A Conversation with Sarra Cardile

When I was looking for my first “up-and-coming interviewee” it was hard not to notice Sarra Cardile. Simply put, the girl is everywhere. From her impressive placement in the “Hit Like a Girl Contest” and participation in the “World’s Fastest Drummer Competition” at Summer NAMM, to her ongoing support of the “Breast Cancer Can Stick It Drummathon” Sarra is one busy drummer. Even more impressive is that fact that she has established herself as a highly respected musician at the age of 22. I came to know Sarra through my friend and co-author Rich Redmond who is her mentor. Anyone who watches her videos online can instantly tell that this girl is serious about pursuing her career. Sarra is one of the most active up-and-coming drummers on the scene. I got the opportunity to ask her some questions about how she got to where she is and where she sees herself going in the future.


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As you can tell by now, I’m a history nerd. One of the most enjoyable things about writing history books is conducting research. That is my favorite part. The writing is just part of the process. This includes spending time exploring archives and museums. Recently I was made aware of a museum that focuses on drums and percussion. It’s called the Rhythm! Discovery Center and it’s managed by the Percussive Arts Society. The Rhythm! Discovery Center features unique, interactive exhibits highlighting a rich collection of historic artifacts and hands-on percussion instruments. It also offers a diverse array of educational programming designed to supplement its interactive exhibits, providing a place for everyone to learn about playing techniques, delve into individual instruments, and enjoy musical performances from local and national performing groups. I was impressed with their online exhibit on the history of rudiments: http://rhythmdiscoverycenter.org/its-rudimentary/. The Rhythm! Discovery Center features something for anyone interested in drums and percussion and can also be rented for special events. The museum is located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information, visit them online at: http://rhythmdiscoverycenter.org/.

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An Unnecessary Death

This month marks the anniversary of the death of John Bonham. He is considered by many to be the greatest drummer of all-time and the indelible mark he left on rock drumming is second-to-none. When I look at the legacy of John Bonham I can’t help but draw the conclusion of how unnecessary his death was. It was a tragedy but one that could have been avoided if not for the enabling that took place with Bonham’s drinking. Clearly he had a problem. All the members of Led Zeppelin had their issues but Bonham’s gregarious personality seemed to be dependent on alcohol. Perhaps if the people around him were more conscious of how much alcohol he had consumed that day they would not have left him unattended. Perhaps if Bonham had better coping skills he would not have consumed so much alcohol in the first place. It’s easy for us to look back and pass judgment knowing what the outcome was. Still I can’t help but be disappointed in both Bonham and the rest of the band. What a waste. Here’s a recollection of the evening leading up to Bonham’s untimely death:

In September 1980 all four members of Led Zeppelin had begun rehearsing in preparation for their first tour of North America since 1977, which was planned to kick off on October 17th in Montreal, Canada. The rehearsals took place near Jimmy Page’s Windsor home where the band was staying. It was here where John Paul Jones and Benje LeFevre (Led Zeppelin’s road manager) discovered Bonham’s body, in the morning of September 25th. Bonham had died tragically from inhalation of vomit in bed during his sleep, aged just 32. (John Bonham: A Thunder of Drums, Welch & Nicholls, 2001, pg 120)

In the day leading up to his premature death, Bonham had been on a 12-hour binge drinking session, which began at noon and lasted until midnight, when he fell unconscious. He had consumed an alarming 40 units of vodka. (Welch & Nicholls, 2001, pg 120) The UK’s recommended maximum intake of alcoholic beverages per day for men is 3-4 units. After falling unconscious on a sofa, he was put to bed by an assistant where he could sleep off his drunkenness. The assistant laid him on his side with pillows for support.

John Paul Jones: “Benje and I found him. It was like, “Let’s go up and look at Bonzo, see how he is.” We tried to wake him up… It was terrible. Then I had to tell the other two… I had to break the news to Jimmy and Robert. It made me feel very angry – at the waste of him… I can’t say he was in good shape, because he wasn’t. There were some good moments during the last rehearsals … but then he started on the vodka.” “I think he had been drinking because there were some problems in his personal life. But he died because of an accident. He was lying down the wrong way, which could have happened to anybody who drank a lot.” (Welch & Nicholls, 2001, pg 121)

An ambulance was called in the morning immediately after Bonham was discovered, but it was too late for them to do anything. The police also arrived at Jimmy’s house, but no suspicious circumstances were identified.

