Tag Archives: rock and roll

‘Greatest living poet’ Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Bob Dylan, regarded as the voice of a generation for his influential songs from the 1960s onwards, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in a surprise decision that made him the only singer-songwriter to win the award.

The 75-year-old Dylan — who won the prize for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” — now finds himself in the company of Winston Churchill, Thomas Mann and Rudyard Kipling as Nobel laureates.

Bob Dylan Born: 1941, Duluth, MN, USA Prize motivation: "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition"
Bob Dylan
Born: 1941, Duluth, MN, USA
Prize motivation: “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”

Dylan’s songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Like a Rolling Stone” captured a spirit of rebellion, dissent and independence.

More than 50 years on, Dylan is still writing songs and is often on tour, performing his dense poetic lyrics.

“Blowin’ in the Wind,” written in 1962, was considered one of the most eloquent folk songs of all time. “The Times They Are A-Changin'”, in which Dylan told Americans “your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,” was an anthem of the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests.

Awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($930,000) prize, the Swedish Academy said: “Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound.”

Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg said: “He is probably the greatest living poet.”

Asked if he thought Dylan’s Nobel lecture — traditionally given by the laureate in Stockholm later in the year — would be a concert, replied: “Let’s hope so.”

Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Nobel Academy, told a news conference there was “great unity” in the panel’s decision to give Dylan the prize.

Dylan’s spokesman, Elliott Mintz, declined immediate comment when reached by phone, citing the early hour in Los Angeles, where it was 3 a.m. at the time of the announcement.

Dylan was due to give a concert in Las Vegas on Thursday evening.

Literature was the last of this year’s Nobel prizes to be awarded.

The prize is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.

 

Some Dylan details …

• Bob Dylan began his career as an acoustic singer-songwriter specializing in protest songs such as “Blowin’ In The Wind.” His first album was the eponymous Bob Dylan released in 1962.

• Dylan created a controversy at the Newport, Rhode Island, folk festival in 1965 when he set aside his acoustic guitar and played an electric guitar. He played three songs and some in the crowd booed but it remains unclear if the booing was because of the electric guitar, the short set or bad audio quality.

• Dylan dropped out of the public eye after a July 1966 motorcycle accident. Few details about the crash were revealed but it allowed him to escape the mounting pressures of fame and he did not tour again for almost eight years. During that period, he recorded some remarkable music with The Band.

• Dylan has generally eschewed praise, including from critics and fans labeling him an artist, a poet or the voice of his generation. He has variously described himself as a trapeze artist, an “ashtray bender,” a “rabbit catcher” and a “dog smoother”.

• He once told Rolling Stone magazine: “I live in my dreams. I don’t really live in the actual world.”

* Dylan is of Jewish heritage — his real name is Robert Zimmerman. He became a Christian in 1979 after a divorce. He released three albums of religious-based music, then mostly left off making overt references to Christianity in his songs until he surprised fans with a 2009 Christmas album.

• Famous lyrics include:

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

“‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm’.”

“The ladder of the law has no top and no bottom.”

“I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken/I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children … And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”

Bob Dylan performs "Maggie's Farm" at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California Feb. 13, 2011. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
Bob Dylan performs “Maggie’s Farm” at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California Feb. 13, 2011. — PHOTO: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Frampton on that crazy summer

Peter Frampton  was enjoying some modest success as a solo artist when he followed the then-conventional wisdom and followed up his four studio albums with a double live album.

That’s when all hell broke loose.

“Be careful what you wish for,” says Frampton now with a rueful smile.

Peter Frampton  was enjoying some modest success as a solo artist when he followed the then-conventional wisdom and followed up his four studio albums with a double live album.
Peter Frampton was enjoying some modest success as a solo artist when he followed the then-conventional wisdom and followed up his four studio albums with a double live album. — PHOTO: Wikipedia

Within a month of its January 1976 release, the album “Frampton Comes Alive!” was in the Top 10 and getting stronger as the weather warmed. He spent a record 17 weeks at the top of the charts, thanks to the singles “Show Me the Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way” and the 14-minute “Do You Feel Like We Do,” with its distinctive distorted vocal effect.

One day, his manager called and asked if he was sitting down.

“I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Well, you’ve just made history. It’s the biggest-selling album of all time. You’ve just beaten Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’ record,”” Frampton said.

“That’s when I got nervous and a little bit anxious because to have the No. 1 album was unbelievable. I mean, I never, ever thought that I could approach that. But then to hear that, that’s sort of surreal.”

Frampton celebrating with new release

The English-born Frampton, now 65, is celebrating that crazy summer with a new release, “Acoustic Classics,” a CD of stripped-down versions of his best-known songs that includes one new tune, “All Down to Me.” He wanted his beloved songs to sound fresh and intimate, as if they were written the night before.

