Friday, November 30, 2007

Thriller Reissue Set for February 12

Michael Jackson will be issuing the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Thriller this coming February 12 via Epic/Legacy.

Included will be a number of bonus tracks, including older demos and unreleased sides, along with new mixes of some of the album's classics (see list below).

A DVD will also be included that has the videos for Thriller, Beat It and Billy Jean and the classic performance of the latter song on the 1983 Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.

The track list:
  • Original Album
    • Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
    • Baby Be Mine
    • The Girl Is Mine
    • Thriller
    • Beat It
    • Billie Jean
    • Human Nature
    • P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
    • The Lady in My Life
  • Unreleased Cuts and Demos
    • Carousel
    • Someone in the Dark
    • Billy Jean (demo)
    • For All Time (from Thriller sessions but left off album)
  • Re-mixes
    • The Girl Is Mine 2008 (with will.I.am)
    • P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008 (with Michael Jackson and will.I.am)
    • Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008 (with Michael Jackson, Akon and will.I.am)
    • Billie Jean 2008 (with Kanye West)

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Billy Joel Writes Song for New Singer

Billy Joel has written another new song (his second in a year) but isn't thrilled with the focus being on him. Christmas in Fallujah is a mid-tempo rocker that talks about the holiday from the perspective of a soldier in Iraq.

Joel explained his reluctance, "Billy Joel comes with a lot of baggage, a lot of preconceptions about what Billy Joel is, and for as many people who like the stuff that I've done, there are plenty who don't like it, and that's fair enough, that's life. But I don't want that to get in the way of the song, which is one of the reasons I stopped writing songs altogether. I kind of got tired of Billy Joel's voice, and Billy Joel's image, and all the stuff that comes with it."

He also didn't think he should record the song. "I thought someone with a young voice should be singing this, someone just starting out in life. Plus, you know, I'm 58 years old. My voice isn't the voice I was thinking of when I was writing; I was thinking of a soldier, someone of that age."

In stepped new singer Cass Dillon who had been working with Joel's musical director for a couple of years. Dillon recorded the song with backing from Joel and his band.

The record hits iTunes on December 4. Proceeds from the song go to Homes for Our Troops which provides specially designed homes for wounded veterans.

In other Joel news, according to Rolling Stone, the singer did an interview with an Allentown, PA newspaper on the 25th anniversary of the song Allentown. Joel admitted that the song wasn't originally about the town north of Philadelphia but, instead, about the Long Island city of Levittown. It was later that Joel rewrote it to address the problems with the steel industry.

Christie's Pop and Rock Memorabilia Auction Results

Christie's Auction House held a sale of Pop and Rock Memorabilia earlier today (Friday) that brought in almost $900,000 in bids.

The big money went for an eighteen page notebook with the lyrics for thirteen songs as written by Hank Williams and his wife Audrey. The book is from early-1947 and includes early versions of his songs I Can't Get You Off My Mind, My Sweet Love Ain't Around and Message to My Mother, along with ten previously unknown compositions. Final bid was $145,000.

Also big was an official American League baseball signed by all four Beatles and a number of Jimi Hendrix related items.

The auction lots that pulled in $10,000 or more:
  • Eighteen page, blue Prizewinner Composition notebook containing thirteen handwritten songs by Hank Williams, and one song in the handwriting of his wife, Audrey Williams - $145,000
  • Official American League (Cronin) baseball signed on separate panels by all four members of The Beatles - $49,000
  • Signed album cover The Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis: Bold as Love, Polydor, 1968, signed and inscribed in ballpoint pen - $20,000
  • Signed Eko acoustic guitar, inscribed on the body of the guitar To Marco, Best Wishes, Elvis Presley in blue ballpoint pen - $25,000
  • Collection of approximately 200 previously unpublished 35mm color transparencies and black and white negatives of Cream performing on stage in Connecticut, USA in 1968 - $20,000
  • Page of hand-written notes probably for recording purposes, (no date but 18th September, 1968) written by McCartney in blue ink on the reverse of a printed Recording Sheet - $20,000
  • Concert poster The 1968 Pop Festival, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Gulfstream Park, Hallandale, Miami, Florida, 18-19 May, 1968 - $18,650
  • Concert poster Jimi Hendrix, Pinnacle Concerts Shrine Auditorium, Saturday, February 10th, 1968 - $16,250
  • Guns N' Roses limited edition Fender Squier Bullett electric guitar autographed by eight current and former members of the band - $12,500
  • Gold Record award, circa late 1950s, for Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue - $11,875
  • Abilene acoustic guitar, in black finish signed by Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Neil Young in silver pen - $11,250
  • Rickenbacker Transonic Amplifier (serial #325) used by Led Zeppelin during their first American Tour in 1969 - $11,250
  • Cardboard poster for Jimi Hendrix appearing at the Miami Jai Lai Fronton Sunday, September 21, 1969 - $10,625
  • Untitled hand-written poem or lyrics for an unreleased song in Jim Morrison's hand in black felt pen on a sheet of lined notepaper, circa 1970 - $10,000
  • Two poems in Jim Morrison's hand written in blue ballpoint pen on either side of a sheet of lined paper, circa 1970 - $10,000
  • Concert poster Arthur Howes presents Britain's Fabulous Disc Stars! The Beatles..., The Odeon, Weston-Super-Mare, July 22nd, 1963 - $15,000
  • Title page from a script for the The Morecambe and Wise Show Monday, December 2nd, 1963, signed by all four Beatles in blue ballpoint pen - $11,875
  • Parlophone Records publicity postcard circa 1963, signed on the front in red ink by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr - $10,625
  • Collection of 74 black and white negatives, majority 35mm. some 6 x 6 cm. taken by various photographers during the Beatles first tour of the USA, February 7th, 1964 - February 22nd, 1964 - $10,625
  • Pair of Ringo's Gretsch drumsticks, each wooden stick stamped GRETSCH 8 D Don Lamond Model; accompanied by a typescript letter, signed, on NEMS ENTERPRISES LTD headed stationery, 29th April, 1964 - $10,625
  • Single She Loves You/I'll Get You, Parlophone, 1963, Swedish pressing, signed on the front of the sleeve in blue ballpoint pen by all four Beatles - $10,000

