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By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor

It was a different world way back in the stoned age, circa 1968! There was a revolution happening on many fronts -- cultural, political, musical, fashion, psychological, pharmaceutical, you name it! Rock and Roll was the language of the era and there was no time to mince words. Bands came, bands made their mark, then left. Well, not the Rolling Stones, but that's another kettle of fish.

Cream was, for many, the epitome of a 'super group.' Their collective resume and pedigree was beyond reproach, their timing on the music scene was impeccable and their ability to take a cue was spot on. Formed in 1966, Jack Bruce - bass, Ginger Baker - drums, and Eric Clapton - guitar, was a power trio of the highest order, melding blues, pop, and rock and roll into one giant ball of power. Bruce and Baker had been the dynamic rhythm section for the Graham Bond Organization, a first class beat/jazz combo on the British club circuit during the beat group era. Meanwhile Clapton had severed time with two legendary groups, the Yardbirds and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.

The three tossed their lots in together forming the 'cream' of British musicians as one entity. By 1966 the music was changing, a wide variety of sounds and styles were coming to the fore including the idea of 'guitar hero' and, along with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the stripped down three piece approach was a perfect setting to show off the individual musicianship.

Fresh Cream was released at the end of 1966 to strong reviews and sales, containing such classics as "N.S.U.," "I Feel Free" and "I'm So Glad," the band mixed a strong pop sense with first rate chops, signaling a new era was dawning.

In less than a year their second album, the masterpiece Disraeli Gears, was released with signature classics like "Sunshine Of Your Love," "Tales Of Brave Ulysses," and "Strange Brew." The album was a huge hit, and cemented their reputation, hitting Top 10 around the world.

A mere 6 months later, the 2-LP set Wheels Of Fire was unleashed with more hits, "White Room" and "Born Under A Bad Sign" as well as one album's worth of live material showing off the band's more improvisational style in concert. Just prior to the release of Wheels Of Fire, the band announced it was calling it a day. Some recording sessions were wrapped up and, along with more live material, made up album number four, Goodbye, released in early 1969, but, the band had already said goodbye with a summer '68 tour.

A couple more live releases and "best of" albums would follow, but that was it! The entire career, save for a highly successful reunion tour in 2005, was over and done in just under three years. Compare that to the way bands operate now, or, even for the past several years. Hell, it's takes more than three years for a band to release a follow up album, complete a tour or, sometimes, show any signs of life!

Consider this: the entire career of Creedence Clearwater Revival, including seven very successful albums and a long run of singles -- as well as touring and television appearances -- lasted just four years! It is fascinating just how quickly art, music, film, etc. moved back then, while today, technology is rapid fire while the arts are on a slow train. I'm not judging, just making an observation. Working and creating under limited, often restrictive and demanding scenarios helped created constant forward motion.

All members would carry on in solo careers with varying levels of fame and fortune, with Clapton becoming a household name, but it was that brief period that Cream roamed the earth that everything that came after was built on. That's a pretty amazing building black when you think about it. 

Cream was but one example of arriving, establishing, conquering and leaving before the rigor mortis set in. There is something to be said about that, not to mention a lot of great music to listen to.

By Chad Miller - Summit FM Music Director

What's everyone been listening to out there? There's so much new music coming at us, and so little time... However, these five songs that might fly under the radar to most are what I've been diggin' these past few weeks:

Like what you hear? Please email Chad at and let him know what you think!

PJ Harvey - "A Child's Question, August" The alternative rock legend has forged her own path for three decades, and she now returns with a haunting, almost spooky, prayer-like incantation, along with a music video with hypnotic visuals throughout. Personally, I've become obsessed and fascinated by it ever since hearing it for the first time!

Scott McMicken & the Ever Expanding - "Reconcile" A big favorite of mine as of late from the lead singer of indie rock band Dr. Dog, coming to us with this new project. It's a jangly and catchy singalong that's impossible not to love.

