Saturday, August 29, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

Rolling Stones ~ Shattered

Rock/Pop Tidbits

In December of 1969, Mick Jagger was quoted saying "I don't really like singing very much, I enjoy playing the guitar more than I enjoy singing and I can't play the guitar either."

Ross Bagdasarian (Davis Seville) named The Chipmunks after executives at Liberty records. Alvin was named for Al Bennett, president of the company, Simon was named after Bennett's partner, Si Waronker and Theodore was named for Ted Keep, a recording engineer.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" was written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958. Although Decca released it in both that year and again in 1959, it did not catch on until Lee rose to stardom in 1960. That Christmas season, it reached #16 on the Billboard Pop chart and has since become a perennial holiday favourite. The song continues to sell well during the holiday season and rose to #5 on the Christmas chart in 1984.

One of the strangest moments in Pop music history took place on September 11, 1977, when two stars from different generations, David Bowie and Bing Crosby, got together to tape "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Peace On Earth" for Bing's upcoming Christmas TV special. The pair rehearsed for an hour and finished their duet in only three takes, but Bing died a month later having never seen the video.

In October, 2000, George Michael paid over $2 million for the piano that John Lennon used to write "Imagine". It is a simple upright model and not the white piano that appeared on the album cover.

John Lennon often expressed his dislike for Winston Churchill, the former British Prime Minister that he was named after. He felt so strongly that he had his middle name changed from Winston to Ono after he married Yoko.

Andy White, who played drums on The Beatles' track "Love Me Do", which was included on the Beatles Greatest Hits album, did not earn any money in royalties from it. He only received his original session fee of £7 ($14 US), which is not even enough for him to buy his own copy of the album.

Gloucestershire airport in England used to blast Tina Turner songs on its runways to scare birds away.

The much publicized Jerry Lee Lewis pistol-waving episode outside Graceland in 1976 is said to be a misunderstanding. Jerry and Elvis were long time friends and he had been invited to visit. A pistol on the dashboard of Jerry’s car had been given to him earlier that evening as a present and when security guards at the Gracelands gates saw the pistol and asked Jerry if he’d come to shoot Elvis, Jerry just joked: "Sure I have." This led to the arrest and the subsequent press stories.

After Sam Cooke turned down "Travelin' Man", Ricky Nelson recorded the song and had a Billboard chart topping single with it in 1961.

Before assembling AC/DC, Malcolm Young played with the Velvet Underground- not THE Velvet Underground; Young’s band mates were Australians who simply stole the name.

One of Motley Crue’s earliest stage gimmicks was to light their pants on fire. Brings new meaning to the term- ‘liar, liar-pants on fire.’

In 1963, the brother and sister team of Nino Tempo and April Stevens took "Deep Purple" to Billboard's number one position. The same song had topped the charts for Larry McClinton in 1939 and would become a #14 hit for Donny and Marie Osmond in 1976.

1950s crooner Perry Como, who scored many hits including "Round and Round", "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes" and "Hot Diggity", was the seventh son of a seventh son.

The Righteous Brothers' hit "Unchained Melody" was never intended to be a single. It was recorded as an album cut and later pressed on the "B" side of the 45 "Hung On You". When it was released, DJs flipped the disc over and "Unchained Melody" quickly rose to #4 in the US and #1 in the UK.

Barry Manilow recorded his vocal and piano parts for "Mandy" in just one take.

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.

Grado Reference 1 Moving 
Magnet Phono Cartridge

You shouldn't count out MM cartridges; this one is superb and has a number of advantages.

Grado Reference 1 Moving

Magnet Phono Cartridge

SRP: $1500


Hand-fashioned mahogany body
Freq. response: beyond 50 kHz
Output: 5mv (optional LO model: .5mv)
Load setting: 47 K
Tracking force: 1 to 2 grams
Mounting: 1/2”
Stylus not removable, may be retipped by Grado

Grado Laboratories
4614 Seventh Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11220


Ever since I graduated from an earlier Shure VR-15 many, many years ago I have been one of those typical analog audiophiles only into moving coil cartridges. I had thought they were the only truly high fidelity choice for a quality tone arm in a good turntable system, and feared problems of hum with moving magnet cartridges. Well, recently my longtime MC cartridge gave up the ghost after many years by suddenly reducing its right channel to less than half the level of the left. Research proved it not repairable and so a similar price-range cartridge to the Grado being reviewed went painfully to the trash heap.

