Bee Gees and The Hollies.
I’d like to share with you a great song from their 1966 album, “Two Yanks in England.” The backing band for this record included The Hollies, Graham Nash and Jimmy Page! Here are The Everly Brothers with, “Have You Ever Loved Somebody.”
SONG 16 Have You Ever Loved Somebody The Everly Brothers
If Phil was a Yank in England, another Rock and Roll Heaven inductee was a Brit in America. Davy Jones was a singer-songwriter for the Monkees. Although this group was created for a television show, Davy and his bandmates Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork created decades of music, international hits, and at their peak in 1967 outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined. Davy was the youngest Monkee and was an Englishman among Yanks. Here he is singing lead vocal in one of their biggest hits, “Daydream Believer.”
SONG 17 Daydream Believer Monkees
“The Big O” Roy Orbison was a legendary singer and called the “Caruso of Rock” for his operatic voice. He was also a brilliant songwriter and his career spanned four decades. In the summer of 1964, when American music was in the midst of the “British Invasion” Roy held off the Beatles and other Brits for three weeks with this #1 Hit. On Rolling Stone’s list of songs that shaped Rock and Roll, here is Roy with “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
SONG 18 Oh, Pretty Woman Roy Orbison
In 1968, Rock Hall Inductees The Mamas & The Papas recorded our next song, featuring another iconic singer who died young. This folk rock group had been singing, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” for fun, because Mama Michelle Phillips’ father was a friend of the song’s cowriter. Mama Cass Elliott asked to record this 1931 tune, and it became an international hit just as the group was disbanding. It was a springboard for Cass’ solo career, which was cut short when she died only six years later at age 32. Here’s Mama Cass with a timeless love song…
SONG 19 Dream a Little Dream of Me The Mamas & The Papas
Our next occupant of Rock and Roll Heaven is Joe Cocker. When Joe covered a song, he made it his own with his gritty, unmistakable voice and emotion. Such was the case with his October, 1968 release of “With a Little Help From My Friends.” He slowed the tempo of this Beatles classic and the friends who helped included Jimmy Page on guitar and Procol Harum’s B.J. Wilson on drums. Here’s Joe…
SONG 20 With a Little Help From My Friends Joe Cocker
Joe Cocker’s frequent collaborator and Musical Director was Leon Russell, who was an extraordinary songwriter, pianist and producer. Leon worked with and inspired many, including Elton John, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, George Harrison and the Rolling Stones. Like Joe, he had one of the most distinctive voices in rock. Here now is Leon with his signature song, “A Song For You.”
SONG 21 A Song For You Leon Russell
Leon was one of many great losses to the music world in 2016.
Thank you for joining us at LoveLane Radio as we pay tribute to rock singers who left this world too soon.
Another music legend whose passing shocked the world was the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. We’re recording this show in January, so it seems especially appropriate to play Elvis’ tribute to another King who he admired and who shared a January birth date. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April of 1968, and Elvis sang our next song as the finale of a December television special. It is considered by many to be one of his finest vocal performances. Here is Elvis with the song, “If I Can Dream,” which includes quotations of Dr. King.
SONG 22 If I Can Dream Elvis Presley
The Brothers Gibb, known as the Bee Gees, was comprised of twins Maurice and Robin and their brother Barry. The twins are rocking in heaven and Barry is still with us. Here is Robin’s distinctive voice in another hit for these British superstars. Robin’s son played this song in his father’s room after he passed, saying the song and its lyrics were perfect for that moment, and it carries new meaning for him now. From December of 1968, here are the Bee Gees with “I Started a Joke.”
SONG 23 I Started a Joke Bee Gees
Our next music legend is George Harrison. Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the primary songwriters for the Beatles, George was an excellent songwriter as well, and our next tune may be one of the best love songs ever. George wrote it for his wife Pattie Boyd, who would later become his best mate Eric Clapton’s wife. Pattie must be an incredible woman, because she also inspired Eric to write “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight.”
From the Beatle’s 1969 “Abbey Road” album, here is George singing what John said was the best song of that album and Paul thought George’s greatest composition, “Something.”
