Thursday, March 26, 2009

Country and Pop Singer Dan Seals Dies

“I’ve loved to play and sing from the moment I knew what it was,” explained Dan Seals in 1992. Seals, who was England Dan in the soft pop duo of England Dan and John Ford Coley, passed away on March 25, 2009, from complications from cancer. He was 61.

Some may know Dan Seals from his career in country music. But before he scored big in country music, he and John Ford Coley had several Billboard Top 40 hits including: “I’d Really Like To See You Tonight” (#2 1976), “Nights Are Forever Without You” (#10 1976), “It’s Sad To Belong” (#21 1977), “Gone Too Far” (#23 1977), “We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again” (#9 1978) and “Love Is The Answer,” which was written by Todd Rundgren and peaked at #10 in 1979.

However, Dan Seals was more than a pop singer and when the duo broke up in 1980, Seals headed to Nashville because of his love for country music. As a solo artist, Seals won a CMA Award in 1986 for the cut “Bop” and in that same year scored another CMA Award for vocal duo, teaming up with Marie Osmond for the number one hit “Meet Me In Montana.”

He also scored a top 40 hit in 1983 with the song “Everybody’s Dream Girl” and a top ten hit with “God Must Be a Cowboy” in 1984. After that, Seals scored several #1 country hits including: “Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold),” “You Still Move Me,” “Three Time Loser,” “One Friend,” “Big Wheels in the Moonlight,” “Love On Arrival” (all co-written with Bob McDill). He also reached the top of the country charts with “I Will Be There” (by Jennifer Kimball and Tom Snow), “Addicted” by Cheryl Wheeler and “Good Times” by Sam Cooke.

His last hits were in 1990 and subsequent releases fared poorly and he signed on with Warner, releasing four singles from 1991-1994, but none charted past the 43rd position. After leaving Warner, he recorded for Intersound and then on his own label.

Until he got sick, he was working alongside his brother, Jim Seals and they were working as the duo Seals & Seals. They performed some shows and were working on an album, but never got to finish it, although the songs that they did complete will be released at some point in the future.

On My Mind: The State of the Music Business

I was very interested in this post by Mr. Mellencamp, as were hundreds of others who shared their comments. I believe as a music industry veteran, he certainly knows the business and raises some very importnat and justified points of view.

Copyrights prohibit me from posting the entire article, so please visit the site referenced and read the article in its entirety, and form your own opinions.

On My Mind: The State of the Music Business

Written By John Mellencamp~Musician and Activist

Over the last few years, we have all witnessed the decline of the music business, highlighted by finger-pointing and blame directed against record companies, artists, internet file sharing and any other theories for which a case could be made. We've read and heard about the "good old days" and how things used to be. People remember when music existed as an art that motivated social movements. Artists and their music flourished in back alleys, taverns and barns until, in some cases, a popular groundswell propelled it far and wide. These days, that possibility no longer seems to exist. After 35 years as an artist in the recording business, I feel somehow compelled, not inspired, to stand up for our fellow artists and tell that side of the story as I perceive it. Had the industry not been decimated by a lack of vision caused by corporate bean counters obsessed with the bottom line, musicians would have been able to stick with creating music rather than trying to market it as well.

Read the rest of his interesting comments here:

Classic Rock Videos

Mama Told Me Not To Come (Live) by Three Dog Night

Bird & Animal Names In Rock & Roll History-part four

In our continuing series about “bird” and “animal” groups in rock and roll, let’s explore a couple of the most famous and influential “bird” groups in rock.

And to start off, one must include one of the most inventive and legendary “bird” groups of the 1960's, appropriately named the Byrds. With jangling guitars and exceptional harmonies, band members’ Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman and Mike Clarke had a number one hit with the Bob Dylan penned “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1965. That same year the song “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)” also reached number one on the Billboard charts and remained there for three weeks.

Inspired by the success of the Beatles, Roger McGuinn had been playing Beatles songs in Los Angeles folk clubs when Gene Clark approached him to form a duo. David Crosby subsequently joined them in a group they called the Jet Set, and soon they were joined by drummer Michael Clarke and mandolin-player-turned-bassist Chris Hillman in a band they named The Beefeaters. In November 1964 the group signed to Columbia Records and a few days later renamed themselves the Byrds.

Alas, even with all this splendid talent and spellbinding music, tensions were high and the group saw members leave; one by one. Ironically, Gene Clarke quit the group in 1966 after the hit “Eight Miles High” partly due to his intense fear of flying. David Crosby also left the band and soon formed one of the greatest rock and roll “super groups” of all time: Crosby, Stills & Nash; a group that Neil Young would later join.

McGuinn kept the band going amid these personnel changes and even rebuilt the band, hiring Gram Parsons on keyboards. Chris Hillman departed in 1968 and formed the Flying Burrito Brothers, with Gram Parsons joining him. McGuinn, Clark and Hillman also recorded songs as a trio. Mike Clarke later went on to join Firefall.

