Archive for December, 2011

The Beach Boys celebrate 50th anniversary of first live gig

December 31, 2011

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As the founding members of The Beach Boys finalise plans to celebrate their 50th Anniversary with a brand new studio album and a 50-date international tour in 2012, it was exactly 50 years ago today (31 December 1961) that the band performed on stage as ‘The Beach Boys’ for the first time.

The three teenage Wilson brothers – Brian, Carl and Dennis – their cousin Mike Love, and school friend Al Jardine had previously been known locally as The Pendletones. But they made their live debut under their new name as the support act to Ike & Tina Turner at a Ritchie Valens Memorial Dance at Long Beach Civic Auditorium, California.

In October 1961, The Pendletones had recorded the Brian Wilson song ‘Surfin’’ for a local label called Candix Records. A small number of 45s were pressed, but when the boys eagerly unpacked the first box of singles, they were stunned to find that the band’s name was shown on the disc as ‘The Beach Boys’. The record label’s promotion man, Russ Regan, had changed the name to help tie the group to other popular ‘surf rock’ bands of the time.

The rest, as they say, is history …  Exactly 50 years later, The Beach Boys still hold the record as the all-time top-selling American band for albums and singles. They have also scored more US Top 40 chart hits (36) than any other American group.

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Benny Hill’s Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in The West, turns 40

December 26, 2011

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It’s the 40th anniversary of Benny Hill’s unforgettable comedy song ‘Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)’. It was the UK Christmas No. 1 in 1971.

During his appearance on the BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron proudly declared he knows all the words to the innuendo-laden song.

It tells the tale of Ernie, the widow Sue, and Ernie’s arch-rival Two Ton Ted from Teddington.

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Freddy Cannon publishes autobiography ‘Where the Action Is’

December 22, 2011

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Freddy Cannon, now 72, reveals what it was like to become a teenage star during the early days of rock ‘n’ roll in his new autobiography, titled Where the Action Is.

Cannon scored a number of memorable UK Top 20 hits in the late-1950s and early-1960s, including ‘Tallahassee Lassie’ (1959), ‘Way Down Yonder in New Orleans’ (UK No. 3 in 1960), ‘Palisades Park’ (1962), and ‘Action’ (1965) from the US TV music show Where the Action Is.

His debut album, The Explosive Freddy Cannon, also topped the UK album charts in 1960.

Cannon has written his memoir in collaboration with Mark Bego, the author of 56 other pop and rock biographies on stars such as Elton John, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Billy Joel, and Aretha Franklin.

WATCH A VIDEO AND READ THE FULL STORY HERE…

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New Paul McCartney album set for February 2012 release

December 20, 2011

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A new Paul McCartney album – featuring cover versions of ‘Great American Songbook’ standards that he grew up with – will be released on 6 February 2012.

The as-yet-untitled album is expected to provide a glimpse into “the songs which inspired the songs” that McCartney has written over the years.

Produced by Tommy LiPuma, it features Diana Krall and her band, and also includes Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder on two brand new McCartney songs.

It’s an album that Sir Paul, 69, says he has been thinking about making for more than 20 years. “I’ve wanted to do it forever,” he says. “In the end it was ‘Look, if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it.”

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The Beach Boys reuniting for 50th anniversary album and world tour in 2012

December 17, 2011

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The founding members of The Beach Boys have confirmed that they are to reunite for a series of global 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2012 – including a new Brian Wilson-produced album featuring brand new songs.

Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks will come together for a new studio album and a 50-date international tour which will begin in April with a headlining performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Brian Wilson said: “This anniversary is special to me because I miss the boys and it will be a thrill for me to make a new record and be on stage with them again.”

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US country singer Billie Jo Spears dies aged 74

December 16, 2011

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US country singer Billie Jo Spears – best known for her 1975 hit ‘Blanket on the Ground’ – has died at her home in Texas, it has been announced. She was 74 and had been suffering from cancer.

She had been due to make a number of UK appearances next May – including dates in Liverpool, Glasgow and Croydon – as part of the Ladies of Country touring show.

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Dionne Warwick to mark 50th anniversary with UK concerts in 2012

December 16, 2011

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Dionne Warwick is set to play five Jazz FM-hosted UK concerts in May and June 2012  as part of the celebrations to mark her 50th year in music.

Her first solo single, ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David), was released in 1962.

Jazz FM has announced that the 71-year-old Grammy Award-winning singer plans to come to the UK with her regular band and a 12-piece string section for a series of Jazz FM Live shows in Gateshead, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham and Liverpool.

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The Faces, Donovan, Laura Nyro, Guns N’ Roses and Red Hot Chili Peppers to be inducted in US Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2012

December 16, 2011

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The US Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees for 2012 will be the Small Faces/The Faces, Donovan, Laura Nyro, Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys, it has been announced.

Blues guitarist Freddie King, who died in 1976, will be inducted as an “early influence”.

Music publisher Don Kirshner will receive the Ahmet Ertegun Award, while producers Glyn Johns, Tom Dowd and Cosimo Matassa will receive awards for “musical excellence”.

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Queen to release Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson duets

December 13, 2011

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Two previously unheard Queen tracks featuring vocals by Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson are set to be released next year, it has been revealed.

The tracks are understood to have been recorded at Michael Jackson’s home studio in the 1980s after he and Freddie became friends. The recordings have reportedly been approved for release by the Jackson estate and will appear under the Queen name.

“Michael used to come and see us when we were on tour in the States,” Queen guitarist Brian May told the Evening Standard. “He and Freddie became close friends, close enough to record a couple of tracks together at Michael’s house – tracks which have never seen the light of day.”

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Cliff Richard celebrates 50th anniversary of The Young Ones

December 10, 2011

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Exactly 50 years ago today (10 December 1961), Cliff Richard’s third film, The Young Ones, received a start-studded premiere in London’s West End.

Directed by Sidney J Furie, and written by Peter Myers and Ronald Cass (who also wrote most of the songs), the film tells the story of how Cliff and his friends try to save their youth club from an unscrupulous millionaire property developer (played by Robert Morley).

The film was originally intended to feature The Shadows in major acting roles alongside Cliff, Robert Morley and Carole Gray. But Richard O’Sullivan ended up taking the role intended for Hank Marvin and Melvyn Hayes played the part written for Jet Harris. The Shadows mainly appeared in the film as musicians.

The Young Ones soundtrack album went on to reach No. 1 on the UK album chart, while the title song – written by Sid Tepper and Roy Bennett – also topped the charts as a single.

Other classic Cliff songs featured in the film included ‘Living Doll’, ‘Lessons In Love’ and ‘When the Girl in Your Arms is the Girl in Your Heart’. The Shadows also performed a couple of instrumentals – ‘Peace Pipe’ and ‘The Savage’ – and wrote the songs ‘Got A Funny Feeling’ and ‘We Say Yeah’ for the soundtrack.

“When I became a ‘film star’ it was a very exciting time,” Sir Cliff remembers. “Suddenly, when The Shadows and I came onto the set, we’d have our own chairs with our names on the back. We’d have our own dressing rooms – no more sharing.

“If you were late filming on location you had a hotel. You didn’t have to go and find your own digs, which is what we’d been used to in the previous year or two when we were on tour and couldn’t afford hotels. So ‘film stardom’ brought a treatment that was absolutely phenomenal.

“When I look back on it now, I’m so glad we took the attitude of saying let’s just have fun together.”

WATCH THE BRITISH PATHE NEWSREEL – “PRINCESS MARGARET MEETS ‘THE YOUNG ONES’ (March 1962)”

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