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10 Musical Performances from 1960's & 70's

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I look to the lifestyle and music of the 1960’s & 70’s with envy and I often dream
that I could go back and experience it for myself.  Live performances duirng this
area were spectacular, with limited lip-syncing.  In our new generation it seems
that many
 artists are dubbing and changing their voices in the recording studio.
The computer electro voice is becoming increasingly popular in modern R&B and
rap music.  I have compiled a list of some of my favorite live performances from
the 1960’s and 70’s.

10. Creedence Clearwater Revival
P
roud Mary (1969)

CCR was an American rock band that became famous in the late 1960’s and early 70’s.  The band was headed by lead guitarist and primary vocalist John Fogerty.  The group has San Francisco Bay origins, but their music is often cited as a southern rock style.  CCR had many hit singles reach the top 10 on various charts, but never the top spot.  CCR actually holds the record for most #2 singles without a chart topper. 

Proud Mary was a song that was written by Fogerty and released on the 1969 album Bayou Country.  It was the bands first major hit singe and propelled them to international fame.  The song climbed into the Top 10 in numerous countries around the world, reaching #2 in the U.S. and #8 in the UK. The guitar work in this tune is astounding and the riff is legendary.  The video was taken from a 1969 performance on the Johnny Cash Show.
 

9. Johnny Nash 
I Can See Clearly Now (1973)

Johnny Nash is an American singer-songwriter that started his career in the 1950’s.  He was an important figure in the Civil Rights movement and paved the way for African American performers, including The Jackson 5.  Nash was also one of the first non-Jamaican’s to record reggae music.  He had several hits in Jamaica.  Nash’s most popular and well known hit was I Can See Clearly Now, which was released in 1972.  A common misconception is that the song was performed by Bob Marley, but in fact The Wailers were the backing band on Nash's original recording. 

It was an incredibly popular track and reached #1 in the U.S, #5 in the UK, and #9 in Ireland.  This song is one of the most covered in history and Jimmy Cliff’s version for the 1993 movie Cool Runnings appeared on many charts.  The video was taken from a 1973 live performance on Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special.

8. Jim Croce
Operator (1972)

Jim Croce was born in south Philadelphia.  As a child he dreamed of becoming a musician and was a natural talent with the guitar.  In 1972, Croce signed a three-record deal with ABC Records.  His albums became widely successful and he scored two #1 hit singles in 1973, Time in a Bottle and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.  Operator was released on Croce’s first album titled You Don't Mess Around with Jim.  It helped the album reach the #1 spot in the U.S. 

The single performed well on the charts in the U.S. and many European nations.  Sadly, at the height of Jim Croce's growing popularity, in 1973, he was killed in a small commercial plane crash.  He was only 30-years-old.  His unique voice and incredible guitar play will forever be missed.

7. Roy Orbison
Crying

Roy Orbison is a legendary singer-songwriter who was born in Vernon, Texas.  He is well known for his vocal range and dark emotional ballads.  Roy gained the majority of his success in the early 1960’s, when he had 22 different songs place in the Top Forty.  Orbison was a natural baritone, but since 1961 writers have speculated that he had a three or four-octave range.  Superstars the likes of Bono and Elvis have stated that Orbison’s voice was the greatest and most distinctive they had ever heard. 

Roy Orbison had a unique personality and would always wear black clothes and dark sunglasses.  Crying is a song that was released as a single in 1961 and reached #2 on the U.S. charts.  It has since become an international hit.  In 1988, Orbison died at his mother’s home in Tennessee of a massive heart attack.  He was 52 years old.
 

6. James Taylor
You’ve Got a Friend

James Taylor is a Grammy Award winning musician from Boston, Massachusetts.  Taylor began his singing career in the 1960’s, but achieved international success in the early 1970’s with the release of his album Sweet Baby James, which is ranked among the greatest folk rock albums of all time.  He has a beautiful voice and his easy going persona has made him a fan favorite.  Taylor’s 1976 greatest hits album was certified diamond and has sold more than $11 million copies. 

You’ve Got a Friend was a song written by Carol King and was included on her 1971 album, but was made famous by Taylor who covered it the same year.  Taylor’s version reached #1 on U.S. charts and #4 in the UK.  The song won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance (James Taylor) and Song of the Year (Carol King).  The video included is from 1971 and is a great performance by Taylor with King on backup vocals.
 

