Monday, March 29, 2010

Interesting Facts About the Beatles

By Jim Alden

Although the Beatles were a famous foursome consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, six men in total have been a Beatle. Stuart Sutcliffe was the original bassist for the band from May 1960 to August 1961. He left the band to pursue a career in art, then died only 8 months later on April 10, 1962. Pete Best was the original drummer from August 1960 to August 1962, when he was dismissed from the group and replaced with Starr.

The Beatles' second studio album, With The Beatles, was released November 22, 1963. This was the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

On April 4, 1964, the top five positions on Billboard's Hot 100 were all occupied by the Beatles. The singles were "Can't Buy Me Love", "Twist and Shout", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and "Please Please Me".

"Twist and Shout" was the only Beatles cover song to sell over a million copies when released as a single.
Their song "Yesterday" started out with the working title of "Scrambled Eggs." Written and performed by Paul McCartney, it's the first official recording by The Beatles that only one member of the band appeared on. A string quartet accompanies McCartney on the record.

Two of the Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, are left handed. It's fairly obvious that McCartney is because he plays his bass left handed, while Starr plays his drums set up in the configuration typically used by right handed players.

The song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was inspired by a drawing that John Lennon's son Julian did of his classmate, Lucy O'Donnell. Julian brought the drawing home from nursery school in 1966, and explained to his dad that it was "Lucy - in the sky with diamonds."

In the 1968 feature film Yellow Submarine, the animated characters representing the Beatles were not actually voiced by them. Instead, they were voiced by sound-alike actors. The real Beatles only participated at the end of the film in the closing scene.

The first solo album by a Beatle is George Harrison's Wonderwall Music. Released late in 1968, the mostly instrumental album is the soundtrack to the film Wonderwall.

The Beatles very last public performance occurred on the rooftop of Apple Records in London, England on January 30, 1969. The event was an impromptu concert during the filming of their movie Let It Be.

At just 23 seconds long, "Her Majesty" is the shortest song in the official Beatles' repertoire. It is the final track on the band's Abbey Road album.

For many more facts and trivia about the Beatles, please be sure to visit

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Are the Beatles the Greatest Band of All Time?

By James Magary

Looking over the last few decades of popular music, it is almost easier to make the case today about the vast importance and cultural significance of the Beatles than it would have been in the 1960s. The music that they made, and the influence that they hold even today, in terms of songwriting and recording innovation, holds up incredibly well compared to any artist one can name, from any decade.

This is especially true considering that the recording industry is several times larger than it was in the 1960s, and that advances in digital recording technology, which did not exist at all when the Beatles did their work, have made almost anything possible in recorded music. Despite these facts, many fans and critics agree that no one has come close to the particular brand of creative innovation, not to mention worldwide popularity, achieved by John, Paul, George, and Ringo during their heyday as the Beatles.

In the 1960s, a frequent debate among rock fans posed the question about who was better: The Beatles or Rolling Stones? Some would even throw in The Who, or later, Led Zeppelin, to add to this debate. All of those bands are widely respected and could make a legitimate claim to the throne of the greatest rock band. However, if you look at the influence of the Beatles, and the cultural significance of their work beyond the limitations of just "rock music", it is clear that they have gained a different type of credibility than their peers, and have made a level of impact on history that the other bands have not.

The Beatles songwriting not only holds up to modern standards, but is actually seen as much more professional and polished than it was at the time they were a current band. In a way, the influences that went into their records, which included a lot of music from the first half of the 20th century, as well as classical music influences brought about in the studio through the help of classically-trained producer George Martin, make the Beatles' work a bridge between the old and the new, between the first half of the 20th century, and the post-rock-n-roll era.

Much of the Beatles legacy is connected to the incomparable decade of the 1960s, which saw unprecedented changes in human culture, geo-politics, global communication, mass media, and naturally, the music business. The Beatles' haircuts, outfits, and other superficial aspects of their fame present the risk of having them appear dated. But it always comes back to the music, and on that measure, their music is only growing in popularity, significance, and stature. Albums like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road, and the White Album are even better reviewed today than they were when they came out, which cannot be said for the work of many of the Beatles' imitators from that decade.

The Beatles have a solid case for being considered the one artist that will be named from the 20th century after hundreds of years have passed, much as previous centuries of music are defined by Mozart or Beethoven, or in literature by William Shakespeare. Of course those artists had peers as well, but most people don't hear or learn about them nearly as much.

In late 2009 the Beatles re-released their primary catalog with long-awaited remastered recordings of their original works. They followed this up with a unique box set available in a green aluminum apple device containing a USB drive with the entire stereo box set, contained in a high-resolution audio format.

To read more about the Beatles and their influence, and to see a review of the Beatles USB box set, go to this site: Beatles USB Box Set Review

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Friday, March 19, 2010

What Were the Origins of the Beatles Butcher Cover?

By Scott Heron

The Beatles record, 'Yesterday and Today' was one of a number of Beatles albums that were released to an American market but not released in the UK. This was actually fairly typical practice at the time as tracks that were previously unreleased in the US were put together on a separate album and issued in the US market alone.

However, due to extraordinary artwork on the cover, this particular recording became known as the Beatles butcher cover.

Beatles fans, and the media in general, had become used to smiling and laughing images of the legendary band and were not prepared for the so called butcher cover. The image for this release still had their smiling faces, but it was far from the jovial pictures everyone was used to.

All four band members were wearing butchers' smocks, with John, Paul and Ringo seated whilst George was standing behind them. All the seated band members were adorned with chunks of raw red meat in their laps and in John's case, hanging over his shoulder. There were even several slabs of meat strategically placed along the floor. Amongst the band were eyeballs and even false teeth, plus, and perhaps most shockingly, decapitated dolls. This was a particularly gruesome album cover.

After advanced copies had been released to the media numerous complaints were filed to Capitol Records and 750,000 records were quickly recalled. A new image of the band leaning against a steamer trunk was pasted over the original butcher cover and sent out to the retailers.

The Origins Of The Beatles Butcher Cover

One theory surrounding the origins of the butcher cover was that they were protesting at the way the US market were being issued with albums that were made up of tracks from different recordings and that they typically had only 11 tracks on them as opposed to the more regular 14. However this doesn't appear to be the case. The 'butcher' photograph was taken before there were even plans for another album of this nature to be released in the UK.

The original concept for the photograph came from an Australian photographer called Robert Whitaker and it is clear that the band were keen to work with him on this concept but had not planned it as a protest and the image was taken out of context. However, the 750,000 recalled albums have since become collectors items as the original butcher picture can still be found under the new, pasted on cover.

More Information On The Beatles Butcher Cover

If you are a Beatle fan and you would like to find out more information on the Beatles butcher cover then you should head over to Once you are there you can find out even more on this amazing album history has named the Butcher Cover!

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BOOK REVIEW: Autobiography of Malcolm X

By Lina Ching

I can honestly say that this book changed my life. Malcolm X is a true legend and has changed the lives of many. From the early years of his life, Malcolm knew that in order to get what he wanted, he needed to make a lot of noise. He grew up in a household with many kids, so he had to make a fuss until he got what he wanted.

Growing up, he learned from a lot of other influences in his life. He had friends both in and out of prison that were good with words, and he admired that. He learned to expand his vocabulary and knowledge of the world through reading. He read so much that he developed the need for eyeglasses.

Despite the controversial reputation that Malcolm X has, he has some very wise insights on life. He doesn't impose his way of life on others. Rather, he shows them the way that he lives, and believes that others will naturally inspect it and be drawn to it themselves.

Unfortunately Malcolm X was assassinated, but his legend still lives on. He started out on a path that he decided he didn't like, and was humble enough to admit that he had been living his life in a bad way. He figured out the changes he wanted to make, and took the necessary steps to make them. He is truly inspirational, and the thing I like most about him is that despite how much he talked and planned, he was a man of action. Everything he felt strongly about, he did something about. In a world where people talk a lot and posture a lot, that's truly admirable.

