Sunday, April 20, 2014

Billboard Magazine

A 2 year subscription for $99.  Okay, I'll take that Billboard deal.  The first Billboard magazine I bought was in 1977.  Hearing Casey Kasem count down the Top 40 from that magazine always had me looking out for one.  A year later I subscribed to it (along with Rolling Stone), having saved money from working with my Mom at a hotel on weekends and school vacations.

I stuck with it until the late 90's, then along came the Internet and you could look up any music charts you wanted.  But I would still buy the odd issue, mostly the year-end one.

So, when I got this deal in the mail, I went for it.  And I can certainly tell you that this isn't your old Billboard.  Yes, all the charts are still there.  And there's more of them, geared toward the online world.  But it's  glossier now, almost feels like reading a fashion magazine.  There's some good, exclusive articles and still just enough info scattered throughout for chart nerds like me.  It's still the bible of the chart world because it has outlasted all the others.  And we still get those awesome Joel Whitburn books from their charts.

But it's pricey without the discount that I got.  And I wouldn't have done it otherwise.  If you are an old chart nerd like me, picking up one (if you can find it in a bookstore) every now and then will bring back memories.  But the one-click away world means you don't really need a physical copy.  And that's kind of sad for people like me who used to store a year's worth in my bedroom closet.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Princely Catalog

The news that Rhino and Prince have entered an agreement to reissue his back catalog has everyone licking their chops over what could come out.  I for one would be interested in digitally upgraded copies of his classic years (late 70's to late 80's).  The fact that Rhino (remember them?) is handling this is good news.
But we all know Prince is a perfectionist.  Someone tweeted earlier in the day joked that he is now in the studio adding overdubs to all those old titles.  

At some point in the last year Prince realized that it was time to step back into a spotlight he had been ignoring.  There was an appearance on the TV show New Girl, an Arsenio Hall hour devoted to him and a cover semi-interview feature in the UK's Mojo magazine.  None of these were very revealing, because Prince knows the power of mystery over an audience.  And I can't say the new stuff that has been released does much for me, but they might sound better on a whole album.

And as of this writing you still can't find any of Prince's music videos on YouTube in the U.S., which remains pretty hilarious because you could find them anywhere else if you look hard enough on the good old Internet.

All of this coming out has to do with promoting a new album, but most of the talk of the Web had nothing to do with that.  It had to do with his catalog titles getting a long awaited sprucing up.  Prince's catalog label, WB, is notoriously bad in upgrading.  I'd happily buy updated versions of titles from Joni Mitchell or Jackson Browne if someone down there had stepped into the 21st century.

But back to Prince.  He's a savvy businessman here.  Getting to keep the masters of his old recordings is something every artist should strive for, especially one with a huge catalog.

I'm overly cautious here.  The first title is supposedly coming out this Summer.  Let's see what happens.

Playlist for 4/18

Shakira - s/t
Cloud Nothings - Here & Nowhere Else
Miles Davis - Live at the Fillmore East
Withered Hand - New Gods
Luther Dickinson - Rock n Roll Blues
Wolfmother -New Crown

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Playlist for 4/12

Elvis Presley - Live on Stage In Memphis  (reissue)
Ronnie Milsap - Summer Number Seventeen
Don Williams - Reflections
Nancy Sinatra  & Lee Hazlewood - Nancy & Lee
Tony Rice - Manzanita

Friday, April 11, 2014

It's Over

The good news is that it's over.  But for us Rock Hall junkies the end comes bittersweet.  The 2014 Rock Hall process was messy, annoying, frustrating but also newsworthy.  Now comes months until the Fall nominations.  Until then we can muse on how Joel Peresman & Co., will correct any of the mistakes they made this year.  Most of this has to do with what band members get inducted.

I also found it funny that the NY Times article about the Hall said that there was some sort of rule that keeps NomCom members from talking about the nomination process.  Peresman told Eddie Trunk in 2012 that there was none.  Maybe there is now, but I find it funny that he still wants to keep that whole process silent.  Only a couple of members speak out about what goes on every year,  Dave Marsh  & Roy Trakin.  But asking a NomCom on Twitter or through email gets you nothing.  So, they have definitely been told to be quiet.  Ex-members like Robert Hilburn and Jeff Tamarkin can give you a decent look at what happened when they were there.

The Times piece also alluded to current NomCom's who want Roxy Music and Brian Eno nominated, so those 2 may be getting close to getting on the ballot.
But the tug of war between nominating popular names like Kiss and critic-proof ones like a Brian Eno will only continue.