Grado Technology

I shouldn’t have had any qualms whatever about moving magnets! I am even more pleased with this flagship Grado MM cartridge than I ever was with my moving coil. There were no hum problems whatever, and the cartridge was much easier to install in my SME-V arm than I had expected. It lined up perfectly in all the parameters that are so important in setting up a phono cartridge, and I didn’t need the little aluminum shim that had been required with my MC cartridge due to its smaller size. The clean flat sides and bottom of the Grado are much easier to line up properly in the arm and on the disc than was the MC cartridge. And I could now sell off my Sumiko Flux Buster demagnetizer, since moving magnets not only don’t need demagnetization, but are moreover completely ruined by it! I frankly had the shakes about this whole switchover, because it had been about 15 years since I had carried out any sort of cartridge mounting or turntable setup and had forgotten most of what was involved. My concerns were of no concern with the Grado.

Grado has two lines of cartridges. The Prestige Series are the affordable designs, with a combination of metal and plastic materials plus replaceable styli. They have a grading system consisting of different colors running from Black to Gold. Grado entered the world of high-end audio with the Reference Series of wood-body MM cartridges, which like the Prestige series, have a similar grading scale for the user to select the best value for their budget and application. Each cartridge has a high tolerance nude magnet and coil assembly which is isolated from the structure. The styli cannot be replaced but can be sent in to Grado for retipping. Some of the many Reference Series cartridges are now available in either a high or low output version. The low output model would require a MC-type phono preamp to step up the voltage for a high-end line level preamp. In the case of the Reference 1 the low-output version at the same price was only .5mv whereas the high-output provided for review was 5mv. I was very thankful for Grado’s choice of the high output version; I have a very long though high quality RCA cable going from my SOTA TT to my Sunfire AV preamp, and previously I had a problem of very low level interference from a local rock FM station. Now not only is the interference completely gone but the level at the AV preamp is about double what it formerly was - so much so that I need to lower levels when I am doing a comparison between a vinyl and CD/SACD version of the same recording, whereas it used to require raising the level considerably to match the digital sources.

All of Grado’s cartridges use a derivation of the moving iron principle in three proprietary areas: Optimized Transmission Line cantilever technology, the Pivoted Fixed Axial Stylus-Generator Module, and the Flux-Bridger Generator System. The OTL stylus cantilever design eliminates resonances at the key junctions. All the separate sections are telescoped into one another, made of different alloys - some solid and some hollow - and then bonded together with a black material which controls and absorbs resonances that travel on the surface of the cantilever. This design makes records sound quieter and improves soundstaging and detail.

The Stylus-Generator Module brings the OTL cantilever shaft to a fixed axial pivot supporting the entire cantilever assembly. This type of support if more linear than conventional “teeter-totter” designs that balance the cantilever’s mass with an iron armature. It has a very low tip mass, lowering distortion and giving longer vinyl life, and this system allows for implementing the Flux-Bridger Generator System. The latter uses four separate magnetic gaps between which the miniature element of the cantilever moves - creating an increase in flux in one gap while reducing it in the other. This highly efficient and perfectly balanced system requires fewer turns of coil than conventional designs, giving Grado cartridges lower mass and lower electrical inductance and making them insensitive to tone arm cable capacitance. Probably not many phono cartridges are actually made in the U.S. anymore, but all Grado cartridges are. They are each hand assembled and tested for frequency response, channel output, balance, phase linearity, inductance and resistance.

Listening Tests

The very first thing I noted after the much higher volume level compared to my previous MC cartridge was the reduction of LP surface noise. Even though I use a VPI LP cleaning machine and different liquid treatments, plus zapping with a MapleShade Ionoclast ion generator and treating the stylus with Last’s Stylast, and even though my high-end hearing is somewhat rolled off from what it was years ago, the surface noise on certain of my older LPs has still been annoying. In setting up the VTA of the Grado cartridge I used my old standby vinyl, the original Proprius Jazz at the Pawnshop, and in particular the track Lady Be Good. There is a section near the end where when VTA is perfect the sax jumps right out at you and a “ding” that is either a cymbal or cash register rings rather than sounding damped. I’ve used that track a lot and it has become scratchy. With the Reference 1 it didn’t sound any different from the rest of the LP - yet there was no noticeable rolling off of the extreme high end.