Bully - "All I Do" The new album by the project of Alicia Bognanno, Bully comes roaring back with this new album released in early June and a KILLER lead off song that will rock your face off! Bully is out on tour this summer opening for Pixies and Franz Ferdinand.

Thundercat w/ Tame Impala - "No More Lies" What a tag team here on this one from two of the best in the world of pysch rock! Kevin Parker, who is Tame Impala, brings his signature production skills and backup vocals to join Thundercat, one of the most skilled bass players in the world (and currently opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers on their stadium tour) to this laid back and fun early contender for #1 summer jam. Stay for the end with the snarky debate about telling the truth or lying.

The Antlers - "I Was Not There" In my downtime, I tend to lean more into more chill, relaxing music and no one does that better than The Antlers -- who have recently reemerged with a pair of new singles. This one absolutely stunned when it came out a couple months ago. Listen to this in a quiet moment and let the stark, still, and spare beauty of it wash over you. I love this band so much...

By Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor

The Cure kept raising the stakes and honing their craft with each new album. The kinetic spark of their classic debut Boys Don't Cry gave way to lush and darker terrain with albums like Faith, Seventeen Seconds, and Pornography. In 1982, however, Robert Smith and company began indulging their pop craft, releasing a batch of grade-A singles like "Let's Go To Bed," "The Walk," "Love Cats," and "Caterpillar." These irresistible pop gems would push the band closer to the mainstream without any loss of identity. Quite the opposite, actually, and by the release of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, the band had a fully realized vision where all shades of the Cure shone as one.

The album is a sprawling, often brooding work of art that, at the same time, manages to cough up pop gold with hits like "Hot Hot Hot," "Why Can't I Be You?" and the classic "Just Like Heaven." At the time, many of the ground breakers of the first half of the decade were reaping awards as 'modern music' (or 'college rock' if you prefer) was becoming a major force. Once more cult-ish bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, the Church, and R.E.M. were all starting to sell lots of records, the Cure were right there with them.

Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me pushed its way into the Billboard Top 40, checking in at No. 35, their highest charting to that point. Meanwhile, the four singles from the album were all major players in MTV rotation and alternative radio, where they can still be found on playlists around the globe, including right here at The Summit FM!

Two years later, the Cure would release what many would call their crowning achievement, Disintegration, which would make them the fully realized pop stars they were always destined to be. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me was certainly a watershed moment in their illustrious career and an essential album that still holds a special place in the hearts of many a Cure fan!

Tune into The Summit FM all day Thursday, June 8 to hear tracks from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me as our Summit Album Essential of the week!

By Laura Smiley - Summit FM Sales Director

For the month of June, our Summit FM Underwriter Spotlight shines down on the Akron Art Museum, featuring Keith Haring, Against All Odds, on display now through September 24th.

Keith Haring’s career in art began with chalk graffiti in New York City subway stations and, during the 1980s, exploded into paintings, drawings, large-scale murals, fashion, and pop culture. The artist channeled his newfound popularity and his signature style of bold and energetic outlines into expressions of love and positivity. He also used his art to make political statements against environmental destruction, racism, homophobia, and more. Ranging from the artist’s best-known imagery to more personal and adventurous works, Keith Haring: Against All Oddswill survey the height of his career, from the early 1980s until his death in 1990 at the age of thirty-one. The show will also include artwork by some of Haring’s friends and artistic peers, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Wojnarowicz.

For more information on this exhibit, or the Akron Art Museum, visit

Wellness can be achieved by virtue of completing a journey and maintain a lifestyle. But it can also be magnified by our ability to appreciate and be thankful for the things that we already have! Summit Wellness continues to hum the melody of connection between feeling good and feeling grateful!  

Gratitude is a monthly feature contributed by Matt Anthony, Digital Media Producer and on-air host for the Summit FM. Matt reflects on instances where we might uncover more ways to appreciate what’s in front of us, and how those instances might contribute to our overall health and well-being. 

