Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Day The Music Died

The day is immortalized in the legendary Don McLean song “American Pie.” It was a day that saddened music lovers all over the world and shocked the music industry. It was the day the music died.

We are of course referring to the plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa, that claimed the lives of rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. The crash, which occurred on February 3, 1959, is now fifty years old. Let’s explore some of the details of “the day the music died.”

The Winter Dance Party began at the Eagles Club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 23, 1959. It featured the aforementioned stars, Dion Deuce as well as an aspiring teen idol named Frankie Sardou. The tour was set to cover twenty-four Midwestern cities in a span of three weeks. The tour was a logistical nightmare with the amount of travel that was required. Adding to this problem was a tour bus that was ill-equipped to deal with the weather conditions in that part of the country; its heating system broke down shortly after the tour began. In fact, one musician, drummer Carl Bunch, developed a severe case of frostbite to his feet that required hospitalization (Holly and Valens took turns on the drums). It got so cold on the bus that the musicians started burning newspapers in the aisle in a desperate attempt to keep warm.

What’s interesting is that the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake was not intended to be a stop on the tour, but the promoters, hoping to fill an open date, contacted the manager of the establishment and offered him the show. He accepted and the date was set for February 2nd.

However, Holly was so frustrated and tired of the malfunctioning tour bus that he told his fellow musicians that, once the show was over, they should attempt to charter a plane to get to the next stop on the tour; which was Moorhead, Minnesota. So flight arrangements were made with Roger Peterson, who was a local pilot employed at Dwyer Flying Service, based in Mason City, Iowa. The fee was $36 per passenger and the single-engine plane could seat three musicians in addition to the pilot.

But there was a dilemma, who would fly and who would get to the next destination via the tour bus? Obviously, Holly and the pilot were aboard which left two seats open. Dion was approached to buy a seat, but he thought that the price of $36 was way too much. He recalled his parents arguing about the rent, which coincidently was $36 per month and he could not bring himself to pay an entire month’s rent for a short plane ride.

J.P. Richardson had come down with a bout of the flu and asked one of Holly’s band mates, Waylon Jennings, for his seat on the plane and Jennings gave up his seat. Ritchie Valens, who was also feeling the effects of the freezing tour bus, asked Holly’s other band mate Tommy All sup for his seat. Allsup replied that he would flip a coin, with the winner getting the last seat on the plane. Now, contrary to what has been depicted in the biographical movies, the coin toss was not done by Holly; nor did it occur at the airport. The coin toss occurred at the Ballroom shortly before they departed for the airport and was actually done by a DJ who was working the concert that night.

The plane took off at 1 a.m. on February 3, 1959 from Mason City Municipal Airport. Approximately 1:05 a.m., Jerry Dwyer, owner of Dwyer Flying Service could see the lights of the plane start to descend from the sky to the ground. The pilot was supposed to file his flight plan once airborne, but he never contacted the tower. By 3:30 a.m., after multiple attempts to contact his pilot and the fact that the airport in Fargo, Minnesota had not heard from Peterson, Dwyer contacted the authorities to report the plane missing.

The doomed aircraft had just made it a few miles from the airport. The pilot (who was not certified to fly at night) may have been confused by the darkness and the light snow that was falling. The plane hit the ground nose first at an estimated 150mph killing all four men instantly.

50 Winters Later Concert Set for Clear Lake, Iowa

On February 2, 1959, the three stars played their last show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Later, they boarded a plane for North Dakota which crashed shortly after takeoff. While not an event for celebration, it is one that is traditionally recognized as a turning point in rock music history.

That same Surf Ballroom and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have joined together to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Winter Dance Party with a week long series of events starting on Wednesday, January 28 and ending with a major tribute concert on Monday, February 2. During the week, there will be educational programs, symposiums and a record and memorabilia show, but the real events happen in the evening with nightly concerts from some early pioneers of rock music.

"50 Winters Later is about the music and the legacy of Buddy, Ritchie, and The Bopper. The artists who will participate in the week's events will pay homage to these three stars that influenced music so deeply that musicians and songwriters continue to this day to be inspired and attribute aspects of their musical careers to them. It's going to be an extraordinary show - to be in the Surf where these pioneers played live decades ago is magical in itself," stated Shane Cooney, entertainment director for the Surf Ballroom.

"For one week we will focus on the extraordinary lives and legacies of three men who forever left their mark on rock and roll history and American society," said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. "It will be a poignant and memorable experience honoring this pivotal watershed cultural event."
Here are the lineups for each of the shows:

Wednesday, January 28 (Sock Hop)
Jason D. Williams
The Original Founding Members of the Whitesidewalls

Thursday, January 29
The Comets
Johnny Tillotson
The Tymes
Dodie Stevens
Tommy Allsup & Johnny Rodgers
David Sommerville of the Diamonds (Host)

Friday, January 30
John Mueller, Ray Anthony & the Bopper, Jr.
Sting Ray & the Killer Vees

Saturday, January 31
Bobby Vee
The Crickets
Johnny Preston
Chris Montez

Monday, February 2
Tommy Allsup
Big Bopper, Jr.
The Crickets
Pat Dinnizio of the Smithereens
Joe Ely
Wanda Jackson
Los Lobos
Los Lonely Boys
Cousin Brucie Morrow
Graham Nash
Peter & Gordon
Sir Tim Rice
Bobby Vee


In 1976, when the first Buddy Holly Week was held, Paul McCartney was presented with the cuff links Buddy Holly wore the night of the crash. McCartney purchased the rights to Holly’s song publishing and began organizing the annual celebration five years later.

On February 29, 1980, an old police file containing Buddy Holly’s horn rimmed glasses and a watch owned by J. P. Richardson were located by the Mason City Sheriff. The items were recovered at the crash site.

In the 2000 film Almost Famous, the band's plane is caught in bad weather, at which point one of the band members begins to sing the Buddy Holly song "Peggy Sue.”

