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Friday, October 24, 2014 - 12:31pm

Speaking of albums...

What bothers me more than the boo-hoo of those mourning the inability of today's audience to spend time with today's long players, never mind pay for them, is the complete disappearance from public consciousness of albums that are great from start to finish from the past, like Amanda Marshall's debut.

Credit for which must be given to writer and producer David Tyson as well as Ms. Marshall, she's worked with people since, but rarely captured the magic.

Now you might be unaware of Mr. Tyson, but he cowrote and produced Alannah Myles's "Black Velvet," one of the signature tracks of the early nineties. One of my great pleasures was getting a phone call from Ahmet Ertegun after writing that the track was dead in the water. Ahmet, in his inimitable voice, told me to pay attention, that they were going to push the button, and they did.

That's the power of a major label.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 3:00pm

44 years ago today, Mick Jagger released his very first solo single, a song which was taken from the soundtrack of the film that provided him with his first chance to be a movie star.

With the Rolling Stones running neck and neck with the Beatles as the biggest band in the world, Jagger was certainly a familiar face to teenagers everywhere, but he had a hankering to step off the stage for a bit and step in front of the camera. The role of Turner wasn’t what you’d call a tremendous stretch for Jagger, given that the character was a former rock star, but it certainly provided him with some unforgettable onscreen moments with Anita Pallenberg and Michele Breton, and it also gave him a chance to check “get shot in a movie” off his to-do list.

In addition to serving as Jagger’s motion picture debut, the original plan of action was for the Stones to write the film’s soundtrack as well, but things didn’t end up panning out that way. Now, maybe that was because of how close things were getting between Jagger and Pallenberg, who was actually in a relationship with Jagger’s bandmate, Keith Richards, at the time, and maybe that didn’t have anything to do with it. All that really matters is that the soundtrack ended up being culled together from tracks by Randy Newman, Merry Clayton, Ry Cooder, Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and the Last Poets.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 2:38pm
Chicago X

38 years ago today, Chicago found themselves atop the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in their career with a song written and sung by bassist Peter Cetera, thereby firmly establishing him as the band’s go-to guy for romantic ballads.

Released as the second single from Chicago X (with the first being “Another Rainy Day in New York City,” another Cetera composition), “If You Leave Me Now” was the biggest hit of the band’s career up to that point, spending two weeks at #1 in the US and three weeks at #1 in the UK while also going on to top the Australian, Canadian, and Dutch charts. In addition, the song went on to win Grammy Awards for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus, and ultimately shifted platinum-level units, which is pretty impressive for a single.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 6:04pm

R.E.M.'s REMTV, a six-DVD collection chronicling the band's special relationship with MTV through live performances, award show highlights, and a new feature-length documentary may not be available until November 24th, but you can take a first look over here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 4:36pm

New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:

Slipknot, The Studio Album Collection 1999-2008: For most of the time between 2008 and 2014, it would’ve been considered a sucker’s bet to expect the band Slipknot to regroup for the long haul, let alone return to the studio. Not that it hadn’t been discussed here and there, but in the wake of bassist Paul Gray’s death in 2010, the band’s solidity wasn’t exactly at its highest ebb, and given the departure of drummer Joey Jordison from their ranks last year, it was beginning to seem as though the likelihood of the band completing the long-threatened new album was grim at best.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 12:42pm
Dr. Rhino's Picks

This edition of Dr. Rhino’s Picks (#85 already…yeesh!) is dedicated to that jewel of Memphis, the Stax label and recording studio. Come on and groove with Otis, Sam & Dave, Eddie, Booker T., and the rest of the crew. This Big Bird is ready to fly!