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Taylor & King Go Back to 1972

James Taylor and Carole King played the first of their six nights at the Troubadour in celebration of the club's fiftieth anniversary.

Unlike their first appearances at the club, this time they both took the stage and traded songs throughout the evening up until their final duets of King's You've Got a Friend and Up on the Roof. The pair were backed by the band they used on their early-70's albums with Russ Kunkel on drums, Danny Kortchmar on guitar and Lee Sklar on base.

To add to the love fest, King paid tribute to ex-husband and writing partner Gerry Goffin, who was in attendance, along with other Brill Building writers like Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil and Carole Bayer Sager.

To really give a flavor for those early appearances, the pair stuck with period songs, King sticking with Tapestry and Taylor relying on his self-titled Apple album and first two LPs for Warner Brothers.

The set list from Wednesday's show:
  • Blossom (Taylor)
  • So Far Away (King)
  • Machine Gun Kelly (Taylor)
  • Carolina in My Mind (Taylor)
  • It's Too Late (King)
  • Smackwater Jack (King)
  • Something in the Way She Moves (Taylor)
  • Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (King)
  • Country Road (Taylor)
  • (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (King)
  • Fire and Rain (Taylor)
  • Sweet Baby James (Taylor)
  • Steamroller Blues (Taylor)
  • I Feel the Earth Move (King)
  • You've Got a Friend (Taylor & King)
  • Up On the Roof (Taylor & King)
The shows are being taped and filmed for possible future release (do I smell PBS fund raiser special here?).

Top Selling Artists of All Time

The RIAA recently honored Garth Brooks as the biggest selling solo artist of all time, surpassing Elvis Presley. Brooks, to date, has sold 123 million units vs. Presley's 118.5 million. The two are well behind the all-time top sellers, the Beatles, at 170 million units.

Brooks accomplishment is even more amazing based on the fact that he is the only artist in the top fifteen that did not record before 1985. In fact, he's racked up that amazing total in eighteen short years.

Here's the list of the top selling artists according to the RIAA:

1. Beatles 170 million units
2. Garth Brooks 123
3. Elvis Presley 118.5
4. Led Zeppelin 109.5
5. Eagles 91
6. Billy Joel 79.5
7. Pink Floyd 74.5
8. Barbra Streisand 71
9. Elton John 69.5
10. AC/DC 68
11. Rolling Stones 66
12. George Strait 65.5
13. Aerosmith 65.5
14. Madonna 63
15. Bruce Springsteen 62.5
16. Mariah Carrey 61.5
17. Michael Jackson 60.5
18. Metalica 57
19. Van Halen
56.5
20. Whitney Houston
54
21. Kenny Rogers
51
22. U2 50.5
23. Celine Dion
49
24. Fleetwood Mac
48.5
25. Neil Diamond
48
26. Kenny G
48
27. Shania Twain
47
28. Alabama 46
29. Journey 45
30. Santana 43
31. Alan Jackson
42
32. Eric Clapton
42
33. Reba McEntire
40
34. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
40
35. Prince 39.5
36. Guns 'N Roses 38.5
37. Simon & Garfunkel
38.5
38. Chicago 38
39. Bob Dylan
37
40. Backstreat Boys
37

New Queen Single Available For Free Starting Saturday

The first new recording for Queen in ten years will be released on Saturday to mark World AIDS Day.

Say It's Not True is the first release by the group with new front man Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, The Firm). It will available as a free download on the group's site (www.queenonline.com).

