Classic Rock News


Following Paul McCartney’s Grammy-Award winning Wings Over America box set, on September 23rd, 1975’s Venus And Mars and 1976’s Wings At The Speed Of Sound will comprise the latest offerings in the ongoing Archive Collection series. Venus And Mars was released on May 27th, 1975 and topped the Billboard 200 album charts for a single week starting on July 19th, 1975. The album spawned three Top 40 hits, the chart-topping "Listen To What The Man Said," a remixed version of "Letting Go" -- which stalled at Number 39 -- and a heavily edited version of "Venus And Mars/Rock Show," which topped out at Number 12. The Venus and Mars album served as the backbone to Wings' 1975/1976 world tour.

Wings At The Speed Of Sound was released on March 25th, 1976 and hit Number One on April 24th, 1976 and spent seven non-consecutive weeks at Number One while McCarrtney was back in the States on his sold-out Wings Over America tour. The album's lead single, "Silly Love Songs" spent a whopping five weeks on top of the Top 40 charts. Its followup, "Let 'Em In," also achieved saturation airplay hitting Number Three.

  • In addition to rare and previously unreleased audio bonus tracks, the Venus And Mars collection will include a 128-page hardbound book, a DVD featuring previously unreleased and exclusive content -- including footage of the band in New Orleans and rehearsing the songs from Venus And Mars at Elstree Studios, along with the original TV commercial for the album.
  • The Wings At The Speed Of Sound set includes a 112-page hardbound book, and features several outtakes -- including the long rumored version of "Beware My Love" featuring Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham on drums along with a DVD featuring previously unreleased 1976 footage of Wings in Venice, a new behind the scenes edit from Wings’ 1976 Wembley shows, as well as the original music video for "Silly Love Songs."
  • Althoughfans have long believed that McCartney was referring to himself and wife Linda -- or John Lennon and Yoko Ono -- in the song "Venus And Mars" in an archival interview from around the time of the album’s release, McCartney maintained that nothing could be further from the truth: "At our L.A. party for it, someone came up and said, ‘Hello Venus, hello Mars.’ I thought, ‘Oh my God, no’ -- y’know? ‘Cause it never even occurred to me. I wrote it, (a) totally imaginary song about someone there, and the words just say: ‘’Venus and Mars are alright tonight’ -- and I just bummed the line in, just like I do with a lot of lines. Like, for instance, I didn’t even know that they’re our neighboring planets. I just thought it was ‘name any two planets’ -- alright, what are the first that come to mind; I thought 'Jupiter'-- no that doesn’t fit, 'Saturn' -- no. ‘Venus and Mars’ -- oh that fits, great, just put those in."

    DVD: Bonus Film
    "Silly Love Songs" video
    Wings Over Wembley
    Wings In Venice


David Crosby is over the moon with the success of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young’s new vault release CSNY 1974, and can’t believe that they had the foresight to capture nearly a half-a dozen shows on multitrack tape. The new album, which was spearheaded by Graham Nash, chronicles the group’s legendary 1974 road trek.

With CSNY 1974 getting almost universal critical acclaim and debuting at Number 17 on the Billboard 200, David Crosby told us that he's relived that CSNY’s early live reputation is no longer solely based on the often sloppy and out of tune 1971 live chart-topper, 4 Way Street: "I’m just happy we caught it. It coulda come out earlier and been crappy, it coulda never come out, and to see it come out and get the reaction it’s getting? I, mean, it’s crazy. You’ve seen then charts, you know what’s going on. I didn’t think 4 Way Street really caught it. It was good -- but it wasn’t as good as it could’ve been."
August 20 - Memphis, TN - Orpheum Theatre
August 22 - Birmingham, AL - BJCC Concert Hall
August 23 - New Orleans, LA - Saenger Theatre
August 25 - Houston, TX - Bayou Music Center
August 26 - Grand Prairie, TX - Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie
August 28 - Austin, TX The Long - Center For The Performing Arts
September 13, 14 - Woodinville, WA - Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
September 16 - Portland, OR - Keller Auditorium
September 17 - Eugene, OR - Cuthbert Amphitheater
September 19 - San Jose, CA - City National Civic Of San Jose
September 23 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
September 24 - Albuquerque, NM - Sandia Resort And Casino
September 26 - Mesa, AZ - Mesa Arts Center
September 27 - Las Vegas, NV - Pearl Concert Theater
September 30 - Paso Robles, CA - Vina Robles Amphitheatre
October 1 - San Diego, CA - San Diego Civic Theatre
October 3, 4 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre AUDIO: DAVID CROSBY ON SUCCESS OF 'CSNY 1974' COLLECTION

Out today (July 29th) today is Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ new album, Hypnotic Eye, marking the band’s first new studio set since 2010’s Mojo. The album is produced by Petty, Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, and longtime studio cohort Ryan Ulyate. Petty and the band kick off their 34-date tour on August 3rd at San Diego's Viejas Arena.

