Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rock/Pop Tidbits

The studio group who helped Boz Scaggs record the bulk of his hits in the 1970s, including "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown" would go on to form the nucleus of the band Toto. Jeff Porcaro, David Hungate and David Paich scored four Top Ten hits of their own with "I Won't Hold Back" (#10), "Hold The Line" (#5), "Rosanna" (#2) and "Africa" (#1).

In 1984, former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page founded a new band called The Firm with ex Bad Company and Free vocalist Paul Rodgers. Page said the group was to be a vehicle to show people that he was not a washed up drug user. In the fall of the same year, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.

Janis Ian got the inspiration for her hit "At Seventeen" while sitting at the kitchen table reading a New York Times article about a debutante. The opening line of the story was "I learned the truth at 18." Janis wrote the lyrics as "at seventeen" because it flowed better.

Five different record companies, including Decca, Roulette, Columbia, RCA and Atlantic turned down "That'll Be The Day" by Buddy Holly. Finally, Bob Thiele at Coral / Brunswick Records heard the demo and signed Holly to a contract.

In order to give fans a "gold record", the first 100,000 copies of "We're An American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad were stamped out of gold colored vinyl.

Lesley Gore appeared in two episodes of the TV show Batman in 1966. She played the role of "Pussycat", one of Catwoman's henchwomen. She may have had a little help landing the role, as Howie Horwitz, one of the show's producers, is her uncle.

Even though they have such strange names as Moon Unit, Diva, Dweezil and Ahmet Rodan, Frank Zappa once said that he believed that his kids would always have more trouble because of their last name.

According to the Amusement & Music Operators Association, Patsy Cline's 1962 hit, "Crazy" is the most played song on jukeboxes across the United States. It is followed by "Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger and "Hound Dog" / "Don't Be Cruel" by Elvis Presley.

Years before scoring 1972's number one smash "I Can See Clearly Now", Johnny Nash entered a talent show in Houston Texas. He lost to a young Soul singer named Joe Tex, who would have a chart topping hit of his own in 1968 with "Skinny Legs and All".

Jimi Hendrix was hired as the Monkees opening act for their 1967 Summer tour. Unfortunately, US audiences had never seen anything like Hendrix before and booed him off of the stage. He quit the tour after two weeks.

According to BMI, the performing rights organization that represents, songwriters, composers and music publishers, Mason Williams' 1968 hit, "Classical Gas" has received more radio airplay than any other instrumental.

Before starting his run at the legendary Whisky A Go Go, Johnny Rivers hired a fill-in bass player named Sylvester Stewart. Things didn't go well the first night and Stewart was promptly fired. A few years later, he would re-appear on the music scene as the leader of his own band...Sly and The Family Stone.

According to guitarist Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan's backup band resisted all conformity, even naming their ensemble. After landing their own recording contract, record company executives pressed them for a group name, but had to settle for simply The Band.

In April, 1967, the Greyhound bus company began offering a guided tour of what they called "Hippyland" in San Francisco.

According to producer Mickie Most, The Animals went into a recording studio at 8 A.M. to cut "House Of The Rising Sun" and 15 minutes later, the track was complete. With studio time costing the equivalent of $20 an hour, the song cost $5 to record, but would go on to top both the US and UK charts.

The set on which Rick Nelson appeared in the TV show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, was an exact copy of the Nelson's real Hollywood home.

Frank Sinatra once called Rock and Roll "The most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear."

The musicians who backed The Chiffons on their 1963 #1 hit "He's So Fine" were all members of The Tokens, who had scored their own chart topper with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in 1961.

In the Fall of 1965, while the Four Seasons' "Let's Hang On" was a Billboard #3 smash, they also scored a #12 hit with "Don't Think Twice" under the name of The Wonder Who. At the same time, lead singer Franki Valli reached #39 with a solo release called "You're Gonna Hurt Yourself", giving him three Top 40 hits at the same time, all under different names.

Classic Album Cover Art - The Beatles Revolver

Revolver is the seventh album by the Four Lads, released on August 5, 1966. The album showcased a number of new stylistic developments which would become more pronounced on later albums. Many of the tracks on Revolver are marked by an electric guitar-rock sound, in contrast with their previous, folk-rock inspired album “Rubber Soul.” It reached #1 on the UK chart for seven weeks and #1 on the US chart for six weeks.