An inquest into John Bonham’s death was held at East Berkshire coroner’s court on October 18th where it was determined that Bonham had died from inhalation of his own vomit during sleep which led to pulmonary edema. (Pulmonary edema describes fluid accumulation in the lungs, which can cause respiratory failure.) The cause of death was put down as “consumption of alcohol”. A verdict of accidental death was arrived at and recorded.

Robert Plant describes John’s frame of mind as they drove to their last rehearsal together: “On the very last day of his life, as we drove to the rehearsal, he was not quite as happy as he could be. He said, “I’ve had it with playing drums. Everybody plays better than me.” We were driving in the car and he pulled off the sun visor and threw it out the window as he was talking. He said, “I’ll tell you what, when we get to the rehearsal, you play the drums and I’ll sing.” And that was our last rehearsal.” (Welch & Nicholls, 2001, pg 121)

John Bonham’s family funeral service took place on October 10th 1980 at Rushock Parish Church in Worcestershire. Around 250 mourners attended, made up of family, friends, band mates and other musicians including: Roy Wood, Denny Laine, Bev Bevan and Jeff Lynne. Paul McCartney left a wreath and tributes flooded in from fellow drummers including Carmine Appice, Phil Collins, Cozy Powell and Carl Palmer. After the family service, the funeral procession made its way to Worcester Crematorium where the final service was held. (John Bonham: The Powerhouse Behind Led Zeppelin, 2005, pg 199)

Swan Song Records (Led Zeppelins record label started by their manager Peter Grant) issued a statement on December 4th 1980, which addressed the many rumors regarding the bands uncertain future following the death of Led Zeppelin’s drummer John Bonham:

“We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.” (Welch & Nicholls, 2001, pg 122)


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10 things to remember…

Here’s a helpful list of 10 things to remember to take with you on your next gig:

  1. Drum Key: Obviously the quintessential tool. Also the most likely to get lost so bring two. Don’t be afraid to put one on a chain around your neck. It also might help to put fluorescent tape on the handle so you can find it in the dark.
  2. Gaffer/Duct Tape: Also a standard. This can be used for a multitude of purposes from marking out the exact position of your stands on your drum rug to muffling your drums and in some cases provide a quick fix for a broken head.
  3. Spare Hi-Hat Clutch: This will be the first thing to break and is usually the most worn out piece on a house or backline kit. This is a crucial part of your instrument. Don’t forget about it.
  4. Multi-Screwdriver: This speaks for itself. Think of this as your “ready-for-anything” tool. It’s a good idea to bring a set of different sized bits too to cover any size and situation.
  5. Spare Snare Drum Head: You might want to go as far as to bring a spare snare and save yourself the trouble of having to change this out on the fly. BUT if you’re trying to limit the items you have to carry make sure you bring a couple extra heads.
  6. Spare Drum Sticks: Bring a stick bag full and then some depending on the gig. It might also be a good idea to bring some brushes and hot rods if you might have to play quietly.
  7. Cymbal Sleeves, Felts, Wingnuts: Also likely to be missing. Bring a bagful to cover all sizes. Be cool. If you have a bunch of extras leave them on the kit when you leave. Make life easier for the next drummer and pay it forward. They’re really cheap.
  8. Black Sharpie Pen: You never know when you’ll need to write something down like the set list or some quick charts. (Or maybe even that rare autograph!)
  9. Small First Aid Kit: You never know when you’re going to bust that knuckle and bleed all over the place. You also might end up with a nasty blister. Bandage those wounds. No need to suffer in pain through the whole show.
  10. Bottled Water: No matter where you are playing you’re going to need to stay hydrated. It helps if you bring your own water. That way you won’t be dependent on anyone else providing it for you.

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New Release from Trexler

I’ve posted many times here about my interest in the life and times of the military drummer boy. Our friend and artist Jeff Trexler just released another extraordinary drummer boy commission. You may recall I posted about Jeff in a previous post that showcased his paintings of a Federal and Confederate drummer boy. For those interested in exploring and purchasing these and other pieces of Jeff Trexler’s work, you can visit him online at: http://www.trexlerhistoricalart.com.

