Roy Orbison's family and London's Royal Philharmonic teamed for a new album that pairs the singer's classic vocal takes with new orchestral arrangements. A Love So Beautiful:Roy Orbison With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra arrives November 3rd via Roy's Boys and Legacy Recordings.
A Love So Beautiful will be available digitally, as well as on CD and vinyl. The track list includes reinterpretations of "Oh, Pretty Woman," "Crying," "Only the Lonely," "Dream Baby" and more. Along with the Royal Philharmonic, A Love So Beautiful will feature contributions from Orbison's sons Wesley and Roy Jr. on guitar and Alex on drums. Even Orbison's ten-month-old grandson, Roy III, will provide tambourine and guitar.
The Orbison sons recorded their parts at Black River Studios – which their father used to own – in Nashville, Tennessee, while the Royal Philharmonic recorded at Abbey Road. Prior partnering with the Orbisons, the Philharmonic produced two records featuring Elvis Presley's old vocal takes, 2015's If I Can Dream and 2016's The Wonder of You.
Along with A Love So Beautiful, the Orbison estate is prepping its first sanctioned book about the musician, The Authorized Roy Orbison. The Orbison sons wrote the book with musician/journalist Jeff Slate. The family is also reportedly co-producing an Orbison biopic, The Big O: Roy Orbison.
A Love So Beautiful Track List
1. "In Dreams" 2. "Crying" 3. "I'm Hurtin'" 4. "Oh, Pretty Woman" (feat. Alex, Wesley, Roy Jr., Roy III) 5. "It's Over" 6. "Dream Baby" (feat. Alex, Roy Jr.) 7. "Blue Angel" 8. "Love Hurts" 9. "Uptown" (feat. Alex Orbison) 10. "Mean Woman Blues" (feat. Alex, Roy Jr.) 11. "Only the Lonely" 12. "Running Scared" 13. "I Drove All Night" (feat. Alex Orbison) 14. "You Got It" 15. "A Love So Beautiful" (feat. Alex Orbison)
Rhino announced a massive Summer of Love 50th anniversary campaign with new vinyl reissues of classic Van Morrison and Dusty Springfield albums and new compilations from era-defining artists like the Grateful Dead and the Monkees.
The sheer number of landmark albums that came out during 1967 means that Rhino has a wide variety of genres to choose from. The latest batch of reissues, which will hit shelves over the course of several weeks in July, pulls from rock, folk, soul, sunshine pop and more, revisiting Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, Aretha Franklin's Aretha Arrives, The Association's Insight Out, Judy Collins' Wildflowers and many more.
Rhino also organized multiple compilations to commemorate the breadth of popular music in 1967. Two of these are artist-specific: Smiling On A Cloudy Day focuses on the early days of the Grateful Dead. Summer of Love selects psych-leaning tracks from the Monkees. For those who wish to shuffle through a selection of sounds from 1967, Gettin' Together: Groovy Sounds of the Summer of Love includes songs from the Young Rascals, the Hollies and more, while Transparent Days: West Coast Nuggets, a double LP, includes tunes from the likes of Love and the Mojo Men.
2017 is a major year for reissues: the Doors already released a 50th anniversary edition of their self-titled debut; the legendary soul label Stax recently announced a 60th anniversary reissue campaign; and a new edition of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band arrives on Friday.
Pearl Jam were still billing themselves as Mookie Blaylock when they played their third ever concert at Seattle's Moore Theater on December 22nd, 1990. The completely unknown band – featuring recent San Diego transplant Eddie Vedder on lead vocals – opened up for Alice in Chains and didn't make a strong impression on the local press."[They played] bad Seventies country rock," wrote a critic from the Seattle Times that just witnessed the band play "Alive," "Why Go," "Even Flow" and "Porch" in a tiny club. "Not even a cameo appearance by Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron made Blaylock interesting."
He's referring to the surprise Temple of the Dog set that came at the end of the set. The world wouldn't get to hear their lone album for another four months, but they finished recording earlier that month and had even played a full set at the Off Ramp Cafe (home of the first Pearl Jam show) nine days earlier. That one was captured on a shaky color camcorder in the audience, but the Moore Theater show was shot by multiple professional cameras. This ferocious performance of "Say Hello 2 Heaven" from that night finally surfaced on the super deluxe edition of Temple of the Dog last year. Pearl Jam's set from that night hasn't come out, but at the very least this lone song suggests maybe it was a little better than bad Seventies country rock.
