Friday, June 19, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

ZZ Top - Sharp Dressed Man

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

Written by Robert Benson

Let’s continue our ongoing article series about “bird” and “animal” groups and artists in rock and roll, this time exploring some ‘dog’ names.

The group Three Dog Night was a band that was formed in 1968 and included members Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells. They provided AM and FM radio with an eclectic series of singles oriented pop rock songs from 1969 through 1974. The band took their name from Danny Hutton’s ex-girlfriend, who thought of the name when she read a magazine article about indigenous Australians, in which was explaining that on cold nights they would customarily sleep in a hole in the ground while embracing a dingo, a native species of wild dog. On some of the colder nights they would sleep with two dogs, and if a night was especially cold, it was a "Three Dog Night."

Danny Hutton worked for Walt Disney Studios where he recorded voices for animated programs, while Cory Wells was the lead vocalist for the house band at the famous Whiskey-A-Go-Go called the Enemies. Wells asked Hutton to team up and record, but Hutton wanted to focus on his solo career (he had minor success with a song called “Bright Eyes”). Hutton came up with the idea of a singing trio (secretly auditioning their friend Chuck Negron for the role) after noticing a display of classic cars while driving past the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angles. He marveled at the fact that each individual classic auto being an integral part of the overall display. He surmised it would be interesting to apply this technique with a group of talented singers, where each member would be a lead singer at one time or another. Interestingly among others that were considered to team up with Hutton and Wells were Billy Joe Royal (of “Down In The Boondocks” fame) and Crazy Horse founder Danny Whiten. They went with Negron and expanded the group to include several talented backing musicians and Three Dog Night was born.

Besides scoring an impressive string of eighteen consecutive Top 20 Billboard hits (eleven of which were in the Top Ten, including three number one hits), the group also showcased some of music’s dynamic song writers including Randy Newman (who wrote the 1970 number one hit “Mama Told Me (Not To Come),” Harry Nilsson (for the Top Ten hit song “One” in 1969), Laura Nyro (who penned the Top Ten hit “Eli’s Coming” in 1969), two Hoyt Axton written songs, “Joy To The World” which he originally wrote for a children’s animated television special (a song that spent six weeks at the top position on the Billboard Top 40 in 1971) and “Never Been To Spain” in 1972. Russ Ballard wrote the group’s 1971 Top Ten hit “Liar” and Three Dog Night also took Leo Sayer’s song “The Show Must Go On” to number four in 1974. The band also hit number one with a David Arkin (father of actor Alan Arkin) and Earl Robinson penned tune called “Black and White,” a song that was written in 1955 and also recorded by Sammy Davis Jr.

Other Top 40 Billboard hits by Three Dog Night included “Easy To Be Hard” (number four in 1969), the happy anthem “Celebrate” in 1970 (number fifteen), the sappy hit “An Old Fashioned Love Song” (number four in 1971) and the B. W. Stevenson penned “Shambala” (number three in 1973) among others. Their last charted single “Til The World Ends” was released in the summer of 1975.

In the late 1970's Hutton was managing punk bands including L.A.’s Fear and also formed a band called Danny Hutton’s Hitter’s who appeared on the “Pretty In Pink” soundtrack. The group reunited in 1981 and released their final record; an EP entitled “It’s A Jungle.” Hutton and Wells have continued to tour with other musicians as Three Dog Night and the group’s music has appeared in numerous movies and television ads.

Friends since high school, Anna Waronker (guitar and vocals and the daughter of record industry mogul Lenny Waronker), Rachel (bass) and Petra (violin) Haden (two of the triplet daughters of famed jazz titan Charlie Haden), and drummer Tony Maxwell formed the alternative power-pop group called that dog. The quartet’s debut, self-titled release in 1994 is an exciting blend of sweet melodies, crunchy guitars and inventive violin work. The record was a college radio staple and the lighthearted video for the single “Old Timer” was popular on MTV.

During this time that dog members became friendly with Beck and often performed on his albums, contributing to his release “Totally Confused.” The band also toured with Beck, Weezer and The Rentals and band members played on the Weezer release “I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams.”

In 1995, that dog released their follow-up album, an appealing concept album that explored the emotion of love and personal crushes, the aptly named LP “Totally Crushed Out!” The clever album, filled with tight punk-pop, splendid ballads and three-part harmonies exemplified Waronker’s continuing maturation as a songstress and included cuts like “Ms. Wrong” and “He’s Kissing Christian.”

A planned Waronker solo effort was planned, but instead her collection of emotionally depth filled melodic pop music was used for that dog’s final album together, called “Retreat From The Sun” (1997). The group would also go on tour with various acts including Blur, The Wallflowers and The Counting Crows. But, in September of 1997, the band issued a formal statement announcing their break up.

