Friday, September 18, 2009

Classic Album Cover Art - Black Sabbath Born Again

Black Sabbath- "Born Again" - Black Sabbath's eleventh studio album and was released in 1983. It was panned by critics at the time of its release, but reached #4 in the UK charts as well as the top 40 in the U.S. and has gained a strong cult following among a number of fans.

The album cover, which featured the image of an infant with horns and vampire fangs, with a purple background, was designed by Steve Joule. He also handwrote the lyrics that appear on the inner bag. The deliberately lurid design was submitted by Joule in a vain attempt to be rejected from this design commission, as he was also retained on a lucrative contract by Ozzy Osbourne's organization for his sleeve designs. To Joule's horror and surprise, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler approved the image for the album. Gillan and Ward were not present when the decision was made, though they later noted that they hated the finished cover. Gillan reportedly hated the cover so much, that he threw a box of 50 records out a window. Joule reports that he was drunk and high on speed when he drew the finalized designs for the album.

The cover is hated by many fans, but also has a cult following (much as the album itself), most notably with Max Cavalera and Glen Benton both stating that it is their favorite album over. Chris Barnes of Six Feet Under also said he likes the artwork, stating; "It's really the birth of the Antichrist in a Pop Art way which is scary of sorts on a few different levels for me."


The album also featured the vocals of Ian Gillan, former lead singer for Deep Purple. Gillan joined the band in 1983 to replace departed vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Original Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward returned to the band as a replacement for Vinny Appice, who had left with Dio to form the band Dio, and quit the band right before the 1983 tour.

In the US and Canada, the album has never officially been released on Compact Disc by Warner Bros. Records. It is only available as an import.

Rock/Pop Tidbits

Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote "The Loco-Motion" with the hope that Dee Dee Sharp would record it. For the demo, they asked their infant daughter's baby sitter, Eva Boyd to sing the song. Sharp's producers turned it down, but their publishing firm liked the demo so much, they released it as a single, giving Little Eva a number one record.

The videos for Neil Young’s song “This Note’s For You” lampooned corporate rock sponsorship. The video featured a faux Michael Jackson with his hair on fire, an obvious reference to the accident that occurred while the gloved one was shooting a Pepsi commercial. Stunned MTV immediately banned the video, only to declare it Best Video of the Year at the 1989 Video Music Awards.

Bobby Vinton found his biggest hit, "Roses Are Red" in a pile of reject demo records while he was waiting to be told of his release from his recording contract. He talked Epic Records management into letting him record the song and soon after, he and the label had their first million selling, number one smash.

Gale Garnett, who sang the Top 40 song, "We'll Sing In The Sunshine,” appeared in a number of episodes of the TV show Bonanza.

Madonna is a glutton for publicity. In a 1994 appearance on the David Letterman Show, she said the “F-Word” a total of thirteen times. Then she demanded that Letterman sniff her undies, to which a startled Letterman declined to do.

None of The Beatles played instruments on "Eleanor Rigby” though John Lennon and George Harrison did contribute harmony and backing vocals. Instead, Paul McCartney used a string octet of studio musicians, composed of four violins, two cellos, and two violas all working off a score written by producer George Martin.

The Eagles were not satisfied with record producer Glyn Johns. In fact, while they were recording their LP “Desperado” in 1973, drummer Don Henley asked Johns to make him sound like Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham. But John’s could only sigh and say, “You don’t play like John Bonham.”

Shock rock artist G.G.Allin had his share of classic escapades during his brief career (he died in 1993 from a heroin and cocaine overdose). Before a gig in New York, Allin entered a women’s restroom and asked for a volunteer to urinate in his mouth. One gal declined, but did give him the sanitary product that she had just removed. As Allin explained: “I just ate it right in front of her, just swallowed the whole thing.”

Even in death, strange circumstances followed G.G.Allin. He was buried in a leather jacket and a jockstrap upon which was written the epitaph “Eat Me.” At his open-coffin funeral, a microphone was positioned in his hand as well as a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon. His friends all took turns taking swigs from the bottle and put pills into the corpse’s mouth. Others pulled down the jockstrap, posed for pictures and drew on Allin’s corpse with a marker. Some friends.

