Thursday, January 8, 2009

Reunion Tours

Phish Reunion Tour Taking Shape

Although an official announcement has been made, Phish's first tour in five years is beginning to look like a reality. was listing a Jan. 30 on sale date for a Phish show on June 18 at the Post-Gazette Pavilion outside Pittsburgh, which coincides nicely alongside rumors of Phish making an appearance at the Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tenn., the previous weekend. The link has since been removed.

Meanwhile, a June 6 show at Great Woods outside Boston is up on, a secondary ticketing company owned by Ticketmaster, but for now, the only confirmed Phish shows are March 6-8 at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. This will be the band's first shows since August 2004.


Genesis Again?

Peter Gabriel has stated that he has "no real objection" to a reunion with Genesis. He claimed he didn't participate in the 2007 tour because he was busy with his own projects. Could this mean a Genesis reunion?

Cover Art Stories

As always, I thank Michael Goldstein over at for the exclusive rights to reprint this material.

Cover Story - Elvis Presley - "50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong", artwork by Bob Jones

Cover Story for August 17, 2007

Subject – 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong: Elvis' Gold Records - Volume 2 – a 1959 recording by Elvis Presley, released on RCA Records and featuring design and art direction by Bob Jones.

With the marking this week of the 30th anniversary of the untimely death of Elvis Presley, this week’s Cover Story will be presented in a slightly different format, with the details behind the making of this iconic record cover coming from a variety of different sources, most notably the descriptive literature produced along with a series of lithographs produced in the early 1990s by a now-defunct publisher called “Record Art”.

Released just prior to Elvis’ return from his stint in the Army, this record was the first “Greatest Hits, Volume 2” rock & roll compilation (with his first Greatest Hits album coming out in early 1958, just before he entered into his military service) and consisted of all five of his Top 5 singles released in ’58-’59 (both “A” and “B” sides). His records sold so well that even the “B” sides charted in the Top 40!

Included in the compilation were a number of songs that showed just how mature a performer he had become while still being able to rock the socks off his competition. All the more impressive was the fact that these songs were recorded while Elvis was in the Army (when the set was re-released in the late 1990’s, the re-mastered recordings improved the sound dramatically), so you’d think that he’d have been slightly distracted, but cuts such as “I Need Your Love Tonight” and “A Big Hunk of Love” proved that he’d be even more formidable once he was out of the Army and back in the studio.

According to Bob Jones, who served as art director for RCA Records for this (and many other) recordings – “To the best of my knowledge, Elvis was indifferent to his image and to the graphics on his covers…the overwhelming number of Elvis Presley’s album covers were produced according to a formula – a large color photo of his head; a bold, horsey hand-lettered ELVIS, a title and the repertoire. During my brief and infrequent visits with him, the subject of covers never came up. It was just another matter of business that The Colonel (Tom Parker) took care of.

For several years during his career, the sales of Presley product accounted for well over 20% of all of RCA Victor Records’ gross income. At the time, RCA had at least one hundred contract recording artists on the label, and my department was producing over 400 LP and 45EP covers each year. The “man behind the man” was Colonel Thomas A. Parker, and he was a far more interesting and complex character than his artist. As the music and motion picture industry knew, he was an aggressively shrewd and calculating man. He sensed from the beginning that Elvis was “product”. The Colonel was a master of promotion, merchandising and exploitation.

Of the more than 70 combined LP and 45EP covers I was responsible for, the only departure from the Parker formula was the 50,000,000 Elvis Fans cover. My final stab at trying to bring a fresh look to Presley’s covers came when I took samples of some big name illustrators to the Colonel in L.A. I took portraits by Bob Fawcett, Austin Briggs, Al Parker, Victor Kalin and even young Andy Warhol. I had hardly started my pitch when it was brought to a screeching halt. ‘Damn it, I’ve told you I don’t want any of your artistic stuff!’ However, The Colonel had been unable to come up with a single gimmick to promote the album. He then gave me a picture of Elvis in a gold lame suit and told me to come up with something.

