Wednesday 29 November 2023

Six Same-name Songs

I decided to write an article about songs which have the same name as each other where I describe and compare them. I selected six song groupings which have the same title. I embed the official YouTube audio for one of the songs for each grouping.


In 1989, singer Richard Marx released an energetic pop rock song “Satisfied”. This is a guitar driven song featuring synth and organ. Fourteen years later, his Capitol Records labelmate Bob Seger released his “Satisfied” song. Bob’s song has a similar energy, but it is totally different. It’s an upbeat piano driven blues track. Five years later, soft rock singer Robbie Dupree known for “Steal Away” released a song with that name. Robbie’s “Satisfied” is similar to Bob’s song with its blues feel and piano. It has a relaxing vibe. This song is a fusion of Bob and Richard’s songs as it brings back rock being a blues rock song. One thing all three songs have in common is they all feature organ.

Satisfied - Robbie Dupree (2008)

Is This Love

We’re going to a similar type of 80s rock to Richard Marx’s “Satisfied”. In 1986, Survivor released the rock song “Is This Love”. It has a catchy melody driven by guitar and synths. Jimi Jamison sings powerfully. The following year Whitesnake released their power ballad “Is This Love”. This song also uses a mix of guitar and synths. David Coverdale sings passionately. These two songs are similar, both having an arena rock sound of its time and featuring guitar solos.

Is This Love - Survivor (1986)


This is a change of pace to something soft. In 1976, Boz Scaggs released a song called “Georgia”. This is an optimistic soul song about a person. I like how it includes horns which are utilised well. A few years later Elton John would release a song “Georgia” about the US state. This is a gospel song where Elton plays organ and harmonium in addition to piano. There is a quiet and effective guitar solo which is totally different to a rock guitar solo. Both songs are led by the piano. They are melodic songs which feel alike as they have common genres.

Georgia - Boz Scaggs (1976)

Isn’t It Time

In 1977, The Babys released the wonderful soft rock song “Isn’t It Time”. John Waite sings so passionately. It’s a melodic piano driven song. It has so many different instruments including horns, orchestra, organ, guitars and prominent female backing vocals. All the elements are mixed in right with the guitars rocking well in a supporting role. Boz Scaggs released his own song “Isn’t It Time” three years later. This song feels like both soft rock and soul. It’s keyboard driven featuring a mixture of electric & acoustic pianos and synths. It has a rocking guitar solo at the halfway mark. These songs have a similar vibe with both having female backing vocals. Boz’s song is good, but it can’t compare to the majesty of The Babys’ song.

Isn’t It Time - The Babys (1977)

Take Me Back

We’re going to an Elton John country song released in 1980. On “Take Me Back”, Elton plays a Wurlitzer electric piano and sings in a southern accent. This is a relaxing song featuring a fiddle solo. Bonnie Tyler released her “Take Me Back” in 1983. Bonnie’s song opens with guitars and soon an acoustic piano appears that has a prominent place. This song really rocks with its heartland rock vibe. These two songs are very different genres, probably being the most different songs with the same name seen so far.

Take Me Back - Elton John (1980)

I Go Crazy

Soft rock singer Paul Davis released the warm song “I Go Crazy” in 1977. It’s a piano driven song featuring synth and understated guitar. Paul sings gently and melodically. Blues singer and guitarist Buddy Guy released his own “I Go Crazy” in 1993. His song opens with guitar which is soon joined by all instruments including piano. This is an intense blues song which features horns. The two songs are so different, though some lyrical similarities exist. I like Buddy’s song, but Paul’s song is the best, being something special.

I Go Crazy - Paul Davis (1977)

So you just read a discussion of different songs with the same name. Some of the songs featured are singles while others are album tracks. Rock is the primary genre with the other genres blues, soul, gospel, country and pop also featured. If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in my similar article “Rock Songs Referencing Each Other”.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

The Power of Bob Seger's Singing

Bob Seger is an iconic American rock singer. He has a deep, powerful voice which can be intense & aggressive on rock songs and gentle & soft on ballads. In this article, I’ll be giving my thoughts on the power of Bob Seger’s singing referring to some of his songs. The YouTube official audio will be embedded for five of these songs discussed further down.

