Archive for August, 2008

Motown to celebrate 50th birthday in January

August 30, 2008


In the space of a few weeks, first Madonna and Kate Bush turned 50 … then Michael Jackson. Pretty soon there’ll be dancing in the street “everywhere around the world” when Motown Records celebrates its 50th birthday on January 12, 2009.


Universal Music – which now owns the legendary label – plans to get everyone in the mood for Motown’s half-century celebrations by launching a special 50th Anniversary CD on December 1, 2008.


The new compilation will uniquely feature songs chosen by Motown fans themselves after they were invited to vote for their favourites in an online poll.


Universal plans to release “many different versions” of the compilation album across the globe, saying this approach is designed to “reflect each country’s favourite songs and celebrate the enduring popularity of Motown across the planet.”


Other Motown celebrations are being lined up throughout the whole of 2009 under the banner: Motown 50 – Today, Tomorrow, Forever.


Berry Gordy Jr. founded the label as Tamla Records on January 12, 1959, with a loan of $800 from his family. The company was incorporated as Motown Record Corporation in 1960.


Vocal group The Matadors were the first act to be signed to Tamla by Gordy. They went on to find fame after changing their name to The Miracles.


By the mid-1960s, the groundbreaking Motown Sound had spread worldwide. And the label’s distinctive sound still resonates today – 180 Number 1 singles later – with Motown hits continuing to appear in TV commercials, TV shows and movies.

Glen Campbell covers songs by U2, Tom Petty, John Lennon and Velvet Underground on new album

August 25, 2008


Country star Glen Campbell’s new album, titled Meet Glen Campbell, includes his distinctive take on 10 contemporary and classic rock songs that he says have inspired and touched him musically.


The tracks range from the 1969 Velvet Underground song ‘Jesus’ and John Lennon’s beautiful ‘Grow Old With Me’ … to the Foo Fighters’ 2003 hit ‘Times Like These’ and Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’. Other unexpected tracks on the new album include songs originally recorded by U2, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and Travis.


Campbell has always been regarded as one of America’s best interpreters of other people’s songs. In the 1960s and 1970s, he released definitive versions of songs by John Hartford (‘Gentle On My Mind’), Allen Toussaint (‘Southern Nights’) and, most notably, Jimmy Webb (‘Galveston’, ‘Wichita Lineman’ and ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’). He certainly makes the diverse selection of tracks on Meet Glen Campbell his own too.


On this album, producers Julian Raymond and Howard Willing appear to follow a similar formula to that of Rick Rubin with Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond, and Jack White with Loretta Lynn. Namely, return a veteran artist to the sound and style that made them successful in the first place … and introduce them to a whole new audience at the same time. Meet Glen Campbell certainly evokes the warm sound of Campbell’s hits from the Sixties and Seventies.


“While I didn’t write these songs, this sounds like a Glen Campbell album, which is important to me,” says 72-year-old Campbell, whose forty-five year career has resulted in sales of some 45 million records, 27 Top 10 singles, 12 Gold albums, four Platinum albums and one Double-Platinum album.


Meet Glen Campbell – described as “a little bit country and a whole lot of rock ‘n’ roll” – is released in the UK on 25 August 2008.


Full track listing:

1. ‘Jesus’ (Velvet Underground)
2. ‘All I Want Is You’ (U2)
3. ‘Times Like These’ (Foo Fighters)
4. ‘Grow Old With Me’ (John Lennon)
5. ‘Angel Dream’ (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
6. ‘Sadly Beautiful’ (The Replacements)
7. ‘Sing’ (Travis)
8. ‘These Days’ (Jackson Browne)
9. ‘Walls (Circus)’ (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
10. ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’ (Green Day).

No Doors without Jim Morrison, US court rules

August 24, 2008


Two of the surviving members of The Doors – keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger – have lost a legal battle in California to be allowed to tour under the group’s name.


They are now likely to have to pay out more than $5 million in damages and legal costs for using The Doors’ name without proper permission during a 2003 concert tour.


Manzarek and Krieger toured under the name “Doors of the 21st Century” – with Ian Astbury of The Cult as lead singer – and allegedly used pictures of the late Jim Morrison to promote the group.


According to US media reports, John Densmorethe other surviving member of The Doors – had been opposed to Manzarek and Krieger presenting the group’s tour as a “Doors reunion” because Morrison, who died in Paris in 1971, would not be a part of it.


