Cameron Carpenter: The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll – I Will Be King

CamOf course when it comes to kings and rock’n’roll there was only one, Elvis Aaron Presley. The late Michael Jackson was the self-proclaimed “King of Pop” but really he was only the king of moonwalking, crotch-grabbing and annoying little “whoo’s”. Let’s talk a look at some “King” songs and other assorted kings.






“King of Rock” – Run-D.M.C.

Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels and the late Jason Mizell, aka Run-D.M.C., may have been the most influential rap group of all time. They were the first with a gold, platinum and multi-platinum album, the first to truly merge rock and rap, they revived Aerosmith’s career with their version of “Walk This Way” and they designed a logo that is still ripped off to this day. If the old white dude in the video looks familiar it’s Larry “Bud” Melman (Calvin DeForest) the late former sidekick of David Letterman.

Carole King

Carole had a pretty good run writing songs with her first husband Gerry Goffin in the sixties and had artists such as The Beatles, Monkees, Herman’s Hermits, The Shirelles and Aretha Franklin take their tunes “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, “Chains”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “I’m Into Something Good” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” to the top of the charts. In 1971 she released the solo album “Tapestry” which stayed on the charts for an incredible six years. One of the greatest songwriters ever.

“Speed King” – Deep Purple

From the 1970 album “Deep Purple in Rock” and featuring the greatest left-handed drummer of all-time Ian Paice.

William King

William is the only original member remaining in Tuskegee Alabama’s most famous band “The Commodores”. Once led by Lionel Richie the band still has success after Lionel went solo and they scored a massive hit with the song “Nightshift” which was their tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson.  Back in 1985 I presented them with their gold records for this record on stage at the old Ontario Place Forum. It was my job to walk out with a wireless mic, interrupt the show and “surprise” them with their gold records. Both cool and frightening at the same time.

“King of the Road” – Roger Miller

This was one of the first singles I ever remember knowing the words to. Although I love The Proclaimer’s cover of the song it’s time for the 1965 original.

King Missile

Although unlike any other song in their arsenal it was the single “Detachable Penis” that gave King Missile their only charting single. Bet many of you had forgotten this one.

“King of Spain” – Moxy Fruvous

Just because former member Jian Ghomeshi is an Arsenal fan.

The Kings

For almost 35 years “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide” has been the Can-Con calling card for the weekend (along with “Working For the Weekend” by Loverboy). Recorded in 1980 and produced by Bob Ezrin the song took the Canadian band to the top of the charts. Their second album “Amazon Beach” did not fare as well but sharp-eyed Canadians still took pride when they saw the album poster in the control booth on “W.K.R.P. In Cincinnati”.

“King Of the Night Time World” – Kiss

Another Bob Ezrin production (and one of the eight songs on “Destroyer” that he receives a writing credit on) and the first Kiss album to be certified platinum.

King Biscuit Boy

Hamilton’s Richard Alfred Newell (King Biscuit Boy) was perhaps one of Canada’s greatest blues harmonica players and one of the founding members of Crowbar.

“All The King’s Horses” – Dusty Springfield

Hoping to pick up her failing UK pop career Dusty Springfield travelled to Memphis in 1969 and recorded one of the greatest white soul albums of all-time “Dusty in Memphis”. Most remember the record for the hit single “Son of a Preacher Man” but the entire album is an absolute classic.

Ben E. King

One of the greatest soul singers of all-time and best remembered for the smash hit “Stand by Me”. Let’s not forget that Benjamin was also the lead vocalist for The Drifter’s hits “There Goes My Baby”, “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “This Magic Moment”.

“King of the Road” – Fu Manchu

The title track from their 1990 album and not a cover of the Roger Miller classic. Formed in the mid-eighties the “stoner rock” band is still recording and touring and although they never had the success of like-minded bands like Queens of the Stone Age they rock just as hard.

Kerry King

Speaking of heavy they don’t come much heavier than Slayer’s Kerry King. He was playing with the band when they performed at the Kool Haus in Toronto last fall and has been with them since 1981 when he  co-founded the band. He is plays the guitar solos on the Beastie Boys hits “No Sleep till Brooklyn” and “Fight for Your Right (To Party)”.

“King Without A Crown” – ABC

“Alphabet City” was a return to form for Sheffield popsters ABC. After the success of their first three albums the band took a break for singer Martin Fry to deal with his diagnosis of Hodgkin’s disease. This was the third single from the album which had spawned the hits “When Smokey Sings” and “The Night You Murdered Love”.

Kings Of Leon

Although none of The Ramones were related (we pause here to remember Tommy, Joey, Dee Dee and Johnny) the Followill clan, who are the Kings Of Leon, consist of brothers Caleb, Nathan, Jared and cousin Matthew. They first showed up on my radar with the 2003 release of their EP “Holy Roller Novocaine” and, after seeing them open for The Strokes at The Hersey Centre, I knew stardom was not far away.

“My Fairy King” – Queen

In honour of their Toronto show last weekend. I saw all of their early shows in Toronto and really had no desire to see Brian and Roger perform with Adam Lambert. This is from their 1973 eponymous debut album. Um, how did become 41 years old?

B.B. King

If there was a King of the Blues guitar chances are the crown would be on Riley. Along with his trusted “Lucille” the two have perfected a sound that is one of a kind. Last year we had the honour of having the Canadian premiere of “B.B. King – The Life of Riley” at the NXNE Film Festival. An excellent documentary on the man, and, narrated by Morgan Freeman.

“King Herod’s Song” – Andrew Lloyd Weber

The song that Johnny Rotten should have been performing all summer long in the since cancelled arena tour of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Vocally I enjoy the version from the original London production but the visual from the Norman Jewison directed film is also a classic.

Bill King

Good luck to my old friend Bill King as the local music legend once again is the artist director of the Beaches International Jazz Festival. It kicks off this weekend at Woodbine Park but the real fun for the locals is July 24-26 as Queen Street East is closed each evening from Woodbine to Beech Avenue as tens of thousands of fans enjoy hundreds of musicians in Toronto’s best neighbourhood.


Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59.

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Cam likes to plant his butt on the roof of the Bovine and soak up a few rays.

The ABC’s Of Rock’n’Roll are proud to be presented by The Bovine Tiki Bar and The Bovine. The Tiki Bar welcomes the mild to hot weather and The Bovine presents great bands downstairs at the legendary rock bar. Fill up next store at The Rock Lobster and then get your rocks off at The Bovine. 

DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener, The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.

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