There wouldn't be a lot of opportunities for Temple of the Dog to play anything but a quick "Hunger Strike" with Chris Cornell after this evening. Mookie Blayblock changed their name to Pearl Jam a few months later and Soundgarden's next album would be Badmotorfinger. They got really busy. Thankfully, just six months before Cornell's tragic death Temple of the Dog finally went on a proper tour to honor their 25th anniversary. He wrote "Say Hello 2 Heaven" for his close friend Andy Wood, but from now it'll certainly double as a tribute to his own incredible spirit.
Saxophonist Terrace Martin plays jazz, though even listeners who don't follow the genre closely have likely sampled his work. A producer on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, the L.A. artist also worked on "Loyalty," from Lamar's most recent LP, Damn. And over the course of his career, Martin has produced for Snoop Dogg, and worked with legendary improvisers from Billy Higgins to Herbie Hancock. After last year's Velvet Portraits, the saxist's jazz-fusion-oriented solo debut, Martin's Sounds of Crenshaw label is back with his latest collaborative group, the Pollyseeds.
Including vocalists like Rose Gold and Chachi (also known as the MC Problem), and star instrumentalists like Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington, the Pollyseeds' upcoming debut – The Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1, out July 14th – builds on the summery vibes of Velvet Portraits, while adding new moods and textures to the mix. Rolling Stone spoke with an enthusiastic Martin over the phone about his goals for the group, and how he sees jazz's current West Coast movement linking up with other traditions.
What's behind the name of this new group, the Pollyseeds? I said to myself: "What represents unity? What represents peace?" I love the Seventies, because the Seventies was when it was about making love, and smoking weed, doing LSD and lots of other cool shit. And also: "What represents California?" And even more than that, "What represents where I come from, the Crenshaw district of South Central Los Angeles?" And I thought about flowers, because of the Seventies. And flowers brought peace. Everybody loves flowers! Then I thought about sunflowers – just the sun, out in California – and I thought of polly seeds, because that's just what we eat in the hood. That's a hood delicacy. A polly seed is like a motherfucking ... the most expensive shrimps, whatever, in France? It's a polly seed in the hood.
I don't care what you are. If you're from the hood, you probably eat polly seeds. So I was trying to think of something that would bring all of us together, but still keep it hood. … We are all together, We are all one one body – like Voltron. That's the whole concept of the Pollyseeds right there. It's like love, sisterhood, brotherhood, togetherness – like we don't discriminate on anything. If you know how to love, you a Pollyseed. Like, you probably a Pollyseed! Everybody can be a Pollyseed. This album is not ours. It's [for] everybody pushing the peace line, that's pushing love.
That's an admirably generous line to take! Well, just recently I've been studying the L.A. riots. And I was looking at how so much hatred, from all ends, was going on. … But I love [that line] from Herbie Hancock, that you can find beauty in every problem – so even throughout all that hate, still there rose beauty, unity, between the black and the Mexican communities in Los Angeles. And that had been an ongoing war forever. That was one of the first times, people in the ghetto, we all was like: "Wait a minute, why we fighting each other? We should be fighting these other motherfuckers? But really, we don't need to be fighting nobody. We need to just be getting our shit together, all of us, and learning how to coexist. And just all fight hate." Know what I'm saying? That was a big inspiration for the Pollyseed thing, too. I'm just sick of human beings fighting.
How did all of that filter down into the composition and production for The Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1? How was that process different from putting together Velvet Portraits? Velvet Portraits was, like, a project based on some of my personal emotions. So first of all, my approach to this record, the Polyseeds album, was I wanted to produce an album of a bunch of different people's experiences, and with different people in showcase. Everybody that I believe in, like Rose Gold, Chachi … and so on. I wanted to do an album and ask them what they were going through, and write songs about what they were gong through, instead of what I was going through. Really just sit back and be the backbone, be the producer and make a lot of their visions come to fruition.
How long have you wanted to organize your own band? I started the idea of a band like 10, 12 years ago. But by me playing in so many different bands, in New York and L.A., and just touring, I never had a chance to refocus on my own sound, as far as a band is concerned, until I stopped going on tour with everybody. I said: I'm gonna stay home, and get a core of guys – being producers as well as musicians – and start a sound. Brandon Owens is a Pollyseed, Trevor Lawrence Jr. – who works with Dr. Dre and everybody else – he's a Pollyseed, and he is a producer and touring drummer. So we all kind of came up together. When I started doing my own scores of my own music, I loved the sound of the band. And I felt like this band was way bigger than just Terrace Martin's band ... you know, fuck that!
