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 Gigwise.com list of the most controversial, weirdest, best and worst album covers as compiled by their staff. I want to thank the crew at Gigwise.com 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.