Friday, October 31, 2008

Vinyl Record News

Vinyl 180 launches vinyl productline for Dead Can Dance, Bauhaus and the Cocteau Twins

4AD is collaborating with Vinyl 180, a relatively new company dedicated to reissuing classic records (remastered from their original analogue tapes) pressing them up on 180g audiophile quality vinyl with high quality artwork. Among other 4AD reissues they're planning, the company so far released the self titled debut album from Dead Can Dance (released as a single album or as a limited edition double vinyl package which features the " Garden of the Arcane Delights" EP pressed on clear vinyl), Cocteau Twins' classic second album "Head Over Heels" (as a single album and as a limited double vinyl edition including the "Sunburst and Snowblind" EP pressed on dark violet vinyl) and Bauhaus' 1980 debut album "In The Flat Field" on both a single disc and a two disc version (which also includes the 4AD EP from 1983 pressed on white vinyl).

The Dead Can Dance re-issues will continue with "Spleen and Ideal" early in 2009. Future releases include more from the Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, plus albums by The Cult and The Fall since Vinyl 180 is also working with the Beggars Banquet label. Out already are Tubeway Army's "Replicas" and Gary Numan's "The pleasure principle". More info at .


The Drones Tour with Band of Horses, Release Vinyl

Australian band The Drones have been bringing their brand of multi-faceted blues-based psych-rock to us for years with acclaimed albums like "Here Come the Lies," "Wait Long by the River" and their 2006 release "Gala Mill."

In celebration of their upcoming US tour with Band of Horses, The Drones will be the first band to kick off ATP Recordings' new series of double 7" vinyl called Custom Made. Custom Made invites artists to submit 4 songs which will be released on limited edition 7" and also made available as a digital download.

Photo Credit: Daniel Campbell

For each Custom Made 7" the bands choose: something old (an old song), something new (a song from their latest album), something borrowed (a cover) and something blue (a blues song, the word blue in the title, anything...)

The vinyl is limited to just 1,000 pieces, and 100 of them will be special edition silk screened printed covers, numbered and signed by the sleeve designer.
The Drones: Custom Made will be out on November 5th and will include the following tracks:

Side A. Something Old - "Cockeyed Lowlife of the Highlands" (New recording of this old song)
Side B. Something New - "I Don't Ever Want to Change" (taken from the album Gala Mill)
Side C. Something Borrowed - "I Drink" (originally by Charles Aznavour)
Side D. Something Blue - "Shark Fin Blues" (taken from the album Wait Long By the River.)

Musicians Against Air Travel: Randy Rhoads

So the other day I was listening to a classic: Blizzard of Ozz by Ozzy Osbourne, and I was reminded that the virtuoso guitar player Randy Rhoads died tragically in a plane crash back in 1982.

Now, I know Randy Rhoads has fallen into obscurity by 2008, but this young musician was truly poised to make a huge impact on 1980's heavy metal...if he hadn't died in a totally stupid plane crash.

Apparently scared of flying, Randy Rhoads somehow ended up on a small plane with a few other people, and a pilot who was either high on cocaine or had used it in the recent past. The pilot apparently flew the plane close to a tour bus where the rest of Ozzy's band were sleeping. After doing this a few times, and going back for another run, the plane hit the bus causing it to crash, killing everyone on board.

Randy Rhoads was only 25 when he died, and yet in his short life, he was able to secure his place in rock history. Born in 1956, Randy started playing guitar at age 7. He learned guitar by playing folk music, but his style of lead guitar playing also shows a heavy influence of classical guitar. Most notable is the song "Dee" (Also on Blizzard of Ozz), which Randy named after his mother. At age 14, Randy Rhoads formed the band that would eventually become Quiet Riot. Playing around the LA area, Quiet Riot never achieved much success, and was never signed to a record label in the US. However, CBS/Sony did sign them, and released two albums in Japan in the late 1970's.

In 1979, Randy Rhoads' name was passed on to Ozzy Osbourne who was putting together a new band after being fired from Black Sabbath. Ozzy reportedly hired Randy Rhoads while he was still warming up for his audition with Ozzy. What followed were two of the greatest heavy metal albums ever recorded: Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman. Shortly before his death, Randy Rhoads had expressed interest in retiring from rock music temporarily to pursue a degree in classical guitar. Sadly, he never was able to pursue that musical path.

Randy Rhoads' legacy lives on, especially amongst heavy metal guitarists. Randy's guitar playing is shreddy, skilled, and technical. The Crazy Train riff is classic. He is #4 on Guitar World's list of greatest heavy metal guitarists. It is so sad that a musician with such talent and technique had such a short life. If he had lived, it is no doubt that Randy Rhoads could have influenced so many more people on a much deeper level. However, what Randy Rhoads left behind is something to celebrate. Pick up a copy of Ozzy's Blizzard of Ozz or Diary of a Madman to hear the amazing musical talent of this amazing guitar player. Ozzy's album "Tribute" also features several live performances, and is essential listening for any lover of great guitar playing.

Randy Rhoads: 1956-1982. RIP. We miss you.

I want to thank my vinyl friend Alan Bayer for this great material!

Author Alan E Bayer is a jazz lover and vinyl record enthusiast who operates, a site where one can find collectible vinyl records, turntables and vinyl accessories. Enjoy the site, and enjoy the sound of music on vinyl.

Classic Rock Videos

The Birth of Rock N Roll Chuck Berry Lil Richard, Bo Diddley

Eagle Valley Music celebrates 25 years

I love stories about independent record stores and here is another great look into this aspect of the wonderful world of music. Record stores are a social phenomenon and it is up to us (as consumers) to keep shopping there and help these retailers stay open

Vail store working hard to change with the times

Written by Scott N. Miller

Vail, CO, Colorado

VAIL — Vinyl was king when Tom Robbins took over Eagle Valley Music in 1983. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was at the top of the charts.

A quarter-century later, in the post-CD era, vinyl is making a comeback, at least for some audio purists.

“We’ll get 10 or 15 copies (in vinyl) with just about every new release,” Robbins said. “But it’s not like it was.”

Robbins, a 1982 graduate of Battle Mountain High School, had already worked at Eagle Valley Music for a few years when his family bought the store, then located in the old Crossroads shopping center on Meadow Drive.

The family, but mostly Robbins and his mom, Jeannie, have seen the music business evolve dramatically from what may have been the industry’s high-water mark in the 1980s and ‘90s. Then, cassette, CD and vinyl record sales dominated. Numerous bands could sell out halls the size of the current Pepsi Center in Denver, and several could pack a joint the size of Mile High Stadium.

Then the bottom fell out.

Robbins believes the decline started about the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. About that time began the rise of digital music. Between the iPod and music-sharing services like the first generation of Napster — which was free — CD sales plummeted.

So Robbins adapted to the times. Selling fewer CDs, he added items including T-shirts, DVDs and novelties.

Still, Eagle Valley Music is packed with CDs both popular and offbeat. And Robbins is fighting the good fight in the face of iTunes and Amazon.

Robbins claims he’s cheaper than Amazon much of the time, especially for customers who have to pay the Internet retailer for shipping. And, of course, a customer can walk out of the store with a CD or comic and take it home right away.

“Amazon isn’t very quick sometimes.”

It’s about impossible to compete with the immediacy of iTunes. But, Robbins said, iTunes shoppers don’t get everything artists put into their songs.

“The thing about music downloads is a lot of people don’t like the decrease in sound quality,” Robbins said. “It sounds really clipped.”

When Eagle Valley Music moved out of Crossroads and into a storefront next to the Sandbar in West Vail a couple of summers ago, the hours changed. These days, Robbins will be in the store until midnight most nights. He does it for reasons other than catching the bar crowd, although that’s certainly a big part of the idea.

“People like to come in and hang out,” Robbins said. “They enjoy coming in to talk about music or comics.”

And, Robbins said, he’s got a core of loyal customers. Some are in once a week, or more.

Tom Mumpower is one of those regulars. With a kid of his own at home, Mumpower’s buying habits have shifted away from music he enjoys to buying “High School Musical” and other tweener hits.

“I’ve been coming for the last 20 years,” Mumpower said. “I’ve got to support Tom and his mom.”

And Robbins plans to soldier on in his West Vail store.

“We’ll continue to find other products,” he said. “And we’ll make up ground with our hours and customer service.”


I want to thank the publication for allowing me to post this- Reprinted By Permission

Thursday, October 30, 2008

AC/DC 'Overwhelmed' By Huge Worldwide Album Sales

That have seen band storm charts...

by Jason Gregory

AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson has said the band is “overwhelmed” by the success of their new album 'Black Ice'.

The record, which was released last week, is already number one in 29 countries, including the UK, US and Canada.

It is the second fastest selling album of the year in America, shifting 780,000 copies in just six days.

Johnson told the BBC: "It's overwhelming, and quite hard to take in. Even an old dog like me has a few more surprises in life, I guess."

All the more remarkable about the band's latest chart success is that 'Black Ice' is only available on CD and vinyl.

AC/DC have refrained from allowing fans to download their music in a bid to ensure their albums are purchased as a complete package.


