Moody Blues on threshold of Rock Hall

Psychedelic classicists the Moody Blues have made the short list for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is the first nomination for the long-running English band, first eligible for the Hall way back in 1989. The Rock Hall's lack of recognition for the Moody Blues had long been perceived as a snub similar to those of leading progressive rock acts Yes (inducted in 2017) and King Crimson. Also making the list for 2018 were the Zombies, whose "Odessey and Oracle" is considered a landmark album of the psychedelic music era. This is the third nomination for that British band, best known for the hits "She's Not There," "Tell Her No" and "Time of the Season." Other acts of interest among the 19 nominees include the Detroit radical combo MC5 ("Kick Out the Jams") and British art rocker … [Read more...]

Dueling Yes bands will tour U.S.

Yes, it's a battle of the bands. In a situation that brings to mind casino-touring oldie acts, dueling versions of prog rockers Yes will be hitting the road in North America this summer and fall. The simmering dispute came to a boil in recent days as the ARW group -- Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman -- announced that they would adopt the classic-rock name of Yes for the U.S. tour. The official name, however, is Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman. That news no doubt isn't going down well in the other Yes camp, the group headed by guitarist Steve Howe. The official "Yes" statement says: "While Jon Anderson has rights to use the name as one of the co-owners of the trademark, Yes' position is that every effort should be made by promoters, ticket … [Read more...]

Slick roasts ad partner Chick-fil-A

Grace Slick and Chick-fil-A make for some strange bedfellows. Slick, possessor of one of the biggest mouths in rock, is an avowed leftie, famed in part for her radical antiwar stance in the late 1960s. Chick-fil-A draws fire on a regular basis for its right-wing affiliations, notably its ministry wing the WinShape Foundation, which has routed millions of its profits to Biblical Christian groups opposed to gay marriage. So when Slick agreed to license the Jefferson Starship hit "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" to the Georgia-based fast-food franchiser, it raised a few eyebrows. Certainly during the Grammys telecast of a week back. Another '60s sellout? Nah. Slick had a plan, one she just shared in a blog post on the web site of capitalist cheerleader magazine Forbes. "I am … [Read more...]

Rock Hall welcomes prog rockers Yes

Prog rock greats Yes, electronic pioneers Kraftwerk, magic carpet merchants Steppenwolf and Brit oracles the Zombies have been short-listed for 2017 entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Other rock acts of note include Electric Light Orchestra, MC5, Jane's Addiction and Pearl Jam. Update: Yes finally made it into the Rock Hall, as well as Electric Light Orchestra and Pearl Jam. Other inductees for the 2017 ceremony are Journey, Tupac Shakur, Journey and Joan Baez. /update Yes' exclusion from the Rock Hall has long been a sore spot with fans of prog -- its "Close to the Edge" is widely considered the top album in the genre. The band's many members over the decades include Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford and Steve Howe. Yes continues to tour, although the classic … [Read more...]

Waters tour to cover U.S. in 2017

Roger Waters is following up his journey to the California desert with a 40-date tour of North America, to begin in late May. The "Us + Them" tour -- the name a riff on the Pink Floyd song -- is keyed to the release of a new Waters album, his first studio effort since 1992's "Amused to Death." Tickets go on sale for the Waters tour Friday, Oct. 21. Presales begin Monday, Oct. 17, and there is a Citi Private Pass tie-in. The tour won't focus on a specific album, such as the epic and sometimes controversial "The Wall" tours of 2010-13. "It'll be a mixture of stuff from my long career, stuff from my years with Pink Floyd, some new things," Waters said. "Probably 75% of it will be old material and 25% will be new, but it will be all connected by a general theme." Know for … [Read more...]

Led Zeppelin wins ‘Stairway’ copyright case

Rock powerhouse Led Zeppelin triumphed in its defense of the originality of "Stairway to Heaven," as a Los Angeles jury found the band did not rip off the song's opening theme. Led Zeppelin, whose songwriting ethics have been called into question over the decades, scored a victory when it counted, as millions of dollars were at stake in the copyright case brought by a trustee for the estate of Spirit's guitarist Randy California. The song in question was Spirit's instrumental "Taurus," an atmospheric 3-minute instrumental on Spirit's debut album, released in 1968. It is mostly known to Spirit fans. The global hit "Stairway to Heaven" debuted on Led Zeppelin's fourth album, in 1971. "We are grateful for the jury's conscientious service and pleased that it has ruled in our favor, … [Read more...]

‘Stairway to Heaven’ leads to jury trial

A federal judge has ordered a jury trial in the dispute over authorship of Led Zeppelin's classic rock staple "Stairway to Heaven." The legal action was filed several years ago by the estate of Randy California, guitarist for the Los Angeles band Spirit. The suit alleges that defendants Robert Plant and Jimmy Page copped the opening finger-picked section of "Stairway" from Spirit's "Taurus," which was recorded in 1967. Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and the band's distributor Warner Music were dropped from the case in the April 8 ruling by U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner. The jury trial is scheduled to begin May 10. The lawsuit was filed in May 2014, although the songs' similarities have long been debated. There were statute of limitations issues in the dispute, but … [Read more...]

Baker has heart trouble, cancels gigs

Drummer Ginger Baker has been forced to cancel upcoming tours due to "serious heart problems." "No more gigs for this old drummer ... everything is off," the veteran of Cream posted on his web site over the weekend. Baker had revived his Air Force project for a series of April shows in the U.K., which were to be followed by 14 gigs in the States. Baker's web site and Facebook page contained the following message from management: It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of all shows. Ginger's doctor's have insisted that he have complete rest due to diagnosis of serious heart problems. We hope you will all join with his family in wishing him well. God bless Ginger Baker. Baker wrote that the news from his doctor was "a big shock." "Of all things, I never … [Read more...]

Rock Hall taps Deep Purple, Miller, Chicago

Deep Purple, Steve Miller and Chicago have found their way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. All three acts began in the psychedelic music era of the late 1960s. Each made albums key to the underground music scene, although Miller and Chicago are better known for their mainstream careers. Other artists entering the Rock Hall in 2016 are N.W.A. and Cheap Trick. A notable omission from the inductees list is Yes, a move that no doubt will fuel criticisms that the Rock Hall has a bias against progressive rock. Yes is now unsuccessful as a multiple nominee. Deep Purple found early success with trippy covers of the top 40 hits "Hush" (Joe South/Billy Joe Royal) and "Kentucky Woman" (Neil Diamond).Keyboardist John Lord then steered the British band into experiments with a … [Read more...]

Rock Hall noms to Yes, Deep Purple, Miller

Yes, Deep Purple, Steve Miller and Chicago are among the nominees for 2016 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. All four made albums key to the underground music of the late 1960s and early '70s, although Miller and Chicago are better known for their mainstream careers. Other nominees for the "Class of 2015" are Los Lobos, Nine Inch Nails, the Smiths, Janet Jackson, Chic, Cheap Trick, the Cars, N.W.A., the Spinners, the J.B.'s and Chaka Khan. Yes and Deep Purple have been previously nominated. Miller and Chicago are first-time nominees. Fans are able to vote for their favorites again this year, with balloting continuing through Dec. 9. Yes is one of the biggest brand names in progressive rock, continuing to record and tour almost a half century after their … [Read more...]

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