Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Top Stories of 2011

Steve Lillywhite Named CBE by the Queen

Producer Steve Lillywhite has been named a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Britain's Queen Elizabeth in her New Year's Honours List.

The CBE is the third level in the Order of the British Empire after the Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GBE) and Knight/Dame Commander (KBE/DBE). Only those top two ranks receive the official title of Knight and the use of Sir or Dame.

Lillywhite began his career in 1972 as a tape operator at Polygram in England and eventually moved to Island Records as a staff producer. He first hit it big by producing Siouxsee and the Banshees first single, 1978's Hong Kong Garden.

Over the next three decades, he would produce numerous major albums, including:

  • Boy - U2
  • October - U2
  • War - U2
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb - U2
  • The Joshua Tree (some cuts) - U2
  • Achtung Baby (some cuts) - U2
  • All That You Can't Leave Behind (some cuts) - U2
  • No Line on the Horizon (some cuts) - U2
  • Under the Table and Dreaming - Dave Mathews Band
  • Crash - Dave Mathews Band
  • Before These Crowded Streets - Dave Mathews Band
  • Dirty Work - Rolling Stones
  • Peter Gabriel (III) - Peter Gabriel
  • Naked Talking Heads
  • Vauxhall and I Morrissey
  • Ultravox!!! Ultravox
  • The Psychedelic Furs - Psychedelic Furs
  • Exile on Mainstream - Matchbox Twenty
  • Lost and Gone Forever - Guster
  • Time on Earth - Crowded House
  • The Crossing - Big Country
  • This is War - 30 Seconds to Mars

Lillywhite also produced one of England's perennial holiday songs, Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl who was married to the producer.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Artists Who Reach 25 Years of Recording in 2012

Jane's Addiction
VVN Music is dedicated to covering veteran artists who have been recording for 25 years or longer so, as we reach the beginning of 2012, we welcome the following artists (and many more), who began recording in 1987, to our site.

  • Blue Rodeo
  • Boogie Down Productions (including solo work of  KRS-One, D-Nice and Scott La Rock)
  • Breathe
  • The Dead C
  • Death
  • Debbie Gibson
  • Desert Rose Band
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince (including solo work of Will Smith)
  • EPMD
  • Expose
  • Faster Pussycat
  • Foster and Lloyd
  • Frozen Ghost
  • Glenn Medeiros
  • Goo Goo Dolls
  • Highway 101
  • Jane's Addiction (including solo work of Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro)
  • Jody Watley
  • Jude Cole
  • King Missle
  • KLF
  • K.T. Oslin
  • The La's
  • Loop
  • M.A.R.R.S.
  • M.C. Hammer
  • Meat Beat Manifesto
  • Milli Vanilli
  • Morbid Angel
  • N.W.A. (including solo work of Dr. Dre, Easy-E, Ice Cube, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella and MC Ren)
  • Napalm Death
  • Pixies
  • Proclaimers
  • Public Enemy (including solo work of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff and Khari Wynn)
  • Richard Marx
  • Rick Astley
  • Ricky Van Shelton
  • Sinead O'Connor
  • Sugarcubes (including solo work of Bjork)
  • T'Pau
  • Taylor Dayne
  • Terence Trent D'Arby
  • Tiffany
  • Tragically Hip
  • Wet Wet Wet
  • Will to Power
  • Willy DeVille
  • Zakk Wylde

Etta James Recovering

After a few days of touch and go, it looks like Etta James' condition may be improving.

Lupe De Leon, James' friend and manager, said on Friday that she had been taken off of the respirator and was once again breathing on her own. James was hospitalized a week ago after suffering breathing difficulties which were attributed to another bout with sepsis. The blues great is suffering from terminal leukemia, dementia and ongoing kidney problems.

De Leon said in a statement "The hospital is preparing Etta for release from ICU to a step down unit. She is stable and breathing on her own. Her blood pressure is normal."

Short Takes: Jon Bon Jovi, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Steven Tyler, Bette Midler, Stella Parton, Iron Maiden

Jefferey Goho, a vocalist for the Pennsylvania band Minutia, has been identified as the person who started the Jon Bon Jovi death rumor. Goho was reportedly upset that everything that the singer was doing had nothing to do with music.

Unfortunately for Goho, the stunt backfired and his band is taking the brunt of the flack on their Facebook page. Goho wrote on the site "Please stop sending attached hate mail to my fellow band members. They are in no way involved."