Deciding that the show must go on at the next stop, Moorhead, MN, they looked for local talent to fill in. Just across the state line from Moorhead, in Fargo ND, they found a 15 year old talent named Bobby Vee.

The crash that ended the lives of Holly, Valens, and Richardson was the break that began the career of Vee.

Tommy Allsup would one day open a club named "The Head's Up Saloon," a tribute to the coin toss that saved his life.

Waylon Jennings would become a hugely popular Country singer.

Dion DiMucci would enjoy a long lived solo career.

Ritchie Valens:

Inscribed on Ritchie Valens' grave are the words, "Come On, Let's Go."

Valens was a pioneer of Chicano rock, Latin rock and was an inspiration to many musicians of Latino heritage. He influenced the likes of Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, and Carlos Santana among countless others at a time when there were very few Latinos in American rock and pop music. He is considered the first Latino to ever successfully cross over into Rock mainstream.

"La Bamba" would prove to be his most influential recording; not only by becoming a pop chart hit sung entirely in Spanish but also because of its successful blending of traditional Latin American music with rock. He was a pioneer and was an inspiration for many after his tragic death. Valens was the first to capitalize on this formula which would later be adopted by such varied artists as Selena, Caifanes, Cafe Tacuba, Circo, El Gran Silencio, Aterciopelados, Gustavo Santaolalla, and many others in the Latin Alternative scene. Ironically, the Valenzuela family spoke only English at home, and Ritchie knew very little Spanish. Ritchie learned the lyrics of "La Bamba" phonetically in order to record the song in Spanish.

"Come on Let's Go" has been covered by Los Lobos, The Ramones and "The Paley Brothers”; (jointly, The Ramones on guitar, bass, and drums and The Paley Brothers on vocals), Tommy Steele, The Huntingtons and The McCoys.

"Donna" has been covered by artists as diverse as MxPx, Cliff Richard, The Youngbloods, Clem Snide, Cappadonna, and The Misfits among many others.

Robert Quine has cited Valens' guitar playing as an early influence on his style.

Donna Ludwig, Ritchie's girlfriend, is today still recognized as "Ritchie's Donna.” Her personalized license plate reads "ODONNA.”

Ritchie's nephew, Ernie Valens, has toured worldwide playing his uncle's songs, including a new version of the "Winter Dance Party" tour with Buddy Holly impersonator John Mueller. This tour has taken place at many of the original 1959 venues in the Midwest.

Valens also appeared in biopic films. Valens was depicted in the 1987 biopic film La Bamba, which was about his life. The film's time period was from 1957 to 1959, in which his age was 16 to 17. It introduced Lou Diamond Phillips as Valens and co-starred Esai Morales as his older half-brother, Bob Morales. Los Lobos performed most of the music in the film.

Valens was portrayed by Gilbert Melgar in the final scene of The Buddy Holly Story and Valens will also be depicted in the upcoming 2009 film The Day the Music Died. Valens will be portrayed by Joseph Thornhillas in the 2009 film Lives and Deaths of the Poet.

Big Bopper:

Richardson's son, Jay Richardson, took up a musical career and is known professionally as "The Big Bopper, Jr." He has performed all around the world.

Notably, he has toured on the "Winter Dance Party" tour with Buddy Holly impersonator John Mueller on some of the same stages as his father performed.

In January 2007, Richardson's son Jay requested that his father's body be exhumed and an autopsy be performed to settle the rumors that a gun was fired or that Richardson initially survived the crash. The autopsy was performed by Dr. Bill Bass, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Jay was present with Dr. Bass throughout the entire autopsy and observed as the casket was opened; both men were surprised to find the remains well enough preserved to be recognizable as those of the late rock star. "Dad still amazes me 48 years after his death, that he was in remarkable shape," Richardson told the Associated Press. "I surprised myself. I handled it better than I thought I would."

Dr. Bass' findings indicated there were no signs of foul play. He was quoted as saying "There are fractures from head to toe. Massive fractures. ... (Richardson) died immediately. He didn't crawl away. He didn't walk away from the plane."

After the autopsy, Richardson's body was placed in a new casket made by the same company as the original, then was reburied next to his wife in Beaumont's Forest Lawn Cemetery. Jay then allowed the old casket to be put on display at the Texas Musician's Museum.

Buddy Holly:

Contrary to popular belief, teenagers John Lennon and Paul McCartney did not attend a Holly concert, although they watched his TV appearance on "Sunday Night at the London Palladium"; Tony Bramwell, a school friend of McCartney and George Harrison, did. Keith Richards attended one of the gigs, where he heard "Not Fade Away" for the first time. Bramwell met Holly, and freely shared his records with all three. Lennon and McCartney later cited Holly as a primary influence. (Their band's name, The Beatles, was chosen partly in homage to Holly's Crickets.) The Beatles did a cover version of "Words of Love" that was a close reproduction of Holly's version.

McCartney owns the publishing rights to Holly's song catalogue.

A young Bob Dylan attended the January 31, 1959 show, two nights before Holly's death. Dylan referred to this in his 1998 Grammy acceptance speech for his 1997 Time out of Mind winning Album of the Year.

Various rock and roll histories have asserted that the singing group The Hollies were named in homage to Buddy Holly. According to the band's website, although the group admired Holly (and years later produced an album covering some of his songs), their name was inspired primarily by the sprigs of holly in evidence around Christmas of 1962.

After the death of Buddy he would leave a trail of followers from Bob Dylan, to Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, and The Beatles. Also, one of The Rolling Stones early hits was a cover of "Not Fade Away.”

Eddie Cochran, good friend and fellow rock 'n' roll pioneer was so distraught by the deaths of Holly, Valens, and The Big Bopper that he recorded the song "Three Stars" as a tribute. The song was not released until after Cochran's own premature death, because he was too upset to allow it to be issued in his lifetime.

The Smithereens' song "Maria Elena" is a Buddy Holly tribute as sung to his widow.

