Classic Rock News

MARTIN SCORSESE TO EXECUTIVE PRODUCE GRATFUL DEAD 50th ANNIVERSARY DOC

The Grateful Dead have announced a 50th anniversary documentary with Martin Scorsese serving as one of the film’s executive producers and Amir Bar-Lev on board as the project's director. The Dead’s surviving members, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart said in a joint announcement for the yet-to-be titled film: "Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years. With our 50th Anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it. Needless to say, we are humbled to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese. From The Last Waltz to George Harrison: Living In The Material World, from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones, he has made some of the greatest music documentaries ever with some of our favorite artists and we are honored to have him involved. The 50th will be another monumental milestone to celebrate with our fans and we cannot wait to share this film with them."

Martin Scorsese added: "The Grateful Dead were more than just a band. They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans. I'm very happy that this picture is being made and proud to be involved."

  • The press release for the film -- which offered no release date for the project -- went on to state: "This monumental documentary will meld a cornucopia of never before seen performance footage, vintage interviews, and other candid moments unearthed from the Grateful Dead's vast vaults along with newly captured conversations with surviving members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir, as well as many other characters and pranksters from the Dead universe."
  • Drummer Mickey Hart admits that with so many Dead shows under his belt, some legendary gigs seem blurrier than others: "It pretty well falls into, y'know, history. I mean, we've done so many concerts that sometimes, we can remember the concerts, but what we played (chuckles) -- I don't think so. That's left up to the archivists, the historians, and for the people now to savor it. We sort of cut it loose. You have to do that in music, 'cause if you live in the past and you have too much memory of that, there's no room for the present and the future. We just kept moving, moving, moving, and playing, playing, playing, and it was just fortunate enough that we have recorded most of the legacy."
  • Alex Blavatnik is financing the Dead doc through his AOMA Sunshine Films. Eric Eisner, Nicholas Koskoff, and Justin Kreutzmann -- son of Bill Kreutzmann and longtime documentarian for Pete Townshend and the Who - will serve as producers. Executive Producers are Scorsese, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller, and Rick Yorn. Longtime Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux will serve as the film's music supervisor.
AUDIO: GRACE SLICK ON JERRY GARCIA
AUDIO: MICKEY HART DOESN'T REMEMBER PLAYING SPECIFIC GRATEFUL DEAD SHOWS
50 YEARS AGO!!! THE ROLLING STONES DEBUT ON 'THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW'

It was 50 years ago Saturday night (October 25th, 1964) that the Rolling Stones made their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Stones' debut was nothing like the Beatles' celebrated first appearance the previous February, when they performed five songs. The Stones, who were already on their second U.S. tour of the year, performed two songs in less than seven minutes -- their latest hit "Time Is On My Side," and a cover of Chuck Berry's "Around And Around."

The Ed Sullivan Show wasn't the Stones' first U.S. TV performance. They had performed on Dean Martin's Hollywood Palace and The Mike Douglas Show during their first swing through the States the previous June. But it was during the Stones' 1964 Ed Sullivan Show performance that the majority of America got their first glimpse of the unruly Stones -- with Mick Jagger dressing down in a ragged sweatshirt and unwashed hair, and guitarist Brian Jones glaring menacingly toward the cameras.

  • 50 years into the band's career, Mick Jagger recalled how shocked the entertainment world was in the early-'60s as the Stones redefined the rules of the game: "The way that show-business was in those days was very narrow, and you were supposed to behave in a certain way, pretty much goody-two-shoes. So, if you didn't behave like that completely, you were, y'know, on the edge of it. So, it was another time. Y'know, the early, early days." in Adelaide.
AUDIO: KEITH RICHARDS ON COUNTERING THE BEATLES
AUDIO: MARTIN SCORSESE ON HIS ATTRACTION TO THE ROLLING STONES' MUSIC
AUDIO: MICK JAGGER ON THE ROLLING STONES BREAKING SHOWBIZ TRADITIONS
GEORGE HARRISON'S WIDOW SNEAKS RARE DEMO ONTO BBC RADIO

With the lack of true rarities found on the recent George Harrison box set, The Apple Years: 1968-75, fans were pleasantly surprised when Olivia Harrison took time out to air a song never heard before on British radio. On Monday (October 20th), Olivia appeared on good friend Jools Holland’s BBC Radio 2 show and premiered a demo of Harrison singing a tune called "Fear Of Flying" by an obscure female singer/songwriter Charlie Dore, which he recorded when Dore visited the Harrison's in 1979 or 1980.

