RIP the Queen Of Soul. One of the great voices of our lifetimes fell silent today. Aretha Franklin has died at 76. The duaghter of a minister, Aretha was born ao March 25th of 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee. The family moved briefly to Buffalo when she was just four, before relocating in Detroit, where her father took the pulpit at the New Bethel Baptist Church. Her parents separated when Aretha was just 7 and her mother died before she turned 10. Her father's booming voice and inspirational sermons drew musicians and other celebrities to his services, where they heard his daughter belt out hymns with a voice that was startlingly strong for so young a child. Before long, Sam Cooke and Berry Gordy were trying to convince her father to have Aretha record for a label. At 18 she was under contract with Columbia Records, releasing R&B, Pop and Easy Listening singles and albums. Her leap to international acclaim came with her move to Atlantic at the end of 1966. Early the following year, Franklin went to FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and started recording the Rockin' Soul and R&B songs that rocketed her to the top of the charts.
Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins we're together in bands a decade before the release of Pronounced "leh-nerd skinerd", the album that introduced them to the world on August 13th in 1973. Only Rossington remains, and Lynyrd Skynyrd will be no more after this tour ends. But the band that sold 30 million albums, and who knows how many Bic Lighters that fans held aloft during performances of the closing track on this album, became legendary.
Aerosmith said to be joining the ranks of Rocker's doing extended stints in Las Vegas. During a SiriusXM Beatles station interview, guitarist Joe Perry said his band is in the process of deciding how to best go about 'downsizing' the traditionally large scale production that Aerosmith tours have been since the group graduated from theaters to arenas and from arenas to stadiums.
We love the idea of bands returning to less colossal venues than people have had to see them in for decades. Now, if they could only roll back the ticket prices, too!
Today is the anniversary of Freddie Mercury's last concert fronting Queen. It took place in 1986 in front of 120,000 at Knebworth. His last show ever would be on April 14, 1988 at an AIDS awareness and fund raising concert with Cliff Richard. By then, the ravages of the disease were quite evident, but Mercury rose to the occasion and did what he did to deserve recognition as one of the most compelling lead vocalists in history.
Having a band member that can drive a tour bus is great, but Iron Maiden's got one with an off-stage skill that beats that by 37,000 feet; a member that can fly the tour jet.
In addition to his role as singer, musician and songwriter in one of Rock's preeminent Metal bands, Bruce Dickinson is a licensed commercial pilot with qualifications to fly the band's 747 jumbo jet. He also developed a pilot and aircraft servicing training company, a craft beer branding partnership with a brewery and hosted his own BBC Radio program.
Bruce was born on this day in 1958 in Nottinghamshire, UK.
The Beatles 5th album was released in the UK on this day in 1965. The US release followed a week later. The American album included instrumental music from the Help! movie, bumping two of the songs on the UK. Those appeared on Rubber Soul and Yesterday and Today.
The plan to have the band members spell out the title in semaphore on the UK cover was scrapped when the photographer realized that the semaphore arm positions for the corresponding letters looked a lot less like the letters than he expected they would. He then had the band improvise. The arm positions they choose come closest to the letters
Pat Benatar's second studio album dropped on this day in 1980. Crimes Of Passion went on to be her best selling album thanks to Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Treat Me Right, Hell Is For Children and her cover of the Rascal's You Better Run. The album also landed Pat a Grammy for Best Female Rock Performance in 1981.
Bob Weir embarking on a trio tour doing Grateful Dead songs. Bob Weir and Wolf Bros includes Bob's long-time Ratdog drummer and original Primus member Jay Lane and producer/bass player Don Was, who has produced albums for the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Bonnie Raitt and many others.
On August 3 & 4 of 1968, Costa Mesa California hosted the best attended concert in U.S. history to that date. The Newport Pop Festival at the Orange County Fairgrounds was billed as a 'first annual', but the next year's event got re-branded as Newport 69 but also changed locations, moving to Northridge.
