31 ene. 2013

Humble Pie - As Safe as Yesterday Is (1969)





by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Humble Pie, known as boogie hammerheads, at least once achieved American popularity in the mid-'70s. Its origins were quite different, however, and its debut album, As Safe as Yesterday Is, is a visionary blend of hard blues, crushing rock, pastoral folk, and post-mod pop. It would be even more impressive if the group had written songs to support its sound, but it seemed to have overlooked that element of the equation. Still, there's no denying that the sound of the band isn't just good, it's quite engaging, as the band bring disparate elements together, letting them bump up against each other, forming a wildly rich blend of hippie folk and deeply sexy blues. Musically, this set a template for a lot of bands that followed later -- Led Zeppelin seemed to directly lift parts of this, and Paul Weller would later rely heavily on this for his '90s comeback -- and it's very intriguing, even rewarding, on that level. But it falls short of a genuine classic, even with its originality and influence, because the songwriting is rarely more than a structure for the playing and the album often sounds more like a period piece than an album that defined its times.
allmusic.com

30 ene. 2013

Sunday Papers - Joe Jackson

Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs - 'I Watch You'



By Jenny Stevens


“For me, it’s simple,” says Charlie Boyer, setting his pint down thoughtfully on the table of a gloomy Camden drinking hole. “I just wanna make primitive, sexy, glamorous rock’n’roll music.” This is the manifesto he dished out to The Voyeurs, the band he put together in February last year and who were snapped up by Heavenly straight after their first gig. “We were friends, we went to the same pubs and clubs, so the idea just fitted straight away,” he says of his comrades. 

Given that Charlie’s got a social circle that reads like a full cast-list of east London’s finest – he’s tight with The Horrors, Toy et al – it would be easy to assume his own musical endeavours to be the latest ‘Nuggets’-infused kraut-kosmische hybrid. Sod that, though. These boys swing to a totally different beat and play jagged proto-punk with a beaten heart. The setting: New York circa 1975. From Boyer’s Tom Verlaine scrawl to The Voyeurs’ Richard Hell-indebted guitar assault, theirs is a world of brittle, pre-Pistols raw power – but crucially it also revels in being technically amazing.

These are comparisons that Boyer has no qualms about. “I always go straight to the Velvets,” he says. “I adore Television, I adore the Ramones, The Modern Lovers. Those bands love The Velvet Underground in the same way that I do. If people say I’ve ripped them off, it’s a good thing.” When Radar even goes as far to suggest that he looks uncannily like Verlaine, he merely smirks: “That’s what happens if you like someone enough. You start to look like them.”

Currently recording their debut album (due to be released in April) at London’s West Heath Yard studio with Orange Juice man Edwyn Collins (Charlie: “He’s an amazing, slightly camp Scotsman with a great presence”), there’s no plan to slow down any time soon. “I have strong ideas and I want to work quickly,” he says, staring at us head-on to make sure we’ve snatched every last bit of his grand rock’n’roll plan. “Achieve things and move on, achieve things and move on,” he says, like a mantra. “I want to get this record done, get it perfect, and then tour for six months. Then we’ll come out of that and make a second album that’s twice as good as the first.”

NEED TO KNOW
Based: London
For Fans Of: Television, Richard Hell & The Voidoids
Buy It Now: Debut single ‘I Watch You’ is out now
See Them Live: They play London’s Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on March 4
Believe It Or Not: As well as being a Voyeur, keyboard player Ross Kristian is also a hairdresser in Fulham. “It’s really posh,” Charlie says. “Full of old ladies with their poodles getting blow dried.”

29 ene. 2013

Dinosaur Jr

biography [-] by Stephen Thomas Erlewine Dinosaur Jr. were largely responsible for returning lead guitar to indie rock and, along with their peers the Pixies, they injected late-'80s alternative rock with monumental levels of pure guitar noise. As the group's career progressed, it turned into a vehicle for J Mascis' songwriting and playing, which had the ultimate result of turning Dinosaur's albums into largely similar affairs. Over time, Mascis shed his hardcore punk roots and revealed himself to be a disciple of Neil Young, crafting simple songs that were delivered at a crushing volume and spiked with shards of feedback. Consequently, Dinosaur Jr.'s '90s albums -- when the group was essentially a front for Mascis -- don't sound particularly revolutionary, even with their subtle sonic innovations, yet their original '80s records for SST were a different matter. On their early records, Dinosaur lurched forward, taking weird detours into free-form noise and melodic soloing before the songs are brought back into relief by Mascis' laconic whine. Dinosaur's SST records laid the foundation for alternative rock's commercial breakthrough in the early '90s, and while the band's profile was raised substantially in the wake of Nirvana's success, they never really became much bigger than highly respected cult figures. Mascis (born Joseph D. Mascis; guitar, vocal) formed Dinosaur Jr. in Amherst, MA, after his hardcore punk band Deep Wound broke up in 1983. Hooking up with fellow high-school student Lou Barlow (bass), Mascis initially played drums in Dinosaur, but shortly afterward, former All White Jury drummer Murph (born Emmett "Patrick" Murphy), joined the group and J moved to guitar. Over the next year the group developed a local following, and in 1985 the trio released its debut album, Dinosaur, on the Homestead label. The record and the group's crushingly loud concerts developed a cult following over the next year. By the end of 1986, a hippie rock group called Dinosaur -- featuring former members of Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe & the Fish -- sued the band, which changed its name to Dinosaur Jr. You're Living All Over Me In 1987, Dinosaur Jr. signed to Black Flag's indie label SST and released You're Living All Over Me, which became an underground sensation, with groups like Sonic Youth championing Mascis' wild, feedback-drenched guitar. Early in 1988 they released the seminal single "Freak Scene," a song that captured the feeling and tone of the emerging American post-punk underground. "Freak Scene" became a college radio hit, and it led the way for their acclaimed 1988 album Bug. Although the band's popularity continued to grow, tensions were developing between Mascis and Barlow, who rarely talked to each other. In 1989, Mascis told Barlow that the group was breaking up; the following day, he "re-formed" Dinosaur Jr., this time without Barlow, who went on to form Sebadoh. Green Mind Without Barlow, Dinosaur Jr. relied on a rotating array of guest bassists, including Don Fleming and the Screaming Trees' Van Connor. In 1989, the group had an underground hit with their non-LP cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven." The following year, they signed with Sire Records. After "Just Like Heaven," Mascis remained quiet for several years as he produced acts like Buffalo Tom and collaborated with friends like Sonic Youth and Fleming's Velvet Monkeys. Green Mind, Dinosaur's 1991 major-label debut, was recorded almost entirely alone by Mascis, and its varied, eclectic sound was received poorly in many alternative rock circles. Before the Green Mind tour, former Snakepit member Mike Johnson became the group's full-time bassist. On the subsequent tour, Dinosaur Jr. were supported by Nirvana, whose success with Nevermind soon overshadowed Dinosaur's. Whatever's Cool with Me Instead of capitalizing on the commercial breakthrough of alternative rock, Dinosaur released an EP, Whatever's Cool With Me, in early 1992 and disappeared to record their next album. Released early in 1993, Where You Been benefited greatly from the commercial breakthrough of alternative rock, and many of the articles surrounding the album's release hailed Mascis as an alternative godfather. It became the first Dinosaur album to chart, peaking at number 50, and it generated the modern rock hit "Start Choppin." That summer, the group played on the third Lollapalooza tour. Mascis recorded the band's next album without Murph, who unceremoniously left the band; he later joined the Lemonheads. Dinosaur Jr. released Without a Sound in 1994 to mixed reviews, but the album was a moderate hit, thanks to the MTV and modern rock hit "Feel the Pain." In the fall of 1995, Mascis launched his first solo acoustic tour, which was captured on his first official solo album, Martin & Me, released in the spring of 1996. Hand It Over After contributing several Brian Wilson-styled songs to Alison Anders' 1996 film Grace of My Heart -- he also made an appearance in the movie -- Mascis completed Dinosaur's next album on his own, leaving Johnson to his solo career. Upon its spring 1997 release, Hand It Over was hailed as Mascis' best album in years, although it failed to generate a significant hit. By the late '90s, Mascis decided to break up Dinosaur Jr. and launch a solo career, resulting in the release of More Light in 2000 (under the name of J Mascis + the Fog, a group that also featured former Minutemen bassist Mike Watt). The new group's ensuing tour was cut short in June of 2001, however, when their tour bus was involved in a serious accident in Sweden, resulting in Mascis cracking two vertebrae. In the wake of their breakup, a pair of postmortem Dinosaur Jr. collections saw the light of day in the early 21st century: 2000s live-in-the-studio BBC Sessions and 2001's Ear-Bleeding Country: The Best Of. In addition, the history of Dinosaur Jr.'s original lineup was documented in Michael Azerrad's excellent 2001 book of '80s alt-rock pioneers, Our Band Could Be Your Life. Beyond In 2005 the first three albums were reissued on Merge and Mascis announced the original band would be reuniting for a short tour. A year later, Green Mind and Where You Been were reissued by Sire with bonus tracks while Rhino released J Mascis Live at CBGB's, a recording of an acoustic gig from 1993. To coincide with the 2006 reissues, the reunited band began a world-wide tour and announced plans to work on material for a new album, which surfaced in 2007 in the form of Beyond. The reunion stuck, and the original lineup of Dinosaur Jr. eventually releasing Farm in 2009, followed by I Bet on Sky in 2012.
allmusic

