Broad Street Walk of Fame (Philadelphia)

Like many, I’ve spent the last 11+ months running and going on long walks as much as possible to get out of the house, clear my head, and get some fresh air.

Trying to social distance to the fullest, I stroll & sprint on wide Broad Street much more than narrower Philadelphia streets/sidewalks and the Schuylkill Trail (even though I miss that Philly stretch/view so dearly).

While on Broad Street, I’m always passing by the Philadelphia Music Alliance’s Walk of Fame in Center City. Of course, I’ve always known the big immortalized names here — Coltrane, Nina Simone, Hall & Oats, etc. But what about all the others?

The last few months, I spent time researching and listening to every single artist that’s been honored on Broad Street in Philly. And the range of music is so encompassing. From The Sound of Philadelphia to … Rock & Roll … Classical and Opera … Hip-Hop … Country … Hard Rock … Gospel … Jazz … and more.

So I made a Spotify playlist that I’m sharing here … It features almost all of the 147 inductees to the Philly Walk of Fame. (Understandably, no Radio DJ’s, etc.) I tried to keep the songs to 5 mins or shorter as much as possible (although more difficult for classical, opera & jazz). And I tried to include about five songs per artist at a minimum. So far, this playlist totals more than 41 hours of music and counting …

The great diversity in genres and sounds is to be expected from this amazing city. What I’ve found most powerful is walking along Broad Street and feeling a connection to each of these artists as I listen to their tunes on the same city street that each of these musical artists has walked on in their lives. I wonder what they would think of Philly today, as we take it one day at a time, trying to get through a global pandemic.

So when you go for a walk in Philadelphia or just want to feel some Philly history from afar, hopefully you’ll find this music to be an inspiring time warp of Philadelphians leaving their mark through reverberation.

Enjoy the Philly music, friends. Be safe & healthy & kind out there. Much Love & Hugs & Peace & Cheers!

As Philly’s Jill Scott sings, “Let’s take a long walk …”


lee “likes” acapella rage

I’ve seen Rage Against The Machine perform live many times. I can hardly describe the mega-powerful force that fuels their concerts, from their monster sound to the juiced up crowd. I posted their ridiculous live cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad” below. And, while I’ve literally been blown away by their massive arsenal when I’ve seen them in huge arenas or at outdoor festivals, I would trade it all to have been at this small, impromptu, live, acapella performance which they dropped outside the 2008 RNC in Minneapolis. I love Tom and Zack cracking smiles throughout their performance (which you rarely ever see) as if they themselves can’t believe that they are dropping an acapella version of their tunes on the streets of Minneapolis. It’s inspiring and, yes, of course, if you have a pulse, it’s pure GOOSEBUMPS. Enjoy …

lee “likes” geniuses

I first saw Bela Fleck & the Flecktones when they visited my college in the late-1990s. I had no real idea of what I was about to witness. Even with the risk of sounding cliche-ish, I witnessed geniuses. Pure geniuses. Ever since, I have always done my utmost to see them live every time they visit my town. Bela Fleck is amazing on the banjo (understatement of the century, thus far), and Victor Wooten is arguably one of the greatest musicians to ever play the bass guitar, if not the greatest bassist, period. What Victor does with a bass is, just simply, jaw dropping. If you haven’t seen Bela & Victor perform live before, do yourself a favor and go, as fast as you can, the next time they come to your town. It’s an experience like no other.

I originally wanted to post two Bela videos. Alas, I can’t find any good live footage of their Beatles cover “Oh Darling,” but you can listen to the slickest live version from their 1996 release, Live Art, here. Bela really belts it out after their instrumental jam. Very serious raw energy there. Thankfully, there are many versions of VIctor Wooten’s “Amazing Grace (Improv)” online. Do yourself a favor and check out as many as you can. You’ll get a sample of what I’m talking about, but nothing compares to seeing them/Victor live. Goosebumps. PURE GOOSEBUMPS …