Lina Ching enjoys writing, reading and watching movies. She combines these three passions in her reviews. You can also read more of her writing at her sites on indoor outdoor mats and industrial floor mats.

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The Beatles Remasters on Vinyl

By Johnny Moon

Like many Beatles fans I bought both the stereo and mono box set versions of The Beatles long awaited remastered catalog when they were released on September 9th of 2009. And also like many other Beatles fans I'm waiting as patiently as I possibly can for the release of these new remasters on vinyl LPs.

This is not just wishful thinking because there will be such a release according to The Beatles record company but they have not yet set a date for release yet. The initial rumor was March 16, 2010 (which is actually the date that I'm writing this article) but now it seems more likely that it may be sometime during the winter of 2010 or perhaps even in 2011!

Some may not understand why anyone would want to listen to these remasters on vinyl, after all they are already available on CD. But others understand the "magic" of listening to a vinyl record.

But aren't The Beatles albums already available on vinyl? No, not really. Only Abbey Road is currently in print and it's based on on the old digital master (the same one that the old Abbey Road CD was based on.) Many of the Beatles LPs available used are also based on those old digital masters.

I personally think the new remasters sound fantastic on CD and I'm sure they will sound fantastic on vinyl LP. It'll be interesting to hear the differences in sound in comparison to the CD versions and of course, there's that certain "magic" to playing vinyl, even if that vinyl is based on a digital remaster.

CLICK HERE for the latest information on the Beatles Remastered Vinyl.

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Cream - The Story Behind Their Four Classic Albums

By Jim Hofman

Cream, rock music's legendary power trio, produced four albums in their short 29 month existence. The group, consisting of legendary musicians Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, and Eric Clapton, still influences musicians to this day. Here is the story behind Cream's four classic albums...

When Cream formed in late spring 1966, it was the brain child of ace drummer Ginger Baker. Bored and frustrated in his previous band, Baker approached guitarist Eric Clapton, whom he knew from London's music scene. Clapton suggested virtuoso bass player and vocalist Jack Bruce to round out the trio, and Cream was born. After a short European tour to polish their sound, the three men entered the studio to record their first album.

Fresh Cream

The band was signed to the famous Atlantic Records label, headed by the prominent Ahmet Ertegun. Ertegun thought Cream was a blues band and suggested they cover some hidden blues gems. Little did he realize that Cream's members were already hatching bigger and better plans. Fresh Cream did showcase a few relatively unknown blues standards that Cream essentially made their own. One such track, "I'm So Glad", highlights each member equally, with Bruce and Baker supplying a driving rhythm over Clapton's soaring lead guitar. Another is "Spoonful", a Willie Dixon song that later became a staple during concert performances. Both were played by the band during their 2005 reunion concerts. The band's first successful single, "I Feel Free", was a pop song composed by Jack Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown. The song still receives heavy air play on classic rock radio.

Disraeli Gears

Perhaps Cream's best known album, the album cover of Disraeli Gears was a psychedelic themed artist rendering of the band by Martin Sharp. Sharp also co-wrote one of the album's best known songs, "Tales of Brave Ulysses" with Eric Clapton. Recorded in New York in late spring 1967, the album's name came from one of the band's roadies, who mangled the term for the brakes on racing bikes. The band was amused by the pun and it stuck as the title. Disraeli Gears also featured two of Cream's most popular songs, "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Strange Brew", both co-written by Clapton. The album is ranked as one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

Wheels of Fire

Released in 1968 at the height of the bands popularity, Wheels of Fire reached #1 in the U.S. charts and was the first platinum selling double album of all time. The double album consisted of two sides of studio tracks and two sides of live tracks recorded in San Francisco in March, 1968. On March 10th, the famous version of "Crossroads" was performed and recorded. The song is instantly recognizable to even the most novice music fans. Another well known track is "White Room", a soaring five minute multi layered composition showcasing all three band members. Jack Bruce takes the lead vocal, with Ginger Baker supplying a unique 5/4 drum beat which gives the song its signature rhythm.


By late 1968, Cream was in the process of breaking up. The aptly titled "Goodbye" was released in early 1969, a few months after their last concert performance. One side consisted of live tracks recorded during their farewell tour of the United States. The second side included one track written by each member. The most famous song from this album is "Badge", written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison. When Cream reunited in 2005, it was the first time they had played "Badge" live together.

In subsequent years, several repackagings and live albums were released. The most recent Cream recording is taken from their live reunion shows at London's Royal Albert Hall in May, 2005. During these shows they covered songs from each of their four original albums.

The music of Cream continues to influence musicians and music lovers alike. Though their initial shelf life was relatively brief, their legacy is enormous. Learn more about rock's original power trio by visiting us at:

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

VIDEO: Santana - "Oye Como Va" from the "Lotus: Live in Japan" triple album set

Hey everyone,

It's been a while since I posted a classic video so what about this classic from the great Santana triple live album - "Lotus: Live in Japan". The track is the classic "Oye Como Va".

In 1973 Santana recorded a nearly two-hour live album of mostly instrumental, jazz-fusion music, Lotus, which was only released in Europe and Japan for more than twenty years.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cream Reunion - Here's What Happened at the 2005 Cream Reunions

By Jim Hofman

Cream, the legendary musical power trio that first came into prominence in the late 1960's, finally reunited for a series of shows in 2005. Known as much for their tenuous relationships with each other as their intense musical chemistry, they haven't reunited since. What happened?

Cream: The Road To A Reunion

Cream, consisting of drummer Ginger Baker, bassist Jack Bruce, and guitarist Eric Clapton, broke up in late 1968 after a whirlwind 29 month existence. Over the next 24 years, the three men rarely worked together. Then in 1993, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

At the induction ceremony, Cream played three songs after a brief rehearsal the day before. Clapton, in his emotional acceptance speech, noted it was the first time the three had played together in almost 25 years. The performance, although brief, was highly praised and it was clear the musical chemistry of the three virtuoso players was still intact.

Although further Cream projects were apparently discussed, nothing more came from the brief reunion. Clapton, in the midst of a soaring solo career, continued down that path. Baker and Bruce went on to form two thirds of another power trio with guitarist Gary Moore that disintegrated a year after it began.

In 2003, Jack Bruce was diagnosed with liver cancer which nearly cost him his life. During his recovery period from a liver transplant, Clapton finally proposed a Cream reunion. All three members agreed to meet for six weeks of rehearsals in early 2005, with four shows scheduled for London in May.

By all accounts, rehearsals went well. The three members, all with strong personalities and musical directions, meshed well. Cream finally reunited on May 2, 2005, at the Royal Albert Hall, the first of four shows that week.

Playing a varied set list covering hits and blues standards, Cream generated world wide praise for the reunion. The concerts were filmed and recorded, and the subsequent CD and DVD set were best sellers.

New York Reunion

Clapton admitted he was elated with the shows. Baker and Bruce expressed similar sentiments, so it was no surprise Cream announced they would play three shows in New York in October.

Each of the three concedes something went wrong during the first show. Old animosities between Bruce and Baker were at the root of the problem. Baker, complaining that Bruce was playing too loudly, threatened to not play the next two shows until cooler heads prevailed.

Bruce, meanwhile, stated he was suffering severe cramping and swelling in his hands, an after effect of his surgery and medication. This, he said, caused him to not be at his best. Clapton, ever the diplomat, stated Cream's sound was too small for the large venue in New York. The three went their separate ways after the shows.

Future Cream Reunions?

