Nils Lofgren, best known as guitarist with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, also played for Neil Young and Crazy Horse early in that band's career. He's also had a notable solo career — and he founded the mid-1970s band Grin. There are several reissues of Lofgren's work: Grin's 1+1 and All Out (now available on a double-album set), plus the solo discs Nils Lofgren and Back It Up.
Jerry Williams, Jr. has been calling himself Swamp Dogg for close to 40 years, but his career goes back even longer than that. He's one of America's most eccentric musicians, and today rock historian Ed Ward tries to get a handle on the many faces of a songwriter, producer and performer who's made a career out of popping up where you least expect him.
Rock historian Ed Ward profiles songwriter Doc Pomus, the Brooklyn-born blues singer and songwriter who died in 1991. Born Jerome Solon Felder, he survived a childhood case of polio and went on to write hits for Ray Charles and Elvis Presley, among others. His songs include "Lonely Avenue," "Viva Las Vegas" and "Save the Last Dance for Me."
Critic David Bianculli is a big Beatles fan, and to pay homage to the 40th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, he turns to other homages: On today's Fresh Air, Bianculli reaches into his record collection and pulls out favorite cover versions of the songs from the album.
Not many countries saw their traditional music gain popularity and vitality in the late 20th century, but Ireland did. Starting in the late 1960s with the Chieftains, and continuing with more rock-oriented groups like Planxty and Horslips, Irish music had a renaissance. Then came punk rock, and with it the Pogues, whose first five albums have just been reissued by Rhino. The releases are Red Roses for Me, Rum, Sodomy & the Lash, If I Should Fall from Grace with God, Peace & Love and Hell's Ditch.
Rock historian Ed Ward tells us the story of Wire, a British art-rock band from the late 1970s. Wire has broken up and reformed several times, but Ward focuses on the original. Three albums have been reissued and are available in stores: Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154.
Few musicians are as identified with Texas as the late Doug Sahm. But Sahm also spent five years in exile in California, where rock historian Ed Ward got to know him. Ed takes a look at this period, in which he says Sahm and his band, the Sir Douglas Quintet, did some of their most lasting work.