Sunday, July 31, 2016

Long-Lost Gary Wright Album Released

Keyboardist Gary Wright is the New Jersey-born psychology student who landed in London at the height of the rock revolution in 1967, where he founded Spooky Tooth and had a successful solo career producing the classic hits "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive." Wright recorded Ring of Changes in 1972 with Wonderwheel, a band featuring Mick Jones, who would go on to found Foreigner, Lindisfarne bassist Tom Duffey and John Bonham-influenced drummer Bryson Graham, with Jones and Graham later joining him and Mike Harrison in a reunited Spooky Tooth. The planned follow-up to Wright's two previous solo albums for A&M Records, 1970's Extraction and 1971's Footprint, the finished record was released for the first time to digital retailers through UMe and as a CD by Cherry Red internationally on July 29.

"I hadn't listened to it in 40 years, but when I put it on, I thought to myself, 'I can't believe this was never released,'" says Wright. "It was more of a rock album than what I had done, but I think it stands up alongside anything that you might hear being played on Classic Rock radio around the world. I hope that people will be surprised by the material. I'm proud of it and I'm glad it's finally coming out so everyone can hear what we did all those years ago."

Produced by Wright and one of the first albums to be recorded at the newly opened Apple Studios on Saville Row, Ring of Changes is remarkably eclectic in style, ranging from the funky blues of "Goodbye Sunday," with lyrics by Gary's sister Lorna Lee, featuring a George Harrison slide guitar solo that sounds like an outtake from All Things Must Pass (which Wright famously played on) to the Crosby, Stills & Nash folk-rock harmonies and Led Zeppelin "Stairway to Heaven" feel of the album's epic closer, "Creation."

"That was the track that got me when I listened to the album again," said Wright.

There are also stylistic nods to The Band in the soulful country of "Set on You," a rollicking Mad Dogs and Englishmen feel to the Hugh McCracken-penned "Something for Us All" and the previously released single, "I Know" (a bonus track which never appeared on the original album) with its The Who meets Bad Company flourish.  "Goodbye Sunday" was previously released by the German label Ariola after it was featured in a ski documentary.

Wright, who was originally introduced to George Harrison by his Hamburg mate Klaus Voormann, who played bass on Gary's first two solo albums, explains how the Beatle ended up playing slide guitar on "Goodbye Sunday," which was not the first time either – Harrison had previously played on Footprint under the pseudonym George O'Hara.

"We were in the studio and I was showing him the song," explains Wright. "He just started playing slide guitar and came up with that line, which I think really worked."

Wright was an American student in Germany when he formed the band the New York Tymes, who were the openers for Traffic's very first gig in Oslo, Norway, where he was introduced by his New Jersey buddy, producer Jimmy Miller, to Island chief Chris Blackwell, who put Gary with members of a band called Art to form Spooky Tooth.

Wright first played keyboards on Harrison's "Isn't It a Pity," then went on to play on most of the rest of the All Things Must Pass album, as well as George's sessions for Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy" and "Back Off Boogaloo." The pair became lifelong friends, sharing an interest in Eastern religions, with Wright contributing to several of Harrison's solo albums. Wright also played keyboards on Nilsson's classic "Without You." Upon signing with Warner Bros. in 1975, Wright released his classic album Dream Weaver, which produced a pair of hit singles in the title track and "Love Is Alive."

Wright remains an active presence on the touring circuit, having gone on the road in recent years with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band and Hippiefest, as well as releasing albums on his own Larkio Music label.  Wright will perform several dates with Al Stewart this summer, including:

August 19 The Kent Stage in Kent, OH
August 20 The Wildy Theatre in Edwardsville, IL
August 21 The Meyer Theatre in Green Bay, WI

"All good things last," says Wright about the album's appeal after all these years. "That music had the power to endure because of the songwriting and lyrical content.  All those bands had something very special. It's stood the test of time."

The complete album track list for Ring of Changes:

1. Lovetaker
2. Wild Bird
3. Something for Us All
4. Set on You
5. Ring of Changes
6. Goodbye Sunday
7. For a Woman
8. Workin' on a River
9. Creation
10. I Know (bonus track)
11. What Can We Do (bonus track)
12. Somebody (bonus track)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pink Floyd To Release 'The Early Years - 1965-1972' A Deluxe 27-Disc Box Set

