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Queen – Ultimate rock classic band born to play stadiums Tags: queen ultimate rock band play stadium word life production feature

The epitome of pomp-rock in the Seventies and Eighties, Queen rocked radio and sports stadiums alike with booming, highly produced anthems like "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You." Onstage, the English quartet used elaborate sets smoke bombs, and flashpots — none of which were quite as captivating as the band's lead singer, Freddie Mercury, whose preening and over-the-top vocals helped make Queen wildly popular.

Queen's roots go back to 1967, when guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor joined singer Tim Staffell in a group called Smile. Staffell soon left to go solo, and the remaining two Smiles teamed up with Freddie Mercury (from a group called Wreckage) and later bassist John Deacon. They played very few gigs at the start, avoiding the club circuit and rehearsing for two years while they all remained in college. (May began work on a Ph.D. in astronomy; Taylor has a degree in biology; Deacon, a degree in electronics; and Mercury had one in illustration and design.) They began touring in 1973, when their debut album was released. After a second LP, the band made its U.S. tour debut, opening for Mott the Hoople.

Queen's sound combined showy glam rock, heavy metal, and intricate vocal harmonies produced by multi-tracking Mercury's voice. May's guitar was also thickly overdubbed. A Night at the Opera included "God Save the Queen" rendered as a chorale of lead guitar lines. (Until 1980's The Game, the quartet's albums boasted that "no synths" were used.) Queen's third LP, 1974's Sheer Heart Attack, featured "Killer Queen," its first U.S. Top Twenty hit. The LP also became its first U.S. gold.

Heavy-metal fans loved Queen (despite Freddie Mercury's onstage pseudo-dramatics, which had more to do with admitted influence Liza Minnelli than with Robert Plant), and the band's audience grew with its breakthrough LP, 1975's A Night at the Opera. It contained the six-minute masterpiece "Bohemian Rhapsody," which featured a campy, operatic section in which Mercury's voice was spread over dozens of tracks. "Bohemian Rhapsody" stayed at Number One in England for nine weeks, breaking the record Paul Anka had held since 1957 for his "Diana."

Queen had eight gold and six platinum records. The group's U.S. Top Forty include "Killer Queen" (Number 12), 1975; "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Number Nine), "You're My Best Friend" (Number 16), and "Somebody to Love" (Number 13), 1976; "We Are the Champions" b/w "We Will Rock You" (Number Four), 1977; "Fat Bottomed Girls" b/w "Bicycle Race" (Number 24), for which the group staged an all-female nude bicycle race, 1978; "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (Number One), 1979; "Another One Bites the Dust" (Number One), 1980; "Under Pressure" with David Bowie (Number 29), 1981; "Body Language" (Number 11), 1982; and "Radio Ga-Ga" (Number 16), 1984. At first their hits were march-like hard rock, but in the late 1970s and early 1980s the group began to branch out. In 1980 they released The Game which featured two big hits in the rockabilly-style "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and the disco-style "Another One Bites the Dust," a close relative of Chic's "Good Times," that went to Number One pop and R&B. The Game became Queen's first American Number One album.

In 1981 Taylor released a solo album, Fun in Space, and later in the year the band recorded with an outsider for the first time, writing and singing with David Bowie on "Under Pressure," included on both their platinum Greatest Hits and Hot Space. One side of Hot Space was typically bombastic rock, while the other contained funk followups to "Another One Bites the Dust." Fans were relatively cool to Hot Space and it did not go platinum. Queen's next LP, The Works (Number 23, 1984), marked a return to hard-rock form. It contained the nostalgic "Radio Ga-Ga."

Queen ceased to be a commercial force in the States; its next two LPs didn't even go gold. Yet all over the world the group retained its regal status. The gold Innuendo, which went to Number 30 here, shot to Number One in Britain in early 1991. By then rumors were rampant that Mercury was ill with AIDS, something the group continually denied. That November he released a statement from his deathbed confirming the stories. Just two days later he died of the disease in his London mansion at age 45.