27 ene. 2013

Camper Van Beethoven - La Costa Perdida




by James Christopher Monger
A hastily signed, well-worn postcard from the group’s Northern California haunts of Redlands, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco, La Costa Perdida, the eighth studio album from consistently unclassifiable freak-rock pioneers Camper Van Beethoven, plays fast and loose with the band’s mythology. Steeped in a hazy patina of Post-Laurel Canyon, ratty boot cut jeans, and barefoot, Pacific Ocean Americana, CVB's first album since 2004’s New Roman Times is willfully homespun, rough around the edges, and crackly as a campfire full of pine branches, roaches, junk mail, and empty tall boys. Boasting a well-seasoned crew in David LoweryVictor KrummenacherJonathan SegalGreg LisherChris Pedersen, and Michael Urbano), La Costa Perdida flies highest when it’s high-fiving its fan base. Stand-out cuts like “Peaches in the Summertime” and the Tejano-tinged title cut will please the old guard; the quietly propulsive “Come Down the Coast” and the sweetly psychedelic “Someday Our Love Will Sell Us Out” will appeal to fans of the group’s Virgin Records era (Our Beloved Revolutionary SweetheartKey Lime Pie), and the gritty “Too High for the Love-In” and the subversively epic “Northern California Girls” should satiate Crackerfanatics, resulting in one of the year’s most idiosyncratic releases. Depending on your predilection, it will either bore the crap out of you, pass on by like a rest stop without a vending machine, or reignite the flame for a band that has always celebrated, as Lowery sings on 1989's "All Her Favorite Fruit," the “fecundity of life and love.”

26 ene. 2013

The Jam - Setting Sons








by Chris Woodstra
The Jam's Setting Sons was originally planned as a concept album about three childhood friends who, upon meeting after some time apart, discover the different directions in which they've grown apart. Only about half of the songs ended up following the concept due to a rushed recording schedule, but where they do, Paul Weller vividly depicts British life, male relationships, and coming to terms with entry into adulthood. Weller's observations of society are more pointed and pessimistic than ever, but at the same time, he's employed stronger melodies with a slicker production and comparatively fuller arrangements, even using heavy orchestration for a reworked version of Bruce Foxton's "Smithers-Jones." Setting Sonsoften reaches brilliance and stands among The Jam's best albums, but the inclusion of a number of throwaways and knockoffs (especially the out-of-place cover of "Heat Wave" which closes the album) mars an otherwise perfect album.
allmusic.com

Frank Bango

biography by Steve Leggett
Fugitive Girls New York City-based singer and songwriter Frank Bango's accessible, classic-sounding pop songs sound refreshingly familiar, almost as if they came out of another less frantic and noisy era. All of this is by design, since Bango and his longtime co-writer, Richy Vesecky, have always aimed for a kind of Brill Building approach in their songs. Handling all steps of the process D.I.Y., from writing, producing, and recording to distribution and marketing, Bango has released four albums on his own Sincere Recordings imprint since 1994, I Set Myself on Fire Today, Fugitive Girls, The Unstudied Sea, and The Sweet Songs of Decay.
allmusic

25 ene. 2013

The Dils

  by Steve Huey
 The Dils were one of the biggest draws on the late '70s L.A. punk circuit. Led by harmonizing brothers Chip and Tony Kinman, the group played short, aggressive songs with political lyrics, often from a socialist viewpoint. During the group's four years of existence, it only released three 7-inch singles; all of their albums were posthumous, culled from the singles and various live performances. The group later evolved into Rank and File.
allmusic

