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Happy 50th Birthday…

July 11th, 2009
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Richie Sambora.

heather-locklearIt’s tempting to offer happy birthday to Bon Jovi guitarist  Richie “no ‘t'” Sambora simply because he was formerly married to Heather Locklear, one of the most gorgeous women ever. However, that would be doing a disservice.

Love them or hate them, when Bon Jovi broke out in the 80’s, Sambora avoided doing a bad Van Halen imitation as every other guitarist was doing. Sambora put some classic oomph back into rock guitar, and listening now his playing is often fresh and interesting sounding.

But ultimately, happy 50th birthday to Richie Sambora for the talk box lick on Living On A Prayer, a classic bit of rock and roll on a classic rock and roll effect.

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Happy 65th Birthday…

June 24th, 2009

… Geoffrey Arnold Beck

Jeff Beck is the middle of the three great Yardbird guitarists, his time with the legendary band squeezed between Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. Never a great improviser, songwriter or singer he is often underestimated. His renderings of other people music is, however, often brilliant and his guitar playing is as good as any in the rock genre. It is no exaggeration to call him a great guitarist, far more so than the more highly celebrated Clapton, in my opinion.

Beck’s first post-Yardbirds group would feature a young Rod Stewart on vocals and future Rolling Stone Ron Wood on bass. It was considered the template for friend and Yardbird band-mate Jimmy Page’s future band,  Led Zeppelin (the name Led Zeppelin incidentally, emerged from a recording session called Beck’s Bolero, with Beck Who drummer Kieth Moon, Pianist Nicky Hopkins and future Zeppeliners Page and John Paul Jones).

Beck was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, many years too late (he was, of course, previously inducted as a Yardbird).

Jeff Beck, one of the true greats of rock ‘n’ roll guitar, happy 65th birthday:  enjoy your seniors discount years.

Beck’s Bolero

Beck Bogart and Appice – Superstition

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Happy 70th Birthday…

April 7th, 2009
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Francis Ford Coppola has over 60 producer credits and 25 writing credits in Hollywood, but it’s his work as a director that has earned him acclaim. His directorial credits include The Rain Maker, Peggy Sue Got Married, Dracula, The Cotton Club and Apocalypse Now.

the_godfatherIt is, however, director: The Godfather and The Godfather II, two movies that would top many people best of lists, that Francis Ford Coppola can with extreme pride have written on his tomb stone. His legacy as one of Hollywood’s all time great directors is sealed by those two movies, and damaged not a bit by The Godfather III.

For The Godfather I & II, At Home in Hespeler wishes Francis Ford Coppola a very happy 70th birthday.

Birthday Wishes

Happy 65th Birthday…

March 1st, 2009
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It’s easy enough to find reasons to celebrate Roger Daltry. As the vocalist/front-man for The Who, his strong voice has led the rock ‘n’ roll charge for almost 45 years. The voice of My Generation, Squeeze Box and Pinball Wizard, Daltry has few peers as a singer.

But at the end of the day it’s that one moment, after the synthesizer section of Won’t Get Fooled Again, when Daltry and the band kick the song back in with, literally, a scream.  The finest scream in rock ‘n’ roll, a genre that can be defined by it’s screamers.

So Happy 65th Birthday Roger Daltry, leather lunged belter extraordinaire.

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Happy 40th Birthday…

February 11th, 2009
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It has been said that there are two types of people in the world, Angelina people and Jen people. I am unquestionably a Jen person, not a disgusting skanky hoe person.

Looking better than ever at 40, over that fool Brad Pitt, reportedly set to be engaged to rocker John Mayer and with two movies rakin’ in the dough, one at the current number 1 spot and the other number one a month ago, things are looking good for Jennifer Aniston as she turns 40.

Happy Birthday to At Home in Hespeler’s favourite girl next door, Jennifer Aniston.

Birthday Wishes

Happy 65th birthday…

December 18th, 2008
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Keef.

It’s hard to imagine that Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards lived to 65, and it would be easy to fire off a cockroach and Keith Richards joke and call it a birthday greeting. But I’ll leave that to others.

