Archive for June, 2011

Peggy Lee albums available digitally for first time

June 29, 2011

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EMI is releasing 22 of Peggy Lee’s classic albums as digital downloads for the first time. Some of the albums are currently out-of-print on CD.

  She recorded 592 tracks for Capitol Records between 1942 and 1952, and between 1957 and 1972.

  21 of the 22 albums are from her second stint at Capitol. They include I Like Men! (1959), I’m A Woman (1963), Is That All There Is? (1969) and a restored version of her final album Peggy Lee at Basin Street East: The Unreleased Show (1972).

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Dame Shirley Bassey’s life story to be turned into a TV film by the BBC

June 27, 2011

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Dame Shirley Bassey’s life story is to be turned into a TV film by the BBC.

The drama will show the 74-year-old singer’s “difficult rise from poverty to international stardom” – from her tough youth in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay area to her glamorous life in Monte Carlo today.

The film will be part of a series of BBC Two programmes about mixed race culture in the UK.

Shirley Bassey first found fame in the late 1950s, scoring her first hit with ‘Banana Boat Song’ in 1957, at the age of 20. It reached Number 8 on the UK Singles Chart. She achieved her first Number One with ‘As I Love You’ in January 1959, making her the first Welsh artist to top the UK charts.

She is the only artist to have recorded the theme songs for three James Bond films: Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Moonraker (1979).

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Sir Cliff Richard promises a Soulicious new album and tour

June 26, 2011

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Despite being in his 53rd year as a singer, Sir Cliff Richard can still surprise his fans. In October he’ll be performing classic soul songs live onstage for the first time, alongside ten of the world’s greatest soul legends.

   He’ll also be releasing an album of soul duets, titled Soulicious, which he recorded inMemphis with legendary Motown producer Lamont Dozier.

   An eight-date Soulicious UK tour in October will see Sir Cliff performing onstage duets with his ‘soul partners’ from the album – including The Temptations’ Dennis Edwards, The Stylistics’ Russell Thompkins Jr., Candi Staton, Percy Sledge, Deniece Williams, Billy Paul, Lamont Dozier, Freda Payne, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., and Brenda Holloway. The soul stars will each sing one of their own hits onstage.

   Produced and directed by TV celebrity David Gest, the tour will kick off with a show at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham on Saturday 15 October. It will then visit the Manchester MEN Arena (17 October), Liverpool Echo Arena (19 October), Birmingham LG Arena (22 & 23 October), London O2 Arena (25 & 26 October) and Newcastle Metro Radio Arena (28 October).

   “I’ve always sung with soul,” says Sir Cliff, “although no-one would have expected me to sing a bunch of soul songs. But I’m going to do my soul; they’re going to do their soul; and together we should end up sounding ‘soulicious’.” 

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Blondie’s Debbie Harry admits having a facelift in the 1990s

June 24, 2011

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Debbie Harry has admitted she had a facelift in the early 1990s, and claims it is “holding up well” because she did her homework before starting the treatment.

She says: “I was careful about who I went with. I looked around, I interviewed. For me, it wasn’t just a madness. That does happen, panic sets in, and people make bad decisions. But not me, I did my homework.

“There were places I went to that were really scary and I ran out.”

The 65-year-old Blondie star insists she would have had a facelift even if she wasn’t a celebrity because it made her feel better about herself. “It gave me a certain encouragement and satisfaction,” she says.

She had previously claimed her age-defying, sixtysomething looks were the result of having the cells of sheep injected into her body 30 years ago in a Swiss clinic.

“I had these cells injected into me when I was 32 or 35,” she says, “and it turned out I was the youngest person to have the treatment.”

The black sheep cell replacement treatment was an innovative medical advance in the 1970s that heart transplant surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard is said to have helped to pioneer.

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Paul McCartney issues remastered versions of two solo albums

June 18, 2011

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Paul McCartney has releaseed expanded and remastered deluxe versions of his solo albums McCartney and McCartney II.

   The albums are both available as 2CD Special Editions and Deluxe Editions, and also include DVDs and bonus material such as live recordings and B-sides. They are also available as 2-disc vinyl editions and as digital downloads.

   These re-issues follow the release of the remastered version of Paul McCartney & Wings’ classic 1973 album Band on the Run last November.

   McCartney was originally released in April 1970, one month before The Beatles’ final album Let It Be. It included the classic track ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’.

   Originally issued in May 1980, McCartney II featured songs such as ‘Coming Up’, ‘Waterfalls’ and ‘Temporary Secretary’. It marked McCartney’s return to solo recording after nine years of touring and releasing albums with Wings.

   Paul McCartney is understood to have personally supervised all aspects of the reissued albums, with the remastering work carried out at Abbey Road using the same team that recently remastered the complete Beatles catalogue.

   McCartney is available as a 2CD Special Edition featuring the original remastered album, plus seven bonus tracks. These include the previously unreleased outtakes ‘Suicide’ and ‘Don’t Cry Baby’, and a rare live 1979 recording of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’.

   For collectors, the reissue is also available as a lavishly packaged 2 CD+1 DVD Deluxe Edition. It includes an exclusive bonus DVD featuring rare and previously unseen footage, along with a 128-page hardback book containing exclusive and unpublished photos by Paul and Linda McCartney. It also contains an illustrated history of the making of the album, and expanded track by track information. Detailed historical information about the film content is also included.

