Season 3

75 - A Classy, Classic Christmas

We’re rock and rollers at heart here at the Prisoners of Rock and Roll, but we both have a soft spot for Christmas music. In our annual Christmas episode, we decided to hope in a one horse open sleigh and take a trip down memory lane to the classic Christmas songs of the 40s, 50s, and 60s. These are the songs we opened our presents to as kids – and many of them are from artists who were enormously popular at the time but we really only hear around the holidays this year. 

So grab some punch and settle in as we are having a classy, classic Christmas. 

74 - What are Bruce Springsteen's 5 Best Albums?

Bruce Springsteen has released more than 20 studio albums over the course of his 50-year career, including some of the most iconic rock and roll albums in history. 

We’re both huge fans of the Boss here at Prisoners of Rock and Roll, and we unfortunately didn’t get to see him this summer after he canceled part of his tour due to illness. So in this episode we are taking a close look at we think are his top five albums. We’re going to explain how we came up with the list, talk about the songs that make him such an important figure in music and our lives, and get into what his music means to both of us. 

73 - A Look Back at We Are the World

There were several ambitious projects in the 1980s where the music industry tried to make a difference by raising money to make a difference. One of those projects happened in 1985, when dozens of musicians formed a supergroup called USA for Africa and recorded We Are the World. 

Written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson and produced by the legendary Quincy Jones, We Are the World included dozens of performers in a star-studded ensemble cast made up of some of the biggest names in music at the time. The finished product sold more than 20 million copies and was simultaneously played on 8,000 radio stations around the world. The project raised more than $63 million for famine relief in Africa. Nearly 40 years later, USA For Africa, is still active and fighting poverty. 

In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and World, we’re taking a look at We Are the World – the idea behind the project, the recording, and it’s impact.

72 - Gnarly One Hit Wonders of the 1980s

There were a lot of things about the 1980s that we’d like to forget but one of the most memorable parts of the decade was the music. While artists like Madonna, the Police, Def Leppard, and Michael Jackson were popular for huge parts of the decade, the music scene of the 1980s is filled with artists who had one, and only one, hit song. 

In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re talking about the one hit wonders of the 1980s. We’ve got a list of songs that includes some that we still listen to today…and some that haven’t aged very well. 

71 -Scandalous! A History of Music Scandals

In today’s episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re digging into some of the most scandalous moments in music history. We’ve put together a list of scandals that span nearly 70 years and cover controversies, deaths, scams, crime, and outrageous behavior that drew media attention around the world. 

From John Lennon saying the Beatles were bigger than Jesus to Sinead O’Connor tearing up a page of the Pope on SNL. The shocking trail of abuse left by total piece of garbage R. Kelly to Ozzy biting the head off of a bat. The circumstances of Sam Cooke’s murder to years of speculation over if Elvis really died at all. The Great White concert fire to the dumpster fire of the Fyre Festival. Milli Vanilli getting caught lip synching to U2 “giving” you one of their albums whether you wanted it or not.

70 - When Celebrities Sing

In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re taking a look at celebrities who make music. We uncovered a lot of stuff for this one – and some of it should have stayed where we found it. A few of these albums have been scrubbed from streaming platforms but luckily the Internet is forever. But some of these tunes aren’t bad either. So settle in and join us as we look into the sometimes bizarre world of celebrity music. 

69 - That Song Stinks!

If you’re one of the thousands of people who listen to Prisoners of Rock and Roll – and shame on you if you aren’t – you know we do a segment in every episode called The Electric Chair where we kill a song for being terrible. 

Now, there’s a lot of awesome music out there. But let’s face it: there’s a lot of bad music too. 

So much bad music that this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll is volume 2 of a show totally dedicated to talking about music that sucks. We have spent hours plumbing the depths of music 

We also asked our awesome listeners and some of our podcast friends to submit their picks for the most cringe-inducing tracks out there and man, did they deliver. Get ready go groan and say, “oh no, not THAT song” as we plumb the depths of music hell for songs have left scars on our music souls. Yacht rock, novelty songs, one hit wonders, dance tracks, and just plan bad music. It’s all here!

68 - Does Disco Suck?

Alright, folks, it's time to dust off those platform shoes, grab your shiniest disco ball, and get ready to debate the ultimate question: Does Disco Suck? 

