Friday, June 26, 2009

We Have Lost A Legend- Michael Jackson Dead

Written By Robert Benson

Some say there will never be another one like him. In the early 1980’s, he was the dominant figure in pop music and a global pop icon since childhood. Michael Joseph Jackson died on June 25, 2009, reportedly from a cardiac arrest. Jackson was just fifty years old.

Paramedics were called to Jackson's home after the singer collapsed. They arrived at 12:26 PM and it’s reported that he was not breathing at the time. During the six-minute transport to UCLA Medical Center, they administered CPR. Reports say he was in a deep coma when they arrived at the hospital.

Known as the "King Of Pop," Jackson is one of a select few to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, in 2001 as a solo artist, and in 1997 as a member of the Jackson 5. His other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records—including one for "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time"—13 Grammy Awards, 13 number one singles in his solo career and the sales of over 750 million albums worldwide. Cited as one of the world's most famous men, Jackson's highly publicized personal life and eccentricities made him a prime candidate for the tabloids and coupled with his successful music career, made him a part of popular culture for almost four decades.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958. The son of Joseph Walter "Joe" and Katherine Esther, he was the seventh of nine children. His siblings are Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy and Janet. Jackson showed musical talent early in his life, performing in front of classmates and others during a Christmas recital at the age of five. In 1964, he and his brother Marlon joined his older siblings Tito, Jackie and Jermaine in the family band, the Jackson Brothers. The band toured the Midwest extensively from 1966 to 1968 and the brothers won a major talent show performing a variety of Motown hits and a cover of James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" in 1966; a song in which Michael sang lead. You could see then that there was an aura about him and that he was destined for big and better things to come.

Rolling Stone Magazine described the young Michael as "a prodigy" with "overwhelming musical gifts,” noting that Michael, "quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer" after he began to dance and sing with his brothers. The group was signed to Motown in 1968 and the Jackson 5 set a chart record when their first four singles "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There" all topped the Billboard Hot 100. Michael Jackson went solo in 1972 and released a total of four studio albums, Got to Be There (1972) Ben (1972), Music and Me (1973), Forever, Michael (1975) which produced successful singles such as "Got to Be There," "Ben" and a remake of Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin," among others.

However, Jackson's next solo album Off the Wall, released in 1979, was his first album to generate four US top 10 hits, including the chart-topping singles "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You." Off the Wall reached number three on the Billboard 200 and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

But Jackson's crowning achievement, both personally and musically was his LP Thriller. The album remained in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 for 80 consecutive weeks, 37 of those weeks at the top position. It was the first album to have seven Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 singles, including "Billie Jean,” "Beat It" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin.” The album was certified for 28 million shipments by the RIAA, earning it Double Diamond status in the US and is often cited as the best-selling album of all time. Jackson and his music became a vital part of society, as he was able to cross racial barriers through his music and his inventive music videos that revolutionized MTV and the way music videos were made.

Time magazine explained that "the fallout from Thriller has given the [music] business its best years since the heady days of 1978, when it had estimated total domestic revenue of $4.1 billion." The magazine summed up Thriller's impact as a "restoration of confidence" for an industry bordering on "the ruins of punk and the chic regions of synthesizer pop.” The publication described Jackson's influence at that point as "Star of records, radio, rock video. A one-man rescue team for the music business." The New York Times called him a "musical phenomenon,” saying that "in the world of pop music, there is Michael Jackson and there is everybody else.” Michael Jackson was that and more.

On March 25, 1983, on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever television special, Jackson performed live, both with The Jackson 5 and on his own singing "Billie Jean." He also introduced his signature dance move—the moonwalk— and his performances during the event were seen by 47 million viewers, drawing comparisons to Elvis Presley's and the Beatles' appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. The New York Times reported, "The moonwalk that he made famous is an apt metaphor for his dance style. How does he do it? As a technician, he is a great illusionist, a genuine mime. His ability to keep one leg straight as he glides while the other bends and seems to walk requires perfect timing."

Thriller did not have an official tour to promote it, although the 1984 Victory Tour, headlined by The Jacksons, showcased much of Jackson's new solo material to more than two million Americans. He donated his $5 million share from the Victory Tour to charity. Michael Jackson was on top of the world. Jackson co-wrote the charity single "We Are the World" with Lionel Richie, which was released worldwide to aid the poor in Africa and the US. He was one of 39 music celebrities who performed on the record and the single became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with nearly 20 million copies sold and millions of dollars donated to famine relief. Jackson won eight awards during the 1984 Grammys.

