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The Highest Peaks on RockPeaks

June 30th, 2011 · 20 Comments · Music, Poetry, Weird Things About Me

Here’s the (Route) 66 greatest musical performances ever captured on film — after watching thousands of clips and reviewing hundreds of them for RockPeaks, this is the best of the best . . .

And it tells a story, one complete show of shows, in a sequence of greatness . . .

Blessing the blast is Johnny Clegg bringing Nelson Mandela into the house during the celebratory Asimbonanga

Then there’s the original Freedom Singers singing to Barack Obama in the White House — (Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody) Turn Me Around

and  The Blind Boys of Alabama in the promised land testifying Free At Last

into the goosebump-raising heavenly channel Yolanda Adams bringing home Sam Cooke’s gospel A Change Is Gonna Come

and extending it further, the Dixie Chicks standing up for a different kind of right and serving notice they’re Not Ready To Make Nice

and finally the prophet Max Yasgur delivering the greatest performance in the history of rock n roll . . . on his farm.


Then here’s David Crosby channeling the Angels — Almost Cut My Hair

into Billy Preston channeling the Gods — That’s The Way God Planned It

or the Grateful Dead channeling Buddy Holly in a joyous 10 minute Not Fade Away

or here’s Yolanda channeling the Gospel of  John as she beautifully Imagines

and if you haven’t yet, you need to experience Christina Aguilera channeling James Brown at the Grammys doing It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World

. . . or here she is Making Me Wanna Get Down and Pray,

. . . or here she is with Yolanda, Jennifer, Florence and Martina collectively channeling our Queen Aretha at the 2011 Grammys;

or there’s John Mayer channeling Miles Davis and Michael Jackson with Human Nature

or Elvis Costello and The Police channeling Cream in the Sunshine of Your Love.


Or here’s, say, John Lennon playing with his hero Chuck Berry on Johnny B. Goode

. . . or shivering through Cold Turkey

. . . or  signing off for his sabbatical with his hopeful admonition to Stand By Me.


Or here’s Jeff Beck taking you Somewhere Over The Rainbow

. . . or here he takes The Beatles masterpiece for a masterful ride on A Day In The Life,

or here’s a young Genesis with Peter Gabriel confirming I Know What I Like

or a young Dire Straits in their first filmed performance doing Sultans of Swing

or a young Sleepy Man Banjo Boys before their first record sparkin’ a Flint Hill Special

or a young Elvis Costello & the Attractions emphatically confirming they Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea,

or a Young Neil — solo electric, ripping us a new Ohio

. . . or here he is stealing the show at Bobfest with a thrashing Hendrix Watchtower

or here’s Jimi himself ripping the heads off the young Lulu children with a little Hey Joe into Sunshine of Your Love

or The Who blowing up the Smothers Brothers’ stage during My Generation

or Ian Dury bringing it right down to the Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll basics

or Johnny Winter and Dr. John visiting their crazy cousin Johnny B. Goode

. . . or that raging white Winter blazing along the Bobster’s Highway 61,

Or here’s the earliest existing Grateful Dead footage, tripping in time at Monterey Pop ’67 — Viola Lee Blues

. . . or Garcia’s best rock n roll solo ever caught on film — from the Festival Express in Calgary, 1970  — Hard To Handle

. . . or here he is on “Playboy After Dark” doing the acoustic Middle Ages’ Mountains of The Moon.


Or here’s Michael Jackson’s greatest filmed performance of his greatest song Man In The Mirror

or world-beat master Peter Gabriel with a stage full of friends and drummers beating In Your Eyes

or the beatific balladeer Van Morrison with an all-star band of Hall-of-Famers doing Moondance

or the original liberated grrrl power preacher Dusty Springfield testifying about being the Son Of A Preacher Man

or the original Alice Cooper band on their School’s Out tour doing a prankster-embracing Public Animal #9

or Manfred Mann’s Earth Band completely reinventing Dylan’s Mighty Quinn

. . . or similarly rewriting Springsteen on “the Midnight Special” — Blinded By The Light.


Or here’s some spiked Joe Jackson kickin’ it Little Richard with I’m The Man

or Ray Charles causing all kinds of trouble with What’d I Say

or Neil, Bruce & Fogerty raisin’ all sortsa hell while Rockin’ In The Free World

or buckle in for a trio of Dave Brubeck‘s fastest master-melodies — Unsquared Dance,  Take Five  &  Blue Rondo

or join Gil Scott Heron’s jazz-chant to “Celebrate your life” without The Bottle

or some upbeat Sara Bareilles at 8 in the morning slammin’ the King of Anything

or Jon Anderson & an orchestra getting exhilaratingly Close To The Edge

or Winwood & Clapton painting a masterpiece with only blind faith — Can’t Find My Way Home

or another ol’ buddy duo, Simon & Garfunkle, sharing a moment with a half-million friends in Central Park — The Boxer.


