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Beatles, Neil Young, Metallica Part of Record Store Day "Black Friday" Vinyl Release Lineup


RecordStoreDay.comThe full lineup of releases for Record Store Day's 2014 "Black Friday" event has been announced, and lovers of vinyl and classic rock will have quite a list from which to choose.  Among the newly-revealed discs that will be available are releases from The Beatles, Neil Young, Genesis, The Grateful Dead, Metallica, and The Ramones.

The Beatles' offering will be a replica of their 1964 U.K. EP Long Tall Sally, a seven-inch disc with mono sound featuring the Little Richard-penned title track and three other tunes.

Young will issue a limited-edition box set called Official Release Series Discs 5-8 that gathers together 180-gram vinyl versions of four of his early albums -- 1973's Time Fades Away, 1974's On the Beach, and 1975's Tonight's the Night and Zuma.  The collection originally had been slated for release as part of last April's Record Store Day initiative, but was postponed.

Genesis will release a vinyl version of their 1969 debut album, From Genesis to Revelation, which hasn't been available in the format since 1974.

The Grateful Dead's Record Store Day contribution will be a two-LP live album capturing performances from the second set of a show the band played in Houston on November 18, 1972.  Among the songs on the disc are "Bertha," "Jack Straw," "Deal," "Sugar Magnolia," and a marathon 25-minute rendition of "Playing in the Band."

Metallica will release the 12-inch "Lords of Summer" single, featuring a studio and live version of the new song's "first pass."

The Ramones' Record Store Day release is a disc named Morrissey Curates The Ramones.  As the title suggests, the album is a compilation featuring songs by the punk pioneers chosen personally by the former Smiths frontman.

Other exclusive vinyl releases that will be available in conjunction with the 2014 Record Store Day "Black Friday" event include discs from Bon Jovi, The Doors, Chrissie Hynde, Iron Butterfly, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Judas Priest, Ronnie James Dio, and The Velvet Underground.  You can view the entire release lineup at RecordStoreDay.com.

The Record Store Day "Black Friday" celebration will be held on November 28 in independent record stores throughout the U.S.

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Billy Joel Reveals Why He (Probably) Won't Make Another Album Ever Again


Courtesy: Library of CongressWhile Billy Joel continues to pack fans into New York's Madison Square Garden every month -- as part of his ongoing residency there -- fans are still hoping that he might one day decide to make a new album.  But in a new interview with The New Yorker, Joel says that's not likely to happen.  "I've had my say," he explains.

"Some people think it's because I'm lazy or I'm just being contrary," the Piano Man tells the magazine, explaining why he hasn't put out an album of original pop songs since 1993's River of Dreams.  "But no, I think it's just -- I've had my say.  If I put out an album now, it would probably sell pretty well, because of who I am, but that's no reason to do it.  I'd want it to be good."

He adds, "I've seen artists on that treadmill, putting out albums year after year, and the albums get worse and worse, less and less interesting, and it's, like, 'Maybe you should stop.'"  In addition, Billy thinks actually recording a new album would just be too much of a hassle.

"I'm not crazy about going into a recording studio and doing that kind of life again, or taking on another project where there's other people involved -- arrangers and orchestrators and conductors and producers," he tells The New Yorker.  "I don't want to deal with it...You have to have a certain amount of ambition to want to do all that.  Joel adds, "And I look back at the guy who was the recording artist, this Billy Joel guy, and I think, Who the f**k was that guy?  He was very ambitious, very driven, and I don't feel like that anymore."

And then there's the personal aspect of it.  Billy says he doesn't want to write songs, only to have people pick them apart for clues to his personal life.

"I had gone through this celebrity craziness with Christie [Brinkley], and the divorce," he says, talking about the time of River of Dreams and its aftermath.  "I felt like there was a proctoscope up my butt. Everybody interrogating, analyzing -- everything I wrote was fraught with meanings -- and I said, 'Wait a minute, I don't want to rip myself open and let everyone see everything.'  It was no longer comfortable.  'Enough! I gave you enough!'"

Still, Joel tells The New Yorker that he's been working on a series of "tone poems" called The Scrimshaw Pieces, which are meant to tell the history of Long Island.  However, he has no plans to release that music any time soon.  In fact, he hasn't actually recorded a lot of it, and says he's even on the verge of forgetting some of it.

