Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year from the CVR Blog!

Have a safe New Year's Eve and if you are drinking - DO NOT DRIVE!

The Musicians We Lost In 2010

We lost many talented and iconic musicians in 2010, here is a list (in alphabetical order)

Solomon Burke - a pioneering Soul singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, died October 10th, 2010 at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport after a flight from Los Angeles. He was 70 years old

Alex Chilton - the lead singer for The Box Tops on their Billboard Top Ten hits "The Letter" and "Cry Like A Baby", died after experiencing heart problems on March 17th, 2010. He was 59

Corrado "Connie" Codarini - an original member of the Canadian vocal group The Four Lads, died of undisclosed causes on April 28th, 2010 at the age of 80. The quartet is most often remembered for their million-selling hits "Moments to Remember", "Standin’ On The Corner" and "No, Not Much"

Jimmy Dean - a Country-crossover artist most often remembered for his two US Top Ten hits, "Big Bad John" in 1960 and "P.T. 109" in 1962, died June 13th, 2010 at his home in Varina, Virginia. Along with placing eight songs on Billboard's Top 40 between 1958 and 1976, Dean was also elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in February, 2010

Ronnie James Dio - the powerful voice for Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell, lost his battle with stomach cancer at the age of 67 on May 16th, 2010

Kenny Edwards - an original member of the Country / Rock band The Stone Poneys, died of cancer at the age of 64 on August 18th, 2010. The group, lead by vocalist Linda Ronstadt, reached #13 in late 1967 with "Different Drum"

Mike Edwards - founding member of The Electric Light Orchestra was killed on September 3rd, 2010 while driving in southwest England when a 600-kilogram bale of hay rolled down a field and crushed his van. The 62-year-old cellist died instantly

Doug Fieger - the lead singer for The Knack on their 1979 hit "My Sharona", died February 14th, 2010, after a six-year battle with cancer. He was 57

Dave Fisher - who formed The Highwaymen with four university pals in the late 1950s, died at the age of 69 after a battle with a bone marrow disorder on May 7th, 2010. The quartet topped the Billboard chart in 1961 with "Michael (Row The Boat Ashore)"

Eddie Fisher - whose 11 Billboard Top 40 hits were often eclipsed by his scandalous personal life with Elizabeth Taylor, died of complications from hip surgery on September 22nd, 2010 at the age of 82. He cracked the Top Ten with "Count Your Blessings" (#5 in 1955), "Heart" (#6 in 1956) and "Dungaree Doll" (#7 in 1956) and was also the father of Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy

Dale Hawkins - a Rockabilly artist most often remembered for his 1957 hit "Susie-Q", lost his battle with colon cancer at the age of 73 on February 14th, 2010

Richie Hayward - drummer and co-founder of Little Feat passed away at the age of 64 on August 12th, 2010 after contracting pneumonia as he battled liver cancer

Bobby Hebb - whose 1966 classic "Sunny" reached #2 on the Billboard Pop chart, died of lung cancer on August 3rd, 2010. He was 72

Marvin Isley - who joined The Isley Brothers in 1973, in time to record their huge hit, "Who's That Lady", died of undisclosed causes on June 6th, 2010. He was 56

General Norman Johnson - the lead singer of the Chairmen Of The Board passed away on October 13th, 2010 at the age of 67. The Detroit vocal quartet placed four songs on the Billboard Hot 100, including "Give Me Just A Little More Time", a number 3 hit in 1970

Ted Kowalski - a member of the Canadian quartet The Diamonds, died of heart disease on August 8th, 2010 at the age of 79. The vocal group had a string of hits in the late 1950s including "Little Darlin'", "Silhouettes" and "The Stroll"

Richard "Scar" Lopez - a founding member of Cannibal and The Headhunters, the East Los Angeles vocal group that scored a #30 Billboard hit in 1965 with "Land of 1000 Dances", died of lung cancer on July 30th, 2010. He was 65

Johnny Maestro - the lead singer for The Crests on their seven US Top 40 records, including the 1959, #2 hit "Sixteen Candles" as well as The Brooklyn Bridge on "The Worst That Could Happen" in 1969, died of cancer on March 24th, 2010. He was 70

Teddy Pendergrass - an American soul singer who first rose to fame as lead vocalist for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes in the 1970s before enjoying a successful solo career at the end of the decade, died of colon cancer on January 13th, 2010. He was 59

Pete Quaife - the original bassist for the Kinks, who played on such early hits as "You Really Got Me", "All Day and All of the Night" and "Tired of Waiting for You" before leaving the British band in 1969, died of kidney failure on June 23rd, 2010. He was 66

Gary Shider - guitarist for Parliament-Funkadelic who was featured on their hit "One Nation Under A Groove" died from complications of cancer on June 16th, 2010. He was 56

Lolly Vegas - lead singer and guitarist for Redbone, died of cancer on March 4th, 2010 at the age of 70. The band is most often remembered for their 1974, Billboard #5 hit "Come And Get Your Love"

Robert Wilson - bassist for The Gap Band, passed away on August 15th, 2010 at the age of 53. In a career that started in the late '70s, the group has had four platinum albums and fifteen Top Ten hits, including four that made it to number one

Tom "T-Bone" Wolk - who played bass for nearly 30 years with Daryl Hall and John Oates and also recorded with Elvis Costello and Billy Joel, died February 27th, 2010 of an apparent heart attack. He was 58

Ali-Ollie Woodson - who led The Temptations in the 1980s and '90s and helped restore them to their hit-making glory with songs including "Treat Her Like A Lady", "Sail Away" and "Lady Soul", died of cancer at the age of 58 on May 31st, 2010

Norman Wright - vocalist for The Del-Vikings on their hits "Come Go With Me", "Whispering Bells" and "Cool Shake", passed away on April 23rd, 2010 at the age of 73

This Date In Music History - December 31

Dear Readers:

I have been doing this feature 'This Date In Music History' for two years now (every other day) and now have done every day in the year.  So, that said, this will be the last installment of this feature.  I hope that everyone enjoyed the fascinating facts presented and please, feel free to look back if you have any interest in a specific date. 


Andy Summers - Police (1942)

Burton Cummings - Guess Who & solo (1947)

Donna Summer (1948)

Tom Hamilton - Aerosmith (1951)

Fermin Goytisolo - KC and the Sunshine Band (1951)

George Thorogood (1952)

Paul Westerberg - Replacements (1960)

Scott Ian - Anthrax (1963)

Joey McIntrye - New Kids On The Block (1972)

Bob Bryar - My Chemical Romance (1979)

They Are Missed:

Songwriter and producer Bert Berns died of heart failure in 1967 (age 38). He wrote many classic songs including "Twist And Shout," "Hang On Sloopy," "Here Comes the Night," "I Want Candy" and "Brown Eyed Girl."

In 1985, Ricky Nelson was killed along with six others, when his charted light aircraft crashed in Texas. Nelson had played himself on his parent's US TV The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet.' Early press reports erroneously suggested that drug use, namely freebasing, might have played a role in the crash that killed Rick, his band, and his fiancée Helen Blair (the pilot and co-pilot survived). In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board's 1987 report determined that the fire began in a malfunctioning gas heater.

Born on this day in 1943, Henry John Deutschendorf, (John Denver), singer, songwriter. Killed in a plane crash on October 12, 1997.

Pianist Floyd Cramer, who scored a Billboard number 2 hit in 1960 with "Last Date", died of lung cancer in 1997 at the age of 64. As a session musician, he played on many major hits for a variety of artists, including Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel." In 2003, Cramer was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Kevin MacMichael, guitarist with Cutting Crew, died of lung cancer in 2003 (age 51).

Pete Quaife - the original bassist for the Kinks, who played on such early hits as "You Really Got Me", "All Day and All of the Night" and "Tired of Waiting for You" before leaving the British band in 1969, died of kidney failure on June 23rd, 2010. He was 66.


In 1929, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played "Auld Lang Syne" as a New Year's Eve song for the first time.

In 1940 - As a result of a dispute between the radio networks and ASCAP (the American Society of Composers and Publishers), the radio industry was prevented from playing any ASCAP-licensed music. The ban lasted for ten months.

Based on sales from stores, radio and jukebox plays Billboard named "Unchained Melody" by Les Baxter the number 1 US song of 1955.

The Connie Franscis movie 'Where The Boys Are' premiered in New York City in 1960.

The Beach Boys made their live debut using their new name in 1961 when they appeared at Long Beach Civic Auditorium, California.

John and Michelle Phillips get married on New Year's Eve in 1962. The pair would later co-found The Mamas and Papas.

The Kinks made their live debut in 1963 when they played at the Lotus House Restaurant, London.

The Beatles single "I Feel Fine" and album 'Beatles '65' were certified Gold in 1965.