In his popular song “Old Time Rock & Roll”, he gives a real rock singing voice. He almost shouts while maintaining a melodic voice. He sings gently and intimately on “We’ve Got Tonight”. At the halfway point during the bridge, he suddenly changes his singing into an aggressive style which is very effective. Following the bridge, he goes back into the gentle, intimate singing. In “Katmandu” he sings so loud and does the creative stuttering “K-K-K-K-Katmandu” throughout the song.

In the heartland rocker “Even Now”, he sings so soulfully. I like how he sings both the lead and backing vocals in the chorus which would have been achieved by overdubbing. In this song, he creatively extends the words “now” and “somehow”. In the second verse, there is a good back and forth between his powerful singing and Roy Bittan’s piano notes. He closes out the song with good vocalising and saying the title.

I’ll now talk about a few of Bob’s later songs recorded in the 21st century. In his 2003 blues song “Satisfied” released in his late 50s, you can tell he’s much older than his prime, but he still sings powerfully. The lyrics “I can still snarl with the best” seems to have a double meaning that he can still sing his heart out. He sings that line so intensely. In the rock ballad “I’ll Remember You” recorded in the early 2010s and released on his last album “I Knew You When” in 2017, he sings so passionately. His singing on this track is so impressive for his senior age.

Bob often gives good vocal interjections during an instrumental section like a guitar solo or a piano solo. This could be saying something, singing the song title, ad-libbed lyrics or non-lyrical sounds. Examples of this are saying “hey” in the middle of Rick Vito’s first “Like A Rock” slide guitar solo & singing a vocal effect in the middle of the second solo, singing “ooooo” just before Pete Carr’s guitar solo in “Mainstreet”, saying “oh yeah” in Steve Nathan’s first piano solo in “Satisfied” & singing it with some vocal effects in the second piano solo.

Katmandu (1975)

Old Time Rock & Roll (1978)

We’ve Got Tonight (1978)

Satisfied (2003) 

I’ll Remember You (2017)

These are my thoughts on the powerful singing of Bob Seger. He is an expressive singer who made a great contribution to rock music. I consider him to be one of the world’s best singers.

Saturday 4 November 2023

System Change in Sri Lanka


A key demand of the protests in Sri Lanka which kicked the Rajapaksas out of power last year is system change. This is something we have yet to see. In this article, I’ll be giving my thoughts on how system change can be carried out.

Constitution of Sri Lanka

One aspect relates to the Sri Lankan Constitution. Both Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, during their presidencies introduced draconian undemocratic amendments to the Constitution strengthening the power of the President, doing harm to rule of law and independence of government institutions which were the 18th Amendment in 2010 and the 20th Amendment in 2020. Following these two Rajapaksa presidencies, there were restorative amendments to the Constitution passed which were the 19th Amendment in 2015 and the 21st Amendment in 2022.

We can’t keep going back and forth between authoritarian and restorative constitutional amendments. This cycle must end. What’s tragic is that many parliamentarians voted for the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st Amendments. They didn’t see the dangers of draconian amendments and even if they did, their thirst for power prevented them from voting sensibly. Then with the 20th Amendment, they went back to voting for an authoritarian amendment again not learning their lesson.

Firstly, it’s important that we learn not to vote again for rulers who seek to strengthen their powers and engage in corruption. Secondly, we need to elect sensible parliamentarians who won’t vote for such authoritarian laws. In the Parliament we should have, the government and opposition members will have different ideologies and policies, but they would all believe in values such as rule of law, integrity, good governance and serving the country well. Both sides should be competing to perform better in these fronts which would be a healthy competition.


Unity is an issue Sri Lanka has had a problem with for many years with mistrust occurring among different communities. A positive factor of last year’s protests is that it was a rare case of Sri Lankans of different ethnicities being part of a common movement. While that was one moment which didn’t solve unity, it’s imperative that we don’t go back to the way we used to be. That can very easily happen.

We need to have a united Sri Lanka with a common Sri Lankan identity. We should use what happened last year as a stepping stone to overcome our divisions and make permanent unity. It’s important to reflect on how politicians divided Sri Lankans. Unity is a valuable subject to be taught in schools. This issue ties into my previous point of the need for common values across parliamentarians. Unity should be another common value across the political divide.