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"Baker Street" Sax Player Raphael Ravenscroft Passes Away


Rob Verhorst/RedfernsRaphael Ravenscroft, the man responsible for the recognizable saxophone solo in the 1978 Gerry Rafferty hit "Baker Street," died on Sunday at the age of 60.  Western Morning News reports that the musician is believed to have suffered a heart attack and passed away at a hospital near his home in Exeter, U.K.

According to BBC News, Ravenscroft is said to have been paid for his work on "Baker Street" with a 27-pound check, which bounced, while the late Rafferty is said to have made 80,000 pounds a year in royalties from the tune.  The tune peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Ravenscroft went on to contribute his sax talents to a wide variety of artists, including Marvin Gaye, Robert Plant, Pink Floyd, Bonnie Tyler and America.

In a BBC interview in 2011, Raphael said he got irritated when he heard "Baker Street" because he thought that the song was "out of tune."  After Rafferty died in January of that year, Ravenscroft teamed up with the Grammy-winning vocal group Tenebrae to record a tribute to the musician called "Forgiveness."

Ravenscroft's daughter, Scarlett Raven, said of her dad, "He touched your soul and made you want to better yourself.  I think he was very proud of 'Baker Street' and that it made people feel good."

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The Smashing Pumpkins Release New Song, "Being Beige"


Credit: Martha's MusicThe Smashing Pumpkins' new song, "Being Beige," might not have the most exciting title, but Billy Corgan makes up for that with a big, evocative chorus.

The track is the first to appear from The Pumpkins' upcoming album, Monuments to an Elegy.  It starts with a minimalist approach before Corgan launches into the chorus accompanied by the full band -- featuring Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee -- as he sings the line, "The world's on fire" over and over again.

"People always ask me to explain songs, and honestly I can't," Corgan tells Rolling Stone of "Being Beige."  "But if there's honesty in this lyric, it's that there's something amiss in our cosmos. Yet still, we must love."

Monuments to an Elegy will be released on December 9.  It is the first of two planned upcoming albums from The Smashing Pumpkins, the other being Day for Night, which is due out in 2015.

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Santana to Perform Instrumental Version of National Anthem at World Series


Image Courtesy Maryanne Bilham/RCA Records

Carlos Santana will perform an instrumental version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" Saturday at Game Four of the 2014 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals in San Francisco, a Fox spokesman confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

Country singer Trisha Yearwood will perform the national anthem before Game One Tuesday in Kansas City.

Singer Phillip Phillips has been tapped to perform the national anthem Wednesday night before Game Two.

The country group Little Big Town will perform the song before Game Three on Friday.

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Ringo Starr Named Spokesperson for Skechers


Image Courtesy of Rob ShanahanRingo Starr has been named the latest spokesperson for Skechers.

The legendary drummer will endorse Skechers Relaxed Fit footwear in a campaign that will launch next spring with a new TV commercial.  

Skechers notes that until now, the Relaxed Fit footwear ads have focused on pro athletes. It says, "[W]e can’t wait for everyone to see how Ringo’s charm and cool charisma makes him the perfect ambassador for Relaxed Fit."

 

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Bob Seger Talks New Album, "Ride Out"; Discusses Possibility of Retiring from the Road


Capitol RecordsLast week, Bob Seger released his first new studio album in more than eight years, Ride Out.  The 10-track collection is made up mostly of tunes penned by the Michigan rocker, but also features four covers, including songs by John Hiatt, Steve Earle and Australian singer/songwriter Kacey Chambers.

It's not the norm for Seger to include so many non-originals on one of his albums, but the 69-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer tells ABC News Radio that each of the covers on Ride Out is one that he wished he'd written himself.  One of these, Hiatt's "Detroit Made," even was chosen as the record's lead single.

Seger says of the tune, an homage to the Detroit auto industry, "I just loved the subject matter, 'cause, you know, I'm [from] Michigan...we all love cars 'cause of…Detroit, and everybody loves their classic cars.  And I said, 'This is a natural.'"

Bob got to road test "Detroit Made" during his last tour, and even used the song to open about half of those concerts, noting that "it really went over good" live.

Meanwhile, the second single from Ride Out is romantic ballad titled "You Take Me In," which he wrote for his wife.  Seger tells ABC News Radio that he'd penned the song about three years ago but hadn't played it for his spouse until about three months back, when his label sent him a test pressing of Ride Out.  Bob recalls that he put the tune on while he and his wife were driving together in their car.