Revolver was released before the Beatles' last tour in August 1966 however they did not perform songs from the album live. Their reasoning for this was that many of the tracks on the album, for example "Tomorrow Never Knows", were too complex to perform with live instruments. A key production technique that was utilized for the first time on this album was automatic double tracking (ADT). ADT was invented by EMI engineer Ken Townsend on April 6, 1966 and used two linked tape recorders to automatically create a doubled vocal track. The standard method was to double the vocal by singing the same piece twice onto a multitrack tape, a task Lennon deplored. The Beatles were reportedly delighted with the invention, and used it extensively on Revolver and ADT quickly became a standard pop production technique, and led to related developments, including the artificial chorus effect.

Arguably the first psychedelic rock album, Revolver was praised for its musical experimentation--the Indian sounds of "Love You To," the Motown-inspired "Got To Get You Into My Life," the backwards guitar in "I'm Only Sleeping." "Tomorrow Never Knows" was the most radical departure from previous Beatles' recordings for its skeletal bass/drums propulsion enhanced only with tape loops (contributed by all four Beatles and added in the mix-down process), more backwards guitar, and an eerie John Lennon vocal. Add in George Harrison’s bitter, yet catchy “Taxman,” McCartney’s ode to the lonely "Eleanor Rigby," the upbeat songs like "Good Day Sunshine" and "Yellow Submarine,” Lennon’s ode to his dealer “Doctor Robert” and the vocal prowess of cuts like "Here, There and Everywhere" "And Your Bird Can Sing" along with the other cuts and you have, arguably, one of the best albums of all time.

The cover illustration is the creation of German-born bassist and artist Klaus Voormann, who was one of the Beatles' oldest friends from their days at the Star Club in Hamburg. Voormann's illustration, part line drawing and part collage, included photographs by Robert Whitaker, who also took the back cover photographs and many other images of the group between 1964 and 1966, such as the infamous "butcher cover" for Yesterday and Today. Voormann's own photo as well as his name (Klaus O. W. Voormann) was worked into Harrison's hair on the right-hand side of the cover. Harrison's Revolver image was seen again on his single release of "When We Was Fab" along with an updated version of the same image.

The title "Revolver", like "Rubber Soul" before it, is a pun, referring both to a kind of handgun as well as the "revolving" motion of the record as it is played on a turntable. The Beatles had a difficult time coming up with this title. According to Barry Miles in his book Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now, the title that the four had originally wanted was Abracadabra, until they discovered that another band had already used it. After that, opinion split: Lennon wanted to call it Four Sides of the Eternal Triangle and Starr jokingly suggested After Geography, playing on The Rolling Stones' recently released Aftermath LP. Other suggestions included Magical Circles, Beatles on Safari, Pendulum, and, finally, Revolver, whose wordplay was the one that all four agreed upon. The title was chosen while the band were on tour in Japan in June–July 1966.

Revolver Notes:

In 1997, it was named the 3rd greatest album of all time in a Music of the Millennium poll conducted in the United Kingdom by HMV Group, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM.

In 2006, Q magazine readers placed it at number 4, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 1 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

In 2001 the TV network VH1 named it the number 1 greatest album of all time, a position it also achieved in the Virgin All Time Top 1,000 Albums.

A PopMatters review described the album as "the individual members of the greatest band in the history of pop music peaking at the exact same time,” while Ink Blot magazine claims it "stands at the summit of western pop music."

In 2002, the readers of Rolling Stone ranked the album the greatest of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 3 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It placed behind only the Beatles' own Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds.

"The biggest miracle of Revolver may be that the Beatles covered so much new stylistic ground and executed it perfectly on one record, or it may be that all of it holds together perfectly. Either way, its daring sonic adventures and consistently stunning songcraft set the standard for what pop/rock could achieve" ~

In 2006, the album was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.

In 1972, Lennon offered some context for the influence of drugs on the Beatles' creativity (quoted in The Beatles Anthology):

“It's like saying, 'Did Dylan Thomas write Under Milk Wood on beer?' What does that have to do with it? The beer is to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. The drugs are to prevent the rest of the world from crowding in on you. They don't make you write any better. I never wrote any better stuff because I was on acid or not on acid.”

I’ll have what he was having, to me, this album is one the Beatles’ best (right behind the White Album).

Music News & Notes

Hey Folks, 09/09/09 Today is Beatles Day!

The fourth quarter of 2009 for the music and video game industries looks like it's shaping up to be all about the Beatles. And both could use some "Help!" The video game industry has high hopes The Beatles 'Rock Band' will pull it out of recession and there is no reason why it won't, as a new generation is now discovering the iconic rock band.

It's been 40 years! The band, which released its last full album of original music in 1970, is the focus of the simultaneous Wednesday release of "The Beatles: Rock Band" for the Rock Band video game franchise, as well as the digitally remastered box set of the Beatles 13-album discography by EMI. Analysts expect a spike in video game and CD sales, which have been declining through the year.

