Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wolfgang's Vault Opening Entire Concert Catalog For Downloads

The once controversial Wolfgang's Vault, which has amassed the largest collection of licensed streaming live recordings on the Internet, is about to make a treasure trove of those concerts available for downloading.

Beginning November 3, the site will add more than 1,000 titles from 919 artists to the approximately 500 that are currently available for purchase from the site's Concert Vault section, Bill Sagan, CEO and founder of Wolfgang's Vault LLC and its parent company, Norton LLC, announced.

The additions will include more than 160 Grateful Dead concerts as well as titles from artists such as Santana, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jethro Tull, Chicago, Miles Davis, Dolly Parton, Merle Travis and many others.

Leading up to the November 3 "Cracking the Vault Day" blowout, Wolfgang's Vault -- which recently logged its 100 millionth streamed show -- is offering a small amount of new shows twice weekly. The site just put up a Grateful Dead concerts (from May 15, 1970 at the Fillmore East in New York City); future releases include Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt (Oct. 2), Hall & Oates and Boz Scaggs (Oct. 6), Santana and Chicago (Oct. 9), Lou Reed (Oct. 13), Miles Davis, Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra (Oct. 16), Twisted Sister and the Ramones (Oct. 20), the Byrds, Dolly Parton and Waylon Jennings (Oct. 23), Cheap Trick (Oct. 27) and Mountain (Oct. 30). Newly streaming shows from Dylan and Pink Floyd will also become available on Oct. 30.

The download prices will run $7.98 and $8.98 for MP3s and $11.98 and $12.98 for Flac recordings. Wolfgang's vault will also introduce a $48 annual membership which includes a $50 gift certificate, discounts on recordings and memorabilia and unlimited higher-end 192k streaming.

Sagan says that the new rash of downloads are "the result of negotiating agreements with performers and record labels that not only acknowledge our ownership of this material but gives us rights to exploit it" in a variety of formats, including ringtones and satellite radio. Sagan estimates that through the acquisition of a dozen archives -- including Bill Graham Presents, the King Biscuit Flower Hour, Silver Eagle and the Festival Network -- since its inception in 2002, Wolfgang's Vault has amassed nearly 10,000 live shows, of which about 3,200 are currently streaming on the site.

The agreements including royalty payments in addition to the mechanical royalties the company routinely pays to publishers.

"The objective is that just about everything we stream we'll be able to download," Sagan says. "When we hit November 3, more than half the concerts will be available for download. By Christmas or slightly after Christmas, we'll be closer to three-quarters." Sagan also hopes to begin making video footage the company has acquired available on the site in the near future.

There are some holdouts to the downloading plan. Sagan says negotiations are continuing with big names such as Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, the Who and Dire Straits, and he's hopeful agreements will be reached with most of those in the near future.

In addition to the Concert Vault, Wolfgang's Vault also sells memorabilia, operates a Vault Radio network, displays music photography and publishes an online version of Crawdaddy magazine. It also operates what MacWorld magazine named the best all-around iPhone App earlier this year. The company's Daytrotter.com site, meanwhile, offers recordings by new, mostly independent bands.

AC/DC's New Boxset: It's a CD... It's DVD.....It's A Working Amp!!!

Columbia Records announces the release of Backtracks, the ultimate AC/DC collector's experience, available Tuesday, November 10. Arriving in two distinctly different fan-friendly editions, Backtracks spans the length and breadth of AC/DC's career, bringing together rare songs, hard-to-find live performances and the long-awaited debut of Family Jewels Disc 3, a DVD showcasing the group's music videos, live performances, and promotional clips from 1992-2009. (The original double-disc Family Jewels was named 2005's "DVD of the Year" by the UK's Classic Rock magazine while the RIAA certified the collection 10x Platinum for sales in excess of 1 million copies in the US alone.)

Manufactured in an exclusive run limited to 50,000 pieces, the deluxe collector's edition of Backtracks includes a CD of studio rarities, two CDs of live rarities, the Family Jewels Disc 3 DVD, the Live At The Circus Krone DVD, a front-row immersion in the band's scorching 2003 club show in Munich, Germany, and a 12" long-playing album, struck in 180 gram vinyl, of hard-to-find studio tracks. The limited edition Backtracks includes a five-disc media carrier to house and transport the set's three CDs and two DVDs.

In addition the deluxe collector's edition comes with a 164 page coffee table book and an Original Memorabilia Reproductions Envelope containing an astounding array of facsimiles including the "I DO IT FOR AC/DC" button (the band's very first tour merch), the 1976 "Lock Up Your Daughters" tour flyer, the Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap recording track sheet, a 2' x 3' 1977 Let There Be Rock European Tour poster, a Bon Scott parrot tattoo replica, an AC/DC logo guitar pick, an Australian Money Talks dollar, three b&w fine art lithographs of never-before-seen photos of the band in the Alberts Studio in 1977 and more.

The AC/DC deluxe collector's edition of Backtracks comes housed in a fully operational AC/DC guitar amplifier. The limited and numbered deluxe collector's edition of Backtracks can be exclusively pre-ordered through www.acdcbacktracks.com.

The three-disc standard version of Backtracks distills the electrifying essence of the deluxe set into one CD of studio rarities, one CD of hard-to-find live tracks, and the indispensable Family Jewels Disc 3 DVD.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bowie's "Reality Tour' Coming To CD

The most recent original full-length entries in the David Bowie catalog are his Reality studio album (released September 2003) and subsequent live DVD A Reality Tour (October 2004), which presented his world tour of October 2003 through June 2004.

It was the highest-grossing global tour of 2004 and one of the most critically acclaimed tours of Bowie’s career. It was hailed as “Best Tour: #2” in the “Critics’ Picks” section of Rolling Stone magazine’s “Music Awards 2003” poll (after Radiohead), with the rave, “Bowie keeps finding new ways to seduce a crowd and make fans come back for more.”

Now Bowie fans can rejoice over the news that A Reality Tour has finally been remastered as a double-CD. Sweetening the package are three bonus tracks performed on the tour but not included on the original DVD: “China Girl,” “Breaking Glass” and “Fall Dog Bombs The Moon.” The 33-song configuration will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting January 26, 2010.

With its iconic cover image of denim-clad David Bowie wielding his vintage black-and-white Supro Dual-Tone electric guitar, A Reality Tour has emerged as the definitive career overview. The songs that he ultimately chose for release weave through virtually every phase of his life, dating back to the title tune of his 1971 LP, The Man Who Sold The World.

The lion’s share of songs that Bowie performed on A Reality Tour (and chose for release) were drawn from his two most recent albums at the time, 2002’s Heathen (“Cactus” [written by Black Francis of the Pixies], “Sunday,” “Slip Away,” “Afraid,” and “Heathen [The Rays]”), and 2003’s Reality (“New Killer Star,” “Reality,” “The Loneliest Guy,” “Never Get Old,” “Bring Me the Disco King,”and “Fall Dog Bombs The Moon”).

In addition to Bowie, musicians on A Reality Tour include Gerry Leonard (band leader/guitar/vocals), Sterling Campbell (drums/vocals), Earl Slick (guitar), Gail Ann Dorsey (bass guitar/vocals), Catherine Russell (keyboards/vocals/percussion/guitar), and Mike Garson (keyboards).

Upcoming Radio Tribute To Legendary 10cc Alumnus Kevin Godley

Foremost internet radio program Listening Through A Glass Onyon, hosted by Billy James, will be paying tribute to legendary music artist and video producer extraordinaire Kevin Godley. This special edition of Listening Through A Glass Onyon will be aired on Sunday, October 4, 2009, at 12:00 pm EST (USA) / 5:00 pm (UK), and can be accessed at
www.GetReadyToRockRadio.com/glassonyon.htm.

The program will showcase music from various points in Godley's career - from Hotlegs to 10cc to Godley and Creme to his most recent celebrated collaboration with former 10cc partner Graham Gouldman, under the guise GG06.

Kevin Godley, former half of the pioneering duo Godley and Creme, has directed and produced some of the most successful music videos in rock and roll for such artists as Duran Duran, U2, Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, Rod Stewart, and The Police, to name just a few.

The six new GG06 tracks are graced with his tremendous voice - Kevin is arguably one of the great vocalists in music today. "I always figured Kevin had the best voice in the band," says Graham Gouldman, adding "ironic that he never sang lead on a 10cc single… Even I managed that. Now justice has been done. Kevin's voice and razor sharp lyrics take us places we haven't visited before… Always a good place to start!"

Godley and Gouldman's recent collaboration has been receiving rave reviews worldwide.

“Now with Gouldman being a legendary songwriter in the 60s, this was likely to be a melodic treat." says Stuart Hamilton of Zeitgeist. "And it is. Despite the years, he and Godley seem to bring out the best in each other, with Godley adding a bit of an edge and Gouldman smoothing the rougher edges away. But it's a much bleaker world they inhabit nowadays with tales of workplace ennui, rape, lost youth and bullying. Not a cheery place. But, despite the passing of time, Godley and Gouldman haven't forgotten how to write a hook, and it's to their credit that you still feel drawn to the material, regardless of the subject matter.”

The new GG06 tracks are currently only available for download from the duo's website at www.gg06.co.uk.

Listening Through A Glass Onyon is broadcast out of London the first Sunday of every month. Former shows include specials on Gregg Rolie (Santana/Journey), Gong and guitar legend Bruce Cameron.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lucy of Beatles’ ‘Lucy in the Sky ...’ Fame Passes

Lucy Vodden, who provided the inspiration for the Beatles' classic song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," has died after a long battle with lupus. She was 46.

Her death was announced Monday, September 28, by St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, where she had been treated for the chronic disease for more than five years, and by her husband, Ross Vodden. Britain’s Press Association said she died last Tuesday. Hospital officials said they could not confirm the day of her death.

Vodden's connection to the Beatles dates back to her early days, when she made friends with schoolmate Julian Lennon, John Lennon's son.

Julian Lennon, then 4-years-old, came home from school with a drawing one day, showed it to his father, and said it was "Lucy in the sky with diamonds."

At the time, John Lennon was gathering material for his contributions to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the landmark album released to worldwide acclaim in 1967.

The elder Lennon seized on the image and developed it into what is widely regarded as a psychedelic masterpiece, replete with haunting images of "newspaper taxis" and a "girl with kaleidoscope eyes."

Rock music critics thought the song's title was a veiled reference to LSD, but John Lennon always claimed the phrase came from his son, not from a desire to spell out the initials LSD in code.

Recent reunion

Vodden lost touch with Julian Lennon after he left the school following his parents' divorce, but they were reunited in recent years when Julian Lennon, who lives in France, tried to help her cope with the disease.

He sent her flowers and vouchers for use at a gardening center near her home in Surrey in southeast England, and frequently sent her text messages in an effort to buttress her spirits.

"I wasn't sure at first how to approach her," Julian Lennon told the Associated Press in June. "I wanted at least to get a note to her. Then I heard she had a great love of gardening, and I thought I'd help with something she's passionate about, and I love gardening too. I wanted to do something to put a smile on her face."

In recent months, Vodden was too ill to go out most of the time, except for hospital visits.

She enjoyed her link to the Beatles, but was not particularly fond of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

"I don't relate to the song, to that type of song," she told the Associated Press in June. "As a teenager, I made the mistake of telling a couple of friends at school that I was the Lucy in the song and they said, 'No, it's not you, my parents said it's about drugs.' And I didn't know what LSD was at the time, so I just kept it quiet, to myself."

Young deaths

Vodden is the latest in a long line of people connected to the Beatles who died at a relatively young age.

The list includes John Lennon, gunned down at age 40, manager Brian Epstein, who died of a drug overdose when he was 32, and original band member Stuart Sutcliffe, who died of a brain hemorrhage at 21.

A spokeswoman for Julian Lennon and his mother, Cynthia Lennon, said they were "shocked and saddened" by Vodden's death.

Angie Davidson, a lupus sufferer who is campaign director of the St. Thomas' Lupus Trust, said Vodden was "a real fighter" who had worked behind the scenes to support efforts to combat the disease.

"It's so sad that she has finally lost the battle she fought so bravely for so long," said Davidson.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Meat Loaf, Ace Frehley, Jon Anderson On Board For Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp

With back-to-school season in full swing, Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp is giving music fans the opportunity to learn from some of the most influential artists in the industry.

Multi-Platinum, Grammy® award-winning rock icon Meat Loaf will headline the November 2009 sessions. One of the most distinctive vocalists in rock history, Meat Loaf has sold over 70 million albums in a career spanning four decades. Bat Out Of Hell – the first album in his legendary trilogy – has alone sold more than 40 million copies, stayed on the charts for over nine years and routinely sells upwards of 200,000 copies annually.

Meat Loaf will share some of his wisdom with those attending Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. So is the singer nervous about teaching? "Oh no, I’m not nervous," the singer says. "I’ve been doing this 42 years, I know what I’m doing. If I went to fantasy law school or fantasy science school, yeah, I’d be in trouble."

Jon Anderson, lead vocalist for Yes, and lead guitarist Ace Frehley, a founding member of KISS, are two of the very special guest stars slated to appear at the November sessions and many of the camp’s favorite counselors will be returning, including Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters), Mark Hudson (producer/songwriter, Aerosmith), Elliot Easton (The Cars), Kenny Aronoff (John Fogerty), Danny Seraphine (Chicago), Bruce Kulick (KISS), Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne), Share Ross (Vixen) and Teddy Andreadis (Guns ‘n’ Roses). Ron Nevison, producer/engineer for the Who, the Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd, will be a guest.

"Although I can’t mention him by name, I’m ecstatic to announce that we've secured a legendary guitarist from one of rock’s most renowned bands to come and jam with the campers this November – and perform live with them at the Whisky A Go Go on closing night," says David Fishof, the producer of Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp is offering several options designed to suit a wide range of budgets and schedules – from a three-day camp (November 12-15) and a five-day camp (November 17-22) to the special "Rock Legend" package, which will encompass both camps plus the Rock 'n' Roll Golf Experience. Fans can also sign up for the golf tournament only and campers may bring a spouse with the reasonably priced "Groupie Package." The camp’s spring 2009 session with special guests Steven Tyler, Duff McKagan, Todd Rundgren and numerous other rock stars sold out, so campers are encouraged to sign up early.

Since 1997, Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp has been giving individuals – regardless of their musical ability – a once-a-lifetime opportunity to live like a rock star and jam with their idols. From the opening night party at the Gibson Showroom in Beverly Hills, intensive rehearsals with rock star counselors and jams, master classes and Q&A’s with rock legends to recording an original song at the historic Capitol Studios with legendary engineer/producer Eddie Kramer (Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix) and rocking the Sunset Strip’s Whisky A Go Go in a sold-out, closing night performance – it’s a dream come true for any music fan. Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp has been covered by The Today Show, Good Morning America, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure and was even featured in an episode of “The Simpsons.”

The first 2010 sessions are also on sale. Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp will return to Hollywood, CaLifornia, over Presidents Day weekend (with a choice of February 10-15 or February 12-15) followed by a session at Abbey Road Studios in London, England May 25th – 31st. To register for any of the sessions or to learn more, visit http://www.rockcamp.com or call 1-888-762-BAND.

AC/DC Postpone Six Shows Due To Singer’s Health

AC/DC have been forced to postpone six tour dates because frontman Brian Johnson is recovering from a medical procedure and his doctors have advised him to take time to rest. According to the band’s official Website, the group’s October 1st show in Phoenix will be postponed, along with gigs in Las Vegas, Louisville, Kansas City, Des Moines and Milwaukee. The Black Ice World Tour gets back on track October 16th in Washington, DC.

