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Jimmy Page Recalls the Creation of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”

Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

Image Courtesy of Ross HalfinThe next wave of releases in the ongoing Led Zeppelin reissue campaign includes a expanded version of 1971′s Led Zeppelin IV, which features one of the all-time great rock anthems, “Stairway to Heaven.”  In a new BBC News video feature, guitarist Jimmy Page discusses how the epic song was written as he listens to the remastered vinyl version of the track.

Page points out that he wanted the beginning of the tune to feature “quite a fragile, exposed acoustic guitar” reminiscent of the Bach   “Bourree” from the composer’s Suite in E Minor for lute.  He then notes that the recorders heard early in the song, which were played by John Paul Jones, added a medieval feel.

Jimmy explains that the concept and structure of the song was thought out in advance.

“The idea of ‘Stairway” was to have a piece of music…whereby it would just keep unfolding into more layers and more moods,” he notes, “and…the subtlety and the intensity of the overlay of the composition would actually accelerate as it went through on every level — every emotional level, every musical level.”

Page points out that putting the song together was “somewhat complicated” because, initially, there were no vocals to anchor the track since Robert Plant had yet to write them.  Jimmy says he marveled at how quickly Plant came up with the words once he did get down to writing, something he did in the studio while the rest of the band was running through the track.

The 70-year-old rocker says that when it came time for the tune’s now-iconic guitar solo, he wanted a section that resembled “a sort of fanfare” to create “a definite transition.”  Following the soaring solo, the song reaches its finale, a section in which, Page notes, “the passion has just unfolded [in] every respect.”

As the song comes to an end, Page reflects on the fruitful period during which Led Zeppelin recorded “Stairway to Heaven.”

“It really was an inspired time,” says Page.  “It sort of shows.  The lasting quality of this music over all these years is the fact that everyone’s playing so honestly and with such conviction.

Expanded and remastered editions Led Zeppelin IV and 1973′s Houses of the Holy will be released on October 28.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Crusin In Cruces

Don Henley Sues Clothing Company over Pun-Filled Shirt Advertisement

Friday, October 10th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

Image Courtesy of James GladerDon Henley is well-known for having a short fuse when it comes to what he considers the unauthorized use of his name, music and trademarks.  The Eagles singer now has brought his litigious wrath against a Wisconsin-based clothing company that recently sent out an email ad for its shirts that seemed to be making a pun by using his name and the title of one of his band’s well-known songs.

The advertisement from the Duluth Trading Company read, “Don A Henley and Take It Easy,” and promoted the apparel maker’s line of Henley shirts, a type of collarless pullover.  According to The Hollywood Reporter, the singer/songwriter has initiated a lawsuit against the company in a California court, claiming that its ad is trying to cash in on Henley’s well-known moniker and might lead people to wrongly believe that he may have sanctioned the shirts.

“Take It Easy” was the Eagles’ first hit single, although Henley did not write the tune.  It was co-written by the band’s Glenn Frey and his friend Jackson Browne.

A rep for Henley tells The Hollywood Reporter, “This kind of thing happens with some degree of frequency and the members of the Eagles always defend their rights, often at great expense. One would think that the people in charge of marketing for these corporations would have learned by now that U.S. law forbids trading on the name of a celebrity without permission from that celebrity.”

The spokesperson adds, “[The Eagles] pride themselves on the fact that they have never allowed their names, likenesses or music — individually or as a group — to be used to sell products.  Their names are their trademarks and, therefore, they take offense when an individual or a business tries to piggyback and capitalize on their art, their hard work and their goodwill in the public arena.”

Meanwhile, a representative for the Duluth Trading Company has issued the following statement about the lawsuit: “We are aware of the claims made by Mr. Henley.  Our policy is to not comment on the specifics regarding matters of litigation.”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Metal Depot

Michael Stipe Is Teaching at New York University

Friday, October 10th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

Image Courtesy of Cass BirdAs part of his residency with New York University’s Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe is teaching an art class.  The project, titled New Sights, New Noise, finds Stipe and a guest artist giving a class of 18 students a prompt. The students are then tasked with coming up with 100 images and GIFs based on that prompt.