Drummer Roger Taylor said in a statement, "By making the song available for free, we hope to help Nelson Mandela with his campaign to get across the message that no one is safe from infection. We have to be aware, we have to protect ourselves and those we love. The song follows the line of Mr. Mandela’s personal message: it’s in our own hands to bring a stop to this."

The song was originally written back in 2003 by Roger Taylor as a gift to Nelson Mandela for the launch of his 46664 campaign. He performed it at the inaugural concert with Brian May and Dave Stewart.

Kelly Garni Statement On the Death of Kevin DuBrow

Kelly Garni, the bassist for Quiet Riot and one of Kevin DuBrow's closest friends, has issued a lengthy statement on the singer's death.
"No need to state the obvious. First off I want to thank all of you who either called or emailed me. Im sorry I can't respond to them individually as it would be a huge endeavor. I also want to thank everyone who refrained from jumping to conclusions and starting rumors. This has been a very tramatic tradegy to me and because of the fireworks usually associated with Kevin, I was expecting an avalance of negativity that both me and Frankie usually have to deal with. And I'm happy to say that for the most part, everyone did nothing but express good feelings. Unfortunatley what negativity that did occur was internal and while inconviniate, I was able to handle.

On Sunday, while I was working I got a phone call from Kevin's home security company. It was at about 3:15 in the afternoon. I am the only one who gets a call when ever his alarm goes off and usually I go to his house and let the guards in to check things out. However, Kevin had had his front doors replaced a few weeks ago and I did not yet have a key so I told them to send the guards and if there was a problem I would go there and take care of it. They also told me that Kevins voice mail was full. That was the first sign of trouble to me. I got on the phone to frankie in LA and asked if Kevin was with him. He said no and that he hadn't talked to Kevin in about 10 days. He said he thought Kevin was with one of his girlfriends. From there, I started to track her down. I have never met her and only after Frankie gave me her name was I able to find her which was relativity easy. By now about 10 minutes had passed. She said that Kevin had missed Thanksgiving with her (one of 2 girls he was supposed to have thanksging with. Well, he IS Kevin) She said she had gone to his house and left him many messages without response and that she had a very bad feeling about this. Right then, my other phone rang. I have 3 phones in my house and little did I know soon all 3 would be ringing nonstop. I put the phone down on the table with girlfriend #2 still on the line and it was Frankie on the phone. He told me what had happened. I lost all composure at that point and told FB I would call him back. Now to the other phone where I had the unpleasnt task of telling #2 the news. Needless to say she freaked. GF#1 was Lark Williams who was in San Fran at the time. She was worried about Kevin as well and she had called a paramedic friend of hers to go check on Kevin. The guy happened to be very close to his house. With Lark on the phone, the guy went to Kevins and was looking into windows and told Lark he could see his keys on the counter. Lark told him to break in immediately. It was a very ballsy and good thing she did. The guy broke in (hence the call from the alarm co.) and found Kev. This all happened in about 20 minutes time. From there, police, fire, everybody was called. He was found in bed. I talked with a Detective who was there and they hadn't even removed Kevin yet. He said "We have found no signs of foul play and are ruling this an accidental death". Last I heard from Kevin's brother, there was going to be a service this Sunday in Corona del Mar, Ca. Kevin will be buried next to his father. But then I was told that the coroner was still not done so that was kind of up in the air. I have not heard from them since. Peter Margolis was one of the first people I called. I had had to tell the news to Kevins brother as well and I really didn't want to go through that again with others who are important in our lives. He was very kind was imediately saddened and said right off he wouldn't wish this on anybody. I read his statement and can say that he did in fact want to work out the differences between Kevin and himself. From here, I am not going to point out all the other things to you that people say when an icon dies. Kevin was what he was and he lived his life as such. To me, Kevin was my brother for 35 years. And like brothers, we had our diferences. But many many times over dinner, we discussed how great it was to be able to sit across from each and laugh about all the terrible things we said and did to each other. He was always there for me, and I was always there for him. The last time I saw him was on our mutually shared birthday, Oct 29, He gave me a big hug and a really great present. The best present though was the hug. I will miss him terribly. I pray that those who had issues with him don't take this opportunity to celebrate this. If you knew Kevin well enough to have a beef with him, then you knew him well enough to know he had a very good side to him as well. Thank you all for all your kindness. Please remember him for the one thing he wanted to be since he was born. A ROCKSTAR."

Short Takes - Eagles, Debbie Harry, Fortunes, Marie Osmond

The Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden remains the top selling album by a classic artist this week with sales of 184,000. That's a sales decline of only seven percent and good enough to move from number six to five. The top eleven albums for the week each sold over 100,000 copies (lead by a 405,000 week for Josh Grobin's Christmas album); however that is still 18.1 percent from a year ago.