“You can’t call yourselves The Doors because you can’t have The Doors without Jim Morrison,” argued Densmore‘s attorney.


Manzarek and Krieger had asked the California Supreme Court to review a 2005 decision by a judge that barred them from using the word “Doors” in the title of any group.


The original court also ordered Manzarek and Krieger to pay $3.2 million, plus $2 million in legal costs, to Densmore, Jim Morrison’s parents, and the parents of Morrison’s deceased wife, Pamela Courson, who died in 1974.


The basis of the legal wrangle was a 1970 agreement – signed by the four original band members, including Jim Morrison – stating that all four of them would have to agree to any business deals.


The 1970 agreement was hammered out, it seems, after Morrison and the three others got into a “violent disagreement” over using ‘Light My Fire’ in a TV commercial for Buick cars. Morrison vehemently disagreed and the commercial was never made.


The court’s decision means Krieger and Manzarek must now continue to perform under the name “Riders on the The Storm.”

The Who’s Roger Daltrey slams growing ageism in the UK

August 23, 2008


The Who’s Roger Daltrey – who famously sang “I hope I die before I get old” in the 1965 hit ‘My Generation’ – promises to lead his generation of over-60s in the war on ageism in the UK.


The veteran rocker will reach the UK’s official retirement age of 65 next March. But seeing elderly people being forced into retirement before they’ve had the chance to pass on their life skills makes him furious, he says.


“It’s criminal that people are being retired before they are ready to go,” said Daltrey. “Many have so much to give but they never get the chance.”


Daltrey has also been working with other British performers to persuade the UK government to extend the protection of copyright in sound recordings beyond the current 50 years to 95 years. Many veteran ‘non-superstar’ artists, session musicians and singers rely on this income. Daltrey blames the government’s reluctance on “elitist ageists”.


“Most musicians receive small amounts of performance royalties and this in later life can make the difference between independence and relying on the State,” he said.

Johnny Nash’s ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ is top summer song

August 22, 2008


Johnny Nash’s reggae song ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ has been named the most-played summer song of the past year in a new survey undertaken by the UK’s Performing Right Society (PRS).


Originally written and recorded by Nash in 1972, ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ has been covered by many artists over the past three decades, including a 1993 hit version by Jimmy Cliff.


‘Walking On Sunshine’ by Katrina & The Waves came second in the PRS survey, with the Bryan Adams hit ‘Summer Of ‘69’ taking third place even though it only ever reached No. 42 on the UK charts.


The Kinks’ hit ‘Sunny Afternoon’ – written by the band’s Ray Davies – came fourth. Don Henley’s ‘The Boys Of Summer’ (apparently a common nickname for baseball players in America) is listed at Number 5 in the survey.


“The summer’s been a bit of a wash-out, so it’s great to hear these classic summer-time songs that remind us of the best of British weather,” said PRS chairman Ellis Rich. “All these summer songs have stood the test of time, which goes to show the importance of music in our lives and the nostalgia it brings, no matter what the weather forecast.”


The survey’s results are based on data compiled by the PRS in order to pay accurate royalties to its 60,000 composer, songwriter and music publisher members whenever their music is broadcast or publicly performed.


The full Top 10 is:

1. ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ – Johnny Nash (1972)

2. ‘Walking On Sunshine’ – Katrina & The Waves (1983)

3. ‘Summer Of ’69’ – Bryan Adams (1984)

4. ‘Sunny Afternoon’ – The Kinks (1966)

5. ‘The Boys Of Summer’ – Don Henley (1984)

6. ‘In The Summertime’ – Mungo Jerry (1970)

7. ‘Cruel Summer’ – Bananarama (1983)

8. ‘Summer Breeze’ – Seals & Crofts (1972); Isley Brothers (1974)

9. ‘Here Comes The Sun’ – The Beatles (1969)

10. ‘Summer Holiday’ – Cliff Richard (1963).

New AC/DC album confirmed as ‘Black Ice’ – with October 21 release date in the UK

August 19, 2008


The title of AC/DC’s first studio album for eight years has been confirmed as Black Ice, as reported by Sh-Boom! Magazine on July 12. The album is now available for pre-order at a “special price” direct from the band’s web site:


Featuring the AC/DC line-up of Angus and Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd, Black Ice is due out on October 21 in the UK, with the first single, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Train’, set to be released at the end of August. The video for the single was reportedly filmed in London last week.