“I was very pleased that the songs held up,” said the singer-guitarist. “Very early on, I learned that you can have a great band, you can have a great producer, great studio, everything can be right, but if you don’t have great songs, you’ve got nothing.”

After the monster success of the 1976 live album, the singer’s big hair and good looks led his record company to repackage him as a pop star. His next album was rushed, against his objections, and didn’t do as well. Nothing could.

“I’ve learned that a pop star’s career is about 18 months but a musician’s career lasts a lifetime. I kind of morphed — as quickly as I could — into a musician,” he said. “It was a crazy period.”

Gordon Kennedy, a Nashville, Tennessee-based songwriter and musician who has written songs for Eric Clapton, Garth Brooks and Ricky Skaggs, has worked with Frampton for 16 years. He calls him “above everything else, this ferocious musician.”

“He is a guy who, in some ways, had to overcome his own image. And it wasn’t an image that he necessarily created,” said Kennedy. “All the while, he’s just wanting to play guitar.”

Over the years, Frampton acted a little — he had a part in “Almost Famous” and mocked himself in Geico ads — and worked with George Harrison and toured with old friend David Bowie, whom he had known since he was 12.

Bowie, who invited Frampton on his Glass Spider Tour, was a mentor. “For all of us, we’ve lost a genius, a one-of-a-kind. He taught so many people how to redirect your career — including me,” Frampton said.

Redemption came in 2007 when Frampton’s instrumental album “Fingerprints” won a Grammy Award, his first. “I was speechless at that time because it meant so much to me to get that vote of confidence as a player,” he said.

“Over the last few years — since ‘Fingerprints’ — things kind of sped up. There’s more demand for me out there live. I’ve been working really well every year. It’s fantastic because I love to play live.”

Frampton these days lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is father to four kids, the youngest a college student at 19. He’s come to terms with the album that defined his career.

“When I kick the bucket, the first sentence will be, ‘known for the live album ‘Frampton Comes Alive!’ I know that,” he said. He also knows how beloved his songs are, especially “Baby, I Love Your Way.”

“I have actually met children conceived to that song,” he said, laughing. “It was a very personal song to me and made me realize the more personal you make it, the more everybody else can see that in themselves.”

Remembering David Bowie, who has died at 69

Politicians, musicians and fans around the world — from the Vatican to the International Space Station — paid tribute to David Bowie on Monday, following his death at 69 from cancer.

Taking to Twitter or Facebook, many praised Bowie’s groundbreaking music and offered their own recollections of the singer, known for a string of hits such as “Space Oddity” and “Let’s Dance”.

Below are some of the tributes to Bowie, who released his last album “Blackstar” on Friday, also his birthday:

DUNCAN JONES, BOWIE’S SON, POSTING A PICTURE OF THE SINGER ON TWITTER:

“Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”

TONY VISCONTI, MUSIC PRODUCER AND LONG-TERM BOWIE COLLABORATOR:

“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.”

QUEEN OFFICIAL TWITTER ACCOUNT, POSTING A VIDEO OF “UNDER PRESSURE”:

“This is our last dance…”

GARY KEMP, ACTOR AND SPANDAU BALLET MEMBER:

“Shocked to the core.”

“It feels as if the world has suddenly gone out of joint.”

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER:

“I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of re-invention, who kept getting it right. A huge loss.”

KANYE WEST, RAPPER:

“David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.”

GIANFRANCO RAVASI, CARDINAL AND HEAD OF THE VATICAN’S CULTURE COUNCIL, QUOTING “SPACE ODDITY” LYRICS:

“Ground Control to Major Tom

Commencing countdown, engines on

Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (David Bowie)”

TIM PEAKE, BRITISH ASTRONAUT, CURRENTLY ONBOARD INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION:

“Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer – his music was an inspiration to many.”

RICKY GERVAIS, COMEDIAN:

“I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.”

GENE SIMMONS, ROCK SINGER:

“David Bowie, you will be sorely missed. Bowie’s ‘Changes’ and the Ziggy story songs were a major influence for me.”

Legendary rock star David Bowie dies at 69 after battle with cancer

Legendary British rock star David Bowie has died aged 69 after a secret battle with cancer.

A chameleon and a visionary, Bowie straddled the worlds of hedonistic rock, fashion and drama for five decades, pushing the boundaries of music and his own sanity to produce some of the most innovative songs of his generation.

“David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer,” read a statement on Bowie’s Facebook page dated Sunday. Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, confirmed the death.

Mourners laid flowers and lit candles beside a memorial to Bowie in the Brixton area of south London where he was born, and tributes poured in from some of the biggest names in music, including the Rolling Stones, Madonna and rapper Kanye West.

