It’s been a pretty big year for classic rock fans when it comes to anniversaries. In this edition of our Holiday Gift Guide, we take a look at two that capture some momentous musical moments from 2013.
2013 saw the Rolling Stones hit the road for their 50 Years and Counting tour, celebrating the band’s anniversary. The Queen and I had the chance to see them in Toronto and, honestly, it was perhaps my favoueite performance I’d ever witnessed by the band (which have ranged from stadium shows to a 1000 person club gig). The set list was solid, having guest Mick Taylor for three songs was a treat, and the band were simplyplaying in fine form. With Ronnie Wood sober, he was handling more of the lead guitar parts again, while Keith Richards showed why he’s one of the best rhythm players in the history of rock and roll. At 71, Charlie Watts kept the show going without tiring, while Mick Jagger proved once again that, even as he was about to turn 70 years old, he is simply the best front man in rock and roll.
You can see what I’m talking about in the new Blu-ray/DVD/CD Sweet Summer Sun, which captures the band before more than 100,000 fans at London’s Hyde Park, where the band had last performed some 40 years earlier. At this point, the Stones were even more finely tuned, and had the massive crowd in the palm of their hand. Who would have thought songs such as Start Me Up, Midnight Rambler, and You Got The Silver would be played with such life and energy and sincerity so many years later. The Rolling Stones are one of rock’s greatest stories, one that still doesn’t seem to be winding down.
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One of the band’s I’ve grown increasingly fond of over the past few years is Deep Purple. Working in rock radio for the first part of my career, I was familiar with all the big hits (read that as the songs that would make the fairly stringent rotation list) – Smoke On The Water, Highway Star, Hush, Kentucky Woman, Woman From Tokyo. You’d never hear anything from the Mark III line-up, songs like Burn and Stormbringer, which are fantastic slabs of rock. And even the classic Mark II line-up’s 80′s comeback hits, Perfect Strangers and Knocking At Your Back Door, never seemed to get radio play.
Thankfully, the good folks at Eagle Rock have helped spread the word about Deep Purple’s stellar catalogue with various DVD releases, including Phoenix Rising and the brand new DVD, Perfect Strangers Live.
Last week saw the release of the new six cd Beach Boys box set, Made In California. Arguably the most beloved band to come out of the 1960s, the work of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Bruce Johnston and David Marks has been compiled in various permutations over the past twenty years, beginning with the gold standard Good Vibrations box set of 1993. That collection, the first to officially feature music from the band’s legendary, unreleased Smile sessions, finished off in 1988 with the release of Kokomo, and was filled with numerous unreleased songs and alternate versions.
The new set, Made In California, brings the story up to date, featuring tracks the band recorded in 1995 that were unreleased, and signs of its studio portion with a few tracks from last year’s 50th Anniversary reunion album, That’s Why God Made The Radio.
But that’s just the beginning.
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Talk to someone who isn’t a Bob Dylan fan and they’ll often tell you, “it’s the voice.” That nasal tone from the 60′s; the rasp that it has developed into over the past thirty years. Truth be told, I get it. Dylan’s voice isn’t for everyone, and can definitely be hinderance in discovering his brilliance.
Now, if I want to try and turn someone onto Dylan, I’ve got the perfect collection for them; the latest edition of the Bootleg Series, in stores today, and featuring outtakes recorded between 1969 and 1971. It’s titled Another Self Portrait and it is an absolutely stunning listen.
Get 45 minutes to talk to one of the most recognizable lead singers in the history of popular music, and you’re going to receive some amazing insights into being a legend. You can check out part one of my interview with The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, where he discussed his influences and how he came up with some of the band’s most enduring lyrics here. Today, in part two in what has become a four part exclusive interview, Mike talks about the art of the live Beach Boys concert. And he’s the man who should know – he’s been fronting the group in all its various incarnations for more than 50 years now.
Andy Burns: So what would be the ideal Beach Boys show for you?
Mike Love: To do the proper show, where the Beach Boys cover all the bases, you’d need a three hour show. We’ve got some really beautiful songs that go unperformed because of the time constraints. What, are you not going to do Good Vibrations? Or Kokomo? Or California Girls? Or Help Me, Rhonda? Or Fun Fun Fun?
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When I was 20 years old, The Beach Boys changed my life. A friend at university got me into the band, explaining Pet Sounds to me, and I was quickly off into a world of discovery. I learned to love both the experimental side of the band, along with the wonderful music they crafted in the early 60s which brought California to the world. One of the highlights of my personal and professional life was when I traveled to California in 2004 to interview Brian Wilson about his resurrected SMiLE album. But while Brian Wilson was the architect of the bands gorgeous music, Mike Love was the lead singer and co-writer on so many of those pre-SMiLE gems.
The history of the Beach Boys is long and storied and dramatic, all things you can read about elsewhere. For me, when the opportunity to finally talk to Mike Love came about, I was more interested in exploring his legacy – what inspired him as a kid, how he wound up writing some of pop music’s most enduring words, and what keeps him going today. Though 2012’s 50 Anniversary Tour featured the classic Beach Boys line-up of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, today’s band is the one that Love has performed with live for more than a decade, a smaller, compact group of musicians that play everywhere from casinos and state fairs, to theaters and Hyde Park. It was hours before a gig in Montreal that I spoke to Mike Love on the phone, in a conversation that went 45 minutes with Love doing most of the talking. The singer was friendly and engaging, delving deep into the band’s history, how he likes to perform today, his thoughts on the reunited Beach Boys album, That’s Why God Made The Radio, and their upcoming box set, Made In California.
So, without further adieu, put on some rock and roll music, and delve into part one of Biff Bam Pop’s exclusive interview with the one and only, Mike Love.
Happy 75th birthday, Superman! You don’t look a day over…well, how old is Henry Cavill, anyway?
That’s right. We’ll use Henry as our benchmark as he’s the most recent actor to portray the world’s most recognizable superhero in the sure-to-be-a-blockbuster film, Man of Steel, opening in wide release this coming Friday. That means, as of today, only three more sleeps to go. And just so you know, Henry is thirty. So says Wikipedia.
With every new mass media incarnation of Superman, be it film or television, one can’t help but reflect on what’s come before – both in terms of visuals and in their corresponding auditory illuminations. Opening scenes of films and opening themes of music for those same films, I think, not only showcase the times in which those pieces of art were produced, but they’re also representational of what you’re likely to experience over the coming two hours of cinema viewing.
Walk with me, then, through the first few moments of the characters broadcast origin and through two previous Superman films – comparing the differences and similarities of works of cinematic art separated by over five decades of human history. We’ll take a short respite in the realm of television, and then continue on our journey, making our way to the opening scene and musical theme of the brand new Man of Steel film.
I’ve been hunting down records for years now and am stunned at the endless supply of amazing and sometimes forgotten music that’s still out there. You need to hear this stuff!
So allow me to share with you some old and new gems from my milk crates. The only thing that I ask from you is that you leave your musical prejudices behind and read on with an open ear.
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