"Light on the Edge of Darkness"
By Matt Anthony - Summit FM Contributor

My 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass needed a new exhaust-system. It was loud, and its rumbling cadence was beginning to border on ‘obnoxious’. (not to mention the noxious fumes that were beginning to spill into the vehicle’s interior!) I didn’t have the money to replace it.  The money earned bagging groceries at a local supermarket didn’t allow for an easy replacement.

I had my priorities. And one of those was being able to allocate the necessary funds for an 8-track cartridge set-up that included Jensen Coaxial Speakers.  The power of those classic beauties provided ample opportunity for me to lift my music above the nerve-wracking din of a faulty muffler.

Well everybody's got a secret, son
Something that they just can't face
Some folks spend their whole lives trying to keep it
They carry it with them every step that they take

Being a 19-year-old wasn’t easy. High school had been uneventful. The future seemed hazy. And I knew that I didn’t want to stock shelves in a grocery store for the rest of my life. It seemed like the only person who understood me, the only person who spoke to me in a way that defined where I was in the scheme of things, was this guy from the Jersey shore, who has been christened as the next ‘Bob Dylan’.

Oh, nothing is forgotten or forgiven
When it's your last time around, huh
Well I got stuff running 'round my head
That I just can't live down

Darkness on the Edge of Town was stark. It was seemingly simple in its construct, but its underlying tone was menacing and uncertain. It was brooding. It was relentless in its honesty. And it posed more questions than it answered. I would take the 8-Track out of the player and stare at the album-cover. Bruce Springsteen’s gaze looked a lot like mine. (and the wallpaper in the background looked exactly like the one we had in our entry-way!) He seemed a bit haunted. Unsure. There was some anger and resentment that hovered under the surface, and an explosion seemed likely to happen if just the right circumstances presented themselves.

Why did this album resonate so much with me? 

And why am I telling you that I’m grateful for it?  

Here at The Summit FM, we often talk about the ‘power of music’.  When I think about music, I can’t help but ponder the effect it had on me during these formative years.  I think back on the hours that I would spend in my attic with headphones plastered to the sides of my head, watching the disc spin round and round and allowing the verbal imagery of Pete Townshend, the mystical nuances of Neil Young, or the bruising, crunchy, distorted guitar-work of Steve Jones and the Sex Pistols to take me places where I’d never been. To show me a world that was slightly out-of-order, and to give me permission to feel OK about acknowledging the fact that there were people out there who felt just like I felt.

Now I'm wandering, a loser down the tracks
An' I'm lyin', but babe I can't go back
'Cause in the darkness I hear somebody call my name
And when you realize how they tricked you this time
And it's all lies but I'm strung out on the wire, in these

Streets of fire

But if I could meet one of these luminaries and mutter a ‘thank you’ for speaking to me on a level that, at the time, nobody else could...If I could somehow stand in front of this person and tell him how often I’d use his words to help me to understand myself…if I could reach out and shake his hand and explain to him how this 10-song, 42:55 masterpiece became a trusted ally during a time that seemed so desperate and uncertain…it would be Bruce Springsteen.  And in my own careful but uncertain style, I would attempt to explain to him how his contribution to ‘the power of music’ was heard and assimilated, time and time again, by a young kid in Canton, Ohio.

In this section of SUMMIT NOW, I’m hoping to share bits and pieces about the various things for which I’m grateful. They may come off vague and miniscule. Or, they may be seemingly life-altering, in the case of that pudgy, error-prone fella mentioned above. (who did, eventually, replace that egregiously loud exhaust-system!)  But my hope is that these reflections of ‘gratitude’ somehow revolve around the power of music.  After all, it’s why we are all members of The Summit FM, right?

Today, I’m grateful for Darkness on the Edge of Town, which was released 45 years ago today.

June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, celebrating all genders and sexualities. All month long on The Summit FM, learn how you can be a better ally to loved ones, family members, friends and everyone in our LGBTQIA+ community through our June PSA Spotlights.

