Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Meat Free Monday Fan Video

Yesterday, 22 September, 2014, Paul McCartney and Crew released a new video celebrating Meat Free Monday's fifth Anniversary. What is Meat Free Monday? I encourage you to read all about Meat Free Monday's history and Paul McCartney's part in the campaign by clicking here.

This year alone, McCartney has released six music videos. From his lyric video for "New" to his official videos for "Queenie Eye", "Appreciate" and "Early Days", and two fan videos including "Meat Free Monday" and "Save Us". All songs, with the exception of "Meat Free Monday", came from Sir Paul's New album, released this past October.  For those who don't know what a Fan Video is, it simple involved Paul McCartney asking his fans to send in a picture of themselves displaying a line from one of his selected songs, such as the following Fan Video (via Youtube) for "Save Us";

With great success and participation in "Save Us", The McCartney crew along with the musician himself, had decided to continue to spread Meat-Free Monday awareness by asking fans to submit pictures for another Fan Video, this time for Paul's campaign song.  In celebration of the fifth anniversary of the organization, Paul, his daughters, Mary and Stella, along with others have been asking around for people to pledge to join Meat- Free Monday and save not only animals lives but the planets. During his attempts to get others to join, Sir Paul released a video of himself rapping;

I now ask you all to join not only myself, The McCartney's, and many others in joining Meat-Free Mondays, one day can save thousands of lives. Please enjoy the following "Meat Free Monday" Fan video;

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Peace, Love, Meditation, and Men of The Year

I know this is a little late, but it's never too late to talk about Ringo Starr now is it?

New York based magazine, the Gentlemen's Quarterly, also known as GQ, is well known for their articles on men's style, culture, through various thoughts from food to fitness, movies to music, films to books, and much more. Amongst these articles are the annual GQ Men Of the Year Awards. Many celebrities such as Ozzy Osbourne, David Beckham, Keith Richards, even to Simon Cowell hold their place in GQ Men Of the Year Hall of Fame,  now as GQ nears their 17th annual release of the issue who better to feature on the cover along with the title of "Men of The Year" than Ringo Starr?

Starr recieving the Lifetime of Peace and Love award by Lynch

On Tuesday, 2 September, 2014, Starr along with many others gathered in London's Royal Opera House as guest by GQ, to accept their awards. During the ceremony Ringo was recognized for his effort and support towards the David Lynch Foundation, a non-profit organization to "fund the implemention of scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities" ( as stated on DavidLynchFoundation.org). The charity was started by David Lynch himself in 2005 calling it the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness- Based Education and World Peace to help those "who suffer the living hell of post-traumatic stress disorder and women and girls who are victims of terrible violence." (-David Lynch, DavidLynchFoundation.org). The foundation reaches out to inner-city students, veterans with PTSD and their families, American Indians suffering with various diseases, the homeless who are trying to overcome various addictions, juveniles, anyone who needs help, by using a Transcendental Meditation program, said to be scientifically proven to reduce stress and have received much support from leading medical schools such as Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School, and Yale Medical School.  Ringo Starr, who himself had started mediation in 1967 with The Beatles (read all about it here), was awarded with the Lifetime of Peace and Love Award in L.A's El Rey Theater this past January,
"We want to generate the electricity of peace through music, and it's a thrill to know that the super-creative, enthusiastic musician of our world are with us to achieve this goal."- David Lynch, Rolling Stone Magazine, Andy Greene.
On accepting the award Ringo stated;
"I truly believe in the David Lynch Foundation. They started to bring meditation into inner-city schools and now it's a fact that those schools and neighborhoods violence has gone down. Meditation brings people back to being human again."

 Ringo is proudly displayed (thanks to John Varvatos) on the cover of GQ's autumn/winter 2014 campaign. Starr will be donating his profits to the David Lynch Foundation.

If you would like to help Ringo donate to the David Lynch Foundation, it's simple! For Ringo's 74th birthday (this past 7 July), he started a trend called "Peace Rocks" with John Varvatos, who created a Peace Rocks fall fashion collection to be featured in the autumn/winter 2014 GQ magazine. But how can you help?  Just tweet a picture via Twitter, of yourself flashing the peace symbol using the hashtag #PeaceRocks. By doing so Varvato's company will donate a dollar to every tweet sent to the Ringo Starr Peace & Love Fund supporting the David Lynch Foundation.

