Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Pollstar Announces Top 50 Concert Tours Of 2009

Pollstar has compiled its Top 50 Tours of North America for 2009 and, although there is no surprise as to who came in at No. 1, there were plenty of surprises just the same.

U2 surpassed all other tours by a wide margin, grossing $123 million in North America and selling more than 1.3 million tickets overall. It beat its closest competitor, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, by about $30 million.

With U2 and Springsteen charting at 1 and 2, the top five were rounded out by Elton John / Billy Joel, Britney Spears and AC/DC. The Top 10 included the inexhaustible Kenny Chesney, headlining newcomers Jonas Brothers, Dave Matthews Band, Fleetwood Mac and Metallica.

For all of the financial troubles of 2009, the concert business had an up year. The numbers for the Top 50 tours were better, across the board, than for 2008, be it total gross revenue or tickets sold. Last year, Chesney was the only artist to sell more than 1 million tickets. This year, U2, Springsteen, Chesney, Jonas Brothers, DMB and "Walking With Dinosaurs" all topped the million mark.

Newcomers to the list include Lil' Wayne at No. 26 and Kings of Leon at No. 42. Taylor Swift, who essentially began the year as a support act, wrapped 2009 at No. 35 as country's newest headline draw.

No Doubt, Blink-182 and Leonard Cohen, which each made splashy announcements that they were returning to the stage, made good on their returns, coming in at 24, 31 and 43, respectively.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rock Hall Votes In Genesis, Is Yes or Procol Harum next?

Is the impending induction of Genesis the beginning of progressive rock getting its long-denied due from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Or is this just tokenism, a one-time exception made because of all the pop hits Genesis scored long after it had forsaken the arty, theatrical-rock strangeness and literary-mythic inspirations of the early 1970s, when Peter Gabriel was fronting the band? After soldiering on proggishly but not that successfully for a couple of albums after Gabriel’s departure in 1975, the remaining members cannily transmogrified (uncanny transmogrification having been a core theme of the band’s earlier music) into a cuddlesome, MTV-ready trio led by that endearing, nonthreatening chap Phil Collins.

From where I stand, Genesis earned the Hall with the last three albums of the Gabriel era -- “Foxtrot,” “Selling England by the Pound” and “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” with Collins providing expert drumming and backing vocals, and taking a frontman turn or two. But it’s hardly idle speculation to wonder whether that version of Genesis would have passed muster with Hall voters, without the massively popular, pleasantly disposable hits the band cranked out during the 1980s, including “Follow You Follow Me,” “Misunderstanding” and “Invisible Touch.”

If the Rock Hall’s voters want to put their ears to work in their future deliberations, rather than accepting on faith the commonplace critical disparagement of prog rock as a pompous, pseudo-intellectual perversion of the earthy rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic, here are some names and recordings for them to consider.

Mahavishnu Orchestra. While this all-instrumental, Anglo-Irish-Euro-American band is more identified with the jazz-rock fusion movement of the 1970s, I don’t draw much of a distinction between progressive rock and Mahavishnu’s now-hurtling, now-lyrical sound, its master-musician chops and its serious themes. The albums “The Inner Mounting Flame” and “Birds of Fire” are the band’s chief claims on the Hall of Fame. Listen, and you’ll hear white-robed leader “Mahavishnu” John McLaughlin’s fiery, speed-demon guitar, Jan Hammer’s keyboards, Jerry Goodman’s electric violin, Rick Laird’s bass and Billy Cobham’s drums swirling together, as closely attuned and interconnected as birds in a flock.

Yes. If you want persuasive evidence why critics lampoon prog rock, listen to “Tales From Topographic Oceans” for as long as you’re able, before it puts you to sleep. But the three early '70s albums before that all-time deal breaker are masterpieces, the defining single-band ouevre of the prog rock genre: “The Yes Album,” “Fragile” and “Close to the Edge.” As many have complained, the lyrics are kind of loopy and pointless, albeit well-intended insofar as they seem to be an early manifestation of rock aligning itself with environmentalism. But Jon Anderson’s piping-choirboy vocals are there more to set a mood and carry the main melody line than to occupy the mind, while guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Bill Bruford, bassist Chris Squire and either Rick Wakeman or Tony Kaye on keyboards foment disciplined wildness all around him. Yes in full flight rocks as hard as any band ever.

Procol Harum. Graceful, smart, stylistically wide-ranging, and at their best, on the epic album “A Salty Dog,” deeply moving. The elegantly somber “A Salty Dog” has moments of sweeping, stately, symphonic grandeur alongside elemental blues and even calypso. “Shine on Brightly” and “Home” are other strong releases from the band’s peak period in the late 1960s; then there’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” the one Procol Harum song everybody knows, which predated those albums while ripping off J.S. Bach in a prototypically prog-ish move from 1967. Gary Brooker is the most soulful of prog-rock singers, and the keyboards blend that his piano created with organist-vocalist-producer Matthew Fisher wasn’t far behind the Band’s great combination of Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel. The prime Procol albums also feature ace drummer B.J. Wilson and the work of guitarist Robin Trower, playing to support the songs rather than exhibiting the unfettered guitar heroism of his Hendrix-inspired solo career.

King Crimson. The donnish guitarist Robert Fripp kept Crimson evolving and interesting far longer than any of its prog classmates. But the main reason for the Hall to let them in would be their magnificent 1969 debut, “In the Court of the Crimson King,” which is widely considered the first -- and arguably the best -- prog-rock album. I’ve been surprised that a whole decade of the 21st century has gone by without a prominent cover of the kickoff track, “21st Century Schizoid Man,” a song so frantically, manically charged with fear and loathing that it’s practically punk -- which is probably why Bad Religion referenced it on its pre-millennial hit, ”21st Century (Digital Boy).”

Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Virtuosity and sonic and theatrical flash and excess were their trademarks, which made for lots of fun in live performance (Carl Palmer’s spinning drum platform decked in pulsing lights; Keith Emerson pulling out knives to one-up Jimi Hendrix with a ritual disemboweling of his Hammond organ). What band in its right mind would do a marvelous, if utterly ridiculous, sci-fi concept album -- “Tarkus” -- about a post-apocalyptic, metal-plated, bionic armadillo outfitted with enough weaponry to wage perpetual solo warfare (it’s a wonder Hollywood hasn’t swiped the idea)? Along with “Emerson, Lake & Palmer,” “Brain Salad Surgery” and a live, album-length rock adaptation of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” ELP provided ample reason for induction during the early 1970s, after which the band followed Yes and Procol Harum down the path of hanging on far too long, with far too little inspiration.

