Yes, the album does synch astonishingly well with The Wizard of Oz, but that’s just one of the remarkable things about Pink Floyd’s historic Dark Side of the Moon, which was released 40 years ago. The disc also pushed the envelope on multi-tracking and tape looping, as well as mixing, making Dark Side as much an accomplishment of engineering as musicianship and ushering in the era of the studio engineer as star.
In the case of Dark Side engineer Alan Parsons — who was also responsible for inviting powerhouse singer Clare Torry to wail on the LP’s “The Great Gig In the Sky” — that was literal. He became a cult artist and then a hit-maker with the studio group he led between 1975 and 1990 under the name the Alan Parsons Project.
But in the long run what’s even more remarkable than the sonic beauty and innovation of Dark Side of the Moon is that it froze one of the greatest rock bands at their creative peak in a confluence of imagination, virtuosity and poetic lyricism that is now forever trapped in amber — becoming a permanent benchmark of excellence and humanity for future generations of listeners and musicians.
Of course, the concept album was well-established by the time Dark Side of the Moon reached record shops, but the recording’s perfect weave of storytelling and sound still make it a truly exceptional member of that camp. Bassist-singer Roger Waters’ lyrics achieved a poetic high in experimental rock, comparable to Dylan and to Hendrix’s most emotionally rich lyrics, like “Drifting” and “Castles Made of Sand.” Also contributing to the disc’s humanity is a variety of voices — recordings of the band’s road crew, the studio doorman and even Wings’ guitarist Henry McCullough (“I don’t know. I was really drunk at the time.”) — responding to questions Waters had written on flash cards. The cards were lost partway in the recording process, leading to interesting ad libs like “When was the last time you were violent?”
Ultimately, the disc’s sides tell an open-ended story about the trials and joys experienced over the arc of a lifetime, with the surging tides of the music sustaining the tales of yearning, fear, satisfaction, doubt, vision and transcendence.
Dark Side of the Moon was embraced by both listeners and the music industry upon its release, climbing quickly to number one. The album continues to sell thousands of copies a week and has reached a total of more than 34-million sold around the world. Staring with its March 1973 release, Dark Side spent more than 11 consecutive years on the Billboard album charts.
According to Pink Floyd legend, only one thing could stop the progress of the Dark Side recording sessions at London’s Abbey Road studios — the weekly broadcast of British comedy TV show Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The band members were such big fans that they invested part of the profits from the album into the comedy troupe’s first film, the gutsy, hilarious satire of religion and English culture Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
As for Parsons, his efforts on Dark Side of the Moon earned him the first of his eight Grammy Awards — so far — for engineering.
Ask any rock fan to name the greatest-ever rock guitar albums, and you had better be prepared to sit for a while. Led Zeppelin IV, Appetite for Destruction, Paranoid, Van Halen’s self-titled debut: the list of such albums could fill an encyclopedia. Still, some albums filled with stellar guitar work have flown under the radar. Confining our picks to full-band efforts—as opposed to solo LPs—we present 10 such albums below.
Flash: In the Can (1972)
After giving way to Steve Howe, original Yes guitarist Peter Banks went on to form Flash, one of the era’s greatest (if least known) prog rock trios. With an ES-335 as his go-to guitar, Banks (who passed away earlier this year) and his mates created a masterpiece with the band’s second album. “I never considered using any guitar other than the 335,” he told Gibson.com, in a 2010 interview. “It was like wearing the same suit every day, but a suit that was always clean, neat and pressed-- and always reliable.”
Wishbone Ash: Argus (1972)
Championed by Ritchie Blackmore, Wishbone Ash forged an unlikely style that wedded the prog rock artiness of Yes to the twin-guitar power of the Allman Brothers. On their third album, the group delivered an exquisite blend of pastoral folk fare and meticulously crafted hard rock. Guitarist Andy Powell’s serpentine runs on a Flying V became a trademark for the band.
Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (1988)
At their best, Sonic Youth employed the twin tools of abrasion and melody to hammer out something beautifully sublime. On this sprawling, deliberately fractured two-disc set, guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo employed ringing harmonics, molten distortion, and alternate tunings as they veered between the urgency of punk rock and avant-garde experimentation. Not since the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat had an album so deftly maneuvered between art and chaos.
Television: Marquee Moon (1977)
Released against the backdrop of the punk explosion, Television’s 1977 debut consisted of New Wave art rock centered on a jaggedly brilliant twin-guitar approach. Guitarists Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd crafted serpentine leads that soared with clarion-call beauty. Artists such as Patti Smith and Sonic Youth drew extensively from Television’s stylistic approach.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Zuma (1975)
Neil Young once describe his work with Crazy Horse as mysterious and cosmic. Those qualities are in great abundance on Zuma, an underrated album that saw Young locked in glorious tandem with Crazy Horse guitarist Frank Sampredo. The epics “Danger Bird” and “Cortez the Killer” boast astral solos that sound wrung from another dimension, while blurring the lines between lead and rhythm playing.
David Bowie: The Man Who Sold the World (1970)
David Bowie vexed critics and fans throughout the ‘70s with his chameleon-like changes. One of his most dramatic mutations occurred with the release of this hard rock effort. Sporting thunderous bass lines and ferocious riffage from guitar great Mick Ronson—who of course played his legendary ‘68 Les Paul Custom —the album wedded doomsday theatrics to an emphatically British brand of heavy metal. Bowie and Ronson never sounded more menacing.
The Guess Who: American Woman (1970)
The Guess Who were already known as makers of radio-friendly pop by the ‘70s. But with this guitar-drenched effort, the group gained credibility among their harder-rocking peers. High points include the psychedelic-tinged “No Time” and the classic title track—a muscular rock anthem built on an unforgettable riff worked up by Randy Bachman during a concert jam.
Lou Reed: The Blue Mask (1982)
Lou Reed once said that to play rock and roll, nothing beats the tried-and-true format of two guitars, bass and drums. This brilliant album gives credence to that assertion—with an emphatic emphasis on the guitars. Reed and co-player Robert Quine offer up stunning six-string interplay from start to finish. Recognizing the guitar-centric nature of the album, Reed mixed his and Quine’s guitar parts separately into the right and left stereo channels—the better to isolate their interlocking parts.
Montrose: Montrose (1973)
Although this monumental album eventually went platinum years after its release, its commercial popularity was far outstripped by its longstanding influence. With all due respect to such bands as Steppenwolf and Grand Funk Railroad, Ronnie Montrose forged a hard rock style that, in retrospect, anticipated the six-string pyrotechnics that would come to dominate the metal landscape in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Not surprisingly, Montrose employed a Les Paul as his go-to guitar during the making of the album.
Mott the Hoople: Mott (1973)
Fresh off a big score with their recording of Bowie’s “All the Young Dudes,” Mott the Hoople entered the studio in April 1973 and, in two weeks, created a masterpiece. Inspired by some of the strongest material frontman Ian Hunter would ever write, guitarist Mick Ralphs delivered a textbook-worthy showcase of memorable riffs and economical solos. His monumental guitar break on “Hymn for the Dudes”—played on a Les Paul Junior--is essential listening for any player seeking to learn how to craft a song-serving solo.
