Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brian Johnson Clarifies AC/DC Cancellations

Brian Johnson of AC/DC posted a statement today on the group's website clarifying the situation with the postponement of six shows on their tour. Rumors had been floating that Johnson had a vocal problem and was ordered to rest his instrument, but it turns out the problems were a bit lower.
It's an inside job that forced me to reschedule those upcoming 6 shows! Inside being the operative word here. My insides were giving me lots of trouble, ulcers and such. They were really uncomfortable and painful, which required me to seek immediate medical attention. The doctor's looked me over, poked, scanned and prodded all possible areas. In the end they gave me a clean bill of health, but insisted that I take a bit of time to recuperate and rest up. We've been touring non stop since this time last year and have a lot more touring to do. Thanks for all of the get well wishes and I hope to see you all again very soon.

Preview: Neil Diamond - A Cherry Cherry Christmas

Artist: Neil Diamond
Title: A Cherry Cherry Christmas
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Label: Columbia
Format(s): CD, Digital Download

Neil Diamond goes back to the holiday well for a third time, after 1992's The Christmas Album and 1994's The Christmas Album Volume 2, with his new disc A Cherry Cherry Christmas. This time around, Diamond adds two originals, Christmas Dream and Cherry Cherry Christmas which interweaves references to many of the singer's biggest hits. The rest of the album is filled with songs from the traditional (Amazing Grace) to the very non-traditional (Adam Sandler's The Chanukah Song).

Track List:
  • Cherry Cherry Christmas
  • Sleigh Ride
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  • White Christmas
  • Christmas Dream
  • The Christmas Song
  • Deck The Halls / We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  • Jingle Bell Rock
  • You Make It Feel Like Christmas
  • Winter Wonderland
  • Joy To The World
  • Amazing Grace
  • Meditations On A Winter Night (Instrumental)
  • The Chanukah Song

McCartney Sets Releases for Citi Field Concert

Paul McCartney and Hear Music/Concord Music Group officially announced a November 17 date for Good Evening New York City, a CD/DVD set of the singers three-night stand opening up the new Citi Field in New York City. The album will be available in 2-CD/1-DVD and 2-CD/2-DVD sets.

The following is the official press release. We'll have a Preview posting when the track lists become official.
Paul McCartney's historic three-night musical christening of New York's Citi Field, witnessed by 120,000-plus attendees and universally hailed as a concert experience for the ages, will be immortalized November 17 when Hear Music/Concord Music Group releases Good Evening New York City. This momentous musical experience will be available in two formats: a 3-disc (2 CD + 1 DVD) standard edition and a 4-disc (2 CD + 2 DVD) deluxe version featuring expanded packaging and a bonus DVD including McCartney's traffic-stopping, headline-making July 15 performance on the Ed Sullivan Theater marquee (including bonus numbers not aired on the Late Show with David Letterman broadcast). The set will also be made available in high quality vinyl. In any configuration, the 30+ songs and nearly 3 hours of music comprising Good Evening New York City are a must-have for attendees wishing to relive the July 17, 18 & 21 shows, those who couldn't get tickets and/or anyone interested in an audiovisual document of a living legend. Good Evening New York City marks McCartney’s 2nd release for Hear Music. The first was 2007’s highly acclaimed Memory Almost Full. The standard version of Good Evening New York City will be available at participating Starbucks company-operated locations in the U.S. and Canada and wherever music is sold.

As the inaugural musical event at Citi Field, the site of the former Shea Stadium, the July 2009 shows held special significance not only for McCartney but for generations of his fans. The shows were performed on the same hallowed ground that The Beatles, in 1965, played the 34-minute show that would set the precedent for the modern day stadium rock show--and where in 2008 McCartney joined Billy Joel for the final rock show before the original stadium's demolition. As documented on Good Evening New York City, "I'm Down" from the 1965 set list was revived for the Citi Field shows, albeit this time played through a PA that was not overpowered by screaming fans (though there were still several thousand who tried). Other highlights of Good Evening New York City include faithful takes on Beatles classics "Drive My Car," "Got To Get You Into My Life," "The Long And Winding Road," "Blackbird," "Eleanor Rigby," "Back In The USSR," "Paperback Writer," "Let It Be," "Hey Jude," "Helter Skelter" and more, plus "Something" rendered on ukulele gifted to Paul by George Harrison, and a tribute to John Lennon in the form of a medley of "A Day In The Life" and "Give Peace A Chance." Wings era chestnuts include “Band On The Run," "My Love," "Let Me Roll It" and the pyrotechnic tour de force of "Live And Let Die," while timeless McCartney solo material ranges from "Here Today" to the upbeat "Flaming Pie" and "Dance Tonight" to a pair of numbers from Electric Arguments, the 2008 album released under the alias of The Fireman.

The concert footage featured on Good Evening New York City standard edition features concert footage directed by Paul Becher, who has overseen live visuals for McCartney for some 200 performances and counting. The 33-song 2 hour 40 minute performances were shot in High Definition using 15 cameras and digital footage incorporated from 75 Flipcams handed out to fans over the course of the three night stand. The audio mix, in both stereo and 5.1, was handled by longtime McCartney engineer Paul Hicks, whose credits include the recent Beatles remasters, The Beatles Anthology, Let It Be... Naked and two Grammy awards for his mixing work on the Beatles' Love album.

