Rock and Roll will never die

The J. Geils Band

By Bill Brotherton

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominations were announced on Tuesday, and the Cars and the J. Geils Band, two great but underappreciated Boston bands, are on the list.

Both have been nominated before. Maybe voters will show more love this time.

This is the second nomination for the Cars, who were nominated last year and became major stars in the late ’70s new wave scene. Ric Ocasek, Ben Orr, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson merged 1970s guitar-oriented rock with synth-driven pop that would flourish in the ’80s. The Cars were named Best New Artist in the 1978 Rolling Stone Readers’ Poll and won Video of the Year for “You Might Think” at the initial MTV Video Music Awards in 1984. Their self-titled debut album sold six million copies and appeared on the Billboard album chart for 139 weeks.

This is the fourth time the Geils band has been nominated, the first since 2011. Led by legendary frontman Peter Wolf, the band led an uptempo R&B revival (“Looking For a Love,” “Give it to Me”) before they found fame with such radio-friendly ’80s hits as “Love Stinks,” “Freeze Frame” and “Centerfold.” The band (Wolf, John Geils, Stephen Jo Bladd, Magic Dick Salwitz, Seth Justman and Danny Klein) is one of the greatest live acts of all time.

If the band is inducted into the Rock Hall, it’ll be interesting to see if the band’s namesake shows up for the ceremony. John Geils and his former bandmates are in the midst of a bitter fight over rights to use the band’s name.

(Local angle: Brian Maes of Lynn, David Stefanelli of Lynnfield and Johnny A of Salem play in Peter Wolf and the Houseparty 5, one of the Woofa Goofa’s bands that gigs when Geils isn’t on the road.)

First-time nominees include late rapper Tupac Shakur, pop band Journey and Seattle-based grunge rockers Pearl Jam. The influential disco-era band Chic, the Susan Lucci of the Rock Hall voting, is on the ballot for the 11th time.

Also nominated for the first time: the hardcore punk pioneers Bad Brains; 1980s synth-poppers Depeche Mode; Jeff Lynne’s 1970s hit machine Electric Light Orchestra; Lollapalooza founders Jane’s Addiction; 1960s folkie Joan Baez; Steppenwolf, Canadian rockers of “Born to be Wild” fame.

Others back as nominees include Janet Jackson; soul singer and former Rufus frontwoman Chaka Khan; the late “I Gotcha” singer Joe Tex; the German electronic music band Kraftwerk; Detroit-area punk forerunners MC5; the Zombies, British makers of “Time of the Season” and “She’s Not There”; and progressive rockers Yes.

More than 800 artists, historians and music-industry officials vote, with results announced in December and induction next April.

There is no set number of inductees. This year’s class added five members.

To be eligible, all of the nominees had to have released their first recording no later than 1991. The induction ceremony, open to the public and televised later on HBO, will take place in Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center.

You can vote online for your top five selections cast as a “fan’s ballot” at

Inductees will eventually be enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Were prog rock icons great? Yes!

Jon Davison performs in Yes during the Yes – The Album Series concert at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday.


LYNN — The death of founding bassist Chris Squire last year means there are no original members in the current touring band of progressive rock titans Yes.

Jon Anderson seems content to work with Jean Luc Ponty and focus on the upcoming “An Evening of Yes Music & More” tour with Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman (at Boston’s Wang Theater on Oct. 19).

To further complicate matters, longtime drummer Alan White, who joined in 1972, is recuperating from recent back surgery and had to sit out Thursday night’s show at Lynn Memorial Auditorium.

Steve Howe, of YES, jams on the guitar during the YES - The Album Series concert at Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday. shasak | Item Live

Steve Howe, of Yes, jams on the guitar during the Yes – The Album Series concert at Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Thursday.

So, how did the lineup of Steve Howe (guitars), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Billy Sherwood (bass), Jay Schellen (drums) and Jon Davison (vocals) fare? Pretty darn well, thank you very much.

But this was truly a show for Yes die-hards. Marginal fans who went expecting to hear “Owner of a Lonely Heart” — a turgid pile of you know what IMHO — and other radio-friendly tunes were probably ready to take poison about halfway through the close-to-25-minute set-ending “Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil).”

This was also the hardest rocking, aggressive-sounding Yes show I’ve seen in a long time. The band is on the road performing the 1980 album “Drama” in its entirety, sides 1 and 4 of 1973’s  bombastic, fantastic opus “Tales from Topographic Oceans” and a handful of greatest “hits.”

The stage was jam-packed with instruments and equipment. The space allotted for Downes’ keyboards was larger than my first apartment.

The six songs from the hard-rocking “Drama” kicked things off. Howe was on fire from the start, the menacing “Machine Messiah,” to the beautiful acoustic solo during “Leaves of Green.” He was a man possessed. He came to play, and drummer Schellen pushed him all night.

Vocalist Davison sounds so much like Anderson it’s eerie. He hits high notes that only dogs can hear; his tighty-whities must’ve been particularly tight. He shined on “Into the Lens” and fan favorites “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Siberian Khatru,” which revved up the crowd even more before a 20-minute interval (that’s Brit-speak for intermission).

It’s a shame White missed the gig, because the ambitious “Topographic Oceans” was the first Yes album he played on. (Steven Wilson has remixed the double album; it will be released next month.) I always found the album indulgent and banal, but the crowd was jazzed and attentive and even rowdy during the long (20-minutes-plus) “The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)” and especially the percussion freakout with synchronized lights and smoke in “Ritual.”

The encore (that’s Brit-speak for encore), a one-two punch of “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper,” got the crowd clapping, standing and cheering.

Bill Brotherton can be reached at

YES at Lynn Auditorium on August 4th


YES (the band) will be at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium on August 4th at 8 p.m.

This British rock sensation is on tour now!  

“The band’s current line-up consists of singer Jon Davison, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes and bassist Billy Sherwood. YES alumni are Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, Trevor Horn, Trevor Rabin, Tony Kaye, Peter Banks, Patrick Moraz, Benoit David, Oliver Wakeman, Igor Khoroshev and Tom Brislin.” (YES Official Facebook Page)

To get tickets, please contact:

Lynn City Hall, at Three City Hall Square, in room 311.

Box Office Line:  781-599-SHOW

Also available through Ticketmaster:  1- 800- 745-3000



Summer Happenings

Neil Giraldo and Pat Benatar perform at the Lynn Auditorium on July 28.


Pop music fans needn’t travel into Boston or make a road trip to Gillette Stadium, the Xfinity Center or Tanglewood to hear top-notch entertainment. Here are some of the summer’s hottest shows happening on the North Shore.

Lynn Memorial Auditorium (

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo — Thursday, July 28

  • Rock legend and four-time Grammy Award winner Benatar joined by her longtime husband and lead guitarist Giraldo
  • TOP SONGS: “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” “We Belong,” “Love Is a Battlefield,” “Invincible”
  • Tickets start at $37

Yes — Thursday, Aug. 4

  • English band that has seen success through its progressive, symphonic style of rock music
  • TOP SONGS: “Owner Of A Lonely Heart,” “Roundabout,” “And You and I”
  • Tickets start at $57

Neil Sedaka — Monday, Aug. 15

  • Iconic American pop singer, pianist, composer and record producer; has written more than 500 songs for himself and other artists
  • TOP SONGS: “Oh Carol,” “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” “Calendar Girl”
  • Tickets start at $45

Ted Nugent — Monday, Aug. 22

  • American rock and roller, songwriter and activist
  • “Cat Scratch Fever,” “Stormtroopin’,” “Stranglehold”
  • Tickets start at $37

The Cabot, Beverly (

Chris Robinson Brotherhood — Saturday, July 30

  • American blues rock band starring founding member of the Black Crowes
  • TOP SONGS: “Rosalee,” “Badlands Here We Come,” “Tulsa Yesterday”
  • Tickets start at $19

Anders Osborne — Friday, Aug. 12

  • American rock, R&B and blues singer/songwriter
  • TOP SONGS: “Louisiana Gold,” “Favorite Son,” “Pleasing You”
  • Tickets start at $19

The Wailers — Friday, Aug. 19

  • Jamaican Reggae band formed by the late Bob Marley
  • TOP SONGS: “Get Up Stand Up,” “Could You Be Loved,” “Buffalo Soldier”
  • Tickets are $35

Roomful of Blues — Saturday, Aug. 20

  • American blues and swing band

James Montgomery — Saturday, Aug. 20

  • American blues musician and singer
  • Tickets start at $21.50

War — Saturday, Aug. 27

  • Classic American funk band
  • TOP SONGS: “Spill the Wine,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?,” “The World Is a Ghetto”
  • Tickets start at $35

Starship — Sunday, Aug. 28

  • American rock band
  • TOP SONGS: “Jane,” “We Built This City,” “Sara”
  • Tickets start at $35

Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport (

Booker T. Jones — Thursday, July 28

  • American multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, record producer and arranger
  • TOP SONGS: “Green Onions,” “Time Is Tight,” “Hang ‘em High”
  • Tickets start at $45

Lizz Wright — Friday, July 29

  • American R&B/Jazz singer and composer
  • TOP SONGS: “My Heart,” “Salt,” “Song For Mia”
  • Tickets start at $41

Arlo Guthrie — Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31

  • American folk singer-songwriter
  • TOP SONGS: “Alice’s Restaurant,” “The City of New Orleans,” “Coming Into Los Angeles”
  • Tickets in balcony are $95

Tom Rush — Thursday and Friday, Aug. 4-5

  • Iconic American folk and blues singer, songwriter, guitarist
  • TOP SONGS: “No Regrets,” “Child’s Song,” “Galveston Flood”
  • Tickets start at $44

Kathy Mattea — Saturday, Aug. 6

  • American country and bluegrass performer who brings folk, Celtic and traditional country sounds to her music
  • TOP SONGS: “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” “Where You’ve Been,” “Calling Me Home”
  • Tickets start at $44

James Hunter Six — Wednesday, Aug 10

  • English rhythm and blues/soul group
  • TOP SONGS: “(Baby) Hold On,” “If That Don’t Tell You,” “Stranded”
  • Tickets start at $29

Horse With No Name rides into City Hall

Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley of America perform in Lynn.


LYNN — A relaxed crowd gathered Thursday night for the classic soft rock tunes of America.

Original bandmates Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell met in high school and rose to fame with their ’70s hit, “Horse With No Name.” After 46 years of touring, America has released nearly three dozen albums.  

The band made their stage entrance a few minutes late at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium, warming up with “Tin Man.” While Bunnell and Beckley started off looking somewhat stiff, the duo seemed to limber up by the second track, playing “You Can Do Magic” to flashing blue and red lights and smoke.     

The band returned to their roots a few songs in, choosing numbers from the first side of their earliest album and working their way chronologically up to later work.

“I Need You” got the most rise out of the crowd, with fans waving their arms and handing a bouquet of flowers up to the stage.

Wearing plaid and sneakers, Bunnell and Beckley appeared most at home on acoustic guitar and mirrored the laid back attitude expressed by the audience.

America’s 2015 album “Lost And Found” took a backseat to more recognizable songs, but the audience did get a taste of the band’s most recent compilation. It presents a slightly harder sound than America’s 1970s hits but maintains a clear continuity with older discography.

While longtime fans may have turned out to watch original members Bunnell and Beckley take the stage, newer additions Bill Worrell (guitar) and Richard Campbell (bass) were highlights of the show, bringing an impressive level of energy and focus to the heavier rock numbers.

The electric guitar solo by Worrell in the 1974 song “Hollywood” was especially charged, taking the band “dangerously close to jamming,” in the words of Beckley.

Auditorium general manager Jamie Marsh expressed a personal fondness for America, commenting, “It’s a really great crowd. These are the songs I grew up with.”

He added that the auditorium booked upcoming shows with Pat Benatar, Ted Nugent and Yes earlier that day.