It would be easy too, and entirely consistent with the tone of this blog, to comment on Keith Richards the guitar player. Maybe note that he is very underrated, talk about his use of open tunings, his sense of timing. But that’s not what I’m going to do.

All fun aside, when your feting Keith you have to discuss the body of work from 1971 to 1974 at the least, from Sticky Fingers to It’s Only Rock and Roll. Perhaps you could extend it backwards to 1969’s Let it Bleed or 1967’s Their Satanic Majesties Request or generously extend it forward to 1978’s Some Girls.

But I will stick with 1971 to 1974, when Keith Richards was the driving creative force behind some of the greatest Rock and Roll ever produced, at any time, by anybody. It’s for Gimme Shelter, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, It’s Only Rock and Roll, Angie, Wild Horses, Brown Sugar and Can’t You Hear Me Knocking to name a few. Great Rock and Roll that bears the creative imprint of Keith Richards more than any other person.

At Home in Hespeler wishes an unqualified happy 65th birthday to Keith Richards. However you got here, enjoy the day and thanks for the music.

Birthday Wishes, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', Thank God I Wasn't Born a Rap Fan

Happy 65th birthday…

October 16th, 2008

C.F. Turner

When people think of Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO) they think of Randy Bachman. But there where two surnames in the title and the second one was no less important to their success.

C.F. Turner was a guitar player turned bassist who backed as heavy a rhythm section as there was. More importantly, Turner was the de-facto lead vocalist who contributed lead vocals to classics such as Let it Ride, Roll on Down the Highway and Four Wheel Drive, not to mention lesser known but not lesser songs Not Fragile and Gimme Your Money Please.

To Fred Turner, the other big guy in the band, who surrounded himself with guys named Bachman, kicked it into Overdrive and took care of rock and roll business. For the last five years of the seventies he owned a piece of the world, and one summer night in 1975 he and his pals rocked the CNE where a young future blogger, at his first concert, became a life long rock and roll fan. Happy 65th Birthday.

Birthday Wishes, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin'

Happy 60th Birthday…

September 16th, 2008
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Some times these are more obvious than others. The Roberts, Plant and De Niro; The Bonds, Daniel Craig, and Roger Moore: these are easy, and everybody knows who they are. But what about the guy who drummed in Rod Stewart’s old band? The guy who replaced Kieth Moon in the Who? What about when he has a birthday?

Kenny Jones did indeed drum alongside Rod Stewart and Rolling Stone Ron Wood in the Faces, where they performed some true rock and roll magic. When it came time for the Who to try it out without Kieth Moon, Kenny Jones stepped in. Some of the Kenny Jones era Who is among my favourites, You Better You Bet (below) among them. I believe the Who may not have survived the 80’s without a disciplined drummer who could keep the band tight at a time when bands were expected to produce a song, not a sound.

But who’s kidding who? At Home in Hespeler celebrates Kenny Jones 60th birthday because of Stay With Me (also below), everything else he accomplished in his career being icing on the birthday cake.

Birthday Wishes

Happy 55th Birthday…

August 27th, 2008

Alex Lifeson.

My Rush fandom has suffered from diminishing returns since A Farewell to Kings back in 1977. While I still enjoy the early to late 70’s Rush, and have a lot of time for later songs like Spirit of Radio, Limelight, Tom Sawyer and Freewill, none of those is why I salute Mr. Lifeson here today.

Alex Lifeson is one of a group of guitarists who shaped Rock and Roll in the latter 70’s with their versatility. Along with the likes of Jimmy Page, Steve Howe, Rik Emmet and Steve Morse classical, jazz and country guitar playing was added to the rock guitarists repertoire. It was that influence that I sought in my own playing that made me take up classical guitar, a pursuit I would come back to 20 years later and still do daily.

So happy birthday for all the songs mentioned above, certainly. Happy birthday for the albums 2112 and A Farewell to Kings, absolutely. But most of all, happy 55th birthday Alex Lifeson for the small instrumental intro to the song A Farewell to Kings. A piece that I just had to learn and which, along with others, began me on a long, albeit crooked path, which I follow still.

