Hilton Valentine, the founding guitarist in the Animals, passed away on Friday. Born May 23, 1943, Valentine started playing guitar in his first year as a teen, and formed a skiffle group named the Heppers while in high school. The group shifted into a Rock mode in 1959, adopting the name the Wildcats. Four years later, future Animals leader Eric Burdon, bassist Chas Chandler and keyboard player Alan Price were performing as the Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo to the Animals. Chandler invited Valentine and drummer John Steel to join and the name was changed to the Animals. During a recent interview with Guitar International, front man Eric Burdon attributed much of the success of the Animals to the guitarist, saying, "It really was Hilton who made the early Animals a rock band", adding, "Hilton wasn't just playing rock n' roll, he looked rock n' roll", and called his playing, his appearance, attitude and energy the band's "secret weapon". R.I.P. Hilton.
Peter Frampton is back with another album showcasing instrumental versions of a number of his favorite songs. The April 23 release titled Frampton Forgets the Words was recorded at the guitar great's own studio in Nashville using the 1954 Les Paul guitar that went missing in a 1980 plane crash and was returned to him more than 30 years later. The album will feature songs written by George Harrison, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz and more musicians Peter admires. Although there are no vocals, Frampton says, "My guitar is also a voice and I have always enjoyed playing my favorite vocal lines that we all know and love. These tracks are my great band and me paying tribute to the original creators of this wonderful music. So much fun to do and I really hope you enjoy it to." It's a good bet we will.
Only Rock fans in Japan got lucky enough to witness firsthand the brief tour of perhaps the most remarkable supergroup ever assembled. Ringo Starr had put together the first of his many subsequent All Starr Band lineups in 1989. That tour proved again the combined drawing power of a lineup of high profile players. The following year he decided to take off. That fall, it happened that the Eagles, the Who and some other big bands were also idle 1990 band brought together Joe Walsh, John Entwistle, Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan veteran Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter. The two weeks 'the Best' was a band included sizzling sets of music form all of their respective bands.
Amazon is rolling out a concerts and music docs channel for Prime members. The Coda Collection will debut February 18 with an initial offering of 150 titles, including the recently release Jimi Hendrix in Maui and The Rolling Stone On The Air. Prime members will get a week of free viewing, after which continuing to use the service will cost $4.99 a month at codacollection.co.
Given the annual cost of Prime, making it free to Prime members and $9.99 to non members seems like a better idea. Nugs.net offers much more bang for your buck with an audio archive 250,000 titles deep and a healthy helping of live (some free, others on a pay-for-view basis) and on demand concert performances for $50 currently and with a free trial available.
The Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford lineup of Genesis had to put tour plans on hold twice because of the pandemic, but have now rescheduled The Last Domino Tour to begin in September with consecutive nights in Dublin. Guitarist Steve Hackett and former front man Peter Gabriel will not participate. Hackett, who has continued to mount very successful tours of his own backing band doing Genesis material, recently opened up a bit about why he parted ways with the band, but also seemed to leave open the future possibility or doing things with his former band mates. Talking on the Vintage Rock Podcast, Hackett attributed his departure to feeling as though Banks and Rutherford were reluctant to give him an equal role in making decisions about the material the band would play, saying, I didn't want to remain employed in a band that I think I was supposed to be a full-blown member in, only to come up against the brick walls at times." He added, I love so much the work that we did together. I think that was a fabulous band, an incredible collection of brain children." As for doing future things with Genesis, he said, "...I doubt that I will be involved with any of that, even though I will be up for it".
Steve's new solo album, Under A Mediterranean Sky, was released last week.
Pre AC/DC recordings featuring Bon Scott when he was in the band Fraternity were released in a box set yesterday. Seasons of Change - The Complete Recordings 1970-1974 features remastered versions the group's two albums, Livestock and Flaming Galah, along with a previously unreleased album titled Second Chance. The Sydney based group formed in Sydney in 1970 and moved to Adelaide. Scott was with them from 1971-'73. After his departure to join AC/DC, the group remained together under other names and members, including Cold Chisel's Jimmy Barnes for a period, before disbanding in 1981.
Heart's Nancy Wilson has scheduled her debut solo album for an April release. The guitarist recruited Sammy Hagar, Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters and GNR veteran Duff McKagan to join her on the album. The release is being preceded with a limited edition Epiphone Guitar she helped design dubbed the Fanatic. The mahogany bodied model features a figured maple veneer top and a fireburst finish and an ebony fretboard.
The estate of Jacques Levy is seeking $7.25 million of the nearly half a billion Bob Dylan reportedly took in when he recently sold the publishing rights to his massive song catalog. The suit contends that Levy, deserves that much because he co-wrote a number of Dylan songs in the 1970's. Dylan's legal representatives say Levy was paid all he was due in royalties for songs that include Hurricane, Black Diamond Bay, Isis and Joey on the 1976 album Desire.
