12-12-12 benefit album out, features McCartney, Clapton
The 2-CD soundtrack, “12-12-12 The Concert for Sandy Relief” from the recent mega-benefit has been released with little fanfare.
The set features live performances by The Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, Billy Joel, Coldplay’s Chris Martin with former R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi and others.
That may be why, even though Amazon lists it at a bargain price of $11.99, the CD set has sold only a little more than half its expected 150,000 copies. Nonetheless, it did enter that Billboard album chart at No. 9.
Ron Wood says Stones to play more shows
Ron Wood says that he and his fellow Rolling Stones want to perform, “until they can no longer stand up,” according to the Brit daily, the Telegraph.
“I think of Howlin’ Wolf plugging into his kidney machine, however old he was, 80 or something, and still playing. You just rock till you drop,” Wood said. (It must be noted that the Wolf actually died at age 65, which is the current age of Wood, the youngest Stone.)
Mick Jagger appeared to endorse Wood’s sentiment when he told the 19,500 fans at The Stones’ 50th anniversary show on Dec. 15 at the Prudential Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey: “We hope to see you all again soon.”
Wood recently remarried in an intimate ceremony at London’s swank Dorchester Hotel before a small group of family and close friends that included his old Faces mate, Rod Stewart, as Best Man as well as Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy.
’50s Singing Legend Patti Page dies
Patti Page, known as The Singin’ Rage, who dominated the pop singles charts throughout the ’50s, died at age 85 at the Seacrest Village Retirement Community in the coastal town of Encinitas, north of San Diego, the nursing home confirmed. She continued to average in the vicinity of 50 concerts per year right up to her death.
Last month, it was announced that she would be a recipient of the Grammy Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award along with Ravi Shankar, who died at 92 one day before the announcement.
Her career ran seven decades, beginning in the days following World War II after being discovered by Benny Goodman, for whom she sang briefly. She scored her first million-selling single in 1950, “With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming.” Fourteen other singles that each sold at least one million copies followed between 1950-1965. In all, her singles charted 110 times between 1948-1882. She was also one of the few singers to chart at least one record on the country chart in five separate decades.
Her biggest hit, Redd Stewart’s and Pee-Wee King’s “Tennessee Waltz,” about a singer whose lover is stolen by an old friend, dominated the No. 1 position for nine weeks at the end of 1950 and the early in 1951 as well as No. 2 on the country music chart. Over the years the record sold more than 10 million copies.
The song that was one of her dad’s favorite tunes was originally intended as the B-side of her Christmas single, “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” but Page allegedly herself pushed for “Tennessee Waltz’s” release as a separate single with the song as A-side. As of 1974, it was the biggest selling record ever in Japan, of all places.
Her recording of the novelty tune, “(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window,” that was released early in 1953, was panned by critics, but fans loved it. The record hit No. 1 on both Cashbox and Billboard singles charts. It sat atop the Billboard chart for eight weeks.
She briefly tried acting, taking roles in “Elmer Gantry” in 1960, in “Dondi” with David Janssen in 1961 and in the 1962 comedy, “Boys Night Out” with Kim Novak and James Garner, and in such TV series as “Bachelor Father” with John Forsythe.
Madonna, Springsteen, Waters top concerts of 2012
Pollstar released its annual list of the list of the Top 50 Worldwide Tours for the year and it’s loaded with classic veteran artists. Topping the list is Madonna, who grossed $296.1 million for 88 shows, followed by Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band with $210.2 million for 81 gigs, and former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters’ never-ending tour of “The Wall” that grossed $186.4 million for 72 concerts.
