Bob Dylan’s third studio album released in 1964 by Columbia Records, “The Times, They Are a-Changin’,” was made up mostly of stark, sparsely-arranged ballads concerning issues such as racism, poverty and social change. The title track (of the same name) is one of Dylan’s most famous. Many felt that it captured the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s.
A half a century later, it appears that Dylan’s lyrics of social unrest and change run as true today as they did 50 years ago. The 2010s seem to be as filled with controversial movements for social change as did Dylan’s time, as battles now rage between proponents and opponents — in Congress and on the home front.
Strong feelings and opinions dominate the issues of national medical care, immigration reform, abortion legislation, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.
It seems that most people (and congressional members) are on one side of the fence or the other, often forming strong opinions, either supporting an issue of social change or resisting it. Some folks are as happy as a clam to have life go on as it always has for them. Others are not so thrilled with the way things are and always have been for them, supporting and embracing social change with open arms.
This week’s question
Can you name the group that recorded the 1982 hit “Open Arms”?
The original group unit was named in 1973 in a contest on KSAN-FM in San Francisco. During its initial 14 years of existence, this band altered its musical approach and its personnel extensively, while becoming a top touring and recording group. During its first three years together, this band recorded the first of three moderate-selling jazz-rock albums given over largely to instrumentals.
In 1977, the five-member group decided it needed a strong vocalist/frontman and hired Steve Perry. The results were immediately felt on their fourth album “Infinity,” which sold a million copies within a year. The band’s 1979 album, “Evolution,” was similarly successful, as was their 1980 “Departure.”
The group’s big rise in popularity came after the release of its 1981 album “Escape,” which broke records as it vaulted to the top ranks of pop groups. That album produced three Top 10 hit singles, all ballads, highlighting Perry’s smooth tenor — “Who’s Crying Now,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Open Arms,” which peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
The band would see three more of their single releases do well on the pop charts in the mid-1980s, with “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Only the Young” and “Be Good to Yourself” all reaching the Top 10.
After its 1986 tour, the group disbanded, then reunited 10 years later and went on tour, producing the Top 20 hit, “When You Love a Woman.” Perry and another member opted out of the band shortly after the reunion tour.
In 2007, the group announced that they had parted ways with their lead singer, Jeff Scott Soto and were once again seeking a frontman. They found him in Arnel Pineda, a Filipino vocalist that they discovered after seeing him perform on YouTube.
Is this “Open Arms” group: A) Aerosmith, B) Chicago, C) Journey or D) Boston?
Be the fifth caller with the right answer and you’ll win a CD of this week’s music trivia group’s greatest hits. Good luck!
Last week’s question
Last week’s question asked if you could match the following classic blues artists with their famous hits?
A) B.B. King, B) Muddy Waters, C) Johnny Lee Hooker
1) “Big Legs Tight Skirt,” 2) “Mannish Boy,” 3) “The Thrill is Gone”
B.B. King, perhaps the most commercially successful of all modern day blues artists, produced 47 singles from 1957-1989 that made it onto Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. His recording of “The Thrill is Gone” in late 1969 went on to earn induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Muddy Waters, born McKinley Morganfield, was a highly influential blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player from the 1940s through the 1980s. His 1955 hit, “Mannish Boy” also earned induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Legendary blues singer, John Lee Hooker, who was featured in the1980 movie “The Blues Brothers,” recorded from the 1940s through the 1990s. His single “Big Legs Tight Skirt” was a blues favorite in 1964.
A final note
The eighth of the nine free concerts under the stars at Green Valley Park is this Saturday night with one of Arizona’s top bands performing. The Southern Flight Band, billed as one of Arizona’s Top 10 bands, will take the stage from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Southern Flight, formed in 1980, returns to Green Valley Park for its second year. Bandleader Mikel Amich told me, “We consider ourselves a variety band and like to mix up the music quite a bit. We may play one crying in your beer country song, follow that up with a rockin’ number by ZZ Top, then do a blues hit by Stevie Ray Vaughn. We like to keep it light and have a lot of fun on stage.”
Have a great week and enjoy tickling your tootsies in the rain-soaked, lush green Kentucky blue grass at this week’s concert.
DJ Craig, (928) 468-1482
Web site: www.djcraiginpayson.com