   McCartney II is also available as a 2CD Special Edition featuring the original remastered album, plus eight bonus tracks including B-Sides and alternative versions. The bonus audio CD includes a live 1979 version of ‘Coming Up’ and the Christmas classic ‘Wonderful Christmastime’.

   The 3CD+1DVD Deluxe Edition of McCartney II comes with an exclusive bonus DVD featuring rare and previously unseen footage (including performances of ‘Coming Up’ and a new video for the unreleased track ‘Blue Sway’). It also includes eight rare bonus tracks that are exclusive to this edition.

   Like the McCartney package, the McCartney II Deluxe Edition contains the 128-page hardback book, original album and single artwork, an illustrated history of the making of the album, and expanded track by track information.

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Rod Stewart won’t rejoin The Faces until Ronnie Wood quits the Rolling Stones

June 17, 2011

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Rod Stewart says he has ruled out rejoining his old band The Faces until guitarist Ronnie Wood leaves the Rolling Stones. He is concerned that Wood’s heart is not in a Faces reunion because he is still committed to his work with the Stones.

   “The trouble with Ronnie is, we get together and we mess about, but he is still committed to the Stones,” Stewart told US magazine Billboard. “Talking for myself and the rest of the band, we need a commitment – not just, ‘Well, I’ve got next month off’. It doesn’t work like that. It’s not very professional.”

   He added: “If he can give us the time, then I’ll commit to that as well. Until he’s finished with the Stones, whenever that will be, I can’t commit to it.”

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George Michael adds extra UK dates to Symphonica tour

June 12, 2011

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George Michael, who quit touring in 2008, is set to return to live performing in August. A major tour of Europe will kick off in Prague in the Czech Republic on 22 August, with the 47-year-old singer backed by a full symphony orchestra.

   Symphonica: The Orchestral Tour will now include 19 concerts in the UK in October, November and December – with six extra UK dates having been added in Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and London.

   A special charity performance will be held at the Royal Opera House on 6 November in aid of the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s Aids foundation.

   During the Symphonica tour, Michael is expected to perform a “carefully chosen selection” of his old songs, as well as some of his favourite songs by other artists.

   “I think musically this tour and album will be surprising because I’m being far more true to myself,” said the former Wham star. “I feel very re-energised after my recent troubles.”

   He added: “The idea of singing with symphonic orchestras around the world is because I heard Tony Bennett had done it recently, and I thought, ‘What a nice idea’. Singing with this kind of backing has been very attractive to me for a long time.”

UK & IRELAND TOUR DATES:

October 25 – LONDON, Royal Albert Hall

October 26 – LONDON, Royal Albert Hall

October 28 – LONDON, Royal Albert Hall

October 29 – LONDON, Royal Albert Hall

November 1 – DUBLIN, 02 Arena

November 6 – LONDON, Royal Opera House

November 26 – CARDIFF, Motorpoint Arena

November 27 – CARDIFF, Motorpoint Arena

November 30 – LIVERPOOL, Echo Arena

December 2 – SHEFFIELD, Motorpoint Arena

December 3 – NEWCASTLE, Metro Radio Arena

December 6 – GLASGOW, SECC

December 7 – GLASGOW, SECC

December 9 – BIRMINGHAM, LG Arena

December 10 – BIRMINGHAM, LG Arena

December 12 – MANCHESTER, MEN Arena

December 13 – MANCHESTER, MEN Arena

December 16 – LONDON, Earl’s Court

December 17 – LONDON, Earl’s Court

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The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Sex Pistols to form Olympics supergroup?

June 11, 2011

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Organisers of the London 2012 Olympics are reportedly trying to bring together stars from The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols to form a spectacular British supergroup for the opening ceremony.

They are said to be hoping that Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will agree to team up with Sir Mick Jagger and John Lydon for the global event.

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ZZ Top recording first new album for eight years

June 5, 2011

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ZZ Top are reportedly recording their first new album since Mescalero in 2003. Plans to record their 15th studio album in 2006 and again in 2008 failed to materialise, but guitarist Billy Gibbons insists the new album will be available “by the end of the year”.

   Gibbons has also confirmed that work has begun on a ZZ Top tribute album, with artists such as Foo Fighters and Nickelback performing the band’s classic hits.

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KISS launch first-ever range of ‘picture condoms’

June 5, 2011

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KISS are not only famous for their makeup and pyrotechnic stage act, they were the first rock band to get into merchandising in a big way. They have reportedly licensed the band’s name to more than 2,000 product categories – from lunch boxes and comic books to credit cards.

   Now, KISS are going where no band has gone before by launching a new range of KISS-branded ‘picture condoms’.

   The new KISS Kondoms feature an image of Gene Simmons’s iconic fully extended tongue running down the length of the latex condom itself!

   A second KISS Kondom, called ‘Studded Paul’, will be released in June 2011 and will feature an image of Paul Stanley on textured latex.

   “Our decision to feature Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and the KISS brand on these revolutionary condoms was a no-brainer considering Gene and Paul’s worldwide legacy as entertainment icons and pioneers,” said Chris Panucci, CEO of Graphic Armor, the company that produces the Picture Condoms.

   Adam Glickman, CEO of Condomania (which will sell the condoms online), added: “I can think of no better way to introduce what may be the last frontier of advertising – the world’s first approved Picture Condoms with an illustration on the actual latex.”

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