Around the time of the 2012 documentary, Living In The Material World, Olivia first spoke of the recording, telling The Chicago-Tribune, that she had originally wanted the movie’s soundtrack, Early Takes Vol. 1, to be far more inclusive than it came to be: "Initially I thought it could be a two-disc thing, but some things don’t go together. He sang a lot of songs during this time, some very obscure, by people like Nina Simone and this local girl Charlie Dore. But they didn’t really mesh, didn’t fit. We didn’t want a nine-CD set. We settled on these very intimate songs, that were so important to him at the beginning of his solo career, his emergence as a solo artist. That’s what we’re trying to present here, that particular period of his life."

  • George Harrison felt that he was best serving his audience by constantly changing and refining his recorded output: "Not just 'George Harrison,' but I think most people change all the time. If you listen to me in '65, it's different in '67, it's different in '69, and then through my solo albums. I did the big one at the beginning with all the string players, the choirs, the 10 drummers and Phil Spector. And after I did that one, I just presumed -- I like to give the public the benefit of having some sort of sense; thinking, 'Well just 'cause I've done that, everything shouldn't have to be like that.' So they know I can do that, this one I'd like to do with pianos, bass, drums (and) guitars."
  • As of now, there seems to be no plans to release Harrison's version of "Fear Of Flying" but the one minute-three second clip has made its way all over the Internet over the past few days and sparked more interest with fans than the crumbs of rare and unreleased material found on the new Harrison box set.
AUDIO: GEORGE HARRISON ON GROWING MUSICALLY
FOO FIGHTERS REVEAL WRIGLEY FIELD CONCERT LINEUP

Foo Fighters have announced additional details about the concert the band is playing at Chicago's Wrigley Field on August 29th, 2015. The day-long event will celebrate the musical history of the Windy City and feature performances by local legends Cheap Trick, Urge Overkill and Naked Raygun. Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen appears on the song "Something From Nothing," the first single from the upcoming Foos album Sonic Highways.

  • Punk favorites Naked Raygun were the first band Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl ever saw live in Chicago.
  • The new Foo Fighters album, Sonic Highways, arrives on November 10th.
  • An eight-part documentary series about the making of the record, also called Sonic Highways, premiered last Friday night (October 17th) on HBO. It chronicles the recording of the album in eight different cities.
  • Bassist Nate Mendel told us what he found most rewarding about the process of making Sonic HIghways: "I think the cool thing about this was -- and it was sort of a surprise to me -- is going to all these cities and learning about them in a little bit more depth than we had before. It gives us a sense of pride in a way of American music and all the variety of it and depth of it and all these unique cities. After a while, you take it all in and you're like, 'Yeah,' you know -- it just gives you a little bit of more feeling of like being a part of the place." for an interview with Anderson Cooper on CBS-TV's 60 Minutes.
AUDIO: FOO FIGHTERS' NATE MENDEL ON REWARDS OF RECORDING 'SONIC HIGHWAYS'
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROLLING STONE BILL WYMAN!!!

Happy Birthday to former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, who turns 78 today (October 24th). Wyman, who quit the Stones in 1991, was on hand for the band's 2012 London shows as part of their 50 & Counting Tour. Both Wyman and longtime fans were disapointed that he was relegated to only two songs during the shows, sitting with the band during "It's Only Rock N' Roll" and "Honky Tonk Women."

From the band's earliest days, Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts provided the solid rhythm section behind band leaders Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and the late Brian Jones. Wyman, whose real name is William Perks, was several years older than the rest of the band and caught the music bug much earlier than his bandmates, who were first smitten by the early Elvis Presley and Eddie Cochran singles. By the time Wyman joined the band, he was already a father and a veteran of Britain's Royal Air Force.

Wyman, who was also a songwriter, was all but barred from incorporating his own music into the band's repertoire. In the three decades Wyman was with the Stones, he was only able to get two of his songs onto the band's albums: 1967's "In Another Land" on Their Satanic Majesties Request, and "Downtown Suzie," an outtake from 1968's Beggar's Banquet that was eventually included on the 1975 Metamorphosis compilation. Wyman has also gone on record saying that he composed the Stones' signature opening riff to 1968's "Jumpin' Jack Flash," yet never received credit.

