Monday, January 12, 2009

Martha Reeves Wants Detroit to Erect Motown Statues

Martha Reeves has started a campaign to get the city of Detroit to erect statues to salute some of the major players in Motown Records history.

Reeves was impressed by the way Liverpool, England had saluted the Beatles and felt that it would be fitting to do the same for its hometown musical dignitaries.

Reeves told World Entertainment News Network, "I take back a lot of information when I travel. I've seen places like Liverpool grow. It reminds me a lot of Detroit. I've seen it grow.

"It produced the Beatles, and the museum, and different markings all over the city. It's encouraged me to go back and see - can I get Motown and Detroit to erect some statues of different artists so that when you come to our famous city you will see some signs that Motown was there?"

Reeves is aiming to raise $3 million and to break ground for the first statues sometime this year. She is a Detroit city councilwoman.


Classic Rcok Videos

Simon & Garfunkel-The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)

Music stores adjust to the changing times

I liked this article and would have liked to see more about the resurgence of vinyl

Music stores adjust to the changing times

CD sales decline as fans move on to digital downloads

You could choose from an almost endless list of cliché songs to talk about trends in the music industry — and overall economy — that are coming home to roost with local music retailers.

Rich Menning of Atomic Records in Milwaukee, either by choice or just an appropriate nature, leans back on Kenny Rogers when talking about what is happening with his business.

"We had to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold them," he said.

They'll fold the cards in February when the doors on one of the state's largest independent record shops close.

While Atomic is packing it in, The Exclusive Company in Green Bay says it saw sales of CDs drop last year (while vinyl album sales at both stores took off exponentially) and is diversifying to offset the difference.

"Our sales of CDs were down in '08 … every year it's persistently down," said Tom Smith, general manager at The Exclusive Company. "This year, we brought in more DVDs, and we're trying not to depend as much on the CD."

Industry wide, music sales continued to slump last year, according to year-end figures from The Nielsen Co., which indicated total album sales, including album equivalents made up of single digital tracks, fell to 428.4 million units, down 8.5 percent from 500.5 million in 2007.

Likewise, physical album sales fell 20 percent to 362.6 million from 450.5 million, while digital album sales rose 32 percent to a record 65.8 million units while digital track sales, such as those conducted in Apple Inc.'s iTunes Music Store, were up 27 percent from the previous year, breaking the 1 billion mark for the first time at 1.07 billion.

Smith, who has a quarter century of working in the music retail business, said at times he feels like an ice salesman on the brink of the refrigerator age.

"I've been doing this since the fall of '84 … and for me it's weird to not want to own the liner notes and the artwork and have something on your hands," he said. "But I think this store is run well enough that we will survive this."

Atomic's Web site cites a number of reasons for the announced closing including a long-running decline in the music industry and the recession.

"Our clientele still likes to have a physical product and to hold it in their hands, but when it comes down to it, the vast majority of people seem to be happy to not have the physical product," Menning said. "People prefer free (illegal file downloading and burning CD copies) … and they don't think of the ramifications."

National retailer Best Buy hasn't been immune to the changes, either, offering CDs, LPs and file downloads through its Web site. The company says it is paying close attention to what consumers want — both nationally and regionally — and trying offer those products.

"For years, the trend in CD sales has been in decline, so it's not surprising that trend would continue," said Brian Lucas, a spokesman with Best Buy in Richfield, Minn. "The challenge for us as a retailer is to help people have a great experience no matter how they listen to music, or how they consume music."

He said sales of CDs and DVDs are all lumped into one sales category, and despite the dip in CD sales, people may actually be listening to more music than ever.

"We're trying to be smarter about our inventory and catering it to local audiences, and understanding what the local community is listening to," Lucas said.

None of the people interviewed for this story were worried the CD is a dying breed, pointing out customers still want a tangible product complete with album art and liner notes.

"The customer is going to tell us what is a viable format and what is not," Lucas said. "There are still people that like to hold a physical product in their hands, open it up and read the liner notes, and they like to have a physical possession so we need to remember that customer as well."

As they work to change with the market, Exclusive may branch into video games and other areas. Smith said they sold Nintendo Wii game systems during the holidays.

"The whole industry isn't too sure of how this will shake out right now," he said.

It may not be symbolic of anything, or maybe it is, but one of the top selling CDs at the end of the year was the recent release of a 1968 concert by Neil Young — a 40-year-old show.

"I don't know if that's a good sign or a bad sign," he said with a laugh.

Smith is optimistic 2009 could be a better year all around after people pulled back drastically on holiday spending.

"I think that will pass and people will spend money on entertainment and things that make them happy," he said. "There could be positive things that happen in 2009."

