Articles

By: Ben Fong-Torres Tue, 10/03/2017
Tom Petty: The Last DJ

It’s too easy, because it’s too true: Tom Petty, the Heartbreaker, died of a broken heart and, in doing so, broke a world of hearts, of friends, peers and fans who just assumed he’d be here forever.

By: Ben Fong-Torres Mon, 07/03/2017
Remembering the Summer of Love, 50 Years After

In 1987, the San Francisco Chronicle noted the 20th anniversary with several articles, including this one, which I’ve edited for space. I have not updated it but should note that since then, we’ve lost three of the people I spoke with: Bill Graham, Jerry Garcia, and Paul Kantner.

By: Ben Fong-Torres Sat, 06/17/2017
Happy Birthday, Sir Paul

It doesn’t sound right, but on June 18, Paul McCartney turns 64. Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I’m 64? Plus ten. That’s right. The perpetually youthful Macca was born in 1942 in Liverpool, England. And, as you well know, he’s still rocking.

By: Ben Fong-Torres Tue, 11/22/2016
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

In the way he’s accepted his Nobel Prize for literature, by seemingly not acknowledging it for so long that one of the awards committees called him “rude” and “arrogant,” Bob Dylan was being himself.

By: Ben Fong-Torres Mon, 11/14/2016
‘Hallelujah’ and farewell to Leonard Cohen

Only a few weeks before the news broke about his death, Leonard Cohen was the subject of a piece in The New Yorker, which detailed the ailments that had kept him off the road the past couple of years.

By: Ben Fong-Torres Wed, 07/20/2016
Happy Birthday and Hats Off to Carlos Santana

On his 69th birthday, which took place on July 20, he should embrace his age. Now doing a residency at the House of Blues in Las Vegas, he recently issued a reunion album, Santana IV, with most of the original band members playing together for the first time in some 45 years.

By: Ben Fong-Torres Fri, 07/15/2016
The Doors at the Bowl: Mick, LSD and a Moth

To play the Hollywood Bowl. For any musician, that has to be a career highlight. The Doors performed in that revered venue in 1968, and Ray Manzarek, in his interview for Qello Concerts, articulated the import of such an occasion.

By: Ben Fong-Torres Fri, 07/08/2016
The Dead at the End of ‘So Many Roads’

It’s not a sexy, round-number anniversary, but I bet Deadheads know that July 9 was the date of the last Grateful Dead concert with Jerry Garcia. That was in 1995, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

By: Ben Fong-Torres Fri, 06/10/2016
Hank Williams, Tom Hiddleston & Me

This week in rock history, Hank Williams made his debut on the live radio show, Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. That was on June 11, 1949, and it says somewhere that he got an unprecedented six encore calls from the audience at the Ryman Auditorium. Must’ve thrown the radio show clear off its schedule.

By: Ben Fong-Torres Tue, 05/24/2016
Happy Birthday Bob Dylan!

It’s a big week for rock star birthdays. Bob Dylan on the 24th (making him 75), Stevie Nicks on the 26th (she’s, cough, cough), and John Fogerty on the 28th (he was born in ’45).

By: Ben Fong-Torres Fri, 05/20/2016
Brian Wilson: ‘Singing with My Brothers’

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, I’m thinking about the all-time lead Beach Boy, Brian Wilson.