Album Cover Art Stories

I again would like to thank Michael Goldstein over at for his wonderful insights and this behind the scenes look at a classic album cover:

Cover Story - The Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street", with artwork by John Van Hamersveld

Cover Story for April 25, 2008

Subject: Exile on Main Street, a 1972 release (on Atlantic Records) by The Rolling Stones, with cover artwork & design by John Van Hamersveld

When the Rolling Stones released Exile on Main Street in 1972 - a double album of songs representing the many different genres of music that shaped Stones music at the time - fans and critics found themselves having to spend a lot of time trying to “get it”. It required a number of listens to gain an appreciation of what, on the surface, often seemed to be a collection of studio out-takes and Richards/Taylor/Watts jams than a freshly-recorded musical offering.

Many critics of the era failed to appreciate the Stones’ explorations of R&B, Soul, Country and roots Rock that were spread over the 4 album sides. In fact, the record was comprised of a series of recordings done during the previous four years and, as such, they featured a variety of mixes (some better than others) and showed the band building on top of these influences in their own inimitable style to the point that, now over 35 years later, the package is considered by many to be the band’s most-authentic offering. It is always listed near the top of most of the “Best Of” and “Greatest” lists (#7 on the Rolling Stone Magazine 2003 list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, #22 on VH-1’s survey, and even impressed the younger generation enough to be ranked #11 on Pitchfork’s 2003 list of Best Albums of the 1970s).

In a similar fashion, when the buying public took their first look at the design and imagery of the sprawling record cover, most people admitted that they didn’t “get it”. Having just soaked in Warhol’s ultimately-iconic "cover with a zipper" for Sticky Fingers, fans should have been ready for anything, but John Van Hamersveld’s designs seemed to confound them, asking them to digest a rough, anti-establishment, punk-before-there-was-punk collage of images that may have, initially, combined with the unfamiliar musical stylings to impact sales (don’t worry, as the record was supported by the now-famous 1972 American concert tour and songs such as “Happy” and “Tumbling Dice” got some significant radio play, the record went on to top the charts in the U.S. and the U.K.).

And so when Van Hamersveld, who’d established his industry cred via his poster and package designs for Hendrix, The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour), Jefferson Airplane (Crown of Creation) and others, was approached by the Rolling Stones (who were in a studio in LA putting the finishing touches on this new album) to work on the graphics and packaging for a songbook project the band wanted to release, he joined in on an interesting series of events on the day of their initial meeting had a profound impact on the course of album art history. And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, on center stage, here’s today’s Cover Story…

In the words of the artist, John Van Hamersveld (interviewed in March 2008, with additional text provided* and used with his permission) -

I had been a multimedia artist and rock promoter during my Pinnacle Rock Concerts in the 60's and I was returning from the Kings Road Scene in London to LAX in 1971 in an effort to use my music business promotions experience to connect with Hollywood again. One day, from the new Chapman Park Studio Building on 6th Street in Los Angeles, I left to meet with a friend who would introduce me to Norman Seeff, the art director and photographer for United Artists and Blue Note Records.

Norman was an art director and photographer of personalities and had worked as the photographer for Bob Dylan's The Band package with Bob Cato, the famous art director for Columbia Records. I had skills that I had developed in art school and I could apply them to this medium. I could draw, do typography, illustrations and could combine design with photography. I also had printing and publishing experience from my famous rock posters of the 60's. After the meeting, Norman and I started a creative relationship built around packaging albums.

Norman had 65 projects to package over the first year, so he and I created an artistic design process for the packaging of music and band identities. We became a design team that worked hard to lead the industry by creating a professional style that was envied by all the major labels. After each release of record packages to retail, other companies began to follow our UA style.

One day Norman and I met the Rolling Stones here in Hollywood. A beautiful girlfriend I had met earlier on “the scene” in London – Chris Odell - was now Mick Jagger's personal assistant, and so in early 1972, The Rolling Stones approached Norman and I to work on the design of a songbook with photographs for Warner Brothers. At this stage, I don’t know that I will be packaging Exile On Main Street. The Stones are in Los Angeles at Sunset Sound studios, finishing the record. Our first meeting was set to be in Bel Air, where they were staying.

As I drive to the meeting, I think about the times I am a captive to Jagger's enigmatic voice on the car radio, clarifying themes of the day with his lyrics, as if they were an advertising slogan for today's lifestyle. His words strike like an axe to my forehead. The Bel Air mansion where the Stones are living is a sumptuous Mediterranean-style villa, surrounded by lush foliage, and soon I am standing on a Persian rug, looking into the eyes of Jagger. He extends his pale, soft hand – limp from a life of wealth, decadence, and privilege.

The rest are talking at the large dining table. We greet each other and sit down in a seating plan orchestrated by Jagger. I am directed to sit next to Mick, and Marshall Chess (son of Leonard Chess of Chess Records and President of Rolling Stones Records) stands on the left. Norman is taking pictures of the band, and Keith is sitting on the couch across from me. He is looking at me in his mirrored sunglasses while smoking a joint. He looks so healthy, handsome and rested.

Then, to my surprise, Robert Frank (the photographer and film-maker well known for his late 1950's book The Americans, with a foreword by Jack Kerouac) walks into the room with a small Super 8mm Canon camera. Jagger and I smile. "This is a very hip day," I say to myself. I knew Robert from a meeting in New York in 1968. He takes Jagger to downtown Los Angeles to film him on the seedy parts of Main Street later in the day. Norman and I leave after the shooting to edit his photographs.

At the request of Marshall Chess, Norman and I arrive for a second day of meetings. We walk through the living room of the villa down to the far wall into the dining room where Mick and Keith are waiting with Marshall. As Marshall starts the meeting, Norman hands another album cover by another designer to him. The cover is passed to Jagger for approval. He rejects it. Marshall then hands me a Robert Frank front photo collage across to me. The tattoo-parlor-wall cover image is from Robert's photo documentary “The Americans”. Mick, on my right, looks on for both of us to agree, so I nod. This then becomes the famous photo-composition for the Exile On Main St. album cover. As the meeting progresses, the other pieces of the package are handed to me.

During the meeting, Marshall asks me what we will do with Norman's photos, given that Frank's are the agreed ones for the cover. Marshall has Norman's images from the late night photo shoot. They are the sequences where Keith arrives at the very last minute for the shoot. Everyone had been waiting for him to show, and then he arrives with his pants hanging off his butt. With Keith's arrival, the group is now ready to go on with Norman's session ("This is a one-time shot!" someone says). Lights, smoke, and confetti is readied, it all begins and a sequence is attempted but then, by accident, Keith began to fall all over the set, creating a disaster. All else fails and our budget has now been used up.

Suddenly Keith says from across the edge of the table, "Make some postcards," showing us with his hands an accordion-folded-style collection of postcards. He then proceeds to almost lose his balance and fall over onto the rug. I say to Mick, "Let's take that as an idea and do it." He agrees and Marshall says, "Done". Marshall and Jagger hand me a stack of photos made by Frank over the weekend. I leave with the visual “ingredients” and arrive back my place at the Chapman Park Studio Building.

In my studio, I play the song 'Sympathy For The Devil' and I think about how to design, in a "Beat style", the concept of a “pop art” package. I have to make it so it will work as an image in a competitive market place. I envisage the package as a painter's fine art print. I had been using various kinds of mediums like brushed inks, crayons, markers, paint and airbrush tools with complicated layered stripping and printing tricks to gain the effects I needed, but in this case I need just the basics - drafting tape and ripped paper.

I select the pictures from the ones Frank took. After our meeting, I organize the images as per Jagger's instructions while Marshall looks on. I am able to step back as an artist and see the opportunity in front of me. Jagger is really a pop artist, too. With all the images in place, I'm satisfied with my work. Upon the label’s approval, Exile will soon hit the streets.

The last step of the approval process stopped at Ahmet Ertegun’s office at Atlantic Records. He was the label’s ultimate authority and so when this kind of art and esthetic made it past his eyes, I knew that all would be okay. In the eyes of the many in the industry, they were all shocked by the ugly, rough, tuff, beat look of the package and that it was not funny or real humorous (to anyone but a Johnny Rotten).

So, as the result of Jagger and I sitting side by side in 1972 at our meeting, my arrangement of materials that would go beyond Frank’s photo style, creating an identity that would becomes the basis of the PUNK FASHION MOVEMENT. To the spectators, critics, and others in the Establishment, I had made a package that was not glamorous. It was not a friendly image to put on display in the record stores, but it was THAT image that established the anti-establishment look of PUNK. It took years to recover from the cover’s graphic statement, with new generations of punks exploiting the graphic concept to this day - still ripping and tearing and drawing all over things with their own graffiti.

The album cover art images from the past, as part of our culture, were styled for fashion and archetype. In 1984, my friend John Lydon said to me "The Stones’ Exile package set the image of punk in 1975 - we used that graphic feel to communicate our message graphically".

In the 70's, I do feel that 12x12 album covers were an all-inclusive image of cultural style in the visual fashion of the sixties and the seventies. I was, therefore, a well-known designer of cultural images which were created as reflections of that culture. These were then watched closely by other design teams and designers who copied me their pursuit to find new images. Today more than 100,000 artists are using a "Ripping and Tearing" style and graffiti in their work.