Clapton, in recent interviews, stated that reuniting Cream was much like putting a ghost to bed, but adds he would "never say never" to another go around. Jack Bruce, now fully recovered, states he'd like to reunite with Cream for one more time, if only to leave everything on a positive note. Ginger Baker, living in an almost exile state in South Africa, has refused to reunite, citing old animosities with Bruce.

And yet, reunion rumors persist. Bruce and Baker, the old antagonists, played at a 2008 tribute concert for Baker in London. Clapton speaks glowingly of both men and wrote the forward for Jack Bruce's recent autobiography. There are rumors of a one shot Cream reunion during the 2010 guitar festival, Crossroads, hosted by Clapton.

Whether a reunion happens or not, Cream's music continues to stand the test of time. This grouping of three brilliant musicians produced a totally unique body of work that still influences musicians to this day.

Would you like to learn more about this legendary musical power trio, including their reunions and relationships with one another? Visit our site dedicated to the legendary jazz rock fusion band Cream. You'll find us at:

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Doors, by the Doors

By Christina Pomoni

There are so many ways to describe such an ambiguous group as The Doors; rebels, role models, rock deities, idols, weird, extreme, but definitely one of the greatest rock groups of the century.

For some, The Doors were an undoubtedly talented group of musicians, who merged the most improbable influences possible, but shot their own feet because Morrison exhausted his unequalled theatrical and poetic talent too fast by becoming self-obsessed and erratic way too soon.

For others, The Doors were the ultimate representatives of the pop culture of the 1960s, the group that unveiled the dark desires of rock and channelled them through the lyricism of French symbolism, the European philosophy of Nietzsche as much as numerous psychological inferences. It's true that lots of Morrison's lyrics evolved around his gloomy visions, controversial attitude, adolescent exhibitionism and mythic alter ego.

The sound of The Doors was a combination of blues, jazz, classic, and pop music with Eastern influences. This aggregation of sounds characterized the diversity of the group. Ray Manzarek, the group's keyboardist liked to parallelize The Doors with the United States saying that as America combined so many cultures forming a multidimensional nation, The Doors emanated from different musical regions accomplishing an astonishing blend.

Their debut album 'The Doors', released in 1967, featured the breakthrough hit single 'Light My Fire' that made it to #1 on the Billboard's Hot 100. The song was originally written by Robby Krieger, the group's guitarist, but it was left unfinished until the band members expanded upon it. The song came out in two versions, but The Doors finally preferred the 7:06 minutes version for the album and released the 4:40 minutes version only to radio stations.

'Break On Through' was the first single of the album that despite being rather unsuccessful, it still remains the band's signature staple. With its jazz-prominent intro and Krieger's slippery guitar provisions, 'Break On Through' is a great 145 seconds of Morrison's wild howling that got censored for using the word 'high' repeatedly in its middle section. Although the original album version and any reissue until the 1990s do not include the word "high", live versions and all remastered releases include the full line 'she gets high'.

However, the most controversial and provocative song of 'The Doors' album is 'The End', a mysterious and dark track that reveals both the theatrical skills of Morrison and perhaps a psychedelic revolution that evolves around the Oedipus complex. 'The End' was censored for its lyrics - 'Father, Yes son, I want to kill you / Mother, I want to f**k you', although uncensored versions were released later with Ford Coppola using the song in the 'Apocalypse Now' soundtrack.

Morrison never thought he was actually insulting anyone with those lyrics. He never really meant to f**k his mother. All this was a setting of Greek drama, a theatrical setting where the mother was the mother earth, the mother birth and the father that Morrison wanted to kill was his inner self that was mostly unwanted and wanted it to come to an end. Despite the criticism, 'The End' is admittedly one of The Doors' most famed songs that mingles Indian sounds with rock and roll swings and folk elements of the 1950s; a real masterpiece.

'The Doors' was a huge success reaching #2 on the Billboard Music Charts and going multi-Platinum. Other great tracks in the album were 'The Crystal Ship', a slow tune on a classical piano background that features Morrison's extraordinary songwriting skills, 'Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)', a track based on Brecht's opera with rather simple lyrics, which however remains classic, and 'Soul Kitchen' that features great keyboard tempo, mellow guitar solo and great vocals.

'The Doors' remains an all time classic album and one of the most fascinating and radical albums of psychedelic rock.

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Beatles Tribute Bands - How They Are Keeping History Alive

By Cat Gilardenghi

The Beatles spirit, the most beloved rock band of all time, has given rise to a myriad of tribute bands devoted to them internationally. Hailing from Liverpool, England in the 1960's, these legendary icons made up of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, took the world by storm. With their unique sound and their mop-top hairdos, they were an act unlike any that anyone had ever seen before. Their impact on popular culture was unparalleled and they still have an indelible mark on the culture of today.

While the original band is no longer around, you can still get your Beatles fix by attending one of the many concerts performed by the multitude tribute bands they have spawned. There is even a music festival, called Abbey Road on the River, designed to feature these bands in all their duplicity of their idols. Some of these groups strive to replicate every last detail of the group, from their speech, to their clothes, to their hair, to their mannerisms while others remain in character throughout entire shows and are truly awesome to experience. As imitation is the sincerest form of strategy, some bands reenact the Beatles shtick to the last detail. Too factual here, need more poetry

Although these tribute bands differ in many ways, the share the common denominator of being appreciated and enjoyed by any baby boomer loving the classic rock of the Beatles. Ironically enough, these spin-off bands began forming even while the original band was still in existence. More than simply a cover group, these bands were, and still are, deeply devoted and dedicated to the music of their heroes.

Although the group disbanded in 1970, their legacy still lives on today. No matter what your age, everyone is familiar with the groundbreaking sound that these singers//musicians introduced. Fortunately, they have had such an impact that, even though they are no longer around, we can still hear their music today. In movies, television, and on the radio, we can still hear bits of classics like, "A Hard Day's Night" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand". Their spirit and sounds are also kept alive through the awesome tribute bands paying homage to them, making the Beatles still one of the most popular acts in the world today. Abbey Road on the River (AROTR) is a regional musicfestival featuring tribute acts that honors the music of The Beatles.

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The Beatles - A Musician's Ground Zero

By Grant Gerver

Like you needed to read something else about The Beatles. Well, they seem to be all-pervasive in my life. In 1964, I was 14 years old when they hit the United States and Ed Sullivan. Indeed, it seems like yesterday. My dear mother gave me their first US album, "Meet The Beatles," for Hanukkah. I have never been the same since.

I knew almost immediately that I had to become a musician. And, I gratefully have. I give all credit to John, Paul, George and Ringo. I'm getting a heavy sentimental rush just typing those names. Their influence over the music world, and our culture in general, is too staggering to comprehend. Put simply, they changed everything.

For me, The Beatles were, and still are, "ground zero." Everything musical in my life has flowed from them. Just the other day, a Facebook friend and work colleague of mine posted some lyrics from "Hey, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." Without hesitation, I remarked that this song ranks up there as one of my all-time one hundred favorite Beatles' songs! There are so many incredible tunes they've written, that to pick anything less than a hundred would be musical torture of the worst kind. That's how truly great they were for me.

Whenever I hear a Beatles' tune, I automatically begin singing every lyric without hesitation. The magic spell of nostalgia wells up inside me. I am transported back to the glory days of "the old neighborhood" where Chas, Jim'l, Amy, Nancy, Joanie and a host of others delighted in "The Beatle Revolution." Chas, Jim'l and I literally started our very own garage band. Some things you never forget. When I think of the younger music lovers out there who've never even heard of The Beatles, it blows my mind. How is that possible?

For me, the "Four Lads from Liverpool" are the most influential musicians of all-time. Now, I realize you may have a great argument against mine, but I'm standing firm. Yes, there's Beethoven, Dylan, Elvis, and the many blues, rock-and-roll, country, bluegrass, soul, rap, hip-hop, gospel, opera, classical, and big band artists who've come before and after. And, I know there are so many more I've neglected. Sorry.