The Monkees started a 7-week run at #1 on the US singles charts in 1966 with the Neil Diamond song "I'm A Believer."

In 1966, Ray Charles appeared at the City Center Arena in Seattle Washington, tickets cost $4.50 on the door.

In 1967, Sonny and Cher were barred from Pasadena, California's Tournament of Roses Parade for speaking out in support of the 2,000 demonstrators who protested a year-long campaign by sheriffs and police to clear the Strip of 'loitering' teenagers. Known as "the Sunset Strip rioters", the group mainly consisted of 15-year-olds with long hair and acne who were confronted by several hundred riot-helmeted sheriff's deputies.

In 1968, Joe Cocker, Amen Corner, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, the Small Faces, Free and Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band all appeared at Alexandra Palace, London. Tickets cost $3.00.

Also in 1968 - For the first time ever, Americans spent more than $1 billion on records. According to Billboard magazine, album sales were 192 million units and singles sold 187 million units.

At a New Year's Eve concert at the Fillmore East in New York City in 1969, Jimi Hendrix introduced his new side men, bassist Billy Cox and former Electric Flag drummer, Buddy Miles. The concert was recorded for the live album, 'Band of Gypsys,' which will reach #5 in the US and #6 in the UK.

In 1970, Paul McCartney filed a suit against the rest of The Beatles to dissolve their partnership. With Melody Maker magazine reporting that The Beatles were looking for a new bass player, Paul McCartney files suit to dissolve the Beatles' corporation. It would take until 1974 for the split to become final.

Dick Clark's first Rockin' New Years Eve aired on ABC-TV in 1972, starring Three Dog Night, Al Green and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

The MC5 play their farewell show at a New Years Eve bash at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit in 1972. Their take for the night was $200.

Australian band AC/DC made their live debut in 1973 when they appeared at Chequers Bar in Sydney.

Journey made their live debut at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom in 1973.

In 1974, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were invited to join Fleetwood Mac, marking the band's tenth line-up change since 1967.

In 1975, Elvis Presley performed a New Year's Eve concert before 60,000 fans at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. He earned $800,000 for the night, a then world record for a single show by a solo artist.

In 1976, the first Cars concert was held in Portsmith, New Hampshire.

In 1978, the Grateful Dead performed for the 48th and final time at Bill Graham's Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Also appearing were Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, who took their Saturday Night Live characters on the road as The Blues Brothers.

At a New Years Eve concert in Cleveland in 1979, Bruce Springsteen's cheek was ripped open by a fire-cracker thrown onstage from the audience.

Max's Kansas City in New York City closed down in 1982. The venue had been a launching pad for such artists as The New York Dolls, Bruce Springsteen and The Velvet Underground.

Van Halen’s epic LP '1984' was released in 1983.

In 1984, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, crashed his Corvette Stingray, on the A57 outside Sheffield, Allen lost his left arm in the accident. Allen was on his way to a New Year's Eve party at his family's home when a Jaguar passed him. The driver had been egging Allen on and would not allow him to pass. In his rage to pass this driver, he did not see a turn up ahead and lost control of his car. He was thrown from the car, with his left arm severed due to the seatbelt not being properly fastened.

In 1991, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers all appeared on the same bill at the Cow Palace, San Francisco, California.

Alos in 1991, Ted Nugent donated 200 pounds of venison to a Salvation Army soup kitchen in Detroit with the message 'I kill it, you grill it'.

Garth Brooks started a seven-week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1994 with, 'The Hits.'

Paul McCartney became a Sir in 1996 after he was listed in the Queens New Year's Honours List.

There’s Rock all over the world to ring in Y2K (1999): Aerosmith – Osaka, Japan, the Eagles and Jackson Browne - L.A., B-52s and Hootie & The Blowfish – Orlando, FL, Goo Goo Dolls and No Doubt – New York. And the killer show of the evening... the Bay City Rollers in Edinburgh, Scotland (kidding!).

In 2004, for the first time in the last 32 years, Dick Clark wasn't in New York's Time Square to celebrate New Year's Eve. The 75 year-old TV host and producer was forced to watch the show from his hospital bed after suffering a mild stroke on December 6th. A spokesman said that Mr. Clark had been doing some rehab and that doctors were encouraged with his progress.

In 2005, Tom Jones was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in a ceremony than Jones later described as " a great and humbling honor."

Also in 2005, the John Lennon song "Imagine" was voted the nations favorite song a quarter of a century after his death. A UK radio station conducted the poll of 7,000 listeners. The Beatles were voted into second and third place with "Hey Jude" and "Let It Be."

Mötley Crüe's Mick Mars was rushed backstage to receive medical attention at the end of a New Year's Eve concert in Detroit in 2005. A fan pulls the guitarist into the audience. "I am fine, I am undamaged, " Mars later claims. "To the girl that pulled me in, I hope she got my pick."

Lenny Kravitz performed from Times Square in 2007 as part of NBC's New Year's Eve With Carson Daly. Meanwhile, MTV's Tila Tequila's New Year's Eve 2008 with Kid Rock was also live from Times Square.

It was announced in 2008 that Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant has been named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire as part of Queen Elizabeth II's annual New Year Honours List. Plant is acknowledged "for services to music" in the United Kingdom.

In 2009, U2’s 360 Tour, in support of their album 'No Line On The Horizon, was named the year’s most successful by concert tracker Pollstar. U2 sold 1.3 million tickets grossing $123 million. Following U2 are Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band ($94.5 million) and Elton John & Billy Joel ($88 million). AC/DC are 5th on the list with the Dave Matthews Band, Fleetwood Mac and Metallica coming in 8th, 9th and 10th, respectively for the year.

In 2009, Green Day made a holiday appearance on NBC's New Year's Eve with Carson Daly, live from Times Square in NYC.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR READERS: This feature debuted December 26, 1986, meaning we have just begun the 25th consecutive year in syndication of MR. MUSIC columns.

Perhaps most amazing to see is how, week after week, we continue to get fresh inquiries covering topics not previously asked. This week is no exception.

Thanks for all the fun questions ... thanks for reading what we have to say ... and let's continue meeting like this!

DEAR JERRY: Throughout the second season of “Damages,” we were treated to many carefully edited teaser scenes, making viewers think that Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) shoots Patty Hewes (Glenn Close).

Of course, in the season finale, we discover she pulled the trigger but did not aim directly at Patty.

Accompanying these scenes each time is the same jazz-style song. Its lyrics mention things being a thrill, probably to tie in with Ellen seeking revenge. After all, Hewes just confessed to having someone try to kill Parsons, an associate at Patty's law firm.

I've heard snippets of this “thrill” song so many times, and now I want to find it and have the complete recording, without the talking.

If you watch “Damages,” you'll know the one I mean.
—Doris Winchell, Cudahy, Wisc.

DEAR DORIS: I know, and you will be thrilled to know that of all the inquiries we received about this “thrill kill” song, we chose yours.

Kudos to “Damages” music editor, Robert Cotnoir, for picking “Just for a Thrill,” by Ray Charles, and weaving it in and out of the most compelling moments in the series, at least so far.

This beautiful piece came out in 1960 on both LP, “The Genius of Ray Charles” (Atlantic 1312), and 45 rpm (Atlantic 2055).

Brother Ray's single cracked the R&B Top 20, but no one has ever known the thrill of making the Top 100 Pop charts with “Just for a Thrill.”

Numerous other versions exist, by a diverse group of recording artists. Some of those are: Peggy Lee; Ink Spots; Ray Brown & Milt Jackson; Aretha Franklin; Ronnie Milsap; J.J. Johnson & Kai Winding; Nancy Wilson; Don Shirley; Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra Featuring Helen O'Connell; Hank Crawford; Shirley Horn; Boilermaker Jazz Band; Jim Byrnes (a convincing Ray Charles sound-alike); Lettermen; Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones' bassist) & His Rhythm Kings; and Phil Humphrey with the Fendermen (of “Mule Skinner Blues” fame).

You'll never again hear this tune and not picture Ellen twirling her pistol around, keeping viewers in suspense.

DEAR JERRY: One of my all-time favorite holiday songs is “Cool Yule,” by Louis Armstrong.

When I first discovered it online, just last year, I was blown away. The orchestration is fabulous, and the lyrics right on point. Did Armstrong write it?

Was it issued as a regular record? If so, when, and why have I never ever heard this treasure on the radio?

Tell me all about “Cool Yule,” and also have one.
—Barry Jorgen, Manchester, N.H.

DEAR BARRY: I will, and I did. Thank you!

Written by legendary TV star Steve Allen, “Cool Yule” is one of five tracks Louis and his band, the Commanders, recorded at Decca's New York studio, on October 22, 1953.