At least Johnny was nice enough to explain what his intention was then…JVH

About the artist - John Van Hamersveld -

John (b. 1941, Baltimore, MD) is an artist and designer who’s responsible for an enormous catalog of well-known music industry and pop culture-related images. From his early works on the promo poster for the soundtrack for 1966’s ground-breaking surf-culture movie The Endless Summer and his cover work for The Beatles (Magical Mystery Tour) and Jefferson Airplane (Crown of Creation), to his iconic 70’s covers for the Rolling Stones (Exile on Main Street), The Grateful Dead (Skeletons from the Closet), KISS (Hotter than Hell), and Steve Miller (The Joker and Fly Like an Eagle), and then on to his imagery that helped introduce the world to Punk Fashion, such as the cover for Blondie’s Eat to the Beat and Autoamerica and John Lydon’s post-Pistols solo efforts (This Is What You Want, This is What You Get), Van Hamersveld’s images set the path that the rest of the industry followed for style and substance.

His recent posters and graphics for the Cream Reunions in New York and London have been fan and collector favorites, and who but JVH could have so appropriately designed Led Zeppelin’s recent Mothership package?

Van Hamersveld also created the famous "grinning Johnny" image in 1969, a version of which is said to have been the inspiration for John Pasche’s designs for the Rolling Stones' “Lips & Tongue” logo.

To learn more about John and visit his site, please follow this link –

To see more of John’s works in the RockPoP Gallery collection, please follow this link –

To see all of the Rolling Stones-related items in the RockPoP Gallery collection please click on this link –

*Adapted from the JVH interview found in book by Genesis Publications, titled EXILE: The making of EXILE ON MAIN ST. by Robert Greenfield. Copies of this book are available from the publisher on their web site at

All images featured in this Cover Story are Copyright 1972 and 2008, John Van Hamersveld - All rights reserved. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2008 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved.

New Vinyl Stamp Under Consideration

As many of you know, Gary Freiberg, founder of Vinyl Record Day ( has asked the US Postal Service to consider using classic album cover art and vinyl records for consideration for a stamp series. I spoke with Gary today and the news is encouraging; although many more details have yet to be ironed out. Here is the reply from the Committee:

Hi Gary,

Actually, the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee had their meeting last week.

I am pleased to inform you that "Vinyl Record" has been placed under consideration by the Committee for possible future stamp issuance. This is very notable, considering we receive approximately 50,000 letters for stamp subjects each year. Also, a limited number of these stamp subjects (generally 25-30) are chosen for each yearly stamp program.


Stamp Development Specialist

Queen to Reissue Classic Lps

Queen have announced that they will re-release all of their studio albums on vinyl over the next two years.

The album packaging will feature original album details as well as bonus posters and pictures. This will be the first time all of Queen's albums will be available on vinyl.

The Hollywood Records re-releases will span the band's career, from their 1973 debut self-titled album with singer Freddie Mercury to 2008's 'Cosmos Rocks', featuring Paul Rodgers on vocals.

Hollywood Records will release a new "wave" of records every six months. “The First Wave” consists of 'A Night At The Opera', 'A Day At the Races', 'Sheer Heart Attack', 'Queen' and 'The Cosmos Rocks'.

“The Second Wave” will be available in spring 2009 and includes an edition of the rare gold-foil stamped 'Queen' album, 'Flash Gordon', 'News Of The World', 'A Kind of Magic' and 'Innuendo'.


Circle Jerks Vinyl and Digital

(PR) The Circle Jerks have just released two special vinyl products that will interest both fans and collectors. itunes has also just posted a ton of the Circle Jerks back catalog so you can finally complete your collection and fill your ipod up, check the itunes store today and avail yourself to the bands recorded history in the worlds most popular format.

In a first for the band, a 12" vinyl picture disc has been released on Porterhouse Records of the bands debut album "Group Sex". This will be a collectors item to be sure. In fact an extremely limited group of the initial pressing have been autographed by the surviving original band members Keith Morris, Greg Hetson and Lucky Lehrer. The signed copies are available exclusively through Aural Exploits so check their online store at

The band has also releasing limited edition colored vinyl of the "Group Sex" L.P. The run included various colors including pink, clear and clear blue. The skinny on the blue vinyl is that it will be exclusively available through retailer Hot Topic while pink and clear will be in mom and pop stores. Red and yellow clear vinyl will be available in the new year, so check for availability or to order online.

Classic Rock Videos

The Birth of Rock N Roll; Elvis, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry Etc

This Date In Music History- October 30


Happy birthday to The Fonz, Henry Winkler, who was born in 1945.

Anthrax vocalist, Joey Belladonna has a birthday (1960). He joins in ‘84 and is with the group during its prime.

Grace Victoria Wing, a.k.a. Grace Slick (of Jefferson Airplane), was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1939.

Otis Williams of the Temptations ("My Girl") turns 67.

Born on this day in 1939, Eddie Holland (Holland/Dozier/Holland), producer, songwriter, wrote Motown hits for Supremes, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Martha & The Vandellas, Freda Payne, Chairmen Of The Board.

Timothy B. Schmit, singer with the Eagles and Poco, was born in 1947.

Bush's Gavin Rossdale was born in London in 1967.

Jim Messina (Poco) celebrates a birthday today (1947).


Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' receives its 26th platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2000, representing 26 million copies sold in the U.S. It remains the second best-selling album in music history.

In 1970, The Doors' Jim Morrison was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $500 for exposing himself during a concert in Miami. The case would still be on appeal when he died on July 3rd, 1971.

Melbourne, Australia's Men At Work had the number one song in the US in 1982 with "Who Can It Be Now?" They would follow with three more Top 10 hits, "Down Under" (#1), "Overkill" (#3) and "It's A Mistake" (#6)

The Crystals release their single "Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby" in 1961. The No. 20 hit is the first release on the Philles label, run by producer Phil Spector.

In 1971, John Lennon had the number one album in both Great Britain and The United States with "Imagine". The album contained two tracks attacking Paul McCartney, 'How Do You Sleep' and 'Crippled Inside.' It would be John's only solo LP to sell a million copies and his most popular album until "Double Fantasy" which went to number one shortly after his assassination on December 8, 1980.

John Lennon released the album "Mind Games" in 1973.

Elvis Presley began work on his Gospel album "His Hand In Mine," in Nashville in 1960.

Roy Orbison was awarded his ninth gold record in 1964 for "Oh! Pretty Woman," which will stay on the charts for 15 weeks.

Elton John gives a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II in 1972, making him the first Rock 'n' Roller to be asked to appear in a royal variety performance since the Beatles did it in November 1963.

Jam Master Jay from Run-DMC was murdered by an assassin's single bullet in 2002 at his recording studio in Queens, New York.

The animated cartoon, Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, was shown on NBC-TV in the U.S. in 1978. The four rock stars had to deal with a mad scientist who went crazy in an amusement park. All four members of Kiss had just released their individual solo albums.

Pink Floyd and the Sopwith Camel performed at San Francisco's Fillmore in 1967 in a benefit for the radio station KPFA. The same day they appear on The Pat Boone Show. Madcap singer Syd Barrett refuses to answer Pat's questions during the program.

Linda Stein, former co-manager of punk band The Ramones, was found beaten to death at her Manhattan apartment in 2007. Mrs. Stein was the ex-wife of Seymour Stein, former president of Sire Records, which was the launching pad for the Ramones, Talking Heads and Madonna.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It’s thrive or die for Criminal Records, Earwax Records and Atlanta’s mom and pop shops

By Chad Radford

Just a few hours before the annual Halloween parade descended upon Little Five Points on Saturday, Oct. 18, independent record store owner Eric Levin stood on the sidewalk at 1154-A Euclid Ave., swaying from side-to-side, giddy with excitement. Overhead, local artist R. Land stood atop a tall ladder, drilling screws into a temporary sign with a primitive green and yellow lizard-monster spitting out the words "Criminal Records."

It was the day after opening day at Criminal's new location, one-tenth of a mile from its former digs between Junkman's Daughter and Aurora Coffee. Inside, employees scrambled between partially assembled shelves carrying stacks of CDs and working to make the place look presentable. An air of excitement filled the room, and in the periphery the first few intrepid customers cautiously checked things out.

Unless you've been living under a rock for several years, it's no secret that Criminal's move is a potential catastrophe. The economy is bad, unemployment is high and free music is just a mouse click away. But Levin, who also heads the Alliance of Independent Media Stores and founded the annual Record Store Day, doesn't show any signs of concern over the financial doom and gloom on everyone's mind.

To read the rest of the article:

Classic Rock Videos

Top 30 best rock songs of the 50's

Vinyl Record News & Releases:


Metallica’s …And Justice For All will be reissued on vinyl on December 1st. The album is the latest in the band’s plan to re-release their entire catalog on vinyl.

Available October 28th on vinyl:

Bloc Party - Intimacy CD/LP+MP3 (Atlantic)
Indie store exclusive — enhanced CD featuring bonus tracks! Bloc Party’s third album is a thrillingly radical record, bristling with percussive innovation, scorching riffs, orchestral sampledelia and biting emotional candor. Vinyl includes MP3 download.

