Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A New Day for Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson discusses post-9/11 travel, new music and the death of album art prior to Atlantic City gig at Caesars June 12.

By Jeff Schwachter

Ian Anderson
Speaking with Jethro Tull’s frontman Ian Anderson, it’s certain that his longtime band isn’t “Living in the Past.” Since Anderson founded the folk-blues-rock-classical and global-minded band in 1967 Britain, with a string of successful albums and tours following its 1968 debut This Was, Jethro Tull — as well as Anderson and his solo projects — has continued to tour and even from time to time release outstanding material, including the 1988 Grammy winning Crest of a Knave and 2003’s heralded Christmas Album (2003). You can’t listen to a classic-rock radio station for very long without hearing at least one Tull song. And on Saturday night (June 12) at Caesars in Atlantic City you’ll be able to hear such radio staples as “Aqualung,” “Locomotive Breath” and “Skating Away” — plus many more. Anderson spoke by phone recently with AC Weekly.

When I was growing up in the ’80s, I used to go to used record stores and pick up all the Jethro Tull albums. One of the things that I always loved about your albums, aside from the music, was the amazing album art. Do you think it kind of stinks that today most music doesn’t have any visual component with it? I mean, today most music is just a vapor; it’s just downloaded.

Well, that’s right. It’s different. … Vinyl gave us something to work with. Clearly the space was there and you’d utilize it and you got involved and excited about doing it. It was a way of bringing together visual arts with the musical ones — [a sort of] natural thing to do. But these days, well, one mp3 file looks much like another.

Can you name any other bands that spent as much time thinking about their album art as Jethro Tull?

Well, I think many did, and there were those album-artwork artists. I forget the names, the guy who did … oh, Roger Dean, he did a lot album [covers], but is probably best known for his album artwork for the albums of Yes. They used Roger Dean’s work and Roger Dean did a kind of slightly sci-fi, slightly hippie thing that lent itself well to posters and reproductions and he was the “Yes” man. And then there were other guys like Storm Thorgerson who worked on albums by Pink Floyd and later became a video director and directed one of our videos at one point. So, yeah, there were these guys who were known as the wiz kids coming up with innovative album artwork, but in the case of the Jethro Tull stuff, it was a little bit more in house. It tended to be. I suppose most of them were my work, but notable exceptions were the Stand Up album, the Aqualung album and the Benefit album. Those were the three that our manager Terry Ellis kind of put together in conjunction with different artists. But then when we got to Thick As a Brick and onwards it tended to be [me]. … You know the work is one of the benefits of doing artwork; the irony is, of course, you’re working in an age where many people are no longer really buying physical product; they [aren’t seeing it]. People that are listening to Jethro Tull music for the first time now are almost certainly going to be downloading it rather than buying physical product, which is harder and harder to find and there are fewer and fewer record stores.

Yeah, around the world.

Yes, I mean all the great record chains have pretty much gone. In fact, most countries have probably only one operation left. Over here it’s HMV and in Germany for example it’s Saturn and in the U.S.A., Tower Records and Virgin Records – all these places, they’ve all disappeared. I guess, you know, you find a few things on the checkout of your supermarket, [but] that’s pretty much it. ........

Read the rest of this fantastic interview:

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: A few years ago, you wrote about hit makers of the 1940s, or earlier, who at that time were still living.

My question is similar, but specifically about the Pop & Rock stars of the '50s. Of that decade's top artists, how many are still standing, and what are their ages?
—Marianne J. Duffy, Evansville, Ind.

DEAR MARIANNE: They may not all be standing, but each and every one in this group clearly has a pulse.

Compiled per your request is a list that does not likely exist elsewhere, of the still-living stars whose careers either began or flourished in the '50s. There may be others. Some of these folks are also among the top acts of the '60s, and a couple of them gained fame in the '50s as a lead singer of a group, then established themselves as a solo performer.

All are listed according to their age on June 1, 2010, and those the same age are in day of birth order. For example, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Mathis are both 74, but Lewis is one day older than Mathis.

From Tony Martin, soon to be a centurion, to youngster Brenda Lee, who just qualified for Medicare, here they are:

Tony Martin (97)
Jimmy McCracklin (88)
Johnny Otis (88)
Kitty Kallen (88)
Kay Starr (87)
Doris Day (86)
Roger Williams (85)
B.B. King (84)
Stan Freberg (83)
Tony Bennett (83)
Chuck Berry (83)
Ed Ames (82)
Patti Page (82)
Andy Williams (82)
Fats Domino (82)
Vic Damone (81)
Eddie Fisher (81)
Bobby Bland (80)
Joni James (79)
Little Richard (77)
Lloyd Price (77)
Jimmie Rodgers (76)
Pat Boone (76)
Steve Lawrence (74)
Jerry Lee Lewis (74)
Johnny Mathis (74)
Jack Scott (74)
Frankie Valli (73)
Etta James (72)
Duane Eddy (72)
Ben E. King (71)
Connie Francis (71)
Neil Sedaka (71)
Johnny Tillotson (71)
Dion DiMucci (70)
Frankie Avalon (70)
Freddy Cannon (70)
Jerry Butler (70)
Smokey Robinson (70)
Cliff Richard (69)
Paul Anka (68)
Bobby Rydell (68)
Bobby Vee (67)
Brenda Lee (65)

DEAR JERRY: Having read the complaints voiced by your readers about the lack of good sense by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you just might be willing to listen to my gripes. This time it's about another similar outfit, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which supposedly honors worthy writers from all styles of music.

My number one grievance with them is their inexplicable overlooking of Conway Twitty.

For starters, Conway wrote hundreds of hits for himself and others, including 19 of his own No. 1 hits! That anyone wrote that many chart-toppers is amazing!

Consider also the many who are already in the SHOF who, though talented, have resumes that are but a drop in the bucket compared to Conway's.

Is he the Connie Francis of songwriters? Mmmm, they both recorded for MGM.

Who else would you add to the list of deserving but denied composers by the Songwriters Hall of Fame?
—Ernest Camfield, Louisville, Ky.

DEAR ERNEST: I can add a few names to the list, but none are as conspicuous by their absence as Conway Twitty. Forget for the moment his mind-boggling success in all other respects, the man is an industry giant based only on his writing. Absurd? Yes, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with MGM.

Three more glaring omissions: How about the incomparable Hank Thompson, and those two great Georgia-born talents: Ray Stevens and Joe South?

All three are regarded as spectacular writers and they more than qualify for SHOF induction.

IZ ZAT SO? The beginning of the singer-songwriter era is generally thought to be the early '60s, and understandably so.

However, the first Rock Era singer to reach No. 1 with his own composition came along much earlier: Buddy Knox with “Party Doll,” in March 1957.

Six months later, Paul Anka followed suit with his homage to “Diana,” and Buddy Holly with “That'll Be the Day.”

As evidenced by two Buddys and a Paul, the singer-songwriter concept is indeed a bit older than is widely regarded.

Seven years before “Party Doll,” the C&W and R&B fields had their own singer-songwriting stars. Among those are Hank Williams and Fats Domino, both renowned for writing their own tunes.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column.
Write Jerry at: Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368


Visit his Web site: 

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

Copyright 2010 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission

Music News & Notes

RAINBOW Albums To Be Reissued On Vinyl

Back On Black, which specializes in vinyl editions of classic metal albums and is dedicated to providing top-quality releases for record collectors and metal fans worldwide, has announced that 2010 will see the release of the original classic RAINBOW albums on vinyl. All records will be 180-gram heavyweight vinyl and packaged in deluxe gatefold sleeves. The first 1,000 copies of each title will come in limited-edition colored vinyl.

Due out on July 12 are the following titles:

* Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (1975)
* Rising (1976)
* On Stage (1977)
* Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978)
* Down To Earth (1979)
* Difficult to Cure (1981)
* Straight Between the Eyes (1982)
* Finyl Vinyl (1986)


Alan Parsons Releasing First New Song in Six Years

Alan Parsons has signed with Authentik Artists which will release a new single, "All Our Yesterdays," worldwide on June 15 via most digital download sites.

All Our Yesterdays is Parsons first new music since the album A Valid Path in 2004. The song was written and recorded as part of a new educational series that he is doing entitled The Art and Science of Sound Recording. Those purchasing the digital single will also receive the theme song from the series, Alpha Centauri.

In a rarity, Parsons is taking the lead vocal on the song with additional instrumentation by Simon Philips (Toto, the Who), Rami Jaffe (Wallflowers, Foo Fighters) and Nathan East (Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson)

This Date In Music History - June 9


Jon Lord - Deep Purple (1941)

Stuart Edwards - Edison Lighthouse (1946)

George Bunnell - Strawberry Alarm Clock (1949)

Trevor Bolder - Uriah Heep (1950)

Dean Felber - Hootie & The Blowfish (1967)

Dean Dinning - Toad the Wet Sprocket (1967)

Ed Simons - Chemical Brothers (1970)

Matthew Bellamy - Muse (1978)

Frankee (Nicole Francine Aiello), US R&B singer (1983)

They Are Missed:

Born on this day in 1891, Cole Porter, singer, composer, one of America's greatest songwriters. Wrote countless classic songs, "Night And Day," "I Get A Kick Out Of You," "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye." Died Oct 15, 1964.

Born today in 1929, R&B singer Johnny Ace, Billboards 'most played artist of 1955'. He died playing Russian roulette backstage at a gig on December 25,1954.

Born on this day in 1934, Jackie Wilson, US soul singer. Suffered a heart attack on stage at a New Jersey Club in 1975 and was in a coma until he died on January 21st 1984. Scored 24 US Top 40 hits during late 50's & 60's.

Fred Waring - Musician (The Pennsylvanians), bandleader, radio-television personality (June 9, 1900 – July 29, 1984)

Born today in 1947, Mitch Mitchell, drums, Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell had been in the ITV's 'Ready Steady Go!' house band. Mitchell was found dead in his US hotel room on Nov 12, 2008 (age 61).

