Sunday, February 28, 2010

Genesis Says Peter Gabriel Missing Rock Hall Induction Is No 'Snub'

Peter Gabriel's Genesis bandmates are giving him the benefit of the doubt for bowing out of next month's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Gabriel will not attend the March 15 affair because it conflicts with orchestra rehearsal dates for his upcoming European and North American concerts to promote his new album, Scratch My Back.

"(Gabriel) rang up and said, 'Look, everyone's going to say I'm trying to snub you and all the rest of it,'" Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks says. "I said, 'Well, just tell them we didn't want you to come, so we're snubbing you!'"

"No...I mean, it's a fair enough thing. It would've been lovely if he could've come, but I understand his problem," Banks adds.

Guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford says Gabriel was "very keen" about the induction and feels the singer's absence is "a very legitimate excuse. I know he would (come) if he could, but it's just the wrong timing."

Gabriel's decision has effectively scuttled any hopes of Genesis performing at the ceremony, though a full complement of Genesis members will be there, including: drummer-turned-frontman Phil Collins, who's still rehabilitating from spinal surgery and is unable to play; guitarist Steve Hackett, who left the band in 1977; and longtime touring members Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer.

"I think at my age, any accolade is enjoyed," says Rutherford, who turns 60 in October. "It's nice to be inducted into something."

Neither Banks nor Rutherford expect the induction to inspire any sort of renewed Genesis activity, however. The group last toured in 2007 and has not discussed anything further, although Banks notes that "we never rule it out." But he adds that he "can't see us doing any writing again, but in terms of just (playing live), it's always a possibility."

Rutherford, meanwhile, says that "the last tour was a nice kind of moment; it made us appreciate the band and each other as human beings. It kind of reminded us how much fun we'd had. And you never know what will happen; it depends on who's standing in five years' time or something like that."

The Genesis members are staying busy on their own, however.

Besides Gabriel's project, Collins is recording an album of Motown songs that's due out this fall; he's also slated to receive the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame on June 17.

Hackett is collaborating on a project with Yes bassist Chris Squire, while Banks, who issued a remastered and expanded version of his 1979 solo debut A Curious Feeling last year, is working on a classical piece.

Rutherford, meanwhile, has reactivated Mike & the Mechanics with British singer Andrew Roachford, among others, and expects to have a new album finished by Ma

Saturday, February 27, 2010

'The Runaways' Soundtrack Features MC5, Stooges, Bowie And More

The Runaways biopic, starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, melted the snow at its Sundance premiere and hits theaters across the U.S. on March 19th.

While fans have gotten a few sneak peeks at the film via its teaser trailers, the songs featured on the film’s soundtrack have been announced. Since this is a film about the Runaways, the group’s catalog features heavily on the disc, and its track list is split between the original recordings and new versions by Fanning, who plays Cherie Currie, and Stewart, who portrays Joan Jett. Rounding out the album are 1975-era punk anthems by MC5, Nick Gilder, Sex Pistols, David Bowie and more.

Check out the entire Runaways track list below:

1. Nick Gilder – “Roxy Roller”
2. Suzi Quatro – “The Wild One”
3. MC5 – “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”
4. David Bowie – “Rebel Rebel”
5. Dakota Fanning – “Cherry Bomb”
6. The Runaway – “Hollywood”
7. Dakota Fanning – “California Paradise”
8. The Runaways – “You Drive Me Wild”
9. Dakota Fanning & Kristen Stewart – “Queens Of Noise”
10. Kristen Stewart & Dakota Fanning – “Dead End Justice”
11. The Stooges – “I Wanna Be Your Dog”
12. The Runaways – “I Wanna Be Where The Boys Are (Live)”
13. Sex Pistols – “Pretty Vacant”
14. Joan Jett – “Don’t Abuse Me”

Friday, February 26, 2010

Carlos Santana Celebrates 'Supernatural' Reissue, Talks Covers Album

Rock guitar legend Carlos Santana is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his breakthrough Supernatural album, which won nine Grammy Awards and has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, with a Legacy Edition that includes a second disc of rare and unreleased material.

It's the touchstone for Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through the Hits, which resumes its residency at the Joint in the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on April 21. Santana and Sony Music Entertainment chief Clive Davis are working the same magic again on a new collaborative, thematic album that's due out later this year.

"I think if there's anything about Supernatural it's an affirmation that people trust me," Santana says about the album that paired him with collaborators such as Rob Thomas, Dave Matthews, Everlast, Lauryn Hill, Product C&B and Eric Clapton. "All those musicians, artists, writers, engineers, producers, lawyers, accountants...It was like a parade of roses and I'm in front, in the middle and in the end."

Santana says the Las Vegas show has also impressed upon him the impact "Supernatural" has made on his career. "It has allowed me to see Carlos from a different, ariel view," he explains, "because every day, in a tangible way, I get to see people spend money on an airplane, on a hotel, on a ticket, on a restaurant -- I mean, it's a whole way of validating what I've been doing, and I didn't know. I used to say, 'Well, I'm just trying to get to the next note and make it true. But by stopping in Las Vegas, it allowed me to really be more present. And by facing all the things that I said I would never do, it allowed me to see that I am less with fear and more with trusting, which is love."

Santana hopes to keep the love going on his next album, another project overseen by Davis that continues the guest-laden path of Supernatural, Shaman (2002) and All That I Am (2005) -- only this time adding iconic rock songs to the mix.

Among those are Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" with Thomas, the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with India.Arie and Yo-Yo Ma, Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" with Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knocking " with Scott Weiland, Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son."

"We're not comparing or competing with those artists -- we're complementing them," Santana says. "But when you hear this, you're gonna do 'Damn!' because it sounds so powerful, with vitality and vibrancy. Like Wayne Shorter says, it's completely new, totally familiar."

No title or release date have been set for the album. Santana is expected to tour in North America and Europe during the late spring and summer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Announce 2010 Tour, New Album

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers have announced their 2010 North American tour and the upcoming release of Mojo, their first studio album in eight years, set for release on Reprise Records this spring.

The North American tour, produced by Live Nation, will take the band through a mix of top arenas and amphitheaters across the US and Canada beginning May 6th in Raleigh, NC. Tickets go on sale beginning Monday, March 8 at

Special guest artists on the tour will include a mix of appearances by My Morning Jacket, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Joe Cocker, ZZ Top, and Drive-By Truckers.

