Sunday, July 30, 2006

$614,000 For Some Old Guitar

Well, for Paul McCartney's first acoustic guitar. That's what collector Craig Jackson paid for the instrument at an auction at Abbey Road Studios last Friday. The auction house expected around 100,000 pounds for the item, but worldwide bidders drove the final price to 330,000 pounds or $614,000.

  • Not only was McCartney separated permanently from his first guitar, but he has also filed for divorce from Heather Mills McCartney.
  • Eric Clapton's Red Square concert was abruptly cancelled by Russian authorities. Even president Vladimir Putin doesn't know the reason as he has asked for information from the Kremlin.
  • Dionne Warwick attended a Chicago performance of the show "Don't Make Me Over (A Tribute to Dionne Warwick) last week and was most impressed that the show covered her time before and after her collaboration with Burt Bacharach and Hal David. According to Dionne, earlier retrospectives "forgot there was an entity called Dionne Warwick." Warwick is currently working on an album of duets.
  • Steven Tyler has a dream. To take a whole bunch of Aerosmith songs and perform them with a 50-piece orchestra. Outside of his dreams, Tyler will be appearing on an episode of "Two and a Half Men" next season.
  • Billboard Magazine has created the Otis Redding Excellence Award to recognize a positive role model in the R&B/Hip Hop community. The creation is in recognition of the 40th anniversary of Redding's death in 1967.
  • On Tuesday, Olivia Harrison will oversee the installation of a plaque on the Madison Square Garden Walk of Fame to commemorate husband George's Concert for Bangladesh.
  • The James Gang hit the road for their first full tour in many years starting August 10th in Sturgis, SD. While they have played isolated shows in recent years, a full tour wasn't possible because of Joe Walsh's work with the Eagles.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mid-60's Hendrix Recording to be Auctioned

A song recorded by Jimi Hendrix in 1966 will be auctioned off in October. Called "Station Break," it was found by the widow of Jerry Simon, who co-wrote the song, stored in a closet. The auction, being run by Ocean Tomo LLC, will be for the copyright and original reel-to-reel recording.

Also in the music world:
  • Steely Dan's Donald Fagan and Walter Becker have written a ten-page letter to Owen Wilson demanding an apology for ripping off their song "Cousin Dupree" from the album "Two Against the World" as the basis for his latest film role. Why they are after Wilson and not the writers is far beyond me.
  • Stevie Wonder has won the National Civil Rights Museum's 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Bandleader Artie Shaw had eight wives which evidently created a bit of a mess with his estate. Today, a jury awarded his eighth and final wife, Evelyn Keys, $1.42 million which is about half of the estate.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Who Sell Out

...concerts, that is (what, you thought we were talking about all those CSI themes?). Fans are scooping up the tickets for their "Uncut, uncensored and unrepentant" tour with dates in Philadelphia and New York already sold out (New York has added a second date). Pete Townshend says he's not thrilled with the name but admitted that the marketing was made up to sell tickets. Future stops include Chicago, Detroit, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Toronto.

  • Rod Stewart is returning to his roots, well, at least his roots from before his four standards albums. "Still the Same...Great Rock Classics of Our Time" will be released on October 10th and may include covers of the title song, "It's a Heartache," "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," "If Not For You" and "Crazy Love."
  • You thought Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton had all the goods when it came to lending their name to housewares and apparel. Coming soon...The Jimi Hendrix Collection of leather jackets and handbags. The goods are a collaboration between Janie Hendrix (Jimi's sister and executor of his estate), photographer Robert M. Knight and designer Gina Alexander.
  • Artists of the vinyl era still pack a punch at the concert box office. The Rolling Stones lead the pack as the top grossing concert artists for the first half of the year. Number 2 is U2 and 3 is Billy Joel, while Aerosmith is fifth and Paul McCartney is tenth. It looks like the Who will be joining that crowd as the year goes on.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Beatles Treasure Trove

More than 500 tapes of the Beatles have been found to be in the possession of a 55-year-old Londoner who has been found unfit to stand trial and has been ordered into two-years of mental health supervision.

The tapes include over 200 one-time version of known Beatles songs along with covers of other hits like "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Maggie Mae" (which must have been recorded during the Get Back/Let it Be sessions). It is not known how the man came into possession of the tapes, but he has tried to sell the items at different times.
  • Gene Simmons of Kiss fame is joining the celebrity reality show race with A&E's "Gene Simmons Family Jewels." The series, like so many others, will follow Gene and his family in their daily trials and tribulations.
  • The Who's first major concert tour in 25 years will start September 12th in Philadelphia. The tour supports another milestone, their first studio album since 1982's "It's Hard."
  • Thirty-eight years ago today, Creedence Clearwater Revival released their first LP.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Syd Barrett (1946-2006)

One of the original founders of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, passed away on July 7th from complications of diabetes. He was 60.

Pink Floyd originally formed in 1965 with Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright. Although the band did not really start selling consistently until eight years later, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (1967) was still critically well received.

