Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Edison Invents the Phonograph

Thomas Edison created many inventions, but his favorite was the phonograph. While working on improvements to the telegraph and the telephone, Edison figured out a way to record sound on tinfoil-coated cylinders. In 1877, he created a machine with two needles: one for recording and one for playback. When Edison spoke into the mouthpiece, the sound vibrations of his voice would be indented onto the cylinder by the recording needle. What do you think were the first words that Edison spoke into the phonograph?

"Mary had a little lamb" were the first words that Edison recorded on the phonograph and he was amazed when he heard the machine play them back to him. In 1878, Edison established the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company to sell the new machine.

Edison suggested other uses for the phonograph, such as: letter writing and dictation, phonographic books for blind people, a family record (recording family members in their own voices), music boxes and toys, clocks that announce the time, and a connection with the telephone so communications could be recorded. How many of these uses have become a reality today?

Many of the uses Edison suggested for the phonograph have become a reality, but there were others he hadn't imagined. For example, the phonograph allowed soldiers to take music off to war with them. In 1917, when the U.S. became involved in World War I, the Edison Company created a special model of the phonograph for the U.S. Army. This basic machine sold for $60. Many Army units purchased these phonographs because it meant a lot to the soldiers to have music to cheer them and remind them of home. This is an audio clip of Edison himself in which he expresses his pride in the soldiers and reminds Americans of the enormous sacrifice and contribution made by the other allied nations.


Read more about the history of the phonograph here:


Ask Mr. Music with Jerry Osborne

I am continuing our new feature: Ask "Mr. Music." Now in its 23rd year of syndication (1986-2008), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature will be a regular post every Wednesday from now on. Be sure to stop by Jerry's site ( for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.


DEAR JERRY: I don't know if it was on American Bandstand, but I recall Dick Clark saying that Paul Anka became the first Canadian to top the U.S. charts with his “Diana.”

What I have never heard is the first female singer to do so. I would think there would be someone before Celine Dion.

Overall, who are some of the top living Canadian recording artists?
—Keith Bonniwell, Hamilton, Ontario

DEAR KEITH: First let's examine the comment attributed to Dick Clark.

It is unlikely he named Paul Anka the first Canadian with a No. 1 U.S. hit, when Ontario-born Guy Lombardo has about two dozen No. 1s to his credit between 1927 and 1950.

Then there is the Crew-Cuts, the Canadian quartet whose “Sh-Boom” topped the charts in 1954, three years before “Diana.”

There is a good chance Clark's reference to Paul Anka included the term “singer,” or “vocalist.” To be even more precise, Paul could be described as the first Pop or Rock male singer, since Hank Snow, a Nova Scotian, reached No. 1 on the C&W charts in 1950 with “I'm Movin' On.”

Nova Scotia (“New Scotland”) may be Canada's second-smallest province (after Prince Edward Island), but it is also the birthplace of the first Canadian female with a No. 1 U.S. hit (November 1978).

Of course that is Anne Murray and the song is “You Needed Me,” one of Anne's two RIAA Certified Gold Record Award winners.

The other, her first and best-known hit “Snowbird,” did not reach No. 1 but landed in the Top 10 on both the Pop and Country charts. Anne's Gold Record for “Snowbird” marked the first time such an award went to a Canadian gal.

When Murray's 1983 LP, “A Little Good News” was named Album of the Year by the Country Music Association, she became the first Canadian, male or female, to claim that honor.

Lesser known but equally impressive is that same year “A Little Good News” also won the CMA Single of the Year award, making Anne the first female, nationality aside, to sweep in both categories.

To date the only other lady to accomplish this is Lee Ann Womack, with Single of the Year (“I May Hate Myself in the Morning”) and Album of the Year (“There's More Where That Came From”) for 2005.

Among the living legends of Canada, special mention must be made of George Beverly Shea, whose discography includes over 70 albums of sacred music. Being the featured vocalist of the Billy Graham Crusades since 1947 provided George with incomparable exposure, and millions of albums sold.

Working for Billy Graham even put Shea in the Guinness Book of Records, for singing to the most people ever. They estimate over 220 million have listened to George in person.

“America's Beloved Gospel Singer,” as he is often called, turned 100 years of age February 1, 2009, and yes, he's still singing!

In addition to the living Canadians already mentioned, here are just some of that land's brightest solo singing stars, and their birth province: Bryan Adams (Ontario); Michael Bublé (British Columbia); Burton Cummings (Manitoba); Bobby Curtola (Ontario); Celine Dion (Quebec); Diana Krall (British Columbia); K.D. Lang (Alberta); Gordon Lightfoot (Ontario); Sarah McLachlan (Nova Scotia); Joni Mitchell (Alberta); Alanis Morissette (Ontario); Buffy Sainte-Marie (Saskatchewan); Jack Scott (Ontario); Shania Twain (Ontario); and Neil Young (Ontario).

