20 years ago today the remaining members of Nirvana released MTV Unplugged in New York. Released a little more than a half a year after the tragic suicide of singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain, the scaled down versions of the band’s usually bombastic songs showed their power lay in the writing, not in the volume with which they were originally performed. The album was an immediate hit and a fitting final tribute to one of the greatest songwriters of the era. Read more…
Classic rock fans and fellow musicians were saddened this weekend by news that influential bassist Jack Bruce died at the age of 71, succumbing to liver disease. The tributes poured in from members of The Beatles to Black Sabbath, and chief among them was those by his former Cream bandmates Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, with whom Bruce had pioneered the power trio format and hard rock genre. Now Clapton, who called Bruce “a great musician and composer, and a tremendous inspiration to me,” has posted a musical tribute to the bassist on his Facebook page.
Jack Bruce, best known as the bassist and singer for rock icons Cream alongside Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, died as his home in Suffolk, England today at the age of 71. His death was confirmed by his family via Facebook earlier this morning. “It is with great sadness that we, Jack’s family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend,” the statement read. “The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.”
Canadian band Magic! had a smash hit and viral sensation this year with their single “Rude.” Its melody and lyrics are pure pop but it’s music and title reference a genre with origins in a far sunnier climate, Jamaican reggae. They are far from the first white musicians to experiment with reggae’s offbeat rhythms and seductive grooves. Since the late 1960’s, some of music’s biggest acts have tried their hand at the style with varying degrees of musical (and chart) success. Read more…
You know his songs even if you’re not familiar with his name. “After Midnight,” “Cocaine,” “Call Me the Breeze,” these are just some of the rock n’ roll standards that came from the pen and tattered guitar of Tulsa, Oklahoma songwriter JJ Cale. Now the man responsible for making his music a staple of classic rock radio is celebrating his music on a new album of his songs and in a new half hour show, both entitled Eric Clapton – The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale, which aired last night on VH1 Classic and will air again tonight on Palladia at 9/8C. In the show, the storied English blues rock guitarist explores Cale’s life and music along with famous friends like John Mayer as well as live performances of some of JJ’s most well-known songs. Watch the full presentation now and learn the impact of one of America’s greatest songwriters.
Last July we said a sad goodbye to guitar great J.J. Cale, but now he’s getting a fitting memorial from fellow axe-man Eric Clapton! With a little help from luminaries like Tom Petty, John Mayer, and Willie Nelson, Clapton is releasing a tribute album for his friend entitled The Breeze, An Appreciation of JJ Cale. The album hits shelves on July 29th, but VH1 has the exclusive music video for the album opener, Clapton’s soulful cover of Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze”!
Though its significance is on the wane due to single-song downloads, time was when the full-length studio album was the ultimate artistic achievement of any self-respecting rock band or artist. An album was the encapsulation of all a band’s talents and personality, and when we think of the greatest artists of rock, their reputations were made on a canon of recorded works. But what about those bands and artists whose legacy rests on a single release? Read more…
We all know our favorite guitar player’s sound, but do we really know their gear? Through the years of rock ‘n roll, there have been some interesting shapes and styles that have created anthems for all generations. See if your favorite player’s gear is insane enough to end up on our list!
It may have come as a bit of a shock when MTV announced Miley Cyrus was reviving Unplugged, if only for a night. However, the singer is the perfect artist to strip down her music for an intimate evening with fans. Her powerful vocals are rarely showcased on her number 1 hits, such as “We Can’t Stop” and “Party in the U.S.A.” In fact, it wasn’t until Cyrus’ Saturday Night Live performance that many even remembered there was some true talent behind all the nipple pasties and twerking craziness.
What does remain to be seen is how will her showcase compare to the long list of artists to unplug before her? Will she crash and burn on stage like Lauryn Hill? Highly unlikely. Or will she produce one of the great Unplugged performances like Eric Clapton? Also unlikely.
However, with only a few artists to produce actual records based on these shows, she has a chance to join the list of the best Unplugged albums. 10,000 Maniacs comes is at number 10, with a solid yet basic acoustic set that Cyrus could easily knock off. Though, she’ll have to work at it if she wants to topple Jay Z, Nirvana or Tony Bennett.
Listen up, rock fans: The DVD of Eric Clapton‘s 2013 Crossroads Guitar Festival is going to drop on November 19th (that’s soon)! Held only every three years, Crossroads is like a rock ‘n’ roll Olympics, chock full of the world’s greatest six-string virtuosos and axe shredders. In celebration of this impending release, VH1 Classic will be broadcasting a marathon of the 2004, 2007 and 2010 Crossroads concerts this Sunday, November 17th at 3pm.