About three weeks later, this tune, and the other seasonal number from that session, “Zat You, Santa Claus,” came out back-to-back on a single, both 45 and 78 rpm (Decca 28943).

Preposterous as it seems, “Cool Yule” did not become a hit of any degree, not even regionally, not even on the easy-to-make Christmas favorites list, not that year or any other.

In their November 21, 1953 issue, Billboard's new release reviewers gave “Cool Yule” a 72 rating, ranking it in the “excellent” category, along with this glowing comment: “This Jazzy Christmas greeting from the fabulous Louis is quite a production, one his fans will want.”

Possessing the components to practically guarantee a hit record — big name artist; extraordinary recording; major label; good press and reviews; and perfect timing — one might be left with nothing but the fickle finger of fate to blame for a pick to click that didn't click after being picked.

IZ ZAT SO? Satchmo's first recordings, under his own name and fronting his own combo (Louis Armstrong's Hot Five), were made in 1925 for the Okeh label.

Louis didn't have to wait long to see his name on the charts. In the summer of '26, his third record, “Muskrat Ramble,” backed with “Heebie Jeebies,” (Okeh 8300) ranked among the 10 best-selling singles.

From then to early 1999, when a remixed “What a Wonderful World” (Arista 13710) made the Adult Contemporary chart, makes for a 73-year chart span r— a seemingly unmatchable feat.

Among consistent hit-makers, the two runners-up, Bing Crosby (48 years: 1927-1975) and Frank Sinatra (44 years: 1940-1984), are far behind in this event.

Not included in our calculations are the infinite revivals of this pair's Christmas catalog.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368 E-mail:  Visit his Web site:

All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

Copyright 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

New Music Releases - December 28, 2010

Not much this week, as always CVR Blog picks are in red:

Alfie Boe - Bring Me Home
Alvin Lee - Detroit Diesel
Andrew Gold - All This & Heaven Too
Billy Lee Riley - Rock With Me Baby
Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong - Bing & Satchmo
Bobby Vee - Rarities
Bon Jovi - Live On Air
Cadillacs - Fabulous Cadillacs / Crazy Cadillacs
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Live & Inedits (2 CDs)
Cocteau Twins - Treasure (Vinyl)
Dio - Dio - The Legend: Live (DVD)
Earl Hines - Electrified
Ella Fitzgerald - Mack the Knife: Ella in Berlin
Elvis Presley - Remix Collection (2 CDs)
Four Tops - Reach Out I'll Be There
George Michael - December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas)
Jay-Z - All Black Everything
Jesse McCartney - Have It All
John Gary Williams - John Gary Williams
Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
Louis Armstrong - Hello Dolly
Michael Jackson - Hold My Hand (Single)
Motorhead - The World Is Yours (Classic Rock Magazine Edition - UK)
Professor Longhair - No Buts No Maybes
Ray Charles - Dedicated to You / Genius Sings the Blues
Ray Sharpe - Gonna Let It Go This Time
Rufus Thomas - Crazy About You Baby
Sanford-Townsend Band - Smoke From a Distant Fire
Sarah Vaughan - Three Classic Albums
Shackleton - Fabric 55: Shackleton

Supertramp - Breakfast in America (2CDs/DVD/Vinyl/Book)

Tokio Hotel - Best of
Triumph - In the Beginning

New Jazz Releases

Remember, if you are a record company and have new releases or know of any I missed (especially vinyl), please email me and I will add your music to the list. I also do reviews of new vinyl, email me for more information.

New Music Releases are put together from a variety of sources by blog owner Robert Benson

Have new music for the list? Email me at  

This Date In Music History - December 29


Ray Thomas - Moody Blues (1942)

Marianne Faithfull (1946)

Charlie Spinosa - John Fred and His Playboy Band (1948)

Yvonne Elliman (1951)

Neil Giraldo - Pat Benatar Group (1955)

Jim Reid - The Jesus and Mary Chain (1961)

Mark Day - Happy Mondays (1961)

Bryan Holland - The Offspring (1966)

Glen Phillips - Toad the Wet Sprocket (1970)

They Are Missed:

Orchestra leader Paul Whiteman died in 1967 at the age of 76.

Singer, songwriter Tim Hardin died of a heroin overdose in 1980. Hardin also appeared at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Born on this day in 1947, Cozy Powell, drummer, Whitesnake, ELP & solo. Powell was killed in a car crash in England on April 5, 1998.


In 1955, Barbra Streisand made her first recording (at age 13).

On his first visit to the UK in 1962, Bob Dylan performed at The Troubadour in London.

The Weavers, who at one time were America's most popular folk group, gave their farewell concert at Orchestra Hall in Chicago in 1963. The group had hits in the late 40s and early 50s with songs like "Goodnight Irene" and "On Top of Old Smokey."

In 1964, the Liverpool Youth Employment Service announced that some applicants were finding it difficult to get jobs because their Beatle style haircuts and clothing were unacceptable to employers.

In 1966, the Jimi Hendrix Experience made their debut on the UK TV show 'Top Of The Pops' performing "Hey Joe."

Working at Abbey Road studios in 1966, London, Paul McCartney began work on his new song "Penny Lane," recording six takes of keyboard tracks and various percussion effects.

Guitarist and singer Dave Mason quit Traffic in 1967 after differences of musical opinion.

The Doors appeared at The Family Dog, Denver, Colorado in 1967.

The first big rock festival held on the east coast, The Miami Festival, got under way in Hallandale, Florida in 1968. Tickets sold for six and seven dollars and 100,000 people turned out for the three day event. Those appearing included the hottest acts of the day, Jose Feliciano, Procol Harem, Three Dog Night, Chuck Berry, Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, The Turtles, Canned Heat and Joni Mitchell.

Jim Croce scored his second #1 US single of the year (1973) when "Time In A Bottle" went to the top of the charts. Croce was killed in a plane crash on the way to a concert on September 20, 1973.

In 1982, sets of commemorative stamps in memory of Bob Marley were issued in Jamaica.

In 1994 - Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes pled guilty to arson charges for setting fire to and destroyed boyfriend Andre Rison's $1 million Atlanta mansion.

In 2001, Aretha Franklin was suing a US newspaper which alleged that the star had alcohol problems. The singer's lawyers filed a federal lawsuit against the Florida-based Star claiming she was defamed by an article in the paper in December 2000 and were seeking $50m in damages.

Linkin Park and the American Red Cross create Music For Relief in 2004, to assist victims of the tsunamis that flooded southern Asia. "A lot more people are going to die from being homeless and the problems with the water and diseases," says Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson. The group donates $100,000 to the cause.

Pearl Jam wins a legal battle in 2005 over the rights to the domain name The band filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum saying the site's domain holder, Vertical Axis Inc., was using it to link to commercial sites that were unrelated to Pearl Jam.

Marilyn Manson's wife of one year, model/burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese (Heather Sweet), filed for divorce in 2007. Irreconcilable differences are cited as the reason along with Manson's heavier than usual drinking. His reported dating 19-year-old actress Evan Rachel Wood probably didn't help either. "She loved him so much, but he has too many demons," says one of Von Teese's friends. The couple are also locked in a custody battle over their pets. They allow him to have pets?

Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) was sued for copyright infringement in 2009. Vedder recorded "Hard Sun" for the soundtrack of Sean Penn’s film Into The Wild. Composer Gordon Peterson claims Vedder’s lyric changes are "eroding the integrity of the composition." Wonder if Peterson has cashed the royalty check?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Selling Vinyl Records Sales at eBay - October 2010

Here is the month in review of the top selling ebay vinyl record sales, on a weekly basis, for October of 2010. First and foremost, a special thank you to Norm and Jane at Vinyl Record Talk  Be sure to listen to their popular radio show for more information about the weekly top 5, vinyl record news and as well as weekly guests.

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales - Week Ending 10/02/2010

A Beatles "Please Please Me" revisits the top of the list. For the first time in many months two Northern Soul records make the list, and a little known Psych record from 1970 rounds out the Top 5.

1. LP - The Beatles "Please Please Me" Parlophone UK Gold Black label 1st Stereo - $3,750.00

2. 45 - Frankie Beverly and The Butlers "Because Of My Heart" / "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" Fairmount - $2,850.00

3. LP - Sonny Clark "Cool Struttin'" Blue Note 1588 - $2,701.99

4. 45 - The Royal Imperials "This Heart Of Mine" / "Keep It Up Baby" Mello Town - $2,590.00

5. LP - Tripsichord "Music Box" San Francisco Sound - $2,555.00

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales - Week Ending 10/09/2010

It's a Beatles sandwich this week, with a one-of-a-kind acetate on the top of the list, and another "Please Please Me" at the bottom. The Beatles acetate contains recordings of songs that ended up on "A Hard Day's Night", but reportedly with several alternate takes available nowhere else.