The other veteran acts in the Top 50 were, (4) Coldplay with $171 million in 71 shows; (7) Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, $96 million in 23 shows; (8) Metallica, $86 million in 30 shows; Elton John, $69 million in 95 shows; (10) Red Hot Chili Peppers, $57 million in 77 shows; (11) Paul McCartney, $56 million in 16 shows; (12) classical/waltz violinist Andre Rieu, $55 million in 100 shows; (13) Jennifer Lopez, $52 million in 54 shows; (14) Dave Matthews Band, $51 million in 53 shows; (15) Van Halen, $49 million in 50 shows; (17) Leonard Cohen, $46 million in 56 shows;
(21) Radiohead, $42 million in 48 shows;; (22) Barbra Streisand, $42 million in 12 shows; (28) Brad Paisley, $36 million in 61 shows; (29) Celine Dion, $36 million in 53 shows; (31) Mexican rock band Mana, $36 million in 42 shows; (33) The Rolling Stones, $35 million in 5 shows; (37) pop and opera singer Andrea Bocelli, $33 million in 23 shows; (38) The Scorpions, $32 million in 74 shows;; (39) Jimmy Buffett, $32 million in 40 shows; (44) Aerosmith, $31 million in 33 shows;; (48) Rascal Flatts, $29 million in 54 shows;; (49) Mexican ranchera singing legend Vicente Fernandez, $29 million in 21 shows;. The Rolling Stones were the top per-concert grossers averaging $11,833,333 for their five concerts.
Julio Iglesias duets with Haitian president at benefit
At a benefit concert to raise fund to aid impoverished Haitian children in the Dominican Republic’s capitol, Santo Domingo, Julio Iglesias sang two duets with Haiti’s President Michel Martelly, who formed the charity with his wife, according to the Huffington Post.
Before becoming president in May 2011, Martelly was a popular singer of Haitian dance music known as “Sweet Micky,” Before a sold-out house that included Barbara Walters and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, the two sang “Corazon, Corazon” in Spanish and then Iglesias’ 1984 international smash, “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” in English.
Reunited Rascals play on
Reunited blue-eyed soul rockers, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Rascals, are playing the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, Florida over next Memorial Day weekend, according to Jamband.com.
The quartet, known for such all-time mid-`60s classics as the No. 1 smashes, “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin”‘ and “People Got To Be Free,” as well as “A Beautiful Morning,” that hit No. 3 in 1968 and “How Can I Be Sure,” that reached No. 4 the year before, regrouped last month for six shows, their first public performances in 42 years. The band broke up 40 years ago, in 1972.
The concerts at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, reunited all four original members, 68-year-old drummer Dino Danelli, 68-year-old guitarist Gene Cornish, 70-year-old singer/keyboardist/songwriter Felix Cavaliere and 67-year-old singer Eddie Brigati, who co-wrote many of the group’s hits with Cavaliere.
The shows were a theatrical 28-song biographical concert extravaganza featuring actors and psychedelic videos on a huge screen was billed as “Once Upon A Dream” after their fourth studio LP, from 1968.
E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt, who had been steadfastly working on reuniting The Rascals for more than a quarter-century and who served as the show’s writer, co-producer and co-director, plans on bringing this show with The Rascals to “other markets,” again, according to Jamband.
Benefit for Blasters’ Phil Alvin
Singer Phil Alvin and his friends will play a benefit at the Observatory in Santa Ana on Jan. 26 for … himself. For the occasion, he’s reuniting the original Blasters that formed in Downey in 1979 and includes his singer-guitarist brother Dave as well as bassist John Bazz and drummer Bill Bateman. The Blasters released their debut LP, “American Music,” the following year and became popular on the influential LA punk music scene along with X, Black Flag and the like.
Also appearing at the benefit will be his old friends, X, with its original lineup (singer Exene Cervenka, singer-bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D.J. Bonebreak) and its cowpunk spinoff band The Knitters.
Phil Alvin was on tour in Spain last June when, after a show, an infection from an abscessed tooth caused his throat to swell shut. He was rushed to a local hospital where an emergency tracheotomy was performed. While being treated, the 59-year-old actually flat-lined twice and was resuscitated via CPR. He recovered, but he’s got a mountain of medical bills, hence the benefit.
The Black Crowes to end hiatus
Guitarist Rich Robinson, his vocalist brother Chris and their band, The Black Crowes are ending a two-and-a-half year hiatus and will embark on the first leg of their “Lay Down With Number 13” world tour early next year, according to an announcement on its website.
The jaunt kicks off five-date British tour in the final week in March.
Then, they’ll tour the U.S. east of the Mississippi, performing 21 shows from April 2-May 4. No dates for the second leg of the tour have been announced.