The third attribute of the Grado I noticed was more weight and color in the sound than I was getting with my old MC cartridge. I tried a couple A/B disc comparisons again in which I had found the audiophile CD or SACD had somewhat superior bass end support than the identical recording on vinyl. Now they matched almost perfectly with the Grado, once I adjusted levels to match. This sort of improvement makes jazz recordings sound more rhythmic and exciting. One of the comparisons I made again was the recent F.I.M. K2HD mastered directly from the Toshiba direct disc of pianist Jun Fukamachi “at Steinway.” Before the two sources had sounded amazingly identical. Now my actual direct disc, playing on my SOTA turntable with the Grado, pulled slightly ahead sonically, which seems to be more logical all around.

Some of the “deep mono” audiophile reissues on vinyl from Pure Pleasure sounded more realistic and involving than they ever had before, especially when I made use of the handy mono option on my Sunfire preamp - a useful feature that was missing on the previous preamp. I also really dug an old LP with Slam Stewart and Major Holley playing their doublebasses along with their vocalizations - one one each of the front channels. These basses were walkin’ AND talkin’! (One of them sang in unison with his bass and the other one octave higher - I forget which is which - but there’s absolutely no doubt listening to them.)

Other attributes I felt to be part of the Reference 1’s sound were its highly detailed resolution and its outstandingly low distortion. In other comparisons I had made with identical recordings on CD or SACD there was often a high degree of similarity with the vinyl on the turntable, with perhaps a touch more “air” around the instruments in the vinyl reproduction vs. the optical disc. Now that air was still there, but in addition I was often hearing tiny details in the sound that were either not audible on the digital copy or reduced in clarity.


I have heard that some audiophiles are simply turned off by the so-called signature sound of moving magnet cartridges. After my experience with the Grado MM I don’t know what they are talking about. The Reference 1 has a highly detailed, hi-res sound that is never metallic or annoying, even with poorer recordings. Neither is there the unnaturally rising high end slope of many MC cartridges. I can’t imagine anyone being displeased with the sweet sound of this lovely cartridge. If you are looking for a quality cartridge, don’t count out MM designs, especially this one. If your turntable system isn’t quite at the level of my vacuum SOTA/SME/MapleShade-supported system, check out some of the other Reference Series models, at prices down to around $300, or the Prestige Series, running from about $60 to $220.

- John Sunier

Copyright © 2009 Audiophile Audition All rights Reserved Reprinted by permission

Music News & Notes

Oasis Disolves (Again)

Oasis canceled an appearance at a French music festival last night after a fight between the Gallagher brothers and it's reported that guitarist Noel Gallagher has quit the band he helped form in 1991 — again.

Before the band’s scheduled set time, one of the festival’s organizers announced to the crowd that Liam and his sibling had “had a fight backstage,” and, according to reports, that “the group no longer exists. They will not play tonight and they are canceling the rest of their European tour.”

The BBC is reporting the split as official on their Website, and that it was Noel who indeed left. In a statement posted to the band’s MySpace page, Noel says he could no longer work with his brother.

“It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight,” the statement reads. “People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer. Apologies to all the people who bought tickets for the shows in Paris, Konstanz, and Milan,” he added, referring to the remaining stops on the band’s trek.



NIGHTMARE: New Song To Debut This Saturday

The first song from "Insurrection", the seventh album from French power metallers NIGHTMARE, will make its online debut this Saturday, August 29 via the band's MySpace page.

"Insurrection" is scheduled for release on September 11 via Germany's AFM Records. The CD was recorded at Peek studio in France with Patrick Liotard and at U3multimedia and Indiscreet Studios in Stuttgart, Germany with Achim Köhler (PRIMAL FEAR, EDGUY, MASTERPLAN). The follow-up to 2007's "Genetic Disorder" will contain nine tracks, including a two-part concept song. Part II of the track, entitled "Cosa Nostra..." , will be featured as a bonus cut for Japan and limited editions along with one other song. Songtitles set to appear on the CD include "Insurrection", "Three Mile Island", "The Gospel Of Judas", "Decameron", "Angels Of Glass" and "Legions Of The Rising Sun".

The "Insurrection" cover art (see below) was created by Swedish artist Pär Olofsson who previously worked on "Genetic Disorder".

Special guest vocalist on the album is Fabrice Emmanuelsson from ELLIPSIS.


Indie Record Stores Show Their Love To Brandi Shearer With The First Ever Record Store Day Sponsored Tour

Beginning in mid-September, Brandi Shearer launches an exclusive "Shore To Shore In-Store Tour" across the US with free concerts at independent record stores. This is the first time the independent coalitions (CIMS, AIM and Music Monitor Network, banded under the moniker) have sponsored an artists' tour. The tour coincides with the release of her new album, "Love Don't Make You Juliet," out September 1 on Vinyl Tiger Records. In addition to the release of her full length album, Shearer is selling a 4 song EP, "Live At The Soiled Dove" exclusively at indie stores.