lee “likes” being misunderstood

In my world, life is a strange ebb and flow between ease and noise. What happens when a band attempts to take on that see-saw of emotions and mold it into a song? … Well, that song pretty much sums up my life. Lots of easy highs, lots of rough lows and lots and lots of complicated noise in between. Somehow, when you take a step back from life though, don’t you find that life is pretty darn beautiful, no matter what card you were handed, right? Life’s an amazing journey. Being a fan of Wilco since — well, since way before they “jumped the shark” and sold out larger venues — I feel like Wilco exemplifies this ebb and flow better than any band out there today. After all these trying years, Jeff Tweedy and gang know the masses are now finally following their rock & roll life catalogue, yet they seemingly dismiss the rock & roll life that we would come to expect from a band of Wilco’s stature. Wilco is comprised of musicians, making music — the music and noise of life. “I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL … FOR NOTHING … I WANT TO THANK YOU ALL FOR NOTHING AT ALL.” Well, probably not my blog-followers. Haha. This track/performance exemplifies that ebb and flow. I guess we’re all just “misunderstood,” right? … Goosebumps. Pure, Goosebumps.

lee “likes” a feeling

We’ve got to put The Beatles up here somewhere, right? My mom pretty much raised me with all their albums, on vinyl, of course (which I still have). I could post a bunch of my favorite Beatles “goosebump” tunes: “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Oh Darling,” “I Am The Walrus,” “Helter Skelter,” “She Said, She Said,” and all the greatest hits that everyone sings along to, of course. Near the top of my list is “I’ve Got A Feeling” because it’s so raw and Paul and John go back and forth, with such juxtaposition, so well. I adore their infamous rooftop concert (atop Apple Studios on famous Seville Row in London in 1969). [UPDATE: The rooftop concert clips have been pulled from YouTube. If you find a link online, please send it my way.] So, if you want some goosebumps (especially when Paul belts out “Yeah! YEAH!!! I’ve got a feeling!!!” followed by John nonchalantly singing, “Everyone had a hard year. Everyone had a good time.”), give this a rooftop whirl …

lee “likes” tom joad

“The Ghost of Tom Joad” is one of my favorite songs of all time. (Tom Joad is the protagonist in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.) While cover songs often bother me, RAGE perfectly amplify the raw emotion of Springsteen’s poetry/lyrics, particularly in this live version from Irvine, CA in 1997, which I used to watch over and over again on VHS. Tom Morello, chopping political heads, on his double axe. Drummer Brad Wilk replicating macine guns pulsating on the drums. And Mr. Zach de la Rocha … “YOU’LL SEE ME!!!” I get GOOSEBUMPS (practically tears) when I hear both versions, especially back-to-back …

lee “likes” SRV unplugged

On August 27, 1990, I balled my eyes out, like a little child, when WMMR’s Pierre Robert announced on the radio that Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash, after a performance. (Then again, I was a little child, come to think of it.) I remember going to my bedroom, closing my door and playing SRV’s albums all night long. I drew “SRV” on my denim trapper keeper that school year, and I still have the cover of the Rolling Stone which included his tribute, hanging framed in my bedroom to this day (it doesn’t hurt that the girls from “Twin Peaks” are on it either). Everything Stevie played melted your face and brought goosebumps to your skin. I mean, even David Bowie hired him to do the infamous “Fame” guitar lick before Stevie Ray Vaughan was a big name. This MTV Unplugged performance of “Pride & Joy” is one of my absolute favorites. It’s one thing for a guitarist to wow you when he’s plugged in with all the pedals and feedback and so forth; it’s even more amazing when your jaw drops from the sounds made on an acoustic guitar — let alone a 12-string acoustic at that. Still missing ya, Stevie. Thank you for all, good sir. You made me cry, and you continue to bring tears to my face. Pure GOOSEBUMPS …

lee “likes” clapton’s “little red rooster” solo w the stones

It’s December 19, 1989. You’re at the Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Rolling Stones are in the midst of their Steel Wheels tour. Legendary blues guitarist Eric Clapton steps out to join them for the blues classic “Little Red Rooster” (often credited to Howlin’ Wolf), and Clapton proceeds to drop, without a doubt, one of his greatest live solos of all time. The subtle look that Mick Jagger gives Clapton as they pass each other in the middle of the song, as Clapton wraps up his solo, is priceless [UPDATE: They have removed the official video with this priceless interaction, but there are still some videos of this performance — sans Mick/Eric interaction — online, like this one]. Goosebumps …