Pink Floyd will release The Early Years 1965-1972 on Friday, November 11, 2016. Pink Floyd have delved into their vast music archive, back to the very start of their career, to produce a deluxe 27-disc box set featuring 7 individual book-style packages, featuring never before released material.
The box set will contain TV recordings, BBC Sessions, unreleased tracks, outtakes and demos over an incredible 12 hours, 33 mins of audio (made up of 130 tracks) and over 15 hours of video. Over 20 unreleased songs including 7 hours of previously unreleased live audio, plus 7 hours of rare concert footage are included, along with meticulously produced 7" singles in replica sleeves, collectable memorabilia, feature films and new sound mixes. Previously unreleased tracks include 1967's "Vegetable Man" and "In The Beechwoods" which have been newly mixed for the release.
  • Unreleased demos, TV appearances and live footage from the Pink Floyd archives
  • 6 volumes plus a bonus exclusive 'Extras' package across 27 discs
  • Over 20 unreleased songs including 1967's "Vegetable Man" and "In The Beechwoods"
  • Remixed and updated versions of the music from Zabriskie Point
  • 7 hours of previously unreleased live audio
  • 15 hours, 35 minutes of video including rare concert performances, interviews and 3 feature films
The Early Years 1965-1972 will give collectors the opportunity to hear the evolution of the band and witness their part in cultural revolutions from their earliest recordings and studio sessions to the years prior to the release of The Dark Side Of The Moon, one of the biggest selling albums of all time.  From the single "Arnold Layne" to the 20-minute epic "Echoes," fans will see the invention of psychedelic progressive rock via an insightful collection that explores the Pink Floyd story from the time Roger WatersRichard WrightNick Mason and Syd Barrett met at London's Regent Street Polytechnic through to Barrett's departure and David Gilmour joining to form the iconic lineup.
In addition to the deluxe set, a 2-CD highlights album The Early Years – CRE/ATION will also be available on Friday, November 11, 2016 through Pink Floyd Records.
Each individual book-style package will be released separately early in 2017, except BONUS CONTINU/ATION which is exclusive to this box set.
Product overview:
1965-1967 CAMBRIDGE ST/ATIONCovering Syd Barrett's time with the band, from the pre-EMI demos, through the non-album hit singles and related tracks, the first volume also features previously unreleased tracks like "Vegetable Man" and "In The Beechwoods" (newly mixed), plus BBC session recordings. Pink Floyd have also acquired the tapes of an unreleased 1967 concert in StockholmThe DVD/Blu-ray includes historic TV performances plus some of Pink Floyd's own film material.
1968 GERMIN/ATION              This volume explores the time immediately after Syd Barrett's departure, when Pink Floyd were still writing singles and at the same time developing their own unique, more instrumentally-based style. There are non-album single releases, plus a recently discovered session at Capitol Records studios in Los Angeles, additional BBC sessions and other tracks. The DVD/Blu-ray includes the recently restored promo clip of "Point Me At The Sky," some international TV performances and a selection of song material from other television shows.
1969 DRAMATIS/ATIONIn 1969 Pink Floyd unveiled their 2-part conceptual live production of "The Man" and "The Journey," covering a 24-hour period of dreaming, waking and other activities. Although never released in that form, some of the songs were used on the 'More' soundtrack and the 'Ummagumma' album. This volume refers back to 'The Man' and 'The Journey' tour with live performances in Amsterdam and for the BBC in London, but also includes the bonus tracks from the 'More' soundtrack that were used in the film but not on record, plus non-album tracks like the early version of Embryo from the Harvest sampler 'Picnic'.
Video material includes 20 minutes of "The Man" and "The Journey" rehearsal at the Royal Festival Hall, directed byAnthony Stern, including "Afternoon (Biding My Time)," "The Beginning (Green Is The Colour)," "Cymbaline," "Beset By Creatures Of The Deep" and "The End Of The Beginning" (the last part of A Saucerful Of Secrets), plus other live performance footage from that year.
1970 DEVI/ATION                                                                At the end of 1969 and in the early part of 1970, Pink Floyd recorded and mixed their contribution toMichelangelo Antonioni's alternative view of US society, Zabriskie Point. Three songs were released on the soundtrack album, and an additional  four tracks were added in the expanded CD edition in 1997. Never released on one Pink Floyd disc, this volume compiles remixed and updated versions of the Zabriskie Point audio material.In the same year, Pink Floyd scored their first UK Number One album with Atom Heart Mother, a collaboration with Ron Geesin. The audio includes the first performance for the BBC, featuring an orchestra and choir, as well as, on DVD, the original Quad mix. The video material includes a full hour of Pink Floyd performing live at San Francisco cable TV station KQED plus extracts from historic performances of Atom Heart Mother, and material from French TV coverage of the St. Tropez festival in Southern France.
1971 REVERBER/ATION                                                                     In 1971 Pink Floyd recorded the Meddle album, containing the track "Echoes," which took up the entire side of the LP and is regarded by many as laying the groundwork for 'The Dark Side Of The Moon', and, as such, is an important part of the Pink Floyd canon.
This package includes part of the original demos, when the project gestated from "Nothing" to "Return Of The Son Of Nothing," as well as a contemporary BBC session recording.
Audio-visual material includes the original unreleased Quad mix of 'Echoes' as well as material of live band performances in 1971, including songs performed with Roland Petit and his Marseille ballet company.
1972 OBFUSC/ATION                                                                  In 1972 Pink Floyd travelled to Hérouville, north of Paris, to record at Strawberry Studios which is  based in the town's Chateau. In a remarkable two weeks, they wrote and recorded one of their most cohesive albums, Obscured By Cloud, the soundtrack to Barbet Schroeder's La Vallée.
1972 saw the release of Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii, a film of the band performing without an audience in the historic Roman amphitheatre of Pompeii, directed by Adrian Maben. The video material includes the performances from the Live At Pompeii film, edited to new 5.1 audio mixes, plus material from contemporary French TV as well as performances from Brighton Dome in June, 1972 and further performances with the Roland Petit ballet company.
ALSO INCLUDED:7" VINYL SINGLES IN REPRODUCTION SLEEVES :Arnold Layne C/W Candy And A Currant Bun- See Emily Play C/W The Scarecrow- Apples And Oranges C/W Paintbox- It Would Be So Nice C/W Julia Dream- Point Me At The Sky C/W Careful With That Axe, Eugene
BONUS    CONTINU/ATION (Exclusive to 'The Early Years 1965-1972' box set)
A bonus CD/DVD/Blu-ray disc package includes a CD of early BBC radio sessions, the audio tracks from the film 'The Committee', Pink Floyd's live soundtrack to the 1969 NASA moon landings, and more.

