It was 38 years ago today (January 15th, 1977), that the Eagles' album Hotel California hit Number One. The album, which was released on December 8th, 1976, was the group's third chart-topper in a row, following 1975's One Of These Nights and 1976's compilation Eagles/Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975.
Hotel California included two Number One hits featuring the group's main songwriters and distinctive lead vocalists, with guitarist Glenn Freytaking the lead on "New Kid In Town," and drummer Don Henley singing the album's famous title track. The album's third single, "Life In The Fast Lane," just missed the Top Ten, peaking at Number 11 in the spring of 1977.
Hotel California featured the addition of former James Gang guitarist Joe Walsh, who joined shortly after co-founder Bernie Leadon's departure. It turned out to be the only Eagles album featuring the lineup of Henley, Frey, Walsh, guitarist Don Felder, and co-founder and bassist Randy Meisner.
The album's themes reflected the state of America through the decaying Los Angeles rock scene, which by the mid-'70s had changed from an earnest singer-songwriter community into a far more decadent lifestyle fueled by celebrity, money, and drugs.
In their original review of the album, Rolling Stone commented on Hotel California's music and its reflection of its creators by saying, "Hotel California showcases both the best and worst tendencies of Los Angeles-situation rock. . . Its lyrics present a convincing and unflattering portrait of the milieu itself."
It's an understatement to say that the rock world has been all a buzz over the story that Robert Plant reportedly nixed a potential $800 million tour contract for a Led Zeppelin reunion trek. According to the "Golden God" -- it's simply not true. A spokesperson for Plant issued a one word statement from Plant regarding the story, and presumably the offer, deeming it "rubbish." Either way, keeping Zeppelin in the news is surely good for sale of the latest Jimmy Page-remastered editions of 1971’s Led Zeppelin IV and 1973’s Houses Of The Holy have just been released with previously unreleased audio content in a variety of packages -- including a limited edition “Super Deluxe” box set.
Jimmy Page told us that he was aware immediately that Zeppelin was breaking new ground on not only a musical level -- but on how music was actually created: [“We knew that we were doing work -- we knew it was substantial because it wasn’t like anybody . . . what anybody else was doing. So, then it has a substance to it and it’s radical, purely because of that level. As far as the sort of counterpoint of the four musicians playing together ands the sum total of that, or even the alchemy of it, that basically
Todd Rundgren who performed at Britain's legendary Knebworth festival along with Zeppelin back in 1979, said that he doesn't blame Robert Plant for shying away from another reunion and trying to duplicate his vocals from 45 years ago on a nightly basis: ["Robert Plant will probably always have a gig somewhere. And the only reason for him to reunite with the Led Zeppelin thing is because it would just be huge money involved, I guess. But he has an opportunity to play music that he feels like. Some music that he may feel actually more akin to than what he's, I guess 'obligated' to do (laughs) at this point with Led Zeppelin. Everything that he did after he left Led Zeppelin was an octave lower (than the Zeppelin songs). (Laughs) And now he's got to go back and sing and scream at the top of his lungs."]
It was 37 years ago tonight (October 20th, 1977), that a plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in a swamp near Gillsburg, Mississippi. At the time, the group was en route to its next show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The crash took the lives of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant; guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines; Lynyrd Skynyrd manager Dean Kilpatrick, as well as the plane's two pilots.
All the other members of the band suffered horrific injuries, from which they eventually recovered. Two years later, survivors Gary Rossington and Allen Collins (guitars), Billy Powell (keyboards) and Leon Wilkeson (bass) formed a new group, the Rossington-Collins Band. A decade after the plane crash, the surviving members of Skynyrd regrouped under the legendary name and played a series of dates to mark the anniversary with Johnnie Van Zant, the younger brother of Ronnie Van Zant, stepping in as his permanent replacement.
