Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Elton John Goes Discount, Merle Haggard is Rarein' to Go, more

Elton John's New Year's Eve show at London's O2 Arena is suffering from economic conditions. Promoters have had to offer cut-price tickets (four for the price of three) to fill the seats. Parts of the show are being broadcast around the world.

Merle Haggard says he's ready to work harder in 2009 than in any of the last twenty years. Haggard seems to have a new lease on life after having surgery for lung cancer and is ready to tour and record new material.

He's also in the midst of kicking a daily marijuana habit, saying that his next show will be the first where he hasn't gotten ready through tobacco or marijuana use. "It's gonna be interesting as to what kind of a show comes out of this body that's used to performing the other way."
Mamma Mia, which became the biggest film in British history earlier in the month, has now become the biggest selling DVD of all-time in the U.K.

The disc has sold 5.005 million copies, passing Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which had sold a total of 4.7 million.

A bankruptcy court has ruled that the Country Music Museum in Nashville will be allowed to keep instruments from Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash and Mother Maybelle Carter that had been donated right before their owner committed suicide.

The donor had recently been accused of defrauding investors of millions of dollars and his estate has ended up in bankruptcy court; however, the court ruled that the museum may keep the historically significant instrument if it pays the court $750,000 for use in repaying the man's creditors.

Vincent Ford, who is credited with writing Bob Marley's No Woman, No Cry along with three other songs for the reggae master, passed away Sunday from complications of diabetes. He was 68.

Bizarre But True: You Can Buy the Big Boppers Casket

In the bizarre but true department, Jay Richardson, the son of J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson, is planning on auctioning off his father's casket on eBay. Really. We're not making this up.

The casket was exhumed in 2007 so it could be moved to a monument site and so that the body could be examined to put to rest a long-standing rumor that a gun had gone off in the plane that Richards, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens were in before it crashed. Before reburial, the body was placed in a new casket, leaving the standard metal casket empty.

Jay Richardson hopes to raise money from the sale for a musical show about his father's career. He told the Beaumont Enterprise, "I have no personal use for the casket. When you get down to it, it is just a metal box. More important is what this particular metal box represents.

"In another 200 years, will people care about rock ’n’ roll? Who knows? But why would I want to destroy it? Even though it was Dad’s resting place for 48 years, it’s also a unique opportunity to learn more about the early years of rock ’n’ roll."

Sex Pistols Were Considered Threat to Ireland

Papers released by the Irish government yesterday show that the Sex Pistols were under investigation by the highest levels of the Irish government in the late-70's. Officials were afraid that the group could threaten Catholic morals.

The Garda Siochana, an Irish law enforcement agency, were particularly concerned with their Never Mind the Bollocks...Here's the Sex Pistols album, both in the title and the contents. The agency was looking at whether the album broke the country's censorship laws, saying “The title on the sleeve… would indicate that the contents of the record is obscene.”

In addition, the Irish censorship board said that the album could be in violation of the Indecent Advertisements Act.

The decision was finally made to not prosecute after it was advised that the maximum fine against record stores carrying the album would be about two Irish pounds per sale and after the album was successfully defended in British court against censorship charges.

Plant and Martyn Honored by the Queen

Queen Elizabeth of England has handed out her yearly accolades to individuals in the various arts and industry, including two significant musicians.

Robert Plant will become a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to music. The Commander is third in importance within the structure of the awards and is one level below Knighthood.

In addition, John Martyn was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), which is a fourth level honor just below the CBE. The singer/songwriter and guitarist was also honored for his contributions to music.

Other musicians who received honors include Courtney Pine (CBE, service to Jazz music) and classical musicians Owain Arwell Hughes (CBE), Howard Shelley (OBE) and Michael Chance (OBE).

Sales Increase in Last Week of 2008 But Overall Sales Down for Year

Album sales in the last week of 2008 showed a sales increase of 17% over the same week in 2007; however, overall album sales were down 14.4% from 2007 with a total of 428.4 million units sold versus 500.5 million last year. Digital downloads of albums accounted for 15.4% of the overall market with 65.79 million units.

Vinyl made a small but significant comeback during the year, selling 1.9 million units. That's the most since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991 and the most since 2004. Radiohead's In Rainbows was the top seller, moving 26,000 copies.

Finally, in the sales of individual digital tracks, 2008 was the year that the industry surpassed one billion tracks sold. That's up 26.7% from last year. The top seller was Leona Lewis' Bleeding Love which tallied 3.37 million copies.

The top selling albums of 2008 according to Nielsen SoundScan:
  1. The Carter III - Lil' Wayne - 2.88 million
  2. Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends - Coldplay - 2.15 million
  3. Fearless - Taylor Swift - 2.11 million
  4. Rock N Roll Jesus - Kid Rock - 2.00 million
  5. Black Ice - AC/DC - 1.92 million
  6. Taylor Swift - Taylor Swift - 1.60 million
  7. Death Magnetic - Metallica - 1.57 million
  8. Paper Trail - T.I. - 1.52 million
  9. Sleep Through the Static - Jack Johnson - 1.50 million
  10. I Am...Sasha Fierce - Beyonce - 1.46 million

Nelson Goes Naked, The Edge & Bono Talk Spider-Man, more

Not only is Willie Nelson releasing an album of western swing with Asleep at the Wheel in February, but he also has a new solo disc coming in March. Naked Willie will be songs that he recorded from RCA in the late-70's without all the strings and overproduction that was used at the time. According to Willie, he's doing it because "There's songs that I've had, good songs, that never got their due."

