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...]

‘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...]

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...]

Beatles producer George Martin dies

George Martin, the producer credited with turning the Beatles into the world's biggest and most respected rock band, has died. He was 90. His death leaves alive only two of the five creative forces behind the Beatles' remarkable string of singles and albums: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Martin frequently was cited as the "fifth Beatle," an honor he said he didn't deserve. Starr tweeted the news of Martin's death late March 8: "God bless George Martin. ... George will be missed." In addition to the Beatles, Martin worked with many successful British acts, including Jeff Beck, Elton John, Cilia Black, Wings, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. He reteamed with McCartney on three of his solo albums. Martin was credited with 23 No. 1 … [Read more...]

Record Store Day ’16: Doors, Hendrix, Prunes

The usual and unusual suspects populate Record Store Day 2016, keyed by releases from psychedelic stars the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, the 13th Floor Elevators and Frank Zappa. From the fringes come the space rock of Sun Ra, offbeat freakbeat from Britain, ragas from Ravi Shankar and Japanese "Monster a Go-Go." Record Store Day 2016 is Saturday, April 16. Releases are all on vinyl and are Record Store Day exclusives unless noted (top section). The Doors: "Live at the Aquarius: The First Performance" chronicles the band's first night at the Hollywood venue, summer of 1969. Three LPs. Tracks include "Soul Kitchen," "Mystery Train/Crossroads" and "Who Do You Love." Rhino, on blue vinyl. 5,000 copies. Previously released on CD. The Doors: Live version of "Roadhouse Blues" backed with "A … [Read more...]

Cream, Tull, Prunes, Airplane spark Q2

Psychedelic music just turned a half century old. Far out. Record labels are celebrating with key rereleases from artists like Cream, the Electric Prunes, Jethro Tull and Jefferson Airplane. Here's a curiously curated preview of psychedelic/'60s music titles due in March and into the second quarter of 2016: Cream's "Disraeli Gears" made the cut as one of the first titles in Universal Music Group's upcoming revival of the half-speed mastered process. The psychedelic touchstone ("Sunshine of Your Love," "Tales of Brave Ulysses") was prepped for its latest audiophile vinyl outing at Abbey Road Studios. "This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the best known analogue tape in existence," says engineer Miles Showell. (Half-speed mastered albums were popular in the … [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...]

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