Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jeff Lynne

It is a pleasure to say Happy Birthday to one of my favorite musicians, who I listen to just as much as I do The Beatles, Mr. Jeff Lynne.

Young Jeff Lynne (Middle)
Jeffrey Lynne,  or as other may know him as Otis Wilbury/ Clayton Wilbury from the Grammy Award Winning Supergroup, The Traveling Wilburys, was born on 30 Decemeber, 1947 in Shard End, Birmingham, England. Lynne attended Alderlea Boys' Seconday School as a child and recieved his first guitar, an acoustic, from his father when he was sixteen years old - Jeff still plays the £2 guitar today.  His first  music experiences came from his grandparents, who themselves were very musical. With his guitar he formed a band with Robert Reader and David Walsh, calling themselves The Rockin' Hellcats, later to be known The Handicaps, and finally to The Andicaps, based off of Lynne's inspirations from Roy Orbison to The Beatles, who in fact (like many other musicians) once hearing The Beatles wanted to get a guitar.  However The Andicaps didn't last and in 1964 Jeff decided to join another local band called The Chads. it was also in that year that Lynne bought his first electric guitar, a second hand Burns Sonic along with a Vox AC30 amp.

Once again, Lynne had parted with this group and would later join The Nightriders in 1966 after receiving his first studio recording equipment, a Bang & Olufsen Beocord 2000 De Luxe stereo reel-to-reel tape recorder, which as Jeff states, taught him how to be a producer and the previous year receiving a brand new Fender Esquire. Two years after joining The Nightriders, or The Idle Race as they were now known (a name coined from Jeff's grandmother, Evelyn Lynne) released their first album with Liberty Records, The Birthday Party and a year later would released their second album, Idle Race, in which Jeff produced at age twenty-two.

After releasing Idle Race, Lynne had reevaluated himself and his success and decided to join a more successful band, The Move, after being offered a spot from his friend Roy Wood. Lynne helped create The Move's last two albums with Wood and Bev Bevan, creating a sound built around the foundations of mixing the beloved rock music with the melodies of classic; thus Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was born.
"...pick up where The Beatles left off." -ELO: The Band The Beatles Could Have Been

The 1970s became a promising year for Lynne as he married Rosemary and unfortunately Roy Wood left the band in 1972 after their first album, No Answer, and after the band's first live show at Fox & Hounds, but lead to Jeff Lynne becoming the dominate force. Lynne, along with other members of ELO, became a beloved and favorite band amongst listeners All Over The World, with memorable works like, "10538 Oveture", "Showdown", "Can't Get It Out of My Head", "Evil Woman", "Strange Magic", "Mr. Blue Sky"... you get the point.

In 1977 Rosemary and Jeff were divorced and two years later Lynne had found himself settling down with Sandi Kapelson  after a secret wedding in California;  that year also was a peek for Electric Light Orchestra earning the title as the biggest selling act in the UK. But as all good things must come to an end, 1983 lead to the disbandment.  Bevan was now drumming for Black Sabbath and the bands bassist, Kelly Groucutt had already departed from the band but Lynne was obligated by contract to create on more album with ELO, this album became known as Balance of Power, released in 1986.

After the end of ELO, Lynne had began to devote more of his time to producing and his own work. Prior to Electirc Light Orchestra's break Jeff released a few of his own recordings, including "Doin' That Crazy Thing"/ "Goin' Down to Rio" in 1977, along with covers of one of his biggest influences, The Beatles with his covers of "With A Little Help From My Friends" - "Nowhere Man"

Post ELO Jeff began working with ex-Beatle and good friend, George Harrison for Harrison's Cloud Nine album. This album not only brought George back into the recording scene after a long absence but was also the start of what would become The Traveling Wilbury's, a supergroup formed with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, with drumming talents of Jim Keltner.

After the Wilbury's Volume 1 was released and very well received, Lynne continued to work and produce with Orbison, when they released Orbison's last album, Mystery Girl, containing Orbison's last major hit, "You Got It", co-written by Lynne.  In 1989 he worked with Tom Petty in co-producing Full Moon Fever which also contained songs co-written by Jeff including one of Petty's most recognizable songs, "Free Fallin'" .  Besides working with his fellow Wilbury's, Lynne worked on helping Del Shannon release his last album, Rock On!. Amongst his works with Orbison, Petty and Shannon, Lynne co-wrote and produced Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys "Let It Shine", which can be heard on Wilson's first solo album Brian Wilson, along with other notable contributes.

