Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Dead, Allmans To Rock For Obama

The Dead and the Allman Brothers Band have signed for a Barack Obama fundraising concert, to be held Oct. 13 at Bryce-Jordan Center in State College, Pa. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Sept. 19).

"We're all deeply into this, into Barack Obama and the thought of taking this country back in some shape or form, what's left of it -- it's probably one thing we can all agree on," Dead drummer Mickey Hart told in July. The group reunited in February for a similar Obama fundraiser in San Francisco.

The Pennsylvania Campaign for Change is sponsoring the show and its related voter outreach campaign.

Now Obama will get all the old hippie votes :O)

Farm Aid to help farmers hurt by Ike, Gustav

Thu Sep 18, 6:07 PM ET

SOMERVILLE, Mass. - Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson says the organization will give $30,000 to groups that help family farmers in areas of Texas and Louisiana hit hardest by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

Nelson, a native Texan, announced the grants Thursday. They include $7,500 each to the Lutheran Social Services of the South, the Southern Mutual Help Association, the Louisiana Interchurch Conference and the Federation of Southern Cooperatives.

Somerville-based Farm Aid says more money will be distributed as the extent of the hurricane damage becomes clearer.

Farm Aid, the nation's longest-running benefit concert, has raised more than $30 million since its first show in 1985.

The concert will be held in New England for the first time on Sept. 20.

To Help or For More Information:

Checker's "Twist" tops all-time singles chart

NEW YORK (Billboard) - The 50th-anniversary Hot 100 Song chart is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 since the singles chart's inception in August 1958 through July of this year.

Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least.

To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from all 50 years, earlier time frames were each weighted to compensate for the differences in the faster turnover rates from those earlier decades, compared with the slower churn the Hot 100 has experienced since the advent of Nielsen Music data.

Here are the top 10 singles on Billboard's 50th-anniversary Hot 100.


Label: Parkway / Peak Date: 9/19/60 and 1/13/62 / Peak Position: 1 (1 week) and 1 (2 weeks)

"I resurrected a corpse" is how Chubby Checker feels about recording "The Twist" in the early summer of 1960. And Frankenstein's monster had nothing on his achievement.

"The Twist" is the only song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to enjoy two separate chart runs to No. 1: September 19, 1960 (one week), and, after an October 1961 appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," January 13, 1962 (two weeks). It also set a record for the most weeks (39) on the Hot 100 by a No. 1 song -- which held until UB40's "Red Red Wine" lasted 40 weeks in 1988. Others since have surpassed the mark.

"'The Twist' brought the world dancing apart (to) the beat," says Checker, now 66, who was born Ernest Evans in South Carolina before moving to Philadelphia. "Then came all our dances -- the Pony, the Mashed Potato, the Fly, the Hucklebuck -- all dancing apart to the beat. Chubby gave us that. How did he do it? With 'The Twist."'

Forty-eight years later, however, Checker fesses up to being a reluctant savior for the song. "The Twist" first came out as the B-side of Hank Ballard & the Midnighters' 1959 single "Teardrops on Your Letter." DJs largely ignored "The Twist," but inner-city youth who had flipped the disc began doing a hip-wiggling dance to the track, which did not go unnoticed by "American Bandstand" host Dick Clark. When he couldn't get Danny & the Juniors to record a version of the song, Clark went to Philadelphia's Cameo-Parkway label and suggested that Checker take it on. Checker had recorded "The Class" for him in 1958 as a holiday single to send to friends.

"I said I didn't want to sing that song," Checker remembers. "It had been out already. Nobody was playing it. But I wanted to make records, and so when they said, 'Come up here and sing "The Twist,"' I said, 'OK."'

"The Twist" was the gift that kept on giving: Five more of Checker's 32 Hot 100 entries mined the dance. He even joined the Fat Boys for "The Twist (Yo, Twist)," which hit No. 16 in 1988.


