Archive for October, 2008

Aretha Franklin to release album of classical music

October 29, 2008


‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has revealed she is planning to record an album of classical music – and reportedly spent the summer studying to play the piano with classically-trained musicians at New York’s prestigious Juilliard School.


The legendary 66-year-old soul singer says she plans to both sing and play on the classical album. “I came to New York this summer and I took some classical piano lessons – just the basics,” she said. “I’m going to be singing arias on the album, including ‘Nessun Dorma’.”


Aretha is also about to release the first-ever Christmas album in her 52-year career. Titled This Christmas – Aretha, the 11-track album features classic and contemporary songs performed in Aretha’s trademark gospel, soul and R&B styles. Tracks include her version of Donny Hathaway’s ‘This Christmas’, and traditional songs such as ‘Silent Night’, ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’.


Aretha recently revealed she has finally found a cure for the throat problems that have hampered her voice for years. She has to try to stop talking!


The winner of 20 Grammy Awards said: “I used to get laryngitis, and I couldn’t understand why. Then it dawned on me I was wearing out my voice box. I was over-singing and talking when I should just be keeping quiet.”

‘Constant touring could spell the end for Yes,’ warns Jon Anderson

October 19, 2008

Yes lead singer Jon Anderson has reportedly warned the other members of the band that constant touring and “lack of passion” could spell the end of the group – unless they agree to take a break and work on new material.


Anderson says both he and Rick Wakeman – who quit the band for the fifth time earlier this year – were concerned about “over-touring”. In March, Wakeman stated on his web site that he felt Yes had done “far too many shows – especially in America” since 2002. He felt this had diminished the “specialness” of the band.


But the other members of the group insisted on going ahead with a 40th Anniversary tour, Closer To The Edge And Back, which begins in Ontario, Canada on November 4.


When Jon Anderson developed problems with asthma, guitarist Steve Howe and bassist Chris Squire decided not to delay the concerts until Anderson was well again. Instead, they recruited Benoit David – the lead singer in a Yes tribute band – as the frontman for the 26-date tour.


Anderson was far from happy the band didn’t consult him about the decision to hire a stand-in. He said he felt “disappointed and disrespected”.


Chris Squire recently attempted to smooth over the dispute by saying Anderson will return to the line-up in 2009 – if he recovers from his troubles with asthma. “If Jon is well again next year, he’ll be back,” said Squire.


Anderson himself says he hasn’t given up hope of getting better and returning to Yes. But he admits it is likely to be “some months” before he can do any shows.


In May, Anderson suffered a severe asthma attack which required a stay in hospital. Doctors diagnosed acute respiratory failure and cautioned him not to work for at least six months or risk further health complications.


“Like most people my age – I’m now 64 – the body goes through so many changes,” Anderson told “I feel that my health has always been strong enough for the band…up until 2004.”


However, Anderson believes his time away from the band has given him a fresh perspective about the prog-rock giants’ future. He insists they have to stop touring.


“There have been too many tours, too much friction from outside of the band,” he said. “This has made it impossible to keep touring the way Yes truly should.


“With no new music, a lack of passion for the music and each other, and no real promotion of who Yes truly is, things just looked so bleak,” he said. “That’s why I suggested a break for six months, maybe do a progressive acoustic CD, and tour on a different style of touring, semi-acoustic, for a while, and do less shows per year… just for us to realise who we were. We were not communicating as a band.


“But sadly the others just wanted to keep going down that same touring spiral,” he added. “Hopefully we will get back together and perform in the coming years, I truly hope so. The fans deserve it, and so do we.”



Barry Manilow revives greatest songs of the Eighties on new album

October 16, 2008

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He’s done the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, now Barry Manilow is set to give us his take on a dozen classic songs from the 1980s with his latest album, The Greatest Songs Of The Eighties, which is released on November 25, 2008.


Working with longtime mentor and collaborator Clive Davis, 65-year-old Manilow sets out to whisk us back to the decade of legwarmers, fad diets, shoulder pads and conspicuous consumption as he tackles hits such as Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ from 1987, Stevie Wonder’s 1984 hit ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’, Wham’s ‘Careless Whisper’ from 1983, and ‘Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)’ – a hit for Phil Collins in 1984.


Manilow also duets with Reba McEntire on ‘Islands in the Stream’ – a huge hit for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in 1983.