"[I]t starts up and she says, 'What's this?'  I said, 'This is your song," he says, laughing.  "So about halfway through, she reaches for the glove box, gets the tissues out.  So, it was a great moment."

Another song from Ride Out that been receiving a lot of media attention is "It's Your World," which focuses on the various environmental problems that we're facing on the planet.

Seger tells ABC News Radio, "I read every environmental article I see and [the tune is] like a summing up of all those things."

He adds, "I guess when you get older, you worry about your kids' future...I'm not going to be around nearly as long as they are and, and you just worry about the mess we're going to leave them."

Seger kicks off the first of two confirmed North American tour legs in support of Ride Out with a November 19 show in Saginaw, Michigan.  There's been some speculation that the trek could be Bob's last, but the veteran rocker says that even if he does decide to quit the road, he doesn't like the idea of officially labeling an outing a "farewell tour."

"I wouldn't want to announce it out," he explains.  "It'd be the saddest tour in the world, you know, if it was our last tour.  So I just really kind of take it tour by tour."

That being said, Seger points out that when his 2015 tour leg winds down around April, he will evaluate how he's feeling with regard to doing future shows.

"I think the determining factor of when I retire will be my voice," he notes.  "If I feel it's starting to slip, if I feel I can't really sing well enough anymore, I'll be the first one out the door."

Visit BobSeger.com to check out a list all of Seger's upcoming concerts.

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Paul McCartney Discusses Twerking, Tattoos and Favorite Current Tunes in New Twitter Q&A


MPL/Mary McCartney Paul McCartney took to his Twitter account on Monday for a Q&A session with fans, during which the rock legend candidly, and often humorously, shared a variety of personal revelations.

Among the many topics Sir Paul chatted about were his current favorite songs and the best gigs he ever attended.  McCartney said the tunes that he's enjoying most right now are the Foo Fighters' new single, "Something from Nothing," and the Sia hit "Chandelier."  As for his favorite concerts, Paul tweeted, "There are many," while singling out rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West's joint show.

McCartney also named his favorite television shows -- Veep and Family Feud -- and his favorite Meryl Streep movie, which he says is The Devil Wears Prada, while adding that "everything she does is brilliant."

The 72-year-old also revealed that his favorite bass line to play is The Beatles' "Being for the Benefit for Mr. Kite," noting that "it's challenging."  In addition, he admitted that he often will forget the words to his own tunes in concert, pointing out, "I think that the people in my audience know the songs better than I do.  Excuse is I've written rather a lot."

On the sillier side of things, McCartney revealed that the last time he twerked he "was with Katy Perry," adding that the pop starlet "was rather good at it!"  He also reported that he has no tattoos anywhere on his body, "not even on my a**."

During the Q&A session, acclaimed singer/songwriter Ryan Adams got in on the act, submitting the question, "Are you a cyborg?" to which Paul responded, "I am in fact an alien!"  Speaking about aliens, McCartney named the film Alien as his favorite horror movie because, as he explained, he liked "the bit of chest-popping!"

McCartney also used the Twitter event to premiere an unreleased demo version of the Wings tune "Beware My Love" that features late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.  The track will appear on the deluxe, remastered edition of the 1976 Wings at the Speed of Sound album, which will be released on November 4.

To check out McCartney's entire Q&A, visit Twitter.com./PaulMcCartney.

 

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Rolling Stones Sax Player Bobby Keys to Miss Band's Australian Tour


Image Courtesy of Brian RasicWhen The Rolling Stones kick off their rescheduled tour of Australia and New Zealand this Saturday, they'll do it without their longtime touring saxophone player, Bobby Keys.  According to a message on the band's official website, the 70-year-old musician, whose association with The Stones dates back to the group's 1969 album Let It Bleed, will miss the nine-date trek because he's been "a bit under the weather" and "is under doctor's orders to take it a bit easy for the next month."

Filling in for Keys during the outing will be Karl Denson, who leads his own group, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, and was a founding member of the California-based acid-jazz outfit The Greyboy Allstars.

Denson says of getting the chance to perform with The Rolling Stones, "It's the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to see the world through a giant pair of lips…It's going to be amazing to get even closer to this music that I have listened to all my life."

Keys has been an in-demand session and touring musician for decades, and has appeared on such classic Stones songs as "Brown Sugar," "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," "Bitch," and "Happy."  He's also played with John Lennon, George Harrison, Joe Cocker and many other stars.