For audiophiles the release of the remastered CDs in mono and stereo will be the first re-release of the Beatles catalogue since 1987.

"It's probably the biggest catalogue remaster that has ever happened," said Paul Bromby, EMI's senior marketing manager heading the re-release for the London-based company.

Today, 09/09/09 is music history!

Now, there are unconfirmed rumors about the Beatles' music being available for digital downloading...just in time for Christmas I bet.

Pick Up Your Beatles The Beatles [Stereo Box Set] Here:


ANVIL CHORUS' new album, "The Killing Sun", will be released on September 29 via Rockadrome Records.

Nearly three decades after the group's formation and a couple years after their recent reformation, this legendary underground band unleashes its full-length debut. Consisting solely of newly recorded material from ANVIL CHORUS' early '80s heyday, it's destined to be the classic album everyone has long expected from this magical group. Led by guitarist Thaen Rasmussen and vocalist/bassist Aaron Zimpel, the group's integrity is fully maintained and should please anyone who has followed the band through the years or owned any of their heavily circulated demo tapes. A 16-page color booklet with liner notes written by San Francisco metal legend Ron Quintana (KUSF radio, Metal Mania fanzine) and cover art by Mark Devito (MOTÖRHEAD), packed with lyrics, photos and memories, complete this magnificent and much-anticipated release.

Musicians featured on the recording include:

Aaron Zimpel - Vocals, Bass, Synthesizer
Thaen Ramussen - Guitar, Vocals
Joe Bennett - Drums
Phil Bennett - Keyboards, Piano, Hammond B3
Doug Piercy - Guitar ("Deadly Weapons", "Red Skies", "Man Made Machines", "Death of a Dream", "Tales", "Blade", "Once Again", "Such is Life")

Additional musicians:

Carlos Hernandez - Guitar (Death of a Dream)
Mark Bradley - Piano (Once Again)
Jon Simon - Keyboards (Once Again)


POWERMAN New Release In October

POWERMAN 5000 has new music in the works and are hard at work on a new release for 2009. They have now revealed the cover art for the name album, which is titled ‘Somewhere On The Other Side of Nowhere.’ The album hits stores on October 6th, 2009.

In a recent interview Spider commented:

“We made this record with a clear vision and a purpose. We wanted to reclaim a sound we created and represent certain influences as only a band like Powerman 5000 can. While writing we would watch Godzilla or Ultraman films to ensure the sonics were on point. We knew that this record needed to sound like the footsteps of a giant robot!”

The album will be available on i tunes and all digital outlets as well as in CD format with a 12 page booklet.


Rammstein confirms artwork for upcoming single

The single, available exclusively via iTunes, is the first new music to come from the Berlin-based band in over four years. Having sold three million albums in the U.S. alone (and over 14 million worldwide), anticipation for the new album, whose title has been a closely guarded secret, is high with rumors running rampant worldwide as to the theme and contents of the new release. The album will be released in the U.S. via Universal Music Germany through a marketing and distribution deal with Vagrant Records on Oct. 20.


David Bowie Gets Spider Named After Him

Joining the ranks of Neil Young and Stephen Colbert, rock’n’roll legend David Bowie has had a newly discovered species of spider named after him.

According to a report from the Guardian, the new species of Malaysian spider has been discovered by spider genius Peter Jäger, who has apparently found 200 new kinds of spider in the last ten years.

Jäger says the purpose of naming the spider after the celebrity is to alert the world to its endangered status. "It is working against time," he said. "Along with the species, we are also quickly losing genetic resources that have evolved over more than 300 million years."

The giant, yellow, hairy spider has been named Heteropoda davidbowie, and yes, that’s him pictured up at the top.

No word yet on whether the spider is from Mars.


New Album cover art for "Haulin Ass" by Thunderhorse

ThunderHorse was formed by San Jose natives Pete Rice and Justin Estep. Pete and Justin met in high school back in 1992 and played together in the ska/punk band The Janitors Against Apartheid. After the Janitors broke up, they both pursued a career in electronic music and occasionally teamed up to bang out tracks. Frustrated with the lack of a rock/metal scene in San Jose, they returned to their instruments of choice in 2000. Both created names for themselves in the local music scene by playing in bands such as: American Avenue, Highcyde, A Life in Vain and If Time Fails.

As fate had it, they both ended up at the same practice facility and started collaborating in February of 2007. Always having been fascinated with medieval times they decided to make that the band's theme and settled on the name ThunderHorse. Missing that final component of low-end they found Manell "Ian" Menor in July of 2007 on craigslist. Ian's thunderous bass playing compliments Justin's loud, machine like drumming. Together, they round out the ThunderHorse sound.