Cradle Of Filth - Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder CD/2xCD/LP (Roadrunner)
Chronicles the story of the world’s first serial killer, French nobleman and soldier Gilles De Rais. Like they had done with the story of Elizabeth Bathory, Cradle Of Filth weave a tale of murder, the occult, and sinister deed around their trademark metal sound. Fueled by breakneck speed, crushing guitars, and haunting vocals, the band has delivered their hardest most aggressive and chilling piece yet. Deluxe edition includes a ten-track bonus disc featuring demos, live tracks and remixes.

Deerhunter - Microcastle CD/LP Coming Soon… (Kranky)
Highly anticipated follow-up to 2007’s Cryptograms album which launched the band into the stratosphere of hype. Features the song “Saved By Old Times,” which includes a vocal collage by Cole Alexander of The Black Lips.

Dreamend - Long Forgotten CD/LP (Graveface)
Songs loosely based on stories and memories of a relative from the far past. Music to listen to while driving through abandoned cities and ghost towns. Banjo and vocals are at the foreground of the landscape, drumming is minimal and guitars are the ghosts. Packaged in a chipboard gatefold sleeve with a twelve-page booklet of photos by Christy Romanick. Gatefold vinyl package features a pop-up book and includes four extra songs.

Kaiser Chiefs - Off With Their Heads CD/LP (Motown)
Off With Their Heads could/should be described as being the first “proper” Kaiser Chiefs album with a solid base on which is constructed a series of tracks which come together as an altogether less frenetic and more cohesive piece of work than previous outings and is almost certainly the better for it. Produced by Mark Ronson and Eliot James and mixed by Andy Wallace (Nirvana, LCD Soundsystem, Run DMC). Includes the single “Never Miss A Beat.”

Kottonmouth Kings - The Green Album CD/2xLP (Suburban Noize)
The Green Album is the tenth studio full length from one of independent music’s most resilient and tested groups. They will be donating a portion of the proceeds to environmental causes.

John Legend - Evolver CD/CD+DVD/2xLP+MP3 (Sony)
Guest performers include Kanye West, Andre 3000 and Estelle. Deluxe edition includes DVD. HQ-180 double vinyl includes MP3 download.

Queen + Paul Rogers - The Cosmos Rocks CD/2xLP (Hollywood)
Tracks on the new Queen + Paul Rodgers album are all newly written by May, Taylor and Rodgers. Includes “Say It’s Not True,” previously released at the end of 2007 by Queen + Paul Rodgers as a special World AIDS Day download for Nelson Mandela’s 46664 HIV AIDS charity, plus a “first” for a Queen album — a cover version.

Snow Patrol - A Hundred Million Suns CD/CD+DVD/Vinyl+MP3 (Geffen)
Deluxe edition features a bonus DVD. “I’m so proud of this record. Everybody played out of their skin. Garret “Jacknife” Lee (U2, Bloc Party, R.E.M.) continued his progression from maverick genius to one of the best producers in the world. Musically, lyrically and sonically the best record we’ve made.” — Gary Lightbody (vocals/guitars). Also available as a limited edition double white vinyl with download card.

Squarepusher - Just A Souvenir CD/LP (Warp)
Vinyl package includes a six panel foldout poster. “Just A Souvenir is more in the realms of experimental rock and future jazz, with a touch of electronic treatment and a few very tasteful drills. Jenkinson continues evolving (as a true musician should) in his experimentation with abstract accompaniment of acoustic instruments (mostly his custom-built six string bass guitar once again) and drums that effortlessly morph between organic and digital.” — Gridface

The Band - Music From Big Pink LP
The Clash - Live At Shea Stadium 2xLP
Metallica - …And Justice For All 2xLP
Sun Ra - Sound Of Joy LP
Slayer - The Haunting Chapel LP
Slayer - Hell Awaits LP
Slayer - Live Undead LP
Slayer - Show No Mercy LP
…Trail of Dead – Festival Thyme (10” Picture Disc

Vinyl Record and Music Memorabilia Collection

Ran across this online and thought some of the blog readers would be interested. Sounds like there are many rare and collectible pieces of vinyl to be had!

"I am selling my entire music collection. It consists of over 100,000 vinyl records, most of which are VG+ or better, thousands are rare and valuable collectors items and there are even many one of a kind records. I am also including 40 displays I put together for Rhythm City Casino in Davenport, Iowa that are valued at over $1 million, as well as several jukeboxes, sheet music, old music players, radios, victrolas, wax cylinder records, autographs, yearbooks and much much more. It has taken me 35 years to put together this one of a kind collection. Please visit my website to read more about the sale and everything that's included."

Warner Brothers Records to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Warner Brothers Records has announced that they will celebrate their 50th anniversary with the December 9 release of the book Revolutions in Sound. The book is authored by music historian and educator Warren Zanes. The 240-page hardcover book will contain exclusive interviews, never-before-seen photographs and insider accounts on the hits.

The book will also come with a USB flash drive with 320 recordings from the Warner Brothers, Reprise, Sire and other affiliated labels that reflects the diversity of the company's output. The drive, shaped like the Warner Brothers logo, holds the equivalent of a 20-CD set.

Per the press release:

Ranging from Jimi Hendrix to My Chemical Romance, the Grateful Dead to Madonna, Fleetwood Mac to Frank Sinatra, Tab Hunter to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the who's who of the label's roster reflects an unequalled cross section of cultural history and some of today's most important artists. Other notable artists associated with the company's rise and continuing industry leadership are Green Day, Van Halen, Michael Bublé, Regina Spektor, The White Stripes, Cher, Curtis Mayfield, Ramones, REM, Faith Hill, Alanis Morrisette, Randy Newman, Funkadelic, Seal, Big & Rich, Alanis Morrisette, Linkin Park, Josh Groban, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton and hundreds of others, many of whom have come to be known as household names over the course of fifty years and whom have continued Warner Bros. success as the industry's No. 1 label in the U.S. for two of the last three years.

Tom Whalley, Chairman of Warner Bros. Records, commented, "The company's 50th anniversary presents us with a singular opportunity to celebrate one of the richest and most storied traditions in the music business. It's a chance for us to reflect on the company's abiding belief in creative freedom and artistic self-determination."

Also on tap for the label in the coming months:

A deluxe box set comprised of ten CDs packaged with an accompanying booklet derived from Zanes' research.
A release of the book as a standalone title by Chronicle Books.
A special album, scheduled February, with classic Warner Brothers songs performed by modern Warner artists.

How to Clean Vinyl Records: 2 Methods

Another great article by Alan Bayer at

How to Clean Vinyl Records: 2 Methods

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Vinyl records are high maintenance. They're like the hot, high maintenance girlfriend (or boyfriend) who takes two hours to get ready to go out. Of course, when they're ready, they look good. In the case of vinyl, they sound amazing, but they take a little extra work to get there. Part of this maintenance is keeping them clean. Here is how to do it:

Before and After listening to a record...

First of all, before listening to a record (and after), give it a quick once-over with a carbon fiber brush designed for records. These brushes are great for removing small particles of dust and lint. They also de-staticize the record, reducing the chance that the record will attract more dust and lint. Most of the time, this is all you'll have to do to keep your records in great shape. If you're noticing that a record is popping and hissing a lot, a quick brush will clean up the sound considerably.

Giving the records a more thorough cleaning...

After listening to a record several times, it will probably get dirty. When your records get dirty, it's a good idea to clean them. Cleaning records doesn't have to be done very often if you treat your records with care, but it's not a bad idea once a year if you listen to a record more than a few times in that year. When you clean a record, the goal is to remove grease, dirt and other contaminants.

To do it properly, you have to use some sort of cleaner. There are many products on the market that are designed for cleaning records. If you want to clean your records on the cheap, you can make your own cleaning solution with some distilled water and isopropyl alcohol.

Here's what you do: Mix up one part 90%+ isopropyl alcohol and four parts distilled water. Add 5-6 drops of dishwashing (non-moisturizing) soap to the mixture. Next, apply the solution to a clean paper towel or record cleaning pad. Do not use your "dry" brush for this! Stroke the paper towel around the records, moving with the grooves. Sometimes it is helpful to use a back and forth motion. Repeat if necessary. Next, rinse the record with more distilled water. Dry with a clean towel. Let the record sit out for at least a few hours to ensure that it has dried completely. Just set the record on a clean towel, vertically leaning against something. After the record has dried, place it in a brand new paper or plastic sleeve, and put it back in its cover. Paper sleeves can be purchased on the internet and eBay, as well as in local record and audio shops.

Using a machine to clean your vinyl...

If you're a baller, you can always buy a Nitty Gritty (or similar device), which is a machine that sucks dust off your records. This system works very well, is very easy, and will help you clean a large vinyl collection. These machines are pretty expensive, but worth it if you have a large collection and listen to a lot of music.

Most of these devices have a platter that you place your record on. Put the record on the platter, and get it spinning (Some machines are motorized, others are manual). Apply some cleaning solution to either the machine's brush (If it has one), or to your own (again, never use your "dry" brush for this!) Add a few drops to the record too. As the record is spinning, hold the brush directly on the record, allowing it to pass several times. Don't use too much pressure. After the surface of the record has been brushed, push the vacuum opening over the surface of the record, and turn it on. Let the vacuum suck the debris off the record for a minute or so. To do the other side, make sure the platter is clean before putting the clean side of the record on it. Repeat for the second side.

