Wednesday, June 24, 2015
About: Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate
The collaboration between a rapper/beatboxer/singer-songwriter from Syracuse, NY and an electrifying African kora sensation from Guinea pushes genre boundaries and earns raves across Europe.
"A gloriously accessible collision of styles. It's an unlikely collaboration that works, magnificently." – The Guardian (UK)
"A boundary-trampling high-octane hybrid in which the lightning fast electrified licks of Kouyate are matched by the explosive energy of Driscoll's rapid fire rhyming." – Songlines (UK)
The well-worn and often overblown expression "music is a common language" has never been more apropos in the case of Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate. US-born, England-based Driscoll speaks no French and Kouyate, who hails from the West African country of Guinea, little English. When they were brought together at the Nuit Metis (Mixed Night) festival in Marseille, France in 2010 and given a week to produce a concert, music was the only way they could communicate.
It turns out, they had a lot to "talk" about, and their first meeting sparked a collaboration that led to the formation of a band, the recording of an album, over 120 concert dates across Europe and rave reviews. Driscoll contributes the rapping, looping, beatboxing and songwriting talents he developed growing up in Syracuse, New York and during his own successful recording career. Kouyate, already a phenomenon in African music circles, has blown minds and ears with his hypersonic electrified riffs on the kora, bringing the exalted West African harp into the 21st Century with use of distortion peddles, effects and previously-unimagined technical prowess. Together, Driscoll and Kouyate blend hip-hop, spoken word, funk, and soulful, accessible rock with Afrobeat, reggae and irrepressible African grooves.
February 2014, Cumbancha Discovery introduced the world to Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate's debut album Faya, which earned praise from tastemakers and devoted fans across Europe where they have performed in many of the continent's top festivals and venues. Faya reached the number 2 spot on the prestigious World Music Charts Europe, a survey of top international music DJs across the continent. Their album earned Joe & Sekou a nomination for Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration from Songlines, the UKs definitive global music magazine.
Sekou Kouyate was raised in a respected and accomplished musical family in Conakry, Guinea. Trained in the ancient traditions of his instrument, it is his ability to transcend and build upon those traditions that has set him apart. In France, he is known as the 'Jimi Hendrix of the kora' because of his unique style of playing with various effects, in a variety of genres, and with an extreme intensity. Kouyate has toured the world over as a member of the Ba Cissoko band, comprised of his cousin and brothers.
Joe Driscoll, whom Cee-Lo Green labelled "the gangsta with an iron lung," has been touring steadily for years, spreading his unique fusion of folk and hip-hop. The modern day take on the one man band, he uses live looping to create soundscapes full of beatbox, guitar, harmonica, percussion, harmonica, and just about anything else he can make use of. Now living in Bristol, England, Driscoll has performed his ground breaking solo show at the famed Glastonbury Festival, Electric Picnic in Ireland, and hundreds of major stages worldwide.
By teaming up, Driscoll and Kouyate have created a sum that exceeds even the large whole of its individual parts. According to Driscoll, "We've been raised in very different cultures in so many ways, but we share a lot of the same interests musically. Sekou was raised in the African rhythm and traditions, yet has always had a passion for reggae, hip-hop. I'm kind of the other way around. At the heart of it, we both just make the noises we love; we listen to each other, and try to flow in harmony. I think we just bounced off each other in so many ways: rhythmically, melodically, with craftsmanship. Through this, we found we had a language between us and that philosophically we were on a lot of the same pages as well."
The songs on Faya address burning social issues, commenting on poverty, borders, immigration and inequality. According to Driscoll, " We wrote about things that we knew and experienced, things that were important to us. We've both travelled the world extensively, so dealing with these issues was a very important part of the experience. We had things we wanted to say about them. The message is the seed. Some people just enjoy the fruit, but we try to spread the seeds with a positive vibe." Kouyate sings in French and his native Susu language and Driscoll expounds in lightning fast bursts of cunningly crafted English.
"One day in Africa, there will be no borders," declares Kouyate in French at the beginning of the album's opening track "Tanama", establishing a consistent theme about the fallacy of the imaginary lines that separate the people of the world. On the second song "Passport," Driscoll responds to Kouyate's chorus "Music is my passport," by singing "Because its only you, you see / Who has made a boundary." The scorching third track "Faya", a tribute to fire in its literal and metaphorical sense, highlights Sekou's kora wizardry, Driscolls vocal dexterity and the unstoppable grooves they create together. It’s a remarkable first third of an accomplished debut album, and the balance of the album is equally compelling.
With plans already in the works to record a follow-up album, Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate have discovered that music speaks louder than words.
Barra - (Live on KEXP 2015)
Passport – (Live on KEXP 2015)
Tokira - (Live on KEXP 2015)
Lady - (Live Radio Paris 2013)
Wonamati - (live at the Woodshed, Bristol UK 2012)
Concert - (Korsa Live 2015) (Part 1)
Concert - (Korsa Live 2015) (Part 2)
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate – Official Website
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate – Last FM
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Cumbancha
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Facebook
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Twitter
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - YouTube
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate – Official Store
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - iTunes
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Amazon
Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate - Bandcamp
Sunday, June 21, 2015
About: Lost and Profound
Lost and Profound are back, and for that we can be grateful. It has been more than a decade since we have heard from the acclaimed Toronto-based duo of vocalist Lisa Boudreau and songwriter/guitarist Terry Tompkins, but new album Goodbye Mine confirms they remain at the height of their considerable creative powers.
Their previous release, Red Suede Red came out in 2002, after which Terry and Lisa turned their individual talents to their other successful musical activities (Tompkins as a composer and producer for film and TV, Boudreau as an in-demand voice actor and singer).
The itch to record together again returned, sparked in part by the fun Terry had making a new album with The Now Feeling, the Calgary-based psych band . "That went so well, I thought we should make another Lost and Profound record," he explains. "I had all these tunes that I started playing for Lisa, and before we knew it, we were working on a record.'"
The essential core of the Lost and Profound style is the combination of Terry's evocative songs and soundscapes and Lisa's pure and emotionally eloquent vocals. The potency of that musical marriage has not been diminished one iota, as Goodbye Mine triumphantly demonstrates. "We had a clear vision of the sound we wanted for the record," Tompkins recalls. "We wanted a production sound like that on all those early '70s albums we love, and we kept it simple and sparse.
Helping them realize their mandate was a supporting cast of A-list Toronto musicians, including guitarist Joao Carvalho (a long-time collaborator who also mastered the album), drummer John Obercian, multi-instrumentalist Darrell O'Dea (described by Terry as "our secret weapon," he played keyboards, drums, guitar, bass and contributed string arrangements), fiddle player Chris Bartos, bassist Greg Roberts, backing singers Renee Rowe and Kesha Wint (on "Iodine" and Bad Sister") and a string section.
Tompkins and Boudreau co-produced Goodbye Mine, with recording taking place at elite Toronto studio Revolution Recording. Lisa explains that "before going into the studio, we booked a gig so we'd learn the songs and figure out what worked.
All the bed tracks were recorded within four days. "The band's so great that we did most of it live." says Boudreau. "I did all my lead vocals in two days, so it was very focused and concentrated. The engineer was Dean Wilson, who did Beck's Mutations, and he was lovely." Revolution's house engineer (and partner in the studio) Joe Dunphy also made a major contribution, earning Terry's praise as "a wizard with guitar sounds."
