Posts By Jordan Runtagh

by (@JordanRuntagh)

Alvin Lee Dead At 68: The Ten Years After Guitar Legend Is Going Home

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Ten Years After guitarist and Woodstock hero Alvin Lee has passed away today at the age of 68. The British Blues great was perhaps best known for his 1971 hit “I’d Love To Change The World,” but also for his blistering performance of “I’m Going Home” at the legendary music festival, which cemented his reputation as one of the fastest axe-men in the world.

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by (@JordanRuntagh)

Bananarama Launch Their First U.S. Tour In 23 Years

Bananarama are back! After bringing us hit after hit in the 1980s, the group has returned to U.S. soil after 23 long years, and it’s all for a good cause. Singers Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward launched their first American tour since 1989 in support of Hard Rock’s PINKTOBER breast cancer campaign that will fund the work and pay the salaries of three cancer researchers for an entire year. October being breast cancer awareness month, it’s the perfect time to amp up the fight for a cure…with guitar amps. Plus it allows for U.S. fans to see the pair of pop Venuses live and in person for the first time in two decades. Double win!

The 8-city concert series kicked off Tuesday night at Hard Rock’s massive Times Square location, formerly the home of the legendary Paramount Theater. Not a bad place to stage a comeback. Sadly, the reunion did not feature original third member Siobhan Fahey, who left the band in 1989. But Sara and Keren did just fine on their own as they took to the stage with their stellar band and two rubber-limbed backup dancers who bore the brunt of the girls’ musical flirtations.

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by (@JordanRuntagh)

Kanye West’s 10 Most (Un)Romantic Lyrics Of All Time

Kanye West's 10 Most Unromantic Lyrics

“I never was much of a romantic,” sang Kanye West on “Runaway,” the centerpiece track on his epic 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Well nonsense, we say! You’re plenty romantic, Yeezy. And here are our favorite love-lorn lyrics from all through your career to prove it. Whether it was inspired by current flame Kim Kardashian, or past lady-friends like Amber Rose or Selita Ebanks, Kanye is a modern poet spinning rhymes that will melt any woman’s heart. Just today he dropped the track “Clique,” in which he raps about Kim’s career-launching sex-tape with Ray-J.  And that’s just the start of his many romantic maneuvers in song. Check out the list below and see what we mean!

10. “If we die in each others’ arms/Still get laid in the afterlife”
- “Lost In The World” on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

Romance Factor: Here Kanye takes a very practical (and sexy) look at the concept of eternity.

9. “I’m Yeezy, she said, ‘Hi, I’m Maria’/No, you an angel/You wave ‘Hi’ to Aaliyah”
-”Erase Me” on Kid Kudi’s Man On The Moon 2: The Legend Of Mr. Rager (2010)

Romance Factor: Yeezy once again plays on the more practical side of the afterlife, plus gets a sweet shout-out to the late R&B singer.

8. “Feeling like Katrina with no FEMA/Like Martin with no Gina”
-”Flashing Lights” on Graduation (2007)

Romance Factor: It’s not good enough to compare missing your ladylove to a natural disaster/government SNAFU. You have to following it up with a simile referencing the 90s sitcom Martin to really tug at the heartstrings.

7. “Take your diamonds and throw ‘em up like you’re bulimic”
-”Diamonds From Sierra Leone” on Late Registration (2005)

Romance Factor: With one line, Kanye shows that he knows how to treat his woman right, and at the same time so very very wrong.

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by (@JordanRuntagh)

Bruce! Beatle! Graceland! The Hard Rock Calling 2012 Premiere Doesn’t Disappoint

If you heard a muffled boom tonight around 9 PM, that was just the sound of our minds being blown while watching the U.S. television premiere of the 2012 Hard Rock Calling music festival. The 2-hour special was simulcast on both Palladia and VH1, and it brought out all of the hard hitters like Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Soundgarden, Lady Antebellum and more! Never has the phrase “all killer no filler” been more appropriate, and from the moment Bruce kicked things off with an slow-burning hymnal version of “Thunder Road” we knew we were in for something special.