Once you have cleaned both sides, let the record air out for awhile. It's true that the solution evaporates quickly, and the vacuum gets most of the moisture off the record, it's still a good idea to let it dry for maybe a half hour or so before you put the record back in a sleeve or play it.

Once it's dry, put it in a brand new paper or plastic sleeve, and return it to its cover. Easy, right?

Keeping your records clean will give you plenty of years of listening enjoyment. In addition, when they start to sound bad, you can just give them a quick wash, and they're back to like new. Enjoy the music!

Author Alan E Bayer is a jazz lover and vinyl record enthusiast who operates, a site where one can find collectible vinyl records, turntables and vinyl accessories. Enjoy the site, and enjoy the sound of music on vinyl.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tell Me It Ain't So

Led Zeppelin looking to tour without Plant: report

LONDON (Reuters) – Rockers Led Zeppelin are looking at the possibility of touring and recording without frontman Robert Plant, who has resisted pressure to reunite with his former bandmates, the BBC reported.

The band, which sold an estimated 300 million albums and is considered one of the most influential in rock music, briefly re-grouped for a one-off charity concert in London in December, 2007, leading to calls from fans for a full reunion tour.

Guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist/instrumentalist John Paul Jones are both understood to be keen to return to the stage, as is drummer Jason Bonham, the son of original member John who died in 1980, reportedly after a bout of heavy drinking.

But Plant, who has forged the most successful solo career of the surviving band members, has always appeared reluctant and last month issued a terse statement confirming his intentions. "Contrary to a spate of recent reports, Robert Plant will not be touring or recording with Led Zeppelin," he said.

Jones told the BBC's Radio Devon that the band had already tried out possible replacements for Plant.

"We want to do it. It's sounding great and we want to get on and get out there," he said at a guitar show in Exeter, southwest England.

"It's got to be right. There's no point in just finding another Robert. You could get that out of a tribute band, but we don't want to be our own tribute band," he added.

Jones said Led Zeppelin, which broke up in 1980, planned a tour and a new record.

Other big pop acts have re-formed with new performers brought in, most notably Queen which has been working with Paul Rodgers on lead vocals in recent years replacing Freddie Mercury who died in 1991.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

This is wrong, Plant is the voice of led Zeppelin and cannot ever be replaced. I would certainly not buy a ticket.

Classic Rock Videos

Brenda Lee I'm Sorry & All Alone Am I

Songwriter's Hall of Fame Announce 2008 Nominees

The Songwriter's Hall of Fame has announced their nominees for their 2008 induction. Members of the society have until November 12 to submit their ballots, after which the new inductees will be announced.

The Hall breaks the nominees into two categories, Non-Performing Songwriters and Performer/Songwriters, although we'll be the first to admit it's not clear how the nominees are broken out as artists like Boyce and Hart and Joe South certainly were/are performers.

The nominees in Non-Performing Songwriters:

Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart (Come a Little Bit Closer, Last Train to Clarksville, I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight)
Roger Cook & Roger Greenaway (I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, You've Got Your Troubles)
Tony Hatch (Downtown, Don't Sleep in the Subway, I Know a Place)
Ivy George Hunter & Mickey Stevenson (Beachwood 4-5789, Dancing in the Street, Wild One)
Robert Hunter & Jerry Garcia (Casey Jones, Truckin', Uncle John's Band)
Mark James ((You Were) Always On My Mind, Suspicious Minds, Hooked on a Feeling)
Robert John "Mutt" Lange (Photograph, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, That Don't Impress Me Much)
Irwin Levine & Russell Brown (Tie a Yellow Ribbon, I Woke Up In Love This Morning, Knock Three Times)
Sandy Linzer & Denny Randell (Let's Hang On, Dawn, Workin' My Way Back to You)
Galt MacDermot, James Rado, Gerome Ragni (Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, Easy to Be Hard, Good Morning Starshine)
Stephen Schwartz (Corner of the Sky, Day by Day, Colors of the Wind)
Joe South (Games People Play, Hush, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden)

The nominees in Performer/Songwriters:

Benny Andersson, Stig Anderson, Bjorn Ulvaeus (Dancing Queen, Fernando, Waterloo)
Jimmy Buffett (Margaritaville, Come Monday, Cheeseburger in Paradise)
Felix Cavaliere & Eddie Brigati (Groovin', How Can I Be Sure, People Got to Be Free)
David Crosby, Stephen Stills & Graham Nash (Our House, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Teach Your Children)
Ray Davies (Lola, Tired of Waiting, You Really Got Me)
David Gates (Baby I'm-a Want You, Make It With You, If)
Yusef Islam (aka Cat Stevens) (Morning Has Broken, Peace Train, The First Cut is the Deepest)
Tommy James (Crimson in Clover, Crystal Blue Persuasion, I Think We're Alone Now)
John Mellencamp (Jack and Dianne, Pink Houses, Small Town)
Steve Miller (Abracadabra, Fly Like an Eagle, The Joker)
Leon Russell (A Song For You, Superstar, This Masquerade)
Bob Seger (Night Moves, Still the Same, We've Got Tonight)


Album Cover Art

Well, it has been a journey, but here we are! Here is the top of the list of the most controversial, weirdest, best and worst album covers as compiled by their staff. I want to thank the crew at for their insights and opinions:


1. Mayhem: ‘Dawn Of The Black Hearts’ – On one of the most bootlegged metal albums of all time, Norwegian band Mayhem decided to use a photograph of their deceased frontman, Dead, shortly after his suicide. The cover pictured the singer slumped beside a shotgun and a knife after taking his own life in an unparalleled display of glory-hunting, suicidal gore.

Appalling and in very poor taste, the less said the better. In fact, I won't even post the cover, I feel that strongly about it, what a disgrace.

If you have to, you can find an image here (warning: the cover and image is beyond offensive, it is just wrong)



1. Gong: 'Acid Motherhood' – Gigwise says: "While the majority of albums on this list are weird, this goes a step further; it's just plain wrong. Naked, pregnant female bodies with Jimmy Savile-esque faces, it's as twisted as you can possibly get. Made four decades into Gong's career, who says rockers mellow with old age?"

I think it is a funny cover, maybe we should make a new category....



1. Hard-Fi – ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’: Here is what Gigwise had to say: "Seemingly in a bid to make some kind of deep cultural comment about the rise of downloading, Hard-Fi decided to ditch the record sleeve altogether. The result? A pretentious mess."

The cover art of the album has received both good and bad criticism. It has a yellow background with the album title at the top, and NO COVER ART written in large, white letters below. Top cover art designer Peter Saville has described it as "a 'White Album' for the digital culture."

When asked about the cover art, Richard Archer said, "We all sat down as a band with our manager and thrashed it out over beers. The record company wanted a picture of us coming out of a helicopter... We said no."

"At the end of the day do you want the same old boring stuff? or do you want something different?"



1. Nirvana: ‘Nevermind’ - Gigwise has this to say: "A stunningly original idea and an undoubted classic. The swimming baby chasing the American dollar was a defining image of the nineties and summed up the endless rat race of contemporary society perfectly – an innocent baby corrupted by money."

Nevermind is the second studio album by the American rock band Nirvana, released on September 24, 1991. Produced by Butch Vig, Nevermind was the group's first release on Geffen Records, which signaled its move away from Seattle-based independent record label Sub Pop. Front man Kurt Cobain sought to make music outside of the restrictive confines of the Seattle grunge scene, drawing influence from groups such as the Pixies and its use of loud/quiet song dynamics.

Despite low commercial expectations by the band and its record label, Nevermind became a surprise success in late 1991, largely due to the popularity of its first single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". By January 1992 it had replaced Michael Jackson's album Dangerous at number one on the Billboard charts. The album has been certified ten times platinum (10 million copies shipped) by the Recording Industry Association of America. Nevermind was responsible for bringing alternative rock to a large mainstream audience, and would subsequently be regarded as one of the best rock albums of all time.

The album's tentative title Sheep was something Cobain created as an inside joke towards the people he expected to buy the record. He wrote a fake ad for Sheep in his journal that read "Because you want to not; because everyone else is." Novoselic said the title was inspired by the band's cynicism about the public's reaction to Operation Desert Storm. Cobain grew tired of the title as recording sessions for the album were completed, and suggested to Novoselic that the new album be named Nevermind. Cobain liked the title because it was a metaphor for his attitude on life and was grammatically incorrect.

The Nevermind album cover shows a baby swimming toward a US dollar bill on a fishhook. According to Cobain, he conceived the idea while watching a television program on water births with Grohl. Cobain mentioned it to Geffen's art director Robert Fisher. Fisher found some stock footage of underwater births but they were too graphic for the record company. Also, the stock house that controlled the photo of a swimming baby that they subsequently settled on wanted $7,500 a year for its use, so instead Fisher sent a photographer to a pool for babies to take pictures. Five shots resulted and the band settled on the image of a three-month-old infant named Spencer Elden, the son of the photographer's friend Rick Elden. However, there was some concern because Elden's penis was visible in the image. Geffen prepared an alternate cover without the penis, as they were afraid that it would offend people, but relented when Cobain made it clear that the only compromise he would accept was a sticker covering the penis that would say "If you're offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile."