The results were then mixed at Prairie Sun Studios in California by acclaimed veteran engineer Oz Fritz and old friend of Terry and Lisa's, whose lengthy resume includes engineering and mixing Tom Waits' Grammy-winning Mule Variations and albums by artists as diverse as Primus, John Cale, Herbie Hancock, Bob Marley, Bill Laswell and Wanda Jackson. Assisting Fritz in the mixing process was Terry and Lisa's son Jody Tompkins, an up and coming audio engineer. "In the morning, we'd all listen to the songs and Terry and I would say 'this is what we want here,'" recalls Lisa. "Then we'd go away for awhile and take advantage of California's medical marijuana laws. Then we'd come back at the end of the day to do minor tweaks to what Oz and Jody had done... and then we'd all go for dinner.
The mixing and mastering for Goodbye Mine was done to tape, with a view to the vinyl pressing of the album. "This will be the first time we've done vinyl for a Lost and Profound album, and that is really exciting," says Terry. The warm and intimate sound of vinyl is indeed the perfect medium for the record. There is a pleasing sonic excellence to Goodbye Mine. The full-blooded backing vocals on Iodine" and "Bad Sister" impart a gospel vibe, while the beautifully affecting and folk-inflected "The Rover" has a Celtic feel enhanced by the masterful fiddle playing of Chris Bartos. "I wrote 'the Rover' when Lisa's aunt died," Terry recalls. "I wanted a song that talked about dying as a journey. One verse was recited at her aunt's funeral, and I later finished all the lyrics in one night."
Tompkins takes the vocal lead on the aptly-named "Jewel," an upbeat track with a California Sunshine pop vibe, while the lush "Superhuman" brings classic Fleetwood Mac to mind. Soaring guitars, evocative strings and backing vocals mesh with Lisa's passionate vocal performance on "Goodbye Mine," another highlight on an album devoid of lowlights.
Some 30 years of living and making music together has inevitably meant that Terry and Lisa have forged a beautifully idiosyncratic Lost and Profound sound, but they're not afraid to cite musical influences and inspirations. For the new album, Terry singles out Pink Floyd. "We referenced them over and over in the making of this record," he notes. "Darrell's slide guitar playing on 'Iodine' is very Floyd." The ability of Pink Floyd to create a huge sound in a sparse manner is certainly replicated on Goodbye Mine.
Other key inspirations include Leonard Cohen, Lee Hazelwood, Jimmy Webb and Townes Van Zandt. More contemporary sonic reference points would include Elliott Smith and such so-called 'slo-core' artists as Mazzy Star, Low and Red House Painters, while the haunting purity of Lisa's vocals has elicited comparisons to the likes of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval and Portishead's Beth Gibbons. "I do think the sweet spot for Lisa's voice is a melancholy lyric, and I do seem to primarily write relationship songs.", Tompkins explains.
The couple's creative process has remained relatively unchanged, as Lisa explains."Terry will demo his songs himself, on acoustic guitar and piano. He naturally has great phrasing, and I will take from that and add whatever I can do." Tompkins adds that "I'll have the demos on in the background around the house. If Lisa reacts to one, we'll work on it, If she doesn't react, then that song isn't going to work.
Lost and Profound
1992: Lost & Profound (Polydor/Polygram) 5132512
1994: Memory Thief (Polydor/Polygram) 5195182
1996: Love's Sweet Messenger
2015: Goodbye Mine
The Psychedelic Folk Virgins
1989: The Bottled Romance of Nowhere
1990: The Psychedelic Folk Virgins
Red Suede Red
2002: Red Suede Red
Bad Sister (2015)
Miracles Happen (1994)
Brand New Set of Lies (1992)
Winter Raging (1992)
Curb the Angels (1992)
Lost and Profound – Official Website
Lost and Profound - Reverbnation
Lost and Profound - Wikipedia
Lost and Profound - Facebook
Lost and Profound - Twitter
Lost and Profound - YouTube
Lost and Profound – Official Store
Lost and Profound - iTunes
Lost and Profound - Amazon
Lost and Profound - eMusic
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Drenge are an English two-piece alternative rock band, based in Castleton, Derbyshire, Sheffield. The band is made up of Eoin Loveless, on guitar and vocals, and his younger brother Rory, on drums. They take their name from the Danish word for "boys", although it is pronounced differently.
The band rose to prominence following the resignation of Labour MP Tom Watson from the Shadow Cabinet in July 2013, who wrote in his resignation letter on his blog "be that great Labour leader that you can be, but try to have a real life too. And if you want to see an awesome band, I recommend Drenge." However, they had a small following and had been picked up by national media at least some seven months previously.
Drenge have toured extensively in the UK, also appearing at Glastonbury Festival, Latitude Festival, and will be at the upcoming Reading and Leeds Festival. They have also toured with Californian duo Deap Vally, including an appearance close to their hometown at Sheffield's Queens Social Club. They also toured with British band Peace in late 2013. They played a headline tour in the first half of 2014, as well as playing at many festivals over the summer of 2014, including Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury and T in the Park.
In recent activity Drenge have toured the UK alongside American punk rock band Radkey, appeared on Later... with Jools Holland, and their single "Bloodsports" was used for an advert for British TV show Misfits, fitting the crude, aggressive nature of the show. They were also nominated for Zane Lowe's top 100 hottest records of 2013 with the single "Bloodsports".
Their self-titled album was released on 19 August 2013 on Infectious Records. The artwork for the album features a photograph of Wardsend Cemetery in Sheffield and a nearby scrapyard.
On 27 January 2015, they made their US network television debut on the Late Show with David Letterman.
On 6 April 2015, the band's second album, Undertow, was released, debuting at number 14 on the UK Albums Chart.
For their tour in 2015 the band included a bassist in their live line-up as well as in their new single "We Can Do What We Want".
Eoin Loveless – lead vocals, guitar (2011–present)
Rory Loveless – drums, percussion, backing vocals (2011–present)
Touring and session members
Rob Graham – bass, backing vocals (2014–present)
Running Wild – Official Video - (Album: Undertow 2015)
Running Wild – (Live KEXP)
The Snake - (Album: Undertow 2015)
Undertow - (Album: Undertow 2015)
Side By Side - (Album: Undertow 2015)
Side By Side - (Live KEXP)
Favourite Son - (Album: Undertow 2015)
We Can Do What We Want – (Album: Undertow 2015)
Album Overview: Undertow (2015)
If, for some reason, you've always wanted to know about the effort and consideration we put in to Undertow, we've put together a little track by track video. It's features my best Philomena Cunk impression, the over use of the word "like", some basic painting skills and useful statements such as "this song isn't really about anything." Hope you find it as insightful and useful as it was intended to be.
Bloodsports – Live Glastonbury 2014
Bloodsports - (Album: Drenge 2014)
Face Like a Skull (Album: Drenge 2014)
Drenge – Official Website
Drenge - Soundcloud
Drenge - Tumblr
Drenge – Last FM
Drenge - Wikipedia
Drenge - Facebook
Drenge - Twitter
Drenge - YouTube
Drenge – Official Store
Drenge - iTunes
Drenge - Amazon
Monday, June 15, 2015
About: Golden Sky
Golden Sky is St. Petersburg Russia’s “Alexandr 'hzch' Solovyov”. Alexandr’s music is an evolving blend of Atmospheric Rock intertwined with electric guitars, which creates a very conscious progressive instrumental rock. A must listen for serious fans of Progressive Rock.