The '68 concert's big draws were the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Steppenwolf, The Byrds and The Animals. Tickets were just $4.50 in advance and $5.50 at the gate.
Immortal, Ann Wilson's tribute album of songs from recently departed musicians she admired, gets released September 14. On it the Heart veteran covers songs from Tom Petty (Luna), The Eagles in honor of Glenn Frey (Life In The Fast Lane), Cream in honor of Jack Bruce (Politician), Gerry Rafferty (Baker Street) Chris Cornell (I Am The Highway), David Bowie (I'm Afraid of Americans), Amy WInehouse (Back to Black), Leonard Cohen (A Thousand Kisses Deep) and Lesley Gore (You Don't Own Me). Here is her take on Gore's song featuring Warren Haynes on guitar.
A 1979 EP, On Through The Night (1980) and High 'n' Dry (1981) established Def Leppard as one of the UK's premier Hard Rock bands, but 1983's Pyromania blew things wide open for the group and Hysteria, released on this day in 1987, became one of the best selling albums of any decade.
The release had a working title of Animal Instinct as work began on it. It would be the band's first album since drummer
Rick Allen lost an arm in the crash of his Corvette and the last album Steve Clark would play on.
Mutt Lange bailed on the project due to the exhausting schedule the highly sought after producer had been keeping. The band recruited Jim Steinman to fill the role but reportedly dropped him over dissatisfaction with his production approach on the one song they recorded with him. Ultimately, the album was produced by the band itself, resulting in the use of so much studio time that it became one of the most expensive albums ever recorded, but its sales erased that debt very rapidly.
Hysteria tracks got heavy airplay on Rock radio for the next 3 years and the album sold more than 25 million copies, almost 1/2 of the total number bought in the U.S.
Some bands that grow into success after several albums; Journey, Yes, ZZ Top, Def Leppard to name a few, but many break big right out of the gate, like The Doors, Bad Company, and Guns N' Roses. Instant success breeds great expectations and plenty of groups fall short on meeting them on subsequent releases.
Boston's self titled 1976 release was one of the most successful debut albums in history. Their second, released on this day in 1978 proved Tom Scholz's band would avoid a sophomore slump. By the end of August, Don't Look Back was closing in on having sold 5 million copies.
But after Don't Look Back, Boston fans were left with little to look forward to. 8 years would pass before the group's third album got released. Only Scholz and Brad Delp remained from the original lineup. The hit Amanda propelled sales of it to 4 million, but the album came nowhere close to replicating the depth of quality songs the first and second albums contained.
Steven Tyler booked studio time in Muscle Shoals, Alabama a few months ago. Not much has been revealed about the sessions the Aerosmith front man did, but Tyler mentioned in a Joe Rogan Experience podcast that one of the songs he recorded while at FAME Studios was Brown Sugar, the Stones classic from Sticky Fingers, the 1971 album that included tracks recorded in Muscle Shoals. AL.com reports that Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt was in on the Tyler sessions and says Steven included a number of musicians and singers on the original. Even if it doesn't measure up to it, we're happy to hear that Steven might be back to Rockin' after his foray into Country.
Foreigner, Journey, Yes and other heritage groups have replaced lead vocalists with soundalikes and managed to continue drawing well. One group's front man apparently decided his name and persona were so tightly associated with the group name in fan's minds that the other members were expendable. Ian Anderson seems to be doing okay touring as Jethro Tull without guitarist Martin Barre and other group mainstays.
Barre is busy developing his own career. His new solo album, Road Less Travelled, comes along September 1.
Phil Collins is releasing a 4 disc set in September that showcases the former Genesis member's solo sessions with a wide range of other musicians. Plays Well With Others will include Collins working with everyone from Brain Eno to Tony Bennett. On the Rock side, highlights will be performances with Robert Plant, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and David Crosby. The collection drops September 28.