In 1977, Pink Floyd created a forty-foot inflatable pig for a photo shoot. However, during the session, the renegade pig broke free from its moorings and drifted toward London’s Heathrow Airport. Pilots approaching Heathrow were amused to hear British aviation officials warn, “Pig on the loose!” The Pink Floyd pig eventually crashed into a farmer’s field and no injuries were reported. I guess pigs really do fly, or at least they did for one day.

The song "Happy Birthday" brings in about $2 million a year in licensing revenue to Warner Communications, who hold the copyright to the song.

The harmonica that John Lennon used to record The Beatles "Love Me Do" was one that he shoplifted from a store in Arnhem, Holland.

Even though Barry Manilow wrote many of his chart makers, he did not write three of his most popular hits. "Mandy" was written by Scott English and Richard Kerr, "Looks Like We Made It,” was penned by Will Jennings and Richard Kerr, and "I Write The Songs" was composed by Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys.

Iggy Pop is one strange character. His concerts included exhibitionism, jumping into the crowds, and smearing himself with peanut butter, why he even performed a gig while zippered inside a military duffel bag. Even his personal hygiene was questionable as he would keep an empty glass next to his bed at night so if he had to pee in the middle of the night, he didn’t have to walk all the way to the bathroom. His most humiliating concert occurred in 1997 when he jumped off the stage into the arms of his adoring fans. Apparently, they were not so adoring, and they failed to catch the airborne rock star. He slammed to the ground, dislocating his shoulder and had to cancel the rest of his tour.

Music News & Notes


U2's fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire, has been remastered and will be released by Mercury Records on 26th October.

This special edition marks 25 years since the album's original release in October 1984. Recorded at Slane Castle, Ireland, The Unforgettable Fire was the first U2 album to be produced by Brian Eno and Danny Lanois, and spawned two top 10 UK singles - 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)' and 'The Unforgettable Fire'.

Special formats of The Unforgettable Fire will also feature bonus audio material, including two previously unheard tracks from the Slane Castle sessions: 'Yoshino Blossom', and 'Disappearing Act' (a track which the band recently completed), and a DVD including music videos, a documentary and unreleased live footage from the Amnesty International Conspiracy of Hope Tour in 1986.

The Unforgettable Fire has been remastered from the original audio tapes, with direction from The Edge and the album will be available in four formats:

* Limited Edition Box Set: containing 2 CDs (remastered album and bonus audio CD), a DVD with live footage, documentary and videos, a 56 page hardback book with liner notes by The Edge, Brian Eno, Danny Lanois, Bert Van de Kamp and Niall Stokes, and 5 photographic prints

* Deluxe Edition: containing 2 CDs, the remastered album, and the bonus audio CD which features B-sides and previously unreleased material, a 36 page booklet with liner notes by The Edge, Brian Eno, Danny Lanois and Bert Van de Kamp

* CD format: featuring the remastered album

* 12" vinyl format: 16 page booklet with liner notes by Brian Eno, Danny Lanois and Bert Van de Kamp


Jawbox Reissue Set

Seminal DC post-punk band Jawbox will reissue their consummate release, For Your Own Special Sweetheart, on November 24th. The album, which was originally released on Atlantic Records in 1994, sees the band returning to their roots at the renowned Dischord Records as well as their own DeSoto label, which will work together to release this reissue. Jawbox was one of the cornerstones of the pivotal DIY punk label, in good company with bands such as Fugazi, Minor Threat, Rites of Spring and Shudder To Think.

With the help of Dischord and engineer Bob Weston (Pixies, Jawbox, and member of Shellac), For Your Own Special Sweetheart is meticulously remastered and will be re-released on both CD and vinyl. And, according to bass player, Kim Coletta, "it just sounds a whole lot better." The collection will include the entire original song line-up along with three additional tracks that appeared on the Savory +3 EP released by Atlantic in 1994. The vinyl version will include a coupon redeemable for free digital download of all songs including the bonus tracks.


Devo Whips Up New Major Deal And Tour

Devo is headed back to the future thanks to new deal with Warner Bros. Records, the group's original major label, and a series of concerts celebrating a pair of older albums.

The company has announced a "unique, ground-breaking worldwide partnership" during which it will "internationally service all aspects of the band's career, including recorded music, touring, merchandising, web services, promotion, e-commerce, sponsorships, licensing and endorsements."