It all started ten years ago when Alexandr bought his first electric guitar…and the rest as they say is history as his inspired music journey continues to expand and unfold.
“Both music and art are my passions, but music allows me to express my thoughts and emotions in a vibrant way. As life continues to unfold, my consciousness and music evolves with it.”
“Over the years, I’ve broadened my horizons by exploring a variety of music genres, and somewhere on that path, I realized that writing music is what gives me a deep fulfilling satisfaction.”
Alexandr’s first album, "Fragile" was released in 2012, and initially put together to showcase his music to friends. Their positive reaction to the album inspired him to continue writing, and so he did, as he released a more progressive sounding second album, “Negation” in 2014” and then within a year, he released his third album “So They Say” (June 2015).
The progression of Alexandr’s first three albums is a testament to the artist’s ease in developing more complex Instrumental Progressive Rock compositions. Have a listen to his music below and be sure to visit his websites for more news and music.
Golden Sky – Official Website
Golden Sky – Live Journal
Golden Sky - Soundcloud
Golden Sky - Twitter
Golden Sky - Bandcamp
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Early life and career
Lynne grew up in the Shard End area of Birmingham, West Midlands, where he attended Alderlea Boys' Secondary School. His first guitar, an acoustic instrument, was bought for him by his father, for £2. He was still playing it in 2012. In 1963 he formed a group with Robert Reader and David Walsh using little more than Spanish guitars and cheap electrical instruments to produce music. They were originally named "The Rockin' Hellcats" before changing to "The Handicaps" and finally to "The Andicaps". They practised at Shard End Community Centre and performed weekly. However, in 1964, Robert Reader and David Walsh left the band and Lynne brought in replacements. At the end of 1964, Lynne decided to leave the band to replace Mick Adkins of the local band "The Chads".
Some time in or after 1965, he acquired his first item of studio recording equipment, a Bang & Olufsen 'Beocord 2000 De Luxe' stereo reel-to-reel tape recorder, which allowed multi-tracking between left and right channels. He says it "taught me how to be a producer". In 1966, Lynne joined the line-up of The Nightriders as guitarist. The band would soon change their name to the Idle Race, a name allegedly given to them sarcastically by his grandmother Evelyn Lynne who probably disapproved of pop music as not being a proper job. Despite recording two critically acclaimed albums with the band and producing the second, success eluded him. In 1970, Lynne accepted an offer from friend Roy Wood to join the line-up of the more successful band the Move.
1970–86: The Electric Light Orchestra
Lynne contributed many songs to the Move's last two albums while formulating, with Roy Wood and Bev Bevan, a band built around a fusion of rock and classical music, with the original idea of both bands existing in tandem. This project would eventually become the highly successful Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Problems led to Wood's departure in 1972, after the band's eponymous first album, leaving Lynne as the band's dominant creative force. Thereafter followed a succession of band personnel changes and increasingly popular albums: 1973's ELO 2 and On the Third Day, 1974's Eldorado and 1975's Face the Music. By 1976's A New World Record, Lynne had almost developed the roots of the group into a more complex and unique pop-rock sound mixed with studio strings, layered vocals, and tight, catchy pop singles. Lynne's now almost complete creative dominance as producer, songwriter, arranger, lead singer and guitarist could make ELO appear to be an almost solo effort. However, the ELO sound and the focus of Lynne's writing was also shaped by Louis Clark's and Richard Tandy's co-arranging, under Lynne's direction (notably the large string sections), Bev Bevan's drumming, and Richard Tandy's integration of the Moog, harmonium, and Mellotron, with more novel keyboard technology, gave Lynne's songs a more symphonic sound.
The pinnacle of ELO's chart success and worldwide popularity was the expansive 1977 double album Out of the Blue, which was largely conceived in a Swiss chalet during a two-week writing marathon. The band's 1978 world tour featured an elaborate "space ship" set and laser light show. In order to recreate the complex instrumental textures of their albums, the band used pre-recorded supplemental backing tracks in live performances. Although that practice has now become commonplace, it caused considerable derision in the press of the time. Lynne has often stated that he prefers the creative environment of the studio to the rigours and tedium of touring. In 1979, Lynne followed up the success of Out of the Blue with Discovery, which held No. 1 in the UK for 5 weeks. The album is primarily associated with its two disco-flavoured singles ("Shine a Little Love" and "Last Train to London") and with the title's word play on "disco" and "very". However, the remaining seven non-disco tracks on the album reflected Lynne's range as a pop-rock songwriter, including a heavy, mid-tempo rock anthem ("Don't Bring Me Down") that, despite its use of a drum loop, could be considered the antithesis of disco. In an April 2008 interview, Lynne fondly recalled his forays into dance music:
“I love the force of disco. I love the freedom it gave me to make a different rhythms across it. I enjoyed that really steady driving beat. Just steady as a rock. I’ve always liked that simplicity in the bass drum.”
In 1979, Lynne rejected an offer for ELO to headline the Knebworth Concert in the UK, allowing Led Zeppelin to headline instead. In the absence of any touring to support Discovery, Lynne had time to contribute five tracks to the soundtrack for the 1980 film musical Xanadu. The score yielded three Top 40 singles: "I'm Alive" (UK No. 20), "All Over The World" (UK No. 11), and the title track "Xanadu", which reached number one in the UK. Nevertheless, Lynne was not closely involved with the development of the film, and his material consequently had only superficial attachment to the plot. Xanadu performed weakly at the box office (although it later has experienced popularity as a cult favourite). Lynne subsequently disavowed his limited contribution to the project, although he later re-recorded the title song (with his lead vocal) for the 2000 box set Flashback. In 2007, the film was loosely adapted into a successful Broadway musical, incorporating almost all of the songs from the original film, and also using two other ELO hits: "Strange Magic" and "Evil Woman".
In 1981, Lynne took the band in a somewhat different direction with the science-fiction themed album Time, reaching number one for two weeks in the UK, producing the second Top 3 single in less than two years. The strings were still featured, but with heavily synthesised textures. Following a marginally successful tour, Lynne kept this general approach with 1983's Secret Messages and a final contractually-obligated ELO album Balance of Power in 1986. Lynne discusses the contractually-obligated nature of the final albums on the short interview included with the 'Zoom' DVD. ELO now had only three remaining official members (Lynne, Bevan and Tandy), and Lynne began devoting more time to producing. During his time in the Electric Light Orchestra, Lynne did manage to release a few recordings under his own name. In 1976, Lynne covered the Beatles songs "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "Nowhere Man" for All This and World War II. In 1977, Lynne released his first solo single, the disco-flavoured "Doin' That Crazy Thing"/"Goin' Down to Rio". Despite ELO's high profile at that time, it received little airplay and failed to chart.
In 1984, Lynne and ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy contributed two original songs "Video!" and "Let It Run" to the film Electric Dreams (they also provided a third song, "Sooner Or Later", which was released as the b-side of "Video!"). Lynne also wrote the song "The Story of Me," which was recorded by the Everly Brothers on their comeback album EB84. Even before the official end of ELO, Lynne began his move toward focusing almost exclusively on studio production work. Lynne produced and wrote the 1983 top-40 hit "Slipping Away" for Dave Edmunds and played on sessions (with Richard Tandy) for Edmunds' album, Information. Lynne also produced six tracks on Edmunds' follow-up album in 1984, Riff Raff. In contrast to the dense, boomy, baroque sound of ELO, Lynne's post-ELO studio work has tended toward more minimal, acoustic instrumentation and a sparse, "organic" quality that generally favours light room ambience and colouration over artificial reverb, especially on vocals. Lynne's recordings also often feature the jangling compressed acoustic guitar sound pioneered by Roger McGuinn and a heavily gated snare drum sound.