Label: Arista / Peak Date: 10/23/99 / Peak Position: 1 (12)

Exactly 30 years before Santana reached No. 1 with "Smooth," his eponymous band made its first appearance on the Hot 100 with "Jingo." It wasn't an auspicious debut, peaking at No. 56. But if you had told Carlos Santana back then that he would have the biggest hit of his career 30 years later to the week, do you think he would have believed you? Probably not. Co-written by Itaal Shur and Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, "Smooth" introduced Santana's smash album "Supernatural" and became one of the biggest radio monsters of the decade, spending 12 weeks at No. 1.


Label: Atco / Peak Date: 10/5/59 / Peak Position: 1 (9)

In 1958, "Splish Splash" put 22-year-old Bobby Darin on the map, and three more hits in quick succession cemented his teen appeal. But the furiously ambitious Darin wanted the longevity promised by singing in supper clubs, appealing to Frank Sinatra's audience. "In night clubs I lean to other things. I even do 'Mack the Knife' from 'The Threepenny Opera,"' Darin told Billboard at the time. He recorded "Mack" for his standards album "That's All," produced by Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun and Jerry Wexler for Atlantic's Atco imprint. It won the Grammy for record of the year as well as a slightly belated nod for Darin as best new artist.


Label: Curb / Peak Date: 12/13/97 / Peak Position: 2

LeAnn Rimes' second Hot 100 entry, after the 1996 No. 26-peaking "Blue," stands as the longest-running Hot 100 title of all time, charting for 69 weeks total between June 1997 and October 1998. The song, recorded when Rimes was only 14, even outlasted two of her follow-up releases on the chart. It also led the Adult Contemporary chart for 11 weeks and has gone on to sell 3.5 million physical singles. On the digital front, it routinely shifts more than 1,000 units per week, for a total to date in excess of 203,000. "It's just one of those songs that lives on in everyone's life," Rimes says today.


Label: RCA / Peak Date: 8/3/96 / Peak Position: 1 (14)

This flamenco-flavored party song and accompanying silly dance by two middle-age men named Antonio Romero and Rey Ruiz was a hit in Spain in 1993, and "Macarena" was a favorite on cruise ships before docking in Miami's South Beach clubs by mid-decade, first appearing on the charts in 1995. But the bilingual Bayside Boys Mix of the song exploded on radio, spending 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1996 and reaching the top several weeks before it was used to introduce -- and provide a punch line for -- Al Gore's speech at that year's Democratic National Convention. Los Del Rio's early version eventually returned to the chart, peaking at No. 23 and spending 21 weeks on the tally.


Label: MCA / Peak Date: 11/21/81 / Peak Position: 1 (10)

Olivia Newton-John was weary of the sweet love songs that had defined her career for more than a decade. With longtime producer John Farrar, she decided to up the tempo for the title track of 1981's "Physical." The song also stirred up controversy for its lyrical nod to sexual intimacy, ultimately fueling a 10-week stay atop the Hot 100 to become Newton-John's biggest career hit. It had immense crossover appeal, scoring on the pop, adult contemporary, club play and black charts. After all was said and done, "Physical" was the No. 1 song of 1982.


Label: Warner Bros./Curb / Peak Date: 10/15/77 / Peak Position: 1 (10)

Pat Boone's four daughters tried for years to forge a music career as the Boone Sisters, with no luck. Label honcho Mike Curb was determined to launch lead Debby as a solo artist and found the ideal song at a screening of the movie "You Light Up My Life." Curb borrowed the instrumental track and had Boone's vocal recorded over it. His instincts were right on: "Light" remained at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for 10 weeks beginning in October 1977, a record at the time for a female artist, and won an Academy Award for best original song and a Grammy Award for Boone as best new artist.