Debbie Harry has announced that she will donate the proceeds from all downloads until December 1 of her new single, Two Time Blue, to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Harry said in a press release, "In honour of this year's World AIDS Day, I am excited to be working with a wonderful organization, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, to bring attention to the fight against HIV AIDS."

"No matter what your contribution is, it means a lot. Thank you in advance for contributing to this important cause."

The website for the Fortunes states that bassist and lead singer, Rod Allen, is ill with an unidentified problem.
"Whilst it will not mean any lengthy stays in hospital, it will however, mean that he will require some quite debilitating treatments. This means he may have to miss some performances. Ever aware of his commitments to Fortunes fans, Rod has already arranged for a couple of well known, excellent singer/bass players to stand in for him if needs be, whilst he recovers from the treatment."

Marie Osmond managed to come in third in the latest season of ABC's Dancing With the Stars. It's really quite a testament to her after having a health problem following one of her performances, the death of her father and the entering into rehab of her sixteen-year-old son.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Van Morrison to Reissue Entire Catalog

Van Morrison, along with Exile Productions and Polydor/Universal, have announced a reissue program that will see all of the artist's albums reissued with bonus tracks.

Included in the program are Morrison's 29 albums, from 1971's Tupelo Honey through 2002's Down the Road. Also included will be the 1997 album, The Story of Them.

There will be four separate waves of releases, with the first seven albums hitting the shelves on January 28. The albums, with bonus track information:
  • Tupelo Honey (1971) - Alternate take of Wild Night and a reworking of the traditional Down By The Riverside
  • It’s Too Late To Stop Now (1974) - Live version of Brown Eyed Girl
  • Wavelength (1978) – Live versions of Kingdom Hall and Wavelength, Live at the Roxy Theatre, LA, November 26, 1978
  • Into The Music (1979) – Alternate takes of Steppin’ Out Queen and Troubadours
  • A Sense Of Wonder (1984) – Alternate takes of Crazy Jane On God and A Sense Of Wonder
  • Avalon Sunset (1989) – Alternate take of Whenever God Shines His Light and When The Saints Go Marching In with additional lyrics by Morrison
  • Back On Top (1999) – Alternate take of Philosopher’s Stone and a new arrangement of Fats Domino's Valley Of Tears
All albums will be released with mid-line pricing.

Paste Magazine Declares Top Albums of the Year

It's not even December, but Paste Magazine has become the first to enter the year-end/best-of waters with their list of the Top 100 Albums of 2007.

Topping the list are the mellow rockers The National and there Boxer album. The highest classic artist to make the list is Bruce Springsteen's Magic, which comes in at number three.

The Top 10:
  1. The National - Boxer
  2. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
  3. Bruce Springsteen - Magic
  4. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
  5. Feist - The Reminder
  6. M.I.A. - Kala
  7. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
  8. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  9. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
  10. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
Other classic artists making the list were Linda Thompson (Versatile Heart at #47), Prince (Planet Earth at #61), Bettye Lavette (Scene of the Crime at #72) and Suzanne Vega (Beauty & Crime at #94).

Carlos Santana to Scale Back for Next Album

Carlos Santana has told Billboard that his next album will be a three-CD set covering many of the styles that have influenced him and will be mainly performed by a trio of musicians.

The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost will be produced by Bill Laswell with the group consisting of Santana on guitar, Chester "CT" Thompson on keyboards and Narada Michael Walden on bass. The trio will add guests on some cuts, including Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders and Kenny Garrett.

Santana said, "I have yet to do a trio band, so this is my opportunity to do kind of like a Tony Williams trio thing. It's a trio with other colors; we're gonna bring other musicians in, singers and stuff like that."

In relation to musical styles, he said "We still love Coltrane and Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye, so that music is gonna get in there. And Paco de Lucia. Very Spanish."

There is no firm date for the release, although he hopes to have it out by summer.

Warner Brothers Signs.........Frank Sinatra

Warner Brothers Music Group and the family of Frank Sinatra have signed a global partnership covering content, rights management and the preservation of Sinatra's work under a single company, to be called Frank Sinatra Enterprises.

In a statement, the family said "We were extremely selective in choosing a partner with whom to manage our father's life work. It was a process that took several years."

"Our father founded Reprise Records almost 50 years ago; we have worked with Warner Music Group for many years, and we are thrilled to continue the journey with them and the new company into the future."

The new enterprise will own all available work by Sinatra (Reprise recordings, films, TV specials, unreleased footage), no including his recordings with Columbia and Capitol.

Scott Pascucci, president of Warner's Rhino Entertainment, said, "Frank Sinatra is an icon known the world over. We are extremely honored to continue working with the Sinatra family to preserve and expand his rich legacy."

Short Takes - Ozzy Osbourne, Elmo & Patsy

Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon have supposedly entered into a suicide pact, saying that neither could go on without the other.