Audio-visual material includes 3 feature films: The Committee, More and La Vallée (Obscured By Clouds), plus more live footage and festival performances by the band.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Sheryl Crow To Headline Outlaw Music Festival

Willie Nelson & Blackbird Presents announce the first-ever Outlaw Music Festival taking place Sunday, September 18, 2016 at Montage Mountain, Scranton, PA. This year's festival will feature performances by Willie Nelson & Family, Neil Young + Promise of the Real, Sheryl Crow, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lee Ann Womack, and Brothers Osborne. Additional performers and special events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Artist fan clubs and Citi® card member pre-sales begin Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 10AM, and run through Thursday, July 28, 2016 at 10PM. For complete Citi® card member pre-sale details through Citi's Private Pass® Program, visit

Tickets for the general public go on sale Friday, July 29, 2016 10AM at, by phone 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster outlets, and The Montage Mountain Box Office. VIP packages including great seats, premier parking pass, VIP club access, and exclusive festival merchandise.

Overnight RV parking will open on Saturday, September 17 at 5PM. Festival day parking opens Sunday, September 18 at 10AM. Festival gates open at NOON and music performances begin at 1PM. Visit for more details.

"We're thrilled to be working with Geoff Gordon and the entire Live Nation team to bring this incredible musical experience to fans in Scranton and its surrounding communities," says Keith Wortman, CEO of Blackbird Presents.

For more information, go to

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stream The Ann Wilson Thing EP #2 – Focus

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ann Wilson is set to release her second solo EP, The Ann Wilson Thing! #2Focus on Rounder Records. Featured tracks on the EP include live recordings of Jimi Hendrix’ “Manic Depression” and Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up,” as well as two Wilson-penned tracks, the folk-inspired “Fighti'n Fer Life” and the bluesy “Anguish.” Guitarist Craig Bartok co-wrote both of these original songs with Wilson.

“Manic Depression” sees Wilson and the group paying homage to a blues-rock legend in Hendrix while introducing Wilson’s own flair. “Fightin Fer Life” recalls some of Heart’s more folk and acoustic inspired tunes but features the harder edge that The Ann Wilson Thing! is known for. The Ann Wilson Thing! #2 — Focus is now available physically via and at all digital/steaming outlets. The CD will be available at all physical retailers on August 12.

Wilson is also announcing a solo mini-tour of Florida, to take place after Heart’s Rock Hall Three For All tour (with Cheap Trick and Joan Jett) concludes in mid-September. The first show will be at the King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, FL on Sept. 27 and will be followed by shows at Plaza Live in Orlando, FL and the Pointe Vedra Concert Hall in Pointe Vedra, FL on Sept 27 and Sept 28, respectively.

As a songwriter and lyricist, Ann Wilson has created a truly impressive body of work (“Crazy on You,” “Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” “Dog & Butterfly,” “Straight On”, “Even it Up,” “Mistral Wind,” and many, many more). However, her greatest gift, and first “calling” is singing and with this intimate tour, she prepares to blow away her fans with up, close and personal, raw performances of blues and rock songs. The Ann Wilson Thing doesn’t replace Heart but it is a new and groundbreaking experience for existing Heart fans, as well as for new fans who will love these songs.