A rocky economy coupled with the downward trend in physical music sales sounded the death knell for Atomic.

"It was an extremely difficult decision, but it's been trending this way for eight or 10 years and you can only hold on and hope things turn around for so long — or find different niches to crawl into," Menning said. "Vinyl sales were up a ton last year, but it wasn't enough to offset the losses in CD sales."

SOURCE:— The Associated Press

Here is what Atomic Records (Milwaukee) said on their website (and a record store I will truly miss as it was the BEST in my area):

The Announcement: Atomic Records To Close In February 2009

Rich from Atomic Records here.

It is with great sadness and more than a little difficulty that I have to announce that Atomic Records will be closing in February 2009.

The reasons for shutting down are many -- and I'd hate to bore you with wonkish details of shifting demographics, downward market trends, changing consumer habits, etc. -- but the decade-long (and running) decline of the music industry combined with the recent economic downturn have made it impossible to continue doing what we love to do.

Thank You !

First off, THANK YOU! It has truly been a pleasure serving the music lovers of Milwaukee for the past 24 years. Much gratitude goes out to our customers. The recent words of encouragement -- the likes of "hang in there," "please don't go out of business," "what would I do without you?" -- mean more than you can imagine. I only wish we had the wherewithal to continue on. But for the next couple months the current members of Team Atomic shall keep on serving you as best we can.

-- 12/04/2008

Rock & Roll Tidbits

Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde were a popular English duo during the British Invasion and scored two US Top Ten hits in 1964 with "Yesterday's Gone" and "A Summer Song". After the pair had gone their seperate ways, Stuart served as the musical director for the US television show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

The Beach Boys concert contract states that any sell-outs must be reported to all industry related newspapers and magazines.

The break up of Simon and Garfunkle came about when Art refused to record Paul's song "Cuba Si, Nixon No" for their 1969 "Bridge Over Troubled Water" LP.

"Bye Bye Love" was turned down by Elvis Presley and thirty other artists before The Everly Brothers recorded it. Their version rose to #2 in the US and stayed on the charts for 22 weeks.

The Flamingos 1959 smash, "I Only Have Eyes For You" was first performed by actor Dick Powell in the 1934 movie, Dames.

Gramophone was a U.S. brand name that referred to a specific brand of sound reproducing machine in the late 1800s. The name fell out of use around 1901, though it has survived in its nickname form, Grammy, as the title of the Grammy Awards. The Grammy trophy itself is a small rendering of a gramophone.

The inclusion of "Louie Louie" in the John Belushi movie National Lampoon's Animal House, is in fact, historically incorrect. The film is set in 1962, one year prior to the Kingsmen's release.

When Little Richard (Penniman) was a teenager, he ran away from home and joined a medicine show. By the time he was 15, he was adopted by Ann and Johnny Johnson, a white family from Macon, Georgia.

On the recording session for Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone", future Blood, Sweat and Tears founder Al Kooper played organ and The Electric Flag's Mike Bloomfield played guitar.

The song title of the Beatles' "Penny Lane" is derived from the name of a street in the Beatle's hometown of Liverpool. Locally the term "Penny Lane" was the name given to Allerton Road and Smithdown Road and its busy shopping area and is named after James Penny, an 18th century slave trader.

After recording her first record, Oasis records made a spelling mistake on the label and Donna Sommer became Donna Summer for the rest of her career.

Songwriter Jimmy Webb got the inspiration to write The Fifth Dimension's hit "Up, Up and Away" from a hot air balloon that a friend flew on promotions for radio station KMEN.

The Dovells, who scored a number two hit in the U.S. in 1961 with "Bristol Stomp", also appeared as Chubby Checker's backing band on "Let's Twist Again" and accompanied Jean Hillery on the 1968 novelty tune, "Here Comes The Judge".

This Date In Music History-January 12


Glenn Yarbrough is 78.

Ray Price turns 83.

Louisiana swamp rock guitarist Danny James (1945)

Rob Zombie- White Zombie (1966)

Tommy Ardolino- NRBQ (1957)

William Lee Golden- The Oak Ridge Boys (1939)

Cynthia Robinson- Sly and the Family Stone (1946)

Per Gessle- Roxette (1959)

Zacarías (Zach) Manuel de la Rocha, singer and lyricist for Rage Against The Machine, was born in Long Beach, CA in 1970.

They Are Missed:

INXS singer Michael Hutchence was born in 1960.

English blues singer Long John Baldry (January 12, 1941 – July 21, 2005) He gave both Rod Stewart and Elton John their first breaks in the music biz by employing them to play in his band.

Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees died in 2003.