The Red Hot Chili Peppers will reportedly get a HUGE payday for playing on New Year's Eve for a Russian billionaire. The event happens on the Caribbean island of St. Barts. The band will receive $7.7 million.

Yes, Steven Tyler is engaged to Erin Brady, at least according to his jeweler.

Neither Tyler nor Brady have confirmed the engagement but jeweler Loree Rodkin told People magazine "He was working, so I picked stones, built settings, showed him choices and sent him pictures on his phone. He asked for guidance but the choice was his. Having made jewelry for both Erin and Steven made it an effortless process, as I know their taste."

The stone is reportedly a 5-carat, brilliant-cut diamond in a diamond and platinum band.

Bette Midler is putting her money where her mouth is. She in pledging to match any donation made to her New York Restoration Project which helps improve neglected community gardens throughout the city. She wrote on Twitter "I am matching dollar for dollar every donation (made to) NYRP. Good for your taxes, good for world! Let's clean up the planet in 2012 please!! Shake those piggy banks; every cent means a cleaner planet."

Stella Parton, sister of Dolly Parton, plans on suing a Northern Ireland concert promoter who used her name to promote a tour and then claimed she didn't show because of the weather.  Stella said that she was never booked by the promoter and that she has never been late for a show much less canceled.

Barry Clayton's biggest contribution to the world may be his daily BBC show, The Black Londoners, from 1974 to 1988 but he is best known to metal fans as the voice that starts out the Iron Maiden album The Number of the Beast.

Clayton passed away this week at the age of 80. The cause of death has not been announced. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Doors' L.A. Woman Five-Disc Set is Cancelled

A planned five-disc super deluxe edition of the Doors' 1971 album L.A. Woman has been scrubbed by Rhino Records.

Original announced by the Doors' manager back in September, it seems that Rhino has decided that a set of this size was not commercially viable.

The manager, Jeff Jampol, said in the group's on-line forum "there are concerns at [Rhino's] end" and "they want to be sure that not only is the market there, but do we have a place to distribute them?

It will probably be reduced to a 3-disc set (just the alternates/outtakes/chatter), and packaged so as to be affordable (i.e. NOT an expensive, all-out designed hard box)."

Currently on the schedule is a two-disc version of the album on January 24 followed by the three-disc version later in the year. Most likely, the three-disc album will be a limited edition with few or no repeated tracks. This, in essence, would equal the five-disc version but done in two separate albums.

Thanks to Super Deluxe Edition for the information.

Review: Live at the Marquee 1983 - Man

by Andy Snipper

During the 1960’s and early to mid-70’s there were many British bands who took their music and stretched it into long, and often tedious, ‘Jams’. Of them all there was one who stood head and shoulders above the rest – a Welsh four-piece called Man. At their peak they were a jamming band to rival the likes of The Grateful Dead: hugely inventive and seemingly happier live than they ever were in a studio.

Cutting a long story short, they didn’t receive all the record sales that should have gone with the fan reaction and in the late ‘70’s with punk and the 2 minute song at its zenith they went their separate ways. This catches their 1983 reunion at the world famous Marquee (part of the venues 25th anniversary celebrations) and although it is a mixed bag in terms of material it really does sound as fresh as they ever did.

The classic numbers are here: a great version of Spunk Rock, Even Visionaries Go Blind, Back Into The Future, one of the best boogie numbers ever in Romain and the classic of classics Many Are Called (But Few Get Up). The encore of Bananas is one of the better ones I've heard.

The line up of Deke Leonard, Martin Ace and Mickey Jones is boosted by Joh Weathers (Grease Band & Gentle Giant) on drums and his powerful drumming pushes them along brilliantly, allowing the guitars full rein to solo and develop their themes.

The gig here is split across two CDs and you get a DVD of the entire performance as well and the performances are well worth seeing as well as hearing.

This won’t replace my treasured Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth but it does stand as a very fine example of the band and a rare chance to see them as well as hear them.

Heirs of Vince Guaraldi Are Latest to Sue a Record Company Over Royalties

Last week, the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio was the top selling album by a veteran artist. The heirs of Guaraldi would like to get what they feel they deserve for royalties on the perennial holiday favorite.

Guaraldi's children are suing Concord Records, who are the current owners of the Fantasy label for whom Guaraldi recorded, for what they feel is "years and perhaps decades" of of underpaid royalties. As with many current lawsuits, the suit includes the allegation that Concord "has impermissibly and without justification reduced the royalty paid on sales of digital downloads…by third parties."

