Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ask Mr. Music by Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Your coverage of the invention of the LP (Columbia, 1948) and then the 45 rpm (RCA Victor, 1949) reminds me of an attempt in the late 1950s or early '60s to eliminate all speeds except 33.

They succeeded with the 78, but the 45 obviously lived on.

What do you know about this bold maneuver?
—Lawrence Finnegan, Terre Haute, Ind.

DEAR LAWRENCE: By 1965, when support of a “one-speed industry” peaked, the 78 format was long gone.

The phasing out, in the late 1950s, of the 78 single had nothing to do with the industry's desire for a one-speed world, and much to do with production logistics; increased handling, packing, and shipping costs; and far greater losses due to breakage of the fragile 78s, when compared to the 45 single.

The sole objective of the mid-'60s campaign was the elimination of the 45 rpm.

Considering the overwhelming support behind the one-speed campaign, it's hard to believe they were not successful.

During what was at the time the record industry's top news story, here are just a few of the comments made by prominent executives and widely quoted in trade publications:

“Our company sold 60,000 of a 33 single at the [1964] New York World's Fair, without a single complaint. It's time our industry converts to one speed, and that's 33.”
—Jimmy Johnson, Disneyland Records

“I'm in hearty accord with the theory of one speed [for all records] … I definitely think it would be better for all concerned to adopt the 33 speed. Dot Records supports the elimination of the 45 rpm. It's an educational process which has to be accomplished.”
—Randy Wood, Dot Records

“We've been in favor of one speed for years, but it's a tough thing to get done. It could be accomplished in one year if all the majors [labels] and several of the independents would agree. There is no need for the 45. It is senseless.”
—Mike Maitland, Warner Bros. Records

“There is no good reason for multiple speeds. The LP speed [33] is the one with the greatest growth potential. Having one speed would also reduce confusion.”
—Irwin Steinberg, Mercury Records

“We agree, it makes all the sense in the world to have just one speed. It is ridiculous to have both 45 and 33 speeds.” Referring to the late '40s format battle between RCA Victor (45s) and Columbia (33s), “You can't deny that 33 has taken over. Now, it shouldn't be too difficult to get RCA to get in step with the rest of the industry.”
—Mo Ostin, Reprise Records

“We are very much in favor of the idea and always have been. There should be an industry move to just one speed. The biggest complication is the millions of homes with equipment that cannot play singles with a small, LP-size [quarter-inch], hole. There's no doubt that one speed is a great idea, and the only way to accomplish it would be joint action by all the manufacturers to cease issuing 45 singles. To simultaneously release 33 and 45 singles only creates a third inventory category rather than narrowing a two inventory situation down to one.”
— Alan Livingston and Stan Gortikov, Capitol Records

“We favor a single speed, which would be good for the industry throughout the world. I don't think it would affect the cost of records very much, though it might affect the price of record players. Still, one speed will be difficult to institute because the two-speed situation has now become a habit.”
—Georges Meyer, Philips Records

“There is no reason for two speeds, and never has been. Our company would support an industry drive to eliminate the 45 speed, though convincing record retailers and juke box operators could be a very slow process.”
—Al Bennett, Liberty Records

“A single speed is ideal for the coin machine industry, and 33 is the only speed that makes sense. Most 45-only machines are old now and approaching the junking age.”
—A.D. Plamer, Wurlitzer

“I would love to see all records on 33. It would cut down on our inventory, which is now double having to stock both 33 and 45 speeds. Stereo is gaining momemtum every week. I feel in the future there won't be anything but stereo.”
—Harry Rosen, Philadelphia Rowe-AMI Juke Box Distributor

“One speed is a good idea, which we could support. However, there is a negative aspect because of the many machines specifically designed to play 45s.”
—Orris Keepnews, Merchandising Manager, Colpix Records

“We favor having all records play at 33, one reason being that the spindle adapter to play 45s is a real annoyance. Columbia once hoped everything would play at 33, but now it may be too late to change people's indifferent attitudes.”
—Abe Diamond, Record Distributor

“There's nothing we'd like better. The cost differential would be minimal but the performance of the players would be improved. One of the biggest sources of customer complaints is with the 45 adapter.”
—Carl Gates, Admiral

“We'll produce whatever the public wants. A one-speed player would give better performance; however, it would be only slightly cheaper. In manufacturing, when you add it costs a lot, but when you take away you don't save much.”
—Phil Wood, Zenith

“We have no objections at all. The problem lies with the equipment, but the benefits will be large if we can all travel down the same road together.”
—Jack Burgess, RCA Records

“If we eliminated the 45 speed on our changers, we would surely have some disgruntled buyers.”
— Richard Hanselman, RCA Consumer Products

“One speed could broaden the market for singles. Consumer education is the difficult part, the equipment is not the problem to worry about.” Bill Gallagher, Columbia Records

“An overwhelming majority of record executives are of the opinion that the conversion to one speed would benefit the entire industry. Billboard reiterates its position, that in the face of such strong opinion in favor of a one-speed industry, the RIAA should move quickly to implement it.”
—Billboard Editorial

With an avalanche of support for one speed (33) from literally every faction of the music industry, it appeared “the little record with the big hole” (45) would soon go the way of the 78 speed.

But the record-buying public could not be swayed, and, against all odds, the underdog 45 not only survived but triumphed as the dominant speed for singles during the vinyl era.

For me, of all the one-speed discussion, one moment of wishful thinking, mentioned only as an aside, stands out: While offering support to the movement, Kris Jensen, a leading maker of phonograph needles, casually made a wish.

In March 1965, Jensen expressed hope there would “one day be a practical device that will select and play an individual song or track from an album.”

It took a little over 15 years, but with the laser compact disc came the technology to do exactly that.

IZ ZAT SO? Conspicuously absent from all of the comments made by all of the label heads quoted is that most of them had recently produced and promoted 33 speed singles, none of which even made a dent in 45 sales.

For four years (1959-1962) most of the majors simultaneously issued 45 and 33 speed singles, especially for their big hits and top artists.

Losing that challenge by a landslide still didn't dissuade the one-speeders from trying again just a couple of years later.

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 2011 Osborne Enterprises- Reprinted By Exclusive Permission

Vinyl Record News & Music Notes

we know, we know!! and we love it!

Vinyl record stores booming in London

By Marlene Leung (for London Community News)

Music lovers looking to buy a particular album would have been out of luck 7 p.m. Monday (June 13) night. The downtown location of Sunrise Records was closed for the evening. Around the corner however, David Clarke, co-owner of Grooves Record Store, still has another hour to go before he closes up. There’s one catch though, his store mainly sells vinyl records.

On this summer evening, a handful of men and boys drop by, leisurely flip through the boxes of records and chat with one another over their stacks of selected vinyl.

Clarke, a long time London resident, has been working in record stores since 1974. In his opinion, the reasons why people continue to buy records haven’t changed much.

Read the rest at


Rolling Stone Top 100 Guitarists has published their top 100 guitarists of all time. As usual, the list is subjective and cannot please everyone. However, looking at the list (Hendrix is rated #1) and the comments, the magazine missed a lot of great musicians and guitar players. I mean, we can start with 100, Lindsey Buckingham....he would be rated much higher on my list.

Rolling Stone’s top 10 greatest guitarists follow:

1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Eric Clapton
3. Jimmy Page
4. Keith Richards
5. Jeff Beck
6. B.B. King
7. Chuck Berry
8. Eddie Van Halen
9. Duane Allman
10. Pete Townshend

head on over and this weekend and check it out at Rolling Stone Top 100 Guitarists


GRIMEY'S BEST SELLERS 11/14 - 11/20, 2011

Top 25 Vinyl:

1. Sigur Ros - INNI
2. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
3. The Beach Boys - The SMiLE Sessions
4. She & Him - A Very She & Him Christmas
5. White Denim - Takes Place In Your Work Space
6. Tom Waits - Bad As Me
7. Atlas Sound - Parallax
8. Caitlin Rose - Own Side Now
9. PUJOL - Nasty Brutish & Short
10. Portishead - Chase The Tear 12"
11. Thee Oh Sees - Carrion Crawler/Dream
12. Black Belles - Black Belles
13. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
14. Feist - Metals
15. Various - The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams
16. The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
17. Wilco - The Whole Love
18. The Bees (Band Of Bees) - Every Step's A Yes
19. M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming
20. R.E.M. - Lifes Rich Pageant (MFSL reissue)
21. King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon
22. Real Estate - Days
23. Strange Boys - Live Music
24. JEFF The Brotherhood / Best Coast - split 7"
25. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot


this from our friends at

Shop Radio Cast Black Friday Week Sales - Wednesday

Today’s Black Friday sales include a variety of limited vinyl titles as well as Vinyl Collective Slip Mats!! Here is the full list of what is on sale today only HERE

500 Miles to Memphis – Sunshine in a Shot Glass LP 8.99
A Day To Remember – For Those Who Have Heart LP 7.99
Alkaline Trio – Agony & Irony CD 6.99
Angels and Airwaves – Love: Part One & Two 2xCD 11.99
Angels And Airwaves – We Don’t Need To Whisper CD 6.99
Anthrax – Worship Music LP 9.99
Blink 182 – Neighborhoods LP Bundle (Blue/White & White) 35.99
Brand New – Zebra Girls Tee 6.99
Cannibal Corpse – Butchered At Birth LP 8.99
Cannibal Corpse – The Bleeding LP 8.99
Deftones – Diamond Eyes LP 16.99
Deftones – White Pony (2XLP) 19.99
Four Year Strong – In Some Way Shape or Form LP + Skull T Shirt 24.99
Frank Turner – Campfire Punkrock 10″ 10
Horace Pinker – Local State Inertia LP 11.49
Just Surrender – Burning Up 7″ 0.99
Just Surrender – On My Own 7″ 0.99
Just Surrender – Take Me Home 7″ 0.99
Lemuria – Pebble 12.75
Nightmares For A Week – Don’t Die 6.99
No Trigger – Be Honest 7″ 0.99
Rocket From The Crypt – Plays The Music Machine 7″ 2.99
Saves The Day – Sound The Alarm CD 6.99
Silverstein – Rescue LP 1.99
Sloppy Seconds Slip Mat 4.99
Taking Back Sunday – Louder Now CD/DVD 8.99
The Methadones – The Methadones LP (Exclusive Clear) 4.99
Two Tongues – Freak T Shirt 6.99
Vinyl Collective Logo Slip Mat 4.99
Vinyl Collective Record Slip Mat 4.99
White Stripes – 4×7″ Bundle 20.99
White Wives – Happeners LP (Includes free 7″ and 2 Posters) 15.99
Yellowcard – 2002-2011 Collection Limited Edition Colored Vinyl Box Set 74.99


Box Sets In The Stocking For Christmas!

The Associated Press' reviews of selected box sets released this year:

U2, "Achtung Baby," Super Deluxe Edition Box Set (Capitol Records)

Longevity in the music business can be traced to a pivotal moment in an artist's career, and for U2, that milestone was "Achtung Baby." The seminal 1991 album represented U2 2.0, the point where the band reinvented itself. Now fans can experience the making of the classic recording with a box set that includes nearly as many discs as album releases.

The album that spawned such classics as "One" and "Mysterious Ways" was recorded in Berlin during a tumultuous period for the band.

After experiencing the mega-success of "The Joshua Tree" and the concert film "Rattle and Hum," the band was at a crossroads. So they broke away from their families to find their sound in a distant land.

But things didn't go as planned. Disagreements over musical direction weighed heavy on the band and divisions formed. Bono and the Edge wanted to move toward an electronic sound, while Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton yeaned for a classic rock sound. And producer Daniel Lanois wanted to recapture the tone of past recordings.

After a great deal of tension, they found what they were looking for with "One," and the rest fell into place. Not only were they able to churn out the remainder of the album, but they also recorded the follow-up, "Zooropa."

The trajectory of "Achtung Baby" shares similarities to Bruce Springsteen's "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and the ensuing documentary, "The Promise," as being pivotal by showing growth in the music. Like the "Darkness" album, U2 gets a feature-length documentary chronicling the pain-staking process in Davis Guggenheim's "From the Sky Down."

The entire history of "Achtung Baby" is chronicled in the super deluxe edition. It consists of six compact discs and four DVDs, including the documentary, and a Zoo TV special. Other goodies in the box include a hardcover book and 16 art prints.

Fans of the band are treated to the original album, and a variety of extra material that ranges from informative to overkill, depending on your level of fandom. Still, there's a little too much raw material here for most listeners to process. And besides, who really needs to see four different versions of the video for "One"?

There's a scaled-down two disc set that includes 14 additional tracks, as well as an uber-deluxe version at the uber-high price of $434.99 that includes a set of collectible vinyl singles, a magnetic puzzle tiled box, and a pair of Bono's trademark "Fly" sunglasses.

- John Carucci, Associated Press

Nirvana Nevermind [4CD/DVD Super Deluxe]

Working through the hours of material on this 20th anniversary celebration of Nirvana's atom bomb of an album, "Nevermind," is an unexpectedly melancholy experience.

The music here is just as vital as it was the day it knocked Michael Jackson from the top of the charts - perhaps even more so, given that time as failed to produce a worthy successor.

When "Nevermind" hit the street in 1991, destroying hair metal in just a few bars of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," it reshaped not just rock music but pop and punk and America. It captured a moment, the aimless uneasiness of a large part of a generation, and heralded the promise of something better.

As Cobain noted announcing the arrival of "Nevermind," ''Punk is musical freedom."

And it was - for a moment. What "Nevermind" reminds us is that freedom was quickly commodified and corporatized. Everyone sought to copy the magic formula that Kurt Cobain and Co. used to erase years of malaise in American rock 'n' roll.

Listening to the various versions of "Nevermind" in this edition, one of two commemorative releases, reminds us that no one's really come close to carrying the standard in the years after Nirvana's fiery flare across the night sky. And that's pretty disheartening.

The super deluxe version is both fascinatingly deep and needlessly so at the same time. There are four discs with 69 cuts that include a remastered version of the original album, various B-sides, live cuts and unreleased versions and even a few early boom box proto-recordings that provide a glimpse at the evolution of Nirvana's biggest hits. There's also a book that includes photos and other artifacts from the period (For those curious but looking for something a little more economical, there's also a 39-song, two-disc version that's a fraction of the cost).

The highlight of the super deluxe edition is the "Nirvana: Live at the Paramount" DVD of the band's Oct. 31, 1991, concert in Seattle. Things were just starting to blow up and the band is lean and powerful and young and beautiful, and there's no hint of things to come.

It's a moment in time that's nearly perfect.

- Chris Talbott, AP Entertainment Writer

The Smiths, "The Smiths Complete" (Rhino)

We have the perfect Christmas gift for that kid (even if she hates Christmas): "The Smiths Complete." It's a swank box set, in both CD and vinyl, containing all four studio albums released in an astounding flurry between 1984 and 1987 and four more discs of live bits and odds and ends.

Morrissey's sweetly crooned rancor and cutting indignation remain a soothing balm all these years later, and Johnny Marr's diamond-lattice guitar work is still every bit as engaging as it was in the mid-1980s, despite all the copycats and pretenders over the years.

These albums were grenades lobbed at the establishment at the time and should find fresh ears in the 21st century. Morrissey and his mates were reacting to the growing elitism of the wealthy and the many inequalities of modern society. Many of the same themes have re-emerged 25 years later in the age of Occupy Wall Street and open class warfare.

The Smiths have aged very well. "The Queen is Dead" and "Vicar in a Tutu" remain vibrant and alive, the sneer still fresh on the lips. "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" and "I Want the One I Can't Have" remain just as heartbreakingly sad. And songs like "How Soon is Now" and "London" still rock with an unexpected ferocity.

The one disappointment is the light liner notes. But what's here gives us a starting point, and Morrissey takes it from there.

- Chris Talbott, AP Entertainment Writer

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon - Immersion Box Set

Regarded as one of the most important albums in pop thanks to its unprecedented life on the charts and timeless sound, it should come as no surprise the iconic album "The Dark Side of the Moon" gets the box set treatment.

"The Immersion Collection," as it's called, consists of six discs centered on the album, and lots of collectibles, including a 40-page booklet, marbles, drink coasters, and a scarf. That's right, a scarf, complete with the album's trademark dispersive prism.

While these items may be cool for a few minutes, the real value of this collection lies in the album's original mix, which up until now, has never been released. Unlike alternate takes that seem to pervade these types of collections, the early mix of this album stands on its own merit. Presented in its entirety, it provides a different perspective of the version of the album burned into our minds over the past 37 years.

"Dark Side" seemed to culminate the experimental soundscape of the band's seven previous albums with the right blend of mainstream appeal. So this cut of the album serves as the step before their masterpiece was complete.

Roger Waters wrote the album about a daily stresses of living, and David Gilmour sings most of the songs on the album with the exception of the final two, "Brain Damage," and "Eclipse," which were sung by Waters. The album marked a major change for the band as they went from a psychedelic rock band to rock 'n' roll history. It stayed in the Top 200 for a record 741 weeks.

If you ever wondered what "Great Gig in the Sky" would sound like without Claire Torry's non-lexical vocals, or a different maniacal laugh on "Brain Damage," then you'll get to hear those versions and much more.

There's even an instrumental of "Us and Them," which was the song's earliest version. "The Violent Sequence," as it was originally titled, was written by keyboardist Richard Wright for the Michelangelo Antonioni film, "Zabriskie Point." The director rejected the track, and it found new life with Roger Waters' haunting lyrics.

Another track, "The Travel Sequence," was a piece the band did in concert since 1970. For "Dark Side," it would eventually evolve into "On the Run." For fans of the album, this disc, along with an included 2003 documentary on the making of the album, is a history lesson.

- John Carucci, Associated Press

Billy Joel, "Billy Joel: The Complete Albums Collection" (Columbia/Legacy)

We live in a fragmentary culture. Songs are "quoted" in commercials, sampled in other songs, heard in slivers in all corners of our landscapes.

How odd, then, to be able to listen to the entire arc of a singer-songwriter's artistic life in one package - and see, as close as is possible in art, the complete picture of who someone has been.

So it goes with "Billy Joel: The Complete Albums Collection" - a 15-CD (15!) collection that takes the Joel oeuvre from the dawn of the 1970s into the 21st century. From "Piano Man" to "Just the Way You Are" to "Uptown Girl" to "We Didn't Start the Fire" and beyond, it's quite a ride.

In recent years, Joel-bashing has become a not-uncommon exercise. He's saccharine, people say. Hackneyed. Not too relevant. Syrupy.

That's unfair. Joel is one of the premier pop songwriters of his generation, and even his more uneven efforts are generally good listening.

If you can - and it's a lot to ask, true - take the time to listen straight through to the more than 11 hours of music in these albums. Taken together, it's an epic portrait of an era and how it unfolded, in New York City and beyond.

Through music and words, we watch Joel move through Manhattan and Los Angeles of the 1970s, making sense of its darker corners and singing about weariness and struggle and odd characters, about moving away from hometown and high school and roots.

We see him pan with a wider lens in the 1980s, singing of joblessness in Allentown, the wages of Vietnam and the melancholy of starting to get old and remembering your first attempts at romance. We see him fall in love with Christie Brinkley and fall away from her. We see him start to age.

Along the way, we encounter frantic, high-speed odes to American history, wry perspectives on suburban sprawl, tributes to lobstermen, even a spate of classical music that's not completely memorable but utterly listenable. We are served up some outtakes. And, of course, we are offered love songs, lots of love songs: Love found, love lost, unexpected love, comfortable love, tortured love.

As the albums spin by and Joel's voice gets more gravelly, his life experiences are reflected in his songs. His has sometimes been a bumpy road, and many times he has worked through it with his craft. "I never felt the desire to let music set me on fire," Billy Joel once sang. "Then I was saved." This sprawling, eye-opening collection shows how we benefited from that.

- Ted Anthony, AP National Writer

Twisted Sister "From The Bars To The Stars: Three Decades Live" (Eagle Vision)

Twisted Sister is one of the most visual bands in the history of heavy metal, and this five-DVD box set chronicles their rise from New York bar band extraordinaire to worldwide metal legends, in all its cinematic glory.

The set includes their 1982 performance at Long Island, N.Y.'s Northstage Theater, and the 1982 coming-out show at England's Reading Festival, where the band won over a skeptical audience that began the afternoon by throwing garbage at them and ended up cheering them. It also includes the 2001 New York Steel benefit concert for the families of police officers and firefighters killed in the World Trade Center attacks, a show that reunited the band for the first time in 14 years.

In addition, there's "Live at Wacken," their 2003 festival show for a rabid German audience, and "A Twisted X-Mas," a video culled from three Christmas shows they did in December 2009 at the Las Vegas Hilton. This disc is the only one in the box set that hadn't previously been released. It begins with strippers pulling singer Dee Snider onto the stage on Santa's sleigh (hey, it's Vegas!) and includes numerous songs from their brilliant 2006 heavy metal Christmas album "A Twisted Christmas."

The box set also comes with some cool swag, including a silver Twisted Sister Christmas ornament, a vintage hot-pink band button from the 1970s, a laminated backstage pass from the New York Steel show, and a photocopy of the very first typed-out newsletter the band mailed to fans in 1979.

It's the definitive video history of one of the most underrated bands in heavy metal, drenched with band interviews and rehearsal footage (check out Snider grafting the vocals to the Doors' "Gloria" onto Twisted's "Shoot 'Em Down" while guitarist Jay Jay French sings "Wild Thing" - all at the same time). Moments like this are why God created box sets.

- Wayne Parry, AP Writer

Loudon Wainwright III, "40 Odd Years" (Shout! Factory)

The familiar shtick is captured repeatedly on a DVD included in this set: Loudon Wainwright III clenches his teeth, waggles his tongue, hops on one leg and sings with bracing humor, candor and power about the things he has seen and done. "My whole cheesy life," as he describes it in one of his best songs.

Wainwright makes his aural autobiography fascinating by mixing comedy and tragedy, with just enough of the latter to give his wit extra bite. Confessional songwriting seems to be a form of therapy for Wainwright, and after all these years, his willingness to share his story in self-deprecating detail remains astounding.