All five original Byrds briefly reunited in 1972) to cut a reunion album called “Byrds.” The album was released in March 1973, and earned mixed reviews, and a planned tour with the original five Byrds to support the LP never materialized.

The legendary and iconic magic that was the Byrds were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and still influence musicians to this day.

With Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck all in the group at one time or another, the Yardbirds were another prolific "super group" and influenced many musicians in the 1960's and still are an influence to this day.

The bulk of the band's conceptual ideas, as well as their songwriting, came from the quartet of singer/harmonica player Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist/bassist Chris Dreja, and bassist/producer Paul Samwell-Smith, all of whom co-wrote the Yardbirds' original hits and constituted the core of the group, with Beck, Clapton and Page joining at various times.

While Beck’s time with the band lasted only about eighteen months, it is believed that Beck did more to influence the sound of 1960's rock guitar than anyone except the peerless Jimi Hendrix. Although the group had just a handful of hits, including “For Your Love,” “Heart Full Of Soul,” and “Shapes Of Things,” among others, the progressive psychedelia of the Yardbirds was unsurpassed. Beck was voted #1 lead guitarist of 1966 in the British music magazine Beat Instrumental and his tenure with the Yardbirds was viewed by many as the group's "golden era.”

Clapton left the band after “For Your Love,” not liking the direction of the music and went on to superstardom. Beck and Page, along with new band members, recorded the tune “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago,” which peaked at number 30 on the Billboard charts in 1966. After a few more unsuccessful singles and band mismanagement, members Keith Relf and Jim McCarty left and formed the beginnings of the band Renaissance. Page fulfilled the band’s contractual obligations by forming the New Yardbirds, which would later change their name to Led Zeppelin, a group that has made rock & roll history.

In the 1980s Jim McCarty, Chris Dreja and Paul Samwell-Smith formed the rock outfit called Box of Frogs, which occasionally included Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, plus various friends with whom they'd all recorded over the years.
One could argue that the music created by the Yardbirds is among rock’s best and we certainly know that three members of the group went on to superstardom. The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.

In the next article, we will continue the series of famous “animal” and “bird” names in rock and roll, again focusing on more “bird” bands and names.

Byrds Tidbits:

In October 1969 the band released the Ballad Of Easy Rider. The single from the album was "Jesus Is Just Alright,” which was also a hit for The Doobie Brothers four years later.

In 1971 they released Byrdmaniax, which was a commercial and critical disappointment, largely due to inappropriate orchestration which was added by producer Terry Melcher to many tracks on the album without the band's approval.

Though both Hillman and Crosby have expressed an interest in working with McGuinn again on future Byrds projects, no such reunion has occurred and all three have successful individual careers.

Buy Byrds Music

Yardbirds Tidbits

The first episode of the 2007/2008 season for "The Simpsons" featured The Yardbirds' "I'm A Man" from the CD "Live At B.B. King Blues Club.”

In addition to their six Top 40 songs, the Yardbirds will be remembered as having produced the top three English blues-based guitarists of the ‘60s: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

July 7, 1968: The Yardbirds broke up in July of 1968 and guitarist Jimmy Page formed the New Yardbirds and changed the group’s name to Led Zeppelin, allegedly on the advice of the Who’s Keith Moon. (who said the band who go over like a ‘lead zeppelin.’

Buy Yardbirds Music

New Releases

Megaforce Records Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of ANTHRAX's Fistful Of Metal With 3-Record Vinyl Release

One of the albums that can be pinpointed to as the birth of thrash metal is ANTHRAX's 1984 debut, Fistful Of Metal, a recording that perfectly set the stage for the group's subsequent triumphs, and introduced the world to this hard-hitting New York band.

To celebrate the album's 25-year anniversary, Megaforce Records is releasing a limited edition (only 2,000 copies will be made) vinyl release of the album on May 12th, 2009.

But this is no ordinary vinyl reissue, as it will be spread over three 10-inch records in a tri-fold die cut jacket, and will also include the group's 1985 EP, Armed and Dangerous. The Fistful of Metal vinyl limited edition reissue will retail for $39.98 and will be available at Anthrax's official website - - and record stores across the country.

"We thought, 'What kind of a great package do we do?'," says Megaforce Records Vice President, Missi Callazzo. "Everybody thought 'picture disc,' but picture discs don't really sound so great, so what we decided to do were three 10-inch records that will be in a gatefold jacket. We're die-cutting the cover, so the illustration of the guy and the fist are die-cut, and when you pick it up, that's where the Anthrax logo is. We thought something 'super custom' to celebrate the band's 25th anniversary."

Long-time band members Charlie Benante and Scott Ian went into their storage facilities and grabbed old reviews, clips, photos and things from magazines to be used in the package. "Finally, Fistful of Metal with photos!" laughed Ian. "We did a photo shoot for the record back then and we hated the pics. It was fun to get into the time machine and re-live that time, well, for an hour anyway. Listening to the record after 25 years, and it still feels full of life. Strangely, I don't feel too far removed from what we were doing then."