Nazareth singer Dan McCafferty was rushed to the hospital last Saturday (Aug. 24) after experiencing shortness of breath while performing in Switzerland. It’s since been determined the veteran vocalist suffered a stroke.
As reported by Classic Rock, the incident marks the second time in two months McCafferty has experienced breathing problems during a performance. The first incident occurred on July 9 in Cranbrook, Canada, when the singer collapsed just 30 seconds into the band’s opening song. An associate of the group told Classic Rock, “Dan is alright, but I think we will not see more [tour dates].”
McCafferty’s health woes come in the midst of sessions for Nazareth’s 24th studio album. A list of gigs on the band’s home page has been removed.
In 1977 Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band sold out the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Detroit for 8 consecutive nights. It would take 36 years for an artist to match that, when Motor City native Kid Rock managed the same feet earlier this month.
As a surprise to his fans, Rock brought up Seger as a special guest for the encore. Rock and Seeger did “Old Time Rock And Roll,” and “All Summer Long” to the cheers of an ecstatic crowd.
Rock and Seger have shared the stage on a couple of occasions earlier in the year, and they’ve made guest appearances on each other’s albums. Speaking to Classic Rock after the show Kid Rock said he’s open to future collaborations with Seger: “I’m sure there’s more for us to do. Those shows went so great. It was beyond mind-blowing. There’s definitely something there.”
Bob Seger is getting ready to head back in the studio to work on a follow-up to 2006’s Face The Promise. Although no release date has been set, Seger has been playing the song “All of the Roads” during his latest tour, which is supposed to be included on the new album.
Peter Frampton, Paul McCartney and Tommy Lee have all worked with Italian musician Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo (real name, Simone Cogo) on the Bloody Beetroots’ new album, Hide. The Bloody Beetroots usual sound is a mix of electro/rock music.
McCartney joined Rifo on the recent single “Out of Sight.” Frampton guests on a track called “The Beat.” Lee lends a hand on a tune called “Raw.”
"I was impressed by the creative energy in the room when you get three musicians from three different generations vibing together in the studio," Rifo said after working with McCartney and producer/bassist Youth on "Out of Sight."
The cover art for Hide was created by Italian comics illustrator Tanino Liberatore, the hand behind the cover art for the Bloody Beetroots’ last studio album, Romborama.
“It’s my attempt at trying to make a really hard-edge type Dead Kennedys sounding song," guitarist Mike McCready explains. "Jeff Ament brought in a lot of his real punk-rock ideas. The school he comes from is that, and I wanted to dive into that side."
The clip is directed by Danny Clinch, who directed the band's Immagine In Cornice concert DVD as well as John Mayer's Where The Light Is and Foo Fighters' Skin and Bones.
Lightning Bolt, which is the band's first album since 2009's Backspacer, will be released on October 14. The band is currently on the road in the US through December, and will headline Australia and New Zealand's Big Day Out festival in January.
Joan Jett has told L.A. Weekly she can’t see the point in a Runaways reunion. She thinks there would be more bad than good were it to take place.
Lita Ford reported in 2012 that she, Jett and Cherie Currie had settled the differences resulting from their 1980 split, that she had dined with both her former bandmates. The topic of getting back together was raised.
But, at the time, Ford added: “I don’t know how Joan feels about it. I couldn’t get a solid answer from her. If she decides she wants to put together the Runaways again, I’d be in 100 per cent.”
Now, Jett now tells L.A. Weekly, “I don’t really get why we should do it – the down side is bigger than the up side. It would be fun for people to see, but you’ve got to remember we’re not who we were in 1976. It’s not worth it to me. We had a great band that kicked ass for three and a half years. I’m very protective of it because it was very special to me.
“To come back and have the press judge us… Plus, you can’t gauge the dynamics of the band. I’m just not sure it would be the reunion the fans are looking for.”
Jett releases her new Blackhearts album Unvarnished in October 1. She says, “It’s some of the better writing I’ve done in a long time.”
There’s been a London “pop-up” store for Jimi Hendrix. Now it’s the turn of The Clash.
“Black Market Clash” will open in London’s Soho district in September.
The store is opening to mark the release of The Clash’s Hits Back and Sound System collections, alongside re-releases of all of the band’s studio albums.
The shop/gallery is art-directed and curated by the surviving members of the band and Robert Gordon McHarg lll of The Subway Gallery. “Black Market Clash” will be open from 7-22 September 2013 at 75 Berwick Street, Soho, London.
It will sell and display rare Clash memorabilia, including instruments and stage clothing.
Sid Bernstein, the music promoter who famously brought The Beatles to Shea Stadium and Carnegie Hall, has died. He was 95.
Bernstein was key force in fomenting the ‘60s British Invasion of America. In addition to showcasing The Beatles, he brought such artists as The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits and The Moody Blues to the U.S. when the careers of those bands were in their early stages. Other artists he for whom he served as promoter included Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone and, later, Lenny Kravitz.
The concerts he promoted for The Beatles are legendary. On February 9, 1964, the group debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show and, three days later, played two shows at Carnegie Hall. Bernstein brought the band back a year later for the famous Shea Stadium concert. He remained active as recently as last year, releasing an album titled Sid Bernstein Presents.
Metallica are preparing to headline the legendary Apollo Theater in New York next month. The veteran rockers will perform a scaled-down version of their live show when they appear at the Harlem venue on September 21. The show will air live on a temporarily revived “Mandatory Metallica” channel on SiriusXM.
The concert is being staged in part to promote the band’s 3D concert-action film, Metallica Through the Never. The movie will be shown on IMAX screens throughout the U.S. on September 27, and in other theaters beginning one week later.
The Apollo Theater is revered for its role in black entertainment history, having through the years featured such legendary figures James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. In recent years, rock and roll artists such as Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen have appeared there as well.
Mötley Crüe’sVince Neil says recent talk that the band’s days are winding down is true. Speaking to Billboard.com, the veteran singer revealed that a farewell tour is being mounted for next year. “I think we'll start the tour around May—I'm just kind of guessing on that, but in the spring of '14, and we'll do one more time around the world and kind of call it quits,” said the Crüe frontman. “It's just that time. We're going out on top. We don't want to be some band that people are like, 'Oh, they're playing a club now,' that kind of band. We still sell out arenas, have stadium stuff and things like that, so let's go out when it's a big deal.”
Neil added that new music from Crüe would be forthcoming, most likely to accompany the film adaptation of the band’s autobiography, The Dirt. The movie is currently in development. “It's going to come out at some point before our tour starts,” he said. “We're hoping an early spring kind of thing.”
Metallica Through the Never now has an official premiere. The upcoming 3D film featuring metal behemoths Metallica will debut at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 9 at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“Now in its 38th year, Toronto International Film Festival is the most respected and prominent film festival in North America with many major films making their worldwide debuts there (last year’s festival brought in nearly 300 feature films from over 70 different countries!),” Metallica said in an official statement. “Through the Never will screen in the special IMAX at TIFF section and we’ll be on hand for the red-carpet premiere, to introduce the film and will spend some time in Toronto to chat with the press.”