What new strategies did everyone bring to the table? They all brought different things, Wyann Vaughn: Her mother is the queen, Wanda Vaughn, of the famous group the Emotions. And her father is Wayne Vaughn, a producer – he's the guy that produced "Let's Groove" with Earth, Wind & Fire. A lot of Earth, Wind & Fire hits. She grew up under Stevie Wonder and Maurice White and all these classic soulful singers. So she brings this expertise to the table. She is one of the teachers of our crew.
Rose Gold brought sassy. Strong, speaking from the heart, of the woman-have-to-do-it-alone-out-here … The woman that encourages other women. The woman that understands struggle. the woman that understands beauty. She brought to the Pollyseeds a sense of direct, harsh honesty. She brought the gangster shit to the crew. But with a delicate soft touch.
You get a guy like Chachi? He also goes by the name of Problem, a well-known songwriter in the L.A. area, for Snoop Dogg. He's also an artist who's sold tons of records on his own. But as Chachi, for this record, he brings the fly gentlemen: Open the door for your lady and his lady at the same time, you feel me? … And Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington. It's a lot of us on this album!
The advance credits for the album don't list anyone on saxophone for the song "Funny How Time Flies," which also features Robert Glasper. But that's you, right? Yeah, yeah! "Funny How Time Flies" is really the only song featuring me. I just wanted really to get into it with Robert, and talk about different things in life. … You don't understand how valuable time is, in your teens and in your twenties, because you're just living for that hour, today. I've made – I don't want to say so many mistakes, but I'll say I made a lot of left turns in my life. In my early youth, you know, getting in trouble, lightweight, with the law. With being misunderstood and then making left turns.
I didn't want to get nobody to sing lead … because we just needed the hook. The hook spoke to us; we could cover ground that we were standing on, at that particular time. You can take it how you wanna take it – but to Pollyseeds, to me and Robert Glasper – "Funny How Time Flies" is really a fucking life lesson. You can't have nobody tell you [something]. To really understand an experience, you gotta live through it.
How long have you known Glasper? I'ma tell you how Glasper ties in to this whole Sound of Crenshaw, this whole West Coast movement. … Glasper was one of my personal friends that I met when I was 15, at a jazz camp that I didn't really want to go to. It was over the summer. My mom made me go to the jazz camp, and that was the age when I wasn't sure if I was gonna be a full time gangbanger … or if I was gonna be a musician.
The first day Glasper met me, we was in Vail, Colorado. He'll tell you, I had, like, a little aggressive thing. But he was the first young musician in my age group, that I seen, that was himself. And I was actually more like him than what I did think I was! Because in L.A. at that time, if you wasn't into a certain thing, you wasn't with the in crowd. And when you're a young black man, where I come from, being with the in crowd is an important thing. Because you wanna be accepted so much, because the world don't accept you. So you want your peers to accept you.
At that particular time in my life, the hood was accepting me. And Glasper was the first one in my life to let me know: "Nah, the hood love you, but music will take care of you, and love you forever." … He's been my friend throughout my whole career, and one of my teachers. A lot of my harmony comes from Robert Glasper – when I was 16, practicing two and three hours on the phone with him. A lot of the things that I shaped Snoop Dogg records with comes from the teachings of Robert Glasper. You know, my mixtapes to all the way to To Pimp a Butterfly.
What did Glasper teach you about harmony? He was one of the first ones to open me up to just different ways: "We don't always have to play a turnaround chord. We don't always even have to cover that chord." When i was younger, I tried to play … all these notes. And he's the one that slowed me down, said, "Nah, why don't you think of something melodic?" … He just taught me different skills, and different ways of moving through those chords. I was just so busy trying to sound like Charlie Parker, at a certain age. So Glasper just let me know of the other shit out there.
When you're both playing together, on "Funny How Time Flies," you sound inspired. Your tone is a little harsher that what we heard on Velvet Portraits, even though it's still refined. It reminds me of what you said about Rose Gold's work on the record: gangster shit, but with a delicate touch. All I could do was think about my life! Getting in trouble with the police, young. To me having a kid at 16. To me wanting to gangbang, but then me having a great mother. ... So it put me back in a thing where I couldn't afford to play my horn all pretty and all this other shit. … Because I wasn't growing up in a smooth lifestyle.
