The Dropkick Murphys band name has an interesting source. Apparently they adopted the name of an alcohol-detoxification facility which was named after Doctor John “Dropkick” Murphy. The group started in 1996 playing in the basement of a barber shop in Quincy Massachusetts. The band began to record and tour from there and made it big when they were selected to tour with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones as their opening act in 1997. From there they were signed by Hellcat Records. They released their first recordings on that label in 1998 and went on to record 5 albums with Hellcat. Currently they record on their own label and have released a total of nine albums. Their yearly St. Patrick’s Day outdoor music concerts, held in and around Boston are the stuff of legend.
Later in 1998, the lead singer, Mike McColgan left the band, allegedly, to join the fire department in the footsteps of his uncle. Members of the band were skeptical that what was McColgan really wanted to do, but he did eventually join the fire department in 2001. That was short lived, however, and he came back to the punk music scene in 2003 to perform with other groups. McColgan was replaced by Al Bar who continues with the Murphys.
The Dropkick Murphys most popular song is probably “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” which was featured in the 2006 Academy Award-winning movie The Departed. It became the band’s only platinum single and remains one of their best-known songs.
James Taylor is often said to be from Boston. Technically he is, since he was born there, but at the age of 5 his family moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina which they called home for most his formative years. His father was a doctor who had a successful military career and became Dean of The School Of Medicine at the University of North Carolina. That having been said, Taylor attended a boarding school in Massachusetts for his high school years, and his family often vacationed in Martha’s Vineyard, so his New England ties still persisted.
It was his visits to Martha’s Vineyard that put him in contact with other musicians that encouraged him to pursue his music. James eventually moved to New York where his musical career took off. His first big hits of the 70s were “Fire and Rain” and “You’ve Got A Friend”. He is a five-time Grammy Award winner, and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time with record sales of more than 100 million worldwide. Sadly this extraordinarily talented man has suffered with bouts of depression for most of his life, which makes his accomplishments even more amazing.
Aerosmith, sometimes called New England’s ‘Bad Boys From Boston”, formed in Boston in 1970 and immediately began generate a following. By 1972 they were signed to a record deal with Columbia and began to produce a series of gold and platinum albums. Eventually Aerosmith sold more than 150 million records which undoubtedly makes them one of the best selling hard rock bands of all time. Their musical style would definitely be characterized as hard rock, with a blues feel. But as time went on, that style evolved to include elements of pop, R&B and other genres that helped spread their appeal to a larger audience.
They spent the 70s touring and playing their more than a dozen top 10 hits to adoring fans. At the time they were undoubtedly rock superstars, but drug addiction and other issues led to the departure of front man Steve Tyler and guitarist Brad Whitford near the end of the decade. The band’s popularity plummeted for a few years without their most talented musicians. In 1984 the group reunited and began working on a comeback. Success did not come immediately, however and it wasn’t until the group collaborated with rappers Run DMC on a remix of the hit song “Walk This Way” that their careers reignited. Since then, Aerosmith has been on a remarkable run and has been touring for more than 47 years producing an amazing string of hit songs. Aerosmith has received four Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, and ten MTV Video Music Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
One of New Englands most famous rock groups was the Cars. The group began in Boston in 1976 with 5 original members, Ric Ocasek, Benjamin Orr, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson. In an era where the airwaves were dominated by guitar heavy rock music, the Cars trended toward a more synthesizer based sound. That put them in prime position to capitalize on the popularity of new wave pop music in the late 70s and early 80s and they rode that wave to world wide fame. Two of their most popular songs were Candy-O and Shake it up. The Cars were named “Best New Artist” in the 1978 Rolling Stone Readers’ Poll and won “Video of the Year” for “You Might Think” at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984.
The band broke up in 1988. In 2011 the band Wheezer recorded a cover version of “You Might Think” that was features in the movie Cars 2. In 2015 the band was nominated for the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.