Paul Westerberg-Love Untold

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24 ene. 2013

The Dickies

 by Steve Huey
The Dickies were the clown princes of punk, not to mention surprisingly longstanding veterans of the L.A. scene. In fact, by the new millennium, they'd become the oldest surviving punk band still recording new material. In contrast to the snotty, intentionally offensive humor of many comedically inclined punk bands, The Dickies were winningly goofy, inspired mostly by trashy movies and other pop culture camp. Their covers were just as ridiculous as their originals, transforming arena rock anthems and bubblegum pop chestnuts alike into the loud, speed-blur punk-pop -- basically the Ramones crossed with L.A. hardcore -- that was their musical stock in trade. As the band got older, their music slowed down little by little, but their sound and their sense of humor stayed largely the same, and they were an avowed influence on new-school punkers like Green Day and the Offspring. Inspired by the first wave of punk coming out of New York and London, The Dickies were formed in 1977 in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. Their initial lineup consisted of cartoon-voiced lead singer Leonard Graves Phillips, guitarist Stan Lee (both of whom would remain constant throughout the band's myriad personnel shifts), keyboardist/saxophonist/guitarist Chuck Wagon (b. Bob Davis), bassist Billy Club (b. Bill Remar), and drummer Karlos Kaballero (b. Carlos Caballero). Already local scenesters, the majority of the band had some connection with the Quick, either as friends or roadies, and started out mostly as a cover band and an amusing diversion for its members. They started playing around the burgeoning L.A. punk scene within a few weeks of forming, and quickly earned a following with their zany live show, which featured outlandish costumes, puppets, and a midget roadie. On the strength of their demo tape, The Dickies became the first L.A. punk band to score a major-label deal in 1978, when they signed with A&M. That year they issued their debut single, which featured their warp-speed cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" and the originals "Hideous" and "You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)"; the latter reigned as their signature song for many years afterward. In early 1979, the group's debut album, The Incredible Shrinking Dickies, was released to significant sales in the U.K., where their cover of the "Banana Splits" cartoon theme song became a Top Five hit. By the end of the year, The Dickies were able to put together a follow-up, Dawn of the Dickies, which featured the fan favorites "Attack of the Mole Men" and "Manny, Moe and Jack," plus a jokey, rocked-up cover of the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin." In 1980, The Dickies released a single version of "Gigantor," the theme from a Japanese cartoon series. By the end of the year, the increasingly volatile Chuck Wagon had left the band; sadly, he shot and killed himself in June 1981. Stunned, the rest of The Dickies went on hiatus, during which much of the original lineup drifted out of the group. Late that year, Phillips and Lee returned with a new version of The Dickies, which included guitarist Steve Hufstetter (ex-Quick), bassist Lorenzo "Laurie" Buhne, and drummer Jerry Angel; Hufstetter was soon replaced by Scott Sindon. This lineup recorded half of the material on the 1983 mini-LP Stukas Over Disneyland, the other half of which dated from 1980 sessions with the late Chuck Wagon replacing Kaballero on drums and Sindon on second guitar. A lengthy hiatus from recording ensued, as Phillips and Lee struggled to keep a steady lineup together just for touring purposes. A new group featuring second guitarist Glen Laughlin, ex-Weirdos drummer Nickey Beat, and founding bassist Billy Club was on the road by the end of 1983. Beat was replaced by Rex Roberts in early 1984, and when Laughlin broke his hand in a car accident later that year, Steve Fryette signed on; around the same time, Jerry Angel and Laurie Buhne returned as the rhythm section. By 1985, Laughlin had recovered and returned as the bassist, teaming with new drummer Cliff Martinez. In 1986, ROIR issued the live compilation We Aren't the World, which featured concert recordings from throughout The Dickies' existence, as well as their original demo tape. In 1988, The Dickies regrouped for a return to the studio, specifically to record the title theme for the low-budget sci-fi/horror comedy Killer Klowns from Outer Space. By this time, their lineup included Phillips, Lee, second guitarist Enoch Hain, and a Buhne-Martinez rhythm section. The Killer Klowns project turned into a five-song EP -- issued by Restless -- that also included a cover of "Eep Opp Ork (Uh, Uh)," a rockabilly tune once featured in an episode of The Jetsons. The EP brought The Dickies back to underground prominence, and 1989 brought their first full-length album of new material in six years, Second Coming. In the meantime, A&M issued a retrospective of their earlier work called Great Dictations: The Definitive Dickies Collection. A second live album, Locked 'n' Loaded, followed in 1990 on Taang. Another lengthy hiatus followed, however, during which time rumors about the band's drug problems began to circulate. The Dickies didn't resurface again until 1993, when they issued the three-song EP Road Kill. Not long after, bands like Green Day and the Offspring brought punk-pop to the top of the charts, shining a spotlight on The Dickies as an influence. Renewed interest in the band led to a new album, Idjit Savant, which appeared on Triple X in 1995. It featured contributions from the previous Dickies lineup, as well as Glen Laughlin, bassist Charlie Alexander, and Smashing Pumpkins cohort Jonathan Melvoin on drums. Phillips and Lee subsequently assembled a more permanent lineup featuring second guitarist Little Dave Teague, bassist Rick Dasher, and drummer Travis Johnson. Always known for their tongue-in-cheek covers, the band put together its first all-covers album, Dogs from the Hare That Bit Us, for Triple X in 1998. They subsequently signed with Fat Mike's Fat Wreck Chords indie punk label, debuting with the single "My Pop the Cop." The full-length All This and Puppet Stew followed in 2001. Punk Singles Collection appeared in June of 2002 on the U.K.-based Spectrum, while Live in London showed up three months later.
allmusic.

Elton John - Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy






by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Sitting atop the charts in 1975, Elton John and Bernie Taupin recalled their rise to power in Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, their first explicitly conceptual effort since Tumbleweed Connection. It's no coincidence that it's their best album since then, showcasing each at the peak of his power, as John crafts supple, elastic, versatile pop and Taupin's inscrutable wordplay is evocative, even moving. What's best about the record is that it works best of a piece -- although it entered the charts at number one, this only had one huge hit in "Someone Saved My Life Tonight," which sounds even better here, since it tidily fits into the musical and lyrical themes. And although the musical skill on display here is dazzling, as it bounces between country and hard rock within the same song, this is certainly a grower. The album needs time to reveal its treasures, but once it does, it rivals Tumbleweed in terms of sheer consistency and eclipses it in scope, capturing John and Taupin at a pinnacle. They collapsed in hubris and excess not long afterward -- Rock of the Westies, which followed just months later is as scattered as this is focused -- but this remains a testament to the strengths of their creative partnership.




22 ene. 2013

Allen Toussaint - Southern Nights

review[-]by Stephen Thomas Erlewine Allen Toussaint produced a kind of masterpiece with his first Reprise album, Life, Love and Faith, finding previously unimagined variations on his signature New Orleans R&B sound. For its 1975 sequel, Southern Nights, he went even further out, working with producer Marshall Sehorn to create a hazy vague concept album that flirted with neo-psychedelia while dishing out his deepest funk and sweetest soul. It's a bit of an unfocused album, but that's largely due to the repeated instrumental "filler," usually based on the theme of the title song, that pops up between every two or so songs, undercutting whatever momentum the album is building. That, along with a song or two that are merely average Toussaint, prevents Southern Nights from being a full-fledged masterpiece, but it comes close enough to that level of distinction anyway due to the brilliance of its best songs. There is, of course, "Southern Nights," which Glen Campbell later took to the top of the charts, but it's nearly unrecognizable here, given a swirling, trippy arrangement that plays like a heat mirage. It's rivalled by the exquisite "What Do You Want the Girl to Do?," later covered by both Bonnie Raitt and Boz Scaggs, neither of which equal the beautiful, sighing resignation of Toussaint's impeccable vocal performance. Then, there are the songs that weren't covered, but should have been, like the nearly anthemic "Back in Baby's Arm," the rolling, catchy "Basic Lady," the stately "You Will Not Lose," or the steady-grooving end-of-the-night "When the Party's Over." Then, there are the songs that perhaps only Toussaint could sing, given their complex yet nimble grooves: witness how "Country John" seems like a simple, straight-ahead New Orleans raver but really switches tempo and rhythm over the course of the song, or how the monumental "Last Train" builds from its spare, funky opening to a multi-layered conclusion boasting one of Toussaint's best horn arrangements and vocal hooks. These disparate sounds may not be tied together by the interludes, as they were intended, but they nevertheless hold together because they're strong songs all bearing Toussaint's unmistakable imprint. They're so good that they nearly knock the "near" of off the near-masterpiece status for Southern Nights, and they're the reason why the album should be a part of any serious soul collection.