Our alternative lifestyle community is complex, vibrant, multifaceted, and beautiful, but allyship is about more than simply being verbally affirming. Find out about the challenges and opportunities that people in our LGBTQIA+ community cope with every day. Learn more at LGBTQOHIO.ORG

Written by Dave Swanson - Summit FM Contributor

Todd Rundgren was/is arguably a pop genius! 'Tis true!

From his early days fronting the Nazz, a band drenched in Anglophile Mod inspired sounds, through his fascinating solo career which would merge on and off with Utopia, his more progressive styled band, Todd was bursting with a variety of musical ideas. And all that doesn’t even touch on his role as producer for such legends as the New York Dolls, XTC, Psychedelic Furs, Patti Smith Group, Cheap Trick, and Meatloaf -- just to name a few!

Rundgren had success at the start of the 1970s with "We Gotta Get You A Woman," followed by "I Saw The Light," and "Hello It’s Me," all of which made strong showings on the Billboard charts. As his solo work expanded into uncharted territory, as found on the classics A Wizard A True Star, and Todd, Rundgren’s band Utopia, were creating their own take on progressive rock. By 1977, however, Todd had begun to re-ignite his pop sensibility, first on the Utopia album Oops, Wrong Planet, then fully realized on the 1978 essential, The Hermit Of Mink Hollow, which cracked the US top forty.

The album’s first single, "Can We Still Be Friends" hit No. 29 and was an instant FM radio staple. Other tracks such as "You Cried Wolf" and "All The Children Sing" also got a fair share of airplay, showing off Rundgren’s inherent melodic sense, which, thanks in part to the "new wave" movement, had come back into vogue. Meanwhile, "Determination" and "Out Of Control" even showed a punk influence coming full circle with a more Nazz-esque vibe. As he had done many times in the past, Todd played all the instruments, sang all the vocals, wrote all the songs, and produced the entire affair.

The Hermit Of Mink Hollow is, in many ways, the most concise example of who Todd is, what he can do, and why his fans are rabid for his music. On one hand, it’s a simple pop masterpiece that shines in the Rundgren catalog. On the other hand, there is nothing ‘simple’ about Todd Rundgren.

Tune into The Summit FM all day Thursday, June 1 to hear tracks from The Hermit of Mink Hollow as our Summit Album Essential of the week!

Tina Turner, the American-born singer who left a hardscrabble farming community and abusive relationship to become one of the top recording artists of all time, died on Wednesday at the age of 83.

She died peacefully after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, her representative said.

The Summit FM will pay tribute to the "Queen of Rock and Roll" with two special rebroadcasts of Into The Music of Tina Turner with Al Neff, tonight, May 24 at 9PM and tomorrow, Thursday May 25 at 7 PM.

Tina Turner performs on stage at the Gelredome on March 21st, 2009 in Arnhem, Netherlands. (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

This week’s Summit Essential is a true American Classic!

As the story goes, the Violent Femmes were discovered while busking on the street in front of a theater where the Pretenders were playing. They were asked to come in and do a short opening set that night, and the rest is history. Call them folk, folk punk, angst pop, your choice; just know that they were true originals. Yes, you can trace parts of their sound back to the Velvet Underground and the Modern Lovers, but the songs of Gordon Gano, and the way he, Brian Ritchie, and Victor DeLorenzo executed those songs, was truly their own thing.

Signed to Slash Records, their landmark debut album was released in the spring of 1983, alongside other notable releases such as R.E.M's Mummer, and the Replacements Hootenanny, it was a banner time for the American underground. Violent Femmes music started attracting fans via college radio almost instantly. Now classic tracks like "Blister In The Sun," "Gone Daddy Gone," "Kiss Off," and "Prove My Love" already sounded like classics upon first spin. While the ultimate teenage angst anthems, "Promise," "Add It Up" and "Confessions" have yet to lose any of their power 40 years on. Timeless teenage problems don't get old, they just trade owners.