We know there are others, but we just ran out of time ... and space.

IZ ZAT SO? Just as we have the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, where nominees from all styles of music are invited, our neighbors to the north have the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Surprisingly, since they began in 1978, the only inductees from those stars mentioned today are: Guy Lombardo (1978); Hank Snow (1979); Paul Anka (1980); Joni Mitchell (1981); Neil Young (1982); Gordon Lightfoot (1986); Anne Murray (1993); Buffy Sainte-Marie (1995); and Bryan Adams (2006).

We should probably include Burton Cummings, enshrined in 1987 as a member and lead singer of the Guess Who.

Most conspicuous by their absence are the two top-selling artists in Canada: Shania Twain and Celine Dion. Both coming soon, no doubt.

VACATION SCHEDULE CHANGE: The column for the week of August 17 will not be posted until Wednesday, August 19th.

Copyright 2009 Osbourne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission


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Music News & Notes

Dagor Dagorath Announces New Album "Yetzer Ha'Ra" Release Date

Israeli metallers Dagor Dagorath have issued the following update about the release of their debut full-length album:


"We are pleased to announce that we have now signed our debut album 'Yetzer Ha'Ra' on the german label/distributor Twilight Vertrieb (Endstille, Eluveitie, Master, TrollfesT). The album will be released worldwide in the 2nd of October 2009.

"We know about their long experience and professional way of working, and we believe that this alliance will be mutually winning for both sides. 'Yetzer Ha'Ra' will also be released in Russia on the 28th of August 2009, through More Hate Production."

The cover art for the album can also be viewed below:


Elton John Guests On New Alice In Chains Album

Rock legend Elton John has been revealed as the guest pianist on the title track of the new Alice In Chains album, "Black Gives Way To Blue."

"We were thinking about adding piano to the track and a friend suggested we call Elton," recalls guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell. "I remember laughing and saying, ‘Yeah, I’ll get right on that.’ But I decided it was worth trying and wrote Elton an email explaining what that song means to us - that it’s a real, raw openhearted song for Layne. We sent him the track and got a call shortly after saying he thought it was beautiful and that he wanted to play on it. We were blown away. Elton John is a huge influence on me as a songwriter and having him on that song is an amazing honour for us."

"I’ve long been an admirer of Jerry Cantrell and when he asked me to play on ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’, I was very flattered and couldn’t resist,” says John. “It was a great recording session with Alice In Chains for a beautiful song."

About the collaboration, Cantrell says, "Elton was finishing his Red Piano run in Vegas, so we flew there and hung out for a few hours. Walking into a studio and seeing the sheet music for that song on Elton’s piano made it meaningful on so many different levels. The whole experience was pretty magical."


OZZY OSBOURNE's BLIZZCON Performance Officially Confirmed

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne, will headline the closing concert at this year's BlizzCon, which will take place August 21-22 at the Anaheim Convention Center. While tickets to the convention sold out in minutes, a live pay-per-view event will be available on DirecTV and via Internet stream.

The largest event of its kind, BlizzCon is a celebration of Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft game universes and the global player communities surrounding them. At the closing ceremony on August 22, Ozzy will unleash a thunderous spectacle of rock to put the Lich King in his place and cement his own title as the one true Prince of Darkness.

One of the most influential rock musicians of all time, Ozzy Osbourne rose to prominence as the lead vocalist for BLACK SABBATH before embarking on a multi-platinum solo career. He is also known for putting on the Ozzfest music festival and for starring in his own reality TV show. Ozzy Osbourne's career has spanned four decades and his music is as relevant today as ever. The Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has sold over 100 million albums worldwide — 50 with BLACK SABBATH and as many as a solo artist — and in 2003 was honored with a star on Hollywood Boulevard's "Walk of Fame." This is his second collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment, following a recent TV spot for World of Warcraft.

"Our goal with BlizzCon is to deliver an unforgettable weekend of entertainment, and we can't think of a better way to close out this year's show than having Ozzy rock the house," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "Many of us at Blizzard are lifelong fans of Ozzy's music, and we're thrilled that he'll be performing for all of our BlizzCon attendees as well as those joining us via DirecTV and the live Internet stream."

In addition to serving as a gathering place for the different Blizzard Entertainment gaming communities, BlizzCon will offer an array of activities, including discussion panels, hands-on playtime with upcoming games, contests, tournaments showcasing the skills of top eSports gamers from around the world, and more. While tickets to the convention are currently sold out, the live pay-per-view event can still be ordered for $39.95 USD, and is available via DirecTV and Internet stream (pricing and availability may vary by region). Visit for more details and ordering information.