The Edge talked to Britain's Q magazine about the work he and Bono are doing on the Spider-Man musical. "We've written a lot of the songs at this point. It's in a pretty good state, and I hope it'll open this year. We're not sure where in the world, but most likely it will be in New York."
The master recording of outtakes from Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline sessions was sold on eBay for $30,000. Included are five outtakes of Lay Lady Lay and a jam session from Going Back to Chicago. The buyer is only receiving the tape and not the intellectual rights to publish them.
The estate of Grateful Dead keyboardist Merle Saunders is suing the estate of group leader Jerry Garcia over a live CD that was released in 2004. According to Saunders' heirs, they have equal rights to the music on the CD but didn't find out about it until after it had been released.

Saunders' estate is looking for over $100,000.

It is being reported that Paul Weller has been questioned by police in Prague after being found drunk in the street. He was not arrested after the interrogation.

The Village Voice has laid off writer Nat Hentoff, who has been with the paper since 1958 writing about music, civil liberties and politics. Hentoff also wrote liner notes for artists from Billie Holiday to Bob Dylan to Aretha Franklin.

Bluegrass fans are losing another publication with the last issue of Bluegrass Now. The magazine, first printed in 1990 had gone internet only last Spring but the publishers now say that, with the downturn in advertising revenue, they are also shuttering the site.

McCartney Wants to Stop the Madness

Paul McCartney wants to stop the madness of the broken negotiations between Apple, Inc. and Apple Corps over the licensing of the Beatles catalog to iTunes and possibly other digital download services.

In the Liverpool Echo, McCartney is quoted as saying, "It is out of our hands, really. It is a business thing and there is some gridlock somewhere. It is the usual thing. When it is a Beatles deal, it is a big deal. It is not like we are just some new act.

“When you are talking about iTunes, obviously we have got to get a great deal. I think we are right, because we are The Beatles!

“It is being held up, but I definitely hope it comes through because it is about time it happened. We have been goofing around enough, so if you are reading this, whoever is holding it up, stop it!”

Hard Times For Hard Rock Park

Last April, Hard Rock Park opened in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with great fanfare. The amusement park was full of attractions and rides tied in to rock groups from all eras but the $400 million it took to build it was just too much of a burden on the owners.

In September, the owners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, shutting down early for the season and starting a search for a buyer. Even at a starting price of $35 million, there have been no takers and it looks like their will be no 2009 season or that the park may never open again.

According to Myrtle Beach Online, it is becoming more of a possibility every day that the owners will have to switch to Chapter 7 or the creditors will just come in and liquidate the assets. The land would then be taken back and something new developed along the waterway.

Mark Lazarus, owner of another area entertainment attraction, says he hopes the park can still somehow open again. "To me, it never had the real right mix of rides in it, and it's going to need some tweaking, and that takes money. I certainly hope that somebody can come in and resurrect it and make a go at it, I do. I think it would be great for our whole economy."

So, anyone interested in buying a used Led Zeppelin: The Ride or Shake Rattle 'n' Rollercoaster?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bobby Goldsboro: Artist & Children's Writer

Bobby Goldsboro had his share of major hits during the 60's and early 70's, including Honey, Watching Scotty Grow and Summer (The First Time) but, over the last twenty years, he's branched out into other creative areas.

In the mid-80's he began writing children's books and producing video's. Over the years, he's produced ten best-selling books and a dozen children's programs released on video. Included is Easter Egg Mornin', a special that he wrote and produced for the Disney Channel back in 1991 which has gone on to become a perrenial favorite on the network.

Goldsboro has also become a well respected artist, producing numerous paintings and being the subject of one-man art shows across the country. Self-taught, his works have been bought up by art collectors and now are gracing the cover of books (see above). He has concentrated on subjects from around his home state of Florida, concentrating on nature scenes. Originals and greeting cards made from his works are available at the official Bobby Goldsboro site.

Jackson Sued for a Billion, Foo Fighters & Coldplay to Salute Diamond, more

Don't name names in your songs unless you want to hear from long lost lovers...or at least those who think they were your long lost lover. Billie Jean Jackson (who may also have the name of Lavon Powlis), claims she is married to Michael Jackson, is the birth mother of son "Blanket" and wants $1 billion.

Back in 1987, Powlis sued Jackson for $150 million, saying that he fathered three of her children and he wasn't paying child support.

The Foo Fighters, Coldplay, John Mayer, Jennifer Hudson and others are set to sing the songs of and honor Neil Diamond on February 6 at the MusicCares Person of the Year award.

The Beastie Boys will reissue Paul's Boutique on January 27 to celebrate the album's 20th anniversary. The album is being digitally remastered by all three members and the original artwork will be reinstated. Fans will also receive a poster and the ability to download a track-by-track commentary by the Boys that can be played along with the music.

According to a spokesman from Vanguard Records, Levon Helm is working on a follow-up to his Dirt Farmer album. Dirt Farmer II (working title) is being produced by Larry Campbell with a projected release of May or June.

George Jones and his wife Nancy are planning on opening a museum with Jones' memorabilia. Jones told CMT, "We plan to open a museum at some point and share it with the fans," says Jones. "We have a bit of a museum down in our basement right now, with all kinds of things from throughout my career -- early records, guitars, clothes, various things that fans have made for me. We have a lot of framed photographs from throughout my career with other singers. I have a player piano from Gene Autrey and a bunch of other stuff from him. One day, we'll put all this stuff in a museum."

