Today marks the 56th birthday of a man whose music can be as dark and disturbing as it is happy and bouncy, although the latter generally only tends to happy when there’s a confluence between love and Fridays.
The Cure hasn’t been as prolific in recent years as they once were – their last studio album was 4:13 Dream, which came out back 2008 – but given how much great music they put out in their heyday, we feel like Robert Smith and his crew have earned the right to coast when they’re of a mind to do so. Besides, Mr. Smith hasn’t completely been resting on his laurels: since ’08, he’s popped up on tracks by Crystal Castles (“Not in Love”), The Japanese Popstars (“Take Forever”), and 65daysofstatic (“Come to Me”), and he’s also issued a few solo songs, including covers of John Martyn’s “Small Hours” and Frank Sinatra’s “Witchcraft,” the latter for Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie.
George Benson has been recording albums under his own name since 1964, when he released the debut album that trumpeted his New Boss Guitar, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that he’s had a few best-of sets issued over the years, including – but not limited to – The George Benson Collection, Classic Love Songs, The Greatest Hits of All, The Essential Collection, and The Best of George Benson. All of these, however, pale to our latest and greatest compilation, The Ultimate George Benson, and you can tell it’s the only George Benson best-of you’ll ever need (until the next one) because, well, the word “ultimate” is right there in the title!
23 years ago today, some of the biggest music performers in the business joined forces and took the stage of Wembley Arena to celebrate the life and work of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most famous frontmen while also raising awareness and funds for AIDS research.
When Freddie Mercury died on November 24, 1991 from bronchopneumonia caused as a result of AIDS, there weren’t many who’d been paying attention to Freddie’s appearance who were legitimately shocked by the news: he was a shadow of his former self by the end, putting a famous face on the epidemic and making millions more aware of the devastating disease than ever before. To celebrate Mercury’s work in the form of a charitable endeavor, his former Queen bandmates – John Deacon, Brian May, and Roger Taylor – decided to throw a last bash for Freddie, bringing aboard artists who’d either known him, played with him, or simply been influenced by him.
45 years ago today, Jethro Tull released their third album…in America, anyway. Somehow or other, Benefit managed to make it into Stateside stores several days before it landed on shelves in the UK, which it didn’t see release until May 1.
It’s interesting that frontman Ian Anderson has described Benefit as being a darker album than 1969’s Stand Up, attributing the change in tone to the band’s frustration with the music business and the pressures of a massive American tour. Guitarist Martin Barre has actually described it as being an easier album to create than its predecessor, thanks to Stand Up having been such a success.
35 years ago today, Pink Floyd released the second single from The Wall, a track which in no way matched the #1 success of its predecessor, “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II),” but has still managed to become an album-rock staple.
A co-write between David Gilmour and Roger Waters, “Run Like Hell” doesn’t actually include its title within its lyrics, but it’s still a rather intimidating track, one which – although it certainly wasn’t composed for such – is a perfect song for fathers to pass along to their daughter’s new boyfriends. In reality, the song’s one of Pink’s big numbers, where he’s hallucinating and believes that he’s become a dictator who transforms an audience into an angry mob, but…have you read those lyrics? Seriously, play that for the young lad, and you’re sending a message that’s right up there with slipping the kid a note that says, “I’ve got a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Don’t make me have to prove it.”
Feeling old? Well, this’ll make it worse: another punk icon has crossed into his sixties, so please wish the happiest of birthdays to Mr. Pete Shelley, who hits the big 6-0 today.
Born in Leigh, Lancheshire in 1955, the future frontman of the Buzzcocks entered the world as Peter Campbell McNeish but later changed it to Pete Shelley, likely because Peter Campbell McNeish didn’t sound punk enough. (We haven’t actually confirmed this to be the case, but there was an awful lot of that going on at the time.) Although Shelley’s first major musical impact came when he joined forces with fellow Bolton Institute of Technology classmate Howard DeVoto, but it wasn’t actually his first musical endeavor: that honor goes to his 1974 solo album, Sky Yen, an experimental work which didn’t see formal release until 1980, and even then it was on his own label, Groovy Records. In other words, it would be certainly be fair to say that the Buzzcocks’ 1977 EP, Spiral Scratch, had the more long-term musical impact.
The big hit was "I'm No Angel."
That's right, Gregg Allman was free of Phil Walden and Capricorn. He signed a deal with Epic and lo and behold, nearly a decade after his last solo work, when MTV ruled and it looked like the game had totally changed, he broke through once again.