New Phish Album

Phish revealed on their official site that their new album "Joy" will be released September 8th in a multitude of formats, including one that features a bonus album. In addition to the compact disc and double-vinyl varieties, Phish will also offer up a limited edition deluxe set called the “Joy Box,” which will feature the CD plus 10 posters dedicated to each one of Joy’s 10 tracks, as well as a “complete second album” called Party Time. If that wasn’t enough, the Joy Box will also include a DVD featuring some of Phish’s live performances from the first half of 2009, including the jam band’s concerts from Boston’s Fenway Park and this year’s double-headlining Bonnaroo sets.


Kraftwerk Reissuues

Kraftwerk will re-release eight albums from their catalog as individual discs or as a box set knowns as 12345678 The Catalogue. Included in the campaign are the albums Autobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans Europe Express (1977), The Man Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991) and Tour De France (2003). The albums will also be available as downloads or on heavyweight vinyl LPs. Release is set for October 5.

The set includes the groups entire studio output from 1974 to today. Not included are Kraftwerk 1 (1971), Kraftwerk 2 (1972) and Ralf and Florian (1973).


Sea Wolf Release

With the release of Sea Wolf's sophomore record, "White Water, White Bloom," a little over a month away, anticipation for new material is palpable. To hold curious and eager fans over, Dangerbird Records is offering a taste of the cinematic journey that Sea Wolf's music undeniably possesses with the free download, "Stanislaus."


Blackberry Smoke LP

On September 29th, the Atlanta-based Southern rock outlaws, Blackberry Smoke, will be releasing their album titled "Little Piece of Dixie" through BamaJam Records, a new imprint of Stroudavarious Records. This is the second full length release of the group's career, but the first for BamaJam Records.


The Verve Split Up For A Third Time

Reports are circulating that Britpop survivors The Verve have split up for a third time.

The Sunday Mirror reports that a “source” said that rest of the band had become increasingly distanced from singer Richard Ashcroft. "As far as Nick and Simon are concerned the Verve no longer exists... they think Richard was just using the reunion as a vehicle to get his solo career on track”, the source reported.

Guitarist Nick McCabe had previously announced that the band were on 'holiday' in a blog entry on his Myspace page in April. "The Verve seem to be on holiday and show no sign of not being on holiday”, he wrote.

The band has split up twice before, initially in 1996 and then in 1999. However, the Wigan band reformed in 2007, releasing an album 'Forth' and headlined the Glastonbury Festival the following year.


Javelina Reveals New Album "Beasts Among Sheep" Details

Philadelphia’s JAVELINA will unleash their sophomore album September 29th via Translation Loss Records. The album, titled “Beasts Among Sheep,” contains eight tracks.

The album was recorded in March of this year at Volume Studios in Chicago by Sanford Parker, and mastered at the Boiler Room in Chicago by Collin Jordan. The cover art, as with the previous album, was handled by Jason Goldberg (Olde City Tattoo, The Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza, etc.).

Vinyl Record Memories

Vinyl Record Memories

written by JUDY SALAMACHA By The Bay

Entertainer Dick Clark said our favorite music is the soundtrack of our lives. The comment made little sense to me until I had a close encounter with a movie soundtrack album cover that triggered a flood of past memories.

Where you were when Pearl Harbor was bombed? President Kennedy was shot? 911 exploded? Michael Jackson died? Gary Freiberg of Los Osos discovered the same question can be asked about a Glen Miller or Ray Charles hit, Elvis or the Beatles on television’s Ed Sullivan Show, or experiencing the Boston Pops for the first time. Regardless of age, music evokes a stroll down memory lane.

Realizing music’s social relevance, Freiberg questioned why audio history is not preserved and studied. Music has recorded transitional social mores since 1877 when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph.

Understanding only 5% of what has been recorded – music, comedy or famous speeches - will be transferred to modern audio formats, he launched his quest to heighten the historical importance of the vinyl record.

In 2002 he convinced the San Luis Board of Supervisors to proclaim August 12 Vinyl Record Day.

Freiberg advocated, “It’s a day to value the good times of our lives by sharing our favorite music.”

He created a website,, and in 2007 promoted a well attended event in Mission Plaza. In 2008 he applied for a national stamp series.

“The Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee could use some local support because the series is seriously being considered,” he requested.

He’s consulted with many communities, who celebrate Vinyl Record Day, including a recent request from Australia to associate their plans.

When he wanted to display his own collection of album cover art, he and wife Mary created a user friendly frame 11 years ago. Before it was vogue, he marketed the frame online at

Thousands of worldwide customers including the Smithsonian, Warner Brothers, and the University of New Hampshire selected the Freiberg frame for displays documenting Vinyl Record cover art as an art form.