"Nancy scours eBay looking for my old stuff. Sometimes fans bring things back that they have found. I recently got an old guitar back after 46 years. A guy had bought it in Texas for $10 and gave it to his father -- not a bad price for a Martin. I'm always thrilled to see some of the old stuff."

Jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard passed away on Monday in Sherman Oaks, California. He was 70.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Lou Reed Forms New Band, Releases Album

Undercover News is reporting that Lou Reed has formed a new company called Best Seat in the House, and has put his first album of music on the new entity. Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music: The Creation of the Universe can be downloaded from his website.

Reed posted the following on his MySpace page explaining the new group:
Statement of Purpose:

We have formed a recording unit Called BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE. We intend to put out different types of my music - from industrial to meditative to songs and all subway stops in between. Our first release is a live recording of 2 great nights live at the REDCAT in L.A. THE CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE. You can download it at various qualities as per your download taste. We include some pics by me. We will be putting it out as A2X CD for the New Year but for now for your holiday - CREATE!

--LOU REED
The group features Lou on guitar and electrics, Ulrich Krieger on tenor sax and live-electronics, and Sarth Calhoun on live processing and Fingerboard Continuum. The group is currently playing purely instrumental music and, according to Undercover, is most like Lou's Metal Machine Music.

The download of each of the night is priced at $8 with both for $15 and a special package with the two downloads and a CD of both nights for $2o.

Sweet! 70's Group Wants to Know "Are You Ready Steve?"

Sweet, the hitmakers who landed four hits in the top ten between 1973 and 1978 (Little Willie, Ballroom Blitz, Fox on the Run, Love is Like Oxygen) are preparing to record their first new album in 27 years and go out on tour.

The group has a very fragmented history, starting all the way back in 1965 with the group Wainwright's Gentlemen that included drummer Mick Tucker and vocalist Ian Gillian (Deep Purple). When Gillian left the group, Brian Connolly joined, forming the basis for the new group.

In 1968, Tucker and Connolly formed the Sweetshop (shortened to the Sweet after a conflict on the name with another U.K. band) with Steve Priest on bass and Frank Torpey on guitar. Torpey left after their first and only single on Fontana failed to chart and was replaced first by Mick Stewart and, after three more low selling singles, Andy Scott. It was the Connolly/Scott/Priest/Tucker lineup that would become the hit making machines and stay together through 1977.

After Love is Like Oxygen, Connolly left the group and, although they released three more albums, they never had the same success. Numerous versions of the group toured from the mid-80's under the band's original name and as Andy Scott's Sweet, Steve Priest's Sweet and Brian Connolly's Sweet (also known as New Sweet).

Original members Connolly passed away in 1997 from liver failure at the age of 51 and Mick Tucker died in 2002 of leukemia at 54. The remaining members of the group are dedicating next year's dates in their memory as the Are You Ready Steve? tour.

The following are the initial tour dates with additional appearances to be announced:
  • 01/29/09 - San Juan Capistrano, CA - The Coach House
  • 01/30/09 - Los Angeles, CA - Club Nokia (Pollstar Concert Industry Awards)
  • 01/31/09 - Redondo Beach, CA - Brixton
  • 02/26/09 - Moose Jaw, SK - Mae Wilson Theatre
  • 02/27/09 - Regina, SK - Casino Regina Show Lounge
  • 03/13/09 - Agoura Hills, CA - Canyon Club
  • 07/17/09 - Nakusp, BC - Saddle Mountain High

Madonna Rings Up Biggest Tour of 2008

Concert site Pollstar has announced the biggest tours of 2008. Topping the list is Madonna, who pulled in $105.3 million on her Sticky & Sweet tour. While concerts were one of the bright spots last year for the music industry, her total doesn't come close to recent year's champs with the Police pulling in $133.2 million in 2007 and the Rolling Stones making a whopping $162 million in 2005.

As far as other veteran artists, if it wasn't for one Canadian songstress (Celine Dion) and two modern country acts (Kenny Chesney & Rascal Flatts), the vets would have tied down the entire top ten.

The top ten concert money makers:
  1. Madonna - $105.3 million
  2. Celine Dion - $94.0 million
  3. Eagles - $73.4 million
  4. Kenny Chesney - $72.2 million
  5. Bon Jovi - $70.4 million
  6. Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band - $69.3 million
  7. Neil Diamond - $59.8 million
  8. Rascal Flatts - $55.8 million
  9. Police - $48.0 million
  10. Tina Turner - $47.7 million

Lennon Appears in Charity Ad

John Lennon is about to appear in a television public service announcement, 28 years after his death.

A film of Lennon speaking is being used in a campaign for "One Laptop Per Child" which is working on providing a tough, solar-powered laptop to children in the world's poorest countries. Yoko Ono approved the use of Lennon's image for the campaign.

Digital technology is used on archive footage to make Lennon say:
"Imagine every child no matter where in the world they were could access a universe of knowledge. They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want.

I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way. You can give a child a laptop and more than imagine, you can change the world."
The "One Laptop Per Child" foundation was originally formed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The laptops being produced cost less than $200 per machine.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Delaney Bramlett (1939-2008)

Delaney Bramlett, one of the more admired musicians, songwriters and producers of the 70's, passed away early Saturday at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications of gall-bladder surgery. He was 69.