But, if you really think about all that The Beatles have meant to the modern-day musical universe, from mind-boggling studio recording innovations (with unsung hero and musical savant, Sir George Martin at the helm), the explosion in bands and solo performers doing all their own songwriting (which he encouraged them to do from the outset), and the overall uniqueness of their vocal sound, harmonies, instrumentation (including the introduction of India's sitar), and, lyrics that truly conveyed very thought-provoking ideas and philosophies, then The Beatles have lived up to and exceeded all the incredible hype they created.

Here's another thing that struck me just yesterday: have you ever heard two Beatles' songs that sound alike? Everything they did seemed to be an original classic masterpiece. Just my humble opinion. I would even go so far as to say that The Beatles' have provided the soundtrack for my life.

About the Author: Grant Brad Gerver is an entrepreneur and creative consultant for Filibi. Free Online Classified Advertising and Printable Coupons with a 70% twist. Come post your free ads with filibi today. "Gerv" is also a YouTube (gbgerver) blues singer-songwriter and guitar player who performs with The Buzzard Brothers. He's a retired elementary school teacher who works in the mental health care field.

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The Origins of Metal From the Beatles to Black Sabbath

By Gerard Harris

It is widely known that the origins of metal music can be traced all the way back to the mid 1960s, maybe even before than that, but metal bands did not come into existence until the formation of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. However, many bands had touched upon the sounds that they focused on (i.e. heavily distorted guitars and power chords) before they started to hone in on the potential of the driven sounds.

In 1964, for example, The Kinks released You Really Got Me, which was centred around distorted over-drive guitar riffs. However, a lot has got to be said for the guitar playing on The Velvet Underground's debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico. The influence of the distortion on I'm Waiting For My Man (1967) and the feedback on Heroin are clearly early forms of metal music. Lou Reed later released a solo album called Metal Machine Music (1975), which was a collection of distorted feedback loops. On the album's notes, Reed claimed to have invented metal music.

The late sixties would see the heavy metal sound gain more even drive in the mainstream release of Helter Skelter on the Beatles' White Album (1968). The heaviest sounding guitar song to that date, Helter Skelter is clearly an important step in the evolution of metal music and the reality is that is was written by Paul McCartney. Helter Skelter is definitely high up the ranks of proto-metal.

It's no surprise then that in the same year as the White Album was released that both Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath formed, although in all fairness Jimmy Page had already started to develop his own interpretation of distortion, feedback and fuzz tone in his earlier band, The Yardbirds, along with Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.
Led Zeppelin, exploded onto the music scene out of the break up of The Yardbirds with their debut album, Led Zeppelin. It featured heavy distortion, but the band's varying influences meant that their music wasn't solely rooted in metal sounds.

However, it was the formation of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple that created the concept of the metal band. Black Sabbath, Paranoid and In Rock all surged on the heavy metal bands' stake on musical history.

Originating in Birmingham, Ozzy Osborne and the rest of Black Sabbath ploughed into the metal music scene, giving it a focal point along with Deep Purple. This focal point expanded with the start of Judas Priest in 1969. Also originating in Birmingham, Judas Priest's first album, Rocka Rolla, was the beginning of a massive musical legacy that has let to 35 million album sales worldwide.

Lots of other bands and artists contributed to a greater or lesser extent to the beginnings of metal music. Jimi Hendrix's fuzzed up riffs, for example, are a major source of inspiration for metal music even to this day. Iron Butterly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is another good example of proto-metal music. However, if Lou Reed says he's the inventor of metal music, who am I to argue?

Tuppence magazine is an online magazine for entertainment news UK and reviews, including music news.

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Bob Marley, The Long Lost Friend

By Mario Kluser

I came across some timeless statements made by Bob Marley when I browsed the Internet aimlessly. He stated that Bob Marley wasn't his name and that he didn't even know his name yet. His music was a fight against the system in his eyes and the only side he stood for was God's side. He said that his music would go on forever. In his own words Bob Marley's only ambition was to see it happen that mankind lives together no matter what color or race.

I found these words very moving. It reminded me on the moment when I took the taxi from my second home in Brooklyn to JFK Airport in November 2008.

The taxi driver was Jimmy, a rastaman with big dreadlocks. I didn't count the times we high fived on the way to the airport during our enthusiastic conversation. Part of our conversation was the fact that even though I'm from Holland, Bob Marley had a very special place in my youth. I played his records every day for hours and annoyed my grandmother with it. I remember how she finally started singing Get Up Stand Up, whilst doing the dish washing.

Now, when I think back on this last day in Brooklyn, it almost feels as if the statements above could have been a sort of guideline for this conversation:

It's not the name given to you when you are born and what is printed in your passport that makes you the person you are. It's what you feel, what you say and the way you act what makes you so special.

Although I'm an atheist, who respects the beliefs of everyone by the way, I think that skin color and race isn't significant and I really share the ambition that I want to see mankind live together. Jimmy wasn't the only person that agreed when I said that I feel that we all belong together in a certain way. You and I. You and Jimmy, though you never met him.

We are together on this planet. No-one has more right than the other to be here and enjoy life. I ask myself how Bob Marley knew that his music would go on forever. As I wrote in my article 'Thank You, Bob' (on my blog) I find his music always refreshing and always think of him as a long lost friend when I hear one of his songs. Unbelievable that he died in 1981. It seems just a couple of years ago. I know that with me there are still many people out there missing our long lost friend.

Mario Kluser is a maverick who loves to practice different kinds of art, with a special interest for people and the human mind. As a writer he published two novels in the Netherlands. Visit him today:

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The Beatles Butcher Cover

By Scott Heron

Any Beatles fan can probably tell you about the controversy caused by the cover or their album released in 1966. The butcher cover is the picture on their "Yesterday and Today" LP they released in the summer of 1966. The album featured the Beatles smiling in white outfits covered with dismembered babies and pieces of raw meat strewn about the area.

This shot was taken as a last minute ad on during a photo shoot with Robert Whitaker. He encouraged the Beatles to have it taken. Paul McCartney liked the picture so much that he pushed Capitol Records to use it as the cover for the new album.

Capitol Records went ahead and used the photo on the Beatles album. They sent out the first album release to some radio stations and to some music stores as an advance release copy. The outrage caused by the butcher cover was immediate. Capitol Records immediately recalled all albums that had been sent out and wanted to have all of them destroyed.

However, after reconsidering the cost of reprinting all of the pictures into something more acceptable, Capitol Records came up with a new idea for the cover of "Yesterday and Today". The new idea was to paste a new cover picture over the old Beatles cover and then re-release the record to the stores and radio stations. Some music stores sold the first Beatles cover album for about a day before hearing about the recall, so not every cover was destroyed or pasted over as the record label wished.

The paste over covers were not done very efficiently so almost every Beatles fan knew about the original cover being under the new cover from Capitol. Many people tried to peel the two covers apart with little success.

Today all the different albums featuring some form of the butcher cover are valuable. The original Beatles cover is worth nearly $40,000 to some collectors while the pasted over cover is worth slightly less. For those fans who managed to separate the paste cover from the original Beatles cover, their album is not worth the $40,000 that the original unpasted cover is worth, but it is worth something.

This story of controversy surrounding the album cover and the Beatles "Yesterday and Today" album was only the beginning of record companies trying to direct the artist in the direction most profitable to the company. The butcher cover album is an amazing collectible that is virtually priceless to any true Beatles fan today.

Further Reading On The Beatles Butcher Cover

If you would like to learn more about the Beatles Butcher cover then head on over to You will find some amazing facts about this incredible album cover that the Beatles and their management wanted to keep secret! Head on over and read about the Butcher Cover now!

