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A look at music that was rock, pop, and radio of the 1980's, with takes on the greatest, the worst, the underappreciated, and the burned. It's a deep dive into the retro greatness of the decade, at the intersection where rock music, pop music, power pop, guitars, drums, memorable tunes, and guilty pleasures come together. Longtime radio rock DJ and music writer Rob Nichols hosts, along with his artist and writer friends, to dig into the music.
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A band named Truth and Salvage Co. was formed in 2005, made a couple of albums, and broke up only to return in 2022 with a lost album that was released - again - with a sound that it should have always had. Late in 2022, the band came back, finding a nice way to revisit a career that sputtered and eventually splintered. It was 2009 when Black Crowe…
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Rock hits but not Top 40 hits? What’s that really mean? We take a listen to some great throwbacks to a time when rock radio was more than day-after-day classic rock, same song, repeat cycle that it is today. Go back to when album rock stations (and for a brief time, Rock40 stations) made the radio a place for listeners to find a little bit of varie…
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Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the studios there helped create some of the most important and resonant songs in rock and roll. On this episode, we look back at bit of the history of the Muscle Shoals sound, a trio of FAME Studio house bands, including the great "Swampers", and how Detroit's Bob Seger fused their …
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Pat Todd has been called the most sincere rock and roll singer/songwriter on the planet. His first group, the LA-based Lazy Cowgirls, called it quits in 2004 after nearly 25 years together. Pat Todd, raised in Indiana, formed a new band, the Rankoutsiders. In them, I hear Jason and The Scorchers, the Georgia Satellites in their prime, cowpunk, and …
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The passing of Jerry Lee Lewis signifies the passing of one of the few remaining architects of rock and roll. That piano and that voice, recorded in a way that sounds like dim light, beers, AM radio rock and roll, cigarette smoke, and always the underlying idea that a fight might break out. He made music filled with gospel roots, country music, pia…
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Bar band swagger. Like many Minneapolis artists we have been talking about, there were a number of rock and roll bands that paid lots of night-after-night dues in rock clubs and van tours. They too recorded critically-acclaimed, small-label indie albums before eventually landing a big deal. Or not. Artists - Just like Prince did - heard themselves …
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There are small towns known for a musical signature - a sound that you call the Bakersfield sound or the Muscle Shoals sound. There are sounds and bands and vibes tied to big cities like zydeco drums and street sounds of New Orleans, the funk and gloss of the Motown Sound of Detroit, and the stew of garage rock into new wave that was Boston. Like t…
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This particular podcast episode found its inspiration in one of the Spotify-exclusive Rock Pop and Roll Radio Shows that we've made. They live on Spotify and were created to give me a chance to make an old-school radio show. Listen for 90 minutes to one and hear stories plus the whole song, something we don't do on the podcast. A callback to the gr…
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Take a minute to think about Joan Jett. More than one song. More than just "I Love Rock and Roll", as great as that radio song is. She's called “The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “The Godmother of Punk.” Let's think about the rock and roll in her catalog and the influences she ultimately passed along. In the podcast, we talk about her career and how …
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The continuing story of the the echoing Influence of Tom Petty...and how Mike Campbell has taken that influence and made some magic. I hear lots of bands than dig for that bit of Petty magic within their sound. The Wild Feathers. American Aquarium. Turnpike Troubadours. Eddie Vedder. Cody Canada. Band of Heathens. Petty left us too early. His influ…
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On the weekend we recorded this, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died. He was 50. People are fans. We aren’t friends. If it feels awful or heart wrenching to fans, know his friends feel it harder and bigger and sadder. I'm a superfan of what the Foo Fighters represent. The fervor of how they play rock and roll. The satisfaction and pride they s…
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Georgia Satellites are owners of one fluke hit from their self-titled debut album - a Chuck Berry-ish throwback-for-the-80s radio. One song amidst their bucket of barroom rockers. Those songs don’t come around Top 40 too often anymore. The “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” or “Jealous Again” type of songs are outliers. So is "Keep Your Hands to Yourself". I…
