June tunes - top classic rock releases
Gosh, it seems like a long time since Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) released a solo album, doesn't it? It should. She never has. Her first one will be released in June, as will a new studio album from the recently re-formed The Babys, whose last original studio release was 34 years ago. Also coming in June, The Who celebrate an anniversary, and the first three remastered Led Zeppelin albums. And more ...
Album cover image courtesy Courtesy Caroline
The musical evolution of Fleetwood Mac
If you could put the 1968 version of Fleetwood Mac side-by-side with today's version, you might have trouble believing it's the same band. Only the two members whose names inspired the band's name -- drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass guitarist John McVie -- have been constant from the band's 1968 debut album to the one currently in production that is planned for release next year. While the best known and most successful lineup -- Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks -- remained intact from 1975 to 1987, Fleetwood Mac have a history full of changes in personnel and musical direction.
Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac started out in 1967, a pure blues band, playing a mixture of covers of blues standards, and their own material. It was a wise choice at the time. Britain was in the midst of a big resurgence of interest in blues music, an ideal breeding ground for new Brit blues rock bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Yardbirds and Humble Pie.
The story of Fleetwood Mac's evolution unfolds as you take a chronological walk through their studio and live album catalog.
What you need to know about Jack Bruce
For some, Jack Bruce is one of the central figures in a classic rock band whose lifespan was tiny in proportion to the mystique that has surrounded Cream for almost 50 years.
For others, including many of his contemporaries and the generation that followed them, he is an innovative, polished professional who gained fame as a part of Cream, but who has spent the years since working in virtually every music genre you can imagine.
During an existence of barely two years (1966-68) Cream recorded four studio albums. Between the end of that band's existence and today, Jack Bruce has recorded 14 solo studio albums. That he is recognized more for his work as bass guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with Cream than with his solo catalog doesn't deter Bruce from continuing to do what he does best -- going past the imaginary boundaries of a rock star, and exploring the possibilities of many more musical genres than Cream had albums.
Classic and new, featured on the May music menu
You know, even though I spend a good deal of time listening to, researching and writing about classic rock, I still get a kick from coming across artists who we haven't heard from in a while, who are still making music.
Case in point #1: Dave Mason, co-founder of Traffic, guitarist and songwriter. His career has also included stints with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, Fleetwood Mac, and dozens of solo artists whose names would fill the page. Mason has been recording solo albums since 1970, but until no, just one (26 Letters -- 12 Notes in 2008) since the turn of the millennium. He's back with some new music, and fresh takes on some old familiar songs. He's back, and Future's Past is one of the recommended selections from the classic rock column in May.
Case in point #2: How great that Blondie chose to celebrate their 40th anniversary with both an album of new music, and collection of some of the best from back when. Blondie 4(0)-Ever: Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux + Ghosts of Download may have you contemplating how it doesn't seem like it could have been that long ago ...
Review: Brian May/Kerry Ellis - 'The Candlelight Concerts Live at Montreux'
Since the late '60s and early '70s when rock was morphing out of pop and into a genre unto itself, it has became commonplace for rock artists to team up with artists from other genres to record and/or perform live. It was still a new concept in 1977 when Bing Crosby performed with David Bowie on Crosby's annual Christmas show, but what was then considered a novelty has become almost an expectation.
Until you actually experience this particular pairing, you might think the combination of a classic rock guitarist and a theatrical diva is just a bit off. But Brian May and Kerry Ellis will disabuse you of that misconception very quickly when you watch/listen to their new CD/DVD set, The Candlelight Concerts Live at Montreux 2013. Believe when I tell you that they will rock you.
New in classic rock - April 2014
Even with the attention that Record Store Day (4/19) brings to vinyl reissues, there's still room for some very listen-worthy new releases.
Deep Purple, Roger Daltrey, Jack Bruce, Toto, Ian Anderson ... shall I continue?
Classic rock vinyl on Record Store Day 2014
You don't have to be a serious vinyl collector to enjoy the Record Store Day experience. To be sure, it's the catalyst for a lot of pleasant memories for those of us who used to take the neighborhood record store for granted back when there was no Amazon, no Best Buy, no iTunes or Spotify. And if you missed that experience back in the day, RSD is as close to time travel as you can get.
Classic rock artists were among the first to support and promote Record Store Day when it began back in 2008, and one of its main features is the availability of releases -- exclusive to participating stores -- of vintage music of many genres, classic rock chief among them. More than two dozen exclusive classic rock vinyl releases await.
Save the date: Saturday, April 19 at your neighborhood indie record store.
Eric Clapton: man of many milestones
In a couple of weeks (3/30) Eric Clapton will turn 69. Since his career began, as a teenager busking for tips on street corners and in bars around his boyhood home in Surrey, England, he has released 21 solo studio albums, 37 with the various bands he's been associated with, 10 soundtracks, 11 live albums, and performed on another 63 albums by other artists. Not to mention an untold number of live concert performances.
All things considered, it shouldn't have come as a surprise when Classic Rock magazine reported that Clapton had told his fans in Japan, "I may not be able to come back again. I've been coming here for 40 years, since before some of you were born. It's the best place I've ever played. Thank you for having me."
It should be even less surprising since he told Rolling Stone magazine a year ago that he planned to stop touring when he turned 70. That birthday milestone is now just a year away, one of the many milestones in Clapton's long career.
March music - latest classic rock releases
Since, by definition, those of us who embrace classic rock are attracted to music that was first written, recorded and performed 40-50 years ago, it seems fitting that virtually all of the classic rock releases coming in March are remixed and/or remastered and/or digitally restored versions of that old classic rock we love so well. That's what makes it okay that remasters, reissues, and expanded editions far outnumber new releases in March.
Look who's 50 already!
There has been considerable ballyhoo (and rightfully so) about this month's 50th anniversary of The Beatles' first appearance on American network TV. But Beatlemania wasn't the only next-big-thing going on in music in 1964.
Some of classic rock's best known and most highly regarded bands were founded in 1964. A surprising number are still active 50 years later. To them and all the others, a hearty Happy Anniversary!
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