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Barry Levine

Stories by Barry

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BARRY LEVINE: The end of Beatlemania

If Feb. 3, 1959, is the most memorable date in rock history, then challenging for the runner-up spot is April 10, 1970, when Paul McCartney of the Beatles announced that he was leaving the most successful group in rock ‘n’ roll history.

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BARRY LEVINE: Rock stars play switch-a-roo

Besides being a highly successful singer, songwriter and record producer, Bob Gaudio and his pal Frankie Valli formed the Four Seasons Partnership, which gave them ownership of all of the group’s materials. The partnership helped Gaudio amass a net worth of a reported $15 million.

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BARRY LEVINE: Rockers play musical chairs

Here are some of the rockers who played musical chairs primarily during the 1950s.

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BARRY LEVINE: Rock songs used in advertising promos

Remember when we were growing up and our parents emphatically said to us, “Why are you listening to THAT music?

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BARRY LEVINE: The Price is right for iconic rock singer

Funny thing about the early, early days of rock ‘n’ roll. Some of the biggest hits had highly unusual histories.

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Songs hit right notes for Oscar win

The Old Rocker takes a look back at Oscar-winning songs.

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BARRY LEVINE: Sinatra a classic for all time

Who was the greatest entertainer of the past 100 years?

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BARRY LEVINE: Beatles introspective doesn’t disappoint

“The Beatles: The Night That Changed America,” celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s first live appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

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BARRY LEVINE: Love songs put romance in the air

With Valentine’s Day a scant two days away, here’s the alphabetical list of our favorite vocal love songs since 1965.

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BARRY LEVINE: Songs send loving words to valentines

THE OLD ROCKER: Songs send loving words to valentines

Valentine’s Day is a time when love songs leap to the forefront.

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Rock stars’ legacy never forgotten

This week marks 55 years since Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in a tragic plane crash.

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BARRY LEVINE: Pete Seeger: An American icon dies

The music industry — and the human race, as well — lost a genuine treasure when 94-year-old Pete Seeger died.

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BARRY LEVINE: For Eddy, the “twang’s the thang”

One name virtually always missing from lists of musical stars is Duane Eddy.

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BARRY LEVINE: Neil Diamond continues to shine

THE OLD ROCKER: Neil Diamond a classy example for others to follow

Neil Diamond, one of the most versatile and dynamic entertainers of the past 50 years, will celebrate his 73rd birthday on Friday. The classy crooner has sold more than 125 million records and he is the third most successful adult contemporary singer, trailing only Barbra Streisand and Sir Elton John.

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BARRY LEVINE: How well do you know your Doo-Wop?

THE OLD ROCKER: Ah, if only little Suzie had an alarm on her watch

How well do you know your Doo-Wop trivia?

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Happy Birthday, Elvis!

If Elvis Presley were alive today to celebrate his 79th birthday, he probably would get “All Shook Up” while holding his “Teddy Bear” and celebrating at “Heartbreak Hotel.”

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BARRY LEVINE: 2013 lost many great music stars

The Old Rocker: A look back at the year that just ended

Everybody will have special memories of 2013. For the Old Rocker, it is the year that many of the most successful music stars died.

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BARRY LEVINE: British Invasion changes rock 'n' roll

THE OLD ROCKER

As we prepare to lower the curtain on 2013, we are set to raise it once again on 2014, one of the most important and critical years in rock ‘n’ roll history.

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BARRY LEVINE: Female singers don't quite get their due

THE OLD ROCKER: From 1955 through 1962, female solo singers enjoyed limited success

Only Connie Francis, Brenda Lee and Aretha Franklin, who had their first Top 40 hits during that span, had long, distinguished careers.

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BARRY LEVINE: Reflecting on holiday favorites

THE OLD ROCKER: It doesn't get much better than Bing and Nat at the holidays

Here is a list of my holiday favorites certain to be heard during this Christmas season.

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BARRY LEVINE: Just wondering about a few things

THE OLD ROCKER: Christmas tunes time is here? Aaaallllvviiiin!!

The Old Rocker contemplates a few things in the music world.

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BARRY LEVINE: Big events result in great Southern movies

THE OLD ROCKER: Southern flair comes to the silver screen

It took two major series of events for moviemakers to begin looking to the Southeast to produce big-budget films.

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BARRY LEVINE: Undeserving songs become big hits

THE OLD ROCKER: Part 2 of my list of turkey tunes for the 10 years starting 1955

Several No. 1 hit songs in the early rock era do not merit that recognition.

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Music stars from 1960s reflect on John F. Kennedy assassination

The mood in Dallas went from excitement to somber as word of the death of JFK spread

Performers in Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars reflect on their experience in Dallas the day President Kennedy was assassinated.

