Episodes

31 - Bad Christmas Music

In our second annual Christmas episode, we get cozied up next to the fireplace with a nice glass of eggnog -- while we talk about some of the worst Christmas music of all time! Kenny G and Mariah Carey. Dominic the Donkey and Paul McCartney. We’re also going to mention some more obscure songs that deserve to stay that way because they’re just awful. So settle in and get warm as we throw these songs on the fire next to the Yule log.

30 - Behind The Wall With Pink Floyd

In 1979, Pink Floyd released their amazing double album The Wall. It’s a rock opera about a dark and gloomy rock star named Pink who became so disenfranchised by the world around him that he built a wall around his life as he descended into madness. It’s one of the most famous concept albums of all time, selling more than 30 million copies. It also led to a full length movie and incredibly elaborate concerts. On this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re going behind The Wall of Pink Floyd and take a look at the story it tells.

29 - The Resurrection of Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash was a county music legend and one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, but he thought he was washed up by the mid 1990s. The Man In Black had lost his edge. His record company didn’t care about him any more, and he was playing small venues for a few hundred people. Then, he met famous record producer Rick Rubin. The man who produced albums from Slayer and the Beastie Boys had a simple vision: he invited Johnny Cash to come to his house and record him playing his favorite songs.

This weird combination of Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin turned into a project that went from 1994 until John’s death in 2003. It produced a series of albums called the American Recordings where he put his own spin on songs from Bruce Springsteen, Depeche Mode, Tom Waits, Bob Marley, Danzig, U2, Tom Petty, and of course, Nine Inch Nails. The project revitalized Johnny Cash’s career and reintroduced him to a whole new generation of fans. The original American badass was back.

28 - The Life and Times of Bob Marley

Bob Marley was more than just a musician. He was a musical pioneer. An ambassador of Jamaican culture. A humanitarian, an activist, and a really competitive soccer player. He grew up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Kingstown, Jamaica, but thought music could change the world. His songs talk about standing up to oppression, hope, freedom, politics, and love. He survived an assassination attempt and then tragically died of cancer at just 36 years old.

27 - Mowtown's Secret Weapon: The Funk Brothers

Motown Records is one of the most successful and influential record labels in music history. Between 1961 to 1971, they produced a staggering 110 top 10 hits from artists like Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. You know these songs, but do you know who played the music on them? Behind all of this amazing music and the Motown Sound was a relatively unknown group of studio musicians called The Funk Brothers who played on every single one of those hits. They’re the most successful group of studio musicians ever assembled...and almost no one knows their story.

26 - The Brilliance of MTV Unplugged

MTV did a lot for music before they went off the rails and became a carousel of crappy reality shows, and their greatest contribution might have been MTV Unplugged. On today's episode, we're unplugging the mics and talking about some of the most memorable episodes of the show: Eric Clapton, 10,000 Maniacs, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, LL Cool J, Nirvana and more.

25 - Exiled with The Rolling Stones

Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones is one of the greatest albums by the greatest bands in rock and roll. The story of how this record was made is a wild one. The band had fled the UK to avoid a huge tax bill, and they recorded most of it in the basement of a villa Keith Richards rented in Southern France that the Gestapo used for a headquarters in WWII. The house became a revolving door of celebrities, heroin, and music. On this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we honor the passing of great Charlie Watts by going track by track through Exile on Main Street and talking about the stories behind the album.

24 - Guitar Picks: Top 6 Guitar Players

We love our drummers and bass players, but the guitar is the backbone of rock and roll. It’s a relatively simple instrument that can sound so incredibly different in the hands of different people. Slash, Carlos Santana, Duane Allman, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Satriani, Hendrix, Jeff Beck, BB King. All amazing musicians making completely different sounds with the same instrument. On today’s episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re each sharing our top 6 guitar players of all time. We’re going to defend our picks, talk about what makes these musicians so great, and of course listen to some tunes.

23 - Rock and Roll Debate: London Calling vs. The Ramones

The Ramones and The Clash are two of the most important bands in punk rock, and they put out two of the greatest punk rock albums of all time. In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re debating their masterpieces -- the self-titled album from The Ramones versus London Calling by the Clash. It’s Hey Gabba Gabba versus the Only Band That Matters!

22 - Live From McCusker's Tavern: The Road Trip Episode

Summertime is the right time for taking road trips, and whether you’re taking a day trip or loading up the car for a cross country adventure, you gotta have some tunes. On today’s episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’ve put together the ultimate road trip playlist. We’re going to play some clips, share some insight, and talk about some great music to check out while on the road.