While Tom and Harry Jenkins – the RCA V.P. – started discussing merchandising schemes, I started making a few thumbnail sketches for a cover. The Colonel looked over to me and asked to look at what I had been doing. With barely a glance at the sketches, he chose the one with the full figure surrounded by the six or eight smaller ones. He said ‘That’s it, but I want at least a couple of dozen of the little pictures in there’. I later sent him a mechanical and he approved the image with less than two dozen figures (ed. note – there are 16 pictures of Elvis on the record cover).

The album sold well over $1,000,000 worth of product. The Colonel loved that gold lame suit. He kept it in one of his closets in his home for years. Elvis Presley hated the damned suit from the first time he put it on…”

The now-famous cover photo montage of multiple Elvises (or would that be Elvi?) dressed in his gold lame’ “Nudie Suit” – as well as the record’s title - has inspired many knock-offs record packages, including (in descending order) Bon Jovi’s 100 Million Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong, 1,000,000 People Can’t Be Wrong by Blues Traveler, 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong by The Fall, and Phil Och’s 50 Phil Ochs Fans Can’t Be Wrong!.

About the artist - Bob Jones -

Bob Jones – Art Director, RCA Records – won a Grammy Award in 1965 for “Best Album Cover, Photography” for Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts, an RCA recording featuring a shot by photographer Ken Whitmore. Other credits include covers for Hall & Oates (Rock ‘n Soul: Part 1 – Greatest Hits) and many other RCA artists. He is considered one of the early pioneers of LP/45 cover design, working at various points with other classic cover artists such as Jim Flora and Alex Steinweiss.

To see more of the Bob Jones lithograph that is available for sale at the RockPoP Gallery, please follow this link –

Interview tex Copyright 1991 - Record Art

All other text Copyright 2007 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery - All rights reserved.

“Elvis” and “Elvis Presley” are Registered Trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Classic Rock Videos

Simon & Garfunkel - Mrs. Robinson

Rock & Roll Tidbits

Set to Ronald White's tune, Smokey Robinson was inspired by his wife Claudette to write the lyrics to one of music history's greatest love songs, "My Girl". Smokey's personal problems lead to their divorce in 1986.

From clay tablets and other forms of pictures, historians have determined that stringed musical instruments were developed in ancient Egypt and Rome over 3,300 years ago. The first six string guitar, called a vihuela, was developed in Spain in the 17th century.

In February 1949, after RCA Victor introduced the first 45 rpm phonograph, they put together a promo package of seven 45s that were sent to US disc jockeys and retailers. The records were color coded for classification of music. Popular - Black; Classical - Red; Popular Classical - Midnight blue; Children's - Yellow; Country and Western - Green; Rhythm And Blues - Cerise; International - Sky blue.

John Fogarty's comeback album, 1985's "Centerfield", included a couple of songs titled "Zantz Can't Dance" and "Mr. Greed", which were believed to be attacks on Fogerty's former boss at Fantasy Records, Saul Zaentz. Zaentz responded with a lawsuit, which forced Fogerty to issue a revised version of "Zaentz Can't Dance", changing the lead character's name to Vanz.

The Knack's lead vocalist, Doug Fieger, is the older brother of famed attorney Jeffrey Fieger, who defended doctor-assisted suicide advocate, Dr. Jack Kervorkian.

Three Dog Night's 1972, #1 hit "Black And White" was written in the mid-1950s about the 1954 US Supreme Court's landmark decision banning segregation in public schools. Some of the verses were changed in the Three Dog Night version. The original second verse went "Their robes were black, Their heads were white, The schoolhouse doors were closed so tight. Nine judges all set down their names, To end the years and years of shame".