It begins with the November 3 release of deluxe editions of 1978's gold album "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!" and 1980's platinum "Freedom of Choice" on both CD and limited-edition colored vinyl, as well as a seven-inch vinyl single featuring "Jocko Homo" and "Mongoloid."


Buckcherry Set Album Release

Buckcherry will release their first live album, Live & Loud 2009, on September 29th. Buckcherry are giving their fans what they've never had before – a live album that combines their raw and explosive on-stage energy with their catalogue of smash rock staples. The album will be released on Eleven Seven Music with distribution through RED.

Live & Loud 2009 will feature the band's biggest hits like 'Sorry' (#2 on Billboard's Hot AC chart), 'Crazy Bitch' (#3, Mainstream Rock), 'Lit Up' (#1, Mainstream Rock), 'Ridin'' (#9, Mainstream Rock) and 'Everything' (#5, Active Rock). The new live album will also feature songs from Buckcherry's current release Black Butterfly (named Album of the Year for 2008 by Entertainment Weekly and Best Rock Album of 2008 by iTunes critics), including 'Talk To Me' which was recently the #1 most added track at active rock radio.

This fall, Buckcherry will tour with KISS on a trek being routed through The site allowed fans to vote at the website to "demand" what cities they want to see the tour hit. More than 8,000 cities and towns were represented on the fan-submitted list.


Floyd To Rock Band or Guitar Hero?

Say it ain't so. Despite how some musicians feel about music 'n' rhythm games, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason isn't entirely ruling it out for his band. With The Beatles: Rock Band having just released, the BBC asked him if we could be seeing a Pink Floyd Rock Band or Guitar Hero game, to which he replied, "I think we'd consider it."

While he isn't a big supporter of the genre (he thinks it deters kids from learning real instruments, just like other celebs do), he did add, "Everyone's looking at new ways of selling the music because the business of selling records has almost disappeared."


Trumpeter Chris Tedesco Releases New Jazz CD

Los Angeles Trumpeter Chris Tedesco has officially released his new Jazz Big Band and Studio Orchestra CD entitled Living the Dream.

Eight big band tracks along with two, thirty piece orchestra tracks along, four of those with vocals by Tony Galla. The CD reminds one of visions of 1962 Capitol Reocrds with Sinatra and Basie live in the studio.


OBITUARY: ‘Left To Die’ EP Released On Limited-Edition Hand-Splattered Bloody Vinyl

Night Of The Vinyl Dead Records has released a limited-edition vinyl version of OBITUARY’s “Left To Die” EP. Only 500 hand-numbered copies were made available on hand-splattered bloody vinyl, including an insert.

“Left to Die” contains four songs: two new originals (“Forces Realign”and “Left To Die”), a 2008 studio recording of “Slowly We Rot”, and a cover of “Dethroned Emperor” by CELTIC FROST.


PARADISE LOST: Entire New Album Available For Streaming

"Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us", the new album from British gothic metal pioneers PARADISE LOST, is being streamed in its entirety on the band's MySpace page. The CD will be released via Century Media Records on the following dates:

Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Italy: September 25
Spain, Portugal: September 29
Sweden, Finland, Hungary: September 30
Rest Of Europe: September 28
USA: October 6

The limited formats of this landmark gothic metal opus will include two orchestral versions of the album tracks "Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us" and "Last Regret", which were recorded by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra in July 2008.

The limited-edition deluxe two-CD includes special packaging (DVD-sized Mediabook with O-Card in a special leather look) and a bonus track, "Cardinal Zero", on Disc 1 plus a separate bonus CD featuring the "Lost In Prague" tracks. All vinyl lovers will be delighted to hear that the album is going to be available as limited edition gatefold LP, including the bonus track "Cardinal Zero", the orchestra mixes on a separate bonus 7" EP, the entire album on CD (in a blank sleeve), and an exclusive poster.


Joe Perry Gives Steven Tyler Silent Treatment Over Canceled Aerosmith Tour

Fans aren’t the only ones frustrated over the cancellation of Aerosmith’s summer trek. In an interview with the AP, guitarist Joe Perry expressed extreme disappointment that the band was unable to see the tour to its end—so much so that Perry hasn’t spoken to lead singer Steven Tyler in over a month.

“The tour was building up to be a great tour, and I was pretty [upset], you know,” Perry told the AP. “I haven’t talked to him in over five weeks. I don’t know what’s going on with him. I hear he’s getting better, but I don’t know I really don’t know what’s going on with him.”