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Pete Best - The Other Beatle

By Pollux Parker

Before there was the gospel according to John, Paul, George and Ringo, a guy named Pete Best used to play the drums for the Beatles. In the beginning, it was John, Paul, George and Pete.

Randolph Peter Best, or Pete Best, joined the Beatles in 1962. The Beatles, with Best on the drums, went to Hamburg, Germany and made the British flag proud. As Beatles fans know, the Beatles got quite popular in Hamburg first before making it big in Great Britain and then the rest of the world. It was said that Pete Best was the most popular band member among women when they were still playing in Hamburg.

When they got back to England, they started auditioning for record deals. They played for several record companies. They had their share of refusals. Finally, the Beatles auditioned for Parlophone, and the record company liked what they heard. The record company gave them a contract and asked them to cut some records.

When the record producer, George Martin, heard the songs recorded by the Beatles, he decided to use a session drummer for the recording sessions. He didn't like the way Pete Best's drum sounded on the records. George Martin, according to later interviews, said that he only meant to use a session drummer for the recording session. The group could still have Pete Best as their drummer.

On August 16, 1962, Pete Best was fired from the Beatles almost two years from the day he joined the group to play a series of gigs in Germany.

Today, Pete Best is still playing music. He has migrated to the US and has a group called The Pete Best Band. The band has several albums and singles under its belt. In concerts, they would often play songs by the Beatles aside from their original ones.

Pollux Parker is an adventurer who loves discovering secret island getaways in each country he visits. Pollux also likes to collect British Flag and buy British Flag.

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Cream's Jack Bruce - A Look at His Autobiography "Composing Himself"

By Jim Hofman

Legendary bassist, vocalist, and multi instrumentalist Jack Bruce is the subject of a new autobiography, "Composing Himself". Best known for his founding role in the legendary power trio Cream, this book is a must read for anyone interested in music. Here's why ...

Jack Bruce: An Overview

Jack Bruce is probably best known for his integral role in the legendary power trio band Cream. And yet, his story doesn't start or stop with that influential group. By all accounts a brilliant musician, and by some accounts a musical genius, Jack Bruce was a child prodigy and an accomplished cello player by the time he reached his teens. He grew restless even in the most prestigious Scottish music schools and soon gravitated toward the budding jazz, rock, and blues scene of early 1960's Great Britain.

It was there he crossed paths with and ultimately teamed up with drummer Ginger Baker and guitarist Eric Clapton to form Cream, a musical tour de force that still influences and resonates to this day. Although Cream's initial shelf life lasted less than three years, the world class musicianship of the three members spawned countless imitators and legions of admirers.

After the band's 1968 break up, Bruce went on to forge a colorful music career, careening from hard rock to blues to jazz and all points in between. He has stayed true to his musical vision, whether or not it meant commercial success, and this is why his story is a must read for all aspiring musicians and fans of great music.

The Autobiography: Composing Himself

The Jack Bruce autobiography, Composing Himself, is aptly written and narrated by Harry Shapiro, an accomplished author who has known his subject at arms length for decades. The forward is brilliantly written by Bruce's Cream band mate, Eric Clapton, who offers a glimpse of Bruce's talents from an insiders perspective.

Many other peers, friends, and family members provide an honest and often gut wrenching perspective of Bruce's life and career. Like many high profile musicians, he struggled with the bounty of success, turning to drugs as a crutch.

With his career basically in shambles a short ten years after Cream's break up, the book details his long journey back to physical and emotional health, and relevancy within the music business. His many musical partnerships are covered in fascinating detail, especially the aborted early 1970's super group, West, Bruce, and Laing. Thrown together by music industry executives hoping for a big pay day, the band imploded under the weight of its own expectations, nearly ruining the three members in the process.

For the most part, the narrative keeps Bruce's family life at arms length, other than to underscore their importance and positive influence in his life. Bruce, an extraordinarily private man, has never sought rock star adulation. As the book recounts, of more importance is his desire to pursue inner satisfaction via his music, commercially successful or not.

His recent reunion with Cream is detailed, both with poignant humor and wistful recollections. Long known for their combative relationship, the complicated interplay between Bruce and Ginger Baker is dealt with respectfully, but with the gloves off. In what Eric Clapton calls a sibling rivalry, Bruce and Baker have deep mutual respect but still do not see eye to eye, almost 50 years after they first played together.


One need not be a fan of Cream, or even Jack Bruce, to enjoy his autobiography, Composing Himself. It is an honest chronicle of a man who lives for his music, a man who almost deliberately shunned the path of commercial success to stay true to himself and his vision.

Further, the book is a soul baring study in relationships; what should have been done, and what should have been said. It is a story of sadness, a story of triumph, but most of all a story of survival.

To learn more about Jack Bruce and the legendary power trio Cream, be sure to visit us at:

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Legendary Allman Brothers Band

By John R. Olson

The Allman Brothers Band originally formed in Jacksonville Florida in March 1969. The band members consisted of brothers Gregg Allman on the organ and vocals with brother Duane Allman playing guitar and vocals. The three other members were Berry Oakley and Dickey Betts, both on guitar along with Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson on the drums.

The group was considered southern rock although their music was both blues rock and hard rock. The band played numerous shows throughout the south and released their first album The Allman Brothers Band. "Dreams" set the stage for their live shows which created a cult class of listeners. Songs like "Idle Wild South","Midnight Rider" and "Revival" showed a softer side of the band which won them popularity on radio stations.

In 1971 they recorded a live album on March 12 and 13 at rock venue Fillmore East. The album "At Filmore East" was labeled by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 greatest albums of all times. The performance from that venue was legendary through the years to come. The band played blues and rock while the vocals by Gregg Allman was a mixture of a Ray Charles rendition of throaty blues. The band was having such a great time performing for the audience that before they realized it they had played through the night into the early dawn.

Later that year they released Stoneybrook in Stoneybrook, NY. Duane Allman stretched out his imagination and acoustics with the slide guitar on this particular album. It wasn't long after the album At Fillmore East had gone gold that Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident in Macon Georgia on October 29,1971.

Dickey Betts stepped up to complete the album "Eat A Peach". The group continued to play as a five man band for a while and then added Chuck Leavell, a pianist. He wasn't a replacement for Duane but added another lead instrument to the band. They debuted on November 2, 1971 on a late night television show ABC's In Concert. Nine days later band member Barry Oakley died from serious head injuries in a motorcycle accident that occurred within 3 blocks of Duane Allman's motorcycle accident. In late 1972 Oakley was replaced with Lamar Williams just prior to the completion of the album "Brothers and Sisters" released in August 1973.

By this time The Allman Brothers Band had become one of the leading concert draws in the country. July 28, 1973 they performed at Summer Jam at Watkins Glen in New York. It was a huge festival on a racetrack just outside of New York. An estimated audience of 600,000 attended this festival. The performance was remembered as their greatest celebrated performance ever. On New Years Eve 1973, Billy Graham arranged for a radio broadcast covering their concert at San Francisco's Cow Palace. This performance was another huge highlight for the band.

They continued to perform over the next few years, however personal conflicts among band members arose and caused members to seek solo careers. Drug abuse took its toll on the entire band during this time. The group split up in 1976 and regrouped again in 1978 to release "Enlightened Rogue".

The popularity that they had previously experienced had diminished and they broke up again in 1982. Gregg Allman found success as a solo artist and made some headway in radio which propelled the band to join together again in 1989. They are still touring and celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2009. They have had a great number of additional successes in the past decade that will continue to keep their music forever legendary.

John is an avid music enthusiast and loves the music from the 60's and 70's. One of the best ways to listen to these artists is on the MFSL platform. The Allman Brothers MFSL were one of the few artists that produced multiple records on the UDCD gold disc platform.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jamaican Music and Life

By Pollux Parker

Jamaican music is indeed something else. It takes its audience to the tropics, the island's sparkling waters, white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, warm climate and laid back life. At the same time, Jamaican music fills the soul with a certain sense of struggle.

