Black Sabbath Partners With Dr. Martens
Black Sabbath has partnered with boot maker Dr. Martens for a collaboration that celebrates "Black Sabbath" and "Paranoid's" 50th anniversaries.
The boots will feature Keith "Keef" Macmillan's artwork printed over 1460 8-Eye Black Susan combat boot. The collection will land on October 1st.
Happy 85th Birthday, Rock Pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis!!!
Legendary rock n' roller Jerry Lee Lewis celebrates his 85th birthday today (September 29th)!!! "The Killer," as Jerry Lee was nicknamed in high school, came of age as part of the legendary Sun Records roster in the 1950's, alongside Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins. Although he grew up with similar influences as his labelmates, his music had a much harder edge -- his acrobatic piano playing, much like his personality, was rowdy and dangerous. Last February, Lewis suffered a minor stroke, forcing the legend to postpone a string of dates. In October 2009, Jerry Lee Lewis opened both the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 25th Anniversary Concerts at New York City's Madison Square Garden.
In 2013 it was reported that producer T Bone Burnett was working with "The Killer," on an album that was to be released in conjunction with the HarperCollins publication of Lewis' recently published memoir -- Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story -- as told to Pulitzer-Prize winning author Rick Bragg. So far, no release date for the album has been announced.
In 2009 Jerry Lee enlisted some of rock's greatest icons -- and his own biggest fans -- to contribute to his most recent album, Mean Old Man. Among the heavyweights appearing on the set are Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, John Fogerty, Mavis Staples, Slash, Tim McGraw, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and Solomon Burke, among others -- many of whom appeared on Lewis' 2006 set, Last Man Standing.
Highlights on Mean Old Man include Jagger on the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers favorite "Dead Flowers," Jagger and Richards teaming up on a rendition of the Stones' Exile On Main Street classic "Sweet Virginia," Ron Wood on the Kris Kristofferson-written title track, Eric Clapton and James Burton playing guitars on "You Can Have Her," Ringo Starr and John Mayer joining in on "Roll Over Beethoven," and Kid Rock and Slash appearing on "Rockin' My Life Away," Sheryl Crow and Jon Brion teaming up on "You Are My Sunshine," and John Fogerty appearing on a new recording of his Creedence Clearwater Revival standard "Bad Moon Rising."
John Fogerty told us that getting to know "The Killer" was very different from some of his other idols: "Jerry Lee Lewis is a little more . . . um . . . distant, I guess you would say. You just feel like you're walking on eggshells a little bit. So you . . . you're very careful. Which I was, anyway."
Jerry Lee was asked whom, out of all the rockers on his recent albums, he enjoyed playing with the most: "That would be hard to say, I couldn't pick one. I enjoyed doin' it with all the boys and it was fun with each and every one of them. From Bruce (Springsteen) on down to Jimmy Page, you name 'em."
Jerry Lee saw only three songs hit the Top Ten during his career. Though his debut single, "Crazy Arms," didn't cause much of a stir, 1957's "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" was the record that broke through for Lewis. The song first sold 100,000 copies in the South, and then an appearance on The Steve Allen Show catapulted its sales to six million nationally.
"Great Balls Of Fire" was another 1957 hit for him, and sold more than five million copies. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" and "Great Balls Of Fire" were simultaneously in the Top Five of the pop, country, and R&B charts.
In 1958, Jerry Lee saw a third record hit the Top Ten as "Breathless" became a Number Seven hit.
Unfortunately for his career, he was the subject of popular scandal, too. The fact that he married his 13-year-old cousin in 1957 cost him the respect of many fans, and forced him to cancel a UK concert because the fans were so outraged.
Since then, he's remarried several times and endured well-documented battles with the I.R.S., drugs, and health problems.
Jerry Lee Lewis told us that he has one last project to cross off his buck list, an all new collection of gospel recordings: "I wanna do an gospel album next. Not a lot of the new-type stuff, but a lot of the old-type stuff. The old gospel (that) we sing. I was raised in the church and I play songs. . . a lot, and that has a big bearing on it."
