Nirvana Are Re-Releasing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” To Vie For Number One
We swear the late Kurt Cobain turns in his grave every time something like this happens. Nirvana decided to re-release “Smells Like Teen Spirit” when it came to the surviving band’s attention that fans were rallying to make the classic song Britain’s Christmas Number One over whoever takes out the X Factor crown. Sigh. [NME]
Lady Gaga Goes To The White House To Battle Bullies
Lady Gaga really does love her ‘Little Monsters.’ So much so, she’s heading to the White House to chat with Obama‘s administration about combating bullying. Go go Gaga activism! [Popdust]
The highly anticipated posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures was officially released today amidst mixed reviews and high emotion. Amy‘s father, Mitch Winehouse, has expressed how emotional the process of producing the album has been, saying, “The estate, which I’m a part of – my ex-wife and I – we could decide to put it out or not put it out, and when we went to listen to the album it was a very difficult time for us. It was very emotional.” It seemed, on all accounts, that the sheer poignancy of Amy’s death would be enough to carry the album, and to have it connect with her legions of fans and admirers. However, the album, now released, has been met with mixed reviews.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer calls Lioness: Hidden Treasures “sublime,” “nostalgic, wine-soaked heaven.” The Guardian, however, was not so forgiving, acknowledging that the album is revealing of Amy’s struggles, but that it is subpar considering the strength of Frank and Back To Black. Cynically, the Guardian review surmises, “Presumably it was felt that was what was wanted by the audience Lioness: Hidden Treasures is expected to attract: not the kind of diehard fans who normally flock to posthumous collections of out-takes and demos, but mainstream record buyers, Radio 2 listeners, the Christmas market. Which, of course, tells you something else about Amy Winehouse,” positioning the album essentially as a cash grab by Amy’s estate.
Soul music veterans Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are VH1′s latest You Oughta Know artist, just in time for the release of Soul Time!, the band’s forthcoming release of rare tracks and b-sides. Since 1996, Sharon and the Dap-Kings have been at the forefront of funk and soul revivalism, capturing the spirit of the genre as it blossomed in the ’60s and ’70s. Using traditional analog recording methods and equipment, SJDK have no use for modernity, and are loyal to the authenticity of their sound.
The band was originally formed by Philip Lehman and Gabriel Roth as the Soul Providers in the mid-nineties, and discovered Sharon Jones during early recording sessions for their first album, after she recorded back-up vocals for one of the Lee Fields tracks. So impressed were the Soul Providers with Jones’ vocals that the album, Soul Tequila, was released in 1996 featuring two solo Jones tracks (“Switchblade” and “The Landlord”). Shortly after, Roth and Lehman started a new label, Desco Records, in Brooklyn, New York, and reissued Soul Tequila as Gimme The Paw and began championing New York performers, creating an entire scene around Desco. As the reputation of Desco grew and more records were released, it eventually came time for Lehman and Roth to split in 2000 — and for Roth to start his own label, Daptone Records, with current Dap-King tenor saxophone player, Neal Sugarman. You can see where this is going, right?
With the release date of Amy Winehouse’s first posthumous album, Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures creeping up, emotions are raw. The release, due but 4 months after the singer’s untimely death, is revealing itself to be part of a very important healing process for Amy’s friends and family.
A far cry from a cash-grab, the album is reportedly an incredibly emotional, not to mention immpecably produced, project; not just for those surriving her, but for Amy herself, as friend and collaborator Salaam Remi recounts to Rolling Stone how the troubled performer broke down during their recording sessions. “Playing guitar and singing into a small hand-held mic, Winehouse unleashed a devastating version of “A Song for You,” Leon Russell’s pained ballad about an entertainer’s regrets. As she sang, Winehouse began to cry. “It’s as if she was literally singing about herself,” Remi recalls. “She was really putting herself into it.””