Gary Lee Weinrib was born on this day in 1953 in Toronto to parents that survived imprisonment in two of the most horrific Nazi concentration camps. Geddy's father was able to find his mother post liberation after the pair had been sent to separate camps late during WW2. The name Geddy was adopted by the future Rush bass player and singer because his childhood friends picked up on his mother's pronunciation of his given first name at birth sounded more like Geddy than Gary.
In a move that will thrill fans and fuel haters, a U2 visitor center is slated for construction on Dublin's Grand Canal Dock. The more than 10,000 square foot, four floor structure will house the bands's original studio and exhibit space featuring instruments and memorabilia related to the group. The project plan calls for it to be a "world class tourist attraction featuring permanent, yet constantly evolving, exhibition of the U2 story on the site they recorded six albums."
On July 27& 28, 1973 an estimated 600,000 descended on the Finger Lakes village of Watkins Glen in upstate New York for Summer Jam, a concert featuring the Allman Brothers band the Grateful Dead and The Band. Staged near the fabled Watkins Glen race track, the concert was scheduled for the 28th but hordes of early arrivals got to hear the Dead and the Allman Brothers do extended soundchecks the day before. The Band's set during the actual concert was interrupted by a potent thunder storm. A defiant Garth Brooks remained on stage of it to accompany the storm with dramatic organ flourishes until a tremendous crash of thunder sent him scrambling for cover, too.
US military families have a great supporter in the Rock ranks. James Gang and Eagles veteran Joe Walsh donated proceeds from a number of his concerts to local Veteran support groups in communities he's played. A couple of years ago, he decided to stage an annual benefit concert. He's had no problem enlisting great performers and friends to join him. This year's VetsAid show takes place in the Tacoma Domed in Washington on November 11 and features Walsh, James Taylor, Chis Stapleton and Don Henley. Tickets go on sale 7/27 through Ticketmaster and the Tacoma Dome box office. TY, Joe!
Bon Scott was considered so beyond replaceable in the hearts and minds of AC/DC fans that it's hard to imagine more daunting shoes to fill than Brian Johnson set out to with the release of this album on this day in 1980. Bon's legendary status is eternally assured, but Brian certainly deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the role he played in keeping AC/DC one of the biggest Classic Rock bands in history.
Between the time Yes finished recording its second album and its July 24th release, the group replaced guitarist Peter Banks with Steve Howe. Banks was bounced, in part, for arguing against using strings and brass backing on songs - a contention many fans and critics shared. We can only speculate how different the album might have been had Howe been involved from the start.
Saul Hudson's parents weren't musicians, but their careers related to it. The eventual Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist's mother was a costume designer whose client list included David Bowie. His father an artist, whose work included album covers for Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Slash was born in Hempstead, London on Jyly 23, 1965.
A record company 16 year-old David Jones submitted it to considered it worthless, but the demo the future David Bowie recorded in 1963 while in a band called The Konrads is expected to sell for close to $20k. The Independent reports that the drummer/manager of the group came across it while packing things up for a move almost 30 years ago.
The Eagles spent fewer years as a band than disbanded, but the body of work they produced from 1971-1980 and the tours they have staged since getting back together since the first of a couple of reunions in 1994 have kept the one of America's most prominent bands. In addition to QBing the Eagles, Don Henley has 5 solo albums to his credit. The drummer/guitarist/vocalist/producer was born on this day in 1947 in Gilmor, Texas.
Many don't realize that when Santana delivered one of the most riveting sets at the original Woodstock festival the group's debut album hadn't even been released yet. The fusion of Rock and firey Latin American rhythms and the searing guitar work of the man born on this day in Mexico has continued to enthrall audiences to this day. Happy brithday, Carlos Santana!
Springsteen on Broadway, Bruce's one-man show on Broadway, will wrap-up after three extensions and close to 300 performances. Ticket demand and prices remain high. If the availability or cost of going to the live show proved too daunting, you'll still be able to catch it. Netflix has reached a deal to televise a recording of a performance on December 15th.