Surrounded by enormous wealth, success and many underlying personal issues, Jackson's life became a self-inflicted circus. From reports of sleeping in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to buying and befriending a pet chimpanzee (Bubbles), a report that he had tried to purchase the bones of The Elephant Man (a story that Jackson himself offered to the tabloids), he soon acquired the despicable nickname "Wacko Jacko." However, Jackson did suffer from a variety of physical problems including vitiligo and lupus and the side effects from these troubling illnesses as well as reports of multiple facial surgeries, just fueled the gossip pages to the point where Jackson lashed out:

"Why not just tell people I'm an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They'll believe anything you say, because you're a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, 'I'm an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight,' people would say, 'Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He's cracked up. You can't believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth."

Jackson's next LP, 1987’s Bad had lower sales than Thriller, but was still a substantial commercial success. In the US, it spawned seven hit singles, five of which ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You,” "Bad,” "The Way You Make Me Feel,” "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana") reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, more than any other album. It’s reported that the album has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

In 1991, Jackson released his eighth album Dangerous, an album that has sold an estimated 32 million copies worldwide. In the US, the album's first single "Black or White" was the album's biggest hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and remaining there for seven weeks, with similar chart performances worldwide. The album's second single "Remember the Time," spent a total eight weeks in the top five in the US, ultimately peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

In 1995, Jackson released the double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. The first disc, HIStory Begins, was a fifteen-track greatest hits album, and was later reissued as Greatest Hits — HIStory Vol. I in 2001, the second disc, HIStory Continues, contained fifteen new songs. The Grammy nominated album debuted at number one on the charts is the best-selling multiple-disc album of all-time, with 20 million copies (40 million units) sold worldwide.

Jackson released the album Invincible in October 2001 to much ado and although the album was a commercial success, debuting atop the charts in thirteen countries and going on to sell approximately ten million copies worldwide, the album was well below the high standards that he had achieved previously.

In the last decade, Jackson has been tortured by many well-documented personal, financial and legal troubles. Mere words cannot describe what he did for the music industry and the countless performers that he has influenced and lest we forget the humanitarian efforts that he was part of. We have been witness to a musical legend and there will never be another entertainer, musician and person like Michael Jackson. May he rest in peace.

RIAA President Neil Portnow:
“Rarely has the world received a gift with the magnitude of artistry, talent, and vision as Michael Jackson. He was a true musical icon whose identifiable voice, innovative dance moves, stunning musical versatility, and sheer star power carried him from childhood to worldwide acclaim......We are deeply saddened by this tragic news and our hearts go out to his family and to music lovers around the globe who mourn this great loss.”

"I can't stop crying over the sad news. I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever! My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless."

Dick Clark
"I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years. Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched."

Lisa Marie Presley
"I am so very sad and confused with every emotion possible. I am heartbroken for his children, who I know were everything to him, and for his family. This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me."

Paul McCartney
"It's so sad and shocking," Paul McCartney said. "I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy-man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones."

Quincy Jones
"I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words.

“Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the 80's.

“To this day, the music we created together on Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all…talent, grace, professionalism and dedication.

“He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever.”

New Vinyl Record Articles

'Music Man Murray' trades in records for acting career

Murray Gershenz, with a collection of 400,000 records and a shop on Exposition Boulevard in L.A., is looking to sell so he can focus on auditions and shoots.

Murray Gershenz knows he's setting something of a record by giving a new spin to his career this late in life.

After all, Gershenz has spent most of his 87 years collecting music -- old operas preserved on tube-like Edison cylinders, Big Band-era crooners on brittle 78 rpm discs, emerging rock stars on small 45s and established pop artists on larger LP albums. He owns as many as 400,000 records.

But now, "Music Man Murray" plans to unload his collection so he can become a full-time actor.

Read the rest of the article here:


The Record Exchange: Still revolving after all these years

It’s an unassuming storefront along Washington Street, just up from Starbucks and around the corner from the Lafayette Hotel.

A cardboard stand-up of Tom Waits skulks in the corner of the front window, as if waiting for someone walking by to kindly light his cigarette. Above the store there’s a carved plaque of Dizzy Gillespie cradled in a crescent moon, blowing his crazy horn up to the stars.