“The Rolling Stones are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of our dear friend David Bowie,” the Stones said. “He was an extraordinary artist, and a true original.”

Madonna said on Twitter: “Talented. Unique. Genius. Game Changer. The Man who Fell to Earth. Your Spirit Lives on Forever!”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had grown up with Bowie’s music and described his death as “a huge loss.”

In a music video accompanying Bowie’s new Blackstar album, which was released on his 69th birthday last Friday, the singer was shown in a hospital bed with bandages around his eyes.

Born David Jones in south London two years after the end of World War Two, he took up the saxophone at 13 before changing his name to David Bowie to avoid confusion with the Monkees’ Davy Jones, according to Rolling Stone.

He shot to fame in Britain in 1969 with “Space Oddity,” whose lyrics he said were inspired by watching Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey” while stoned.

Bowie’s hollow lyrics summed up the loneliness of the Cold War space race between the United States and the Soviet Union and coincided with the Apollo landing on the moon.

“Ground Control to Major Tom. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on … For here am I sitting in my tin can. Far above the world. Planet Earth is blue. And there’s nothing I can do.”

“SPACE ODDITY ZIGGY”

But it was Bowie’s 1972 portrayal of a doomed bisexual rock envoy from space, Ziggy Stardust, that propelled him to global stardom. Bowie and Ziggy, wearing outrageous costumes, makeup and bright orange hair, took the rock world by storm.

“Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly,” according to the lyrics which Bowie sang with a red lightning bolt across his face and flamboyant jumpsuits.

“Making love with his ego Ziggy sucked up into his mind. Like a leper messiah,” according the lyrics.

Bowie, ever the innovator ahead of public opinion, told the Melody Maker newspaper in 1972 that he was gay, a step that helped pioneer sexual openness in Britain, which had only decriminalized homosexuality in 1967. Bowie had married in 1970.

He told Playboy four years later he was bisexual, but in the 1980s he told Rolling Stone magazine that the declaration was “the biggest mistake I ever made” and that he was “always a closet heterosexual”.

This was a period which saw Bowie sporting an array of fantastic costumes, some reportedly based on the chilling Kubrick film “A Clockwork Orange”.

Now one of the top transatlantic rock stars, Bowie continued to innovate, helping to produce Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” delving into America’s R&B and working with John Lennon.

“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,” said Tony Visconti, the U.S. producer who helped lift Bowie to stardom.

“He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry,” he said.

“LET’S DANCE”

Bowie reinvented himself again in the mid-seventies, adopting a soul and funk sound, and abandoning stack heels for designer suits and flat shoes.

He scored his first U.S. number one with “Fame” and created a new persona, the “Thin White Duke,” for his “Station to Station” album.

But the excesses were taking their toll. In a reference to his prodigious appetite for cocaine, he said: ““I blew my nose one day in California. “And half my brains came out. Something had to be done.”

Bowie moved from the United States to Switzerland and then to Cold War-era Berlin to recuperate, working with Brian Eno from Roxy Music to produce some of his least commercial and most ambitious music, including ““Low” and “”Heroes” in 1977.

In 1983 Bowie changed tack again, signing a multi-million-dollar five-album deal with EMI. The first, “”Let’s Dance,” returned him to chart success and almost paid off his advance.

“If you say run, I’ll run with you. If you say hide, we’ll hide. Because my love for you. Would break my heart in two,” he sang in Let’s Dance.

He starred on Broadway in “The Elephant Man” at the start of the decade and appeared in an array of films including “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence,” “The Snowman,” “Absolute Beginners” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ”.

His love-life fascinated gossip columnists and his marriage to stunning Somali supermodel Iman in 1992 guaranteed headlines.

Bowie kept a low profile after undergoing emergency heart surgery in 2004. It was not widely known that he was fighting cancer.

“Look up here, I’m in heaven,” he sings from a hospital bed in the video accompanying his last album.

“I’ve got scars that can’t be seen. I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen. Everybody knows me now. Look up here, man, I’m in danger. I’ve got nothing left to lose.”

Review: ‘School of Rock’ a crowd-pleasing, upbeat musical

Hard rock’s two-fingered hand gesture is back on Broadway, thanks to an English lord.

The crowd-pleasing, upbeat musical based on the beloved film “School of Rock” opened Sunday at New York’s Winter Garden Theatre with a wondrously rebellious spirit and a superb cast.

This sweet, well-constructed musical left a recent preview audience cheering, head-banging and flashing the hand signal known as the “devil’s sign,” with index and pinky fingers extended. Metal fans who mourned the passing of “Rock of Ages” have a new place to rock out.

The stage version stays close to the plot of the Jack Black-led 2003 film, in which a wannabe rocker who hopes to one day “stick it to the Man” enlists his fifth-graders to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands.