Born today in 1915, legendary guitarist Les Paul, inventor of the Gibson Les Paul guitar who also had a 1953 UK No.7 single with ‘Vaya Con Dios’ and the US No.7 single ‘Hummingbird’ with Mary Ford featuring his multi-layered recording techniques. He also pioneered “close miking” and echo delay recording. He broke his right arm in a car accident and had it set at an angle so he could still play guitar. Paul died in hospital in White Plains, New York at the age of 94 suffering from severe pneumonia on 12th Aug 2009.


"Jelly-Roll Blues" was recorded by Jelly Roll Morton and his band in 1924.

In 1951, Ike Turner & The Rhythm Kings have the #1 R&B song "Rocket 88." Many consider this track to be the first Rock n’ Roll record.

In 1958, Jerry Lee Lewis (with the help of Sun Records owner Sam Phillips) takes out a full-page ad in Billboard magazine to explain his second divorce and third marriage (to his 14 year old cousin Myra). In the end, the ad doesn’t do much good and Jerry Lee remains ostracized for the next few years.

Today in 1958, the song "The Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley topped the charts and stayed there for 6 weeks.

Johnny Mathis went to #1 on the US album chart in 1958 with his 'Greatest Hits' album.

The Beatles, on the last night of their tour with Roy Orbison, performed at King George's Hall, Blackburn, Lancashire in 1962. It was during this tour that The Beatles' fans started throwing jelly babies at them while they were on stage, after an off-the-cuff remark on television that George Harrison enjoyed eating them.

Andy Williams was the mystery guest on TV's "What's My Line" in 1963.

During an evening session in 1964, Bob Dylan recorded "Mr. Tambourine Man" at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City.

In 1967, the Monkees kicked off a North American summer tour at the Hollywood Bowl in California.

In 1969, Brian Jones announced he was leaving The Rolling Stones because he didn't agree with the band's musical direction. Guitarist Mick Taylor, who has played with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, signs on as Brian Jones’ replacement.

In 1972, Elvis Presley made entertainment history by performing 4 sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. George Harrison, John Lennon David Bowie, Bob Dylan and Art Garfunkel were among music stars that attended the shows. The shows were recorded and became the album 'Elvis as recorded at Madison Square Garden'.

Bruce Springsteen signed with Columbia Records in 1972 and started to assemble the E Street Band from various Asbury Park ex-band mates.

The Bee Gees went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1979 with "Love You inside Out," the group's 9th US #1 hit.

Cyndi Lauper started a two week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1984 with "Time After Time."

In 1989, after suggesting just three days earlier that she would help the environment by “firebombing McDonald’s restaurants,” Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) signed a document vowing to never repeat the statement again. McDonald’s had threatened legal action.

Grunge label, Sub-Pop, holds the first Lame Fest at Seattle’s Moore Theater in 1989. The headliners are Tad and Mudhoney. An opening act is a little known band called Nirvana.

In 1990, M.C. Hammer's debut album started a record breaking 21 week stay at the top of the US album charts, making it the longest uninterrupted stay at the top since the album charts started.

Wilson Phillips went to #1 on the US charts in 1990 with "Hold On." 25 years earlier to the day Wendy and Carnies father Beach Boy Brian had been at #1 with "Help Me Rhonda."

The Tina Turner biographical film, "What's Love Got To Do With It" opened in 1993.

Also in 1993 - The U.S. Postal Service debuted its Legends of American Music, Rock and Roll-Rhythm and Blues stamp collection. The set featured Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Clyde McPhatter, Otis Redding, Ritchie Valens, Dinah Washington, and Elvis Presley.

After an argument in 1994, TLC singer Left Eye set fire to her boyfriend’s (Andre Rison of the Atlanta Falcons) Atlanta mansion, worth $2 million, burning it to the ground. She was charged with arson and fined $10,000 with five years probation.

Oasis singer Liam Gallagher and Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall were involved in a brawl at The Metropolitan Hotel, London in 1998.

Also in 1998, the Ronettes appeared in the Supreme Court of New York for their lawsuit against producer Phil Spector. The Ronettes, whose hits included "Be My Baby" and "Walking In The Rain," claimed that Spector had breached the group's 34-year-old contract by paying the members no royalties since 1963. Although The Ronettes went on to win the case, the New York State Court of Appeals overturned the decision in October, 2002, saying that the contract the Ronettes signed with Spector in 1963 was still binding.

In 2002, it was announced that Rolling Stone Mick Jagger was to be given a knighthood for his services to music.

John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival and solo) entered the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2005. Other inductees include Isaac Hayes, Steve Cropper, Bill Withers and David Porter.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Highway Companions North American Tour gets underway in Charlotte, NC in 2006. The trek celebrates the band's 30th anniversary. Stevie Nicks is a supporting act on the first eight shows and also performs with Petty and the Heartbreakers.

In 2007, George Michael became the first music artist to perform at the new Wembley Stadium in London when he played the first of two shows at the venue during his ‘25 Live Tour.'

The Rock Band Unplugged video game is in stores in 2009. It features songs by 3 Doors Down, Audioslave and Alice In Chains, the Who, Boston, Police, Billy Idol, Bon Jovi, Judas Priest, Jethro Tull, and Rush.