Step inside and you’ll find bins full of record albums, CDs, tapes, DVDs, posters and paintings of musicians, original 45s by Elvis and The Beatles and others displayed on the walls. You’ve stumbled onto a vast collection of musical history, rare vinyl treasures, and the most knowledgeable and friendly salespeople you could ever hope to meet. So it’s been for over 35 years, but any day you walk in is just another day at The Record Exchange.

In the early 1970s, owner Ross Kolhonen had recently finished graduate school, traveled through India for while and was planning to get another degree in business school. Instead, he decided to try his hand at starting a business himself. With a small loan, some stock collateral and money he made that summer painting houses, Kolhonen opened up the first Record Exchange, in a storefront at Salem’s Lafayette Hotel.

“And now, here we are,” he says with a smile....

Read the rest of the article here:

The Record Exchange

Audiophile Audition Review

I want to thank John over at for the exclusive rights to reprint this great review!

AUDIOPHILE AUDITION focuses on recordings of interest to audiophiles and collectors, with an accent on surround sound for music, and on all hi-res disc formats. Over 100SACD, DVD Video/Audio and standard CD reviews are published during each month, and our archives go back to January 2001.

George Harrison - Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison - Capitol Records

A fine compilation of 19 tunes from the late Beatles' member.

George Harrison - Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison - Capitol Records, 1.2 hrs [Release date: June 16, 09] *****:

Many greatest hits albums turn out not to really being that, but this compilation covering the whole career of the Beatles’ member really does feature some of the solo hits of what he left us. The 19 tracks have been digitally remastered at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, and the CD comes with a 28-page booklet of rare photos with newly-written liner notes by Warren Zanes.

The collection includes Harrison’s single My Sweet Lord, that hit #1 on the Billboard Pop singles charts. (We’ll try to forget the suit he lost re: lifting much of the tune from a soul music writer.) Give Me Love and Got My Mind Set on You are just a couple other of his big hits. There are three live tracks of timeless songs Harrison wrote for the Beatles: Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Here Comes the Sun. These are taken from the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden.

Harrison won 11 Grammies and was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s great to hear his music again, some of which I hadn’t heard in years. His patented sliding steel-guitar sort of sound marks many of the tunes and has always attracted my ears.


Got My Mind Set On You, Give Me Love, Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp, My Sweet Lord, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, All Things Must Pass, Any Road, This Is Love, All Those Years Ago, Marwa Blues, What Is Life, Rising Sun, When We Was Fab, Something, Blow Away, Cheer Down, Here Comes the Sun, I Don't Want to Do It, Isn't It a Pity

review by -- John Henry

Copyright 2009 ~ Reprinted By Permission

Album Cover Art

Shadows Fall Reveal Album Details, Cover Art

SHADOWS FALL has announced "Retribution" as the title of their fifth full-length album, which is set for a September 15 street date. The album, a follow-up to 2007’s critically acclaimed "Threads of Life," will be released on the band’s own label, Everblack Industries, which was created in conjunction with Warner Music Group’s ILG, Ferret Music, and ChannelZERO Entertainment.

The new album was produced by Zeuss (Hatebreed, Municipal Waste), with vocal production by Elvis Baskette (Incubus, Alter Bridge).

Singer Brian Fair commented on the band’s venture: “We learned everything from the ground up. We’ve gone through the independent metal world to the major label world, and have come to realize that, given the way things are now, it’s all about the band re-taking control of everything: music, business, ownership, publishing. Everything.”


Lil White LP Cover

Lil Wyte has revealed this album cover art for his highly anticipated new album entitled “The Bad Influence.” Lil Wyte stated that the new album The Bad Influence is slated for release sometime this July ‘09.

The album is presented by Hypnotize Minds and promoted in collaboration with Lil Wyte’s independent label Wyte Music.


Alestorm Offering New Album "Black Sails At Midnight" As Picture Disc LP

Alestorm has issued the following announcement about offering their latest album as picture disc LP:

"I forgot to mention that our new album 'Black Sails at Midnight' is also currently available as a Picture Disc LP, with the badass album artwork printed on the vinyl. If you want to get your hands on this piece of ultimate sexualness, head over to the Napalm Records Webstore. Do it now! Limited to 500 copies!