We're going to objectively listen to disco and discuss it's rise in the underground scenes of Philly and New York, to it's (literally) explosive end at Disco Demolition Night. 

67 - An Anthology of Beatles Outtakes and Rarities

The Beatles were one of the most successful bands of all time, and critics loved them as much as their fans. Lucky for music fans, they also kept tons of recordings in their archives. The Beatles Anthology was a multimedia project that included a television documentary series, a book, and three double albums that includes outtakes, rarities, demos, and even a couple of new tracks that Paul, George, and Ringo recorded with some unfinished work by John Lennon. 

In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re going on a magical mystery tour with one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all times – The Beatles! So get ready to twist and shout, come together, and experience the music of the Beatles Anthology.

66 - Women Who Rock

Let’s face it. Rock and roll has always been dominated by dudes, but music is full of female trailblazers and trendsetters who rocked our world and left their mark on the industry. In honor of the Kate Bush fans who are STILL calling us misogynists for not liking her music, we’re throwing a guitar through the glass ceiling by looking at women who rock!  

65 - The History and Legends of Jazz

Jazz was the soundtrack of America for decades – through prohibition, two World Wars, the Harlem renaissance, and more. From the soulful trumpet of Louis Armstrong to the haunting vocals of Billie Holiday, from the trailblazing talents of Dizzy Gillespie to the cool sounds of Miles Davis, these musicians shaped the landscape of jazz and inspired countless generations of musicians. In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we're taking a look at the melodies, rhythms, and improvisational genius of jazz. 

64 - When Hair Metal Saved Rock and Roll

Hair metal often gets a bad rap, dismissed as nothing more than cheesy anthems and over-the-top fashion. But hold on as tight as a pair of spandex pants because we’re going to give hair metal the respect it deserves. Believe it or not, hair metal had its roots in the rock and roll of the 1950s. Just like those pioneers, the music was all about relationships, good times, and, of course, a healthy dose of rebellion. Think about it: the lyrics were filled with tales of wild nights, broken hearts, and the pursuit of freedom. It was rock and roll escapism at its finest.

So join us as we pay homage to the bands that rocked the stadiums and the arenas. We're celebrating the anthems that still get our hearts pumping, and we'll prove that hair metal wasn't just a guilty pleasure – it was a damn good time that deserves respect. It's time to crank up the volume and embrace the power of the riff, the power of the party, and the power of rock and roll. Hair metal, we salute you!

63 - The Smooth Sounds of Doo Wop

Doo wop music. It’s the harmonized sound of street corner serenades and teenage romance. The irresistible sound that makes you wanna snap your fingers, sway your hips, and sing along with those timeless harmonies. This music broke down racial barriers years before the civil rights movement, as millions of kids across the country just cared about listening to great music. 

Some of the most popular groups of the era were Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Drifters, the Platters, Dion & The Belmonts, and more. There were also dozens of one hit wonders that you still hear today, like Earth Angel and Get A Job. 

As the 1950s gave way to the 1960s, doo wop began to give way to other styles of music like rock and roll and soul. But it’s legacy and the music lives on. 

62 - Does Kid Rock Suck?

Kid Rock. Some love him, some hate him, but everyone has an opinion. He’s been around for nearly 25 years and has sold tens of millions of albums as his sound has evolved from hip hop to nu metal to country. But does he suck? 

On one hand, he sings, he raps, he plays multiple instruments. He likes soul, country, rock and roll, and blues music. On the other hand, he’s become a caricature of himself. He's embraced a certain kind of redneck culture that turns some people off. He's been accused of cultural appropriation and insensitivity. And his music can be formulaic and repetitive. So where does that leave us? Is Kid Rock a good musician or not? Does he evolve his sound or is he a pandering musical used car salesman? 

It's a question that's up for debate. And that's exactly what we're going to do on today's episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll.

61 - John Williams: The Greatest Music Composer of All Time

If you’ve ever watched a movie, you’ve heard music from John Williams. He’s one of the greatest classical music composers of the last 100 years and one of America’s most accomplished musicians. His music has won 5 Oscars, 25 Grammys, and four Golden Globes. The only person with more Academy Award nominations is Walt Disney himself. 