Blink-182 has a song named "Peggy Sue" which is a tribute to Holly.

Phil Ochs famously sang a long tribute to Buddy Holly on the infamous Gunfight at Carnegie Hall album.

Mike Berry released a 1961 single called "Tribute to Buddy Holly.” It was written by Geoff Goddard and produced by Joe Meek, who was a great Buddy Holly fan. In the USA, it was released on Coral, Buddy Holly's label.

Weezer's self-titled debut album features the band's popular single "Buddy Holly.”

Musician Albert Hammond, Jr. has a cover of "Well... Alright" on his 2007 album Yours To Keep.

Don McLean's popular 1971 ballad "American Pie" is inspired by the day of the plane crash. He has also covered "Everyday.”

Buddy Holly Monument

(What the song is talkin' about!)
By Rich Kulawiec

The entire song is a tribute to Buddy Holly and a commentary on how rock and roll changed in the years since his death. McLean seems to be lamenting the lack of "danceable" music in rock and roll and (in part) attributing that lack to the absence of Buddy Holly et. al. (Verse 1)

A long, long time ago...

"American Pie" reached #1 in the US in 1972, but the album containing it was released in 1971. Buddy Holly died in 1959.

I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance,
That I could make those people dance,
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

One of early rock and roll's functions was to provide dance music for various social events. McLean recalls his desire to become a musician playing that sort of music.

But February made me shiver,

Buddy Holly died on February 3, 1959 in a plane crash in Iowa during a snowstorm. The news came to most of the world on the morning of February 3, which is why it's known as The Day The Music Died.

With every paper I'd deliver,

Don McLean's only job besides being a full-time singer-songwriter was being a paperboy.

Bad news on the doorstep...
I couldn't take one more step.
I can't remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride

Holly's recent bride, Maria Elena, was pregnant when the crash took place; she had a miscarriage shortly afterward.

But something touched me deep inside,
The day the music died.

The same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly also took the lives of Richie Valens ("La Bamba") and The Big Bopper ("Chantilly Lace"). Since all three were so prominent at the time, February 3, 1959 became known as "The Day The Music dies”.

So... (Refrain)
Bye bye Miss American Pie,

Miss American Pie *is* rock and roll music. Don McLean dated a Miss America candidate during the pageant. (unconfirmed)

Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
Them good ole boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singing "This'll be the day that I die,
This'll be the day that I die."

One of Holly's hits was "That'll be the Day"; the chorus contains the line "That'll be the day that I die"

Your Vinyl Destination

Here are a few record prices for these three legends. As always, the prices are obtained from Jerry Osborne’s “Rockin Records” Price guides (for your own record price guide, visit Jerry at http://www.jerryosborne.com/

Buddy Holly

Singles: 78 rpm

CORAL (61852 "Words of Love") $400-500 1957
CORAL (61885 "Peggy Sue") $400-600 1957
CORAL (62006 "Early in the Morning") $600-800 1958
CORAL (62051 "Heartbeat") $600-800 1958
DECCA (30166 "Modern Don Juan") $500-600 1956
DECCA (30434 "That'll Be theDay") $500-600 1957
DECCA (30543 "Love Me") $500-600 1958
DECCA (30650 "Ting-A-Ling") $500-600 1958
Promotional LPs
DECCA (8707 "That'll Be the Day") $1000-1500 1958
(Pink label.)

LPs: 10/12–inch

BRUNSWICK (54038 "The Chirping Crickets") $800-1200 1957

Ritchie Valens

Singles: 78 rpm

APEX (76402 "Donna") $100-200 1958
APEX (76472 "That's My Little Susie") $200-300 1959

LPs: 10/12–inch

DEL-FI (1206 "Ritchie") $300-400 1959
DEL-FI (1214 "Ritchie Valens in Concert at Pacoima Jr. High") $300-400 1961

Big Bopper

Singles: 7–inch

D (1008 "Chantilly Lace") $150-200 1958

LPs: 10/12–inch

MERCURY (20402 "Chantilly Lace") $250-300 1959
(Black label.)
MERCURY (20402 "Chantilly Lace") $550-650 1959
(White or pink label. Promotional issue only.)
MERCURY (20402 "Chantilly Lace") $75-100 1964
(Red label.)

Author Robert Benson writes about rock/pop music, vinyl record collecting and operates www.collectingvinylrecords.com, where you can pick up a copy of his FREE ebook called "The Fascinating Hobby Of Vinyl Record Collecting." You can also have your vinyl records appraised at www.vinylrecordappraisals.com.

New Vinyl Releases

Here is a list of new vinyl releases for 1/27/2009

Pick up these great vinyl releases here: http://tinyurl.com/aawcqu

Dan Deacon Adventure/Dan Deacon/Adventure (Split 12")/Carpark Records

House Of Repz/U Gotta Love Us/Kings Link Recordz/12" Single

Mi Ami/Enchonecho/Quarterstick/12" Single

Turbtito/Liquid Disco/Losing Their Heads 12" single/Throno

Fever Ray/If I Had A Heart/Mute/"Limited Edition 7" single

Nickel Eye /Brandy Of The Damned b/w Backn/7"/Rykodisc

Someone Still Loves You Boris/Someone Still Loves You Boris/Polyvinyl Records/7"

The One Up Downstairs/The On Up Downstairs/Polyvinyl Records/7"

Ultimate Breaks & Beats/Funky Worm/Street Beat Records/7"

Ultimate Breaks & Beats/I Know You Got Soul/Street Beat Records/7"

Ultimate Breaks & Beats/It's Just Begun/Street Beat Records/7"

Ultimate Breaks & Beats/Synthetic Substitution/Street Beat Records/7"

American Football/American Football EP/Polyvinyl Records/LP

Bill Evans Trio/How My Heart Sings/Original Jazz Classics/LP

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears/Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears [10"Vinyl]/Lost Highway/LP