AC/DC kicked off their summer tour in late July in Boston, where they debuted their giant new stage and blasts of pyro, plus a set list jammed with classics like “Hells Bells” next to new tunes like “Rock N Roll Train.”

It’s been a rough year on the road for some of rock’s biggest names. Aerosmith’s summer tour was derailed by several medical problems, most recently Steven Tyler’s stage fall. In May, Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan skipped a few dates to have a tumor removed. Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee and Drake also had to skip out on show for health reasons, and of course, Poison’s Bret Michaels suffered the year’s most memorable injury when he was nailed in the head with a piece of scenery at the Tony Awards.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Leonard Cohen Performs In Israel Despite Political Controversy

Leonard Cohen wowed an adoring audience Thursday, September 24, crooning his iconic ballads at his first show in Israel in 30 years and ignoring a political storm over his appearance. The 75-year-old singer entertained fans at Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv. Some in the audience wore black fedora hats, a tribute to one of Cohen's trademarks.

The concert sparked a protest long before it took place on a warm night near the Israeli seashore. Some Palestinian activists called for a boycott because of Israel's punishing invasion of Gaza, aimed at stopping daily rocket attacks. More than 1,150 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed in the three-week offensive that ended in mid-January.

Cohen responded by offering to perform in the West Bank city of Ramallah as well. He said all proceeds from the shows would go to Israeli-Palestinian peace organizations.
But a pro-Palestinian group called "Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel" urged the singer to cancel the shows and launched a protest campaign.

"There are a lot of people who don't want us here, and anything done here invites controversy," Cohen's manager, Robert Kory, told The Associated Press. "But we believe freedom of speech is very, very important."

Kory said the singer established a foundation, "The Fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace," to distribute proceeds from the concert.

At an event launching the foundation before the concert, Israeli novelist David Grossman, whose son was killed in Israel's 2006 war in Lebanon, said he hoped for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. "We are here today to show that with a joint effort, we can redeem each other from this hate," he said.

"Cohen wants the money to go toward changing hearts and to bring peace," Kory said. He said most of the money will go to the Parents Circle, a joint Israeli-Palestinian group of bereaved parents that helps families from both sides who lost loved ones in the conflict.

Top international musicians are slowly returning to perform in Israel after years of staying away due to violence and political tensions. Madonna, Depeche Mode, Faith No More, and others have appeared this year.

The 47,000 tickets for Cohen's concert were snatched up within hours when they went on sale earlier this month. Prices ranged from $90 to $315.

Cohen was meticulously dressed in a tailored suit and hat, clutching the microphone as he sang but showing no apparent affects from an incident last week, when he fainted during a concert in Spain.

The Canadian songwriter, best known for his dark poetic lyrics, has been making music since the late 60's. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.

He has been on a worldwide tour since May 2008, and earlier this year played in Australia and Europe. After Israel, he goes on to perform at U.S. venues.

Cohen had to come out of retirement five years ago when he discovered that most of his retirement fund had disappeared in a disputed case of mismanagement while he spent time at a Buddhist monastery.

He last performed in Israel in 1975. Before that, Cohen entertained Israeli troops during the Mideast war in 1973.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pearl Jam On Track To No. 1 On Billboard

Pearl Jam is on course to nab its first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart in 13 years. Industry prognosticators suggest the band's new Backspacer, released on Sunday, September 20, could shift anywhere between 175,000 to 200,000 copies by week's end. That sales figure should easily place it ahead of the competition on next week's Billboard 200 chart.

The new album -- its first not with a major label -- is sold exclusively in the United States through Target, iTunes, Pearl Jam's Web site and independent retailers.

The group's last studio release, 2006's self-titled J Records set, bowed at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 279,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan in its first week. The band last graced the No. 1 slot way back in 1996, when No Code became its third chart-topper when it debuted in the penthouse.

Since No Code, the group has notched three No. 2 albums (Yield, Binaural and Pearl Jam) and a No. 5 set with Riot Act in 2002.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tom Petty Embarking On Virtual 'Superhighway' Tour For Live Release

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are going on tour this fall, but they'll be coming to a computer rather than a city near you.

To promote The Live Anthology, a box set due out November 24, Petty and company are launching the Superhighway Tour, an eight-week virtual experience. The "tour" begins at 10 a.m. EST on September 29; for $24.98, fans will receive 24 of the 48 tracks on the basic "Live Anthology" set over an eight-week period up to treasury's November 24, when "ticketholders" will receive the remaining songs from the box set.

Throughout the "tour" fans will also receive background information on the tracks, including band commentaries, reviews and other memorabilia. "Tickets" are available at tompettysuperhighwaytour.com.

The Live Anthology will feature concert recordings from 1978-2007, produced by Petty, Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Ryan Ulyate. In addition to Petty favorites it will also include covers such as the Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil," the Zombies' "I Want You Back Again," Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well," Booker T. and the MG's "Green Onions," James Brown's "Good Good Lovin'," the theme from the James Bond film Goldfinger and more.

The collection comes in three editions: the standard release, which includes 48 tracks on four CDs; a deluxe version exclusively at Best Buy that adds a fifth CD of live tracks as well as a Blu-Ray disc with all 62 tracks, DVD of a previously unreleased 1978 New Year's Eve concert in Santa Monica, Calif., a DVD of Martyn Atkins' unreleased 400 Days documentary from the 1995 Wildflowers tour and a vinyl copy of the 1976 "Official Live 'Leg" promotional album; and a vinyl box set with 51 tracks on seven 180-gram LPs and a deluxe book.

The Live Anthology is only the second official Petty live released on CD, following "Pack Up the Plantation: Live!" in 1985.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Announces Nominees For 2010 Induction

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the nominees for 2010 Induction!

The nominees are:
ABBA
The Chantels
Jimmy Cliff
Genesis
The Hollies
KISS
LL Cool J
Darlene Love
Laura Nyro
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Stooges
Donna Summer

Ballots will be sent to more than 500 voters, who will select artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 25th Annual Induction Ceremony on March 15, 2010 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

To be eligible for nomination into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an act must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination. This year’s nominees had to release their first single no later than 1984.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yes Announces U.K. Tour Plans With No Mention of Jon Anderson

Yes has announced that they are planning a U.K. tour in November. The tour is reported to consist of six dates with venues that include Birmingham Symphony Hall, London Hammersmith Apollo, Edinburgh Usher Hall, Newcastle City Hall, Manchester Apollo and Bristol Colston Hall.

Such an announcement is bound to start fans wondering about the status of Jon Anderson. It’s well known that Anderson and the rest of the group have had their problems, and although the door seemed to be open for Anderson to rejoin them, this brief U.K. tour will continue with the current lineup, which includes lead singer Benoit David filling in for Anderson since health issued sidelined him before the 40th anniversary tour.

Anderson did a bit of touring himself during the summer, which could be viewed as indication that he’s well enough to perform, but perhaps other issues stand in the way of his reunion with Yes. Perhaps there are even some contractual issues that need to be satisfied where Benoit David is concerned before Anderson can reclaim his position.

Whether or not personal issues standing in the way of Anderson’s return to Yes, or other complications, there is no word from either side regarding the issue. A check of Jon Anderson’s website and Facebook page do not offer any clues about his desires or intentions where the group is concerned.

One Facebook entry from June included the following quote from Anderson: "...Realize Yes music needs a voice...I’m ready..."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another Decade Of Hendrix Material In Vaults

Janie Hendrix, sister of Jimi Hendrix and president and CEO of Experience Hendrix, Inc., says there is at least "another decade" of material to be released from the Hendrix archives.

Hendrix said: "We probably have another decade of music, including video. Every 12 to 18 months, we'll continue to have new releases and Dagger official bootlegs. Jimi was a workaholic. After Electric Lady studios was built he was able to record constantly for as many hours as he wanted to. It's almost as if he knew he had only four years to accomplish everything that he did. We have an amazing amount of original masters, including a lot of material that hasn't been previously released."

Hendrix added that the tapes featuring the unreleased material are currently stored in two separate locations in the US.

"We keep them in a temperature-controlled vault. We have a set of everything in Los Angeles and a set in New York in the event of something catastrophic happening. We have duplicates of everything."

Leonard Cohen Returning To Tour After Onstage Collapse

Singer Leonard Cohen is expected to return to the stage after he collapsed during a concert in Spain on Friday (September 18) and was rushed to the hospital. The Canadian, who turns 75 on Monday, September 21, was halfway through a performance of his hit song "Bird On A Wire" at a show in Valencia when he fainted.

His manager told media that the singer had suffered a bout of food poisoning but had been reluctant to abandon the show. Cohen was released from hospital and was said to be recovering well at his hotel over the weekend.

Organizers of his tour say that he was expected to be well enough to perform in Barcelona on Monday at the Palau Sant Jordi stadium for the final show in his nine-concert Spanish tour. After Spain, Cohen is due to perform in Florida on October 17.

Cohen has been on tour since May, performing in Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, after coming out of retirement. He quit the music scene in the early 1990s and became a Buddhist monk but was forced out of retirement five years ago after losing his retirement savings.

He rose to fame in the 1960s with songs about sex, faith and betrayal performed in a deep baritone he once described in a song as "the gift of a golden voice." His best-known song, "Suzanne," was a hit for Judy Collins.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pearl Jam's 'Backspacer' Exclusively On MySpace

MySpace Music is exclusively premiering Pearl Jam's long awaited 9th studio album, Backspacer, days before it hits stores. To stream the album in its entirety for free visit the band's official MySpace profile at http://www.myspace.com/tenclub.

While you're there, be sure to check out the Backspacer Short mini-documentary about the making of Backspacer which captures the energy behind the creation of this album and features live performance cuts as well as the band's current hit single "The Fixer," which MySpace Music premiered back in July.

Backspacer, helmed by long-time Pearl Jam producer Brendan O' Brien, will be released in stores September 20th.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Aerosmith's Joe Perry Upset With Singer Steven Tyler

Aerosmith's guitarist Joe Perry has spoken of his irritation that the band have been forced to cancel their US and Canadian tour after frontman Steven Tyler fell offstage in August.

Perry said he was "upset" that the band had cancelled the tour, and explained that he has hardly spoken to the frontman since his accident.

"I haven't talked to him in over five weeks," he told the Associated Press. "I don't know what's going on with him. I hear he's getting better, but I don't know I really don't know what's going on with him."

Tyler's fall left him with injuries to his back and left shoulder.

Perry went on to state that he thinks Tyler needs to "get his act together" as the duo haven't written a song together in the last decade.

"All I know is he's got to get his act together. I mean, he and I haven't written a song together alone in the same room in over ten years, so there's been some changes in paradigm of what Aerosmith is," he said.

Last month, Tyler denied that there were any troubles in the band, telling Rolling Stone, "Shit's good".

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Springsteen, E-Street Band Taking Time Apart After Tour

After a three-year jag that's seen two solo albums and ping-ponging around the globe, the members of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band are is expecting some time off when their current North American run ends November 22 in Buffalo.

"We are gonna take, I don't know how long -- a year, year and a half, two years," guitarist Steven Van Zandt said during a conference call with reporters. "Up to now we've been working a lot, and it's great."

Springsteen told some European interviews earlier this year that his next project will be without the E Street Band, which has led to rumors this could well be the last E Street tour. Guitarist Nils Lofgren says nothing has been definitively discussed -- and that's nothing new.

"As far as I know we'll wrap up at Thanksgiving, and that'll be it for the time being," Lofgren said. "For 25 years since I joined up, my experience is that...at the end of the tour -- for instance, the 'Born in the U.S.A.' Tour -- that was it, no future plans. I got back to my solo thing...writing my next batch of songs and just get on with my musical life. And if there's another call and project, I'm honored to be a part of it."

Van Zandt added that, "You never know, do ya? It could be the last show, could be the last tour. You never know. We do every show like it's our last show, anyway. But don't wait around; if you're waiting to come see us, come now. This is a good time to see us."

A couple of the E Streeters are already plotting out their near-term futures. Saxophonist Clarence Clemons will publish a memoir, Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales -- co-written with Don Reo and featuring a foreword by Springsteen -- on October 21. And keyboardist Roy Bittan plans to finish a solo album, Out Of The Box that he started working on before 2007's Magic and plans to finish up and hopefully release in 2010.

"I'm gonna try to either get it out as an album or...get it into maybe some films," Bittan says. "All the pieces are very different...extremely eclectic. Some of it tinges a little on electronica, some of it is very classic...Spanish or Italian type music, a little Ennio Morricone. There's some rock happening, a little R&B. There's a lot of things maybe you woudn't expect from a guy who plays in E Street."

Springsteen and company's upcoming dates include front-to-back performances of Born To Run in Chicago (September 20) and Nashville (November 18), five final show at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert on October 29 in New York City.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mary Travers Of 'Peter, Paul and Mary' Passes

Mary Travers, a member of the Peter, Paul and Mary trio that played a prominent role in the 1960's folk music revival and helped popularize the work of such artists as Bob Dylan, has died, according to media reports.

The New York Times quoted Travers' spokeswoman, Heather Lylis, as saying the folk singer had died of cancer at a hospital in Danbury Connecticut. The Times said she was 72.

Travers, known for her strong voice and long, blonde hair performed alongside guitarists Peter Yarrow and Noel "Paul" Stookey in one of folk music's most popular acts.

The group's version of "Blowin' in the Wind" by a young Bob Dylan helped transform the song into a civil rights anthem and introduced his music to a wider audience.

The group also scored big hits with "If I Had a Hammer" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," co-written by folk artist Pete Seeger.

Among the group's other hits were "Lemon Tree," "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane."

The trio's members were also noted for their political activism. They performed at the 1963 civil rights March on Washington and at demonstrations protesting the Vietnam War.

Travers kept up her activism after Peter, Paul and Mary broke up in the early 1970s. She performed as a solo artist before the trio reunited later for benefits and other concerts.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Travers grew up in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. She was influenced at an early age by Woody Guthrie, the Weavers, Leadbelly and other major folk musicians.

"I was raised on Josh White, the Weavers and Pete Seeger," Travers told The New York Times in 1994. "The music was everywhere. You'd go to a party at somebody's apartment and there would be 50 people there, singing well into the night."

The Beatles Turn U.S. Charts Back To 1960s

The Beatles are boasting some of the best-selling albums on the U.S. pop charts as nostalgic fans continue to scoop up the Fab Four's much-hyped reissues. In all, the Beatles sold 626,000 albums during the week ended September 13, according to tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan. Up until then, they had sold 635,000 copies this year, a low tally by their standards as buyers held out until the September 9 release date.

As of last week, their best-seller 1969's Abbey Road, which moved 89,000 copies, making it the third-most-popular album in the United States. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, the 1967 release that often tops lists of the greatest albums of all time, was No. 5 overall with 74,000 copies.

But don't look for either album to appear on the benchmark Billboard 200 chart, which generally ranks only those albums released in the last 18 months -- not catalog items.

On Billboard's Top Catalog Album Chart, the Beatles claimed 15 of the top 18 places with their 13 studio albums, the Past Masters compilation reissue and the 2000 1 compilation. Michael Jackson was at No. 6, No. 15 and No. 16.

Behind Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper's were The Beatles with 60,000, Rubber Soul with 58,000, and Revolver with 46,000. All were among the 10 biggest albums in the United States. The least-popular Beatles reissue was Yellow Submarine with 14,000 copies.

The Beatles managed to log two new entries on the Billboard 200 -- the boxed sets containing all their albums. The new packages were offered in stereo and mono configurations, stirring up an intense debate about which one was better.

Consumers cast their votes for the stereo version, which sold 26,000 copies and landed at No. 15. The mono version, preferred by purists, ranked at No. 40 with 12,000 copies. Each boxed set counts as one unit.