1. LP - The Beatles IBC Studio Acetate - $7,966.00

2. LP - Hailu Mergia & The Walis Band "Ethiopian Instrumentals" Kaifa Greek Pressing - $4,250.00

3. 45 - Jimmy Burns "I Really Love You" / "I Love You Girl" Erica - $4,216.00

4. 78 - Charley Patton "Shake It And Break It But Don't Let It Fall Mama" / "A Spoonful Blues" Paramount - $4,083.00

5. LP - The Beatles "Please Please Me" Parlophone UK Gold Black label 1st Stereo - $3,259.69

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales - Week Ending 10/16/2010

For the first time in many months a Butcher Cover makes the list at the #5 spot, with a prog classic on Vertigo fetching thirty dollars more. A Northern Soul 45 makes the list again, and classical LP box set gets the #1 spot.

1. LP - Mozart a Paris Oubradous Pathe 7 LP Box Set - $6,999.00

2. 12" - Madonna "Erotica" UK Picture Disc withdrawn - $3,966.17

3. 45 - Lynn Terry "I Got A Good Thing Goin'" / "Till" - $3,716.00

4. LP - Tudor Lodge "self titled" Vertigo - $3,363.40

5. LP - The Beatles "Yesterday and Today" LP Butcher First State Mono Promo with recall letter - $3,331.58

Top 5 eBay Vinyl Record Sales - Week Ending 10/23/2010

My favorite 45 makes the list this week; Mixed Feeling's "Sha La La" gets a little over $3k. This is the only stock copy to have ever made the Top 5 list, the others being white label promo's. Two classical box sets make the list, and a Beatles UK box set gets over $4k. A rare Psych LP on the Deram label rounds out this week's Top 5.

1. LP - Johanna Martzy "Bach: The unaccompanied Violin Sonatas" Columbia Box set UK - $5,756.90

2. LP - The Beatles "Let It Be" UK Box Set PXS 1 - $4,465.67

3. 45 - Mixed Feeling "Sha La La" / "Love Will Find A Way" United - $3,250.00

4. LP - Michele Auclair "JS Bach Sonates pour clavier et violon" Les Discophiles Francais - $3,150.00

5. LP - Room "Pre-Flight" Deram - $2,742.08

More on this month's top sellers on Vinyl Record Talk, Tuesday 8:00PM Eastern / 4:00PM Pacific on Radio Dentata.

Monday, December 27, 2010

James Brown's Original Disco Man album cover by Bill Levy

UnCovered Interview - James Brown's Original Disco Man album cover by Bill Levy

Subject - the making of the cover of the James Brown album titled Original Disco Man, released in 1979 on Polydor Records.

After enjoying a career powered by a never-ending run of smash-hit singles and sold-out live shows, by the early 1970s, many members of James Brown’s classic line-up had left to start up their own acts (only Bobby Byrd remained) and so Mr. Brown set out to add some new life to his own career. He began this effort by putting together a new backing band called The J.B.’s, which included new musical director/trombonist Fred Wesley and musicians Bootsy and Catfish Collins. After releasing the hit single “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine” in 1970, Brown took the band and his record catalog to a new label and distributor, Polydor Records, in 1971.

Brown also launched his own imprint – People – as a way to promote the talents of a number of his band-mates, including Lyn Collins, Hank Ballard and Fred Wesley & The J.B.’s, and he also demonstrated another aspect of his talents by scoring the 1973 film Black Caesar. More hits followed, including The Payback in 1973 and Funky President (People It’s Bad) in 1974, but when Fred Wesley left to join Parliament-Funkadelic and disco slick dance beats became the most-wanted style of popular music, record buyers began to lose interest in Brown’s hard funk focus and, as a result, his star power began to fade a bit.

Now, if you would ask any musician (or music critic) at the time about their feelings about The Godfather of Soul/Hardest-Working-Man-In-Show-Business, they would undoubtedly tell you that he was a major influence on their music/song-writing efforts, with composers from many genres – from jazz, rock, disco, world beat and others – all citing JB as one of their principal influences. His success and stature inside the record business made him both a desirable and precious commodity and one that his record label wanted handled with the same professionalism and respect he expected from all those who worked with him. To that end, they asked Art Director Bill Levy to bring his considerable talents, experience and ability to manage the sometimes-delicate egos of the musical acts he worked with to the table when it came time to produce the cover image for JB's 1979 release titled Original Disco Man. It is that story of creative endeavor and the mutual respect between two artists that is detailed here today in this UnCovered interview.

In the words of our subject, Art Director Bill Levy (interviewed in September and October, 2010) -

In 1979, I was the Creative and Art Director at Polydor Records. Our offices were at 810 Seventh Avenue in New York City and we had the 33th and 34th floors, linked via a circular stairway. James Brown and his People Records company had a production deal with Polydor and a suite of offices in the same building, a few floors below. Although James and his staff pretty much kept to themselves, we’d routinely have combined staff meetings to discuss any product that might be in the pipeline, etc. Prior to my arrival, James relied on his staff to work with various design studios for packaging.

Before coming to Polydor, I had worked with many artists and managers at Columbia and Decca / MCA, a highlight which included working hands-on creating the packaging for Jesus Christ Superstar with Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, along with a full-blown multimedia presentation for an 8-city radio/press tour we did to promote Superstar. We booked time in churches in each of these cities to present the new rock opera in its proper classic context.

My role at Polydor /Mercury initially included working with artists such as John Mellencamp and a young Billy Joel - along with his manager/producer, Artie Ripp - when they were readying Billy’s first album, Cold Harbor, for release. I remember casually asking Billy how he was feeling, and he answered with an eye-rolling, “How would you feel being re-mixed for the thirty-somethingth time?” Artie had a production deal with Polydor /PolyGram for so many releases per year so, needless to say, he would grind them out for the production money, referring to some of the releases as “slices of salami.” Since I wondered why he'd want to spend so much time promoting "salami slices" - as opposed to music he was really proud of - I suggested to Artie, "how about if we use a little code to let me know if you consider a release 'real music' or merely 'another slice of salami'. Since record labels at that time included an “M” for mono and an “S” for stereo, I said, why couldn’t that be a code: “M” for music and “S” for salami? Instead of getting pissed at me for being sarcastic, we shook hands and developed a good working relationship.

The roster of artists I’d work with later on at Polydor would grow to include Bon Jovi (and his manager, Doc McGee), Kool & The Gang and Yoko Ono, and I also worked on a lot of soundtrack packages, including Tommy for The Who and movies such as Chariots of Fire with Vangelis, A Chorus Line and two records for The Godfather, including one built around the wedding music they used in the original score. My team regularly included such talented people as Fred Marcellino, Bob Heimall, George Cursillo, Ernie Cefalu and John Kosh.

Anyway, when I came on board at Polydor, I was asked by our president, Bill Farr, to offer James packaging assistance and to try and earn his respect in this effort. I knew this would not be an easy task because, by James’ own direction, he was known to everyone at Polydor as “Mr. Brown” and he in turn would refer to everyone, all the way up the corporate pecking order, the same way.

When it came to packaging the Original Disco Man, I offered to personally take over the project, and he agreed. I brought in two colleagues of mine – Bob Heimall, the well-known designer, and top photographer Joel Brodsky. We booked a photo session, using a vacant NYC disco house as our set, and when I say "vacant", I mean during the day when a disco’s in its 'empty resting mode'.

The concept for the Original Disco Man way pretty basic. With James being a well-known personality trying to sort of reinvent himself by taking advantage of the disco craze, we thought that having a "throne" - which was actually a retro-fitted wingback chair - on the dance floor would be a nice touch. The shot would not necessarily show him sliding into action, but rather relaxing as the “man in charge” that he was. The session itself went pretty quickly.

When it came to final approval of the cover image, it was my style to show an artist or manager a tight comp with lettering done on a full-sized color print, etc. My thinking here was not to leave anything up to the imagination of those approving the cover. This approach had worked for me, over and over again, but when I showed Mr. Brown the finished Disco Man art and mechanical before releasing it to the printer for separations, he made it clear that he had his own idea of something he wanted added to complete the package.

'Mr. Levy,' he said, 'this is what I want. Because this album is going to be so big, I want to have a promotional 'belly band' around every copy that will say, ‘This will be the first hundred-million-selling album!’' I went on to list the reasons why we could not do what he was asking - first and foremost that it would be so obviously misleading that we’d be giving dealers a reason not to carry the album! He thought about this for a moment and added, 'Okay, then how about if we say 'This could be the…etc., etc.' I held my ground and explained further why I felt that it wouldn’t work. After a few moments of silence he stood up and I figured that was his way of saying that the meeting was over and it was time for me to leave. Instead, he came around to my side of his massive desk and put his hand on my shoulder. 'Mr. Levy,' he said, 'from now on, you’re ‘Bill’ and I’m ‘James.’'