The band’s record label hints that it is lining up “multiple activities for fans” in the run-up to the album’s release.


Black Ice – which features 15 new tracks – is the follow-up to the veteran rockers’ 2000 album Stiff Upper Lip. In true AC/DC fashion, no less than four songs have “rock” in the title!


The new album was recorded at Bryan Adams’s studio in Vancouver, with producer Brendan O’Brien and long-time audio engineer Mike Fraser. It will be the band’s 15th studio album.


Formed in Sydney, Australia in 1973 by brothers Angus and Malcolm Young – still the most formidable electric guitar brotherhood in rock – AC/DC released their first album, High Voltage, in 1975. Since then, they’ve sold nearly 70 million albums in the US alone, making AC/DC one of the five best-selling bands in music history. The band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.


The full tracklisting for Black Ice is:


‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Train’
’Skies On Fire’
’Big Jack’
’Anything Goes’
’War Machine’
’Smash ‘N’ Grab’
’Spoilin’ For A Fight’
’Stormy May Day’
’She Likes Rock ‘N’ Roll’
’Money Made’
’Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream’
’Rocking All The Way’
’Black Ice’

Lita Roza – Britain’s first chart-topping female singer – dies at 82

August 18, 2008


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Lita Roza – the first female British singer to score a No 1 record in the UK pop charts – died on August 14, 2008, at the age of 82.


The groundbreaking female singer topped the British hit parade in March 1953 with her cover version of Patti Page’s US hit ‘(How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window?’.


But the Liverpool-born singer apparently hated the children’s novelty song that made her a household name – and refused to sing it on television or on stage.


I didn’t like or want to record that song but my agent managed to persuade me,” she said in a 2004 interview. “I sang it once – just one take – and vowed I would never sing it again. It just wasn’t my style. I wanted to sing good songs.


Lita Roza was best known for her jazz ballad performances with the Ted Heath Band and was acclaimed by the New Musical Express and Melody Maker as the leading British songstress of the 1950s. Readers of both magazines consistently voted her ‘Top British Female Singer’ and ‘Top Girl Singer in a Dance Band’ between 1951 and 1955.


She was born Lillian Patricia Lita Roza on March 14, 1926 – the eldest of seven children. She owed her sultry looks to her Spanish father, a marine engineer who played piano and accordion in Liverpool nightclubs. Her English mother was a dancer.


By the time she was 15 in 1941, Lita was touring as a dancer herself – in a wartime revue with Liverpool comedian Ted Ray. A year later she became a vocalist with the Harry Roy Orchestra and moved to London, where she also worked with other bandleaders of the era such as Edmundo Ros.


Her biggest break came in 1950 when she became the lead female vocalist with the Ted Heath Band, performing alongside singers Dickie Valentine and Dennis Lotis. Many fans consider her years with the Heath band to be the most productive of her career.


She left the band in 1954 and joined Decca Records as a solo artist – a move which made her a major star on both sides of the Atlantic. She even topped the bill at the London Palladium in 1954.


But the arrival of rock ’n’ roll in the late 1950s meant her style of melancholy jazz ballads eventually went out of fashion. By the early 1960s, a new generation of female Liverpool singers, such as Cilla Black, were topping the charts.


Her final public performance was on BBC Radio Merseyside in November 2002.


Sir Elton John summed up the feelings of many of her longstanding fans when he recently observed: “We just don’t make singers like Lita Roza any more.”


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Tina Turner’s new hits compilation, ‘Tina!’, to include two exclusive new songs and rare live tracks

August 13, 2008


Tina Turner is set to release a new 18-track compilation – on CD and DVD – which will include hits from her entire career, along with rare live recordings and two exclusive new tracks: ‘It Would Be a Crime’ and ‘I’m Ready’.


Titled Tina!, the new album will include her classic hits: ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’, ‘Private Dancer’, ‘Better Be Good To Me’, ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’, ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Nutbush City Limits’, and ‘River Deep Mountain High’.


Tina! will also feature four live tracks – including ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’ (recorded live at Amsterdam Arena in 1996), ‘Addicted To Love’ (recorded live at London’s Camden Palace in 1986), and two tracks not previously available on CD: ‘The Best’ (recorded live at London’s Wembley Arena in 2000) and ‘Let’s Stay Together’ (recorded live at Amsterdam Arena 12 years ago).