Bramlett was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi where he worked the cotton fields as a teen and eventually joined the Navy. After a three-year stint, he moved to what would become his lifelong home, Los Angeles, and began hanging around the studios and music establishements. His first major gig was as a member of the Shindogs, the houseband on the Shindig TV show. At the same time, Bramlett was writing music with other budding songwriters including Mac Davis and Jackie DeShannon. As a recording artist, Bramlett assembled some unsuccessful singles working with J.J. Cale on guitar and Leon Russell on piano.

In 1967, while playing a side gig with the Shindogs, Bramlett met Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell who had been working as the first white Ikette in Ike & Tina Turner's band. Five days after meeting, they were married and soon formed the musical duo Delaney & Bonnie.

Delaney & Bonnie recorded their first album, Home, for Stax with the help of Booker T. & the M.G.'s, William Bell and Issac Hayes, but the album was met with little interest from the critics and the public.

After being released from their Stax contract, they moved to Elektra where they recorded Accept No Substitutes. While their second album found little additional audience, they were noticed by a number of major artists and ended up opening for Blind Faith on their 1969 U.S. tour. When the supergroup broke up at the end of the tour, member Eric Clapton joined the duo as a fulltime member.

Delaney & Bonnie had their biggest album in 1970 with On Tour with Eric Clapton, recorded at a late-1969 show. The album went to number 29 on the U.S. charts and spawned the minor hit Comin' Home. Their notoriety grew as they became friends with artists throughout the rock world and joined John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band for a tour of Europe.

Over the next two years, the duo recorded three more albums, none matching the success of On Tour, but where their album sales were flagging, they suddenly found themselves as hit makers. In 1971, they cracked the U.S. top twenty twice with Never Ending Song of Love (peaking at number 13) and Dave Mason's Only You Know and I Know (#20).

During his time with Delaney & Bonnie, Bramlett was also writing and producing for other artists. Among his best known songs were Superstar (written with Leon Russell) and Let It Rain (composed with Eric Clapton). He is also credited with teaching George Harrison slide guitar, leading to Harrison's playing on My Sweet Lord.

Unfortunately, the presures of the business led the pair to divorce in 1972 after five years of marriage. Bonnie went on to record solo albums and work as an actress under the name of Bonnie Sheridan, including a stint on the TV series Roseanne. Delaney & Bonnie's daughter, Bekka Bramlett, replaced Stevie Nicks' for a time in Fleetwood Mac.

Delaney recorded three solo albums between 1972 and 1978 and then dropped out of music for two decades, becoming a born-again Christian and writing advertising jingles. He returned to recording in 2000, where he put together three additional solo albums, through last year's A New Kind of Blues.

Charting albums:
  • Accept No Substitutes: The Original Delany & Bonnie & Friends (1969/#175)
  • Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour with Eric Clapton (1970/#29)
  • To Bonnie From Delaney (1970/#58)
  • Motel Shot (1971/#65)
  • D&B Together (1972/#133)
Charting singles:
  • Comin' Home (1970/#84)
  • Free the People (1970/#75)
  • Soul Shake (1971/#43)
  • Never Ending Song of Love (1971/#13)
  • Only You Know and I Know (1971/#20)
  • Move 'Em Out (1972/#59)
  • Where There's a Will There's a Way (1972/#99)
Notable songs written by Delaney Bramlett:
  • Bottle of Red Wine (Eric Clapton)
  • Don't Know Why (Eric Clapton)
  • God Know I Love You (Nancy Sinatra, Solomon Burke)
  • Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham (Nancy Sinatra, Blue Cheer)
  • Let It Rain (Eric Clapton)
  • Never Ending Song of Love (Delaney & Bonnie)
  • Superstar (Carpenters, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge)
Notable albums produced by Delaney Bramlett:
  • Eric Clapton (Eric Clapton)
  • PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric)
  • Anthology (individual tracks) (Duane Allman)
  • Rock My Soul (Elvin Bishop)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chart Watch - December 26, 2008

Our weekly recap of veteran artists on the current music charts. Chart highlights:
  • Another very slow week with no new premiers in any country by veteran artists. As we enter the new year, there will be more releases and changes in the charts.
  • The charts for Americana, Canada and Japan were not available at the time of publication.
Previous week position noted in parenthesis.
Comprehensive

Top 100 Albums

Top 50 Singles
  • #1 (1) - Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) - Beyonce
  • #2 (2) - Live Your Live - T.I. featuring Rhianna
  • #3 (3) - Just Dance - Lady GaGa featuring Colby O'Danis
  • No Veteran Artists Charting

Top 25 Digital Songs
  • #1 (2) - Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) - Beyonce
  • #2 (3) - Just Dance - Lady GaGa featuring Colby O'Danis
  • #3 (1) - Circus - Britney Spears
  • No Veteran Artists Charting

Top 25 Pop Catalog Albums

R&B

Top 50 R&B Albums
  • #1 (-) - A Different Me - Keyshia Cole
  • #2 (-) - Intuition - Jamie Foxx
  • #3 (-) - The Point of It All - Anthony Hamilton
  • #27 (19) - Cadillac Records - Soundtrack

Top 50 R&B Songs

  • #1 (1) - Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) - Beyonce
  • #2 (2) - Live Your Live - T.I. featuring Rhianna
  • #3 (3) - Chopped 'N' Skewered - T-Pain featuring Ludacris
  • No Veteran Artists Charting