I've been told that I'm the only one he ever extended this courtesy to, and I'm proud of that distinction to this day.

About the subject of this interview - Bill Levy (in his own words) -

As for some bio points - I started my career at Columbia Records after having been introduced to the GM there, Bill Gallagher, by a mutual friend. I was brought on as a trainee, which meant I was expected to help out any way possible. Since the company was still small at the time, I did a bit of everything - A&R work, writing, graphics and also producing a regular mailer to give our promo teams information on all of our new releases. Soon after, I was moved to a job in the promotions department, where I worked as the Creative/Art Director for Special Products, where I had clients such as Goodyear and American Airlines.

I then spent time at MCA (where I lead the project on Jesus Christ Superstar) and then followed Bill Gallagher to Gulf + Western's record group. This is the company ultimately morphed into Mercury/Polygram/Polydor Records, and I worked there until 1989, when I left the Isle of Manhattan for the Oasis of Scottsdale, Arizona.

I have been nominated 4 times for Grammy Best Package awards (in 1973, 1984 and twice in 1986). In fact, there’s a story there - in 1971, I tried to lobby the Grammy office to recognize JC Superstar as a candidate for Best Cover. They felt it was too ‘classical’ looking - which was the whole point - but resulted from this meeting was for the Academy to take my suggestion and change the term “Best Cover” to “Best Package.” It was at that same meeting that the famed music historian John Simon (of the Carly Simon family) that John asked me if I’d run for President of the NY NARAS Chapter. To quote John, he said, “Bill, you bring creative stability to a meeting.”

Since moving here, I’ve written a baker’s dozen of screenplays and novels, mostly in the entertainment / humor genre, and a basketball humor book for the Phoenix Suns. I also wrote a treatment for a TV game show based on everyone’s love affair with the movies (we pitched this to Blockbuster and there was serious ‘conference call’ interest…).

I've also served as the Production Designer on a full-length movie called Desert Snow, and am currently consulting on a documentary about J.C. Superstar.

I’m also producing a series of old world art reproductions based on manipulated images of Tuscany (printed on hand-made paper) and have also started to sell limited-edition prints of the many photos I've taken of musical acts I've worked with, including concert and studio shots of Janis Joplin/Big Brother & The Holding Company and The Who during performances of Tommy live at the Fillmore East.

For more information or just to say "hello", you can contact me via email at

Photo of Bill Levy in his studio in front of a copy of his Jesus Christ Superstar cover, signed by Rice & Webber.

About UnCovered -

Our ongoing series of interviews will give you, the music and art fan, a look at "The Making Of" the illustrations, photographs and designs of many of the most-recognized and influential images that have served to package and promote your all-time-favorite recordings.

In each UnCovered feature, we'll meet the artists, designers and photographers who produced these works of art and learn what motivated them, what processes they used, how they collaborated (or fought) with the musical acts, their management, their labels, etc. - all of the things that influenced the final product you saw then and still see today.

We hope that you enjoy these looks behind the scenes of the music-related art business and that you'll share your stories with us and fellow fans about what role these works of art - and the music they covered - played in your lives.

All images featured in this UnCovered story are Copyright 2010 Bill Levy - All rights reserved - and are used with his permission. Except as noted, all other text Copyright 2010 - Mike Goldstein & RockPoP Gallery ( - All rights reserved.


New Album Cover Art, Music News & Notes

Ripple Music: 2011 Releases - Great Stuff in the Works

Venomin James to re-issue their debut album, 'Left Hand Man,' on vinyl! The album will be specifically mastered for the vinyl format and will include unreleased/live bonus material. Left Hand Man will be available in the first half of the year.

Poobah will be returning in 2011 with a brand new studio album entitled Peace Farmers. Originally self released by Jim Gustafson to a limited run of less than 500 copies, Peace Farmers acts as a great follow up to the re-issue of Let Me In and features a couple of updated renditions of some Poobah classics. Initially, Peace Farmers will be released on CD only, but as the case always seems to be, the door is open to press limited runs of vinyl to accompany the CD edition.

Stone Axe, will be releasing the Heavy Ripples compilation double 7”, which will include the return of Brooklyn-based stoner-fied punks Mighty High, the introduction of blues-based retro rockers from the UK, Grifter, and on loan from the incomparable Small Stone Records, Sun Gods In Exile. The 7” will be packaged in a double gatefold jacket featuring the glorious artistic touch of Wayne Braino Bjerke. Expect to see this monstrous beast of sonic debauchery in April.

For more new and information visit


URIAH HEEP Begins Recording New Album

Legendary progressive rock veterans URIAH HEEP have entered Liscombe Park Studios in Buckinghamshire, England to begin recording their next album of all-new material for a 2011 release.

URIAH HEEP recently announced plans to release a new live album, 'Official Bootleg Volume II – Live in Budapest, Hungary 2010, which contains recordings from the band's May 4, 2010 concert at the Petofi Hall in Budapest Hungary. The band said, "There are going to be many more recordings from around the world, as this will be an ongoing series, giving fans the chance to hear the band in many different countries.

"These recordings are true official bootlegs in every sense and they reflect that nights performance as it happened, totally untouched. You can almost feel that you are at the concert, so put the CD on, turn it up loud, close your eyes and enjoy a night in Budapest with URIAH HEEP."

"Celebration", the latest album from URIAH HEEP, was released in North America on March 16, 2010 via a new deal between DisManic Distribution and Knife Fight Media.

HEEP history has been an extraordinary journey and it was time that their greatest classics were recorded in studio by the lineup playing them live to fans all over the world for more than 20 years.


WHITESNAKE: New Album Cover Art Revealed

Legendary rock band WHITESNAKE has set "Forevermore" as the title of its new album, tentatively due at the end of March 2011 via Frontiers Records. Regarding the release's title, WHITESNAKE mainman David Coverdale stated, "Don't forget, 'tis ONE word. Otherwise it sounds like a bleedin' Valentine's Day card, which it ain't!"

WHITESNAKE's the follow-up to 2008's 'Good To Be Bad will be "a solid, natural progression from the band's last opus, which was awarded by the influential Classic Rock magazine as 'Best Album of the Year' in 2008."

"As always, we want to take it to the next level," stated David Coverdale. "I feel that with the last album we achieved a strong WHITESNAKE 'cocktail' that comfortably embraced and mixed all the previous musical aspects and styles of the band's history, while taking our identity a little further… all on one album."

"The new songs are in the very familiar and recognizable WHITESNAKE territory of soulful, bluesy, melodic power rock, with a couple of ballads thrown in for good measure," the singer said. "It can't be a WHITESNAKE album without ballads, mate!"


STRYPER: 'The Covering' Cover Artwork Unveiled

'The Covering,' the much-anticipated covers album from Christian hard rockers STRYPER, will tentatively be released on February 1, 2011 via Big3 Records.  The band has already released its cover versions of BLACK SABBATH's "Heaven And Hell" and KANSAS' "Carry On Wayward Son", which are available for download from iTunes.

Produced by frontman Michael Sweet, "The Covering" will be unlike any previous STRYPER recording in that it's a collection of cover songs from bands that inspired them and helped to shape their sound and musical identity, including hits from JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, LED ZEPPELIN, KANSAS and many others. "The Covering" will also include "God", a new original recording from STRYPER.

"The Covering" cover artwork, which was recently described by Michael Sweet as "modern, powerful, edgy and thought-provoking."   You forgot weird.....


Teena Marie Dies At Age 54

Teena Marie, real name Mary Christine Brockert, passed away in her sleep at her home in California. The singer’s death was confirmed by her manager Mike Gardner, reports BBC News. The details and cause of death have not been announced, but the website has said that her 19-year-old daughter found her body and that Marie had suffered a serious grand mal seizure about a month ago.

Teena Marie was one of the rare white artists signed to the Motown label and won four Grammy nominations. After initial scepticism, she won huge acclaim from the black audience, who dubbed her “ivory queen of soul".


New record stores in Istanbul keep old music format spinning

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Far from becoming obsolete in a digital era, as many expected, the record format for music has remained popular enough for brand-new stores to be opened in Istanbul specializing in new and used vinyl.

Though sales can be slow, the collectors-turned-entrepreneurs who own these stores believe records will keep spinning well into the future.

“Vinyl records can be used for approximately 60 years,” longer than any other format, Mete Avunduk, owner of Vintage Plak in Istanbul’s Kadiköy district, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. A record collector since the mid-1980s, Avunduk said opening the store was “a natural result of collecting” and the best way to get introduced to more records.