If you're a big Queen fan you might have a fighting chance going one-on-one with Brian May on trivia involving his band, but he might then up the stakes and shift the subject to Astrophysics and Astronomy. The Queen guitarist's Rock credentials are matched with some major qualifications in those fields. Happy birthday to him today.
The Doors 4th studio album was eight months in the making, due in good part to the fact Jim Morrison was not writing songs during the group's long tour leading into the studio sessions. He contibuted less to this album than he had to any of the previous studio recordings. The addition of orchestral backing and more jazz influenced styling from Ray Manzarek than on the first three albums earned little praise from fans and critics that had come to expect straight-up Rock from Morrison and company.
The Circle has been playing together a few years and released a live DVD, but Sammy Hagar's group has yet to put out an album. That changes soon when the group that includes Jason Bonham, Michael Anthony and Vic Johnson in addition to the Red Rocker turns loose a debut album that Bonham described while talking with Sonic Perspectives as an release that is intended to be listened to as albums used to be... from start to finish.
Most bands morph into existence, picking-up members over a period of weeks or months. One of Rock's original power trio's was formed in a single day, July 16, 1966.
His time as a member of the Yardbirds and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers made Eric Clapton the best known of the three, but it was Ginger Baker that brought the members of Cream together. Baker had been the drummer in the Graham Bond Organisation, a band that also included Jack Bruce. When Ginger proposed forming a new band with Clapton, Eric agreed to it, provided that Bruce, who had been a member of the Bluesbreakers during EC's stint with Mayall, be included. Since Bruce and Baker had frequently feuded during their time together in the Bond band, Baker was reluctant to go along with it but did because Clapton insisted. Baker and Bruce continued to knock heads during the few years and four albums Cream was together.
In 1969, weary of the ongoing battles between Baker and Bruce, Clapton and Baker joined former Spencer Davis Group and Traffic member Steve Winwood in forming Blind Faith, opting to invite Ric Gretch from the band Family to play bass.
Talking Heads second album dropped on this date in 1978. David Byrne brought Brian Eno in to produce it. The biggest song on it was the group's unlikely choice of Take Me To The River, a song written four years earlier by soul singer Al Green and his guitarist that Green never released as a single.
Smashing Pumpkins have been known to throw a curve ball from time to time, but one they played during the 30+ song set opening their reunion tour in Glendale, Arizona Thursday night must have really surprised their audience.
The USPS will issue a John Lennon stamp in September. The 'forever' stamp includes John's signature on a photo shot for his 1974 Walls and Bridges album. The stamp pane is designed to resemble a 45rpm singles sleeve and has a photo of John taken in 1971 at his white piano for the Imagine album. The official release of the stamp will be at a ceremony at the Namburg Bandshell in New York City's Central Park at 11am on September 7th.
Christine Anne Perfect was born July 12, 1943 in Lancashire. Her father was a professional violinist, her mother a spiritualist said to have psychic and faith healing skills. The future Fleetwood Mac keyboard player and vocalist was classically trained on piano, but jumped to Rock in her mid teens. During her college years she did some singing with Spencer Davis before joining the group Chicken Shack. She met and married FM's bass player John McVie in 1968, released a solo album in 1970 and was invited to join Fleetwood Mac.
Tom Petty's wife and daughter as well as Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers have curated a collection of previously unreleased material for a box set that drops on September 28. An American Treasure will include alternate studio takes and live versions of several tracks released on albums, but also some originals and covers that have not been put out on past albums. The release is slated to come out on 4 CDs.
Phil Collen's late May absence from Def Leppard's tour with Journey now has an explanation. The guitarist's wife encountered life threatening complications during delivery of the couple's baby son. Internal bleeding led to his wife needing to be resuscitated. Speaking with Rock Talk's Mitch Lafon, Collen said,She actually died and they brought her back to life.'
From Elf to Heaven & Hell by way of stints with Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Dio, the bad-ass great vocalist born on this day in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and raised in Cortland, New York earned recognition for having some of the best pipes in Rock.