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers had to cancele their trek with ZZ Top after Steven Tyler fell off the stage during a concert in South Dakota on August 5th, suffering a broken shoulder and requiring 20 stitches to the back of his head. Tyler’s fall was one of several health-related pitfalls that found Aerosmith postponing dates and using substitute members.

In a candid interview, Perry said the incident - and Tyler's other recent problems - proved the band needed to examine their current status.

"All I know is he's got to get his act together,” Perry said.

“I mean, he and I haven't written a song together alone in the same room in over ten years, so there's been some changes in paradigm of what Aerosmith is.”

Maybe they needed a break in the action and Tyler is recovering from his missed dance step. Time, my friends, give it time.


Ozzy Honored

Ozzy Osbourne will receive the Legend of Live Award at the Billboard Touring Awards on November 5 in New York. The award is given to those who have made a significant and lasting contribution to live music and the touring business.

Ray Waddell of Billboard said "Ozzy has altered the course of rock music and live performance through his work with Black Sabbath and as a hugely popular solo artist, and his continued commitment to playing live makes him the perfect choice for the Billboard Legend Of Live award. There is no doubt that Ozzy's impact on live music, including pioneering the multi-act rock festival touring with Ozzfest, will be felt for many years to come, and his efforts continue to shape the touring landscape in this century."

Vinyl records still find niche with music lovers

Longtime readers of the blog know that I like to feature any 'brick and mortar' store articles, and I have another to share. I want to thank the kind folks at and specifically the author Kevin Brosky for allowing me to reprint this story:

by Kevin Brosky

City record stores are in agreement: Vinyl is still in high demand. In fact, it may just be keeping those stores in business during a recession.

Before iPods and MP3 players, there was a time when far less portable vinyl records were king. It would make sense if these relics from the past were now obsolete – only, they’re not.

In fact, the city’s record store owners seem to be in agreement: Not only are people still buying vinyl, but records are in high demand, particularly because they’re becoming more and more difficult to find.

“We used to throw vinyl out,” said Bernie Carville, who works at Rustic Music at 13th and Pine streets. “Now, we don’t throw anything out.”

Rustic Music began as a used guitar store, but it quickly became clear that there was a demand for selling music as well, and it eventually became half a music store.

“We just had a couple records sitting around, and we put them out the one day,” Carville said. “People were buying them. Instead of spending more for a CD, people can buy a good copy on vinyl for cheap.”

Rustic Music’s ever-popular $2 bins are sure to contain a hidden gem or lucky find. All across Philadelphia, on any given day, avid music listeners scour local record stores like Rustic Music, AKA Music, Repo Records and the Philadelphia Record Exchange looking for cheap vinyl.

In a city that has seen a handful of record stores wilt and die over the past decade, these four seem to be doing fine. And they all carry vinyl. Even superstore f.y.e. has jumped onboard the vinyl bandwagon, offering new copies of albums in vinyl from bands that have also noted the high demand for the vintage format.

“It might be bigger than ever with young people,” Carville said. “Bands are pressing new vinyl, even though it’s expensive to do so. And it’s still easy to find turntables, even though people think it’s not.”
Along with used guitars and instruments, Rustic Music sells used turntables. Carville noted that “there were always the collectors,” but there are still plenty of people buying records to play them.

Jacy Webster opened the Philadelphia Record Exchange in 1985 and has been doing pretty much the same thing ever since. Apart from gradually adding a few racks of used CDs over time, Webster said vinyl is practically all he sells at his store on Fifth Street, a half block from South Street.

“We really wanted to never stop selling records,” he said. “Other stores were switching over to CDs, and we kept selling records. People kept buying them.”

Webster acknowledges that the draw of vinyl often stems from its authentic appeal.

“I see people come in here and hold up a classic record for the person they’re with to see,” he said. “It’s like they’re excited to be able to say, ‘This is the real thing.’”

Because MP3s and other digital formats of music are so compressed, music purists like Webster appreciate the impressive sound quality of a fresh, vinyl record. It’s impossible to ignore the scowl on the record store veteran’s face when a customer mentions digital music. A record, to him, is a product.

“You can hold it in your hand. It’s a physical object,” he said passionately, adding one final bit of rationale.

“Those records still sound freaking good.”