Vintage Plak sells every type of record, at prices ranging from 3 to 300 Turkish Liras. Avunduk purchases records from antique shops domestically and from flea markets and tucked-away little stores abroad.

Read the rest here: New Record Stores in Istanbul


90 Notable Album Covers From 2010
(Various Labels)

Notable Album Covers From 2010

Artwork by Kai Wong, freelance illustrator and graphic designer, and member of Drum Eyes.


The Worst Album Covers Of 2010

See more of the Worst Covers

This gets my vote.....


Vinyl never sounded so good.

By Gary Brown
GateHouse News Service

A vision of the Christmas celebrations of long ago came to me last weekend in a Best Buy store.

I had wandered down an aisle in the store — obviously some musical portal to my past — and artifacts from it were snuggled between iTunes or Napster gift cards and CD gift boxes of the best of The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

Vinyl record albums.

I had stumbled upon the music of my youth. I received record albums as Christmas gifts when I was younger. I bought vinyl LP albums for siblings and friends.

“Do we even have a turntable anymore?”

Read the rest here

This Date In Music History - December 27


Scotty Moore - He played on the first Sun Studios session with Elvis Presley and went on to a lengthy career with Presley, playing on many of his most famous recordings including "Baby Let's Play House," "Heartbreak Hotel," "Mystery Train," "That's All Right," "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock." (1931)

Les Maguire - Gerry And The Pacemakers (1941)

Mike Pinder - Moody Blues (1941)

Mike Jones - Foreigner (1944)

Larry Byrom - Steppenwolf (1948)

Terry Bozzio - Missing Persons (1950)

Karla Bonoff (1952)

David Knopfler - Dire Straits (1952)

Youth - Killing Joke (1961)

Jeff Bryant - Ricochet (1962)

Matt Slocum - Sixpence None The Richer (1972)

Hayley Nichole Williams - Paramore (1988)

They Are Missed:

Blues guitarist Freddie King died of heart trouble and ulcers in 1976 (age 42). Eric Clapton covered his "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" on his Layla album. Major influence on British and American blues-rock musicians such as Jimmy Vaughan, Ronnie Earl, Peter Green and Eric Clapton.

American composer, pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader Hoagy Carmichael died in 1981 (age 82). Composer of "Georgia On My Mind," (covered by many acts including Ray Charles), "Star Dust" and "Lazy River,"

Walter Scott, lead singer of Bob Kuban & The In-Men, who scored a 1966 US hit with ‘The Cheater’, was seen alive for the last time in 1983. On April 10th, 1987, his badly decomposed, bound body was found floating face down in a cistern, he’d been shot in the back. Scott's second wife, Jo Ann Calceterra, pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution in his murder and received a five-year sentence. Her boyfriend (whom she married in 1986), James H. Williams Sr. was found guilty of two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Walter Scott as well as his previous wife, Sharon Williams. James Williams received two life terms.

In 2003, Dick St. John, one half of the singing team of Dick and Dee Dee, who recorded such hits as "The Mountain's High" (1961), "Young And In Love" (1963) and "Thou Shalt Not Steal" (1965), died from complications suffered in a fall from the roof of his home two weeks earlier. The 63 year-old singer had continued to record and performed regularly until his death.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, Delaney Bramlett died in Los Angeles in 2008 from complications after gall bladder surgery. Was a member of Delaney, Bonnie & Friends and worked with George Harrison, The Everly Brothers, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, J.J. Cale, and Eric Clapton.


In New York City in 1903, the barbershop quartet favorite, "Sweet Adeline," was sung for the first time.

The musical "Showboat" opened in New York in 1927.

Radio City Music Hall opened its doors to the public for the first time in 1932.

'The Glenn Miller Show,' also known as "Music that Satisfies," debuted on CBS radio in 1939.

In 1957, 20,000 fans begin lining up at 5:30 in the morning for Alan Freed's Christmas show at Brooklyn's Paramount Theatre, set to kick off at 9:00 AM. The average ticket price was $1.85.

In 1958, Buddy Holly made his first appearance in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas since he became a major star. Along with broadcasting 'live' over KLLL radio from a fruit and vegetable store, he will return to the station's studios to record "You're The One," a song that station management challenged him to write in half an hour.

In 1960, the Beatles appeared at Litherland Town Hall Ballroom in Liverpool. Added to the bill at the last minute, the Beatles were not advertised to appear, so banners had been pasted onto advertising posters, saying "Direct From Hamburg, The Beatles!" Since The Beatles were playing in an area they'd only played in once before, most of the audience assumed they were a German group.

In 1963, the music critics of the London Times name John Lennon and Paul McCartney as The Outstanding Composers of 1963. Two days later, the Sunday Times' music critic Richard Buckle proclaims the same two songwriters "the greatest composers since Beethoven."

The Supremes made their first appearance on TV's "Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964.

Having taped “Light My Fire” and “Moonlight Drive” just days earlier (12/24) for the Jonathan Winters Show in 1967, the Doors wheel a TV on stage during their concert at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom so they can watch themselves on the Winters Show (and the audience can watch the band watching themselves). When the segment is over keyboardist Ray Manzarek turns off the TV and it’s rolled off the stage. Far out......

Led Zeppelin II was at #1 on the US album charts in 1969, it went on to sell over six million copies in the US alone. Still a great album!

Diana Ross and the Supremes went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1969 with "Someday We'll Be Together," the group's 12th US #1.

Miles Davis was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1969, on sale for 35 Cents.

"Hello, Dolly!" closed on Broadway in 1970 after an astonishing run of 2,844 performances.

In 1971, after a trial run as a summer replacement series, 'The Sonny and Cher Show' began its four and a half year run on CBS.

Former Gospel group, The Staple Singers, scored their second Billboard number one hit in 1975 with "Let's Do It Again." They had earlier topped the chart with "I'll Take You There."

The Four Seasons, "December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)" was released in 1975. I still hate the song to this day......

The Faces split became official in 1975. Rod Stewart had severed all connections with the group to work as a solo artist, Ron Wood was on permanent loan to the Stones, Ronnie Lane went on to form Slim Chance and drummer Kenny Jones joined The Who.

In 1975, future Smiths singer Steve Morrissey had a letter published in this week’s music magazine the NME, complaining about the lack of media coverage for the New York Dolls.

John and Yoko's 'Double Fantasy' album started an eight-week run a t#1 on the US chart in 1980. "Just Like Starting Over" started a five-week stay at #1 on the singles chart the same day.

In 1983, the Police played the first of four sold-out nights at Wembley Arena in London, England, on their Synchronicity world tour.

In 1989, a former chef at the Chuck Berry owned restaurant Southern Air started court proceedings against Berry alleging that the singer had installed secret video cameras in the ladies toilets. A further 200 other women also took action claiming that the recordings were used for improper sexual fetishes. Pigs......

Harry Connick Jr was arrested at Kennedy Airport, New York in 1992 after police discovered a 9mm pistol in his hand luggage. Ummm...DUH!

Mario was at #1 on the US singles chart in 2004 with "Let Me Love You."

In 2008, thieves broke into a house belonging to Allman Brothers Band singer and keyboardist Gregg Allman in Georgia and stole a coin collection, knives and unreleased concert recordings. Two men where charged with the burglary two days later.

Taylor Swift started a seven-week run at #1 on the US album charts in 2008 with ‘Fearless.'

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Rolling Stone's Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs

Rolling Stone published their top Christmas songs, read more here

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love
Happy X-Mas (War is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen
All I Want For Christmas is You - Mariah Carey
Little Saint Nick - Beach Boys
Run Rudolph Run - Chuck Berry
Chanukah Song - Adam Sandler
Frosty the Snowman - Ronettes
Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid
Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney
Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
The Night Santa Went Crazy - Weird Al Yankovic
Christmastime For the Jews - Darlene Love
Christmas in Hollis - Run-D.M.C.
Christmas in Harlem - Kanye West

This Date In Music History - December 25

Merry Christmas from the CVR Blog.  Everyone have a great day with family and friends!

Phil Spector - producer, 'The Spector Wall Of Sound.' Member of Teddy Bears, (1958 US #1 single "To Know Him Is To Love Him"). Produced many classic songs including; Ben E King, "Spanish Harlem," the Crystals, "Da Doo Ron Ron," the Ronettes, "Baby I Love You," the Righteous Brothers, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," Ike and Tina Turner, "River Deep, Mountain High." Also produced albums for the Ramones, John Lennon, George Harrison, the Beatles, Cher and Harry Nilsson (1940)

Pete Brown - lyricist, poet, singer, producer, Cream. Also worked with Jack Bruce, Graham Bond, Mick Jagger and Peter Green (1940)

John Edwards - Spinners (1944)

Jimmy Buffett (1946)

Barbara Mandrell (1948)

Annie Lennox - Tourists, Eurythmics, Solo (1954)

Robin Campbell - UB40 (1954)

Shane MacGowan - Pogues (1957)

Alannah Myles (1958)

Dido (1971)

Noel Hogan - Cranberries (1971)

Josh Freese - Nine Inch Nails (1972)

They Are Missed:

In 1954, Johnny Ace ("Pledging My Love") died while playing Russian roulette backstage at a Houston, TX concert.