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Huey Lewis and the News were a bar band that was better than a bar band. That’s such a lazy way to describe a band anyway. A bar band is a good thing anyway, right? That means they cut their chops live and can make a crowd - big or small - happy. Lewis and the band just happened to have the songs, the performance chops, and the talent to take that …
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Let's do a little Jackson Browne history: Browne wrote several songs for Nitty Gritty Dirt Band early on - he was briefly a member in 1966 before they were signed. He co-wrote the first Billboard Top 40 hit for the Eagles in 1972 with "Take It Easy". Browne released his debut album in 1972, which had one Top 40 hit, "Doctor, My Eyes" (#8) and anoth…
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With this episode, we're cranking the power pop sound. A lot of bands fit this genre so the episode is a teaser – a primer if you will. Not everything that ever happened, but a taste of that sound. Some history, some not-so-talked about bands, and the roar of guitars bashing, sugared harmonies, and cracking drums. We dive into some rocking rabbit h…
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Who was the best and biggest and most consistent rock band of the 1980s? That’s a question that was banging around my head. I have a winner. And you aren’t going to like it. Or maybe you will. I was thinking about who truly, really was the kings of rock and roll bands of the 1980s and I can’t say no to U2. Springsteen and the E St. Band Right are u…
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It is the curious case of The Romantics. Detroit rockers worth another listen. 60s garage rock. Pop punk. Ear worms for those who like hard candy. Detroit attitude. The group's debut was a 1978 single "Little White Lies on Spider Records, followed that year by the Bomp! single "Tell It to Carrie". Here's what you know for sure about the Romantics: …
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In the years since Tom Petty’s passing, his music rings authentic and sounds just as it was meant to be - timeless. We uncover why he is, and they are, the band that has best represented American Rock music for 40 years – a deserved title for Petty and the Heartbreakers. And we choose the Essential 7 - the albums of Tom Petty. It’s a band with a lo…
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The Rolling Stones spent much of the 1980s on the struggle bus. After a couple of good early decade albums, they were fighting amongst themselves, Keith Richards didn’t want to be in the band. Mick Jagger made a solo record. So did Keith. The 1986 One Hit to the Body single was about all they did right. Harlem Shuffle was weak. The early decade liv…
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How do you follow up the 70’s if you are Elton John? Can you successfully. The 1980's Output of Elton John: How Was It? Rating his 80s singles. In 1970, Elton’s first hit single, "Your Song", from his second album, Elton John, became his first top ten in both the UK and the US. His most commercially successful period was 1970–1976, with the albums …
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Kool & The Gang mastered the transition from funkmeisters to smooth pop R&B. A band since 1964, they are still tour ready. Top 40 radio dug them for the better part of ten years. I mean, really loved them. The band's first taste of pop success came with the release of their fourth album Wild and Peaceful (1973), which contained the US top-ten singl…
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There’s always been bands that had some part of their success because they – a little or a lot- sounded like other bands. The Beatles and Badfinger. The Beatles and a band called the Knickerbockers with a 1965 hit song called “Lies”. “Oh Sheila” was a hit for the band Ready For the World that had a sound like Prince. An R&B singer named Fontella Ba…
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As big as Bob Seger is on the radio – arguably one of the top half dozen classic rock artists to still have a big footprint on rock radio – in his entire career, he actually only had seven top 40 hits that cracked the top 10. He spent a lifetime on the road. A classic rock mainstay. But big top 40 hits? Hardly. Bob Seger’s only #1 hit? - "Shakedown…
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By 1982, and 1983, Brian Setzer’s group, The Stray Cats, had earned three top 10 hits: “Rock This Town”, “Stray Cat Strut”, and “She Sexy and 17”. And in late 1984? That was the year Setzer decided to break up Stray Cats in the midst of their success. Why? He told the Los Angeles Times in 1986 that he thought the band had run its course. “I didn’t …