“The title New Sights, New Noise refers directly to the glut and onslaught of information made available by the Internet, often without context or authorship; the disproportionate and impulsive reactions that it provokes, and the reckless cynicism of a 24 hour news cycle,” Stipe writes on R.E.M.’s official website.  “My desire would be to question how we can process all this and then employ, alter or move beyond it altogether.”

Stipe is no stranger to the art school world.  As an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, he was a studio art major, and he studied photography and painting.

The results of New Sights, New Noise will be on display at NYU’s 80 WSE Gallery in New York City.  The exhibition lasts through November 8.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Double Your Dollars

Happy 60th Birthday, David Lee Roth!

Friday, October 10th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesVan Halen singer David Lee Roth turned 60 years young on Friday.  The flamboyant and fast-talking frontman, of course, helped found the band and co-wrote most of the group’s best-known songs, including “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Dance the Night Away,” “Unchained,” “Panama” and the #1 hit “Jump.”

With Roth fronting the group, the band released six increasingly popular albums, peaking with 1984, which reached #2 on the Billboard 200.  However, tensions between Roth and the Van Halen brothers led to his exit from the band in 1985, shortly thereafter he scored solo hits with his covers of The Beach Boys‘ “California Girls” and Louis Prima‘s “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody.” After being replaced in Van Halen by Sammy Hagar, Diamond Dave continued to focus on his solo career.  He briefly rejoined Van Halen in 1996 to record a couple of songs for a hits compilation, and 10 years later he fully reconciled with Eddie and Alex Van Halen and was welcomed back into the fold.

Van Halen has since mounted a number of tours and released a new studio album titled A Different Kind of Truth, which reached #2 in 2012.  The band has been inactive since last year, although Roth occasionally posts quirky videos on his “The Roth Show” YouTube channel in which he muses on various subjects, dances, sings, displays his martial arts prowess and takes part in some oddball antics.  One of his most recent public appearances came in February, when he teamed up with Mike Love for a rendition of “California Girls” at a tribute event to the Beach Boys singer.

Whatever Roth is up to on his birthday, we’re sure has having himself a boze-de-boze-de-boppin’ good time.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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Gary Wright Promoting New Memoir with Performances and Book-Signing Events

Friday, October 10th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

Tarcher HardcoverGary Wright has just released a memoir titled Dream Weaver: Music, Meditation, and My Friendship with George Harrison, and he currently is traveling around the U.S. promoting the book by playing some shows and making in-store appearances.

In the book, the 71-year-old singer/keyboardist shares stories about his long music career, including his years as a member of Spooky Tooth and his solo success, as well as the close relationship he developed with the late Beatles guitarist.  He also delves into his spiritual beliefs and journey toward enlightenment.

Wright is likely best known for the two major hits he scored in 1976, “Dream Weaver” and “Love Is Alive,” which both peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.  His friendship with Harrison began when he played on George’s classic 1970 solo album, All Things Must Past.  The two musicians went on to record on a number of each others’ albums, wrote songs together and bonded over their mutual interests in spirituality and philosophy.

Gary’s upcoming performance schedule runs from a gig tonight in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, through an October 23 event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  During the show, Wright performs a selection of his songs and tells stories that are featured in the book.  He also will visit book stores on October 14 in New York City and October 17 in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

Here is Wright’s full schedule of performances and appearances:

10/10 — Old Saybrook, CT, Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
10/14 — New York, NY, Namaste Book Shop (signing)
10/16 — Worcester, MA, Mechanics Hall
10/17 — Ridgewood, NJ, Bookends (signing)
10/18 — Chatham, NJ, Sanctuary Concerts
10/19 — New York, NY, City Winery
10/22 — St. Charles, IL, Arcada Theatre
10/23 — Eau Claire, WI, Eau Claire Regional Arts Center


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Hometown Headlines w/ Brad Barrett

Debbie Harry, B-52s’ Kate Pierson Among Stars Who’ll Perform at John Lennon Tribute in NYC

Friday, October 10th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

PRNewsFoto/Epic RightsBlondie‘s Debbie Harry tops the lineup of the Theatre Within organization’s 34th annual John Lennon Tribute Concert, which will be held on December 5 at Symphony Space in New York City.  Other performers on the bill include The B-52s’ Kate Pierson, New York Dolls frontman David Johansen, Ben E. King, Marshall Crenshaw, and Joan Osborne.