However, all the members of that dog have remained active in the music business. Anna Waronker has released her solo effort, “Anna” in 2002 and has contributed music to soundtracks. Petra Haden has released two solo albums, in 1999 she released “Imaginaryland” and in 2005 she released a critically acclaimed re invention of the Who’s classic album called “Petra Haden Sings The Who Sell Out,” in which she recreated each song a capella on a cassette eight-track using only her voice. She has also contributed vocals and violin work to many bands including Green Day and The Rentals (among others) and in 2005 she joined the Decemberists as a full-time member. Rachel has kept busy as well, contributing vocals on albums by Jimmy Eat world, Ozma and Nada Surf and is a member of the reformed band The Rentals.

Taking their name from the British euphemism for imminent doom, the group the Black Dog carved a small niche in the early 90's mixing techno dance beats with ambient electronica. In 1992 this British trio of Ken Downie, Ed Handley and Andy Turner released a full-length debut called “Bytes,” an airy mix of complex rhythmic patterns and diverse ambient European “intelligent techo” that was well received in Europe. A few albums later, the release “Music For Adverts (and Short Films)” saw this engaging trio reduced to just Downie as the lone “Dog.” The album included a wistful collection of post-rave electronica and an adept mix of elements of techo rock, hip-hop and jazz. (Black Dog is also the name of the definitive Led Zeppelin tribute band, the closest thing to the live sound of the legendary group)

Three Dog Night Tidbits:

Members (as of 2009) - Danny Hutton, Cory Wells, Jimmy Greenspoon, Michael Allsup, Paul Kingery, Pat Bautz

Three Dog Night earned 13 gold albums and recorded 21 Billboard Top 40 hits, 7 of which went gold.

Danny Hutton unsuccessfully auditioned to become a band member for the Monkees in 1965.

On a number of early recordings one of their in-studio background singers was Donna Gaines, who would later find stardom on her own as Donna Summer.

In 2009, Three Dog Night are still touring, performing 85 concerts a year, with the lineup feature founding members Wells and Hutton, Greenspoon, Allsup, Paul Kingery and drummer Pat Bautz.

that dog Tidbits:

Tony Maxwell has worked as a composer, most notably on the films Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl (both written by Mike White).

Anna Waronker and her band frequently play clubs in the Los Angeles area.

Petra and Rachel have sporadically gigged with third sister Tanya (the three are triplets) as the Haden Sisters.

Copyright 2009 Robert Benson &

Music News & Notes

Prosthetic Records to re-issue Light This City debut

The meteoric six-year career arc of Northern California's LIGHT THIS CITY saw the group issue four acclaimed releases and develop a dedicated fan base through extensive touring with the likes of All That Remains, Death Angel, Darkest Hour, The Faceless and Vader, among others. Although the band disbanded in 2008 shortly before the release of what would ultimately serve as their swansong, Stormchaser, their timeless sound – a fusion of Swedish melodic death and Bay Area thrash – continues to inspire.

For that reason, Prosthetic is proud to announce the August 18 reissue of the group's first album, The Hero Cycle. Recorded in 2003 while the band's members were still in high school, the album aptly foreshadows the developments of qualities that would soon make the group a major player in modern metal: riffs that deftly mixed aggression and melody, the fiery vocals of spitfire front woman Laura Nichol, and a wholly energetic approach that attempted to forge new ground for the genre while still demonstrating reverence for its classics. Pre-orders are now available at

Produced by Zack Ohren (All Shall Perish, Decrepit Birth, Endwell), The Hero Cycle, according to liner notes written by the band that accompany the reissue, “reveals the innocence of a young band trying to grow and mature at a rapid pace. Many afternoons after class throughout high school and weekends in between were spent in a basement hammering out what would become this album, and those remain some of the most fun and memorable days LIGHT THIS CITY has ever seen.”


Mos Def Releasing Album On T-Shirt

For lovers of album cover art, let's hope that this isn't a trend. Rap star Mos Def is packaging his new album in the form of an item of clothing.

Showing Radiohead how digital revolution is really done, the New York based rapper and actor will give fans the opportunity to wear his LP The Ecstatic by releasing it as a T-shirt.

Sadly, the clothing itself won't play any music. Instead, the cover art will be on the front of the shirt, the tracklisting will be on the back, and the hang tag will contain a download code for the music itself.

There's a price to pay for such fashion innovation, however: the shirt will cost roughly twice as much as the CD, vinyl or digital formats.

I wonder what is on the physical copy of the releases....see T-shirt for album cover art?


SAVIOURS Begins Recording New Album

Rampaging Oakland, California metal quartet SAVIOURS has entered San Francisco's Lucky Cat Recording Studios with producer Phil Manley (of TRANS AM/THE FUCKING CHAMPS) to begin work on the follow-up to its critically acclaimed sophomore LP, "Into Abaddon".