Other prog bands well worth delving into -- although they haven’t a prayer of making the Hall because they didn’t make enough of a commercial dent -- are the folk-rooted Strawbs (who in their early days collaborated fruitfully with Led Zep’s John Paul Jones and Fairport Convention’s Sandy Denny, and with whom Rick Wakeman served a superb two-album hitch before joining Yes), Gentle Giant (probably the brainiest, most adventurous and versatile prog band) and Atomic Rooster (whose best albums, “Death Walks Behind You” and “In Hearing of Atomic Rooster,” might especially appeal to fans of metal and hard rock).

To answer anticipated complaints: No, I don’t consider Hall inductee Pink Floyd and the unfairly excluded Jethro Tull to be prog-rock bands; I’d like to say that Roxy Music and Brian Eno were prog-rock acts, but that would be stretching it a little; and, yes, I do enjoy the Moody Blues, but despite their many memorable tunes and splendid vocal blend, I think they’re a little too commercially eager and intellectually soft for Hall inclusion. Kansas? That’s where the Devil came from in a great Procol Harum song. In theory, Americans should have been able to play good prog rock, but in practice -- unless you want to really stretch definitions and include Spirit’s “Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus” -- they never proved it, leaving the field to the Brits.

With all of that said, if I had just one thought to submit for Rock Hall voters’ consideration, it would be: Pick the Monkees, already, for crying out loud.

And, going for the whole nine yards, considering a few of the lightweights and short-distance runners you’ve let in (The Dave Clark Five??? Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five???) how in the name of Jann S. Wenner can you defend not having admitted Randy Newman, Love, Fairport Convention/Richard Thompson, the Turtles, the Zombies, Peter Gabriel (solo), Los Lobos, Roky Erickson/13th Floor Elevators, Dick Dale, Doug Sahm, Big Star and Nick Drake?

And if you say ABBA, I say the 5th Dimension.

Now, that would be progress.

-- Mike Boehm (L.A. Times)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Status Quo Named 'Hardest-Working Band Of 2009' In British Music Industry

Status Quo have been recognized as the hardest-working band in the British music industry.

The Performing Rights Society (PRS) list also included Cliff Richard And The Shadows, Take That, Coldplay and Kings Of Leon, who took the second, third, fourth and fifth spots respectively, according to BBC News.

The list was compiled based on the number of fans bands performed to in the UK during 2009. Status Quo played to 250,000 people at 27 arenas, putting them at the top of the list.

Frontman Francis Rossi said: "Performing in front of thousands of fans is the ultimate experience for any band."

PRS is the body that collects royalties for songwriters.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Academy Of Music Welcomes Sting With The Philadelphia Orchestra

Academy of Music officials will welcome world-renowned singer/composer Sting in an extraordinary classical setting, as his diverse audience embraces the classical influences of his youth with his newly certified gold album, If On A Winter’s Night…

As the headline attraction of the spectacular Academy of Music 153rd Anniversary Concert on Saturday, January 30, 2010, in performance with The Philadelphia Orchestra and his own quartet of musicians conducted by David Hartley, Sting will perform in Philadelphia with an abundance of fresh critical and popular acclaim.

Watching his album become a classical crossover sensation since debuting at #1 on Billboard's Classical and Seasonal charts at the start of the holiday season, the Academy is especially proud to welcome Sting with such comfortable surroundings unique to the intermingling genres that have defined his remarkable career for nearly four decades.

“We are especially thrilled to be hosting Sting for the annual Concert and Ball,” said Academy of Music President Joanna McNeil Lewis. “The Academy has a history filled with performers representing an impressive and diverse array of music. Sting is the epitome of that representation as his talent spans across many genres, and he continues to explore new possibilities. Now the public will have an opportunity to see him perform with our Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the premier orchestras in the world.”

Sting and his band, accompanied by the Orchestra, includes Dominic Miller on guitar, David Sancious on piano, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Christian McBride on bass, performing notable songs from the Police repertoire and the singer's solo career.

Sting says he first became interested in classical music while it permeated his home as a child and has always carried that music with him throughout his enduring career.

“I grew up listening to classical music, and remember being under the piano while my mother played Beethoven sonatas in our house,” he said. “I always strive to challenge myself, and music allows me to constantly learn new things.”

For more information, call the Academy of Music Restoration Fund Office at (215) 893-1940.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ringo Starr Talks About Collaborating With Paul McCartney On 'Y Not'

With his new album Y Not due January 12th, Ringo Starr recently talked about one of the more anticipated tracks on the LP, a collaboration with his former Beatles band mate Paul McCartney called “Walk With Me.”

McCartney is featured on a couple tracks on Y Not, but “Walk With Me” finds Starr and McCartney sharing vocal duties on a Ringo album for the first time since 1998’s Vertical Man.

“He came over to play bass on another track called ‘Peace Dream,’ and the he heard ‘Walk With Me’ and said ‘I think I have something for this, gimme a pair of cans and I’ll be on the mic,’” Starr says. “And then he just did what he did and enhanced it 100 percent.”

“Walk With Me” was written by Starr and Van Dyke Parks. According to the drummer, the track wasn’t originally conceived as a potential duet with his former Beatles' mate.

Other artists that appear on Y Not include Ben Harper, Joss Stone, Richard Marx and Starr’s improbable brother-in-law, Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh.

Y Not also finds Starr serving as his own George Martin, as he also takes a seat in the producer’s chair for the new album.

The autobiographical “The Other Side of Liverpool” and opening track “Fill in the Blanks,” which features Walsh, will also appear on the album, Starr’s first since 2008’s Liverpool 8.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Couple Sues Gene Simmons Over Alleged Attack

A couple who said they were assaulted by Gene Simmons sued the KISS bassist for unspecified damages Thursday, December 24, court records show.

Nathan Marlowe and his wife Cynthia Manzo said Simmons attacked them, threatened them and took their video camera at the upscale The Grove mall after they started filming the rocker.