Metallica Through the Never will be released in North American IMAX theatres for a one-week engagement beginning Sept. 27. The move will open in additional theatres on Oct. 4.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett about his Kirk Hammett Flying V.
“When they asked me if I was interested in them doing a reproduction of my very first Flying V, of course, I said ‘yes,’” he said. “It’s a real honor for them to do that for me. It’s also a great opportunity for all the fans out there who know that guitar and have seen pictures of me playing it through the years to actually own a guitar that’s similar to that with the same sort of specs: the same pickups, same sort of bridge, same knobs, same neck feel, same color and basically the same vibe.”
He added, “I hope that all the other people who purchased it are enjoying it as much as I do, because I think it’s a great instrument.”
Paul McCartney’s forthcoming solo album is looking exceptionally strong, according to producer Ethan Johns. Johns, one of several producers working with the former Beatle, spoke with Rolling Stone about a ballad titled “Hosannah.” “The first day we had was remarkable,” he said. “[McCartney] walked in with this incredible song, we threw up a couple of microphones and within four hours we had this great track. I think we did an edit between the first two takes.”
The veteran soundman continued: "It had an incredible feel – a really evocative piece of music. A very interesting lyric, and the performance was great. Then we started to experiment with it, and I put a bunch of psychedelic strangeness on it. You have fun. 'Oh, try this! Do that!' It's just very inspiring to be around."
Johns was especially impressed by McCartney’s receptive view towards collaboration, adding: "The first thing he said was, 'What do you feel like doing?' I could have said, 'Let's spend the day making percussion loops with drum machines,' and he would have been, 'Great! Let's do that!' I don't think he ever said 'No,' which is kind of the mark of who he is as an artist, really. He's always up for trying something new."
Queen drummer Roger Taylor has confirmed that his new solo album, Fun on Earth, will be released in October. Included on the disc is a re-make of “Say It’s Not True,” which was the first Queen studio single to feature singer Paul Rodgers.
The song, which was written by Taylor, was originally released in 2007 to benefit Nelson Mandela's AIDS foundation. The new recording features Jeff Beck on guitar.
In a recent interview with Classic Rock, Taylor said: "My first solo effort (in 1981) was called Fun in Space. I’ve called this one Fun on Earth. I've come down to earth a bit, but there's still a bit of fun in there--some smiley tracks. It's been written over a five year period, so it's very eclectic. Some gentle stuff, some rockier stuff, and some fairly political stuff."
Professional football is coming back to Los Angeles this spring, thanks in part to—KISS. As reported by ESPN, the Arena Football League announced yesterday (Aug. 15) it was awarding an expansion team to a group of individuals that includes KISS’s Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. Fittingly, the team will be called the LA KISS, and will use the band’s famous logo.
"As a fast-paced, high-action band, this partnership with the AFL was an obvious fit for us," Simmons said, in a prepared statement. "Attending an LA KISS game in 2014 will be similar to a live KISS show, with thrilling, heart-pounding action."
Stanley told USA Today the AFL's underdog status, as compared with NFL coverage, resonated with him. "The whole idea of an alternative to what has perhaps become a corporate sport is very intriguing, and resonates with us,” he said. “We’ve always tried to be a band that relates to everybody, and the AFL is built on that whole premise.
One Direction fans, relax. Pete Townshend has issued a statement denying rumors The Who were contemplating action over the fact that the boy band’s new single, “Best Song Ever,” sounds like The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”
Responding to the Twitter storm that erupted yesterday, Townshend says: “No! I like the single. I like One Direction. The chords I used and the chords they used are the same three chords we've all been using in basic pop music since Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Chuck Berry made it clear that fancy chords don't mean great music–not always. I'm still writing songs that sound like 'Baba O'Riley'–or I'm trying to!"
He added: “It's a part of my life and a part of pop's lineage. One Direction are in my business, with a million fans, and I'm happy to think they may have been influenced a little bit by The Who. I'm just relieved they're all not wearing boiler suits and Doc Martens, or Union Jack jackets.
The funniest thing is that in Canada this year I met with Randy Bachman, once the leader of The Guess Who, who told me that he not only copied 'Baba O'Riley' for [Bachman-Turner Overdrive's] hit 'You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet', but he even called his band after us. Why would I not be happy about this kind of tribute?"
Founding Blue Oyster Cult keyboard player and guitarist Allen Lanier has passed away at the age of 67. Lanier was recently hospitalized with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, according to a post on the group’s official Facebook page , and “succumbed to complications” from the disease.
Lanier was a part of Blue Oyster Cult when the band started back in 1967. He left the group in the mid-1980s, only to return two years later. He stayed with the band until he retired from touring in 2006.
Lanier most recently played with Blue Oyster Cult during a special, 40th-anniversary reunion show last fall in New York.
“DFTR sweet man. We love you and miss you,” the band stated on their Facebook page, as a reference to Blue Oyster Cult’s classic tune, “(Don't Fear) The Reaper.”
Blue Oyster Cult frontman Eric Bloom also paid homage to Lanier on his own Facebook page, stating: “My great friend Allen Lanier has passed. I’ll miss the guy even though we hadn’t spoken in awhile. He was so talented as a musician and a thinker… A lot of great memories, over 40 years worth. Maybe he’s playing a tune with Jim Carroll right now.”
Dave Grohl’s Sound City documentary and Cameron Crowe’s Pearl Jam Twenty are headed to VH1’s Rock Docs series, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Sound City, directed by the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer, tells the story of the beloved studio near Los Angeles where Nirvana recorded their 1991 classic Nevermind. The movie also features artists including Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Weezer's Rivers Cuomo and Trent Reznor, who have all recorded at the now defunct analog studio.
Pearl Jam Twenty traces the band’s early years as the musicians first come together, deals with their fast-rising fame and decision to step away from it. Almost Famous director Crowe also packs in more than 1,200 hours of rare and never-before-seen footage of Pearl Jam.
Sound City will air on VH1 August 17. Pearl Jam Twenty will air on October 12.
Pearl Jam's next album, Lightning Bolt, will be out October 15. Grohl’s Foo Fighters are currently working on a new album.
Circa Zero is the name of The Police’s Andy Summers’ new band. He’s joined by multi-instrumentalist Rob Giles of the band The Rescues and drummer Emmanuelle Caplette. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Summer says the trio have a full album recorded and mastered, but are undecided how to release the songs.
“There’s a lot of interest, but it’s like everything else now – should we do this or should we do that, go the internet route or go a different route?” says Summers. “But we want to get it out pretty soon because we finished the record – it’s completely mastered.”
Rob Giles adds that Summer is back blazing on guitar. “All our songs trudge like rock. There’s one that’s an odd time [signature], the ballad, but it’s not a power ballad about a girl so much. Everything else is really full energy, not that that one isn’t.