The inspiration for the tour was Shearer's. "The more impersonal buying music digitally becomes, the more I crave talking to an actual human - there is no replacement for someone sizing you up and putting a record in your hands that they know you'll love," says Shearer.

"I don't believe that can ever be duplicated, and somehow having those spaces becomes more & more special to me."

Check out what else Shearer has to say on this Vlog entry on the tour:

"Record Store Day could not be more thrilled to have Brandi Shearer be the first artist we've ever sponsored to do a tour of indie stores across the country," says Record Store Day co-founder Michael Kurtz. "Having an artist of Brandi's quality provide in-store performances for indie-record store customers gives her a tight connection to the hub of local music communities and gives the music fans who shop indie a special intimate no cost experience. She's a wonderful performer and we are confident that, together with the indie stores, we are going to create a bit of magic."


Rehasher (featuring Roger of Less Than Jake) releases new album on Paper + Plastick?

Paper + Plastick Records is proud to announce that the new Rehasher album will be added to the labels growing catalog of vinyl. High Speed Access To My Brain can be pre-ordered beginning today exclusively at, where fans can also get a taste of the new album by downloading the recently released P+P summer sampler, containing the track “Turn Around.”

The Gainesville punk band is lead by guitarist/vocalist Roger Manganelli, P+P label owner Vinnie Fiorello’s band mate in Less Than Jake, and boasts members from local punk bands Army of Ponch, Bullets To Broadway and Savage Brewtality. The band self-recorded their sophomore album at Manganelli’s own Moathouse Studios, and self-released the CD on their Moathouse Records, which will be released on vinyl via Paper + Plastick on September 11th.

“Rehasher are a group of friends of mine from Gainesville that happen to also make great melodic punk,” says Fiorello. “This record is them on their ‘A’ game and is hands down, flat-out amazing… and I’m not just saying that because one of the dudes sleeps 15 feet away from me six months a year.”

The band formed in 2002 as an excuse for a group of friends to hang out and play music, and resulted in the 2004 release of Off Key Melodies via No Idea Records. lauded the album, and stated “The all-star lineup comes through and ignites simplistic three-chord punk rock via a vigorous charge,” and AbsolutePunk, which commented, “ brings back the days of Lagwagon and NOFX-style punk.”


Experience Hendrix and Sony Sign Major Deal

Experience Hendrix L.L.C. and Sony Music Entertainment have signed a major deal to bring the music of Jimi Hendrix, both catalog and new, to all forms of media.

Included in the deal is:

•The reissue of Hendrix' catalog in deluxe editions (Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland, Band of Gypsies)
•Reissues of compilations produced by Experience Hendrix
•Filmed concerts.
•Releases from Dagger Records, Experience Hendrix' "official bootleg" label for Hendrix recordings of significant interest.
•The yearly Experience Hendrix tours
•Other Hendrix-related business

The deal covers both physical product and digital services.

"Jimi's legacy and vision were unique and there will never be another that reaches his unparalleled genius. He was the greatest guitarist ever," said Janie Hendrix, President and CEO of Experience Hendrix. "We are confident that our new relationship with Sony Music will honor my beloved brother's legacy and will deliver Jimi's special 'Message Of Love' across the globe. We look forward to the creative partnership and ground breaking releases that this new relationship will engender to bring Jimi's music to successive generations of fans."

"No artist has ever transformed the pop music landscape as profoundly or as permanently as Jimi Hendrix," said Adam Block, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Legacy Recordings. "We are proud to be partnering with Experience Hendrix, keeping the sound and spirit of Jimi's music alive for future generations around the world."


Los Angeles Coroner's Office Official Statement On Michael Jackson

The Los Angeles Coroner's Office has released a statement confirming that Michael Jackson died of high levels of Propofol along with other drugs that suppress the bodies function.

The following is the coroner's statement:

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner completed its investigation into the death of Michael Joseph Jackson, age 50, who died on June 25, 2009.

The cause of death was established as:



The manner of death has been ruled: HOMICIDE

The drugs Propofol and Lorazepam were found to be the primary drugs responsible for Mr. Jackson's death. Other drugs detected were: Midazolam, Diazepam, Lidocaine and Ephedrine.

The final coroner's report, including the complete toxicology report will remain on security hold at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney. In accordance with this request, the Department of Coroner will not comment on its completed investigation.

Like, we all knew that. How freaking sad....