Playlist: Paul Rodgers
Mon, 04 May 2009 22:39:50
Rock n' roll needs more guys like Paul Rodgers. Rodgers has got an undeniable, soulful voice that's solidified his place as a pillar of inspiration for generations of musicians. The legendary singer has fronted some of the most important and influential bands in the genre's pantheon—Free and Bad Company. He's even recorded and toured with Queen, never failing to carry a hook to the heavens and back. However, even legends like to rock out. So we talked to Paul in this exclusive feature about what's on his playlist. His tastes were quite diverse and extremely interesting, illuminating his undying love for all kinds of music.
Paul opened up his iTunes for ARTISTdirect and gave us a peek at what he's spinning. Check out his playlist below!
1. Otis Redding
"Otis Redding is probably my main man as a singer. I listened to him throughout my teenage years. He's a soul singer, but there's a touch of gospel in there. When he sang things like Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come,' he sang them very slow and soulfully. I loved that! I just bought that on CD, and it still gives me chills. 'That's How Strong My Love Is' is great too. He's fabulous."
2. Sam Moore
"He's from Sam & Dave. When I was a kid, I listened to those voices and thought, 'Oh my God, that is singing!' I met and recorded with Sam Moore. That was an honor. He's actually a good friend, and he came up for a special guest spot when I played Seattle. He sang some of his songs and then we sang together on stage, which was fantastic. It was a dream come true! When I recorded with him it was quite scary! We were both standing around the microphone doing the song. Sam started singing, and I couldn't believe I was singing with Sam Moore [Laughs]. I was like a 12-year-old boy in shorts, you know? [Laughs] I had to really keep it together."
3. Wilson Pickett
"When I hear all of these voices, they send shivers up and down my spine. When I hear Wilson Pickett's 'In the Midnight Hour,' it's still unbelievable. He completely nails the song. It's never overdone. It's just enough. He sits on the beat and drives it forward. The very core of his being is projected onto the music. I listen to all of these people, and I try to soak them up. I initially tried to do the intonations that these singers were doing, and that really was where I learned to sing. It was a great exercise."
4. James Brown
"He had a completely unique sound. He was the most amazing dancer on stage. I believe he was actually an ex-boxer, so he moved like a fighter. The footage of him is unbelievable. It's like he's dancing on air. That's the performance. The singing is amazing. I love the drama that he puts into these performances. He has that act where he's singing and he just can't sing anymore. A guy comes out and puts a coat on him and says, 'Man, you've got to stop! You can't do anymore.' Then James Brown bursts up, throws the coat off and starts singing again. It's so unique. You've got to love him for it. It's like a boxer going up for another round. It's brilliant!"
5. Ray Charles
"I listened to Ray Charles when I was 13 or so. When you're a teenager, you go through lots of emotional changes and you try to figure out what it all means. Ray Charles was like having a father sing to you. He had really good advice! 'It's No Use Crying' is fantastic. He really reaches inside and moves you."
6. Elmore James
"I think he only made one record with about ten songs. He was awesome because he lived a rough life and you can hear it in the lyrics. He could be very tender or very powerful. He played the bottleneck like no one else."
7. Muddy Waters
"He's something else, isn't he? He was like the black Elvis. I feel like that's where Elvis got a lot of his thing from. Muddy's songwriter Willie Dixon played the bass. I believe Willie would write songs for Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. I did a tribute to Muddy Waters back in '92, and it was actually Grammy nominated. I had a lot of great guitar players guest on the album—Jeff Beck, Slash and Buddy Guy. I sat in the studio with Buddy Guy and played the title song together. I only wrote the title song which was called, 'Muddy Water Blues.' All of the other songs were Muddy's. Muddy eventually gravitated toward the Chicago style of electric blues. In my mind, that's where rock n' roll was born. It's that same kind of formula with the drums, electric bass, electric guitar, keyboards, possibly harmonica and a vocalist. That's your basic rock n' roll outfit. That was truly the genesis of rock. He did some awesome things with songs like, 'I just want to make love to you.'"
8. Howlin' Wolf
"He was a giant! Everything was slowed down. His intonations were just awesome and so gravelly. They were so down and dirty. The world that they lived in was a totally different world than we see today. These guys talked about voodoo, black magic, black cats crossing the road and good luck and bad luck, gambling, boozing, women, traveling and all of those rock n' roll things. It was absolutely raw, and I don't think they knew it was raw. It was what it was. It was a reflection of the life."
9. Elvis Presley
"I can't go without mentioning Elvis Presley. I have so many influences!"
10. The Beatles
11. The Rolling Stones
12. Aretha Franklin
13. Jimmy Bowskill
"I played with him last year at this big festival in Canada called 'The Cusp.' He's got a great feel. He reminds me of Paul Kossoff [Free], who we sadly lost all those years ago. He's almost the spitting image of him which is incredible."
14. The Four Tops
15. Levi Stubbs