Stream The Ann Wilson Thing! #2 — Focus below...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ozzy Osbourne Says His Marriage Is 'Back On Track'

The Black Sabbath frontman separated from his wife after 33 years back in May. Tabloid reports claimed that the pair had "mutually agreed" to split, with Osbourne moving out of their family home. It was suggested that the singer had an affair with a celebrity hair stylist.

But in a new interview that aired on ABC's Good Morning America today (July 25), Osbourne said: "Oh, it's [my marriage] is back on track again. You just, you make mistakes, and you learn by your mistakes, I think."

He added: "It's just a bump in the road. Some days it's good, some days it's terrible, some days you just drift apart for a while. But you get back on the horse, you know."

His son Jack also defended the singer adding: "As a married person myself, you know, marriage is not, like, 'Hey, we're married. All is good.' I mean, it's just life.”

Sharon Osbourne wed the Black Sabbath frontman in 1982, having three children together.

Their family life later became the focus of MTV reality show The Osbournes, which aired between 2002 and 2005.

Speaking at the time of the split, she said: "[Ozzy and I] are talking, I spoke to him last night. I'm not with him, but I speak with him."

She added: "He's given me an unbelievable life and he's given me three gorgeous children and I love him. I'm just trying to take it all in, take it all in and process it... I've been avoiding looking at any pictures or reading anything. I know what's gone on, and I don't need to read about it, it's like putting salt in a wound and I don't need to."

Friday, July 22, 2016

Yes 2016 Summer U.S. Tour Kicks Off Monday, July 25

Yes officially kicks off their 2016 U.S. summer tour, billed as The Album Series: Drama + Topographic 1 & 4, this Monday, July 25 in Lancaster, PA. The 28-date outing will feature the 1980 album Drama performed in its entirety, for the first time ever, and sides one and four of 1973's double album Tales From Topographic Oceans, plus a selection of their greatest hits.

The trek will proceed as originally announced in light of the health update issued from drummer Alan White, who recently underwent a successful surgery to repair an injured disc in his lower back.

As White noted in a letter penned to the fans on, with rest and physical therapy, he will be rejoining the band as soon as physically possible.

"I'm eager to be on the road with the band, but also need to ensure my recovery is complete before doing so," White wrote. Until then, drummer Jay Schellen will sit in and perform with Yes. "Please welcome him to our Yes family," White added. "He's doing a great service by stepping in last minute so as to not disappoint everyone hoping to see Yes music performed live this summer."

The band's annual summer outing will take them throughout the U.S. through early September. Yes will stop in such markets as Columbus, Cleveland, Atlantic City, Boston, Wallingford, Westbury, Staten Island, Morristown, Albany, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Saratoga and Reno before wrapping in San Diego on September 4.

See below for full list of summer tour dates and go to for ticketing information.

Spend an evening with Yes this summer in the following cities:

Lancaster, PA
American Music Theatre
Columbus, OH
Ohio State Fair
Northfield, OH
Hard Rock Live
Atlantic City, NJ
Bethlehem, PA
Sands Event Center
Lewiston, NY
Lynn, MA
Lynn Auditorium
Wallingford, CT
Toyota Presents The Oakdale Theatre
Westbury, NY
Theatre at Westbury
Staten Island, NY
St. George Theatre
Englewood, NJ
Bergen Performing Arts Center
Port Chester, NY
Capitol Theater
Morristown, NJ
Mayo Performing Arts Center
Albany, NY
The Egg
Washington, DC
Warner Theatre
Munhall, PA
Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
Sterling Heights, MI
Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
Chicago, IL
Copernicus Center
Milwaukee, WI
Pabst Theater
Denver, CO
Paramount Theatre
Anaheim, CA
The Grove
Las Vegas, NV
Downtown Las Vegas Events Center
Santa Barbara, CA
Arlington Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
Orpheum Theater
Saratoga, CA
The Mountain Winery
Reno, NV
Silver Legacy Casino
Paso Robles, CA
Vina Robles Amphitheatre
San Diego, CA
Humphreys Concerts By the Bay

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Led Zeppelin Releasing The Complete BBC Sessions

Nearly 20 years ago, Led Zeppelin introduced BBC Sessions, an acclaimed two-disc set of live recordings selected from the band's appearances on BBC radio between 1969 and 1971. Later this year, the band will unveil The Complete BBC Sessions, an updated version of the collection that's been newly remastered with supervision by Jimmy Page and expanded with eight unreleased BBC recordings, including three rescued from a previously "lost" session from 1969.

BBC Sessions was originally released in 1997 and has been certified double platinum by the RIAA. The Complete BBC Sessions builds on that collection with a third disc that boasts eight unreleased performances. In addition, the set includes extensive session-by-session liner notes written by Dave Lewis. For the first time ever, it provides accurate details and notes about all of the band's BBC sessions.