Freiberg ultimately sold his San Luis investment brokerage business to devote fulltime to the promotion of vinyl record preservation and his online frame company. He’s collected 3,500 LPs, 1,000 45s, and 8,000 covers, researched numerous behind-the-scenes stories about the artists and industry and designed a poster depicting the history and diversity of cover art.

In 2009 Freiberg invites Vinyl Record Day involvement.

“I feel it will be a success when raising awareness will justify Americans preserving their record collections. I’d like families to spend August 12th together sharing their favorite music and memories with each other.”

However, sharing requires today’s generation to listen without their IPODs.
Reprinted by Permission

This Date In Music History-August 12


Mark Knopfler - Dire Straits (1949)
Jerry Speiser - Men At Work (1953)
Pat Metheny - jazz rock guitarist (1954)
Danny Shirley - Confederate Railroad (1956)
Jurgen Dehmel - Nena (1958)
Suzanne Vega (1959)
Roy Hay - Culture Club (1961)
Bragi Olaffson - Sugarcubes (1962)
Sir Mix-A-Lot (1963)

They Are Missed:

Pete Meaden, the Who's publicist and manager in their "High Number" days, committed suicide in London in 1978 by ingesting an overdose of barbituates. A dedicated mod, he introduced the band members to the lifestyle and, with the assistance of Who manager Kit Lambert, turned them into the subculture's figureheads. He was 35.
Joe Tex died of a heart attack in 1982.

Kyu Sakamoto was killed in a plane crash in 1985. He was 43. Had the 1963 US #1 & UK #6 single 'Sukiyaki', the first Japanese artist to hit the top of the US singles chart.

Modern composer and Sonic Youth mentor John Cage died in New York in 1992.

Born today in 1929, country icon Buck Owens. He scored twenty #1 hits on the Billboard country music charts, pioneered what has come to be called the Bakersfield sound—a reference to Bakersfield, California. Died March 25, 2006.


Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877.

Frankie Lymon left the Teenagers to go solo in 1957.

The Crests recorded "16 Candles" in 1958.

In 1960, Pete Best auditioned to become The Silver Beatles' drummer and was asked to travel to Hamburg in Germany for the bands next set of dates. Before leaving for Hamburg, The Silver Beatles changed their name to simply, "The Beatles," the rest is history.

The Beatles first film ‘A Hard Days Night’ opened in 500 American cinemas in 1964 to rave reviews.

The Jefferson Airplane performed their first concert in 1965, at the opening of the Matrix Club in San Francisco.

The Beatles started their final U.S. tour at Chicago's International Amphitheatre in 1966. Earlier in the day, John Lennon held a press conference and apologized for his remark about the band being more popular than Jesus Christ.

Fleetwood Mac made their live debut at London's National Jazz & Blues Festival in 1967. Headliners for the festival were Donovan and Pink Floyd.

Bobbie Gentry's great "Ode to Billie Joe" entered the Top 40 in 1967. It went on to become her only #1 hit.

In 1968, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time when they rehearsed at a studio in Lisle Street in London’s West End. The first song they played was a version of "Train Kept A-Rollin."

“Cheap Thrills,” by Big Brother and the Holding Company, was released on Columbia Records in 1968. It tops the chart for seven weeks.

The supergroup Blind Faith made their U.S. live debut at Madison Square Garden in 1969.

In 1972, the Festival of Hope was the first rock festival to raise funds for an established charity. Acts include Jefferson Airplane, Stephan Stills, James Brown and others. Only half of the expected 400,000 show up the second day and while they raked in $300,000, the festival incurred expenses of $400,000.

The Commodores started a two week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1978 with "Three Times A Lady," (also #1 in the UK) and becoming Motown's biggest British selling single.

As the Olympic Games came to a close in 1984, Lionel Richie performed, "All Night Long" live from Los Angeles to an estimated television audience of 2.6 billion people around the world.

The two day Moscow Music Peace Festival was held at The Lenin Stadium in Moscow, Russia in 1989. Western acts who appeared included Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, Skid Row and The Scorpions. This was the first time that an audience had been allowed to stand up and dance at a stadium rock concert in the Soviet Union.

"Woodstock '94" was held in Saugerties, New York in 1994. About 350,000 attended the show, which included mudfights and performances by Green Day, Nine Inch Nails, Aerosmith and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

MTV debuts the Fleetwood Mac reunion concert in 1997. The special was taken from two performances at a Warner Brothers soundstage a few months earlier.

In 2000, during an outdoor gig in Mancos, California as 38 Special were mid-set, the wind took hold of an overhead canopy and brought down ten tons of equipment onto the stage. The drum kit was completely crushed, but no one was seriously injured.

Alicia Keys went to #1 on the US singles chart in 2001 with "Fallin."

In 2003, eBay auctioneer Anthony DeFontes said he would sell Elvis Presley's tooth separately after the tooth combined with a lock of the King's hair and a gold record failed to attract a high enough bid.