Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Music News & Notes

Uh, No Thank You Queenie

The Beatles were honored with the MBE (Member of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1965. Four years later, John Lennon returned his medal to Buckingham Palace in protest of a number of issues as outlined in the note that was attached to the award.

"Your Majesty,

"I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts.

"With Love, John Lennon."

About 40 years have past since the return of the medal, but it has recently been found by officials at St. James Palace in London. Included in the find was the infamous letter.

St. James Palace officials have contacted Yoko Ono to ask about disposition of the find. A palace spokesperson said:

"John Lennon's MBE is being taken good care of and is in storage at the Central Chancery. It has been retained since the day Mr Lennon returned it, but in order to decide whether the medal could go on display in a museum, we would have to establish ownership first. It could be up to Yoko Ono as she is the custodian of John Lennon's estate."


Zeppelin To Carry On without Plant

According to the manager for Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin are planning to tour and record a new album, without vocalist Robert Plant.

Although Plant remains on good terms with his former band-mates, he confirmed that he is not interested in the reunion. So Page’s manager Peter Mensch has stated that the band would indeed carry on-if they can find the right singer.

“Jimmy Page has been playing guitar professionally since he was 16 years old,” said Mensch. “Jimmy likes being a musician. That’s what he does! He doesn’t want to be a race car driver or a solicitor.”

“So they (Page, bassist John Paul Jones and drummer Jason Bonham) did the show (at London’s O2 Arena in 2007) with Robert Plant; they had a really good time rehearsing, the three of them, before Robert showed up. And they decided that if they could find a singer that they thought would fit their bill- whatever their bill was at this stage in their career-that they’d make a record and go on tour,” explained Mensch.

“John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page enjoy playing with each other, Jason Bonham is a really good drummer so why not? We just need to find a singer,” he said.

Rumors have swirled as to who the next singer will be, from Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell to Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, but Mensch has remained tight-lipped as to who the replacement singer may be.


New Aerosmith Material?

According to information on Aerosmith’s official website, Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton are hard at work on some new music.

“Happy New Year!” the post reads. “Today is the first day Tom and I are getting back together. We just rehearsed for 2 hours and it feels so good. We can’t wait to get back into the studio and get back out on the road and to do what we do best. We’ll check in from time to time and give you progress on how things are going.”

If they do record a new album, it would be the band’s first original material since “Just Push Play” in 2001.


Happy Birthday!

On January 12, legendary Country artist Ray Price will celebrate his 83rd birthday with all his fans at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and Tex Ritter Museum in Carthage, Texas.


Frehley Solo Project

KISS veteran Ace Frehley is naming his new solo album “Anomaly.” It will be his first release in more than 18 years and includes songs that he has been writing and collecting over the past twelve.

Stooges Guitarist Asheton Dies

Seminal punk rockers, The Stooges, lost a valued member of the band when Ron Asheton was found dead on Tuesday. The influential guitarist was found at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan and appeared to have been dead for several days. The Ann Arbor police do not suspect foul play in the 60 year-old rocker’s death.

Along with his brother, Scott (drummer), the pair were the founding members of the Iggy Pop-lead Stooges. The band was known for their often violent and primitive style that featured over-the-top theatrics by Pop. The band partied hard and played hard and backed by Asheton’s legendary guitar riffs, their music has been credited as a powerful influence on many punk bands; including the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. In fact, Asheton is ranked as the 29th greatest guitar player by Rolling Stone Magazine.

The Stooges broke up in 1974 after just three albums and limited commercial success. They were also limited by the antics and drug problems of Pop. Their concerts were legendary and Pop’s outlandish behavior only fueled audience behavior. Pop would force himself to vomit, jump chest-first into broken glass and on one occasion told the audience to beat him up and they obliged.

After the Stooges broke up, Asheton tried to break into acting and was cast in several low-budget horror films in the 1980s and 1990s. He rejoined the Stooges when the group reformed in 2003 and for the 2007 album “The Weirdness.” Asheton loved his music and had no intention of laying his guitar to rest.

“You’re a professional musician,” he explained. “You can’t be forced to retire. Look at B.B. King, what is he 80-something? That’s the beauty of being a musician. They can’t take it away from you. It’s your music, and you’re pumping it out. You just play ‘til you drop.”

Classic Rock Videos

Simon & Garfunkel- sound of silence

Rock & Roll Tidbits

When "Monster Mash" first started to get air-play in 1962, Bobby "Boris" Pickett was working part time as a cab driver. The song has since become an annual favorite, reaching the Billboard Top 10 in '62 and '73, earning three gold records and selling an estimated four million copies. Bobby has said that royalties from the record have "paid the rent for 43 years". Not bad for a song that took a half hour to write and another half hour to record and was intended to be a bit of fun to be shared only among family and friends.

The Who's album "Tommy" spent over two years on the US chart, but in their home country, the UK, it lasted only nine weeks.

After Elvis Presley began his meteoric rise to fame in 1956, his father Vernon said to him, "What happened El? The last thing I remember is I was working in a can factory and you were driving a truck."

Peter Cetera wrote "If You Leave Me Now" about a faltering relationship. Although the song proved to be Chicago's biggest selling record, it didn't help save the union, as the woman involved ended up leaving anyway.

