Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Billy Joel to Release First Single in 14 Years

Fourteen years ago, Billy Joel swore off of writing any more pop music. Since that time he has concentrated on classical music and playing his back catalog in concert, that is until now.

Joel will release his first new single since 1993, All My Life, exclusively on starting on February 7th. Starting that day, you will be able to hear the song streamed or send it as an e-Valentine's card. February 20th it will make its premier on iTunes for download and March 6th on other download services. A date has not been set for the CD release of the song.

Don Henley stated over the weekend that the Eagles are just about finished recording their first album in thirty years. "It's coming out in 60 to 90 days, if we don't kill each other first." Sounds like it's the same good old group.

Members of Kiss are returning to comic form. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have joined with Platinum Studios to create a new company, Kiss Comics Group. Their first release will come in March with Kiss 4K, which will be the story of how Kiss changed from a rock group to superhero spirits. Early issues will be three-feet tall and sell for $50. Simmons and Stanley are looking to move the venture into other media such as TV, film and mobile.

A judge ruled on Tuesday that a lawsuit brought by Beach Boys member Mike Love against ex-member Al Jardine could proceed to trial. Love is asking for a total of $3 million dollars, alleging that Jardine improperly used the Beach Boys name in groups in which he performed. In 2003, a federal court ruled that only Love had the right to perform under the group name.

Four of Bob Marley's sons (Stephen, Ky-Mani, Damian and Julian) will be staging a concert on February 10 to commemorate the 62nd anniversary of their father's birth and to promote peace. Smile Jamaica will be held in Marley's home town of Nine Miles during Jamaica's Bob Marley week. Ziggy Marley has prior commitments and Marley's widow, Rita, will be in attendance but is not expected on stage.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark have announced that they will be reuniting for a series of European concerts in May. Original members Andy McLuskey, Paul Humphreys, Malcolm Holmes and Martin Cooper have all returned and a CD/DVD remastering of their album Architecture and Morality will also be hitting the shelves on April 30.

Future plans include an album of original material for later in 2007 and a 2008 collaboration with the London Philharmonic.

The current itinerary:
  • 5/13 - Olympia - Dublin, Ireland
  • 5/15 - Clyde Auditorium - Glasgow, Scotland
  • 5/16 - Empire - Liverpool, England
  • 5/18 - Hammersmith Apollo - London, England
  • 5/21 - Theaterhaus - Stuttgart, Germany
  • 5/22 - Ancienne Belgique - Brussels, Belgium
  • 5/23 - Grossefreiheit - Hamburg, Germany
  • 5/25 - Olympia - Paris, France
  • 5/26 - E-Werk - Cologne, Germany
  • 5/27 - MCV - Utrecht, Netherlands

Iggy Pop has been added to the panel list for next month's South by Southwest.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has said that Sony BMG agreed to settle the case against them for the embedding of anti-piracy software on some of their CDs. Per the FTC, a consumers' computer is their property and a company must inform the customer of any limitations that will be imposed before the consumer purchases the item. Sony's software installed on computers without users consent and was very difficult to uninstall.

Sony BMG must make further disclosures about their software, reimburse customers up to $150 for repair to any damaged computers and allow the consumer to exchange the CD for a software free version.

Blues drummer Chico Chism passed away recently in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 79. Chism played with Sunnyland Slim, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rodgers, Pinetop Perkins and others.

In the strange-but-true department, songwriter Julius Dixson recently passed away in a New York City hospital from starvation after a nurse lost his dentures. Dixson had an operation two weeks before his death and, afterwards, his dentures could not be found. The hospital allegedly kept serving food that had to be chewed over the protests of his son. Julius Dixson, Jr. says that he informed the staff of his father's weight loss and dehydration but the complaints were not taken seriously. Dixson, Sr. told his son "If I die in here, you go after them," which they are doing. Dixson was 90.

Julius Dixson's (also spelled Dixon depending on the source) compositions included Dim Dim the Lights (I Want Some Atmosphere) (Bill Haley & the Comets), It Hurts to Be In Love (Betty Everett & Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, among others) and Lollipop (Champs & Chordettes).

Notable Links:

Blues guitarist Walter Trout from DNA.

A short interview with Paul Jones of the 60's version of Manfred Mann from the Independent.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Best (and Worst) Covers

The U.K.'s BBC Radio 6 has a weekly show called Cover Lovers that features covers of songs made famous by others. Recently, the show conducted a survey to find out the best (and worst) cover songs. The Top 10 (with original artist):
  1. Johnny Cash - Hurt (Nine Inch Nails)
  2. Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan)
  3. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
  4. Futureheads - Hounds of Love (Kate Bush)
  5. This Mortal Coil - Song of the Siren (Tim Buckley)
  6. Stranglers - Walk on By (Dionne Warwick)
  7. Soft Cell - Tainted Love (Gloria Jones)
  8. Clash - Police and Thieves (Junior Mervin)
  9. White Stripes - I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself (Dusty Springfield)
  10. Fall - Lost in Magic (Sister Sledge)
Others placing in the Top 40 were Siouxsie & the Banshees Dear Prudence, the Byrds' Mr. Tambourine Man, Devo's Satisfaction and Aretha Franklin's Respect.

At the other end of the list, the voters chose Madonna's American Pie as the worst remake. Also on the list were William Shatner's Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and Rolf Harris' Stairway to Heaven.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) has confirmed that the Police will open the 49th Grammy Awards on February 11th.

Tommy Dee, who reached number 11 in 1959 with Three Stars, passed away on Friday after a long illness. The song wia a tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper who had been killed in a plane crash earlier in the year. Ironically, the hit was supposed to belong to Eddie Cochran who was unable to complete the recording from emotion over the death of his friends. Dee was 70.

Koral Karsan, accused of blackmailing and threatening to kill Yoko Ono, remains in jail after the New York State Supreme Court once again upheld the denial of bail. Lawyers for Ono contend that Karsan is a flight risk and would return to Turkey if released.

Rock and religion. They don't always go hand-in-hand. The Church of England is having its first U2-charist communion service with songs by U2 instead of hymns. A band will play the songs while the words are flashed on a screen at the front of the church.

Meanwhile, Jermaine Jackson wants his brother Michael to convert to the Islam faith. Per Jermaine, "Michael, I feel, needs to become a Muslim because I think it's a great protection for him from all the things that he's been attacked with, which are false. There's a strength and protection there."

Jermaine has also announced plans to produce a musical based on the lives of the Jackson 5. All of the brothers are on board with the project and plans are being put in place to have a TV production company film the "making of" process for a documentary.

Oh, yeah, and Jermaine came in second in the U.K.'s latest Celebrity Big Brother.

Notable Link:

New York Magazine talks with David Byrne.

Clive Davis and American Idol from the Monterey Herald.

New Releases for Tuesday, January 30