July 8 & 9, 1972 an estimated 200,000 descended on Pocono Raceway in rural Pennsylvania for a festival that featured a number of lesser known groups on the opening day and night and a much better known lineup day two, when ELP, the Faces with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, Humble Pie with Peter Frampton, the J. Geils Band and Three Dog Night played.
Richard Starkey arrived in this world on July 7, 1940. The only child of parents that loved swing music. They divorced when he was only 5, leaving his mother to raise the future Beatles drummer largely on her own, a challenge that was compounded by her young son having appendicitis when he was six and contracting tuberculosis two years later. His mother married Harry Graves when Ringo was thirteen. Graves was a Big Band enthusiast and turned his step-son on to the stars of the genre. He also helped arrange a job for him as an machine apprentice in an equipment factory. There, a co-worker introduced Ringo to Skiffle music. It would become a shared passion that was an instant thing in common he would have with John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Rapid recovery wishes to Elvis Costello who today announced he must cancel additional live due to surgery to address a "small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy". The operation has already taken place and some dates were played post-op, but his doctor has decided he needs additional recovery time before resuming his tour.
Pink Floyd gave fans extra reason to be glad they were seeing the group at Knebworth on this date in 1975 - the chance to be the first to hear songs from Wish You Were Here, an album that would not come out until two months later. Floyd included Have A Cigar and all of the parts of Shine On You Crazy Diamond during the first set on July 5th.
Today is also the anniversary of the day the Rolling Stones paid tribute to Brian Jones in 1969 by doing a huge concert in Hyde Park, and Robbie Robertson of The Band was born on July 5th in 1943.
The wait was over for the third studio album by the Doors on this date in 1968. Waiting For The Sun eclipsed the success of the self titled debut album and Strange Days by becoming the bands only #1 selling album. The release dropped on the same date that Jim Morrison died on three years later in Paris.
Multi-instrumentalist Wolfgang Van Halen has wrapped up the recording of his debut solo album. The Van Halen bass player and son of Eddie Van Halen hasn't revealed a title or release date for the project yet. Michael Baskette, who produced the sessions, calls it '...so awesome and I am proud of it on all levels'. The album has been in the works for the better part of 3 years. The long timeline isn't related to difficulty lining up schedules of other musicians; Wolfie reportedly plays all of the instruments on it.
These two albums dropped on the first of first of July in 1968 and '70. Music From Big Pink introduced The Band, Bob Dylan's former backing musicians, and established them as one of the most distinctively different sounding groups of any era.
Absolutely Live gave the many fans that would never have the opportunity to see The Doors in concert a pretty good idea of how intense and disjointed a live performance by Morrison & Co. was.
1975 was a year of individual and collective turmoil for Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers Band. There had already been discord within the group over Gregg's decision to record a solo album and release it just a matter of weeks after Brothers and Sisters, the band's 1973 album, came out.
The ABB was one of the biggest touring acts in 1974, making enough money to charter the Boeing jet the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin had used to tour. But internal disagreements said to have been fueled by heavy drinking and drug use pushed things to the breaking point. Matters only got worse when Gregg took up with Cher at the start of 1975.
OnJune 30, 1975, the two married, taking up residence in Hollywood, making the couple a convenient target of the tabloids. The group ground out a Win, Lose or Draw and managed to get in another tour, but came apart at the seams when Gregg provided testimony in the drug trial of Scooter Herring, a close associate of the band.
With the other band members refusing to work with Gregg, he recorded another solo record as well as a disastrous one with Cher. The two embarked on a tour of Europe that was cancelled after altercations between his and her fans started breaking out during shows.
Legal disputes over the rights to his own songs made John Fogerty reluctant to perform Creedence Clearwater Revival music for a number of years as a solo artist. It may have also have been a factor in why no official video was ever released for one of CCR's biggest songs. That changed this week.