The couple's attorney, Matthew Nezhad, says a police report was filed. The couple sought a restraining order against Simmons on Wednesday, December 23, but that petition was denied.

Simmons has not been arrested and no charges have been filed.

According to the complaint and restraining order application, Marlowe asked Simmons for his view on monogamy, and Simmons responded by telling Marlowe to get his shot and leave. The filings state Simmons then lunged and attacked Marlowe, taking the video camera, then turned on Manzo when she tried to get the camera back.

A phone message seeking comment from Simmons' entertainment attorney was not immediately returned.

The couple are seeking damages of more than $25,000 for civil claims of assault, battery and infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit was filed as a verified complaint, meaning Marlowe and Manzo signed it under penalty of perjury.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler Enters Rehab, Vows To Stay In Band

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has entered a rehab facility to treat an addiction to prescription painkillers. “With the help of my family and team of medical professionals I am taking responsibility for the management of my pain and am eager to be back on the stage and in the recording studio with my bandmates Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford,” the singer said in a statement.

Tyler also addressed his bandmates’ recent allegations that he demanded a two-year break from the group: “I wish to set the record straight and say that I have read reports of a rumored two-year hiatus and want to be clear that this is completely false and I will enthusiastically be writing, recording and performing with Aerosmith as soon as things are handled.”

Tyler, 61, last entered rehab in May 2008 to deal with pain from foot surgery. Dr. Brian McKeon, a physician from the New England Baptist Hospital who has treated the frontman, said in a statement that Tyler’s addiction stems from difficulties with pain management.

“Over the past 10 years, Steven Tyler has suffered orthopedic injuries and has been in severe chronic pain which will require further surgeries on his knees and feet.

“Managing and controlling his pain has been challenging and despite our use of alternative therapies and the creation of custom shoes built by a team of engineers from Timberland, Steven’s pain has progressed.

"The balance between managing his pain and avoiding addiction is tenuous and difficult and his bravery in persevering through rigorous touring is admirable. As with many athletes, Steven put his performance first as he struggled with acute pain for years.”

Tyler’s daughter Liv also issued a statement expressing her support for her father. “He is a courageous man,” she said. “We love him and are so proud that he is getting help to balance his pain management, not just for himself but for his family, friends and fans.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Big Brother And The Holding Company Guitarist James Gurley Dies

On news of his former bandmate's passing, co-founder Sam Andrew wrote on Big Brother's official website, "For me and many people, James was the real 1960s, the real exemplar of that counterculture, the forerunner. Peter Albin, Chet Helms and I founded Big Brother and the Holding Company, but James was the spirit and the essence of the band in its early days. He showed us the way as a Zen master would show us the way, without sermons, without lectures, with as little talk but as much humor as possible."

Born in Detroit, Gurley picked up the guitar when he was 19. Inspired by the blues, he cited Lightnin' Hopkins as one of his early influences. At the age of 23, he moved to San Francisco to become a part of the city's folk scene and by the summer of 1965, he joined forces with Albin and Andrew.

In June of 1966, Joplin joined the group, which emerged from the same Bay Area scene that launched the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane and the Quicksilver Messenger Service. BBHC released its eponymous debut album to acclaim in the summer of 1967 and after its landmark performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, the disc had modest chart success.

A year later, the group -- by now signed to Columbia Records -- released the psychedelic rock classic 'Cheap Thrills,' which topped the album chart in October 1968. Despite the enormous hit, 'Piece of My Heart,' the band's days were numbered, with Joplin quitting the group for a solo career. While Big Brother reconvened in 1969, Janis proved irreplaceable and after two additional albums they gave up on the band in 1972.

In 1987, the group returned to the touring circuit, with Gurley retiring from the group in 1996. In 2000, he released a solo album 'Pipe Dreams.'

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Midnight Souvenirs,' New Album From Peter Wolf Set For April 2010

Midnight Souvenirs, Peter Wolf's seventh solo album, is a continuation of the singer-songwriter's distinctive and eclectic tales that brighten and interpret a world gone noir.

Following in the tracks of Wolf's Sleepless, which was honored by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the '500 greatest albums of all-time,' the new collection gives hope to the love-wounded and promises 'there's still time for the midnight wine," even if "sometimes you heal, sometimes you're scarred."

Featuring duets with country legend and national treasure Merle Haggard, the soulfully transcending and dynamic Grammy award winner Shelby Lynne and the haunting and majestic voice of Neko Case, Midnight Souvenirs integrates and embraces rock, R & B, blues, folk and country in a way that has distinguished Wolf's storied career.

Measurable are his decades as the leader and frenzied focal figure of the J. Geils Band, with whom he showcased his talents on such hits as "Centerfold," "Freeze Frame," "Love Stinks" and "Musta Got Lost."

Wolf's musical roots precede rock and roll, and are personally entwined with friendships and performers such as the late Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Aretha Franklin and Van Morrison. His talents have continued into the music of tomorrow with tours and on-stage antics with the Rolling Stones, U2, Kid Rock, and Bruce Springsteen.

Midnight Souvenirs was packed fair and square in the studio by Wolf and Kenny White, who also co-produced Sleepless and 1998's Fools Parade.The 14 songs on the album range from the country blues of "Tragedy" with Shelby Lynne and the hard-rockin' "The Night Comes Down," dedicated to the late Willy DeVille, to the bittersweet texture of "It's Too Late For Me" with Merle Haggard, and the punchline impact of vintage Philly roots R & B on "Overnight Lows." Wolf and Neko Case deliver an eternal bouquet on "The Greenfields Of Summer."

The timelessness of Midnight Souvenirs spans decades and musical genres and travels into the after hours of silhouetted smoky clubs, as well as to the deep delta of America's South with its sounds of shake, rattle and roll.

"I never obsess about the commercial aspect of my music, just like with my artwork," says Wolf, also an accomplished painter whose art world connections have included Norman Rockwell, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol and Director David Lynch.

"What matters is if the painting is interesting to keep or show to somebody." It's the same with the songs; you hope people will make an emotional connection. I absorb the influences and reshape them," he says. "The act of creation is what gives meaning to my life and keeps me going--in music and in art."

That passion was evident, as Wolf pursued the project in studios from Boston to New York to Los Angeles. Night after night of midnight wine and of setting the scenes for the melodies of lost love, backroom laments and new expectations.

