Archive for October, 2011

RIP Jimmy Savile – world’s first DJ dead at 84.

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

The flamboyant, talented, and immensely popular disk jockey and television host Jimmy Savile passed away at the age of 84 at his home in Leeds today, and the world is a little bit less colorful as a result.

Savile, who, after receiving a knighthood often went by the monkier “Sir Jimmy,” was an omnipresent figure on British radio and television airwaves from the 1960s through the 80s. His legacy doesn’t stop there, however: the entertainer was also a committed philanthropist, raising millions of pounds for charities, and raised 20 million for the creation of the National Spinal Injury Centre alone. In his lifetime, his charitable efforts topped the £40 million mark.

Rock royalty showered his family with condolences, as expected, but so did the more traditional sort of royalty: “The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall,” read a statement released by Prince Charles’ Clarence House, “are saddened to hear of Jimmy Savile’s death and their thoughts are with his family at this time.” The music world will miss him, but hey – if you’ve got to leave the planet, doing so at a ripe old age with a rich legacy of charitable work and a bevy of A-list friends isn’t too bad.

Steven Tyler’s fall in show postpones Aerosmith show

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has been looking the worse for wear, recently – he suffered cuts to his forehead and lost two teeth. It’s not what you might think from one of rock’s most flamboyant stars, though: the charismatic singer slipped in the shower after several days of food poisoning left him dehydrated and woozy.

After a brief visit to the doctor’s office, Steven was none the worse for wear. Cuts to his forehead were stitched up and his teeth were fixed, leaving him with a clean bill of health. Fortunately for Aerosmith fans, only one concert (in Paraguay) was affected.

Courtney Love has “Bette Davis Eyes.”

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Via the controversial singer’s Twitter, it’s a short excerpt of her performing Kim Carnes’ 1981 single. What do you think? Genius, or garbage?

Watch on Twitter:

Courtney’s busy working on new music, and is rumored to be announcing a tour soon. Keep up-to-date on our Courtney Love tour page!

Where’d Kanye West get those samples, anyway?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

You’re about to find out! Courtesy of YouTube user lupEND88, here’s a video contrasting Kanye’s hit tracks like “Jesus Walks,” “Stronger,” and “Flashing Lights” with the original source material. It’s often very difficult to hear the original material, as he’s altered it so much, and it’s fascinating to see how diverse his taste is: everything from Luther Vandross and Aretha Franklin to Tommy James and the Shondells. Take a listen:

Kanye West begins his “Watch the Throne” tour with Jay-Z on the 28th. Don’t miss these two titans of hip-hop – visit our site for ticket information now!

Five artists who took up a cause

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Kanye West is in the news again for his antics, but this time, it’s not anything to do with Taylor Swift: the rapper/producer/singer/Tweeter is making headlines for his support of the current “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations in New York. He’s not the first celebrity to lend their fame to a cause, though: here are five artists or groups who took time off from touring, shooting music videos, and diving in swimming pools full of cash to support a cause dear to their hearts.

5. Artists United Against Apartheid (Apartheid in South Africa)

Artists United Against Apartheid was a collective formed by Steven Van Zandt, well-known for his work with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Eventually, according to Wikipedia, its members included “Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, Pat Benatar, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey, Lou Reed, Run DMC, Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Clarence Clemons, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Darlene Love, Bobby Womack, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, The Fat Boys, Jackson Browne and then-girlfriend Darryl Hannah, Peter Wolf, U2, George Clinton, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Michael Monroe, Stiv Bators, Peter Garrett, Ron Carter, Ray Barretto, Gil-Scott Heron, Nona Hendryx, Lotti Golden, Lakshminarayana Shankar and Joey Ramone” (trust us, U2 will definitely be making another appearance on this list). The musicians recorded “Sun City” to urge those against apartheid to boycott the Sun City resort in South Africa, and vowed never to perform at the resort’s massive concert venue (when Apartheid went out the window, of course, so did the boycott–a good thing, too, since Sun City is a great place to visit).

4. Band Aid (Famine relief in Africa)

Band Aid, like Live Aid, was the brainchild of Irish singer Bob Geldof (of the Boomtown Rats). In 1984, he got together an all-star cast and recorded the hit single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” Pretty much a who’s-who of 80s British pop, the song featured Boy George, Sting, Phil Collins, Duran Duran, Status Quo, George Michael, U2 (again!), Bananarama, and a host of others. The single went to #1 for several weeks straight and led directly to #3 on our list…

3. USA for Africa (Famine relief in Africa)

USA for Africa, whose song “We Are the World” sounds cheesy now but sold over 20 million copies when it came out, was the creation of Harry Belafonte. Yes, the “banana boat / Day-O” guy. With a song penned by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie (both sitting comfortably at the top of radio charts in 1985) and artists including Kenny Rogers, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, and Bruce Springsteen, the song rocketed to the top of the charts and raised millions for charity.

2. Bono (Famine, AIDS, debt relief)

Whether it’s his band’s early involvement with Irish nationalism, his work for the United Nations, or his serving as a spokesperson for Product Red (remember, you buy a red T-shirt or an ipod and some of the money goes to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa?), Bono always seems to be trumpeting one cause or another. Whether or not you like U2’s music, it’s hard to fault him for trying.

1. Bob Geldof (everything)

Quick, name one song by the Boomtown Rats. Now name something Bob Geldof did. Live 8, Band Aid… the Irish singer has had an incredible career in philanthropy which has far surpassed any popularity he achieved with his band. The Queen didn’t give him a knighthood for writing “I Don’t Like Mondays,” that’s for certain. The dedication has paid off: besides the knighthood, Sir Bob now receives speaking fees of nearly $100,000 a pop, as well as luxury accommodation and first-class airfare. Still, you can’t deny the impact his work has had: over the past three decades, he’s raised millions of dollars, pounds, euros, and yen for AIDS and famine in the developing world.

RIP Bert Jansch – 60s icon who influenced Hendrix & Neil Young

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Bert Jansch, the 1960s folk icon who was a major influence on musicians from Jimi Hendrix to Jimmy Page as both a solo musician and a member of the group Pentangle, has lost his battle with cancer. The singer, age 67, passed away in a hospice in Hampstead, England, on October 5, but leaves behind a legacy in his own discography as well as the work of those he inspired–including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Johnny Marr.

To remember Jansch, take a listen to this live version of the Pentangle track “Light Flight.” Rest in peace, Bert!