Set for an October 13, 2009 release, the as-yet-untitled SAVIOURS album is said to feature "insanely dynamic" songs boasting passages containing "three-part guitar harmonies." The record will feature the lineup of guitarist/vocalist Austin Barber, bassist Cyrus Comiskey drummer Scott Batiste and guitarist Sonny Reinhardt (ex-WATCH THEM DIE), who joined the band in 2008. Fresh off a blistering performance at the 2009 Roadburn festival in Tilburg, Holland — where the band shared the stage with such like-minded acts as NEUROSIS, OM and SAINT VITUS — SAVIOURS now hit the studio to capture what will undoubtedly be its most venomous recording to date.

Commented Batiste: "We just got back from ravaging Europe, playing the whole new album every night. With Sonny joining us, the tempos and guitar work have definitely been cranked up a few notches, though the heaviness is still intact. The new jams are road toughened and more killer than we could have imagined."

Prior to the album's release, SAVIOURS will issue three new 7" records, all of which will drop on June 23. The vinyl-only EPs will be strictly limited to 500 copies each with artwork branded by Tim Lehi of San Francisco's BlackHeart Tattoo. Details on the three EPs are as follows:

* "Acid Hand" 7" EP (features the new tracks "Acid Hand" b/w "Slave to the Hex").

* "Burnin' Cross" 7" EP (features the new track "Burnin' Cross" b/w "Fire in the Sky" [SAXON cover]).

* "F.G.T." 7" EP (features the new track "F.G.T." b/w "Running Wild" [JUDAS PRIEST cover]).

"The demos we did with Scott Ecklein in Oakland this April came out so good that we thought should do something with them," Batiste explained. "So we tracked a few covers for b-sides and decided to do a limited vinyl 7" thing so people can check out some of the new songs before fall."


Antony and the Johnsons Prep Beyonce Cover for Release

You would think jet-setting around Europe would keep Antony and the Johnsons sufficiently busy. But apparently teaming up with some of the most well-respected orchestras around the world on a multi-country tour promoting their latest album, The Crying Light, wasn't quite enough for the group. Later this summer, they will release the double A-side single "Aeon"/"Crazy in Love."

Yes, the same group who sings "Epilepsy in Dancing" has brought its ethereal breathlessness to Beyonce's "your-love's-got-me-lookin'-so-crazy-right-now" Top-40 hit. The cover has been a crowd favorite during live shows, and soon, it will be available on CD and 7" for the first time. Although the release won't hit the U.S. until Aug. 4, anyone who pre-orders the 7" will be treated to the latest copy of Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppola's quarterly art-fiction-film magazine, which features Antony's artwork.


Alice In Chains signs to EMI; release new album!

Legendary rock band ALICE IN CHAINS has signed an exclusive worldwide deal with EMI’s Virgin Records and are gearing up for the release of their first new studio album in more than 10 years. The band and producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Foo Fighters) began recording last October at Studio 606 in Northridge, CA and recently finished mixing at Henson Studios in Hollywood. The highly anticipated album is scheduled for release this September.

Guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell, drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Inez reunited in 2005 at a benefit for victims of the tsunami in Indonesia. They began touring with new guitarist/vocalist William DuVall the following year.

Over the course of their remarkable career, Alice In Chains has garnered multiple Grammy nominations, sold more than 17 million albums worldwide and achieved 11 top 10 hit singles.


Experience Hendrix Releasing Four Live Concerts

Experience Hendrix's Dagger Records is slated to release four different Jimi Hendrix concerts over the summer chronicling shows from 1967, 1968 and 1969.

•The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live 1968 Paris/Ottawa contains two shows, the January 29, 1968 performance at the L. Olympia Theatre in Paris, France and the March 19, 1968 performance at the Capitol Theatre in Ottawa, Canada. The first show was recorded by RTE, the French broadcasting company and includes performances of Purple Haze, The Wind Cries Mary and Little Wing, among others. The second show was recorded by Hendrix himself and includes a version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

•Jimi Hendrix Experience Paris 1967 is a recording of a radio broadcast from L'Olympia on October 9, 1967. The album features performances of Stone Free, Hey Joe, and Wild Thing as well as other notable Hendrix hits.

Both of these sets are being released exclusively through Amazon as "fan packs." Materials specifically created for and exclusively included in both versions include a 'Jimi' poster, a postcard set replicating classic Hendrix concert posters, a set of badges reminiscent of the sixties era, a Hendrix iPod Skin and a "PikCARD" loaded with four guitar picks adorned with Hendrix artwork from the concert posters. The array of goodies is topped off with an "all access" laminated pass with an exclusive, secret code designed to unlock special Hendrix content online.