Paul McCartney Hints At London Residency

Paul McCartney has admitted he wants to play a residency in London.

The former Beatle is due to perform at London's 02 Arena on Tuesday, December 22, and has hinted at the idea of doing an extended run of shows at the venue.

"I quite fancy that," he said. "Last time I ever did that was when The Beatles used to do Christmas shows, and it was brilliant because you would be there for a week or two. It was fantastic, just dossing in your overcoat and everything."

McCartney also revealed he wanted to play more shows in the UK this year. "I came back from America and a lot of people said, 'Oh I hear you’ve been to America, are you doing any British dates?' I said, 'No', and they said, 'Oh why not?'.

"So I rung my promoter and said, 'Hey, can we do some English dates and can we play maybe Scotland?'

"He had a brilliant idea of the Union Jack Tour, it was going to be Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, but he couldn't get the availability at such short notice. The only thing he could really get firm was The O2, so he built a little European tour around it, and he got Dublin as well."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eagles, Fleetwood Mac To Tour Together In 2010

Next summer will be a dream come true for soft rock fans, as the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac will hit the road together. Plans are under way for the two groups to do one-off shows in football and baseball stadiums, and multiple nights in arenas. If this happens, it will be the first time since July 1976 in Foxboro, Massachusetts, that the two bands shared a stage.

Stevie Nicks and Don Henley played a few shows together in 2005, the same year a tour between the two groups was first proposed. If this tour comes together, Stevie Nicks will be sharing the stage with four ex-boyfriends -- Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Don Henley and Joe Walsh.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jimmy Page To Play 'Show Of Peace' Concert In China

An array of artists, including Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, will take part in the first annual Show Of Peace Concert, a globally televised event that will take place April 17 before an expected crowd of 100,000 at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, China.

More performers and other details will be announced at a January 13 press conference in Beijing. The concert's official web site lists nearly five dozen target artists to be invited, including Prince, Green Day, Beyonce, Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas, Kenny Chesney, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake and many others.

The concert, which marks the 30th anniversary of the cultural exchange agreement between the United States and China, is billed in a statement as "a 'peace is green' awareness campaign designed to not only promote peace with each other but to promote peace with our planet." It's the brainchild of television and music producer Rick Garson, whose Las Vegas-based ZZYX Entertainment company is producing the show. Garson's co-producers include Live 8 and Live Earth principal Greg Sills and artists manager Trudy Green (Michael and Janet Jackson, Mick Jagger, Aerosmith).

Other organizations involved in the concert include the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, the United Nations' Pathways of Peace and the Captain Planet Foundation."

Garson is establishing the A Show Of Peace Foundation, whose board of directors will include environmental and peace-building experts. The foundation will distribute funds raised from the concert and other activities to organizations and initiatives. In a statement Garson said that "the passion and attitude of the Chinese people and the potential of this country made me realize that this was the right place to stage an event, as we watch the transformation of Red China to 'Green' China right before our eyes."

The concert's web site,, will carry regular updates about the event.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

John Frusciante Quits Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante has confirmed that he has “quit” the band, writing in a MySpace blog post, “To put it simply, my musical interests have led me in a different direction.”

The Peppers are reportedly working on their follow-up to 2006’s Stadium Arcadium, and rumors began circulating recently that Frusciante had permanently left RHCP and was replaced by guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who along with Frusciante, toured with the band in 2007 and also appeared on Frusciante’s 2009 solo album The Empyrean.

Until now, representatives for the RHCPs would not confirm the news of Frusciante’s departure. Frusciante clarifies in his MySpace post that he actually left the band over a year ago when they were on indefinite hiatus.

“I really love the band and what we did,” Frusciante writes, adding that there was no drama or anger involved in his decision to leave. “Over the last 12 years, I have changed, as a person and artist, to such a degree that to do further work along the lines I did with the band would be to go against my own nature. There was no choice involved in this decision. I simply have to be what I am, and have to do what I must do.”

Frusciante’s statement ends his second stint with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After appearing on 1989’s Mother’s Milk and 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Frusciante left the Peppers in 1992.

Following RHCP’s brief Dave Navarro era, Frusciante rejoined the band for their three most recent albums: Californication, By The Way and Stadium Arcadium.

In September, the band was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but as it has already been revealed, the group will not be a part of the Hall’s class of 2010.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Second Installment Of Todd Rundgren Biography Published

After a seven year gap, much to the anticipation of Todd Rundgren fans worldwide, A Dream Goes On Forever - The Continuing Story of Todd Rundgren Vol. 2 has been published by Golden Treasures Publishing.

There is no more consummate musician than Todd Rundgren. There is no more complete collected account of his sonic accomplishments than on A Dream Goes on Forever. This second volume of the biographic series tracks Rundgren's history, from the triumphant mid 70s atop the golden pyramid to the challenging mid 80s when he faced the demise of Utopia.

Follow the album-by-album coverage from Rundgren's landmark 1977 production of Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell through to the persistence of vision that allowed him to continue creating music after the end of his video studio, record label and band. From Utopia to Oblivion and beyond.

No account of Todd Rundgren's second decade of creativity would be complete without extensive coverage of his pioneering efforts in music video -- from his initial forays into live TV to the founding of his state-of-the-art, $2 million studio. Rundgren poured as much energy, money and talent into the advancement of music video as he did for his audio adventures. Relish the highs such as when "Time Heals" becomes the second video ever played on MTV, or Utopia presides over the channel's first birthday celebration with Nina Blackwood. Be there as Martha Quinn and Rundgren announce results of a Basement Tapes session, or when the band produces the award-winning videography for "Feets Don't Fail Me Now."

Despite it all, Rundgren continued to forge ahead, producing his own landmark solo albums along with pop gems like Skylarking by XTC and Forever Now by the Psychedelic Furs.

A Dream Goes On Forever - The Continuing Story of Todd Rundgren Vol. 2, featuring a foreword by Utopia member Kasim Sulton, is available through Amazon as well as directly through Golden Treasures Publishing.

For more information:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stooges, Genesis, ABBA Get Rock Hall Of Fame Nods

The Stooges, Genesis, ABBA, the Hollies and Jimmy Cliff will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the shrine's 25th annual ceremony on March 15 at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. They'll be joined by David Geffen and a cadre of songwriters -- Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry, Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman and Otis Blackwell -- who will receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award for non-performers.