Top 10 R&B Catalog Albums

Country

Top 25 Country Albums

Top 25 Country Songs
  • #1 (2) - Here - Rascal Flatts
  • #2 (1) - Roll With Me - Montgomery Gentry
  • #3 (4) - Already Gone - Sugarland
  • #13 (14) - Down the Road - Kenny Chesney with Mac McAnally
  • #14 (15) - Cowgirls Don't Cry - Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba McEntire
  • #16 (17) - River of Love - George Strait

Top 10 Country Catalog Albums

Rock

Top 10 Rock Albums
  • #1 (1) - Dark Horse - Nickleback
  • #2 (2) - Twilight - Soundtrack
  • #3 (-) - Folie A Deux - Fall Out Boy
  • #4 (3) - Black Ice - AC/DC
  • #10 (8) - Death Magnetic - Metallica

Top 10 Hard Rock Albums

Top 20 Mainstream Rock Tracks
  • #1 (1) - Second Chance - Shinedown
  • #2 (3) - Indestructible - Disturbed
  • #3 (2) - I Don't Care - Apocalyptica featuring Adam Gontier
  • #7 (4) - Rock N' Roll Train - AC/DC
  • #10 (10) - The Day That Never Comes - Metallica
  • #17 (18) - Cyanide - Metallica

Top 20 AAA Tracks
  • #1 (3) - You Found Me - The Fray
  • #2 (1) - Rock & Roll - Eric Hutchinson
  • #3 (2) - Take Back the City - Snow Patrol
  • #7 (8) - Working on a Dream - Bruce Springsteen
  • #15 (16) - Strange Overtones - David Byrne & Brian Eno

Adult Contemporary

Top 20 Adult Contemporary Tracks
  • #1 (1) - A Baby Changes Everything - Faith Hill
  • #2 (2) - I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
  • #3 (3) - Viva La Vida - Coldplay
  • #8 (15) - White is in the Winter Night - Enya
  • #17 (16) - Christmas is Just Around the Corner - Barry Manilow

Top 20 Adult Top 40 Tracks
  • #1 (1) - Hot N Cold - Katy Perry
  • #2 (4) - Gotta Be Somebody - Nickelback
  • #3 (3) - So What - Pink
  • No Veteran Artists Charting

Dance

Top 25 Dance Club Play
  • #1 (2) - I Hate This Part - Pussycat Dolls
  • #2 (3) - Magic Touch - Robin Thicke featuring Mary J. Blige
  • #3 (4) - Twisted (Got Me Goin' Round) - Ultra Nate
  • #5 (5) - Miles Away - Madonna
  • #8 (15) - Fame (The Game) - Donna Summer
  • #25 (13) - Juliet of the Spirits - B-52's

Top 10 Dance Singles Sales
  • #1 (7) - Miles Away - Madonna
  • #2 (-) - I Stay in Love - Mariah Carey
  • #3 (1) - Human - The Killers
  • #8 (8) - Give It 2 Me - Madonna

Jazz

Top 15 Jazz Albums

Top 15 Contemporary Jazz Albums


Holiday


Top 25 Holiday Albums

Top 30 Holiday Songs

  • #1 (2) - A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives
  • #2 (1) - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
  • #3 (6) - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Johnny Mathis
  • #4 (4) - The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) - Nat King Cole
  • #5 (5) - It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
  • #7 (8) - Jingle Bell Rock - Daryl Hall & John Oates
  • #8 (11) - White Christmas - Bing Crosby
  • #9 (7) - Feliz Navidad - Jose Faliciano
  • #10 (9) - Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
  • #11 (10) - Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
  • #12 (12) - Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
  • #13 (14) - Sleigh Ride - Leroy Anderson
  • #15 (15) - Please Come Home For Christmas - Eagles
  • #16 (16) - Wonderful Christmas Time - Paul McCartney
  • #17 (17) - Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid
  • #18 (18) - Last Christmas - Wham!
  • #19 (21) - Merry Christmas Darling - Carpenters
  • #21 (20) - Winter Wonderland - Amy Grant
  • #22 (30) - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - James Taylor
  • #23 (26) - Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season - Andy Williams
  • #24 (22) - Step Into Christmas - Elton John
  • #25 (R) - Little Drummer Boy - Harry Simeone Chorale
  • #26 (23) - Winter Wonderland - Eurythmics
  • #27 (28) - Santa Clause is Comin' To Town - Bruce Springsteen
  • #28 (24) - Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys
  • #29 (25) - Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley

Americana

Music Association Top 40 Airplay


United Kingdom

Top 100 British Albums

Top 100 British Singles
  • #1 (-) - Hallalujah - Alexandra Burke
  • #2 (-) - Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
  • #3 (1) - Run - Leona Lewis
  • #12 (13) - Fairytale of New York - Pogues featuring Kristy MacColl
  • #27 (26) - Last Christmas - Wham!
  • #36 (-) - Hallalujah - Leonard Cohen
  • #41 (32) - Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade
  • #42 (36) - Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin' Stevens
  • #53 (47) - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Perry Como
  • #58 (54) - Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
  • #59 (53) - Driving Home For Christmas - Chris Rea
  • #61 (40) - It's Christmas Time - Status Quo
  • #71 (63) - It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
  • #78 (67) - Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono & the Plastic Ono Band
  • #82 (76) - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
  • #84 (92) - Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
  • #92 (91) - Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bruce Springsteen
  • #99 (57) - Jump That Rock (Whatever You Want) - Scooter vs Status Quo


Canada

Top 100 Canadian Albums

Top 100 Canadian Singles

  • #1 (1) - Gotta Be Somebody - Nickleback
  • #2 (2) - Let It Rock - Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil' Wayne
  • #3 (3) - Hot N Cold - Katy Perry
  • #28 (38) - Cowgirls Don't Cry - Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba McEntire
  • #43 (45) - Down the Road - Kenny Chesney with Mac McAnally
  • #52 (52) - Rock N' Roll Train - AC/DC
  • #64 (76) - River of Love - George Strait


Australia

Top 50 Australian Albums

Top 50 Australian Singles
  • #1 (2) - Poker Face - Lady Gaga
  • #2 (1) - You - Wes Carr
  • #3 (3) - Live Your Life - T.I. featuring Rihanna
  • No Veteran Artists Charting


Japan

Top 100 Japanese Singles
  • #1 (-) - Yowamushi Santa - Shuchishin
  • #2 (44) - Koyoi, Tsuki Ga Miezutomo - Porno Grafiti
  • #3 (35) - Daikkirai Demo Arigato - Thelma Aoyama
  • #44 (-) - Merry Christmas (War is Over) - John Lennon
  • #71 (-) - Last Christmas - Wham!
  • #76 (70) - Trains and Winter Rains - Enya
  • #91 (62) - Sing the Changes - Fireman (Paul McCartney)

Kitt, Ward, Darnell & Prager Pass, New Music From the Nighthawks, more

Eartha Kitt, the singer & actress who made appearances in movies, TV, Broadway and on record, passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 81. In music, Kitt is best known for her holiday classic, Santa Baby, but also had a top ten dance club record in 1983 with Where is My Man. On TV, she was best known for playing Catwoman on the original Batman series.

Dame Shirley Bassey, who was influenced by Kitt, said “Eartha Kitt was one of the guiding influences on cabaret art in the 20th century. She had an influence that will last far beyond her 81 years. My condolences and deep, deep thoughts go to all of her family and friends at this tragic time.”
Robert Ward, founder of the Ohio Untouchables (eventually the Ohio Players), session guitarist and recording artist passed away Thursday from complications of a 2001 stroke at the age of 70.

The Nighthawks will release their first studio album in five years, American Landscape, on February 3 via Powerhouse Records. Along with two original songs, the album will contain covers of music from Lazy Lester, Tom Waits, Sam & Dave, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Ike Turner and others.

Rick Darnell, who wrote the blues classic The Thrill is Gone with Roy Hawkins in 1951, passed away on Christmas Eve. In his later years, Darnell owned radio station WPAK-AM.

Cilla Black (You're My World) is back on the boards playing the fairy godmother in a Liverpool pantomime of Cinderella. In an interview, she said, "I'm not used to playing the fairy. I'm such a bad girl. I shouldn't be playing a good fairy."
Bud Prager, the executive and manager who helped start the careers of Foreigner, Mountain, Damn Yankees and many others, passed away last Monday of esophogeal cancer at the age of 79.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays
From
Vintage Vinyl News


Foghat Hits the Wine Business, Balin Releasing Live DVD, more

Foghat has released its own line of wines through Celebration Cellars. You can get Meritage and Chardonnay with plain paper labels ($25 to $30) or Cabernet or Chardonnay with fancy etched labels ($70 to $75).

According to Roger Earl, "Foghat's beverage of choice has always been wine. We've written songs about it...imbibed MORE than our fair share, and have now bottled some especially for you."

Marty Balin has announced an upcoming live DVD, recorded last June 14 at the Hatch Shell in Boston. The concert features songs from both the Jefferson Starship and Jefferson Airplane days with help from Didi Stewart of Girls Night Out. Also included will be interviews with the Airplane's Signe Anderson, author Jeff Tamarkin (Got a Revolution), author Craig Fenton (Take Me to a Circus Tent) and Balin himself. No release date has been anounced.

Ozzy Osbourne performed Crazy Train, Iron Man and Paranoid with Camp Freddie on Tuesday night at the Roxy. Camp Freddy, made up of Billy Morrison (Cult), Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Matt Sorum (Guns N Roses), Donovan Leitch and Chris Chaney (Jane's Addiction), have been playing a month long Tuesday night residency at the club.

BMG Music Club, the last of the "12 Records for 1 cent" (plus exorbitant shipping and handling) clubs, has stopped taking new members. The once loaded field of RCA and Columbia Record Clubs and the old Record Club of America has become another of the many parts of the industry that has fallen with the advent of downloading.

Members, though, should keep sending those cards back as they will continue to offer their services to the current base.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Six Alan Parsons Project Albums Getting Extended Editions

Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson are personally overseeing production of six of the Alan Parsons Project's albums for release on January 27 through Arista/Legacy. The releases follow up the March 2007 updates of I Robot and Eye in the Sky, completing the restoration project of all Arista issued titles (Tales of Mystery & Imagination was issued on Mercury).

Between the six albums, there are over forty previously unreleased tracks that include demos, instrumental versions, rough mixes and variations on the arrangements. Each release will also include an essay by Jerry Ewing of Classic Rock magazine and annotations of the bonus tracks by Parsons and Woolfson.