This time, the lesson in anarchic fun is a bunch of Men Who Should Be Having it Stuck To, namely the legendary songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber and the “Downton Abby” creator Julian Fellowes as book writer. Both are in the House of Lords, for God’s sake.

It is treacherous water for a pair of lords to swim: The film was a star vehicle for Black and virtually a musical already, with riffs or songs by The Doors, AC/DC, Stevie Nicks and Led Zeppelin, among others. Webber blasted the theatrical doors down to let rock in with such shows as “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Cats” but how could he handle this assignment?

Not too badly, it turns out. While leaning a little bit too much on his new song “Stick It to the Man,” Webber, with lyricist Glenn Slater, turns in some perfectly solid mainstream rock-ish anthems in “Mount Rock” and “If Only You Would Listen.” He even mocks the genre with “I’m Too Hot for You.”

But he also graciously allows the film’s best song, “School of Rock” — with its ooh-la-la and AC/DC-like lick —to be a highlight, and bought the rights to “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks, which is key to a plot point. That means that two of the musical’s best songs have not been written by the composer.

No matter. A heartwarming story and a stage full of pre-pubescent kids who know their way around an amp prove irresistible. Alex Brightman in the Jack Black role may not have the film star’s crazed menace but he shares his goofy, sweet spirit. Brightman is a ball of energy onstage and seems to be having a ball. It’s infectious.

Sierra Boggess, as the uptight school principal, has brilliantly been allowed to tap into her operatic background and also deliver a truly wondrous ballad in “Where Did the Rock Go?” The only other woman to rival her onstage is the pig-tailed bass player Evie Dolan, a funky burst of sunlight who is about 10. Other kid standouts are Brandon Niederauer, who melts faces off with his axe, and Bobbi MacKenzie does it with her lungs.

Fellowes has been so faithful to the film’s story that you may wonder why he even gets a credit, with whole sections of dialogue lifted word-for-word and the plot pretty much identical. True, he’s added a sly romantic angle and a fun “Guitar Hero” section, plus thrown in a few jokes about gluten-free food, Facebook and the Kardashians, but it’s hard to detect a whole lot of original work here.

That’s not the case for director Laurence Connor, who leads a crisp, snappy show that neither gets bogged down in irrelevant secondary stories or in easy manipulation, despite having a stage full of cute kids, who all play instruments. 

Webber and Fellowes have nicely added a bit of focus to the frustrations faced by over-scheduled, stressed-out children, making “School of Rock” the third musical on Broadway featuring rebellious kids in school uniforms after “Matilda” and “Spring Awakening.”

The answer to that is simple: Bring them to the Winter Garden Theatre. They’ll leave pumping their fists in the air.

On the Web…

 http://schoolofrockthemusical.com 

Music critic Greil Marcus’ ‘10 Songs’ will rock Alverno

When it comes rock ’n’ roll journalism, few writers boast a greater pedigree than Greil Marcus — many argue the veteran Rolling Stone contributor invented the genre.

But where the San Francisco native outpaces the pack of music writers and fans is in his view of what rock music means from a cultural perspective. Marcus’ 1975 book Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ’n’ Roll explores the impact of rock on American culture and mythology through the stories of Harmonica Frank, Robert Johnson, the Band, Sly Stone, Randy Newman and Elvis Presley. Time recognized Mystery Train in 2011 as one of the 100 most influential nonfiction works published since 1923.

Marcus’ latest book is The History of Rock ’n’ Roll in Ten Songs, published in 2014 by Yale University Press. In this history, Marcus selects 10 songs — some familiar, others perhaps not — and dramatizes how each embodies rock ’n’ roll. The songs, the writer says, contain the whole DNA of rock.

Forget Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” Marcus says. Listen instead to “Transmission” by Joy Division, “All I Could Do Was Cry” performed by Etta James (and later, Beyoncé) and Phil Spector’s “To Know Him is to Love Him,” first recorded by the Teddy Bears and covered much later by Amy Winehouse, among others. 

Like a good rocker, Marcus is touring. His road show arrives in Milwaukee on Nov. 20, part of Alverno College’s Alverno Presents series. Joining the author will be Jon Langford and Sally Timms (The Mekons), who will provide additional commentary and musically illustrate aspects of the songs that led Marcus to place them on his list.

WiG recently talked with Marcus about rock criticism, his book, the history of rock ’n’ roll in 10 songs and who and what didn’t make the list.

What prompted you to define rock ’n’ roll in 10 songs? I was asked by Yale University Press to write a history of rock ’n’ roll. I said it was a terrible idea, had been done to death, that there was a master narrative of all the people from Elvis to Nirvana and beyond that you had to talk about, of all the events from Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show to Woodstock and beyond that you had to talk about, and who would want to do all that again?

But I kept thinking about it and the idea of telling the whole story in just a small number of songs — I originally thought of 16, a nice rock ’n’ roll number — interested me. Especially, if you left out everything you otherwise couldn’t leave out. So, no Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, James Brown, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Tupac or Nirvana. Name someone who had to be there and rest assured he or she wouldn’t be.

That was the premise, along with a kind of secret list. A lot of people have realized that if you could find the whole history of the form in 10 songs, you could also find it in one song, almost any song. I succeeded, except for the Beatles. There was just no way to keep them out. They are the history of rock ’n’ roll in one band.

Your choices are unorthodox, or at least none that I would have expected to be included on the list. How did these particular songs fit the bill? When I started there were only two songs I knew I would write about: The Flamin’ Groovies’ “Shake Some Action” and Joy Division’s “Transmission.” The others made their way into the book while I was writing it.

I never would have even thought about “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” an embarrassing No. 1 1958 hit by the Teddy Bears, if I hadn’t heard Amy Winehouse’s version on the radio after she died. I knew I had to write about it. The song sailed into the book from out of nowhere.

The book organized itself around songs I wanted to write about — or songs I’d always loved and had never written about, like the Five Satins’ “In the Still of the Night.” I wanted to see if I could find a story in them that I could tell.

Did you consider lyrics, melody/harmony, social implications or a combination of those and other factors when you made you choices? None of those things. If the history of rock ’n’ roll could be found in any one interesting song, then I could write about any song I wanted to write about, if I could tell its story.

I wasn’t in any way interested in what influence a song might have had outside of itself. “Shake Some Action” has probably influenced a lot of hearts, but perhaps no other songs. The Beatles’ version of “Money” is so big it couldn’t have influenced anyone, unless it was to convince them to quit before they started.

Jon Langford and Sally Timms from The Mekons will be on hand to perform during your Alverno presentation. Why did you choose them to participate? Jon and Sally are old friends. I actually appeared — I don’t know if I can say performed — with the Mekons some years ago at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. We did a show based on my book at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago last year. And we had so much fun we wanted to do it again.

I will talk and read from the book, they may talk and read from the book, but also play songs from it. There will likely be analyses from them directly, but their interpretations of the songs are analyses of the songs. 

Are there any rock songs and artists that people might consider a serious omission from your list? Of course there are. I dedicated the book, “To everyone I left out.” But the 10 songs are not meant to be the 10 best songs, the 10 most important songs, the 10 anything songs. They are a constellation of songs, all rushing off in different directions, bumping into each other, just missing each other, smashing together and coming out differently.

Given your extensive body of work, does this presentation/book represent next-generation thinking for someone who clearly looks beyond the current music scene? For me the book is a kind of conversation, with the different songs and performers talking to each other, listening to each other, as we might hear any of these songs in a single day on the radio. (And there are stations at the back of the end of the dial that might even play Christian Marclay’s “Guitar Drag” soundtrack).

So for that conversation, I wanted men and women, black people and white people, people from the 1950s and people from the 2000s. I really do believe they all speak the same language and would have no trouble understanding each other. When Jon and Sally play, I think that is what their performance will say.

Greil’s Ten Songs

“Shake Some Action,” by the Flamin’ Groovies

“Transmission,” by Joy Division

“In the Still of the Night,” by the Five Satins

“All I Can Do Was Cry,” by Etta James and
Beyoncé

“Crying Waiting Hoping,” by Buddy Holly

“Money (That’s What I Want),” by the Beatles 

“Money Changes Everything,” by The Brains and Cyndi Lauper

“This Magic Moment,” by The Drifters

“Guitar Drag,” by Christian Marclay

“To Know Him Is To Love Him,” by the Teddy Bears and Amy Winehouse

ON STAGE

The History of Rock ’n’ Roll in Ten Songs, featuring Greil Marcus, Jon Langford and Sally Timms, will be performed Nov. 20 at Wehr Hall, 3400 S. 43rd St., Milwaukee. Visit alvernopresents.alverno.edu for more information.

George Harrison, Marvin Gaye, Madonna, more nominated for songwriters hall of fame

George Harrison, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp are among the A-list contenders nominated for the 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Blondie, Gloria Estefan, the Isley Brothers, Sly Stone and Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards are also up for the top honor. Winners will be inducted next June in New York City.

Nonperforming songwriters nominated for the honor include Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Max Martin, who has co-written No.1 hits for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, the Weeknd and Taylor Swift.

Eligible members have until Dec. 11 to submit their votes for three non-performing nominees, two performing nominees and one deceased nominee.

Performing nominees also include Michael McDonald, Tom T. Hall, Jeff Lynne and Steve Miller, while Lionel Bart, Bert Berns and Roger Miller are among the deceased nominees.

