It didn't take long for The Monkees to realize that they'd experienced a level of success far beyond their wildest dreams. Far from being mere actors on a television show portraying a band, they'd been thrust in front of capacity crowds in stadiums, arenas, and large auditoriums - a de facto band that, in reality, wasn't yet calling the shots on their own careers and music. That changed when Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork demanded creative freedom from impresario Don
In Memoriam: David Crosby (1941-2023)
And it appears to be a long time, such a long, long, long, long time before the dawn... Few songs have captured the zeitgeist of the times as well as David Crosby's "Long Time Gone." First aired on Crosby, Stills, and Nash's eponymous debut, the ballad expressed the malaise, the anger, the disappointment, and the turbulence of the late 1960s with thunderous bass, furious guitar, and cascading harmonies. "Speak out, you got to speak out against the madness/You got to speak your mind, if you
Commit to Love: SoulMusic's New Box "I'm for Real" Collects Howard Hewett's Elektra Albums
As we await the February 17 release of Dionne Warwick's Sure Thing: The Warner Bros. Recordings (1972-1977) box set from SoulMusic Records and Cherry Red, the time is right to revisit the label's two final packages of 2022. Today, a 4-CD package from soul man Howard Hewett takes the spotlight, with the next installment featuring a 6-CD box from the group Starpoint. Howard Hewett's I'm for Real: The Elektra Recordings (1986-1992) brings together the vocalist's four albums for the label, all
In Memoriam: Jeff Beck (1944-2023)
Almost two months ago to the day, on November 12, 2022, Jeff Beck took the stage at Reno, Nevada's Grand Sierra Resort. Performing with his friend Johnny Depp, Beck ran through a setlist of fan favorites and covers. The guitar virtuoso made every song his own, with razor-sharp precision, an elegant tone, and a spellbinding touch. Little did anyone in attendance know that the concert would be Beck's last. After a short battle with bacterial meningitis, Jeff Beck has passed away at the age of
Keep It Greasy: "Zappa '80" Premieres Concerts from New York City, Munich
Following in the footsteps of last year's Zappa '75: Zagreb/Ljubljana, Zappa Records and UMe have rescued another two concerts from the late artist's storied Vault. On March 3, the labels will release the 3-CD set Zappa '80: Mudd Club/Munich, boasting two very different shows: one from New York's tiny, 240-capacity Mudd Club, and other from Munich's 12,000-seat Olympiahalle arena. Both shows feature the short-lived lineup of Zappa, vocalist Ike Willis and Ray White, bassist Arthur Barrow,
The Sweetest Punch: "The Songs of Bacharach and Costello" Box Celebrates "Painted from Memory," More
Elvis Costello has sung jazz with The Charles Mingus Orchestra and pianist Marian McParland, explored hip-hop textures with The Roots, recorded with classical artists The Brodsky Quartet and Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, penned an album with R&B titan Allen Toussaint, and written and recorded with Paul McCartney. Yet of his many rich, felicitous collaborations, the most celebrated may well be with legendary composer Burt Bacharach. Now, that partnership which has spanned over
Way Over Yonder: Carole King's 1973 Central Park Concert Coming to Theatres, Streaming
When Carole King performed "Home Again" at Central Park's Great Lawn on May 26, 1973, the title held additional meaning. Though she was one of music's most famous New Yorkers, Carole's move to southern California inspired her transformation from Brill Building tunesmith to full-fledged solo singer-songwriter. Much as her songs such as "The Loco-Motion," "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" defined the sound of the 1960s, "It's Too Late," "You've Got a
In Memoriam: Thom Bell (1943-2022)
Yesterday, Philadelphia soul architect Thom Bell passed away at the age of 79, leaving an extraordinary legacy of music for such artists as The Delfonics, The Stylistics, The Spinners, Dionne Warwick, Johnny Mathis, Deniece Williams, and Elton John among his greatest and most enduring accomplishments. TSD's Joe Marchese got to know Thom in the last few years of his life, and shares his memories of, and an interview with, the legendary producer and songwriter. "Hello?" I picked up the
Holiday Gift Guide Review: David Bowie, "Divine Symmetry: An Alternative Journey Through 'Hunky Dory'"
MAGNIFICENT OUTRAGE. The phrase is emblazoned on the slipcase of David Bowie's new box set Divine Symmetry (An Alternative Journey Through 'Hunky Dory'). It was derived from an ad - reprinted as the first image in the 100-page tome housing the set's four CDs and one Blu-ray Disc - which noted, "That's what they're saying about David Bowie." Happily, no one would accuse this latest Bowie archival dig of being an outrage, though magnificent comes closer. Much like its 2019 predecessor