Manilow’s best-selling series of tribute albums includes The Greatest Songs Of The Fifties (released in January 2006) which became his first Number One album since the double-LP Barry Manilow Live in 1977. This was followed by The Greatest Songs Of The Sixties (October 2006) and TheGreatest Songs Of The Seventies (September 2007). The three albums have already sold more than two million copies in the United States alone.


The Greatest Songs Of The Eighties marks the fourth collaboration between Barry Manilow and music mogul Clive Davis who was a perennial collaborator with Manilow on virtually all of his early recordings. They first worked together on ‘Mandy’, Manilow’s debut Number One single in 1974.


“No one can reinvent the great classics better than Barry Manilow,” said Davis. “He breathes new life and vitality into these truly wonderful songs and they sound fresh and time­less.”


The tracklisting is expected to include:


‘Islands in the Stream’ (with Reba McEntire)
’Open Arms’
’Never Gonna Give You Up’
’Have I Told You Lately’
’I Just Called to Say I Love You’
’Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)’
’Careless Whisper’
’Right Here Waiting’
’Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do)’
’Hard to Say I’m Sorry’
’Time After Time’
’I’ve Had the Time of My Life’

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Rod Stewart gives Prince Charles free gig as a 60th birthday gift

October 14, 2008

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Rod Stewart – who usually charges up to £1 million for private shows – has reportedly waived his fee for Prince Charles and will be performing at the Prince’s 60th birthday party in November for free.


Stewart – who will be 64 in January 2009 – is a close friend of the Prince and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.


It has been revealed that the rock legend will not charge a fee for entertaining family and friends of the heir to the throne at his Highgrove estate in Gloucestershire on November 15, 2008 – the day after the Prince’s 60th birthday. The birthday party is being hosted by the Duchess of Cornwall.


A spokesman for Clarence House, the Prince’s official royal residence, said: “The main musical entertainment at the party will be provided by Rod Stewart, who is an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust. He is giving his performance as a birthday present to the Prince.”


The heir to the throne was born at Buckingham Palace at 9.14pm on November 14, 1948, and was christened Charles Philip Arthur George a month later.


Rod Stewart – reportedly hailed as music’s “best white soul singer” by soul legend James Brown – previously played at the Concert for Diana in July 2007 to commemorate the life of the late princess. In the same year, Prince Charles presented Stewart with his CBE.


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The Who’s famous 1977 Kilburn concert for the film ‘The Kids Are Alright’ finally released on DVD

October 10, 2008


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Fans of The Who are at last being given a chance to see a full-length version of the band’s famous 1977 concert in Kilburn, North London which many Who aficionados regard as Keith Moon’s finest hour and one of the band’s greatest performances.

A film of the legendary event is now being made available on DVD for the first time. It is part of a 2-disc package which will be released in the UK on November 17, 2008.


On December 15, 1977, The Who performed in front of a select invited audience at the Gaumont State Theatre in Kilburn, North London to record a concert for Jeff Stein’s film, The Kids Are Alright. It was one of Keith Moon’s last public appearances with the band before his death in 1978.


Over the years, footage of the show has become a much sought-after “holy grail” for Who fans because only a few glimpses of the concert ended up in the final cut of The Kids Are Alright.


The performance was originally shot in 35mm, but the rare footage – showing drummer Keith Moon in fiery form – has now been digitally restored and remastered in High-Definition and Surround Sound from the original film elements.


The 2-DVD set also includes another never-before-seen rarity: The Who’s landmark live performance at The London Coliseum in 1969 which is said to be one of the band’s personal favorites.


Full tracklisting for Kilburn 1977 (DVD Disc 1)

1. Can’t Explain

2. Substitute

3. Baba O’Reilly

4. My Wife/Going Mobile

5. Behind Blue Eyes

6. Dreaming From The Waist

7. Pinball Wizard

8. I’m Free

9. Tommy’s Holiday Camp

10. Summertime Blues

11. Shakin’ All Over

12. My Generation

13. Join Together

14. Who Are You

15. Won’t Get Fooled Again


Full tracklisting for The Coliseum 1969 (DVD Disc 2)

1. Heaven And Hell

2. Can’t Explain

3. Fortune Teller

4. Tattoo

5. Young Man Blues

6. A Quick One While He’s Away

7. Happy Jack

8. I’m A Boy

9. I’m Free

10. Tommy’s Holiday Camp

11. See Me, Feel Me

12. Summertime Blues

13. Shakin’ All Over

14. My Generation

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The Salvation Army signs £1m record deal with Universal

October 7, 2008

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The Salvation Army has reportedly signed a £1m record deal with music giant Universal – with the organisation’s International Staff Brass Band set to release their first mainstream album, titled Together, on the Universal Classics & Jazz label on November 24.