“As a fan of Andy’s I enjoy all of his solo work, but f*** that – he gets to rock, and we haven’t heard this virtually ever.”
Summers adds, of the songs: “They’ve all got a lot of energy. It's almost an album with 10 or 11 singles. They've all got strong attitudes and hooks, which is what we were intending to write.”
Neil Young has long-thought that the sound quality of most modern music devices and services are garbage. So, he is launching a new digital format called Pono, a Hawaiian word that means “righteous.”
According to Evolver.fm, Pono will launch in 2013. It involves a bespoke Pono player that Young briefly showed on David Letterman in 2012.
According to Evolver.fm, Pono files will play on any digital audio device, just at a lower sound quality (i.e. something like what most of us listen to today). In other words, you should be able to load the songs up on your iPhone or similar — they will just lack the amped-up sound that made you go with Pono in the first place.
Young’s idea for Pono is HD Audio whenever possible, and enhanced lossless music for everything else. You could say he’s trying to put the warmth of vinyl recordings into a pocket device. Three-to-five thousand albums are apparently ready to go on Pono.
Evolver.fm has a good audiophile debate on all this. Are you interested in Young’s attempts to make digital sound like analog?
Def Leppard set up residency at the Hard Rock Hotel this past spring, during which they played their classic album Hysteria in full each night.
Now the British rockers have announced the release of Viva! Hysteria, a live DVD shot during the residency.
According to Def Leppard front man Joe Elliot, the band was initially wary about playing an entire album front to back: “We've been asked for many years if we'd ever play an album in its entirety, and the answer was always no because we'd be out promoting a new album. Then in March and April 2013 when we had no new music to promote, we had a chance to revisit arguably our most important album. It was an easy decision to make.”
Viva! Hysteria, which is scheduled for an October 21 release, will be available on CD/DVD, Bluray, DVD, as well as digitally. In an interview with Fuse, the band expressed the possibility of doing another residency down the line, in Vegas or somewhere else, and maybe doing another album in full.
Black Sabbath are busy touring and promoting their latest album 13, which is the first studio album to feature singer Ozzy Osbourne since 1978.
Now guitarist Toni Iommi says that he would be open to record another album, as long as his ongoing battle with cancer permits it.
Iommi told CT.com: "It’s a question that’s been asked a few times. I don’t really have an answer. Because of my treatments and stuff I can’t commit to doing another two years or anything like that. I have to play it as it comes now."
When it comes to playing live Iommi said: "I think it’s better than it was 40 years ago."
In fact, the band is even toying with the idea of playing 13 in full as part of the show.
"I think the songs fit in great with the old stuff, and it's also great to have new songs to fit in, because we haven't had any for so many years. As far as the whole album: we haven't tried that yet. We are playing four songs off the album, but I'd be up for doing the whole thing."
As far as another Black Sabbath album goes, Iommi says we just have to wait and see: "If the rest of the year goes well, then we'll look at it and see if it's possible to do another album. It would be very nice to."
Leslie West, the legendary guitarist, vocalist and original founding member of Mountain, will release a new studio album "Still Climbing" on October 28th via Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group.
Since his historic performance with Mountain at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, West has enjoyed a glittering career spanning over half a century, accomplished in spite of a life threatening battle with diabetes, which cost him his right leg in 2011 (shortly before the release of his Unusual Suspects album).
"I’m lucky it wasn’t one of my hands or I’d be screwed," said West. "It was a difficult struggle, and after the amputation I didn’t know whether I’d ever want to or be able to perform again. A month later I played at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp in New York City, and I heard my guitar on stage and that was it. I knew I had to keep going."
Looked upon by West as a sequel to Unusual Suspects, which featured collaborations with the likes of Slash, Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather, Joe Bonamassa and Billy Gibbons, “Still Climbing” sees West joining forces with Jonny Lang, Johnny Winter, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and Alter Bridge and Creed’s Mark Tremonti.
Lou Reed was still trying to find his voice as a solo artist when he recorded Berlin in 1973. The LP was a rock opera in an era of rock operas and thematic experimentation with the album format. Although the disc was decidedly of its time — and featured the core of guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter who would record the classic Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal with Reed the next year — it was panned by Rolling Stone upon its release in July 1973.
Nonetheless, Berlin expanded Reed’s following and his reputation as a chronicler of the demimonde and has come to be recognized as a classic in the 40 years since it was recorded. Ironically, it scored at 344 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums in 2003.
Reed’s third solo album remains challenging listening to the casual rock fan. Less challenging than Reed’s 1975 Metal Machine Music, his experiment with electronic noise collage, of course, but Berlin’s narrative isn’t always clear and it’s a radical departure from the raw vitality of the Velvet Underground, which he’d left in 1970, with orchestral arrangements and the horns that would spill into the next year’s Sally Can’t Dance. Reed also capitulated his gnashing guitar, playing only acoustic six-string and leaving the heavy lifting to the über-capable team of Hunter and Wagner.
Berlin ’s story line was also incredibly dark, even for fans of Reed’s grittiest Velvet Underground songs like “Kill Your Sons” and “Heroin.” Once again his characters were drug addicts — Caroline and Jim, a couple in the throes of horrible dysfunction. Jim is a meth addict who beats Caroline. She is also a drug user and cheats on him with other men as she becomes increasingly withdrawn. After her children are taken away by the state, she commits suicide, and Jim reacts with numb nihilism in the set’s concluding “Sad Song,” writing off their relationship as a waste of his time and opining that another lover would have broken both of her arms. Not cheerful.
Berlin , as well as Reed’s other early work, had an obvious influence on punk rock’s thematic sway, as well as on proto-punks like the New York Dolls, and on a gritty, sex-and-drugs school of film and theater directors epitomized by Todd Haynes and Gus Van Sant. Although the album pales lyrically and musically alongside such brilliant, better written and highly praised subsequent albums as The Blue Mask (1982), New York (1989) and Magic and Loss (1992), Berlin remains a revered part of Reed’s cannon.
The most tangible evidence of that was a 2006 staging of Berlin as a musical at New York City’s St. Ann’s Warehouse art space in 2006 arranged by the painter Julian Schnabel in collaboration with respected producer, anger and conceptualist Hal Willner as music director and the album’s original producer Bob Ezrin.
Reed and a cast of musicians, including Steve Hunter, breathed life into Berlin’s songbook by performing in front of a video projection screen and stretching out, this time Reed sparring with Hunter on electric guitar. The New York Times reviewed the performance favorably, but it has yet to be staged elsewhere.
They'd talked about doing it, and for a while it looked like it wasn't going to happen, but Megadeth and former Metallica bass player Jason Newsted finally shared the stage on the final night of the touring Gigantour festival.
Newsted joined Dave Mustaine and co on stage in Toronto, Canada last night to perform lead vocals on a cover of Metallica's "Phantom Lord," one of several songs from Metallica's debut Kill' Em All that were primarily written by Mustaine.
