King Crimson, Zappa, Santana top Q4

Classics from King Crimson, Frank Zappa and Santana rule the list of psychedelic music rereleases for 2016's final quarter. Other key artists unwrapping product for the holiday season include the Doors, the Beatles, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Pink Floyd, Funkadelic and Yes. King Crimson delivers another floor-buckler with the massive "On (and Off) the Road" set -- 11 CDs, three DVD-A's, three Bluray audio discs and a pair of DVDs. "A complete overview of the enduringly popular 1980s incarnation of King Crimson." Set revolves around the albums "Discipline," "Beat," "Three of a Perfect Pair," which appear in several forms, including new Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp stereo mixes and 5.1 surround. Live tracks, outtakes, studio chatter, memorabilia, etc. Streeting for about $150. Also … [Read more...]

Hendrix ‘Machine Gun’ loaded for SACD

Jimi Hendrix's music makes its debut on the SACD and high-resolution digital formats with September's release of "Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69." While artists such as Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra have been the subject of major SACD release campaigns, Hendrix's catalog remains mostly limited to CD, vinyl and regular digital files. The move to release the new Band of Gypsys live set raises hopes that Hendrix's classic studio albums -- "Are You Experienced," "Axis: Bold as Love" and "Electric Ladyland" -- will emerge in the audiophile SACD format. Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings (Sony) are releasing the album, along with a rerelease of the "People, Hell & Angels" posthumous collection that includes SACD and high-res digital. Analogue Productions is … [Read more...]

Pink Floyd’s ‘Early Years’ on 27 discs

A head-spinningly comprehensive look at Pink Floyd's early years is due in November. The 27-disc box set includes more than 11 hours of audio and 14 hours of video/AV. "The Early Years: 1965-1972" packs in 10 CDs, eight Blurays, nine DVDs, five 7-inch singles on vinyl. Expect to pay more than $600 for the exhaustive box set, although prices of large sets do tend to drop somewhat leading up to release. Also planned for Nov. 11 is a double-CD set of highlights dubbed "Cre/ation." Pink Floyd, which appears to be done as a band, also is engaged in a major reissue of its catalog on vinyl. The "Early Years: 1965-1972" box set material is separated into seven volumes, six of which will hit the market individually next year. The bonus "Contin/uation" CD/DVD/Blu-ray disc package is … [Read more...]

Live Zeppelin, Beatles, Crimson for Q3

Got live if you want it: Stand by for in-concert recordings by Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, King Crimson, Iron Butterfly, Yes and ELP. Other key releases for 2017's third quarter include works by Frank Zappa, Gong, the Byrds, the Turtles and Sun Ra. Led Zeppelin's formative years are celebrated on "The Complete BBC Sessions," the return of a 1997 set being expanded and remastered. The rest of Zeppelin's catalog just enjoyed similar treatment, and guitarist Jimmy Page again supervises the audio on the new set. The "BBC" collection -- spanning 1969 through 1971 -- will feature eight unreleased tracks, including several versions of "Communication Breakdown" and "What Is and What Should Never Be." Of particular interest to collectors will be three tracks from the "previously 'lost' … [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...]

Pink Floyd resurrects vinyl catalog

Pink Floyd plans to reintroduce its vinyl catalog, with the 180-gram releases flowing throughout 2016. The first batch of releases, due in early June, contains "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," "A Saucerful of Secrets," the double-LP live/studio set "Ummagumma" and the film soundtrack to "More." The albums, being issued by Pink Floyd Records, have been remastered "from the original analogue tapes" by James Guthrie, Joel Plante and Bernie Grundman. The releases appear to be stereo only. The vinyl catalog will be reproduced throughout 2016, with release dates announced "at regular intervals," the Pink Floyd web site says. "Special care" will be taken to preserve original elements. The vinyl releases are to be manufactured and distributed by Sony Music, except for the U.K. and … [Read more...]

Levitation fest grounded for 2016

"Dangerous weather" has doomed the nation's largest psychedelic music festival for 2016. Austin's Levitation music fest was canceled one day before it opened. "It is beyond our control," organizers said. "We are completely devastated." Some of the many psychedelic music bands that were streaming into Texas are expected to play in various venues around Austin. The festival was to run April 29-May 1, back for the fifth year at Carson Creek Ranch outside Austin. Levitation 2016 tickets are being refunded. Festival tickets will not be good for any alternate bookings in town, however. The Thursday night kickoff events apparently were to continue before the arrival of Friday's bad weather. The festival was to feature acts including the reunited Ween, Brian Wilson, Courtney … [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...]

Dead’s movie close-up from Foxboro

Another Grateful Dead tradition comes of age -- go figure. The sixth annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies is set for May 11, with the screening of an unreleased concert from July 1989. The Dead movie night again comes via the band's label, Rhino, and the cinema one-off specialist Fathom Events. The main event is the entire Dead concert from Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, dating back to July 2, 1989. It was the "tour-opening show from what would be one of the Dead's best tours of their final 15 years of performing," organizers say. Key tracks at the Sullivan Stadium show included 12 minutes of "Friend of the Devil," a rare opening of "Playin' in the Band," and "Eyes of the World." The gig featured an extra helping of psychedelic-era covers, including "Queen … [Read more...]

Keith Emerson of ELP, the Nice dies

Keyboardist Keith Emerson, whose work with the Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer linked modern rock with centuries of classical music, has died. He was 71. The progressive rock star reportedly died of a single gunshot wound to his head, which police said appeared to be self-inflicted. He was found at his home in Santa Monica, California. "We ask that the family's privacy and grief be respected," the band wrote in confirming news of Emerson's death. Bandmate Carl Palmer said Emerson "was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come." Emerson, Lake & Palmer was one of the top arena-rock acts of the early 1970s, releasing the key progressive rock albums "Tarkus" and "Brain Salad Surgery." While … [Read more...]

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