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Speaking Engagement

Back when I was a more active author I did many book signings and speaking engagements. I always sold out of books and I spoke to groups ranging anywhere from 5 to 500 people. I loved giving talks and I really enjoyed those opportunities. Sometimes I miss them very much. (If you are interested, here is a link to a talk I did on George Washington’s mother Mary Ball WATCH HERE) I’ve been out of the game for so long I’ve become irrelevant. I’ve been thinking about how can I incorporate speaking on the blog and the only answer I can come up with is doing a Facebook Live post. I’ve watched others do them. Some were good. Some not-so-good. I’ve decided that if I’m going to do one I need to come up with an interesting topic to present. I also need to garner an audience of a size worthy of the time it will take me to do it. Here’s what I’ve come up with. I’m going to research and write something special. Something that I feel folks will be interested in. It will likely be historical. I’ll plan for it to be no more than 10-minutes long. That will save time for interaction. Then I’ll advertise it on Facebook and the Blog far in advance and for a time I think will be convenient for folks to pop in. I believe once it’s done I can save it and link to it on the blog. Someone correct me if I am wrong. Rather than just do a casual chat I want to do something more professional and informative. If it works, I will think about doing another one sometime in the future. For now, I need to scratch this itch. Stay tuned for more info.

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There is no racism in music.

I intentionally keep this blog apolitical and steer clear of controversy. There is enough of that already going on in the world. I do look for opportunities to rise above the arguments that are dominating the public consciousness. It seems that everywhere you turn people are fighting one another over various issues. The subject of racism has become THE hot topic. Blatant displays of racism, as well as questionable accusations of it appear to be in the news every day. Instead of taking the time to talk to one another, people prefer to fight. Therefore, the argument has become the norm. I look at discussions between different races as having an opportunity to share their culture and further one another’s understanding and respect. I have made a point to post about different cultures in order to educate people and hopefully inspire them to explore other cultures on their own. One such post looked at African Drums and Drumming (Read Here). Drumming is an international language and there is so much to share. It would be nice if folks could stop throwing the race card back and forth for a minute and take a look at each other’s uniqueness. Respecting each other’s culture can be a stepping stone toward civility.

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Hit the Lights

Nowadays a lot of drummers are using LED lights to illuminate their drums. These “glow kits” have become very popular and drum companies are coming up with new ways of installing multi-color lighting systems in their drums. Would you believe the concept of multi-colored lighted drums goes way back to almost the beginning of the drum set? Early drum designers came up with a method that used a system triggered by the bass drum pedal. This changed two interior lightbulbs between two colors, red and green. As the diagram below states, the addition of lights increased the “jazziness” of the music by flashing in time with it. I think this would be a distraction but apparently the audience did not.

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Top-5 Albums Day Five

Today David and I complete our post on our top five favorite albums…


Led Zeppelin – “Physical Graffiti”

Led Zeppelin: Robert Plant, vocals, Jimmy Page, guitar, John Paul Jones, Bass and Keyboard and the one and only, John Bonham, bombastic Drums. I labored over “THE” Zep album to choose for this list. After much review and after getting to play these CDs I have played hundreds of times over the years, the choice came painstakingly clear: Physical Graffiti, the sixth studio album from this amazing band.

This two-record set begins with a tasty Page riff into the song, “Custard Pie.” Bonham’s groove is infectious as he skips two on the snare and hits on the and of two and four causing what seems like a pause or skip that really builds the tension. “Show the people your Custard Pie!”

“The Rover,” Another hard hitting grove by Bonham. Page comes in with a, “Phase Shifter,” effect.”Rover” is a term for a wanderer, as the lyrics attest to. This song was written in 1970 as an acoustic piece but wasn’t recorded until 1972 during the, “Houses of the Holy,” sessions. It was left off that album and included on Physical Graffiti.

“In My Time of Dying,” Wow! Just an intense song, a gift for a drummer. The opening guitar riff is slow and powerful with Bonham joining in for a couple of beats, building tension until he slaps you with the groove, four on the floor while skipping a beat before stopping to let Mr. Plant do his job. Interestingly, this is the longest recorded Led Zeppelin song, coming in at 11:06.

Once the song kicks in the guitar has a quick riff that Bonham locks into switching between the bass and snare in a broken up beat that ends with a 16th note snare beat, then repeating. The song goes through several powerful changes that make it interesting and super fun to play if you’re a capable musician. “Ohhh, Saint Peter, at the gates of heaven / won’t you let me in / I never did no wrong / I never did no wrong.” The solo makes you want to walk to the cross roads in Mississippi at Midnight, like Robert Johnson to sell his sole to the devil, to be able to play with the feel that Page has. Bonham playing a 16th note groove on the high hats. The last segment of this song is strait up power, as if Bonham was hitting the kit with elongated bricks. Joy of joys this wondrous song…..”It feels pretty good up here!”