The back cover of the album features a photograph of a rubber monkey in front of a collage created by Cobain. The collage features photos of raw beef from a supermarket advert, images from Dante's Inferno, and pictures of diseased vaginas from Cobain's collection of medical photos. Cobain noted, "If you look real close, there is a picture of Kiss in the back standing on a slab of beef." The album's liner notes contain no complete song lyrics; instead, the liner contains random song lyrics and unused lyrical fragments that Cobain arranged into a poem.

I agree, this is a great cover- but the best of all time? Not in my book.

This has been an interesting glimpse into the fascinating world of album cover art. The Gigwise selections, while certainly up for debate, omitted some classic album covers and certainly showed me a few that I have never seen before. But where are some of the classics, like "Cheap Thrills," by Janis Joplin (with cover art by R. Crumb), Yes covers by Roger Dean, Santana's first album (with the wonderful ink lion), Zeppelin covers like "Zeppelin 2" or "Physical Graffiti," or any Molly Hatchet album cover? I could go on and on and on.....

Look for another series about album cover art coming very soon to the blog!

This Date In Music History- October 28


Wayne Fontana ("Game Of Love") turns 63.

Curtis Lee ("Pretty Little Angel Eyes") is 67.

Fiddler Charlie Daniels ("Uneasy Rider") turns 72.

Telma Hopkins (actress and member of Dawn-- "Tie A Yellow Ribbon") is 60.

Hank Marvin, guitarist with the English instrumental group the Shadows, was born in Newcastle in 1941. His distinctive twang inspired Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and Keith Richards to pick up the guitar. It is reported that he played and owned the first Fender Stratocaster in the UK, serial number 34346, finished in Fiesta Red with gold hardware. This guitar, with its tremolo arm, contributed to the Shadows' sound. The guitar was imported from America by Cliff Richard.


A young British lad named Raymond Jones walked into a Liverpool record shop in 1961 and asked for a song called "My Bonnie" by Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers. After checking, store manager Brian Epstein discovered that the song had only been officially released in Germany. Intrigued by this local band's popularity, he decided to check them out for himself. It would prove to be the dawn of a new era in Pop music history.

Elvis Presley's song "Love Me Tender" became the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit in 1956. He became the first artist to follow himself into the No. 1 position. The song "Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog" had been the No. 1 song for 11 weeks.

Buddy Holly appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand in 1958, where he lip-synched "It's So Easy" and "Heartbeat". It would be Holly's last major TV appearance.

In 1962, The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany was the site of a historic Rock and Roll get together when The Beatles and Little Richard appeared for a two week engagement.

In 1967, Diana Ross and the Supremes' "Greatest Hits" started a five week run at #1 on the US album chart.

Steve Perry made his first concert appearance with Journey at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco in 1977. He would lead them to 17 Billboard Top 40 entries over the next ten years.

Glam rocker Nick Gilder had the number 1 song in the US in 1978 with "Hot Child in the City". It would prove to be his only major hit record in America.

Country musician Porter Wagoner died in Nashville in 2007 at the age of 80 (lung cancer). Wagoner helped launch the career of Dolly Parton and had his own US TV show, which ran for 21 years until 1981.

Janet Jackson started a four week run at No.1 on the US album chart in 1989 with 'Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814.’ Only one of three albums to produce seven Top-ten US singles, (the other two being Thriller by Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen's Born In The USA).

1997, R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry announced that he was leaving the group after 17 years, becoming a farmer.

The Beatles played at the Empire in Liverpool in 1962, their first gig at Liverpool's top theatre. Eight acts were on the bill including Little Richard, Craig Douglas, Jet Harris and Kenny Lynch & Sounds Incorporated.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Record Ranch

Sick of eBay and the problems that are associated with this online giant (and there are many)? I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Celeste who has just launched The Record Ranch. Let's explore this up and coming website:

The Record Ranch

New Online Venue to Cater to Music Lovers

written by Robert Benson

The global economy is in shambles. Ask people involved in the music industry and they’ll probably tell you that their industry has likewise been affected. But there is a bright spot: the renewed interest in vinyl records.

Taking advantage of this vinyl revival is eBay veteran Chris Celeste. He believes that eBay should not be the only major online marketplace where people can go to sell records. In fact, utilizing his years of online experience, his experience working in a ‘mom and pop’ record store in the 90’s and his entrepreneurial drive, Celeste has decided to launch his own online auction site:

The goal of the Record Ranch is to have an auction web site that will serve record and music collectors better than any current site and give music buyers and sellers a safe, trusted and reasonably-priced place to do business. Although the Record Ranch could never replace your neighborhood record store, what it can do is cultivate a friendly, vibrant venue that is driven by both knowledgeable sellers and music fans worldwide.

I spoke with web site owner Chris Celeste about his new site and what consumers can expect from the Record Ranch:

Tell me more about the decision to create the site.

“The seeds for a music-only niche auction site were planted a few years back,” said Chris. “I was quite turned off after participating in some music category restructuring discussions with eBay. I guess I naively assumed that the people that managed the categories had some expertise in their respective categories. From then on, I envisioned a site that served collectors and sellers of just music items; sort of a DIY, by collectors-for-collectors type of concept. Fast forward five-plus years and countless ill-researched site ‘tweaks’ at eBay later; it was clear that the time was right to finally take the plunge. Luckily I have a few guys in my corner that have really helped out.”

How many people are involved in the site (do you have partners)?

“There are essentially three. It's me, a web developer and a designer. All three of us have been music junkies forever. The other two play in bands and are also great at their trades. It works quite well.”

Obviously you love vinyl, but what is it about records that make them your format of choice?

“For me, vinyl equals great memories and great sound. I grew up in a household full of records. I remember the record covers of my youth like it was yesterday. When I was old enough, it seemed logical to fill my house full of them too. I have a ton of CDs too, but it's not the same. They're digitized and they collect dust. Vinyl is just a better experience all around,” explained Chris.

You are now in direct competition with eBay; -what will make your site different than this retail giant?

“Well, for starters, The Record Ranch is a manageable venue,” suggested Chris. “EBay is not a manageable venue at this point and compulsive buyers and sellers of music suffer. Quality buyers and sellers are leaving or have left. Their (eBay’s) solutions to issues are never logical, and it's obvious that the folks managing the site have never bought or sold (or shipped) anything collectible in their lives. Did I mention categories yet? While The Record Ranch's format is quite similar to eBay, the way the site is run is much different. Having people running the site who know their trade is obviously a good thing, especially when addressing buyers' and sellers' concerns.”

“The Record Ranch's format is very similar to eBay, but finely tuned to the needs of music collectors. The pricing structure makes it a more affordable venue, especially for casual music sellers who can't qualify for eBay's Power Seller discounts. Basic listings are free. Enhancements such as subtitles and featured space on the home page can be purchased to spice up listings. Sellers also have the option to open a store free of charge. The final value fees are 4% for sold items up to $100, 3% for sold items between $100 and $200 and 2% for sold items over $200. Sellers may choose to accept payment via diverse methods, including Google Checkout, PayPal and checks/money orders.”

“The Record Ranch is made up of “rooms.” There's a CD Room, a 78s Room and so on. Each room's genre subcategories were created with the obsessive fan/collector in mind. For example, if you're a collector of rockabilly 78s, there is a rockabilly subcategory in The 78s Room. This ensures collectors of a certain specific genre of music will find exactly what they're looking for much more quickly.”

Where do you see vinyl in, let's say, ten years from now?

“I think it'll be the same in 10 years as it is now or where it was 10 years ago. Digital media will change and evolve and its proponents will proclaim the death of vinyl once more, only for vinyl to survive and flourish.”

When did you start collecting (I assume you are a collector) and do you have a special stash for personal use (meaning records you would never sell)?

“I guess I realized that I had the collector bug in me in high school when I was the guy who wasn't OK with lending out records. I adopted the "I'll be happy to tape it for you" mantra back then. As for a special stash, it goes in waves I guess. I've definitely parted with records and regretted it years later. I guess there are some records I've kept for years that aren't exactly rare, but hold special meaning for me. I guess that would be my special stash.”

As a record collector, I am excited to find a new alternative in which to buy records for my collection. Creating a ‘mom and pop’ online venue is just what the record collecting community needs. Let’s hope that the corporate giants in the field welcome this newcomer, because I am sure many vinyl record buyers and sellers will.

eBay time saver- nice site to visit!

I found another interesting site, this should be of help to all of us who cruise eBay for collectible and rare vinyl records- I am trying to contact the person who runs it to get some more information, but for now, check it out:

The specifics from the site:

"What I’ve done is formulate pages of ebay listings which show the rarest and also the cheapest rarities from a range of major artists. They all display on one page so you can see which mega rarities are going under the hammer and one the same page, keep an eye on any records that appear to be slipping through unnoticed. Saves hours of ebay trawling and if you just have a spare ten minutes, gives you a change to nab either a special rarity or a bargain record! And, of course, it’s completely free to use."