The other Kill 'Em All songs were "Jump In The Fire," "Metal Militia" and "The Four Horsemen," which was originally titled "The Mechanix" and was featured on the first Megadeth album, Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good). Oh and while we're playing Six Degrees Of Separation with the Big Four of Thrash, Anthrax recorded a cover of "Phantom Lord" as a B-side during the sessions for its 1998 album, Volume 8: The Threat Is Real.
Heavy Metal Music, the debut album by Jason's new band Newsted, was released on August 6, as the follow-up to the EP Metal, which was released in January. The album features Staind guitarist Mike Mushock, who joined after the release of the Metal EP.
The Queen musical We Will Rock You will tour the United States for the first time starting in October, with new dates added last week in addition to those already announced.
The show, which tells a story of post-apocalyptic world in which music is forbidden and rock music is unknown, has played in Las Vegas but has never gone on tour. That will change on October 15 in Baltimore, and the tour will wrap up in Los Angeles in August 2014.
Justin Crum (The Addams Family, Tarzan) and Ruby Lewis (Jersey Boys) have been cast as Galileo and Scaramouche, respectively, joining Jacqueline Arnold as Killer Queen, P.J. Griffith as Kashoggi, Ryan Knowles as Pop, Erica Peck as Oz and Jared Zirilli as Britney.
Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor are heavily involved in each new production of the show around the world, casting their eyes and ears over the musical authenticity of the various casts, and they often perform at together at premieres and special events linked to the production. The show has been playing at London's Dominion Theatre since May 2002.
Queen and Ben Elton (who wrote the story of the musical) have also announced Schools Will Rock You, an initiative for schools to enable them to develop and stage their own version of the show (following a similar program in the UK).
Black Sabbath will receive Classic Rock magazine’s coveted Living Legend award at a ceremony scheduled for November 14 at London’s Roundhouse. Previous recipients of the honor include Jimmy Page, Alice Cooper and ZZ Top. Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne was presented the award as a solo artist in 2008.
The veteran rockers have also been nominated in the categories of Band of the Year, Album of the Year and Event of the Year. Sabbath’s latest album, 13, reached the top of the U.K. charts – the group’s first Number One showing in 43 years. Among the other albums vying for Album of the Year honors are David Bowie's The Next Day, Deep Purple's Now What?! And Queens of the Stone Age’s ...Like Clockwork.
"We're delighted to welcome Black Sabbath to collect our Living Legend Award," said Chris Ingham, publisher of Classic Rock. "It's wholly deserved as not only do they have a career to celebrate, but Ozzy, Geezer and Tony blasted back with a brilliant new album in 2013 that reminded us all how it should be done.”
"It's good to be a living legend," commented Osbourne. "It's better than being a dead
For major artists, such discs have sometimes served as stopgap measures dashed off to fulfill a record contract or to satisfy the cravings of fans between releases of more serious fare. What’s remarkable, however, is that the nonchalance with which these albums are often approached sometimes yields spectacular results. Even the best songwriters, after all, are fans of other great songwriters. Below are 10 such albums that rank among rock and roll’s best.
Guns N’ Roses: The Spaghetti Incident? (1993)
This odds ’n’ sods collection showed that Guns N’ Roses could have been a sensational punk band, had they chosen to go that route. High points include scorched-earth renditions of The Damned’s “New Rose” and the New York Dolls’ “Human Being,” and a Duff McKagan-sung version of the Misfits’ “Attitude” on which the bassist sounds like a cross between Joey Ramone and Alice Cooper. Coming on the heels of the Use Your Illusion discs, the album was a refreshing return to crank-it-to-10 rawk.
David Bowie: Pinups (1973)
David Bowie paid loving tribute to his favorite London-based bands with this hard-rocking effort, recorded near the end of his glam phase. Guitarist Mick Ronson’s explosive work was in full force, powering tracks like The Who’s “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” and The Kinks’ “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” with slashing power chords. The freak-out coda on Pink Floyd’s “See Emily Play” also dazzled, with the Ronson-penned string arrangement nailing Syd Barrett’s fractured genius.
Def Leppard: Yeah! (2006)
Def Leppard pulled out all the stops on these outsized, energetic covers of classics from the ‘70s. The emphasis is on glam rock, with David Bowie’s “Drive-In Saturday,” T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy” and Roxy Music’s “Street Life” among the high points. A palpable affection brims throughout, with lesser-known nuggets like David Essex’s “Rock On” and Mott the Hoople’s “The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” mixed among the more familiar fare.
John Lennon: Rock ’n’ Roll (1975)
John Lennon sounds like he’s having the time of his life on this covers album, begun in chaotic circumstances during his “lost weekend” period in L.A. His cover of Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me” swings with a vengeance; likewise, Little Richard’s “Slippin’ And Slidin’” is offered up with sleazy bravado. The disc was initially disparaged by critics, but through the years it’s grown in stature, and rightly so. The radio staple “Stand By Me” still retains the power of an anthem.
Ozzy Osbourne: Under Cover (2005)
“Rocky Mountain Way,” “Sunshine of Your Love” and “Mississippi Queen” are among the choice cuts delivered here by Osbourne in his own inimitable fashion. Covers of three songs by John Lennon underscore Ozzy’s love of melody, while King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” offers a nod to prog rock. High profile guests abound, including Leslie West, Robert Randolph and Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter.
Patti Smith: 12 (2007)
Patti Smith indulged her memories of being a smitten rock fan with these terrific covers, consisting mostly of material from the ‘60s. Her take on the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” carries all the apocalyptic spirit of the original, while her love of Hendrix is sublimely evident in an elegiac reading of “Are You Experienced?” Smith’s banjo-fueled interpretation of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” channels the spirit of Kurt Cobain and frames his poetic balance of rage and tenderness in sunset beauty.
Metallica: Garage, Inc. (1998)
Metallica offered up two discs’ worth of ferocity with this spectacularly monochromatic collection. Thunderous drumming and pile-driver riffage abound, as the band roars through such gems as Queen’s “Stone Cold Crazy,” Thin Lizzy’s “Whisky in the Jar,” and Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page.” Fittingly, a smattering of Motorhead covers rounds out the set.
Todd Rundgren: Faithful (1976)
Only half this album features covers, but so startling was the approach, the disc deserves special mention. Seemingly for no reason other than to indulge his studio wizardry and instrumental versatility, Rundgren delivers spot-on replications of such sophisticated, complex fare as the Beatles’ “Rain” and “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and Brian Wilson’s “Good Vibrations.” An underrated guitarist, Rundgren also impresses on his note-for-note rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “If 6 Was 9.”
Bryan Ferry: These Foolish Things (1973)
Bryan Ferry surprised Roxy Music fans 40 years ago with this wildly eclectic covers set. Sometimes campy, sometimes sophisticated, Ferry’s interpretations range from a deranged version of the Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil” to a tongue-in-cheek romp through the ‘60s pop classic, “It’s My Party.” Moments of shimmering beauty abound as well, especially on Ferry’s cover of Brian Wilson’s “Don’t Worry Baby” and the title track.