In addition, the suit states "Particularly with regard to the Charlie Brown Christmas album…Fantasy Records issued statements containing false or deceptive representations and underpaid plaintiffs based on those inaccurate and incomplete accountings."  Those alleged false accountings may have been used to cover up what the heirs say was an even further reduced royalty rate paid by Fantasy Records after Guaraldi's passing.

The album has sold 3.1 million copies just since the beginning of the Soundscan era in 1991.

Wynonna to Walk Down the Aisle a Third Time With Highway 101's Cactus Moser

Courtesy Curb Records
Wynonna Judd has become engaged and is headed for a third marriage.

The 47-year-old country singer received the proposal on Christmas Eve from Scott "Cactus" Moser who is currently touring with his fiance as Wynonna and the Big Noise. He has also a member of the group Highway 101 since 1986.

The couple have been dating since 2009.

Judd was married to Arch Kelley III from 1996 to 1998. They have two children, Elijah (17) and Grace (15). In 2003, she married her bodyguard D.R. Roach but divorced him in 2007 after he was arrested for sexual assault on a child under 13.

Janet Jackson Bans Jokes, Receives Dubious Honor

It hasn't been a great week for Janet Jackson.

The singer's tour rider was recently leaked stating that she does not put up with any jokes about her family being told by any comedians that might be booked to open her shows. "Purchaser ensures that comedian will not make any reference to Janet Jackson or the Jackson family."

Beyond that, her demands are not that outrageous compared to other popular artists. Just things like scented candles, peanut butter, fresh fruit and white tulips.

Meanwhile, Jackson has been named Grinch of the Year by PETA based on their feeling that she exploited the well-being of animals the most over the past year.

Jackson released a new line of fur clothing accessories in November in conjunction with the company Blackglamma.

PETA spokesman Wendy Wegner stated:
When Janet Jackson had her infamous wardrobe malfunction during Super Bowl XXXVIII, at least what popped into view of 170 million onlookers belonged to her, unlike the animal skins she drapes herself in, which are as dead as her fashion taste and her career.
Jackson responded in a public letter stating that her clothing line was of minimal concern when compared to issues like "women being maimed", sweatshops or other women's rights causes.

Bruce Langhorne, Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, Releases First Album

The man who was the subject of Bob Dylan's song Mr. Tambourine Man, Bruce Langhorne, has just released his first solo album.

Langhorne has appropriately called his debut album Tambourine Man. He brought the instrument to Dylan in the 60s during a recording session and played electric lead guitar on the original Dylan song. Bob has often cited Bruce as his source of inspiration for the song.

Bruce Langhorne was a much sought after session musician in the 60s and 70s. As well as performing with Dylan he also played on recordings by Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Gordon Lightfoot and Richard & Mimi Farina.

Dylan originally released the song on his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home. It has been covered many times including a version by William Shattner but the biggest hit version was by The Byrds.

Dylan started writing the song in early 1964 and first recorded it but didn’t use it on the Another Side Of Bob Dylan album. Dylan felt that version did not do the song justice and didn’t release it at the time.

The version eventually used on Bringing It All Back Home was recorded on January 15, 1965. The final take was used for the album which was first released on March 22, 1965.

Short Takes: Metallica, George Michael, Boy George, Sex Pistols, Beach Boys

Don't mess with James Hetfield of Metallica when he's on vacation. While with his family in the Punte Del Este region of Uruguay, a number of local paparazzi began shooting photos and would not let the singer, his wife and son alone. After exchanging words with the photographers, Hetfield started picking up rocks and throwing them at the interlopers.

George Michael sounds thankful to be home for the holidays and enjoying the time with family and friends. He recently Tweeted:
Best Christmas I can remember, surrounded by the people I love… And knowing that Xmas could have been very different this year for everyone at that table…

As it was we stuffed and laughed ourselves silly. I'm such a lucky man! I hope you all had a great one. It's not over, of course, I have a house full of sleeping guests and a bunch more friends coming over today. Hangovers strictly forbidden :)

Boy George has dispensed with rumors that he will be on the next season of the U.K.'s Celebrity Big Brother.  He wrote on Twitter "I'm absolutely not going into CBB! But I am looking forward to Dubai & Australia with Culture Club!"