The Traveling Wilbruys
With big success towards the end of 1980s, the following decade flourished for Jeff Lynne, starting with The Traveling Wilbury's working on their second album, Volume 3. Following The Wilbury's success of  there second and last album, Lynne released his first solo album in 1990, Armchair Theatre, which received propitious feedback. The following year Jeff was back producing and co-writing for Tom Petty with The Heartbreakers Into The Great Wide Open, and in 1992 he worked once again in keeping a beloved musician and friend of his music alive, when he produced King of Hearts, the posthumous album of Roy Orbison. But one of Lynne's greatest accomplishments could be well noted when he worked alongside the three surviving members of The Beatles on their project for the Anthology series, which would break The Beatles own record for album sales and became multi-platinum. If you think working with The Fab Four was good enough, Lynne was awarded the Ivor Novello for Outstanding Services to British Music in 1996.  Then Paul McCartney released Flaming Pie in 1997, an album that was co-produced by Jeff Lynne who also can be heard throughout the record. Not only did Lynne continue to work with McCartney and Harrison but producing Ringo Starr's works, making the 1990s a very successful decade.

The early 2000s brought Lynne to successfully buy the full rights of ELO and began working on re-mastering the old band classics; this became known as Flashback. The following year Jeff Lynne put out an album under the name ELO, becoming their first release in fifteen years;  a thirteen track album called Zoom, which featured Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy. Within that same year Jeff and George Harrison worked on another album together, this one however was known that it was going to be the last of Harrison's music contributes. The album became known as Brainwashed and was finished by Jeff Lynne and George's son, Dhani, after George's departure on 29 November, 2001.  In 2006 he worked once again with Tom Petty on Petty's  Highway Companion, and in 2009 joined Tom Petty, and was honored with the Golden Note Award, an award presented to musicians who have conquered milestones in their career. A few years later Lynne would release his second solo album, Long Wave, featuring covers of musicians such as Etta James "At Last" and Roy Orbison's "Running Scared". Lynne also released Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, featuring re-recorded ELO classics.  In 2012 Lynne and Richard Tandy teamed up to record a live set of ELO tracks which became part of the documentary, Mr Blue Sky. That same year Jeff was nominated as performer/songwriter for the 2013 Songwriters Hall of Fame induction. This past March Jeff was honored with a Star on the Broad Street Walk of Stars, and is to be honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

What can we look forward to with Jeff Lynne in the upcoming year? Well Here Is The News; It's been rumored that the brilliant musician is to release a new album soon.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award for George Harrison

"This year we pay tribute to exceptional creators who have made prolific contributions to our culture and history. It's an honor and a privilege to recognize such a diverse group of talented trailblazers, whose incomparable bodies of work and timeless legacies will continue to be celebrated for generations to come." -Neil Portnow, Recording Academy President/CEO
If you're a music lover than you already know about The Grammy's and the wonderful awards and celebrations they put on. 2015 marks The Grammy's fifty-seventh annual awards, which brings new nominees and a house full of musicians from old classics to the twenty-first century music icons, all in hopes of wining just one of the symbolic, gold, turn table statues. 

If you watched last year you would of seen Sir James Paul McCartney win the Best Rock Song award with Dave Ghrol, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear for their song "Cut Me Some Slack". McCartney also took home two more awards that night which include, Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package for Wings Over America, and Best Surround Sound Album and Best Music Film for his music documentary "Live Kisses", a film about making McCartney's old classic favorites called Kisses On The Bottom. But any Beatlemaniac who watched the ceremony would know that that wasn't the only highlight of the night. In fact not only did McCartney take home three awards but Ringo Starr performed a song that was sure to please the crowd, "Photograph". The night however did not end there, the two surviving (once) mop-topped legends took the stage together, reuniting, to preform "Queenie Eye", off of McCartney's newest album, New.
Last years Grammy's were almost a Beatle lover's dream when not only McCartney and Starr took the stage together but the boys along with their two deceased friends, John Lennon and George Harrison, were awarded with the Life Time Achievement award, given to the four men for their contributes with the little band, The Beatles. Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison were there to accept the award.  Besides the fifty-sixth annual Grammy's last year, The ceremony also highlighted The Beatles on behalf of their own  event celebrating The Beatles pavement to the British Invasion in America with "The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles"

This year George Harrison alone, will be recognized with The Lifetime Achievement Award, an award that "honors performers who have made contributions of outstanding artistic significance other field of recording," ( Grammy.com ). George Harrison himself  has won Ten Grammy's with The Beatles, Three Grammy's as a solo artist, and one with the Super-group, The Traveling Wilburys. 