Sharon said, "Whatever it was, where you know you're going to die, we would want to choose the time where we want to leave. I would go with my old man, and he would come with me. (Fortunately) my husband is better than ever, health-wise."
Elmo Shropshire, half of the duo of Elmo & Patsy, has been sued for breach of contract after he "interfered" with a company that was going to sell tie-in products based on the Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer TV special.

The suit is alledging $2 million in damages after Shropshire sent a cease-and-desist letter to companies that licensed the use of the characters from the Fred Rappoport Company. Shropshire says that he "can sell any characters he wants from the movie, but I own the copyright from the song. He can't use the song without my permission."

"The song preceded the show by 20 years. There are a number of companies that license that song from us to make toys and to make CDs and to make a number of things. They're not going to feel so good if we allow someone else to use it for free."

The Bob Dylan "bio-pic" I'm Not There led the way with four nominations at this year's Independent Spirit Awards. The movie was nominated for Best Feature, Cate Blanchett for Best Supporing Actor, Marcus Carl Frankil for Best Supporting Actor and Todd Haines for Best Director.

Vince Gill, Amy Grant and Kenny Rogers will appear on this Friday's Oprah. Check your local listings.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jacksons Tour: Michael In, Janet Out?

It's easy to keep track of the Osmonds these days. They're all in the audience watching Marie dance. That other 70's family group, though, seems to be a different story.

Ever since the Jackson family reunion tour was first floated to the media, it's been on again/off again and questionable as to who would join (although I'm yet to hear LaToya's name in any of the discussions).

Over the weekend, Jermaine Jackson talked with BBC6 in the U.K. and said that there would be a show...eventually.

"Michael will be involved," Jermaine said. "We feel we have to do it one more time. We owe that to the fans and to the public."

Jermaine also mentioned that the brothers were in the studio working on some new material. They haven't released anything together in eighteen years.

On the Janet side, her new, yet untitled, album will be released in February. It's her first for new label Island Def Jam and is being produced by Def Jam CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid.

Jackson is also planning on a world tour to promote the album, which would seem to scuttle any chance that she would participate in the family tour.

Musicians Hall of Fame Inducts First Class

The Musician's Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville is dedicated to all of the nameless musicians who played the music behind the great artists and last night's induction of the first class into the Hall honored some of the true greats.

"These are the actual musicians who played on so many records that have become such a part of our everyday lives,” says Joe Chambers, CEO and founder, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. “There are so many more musicians to be recognized and every year we will add more names to those who will be honored."

The ceremony, held at Schermerhorn Symphony Hall Center in Nashville, included appearances by Garth Brooks, Peter Frampton, Roger McGuinn, Vince Gill, George Jones, Mary Wilson, Dobie Gray, B.J. Thomas, Amy Grant, Rodney Crowell, Danny Saraphine, Brenda Lee and John Carter Cash, but the real stars of the night were the great backing musicians who were honored:
  • The Nashville A-Team (Harold Bradley, Floyd Cramer, Pete Drake, Ray Edenton, Hank Garland, Buddy Harmon, Tommy Jackson, Grady Martin, Charlie McCoy, Bob Moore, Boots Randolph, Hargus (Pig) Robbins and Jerry Kennedy) - Based in Nashville. Played for Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, Brenda Lee, Kitty Wells, Jim Reeves, Bob Dylan
  • Funk Brothers (Uriel Jones, Joe Messina, Eddie Willis, Bob Babbitt, James Jamerson, Eddie “Bongo” Brown, Robert White, Richard “Pistol” Allen, Jack Ashford, Joe Hunter, Earl Van Dyke, William “Benny” Benjamin and Johnny Griffith) - Based in Detroit. Played on almost every Motown Records hit.
  • Wrecking Crew (Billy Strange, Jim Horn, Al Delory, Glen Campbell, Tommy Tedesco, Leon Russell, Don Randi, Larry Knechtel, Carol Kaye, Joe Osborn, Ray Pohlman, Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer, Julius Wechter, Lyle Ritz, James Burton, Mike Deasy and Plas Johnson) - Based in Los Angeles. Played for the Beach Boys, Monkees, Mamas & Papas, Carpenters, Association, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Byrds
  • Memphis Boys (Bobby Emmons, Bobby Wood, Gene Chrisman, Mike Leech, and Reggie Young) - Based in Memphis. Played for Joe Tex, Bobby Womack, Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson
  • Tennessee Two (Marshall Grant and Bob Wooten, who replaced the late Luther Perkins) - Played with Johnny Cash
  • Blue Moon Boys (Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana) - Played with Elvis Presley
Harold Bradley of the Nashville A-Team summed it up by saying, "These are the players who've been making music for America for many years. If you take us away, you won't have anything but the voice in the song, and as great as they are, we are the setting for the diamond."

Creed Bratton, former guitarist for the Grass Roots and current actor on NBC's The Office, acted as Master of Ceremonies.

