Special Sub-Topic: Bob's Your Uncle: Great Musicians Called Robert
|Folklore has it that blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold something at the crossroads to gain brilliance at the guitar. What did he supposedly sell?|
His soul. It's not too far-fetched to say that without Robert Johnson rock history wouldn't have been the same. He's been cited, covered, paid homage to and fleeced by artists ever since rock n roll was born. Details about his life are fairly sketchy, and the perpetuating Faustian myth has continued on through the decades since his untimely death, aged just 27.
Whether he actually claimed to have sold his soul or not is a moot point, and most chroniclers have found no evidence of it, but it's one of blues' greatest stories.
Unfortunately, there are fewer than thirty recordings of him, but they are essential listening for anybody seriously interested in not just the blues, but rock music as a whole.
|The late Bob Calvert's career apex was with space rockers Hawkwind. Where was he born?|
South Africa. Robert Calvert was only briefly a member of Hawkwind if you consider their lifespan. Nevertheless, he left his mark on the band and is amongst the first batch of names fans will cite when waxing lyrical about the high points of the band's career.
He moved to England whilst still a nipper and by the late 1960s (in his late 20s) he was fairly prominent on London's counter culture scene, writing poetry and performing theatre. He ended up as part of the fairly shambolic Hawkwind ensemble in 1972 and despite his own rather unpredictable behaviour, they recorded some of their most accessible and almost poppy material with him on classic albums such as "Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music "(1976) and "Quark, Strangeness and Charm" (1977).
After leaving Hawkwind he released a brilliant album called "Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters", a treat for anybody who enjoys delving into spacey strangeness and anarchic charm.
Robert Calvert passed away in 1988, aged just 44.
|"Kiling Me Softly With His Song" has been done by many artists, but which of the following had a huge hit with it in 1971?|
Roberta Flack. Velvety-voiced Roberta Flack grew up in Virginia and earnt her stripes singing in the Baptist church, but also trained in classical music at Howard University. She then padded out her income as a teacher through performing in clubs where she mastered the blues, folk and jazz standards that would later augment her smooth pop delivery.
Her first mainstream hit "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" in 1972 opened the door for her and was swiftly followed by "Where Is the Love", "The Closer I Get to You" and her version of "Killing Me Softly with His Song".
The song was originally recorded by Lori Lieberman, and was later a hit for The Fugees in 1996.
|Guitar virtuoso Robert Fripp made his name with one of the most quintessential prog rock bands of all time. Album titles include "In the Wake of Poseidon" (1970) and "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" (1973) and "Discipline" (1981). Which band?|
King Crimson. Robert Fripp is the King Crimson mainstay and he has chalked up an incredible number of other appearances, usually being the highlight on mainstream albums and stealing the thunder from much bigger selling artists.
King Crimson formed in 1968 and released their fabulous debut album, "In the Court of the Crimson King", in October 1969, but had already fallen out by December of the same year. Since then the band have suffered similar ups and downs in line-ups, shifts in style and approach but have maintained a high level of integrity and have never been completely abandoned by the truly smitten, or as some might claim, besmirched.
|Bob Daisley played bass on "Blizzard Of Oz" and "Diary Of A Madman". Who was the world-famous singer he was backing up?|
Ozzy Osbourne. Australian-born Bob Daisley played with Chicken Shack, then the wonderfully named Mungo Jerry. He ended up in Rainbow and performed on "Long Live Rock N Roll" alongside Ozzy Osbourne's nemesis, Ronnie James Dio.
He was a founder member of the band Blizzard Of Oz and played on the band's first two brilliant albums, and actually wrote a lot of the material despite being somewhat duped out of credit. He was sacked from the band before the second album was even released. Nevertheless, he maintained a healthy relationship with the big Oz, and wrote material with him in the ensuing years. In a (un)fairly unorthodox move his bass tracks were re-recorded by Robert Trujillo on the re-releases of the two Blizzard Of Oz albums in the early 1990s.
He's also worked with Uriah Heep ("Abominog" and "Head First"), Gary Moore, Black Sabbath and Yngwie Malmsteen. To my mind, he is one of the great unsung heroes of heavy rock, and his treatment by various more powerful (in terms of crowd-pulling) artists sums up the nasty underbelly of the music industry.
|What famous English author is namesake to the celebrated Jamaican bassist Robbie who is known for his partnership with Sly Dunbar? Robbie _________?|
Shakespeare. Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar are so prolific the mind boggles at how they've managed to record so much stuff, and all of it top-notch quality.