Shock Your Mama: Cherry Pop Reissues, Expands Debbie Gibson's "Body Mind Soul"
Debbie Gibson began 1992 by stepping into the role of Eponine in Broadway's Les Miserables, inaugurating a stage career that's since encompassed three more Broadway shows and many more regionally and abroad. While appearing nightly at the Imperial, the singer-songwriter was still juggling the demands of a pop career. In June, three months after wrapping up her stint in Les Mis, Gibson was back in the studio. Her fourth and final album for Atlantic Records, Body Mind Soul was released in
Is This the Way to Amarillo? "Essential Tony Christie" Offers Hits, Rarities, and Unreleased Tracks
In 1972, Yorkshire-born Tony Christie took Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield's jaunty "(Is This the Way To) Amarillo" to the top of the pops throughout the world: No. 1 in Belgium and Germany, the top ten in Switzerland, The Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, and the top twenty in his native United Kingdom. Thirty-three years later, in 2005, the same recording was re-released to raise funds for the Comic Relief charity. Propelled by a music video featuring comedian Peter
She Ain't Down Yet: Stage Door Collects "Unsinkable Molly Brown" Demos and More on New 2-CD Deluxe Release
When Meredith Willson's The Music Man made its Broadway bow on December 19, 1957 at The Majestic Theatre (today the home of Phantom of the Opera), the composer-lyricist-librettist had already enjoyed a long and prolific career. Willson, born in Mason City, Iowa - the inspiration for The Music Man's River City - had played flute and piccolo in the orchestras of John Philip Sousa and Arturo Toscanini; became the musical director of NBC Radio in Hollywood; received Academy Award nominations for
Holiday Gift Guide Update: Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Marianne Faithfull, International Pop Overthrow, and Maureen Taylor Sings Michael Colby
The Second Disc is always updating our Holiday Gift Guide with items large and small that just might make the perfect stocking stuffer or present under the tree. In recent days, we've added entries for four very different releases that are all worth seeking out. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Singles (BMG) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada) This handsome new vinyl box collects a dozen seven-inch, two-sided singles culled from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's U.K. and international
Edsel Holiday Round-Up: Del Shannon, The Box Tops, Donna Summer
Today, we're taking a look at three recent releases from Demon Music Group's Edsel and Driven by the Music imprints! From the 1961 release of his first-ever single "Runaway," a chart-topper on both sides of the Atlantic, to the time of his death in 1990, Del Shannon was rock-and-roll royalty. Demon Music Group's Edsel label has been giving Shannon some long-overdue attention lately with a reissue of his final album, the posthumously-released Rock On! and with the announcement of an
Holiday Gift Guide Review: The Beach Boys, "Sail on Sailor: 1972"
I need a whole lot of sunshine to keep my sundial advancing... Who were The Beach Boys? Hawthorne, California's favorite sons might have been asking themselves that very question in 1972. Their creative leader was withdrawing further into himself and musical tastes were changing: where did that leave them? This period of adjustment was first chronicled on last year's superlative Feel Flows: The Sunflower and Surf's Up Sessions 1969-1971 box set. The story begun on that collection
Hey, Love: Vinyl Me, Please Celebrates Cadet Records Legacy on New Anthology Box Set
Following recent releases celebrating The Comedy Store, Ghetto Records, and the Philadelphia International label, the Vinyl Me, Please record club has announced the next title in its lavish Anthology series. The Story of Cadet Records, with eight albums spanning the halcyon era of 1968-1972, is available for pre-order now. Cadet Records emerged in 1965 as the successor to Argo Records, the jazz imprint of Chicago-based rhythm-and-blues label Chess Records. When brothers and co-founders
What a Surprise: Neil Sedaka Reissues His Four Elektra Albums on New 2-CD Set
Sedaka's Back was no understatement. Neil Sedaka's 1974 LP - in actuality, a compilation of tracks from his previous three albums issued only in the U.K. - yielded a No. 1 Pop and AC hit with the sparkling "Laughter in the Rain," earning the artist his first chart-topper since 1962. It also spun off another No. 1 AC with "The Immigrant," and a top ten AC/top thirty Pop hit with "That's When the Music Takes Me." That wasn't all; the album also contained the future standards "Solitaire" and