CCR's John Fogerty had a notebook in which he jotted down words and names that he thought would make good song titles. At the top of his list was "Proud Mary", a phrase that brought images of a domestic washerwoman to John's mind. When he got around to putting it to music, the first few chords he used reminded him of a paddle-wheel going around. Instead of Proud Mary being a clean-up lady, she became a boat.

Lesley Gore's first album was called "I'll Cry If I Want To" which consisted of songs completely devoted to crying.

"Mack The Knife" was written for the 1928 German play The Threepenny Opera, in which "Mack" is Mackie Messer (Macheath), an amoral, anti-heroic criminal. Although it suffered an initially poor reception, the show went on to run 400 times in the next two years. It was translated into English in 1933 and since that time, at least seven productions have been mounted in New York, on and off Broadway.

It has often been rumored that Billy Joel played piano on The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack", but this has been denied by one of the song's co-writers, Ellie Greenwich.

The original version of "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen cost just $36 to record, but sold over 12 million copies.

In the 1950s, Paul McCartney's father lead a combo called Jim Mac's Jazz Band, where he played piano and trumpet. When he was a boy, Paul said that someday he hoped to be as good as his dad.

How to tell if your Beatles records are authentic

Found this interesting and thought to pass it along. while I was visiting the site (vinyl blast records), I noticed what a great selection they have, it is worth checking out!

I have also found these two sites very helpful when trying to figure out what kind of Beatles record I have:


Additional, we have own own Beatles expert in the Vinyl village forum. He is a Brit and really knows it stuff! Vinyl Village

How to tell if your Beatles records are authentic

Did you know that many, or most of the 1960's Beatles memorablilia are either reproductions or counterfeits? Well, unfortunately, they are. Here are the reasons why. The Beatles had a short span of years when almost everything sold had a Beatles theme on them. Bubble bath, sneakers, clothing, jewelry, posters, just to name a few. Even after the Beatles broke up, their authentic collectables were bought and sold by dealers. But after only a few years of Beatlesfests, all of the authentic items were gone. They had all been either purchased by fans, or were held onto by collectors who knew that they would be worth a lot of money in the future. So to quench the thirst for so many fans still wanting to pay top dollar for Beatles memorabilia, reproductions were made. Even after 40 years since the Beatles had their fame, fans are still paying top dollar for Beatles items. This led to the production of counterfeit items. Rulers, guitar picks, marbles, a 78 rpm record-listed but pulled off eBay, and many more items never even existed in the 60's. Much of what you see advertised as "Authentic Beatles NEMS, or Seltaeb (Beatles spelled backwards) dated 1964 and copy written," were produced in the early 90's in China. Made to closely resemble the originals, they are not exact matches. Authentic plastic guitar pins have a picture inserted into the body of the guitar, and a flat, round piece of clear plastic covering it. The fakes have blurry pictures not placed into the body of the guitar, but rather raised up using a clear plastic lens. On the neck of the fakes will read NEMS, while the original never had that marking. "A beatles brooch attached to original card that reads NEMS 1964", has a round pendant and a picture of Paul smiling. The original is a heart shaped pendant with a picture of Paul not smiling, but his eyes are looking upwards. Type Beatles into search on eBay and you will get over 20,000 items for sale. Many are authentic collectables made in the years that the Beatles were no longer a group, such as McFarlane Yellow Submarine action figures, or Franklin Mint musical domes. Nothing wrong with that, as they are listed truthfully. But when someone buys a blank disk go case for $5.00 and puts a 5 cent decal on it, and lists it as an "Authentic 1960's Beatles disk go case, there is definately something wrong with that!

You may ask what can a buyer do to not get ripped off when buying 1960's Beatles memorabilia. These are my recommendations. First, type the item name into search. If you find numerous items of that same nature, beware. Use common sense. Would any seller really list an authentic 1960's Beatles movie lobby card, jewelry, set of uncut trading cards, used/unused Beatles concert ticket, autographs, poster, pins, buttons, badges, clothing, hairspray, sneakers, lunchboxes, notebooks, bobbleheads, concert memorabilia, T shirts, sweat shirts, programs, flight bags, flicker pins, flicker rings, on and on for a no reserve $9.99 starting price auction? I doubt it.


Check the seller's previous transactions. If that seller has sold many pieces of the same supposed 1960s Beatles item, they are probably fake. How could 1 person get so many of these extremely rare items. If the seller buys blank disk go cases and sells real 60's Beatles disk go cases-probably fake. If a seller has an abundance of different "Authentic NEMS or Seltaeb 1960's Beatles items", probably fake. If a seller has an "Authentic autograph with Certificate of Authenticity" and is selling it for less than $1000.00's- probably fake. One seller got caught selling fake original Beatles concert posters. His defense? "They are original, I created them!"

Visit Beatles websites. Search for Beatles items through the internet. Look at the prices that these authentic original 1960's Beatles memorabilia collectables cost. Then ask yourself, "Why would someone list a $10,000 piece of Beatles historical item for $50.00?" By now I think you know the answer.

In conclusion, there are very few original authentic 1960's Beatles collectables available. To obtain one, expect to pay $100.00's to $1,000's and up. Otherwise you are putting your hard earned money into some devious seller's pockets, and obtaining a ten cent piece of junk.