21 - The Crossroads to the Blues

The blues is the foundation for practically every type of modern music ever made, including rock and roll, rhythm and blues, jazz, and even hip hop. On today’s episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re going to explore the more than 150 year history of the Blues. We’re going to visit the plantations and juke joints of the deep south and follow African Americans as they moved out of the region and took the blues with them to places like Memphis, St. Louis, and Chicago where it went electric and became the foundation for rock and roll.

20 - Songs We Hate: The Electric Chair Episode

Our show features has a segment every episode called The Electric Chair where we sentence a song to death for being terrible. We’re taking that to the next level by making the whole show about tunes that make our ears bleed. And we let a bunch of our listeners in on the fun too!

19 - Jukebox Heroes: The Ultimate Jukebox Playlist

Nothing goes better than a cold beer and some good tunes. In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we are celebrating the triumphant reopening of our home base at McCusker’s Tavern in Philadelphia by putting together a list of the greatest bar songs of all time. Grab a cold one and turn up the radio because we’re here to be your jukebox heroes!

18 - I Want My MTV!

Rock and roll wouldn’t be what it is today without MTV. Before the rise of Napster and YouTube, MTV was where you discovered music and learned about what was going on with your favorite artists. There was something for everyone with shows like Headbangers Ball, Yo MTV Raps, 120 Minutes, and Club MTV. It also had shows like Remote Control, Singled Out, and Beavis & Butthead. On today’s episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re talking about the golden years of MTV.

17 - The Monterey Pop Festival: One Really Groovy Weekend

The Monterey International Pop Music Festival was a three day music festival held in California during the summer of love during 1967. This is where the US got introduced to Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who. It also featured performances by the Grateful Dead, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, Ravi Shankar, Jefferson Airplane, the Steve Miller Band, and more. On this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re going to San Francisco with flowers in our hair to talk about Monterey. Let’s hit it!

16 - No More Mr. Nice Guy: The History of Shock Rock

Shock rock combines rock and roll with theatrical live performances that include costumes, special effects, and provocative behavior that pulls from circus sideshows, science fiction, horror, and religion. In this episode, we look at famous shock rockers like KISS, Gwar, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and Rob Zombie, as well as a handful of other artists and their outrageous antics.

15 - Thrashing, Smashing, and Mosh Pits - Heavy Metal's Big 4

Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer. The Big Four of Thrash metal put America on the heavy metal map and ruled the back of denim jackets everywhere from the mid 80s to the early 90s. They’ve made some of the best albums in metal history, including ...And Justice for All, Persistence of Time, Rust in Peace, and Reign in Blood. On this episode, we take a look at some of the fastest, loudest music ever made.

14 - The Kings of Cool: Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack

The Rat Pack was a group of entertainers that made movies, recorded music, performed on stage, drank booze and chased broads -- usually all in the same day and all while wearing a suit. In this episode, we take a look at America’s first supergroup of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. We talk about their legendary shows at the Sands and the influence they had on everything they touched.

13 - U2: The Road to the Josha Tree

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, we’re talking about U2, the most successful band to ever come out of Ireland. Over the course of their 45-year career, they’ve stayed relevant by consistently evolving their sound and reinventing themselves. On today’s episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re going to talk about their legendary career then get up close and personal with the Joshua Tree, their smash hit and one of the best selling albums of all time.

12 - What the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Got Wrong

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has released the list of nominees for the class of 2021, and it’s one of the most diverse groups of artists to ever be up for induction, including 7 first time nominees, 9 people of color, and 7 women. The artists are from heavy metal, punk, R&B, hip hop, new wave, rock, afrobeat, and singer-songwriters. In this episode, we share our thoughts on the class of 2021, cast our votes for who gets in, and point out where the Hall has been getting it wrong by snubbing some artists (including Motley Crue). Get ready for a hall of fame podcast experience!

11 - The Hairband Countdown

Hair metal was one big rock and roll circus that burst onto the scene and ruled the airwaves, concert venues, and MTV in the 1980s. They embraced the idea that rock and roll is about having a good time and they took it to cartoonish levels of excess. Join us as we raise our cigarette lighters in salute to our top six hair bands of all time. Cue the song by Europe -- it’s the hairband countdown!

