NOW IT”S YOUR TURN . . .Join the Facebook Group to share your own favorite songs with other music fans from around the world.

Post links to videos or sites that will allow a listen. I strongly encourage sharing of best songs by independent bands/songwriters and for group members to have ‘open ears’ to everyone.

I have never been considered an ‘average’ music fan. Music has always been a big part of my life. I remember my parents playing songs to get me to stop crying as small child. I worked at several record stores and sold pianos and keyboards for a while. I played drums in the Cleveland alternative rock band, NOTHING LIKE VAUDEVILLE. I studied music theory and songwriting in college. I graduated from The Recording Workshop and Beachwood Studios audio engineering programs. Friends often told me I should be a disc jockey or an A&R person for a record label. Several excellent producers and recording engineers I had the fortunate opportunity to learn from consistently noted I have ‘great ears’. But more than anything, the art of songwriting has always been a passion. Discovering. listening to and analyzing great songs is simply what I love best.

About 3 years ago I began to think about all the songs that truly impacted me over the years and for the first time ever I started to go back and listen to my entire music collection — records, 45’s, tapes and CD’s from around 1970 all the way through to present day. Then I began to compile and document  ‘The List’.   Songs on ‘The List’  all have a certain ‘it’ for my ears. If I were a record executive or radio program director, these are the songs that would have got the artist signed or added to the playlist rotation. These are the songs I would have loved to have written. These are the songs I listened to, replayed, analyzed so often that I may know the songs better than the original artists. There are thousands of songs on ‘The List.’

It is hard to truly define, but for my musical tastes,  a song with a certain  ‘it’ can be one of many things:  unique or catchy vocal phrasing, a great riff, interwoven melodies and instrumentation, guitar melodies that talk, beats and bass lines that won’t let your legs stand still, backing vocal harmonies, take-on-the-world lyrics, a subtle note or melody laying back in the mix, a groove with space to catch created musical overtones, and without fail, an energy and mix that build to a crescendo over the course of the song. I normally know an ‘it’ song immediately. And when I find one, I will listen, replay, dissect and analyze the song over an over and over again for a period of time, sometimes only a couple of days but more often weeks or months. The song becomes a permanent part of me, then the search for the next  ‘it’ song continues. A great song with the ‘it’ factor does not always mean it is popular. I love trying to find the great songs that have been overlooked or before the song works it way up the charts when the band/artist is not a well known name.

I personally miss the consistent human element of going to record stores and flipping through the racks to see what strikes you. Talking with the clerks and other music lovers to learn about cool new artists, songs, and releases. Hearing a song blasting over the speaker system and thinking to yourself “who is that”. Regardless, everything evolves and it is now easier then ever to gain access and listen to new bands and artists – which led me to create GREATSONGSNEVERDIE.COM. My goal for this music blog is to be a simple, modern-day resource to share new musical ‘gems’ I am finding and adding to ‘The List.’ I hope to create positive exposure for cool tunes and upcoming or under-the-radar artists/bands. Plus share some older favorites from ‘The List’. So for music fans who love to discover, I am here to share and let you decide for yourself. Hopefully you’ll  find many, many new favorites.

Now let’s get started . . . .

Songwriters who are the most impactful always seem to write songs that come from a different place. It’s still words and music put together but they carry an emotional-intensity and meaning that rise up from somewhere deep and personal in the songwriter’s soul. It’s real. And you can feel it when you listen. “Anything at All”, by Cleveland-based alt-folk rock group Maura Rogers and The Bellows, has that. The down-home Americana song off their new album ALWAYS is soulful with fine accordion work and a strong vocal performance by Rogers whose voice hints of a Stevie Nicks influence. The lush backing vocal harmonies make the song.

The incredible backstory of this group though is how Maura Rogers, born with one kidney, struggled with kidney function for many years, becoming very ill and in need of a kidney transplant. When she placed an ad on Craigslist in 2011 looking for an accordion player to add to her band, Rogers found Meredith Pangrace — not only her new accordion player, but a soon-to-be friend who miraculously had the same blood type and was the best medical match to donate the kidney needed to save her life. Which is exactly what happened on August 8, 2012. Backed by a masterful band, which includes Cleveland legend blues guitarist Al Moses, the close bond between Rogers and Pangrace shines through their music. Great Songs Never Die, indeed.

The Counting Crows debut album, AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER was released in 1993 and included fan favorites “Mr. Jones”, “Round Here” and “Rain King.” Even though its original lyrics were featured on the front cover, the song “August and Everything After” was oddly not included on the album – simply because it was never finished . . . until now, over two decades later. The lyrics have been re-written by singer Adam Duritz, the song was arranged with composer Vince Mendoza and performed with the London Studio Orchestra – here is the completed, lengthy title-track . . .

After lead guitarist Mick Ronson left David Bowie’s Spiders From Mars backing band in 1973, Bowie recorded most of the guitars himself for his DIAMOND DOGS (1974) album, which included the classic track “Rebel, Rebel”. One night several years later, Bowie was in a London hotel room trying to get some sleep around 11 or 12 at night. Above him he heard someone repeatedly trying to play the riff to “Rebel, Rebel” on electric guitar – and very badly. “Who the hell is doing this at this time of night?” he thought. Bowie marched upstairs to show the person how to play the damn thing. He banged on the door. When it opened he saw John McEnroe — the tennis great, who was in London playing at Wimbledon. Bowie told him: “Come on down and have a drink, just don’t bring your guitar . .”

Whether you’re a fan of Bruce Springsteen or not, I highly recommend SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY (available on CD and Netflix) which captures his recently completed concert residency at the Walter Kerr Theatre in NYC. The string of 236 intimate live performances featured The Boss with just an acoustic guitar, piano, and harmonica. Bruce’s abilities as a master wordsmith and storyteller create an incredibly engaging experience. Personal stories behind his life and songs, which are both sung and shared as spoken-word, are so skillfully descriptive that you feel as though you were there for every step of his journey. “The Rising” is the musical highlight for me. Without the instrumentation of his E. Street Band, the stripped-back song shines with only Bruce’s voice and emotionally-stunning guitar melody – which makes me wish I never quit the guitar after only one lesson in 3rd grade.

Sounds more like Journey than Journey: Best track off singer Steve Perry’s new solo record TRACES and could have appeared on any classic Journey album. Co-written with and featuring the incredible guitar playing of former Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie guitarist John 5. And when your song needs the best ‘hard driving’ rock-n-roll back beat in the business you hire former Replacements drummer and studio session extraordinaire, Joeh Freese, to lay it down. Well done Mr. Perry thinking outside the box and enlisting a couple of very talented alternative / industrial rock vets.