There are likely comparatively few music fans who think of Mike Rutherford for his work as the founder of Mike + The Mechanics over his efforts as a member of Genesis, but – believe it or not – Rutherford has had the same number of chart-topping hits in the U.S. with both groups: one. Oh, sure, Genesis may have had far more hit singles overall, but they only hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 once, and that was with “Invisible Touch” in 1986, while Mike + The Mechanics ascended to the top spot with “The Living Years” in 1989.
We mention this for three reasons: 1) to remind you that Mr. Rutherford’s side project was pretty formidable in the charts back in the day, 2) to have an excuse to mention that we just reissued Mike + The Mechanics’ Living Years album in a deluxe edition with a bonus disc, and 3) to make sure you’re aware that Mr. Rutherford and his Mechanics are just about to hit the road for their first American tour in many moons. (Grab your tickets here.) In advance of this much-anticipated jaunt, Rutherford hopped on the phone with Rhino, kindly giving us first crack at him on a day before beginning a big day of proper interviews.
Tomorrow morning at 11AM PT/2PM ET, Yahoo Live will stream the 40th Anniversary Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti Deluxe Edition Premiere. This exclusive event will feature the worldwide debut of the complete, previously unreleased companion audio from the upcoming deluxe edition of Led Zeppelin’s seminal double album Physical Graffiti. It will be followed by a live Q&A with guitarist and album producer Jimmy Page in front of a live audience at Olympic Studios in London, the same studio where portions of the album were originally recorded over 40 years ago.
The Genesis reissue campaign soldiers on, this time with the band’s studio output during the half-decade between 1976 and 1981, all of which you can now hear individually with the remastering that was done for the Genesis catalog back in 2007. The 1976-1981 era was a transitional period for Genesis on a couple of different occasions, but the music that emerged within those years helped take a prog-heavy gang of musicians and turn them into proper pop/rock heroes. Now, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is all down to individual opinion, but we know for a fact that all of these albums have their fans, which means that we also know that you’re going to love how they sound.
Nowadays, all the kids love Phoenix: thanks to the success of their singles “1901” and “Lisztomania,” their 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix went gold in the US, and their fanbase was such that the 2013 follow-up Bankrupt! provided the band with their first top-five album. What sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, however, is that the band’s big commercial breakthrough was actually their fourth album.
If this is news to you and is a revelation that makes you want to dig a little deeper into the origins of Phoenix, well, now’s the perfect time, because we’ve just reissued the band’s 2000 debut, United, on 180-gram vinyl for your listening enjoyment.
Midge Ure is one of those musicians for whom your frame of reference depends heavily on when you first started paying attention to music: he had his first #1 hit in 1976 as the frontman for a teeny-bop band called Slik, teamed up with former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and future Public Image Ltd. Guitarist Steve New to front The Rich Kids, saw top-10 success as a member of Visage (“Fade to Grey”), found further chart action when he took over at the lead singer of Ultravox (“Vienna,” “Dancing with Tears in My Eyes”), co-wrote Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with Bob Geldof, and has had a formidable solo career as well, earning a top-10 hit with “No Regrets” and topping the UK charts with “If I Was.” A few years ago, Ure reunited with Ultravox to record a new album (2012’s Brilliant), but most recently he’s been peddling his top-notch solo wares again, having released his most recent full-length effort, Fragile, last year.
Rhino: First things first: let’s talk a bit about your new album, since that’s how we came to chat in the first place. What are the origins of Fragile? Did you start stockpiling songs until you had enough to make an album, or did you go in with the intent of making an album?
Midge Ure: No, I think it’s been the slowest album I’ve ever undertaken. Ever! I started compiling ideas and started the recording process probably 10 years prior to finishing the record. For a whole slew of reasons, it just took me forever to get ‘round to finishing the thing.