Lynne's influence by the Beatles was clearly evident in his ELO work, and the connection to the Beatles was strengthened when Lynne produced George Harrison's Cloud Nine. The latter was a successful comeback album for Harrison, released in 1987, featuring the popular singles "Got My Mind Set on You", "When We Was Fab" (where Lynne played the violin in the video) and "This Is Love", the last of which was co-written by Lynne. Lynne's association with Harrison led to the 1988 formation of the Traveling Wilburys, a studio "supergroup" that also included Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison and resulted in two albums (Vol. 1 and Vol. 3), both produced by Harrison and Lynne. In 1988 Lynne also worked on Orbison's album Mystery Girl, co-writing and producing Orbison's last major hit, "You Got It", plus two other tracks on that album. For Rock On!, the final Del Shannon album, Lynne co-wrote "Walk Away" and finished off several tracks after Shannon's death.
In 1989, Lynne co-produced Full Moon Fever by Tom Petty, which included the hit singles "Free Fallin'", "I Won't Back Down" and "Runnin' Down a Dream", all co-written by Lynne. This album and Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 received nominations for the Grammy Award for Best Album of the Year in 1989. The Traveling Wilburys won a Grammy for "Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal" that year. Lynne's song "One Way Love" was released as a single by Agnetha Faltskog and appeared on her second post-ABBA album, Eyes of a Woman. Lynne co-wrote and produced the track "Let It Shine" for Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson's first solo album in 1988. Lynne also contributed three tracks to an album by Duane Eddy and "Falling in Love" on Land of Dreams for Randy Newman.
In 1990, Lynne collaborated on the Wilburys' follow up Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 and shortly after that released his first solo album Armchair Theatre, with old friends George Harrison and Richard Tandy featuring the singles "Every Little Thing" and "Lift Me Up". The album received some positive critical attention but little commercial success. Lynne also provided the song "Wild Times" to the motion picture soundtrack Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991. In 1991, Lynne returned to the studio with Petty, co-writing and producing the album Into the Great Wide Open for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, which featured the singles "Learning to Fly" and "Into the Great Wide Open". The following year he produced Roy Orbison's posthumous album King of Hearts, featuring the single "I Drove All Night".
In February 1994, Lynne fulfilled a lifelong dream by working with the three surviving Beatles on the Anthology album series. At George Harrison's request, Lynne was brought in to assist in re-evaluating John Lennon's original studio material. The songs "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" were created by digitally processing Lennon's demos for the songs and overdubbing the three surviving band members to form a virtual Beatles reunion that the band had mutually eschewed during Lennon's lifetime. Lynne has also produced records for Ringo Starr and worked on Paul McCartney's Grammy nominated album Flaming Pie.
Lynne's work in the 1990s also includes production of a 1993 album for singer/songwriter Julianna Raye entitled Something Peculiar and production or songwriting contributions to albums by Roger McGuinn (Back from Rio) and Joe Cocker (Night Calls), songs by Aerosmith ("Lizard Love"), Tom Jones ("Lift Me Up"), Bonnie Tyler ("Time Mends a Broken Heart"), the film Still Crazy, Hank Marvin ("Wonderful Land" and "Nivram"), Et Moi ("Drole De Vie") and the Tandy Morgan Band ("Action"). In 1996, Lynne was officially recognised by his peers when he was awarded the Ivor Novello Award for "Outstanding Contributions to British Music" for a second time.
Following legal action to get the ELO name back from Bevan's touring group ELO Part II after Bevan decided to retire and sell his 50% rights of the ELO name to Lynne, Lynne released a new album in 2001 under the ELO moniker entitled Zoom. The album featured guest appearances by Ringo Starr, George Harrison and original ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy, with Lynne multi-tracking a majority of the instruments and vocals. The album received positive reviews but had no hit singles. Despite bearing little sonic relationship to the halcyon ELO days of the late 1970s, it was marketed as a "return to the classic ELO sound" in an attempt to connect with a loyal body of fans and jump-start a planned concert tour (with Lynne and Tandy as the only returning original ELO members). While a live performance was taped at CBS Television City over two consecutive nights and shown on PBS (with subsequent DVD release), the tour itself was cancelled. Speculation remains, as to the reason (or reasons), for the cancellation of this tour; although often cited by fans as a reason for the tour cancellation, the events and aftermath of 11 September occurred subsequent to the official cancellation of the tour. Greg Bissonette (ELO drummer), when asked, described it as "the greatest tour I never went on!"
Earlier in 2001, Lynne began working with George Harrison on what would turn out to be Harrison's final album, Brainwashed. After Harrison's death from cancer on 29 November 2001, Lynne returned to the studio in 2002 to help finish the uncompleted album. Lynne was heavily involved in the memorial Concert for George, held at London's Royal Albert Hall in November 2002, which also featured Wilbury member Petty. Lynne sang the lead vocal on "The Inner Light", "I Want to Tell You" and "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)", and subsequently produced the Surround Sound audio mix for the Concert for George DVD, released in November 2003, which later received a Grammy. Lynne reunited in 2006 with Petty to produce the latter's third solo release, Highway Companion.
ASCAP honoured Lynne with the Golden Note Award during their inaugural "I Create Music" EXPO on 24 April 2009, the presenter was Paul Williams. ASCAP's Golden Note Award is presented to songwriters, composers, and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones. Previous honorees include Tom Petty, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Garth Brooks, to name a few. Lynne said in a Reuters article on 23 April 2009, that he has finally been working on the long awaited follow-up to his 1990 solo debut album Armchair Theatre with a possible tentative release date of "later this year". He also produced four tracks on Regina Spektor's fifth album Far, released 23 June 2009.
In a March 2010 interview with the Daily Express newspaper, Lynne confirmed he was working on a new album with Joe Walsh and simultaneously "writing a couple of albums under his own name, though he won't tell us in which musical direction he's heading." Lynne contributed a cover of Buddy Holly's "Words of Love" for the tribute album Listen to Me: Buddy Holly, which was released on 6 September 2011. On 31 December 2011, Brian Williams reported on NBC New Year's Eve with Carson Daly that "2012 releases will include rare new work from Jeff Lynne."
In 2012, Walsh released his Analog Man album which was produced by Lynne. Lynne's second solo album, a covers album entitled Long Wave, was released on 8 October 2012. A greatest hits collection of re-recorded ELO songs by Lynne titled Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra was also released under the ELO moniker on the same day. Lynne implied that a new album with original material would be released during 2013.
In 2012, Lynne and Tandy teamed up at Lynne's Bungalow Palace home studios to record a live set of ELO's songs. This was broadcast on TV as part of the Mr. Blue Sky documentary.
On 11 October 2012, Lynne was nominated as a performer/songwriter for 2013 induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
On 21 June 2013, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced that Lynne is to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame sometime in 2014.
Lynne and Tandy reunited again on 12 November 2013 to perform, under the name Jeff Lynne and Friends, "Livin' Thing" and "Mr. Blue Sky" at the Children in Need Rocks concert at Hammersmith Eventim Apollo, London.