The Down Under leg of The Rolling Stones' 14 On Fire Tour begins in Adelaide, Australia, and runs through a November 22 show in Auckland, New Zealand.  You can check out a promo video for the trek on the band's official YouTube channel.

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Deluxe Reissue of 1977 Solo Album by Founding Byrd Gene Clark to Be Released Next Month


High Moon RecordsA deluxe CD edition of Two Sides to Every Story, a long-out-of-print 1977 solo album by late founding Byrds singer Gene Clark, will be released on November 18.  The remastered 10-track disc comes packaged in a hardbound "Eco-Book" featuring 26 pages of previously unseen photos, extensive liner notes, lyrics and more.

The album also contains a download card allowing access to more than 90 minutes of high-quality digital bonus recordings from a 1975 concert Clark played with a full backing group.  In addition, an unaired 1974 radio interview with Gene is included.

Two Sides to Every Story features a mix of heavily country-influenced songs, melancholy pop ballads and mid-tempo rock tunes.  Clark wrote seven and the 10 songs on the album, which also includes a rendition of the well-known traditional tune "In the Pines."  Among the guest musicians appearing on the record are Emmylou Harris, ex-Doobie Brothers/Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter and frequent Clark collaborator Doug Dillard.

In conjunction with the Two Sides to Every Story reissue, and to mark what would have been Gene's 70th birthday, his son Kai Clark has organized a tribute concert that will take place November 16 at the Hotel Café in West Hollywood, California.  Kai also will perform at the show, as will Clark collaborator Carla Olson and several other artists.

Clark was The Byrds' most prolific songwriter during the band's early years, penning such tunes as "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better," "Here Without You" and -- with Roger McGuinn and David Crosby -- "Eight Miles High."  Gene left the group during the recording of its third album, 1966's Fifth Dimension.  He went on to have a long, prolific solo career in which he pioneered the country-rock genre, but never achieved the commercial success of his old band.  He died in 1991 at the age of 46 from complications of an ulcer.

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Slash Explains Why Slipknot's Corey Taylor Wasn't Right for Velvet Revolver


Scott Uchida/MSO PR; Bobby TongsEver since Scott Weiland left Velvet Revolver in 2008, the supergroup has been looking for a new lead singer.  It turns out that Slipknot's Corey Taylor almost got the gig.

During a recent Q&A session with Rolling Stone Australia, Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash explained, "The closest [that the band got to replacing Weiland] would have to be Corey.  Everybody was rallying for him, and I love Corey to death."

However, Slash said that Taylor's singing style ultimately did not mesh with what the band wanted to do.

"You know how Corey sings, it's a very macho kind of thing," he said.  "But it didn't have certain elements that I thought it needed, so we just didn't go down that path."

You can view the entire Q&A session on Rolling Stone Australia's YouTube page.

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Aerosmith's Joe Perry Says He Wanted New Memoir to Be as "Equal as Possible" About the Band's Story


Image Courtesy of Simon & SchusterAerosmith guitarist Joe Perry released a new memoir titled Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith earlier this month, and he's wrapping up a book-signing tour in support of the tome tonight in Los Angeles.  In Rocks, Perry charts his journey from a guitar-obsessed teenager to becoming a driving force in one of America's greatest rock bands, while delving into many of the triumphs and low points he experienced along the way.

A large part of the book is dedicated to Joe's complicated and often contentious relationship with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.  Perry tells ABC News that while he did include a lot of negative aspects of his dealings with Tyler, he also wanted to give a balanced account of their history together.

"I didn't want to have this be like a 'well, he did this and he did that' [story]," says Joe.  "I wanted it to be as equal as possible [and] take responsibility for my end of the down sides of things, but also…let people know that for all the times when they would focus on the ups and downs of Steven's and my relationship, there was also a lot of good times in there."

Perry also explains that he decided not to shy away from writing about incidents that might cast himself in a negative light.

"You go…'do I want to put that in the book and have people know that side of me, that I kind of like slipped or…I'm responsible for…the down side of that?" he notes.  "And, of course, the answer's 'yes,'…because I felt I had to be as open as possible with this and let as much truth out there as possible, to let people know my side of the story."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer says he considers Rocks "an up book," pointing out that it shows that Aerosmith is "still able to work out all those problems" it's faced through the years.

Meanwhile, Perry maintains that his decision to write a book about the history of Aerosmith now doesn't mean that's the end of the band's story.