"It's amazing how this thing has grown from when I started seven years ago on the streets of New York, just asking people to say 'Peace and Love'."- Ringo Starr

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Apple Years 1968-75

"...I cannot wait for music lovers to get their hands on these newly remastered versions."- Dhani Harrison

 It was announced previously this month that Universal Music Group, along with help from Olivia and Dhani Harrison will be releasing The Apple Years 1968-75, a box-set containing eight digitally remastered discs (seven CDS and one DVD) of George's first six solo albums from Wonderwall Music in 1968 to Extra Texture (Read All About It) in 1975, all recorded under The Beatles' Apple Records label.

The album was designed to follow and compliment George's first box-set release with The Dark Horse Years 1976-92 released in 2004. George's son, Dhani, speaks about the project as;
"I am so happy that what we started a decade ago by releasing The Dark Horse Years is now complete with the release of his first six albums as The Apple Years. Some of these records have long been out of print, and so I cannot wait for music lovers to get their hands on these newly remastered versions. It's a very proud moment for us, and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us in any way to achieve this."- Dhani Harrison, GeorgeHarrison.com

The Apple Years box edition will contain the following;
  • Digitally remasted Wonderwall Music album
  • Digitally remastered Electronic Sound album
  • Digitally remastered All Things Must Pass album
  • Digitally remastered Living In The Material World album
  • Digitally remastered Dark Horse album
  • Digitally remastered Extra Texture (Read All About It) album
  • Book with introduction by Dhani Harrison
    • Essays by radio producer and author, Kevin Howlett
    • Rare, unpublished images
  • George Harrison - The Apple Years DVD which includes;
    • seven-minute film with unreleased footage
    • directed by Olivia Harrison
    • The Concert For Bangladesh press kit
    • "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) from the 1991's Live In Japan video
    • "Miss O'Dell" and "Sue Me Sue You Blues" alternate versions
    • Dark Horse promo clip
    • "Ding, Dong, Ding, Dong" video in which George directed
With the new release of The Apple Years, new opportunities to celebrate the music of George Harrison are popping around the Los Angeles scene, even taking a spot every night on TBS's  Conan, who is honoring the great musician with a week (starting on 22 September) of guests from Beck to Dhani Harrison himself, performing and paying tribute to George Harrison.

But having a week dedicated to the beloved man on the popular, comedic, late-night show, isn't enough to celebrate the music and love of George Harrison and that's why Los Angeles' El Rey Theatre will bring musicians such as Brian Wilson, Norah Jones, "Weird Al" Yankovic, and many others, together to celebrate George Fest: A Night To Celebrate the Music of George Harrison, on 28 September (all proceeds go to the Sweet Relief Fundraiser).

You can Pre-order The Apple Years box set at The Official George Harrison Store by clicking here.
Amazon by clicking here.
Or the digital version from iTunes here.

Or You can wait until the release of the box-set on 22 September, 2014. 

To watch The Apple Years 1968-75 promotional video click here.

picture by Dhani Harrison via Instagram this past July
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hope of.... 'Destiny'?

 D E S T I N Y

Defend the last safe City on Earth. Defeat our enemies. Discover the ancient ruins of our solar system. Become a legend.

Throughout his years of a beloved musician, Sir James Paul McCartney will not stop at expanding his musical genius towards new audiences. Whether it's classical ballads such as "Glory of Love", to heavy rock anthems in "Cut Me Some Slack", even to beloved children songs with Wings version of  "Mary Had A Little Lamb", McCartney has taken a new approach, stepping into the video gaming industry.

Two years ago (2012), it was shared on Paul's Twitter that he was going to experience as a "video game composer" working with the associates of Bungie (the same crew who worked with the Halo phenomenon) for the new, intense, game, Destiny.  On Bungie's official 'Destiny' website the following story line is posted;
Our civilization once spanned the solar system. Its ruins are still out there: buried in the dunes of Mars, hidden in the jungles of Venus, lost in a wild and abandoned Earth. For centuries we've huddled under the safety of the Traveler, protected from our enemies. Now, a new era has begun, and the only hope for our future lies in unlocking the greatest mysteries of our past.
 But how did the seventy two year old get involved in the video game industry?
Composers of the  Halo series approached McCartney providing details of how the video game industry depends on music; ever players action, every storyline, needs the correct musically score, and McCartney was up to the challenge, not only working with composers such as Marty O'Donnell and Mike Salvatori to create the fifty minute game's musical arrangements, but also writing the closing credit's track, "Hope For The Future", which PaulMcCartney.com News & Blog writer is calling the song "as epic as the game itself."