Miley Cyrus goes Dolly Parton classic
A few months ago, Miley Cyrus, who was born in Nashville 20 years ago, ditched the glitz, the satin short shorts and other assorted young diva necessities and taped what she calls, “The Backyard Sessions.”
Her five-piece backing band ditched its state-of-the-art sonic gadgets in favor of a pair of acoustic guitars, a minimal drum kit and brushes, a standup bass and electric piano and went totally roots country as Cyrus delivered her take on Dolly Parton’s 1973 hit, “Jolene,” that Rolling Stone ranked No. 219 on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and that she took to No. 1 on the country singles chart (it reached No. 44 on Billboard’s adult contemporary chart).
Another cover song from the session, Melanie’s 1971 single, “What Have They Done to My Song Ma,” has also been released. Both are available for viewing and listening on YouTube. There’s no word if or when the entire “Backyard Sessions” will be released.
Palm Springs Follies
The dancing and singing musical review featuring exclusively performers ages 55 and older, The Palm Springs Follies, begins 2013 with headliner Lou Christie, known for such ’60s hits as the propulsive “Lightnin’ Strikes,” as well as “Two Faces Have I,” “Rhapsody in the Rain” and “I’m Gonna Make You Mine.” His stint runs Jan. 8 through March 9. The Follies are staged at the historic Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs.
Lesley Gore returns to the Follies to headline from March 12 to May 19. As a teenager, Gore’s first four singles, in 1963-1964, “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” “She’s a Fool” and “You Don’t Own Me,” all made it into the Top 5 with her debut single reaching No. 1.
Broadway star Lorna Luft, half-sister of Liza Minnelli and daughter of Judy Garland, completed her run in the Follies on New Year’s Eve.
Fontella Bass dies
R&B, jazz and pop singer Fontella Bass, died at age 72 in a hospice in her native St. Louis from complications from a heart attack she suffered early last month. The singer whose big soulful voice was compared to Aretha Franklin’s, was best known for her 1965 hit, “Rescue Me.”
The song was recorded during a brainstorming jam session at Chess Records in Chicago that included backup singer Minnie Ripperton and a rhythm section of future Earth, Wind and Fire members Maurice White on drums and bassist Louis Satterfield. Bass claimed she co-wrote the song but was never credited.
The song spent a month atop the R&B chart and made it to No. 4 on the pop chart. In England, it reached No. 11. The single sold more than 1 million copies and was certified a gold record. Her health began to decline around 2005 when she suffered the first of a series of strokes. Nonetheless, she released an album of new material, “Travelin’,” last year, her first since 1996.
Mothers of Invention singer Ray Collins dies
Ray Collins, who began his musical career in Pomona as a guitarist and falsetto doo-wop singer in a band, The Soul Giants, that became the Mothers of Invention after Frank Zappa came on board in 1964, died at age 76 at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center when he was taken off life support after suffering a heart attack a week earlier, according to the Pasadena Star-News.
At the time of his death, the Claremont resident had fallen on hard times and had lived in his van for nearly a decade, but local residents and friends always found him happy, energetic and engaging.
Collins was lead singer on such early Mothers of Invention albums as “Freak Out” in 1966, “Absolutely Free” in 1967 and “Cruising with Rubin & The Jets, ” a doo-wop concept album from 1968. He came and went with the group through the mid-’70s.
However, he eventually left for good, telling the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in 2009, the music contained “too much comedy; too much making fun of stuff. I just wanted to make beautiful music. I was raised on Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole.”
Howard Kaylan, lead singer for The Turtles, who sang lead for The Mothers of Invention in the early ’70s, remembered Collins in a Facebook Message.
“Ray Collins was the greatest doo-wop voice that ever lived. He added a vitality to the sounds of the ’50s that transcended eras and brought ’60s, ’70s and ’80s kids into the world of Frank Zappa’s genius. A lovely man and a pure soul. Everyone he met loved him. I miss Brother Ray already.”
The estate of Andy Williams, who died in September at age 84, will auction off the singer’s museum-quality collection of Navajo blankets in late May. It is estimated that the collection could net more than $1 million, according to the Associated Press.
Described as “bold, colorful wool blankets,” they decorated the “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” crooner’s home, his office and his Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri.