I had the pleasure of seeing Jimmy Page on the Outrider tour in 1988. I was at the back of the Portland, Maine Civic Center when he went into this song. My clothes started to rattle from the vibration. It went through my body and right down my spine. I have never experienced anything like it at a concert, I was mesmerized by the power of that guitar riff, vibrating my shirt from across the Civic Center. The wizard was in Maine and it was a transcending experience for me.

“Houses of the Holy,” is a fun, quick and happy song, makes you want to dance around your apartment in various forms of undress. A straight ahead rock song with, “more cowbell.”

“Trampled Under Foot,” “I can’t stop talking about Love.” another straight ahead rock song, two’s & four’s. John Paul Jones gives us a great clavinet solo, really showcasing his immense talent. This song was one of Plants favorites. It charted 38 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and was played live constantly.

“Kashmir,” What a groove, in a word, this song is sexy. The guitar has a triple meter feel while the drums kick a strait and slow groove. In high school, I looped a 90 minute tape that my girlfriend and I played over and over while we taught each other, “things.” Such fond memories to such a perfect song. I think this is the song that is played in, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” The dating advice is, “When at all possible play side one of Zeppelin four.” The kid play’s Kashmir instead, good choice!

“In The Light,” This song starts out a little weird. Very slow, Page used a violin bow on an acoustic guitar while John Paul Jones comes up with a creative synthesizer intro until the drums kick in. It has a similar groove to Kashmir but they are very different songs. This song was never played live because the band couldn’t reproduce the synthesizer sound properly outside of the studio so it was scraped, although John Paul Jones wanted to do it. He said that it was his favorite song on Physical Graffiti.

“Bron-Yr-Aur,” A beautiful Page guitar solo. Very light and airy. Sweet. Bron-Yr-Aur is a Welsh country house that most of Led Zeppelin III was written. A great retreat for the band with its lush surroundings. A great place to write and record amazing music. This instrumental is the shortest recorded Zeppelin song, clocking in at 2:06.

“Down by the Seaside,” This song was also written in 1970 at Bron-Yr-Aur but recorded for this album. It’s a beautiful track. “Down by the seaside, see the boats go sailing. Can the people hear, what the little fish are sayin.” The song takes a turn, speeding up at the middle into more of a rock number but then goes back to a slow southern drawl.

“Ten Years Gone,” was intended to be a Page instrumental but Plant ended up writing lyrics to it. He said in an interview that the song was about a girlfriend he had ten years ago. Plant said, “I was working my ass off before joining Zeppelin. A lady I really dearly loved said,” “Right. It’s me or your fans.” “Not that I had fans, but I said, I can’t stop, I’ve got to keep going.” I think every musician has a story like this, I’ve heard, “you love those drums more than me!” I just smile.

“Night Flight,” I love this track. That 16th note feel with the snare coming in is just cool daddy, cool. Such a great snare sound. Plant once said that this song was about a young man avoiding the military draft.

“The Wanton Song,” Is another favorite of mine. I dig the groove on this one. That riff and Bonham just kicking it into gear, making the riff better. I also love the way he dances around the beat in this, skipping and killing those base drum fills, triplets on the foot that he always did so well. Fun to listen to, fun to play.

“Boogie with Stu,” This song was a free form jam in 1971. Zeppelin was using the Rolling Stones mobile studio when the Stones road manager and pianist, Ian “Stu” Stewart, ended up jamming with the band on piano. It’s an unlikely song that never would have been written or recorded had it not been for this free form jam.

“Black Country Woman,” Is a blues song about a woman living in an area called, Black Country, near Birmingham where Plant and Bonham grew up. It’s a pretty strait forward blues/rock song.

“Sick Again,” This ones about under age, teenage groupies that Plant felt sorry for. Bonham is favoring the bell of the ride cymbal all thorough out this track. He also kills some pretty heavy triplets on the toms and bass drum. The ending of a great Rock & Roll classic album by one of the greatest bands to ever walk the earth.


Jane’s Addiction – “Nothing’s Shocking”

There are other Jane’s Addiction albums like “Ritual de lo Habitual” that have left an indelible impression on me but their debut album is where I discovered one of the most unique alternative bands I’ve ever come upon. From the shocking album cover which features a sculpture of nude female conjoined twins on a rocking chair with their heads on fire to the vivid music within it, Jane’s Addiction pushed, and continues to push the artistic realm of music. The song that everyone knows, “Mountain Song” was dropped by MTV for a scene of nudity so the band released a 20 minute live footage video version called Soul Kiss, The video is as brilliant as the album and shows the artistic ingenuity of the band.