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On this episode of Rock Pop and Roll, we focus on the peculiar history of Rod Stewart. Some Good and a Little Bit of the Bad: Rod Stewart In the 1980’s. Rod Stewart is nearing 60 years in the music business, right up there with the Rolling Stones and The Who. He's in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, inducted in 1994. He released 32 solo albums, not …
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RockPopandRoll / Episode 12 • A legendary – maybe the most legendary Australian rocker - who couldn’t break through in the US • An influential Cowpunk band that had big names push them • A rock band from the United Kingdom that had millions of fans and only one American sorta hit. This week on RockPopandRoll, our show is: "3 Underrated, Under the R…
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RockPopandRoll / Episode 11 Remember Jessie’s Girl? #1 in 1981? It is the iconic power pop song that threw musician Rick Springfield, a musician on lean times, back into the music game. He’d been in music since the late 60’s in Australia. A rocker, blessed and cursed. Great looking dude, with the “I’m on a TV show albatross” to carry. He was a care…
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Their debut album was “Get the Knack”. It had one monster song, a lesser follow-up single and then the band rode the wave of success as best they could, before breaking up, reforming, and never duplicating the initial explosion. But how could they, right? The rest of their albums? Nothing as good. Or even close. But they kept the idea alive that yo…
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You ask me what is the greatest rock/pop guitar album of the 1980s and I say Reckless from Bryan Adams. Lyrically, it's mostly sophomoric. No deep thoughts. But that was never the strength of Bryan Adams. His reason for being was that he made straight-ahead rock and roll music that never ventured into pop-metal – though his 1991 album Can't Stop Th…
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Sports isn't fancy. It's rock music played tightly and with enthusiasm by the band, recorded cleanly. The songs are first-listen friendly and held up after the set became a monster hit, spending more than a year all over Top 40 and rock radio. It ultimately ranks as one of the great pop-rock band albums of the 80s. Huey Lewis and The News earned th…
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This episode is "Friday 45" and features Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers. The band released Rumble in 1988, followed by Guitar Trouble in 1990. Conwell ended up in Philadelphia and The Hooters’ producer Rick Chertoff got Conwell and the Rumblers signed to Columbia and he produced “Rumble” After the band released their first album on their own …
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The thing – one of the things – I can't stand about classic rock radio stations, and why they have become unlistenable, is the playlist that has stagnated. It's not that the bands are at fault. Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Foreigner, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Bob Seger, Journey, Pink Floyd – they all rock, right? But when the typical classic rock …
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Did Hair Metal change the world? Well, some of the songs and the bands were part of the continuum that is rock music. It was really a flash - a bomb of hairspray rock and roll that hung around for about five years. We always like to offer a bit of an explanation. A Definition. A clarification of what we are searching for. What is Hair Metal? Pop Me…
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This episode is a look at four bands that had a big hit and then tried to capitalize on it with something called a "momentum hit" in the 80s. Or at least most had the followup hit. What's that even mean? Here's how we define it: Sometimes a band would have a hit single, getting significant radio play on rock or top 40 stations, and then follow it u…
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It's our Friday series that takes a look at, and a listen to, one great single of the 80s that deserves another spin. There once was a band called Red Rider. The lead singer, Tom Cochrane, joined that Canadian rock band in 1978 and served as their lead singer and main songwriter for more than ten years. He recorded six studio albums with Red Rider.…
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In this special presentation of RockPopand Roll, host Rob Nichols remembers the songs and what made Little Richard a legend – and architect – in the making of rock and roll. Little Richard passed away at age 87 on May 9, 2020. Of all the patriarchs of rock and roll music, Little Richard may have been the most outrageous, had the most hits in the sh…
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While there are many great songs and music from the 1980s, there are lots of tunes that have gotten lost. Music that was a hit, yet still somehow slipped away from classic hits and classic rock radio stations. Some of the songs were big hits, and it is tough to fathom how they are not remembered better or talked about more, and some songs had a fla…
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