Bob Dylan

Legendary Folk Singer, Pete Seeger Dead At 94

For more than 70 years, there were few other musicians who stumped as tirelessly for folk music as Pete Seeger. The reed-thin singer and songwriter best known for songs like “If I Had A Hammer” and “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” died on Monday at 94 of natural causes, leaving behind a legacy of activism, charity and community that will be hard to match.

Seeger, who influenced several generations of activist singers — from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello — not only played folk music, but served as a kind of living museum of the genre, enthusiastically performing and promoting activist music until shortly before his death.

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Bob Dylan’s New Portraits To Go On Display At London Gallery

Portraits by Bob Dylan are going on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The 72-year-old singer-songwriter has been exhibiting his artworks for the past six years, but these 12 new pastel sketches have not been shown before.

The display is a departure for the gallery, which showcases portraits of prominent Britons. The gallery says Dylan’s images are “an amalgamation of features the musician has collected from life, memory and his imagination and fashioned into people, some real and some fictitious.”

Art historian John Elderfield, who helped bring the works to London, said Monday the paintings were “products of the same extraordinary, inventive imagination” that wrote Dylan’s songs.

“Bob Dylan: Face Value” runs Aug. 24 to Jan. 5.

ICONIC RECORD PROMOTER TO THE BEATLES AND ROLLING STONES DIES

The man Billboard Magazine named “World’s Top Promotion Man,” Pete Bennett, 77, died suddenly of a heart attack Thanksgiving day in Connecticut.

Bennett, born in the Bronx, NY is credited for propelling the careers of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and many others.

Described by Paul McCartney as “the promotion man responsible for getting the Beatles on the radio,” Bennett was named Director of Promotion for the Beatles’ Apple Records label in 1968. After the break-up of the group, Bennett guided the promotional efforts to radio for the solo releases by John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and McCartney.

Over the years in interviews when Bennett was asked why his services were in such demand, he would say “I make unknowns into stars and stars into superstars.”

Among his many legendary achievements, Bennett, working side-by-side with Harrison, produced the world’s first global charity event, “The Concert for Bangladesh,” at Madison Square Garden in 1971. The former Beatle requested Bennett to use his clout and relationships to secure some of the biggest rock stars of the time, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell and Billy Preston.

In 1975 when Michael Jackson and his brothers were looking to leave Motown Records, Bennett orchestrated a deal to bring the Jacksons to Epic Records

Well known for his eye for talent, Bennett is recognized as the first music executive to discover Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler, when he was in a Yonkers, NY band called Chain Reaction.

As impactful as Bennett’s accomplishments were in the music industry, his long list of relationships spanned a who’s who of politics, sports, television and movies, including Bob Hope, Muhammad Ali, Richard Nixon, Elvis Presley, Dick Clark, Nat King Cole, John Wayne and Bobby Vinton.

Bennett is survived by his wife of 47 years, Annette, and his two sons, Peter and Joseph, all of Connecticut. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Heart Association.

Singer And Songwriter Joe South Dies

Joe South, a popular 60s and 70s singer-songwriter who won two Grammy Awards for the 1969 hit “Games People Play,” died this week after suffering a heart attack. The 72-year-old passed away at his Buford, Georgia home, according to the Hall County Coroner’s office.

South, whose real name is Joseph Souter, released his debut single, “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor,” 1958. His other hits include “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” and “Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home.” “Games People Play” earned him Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Contemporary Song. South penned songs for numerous other artists, including “Down in the Boondocks” for Billy Joe Royal and the Grammy-nominated hit “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden” for Lynn Anderson. He also recorded with stars like Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel as a session guitarist.

“He’s one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” said Atlanta music publisher Butch Lowery. “His songs have touched so many lives. He’s such a wonderful guy and loved by many.”

South was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2003. His final album, “Classic Masters,” was released in 2002.