Short Take - Ray Davies, Shaw/Blades, Zombies

Ray Davies album, Working Man's Cafe, will be released on February 19 via New West/Ammal. The album, based on changes Davies' has seen in the United States since the 60's, was given away free in the U.K. with the Sunday Times last October 21.

The album will be released as a single CD along with a CD/DVD version. A vinyl release is being planned.

The upcoming Shaw/Blades tour (Tommy Shaw of Styx and Jack Blades of Damn Yankees) will join the green bandwagon by using biodiesel. They are working in cooperation with BidForGreen who has also assisted Willie Nelson, Pat Mathany and Merle Haggard.

Per Shaw, "BidForGreen is doing what needed to be done, creating a data base of fuel suppliers and setting up accounts so that it has been made even easier for us to use biodiesel than to spend the time fueling up in the stinky line at the truck stop, something we've all accepted as part of traveling by tour bus."
The Zombies have added a third reunion show at London's Shepherds Bush Empire, adding March 9 to the already scheduled March 7 & 8.

Capital/EMI and iTunes are teaming up to release the John Lennon Video Album on December 4. The download only release will have 21 of Lennon's videos from the Capitol/EMI era. Along with being available directly from iTunes, Digital Release cards will be on sale at all Starbuck's locations for $24.95 which can be used for gift giving and redeemed for the video set on iTunes at a later time.

The twenty-one videos in the collection:
  • Imagine (Legend version)
  • Woman
  • Watching the Wheels
  • Mind Games
  • Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
  • Whatever Gets You Thru the Night
  • (Just Like) Starting Over
  • #9 Dream
  • Give Peace a Chance
  • Beautiful Boy
  • Jealous Guy
  • Nobody Told Me
  • Cold Turkey
  • Power to the People
  • Working Class Hero
  • Working Class Hero (Anthology version)
  • Love
  • Mother
  • Borrowed Time
  • Slippin' and Slidin'
  • Stand By Me

Monday, November 26, 2007

Van Halen Extends Tour Into 2008

As expected, the reformed Van Halen have extended their tour with thirteen new shows in 2008.

The full itinerary from now until the last scheduled show on March 30:
  • 11/27 - Sacramento, CA - Arco Arena
  • 11/29 - Fresno, CA - Save Mart Center
  • 12/1 - Portland, OR - Rose Garden
  • 12/3 - Seattle, WA - Key Arena
  • 12/5 - Vancouver, British Columbia - General Motors Place
  • 12/7 - Calgary, Alberta - Pengrowth Saddledome
  • 12/9 - Edmonton, Alberta - Rexall Place
  • 12/14 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center
  • 12/16 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion at San Jose
  • 12/18 & 20 - Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
  • 12/22 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
  • 12/28 & 30 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Hotel
  • 1/22 - Oklahoma City, OK - Ford Center
  • 1/24 - San Antonio, TX - AT&T Center
  • 1/26 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
  • 1/28 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
  • 2/4 - Omaha, NE - Qwest Center
  • 2/8 - New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Arena
  • 2/12 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - BankAtlantic Center
  • 2/22 - Charlottesville, VA - John Paul Jones Arena
  • 3/13 - East Rutherford, NJ - Izod Arena
  • 3/17 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
  • 3/19 - Hershey, PA - Giant Center
  • 3/28 - Atlantic City, NJ - Boardwalk Hall
  • 3/30 - St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center

Loudon Wainwright III Rerecording Tracks From First Three Albums

Loudon Wainwright III is going back in time with Joe Henry, his collaborator on the Knocked Up soundtrack and the album Strange Weirdos.

Specifically, the pair have rerecorded a number of songs from Wainwright's first three albums, using Henry's band. Wainwright reports that, "These songs are all over 35 years old. Some of which I had to re-learn again . They were voice-and-guitar records before. So this is kind of a reclaiming of these old songs of mine but with this unit of players that I've really loved to work with. It's pretty cool."

While they've kept the same arrangements, the singer admits "my voice has changed radically, so some of them may sound a little different to people. But I wouldn't say we deconstructed anything, particularly. We just re-did 'em, but with these great players."

They are currently looking for a label interested in releasing the album, called Recovery, sometime in 2008.