Musical highlights on this new collection include the debut of a long-lost radio session that has achieved near-mythic status among fans. Originally broadcast in April 1969, the session included three songs: "I Can't Quit You Baby," "You Shook Me," and the only recorded performance of "Sunshine Woman."

Also included are two unreleased versions of both "Communication Breakdown" and "What Is And What Should Never Be." Separated by two years, the performances vividly demonstrate the young band's rapid evolution over a short period of time.

Jimmy Page spoke about the band's growth in an interview with Guitar World: "The BBC Sessions show in graphic detail just how organic the group was. Led Zeppelin was a band that would change things around substantially each time it played...We were becoming tighter and tighter, to the point of telepathy."

Speaking with Wall of Sound, John Paul Jones added: "We'd been on the road a lot by the time those sessions were recorded. The albums were always the starting point of the music, and then we'd take it out and expand it on the road. Then we'd come straight off the road into those BBC studios."

Recalling the BBC experience in an interview with Mojo, Robert Plant said: "The whole thing was very quaint: the politeness of the audience, the technicians fumbling about, proper hallowed low-key introductions. Like there was some sort of holy moment about to occur."

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Woodstock Ventures Questions Republican National Convention Logo


Woodstock Ventures, the partnership behind the historic 1969 music festival, has a question for the Republican National Committee and its presumptive nominee Donald Trump as its convention takes place in Cleveland this week:
 As your convention logo is strikingly reminiscent of our world-famous logo from the 1969 Woodstock Festival; why don’t you consider incorporating some of our Woodstock values into the RNC platform?
The 1969 Woodstock dove-&-guitar logo features a dove perched on the neck of a guitar:
The 2016 RNC elephant-&-guitar logo features an elephant perched on the neck of a guitar:
“For almost 50 years, the Woodstock Dove & Guitar logo has symbolized, and resonated with, those who believe in equality, community, activism and environmental protection,” said Joel Rosenman, co-founder of Woodstock Ventures and co-producer of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. “These are universal values that we encourage the RNC, and all Americans, to adopt in today’s politically charged and chaotic times. Our country could use a little more community, unity and love right now.”
The Woodstock values are:
  • Community: We are all in this world together. We all depend on each other, need one another, and we all benefit from a peaceful, loving, caring co-existence. It’s the Golden Rule, applied to all living things.
  • Equality:Everyone deserves equal treatment and equal opportunity, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or sexual preference.
  • Environmental Responsibility:We must protect our planet and its ecosystem from the dangers of climate change, diminishing biodiversity, the squandering of natural resources, and man-made pollution.
  • Activism:Wherever there is injustice or unfairness in the world, it is our responsibility to take peaceful action, both separately and in groups, to make things better.
  • Woodstock will always be about music.
Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock Ventures and co-producer of the Woodstock Festival added, “Since Woodstock stands for world community, Woodstock does not endorse building walls between nations. Woodstock stands for equal rights; so we do not endorse prejudice or discrimination. Woodstock stands for equal opportunity for all of us; so we do not support tilting the playing field to favor a privileged few. If these principles, which Woodstock does not endorse, turn out to be the principles that make up the GOP platform, then our logo designs would be the only thing we have in common.”
Lang and Rosenman appealed to the anticipated 50,000 Cleveland convention-goers to respect the values underlying the Woodstock Dove & Guitar logo. “For those of you who are part of a global Woodstock “nation”, for those of you who attended the first Woodstock Festival, or any of our subsequent festivals, this convention is an opportunity to remind your party of what the authentic Woodstock logo stands for. If you’re going to evoke our logo, please also evoke our values and support the changes in society that Woodstock has energized over the years. We have more in common than what sometimes seems to be driving us apart. Do your best to make sure the RNC is moving toward a better world for all.”

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr Celebrate 10th Anniversary Of The Beatles LOVE

On Thursday, July 14, Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the last two surviving members of the Beatles, came together for an evening of peace, love and musical bliss as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil. 

Following its creative EVOLution, which introduced vibrant new acts, music, technology, video, choreography and more, the show proudly performed to an energetic crowd with a full standing ovation at the conclusion of the anniversary performance. The house was packed with Beatles fans, Cirque du Soleil enthusiasts and celebrity friends—all of whom paid homage to the spectacular show.

Held exclusively at The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the celebration opened with a star-studded red carpet featuring special appearances by McCartney and Starr, as well as Yoko Ono Lennon, wife of John Lennon.
Additional red carpet appearances included producer and actor Ron Howard, guitarist Joe Walsh, producer Giles Martin, and many other celebrities.