The Ramones: Acid Eaters (1994)
The Ramones gave full voice to their love of ‘60s garage-rock nuggets on this sparkling covers disc, recorded as their career was winding down. From The Amboy Dukes’ “Journey to the Center of the Mind” to The Seeds’ “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” each song is delivered with palpable affection and a sense of playful, spirited abandon. Guest appearances by Pete Townshend (on The Who’s “Substitute”) and former porn star Traci Lords offer a nice touch.
Robert Plant has joined the world of social media. Yesterday (Aug. 8), the legendary Led Zeppelin vocalist established accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus. Plant also launched a revamped version of his website, replete with a new logo and a trove of multimedia treasures and archival materials.
As a promotion to attract followers, the first 25,000 fans to follow Plant on Twitter received an exclusive free download of Robert Plant Presents Sensational Space Shifters, performing the Led Zeppelin track, "What Is and What Should Never Be," live in concert from their 2012-2013 world tour. That number was easily surpassed within 24 hours of the promotion’s announcement. As of this writing, the number of Plant followers totals 41,600.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse have cancelled the last seven dates of their European tour due to an injury suffered by guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro. According to Rolling Stone, a source close to Young’s camp said Sampedro suffered “a mild fracture” to his hand, and is “expected to make a complete recovery in time for the North American tour." The band is scheduled to begin their North American tour on August 31 at the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic in Dundas, Ontario. The brief trek wraps up September 7th at the Interlocken Festival in Arrington, Virginia.
A statement on Young’s website reads: "Due to an accident involving Crazy Horse, the remaining dates on the Neil Young and Crazy Horse tour of Europe and the British isles have been cancelled. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes to our fans or the Festivals where we were scheduled to appear. As you must be, we too are disappointed at this unfortunate turn of events."
Sammy Hagar launched “Knockdown Dragout” – the lead track from his highly anticipated upcoming rock collaborations album, Sammy Hagar and Friends – with a hi-energy performance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
The new album which is officially released by Frontiers Records in North America on 24th September, Europe on 27th September, and the U.K. on 30th September.
Hagar is celebrating the release of the album and 40 years in music with his Four Decades of Rock Tour. The tour kicked off July 26 in Tucson, AZ and will continue through September.
Universal Music Group has announced a worldwide deal with ace guitarist and songwriter Mark Knopfler.
Knopfler’s album Privateering, will be released in the Unites States on UMG’s Verve Records on September 10.
Max Hole, Chairman and CEO UMG International commented: “Mark has long been one of the most innovative and successful artists in music and we’re thrilled he’s decided to sign to Verve so that we are now working with him everywhere across the world.”
The album is Knopfler’s first double album of new music in his long recording career.
Knopfler said, “I chose to make a double album this time just because of the sheer volume of material. I didn't want to separate songs into genres and I didn't want to leave too many songs on the shelf. I just wanted it to be a reflection of the fantastic sessions we had. With a great bunch of players, it’s the same as a great group of actors reading a script from the page, the thing can come alive in ways it just never has before. This is the band I have been working towards my whole life.”
The Rides is Stephen Stills new band along with fellow guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd and keyboardist Barry Goldberg. Their first album, Can't Get Enough is set for release on August 27, and a tour is lined up for the fall.
But already the band is talking about recording the follow-up album. Stills told Billboard that the band. “figured that, 'Well, this'll be the first album, so we'll do it like that.' I'm sure we'll have a different method (the next) time because this (album) is what worked this time and now we're just gonna bear down and really have an idea of what we want to do.”
Shepherd echo Stills’ sentiment, and is also talking about getting back in the studio: “We're all very committed to this band, and we're already looking to the next record. We went to Stephen's house a while ago and we all brought stuff to the table, but Stephen already had a song that he was halfway through writing. And it was interesting because our band is supposed to be somewhat of a blues band, but the song sounds like vintage Crosby, Stills & Nash, so I'm kind of interested to see the direction that our next album will take, though I do believe that it will pretty much stay firmly rooted in the blues because that's what this band ultimately is.”
The Ride kick off their U.S. tour on August 28 at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers took a break from recording their follow up to 2010's Mojo to do some touring over the summer, but now the band is back in the studio. "I always say this, but I'm tremendously excited for this one," Petty told Rolling Stone in a recent interview, adding "It's not like anything we've ever done."
Petty is pleased with how the new album is turning out, saying "I think people are gonna like it. We're at a place where we're nearly done with it. I didn't play anything [live] because I've worked so hard on the sound of the record, I don't want people's first impression to be over YouTube, you know? We're nearly done with it so I would think early next year, it'll be out." Although the album is almost done, there's no title yet. As far as style goes, Petty says the album resemble songs written around the time of Wildflowers from 1994 and Damn The Torpedoes from 1979, saying "it comes from a blues place and it's much more distorted."
Nearly 23 years ago — on August 27, 1990 — blues-rock guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash after a show at East Troy, Wisconsin’s Alpine Valley Music Theater. Vaughan won millions of fans and almost singled-handedly put blues back on the commercial map during his seven years as a major-label recording artist, even while transcending many of the genre’s customary limitations.
He also captivated the imagination and earned the respect of a list of ruling six-string virtuosos that includes Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Larry Coryell, Keith Richards and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. The latter unabashedly refers to Vaughan as one of his all-time favorite players. Veteran blues artists Etta James, B.B. King and Buddy Guy directly attributed the mid-’80s revival of their previously ebbing careers to Stevie Ray. And today, new generations of guitar heroes — from established hit-makers like John Mayer to newcomers like Nashville’s Bart Walker — all follow in his stylistic path and openly celebrate his influence.
What made and still makes Vaughan and his music resonate with so many, players and laymen alike? The nut answer is this: typically great guitarists either pivot toward the intellectual/technical or the visceral/gut-level. Vaughan was among the rare masters who’ve combined both.
Let’s look at the technical and physical aspects of his playing first, since they’re easiest to explain. One major reason for Vaughan’s appeal was his tone — single coil perfection regardless of whether he was playing through a Vibro-Verb, dual Marshalls or a pig-pile of chained amps. The list of factors that went into composing his tone is deep, from his hard-biting attack to his preference for thick necks to his delicate and extremely well controlled vibrato to his penchant for running amps without much gain and driving them as needed with a Tube Screamer to his brutally thick string gauge (.013 to .058). To get into the SRV zone, use your guitar’s volume pots liberally. Drive the amps sans gain as hard as possible — Vaughan played plenty loud — and turn down the instrument’s volume pot to sweeten up leads and melody lines while letting the volume fly full on rhythm. And stomp the Tube Screamer for howling leads.
Employing both your amp’s and guitar’s volume controls allows you to modulate your guitar’s voice as you would your human voice, and the vocal quality of Vaughan’s guitar is a big reason why his music “spoke” to so many.