Rolling Stone's Twenty-Five Best Live Albums

This week's list at RollingStone.com is their take on the twenty-five best live albums, in unranked order. Overall, it's one of their better lists with the biggest surprise being the inclusion of Daft Punk's Alive 2007, which was released last week. Nothing that new belongs on an "all-time" list. It's kind of like lust vs. love. Right now, the album is so new that the editor's are lusting after it, but will they still love it in five years?
  • Live at Leeds - Who
  • Alive! - Kiss
  • Live 1975-1985 - Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band
  • It's Alive - Ramones
  • Before the Flood - Bob Dylan & the Band
  • Alive 2007 - Daft Punk
  • Europe '72 - Grateful Dead
  • Kicking Television: Live Chicago - Wilco
  • A Live One - Pfish
  • Rattle & Hum - U2
  • I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings - Radiohead
  • How the West Was Won - Led Zeppelin
  • Live at the Fillmore East - Allman Brothers
  • Live at Budokan - Cheap Trick
  • Live Rust - Neil Young
  • Stop Making Sense - Talking Heads
  • Jimi Plays Monterey - Jimi Hendrix
  • The Bootleg Series, Volume 4: The Royal Albert Hall Concert - Bob Dylan
  • Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert - Rolling Stones
  • Live at the Apollo - James Brown
  • At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash
  • The Last Waltz - Band
  • Unplugged in New York - Nirvanna
  • Band of Gypsys - Band of Gypsies (Jimi Hendrix)
  • Unplugged - Jay-Z
As always, discuss amongst yourselves.

Quiet Riot's Kevin DuBrow Found Dead

Kevin DuBrow, lead singer for Quiet Riot, was found dead in his Las Vegas home on Sunday from an unknown cause. An autopsy is being performed.

DuBrow, who was 52, was found after a neighbor called the police. There was no evidence of forced entry or other suspicious activity.

The singer started Quiet Riot with guitarist Randy Rhodes in 1975. They recorded two albums for Columbia before Rhodes let for Ozzy Osbourne's band. After trying out his own band, he reformed Quiet Riot in 1982 and, with a revised lineup, recorded Mental Health. The album, which included the hit Cum On Feel the Noise, was a critical and commercial smash.

The quickly assembled follow up, Condition Critical, was nowhere near as successful, and it sent DuBrow into attacking his record company along with other artists. Tensions in the group from the singer's irrational behavior and the drubbing of their next album, QRIII, led the members to "fire" DuBrow.

In the early 90's, DuBrow once again started playing under the moniker, with the high point coming with 2001's Guilty Pleasures, the first album in 17 years with the original line-up. The album still was not a big seller and the group broke up once again.

Drummer Frank Banali posted on his website, "I can't even find the words to say. Please respect my privacy as I mourn the passing and honor the memory of my dearest friend, Kevin DuBrow."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Short Takes - Paul McCartney, Capris, Police

The home owned by bassist Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers was destroyed by fire from the Malibu area blazes.

Paul McCartney is helping his son, James, on his first album. James, 30, has played previously on two of Paul's solo albums but has never made one of his own.

McCartney said, "I'm actually doing some recording with my son. We're just looking at the idea of him making an album. He's doing it all. He's writing it all, laying it all. It's sensational. But there's nothing set yet. We don't know if it'll work. The plan is for me to just do some recording with him, and it's really exciting. I'm really loving it."

Nick Santos (Santamaria), lead singer for the Capris (There's a Moon Out Tonight) announced at a November 18 concert in Las Vegas that he is suffering from terminal cancer and that the show would be the group's last.

The Police have signed to close next year's Isle of Wight festival in Seaclose Park, Newport, U.K. The June 15 show is their only scheduled festival appearance for the year.

A fun-fact. Dusty Springfield used to write the lyrics to her songs all over her hands whenever she would perform.

Springfield's long-time manager said, "We all laughed about the way she would write lyrics of her songs on her fingers. "You'd think that the time she spent writing those words, she would be able to remember them. But I suppose it was some kind of a security blanket just in case she forgot them."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Short Takes - Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder

Bob Dylan is working with Jack White to finish a Hank Williams song that had previously only been lyrics only. You Know That I Know is part of a rumored project to record songs that were in Williams' notebooks at the time of his death. Willie Nelson and Norah Jones are reportedly also working on material.

NME and The Sun are reporting that Led Zeppelin is being forced to make some changes in their classic material for the upcoming reunion show. A source said, "Jimmy is a bit rusty and Robert has been struggling with the high notes. To avoid any embarrassing vocal wobbles with the world watching, they decided it would be best to transpose the songs in a lower key."

Stevie Wonder performed a thirty minute set in one of the windows of London's Selfridges for 500 fans. The gig was to celebrate the opening of the Wonder Room, a section of the store that will be selling luxury (read expensive) jewelry, watches and wines.

Short Takes - Eagles, U2, Pat Boone, Ronnie Hawkins

The Eagles will be the subject of a segment of this Sunday's CBS 60 Minutes. On it, Glenn Frey states that it was either record the new album or retire. "We either had to fold our tent or make a record. We were going to be done and I wouldn't want to have it end where you're just sort of doing a caricature of yourself, you're just doing a tribute to yourself."


U2's Bono and the Edge made a surprise appearance at Mencap's Little Noise Sessions in London's Union Chapel. The pair dug into the catalog to perform Stay (Faraway, So Close), Desire, Angel of Harlem and Wave of Sorrow.