All 2010 Tour tickets purchased online will include an MP3 download of every track on the Heartbreakers' electrifying new album, Mojo. It will work like this: once fans purchase tickets online they will receive an email with codes entitling them to download two tracks from Mojo ("First Flash Of Freedom" and "Good Enough.") Then, on the release date of the album, currently slated for this spring, ticket buyers will be sent a download of the entire album. Also included with every online ticket purchase, to be delivered at the end of the 2010 tour, will be a selection of live tracks recorded during the tour.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, their first year of eligibility, and in recent years have continued to build on their already legendary success. The band's sold-out 2008 tour was the biggest of their career and came right after the band's acclaimed Super Bowl XLII halftime performance with a worldwide audience of nearly a billion people.

The 2009 release of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' career spanning Live Anthology garnered glowing reviews including a rave four and a half stars from Rolling Stone. The 2007 release of the Peter Bogdanovich-directed documentary Runnin' Down A Dream earned a Grammy award and established the Heartbreakers' story as a striking embodiment of the American Dream.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Who's Roger Daltrey Seeks Jimmy Page Collaboration

Not for the first time has a member of the Who gone running into the arms of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. Back in the mid 1960s, the seeds of Led Zeppelin were sown when the Who's drummer Keith Moon (who inadvertently named the group) joined Page and fellow Yardbird Jeff Beck -- along with bassist John Paul Jones and keyboard player Nicky Hopkins -- to record "Beck's Bolero."

Now, 44 years later, the Who's singer Roger Daltrey has revealed that he wants to work with Jimmy Page on a blues project.

Speaking to BBC 6 Music, Daltrey said, "I'd love to do something, I'd love to do an album with Jimmy Page. He needs a singer to drive him. I'm a great blues singer.

"I don't sing the blues with the Who, but that's what I used to be before Townshend started writing. I used to be a great blues singer."

It doesn't seem like such a far-fetched idea. As previously reported, the future of the Who is in real doubt thanks to a decline in guitarist Pete Townshend's hearing and Jimmy Page recently told Mojo magazine that he'd been working on new material saying, "The most important thing for me to make some new music. I know how to do it and that's what I'm going to do."

A meeting may well happen. After all, Jimmy Page doesn't live too far away from London's Royal Albert Hall. Maybe he could check out the Who playing Quadrophenia there on March 30 or Them Crooked Vultures -- featuring John Paul Jones -- on March 22 when both bands play respective gigs in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ZZ Top Heads Rocklahoma 2010 Lineup

Rocklahoma, once known as a festival celebrating classic bands, just received a facelift. ZZ Top, Cinderella and Buckcherry are among bands slated to perform the May 28-30 Rocklahoma 2010 festival held annually in Pryor, Oklahoma. The change isn't a big surprise as promoters announced a partnership with AEG Live back in December.

"As life-long residents of 'Baja, Oklahoma,' Dusty, Frank and I are looking forward to making the northward trek to Pryor in May. The idea of sharing the stage with so many great, cutting-edge bands out there today is most appealing. It's like rock 'n' roll summer camp; does that make us campers or counselors?" ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons said in a press statement regarding his band's headline spot on the festival.

Rocklahoma will play host to bands from the '80s, '90s and today, making the festival cross-generational. While more bands will be added, acts already confirmed include Tesla, Godsmack, Chevelle, Stone Sour, Theory of a Deadman, Saliva, Saving Abel, Adelitas Way, Janus, Aranda, Burn Halo, Richy Nix, Shaman's Harvest, Taddy Porter, Like A Storm, Taking Dawn, New Medicine, Year Long Disaster, Brookroyal, Within Reason, Wildstreet, Firstryke, Krank and the Glitter Boys.

Tickets go on sale Saturday. Three-day passes start at $95. A VIP package is available as is camping.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Iggy Pop And Stooges Prepare For "Power" Play

For Iggy Pop and the current incarnation of the Stooges, plans involve "a three-year cycle" that will include the expanded re-release of 1973's seminal Raw Power album, touring and likely some new recording.

"We'll give it a good, sharp poke for the next three years and then step back and see where we are, see what we can do with it after that," Pop said. "After that we should step back and pick our shots once in a while," he said of the proto-punk rock band, which is about to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "Hopefully we can be like something that convenes for certain occasions."

In the wake of founding guitarist Ron Asheton's death in January of 2008, Pop rekindled his relationship with guitarist James Williamson, who joined the group in 1971 and was Pop's chief collaborator on "Raw Power." Original drummer Scott "Rock Action" Asheton remains, as does bassist Mike Watt, who's been a Stooge since the group's 2003 reactivation, and saxophonist Steve Mackay.

Pop said he expects the band -- which played a November "warm-up date" in Brazil -- to do "not more than about three months" on the road this year; 25 shows are already booked, he said, starting April 14 in Bourges, France, and including a September 3 performance of "Raw Power" at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Monticello, N.Y.

"This year will probably be heavier on the international (dates)," Pop said. "We haven't booked farther in the States because right now the world has made better offers ... But I'm certain that sometime within the cycle we will do a proper U.S. tour as long as no one else expires or breaks. I'll see to that."

Pop also hopes to do some recording with the current Stooges lineup and is in the midst of writing new material.

"Once I stared working with Ron and Scott again," Pop said, "it was important to me intellectually that the group be resurrected, not just reunified. So that meant we had to be writing and releasing new material."

He's working on some ideas that the Ashetons cooked up shortly before Ron's death -- including one song about the Three Stooges -- while Williamson, who has resumed his music career after retiring from an executive position with Sony Electronics, "is already on me like a greased cat. He's sending me riffs, so I did some vocals to a couple of them and it's starting to sound like something."

Pop said he's also considering recording heavily bootlegged Stooges songs that were rejected by record labels between 1970's Fun House and Raw Power and material written after the latter was released. "Ultimately I'd like to get into the studio with the group and maybe have a couple old songs, a couple new songs and then a little time to just jam and see what happens," Pop said.

The Stooges -- joined by Raw Power-era touring member Scott Thurston, now of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers -- will perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony March 15 in New York City.