On 9 February 2014, Lynne performed George Harrison's "Something" on The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles, as well as "Hey Bulldog" from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack while accompanying Dave Grohl, commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' performance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
On 5 March 2014, Lynne received an honorary doctorate degree from Birmingham City University. He also mentioned he was working with Bryan Adams on new material.
On 14 September 2014 Jeff Lynne played a public concert for the first time in over 25 years, headlining at the Radio 2 festival in Hyde Park, London.
On 8 February 2015, Lynne appeared at the Grammy Awards, playing "Evil Woman" and "Mr. Blue Sky" with Ed Sheeran.
On 23 April 2015, Jeff Lynne was awarded the 2,548th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star was dedicated at 1750 N. Vine Street in front of the Capitol Records building. Tom Petty and Joe Walsh were present to help unveil the star and spoke about Lynne.
On 10 September 2015, Lynne's website announced he had signed a contract to deliver an album of new ELO music for Columbia Records marking the first time in 14 years new ELO music would be released.
On 24 September 2015, "When I Was a Boy", the first single from Alone in the Universe was released on the internet with a music video scheduled not long after. The album was released on 13 November 2015 and was followed by promotional shows including the first ELO shows in the United States in 30 years. A 2016 European tour was scheduled, with Dublin, Amsterdam and Zurich being some of the locations toured. Notably, the Dublin concert was delayed by a week due to medical advice given to Lynne.
On 24 June 2017, Lynne performed at Wembley Stadium to a crowd of 60,000, playing a 24-song setlist including 'Xanadu', 'Do Ya' and 'Twilight'. The concert was released on DVD and CD, under the title Wembley or Bust.
On 2 August 2018, Lynne and his band Jeff Lynne's ELO began a 10-city tour of North America which included the US cities of Oakland, California and Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Dallas, Rosemont, Illinois, Detroit, New York City, Philadelphia and Toronto.
On 12 September 2018, Jeff Lynne's ELO began a tour throughout Europe including dates in Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Mannheim, Vienna, Amsterdam, Nottingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Liverpool, Dublin, and Belfast.
On 20 June 2019, Jeff Lynne's ELO began a North American tour with Dhani Harrison.
On 26 September 2019, Jeff Lynne's ELO announced a new album, called From Out of Nowhere, which was subsequently released on 1 November of the same year. The album was accompanied by the release of an eponymous single which premiered on BBC Radio 2 that same day.
Jeff Lynne - (2000 to 2029 Playlist)
Jeff Lynne - (Live Playlist)
Jeff Lynne & Richard Tandy – (Music & Commentary) Live from Bungalow Palace 2012
Jeff Lynne – Blown Away – Album: Armchair Theatre (1990)
Jeff Lynne – Nobody Home – Album: Armchair Theatre (1990)
Jeff Lynne – Don’t Let Go (Jessie Stone Cover) – Album: Armchair Theatre (1990)
The Traveling Wilbury's - Handle with Care (1987)
The Traveling Wilbury's – End of the Line (1987)
Jeff Lynne (ELO) - 1973 to (1986 Playlist)
The Move – Do Ya – (1972)
The Move – Message from the Country – (1971)
The Move – What? (Album: Looking On – 1970)
The Move - Open Up said the World at the Door - (Album: Looking On – 1970)
The Idle Race - Someone Knocking (Album: The Idle Race - 1969)
The Idle Race - Sea of Dreams (Album: The Idle Race - 1969)
The Idle Race - Skeleton and the Roundabout (Album: The Birthday Party - 1968)
The Idle Race - The Birthday (Album: The Birthday Party - 1968)
The Idle Race - On with the Show (Album: The Birthday Party - 1968)
A Chat with Jeff Lynne – Falling in Love with Music
Friday, June 12, 2015
BIO: David Bowie
“As was the case with Miles Davis in jazz, Bowie has come not just to represent his innovations but to symbolize modern rock as an idiom in which literacy, art, fashion, style, sexual exploration and social commentary can be rolled into one.” Rolling Stone magazine
Bowie is the man who elevated his music to what can only be described as an art form.
Driven by an entirely deeper dynamic than most pop artists, David Bowie inhabits a very special world of extraordinary sounds and endless vision. Unwilling to stay on the treadmill of rock legend and avoiding the descent into ever demeaning and decreasing circles of cliché, Bowie writes and performs what he wants, when he wants. His absence from the endless list of “important events” has just fuelled interest. Constant speculation about what the guy was up to has even led some to wonder if this is his greatest reinvention ever. David Jones!
David Robert Jones was born in Brixton on January 8, 1947. At age thirteen, inspired by the jazz of the London West End, he picked up the saxophone and called up Ronnie Ross for lessons. Early bands he played with – The Kon-Rads, The King Bees, the Mannish Boys and the Lower Third –provided him with an introduction into the showy world of pop and mod, and by 1966 he was David Bowie, with long hair and aspirations of stardom rustling about his head. Kenneth Pitt signed on as his manager, and his career began with a handful of mostly forgotten singles but a head full of ideas. It was not until 1969 that the splash onto the charts would begin, with the legendary Space Oddity (which peaked at No. 5 in the UK). Amidst his musical wanderings in the late 60s, he experimented with mixed media, cinema, mime, Tibetan Buddhism, acting and love. The album, originally titled David Bowie then subsequently Man of Words, Man of Music, pays homage to all the influences of the London artistic scene. It shows the early song-writing talent that was yet to yield some of rock-n-roll’s finest work, even if it would take the rest of the world a few years to catch up with him.
Bowie’s first album, The Man Who Sold The World, was recorded as an entity in itself and marks the first definitive creative stretch for the listener. Mick Ronson’s guitars are often referred to as the birth point of heavy metal, and certainly the auspicious beginnings of glam rock can be traced here. The album was released by Mercury in April 1971 to minimal fanfare and Bowie took his first trip to the United States to promote it that spring. In May of the same year, Duncan Zowie Haywood Bowie was born to David and his then wife Angela.
RCA was the next label to sign Bowie, and after a trip to America to complete the legalities, he returned to London to record two albums nearly back to back. Hunky Dory was built from a six-song demo that had enticed the label to sign him and features Changes and Life On Mars. Almost immediately, it was followed up by the instant classic The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars.
1972 was certainly the year that Bowie began to get a glimpse of the power of pop. GQ editor Dylan Jones said of the landmark 1972 Top of The Pops appearance on 6th July “This is the performance that turned Bowie into a star, embedding his Ziggy Stardust persona into the nations consciousness.” The sound of the suburbs suddenly got a whole lot louder. Previewed in London that spring, his rock-n-roll creation Ziggy Stardust staged one of the most spectacular and innovative live shows to date, and the craze that followed was the beginning of his superstar myth.
The summer of 1972 was also a busy one for him in the studio, as he produced albums for Lou Reed (Transformer) – a seminal record that to this day enthuses critics the world over and spawned the surprise leftfield hit, Walk on the Wild Side, a fairytale of the dark side of New York. The fact that David had also co-produced the terrifying and vastly influential Raw Power by Iggy and The Stooges that year, only added to his growing reputation as an artist to be taken most seriously. Bowie later went on to produce further Iggy albums – The Idiot and Lust for Life and co-wrote China Girl from Let’s Dance with the Detroit demon. He also produced Mott the Hoople (All The Young Dudes, for which he wrote the hit title track).