Diane Renay, who was born Renne Diane Kushner, initially wanted to be billed as Renay Diane. She chose the "Renay" spelling to keep it from being mis-pronounced as "Ree-nee". Unfortunately, Atco Records misunderstood and printed early copies of her first recordings that said "Diane Renay". Rather than make an issue out of it, she decided to leave it that way. The record, "Navy Blue", went on to reach #6 in the US in 1964.

Joey Scarbury, who reached #2 on the Billboard chart with "Believe It Or Not" in 1981, was discovered by singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb's father, who wandered into a furniture store and heard the 14 year old's mom praising her son's singing ability. His initial recordings were not successful and it took another 12 years for Joey to have his big hit. Although he never cracked the Top 40 again, he did record the soundtracks for ER, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Fahrenheit 9/11.

By 1968, around eighty-five different manufacturers had sold over 2.4 million cassette players world wide and in that year alone, the cassette business was worth about $150 million.

This Date In Music History-January 8


In 1935, Elvis Aron Presley was born to Gladys and Vernon Presley in a two-room cabin on North Saltillo Road in East Tupelo, Mississippi.

David Robert Jones, a.k.a. David Bowie, was born in Brixton, London in 1947.

"Little" Anthony Gourdine is 68.

Shirley Bassey ("Goldfinger") turns 72.

Robby Krieger (The Doors) 1946

Terry Sylvester (Hollies) 1947

The Donnas’ drummer Torry Castellano (Donna C.) and bassist Maya Ford (Donna F.) are born in 1979.

Mike Reno (Loverboy) 1955

They Are Missed:

Bill Graham was born in Berlin, Germany in 1931 (died October, 1991).

Sara Carter, of the famed Carter Family of country singers, died in 1979 (age 79).

Steve Clark, guitarist for Def Leppard, died in 1991 from an accidental mixing of prescription drugs and alcohol at the age of 31.

Laura Webb of The Bobbettes died of cancer in 2001 at the age of 57. The R&B quintet scored a Billboard #6 hit with "Mr. Lee" in 1957.


In 2004, on what would have been Elvis Presley's 69th birthday, it's announced that he's the biggest selling solo artist in American history. His label RCA says Presley has sold 117.5 million albums to date.

"Elvis Presley Day" was declared in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia in 1981.

An Elvis Presley stamp was issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1993 and became its best-seller to this day, with over 500 million sold.

1955- Elvis Presley celebrates his twentieth birthday by performing his weekly spot on the KWKH radio show, Louisiana Hayride.

In 2007, officials from the National Archives announced that their most requested document is a photo of a cloaked and bejeweled Elvis Presley shaking hands with President Nixon at The White House on December 21st, 1970.

Nirvana’s last U.S. show was a hometown gig at the Seattle Center Arena in 1994.

The Canadian government names Rush the country’s “Ambassadors of Music” in 1979. Whatever happened to the Guess Who?

Tracy Chapman's self-titled debut achieved multi-platinum status in 1988.

The Who and the Kinks performed on the last "Shindig" show on ABC-TV in 1966.

The TV dance show "Hullabaloo" debuted on NBC in 1965.

In 1974, KISS gave a special dress rehearsal after being signed to Casablanca Records. It was their first recording contract.

Yoko Ono released Approximately Infinite Universe in 1973, a double album whose highlights included songs like "I Felt Like Smashing My Face in a Clear Glass Window." Ono explained she felt she should make a double LP because "if George Harrison can put out a triple album, then I can put out a double album." Uh, Yoko, you are no George Harrison.

Tickets for three Led Zeppelin concerts at Madison Square Garden went on sale in 1975. The box office had to call on other ticket outlets to help cope with demand and sold out their 60,000 tickets in four hours.

The Beatles started a six week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1966 with "Rubber Soul", the group's seventh US chart topper.

Queen went to #1 on the UK album chart in 1977 with "Day At The Races.” The album title was taken from 1937 Marx Brothers movie.

Lou Christie recorded the original, uncensored version of "Rhapsody In The Rain,” in 1966.