Original drummer, producer, and one-time manager of The Ramones, Tommy Ramone has passed away from cancer at the age of 62. The multi-talent artist initially started out as the band's manager, and got behind the kit mainly "because nobody else wanted to." His duties didn't end there - he wrote classic tracks like "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and "Blitzkreig Bop" and co-produced on RAMONES, LEAVE HOME, ROCKET TO RUSSIA, ROAD TO RUIN, and TOO TOUGH TO DIE as well as on the live album IT'S ALIVE.
33 years ago today, one of the most enduring compilation albums from the man called “the Peter Pan of Pop” landed at #1 on the UK charts, where it remained for a total of five weeks.
As avowed fans of The Young Ones, we’ve been thinking quite a lot about Cliff Richard in the wake of Rik Mayall’s recent passing, and as we’re based in the States, we’ve had the same reaction that we do whenever we’re inspired to give Sir Cliff’s back catalog a spin: “Man, we’d forgotten how many great singles he had!”
It was not like today, there was no Disney Channel, never mind Disney Radio. All we had were three networks, a few independents and...our transistors. They were the iPods of the day, everybody was constantly buying new ones, for a few years there they were all the rage.
And when you finally got a transistor, you listened to baseball. At least I did. I was addicted to the Yankees. Did I ever tell you I was there when Roger Maris hit his 61st?
Anyway, when it comes to popular music...
77 years ago today, the world lost one of the greatest composers of the 20th century: George Gershwin.
Although he was born Jacob Gershwine in Brooklyn on September 26, 1898, having been named after his grandfather, he was – by all accounts – never actually called anything but George, while the dropping of the “E” from his last name happened some years later, after he’d become a professional musician. George and his older brother (and future collaborator), Ira, moved around quite a bit during their youth, but all of the moves were within the general confines of New York City, most of them around the Yiddish theater district. Music didn’t become a part of George’s life until age 10, but when he fell in love with it, he fell hard.
Gershwin published his first song, "When You Want 'Em, You Can't Get 'Em, When You've Got 'Em, You Don't Want 'Em,” in 1916, when he was only 17, but the big turning point for his career as a songwriter came in 1919, when Al Jolson heard “Swanee” and decided to perform it in his act. If you aren’t familiar with the power of Jolson as a performer, trust us when we tell you that it was absolutely the definition of a “and the rest is history” moment.
"If every concert tells a tale, then every tour writes an epic. Spring 1990 felt that way: an epic with more than its share of genius and drama, brilliance and tension. And that is why the rest of the music of that tour deserves this release, why the rest of those stories need to be heard." - Nicholas G. Meriwether
Some consider Spring 1990 the last great Grateful Dead tour. That it may be. In spite of outside difficulties and downsides, nothing could deter the Grateful Dead from crafting lightness from darkness. They were overwhelmingly triumphant in doing what they came to do, what they did best — forging powerful explorations in music. Yes, it was the music that would propel their legacy further, young fans joining the ranks with veteran Dead Heads, Jerry wondering "where do they keep coming from?" — a sentiment that still rings true today, a sentiment that offers up another opportunity for an exceptional release from a tour that serves as transcendental chapter in the Grateful Dead masterpiece.
Were he still walking among us, today would’ve been Ronnie James Dio’s 72nd birthday, and there’s no question that it’s depressing to recall that, alas, he succumbed to stomach cancer on May 16, 2010, but with the release earlier this year of the all-star tribute album, This Is Your Life: Ronnie James Dio, it’s clear that the legendary heavy metal rocker is a far cry from being forgotten.