Amongst George Harrison, Pierre Boulez, Buddy Guy, the Bee Gees, the Louvin Brothers, and Wayne Shorter will be honored with The Lifetime Achievement Award during a special celebration for invited guest on Saturday 7 February, 2015, while they will be formaly acknowledge at the fifty-seventh annual awards on the following day; to take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ringo Starr Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

"Finally, the four of us are in"- Ringo Starr

It's been twenty years since John Lennon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his music contributions as a solo artist, fifteen years since Sir James Paul McCartney, ten years for George Harrison, and twenty six years since the world phenomenon, The Beatles took there spot in the hall, and now it's time for the "Heart" of the band to take his turn; Ringo Starr (to read about Ringo's life feel free to read "7 Days Of Starr").

Earlier today, Tuesday 16 Decemember, 2014, the loveable drummer talked with Rolling Stone Magazine's Andy Greene, who asked Starr "What was your first reaction?", where Starr admitted he hadn't known that his past band members, Lennon and Harrison, were in it and he's excited for "a very nice evening...".

Ringo first recieved the news that he was being honored with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Award for Musical Excellence two weeks ago when who else but Paul McCartney called his friend and ex-bandmate to tell him the news,
"I didn't think about it much or expect it," said Ringo in the same interview. "This year has been quite busy. I've been touring a lot. I got the humanitarian award from GQ. I became a male model for John Varvatos, so my life is busy anyway. This came out of the blue. I didn't expect it. I got the call from Paul (McCartney) two weeks ago. He said, 'This could happen. Do you want to do it? I said, 'Sure'."
 Amongst calling Starr to give him the big news, McCartney mentioned that other musicians, such as Paul's good friend, Dave Grohl, couldn't believe that the drummer of "the biggest pop group in the land" (Ringo Starr) has yet a spot in the Hall. Paul, however doesn't stop there when it comes to celebrate Starr's success. Andy Greene asks Ringo, "Are you going to preform?" where Ringo simple replies he doesn't have any plans in putting a band together but if Paul will he'll play a Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band favorite, "With A Little Help From My Friends".   Greene then comments, "I  can't think of a better song for the all-star jam at the end of the night."

"That part of it I'm leaving to my producer, Paul [laughs]." -Ringo Starr
The ceremony will also included the following inductees;
  • The "5" Royales
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Green Day
  • Joan Jett & the Blackjacks
  • Lou Reed
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
  • Bill Withers
"As we mark thirty years of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, we're proud to honor these artist. These inductees epitomize rock and roll's impact over the past fifty years and continuing through today." -Joel Peresman, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame foundation President
 The ceremony will take place in Cleveland on 18 April, 2015, where Paul McCartney will be presenting Ringo the award. Tickets go on sale to the public on 18 December at 10 a.m. ET.

"This means recognition to me. And it means, finally, the four of us are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even though we were the biggest pop group in the land, though now it all looks funny in black and white."- Ringo Starr
It's been well overdue and now this Starr is gonna shine. Peace and Love.

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Read more on the Andy Greene interview here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Remembering John and George in Hollywood

"The public gathering is meant to be more a time of music, celebration and peace than a time for mourning." -Jerry Rubin, Peace activist, Examiner

The end of the year always brings heavy hearts amongst Beatlemaniacs for it was in the last two months of the year that the world parted with John Lennon ( 8 December, 1980) and George Harrison ( 29 November, 2001). This year, 2014, marks the thirty-third anniversary of  Lennon's tragic murder and thirteen years since Harrison's loss to cancer and as usual Hollywood has prepared.

Every year fans from around the world gather towards at 1750 North Vine Street, Hollywood to find both George and John's stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame proudly placed outside of Capitol Records Tower for a free ceremony to, as Rubin stated above, celebrate the lives of these two music heroes.

This past Saturday, 29 November, fans were encouraged by event organizer, Jerry Rubin, to bring flowers, candles, etc. to place on the star. Along with bring items, lighting a vigil, and signing an 'acknowledgement book' stamped with Harrison's Dark Horse logo on the cover brought by fan Mary Martin,  an open mic took place, allowing speakers such as Councilman Tom Labonge who suggested the group of attendees to sing Harrison's Living In The Material World favorite, 'Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)", fans like Jewels and Johnny Nation, who shared their original song "When Harrison Hit The Haight", and others to share and sing in memory of the beloved artist.

The event was emceed by Harry Bluebond, who filled in for Jerry Rubin, who could not attend, and KLOS-FM 's "Breakfast With The Beatles"'s host, Chris Carter.  All and all the event was said to be a humbling experience.

This coming Monday, 8 Decemeber, a memorial for John Lennon will be held at his star on The Walk Of Fame from 6 p.m - 8 p.m. Once again Jerry Rubin invites all fans to bring memoribilia and share songs, speeches, and/or poetry that honor the inspiring artist.  The event will be emceed by Chris Carter and feature speaker fro Harry Bluebond, Pat Tyson and Nancy Hutchins.