November Rain Guns N Roses

Guns N’ Roses’ Break YouTube Record With “November Rain”

Even though the “November Rain” music video is 26 years old in 2018, nothing is slowing this Guns N’ Roses staple down.

The GnR ballad is the first music video from the ’90s to pass the billion-view threshold on YouTube, according to Forbes. It achieved this result by hitting an average of 560,000 views per day in 2017.

The majority of the views aren’t coming from the United States, or Canada: 83 per cent of the views come from Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.

No ’80s video has yet to hit the billion-view mark, but Guns N’ Roses could be the first band to hit that record too: “Sweet Child O’ Mine” leads the pack with 696 million views.

Revisit the 9-minute clip below:


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Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday: A Complex Woman, A Jazz Legend

Today, “legends” are ten a penny. When Billie Holiday was accorded the accolade it meant something. Lady Day was a brilliant singer, a great lyrical interpreter, she took chances, lived life hard, she could swing, she could swoon, she moaned low, was elegant and she was a soul singer before anyone had coined the phrase. She was one of the greatest jazz vocalists of all time.

We know when Billie was born (7 April 1915), yet that the facts about her childhood are murky, made no clearer by, ‘Lady Sings the Blues’, Billie’s autobiography, which confused things further. Billie’s birth certificate named her father as DeViese whereas she insisted he was Clarence Holiday – Sadie’s childhood sweetheart who later played guitar in Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra.

Abused as a child she had a spell in a Catholic children’s home before cleaning and running errands for a brothel madam. By 1928 Billie’s mother moved to Harlem with her daughter and before long they were both working in a whorehouse; fourteen year old Billie was charged with vagrancy and sent to a workhouse.

On her release, Billie took up with a saxophonist and the pair of them began playing Harlem dives; Billie trying to emulate Bessie Smith whose records she loved. In October 1933 John Hammond, a music critic and record producer heard her singing in a Harlem club and had her to record a couple of sides with Benny Goodman. The first, Your Mother’s son-in-Law gives no hint of her promise.

Billie Holiday, Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948 web optimised 740

Billie Holiday backstage at Carnegie Hall, mid-to-late 40s. Photo: Library Of Congress


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Sting Credit: Mark Savage The Last Ship

Sting Slated To Star In Toronto Run Of Musical ‘The Last Ship’

Sting is set to star in a musical production coming to Toronto in 2019. Mirvish Productions will bring The Last Ship, a play created by the former Police frontman, to Canada for the first time.

The Last Ship is set in a Northeastern England town ravished by a declining shipbuilding industry. The same narrative drove his 1991 album, The Soul Cages, and was inspired by his upbringing in Wallsend, Northumberland.

Alongside creating the story, Sting will star as shipyard foreman Jackie White as he tries to revive the flailing industry. (more…)

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Yellow Submarine

On This Day: The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ Premieres In Theatres

On this day in 1968, the Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine hit theatres.

The movie takes place in Pepperland, a sunny paradise where music abounds, thanks to the watchful guidance of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The land is attacked by the Blue Meanies, a horde of monsters that hate music. They drain the entire nation of colour, turn its residents to statues, and pummel them with green apples (an ode to Apple Records.)

The movie featured high profile voice actors like John Clive as John, Geoffrey Hughes as Paul, Peter Batten as George and Paul Angelis as Ringo.


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November Rain Guns N Roses

How Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” Became One Of Rock’s Greatest Ballads

You think “November Rain”, you think: a tiny white chapel, a hugely expensive video, a wailing guitar solo at the edge of a cliff. You think: impassioned vocals, one of the longest songs to hit the charts – and the most ambitious moment in Guns N’ Roses’ career. In short, you think: arguably the best rock ballad in history.

Though it took until September 1991 for the song to be released, on Use Your Illusion I, ‘November Rain’ had by that point been in Axl Rose’s arsenal for almost a decade. Former Rose bandmate and LA Guns guitarist Tracii Guns has recalled that Axl began working on the song in 1983, while the recent super deluxe and Locked N’ Loaded editions of Appetite For Destruction have revealed that it was once considered for release on GNR’s incendiary debut album.

The ‘November Rain’ piano demo

Captured at the 1986 Sound City sessions, during which the band worked on material considered for Appetite For Destruction, a 10-minute ‘November Rain’ piano demo sees Axl laying down the basic framework of the song. Built on just piano and vocals, the demo is entirely recognisable as the ‘November Rain’ that the world would come to know, from the stately piano intro to the gear-shifting outro – just without the strings or Slash’s coruscating guitar solo. The backing vocals are, however, present and correct, along with Axl’s fully committed lead, which edges towards the final version – arguably the most emotive singing of his entire career.

The ‘November Rain’ acoustic demo

‘November Rain’ was also tried out as a far shorter acoustic guitar demo, clocking in at five minutes. Apparently, tentative versions of this incarnation were performed at early GNR gigs. The 1986 Sound City demo version of this arrangement is driven by fingerpicked guitar and gentle percussion, while Axl finds his way around the song, sometimes repeating the “I just keep on walking” refrain. This version finds a gentle conclusion, but, comparing the two, it’s clear that ‘November Rain’ was built for piano. (more…)

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