SONG 24 Something The Beatles
When George passed, his second wife Olivia said that his room filled with light at that moment.
George’s fellow Beatle in Rock Heaven is John Lennon, who was killed in 1980 at the age of 40. John was one of history’s most brilliant songwriters and musicians, and his masterpiece is 1971’s “Imagine,” which Rolling Stone described as John’s “greatest musical gift to the world.” It is ranked as the third Greatest Song of All Time, behind Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” Here is John with, “Imagine.”
SONG 25 Imagine John Lennon
Our next rocker who left us before his time is Bob Welch, who was a member of Fleetwood Mac and also a successful solo artist. Bob wrote our next song, which was originally released in 1972 for Fleetwood Mac. He recorded a solo version in 1977 and it became his signature song. Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham provide backing vocals for their friend and fellow bandmate. Here is Bob with “Sentimental Lady.”
SONG 26 Sentimental Lady Bob Welch
Next up I would like to pay tribute to folk rockers and humanitarians John Denver, Harry Chapin and Dan Fogelberg. John was the bestselling artist of 1974 and shares a distinction with the father of American music Stephen Foster as the composer of two State songs: “Take Me Home, Country Roads” for West Virginia and “Rocky Mountain High” for Colorado. Harry was awarded a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal for his humanitarian work fighting hunger, and he inspired Bruce Springsteen and others to support worthy causes. Dan’s father was a music teacher and bandleader, and he worked to support the arts and the environment.
Here are love songs by these three folk rockers on the other side: “Annie’s Song” by John has been performed at countless weddings and in many languages throughout the world, “Cat’s In the Cradle” was Harry’s #1 Hit which set his wife’s poem about their son Joshua to music, and Dan’s true story about a chance meeting with his high school sweetheart, “Same Old Lang Syne.”
SONG 27 Annie’s Song John Denver
SONG 28 Cat’s In the Cradle Harry Chapin
SONG 29 Same Old Lang Syne Dan Fogelberg
Ronnie Van Zant was a founding member of American Southern band Lynyrd Skynyrd. In 1973 he cowrote and provided lead vocals for their signature song, “Free Bird” which they dedicated to Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers who died in a motorcycle crash. This power ballad has been called the “most-requested song in the history of rock music” and took on new meaning when three band members – Ronnie, Cassie Gains and Steve Gaines – were killed in a plane accident while touring in Mississippi. Here is Ronnie and the original band with “Free Bird”…
SONG 30 Free Bird Lynyrd Skynyrd
Harry Nilsson was a singer named by both Lennon & McCartney as their favorite American music artist. He had a 3 ½ octave vocal range and is also on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Songwriters of All Time list. Here’s Harry, singing a classic song for which he won the 1973 Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, “Without You”….
SONG 31 Without You Nilsson
I’m sorry we only have time for one tantalizing tidbit from each of these legendary artists. I urge you to explore their work and hope to feature more of their music in future LoveLane Shows. Thank you for listening and for your support!
Maurice White was a Founder and co-lead singer for Earth Wind & Fire. He was inducted to both the Rock Hall and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. As a record producer and arranger he collaborated with many artists including Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. Maurice integrated African instruments and gave Earth, Wind & Fire a distinct sound with an expanded horn section. About his music, Maurice said, “Our goal was to reach all the people and to keep a universal atmosphere – to create positive energy. All of our songs had that positive energy. To create uplifting music was the objective.” Here is an example of that positive energy, his hit, “Shining Star”….
SONG 32 Shining Star Earth, Wind & Fire
Another superstar group of the 1970’s was Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Greg Lake was a brilliant singer, songwriter and musician, as well as a founding member of both King Crimson and ELP. He had one of the most sensuous voices in rock. We lost both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake in 2016, and this song was the most shared by fans as one of Greg’s beautiful vocals. From 1973, here is “Still You Turn Me On.”
SONG 33 Still You Turn Me On Emerson, Lake & Palmer
English singer-songwriter David Bowie was a legendary musician not only for the quality of his work, but also because his career as one of the best-selling international music artists spanned six decades and he was always growing and innovating. Like Greg Lake and so many others, he passed in 2016 and was mourned by the world. From 1977, here is one of David’s most beloved and most-covered songs, “Heroes.”