Steve Jones, guitarist for the Sex Pistols, has lashed out at former bassist Glen Matlock over statements he had made over the years about his songwriting for the band. Jones told Hustler magazine that Matlock was "a bit of a middle-class mommy's boy" and "a bit of a wanker" followed with "I'm tired of Glen Matlock saying he was the songwriter for the Sex Pistols. I co-wrote as many songs… but I don't go shouting about it. Every time I read it, it bugs me. If he was such a great songwriter, where are the songs after the Sex Pistols? It's just annoying."

Brian Wilson seems to be actually looking forward to the upcoming 50th anniversary tour of the Beach Boys. He posted the following picture in his blog:
Wilson also posted an original version of the group's holiday classic Little Saint Nick from 1963 which was later used as the foundation for the song Drive In on the album All Summer Long.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In Memoriam 2011

Clarence Clemmons
Saluting those veteran musicians, songwriters and executives who passed away in 2011.
  • January 4 - Gerry Rafferty (Stealer's Wheel, Baker Street)
  • January 7 - Bobby Robinson (owner Fire, Fury, Enjoy & Red Robin labels)
  • January 13 - Tommy Crain (Charlie Daniels Band)
  • January 17 - Don Kirshner (promoter, TV host)
  • January 26 - Charlie Louvin (Louvin Brothers)
  • January 26 - Gladys Horton (Marvelettes)
  • February 6 - Gary Moore (British blues-rock guitarist)
  • February 27 - Eddie Kirkland (bandleader for Little Richard, Otis Redding, Ruth Brown, Ben E. King)
  • March 14 - Big Jack Johnson (Delta blues guitarist)
  • March 16 - Carlton Haney (member of the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame)
  • March 17 - Ferlin Husky (Wings of a Dove, Gone)
  • March 20 - Ralph Mooney (steel guitarist, writer of Crazy Arms)
  • March 21 - Pinetop Perkins (Delta blues pianist)
  • March 21 - Loleatta Holloway (Hit and Run, Love Sensation)
  • March 31 - Mel McDaniel (Baby Got Her Blue Jeans On)
  • April 9 - Randy Wood (founder of Dot Records)
  • April 11 - Lacy Gibson (Chicago blues sideman)
  • April 22 - Hazel Dickens (folk & bluegrass singer)
  • April 25 - Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex)
  • April 25 - Charlie Fach (executive at Mercury, PolyGram, Smash and Compleat Records)
  • April 26 - Phoebe Snow (Poetry Man)
  • May 22 - Joseph Brooks (songwriter, You Light Up My Life)
  • May 27 - Gil Scott-Heron (Godfather of Rap, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
  • June 3 - Andrew Gold (Lonely Boy, Thank You For Being a Friend)
  • June 4 - Martin Rushent (producer of The Human League)
  • June 4 - David "Frankie" Toler (Allman Brothers Band)
  • June 8 - Steve Popovich (executive for Columbia, Cleveland International, Mercury Records)
  • June 12 - Carl Gardner (Coasters)
  • June 16 - Wild Man Fischer (cult musician)
  • June 18 - Clarence Clemons (Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band)
  • July 8 - Kenny Baker (Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, member of the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame)
  • July 9 - Michael "Wurzel" Burston (Motorhead)
  • July 11 - Rob Grill (Grass Roots)
  • July 24 - Dan Peek (America)
  • August 7 - Marshall Grant (Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Two)
  • August 10 - Billy Grammer (Gotta Travel On)
  • August 22 - Nick Ashford (Ashford & Simpson)
  • August 22 - Jerry Leiber (Leiber & Stoller)
  • August 24 - Frank Dileo (manager of Michael Jackson)
  • August 24 - Esther Gordy Edwards (Motown)
  • August 29 - David Honeyboy Edwards (Delta bluesman)
  • September 13 - Wilma Lee Cooper (Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper)
  • September 22 - Vesta Williams (Congratulations, Once Bitten, Twice Shy)
  • September 27 - Johnnie Wright (Johnnie & Jack)
  • September 28 - Leonard Dillon (Ethiopians) 
  • September 29 - Sylvia Robinson (Mickey & Sylvia, Sugar Hill Records) 
  • September 30 - Marv Tarplin (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles)
  • October 6 - Bert Jansch (guitarist)
  • October 8 - Roger Williams (pianist, Autumn Leaves)
  • October 11 - George "Mojo" Buford (Muddy Waters' band)
  • October 12 - Joel "Taz" DiGregorio (Charlie Daniels Band)
  • October 31 - Liz Anderson (songwriter, singer, mother of Lynn Anderson)
  • November 3 - Cory Smoot (GWAR)
  • November 7 - Andrea True (More, More, More)
  • November 12 - Doyle Bramhall (legend of the Austin music scene)
  • November 21 - Paul Yandell (sideman for Chet Atkins)
  • November 24 - Charlie Douglas (DJ at WSM, announcer for the Grand Ole Opry)
  • November 26 - Keef Hartley (John Mayall's Blues Breakers, Keef Hartley Band)
  • November 28 - Tom Roady (touring and studio percussionist)
  • December 2 - Howard Tate (Get It While You Can, Ain't Nobody Home)
  • December 4 - Hubert Sumlin (Howlin' Wolf's band)
  • December 6 - Dobie Gray (The In Crowd, Drift Away)
  • December 6 - Barbara Orbison (publisher and widow of Roy Orbison)
  • December 8 - Bee Spears (bass player for Willie Nelson)
  • December 14 - Billie Jo Spears (Blanket on the Ground)
  • December 18 - Warren Hellman (billionaire creator of San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival)