Abolishing the Executive Presidency

I am of the view that the Executive Presidency needs to be abolished. This concentrates too much power on one individual. I believe it has caused much damage to Sri Lanka and is a major factor which contributed to Sri Lanka’s present state. A President who gets elected on a reform mandate gets corrupted by the system resulting in him or her not performing as promised and infuriating much of Sri Lanka.

It’s worth noting that Gotabaya Rajapaksa got elected President when the 19th Amendment was in force. The 19th Amendment greatly reduced the powers of the President. A parliamentary system could make it less likely for an individual with no political experience to be elected Head of Government. I think that we should transition into having an Executive Prime Minister with a ceremonial President.

Bribery and Corruption

Bribery and corruption unfortunately is very common in Sri Lanka including politics, the public and private sector. We need to have systems in place to deter individuals from engaging in these practices. There needs to be successful bribery and corruption prosecutions especially politicians.

We have been enabling bribery and corruption for a long time. This needs to change. Saying no to paying bribes including politicians will make a difference. If a politician asks for a bribe, when saying no there are important points to tell them. They are, this is causing damage to Sri Lanka, the need for system change and mention their election comments against bribery if they said it. Sri Lankan businesses should implement policies of not paying bribes to the government and for their staff not to solicit bribes from customers.

It’s important to teach school students the dangers of bribery and corruption including not participating in it and saying no to paying bribes. It would be useful for public servants and elected representatives to be instructed not to get involved in bribery and corruption when they start their roles. While this won’t prevent all public servants and elected representatives from engaging in these practices, it has the potential to noticeably reduce it.


I gave my perspective on four issues I think need to be fulfilled for system change in Sri Lanka. This is a small selection I gave with many more issues relating to system change needed. This process is an enormous challenge for us to undertake, but that shouldn’t deter us. We can accomplish system change. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic.

Saturday 21 October 2023

Rock Songs Referencing Each Other

I decided to write an article of songs which reference another song. When I say referencing, I mean the lyrics include the title of another song in it. I made it a point to not feature any songs which reference another song by the same artist. I focus on classic rock music. A few songs may not fully classify as rock, but all the artists featured are rock artists. I would imagine that these references are purely coincidental. Some of the songs it’s referencing came out several years later.

I’m starting with the band Journey’s energetic rocker “Just the Same Way” sung by both their keyboardist Gregg Rolie and lead singer Steve Perry. Gregg sings “it’s after midnight” in the second line. This brings to mind the song “After Midnight”. While that song is a J.J. Cale original, the version I like the best and am referring to is the Eric Clapton version. These songs are quite different, yet are both melodic rock songs featuring piano. Just the Same Way has a hard rock feel, while “After Midnight” has both a southern rock and a blues rock feel.

In Elton John’s country rock song “Birds”, Elton sings “these days are different than the past” in the first verse bringing to mind Jackson Browne’s “These Days”. Jackson’ song is a ballad, but it has a somewhat similar musical style including the rock guitar playing by David Lindley which is comparable to Rusty Anderson’s playing in “Birds”. In the Eagles song “Lyin’ Eyes”, Glenn Frey sings at the end of the last verse “you’re still the same old girl you used to be”. Glenn’s friend Bob Seger would have his own hit “Still The Same” three years later. Both songs are similar 70s ballads. Lyin’ Eyes also sings of “hands as cold as ice”. That leads us to the great Foreigner rocker “Cold As Ice”. This song really rocks and has a great piano part.

In Jackson Browne’s rocker “The Fuse” he sings “there’s a fire high in the empty sky”. Empty Sky is the first song and title track of Elton John’s debut album. They are both long rock songs with a prominent piano part. Elton’s song is even longer and is a product of the late 60s with Jackson’s song a product of the mid 70s. Empty Sky seems to be psychedelic rock and folk rock while “The Fuse” seems to be heartland rock. In Jackson’s song “Looking Into You” he opens with “Well I looked into a house I once lived in”. Elton would sing a song “House” a few decades later. Both songs are ballads with Jackson’s song having a country rock feel and Elton’s song having a pop feel.