Since you brought up the "smooth": Do you think the discussion around so-called "smooth jazz" has changed at all, in recent years? Are people feeling it differently than they did, maybe, say a decade ago? I don't even know what makes smooth jazz, to be honest. … When I was staying with [trumpeter] Clark Terry, and I asked him about certain musicians that we all love, in the Fifties and Sixties – he referred to them as playing smooth jazz. I'm not going to say they names. But I spent real time with Clark Terry. When he referred to some saxophone cats and piano cats, he's like: "Oh, yeah, yeah: They play that smooth stuff." So when it comes to smooth jazz, we all got different pictures.
How did you link up with Terry? Quincy [Jones] flew me and Snoop out there for about a month. … I got a chance to spend days and days recording Snoop and Clark Terry on songs. Because Quincy had an idea where he wanted to record Terry with some modern people. And he called Snoop, Snoop called me, and he put us all together. I was going out there a couple times. ...
Did any of those sessions ever come out? Well, that's why I'm mentioning it in this interview. Hopefully it presses the right buttons, So you can help me out, you feel me?
You can put all those names, bold if you want to. Because I want everybody to hurry up and let me figure out this record – thank you.
I know you've also been recording with Herbie Hancock. How's that going? Actually I'm seeing Herbie tonight at seven o'clock. We're in the middle of his album. I'mma say it right now: me, Robert Glasper, Derrick Hodge, Kamasi Washington. I rounded up all the guys together, just so we can give Herbie Hancock the best possible record we can give him. That's my job as his little homeboy, to make sure he's all right. This shit is some gangster shit. This shit I'm doing with Herbie? This shit ain't no motherfucking suit-and-tie, oh-my-god-is-it-jazz – nah. This shit feel like N.W.A, just with positivity, just with saying love instead of saying "bitch."
You're gonna have to convince him to guest with the Pollyseeds. First of all: Herbie is the Superior Pollyseed. Herbie is the Pollyseed!
Can't let you go without asking about Damn. You helped produce "Loyalty." How was that experience? Man, you know, with Kendrick – he's a visionary. He has a vibe; he'll tell you what he likes, you know. He's open to being exposed to new things. … He tried it, and he was doin' it!
Randy Newman will release a new solo album, Dark Matter, August 4th via Nonesuch Records, with a vinyl edition scheduled to follow August 18th. Dark Matter marks Newman's first album of new material since 2008's Harps and Angels.
Newman recorded Dark Matter in Los Angeles with producers and longtime collaborators Mitchell Froom, Lenny Waronker and David Boucher. The record is available to pre-order via iTunes and the Nonesuch store.
The nine-track Dark Matter includes Newman's 2016 song, "Putin," a brassy and sardonic number about the Russian leader that Newman was inspired to write after seeing a picture of Putin without a shirt. Dark Matter will also include songs about the Kennedy brothers, legendary blues musician Sonny Boy Williamson, science and religion, love, loss and more.
"If there is anything consistent about the songs, there is often more than one voice, in the big ones, and it's different for me, a difficult thing to bring off, to make it comprehensible," Newman said of his new collection of songs and their narrators. "I think it works. They cover more ground than most songs do and portray a number of different characters. Audiences are smart. They'll understand the songs. I hope they like them as well."
Newman has a handful of concerts lined up for this summer, while additional fall dates are expected to be announced.
Dark Matter Track List
1. "The Great Debate" 2. "Brothers" 3. "Putin" 4. "Lost Without You" 5. "Sonny Boy" 6. "It's a Jungle out There (V2)" 7. "She Chose Me" 8. "On the Beach" 9. "Wandering Boy"
Ariana Grande's manager, Scooter Braun, posted a string of emotional tweets about the Manchester terror attack on Wednesday. "I will choose to live than to be afraid," he wrote. On Monday night, a suicide bomber detonated a homemade explosive device outside Grande's concert at the Manchester Arena, killing 22 and injuring at least 59.
Braun spoke about returning from England, going out to dinner with his parents and experiencing joy for the first time in days. "I will honor those that [are] lost by living each day full," Braun wrote. "Full of fun, full of laughter, full of joy. I welcome the differences of my neighbor."