Bo Diddley

biography [-] by Richie Unterberger He only had a few hits in the 1950s and early '60s, but as Bo Diddley sang, "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover." You can't judge an artist by his chart success, either, and Diddley produced greater and more influential music than all but a handful of the best early rockers. The Bo Diddley beat -- bomp, ba-bomp-bomp, bomp-bomp -- is one of rock & roll's bedrock rhythms, showing up in the work of Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, and even pop-garage knock-offs like the Strangeloves' 1965 hit "I Want Candy." Diddley's hypnotic rhythmic attack and declamatory, boasting vocals stretched back as far as Africa for their roots, and looked as far into the future as rap. His trademark otherworldly vibrating, fuzzy guitar style did much to expand the instrument's power and range. But even more important, Bo's bounce was fun and irresistibly rocking, with a wisecracking, jiving tone that epitomized rock & roll at its most humorously outlandish and freewheeling. Before taking up blues and R&B, Diddley had studied classical violin, but shifted gears after hearing John Lee Hooker. In the early '50s, he began playing with his longtime partner, maraca player Jerome Green, to get what Bo's called "that freight train sound." Billy Boy Arnold, a fine blues harmonica player and singer in his own right, was also playing with Diddley when the guitarist got a deal with Chess in the mid-'50s (after being turned down by rival Chicago label Vee-Jay). His very first single, "Bo Diddley"/"I'm a Man" (1955), was a double-sided monster. The A-side was soaked with futuristic waves of tremolo guitar, set to an ageless nursery rhyme; the flip was a bump-and-grind, harmonica-driven shuffle, based around a devastating blues riff. But the result was not exactly blues, or even straight R&B, but a new kind of guitar-based rock & roll, soaked in the blues and R&B, but owing allegiance to neither. Diddley was never a top seller on the order of his Chess rival Chuck Berry, but over the next half-dozen or so years, he produced a catalog of classics that rival Berry's in quality. "You Don't Love Me," "Diddley Daddy," "Pretty Thing," "Diddy Wah Diddy," "Who Do You Love?," "Mona," "Road Runner," "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover" -- all are stone-cold standards of early, riff-driven rock & roll at its funkiest. Oddly enough, his only Top 20 pop hit was an atypical, absurd back-and-forth rap between him and Jerome Green, "Say Man," that came about almost by accident as the pair were fooling around in the studio. As a live performer, Diddley was galvanizing, using his trademark square guitars and distorted amplification to produce new sounds that anticipated the innovations of '60s guitarists like Jimi Hendrix. In Great Britain, he was revered as a giant on the order of Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. the Rolling Stones in particular borrowed a lot from Bo's rhythms and attitude in their early days, although they only officially covered a couple of his tunes, "Mona" and "I'm Alright." Other British R&B groups like the Yardbirds, Animals, and Pretty Things also covered Diddley standards in their early days. Buddy Holly covered "Bo Diddley" and used a modified Bo Diddley beat on "Not Fade Away"; when the Stones gave the song the full-on Bo treatment (complete with shaking maracas), the result was their first big British hit. The British Invasion helped increase the public's awareness of Diddley's importance, and ever since then he's been a popular live act. Sadly, though, his career as a recording artist -- in commercial and artistic terms -- was over by the time the Beatles and Stones hit America. He would record with ongoing and declining frequency, but after 1963, he never wrote or recorded original material on par with his early classics. Whether he'd spent his muse, or just felt he could coast on his laurels, is hard to say. But he remains a vital part of the collective rock & roll consciousness, and occasionally reached wider visibility via a 1979 tour with the Clash, a cameo role in the film Trading Places, a late-'80s tour with Ronnie Wood, and a 1989 television commercial for sports shoes with star athlete Bo Jackson.

