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Broadcast live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live
One of South Philly's original rockers, the inimitable Charlie Gracie has a career that spans over 60 years, numerous albums, and oceans. His first taste of the spotlight came at the tender young age of 14 when he played on the Paul Whiteman television show. He began to combine blues, country, and gospel into a pioneering rock sound that gave Gracie hit after hit throughout the '50s. He headlined consistently at all the big name venues on the East Coast (Chicago Opera House, AC's 500 Club, the Brooklyn Paramount, etc.) and he gained fans in the highest of places--the Beatles' Harrison called Gracie's technique 'brilliant' and McCartney recently paid tribute to Gracie through a re-recording of one of his biggest hits, "Fabulous".
Decades and several releases have passed since Gracie burst onto the scene, but the sprightly 75-year-old is still doing what he loves best--making great music. This past decade, he's been on plenty of tours (one with rocker and fan Van Morrison), and has also just released a full-length called "For the Love of Charlie". Produced by Al Kooper (of Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix fame), this twelve-track collection also features the contributions of Graham Nash, (Crosby, Stills Nash & Young), Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits), Jimmy Vivino (guitarist & music director of Conan O'Brien Show), Craig Ross (keyboards for Lenny Kravitz) and Dennis Diken (drummer for Smithereens). It's clear that Gracie's influence and precocity for original rock has only grown over the years.
Charlie and his band play have a brand new single out, called "Babydoll." He plays Cannstatter's Crystal Ballroom in the Northeast on New Year's Eve. Don't miss Charlie Gracie, one of rock'n'roll's pioneers, on the World Cafe Live stage this Friday. It's the last Free at Noon of the year, and what better way to celebrate the incoming 2012?
Live Fridays Performances - Archived at NPR.org/music