"The wish of terrorism is to take away that feeling of freedom and joy. No. That is my answer. No. We can't allow it. Fear cannot rule the day. More people die each year from car crashes than terrorism. Yet I will get in my car. I will choose to live than to be afraid." Braun also expressed solidarity not just with those in Manchester, but also those in Syria and Jakarta, Indonesia, where two suicide bombers set off explosives Thursday.
"We will honor you by not giving in to the darkness. So if you think you scared us … if you think your cowardice acts made us change how we live … sorry. All you did was make us appreciate every day. With extraordinary evil we must fight with extraordinary greatness … Am I angry? Hell yes. But how will we respond? With everything you think you took from us … love and joy and life!"
Grande canceled seven upcoming dates on the European leg of her tour following the Manchester terror attack. The pop singer is expected to resume her trek June 7th in Paris with subsequent South America, Southeast Asia and Australia runs. After the attack, Grande wrote via Twitter: "Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I don't have words."
In an act of resilience per Braun's words, a Grande fan campaign since the attack catapulted her 2015 single "One Last Time" to Number One on the United Kingdom's iTunes chart, per NME. According to local Manchester sources, the song was one of the last songs Grande played before the explosions sounded.
On Tuesday, British authorities identified the Manchester Arena bomber as Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British man of Libyan descent. According to ABC, at least eight other suspects allegedly connected to the attack have been arrested. The investigation is ongoing.
It sounds like a punch line: "There's a new Grateful Dead documentary – and it's four hours long." But Long Strange Trip, directed by Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story, Happy Valley) and executive-produced by Martin Scorsese, is no amiably noodling shuffle through a defunct band's yellowed back pages. What the film chronicles, imaginatively and unflinchingly, is the flowering of an exuberant American counterculture – its triumph, its corruption and the toll exacted at either extreme – as viewed through the prism of a singular band of anarchists and their charismatic yet unwilling ringmaster, Jerry Garcia.
In structure and pacing, Long Strange Trip, which opens in theaters Friday, and then comes to Amazon Prime Video June 2nd, resembles a classic Dead show. Much of the first half presents familiar themes in discrete episodes, served up at a measured pace: Garcia's childhood; the band's unlikely coalescing; psychedelic hijinks and rustic retreats; and the tragic 1973 death of co-founder Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. The second half is more wayward and contemplative, with exploratory detours into the Deadhead experience and the tape-trading phenomenon, yet it builds inexorably to the band's incandescent commercial peak before turning to Garcia's harrowing decline.
Apart from a handful of startling omissions (no acknowledgment of drummer Mickey Hart's self-imposed exile of 1971–74, no attention paid to keyboardists Tom Constanten and Vince Welnick and touring pianist Bruce Hornsby), Long Strange Trip is rich in detail, with voices representing all whose lives were touched by the Dead: members, crew, industry figures, intimates and fans. Complementing each segment with the perfect Dead tune, Bar-Lev deftly mixes new footage with vintage clips (some previously unseen) to provide a panoramic, enveloping experience. Here are 10 things we learned from Long Strange Trip.
1. Jerry Garcia was obsessed with Frankenstein. "I used to draw pictures of the Frankenstein monster over and over, endlessly, in different positions," Garcia says near the start of Long Strange Trip, his voice playing over a montage of his sketches. He recalls seeing Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in 1948, one year after his father had drowned. Images and film clips from Frankenstein films recur throughout the documentary. The interview, taped for a television program called The Movie That Changed My Life, returns at the end of the documentary, providing closure. "It touched something, I don't know what, something very strong," Garcia says. "It might have been the thing of a dead thing brought to life. Frankenstein's monster is, after all, a drive to reanimate, or to produce life, and it hit me in that archetypal center."
2. Garcia's formative influence was bluegrass banjo legend Earl Scruggs. "My mother was an amateur musician, my father was a professional musician, so I grew up in a musical household," Garcia relates in another archival interview. "But the first time I decided that it was something I wanted to do was when I heard … Earl Scruggs play five-string banjo. I fell in love with the sound, and I thought, 'That's something I have to be able to do.'" Color film footage of an impossibly young Garcia showing his pluck reveals that he was a quick study. "Bluegrass is conversational music – the instruments kind of talk to each other," Garcia adds, citing a credo that he carried over into what would become the Grateful Dead.