On this date in 1969, $6 was all it took to get into the opening day of the Denver Pop Festival, a 3 day event at, appropriately, Mile High Stadium that included performances by Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Three Dog Night, Joe Cocker, Tim Buckley, The Flock and others. June 29th, the promoter declared it a free festival. It closed with police attempting to clear the field with a tear gas barrage during the the last performance ever by the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
On this day in 1976 the Grateful Dead released the double album recorded during the band's Wall Of Sound tour concerts in the fall of 1974 at Winterland in San Francisco. Ironically, the album title is a lyric extracted He's Gone, a song that is not included on the record.
It's high decibels and hot cars on Huntington Beach in SoCal on October 6th when Sammy Hagar stages his High Tide Beach Party & Car Show. The Red Rocker had no trouble recruiting other Rockers that think cars and guitars are a great combination. Hagar and his Circle band with Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson will be joined on the surf side bill by Joe Satriani, REO Speedwagon, Vince Neil and several other performers.
The Wilson sisters grew up in a very mobile and musical household. Daughters of a career Marine, Ann and Nancy lived in the Far East and Central America before the family settled in Washington state. Their father's ranging musical tastes meant the Wilson home was frequently filled with classical, opera, showtunes, jazz and rock. Ann overcame a childhood stutter with the help of music and went on to become one of the most powerful front women in music with Heart.
It was Rock & Bowl on the Jersey shore Monday night (6/18) when Bruce Springsteen joined the Tangiers Blues Band on four songs at the re-opening of Asbury Lanes as a music venue. Bruce and the band tore into Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu, I Just Want to Make Love to You, Down the Road Apiece and Twist and Shout.
The accolades and awards are mind boggling. He could have retired comfortably decades ago. Instead, just a few days shy of his 76th birthday, Paul McCartney did an unannounced pub concert with his band for around 50 people. Born on this day in 1942, we salute MACCA.
He launched his post James Gang career with a solo album released on June 17, 1973 with a wacky title and never stopped. Alons the way, he gave us reeases titled So What, You Can't Argue witha Sick Mind, But Seriously, Flolks, There Goes The Neighborhood, You Bought it - You Name It, Got Any Gum and ordinary Average Guy.
David Bowie released the groundbreaking album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars on this day in 1972. The album's lead figure was an androgynous Rocker that channeled messages from extraterrestrials to humans. Much of the material on the album had been performed during stops on a tour Bowie began in January of the release year.
Bob Dylan and a crew of musicians booked for the session by producer Tim Wilson entered Columbia Records Studio A in New York City on this day in 1965 to work on a song Dylan had distilled from a 10 page rant he'd written. Just back from a European tour and feeling disillusioned to the point that he was giving serious thought to quitting the music business, Bob and the band did 5 takes of the song. None of them hit the mark to Dylan's ears. The next day, Al Kooper (Blues Project, Blood, Sweat & Tears) joined them in the studio as a guest of Wilson.
At a point during that day's recording, Kooper, who at the time was primarily a guitarist, mentioned he had what he thought wold be a good part for the organ. The skeptical Wilson was said to be dismissive, but he allowed Kooper in on a subsequent take. Dylan loved what he heard and ordered Wilson to boost the organ in the mix during playback. The front-and-center sound of the improvised part played on that Hammond organ became the musical signature of Dylan's master work - and had a part in keeping Bob a musician.
Talking with Rolling Stone the following year, Dylan said, "Last spring, I guess I was going to quit singing. I was very drained, and the way things were going, it was a very draggy situation... But 'Like A Rolling Stone' changed it all."
Jackson Browne and Stevie Ray Vaughan don't have much in common musical style wise, but Jackson had an important role in the Texan guitar great's early career. Browne saw Vaughan perform at the Montreux Jazz festival in 1982 and was so impressed that he invited Stevie and his band to use his LA studio for free. Songs they recorded there got the band signed by John Hammond, the legendary producer credited with landing contracts for Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, Janis Joplin and many others. Texas Flood, Stevie Ray's debut studio album with Double Trouble was recorded in just a couple of days, with no overdubs. It came out on this day in 1983.