Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Maime Indan by Rookantha Goonatillake

As I’m into classic rock music, I decided to write a blog post about a great rock song from my country
Sri Lanka to share it with the world. The song is “Maime Indan” by singer Rookantha Goonatillake
and it has a classic rock feel. I previously wrote a similar blog post about another Sri Lankan rock
song, that being Senaka Batagoda’s “Api Kawruda”. I’m embedding the YouTube audio of the song
below which was uploaded by Sri Lankan record label Torana Music. You can listen to it as you read
my thoughts on the song below.

It opens with intense catchy guitar riffs which is soon followed by Rookantha’s singing. The first
singing part is the chorus. The electric guitars aren’t there while Rookantha sings and the electric
guitar riffs come during the breaks. After Rookantha’s singing there is a good guitar solo. Towards
the end of the guitar solo, it’s nice to have it followed by some organ notes. Then there’s the first
verse which takes the melody to a good place. The organ while low in the mix continues to play a
good role in the song. It’s good to hear Rookantha accompanied with the backing vocalists sing
along with the melody something like “do lo lo lo lo … ” at the end of the verse. 

Then we get another guitar solo similar to the previous one which is combined with good organ
parts. The second verse is then sung. The verse concludes with Rookantha and the backing
vocalists again singing along with the melody. Then the chorus returns. The chorus seems more
intense this time with some increase in the electric guitar parts. In Rookantha’s last words he sings
along with the melody again. This time he sings with a different set of sounds, something like “tor low
low low … ”. The song concludes with intense guitar riffs accompanied by the organ which closes
the song with the hauntingly fading organ echoes. This song has an unusual and unique structure of
chorus, guitar solo, verse, guitar solo, verse and chorus. 

“Maime Indan” is a powerful song with a good melody, energy, rocking guitar parts and good
accompaniment by the organ. It is a great example of Sri Lankan creativity. I hope this song gets
discovered by people throughout the world.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Let’s Not Revert (A Poem About Sri Lanka)

I wrote a poem about the future of Sri Lanka as the country is going to face a Presidential election
very soon on the 16th of November. This is my personal take on it, and it isn’t an in-depth discussion
about what has been going on and what could happen going forward. It’s a short expression of my
views in poem form.  

I don’t wish to see
Sri Lanka revert to
Pre 2015 again
There’s now a threat
Of white vans,
Inability to criticise,
And more coming back  

Yes, post 2015
Didn’t bring all
That was needed
And disappointments came
Though I feel
We’re headed in
The right direction
We did get
A reduction of 
Presidential powers,
Right to information,
Open policy debate
Among others

The current negatives
Don’t make the 
Pre 2015 status
More attractive 
What we need
Is to study
What went wrong,
What went right,
And take our country
Where it needs to be
Let’s strive to
Improve on our
Current state
To make the Sri Lanka
We wish to see

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Ten Powerful Rock Ballads by Elton John

I’m a fan of Elton John so I decided to write an article highlighting ten powerful rock ballads by Elton
John. I like piano in rock music, and the piano in these songs is played by Elton who’s the world’s
most successful singing pianist. I featured some of his hit songs in this list. I tried to select songs that
are both rock and ballad. If you don’t agree with my assessment of a song being a rock ballad, I
hope you’ll at least be interested in the song. All these songs are composed by Elton John with lyrics
written by his lyricist Bernie Taupin. I mention some of the musicians who played on these songs in
this post, most of which are Elton John’s band members as well as session musicians he’s worked
with. The most prominent member is Elton John’s guitarist Davey Johnstone who appears on eight
of the ten tracks. We begin with a song from the most popular period of Elton John’s career. 

Candle in the Wind (1973)
This song is part of Elton’s most successful studio album "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and was
recorded with the original Elton John band line-up of Davey Johnstone (guitars), Dee Murray (bass)
and Nigel Olsson (drums). The piano is most prominent in the verses. It has both acoustic and
electric guitars. The electric guitars give the song a rock feel, featuring the great guitar riff played
throughout the song. This is one of Elton’s most well known songs which is a showcase of his
melodic songwriting skills. I would like to see Elton record a whole album with just the four
instruments in this song (piano, guitar, bass, drums) and nothing else (meaning no keyboards,
percussion, strings, horns, etc) except backing vocals.  

The Fox (1981)
It opens with a piano which is soon joined by harmonica. After that Elton sings, with subtle drumming
by Nigel Olsson. A few guitar notes by Richie Zito are played. Dee Murray’s bass gets a bit louder.
After about a minute the drumming gets more intense with the guitar parts played a bit more. This
song has a country/americana element with the harmonica giving a sound different to the usual Elton
song, but at the base it has the traditional Elton John song structure. This song is a good example of
Elton mixing his own style with something different. This song’s rock elements come most
prominently from Elton’s great piano playing.