Raw Power comes out in two versions -- a two-CD Legacy Edition with a "George Peaches" live recording and a three-CD/one DVD Deluxe Edition with a rarities disc and documentary -- on April 13.

Williamson, meanwhile, is remixing the post-Stooges Kill City album he and Pop recorded in 1975 and released in 1977 for reissue later this year.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Abbey Road Studios Not For Sale, Owner Says

The iconic Abbey Road music studios made famous by the Beatles are not for sale, the music label that owns them said Sunday, after days of speculation that they were.

It is seeking a partner to help pay for upgrades, according to Terra Firma, which controls EMI, owner of the recording studios.

"EMI confirms that it is holding preliminary discussions for the revitalization of Abbey Road with interested and appropriate third parties," Terra Firma said.

But that does not mean the studios are for sale, it added.

"In mid-2009, we did receive an offer to buy Abbey Road for in excess of £30 million (currently about $46 million), but this was rejected since we believe that Abbey Road should remain in EMI's ownership," the music company said in a statement.

The studios became world famous when the Beatles were photographed crossing the road there for the cover of their album Abbey Road.

But it's not only where the Beatles recorded "All You Need is Love" and numerous other songs, but where much of Britain's best known music of the 20th century was laid down.

Rock stars Pink Floyd and Cliff Richard, composer Sir Edward Elgar, and the movie soundtracks for Star Wars and the Harry Potter films were recorded there.

English Heritage, a cultural institution, is considering plans to list the studios as a site of national historic importance, Terra Firma said. That would give it protected status.

"EMI ... supports such a listing as an appropriate way of protecting our world famous music heritage site," the company said Sunday.

Terra Firma bought EMI in 2007.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer of Phantom of the Opera and Cats and one of Britain's richest men, is "very interested" in buying the studios, a representative said.

"He first recorded there in 1967 with Tim Rice. Andrew has since recorded most of his musicals there," said the representative, Jenni Pain.

"He thinks it is vital that the studios are saved for the future of the music industry in the UK. Abbey Road has such great facilities, with three major recording studios, and Andrew has probably brought more musicians to record there than anyone else, because it has the capacity to record large orchestral productions."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Who’s Future Uncertain as Townshend’s Tinnitus Returns

Two weeks ago, during Super Bowl XLIV’s halftime show, the Who rocked out in front of the largest audience of their 46-year career. With 150 million viewers tuning in to the band’s 12-minute medley, the performance was supposed to springboard Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend into a busy 2010. Instead, the Who’s future is uncertain because of Townshend’s returning tinnitus.

As the guitarist said: “If my hearing is going to be a problem, we’re not delaying shows. We’re finished. I can’t really see any way around the issue.”

A planned spring 2010 tour and appearances at the Coachella and New Orleans Jazz Festivals were ditched when Townshend’s tinnitus returned while he was working on his musical Floss. Neil Young put Townshend in touch with an audiologist who recommended an in-ear monitor that may prevent any further damage.

Townshend will give the device a test drive when the Who perform at their only scheduled gig of 2010, a March 30th charity show in London where they’ll play Quadrophenia in its entirety.

“It’s a good test of Pete’s hearing,” Daltrey said. “We won’t know until we try.”

Friday, February 19, 2010

Aerosmith Plots Summer European Tour

Aerosmith will be adding more European dates to its summer itinerary to follow up the booking at this year's Download Festival in England.

Effectively signaling a settling of differences with frontman Steven Tyler that had the other band members threatening to seek another singer -- temporarily, according to guitarist Joe Perry -- Aerosmith will precede its June 13 Download date with an appearance at the Sweden Rock Festival on June 10 in Solvesborg. A U.K. spokeswoman for the band said that other European dates will be announced shortly.

"There's no Aerosmith without Steven Tyler," notes Download promoter Andy Copping of Live Nation U.K. "There's no point in entertaining anything other than (with) Steven Tyler." Copping adds that an Aerosmith without Tyler "was never part of the conversation" with the group's representatives.

The group has also been offered tour dates in South America, but nothing has been announced yet. No North American shows have been mentioned, and there's also no word on if and when Aerosmith plans to resume work on the new album it was recording in Brendan O'Brien, which was sidelined by Tyler and Perry's health issues.

Tyler has been in rehab since late December for an addiction to painkillers. Perry has been touring with his Joe Perry Project to support his latest album, Have Guitar, Will Travel, while drummer Joey Kramer has been promoting his autobiography, Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top. Guitarist Brad Whitford is gearing up for an Experience Hendrix tour that starts March 4 in Santa Barbara, California.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Eagle Rock To Reissue Live At Knebworth Double-CD Set

On March 23, Eagle Rock Entertainment will drop a British bombshell, when the Live At Knebworth double-CD set hits stores.

On June 30, 1990, the best of the Brits flooded the Knebworth House in Hertsfordshire to perform a benefit concert for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and the Brit School Of Performing Arts.

Heralded as “The Best British Rock Concert Of All Time,” this aggregate of talent included Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Elton John, Phil Collins, Genesis, Dire Straits, Tears For Fears, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, and Status Quo.

All performing free of charge to support the charities, this incredible line-up was amassed from recipients of the prestigious Nordoff-Robbins’ Silver Clef Award, which recognizes acts who make outstanding contributions to the British music industry.

Originally released on Polydor in 1990, this 20th anniversary reissue will continue the tradition on giving back, as sales will raise funds for both Nordoff-Robbins (the UK’s leading independent provider of music therapy) and the Brit School of Performing Arts.

Track Listing:
Disc #1:
1.) Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
2.) Tears For Fears – Badman’s Song
3.) Status Quo – Dirty Water
4.) Status Quo – Whatever You Want
5.) Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over The World
6.) Cliff Richard & The Shadows – On The Beach
7.) Cliff Richard & The Shadows – Do You Wanna Dance
8.) Robert Plant – Hurting Kind
9.) Robert Plant – Liar’s Dance
10.) Robert Plant – Tall Cool One
11.) Robert Plant – Wearing And Tearing
12.) Genesis – Mama
13.) Genesis – Turn It On Again Medley: Somebody To Love / Satisfaction / Twist And Shout / Reach Out I’ll Be There / You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling / Pinball Wizard / In The Midnight House / Turn It On Again

Disc #2:
1.) Phil Collins – Sussudio
2.) Eric Clapton – Sunshine Of Your Love
3.) Dire Straits – Think I Love You Too Much
4.) Elton John – Sad Songs (Say So Much)
5.) Elton John – Saturday Night’s All Right (For Fighting)
6.) Paul McCartney – Coming Up
7.) Paul McCartney – Hey Jude
8.) Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
9.) Pink Floyd – Run Like Hell

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yoko Ono Revives Plastic Ono Band With Eric Clapton As Guest

Yoko Ono revived the Plastic Ono Band for a concert on Tuesday night (February 16) that was part tribute, part vanity project and all irresistible fun.