"Hope For The Future" was produced by Abbey Road and Beatles producer, Sir George Martin's son, Giles, who had previously worked with Macca for the 2013 album, New.  Marty O' Donnell recalls working with Paul during this video game journey with an interview with Rolling Stone Magazines, Daniel Kreps, on the 11 September, 2014, stating that McCartney would bring equipment used during The Beatles days which excited all musicians working on the project.
McCartney, O'Donnell, Salvatori

On the 9th of September, 2014 an interview held by Vulture's, Lane Brown, with Bungie's Community Manager, Eric Osbourne, was published to Vulture's website. Amongst the many questions about the game, said to be the one of the biggest entertainment launches of 2014,  Brown asked;
"Yes, but the guy wrote "Hey Jude". How on Earth did you convince him to do music for a video game? How did you pitch this to him, and why do you think he did it? I'm guessing that there was an enormous check involved."
Osbourne replied;
"There was no check involved, big or otherwise. He's in it for the creativity. He got a wonderful opportunity to reach an audience that wouldn't typically be immersed in Paul McCartney. They might hear the name - of course he's everywhere, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics, obviously he's touring and recording nonstop - but he sees it as a way to reach a new audience that might not otherwise hear his music."
From baseball stadiums, ballets, working with the Foo Fighters, performing for the Queen, to making his way into the video game world the question asked is;
When will McCartney stop? 
 and the only answer is;
"Hope For The Future" will be officially released later within the year, but more information on that will released within the next for weeks.  For now, listen to the track in the video (via Youtube) below;

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Buddy Holly

"... a man who creates songs, performs them, and has a great deal to do with the activities of our music world, and he's still a very young man and a successful one at that." -Dick Clark, 28 October, 1958
Today, the year 2014, we've developed what has become a known trend of "Hipster" glasses, but where did the Hipster glasses come from?  It wasn't the loveable Steve Urkel from the popular show, Family Matters nor was it the new (and in my opinion, annoying) One Direction, but we have Charles Hardin Holley, or as others may know him as Buddy Holly, to thank for the "new" trend. Not only do we have Buddy to thank for what's been adapted as Hipster glasses but we have to thank him for music, for early foundations of Rock 'n' Roll. Whether it's from his popular "That'll Be The Day" with The Crickets or as a solo artist with another well-known track, "Peggy Sue" and many other classics that define the 1950s and would go on to influence hundreds of other musicians, from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan....  I'd like to dedicate this post to to the late-great rock 'n' roll pioneer and an influence to all, Buddy Holly who was born 78 years ago today.

A tailor by trade, Odell Holley and wife Ella Pauline Drake gave birth to their fourth and final child  in there home in Lubbock, Texas on 7 September, 1936, naming him Charles Hardin Holley. The Holley's resided in Texas where Charles became known as "Buddy" by his peers and family after being given the nickname by his mother. At a very young age Buddy had became interested in music after learning how to play the fiddle, violin and piano by his older brothers, Larry and Travis, which later lead to winning first place in a talent contest at age five singing "Have You Ever Gone Sailing (Down the River of Memories)". At age eleven his parents had bought him a steel guitar after Buddy had made it clear that the violin didn't interest him. I could tell you all about his music beginnings but Travis and Larry Holley will probably do a much better job, the following video is from The Real Buddy Holly Story, go to time 5:30 for an interview with Buddy's older brothers;