Now full disclosure, we were actually there on the front lines to see HRC live in London last month, but seeing it in full HD on Palladia was a totally different animal all together. When we watched former VH1 You Oughta Know artist Christina Perri perform “Jar of Hearts” and “Arms” in front of 60 thousand people, it felt just as close and intimate as when we first saw her perform in our office! It’s the magic of technology, folks.

Lady Antebellum and the Punch Brothers turned the iconic London park into a down home Nashville ho-down, while John Fogerty burnt the place down with his serious guitar shredding that left dudes half his age in the dust. Tom Morello stepped out from Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave to deliver some protest folk music aimed right at the heart of cooperate America with the Woody Guthrie song “Ease My Revolutionary Mind.” Soundgarden and Iggy & The Stooges went with the more punk tactic of assaulting the audience with bone-crushing volume.

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by (@JordanRuntagh)

Iggy Pop, Tom Morello, John Fogerty: These 2012 Hard Rock Calling Sneaks Will Rock Your World

It’s T-minus two days until the U.S. premiere of Hard Rock Calling 2012 blasts off on Palladia and VH1! Sure that’s pretty soon, but we can’t wait to share the a few of the highlights from the multi-day music festival that rocked so hard that the cops showed up! So direct from us to you, here are some performance sneak peeks to show you what all the fuss is about, and get you even more pumped to see the full two hour feature this Saturday at 9 PM.

First off, we’ve got Iggy Pop, making you forget his age (and that insurance commercial) by tearing into his iconic track, “I Want To Be Your Dog.” The performance was so good, fellow rock legends Jimmy Page and Robert Plant came out to watch! If it’s good enough for those guys, it’s good enough for us. Backed by his old band the Stooges, the inventor of the stage dive does not disappoint.

Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave veteran Tom Morello took to the stage as his alter-ego the Nightwatchman, serving up some searing protest music that touched on everything from the financial crisis to striking firemen. This guy has a lot to say. His set at HRC happened to coincide with what would have been Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday, so Tom payed his respects by doing a spine-tingling cover of the late singer’s “Ease My Revolutionary Mind.” With his shout outs to the Occupy movement and other current events, Tom made the song more relevant than ever.

We don’t care who you are, for our money they best guitar work of the entire festival was done by former Creedence Clearwater Revival front-man John Fogerty. The gravel-voiced legend shredded better than dudes half his age, and we’re still kind of amazed his strings didn’t melt. This clip of John jamming on “Old Man Down The Road” gives you just a little taste. Tune in on Saturday at 9 PM for more of everybody you’ve just seen and more, including Lady Antebellum, Sound Garden, Paul Simon, Christina Perri and of course Bruce Springsteen’s historic duet with Paul McCartney!

[Photo: Getty Images]

by (@JordanRuntagh)

Rock Fans Rejoice: Hard Rock Calling 2012 Will Get Its U.S. TV Premiere On August 25th!

Couldn’t make the trek to London for Hard Rock Calling this year? Palladia’s got you covered, because the network is bringing you the best bits of the epic three day festival! You’ll get to see Bruce Springsteen’s historic duet with Paul McCartney (at least until the cops shut em down!), Paul Simon perform tracks from Graceland backed with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and that’s not even close to all. Incredible performances from Soundgarden, Lady Antebellum, Christina Perri, Iggy & The Stooges and many more are set to make their U.S. TV debut this Saturday the 25th at 9 PM on Palladia, and also simulcast on VH1.

How can they fit that much rock into two hours!? You better spend this week prepping your ears for some serious kickass tunes. Viacom’s music channel Palladia will bring the goods in high def, so it’ll really feel like you’re there. Minus the drunk guy in front of you chanting for “Freebird,” of course. And the special will also air Sunday August 26th at 9PM on VH1 Classic, so you have no excuse to miss out. We were there, and we can tell you: if you love music, you’ll love this. Get pumped!

[Photo: Getty Images]

by (@JordanRuntagh)

Still Crazy: Paul Simon Closes Hard Rock Calling With Epic Graceland Performance

Paul Simon closes Hard Rock Calling festival

The party’s over, the circus has left town, the finale of the 2012 Hard Rock Calling music festival is over and done, and we’re getting so misty-eyed that we can barely see the keyboard. Luckily the powers that be gave us one hell of a parting gift: Paul Simon performing all of Graceland with the original Ladysmith Black Mambazo backing group! It’s hard to feel too bad with music like that swirling in our ears. Rest assured folks, he’s still crazy after all these years.
 