Van Halen's Release Plans Become Official

After much speculation on Tuesday about the release of a graphic with "2.7.12" next to the Van Halen logo, it has become official that February 7, 2012 is, indeed, the release date for their new album.

The Van Halen News Desk has now revealed the date 2.7.12 relates to the release of the yet-to-be named album.

The Van Halen timeline for 2012 is:
  • January 3, 2012 – first round of concert dates announced
  • January 10, 2012 – first single to premiere, video to premiere, tickets go on sale
  • February 7, 2012 – Album released
The new Van Halen album will be their first album since ‘VH3’ (1998), first album with David Lee Roth since ‘1984” (1984) and first album ever with new bass player Wolfgang Van Halen, the son of Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli.

Peter Frampton Sues Universal Over Royalties

More and more lawsuits are being filed against the big record companies by artists who allege that they have been shorted on their royalties. The latest to bring suit is Peter Frampton against Universal Music Group's A&M Records.

The singer/guitarist is looking for $500,000 in withheld royalties. He is being represented by Nashville attorney Richard Busch who has recently also filed suit for the sister of late Knack drummer Bruce Gary. In both cases, the artists are looking for increased money from digital downloads, which they allege should be considered a license and not a sale, bringing them 50% in royalties versus a percentage in the mid-teens.

Busch told The Tennessean "The issues in these cases go beyond simply breach of contract. The plaintiffs allege the wrongdoing here is a part of deliberate effort to deprive the parties of their royalties."

Universal Music Group reportedly tried to pull a fast one, sending Frampton a check for $212,000 with no documentation as soon as they received word of the suit, hoping that the deposit of the money would negate any further action. The filed suit by Frampton addresses the check, saying

Many more artists are expected to follow suit based on the September 2010 U.S. appeals court ruling that awarded Eminem 50% royalties on all digital product instead of the 12% that Universal and Aftermath Records were paying. An appeal was made to the Supreme Court that refused to hear the case, thus upholding the appeals court ruling.

Collen/Laffy/Cook Supergroup Manraze Offer Free Downloads

Manraze, the supergroup made up of Phil Collen of Def Leppard, Simon Laffy of GIRL and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, has released a free download of their track Over My Dead Body, the first single from the new album PUNKFUNKROOTSROCK.

The download is available on Soundcloud, as well as a streaming version of their cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic Fire.

Originally released as a limited Holiday download to the Manraze and Def Leppard social media outlets,  Over My Dead Body  reached the download limit within 10 minutes, and within 24 hours was streamed over 4500 times. Fire has been no less explosive, tearing up internet radio stations Worldwide, currently #1 on the iHeartRadio Rock on Demand Chart, with both tracks set to be released to terrestrial Rock radio in the Spring.

Manraze also recently completed a video for the track Take on the World, written for UK Superbike champion Tommy Hill, the theme for the film I, Superbiker 2: The Showdown, chronicling Tommy’s rise to the 2011 British Superbike championship, set to be released theatrically across England in Spring.

Manraze formed in 2004 in London, when Collen reconnected with Simon Laffy, his bandmate in the seminal UK Glam/Rock act GIRL, and the duo began collaborating on material, eventually recruiting legendary Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook. After playing several intimate sold-out shows in the UK, the band released their debut album Surreal in 2008, and the follow-up PUNKFUNKROOTSROCK in 2011.