3. The Dead achieved commercial success by going country. Driven out of San Francisco by curiosity seekers intent on spotting hippies, the Dead sought refuge in the countryside, and their music soon grew to reflect the new setting: a shift seen in rare footage of Garcia, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh working out vocal harmonies for "Candyman" while strumming acoustic guitars. "When it came time to do Workingman's Dead and American Beauty – that's really kind of really one long record – I talked to the guys, said, 'Why don't we approach this one as though it were, like, a country & western record?'" Garcia explains in an archival interview. "Or California country & western, like Bakersfield. And why don't we put more energy into the vocals, and making the vocals sound as good as they can, and not getting hung up on the instrumental surroundings?"
4. During an early TV appearance, the Dead dosed a cast of extras with LSD. Confronted with unfamiliar, potentially awkward situations as their fame began to rise, the Grateful Dead weren't above employing "LSD as self-defense," as then-tour manager Sam Cutler put it. Such was the case when in 1969 the band was booked to perform on Playboy After Dark, a syndicated television show hosted by Hugh Hefner. "All the people who are at the party are extras, you know – they're from central casting, and they're sitting there with glasses of ginger ale," Garcia relates in an archival interview. "It's laid out like an apartment, but it's a Hollywood soundstage, and there's Hugh Hefner and all these melons. And the coffee pot got dosed, and the whole thing turned from an artificial party into an authentic party."
5. Keith and Donna Godchaux decided one day to join the Dead – and did. "We had been seeing the Grateful Dead whenever we could," explains Donna Godchaux, whose husband, classically trained pianist Keith Godchaux, joined the band in 1971. "I came home one day and said, 'Let's listen to the Grateful Dead.' And Keith said, 'I don't want to listen to it anymore; I want to play it.' … And I said, 'OK, let's go get in the band.'" Donna, who would join the Dead herself as a backing vocalist in 1972, approached Garcia after a concert and announced, "Keith is your next keyboard player." Soon after, he was.
6. The Dead's towering "Wall of Sound" PA system was designed by an LSD pioneer. Owsley "Bear" Stanley, a fabled sound engineer and chemist whose special brand of acid fueled the Dead as well as Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, became the group's official soundman (and unofficial financier) starting in 1965. Asked in 1974 to produce a sound system powerful enough for the increasingly large spaces the Dead were playing, Stanley and his associates designed a towering rig that featured more than 500 speakers, plus noise-canceling parallel microphones, delivering clear sound for a quarter mile. "The Wall of Sound ... I loved that thing," Lesh says, laughing. "It was the best PA, ever. It was the best sound I can possibly imagine. And it was also the biggest – it was absolutely apocalyptic." He should know; his bass stack alone was 32 feet tall. "It was like the voice of God," he adds.
7. Two Dead factions, divided according to their respective drug of choice, clashed during the band's fabled 1974 Winterland run. Viewed at the time as a farewell engagement before a planned hiatus, the Dead's October 1974 shows at San Francisco's Winterland Arena were filmed for posterity as The Grateful Dead Movie. But behind the scenes, not everything was harmonious among the band members: Acid heads were feuding with cocaine enthusiasts. Rex Jackson, a stalwart roadie, took matters into his own hands, dosing everyone who took the stage. "'Everybody who comes up these stairs, they're gonna get acid,'" Steve Parish, another long-serving roadie, reports Jackson having declared. "'They'll just get LSD up the ass, and then they better fuckin' behave.'"
8. Deadheads split themselves into a number of different tribes. The diehard fans that followed the Dead from town to town were no uniform population. "The physical layout of a Grateful Dead show was like a mandala with different regions," recalls Steve Silberman, a science journalist and longtime Deadhead. Denizens of the "Phil Zone," he relates, positioned themselves to savor Lesh's bass emanations, while in the "Deaf Zone," hearing-impaired fans absorbed musical vibrations through inflated balloons while translators signed lyrics. "There was a whole crew of Wharf Rats, who were people following the 12-step path who would have meetings during the set breaks," Silberman says. "Spinners would be out in the hall, having literally religious experiences, because they though Garcia was a prophet and they'd be bowing down."