When Buddy was thirteen years old he had borrowed a friends wire recorder and recorded "My Two Timin' Woman" by Hank Snow.  Three years later, while attending and singing in the choir at Hutchinson Junior High School, Buddy met Bob Montgomery who was highly influenced by music himself, the two later recorded themselves singing "Takes These Shackles From My Heart and I'll Just Pretend" and "Footprints in the Snow".
Holly and Montgomery
In  September 1953 Lubbock began broadcasting all-country music on KDAV radio station, featuring a talent scout and disc jockey, Hipockets Duncan, who would give local acts a chance to perform live on the stations The Sunday Party.  Buddy teamed with Jack Neal forming a duo called Buddy and Jack, performing on The Sunday Party making Buddy a well-known musician. In 1954 Jack Neal got married leading to Buddy to team with Bob Montgomery to form their own duo as Buddy and Bob.
 Now at age eighteen the Buddy and Bob duo began playing bluegrass style set-list at school talent shows, local clubs, and even landed a weekly position on The Sunday Party. The two added Larry Welborn, a school friend who played the bass, and entered the Lubbock High School talent show performing Bob's song "Flower of My Heart", which won them the contest and became the Senior Class of 1954's song. The Buddy and Bob duo would go on to perform on 13 February, 1955 opening for Elvis Presley, who lent Holly his Martin guitar  for the show - the group would open for Elvis twice more that year at the Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas.
 "When Elvis came along, Buddy fell in love with Elvis and we began to change. The next day we became Elvis clones."- Sonny Curtis, friend of Holley's
 On 14 October, 1955 Buddy and Bob, along with bassist Larry Welborn, opened for Bill Haley and His Comets at the Fair Park Auditorium, where Eddie Crandall mentioned he'd be interested in starting a  career for Buddy.  At the beginning of summer of 1955, Buddy Holly graduated High School

The following February (1956) Decca Records signed the group misspelling Buddy's name, dropping the 'e' in Holley; thus Buddy Holley became known as Buddy Holly. By this time Larry Welborn, along with Sonny Curtis, joined the band, calling themselves Buddy Holly and the Two Tunes.The group  traveled to Nashville where they recorded three sessions with producer Owen Bradley of Decca. During these sessions Buddy would record one of his most recognizable and an icon song from the 1950s, "That'll Be The Day", a song written by Holly and Jerry Allison after a line from the 1956 film The Searchers.  However, Decca released only two singles from these sessions (both credited to Buddy Holly); "Blue Days, Black Nights" and "Modern Don Juan" with little chart success and Decca dropped the group on 22 January, 1957, stating that they could not record or release any of the songs recorded during the three sessions with any other company within the next five years. Buddy Holly and The Two Tunes didn't work out in the end, leading to Holly forming his own band with Niki Sullivan, Joe B. Mauldin, and Jerry Allison. 
The Crickets

Norman Petty came on the scene after the Decca drop and became the bands manager, who allowed the group to play in his studio in Clovis, New Mexico.  New opportunities for his music career took off from there as they were offered, and accepted, a deal with Brunswick Records on 19 March, 1957 - During this time Buddy had also signed as a solo artist with Coral Records.  The band  had yet made the charts and had decided under Brunswick Records to go against Decca's five year contract, and released "That'll Be The Day"on 27 May, 1957. In hopes of getting by with the single release the group searched for a new band name, when Jerry Allison searched through an encylopedia under the "Insect" category, originally thinking of calling themselves The Beetles, but as time grew closer to the release they went with The Crickets.

The song began to top the charts with titles of "Best Sellers in Stores" and was number one on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks! The Crickets released their first album, The "Chirping" Crickets, on 27 November, 1957 followed by Buddy's solo debut album, Buddy Holly, which was released on 20 February, 1958. The Crickets went on to  land a spot on The Ed Sullivan show on 26 January, 1958, along with many other tours and television appearances. Niki Sullivan however quit the band within a year or so to resume his education.

In early-mid June, 1958 Buddy flew to New York, where he would later move to with Norman Petty to try to break into the promotion scene, leaving Allison and Mauldin who wished to stay in Texas. During his stay he met Maria Elena Santiago, the receptionist at the New York publisher Peer- Southern Music. On their meeting Buddy asked her out to dinner at the P.J. Clarke's and proposed to her on their first date;
Maria and Buddy
"While we were having dinner, he got up and came back with his hands behind his back. He brought out a red rose and said, 'This is for you. Would you marry me?' Within the beautiful red rose, there was a ring. I melted."- Maria Elena Santiago
The two married in Lubbock on 15 August, 1958 and honey mooned in Acapulco. Maria became part of the tours from doing laundry to setting up the equipment.
"I'd never had a boyfriend in my life. I'd never been on a date before. But when I saw Buddy, it was like magic. We had something special: love at first sight. It was like we were made for each other. He came into my life when I needed him, and I came into his."- Maria Elena Santiago, Lubbock Avalanche- Journal
Jennings and Holly during the Winter Dance Party tour
The couple resided in the Brevoort Apartments at 11 Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village where he recorded  a series of acoustic tracks, known as "Apartment Tapes".   Without The Crickets Buddy had spent his time thinking about future plans, such as working with Ray Charles and possibly going into the film industry as his influence, Elvis, had done, it was then he had found out that his manager had been paying Holly and his band's royalties to his own company. After Holly's close friends,  The Everly Brothers, suggested he hire Harold Orenstein a lawyer, but even with help from Orenstein, Petty refused to cave and withheld the money. With bills to pay Buddy was forced to go back to touring  this time he'd be performing a three-week tour (The Winter Dance Tour) across the Midwest with Dion and the Belmonts, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens, forming a new group, which he also called The Crickets, with Tommy Allsup, Waylon Jennings, and Carl Bunch.