The stereo version has 13 CDs plus Past Masters, while the mono version omits Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and Let It Be, which were recorded in stereo.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grateful Dead To Release Complete Winterland June 1977 Set

They just keep falling from the sky — Grateful Dead live CDs that is. But here’s a special set from 1977 — arguably one of the Dead’s most creative periods. The new nine-disc, 68-track Winterland June 1977: The Complete Recordings covers an epic three-night run — June 7, 8, 9 — restored using the Plangent Processes, and mastered to HDCD for an optimum listening experience.

Seasoned Deadheads know all too well that 1977 saw the band in constant motion. It was a year with a new album (Terrapin Station) on a new label (Arista) breathing life into incredible songs like “Terrapin Station,” “Estimated Prophet,” and “Fire on the Mountain.”

The first three months of 1977 were spent recording Terrapin Station with producer Keith Olsen. During this time, Jerry Garcia also completed The Grateful Dead Movie, which, as it so happens, was shot at Winterland. Some shows from ’77 have already been released in the Dick’s Picks Series and from Rhino, but this set could very well put the definitive stamp on a stellar year for the Dead.

Winterland June 1977 is a companion piece to last year’s Winterland 1973. It features archival packaging, cover art by Emek, a 28-page booklet by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, photos and a few other tidbits. A limited-edition bonus disc with selections from the never-circulated 5/12/77 show at Chicago’s Auditorium is also available to those pre-order at Dead.net. Sets are scheduled to ship October 1st.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Beatles Remasters Dominate U.K. Album Charts

On a new U.K. album chart otherwise dominated by Beatles remasters, 92-year-old Dame Vera Lynn became the oldest living artist to have a bestselling title We'll Meet Again - The Very Best Of Vera Lynn (Decca/Universal) climbed 2-1.

Former "forces' sweetheart" Lynn, who made her name entertaining the troops during World War II, had eight chart singles during the early years of that U.K. chart between 1952 and 1957, but had only appeared on the album survey twice before, when 20 Family Favorites reached No. 25 in 1981 and then when another collection also titled We'll Meet Again (after her best-known song) peaked at No. 44 in 1989. The previous record-holder as oldest album chart-topper was Bob Dylan, who assumed the role this past May with Together Through Life at 67.

But, of course, the real chart story belonged to the Fab Four, four of whose remastered albums reappeared in the U.K. Top Ten, with seven more inside the Top 40. They had 16 titles in the Top 60, breaking Elvis Presley's 1977 record of 14, according to U.K. Chart Company data, and also break the Monkees' record for a group of three simultaneous Top 10 titles, created in 1967. The top Beatles' re-entry was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at No. 5, compared to a No. 3 entry when the group's catalog was released on CD for the first time in 1987. Abbey Road was next to re-chart on the new survey at No. 6, with Revolver at No. 9 and Rubber Soul No. 10.

The two boxed sets of the entire catalog themselves made the chart, the stereo version at No. 24 and the mono edition at No. 57. Also making the top 40 were The Beatles (better known as The White Album) at No. 21, Help at No. 29, the Past Masters compilation at No. 31, Magical Mystery Tour (33), A Hard Day's Night (37) and Please Please Me (38). Then came Let It Be at No. 49, With The Beatles (51), the 1 retrospective (not part of this reissue series) at No. 54and Beatles For Sale (56). The only title in the new campaign not to make the top 75 was Yellow Submarine at No. 89; the individual 1999 Songtrack remaster of that soundtrack had reached No. 8.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

U2 Kicks Off North American Tour In Chicago

Declaring that "all you need is love -- and a spaceship," U2 brought its 360 Tour to North America on Saturday night (September 12) with the first of two shows at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Playing its first full-scale U.S. concert since 2006 before a packed house, the Irish quartet presented a 23-song, two-hour and 15-minute show that followed the mold set by the European leg of the tour earlier in the summer. And like those dates, the star of the show was The Claw, the 164-foot-tall, space-age, crustacean-like stage that houses a variety of visual effects that U2 frontman Bonn told the crowd "we built..to bring us closer to you" via a series of ramps and bridges, as well as a large circular video screen that expanded and contracted, accordion-style. Even drummer Larry Mullen, Jr., was able to play to all sides of the stadium via a rotating platform for his kit.

But unlike previous stadium tours such as 1992's Zoo TV Outside Broadcast and the 1997-98 Popmart trek, neither U2 nor its songs was dwarfed by the visual spectacle. Rather, The Claw and its components enhanced the songs, which included seven from the group's latest album, "No Line on the Horizon" -- four of which opened Saturday's show -- and a careful selection from U2's 29-year recording catalog. "The Unforgettable Fire" and "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" remained in the set after more than a decade and a half away each, while "Elevation" and "Bad" were special "treats," the latter concluding with snippets of the Rolling Stones' "Fool to Cry" and U2's own "40." The group also slipped a bit of the Beatles' "Blackbird" into "Beautiful Day," Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" into "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Oliver's Army" by Elvis Costello into "Sunday Bloody Sunday," which was accompanied by video images of this year's violent Iranian election protests.

The emotional high point, however, was "Walk On," dedicated, as usual, to imprisoned Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi. It was performed while three-dozen "volunteers" stood on the lower stage ramp holding masks bearing her likeness in front of their faces and was followed by a powerful version of "Where the Streets Have No Name." The tour program also included Suu Kyi masks for audience members to wear.

Bono also celebrated the tour's opening locale, telling the Chicagoans "there is nowhere else we'd want to be this evening than hear, the heart of America" and claiming "small part" for the Irish in the city's "majestic skyline." "We're the wind in the Windy City," he noted, subsequently explained a lack of humility by explaining that, "When you put this band with this crowd, there is no room for modesty. Anything is possible."

U2 will be in North America until October 28, when the tour wraps in Vancouver. The group's 2010 itinerary has not been revealed, but it's expected to return to North America in June and July, then reprise Europe in August and September before heading to South America later in the year.

The set list for U2's North American opening night included:

"Breathe"
"No Line on the Horizon"
"Get On Your Boots"
"Magnificent"
"Beautiful Day"
"Elevation"
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
"Stuck In a Moment You Can't Get Out Of"
"Unknown Caller"
"The Unforgettable Fire"
"City of Blinding Lights"
"I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (Redanka remix)"
"Sunday Bloody Sunday"
"Pride (In the Name of Love)"
"MLK"
"Walk On"
"Where The Streets Have No Name"
(encore)
"One"
"Bad"
(encore)
"Ultraviolet (Light My Way)"
"With or Without You"
"Moment of Surrender"

Herbie Hancock Enlists Dave Matthews, Jeff Beck For 'Imagine' Project

After Herbie Hancock won the 2008 album of the year Grammy Award for River: The Joni Letters, he did what anyone would do after a tremendous professional accomplishment: He sat down to watch TV. As Hancock watched the PBS documentary Journey of Man, which traces the human migration out of Africa through genetic markers in the population today, he started crying. He remembers tears running down his face as he watched, awed at the biological interconnectedness of mankind, and he immediately decided he had to explore this theme in his next project.

To create Herbie Hancock's Imagine Project, the jazz legend is traveling the globe recording songs in the home countries of more than a dozen musicians, including Anoushka and Ravi Shankar in Mumbai, India; Jeff Beck in London; Dave Matthews in San Francisco; and Oumou Sangaré in Bamako, Mali. But this isn't a run-of-the-mill musical ethnography: Hancock and each artist will collaborate on an original composition, mixing languages and musical styles from their respective countries, and each will speak to a broader theme of music transcending borders.

While a label and theatrical distributor is yet to be announced for the project, both the album and an accompanying documentary film are expected in first-quarter 2010. Hancock anticipates that he will remix the tracks on the album and make those versions of the songs available online. Plans are in the early stages to produce additional online video content from the documentary, and special concerts with project participants are in the works. Larry Klein, the veteran who produced Hancock's River, will serve as the album's producing consultant, while Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (2008's Taxi to the Dark Side, which won the Oscar for best documentary feature) will produce the film.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Renaissance Celebrate 40 Years As 'Classical Rock' Pioneers

In celebration of their 1969 formation, English "classical rock" pioneers Renaissance are embarking on a special 40th Anniversary fall concert tour to re-introduce to new generations the lush, orchestral favorites that made them a staple of 1970s progressive rock radio.