Brian 'Head' Welch/Save Me From Myself(180 Gram Vinyl)/Driven Music Group/LP

Cannonball Adderley/Somethin' Else [4 LP](Mono - 200 Gram Clarity Vinyl - 45rpm)/Classic Records/Blue Note

Circle Research/Who?/Groove Attack Product/LP

Combichrist/Today We Are All Demons/Metropolis Records/LP

Copeland/You Are My Sunshine [2 LP]/Tooth & Nail

Cotton Jones/Paranoid Cocoon/Suicide Squeeze Records/LP

Creedence Clearwater Revival/Chronicle The 20 Greatest Hits [2 LP]/Fantasy/LP

Dirty Three/She Has No Strings Apollo/Touch & Go Records/LP

Don Ellis Quintet/New Ideas/Original Jazz Classics/LP

Enon/High Society/Touch & Go Records/LP

Fleetwood Mac/Fleetwood Mac-Live In London '68/Cleopatra/LP

Frank Zappa/Hot Rats(150 Gram)/Classic Records/LP

Frank Zappa/Hot Rats(200 Gram)/Classic Records/LP

Franz Ferdinand Tonight/Franz Ferdinand(includes digital download)/Epic/LP

Gal Costa/Gal Costa(180 Gram Vinyl)/4 Men With Beards/LP

Goblin Cock/These Rooms/Robcore Records/LP

Groundhogs/Blues Obituary/Sundazed Music/LP

Groundhogs/Scratching The Surface/Sundazed Music/LP

Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars/Music For Lighthousekeeping/Original Jazz Classics/LP

Jamey Johnson/That Lonesome Song[2LP]/Mercury Nashville

Jay Dee Yancey Boys/Instrumentals/Delicious Vinyl/LP

Joe Bonamassa/Live From Nowhere In Particular[3LP]/J&R Adventures
Johnny Thunders/Sticks & Stones/The Lost Album[2LP]/Cleopatra

Julie Ruin/Julie Ruin/Kill Rock Stars/LP

Lemonheads/It's A Shame About Ray(180 Gram Vinyl)/Plain/LP

Lithops/Ye Viols!/Thrill Jockey/LP

Loney Dear/Dear John/Polyvinyl Records/LP

Man Or Astroman Eeviac/Operational Index/Touch & Go Records/LP

Mark Olson & Gary Louris/Ready For The Flood[2LP](180 Gram)/New West

Mr. Bungle/Disco Volante(180 Gram Vinyl)/Plain/LP

Nickel Eye (of The Strokes)/The Time Of The Assassions/Rykodisc/LP

Otis Rush/Tops (180 Gram Vinyl)/Blind Pig Records/LP

Primus/Sailing The Seas Of Cheese[180 Gram Vinyl]/Plain/LP

Remains Remains/[2 LP](Deluxe Mono Edition)/Sundazed

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss/Raising Sand [2 LP](180 Gram)/Rounder

Rockets/The Rockets/Sundazed Music/LP

Secret Machines/Secret Machines/TSM Recordings/LP

Sepultura/A-Lex/[2 LP]/Steamhammer

Sir Eugene Goossens /LSO/Villa Lobos: The Little Train of the Caipira/[LP](200 Gram)/Everest

Slim Twig/Derelict Dialect Bernacular Violence/U Music Canada/LP

Smithereens/Beatles/[2 LP]/Koch Records

Sonny Rollins/Saxophone Colossus/Original Jazz Classics/LP

Sonny Rollins/Sonny Rollins & The Contemporary Leaders/Original Jazz Classics/LP

Sonny Rollins/Way Out West/Contemporary/LP

Soundtrack/Vampyros Lesbos (Sexadelic Dance Party)/[2 LP](Limited Edition White Vinyl)/Crippled Dick

Staple Singers/Be What You Are/Stax/LP

Sway Machinery/Hidden Melodies Revealed/Jdub/LP

T.S.O.L./Fuck You Tough Guy-The Collection/Cleopatra/LP

Tesla/Forever More/(180 Gram Vinyl)/Tesla Electric Co./LP

Uniques/Uniquely Yours/Sundazed Music/LP

Walter Horton/Fine Cuts(180 Gram Vinyl)/Blind Pig Records/LP

Woolfy vs Projections/The Astral Projections Of Starlight/Groove Attack Product/LP

Zion I/Takeover [2 LP]/Gold Dust Media

Pick up these great vinyl releases here: http://tinyurl.com/aawcqu

Classic Rock Videos

Beatles - I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Records spin with the times

Jerry "DJ" West's 40-year-old record shop is his pride and joy.

By Jim Schoettler

Forty years ago, Jerry "DJ" West began supplementing his custom jewelry business by buying 30 45-rpm records and selling them to customers from a Northwest Jacksonville shop.

Every time West would sell one record, he'd buy two more to sell. And two more. And two more.

Today, West's collection of all types of new and used vinyl records tops 15,000, with specialities in gospel and rhythm and blues. There are selections of disco, rock and country. He also dabbles in casettes, CDs, DVDs and something called 8-tracks. And if you're in need of a turntable needle, West probably has the right one.

West's music is stored and sold in DJ's Record Shop, a delightfully cramped, drafty, dimly lit business at Edison and McDuff avenues in Lackawanna. The independent record store has been in the same spot for 35 years, serving generations of families with interests ranging from the Temptations to Billy Joel to Beyonce.

"Some of the people I deal with now, now they have great-grandchildren they brought in and they tell them, 'He was here when I was young,' " said West, 60. "That makes me feel good."

West has raised three children with the money he's made off his business. Having something for everyone's taste and adjusting to the changing methods of how people listen to music has helped.

But making money isn't West's only motivation to keep working six days a week, especially through some difficult times. DJ's - West was once a DJ, hence the nickname - has become a second home to West and some of his friends. It's a place to relax, talk about the "oldies" and listen to the sounds of Otis Redding, James Brown, Ray Charles and many others.