On April 20, 1992, the surviving members of Queen were joined by a host of stars—including Elton John, Axl Rose, David Bowie, Def Leppard, and many other admirers—for a memorial concert held at Wembley Stadium that was broadcast to a worldwide audience of more than one billion. The concert raised millions for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS awareness and education fund established by the band members and their manager, Jim Beach. Ironically, around the time of the Wembley concert, Queen was enjoying its greatest American popularity in years, thanks to the memorable scene from the movie Wayne's World, in which main characters Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) and buddies sing along to "Bohemian Rhapsody" as it blares on the car radio. The re-released single soared to Number Two. A posthumous Mercury solo album was released in 1992.

In 1993, May released his second solo album, Back to the Light, and continued recording solo and with the Brian May Band. Roger Taylor recorded three albums with a sideline band, the Cross, which began in 1987. He eventually resumed his solo career. In 1995, Queen finally completed its swan song Made in Heaven (Number 58), which features vocals recorded by Mercury during the last year of his life. In 1996, a statue of the singer was unveiled in Montreux, Switzerland. In 1998, a box set of their first eight LPs entitled Crown Jewels was released.

Queen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Compilations, DVDs and archival live recordings continued to emerge throughout the new millennium. The Queen name was brought back in 2005 as "Queen + Paul Rodgers," a band that featured the former lead singer of Free and Bad Company. Return of the Champions, a 2005 double disc on the Hollywood label, documents a show where Rodgers joined Brian May and Roger Taylor at the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield. An album with the Rodgers-fronted lineup, The Cosmos Rocks, was released in October 2008 to poor reviews.

Portions of this biography appeared in The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001). Evan Serpick contributed to this article.

The Allman Brothers Band remain an incendiary performing unit for whom “the road goes on forever.” Tags: allman brothers band music hall fame word life production feature blog

Inductees: Duane Allman (guitar; born November 20, 1946, died October 29, 1971), Gregg Allman (vocals, organ, piano; born December 8, 1947), Dickey Betts (guitar, vocals; born December 12, 1943), Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson (drums; born July 8, 1944), Berry Oakley (bass; born April 4, 1948, died November 11, 1972), Butch Trucks (drums; born May 11, 1947).

As the principal architects of Southern rock, the Allman Brothers Band forged this new musical offshoot from elements of blues, jazz, soul, R&B and rock and roll. Along with the Grateful Dead and Cream, they help advance rock as a medium for improvisation. Their kind of jamming required a level of technical virtuosity and musical literacy that was relatively new to rock & roll, which had theretofore largely been a song-oriented medium. The original guitarists in the Allman Brothers Band - Duane Allman and Dickey Betts – broke that barrier with soaring, extended solos. Combined with organist Gregg Allman’s gruff, soulful vocals and Hammond B3 organ, plus the forceful, syncopated drive of a rhythm section that included two drummers, the Allman Brothers Band were a blues-rocking powerhouse from their beginnings in 1969.

The group’s marathon concerts, best captured on the classic The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East (1971), are the stuff of rock legend. Surviving ups and downs, including the deaths of several members, the Allman Brothers rank among rock’s greatest performing entities. Moreover, their success paved the way for other bands from the South, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band, and the Charlie Daniels Band. To date, the Allman Brothers Band have had ten gold albums, four of which have been certified platinum (At Fillmore East, Eat a Peach and Brothers and Sisters) or multiplatinum (A Decade of Hits).

The group formed around the nucleus of Gregg and Duane Allman. Younger brother Gregg initially taught and encouraged Duane to pick up the guitar. With Duane dropping out of school in order to master the instrument, the brothers played in bands around Daytona Beach, Florida, as far back as 1961. They formed the Allman Joys in 1965, combining the Southern blues and soul influences that they’d grown up hearing with the with rocking new sounds of the British Invasion bands (especially the Yardbirds). Evolving into the Hourglass, the brothers and their bandmates recorded a pair of albums in Los Angeles for the Liberty label, one of which (Power of Love, 1968), foreshadowed the sound that would fully emerge with the Allman Brothers Band.