Neil Diamond

biography[-]by William Ruhlmann In a career that began in the 1960s, Neil Diamond became a major recording artist, an internationally successful touring act, and a songwriter whose compositions produced hits for himself and others. His earliest recognition, in fact, came as a songwriter associated with the Brill Building era of Tin Pan Alley in the early '60s. But he soon branched out into recording and performing, and by the early '70s was topping the charts with the self-written singles "Cracklin' Rosie" and "Song Sung Blue." This enabled him to be one of the more noticeable figures in the singer/songwriter movement of the period, as he made a transition to more of an album artist and those albums began to earn gold and platinum certifications. He also developed into a dynamic concert performer, as demonstrated on his 1972 album Hot August Night. At the same time, however, his music became generally softer, which broadened his appeal while earning him opprobrium, when he was considered at all, by the rock critics who dominated pop music journalism. But his millions of fans didn't care about that, and they flocked to his shows and bought his albums in big numbers until well into the 1980s. After that, while his concert tours continued to post high grosses, his record sales became more modest. Still, as of 2001, he claimed worldwide record sales of 115 million copies, and early in the 21st century, he ranked third, behind only Elton John and Barbra Streisand, on the list of the most successful adult contemporary artists in the history of the Billboard chart. Neil Leslie Diamond was born January 24, 1941, in Brooklyn, New York, the first of two sons born to Akeeba Diamond (known as Kieve), who operated and owned a series of dry goods stores in the New York City borough, and Rose (Rapoport) Diamond. Except for two years in the mid-'40s that the family spent in Wyoming while Akeeba Diamond served in the military, Diamond grew up in Brooklyn, albeit in changing locations as his father moved from store to store; he later claimed to have attended nine different schools and to have suffered socially as a result. He showed an early interest in music and took up singing and playing the guitar after seeing Pete Seeger perform at a camp he was attending as a teenager. In June 1958, he graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School, and that fall he enrolled at New York University, where he had won a fencing scholarship, as a premed student. But he seems to have spent much of his time writing songs and trying to place them at music publishing companies. He also formed a duo with Jack Packer, a friend of his younger brother's, and as Neil & Jack they signed a publishing contract with Allied Entertainment Corporation of America and a recording contract with its subsidiary, Duel Records. This resulted in the release of two singles, "You Are My Love"/"What Will I Do" in 1960 and "I'm Afraid"/"Till You've Tried Love" in 1961, Diamond's first commercially released recordings. (In 1996, he reissued "What Will I Do" on his box set In My Lifetime.) The discs were not successful, and Neil & Jack broke up when Packer enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music in January 1961. Diamond, meanwhile, had stopped attending NYU in 1960, but in 1961 he enrolled in the university's School of Commerce, where he maintained his student status until 1965. (Although many accounts of his life repeat the erroneous story that he dropped out of NYU in 1962 just short of earning an undergraduate degree, biographer Rich Wiseman learned the truth by consulting the university's records.) On his own, Diamond continued trying to break into the music business as a songwriter. In 1962, he briefly had a deal at Sunbeam Music, which published some of his songs, followed by a stint at Roosevelt Music. While he was there, an assignment came in from Dot Records to submit a follow-up to Pat Boone's novelty hit "Speedy Gonzales." Ten of the firm's writers eventually collaborated on a song, appropriately called "Ten Lonely Guys," which Boone recorded, and which reached number 45 in the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1962. Diamond, one of the ten, was credited under the pseudonym Mark Lewis, but this was his first appearance in the charts. Also in 1962, his composition "Santa Santa" was recorded by the Rocky Fellers and released by Scepter Records. But his next career development involved his own performing. In early 1963, he was signed to a singles deal by Columbia Records, and on January 24th, his 22nd birthday, had his first solo recording session, followed by a second session three months later. The results emerged on July 2 as Columbia single 42809, "Clown Town"/"At Night," his first solo release. Unfortunately, the record flopped, and he was dropped by the label. Recently married to schoolteacher Jay Posner (with whom he had two daughters), Diamond kept plugging away, even opening his own tiny office above the jazz club Birdland in midtown Manhattan. In early 1965, his song "Just Another Guy" was recorded in the U.K. by Cliff Richard and placed on the B-side of the number one single "The Minute You're Gone," released on the British Columbia label. In February 1965, he met the successful writers and producers Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who took an interest in him and got him signed to songwriter/producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's Trio Music publishing company for three months. This association was over by the time Leiber and Stoller had one of their clients, Jay & the Americans, record "Sunday and Me," a song Diamond had written at Trio. Released as a single in the fall of 1965, the song peaked at number 18 in December, giving him his first real hit as a songwriter. By then, he had made other progress in his career. On June 25, he signed a deal with Barry and Greenwich for publishing and recording, the three forming Tallyrand Music with Diamond as president. (This appears to have prompted his decision finally to drop out of NYU.) Tallyrand shopped both Diamond's songs and Diamond as a recording artist, and on January 6, 1966, it signed a contract with WEB IV, the company controlling the independent Bang Records label. Soon after, Diamond was back in a recording studio, and on April 4, Bang released his label debut single, "Solitary Man," produced, as all his subsequent Bang discs would be, by Barry and Greenwich. "Solitary Man" gave him his first chart entry as a recording artist, peaking at number 55 on the Hot 100 in July. Diamond quickly followed "Solitary Man" with his second Bang single, "Cherry, Cherry," released in July 1966, which gave him his first substantial hit, peaking at number six in October. The single's B-side, "I'll Come Running," was covered by Cliff Richard, who scored a Top 40 hit with it in 1967. When song publisher Don Kirshner heard "Cherry, Cherry," he called Diamond into his office and asked if the songwriter had a similarly upbeat tune that could be used by the Monkees, a group put together for an upcoming TV series. Diamond played him "I'm a Believer," a song intended for his debut album. Kirshner liked it, and Diamond, Barry, and Greenwich recorded a backing track that Kirshner took to California and had the Monkees sing over. By the time "I'm a Believer" was released as the Monkees' second single in the fall of 1966, the group was a teenybopper phenomenon, and the disc had advance orders of over one million copies. It shot to number one, where it stayed seven weeks, becoming the biggest single of 1967. Diamond's debut LP, The Feel of Neil Diamond, released in August 1966, was a rush job, featuring "Cherry, Cherry" and "Solitary Man" along with his covers of hits like "La Bamba" and "Monday, Monday." It barely charted. Also featured, however, was "I Got the Feelin' (Oh No No)," an original composition that would be his next single in October. It reached number 16 in December, but the 45 was also significant for its Diamond-penned B-side, "The Boat That I Row." British singer Lulu quickly covered the song, and her version became a Top Ten U.K. hit in the spring of 1967. Diamond's fourth Bang single, "You Got to Me," was released in December 1966 and peaked at number 18 in March 1967. In February, his song "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)" was featured on the Monkees' chart-topping second album, More of the Monkees. The following month, "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You," the Diamond-penned follow-up to "I'm a Believer," entered the singles chart for the Monkees; it peaked at number two in April. Also in March, Bang released its fifth Diamond single, "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon," which became his second Top Ten hit in May. In April, Ronnie Dove entered the charts with "My Babe," written and produced for him by Diamond; it peaked at number 50 in May. Bang's sixth Diamond single, "Thank the Lord for the Night Time," appeared in June, peaking at number 13 in August. That month saw the release of Diamond's second LP, Just for You, which peaked at number 80. Diamond's sixth Bang single, "Kentucky Woman," followed in September, and it reached number 22 in November, giving him his sixth consecutive Top 40 hit. After nearly two years of hit recording and songwriting, Diamond had a falling-out with his producers and his record label. As popular music turned more serious in the late '60s, he became less satisfied writing simple pop songs, and, instead of "Kentucky Woman," he had proposed that his sixth Bang single be "Shilo," an introspective ballad not about the Civil War battle, but about an imaginary childhood friend, that he had written and recorded. Bang, thinking the song less commercial than "Kentucky Woman," used it as an LP track on Just for You instead, and Diamond, who was also dissatisfied with his royalties, found a loophole in his contract, which, it turned out, failed to bind him exclusively to WEB IV and Tallyrand. He therefore declared himself free to sign a recording contract with another company. Soon, lawsuits were flying. On March 12, 1968, a judge denied WEB IV's request for a temporary injunction preventing Diamond from signing to another record label while his contract dispute was making