Following the announcement that Amy Winehouse‘s first posthumous album will be released a mere four months after her death on July 23, we started wondering how that timeline compared to some of history’s other notable posthumous record releases. From Nirvana to the Notorious B.I.G., we take a look back at the often uneasy relationship between art and commerce.
Artist:The Notorious B.I.G
Died: March 9, 2007
Album: Life After Death
Release Date: March 25, 2007
Speed To Market: 16 days
Artist: Otis Redding
Died: December 10, 1967
Album: (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
Release Date: January 8, 1968
Speed To Market: 29 days
Died: September 7, 1996
Album: The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
Release Date: November 5, 1996
Speed To Market: 59 days
Following the tragic death of singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse earlier this year, two of her closest collaborators, Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, have put together an album using Winehouse’s unfinished recordings that’s set to be released on December 5. Amy’s father, Mitch Winehouse, oversaw the production. Entitled Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, the album will include 12 tracks featuring Winehouse originals, unreleased tracks, alternative versions of her existing songs and covers of other artists’ songs.
Since Winehouse’s alcohol-related death back in July, there has been much speculation surrounding the volume of Amy’s unreleased recordings. The Guardian reported that up to a dozen songs were close to being finalized, but the tracklisting for this record shows that there’s only one track (“Between The Cheats”) that can be really be labeled as “new” (as opposed to outtakes from sessions on previously released albums).
All of which leads us to this: Will the record-buying public consider this record, with its mismash of demos, outtakes, and B-sides, as anything more than a “cashgrab”? In its defense, Mark Ronson’s pivotal role in the project— given his close friendship, ongoing creative partnership and overwhelming admiration for Amy—lends a great deal of credence to the project, and having yet to hear it, leads us to believe that the project was assembled with great affection. Additionally, the fact that Â£1 from each album sold will benefit the Amy Winehouse Foundation, an institution set up in Amy’s honor to support those dealing with substance abuse issues and addiction, seems to be a positive sign. However, there is a cynical part of us that can’t help but feeling like this record is being rushed to take advantage of the holiday buying season, and also that it won’t be the last posthumous album that Winehouse releases. We seriously doubt that her estate contains the same sort of treasure trove of unreleased studio sessions that 2Pac’s did, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Full tracklisting for Amy Winehouse Lionness: Hidden Treasures below:
Rick Ross: Gentleman Rap Boss
Devin Friedman admits that he’s “basically eating out of [Rick Ross‘s] hand” for the majority of his time with the rapper, but manages some good insights (e.g. “Rick Ross is always both inside and outside a joke he’s making about hip-hop music”) and many more entertaining observations about the kindly boss, whom he describes as “the fat black McConaughey,” in his profile for October’s GQ. [GQ]
Complex On Kreayshawn In Brief
Ernest Baker‘s profile of Kreayshawn for Complex is less intriguing; luckily for us (and you), Katherine St. Asaph sums it up at Popdust. Key facts: she wants to slap The Game in the face, and she bought that Game Boy Color she always wanted after she got signed. [Popdust]
Get More: Tony Bennett, Top 20 Countdown, Body And Soul, Free Music Videos
Today would’ve been Amy Winehouse‘s 28th birthday. Alas, it wasn’t to be; Winehouse passed back on July 23 of as yet undetermined causes, but her musical legacy will always live on.
At last month’s 2011 Video Music Awards, Tony Bennett introduced Bruno Mars‘ outstanding tribute to Winehouse by sharing a short clip of himself and Winehouse in the studio cutting a cover of the jazz standard “Body And Soul.” As of now, it’s one of the last pieces of recorded music that Winehouse contributed to before her tragic and untimely passing, although if the rumors hold up, there may be more Winehouse cuts on the way someday soon.