And despite its status as a "side project", Manraze is anything but typical Rock-Star vanity fare, as evidenced in spades on PUNKFUNKROOTSROCK, an ambitious slab of finely crafted modern Pop/Rock sensibility, fully stocked with Collen’s legendary hard rock riffs, Cook’s hard-hitting (filth and) fury, and Laffy’s rhythmic swagger; An infectious clash of 70’s simplicity and 80’s excess, sure to thrill anyone who has ever dropped the needle on a record and cranked it up to 10.

Motorhead Become Jewelry Designers With New Ring

The group Motorhead have a new sideline as jewelry designers, having released a skull ring therough The Great Frog jewelers (London, Los Angeles, New York).

The Motorhead Warpig ring was released on December 9th, 2011.

Lemmy from Motorhead has been endorsing The Great Frog for years. “I have a ring on every finger and every one of them comes from the Great Frog,” he is quoted as saying at their website.

Other clients of The Great Frog include members of Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Aerosmith, REM, ZZ Top and Metallica.

The Motorhead Warpig has been given final approval by Lemmy from Motorhead. The ring is a limited edition and number engraved. The first 5 went to the band and management.

It retails for £UK220 ($340 U.S.).

Short Takes: Steven Tyler, Madonna, Flea, Brian May

It looks like Steven Tyler may be ready to walk down the aisle for the third time. His longtime girlfriend Erin Brady, 38, was seen sporting a big diamond ring while she was with the singer in Maui. According to TMZ, sources close to Tyler say they are, in fact, engaged. Tyler was previously married in 1978 and 1988.

Madonna's latest Hard Candy Fitness Center recently opened in Moscow. The 35,000 square foot facility is being run by Irina Razumova, founder of the world-wide chain Planet Fitness.

The first location was opened last year in Mexico City and additional centers will be opened in the spring in St. Petersburg and later in the year in Toronto.

Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has a new hobby, chess. Recently, while at the Rock in Rio festival, the bass player took on the world chess champion and, according to Jonny Quinn of Snow Patrol, "He did really well and the guy was playing two games of chess at once – he's a Norwegian fella. Flea did pretty good but this man was always gonna win. He held it back for a bit."

Brian May surprised the cast of the Queen musical We Will Rock You on Monday night. At the end of the show, he came out as Santa Claus. A source told Britain's The Sun "

BBC Radio 6 will be turning back the clock on New Year's Day when they play all of their music off of vinyl.

According to station editor Paul Rodgers "In a world dominated by digital music, vinyl is a format still close to the hearts of many music lovers and increased sales demonstrate its enduring appeal."

Ron Mosely of Ruby & the Romantics and Sean Bonniwell of the Music Machine Pass Away

Two artists from the 60's passed away earlier in December but the information in only becoming public now.

Ron Mosely of Ruby & the Romantics passed away on December 3 after a long illness at the age of 72. 

Mosely was originally in the group the Skarlettones who recorded on Ember starting in 1959. When Ruby Nash joined the group, they changed the name to Ruby & the Romantics and hit the top of the charts in 1963 with Our Day Will Come.

The group hit the top 40 two more times that year with My Summer Love (#16) and Hey There Lonely Boy (1963) along with two additional R&B hits in 1964. The group stayed together until 1971 when Mosely left the music business to work for Ohio Gasket and Shim Company where he stayed until his retirement. 

On December 20, Sean Bonniwell of the Music Machine died at the age of 71. Little has been reported; however the following statement was on his Facebook page:
Sean passed away into eternity last Saturday. He was a man of great faith in Messiah. He will be missed. Until we meet again my friend... I will post memorial information here, it will be in early January. His Brother in Messiah, Nicklas
Bonniwell started his professional career on RCA Records as a member of the folk group The Wayfarers. As folk music interest faded, he decided to start a group with a much harder edge. Initially, the trio was called the Ragamuffins but soon took on the new name of The Music Machine.

The groups first album spawned the hit Talk Talk (1967/#15 Pop), their only song to make the top 40. Internal pressures broke up the group and, later in the year, Bonniwell signed with Warner Brothers as the Bonniwell Music Machine. Two albums were released but with no further hits.

In 1969, Bonniwell released a solo album on Capitol which didn't get a lot of support from the record company and, in frustration, he quit the band to "find himself." He released a memoir, Talk Talk (later called Beyond the Garage) in 1996.

Could We Have a Release Date For Van Halen's New Album?

