Thursday, January 31, 2013

'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy' Singer Patty Andrews Dies At 94

Singer Patty Andrews, 94, died on Wednesday at her home in Northridge, California. She was the last surviving member of the 1940s sibling supergroup The Andrews Sisters.

Patty and her sisters LaVerne and Maxene produced several hit songs, including "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" and "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time," which turned them into the sweethearts of U.S. troops serving overseas during World War Two.

The Andrews Sisters were the most successful female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century. One source lists 113 singles chart entries between 1938-1951, an average of more than eight per year.

The Andrew Sisters also performed with big band leaders Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Bob Crosby and Desi Arnaz as well as Bing Crosby, Al Jolson and Jimmy Durante.

In addition to singing, the sisters starred in films such as "Buck Privates" and "The Road to Rio," opposite Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.

The trio kept performing together until LaVerne's death in 1967. Patty and Maxene parted ways for a while but reunited in 1974 for the Broadway show "Over Here!" Maxene died in 1995.

Patty's first husband, Martin Melcher, went on to become actress Doris Day's manager and husband. Patty later wed the Andrews Sisters' pianist and later manager, Walter Weschler, in 1952.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Women's International Music Network Hosts WiMN At NAMM

More than 250 music industry professionals attended the first annual Women’s International Music Network (The WiMN) breakfast and She Rocks Awards on Friday, Jan. 25 during the 2013 NAMM show in Anaheim, CA, held in partnership with NewBay Media.

Hosted by Laura B. Whitmore, founder of the Women’s International Music Network, producer of the Women’s Music Summit, and writer of Guitar World’s "Guitar Girl’d" column, the awards paid tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry.

“It was exhilarating to have so many talented and dedicated women join us for this ground breaking event,” said Whitmore. “I was truly moved by the support and enthusiasm so many shared for the launch of the Women’s International Music Network and She Rocks Awards. There is no doubt we will be back for the 2014 Winter NAMM show.”

Honorees included producer, songwriter and artist Holly Knight, who received the “Mad Skills” award; guitar prodigy Orianthi, who received the “Inspire” award; President of Daisy Rock Girl Guitars Tish Ciravolo, who received the “Vision“ award; President of Peavey Electronics Mary Peavey, who received the “Icon” award; Senior Vice President of Operations for Guitar Center Laura Taylor, who received the “Champion” award; Musicians For Equal Opportunities for Women (MEOW) Founder Carla DeSantis Black, who received the “Endurance” award; and Pauline France of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation’s corporate PR department, who received the “Next Generation” award.

The WiMN breakfast and She Rocks Awards kicked off with a performance by international touring artist and author of Guitar For Girls: A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Acoustic or Electric Guitar, Ali Handal, followed by a vocal warm up lead by Susan Carr, professional vocal coach and developer of the app The Art of Screaming. It concluded with an electrifying performance by guitarist Orianthi, bassist Nik West, and drummer Brittany Maccarello.

The Women’s International Music Breakfast and the She Rocks Awards were supported in part by NewBay Media, publishers of Guitar World, Guitar Player, Electronic Musician, Mix Magazine, Bass Player, Keyboard, and many other industry publications, and by Daisy Rock Guitars, Peavey Electronics, Guitar Center, Dean Markley USA, PRS Guitars, MEOW, and On-Stage Stands.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Global Music and Sound Industry Finds Success At 2013 NAMM Show

When the business is music, it’s a fine line between good times and work. Produced by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the NAMM Show provided the most effective platform across four jam-packed days filled with new product debuts, networking, and educational opportunities set to the soundtrack of live music and conversation among friends old and new. From January 24-27, every aspect of the music instrument and products industry including retailers, corporate buyers, artists and sound and lighting professionals did business with nearly 5000 unique brands in Anaheim, CA.

“Our industry, like many others, is in the midst of rapid change,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO, NAMM. “And I believe NAMM Members who came to Anaheim to see the latest product innovations, attend NAMM University sessions, and network with friends and peers will be uniquely positioned to take advantage of the business opportunities in the year ahead.”

Based on member feedback, NAMM made a concerted effort to increase buyer (blue) badges and decrease guest (yellow) badges to create the most business-friendly event in years. Buyers increased 4 percent over 2012, while non-industry guests decreased 16 percent. The important increase in buyers was attributed to more retail music stores, corporate buyers including houses of worship, live event venues and touring professionals, casinos, and studios sending buyers to shop the NAMM Show. The mix of industry professionals resulted in an incredibly business-focused, yet vibrant show made up of 93,908 total registrants. 

“We were approached by many potential new business partners, so it became an even broader type of business show,” said Tony Moscal, general manager of business development for Peavey. “We’re glad to see that NAMM’s provided with a full representation of an industry business show in addition to traditional retailers. This has been one of the most exciting, rewarding show’s that I’ve been involved with since my first NAMM Show in 1981.”