The August 11 release can be preordered with either a CD or a CD/Vinyl combo pack.

Janie Hendrix, President and CEO of Experience Hendrix LLC, the family owned company entrusted with preserving and protecting the legacy of Jimi Hendrix, commented, "The concept behind this 'Fan Pack' is to throw a spotlight on Jimi as a live performer and give a glimmer of what it might have been like to encounter 'The Experience' when Jimi had the band at its peak. Jimi never failed to stun and leave audiences breathless with his performance and guitar virtuosity and we think fans today will be no less moved by the offerings included in these packs. This release highlights Dagger's role in serving fans who want all Jimi had to offer and can't get enough of his legacy and genius."

Finally, Experience Hendrix and UME are set to rerelease Jimi Hendrxix Live at Woodstock on 180-gram audiophile grade vinyl as a 3-LP set on July 14th.


Living Colour Return With First New Album in Five Years

Living Colour’s original lineup — Vernon Reid, Corey Glover, Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbish, who joined the band in 1993 — will release their first new studio album in five years on September 15th on Megaforce Records. The band, who broke big in 1988 with “Cult of Personality,” recorded The Chair In The Doorway, their fifth LP, in the Czech Republic. The album features hard rock, soul and politically charged tracks, and Reid describes it as “the best record we’ve made yet.”

This Date In Music History-June 19


Brian Welch - Korn (1970)

Mark Debarge – Debarge (1959)

Elaine McFarlane - Spanky And Our Gang (1942)

Tommy Devito - Four Seasons (1936)

Nick Drake (1948)

Paula Abdul (1963)

Ann Wilson – Heart (1950)

Larry Dunn - Earth, Wind & Fire (1953)

Simon Wright - AC/DC, Dio (1963)

They Are Missed:

Bobby Helms, who recorded "Jingle Bell Rock," died in 1997 at age 63.

Bandleader of the Royal Canadians, the legendary Guy Lombardo, was born in London, Ontario in 1902. His band was known for its live New Year's Eve broadcasts of the theme, "Auld Lang Syne" and for being the only dance band to sell more than 100 million records.

Original Molly Hatchet guitarist Duane Roland died in 2006 (age 53) of natural causes at his residence in St. Augustine, FL. Roland was part of the Southern-rock group's three-guitar attack from ‘76 until ‘90. "We are terribly shocked and saddened by the loss of Duane,” read the band’s online post. "He was and always will be part of the Molly Hatchet family."

The late Shirley Goodman of Shirley & Lee ("Let The Good Times Roll") and Shirley & Company ("Shame, Shame, Shame") was born in 1936.

The late Al Wilson ("Show & Tell") was born in 1939.


The Harmonicats go to #1 in 1947 with "Peggy O' My Heart."

In 1958, Buddy Holly recorded his first tracks without the Crickets.

In 1976, Eddy Arnold entered the country chart with his single "Cowboy." It was his 100th hit.

Pat Boone went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1961 with “Moody River.”

Nat "King" Cole recorded his future #2 hit "Ramblin' Rose” in 1962.

The Rolling Stones scored their first #1 on the American charts in 1965 with "Satisfaction.”

In 1971, almost exactly a year to the day after the appearance of “Gasoline Alley,” Rod Stewart released his self-produced masterpiece, “Every Picture Tells a Story.” It topped the Billboard album chart for four weeks.

David Geffen made his first signing to Geffen Records in 1980 and it was disco queen Donna Summer.

During an interview with Life Magazine in 1967, Paul McCartney admitted that he had taken the drug LSD. Groovey, man, groovey...

Asia’s self-titled debut album topped the LP charts in 1982.

Today in 1965 the song "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" by the Four Tops topped the charts and stayed there for 2 weeks.

Carole King started a five week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1971 with “It's Too Late,” from her “Tapestry” album.

In 1977, six men wielding knives and iron bars outside Shepherd's Bush underground station beat up Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols. Cook required 15 stitches to a head wound.

In 1991, the Allman Brothers Band released “Shades of Two Worlds,” one of the strongest albums of their career.

In 2003, the opening date of the Lollapalooza tour - featuring Audioslave and Queens of the Stone Age - was cancelled because organizers say Jane's Addiction's stage wouldn’t fit the Ionia County Fairgrounds venue in Michigan.

The White Stripes released their sixth album, "Icky Thump" in 2007. Frontman Jack White says his decision to record the album on vintage reel-to-reel equipment was a stylistic choice. "In the technological age, everyone wants to find out what the newest toy is," says White. "That attitude doesn’t really coincide with what sounds the best."

“Agents of Fortune,” one of Blue Oyster Cult’s best albums, was released in 1976. The LP contains the darkly majestic “Don’t Fear The Reaper.”