Joel Goldenberg

Retro Roundup

A Suburban journalist for more than a quarter century, Joel Goldenberg is also an avid fan of the music of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s — and he loves to write about it.

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We interrupt our weekly look at the top-10 hits of the 1970s so that I can contribute to bringing attention to an urgent situation to help reverse what could be an utter travesty, the potential non-release of what could possibly be one of the best box set collections in years.

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Retro Roundup will now embark on a new long-term project — evaluating the top-10 hits of the Billboard U.S. charts, and since I began becoming aware of music in the very late 1960s and mostly the 1970s, we'll start with the 1970s charts.

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A musical milestone took place in the late 1980s with the unofficial release of LPs and CDs called Ultra Rare Trax, a series of unreleased Beatles recordings of mostly stellar audio quality.

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Much attention was paid in recent weeks to the new Rolling Stones song Living in a Ghost Town, particularly because it seemed to be prescient in regards to the COVID-19 lockdown, with many of us staying indoors and the resulting near-empty streets of major cities.

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Some albums in pop and rock history are absolute perfection, in my mind, like the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, the Who's Quadrophenia and Who's Next, the Rolling stones' Beggar's Banquet and Exile on Main Street, and many others that were sequenced perfectly and in which each song contributes to …

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As I've written before, my earliest musical tastes were shaped by the 1979 edition of The Rolling Stone Record Guide, which guided me to The Who, The Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin, Kiss and soul legend Otis Redding, amongst many others.

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Last week's Retro Roundup entry, the Beach Boys' Today!, received from me a 50-50 interest ratio regarding the album itself and the circumstances behind it.

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In some recent Retro Roundups, including last week's, I have written that the album being profiled was less interesting than the circumstances involved in its creation.

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Part of the fun of record collecting is buying what you think is a regular single, LP or CD and hearing a major difference on an otherwise familiar song. One could go on and on about Beatles song differences, especially mono and stereo mixes, but we'll instead present the second part of our …

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As is well known amongst fans of the Rolling Stones, their 1968-72 series of albums and stand-alone singles (Jumping Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Woman in the latter category), is considered to be the band's musical peak, and a high water mark for rock music in general.

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Nowadays, solo artists or groups, with just a few exceptions (David Crosby and Neil Young amongst them), take years to record an album. The joke (or is it a joke?) goes that it takes six months just to get the drum sound right.

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As in the case of last week's Retro Roundup on the Beach Boys' 1976 album 15 Big Ones and last June's entry on their somewhat bland and stale 1978 album M.I.U. Album, the story behind each of the band's late 1970s work is more interesting than the albums themselves.

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A few weeks ago, I wrote that the posthumously released Elvis in Concert album, featuring the last professionally recorded and mostly sad performances of Elvis Presley, brings out rather extreme reactions from Elvis fans.

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Throughout music history, there are countless instances of artists and groups disavowing songs or albums they recorded that they don't like, or which were used to compete with their current material.

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During the 1970s, I missed the entire Kiss phenomenon, the Kiss Army of fans, the platinum albums, the freaky Kabuki makeup, all of it.

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In the days when I took the reviews in Rolling Stone magazine and the various editions of the Rolling Stone Record (later Album) Guide seriously, I was conditioned to hate two albums — the Elvis Aaron Presley 8-LP box set and the rather unique album Having Fun With Elvis On Stage.

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Before we get started on this week's album, I have to recommend an online blog on the rateyourmusic.com website by someone named Schmidtt.

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We interrupt our evaluations of notable albums throughout my listening history, to return once again to one of my favourite subjects — surround sound music.

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I have a short list of several artists that I absolutely love, such as The Who, the Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Otis Redding and a few others.

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At the time of writing, there is a very lively (and sometimes raging) debate taking place on the Steve Hoffman Music Forum, on a nearly 300-page thread concentrating on the merits of Elvis Presley's 1970s albums and singles.

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While K-Tel's Canadian Mint various artists collection was the first album I ever heard, that was on cassette. To my best recollection, the first LP I ever heard was a three-record set and another K-Tel entry, Today's Super Greats.

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My music buying history started in around 1980, when I got Abba Greatest Hits Vol. 2 at The Bay downtown, and a while later, I got Bruce Springsteen's The River on eight-track tape at the Bay in Place Vertu in St. Laurent.

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Unlike last week's Retro Roundup entry, Elvis Presley's C'mon Everybody on RCA Victor's Camden budget label, the companion album I Got Lucky did not receive five stars in the 1979 Rolling Stone Record Guide, only a mere three.

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As I've written many times, the 1979 edition of The Rolling Stone Record Guide was my record-buying Bible, and one of my purposes in life during the time I depended on its critics for musical guidance was to get every album that received a five-star review.

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Quadraphonic sound, one of the earlier forms of surround sound with music emanating from four speakers, has made a limited comeback since its demise circa 1976-77.