The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly
The February of 1959 was frigid, causing many trips where the tour bus broke down and stuck in thirty degrees below zero, with no heat but burning newspapers. Unfortunately, Carl Bunch had developed frostbite and was taken to the hospital.  The tour however did go one with performances in Clear Lake, Iowa at the Surf Ballroom where Buddy, Tommy, and Waylon performed as back- up musicians. That night Holly had called in a small airplane and twenty-one year old pilot Roger Peterson to take him and two others to their next gig in Moorhead, Minesota when the air began to wisp and moaned as a severe snow storm came through. Everyone tossed coins to see who would be fortunate enough to take the plane with Buddy; Valens one a toss against Tommy Allsup and The Big Bopper had gained his seat after Waylon Jennings gave it up due to The Big Bopper contracting influenza.  The Beechcraft Bonanza plane took off at Mason City Airport at around 12:30 AM 3 February, 1959 after Peterson was given the clearing from the control tower. Traveling at 220 mph it's said that Peterson had flew directly into the storm and had lost his bearings along with his sight. By next morning a Beechcraft Bonaza plan was found destroyed in a cornfield, the three musicians bodies were found a few yards away from the wreckage along with Buddy's glasses. Due to the storm the bodies of all passengers, including the pilot, laid in the snow and wind for ten hours until being discovered. Historian Harry Hepcat discribes the situation as;
"... February indeed made us shiver, but it was more than cold of February that third day of he month in 1959. It was the shiver of a greater, sometimes senseless, reality invading our sheltered, partying, teenaged life of the 50's." 

Buddy Holly had and is still influencing many musicians. He is remembered through friends and fellow musicians who have recorded Holly covers, from The Beatles "Words Of Love", "Crying, Waiting, Hoping", "That'll Be The Day", "Don't Ever Change", to The Rolling Stones "Not Fade Away", to Denny Laine (with help from Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney) releasing a full album of Buddy Holly covers in Holly Days, and many others. His iconic glasses inspired many other musicians to begin to wear theirs, such as John Lennon, Roy Orbison, and Elton John. The popular 1960s group, The Hollies, had adapted their name from the artist;  The Cricket's name however influenced The Beatles as well.

CBS coordinator, Vic Calandra, had talked with John Lennon and Paul McCartney prior to their Ed Sullivan debut, where Lennon asked if Calandra was there for 1957 when Buddy played;
"They were huge fans of Buddy Holly and the Crickets and John asked me, 'Buddy Holly, was this the stage he was on?' I said, 'Yeah, in fact, I held cue cards for them.' And he said, 'Oh, my God.' it was quite an experience." - Vic Calandra
 McCartney even held annual Buddy Holly parties on the idol's birthday, bought the rights to Buddy Holly's songs, and would work on a Buddy Holly documentary, The Real Buddy Holly Story.

Bruce Springsteen admitted in a Rolling Stone interview in 1978;
"I play Buddy Holly every night before I go on; that keeps me honest."

Bob Dylan in 1998 while accepting Album of The Year at The Grammy's for Time Out Of Mind;
"And I just want to say that when I was sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play at Duluth Nation Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him... and he was - I don't know how or why - but I know he was with us all the time we were making this record in some kind of way." 
 Keith Richards states that Buddy Holly had " an influence on everybody". The Grateful Dead even made "Not Fade Away" their seventh most-performed song, performing it five hundred- thirty times during their career.  But Buddy is probably most remember through Don McLean's 1971 song, "American Pie" written about the day the music died, 3 February, 1959.

In Lubbock a statue of Buddy Holly playing his iconic Fender guitar stands proudly along with street names and a Center/ museum being named after him.  On what would of been Holly's 75th birthday he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile