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Michael Stipe

R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe To Release “Series Of Books”

Make some room on the bookshelf: R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe revealed he’s working on a series of books.

The works will focus on his life and time with his platinum-selling band. The photo book portion of the collection will be out later this year.

“It’s the first in a series of books I’m releasing,” Stipe told the Creative Independent. “This one focuses on my timeline, on the work I’ve done all along, all through the band and back to my early 20s. It’s all photo-based, but some of it’s just documentation of things I’m obsessed with and that I focus on to make new pieces from. There are also certain things I’ll take, recontextualize, and present as something completely different.”

A release date has not been announced.

Are you excited for a full retrospective on Stipe’s life? Let us know in the comments below.

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Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones’ Dirty Work Turns 31!

Looks like all that Dirty Work paid off: The Rolling Stones‘ 80s album turns 31 years old today!

Recorded when tensions between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Dirty Work divided fans: some appreciated the honesty and transparency exuded in the music, while others felt it was a generic collection of songs that didn’t live up to expectations.

While it only debuted at #1 in Switzerland and Netherlands, it cracked the Top 5 in many countries including Canada and the United States and was eventually certified platinum in both regions.

On the song side, “Harlem Shuffle” peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US while the other two singles, “One Hit (To the Body)” and “Winning Ugly” made the Top 10 on the rock tracks chart.


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Exploring Paul McCartney’s Career After The Beatles

Paul McCartney’s deluxe edition of Flowers In The Dirt is out today!

The former Beatle has accomplished so much with his band and his own solo career–today, we’ll be taking a deeper look at the latter.

McCartney has sold 25.5 million units in the United States alone as of 2009, and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for both his time with the Fab Four and his run as a solo artist.

Here are the 24 studio albums Paul has released. What’s your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!


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Elton John: 10 Incredible Career Milestones

Elton John is celebrating a big milestone, turning 70 on Saturday!

The star revealed big plans for his birthday celebrations, holding a gala at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

To celebrate seven decades of Elton, here are 10 of our favourite moments courtesy of Elton John!

1. Candle In The Wind 1997

After the passing of his dear friend Princes Diana, John rewrote and recorded “Candle in the Wind 1997” 24 years after the original. Released on 13 September 1997 as a tribute single, proceeds went to Diana’s charities.

The double A-side (paired with “Something About the Way You Look Tonight”) hit #1 on the UK singles chart, and became the best selling single in UK history. It also hit #1 in the US, staying there for 14 weeks, and became the best-selling single in Billboard history, being the first single to be certified Diamond.

2. Collaborating with Eminem at the Grammys

Eminem came under a LOT of fire when he started dominated the charts for supposedly homophobic lyrics. He shared the 2001 Grammys stage for a performance of his song “Stan” with John, openly gay, taking on the parts originally sung by Dido.

It was a duet nobody could’ve seen coming, and we all waited with baited breath to see how it would go down. Luckily, the pair hit it off, and knocked it out of the park.


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Road Works: Life On The Road Made Music Matter

The quest for new audiences, an artistic challenge or simply the need for money and applause: the reasons for musicians to travel have remained pretty constant since troubadours wandered around Europe in the Middle Ages. Even extended tours are nothing new. Norwegian violinist Ole Bornemann Bull’s early 1840s US trip, journeying more than 100,000 miles to play 200 concerts, would have put The Rolling Stones to the test.

Touring as a way of life really came to the fore in the 19th Century at a time when Britain and America were vibrant hubs for music. By the 1911 census, 47,000 UK citizens listed themselves as musicians. Britain had its music halls, America its vaudeville theatres, where musicians, helped by the spread of cheap sheet music and ease of rail travel, were able to take their music far and wide. The essential challenge for musicians has remained the same: getting safely to different venues and trying to sell them out.

In the 20th Century, the chance to make big money came from record sales – but what goes around comes around, and in recent years the primary source of musicians’ income is, again, live performances. Concert ticket sales in the US are now worth more than $6 billion a year. For Billboard’s Top 40 performers, such as Beyoncé, 80 per cent of their earnings come from tours.

Some of Beyoncé’s risqué shows would probably have gone down well in vaudeville, which was initially aimed at drunken, all-male audiences. In 1881, pioneering minstrel singer Tony Pastor spotted the potential to strike it rich by opening a theatre near New York’s Union Square and putting on sanitised shows with no beer sold.

Eubie Blake PosterThat opened the door for women to attend, and the subsequent surge in the popularity of vaudeville across the US offered thousands of musicians (and comedians, dancers and magicians) a way of making a living by touring. Among those who learned their trade in the thousands of vaudeville houses was ragtime piano player Eubie Blake, who performed as a double act with Noble Sissle, before he went on to find lasting acclaim as the composer of the song ‘I’m Just Wild About Harry’.

But change is a constant in music. As the popularity of vaudeville dwindled (hastened by the spread of cheap movie houses in the World War One era), the thirst for live entertainment was met by the rise of the phenomenon known as the Tent Show.

The first design of a rectangular tent with an end stage appeared around 1910. You can imagine the thrill of seeing Bessie Smith belting out the blues in such an electrifying, intimate atmosphere. The Empress Of The Blues was astute enough, incidentally, to adapt the title of some songs to the name of the particular town she was playing… ‘St Louis Gal’ or ‘Nashville Woman’s Blues’ became whatever city or town in which she was performing. (more…)

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