Rock And Roll Time Machine –
Rock And Roll Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the late ’60s.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Rock And Roll Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
STEVIE NICKS AND DON HENLEY – “Leather And Lace” (1981)
Out of all of the male/female duets ever recorded, my absolute favorite is “Leather And Lace” by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley. Though this isn’t the duet that got most of the attention from the Bella Donna album when it was released in 1981 (see below), it is a song that has only gotten better with time.
I can still remember exactly where I was when I heard “Leather And Lace” for the first time (several years after its release), and then again when it became one of the defining songs of my life.
Nicks is known for her mystical ways, but that has always been more about image, persona and stage presence in my eyes. However, with “Leather And Lace,” she harnessed that mysticism into one of the most magical songs that I’ve ever heard. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that this song is absolutely perfect. From the first keyboard note which tugs on your heartstrings, to the acoustic guitar beneath the verse, to the interplay between Nicks and Henley, there is simply nothing that could have made this song any better.
Over 20 years ago, I was fortunate enough to meet Nicks to tell her how much the song meant to me. It was surreal to be talking about the power of a love song while standing in the dining hall of Alcatraz (where a private industry event was being held). At the time, her matter-of-fact reaction kind of floored me. Though it would have been nice to have received a warmer reaction from Nicks, it never diminished what “Leather And Lace” means to me.
With a lifetime spent as a diehard music fan, it would be difficult to choose my favorite song of all-time, but “Leather And Lace” is right up there with all others. Without question, it is my favorite duet of all-time.
STEVIE NICKS AND TOM PETTY – “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” (1981)
“Stop Dragging My Heart Around” was always one of my favorite duets from the MTV era. In fact, it was one of the first songs played when the channel launched in 1981. It takes the best of both worlds that are Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and blends them into one memorable moment in time.
It wasn’t until last year that I learned the story behind the song, which was shared by Jimmy Iovine on The Howard Stern Show (click here for full story). The song – which was written by Mike Campbell and Petty – for Tom Petty & The Heartbreaker’s 1981 release, Hard Promises, eventually ended up as a duet on Nicks’ debut solo album, Bella Donna.
Knowing this information, it’s easy to picture this as a Petty song, but it’s hard to imagine that it would have been as powerful without the distinct, emotive vocals of Nicks.
FOO FIGHTERS (f. NORAH JONES) – “Virginia Moon” (2005)
“Virginia Moon” is a gem of a duet song that has flown under the radar over the years. It’s an ideal fit for any Sunday morning or mellow summer evening playlist. The song appears on the Foo Fighters’ In Your Honor album. It combines the talents of rock legend Dave Grohl and the beloved Norah Jones into one beautiful bossa nova duet song, a concept that came to fruition perfectly.
The music itself is subtle, and the lyrics as romantic as a warm summer night under the moon and the stars. Composed by Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel and Chris Shiflett, it is an exceptional example of the level of the Foo’s range and sophistication. You simply get lost in the celestial beauty of a song that goes by way too quickly.
Five years after this song was released, Grohl and Jones performed an incredibly heartfelt version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” at the Kennedy Center Honors. For my money, it remains one of the most memorable of all of the many Kennedy Center Honors live performances over the years.
Given the success of jazz standard albums from rock artists as varied as Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Sinead O’Connor (and more), I’m quite sure that a full Grohl/Jones album would be well-received, and one actually worth listening to.
Jones released a compilation album in 2010 of duets performed over the years with various artists. Her exquisite voice and supreme talent shine as brightly on record as they do in live performances.
TOM KEIFER (f. LZZY HALE) – “Nobody’s Fool” (2017)
After years of fighting the Cinderella hair band image and medical issues, it is extremely satisfying to see Tom Keifer still recording and touring in 2018.
In 2017, Keifer released a deluxe edition of his 2013 critically acclaimed solo album, The Way Life Goes. The album is loaded with solid songs that showcase his underrated talents, both as a songwriter and as a performer. I love the whole album, but true showstopper is the incredible remake of the Cinderella’s smash hit, “Nobody’s Fool” (which was rerecorded as a duet with the Lzzy Hale).
Both Hale and Keifer’s vocals sound more anguished, weary and tortured than the original, giving the song a more genuine feel. The drums are much louder, the guitars more intense. Everything about this remake is stronger and heavier than the original.
In most cases, I look for a cover to stay true to the original, but in this case, I’m happy that this duet is far edgier than Cinderella’s version.
The choice of Hale as a duet partner gives the song loads of metal authenticity and credibility. It breathes new life into “Nobody’s Fool,” further cementing its legacy as a true classic. Hale’s voice opens the song so naturally that it feels as if it belonged there all along, and it plays off of Keifer’s voice perfectly.
I have always been more of a fan of Cinderella’s rocking songs like “Gypsy Road” and “Shake Me” than their popular ballads. The guitar solo in the duet is more elaborate and adds to the power of the new version, which makes it rock the way that many of Cinderella’s other songs originally did.
Rock music was in need of a great new duet. In my opinion, the last true great one was Ozzy Osbourne/Lita Ford’s “Close My Eyes Forever” (which was released 30 years ago in 1988). Keifer and Hale delivered a memorable one with this remake of “Nobody’s Fool.”
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