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International Debuts At No. 11 on The Billboard 200

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International debuted at No. 11 on The Billboard 200with the digital and the 4-CD set selling upwards of 22,800 units combined. The 2-CD edition, sold exclusively at Starbucks, sold more than 10,200 copies, debuting at No. 38. The collection, whichsupports Amnesty International’s human rights work, will be released internationally on February 6.
In an exclusive, Miley Cyrus will perform “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” next Monday, February 6. It will be the first in a series of performances by artists from Chimes of Freedom, as Ellen pays tribute to the work of Amnesty International.
Cyrus’ video for the track been added by MTV, VH1, MTV Hits, MTV.com, GAC, CMT, CMT Pure, CMT.com, Music Choice-Video on Demand and Palladia. “Miley covers ‘You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go’ with all of the mournfulness and dusty sentiment that the classic Dylan song requires, pouring her heart into the track and giving the legend his due,” said MTV Buzzworthy, while NPR’s Ann Powersobserved that Cyrus’ “excellent outing recalls her godmother Dolly Parton.”Using her social media sites, Miley has parlayed the video – which has received more than 2,000,000 views since premiering last week – into an opportunity to engage her fans in the human rights cause.
Ziggy Marley, praised by Daily Variety for his “moving, acoustic rendition of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,'” will appear on “Late Show with David Letterman” this Friday, February 3.
Numerous artists have supported the collection by performing their contributions to Chimes of Freedom on television, including The Avett Brothers on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” Blake Millsfeaturing Danielle Haim on “Conan” and Joe Perry on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Chimes of Freedom continues Amnesty International’s 40-year legacy of engaging with artists as champions of human rights. Beginning in 1972 when Joan Baez was inspired to devote a full year to building the Amnesty International movement on the West Coast, the organization then went on in the 1980s to stage the “Human Rights Now!” and “A Conspiracy of Hope” rock concert tours in the United States and abroad featuring Sting, U2, Pete Townshend, Tracy Chapman, Bruce Springsteen and Dylan himself, among many others. More recently, Amnesty International – through the generosity of Yoko Ono’s donation of John Lennon’s solo catalogue – released in 2007 “Instant Karma,” an album of Lennon songs by U2, Green Day and others to support its work to stop the violence in Darfur. “Instant Karma” debuted at No. 15 on The Billboard 200.
“Dylan’s ‘Chimes’ still resonates across the decades,” observed USA Today.
“What I love about this set is the musical variety,” said Ann Powers, who shared several selections from the collection in a recent Southern California Public Radio review(http://www.scpr.org/programs/madeleine-brand/2012/01/24/22241/new-music-tuesday-with-ann-powers-bob-dylan-tribut/).
Rolling Stone said: “Pete Townshend’s fingerpicked ‘Corrina, Corrina’ captures the grace and grief of Dylan’s best love songs” and the Los Angeles Times praised Queens of the Stone Age’s “raw, sizzling version of ‘Outlaw Blues.'”  Entertainment Weekly noted: “the best covers here come from the misfits (Kesha), the punks (check out Rise Against’s raging ‘Ballad of Hollis Brown’), the outsiders (Mexican pop star Ximena Sariñana’s excellent ‘I Want You’), and the radicals (‘With God on Our Side’ finds Somali-born Toronto rapper K’naan challenging American hawkishness as only a Canadian can)….Kronos Quartet and Philip Glass sound almost revolutionary on their gorgeous, avant-classical ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.'” In a four-star review, The Observer (UK) singled out numerous tracks, including Elvis Costello’s “dubby ‘Licence to Kill'” and Adele’s “intense piano-backed live version of ‘Make You Feel My Love.'”
Chimes of Freedom is dedicated to the thousands of people worldwide who are imprisoned or threatened for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. All of the artists and recording studios worked pro-bono to support the human rights cause.

Stars Record Hank Williams Tribute Album

Folk legend Bob Dylan  and rocker Jack White are among the musicians recording renditions of new songs by Hank Williams for a tribute album.

A treasure trove of ideas and lyrics country star Williams wrote down were found in a briefcase after his death in 1953.
Now a host of musicians has signed up to breathe life into the notes for upcoming collection The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, which is due for release in October (11).
As well as Dylan and White, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Merle Haggard and Alan Jackson are also contributing to the record.
The Essential Bob Dylan

U2 Honor Bob Dylan In Utah

Irish rockers U2 marked Bob Dylan‘s birthday by paying tribute to the music legend at their gig in Utah on the day he turned 70.


The folk-rocker reached the milestone on Tuesday (May 24) and Bono’s band honoured the veteran star during their concert at the Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The band played a rarely performed track from their 1998 album Rattle And Hum called Love Rescue Me, which was co-written by Dylan, and afterwards frontman Bono led the crowd in wishing many happy returns to the singer/songwriter.

Later in the show Bono also changed the words of the band’s hit Where The Streets Have No Name to include extracts from some of Dylan’s most famous tracks, including Times They Are A-Changin’ and Blowin’ In The Wind.

The Essential Bob Dylan

John Mellencamp European Tour Announced

For the first time in 19 years, John Mellencamp is set to tour the UK and Europe with dates set for late June and July 2011. The No Better Than This tour is designed as a uniquely formatted “evening with,” and brings Mellencamp’s music to theatre-sized venues, a rare opportunity to experience one of America’s most iconic songwriters and performers in an intimate setting, highlighting all phases of his artistry.

The new No Better Than This Tour dates will take in Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, UK, France, Italy, Switzerland.

The tour will feature both classic material associated with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s 35+ year long career as well as new music from No Better Than This, released last year by Rounder Records and produced by T Bone Burnett. The album has garnered great critical acclaim with Q stating, “Veteran blue-collar songsmith goes back to basics… with Mellencamp relishing his role as grizzled troubadour steeped in Rootsy traditions of America’s rural south.”

As a reflection of the diversity of styles and material that have been a hallmark of Mellencamp’s eclectic career, the concerts are formatted into three segments. These showcase John Mellencamp in an acoustic context, fronting a small combo recalling blues/country and rockabilly roots and with his full rock band. 

Of special note is the fact that the tour’s “opening act,” is a documentary film by Kurt Markus entitled It’s About You. Shot on Super8 film over the course of 2009’s Bob Dylan-John Mellencamp-Willie Nelson tour of minor league baseball stadiums, it chronicles the creation of No Better Than This.
No Better Than This

Bob Dylan "Revealed" on DVD, May 1-Turning 70 in May

Highway 61 Entertainment and MVD Visual announce the release of Bob Dylan “Revealed” for worldwide DVD distribution (and VOD) on May 1, 2011 in conjunction with Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday.

When Bob Dylan turns 70 in May, his iconic career will have spanned five decades. Yet, a true portrait of the reclusive “voice of the generation” has eluded Dylan fans. Through exclusive insider interviews, and never-before-seen photos and footage spanning Dylan’s 50-year career, Bob Dylan Revealed offers an intimate biography of who Bob Dylan was, and who he is today.

Brit Guitarist Lee MacDougall Set for first U.S. tour

British singer-songwriter-guitarist Lee MacDougall, the newest artist to emerge out of London’s burgeoning acoustic movement, is set for his first tour of the U.S. beginning February 25 in New York City. The tour will criss-cross the country over a two-month period and will include MacDougall’s debut appearance at the SxSW Festival in Austin in March.

MacDougall is releasing an 11-song self-produced CD called If Walls Could Talk to coincide with the tour. The CD includes the tracks “The Star Hotel” and “Joanna,” among others. BBC Radio 6 host Tom Robinson says of MacDougall: “You absolutely cannot fake that kind of sincerity and passion, and particularly the yearning quality to his vocals.”

Additionally, noted producer Jim Lowe (who has worked with the Stereophonics, Taylor Swift and the Charlatans, among others) has produced several tracks with Lee, including the version of “She” that is currently available from iTunes as part of a three-song EP he released last summer. An acoustic rendition of the song produced by Lee appears on If Walls Could Talk.

Originally from the fishing town of Grimsby in the north of England, MacDougall has been performing on the open mic night circuit in London that has spawned new acoustic English artists in the last two years. His ability to couple a strong lyrical narrative with a memorable melody has enabled him to establish an international fan base that expanded when his music was embraced by the community of fans of the Twilight films. But it is the strength of his songwriting that has earned him UK industry recognition and support slots with artists such as Train, Starsailor, Paolo Nutini, The Feeling, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. Word Magazine review editor Kate Mossman says: “He’s amazing and very confident. Like Freddie Mercury meets Rufus Wainwright. He’s going to go a long way.”