Four CDs are included with the DVD on "40 Odd Years," and while the title is marvelous, the material's just as good. Many of the performances here feature the troubadour solo as he offers insights about childbirth, childhood, parenthood, debauchery, divorce and death; about sex, guitars and roadkill; about family dysfunction, the joys of solitude and the ravages of time. There are also two references to dental floss.

Touted as the next Dylan, Wainwright instead became a one-of-a-kind artist. He arrived on the scene in the late 1960s fully formed, as evident in such early tunes as "Uptown." ''I want to elevate up and down with you in the building of the Empire State," he sings. Now in his 60s, Wainwright remains prolific and has done some of his best work lately, including such songs as "Bed," ''Surviving Twin" and "My Biggest Fan."

Wainwright has written so many gems that it was impossible to include them all here, but his essay in an accompanying 40-page booklet offers an eloquent apology for any omissions. The excellent liner notes make the set appealing even for longtime fans, as do a CD of rare and unreleased material and the terrific DVD, which includes documentaries, TV performances and lots of tongue-wagging.

- Steven Wine, Associated Press

Robert Johnson, "Robert Johnson: The Complete Original Masters. Centennial Edition" (Columbia/Legacy)

Pulling together a box set of recordings by Mississippi Delta blues legend Robert Johnson shouldn't be that tough a task. Johnson only released a handful of songs from two recording sessions in 1936 in 1937, in San Antonio, Texas and Dallas respectively.

But Johnson was no ordinary musician, and justly, Sony's Legacy division has treated his work with respect and detail. In the box set titled "Robert Johnson: The Complete Original Masters, Centennial Edition," homage is paid on 100th anniversary year of Johnson's birth with a dozen 78 rpm replicas of each of his released songs.

The set also contains two CDs of 42 master and alternate takes. For a retrospective of the times in which Johnson made his music, one of the CDs contains 10 songs from various artists recorded on the same days as the Robert Johnson sessions all those decades ago. There's a DVD documentary as well which takes a look at Johnson's short 27 years on Earth.

But to be clear, Johnson's vinyl is the centerpiece here. To hear the bluesman play classics like "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" and "Love In Vain Blues" on this medium is a treat. The slight crackle from those original recordings feels right at home between the newly etched grooves on a vinyl platter. Johnson deserves this analog attention, and not merely the 128 kbps stream of an MP3 on an iPod.

For the re-mastering of the vinyl records themselves, Sony turned to 78 rpm format expert Harry Coster, who keeps a record press in a Netherlands barn and handmade new polystyrene pressings especially for this effort.

Johnson is one of the most important American artists ever recorded. Thus, this sort of packaged adoration seems fitting for a young man who influenced so many.

- Ron Harris, Associated Press

Grateful Dead, "Europe '72: The Complete Recordings" (Rhino)

How much is too much when it comes to the Grateful Dead?

That question is being tested like never before with the 73-disc box set "Europe '72."

For the venerable band's detractors, even more than a couple minutes of jamming sends them running for the exits.

But to Deadheads who started trading shows on tape 40 years ago and continue to snatch up archival releases from the vault, there appears to be a bottomless desire for more.

"Europe '72," which includes all 25 shows from their revered 1972 tour of Europe, is the boldest release to date.

It's a lot of Dead, to be sure.

The 25 shows amount to 73 discs, more than 70 hours of music. And at $450 the price isn't chump change, either. Although, when priced out it comes to just $6.25 per disc.

The box set was originally offered in a limited numbered run of 7,200 in a replica travel trunk, complete with a hardcover book. After those sold out, the music-only version of the set was put up for sale. Those unwilling to take the tour from Copenhagen to Amsterdam and all stops in between can also buy individual shows.

But for those with the cash, the entire tour is something to behold. In typical Dead fashion, every show is unique and some are better than others. Only one song - "Mr. Charlie" - showed up every night.

In general, the Dead is in prime form while in a period of transition. Original keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan was ill but still performing, while his eventual replacement Keith Godchaux was already on board along with his wife, back-up vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux.

The tour was first immortalized on the band's famous three-record live set "Europe '72," released at the end of 1972. But until now, only one complete show from the tour had ever seen the light of day.

Now it's all there for whoever is willing to take it on.

- Scott Bauer, Associated Press


and in music history for today, november 23rd:

In 1899, in San Francisco, the Palais Royal Hotel installed the first coin-operated machine that by about 1940 was known as a "jukebox." In the beginning it was a crude slot-machine apparatus connected to an Edison phonograph which, upon receiving a coin, unlocked the mechanism, allowing the listener to turn a crank that simultaneously wound the spring motor and placed the reproducer's stylus in the starting groove. The music was heard via one of four listening tubes. Despite its then-high price of a nickel a song, the new contraption took in $1000 in its first six months of operation.