Jerry Lee Lewis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its first year, 1986. He has been a major influence on a number of performers, including Bruce Springsteen, who backed him up at the Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, as well as John Mellencamp, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elton John, and Billy Joel, among others.
In 1989 Dennis Quaid starred as Jerry Lee in the heavily whitewashed biopic, Great Balls Of Fire.
Flashback: Billy Joel Releases 'The Stranger'
It was 43 years ago today (September 29th, 1977) that Billy Joel released his breakthrough fifth album, 1977's The Stranger. The album didn't enter the Top 10 until nearly four months after its release, finally appearing on January 21st, 1978 when it took a four-spot jump to enter at Number 10 under The Grand Illusion by Styx. The Stranger hit Number Two on February 18th, 1978 -- blocked from the top spot by the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever -- and remained stalled at Number Two for six straight weeks.
The Stranger stayed in the Billboard Top 10 for a total of 17 weeks and marked Billy's first collaboration with the legendary Phil Ramone, who went on to produce the next six Billy Joel albums -- 1978's 52nd Street, 1980's Glass Houses, 1981's Songs In The Attic, 1982's The Nylon Curtain, 1983's An Innocent Man, and 1986's The Bridge. To date, The Stranger remains Billy Joel's biggest selling original album, having earned "Diamond" status for sales of over 10 million units.
The album spawned four Top 40 hits -- "Movin Out" (Anthony's Song)" - Number 17; "Only The Good Die Young" - Number 24; "She's Always A Woman" - Number 17; and the Top Three era-defining evergreen "Just The Way You Are," which scored Billy both the 1978 Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year Grammy Awards -- along with countless cover versions, worldwide acclaim -- not the least of which included Frank Sinatra permanently adding it to his concert setlists and Billy's hero Paul McCartney going on record as saying it was among the songs he wished he had written.
Billy Joel's recent Madison Square Garden residency has featured deep-cut rarities from across his career. In addition to that, Billy hasn't shied away from the hits -- including his 1977 classic, "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)." Billy recalled the genesis behind the crowd favorite: "Well, it's the old thing, 'Ay, if you work hard, y'know, you get a house in the suburbs and you get a nice car. . .' I always -- I grew up in the suburbs. I always wanted to get back to the city, exactly where my parents couldn't wait to move out of the city; y'know, the kid couldn't wait to move back in, because the city was always magic. And especially there's an area in New York and people. . . it's called Little Italy. And they've got great restaurants, and there's guys walking around with guitars (sings in Italian) -- and people (go) 'Wow!' -- with mobsters drivin' around in limos, and just a great area."
We asked Billy why he decided to add "Anthony's Song" as a parenthetical to the title of "Movin' Out" -- something he hadn't done before: "I don't know why I subtitled it. At the time, I just pictured some lady just yelling out of her house -- 'Anthony! Anthony!' -- and the character that starts in the first verse is named Anthony, so, I thought it was a good theme for Anthony -- but the title is 'Movin' Out.'"
One of the tracks from The Stranger that has taken on a life of its own as the decades progressed is the sleeper ballad, "Vienna." Billy Joel explained the inspiration of the song came from reconnecting in his 20's with his absentee father, who returned to his native Austria when Billy was eight-years-old: "Vienna was always a crossroads city (in Europe). So, I go to visit my father in Vienna and I'm walking around in this town and I see this old lady -- she must've been about 90-years-old and she's sweepin' the street. And I say to my father, 'What's this nice old lady sweepin' the street?' He says, 'She's got a job, she feels useful, she's happy, she's making the street clean, she's not put out to pasture. . .' And, I thought this is a terrific idea that old people are useful and that means that I don't have to worry so much about gettin' old, because I can still have a use in this world, in my old age. And I thought: 'Vienna waits for you.'"