its way through the courts. It was a key decision; the lawsuits would continue for another nine years until Diamond settled them on February 18, 1977, when he purchased his Bang master recordings. But on March 18, 1968, he signed a five-year contract with Uni Records, a division of the MCA entertainment company. The first product of the deal was another introspective, autobiographical ballad, "Brooklyn Roads," released in April. Diamond followed with the more uptempo "Two-Bit Manchild" that month, but neither that single nor its follow-up, "Sunday Sun," which appeared in September, restored him to the Top 40, and Velvet Gloves and Spit, Diamond's debut album for Uni, failed to chart. Meanwhile, there was more upheaval in his life. Now romantically involved with TV production assistant Marcia Kay Murphey, he left his wife and moved to California. After their divorce was final in November 1969, he married Murphey one month later. Professionally, Diamond tried to stem the tide of his career decline by recording at American Sound Studio in Memphis, beginning on January 8, 1969. Working with producers Tommy Cogbill and Chips Moman, he took more of a gospel-tinged, country-rock approach, starting with the single "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show," quickly released as a single, which peaked at number 22 in April, his best chart showing in 18 months. He quickly returned to Memphis and cut an album also called Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show that was released in April and peaked at number 82. The song that finally sealed Diamond's commercial comeback was his next single, "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)," a catchy tune that peaked at number four in August, the same month it earned a gold record certification for sales of one million singles. Diamond followed "Sweet Caroline" with the gospel-tinged "Holly Holy," released in October 1969, and scored another big hit, the track peaking at number six in December. It was his second gold (and eventually platinum) single, and the song earned a cover by Junior Walker & the All-Stars that made the R&B Top 40 in 1971. The Diamond recording was included in his fifth LP, Touching You Touching Me, released in November 1969; the disc was his most successful so far, peaking at number 30 and going gold in a little over a year. Meanwhile, Diamond's career resurgence was not going unnoticed at his former label, Bang Records, which hired American Sound Studio musicians to record a new musical track for "Shilo" under Diamond's vocal. With a sound more like his current records, the single reached number 24 in April 1970. Diamond responded by returning to Memphis himself and cutting a new recording of "Shilo," which was added to later editions of Velvet Gloves and Spit. A more ambitious effort was "Soolaimón (African Trilogy II)," released in April, an excerpt from the side-long "folk ballet" of African-styled songs to be featured on his next album, Tap Root Manuscript, in the fall. The single reached number 30 in May. Diamond's next new single, "Cracklin' Rosie" (famously referring to the cheap wine Cracklin' Rosé), appeared in July and became his biggest hit yet, topping the charts in October. Also released in July 1970 was the live album Gold, which had been recorded in March at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles. Another major commercial success, it peaked at number ten in September. As the result of "Cracklin' Rosie" and Gold, by the fall of 1970 Diamond had graduated to the theater and arena circuit as a live act. For his next single, he made the odd choice of releasing a cover of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," a song that had been a Top Ten hit for the Hollies the previous spring. Competing with Bang's release of the former B-side "Do It," it still managed to peak at number 20 in December and, along with "Soolaimón" and "Cracklin' Rosie," served as a good calling card for Tap Root Manuscript, which appeared in November. Consistent with Diamond's current status, the album peaked at number 13. Reportedly, Diamond worked months on the lyric of his next single, the autobiographical "I Am...I Said," released in March 1971. An impassioned statement of emotional turmoil, the song was very much in tune with the confessional singer/songwriter movement of the time, and it became a major hit, peaking at number four in May, with even its B-side, "Done Too Soon" (previously released on Tap Root Manuscript), earning a chart placing. "I Am...I Said" earned Diamond his first Grammy nomination, for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. Diamond returned to the record racks in the fall with the ballad "Stones," released in October, followed by an album of the same name in November. The single reached number 14, while the LP stopped just short of the Top Ten and went gold in two months. Diamond's next album, Moods, was prefaced by another of his standards. "Song Sung Blue," released in April 1972, became his second number one hit on the Hot 100 in July, also becoming his fourth gold single and earning Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. In August, Diamond performed ten shows at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, recording them for a live album. The double-LP set Hot August Night, which appeared in November, cemented his status as a concert attraction by hitting number five and going gold in a month. (It was later certified double platinum.) A single of "Cherry, Cherry" was excerpted from the release and made number 31. Hot August Night marked Diamond's ascension to superstar status, and it also marked the end of a phase of his career. After three weeks of shows at the Winter Garden on Broadway in October, he temporarily retired from live performing. At the same time, he had completed his recording contract, and he signed a new, lucrative one with Columbia Records. His first project for the new label was a song score for the film version of the best-selling novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull. It was a troubled project, and by the time the movie was released in October 1973, both Diamond and Richard Bach, the book's author, were suing the film producer. Reviews were awful, and the picture bombed. But Diamond's score, released as a solo album by him, was a hit. The single "Be" only grazed the Top 40, yet the LP reached number two in December. It also won Diamond the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special. Even after completing Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Diamond continued to stay off the road. He was next heard from in the fall of 1974, when he released his first regular album for Columbia, Serenade, prefaced by the single "Longfellow Serenade," which was his biggest hit since "Song Sung Blue," peaking at number five on the Hot 100 and number one on the AC chart in November. Serenade hit number three in December, another instant gold album that has since gone platinum. Another year went by before Diamond finally returned to live work, doing a few shakedown shows in California and Utah in late January and early February 1976 before launching a tour of Australia and New Zealand, followed by more dates in the U.S. in the spring. Meanwhile, working with Malibu neighbor Robbie Robertson of the Band as his producer, he had finished a new album, Beautiful Noise, its songs reflecting back on his early-'60s days in Tin Pan Alley. Leadoff single "If You Know What I Mean," issued in June, reached number 11 on the Hot 100, and the album, which followed a couple of weeks later, hit number four. On July 1, 1976, for a hefty fee, Diamond made his Las Vegas debut at the Aladdin Hotel, though he would avoid the entertainment mecca afterward until well into the '90s. In September, he returned to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, this time with both cameras and recording equipment in tow. On November 25, 1976, he appeared as one of the special guests at the Band's farewell concert at Winterland in San Francisco, performing the Beautiful Noise track "Dry Your Eyes," which he had co-written with Robertson. The show was filmed and recorded for the 1978 movie and triple-LP set The Last Waltz. Both of Diamond's albums of 1977 were associated with television specials. First came Love at the Greek, like Hot August Night a two-LP concert set drawn from shows at the Greek Theatre. It appeared in February 1977, two weeks ahead of The Neil Diamond Special, broadcast February 21. The LP reached number eight in April, selling a million copies by July, with another million registered since. Diamond undertook a lengthy tour of Europe in the spring and summer. In November, Diamond was back with a new studio album, I'm Glad You're Here with Me Tonight, again tied into a TV special. The simultaneously released single "Desirée" went Top 20, while the album reached number six in February 1978, racking up the usual sales number of a million copies with another million to come. One of the album tracks for I'm Glad You're Here with Me Tonight was a sad breakup ballad called "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" that Diamond had written for a television pilot about reversed sex roles (hence the novelty of having a man complain about romantic neglect in terms usually used by a woman). Labelmate Barbra Streisand knew a big ballad when she heard one, especially one co-written by her personal lyricists, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and she quickly covered the song, which appeared on her Songbird album in May 1978. A disc jockey, realizing that both Diamond's and Streisand's versions were in the same key, spliced them together and began playing on the air the duet he had created, leading to requests for a record. On October 17, 1978, that desire was satisfied, as the two singers cut a new recording of the song. Credited to "Barbra & Neil," the single was quickly released and soared to number one on the pop charts, eventually earning a platinum certification. Diamond had been working on an album to be titled after a tune called "The American Popular Song," written by his pianist, Tom Hensley; the LP was to be a collection of covers. The unexpected success of the duet upset these plans, however, and Diamond quickly