"I attend for the latest, greatest and best our industry has to offer. This show was rich with industry trends, the latest in gear and top notch sessions at the Idea Center,” said Billy Cuthrell, owner of Progressive Music Center in North Carolina. “I consider my time at NAMM a major part of my business success throughout the year."

For the first time, a Mayor led the NAMM Show. NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond proclaimed world-renowned musician and humanitarian Stevie Wonder as Mayor of the NAMM Show with a lifetime, all-access badge to NAMM. "My goal is before it's my time, I hope to be able to make music accessible to everybody, children and adults,” said His Honor (Wonder). "It's a whole new world of music and instrument discovery at the show every year.” Wonder, one of hundreds of major artists at the NAMM Show, walked the show trying out new products and meeting with friends.

While live music played and celebrities visited, the resounding sentiment on the show floor was that the industry was getting down to business. "Roland Corporation U.S. is very pleased with the 2013 NAMM Show and activity on our new booth and location,” Kim Nunney, president of Roland. “Traffic was steady throughout the show and dealers responded very positively to our new products, Content Checkpoints and media stage. A great show, we're looking forward to a strong 2013."

The opening of the 2013 NAMM Show marked not only the start of the world’s premier gathering for the music instrument and product industry, but also the debut of the Anaheim Convention Center’s new outdoor venue, The Anaheim Grand Plaza. The Grand Plaza features 100,000 square feet of outdoor meeting and event space, and during the NAMM Show an outdoor stage for live performances.

NAMM Show-goers enjoyed a series of spectacular live performances all day, every day throughout the four-day show. Tower of Power, The Living Legends Jam (with band members from the Eagles, Black Sabbath, and Fleetwood Mac, among others), and CTA (California Transit Authority) rocked the Grand Plaza hard and gave the energetic nighttime crowds plenty of authentic rock and roll. “There’s great talent with Tower of Power and a community feeling [on the Grand Plaza]. It’s great to wind down out here after the day, while enjoying some music with good friends and business partners,” said Jerry Loos, owner, Jerry Loos Guitar Training, Westerville, OH.

The industry quickly adapted to the new show perimeter that reached the convention center’s exterior walls, effectively adding to the show’s footprint. By moving registration to the hotels, NAMM created an easier to navigate show with fewer ID checks.

While many NAMM Show veterans come to enjoy the musical spectacle and do business with old and new friends, the 2013 NAMM Show was rich in new faces, with 289 new exhibitors representing about 700 unique brands spread out over the sprawling Convention Center. Enthusiasm ran high among NAMM Show first-timers. Apps and software, new technologies for acoustic guitars, and performance accessories – all found a solid toehold on success at the show.

“I’m freaking out,” said Mike Miltimore, founder of Riversong Guitars in British Columbia. Miltimore’s business card also bills him as ‘Passion Igniter,’ and with his incandescent grin it is easy to see why. Miltmore brought his patent-pending guitar design to the show for the first time, unsure if he would meet his goals of finding more international distribution. “At the show, we’ve seen big-time interest from countries I did not even know existed,” he said. “I also wanted to connect with my current dealers, and NAMM is the place to do that.” Serenely regarding the brisk business at his booth and his smiling, upbeat crew, Miltimore seemed satisfied. “This is beyond my wildest expectations,” he said.

New exhibitors accounted for 20 percent of the exhibiting companies this year, with another 118 companies returning to NAMM after a year or more off. The increase is a subtle indicator that the music products industry is stealthily creeping back onto terra firma. Not so subtle is the vibrant, positive feeling among new exhibitors, some of whom are at NAMM because they felt the time was right to expand their businesses and gather input from the music-making world.

“We came to NAMM to network, to meet new retailers, and to get reaction from the music professionals out there,” said Helen Georgopoulos, director of sales and marketing for Wave DNA of Toronto. Her company develops a drum- and beat-creation software instrument designed for music producers, remix artists and songwriters. “We’ve hit every one of those goals. People see the demo and they immediately get the value and the uniqueness of what our product offers. Music and merchants. That’s NAMM.”

Buyers make a point to find new products at the show. “Coming to NAMM is my mental catalog for the rest of the year,” said Clark Baker, owner of Clark Baker Music in El Centro, CA. “I always walk every row and see everything I can because you never know. You could be out there, and Wow! That’s a new thing! I’m so glad I saw that.”

Music-product pros also found that NAMM’s international clout is great for business. NAMM traditionally attracts a vast international crowd of manufacturers, exhibitors and buyers from 94 countries from around the world. A true international show, 492 of the exhibiting companies were from beyond U.S. borders.

Mike Kairys, president of Ac-cetera, of Luxor, PA, came to NAMM for the first time, intent on acquiring international distributors for his EZClamp and Mic-Eze products, which securely clamp a variety of accessories from smart phones to tuners on microphones and instruments. “The response has been just excellent,” Kairys said. “We have a low-key approach, but we were looking for possible distributions into China, Germany, Denmark and others. I’d say just the first day of the show our investment paid off in spades. We are getting what we came for.”

