It’s always difficult when beloved musicians pass away before their time, but it’s even more tragic when they’re taken from us with a senseless act of violence. This time of year is a particularly harsh reminder of the many artists who have been cut down in their prime, before they were able to complete their work for the world. Last Sunday marked 33 years since peace icon John Lennon was shot dead in front of his New York City apartment building, and 9 years since Pantera shredder Dimebag Darrell was gunned down in mid-performance. As if that’s not sad enough, today is the 49th anniversary of soul legend Sam Cooke’s mysterious death in a Los Angeles motel.
Author Mark Lewisohn knows more about the Beatles than John, Paul, George and Ringo themselves. Blasphemy? Perhaps. But he has the footnotes to prove it! Lewisohn’s immaculately researched books have been hailed as Beatle Bibles, and now there’s a new gospel according to Mark. The long-awaited All These Years: Tune In is available at last, presenting the band’s story in a way it’s never been seen before: truthfully and completely.
John Lennon was always a man who broke new ground, so we like to think he’d be a fan of John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes, a cutting-edge interactive iPhone app that blends music, game play, documentary film, and charity work in a way that has never been done before! Released today, the app allows us to hear rare Lennon acoustic demos for the very first time, and lets us learn about the near-death experience that inspired his final album, Double Fantasy.
With so many of music’s most talented artists telling tales of anguish, heartbreak, and loneliness, how do fans tend to respond when musicians are — happy? Is their creativity generally fueled by struggle, or are they savvy enough to keep us listening whether they’re going through highs or lows?
Last week we were overjoyed to learn that a new collection of unheard recordings by the Beatles will be hitting stores on November 11th! Called On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2, the double disc is the follow up to their 1994 retrospective that draws on exclusive recordings made for radio titan in the early sixties. The sessions not only include rare live performances of classic Lennon-McCartney originals, but it also features cover versions of songs that were never recorded anywhere else. So we’re about to hear brand new music from the Beatles…how awesome is that!?!
Obviously we’d be thrilled about any offering from our favorite Liverpudlians, but the news got us thinking about the host of other legendary Beatles recordings that still haven’t seen the light of day after nearly half a century in the vaults. S0me of us raging Beatlemaniacs have had to turn to the hard stuff (low quality bootlegs) to get our Fab Four fix over the years, and we’ve uncovered some gems that would dazzle hardcore obsessives and casual listeners alike. And then there are some mythical “lost” recordings that are just languishing away in a tape box somewhere, unheard by anyone. This stuff keeps us up at night!
Read on to see (and occasionally hear) 20 legendary unreleased Beatles recordings that we’d love to see issued. We’re not trying to be greedy, but if any record execs out there are trying to put together a new compilation together, may we humbly suggest these?
Rock and roll is filled with rags to riches stories, and the Hard Rock Cafe is no different. It started off as a humble musician’s hang-out in the heart of London, specializing in down-home American cooking. Guitar god Eric Clapton was a frequent customer, and he decided to mark his favorite seat by hanging his old Fender Lead II guitar overhead. Not to be outdone, Pete Townshend of the Who soon sent his own black Gibson Les Paul over with a note: “Mine’s as good as his. Love, Pete.”
From this playful game of one-upmanship grew a collection that weighs in at over 77,000 pieces to date, the largest assortment of pop music memorabilia on the planet. Much of their stash is on display in restaurants around the world, but I’m about to hit the mother-lode: An invitation to tour their Rock Vault in Florida! Off limits to the public, the vault is the epicenter for their restoration work, as well as the home-base for all of their priceless treasures. For anyone passionate about music history, or sound in general, this is sacred ground. And for me personally, it’s a dream come true.
Part of being an artist is believing that you’re the chosen one. The one and only messianic megastar to save the masses from musical mediocrity! No wonder every top-selling pop star we can think of has a staggering God complex. From Kanye West naming his new album Yeezus (really, dude?) to John Lennon proclaiming that “the Beatles are bigger than Jesus,” these narcissistic icons take hero worship to biblical levels.
Yesterday, we brought you the first installment of VH1 Album-Versaries: The Low End Theory at 20, reflecting on A Tribe Called Quest’s ground-breaking second album. Before VH1 Rock Doc Beats, Rhymes & Life airs tonight at 10p ET on VH1, dive into the second half of the group’s first joint-interview in 14 years and see what they had to say about what it was like making the film two decades later.
If there was an important musical moment in the 1970s and ’80s, chances are, Bob Gruen was there. You may not know his name, but you do know his photography. We insist. Picture John Lennon in your mind. Is he wearing a T-shirt that proudly proclaims the name of his American hometown: New York City? Is he staring down the lens on the roof of a Manhattan high-rise? So yeah… You have Bob Gruen to thank for that.
Election Day is finally here! There were seemingly endless months of commentary, satire, parodies and intense arguments with loved ones that made it seem like you were choosing sides for the American Civil War instead of a president. But that’s over, because today We The People cast our ballots for red, blue, green or Honey Boo Boo! Stave off that voting postpartum with five politically charged music videos that celebrate your new-found surge of political empowerment – which, let’s be honest, will go hibernate the next two to four years in some of us.
The 2003 chart-topper crossed B.E.P. over into the pop world and introduced us to Fergie. But The Black Eyed Peas didn’t just milk their new level of fame. They used the popularity of the hit to address global social injustices like war, pollution and intolerance in the music video.