In Jackson Browne’s midtempo rocker “Fountain of Sorrow”, he sings “it’s good to see your smiling face tonight” a few times. This brings to mind James Taylor’s hit “Your Smiling Face” a few years later. They both have a similar 70s soft rock sound. James'es song is short and simple, while Jackson’s song is long and epic. In Jackson Browne’s first hit “Doctor My Eyes”, he sings “to awaken from these dreams”. This leads us to the song “These Dreams” by Heart. Doctor My Eyes is a piano driven midtempo rock song from the early 70s. These Dreams is so different being a synth driven mid 80s song. Doctor My Eyes sounds like an Elton John song with its piano which Jackson himself plays and Bernie Taupin (Elton John’s songwriting partner) wrote the lyrics for “These Dreams”.

We’re now moving to the late 80s with Bruce Hornsby’s “The Valley Road”. Bruce opens the song with “sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow”. This references Bob Seger’s song “Sometimes” which came out a few years earlier. They are both rock songs that were products of that time except Bruce’s song is soft while Bob’s song rocks so hard. The Valley Road has elements of heartland rock which is part of Bob’s music. Bruce’s piano is prominent in his song and while Bob’s song is guitar driven, the piano player Bill Payne has a solo.

We’re now going into Bob Seger’s heartland rocker “Even Now”. It was a hit in the US, but the song unfortunately isn’t remembered as one of his classics as it should be. I discussed the song in my previous blog post “Russ Kunkel’s Drumming for Bob Seger”. Bob sings “deep inside, it still amazes me”. This leads to Elton John’s “Amazes Me”. Bob’s song came out in the early 80s while Elton’s song came out in the late 80s. Their style of rock in each song is quite different. Elton’s song is slower and has soul influences. Both of them are melodic rockers featuring great piano and powerful expressive singing by Bob Seger and Elton John.

Billy Joel’s “She’s Right on Time” opens with him singing “turn on all the Christmas lights”. This brings to mind Journey’s “Lights”. She’s Right on Time isn’t a full on rock song, but it is probably soft rock. It’s a slowish melodic song showcasing Billy’s strengths as a singer-songwriter. Lights really rocks and touches me with its melody, piano, guitar solo, organ and Steve Perry’s vocals. It’s a song about their hometown San Francisco. You may have noticed that we both started and ended with a song by the band Journey. This represents the musical journey we’ve been on going from song to song.

List of Articles Featuring these Songs

The following is a list of articles of mine which have featured songs discussed above. I’m not including articles where I discussed the song without including a paragraph on it or described an alternate version of the song I’d like to see e.g. cover or live version.

Birds by Elton John

Birds - Elton John (2001)

Ten Great Elton John Songs by Ten Different Guitarists

Birds - Elton John (2001)

Ten Great Jackson Browne Songs by Ten Different Piano Players

These Days - Jackson Browne (1973)

Fountain of Sorrow - Jackson Browne (1974)

Ten Great Universal Music Group Songs

Still The Same - Bob Seger (1978)

Ten Great Non-Relationship Rock Songs

Doctor My Eyes - Jackson Browne (1972)

Sometimes - Bob Seger (1986)

Ten Great Capitol Records Songs

These Dreams - Heart (1985)

Highlights from my Bob Seger Blog Posts

Even Now - Bob Seger (1982)

Ten Powerful Rock Ballads by Elton John

Amazes Me - Elton John (1989)

Audio Embeds

To conclude, I’m embedding five songs which I’ve never embedded before below.

After Midnight - Eric Clapton (1970)

The Fuse - Jackson Browne (1976)

Cold As Ice - Foreigner (1977)

The Valley Road - Bruce Hornsby (1988)

Amazes Me - Elton John (1989)