The list of movies he’s written to the music to is practically a guide to American cinema: ET, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Home Alone, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, Star Wars. Should I continue? He also wrote the music for the Olympics, Sunday Night Football, and more.

60 - Why the Judgment Night Soundtrack Was So Groundbreaking

Released seven years after Aerosmith and Run DMC brought rap and rock together on Walk This Way, the soundtrack to the 1993 film Judgment Night was a groundbreaking moment in the crossover between the two music genres. Every song on the album was a collaboration between an artist from each genre and it featured some of the biggest names in music at the time. 

Helmet, Faith No More, Sonic Youth, Pearl Jam and Slayer worked with Ice-T, House of Pain, Cypress Hill, Onyx, and De La Soul. 30 years later, it’s a seminal moment in music history that showed us what the fusion of these two genres could do. 

In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re taking a look at the Judgment Night soundtrack. The story behind the concept. How the artists worked together. How one guy in the story is the inspiration for Happy Gilmore. Plus, Cyndi Lauper fans make a strong case for her induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Kate Bush fans are coming for us with their pitchforks and torches for saying we don’t like her music.

59 - The 2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

It’s pretty easy to complain about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees every year – heck, we’ve done it ourselves more than once. But the nominees for the class of 2023 are out and it’s a pretty solid list. There’s a mix of artists from different eras and different genres. Some first timers and some artists that made us go “yeah, why AREN’T they in the hall of fame yet?” Still no Motorhead, Funk Brothers, or Motley Crue though. 

In this episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we’re talking about the nominees of the rock and roll hall of fame. What do we think of this year’s list? Who is getting in? Who deserves to get in? And how much do we dislike Kate Bush? Grab a cold one and settle in for this one. 

58 - Honoring Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell was one of the best rock and roll singers of the last 40 years. He had an incredible four octave vocal range that showed could be incredibly powerful and delicate, sometimes in the same song. And the music he created was as diverse as his range. He came up in the music scene in the 1990s as the front man for Soundgarden and Temple of the Dog before taking over lead vocals for Audioslave. He also released a handful of solo albums that includes singer / songwriter material with an acoustic guitar, the theme from a James Bond movie, and some more electronic work with Timbaland. He also sadly struggled with depression and addiction until his suicide in 2017. 

57 - The Music of 1993

We are heading back to 1993 to to look at songs and albums that turn 30 this year. It was a solid year for rock and roll, with Versus from Pearl Jam, In Utero from Nirvana, and Siamese Dream from Smashing Pumpkins. Debut albums from the Counting Crows, the Cranberries, Bjork, Tool, Collective Soul, Candlebox, Lenny Kravitz, Snoop Dogg, and the Wu-Tang Clan.  We’ve got a lot of great music to talk about in this one – and some not so good tunes too (we're looking at you, Snow).

56 - Live Aid: When Music Fought Famine

Live Aid was one of the biggest rock and roll concerts ever thrown. On July 13, 1985 dozens of some of the biggest acts in music performed at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia to raise money to fight the devastating famine in Ethiopia. Organized in just 10 weeks, the show was attended by 72,000 people in London and 100,000 in Philly, while another 1.9 billion people in 150 countries watched the television broadcast. 95% of the televisions on earth at the time watched that concert. 

The show raised $127 million dollars. More than 75 acts performed, including Queen, U2, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Tom Petty, the Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, Duran Duran, Judas Priest, Run DMC, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and Santana. The Stones backed up Bob Dylan. Ozzy Osbourne reunited with Black Sabbath for the first time in 5 years. And Led Zeppelin played for the first time since Bonzo’s death in a terrible performance with Phil Collins on drums. 

55 - The Weird World of Les Claypool

Les Claypool is a musical mad scientist and one of the weirdest musicians to have commercial success in rock and roll. 

He’s best known for his amazing bass playing and quirky sense of humor in leading the band Primus (and for doing the theme for South Park), but he’s also put together a handful of other really cool projects that made other types of music. Including Oysterhead, the funk jazz supergroup with Trey Anastasio from Phish and Stewart Copeland from The Police. The Duo de Twang country music project. And, most recently, the awesome partnership with Sean Lennon called The Claypool Lennon Delirium with Sean Lennon.