A new graphic hit the web on Tuesday with the Van Halen logo and the date 2.7.12.
The release sent fans on a mission scouring for clues and speculating on the significance of the February 7 date (if that is a date at all).

Most bets have it as the release date of the new album, the first with David Lee Roth since 1984. The theory is supported by the fact that this is during Grammy Week and the Recording Academy has been teasing about a supergroup appearing on the show (the original message pointed toward the Nomination Special but most are thinking they meant the actual awards program).

Others are thinking it is, at a minimum, the date for the first single from the album. There is also talk about the front of the train reading New York Central System.

The album, whenever it is released, will be the first new studio release in 13 years for the group along with the 27 year span since the last album with Roth.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chart Watch Britain: Chart of December 31, 2011

Our weekly recap of veteran artists on the current British music charts. Chart highlights:
  • It's a second week for the Bee Gees as the biggest selling veteran artist in Britain with Number Ones falling only 24 to 29.
  • The battle for the Christmas Number One single has been an event for years in Britain. Lately, a number of groups have tried to abduct that top spot through planned downloads of certain songs. One group this year tried to get Nirvanna's Smells Like Teen Spirit to number one, but they fell short of even the top 10. The most successful effort didn't make it either but Lou Monte's 1960 holiday hit Dominick the Donkey came close, jumping from 132 to number 3.
1968-1970. TW = This Week, LW = Last Week, N = New, R = Returning to Chart.  The highest charting entry by a veteran artist is shown in red.

Top 100 British Albums
TW LW Title Artist
1 1 Christmas Michael Buble
2 2 Lioness: Hidden Treasures Amy Winehouse
3 4 In Case You Didn't Know Olly Murs
4 3 Mylo Xyloto Coldplay
5 5 Talk That Talk Rihanna
29 24 Number Ones Bee Gees
31 35 Storyteller: The Complete Anthology Rod Stewart
36 34 Duets II Tony Bennett
37 32 Best of the Best Frank Sinatra
52 41 50 Words for Snow Kate Bush
53 53 A Foot in the Door: The Best of Pink Floyd
62 64 Greatest Hits Simon & Garfunkel
76 87 Greatest Hits Bon Jovi
89 98 Gold: Greatest Hits ABBA
91 86 Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011 R.E.M.
92 117 Private Investigation: The Best of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler
94 122 The Greatest Hits & More Doris Day
95 109 Number Ones Michael Jackson
97 91 The Final Wham
98 78 A Christmas Cornucopia Annie Lennox

The balance of the British charts are after the cut.

Morrissey is PETA Person of the Year in the U.K.

From the moment Morrissey took the stage at his shows in the UK, US and Europe this year, his fans were hit with the animal rights message in a big way.

At every show, his band wore blunt, pro-animal shirts speaking out against fur, fast food and other industries that abuse animals, and as he performed The Smiths' Meat Is Murder, Moz screened footage of PETA US' hard-hitting "Meat Your Meat" exposé. PETA even had its own booth at Morrissey's shows and now, to honour the rock legend's constant, bold promotion of kindness to animals, PETA UK has named Morrissey its Person of the Year 2011, a designation formerly held by Pamela Anderson (2010) and Sir Roger Moore (2009).

"If you love animals, obviously it doesn't make sense to hurt them", Morrissey explained in an interview with PETA US. "Please don't kill anything. These are pathetically basic words but get through your life without  killing animals and dragging animals down. It's not anything that anybody really needs. We were all raised with that concept that animals are there to be used, but they're not. It's just the dreadful industries that do it."

"Morrissey shows us the benefit of boldness. When he opens his mouth, people pay attention", says PETA's Yvonne Taylor. "Moz is a rebel with a very real cause, encouraging everyone to re-examine their attitudes towards animals and the industries that abuse them."

As far back as Meat Is Murder's 1985 debut, Morrissey has been promoting kindness to animals. He has teamed up with PETA and its overseas affiliates to speak out against forcing baby elephants to perform as tourist attractions in Thailand; against Iams' intensive laboratory tests on animals and against the Queen's Guards' bearskin caps. And two years ago, he made international headlines when he walked off stage at a US music festival, stating that he hoped the "burning flesh" he smelled was human.

Vince Gill and Amy Grant Named Tennessean's of the Year

The Tennessean newspaper has named Vince Gill and Amy Grant the Tennessean's of the Year in recognition of all that they do for the state and its people.