Honing perfect vibrato like Vaughan’s takes years of practice and development, to say nothing of his raconteur-like phrasing and alternately howling and hushed string bends. When Stevie made his debut album Texas Flood at age 28 he’d already been playing guitar for more than 20 years and performing long multi-set nights in bars for a decade-and-a-half. He’d also been listening to more than his cornerstones, Albert King and Jimi Hendrix, although they are the primary forces reflected in his music. Great examples of Stevie’s jazz, country and rock diet can be heard throughout his repertoire. For his jazz side, check out “Riveria Paradise,” “Stang’s Swang” and his take on Kenney Burrell’s “Chitlins Can Carne.” For primal country, there’s “The House Is Rockin’.” And for rock, investigate the roaring instrumental “Scuttle Buttin’ ” and his version of Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child.” The point is, Vaughan explored every aspect of guitar that appealed to him. And, in essence, he was as much a player of “fusion” music as John McLaughlin and Jeff Beck, two other artists who became masters and developed singular styles by stepping fearlessly through boxes and not becoming mired in them. It’s a matter of shaking mental limitations or biases to find one’s own voice, and that’s a major stumbling block for most blues guitarists, who become mired in mimicry.
In addition to hitting his strings hard and using plenty of down strokes, Vaughan also employed the technique of string raking. It’s a cool, slurring sound made by muting the strings and playing them with a down stroke — as he does before the choruses of “Cold Shot.” Its an accent that, when thrown into a lead or used to punctuate a transition in a tune, is similar to a spoken “aside” in conversation. (Back to that idea of playing as though talking — thinking of the guitar as an extension of the voice.)
Vaughan’s bending was a marvel, and also very vocal in his use of quarter- and half-tone bends. Check out his sublime slow blues “Tin Pan Alley” to hear plenty of this as well as examples of shred-level speed used to create emotional nuance, rather than energy, in his melodies. Like King and Hendrix, Stevie was always generous with melodies. And his vibrato, also at the fore of “Tin Pan Alley,” was equally astounding, crafted from sheer muscle control and a gut-governed sense of placement.
I would argue that part of Vaughan’s spectacular guitar playing was born from a natural gift for the instrument. After all, he became a top-flight instrumentalist without any formal training and by all accounts the Vaughan you hear on his final two albums, 1989’s In Step and 1990’s Family Style (the latter cut with his bother Jimmie), was formed by the time he was 16 or 17.
However, Stevie Ray traveled well beyond the reach of most guitar virtuosos with his gift for pure communication, which came across in the soulful qualities within his delivery and his openhearted live performances. He held nothing back in stage in terms of energy or emotions, laying into his music like a driven mule and speaking to his audiences as if they were intimates.
Soul is hard to quantify, although the things that make a performance “soulful” can be analyzed down to techniques like phrasing, bending and vibrato that trigger the perception in a listener that something emotionally deep is happening. However, the subjective manner in which those techniques are employed to create that perception goes beyond the ken of musical and intellectual analysis into a realm that is innately personal. Ya got it or ya don’t, and Steve had it spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. It also didn’t hurt that he could play blinding leads with his guitar hanging behind his back while he sang at full bore, and do it with a smile.
Overall, it’s Vaughan’s mix of virtuosity, energy, stylistic breadth and pure charisma that won him a place alongside the likes of Hendrix, John Lennon, Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and others who have left or will leave an undying legacy in their wake.
Everybody have certain songs they associate with summer. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that the song itself is centered around a summer theme, simply that the music evokes that feeling when the sun is shining bright and you’re laying on the beach with not a care in the world. Today we’re going to list ten rock songs that work best in the summer. Now granted, this is going to be on the lighter side of rock. It’s hard to imagine a band like Metallica singing about the joys of summer, right? With that said, put these songs on a playlist and try them out next time you’re driving to the beach, and see what you think of our choices.
1. The Beatles - “Here Comes The Sun”
George Harrison’s masterpiece from the Beatles Abbey Road album is at the top of this list because it is a timeless song with a theme that rings as true today as it did when it was released in 1969. Harrison’s intricate acoustic melody coupled with the Beatles uncanny sense for great harmonies make this song sound as bright and fresh as when it was originally released. It is almost impossible not to smile when you hear it, and at least for me, it will always make me think of sunny days and blue skies.
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers - “Californication”
One could argue that Red Hot Chili Peppers is the ultimate summer band. You could even do a top ten list based solely on the Chili Pepper’s best summer-related songs. Their music has that carefree sound about it that you associate with beach culture. Perhaps it stems from Anthony Kiedis and Flea growing up in sunny California. They’re writing songs about what goes on around them and in their lives, and no doubt is that going to be influenced by the never-ending summer that is southern California.
3. Guns N’ Roses - “Paradise City”
Axl Rose singing about the green grass and pretty girls in “Paradise City” certainly conjure up images of summer. But I think for me personally, what makes “Paradise City” a song I associate with summer stems more from what I know about Guns N’ Roses, and their early start on the Los Angeles rock scene. Just imagining the band writing the song in a van on their way back to L.A. from San Francisco (as per Slash’s description in his autobiography), longing for their sunny hometown, makes it sound like the ultimate ode to an endless summer.
4. Alice Cooper - “School’s Out”
Along with the GNR song, Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” represent the heavier side of rock on this list. “School’s Out” is an anthem for every teenager on that first day of summer vacation. The last of the homework has been done, and now it’s just fun in the sun for what seems like forever when you’re that age. Just hearing this classic rock song today as a 30-something, it still brings back fond memories of times long since passed.
5. Bruce Springsteen - “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”
Many songs on this list romanticize life on the US West Coast. New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen has based his whole career around depicting life in the Garden State, and in the song “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” he manages to capture the atmosphere of the New Jersey shore culture in the early seventies. Aside from being a love song, this early Springsteen ballad from his second album The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle make mention of Madam Marie, a fortune teller who had a booth on the Asbury Park Boardwalk from 1932 until her passing in 2008. The song, which is a live favorite among Springsteen fans, has become a historical account of Jersey shore life.
6. Don Henley - “The Boys of Summer”
Don Henley’s 1984 hit record might seem like a simple track on the surface. Written with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “The Boys of Summer” is at first glance about fleeting youth and love, symbolized by the summer slipping away. But Henley addressed the song in an interview with Rolling Stone in 1987, where he talked about the last verse specifically alluding to how many activists of the sixties (Henley himself included) sort of sold out two decades later.
7. Bryan Adams - “Summer of 69”
A song about guitars, summer, and young love - Bryan Adams was talking to every teenage boy on the planet when “Summer of 69” came out in 1985. Along with “Run to You,” and “Heaven” from his Reckless album, it helped make Adams a huge star. Almost 30 years later, “Summer of 69” still enjoys plenty of radio airplay when summer comes around. What happened to Bryan Adams you might wonder? Well, he’s still releasing new music and touring, albeit not on the same massive scale he once did when “the summer seemed to last forever.”