Billy Joel drew upon his high school years in Levittown, New York for "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" -- rated among his best by die-hards. He explained the song's genesis during his appearance on Inside The Actors Studio: "That song started out, the middle part was called 'The Ballad Of Brenda And Eddie.' The thing I was trying to get across, and I'm sure we all know, there were people who peaked a little too early in life. When we were in high school, there were the people we thought were so cool -- I thought, 'Man, I wish I was that guy!' With a perfect pompadour, he always had great clothes, he always had the coolest shoes, he always went out with the coolest girl. And then I saw him at the 10-year reunion, and this guy was like a caved-in ashtray. In high school, it was so important to be with the right crowd -- in my era, maybe it's the same in this era, I'm assuming there's a certain amount of this that still goes on. But they were my heroes, these people. But then I said -- 'that's not enough.'"
Billy Joel actually turned down Beatles producer George Martin, who was interested in producing The Stranger -- but only if Billy ditched his touring band to record with Martin-approved session players. Billy told us that the success of 1977's The Stranger could only have been realized by the late-producer Phil Ramone who allowed him, drummer Liberty DeVitto, late-bassist Doug Stegmeyer, and saxophonist/keyboardist Richie Cannata to tackle the work at hand: "I was working with a group of musicians that nobody wanted to work with, they were just 'road guys.' So I said, 'No, I want my band.' Phil got it right off the bat. He said, 'I want these guys to play on your record.' He encouraged them and they blossomed, and the result was The Stranger album. So, he knew."
The Stranger was the first of Billy's seven albums produced by Phil Ramone. We caught up with Ramone just prior to his 2013 death and he credited the strength of the songs and the backing band for the success of the album: "Some of the things that had been said about him prior to that, early, you know, Elton John-ish, folky -- all the words that he hated. I think what we did in The Stranger was to obliterate it by making this become a band record. Billy Joel's band was very much a part of what made that record. They collectively made arrangements up."
Despite several unsuccessful relationships, Billy Joel has written some of his most important love songs about his wives. First wife Elizabeth Weber inspired such classics as "She's Got A Way," "Summer Highland Falls," "You're My Home," and The Stranger classics "Just The Way You Are," and "She's Always A Woman" -- which he feels is a love song with a definite message: "I was being managed by a woman, my wife, and she was taking a lot of flack. When a guy was being successful in business, he was ballsy, he was aggressive, he was, y'know, a tough businessman and a tough negotiator. If a woman was doing that at the time she was a bitch, she was castrating, she was accused of all kind of things. And what I wanted to say with that song was you can call her whatever you want, but she's a woman to me. . . she's always a woman to me. Y'know, just because she's doing well in your particular line of work doesn't make her any less feminine to me."
Phil Ramone explained that even after his suggestion of rearranging the beat of the song -- not to mention enlisting jazz great Phil Woods to play the signature solo on "Just The Way You Are" -- Billy still couldn't hear a hit: "Songs like 'Just The Way You Are' had to go under such a metamorphosis. And then in desperation, he said 'OK, I'll try it.' We knew at the end of the day -- he said, 'Jesus, this could be a wedding song. What am I supposed to do with that?' And of course I tease him now, I say, 'I hear the wedding song is doing OK.' And when he first went on the road with that song nothing happened. People didn't applaud. It kind of dribbled down at the end. He took it out of his set for a long, long time."
We asked Phil Ramone about his incredible -- almost familial -- connection with Billy Joel: "I never let him off the hook if there was something that could be better. Y'know, he trusted the hell outta me -- by expressing myself. The band had it's own craziness and the way they spoke, but we, we really spoke. We spent time after the gig. And then I wouldn't hear from him for months. (I'd) suddenly get a call, just: 'Billy.' I said, 'Yeah, I've heard of you, whaddya want?' (laughs). Y'know, you get a relationship going."
Liberty DeVitto, who drummed on every Billy Joel studio album from 1976's Turnstiles to 1993's River Of Dreams, told us the only constant when recording with Billy Joel was that he never stayed in the same creative space for too long: "Billy changes things -- every album, he changed something. Whether it be the style of music that he's writing, or whatever it is. You go from The Stranger to 52nd Street -- more jazzy, to Glass Houses, which was just total rock, just the band, 'tip of the hat to the Beatles -- (The) Nylon Curtain, Innocent Man -- oldies."