The Allman Brothers Band evolved out of jams in Jacksonville, Florida, involving Duane and members of the Second Coming (guitarist Dickey Betts, bassist Berry Oakley) and the 31st of February (drummer Butch Trucks). Another drummer, Jai Johanny Johanson (a.k.a. “Jaimoe”), was a veteran of the soul-music circuit, having played with Otis Redding and others. A magical five-hour jam among the musicians at Trucks’ house cemented the union and prompted this remark from Duane Allman: “Anybody who doesn’t want to be in my band is going to have to fight his way out the door.” Gregg was summoned back from California, where he was unhappily fulfilling a contractual obligation as a solo artist. The Allman Brothers Band were officially formed in March 1969 and signed to Phil Walden’s fledgling Capricorn label, which became the main driving force of the Southern-rock insurgence of the Seventies.

During the early stages of the Allman Brothers Band, Duane also worked as a session musician at Fame Recording Studios, where he acquired a reputation as the guitar player in the South. From 1968 through 1970, his blazing fretwork graced records by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, King Curtis and Clarence Carter. His contributions to the double album Layla...and Other Assorted Love Songs, by Derek and the Dominos (led by Eric Clapton), cannot be overestimated. Jerry Wexler, producer and vice-president of Atlantic Records, had this to say about Duane Allman’s prowess as a sideman: “He was a complete guitar player. He could do everything: play rhythm, lead, blues, slide, bossa-nova, with a jazz feeling, beautiful light acoustic – and on slide guitar he got the touch. Duane is one of the greatest guitar players I ever knew and one of the very few who could hold his own with the best of the black blues players.”

Duane was also the linchpin of the Allman Brothers Band, lighting a fire under the other members. In Gregg’s words, “My brother was one of the most intense people I’ve ever met. When he was playing, he just pulled it out of you. I don’t care if you were dog-tired or half asleep, something happened. It was like he demanded it from you.”

The group’s first two studio albums - The Allman Brothers Band (1969) and Idlewild South (1970) - contained classic songs like “Dreams,” “Whipping Post,” “Midnight Rider” and “Revival.” Both were hard-hitting announcements of the Southern-rock sound. However, it was in concert that the band burned brightest. Led by Duane Allman’s searing guitar, the Allman Brothers Band’s live shows left devoted fans in their wake. The March 1971 concerts recorded for At Fillmore East in New York caught them at their peak. Sadly, the Allman Brothers Band was dealt a catastrophic blow when Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash in Macon, Georgia, on October 29, 1971. A year later, on November 11, 1972, bassist Berry Oakley died under eerily similar circumstances only a few blocks from where Duane’s accident had occurred.

However, the group regrouped and persevered. Duane was not immediately replaced; instead, a second keyboardist, Chuck Leavell, added a jazzy new dimension. Oakley was replaced by bassist Lamar Williams. As a testimony to the Allman Brothers Band’s resilience, the group’s most commercially successful albums came in the wake of their tragic losses. The double album Eat a Peach (1972), which included Duane’s last three studio performances, reached Number Four, and 1973’s Brothers and Sisters was Number One for five weeks. Guitarist Dickey Betts moved to the forefront, opening up the band’s sound with the country-rock approach of “Blue Sky” and “Ramblin’ Man,” and with the lengthy instrumental pieces he composed, including “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Les Bres in A Minor” and “High Falls.” The Allman Brothers Band’s pinnacle of popularity came on July 28, 1973, when they performed on a bill with the Grateful Dead and The Band at the Grand Prix Racecourse in Watkin’s Glen, New York, before 600,000 rock fans.

