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...]

Crazy World of Arthur Brown set for Vegas

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown will be returning for a rare performance in the States, set for late August in Las Vegas. Brown, best known for his psychedelic rock hit "Fire," has been booked for the music festival Psycho. The gig was confirmed on Brown's web site. The British singer has remained active since his late 1960s breakout, and can be caught at various European music festivals. The U.S. booking appears to be his first in ages, however. It's not know if Brown and his band will seek other U.S. bookings. (The singer and performance artist did not respond to a request for comment and details.) The Crazy World of Arthur Brown's latest album is "Zim Zam Zim," crowdfunded and released in 2014. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown's self-titled debut LP of 1968 is a top 20 … [Read more...]

Giorgio Gomelsky dies; Yardbirds producer

Giorgio Gomelsky, the rock music impresario and producer who played key roles in the careers of the Yardbirds and Gong, has died. He was 81. Gomelsky owned the underground Crawdaddy Club in London, where he featured the young Rolling Stones. He managed the Stones briefly, and then took the Yardbirds under his wing. Gomelsky produced the Yardbirds' early albums "Five Live Yardbirds," "For Your Love" and "Having a Rave Up." Bill Wyman has credited scene-maker Gomelsky with introducing the Beatles and Stones. Eric Clapton said he gave him the nickname "Slowhand." Gomelsky, who was born in the country of Georgia and raised in Switzerland, died of complications from cancer in New York on Jan. 13. Other musical associations included Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity; … [Read more...]

Psychedelic year in review: Top titles

A half century hasn't dampened demand for the psychedelic goodness of the 1960s. The year 2015 found record labels still stuffing bins with high-quality releases, carefully crafted to take you higher. Here's a review of the year's top reissues of music connected with the psychedelic era. All are still available as 2015 fades to black, although some remain specialty items worth grabbing before the collector's price gouging gets under way. Jimi Hendrix: Completists welcomed the CD release in 2006 of "Burning Desire," the Dagger label's collection of "authorized bootlegs" from the master guitarist's final years. Now Sony Legacy has the expanded vinyl version, on two LPs. Tracks were recorded at the Record Plant in late 1969 and early 1970 with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. Listen for … [Read more...]

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