But we’re getting way too ahead of ourselves. Today was something of a gentler day for the HRC lineup. If yesterday was a competition to see who could rock out the hardest (and loudest), today was more of an exploration of the many different possibilities within music, from country to gospel to african rhythm to reggae and beyond. It was truly a grab-bag in the finest sense: every set was an unexpected winner, full of songs you never knew you loved. There was something of a late sixties NorCal festival vibe in their air when we arrived. The English summer sun was shining, and we saw young women brandishing tambourines wandering the muddy grounds in lacy shirts with daisy chains in their hair (really). Plus we saw some seriously outstanding mustaches, which were definitely worth the price of admission.
 
We got there just in time to hear Robert Randolph ripping it up on a pedal steel guitar with his Family Band. Part blues, part funk and all awesome, their  break-neck jams gave us as badly needed wakeup jolt. “We only got two hours sleep last night!” Robert yelled from the stage in between numbers. So did we Bob, and right now we barely have enough energy to lift a can of Red Bull to our lips! How does he do it?!

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by (@JordanRuntagh)

Hard Rock Calling Day Two: Bruce Springsteen Brings Out Paul McCartney, Dreams Come True

Bruce Springsteen performs at Day 2 of Hard Rock Calling

Say it with us now: BRUUUUUUUUUUCEEEEE!! It’s Day Two of the 2012 Hard Rock Calling music festival, and though we had a fantastic roaster of rock ‘n’ rollers on the bill today, there’s one name that shines over the rest. No offense Lady Antebellum, John Fogerty, Tom Morello, Dawes, Gary Clark Jr and the rest of the twenty-three acts who got loud in London – but there was something special in the air tonight. And it smelled like the swamps of Jersey. Bruce Springsteen turned rock performance into an Olympic event, offering up one of his frenzied three hour music marathons. We laughed, we cried, we rocked.

Arriving to Hyde Park in the afternoon, we got the impression that the already-massive festival site had somehow grown even bigger! At first we thought it was just in our heads, but apparently it was true. Organizers have reportedly sold 80 thousands tickets, so many that the gates had to be moved farther back to accommodate the influx of international fans wanting to be honorary Garden State-ers for the night.

We got there just in time to see The Nightwatchman, better known as Tom Morello, take to the stage. Never one to hold back, the former Rage Against The Machine guitarist is still raging, offering a passionately political set in which he touched on everything from the worldwide financial crisis to a British fireman’s strike. In honor of what would have been musical protest pioneer Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday, Morello did a fiery rendition of the late singer’s “Ease My Revolutionary Mind,” fitting in shoutouts to Springsteen, Fogerty and other acts on the bill. “If he were alive today, he would be on the front lines of Occupy movement,” Morello said of Guthrie, who passed away in 1967.

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by (@JordanRuntagh)

Bruce Springsteen And Paul McCartney Get Shut Down By Police For Playing After Curfew At Hard Rock Calling

Rules are rules in England, and nobody is above them. Not even Bruce Springsteen and Sir Paul McCartney! The Boss brought out the Beatle to lend at hand at the end of his headlining set for day two of the Hard Rock Calling music festival in Hyde Park. Eighty thousand music fans were treated to two historic duets: “I Saw Her Standing There” and an epic sprawling version of “Twist and Shout” that really let the E-Street band stretch its legs while Bruce and Paul took turns on the call and response vocals. For ten minutes we the crowd was in musical heaven, but then suddenly the tunes started getting quieter and quieter. It was thought (at least by us) that the band was simply playing softer. But soon Bruce went up to speak into the mic and nothing seemed to come out. He spoke for several minutes while Paul and lead guitarist Stevie Van Zandt looked on, but the words were still inaudible to the crowd. Eventually he gave up trying to play another song, shrugged, took a bow with the band and walked off.

Check out video of the incident below (if you want to cut to the chase, fast-forward to about the 10 minute mark):

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