Saturday, March 18, 2017

RIP Chuck Berry

Without Chuck Berry, we wouldn't have a lot of the music we do. The Beatles, the Beach Boys ("Surfin' USA) and certainly the Stones, to name three, were all influenced by Chuck Berry. Got to see him one time in Saratoga, California. He rocked the house down with a pick-up band.

The Recording Academy Statement Re: Chuck Berry March 18, 2017
Chuck Berry was arguably the founding father of rock and roll. Not just because he was one of its greatest songwriters and established some of the electric guitar's earliest and most memorable riffs, but also because he was one of music's most palpably exciting entertainers and biggest personalities. His influence on the giants that followed him, such as the Beatles, Beach Boys and many others, is well documented. Chuck received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy in 1984, our formal acknowledgment of his immeasurable contributions to American culture. He will be greatly missed, but the gift of his music will live on forever.
Neil Portnow
President/CEOThe Recording Academy
RIP, Chuck.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Twisted Sister founding member writing new Beatles column

Goldmine's April 2017 issue with Jay Jay French's Beatles column debut.

Jay Jay French, founding member and guitarist and manager of Twisted Sister, is the author of a brand new Beatles column for Goldmine, the long-time magazine for record collectors. The column, called “Now We’re 64!,” made its debut in the current (April 2017) issue and will run every other month. The magazine can be purchased in a Kindle version on and also can be found at Barnes & Noble stores until March 20. 

“Adding The Beatles to the list is really exciting for me,” French told the magazine. “Although it seems that everything that could be written about The Beatles has been, I believe that there are more stories to tell. More and unique ways to express how this ‘little rock and roll band’ managed to alter the 20th century."

French also writes for other magazines and is a motivational speaker.  "Goldmine has run many articles on my band Twisted Sister over the years,” he said, including a profile on him in 2014.  "Goldmine editor Patrick Prince knows that my favorite music topic — besides Twisted Sister, of course — is my endless fascination with everything Beatles.” 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mary McCartney photo on cover of new Diana Krall album

In looking through information about Diana Krall's new "Turn Up the Quiet" album (also available in the UK, in Canada and Japan) for the obit we wrote on Tommy LiPuma, we discovered that Mary McCartney took the cover photo. The album, to be released May 5, reunites her with longtime producer Tommy LiPuma, who died today. Krall will begin a world tour in June with dates first in the U.S., then Europe. Tickets are available for her shows here. You'll recall that Mary also took the photo for her dad's "Kisses on the Bottom" album that Diana played on. (And yes, we love her music.)

Tommy LiPuma, producer for McCartney's Grammy winning 'Kisses on the Bottom,' has died

Tommy LiPuma, known for his producing a wide range of artists including Paul McCartney, has died at the age of 80, Billboard reports today. LiPuma produced McCartney's "Kisses on the Bottom" album, which won McCartney a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the 55th Grammy Awards. Among the long list of artists he has worked with are Diana Krall, Barbra Streisand, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Miles Davis, Natalie Cole, Al Jarreau, Randy Newman, and Dr. John. Diana Krall's forthcoming album, "Turn Up the Quiet," is a reunion with LiPuma.

Update: Paul McCartney on the passing of Tommy LiPuma:
"I was very saddened to hear that my dear friend, Tommy LiPuma passed away. We had worked together on my album 'Kisses On The Bottom' which he produced. He was a fun loving, thoughtful guy with a vast knowledge of music. He had been a performer in his youth before he took up production and was always happy to sit with us in the studio whilst I and my fellow musicians worked on a track.
"Diana Krall was a very good friend of his and working together with her and Tommy on the album was a special experience. We would often go out to dinner together and on these occasions he was sure to produce a bottle of fine red wine from his briefcase to accompany the meal. He was an extremely generous man who loved his dear wife Gill (for some reason I called her Gail!!) very dearly.
"I will always have very fond memories of our time together and be proud to share his love with his family and many friends."
The Recording Academy® Statement re: Tommy LiPuma March 14, 2017
Tommy LiPuma was an industry giant whose name became synonymous with sophisticated pop and jazz. His productions resulted in a Record Of The Year GRAMMY with George Benson for “This Masquerade,” an Album Of The Year trophy for Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable With Love, as well as GRAMMYs with Diana Krall and Paul McCartney. He also established or had significant leadership roles at labels such as Blue Thumb, A&M, Warner Bros., GRP, and Verve. Our deepest condolences go out to Tommy's family, friends, and creative counterparts.
Neil Portnow
The Recording Academy

