From unrepentantly funky partiers to alternative chart-toppers, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have navigated music’s long and winding road without missing a trick. So, put a sock on something and let’s do this!
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
The B-52’s, The Video Album: You’ve gotten your groove on to the music, but now’s your chance to dance this mess around while watching the videos! There are 15 videos included on this compilation, and since we know you’re wondering what they are, we won’t force you to wait another minute: you’ll get “Rock Lobster,” “Song for a Future Generation,” “Legal Tender,” “Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland,” “Channel Z,” “Love Shack,” “Cosmic Thing,” “Roam,” “Deadbeat Club,” “Good Stuff,” “Tell It Like It T-I-IS,” “Is That You, Mo-Dean?”, “Hot Pants Explosion,” “Revolution Earth,” and “Debbie.” It’s a full-on party in convenient video form!
Rick James, “This Magic Moment / Dance with Me”: Depending on how long your memory may be, it’s not impossible that you might remember this track from Warner Brothers’ 1989 compilation, Rock, Rhythm & Blues, which also featured covers by Elton John, Michael McDonald, Chaka Chan, Howard Hewett, Manhattan Transfer, Randy Travis, the Pointer Sisters, Christine McVie and Friends, and El Debarge. Why did this track get a single release? Say, you don’t think maybe it’s to continue with the Rick James revival we tried to start a few weeks ago by issuing his Kickin’ album at long last, do you? Yeah, that’s the ticket!
36 years ago today, the once and future frontman for the Four Seasons took a song written by the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb and rode it all the way to the pinnacle of the Billboard Hot 100.
Adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name, Grease arrived on the big screen with director Randal Kleiser at the helm, but its theme song was a new addition to the production, as was “You’re the One That I Want.” As it happens, Kleiser wasn’t a fan of either of ‘em, owing to the fact that they didn’t match up with the ‘50s style or lyrics of the existing songs, but given that both tracks ended up hitting #1, one has to presume that there weren’t a lot of complains coming from the studio or the record label.
Once upon a time, it was considered vaguely preposterous that rock ‘n’ roll and classical musical could ever be brought together successfully, but in 1969, Jon Lord of Deep Purple decided to prove them wrong, composing a concerto – with lyrics by bandmate Ian Gillan – and, along with their bandmates (Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, and Ian Paice), performing it with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on September 24, 1969 at the Royal Albert Hall.
The end result of that performance, Concerto for Group and Orchestra, is now available once more, and on 180-gram vinyl, no less. The reissue mirrors the version which emerged on EMI in 2002, which is to say that it includes the entire program of music performed on September 24, 1969, rather than merely the concerto. The evening began with “Symphony No. 6, Op. 95,” composed by Malcolm Arnold, who also conducted the proceedings, after which the audience was favored with a trio of Deep Purple songs – “Hush,” “Wring That Neck,” and “Child in Time” – before moving on to the three movements of “Concerto for Group and Orchestra.” For an encore, the orchestra and company returned to perform parts of the third movement.
On August 25, 1981, R.E.M. appeared at The Scorpio, a dance club in Charlotte, North Carolina, for a show which was billed as "Charlotte's First Gay New Wave Disco and Costume Party,” with the funds from the price of admission – which was a whopping $3.00 per ticket – benefitting various gay and lesbian charities.
While the collaboration between club and band was clearly done for a good cause, it’s possible that the person or persons responsible for putting together the advertisements for the event didn’t really know a lot about R.E.M., as they prominently reference the band’s “irresistible dance beat.” Fortunately, they had a few other factoids to reference in order to fill the rest of the space, including that the they’d opened for The Police at Atlanta’s Fox Theater, toured the east coast with Gang of Four, and had been voted Newcomer Band of the Month in New York Rocker. In conclusion, the declaration was made that “if you like the Police, you’ll love R.E.M.,” which is the sort of blanket statement that can lead to fistfights.
David Bowie is the subject of the upcoming documentary David Bowie Is; debuting simultaneously next month in London, and here, stateside, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Organized chronologically, David Bowie Is traces the artist’s evolution from his years as a teenager in the 1950s to the early 2000s when he retired from touring.
This week's playlist pays tribute to the legend.