Additional nonperforming nominees include Teddy Riley, Rudy Clark, Dallas Frazier, John D. Loudermilk, Bob McDill, Chip Taylor, Curly Putman and Rod Temperton, who wrote Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “Rock With You” and “Off the Wall.”

The 2016 Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala will take place June 9, 2016. 

U2 stages high-tech ‘Innocence & Experience’ show

U2’s latest live show included a call to fight AIDS, condemnation of the 1974 car bombings in Ireland, the voice of Stephen Hawking, high-tech stage gimmicks and just over two hours of music, including most of its 2014 album, “Songs of Innocence.”

The Irish quartet brought its “Innocence & Experience” tour to the Forum on May 26, the first of five nights in the Los Angeles area.

Launched earlier this month in Vancouver, Canada, the North American and European tour continues through Nov. 15. The band performs at the United Center in Chicago June 24-25, June 28-29 and July 2.

Performing together since 1976, front man Bono, guitarist the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. know how to put on a rock show. But they were lacking a little in energy and excitement for their opening LA performance, perhaps relying too heavily on the giant horizontal screens suspended above their high-tech stage.

As with U2s previous arena tours, the stage plays a starring role in the show. The massive screens worked for some numbers, such as Bono’s autobiographical “Cedarwood Road,” lending an effect that made him look like he was walking through a cartoon town. But when the foursome performed between the parallel screens during “Invisible” and “Even Better than the Real Thing,” they appeared to be playing on TV, not live on stage.

Still, they hit all their marks and sounded album-tight. They opened with the new, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone),” and the old, “Electric Co.,” from their 1980 debut. The set included such hits as “Vertigo,” “I Will Follow,” “Beautiful Day” and “With or Without You.”

After “Bullet the Blue Sky,” Bono held his hands above his head and said, “Don’t shoot. I’m an American.” While performing “Pride,” inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr., Bono called on the spirit of the late leader.

“Dr. King, we need you in Ferguson and Baltimore now more than ever,” Bono said. “We need the spirit of nonviolence, the spirit of love.”

The singer also lauded Irish voters for saying “love is the highest law” by legalizing same-sex marriage last week.

“They’re putting the gay into Gaelic,” he quipped.

The band was at its best when the gimmicks gave way to the music. Mullen marching with a snare drum gave new power to “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” and a stripped-down version of “Every Breaking Wave,” with Bono accompanied by the Edge on piano, was stirring.

A clip of Hawking’s voice played before the band returned for its encore. He talked about the necessity of becoming “global citizens” as a tout for Bono’s anti-poverty organization, One, flashed on the giant screens.

Bono also used the encore to discuss AIDS and an effort to end transmission of the disease between mother and child in the next five years. He sang a few bars of Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion” to make the point before the band closed with “One.”

Nun who kissed Elvis helps save abbey

Mother Dolores Hart finds it miraculous that she was able to turn one kiss with Elvis Presley into the spark that helped save an abbey.

The former starlet who walked away from Hollywood in 1963 to become a nun spun her tale into a fundraising campaign for her crumbling monastery in rural Connecticut. 

But the pot boiler about Presley’s first on-screen kiss and the girl who turned from the screen to sisterhood has done more than keep open the doors of Abbey of Regina Laudis. It has inspired new interest in its monastic work. Now she and the other nuns hope to raise up to $9 million to restore the order’s former brass factory for future generations.

Mother Dolores, now 76, first shared her story with The Associated Press in 2011 as she and about 40 other members of her Benedictine order faced the possibility that their abbey in Bethlehem would close

Fire officials had found numerous fire code and safety issues in what was a ramshackle collection of factory buildings, barns and sheds that were linked together in 1947 after the nuns purchased the old industrial site. 

Mother Dolores went on to write an autobiography, embark on a speaking tour, and make TV appearances. In 2012, she returned to Hollywood to attend the Academy Awards when a documentary short about her life, “God is the Bigger Elvis,” was nominated for an Oscar.

“Of course it was only a nomination,” she joked. “I’m still waiting for the real thing.”

But the bigger reward, she said, came as an answer to her prayers for the abbey.

Shortly after her autobiography was published, the monastery began receiving letters and donations from across the world. One man began sending $100 a month. A woman in New Zealand sent $3,000.

“The Elvis fans didn’t have a lot of money, but they sent quite a few dollars and all their love,” she said. 

The nuns quickly raised more than $1 million. The abbey’s main building now has new alarm and sprinkler systems, an elevator and other safety improvements. 

What was once a project designed to keep the abbey from closing has become a fundraising effort to renovate the abbey for a long future. 

The most recent version of the renovation plan, dubbed New Horizons, calls for a new chapel (the ceiling is sagging), housing and other environmentally friendly and disabled accessible spaces to live and pray. 