They had already been heavily involved in Jamaica's recorded output when they teamed up as the most formidable rhythm section known to the island (and possibly the world) in the 1970s, and since then have just pumped out the heart and soul of reggae.
The Revolutionaries was their first project, and from the legendary Studio One they took reggae to uncharted waters, innovating and invigorating through a myriad of new styles and techniques.
They've managed to keep up with the times and are always on the ball as to what's about to happen. No doubt that's why artists as diverse as Grace Jones, Madonna, Bob Dylan, Serge Gainsbourg and a whole host of Jamaican artists have been knocking on their doors to get them involved.
|The Rolling Stones had their first ever UK number one with the song "It's All Over Now". Who wrote the song?|
Bobby Womack. Bobby Womack began his prolific career in The Valentinos with his brother. He then backed up Sam Cooke on guitar, and has since had a fruitful solo career. As a session musician he worked with Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and even Sly Stone on the seminal album "There's A Riot Goin' On".
"It's All Over Now" was a massive hit for the Rolling Stones, although Womack was originally reluctant to let them sing it. However, I daresay he changed his tune when the royalty cheques started rolling in.
In 2011, he worked with trendy band Gorillaz alongside rapper Mos Def.
|Rob Halford is mainly known as singer in heavy metal gods Judas Priest. Where did the band form?
West Midlands, England. Rob Halford is heavy metal personified, and whilst others have tried to distance themselves from the tag, Halford wears it with pride. His much-copied high-pitched screeching is unmistakable, as is his image of shaved head, leather, studs and sometimes whips and chains.
He was the first high profile heavy metal musician to come out as being homosexual, which came as no surprise to European fans, but apparently shocked audiences in certain parts of the USA and led to record burnings. How they hadn't worked it out already is a mystery.
Rob Halford joined a fledgling Judas Priest in 1973 and sang on all their classic albums, such as "Killing Machine", "British Steel" and "Screaming For Vengeance". He left in 1992 and formed Fight, who released a couple of decent albums, then worked on the industrial rock project 2wo for one (dreadful) album. Then he formed Halford, who were very much like Judas Priest. In 2003 he rejoined Judas Priest and metal fans the world over breathed a huge sigh of relief.
|Robert Wyatt left Soft Machine, formed Matching Mole and then went solo. What was the name of his classic 1974 album, generally regarded as his best, that included songs like "Sea Song" and "Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road"?|
Rock Bottom. Robert Wyatt was the drummer and did a lot of the vocals too in Soft Machine. He was on the first four albums. The shift in the band's sound and approach from quirky, playful prog rock on the eponymous debut album to pretentious noodling by "Fourth" (they got up to "Seven" before bothering to think up an album title!) was partly what led to his fleeing.
"Rock Bottom" was his first record after losing the use of his legs following a drunken mishap when he fell from a third floor window. Previously known for his drumming skills, Wyatt was now experimenting with a whole range of instruments. In fact, Wyatt has talked about how being paraplegic pushed him to think about musical solutions in a way that he would never have done before.
The album is one of the oddest but most compelling albums of all time. It is both brooding and even creepy, yet subtle and beautiful. It doesn't have any of the Soft Machine ostentation, but heaps of the tomfoolery.
"Country Life" by Roxy Music came out the same year. "Tubular Bells" was by Mike Oldfield, who plays on "Rock Bottom". "Dark Side Of The Moon" was by Pink Floyd whose drummer, Nick Mason, produced "Rock Bottom".
|Everyone knows that Bob Dylan's real name is Robert Zimmerman, but do you know what his first album was called?|
Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan must be the most famous Bob of all time, and deservedly so. It's often said that he is one of the few (if not the only) pop lyricist who is a real contender in terms of recognition as a poet.
However, his debut album only boasts two originals, the rest being standards. It was recorded on a shoestring budget, and apparently had production staff pulling out their hair as Bob was so unruly.
"The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" was the follow-up album, and contained many more Dylan compositions. It remains one of his most acclaimed albums. "Another Side of Bob Dylan" was one of his two 1964 releases, and did what it said on the tin, i.e. showed another side of him. It wasn't well-received in all quarters, something that has always plagued Dylan, but has definitely gathered its aficionados since.
Did you find these entries particularly interesting, or do you have comments / corrections to make? Let the author know!
Send the author a thank you or
Submit a correction