The deluxe edition bonus DVD will feature footage of McCartney's July 15 performance on the outdoor marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theater, previously available only as a webcast on the Late Show with David Letterman website. The marquee set, which marked McCartney's return to the site of The Beatles U.S. television debut, generated front page headlines and literally stopped traffic as word of mouth generated a crowd that packed Broadway from Columbus Circle to Times Square .

Paul McCartney's July 17-21 Citi Field stand has already been unanimously hailed by critics and audiences alike as the concert experience of a lifetime. On November 17, Good Evening New York City will document it for the ages.

Levon Helm Ordered to Rest Voice, U2 Tour Yet To Turn Profit, more

Levon Helm has been ordered to vocal rest after having a lesion removed from one of his vocal chords. The lesion was discovered earlier in the summer when he started having trouble with his voice. A biopsy showed that it was not cancerous and it was removed with a laser.

According to a label publicist "Levon has been placed on strict vocal rest in order for him to heal. The good news is that Levon will sing again following vigorous work with his vocal coach and the support of his family, friends and the incredible loyalty of his dedicated fans!"

U2 has sold $300 million in tickets on its current tour but is yet to generate a profit. That's what happens when you are dragging multiple giant claws around the world. According to Pollstar, the tour costs $750,000 a day to keep on the road, even on the days when the group is not performing. There are three complete claws and stages, with one being disassembled in the previous city, one ready for the current show and one being assembled at the next tour stop.

It is expected that the profit point will be reached sometime during the current sting in the U.S.

Alice Cooper is going to treat us this year with a Halloween single. Keepin' Halloween Alive along with a Karaoke version (Cooperoke). It was scheduled to be made available through iTunes yesterday (Tuesday).

Veteran vocalist Andy Williams didn't mince words on his opinion of Barack Obama. Williams told the Daily Telegraph "Don't like him at all. I think he wants to create a socialist country. The people he associates with are very Left-wing. One is registered as a Communist. Obama is following Marxist theory. He's taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail."

Ruby Wright, the daughter of Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, passed away on Sunday at the age of 69. She had been having issues with heart problems. Ruby scored one top 40 country hit with Dern Ya, an answer record to Roger Miller's Dang Me. It reached number 13 in 1964.

Preview: Journey - Live in Manila DVD (Wal-Mart Exclusive)

Artist: Journey
Title: Live in Manila
Release Date: October 2, 2009
Label: N/A
Format(s): 2-DVD

For the second release in a row, Journey will be selling their new release exclusively through Wal-Mart and Sams Club stores. Live In Manila is a 2-DVD set that chronicles their March 14, 2009 return to the homeland of new lead singer Arnel Pineda. Footage was shot with 4K High-Definition cameras with a resolution greater than 35 mm film.

Track List:
  • Disc One
    • Never Walk Away
    • Only The Young
    • Ask The Lonely
    • Stone In Love
    • Keep On Running
    • After All These Years
    • Change For The Better
    • Wheel In The Sky
    • Lights/ Still They Ride
    • Open Arms
    • Mother Father
    • Wildest Dreams
    • When You Love A Woman
    • Separate Ways
    • What I Needed
  • Disc Two
    • Edge Of The Blade
    • Where Did I Lose Your Love
    • Escape
    • Faithfully
    • Don't Stop Believin'
    • Anyway You Want It
    • Lovin' Touchin'
    • Turn Down The World
    • Be Good To Yourself

Wolfgang's Vault to Make Over a Thousand Concerts Available For Purchase

Six years ago, a small website launched that streamed concerts from the archives of the late Bill Graham. Wolfgang's Vault came under attack from a number of major artists over the rights to make their performances available over the internet but, over time, the site was able to strike deals with companies and artists.

Since then, Wolfgang's Vault has added the libraries of the King Biscuit Flower Hour, the Silver Eagle Cross Country archive and catalogs from the Record Plant, Dawson Sound, Daytrotter and Noise Pop. Almost every major artist is represented in the archives and, on occasion, shows are made available for download at a reasonable price.

Bill Sagan, CEO and founder of the Vault has now told Billboard that, as of November 1, the concerts available for purchase will grow from the current 500 to over 1,500, including 160 shows by the Grateful Dead along with concerts from artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix to Aretha Franklin to Dolly Parton.

Sagan told Billboard that the change is "the result of negotiating agreements with performers and record labels that not only acknowledge our ownership of this material but gives us rights to exploit it. The objective is that just about everything we stream we'll be able to download. When we hit November 3, more than half the concerts...will be available for download. By Christmas or slightly after Christmas we'll be closer to three-quarters."

Prices for MP3 files of the shows will be $7.98 and $8.98 while lossless Flac recordings are $11.98 and $12.98. The site will also offer a $48 a year membership that comes with a $50 gift certificates, other discounts and the ability to stream concerts at a higher quality bit rate.

While you're waiting for November 3 to roll around, you'll be able to purchase a handful of shows being released through October, including concerts from Hall & Oates, Boz Scaggs, Santana, Chicago, Miles Davis, Waylon Jennings and Pink Floyd.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Preview: AC/DC - Backtracks

Artist: AC/DC
Title: Backtracks
Release Date: November 10, 2009
Label: Columbia
  • Standard Edition - 2-CD/1-DVD
  • Deluxe Edition - 3-CD/2-DVD/1-LP/164-page Coffee Table Book/Memorabilia Reproductions/Working Amplifier Box
AC/DC and Columbia Records have assembled two packages catering to all fans of the group with rare tracks and live performances along with Volume 3 of their Family Jewels DVD series with footage and videos from 1992 to 2002.

The Standard Edition of the set will include a studio rarities CD, a live rarities CD and the Family Jewels DVD.