"This is what I call my empire," said West, stretching his long arms out over a sea of records. "This is one of the things I live for. To some people it may look like junk, but this is what I enjoy doing."

West said he's accumulated the collection mainly from private sales, though it's not unusual for people to donate their unwanted music to him. West sells his records for anywhere from $1.99 up, but there's little doubt he'll leave some room for negotiation.

He said he enjoys watching people flip through his many boxes and shelves, some for hours. He said people buy the records not only for nostalgia purposes, but also to hear a certain sound. Rather than quality vinyl, he said, some people simply enjoy listening to something old.

"It's the cracking sound that people love to hear," West said.

Younger customers who venture into his shop amuse West when they ask about the strange looking vinyl discs.

"I've had teenagers come in and they'll look at a record and say, 'What is this?' " he said.

Regular customers include Joanne Brumfield, 61, who said she visits the shop a few times a week from her home in Arlington. She said the store brings back old memories of music to which she used to dance and sing. It also reminds her of her first boyfriend.

"There's a lot here that reminds me of me and Freddie, my first love," Brumfield said with a big smile. "Otis Redding. Johnny Taylor. It reminds me of our past and how good it was."

Reginald Dillon popped in the store one day recently looking for some Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. Dillon, 41, has been buying music from West for 27 years.

"I like to shop for oldies music. If nobody's got it, DJ's got it," Dillon said. "When you come in this store, it takes you back. It makes me feel great."

West said he may retire one day, but don't expect that to come anytime soon.

"I'm always happy when I get here," West said.

And the beat goes on.

SOURCE: http://www.jacksonville.com
Reprinted by Permission

Rock & Roll Tidbits

The flip side of Bobby Helms' Christmas favorite "Jingle Bell Rock" is called "Captain Santa Claus And His Reindeer Space Patrol".

The first song of the rock era to become a US #1 twice by different artists was "Go Away Little Girl", first by Steve Lawrence (Dec 1962), then by Donny Osmond (Aug 1971). The second to accomplish this feat was "The Loco-Motion" by Little Eva (July 1962), then Grand Funk (March 1974). Both songs were penned by the same songwriters, Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

The rock group Queen issued albums called "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races" which were named after movies by The Marx Brothers.

It was in 1966 when Richard and Karen Carpenter formed a trio and won a battle of the bands contest at the Hollywood Bowl. The trio serenaded the crowd with the song “The Girl From Ipanema” and were accompanied by drums, piano and a tuba. One record executive visionary attempted to sell the enterprising trio as a “rock-tuba super group.” To no one’s surprise, the idea did not catch on.

The Four Tops recorded their first Motown hit, 1964's "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" in the wee hours of the morning, shortly after songwriter Eddie Holland had sang it for them for the first time.

Connie Francis was on the comeback trail in 1981 when her brother, George, was brutally murdered, allegedly by members of organized crime.

Pat Boone, who is a very religious man, once claimed to use his own surname in lieu of curse words when he is upset.

When Janis Joplin was in college in 1963, a local fraternity voted her "The Ugliest Man on Campus."

Mark Dinning scored a number one hit in the U.S. in 1960 with "Teen Angel". While he was growing up in Oklahoma, one of his babysitters was a girl named Clara Ann Fowler, who would go on to have a recording career of her own as Patti Page.

Bert Kaempfert, who led his orchestra on the January, 1961, number one US hit, "Wonderland By Night", would go on to produce the first recording session that The Beatles ever had. At the time, the boys were backing Tony Sheridan on "My Bonnie" and "When The Saints Go Marching In".

After Rick Nelson signed a one million dollar, twenty year recording contract with Decca Records in January, 1963, he had only two more hits, 1964's "For You" and 1972's "Garden Party".

About the same time that Ringo Starr received an offer from Brian Epstein to join the Beatles, he was also asked to join another Liverpool group called Kingsize Taylor and The Dominoes. Ringo chose the one offering the best wage...25 pounds a week.

Debbie Boone's 1977 hit "You Light Up My Life" became a multi-million selling smash that stayed at the top of Billboard's Hot 100 for ten weeks, becoming a far bigger hit than any of the 38 Top 40 songs her father, Pat Boone ever had.

The tapes for Don McLean's first album were rejected by 34 record companies before Mediarts agreed to release it in 1970. His next LP, "American Pie" would be considered a rock and roll classic and sell millions of copies.

The band Wild Cherry, who had a number one disco hit with "Play That Funky Music" in 1976, took their name from a box of cough drops.

The Miracles first number one hit, 1970's "Tears Of A Clown", was actually taken from an album that was released three years earlier. The song was issued as a single when record executives wanted another "tears" song to follow "Tracks Of My Tears" and found that the group had already recorded one.

Although many fans assumed that the Shirelles were named for their lead singer Shirley Owens, the members of the group say that this is not true. The girls came up with the name while they were still in high school and Doris Kenner was singing most of the lead vocals.

The next time you see the movie Back To The Future III, be sure to look for ZZ Top in a cameo roll. They play in the band that is performing in the Hill Valley party scene where Doc asks Clara to dance. That's drummer Frank Beard who twirls his snare drum around as the band breaks into song.

Due to his horrible singing voice, drummer Keith Moon was banned from the studio while the rest of The Who were recording vocals.

When Diane Renay's mother was pregnant with her, a gypsy fortune teller told her, "you're gonna have a daughter and your daughter one day is going to be a star." That prediction came true in 1964 when 17 year old Diane reached #6 on the Billboard chart with "Navy Blue".

James Brown placed 99 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop chart. 44 of them made the Top 40, but none ever reached number one.

When a snippy journalist complained that AC/DC had made ten records that all sounded alike, Angus Young was insulted. “He’s a liar,” he quipped. “We have made eleven albums that all sound the same.”