  • He released several critically acclaimed and musically diverse solo albums throughout the '70s and '80s, including Monkey Grip and Stone Alone, and even scored a surprise 1981 Top 20 UK hit with "(Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star."
  • Although Wyman's bass playing was always solid, he was affectionately dubbed the "invisible bassist," in contrast to his contemporaries Paul McCartney of the Beatles and the late John Entwistle of the Who, both of whom were considered more distinctive and innovative.
  • Among the many up-and-coming musicians Wyman discovered was the 14-year-old guitarist Peter Frampton.
  • Shortly after the band's successful 1989-1990 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle tour, Wyman officially quit the Stones, although the formal announcement wasn't made until 1993. Wyman explained at the time that he had gotten to a point where he wanted his time to be completely his own: "One of the main reasons I left the Stones was I didn't really want to tour anymore, and I didn't want to spend six months in a studio cutting a record. I didn't want to be that much away from my family. I do have a little family now -- of three little girls of 6, and 5, and nearly 3. I do like to be at home."
  • In 2006 Wyman released a two-disc retrospective, Stoned Alone: The Solo Anthology 1974-2001.
  • In 2009 Wyman broke his 55-year smoking addiction -- which at times had him smoking up to five packs a day.
  • He performs frequently with his solo band the Rhythm Kings, who backed Paul Rodgers in December 2007 when he opened for Led Zeppelin at their reunion gig at London's O2 Arena.
AUDIO: BILL WYMAN ON 'EXILE' SESSIONS
AUDIO: BILL WYMAN ON EXCLUDING UNFLATTERING SHOTS FROM PHOTO SHOW
AUDIO: BILL GERMAN ON MICK JAGGER TRYING TO REPLACE BILL WYMAN
AUDIO: CHARLIE WATTS ON BILL WYMAN ON THE ROAD
AUDIO: BILL WYMAN SAYS HE LEFT THE ROLLING STONES BECAUSE OF THE GROUP'S SCHEDULE
OZZY HOPES BILL WARD CAN GET IT TOGETHER FOR NEXT BLACK SABBATH TOUR

There may be hope yet for Black Sabbath fans who hope to see the band reunite with original drummer Bill Ward when they head out on their final tour in 2015. In a new interview with Esquire, singer Ozzy Osbourne said, "What I'm really happy about is, if this is Black Sabbath's last hurrah, then we'll have ended it on an up note rather than when I left in 1979 and everybody was f***ed up on one thing or another . . . The only thing sad about it is I hope drummer Bill Ward can get his stuff together to do this."

  • Ward was announced as part of the band's reunion in late 2011, but dropped out early the following year due to what was assumed to be a dispute over his contract.
  • Since that time, however, the other three original Sabbath members -- Ozzy, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler -- have hinted that Ward was not physically up to the task of recording a new album and embarking on a lengthy world tour.
  • Ozzy said as much when we asked about Ward's absence a while back: "Bill Ward has got the most physically demanding job of the lot of us, 'cause he's the timekeeper. I don't think personally he had the chops to pull it off, you know. The saddest thing is that he needed to own up to that, and we could have worked around it, whether we had a drummer on the side with him or something. But I suppose it was something to do with finances as well."
  • Ward underwent surgery last year for perforated diverticulitis, a gastrointestinal condition in which the walls of the intestine have become perforated.
  • For the recording of its 2013 reunion album, 13, Sabbath used Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk, while regular Ozzy drummer Tommy Clufetos handled the drums on tour.
  • Black Sabbath will release one final studio album and tour behind it in 2015, with Ozzy telling Esquire, "The record company wants us to do one more record, and we've decided to do one more tour, and at the end of the tour we just disband and I go back to doing my solo stuff."
  • Ozzy released a solo career retrospective called Memoirs Of A Madman earlier this month.
AUDIO: BLACK SABBATH'S OZZY OSBOURNE ON BILL WARD'S ABSENCE
QUICK TAKES
  • Paul Simon has signed on to headline the October 29th A Tribute To Phil Everly concert to be held at the Nashville, Tennessee home of Sylvia Roberts. The benefit concert is being played raise funds and awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which killed the Everly Brothers' Phil Everly on January 3rd of this year at age 74. Paul Simon said in a statement: "I wish I’d have met him earlier. He was such a good friend."
    • Phil’s widow, Patti Everly, added: "In addition to being a gifted singer, musician and songwriter, Phil was also an amazing husband, dedicated father, grandfather, and uncle. COPD took Phil too early. . . I am grateful for the support of Paul Simon in helping to raise awareness about this devastating disease and to be a part of this special evening with proceeds going towards the COPD Foundation." (Vintage Vinyl News)
  • John Fogerty is set to perform for President and Mrs. Obama on November 6th at the White House as part of a Veteran’s Day event for PBS. A Salute To The Troops: In Performance At The White House will premiere Friday, November 7th at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide, as part of the PBS Fall Arts Festival.
    • The concert will be held before a live audience including hundreds of members of the military, and also features performances by Willie Nelson, Mary J. Blige, Common, Willie Nelson, and others, with Don Was serving as the musical director.
  • Neil Young will launch his first art exhibition next month in Santa Monica, California. The series of watercolors will be displayed in Young’s show, titled, Special Deluxe, from November 3rd to the 8th at the Robert Berman Gallery. Young will make an appearance on the show’s opening night. One of the paintings will serve as the cover art to Young’s upcoming album, Storytone, also due out next month. (Noise 11)
  • Joan Jett clothing designer? You read that right -- Jett has teamed up with retailer Hot Topic and TRIPP NYC designer Daang Goodman for a new line to be sold exclusively at Hot Topic. Jett -- who is on the shortlist to make the final ballot of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 -- said, "Working with Daang and TRIPP NYC was effortless, as we approached this collection from the same fashion sensibility and DIY spirit. I'm blown away by how the collection turned out -- these clothes are some of my favorite new additions to my closet."
    • Hot Topic and Jett recently settled a lawsuit, which had Jett claiming the company was using her Blackeart logo without permission. The company had previously purchased and distributed official Jett merchandise. The new partnership starts a new chapter in Jett’s relationship with the retailer.
REMEMBERING SONGWRITER ELLIE GREENWICH