While promoting the new album, Petty took time out to slam the Las Vegas electronic music festival, Electric Daisy Carnival. Petty, a father of two, slammed the Festival, in which this year two young adults died from drug related deaths. Petty told USA Today, "Watch people play records? That’s stupid. You couldn’t pay me to go. I’m not oversimplifying it. That’s what’s going on. I don’t think it would be any fun without the drugs. It’s a drug party. You take that many kids to Vegas in the summer, what could go wrong? I knew it as soon as I saw the ad, I went, ‘Ooh, dead people.’ Do you need the money so bad that you’ll put some kid’s life at risk?"

  • Petty remains hopeful for the future of instrument based music, saying: "Rock is where blues and jazz are sitting. It’s been elbowed to the side, but I don’t think it’s done yet. You’ll see young people give it another run for its money. I’m encountering a lot of young people who want to play instruments and play rock, and they have a vast library at their fingertips."
  • Tom Petty says that decades after forming the Heartbreakers, he's proud that he has a group of musicians who've stayed on for the long and tough haul with him: "I look up now and I really appreciate that I'm. . . I get to play with people that are, that are great musicians and my friends at the same time. I don't think I'd be interested in doing this as much if I were, y'know, going out and just hiring faceless musicians to play parts, and things like (that). I don't think I'd like that." :
    August 3 - San Diego, CA - Viejas Arena
    August 5 - Boise, ID - Taco Bell Arena
    August 7 - Eugene, OR - Matthew Knight Center
    August 9 - San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park
    August 12 - Portland, OR - Moda Center Rose Garden
    August 14 - Vancouver, BC - Rogers Arena
    August 15 - George, WA - The Gorge
    August 17 - Edmonton, Alberta - Rexall Place
    August 19 - Calgary, Alberta - Scotiabank Saddledome
    August 21 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - MTS Centre
    August 23 - Chicago, IL - United Center
    August 24 - Clarkston, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre
    August 26 - Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre
    August 28 - Montreal, Quebec - Bell Centre
    August 30 - Boston, MA - Fenway Park
    August 31 - Portland, ME - Cross Insurance Arena
    September 6 - Arrington, Virginia - Lockn' Interlocking Music Festival at Oak Ridge Fram
    September 7 - Darien Center, NY - Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
    September 10 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
    September 11 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
    September 13 - Hartford, CT - XL Center
    September 15 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
    September 16 - Allentown, PA - PPL Center
    September 18 - Raleigh, NC - PNC Arena
    September 20 - West Palm Beach, FL - Cruzan Amphitheater
    September 21 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Times Forum
    September 23 - Nashville, TN - Bridgestone Arena
    September 25 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
    September 26 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
    September 28 - Tulsa, OK - BOK Center
    September 30 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
    October 1 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
    October 7 - Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
    October 10 - Los Angeles, CA - The Forum

It was 40 years ago today (July 29th, 1974), that "Mama" Cass Elliot of the Mamas & The Papas was found dead in a London apartment. Elliot, who had just performed two sold out performances at the London Palladium, died of what coroners ruled an apparent heart attack. Elliot, whose real name was Ellen Naomi Cohen, had been performing as solo act since the group began to splinter in 1968. That same year, according to legend, Crosby, Stills & Nash performed for the first time together in her Laurel Canyon living room -- and have dedicated their recent live set CSN 2012 to her.

In the following years, due to Elliot's obesity and a rumor that suggested a half eaten ham sandwich was found on the nightstand next to her bed, stories and jokes that she choked to death have cast a shadow on her legacy; despite the fact that it was noted in the coroner's report that no food was found in the singer's trachea. Another unfounded rumor was that Elliott died of a heroin overdose -- despite the fact that no narcotics were found in her blood stream.

Cass Elliot remains one of the most significant and brilliant voices of her generation, and was able to embody literally every type of music she sang. She will forever be remembered for the Mamas & The Papas' string of timeless hits, including "Go Where You Wanna Go," "California Dreamin’," "Monday, Monday," "I Saw Her Again," "Dedicated To The One I Love," "Creeque Alley," and her solo spotlight, "Dream A Little Dream Of Me," among countless others. There was quite possibly no other singer of the 1960's more highly revered than "Mama" Cass.

  • During the Mamas & The Papas' 1998 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, close friend and bandmate Michelle Phillips paid tribute to Elliot: "(Applause) I'd just like to say one more thing -- that I know that Cass is sitting on top of that big full moon tonight, looking down on these proceedings, wearing a size six Thierry Mugler dress (laughter), and thanking you all very, very much (applause)."
  • Elliot is survived by her daughter Owen, who is now a mother herself, and her sister, singer Leah Kunkel, who raised Owen.
  • In 1978, the Who's drummer Keith Moon died in the same London apartment where Elliot died, which was owned by singer Harry Nilsson.