EMI Music's Vinyl Campaign

EMI Music's Vinyl Campaign Continues February 24 With Ben Harper's Complete Virgin Records Catalog

Nine Albums and Two EPs Presented in Deluxe, Limited Edition 180-Gram Vinyl Packaging with Bonus Materials

HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- On February 24, EMI Music continues its successful high-quality vinyl campaign with the release of Ben Harper's entire Virgin Records catalog in limited edition, 180-gram vinyl packaging. Nine Ben Harper albums, all previously out-of-print on vinyl, have been restored to the format with Harper's supervision. The LPs will be released in deluxe packaging with carefully replicated artwork, and two live EPs will make their vinyl release debuts. A bonus colored vinyl 7" is included for Welcome To The Cruel World (Anniversary Edition), and an original poster has been reproduced for inclusion with Both Sides Of The Gun.

EMI Music launched its popular "From The Capitol Vaults" series in September 2008 with 13 classic titles, all previously out-of-print on vinyl. Included in the campaign's debut were A Perfect Circle's Mer de Noms, The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Coldplay's Parachutes, A Rush Of Blood To The Head, and X&Y, Radiohead's Pablo Honey, The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A (two 10" 140-gram LPs), Amnesiac (two 10" 140-gram LPs), and Hail To The Thief, R.E.M.'s Document, and Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits 1974-78.

The series continued with John Lennon's Imagine and Rock 'N' Roll, The Band's Music From Big Pink and The Band, The Beach Boys' Endless Summer, Paul McCartney & Wings' Band On The Run, Megadeth's Peace Sells and Rust In Peace, Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime, Roxy Music's For Your Pleasure and Roxy Music, Stray Cats' Built For Speed, The Verve's Urban Hymns, and Jimi Hendrix's Band Of Gypsys on fiery red 180-gram vinyl.

For more information about EMI Music's "From The Capitol Vaults" vinyl series, visit http://fromthecapitolvaults.com.


The “Watchmen” Music Soundtrack Is Revealed

Written by: Jeffrey Harris

The pivotal superhero graphic novel turned movie boasts an impressive soundtrack release.

According to the Business Wire, the official soundtrack for the Watchmen movie has been announced. Warner Sunset and Reprise Records will release the soundtrack and original score for the movie on separate CDs on March 3, three days before the movie's release date on March 6, 2009.

The soundtrack will feature a new remix and cover of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row," by My Chemical Romance. Also included on the soundtrack will be classic songs by Simon & Garfunkel, Nat King Cole, and Janis Joplin. The original score for the movie was composed by Tyler Bates, who previously collaborated with Watchmen director, Zach Snyder, on such movies as 300 and Dawn of the Dead.

Warner Sunset and Reprise Records will be releasing a physical CD of the album as well as a digital album on March 3. The soundtrack on March 17 will go vinyl for a vinyl edition release. March 24 will see the release of a Watchmen Music Collectors Edition 7" Box Set. The box set will boast seven double-sided seven inch discs of the characters from Watchmen with adjacent images from the original graphic novel on the other side. The set will include the cover of "Desolation Row" and the thirteen music tracks by Tyler Bates.

SOURCE: http://www.thecelebritycafe.com

Music News & Notes

Thriller The Musical

It's reported that Michael Jackson will help develop his groundbreaking "Thriller" video into a musical theater production.

The theater production is said to recreate the tale of the 14-minute horror film spoof based on the title song. In the video, a young couple are on a date when the boy -- played by Jackson -- becomes a werewolf.

This musical is the exclusive Michael Jackson authorized version of 'Thriller' and Jackson will participate in every aspect of the creative process," said the Nederland Organization, which has acquired the rights to the musical.

"Thriller The Musical" will also include songs from the 1982 album "Thriller" and its 1979 predecessor, "Off the Wall."

The "Thriller" video, featuring dancing zombies as well as horror film star Vincent Price, first aired in 1983 and became a staple of MTV. It was directed by filmmaker John Landis, who said it cost around $500,000to make -- more than ten times the cost of the standard music video of the time.


Radiohead to perform at Grammy Awards

Radiohead are the latest act to be added to the Grammy Awards ceremony bill.

This will be the first time the Oxford band have played at the show, although the quintet have previously won Best Alternative Album award for 2000's Kid A and 1997's OK Computer.

Coldplay, Lil Wayne The Jonas Brothers, Jennifer Hudson and Katy Perry will also be appearing live at the awards ceremony.

Lil Wayne leads the nominations and is up for prizes in eight categories, with Coldplay in seven and Radiohead in five.

The Grammy Awards take place on February 8th in Los Angeles.


Major Musical Acts Sign On For David Lynch Benefit

Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Sheryl Crow, 60's folkster Donovan, Paul Horn and Moby have signed on to perform on April 4 at a New York benefit for the David Lynch Foundation.

The event at Radio City Music Hall will further the foundation's goal to teach 1 million children the techniques of Transcendental Meditation, although no ticket information has been revealed.

"In today's world of fear and uncertainty, every child should have one class period a day to dive within himself and experience the field of silence -- bliss -- the enormous reservoir of energy and intelligence that is deep within all of us," Lynch writes on the Foundation Web site. "This is the way to save the coming generation."

"I have been 'diving within' through the Transcendental Meditation technique for over 30 years," he continues. "It has changed my life, my world."

Check out the site: http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/



Jimmy Buffett Reveals Dates for the "Summerzcool Tour"

Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band are starting to announce dates for this summers trek, now known as the Summerzcool Tour.

The first dates that have been announced for the 2009 tour are on February 24, at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and on February 28 at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu.

Only three other dates have been officially announced for Charlotte, North Carolina (April 21), Raleigh, North Carolina (April 23) and Detroit, Michigan (August 13), but additional shows are expected to be confirmed soon for Chicago, Camden, Boston, Las Vegas and New York. Tickets for the three mainland U.S. shows go on sale on Saturday.

Billboard is also reporting that a live acoustic CD is expected later in the year with songs that Buffett normally performs as the final encore at his shows.


Third Time A Charm?