In the mid-Seventies, the road got rocky again for the Allman Brothers Band. Internal dissension and substance-abuse problems triggered a two-year hiatus in the mid-Seventies. However, a joint appearance between the Gregg Allman Band and the Dickey Betts Band in August 1978 led to a full-fledged reunion and the release of Enlightened Rogues in 1979. The reformed Allman Brothers Band reverted to their classic dual-guitar lineup with the addition of Dan Toler on guitar. In 1980, Dan’s brother, Frankie Toler, would replace Jaimoe on drums. This lineup moved from Capricorn to Arista Records, where they released the albums Reach for the Sky and Brothers of the Road.

The Allman Brothers Band disbanded again in 1982. In 1989, the box set Dreams was released, and the group reunited again for what turned out to be one of the most productive chapters in its storied history. The addition of guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody revitalized the band, leading to some of the strongest playing that had been heard since the days of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley. In fact, the most stable lineup in the Allman Brothers Band’s history crystallized in 1991 as a septet comprising Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, Warren Haynes, Allen Woody and percussionist Marc Quinones. Haynes came closer than any other player who passed through their ranks to capturing Duane Allman’s passion and technique. The Allman Brothers Band released two of the most inspired studio albums of their entire career - Shades of Two Worlds and Where It All Begins – in the early Nineties. This lineup’s six-year run ended with the departure of Haynes and Woody, who devoted themselves full-time to their band Gov’t Mule.

In 1999, the Allman Brothers Band celebrated their 30th anniversary with an 18-night stand at New York’s Beacon Theatre. To this day, they remain an incendiary performing unit for whom (to quote a line from “Midnight Rider”) “the road goes on forever.”

Survivor is the Ultimate Rock Classic band who's made a lasting impact on the world of rock Tags: Survivor band rock ultimate classic word life production feature

Survivor was formed in the cold Chicago winter of 1977 by Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik. By the end of 1978, Survivor was signed to a record deal with Scotti Bros. Records. Under patronage of John Kalodner, then head of A&R for Atlantic Records, Survivor went into the studio to cut their first self-titled album.  This record, released in 1980 with the single “Somewhere in America,” did moderately well and started to build a loyal base of fans.

After touring for 8 months, the band went back into the studio. The result of those sessions, ”Premonition”, is considered by many fans to be their favorite Survivor record.  The album was released in 1981 with the singles, “Poor Man’s Son” and “Summer Nights”.  This record improved on the first album’s success, although still not the big breakout the band was looking for – that was to come with the 1982 release of “Eye of The Tiger”.  The title song for this record was expressly written for Rocky III, which brought the band national attention.  “Eye of The Tiger” spent seven weeks at the #1 spot on the U.S. charts.  The song won a Grammy, an Oscar nomination and was voted ‘Best New Song” by the Peoples Choice Awards.  Immediately following the record, the band toured extensively performing in sheds and stadiums.

1983 found Survivor back in the studio at work on “Caught in the Game” which received critical acclaim and AOR airplay.   It was after this that Dave Bickler, vocalist since 1978, decided to leave the band and was replaced by Jimi Jamison in 1984.   Survivor’s next album, “Vital Signs” was released and achieved multi-platinum status with a string of hit singles that kept Survivor on the charts for over 40 weeks in 1984 and ’85.   It was their established AOR airplay and Billboard Top 20 hits; “ I Can’t Hold Back”, “High on You” and “The Search is Over” which reached #2 on the hot 100, that kept Survivor at the top of the record and concert business.

While the band continued to tour worldwide, they managed to take time out to record “Burning Heart”, the title track for Rocky IV.  The song went all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, propelling the sound track album to multi-platinum status.  It was 1987 before Survivor had time to stop and make another record.  “When Seconds Count” that contained yet another top ten single, “Is This Love”, which stayed in the top 10 for several weeks.

In 1988 Survivor released their seventh album, “Too Hot To Sleep”.  Although not the huge commercial success of some of their other efforts, it is still considered by many critics and fans alike to be one of Survivor’s best.  Shortly after this release, the group decided to pursue various solo projects. Frankie continued in the studio writing and recording with many different artists, most recently with Eddie Money for his 1999 release, “Ready Eddie”, in which Frankie produced as well as wrote and performed. Jimi, while touring and recording with his own band, was tapped to sing the theme song “I’m Always Here” for the hit TV show “Baywatch”.

