Introduction: Is rock 'n' roll still king? Is it really the most popular form of music? What do all the pop superstars really sing? Billy has the answers you might not want to read.
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Article by: Billy Parker
How many Classic Rock junkies remember this scenario? It's 2:00AM and you're doing your very best couch potato to an old Simon & Simon rerun on cable. Suddenly you hear a distinct "twang" sound coming from your boobtube. Your ears perk up like Spock's and you realize, "Oh my God it's a country music commercial!"
In a nanosecond you're tearing your cushions apart looking for the remote. You cringe when the loathsome lyrics start in, "I want to marry my horse, but I can't afford a bridle suite." Frantic with sweat you finally find your terminator. But not before the announcer pipes in with "Yes, Slim, Box Car Billy Bob Junior, master of the 5 string guitar."
In a state of panic you start screaming "Where's the mute on this #x*#*zx* thing! The ad continues proudly, "Slim, Box Car Billy Bob, has sold more albums in Istanbul than Elvis or the Beatles! And now through this exclusive TV offer"---click.
You found the button! You take a deep breath. Bursting with narcissism you point your finger at the silent screen and declare out loud. "Rock rules!" And through the looking glass we go to the new millenium.
O.K. pop quiz time. The top three best selling artists for certified album sales in the entire history of the United States are?
1. At 165 million--- (Duh!)
2. Two and Three are basically tied at 105. To build drama we'll give two to Led Zeppelin.
3. ??? Beep. Wrong! Elvis is 4th. Partridge Family, Milli Vanilli, Crash Test Dummies? Maybe in Istanbul, but not here.
All right you think; it must be like The Rolling Stones, U2 or someone like that. Actually, this artist has as many U.S. album sales as those two combined.
As Alex Trebek always says, "Remember the category." Garth Brooks. You mean that guy on the Dr. Pepper commercials? Yes, him. And he's not alone. Country music artists have been all over the charts the past decade or so.
Of the twenty-five best selling albums in U.S. history, seven have been released since 1990. Four of these are by Country artists. Three by Garth Brooks (No Fences, Roping the Wind, Double live) and one by Shania Twain (Come on over). Whitney Houston's the "I will always love you" written by Dolly Parton (Bodyguard soundtrack.) Alanis Morissette (Jagged Little Pill). Hootie and the Blowfish (Cracked Rear View) are the other three.
Faith Hill's new album "Cry" debuted at the top of the charts last month. Wanna bet the same for Shania Twain when her new album "Up" comes out this month? Or Tim McGraw's at the end of the month. Alan Jackson's all over the news after cleaning up at the CMA awards. The list goes on and on.
Rock & Roll what happened? Country has all the premier superstars. Where have you gone rock supergroup? (Another article.)
You mean, there's a market for heartfelt unpretentious music performed by self-effacing down to Earth people? What does Reba McEntyre do after a concert? Chastise VIP services for running out of Dom Perignon? Demand that security pick through the M&M's and throw out all the brown ones? Actually she meets with her fan club.
Just how much clout does the Country charismatic charm carry? Consider this. Dolly Parton sent Jimmy Page and Robert Plant a copy of her recording of "Stairway to Heaven" and asked nicely if it was O.K. to release it on her new album. They both wrote back with pleasantries, accolades for her effort, and release forms signed and sealed. Come on! Pentagon secrets are easier to get a hold of than Page or Plant. (Then again, how many red-blooded men have ever said no to Dolly?)
"I'm a little bit Country and I'm a little bit Rock & Roll." Donny and Marie sang this lark many times on their TV show years ago. Now Marie has a wonderful career in Country music. How many of Donny's rock CD's do you own?
Today, a lot Country and a little bit Rock & Roll can be heard far and wide repeatedly by that omnipotent voice, Mr. Bill Board.
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The next article is: "So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star"
The last article was: "Everybody Loves A Clown, So Why Don't You?"
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