The show's creative EVOLution culminated in the July 14 performance, bringing a splash of color to the Las Vegas Strip as the cast of 70 world-class artists grooved their way across the stage. The new additions to the show include advanced projection technology, new acrobatic acts, a remixed soundtrack with a new song ("Twist and Shout"), colorful costumes, brand new speakers and state-of-the-art video panels featuring The Beatles' images — bringing renewed life to the show that has already won the hearts of music and theater fans worldwide.
LOVE, a Cirque du Soleil creation and co-production with Apple Corps Ltd., celebrates the musical legacy of the Beatles and is presented exclusively at The Mirage in Las Vegas. LOVE marks the first time that The Beatles' company, Apple Corps Ltd., agreed to a major theatrical partnership.  The project was born out of a personal friendship and mutual admiration between the late George Harrison and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté. The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil opened to rave reviews on June 30, 2006.  LOVE is the recipient of three GRAMMY Awards.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Heart, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts & Cheap Trick Kick Off Rock Hall Three For All Tour

The Rock Hall Three For All tour has a fairly self-explanatory hook: Its trio of participants -- Heart, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Cheap Trick -- have all been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the past three years. 

But the truth is, they'd have no problem being packaged together anyway.

All three bands have a touring history together -- tour headliner Heart and Cheap Trick date back to the '70s, and Heart and Jett have hit the road together extensively during the past couple years. "We all know each other and like each other, so it's cool," Heart's Ann Wilson said the day before the tour's Thursday kick-off at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in suburban Detroit.

And, added Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen, "It's all good bands, bands that have stood the test of time. We're all still making records, too, and that's almost unheard of."

And rest assured that none of the musicians were running around backstage brandishing their Rock Hall trophies.

"You sort of accept the induction with gratitude, and it's flattering to be recognized, but really it's just about going to work and just loving the music," Wilson explained. "So we're not all going, 'Hey, we're Rock and Roll Hall Famers!' The Hall of Fame hook is something that was sort of put on the tour after the fact. If one or both or all three of us had never been inducted, it would still be the same. But if people are on the fence and they go, 'Well, all three bands are in the Rock Hall...' If that's going to make them come to the thing, it's worthwhile."

The Rock Hall Three For All show packed plenty of hit-filled value into its efficient three hours and 45 minutes, which was marked by quick set changes, no-fuss staging (primarily a large rear-stage video screen) and, in two of the three cases, set lists heavy on what 15,000 fans -- of all ages -- wanted to hear.

The three acts did not collaborate at all, but they made a point of paying homage to their own heroes as well as showcasing their respective Rock Hall-worthy repertoires. Cheap Trick roared through the Move's "California Man" but really scored with a surging rendition of the Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For the Man" sung by bassist Tom Petersson. Jett, of course, had plenty of hit covers in her 55-minute set, right up to Gary Glitter's "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" and the Arrows' "I Love Rock and Roll," as well as Sly & the Family Stone's "Everyday People." And what would a Heart show be without getting the Led Zeppelin out, which the sextet did during its encore with a pairing of "Immigrant Song" and "Misty Mountain Hop."

All three also took time to establish some current relevance with material from recent albums. Jett and company rocked through three from 2013's Unvarnished, while Cheap Trick offered up "Heart on the Line" from its Bang, Zoom, Crazy...Hello album, released just a week before its April induction into the Rock Hall.

Heart, meanwhile, has a brand-new album to promote, Beautiful Broken, from which it drew four songs on Thursday -- not an unreasonable number, but perhaps too many in a truncated 70-minute, 14-song set. And one of those, Ne-Yo's "Two," sung by guitarist Nancy Wilson, was sandwiched between "These Dreams" and "Alone" as part of a momentum-stopping mid-set slowdown. After Cheap Trick and Jett's blazing performances, Heart went for a more dynamically varied ebb-and-flow. It did rock with the likes of "Wild Child," "Bebe Le Strange," "Crazy On You," "Barracuda," Beautiful Broken's thrashy title track and a slinky treatment of "Straight On" that Ann Wilson -- maintaining her powerful voice all night -- introduced with a bit of James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thing." But they carefully balanced those with gentler moments such as "What About Love?" and an ace new version of "Sweet Darlin'."

But Heart left a few too many of its key hits, particularly 1976's career-starting "Magic Man," on the floor for opening night. The omissions were glaring, and on opening night at least, it made the headliners' set slightly less start-to-finish exciting than its tourmates' performances.

The Rock Hall Three For All tour runs through Sept. 23.