Billy Joel recalled how singing honestly about his upbringing helped him score one of his most beloved and enduring hits in "Only The Good Die Young": "Yeah, we got some interesting mail on that particular song. The song came out as a single and it might not have gotten the attention it got, but it got banned on a few stations. I think banning it made some people go, 'Oh, what are they banning? Lemme hear what they're banning. I wanna decide if I wanna ban it.' And part of that controversy, I think, contributed to being a hit record."
In 2008, Billy Joel released The Stranger 30th Anniversary collection. The Sony Legacy Edition was remastered by Phil Ramone and features the original album, along with a previously unreleased Billy Joel concert taped at New York's Carnegie Hall on June 3rd, 1977, just prior to the sessions for The Stranger.
The deluxe edition features three discs: The Stranger remastered; Live At Carnegie Hall 1977; a bonus DVD containing a performance on the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test, two live promotional videos, and a 48-page booklet including previously unseen photos from the original album photo shoot.
Is AC/DC Teasing A New Album???
AC/DC is certainly teasing some type of band activity. The band posted a version of the band's iconic lightning bolt flashing in neon across its social media outlets leading fans to wonder if a new album is imminent.
The set will presumably mark the return of Brian Johnson behind the mic, with a photo of Johnson and Phil Rudd recently posted on the band's site before being mysteriously pulled down.
Back in July Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider told ABC News that the new AC/DC album was already in the can and was being postponed due to Covid, revealing, "This is gonna be a miracle of technology. What will be achieved, the reuniting of the band that we know for one more album, is gonna to be uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. Because nothing goes on forever. But this is the ultimate 'one more time.'"
Guitarist Angus Young told us not long ago that it was his older brother George who helped define the AC/DC sound: "My older brother George, he produced a lot of what we had done in the beginning, and he always said, 'You're just a guitar band. The guitars are so dominant in what you do.' And he always thought it was a big plus factor, 'cause the guitars were just so strong."
The Who, Paul McCartney, The Cure, & More Sign On For 'Teenage Cancer Trust - Unseen'
The Who's patron charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT), will go virtual this year after its legendary string of annual Royal Albert Hall concerts were shut down due to the ongoing pandemic. Among the performers donating clips to the online charity series running free of charge on on YouTube, and titled Teenage Cancer Trust - Unseen, are Paul McCartney, the Who, the Cure, Noel Gallagher, Pulp, Them Crooked Vultures, Muse, and Ed Sheeran. Viewers are urged to watch and donate to TCT.
Rolling Stone reported, "Each stream will air at 3:00 p.m. ET, kicking off with Ed Sheeran on Thursday, October 8th, followed by Muse (October 9th), Paul McCartney (October 11th), Pulp (October 14th), Noel Gallagher (October 15th), Them Crooked Vultures (October 16th), the Who (October 17th), and the Cure (October 18th). A second Cure livestream will also air, with more details to be announced."
Roger Daltrey issued a statement regarding the TCT online fundraising series:
So here we are, six months into one of the strangest times in living memory, where everyone has had some sense of what isolation, even for short periods, can do to the state of our mental health. Without the environment and services that Teenage Cancer Trust provides within our NHS, specifically for this age group, isolation throughout their lengthy treatments becomes a strong possibility.
Through Teenage Cancer Trust, the U.K. has led the world in recognizing the specific issues that this age group with cancer suffer. Please donate generously to make sure this vital work continues through these difficult times.
I know things are really tight for everyone at the moment; our whole business is out of work. If you're watching this on YouTube, understand this is there for a function -- to raise money for a charity -- the charity is desperately in need of the money to keep its services going. So, if you can donate even the price of a coffee, anything, it will really help.
I'm sure the audiences for these artists will be very high and if all of you just put $10 in that would be a huge amount of money to get us through this year. Because we want to be there for you in case you ever need us or your family ever needs us. Don't let this virus destroy it.