A little more than 10 years ago, Indiana-based Rees Harps did five percent of its business internationally. Currently, they do 85 percent of their business internationally. “We began coming to NAMM in 2004 and it has obviously made a huge difference for us,” said Melissa Irwin-Rees. “We love NAMM and it truly has helped our business grow. We come here to find new dealers and new distributors, and people know our brand name. It all started for us here at NAMM.”

Bringing products to an entirely new potential cadre of distribution channels is part of the NAMM Show’s enduring cachet. Bethany Pryor of Blocki Flute Method of Gibsonia, PA said the NAMM Show represents more effective international opportunities than flute conventions. “NAMM Show is the best place we have found to make contact with people from all over the world,” she said.

Products in the growing pro light and sound, and performance-tech segment of the industry provided some of the splashiest displays and demonstrations at the 2013 NAMM Show, as well as some vigorous commerce. The show’s new, dedicated pro lighting and staging area, The Venue, was filled with exhibitors such as SmithsonMartin, Mr. DJ, OmniSistem, Carvin Corp., NSI Audio and Performance Truss.

The Venue exhibitors enjoyed raised ceilings and dimmed lighting in an arena-style setting appropriate to the lasers and other lighting effects, and tall scaffolding and trusses being demonstrated by vendors here. Mike Weiner, president of Performance Group is a first-time exhibitor at NAMM and in The Venue. "Some people said this show wasn't for us, but I'm getting a great reaction to lights and our LED screens,” he said. “There's a lot of people - retailers, people who do church installations, which surprised me -- and event production people. All aspects of the industry are here. We've seen South and Central American and Mexico buyers with our biggest lead from Brazil."

As the pro light and sound segment of the market grows at NAMM, some buyers are prowling the exhibits to educate themselves, and their customers, about the industry as a means for expansion. Buyer Bryon Low of Annex Pro in Vancouver deals in audio systems for universities, high schools and other educational outlets. But he sees a day when his customer base will need the related light and production products. “I’m here to educate myself and get a handle on what’s out there so I can be helpful to my clients perhaps some time in the future,” he said. “It’s better to talk to the manufacturer here and have them explain it and demonstrate it. Now I know what’s out there and we can move forward.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013 NAMM Show Opens With Grand Plaza Inauguration Festivities

The opening of the 2013 NAMM Show today marks not only the start of the world’s premier gathering for the music instrument and product industry, but also the debut of the Anaheim Convention Center’s new outdoor venue, The Anaheim Grand Plaza. To make full use of the Grand Plaza, NAMM has booked four jam-packed days of live music, tributes, events and networking opportunities in the new outdoor space.

Kevin Cranley, NAMM chairman of the board and president of Willis Music Company and the NAMM Executive Committee will welcome attendees and participate in ribbon cutting ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, Anaheim Convention Center Executive Director Tom Morton and members of Anaheim City Council join the NAMM Executive Committee to dedicate the Grand Plaza at 9:50 a.m.

The new Anaheim Convention Center Grand Plaza runs between the Hilton and Marriott leading to the main entrance of the center. It features 100,000 square feet of outdoor meeting and event space and during the NAMM Show an outdoor stage for live performances. The new plaza paired with an expansion of the NAMM Show perimeter to the outer glass doors of the convention center will add a significant amount of new space for show attendees to enjoy. An expanded show floor, also means fewer badge check points once at the show in addition to new features including a NAMM Member center, Digital Hub and First Look product showcases in the lobby.

Following the ribbon cutting, the 1st Marine Division Band from Camp Pendleton will perform on the plaza. The 50-piece band will then enter the Anaheim Convention Center to march through the aisles, serenading show-goers with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other patriotic songs.  Because of the many scheduled opening activities around the new plaza, the Fernand L. Petiot All-Industry Memorial Marching Band, which traditionally opens the NAMM Show will not perform.

The NAMM Show’s exciting opening day continues with what has become one of the most important industry traditions, the Annual Tribute, an event honoring the leaders of the music-making industry who have passed away in the last year. Tribute takes place on the Grand Plaza’s Main Stage on Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. There will be a commemorative photo and video presentation accompanied by the LA Scots, considered the premier pipe band in the U.S.

The first day culminates with Tower of Power performing live on the plaza. Tower of Power has been playing together since the late 1960s when they, alongside such legendary bands as Santana, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, helped to define “The San Francisco Sound.” Known for their soulful urban vibe and powerful horn section, Tower of Power will perform their greatest hits to celebrate a busy day of business at the NAMM Show.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Two Voices Of The Rolling Stones Meet For First Time

Lisa Fischer has sung female lead parts for the Rolling Stones on every tour since 1989. But it wasn't until film director Morgan Neville assembled a meeting of backup singers at Sundance that Fischer and Merry Clayton, a crucial vocalist in the music of Mick Jagger and the boys, would be in the same room together.