Sometime in the 18th century, the English colonizers brought African slaves to Jamaica, who found freedom solely in music. This spirit of the struggle found its way to Jamaican folk music, which has spawned various musical genres like reggae.

Until today, a trip to Jamaica will take you to the heart of reggae. The truth is Jamaica is a melting pot of musical influence from the neighboring Caribbean islands and the country's Western colonizers.

Ska, for one, traces its roots in Jamaican folk music. From ska, reggae emerged. With some hint of jazz and rhythm and blues, reggae was brought to the mainstream and rose to popularity. Although the country suffers the woes of a developing nation, it is in music, culture and history that Jamaica finds its pride.

Undoubtedly, one of the most celebrated reggae artists was Bob Marley, who was born in Jamaica but later made a name for himself in the United States. In the course of his career, Marley established a very strong fan base and produced platinum-selling albums with hit songs like "No woman, no cry," "Redemption Song," "Red, Red Wine" and "I Shot the Sheriff."

The Jamaican flag sways to the groove of reggae, and images of Bob Marley strumming his guitar follow. If a week of living the reggae life sounds like your kind of fun, then Jamaica should be your next destination.

Pollux Parker is an adventurer who loves discovering secret island getaways in each country he visits. Pollux also likes to collect Jamaican flag and buy Jamaican flag for sale.

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OPINION: Boomers - Keep Rockin' - It Keeps You Young!

By Ric Wasley

My wife and I were recently down at our favorite live music club listening to a fantastic Neil Young tribute band, and I couldn't help but notice that the place was filled with Boomers - standing at the bar or sitting at red/orange day-glow tables with guttering candles flickering through half-filled glasses and empty bottles. Just like forty years ago.

And there's the secret that I think our generation has learned - beginning with the "love-in's", parties and concerts of the 60's - all the way down to the present day. The secret of not necessarily trying to stave off the grim specter of grey hair, flabby midriffs and wrinkles by denying their existence, but by not giving up on the greatest gift that our generation gave the world.

And no, it's not the internet, Apple or Google. It's ... Rock and Roll!

"But wait." You say ... "What about the succeeding generations? Aren't they into music too?"

Sure - but in a different way.

Oh - there's lots of "Gen X and Y" type music that sounds great but what separates their music from the original rockers is that the Boomers prefer their music - live. Hey, we cut our musical teeth at the high school dance and later every dinky little joint with more than two tables and a half dozen bar stools, had a live band. I know, 'cause I was one of them. And it nearly broke my heart two decades later when my two boys had to struggle to find a club that would even book live music! Why? Well here's the saddest part. Because their generation preferred ... are you ready for it? D.J.'s!!!

Yeah - those guys who used to put the record on the turntable and say, "Hey guys and gals, here's the latest tune from 'The Beach Boys'." Hummm ... wasn't that what we got live bands to replace?

Well as all good pendulums do, this one has swung back to what we abandoned and will, given the inexorable nature of pendulums, swing back to local bands making great live music. And in the meantime, to all of my fellow grey-haired rockers I say as Neil Young told us ... "Keep on Rockin' in the free world!" It keeps us young.


Ric Wasley - Author - Mystery Writers of America
Author of The McCarthy Mystery Series
Just released...! A new Mystery/Vampire/Romance... 'Midnight Blue'

New from WC Publishing: THE SCRIMSHAW, sequel to SHADOW OF INNOCENCE. The exciting mystery series set in the music and drug soaked sixties that combines mystery, romance and a touch of the paranormal into one "page-turning" package.

The Baby Boomers and everyone else are sure to enjoy these appealing mysteries featuring a pair of musician partners in love and danger.

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How Muhammad Ali Helped the Nation of Islam and the Nation of Islam Helped Him

By Derek Lavelle

Muhammad Ali helped the Nation of Islam when he became a member of their religious organization after he upset Sonny Liston in 1964. Up until then the Nation of Islam was made up of people that the typical black middle class people avoided. Mostly the Nation of Islam was viewed by the middle class as a bunch of thugs that espoused hate and white devil rhetoric that was made famous by Malcolm X.

However, all this changed when Ali announced his membership in the Nation of Islam. At first many blacks and well intended whites thought he was throwing his life and his heavyweight title away. The feelings were that he was either crazy or under some kind of mysterious spell and the Nation only wanted his money.

But, the truth is Muhammad Ali etched his place in American history because of the Nation of Islam. In 1967, America, at war with Vietnam, drafted Ali and he became the highest and the most vocal opponent against the war. His reason for not signing up for the draft was the Nation of Islam and their strict teachings against American politics.

When Ali refused induction against the war and was stripped of his heavyweight title along with his passport, he was endeared by billions of people around the world who also were against America's foreign policy. Muhammad Ali became the most recognized face in the world. He became the biggest crossover on the planet. Thanks to Ali others that followed like Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan became globally accepted.

But the truth is Ali could have played it safe and stayed Cassius Clay and went to the Army and entertained troops and remained the heavyweight champion but God had bigger plans for "the greatest of all times." He made him join the Nation of Islam and stand tall against adversity within the Nation of Islam - Malcolm X assassination, and adversity within America - the Vietnam War. Thanks to Muhammad Ali and his courage he helped the Nation of Islam and the Nation of Islam helped him become bigger in life than any person that ever lived.

Derek Lavelle once a promising boxer learned the Nation of Islam story while in a boxing camp named after Muhammad Ali called M.A.P.S (Muhammad Ali Professional Sports). At MAPS in 1981 that Derek met older, original Nation of Islam men that had remained loyal to Elijah Muhammad during Malcolm's exodus.

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OPINION: One Guy Picks the Best Chicks' Songs of All Times - In No Particular Order

By Jim Sutherland

We live in a world of flavor of the week entertainers; a McDonald's of music if you will. Sure you get something to eat, but is it really any different from every other McDonald's on the planet? And will you remember a Big Mac moment in another 30 seconds? I thought so.

Anyhow, I want to discuss a few female singers that had songs with a much longer shelf life than Brittany Spears or Miley Cyrus on my playlist. I'll be honest here, I haven't actually listened to Miley to the best of my knowledge, but it would be difficult to tell her from the generic sound of any current pop artist outside of Amy Winehouse. Amy will definitely make my next list of great female vocalists.

The first song that grabbed my attention was "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett. Gale was a pioneer in the 60s philosophy of casual relationships and her song was a reflection of the change during that decade. Singing in the sunshine had a whole different meaning for Garnett and her unique vocal qualities gave the song a powerful message.

A few years later, Merillee Rush hit the airwaves with "Angel of the Morning", another 60s song that reflected a brief romance with no strings attached. Actually even less strings than Garnett's one year plan in "We'll Sing in the Sunshine". Merillee Rush had a 24 hour romance in mind and her powerful vocals carried her message into the stratosphere.

Right around this time Lulu had her best song on the radio with "Morning Dew". Lulu had a very unusual vocal style and this song played to the strength of her abilities.

The end of the 60s produced a one-hit wonder from a group called Smith that did a cover of "Baby It's You". The lead female vocalist's style was reminiscent of Janis Joplin, but with a little smoother sound.

I have to include "It's Too Late" by Carole King on my list. King's 'Tapestry' is the ultimate album for women, based upon sales since its release. "It's Too Late" is about the death of a relationship and few have done it better in song than Carole.

"Anticipation" by Carly Simon was a great song that dealt with a message to live in the moment because, as Carly stated in song, " these are the good old days". Again her powerful vocals made this song a winner.
" Long Long Time" was a classic by famous torch singer Linda Ronstadt. Basically it was an unrequited love song by Linda, but she hits a range of vocals in the song reserved for truly gifted musicians.