Over the past two decades, Roger Daltrey has worked tirelessly to raise money and awareness for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Daltrey told us he's doing all he can to socialize teen cancer patients, who respond far better to being with others their own age during treatment than being stuck on a kids' ward, or with full-grown adults: "I went to Yale when we first started this off. In Yale there were three boys that had Leukemia and they were all in three different rooms, and not one of them knew that the next boy next to them had the same disease, was sittin' with his parents, all worried to death. Not one of them met each other and none of the parents had met each other. I mean, I just think that's criminal."
Sean Lennon Maintains He And Brother Julian Have Always Been Close
Sean Lennon maintains that he and brother Julian Lennon have always been close -- despite legendary tension and past bad blood between Julian and Sean's mom, Yoko Ono. Julian, who was the first of the Beatles' children, was born in 1963 to John and first wife, the late-Cynthia Lennon. Sean was born 12 years later to John and Yoko on Lennon's 35th birthday.
Sean, who produced the upcoming Lennon compilation, Gimme Some Truth, which drops on his and his dad's birthday -- October 9th -- spoke to Mojo about the family, revealing, "There's a lot of misinformation and rumors about Julian and I not liking each other. But we've always been very close. He was a real hero to me. There may have been complicated feelings between my mom and Julian. But that never affected us."
Sean spoke about his emotions regarding his dad's final work, which appeared on 1980's Double Fantasy: "There's a lot of songs on Double Fantasy that I really love. But when I listen to them, another part of me thinks, 'Maybe this wouldn't be my favorite song If I hadn't been there when it was recorded.' Generally the only relationship I have with my dad is through music."
During his late-'70s "house-husband" era, John Lennon was especially proud of the legendary loaves of bread he baked from scratch, Sean remarked, "I don't remember Dad baking. I do remember him making toast every morning and how burnt the toast was. He really liked it black with butter and marmalade. When I wanted more of anything I was eating, he would just cut it in pieces, and he'd say, ' There, now you have more.'"
When pressed as to what John Lennon would be thinking today, Sean, who was only five-year-old when his father was murdered, said, "The only thing I know for sure is that it wouldn't be the same thoughts he had in 1980, because the only thing that's sure about John Lennon is that he evolved all the time. He was never the same two years in a row."
John Lennon considered a true mark of success being able to create his work without the constraints of the music business and/or his detractors: "We've never had any real trouble with self-expression. There's an occasional -- a record will be banned because of some prejudiced about a word, or something. All our demonstrations. . . of what we are and what we stand for have always been done in a way, like the Bed-in and things that people can't really complain about. Although they can wonder what we're doing, so everything that we did is done in such a way as not to get ourselves in some kind of corner, y'know?"
E Street Band Raves About New Bruce Springsteen Album
E Street Band members Max Weinberg and Nils Lofgren are raving about Bruce Springsteen's upcoming album, Letter To You, which drops on October 23rd. Max Weinberg told APP.com that the collection needs to taken in during one long sitting, explaining, "Go out and buy the actual record. By the way, this is a great album, and it's an album, it's 58 minutes long, you'll want to listen from the first song to the last. I've tried to explain that to some teenagers today, and they do not get that. Play it from the first song to the last and it tells a story that is greater than each individual song."
He went on to say, "If you like the album The River, did you?, you're going to like Bruce's new record. Keep you eyes out for a band from New Jersey called Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band because we will be back!"
During a chat on the new podcast CLE Rocks, Nils Lofgren revealed that the E Street Band was seriously gearing up for a 2021 tour: "We were very optimistic. We were headed towards a good year of touring next year with Bruce. I mean, it was certainly a great idea that we were all working toward. Of course, it all went away."
Lofgren -- who's always been a unabashed Springsteen fan apart from his tenure in the E Street Band -- went on to say that Letter To You is a special album: "The involvement I've had in it -- man, I think it's a brilliant record. I mean, Bruce doesn't make bad records, but as all of them have their own stamp, this is a very unusual, powerful record."