"When I first started doing the Stones gig and I listened to 'Gimme Shelter,' I thought 'wow -- who is that?," Fischer said, wiping away a tear while onstage at Park City, Utah's Egyptian Theatre after a screening of Neville's Twenty Feet From Stardom. "And for years, I wanted to meet her and I'm just meeting her this weekend. I'm so thankful for this situation."

Fischer, Neville and Clayton were joined at the Egyptian after the January 21 screening by other singers whose stories are told in the film, Darlene Love, former Motown singer Tata Vega and the woman who was rehearsing to sing alongside Michael Jackson for his London run, Judith Hill. It was the only Sundance event where five of the film's subjects were on hand together. The film's other key subjects, Claudia Lennear, Gloria Jones, Janice Pendarvis and the Waters Family, did not travel to Park City.

Clayton was a former Raelette who recorded with the Stones, Joe Cocker, Elvis Presley and others, and had some minor R&B hits in the early 1970s. She's also the woman's voice on Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," recorded at a session she was initially going to turn down because of the subject matter.

"I didn't know or care, but my husband and my daddy said do it as a protest so I did it with all of my heart," she said. "That was my (civil rights) march."

Clayton also reinforced the documentary's notion that the idea of black female session singers traces back to the Blossoms, a trio that featured Darlene Love, whose sister was a childhood friend of Clayton's. Love, Clayton said in a loving tribute to her mentor, took her out of school to recording sessions at the age of 14 where she quickly became known as the loud child. It wound up leading her to a recording contract with Capitol and, years later, a solo deal at A&M, where the late Gil Friesen, who produced Twenty Feet From Stardom, was president.

"(Darlene) taught me how to blend and how to sing and not outshine everybody," Clayton said. "Everything there was to know about studio singing -- she was like a mother to me."

Love, too, added to the history covered in the film. One of the strong points about the Blossoms was their ability to bring feeling and texture to songs, an element not in play with the trained white singers who never deviated from written notes on the page. The Blossoms became so in demand -- five sessions a day, Love said -- they started bringing other talented singers and spread the wealth to get others more work.

"Our thing is about giving and giving back and I think people forget about that today," Love said. "We love singing background, it's a part of us."

It also paid well. That alone allowed Love to restrain her anger after Phil Spector took two of her solo recordings and put them out as Crystals records.

"I was 18 years old making $22.50 an hour in 1958," Love said proudly. "And that was the reason me and Phil Spector never got along: He was upset I could make a living without him. I don't need hit records, clothes, makeup. I could go to sessions any time of day in curlers."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

'New' Otis Redding "LP" Coming On Stax

Otis Redding’s Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding could pass for a title Stax/Volt might have released in the late ’60s. The look of the album reflects Stax’s design themes of the era. But in fact it’s a collection that never existed, until now, that homes in on one mood and one theme — heartbreaking, yearning ballads — of which Redding had many. The album will be released as a CD and blue vinyl LP on March 5, 2013 on Stax Records through Concord Music Group.

Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding contains the hits (“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” “These Arms of Mine,” “My Lover’s Prayer,” “Free Me”) alongside many lesser-known songs (“Gone Again,” “Open the Door,” “Waste of Time,” “Everybody Makes a Mistake,” to name a few).  They’re all included in this compilation because they share the tangled theme of sorrow.

According to compilation producer David Gorman, “Given how nobody delivered a gut-wrenching sad song like Otis, I always felt he should have made an album you could put on late at night and settle into with a glass of something strong. The mood and the subject of every song is the same — Otis, heartbroken, and begging for love. I tried to find the saddest most potently heartbreaking songs he ever sang, with no regard for chart position or notoriety.  There are a few hits on the album, but they’re there because they fit the mood, not because we wanted to include the hits.”

For instance, an alternate version of “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” features lyrics that are darker and tell a more personal story than the better-known hit version. Little-known tracks like “Gone Again” and “A Waste of Time” are given the same weight as “I’ve Been Loving You too Long.” The motif of love is even subtly addressed in the sequencing, the album closing with “Send Me Some Lovin’” and “My Lover’s Prayer.”

The concept of Lonely & Blue: The Deepest Soul of Otis Redding plays out in the packaging as well, which was intentionally designed by Gorman to look as if Redding actually did put this album out at the height of his career.  The typography, color palette, and layout are all meant to adhere to the Stax/Volt LP designs of the time. This extends to the liner notes, which are written in the present tense and credited to a fictitious DJ so that they read as if they were written while Redding was alive at his peak.