In November 2011, Jimi Jamison rejoined Survivor, after leaving the band in 2006 to focus on his solo career.

Survivor – Jimi Jamison (vocals), Frankie Sullivan (guitar), Marc Droubay (drums), Billy Ozzello (bass) and Walter Tolentino (keyboards/guitar) – are looking forward to this new chapter in their career.

“It feels great to be back with Frankie and the band, singing the songs that the fans love,” says Jamison.

Frankie Sullivan adds, “I’m excited to have Jimi back up front singing the hits, and giving the fans what they want.”

Source: Official Website: http://survivorband.com/survivor 

Aerosmith are the bad boys of Boston & America's greatest Rock & Roll Band Tags: aero smith bad boys boston america's greatest rock roll band ultimate rock classic word

Known for an aggressively rhythmic style as rooted in James Brown funk as in more traditional blues, Aerosmith were the top American hard-rock band of the mid-Seventies; if you set foot in a high school parking lot back then, the verbose back-alley numbers on 1975's Toys In The Attic and 1976's Rocks were inescapable. But the members' growing drug problems and internal dissension contributed to a commercial decline that accelerated through the late Seventies and early Eighties. Two crucial lineup changes and a few poorly received albums preceded a 1984 reunion of the original lineup and the multi-platinum Permanent Vacation, which signaled one of the most spectacular comebacks in rock history. Though by this time they were presenting themselves as vociferous adherents to the sober lifestyle, Aerosmith retained much of their bad-boy image. And despite a considerably more commercially slick and power-ballad oriented sound than they'd first emerged with, frequently drawing on outside songwriters, they managed to became even more popular the second time around.

Aerosmith was formed in 1970 by Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton and Steven Tyler, who was then a drummer. The group was completed with drummer Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford; Tyler, with his trademark high shriek, became lead singer. For the next two years all five members shared a small apartment in Boston and played almost nightly throughout the area, occasionally venturing to New York City. Clive Davis saw the band perform at Max's Kansas City in New York and signed them to Columbia. A minor hit and future FM-radio staple from their debut, "Dream On," strengthened their regional following.

Meanwhile, Aerosmith began to tour widely. In 1976 "Dream On" recharted, rising to Number Six. And by the time of "Walk This Way" (Number 10, 1977), the band had become headliners. Its phenomenal success was short-lived, however. A series of sold-out tours and platinum albums hit its peak in 1976.

By 1977 the group's constant touring and its members' heavy drug use (Perry and Tyler were nicknamed "the Toxic Twins" for their substance abuse) had begun to take their toll. After months of rest, Aerosmith recorded Draw the Line and appeared as the villains in Robert Stigwood's movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Their version of Lennon and McCartney's "Come Together" from the soundtrack was a minor hit. But Aerosmith was unraveling: In 1979, admitting to long-standing personality and musical conflicts with songwriting partner Tyler, Perry quit and started a band called the Joe Perry Project. Jim Crespo took his place. The next year Whitford departed to form the Whitford/St. Holmes band with ex—Ted Nugent sidekick Derek St. Holmes and was replaced by Rick Dufay. Neither Perry's nor Whitford's records sold particularly well.

Rock in a Hard Place, Aerosmith's first new recording in almost three years and the first without Perry, peaked at Number 32 in 1982. But in early 1984 the five original members met backstage at an Aerosmith concert and decided to re-form. Done With Mirrors, their first "comeback" LP, sold moderately. But he group's re-ascendance began in earnest when Aerosmith collaborated with Run-D.M.C. on the duo's hip-hop version of the 1975 Aerosmith warhorse "Walk This Way." That fall, just as "Walk This Way" was peaking at Number Four on the pop chart, Permanent Vacation (Number 11, 1987) was released. The album wound up spawning three hit singles, while the songs' videos introduced Aerosmith to the MTV generation. Aerosmith further consolidated its success with the critically acclaimed, quadruple-platinum Pump (Number Five, 1989), which boasted three Top 10 hits. "Janie's Got a Gun" (Number Four, 1989), about a teenage girl getting revenge for incestuous molestation by her father, won 1990's Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal.

