Fifteen Years Later: Rage Against the Machine's The Battle of Los Angeles Rages On

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Fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy.
Rage Against the Machine was poised to take the reins of rock when the band delivered The Battle of Los Angeles on November 2, 1999. The band's third studio album burned with unbridled rebellion fueled by Zack de la Rocha's radical rhymes and Tom Morello's experimental mastery on guitar. The vanguard of rebel rock belonged to Rage Against the Machine when the effort sold 420,000 copies in the first week, claiming the top spot on the charts.

In a world tormented by injustice, The Battle of Los Angeles feels as urgent now as it did when first unleashed.

See also: Tom Morello's New "Marching on Ferguson" Protest Song: Listen Now

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Kurt Cobain's Thoughts on Life, In Illustrated Form

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Jena Ardell
Kurt Cobain's life and death is unarguably the most discussed, dissected and speculated benchmark in the music industry. Now, twenty years after his death, we're still enamored with the man who sparked the grunge period and shaped the music of the '90s.

Despite the end of Cobain's life and career, headlines constantly emerge: "20 Years After Kurt's Death: What Changed and What Didn't..."; "New Death Scene Photos Released..."; "Intimate Photographs of Troubled Rock Star..."; "Here's What Kurt Cobain Would Look Like At Age 46." We just can't seem to get enough of the notorious Nirvana frontman.

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Why I Still Love Green Day's Dookie, 20 Years Later

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By Steve Steward
Song associations are strange, because when I hear "Longview" by Green Day, I think of Rosemarie Sandoval's hair. We were both sophomores, sharing a table in Mr. Nardinelli's 3rd period art class. I think she was almost a year older, and if she wasn't taller than me anyway, her bangs sure were. Between the towering, lacquered fan rising from her forehead, a wardrobe consisting entirely of Aztec-god-holding-naked-lady-over-a-low-rider t-shirts, and a constant array of hickies, Rosemarie kind of terrified me, especially when I saw her beat the shit out of some girl outside of Spanish the following spring.


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Minute by Minute Was Michael McDonald's Zenith as a Doobie Brother

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Although known more for his solo success, Michael McDonald scaled great artistic and commercial heights as a member of The Doobie Brothers. It may seem hard to believe now, but that band was one of bigger - if not the biggest - bands that reigned throughout the 1970s.

Not all of the group's achievements relied on McDonald's handiwork, but the Ferguson native did play a big part in making Minute by Minute a commercial triumph. The album was number one on the Billboard Top 200 on this day in 1979.

McDonald was brought into the Doobie fold after lead singer Tom Johnston had become severely ill. Johnston eventually left the group altogether in 1977, paving the way for McDonald to become the permanent lead singer until the group dissolved in the early 1980s.

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Chuck Berry Unleashed First LP - After School Session - 55 Years Ago

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After School Session was Chuck Berry's first LP.
Chuck Berry entered the music scene at a time when singles were the predominant manner of disseminating music. That's probably why the St. Louis native is known more for individual songs than, say, a seminal album.

But while songs such "Maybellene" and "Johnny B. Goode" get the lion's share of attention from music aficionados, it should be noted in the sacred scrolls of rock and roll history that Berry has released over twenty studio albums. In fact, Berry's first album that only featured his music - After School Session - was released on this day in 1957.

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Ten Years Later, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is Still Wilco's Masterpiece

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Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is now 10 years old.
Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is rightfully associated with excellence, a piece of work commonly heralded as one of the best albums of the 2000s. It's the type of record with enough depth, lyricism and experimentation to get people interested in serious music, no small feat for any band, and this one features members from the St. Louis area.

But great records often have back stories. Radiohead's Kid A, for instance, was created after the band went through a disorienting and punishing promotional regiment for OK Computer. And Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here came about as the group was still coming to grips with Syd Barrett's disconnection with reality. Appropriately, the tale behind Yankee Hotel Foxtrot -- which was released ten years ago this week -- shows that a defining album doesn't come without patience or pain.


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"Hot in Herre" Turns Ten

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Nelly's "Hot in Herre" is 10 years old. The song paved the wave to Nelly becoming a mainstream pop star.
Most of Nelly's monster hits have neat-and-tidy legacies. "Country Grammar," for instance, introduced the world to Nelly's distinctive style and persona. "Dilemma" showed that Nelly could put forth a commercially-successful slow jam. And "Air Force Ones" proved to be the landmark rap song about shoes, a feat that even Soulja Boy couldn't top.

"Hot in Herre's" contribution to Nelly's meteoric rise is a bit more intangible. It wasn't the most commercially successful, controversial or unusual song Nelly put forward in his career. But Nellyville's triumphant single - which is now ten years old - proved to be the St. Louis native's dominant foray into broadening his already sizable appeal to mainstream audiences.

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This Day in 1969: 5th Dimension's Groovy "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" is Number One

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Wikimedia Commons
The 5th Dimension's spacey opus "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" hit number one on this day in 1969. It later won the Grammy for Record of the Year.
Pop quiz, hot shots: What was the second-highest charting song of 1969? "Come Together" by The Beatles? "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones? "Everyday People" by Sly and the Family Stone?

Those are all excellent guesses. But the correct answer is "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" by The 5th Dimension. The medley of two songs from the musical Hair was the number one song in the country on this day in 1969.


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Happy Birthday Maya Angelou, Who Thankfully Chose Literature over Calypso

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St. Louis-born Maya Angelou turns 84 today.

If there ever was a person who could be anointed as the queen of all media, it would be Maya Angelou. The St. Louis-born writer obtained widespread admiration for more than a half-century of work, from her groundbreaking autobiographies to her prolific writing for the stage and the screen.

So it's not too much of a surprise that Angelou - who was born on this day in 1928 - is also a highly-decorated recording artist. Most of that acclaim stems from Angelou's spoken-word albums, which have won three Grammy Awards since the 1990s

Angelou's diverse interests once extended into the music world. She was a professional dancer in the 1950s, and performed in the extensively popular opera Porgy and Bess during that same time period. And she even played a small role in the calypso craze of the 1950s.

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"The Sweet Escape" Showcased Akon's Cooperative Mentality

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blogodisea.com
Gwen Stefani and Akon struck gold with "The Sweet Escape," a prime example of the St. Louis native's knack for popular collaboration.
Akon hasn't been perfect throughout his career, but it's hard to accuse him of being selfish. The St. Louis native developed a propensity to share the spotlight with other artists, even if it means his presence isn't always noticed. That cooperative mentality allowed Akon's behind-the-scenes career to flourish - and his bank account to expand.

Such is the case with "The Sweet Escape," a Gwen Stefani track that was the number one song on Billboard's European Hot 100 on this day in 2007. The song eventually ended up at number two on Billboard's Hot 100, behind - coincidentally - Akon's "It Don't Matter."

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