Coming on November 4th is the Doobie Brothers' latest album, called Southbound. The new set features the Doobies teaming up with country heavyweight for new renditions of their classic hits. Among the artists included on the set are Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, and the Zac Brown Band, among others. Also joining in is former full-time Doobie, keyboardist Michael McDonald.

The Doobie Brothers' co-founder Tom Johnston explained that the public’s love for the band has been awe inspiring over the years, telling,, "We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve had radio support for our music for years. That’s been great, and it’s been extremely helpful in many ways. As far as how the songs have withstood the tests of time. . . I know people come up to me often and say that a song got them through a rough time, or they associate it with their college years. They associate it with something that they did in their lives. It could big, or it could be small. It could have been fun, or it could have been a drag. Some guy went into the Vietnam War, and our music helped him get through it. It could be some gal that says that she got married listening to our songs. They all have something in common in that something that touched their lives is associated with a song."

  • Tom Johnston told us that the Southbound album is too special to fall into a pat category: "They’re calling it a 'tribute album,' and I think we all like to think of out as a collaborative album, ‘cause it really was. It’s like, you’ve got all these players and singers from here in town and we had so much fun doing it, and out was something that we're looking forward to it coming out just to see what the reaction’s gonna be. So doin’ it was a lot of fun -- I mean, we really had a good time."
  • The Doobie Brothers will next perform on August 2nd at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre.

It was 49 years ago today (July 29th, 1965) that the Beatles' second film Help! had its world premiere at the London Pavilion in Piccadilly Circus. The movie, which poked fun at the burgeoning British spy film genre made famous by the James Bond films, featured the comedic plot of a group of far-eastern fundamentalists trying to retrieve a "sacrificial ring" that a member of their congregation had sent to Ringo Starr in a fan letter.

In the film, the Beatles are chased through London, the Austrian Alps, and the Bahamas by both the religious cult and a pair of bumbling scientists who are convinced that possessing the ring would enable them to rule the world. Help! not only heavily influenced the TV show The Monkees, which debuted the following year, but also helped pave the way for MTV with its clever use of separate song clips throughout the movie.

John Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970 that it was Richard Lester, who had also directed the group's first movie A Hard Day's Night, who had complete control of the film. Lennon recalled, "The movie was out of our control. With A Hard Day's Night, we had a lot of input, and it was semi-realistic. I realize now that (Help!) was a precursor to Batman's 'Pow!' Wow!' But Dick Lester never explained that to us." Lennon said in that same interview that he and the rest of the group, "Felt like extras in our own film." He also admitted that the group's performance was less than spectacular, due in part to them "smoking marijuana for breakfast."

  • During the making of The Beatles' Anthology in 1992 Paul McCartney joked that, quote, "I'm not sure anyone knew the script. I think we used to learn it on the way to the set."
  • It was during the filming of Help! that George Harrison first was introduced to the Indian instrument the sitar, which featured extensively in the Beatles' music over the next three years.
  • Ultimately Help! -- which was originally titled Eight Arms To Hold You -- is remembered for the classic Beatles songs featured in the film, including "Help!," "The Night Before," "You're Going To Lose That Girl," "Ticket To Ride," "Another Girl," and "I Need You."
  • Beatlefan magazine's executive editor Al Sussman saw the film upon its release in the States and says that the excitement had waned slightly for the group's second film: "It wasn't quite the event. . . Seeing it the first time wasn't quite the event it had been '64 seeing A Hard Day's Night for the first time. The theater wasn't full, it wasn't quite as big as A Hard Day's Night had been, at least the opening." .

Metallica's second album, Ride The Lightning, turns 30 years old this week and drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett spoke with Rolling Stone about the record and its place in Metallica's history. Asked if Metallica was trying to make a different album from its debut, 1983's Kill 'Em All, Ulrich replied, "It was the first time that the four of us wrote together and we got a chance to broaden our horizons. I don't think it was a conscious effort to break away from anything musically . . . we were obviously still into the thrash type of stuff. But we were realizing you had to be careful that it didn't become too limiting or one-dimensional."

  • Ulrich explained that Ride The Lightning was the first album to feature writing contributions from Hammett and late bassist Cliff Burton, who had arrived in the band after most of the material for Kill 'Em All had been written.
  • He explained, "Ride The Lightning was the first time that both Cliff and Kirk got a chance to add what they were doing. They just came from a different school, especially Cliff, who came from a much more melodic approach."
  • The varied sounds of the disc, which included the first Metallica ballad in "Fade To Black," drew mixed responses from some fans. Ulrich recalled, "It did surprise us a little bit, I guess. People started calling us sellouts and all that type of stuff. Some people were a little bit bewildered by the fact that there was a song that had acoustic guitars."
  • Noting that at least four songs from the album are still part of Metallica's live set today, Ulrich said that Ride The Lightning "holds up very well," adding, "There's kind of a youthful energy that runs through the record."

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