Aside from being a very pleasant rendition of the song, the thing that strikes us the most about this video is seeing Amy Winehouse in the habitat where she always felt the most comfortable — the studio. Most of the memories that we have of the last few years of her life are paparazzi shots of her strung out on the streets of London, wasting away before our very eyes. This video, in which Winehouse looks both healthy and happy, stands in stark contrast those tabloid images. Sure, she appears a bit fidgety at times, but we attribute that behavior not to drugs, but rather to her uniquely personal method of channeling the ghosts of great jazz singers past, like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday (both of whom not-so-coincidentally recorded versions of “Body And Soul”). We’ll also admit it breaks our heart more than a little bit to watch the way that she coyly batted her mascara-laden eyelashes at the inimitable Bennett, knowing that we’ll never get to see her do that again.
“Body And Soul” can be found on Tony Bennett’s upcoming album, Duets II, which will be available in stores next week. If you can’t wait that long, you can head to the iTunes store and pick it up this duet today; all proceeds will benefit the recently created Amy Winehouse Foundation.
Last month, the incomparable Tony Bennett turned 85 years young. While no one would say a word edgewise if Tony decided to rest on his impressive collection of laurels, this super groovy daddy-o is doing anything but. Last month, he introduced the amazing Amy Winehouse tribute at the VMAs, and next week, he’s releasing his latest album, Duets II. The record features collaborations with today’s chart toppers like Michael Bublé, John Mayer, Norah Jones and the late Miss Winehouse (the latter of which we’ll have for you to check out tomorrow).
The most anticipated track on the record, though, is Tony Bennett’s duet with Lady Gaga on the Rogers and Hart classic, “The Lady Is A Tramp.” Our VH1 News team recently caught up with Bennett, and he had nothing but lavish praise to bestow on the Mother Monster. “She is an amazing singer, she has the same gift as Ella Fitzgerald,” he told us. It’s not just her ability to sing and tickle the ivories that has him impressed, though: “I like the audience reaction when she does a performance. The people go out to lunch, I’ve never heard such enthusiasm.” We’ve never heard the Little Monsters’ reaction to Gaga’s concerts described in that manner, but we’re pretty confident that they’re gonna eat it up. You know, like lunch!
The 2011 VMAs are airing live from Los Angeles on Sunday night, and the latest addition to the evening’s already-stellar lineup is Tony Bennett. The 85 year-old (!) will captain what’s sure to be an emotional tribute to recently-deceased singer Amy Winehouse. Introducing a slew of performers who are currently being kept confidential by the folks in MTV’s ivory tower, we’re excited to see that Bennett, who had recently collaborated with Winehouse on a duet due this fall, “Body and Soul,” will make an appearance on the notoriously youthful VMA stage. While the majority of the MTV audience’s demographic was not yet even a twinkle in their parents’ eyes when Bennett took home his first Grammy in 1963, this certainly isn’t the first time an elder statesman has been booked on MTV’s annual celebration of the year’s best music videos. Want to see what we mean? Check out our list of the Top 5 Oldest People To Appear On-Camera at The VMAS!
5) George Clinton, 52 Years-Old (1993): George Clinton presented the Best R&B Video award alongside West Coasters Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in ’93. Then 52 years-old, the funk innovator and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee must have been pretty psyched to hand Moonmen over to the lovely ladies of En Vogue. And the Funky Divas were most likely equally as pleased!
4) Lou Reed, 54 Years-Old (1996): Making a cameo with house band(leader) Jack White of Raconteurs, Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground was well into his fifth decade at the ’96 Video Music Awards. Hosted by Dennis Leary, big winners that night included Coolio, Alanis Morrisette, and Smashing Pumpkins.
3) Diana Ross, 55 Years-Old (1999): Who could forget the jiggle heard ’round the world? When Mary J. Blige accompanied Lil’ Kim, Lil’ Kim’s breast, and Motown sensation Diana Ross to present the award for Best Hip-Hop in ’99, all hell broke loose! The then-55-year-old Rosstook it upon herself to, on live television, cup and jiggle Kim’s pasty-covered, partially-exposed boobie.