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Bob Keller's Blog

Weekdays 10a -2p

Al Kooper

This Saturday marks the 67th birthday of one of Rock's unsung heroes. A guy who should have been inducted into the RnR Hall of fame decades ago. I'm talking about Al Kooper, the musician, producer, engineer, talent scout and songwriter, among other things. He has played on hundreds of albums by the likes of Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Alice Cooper and Cream to name just a few. Remember the french horn intro to the Stone's song You Can't Always Get What You Want>? That was Al's idea. Al Kooper also pulled a hot Southern bar band out of obscurity and made them legends. I'm talking about Lynyrd Skynyrd, he produced their first 3 albums. He first broke out at age 14 with a little ditty called "Who Likes Short Shorts"?..it was a top 40 hit believe it or not, his next one "This Diamond Ring" was an even bigger hit for Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Then Al started Blood Sweat and Tears and did that first brilliant album. Then he formed the Blues Project out of New York, they played at Monterey in 67. He brought in Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills into the studio for a cult favorite "Super Sessions". He met Bloomfield around the time that Dylan was putting together his electric band in 65. Al auditioned for the guitar part in Like a Rolling Stone, didn't get and instead sat down at the Hammond B3 Organ. His playing was the signature sound on that hit record. He is still active in music, still an individual who has followed his own musical muse, and compromising very little to the suits of the business. This man should be in the Rock and Roll hall of fame, in about 5 categories actually. I interviewed Al Kooper a couple of years ago when he came to Sacramento. He had his iPod with thousands of songs he was involved with but also lots of brand new bands he likes. He never stops listening to what's out there. A few more Al Koopers in the world would make things sound better right away. Happy Birthday Al.

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01/31/2011 11:30AM
Al Kooper
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02/01/2011 3:45PM
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