Born today in 1937, O'Kelly Isley, The Isley Brothers. Died on March 31,1986.

Born on this day in 1943, Trevor Lucas, Fairport Convention, UK folk group. Also worked with Al Stewart and The Strawbs. Lucas died February 4, 1989.

In 1994 Eugene "Bird" Daughtry, vocalist for The Intruders, who scored a Billboard #6 hit in 1968 with "Cowboys To Girls," died of cancer at the age of 55.

Singer, actor and TV host Dean Martin died in 1995. Had the 1956 US #1 single "Memories Are Made Of This" plus other singles including "That's Amore," and "Everybody Loves Somebody." In 1965, Martin launched his weekly NBC comedy-variety series, The Dean Martin Show.

Born on this day in 1944, Henry Vestine, guitar, Canned Heat. Died on October 20, 1997.

Bryan MacLean, guitarist with Love, died of a heart attack in 1998 while having Christmas dinner with a young fan who was researching a book about the band (age 62).

Born today in 1945, Noel Redding, bass, Jimi Hendrix Experience. Died on May 11, 2003 (age 57).

In 2006, James Brown, the ‘Godfather of Soul,' died at the age of 73 after being diagnosed with severe pneumonia. Brown went to his dentist in Atlanta the previous day who told him something was wrong, and sent him to a doctor immediately. He recorded more than 50 albums and had well over 100 songs that hit the US charts, including "I Got You", "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag", "Cold Sweat" and "Sex Machine."

In 2008, American actress, singer, and cabaret star Eartha Kitt died from colon cancer at her Weston, Connecticut home at the age of 81. Best known for her 1953 Christmas song "Santa Baby."


"Silent Night" was performed for the first time in 1818, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorff, Austria.

In 1954, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" entered the Billboard Pop chart for the eleventh time. Bing's rendition has sold over 100 million copies around the world, with at least 50 million sales as singles. It was the largest selling single in music history until it was surpassed by Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997."

In 1958, it was the first day of a 10-day residency in Alan Freeds Christmas rock n' roll spectacular in New York with Chuck Berry, Frankie Avalon, Dion, Jackie Wilson, Eddie Cochran, Bo Diddley and The Everly Brothers.

Richard Starkey, 18, who later would be known as Ringo Starr, received a drum set for Christmas in 1959.

In 1960, 17 year-old Mary Wells made her debut on the US charts with her first release, "Bye Bye Baby." The record will make the R&B Top Ten and the Pop Top Fifty. Over the next five years, she will provide Motown with eleven Top Forty hits.

Also in 1960, James Taylor received his first guitar, at the age of 12.

In 1964, Beatles fans attacked George Harrison's girlfriend Patti Boyd as they arrived at London's Hammersmith Odeon for tonight's Beatles concert.

The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Miracles, Stevie Wonder and the Marvelettes all appeared at The Fox Theatre, Brooklyn, New York in 1964.

Also in 1964, the Beatles, recorded six songs for the BBC radio program Saturday Club in London: "Rock and Roll Music," "I'm a Loser," "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby," "I Feel Fine," "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey" and "She's a Woman."

Additionally more from 1964 - Murray The K's Big Holiday Show goes on as scheduled with the Zombies, the Nashville Teens and the Hullabaloos after the US Labor Department lifted a ban on granting British artists work visas. The Britain's Musicians Union had retaliated by canceling Fats Domino's upcoming Spring tour, before the whole matter was dropped.

Lou Christie's biggest song, "Lightning Strikes" entered Billboard's Hot 100 in 1965 for a 15 week stay . Although he would have many other hits, this would be Christie's only number one.

Having topped out at #45 in Great Britain, the Dave Clark Five's "Over and Over" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. It would prove to be their only chart topper, although they would place sixteen songs in the US Top 30 during their career. They became the 7th UK act of the year to score a US #1 single.

The Young Rascals entered the Hot 100 for the first time in 1965 with "I Ain't Gonna Eat My Heart Out Anymore," which will peak at #52.

The Beatles 6th album 'Rubber Soul' started a nine-week run at #1 on the UK chart in 1965. It spent a total of 42 week's on the UK chart and was also a #1 in the US.

On Christmas Day in 1967, Paul McCartney became engaged to actress Jane Asher. She would end the relationship in early 1968 because of Paul's alleged infidelities.

Melanie started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart in 1971 with "Brand New Key," a song that she would later say took her only fifteen minutes to write It was the first release on her new label Neighbourhood Records.

The Eagles started a eight-week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1976 with 'Hotel California.'

John Lydon's new group, Public Image Ltd, played their first live gig at the Rainbow Theatre, London in 1978.

Michael Jackson phoned Paul McCartney in 1981 and suggested they write and record together, the first result being "The Girl Is Mine." The song was a US #2 & UK #8 in 1982.

In 1981, the J. Geils Band played a Christmas concert for the inmates of Norfolk Correctional Center near Boston, the group's hometown. Following the show, lead singer Peter Wolf tells the audience, "We wanna be the first to buy you all a free drink on the outside."

In one of the most successful duets in Christmas music history, and surely the strangest, 30-year-old David Bowie and 73-year-old Bing Crosby achieved the number one song in the UK in 1982 with "Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy." The song had been recorded in September, 1977 when Crosby was in Great Britain to tape a TV special called Merrie Olde Christmas and having him share a number with Bowie was the brainchild of producers Gary Smith and Dwight Hemion. After the recording circulated as a bootleg for several years, RCA decided to issue it as a single. It has since become a holiday standard, but it is entirely possible that neither Crosby or Bowie were familiar with each other's work.

On Christmas Day in 1990, James Brown was given a 4 day furlough from prison, during which time he performed his first concert in two years. Brown played for an crowd of Ft. Jackson, South Carolina soldiers whose leave had been cancelled because of the impending Gulf War.

Mariah Carey started a four week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1993 with "Hero." Also on this day, Mariah went to #1 on the US album chart with 'Music Box.'

Mariah Carey was at #1 on the US singles chart in 1995 with "Daydream."

In 2003, Michael Jackson recorded his first interview since news of the allegations of sexual abuse with a 12-year old boy. He told the CBS TV network he would 'slit his wrists' before he would hurt a child. He also claimed he suffered a dislocated shoulder after police 'manhandled' him and treated him 'very roughly' during his arrest.

In 2006, an in-concert version of Pink Floyd's "Arnold Layne" performed by Floyd's David Gilmour, with guest vocals by David Bowie, was released as a digital download. Recorded earlier in the year at London's Royal Albert Hall, the song is part of a limited-edition three-track EP dedicated to the memory of the song's composer, Syd Barrett. A 10-inch vinyl version of the EP is available the following day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rock & Roll Trivia

Here is the last installment of Rock & Roll Trivia, I hope you enjoyed these oddities and stories behind the music we love:

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.

While talking on the phone with his mother, Disc Jockey Murray The K mentioned that he and Bobby Darin were soaking their feet after playing a game of softball in Central Park. A few minutes later, she called back to say that she had an idea for a song - "Splish, Splash, take a bath..." Murray and Bobby began sorting out some lyrics while Murray's mother, Jean, who had been a vaudeville piano player, finished the melody. It became the first of Bobby's 22 US Top 40 hits when it reached #3 in the Summer of 1958.

The Beatles recorded two different versions of the song "Strawberry Fields Forever". One was a half-tone higher and slightly faster than the other. The group couldn't decide which rendition they liked better and finally asked producer George Martin if he could put them together somehow. When one was slowed down, it fit perfectly with the other, resulting in the song we know today.

Apparently, Little Richard was not a real smart child. As a lad, he wanted to give one of his neighbors a "creative gift." But his neighbor, Miz Ola screamed when she opened her present. It seems young Richard thought that defecating in a box and wrapping it up as a present for his elderly friend would be a good gift for her. Little Richard stated in his autobiography: "God bless Miz Ola, she's dead now." No word on if he selected other neighbors to receive his thoughtful gift.

When Malcolm Young and Angus Young named their band AC/DC, they apparently didn't realize that the electrical term was also slang for bisexual. But the ambiguous name helped them out in the beginning as the group was hired to play many gay-themed gigs. Work is work, I guess.

