‘A 21st century Pink Floyd album’

Pink Floyd has unveiled details of the upcoming double album "The Endless River" -- a tribute to the late Richard Wright that the band calls his "swan song." "Endless River" consists of reworked unreleased tracks that began life in 1993. Still, guitarist David Gilmour calls it very much "a 21st century Pink Floyd album." This means early November will see Pink Floyd's first album of unheard material in decades. " 'The Endless River' is a tribute to Rick" -- the band's keyboardist who died in 2008 -- drummer Nick Mason said. "I think this record is a good way of recognizing a lot of what he does and how his playing was at the heart of the Pink Floyd sound." Guitarist David Gilmour said: "Over the last year we've added new parts, rerecorded others and generally harnessed studio … [Read more...]

Ray Manzarek of the Doors dies

The Doors' Ray Manzarek, one of the most influential keyboardists in rock, has died at the age of 74. Manzarek spent most of his career keeping the psychedelic rock band's legacy strong, continuing to play its music in recent decades with bandmate Robby Krieger. "I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today," Doors guitarist Krieger said in a statement. "I'm just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him." Manzarek met singer Jim Morrison at UCLA film school in the early 1960s. They formed the Doors in 1965, quickly becoming a key act on the Sunset Strip, working as the house band at the Whisky a Go Go, and signing with Elektra Records … [Read more...]

No. 82: ‘Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You’

Tired of being referred to as "the Australian Beatles," the brothers Gibb moved back to England and made a record that sounded remarkably like ... the Beatles. The album "Bee Gees' 1st" kept up with the times -- and the Fabs -- by employing a Mellotron, an early tape-loop machine later closely identified with the Moody Blues. The Beatles had experimented with the electronic instrument on "Tomorrow Never Knows" and, more importantly, on "Strawberry Fields Forever," which was released to global acclaim in February 1967. A month later, the relatively unknown Bee Gees entered a London studio. Maurice Gibb quickly learned the instrument, a skill put to use on the brothers' oddly titled "Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You." The song starts off in a strange, … [Read more...]

Jon Lord dies; anchored Deep Purple

Keyboardist Jon Lord, who founded Deep Purple and co-wrote its biggest hits, has died. He was 71. In the early 1970s, the British band ruled the airwaves with hard rock staples such as "Smoke on the Water," "Highway Star" and "Strange Kind of Woman." Lord also steered the band into experiments with a rock-classical music fusion. Lord died July 16 in London after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Deep Purple emerged in 1968, giving covers of mainstream pop songs "Hush" and "Kentucky Woman" a wash of psychedelic rock. Then, by design, the band developed a brand of hard rock that came to dominate FM radio for decades. The core group -- Lord, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and bassist Roger Glover -- hired vocalist Ian Gillan in 1969 and the classic lineup of Deep Purple was born. … [Read more...]

‘Yessongs’ back from edge, on Blu-ray

The 1973 concert film "Yessongs" found only disgrace in the home video world, but that's about to change with a 40th anniversary Blu-ray release. Britain's Pinewood Studios updated the Yes film with high-definition images and a 5.1 surround sound restoration. While the Blu-ray debuts in the U.K. on April 30, no U.S. release has been announced. A spokeswoman for U.K. distributor Odeon Entertainment said via email that the PAL disc would play in U.S. Blu-ray machines. Artist Roger Dean, famed for his psychedelic landscapes for Yes album covers, produced four new postcards for the release. The Blu-ray includes an hour of "new and unseen" extra features, including a 2012 documentary with core Yes members Steve Howe, Roger Dean and Chris Squire, and a 12-minute short with guitarist … [Read more...]

‘Crazy World of Arthur Brown’ returns

"The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" gets another shot at salvation with the release this month of a remastered special edition. The album includes a second disc of bonus material. The hard-edged psychedelic classic returns Feb. 25 in the U.S. and Feb. 22 in the U.K. via Esoteric Recordings, which is part of the Cherry Red label group in London. The album ranks No. 16 on our list of the most important psychedelic albums in rock history. (Read the full Arthur Brown review.) The album is best known for the smash single "Fire," with its blazing intro: "I am the god of Hellfire and I bring you fire!" The centerpiece is the "Fire Suite," a side-long, five-track rock operetta once called "Tales From the Neurotic Nights of Hieronymous Anonymous." (The rock opera king, Peter Townshend, … [Read more...]

No. 16: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

The airwaves of 1967 and 1968 were scorched by fire: First, the Doors' "Light My Fire" and the Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Fire." Then came the self-proclaimed God of Hellfire, whose thunderous voice brought us "Fire." The U.K. trio the Crazy World of Arthur Brown ranks as a one-hit wonder these days -- "Fire" gets steady play on classic oldies stations, and there was no follow-up of note. But the psychedelic cognoscenti revere Brown and his bandmates for the dark matter found on the first side of the debut album, "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown." "Fire" was the centerpiece of a side-long, five-track rock operetta once called "Tales From the Neurotic Nights of Hieronymous Anonymous." Now, it's mostly known as "The Fire Suite." The rock opera king, Peter Townshend, associate-produced … [Read more...]

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