Opening night Rock Hall Three For All Tour set list:


Wild Child
What About Love?
Beautiful Broken
Bebe Le Strange
These Dreams
Straight On
Sweet Darlin'
I Jump
Crazy On You


The Immigrant Song
Misty Mountain Hop

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts:

Bad Reputation
Cherry Bomb
Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)
You Drive Me Wild
Light Of Day
Make It Back
Love Is Pain
Any Weather
I Love Rock And Roll
Crimson and Clover
I Hate Myself For Loving You
Everyday People

Cheap Trick:

Hello There
Baby Loves To Rock
California Man
Top Of The World
Heart On The Line
Stop This Game
Bass solo/Waiting For The Man
The Flame
I Want You To Want Me
Dream Police

Monday, July 11, 2016

Toto's 1991 Montreux Performance To Be Released On Blu-ray, DVD & CD

At the personal invitation of Quincy Jones and legendary Montreux Jazz Festival founder Claude Nobs to perform at the famed Swiss festival, Toto couldn’t resist the opportunity, resulting in Toto: Live At Montreux 1991

“From the perspective of the members of Toto," says guitarist Steve Lukather. “The Montreux Jazz Festival is amongst the most revered events staged in the world. Our association, as a band, and individuals, is something we are deeply proud of. So much fun, and so much history has graced the ground in and around the lake.”

On September 16, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Toto: Live At Montreux 1991, filmed during the last tour to feature Jeff and Mike Porcaro, alongside original members Steve Lukather and David Paich, on DVD+CD and Blu-ray+CD sets, as well as digitally.

In 1991, Toto was in the midst of a run of headline dates and European summer festivals, while finishing their new album Kingdom Of Desire. It was a time of rebirth for the band, and the Montreux stage proved the perfect opportunity to test drive the new songs.  Fans could feel the electricity in the air as Lukather, Paich, and the late brothers Jeff and Mike Porcaro took the stage.

“Yes! Time to take a trip in the ol’ Toto Hot Tub Time Machine! Back to 1991, yes ‘91! Where pure live music was performed on hallowed ground under the paternal wings of Quincy Jones and Claude Nobs,” keyboardist David Paich explains. “When I first listened back, the thought omnipresent in my mind was simply, ‘That's that raw, sizzling energy we had in high school!’  Here we are: four valley dudes from Los Angeles with some assorted musical friends, bringing it once again.”

Sadly, this was Jeff Porcaro’s final tour with the band, before his passing in 1992. Lukather, who personally mixed Live At Montreux 1991 with legendary engineer Niko Bolas, expresses the real emotions that this concert channels, and how poignant it was to the band’s history:

“The most important thing is you can see and hear the love we have for each other and watching this in 2016 with Niko…well bittersweet is a term that has been so overused but in this case…there were tears and a lot of laughter as the memories of this night and this final tour with Jeff were captured. You guys get to see a version of the band that will never and COULD never be again!”

Nevertheless, Toto carries on, with Lukather, Paich, singer Joseph Williams and keyboardist (and younger brother of Jeff and Mike) Steve Porcoro. Last summer, they released XIV, their first studio in over a decade, which debuted in the Top 10 in nine countries around the world and became their most successful album since 1988 in the U.S. and UK.  This August / September, the band will stage a headline tour of North America. Details are available via

Click here for a sneak peak at "On The Run":

Sunday, July 10, 2016

John Lennon's Document That Ended Beatles' Relationship With Allen Klein Is For Sale

A 1977 document that settled a lawsuit between the Beatles and Allen Klein and also ended Klein's stormy association with the Beatles is being sold by Moments in Time, the company has announced. The asking price is $95,000.

The suit was filed in 1973, when the Beatles decided to not renew Klein's contract. Klein promptly sued them for $19 million (roughly $75.3 million today). According to the company, the settlement, made between Apple Corps Ltd., Klein's ABKCO Industries Inc. and Klein, dated Jan. 8, 1977, ruled that Apple had to pay Allen Klein and ABKCO just over $5 million (or roughly $19.8 million now), while Klein had to pay out a total of $800,000 (roughly $3.2 million now). According to a 1977 report on the settlement, that money was divided between Harrisongs Ltd., Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr's real name), Apple Films Ltd. and Apple Records.

The agreement said that it released Apple from “any liabiity whatsoever” related to the relationship of the Beatles and Klein. The suit cost ABKCO $1.2 million in legal fees over a year from Sept. 30, 1975. Paul McCartney was not involved in the suit or the settlement but was “delighted to see his friends end this problem,” according to Lee Eastman of Eastman and Eastman, who represented him.

In Fred Goodman's biography of Klein, titled Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll, the author notes that Klein, who was said to have conducted Kissinger-like negotiations, made a non-negotiable demand in settling the suit.

“John has to have dinner with me tonight!,” Klein is quoted by Goodman. His attorney tried to talk him out of it, saying Lennon wouldn't agree. “No dinner, no deal. Just go tell him,” Klein insisted, according to Goodman. According to Moments in Time, he got his wish. Klein, Lennon and Yoko Ono were later pictured by photographer Bob Gruen with the document on a loaf of bread.

The Beatles' relationship with Klein began Jan. 28, 1969, at a meeting with Lennon and Ono at the Dorchester Hotel. Klein later met with Ringo Starr and George Harrison, then a meeting with all four Beatles was arranged. But Paul McCartney refused to allow Klein to represent him and a major disagreement that became a major cause of friction among the Beatles began.