In 1991 the group signed a record deal with Sony worth a reported $30 million for four albums. Three years later, in summer 1994, Aerosmith landed a seven-figure deal from G.P. Putnam's Sons for their group autobiography. With the hit ballads "Living on the Edge" (Number 18, 1993), "Cryin" (Number 12, 1993) and "Crazy" (Number Seven, 1993) ubiquitous on MTV, Get a Grip hit Number One, followed by 1994's double-platinum Number Six greatest-hits package, Big Ones.

But Aerosmith soon re-entered rougher waters. The band started working on the follow-up to Get a Grip, but didn't get along with producer Glen Ballard, who left in the middle of the sessions and was replaced by Kevin Shirley. Meanwhile, Joey Kramer's father had died, sending the drummer into such a depression that he had to be replaced by session drummer Steve Ferrone on some tracks. In the midst of it all, the band fired its longtime manager, Tim Collins, who had helped the musicians through sobriety and helmed their Eighties comeback. Collins retaliated by suggesting that some of the band members had fallen off the wagon; Tyler was then accused of "not being part of the team" in a letter sent to him by his four bandmates. Tyler denied taking drugs, insisting, "I've had no mood-altering substances in 10 years."

When Nine Lives finally came out in 1997, it entered the chart at Number One. And though the album didn't yield a major hit single, "Pink" (Number 27, 1998) earned Aerosmith another Grammy, for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. In 1998, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", Aerosmith's contribution to the soundtrack of Armageddon (which starred Tyler's daughter Liv), became a Number One pop hit, and was nominated for an Academy Award. In early 2001, Aerosmith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just as the band's new album, Just Push Play (Number Two, 2001) scored with the powerpoppish hit single "Jaded" (Number Seven, 2001).

O, Yeah! The Ultimate Aerosmith Hits (Number Four, 2002) was the first best-of collection to combine music from the band's Columbia and Geffen tenures. Tours with the likes of Kiss and Kid Rock followed, as did Honkin' on Bobo (Number Five, 2004), an album of blues covers that was certified gold in the U.S, despite its ill-advised title. In 2006, though, two members of the band fell ill: Tyler announced that he had ruptured blood vessels in his larynx, while Hamilton disclosed that he was being treated for throat cancer. Both recovered, though Hamilton missed much of the band's 2006 tour. Nonetheless, in 2007, the band performed one of its most geographically extensive tours ever, traveling to countries like Russia and Latvia for the first time in its career

When the band went on the road again in 2009, the tour hit a number of snags, as Whitford and Hamilton recovered from surgery and Tyler from a leg injury. In August 2009, Tyler fell off a stage in South Dakota, damaging his back and neck; he was taken to the hospital, and the show was canceled. Within a few days, the rest of the tour was called off as well, though select concerts were performed later in the year. Rumors circulated in November 2009 about Tyler leaving the band, but this speculation was scuttled when he joined Perry for a performance of "Walk This Way" in New York that month.

Tyler entered rehab shortly after the surprise appearance, and in May 2010 Aerosmith launched another world tour — even though their most recent album was now nearly a decade in the past. Toward the end of the tour, word surfaced that Tyler was signed to be a judge on American Idol. In typical Aerosmith fashion, the rest of the band first learned about it from news reports. "It's one step above Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," a furious Perry told the press. "I don't want Aerosmith's name involved with it." In early 2011, Aerosmith (sans Perry) cut a series of demos for a possible new album. At the same time, however, Tyler continued work on his solo debut — leaving the future of the band as murky as ever.

Portions of this biography appeared in The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001). Chuck Eddy contributed to this article.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/aerosmith/biography#ixzz2fjnQhZCv
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