And then there was this from the Wall Street Journal, which highlighted Early Influences that the Hall has give up on.  Except in the case of recent ones like Wanda Jackson and Freddie King.

I hope the mainstream press will continue to publish stuff like the NYT and WSJ ones, if only to wake up Jon Landau, Peresman and gang that yes, there are people watching how you conduct NomCom business.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Steely Dan Poll

Remember this as you read this. As of this published date, Becker & Fagen are not in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  So, this latest poll had us ranking our Top 20 songs.  And as a bonus listing their best albums and solo albums.

1.  Rikki Don't Lose That Number
2.  Hey Nineteen
3.  Reelin' In The Years
4.  Do It Again
5.  Peg
6.  Any Major Dude
7.  Pretzel Logic
8.  Dirty Work
9.  Deacon Blues
10. Kid Charlemagne
11. Black Friday
12. Josie
13. Any World That I'm Welcome To
14. FM
15. Black Cow
16. Time Out Of Mind
17. Bodhisattva
18. Aja
19. Cousin Dupree
20. Show Biz Kids


Albums
1. Aja
2. Pretzel Logic
3. Can't Buy A Thrill
4. Nightfly
5. Katy Lied
6. Countdown to Ecstasy
7. Gaucho
8. Royal Scam
9. Sunken Condos
10. Kamakiriad

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Playlist for 4/3

Skrillex - Recess
Hurray For The Riff Raff - Small Town Heroes
Drive By Truckers -English Oceans
Suzy Boguss - Lucky
Hillbilly Music Thank God Vol. 1
Are You From Dixie 30's Country Brothers

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Rock Hall's Surprising Announcement

In a surprise announcement, released in the early morning hours on April 1st,   the Rock Hall said that they have amended their latest rules regarding the process of picking what band members are deemed induction worthy.  Stung by the criticism of the way they handled the KISS induction, the Hall has decided that as of today ALL future and past band members will now be inducted. Also, it doesn't matter if a band member played on 1 record or ""none at all, as long as they were in the group at some point."  Also, the Hall will let the groups themselves submit a list of names to be inducted.  That, along with the Hall's own list should satisfy everyone, the Hall states.  As for the tricky situation regarding many variations of certain R&B vocal group inductees like the Drifters, Platters, Coasters, etc., that have toured with many different lineup changes, Rock Hall CEO Joel Peresman said that if they missed anyone in this first inductee group, they will "make certain those names are added soon." He stated, "this is a very fluid situation", and "our past record of doing the right thing when it comes to the induction process speaks for itself."

This is especially good news for fans of KISS, Black Sabbath, Nirvana and many other high profile names.  What this means is that Gram Parsons (Byrds), Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac),  Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath) and Pete Best & Stuart Sutcliffe (Beatles) are now members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And don't forget Jake Clemons, nephew of Clarence, who will now be part of the 2014 E Street Band induction.  Of course, this is only a fraction of the new members to be inducted.  As Peresman noted in his press release:  "Jann Wenner & I agreed that from here on out the Hall will be devoid of controversies when it comes to what band members should and shouldn't get on stage to accept their trophy."

The Hall also announced that there will be no ceremony for the newest inductees (except for Eric Singer & Tommy Thayer of KISS), but that every new member will receive a plaque  in the mail "very soon."  Also, the Hall's website will soon be updated to reflect the newest inductees and the artists bio page.

Of course, adding all these new names means that the voting bloc will change dramatically.  Every new member to be inducted now becomes a voting member for future Hall ballots.

This announcement should put an end to the endless complaints about who should and shouldn't be inducted when it comes to band members.  By taking this universal approach the Rock Hall has finally shown some much needed leadership and that they take public complaints about the induction process very seriously. What a relief it is to know that with this controversy put to bed, we can now concentrate on other Hall related miscues.   Hats off to Joel Peresman and the rest of the NomCom for a job well done.


Update:
Despite the inclusion of every member of KISS, Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons still won't play at the induction ceremony. Stanley told unofficial KISS spokesman Eddie Trunk, "While I'm pleased the Hall now sees things our way, and are inducting all current members, I still smell a rat.  Now they say we can do whatever we want at the Ceremony?  A week before?   They are desperate." Trunk himself took a swipe at the Hall, "This is ridiculous, and outrageous the way they treat acts like KISS and all REAL Rock and Roll acts.  I mean these people once inducted Abba and Madonna.  Do you hear me?  Abba and Madonna!"  Stanley continued,  "You make us wait 15 years and at the last minute try to make amends?  KISS bows to no one.  What we do and if we play will be decided by only Gene and Myself.  See you suckers in New York City."




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