Allan Kozinn, who covered the Beatles for many years for The New York Times and now writes for the Wall Street Journal and is also the author of The Beatles: From the Cavern to the Rooftop (Phaidon), said Lennon's change of heart about Klein was quite an about-face.

“John Lennon's thinking about Allen Klein evolved fairly quickly between 1969, when he was the strongest advocate for Klein to be the Beatles manager, and 1973, when their business association was dissolved by this contract. It can't have helped that George Harrison had already experienced problems to do with Klein's handling of the proceeds for the Concert for Bangladesh, and that both George and Ringo wanted to extricate themselves from Klein's management. Eventually Lennon said in a television interview that he had come to realize that Paul "might have been right" in his objections to Klein.

“One of his more pointedly angry songs, 'Steel and Glass,' has always been interpreted as his comment on his relationship with Klein -- although toward the end of his life, in a more self-analytical moment, he said that the song was really about himself."

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Led Zeppelin Publisher Seeks $800K From Losing Party In 'Stairway' Trial

From The Hollywood Reporter.

The "Stairway to Heaven" trial is making a strong push to go down in the annals of copyright history. Not because of the June 23 jury verdict that determined that Led Zeppelin was not liable for infringing Spirit's instrumental "Taurus," but rather because of how the U.S. Supreme Court shaped the trajectory of this case.

Without a May 19, 2014 high court opinion in a dispute over Raging Bull rights, Led Zeppelin might never have had to go to trial in the first place. "Stairway to Heaven" was created decades ago, and under the old rules, Jimmy Page's band may have argued that the copyright lawsuit constituted an unfair prejudicial delay. The Supreme Court, though, ripped apart that affirmative defense two years ago.

Although Led Zeppelin and its song publisher Warner/Chappell had to then show up in a California federal courtroom to defend claims from a beneficiary of the "Taurus" copyright, a more recent Supreme Court decision will also factor. A June 16 high court opinion directed lower judges to consider awarding attorneys' fees to prevailing parties in copyright cases by examining factors like "frivolousness, motivation, objective unreasonableness, and the need in particular circumstances to advance considerations of compensation and deterrence."

The "Stairway to Heaven" case could thus become the earliest and best example of how trial judges are applying two major copyright decisions.

With that backdrop, Warner/Chappell is now demanding $613,471 in attorneys' fees, plus costs like expert witness fees and trial transcripts that would make the total tab nearly $800,000 for Michael Skidmore, the losing party.

According to a memorandum in support of an attorneys' fee award (read here), the plaintiff asserted "nearly half-century-old claims that neither Randy Wolfe nor the owner of the allegedly-infringed copyright ever bothered to assert because any similarity between Taurus and Stairway to Heaven results from the use of a centuries-old, public domain descending chromatic line."

The music publisher takes issue with the way plaintiff "tried to tar Stairway to Heaven and its authors, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant" and says it "successfully defended plaintiff’s attempt to wipe Stairway to Heaven off the map and, in doing so, defendants furthered the important copyright purpose of enriching the general public through access to creative works."

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner is told about the lack of merit in plaintiff's claims from the way in which the case was first filed in Pennsylvania despite no connection there to the way in which the plaintiff aimed "to sully the reputations of" Page and Plant by listing "purported instances of prior settlements or potential-but-never-asserted copyright infringement claims."

But Warner/Chappell emphasizes that the Supreme Court issued guidance that judges should go beyond analyzing whether the losing party had an objectively reasonable position to take into consideration other factors. And the one in particular that is being seized upon here is recently suspended plaintiff attorney Francis Malofiy's conduct in this "Stairway to Heaven" case. Resistance to discovery, ignoring pre-trial rulings barring certain evidence, misrepresenting evidence at trial, and purporting to issue "notices" to Page and Plant to appear at trial are just some of the alleged ways that the plaintiff attorney misbehaved. There's also the cited instance of Malofiy standing before media cameras on the courthouse steps and in a claimed attempt to prejudice the jury pool, the attorney stated, “If money is won in this case, it’s to be used to buy musical instruments for children who are in need in Ventura County.”

The job of arguing against all of this at a scheduled Aug. 8 hearing could go to plaintiff's local counsel Glen Kulik.

It's not certain yet who will be taking up Skidmore's appeal that's expected to be premised on the issue of whether the judge should have allowed certain "Taurus" sound recordings to be heard by the jury. Although appeals courts don't often overturn trial verdicts on evidentiary grounds, there could be ample fodder for a higher authority to analyze. (For background, see these arguments made before the "Blurred Lines" case went to trial.) That said, although the Supreme Court has impacted the case twice, maybe don't bet just yet on a third time where Led Zeppelin really does take a judicial stairway all the way up.