May 25, 2018 • Martyrs' • Chicago, IL
By 1972, Pink Floyd had evolved from their psychedelic ‘60s roots to become a progressive rock band that tended to introspective lyrics and extended instrumental jams. Who would have imagined that they’d create one of the best selling albums of all time? The Dark Side of the Moon was a landmark record on so many levels. Concept. Songwriting. Production. Performances. It set the bar for every rock album to follow.
And that went for Pink Floyd themselves.
In the wake of such massive success, what do you come back with? They looked inside themselves in the midst of the pressure to produce and the industry that was driving them to deliver and found inspiration for a stunning new collection of music, Wish You Were Here.
Join Great Moments in Vinyl as we pay tribute to both of these legendary Pink Floyd albums, Friday, May 25th, at Martyrs’. Featuring Bill Grady on vocals and guitar with guitarist Richard Pettengill, pianist Jim Ryan, keyboard artist Scott Stevenson, drummer Billy Shaffer, saxophonist John Bowes, vocalist Rachel Drew, and bassist and storyteller William Lindsey Cochran.
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April 26, 2018 • Lake Forest College • Lake Forest, IL
They were born in the psychedelic Sixties, but as the decade came to an end, The Grateful Dead took a step back from their sonic experimentation and dug deep into the Americana flavors of folk music. The results were two albums that were both accessible and successful.
As lyricist Robert Hunter explained, "It was a surprise to us – as it was to everybody else: this machine-eating, monster-psychedelic band is suddenly putting out sweet, listenable material."
April 14, 2018 • Martyrs' • Chicago, IL
When Led Zeppelin went to work on a new album at the beginning of 1974, they expected it would be another single record like their previous release, Houses of the Holy. But the recording sessions turned out to be especially productive, and the band came up with over 50 minutes of music. In fact, they felt so strongly about the tracks they’d laid down (“real belters” Robert Plant called them later), they couldn’t imagine which ones to leave out in order to create a typical 20-minutes-a-side LP.
Their solution? Make their next release a two-record set. And with that in mind, they began culling through the songs that didn’t make the cut on their previous four releases. The end result was the impressive double album Physical Graffiti: eight new songs, freshly recorded, plus another seven tracks that had been rescued from the Zeppelin archives.
January 19, 2018 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
The man’s career can only be described in superlatives. Best. Greatest. Most innovative. Most influential. According to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jimi Hendrix was “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock”, while Rolling Stone put him at the top of their list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
To launch our 2018 series of tributes, Great Moments in Vinyl performs a narrated concert featuring two of Jimi Hendrix’s most widely acclaimed recordings, his debut releases Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold as Love.
December 29, 2017 • Wire, Berwyn, IL
They officially disbanded over 30 years ago, but they are still celebrated for both their musical creativity and their widespread influence, to say nothing of their phenomenal success. In our final show of the year, we'll take you through what Jimmy Page would describe as the acoustic "light" and the heavy metal "shade" of two of Led Zeppelin's most legendary albums, Led Zeppelin III and the record we've come to think of as Led Zeppelin IV.
December 2, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
The Rolling Stones may have made their debut in the ‘60s, but it was in the ‘70s that they came into their own. The band launched into that brand new decade with the bold proclamation that they were The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World, and then proceeded to confirm it with their first studio album of the ‘70s, Sticky Fingers.
As the ‘70s wore on, the Stones fell from critical grace and seemed to lose their distinctive bite. By the end of that era, the emergence of punk rock and the popularity of disco made many of rock music’s pioneers seem old and in the way. Not so the Stones. With their final studio album of the decade, Some Girls, they proved they still had plenty of reasons for us music fans to sit up and take notice.
October 26, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
November 16, 2017 • Wire, Berwyn, IL
There’s a telling moment in a video interview where George Michael talks about what has driven his success. “It’s not the something extra that makes a star. It’s the something missing.”
Michael grew up overweight and struggling with acne in an unremarkable corner of London when, like so many adolescents before him, he saw music offering him a way out. Fueled by his dreams, at age 18, Michael started the pop duo Wham! with his musical partner Andrew Ridgeley. They were soon vying with Duran Duran and Culture Club for status as the #1 pop band in Britain. By age 22, the young man who felt something missing had written a series of chart-topping singles for his band and guided the group to sell an astonishing 28 million records in just four years’ time.
But still he hungered for more. And so George Michael launched his solo career in search of the recognition as a serious songwriter that he felt had eluded him.
Success was immediate. Faith, the first George Michael solo album, delivered no less that six Top 5 singles, and went on to sell 28 million copies around the world, 10 million of them here in the U. S. By the age of 25, he was an international superstar.
Friday, August 18, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
The Allman Brothers Band made a name for themselves with their live shows powered by the fiery slide guitar of Duane Allman and the sweetly singing leads of Dickey Betts. For our next tribute, we'll showcase the band's phenomenal two-record set, At Fillmore East, by pairing local guitarist-to-watch, Bill Grady, with Chicago veteran Richard Pettengill for some six-string rock and blues fireworks, aided by keyboardist Dan Ingenthron, drummers Benji Shefler and Peter Manis, harmonica player Bob Kessler, and GMiV founder William Lindsey Cochran on bass. Come for the music and enjoy the stories about the Allmans and the album that made them stars.
Saturday, August 5, 2017 • Wire, Berwyn, IL
It was the era of both The Summer of Love and The Vietnam War. It was the era that gave us Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Richard Nixon. It was the end of the Sixties. And as the wave of music from the British Invasion evolved into something less idealistic and darker, The Rolling Stones found themselves revitalized with a fresh burst of creativity that began with the single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and continued through four successive albums that are considered the best that they—or any other band—have ever released.
Great Moments in Vinyl celebrates The Rolling Stones at the peak of their powers by performing Let It Bleed and Exile on Main St. in their entirety.
July 13, 2017 • Joliet Historical Museum, Joliet, IL
July 14, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
The “White Album” is a remarkable accomplishment. It’s the product of a band on the verge of breaking up. John and Paul were rarely working as a songwriting team by this point. George was coming into his own as a songwriter. Far from being a cohesive band project, it feels more like excerpts from four different solo albums.
And yet, it all works. So much so that it has become a standard by which other bands’ albums are measured. So much so that it has been widely praised as not only one of the best albums The Beatles ever released,...but also as one of the best albums any band ever released.
Here in the U. S., The Beatles new double record set was put on sale for $11.79. That was more than twice the cost of a standard single LP release at the time. But fans didn’t care. In less than a month, the “White Album” sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
May 24, 2017 • Martyrs', Chicago, IL
There was a time when R. E. M. was just a scruffy young band from some far off place in Georgia named Athens. Peter Buck once described his group as “the acceptable edge of the unacceptable stuff.” But within only a few years of their debut, R. E. M. broke through to national recognition and mainstream success, overturning expectations along the way. As journalist Anthony DeCurtis once wrote, “fans had heard their own ‘Radio Free Europe’ – a blast of revolutionary fervor broadcast behind enemy lines to rally a previously dormant population.”
Great Moments in Vinyl celebrates Lifes Rich Pageant and Document, two albums that started transforming R. E. M. from college rock heroes into arena-filling rock stars. Whether it’s Buck’s jangly guitar lines or Michael Stipe’s “Finnegans-Wake-by-way-of-Faulkner” lyrics or Mike Mills’ well-considered countermelodies or Bill Berry’s propulsive drumming, R. E. M. gave us a lot to sink our teeth into as lovers of music.