Gary “80” Velasco, the newest member of ThunderHorse will be adding to the stampede, bringing back that duel guitar sound we all know and love. The combination of Pete’s crunchy rhythm and Gary’s triumphant leads bring the thunder to the horse. Taking from all their musical influences ThunderHorse has managed to invent a style of their own, creating a style of metal that will stand out in any crowd. Ian and Pete will also be sharing vocal duties now at shows. Stay tuned for studio versions in the near future!


Bad Religion Reissues Coming (very limited releases)

Epitaph Records has represessed three of Bad Religion's classic early albums. The records include "How Could Hell Be Any Worse?", "Suffer" and "No Control".

Each album is limited to 300 copies and available directly through Epitaph's merch store.

"How Could Hell Be Any Worse?" includes the 1st EP, "Back To The Known" and songs from the "Public Service" Comp, similar to the 2004 CD remastered version, while "Suffer" and "No Control" are repressed on orange and green vinyls respectively


Jay-Z Rush Releases 'The Blueprint 3', Announces Huge Tour
In the US...

Jay-Z has rush released his new album 'The Blueprint 3' after it leaked online.

The rapper's latest effort was due out on September 11 to coincide with the eighth anniversary of the original 'Blueprint'.

But as a result of the album's leak earlier this month, fans can now purchase the album from today (September 8).

Meanwhile, Jay-Z has also announced details of a huge US tour, which will begin in Philadelphia on October 9.


Houston On Top

Whitney Houston's "I Look To You" is expected to top the pop charts this week, according to Billboard analysts.

The diva is on pace to sell over 200,000 copies this week of her new album… her first in seven years. She's competing with a new EP from Miley Cyrus, "The Time Of Our Lives" – a Wal-Mart exclusive initially set for release this week, but that dropped last Friday instead, selling 62,000 copies to enter the Billboard 200 at No. 3 on the current chart. Whitney's last album, 2002's "Just Whitney," entered the charts at No. 9 with 205,000 copies sold, on par with her expected numbers for "I Look To You."


I'll Drink To That

American Songwriter magazine has published their editor's list of the all-time ten best drinking songs.

Drinking songs have been around since almost the beginning of time, at least in the annals of handed down folk music. They have been sung at parties, on sailing ships and at most other big occasions, especially where everyone knows the words and everyone can join in. Today, drinking songs have a very firm base in country, folk and blues music; however, the people at American Songwriter have not chosen any blues songs and only one from the folk genre. Maybe they drank too much and have forgotten some of the oldies (what about "In Heaven There Is No Beer or 99 Bottles of Beer on The Wall?) Can anyone think of any more that belong on the list?

1. Tequila - Champs
2. There's a Tear in My Beer - Hank Williams
3. Whiskey River - Willie Nelson
4. Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett
5. Gin and Juice - Snoop Dog
6. Brass Monkey - Beastie Boys
7. Whiskey in the Jar - Traditional
8. Red Red Wine - UB40, Neil Diamond
9. Chug-a-Lug - Roger Miller
10.The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) (An Evening With Pete King) - Tom Waits

This Date In Music History-September 9


Inez Foxx (1942)

Luther Simmons - Main Ingredient (1942)

Doug Ingle - Iron Butterfly (1945)

Dee Dee Sharp (1945)

Freddy Weller - Paul Revere and the Raiders Also co-wrote the immortal "Dizzy" with Tommy Roe (1947)

Dave Stewart - Eurythmics (1952)

Macy Gray (1970)

Michael Bublé (1975)

Stuart Price - British electronic musician (1977)

They Are Missed:

In Springfield, Tenn., Bill Monroe died in 1996 at the age of 84. The vocalist, fiddler, and guitar player is considered the father of bluegrass music.

Born on this day in 1940 , Joe Negroni - Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers (died on September 5, 1978)

Born today in 1941, Otis Redding - soul singer. Redding was killed in a plane crash on December 10, 1967.

Born today in 1946, Billy Preston - singer, keyboard player, some called him the 5th Beatle (died on June 6, 2006)

Born on this day in 1946, Bruce Palmer, bass, Buffalo Springfield (died October 4, 2004)

In 2004, US guitar maker Ernie Ball died after a long illness. In the late 50’s Ball opened the first music store in the USA in Tarzana, California to sell guitars exclusively. He developed the guitar strings called ‘Slinkys’ specifically designed for rock and roll electric guitar.

In 2007, founding Outlaws guitarist-singer Hughie Thomasson died after apparently suffering a heart attack at his home in Brooksville, FL. Thomasson, 55 years old, was also a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd from '96 to '05. He left for another stint with the Outlaws. "We have lost another one of our brothers to the Rock & Roll heaven," says Lynyrd Skynyrd in a press release. "We had many a good time writing and playing with Hughie and spent many miles on the road together."