“The goal,” explains Gorman, “was to create the best album Otis never made and ‘reissue’ it in 2013 rather than do another hits compilation. We hope this album will reframe him as something more than an oldies radio staple and become his Night Beat (a classic 1963 Sam Cooke LP) — the album that exists as a starting point for people wondering why so many consider Otis Redding the greatest soul singer of all time.”

Track Listing:
1.  I Love You More Than Words Can Say
2.  Gone Again
3.  Free Me
4.  Open the Door [Skeleton Key Version]
5.  A Waste of Time
6.  These Arms of Mine
7.  I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
8.  Everybody Makes a Mistake
9.  Little Ol’ Me
10. I’ve Got Dreams to Remember [Rougher Dreams]
11. Send Me Some Lovin’
12. My Lover’s Prayer

http://www.otisredding.com

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Steven Tyler, Roger Daltrey Applaud Pioneering Voice Doctor

Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and the Who's Roger Daltrey are joining forces to sing the praise of the doctor who saved their voices.

The rockers will perform at the Raise Your Voice Benefit, where Dr. Steven Zeitels will be saluted for his pioneering work, on January 24 in Los Angeles.

Zeitels used modern voice restoration techniques and a patented vibrating gel technology to help the  singers hit the high notes again following recent vocal issues.

Last year, Daltrey told Rolling Stone magazine he had been left stunned by the doctor's work after he turned to Zeitels for vocal aid.

He said, "To have the range you had as a youngster, with all the emotional input that life has given you...that's going to lead to some amazing performances."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Moody Blues' Justin Hayward Readys New Solo Album

On February 26, Eagle Records will release Spirits Of The Western Sky, a new solo record from the Moody Blues singer, songwriter and guitarist Justin Hayward.

As the man behind such iconic songs as “Nights In White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Question,” “The Voice,” “Your Wildest Dreams,” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” Justin Hayward has been a driving force in the Moody Blues' success. Spirits Of The Western Sky, recorded in Genoa, Italy, and Nashville, is Hayward’s first solo album since 1996’s The View From The Hill.  It features his trademark vocals and guitar work on tracks such as “One Day, Someday,” “On The Road To Love,” & album opener “In Your Blue Eyes,” and also highlights orchestrations by Academy Award-winning composer Anne Dudley. Additionally, Hayward moves into new areas with the three country and bluegrass-influenced tracks “What You Resist Persists,” “Broken Dream,” and “It’s Cold Outside Of Your Heart.”

“Anne [Dudley] is one of the true greats,” states Justin, “in the same rarefied class of orchestrators as Peter Knight, who was such an inspiration in my early Moody Blues days. I’ve worked with Anne on different projects over the years and it’s always a joy (when she is arranging, all the studio musicians know it’s going to be wonderful).  I also co-wrote a song with my friend Kenny Loggins for Spirits Of The Western Sky. He and I were both on the road and staying in the same hotel.  We had a great day playing guitar together and we came up with ‘On The Road To Love’. Kenny plays and sings on the track with me. This album is a labor of love. It’s been my whole life for the last few years. I know we all have many choices nowadays and I thank everyone who gives my album a listen and brings these songs into their collection. Every track is truly from my heart”.

Building on the best of his work throughout an incredible career, Spirits Of The Western Sky is an album guaranteed to delight Justin Hayward’s legions of fans around the world.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Montreux Jazz Festival Founder Claude Nobs Passes

Claude Nobs, who founded the Montreux Jazz Festival nearly 50 years ago, has died after several weeks in a coma following a skiing accident, the festival said on Friday.

The Swiss impresario immortalized by rock group Deep Purple as "Funky Claude" in the song "Smoke on the Water" and who lured the biggest stars of the music world to his festival on the shores of Lake Geneva died on Thursday at the age of 76.

"He died peacefully, surrounded by family and close friends," said a statement issued by the festival, where Mathieu Jaton assumed his duties as director earlier this week.

Nobs launched the summer festival in 1967 while working as an accountant at the Swiss resort's tourism office. Over the years, his blend of persistence, patience and charm managed to persuade leading lights such as Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Prince to take the stage at Montreux.

But he often had to meet their whims to coax them along.

"I got Miles a Ferrari for him to drive along the lake, Nina Simone wanted a diamond watch and we found the mineral water that Prince likes in Geneva. We always find a way," Nobs told Reuters last April during an interview at his beloved chalet.

A former festival employee told Reuters on Friday: "He was a shy man but still managed to negotiate. That was his strength and led him to create something huge."

Nobs fell while cross-country skiing on Christmas Eve near his chalet in Caux, overlooking Montreux, a property that he shared with his longtime partner Thierry Amsallem, who is in charge of digitalizing the festival's archives of 5,000 hours.

Last year's two-week festival, which attracted about 250,000 people, featured sold-out concerts by Bob Dylan, American chanteuse Lana Del Rey and British actor and musician Hugh Laurie.

