Cameron Carpenter: Rock’n’Roll By The Numbers – My Lucky Number’s 1!


Back in the day rock’n’roll was always about the numbers; was your record in the Top 20? Top 10? Did you have a number one hit? Did your release go gold? Platinum? Triple-platinum? Diamond? Was it a million seller? Were you on the Pollstar Top 10 grossing tours? Today it is all about impressions. How many plays on Soundcloud? How many spins at radio? How many fans are sharing you on Spotify? How many people can you reach on Twitter or Facebook? It’s a whole new world out there and it seems like more people are listening and less people are paying.

Its tough being a musician, as well as a manager, publicist or anyone else employed (or self-employed) in a business that has changed so much over the course of the last decade. Do I have the answers? Nope. My job here at DBAWIS is to entertain, enlighten and hopefully open up your ears to some great old music you may have missed and some exciting new music that is worth your attention.

For the last three years I have been running through the alphabet and now I am going to crunch some numbers. Best to begin at the start so here are some old ones and new ones.

“One” – Three Dog Night

This song was all over AM radio back in 1969 and was the first hit for the L.A. based band. Love ‘em or hate ‘em but one of the great things  they did was to introduce audiences to some of the greatest songwriters ever to put ink to paper. Examples? “One” was written by Harry Nilsson, “Eli’s Coming” was penned by Laura Nyro, Paul William’s provided “An Old Fashioned Love Song” and Randy Newman was responsible for “Mama Told Me (Not To Come)”.

“One” – Metallica

I like my rock hard but I can’t say I was into the darker side of metal. Death metal, crazed Norwegian bands and the like never really appealed to me. I first became aware of Metallica with the release of “Master Of Puppets” and liked a lot of what I heard. Their next album “…And Justice For All” was the album that brought them to the masses and the anti-war anthem “One” ended up winning a Grammy and becoming one of the band’s most popular song. The striking video went a long way in taking the band to arenas and ultimately stadiums.

“One Chord Wonders” – The Adverts

This is one of the first punk singles I bought and more than likely picked it up at either The Record Peddler on Queen or a little further east down the road at New Rose (the tee-shirt and record shop that was the unofficial home of The Viletones). A great debut single and soon followed by the haunting “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes”. Bonus points for being one of the first punk bands to feature a female member.

“One Great City” – The Weakerthans

It’s true what they say about Winnipeg. It is one of the most bitterly cold places in North America in the winter and the mosquitos are the size of pigeons in the summer. One of my fave bars in the country, The Zoo, is located there, Sal’s is famous for its Cheese Nips and it is where I first tried Old Dutch potato chips. It has a pretty good rock’n’roll history (Neil Young, The Guess Who, Crash Test Dummies to name a few) and The Weakerthans are one of the best to call the city home. Love the lyrics to this one.

“One In A Million” – Gloryhound

I have been raving about these guys for years and everything is finally coming together. This track is from their new album “Loaded Gun” which was produced by Garth Richardson and assisted by the legendary Bob Ezrin. They are out criss-crossing the country right now with The Headstones and then with Theory Of A Deadman. On November 3rd in Saskatoon they will play with The Headstones and The Lazys for a damn near perfect rock’n’roll triple bill. Astute rockers will note that my name has appeared on at least one album from each of these artists and I think it is only fair that they all chip in and fly me out for the gig. Thank you.

“One More Bad Penny” – Jerry Leger

Another artist I have mentioned more than once in these pages. A great singer-songwriter with a volume of work, and still under 30,  which puts most other artists to shame. Local Beach residents can catch Jerry every Thursday night from 6 – 8 PM at Castros Lounge. This is from his stunning new album “Early Riser”.

“One More Shot’ – Rolling Stones

Sure they haven’t made a great album for a decade or two but today’s market is all about the song and the two that they released on the “GRRR!” greatest hits collection a few years back (the other being “Doom And Gloom”) were both more than worthy and a welcome addition to the world’s greatest rock’n’roll bands catalog.

“One Way Or Another” – Blondie

By the time they recorded their third album “Parallel Lines” Blondie had their sound and image down. They had morphed from pseudo girl-group to punk band to new wave band and this was the album that gave them their first substantial hit “Heart Of Glass” and also moved them from indie Private Stock Records to the then formidable Chrysalis Records.

“One Way Track” – Prairie Oyster

When I went to work at BMG Records it became apparent that I was going to need to totally immerse myself in the world of country music if I was going to survive. Prairie Oyster had a long history with the label and soon I was spending a lot of time with their bass player, vocalist and songwriter Russell deCarle. We hung out at conventions together and many a late night found us at haunts like The Matador. The man is one of my favourite performers, a great story teller, and, like me, not afraid to shed a tear for a 3 AM rendition of “Photograph” at a divey Calgary bar (but that’s another story). I always loved this song from their “Blue Plate Special” album.

“Opus No. 1” – Tommy Dorsey

This is what a hit single sounded like in 1943. This is now a total swing and big band standard and a song you have heard a million times in film and on television. Still swings baby.

Cam-CarpenterCam Says – There is a great group of regulars now hanging out on Wednesday nights at The Kensington Lodge. It has become a modern day Algonquin Roundtable of musicians, writers, film makers and other like-minding folk as we swap stories, drop names and share music around the main bar. Don’t be afraid to come in alone as proprietor (and former Lava Hay member) Michele will make you feel right at home, and, if I like the song you ask for, I might even play it.


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


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