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band are heading back on the road in support of Seger's upcoming studio set, Ride Out. Although dates and cities are available for all the upcoming shows -- only venues have been announced for the first 13 of the 23 dates. Seger and the crew will kick off the trek on their home turf on November 19th in Saginaw, Michigan -- and as of now -- will wind the dates up on February 27th in Los Angeles, California.
Over the decades, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band have gained the reputation as one of the purest, most high-octane rock shows on the road. Seger told us that he was lucky to not only have the will, but also the opportunity to constantly hone his craft by playing out.
JUST ANNOUNCED: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band tour dates (subject to change):
November 19 - Saginaw, MI - Arena at Dow Event Center
November 22 - Bangor, ME - Cross Insurance Center
November 24 - Halifax, NS - Scotiabank Centre
November 26 - Saint John, NB - Harbour Station
November 29 - Boston, MA - TD Garden
December 2 - Albany, NY - Times Union Center
December 4 - Cleveland, OH - Quicken Loans Arena
December 6 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
December 9 - Grand Rapids, MI - Van Andel Arena
December 11 - Chicago, IL - United Center
December 13 - St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center
December 17 - Buffalo, NY - First Niagara Center
December 19 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden Arena
January 22 - Pittsburgh, PA - TBA
January 24 - Toronto, ON - TBA
January 29 - Columbus, OH - TBA
January 31 - Atlanta, GA - TBA
February 5 - Tampa, FL - TBA
February 7 - Fort Lauderdale, FL - TBA
February 12 - Dallas, TX - TBA
February 14 - Houston, TX - TBA
February 19 - Phoenix, AZ - TBA
February 27 - Los Angeles, CA - TBA
Coming on September 22nd is the latest Genesis retrospective, titled R-Kive. The 42-year, 37-track set differs from every other Genesis collection in that it features healthy does of solo tracks from the members of the band's classic lineup: Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, and Steve Hackett. The album -- which ignores the band’s debut album, 1969’s From Genesis To Revelation -- begins with “The Knife” from 1970’s Trespass featuring co-founder Anthony Phillips -- whose solo work is not on the new set.
Highlights on the collection include Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill,” and “Biko”’ Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight,” his duet with Phillip Bailey on “Easy Lover,” alongside Mike Rutherford’s Mike + The Mechanics’ “Silent Running” and “The Living Years.” Although Tony Banks and Steve Hackett’s outside work is equally represented, the closest thing each member had to a hit -- Banks’ 1983 “This Is Love” and Hackett’s 1986 “When The Heart Rules The Mind” with GTR featuring Yes’ Steve Howe, are both missing.
Rob Zombie's guitarist, John Five, has revealed in an interview with a Canadian rock journalist that he has recorded a brand new album with Van Halen singer David Lee Roth, which he says is "incredible" and which he hopes to release at some point in the near future. Five told writer Mitch Lafon, "It's 11 of the greatest songs you'll ever hear, and it's just me and Dave, and we had Gregg Bissonette play drums on it. And it's unbelievable . . . just great, great songs. And hopefully sometime it'll see the light of day. But he's, of course, busy with Van Halen and all that stuff. But it's an incredible record."
Five added that he and Roth made the record "maybe a year and a half ago," saying, "I always go over to his house and we write music and things like that. It's a lot of fun. They're all original songs. I would just go over to his house during the day and write this music and then he would book the studio at night."
Five said that the material "sounds like just Dave from that Van Halen I or II or Women And Children First era, (in terms of his) singing (style), and it's incredible, man."
Five, whose real name is John Lowery, got his first big break playing on Roth's solo album, DLR Band, before landing stints with Marilyn Manson and now Zombie.
Five has been playing in Rob Zombie's band since 2005 and has been the longest-running member of the group. We asked Zombie what makes for a great band member: ["What makes a great band member is someone who knows their place in the band. 'Cause usually the fighting comes from someone wanting to - they always think, 'Well, you're doing that so I should do that' or 'why don't I do this' or 'you just use his songs and not my songs.' And when people are smart enough to know, 'There's only four spots and I have one of them, and I should be happy,' and it doesn't diminish their role in any way, that's what makes for a great band member, you know."