Birthday Wishes, Guitar Greats, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin'

Happy 60th Birthday…

August 20th, 2008
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Robert Plant.

Despite the fact that Plant is the remaining member of Zeppelin who doesn’t want to do that tour, who is keeping us Zeppelin fans from getting what we want (what we really really want), and keeping Jason Bonham from his millions, happy birthday.

Plant career spans 40 years, first with Led Zeppelin and, since 1982, as a solo artist. He has 8 solo albums, 9 Led Zeppelin albums, one six song EP, and his most recent effort, last years Raising Sand, in collaboration with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss.

Happy Birthday Robert Plant, and may there be many more releases… and at least one more tour.

Birthday Wishes, The Mighty Zep

Happy Birthday…

August 17th, 2008
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It’s one of those days when there are more than one birthday of note, and I have to chose who to honour.

First up is Robert De Niro. De Niro, who is responsible for the greatest acting performance of all time in The Godfather Part II, turns 65 today. That alone should qualify him for At Home in Hespeler birthday wishes, but add in Taxi Driver; New York, New York; Deer Hunter; Raging Bull; Good Fellas and the immortal “Harry Tuttle’ In Brazil, and you’ve got yourself a tidy little career.

Then there’s The Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle, who turns 50. Back in 1982 or so she sexily fronted a band that kept some 19 year old guys of my acquaintance highly entertained. That Go-Go music didn’t really make us dance, but we sure loved Belinda, and for that alone it should be happy 50th birthday Belinda Carlisle.

Finally Kevin Rowland turns 55 today. Rowland was the lead singer of the band Dexy’s Midnight Runner’s and in that role wrote one of the great songs in pop history, Come On Eileen. While De Niro has had, and continues to have an impressive career, and Belinda Carlisle gets hotty points, it is to one hit wonder Kevin Rowland who I wish a full and happy 55th birthday today. If only I could dance like that…

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday…

August 5th, 2008
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Loni Anderson.

I’ve stated before I normally save this space for the significant birthdays. However, there are always exceptions. I picked up season 1 of WKRP in Cincinnati while shopping in Buffalo last month, so I have been watching a lot of Ms. Anderson the past few weeks. Furthermore, I ended my July blogcation with a Newsweek cover featuring a young Jan Smithers, Anderson’s WKRP co-star.

For those reasons, happy 62nd birthday Loni Anderson.

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday…

June 24th, 2008
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Jeff Beck

It is normal procedure here at At Home in Hespeler to celebrate milestone birthdays. There are, however, exceptions and if you happened to play guitar for The Yardbirds between 1963 and 1967, there’s a good chance I will honour you whichever birthday. So happy 64th birthday Jeff Beck.

Here’s a Yardbirds scene with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck on guitar: Beck is the one with the, ahem, guitar problems:

And if you really want to know why the fuss about Jeff Beck, here’s an example of him at his soulful best:

Birthday Wishes, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin'

Happy 60th Birthday…

March 4th, 2008
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Yes bassist Chris Squire.

The Led Zeppelin concert in December began with a series of singers/performers from Atlantic Records playing a song, maybe two. To kick it off they enrolled Alan White (Drums/Yes), Simon Kirke (timpani/Bad Company), Kieth Emerson (keyboards/ELP) and Chris Squire performing Emerson Lake & Palmer’s Fanfare for the Common Man (Written by Aaron Copeland). It was unexpected, magical and the absolute highlight of an otherwise disappointing opening portion of the show.

For that magical moment, if not for Roundabout, happy 60th birthday Chris Squire.

Birthday Wishes, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin'

Happy 40th Birthday…

March 2nd, 2008


He is way down my list of Bond’s, although with only one movie below his belt he could well improve. However, he did get his giblets whipped and laugh about it, and that chase scene at the begging of Casino Royale is a classic.

But none of that is necessary. Here at Home in Hespeler, if you played James Bond and you have a birthday with a 0 or 5 in it, we offer the doffed chapeau.

Happy 40th birthday Daniel Craig. May your Bond learn the value of humour in your 40th year.

Birthday Wishes, Bond James Bond, Craig Daniel Craig