10 - Bruce Springsteen: Songs of Hopes and Dreams

Bruce Springsteen is famous for writing songs about characters in the trenches of everyday life, trying to make a place for themselves and make sense of it all. His concerts are legendary nearly religious experiences that routinely last over three hours. In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we talk about how The Boss went from a working-class kid at the Jersey Shore to one of the biggest rock and roll stars in the world with Born in the USA. Plus, we share some personal encounters with Bruce and send a song to The Electric Chair.

9 - Mohawks & Safety Pins: The History of Punk

The history of music is filled with counterculture movements, and none of them gave the middle finger to society louder or angrier than punk. We take you through a brief history of punk music, starting with the garage rock of the late 60s that inspired it up through the commercialized pop punk that sold tens of millions of copies. We talk about some of the most interesting characters and influential bands of the movement, including the holy trinity of punk music: The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and the Clash.

8 - 1991. The Greatest Year in Music History

1991 was one of the strangest and greatest years in modern music history. It's a year that brought us huge releases from U2, Van Halen, and Guns n' Roses, as well as debuts from Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana. It's also a year where Do the Bartman, Rico Suave, and Ice Ice Baby were on the charts. On today's episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we jump in our music time machine and discuss at all of the great (and terrible) music that came out 30 years ago.

7 - New Year's Eve Special: Good Riddance 2020.

New Year's Eve sure was different this year. Time Square was more or less empty and everyone was stuck at home instead of celebrating with friends and family. That sucks, but we’re here to help! We decided to record a short episode as the ball drops to look back at some music of 2020 and talk about some of the music that’s usually played at New Year’s Eve Parties. Grab your champagne as as we say good riddance to 2020 and here’s to better times ahead.

6 - Merry Cristmas MOther@#s%ers!!!

Ah, the holidays! It’s time for putting up decorations, eating too much, spending time with friends and family, and listening to Christmas music! On today’s festive episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we spent hours wandering around malls and listening to the radio to hand pick the best songs for the most wonderful time of the year.

5 - Rock and Roll Debate: The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. People have been debating this one in living rooms and bars around the world for over 60 years. Lennon and McCartney or Jagger and Richards? Yesterday or Gimmie Shelter? Everyone has an opinion, and we’re going to share ours when it comes to the Fab Four vs the bad boys of rock and roll.

4 - Sun Records: Where Rock and Roll Was Born

If music is a religion, then Sun Studio in Memphis Tennessee is one of it’s holy sites. Inside this former auto glass repair shop, a man named Sam Phillips invented rock and roll, discovered Elvis Presley, and brought us artists like BB King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash. This is where it all started. Sam opened his studio in 1950 because he wanted you to experience music and not just hear it. He wanted you to feel what he felt growing up around blues and gospel as a sharecropper in Alabama. He wanted you to feel what he felt walking down Beale Street in Memphis. On today’s episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re going to go all the way back to the beginning and take a look at legendary Sun Studios, the artists that came out of it, and the amazing music that gave us good ol’ fashioned, American rock and roll.

3 - Amazing Music Soundtracks

People have been associating music with scenes from movies since before Judy Garland sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow in the Wizard of Oz over 80 years ago. Some of the most memorable scenes in the history of film have music playing behind them -- and some of the most memorable soundtrack songs are just as well known as “That song from The Breakfast Club” as “Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds.”On today’s episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re going to talk about our favorite movie soundtracks, scenes, and songs. So refill your popcorn, grab a beverage, and sit down in that recliner. Let’s talk movie tunes.

2 - The Top 6 American Rock and Roll Bands

America is second to none when it comes to going to inventing music: blues, salsa, country, jazz, hip hop, bluegrass, funk, doo wop, ragtime, surf music, punk, disco, and of course rock and roll. Unless you’re into the symphony, polka, or Australian didgeridoo, the music you’re listening to either came from or has deep roots in America. On today's episode of the Prisoners of Rock and Roll, each of us are going to share who we think are our top 6 American rock and roll bands of all time. This is a long one, boys and girls, so grab yourself a cold one.

1 - Does Motley Crue Belong in the Hall of Fame?

Motley Crue has been making music for almost 40 years. Despite their enormous commercial success, they and most of the other hair bands from that era get written off because of their party lifestyle, spandex, and high hair. On this inaugural episode of the Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re going to make the argument that Motley Crue belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We'll discuss their rise to fame on the Sunset Strip, look at their skills as musicians, share some concert stories, and discuss some of their scandals.