Pat Boone has released his first new album of Christmas music in several decades. The True Spirit of Christmas is a two-CD set with 21 tracks, sixteen of which are brand new. It can be ordered from www.boonechristmas.com.

On the Led Zeppelin touring front, the band says that there are no firm plans for a tour in 2008. An aide denied the statement by Ian Astbury of the Cult that they would be touring with a band whose name "starts with 'L' and has a 'Z' in it." Per the aide, "Maybe Ian got mixed up and they're supporting Limp Bizkit!"
Ronnie Hawkins received the Special Achievement Award at this years Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers of Canada gala. The late folksinger and songwriter Stan Rogers was honored with the SOCAN National Achievement Award.

Chickie Williams, wife and singing partner of country singer Doc Williams, passed away last Sunday in Wheeling, West Virginia at the age of 88. Although the pair never had a national hit, they spent five decades as radio performers and touring in Canada in New England.

Also passing is John Hughey, a steel guitarist who played with the likes of Conway Twitty and Vince Gill. He also died last Sunday at the age of 73. He was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1996.

Paul McCartney's helicopter was refused permission to land at an undisclosed location because he is a vegetarian. He wanted to land near his late-wife Linda's vegetarian food factory near Farkenham racetrack, but was told it was a no-go because of his views against fox hunting.

David Hunter, who supported the long traditional sport, said "The helicopter company would not tell me who their client was but, putting two and two together, I rang back and said, 'If it's Paul McCartney, tell him he's not welcome because of his views on hunting.' I heard from them a few days later and they told me they'd be landing elsewhere."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Chart Watch - October 23, 2007

Our weekly recap of classic artists on the current music charts. Chart highlights:
  • A couple of weeks ago, it was all about the Eagles. This week, it was all about Led Zeppelin as their Mothership compilation premiers at number seven on the comprehensive albums chart, number two on rock albums, number one on hard rock albums, and number four in Britain. In addition, Stairway to Heaven made its first chart appearance ever at number 37 on the British singles chart. The placing was on the strength of digital sales.
  • Also having strong premiers on the comprehensive album chart is George Strait's 22 More Hits at number thirteen (number four on the country albums), James Taylor's One Man Band at number seventeen and Aretha Franklin's new duets album at number 54 (number seven on the R&B albums). Under performing is Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre coming in at number 36.
  • In Britain, Cliff Richard enters the album chart at number 13 with Love... The Album while the Rolling Stones premier at number 26 with the updated Rolled Gold compilation.
  • Finally, in another case of a songwriter's career being resurrected by sampling, Fergie's Clumsy rises to number eight this week on the singles chart, which uses a sample from Bobby Troup's song The Girl Can't Help It. Troup's first hit was Daddy by Sammy Kaye, which hit number one 66 years ago. Troup also wrote (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.

Comprehensive

Top 100 Albums

Top 50 Singles
  • #38 - Into the Night - Santana Featuring Chad Kroeger - Up from #40 (7 weeks)

Top 25 Pop Catalog Albums

R&B

Top 50 R&B Albums

Top 50 R&B Singles
  • #24 - Baby - Angie Stone featuring Betty Wright - No change (17 weeks)
  • #27 - Angel - Chaka Khan - Up from #29 (15 weeks)

Country

Top 25 Country Albums

Top 25 Country Singles
  • #5 - How 'Bout Them Cowgirls - George Strait - Up from #6 (15 weeks)
  • #25 - How Long - Eagles - Down from #24 (14 weeks)

Rock

Top 10 Rock Albums

Top 10 Hard Rock Albums

Adult Contemporary

Top 20 Adult Contemporary Singles
  • #7 - (You Want to) Make a Memory - Bon Jovi - Down from #6 (23 weeks)
  • #10 - How Long - Eagles - No change (13 weeks)

Top 20 Adult Top 40 Singles
  • #7 - Into the Night - Santana Featuring Chad Kroeger - Up from #8 (10 weeks)
  • #16 - Lost Highway - Bon Jovi - Up from #17 (9 weeks)

Dance

Top 25 Dance Club Play
  • #5 - Two Times Blue - Debbie Harry vs. Soulseekerz - No change (10 weeks)
  • #9 - No, No, No - Yoko Ono - Down from #8 (8 weeks)
  • #24 - Baby - Angie Stone featuring Betty Wright - Up from #35 (3 weeks)

Electronic

Top 10 Electronic Albums

Jazz

Top 15 Jazz Albums

Top 15 Contemporary Jazz Albums


Classical

Top 10 Classical Crossover Albums

Holiday

Top 25 Holiday Albums

Americana

Americana Music Association Top 40 Airplay

British

Top 40 British Albums

Top 40 British Singles
  • #16 - You Don't Have to Say You Love Me - Elvis Presley - Premier (1 week)
  • #25 - In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins - Up from #262 (11 weeks)
  • #37 - Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin- Premier (1 week)

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