The only Anthrax record to feature singer Neil Turbin and bassist Danny Lilker - in addition to Ian (rhythm guitar), Benante (drums), and Dan Spitz (lead guitar) - Fistful Of Metal was originally released in January 1984, spawning such early Anthrax classics as 'Deathrider' and 'Metal Thrashing Mad'. The five-song EP, Armed And Dangerous, was originally released in February 1985, and signaled the recording debuts of singer Joey Belladonna and bassist Frank Bello. The EP featured re-recordings of two Fistful tracks ('Metal Thrashing Mad' and 'Panic'), as well as a cover of the SEX PISTOLS' 'God Save The Queen', plus two originals, 'Raise Hell' and the title track.

Also tying in with the reissue of Fistful Of Metal will be Anthrax' first new studio album in six years (and first album for the Megaforce label in almost 19 years), Worship Music, set for a summer release.

"I worked with Anthrax years ago," recalls Callazzo, "and when I heard that they were looking for a deal and to do a new album, I talked to them right away. Those guys are literally like family to me. We're all excited that they're back here on the label."

And lastly, how does the music on Fistful Of Metal and Armed And Dangerous hold up today? According to Callazzo, "I was doing something, had music on my computer, kind of just running. Y'know how you don't know what is playing because you're working? And I was like, 'Wow, this sounds great,' and it was Anthrax! Fistful Of Metal and Armed And Dangerous sound so timeless."


Blood Red Throne Reveals New "Souls Of Damnation" Album Cover Artwork

Norwegian death metal band Blood Red Throne have finished recording their fifth studio album "Souls of Damnation," which will be released to coincide with the band's 10th anniversary. The cover art for the album can be viewed here.

The limited edition first pressing of "Souls of Damnation" will include two bonus tracks, plus a special bonus DVD featuring an exclusive new interview with the band.

"Souls of Damnation" is due to be released by Earache Records on June 1st in Europe and June 30th in the USA.


Dinosaur Jr.'s 'Farm' cover art

Here's what I'm getting from the just-released cover art for Farm, Dinosaur Jr.'s second album since reuniting its original lineup a few years back: Guitarist J Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow are magnificent Ents from indie-rock Middle-Earth, bestriding the smog-choked metropolis that is modern music


Those Darlins to release debut album in July

Nashville classic country/rockabilly trio Those Darlins will release their self-titled debut album on July 7, with the vinyl version dropping a few weeks earlier on June 23.

The band just returned from the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas, where they garnered attention and blogspace from the likes of the New York Times, Paste and Billboard.

Music News & Notes

Blues Musician Dies

Its being reported that legendary Chicago blues harmonica veteran Lester "Mad Dog" Davenport passed away on March 17 at the age of 77.

Davenport's early career peaked in 1955 when he played on Bo Diddley's Pretty Thing and Bring It On Jerome. Over the years, he played with the likes of Kansas City Red, Illinois Slim and Jimmy Dawkins. Later in life, he produced two CDs, 1993's Earwig Music and 2002's I Smell a Rat.


PETA Angry At Jackson

PETA is after Michael Jackson to do away with his plans to feature wild animals heavily in his London concerts.

A source told London's Daily Mirror, "He hopes to make it the most spectacular gig ever. For the jungle section, he wants to ride out on an African elephant with panthers led on gold chains. Parrots and other birds will fly behind him. If it goes to plan it will look incredible."

PETA has countered the report, saying "These exotic animals belong in Africa, not the O2 Arena among screaming fans, bright lights and stage explosions. These wild animals are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them when they are forced to perform under stressful conditions. Michael needs to learn to leave exotic animals alone."


Whipping Up Some Jingles

Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo has told Blender magazine that he has a very lucrative side job creating commercial jingles for some big companies.

"I have written music for around 400 commercials, with clients that range from Coke, BMW, Mercedes, Pepsi, Target, McDonald's, Burger King to Taco Bell - probably a good majority of the evil empire. When I was younger, and occasionally today, I include subliminal messages, which is shockingly easy to do. Things like, 'Choose your mutations carefully', 'Are we not men?', 'Question authority' and many others."


Spandau Ballet Reforming

Spandau Ballet made it official today with the announcement that they've reformed and will tour starting October 13 in Dublin.

The group split in 1989 and waged a ten year battle against each other over royalties. Any talk of the differences were glossed over today when singer Tony Hadley said, "As you can see we're back together again and we're very happy boys. I think it's the realization that time is a great healer."

Gary Kemp added, "This is my other family and I've missed them for the last 20 years."


U2 Sells Out

Tickets for the U2's shows in the UK and Ireland went on sale at 9 AM last Friday and by 9:01 AM, 6,700 tickets had already been sold for the Wembley Stadium date. Live Nation claims that is the fastest tickets have ever sold for a U.K. event. Overall 215,000 tickets were sold in the first 24 hours.