According to Universal, the 14-track album is “packed with tracks full of emotion, beauty and timelessness”. It features traditional brass band arrangements of classic songs such as ‘Nessun Dorma’, ‘You Raise Me Up’, ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ and ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’.


There are also special guest appearances from leading classical music stars such as Lesley Garrett, Aled Jones and The Fron Male Voice Choir.


Hailed by Universal Music as “the world’s ultimate buskers”, The Salvation Army hopes sales of the record will help to boost its Christmas fundraising drive.


“At a time when lives are being turned upside down, people need something to rely on,” said Universal Music’s Dickon Stainer.


“The sound of The Salvation Army gives comfort to people when times are tough, as they are now,” he said. “We hope that this record will help expand the reach of their traditional fundraising.”


Major David Hinton of The Salvation Army said: “This is a really exciting project, which we hope will not only raise money but will also help to raise awareness of the needs of the people with whom we work.”


The Salvation Army famously helps people who have fallen on hard times, including the homeless and the elderly.


Full track listing:


1. Largo

2. Nessun Dorma

3. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

4. Nimrod

5. You Raise Me Up

6. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross – O Waly Waly

7. Let It Be

8. Nearer My God to Thee

9. Wind Beneath My Wings

10. Make Me a Channel of Your Peace (with Aled Jones)

11. O Christmas Tree

12. In the Bleak Midwinter

13. You’ll Never Walk Alone (with Lesley Garrett)

14. Going Home (with The Fron Male Voice Choir)


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‘The Dave Clark Five – The Hits’ finally released on CD

October 6, 2008

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Good news for Dave Clark Five fans who haven’t got into downloading music yet. The compilation album The Dave Clark Five – The Hits – which has been available as a download on iTunes since March is finally about to be released on CD.


The 27-track retrospective – which includes the previously unreleased track ‘Universal Love’ and the often overlooked ‘Til The Right One Comes Along’ – will be released as a CD in the UK on October 13, 2008.


The album comes complete with a booklet containing many previously unseen photos of the band.


In 1964, the Dave Clark Five were regarded as the biggest challengers to The Beatles when their single ‘Glad All Over’ knocked the Fab Four’s ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ off the top of the UK charts after a six-week stay at Number One.


The Tottenham quintet were also the first ‘British Invasion’ band after The Beatles to achieve huge success in the United States – including a record 18 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and six sold-out US tours.


Between 1963 and 1967, The Dave Clark Five had 22 hits in the UK and 24 in America – with memorable singles like ‘Glad All Over’, ‘Bits and Pieces’, ‘Because’, ‘Can’t You See That She’s Mine’ and a remake of Bobby Day’s ‘Over and Over’ – all of which are included on The Dave Clark Five – The Hits.


Full track listing:


1. Do You Love Me

2. Glad All Over

3. Bits And Pieces

4. Can’t You See That’s She’s Mine

5. Everybody Knows (I Still Love You)

6. Don’t Let Me Down

7. Any Way You Want It

8. Wild Weekend

9. Catch Us If You Can

10. Because

11. I Like It Like That

12. Reelin’ And Rockin’

13. Over And Over

14. Come Home

15. You Got What It Takes

16. Try Too Hard

17. Everybody Knows

18. I’ll Be Yours My Love

19. Nineteen Days

20. Look Before You Leap

21. Til The Right One Comes Along

22. All Night Long

23. Good Old Rock ‘n’ Roll Medley

24. Sha Na Na Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

25. Here Comes Summer

26. Put A Little Love In Your Heart

27. Universal Love


How important are ‘oldies’ songs to you? Vote in our poll below …


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Kingston Trio co-founder Nick Reynolds dies at 75

October 4, 2008


Guitarist and singer Nick Reynolds – a founding member of legendary folk group the Kingston Trio – has died after his family agreed to take him off a life support system in a San Diego, California hospital. He was 75.