In 1960, Elvis's film, 'G.I. Blues' opened in the US, where box office sales are strong. Juliet Prowse co-starred in the King's first film since he got out of the Army on March 5th.

In 1956, a 19-year-old sheet metal worker named Louis Balint was arrested after punching Elvis Presley at a hotel bar in Toledo, Ohio. Balint was upset that his wife carried a picture of Elvis in her wallet. He was fined $19.60 but ended up being jailed for seven days because he was unable to pay the fine.

In 1962, the Beatles did a ten-minute audition for BBC Television at St. James' Church Hall in London. Four days later, Brian Epstein received a polite rejection letter from the BBC.

In 1964, the Rolling Stones were late arriving for the BBC radio shows, "Top Gear" and "Saturday Club" and as a result were banned by the BBC for "unprofessionalism."

On November 23, 1964, the Beatles released the single "I Feel Fine" b/w "She's A Woman" in the US (it was issued in the UK four days later).

Lennon wrote the guitar riff while in the studio recording "Eight Days a Week." "I wrote 'I Feel Fine' around that riff going on in the background", he recalled. "I told them I'd write a song specially for the riff. So they said, 'Yes. You go away and do that', knowing that we'd almost finished the album Beatles for Sale. Anyway, going into the studio one morning, I said to Ringo, 'I've written this song but it's lousy'. But we tried it, complete with riff, and it sounded like an A side, so we decided to release it just like that." John Lennon said that the riff was influenced by a riff in "Watch Your Step", a 1961 release written and performed by Bobby Parker and covered by the Beatles in concerts during 1961 and 1962. Paul McCartney said the drums on "I Feel Fine" were inspired by Ray Charles's "What'd I Say".

At the time of the song's recording, the Beatles, having mastered the studio basics, had begun to explore new sources of inspiration in noises previously eliminated as mistakes (such as electronic goofs, twisted tapes, and talkback). "I Feel Fine" marks the earliest example of the use of feedback as a recording effect. Artists such as The Kinks and The Who had already used feedback live, but Lennon remained proud of the fact that the Beatles were the first group to actually put it on vinyl.

The single reached the top of the British charts on 12 December of that year, displacing The Rolling Stones' "Little Red Rooster," and remained there for five weeks. It also reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1964. The B-side was "She's a Woman".

The Beatles taped this for an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that aired September 12, 1965. They had returned to America to play their famous Shea stadium concert. It was their last appearance on the show. (i found a live version on youtube)

In 1967, San Francisco disc jockey Tom Donahue, inventor of "classic rock" and "deep cut" radio, told Rolling Stone magazine, "Top Forty radio, as we know it today and have known it for the last ten years, is dead, and its rotting corpse is stinking up the airwaves."

In 1968, Led Zeppelin signed with Atlantic Records on the recommendation of Dusty Springfield.

In 1970, George Harrison released the single "My Sweet Lord" in the U.S. It was issued on January 15, 1971 in the UK.

When released as a single, "My Sweet Lord" became an international #1 hit. In October 1970, Harrison told the British press that it was going to be his first solo single, but a few days later he changed his mind and said it would not be made available thus, as he did not want sales in that format to detract from those of the album. (The other three former Beatles had also released solo albums earlier that year, without releasing a single in Britain from any of them). It was released as a single in the US (Apple 2995) on 23 November 1970. Within a few weeks, EMI and Apple Records bowed to media and public demand, and the UK release (Apple R 5884) followed on 15 January 1971. The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over one million copies.

Entering the British charts in the first week at number seven and then hitting the summit for five weeks, it was the first single by an ex-Beatle to reach number one. It did so again in the UK when reissued in January 2002 after Harrison's death from cancer. It reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 on 26 December 1970, remaining on top for four weeks.

In Britain, the original single was officially a double-A Side with "What Is Life". In the US it was a double-A-side with "Isn't It a Pity"- with both sides featuring a full Apple label.

Following the song's release, musical similarities between "My Sweet Lord" and The Chiffons' hit "He's So Fine" led to a prolonged copyright infringement suit, known as Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, which lasted over 10 years. In 1976, a U.S. district court decision found that Harrison had "subconsciously" copied the earlier song. In 1978, before the court decided on damages in the case, Harrison's former manager Allen Klein, who represented Harrison earlier in the proceedings, purchased the copyright to "He's So Fine" from Bright Tunes. In 1981, the court decided the damages amounted to $1,599,987 but that due to Klein's duplicity in the case, Harrison would only have to pay Klein $587,000 for the rights to "He's So Fine"—the amount Klein had paid Bright Tunes for the song

Harrison stated in his autobiography that he was not consciously aware of the similarity when he wrote the song and was inspired to write "My Sweet Lord" by the Edwin Hawkins Singers' version of "Oh Happy Day."  In a 1980 interview with Playboy magazine, John Lennon expressed his doubt of the notion of "subconscious" plagiarism: "He must have known, you know. He's smarter than that. It's irrelevant, actually—only on a monetary level does it matter. He could have changed a couple of bars in that song and nobody could ever have touched him, but he just let it go and paid the price. Maybe he thought God would just sort of let him off."

In 1970, Cat Stevens released the 'Tea for the Tillerman' album. Stevens, a former art student, created the artwork featured on the record's cover.

This album, Stevens' second during 1970, includes many of Stevens' best-known songs including "Where Do the Children Play?", "Hard Headed Woman", "Wild World", "Sad Lisa", "Into White" and "Father and Son". Four of the tracks ("Where Do the Children Play?", "On the Road to Find Out", "Tea for the Tillerman" and "Miles from Nowhere") were featured in the Hal Ashby and Colin Higgins' black comedy film entitled Harold and Maude, in 1971.

On November 18, 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine included this album in its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list at number 206.   In 2006, the album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In 2007, the album was included in the list of "The Definitive 200 Albums of All Time", released by The National Association of Recording Merchandisers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1974, the group Spooky Tooth disbanded. The members went on to fame elsewhere: Gary Wright as a solo artist with "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive," Henry McCullough as one of the guitarists for Wings, Mick Jones as the guitarist for Foreigner, and Chris Stainton as a sideman for Eric Clapton.

Frankie Valli released "My Eyes Adored You" in 1974.

Also in 1974, Billy Swan, a former member of Kris Kristofferson's band and writer of Clyde McPhatter's "Lover Please", has a US number one single of his own, "I Can Help." It reached #6 in the UK.

In 1975, Queen's, "Bohemian Rhapsody" hit number one in the UK, where it stayed until the end of January 1976, longer than any other song since Slim Whitman's "Rose Marie" in 1955. The promotional video that accompanied the song is generally acknowledged as being the first UK Pop video and cost £5,000 to produce.

In 1976, Jerry Lee Lewis visited Elvis Presley's Memphis home very early in the morning and was told that Elvis was asleep. Lewis returned after sunrise, invited there by Elvis himself, however not all of the Graceland security guards were told, and when Jerry Lee was again refused permission to enter, he allegedly brandished a gun and claimed he'd come to kill Presley. Lewis, who later said he was just making a joke, was promptly arrested.

In 1990, MTV banned Madonna's "Justify My Love" video because it contained brief nudity. It was also banned from regular rotation on MuchMusic in Canada. On December 3, 1990, ABC-TV's "Nightline" played the video in its entirety, then interviewed Madonna live about the video's sexual content and censorship.

In 1992, country music publisher/singer/fiddler (Wabash Cannonball) Roy Acuff, known as "The King of Country Music," died of heart failure at 89.

In 1994, songwriter Tommy Boyce committed suicide by shooting himself at his Nashville home. Besides writing "Last Train To Clarksville", "Valleri" and "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone" for The Monkees, Boyce and his partner Bobby Hart scored a number eight hit of their own with "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" in 1967.

In 1995, singer/saxophonist (What Does It Take To Win Your Love, Shotgun) Junior Walker of Jr. Walker and the All Stars died of cancer at age 64.

In 1998, the world's first portable mp3 player went on sale, despite strenuous objections from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). The unit cost $200 and could play about a dozen songs.

In 2001, singer O.C. Smith died at the age of 69. His biggest hits were two 1968 tunes, "The Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp" and the Grammy Award winning "Little Green Apples". Smith's final entry into the US Top 40 was 1969's "Daddy's Little Man", although the Soul-flavored "La La Peace Song" proved popular in 1974 and "Together" was a chart entry in 1977.

In 2002, Otis Redding's widow and his former manager sued Scott Freeman, author of a 2001 biography of the late singer. The book mentioned rumors that Redding's then-manager, with help from the mob, caused Redding's plane to crash in 1967 in order to collect on his life insurance. The lawsuit sought $15 million in damages and claimed that the book also detailed rumors about the R&B legend's drug use, extramarital affairs and divorce, causing "harm to the plaintiffs."

birthdays today include (among others): Sandra Stevens (Brotherhood of Man) (62), Bruce Hornsby (57), Ken Block (Sister Hazel) (45) and Charlie Grover (Sponge) (45)