In addition, famed rock photographer Bob Gruen, who snapped a number of iconic images of Lennon during the late Beatles star’s years in New York, will receive a special award during the show.

The concert is sanctioned by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, and raises money for Theatre Within’s John Lennon Real Love Project, an initiative that provides music and other creative activities to children in hospitals, schools and in-need communities.  Theatre Within’s partner for the event is the Music Without Borders organization.

Tickets are available now at SymphonySpace.org, with prices running from $65 to $105.  For more information about the event, visit TheatreWithin.org and LennonTribute.org.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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Debbie Harry, Ben E. King Among Stars Who’ll Perform at John Lennon Tribute in NYC

Friday, October 10th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

PRNewsFoto/Epic RightsBlondie‘s Debbie Harry tops the lineup of the Theatre Within organization’s 34th annual John Lennon Tribute Concert, which will be held on December 5 at Symphony Space in New York City.  Other performers on the bill include Ben E. King, The B-52s’ Kate Pierson, New York Dolls frontman David Johansen, Marshall Crenshaw, and Joan Osborne.

In addition, famed rock photographer Bob Gruen, who snapped a number of iconic images of Lennon during the late Beatles star’s years in New York, will receive a special award during the show.

The concert is sanctioned by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, and raises money for Theatre Within’s John Lennon Real Love Project, an initiative that provides music and other creative activities to children in hospitals, schools and in-need communities.  Theatre Within’s partner for the event is the Music Without Borders organization.

Tickets are available now at SymphonySpace.org, with prices running from $65 to $105.  For more information about the event, visit TheatreWithin.org and LennonTribute.org.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Loyal Listeners Club

Heart’s Star-Studded 2013 Holiday Concert to Be Released on CD/DVD & Blu-ray Next Month

Friday, October 10th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

Frontiers Records/Universal MusicLast December, Heart‘s Ann and Nancy Wilson hosted a star-studded holiday concert in their hometown of Seattle that aired as an AXS TV special on Christmas Eve.  Now, the show will be released as a CD/DVD set, a Blu-ray disc and as a downloadable digital video under the title Heart & Friends — Home for the Holidays on November 10.

Joining the Wilsons and the festive event were Sammy Hagar, Richard Marx, singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin and Train frontman Pat Monahan.  The show featured several Heart classics, some traditional holiday songs and a few select covers chosen by Ann and Nancy.

The guest artists took the stage to duet with the Wilsons or add backing vocals to various tunes.  Among the songs performed were Heart’s “Barracuda” and “Even It Up,” Joni Mitchell‘s “River,” Bob Dylan‘s “Ring Them Bells,” Harry Nilsson‘s “Remember Christmas,” Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway to Heaven” and a tune that Hagar and Nancy Wilson co-wrote called “All We Need Is an Island.”

“We had a great time putting on this show with special friends for the holidays,” says Ann Wilson.  “Warm moments and great music from all…and some saucy little elves too.”

Adds Nancy, “We have always held the holidays up as a wonderful whimsical time of year and celebrating it in our beloved home town with friends, songs and family was extremely magical.”

Heart has a busy touring itinerary lined up for the rest of 2014.  The band has 17 U.S. shows on its schedule, running from an October 17 performance in Yuma, Arizona, through a December 5-7 stand in Las Vegas.

Here’s a list of songs included on Heart & Friends — Home for the Holidays:

“River”
“Seasons”
“Rocking” — featuring Shawn Colvin
“Love Come Down at Christmas”
“POEM”
“All Through the Night” — featuring Richard Marx
“All We Need Is an Island” — featuring Sammy Hagar
“Santa’s Going South” — featuring Sammy Hagar
“Please Come Home for Christmas”– featuring Pat Monahan
“Remember Christmas”
“Barracuda”
“Even It Up”
“Stairway to Heaven”
“Ring Them Bells”


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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ELP’s Keith Emerson Celebrating His 70th Birthday with Two Special Classical Concerts This Weekend

Friday, October 10th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

Image Courtesy of Glass Onyon PRKeith Emerson turns what he calls the “grand old age of 70″ on November 2, and to celebrate the milestone, the lauded prog-rocker is taking part in two special concerts this week showcasing his passion for classical music.  At the shows, taking place Friday and Saturday at the Madison Theatre at Malloy College in Rockville Centre, New York, the Emerson, Lake and Palmer keyboardist will conduct and play some of his own compositions, and also will be treated to the South Shore Symphony Orchestra performing his work and one of the classical pieces that influenced his famous band.