Saturday 30 September 2023

Russ Kunkel’s Drumming for Bob Seger

This article is about Los Angeles session drummer Russ Kunkel’s work for Bob Seger. He first appeared on Bob Seger’s 1982 album “The Distance”. He played on all but one track on that album. He played one or two tracks on subsequent studio albums until 1995’s “It’s A Mystery”. In this article, I’m discussing his work with Bob Seger, mentioning many of the songs he played on. I also embed the official audio from five of these songs just before the conclusion. The first Bob Seger track he played on is “Even Now”, my favourite Bob Seger song. This is a very heartland rock song and a wonderful way for Russ to begin working with Bob Seger. On this song, he is drumming with passion with some fancy hits. He was also on the two other singles “Roll Me Away” which is another heartland rocker and the country hit “Shame On The Moon”. Highlights from that album include “Love’s The Last To Know”, a ballad with soft drumming in its first half transforming into intense drumming in the second half. Another song worth mentioning is the rock & roll song “Makin’ Thunderbirds” where he opens the song. He played on the first two tracks of the 1986 album “Like A Rock” which were both hits in the US. These tracks were the heartland rocker “American Storm” and the rock ballad “Like A Rock”. In the title track, he opens with soft drumming. In the choruses and Rick Vito’s slide guitar solos he hits the drums harder giving powerful drumming moments. He is rocking well on a slow song. Five years later, he played the drums on the rocker “The Fire Inside” with a hard hitting drum opening. The drums are prominent on this song. It’s driven by the drums and piano. He played on the sessions of the 1995 album “It’s A Mystery”. Three songs have been released from these sessions, the first is “In Your Time” which appeared on 1994’s “Greatest Hits” album. The two songs which appeared on the “It’s A Mystery” album are “I Can’t Save You Angelene” and “West Of The Moon”. On these three songs, Bob played piano. Two of them are rock ballads with it clearly being an electric piano. The song that stands out is “I Can’t Save You Angelene” which is an uptempo blues song with acoustic piano. On this song, Russ does blues playing including closing the song. Even Now (1982)
Roll Me Away (1982)
Shame On The Moon (1982) Like A Rock (1986) The Fire Inside (1991) Russ Kunkel has a full drum sound, being a great rock drummer. His drumming is sharp and powerful. He supported Bob Seger excellently as a session musician. Some other songs he has played on that I like are “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne”, “Let Her Go” by Dan Fogelberg, “Johnny Strikes up the Band” by Warren Zevon, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” by James Taylor and “Volcano” by the recently deceased Jimmy Buffett. Russ hasn’t played on a Bob Seger studio album since 1995. I’d like to see him work with Bob again. I’ll conclude by wishing Russ Kunkel a happy birthday for turning 75 this week.

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Ten Songs Featuring Elton John Sidemen

This post is about Elton John’s backing band who are known as the Elton John Band. I decided to select ten songs I like which feature at least one Elton John band member. One Elton song is of course included. I previously featured the Bob Seger song in my article on Bob Seger piano songs. To maintain a connection with Elton’s music all these songs feature piano.

Magic by Pilot - David Paton (1974)

This is by the Scottish rock band Pilot. David Paton had been a bassist for Elton in the 1980s. He plays bass and sings this song. It opens with intense guitars. Piano then appears which has a supporting role in this song. There is an orchestra and the guitars are understated in sections and are stronger in other parts of the song. There is an intense guitar solo about the three-quarter mark. David sings cheerfully in this fun pop rocker. This song reminds me of Elton’s “Rock Of The Westies” album with it sounding like “Dan Dare (Pilot Of The Future)”.

Bad Blood by Neil Sedaka - Nigel Olsson (1975)

This is a fun pop song. Elton provides prominent backing vocals echoing Neil in the words “bad” and “blood”. Elton and Neil also sing sections together which sounds good. Elton’s drummer Nigel Olsson plays the drums, who provides a good beat. Neil plays piano and this song sounds like an Elton song. David Foster plays clavinet which has a good presence. An Elton song this brings to mind is “Dark Diamond” featuring clavinet played by Stevie Wonder.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John & Kiki Dee - Elton John Band (1976)

This is one of Elton’s most popular songs, a duet with Kiki Dee. The Elton John Band at the time (Caleb Quaye, Davey Johnstone, James Newton Howard, Ray Cooper, Kenny Passarelli & Roger Pope) played on the song, though my understanding is that Davey does not appear on it. This is a catchy pop song with elements of soul. There is an orchestra in the song. The guitars make a more prominent presence in parts of the song. Elton and Kiki sing well together and it’s even more impressive as they recorded their parts separately. The Elton John Band plays in a gentle, relaxing way.