Paul McCartney and girlfriend Nancy Shevell are reportedly planning to marry.

The couple, who have been seen in public together regularly for the past year, are now legally allowed to marry after Shevell's divorce from lawyer Bruce Blakeman was finalized in December.

McCartney's children, including Stella McCartney, are said to have given the couple their blessings, reported the Sunday Mirror.

Shevell will be McCartney's third wife. His first wife, Linda McCartney, died from cancer in 1998 and in 2006 he filed for a divorce from wife number two Heather Mills, after four years of marriage. (it's reported that was awarded about $50 million in the divorce settlement)


New Anthrax LP

Anthrax will be releasing their first new album in over six years, Worship Music, in June via Megaforce Records. It will also be the studio debut for new singer Dan Nelson.


Ex-Orbison Home Burned Down

It's reported that a $1.45 million dollar mansion in Hendersonville, Tennessee that was built in 1963 for Roy Orbison and was the home of Tammy Wynette in the early 1980's, burned to the ground on Sunday.

Ironiclly, Roy Orbison had three homes built for him in his lifetime and all of them have burned down, including the first fire which claimed the life of two of his sons.


Newly Found 1977 Show By Thin Lizzy Coming on March 3

A newly discovered live album from Thin Lizzy will be released as Still Dangerous: Live At The Tower Theater Philadelphia 1977, on March 3 via VH1 Classic Records.

The album comes from the same period as their classic Live and Dangerous, but contains two songs not heard on the previously released album (Soldier of Fortune and Opium Trail). At the time, the band was made up of Phil Lynott (vocals/bass), Scott Gorham (guitar), Brian Robertson (guitar) and Brian Downey (drums). The album is produced by Glyn Johns.

Scott Gorham talked about the tapes. "We pulled all these boxes down, and I didn't even realize how many we had! There were a hell of a lot. One of the engineers was cataloging each reel, and one box came up marked Philadelphia 2. That kinda stuck because I remembered Philadelphia but didn't know what the '2' meant. Then it hit me. What had happened, on that particular leg of the King Biscuit tour, before we actually started the tour proper, we were asked to come out and do the radio show. We were uncomfortable because we wanted to do a few warm-up shows before we went [on the air live] so we struck a deal. We said we'll go in and do this show for you if you only simulcast four songs, and let us come back in a few weeks time and do the whole show. They agreed. This tape is that second show coming back through Philadelphia where we were ready to go out and conquer America."


Apollo Theater marks 75th year of 'Amateur Night'

Harlem's Apollo Theater is set to begin the celebration of its 75th anniversary of its "Amateur Night" that was a launching pad for some of the biggest stars in entertainment, including Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder and the late James Brown.

The first 75 tickets to Wednesday night's show are going on sale for $7.50, with rapper Ron Browz as the featured performer.

The theater, built in 1914 in the heart of Harlem, was originally called Hurtig and Seamon's New Burlesque Theatre. Blacks were not allowed in the audience then.


Katharine McPhee Music Due By Year's End

Former "American Idol" star Katharine McPhee has inked a new deal with Verve, according to Billboard.com. This will be her label debut and is due before the end of the year.

McPhee did release a self-titled album for RCA in late 2006, which has sold 375,000 copies in the US, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Since then she's dabbled in acting, including a role in the 2008 comedy "The House Bunny."


Concert Tours Announced

Bruce Springsteen Announces “Working on a Dream” Tour

With his new, five-star album Working on a Dream hitting stores right now, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band decided today would be the best time to reveal their upcoming U.S. tour. The trek will kick off on April Fool’s Day in San Jose, California, and work its way east, culminating in a pair of shows at East Rutherford’s Izod Center in Bruce’s home state of New Jersey on May 21st and 23rd. From there, the band jets off to Europe.

April 1 - San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion
April 3 - Glendale, CA @ Jobing.com Center
April 5 - Austin, TX @ Frank Erwin Center
April 7 - Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
April 8 - Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
April 10 - Denver, CO @ Pepsi Arena
April 15 - Los Angeles, CA @ LA Memorial Sports Arena
April 21 - Boston, MA @ TD Banknorth Garden
April 22 - Boston, MA @ TD Banknorth Garden
April 24 - Hartford, CT @ XL Center
April 26 - Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena
April 28 - Philadelphia, PA @ Wachovia Spectrum
April 29 - Philadelphia, PA @ Wachovia Spectrum
May 2 - Greensboro, NC @ Greensboro Coliseum
May 4 - Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Coliseum
May 5 - Charlottesville, VA @ John Paul Jones Arena
May 7 - Toronto, ONT @ Air Canada Centre
May 8 - University Park, PA @ Bryce Jordan Center
May 11 - St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
May 12 - Chicago, IL @ United Center
May 14 - Albany, NY @ Times Union Center
May 15 - Hershey, PA @ Hersheypark Stadium
May 18 - Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
May 19 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mellon Arena
May 21 - E. Rutherford, NJ @ Izod Center
May 23 - E. Rutherford, NJ @ Izod Center


Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie are getting ready for a spring tour and rocker Bruce Springsteen has begun mapping out his "Working on a Dream" dates. Additionally, the Moody Blues will be entertaining West Coast concert goers with “Nights in White Satin.”