A musical tribute to the people of Montreux is planned in February, in accordance with his wishes, to be followed by events in New York and London this spring, festival board president Francois Carrard told Reuters.

Nobs threw legendary parties at his chalet, full of vintage Wurlitzer jukeboxes, flat screen TVs and sophisticated sound equipment. Waiters delivered fine food and champagne around a pool with a breathtaking view of the Alps.

A Japanese kimono worn by Freddie Mercury, a print signed by Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones and a larger-than-life bust of Aretha Franklin were among mementoes on display.

Film director Roman Polanski stopped in on his way to see his wife Emmanuelle Seigner perform at Montreux in 2010. Days earlier he had been freed from house arrest in Gstaad after Swiss authorities said they would not extradite him to the United States to face sentencing for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison, Phil Collins and Gilberto Gil have all been regulars at the festival, whose two venues are the larger Stravinski Auditorium and more intimate Miles Davis Hall.

In the mid-1960s, after his first flight on an airplane, Nobs formed a decisive and lifetime friendship in New York with Atlantic Records executive Nesuhi Ertegun, whose father was a former ambassador of Turkey to Switzerland.

"That first time I met Nesuhi, I had no credentials, nothing, something magical happened," Nobs recalled in his memoirs "Live! From Montreux", first published in 2007.

Of the first edition, he wrote: "That first festival was obviously when I had to learn a massive amount extremely quickly - from how you deal with one artist arriving whilst the act from the previous night's show still hasn't woken up yet, let alone vacated the suite the incoming band are supposed to be going straight into."

The Deep Purple anthem which dubbed Nobs "Funky" was written about a fire that burned down Montreux casino during a Frank Zappa concert in 1971.

Despite heart surgery some six years ago, Nobs had stayed on as festival director, a position he shared during the 1990s with American producer Quincy Jones who returns each year from Los Angeles to introduce new talent and refers to Montreux as the "Rolls-Royce of festivals."

Nobs often joined musicians on stage, playing harmonica, sometimes accompanied by his St. Bernard dogs.

The 47th edition is scheduled for July 5-20.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Elton John To Perform At Yamaha 125th Anniversary NAMM Concert

Elton John will join Yamaha in celebrating its 125th anniversary by participating in an historical concert for its dealers on Friday, January 25 at Disneyland’s Hyperion Theater in Anaheim, California during the annual NAMM trade show.

Relying on Yamaha's DisklavierTV™ technology, Elton's performance on the Yamaha Disklavier will reproduce the musician's piano onstage with a 70-piece orchestra will be streamed live over the Internet in many countries around the world. His actual piano keystrokes will be faithfully recreated, note for note, in real time on each of the remote instruments, while the entire orchestra will be seen and heard on adjacent monitors, in perfect sync with the remote piano performances. The locations of the remote performance venues will be announced shortly.

"Elton John is one of the most successful and influential music makers of our time, and Yamaha is thrilled to bring him to a global audience in this history making manner," said Chris Gero, vice president of Yamaha Entertainment Group of America, which is producing the event. "This exciting event will also demonstrate how Yamaha DisklavierTV is forever changing the way in which a live piano concert can be enjoyed in real time around the world."

Speaking of the newly-announced concert, John said: "I'm constantly astonished by the inventive skills and versatility of the Yamaha team. Not only have they built all my touring pianos for the past 20 years, as well as the wonderful Million Dollar Piano that resides at Caesars Palace, but they've also now perfected the RemoteLive technology, which means that effectively, I can perform the concert live in Anaheim on January 25, live across the Internet and also live in venues worldwide–all at the same time! I am both proud and grateful to be a Yamaha artist and to enjoy the fruits of Yamaha's amazing expertise."

John collaborated with Yamaha before on The Red Piano Tour that originated in 2004 at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. In 2011, he returned to Caesars Palace with a new show, The Million Dollar Piano, named after a stunning, one-of-a-kind instrument made exclusively for him by Yamaha.

Legendary bass player Nathan East will serve as music director for the anniversary concert event, while acclaimed composer James Newton Howard will conduct the 70-piece orchestra.

During 2013 Elton will be looking both back, with celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, and forward, with the release of a brand new studio album. He will continue to tour across the world with his band, and in April will return to Caesars Palace for another season of the fabulous Million Dollar Piano show. A DVD of that show is also being produced for 2013 release.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

David Bowie Releases New Single, Announces First New Album in 10 Years

The last time David Bowie put out an album, Harry Styles was nine years old and Arrested Development had yet to be canceled. Today, One Direction are stadium headliners and AD is back, and the legendary rocker has decided to make his return as well.

Today, on his 66th birthday, Bowie released a new single called “Where Are We Now?” and announced that the release of his new album The Next Day, coming in March.

“Where Are We Now?” is a low-key, elegiac tune, bundled with a delightfully weird music video that you can here

As Bowie explains on the video page, the track was produced by his longtime collaborator Tony Visconti, and the video (directed by Tony Oursler) looks back at his time in Berlin when he recorded his game-changing trilogy Low, Heroes, and Lodger.

The track doesn’t necessarily follow the sonic template of those albums; instead, it almost circles back to Bowie’s beginnings as a dreamy folk singer, stacking layers of melancholy over a slightly psychedelic melody. Honestly, “Where Are We Now?” sounds like a slightly more romantic Leonard Cohen track, which considering Bowie’s age and career arc makes perfect sense for him.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Rare Beatles Color Photos Going Up for Auction

A collection of unpublished early color photographs of the Beatles are going up for auction in the U.K., the BBC reports.

The photos were taken in 1964 during the Beatles' first U.S. tour. They include stage shots of George Harrison with his red Rickenbacker guitar, close-up portraits of the group at a press conference at the Las Vegas Sahara Hotel and photos from a private party at the Beverly Hills mansion of Capitol Records president Alan Livingston. Since color film was expensive at the time, most images of the Beatles before 1965 were in black and white.

The photos were snapped by Dr. Robert Beck, a physicist and inventor who left the collection of 65 slides in an archive at his Hollywood home after his death in 2002. They will be sold by Omega Auctions on March 22nd to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' first album, Please Please Me.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Legacy Recordings Pick Janis Joplin As Label's First Artist Of The Month

Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, commemorates the life and music of Janis Joplin on the occasion of the singer's 70th birthday and celebrates the iconic electric blues singer as the label's first Artist of the Month in January 2013.

Legacy's Artist of the Month will provide fresh perspectives on musical legends whose sounds continue to effect people's lives.  Each month, the series will offer new fans and deep aficionados alike the opportunity to focus on an essential cornerstone catalog of pop music history.

Columbia/Legacy Recordings marked 2012 with the release of two essential new titles in the catalog of the quintessential blues-rock-country-soul singer: Janis Joplin - The Pearl Sessions, a two-disc set premiering newly discovered studio recordings produced by Paul Rothchild, was released in April, preceded by Big Brother and the Holding Company Featuring Janis Joplin - Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968, an electrifying full-length concert recorded and produced for release by the legendary soundman Owsley ("Bear") Stanley.

The Pearl Sessions includes a new essay penned by Holly George-Warren, currently in the running for this year's Best Album Notes Grammy Award. In her notes, George-Warren zeroes in on "A Woman Left Lonely," one of the last songs recorded by Joplin, observing, "For Janis, though, the song’s sentiments seemed a fact of life. For us, an ultimate sacrifice that resulted in some of the best music of the 20th century: 'They asked me, "How did you learn to sing the blues like that?"' Janis said, a mere three months before her death. 'I just opened my mouth and that’s what I sounded like … you can’t make up something that you don’t feel. You give up every constant in the world except music. That’s the only thing in the world you got.'"

Born January 19, 1943, in Port Arthur, Texas, Janis Joplin possessed one of the most distinctive, influential and unconventionally beautiful voices in pop history.  Pure honey sweet and soul-ravaged raw, her voice was full of power and longing and heartbreak and triumph.  She sang a mixture of blues, soul, gospel, jazz, country and rock that transcended genres and connected to the core of the cosmos.  Earthy yet not-of-this-world, Janis Joplin embodied the primordial "rock mama" paradigm and the blues have never sounded the same.

A self-described "misfit" in high school, she fell under the sway of Lead Belly, Bessie Smith and Big Mama Thornton in her teens, dabbling in folk music and painting.  In 1963, she headed to San Francisco, where she met guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, her first link to the Haight-Ashbury underground music scene.  By 1966, Janis had joined, and was ostensibly fronting, the psychedelic-rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company.

She was developing an extravagant persona, both on-stage and off, her passionate performances matched by an iconic sartorial splendor that's become visually synonymous with the era.  Janis and Big Brother's increasingly high-profile shows earned them a devoted fan base and serious industry attention; they signed with Columbia Records and released their major-label debut in 1967. Joplin's seismic presence, as evidenced by her shattering performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, was captured for posterity by filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker.

Big Brother's "Piece of My Heart," on 1968's Cheap Thrills LP (recently reissued on vinyl), shot to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, the album sold a million copies in a month, and Joplin became a sensation – earning rapturous praise from Time and Vogue, appearing on The Dick Cavett Show and capturing the imagination of audiences that had never experienced such fiery intensity in a female rock singer.  Her emergence as a solo star was inevitable; she put together her own outfit, the Kozmic Blues Band, and in 1969 released I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! which went gold.  That year also saw her perform at the Woodstock festival.

Joplin assembled a new backup group, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, in 1970; she also joined a bill with the Grateful Dead, the Band and other artists for the "Festival Express" railroad tour through Canada.  Her final studio album, the landmark Pearl, introduced signature material including Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee" and her own a cappella plaint, "Mercedes Benz," while showcasing her mastery of virtually all pop genres.  The latter song was, along with a phone-message birthday greeting for John Lennon, the last thing she recorded; she died in October of 1970, and Pearl was released posthumously the following year.  The quadruple-platinum set became the top-selling release of Joplin's career and, in 2003, was ranked #122 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time."

Janis Joplin's recordings and filmed performances have secured her status as an enduring cultural icon, inspiring countless imitators and musical devotees.  Myriad hit collections, live anthologies and other repackaged releases have kept her legend alive, as have one-woman shows such as the hit Love, Janis (which Joplin's sister, Laura, helped create) and 2009's Edinburgh Festival Fringe "Best Solo Performance" nominee Janis. A documentary produced by Alex Gibney, Susan Lacy and Jeff Jampol, directed by Amy Berg (West Of Memphis) is now in production. One Night With Janis Joplin, a critically acclaimed musical currently touring, has played to sold-out houses in Portland, Cleveland and Washington, DC, and has received nine Broadway World and two Cleveland Critic Circle Awards nominations.

In 1988, the Janis Joplin Memorial, featuring a bronze sculpture by artist Douglas Clark, was unveiled in Port Arthur.

Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and posthumously given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Janis Joplin will be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bruce Springsteen Named MusiCares' 2013 Person Of The Year

Bruce Springsteen has been named MusiCares' 2013 Person of the Year in recognition of his artistic achievements as well as his philanthropic work, the Recording Academy said on Wednesday (January 02).

The 63-year-old singer/songwriter will be honored at a February 8 gala in Los Angeles and held in conjunction with the annual Grammy Awards, the recording world's most prestigious honors which will be handed out on February 10.

"The Boss" has actively supported many charities over the years, including those focused on homelessness, hunger and helping veterans, and last year he participated in benefit concerts to aid victims of superstorm Sandy.

Past MusiCares Person of the Year honorees have included Tony Bennett, Bono, Paul McCartney and Barbra Streisand.

New Jersey native Springsteen, known for hits including "Born to Run," "Born in the U.S.A." and "Dancing in the Dark," has won a string of honors including Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Awards.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Allman Brothers Band Set Beacon Theater 2013 Dates

The tumbling over of a new year on the ol’ chronometer arrives with some familiar traditions: the declaration of life-improving resolutions for the months to come, the illusion that one might hit the gym more often than in years past and the announcement of dates for the Allman Brothers Band’s residency at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan.

As has been the almost-annual custom of that long-lived rock band (we’ll overlook that unfortunate year when the group was denied its familiar performance space to make way for Cirque du Soleil), the Allman Brothers Band will return to the Beacon for 10 shows in March, its press representatives said on Wednesday, January 2.

The group, led by the keyboardist and singer Gregg Allman, is scheduled to perform there on March 1 and 2; 5 and 6; 8 and 9; 12 and 13; and 15 and 16. Tickets for these shows will go on sale January 11 at 10 a.m., and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com and beacontheatre.com.

Of course, none of the surprise guests who typically join the Allmans at these performances were announced. But the band is slated to perform on April 12 and 13 at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads benefit shows at Madison Square Garden, so maybe Clapton will return the favor?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pollstar's 2012 Top Worldwide Tours

From Pollstar

Pollstar  has just released its exclusive 2012 Top 50 Worldwide Tours Chart as a preview to its full year-end research coming in early January.

This is the only concert industry chart that covers the entire calendar year. All figures have been converted to U.S. dollars and represent the total face-value gross ticket sales for all dates played. The Pollstar database includes specific sales figures for nearly 90 percent of all shows worked by the top attractions and projections were made for any of the unreported dates.

Madonna grossed $296.1 million to easily claim the No. 1 spot on the chart. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band claimed the second slot at $210.2 million. Both acts played to more than 2 million fans in 2012. Roger Waters generated $186.4 million to come in at No. 3. He is also the highest ranking hold-over from the 2011 chart where he placed No. 5 with a gross of $103.6 million. Proving there is a global diversity of attractions, only 13 artists from 2011 made this year’s Top 50. It is also worth noting that the global brand strength of Cirque du Soleil has never been greater with eight different touring shows ranking on the chart.

The Top 50 Worldwide Tours did a combined gross of $3 billion, which was down about 2 percent from $3.07 billion in 2011.

Total tickets sold was 34.9 million which continued the decline from 35.48 million the previous year and is well off the pace from 2009 when the Top 50 sold 45.3 million.  The average global ticket price was $85.93 which was down 60 cents from last year but still well above the $73.83 charged in the more robust year of 2009.

Pollstar’s full research package including the Top 200 Tours of 2012, most active venues and concert promoters, and analysis of the worldwide industry is scheduled for release on Jan. 4.

Check out Pollstar’s Top 50 Worldwide Tours chart.