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Barry Levine

Stories by Barry

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BARRY LEVINE: Sam Cooke a success even after death

THE OLD ROCKER: Sam Cooke among the greatest of all time

Of all the great rock ‘n’ rollers whose career began during the 1950s, one who has slipped under the radar is Sam Cooke.

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BARRY LEVINE: A rock quiz before schools reopen

OPINION: How well do you know your rock ‘n’ roll?

If you get all 10 of these multiple-choice questions correct, ask your guidance counsellor to place you in a rock ‘n’ roll honors class.

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Top TV police dramas of all time

Here’s a list of our favorite 12 police dramas in the order in which they first appeared.

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BARRY LEVINE: Elvis invades the Milton Berle Show

OLD ROCKER: What songs do you remember from rock and roll days?

Methinks you’re getting older if you can remember Elvis Presley singing “Heartbreak Hotel.”

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BARRY LEVINE: Music changes introduce era of variety shows

THE OLD ROCKER: Musical tastes affect not just radio waves, but television as well.

One of the effects of nation’s change in musical tastes from the Big Band Era to rock ‘n’ roll and folk music were short-lived TV variety shows.

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BARRY LEVINE: ‘Jersey Boys’ film is all about the music

Oscar-winning actor Clint Eastwood makes a hit with “Jersey Boys.”

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BARRY LEVINE: Summertime songs herald the season

OLD ROCKER: Chubby Checker takes a shot at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Now that summer officially has arrived — if you don’t believe the calendar, then check the humidity index — it marks the time when so many songs had the word “summer” or a derivative in the title.

States where music stars were born

States where music stars were born

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Top 40 hits: Which states have the most?

Harry James and Ray Charles, both natives of Albany, help Georgia make the top states' list

Pennsylvania leads the pack for having the most Top 40 hits in the nation.

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BARRY LEVINE: Georgia rockers deserve recognition for achievements

Harry James is not the only musician or singer from Southwest Georgia who has not received his just due.

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BARRY LEVINE: Why we recall the lyrics and melodies

OLD ROCKER: Oldies but goodies always stay with you

You might not have heard a song for 30 or 40 years or more, but when you do, you immediately remember the lyrics and melody, the performer or performers who made the record and the approximate year it hit the charts.

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BARRY LEVINE: Rockers change for baby boomers

OLD ROCKER: What would lyrics of rock songs be like today?

Some of the renowned rock ‘n’ roll performers are “revising” their smash hits with new lyrics or titles in appreciation for us aging baby boomers.

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BARRY LEVINE: Remembering the Big Band icon Harry James

OLD ROCKER: Harry James was born in Albany in 1916.

Long before the start of the rock ‘n’ roll era in 1955 and long before rhythm and blues and country and western music rose in popularity, Americans were listening to Big Band and Swing Era.

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BARRY LEVINE: Rock & Wrestling returns to WWE

THE OLD ROCKER: Pro wrestling renews its association with rock 'n' roll

Who would have thought 56 years ago that the nation’s No. 1 hit would be remembered in association with World Wrestling Entertainment?

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BARRY LEVINE: Rockers remembered for bad choices

What do Peter Yarrow of folk group Peter, Paul & Mary fame and renowned rockers Chuck Berry, Jackie Wilson Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles and the Platters have in common?

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BARRY LEVINE: Mixed gender groups record huge hits

THE OLD ROCKER: Just the right combination was chart-busting gold

The most unusual combination of early rock ‘n’ roll groups was mix-genders of three or more members.

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Television dogs man's best friends

While most of the memorable television characters have been male and female actors, dogs have had important roles for the past six decades.

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BARRY LEVINE: Beatles smash records in 1964

No other group or solo act either before or since has had all five songs at the same time in the Top 5.

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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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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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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: 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


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.