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Performers awaiting Rock Hall of Fame vote

Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, and The Replacements are among the first-time nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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BARRY LEVINE: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame misses the beat once again

OPINION: The Hall's selection needs a Chubby-style twist

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation once again leaves music great Chubby Checker out of the lineup.

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BARRY LEVINE: A bunch of turkeys hit the top of music charts

THE OLD ROCKER: My list of turkey tunes for the 10 years starting 1955

Turkey Day has another meaning for me. It gives me time to reflect on songs that reached No. 1 from 1955 through 1965 and wonder how that gobbler made it to the top slot.

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BARRY LEVINE: Beatlemania squashes others from No. 1

THE OLD ROCKER: In 1964, the Beatles took America by storm and blocked nine potential No. 1 hits from the top spot

Turn back the clock. Turn it way back to 1964 when the British Invasion was in full blast. That’s the year the Beatles crossed the pond and precipitated one of the biggest musical explosions in history.

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BARRY LEVINE: Sonny and Cher buck singing trend with success

THE OLD ROCKER: Sonny and Cher were one of the most successful husband-and-wife music duos

Of all the different vocal group combinations — all male, all female, male-female groups, trios, mixed trios, male duos and female duos — the least successful has been male/female duos.

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LEVINE: No business in the front, no party in the back

We’re having a party this week. No, it’s not a Halloween party. The party is because my forehead finally met my neck. The space between my ears now resembles the tarmac at an airport.

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LEVINE: Small screen produces big stars

The Old Rocker

The history of television is inundated with performers who were superstars. Besides those whose stars shined brightly on the small screen, there were those who gained recognition playing subordinate and limited roles.

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LEVINE: Motown group creates hits to remember

The Old Rocker

Groups from the Motown era create memorable songs.

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LEVINE: 'Answer song' a hidden rock 'n' roll genre

The Old Rocker

The answer song is a song recorded in response to a previous song. As an example, Jim Reeves’ hit “He’ll Have to Go” reached No. 2 in 1960. Jeanne Black answered with “He’ll Have to Stay,” which rose to No. 4 later that year.

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LEVINE: Anatomy of a hit record

The Old Rocker

Wayne Cochran of Thomaston, Ga., has written approximately 60-70 songs and the only one to reach the Top 40 was “Last Kiss.”

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LEVINE: Just how successful were novelty hits in the early years of rock 'n' roll?

The Old Rocker

Ray Stevens of Albany was among the artists who gained fame by performing novelty songs in the early days of rock and roll.

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LEVINE: What's in a name?

The Old Rocker

The Old Rocker explores how different rock bands got their names.

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BARRY LEVINE COLUMN: Ichiro’s phony 4,000-hit milestone a travesty to baseball

Herald guest columnist Barry Levine writes about Ichiro Suzuki recently being honored for his 4,000th hit — a milestone that Levine believes is unfair to the history of the game.

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The day the music (really) died

The Old Rocker

Remember Don McLean’s 1971 No. 1 hit “American Pie” and its signature line, “The day the music died?”

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Sometimes in rock ‘n’ roll, it takes two

The Old Rocker

Remember the old TV commercial that suggested, “Double your pleasure, double your fun, with double mint, double mint, double mint gum?”

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McPhatter, Wilson played important roles

The Old Rocker

Hall of Famers Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson both started their careers with Billy Ward & the Dominoes.

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Some classic rock hits come right out of the blue

The Old Rocker

Antoine "Fats" Domino was one of the most successful rock ‘n’ rollers from the early years.

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Try to solve this rock 'n' roll riddle

The Old Rocker column

A host of rock 'n' roll greats are tied together.

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Remembering TV's greatest fathers

In celebration of Father's Day, Herald Writer Barry Levine takes a looks at some of television's greatest fathers.

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Some new ‘daffynitions’

The Old Rocker -- Opinion column

Noah Webster needs to change his dictionary's definitions.

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Bring back the Fifties! Bring back the Fifties!

The Old Rocker

Ah, the Ffifties ... the good old days

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Seniors need own alphabet soup for texting

Features Column

What are your favorite sports movies of all time? Check out our list.

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Top 12 best sports movies

What are your favorite sports movies of all time? Check out our list.

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How some groups got their names

Everybody had a favorite singing group when we were growing up. You knew the group members’ names, lyrics to all their hits and probably the label for which they recorded.

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A few ‘little’ blasts from the past

The Old Rocker column

It’s funny how a single word can weave its way through the early history of rock ‘n’ roll.

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Listening to the classics, how’d music go so wrong?

The Old Rocker -- Opinion column

I spent the past two weekends listening to some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll singers/groups of all-time — Hall of Famers such as Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, the Drifters, the Coasters, the Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Four Tops and Temptations. Their music is just as enjoyable today as it was a half-century ago.

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