Cover Story- Bob Dylan

As always I want to thank Michael Goldstein at for the exclusive rights to reprint this interesting cover story:

Cover Story Interview - Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks",

with photography by Paul Till

Subject: Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks, released in 1975 on Columbia Records, with cover photo by photographer Paul Till.

Back in April, I wrote about the making of the cover image for Bob Dylan’s Slow Train Coming. Shortly afterwards, I received a nice letter from Kevin Odegard, a writer-musician who had written a book titled A Simple Twist of Fate that provided the complete story of the making of another classic Dylan album – 1975’s Blood on the Tracks. It seems that there were a number of stories floating about concerning this recording, and Kevin’s book, which features interviews with many of the people who worked on the production (including Kevin), served to provide the details (and dispel the rumors) that had kept fans of this album guessing for years.

While I won’t spend a lot of time talking about the recording – I’d suggest that you track down Kevin’s book for an in-depth account – I can tell you that it seems that this album was the one where we “got to know” more – as best as we could determine from his songs’ lyrics, which can be a bit allegorical - about Dylan and his state of mind following the breakup of his marriage to his wife Sara.

Backed by an excellent studio band, Dylan’s songs of loneliness, anger and heartbreak all come together in a recording that, according to many critics and fans, represents one of the best in his long career. The double-platinum album reached #1 on Billboard’s pop charts in the U.S. (and #4 in the UK), while the single "Tangled Up in Blue" topped out at #31 on the Pop singles chart.

As it turns out, the making of the cover image also has an intriguing story, so to help create this unique Cover Story, I asked Kevin to provide some additional content (see the section following the main Cover Story interview) while I sought out and then interviewed the creator of the iconic cover image – Ontario, Canada-based photographer Paul Till – to learn his story about “the making of” that fascinating snapshot. The story is particularly interesting in that – in the days before Photoshop – it was the “art” of photography and experimental film processing that produced one-of-a-kind images like the one we’ll talk about today. Read on…and you’ll then know…the REST of the Cover Story…(my apologies to Paul Harvey!)

In the words of the photographer – Paul Till

I was 20 years old at the time, and had been doing photography for about three years and had been using a darkroom for a year and a half or so. I loved the darkroom and learning and using various darkroom techniques. I was also a big Bob Dylan fan, and so when the 1974 tour was announced, there was a mail-in “first-come first-served” process for getting tickets to his show at the Maple Leaf Gardens. I took my letter down to actual post office where their post office box was and ended up with quite good tickets. I was directly stage right a few seats from being obstructed by loudspeakers. I was relatively close to the stage, but not really close. I photographed the 2nd of Bob Dylan's two concerts in - I think it was - January of 1974. I'd never photographed a concert before.

The camera I was using was a screw-mount Leica III which dated back to the 1930's. It was my dad's - he'd bought in London, England in 1945. I had a fast normal lens for it, but not a telephoto, so I borrowed a Canon 135 f3.5 lens from the father of a friend of my sister. Anyhow, I shot about a roll and half of 35mm Tri X - the standard 400 ASA film of the time - and tried to figure out the exposure. I pushed the film to about 1600ASA (ASA is the same as ISO. but that's what it was called then). I don't recall if I did the darkroom work to make the cover image in the Fall or Winter of 1974.

At the time, I was doing a lot of darkroom manipulation of photographs as well as hand-colouring them. I was very familiar with Bob Dylan's music and I felt that the combination of darkroom technique and hand colouring echoed the old/new dichotomy of much of his work, as well as the notion that it echoed the (sometimes slapdash) off-handed power of his words and music.

Here's how it was actually made - The negative was enlarged in the darkroom onto another piece of film in such a way that just Dylan's head was on it. This would normally result in a positive image on the film which, if you printed it onto a piece of photo paper, would give you a negative print. However, I solarized this piece of film (that is, re-exposed it to light) as it was being developed. This partially reversed the image and also gave it the distinctive line between what was dark to start with and what has made dark by the solarization. Technically, this technique is actually called “the Sabbatier effect”, and the lines are called “Mackie lines”. This resulted in a quite dark and low-contrast piece of film to make a print from. I had to use the very high-contrast grade 6 Agfa Brovira paper to get a print with enough contrast.

I made a bunch of these and hand-coloured them using Marshalls photographic watercolours (they are a dye that sinks right into the emulsion of the photographic paper). I do recall that I was selling 5X7 hand-coloured prints of the cover image and the entire image for $5.00 in the Fall.

In the fall of 1974 I sent Bob Dylan some of the photos. I sent in at least two images- the one that ended up on the cover and a hand coloured version of the entire image. I had gotten his office address out of Who's Who. I hadn't done any work for the label or act before, so the artist and management were completely unaware of what I had done. It's my understanding the Bob Dylan saw the photo and thought that it was great, but I don't know where that understanding came from. I really didn't get any feedback about the image. I would have been pleased just to get a letter back!

All of this photography was done as a ticket holder. I've seen Dylan in concert quite a few times since then but he's been very restrictive about photography. Cameras are not allowed, and many times press photographers aren't allowed as well. A year or so later I made a photograph at the Rolling Thunder Revue concert in Niagara Falls, New York that was then used on the cover of the Bob Dylan Songs 1966-1975 songbook (see below).

I also photographed Bob Dylan in 1978 (from way, way, way back in the crowd), in 1979 (it was, I think, the “gospel tour”) where I got some good photographs and got as close as I ever got with a camera to Dylan, and then again 1981 (also from pretty far back, but it was a great concert.)

When I finally did hear Blood on the Tracks, I thought it was a great record and that the photo worked great with the music as well as the art direction of the cover. That being said, if I ever get a good seat again, I'll probably put some tiny digital camera in my pocket and...

About the photographer, Paul Till (with an intro in his own words) –

After the Blood on the Tracks photos, I figured that I'd be a professional photographer. I went to community college and have been a photographer since then. I did a few record jackets in the 80's - some people may have heard of the Canadian band "FM" as well as the electronic solo artist "Nash the Slash" – and I photographed some of the early Toronto punk scene. Since 1981, I've been a freelance photographer for Toronto's Now magazine ( and these days shoot for them once a week - almost all live music. I've done a wide variety of commercial photographic work as well as having many photo shows with a variety of subjects and using many different techniques. My most recent show is "First 3 Songs (no flash)" which ran beginning in May (and probably through the summer) at Industrial Storm at 1099 Queen St West in Toronto. It features large prints of manipulated concert photographs, most of them combining multiple images, through physical collage or digital techniques.

Personal Data

Born: June 17, 1953, London, England and immigrated to Canada in 1957


Paul was educated at the University of Toronto and at Humber College in Toronto, where he received a diploma in Creative Photography in 1977 (he also has teaching credentials, teaching ESL classes and classes in photography/advanced darkroom techniques).

Photographic Specialities

Live concert photography, low light photography, infra red photography, photojournalism, location photography, photograms, panoramic photography, archival processing, black and white and colour printing, pinhole photography, and camera construction.

Selected Exhibitions

1 Person Shows

2008- First 3 Songs(no flash), Industrial Storm, Toronto
2007- Toronto Buildings Gardens and Statues, Industrial Storm, Toronto
2006 - North American Buildings, Gardens and Statues, Industrial Storm, Toronto.
2004 - Buildings, Gardens and Statues. South Hill Home, Toronto.
1999 - Paris Panoramas. See Gallery, Toronto.
1998 - Actual Photographs. Arcadia Gallery, Toronto.
1997 - Some Neat Stuff. Arcadia Gallery, Toronto.
1990 - Some Neat Stuff. Latcham Gallery, Stouffeville.
1985 - The Magic Show. Gallery 44, Toronto.
1983 - The Secret History of Aircraft. Cameravision Gallery, Los Angeles.
1983 - Photographs of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The Mecene Gallery, Toronto.
1983 - One More River to Cross, Boats and Monuments, Gallery 44, Toronto.
1982 - The Secret History of Aircraft. Sacks Gallery, Toronto.
1981 - new/gods/sing. The Print Finishing Gallery, Toronto.

Group Shows

2005- The Official Bob Dylan Exhibition, Proud Gallery, London, U.K.
2004 - Now and the 80s. Thomas Fisher Library, University of Toronto Archives, Toronto.
2003 - Toronto Grid Works. York Quay Gallery, Harbourfront, Toronto.
1996 - Now Photo Show, Ryerson Gallery, Toronto.
1994 - Toronto After Dark. The Market Gallery, Toronto.
1991 - Black and White and Still Blue. Community Gallery Habourfront, Toronto.
1990 - 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Gallery 44, Toronto.
1989 - 4 Canadian Photographers, Canon Gallery, Amsterdam
1985 - Living with Lead. Gallery 44, Toronto.


Paul’s works are featured in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, City of Toronto Archives, Forum Research Inc., the University of Toronto Archives, and in many private collections in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

To see more of Paul’s work, please visit his website at

To see more Bob Dylan-related works in the RockPoP Gallery collection, please follow this link –

Extra bonus content from Kevin Odegard (from his book, A Simple Twist of Fate) -

In 1974 Bob Dylan wrote, recorded, reconsidered, and then re-recorded the best-selling studio album of his career. Blood on the Tracks was composed as Dylan's twelve-year marriage began to unravel, and songs like "Tangled Up in Blue" and "Shelter from the Storm" have become templates for multidimensional, adult songs of love and loss. Yet the story behind the creation of this album has never been fully told; even the credits on the present-day album sleeve are inaccurate. Dylan recorded the album twice-once in New York City and again in Minneapolis, with a rag-tag gang of local musicians, quickly rewriting many of the songs in the process. For A Simple Twist of Fate, the authors have interviewed the musicians and producers, industry insiders, and others, creating an engaging chronicle of how one musician channeled his pain and confusion into great art.

