This weekend in the CBS-FM Hall of Fame you’ll be hearing haunted hits from Rock & Roll Heaven.
The King, Elvis Presley, will be jailhouse rockin’ out of your speakers, George Harrison‘s guitar will gently weep while you cruise down the road, and Janis Joplin will give you another piece of her heart delivered directly from the sky!
Written by the stellar combo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the song was recorded by Elvis in 1956 and released on September 24, 1957. It is considered one of the more influential songs in rock history and has been covered by dozens of artists, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Queen, and even the Blues Brothers (which was performed with other musicians such as Ray Charles and Cab Calloway.
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is considered by many to be George Harrison’s greatest work, equating it to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Harrison found inspiration for the song when reading the I Ching, one of the oldest Chinese classic texts.
Harrison says of the song, “I wrote ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ at my mother’s house in Warrington. I was thinking about the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Changes. The Eastern concept is that whatever happens is all meant to be, and that there’s no such thing as coincidence – every little item that’s going down has a purpose. ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was a simple study based on that theory. I decided to write a song based on the first thing I saw upon opening any book – as it would be a relative to that moment, at that time. I picked up a book at random, opened it, saw ‘gently weeps’, then laid the book down again and started the song.”
The Beatles recorded the song several times, even utilizing a backward guitar solo. None of them satisfied Harrison, who eventually asked a reluctant Eric Clapton to play guitar. Clapton would eventually agree, recording the solo and completing the Quiet Beatle’s finest work.
Harrison commented later that Clapton’s solo not only helped, but kept the rest of the Fab Four in line. “It made them all try a bit harder; they were all on their best behavior.”
“Piece of My Heart”
“Piece of My Heart” was written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns and originally recorded by Erma Franklin (eldest sister of Aretha Franklin, who would also record the song and make it a Top Ten R&B hit) in 1967. Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company got a hold of it in 1968, turning it into an even bigger pop hit, where it would reach number twelve on the charts.
The song would also be recorded by Dusty Springfield, Sammy Hagar, and many others, but would never achieve the prestige that Joplin’s soulful, self-concious, and suffering wail gave it.
Make sure to tune in all weekend long to CBS-FM as we play Music from Rock & Roll Heaven in the Hall of Fame. Artists like Elvis, George, Ray, and Michael might be gone, but their music lives on forever!
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