I was also drawn to the tribal drumming style of Stephen Perkins who has become a regular on The Drum Channel. Another highlight of this album is the variety of musical styles that are included. From hard rock to light music, the broad style of the musicians is evident. “Jane Says” is a remarkable song that tells the story of a junkie that is trying to kick the heroin habit. It features a single acoustic guitar and steel drums. I’ve never heard that combination before. It has become a favorite of mine when I listen to that album. I looked it up and Nothing’s Shocking is certified platinum with little radio airplay and no MTV support. That draws me to the album even more. Here’s my favorites:

“Mountain Song,” This is a monster song. The opening tom fills are epic and let you know that this song is going to be h-e-a-v-y. Perry Farrell’s booming voice echoes over the drums. This album was made before any of these guys (Dave Navarro, Perkins, or Ferrell) were anybody. Who knew they would grow to become some of the most successful musicians in their given field. “Mountain Song” was their first “hit.” I remember watching video of Perkins playing (naked) the intro to this song and thinking what a cool opening. I could do that. Only to find that I couldn’t quite get the right timing without a lot of practice. The drums and bass are in sync and without a bass player it was difficult to master. I eventually worked it out. This was before the Internet or Play-Alongs.

“Jane Says,” Another favorite song. This one showcases Perkins on the steel drums and was the first time I had heard an alternative rock drummer play such an instrument. I think Ferrell’s voice and lyrics are what appeals to me the most with this song. The title refers to Farrell’s ex-girlfriend who was the inspiration and the namesake of the band. The song carries drug references such as “kick” (stop using). Janes has performed different versions of this song over the years to include acoustic. Each version is great in my opinion as the song stands on its own regardless of the style it is performed in.

“Pigs in Zen,” This song is often considered the band’s “anything goes” songs. Instrumentally the song is simple. The band would frequently improve new jams when performing the song live. Ferrell also created countless memorable “perryisms” during live performances. The lyrics are outstanding: “I’m in the midst of a trauma – Leave a message- I’ll call you back – Leave it by the bed – Some people should die – That’s just unconscious knowledge” I don’t think this song influenced me specifically as a drummer but it did influence me as a musician. The idea that you could write a song that framed itself for regular improvisation stuck with me.

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Top-5 Albums Day Four

Today David and I continue our post on our top five favorite albums…


Queensryche – “Operation Mind Crime”

I was the first kid in Bangor to get the EP that introduced this band to the world, Queensryche. My friends and I wore it out as well as the next two full length CDs, “Warning” and “Rage for Order.” All great and all leading up to their concept album, the masterpiece, “Operation Mindcrime.” This CD has it all, great guitar work, from Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton. Tasty bass licks by Eddie Jackson. Scott Rockenfield’s amazing drum tracks and complex fills and have you heard Geoff Tate sing!? Such amazing musicians coming together for songs you can listen to over and over again. Tackling themes of religion, corruption, abuse of power, an anti-government revolution and a radical group led by a dubious leader, Dr. X. Queensryche was talking about the 3 percent of wealthiest men controlling the economy and the Nation, long before many knew what the 3% was.

“Revolution Calling,” the first song sets the stage for whats to come. “I used to trust the media to tell me the truth / tell us the truth / but now I see the payoffs everywhere I look / who do you trust when everyones a crook!” Indeed, the Revolution is Calling.

“Operation Mind Crime,” introduces us to the main character, Niki. “Operation Mind Crime / were an underground revolution working overtime.” “There’s a job for you in the system boy with nothing to sign.” Young idealism finds a purpose and moves in the shadows serving a higher movement, driving him to kill for a cause.

“Speak” This song sets the scene combining religion with revolution and telling the tale of how religion and power have served each other from before the time man recorded history on papaya, or clay tablets in the summer. “Speak the word / Revolution / the word is all of us.”

“Spreading the Disease,” begins with a wonderfully fun drum track by Rockenfield. The story of Sister Mary, a sex worker turned Nun who is connected with our main character, Niki. The subject of corrupt religion, with a helpful facade, while being dark and cancer ridden on the inside besets this track.

