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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hendrix at 70: Jimi Was Headed For Jazz Fusion and Hip-Hop, Not Earth, Wind & Fire

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 9:45 AM

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By Steven Roby

Editor's note: Today, Nov. 24, 2012, would have been Jimi Hendrix's 70th birthday. We're celebrating with a few posts on the man, including a roundup of 13 revealing quotes from Hendrix on Hendrix, a new volume of interviews and profiles edited by Hendrix biographer Steven Roby. Below, Roby shares his thoughts on where Hendrix's music was headed before the guitarist's untimely death on Sept. 18, 1970.

Jimi Hendrix stands alone. Seattle's hometown icon influenced everyone from painters to musicians, but to say his next musical direction was a pop/disco horn band makes no sense at all.

In a recent interview, Janie Hendrix, Jimi's stepsister, told KISW that what Hendrix was aiming for in 1969 was what Earth Wind & Fire became. Perhaps Ms. Hendrix has her late-1960s horn bands confused, and meant to say Chicago, or maybe Blood, Sweat, and Tears, since Earth, Wind & Fire really didn't come to national attention until 1975 with their dance hit "Shining Star." Or maybe the fact she was once married to a guitarist from EWF had something to do with her statement.

See also:

* Jimi Hendrix's 70th Birthday: 13 Revealing Quotes From the Man Himself

* Top Five Insanely Great Jimi Hendrix Songs You Might Not Know

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Jimi Hendrix's 70th Birthday: 13 Revealing Quotes From the Man Himself

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 3:00 AM

hendrix_on_hendrix.jpg

Jimi Hendrix, the greatest rock guitar player who ever lived, was born on Nov. 27, 1942. Today, honor of what would have been his 70th birthday, we present 13 amazing quotes from the man himself, all taken from Hendrix on Hendrix, a new volume of interviews and profiles of the man edited by Steven Roby. The book traces Hendrix's life from his arrival in London in 1966 through his rise to fame in the U.K., his explosion onto the American scene in 1967, his performances at Woodstock, the end of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the vision Hendrix had for his music before his life was cut short. Hendrix died on Sept. 18, 1970, after a mishap with sleeping pills in a London flat. Let's remember him through his own words.

See also:

* Top Five Insanely Great Jimi Hendrix Songs You Might Not Know

* Hendrix at 70: Jimi Was Headed For Jazz Fusion and Hip-Hop, Not Earth, Wind & Fire

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Monday, October 1, 2012

The CD Is 30 Years Old -- Long Live the CD

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 3:09 PM

The CD: still looking thin at age 30
  • The CD: still looking thin at age 30

Thirty years ago today, Sony unveiled the first commercially available compact disc, Billie Joel's 52nd Street, designed for the Sony CD-101P, the first commercially available CD player. Since then, compact discs have grown from audiophile specialty to world-ruling music format to anachronistic punchline. And in 2011, sales of digital music eclipsed compact discs for the first time ever, even though more than 300 million CDs were sold.

NPR has an in-depth look at the rise and legacy of the CD, while Tech Hive recounts the development of the technology. Both pieces take a sort of goodbye-to-all-that view of the CD, which had 25 or 30 years as the favored format and now is fading into obsolescence. From Tech Hive:

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Friday, September 28, 2012

After 19 Years of "93 Til Infinity" Remakes, Only Freddie Gibbs Has Done It Justice

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

"93 'til Infinity" was released 19 years ago today.
  • "93 'til Infinity" was released 19 years ago today.

"Dial the seven digits. Call up Bridget/ Her man's a midget. Plus she got friends, yo, I can dig it..."

It was 19 years ago when Tajai, Opio, Phesto, and A-Plus first upped us on how they just chill, roaming the strip for bones to pick, attackin' with the smoothness.

"93 'til Infinity" still stands as one of the best hip-hop joints to ever come out of the Bay -- the West Coast's proudest contribution to the kicked-back, jazz-based, lyrically-complex rap style A Tribe Called Quest was making famous in the early '90s. For Souls of Mischief, that debut album, which bore the same name as its lead track, would be their most commercially successful. The record was released on Sept. 28, 1993 and, like the way the crew chilled, its legacy will persist 'til infinity.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Beatles Played Their Final Concert 46 Years Ago at Candlestick Park -- And You Can Listen to the Whole Thing

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Forty-six years ago today, on Aug. 29, 1966, the Beatles played the final live concert of their careers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Though many of the band's most timeless songs lay ahead of them, this Bay Area live date would mark the end of the Beatles as a touring entity. Freeing themselves from the burdens of live performance allowed the Liverpool foursome to become ever more daring and experimental in their studio work, which had already begun with the then-three-week-old Revolver, and would continue with the White Album, and, of course, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

While the band members of the band apparently knew it would be their final live show, the audience didn't. Listening to bootlegs of the set, one is struck by the tsunami of screaming fans in the audience, and how here, in 1966, the Beatles still seemed very much in the the early, heartthrob phase of their career. (Of course, this was arguably the second or third or even fourth phase for the band; the Fab Four had honed their live chops on obscure stages in Hamburg and elsewhere long before packs of dazed teenagers followed their every move.)

After the jump, we've gathered some YouTube footage of the band's arrival in San Francisco and the crowd action at Candlestick -- along with the full bootlegged audio of the 11 songs played back in August '66. The recording is rough, echoey, and filled with teenage screams, but it's still worth a listen.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Elvis Presley and Otis Blackwell's "All Shook Up": The Story Behind the Song

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 10:11 AM

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Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, 35 years ago today. A lot of incredible things have happened since then: political stuff and science stuff, mostly. But the post-Elvis development that wows us every time we're reminded of it is the launch of a little S.F. music blog called All Shook Down, whose roots can be traced back, via the title, to an album by the Replacements, to the 1957 smash "All Shook Up" -- a song co-written and made famous by The King.

The Replacements' song "All Shook Down" was penned by Paul Westerberg. In it, he turns Elvis's (and co-songwriter Otis Blackwell's) phrase on its head to comment on what it's like to be a hot-shit band with the music industry and journalism establishment at your feet. Westerberg warbles: "The praises they sing / The register rings / . . . They shake my hand as I drown / We're all shook down." Nothing captures rock 'n' roll's slow transformation from excitable pup to jaundiced hound quite like Westerberg's play on the famous title.

To pay tribute to both Elvis and ourselves on this otherwise bummer of an occasion, here's the story -- with nifty video enhancements -- of how "All Shook Up" came into the world. 


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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Music at Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee Concert: Six Things All Americans Should Know

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 8:16 AM

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Dear Americans, as a British person, I feel I ought to explain a few things about the lunacy of the last four days. If you watch any sort of news whatsoever, you saw a series of increasingly bizarre things taking place in London over the weekend -- including a concert outside Buckingham Palace on Monday -- to celebrate the fact that Elizabeth II has been the United Kingdom's overlord Queen for sixty years now.

There were a lot of things that went on at that Jubilee concert that

must've seemed quite strange to you, America. So, in an attempt to

further our international cultural relationship, here are six things you

should know about it.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

After 25 Years, Mötley Crüe's Girls, Girls, Girls Still Hasn't Brought About the Apocalypse

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 9:20 AM

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Today, the Antichrist heads up a company that charters private jets. The standard rental features a plush, zebra-striped interior. He also operates a chain of bar-and-grill restaurants that specialize in garish décor and $9.95 caprese salads.

In the mid-1980s, it was impossible to escape the apocalyptic rhetoric that painted Vince Neil as the scourge of Western Civilization, an angel of darkness sent to spearhead society's moral disintegration. He was, ranked from bad to worse: the frontman of glam metal act Mötley Crüe, the self-proclaimed World's Most Notorious Rock Group; a lyric writer inspired by the seedy side of life; an unabashed substance user; and a convicted felon. At his most ribald and boozy, Neil bragged that he downed a case of beer and a half a fifth of gin on his days off.

The place Neil is at today -- no more Maybelline products and lace-up leather pants; the plug is in the jug (sorta); his deepest concerns being the long-term effects of heavy travel on his cocker spaniels -- doesn't diminish what he and Mötley Crüe accomplished with Girls, Girls, Girls. Released 25 years ago this week, the album remains one of mainstream rock's ultimate triumphs over the anti-rock establishment.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Twenty Years Later, Sublime's "April 29, 1992 (Miami)" Is Still the Best Song About White Boys Piggy-Backing on a Riot

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 10:28 AM

The L.A. riots.
  • The L.A. riots.

Let's begin by addressing a source of confusion: The Sublime song we're about to semi-fondly recall is entitled "April 29, 1992 (Miami)." But as sung, its lyrics refer to "April 26, 1992" -- 20 years ago today.

This is clearly a mistake, since the song is about the L.A. Riots: Specifically about Sublime members' alleged involvement in the looting, burning, and general hell-raising that took place in the streets after a jury decided that video showing four cops (three white, one Hispanic) senselessly beating a black man named Rodney King somehow did not mean that four cops senselessly beat a black man named Rodney King. The jury's verdict was delivered on April 29, 1992, and inspired riots that lasted for for six days.

Those riots were a definitive event of the urban crime-obsessed early-'90s, and forever changed the relationship between the local community and the much-criticized Los Angeles Police Department. The shadow of the King riots loomed large over the O.J. Simpson trial of a few years later, with many predicting a similar outburst if Simpson was found guilty. (Simpson was acquitted, and to this day nothing like the King riots has happened again in L.A.)

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