(Be sure to check out our That's What I Want Beatles Store for the biggest selection and best prices of Fab Four items.)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ten questions for Klaus Voormann (with KLOS-FM's Chris Carter)

Chris Carter, host of KLOS-FM's "Breakfast With the Beatles," asked 10 questions of Klaus Voormann on March 7. He sent them to us. Here they are (photos courtesy Chris Carter):

Question 1: "Vegetarian or meat eater?"
Klaus Voormann: "Vegetarian."

Question 2: "Favorite bass guitar to record with?" 
Klaus Voormann: "For me… Fender Precision."

Question 3: "When listening to Beatles, do you prefer stereo or mono?"
Klaus Voormann: "I would prefer stereo, but the mono mixes are much better."

Question 4: "Do you prefer a hot shower or a bath?"
Klaus Voormann: "I’ve never had a bath, I’ll always shower."

Question 5: "All time favorite Manfred Mann recording?"
Klaus Voormann: "Mighty Quinn."

Question 6: "Were the Beatles a better live band with Pete Best or Ringo Starr?
Klaus Voormann: "Ringo Starr."

Question 7: "What song that you play bass are you most proud of?"
Klaus Voormann: "Jealous Guy."

Question 8: "Do you have a working record player in the Voormann household?"
Klaus Voormann: "No, I wish I had. What I’d really like… what I have is a quarter-inch tape. I don’t have that machine anymore."

Question 9: "Not including 'Revolver,' your favorite album cover that you’ve designed?"
Klaus Voormann: "Turbonegro."

Question 10: "And my last question, Joe Walsh has this copy of 'Revolver' that he carries around with him at times… What is the story behind that? Do you know? He said that he bought it at a thrift shop, and he says that it’s the original artwork for 'Revolver.'"
Klaus Voormann: "Could be that his story is the truth, that there was a shop and he bought it. What did he say $1,500? That could be right. But he didn’t buy the original."

(And be sure and visit our That's What I Want Beatles store. The best selection, the lowest prices.)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Songwriter of 'A Taste of Honey' dies

Ric Marlow, the co-composer (with Bobby Scott) of "A Taste of Honey" done by the Beatles, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Barbara Streisand and many others, died Feb.28 in Palm Springs, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental in 1962. Three years later, Alpert's version won Song of the Year and three other Grammy Awards.

The Recording Academy issued this statement Tuesday:

"Ric Marlow was a talented songwriter who dedicated his life to many facets of show business. The New York native made his name in music for co-writing the song "A Taste of Honey," which won a GRAMMY Award for Best Instrumental Theme for 1962. The song would later be recorded by Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass and earn four GRAMMYs for 1965, including Record Of The Year. Scores of others, including the Beatles, Tony Bennett and Barbara Streisand, would also record the song, and it remains a 1960s pop gem. Our condolences go out to Ric's family, friends, and creative collaborators."

Neil Portnow
The Recording Academy

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Something's afoot for the Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper' 50th anniversary

A story in the UK Times of London today says the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album will be re-released in June with two extra tracks, "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever.". Sources tell us that's not accurate, though something is in the works. More details will be coming soon. 

We told you a while back about a book coming June 1 called "Sgt. Pepper at Fifty: The Mood, the Look, the Sound, the Legacy of the Beatles' Great Masterpiece."  Subscribe to this blog and keep us on your radar for "The Word."