Label: Apple / Peak Date: 9/28/68 / Peak Position: 1 (9)

The first single the Beatles released on their Apple Records label, "Hey Jude," was written in 1968 by Paul McCartney to comfort John Lennon's son Julian during the divorce of his parents. "I started with the idea, 'Hey Jules,' which was, 'Julian, don't make it bad, take a sad song and make it better,"' McCartney told biographer Barry Miles. "Hey Jude" entered the Hot 100 for the week ending September 14, 1968, at No. 10 and rose to No. 1 two weeks later. It held the top spot for nine weeks, making it the most successful hit of the band's career. It remains a staple of McCartney's live shows to this day.


Label: Island/IDJMG / Peak Date: 6/4/05 / Peak Position: 1 (14)

Early in the decade, Mariah Carey experienced a prolonged dry spell of hits that coincided with some bizarre public appearances, a film flop and a disastrous $80 million deal with Virgin. But she regrouped spectacularly on Island Def Jam with "The Emancipation of Mimi." "We Belong Together," the album's monster second single, was produced by Jermaine Dupri. It spent 14 weeks at No. 1 and helped the album shift 5.9 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "I prayed to get through everything I got through, and I prayed for this record to be really good and really strong and for me to be proud of it," she told Billboard in 2005. "God always answers my prayers." Carey now has 18 No. 1 Hot 100 hits, second only to the Beatles' all-time record of 20.


Label: LaFace/Arista / Peak Date: 12/7/96 / Peak Position: 1 (11)

Three years after winning the 1993 best new artist Grammy Award, Toni Braxton released her second consecutive multiplatinum album, "Secrets." The follow-up to her self-titled LaFace Records debut spun off the preacher's daughter's first Hot 100 No. 1 ("You're Makin' Me High") and this, the biggest hit of her career. The song -- written by Diane Warren, produced by David Foster and rendered in Braxton's distinctive, husky alto -- spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. A "Diva Mix" of the track, inspired by her show-opening performance at the 1996 Billboard Music Awards, spread "Heart" to overseas success as well.


Album Cover Art

Let's continue our album cover art series-the top 50 controversial, weirdest, worst and best album covers, brought to us by the crack staff at


41. The Rolling Stones: ‘Beggars Banquet’ Beggars Banquet is an LP released in 1968 by The Rolling Stones. It marked a return to the band's R&B roots, generally viewed as simpler and more primal than the conspicuous psychedelics of Their Satanic Majesties Request. The album is featured in the book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". The controversary was the picture of the toilet and the gaffiti laced walls. The cover was rejected by both Decca and London Records due to its inappropriate imagery. In a show of defiance, Jagger and the band withheld the album for several months before finally relenting and allowing a replacement to be printed. Hey, I have been in that bathroom!



41. Debbie Harry: 'Koo Koo' -Koo Koo is the title of the debut solo album by Debbie Harry, released in August 1981 while Harry was still a member of the group Blondie. Produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the 70's disco group Chic, it reached #6 in the UK and stayed in the charts for seven weeks, being certified "Silver" by the BPI. The album reached #28 in the US. For the promotion of Koo Koo there were plans by Harry's record company, Chrysalis Records, to display large posters of the album cover created by Swiss artist H.R. Giger in various stations of the London Underground, but officials deemed the image of Harry's face with metal skewers going through her head too disturbing. In Japan the "Backfired" single was issued with an entirely different picture sleeve, showing a glamorous and most importantly non-provocative Debbie Harry looking more like her established Blondie persona.



41. Ice T (Iceberg) Tracy Lauren Marrow (born February 16, 1958 in Newark, New Jersey) better known by his stage name, Ice-T, is a rapper, actor, and author. He is credited with helping create gangsta rap in the late 1980s. A compelling 'nude' album cover also helped fuel sales and its share of controversary as well. Ice-T threw listeners quite a curve ball with his riveting third album, The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say -- arguably the closest hip-hop has come to George Orwell's -1984. Instead of focusing heavily on gangsta rap, Ice-T made First Amendment issues the CD's dominant theme. Setting the album's tone is the opener, "Shut Up, Be Happy," which finds guest Jello Biafra (former leader of punk band Dead Kennedys) envisioning an Orwellian America in which the government controls and dominates every aspect of its citizens' lives. Though there are a few examples of first-rate gangsta rap here -- including "The Hunted Child" and the chilling "Peel Their Caps Back" -- Ice's main concern this time is censorship and what he views as a widespread attack on free speech in the U.S. As angry and lyrically intense as most of The Iceberg is, Ice enjoys fun for its own sake on "My Word Is Bond" and "The Girl Tried to Kill Me" -- an insanely funny rap-rock account of an encounter with a dominatrix. ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide



41. Pixies: ‘Surfer Rosa’ Surfer Rosa is the first full-length album by the American alternative rock band Pixies, released in March 1988 on the British independent record label 4AD. The album's unusual and offbeat subject matter includes references to mutilation and voyeurism; this is augmented by experimental recording, low-fidelity production and a unique drum sound that owes much to sound engineer Steve Albini. Surfer Rosa contains many of the themes present in the Pixies' earlier output, including Spanish lyrics and references to Puerto Rico. Surfer Rosa's cover features a photograph of a topless "friend of a friend" of the band, posing as a flamenco dancer, pitched against a wall which displays a crucifix and a torn poster. Simon Larbalestier, who contributed pictures to all of the Pixies albums, decided to build the set because "we couldn't find the atmosphere we wanted naturally." According to Larbalestier, Francis came up with the idea for the cover as he wrote songs in his father's "topless Spanish bar"; Larbalestier added the crucifix and torn poster, and they "sort of loaded that with all the Catholicism." Commenting on the cover in 2005, Francis said, "I just hope people find it tasteful." The cover booklet expands on the theme, and features photographs of the flamenco dancer in several other poses; there are no song lyrics or written content, apart from album credits, in the booklet.

Norman Whitfield (1943-2008)

Soul music, I mean, the 'real' soul music lost a superstar when Motown producer and songwriter Norman Whitfield passed away yesterday from a long-running battle with diabetes. He was 65.

Whitfield was a keen observer of the human psyche and he used it to his advantage as early as the age of 18 when he started working at Detroit's Thelma Records with future Temptation Richard Street and his group the Distants.

He also was full of tenacity and became an admirer of emerging record company owner Barry Gordy and his Motown Records. Gordy, at first, found Whitfield to be a bother but eventually grew to admire his thirst for knowledge and put him in charge of the company's quality control. Whitfield took the opportunity to get his hands on as many of the activities of the company as he could and he eventually ended up as part of the early songwriting group at the label.

Gordy, though, saw more in the young man's talents and eventually made him a producer, putting him initially in charge of the Temptations. From 1966 onward, Whitfield and Frank Wilson produced virtually every one of the group's hits.

Whitfield also showed immense creative flair with the ability to take one song and mold it in many different directions. The best example of this talent was with his own composition I Heard It Through the Grapevine. Whitfield produced the song as an uptempo, gritty R&B record for Gladys Knight and the Pips and then turned around and gave it a smooth, darker treatment with Marvin Gaye. Both turned into huge hits for the label.

Whitfield was also instrumental in taking the Motown labels into the 70's by crafting their sound in a more psychedelic vein, most notably with the Temptations on songs like Ball of Confusion and Cloud Nine. During this time, he also was actively involved with the careers of Edwin Starr (War) and the Undisputed Truth (Smiling Faces Sometimes), who had been Starr's backup singers.

When Motown's fortunes started to wain in the mid-70's, Whitfield left and started his own label which only had major success with Rose Royce (Car Wash). From the 80's on, he remained semi-retired other than occasional projects such as the soundtrack for the movie The Last Dragon.