Today (October 24th) would have marked legendary songwriter Ellie Greenwich's 74th birthday. Greenwich died of a heart attack on August 26th, 2009 while battling pneumonia in New York's Roosevelt Hospital.

Greenwich, who was discovered by songwriting legends Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, was one of the most important songwriters of the 1960's will always be associated with her work with former husband Jeff Barry for their work both with and without Phil Spector on such legendary 1960's staples as the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," "Baby, I Love You," and "I Can Hear Music," the Shangri-La's' "Leader Of The Pack," the Dixie Cups' "Chapel Of Love," Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High," the Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me" and "Da Doo Ron Ron," Manfred Mann's "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy," Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" and (Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry," and Tommy James and the Shondells' "Hanky Panky," among many others.

  • The team of Barry and Greenwich, along with their contemporaries Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman; Burt Bacharach and Hal David; Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield; and Gerry Goffin and Carole King, came to define the sound of New York's Brill Building, which -- along with the neighboring building at 1650 Broadway -- housed the various songwriters who composed and demo-ed future hits for acts including the Drifters, the Ronettes, the Chiffons, Manfred Mann, the Monkees, and others.
  • Brian Wilson, who has been a die-hard Ronettes fan for 50 years says that the group's "Baby, I Love You" is still one of his favorite records: "I rate that as a very sweet, great lead. It's not as good as 'Be My Baby' but it's a great song."
  • Greenwich spoke about her marriage to Barry in Always Magic In The Air, Ken Emerson's 2005 book on the Brill Building songwriters, and recalled that it was the couple's professional success that ultimately lead to their 1965 divorce, saying that, "We had too much happen to us too fast. The music did so well and we were so wrapped up in it that we never had time to get to know each other. . . We had a creative partnership but not an overly romantic one. It was a good partnership, but not a great marriage."
  • The couple continued to work together after their divorce, going on to produce such early Neil Diamond hits as "Cherry Cherry" and "Kentucky Woman."
  • In 1984, Greenwich composed "Right Track Wrong Train," which appeared as the B-side to Cyndi Lauper's hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
  • That same year, Greenwich appeared at New York City's Bottom Line in the musical revue Leader Of The Pack, which chronicled her life and career. The show eventually ran on Broadway, featuring many of her best-known hits. Leader Of The Pack continues to run in regional and high school productions across the country.
  • In 1991, she and Jeff Barry were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
AUDIO: HAL DAVID ON BRILL BUILDING SONGWRITERS
AUDIO: BRIAN WILSON ON THE RONETTES' 'BABY I LOVE YOU'
 
 
 
 

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