The track lists:

Pyramid (1978)
  • Voyager
  • What Goes Up
  • The Eagle Will Rise Again
  • One More River
  • Can't Take It With You
  • In The Lap Of The Gods
  • Pyramania
  • Hyper-Gamma-Spaces
  • Shadow Of A Lonely Man
  • Voyager / What Goes Up / The Eagle Will Rise Again (Instrumental Version)
  • What Goes Up/Little Voice (Early Version Demo)
  • Can't Take It With You (Early Version Demo)
  • Hyper-Gamma-Spaces (Demo)
  • The Eagle Will Rise Again (Alternate Version - Backing Track)
  • In The Lap Of The Gods (Part 1 - Demo)
  • In The Lap Of The Gods (Part 2 - Backing Track Rough Mix)
Eve (1979)
  • Lucifer
  • You Lie Down With Dogs
  • I'd Rather Be A Man
  • You Won't Be There
  • Winding Me Up
  • Damned If I Do
  • Don't Hold Back
  • Secret Garden
  • If I Could Change Your Mind
  • Elsie's Theme from The Sicilian Defence (The Project That Never Was)
  • Lucifer (Demo)
  • Secret Garden (Rough Mix)
  • Damned If I Do (Rough Mix)
  • Don't Hold Back (Vocal Rehearsal Rough Mix)
  • Lucifer (Early Rough Mix)
  • If I Could Change Your Mind (Rough Mix)
The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980)
  • May Be A Price To Pay
  • Games People Play
  • Time
  • I Don't Wanna Go Home
  • The Gold Bug
  • The Turn Of A Friendly Card (Part One)
  • Snake Eyes
  • The Ace Of Swords
  • Nothing Left To Lose
  • The Turn Of A Friendly Card (Part Two)
  • May Be A Price To Pay (Intro - Demo)
  • Nothing Left To Lose (Basic Backing Track)
  • Nothing Left To Lose (Chris Rainbow Overdub Vocal Compilation)
  • Nothing Left To Lose (Early Studio Version with Eric's Guide Vocal)
  • Time (Early Studio Attempt)
  • Games People Play (Rough Mix)
  • The Gold Bug (Demo)
Ammonia Avenue (1984)
  • Prime Time
  • Let Me Go Home
  • One Good Reason
  • Since The Last Goodbye
  • Don't Answer Me
  • Dancing On A Highwire
  • You Don't Believe
  • Pipeline
  • Ammonia Avenue
  • Don't Answer Me (Early Rough Mix)
  • You Don't Believe (Demo)
  • Since The Last Goodbye (Chris Rainbow Vocal Overdubs)
  • Since The Last Goodbye (Eric Guide Vocal - Rough Mix)
  • You Don't Believe (Instrumental Tribute To The Shadows)
  • Dancing On A Highwire/Spotlight (Work In Progress)
  • Ammonia Avenue Part 1 (Eric Demo Vocal - Rough Mix)
  • Ammonia Avenue (Orchestral Overdub)
Sterotomy (1985)
  • Stereotomy
  • Beaujolais
  • Urbania
  • Limelight
  • In The Real World
  • Where's The Walrus?
  • Light Of The World
  • Chinese Whispers
  • Stereotomy Two
  • Light Of The World (Instrumental)
  • Rumour Goin' Round (Demo)
  • Stereotomy (Guide Vocal)
  • Stereotomy (Reprise)
Gaudi (1987)
  • La Sagrada Familia
  • Too Late
  • Closer To Heaven
  • Standing On Higher Ground
  • Money Talks
  • Inside Looking Out
  • Paseo de Gracia
  • Too Late (Eric Woolfson Rough Guide Vocal)
  • Standing On Higher Ground/Losing Proposition (Vocal Experiments)
  • Money Talks (Chris Rainbow/Percussion Overdubs)
  • Money Talks (Rough Mix Backing Track)
  • Closer To Heaven (Sax/Chris Rainbow Overdub section)
  • Paseo de Gracia (Rough Mix)
  • La Sagrada Familia (Rough Mix)

Best of 2008: Rolling Stone's Reissues

Rolling Stone has released its list of the best reissues of the year as picked by David Fricke. This is one of the most varied lists we've seen this year with artists ranging from country's Hank Williams to rock's Robyn Hitchcock to jazz's Nina Simone to reggae's Augustus Pablo.
  1. Pacific Ocean Blue - Dennis Wilson
  2. The Unreleased Recordings - Hank Williams
  3. Let Me Be Your Sidekick: The Influence of Jimmie Rodgers - Various Artists (including Rick Nelson, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger and more)
  4. Boy - U2
  5. Luminous Groove - Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians
  6. Boogie Woogie & Blues Piano - Various Artists (including Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons, Cripple Clarence Lofton, more)
  7. To Be Free: The Nina Simone Story - Nina Simone
  8. The Jerry Ragovoy Story: Time is On My Side 1953-2003 - Various Artists (including Dusty Springfield, Miriam Makeba, Garnet Mimms, more)
  9. Cold Fact - Rodriguez
  10. The Mystic World of Augustus Pablo: The Rockers Story - Augustus Pablo

Springsteen Talks Working on a Dream

Bruce Springsteen posted a bit about the origins of his upcoming album Working on a Dream.
"During the last weeks of mixing Magic, we recorded a song called What Love Can Do. It was sort of a "love in the time of Bush" meditation. It was a great track but felt more like a first song of new record rather than something that would fit on Magic. So our producer Brendan O'Brien said, "Hey, let's make another one right now!" I thought, no, I haven't done that since my first two records came out in the same year. And usually I don't write that quickly. But that night I went back to my hotel in Atlanta and over the next week, I wrote several songs (This Life, My Lucky Day, Life Itself, along with Good Eye and Tomorrow Never Knows) that formed the beginnings of our new album. Excited by the sounds we made on Magic I found there was more than enough fuel for the fire to keep going. Brendan and I demo'd these songs before we left the studio and agreed we'd somehow find time during the touring year to get this record made."
Look for the album January 27 on Columbia.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Madness Signs For New Album and Catalog Rerelease

Madness is quite busy leading up to their thirtieth anniversary in the business. They have signed a funding deal with Power Amp Music, who will assist them in the release of their new album The Liberty of Norton Folgate. The album, their ninth, will come out in 2009 through their own Lucky 7 label.