"I'm here to say the band is not breaking up," he declares.  "We have plans for touring next year, things like that, so...I just wanted to get a lot of the things out up 'til now."

That being said, Perry admits that he and his band mates realize as the years pass that there's a finite amount of time left for Aerosmith.

"We don't know how much longer it's gonna go," he notes.  "Like, during this last tour, [drummer] Joey [Kramer] had problems with his heart, and we didn't know what was gonna happen with that.  I mean, we're all at that age where things like that can happen."  Kramer inevitably was able to return to the group before the end of the tour.  As Perry points out, "10 days later, he was back on the throne flailing like he was 10 years younger."

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Foo Fighters End "Late Show" Residency with Top Ten List, Performance of New Single


Jeffrey R. Staab/CBSFoo Fighters ended their week-long stay at CBS' Late Show Friday night by presenting a Top Ten list and performing their just-released single from their new album, Sonic Highways.

The Top Ten list, presented by all five members of the band, ran down the items they "would like to say after spending a week at the Late Show." The funniest lines came from guitarist Pat Smear. When he remarked the Late Show is "not a bad place to be quarantined," referring to the Ebola epidemic, Letterman quipped, "When you were a kid, did you get teased about 'Pat Smear'?" Smear, whose birth name is Georg Albert Ruthenberg, nodded his head and gave a thumbs-down sign.

Later on in the Top Ten list, Smear said to Late Show announcer Alan Kalter, "I'll miss you, Alan." Both men then gave each other affectionate looks.

The Foo Fighters closed the show by performing their new single, "Something for Nothing," with Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen. Nielsen also appears on the Sonic Highways recording of the track.

All week, the Foo Fighters collaborated with special guests on the Late Show, including Nielsen twice, Zac Brown, Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson, and Tony Joe White.

The band was promoting their new HBO series, Foo Fighters Sonic Highways, which premiered Friday, and their Sonic Highways album, which will be released November 10.

The Foos taped Friday's Late Show appearance in advance. Around the time it aired on the East Coast, they were performing at The Cubby Bear in Chicago for a concert that was streamed on HBO's Facebook page.

Here's the list of the "Top Ten Things Foo Fighters Would Like to Say After Spending a Week at the Late Show":

10. We agreed to be here because we thought Dave was dying.
9. Big "thank you" to the dozens of people watching.
8. So far no mention of us getting paid.
7. All in all, not a bad place to be quarantined.
6. Next week, catch us on Judge Judy.
5. I never got to plug my cookbook.
4. Every staffer here asked me for weed.
3. Not every Top Ten list is a winner.
2. I'll miss you, Alan.
1. And we thought we were dysfunctional.

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Expanded, 40th Anniversary Edition of Supertramp's "Crime of the Century" Arriving in December


Universal Music EnterprisesThis year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Supertramp's Crime of the Century, the album that brought the U.K. band its first taste of commercial success in the U.S.  To mark the milestone, a remastered, two-CD version of the album will hit stores on December 9.

Crime of the Century, Supertramp's third studio effort, was released in September 1974 and became the band's first album to crack the top 40 of the Billboard 200, peaking at #38.  The record also yielded the group's first top 40 single in the States, "Bloody Well Right," which reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.  In addition, the album featured "Dreamer," a live version of which would go on to become a top 20 hit in 1980.

All of the songs on the record were either written or co-written by Supertramp's two lead singers, Roger Hodgson and Rick Davies.

The 40th Anniversary Edition of Crime of the Century includes a bonus disc boasting a 1975 concert performance Supertramp gave at London's Hammersmith Odeon.  The show features renditions of all of the album's songs, as well as a few tunes that appeared on the band's next studio effort, 1975's Crisis? What Crisis?  The live recordings were mixed from the original tapes by renowned producer/engineer Ken Scott.

The Crime of the Century reissue also will be available as a three-LP 180-gram vinyl set and as a digital download.