"Because the Night" by Patty Smith is a visceral heat of the moment burner that will grab listeners in a hormonal grip and not let go until it's over. You will need a cold shower or a cigarette after this song.

I tried to achieve the impossible: There are too many great female vocalist songs to cover in one column. I needed to make a much longer list.

Jim Sutherland is a co-founder of to the average guy in the old car world.
We also like to take on non-car issues on a regular basis on our daily blog because it makes us look a lot smarter than we really are.Plus you can insult a car guy about his taste in music or movies but never hack on his car-those guys always have tire irons handy.

It's fun, it's occasionally controversial and it draws women into the site - we're like an automotive beer commercial we need the women in the picture to make it interesting. But we're still going to talk about 57 Chevys and vintage Mustangs.

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BOOK REVIEW: "I Am Ozzy" by Ozzy Osbourn

By Nancy Hillary

I read this book through the night until dawn. Perhaps I was just incredulous that Ozzy actually can read and write, let alone remember any of his psycho maniac life! But if even half of what he says is true, he has had an incredibly interesting life, mostly all in a constant state of madness; from pauper to multi millionaire, from abattoir worker to rock God.

Ozzy is the epitome of the ultimate rock star, everything your mother warned you about and more. The book is extremely well written, it is funny, and it's ludicrous in places, outrageous in others and sometimes downright unbelievable. He's been a complete bastard, a coward, a drug addict, a wife beater, an alcoholic and more. I can't believe that he is still alive after all the drugs he has taken and for such a length of time.

He is the ultimate bad rocker. But he has a huge heart and small things touch him and he has a tremendous amount of love and respect for his wife and family. Through all of the bad things that he has done, there is the constant shine of humanity weaving through the pages and you just end up loving him too.

Read the truth about biting the heads off bats and doves, trashing hotel rooms, his HIV scare, the dreadful death of guitarist extraordinaire Randy Rhodes, Satanists, his hundreds of dogs, Sharon's cancer, MTV intrusions on his house, multi platinum selling albums, dodgy managers and meeting the Queen.

One of my favourite stories describes how his first wife Thelma buys him chickens and constantly nags him to feed them. Ozzy eventually freaks out; too many drugs, no sleep and bloody chickens that won't lay eggs. In his drug fuelled anger, he takes his shotgun and blows them all up. Then he sets the chicken hoc on fire. Out the corner of his eye he sees a chicken that has escaped and is running to the neighbour's house for safety and Ozzy gives chase in his gown and slippers running down the road with a shotgun after the last remaining chicken!

Ozzy is a complete maniac. It's a great read whether you are a Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne fan or not. Give this book to all wannabe rock stars as an example of how NOT to live your life!

Nancy Hillary is the director of three companies involved in music management and events coordination, landscaping and decoration, and writing services. She writes for many magazines, websites and companies around the world and focuses her article writing on music, books, history, travel, lifestyle, martial arts and personalities.

For more information please contact or make direct contact through

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Eric Clapton Launches Co-Headlining Tour with Jeff Beck

by Brent Warnken

Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck kicked off their co-headlining tour with a gig at storied New York venue Madison Square Garden on Feb. 18. Rolling Stone reported that the pair of former Yardbirds guitarists took the stage for over 40 minutes, performing covers of songs by Sly Stone, Henry Mancini and Willie Dixon, to name a few.

Beck opened the sold-out show with "Eternity's Breath" by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, enlisting an impressive backing band and sizable string section. Although members in the audience requested familiar songs like Beck's cover of "People Get Ready," he marched to the beat of his own drum and played surprising choices like "Corpus Christy Carol" and the Puccini aria "Nessun Dorma." Classic rock fans in attendance did get treated to Beck's cover of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life," for which the guitarist took home a Grammy on Jan. 31.

Clapton entered the stage after a short break, opening with an acoustic medley of blues standards like "Driftin' Blues" and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out." Although original hits like "Wonderful Tonight," "Layla," "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Tears in Heaven" were absent from Clapton's set list, he did perform his original 1983 song "I've Got a Rock And Roll Heart." Clapton also covered Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff," J.J. Cale's "Cocaine" and Derek and the Dominoes' "Tell the Truth."

Rolling Stone reported that the pair of iconic guitarists (who grace the current cover of the music magazine) "were clearly playing at the absolute top of their game" when they took the stage together for "Moon River," Cream's "Outside Woman Blues," and Sly Stone's "I Want To Take You Higher."

Clapton and Beck capped off their licks-trading section with Robert Jones' "Crossroads." Eric Clapton may have wrapped up his dates with Jeff Beck, but he is currently on the road with the Who's Roger Daltrey through March 13, after which point he will bring Steve Winwood with him for dates continuing through June. Head online for Eric Clapton tickets to see the living legend on tour.

Eric Clapton may be keeping up a frantic touring pace, but when his dates with Steve Winwood wrap up on June 13 the guitarist won't be taking a break, because his third Crossroads Guitar Festival will take play at Chicago's Toyota Park on June 26. Like the 2004 and 2007 editions of the festival, the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival will benefit the addiction treatment facility founded by Clapton, the Crossroads Center, which is located on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Although the list of performers confirmed for the event is any rock fan's dream - B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Earl Klugh, John Mayer, Robert Randolph, Jeff Beck, Sheryl Crow, ZZ Top, Steve Winwood, Keb Mo, Vince Gill and Gary Clark, Jr., to name a few - Clapton told Rolling Stone, "I do it because I want to hear those players." Clapton and his band will headline the Windy City guitar festival. The first edition of the Crossroads Festival was held at the 2004 Cotton Bowl in Dallas and both the 2004 and 2007 festivals have been released on DVD, with the 2007 festival also edited into a two-hour PBS special for the network's Great Performances series.

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Dire Straits Frontman Mark Knopfler Goes It Alone

by Brent Warnken

Mark Knopfler may still be best known for his work with Dire Straits, but the singer/guitarist is hitting the road solo this spring. Knopfler's solo outing is in support of his latest album, Get Lucky, which received critical acclaim upon its September 2009 release, reports Pollstar.

Knopfler's sixth studio album, Get Lucky was recorded at his British Grove Studios in West London. Get Lucky garnered praise from USA Today, which hailed the solo album "a beauty, full of ripe, haunting melodies and gently vital, folky arrangements that showcase his robust and lyrical guitar work," while the New York Times said the effort "radiates wariness and maturity as well as poise."

Fans with Mark Knopfler tickets online can see the guitarist live on his month-long tour of the States and Canada when it kicks off at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Wash. on April 8. Knopfler will stop in Portland, Ore.; Oakland, Calif.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Chicago, Ill.; Toronto, ON; Montreal, QC and Boston, Mass. on his upcoming tour. Knopfler's last stop will be at the Palace Theatre in Albany, N.Y. on May 9, after which point he will travel across the Atlantic for dates in the U.K. and Europe.

Although fans can expect to hear songs off Get Lucky on Knopfler's upcoming road trip, he previously revealed to that he would play songs from his Dire Straits catalog as well. "When I'm playing the old Dire Straits stuff ... these (songs) have become like milestones for people, and when you play them you have to pay attention to that. I never like to play things the same, but with, like 'Brothers in Arms,' the first four notes I probably do play them the same because they've become part of this fabric and the way people live with the song," the guitarist explained about playing old hits. The same batch of musicians that were on hand during the recordings of Get Lucky and Knopfler's latest albums will be with him on the road.

Get Lucky is the follow-up to 2007's Kill to Get Crimson, which debuted at the No. 26 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. Prior to releasing Kill to Get Crimson and after his 2004 solo effort Shangri-La, Knopfler recording the collaborative album All the Road Running with Emmylou Harris. Knopfler donated proceeds from the lead single off Get Lucky, "Remembrance Day," to the Poppy Appeal. The Poppy Appeal supports the Royal British Legion, an organization for former and present members of the British armed services. Along with "Remembrance Day," other gems from Get Lucky include "Cleaning My Gun" and "Border River."

Although Dire Straits has been inactive for 15 years, Mark Knopfler continues to remain associated with the band known for songs like "Sultans of Swing," "Brothers in Arms" and "Romeo and Juliet." Knopfler formed Dire Straits in the late 1970s, and the group's sixth album Brothers in Arms became perhaps its biggest hit in 1985.

The band took a hiatus not long after the album's release, cracking under the pressure of matching its success with a follow-up, but Knopfler reconvened Dire Straits for 1991's On Every Street. Dire Straits was put to rest in 1995 and Knopfler officially launched the solo career he had been toying with in the form of 1996's Golden Heart. Six solo albums later and Knopfler is still at it.

This article is sponsored by StubHub. is a leader in the business of selling, sports tickets, concert tickets, theater tickets and special events tickets.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Who’s Future Uncertain as Townshend’s Tinnitus Returns

Article from Rolling Stone: from:

Two weeks ago, during Super Bowl XLIV's halftime show, the Who rocked out in front of the largest audience of their 46-year career. With 150 million viewers tuning in to the band's 12-minute medley, the performance was supposed to springboard Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend into a busy 2010.

Instead, the Who's future is uncertain because of Townshend's returning tinnitus. As the guitarist tells Rolling Stone in our new issue, "If my hearing is going to be a problem, we're not delaying shows. We're finished. I can't really see any way around the issue."

The band tells RS a planned spring 2010 tour and appearances at the Coachella and New Orleans Jazz Festivals were ditched when Townshend’s tinnitus returned while he was working on his musical Floss. Neil Young put Townshend in touch with an audiologist who recommended an in-ear monitor that may prevent any further damage.

Townshend will give the device a test drive when the Who perform at their only scheduled gig of 2010, a March 30th charity show in London where they'll play Quadrophenia in its entirety. "It's a good test of Pete's hearing," Daltrey tells Rolling Stone. "We won't know until we try."

Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and the Way of the Guitar

Article from Rolling Stone, 17 February 2010 issue: from

Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton have never done a joint interview - until now. On the eve of their historic first-ever co-headlining tour, Rolling Stone’s David Fricke sits in with the two guitar legends as they discuss old rivalries, blues heroes and the secrets of their craft in our new issue, on sale at newsstands today.

Check out all of Rolling Stone’s ultimate guitar coverage and join the debate: who’s the best of all time?

The pair chat about their experiences with Jimi Hendrix, possible set lists for their upcoming shows (compositions by Charles Mingus and Albert Collins are on the table) and the intricacies of each other’s technique (Beck cites Clapton’s timing and phrasing; Clapton praises Beck’s “multitasking” right-hand work).

They also explain why it took four decades for their current team-up. “We were all trying to be big bananas,” Beck says. “Except I didn’t have the luxury of the hit songs Eric’s got.” Clapton tells Fricke they couldn’t have collaborated in the Sixties or Seventies for one major reason: “Because we were enemies, basically.”

The pair don’t shy away from frank talk about the cause of their rift - their relationship to the Yardbirds, the psychedelic R&B band that featured Clapton, Beck and Jimmy Page on lead guitar (in that order). Clapton admits he expected the band to collapse without him, and was surprised when they became more successful. “I wanted to be as critical of him as I could,” he says. “It hurt me bad because I could see they were getting, with Jeff, at something beyond what I was capable of.” Beck stuns Clapton by insisting that the band revered Eric’s playing: “They were in awe.”

Clapton also reveals he has a new album in the works, possibly titled Whiplash - and the diverse covers project may become a double LP. “I covered anything I ever longed to do,” he says. For more on the project, plus Beck’s comments on the darker moments of his career and Clapton’s “unfinished business” with Blind Faith, check out the full story in the new issue. Plus, read about Clapton’s 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Jeff Beck Takes Risks for 'Emotion & Commotion'

Article from Billboard: from

Jeff Beck is confident that "there'll be a few raised eyebrows" when fans get an earful of his new album, "Emotion & Commotion."

Due out April 13, his first studio album in seven years features orchestral arrangements on nine of its 10 tracks and also finds Beck covering standards from the Great American Songbook ("Somewhere Over the Rainbow") and opera (Puccini's "Nessun Dorma") as well as the traditional "Corpus Christi Carol." It also features vocalists - Joss Stone, Imelda May and Olivia Safe - on four songs.

"It's a hell of a risk," Beck tells with a laugh. "It's as close as I can get to playing things people understand, I think. Maybe I'll lose some people. Maybe I'll gain some. But all I can tell you is I've seen grown men, after 'Nessun Dorma' and 'Corpus Christi' with the orchestra, just lose it. You could tell in their eyes, they were gone. It seems to work from an emotional level. I'm quite pleased with the way it's going."

He adds that, "The emotion of playing, say, 'Elegy For Dunkirk' (from the film 'Atonement') is in some ways more intense and more gut-wrenching than playing the blues, 'cause those composers knew how to get you. The simplicity and just poring yourself into those phrasings is not dissimilar from blues at all. I'm sure people like Mahler and Holst and all the people that wrote such amazing music would agree with that. They want to get you to react."

Beck is previewing some of the "Emotion & Commotion" material, with his band and 30-piece orchestras, during his run of shows with Eric Clapton that started last week at London's O2 Arena and continues this week (Feb. 18-19) at Madison Square Garden in New York City, with shows also slated for Toronto (Feb. 21) and Montreal (Feb. 22).

He's also gearing up for his own world tour (sans orchestra), which begins March 25 in Adelaide, Australia, and also hits Japan before arriving in North America on April 16. Beck will perform on May 1 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and June 26 at Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival near Chicago, and on June 8-9 he'll join May and her band for a tribute to Les Paul at the Iridium Jazz Club, the late guitarist innovator's old haunt in New York.

Beck, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2009 and won a Grammy Award last month for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, is also producing a rockabilly album for May's husband, guitarist Darrel Higham.

ALBUM REVIEW: Valleys of Neptune by Jimi Hendrix

Article by Larry Rodgers - The Arizona Republic:

In the 40 years since Jimi Hendrix's death, the various entities controlling portions of his musical legacy have released albums of debatable value ("Crash Landing," "Midnight Lightning," both featuring musicians who never played with Hendrix) and worthy efforts ("Blues," "First Rays of the New Rising Sun"). Put "Valleys of Neptune," in stores March 9 of 2010, in the second category.

The album holds more than an hour of Hendrix music that never has been commercially released, including the tight, soulful title track. The material was recorded during a four-month period in 1969, as Hendrix wound down the original Jimi Hendrix Experience and brought bassist and Army pal Billy Cox into the mix.

Standout tracks include a playful instrumental studio cover of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," a Hendrix concert staple, and an expanded version of 1967's "Fire," with a raging lead that will have listeners shaking their head. Both tracks were recorded with Hendrix's original Experience bandmates, bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell.

Cox steps in to help Hendrix remake 1966's "Stone Free," and the song becomes slower and funky, with Mitchell adding a dose of jazz to his drumming. Another concert favorite, "Red House," also is slowed down, with stretches of soft lead work reminiscent of B.B. King before Hendrix cranks things up too much later.

A long-lost version of "Ships Passing Through the Night" shows Hendrix's studio creativity (running one guitar track through a Leslie organ speaker for a swirling sound) but also seems unfocused amid noodling with other effects. Two largely instrumental songs that wrap up the album, "Lullaby for Summer" and "Crying Blue Rain," feel like jam sessions that weren't originally destined for release.

All in all, however, this CD's music, newly mixed by Hendrix's longtime engineer, Eddie Kramer, is a solid addition to the recordings approved by the guitarist's estate.