The album will be released on September 30 in the United States to coincide with the start of the eight-time Grammy Award winning singer’s new world tour. Turner, who will be 69 in November, will perform 59 live shows between October 2008 and April 2009. 


The tour will reach the UK early next year – with four nights of shows in London (March 3, March 4, March 7 and March 8 at the O2 Arena) and Manchester (February 20, March 30, March 31 and April 3 at the Manchester Evening News Arena).


Full list of tracks on Tina!:


Steamy Windows’
‘River Deep Mountain High’
‘Better Be Good To Me’
‘The Acid Queen’
‘What You Get Is What You See’
‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’
‘Private Dancer’
‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’ (from Thunderdome)
‘I Don’t Wanna Fight’
‘Let’s Stay Together’ (live at Amsterdam Arena, 1996)
‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’ (live at Amsterdam Arena, 1996)
‘Addicted To Love’ (live at Camden Palace, London, 1986)
‘The Best’ (live at Wembley Arena, London, 2000)
‘Proud Mary’
‘Nutbush City Limits’
‘It Would Be A Crime’ (new track, exclusive to this album)
‘I’m Ready’ (new track, exclusive to this album).

Annie Lennox to release first Greatest Hits collection in September

August 11, 2008


Annie Lennox – hailed as “The Greatest White Soul Singer Alive” on the VH1 TV show 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll – is to release the first-ever retrospective of her solo career on September 15, 2008.


Titled The Annie Lennox Collection, the 14-track album spans 15 years and brings together her greatest solo hits on a single disc for the first time.


The album features hits from her four solo albums: Diva (1992), Medusa (1995), Bare (2003) and Songs of Mass Destruction (2007) – including tracks like ‘Why’, ‘Walking on Broken Glass’ and the Grammy-winning ‘No More I Love You’s’.


Also included are two new songs which were recorded exclusively for this collection. One of the new songs, ‘Pattern of My Life’, was written especially for Annie Lennox by Keane star Tom Chaplin. The other new recording is Lennox’s version of ‘Shining Light’ by Irish rock band Ash.


The cover artwork for The Annie Lennox Collection features photographs shot by rock singer Bryan Adams.


“It seems like the time has come to release the Collection this year,” says Lennox, who will be 54 in December. “The songs are timeless and have become ‘classics’ in their own right.”


A special deluxe edition of The Annie Lennox Collection will include a DVD. The album will also be available on vinyl.


Full list of tracks:


‘Little Bird’
‘Walking on Broken Glass’
‘No More I Love You’s’
‘Love Song for a Vampire’
‘A Thousand Beautiful Things’
‘Pavement Cracks’
‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’
‘Dark Road’
‘Pattern Of My Life’
‘Shining Light’

Ozzy Osbourne to quit after two more albums

August 9, 2008


With his 60th birthday only four months away, Ozzy Osbourne has revealed that he intends to record two more albums – with each album supported by a tour – then he’ll draw the curtain on his colourful music career.


But, in typical Ozzy fashion, the former Black Sabbath frontman can’t actually put a date on his impending ‘retirement’. He admits it may take him some time to record the final two albums because he hasn’t fathomed out how to use the music software that came with his new home studio equipment.


He reportedly told USA Today: “I’m recording another album soon. I’ve got a ProTools machine downstairs in my house, I record from home now. But I can’t turn the f***ing thing on.


“But when you have somebody who knows what they’re doing,” he said, “it’s so easy to make records now. The art of making records is somewhat diminishing. It’s taking the passion out of it. But I’ll try to give it as much real me as I can.”


He told USA Today that he wants to make two more albums: “I’ll make one and go out [on tour] on that one, then I’ll make another one and go out on that. Time is very valuable to me now. I’m 60 this December. It doesn’t seem ten years since I was 50, it really doesn’t. My mission now is to do as much as I can.”


Despite not knowing how to use a computer, Ozzy recently became the latest rock star to appear in Activision’s video game Guitar Hero.


And in November 2008, he’ll receive the prestigious ‘Living Legend’ accolade at this year’s Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards. The induction ceremony will take place at a gala event at London’s Park Lane Hotel on November 2 …


… The perfect warm-up gig for Ozzy’s 60th birthday party on December 3.

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