Several of these songs still turn up on our airwaves for good reason; they have stood the test of time. It's an album that still sounds fresh, while also sounding very much of its time. The Femmes would go on to have an incredible career and release a catalog of wonderful albums -- but this is where it all started.

Tune into The Summit FM all day Thursday, May 25th to hear tracks from The Violent Femmes as our Summit Album Essential of the week!

Wellness can be achieved by virtue of completing a journey and maintain a lifestyle. But it can also be magnified by our ability to appreciate and be thankful for the things that we already have! Summit Wellness continues to hum the melody of connection between feeling good and feeling grateful!  

Gratitude is a monthly feature contributed by Matt Anthony, Digital Media Producer and on-air host for the Summit FM. Matt reflects on instances where we might uncover more ways to appreciate what’s in front of us, and how those instances might contribute to our overall health and well-being. 

Warmth Amidst the Chill
By Matt Anthony - Summit FM Contributor

I couldn’t get warm.

I was sitting in my little cubby-hole, in the annex to Studio C at The Summit FM, and it just seemed like the jagged splinters of frigid air were finding their way through every porous crack of the building’s exterior. I normally don’t get cold, per se, since I’ve always had, whether I wanted it or not, an extra ‘layer’ of protection, due to my enjoyment of IPA’s and my wife’s peanut butter cookies.

On that day, though, I was tormented. As I switched positions in my chair, I silently cursed Akron, Ohio. My mind kick-started a litany of grievances. Everything from "our weather sucks" to "doesn’t the sun ever shine here" to "I wonder if this mayor ever fixed a pothole in his career" and so on.

But as the third hoodie started to give me some relief, my mind mellowed and the litany stopped. And I looked out into the empty Studio C performance space, and I thought of…Josh Ritter.

He had performed several days earlier, and I had (literally) a front-row seat.  It is my duty to hold a fancy camera and try my best to capture the nuances of these intimate live-performances, one of the most important member-benefits for those who have chosen to be a part of the Summit FM family.

I am not a musician. And though I’ve performed on stage in theatre and have done numerous hosting events as a long-time broadcaster, I have never strolled on to a stage with an instrument in my hand with the singular purpose of entertaining someone with music that I created.

But Josh Ritter has. He’s been doing it for a while now. I’m certainly not naïve enough to think that his reaction was something that had never been experienced before during his successful career. But I watched him take the steps and bounce on to the stage. There was an energy there that felt…different.  Maybe he always shows off an ear-to-ear grin for these kinds of performances. But with a willing crowd cheering and whipping up the excitement level, I couldn’t help but think how lucky we are. Not just because Josh Ritter was entertaining us in the middle of a workday with 4 or 5 songs that he created. But that this sometimes cold, seemingly-nondescript spot on the map in northeast Ohio, with its challenging winter roads and its disdain for regular winter sun, has something that many cities of comparable size, and bigger, do NOT have: a non-commercial public radio station that plays music, including the songs given to us on that day by Mr. Ritter.

So, I pulled my ski cap a bit tighter around my graying dome and I silently whispered a few words of gratitude. I realized (again) how fortunate we are to be able to be a part of an entity that believes in local music.  And it only stands to reason that this thing that we enjoy so much, this broadcast facility, this performance space, this license that we strive every day to protect, and this mission that we have to be ‘musically adventurous and community focused’ is only possible because of the people who continue to support it.  Like-minded people who share a common interest and a common goal.  We say it all the time on the air, so sometimes the inherent meaning may seem to be shrouded in the verbiage.  But it’s true: we would NOT be in existence without YOU.

So, I slurped another couple of ounces of green tea, zipped up my hoodie around the bottom of my neck, and I expressed gratitude for our members, this mission, and the opportunity to be part of it, in that dot on the map called Akron, Ohio.

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