The ceremony will be broadcast live on Fuse TV.

Surprisingly not making the cut were KISS and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were thought to be frontrunners when the short list of nominees was announced in September.

Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks says that the induction is "nice to happen" and that it's an honor to be the second British progressive rock band, after Pink Floyd, to join the Hall. "I suppose it being American-based and all that it just concentrates slightly more on that type of music," he says.

Which members of Genesis might perform at the ceremony is somewhat up in the air due to Phil Collins' recent surgery to repair dislocated vertebrae. "Phil's got a few physical problems at the moment which means I don't think he'd be able to play, so...I don't really know what that means," Banks says. "We'll face that particular hurdle when we get to it."

Hollies veteran Graham Nash calls the group's induction "well-deserved," noting that "they were a very large part of the British Invasion. They were a very large part of early, you know, English rock. They had a couple of dozen Top 10 hits (in the U.K.), and hits over here (in the U.S.), and why not?"

His longtime colleague Stephen Stills was "so happy" for Nash and cracked that "now he can quit feeling inferior" because Stills and David Crosby have each been inducted into the Hall more than once. But, Stills adds, "I thought (the Hollies) was a great band, and we all wanted to sing like that. The fact I ended up with one of their singers is one of the luckiest things in my life."

ABBA is unlikely to regroup for a performance at the March ceremony, but the Stooges, in the wake of founding guitarist Ron Asheton's death in early January, have already been planning a 2010 tour with Raw Power era guitarist James Williamson. The group has been nominated for the Hall seven previous times.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Allman Brothers Museum Opens

When Kirk and Kirsten West decided to move out of their Vineville Avenue home in Macon, Georgia, the notion of turning it into a museum certainly wasn't on their radar.

Sure, thousands of visitors from places as far away as Germany, Italy, Japan and Australia had knocked on their door during the decade they had lived there, trying to get a glimpse of what was known as The Big House, where members of the Allman Brothers Band lived in the early 1970s.

It was only after Kirk West, the band's road manager, was meeting with an interested buyer for the property one night when the man suggested that West start a nonprofit foundation and turn The Big House into a museum.

That seed of an idea finally has become a reality, four decades after the band's founding.

After five years of fundraising and two years of renovations, the museum will open its doors on a limited basis for the rest of the year before a formal grand opening in early 2010.

"At times, I've tried to be practical about it, but seeing it come to fruition ..." said Kirsten West, her voice trailing off as she broke into a wide grin. "It's a tribute to the band, but equally it's a tribute to the fans who believed that we could do it."

Kirsten West, the foundation's managing director, said that to date, The Big House Foundation has taken in about $2.5 million in donations from all over the United States.

In addition, the museum also has received donated materials to refurbish the house and many hours of volunteer labor to renovate it.

"Probably 60 percent (of the renovation) has been donated labor and materials," said Greg Potter, president of the Georgia Allman Brothers Band Association, who also has donated his own time to help get the house in shape. "We had a roofer come in from New York, donated all the materials and put the roof in, and all it cost us was a weeks worth of hotel rooms."

In the early 1970s, when the band was getting its start in Macon, bassist Berry Oakley's wife Linda, whom everyone called "Big Linda," was searching for a more permanent home and happened upon the Tudor-styled house by way of a newspaper ad.

Though the house was more expensive than the Oakleys would have liked, Big Linda fell in love with the place, and they moved in with Duane Allman and his family.

The house became the band's unofficial headquarters, a place to hang out, to party and to play music.

During a recent visit, E.J. Devokaitis, the museum's co-curator, pointed to a window in what used to be the living room.

"That's where (former guitarist) Dickey Betts wrote 'Blue Sky'," he said. "The line in the song, 'Good old Sunday morning, bells are ringing everywhere.' That was from that church across the street. It's still there."

There are dozens of little nuggets like that as a visitor moves through each room of the house.

That living room now serves as home for various posters, gold records and a huge Steve Penley portrait of Duane. The other side of the front of the house the rooms where the band often practiced is home to various photos and awards the band won.

An interior room contains a wide range of memorabilia, including instruments from several band members Oakley's Hummingbird acoustic guitar, Gregg Allman's Hammond B-3 electric organ, a prototype for Duane's signature Gibson guitar, a drum kit from Butch Trucks as well as cases full of handwritten song lyrics, concert tickets, contracts, checks and more. In one corner, there's a life-size portrait of the band during a rehearsal for 1971's famed "Fillmore East" concert.

In an interior hallway, there's an exhibit for the band Govt. Mule, which also had its origins at The Big House and whose members Warren Haynes and the late Allen Woody were later guitarist and bassist, respectively, for the Allman Brothers Band.

On the second floor, where the bedrooms were located, the bedroom of Candace Oakley Berry's sister is a display room for more artwork. Big Linda is redecorating what was Duane's bedroom to show what it looked like when the band lived in the house.

One of the most interesting rooms on that floor is a tiny room that Duane used as a nursery for his daughter, Galadrielle. The room has been soundproofed and will serve a place where fans can listen to Allman Brothers Band music. In addition, the room will eventually be equipped with a video camera so that fans can share their own memories of the band, Kirk West said. Those recollections will be compiled and become part of the museum's permanent collection.

The top floor, which served as a recreation room for the band, will be used for educational purposes and meetings, Kirsten West said. Some of the band members want to volunteer their time in the future to teach music to young children, she said. The room also can be rented out for corporate meetings.

To the casual observer, it seems like a lot of memorabilia is being packed into the house. Devokaitis said that what's being displayed, however, represents perhaps 10 percent of the museums entire collection. And that doesn't even include other memorabilia that fans and relatives of band members have loaned to the museum to display each with its own story.

One of the most interesting items is an amplifier owned by Ron Blair, the bassist for the band Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Blair's sister Jan used to be married to Gregg Allman, who gave Blair an amp that belonged to Duane.

"It's a piece of equipment that's been used by two bands that are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," Devokaitis said.

The house also contains original stained-glass windows donated by Forsyth artist Celia Henigman, which go with the house's original stained-glass windows.

On the outside there's a koi pond, a catering kitchen and a small pavilion that can be used for live music.

Kirk West said the museum will be open weekends for the rest of 2009. Kirsten West said the museum also is available for rent and said two weddings and a rehearsal dinner have already been booked there.

The Wests say they are expecting a good opening crowd, including an invitation-only party for major donors.

Opening weekend also coincides with the Fly South music festival Saturday, which is headlined by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks and his band.

But for die-hard fans such as Potter, the highlight of the weekend will be the finished museum itself.

"It's going to be great," said Potter, who has been a fan of the band since 1971. "The band has helped so many people through their problems. Their music uplifts you. (With the museum), you can see what it means to you. It's amazing."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey Team Up For Early 2010 Tour

On the heels of two major U.S. Grammy nominations for his CD release with Steve Winwood last year, Eric Clapton has announced a series of North American solo shows for 2010.

The tour will begin on February 25 in Pittsburgh, PA and will travel to 11 U.S. cities and feature a very special guest, Roger Daltrey, to kick off the show.

In recent years, Clapton has done some of his most innovative and collaborative work, pairing with iconic artists such as Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck and JJ Cale for concert and CD projects.

Recent concert set lists have seen a variety of Clapton music featuring some of his biggest solo hits alongside classic Derek and The Dominos and Blind Faith songs. The band will consist of Steve Gadd on drums, Willie Weeks on bass, Chris Stainton and Walt Richmond on keyboards, and Michelle John and Sharon White as backing vocalists.

02/25 - Pittsburgh, PA (Mellon Arena)
02/27 - Nashville, TN (Sommett Center)
02/28 - Birmingham, AL (Birmingham Jefferson)
03/02 - Tulsa, OK (BOK)
03/03 - Kansas City, MO (Sprint Center)
03/05 - Memphis, TN (FedEx Forum)
03/06 - New Orleans, LA (New Orleans Arena)
03/08 - Raleigh, NC (RBC Center)
03/09 - Atlanta, GA (Gwinnett Cente0r)
03/11 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Bank Atlantic Center)
03/13 - Orlando, FL (Amway Arena)

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Show, Exhibits To Mark Elvis Presley's 75th birthday

Elvis Presley's legacy will be marked in force next year in a 75th anniversary birthday celebration featuring a new Cirque du Soleil production, movie marathons, a Facebook application and a cruise.

Elvis Presley Enterprises on Thursday (December 10) rolled out a year of events to mark what would have been the singer's 75th birthday on January 8, including a cake-cutting ceremony at his Graceland home in Memphis with wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie.

Celebrations during the year include a special exhibit at Graceland of Elvis costumes, an all-day marathon on TV channel TCM of Elvis movies on January 8, an exhibit of Presley's impact on pop culture at the Newseum in Washington D.C., and a new Jailhouse Rock doll from the Barbie collection.

Canadian circus group Cirque du Soleil will unveil its own tribute to the life and music of the King of Rock and Roll with its new show Viva ELVIS in Las Vegas, which premieres at the end of January.

Presley died on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42 of heart problems and a cocktail of prescription drugs. He is still one of the top earning dead celebrities, bringing in $55 million in 2009, according to

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Elvis Costello's Live Series Continues With 'Hollywood High'

Elvis Costello's second release in his "The Costello Show" live performance series will be Live At Hollywood High, a complete 20-song concert recording from June 1978. The album, which includes 11 previously unreleased tracks performed by Costello and his band the Attractions, is due out January 12, 2010 on Hip-O/Universal.

The concert was produced by Nick Lowe, and features songs from three Costello classics: My Aim is True, This Year's Model and Armed Forces, an album Costello would enter the studio and record three months after this show. Previously unreleased tracks on "Hollywood High" include live versions of "Lip Service," "The Beat," "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes," "(I Don't Wanna Go To) Chelsea," "This Year's Girl," "No Action," "Radio, Radio" and "Pump It Up."

The first release in "The Costello Show" series was Live At The El Mocambo, a heavily bootlegged concert from March 1978 in Toronto, came out in September. Future releases in the series ill include, among others, concerts performed at the Royal Albert Hall and Royalty Theater in London.

Costello's acclaimed television series, Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... blends music and interviews with superstars and up-and-comers. A DVD of the first season was released November 17, and the second season premiered December 9 on the Sundance Channel with an episode featuring U2's Bono and The Edge.

Other confirmed guests for the season include Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Ron Sexsmith, Neko Case, Jesse Winchester, Ray LaMontagne, Nick Lowe, Levon Helm, Richard Thompson and Allen Toussaint.

"I didn't really have a model for the show in my head," Costello said earlier this month about how he envisioned the show. "I just wanted to pull together all the things that interested me. I see myself as being like a carnival barker or the MC of a big package show."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

John Lennon's Death Still Resonates 29 Years Later

Today (December 9) is the 29th anniversary of the murder of rock legend John Lennon, who was killed outside his apartment building just before 11 p.m. via five gun shots. The killer, Mark David Chapman, had been stalking Lennon for months and even had contact with him earlier in the day (Lennon signed a copy of Double Fantasy for the guy who would take his life only hours later).

Chapman's motives remain unclear to this day (the film Chapter 27, starring 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto as Chapman, didn't offer many suggestions), but he remains incarcerated in a state prison in New York and has been denied parole five times, often because of campaigns lead by Lennon's widow Yoko Ono.

Lennon's legacy is, of course, iron-clad. Often thought of as the brain of the Beatles (with Paul McCartney as the heart, George Harrison as the soul and Ringo Starr as the timekeeper), Lennon created some of the most timeless rock songs in the history of the genre, and his influence gets renewed with every generation of future musicians.

It's been a big year for Lennon's songs, as they were featured on the extremely well-received video game The Beatles: Rock Band and the complete Beatles catalog was remastered, both in stereo and mono, and released to high acclaim and massive sales. Lennon's solo albums like Imagine and Mind Games have also been reissued.

As usual, the "what if he had lived" scenarios come to mind, but the most important thing to consider about John Lennon is not so much that on this day, 29 years ago, his life came to a tragic, abrupt end -- but that when he was here, he gave his all, he conquered what he set out conquer, leaving an indelible legacy that will live on in our hearts and minds forever. God bless John Lennon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ZZ Top And ELP Set For High Voltage Festival 2010

Rock legends ZZ Top and Emerson, Lake and Palmer have been confirmed to top the bill at a new London festival, High Voltage, in July 2010.