The US “Ziggy” tour began in September, with sold-out shows full of theatrically inspired Japanese costumes, snarling guitars courtesy of Mick Ronson, and a bold, daring approach to performance that propelled the audience into a rock-n-roll fervor. He abruptly put his own creation to rest on June 3, 1973 with the pronouncement: “Of all the shows on the tour, this one will stay with us the longest because not only is this the last show of the tour, but it is the last show we will ever do.” This surprised everyone in the house – not least the members of his band.
Amidst the Ziggy fever, Aladdin Sane was released in April 1973, inspired by his experiences in America while touring. After putting the “Stardust” show to bed, he travelled to France to begin work on his next albums. Pin-Ups was the last time that Bowie would record an album with Mick Ronson on guitar and Ken Scott at the production helm. His tribute to the artists that he admired in the London years of 1964-67 was released in October 1973. In April of 1973, his proto-Bladerunner project Diamond Dogs debuted full of tension and angst standing in stark contrast to the disco music that was beginning to crowd the airwaves. In the summer of 1974, he undertook his greatest US tour yet, with an enormous set and choreographed tableaus. The double album David Live was recorded in Philadelphia’s Tower Theatre, and serves as a souvenir of this tour.
The two previous albums showed hints of Bowie's interest in the music he heard in America. Authentic soul with a unique UK perspective meant this was far from being a homage. The most direct result of this fascination is the rhythmic, soul-laden Young Americans, released in 1975. A collaboration with John Lennon on Fame came out of an impromptu session at Electric Ladyland in New York and was a last-minute addition to the LP. It resulted in Bowie's first ever No. 1 single in the US. The album also featured another David discovery soon to be better known as R&B singer Luther Vandross. He contributed backing vocals alongside the other legendary young American musicians such as Willie Weeks, Andy Newmark, David Sanborn and Mike Garson.
Not long after the album came out, he moved to Los Angeles and starred in the cult classic Nic Roeg science fiction film The Man Who Fell To Earth. After completion of filming, he almost immediately returned to the studio for the recording of Station to Station, a travelogue of sorts. The White Light tour followed, this time with an electronic-driven line-up, played out with Brecht- inspired theatricality. A compilation of hits, ChangesOneBowie, was released by RCA in May 1976. Never one to stay in one place too long, shortly after his tour finished, David relocated to the Schonenberg section of Berlin.
Whether Bowie was where the action was or the action was where David Bowie was, sometimes it was hard to assess, but for sure the seismic plates of history were shifting under the studio during the next recording. The iron curtain still firmly divided Europe and nowhere more so than in Berlin where David and Iggy were famously holed up. The subsequent music provided an atmosphere backdrop to the emerging punk scene in London.
A suitably mysterious return to the UK stage playing keyboards with Iggy in 77 cemented the myth. The stark black and white stage lights highlighted the unseen all persuasive Bowie influence and fitted the mood of the times perfectly. He was soon to step back out of the shadows.
Low and “Heroes” were recorded with collaborators Brian Eno, Tony Visconti and he adopted new approaches to the songwriting process. In an interview for French radio, Bowie said, “Berlin has the strange ability to make you write only the important things. Anything else you don’t mention… and in the end you produce Low.” Surrealism and experimentation were the themes of the day, and the incorporation of cut-and-paste techniques into unique instrumentation birthed what are now heralded as luminary ambient soundscapes. Released in 1977, Low confused RCA and though the masses were not quite sure what to make of the effort, the single Sound and Vision eventually hit No. 2 on the British charts.
The second in his three-album triptych, “Heroes” prominently features Robert Fripp on guitar and a more optimistic outlook overall. One of his greatest singles, the title track from this album recounts a romantic liaison between lovers near the Berlin Wall. His next foray into film occurred in Just A Gigolo, which he described as “all my thirty-two Elvis Presley movies rolled into one.” March of 1978 found him on tour again, and during a May break he narrated Peter and the Wolf with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the first of many children's projects he would consistently support over the years (now out of print, the result was a collectible green-vinyl album). Stage was released in September 1978, culled from his recent tour of the States, and features live material from his “Berlin” period. A relocation to Switzerland was to follow, abandoned frequently due to his ever developing love affair with the exotic Indonesia, Africa and the Far East.
Recorded in France, Lodger was released in May 1979, and by the end of the year he was again in the studio. Rehearsals also began for his Broadway debut, in the part of the The Elephant Man, which opened in September 1980 to rave reviews.
In the same month, Scary Monsters was released and Bowie also recorded Under Pressure in 1981 in Switzerland and the song appeared on Queen's album Hot Space the following year. The song reached No. 1 in the UK.
After this period, he dropped out of the public eye, while remaining involved with various film projects. 1982 saw him playing the male lead in The Hunger, the role of Celliers in the captivating World War 2 drama Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, alongside Tom Conti and Ryuichi Sakamoto …writing the theme song for the movie Cat People. Another greatest hits compilation, ChangesTwoBowie, came out in 1982.
In October 83, RCA released Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture Album, capturing the energy of Ziggy and the Spiders during their last show. Shortly thereafter, the movie, originally filmed in 1973, was also released.
Officially signed to EMI in 1983, the album Let’s Dance followed along with the world-encompassing Serious Moonlight tour. Bowie had brilliantly reinvented himself once again. This time as the ultimate rock star, just in time to be at the forefront of stadium rock and a new era of mass media fuelled mega stardom. Selling at least 7 million copies, Let’s Dance became the most commercially successful album of his career and massively influenced a whole host of artists, including Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Boy George.
The album, produced by Chic mastermind Nile Rodgers, was perhaps the most straightforward album of his career. It was a collection of elegantly produced, impeccably sung dance floor numbers including the Motown-styled Modern Love, the darkly romantic China Girl (first cut with Iggy Pop in Berlin) and a remake of the movie theme Cat People. All of the above were substantial radio hits, as was the glossy and romantic title track. The upbeat romantic theme extended to his next album Tonight (1984), though the single Loving the Alien drew a prophetic scenario on the Islam/Christian tensions.
A moving appearance at Live Aid (where he dedicated “Heroes” to his young son), a duet single with Mick Jagger, and the heavily theatrical Glass Spider tour (with lead guitar by Peter Frampton) all kept up Bowie's popularity. In 1988 brought the biggest surprise of all. Another sharp left turn: he had formed a new band, Tin Machine, with the Sales Brothers (Hunt and Tony, sons of Soupy) and a hot guitar find from Boston, Reeves Gabrels. He was adamant that this would be a full-time band, not a superstar solo project. On their two million-selling albums (plus a limited edition live disc), Tin Machine proved their mettle as a modern alternative live act, with a stripped-down guitar sound, all-new material and a few real surprises (a Pixies cover!). Some fans loved it, others were confused by it and Tin Machine was on hiatus by 1992. Meanwhile, Bowie set out on Sound and Vision with his first full-fledged greatest hits tour, recruiting long-time collaborator Adrian Belew to play lead guitar. In an innovative move, fans were allowed to pick the songs via phone poll. An album of the same name accompanied the tour on Rykodisc.
1993 brought the long-awaited return to solo projects Black Tie White Noise and one of rock’s first CD–ROMs entitled Jump. With Nile Rodgers again producing, the album came close to summing up every period of Bowie: with the opening instrumental The Wedding (inspired by Bowie's own marriage to model Iman) offering a dance-and-house-inspired, brighter-toned return to the sound of Low; the single Jump They Say harking back to funkier times; and the old Cream tune I Feel Free marking a long-awaited reunion with Ziggy-era partner Mick Ronson (sadly, Ronson passed away soon after). Reaching No. 1 in the UK album charts, Black Tie White Noise reassured fans that Bowie's creative curiosity was by no means exhausted.
By 1994, Bowie and Eno were again collaborating in the studio. The result was the concept album Outside released as part of a new deal with Virgin Records. This complex project touches on the increasing obsession with the human body as art and the paganization of western society. With its package-arts broken-down style, its haunted sound of ruin and its non-linear story-line of art, murder and technology, Outside predates the new sensibility of movies such as Seven, Copycat and the TV shows The X-Files and Millennium. As befits the multiphrenic nature of outsider art and emotion, Bowie sings in any number of voices: one minute the melodramatic crooner, another the stylized Londoner, another the quiet, intimate recluse of the Berlin years. Or, he is vari-speeded among the album’s seven characters. The song The Hearts Filthy Lesson, made the soundtrack of one of the biggest and darkest movie hits of that year in David Fincher’s Seven.
1996 was an extraordinarily active year even by David’s own feverish standards, switching styles and moods effortlessly, embarking on a confrontational tour around the US with Nine Inch Nails and performing acoustically with Neil Young and Pearl Jam at the Bridge Benefit Concert in San Francisco. He had a triumphant summer headlining Roskilde and the Phoenix Festival, and his electric performance at the VH-1 Fashion Awards on October 25, where he debuted his new single Little Wonder. Then there was the new album Earthling, all very direct, hard-hitting. The dramatic cover art featured David in an Alexander McQueen designed Union Jack coat in a slightly surreal British pastoral setting. The album arose out of the dynamic achieved and harnessed by the end of that summer's tour. The band working on the projects featured Gail Ann Dorsey on bass and vocals, Mike Garson on keyboards, Reeves Gabrels on guitar and synths, and Zachary Alford on drums, the nucleus of the touring outfit. The record features the avant-garde drum-n-bass extravaganza and top 20 UK hit Little Wonder and the crushing Dead Man Walking, a reflection on getting older.
As always Bowie was at the cutting the edge with the first ever download of a song distributed through the internet in 1996, Telling Lies. 350 thousand young Americans downloaded a copy. A new age had begun and hardly anybody realised the ramifications, especially the luddite record company bosses of the time. Not for the last time, David was at least ten years ahead of the madding crowd.
The next year 1997 was to see a controversial collaboration with Eno in the shape of the I’m Afraid Of Americans single (“Not as hostile about Americans as Born In The USA” – Bowie).
This track, complete with the spontaneous Dom & Nic video that found Trent Reznor chasing David through the streets of Greenwich Village, hung around the US charts for three months, finishing the project on a real high. Despite the title, Bowie's American influence seemed to be growing. He has been cited as a guiding star by The Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, among others. He even reached into American film: the movie Basquiat, co-starring Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper, saw him playing the character he immortalized in his 1972 song Andy Warhol. The film’s director was pre-eminent American painter, Julian Schnabel.
In January 1997, he celebrated his fiftieth birthday with an all-star performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden. He was joined on stage by old friends Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, Robert Smith, Billy Corgan, Foo Fighters and Frank Black, all of whom played and sang with David to make it one of his most memorable shows. Then he was off once again on a world tour that stormed over fifteen headlining festivals, countless theaters and clubs, and finished with a stadium tour of South America with Nine Inch Nails and No Doubt.
Already highly acclaimed in the fields of art and music, David has been turning his hand to mastering the information superhighway. 1998 saw the launch of BowieNet (www.davidbowie.com). BowieNet is the world's first artist-created Internet service provider.
1999 was as busy a year as ever for Bowie. With his continuing work on his now highly acclaimed BowieNet website (a nominee for the 1999 WIRED Award for Best Entertainment Site of the Year), David has found time to work on a film Exhuming Mr. Rice, in which he plays the title role. The year also saw the launch of the David Bowie Radio Network on the Rolling Stone Radio website; this station runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The station's playlist includes 54 tracks, all personally picked and introduced by David. In May, David received an honorary doctorate in music from Berklee College of Music, Boston. In the past, this prestigious doctorate has also been received by BB King, Sting, James Taylor, Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones. David also made a well publicised and successful foray in the art world with an acclaimed exhibition at the Cork Street Gallery in London. As well as finding time to pick up the Legion d’honneur Award in France.
1999 also saw the growing relationship between David and Placebo flourish. At the annual BRIT Awards ceremony, David joined the band for a performance of the Marc Bolan classic Twentieth Century Boy. The performance went down so well with the public that the Mirror newspaper began a mini-campaign for the track to be released as a single and it was not long before the two artists were to team again.
July saw David voted as the biggest music star of the 20th century, beating Mick Jagger and Noel Gallagher, by readers of The Sun newspaper. In the same month David was voted the sixth Greatest Star of The Century by Q Magazine and its readers. In this poll David was the third highest-ranking star who is still alive.
Most importantly October 1999 saw the release of a brand new studio album. Hours... which was David’s twenty-third solo album, harkening a return to the sounds of the Hunky Dory days. Written solely with long-time collaborator Reeves Gabrels over the last year, Hours… could be described as one of David's most autobiographical records to date. Tracks include Thursday’s Child, Survive and The Dreamers. The themes of loss and regret throughout the album are likely to strike hearts universally. With such personal lyrics as “Sometimes I cry my heart to sleep,” David is evoking emotions recognizable to us all. This album deals more with real life opposed to imagery and fantasy.
The Hours... touring schedule ended in spectacular style with David headlining the closing night of the 2000 Glastonbury festival in front of an estimated 150,000 people. Reportedly the largest attendance at the event ever and a far cry from an earlier appearance at the inaugural Glastonbury with Hawkwind in front of a couple of thousand people. Backstage catering consisted of milk and cheese in Michael Eavis kitchen then. This time, the banners fluttered in the wind and the crowd stretched as far as the eye could see. A 21 song set saw David open with Wild is the Wind and finished with the ambiguously titled I’m afraid of Americans. A fitting close to what was a spectacular year.
2001 and Beyond
Following the end of the Hours... campaign David enjoyed a period out of the public eye lightly peppered with some key spectacular live performances. For two consecutive years, he has pledged his support to the Tibet Freedom House shows at New York’s Carnegie Hall alongside luminaries such as Philip Glass, Patti Smith, Moby and Beastie Boy Adam Yauch to aid the campaign for a free Tibet. Each year has seen a very different performance from David, one year had Moby on guitar delivering a rocking version of “Heroes” and the next saw a string driven rendition of the rarely performed Space Oddity with Adam Yauch on bass.
There is never a “quiet” time in the life of David Bowie and during this period, David was bestowed the honor of being voted the most influential artist of all time by the UK’s tastemaker tome the NME. In addition, another life changing event took place, the birth of David and Iman’s first child Alexandria Zahra Jones. Bowie took this time to savor fatherhood but also used the time to write a series of new songs which would form the basis for a new album.
David was in New York on September 11th, and in the aftermath David showed support for his adopted city by performing a short but emotional set at The Concert for New York City at Madison Square Garden. He opened the show with a raw rendition of the Simon and Garfunkel classic America and followed with an uplifting and barnstorming rendition of his own “Heroes”. All of those whom attended the show and the millions of folk whom saw the show broadcast live on TV can’t help but to have been moved by the sentiments expressed in both of the songs David performed.