9. The Dead were hobbled by the enormity of their own success. "Has success spoiled the Grateful Dead?" an unseen reporter asks Garcia in a clip from the band's commercial peak, when the album In the Dark and hit single "Touch of Grey" had hit the charts. Garcia doesn't hesitate: "Yeah." Unanticipated popularity had prompted a move from arenas to stadiums, where newcomers elbowed in among diehard Deadheads. "Playing in the stadiums [was] akin to playing in the studio," Kreutzman recalls. "There were 60,000 people there, but basically you didn't have any touch with those people – they were hundreds of feet away from you." And even then, the band couldn't satisfy demand, a situation that led to members recording public-service announcements imploring fans without tickets not to loiter outside the concerts. "Jerry just couldn't bring himself to do one of those," Dead publicist and historian Dennis McNally notes ruefully.
10. Garcia considered stepping away from the Dead permanently in the Nineties. Briefly reunited in 1993 with Barbara Meier, the former girlfriend who decades earlier had given him his first guitar, Garcia swept her away to Hawaii, took her scuba diving and proposed marriage. "I think he had been suffering for a long time under the weight and responsibility of this behemoth," Meier says, relating a conversation in which Garcia mulled stepping out of the limelight. "I said, 'Why don't you?'" Meier recalls. She recounts his reply: "'Do you know how many people are depending on this show going down the road?' I understood in that moment that it was a machine by then. It wasn't just a bunch of guys getting together and making music. This enormous community was demanding that he be the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia." Not long afterward, gripped anew by addiction, Garcia again dismissed Meier from his life. She never saw him again.
For the first time ever, Paul Simon performed his languorous, lightly political 2011 song "Question for the Angels" on The Late Show on Wednesday night with help from the revered guitarist Bill Frisell. The song appeared on Simon's album So Beautiful or So What.
Simon and Frisell were blissfully unhurried. Simon picked gently and sang in his signature conversational tone, arcing the verses in unexpected directions. Frisell played elegantly, with shivers of electric guitar in the song's quieter moments. "Who believes in angels?" Simon wondered. "Fools and pilgrims all over the world."
Simon begins touring in late May and said the profits from his summer shows will be donated to E.O. Wilson's biodiversity foundation. In the interview with Colbert, he also said that he's at work on a new album that will allow him to revise songs he previously recorded – including "Question for the Angels."
"It's a rare opportunity for a writer to go back and reexamine a piece of work that was good but maybe could have been better," Simon explained. "I'm picking out songs that I really liked that I thought were well written and not noticed – maybe there were other hits on the album or something. I'm recording them again with different musicians, and at times I change the lyrics if I think it's better to change a verse."
Demonstrating the value of returning to old songs with a new mindset, Simon and Colbert made amusing changes to the lyrics for "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)," transforming the buoyant original into a song of doom and gloom that suits the current geopolitical climate.
"Kellyanne Conway makes no sense, and even if Trump goes we're stuck with Mike Pence," Simon and Colbert sang. The two ended eerily, comically, on the requisite: "Nevertheless, all is groovy."
Rob Sheffield's new book Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World is a celebration of the band, from the longtime Rolling Stone columnist. It tells the weird saga of how four lads from Liverpool became the world's biggest pop group, then broke up – yet somehow just kept getting bigger. Dreaming the Beatles follows the ballad of John, Paul, George and Ringo, from their early days to their Sixties peaks to their afterlife as a cultural obsession. In this excerpt, Sheffield looks at one of the buried treasures in the Beatle songbook, the forgotten 1967 psychedelic jam "It's All Too Much."
Happy 50th birthday to "It's All Too Much," the great lost Beatles song. More than any of their other deep cuts, it deserves to be infinitely more famous than it is, one of the all-time great psychedelic guitar freak-outs. None of the Beatles thought it was anything special. But they were so wrong. It's where they really nailed the Sgt. Pepper sound – that combination of acid-rock momentum and brass-band frippery. "It's All Too Much" would have been the second or third best song on Sgt. Pepper – but alas, they cut it in May 1967, just a couple months late. Even George Harrison, so touchy about not getting his due as a songwriter, didn't regard it as more than a candy-colored trifle. Any other band could have built a whole legend around "It's All Too Much." But the Beatles threw it away on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, to fill out a piece of half-assed movie merch. They left it off Magical Mystery Tour – which means they rated it lower than "Flying" or "Blue Jay Way."
They whipped "It's All Too Much" together in a couple of days, starting on May 25th, 1967, in an unfamiliar studio with both George Martin and Geoff Emerick absent, effectively producing themselves. It opens with that Sonic Youth guitar clang and a bit of John chatter, as Paul lingers on that one-chord bass drone like a monster. The other Beatles join in with their "tooooo much! tooooo much!" chant, riding a ferocious Ringo groove for eight minutes. It proves they could jam, even though they couldn't – they just accidentally pulled it off here. George sings his funniest mystic lyrics, with a wry English touch. "Show me that I'm everywhere and get me home for tea," indeed.