The Deluxe Edition will have the rarities CD, two-discs of live rarities, the Family Jewels DVD and an additional DVD, Live at the Circus Krone, recorded in Munich, Germany in 2003.

The Memorabilia Reproductions in the Deluxe Edition includes the "I DO IT FOR AC/DC" button (the band's very first tour merch), the 1976 "Lock Up Your Daughters" tour flyer, the Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap recording track sheet, a 2' x 3' 1977 Let There Be Rock European Tour poster, a Bon Scott parrot tattoo replica, an AC/DC logo guitar pick, an Australian Money Talks dollar, three b&w fine art lithographs of never-before-seen photos of the band in the Alberts Studio in 1977 and more.

The Deluxe Edition will only be available at the group's website and will be limited to 50,000 pieces.

The full track lists for both editions are after the cut.

New Releases: September 29, 2009

If you are aware of any changes, omissions or other problems, please let us know at

September 29, 2009

Go to releases for October 6, 2009.

U2 Break Popes Record, Beatles' Lucy Passes Away, more

U2 couldn't let Giants Stadium be demolished with out setting one more record. Their Thursday night show last week had 84,000 in attendance, breaking the record held since 1995 by Pope John Paul II. Bono even gave Bruce Springsteen a shout out, acknowledging the size of the crowd, saying "Sorry Bruce. We know it's your birthday and all."

Lucy Vooden, who will forever be known as the inspiration for the Beatles' Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, passed away last week from lupus. She was 46.

Per legend, John Lennon's son Julian brought home a drawing of Lucy, who was one of her classmates. The drawing inspired Lennon and Paul McCartney to write the song which would go on to be one of the group's most controversial.

Tom Waits recorded a number of his recent North American and European shows and is planning on putting out a live set. Very little is known about the album at this time other than it will possibly be called Glitter and Doom Live and be released sometime in the fall.

Classic Rock has an exclusive interview with Iggy Pop on his upcoming appearance in Lego form in Lego Rock Band. There's no big story about how he became one of the famous building blocks. "They asked. There’s not much I won’t do, if you asked nicely."

When asked what other musician he would like to see immortalized as a Lego, Pop said, "Bo Diddley, because his music is already a virtual reality, and his name is very video game. I would also say James Brown, but he’s not rock, more super-heavy funk. Both of these guys should be added to the Mount Rushmore monument, though."
Those who receive Showtime will be able to see the Bon Jovi documentary When We Were Beautiful on October 24.

Loretta Lynn co-wrote a song for the new album by Todd Snider. Don't Tempt Me is on The Excitement Plan, out now on Yep Rock.

The two got together after Lynn specifically asked for Snider as a writing partner. Their sessions produced three songs, the one on Snider's album and one that will be on Lynn's upcoming LP where she'll sing it with Elvis Costello.

Springsteen to Play More Complete Albums at Giants Stadium

Last week, Bruce Springsteen wowed the crowd at a Chicago stop on his tour by playing his classic album Born to Run in its entirety. The reaction of critics and fans were near ecstatic, so the Boss has decided to continue with further album performances during his five night stand at Giants Stadium.

Springsteen's manager, John Landis, told the L.A. Times "Chicago convinced us that this was really worth doing. The audience was so supportive of the concept that it convinced us to go ahead with this at Giants Stadium."

The following is the schedule for the shows:
  • Sepember 30 - Born To Run
  • October 2 - Darkness on the Edge of Town
  • October 3 - Born In The USA
  • October 8 - Born To Run
  • October 9 - Born In The USA

Chart Watch Britain: September 27, 2009

Our weekly recap of veteran artists on the current British music charts. Chart highlights:
  • Madonna shoots to the top of the British Album chart with her new hits collection, Celebration. It is her eleventh number one album in the U.K., tying her with Elvis Presley for the artist with the second most number ones. The Beatles lead with 15.
  • Four other veteran artists premier in the top 25 with Cliff Richard and the Shadows' Reunited debuting at number 6, Madness' Total Madness at 11, Michael Bolton's One World, One Love at 19 and The Very Best of Tommy Steele at 22. Further down the list, Gary Neuman's deluxe edition of The Pleasure Principle premiers at 98.
  • The Beatles albums took a fairly big tumble with only nine remaining in the top 100, down from 14 last week. Five Michael Jackson albums remain on the list.
  • The new deluxe edition of the Cult's Love premiers at 24 on the Rock Album chart.
Previous week position noted in parenthesis. (N) is a new entry. (R) is a re-entry. Grayed charts were not available for update at time of publication.

Top 100 British Albums

Top 100 British Singles

  • #1 (1) - Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz
  • #2 (2) - Sexy Chick - David Guetta Featuring Akon
  • #3 (15) - Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z Featuring Alicia Keys
  • #4 (5) - She Wolf - Shakira
  • #5 (4) - Run This Town - Jay-Z Featuring Rihanna & Kanye West
  • #8 (3) - Celebration - Madonna
  • #74 (87) - Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
  • #78 (40) - Singing the Blues - Cliff Richard & the Shadows
  • #84 (78) - Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson
  • #98 (69) - Superstition - Stevie Wonder
The R&B, Rock and Dance Charts are after the cut.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sam Cooke Biopic Being Developed By ABKCO

ABKCO Music and Records is working on a biopic of the late singer Sam Cooke based on the Peter Guralnick biography Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke.

Jody Klein, president of ABKCO said "In the next couple of months, I should be able to make an announcement on the film." The company owns the rights and master recordings to Cooke's music, something that has been a major obstacle in other company's attempts to bring musician's lives to the screen. Jody Klein is the son of Allen Klein who founded ABKCO and was able to amass a large catalog of music by artists like the Kinks, the Rolling Stones and the Who.

There have been no discussion on who would play Cooke, who was shot to death at the age of 33. A younger star without singing experience could be used for the role as the original recordings could be used on the soundtrack.

Rolling Stone Readers Pick Who Should Be In the Rock Hall

Welcome to another argument over who should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For a number of years, we've been hearing the cries from fans of Rush, the Moody Blues, the Monkees, Kiss (who may actually make it this year) and many others that their favorite artist belongs in the hallowed Rock Hall. So, Rolling Stone gave their readers a chance to voice their opinions and they chose...

"Weird Al" Yankovic

Now, granted, Rush, the Moody Blues, the Smiths and Alice Cooper rounded out the top five, but how exactly did Weird Al top the poll? We're thinking there may have been a little ballot box stuffing here but, if millions of dollars can't expose similar schemes in Minnesota, Ohio and Florida, then who knows. Maybe the general public thinks Al should be inducted.

Or maybe not.

The top vote getters:
  1. "Weird Al" Yankovic
  2. Rush
  3. Moody Blues
  4. Smiths
  5. Alice Cooper
  6. Television
  7. Beastie Boys
  8. Deep Purple
  9. Lou Reed
  10. Jethro Tull
  11. MC5
  12. New York Dolls
  13. Roxy Music
  14. Tom Waits
  15. Sonic Youth

AC/DC Postpone Six Dates For Johnson Illness, REO Speedwagon Doing Holiday Album, more

AC/DC has been forced to postpone six dates on their current tour due to a medical problem of Brian Johnson's. According to their website "Lead singer Brian Johnson recently underwent a medical procedure and at the advice of his doctor is taking some time to rest."

New dates will be announced for Phoenix, Las Vegas, Louisville, Kansas City, Des Moines and Milwaukee in the coming weeks.

REO Speedwagon is jumping on the holiday bandwagon and releasing a Christmas album. Not So Silent Night… Christmas With REO Speedwagon will be released October 27 on Sony Legacy and will include numerous classics like The First Noel, Winter Wonderland, Deck the Halls, Little Drummer Boy and Joy to the World.

Spandau Ballet will release their first new single in 20 years on November 9. Gary Kemp said that Once More was "a way for us to show that Spandau Ballet are back, not just to play the hits on tour but also to take on our contemporaries in the pop charts!"

Also look for a new version of their song Only When You Leave, which will be available for download from their website on October 25.

Stay off the roads! Ozzy Osbourne posted the following on Twitter. "I just passed my driving test. Took me 60 yrs but I did it! For the 1st time in my life I'm legal to drive, so watch out!"

Crystal Gayle will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday, October 2. Tanya Tucker will be the guest speaker. The star will be near her sister Loretta Lynn's.

Don't try to buy tickets for the October 27 sneak peaks for Michael Jackson: This Is It. 3,000 tickets for the Los Angeles sneak of the film sold out in two hours. It will play on all 14 screens of the Regal Cinemas Stadium 14.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chart Watch Australia: September 27, 2009

Our weekly recap of veteran artists on the current Australian music charts. Chart highlights:
  • Madonna opens at number 8 on the Australian Album chart with her new hits collection Celebration. It very well may go higher next week when it has a full seven day week of sales counted for the chart.
  • The Beatles drop to just three albums left in the top 50 while Michael Jackson still has four.
Previous week position noted in parenthesis. (N) indicates new entry. (R) indicates re-entry.

Top 50 Albums

Top 50 Singles
  • #1 (1) - Sexy Bitch - David Guetta Featuring Akon
  • #2 (2) - Like It Like That - Guy Sebastian
  • #3 (3) - The Last Day on Earth - Kate Miller-Heidke
  • #4 (4) - Evacuate the Dancefloor - Cascada
  • #5 (21) - Don't Stop Believing - Glee Cast
  • No Veteran Artists Charting
The Urban/R&B and Country charts are after the cut.

Preview: Rod Stewart - Soulbook

Artist: Rod Stewart
Title: Soulbook
Release Date: October 27, 2009
Label: J-Records
Format(s): CD

Stewart follows up his four volume Great American Songbook series and his album of rock covers with a new set of covers of soul classics from the libraries of Motown, Philadelphia International and more.

Some sites are listing the title as Great American Soulbook which may have been the original name but changed when Tower of Power released an album by that name earlier this year.

Track List:
  • It's The Same Old Song
  • My Cherie Amour (featuring Stevie Wonder)
  • You Make Me Feel Brand New (duet with Mary J. Blige)
  • (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher
  • Tracks Of My Tears (featuring Smokey Robinson)
  • Let It Be Me (duet with Jennifer Hudson)
  • What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
  • Love Train
  • You've Really Got A Hold On Me
  • If You Don't Know Me By Now
  • Wonderful World
  • Just My Imagination
  • Rainy Night In Georgia

Set List: Kiss at Cobo Arena, Detroit

Kiss opened their Kiss Alive 35 tour in North America on Friday and Saturday night at Cobo Arena in their hometown of Detroit.

The set list for the two nights were identical and, with the exception of one song, the same as they used in the European portion of the tour. The first portion of the show is dedicated to the album Kiss Alive, with Watchin' You added from Europe, and the encore concentrates on post-Alive songs, including the new single Modern Day Delilah. According to Billboard, the shows were also filmed for an eventual DVD.

Buckcherry opened.

The set list:
  • Main Show
    • Deuce
    • Strutter
    • Got to Choose
    • Hotter Than Hell
    • Nothin' to Lose
    • C'mon and Love Me
    • Parasite
    • She
    • Watchin' You
    • 100,000 Years
    • Cold Gin
    • Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll
    • Black Diamond
    • Rock and Roll All Night
  • Encore
    • Shout It Out Loud
    • Lick It Up (including part of the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again)
    • I Love it Loud
    • Modern Day Delilah
    • Love Gun
    • Detroit Rock City

AC/DC To Make Announcement on Tuesday, Faces Reuniting Without Stewart, more

A few days ago, Classic Rock announced an upcoming AC/DC box set with a combo of CDs and DVDs containing older material. The group will be making a big announcement on Tuesday which should provide details on this set and have launched a new website with a teaser video.

Ronnie Wood, Kenny Jones and Ian McLagan will reunite as the Faces on October 25 at London's Royal Albert Hall, but without lead singer Rod Stewart. Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones will be in for the late Ronnie Lane and guests will fill in for Stewart.

The concert is a benefit for PRS for Music Members Benevolent Fund. Others performing include Albert Lee, Rick Wakeman and Jan Akkerman.

Chickenfoot (Sammy Hagar, Chad Smith, Michael Anthony and Joe Satriani) is coming out with a Deluxe Edition of their debut album on November 23 via earMUSIC. The new 2-disc set will include the original CD along with a DVD of live performances, behind the scenes interviews and the official video's for the singles Oh Yeah and the upcoming Soap On a Rope.

Blues drummer Sam Carr passed away last Monday from congestive heart failure in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was 83.

Carr played with Sonny Boy Williamson and Buddy Guy among others and was a member of the Jelly Roll Kings. He also recorded under the name Robert Lee McCoy on the Decca and Bluebird labels.

Patti LaBelle is in trouble with the U.S. government. They have slapped her with a lien and demand for $337,000 in back taxes.

The battle between BLEVE and Capitol Records over the Ronnie Milsap single My First Ride went to the streets on Friday as Milsap and firefighters and police from around Tennessee gathered in front of Capitol's Nashville office to protest the big company's demand that the song be pulled off the market. Capitol contends that BLEVE did not have permission to include vocals by Trace Adkins on the record where Adkins and BLEVE management felt that they had all of the legal pieces in order.

At one point, Milsap got up on top of a firetruck to sing My First Ride. The protesters were asked to vacate the property by Capitol security and did so without incident.

The Trashmen (Surfin' Bird) are about to play the New York area for the first time ever on October 23 (Southpaw in Brooklyn) and 24 (Maxwell's in Hoboken). The current group includes three original members (Tony Andreason, Dal Winslow, Bob Reed) with Mark Andreason on drums in place of the late Steve Wahrer.

According to Winslow, "In the early '60s, we played a club in New Jersey and around the Finger Lakes region, but we never hit New York City. It's been a long tome coming, like 40 years, and we're really looking forward to it!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rhino Sets the Record Straight on Their Future

Yesterday we reported on the possible demise of the Rhino Records as it is today as the announcement from their parent company, Warner Music, on the laying off of some of Rhino's staff did not mention anything about CDs in their future plans.

We're happy to report that Rhino has made a posting on their website tonight that clarifies the situation. They still have more than 100 employees (putting the layoffs at in the 20 to 30% range) and will still be producing CDs and Vinyl.

The following is from the Rhino statement:
Rhino is still a company of more than 100 passionate music lovers. We remain firmly committed to the core principles that made us the company you know and love: creating the best, most informative, innovative, and fun CD, vinyl, and digital music products, and doing everything we can to showcase the amazing artists and catalog with whom we work. In the coming weeks, we will bring an extensive revamp to which we think will help us compensate for the loss of so many retail outlets in the past few years. We will also be releasing several unique Rhino Handmade titles, including titles by Chris Bell, Jan & Dean, MC5, Wilson Pickett, and yes, The Monkees - titles that are very much in the vein of great Rhino releases from the past. And that's just a few of the projects we're working on, so please don't worry that we've gone away!

Obviously, as the music industry undergoes rapid change, every company needs to think differently and to shift how they get the artists' music to the fans. This is not the first time we've had to confront this challenge at Rhino. Over the years, our staff has grown and contracted. But then it's also grown again, along with changes and opportunities in the marketplace. With every industry downturn, there are nay-sayers who predict our demise or complain that the "new" Rhino is not like the "old" Rhino. Well, we've got a 31-year track record, numerous awards, and a recent string of some of the most creatively diverse offerings in our history that refutes those pundits. Our unique social and environmental mission programs remain intact. And we remain totally committed to being an artist-centric company devoted to bringing our artists' music to the fans in the most thoughtful and creative way possible. This is who we are and will continue to be.