Led by Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford, the voice and principal songwriter, respectively, of the band’s most popular lineup, RENAISSANCE 2009 will embark on a nine-city U.S. East coast tour of theaters and performing arts centers that commences October 6 in Annapolis, MD. Stops include New York, Philadelphia and Washington, home to the nation’s top progressive rock stations during the classic Renaissance era.

"I'm thrilled to be performing these truly unique masterpieces again," says Haslam, whose five-octave voice is one of the most legendary in rock history. “These songs are a big part of my life and I will sing my heart out."

Joining Haslam and Dunford are keyboardist Rave Tesar and bassist/vocalist David J. Keyes, both of whom were previous members of Renaissance and the Annie Haslam Band, plus keyboardist/vocalist Tom Brislin (Yes, Debbie Harry, Meat Loaf, Francis Dunnery) and drummer/percussionist Frank Pagano (Bruce Springsteen, Smashing Pumpkins, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow).

Together, these world class musicians will revisit the symphonic textures, stunning vocals and poetic lyrics that embody the band’s hauntingly compelling international themes, with fresh interpretations of their most admired compositions. “Carpet of the Sun,” “Ocean Gypsy,” “Mother Russia,” "Ashes Are Burning," “Running Hard,” “Prologue,” and "Northern Lights" are central to Renaissance’s most prolific period (1972-78), which produced the albums Prologue, Ashes Are Burning, Turn Of The Cards, Novella, Scheherazade And Other Stories, and A Song For All Seasons, as well as Live At Carnegie Hall (1976), the deluxe two-disc set recently reissued.

Renaissance originally rose from the ashes of the Yardbirds, with Haslam and Dunford joining at the dawn of the 1970s to define their work with folk rock and classical fusions, including quotations from and allusions to, such composers as Bach, Chopin, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff. It wasn’t long before influential progressive rock FM stations like WNEW (New York), WMMR (Philadelphia) and WHFS (Washington) were turning on America to Renaissance, while the band was thrilling concertgoers on the world’s most distinguished stages, from Carnegie Hall in New York City to the Royal Albert Hall in London.

"We've wanted to bring these songs to American audiences again and now with these great musicians," adds Michael Dunford, "I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation."

RENAISSANCE 2009 40TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR DATES:

October 6 - Annapolis, MD - Rams Head Onstage
October 8 - Rochester, NY - German House Theatre
October 9 - New York, NY - Concert Hall at New York Society for Ethical Culture
October 11 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
October 12 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
October 13 - Albany, NY - The Egg – Center for Performing Arts
October 14 - Harrisburg, PA - Whitaker Center
October 16 - South Orange, NJ - South Orange Performing Arts Center
October 17 - Atlantic City, NJ - Xanadu Theater at Trump Taj Mahal

Look for Renaissance on the web at:
www.myspace.com/renaissanceofficial
www.anniehaslam.com
www.nlightsweb.com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Phil Collins Hangs Up The Drums

Phil Collins has revealed he will never drum again because he is suffering from a painful spine injury. The Genesis singer/drummer can't even hold his sticks after years of sitting in front of a drum kit.

Collins, 58, whose solo hits include "In The Air Tonight," said: 'After playing drums for 50 years, I've had to stop. My vertebrae have been crushing my spinal cord because of the position I drum in. It comes from years of playing. I can't even hold the sticks properly without it being painful, I even used to tape the sticks to my hands to get through."

But this is not the end of his music career. "I can still sing," he said.

Collins also hinted that the Prince's Trust series of all-star rock concerts could be resurrected. The Prince's Trust Rock Gala was held for the first time in 1983 at London's Dominion Theatre. A show held five years later at the Royal Albert Hall was recently released on DVD, and Collins has been watching it with his children. The concerts featured performers including Collins, Eric Clapton, Sir Elton John, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, The Bee Gees and Ultravox's Midge Ure.

Collins said there had been discussions about reviving the Prince's Trust concerts.
Speaking at a celebrity reception hosted by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Highgrove, he said: "It's fantastic to see Bryan Adams here today, he performed too, but there was a core group, the house band, which was me, Eric, Elton, Sting, Midge and Mark Knopfler. I think there is talk of trying to do another one. We built up a live reputation, but people don't wait to see people live now like they used to. There is music on tonnes of television channels and that means we hear a record constantly for a month and then don't hear from the act."

Beatlemania Strikes Again With CDs, Video Game

A wave of "Beatlemania" struck Britain's streets as a specially remastered edition of the Fab Four's albums was released on Wednesday, September 9, complete with an interactive video game for a new generation of fans.

The Beatles remasters are expected to dominate the charts in the United States and Britain, bringing a windfall to the group's label EMI Music and the Beatles' company, Apple Corps.

While queues formed at major music stores in London, there was also Beatles nostalgia across Europe and parts of Asia.

A front page cartoon in France's Le Monde newspaper showed France's divided opposition leaders dressed as Beatles. "It would be nice if we played the same music," says one. "All you need is love," replied another.

In Ireland, a radio station hosted a karaoke event with people invited to sing and play Beatles tunes on guitar.

Ahead of the launch, Beatles singer and songwriter Paul McCartney wrote a letter to Britain's biggest selling daily newspaper saying how he once imagined the band, which changed the face of popular music in the 1960s, would only last a couple of years.

"Now it feels like the Beatles will go on forever," he wrote in The Sun, nearly 50 years after the group was formed.

While the remastered catalog, its first overhaul since 1987, is seen appealing mainly to Beatles' fans who would appreciate subtle variations and improvements, most excitement surrounds MTV's video game, The Beatles: Rock Band.

"I'm buying the game," said Stefan Krupicki, 32, who queued for an hour at the launch at the HMV store in central London and declared himself more a fan of Metallica than the Beatles. "I just want to try the game and see how it is going to work."

Developed by Harmonix Music Systems, published by Viacom's MTV Games and distributed by Electronic Arts, analysts say the game could sell 2 million units in the first month.

In New York's Times Square, Ken Zemsky, 56, picked up several copies of the game for his three children aged 12 to 20. "It's going to be a Christmas present," he said, after waiting in a short line at Toys "R" Us. "I thought I'd get it early in case the game sold out."

Although Zemsky said he rarely played video games, "I may play this one a little, but I'll really enjoy listening to the music while I watch them play."


Meanwhile, The remasters comprises 14 stereo and 11 mono Beatles albums, with track listings and artwork as originally released in Britain.

Allan Rouse, who oversaw the remastering, said improved computer software had allowed his team to improve the quality and sound of the Beatles' catalog, including the removal of bad edits, electrical clicks and sibilance.

The remasters should boost CD sales in an era when songs are often downloaded online and fans can choose their favorite tracks. But the Beatles appear set to move into the digital age -- with some of their music likely to be made available as downloadable content for the video game.

"I'm probably not going to buy the album. I'll probably download it because it's free," said Robert Gold, 21, who works at a clothing store in central London.

Fans of arguably the world's most successful pop band, with album sales of more than 600 million worldwide, have waited for years to be able to download the Beatles' coveted body of work, but have been frustrated partly by a trademark dispute.

The game, which offers 45 songs from the band's catalog, has won rave reviews from critics.

Gennaro Castaldo of HMV said the significance of the Beatles release was the introduction of a new generation of fans worldwide to the group's music.

"Music-based franchises such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero now sell in the tens of millions and have huge family appeal," said Castaldo, "which is why the release of Beatles Rock Band, combined with the simultaneous release of the remastered Beatles albums, promises to be such a global event."

With video game sales falling in the United States, the makers of the game hope to appeal to older consumers whose love of the music may draw them into gaming.

However, Jeff Howells, a 36-year-old civil servant, said he was at the launch to get the discs.

"I'm not interested in the game; quite a few people are not, I suspect. I think most people will be interested in the music. The game is just a nice little fad -- I don't think it will last."

Rolling Stones To Release Deluxe 'Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out'

Never mind the false rumors regarding the departure of drummer Charlie Watts -- The Rolling Stones are alive and kicking. Hot on the heels of news that the iconic outfit may be teaming up with Jack White for its next studio album comes word that the Stones are set to release a 40th anniversary, expanded edition of their classic 1970 live album, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out.

Recorded over two nights at Madison Square Garden in 1969, the effort is considered the band’s first official full-length live release. Forty years later, the set will be packaged as a deluxe box set and a super deluxe box set. Basically, for many Stones fans, this is the expanded edition they’ve been hoping and praying for. And when you look at the track listing, it’s hard to blame them.

The set consists of a remastered disc of the original LP as well as a disc of five previously songs that were left off of the original release, including “Prodigal Son,“ “You Gotta Move,” “Under My Thumb,” “I’m Free,” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The third CD encompasses unreleased performances by the shows’ openers B.B. King and Ike & Tina Turner with five songs from the former and seven songs from the latter.

Also included will be a film of the same title by filmmakers Albert and David Maysles, which will offer full-length performance footage of the five aforementioned previously unreleased songs, a sequence with Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, and Jack the donkey during the cover shoot for the album, in addition to backstage “tête-à-têtes” between Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and Mick Taylor.

The deluxe edition will also pack a 56-page Collectors Edition book featuring photos and an essay by Ethan Russell, as well as the original Rolling Stone review by Lester Bangs, and a replica of the original Stones ’69 tour poster by David Byrd. Plus, there will be a code in a limited number of box sets enabling fans to download “I’m Free” for Guitar Hero 5.

The super deluxe edition includes all of the above with the addition of three vinyl LPs, one of which has etched images featuring the cover art and the Rolling Stones’ signatures.

The deluxe edition will hit shelves first on Novemeber 3rd, with the super deluxe edition following on November 17th. Both will be released through ABKCO Records. No word on the pricing for the two releases, but check out the complete track listing below.

Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out 40th Anniversary track list:

Disc 1:
01. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
02. Carol
03. Stray Cat Blues
04. Love In Vain
05. Midnight Rambler
06. Sympathy For The Devil
07. Live With Me
08. Little Queenie
09. Honky Tonk Women
10. Street Fighting Man

Disc 2: unreleased Rolling Stones tracks
01. Prodigal Son
02. You Gotta Move
03. Under My Thumb
04. I’m Free
05. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Disc 3: B.B. King (1-5) / Ike & Tina Turner (6-12)
01. Everyday I Have The Blues
02. How Blue Can You Get
03. That’s Wrong Little Mama
04. Why I Sing The Blues
05. Please Accept My Love
06. Gimme Some Loving
07. Sweet Soul Music
08. Son Of A Preacher Man
09. Proud Mary
10. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
11. Come Together
12. Land Of 1000 Dances

DVD:
01. Prodigal Son
02. You Gotta Move
03. Under My Thumb
04. I’m Free
05. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Beatles For A New Generation

After months of anticipation and hype, the Beatles' 2009 Remasters are here. Fans the world over are undoubtedly scooping up box sets if they can find them, selecting individual titles to suit their tastes, and getting their CD players ready for a round-up.

As if spruced up Beatle music wasn't enough, The Beatles: Rock Band, a new music video game developed by Harmonix Music Systems, is also here and ready to recruit a whole new generation of Beatle fans. It might even convert a few old Beatles fans into gamers! Either way, we have something to say and show about all of it. See below:

  • Vintage Rock CD Review: 2009 Remasters
  • Vintage Rock Commentary: The Beatles Meet Rock Band
  • Vintage Rock Video: 2009 Remasters
  • Vintage Rock Widget: The Beatles Rock Band
  • Vintage Rock DVD Review: The Beatles ~ Rare & Unseen
  • The Beatles Collection
  • Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    The Beatles' 'Rock Band': How The Fab Four Went Digital

    Paul DeGooyer is tired -- for good reason. It's about two weeks before the release of MTV's The Beatles: Rock Band, and DeGooyer, senior VP of electronic games and music for MTV Networks Music Group, has been traveling to New York, Boston, Los Angeles and London since 2007 to work on the project.

    He's conducted delicate negotiations with surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison; hammered out essential licensing deals with executives at Sony/ATV and EMI Music, which treat the Beatles catalog with almost reverent care, and overseen the development of new technologies to meet the high expectations of all involved.

    "It's been a bit of a blur," he says, the fatigue obvious in his voice as he speaks from his New York office.

    To all involved -- MTV, its game development subsidiary Harmonix, EMI, Sony/ATV, the remaining band members and the families of all -- the end result of all this time, effort and frustration is much more than just a videogame. It's the latest contribution to the hallowed cannon of what many consider to be the world's greatest band.

    "It's really about a new way to play with the Beatles' music than it is a new 'Rock Band' game," DeGooyer says with quiet humility. "If we did our jobs right, it is an authentic piece of the Beatles' catalog of work, and that sounds kind of crazy because it's a videogame.

    This point became crystal clear to DeGooyer when, after first pitching the concept to the band and surviving family members two years ago, they insisted on including music from every stage of the Beatles' career -- something that wasn't as easy as it sounds, given the primitive way the band recorded its early work.

    On "Taxman," for example, the drums and guitar were recorded on the same track. But "Rock Band" needs to devote a separate audio track to each instrument, so MTV had to figure out how to split those tracks into separate files in order to include the earlier songs in the game. Failure would mean losing the band's blessing -- and thus the project.

    Thankfully, MTV and Harmonix were able to enlist the help of Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George Martin, who had access to the Beatles' master recordings and had just cataloged them while working on the Grammy Award-winning Love project for Cirque du Soleil. He developed a filtering method that split these instruments into separate tracks.

    With that hurdle passed, MTV could have just plowed forward with the simple act of licensing. Instead the team brought in Martin Bandier and Peter Brodsky, Sony/ATV's CEO and executive VP of business and legal affairs, respectively; and Cynthia Sexton, executive VP of global brand partnerships at EMI, into the planning and development process along with the Apple Corps shareholders.

    "While it was critical to work with Apple and the Beatles, we didn't want to take for granted the other rights holders would go along with them," DeGooyer says. "They all needed to understand exactly what we were doing and have input. When you have that many rights holders involved in a catalog, it's not obvious that their interests align at all points."

    The results of this process are evident in the game. In addition to the 45 songs from the band's catalog -- more from one act than any other music-based game yet released -- the title brings a level of detail not yet seen in a music-based game. Each band member is animated in striking detail, down to the way their eyes and hair move while playing.

    Scenes of the Beatles' performances in Liverpool's Cavern Club and New York's Shea Stadium include the actual crowd noise from each venue. The game's re-creation of the Beatles recording in Abbey Road's famed Studio 2 includes never-before-heard banter among the band as it recorded its later work. Trivia about the act is included as unlockable bonus material, along with previously unreleased photos, audio and video.

    Perhaps most remarkably, the Beatles will allow fans to buy at least a portion of their music in digital form as extra downloadable content for the game, starting with Abbey Road October 20 and followed by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Rubber Soul in November and December, respectively.

    "Everyone realized doing this game was really a significant event in bringing the Beatles into the 21st century," Sony/ATV's Bandier says. "This is an enormous opportunity, because for a moment in time, it will be the only legitimate place where you can get the music in a digital form."

    Monday, September 7, 2009

    Steve Vai Movie Premiere, Celebrity Auction In Hollywood

    Grammy-award winning guitarist Steve Vai’s premiere screening of his concert film Steve Vai Live In Minneapolis: Where The Wild Things Are at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on September 15. Attendees will have the rare opportunity to view the concert film in its entirety and also listen to Vai and his band members discuss the making of the film, as well as the behind-the-scenes details of the tour.

    The screening will be open to the public and proceeds from the event will benefit Hollywood Arts, an arts academy that provides creative and commercial art instruction to homeless and at-risk youth. Vai has been a member of the board of directors for Hollywood arts since 2007.

    Celebrities such as Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, Niko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and many others have donated signed items for a silent auction that will be held at the Egyptian on the night of the screening as well as an eBay auction to help raise funds and awareness for Hollywood Arts. Visit www.favorednations.com/auction to view some of the auction items.

    Saturday, September 5, 2009

    Deep Purple Replace Oasis At European Gigs

    Deep Purple were roped in at the last minute to replace Oasis for two shows in Europe.

    They headlined the Rock-am-See open air festival at the Bodenseestadion in Germany on August 29, and the Milano Urban Festival in Italy the next night. But given that these were supposed to be Oasis shows, the support bill was a little strange, featuring The Kooks, The Hives and Kasabian among others.

    Despite playing to what was obviously an Oasis crowd, Purple apparently survived the experience, ready for their UK tour in November. Rumors that they’re planning to do a song called "Highway Supersonic Star" can be discounted, although like the Gallagaher brothers, the feuding between present and past Purple stalwarts Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore shows no sign of abating.

    Friday, September 4, 2009

    Keith Richards On Jack White, New Stones Album

    If Keith Richards has his way, the Rolling Stones will start working on a new record next year. “I’m trying to gather the boys together,” he says. “One way or another, I’ll get them back in line.” In the meantime, the guitarist recently recorded songs with Jack White. “I enjoy working with Jack,” Richards says. “We’ve done a couple of tracks.”

    Might White produce the Stones record? “I couldn’t fuel that rumor any more than to say Jack and I are in touch,” says Richards. Meanwhile, Mick Jagger and Richards are sorting through outtakes from 1972’s Exile On Main Street for a forthcoming deluxe edition of the LP. “There’s new songs on there, stuff we’ve forgotten about,” Richards says. “Mick and I were looking at each other like, ‘Ah, did we do that?’”

    Finally, Keith is still working on his long-awaited autobiography. “I’m working on it with James Fox,” he says. “I’m trying to remember things, which is very difficult.”

    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Kiss' 'Modern Day Delilah' Lands On Billboard's Heritage Rock Chart

    Kiss ends a 10-year absence from Billboard's rock airplay charts, as their new single "Modern Day Delilah" debuts at No. 26 on the Heritage Rock survey. Not a bad birthday present for the legendary group's Gene Simmons, who turned 60 on August 25.

    Kiss' Billboard chart history dates to April 20, 1974, when its self-titled set first appeared on the Billboard 200. The act will log its 33rd charting title following the October 6 release of the Walmart exclusive Sonic Boom, the band's first offering of new material this decade.

    Kiss' last album, 1998's Psycho Circus, became its highest-charting on the Billboard 200 (No. 3) and produced its first airplay chart No. 1. The title cut led Heritage Rock for four weeks and Mainstream Rock for one frame.

    In a press release, Simmons sticks to the group's trademark understated and unassuming nature. "Sonic Boom may be the best new record we've done since (1976's) Destroyer! It is Rock And Roll Over meets Love Gun. The world's biggest retailer had better get ready for the hottest band in the world and hire more cashiers before October 6th!"

    Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    Rolling Stones Official Denies Charlie Watts Quitting Band

    Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts has not quit the band, a spokeswoman said, denying a news report from Australia. The report, from the normally credible online outlet Undercover, stirred up a worldwide panic among fans, since Watts' departure would likely mean the end of the venerable group.

    "Contrary to a fabricated story that ran this morning on a small music web site in Australia, drummer Charlie Watts has not left The Rolling Stones," spokeswoman Fran Curtis said in an emailed statement.

    The Undercover report, attributed to "a source within the Stones inner-circle says," said Watts will never record or tour with the band again. It said the Stones were looking to replace him with New York session drummer Charlie Drayton, who has played on solo projects with Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

    The Rolling Stones, which Watts joined in 1963 after a stint in the advertising world, have not released a new album since 2005's poor-selling "A Bigger Bang." Their last tour ended in London in August 2007. Future plans are unknown.

    Watts, 68, does not contribute to the songwriting, but his spare, jazz-influenced drumming style is considered key to the band's success. He is closely involved in the design of the band's stage sets and merchandising, and gets the loudest cheers when the four members are introduced in concert.

    He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2004, but it went into remission, and the band embarked on a three-year world tour the following year. During the 1980s, the famously clean-living drummer fought a drug addiction at a time when the band had essentially broken up.

    Watts has traditionally been the most reluctant to tour, since he hates to leave his wife and Arabian horses at the couple's horse-breeding farm in Devonshire. The media-shy grandfather generally avoids the spotlight, and seems disdainful of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

    "Worked five years, and 20 years hangin' around," he glumly told a TV reporter while on tour during the 1980s.

    Watts' eccentricities are part of the band's legend, such as tales that he owns a huge vintage-car collection but not a driver license, and allows horses to wander through the house. He also has a darker side, once punching Mick Jagger almost unconscious after the singer referred to him as "my drummer."

    Rolling Stones Guitarist Ronnie Wood Splits $37M In Divorce

    It's officially all over now for Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and his soon-to-be-ex-wife Jo Wood, the former model who is getting half the aging rocker's fortune. The out-of-court divorce settlement has Jo, 53, splitting Wood's estimated worth of about $37 million down the middle.

    She also gets the family's mansion in Kingston, England - worth around $19 million, plus a monthly allowance. But Jo, who will be a contestant on the BBC show "Strictly Come Dancing" next week, apparently can't get no satisfaction from the deal - not until she totally sticks it to her estranged hubby, who left her for another woman.

    Friends say Jo is also demanding Wood sell his estimated $6.4 million home in County Kildare, Ireland, as part of the settlement. The reason?

    It's where the 62-year-old Wood is said to have fallen in love with his latest squeeze, 20-year-old Russian waitress Katia Ivanova.

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Mark Knopfler Hopes To 'Get Lucky' With New Album, Tour

    With his sixth solo studio album, Get Lucky, coming September 15, Mark Knopfler is plotting out tour plans for 2010.

    "It'll be four, five months," he says. "Springtime -- April, May -- in the U.S., and June and July in Europe. And I'd like a week at the Royal Albert Hall (in London). Just doing a week is nice; it's not too far from where I live, and it's a good atmosphere in there."

    Knopfler will be using the same group of players who were part of Get Lucky and most of his recent albums -- "It's like a great little ship out there that I get to be the captain of," he says -- and he adds that the opportunity to hit the road has become one of the lures to keep recording and releasing new albums these days.

    "I do get a lot of pleasure form touring and playing live," Knopfler says. "It's kind of an affirmation. It's certainly something I don't have to do financially; I just do it because I have a compulsion to out and play every now and again, and it's an important part of what a traveling musician does. It's enjoyable just taking a look at everything and doing various things with the songs and working them up in different ways. It's very enjoyable."

    Knopfler is anxious to play the news songs from Get Lucky, which he recorded at his award-winning British Grove Studios in West London, but he promises that he'll still dip generously into the hits, especially from his Dire Straits catalog.

    "When I'm playing the old Dire Straits stuff...these (songs) have become like milestones for people, and when you play them you have to pay attention to that," Knopfler explains. "I never like to play things the same, but with, like, 'Brothers in Arms,' the first four notes I probably do play them the same because they've become part of this fabric and the way people live with the song. And the end of 'Sultans of Swing,' I've tried doing different things but if you don't go back to the exact same set of notes that they know from the album, things just don't seem right with the world. So I try to be somewhat aware of that."

    Get Lucky is the follow-up to 2007's Kills To Get Crimson, which debuted at No. 26 on the Billboard 200. Proceeds from the first single, "Remembrance Day," are going to the Poppy Appeal, which supports the Royal British Legion, an organization for present and former members of the British armed services.