Or you can be Fallin’  in and out of love with Alicia Keys

or let sista Jully Black show you how to be a Seven Day Fool

or get seduced by a sultry Fergie as she steals the show from Mick and U2 during Gimme Shelter

or go dancing with Cuban hottie Gloria Estefan doin’ the Conga

or have sex with a positively orgasmic Stevie Nicks channeling Rhiannon

or get dominated by a smokin-hot red-leathered Sheryl Crow struttin’ her stuff in The Neighborhood

or invite Joni Mitchell to shine her delicate light along the road to Woodstock.


Or you can join The Rolling Stones’ circus On The Road and jamming with Stevie Wonder in Robert Frank’s unprintable doc

or hear the original — Jack Kerouac — spinning his magic and taking you On The Road

or get in the car with Sal, Dean and King Crimson doing Neal and Jack and Me

or perhaps you’d like Allen Ginsberg and a Beatle playing Ballad of The Skeletons

or maybe a Beatle and a Zappa at the Fillmore East doing Baby, Please Don’t Go

or you can always listen to Roy Zimmerman answer the musical question What If The Beatles Were Irish?


Or there’s the option to screech off with a maniacal David Lindley in his Mercury Blues

or jump into Bobby McFerrin‘s one-man-band car and Drive

or just take a stroll with John Fogerty to see The Old Man Down The Road.

Anywhichway, you’re gonna end up in the Promised Land.


= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

For more Adventures in Music — you may want to check out the New Orleans Jazz Fest ride.

Or how The Grateful Dead came to play my 30th birthday.

Or there’s the time George Harrison saw the Beat play The Beard and raved about it to Paul McCartney.

Or for another cool list riff involving about a hundred musicians check out Famous People Who Didn’t Have Kids.

Or hanging out with this list’s #1 music man Johnny Clegg.

Or Paul Simon doing Graceland in Hyde Park in London.

Or the night Dylan showed up at Springsteen’s show at Shea Stadium in New York.

Or when Neil Young returned to Massey Hall in Toronto.

Or Furthur came back and reprised the Dead at Madison Square Garden.

Or when the Dead, Janis, The Band and others took the Festival Express train trip across Canada.

Or the night I was hanging with Dr. John’s band in Toronto.

Or here’s the day I finally “got” Bob Dylan

Or the night we all lost John Lennon



by Brian Hassett

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20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jamie // Jun 14, 2009 at 5:12 PM


    My name is Jaime, and I would just like to compliment you on your accuracy & being so articulate in your Christina – James Brown review! You nailed it, everything about this performance. From her swagger, to “Delivering the man into the house, bringing him home, making him live beyond his day!”!

    I loved every word of your writing as much as I loved every word of her performance! I can’t remember the last time I read something so well written & full of passion! How good of you to give her as awesome a tribute, as she gave our Godfather Of Soul!

    I have had this utube video in my favorites forever now, and after watching it about 10 times today (each time tearing up as she hits that first note & then all the way through), I thought to myself I wonder if there’s any footage of people’s reactions to her performance. So I googled just that, & your article was the first thing to pop up. Even though I wanted to see people’s live reactions at the Grammy’s, I read on anyway.

    Let me just tell you that you completely embodied every thought that I had, and every emotion I experienced, from beginning to end, the first time I watched that performance, & every time since! Thank you so much for writing this. She deserves this accolade, I couldn’t imagine anyone else bringing our BIG DADDY OF SOUL into the house & home that night! I know he is proud of her and thankful that she helped him go out on a note like that!!!

    And man can you write! You should be proud of yourself for expressing and putting into words what everyone else was thinking that night, including the Godfather himself. Bravo to you, Bravo to Christina, and Bravo to James Brown the man who started it all. 😉

  • 2 Will Hodgson // Jul 1, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    This is like going to the Louvre!!!

  • 3 Deb Reul // Jul 1, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Brian — this is just OUTSTANDING! I’ve been going crazy for about the last hour !!! those White House freedom clips … Jeff Beck … Jimi Hendrix on Lulu!!!! and that singer you keep talking about Yolanda …. holy geez!!! Unreal pipes!! Thanks for all the love n music!!!