The show belonged as much to her son Sean Lennon, 34, as to Ono, 76. Looking and sounding like his famous father, Sean Lennon pulled together an all-star lineup that included Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and Bette Midler as special guests.

Plastic Ono Band was the name of the conceptual supergroup that recorded John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" in 1969 and one Ono had not used artistically since the 1970s.

The succession of stars led to the inevitable sing-along of that anthem for the encore at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Clapton played with fellow rockers Klaus Voormann and Jim Keltner -- all members of the original Plastic Ono Band.

Ono held the stage for the first act, building up from an a cappella opening number to a standard rock lineup to a 7-piece backing band that found its stride with funk-inspired rhythms.

The second act, though disjointed at times and largely unrehearsed, gave the adoring audience what it wanted: guest artists including Scissor Sisters, Justin Bond, and Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, all playing Ono songs.

Midler sang "Yes, I'm Your Angel," a light-hearted number Ono said she wrote for Lennon when he was growing anxious about turning 40. Lennon was killed by a deranged fan outside his New York City apartment two months after turning 40 in 1980.

Other artists dipped into Lennon's repertoire. Gene Ween's version of Lennon's love song "Oh Yoko" was touching, with Sean Lennon playing along.

Simon and his son Harper Simon -- a childhood friend of Sean Lennon's -- played in guitar duet, providing an acoustic warm-up to Clapton's blazing lead guitar on "Yer Blues" from the Beatles' White Album, on which Clapton played as a session guitarist.

Clapton, Voormann and Keltner energized the hall without speaking a word, setting up the emotional farewell sing-along of "Give Peace a Chance," which many audience members were still humming as they made their way to the exit.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Abbey Road Studios For Sale

The London recording studio immortalized by the multi-million-selling Beatles album of the same name has been put up for sale by its owners.

Debt-laden music company EMI is seeking buyers for Abbey Road Studios, a mecca for Beatles fans around the world who pose for photographs imitating the picture on the 1969 Abbey Road album cover which shows Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr strolling over a pedestrian crossing outside the studio.

EMI is talking to a few interested parties about selling the North London studios, but a deal is not imminent, a person familiar with the situation said. The company and its private equity owner Terra Firma declined to comment.

Abbey Road, which began life as a Georgian town house built in 1831, has an impressive history aside from the Beatles, who recorded most of their 1960s hit singles and albums there under the direction of EMI house producer George Martin.

Its walls have also echoed to music performed by classical composer Edward Elgar, rock bands Pink Floyd and Radiohead, violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin, 1980s bands Spandau Ballet and Simple Minds, as well as Mike Oldfield and Jeff Beck.

A sale that includes the brand could raise 25 to 30 million pounds ($39 million to $47 million), the person said. Terra Firma recently told investors it needed more than 100 million pounds to stop EMI breaching banking covenants.

A 4 billion pound deal to buy the record label in 2007 has come to epitomize the woes of buyout deals done at the private equity bubble, with a high debt burden and a weak performance crippling the business.

The investment has been so tumultuous for Terra Firma that it recently launched a lawsuit against Citigroup claiming the U.S. bank inflated the price of the business during the sale process by not revealing the only other bidder had withdrawn from the auction. Citigroup denies the allegations.

Frontiers Records Signs Alan Parsons

Legendary studio wizard Alan Parsons returns with a live concert recording Eye 2 Eye - Live In Madrid to be released March 19 in Europe and April 6 in the USA on Frontiers Records. This release will come out in two separate configurations in CD and DVD format.

Eye 2 Eye - Live In Madrid was filmed and recorded at the May 14, 2004 show in Playa Mayor, Madrid, Spain. The location is a gorgeous plaza surrounded by historic buildings and is a legacy to a very fine performance from an outstanding group of musicians.

Alan Parsons’ career started aged 19 when he worked on The Beatles' last two albums, Let It Be and Abbey Road. He soon become a well respected studio engineer and producer, working for Paul McCartney, John Miles, The Hollies, Al Stewart and Pink Floyd among others. He is particularly renowned for his work on the Pink Floyd masterpiece Dark Side Of The Moon.

With The Alan Parsons Project, Alan went on to release 10 acclaimed studio albums but never performed live, even after several US and UK Top 20 hits. The Project ended in 1990 when Eric Woolfson and Alan went separate ways. Eric devoted his career to the musical theatre, while Parsons felt the need to bring his music to the live concert stage and to continue to record conceptual symphonic rock music.

As well as receiving gold and platinum awards, Alan Parsons has received 12 Grammy Award nominations for engineering and production. In 2007, he received a nomination for Best Surround Sound Album for A Valid Path.

Eye 2 Eye – Live in Madrid features an outstanding performance and for many fans this is the first opportunity to see Alan Parsons' touring band. The musicians’ performances are superb throughout, and this could well be the definitive band line-up that Alan has toured with. An added treat is Alan singing lead vocals on three songs as well as all band members sharing the lead vocal duties.

For more information go to, or

Monday, February 15, 2010

Eric Clapton Announces 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival Lineup

“I do it because I want to hear these players,” Eric Clapton says, during an interview announcing his third Crossroads Guitar Festival.

The all-day stars-of-guitar show will be held on June 26th at Toyota Park in Chicago; tickets go on sale February 20th.

Like his 2004 and 2007 Crossroads concerts and the best-selling DVDs from those festivals, this year’s event benefits the Crossroads Centre, the addiction-treatment facility founded by Clapton on the Caribbean island of Antigua in the early 90s.

“But it’s a selfish thing,” he admits delightedly. “I can go to one place and hear all of my favorite musicians in one day.”

Nearly 30 of those favorites are confirmed for the June 26th show, which will feature Clapton in a headlining set with his own band and, if previous festivals are any indication, jamming with many of his guests as well.