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Joni Mitchell, "The Asylum Albums (1972-1975)"
2022 has been Joni Mitchell's year. Following a triumphant surprise appearance in July at the Newport Folk Festival, the singer-songwriter announced a return to the stage for a full-length Joni Jam in June 2023 at Washington's Gorge Amphitheatre; tickets were quickly snapped up by ardent fans who had waited roughly two decades to see Mitchell in concert once again. More recently, she attended her first-ever Broadway musical, Cameron Crowe and Tom Kitt's Almost Famous - and made her Broadway
Close To It All: Cherry Red, Grapefruit Collect Power Pop, Folk, "Bubblerock," and More on New Anthologies
Cherry Red's Grapefruit imprint, dedicated to the psychedelic and garage eras, has concentrated in recent months on various-artists anthologies exploring different aspects of the pop-rock scene of the mid-to-late 1960s through the mid-1970s. Today's Grapefruit Round-Up looks at a quartet of those recent releases. The 3-CD anthology High in the Morning: The British Progressive Pop Sounds of 1973 is focused on the twelve-month period in which the look and sound of glam rock made ripples
Coming Around Again: Carly Simon's "Live at Grand Central" Comes to CD, LP, Blu-ray
Earlier this month, Carly Simon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was a long-overdue recognition for the singer-songwriter whose thirteen U.S. top 40 hits include such radio staples as "Anticipation," "The Right Thing to Do," "Nobody Does It Better," "Coming Around Again," and the chart-topping "You're So Vain." Any fan of Simon knows that any live appearance is a true rarity-and the same was true back on April 2, 1995, when she performed her first full-length concert in 14
Not Dark Yet: Bob Dylan's Next Bootleg Volume Celebrates "Time Out of Mind"
The last volume of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series, 2021's Springtime in New York, chronicled the singer-songwriter at the outset of the 1980s. On January 27, 2023, the seventeenth volume of the long-running series will arrive, this time exploring the creation of Dylan's thirtieth studio album. Fragments: Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997) takes a deep dive into the three-time Grammy Award-winning album which was perceived by many as a comeback after a string of lackluster or uninspired LPs.
Dream Starts: Grapefruit Collects Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera on New Anthology
The Five Proud Walkers weren't the only British blues 'n soul band to go psychedelic, but they were certainly one of the finest. As Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera and then just plain Velvet Opera, the group recorded two well-received albums in the late 1960s before splintering. Cherry Red's Grapefruit imprint has recently collected and expanded those LPs on 3 CDs as Long Nights of Summer: The Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera Anthology. Lead singer Dave Terry - who took the name of Elmer Gantry, the
Snap Shot: Iconoclassic Expands Slave's Funk Classic "Show Time," Steve Arrington's "Dancin' in the Key of Life"
Dayton, Ohio-based funk band Slave achieved success right out of the gate when their self-titled 1977 album shot to No. 6 R&B and No. 22 Pop, earning a Gold certification from the RIAA. Slave was off and running, producing eight consecutive chart albums for Atlantic Records' Cotillion imprint through 1983. (A ninth, in 1984, would do less well and precipitate a change of labels.) Slave weathered changes in the musical landscape, spinning off more than a dozen hit singles in that period.
It's Only a Paper Moon: Cherry Red's El Imprint Celebrates Director Peter Bogdanovich on New Anthology
Writer-director Peter Bogdanovich (1939-2022) rose to fame as part of the "New Hollywood" movement of cinematic auteurs. While these maverick filmmakers shattered conventions and reshaped film to modern sensibilities, many had a deep and abiding love of the medium - and perhaps none more so than Bogdanovich. The onetime film critic and Museum of Modern Art programmer wrote extensively about Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Howard Hawks; shot The Last Picture Show in black-and-white; and
Just For You: Peter Green's "In the Skies" Returns in Expanded Edition from Iconoclassic Records
As a co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green (1946-2020) expanded the boundaries of blues-rock and forged a powerful sound on such remarkable compositions as "Black Magic Woman," "Man of the World," "Albatross," and "Oh Well." Despite well-publicized challenges throughout his life and career, Green persevered and made music until the new millennium. Two years ago, Cherry Red's Esoteric Records returned his 1970 Reprise Records solo debut The End of the Game to CD. That album wasn't the end