Among other things, the nuns need to install new wiring and insulation to prevent the constant freezing of pipes in the winter, fix the falling gutters, replace rotting wood and get rid of the black mold that can be seen growing on the ceiling of the former barn that now houses the print shop, bakery and sewing room. 

More than anything, they need more space — common areas and places where people can reflect without bumping into one another. They have no conference room and currently no way to walk inside from one end of the monastery to the other without going through the chapel and disturbing those who are praying there.

The nuns estimate the work will cost between $7.5 million and $9 million. They have so far raised more than $3 million.

“That first phase was more of an urgency, a survival thing,” said Sister Angele Arbib, who serves as the abbey’s spokeswoman. “But this is all needed. We have to continue, because we aren’t going to be in a position to do this ever again. We are doing this for the future.” 

Mother Abbess Lucia Kuppens said it has been hard for the nuns, who were used to living a cloistered life, to reach out to the public and ask for assistance. But with Mother Dolores as an inspiration, they have all found a way to help, each using her unique talents.

They have set up a website, organized fundraisers, begun speaking to the media and increasing sales of their handcrafted pottery, artisan cheeses, and choir recordings.

“We now know we can do it,” the mother abbess said. “We’ve gained courage and confidence.”

Mother Dolores’ story has attracted more than money, Mother Lucia said. Other professional women have connected with the idea of leaving their hectic lives for the monastery. Some come to the abbey to visit, working in their dairy and learning how to live a more self-sufficient life on the abbey’s organic farm.

Judith Pinco, a former singer from Hollywood, read about Mother Dolores and decided to visit the abbey. She ended up joining the church and now serves as Mother Dolores’ assistant and liaison to the outside world.

“I thought I was coming here for a contemplative life, but this is my way of giving back,” she said.

There has also been a steady stream of young people, many inspired by Mother Dolores’ story, showing up and looking for direction. Every room where the novices live is currently filled.

“So there has been more than just donations,” Mother Lucia said. “People have really been finding spiritual renewal.”

That has put even more strain on the abbey already cramped housing, helping make the planned renovations a necessity, Mother Lucia said. 

The changes will make it possible for the abbey to grow and continue its service, she said — like a movie with a happy ending.

“I couldn’t ask for a better legacy,” said Mother Dolores.

Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’ born 50 years ago in Florida

The pool is still there. It’s shrouded by palm fronds and heavy gates, but it’s there. Stand on Pierce Street, beyond the walls of the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, and you can hear families splashing, even smell the chlorine.

Close your eyes and picture this pool a half-century ago. Picture the Rolling Stones, then a scrum of scrawny Brits in lounge chairs, smoking cigs and scratching out a song that would change the course of music.

Depending on the legend you believe, it was here, 50 years ago while in Clearwater for a concert on May 6, 1965, that Keith Richards and Mick Jagger wrote “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” It’s the Rolling Stones’ signature song and one of the most enduring rock singles ever recorded.

Richards supposedly composed that one-of-a-kind riff while half asleep in his sixth-floor bed, and Jagger banged out those eyebrow-arching lyrics in 10 minutes by this very pool.

Did it really go down that way? Well, the truth is fuzzier than the distortion on Keef’s mighty Gibson Les Paul. That hasn’t stopped Stones fanatics from retelling the tale time and time again — and given the song’s impact over the last five decades, why should it?

This may be Tampa Bay’s most indelible mark on rock ‘n’ roll history.

Memories get foggy after 50 years, especially when it comes to the Stones. For some clarity, you have to take a step back.

At the beginning of 1965, the Stones were arguably the world’s second most popular rock band. Yet the 20-somethings had an edge, a darkness, a swagger that made them feel more dangerous than the Beatles.

They surfed into Clearwater behind a tsunami of hype, including a May 2 appearance on Ed Sullivan, and organizers of the concert at Jack Russell Stadium were prepared for an onslaught of teenage rabidity. Sure enough, the pandemonium got so intense that the plug was pulled after just four songs, with screaming fans storming the stage, the band fleeing for safety and one city official swearing, “There will never be another show like this as long as I am here.” The Stones skipped town the next day.

How, in the midst of all this, did “Satisfaction” enter the picture?

Every version of the story agrees on a few basics: Richards awoke from his slumber, grabbed an acoustic guitar and cassette recorder, hammered out that original riff — dunt-dunt, da-da-dunnn, da-da-da-da-da — and then fell back asleep, capturing 40 more minutes of snoring. He then played the song for Jagger, who wrote the lyrics by the hotel pool.

“’Satisfaction’ was a typical collaboration between Mick and me at the time,” Richards wrote in his 2010 memoir Life. “I would come up with the song and the basic idea, and Mick would do all the hard work of filling it in and making it interesting.”