The newspaper noted how the two were have made it a lifelong mission, both before they were together and as a couple, for ways to help others both in Tennessee and around the world.
Whether it’s Grant hosting the Lipscomb University tree-lighting for the local food bank, Gill and Grant playing a fund-raiser show to battle depression, or the two meeting Make-A-Wish kids before the couple’s annual Christmas concert, an Amy Grant-Vince Gill charity event is as ubiquitous here as Moon Pies.

“My vote for Tennessean of the Year is Vince Gill because of his big-hearted altruism,” newspaper reader Ann Frazier West wrote of the nomination.

“He gives so much of himself and his talent to our community, raising funds for the betterment of those who might not have much quality of life otherwise, and just generally spreading happiness.”

In choosing the couple for the annual award, The Tennessean editorial board notes, “Amy Grant and Vince Gill not only make a meaningful impact on the global stage through their music, but their philanthropy also helps people throughout Tennessee.”

“Their years of charity work reached a crescendo in 2011, from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and American Red Cross to the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee and many, many more causes.
Before making it as a solo artist, Gill played in the Bluegrass Alliance, Ricky Skaggs' Boone Creek, Sundance and Pure Prairie League. He went solo in 1984, hitting the top ten a year later with If It Weren't For Him. Since then, he's had 24 more top ten country hits, including four number ones, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Amy Grant is the best selling Contemporary Christian artist of all time. She released her first album at the age of 16 and began charting in the pop top 200 albums in 1984. In 1991, she started a second career in pop music with the multi-platinum Heart in Motion which included three top ten singles, Baby Baby, Every Heartbeat and That's What Love is For. She was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Watch: 30-Minute Documentary on Sammy Hagar's Birthday Bash

Once again, Sammy Hagar held a birthday bash for himself at the Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The 21st annual affair was held on October 7, 9, 11 and 13 and included guest appearances by Michael Anthony, Joe Satriani and Kenny Aronoff, all of Sammy's band Chickenfoot, Kenny Chesney, Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) and Vinnie Paul Abbott of Pantera.

This is a 31-minute documentary on all of the festivities.

Sammy Hagar - Cabo Birthday Bash #21 (2011) from chime interactive on Vimeo.

Short Takes: Richie Sambora, Alice Cooper, Ronnie James Dio, Fishbone, Phil Ochs

Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi has started work on his third solo album at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood. Luke Ebbin, who helmed Bon Jovi's Crush and Bounce will be producing.

Previously, Sambora released Stranger in This Town (1991) and Undiscovered Soul (1998).

Alice Cooper talked recently with the Marietta Daily Journal about how hard it has to be for a young band today to make money in the business. "I feel sorry if I were a young band right now. I don't know how you make any money with records. It's just almost impossible. So I tell young bands if I were you, I would be the best live band in your state. That's what you got to go for, because they can't take that away from you. The recording part, though, I just don't see how anyone can make money."

According to Wendi Dio, widow of Ronnie James Dio, his autobiography (Rainbow in the Dark) is due to the publisher on January 15 but won't be released for about a year and a half. Ronnie had the book about three-quarters written when he died. 

Rotten Tomatoes has released their list of the best reviewed films of the year. Only nine received 100% positive reviews and two are documentaries on veteran artists, Everyday Story: The Story of Fishbone and Phil Ochs: There But For a Fortune.

Jim Sherwood of the Mothers of Invention Passes Away at 69

Mothers of Invention member Jim "Motorhead" Sherman passed away on Sunday, Christmas Day, at the age of 69.

Sherwood was the sax player and vocals and vocal sounds effects for the Mothers and played on the Zappa albums 200 Motels, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Weasals Ripped My Flesh and We’re Only In It For The Money.

He also appeared in Zappa’s films 200 Motels, Video From Hell and Uncle Meat.

After the demise of The Mothers Sherwood occasionally got together with other ex-Mothers and performed as The Grandmothers.

Shewood and Frank Zappa were childhood friends. They met in 1956. Jim was in the same class at school with Frank’s brother Bobby Zappa. Jim and Frank first played together in 1964 in Zappa’s very first band The Blackouts.

He joined the Mothers of Invention initially as a roadie and contributed sound effects to the first album ‘Freak Out’ in 1966. In 1967 he became a full-time member of the band.

Jim’s nickname was Motorhead, named because he was always repairing old cars, trucks and motorbikes.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Releases by Veteran Artists for December 27, 2011

The full list of new albums by veteran artists is after the cut.