In the early days, the Bee Gees were so desperate to sell their records that they actually gave members of their fan club money to go out and buy their records. Thankfully, there were only six members in the fan club or the trio would be broke.

Ironically, only Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys was the group's only surfer.

When Elvis Presley was inducted into the US Army on March 24th, 1958, Uncle Sam started losing an estimated $500,000 in lost taxes for each year that Private Presley served. Ship him off...makes sense to me...

In a tale of irony, Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead was brought in as a session musician to play steel guitar on Brewer and Shipley's March, 1971 hit, "One Toke Over The Line".

This Date In Music History - December 23


Jorma Kaukonen - Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna (1940)

Ron Bushy - Iron Butterfly (1941)

Ariel Bender - Mott The Hoople, Spooky Tooth (1949)

Dave Murray - Iron Maiden (1958)

Eddie Vedder - Pearl Jam (1964)

Montsho Eshe - Arrested Development (1974)

They Are Missed:

Born today in 1939, Johnny Kidd - Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, (1960 UK #1 single 'Shakin' All Over'). Killed in a car crash while on tour in Manchester, England on October 7, 1966.

Born on this day in 1946, Duster Bennett, singer, guitarist, harmonica player. Worked with Alexis Korner, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac and B.B. King. Killed in a car crash on 26th March 1976.

Born today in 1941, Tim Hardin, US singer, songwriter. Wrote "Reason To Believe" and "If I Were A Carpenter." Died of a heroin overdose on December 29, 1980.

Born on this day in 1935, Esther Phillips, US soul singer. She died on August 7, 1984.

In 1984, 48-year-old Dan Hamilton, of Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds, suffered a stroke and died. The group is most often remembered for their 1971 hit, "Don't Pull Your Love."

Jackie Landry of The Chantels died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 56. The group placed four songs on the Billboard Top 40 between 1958 and 1961, including "Maybe" (#15) and "Look In My Eyes" (#14), as well as an answer to Ray Charles' "Hit The Road Jack" called "Well, I Told You" (#29).

Born today in 1940, Eugene Record, vocals, The Chi-lites, (1972 US #1 single "Oh Girl"). He died of cancer on July 22, 2005.

Clint Ballard Jr. died in 2008. He wrote "Game Of Love," a hit for Wayne Fontana And The Mindbenders and Linda Ronstadt's, "You're No Good." His songs have been recorded by The Hollies, Frankie Avalon, Ricky Nelson, The Zombies and Jan And Dean.


The Champs recorded their signature song "Tequila" in 1957.

In 1957, the title song to his movie 'April Love' becomes Pat Boone's fifth US number one hit.

The Drifters recorded "This Magic Moment" in 1959.

In 1959, Chuck Berry was arrested for transporting a minor across a state line for an immoral purpose. Berry claimed he was only giving a young lady a ride to her job as a hat-check girl at his St. Louis nightclub. Unbeknown to Berry, 14 year old Janice Norine was working as a prostitute. Although he will be convicted and given a five year sentence, the charges are eventually dropped after the judge allegedly made racist remarks.

During his first visit to the UK in 1962, Bob Dylan performed at the King and Queen pub in London’s West End, the singer songwriter’s third UK gig.

The Beatles appeared at the Star-Club, Hamburg, West Germany in 1962.

In 1964, pirate station 'Radio London,' started broadcasting from the former US Minesweeper 'Mv Galaxy.'

Also in 1964, the Beach Boys make their debut appearance on Shindig, a nationally televised pop music program. Because it’s the holidays they perform “Little St. Nick.” Later that evening, the Beach Boys leader and creative force, Brian Wilson, suffers a nervous breakdown as the group flies from L.A. to Houston. This breakdown, plus another two over the next 18 months, forces Wilson to cease performing with the group. Glen Campbell replaced Wilson for the bands live shows.

BBC-TV broadcast Ready, Steady Go! for the last time in 1966 after the Musicians Union enforced a ban on miming. The weekly program was the UK's most popular Pop music television show, helping many of Britain's finest musical acts get their start. The special guests for the farewell show are Mick Jagger, The Who, Eric Burdon, The Spencer Davis Group, Donovan and Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. Music shouldn't be 'mimed,' ever.....

The Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Foxy Lady" was released in 1967.

In 1968, Apple Records hosted a party for employees' children with John Lennon and Yoko Ono acting as Santa and Mrs. Claus. No injuries were reported, as Yoko didn't sing....

In 1969, Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin begin writing songs together. The pair have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date.

In 1972, the former manager of Grand Funk Railroad, Terry Knight, showed up at a benefit concert staged by the group, along with two deputy sheriffs and a moving van. Knight has a court order that gives him the right to seize and hold $1 million in money or assets pending settlement of several lawsuits between the him and the band. However, since the show can't go on without the equipment, Knight is not allowed to touch the amps or drums until after the concert.

Also in 1972 - Little Jimmy Osmond started a five week run at the top of the UK singles chart with "Long Haired Lover From Liverpool." At nine years of age, he was the youngest person to have a UK #1 record.

John Lennon's film "Imagine" premiered on national TV in 1972.

George Harrison released a holiday single in 1974, "Ding Dong, Ding Dong."

Cat Stevens formally changed his name to Yusef Islam in 1977.

Rod Stewart gets in on the Disco craze in 1978 when the insipid cut "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" was released. It would rise to the top of the Billboard chart during an amazing 18 week run.

1979 New records making their first appearance on the US record charts in 1979 included: Rod Stewart's "I Don't Want to Talk About It," Anne Murray's "Daydream Believer," Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker" and Neil Diamond's "September Morn."

During a concert by LL Cool J at a Rollerrink in Baltimore in 1985, a fight broke out, one person was trampled underfoot and three people were shot. Not Cool J....

In 1985, Judas Priest fans Raymond Belknap and James Vance shot themselves after listening to the Judas Priest album ‘Stained Class.’ The two had drunk beer, smoked marijuana and then listened to hours of the album. Afterwards they took a shotgun to a nearby school playground where Belknap shot and killed himself. Vance then blew away his jaw, mouth and nose but lived for more than three years before dying of effects of the shooting.

Phil Collins started a four week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1989 with "Another Day In Paradise," his 7th US solo #1 hit.

In 1991 - James Brown sued the producers of the movie "The Commitments." Brown claimed that one of the characters too closely resembled him. He lost the case.

In 1999, George Harrison's home in Maui was broken into by Cristin Keleher, who cooked a frozen pizza, drank beer from the fridge, started some laundry and phoned her mother in New Jersey. Keleher was arrested and charged with burglary and theft.

In 2002, Sir Paul McCartney was granted his own coat of arms by the College of Arms, the English heraldic body formed in 1484. The crest features a bird that appears to be holding a guitar in its claw. Four curved emblems resembling beetles' backs reflect his career with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The motto is "Ecce Cor Meum", Latin for "Behold My Heart", which is the title of an oratorio he composed. McCartney applied for the crest in 1997, the year he was knighted for his contribution to British music and society, but the death of his first wife Linda in 1998 delayed its design and approval.

In 2005, Geezer Butler, the bass player with Black Sabbath offered £5,000 ($7,700) for any information leading to the safe return of Toga, the three-month-old penguin that had been stolen from a zoo on the Isle of Wight a few days earlier.

Ciara was at #1 on the US album chart in 2006 with ‘Ciara : The Evolution’ the American singers second album.

In 2007, the Police were named as the highest earning touring group for the past year, bringing in nearly £66.5m, ($132m). The band's 54 date North American tour had generated almost double the total of the second-placed act, Country star Kenny Chesney.

In 2008, a spokesman for Michael Jackson denied reports the singer was suffering from a rare respiratory disease and was in need of a lung transplant. Dr Tohme Tohme said in a statement issued to Reuters that stories claiming the singer was unwell were not true. He added that author Ian Halperin had made the claims to promote his unauthorised biography of the 50-year-old singer.

Also in 2008 - A cassette tape of John Lennon performing Lloyd Price's "Just Because" sold at auction in Los Angeles for $30,000 (£20,200). The song was recorded 'live' with an unknown backing band in the autumn of 1973, during the 18-month period Lennon later called his "lost weekend," when he left his wife Yoko Ono and moved from New York to Los Angeles.

In 2009, Ozzy Osbourne, blasted the Christmas holiday saying the best Christmas he ever had was when he was unconscious after breaking his neck in an ’03 ATV accident. "I hate Christmas, I hate it," humbugs Ozzy. "Everything stops. When I used to drink it was a good excuse to get drunk for two weeks. Now I just hate it. I have to unravel all these presents. What a waste of paper!" I'm with you Ozzie - Bah Humbug!