Here is the track list for the expanded Crime of the Century:

Disc 1:
"School"
"Bloody Well Right"
"Hide in Your Shell"/"Asylum"
"Dreamer"/"Rudy"
"If Everyone Was Listening"
"Crime of the Century"

Disc 2: Live at Hammersmith '75
"School"
"Bloody Well Right"
"Hide in Your Shell"
"Asylum"
"Sister Moonshine"
"Just a Normal Day"
"Another Man's Woman"
"Lady" "A -- You're Adorable"
"Dreamer"
"Rudy"
"If Everyone Was Listening"
"Crime of the Century

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Jimmy Page Says "There Is Not Going to Be Any More" Led Zeppelin Concerts; Talks Plans for Solo Music and Shows


Image Courtesy of Ross HalfinJimmy Page has weighed in once again about the prospects for a possible Led Zeppelin reunion and, not surprisingly, he's not optimistic.  In a new Billboard interview, the guitar great points out that it's been seven years since the band's last performance, at the 2007 Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert in London, and notes that "quite clearly…there is not going to be any more because obviously you need the will of all people involved."

Looking back at the preparation for the concert, Page tells the magazine that "from the point of view of Jason [Bonham], myself and John Paul Jones, there was a real will to actually work at it, but there was only one concert."  He adds, "I thought there was going to be more.  It was intimated that there was going to be more."

Of course, it's been made clear in numerous interviews that singer Robert Plant was the sole hold-out when it came to extending the reunion.

In other news, Page tells Billboard that, now that he's finished work on the expanded Led Zeppelin reissues, he is indeed planning to focus on a solo project in 2015.  He says, "My master plan is to be playing live next year.  I haven't got another 20-30 years left in me, so I really need to get out there and present myself the way that I like to present myself and to be seen and be heard."

Jimmy guarantees that Led Zeppelin music will be a part of his live show, "because I'm really proud of the music that I did and the instrumental side of it -- things like 'Black Mountain Side,' 'White Summer' and 'Dazed and Confused.'"  He adds that he'll try to bring something fresh to the live performances of his old group's tunes, noting that he "wouldn't go out and make it look like a tribute band."

Page insists that he also plans to work on some new original music, while admitting that he hasn't put a band together yet to back him.

With regard to the sound of the new material, Jimmy says, "It wouldn't really be me if I didn't have music that was in various genres and moods, but there will be some surprises to go along with that.  That's the idea."

He tells Billboard that he can't be more specific "because I haven't had the chance to really work on it."  Page adds, "But given the momentum of working and knowing that I'm going to be doing concerts, I'm getting ready to start putting all the pieces into play."

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Happy 88th Birthday to Chuck Berry!


Image Courtesy of Chuck Berry's ManagementHail, hail, Chuck Berry, who celebrates his 88th birthday today.  The rock 'n' roll pioneer has been a national treasure since he duck-walked onto the music scene some 60 years ago.  Not that we need reminding, but his many unforgettable tunes include "Johnny B. Goode," "Maybellene," "Roll Over Beethoven," "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," "Rock and Roll Music," "Back in the U.S.A." and "Memphis, Tennessee."

With his catchy melodies, his witty lyrics and his trademark guitar riffs, it's hard to gauge the impact Berry's had on rock music.  He directly influenced the early music of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and The Kinks, and that's just for starters.  Not surprisingly, Berry was among the first group of performers ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1986.

The rocking octogenarian may have slowed down a bit in recent years, but he's still at it.  He continues to play a monthly show at Blueberry Hill club's Duck Room in his hometown of St. Louis, as well as other occasional concerts.  In August, Berry was honored for his career achievements with Sweden's prestigious Polar Prize, although he was unable attend the ceremony because of illness.

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Judge Rules Against Led Zeppelin in Attempt to Dismiss "Stairway to Heaven" Copyright Lawsuit


Bob Gruen/Atlantic RecordsA U.S. district court judge has ruled against Led Zeppelin's surviving members in their attempt to have a copyright-infringement lawsuit involving the band's "Stairway to Heaven" either moved to a California court or dismissed completely.  The suit, which claims that the opening of "Stairway" was cribbed from an obscure 1968 instrumental titled "Taurus" by the group Spirit, was filed in this past May in Pennsylvania and the case currently is slated to be tried there.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a memorandum issued by Led Zeppelin's attorneys asking for the dismissal or change of venue stated, "The individual defendants are British citizens residing in England, own no property in Pennsylvania and have no contacts with Pennsylvania, let alone ties sufficient to render them essentially at home here."

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, the family of late Spirit guitarist Randy California, countered by amending their lawsuit to add the claim that through "the exploitation of 'Stairway to Heaven,'" the band's members "make millions of dollars from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania" via "CD sales, digital downloading, radio and television play, advertising, marketing, concert performances" and other avenues of income.