Reynolds had been ill for some time with acute respiratory disease and other illnesses, his family said.


With hit songs like the Grammy award-winning ‘Tom Dooley’ (1958), ‘A Worried Man’ (1959) and ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone?’ (1962), Nick Reynolds and the Kingston Trio were credited with helping to revive the folk music scene in the late 1950s – turning it into a mainstream force and paving the way for stars like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan.


“Dad was so happy he turned people onto music in a way that people could really approach it, in a simple and honest way,” his son Josh Reynolds told The Associated Press. “He was a very gracious and loving performer.”


Born on July 27, 1933 in San Diego, California, Nicholas Reynolds demonstrated an early love of music and a talent for close harmony singing. He regularly performed sing-alongs with his two sisters and his Navy Captain father. It was his father who taught him to play guitar.


Reynolds, Bob Shane and Dave Guard formed the Kingston Trio in 1957 after meeting while at college. Dave Guard later left the group over musical differences in 1961 and was replaced by John Stewart.


Famous for their close harmonies and clean-cut style, the Kingston Trio were arguably the most vital and popular folk group in the world between 1957 and 1963. They won a second Grammy in 1959 for ‘Best Folk Performance’ for their third album, The Kingston Trio At Large.


The group disbanded in 1967 as rock music began to overshadow their brand of folk. Nick Reynolds decided to take a break from music and became a rancher in Oregon. He returned to California in the mid-1980s and, in 1991, teamed up with Bob Shane again to form a new version of the Trio. He remained with the group until retiring in 1999.


“Nobody could nail a harmony part like Nick,” Bob Shane once observed. “He could hit it immediately, exactly where it needed to be, absolutely note perfect, all on the natch.”


Fellow founder Dave Guard died in 1991, and his replacement, John Stewart, passed away earlier this year. Bob Shane is the only surviving member of the group.

Little Richard, Nils Lofgren and Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir star in real-life ‘ER’

October 2, 2008


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Some veteran rockers are starting to pay the price of decades on the road, it seems. In the space of a few days, rock ‘n’ roll icon Little Richard, Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir and Bruce Springsteen’s longtime sideman Nils Lofgren have all ended up in hospital.


Little Richard, who will be 76 in December, has had to undergo emergency heart treatment after falling ill ahead of a hip replacement operation. A friend reportedly told US magazine National Enquirer that the rock legend – real name Richard Wayne Penniman – has been in poor health for some time and now often has to use a wheelchair.


Meanwhile, Grateful Dead co-founder Bob Weir – 61 in a couple of weeks – is suffering from broken ribs, after taking a tumble on his tour bus. Weir fell awkwardly when the driver of the band’s famous ‘Deadmobile’ braked suddenly on the way to a post-tour fundraising concert. The show had to be postponed and Weir is said to be in pain when he tries to “breathe, hold the guitar, and laugh”.


At the same time, 57-year-old Nils Lofgren – a long-time member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and a former member of Crazy Horse – is currently recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery on both his hips on September 30. The guitarist blames his hip problem on 40 years of touring.


On his web site (, Lofgren states that “a long, beautiful life on the road that’s included back flips with guitars, dive rolls, leaping off drum risers and trying to break stage floors with pounding legs … and thousands of hours playing aggressive basketball” made the operation necessary. However, he plans to be back on his feet for an acoustic solo tour early in 2009.


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Dolly Parton to write film and musical about her life as ‘Backwoods Barbie’

October 1, 2008


Country music legend Dolly Parton has confirmed that she is writing a film and a musical about her amazing life – and she plans to play herself in the movie version.


The singer and actress – whose latest studio album is titled Backwoods Barbie – is currently receiving rave reviews in the United States for writing the Broadway-bound stage version of her 1980 hit movie 9 To 5.


She now wants to follow up that project by turning her colourful life story into a stage and screen extravaganza.


In the stage version, three actresses are likely to portray her at different points in her life. But she says she would play the current Dolly if the musical is picked up as a movie.


“I’m writing my own life story as a musical. I won’t even probably be in it, but, if I do it as a movie, I would play the later part,” said Dolly, who will be 63 in January 2009. “It would be done with three Dollys I think.”


She revealed that she had already been contemplating turning her life story into a musical when she was approached by producer Robert Greenblatt with the idea of basing a musical on 9 to 5, the screwball comedy in which she made her acting debut.

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