Major songs composed by Norman Whitfield with various writing partners:

(I Know) I'm Losing You (Temptations, Rare Earth, Rod Stewart)
Ain't Too Proud to Beg (Temptations)
Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today) (Temptations)
Beauty is Only Skin Deep (Temptations)
Car Wash (Rose Royce)
Cloud Nine (Temptations)
Everybody Needs Love (Gladys Knight & the Pips)
Freindship Train (Gladys Knight & the Pips)
I Can't Get Next to You (Temptations)
I Heard It Through the Grapevine (Gladys Knight & the Pips, Marvin Gaye, Creedence Clearwater Revival)
I Wanna Get Next to You (Rose Royce)
I Wish It Would Rain (Temptations)
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) (Temptations, Rolling Stones)
Papa Was a Rollin' Stone (Temptations)
Pride and Joy (Marvin Gaye)
Psychedelic Shack (Temptations)
Runaway Child, Running Wild (Temptations)
Smiling Faces Sometimes (Undisputed Truth)
That's the Way Love Is (Marvin Gaye)
Too Busy Thinking About My Baby (Marvin Gaye)
Too Many Fish in the Sea (Marvelettes, Rascals)
War (Edwin Starr)
Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) (Marvin Gaye, Paul Young)
You're My Everything (Temptations)

Grammy Awards:

1972 - Best R&B Song (Papa Was a Rolling Stone)
1976 - Best Instrumental Composition Written Specifically For a Motion Picture or Television (Car Wash)

This Date In Music History- September 18


Teen idol Frankie Avalon was born in Philadelphia in 1940. While Elvis was in the Army, he filled a vacuum with hits like "Venus" and "Why," as well as starring in a popular string of Beach Party movies with former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello.

Joanne Catherall, vocalist with the Human League, was born in Sheffield, England in 1962.

Ricky Bell of Bell Biv Devoe and New Edition was born in New Jersey in 1967.

Jimmie Rodgers ("Honeycomb") is 75.


1970 - James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix died in his London apartment at the age of 27. He was in an ambulance after taking too many sleeping pills when he choked to death on his own vomit and was pronounced D.O.A. at the hospital. Hendrix left the message 'I need help bad man', on his managers answer phone earlier that night. His death was ruled an accident, but in 1993, an investigation was re-opened by Scotland Yard. When no new evidence was unearthed, the matter was dropped.

In 1980, Amsterdam's Paradise Club was the setting for a two-day festival celebrating the life of Jimi Hendrix, which ended 10 years ago today. The 1,100 attendees watched Hendrix films and an appearance by the Noel Redding Band, with Mitch Mitchell guesting on drums.

KISS appeared without their 'make-up' for the first time during an interview on MTV in 1983. Now we know why they wore it.

The Beatles were involved in a bomb scare in 1964, as a phone caller says there was an explosive on their flight to Dallas. It turns out to be a false alarm.

Listeners tuning in to New York's WNEW-FM tonight in 1974 would have heard a soothing voice taking them into the night. The guest DJ was John Lennon.

Earl Van Dyke, otherwise known as "Chunk of Funk," died of prostate cancer in Detroit in 1992. As half of the Funk Brothers, he played keyboards on Motown smashes by the Temptations and the Miracles.

In 1991, Rob Tyner, lead singer with the MC5, died at age 47 of a heart attack.

In 1985, Frank Zappa delivered a brilliant monologue on censorship before the State Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, rebutting efforts by the Parents Music Resource Council (PMRC) to have warning labels placed on albums.

In 1956, a fight broke out during a Fats Domino concert at the naval base in Newport, Rhode Island, where several are injured and arrested. As a result, the base commander bans Rock n’ Roll shows saying the damage was caused by the "excitement accompanying the fever-pitched Rock n’ Roll."

"Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry topped the Billboard pop chart in 1976. It was the first of five chart singles for the band who took their name from a box of cough drops.

Here’s a surprise: In 2006, 73 year old country singer Willie Nelson and four members from his band were charged with drug possession after marijuana and magic mushrooms were found by police on his tour bus. Police had stopped the tour bus near Lafayette, Louisiana.

In 1996, at Sotheby's in London, Julian Lennon successfully bids just over $39,000 for the recording notes for a song that Paul McCartney wrote for him, "Hey Jude". At the same event, John Lennon's scribbled lyrics to "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite" sold for $103,500.