  • 4 John Cassady // Jul 2, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    How you have time to do all this blows me away! … Brian gets things done! ha-ha
    Nice Jerry picks ….. and who’s that guy from Canada singing about Ohio?! But i guess it’s harder to rhyme with Saskatchewan …. ha-ha
    anyway ….. Keep On Rockin In The Free World my northern brother!!!

  • 5 Rob Salmon // Jul 6, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    What a range! I’m diggin the Jimi, Who, Johnny, Neil ……. and then there’s Beck and Knopler and that Garcia guy ….. 😀
    I remember some of these when they first came out on RockPeaks …. Alice Cooper, baby!!!
    Nice to know this is here. If I think of any others you’re missing I’ll send them to you.
    Meanwhile …… ROCK ON, BRUTHA!!!!

  • 6 Albert Kaufman // Jul 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    That Almost Cut My Hair is sure a nice version of one of my favorite songs. Thanks!

  • 7 Grateful Dave // Aug 1, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    This is GRATE, man! I’ve NEVER SEEN that Monterey Viola!! Insane!! And yer right about the H2H solo. And that Van band is sick! You need more Last Waltz on here! Greatest rock movie ever made!!!!

  • 8 John Link // Aug 15, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Love the Central Park “Boxer” but you need some Paul solo!!! like “Afterlife” or anything from SBOSW …. And no Wilco?!?! Are you crazy?! 🙂
    But I love that John Lennon’s well represented — and Jerry ….. but where’s the Dylan for godsakes???!!!

  • 9 Brian Hassett // Aug 17, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    John — Just so you know — the Dylan Internet Police pull everything by Bawb as soon as it’s posted. It sucks. I’ve reviewed some great performances — the Idiot Wind from Rolling Thunder, Like A Rolling Stone with Petty in ’86 … but there’s no point cuz the clips just get pulled. 🙁

  • 10 Reggie Mourant // Dec 7, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    Wow! This is an amazing library. I could get lost in here for days. Way to go doing this ….

  • 11 Bonnie Peers // Mar 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Holy shit!!! What is this???!!! Wow!!!
    That Johnny Clegg with Nelson Mandella brought tears to my eyes!
    And that Not Ready To Make Nice! Unreal.
    You just keep getting cooler and cooler. 😉

  • 12 Lewis McDermott // Jun 12, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Amazing! I had to take a break after just about every one. I’m and only got thru about a quarter of it! Heavy masterpieces … including people I’ve never heard of. Yolanda Adams? Sleepy Man Banjo Boys? Jully Black? Who ARE these people?!
    I gotta get back on the music festival circuit this summer!

  • 13 Sarah Cattell // Sep 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    I just thought I’d let you know … I’ve had this page up on my computer for about the last week and whenever I get a break from the baby I come back and listen to a few more songs.
    I just got up to that Son of a Preacher Man … and I have to say there’s so many songs here I vaguely knew of, but now I KNOW them. So, thanks for that.
    anyway I just had to let you know this has been my go-to place whenever I get a break. 🙂

  • 14 Chris Welch // Feb 7, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    This is great but you need some more newer bands …. USS, Great Big Sea, Magnetic Zeros, Black Keys, Gogol Bordello …..
    but at least you got Jimi and Neil Young and Ian Dury and like that. It’s too bad you can’t put them all in a playlist. ????

  • 15 Johan Soderlund // Jun 14, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    Thanks for the tip. Well done, mate. Love the little Beat tribute with Jack and Allen. Looking forward to your book about them!

  • 16 Deb Reul // Jul 1, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    Thanks for the tip about the new ones.
    Crimson, Neiler and Van … all great.
    This thing has become so epic.
    like you. 😉
    keep The Beat. (I know you will)

  • 17 Becky Boyce // Jul 19, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    These are AMAZING, Brian!!! You’re right — it’s like a festival! You’ve got to come down to one of ours in PA. Weir overdue for dancing in a field.
    Thanks for the share!

  • 18 Walter Raubicheck // Jul 19, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    Thanks for putting this all together. You still rock.

  • 19 Al Robinson // Jul 19, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    A weekend festival indeed!!! The bluegrass stage, the rock stage, the gospel stage … you were always a great organizer and staging guy … and booker. Nice show … even though so much of it has to be played in heaven now …

  • 20 Robert Lindley // Mar 12, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    Whoa!! Too great!!! Love it!!!!

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