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Columns > Mike Gruenberg - In My Life

Published: 2006/09/17
by Mike Gruenberg

I Would Like To Thank

In My Life
And the winner isHow many time have you watched an awards show and some flash-in-the-pan artist wins the Best Album of the Year or Best Supporting Actor award? Then that person gets up to the podium and makes some disingenuous remarks about the people who supposedly helped him and proceeds to ramble on and on. As that person continuously praises himself, you want to just go to back to the kitchen to refill the tray of snacks you have finished.
In thinking about acknowledging those who have really done something in music, I turned to my album collection and realized that there are a number of people who have provided me with great music over the years. I therefore decided that I would like to thank some of those people for their contributions to me. I dont have a Jammy, Grammy, Emmy or Tony to give them, but I do have my heartfelt thanks for making my days a little brighter and my disposition more pleasant. There will be no acceptance speeches although I suspect the people who I am acknowledging would be gracious in their acceptances. Thanks to all! Keep on rockin I would like to thank Al Kooper for playing organ on the Bob Dylan session that produced Like A Rolling Stone. Without Als brilliant playing, the song would not have held up as well through all these years. With due respect to Mr. Zimmerman, hearing that Hammond Organ fill in the background truly makes the song. Also, thanks, Al for bringing us Lynyrd Skynyrd. I would like to thank John Lennon and Paul McCartney for collaborating on songs together. By doing so, two great musical minds usually equaled one great song. I am particularly thankful for your work on I Saw Her Standing There. The original first line lyric as composed by McCartney was She was just seventeen/Never a beauty queen. Lennon suggested replacing Never a beauty queen with, You know what I mean. The result was She was just seventeen, you know what I mean. Good call! I would like to thank Leon Russell for organizing the 1970s Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour in a very short period of time. The album featuring Joe Cockers amazing vocals backed by one of the best bands in the business resulting from those shows at the Fillmore East still stands as a true landmark album in rock history. Many people dont know that Leon organized the band and tour in matter of a few weeks. I would like to thank Andrew Loog Oldham for producing all those early Rolling Stones records. It was Andrew, Mick and Keith who guided the early fortunes of the group. He should be also thanked for his current radio show on Sirius. Nice transition from the past to the present. Great radio! I would like to thank Kinky Friedman for his humorous music, especially Mens Room in L.A. with a guest appearance by Ringo. I also want to thank him for writing some excellent murder mystery books, as well. I wish I lived in Texas so I could vote for him for Governor. I would like to thank Van Morrison for 40+ years of music. You went from a garage rocker to rock legend to a jazzman and now your latest album, Pay The Devil, is a Country & Western gem. I would like to thank Roger McGuinn for the Byrds. The Byrds still stand as the best U.S. group that rivaled the Beatles and their British Invasion colleagues. That being said I would also like to thank Gram Parsons, who when he was with the Byrds became an integral part of the project that produced Sweetheart of the Rodeo which aside from being a great piece of music is the single best example of how a rock group can take on a new persona by producing a country rock album of incredible depth. Not well received at the time, but is now considered a masterpiece. Talk not gaining acceptance immediately I would like to thank the Dixie Chicks who had the nerve (and the right) to state their political views and not back down in light of enormous pressure from many different places. You guys have given us great music and much to think about as well. Finally, I would like to thank Tower Records. For a person who only likes to buy music at small, independent off the beaten path record stores, my shopping experiences at many a Tower Records throughout the world has always been rewarding. Im not quite sure how a large chain like Tower can stock so many independent label artists and maybe thats why you are having some difficulties, but thanks for the effort and I hope you guys survive.

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