Leonard Cohen will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March. One of the great poet/songwriters of our time, Cohen's albums ignore the trends of the day. Songs Of Love And Hate centers around Cohen's yearning voice and raw nylon guitar. The album includes the classic "Famous Blue Raincoat." The back cover (the 12-inch vinyl version) of Songs Of Love And Hate reads, "They locked up a man who wanted to rule the world. The fools, they locked up the wrong man." Get the full album.
Artist: Leonard Cohen
Song: Famous Blue Raincoat
Album: Songs Of Love And Hate
Jamesette Hawkins, also known as Etta James, was born in 1938 in Los Angeles, California. One of the greatest modern blues singers of all time, James had her first hit as a teenager and her career is still going strong five decades later. A three-time Grammy award winner and recipient of The NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award, she has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and The Blues Hall of Fame. You can also find her star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Originally a hit for The Association, Etta's version of "Never My Love" is classic 70s soul music. Download "Never My Love."
Artist: Etta James
Song: Never My Love
Album: Etta James Love Songs
Harry Nilsson is a straight up genius. His melodies, string arrangements, lyrics and sense of humor are so smart and true. Nilsson was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1941 and, tragically, left us in 1994. It's so hard to choose a single song as Nilsson's catalogue is filled with infinite greatness. This Valentine's Day, treat yourself to "You're Breakin' My Heart" (expletive included--not for kids).
The voice of Chrissie Hynde is an unforgettable thing. When The Pretenders decided to do a remake of "Thin Line Between Love And Hate," originally recorded by The Persuaders in 1971, it brought a great song to a new generation. Download "Thin Line Between Love And Hate."
Artist: The Pretenders
Song: Thin Line Between Love And Hate
Album: Learning To Crawl
Producer: Chris Thomas
Big Star was founded in Memphis in the early 70s. Their power pop sound is still a relevant influence for bands today. "Thirteen" is about innocent love, teenage love before it gets complicated, torturous and messy. This song makes me miss being 13, in a seventh and eighth grade kind of a way. Download "Thirteen."
Artist: Big Star
Album: #1 Record/Radio City
Starland Vocal Band
This one got past the censors in the early 70s. The band won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1976. Revisit the lyrics - they are hilarious. Get "Afternoon Delight."
"Thinkin 'bout you's working up my appetite
Lookin' forward to a little Afternoon Delight
Rubbin' sticks and stones together makes the sparks ignite
And the thought of rubbin' you is getting so exciting"
Singer/songsmith Cass McCombs was born in 1977 in California. He started playing guitar at 14 and he is a favorite on the indie-music scene. Dropping The Writ contains a really beautiful track, "Pregnant Pause," so download it.
Artist: Cass McCombs
Song: Pregnant Pause
Album: Dropping The Writ