SONG 34 Heroes David Bowie
Texan and singer-songwriter Stevie Ray Vaughan is noted by Rolling Stone as the 12th greatest guitarist of all time. He has been described as “a rocking powerhouse of a guitarist who gave blues a burst of momentum in the ’80s, with influence still felt long after his tragic death.” In 1990 Stevie was touring with Eric Clapton and died in a helicopter accident with three members of Clapton’s crew. The day before he died he had a premonition and a nightmare where he was at his own funeral watching thousands of mourners. He said he felt, “terrified, yet almost peaceful.” Here is Stevie with one of his classic compositions, “Pride and Joy”….
SONG 35 Pride and Joy Stevie Ray Vaughan
Next, let’s pay tribute to more Brits in Rock and Roll Heaven…..Freddie Mercury, Robert Palmer and George Michael. Freddy had a 4-octave vocal range and one of the most distinctive voices in rock. He was a lead singer and co-principal songwriter for Queen and was famous for his flamboyant stage persona. Freddy died of AIDS when he was only 45 and fans worldwide mourned his loss. Robert had a soulful voice, blended music styles, and created iconic music videos with British fashion photographer Terence Donovan. In these videos, Robert’s “band” consisted of gorgeous women dressed in black with bright-red lipstick. George Michael was another legend lost in 2016. His career spanned four decades and like David Bowie he continued to evolve and innovate as a brilliant songwriter and singer.
From Freddy, here is “One Year of Love,” which was written for the movie, “Highlander,” followed by Robert singing “Addicted to Love” and George with his international hit “Freedom! ‘90” which he performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
SONG 36 One Year of Love Queen
SONG 37 Addicted to Love Robert Palmer
SONG 38 Freedom! ’90 George Michael
Returning to American rock singers who left us too soon, Michael Jackson and Prince were both legendary singers, songwriters, producers and entertainers. Like other luminaries in our Show, their careers lasted for decades because of their extraordinary talent and their ability to innovate and reinvent themselves. Prince’s untimely passing was mourned worldwide in 2016, as was Michael’s in 2009.
I’d like to play for you two songs which are fan favorites. The first, “I Would Die 4 U” is a 1984 hit from Prince’s iconic “Purple Rain” album. The second is Michael’s “Man In the Mirror” which was one of his personal favorites and was played at his funeral. Prince and Michael both generously contributed to humanitarian causes throughout their lives.
SONG 39 I Would Die 4 U Prince and The Revolution
SONG 40 Man in the Mirror Michael Jackson
LoveLane’s “Rock and Roll Heaven” Show is nearing its end, and before we go I’d like to thank you again for listening, and for your suggestions and donations. I love to hear from you and invite you to join our communities on Twitter, Facebook and iTunes.
We started our show with the Righteous Brothers’ tribute to musicians on the other side, and I’d like to close by going full circle to another tribute song, this one from the Commodores. The world lost music greats Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson in 1984, and Commodores lead singer at that time Walter Orange penned the song, “Night Shift” in honor of his friends.
“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye is listed by Rolling Stone as the fourth greatest song of All Time, “an exquisite plea for peace on earth.” In the song, Marvin is backed by Motown’s Funk Brothers and even two Detroit Lions football players, as he sings of his Vietnam veteran brother and asks his father for calm. Sadly, Marvin later lost his life to his father in a family dispute.
Jackie Wilson was nicknamed “Mr. Excitement” for his master showmanship, 4-octive vocal range, and dynamic singing style, and his “#1 Hit Higher and Higher” exudes joy. It was featured in the “Ghostbusters 2” movie, as they powered this song from the Statue of Liberty to unite New Yorkers in good feelings to overcome evil.
To play us out, here are music legends Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye and the Commodores. Until next time, this is your host Linda Davison saying goodbye for now, and I hope you are living Life in the Lovelane.
SONG 41 (You’re Love is Lifting Me) Higher and Higher Jackie Wilson
SONG 42 What’s Going On Marvin Gaye
SONG 43 Night Shift Commodores