Healing Hands (1989)
This is my favourite Elton John song. It opens with Jonathan Moffett’s drums which is joined by the
piano four seconds later. The piano is joined by Davey Johnstone’s guitar and there is some
synthesizer parts. The guitar parts may not be very loud, but they do have a rock feel. Elton plays a
great piano solo that rocks at about the two and a half minute mark. Elton does great powerful
singing and I really like the optimistic message of the lyrics. I love the lyric "There’s a light, where the
darkness ends" in it.   

Amazes Me (1989)
The song has good backing vocals in the opening part and later on in the song. Elton delivers soulful
strong vocals. Davey plays rock guitar throughout the song. There is suddenly an intense guitar solo
giving the song a sudden jolt which contrasts with what was heard before with its stronger rock feel.
Near the end it is good to hear Elton sing the chorus line "could be this tune" very expressively unlike the previous instances.

The One (1992)
This is an epic long rock ballad going on for five minutes and fifty three seconds. It starts off simple
and slow, and the song gets more intense about fifty seconds in with the drums. In the first chorus
there is an acoustic guitar part. The piano and the drums give some rock in the chorus. The second
verse starts off slower with subtle drumming and then brings back the intense drumming and some
electric guitar comes in. Elton delivers a good piano solo which is supplemented with synthesizer.
Elton’s part at the end of the song is similar to his piano solo which is soon joined by a good rock
guitar part. The guitars on the song are played by Adam Seymour and Davey Johnstone. I assume
that the electric guitar parts are played by Davey, but I don’t know for sure. This song is reminiscent
of "Candle in the Wind" as both songs have acoustic & electric guitars and a rock guitar part, but no
guitar solo.

Believe (1995)
It opens with piano and subtle acoustic guitars. Drums soon join in. There is an orchestra and some
electric guitars. Near the end of the first verse, the electric guitars become more prominent which are
a strong part of the chorus. The electric guitars give the song a rock element. There is also a good
electric sitar solo by Davey Johnstone. This song can be described as a power ballad. 

Something About the Way You Look Tonight (1997)
This is his biggest hit as it was paired together with "Candle in the Wind 1997". It opens with all
instruments featuring a memorable opening played by the orchestra doubled on guitar. After that
piano is the dominant instrument which it continues to be during most of the verses. It features organ
by Paul Carrack. It has a great melody. About three minutes in, there is a good guitar solo played by
Davey Johnstone or John Jorgenson (who were both in Elton’s band on this album). Following that
there are some more prominent guitar parts.

I Want Love (2001) 
This song comes from his great 2001 comeback album "Songs from the West Coast". The album
had a back to the 70s approach, yet also is the most modern sounding album he’s made. The album
featured session musicians and his original two band members Davey Johnstone (guitar) and Nigel
Olsson (drums) who are both on this track. It opens with the great piano opening that’s joined by the
acoustic guitar played by Bruce Gaitsch. Interestingly, Bruce co-wrote Richard Marx’s 1987 hit rock
song "Don’t Mean Nothing" that I like. We hear some bass guitar notes, Nigel Olsson’s drums and
about twenty seconds later Davey Johnstone’s rocking electric guitar parts come in. There is a
bridge which gives a good change to the melody followed by Davey’s great guitar solo. This is one of
Elton’s best songs showcasing his strength in writing a melodic rock ballad.

Tinderbox (2006)
This song has a 70s Elton feel and also features both original band members Davey Johnstone
(guitars) and Nigel Olsson (drums). There is both acoustic and electric guitars, with the electric
guitars coming in at about the two minute mark. The bridge has more guitars and rocks well. There
is also good organ on the song by Elton’s late keyboardist Guy Babylon who died in 2009. His late
bassist Bob Birch is also on the track. Bob plays noticeable bass notes in the opening part as he’s
the only instrument other than piano in that section. Bob Birch died in 2012. The album "The Captain
& the Kid" that it's from is the last Elton John studio album that they both appeared on.