Justice Juan Sánchez denied the Led Zeppelin members' request for a dismissal or a transfer of venue, although he did so without prejudice, which means that the rockers can attempt again to have the suit dismissed or the site moved.

"Stairway to Heaven," of course, is one of Led Zeppelin's most popular songs.  Incidentally, the album it first appeared on, 1971's Led Zeppelin IV, is scheduled to be reissued on October 28.  Deluxe versions of the record will include a previously unreleased version of the tune.

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Dates Announced for 2015 Bonnaroo Festival


Image Courtesy of Bonnaroo Music and Arts FestivalThe Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has announced its dates for 2015.  The 14th edition of the fest will be held June 11-14 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Bonnaroo first began in 2002.  The festival initially was mainly focused on jam bands before eventually expanding into other genres.  The lineup for the 2014 festival, which was announced in February, included such veteran rock artists as Elton John, The Doors' Robby Krieger, The Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, The Allman Brothers Band's Derek Trucks and ex-White Stripes frontman Jack White, among many others.

Visit Bonnaroo.com for all the latest news on the event.

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The Real Reason U2's Bono Always Wears Sunglasses


A.M.P.A.S.(r)/Michael YadaIf you've ever thought U2 frontman Bono's habit of always wearing shades was merely a rock star affectation, well, get ready to eat some crow: turns out there's a serious medical reason behind it.

On Friday's episode of BBC TV's The Graham Norton Show, when host Norton asks Bono if he ever takes off his sunglasses, the 54-year-old singer replies, "This is a good place to explain to people that I've had glaucoma for the last 20 years."

Glaucoma results in a buildup of pressure around the eye, which if untreated can led to nerve damage and even blindness.  The eyes of glaucoma sufferers are sensitive to light, which is why many wear shades.

Bono calmed fans' fears by adding, "I have good treatments and I am going to be fine," but jokes, "You're not going to get this out of your head now, and you'll be saying 'Ah, poor old blind Bono.'"

The singer also addressed the controversy over the recent release of U2's new album, Songs of Innocence, which was provided for free to iTunes users worldwide.  Many fans resented the fact that the album automatically downloaded into their iTunes playlists.

"We wanted to do something fresh but it seems some people don't believe in Father Christmas," Bono tells Norton on Friday's show. "All those people who were uninterested in U2 are now mad at U2. As far as we are concerned, it's an improvement."

The full interview with Bono and the rest of U2 airs Friday night in the U.K.

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Dave Grohl Says "Sonic Highways" Series Will Celebrate "Unsung Heroes"


Image Courtesy of Steve GullickYou may have heard that Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters recorded their newest album, Sonic Highways, in a less-than-traditional manner.  The band traveled across the country as they recorded the project in iconic American music cities and studios.  Along the way, Grohl would interview musicians who artistically represented each city.  The whole process was captured for Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, an HBO documentary series that premieres tonight at 11 p.m. ET.

For Grohl, Sonic Highways gave him a chance to try something new.

"We could just go and make another record in a studio and hit the road and sell a bunch of T-shirts," he said at a recent Los Angeles panel.  But Grohl and the band had a different idea.

"We've been a band for 20 years now.  Let's go to tiny studios all over the country, tell the story of music from that city and what is it about each one of these cities that influences the music that comes from there," he explained.  "Because there are real reasons.  Cultural influence from each one of these places.  There's a reason why jazz came from New Orleans.  There's a reason why country went to Nashville and why the blues went to Chicago."

In his journey to tell the story of American music, Grohl spoke with many famous faces, including country legend Dolly Parton, of whom he says "nobody is cooler," and President Barack Obama.

Grohl felt that speaking to the president was integral to telling the telling of that story.

"I wanted [President Obama] to talk about America as a country where you have the opportunity to start with nothing like Buddy Guy -- make your guitar from strings and wires in your screen porch, and then become a blues legend that's inducted into the Kennedy Center," he said.  "Or be a high school dropout from Springfield, Virginia, that winds up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Or being a kid from Hawaii that winds up being the president."

Though he talked with a lot of stars, Grohl was most impressed from the stories he heard from lesser-known artists.  He felt like it was these lesser-known artists who had the power to truly inspire.

"The idea is that you tell the stories of these unsung studios and these unsung musicians, and that's when people start feeling inspired," Grohl said.  "That's when you get a kid in his basement watching the guitar player of [punk band] Naked Raygun say, 'You shouldn't be intimidated by your heroes, you should be inspired by them.'"

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