“I’m really looking forward to the concert,” Emerson tells ABC News Radio, adding that he expects one of the highlights to be pianist Jeffrey Biegel‘s performance of Emerson’s “Piano Concerto No. 1,” which originally appeared on ELP’s 1977 album, Works Volume 1.

“He’s a brilliant classical pianist,” says Keith, “whereas I play some classics but I’m not a classical pianist of Jeffrey Biegel’s standard.”

The shows also will include an orchestral rendition of Emerson’s “Glorietta Pass” that Keith will conduct, and a performance of Modest Mussorgsky‘s “Pictures at an Exhibition” — a piece ELP recorded back in 1971 — conducted by Scott Wiley.  In addition, string quartet versions of three songs from Keith’s 2002 solo album, Emerson Plays Emerson, will be performed for the first time.

Emerson notes that while the concerts will offer “a very varied repertoire,” fans shouldn’t expect the stage antics he was known for ELP’s heyday, such as his “spinning” piano.

“I very much doubt the piano will go up in the air and spin around,” he maintains.  “I don’t think the ceiling is high enough.  It might be, but there wouldn’t be enough room on the stage for that.”

Emerson, Lake and Palmer, of course, are known for bringing the worlds of rock, classical and jazz together, and Keith tells ABC News Radio that he’s happy that his work has inspired many musicians to explore classical music.

“A lot of musicians, particularly in orchestras, have come up to me and said, ‘Well, we wouldn’t have started playing unless we heard your version of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ first,” he points out.  “This is a fairly common statement made to me, you know?  And that’s very rewarding.”

Meanwhile, Emerson says there currently are no plans for an ELP reunion, although he’s not opposed to one.

“[I would do it] if something of interest came up and the other two were to say, ‘Yeah, let’s get involved in it,’” he admits.  “But, the whole reason why I insisted that the band be called Emerson, Lake and Palmer was for that exact reason, that any one of us could go off and do their own thing.  And we often did.  And that’s the situation now.  Whether or not we want to work together again is really up to the other two.”

Emerson’s 70th birthday tribute concerts start at 8 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday.  Tickets can be purchased online at MadisonTheatreNY.org.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Song of The Day

Roger Daltrey Says The Who “Are Going to Do a Whole Album,” Reveals Band’s Current Drug of Choice

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by

Posted in Music News

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for The WhoThe Who recently recorded its first new song in eight years, “Be Lucky,” which will be released as part of the new compilation The Who Hits 50! that’s due out October 27, but frontman Roger Daltrey says fans can expect a lot more original music from the band.

Speaking this week at U.K. newspaper The Mirror‘s Pride of Britain Awards in London, Daltrey revealed that he and guitarist Pete Townshend have been spending time in the studio and “are going to do a whole album.” He added, “It’s exciting.”

Back in their younger days, The Who’s members were known for consuming all kinds of illicit substances, but Roger joked at the awards event that now that he and Townshend have reached their golden years, the kind of drugs they take have changed a bit.

Regarding the new recording sessions, the singer said, “It’s not as rock and roll, it could never be as rock and roll because we are older…There’s drugs but they are just different.  It’s now all [diarrhea medication] Imodium and those types.”

On a more serious note, Daltrey talked about the cancer scare he had a few years back, and about the current status of his voice.

“I’m very lucky my voice has stayed like this,” he said.  “I have a pre-cancerous condition that I have to keep an eye on.  I have to go for regular check-ups.”

The Who’s 50th anniversary tour will launch with a November 23 concert in Abu Dhabi, and the band then will begin a series of European dates on November 26 in Dublin, Ireland.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


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