Cameron Carpenter: The ABC of Rock’n’Roll – What’s Love Got to Do with It?


I love rock’n’roll, and when I say I’m in love you must believe I’m in love L.U.V.. You can’t hurry love, can’t buy me love, love is all around. I’m in the mood for love, let my love open the door. Love is a many splendored thing. I love L.A., I love New York. Chuck E’s in love, real love.  How deep is your love? I believe in a thing called love, addicted to love, love is the answer. The best of my love.

Mike Love

Somehow the owner of the name “The Beach Boys” and, by many accounts, a bit of a dick. Can we please lose the hats? Big news this week as TIFF will world premiere “Love and Mercy” the story of Brian Wilson and Eugene Landy. The casting looks amazing with Paul Dano as the young Brian (the resemblance is pretty spot-on), John Cusack as the sandbox Brian and Paul Giamatti as the “doctor”. Should be a winner, see you in September.

“Love, Reign o’er Me” – The Who

A beautiful marriage of music and movies when Jimmy rides the Ace Face’s scooter towards the cliffs in the last scene of Quadrophenia. This was one of the singles from the original album release but, with the edits, did not fare as well as it should have. One of Townshend’s best  songs and Daltry’s best vocals.

Love and Rockets

Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins formed the band after the death of Bauhaus. They hit it big at the alternative clubs with their cover of The Temptation’s “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)” in 1985. Ash and Haskins were also in the band Tones on Tail which featured “Go!” a big favourite when Alex controls the juke box loonies at the Balmy Beach Club. Speaking of the BBC tonight, Friday and Saturday are the only three nights of the year that guests can go to the club without being a guest of a member. As part of the Beaches Jazz Fest the patio is open to the public and my pal Vivian George will be fronting the band “One King” from 7 PM until 11 PM each night. It’s the best patio in the city overlooking Lake Ontario. Drop by and buy your favourite writer a pint.

“Love Spreads” – The Stone Roses

The Manchester band were contemporaries of Love and Rockets and help usher in a new British sound. They originally signed to Silvertone Records and wanted to leave the label when Geffen came a courtin’. Legend has it Paul Birch, owner of Silvertone and an old friend of mine, was assaulted by the band and covered in paint when he wouldn’t let them leave. Paul and I once met Andy Warhol but that’s another story.

Gene Loves Jezebel

Another band stalking the charts at the same time as Love and Rockets and The Stone Roses. The Welsh band had a huge hit with “Desire (Come and Get It)” and “Jealous” also had a good run on the charts. They were formed by twin brothers Jay and Michael Aston, and now, each tours with their own distinct version of the band. I really hope this doesn’t happen with Craig and Charlie Reid from The Proclaimers.

“A Word Without Love” – Peter & Gordon

I own a Peter Asher autographed copy of this 45. When I worked with Sony Canada I was invited out to dinner with the key management team as Peter Asher (working for Sony at the time) was visiting Toronto. I was pretty new at the company but really didn’t care what the execs thought when I whipped out the old original Capitol Records single and had Asher sign it. He ended up being quite flattered and I spent the next couple of hours peppering him with questions about the original British invasion. Glad I seized the opportunity.

The Love Machine

A great pop band from Ottawa that we managed for a short time and who have been produced by Jonathan Chandler from Amos the Transparent.  Check out “Sweater Weather”.

“To Sir, With Love” – Lulu

Another classic music and movie marriage as Barbara Pegg (Lulu) sings the song to Mark Thackeray, aka “Sir” (Sidney Poitier). I’m not afraid to admit that scene can still make me well up. Rocker Michael Des Barres (former hubby of Pamela, she’s with the band don’t you know) has a small part as Williams, the east end punk who wears his sunglasses in class.


If you listen to 1966’s “7 and 7 Is” you will hear the drumming style that would ultimately influence the entire genre of punk rock. The L.A. band, led by Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean were very much ahead of their time.

“Muscle of Love” – Alice Cooper

The last album with the original Alice Cooper band, who would be replaced on “Welcome to My Nightmare”, and the first Cooper album produced by Jack Richardson and Jack Douglas. The original demo for the song, “Respect For the Sleepers” can be found on the four CD box set “The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper”. If it wasn’t for “Muscle of Love” we may have never heard “I Touch Myself” by The Divinyls.

The Love Unlimited Orchestra

How is it that the Barry White-led Love Unlimited Orchestra had their biggest hit with the instrumental “Love’s Theme”? Disco never made too much sense to me.

“When Love Breaks Down” – Prefab Sprout

Of course Wendi-Jane thinks that all band names are ridiculous and when it comes to Prefab Sprout I tend to agree. This little pop gem is from their 1985 album “Steve McQueen”, which, for some odd reason was titled “Two Wheels Good” in North America.

Courtney Love

One of the most polarizing people in rock and roll. I’ve always liked her rock’n’roll mentality and she has put out some great records. I can still see Drew Barrymore babysitting a young Frances Bean backstage at a Hole gig at the old Molson Park in Barrie.

“Cradle of Love” – Billy Idol

Another blonde rock’n’roll character. This one is from “Charmed Life” and features  Mark Younger-Smith on guitar who had just replaced long-time Idol sideman Steve Stephens. Billy had just come off a pretty serious motorcycle accident and I remember he started the tour in Sudbury, Ontario as he wanted to get the show together before hitting the major markets. As I was preparing to board a very small plane to head up to Sudbury I struck up a conversation with an interesting man who I would soon find out was Idol’s manager Tony Dimitriades.

Love Sculpture

Chances are you can’t recall the band but many of you would know their 1968 hit “Sabre Dance”. The Welsh band were led by guitarist Dave Edmunds who would top the charts with his solo work as well as a founding member of Rockpile in the seventies.

“Killed by Love” – The Pursuit of Happiness

Few songwriters have the wit and humour of Moe Berg. This one appeared on their debut album “Love Junk” but, like “I’m An Adult Now”, was originally released as an independent single and later re-recorded with Todd Rundgren.

Dave March and Thr True Love Rules

Best known as the drummer for The Joel Plaskett Emergency Mr. March is quite an accomplished singer-songwriter and leader of The True Love Rules.

“Game of Love” – Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders

One of Manchester’s first pop stars with their 1965 hit single. Only in the sixties could you go Top Ten with a song that clocked in at 1:58.

Darlene Love

One of the greatest voices in pop music. You can see her story in the great documentary “20 Feet From Stardom” or hear about it in many of the books about the career of Phil Spector (I am about to dig into the book “The Wrecking Crew”). She had a hit with “He’s A Rebel” and is one of the background vocalists  on “Be My Baby”, “Johnny Angel”, “Monster Mash”, “That’s Life” and “Da Doo Ron Ron”. That’s also Darlene with one of the best Christmas songs of all times “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”.

“I Love You” – Said The Whale

This song should have been a hit around the world. It is from their tenth EP which was released last year on Hidden Pony. The Vancouver based band writes some of the catchiest songs out there and are so very close to a major breakthrough.


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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