Power Amp Music was recently formed to help establish artists fund and navigate the new industry landscape. Company founder, Tom Bywater, explained "We recognise that established artists are now demanding more innovative and efficient financing solutions and we have built a robust, flexible and cost-effective platform to provide such solutions. When Power Amp Music invests in an artist, the artist retains control of their rights and enjoys total transparency on their finances."

The group has also signed with Union Square Music, a marketing firm, to represent their recording catalog. Over time, they plan to reissue the group's entire back catalog, starting with the thirtieth anniversary edition of the single and album One Step Beyond.

Toni Tennille Brings Everyone Up To Date

It's been over six months since the last time that Toni Tennille of the Captain & Tennille wrote her on-line column, Toni's Take, but the latest edition brings quite a bit of news.

First and foremost, Tennille says that she and the Captain (Daryl Dragon) are done with touring. Tennille had been out touring with the show Victor/Victoria and found the stress to just be too much.
"After the VICTOR/VICTORIA tour, I was emotionally bruised and battered.... no one’s fault but my own. I made a decision without thinking about how it would actually affect me and my family. I loved the show, and couldn’t wait to tackle the part..... I really felt I would be great in the role. However, I didn’t think it through well enough as to what the tour would actually entail. Once I got out there and started the tour, the bottom fell out of my heart because of homesickness..... I missed my home, my dogs and cats...... and I ached for Daryl’s constant reassuring presence.

"I can honestly tell you that our touring days are over. Neither of us can stand to fly, especially as things are now. Daryl's tremor embarrasses him so much, I doubt if he will ever appear onstage in public again, which really puts an end to Captain and Tennille, since I will never do those songs without him. He has always been the sound of C&T. There is no one quite like him."
Tennille also talked about some recent medical problems each have had in the recent past. Dragon had surgery on both knees back on October 13. This relieved a chronic problem that he had been having since his 40's.
"Daryl is now walking on his own, using a cane occasionally...I foresee Daryl's struggling with his recovery and rehab for another couple of months, but there will come a time when he will be able to hike with me again.... hopefully soon."
Then there is Toni's injury to her hip that she sustained on December 9 while agility training one of their dogs.
"I didn't BREAK the hip, I cracked the femur. Luckily I have big, strong, dense bones, so I didn't need a hip replacement, just three titanium screws to hold the crack in place until the bone heals. The only trouble is I am not allowed to put any weight on my left leg for at least four more weeks, so I am limping around the house using a walker or crutches."
Finally, she talks at length about activities in which she has been participating in the Prescott, Arizona area, including charity events, work with Delta Society Hospital Therapy Dogs and a little bit of writing.

For the complete post, go to the couple's website.

Big Money For Lennon Singing Drunk, Jackson Not Officially Sick, more

A recording of John Lennon performing Lloyd Price's Just Because was sold at auction on Monday for $30,000. The recording, made in 1973, includes some improvised lyrics and was, reportedly, made while Lennon was drunk.

Michael Jackson's spokesperson has denied claims that the singer is in ill health (see story earlier today).

Dr. Tohme Tohme (really!) said, "Concerning this author's allegations, we would hope in the future that legitimate media will not continue to be exploited by such an obvious attempt to promote this unauthorized 'biography.' The writer's wild allegations concerning Mr. Jackson's health are a total fabrication."
Fish, former lead singer of Marillion, will stop performing for at least six months after doctor's found "irregular cell growth" in his throat.

"In all honesty, I am 50 years old, I smoke, drink, have a 'colourful' history, have sung at nearly 1,700 gigs over 27 years and have conducted three times as many interviews. It's like standing on the M1 and expecting not to be hit by a car.

“I am taking at least 6 months off from singing. I'd like to think that I can play some festivals in the summer of 2009 but there will be no arranged tours until 2010."

John "Sean" Burne, the lead singer and guitarist for the Count Five (Psychotic Reaction), passed away last Monday (December 15) from cirrhosis of the liver.
Bad Religion will be performing with all the young kids next summer as part of the annual Warped Tour.

We know how these things can go, but a source has said that Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen are both "confirmed" for next year's Glastonbury festival in England.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Warner Music Group Product Removed From YouTube

Don't go looking for videos by Madonna, Led Zeppelin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more artists on YouTube, at least for the time being, as Warner Music Group has pulled all of their music from the site. There is an issue between the two parties over how much YouTube is willing to pay for each time one of the videos from a Warner artist is watched.

Both companies have spun the situation through press releases, with Warner saying that they would like their music back on the site "we simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide".

You Tube countered "Despite our constant efforts, it isn't always possible to maintain these innovative agreements. Sometimes, if we can't reach acceptable business terms, we must part ways with successful partners."

The Warner Music Group includes labels such as Atlantic, Elektra, Roadrunner, Asylum, Rhino, Ryko, Reprise and Nonesuch.

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