Returning veterans of the first two Crossroads shows include Jeff Beck, Robert Cray, B.B. King, the great Rick Nelson and Elvis Presley sideman James Burton, Jimmie Vaughan, Sheryl Crow, Los Lobos, ZZ Top, Steve Winwood, gospel-steel phenomenon Robert Randolph and one of Clapton’s personal heroes, Louisiana slide-guitar ace Sonny Landreth.

“He’s a giant to me — his thing is so perfect,” Clapton says of Landreth. “When we send the invites, he’s the first guy that always comes back, the next day: ‘I’m in, what do you want me to do? I’ll open the show.’ Absolutely no bones with that guy.”

Among the artists making their Crossroads debuts this year are the Allman Brothers Band, British folk-guitar master Bert Jansch, singer-guitarist Keb’ Mo’ and Brazilian bossa nova legend Joao Gilberto.

“I wanted to open it up a little,” Clapton says of the bill, “so it’s not so much about virtuosity as roots.”

Clapton is especially excited by the booking of the reclusive Gilberto, who rarely performs abroad. “The whole thing was an excuse for getting him out of Brazil,” Clapton confesses with a laugh. But, he adds, “a festival about guitar doesn’t have to be all heavy metal or all rock. It would probably surprise a lot of people who don’t play that someone like me or Derek Trucks [of the Allmans] can admire and enjoy someone like Gilberto.”

Clapton notes that the musical success and smooth production of the 2007 festival — a one-day event also held at Toyota Park, a relatively intimate soccer stadium just south of downtown Chicago — encouraged him to do Crossroads at least one more time.

The 2004 concert was, in contrast, a two-day marathon, held at the enormous Cotton Bowl in Dallas. “I’ve convinced the business guys this is the last one,” Clapton says, grinning. “Because they’re the ones who have to deal with all of the unraveling — the agencies, managers and record companies. I’ve kind of said, ‘We’ll do three.’ I like three. I’m a ‘three’ guy.”

Asked what the Crossroads festivals have achieved in greater public awareness of his peers and influences and the art of guitar playing, Clapton modestly responds, “I have no idea.” But the guitarist contends that Crossroads is not a typical music festival in that “it comes from the heart of a musician. It’s not a business deal, and there is an enlightenment in that. People realize we really love what we do.

“And hopefully,” Clapton adds, “it gets better every time. That’s the deal.”

Full list of confirmed performers:

Albert Lee
Allman Brothers Band
BB King
Bert Jansch
Buddy Guy
David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos
Doyle Bramhall II
Earl Klugh
Eric Clapton
Gary Clark Jr.
Hubert Sumlin
James Burton
Jeff Beck
Jimmie Vaughan
Joao Gilberto
Joe Bonamassa
John Mayer
Keb Mo
Pino Daniele
Robert Cray
Robert Randolph
Sheryl Crow
Sonny Landreth
Steve Winwood
Vince Gill
ZZ Top

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Knack's Doug Fieger Dies Of Cancer

Doug Fieger, the lead singer of the rock band The Knack, has died after a battle with cancer, his brother, Geoffrey Fieger, has confirmed. He was 57.

Fieger sang lead vocals on the 1979 hit "My Sharona," which held the No. 1 spot for six weeks.

"Everybody knows they're going sooner or later," Fieger told Detroit News columnist Neal Rubin in a January interview. "I don't know any better than anyone else when I'm going. I've had 10 great lives. And I expect to have some more. I don't feel cheated in any way, shape or form."

Jaan Uhelszki, a former editor at Creem Magazine in Detroit who is now a music writer based on the West Coast, knew Doug Fieger when he had the band Sky, which predated The Knack.

"He had a radiant talent," she said. "He was determined and pugnacious with big dreams, most of which he achieved."

Detroit News columnist Laura Berman, who grew up next door to the Fiegers in Oak Park, said she never doubted Doug Fieger was headed for stardom.

"He was one of the most extraordinary people that I ever met," Berman said. "He was the pied piper. He was so charismatic and admired that people would just follow him everywhere."

Fieger was always putting on dramatic productions -- staging his own funeral with his brother Geoffrey's help when he was about 10 and Samuel Beckett's theater of the absurd classic "Waiting for Godot" in high school, she said.

"I'm more surprised that he wasn't a big star all his life than I am that he became a star," Berman said. "He always felt destined for stardom and intent on making himself a star."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Peter Gabriel To Skip Genesis Rock Hall Induction

When Genesis gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month, founding member Peter Gabriel won't be there.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame president Joel Peresman said in a statement Thursday that Gabriel says he has a scheduling conflict with his tour that begins in Europe.

Along with Gabriel, the band's original lineup included Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett. Phil Collins joined the band later and replaced Gabriel as lead vocalist in 1976.

Genesis was inspirational in the progressive rock movement. Gabriel's vision helped define the genre's theatrical approach to a rock show with costume changes, innovative stage design, and intricate lighting effects.

The induction ceremony takes place March 15 in New York.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

U2, Pete Seeger, Sinead O'Connor In PBS 'Music Of Ireland' Doc

The Music of Ireland - Welcome Home, a documentary featuring interviews and performances from U2, Pete Seeger, Sinead O'Connor and the Chieftans will debut on New York public television station WLIW on February 17, then rollout to other PBS affiliates throughout March.

"Music of Ireland" will be available as a CD and DVD in a number of outlets: Barnes & Noble is the exclusive brick and mortar retail partner and will debut an in-store promotional campaign on March 2; will feature all the CD tracks digitally on a 45-day exclusive starting that same day. In addition, the CD and DVD will be bundled as a bonus for those who donate to public television during pledge drives.

The CD was produced by John Reynolds, and features new material by Clannad's Moya Brennan - who also hosts the documentary - O'Connor, the Chieftans, former Irish Tenor Ronan Tyanan and Shane MacGowan of the Pogues, among others.

The documentary Music of Ireland opens in 1960 with the success of the pioneering Clancy Brothers, and includes Liam Clancy's final U.S. television interview before his death. Other interviews include Riverdance's Michael Flatley, Bob Geldof and Academy Award-nominated director Jim Sheridan.