Candlelit Bedroom (2013)
This is a very Elton John song, having his signature piano based rock ballad sound. Doyle Bramhall
II’s guitar joins in about a minute in giving a good addition to the song. About two and a half minutes
in, there a rocking guitar solo which is good to have. We then go back to the chorus. It’s fitting that
this song list both opens and closes with a candle song which interestingly were released forty years

I hope you enjoyed reading this list of Elton John rock ballads. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts
on any of these songs. If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in my previous article "Sci-Fi

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Highlights from My Bob Seger Blog Posts

The music of American rock singer Bob Seger is one of the key topics on this blog. I have been
writing about Bob Seger for 3 and a ½ years. I have written ten blog posts dealing with Bob Seger
and decided to write a post giving highlights from them all. Bob Seger’s band the Silver Bullet Band
is part of my Bob Seger posts, and is mentioned throughout this one. There are links to the original
blog posts, allowing you to access them if you wish. I feature quotes from some of them. Let’s start.

When I wrote this, there wasn’t a Bob Seger biography available. I gave my descriptions of how a
Bob Seger biography could function with things I’d like to see in it which include Bob’s working
relationship with the Silver Bullet Band, stories of his songs, information on his unreleased songs,
his working relationship with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, touring stories from the road and
more. I’m so pleased that a Bob Seger biography was published this year which is “Turn The Page,
The Bob Seger Story” by Edward Sarkis Balian. 

This is an article I wrote giving news on Bob Seger’s then upcoming album “I Knew You When” from a radio interview he gave and made my speculations about the album based on the information I had heard about it. The album did end up being released the following year in November 2017. I was correct in my speculation that it would have a mix of updated unreleased songs and completely new songs. Bob mentioned a track he re-wrote from 1976, which did not appear on the album. I’m pleased that the album still ended up titled “I Knew You When” and the fact that this blog post ended up becoming my most viewed one. 

As I like piano in rock music, I decided to write an article about the use of piano in Bob Seger’s
music. I listed ten Bob Seger songs with great piano in them played by different piano players. His
hit songs “Old Time Rock & Roll”, “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Against The Wind” were included. I’m
including one of them as well as an additional one for this post.

We’ve Got Tonight - Barry Beckett (1978)
This song is a ballad credited with the Silver Bullet Band, but was recorded with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and has Barry Beckett playing the piano & organ. It opens with the great piano intro that’s played over and over during most of the song. In the bridge, the piano playing changes where it is played faster. The song has a good section where the chorus is played three times at the end, first as usual with the band, then a slow version just with piano & Bob’s voice that’s joined by the other instruments at the end which is followed by the last chorus with the band again that works very well.

Even Now - Roy Bittan (1982)
This is my favourite Bob Seger song which is one of his forgotten hits. It reached Number 12 in the
US charts. The song has an incredible melody, powerful singing and it is piano driven rock. It has the
signature Bob Seger heartland rock sound. It opens with the very good piano playing from Roy
Bittan which is the lead instrument throughout the song. There is support from Craig Frost’s organ
and the sole guitar part by Don Felder. Just before the chorus, throughout the song Roy plays the
piano notes up the scale in a good way. Near the end of the song, Bob uses his powerful singing to
phrase ad libbed words such as “Oh” in an amazing way, and Roy’s playing there seems to be in
response to Bob’s singing.

This was a blog post where I imagined an unplugged concert by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band.
I’m giving my take on how one of his hits could be featured from it below with one additional song
not covered in the original post.

Hollywood Nights
The intro would be extended played on the piano sticking to the melody with some improvisation
from Craig Frost (Silver Bullet Band keyboardist) who’d be joined soon by the other instruments. 

Have Craig Frost play the incredible electric guitar riff from the original song on piano and come up
with a new piano solo in place of the original guitar solo.

Bob Seger Pinball Game - 14 Jul 2017
Bob Seger’s website produced a pinball game in June 2017 to celebrate his music joining streaming
services. It’s a fun game that I recommend playing. The game had been available until earlier this
month. The link to the game still works, but there is no content. I call on those behind Bob Seger’s
website to make the game available to play again. 

These are a set of classic rock songs that I think would be great for Bob Seger to cover where I
mention how his version could go. The artists featured are Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, REO
Speedwagon, Eddie Money, Journey, The Doobie Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Toto, Huey Lewis and The
News and Bruce Hornsby & the Range. I’m including one of the cover songs below from the article
and one new imaginary cover.  

Lights - Journey (1978)
This is a great song due to its melody, piano, guitar, organ and powerful singing. This version would
sound fantastic sung with Bob Seger’s powerful voice. I’d like to see Bob play more rock songs on
the piano, and am envisioning him play piano on this song as its piano rocks well, but isn’t

Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) - Billy Joel (1977)
This is a great song which sounds similar to Bob Seger’s music, thus I consider it a great fit for him.
Silver Bullet Band saxophonist Alto Reed would play the saxophone parts. Billy stutters a word in
each chorus, which reminds me of the “K-k-k-k Katmandu” stuttering that Bob did in his “Katmandu”
song. The stuttering is at the end of the words here, unlike in “Katmandu”. Have Bob keep the
stuttering parts at the end of the words, but bring in the feel of his “Katmandu” stuttering here. He
should also bring in a bit of the feel of his song “Sunspot Baby” to this version including adding a
guitar solo.