In 2001, Brazilian guitarist Luis Floriana Bonfa died of cancer in Rio de Janeiro. His soundtrack to the 1959 film Black Orpheus helped popularize the bossa nova genre.

In 2004, Randy Vanwarmer, the singer/songwriter/guitarist who went to #4 in 1978 with "Just When I Needed You Most" succumbs to leukemia. He was 48.

In 1999, Barry Pritchard, vocalist and guitarist for The Fortunes, died of heart failure. The group reached the Billboard Top 20 with "You've Got Your Troubles" in 1965 and "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again" in 1971.


In 1957, Sun released "Flyin' Saucer Rock n' Roll" by Billy Riley and His Little Green men. Featuring Roland Janes on guitar and Jerry Lee Lewis on piano, the song is a rockabilly classic.

The Beach Boys reach #1 with "I Get Around" in 1964.

In 1970, The Band appeared on the cover of Time magazine beneath the headline “The New Sound of Country Rock.”

Britney Spears released her debut album in 1999, “..Baby One More Time,” which debuts at #1, along with their first single of the same title. Spears is the first debut artist to hit #1 on both the singles and the albums charts at the same time.

Elvis Presley recorded "All Shook Up" in 1957.

Today in 1974, the song "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band topped the charts and stayed there for a week.

In 1981, The Recording Industry Association of America donated 800 albums to the White House library including Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols and KISS' Alive.

Using an $800 family loan, 29 year old Berry Gordy Jr. formed his first record label, Tamla Records in 1959.

In 1961, Motown Records signs The Primettes to a recording contract and convinces them to change their name. From several possibilities, they settle on one suggested by Florence Ballard - The Supremes.

The Beatles released "Please Please Me" in 1963, which would be their first number one single in the UK. Written mostly by John Lennon, the song made it to the top in just three weeks and would sell over 1.5 million copies world wide. However, the record wouldn't appear on the US charts for another year.

In 1969, Led Zeppelin released their self-titled, debut album. The groundbreaking LP is now seen as one of the most impressive and important debuts in Rock music history. The name of the band had recently been changed from The New Yardbirds after drummer Keith Moon of The Who predicted the band's music would "go over like a lead zeppelin".

In 1993, Cream reform at tonight's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Los Angeles. Other inductees are Creedence Clearwater Revival - who don't reform at all - the Doors - who can't reform - Van Morrison, Sly & the Family Stone, Frankie Lymon, Dinah Washington and Etta James. The reclusive Sly Stone appears at the ceremony rocking the Prince look, but says nothing.

In 1995, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame holds its annual induction dinner to welcome Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers Band, Martha & the Vandellas, Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Al Green and Frank Zappa to their ranks.

In 1998, Tonight at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, the Mamas & the Papas, Santana, Lloyd Price, Gene Vincent, Allen Toussaint and Jelly Roll Morton.

In 1965, NBC premieres a new pop TV show called Hullabaloo, hosted by Jack Jones. Today's guests include the New Christy Minstrels and a comedian called Woody Allen. In a taped segment, Beatles manager Brian Epstein introduced performances by the Zombies and Gerry & the Pacemakers from London.

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales

Week Ending 01/10/2009

1. 45rpm - Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers (The Beatles) "My Bonnie" / "The Saints" Decca
(commercial copy) - $5,500.00 - Start: $5,500.00 - Bids: BIN

2. LP - The Sevens "self titled" Layola Switzerland - $2,410.00 - Start: $9.99 - Bids: 39

3. LP - Lightnin' Hopkins "Lightnin' And The Blues" - $2,125.00 - Start: $20.00 - Bids: 29

4. LP - Lee Morgan "Candy" Blue Note BP-1590 - $2,114.00 - Start: $499.00 - Bids: 13

5. LP - Linda Hoyle "Pieces Of Me" Vertigo UK - $1,722.44 - Start: $637.00 - Bids: 11

The first of the Tony Sheridan 45's, backed by the Beatles, tops the list this week, selling on a Buy-It-Now for $5.5k. This is the commercial, black label, Decca 45, the rarer of the two versions, the second being the pink promo release. The Beatles changed their name to the Beat Brothers for this and other Tony Sheridan records, as the primary audience was in Germany, and "Beatles" sounded very close to a German slang word for penis.

In the #2 spot, a Swiss Pysch LP from The Sevens bids past $2.4k. Next, a Lightnin' Hopkins LP on Herald sells for one quarter past $2.1k.

The #4 spot goes to Lee Morgan's "Candy" LP on Blue Note, which closes over $2.1k. And last, a jazz fusion LP from Linda Coyle, her first solo record after being a member of Affinity, bids up past $1.7.

As always, I want to thank Norm over at for this great data!