The book has, since its publication in 2004, held up factually, and nothing has been challenged or singled out as inaccurate. Critically, it has been received as a book primarily for hardcore Dylan fans and musicians. My emphasis on technical aspects of the studio experience (microphone makes and placement, guitar types etc.) has been singled out as overly obsessive by pop and literary writers, and praised by trade and music journals. However, this information is exclusive to our book, and I am happy to accept that kind of hit. Andy's analysis can be florid in places, overwrought in others, so that can be judged as "subjective". The opinions and quotes by the musicians in the book have been praised by all involved; everyone in the book was quite happy to have been portrayed accurately. There have been inquiries about a theatrical adaptation for this reason.

Following the book's publication, Bob made comments relating to the book - and Blood On The Tracks in particular - which hint that he may refute or rebut the autobiographical, 'divorce' theory we have put forth and supported in the book. Bob says 'one album I made back then' has been interpreted by others to be autobiographical, when it was actually inspired by and based on a series of Chekov plays. According to family sources, we will hear more about this when Chronicles II is published.

All of the members of the original Minneapolis studio band (Chris Weber, Bill Berg, Billy Peterson, Peter Ostroushko, Gregg Inhofer and myself), along with Eric Weissberg from the New York sessions, gathered on March 3, 2004 to play a sold-out concert at Minneapolis' Pantages Theatre, "Blood On The Tracks Live." This triggered a series of college and auditorium shows over the next two years, including induction of the Minneapolis band in the Minnesota Rock and Country Hall of Fame on May 23, 2005. We played “Dylan Days” in Bob's hometown of Hibbing in July of 2006, and may reunite again in the future.

--- Kevin

Kevin can be reached by email at

His book can be purchased at
Text copyright 2004 and 2008 Kevin Odegard – All rights reserved.

All images featured in this Cover Story are Copyright 1974 and 2008, Paul Till - All rights reserved. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2008 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved.

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales

Week Ending 10/25/2008

1. 45 rpm- J D Bryant "I Won't Be Coming Back" / "Walk On It" Shrine 108 - $10,230.00 Start: $0.01 Bids: 15

2. LP - Michael Jackson "Thriller" LP White Label Ecuador - $3,000.00 Start: $3,000.00 Bids: BIN

3. LP - Michael Jackson "Thriller" LP White Label Ecuador - $2,500.00 Start: $2,500.00 Bids: BIN

4. LP - Michel Legrand "La Piscine" Soundtrack Japanese Pressing White Label - $2,351.00 Start: $225.00 Bids: 21

5. 10" - Amos Milburn "Rockin The Boogie" Alladin - $1,900.99 Start: $99.99 Bids 18

One of the rarest Northern Soul 45's tops the list this week, J D Bryant's Shrine 45"I Won't Be Coming Back" appears on the Top 5 for the first time, getting a healthy price at over $10.2k. This sale demonstrates that its not just rarity of the music that gets the big bids but rarity of the item. The songs on this 45 are available on Shrine compilation CD's and reissues, but in its original issue this is a rarest of rare record.

Identical records occupy the next two spots. Ecuadorian pressings on white vinyl of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" LP sell on Buy-It-Now's for $3k and $2.5k respectively. Issued from many 70's & 80's hit albums, these colored pressings from South America (there have been Columbian pressings as well) got on the Top 5 numerous weeks last year, but these are the first ones to show up in many months.

In the #4 spot, a Japanese pressing of a Michel Legrand soundtrack bids past $2.3k. A 10" record takes the #5 spot, an Amos Milburn piano boogie record selling for almost a dollar over $1.9k.

SOURCE: as always, I want to thank Brian at for this interesting data

Classic Rock Videos

Crystals - He's A Rebel

Album Cover Art

We are all the way to the #2 position on the list of the most controversial, weirdest, best and worst album covers (as put together by their staff):


2. Scorpions: ‘Virgin Killer’ – The image of a naked prepubescent girl on later editions of ‘Virgin Killer’ was replaced with a cover featuring a picture of the band due to the controversy it caused.

The original cover art for the album depicted a naked prepubescent girl. The image was designed by Steffan Böhle, who was then the product manager for RCA Records. Francis Buchholz was the bassist for the band and, in an interview conducted in early 2007, recollects that the model depicted on the cover was either the daughter or the niece of "the guy who did the cover design." The photograph was taken by Michael von Gimbut. The band's rhythm guitarist Rudolf Schenker offers the following description of the circumstances behind the album cover.

“ We didn't actually have the idea. It was the record company. The record company guys were like, 'Even if we have to go to jail, there's no question that we'll release that.' On the song 'Virgin Killer', time is the virgin killer. But then, when we had to do the interviews about it, we said 'Look, listen to the lyrics and then you'll know what we're talking about. We're using this only to get attention. That's what we do.' Even the girl, when we met her fifteen years later, had no problem with the cover. Growing up in Europe, sexuality, of course not with children, was very normal. The lyrics really say it all. Time is the virgin killer. A kid comes into the world very naive, they lose that naiveness and then go into this life losing all of this getting into trouble. That was the basic idea about all of it.”

In a separate interview, Schenker also notes that he thought the cover art was a "great thing" and that he had "pushed the band to really stay behind it" as he felt that people would "think differently" when they looked at the lyrics and realized that the cover art was only being used as "a symbol of the lyrics." The band's former lead guitarist Uli Jon Roth notes that the cover art of the "old Scorpion albums" were "usually done by other people." He has since expressed regret over the original album cover.

“ Looking at that picture today makes me cringe. It was done in the worst possible taste. Back then I was too immature to see that. Shame on me — I should have done everything in my power to stop it. The record company came up with the idea, I think. The lyrics incidentally were a take-off on KISS, whom we had just supported on a tour. I was fooling around and played the riff of the song in the rehearsal room and spontaneously improvised 'cause he's a virgin killer!' trying to do a more or less way-off-the-mark Paul Stanley impersonation. Klaus immediately said 'that's great! You should do something with it.' Then I had the unenviable task of constructing a meaningful set of lyrics around the title, which I actually managed to do to some degree. But the song has a totally different meaning from what people would assume at first. Virgin Killer is none other than the demon of our time, the less compassionate side of the societies we live in today — brutally trampling upon the heart and soul of innocence.”

The cover generated controversy and was replaced in some countries with an alternate cover art depicting the band members. It would not be the last time that the band attracted controversy with their album covers. Their next album Taken by Force originally featured cover art that depicted "children playing with guns at a military cemetery in France and some people found that offensive." Their 1979 album Lovedrive featured a "bizarre artwork" that depicts "a woman on the back seat of a car with bubblegum over her breast." Both covers were replaced by an alternate design.Vocalist Klaus Meine explains that the band's penchant for controversial cover art stems from a desire "to go over the edge" and not "to offend some people or make the headlines [as] that would be stupid."



2. Xiu Xiu: 'A Promise' - Here is what Gigwise had to say about this choice cover: "A baby doll. A naked man. A bed. Three items that should go never together but, worryingly, all feature on the cover to Xiu Xiu's 'A Promise'. Whatever possessed this band to have this cover we'll never know – it is one of the most disturbing things we've ever seen. Even for a band that is famous for writing lyrics about such topics as AIDS, suicide and other morose subjects, this cover takes some beating in the weirdness ranking."

Thank god for the orange box, that is the only good element to the cover.



2. The Coup – ‘Party Music’: Again, Gigwise has a cover that is repeated (#7 controversial) , I would think with all the creative album cover art that is out there, they could have done a bit more work and found a better cover for their list and put it in this spot- very disappointing to me.

Here is there reasoning: "Released in June 2001, just before the terrorist attacks of 9/11, The Coup touched a raw nerve with their album cover depicting The Twin Towers being bombed. Okay they may not have forseen the true events three months later – but despite this, there’s little doubting it’s in very poor taste."



2. Uriah Heep: ‘Very Eavy Very Umble’ - The album cover that single-handedly taught young children in the early seventies not to rifle through their Dad's record collection. So scary, they issued an alternative cover in the United States. I am not sure which one of these covers made the Gigwise list, but they both are scarry, aren't they?

Very 'eavy... Very 'umble is the debut album of British hard rock band Uriah Heep. It was released in the United States as Uriah Heep with alternate sleeve artwork, and with "Bird of Prey" in place of "Lucy Blues."

The album was generally panned by the mainstream critical press upon its release, although it has since been acknowledged as an early classic of the heavy metal genre. The most famous criticism came from Rolling Stone magazine reviewer Melissa Mills, who began her review, "If this group makes it I'll have to commit suicide. From the first note you know you don't want to hear any more."

The original vinyl release was a gatefold-sleeve, featuring David Byron on the front sleeve, almost unrecognisable beneath the cobwebs.