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"Love Song" was written by vocalist/ front man Jeff Keith and guitarist/keyboardist Frank Hannon. It is Tesla's greatest success, widely considered to be their signature song, and still getting heavy airplay today. However, it is not
their highest-charting single: That would be "Signs
," their cover of a Five Man Electrical Band song, which got to #8 on the Hot 100... but only after being re-released.
The lengthy, noodling guitar solo heard at the beginning of this song was usually cut off from all single releases and airplay.
Tesla formed in 1984, hailing from Sacramento, California. Their original name was going to be City Kidd, but on the advice of their manager (and the fact that another band already went by that name), they decided to pick a new name. Their name does indeed come from Nikola Tesla, the legendary Serbian scientist and inventor who quite possibly is single-handedly responsible for the "mad scientist" trope. Nikola Tesla was the "Linux Torvalds" to Thomas Edison's "Bill Gates"; Tesla had all the scientific smarts and wanted to deliver world-changing scientific breakthroughs to the masses, while Edison had all of the ruthless business smarts and basically drove Tesla into poverty and obscurity all while profiting off of his contributions. In a similar vein, the title The Great Radio Controversy refers to another case of stolen credit - this time the Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi, who took credit for inventing radio.
On a parallel note, Tesla came along at just the right time to have an identity crisis. They were seen as a "glam metal" band right when glam metal was dying like disco; it didn't help that when touring, they often shared a bill with Def Leppard and Poison - and of course, they were on the Geffen label. Tesla tried to redefine themselves by dressing down in jeans and a Tshirt, playing more blues-driven rock, and acting more like a jam band than a stadium band. It's almost as if they would have loved to have invented grunge, had they only been a couple states north and thought of it first!
Gary Lewis and the Playboys had 7 Top-10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.
Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"
With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes
"Great songwriters don't necessarily have hit songs," says Chris. He's written a bunch, but his fans are more interested in the intricate jams.