In other auction news, the small 58-key upright piano that actor Dooley Wilson’s character Sam used to perform “As Time Goes By” in the 1942 film classic, “Casablanca,” was sold at Sotheby’s in New York City for $602,500, reports Reuters. The sum, while impressive, fell quite a bit short of the estimated $1 million that some experts estimated it would sell for. The auction house assigned a pre-sale estimate range of $800,000-$1.2 million for the fabled keyboard.
In the film, Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa sees Sam, whom she knew years earlier in Paris when she had a brief but intense affair with Humphrey Bogart’s Rick, and urges him to, “Play it. Play ‘As Time Goes By,'” a song Rick had forbidden Sam from playing because it was a painful reminder of the failed romance. Later, an intoxicated Rick tells Sam, “If she can stand it, I can. Play it!” Slightly different from the now-fabled, “Play it again, Sam” that’s usually quoted.
Classic acts from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s continue to perform. Here’s what one of them is doing.
New York City-born contemporary folk singer Janis Ian was a mature 13 years old in 1965 when she wrote “Society’s Child,” an intimate look at an interracial romance that was condemned by the white girl’s mother, who humiliated her black boyfriend, and who also had to endure the taunts and bullying of both her classmates as well as her teachers. The song ends with the girl breaking up with the boy because she couldn’t handle the pressure brought on by seemingly everyone around her.
Ian got a huge boost from New York Philharmonic conductor Leonard Bernstein who pushed for Verve Records to sign her, which it did. That year, 1965, she recorded the song and it was released in 1966. However, the record didn’t go anywhere and several radio stations refused to play it, and indeed, one radio station in Atlanta that did play the record was burned to the ground. However, momentum slowly grew and the song entered the Billboard Top 40 in June 1967. Several CBS affiliates censored her performance of the song when she guested in November 1967 on the always cutting-edge “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
Eventually, “Society’s Child” hit No. 14 on that chart and No. 13 on Cashbox magazine’s Top 40 despite a large number of stations that still refused to play it. However, it did reach No. 1 on quite a few radio stations’ Top 40 lists throughout the country that did. During its run, the single sold more than 600,000 copies and Ian’s debut LP, also called “Society’s Child” made it to No. 12 and sold an additional 350,000 copies.
The Grammys inducted the song into its Hall of Fame in 2001. For almost a decade afterward, Ian was stuck in one-hit wonderland. However, in 1975, at the wise old age of 22, she released her biggest record, “At Seventeen,” a mournful ballad that also dealt with adolescent angst and cruelty. Its observation is from one who considers herself not even a Plain Jane but as “those of us with ravaged faces,” who is ignored in school and who watches the pretty girls get all the attention and become popular.
The song resonated and became a smash, hitting No. 3 on the Billboard Top 40 and No. 1 on its adult contemporary chart, and also No. 1 on Cashbox’s chart and it won Ian the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy. The album featuring the song did at least as good, also hitting No. 1, selling more than one million copies and was certified platinum. In October 1975, Ian was the very first musical guest on the premiere show of “Saturday Night Live” and “At Seventeen” was one of two songs she performed (the other was “In the Winter”).
In the song’s lyrics, Ian confessed that as a teenager, she never received a single Valentine’s card. On Valentine’s Day 1977, after the song hit it big, she reported that she received 461 of them.
In 2011, Celine Dion included “At Seventeen” in her concert setlist. Ian’s memoir, “Society’s Child: My Autobiography,” was published in 2008, and in 2012 the audiobook version came out on Kindle and Audible as well as CD. It was also nominated for a Best Spoken Word Grammy against some stiff competition: First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
Still only 61 after nearly a half-century as a recording artist, Ian has 41 concerts set for 2013 thus far, beginning on Jan. 10 at the City Winery in New York City. She’ll perform in Southern California on March 22 at Acoustic Music San Diego, on March 23 at Beckman Auditorium at Cal Tech in Pasadena, March 24 at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica and March 27 at Tales From The Tavern up in Santa Ynez.
[Correction: The Moody Blues iconic 1967 LP is titled “Days of Future Passed,” not “Days of Future Past.”]
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.