8. Tom Petty - “Into the Great Wide Open”
Just like with Red Hot Chili Peppers, there are several Tom Petty songs that could easily work on this list. There’s just something inherent in the music of songwriters based in California that make them perfect summer songs. Tom Petty’s song about a guy who moves to Los Angeles to become a rock star is the title track to 1991’s Into the Great Wide Open. The title evokes such a positive message, like anything is possible. Petty does however keep a slice of realism when things start going awry for the protagonist towards the end of the 2nd verse. But the chorus still echoes the sense that everything can be all right again, just the way it can feel on a carefree summer day.
9. Van Halen - “Cabo Wabo”
Red Rocker Sammy Hagar has made a career out of writing songs about hanging on the beach and partying. “Cabo Wabo,” from Van Halen’s 1988 album OU812 was written about Hagar’s new-found love for the Mexican resort town Cabo San Lucas. Hagar, and initially his Van Halen bandmates as well, would open the first Cabo Wabo Cantina a couple of years after the song was released, and the name would also be used for his successful brand of tequila. The song is still a live favorite at Sammy Hagar concerts.
10. Jimi Hendrix - “Long Hot Summer Night”
“It sure was a long long long hot summer night,” Jimi Hendrix sings in the opening line to this melodic bluesy number from Electric Ladyland. The lyrics are interspersed with tasteful licks that were so typical for Hendrix. Of course there’s an amazing guitar solo marked by Hendrix’ fondness for panning instruments back and forth between the speakers. There might not be more than a simple reference to summer in the song and its title, but it is basically mandatory to find a way to include Jimi Hendrix in a top ten list.
It was a tense evening for insomniacs and Southern Hemisphere Motörhead fans: overnight on Saturday/Sunday reports emerged that Motörhead frontman Lemmy had passed away. Thankfully the reports were false, and were traced back to a blog posting by a promoter in Brazil.
Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell put fans' concerns to rest when he tweeted "Contrary to some reports, Lem is alive and kicking so take no notice of these rumors from [expletive] tweeters." Those tweeters appear to have been following a message posted by Top Link Music referencing a 2:30am phone call that Lemmy had passed away. Thankfully Lemmy lives to see another day, and will hopefully be back at his spot at the Rainbow Bar & Grill soon.
A day earlier, Motörhead were forced to cut short their set at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany due to concerns over Lemmy's health. Lemmy has been through the wars recently with heart trouble and a hematoma (blood collecting outside a blood vessel), and several shows had recently been cancelled.
The band made it through six songs and a Phil Campbell guitar solo, ending the planned 75-minute set at the 30-minute mark.
"Motörhead rocked the Black Stage for more than 30 minutes and Lemmy gave everything he's got to play an amazing live show," the band said. "He's keeping well — but the temperatures and circumstances led to the point that continuing the show would have lead to a loss of quality. We are very happy and proud that Phil, Mikkey and particularly Mr. Rock 'N' Roll himself, Lemmy Kilmister, played W:O: A 2013 and that they did everything humanly possible to play this gig. Thank you so much, guys!"
The first Rush release in October is a seven-disc box set, The Studio Albums 1989-2007. This includes every studio album Rush recorded for Atlantic Records: 1989’s Presto, ‘91’s Roll the Bones, ‘93’s Counterparts, ‘96’s Test for Echo, 2002’s Vapor Trails, 2004's Feedback covers album, and 2007’s Snakes & Arrows. Each album will be presented in a wallet sleeve that faithfully reproduces the original artwork — except for Vapor Trails, which features a re-interpreted version of the original cover.
There is also a remixed version of Vapor Trails in the boxset, but also available separately for fans who don’t wish to double-up. The box has a list price of $49.98. All are issued by the Atlantic/Rhino label.
Rush’s Geddy Lee says, “Vapor Trails was an album made under difficult and emotional circumstances — sort of like Rush learning how to be Rush again — and as a result, mistakes were made that we have longed to correct. David Bottrill’s remixes have finally brought some justice and clarity to this deserving body of our work.
“Every song has been given a new life, from the fire of “One Little Victory,” “Secret Touch,” and “Ceiling Unlimited” to the melodic musicality of “Sweet Miracle” and “How It Is”... these songs have been redeemed.”
Joan Jett will release new music for the first time since 2006 with a 10-song album featuring contributions from Dave Grohl and Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!
Unvarnished is due out on October 1. It will be Jett’s 14th studio album with her band the Blackhearts. The singer and guitarist says it’s the most autobiographical work she’s done, with songs about the death of her parents and about topics including the victims of Hurricane Sandy and the modern tendency to overshare online.
“It's a real band album. Everybody was involved,” Jett said in a press statement.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will perform August 8 on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where they'll debut "Any Weather," the first single from the album.
Pearl Jam opted to stretch out their songs—literally—on their forthcoming album, Lightning Bolt. Speaking to Rolling Stone, producer Brendan O’Brien described the new material as “longer, more devoted.” “On Backspacer [Pearl Jam’s previous album], the songs were … all ‘get in, get out fast’,” explained O’Brien. “This record has a few songs that have a bit more of a … they kind of … what's the word I'm looking for here? They're longer. [Laughs] I don't know if the word ‘depth’ is right, but some of the songs kind of take you down a road for a while.”
O’Brien went on to say Eddie Vedder is “remarkably the same” as he was when O’Brien first met the Pearl Jam singer 20 years ago. “When it comes to writing songs and his intensity towards his work … he stills pulls out the same typewriter from the same little brown suitcase he's been using for 20 years,” said the veteran producer. “It's remarkable how much he approaches it the same. I know he's a different guy since he's a family man now, a father, but all that looks the same to me.”
Deadheads have the chance to get their ears on a few new iTunes packages featuring the band’s studio and concert albums. One, theComplete Studio Albums Collection, offers all the band’s releases from their 1967 self-titled debut through 1989’s swan song, Built to Last. Another, the Live Albums Collection, offers seven concert albums shot at shows between 1969 and 1990. Other packages include the live rarities collection and the studio collection.
In addition to the music, a new digital book called The Golden Road and Beyond: A Grateful Dead Primer is available on iBooks for free. The book offers essays from The Golden Road and Beyond Description, which were written by Dennis McNally, a Grammy-nominated author and the band’s longtime publicist.
Call it a spiritual win for everyone who's ever been stuck with a parking ticket while loading in or out of a bar gig: Leeds City Council has decided not to enforce a ticket slapped on one of Bruce Springsteen's tour trucks last week.
The truck was ticketed while The Boss was preparing for his show at First Direct Arena Leeds - an event that had been heavily promoted by the Leeds City Council as it was to be the first event in the new facility. But after a social media outcry, the council announced that the ticket would not have to be paid and would be rescinded. A witness to the ticketing told the Yorkshire Evening Post, "A couple of jobsworths have come down here - the stick they have got from people is hilarious. They are not parked illegally, they are just parked down a side street."
Although the Springsteen show was the first at the new £60 million, 13,500-seat venue, the official launch of the arena is on September 4 when Elton John stops by. Springsteen personally asked to be able to include the venue as part of his Wrecking Ball world tour. Other acts to be booked for the venue in the coming months include Leonard Cohen, Vampire Weekend and Kaiser Chiefs.