The most popular account is that the riff and lyrics both originated at the Jack Tar Harrison Hotel, later known as the Fort Harrison Hotel, which since the mid ‘70s has been part of the worldwide spiritual headquarters of the Church of Scientology. Their stay here May 6 is well documented through vintage photographs and newspaper reports.

However, former bassist Bill Wyman’s 1990 memoir “A Stone Alone” mentions only one Clearwater hotel by name — the much tinier Gulf Motel at 419 Coronado Drive in Clearwater Beach. This, he writes, is where the Stones bunked the night before the Jack Russell gig. This seems unlikely — why would such a big band switch hotels mid-stay? — but then again, Wyman is a lifelong diarist generally considered a reliable Stones source.

A third theory arose with Richards’ memoir. While he admits playing the riff for Jagger in Clearwater, he leaves the impression that his mystical midnight recording might have taken place well before Florida, back at his flat in London. This new alternate history, since repeated in other books, came as a surprise even to those closest to the band.

“I believe that the London version of events first appeared with Keith’s Life,” the song’s producer, Andrew Loog Oldham, wrote in an email to the Tampa Bay Times. “Until that time, Clearwater was the given location by Keith. In any event, even the Scientologists believed it to be true. When they took over the premises, they are supposed to have had the room, supposedly on the 6th floor, ‘cleaned’ of the Rolling Stones’ influence.” (Inquiries to the Church of Scientology on this matter received no reply.)

Oldham was there less than a week later, when the Stones laid the track to tape in Chicago and Los Angeles, and remained a close collaborator for years. Yet even his testimony might not convince every Stones diehard of the truth.

Take Cathy Kingsley. She has been to 50 Rolling Stones concerts all over the world, and owns a minimuseum of Rolling Stones memorabilia. She has read all the books. And on at least a half-dozen occasions, she has come from her home in Bradenton to Clearwater, usually with fellow fans in tow, to pay homage to the place “Satisfaction” was born.

“We all have our little meccas,” she said.

Kingsley, 61, is faithful to Wyman’s version of events, and to her that means ‘Satisfaction’ was born at the old Gulf Motel. She counts among her prized Stones possessions several key fobs and fixtures from the old inn, including a light from the room where Richards supposedly slept.

“Over the years, the Stones have always said it, Mick has said it, Keith has said it: Bill’s our go-to guy for whatever went on, because he kept track of everything,” she said.

Time, however, has a way of smudging the fine print of history. The Gulf Motel evolved over the years, becoming the Gulf Beach Motel and, later, a parking lot for a neighboring hotel, the similarly named Gulf Beach Inn at 415 Coronado. In one of those oddly timed spins of the cosmos, the Gulf Beach Inn itself was closed down on Friday.

What if Wyman was mistaken? What if this was one fact he got wrong?

“There’s just so much out there, when you go back to check facts and everything,” she said. “It’s become like an urban legend. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But we know it was not too far from where we’re talking. And that’s the important part.”

So the Rolling Stones wrote (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction in Clearwater. Five decades from now, what will that fact mean?

Start with what it meant for the Stones. “Satisfaction” was released in June and topped the American charts by July, the band’s first international No. 1. Before, they were upstarts. After, they were superstars.

“The Stones graduated from being apprentices of the blues to being on the vanguard themselves,” said Andrew Grant Jackson, author of 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music. “It synthesizes so many different elements — the Motown soul stuff, the Dylan folk stuff, the new technology with the fuzz box.”

On Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” “Satisfaction” came in at No. 2, and that might be selling it short. (No. 1, for the record — see if you can keep this straight — was Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.”) The song’s searing lead lick; fight-the-man lyrics that sizzle with sexual need; fuzzed-out production that lassoes the blues and whips it toward the punk generation — 0 years on, “Satisfaction” still sounds and feels raw, relevant, untouchable.

“You would give anything to be able to cover that song, but you can’t — and you shouldn’t,” said Grammy-nominated country singer and guitarist Hunter Hayes. “There is something so iconic about the guitar playing, the guitar parts, the tones — absolute classic. That is the definition of rock ‘n’ roll.”

It became one of those rare songs so ubiquitous it towers not only above the rest of their music, but above popular culture as a whole, like Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven or the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive. “Satisfaction” is not just a rock song; it’s the rock song, as inextricable from the concept of rock ‘n’ roll as denim and leather jackets.

How many songs like that have a physical, verifiable birthplace? How many dots on the map can lay claim to siring a single that changed the course of modern music?

“It’s a tangible place,” Cathy Kingsley said. “They were here. Something great happened here.”

And much like the Rolling Stones themselves, the legends shamble on.

On the Web…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgYblVYEldY&noredirect=1

An AP Member Exchange story.