A sequel to the Music of Ireland is planned for later this year, and will focus on U2, Celtic Woman, The Cranberries, The Corrs, the Irish Tenors and songwriters Glen Hansard and Damien Rice.

The documentary was executive produced by The Elevation Group's Denny Young, who previously produced Bonefish Grill's Notes From The Road for Ovation, and is presented by WLIW in association with and Tourism Ireland.

"For such a small country to produce such amazing talent and the way their music defines the people is just extraordinary," Young says. "It has fascinated me for most of my life and is something I wanted more people to be in tune with."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bonnaroo Announces 2010 Lineup

Superfly Productions and A.C. Entertainment are excited to announce the initial lineup for the 2010 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The ninth annual four-day camping and music festival will be held on June 10 - 13 on the same beautiful 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, 60 miles south of Nashville.

A full list of confirmed acts follows, and more will be announced in the coming weeks. The final Bonnaroo 2010 lineup will total over 125 bands and over 20 comedians performing on 13 stages over four days. Tickets are on sale now exclusively at!

Perhaps bringing you the most diverse and ambitious lineup to date, the 2010 event draws world-class acts from a staggering range of musical worlds. This year the festival features the Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Weezer, Flaming Lips performing Dark Side Of The Moon, The Dead Weather, Phoenix, John Fogerty, Jimmy Cliff, Tenacious D, Zac Brown Band, Avett Brothers, Norah Jones, LCD Soundsystem, Tori Amos, The National, Jeff Beck, Michael Franti, Against Me!, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Baaba Maal, The Melvins, Thievery Corporation to name but a small portion of the deep lineup.

Wonder's Bonnaroo performance marks a rare festival appearance for the legend, whose illustrious songbook continues to be as influential and significant today as ever. Bonnaroo veterans Kings of Leon are the first band in the history of the festival to start on a tent stage and work their way up to the coveted headlining slot. They were first booked to play a tent stage early in the day in 2004. They have gone on to perform at Bonnaroo several times, each appearance bigger than the last. This will be one of the very few appearances the band will make in 2010.

The largest and most revered music and camping event in the country, Bonnaroo has elevated the American rock festival to an unprecedented level. As the only round-the-clock major U.S. music festival, Bonnaroo packs an unparalleled amount of entertainment options into its four days. The event has offered its attendees the amenities and community spirit of a small city, with 24 hours of activities including a comedy theater, cinema festival, jazz club, silent disco, arcade, Internet caf├ęs, restaurants, yoga classes and hundreds of high quality craft vendors. Since its inception, Bonnaroo swiftly earned its status as the country's premier music and arts event.

Once again, Bonnaroo has created a couple of unique ticketing options for its fans. The festival is offering a special payment plan in whichtickets will be available for five (5) payments of $50.00 plus applicable fees. In addition, fans will have the option to purchase a Bonnaroo Green Ticket that will help to support the development and implementation of sustainable improvements at the festival for years to come. Festival organizers are constantly looking for ways to be aggressive with mitigating the event's environmental impact and raising awareness about green issues.

2010 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival Confirmed Artists:

Dave Matthews Band
Kings of Leon
Stevie Wonder
Tenacious D
The Flaming Lips with Stardeath and White Dwarfs perform "Dark Side of the Moon"
The Dead Weather
Damian Marley & Nas
Norah Jones
Michael Franti & Spearhead
John Fogerty
Regina Spektor
Jimmy Cliff
LCD Soundsystem
The Avett Brothers
Thievery Corporation
Rise Against
Tori Amos
The National
Zac Brown Band
Les Claypool
John Prine
The Black Keys
Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers
Jeff Beck
Dropkick Murphys
She & Him
Against Me!
The Disco Biscuits
Daryl Hall & Chromeo
Jamey Johnson
Kid Cudi
Baaba Maal
Kris Kristofferson
Medeski Martin & Wood
The xx
Dan Deacon Ensemble
The Melvins
Gaslight Anthem
Miike Snow
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Dr. Dog
They Might Be Giants
Punch Brothers
Blitzen Trapper
Blues Traveler
Miranda Lambert
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Martin Sexton
Dave Rawlings Machine
Mayer Hawthorne and the County
Jay Electronica
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Ingrid Michaelson
The Dodos
Manchester Orchestra
The Temper Trap
Cross Canadian Ragweed
Big Sam's Funky Nation
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Tokyo Police Club
The Entrance Band
Local Natives
Brandi Carlile
Mumford & Sons
Diane Birch
Monte Montgomery
Julia Nunes
The Postelles
Here We Go Magic
Hot Rize
Neon Indian

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ringo Starr Gets Hollywood Star

If the stars come out at night, they failed to illuminate Ringo Starr’s Hollywood Walk of Fame induction ceremony on Monday, February 8, the first time a star has been unveiled at night.

A surprisingly low-wattage assortment of celebrities showed up to see the former Beatles drummer get his star outside the Capitol Records building, most of them holdovers from Roy Orbison’s ceremony 10 days ago such as Joe Walsh, Jeff Lynne, David Lynch, Eric Idle and Barbara Orbison.

Walsh, who recently became Starr’s brother-in-law, addressed the 500-or-so fans, as did producer Don Was and folk musician Ben Harper. A chorus of loud boos greeted Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who stood in front of the press photographers after they had finished snapping him.

When George Harrison got his star last year, Paul McCartney, Tom Hanks and Tom Petty topped the crowded VIP list. But McCartney was in England on Monday, Starr told the crowd, in between frequent flashes of the peace sign. Hollywood was represented this time by “ER” veteran Noah Wyle.

Starr, obscured at times by two anxious bodyguards, joked that the Beatles “helped pay for” the historic (in L.A. terms) Capitol tower — even though it was completed in 1956. His meandering speech barely touched on the Beatles apart from an aside that he considered his bandmates to be “brothers...they looked out for me, and I looked out for them. We all supported each other.”

Was, bundled up against the cold but still sporting his trademark sandals, hailed Starr’s subtle drumming style, humming tunes such as “Something” and “A Day in the Life” for effect. “I don’t think it’s out of line to say that Ringo’s musicality, his groove and his spirit are absolutely essential components of all those great Beatle records,” he said.