The festival, which promises to combine the very best in classic rock, progressive rock and metal as chosen by Classic Rock magazine, will see ZZ Top head Saturday night’s bill, while Emerson, Lake and Palmer are set to perform on Sunday.

Celebrating their 40th year as rock’s bearded trio, 2010 will be the first time ZZ Top has headlined an English festival for 25 years.

High Voltage Festival will be Emerson, Lake and Palmer's only live performance of 2010 and possibly their final performance ever for the trio who have sold over 30 million albums worldwide.

Classic Rock Editor-in-Chief Scott Rowley claimed: “High Voltage is the festival all true rock fans have been waiting for – custom built by rock fans. The High Voltage team has been to every rock festival imaginable – we’re taking what we’ve learnt to build a festival unlike any other.

“The facilities will be second to none: great food, proper beer, clean toilets, deluxe hospitality packages, designated hotels, free shuttle transport. This is somewhere you take the whole family.”

Early Bird tickets for High Voltage festival are on sale now here priced at £120 for weekend tickets and £65 for day tickets and includes a free festival laminate as well as the ability to fast track queues on the day. Prices are set to increase on January 1.

High Voltage Festival will take place July 24-25 in London’s Victoria Park.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Jam Unveils 2010 European Tour Plans

Pearl Jam will return to Europe next summer for a series of headlining and festival appearances, beginning June 22 in Dublin. The group has announced seven dates so far, with four more shows to be revealed at a later date.

In addition to Dublin, Pearl Jam will visit Belfast, Ireland; London; Berlin; Arras, France; Werchter, Belgium; and Oeiras, Portugal. Support acts have yet to be announced.

Pearl Jam will be touring in support of its new self-released album, Backspacer, which debuted at November 1 on the Billboard 200. The second single from the project, "Just Breathe," jumped 20-18 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart.

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder made a surprise appearance Sunday (December 6) night at the Kennedy Center Honors, paying tribute to Bruce Springsteen.

Pearl Jam's 2010 European tour dates:

June 22: Dublin (02 Arena)
June 23: Belfast, Ireland (Odyssey Arena)
June 25: London (Hard Rock Calling Hyde Park)
June 27: TBD
June 30: Berlin (Wuhlheide)
July 1: TBD
July 3: Arras, France (Main Square Festival)
July 4: Werchter, Belgium (Rock Werchter Festival)
July 6: TBD
July 9: TBD
July 10: Oeiras, Portugal (Optimus Alive Festival)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bruce Springsteen Among Kennedy Honorees

Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro and comic genius Mel Brooks are in Washington to receive the Kennedy Center Honors, along with jazz composer Dave Brubeck and opera singer Grace Bumbry.

A surprise list of top performers will honor the group Sunday (December 6) night in a show attended by President Barack Obama.

The honors recognize individuals who helped define American culture through the arts, part of a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy.

Some big names are in D.C. for the event. They gathered Saturday night for a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Guests included Matthew Morrison from the hit TV show “Glee,” Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese and Jon Stewart.

Journalist Barbara Walters turned heads, arriving as actor Frank Langella’s date.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Alan Parsons Project's Eric Woolfson Dies

An agent says Eric Woolfson, co-founder of the 1970s British progressive rock group Alan Parsons Project, known for the hits "Eye in the Sky" and "Don't Answer Me," has died of cancer. He was 64.

Gallissas Theaterverlag, a company that represented Woolfson in Germany, said the musician died this week in London. Woolfson's Web site said he died early Wednesday (December 2).

Woolfson was born March 18, 1945, in Glasgow, Scotland. Together with Alan Parsons he founded the group, whose music was popular in the U.S. and Germany.

Woolfson's accomplishments went well beyond his work with APP. He was a prolific composer, talented pianist, and accomplished producer. After his partnership with Parsons (1975-1990) ended, Woolfson became heavily involved in composing musical theater. Earlier this year, he released The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was, on which he sang songs he had written for APP which were never released.

Vintage Rock interviewed with Woolfson earlier this year. The interview can be viewed here.

NYC Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Annex To Close

Just one year after opening, the New York City annex to Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will close its doors on January 3, according to one of the corporate partners in the venture. S2BN Entertainment announced the closure in a statement.

"There is no doubt the economy factored into our leaving, but overall we had a good year," said Caren Bell, spokeswoman for the 25,000 square foot annex in Manhattan's Soho district.

The offshoot to the main museum in Ohio opened to fanfare in November 2008 with Mayor Michael Bloomberg hailing it as another cultural destination for the roughly 46 million visitors to New York City every year.

The annex housed hundreds of artifacts, from Bruce Springsteen's 1957 Chevrolet to the wooden phone box from CBGB, the popular music venue that launched New York's punk scene in the 1970s and established the careers of bands such as The Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie.

The annex is reviewing opportunities to take some of the artifacts on tour, according to Bell.

The Cleveland Hall of Fame opened in September 1995 with an initial project cost of $92 million for land acquisition, construction costs, fees and equipment.

The nonprofit museum was built through a public-private partnership with the state of Ohio, the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and Cleveland area and music industry corporations and foundations.

The Cleveland museum generates more than $5 million in revenue annually for the state and local government and employs 936 people. Every year, it adds $100 million to Cleveland's economy, a museum spokeswoman said by email.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Here, There and Everywhere: Chapter One Is Live At

Chapter One of the The Beatles: Here, There and Everywhere radio series features exclusive new interviews with Brian Wilson, Tom Petty, director Cameron Crowe, Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), Dave Grohl, Mark Ronson and Slash, as they reveal the influence of The Beatles on their careers. The program is being streamed at

Written and produced by Kevin Howlett and presented by Paul Gambaccini, each of the three 48-minute installments of The Beatles: Here, There And Everywhere take a different thematic approach. The next two chapters of the series wuill be uploaded to the Beatles web site over the next two weeks. Here's the break-down:

Part One: Meet The Beatles!

The interviewees recorded exclusively for this series reveal the impact made upon them by The Beatles’ records from throughout their career. We hear Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Tom Petty, film director Cameron Crowe and Ann & Nancy Wilson (of Heart) talking about their first-hand experience of The Beatles’ phenomenal 1964 breakthrough in the United States. Dave Grohl, Mark Ronson and Slash discuss the enduring influence of albums such as Rubber Soul, Revolver and Abbey Road.

Part Two: Ask Me Why

The interviewees focus on the various elements within the group that combined to make The Beatles so musically powerful: their strengths as performers - both instrumentally and vocally - plus the brilliance of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison as songwriters.

Part Three: The Beatles On The Record

We hear how The Beatles’ music was captured on record with the help of innovative arrangements and adventurous production by George Martin. Some of today’s leading record producers - Peter Asher, Joe Boyd, T-Bone Burnett, Jeff Lynne, Mark Ronson and Rick Rubin - marvel at the dazzling creativity evident in recordings made more than 40 years ago.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rolling Stone Ron Wood Arrested In England

Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones was released on bail Thursday (December 3) after being arrested for possible domestic assault.

Wood, known for his stinging guitar riffs and raucous private life, was picked up by police Wednesday (December 2) evening near his home in Esher in southern England.

"I can confirm that there was an incident last night and that Ronnie Wood was arrested," said David Rigg, Wood's spokesman.

The arrest comes on the heels of Wood's highly publicized divorce last month. His marriage collapsed after he started dating a young Russian woman.

Police in Surrey, England, released few details about the incident, which is still under investigation. Police would not say who made the assault complaint against Wood.

Asked about Wood, police said only that a 62-year-old man from the town of Esher had been taken into custody Wednesday night on suspicion of assault in connection with a domestic incident on Claygate High Street.

Claygate High Street is a popular commercial street near Esher, an affluent town 17 miles southwest of London that was also the home of George Harrison of the Beatles.

Locals were trying to find out what happened with Wood, one of several famous rockers from the 1960s who live in the area. Teresa Asoli, owner of the Il Corallo restaurant, said few of the facts have come out.

"Some people came around and wanted to know what we saw," she said. "But I wasn't here when it happened so I didn't see anything."

Wood spent Wednesday night in police custody before being released on bail to face further inquiries in January.

Wood's private life has been in turmoil for more than an a year since he started a high profile relationship with Russian Ekaterina Ivanova, a 20-year-old cocktail waitress.

That relationship led to his divorce last month by Jo Wood, his wife of 24 years, on the grounds of adultery. Wood and his ex-wife have two children together.

Wood has long been a guitar stalwart of the Rolling Stones, one of the world's longest-running and most popular rock bands. He joined the band in 1975 and has spent more than three decades touring the world with the band, one of the most successful live acts in history.

According to Forbes, the band recently earned about $88 million in one 12-month stretch.

In recent years he has also found some success as an artist, selling his paintings in numerous galleries.

His romantic troubles have provided ample fodder for Britain's tabloids, who have shown repeated photographs of the craggy, aging rocker cavorting with his young Russian paramour.

He also was treated for alcoholism in 2008.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Neil Young Tribute Set For Winter Olympics

Members of Broken Social Scene, Iron & Wine, Sun Kil Moon, Ron Sexsmith and Joan As Police Woman are among the artists confirmed to appear at a concert celebrating the music of Neil Young as part of the upcoming Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The event will be held February 18 at the city's Queen Elizabeth Theatre and will be produced by Hal Willner, a veteran organizer of multi-artist of tribute shows. The concert will dig "deep into Young's massive catalog to illuminate hits and obscurities alike with magical pairings of song and singer," according to planners.

A host of other notable concerts are on tap in conjunction with the Olympics, including Phoenix on January 22, Steve Earle on January 23, Stars on February 19 and Martha Wainwright on March 18.

For a complete list of Winter Olympics cultural events, visit

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

BBC Unearths Vintage Footage Of Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd’s 'Top Of The Pops' performance of their hit 'See Emily Play' on the BBC1 show – something of a holy grail for music fans – has been unearthed after more than 40 years.

The damaged, almost unwatchable, footage has now been partially restored and is to be screened publicly for the first time since its 1967 broadcast at an event next year.

Storage issues meant that BBC bosses routinely dumped tapes of the broadcasts because they were cumbersome and costly, if they were recorded at all.

It means little remains of the 1960s 'TOTP' performances of many of the greatest names in rock, despite regular amnesties for tapes removed from the vaults and pleas for copies from private collections.

But now the Floyd performance has turned up on a one-inch, reel-to-reel tape which has been handed in to the British Film Institute. It will be shown at the BFI’s annual screening of rare footage, Missing Believed Wiped.

The vintage, primitive recording – said to come from an unidentified musician's collection – features two editions of the show from July 6 and 27, 1967.

Hosted by the late DJ Alan Freeman, they feature Floyd’s performance with then frontman Syd Barrett, who left the band the following year and died in 2006.

But the poor vintage recording made it impossible for it to be screened on today’s more technologically advanced TV screens because of the picture resolution.

Experts at the BFI have now enhanced the quality for the screening at London’s Southbank on January 9.

Dick Fiddy of the BFI was quoted as saying: “We gave the tape to the archive boffins. It was in a dreadful condition, with the oxide falling off. The best possible picture quality was recovered.”

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck Reveal Tour Plans

Reprising their live collaboration in Tokyo earlier this year, guitar legends Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck have revealed three additional concert dates for February 2010 in North America.

The artists will perform together February 18 at New York's Madison Square Garden, Febraury 21 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, and February 22 at Montreal's Bell Centre. The new shows join a previously announced February 13-14 engagement at London's 02 Arena.

Tickets for the Toronto show go on sale Friday (December 4), with Montreal tickets on sale the following day. New York tickets will be available December 12.

Clapton and Beck have known each other since the early 60s, and both went on to play guitar in the Yardbirds before embarking on successful solo careers. But they had rarely played together on stage until the Tokyo concert. "We had such a fun time in Japan that it seemed natural to play together again," Clapton says.

Specific details about the upcoming shows have not been announced, but each artist is expected to play a set with his own band before teaming up for a collaborative finale set. In Tokyo earlier this year, that portion of the show featured songs such as "Outside Woman Blues," "Brown Bird," "Wee Baby" and "Want To Take You Higher."

Beck recently filled in for an ill Clapton at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concerts in New York, jamming with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Sting to Buddy Guy and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Beck is also in the studio working on his next album, a release date for which has yet to be revealed.