The theme of God for money, power and changing the world for the better are continued on the next few tracks. “The Mission,” “Suite Sister Mary,” “The Needle Lies,” “Electric Requiem,” Breaking the Silence,” all tell of an incredibly complicated story of human emotion and doing the wrong thing for what you think is the right reason.

“I Don’t Believe in Love,” was certainly one of the hits on this record. The one that got the most airplay but I kind of think if I were a DJ back then I would have been fired for playing this CD from the beginning to the end. Visions of locking the door and playing the whole thing while the station manager kicks it in, like that scene in “Shawshank Redemption.”

The record is concluded with, “Waiting for 22,” “My Empty Room,” and “Eyes of a Stranger,” the other big hit off this record. “And I raise my head and stare / into the eyes of a stranger / I’ve always know that the mirror never lies.” Great song, great CD, great band, so worthy of being heard again and again!


Prince and The Revolution –  “Purple Rain”

Prince in my opinion, is the greatest singer, songwriter, musician, performer and artist of all time. Everything he’s ever done is amazing. “Purple Rain” is a work of genius. And I say that as a stand-alone record, not as a soundtrack to a movie. Take the movie out of it and it’s still brilliant. Prince plays virtually every instrument on his albums and then he has musicians play the parts live. The Revolution was the perfect backing band for Prince and their performances on the live parts of this album are extraordinary.

Many people do not know that songs like “Purple Rain” were recorded live and then edited in the studio. The songs on this album fit together perfectly and the album flows from beginning to end. The song order is essential. I first heard this album after my sister got it as a present. At the time I didn’t think it was cool to be a Prince fan, but as time went on I slowly began to realize that Prince was a virtuoso. As I got older I started to follow Prince more closely and I bought his CDs.

“Purple Rain” stuck with me as a stunning work of art. I had the pleasure of interviewing Bobby Z (Read Here) and his drumming contributions to this album are superb. The insights I gained from that interview further proved my intuition that this album was perhaps Prince’s finest work. His untimely death has cast a shadow over the music community and left a void in the music that he could have continued to produce. Here are my favorites:

“Let’s Go Crazy,” An obvious choice out of the hit songs that came from that record. Prince’s up-tempo guitar and vocals make this song cook. The opening organ and “eulogy” for “this thing called life” contrast once the song kicks off. The song climaxes with a heavy guitar outro leads, electronic drums, bass and whirring synthesizers and a climatic drum outro. In between Prince sounds as if he is jumping between the lyrics. Throughout the album Prince gets this amazing sound out of his guitars. His solo in this song is amazing and depicts his skills as a player and producer.

“The Beautiful Ones,” Not an obvious choice. Unlike most of the album, this song is softer. Starting out with a great concert tom fill the piano and organ-sounding synthesizers in this song gradually build in volume and intensity. By the end of the song, Prince is screaming out “Do you want him, or do you want me? ‘Cause I want you.” Prince’s keyboards and drum solo serving as the closing instrumentation. As a drummer much of the Purple Rain album is a great example of what can be accomplished when combining electronic and acoustic drums. Prince and Bobby Z create an exceptional backdrop of percussion on every song that seems to fit perfectly.

“Computer Blue,” is another non-obvious choice. The song begins with spoken lyrics by Wendy and Lisa which suggest a dominatrix-type relationship. Of course Wendy and Lisa had a longtime romantic relationship and still work together as collaborators. The song is a very guitar-oriented number and the song represents Prince’s torment at the relationship between the characters played by Morris Day and Apollonia. The song was composed by Prince, with credit to his father, John L. Nelson for the guitar solo based on a piano instrumental written by Nelson and Prince. According to the song’s Wikipage it was originally conceived as a 14-minute opus but the song was edited from a fully mastered 7:30 down to its current length. On the box-set “Purple Rain  Deluxe” (2017) a different and longer recording is included.

“Purple Rain,” An instant classic and my favorite song hands down. If you ask me what’s my favorite song, that’s my answer every time. Every facet of this song is brilliant. From the opening rhythm guitar riff – to the lead solo – to the drums – to the keys – to the lyrics it all fits. “Purple Rain” opens with a lone guitar quickly followed by live drumming and a prominent grand piano, evoking images of gospel music. Many people don’t realize that there are only three verses and each are followed by a chorus, with a building emotional delivery. Prince recorded this song live and then added additional elements in the studio as part of the movie’s soundtrack. It’s also perfect for slow dancing.

Many of the songs off this album have been redone on various Greatest Hits compilation albums showing how Prince’s creativity in the studio (on any song) had no bounds.

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