The unveiling was part of Starr’s promotion for his new album “Y Not,” which recently graced the lower reaches of the charts. Hollywood stars are usually unveiled in the late-morning, but the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided to make Starr’s a nocturnal event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Walk of Fame.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's 'Right Time' For The Who To Play Super Bowl

Hey, kids! Those "CSI" theme songs sure are catchy, right? The band that wrote them wants you to know there's a lot more where that came from.

In a melding of the quintessential British band and the most American of events, the Who will deliver about 12 minutes of glory Sunday (February 7) at the halftime show for Super Bowl XLIV on CBS. The band is the latest in a line of mostly boomer-oriented A-list rock stars to play the spectacle, among them Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Prince, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney.

But those acts had something to promote -- be it a new album or an upcoming tour. Outside of a greatest-hits album released in December and at least one upcoming high-profile performance, the Who doesn't have much to announce at the moment. "Totally original, as usual," Roger Daltrey says with a laugh.

"We've got an event (planned) for a charity that I'm a patron of, but that's about it. I know Pete (Townshend is) working on material. It's not that we're never going to work again -- it's just at the moment there's nothing in the pipeline."

Nothing, of course, except the chance to perform in front of an American TV audience of 100 million people with quick access to the Who's catalog of albums to purchase. History shows that artists who perform at the Super Bowl receive a noticeable bump in sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Last year's performer, Springsteen, sold 102,000 copies of his just-released Working On A Dream the week after he played; sales of his Greatest Hits album with the E Street Band rose by 66 percent. After performing in 2008, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' Greatest Hits album sales rose by 196 percent the week after the game; in 2007, Prince's The Very Best of Prince jumped 147 percent.

Townshend says it just "seems like the right time" to play this biggest of stages. "It would be great to be in full touring harness," he says. "But it stands alone. We've often been on the road when the Super Bowl has been on, and I've felt a bit peeved that everybody's talking about the Super Bowl and not talking about the Who's next show. So for once we get the benefit of both."

Odd as it may sound to music fans, Who manager Bill Curbishley says that for many viewers, the Super Bowl could be the first time they see the Who perform. "There is a part of the Who audience that don't really know who they are," a circumstance largely due to the omnipresence of CBS' globally popular "CSI" franchise, which uses a trio of Who classics -- "Who Are You," "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Baba O'Riley" -- for its theme songs. (In recent years, according to the Hollywood Reporter, "CSI: Miami" -- which opens with "Won't Get Fooled Again" -- was the most-watched U.S. TV series around the world.)

The magnitude of the halftime audience, both in person and via TV, is more than apparent to Townshend. "When we go out and tour, we don't play stadiums like the Rolling Stones or U2; we play arenas, and we don't always absolutely fill them to the brim. We do pretty well, because we're quite good at what we do," he says.

There wasn't a strict blueprint for who would play in front of the packed house at Dolphin Stadium in Miami and a TV audience of more than 1 billion people, but Charles Coplin, vice president of programing for the National Football League and one of the producers of the show, says there are certain criteria.

"We stay away from overexposed acts. When was the last time you saw the Who on TV?" he asks. "We like acts whose songs are very familiar to people of all ages, all demographics."

Curbishley draws a parallel between the Who at the Super Bowl and the band's memorable set at the Concert for New York City in 2001 at Madison Square Garden. "I was a little unsure about that when we went into it. New York is our second home, and nobody had more empathy for the people who lost loved ones in 9/11 than the band did," Curbishley says. "But the Who don't do short sets; they do two-hour shows, and you gradually move with the band through those shows. But the 9/11 show was phenomenal, and the reaction was brilliant. And I'm hoping that the same thing will happen at the Super Bowl."

So is Coplin. "There are other acts who do wonderful things and their music is tremendous, but it's not always as anthemic and explosive, and when you're doing something like the Super Bowl, those two words are really vital parts of making a show come to life."

The challenge of showcasing a band like the Who is distilling decades of classic material down to minutes. Speculation about the set -- which was conceived by Daltrey along with Simon Townshend, Pete's brother and a longtime musical associate of the band; executive producer Ricky Kirschner; and new director Hamish Hamilton -- is always of huge interest to fans, and the NFL guards the information like a state secret. So Coplin and company probably won't be thrilled that Townshend discussed it freely.

"We're doing kind of a compact medley, like a mash-up of stuff," he says. "A bit of 'Baba O'Riley,' a bit of 'Pinball Wizard,' a bit of the close of 'Tommy,' a bit of 'Who Are You' and a bit of 'Won't Get Fooled Again.' It works -- it's quite a saga. A lot of the stuff that we do has that kind of celebratory vibe about it -- we've always tried to make music that allows the audience to go a bit wild if they want to. Hopefully it will hit the spot."

Curbishley says he has been impressed with the skill and creativity of the NFL Productions team. "I was really surprised at the grasp they have of the Who," he says. "Wait until you see the lighting of it -- stunning stuff. The people who are in control of the different areas of productions, they're really Who fans. They know the music intimately."

Super Bowl halftime shows, particularly in recent years, have moved light-years beyond early productions that featured college bands and Carol Channing. This year, the show will include visual techniques never before attempted by the NFL. "What we want to do is have several 'wow' moments visually and musically that complement each other, that people have never seen before," Coplin says.

The NFL has taken a few knocks the past several years by not showcasing more contemporary (read: young) acts, at least at halftime. The Who is no exception. "Music and entertainment are such broad concepts that no matter which direction you go, you're going to get pushback," Coplin says. With Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acts like the Who, he says, "you have a much better chance of feeling very confident the next day when it's over."


Largely because of Townshend's licensing efforts, Who music crops up all over the place. "It's absolutely astonishing, and strangely rewarding in a way," Daltrey says. "I always knew the way Townshend wrote was special. There was an energy within the music. The songs were written from a very private place from Pete, but it's the private place that we've all got."

The power and continued relevance of Townshend's writing are obvious, but few could argue that Daltrey's supercharged vocals don't play a key role in the longevity of the songs.

Daltrey says he always knows "instantly" if he can deliver on the lyrics Townshend produces. "There are things that he brings to the table, I'll say, 'I can't sing this, you would do a better job on this, or this is not one that we should be doing,'" he says. "It's not because I can't sing the notes, it's just about where the song sits and where I come from."