Following on from that emotional night, the series of new songs that David had started work on led to a much heralded reunion with Tony Visconti which in turn resulted in a new album Heathen and a change of outlook towards the music industry and the setting up of his own label Iso Records which has now linked up with Columbia Records to release what is probably the most eagerly awaited album of his career.
“Tony and I had been wanting to work together again for a few years now,”says David. “Both of us had fairly large commitments and for a long time we couldn't see a space in which we could get anything together. As spring came around, last year, things began to ease up. I told Mark Plati and my band that I was going to disappear for a while and put this thing together with Tony. They were very understanding, they’ve worked with me long enough to know that we would be back together again before long.”
So, diaries cleared, Bowie and Visconti set about compiling what you might call a location report, just outside of Woodstock in New York State. “I’d been told by guitarist David Torn of a new studio that was near completion called Allaire. Tony and I [took] a trip up a few weeks before we started work there, just to suss it out. In fact, T-Bone Burnett was working there with Natalie Merchant at the time. It’s remote, silent and inspirational. We couldn't believe what a find it was.”
So taken was he with the setting, David didn’t come back to New York again until the record was complete, living in the grounds with his family and eating in a communal dining room. A famously early riser, he put that to good use as Heathen began to come sharply into focus. “I’d get up around six most mornings and spend them in the studio putting together my chord structures and melodies and words, finding sounds that I wanted to use. Then around ten, Tony would get in and we’d go to work.”
Bowie’s old friend Pete Townshend’s contribution to the album, playing lead guitar on Slow Burn, was not his first with Bowie, as listeners to Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) will remember. Foo Fighters Dave Grohl took the lead on the Neil Young cover I’ve Been Waiting.
For a further surprise, there’s more Bowie instrumentation on Heathen than anything in memory. “I was delighted that so much of what I played remained on the finished work. That’s me playing drums over my own loop on the Pixies cover Cactus. In fact the only thing I didn’t play on that track was bass. That was Tony Visconti. Nearly all the synth work on Heathen is mine and some of the piano.”
And the title? “Heathenism is a state of mind”, says Bowie. “You can take it that I’m referring to one who does not see his world. He has no mental light. He destroys almost unwittingly. He cannot feel any God’s presence in his life. He is the 21st Century man. There’s no theme or concept behind Heathen, just a number of songs, but somehow there is a thread that runs through it that is quite as strong as any of my thematic type albums.”
Some of the new songs such as Slow Burn and Afraid from Heathen got their first public airing in early May of 2002 at the Robert De Niro organized Tribeca Film Festival in New York which was put together to help revitalize the spirits of the downtown area.
The release of Heathen was accompanied by a series of concerts across Europe and the USA most notably David’s curatorship of the prestigious two week long British Meltdown arts festival involving acts as diverse as The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Suede, comedian Harry Hill, Coldplay, Television and The Dandy Warhols. David performed Low in its entirety alongside Heathen as part of the festival.
A year later the Reality album was launched with the world’s largest interactive ‘live by satellite’ event and was followed by the rapturously received and critically acclaimed A Reality Tour of the world.
Apart from the odd rare sighting at a charity function and one or two snatched paparazzi shots, David has kept an extremely low profile, popping up for two stunning performances with Arcade Fire in Central Park 2005 and again in September 2006 at New Yorks Radio City Hall. That certainly woke everyone up! In 2006 he joined Pink Floyd legend Dave Gilmour on two of Floyd’s best-known songs – Arnold Layne and Comfortably Numb at the Royal Albert Hall.
2006 also saw Bowie return to acting with the Chris Nolan-directed The Prestige (#1 at the box office).
In May 2007, Bowie was the curator of the highly successful 10-day High Line arts and music festival in New York. In June, he was honored at the 11th Annual Webby Awards (known as the “Oscars of the Internet”) with the Webby Lifetime Achievement Award for pushing the boundaries between art and technology. Later in 2007, Bowie starred as himself in an acclaimed episode of Extras, Ricky Gervais’ series on HBO.
2012 saw the erection of a plaque in Heddon Street, London to commemorate the extraordinary influence of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and of course David himself. A large group of media and fans assembled for the occasion; were treated to a moving speech from Gary Kemp who said, “Ziggy was the ultimate messianic rock star, and with him David Bowie successfully blurred the lines not just between boys and girls, but himself and his creation. Bowie was Ziggy come to save us – and I bought him hook, eyeliner and haircut. It seems right that it should be the job of a fan boy and I am very honored.”
Further excitement accompanied the announcement in 2012, that the David Bowie Archive had given unprecedented access to the prestigious Victoria and Albert museum for an exhibition to be curated solely by the V&A. It is the first time a museum has been given access to the David Bowie Archive.
On January 8, 2013, quite without fanfare and out of the blue, David Bowie did something nobody really expected. He released a new single entitled 'Where Are We Now' and announced the release of a new album in March. The album, 'The Next Day' is Bowie's 30th studio album and his first new album in 10 years.
The next chapter has surely been written by this most mysterious and important of artists.
“Blackstar” - “A darkness descends in a religious shroud upon the inhabitants of a planet and seizes the mind in viral hypnotic reflection to a lost soul…Major Tom has been found” ~ Stewart Brennan, World United Music
David Bowie is one of the most gifted and compelling Artists of our time and just released the title track to his upcoming 2016 album “Blackstar”. The video for “Blackstar” is a brilliant artistic expression reflecting some of the darker shades of thought that could easily be interpreted as a mirror of today’s sociopathic spiritual governance…The video for the song went viral across the social networks within 24 hours to much applause and fanfare being dubbed as “artistically brilliant”.
On 10 January 2016, two days after his 69th birthday and the release of the album Blackstar, Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment. He had been diagnosed 18 months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public. The Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove, who had worked with the singer on his Off-Broadway musical Lazarus, explained that Bowie was unable to attend rehearsals due to the progression of the disease. He noted that Bowie had kept working during the illness.
Bowie's producer Tony Visconti wrote:
He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life – a work of art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn't, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.
Following Bowie's death, fans gathered at impromptu street shrines. At the mural of Bowie in his birthplace of Brixton, south London, which shows him in his Aladdin Sane character, fans laid flowers and sang his songs. Other memorial sites included Berlin, Los Angeles, and outside his apartment in New York. After news of his death, sales of his albums and singles soared. Bowie had insisted that he did not want a funeral, and according to his death certificate he was cremated in New Jersey on 12 January. As he wished in his will, his ashes were scattered in a Buddhist ceremony in Bali, Indonesia.------------------------------------------------------
RIP David Bowie, you will most definitely be missed but never forgotten (((1947, Jan 08th – 2016, Jan 10th)))
David Bowie (1967)
Space Oddity (1969)
The Man Who Sold the World (1970)
Hunky Dory (1971)
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
Aladdin Sane (1973)
Pin Ups (1973)
Diamond Dogs (1974)
Young Americans (1975)
Station to Station (1976)
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980)
Let's Dance (1983)
Never Let Me Down (1987)
Black Tie White Noise (1993)
The Next Day (2013)
Blackstar (Jan 2016)
Blackstar (Jan 2016)
Rick Wakeman's Tribute To David Bowie - Life On Mars – RIP David
David Bowie 2000 to 2016
Documentary: David Bowie – Sound and Vision (2002)
David Bowie speaks to Jeremy Paxman on BBC Newsnight (1999)
David Bowie 1980 to 1999
David Bowie - Countdown End of the Decade special 1979
David Bowie 1967 to 1979
Documentary - Cracked Actor – (1974)
David Bowie Links: