‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ Still Asks The Hard Questions

Bob Dylan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama on April 26, 2012. The honor is due in no small part to songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind” still asking the same hard questions 50 years later.

By 1962, Bob Dylan had been hanging around McDougal Street in Greenwich Village for a little more than a year. He was known as a nervous guy with a funny cap, a singer and writer of songs like dozens, maybe hundreds, of others. Happy Traum and Bob Cohen were members of a folk group playing the Village at that time, called The New World Singers. They would invite Dylan up on the stage to join them.

“He was very sort of rough around the edges,” Happy Traum notes, “and at the same time he had built this mythology about himself where we didn’t know where he came from; he just sort of appeared, hitchhiking or riding boxcars out of the Southwest or something like that. And so he was immediately this kind of iconic figure even for a 19- or 20-year-old kid.”  Read full story

I Want My MTV: An excerpt from Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum’s MTV oral history

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution is a hugely readable and fun new oral history of the first decade of MTV. Veteran music writers Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum interviewed many of the era’s major players, putting a microscope on the biggest, weirdest, and most memorable videos of the time, and we’re thrilled to present the following excerpt.


“Wannabe Cecil B. DeMilles”

Music’s Next Great Biopics, Billboard

No one wants to talk about a Marvin Gaye movie. Or one aboutJanis Joplin, or a Jimi Hendrix biopic.

As film subjects go, they’re problematic. Heirs to the Joplin and Hendrix estates have blocked films by withholding music and image rights. The pieces to the Gaye story are in so many hands that no one has been able to collect them all in one place.

No, the talk these days is about Queen and Sam Cooke, 2Pac and Teddy Pendergrass, Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, Frankie Valli’s days in the Four Seasons and Brian Epstein’s career managing the Beatles. A key factor — and this is a shift in the movie-making paradigm — is access to life rights and music, a desire by stars and heirs to have their stories told and a new level of proactivity from rights-holders. Securing recordings and publishing rights has become the first order of business rather than the final step in setting up a film.

Giving A Second Listen To McCartney’s First Disc, Associated Press

 

It’s hard to think of how Paul McCartney could have given his first solo album a bigger publicity hurdle to overcome, unless he’d been arrested for some vile crime on the week of its release in April 1970.

The newly ex-Beatle distributed a questionnaire that was treated by fans and the media as definitive word that the world’s most beloved rock band — true today as it was back then — had broken up. The music in “McCartney” was quickly overshadowed by anger and disappointment.

It Was a Hot Time in Tennessee at the Snob-Free Bonnaroo Fest, NY Times

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — The 10th Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival ended on Sunday, and more than 85,000 people returned to civilian life, their ears ringing with too much music. Because it is a brand with a mysterious grip on hale young-adult Americans with mystical tendencies, because it broke little aesthetic ground and because it’s a milestone year, let’s do consumer service first.

Tastemakers: Peter, Bjorn And John Live

Billboard’s Tastemakers video series presents a closer look at — and an exclusive performance from — the cool artists hitting the Billboard Tastemakers chart, which brings you the top-selling albums each week based on an influential panel of indie stores and small regional chains.

In the latest edition of Tastemakers, Swedish indie rockers Peter Bjorn and John stopped by Mophonics Studio in New York. The played a handful of tracks off their sixth album, “Gimme Some,” and joked about recording an album and playing shows while they were “broken up.”

See the whole series here.

Rolling Stone Readers Pick Their 10 Favorite Pink Floyd Songs

Earlier this month, the three surviving members of Pink Floyd – Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason – reunited at London’s 02 Arena. It was only the second time they have shared a stage since Live 8 in 2005. That same week (what a coincidence!) they announced a reissue project for their entire catalog. To mark the occasion, Rolling Stone asked their readers to vote for their favorite Pink Floyd song. Here are the results.

My Morning Jacket, NY Times Profile

At a climactic moment in “Circuital,”the title track of My Morning Jacket’s new album, things take a turn toward the homestretch. “Out on the circuit, on the hallowed ground,” the band’s lead singer, Jim James, wails, a hint of hoarseness creeping into his voice, “ending up in the same place that we started out.”

Bass and drums chug heavily behind him, while a piano spools out major-key arpeggios. There’s an acoustic guitar, briskly strummed, and an electric guitar, all humid twang.

Lady Gaga, NY Times Profile

Even for a rehearsal, Lady Gaga dresses up. She was preparing to headline the annual gala for the Robin Hood Foundation, a gathering of 4,000 of New York City’s richest people to benefit antipoverty programs, in a ballroom at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on May 9.

Her lipstick was a perfect cupid’s bow, and her eyes, big as headlights, were elaborately lined and lashed. Her fingernails were blood red with little golden studs. She wore a short, angular jacket that barely reached her thighs, olive-green tights and shiny, elaborately laced knee-high boots with towering high heels. It wasn’t the outsize, shoulder-padded outfits she’d be wearing later as she performed, but it was a long way from the warm-up clothes of the dancers around her. By the end of rehearsal, the tights would be ripped from dancing and a fingernail would be gone, knocked off as she pounded a Latin vamp on the piano.

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