Year of the Cat by Al Stewart - Tim Renwick (1976)

This soft rock song opens with piano. Alan Parsons who produced this also produced “Magic” by Pilot making him the only producer to produce two songs on this list. Tim Renwick who plays guitars on it would be the main guitarist on Elton’s “A Single Man” album a few years later and briefly be in Elton’s band in the early 80s. Tim plays both acoustic and electric guitars, playing a unique acoustic guitar solo followed by an electric guitar solo. Following this, there is a saxophone solo which comes back later at the end of the song. This is similar to the Elton songs “Burn Down The Mission” and “Blues For Baby And Me” that also feature an orchestra.

It’s A Laugh by Daryl Hall & John Oates - Caleb Quaye, Kenny Passarelli & Roger Pope (1978)

Guitarist Caleb Quaye, bassist Kenny Passarelli & drummer Roger Pope joined Daryl Hall & John Oates after Elton John. The album featured guest guitarists, so it’s possible that the lead guitar part isn’t played by Caleb, but I’m writing assuming it’s him. This fun rock song opens with Roger’s drums which goes into a saxophone intro. Caleb plays light rocking electric guitar parts which add power to the song. The piano sounds like the piano in an Elton song. I wonder if Daryl is playing it as he often plays piano. An Elton song I’m reminded of is “Elderberry Wine”.

Hey Deanie by Eric Carmen - Nigel Olsson & Richie Zito (1978)

The song opens with Eric singing the chorus with backing vocals and claps. Elton’s drummer Nigel Olsson and future guitarist Richie Zito play on this song. Nigel and Richie would play together with Elton in the early 80s when they would both be in the Elton John Band. This could be an Elton John rock & roll song with its brilliant rock & roll piano. There are some glissandos. Horns are featured in parts of the song. Nigel gives rock drumming similar to what he’s played for Elton before.

Do You Still Dream? by Chris Rea - David Paton (1981)

The dark rock song opens with piano. There are light electric piano parts that come in and out of the song. The acoustic and electric pianos sound well together. The guitar gives a good presence with there being a guitar solo at the end of the song. A little after a minute when it becomes a full band song, David Paton’s bass gives deep bass notes which are tied with the drums. The guitar solo at the end of the song adds a good contrast to what we heard before. This is a bit like the Elton song “Cry To Heaven”. Both of them are 80s rock songs made in England.

Love’s The Last To Know by Bob Seger - Davey Johnstone (1982)

Bill Payne’s piano starts off the song. Bill is the keyboardist of southern rock band Little Feat. Little Feat is one of Elton’s influences. Elton’s guitarist Davey Johnstone plays an acoustic guitar. He comes about a third into the song with the drums and plays a good supporting role. Bob sings gently, changes to intensely once the strong drumming comes and transitions back to gentle singing in the last section. This song is a bit like an Elton ballad with it reminding me of his 2006 rock ballad “Blues Never Fade Away” (also featuring Davey) that is mostly piano in the first half with intense drumming in the second half.

The Language of Love by Dan Fogelberg - Kenny Passarelli (1984)

I get heartland rock vibes from this track. It features a good mix of guitars and keyboards (piano & organ). Dan Fogelberg sings with a rock voice and also plays lead guitar. His guitar solo is aggressive. Kenny Passarelli who was mentioned previously plays bass. Kenny’s playing is subtle and suits the rock style of this song. Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles sings harmony vocals. This song’s lyrics remind me of Bernie Taupin’s lyrics for Elton’s 1995 “Made In England” album such as its hit single “Believe”.

Been There, Done That by Christopher Cross - Matt Bissonette (1995)

The song opens with an electric piano. After a while an acoustic piano soon comes in. There are rocking guitars. The bass is played by Elton’s bassist Matt Bissonette. Matt’s bass notes are really deep. There is a strong guitar solo at around the two and a half minute mark. It has the signature Christopher Cross soft rock sound. An Elton song this is a bit like is “Spiteful Child”. Both of them have acoustic piano, electric piano, electric guitars and similar synths.

Hope you enjoyed these songs. I was celebrating classic rock music through the lens of my Elton John fandom. Elton has featured talented musicians in his band who made great contributions to popular music. Thanks to all Elton John band members including the ones not featured in this article for their work as sidemen.