Chart Watch America: September 25, 2009

Our weekly recap of veteran artists on the current American music charts. Chart highlights:
  • As in Canada, Whitney Houston gets a big sales bump from her appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, moving 3 to 2 on both the Albums and R&B Albums chart.
  • Megadeth jumps onto the charts at number 9 on the Albums, 2 on the Rock Albums and 1 on the Hard Rock Albums chart. It just misses their 2007 album, United Abominations, which premiered at number 8.
  • Mark Knopfler's Get Luck debuts at 17 on the Album and 5 on the Rock Album chart, equaling his best start ever (2006's All the Roadrunning).
  • Ace Frehley hasn't been as high on the charts as he is this week with his new album Anomaly in 30 years. In 1979 he reached 26 with his self named album, released at the same time as the solo albums from the other Kiss members. Anomaly debuts this week one step lower at 27.
  • Bon Jovi returns to the singles chart at number 90 with We Weren't Born to Follow. Their last song to chart on the Hot 100 was 2007's (You Want to) Make a Memory which peaked at 27.
  • The Beatles still dominate the Catalog Albums chart with 15 of the top 25 (Love dropped out). Abbey Road remains at the top but Michael Jackson's Number Ones returns to the number 2 spot. Overall, the combination of the Beatles and Michael Jackson have 21 of the 25 spots on the list.
  • Ricky Skaggs' Solo: Songs My Dad Loved premiers at 39 on the Country Album and number 1 on the Bluegrass Album chart.
  • Finally, we've added the Beach Music Singles chart to our listings as many veteran artists are hitting in the genre.


Top 200 Albums

Top 100 Singles

  • #1 (1) - I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
  • #2 (4) - Run This Town - Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West
  • #3 (2) - Down - Jay Sean Featuring Lil Wayne
  • #4 (6) - You Belong to Me - Taylor Swift
  • #5 (56) - Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z + Alicia Keys
  • #60 (53) - Living for the Night - George Strait
  • #83 (88) - I Look to You - Whitney Houston
  • #90 (N) - We Weren't Born to Follow - Bon Jovi

The Digital, Catalog, R&B, Blues, Country, Bluegrass, Rock, Adult Contemporary, Dance, Jazz and Americana charts are after the cut.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Preview: David Bowie - A Reality Tour (2-CDs)

Artist: David Bowie
Title: A Reality Tour
Release Date: January 26, 2010
Label: ISO Records & Columbia/Legacy
Format(s): 2-CD Set

From October 2003 to June 2004, David Bowie went on the road to promote his album Reality. It became the biggest grossing global tour of 2004 and one of the best reviewed shows of Bowie's career.

In October 2004, A Reality Tour was released on DVD (pictured right) but a companion CD was never put out. That is being remedied on January 26 when ISO and Columbia/Legacy release A Reality Tour as a 2-CD set. The 33-songs on the release include three that were not on the original DVD, China Girl, Breaking Glass and Fall Dog Bombs the Moon.

The track list is after the cut.

Chart Watch Canada: September 24, 2009

Our weekly recap of veteran artists on the current Canadian music charts. Chart highlights:
  • It looks like Oprah plays well in Canada, too, because Whitney Houston's I Look to You has surged back up the Album chart from 8 to 3 and goes 3 to 2 on the R&B Album chart.
  • Megadeth opens big with Endgame, premiering at 4 on the Album chart and going straight to the top of the Hard Rock Albums.
  • The Beatles had a fairly significant drop off in the sales of their remastered albums in the second week. Abbey Road continued to be the biggest seller but dropped from 3 to 10. Other albums feel to the lower end of the top 100 while the Mono Box and Yellow Submarine fell off the chart.
  • Mark Knopfler's new one, Get Lucky, debuts at 18 while Ace Frehley's Anomaly starts at 38 on the Albums and 5 on the Hard Rock Albums chart.
  • Also new on the Hard Rock Album chart is Anvil's This is Thirteen, which debuts at 28.
Previous week position noted in parenthesis. (N) indicates a new release. (R) indicates a record that is re-charting.

Top 100 Canadian Albums

Top 100 Canadian Singles
  • #1 (1) - You Belong to Me - Taylor Swift
  • #2 (2) - I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
  • #3 (3) - Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
  • #4 (4) - Paparazzi - Lady Gaga
  • #5 (8) - G-Get Up and Dance - Faber Drive
  • #14 (22) - Celebration - Madonna
  • #36 (32) - Living For the Night - George Strait
  • #57 (64) - Honky Tonk Stomp - Brooks & Dunn Featuring Billy Gibbons
  • #90 (97) - Consider Me Gone - Reba (McEntire)

The R&B, Country and Hard Rock charts are after the cut.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is This the End of the Rhino Records We Know and Love?

Earlier today, Warner Music Group announced that they were laying off 30 to 40 people from Rhino Records, citing a "fundamental transformation of the physical new release and catalog business."

What this means for the catalog giant is unknown. The first problem is that we don't know if 30 to 40 people is 3%, 30% or 50+% of their workforce. What we do know is that the statement released by Warner Music Group, the owners of Rhino, does not seem encouraging for future releases of deep catalog products. From a Variety article:
Company said Rhino will evolve into an entity that "handles WMG's global digital catalog initiatives, film, TV, vidgame and commercial licensing, and name and likeness representation for legendary artists."
There's no mention of CD releases there, just "digital catalog initiatives."

Now, we know that Rhino has been getting a little less aggressive in the release of deep catalog items in the last few years, but there have still been a number of fine sets out of the company. It would be a shame if one of the big manufacturers and distributors of veteran artist products were to suddenly turn its back on a still consuming older crowd.

Preview: Procol Harum - All This and More (3-CDs/1-DVD)

Artist: Procol Harum
Title: All This and More
Release Date: September 28, 2009 (U.K.), Available October 13, 2009 from Amazon U.S.
Label: Salvo
Format(s): 3-CDs/1-DVD (PAL/Region 2)

The U.K. is getting 4-disc set by the progressive rock pioneers Procol Harum which includes remastered versions of their hits and significant album cuts, B-sides and rare live performances. The fourth disc is a DVD contains concert footage spanning over 30 years of the group's career. Keep in mind that the DVD will only play on PAL equipped players.

The full track list with all 74 cuts is after the break.

Austin City Limits Announces It's 2009-10 Schedule

The producers of Austin City Limits have announced the schedule for their 35th season on PBS stations across the country.

Included will be the return of Willie Nelson, who appeared on the very first ACL show back in 1975. This time around, he'll be with another Austin City Limits favorite, Asleep at the Wheel, performing Texas swing music from their Willie and the Wheel album.

As usual, the season will offer an eclectic mix of music from veteran and modern artists, ranging from country (Kenny Chesney, Kris Kristofferson) to rock (Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam) to its first foray into Rap (Mos Def, K'Naan).

The schedule (check your local listings for exact date and time):
  • October 3, 2009 - Dave Matthews Band
  • October 10, 2009 - Ben Harper and Relentless7
  • October 17, 2009 - Kenny Chesney
  • October 24, 2009 - Andrew Bird / St. Vincent
  • October 31, 2009 - M. Ward / Okkervil River
  • November 7, 2009 - Elvis Costello / Band of Heathens
  • November 14, 2009 - Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel
  • November 21, 2009 - Pearl Jam
  • November 28, 2009 – January 2, 2010 - Encore episodes
  • January 9, 2010 - Allen Toussaint
  • January 16, 2010 - Mos Def / K’Naan
  • January 23, 2010 - TBD / Heartless Bastards
  • January 30, 2010 - Steve Earle / Kris Kristofferson
  • February 6, 2010 - Them Crooked Vultures (Josh Homme, Dave Grohl & John Paul Jones)
  • February 13, 2010 - Madeleine Peyroux / Esperanza Spalding

New Jackson Single & Soundtrack Coming in October, Perry Isn't Ready to End Aerosmith, more

Get ready for a new Michael Jackson single. This is It will be released as a single on October 12 and will be included on the soundtrack album to the Jackson documentary in two different versions. The song includes background vocals by the other Jackson brothers.

The soundtrack will be out October 27 in a 2-CD set. Disc 1 is the original versions of the songs in the film in movie order along with the two versions of the single. Disc 2 will have unreleased versions of some of Jackson's best known work and the singer reciting his poem Planet Earth. A 36-page book will also be included. Full details are forthcoming.

Joe Perry has had quite a few critical things to say about Aerosmith partner Steven Tyler ever since the accident that ended the group's tour, but he's not ready to give up on the group. Perry told the Boston Herald "Maybe we have three more records in us. Maybe we have five [and] seven years of touring. That day will come. Whether it's him calling me or me calling him, it will happen."

Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck have booked a show together on February 13 in London's O2 Arena. Each will play their own set before coming together for a number of songs. Beck commented "Eric and I played together in Japan earlier this year and had a blast. Since then we have been in regular contact and talked about doing a similar show for our fans."

Gary Numan and Trent Reznor may be going into the studio together. Numan told the site The Quietus "I know he wants to carry on doing music things. We went out a few days after [the LA gigs] with a few other people and the way he puts it is when the dust settles – I think he means his marriage – but I think he’s going to be pretty busy for a while, so it’ll either be later this year or early next."

Kenny Rogers book Christmas in Canaan is being made into a TV movie to air on the Hallmark Channel this December. Billy Ray Cyrus takes the lead role.

Wayne Newton will return to the Las Vegas stage for a short run at the Tropicana starting next month. The show, Once Before I Go, is a review of the entertainer's 50-year career.

A number of veteran artists will be appearing on Sirius/XM's Artist Confidential series over the next month. Look for shows with Reba McEntire (September 28), Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Oak Ridge Boys (both October 5), Ronnie Milsap (October 12), John Fogerty and Smokey Robinson (both tentatively set for October 19).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rock Hall Nominates Twelve For Possible Induction

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today announced the names of twelve artists who are under consideration for induction.

Only two artists who were eligible for the first time this year were nominated, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and LL Cool J. Skipped over where first timers such as the Cult, the Flaming Lips, Nick Cave, the Pet Shop Boys, Soul Asylum and Whitney Houston.

Five artists who have been eligible for up to 20 years but were never nominated make the list, led by the Hollies who were first able to be named in 1989. Other long term first timers are Jimmy Cliff, Genesis, KISS, and Laura Nyro. Second time nominees include the Chantels (who have been eligible since the very first class in 1983), ABBA, Darlene Love and Donna Summer. Up for their eighth time are the Stooges.

Five of the twelve nominated artists will make the cut into the hall. The inductees will be announced in January after a vote by over 500 musicians and music professionals with the induction ceremony set for March 15, 2010.
  • ABBA (Second nomination, First eligible in 1998, Previously nominated in 2003) - The most successful group of the 70's and one of the most successful groups worldwide in music history, ABBA was only mildly popular in the United States where many of the voters reside. The combination of their pop sound and the fact that similar groups rarely made the grade (Ace of Base being an exception) could mean that voters don't take the nomination seriously.
  • Chantels (Second nomination, First eligible in 1983, Previously nominated in 2002) - While the Chantels don't have the name recognition of the Chiffons, the Shangri-Las or other popular girl groups, they had a definite influence on music by being one of the first all female vocal groups to break into a male dominated style. They are best known for the 1958 hit Maybe and 1961's Look in My Eyes. They should be in as some of the groups they influenced have made it, but they will most likely be passed over for bigger names.
  • Jimmy Cliff (First nomination, First eligible in 1992) - Cliff is one of the great artists to come out of Jamaica, bringing reggae to a worldwide audience, first in 1970 with the hit Wonderful World Beautiful People and, in 1975, with the soundtrack to The Harder They Come. His superb songwriting (The Harder They Come, Many Rivers to Cross, Sitting in Limbo, You Can Get It If You Really Want It) not only influenced a whole genre but were also covered by hundreds of artists. It just may be time for the Hall to recognize a second influential Jamaican artist.
  • Genesis (First nomination, First eligible in 1993) - Genesis is a bit of an enigma. Who are you voting for? The art rock group of the Peter Gabriel era? The hit makers of the 80's? It has obviously been a problem for the nominating committee who took 16 years to give the group their first chance and it may work against them during the vote. Those casting ballots need to remember that a core group of musicians stayed with the group throughout, producing great thinking mans music at the start and changing with the times to become one of the biggest artists of the 80's. Still, does Genesis belong in before other art-rock innovators like the Moody Blues?
  • Hollies (First nomination, First eligible in 1989) - It really is a shame that this is the Hollies' first nomination. Here's a group that was unique in the British Invasion with their ultra-tight harmonies and their wide range of styles. Over the course of twenty years, the group touched on bubblegum pop (Bus Stop, On a Carousel), rock (Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress), sophisticated adult contemporary (He Ain't Heavy (He's My Brother), The Air That I Breathe) and still had time to make one of the very best Springsteen covers (Sandy). Numerous personnel changes over the years may make it hard for voters to focus on the group as a single entity but, of the many British artists who hit America in the 60's, the Hollies have to be considered among the very best musically.
  • KISS (First nomination, First eligible in 1999) - There will be many happy people in the world tonight. KISS fans have been complaining for a decade that their boys were not nominated for the hall. While their music may not have been overly innovative, they put together a huge and loyal fan base through their showmanship (with quite a bit of masterful marketing thrown in). As the Rock Hall site says, "Few bands short of The Beatles inspired more kids to pick up the guitar than KISS. With their signature make-up, explosive stage show and anthems like Rock and Roll All Night and Detroit Rock City, they are the very personification of rock stars." Still, there is a long held bias against the group that they were all show with little to give musically, so it's doubtful they get in on their first chance.
  • LL Cool J (Nominated in first year of eligibility) - Let the arguing begin! "Rap does not belong in the Rock Hall of Fame!" There are views for and against that statement, but there is little argument that LL Cool J was a major influence on a generation of rappers, splitting time between classic fast delivery rap and a cool romantic style. He also went on to show the world that rap artists are not all thugs on the street with his forays into acting on TV and in film. Rap music has been one of the dominant styles of the last quarter century and has been an influence in some rock circles. LL Cool J should be recognized for his major contribution.
  • Darlene Love (Second nomination, First eligible in 1988, Previously nominated in 1999) - Love was arguably THE voice of Philles Records and Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, singing lead for the Crystals, Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans and under her own name. The gospel infused huge voice was able to stand out over the chaotic background of Spector's productions and, when the sound started to die out, Love was able to change with the times, still recording today and performing her yearly Christmas shows. Even so, is a big voice enough to gain membership among Rock's elite?
  • Laura Nyro (First nomination, First eligible in 1992) - During the late-60's, it was next to impossible to look at a music chart and not see one or (most times) more songs written by Laura Nyro. And When I Die, Stoned Soul Picnic, Wedding Bell Blues, Eli's Coming and many more are the soundtrack of people's lives who grew up during that time, yet most wouldn't recognize Nyro's name. It's a shame, too, as Nyro was so much more than just a songwriter. Her albums, which mainly had a cult following, were filled with soulful music that should have found her a place on the radio. The question is whether the voters will see Nyro as an all-around talent or pigeonhole her as just a composer of hits.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers (Nominated in first year of eligibility) -This one may be a no brainer. The Chili Peppers have not only been hugely successful over the last 25 years, but their sound has been a major influence on the up and coming artists of the time. It was their innovative combination of funk and punk that propelled them into the commercial stratosphere starting with 1991's Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Add in their wild live shows and you have a combination that would not only keep their fans coming back for more, but would also win over the critics and the establishment (three Grammy Awards).
  • Stooges (Eighth nomination, First eligible in 1994, Previously nominated in 1997, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2009) -What is it about the Stooges that keeps getting them nominated but never elected? They were one of the main artists that brought punk into the forefront and should be recognized for that alone; however, there is also an underlying current that, in a business that thrives on the outrageous, the Stooges may have pushed the envelope too far. Still, if the Rock Hall is really about those that were innovative and influential, then there has to be a place for the Stooges.
  • Donna Summer (Second nomination, First eligible in 1999, Previously nominated in 2008) - Poor Donna Summer. Being labeled the Queen of Disco is probably the reason nobody takes her career seriously. They overlook the fact that she was THE star of a major genre of music. They forget that her Love to Love You Baby, with production by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, was a major sea change in the budding disco sound. They ignore that, while almost every other disco star is playing the oldies circuit, Summer is still able to put songs on the top of the Dance Club charts, 30 years after her sound was supposedly dead. There isn't much chance that she'll be elected (much like the equally deserving Chic who keeps getting passed over), but there is little doubt that she was an innovator.
Our predictions are, come January, the new members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be the Red Hot Chili Peppers, LL Cool J, Jimmy Cliff, Genesis and Darlene Love, with an outside chance that the Stooges will finally make it in.