Levy, who was also a theatre director and a clinical psychologist and served as the director of Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour, died in 2004.
Members of Styx, Def Leppard, Allman-Betts Band join in a benefit being streamed Saturday (1/23) for tour crews and stage hands sidelined by the pandemic. The lineup of players on the nugs.net includes Tommy Shaw of Styx, Rick Allen from Def Leppard, Billy Idol, Myles Kennedy, Matt Sorum, and more. Proceeds from the $14.99 access fee will go to the Sweet Relief Musician's Fund. The streaming starts at 9pm (eastern) and can be viewed anytime during the 48 hours that follow.
The circumstances remain unclear, but the estranged wife of Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson has died in the home the couple shared in Chiswick, West London. 58 year-old Paddy Bowden passed away yesterday in what has been called a 'tragic accident'. The couple split last fall after 29 years of marriage. Our sympathies to the families.
Artist Robert Vargas has designed a larger than life portrait mural of Eddie Van Halen he's titled Long Live The King that fills an exterior wall of the Guitar Center in Hollywood. The official unveiling will take place on the late guitar wizard's birthday on January 26th, but you can get a look at it right now in this video.
Phil Spector, the fabled but tormented producer credited with developing the 'wall of sound', reportedly died yesterday at 81. TMZ reports the 81 year old Spector, who was serving a 19 years - to life- sentence the murder of an actress on his estate in February of 2003, reportedly had been transferred from prison to a hospital after contracting Covid-19, but had been returned to the prison before being rushed back to the hospital yesterday, where he died.
In addition to being a producer, Spector worked in artist development, formed two record labels and exerted good deal of influence and, some said, an overbearing amount of control over many artists he worked with. At the height of his career, several Spector produced artists achieved major Top-40 success, including the Crystals,the Ronettes, the Righteous Brothers, Vikki Carr, and Darlene Love.
His most notable work involving classic rock was done with John Lennon (Instant Karma) George Harrison (All Things Must Pass) and on the Beatles Let It Be album. He also produced the Ramones End of the Century album in 1979. During one session, he allegedly pulled a gun on Dee Dee Ramone when he tried to leave early.
Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony are 'all-in' on staging a tribute concert honoring Eddie Van Halen. The former VH front man spoke with New York City Classic Rock station Q104 and said, "No one's really connected all the dots with everyone involved", but he's confident one will come together.
Geddy Lee has signed-on for a performance with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in February. The Rush bass player and vocalist is in a lineup that includes classical great Itzhak Perlman and K.D. Lang in a production titled The Resilient Symphony: the Show Must Go On that takes place virtually on February 18.
Rapid and full recovery wishes to George Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison, who is hospitalized with Covid-19 but doing okay in a London hospital. She posted on her Instagram account today that she was "Redesigning my hospital room curtain. Unlucky to get covid but on the mend. Gratitude to all the selfless carers."
We lost one of the great songwriters and drummers in Rock in the first week of 2020 to brain cancer. R.I.P. Neil Peart. Peart's hometown of St. Catherine's, Ontario has already named a recently completed music pavilion in Lakeside Park in his honor and is in the process of reaching a decision on the form and a location for a lasting memorial to the drummer. The mayor of the city says, "We want to be able to acknowledge and commemorate an iconic individual who has done so much for music, not just here in Canada, but around the world."
Bob Dylan's decision to sell the publishing rights to his massive catalog of songs has led to a number of other musicians following suit. Lindsey Buckingham and Neil Young are the latest, joining Stevie Nicks, Steve Winwood and others. Dylan reportedly raked in close to half a billion dollars. Young is said to have parted with 50% of his titles for $150 million, and Nicks sold an 80% share for an undisclosed figure. Buckingham is parting with the portion he hadn't already sold.
The uptick in deals comes as musicians that already lost big chunks of income as music sales transitioned from physical form to mp3 and streaming platforms are also losing touring income due to Covid restrictions on concerts.
The companies buying the rights will look to capitalize on their investment through licensing deals for the songs in films and advertising. It's a safe bet that Young's This Note's For You, his 1988 song railing against music being usurped for commercials, wasn't in the 50% he sold off.
The compact disc's arrival on the scene in the mid 80's triggered a steady decline in the sale of vinyl lps, but the emerging dominance of mp3 players and streaming services really decimated CD sales, which have plummeted by 95% since their sales peak in 2000. While album sales aren't remotely what they during the medium's decade of dominance, vinyl has been enjoying a resurgence and closed out 2020 with a week that holiday buying of vinyl resulted in the highest weekly sales total for 33 1/3 albums since reliable sales tracking began in 1991. During the week leading up to Christmas, 1.842 million albums were sold according to Nielsen/MRC and reported by Billboard.