Barrett left the group in 1968 and was replaced by David Gilmore. Drug use had made him unreliable and with mental problems. Two years later, he released two solo albums ("The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett") which were not big sellers but have acquired a cult following over the years. Floyd's 1975 album "Wish You Were Here" was a tribute to Barrett.

In other vintage vinyl artist news:
  • Johnny Cash's "Americana V: A Hundred Highways" premieres this week at number 1 on the Billboard LP Chart. It is Cash's first number one LP since 1969's "Johnny Cash at San Quentin."
  • John Lennon's son Sean is releasing his first new album in eight years ("Friendly Fire" - September 26th).
  • Also passing away is Milan B. Williams, one of the original members and keyboard player of the Commodores. He was 58.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Penny Lane is In My Ears and In My Eyes

If it weren't for a last minute reprieve, Penny Lane would have ceased to exist.

Liverpool officials had proposed that all streets with names linked to slave trade be renamed. Little did they know that Penny Lane was named after James Penny, an 18th slave ship owner. The council has seen the error of its ways and realized that Penny Lane is now much more identified with the Beatles then a wealthy man of the 1700's.
  • Irving Green, co-founder of Mercury Records, passed away on July 1st at the age of 90. Another of Mercury's co-founders, Art Talmedge, also passed away this year back on May 28th at 93. Mercury was started in 1944 and had one of the widest repertoires of any label, major or independent. During the fifties, Mercury was the home of artists from Frankie Laine and Patti Page to the Platters, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughn. Green was also instrumental in the early days of television getting OKs for artists to perform on the new medium and for integrating shows starting with Frankie Laine's appearance on The Nat King Cole Show.
  • For years, the New York State Fair has provided free concerts for fair goers in what is now known as the Chevrolet Court. Back in the early-70's, I remember seeing artists like the Association, Sonny and Cher and Bread, who all performed two concerts a day. Today, the big artists head for the Mohegan Sun Grandstand where prices can run from $40 to $60 dollars per ticket, but things are still free over in the court with some great older artists. This year's lineup includes Gary Puckett & B.J. Thomas (Sunday, August 27th), the Temptations (Tuesday, August 29th), Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (Wednesday, August 30th), The Four Tops (Thursday, August 31st), Grand Funk (Friday, September 1st), Bowzer's Ultimate Doo-Wop Party with Charlie Thomas' Drifters, Shirley Alston Reeves of the Shirelles, Paul & Paula, and Diamond Dave Somerville of the Diamonds (Saturday, September 2nd), and Foreigner (Sunday, September 3rd).

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Two Added to Rock Walk

Did you know there was a Rock Walk in Hollywood similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Yeah, me neither, but I hear it's been around since 1985 and has over 150 artists. Today, Kris Kristofferson and the late Waylon Jennings were added (although I have no idea how they got Jennings hand and footprints). "I guess it's an honor" said Kristofferson (I'm not making that up).
  • Smokey Robinson has released an album of standards such as "Night and Day" and "Our Love is Here to Stay." His first pop/soul album in seven years is called "Timeless Love."
  • Farm Aid will be held for the 19th time September 30th at the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ. Artists joining regulars Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews will be announced at a later date. Tickets go on sale July 22nd.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

B.B. King Plays His Last Montreux Jazz Festival

B.B. King has ended a more than 20 year tradition with his last appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival. King was joined on stage by Gladys Knight, Barbara Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Stanley Clark, David Sanborn and others at the end of his show in tribute to the 80-year-old blues musician.
  • Aerosmith members Steven Tyler and Joe Perry performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra tonight at their annual Fourth of July concert.
  • Willie Nelson is keeping a piece of his youth open by purchasing the Methodist church in his hometown. On Sunday, he celebrated the preserving of the church by performing such classics as "I'll Fly Away" and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" with his sister Bobbie and others including Leon Russell.
  • Yes, it's true. Rolling Stone Keith Richards is Johnny Depp's father, at least in the next installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Willie Denson, writer of such songs as "Mama Said" (Shirelles), "Backstage" (Gene Pitney) and "A Tear" (Gene McDaniels) passed away on Saturday of lung cancer at the age of 69.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Beatlemania Returns

Beatlemania is back on both sides of the ocean. In Las Vegas, a brand new show called "Love" has opened featuring Cirque du Soleil's version of the Beatles legacy. 130 songs are represented in the show and characters from the songs appear on stage. Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison all attended the opening.

Meanwhile, in Japan, they are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Beatles only trip to the country by offering tours of the presidential suite where they stayed (restored to the original 1966 look), photo exhibitions and cover band competitions.

In other news:
  • The Rolling Stones start their new tour next week (July 11th) in Milan. Estimates say the tour could gross 350 million dollars.
  • Johnny Jenkins, who played guitar for Otis Reading and influenced Jimi Hendrix, died last Monday in Macon, Georgia. He was 67.
  • On this date in 1969, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones was found dead in his swimming pool. Also in 1969, 78,000 people showed up for the Newport Jazz Festival, breaking all records. Performers included Blood, Sweat & Tears and Led Zeppelin.