March 7 - Miami, FL @ Langerado Festival
April 7 - Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theatre
April 8 - Washington, DC @ DAR Constitution Hall
April 9 - Davidson, NC @ John Belk Arena/Davidson College
April 10 - Louisville, KY @ Louisville Palace
April 11 - Memphis, TN @ Orpheum Theatre
April 12 - Tulsa, OK @ The Brady Theater
April 13 - Omaha, NE @ Holland Theatre
April 15 - St. Paul, MN @ Roy Wilkings Auditorium
April 17 - Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
April 18 - East Lansing, MI @ Breslin Events Center
April 19 - Waukesha, WI @ Van Male Fieldhouse
April 24 - Spokane, WA @ McCarthey Athletic Center
April 25 - Boise, ID @ The Morrison Center
April 27 - Sacramento, CA - Memorial Auditorium
April 29 - San Diego, CA @ RIMAC Arena
May 1 - Austin, TX @ Austin Music Hall
May 2 - New Orleans, LA @ Contemporary Arts Center
May 4 - Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
May 5 - Birmingham, AL @ BJCC Concert Hall
May 6 - Atlanta, GA @ Fox Theatre

The Moody Blues have also set some concert dates:

March 27 - Rancho Mirage, CA @ Agua Caliente Casino
March 28 - Prescott, AZ @ Toyota Center Theatre
March 30 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Arlington Theatre
March 31 - Bakersfield, CA @ Rabobank Theatre
April 1 - Primm, NV @ Star of the Desert Arena
April 3 - Oakland, CA @ Fox Theatre
April 4 - Reno, NV @ Silver Legacy Casino
April 6 - Thousand Oaks, CA @ Civic Arts Plaza Performing Arts Center
April 7 - Santa Rosa, CA @ Wells Fargo Bank Center

Woodland Park man brings new life to old records


In a shadowy basement, past shelves and shelves of dusty, preserved specimens, Bill Cook stepped into his laboratory.

In front of him stood stacks and stacks of arcane machines, tangled with cables.

"Some call me Dr. Frankenstein," he said, turning, so the light caught his face. "I take old, dead recordings and bring them back to life."

He laughed, then slipped a scratched, 70-year-old record out of its yellowed paper sleeve, laid it on a spinning RCA turntable, and set the needle in the groove.

The laboratory in an unassuming split-level house on a quiet wooded lot in Woodland Park suddenly flooded with the blare of big band horns and clarinets. The vinyl hissed and crackled as the needle clattered in rutted grooves. It sounded as if the whole band were playing through a tin can.

Cook, 78, stood still for a moment, listening, then started to nudge knobs and prod switches. Lights blinked. Signals surged through cables. Processors crunched the millions of ones and zeros that make up digital sound. And slowly Cook coaxed the battered sound of the record back to life, until it almost sounded as though the band were in the room.

That is Cook's passion and his art. He digs up the moribund remains of recordings, revives them with a complex cocktail of digital processes, and rerecords them on CD as bright, digital sound.

He then re-releases selected works on his tiny record label, Audiophonic.

"I can take an old 78 from the Depression and make it sound like it was recorded yesterday," he said.

He turned back to his stacks of analog equalizers, amplifiers, and digital enhancers and fiddled with the knobs, making slight adjustments.

Cook is one of a small cadre of cottage audio craftsman slowly bringing dead music back to the future.

"There are several people, each with different specialties," said Rick Starr of Portland, Ore., who markets and distributes releases for a handful of digital remasterers, including Cook.

"What makes Bill Cook special is his ear," Starr said. "He is an audio wonk ... an audio geek ... an audiophile ... he just has a really amazing ear. And he has an incredible collection of records."

Shelves sag under the weight of 50,000 records in Cook's laboratory - 45s, LPs, old 78s, and about 30,000 rare 16-inch vinyl discs called transcriptions that were played by radio stations from the 1930s to the early 1950s, before the invention of the LP.

"Those are my specialty," Cook said. "I've been collecting them my whole life."

Cook's is not the largest collection of transcriptions, but it's close.

"The Library of Congress still has me beat," he said with a slight chuckle.

Sound barriers

Cook has been fascinated with sound since he built his own high fidelity record player as a kid in 1942.

"Regular records sounded like hell," he said. "Those transcriptions from the radio stations were the only source of hi-fi records. So I started collecting them."

He trained as an electrical engineer in college and hung around Hollywood sound studios on summer breaks. He owned AM and FM radio stations in Colorado Springs. He worked in film. He even worked for the Apollo space program - always trying to create better sound.

Along the way he kept collecting old sound equipment and 16-inch records. Today his basement is a tangle of old and new. Boxes of vacuum tubes, New Deal-era turntables the size of washing machines, and a 7-foot-tall Ampex amplifier stand next to state-of-the-art digital converters.

"This is the recorder Lawrence Welk used to lip-sync all his shows," he said, pointing to a large 1940 reel-to-reel.

"This amplifier was used to record the theme to ‘Star Trek,'" he said. "As this stuff got old and new technology moved in, people were just smashing up this stuff and throwing it away. So I would take it off their hands."

Cook feeds the scratchy analog sound through a series of computers - aptly called the declicker, decrackler, dehisser and debuzzer - that take out all the noise, leaving clean, digital music.

The whole setup costs about $100,000, Cook said.

Cook's stash of old equipment and lifetime working with sound put him in a perfect position to become the Dr. Frankenstein of a dead musical era. But it is the shelves of 16-inch radio transcriptions that give him a loophole to do it legally.

‘A gray area'

As recording technology has changed over the decades, whole libraries of music have been marooned on obsolete technology. Who has a record player anymore?

Hobbyists such as Cook have the technology to update old music, but copyright law, which generally states that record labels own the rights to a recording forever, keep them from doing it. If someone found a 100-year-old Columbia Records wax cylinder and wanted to rerecord it on CD, Columbia would have to give permission first.

Companies often choose not to, or charge royalties that make it too pricey.

But Cook has slipped through the cracks. His 16-inch transcription discs were never sold to the public. Record companies sent them to radio stations to play, then be thrown away.

"So they weren't regulated under the same laws," Cook said. "We exist in a gray area."

Since 2004, his tiny record label has released a dozen CDs by long-dead artists such as Ozzie Nelson and his orchestra and country-western stars the Sons of the Pioneers.

He has sold several thousand copies through collectors' magazines and his Web site, www.audiophonic.biz.

His tiny company also digitizes people's personal record collections.

"This is all music I love," he said as he stood listening to the clean stream of band music pouring out of the laboratory. "It makes me happy to be able to bring it alive."

SOURCE: http://www.gazette.com