John Five will release his eighth solo album, titled Careful With That Axe, on August 12th -- a different record from the one he did with Roth.
Roth himself is reportedly at work with Van Halen on that band's 13th studio album.
John Five, Rob Zombie and the rest of Zombie's band will start a short fall tour on September 8th in Portland, Oregon.
The Beatles have announced that Ron Howard will serve as the director of the eagerly awaited documentary on the group's touring years. The temporarily titled "The Beatles Live Project" will focus on the group's pre-fame days making their bones as a band in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany up through their final tour in 1966 which culminated with their last public concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. The film -- which still has no official release date -- is being produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison. Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde will act as executive producers for the Beatles' company Apple Corps. Apple is partnering with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment and Nigel Sinclair’s White Horse Pictures for the doc, which Sinclair hopes will hit theaters late in 2015.
Ron Howard spoke about the project to Billboard, explaining, “What’s so intriguing to me is not only the subject, but the context we can bring to it now. Not only can we do a study of these touring years, the narrative of an odyssey, we can look at the significance of the Beatles as individuals -- as musical geniuses, as societal leaders and their effect on global culture. Dramatically it makes a lot of sense and cinematically, we have a chance to offer a unique experience.”
Howard told Rolling Stone: "We are going to be able to take the Super 8 footage that we found, that was all shot silent. We'll not only be able to digitally repair a lot of that, but we've also been finding the original recordings. We can now sync it up and create a concert experience so immersive and so engaging, I believe you're going to actually feel like you're somewhere in the '60s, seeing what it was like to be there, feeling it and hearing it. And as a film director, that's a fantastic challenge."
The project features the best in the business. Nigel Sinclair -- who served as the producer of Martin Scorsese's George Harrison documentary, George Harrison: Living In The Material World; The Who's Amazing Journey: The Story Of The Who; and Scorsese's No Direction Home: Bob Dylan -- told Billboard about some of the groundbreaking finds while producing the doc: “If we find a performance that’s particularly good, say in Cleveland in 1964, and have been able to find the sound with separated tracks, that’s something that will add a whole new dimension."
Also on board Scott Pascucci, managing director of Concord Music Group and former head of Warner’s Rhino Entertainment, who served as an executive producer on the Harrison doc, and has recently been associated with Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival: 2013 and Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin.'
The amount of new first hand interviews, previously unseen photographs, original paperwork on their travel and payment, information on their hotels, decoys, and details about the venues they played, easily makes Some Fun Tonight the most important book ever written about the Beatles' days as a live act.
AC/DC has completed work on its 16th studio album and its first without guitarist and co-founder Malcolm Young, who stepped down earlier this year due to an undisclosed illness and is currently hospitalized. Singer Brian Johnson told Classic Rock about the Vancouver recording sessions, " “It was brilliant over there. We’re done. I’m very excited and we’ve got some great songs.”
Johnson added, "We miss Malcolm obviously. He’s a fighter. He’s in hospital but he’s a fighter. We’ve got our fingers crossed that he’ll get strong again. Stevie (Young, guitarist), Malcolm’s nephew, was magnificent, but when you’re recording with this thing hanging over you and your work mate isn’t well, it’s difficult.
Johnson called Malcolm "such a strong man," saying, "I’m sure he was rooting for us . . . He’s a small guy but he’s very strong. He’s proud and he’s very private so we can’t say too much. But fingers crossed he’ll be back.”
Johnson said that he wanted to use Man Down as the title of the follow-up to 2008's Black Ice, explaining, "It’s a bit negative and it was probably just straight from the heart. I like that.”
There is no title yet for the disc, which is due out either by the end of this year or early in 2015. A world tour is likely to follow its release.
Johnson was interviewed in his hometown of Newcastle, where he was awarded a Doctorate in Music from the city’s Northumbria University.