The Beatles were in a restless frame of mind, waiting for Pepper to drop on June 1st. The other songs they recorded that May were silly ones – "All Together Now," "Baby You're a Rich Man," "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)." "It's All Too Much" might seem silly too, but it rocks, which the Beatles weren't much interested in doing in 1967. They show off individually (at any moment, you can pick out what any particular Beatle is doing) yet slip into the collective groove. The eight-minute jam got cut to six and a half minutes for Yellow Submarine, though the movie retains an extra verse that got tragically axed from the album version.
It's a psychedelic love song, with George dazed by his hippie minx. More than any other George song, it sounds like his tribute to Patti Boyd, the puffy-lipped sex priestess he married, the Savoy-est of truffles. Patti is one of rock and roll's most legendary muses – she was born to stir the songwriting juices of her guitar boys. She became the blondest corner of rock's most iconic love triangle when George's best friend Eric Clapton fell in love with her, inspiring "Layla," but "It's All Too Much" has to be her greatest hit. Only she could have turned such reserved English gents into tormented soul men.
Patti was the worldliest of the four Beatle first wives – the one who wasn't pregnant at the wedding. She's also the only one who went on to snag another rock star. After Clapton won her away, he wrote sedate tributes like "Wonderful Tonight"; it's hard to connect those to the vixen who wrenched "Bell Bottom Blues" out of him or "For You Blue" out of George. When Patti left in 1974, George announced he was "very happy" about it, "because he's great. I'd rather have her with him than with some dope." Her older sister, Jenny, married Mick Fleetwood; younger sister Paula took up with another member of Derek and the Dominos. (There ought to be a movie about the Boyd sisters – but where would you find three mere movie stars who could live up to a myth like this?) When Patti married Clapton in May 1979, George, Paul, and Ringo jammed at the wedding, playing "Get Back" and "Sgt. Pepper." John called Clapton to complain he hadn't been invited.
It's strange how George was always a little stingy with the love songs. When you've got Patti sharing your stash box and leaving her sandals under your bed, yet you'd rather write all your songs about Lord Krishna, you can't blame the girl for getting restless – it's understandable she would upgrade her muse glimmer with some other rock star, preferably your best friend. No doubt Patti did it all for the songs. And with "It's All Too Much," she drove George and his fellow Beatles to psychedelic realms they never visited again. Even if it's been understandably overshadowed by the loftier myths of Pepper, a song this great deserves better than to get lost in the shuffle.
Guns N' Roses will embark on another North American leg of their massive Not In This Lifetime reunion tour. The stadium and arena run begins October 8th in Philadelphia and wraps November 24th and 25th with two-night in Los Angeles, the first show at the Staples Center and the second at the Forum.
The trek also includes two-nights at Madison Square Garden in New York City and stops in Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas and more. Tickets go on sale June 3rd via Live Nation while Citi cardholders will have access to pre-sale tickets starting May 30th at 10 a.m. local time and ending June 2nd at 10 p.m. AT&T will also host a pre-sale between June 1st at 10 a.m. local time and June 2nd at 10 p.m. VIP packages will be available as well.
Guns N' Roses have also added a date to their North American summer run, August 5th at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas. That leg kicks off July 27th with the band's return to St. Louis, Missouri, the location of their infamous 1991 "Riverport Riot," when singer Axl Rose attacked a photographer in the audience.
Guns N' Roses have also announced a slew of openers for that summer trek with ZZ Top, Deftones, Sturgill Simpson, Royal Blood, Live and Our Lady Peace set to join the band on select dates. A full itinerary is available on the GnR website.
October 8, 2017 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center October 11, 2017 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden October 15, 2017 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden October 22, 2017 – Boston, MA TD @ Garden October 26, 2017 – Cleveland, OH @ Quicken Loans Arena October 29, 2017 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre November 2, 2017 – Detroit, MI @ Little Caesers Arena November 6, 2017 – Chicago, IL @ United Center November 10, 2017 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center November 14, 2017 – Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center November 17, 2017 – Las Vegas, NV @ T-Mobile Arena November 21, 2017 – Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena November 24, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center November 25, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum