I try to think back to what sort of music was popular. What caught my ear. I can remember the first vinyl album I bought. It was a Greatest Hits compilation of Garry Puckett and the Union Gap. About 1966 or 67. I was young and impressionable, don’t judge me. But shortly after that I discovered Cream. That’s right, Eric, Jack & Ginger. My musical tastes became a little more intellectual. Then came the Beatles, the Band, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Crosby, Stills and Nash, then Neil Young, Van Morrison, The Rolling Stones and on and on.
Back in those days FM Radio was beginning to gain some traction. There was a little known station operating out of Pittsburgh PA., call letters KQV. KQV eventually became WDVE, a much more commercial version of itself. A certain amount of mystique surrounded their format. It was music like I had never heard before. The first time a heard Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, this station played the LP in it’s entirety! I imagined they operated out of some basement on the Pitt. Campus. You could only get KQV late at night which made it even more clandestine. From that station I heard the music of the next generation, My Generation. The Who even wrote a song about it. I would read the album covers and liner notes until I practically had them memorized. I looked at who produced the record, where it was recorded who wrote the songs. That’s when I started noticed names like Willie Dixon, Elmore James, Son House, Muddy Waters, etc., etc. Naturally I began looking in to those names. Who were these guys that were so prominent in my new found passion AKA Hard Rock. That’s right, “Hard Rock” was a popular term back in the day… someone realized it before me an opened a whole string of restaurants dedicated to rock music and it’s memorabilia. Not an original idea at all.
I began listening to Blues music by the original artists. The deeper I looked into it the more I was drawn to it’s origins. The origins of the Blues captivated me, and suddenly making that connection to the British rock bands, who were re-doing their music, was a natural progression. The very music that started me down the Blues Highway… it wasn’t American musicians, but British rockers. Ironic? You bet, the music was under our noses the whole time.