cobbled together an album for release under the title You Don't Bring Me Flowers, which appeared in November. By the end of January, it peaked at number four, having been certified platinum, with a double platinum award to follow. In February, Columbia released another single from it, the uptempo "Forever in Blue Jeans" (co-written by Richard Bennett), which reached the Top 20. Diamond collaborated with French singer/songwriter Gilbert Bécaud on the title track of his next album, September Morn, released in December 1979. The single reached the Top 20 of the pop chart, and the album peaked at number ten in February 1980. Any thought that Diamond's popularity might be cooling, however, was belied by his next project. Almost without acting experience, he had nevertheless agreed to star in a second screen remake of The Jazz Singer. The response was very similar to what had greeted Jonathan Livingston Seagull seven years earlier, except that this time Diamond was actually in the picture. Upon release in December 1980, it was panned by critics and became a box office failure. But the Capitol Records soundtrack album, consisting of a Diamond-written and performed song score, was a remarkable hit. "Love on the Rocks" (co-written with Bécaud) came out in advance of the LP, and it peaked at number two in January 1981. By February, the album was up to number three, having already sold a million copies. "Hello Again" (co-written by Alan Lindgren of Diamond's band), the second single, reached number six in March, and the anthemic "America" peaked at number eight (number one AC) in June as the album kept selling. (Eventually, it was certified for sales of five million copies, making it Diamond's most successful LP. It earned him another Grammy nomination in the category of Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special.) Diamond picked a good time to reach a career peak: his record contract was up for renewal, and he re-signed to Columbia Records in October 1981 committing himself to ten more albums at a guarantee of $30 million dollars. It was, briefly, the most lucrative record contract in history. At the same time, of course, he had a new Columbia album ready, On the Way to the Sky, advanced by the single "Yesterday's Songs," which topped the AC chart and reached number 11 in the pop chart. The album, however, became his first in ten years to miss the Top Ten, peaking at number 17. The title track, co-written with Carole Bayer Sager, failed to chart as a 45, but a third single, "Be Mine Tonight," made the Top 40. Having worked with Bayer Sager, Diamond now turned to collaborating with both her and her then-husband, Burt Bacharach, a fellow graduate of the Brill Building era, on his next album, Heartlight. The title song, written by the three and inspired by the recently released movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, emerged in August 1982 as a single that hit number one in the AC chart and returned Diamond to the pop Top Ten, peaking at number five in November. Diamond was relatively inactive on the performing front in 1983, though he did undertake a weeklong series of shows at the Forum in Los Angeles in June, his first L.A. shows in six years. He was, of course, writing, again collaborating with Bacharach and Bayer Sager, and recording, and on February 6, 1984, he submitted a new album to Columbia. The label asked him to make changes but, citing the artistic control mandated in his contract, he sued to have the LP released as it was. In April, however, he withdrew his suit and revised the disc to the record company's requirements. After completing the new version, he accepted a $500,000 fee for performing three shows at Harrah's Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in June, then undertook a European tour, followed by an American tour. Columbia released the new album, Primitive, in July, along with the first single, "Turn Around" (co-written by Diamond, Bacharach, and Bayer Sager). Notwithstanding the label's attempt to enhance the commerciality of the disc, it was a disappointing seller. "Turn Around" lodged in the AC Top Ten, but missed the pop Top 40, and Primitive peaked at number 35 and only went gold, the worst showing for a new Neil Diamond album since 1969. Diamond reacted by working up what was intended to be one of his most personal albums, as indicated by its proposed title, The Story of My Life. He submitted the collection to Columbia in September 1985, and for the second time in a row had an album rejected by the label. This time, he did not protest publicly. Instead, he accepted Columbia's suggestions that he try to take a more contemporary approach by, for example, working with Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, recording a song written by currently popular rocker Bryan Adams, and using such guest stars as Stevie Wonder (who also co-wrote a song). Eventually, every song on the album except the former title track, "The Story of My Life," was replaced. To further promote the upcoming release, now titled Headed for the Future, in January 1986 Diamond taped a new television special, Hello Again, for CBS, then the parent company of Columbia Records. The special was broadcast May 25, two and a half weeks after the release of Headed for the Future, which itself had been prefaced by the release of the title song (written by Diamond, Hensley, and Lindgren) as a single in late April. The effort to modernize Diamond succeeded only slightly. The album peaked at number 20, an improvement over Primitive, but like its predecessor, the album only went gold. The single missed the Top 40, and a second single, "The Story of My Life," got to only number 11 AC. But if his record sales were disappointing, Diamond's concert tours remained SRO. An eight-night stand at Madison Square Garden in New York was followed by 14 shows back at the Greek Theatre in August, commemorated by Columbia with another double-LP live album, Hot August Night II, released in October 1987. The album, however, peaked at a disappointing number 59 and didn't even go gold at first (though it has since gone platinum). (Appended was a studio recording of "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical Les Misérables, which got to number 13 on the AC chart.) Diamond's main collaborator for his next studio album, The Best Years of Our Lives, was David Foster, who produced it and co-wrote several of the tracks. Released in December 1988 to coincide with an HBO special, the album peaked at number 46 and went gold, with three of its tracks making the AC chart. Much the same response greeted Diamond's next studio album, Lovescape, produced by Peter Asher (the famed producer of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, who began to work with Diamond regularly), when it appeared in August 1991. It peaked at number 44 and spawned three AC chart entries, while taking almost three years to go gold. Meanwhile, however, Diamond remained a major force on the concert circuit, taking his Love in the Round tour around the country and around the world. In 1992, for example, he was said to be the second-highest grossing American concert act of the year. In September 1992, Diamond released his first seasonal collection, The Christmas Album, and promoted it with Neil Diamond's Christmas Special on HBO. In January 1993, Diamond again re-signed to Columbia for an additional six albums. The first of these, released in September, was Up on the Roof: Songs from the Brill Building, his treatments of early-'60s evergreens like the title song and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." It hit number 28 and went gold. Meanwhile, the singer continued to tour extensively, his grosses for the year exceeded only by U2. That success was reflected by yet another chart-bound concert recording, Live in America, a double CD issued in June 1994. The fall brought The Christmas Album, Vol. 2, only two years after its successful predecessor. Also in the fall of 1994, Diamond participated in the Frank Sinatra album Duets II, singing "The House I Live In" with the venerable star. During 1995, Diamond finally got to work on an album of newly written material, but there was a twist. The man whose songs had sometimes been turned into country hits went to Nashville and held songwriting sessions with country writers, also recording with country stars. The result was Tennessee Moon, released in February 1996, along with a TV special, Under a Tennessee Moon, broadcast on ABC. The album peaked at number three in the country charts and number 14 in the pop charts and went gold. Diamond continued to make events out of his album releases. In October 1998, he issued The Movie Album: As Time Goes By, a two-disc collection of covers of movie songs like "Moon River" and "Unchained Melody." It reached number 31 and went gold, earning a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance. As usual, Diamond embarked on a world tour to support it. And as usual, his fans came out. Even during a decade when he retreated from the front line of recording artists, the singer's live following, if anything, increased. He was named the top solo concert artist of the 1990s by Amusement Business magazine. In 2001, Diamond finally wrote and recorded a new studio album, Three Chord Opera, released in July. In fact, he did all the writing entirely by himself, the first time he hadn't collaborated with anyone since Serenade in 1974. In 2004, he began working with renowned producer Rick Rubin, a longtime fan who had produced Johnny Cash's 1990s comeback albums. Before releasing the result of their collaboration, the 2005 album 12 Songs, he embarked on another world tour. 12 Songs was issued on November 8, 2005, to a chorus of positive reviews. It entered the chart at number four, Diamond's highest chart placing in 25 years. In 2006, Diamond made another movie cameo, singing "Hava Nagilah" in the film comedy Keeping Up with the Steins, and he returned to the recording studio with producer Rick Rubin for 2008's Home Before Dark. A holiday release, A Cherry Cherry Christmas, appeared in 2009. In 2010, Diamond released Dreams, a covers collection featuring songs by some of his favorite songwriters of the rock and soul era. In 2011, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