This is an article about the making of Bob Seger’s “Stranger in Town” album to celebrate its 40th
anniversary in May 2018. It’s one of his most successful studio albums as it has got certified six
times platinum in the US and features his hit singles "Old Time Rock & Roll", "We've Got Tonight",
"Still The Same" and "Hollywood Nights". “Stranger in Town” is the first Bob Seger album I listened
to about nine years ago and listening to it made me a Bob Seger fan. I consider it to be his best
album. I feature contributions from David Hood, Forrest McDonald, David Cole and John Arrias who
worked on the album.

I’m also a fan of Elton John, so I decided to write an article imagining the two singers performing
together in concert. The band combination I used is Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band members Craig
Frost (organ, keyboards), Alto Reed (sax, percussion, guitar), Chris Campbell (bass) and Elton
John’s original band members Davey Johnstone (guitar) and Nigel Olsson (drums). I’m featuring one
existing song I imagined them performing from the original post and a new one. 

Sunspot Baby (1976)
There would be the additional organ by Craig. Alto would play percussion. Following the last guitar
solo have an extended jam where Elton would incorporate a piano solo.

Miami (1986)
This song is chosen as its a pop rock ballad which also fits in with Elton John’s music. Interestingly,
there was a reference to Miami the city in “Sunspot Baby”. Bob played piano on the original, so have
both him and Elton play piano. The original had other horn instruments in addition to Alto’s parts, so
Alto would adapt some of his parts as he’s the only horn player in this version. There’s a bit of rock
piano playing by Bob in the original towards the end of the song. Have both Bob & Elton play the
rock piano parts together, extend it and have Elton come up with good piano parts of his own to go
alongside Bob’s playing.

This is a post featuring tweets about Bob Seger from the social media site Twitter. I had previously
written a similar post featuring tweets about Sri Lanka which gave me the inspiration for this one.
Topics featured “include his songs, his use of piano, his skills as a singer/songwriter, live performances, photos and more.” I’m featuring two tweets from the blog post below.

This is a blog post featuring embedded views of American places from Google Street View. They are American places referenced by or connected with Bob Seger. I had previously featured similar blog posts on Sri Lanka & Dubai and got the title idea from my previous blog post “Virtual Views of
Colombo, Sri Lanka”. Places featured include Detroit, Muscle Shoals, Miami, Manhattan, the Blue
Ride Mountains, Los Angeles and more. I’m giving two embedded views below with a quote from the original post. If the image of the place doesn’t load, you can click the “View on Google Maps” button.

I’m featuring the iconic American landmark the Statue of Liberty which was featured on the cover of
his 1991 album “The Fire Inside”. The title track is one of the epic long Bob Seger songs (totalling
nearly six minutes) with incredible piano playing from Roy Bittan.

Here’s a look at the iconic building of his record label Capitol Records.

Additional Mentions
These are three other blog posts of mine that have mentions of Bob Seger.

Toto Tribute Album - 27 Jan 2016
This blog post is imagining a tribute album to rock band Toto by big names in classic rock. In the first
song, I wrote of Bob Seger & Elton John performing a duet of “Rosanna”. I used the same band
combination as my other blog post “Elton John & Bob Seger Live in Concert” above. 

Api Kawruda by Senaka Batagoda - 10 Mar 2017
This is about a great classic rock song that I recommend from my country Sri Lanka which sounds
like a Bob Seger song. I mention the similarities in this post. The post embeds the song from

A Sri Lankan Classic Rock Station - 22 May 2018
I would like to see a Sri Lankan classic rock radio station and I wrote an article explaining how it
could function. Bob Seger is mentioned three times in this article.

So that was the highlights from my Bob Seger blog posts. It has covered a range of sub-topics which
include thoughts on Bob Seger’s songs, news on his music, imagining songs him performing in
concert & covering, the story of one of his popular albums, American scenery tried to him and
more. I feel that my blog could be the only blog to deal with Bob Seger as a key topic as I so far
haven’t seen another blog that mentions Bob Seger as one of its key topics or sole topic. If anyone
has a blog dealing with Bob Seger partly or fully, please let me know and I’d be very interested in
checking it out. I’ll continue writing about Bob Seger and I hope that through this blog, I’ll be able to
introduce Bob Seger’s music to new audiences around the world.
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