Billy Vera has spent his entire life in the entertainment business. Although he is best known for his 1987 surprise #1 hit “At This Moment,” he’s also had roles in many movies and TV shows, and he’s written and performed some of the themes for those TV shows. But, it doesn’t stop there.
Vera has had a long career as a voice-over announcer, so odds are you’ve probably heard him at one time or another. He’s also an avid record collector and music historian who’s penned the liner notes to many collections and box sets, even winning a Grammy for his work on a Ray Charles set. His twists and turns are documented in his new book, Harlem to Hollywood from Backbeat Books.
He talks about what he learned from having both of his parents in the entertainment business growing up, how the first song he ever got published became a hit for Ricky Nelson. We also discuss what it was like winning over the hard-to-please crowd at the legendary Apollo Theater, getting signed to Atlantic Records, and writing a #1 hit for Dolly Parton.
Of course, we save room to get the story behind how the TV show Family Ties helped propel a six-year old non-hit of his to the top of the charts.
Singer/songwriter Tony Joe White passed away on October 25th at the age of 75. A singular artist who will never be replaced, White created an entire genre of music all his own, Swamp Rock. A purist in every sense of the word, he even recorded his latest album in a horse barn.
Tony Peters had an opportunity to talk with White just a few months ago, on the eve of the release of his latest album, Bad Mouthin’. Much of the interview centers on the stories behind the songs on the record – many of which are tributes to the artists that influenced him over the years.
He also tells us the stories behind his two most-famous songs – “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night in Georgia,” which Brook Benton took to the top of the charts. White also recalls being asked to join Elvis Presley on tour and what a thrill that was.
We also found some bonus interview footage where he discusses his role in a recent movie by Shelby Lynne. Join us as we pay tribute to Tony Joe White.
Singer, pianist, and songwriter A.J. Croce, the son of Jim Croce, has spent nine albums forging his own musical path. often mining elements of soul, folk and pop. In fact, he released one of the finest albums of 2017 called Just Like Medicine, which was produced by legendary producer Dan Penn, and featured a song co-written with the late Leon Russell.
Croce’s latest venture is a series of shows, Croce Plays Croce, where he performs the songs of his famous father along with some of his own compositions, which is coming locally to the brand new Levitt Pavilion in Dayton on September 6th.
We also talk to him about recording his dad’s song, “I Got a Name,” which was featured in a Goodyear commercial starring Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Sultry New York singer Rebecca Angel recently graduated from Ithica College with a degree in voice and now she’s just issued her debut EP called What We Had. The album was produced by renowned jazz keyboardist Jason Miles, who’s worked with Miles Davis, Whitney Houston and many others. She’s also collaborated with this project with her dad, trumpet player Dennis Angel.
Rebecca talks about finding a style all her own, and giving an electronic twist to the soul classic, “Stand By Me.”
Call it swamp rock, or whatever you want, but Tony Joe White has created a style of music all his own and he’s parlayed it into a career that’s lasted over 50 years. He hit the top 10 in 1969 with “Polk Salad Annie,” and penned the soulful ballad “Rainy Night in Georgia,” first made famous by Brook Benton, but has been covered by countless performers.
He’s worked with everyone from Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton to Jerry Lee Lewis and Joe Cocker. His latest album is stripped-down affair called Bad Mouthin’ from Yep Roc records.
White talks about the record that inspired him to start writing songs of his own. Plus, what it was like not only having Elvis Presley record three of his compositions, but also getting the opportunity to hang out with The King backstage.
Warren Zevon was the very definition of the enigmatic artist. In Accidentally Like a Martyr: The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon (Backbeat Books), author James Campion attempts to separate the man from the myth by first analyzing the lyrics in several of his songs, then by talking with the family, friends and colleagues who knew him best. Campion secured interviews with Zevon’s ex-wife, and kids, plus J.D. Souther, Jackson Browne, and many others.
We chat with the life-long, self-proclaimed “Zevon-head” about doing a book on his favorite artist, plus how he tracked down all the great interviews for the book. We also discuss how Zevon felt about his one, smash hit “Werewolves of London.”
Tom Rush is credited for starting the “singer/songwriter” movement. He emerged from the folk scene of the early Sixties, releasing a series of albums that featured covers of traditional folk and blues songs. Things changed for 1968’s The Circle Game, where Rush became the first artist to record songs by then-unknown songwriters Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne (before the three even signed record contracts).
Rush has always written his own material, but it might surprise you that his latest album, Voices, is the first release which features an entire record of his own compositions – it’s only taken 55 years!
We talk to Rush about using crowd-funding to support his new project, the fact that he almost never remembers writing his songs, and how a recent Youtube video of his went viral and received SEVEN MILLION views!
The Motels had several big hits in the early Eighties, including “Only the Lonely” and “Suddenly Last Summer.” At a time when new albums are kind of an afterthought, The Motels have just issued one of the strongest albums of their entire career called The Last Few Beautiful Days.
Vocalist Martha Davis is reunited with Marty Jourard who provided signature saxophone and keyboards on many of their albums. This new record somehow manages to be both modern and a reflection of everything that the band has done before.
We chat with Davis about what led to this new project, and how using vintage keyboards on the new record helped give it a timeless quality . Plus, she gives us the stories behind their biggest hits.
The musical landscape of the of early 1980’s was an unique one. Disco had died down, yet MTV hadn’t quite taken hold yet. The charts were ruled by mellow recordings full of lush arrangements. Now, years later, this style of music is being called Yacht Rock.
One such artist having hits back then was Robbie Dupree, who hit #6 on the Billboard charts in 1980 with “Steal Away.” Then, a few months later, found himself back in the Top 20 with “Hot Rod Hearts.” Blixa Sounds is issuing for the first time on CD, the first two albums from Robbie Dupree, remastered, and featuring bonus tracks.
We talk the crazy events that got him signed to Elektra, playing in an early band with Chic’s Nile Rodgers, and earning a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.
An In-Depth Look at Every show the Beatles played in America
There have been literally thousands of books written about the Beatles over the last 50 years, covering virtually every aspect of their brief career. Yet, Chuck Gunderson has found an unique angle.
In Some Fun Tonight, a two-volume set of coffee-table books from Backbeat books, he goes behind the scenes of the groundbreaking and tumultuous tours the Beatles did in North America in 1964, 1965 & 1966, giving us an account of what happened before, during and after each concert the Beatles played in the US and Canada.
He tells some incredible stories of the planning, and jockeying of promoters and radio stations to pull off bringing the four lads from Liverpool to America. In his research and detective work, Gunderson has also unearthed a treasure trove of never-before-seen photographs and memorabilia from each stop on those tours.
The end result is a must to anyone who attended these legendary performances, or anyone that wants to understand just how crazy these tours of the Beatles really were.