20 ene. 2013

19 ene. 2013

Kevn Kinney

 by Denise Sullivan Kevn - Kinney was the lead singer of the Atlanta rock band Drivin' n' Cryin', but since the band's 1986 inception he's released some spare acoustic records on his own, often collaborating with R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. MacDougal Blues for Island in 1990 announced the rocker's arrival on the folk scene with the engaging title cut and nine more acoustic tracks produced by Buck and mostly played by his bandmates from Drivin' n' Cryin'. Though often cited as a working-class lyricist, Kinney cannot easily be thrown into the same bag as Springsteen, Mellencamp, or Dave Alvin. Instead, his is a unique spin on class, not urban yet not completely rural -- he's lived and worked in the urban center, Atlanta. Yet there is a gentleness and deeply humanistic thread to his work, and his use of traditional instruments enhances his words' warmth. His follow-up, Down Out Law (Mammoth, 1994), is a little more of a downer and less a celebration of folk music than a revealing, melancholy personal treatise, unaccompanied except by himself on guitar, save for one track. Continuing to record with Drivin' n' Cryin', Kinney also toured as a solo act for some time, often assisted by Buck or his brother. A side project with Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule, ex-Allman Brothers) turned into Kinney's third solo album; released in 2000, The Flower & the Knife featured a number of other guests, including Blues Traveler's John Popper, Edwin McCain, members of Gov't Mule and the Allman Brothers, and more. Broken Hearts and Auto Parts arrived in 2002, followed by a reunion record, Great American Bubble Factory, with Drivin' n' Cryin' in 2009. Kinney returned in 2012 with a a new solo outing, Good Country Mile, with the Golden Palominos.
allmusic

Bang 74

Interesante grupo gallego. Será el pulpo....





Bang 74

Power Pop Action!
El grupo nace con la idea de fusionar melodía y energía acercándose al power pop, al punk y alhigh energy. En una entrevista concedida a Power Pop Action! Fran explica cómo tiene lugar su formación y cuál es su ideario: “En principio era un proyecto de Rogelio y Cris, pero no tenían sección rítmica y una noche de juerga nos propusieron hacer algo juntos. Oscar y yo (Fran) no le dimos mucha importancia, ya sabes, los típicos grupos que se forman un sábado por la noche, pero como seguían insistiendo, quedamos para probar y pronto nos dimos cuenta de que conectábamos bastante bien. En cuanto a lo de las influencias, Roge y Cris tenían gustos más pop, Oscar y yo siempre habíamos tocado en grupos punk-rock y rock and roll, pero no creo que el power pop y el high energy sean estilos tan dispares, ahora me vienen a la cabeza los australianos The Monarchs, un grupo que nos gusta mucho y que combinan con mucha clase las melodías pop con las guitarras potentes y hardrockeras, y antes lo habían hecho Cheap Trick o Redd Kross, entre otros”. Entre las influencias podemos hablar, además de los anteriormente citados, de The Replacements, Big Star, MC5, The Flamin' Groovies, Ramones, Badfinger y un claro regusto aussie.
Después de una serie de actuaciones y participaciones en festivales como el Felipop, La Fonográfica General les propone grabar su primer sencillo, el homónimo “Bang 74” (La Fonográfica General, 2007).
Rogelio Arias abandona el grupo en el 2007 para poner en marcha su carrera en solitario como Roger de Flor y cambiar completamente de estilo. La banda continúa mirando hacia delante convertida en trío y en el 2009 lanzan su segundo EP, “Three Kids” (Bang 74, 2009) –el título es un guiño al “Tres Hombres” (Warner, 1973) de ZZ Top-. Un trabajo mucho más elaborado en el que muestran un sonido maduro que recibe elogios del mismísimo Michael Davies de los MC5 –lo curioso es que fue él quien los descubrió por casualidad y le gustó tanto “Time to make things right” que la puso en el perfil de su myspace-. La gira de presentación del EP los lleva a Liverpool, al mítico The Cavern Club y al festival IPO (International Pop Overthrow).
La banda continúa cerca de los escenarios –el 24 de julio del 2010 tocaron en el 7º Action Weekend (Santander) y el 31 de julio en el festival A Todo Filispín (Ferrol)- pero mantiene el silencio hasta el 2012, año en el que llega el single "Covers for Rufus" (Rufus, 2012). Un vinilo 7" de color azul, edición limitada de 300 copias, con dos versiones: "Can you fix me up with her?" de The Now y "You don't love me yet" de Roky Erickson.

Discografía de Bang 74

Corta duración
Bang 74
2007
Bang 74
La Fonográfica General
  • 3.25/5
3.25/5 (2 votos)
Three Kids
2009
Bang 74
Bang 74
  • 3.75/5
3.75/5 (2 votos)
Covers for Rufus
2012
Bang 74
Rufus
  • 4.00/5
4.00/5 (2 votos)
http://lafonoteca.net/grupos/bang-74

18 ene. 2013

Dropkick

Desde Escocia...



www.dropkickmusic.co.uk/

Devon Allman


De tal palo...


by Thom Jurek
Guitarist and songwriter Devon Allman is the son of musician Gregg Allman and hails from Saint Louis, MO. He is the leader of Devon Allman's Honeytribe, whose first incarnation was born in 1999.Honeytribe's hard-edged and spacious blues-based rock displayed in powerful live shows quickly led to them becoming hometown favorites. They won the Riverfront Times Jam Band of the Year award. After recording demos and playing some festivals, Allman disbanded the group in order to spend time at home with his newborn son. He continued to play local and regional solo acoustic shows and write songs. In 2002 he appeared as a guest vocalist on Pinkeye d'Gekko'sRhythm & Westrn. In 2003 he, Randy CashBrian Breckle, and Mark Oyarzabal recorded the albumSomewhere Between Day and Night as Ocean SixAllman re-formed Honeytribe in 2005 with its original cast. They recorded Torch in 2006 and hit the road, playing up to 300 shows a year in 42 states and ten countries, becoming festival favorites all over the world. In 2007 he guested on Paris Luna's City Lights album. He appeared on Love, Union, Peace with bluesman Javier VargasVargas Blues Band(along with Jack BruceReese Wynans, and others) in 2008 as well as the Flamenco Blues Experiencerecording by the same outfit. He also made appearances at various festivals and on MTV Europe. Allmaneventually grew restless with the original Honeytribe sound and pared the band down to a power trio in 2008 with bassist George Potsos and new drummer Gabriel Strange. This incarnation of Devon Allman's Honeytribe issued Space Age Blues in the fall of 2010.