Elvis played at the opening of the Lamar-Airways Shopping Center in Memphis Tennessee in 1954. Johnny Cash was in the audience and after the show met Elvis for the first time.

The J.P. Seeburg Corporation introduced its Dual Music System Jukebox in 1955. It was the first ever equipped to handle a hundred singles and two song per side EPs.

In 1956, Elvis Presley made the first of three appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. He belted out "Love Me Tender," "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel" and "Ready Teddy." But what's most notable about this performance was that Elvis was shot just from the waist up, so that his gyrating pelvis wouldn't corrupt the nation's youth. Yeah, that would have done it.

US newspaper The Hollywood Reporter ran the following advertisement in 1965: "Madness folk & roll musicians, singers wanted for acting roles in new TV show. Parts for 4 insane boys." The Monkees were born.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono met in an art gallery in 1966 and his life (or the Beatles) would never be the same.

Sam & Dave's soul classic, "Soul Man" was released in 1967.

While working at Abbey Road studios in 1968, the Beatles recorded "Helter Skelter." John Lennon played bass and honked on a saxophone, roadie Mal Evans tried his best at playing trumpet. Paul McCartney recorded his lead vocal and George Harrison ran about the studio holding a flaming ashtray above his head.

John Lennon's Imagine LP was released in 1971.

The Eagles' "Witchy Woman" was released in 1972.

Jim Croce started a five-week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1972 with 'You Don't Mess Around With Jim.'

In 1973, Todd Rundgren recorded a thousand of his fans singing in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park for the song "Sons of 1984." The session ends in disarray after police arrest one crowd member for allegedly dealing cannabis. In the ensuing fight, 11 arrests are made. If you dust off your copy of 1974's Todd, the San Francisco choir can be heard in the left channel of your stereo. In the right are the voices of 5,000 fans Rundgren previously recorded in New York.

In 1977, David Bowie appeared on Marc Bolan's ITV show, 'Marc', singing a duet with Bolan. After the show they recorded demo's together which were never finished after Bolan was killed in a car crash one week later.

A Taste Of Honey started a three week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1978 with "Boogie Oogie Oogie."

(sad but true, people did dance like that, that could have been your dad dancing there - or me, I will admit to going to a disco, um, that's where the women were...yeah, that's it, the women, certainly not the music)

The Rolling Stones' "Beast Of Burden" was released in 1978.

The Who's final album with Keith Moon, "Who Are You" entered the LP charts in 1978.

U2 opened for The Stranglers at the Top Hat Ballroom outside of Dublin in 1978. The Stranglers took up two dressing rooms, leaving U2 to dress behind their amps.

Amnesty International's "The Secret Policeman's Other Ball" took place in 1981. Sting played his first solo set as does Phil Collins.

In 1982, Al Green and Patti LaBelle made their Broadway debut in Vinnete Carroll's, "Your Arm's Too Short to Box with God." It opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York City. Both Green and LaBelle got rave reviews from both critics and the audiences and the intial performances of 30 were expanded to 80.

New Kids On The Block scored their second US #1 single in 1989 with "Hangin' Tough," (also #1 in the UK in 1990) Just proves that pop music sucked at the time.

In 1992, Nirvana's Chris Novoselic knocked himself unconscious during the MTV music and video awards after being hit on the head with his guitar after throwing it up in the air.

Aaliyah went to #1 on the US album chart in 2001 with her self-titled album.

An episode of "Judge Judy" aired in 1998 in which Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten appeared as the defendant in a case involving a drummer who sues Rotten for allegedly head-butting him in a contract dispute. No word if Judge Judy got an autograph.

In 2003, Sinead O'Connor released "She Who Dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High Shall Abide Under the Shadow of the Almighty," which she claimed will be her final album. The double CD's title was a quote from the Bible and they stopped printing it becasue of a shortage of ink.

Also in 2003, Velvet Revolver - the "super-group" made of ex-members of Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland - signed a recording deal with RCA.

09/09/09 - The Beatles: Rock Band video game is out on Wii, Xbox and PlayStation 3 game systems. The soundtrack has 45 songs along with previously unreleased conversations between band members from their recording sessions. According to a press release, The Beatles: Rock Band "[takes] players on a journey through the legacy and evolution of the band's legendary career."

Also today - The Beatles' complete studio catalog is issued in a box set to coincide with the arrival of the The Beatles: Rock band video game (see above). Updated packaging and liner notes are among the enticements. 2009