5. Fleetwood Mac
Rhiannon (1976)

Fleetwood Mac is a British/American band that formed in 1967 and has experienced a high turnover of personnel over the years.  No incarnation of the band has lasted more then two years.  The two most successful periods for the band were in the late 1960’s, when they had a British blues vibe and from 1975-1987, when the band was more pop-orientation.  In 1975, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the band. 

The groups 1975 release Fleetwood Mac was a huge success and reached #1 in the U.S.  It can be seen on many lists of the greatest albums of all time.  Rhianna became one of the band's most memorable records.  The single reached #11 in the U.S. and #46 in the UK.  It was voted #488 in a list of the Greatest Songs of All Time released by Rolling Stone Magazine. 

4. Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Home
Alabama

Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band that came to fame in the early 1970’s.  They were predominantly popular in the southern United States.  They have a truly unique style, blending many musical instruments.  On October 20, 1977 the bands chartered Convair 240 aircraft ran out of fuel near the end of their flight and crashed in the forest area of Gillsburg, Mississippi.  Band leader and vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines all died in the crash. 

Many other band members survived, but sustained serious injuries.  Sweet Home Alabama is a song that was released on the bands second album Second Helping in 1974.  It is an infamous tune and was written
as an answer to two songs, Southern Man and Alabama by Neil Young, which dealt with themes of racism and slavery in the American South.  The song reached #8 on U.S. charts and was the bands second hit single.
 

3. Bob Marley & The Wailers
Stir It Up (1973)

Bob Marley was born in the small village of Nine Mile in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica.  He is credited with spreading reggae and Jamaican music to a worldwide audience.  Marley has sold more than 300 million records and to this day tops the reggae charts.  Stir It Up is a song that was composed by John Nash in 1967 and made famous by Marley.  It was his first major hit outside of Jamaica and is a great love song.  Many people don’t know that besides being a lyrical magician, Bob Marley was an extremely talented guitarist. 

On the morning of May 11, 1981, Bob Marley landed in Miami, Florida and was admitted to the local hospital.  He was suffering from a severe case of melanoma, which had spread to his lungs and brain.  Marley passed away shortly after entering the hospital and his last words were to his son Ziggy, “money can’t buy life.”  Many organizations have selected Bob Marley & The Wailers' album Exodus as the greatest work of the 20th century.  His legend will live forever.

2. The Who
Baba O'Riley

The Who is an English rock band that was formed in 1964.  The primary members consisted of guitarist Pete Townshend, vocalist Roger Daltrey, bassist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon.  They were known for there energetic live performances, which often included destroying instruments and the set.  The Who have sold over 100 million records worldwide. 

Baba O’Riley is a song that was written by Pete Townshend, although Daltrey sings most of the lyrics.  It was featured on the bands album Who’s Next and was an international success, especially in the UK.  The song is often cited as a pioneering example of synthesizer use in rock music.  The late Keith Moon had the idea of inserting a violin solo at the coda of the song, during which the style of the song shifts from crashing rock to a slower beat.  The title of the tune was almost “teenage wasteland.”  Baba O’Riley is truly one of the greatest rock songs of all time.  The live performance included is great.

1. The Rolling Stones
Paint It Black (1966)

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band that was formed in 1962.  They are legendary artists and one of the greatest bands of all time.  Led by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, The Rolling Stones have sold more then 200 million records worldwide.  They have released 22 studio albums, eight concert albums, and numerous compilations.  Paint It Black appeared as the opening track on the Stones 1966 album Aftermath.  It was written by Jagger and Richards, but Brian Jones contributed to the songs signature guitar riff. 

The single was a huge success and reached the top spot in both the U.S. and the UK.  Paint It Black was rated #174 on Rolling Stone Magazines list of Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  It has been used in numerous movies and television programs, including in the ending credits of Full Metal Jacket.  The video included is from a 1966 performance of the song. 

Honorable Mention

Donovan
Catch the Wind (1964)

Donovan is a Scottish singer and song writer that came to fame in the 1960s.  He was the first artist to be signed by Clive Davis and CBS/Epic Records.  Donovan was one of very few artists to collaborate with The Beatles.  He actually taught Paul McCartney and John Lennon his finger-picking guitar style, which had a profound influence on them.  He was a heartthrob for millions of girls around the world.  Catch the Wind was the first song released by Donovan and reached #4 on UK charts and #23 in the United States.

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Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted July 3, 2009