Daltrey toured solo as a headliner last year and will tour as support for Eric Clapton in a brief spring tour. Townshend is in full-blown writing mode, and despite his prowess as a guitarist and performer, writing has proved to be his most celebrated gift. "Almost everything about my life as a writer and a performer is about four or five songs that I wrote in 1971," Townshend says.

The performance at the Super Bowl will help Daltrey and Townshend "stand together and decide what we are going to do next, what shape that will take and whether we should just try and put out another record, or whether we should do one of the fancy things I do on the side," Townshend says.

For Daltrey, it's still about getting onstage, "being able to do the one thing I wanted to do in the first place, which was to get up there and make some noise and just have fun with my friends and hopefully make people happy for a few hours in the audience," he says. "Anything's better than working a bloody steel mill. Or a sheet metal factory. I did years of that, so I know the difference."

Curbishley calls the Super Bowl "probably the last thing that we haven't done, when I think about it," he says. "Whenever there has been a crisis of any sort this band has always turned up to be part of that, so it's great that we can now be part of what, to me, is like a national rejoicing. I know that the Super Bowl means a lot in the American psyche, and it's great for us to be on that platform. I think the boys would agree with me that most of what we have in our lives came from America. So we love America."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bruce Springsteen Sues NYC Bar For Copyright Infringement

Bruce Springsteen is showing a midtown bar who's The Boss. The rocker slapped Connolly's Pub & Restaurant on W. 45th St. with a copyright infringement lawsuit Wednesday, February 3.

He claims the bar hosted a band on August 9, 2008, that performed three of Springsteen's hits - and charged customers a cover fee.

Venues that host live performances are supposed to pay an annual licensing fee to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which doles out royalties.

Springsteen had no comment, but ASCAP officials said the point of the action was to protect all songwriters.

"It's not about him as a recording artist," said Vincent Candilora, ASCAP senior vice president for licensing. "In this instance, he's simply a songwriter with rights."

The band, which was not identified, allegedly played three songs that night: "Growin' Up," "Because the Night" and "You're No Good," which was written by Clinton Ballard Jr., a co-plaintiff in the case.

Connolly's, which did not return calls for comment, could face a $30,000 fine for skipping out on what would have been a $2,700 licensing fee, Candilora said.

He said the suit was aimed at leveling the playing field for other bars in New York that do pay the licensing fee, which is based on occupancy.

"We had been after them [Connolly's] for complying for over two years, so it's not so much about who or where," Candilora said.

"Why should those places that are complying with the law be at a competitive disadvantage?" he said.

Joe Cumia plays guitar in the band 2U, a U2 tribute band that has rocked out at Connolly's many times.

"I think any venue that makes money from live music should be paying the artist in one way or another," he said.

But he said he also thinks a lawsuit might not be the best way to make that happen.

"It's absurd for him [Springsteen] to go after a little pub when he's selling records and making dough," Cumia said. "Bruce doesn't need the $8 a month that he'd get from this band playing at Connolly's."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Neil Young Announces New Album

Earlier this week, Neil Young won his first Grammy award for best art direction on a boxed or special limited edition package for the Archives Vol. 1 (1963-1972) set after nearly 50 years in the business.

But Young has never been one to rest on his laurels, and in typical fashion, he's announced that he’s working on the follow-up to 2009’s Fork In The Road.

Before picking up his Grammy, Young was honored as MusiCares’ Person of the Year for 2010 for his work with the Bridge School and FarmAid.

A humble Young took the stage to accept his award, saying, “I’m honored so much. I forgot how many songs I’ve written and I saw so many of them. I just want you to know I’m working on a new album.”

Elaborating, he continued, “I’ve already written four or five songs and I don’t want to stop. And I hope to be able to continue for a really long time.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roy Orbison Gets Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star

Late rock 'n' roll pioneer Roy Orbison has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Orbison's widow Barbara accepted the star in front of the Capitol Records building on his behalf. Orbison died in 1988 at the age of 52, in the midst of a comeback with The Traveling Wilburys, a whimsical supergroup that included Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.

Lynne attended the ceremony, as did Eric Idle, Chris Isaak, Joe Walsh and Dwight Yoakam.

Orbison was famous for the wide range of his distinctive and emotional voice, especially in his songs about unrequited love like "Only the Lonely," "Crying," "In Dreams" and "Oh, Pretty Woman."

Actor Dan Aykroyd says Orbison was a great balladeer and a great rock 'n' roller who could be both gentle and vicious.

Monday, February 1, 2010

AC/DC Wins Grammy

AC/DC won the first Grammy of their career on Sunday, January 31, ending one of the most notable snubs by the music industry's top awards.

The band won the best hard rock performance statuette for the song "War Machine," beating past winners Metallica and Linkin Park, as well as Nickelback and Alice in Chains.

Its latest CD Black Ice lost the best rock album race to Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown.

"I love AC/DC," Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong told reporters. "If it wasn't for (AC/DC guitarist) Angus (Young), I wouldn't be playing guitar. But no, I don't feel bad for them."

AC/DC was not present at the Staples Center to bask in the glory. It is currently touring New Zealand as part of the Black Ice world tour that kicked off in the United States in October 2008. Its album of the same name, its first release in almost seven years, has sold 6.7 million copies worldwide.

Compatriot Keith Urban was surprised to hear of its victory. "About time," the country star told reporters after he also won an award.

AC/DC did not get its first Grammy nomination until 1991 when its album The Razors Edge was cited in the two-year-old hard rock performance category. It lost to Living Color. A handful of nominations dribbled in over the ensuing years, although the band's recorded output had slowed by then.

During AC/DC's heyday in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Grammy voters largely ignored rock music and especially its harder offshoots. In 1980, when AC/DC released what would turn out to be one of the biggest records of all time, Back In Black, the Grammys showered statuettes on Christopher Cross and Bob Seger.

The band, which formed in Australia in 1973, has largely ignored prevailing musical trends to churn out a familiar diet of songs powered by blues-based guitar riffs and lyrics laced with double entendres.

Original singer Bon Scott, the voice behind such classics as "Highway to Hell" and "Let There Be Rock," died of alcohol poisoning in 1980 and was replaced within weeks by Brian Johnson.

The group has long traded on the mythology built around lead guitarist Angus Young who dresses like a schoolboy, but his low-profile older brother Malcolm on rhythm guitar is considered the group's musical force.