It was 53 years ago Saturday (September 22nd, 1965) that The Supremes recorded their Number One hit, "I Hear A Symphony." The song was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland -- the team responsible for the group's previous Number Ones, including "Back In My Arms Again," "Baby Love," and "Come See About Me."
Prior to releasing "I Hear A Symphony," the Supremes' string of five straight Number Ones was broken when their single "Nothing But Heartaches" stalled at a disappointing Number 11. Co-writer Lamont Dozier recalled that the failure of that single to dent the Top Ten forced Motown founder Berry Gordy to look outside the songwriting team to find the Supremes next hit. That spurred the team into producing a future classic.
Dozier recalls that, "It was humiliating. . . it taught us humility (and) we started frantically looking for new ideas. . . Brian (Holland) was playing this melody. . . it was sounding sort of classical to me. . . Eddie (Holland) took it and ran with the lyrics." "I Hear A Symphony" hit Number One on November 20th, 1965, knocking the Rolling Stones' "Get Off My Cloud" out from the top spot and going on to hold the position for two weeks.
Although Holland-Dozier-Holland were never too self-congratulatory with their many Motown successes, years after its release Brian Holland says that the lyrics to "I Heard A Symphony" actually reduced him to tears: "Only one song ever really got me. I talked to my brother about it years ago, it was 'I Hear A Symphony.' Somehow, I was coming out of a health club, and it was on the radio. And then I just start taking in the lyrics, (I) pulled over and my eyes started tearing up, y'know what I mean. There were some hell of a lyrics on that, man. 'Cause it kept going on and building. What he did, he built upon top of emotion on top of emotion -- which really got me. 'I hear a symphony. . . as you talk to me. . . (laughs) as you touch me. . . as you. . .' Y'know what I mean? You just build upon emotion and it really got to me." "; Martha & the Vandellas' "Nowhere To Run," "Heatwave" and "Jimmy Mack"; and the Supremes' Number One hits "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," "Stop! In The Name Of Love," "Come See About Me," "Back In My Arms Again," "You Can't Hurry Love," "You Keep Me Hangin' On," "Love Is Here And Now You're Gone," and "The Happening."
AUDIO: MARY WILSON I HEAR A SYMPHONY
AUDIO: LAMONT DOZIER ON SONGWRITING IN THE 60S
AUDIO: EDDIE HOLLAND ON HOW HOLLAND-DOZIER-HOLLAND WORKED
AUDIO: BRIAN HOLLAND ON THE EMOTION OF 'I HEAR A SYMPHONY'
Following the template set on their 2016 comeback album, Good Times!, the Monkees will release their first holiday collection on October 12th, titled Christmas Party. The album features new vocals by Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork -- with the late Davy Jones featured on two vintage recordings.
Fountains Of Wayne leader Adam Schlesinger produced the set, which includes covers of such Christmas standards as "Merry Christmas, Baby," Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" and Wizzard's yuletide hit "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day." The Monkees also cover Alex Chilton's Big Star classic "Jesus Christ" -- featuring R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, with Mike Nesmith teaming up with his sons for a pair of new numbers. Also contributing are Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and XTC's Andy Partridge.
Shortly before his 2012 death Davy Jones told us although he was always satisfied by the modern-era Monkees live shows, he regretted that the band's studio reunions never came close to living up to the group's classic '60s work: "We were a new band in 1987, and we should've gone in and recorded some good stuff. We made a mistake with (our comeback album) Pool It; that was a mediocre attempt. And then again, when we did (1996's) Justus, we got Mike Nesmith producing, who's not been in the business -- or not in the mainstream. . . He's a great producer, he's a great writer, y'know he's a great behind-the-scenes kind of a man, but he doesn't know what's happening on the street." in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania at The Colonial Theatre.
Micky Dolenz will next perform on September 28th in Findlay, Ohio at the Marathon Center of Performing Arts.
AUDIO: MICKY DOLENZ ON THE GENESIS OF 'GOOD TIMES!'
AUDIO: DAVY JONES ON MEDIOCRE MONKEES STUDIO REUNIONS
Leave it to Beatlefan magazine to break the first concrete news of the upcoming Beatles' "White Album" box set. On September 26th in Manhattan, industry insiders will get their first chance to hear the new remix and assorted outtakes over the course of the day at two private listening sessions. The Beatles' self-titled double album, globally known as the "White Album," was released on November 22nd, 1968 and went on to top the charts for nine non-consecutive weeks beginning on December 28th. The new reissue is heavily rumored to drop this upcoming November 9th.
According to Beatlefan's source, the new 'White Album' box set will break down as follows: Four-LP set
- Two discs of the new stereo remix plus two discs of "Esher" demos taped by the band at George Harrison
's home. Three-Disc set
- Same material as above. Apparently two of the discs are the new remix and the third CD is the "Esher" demos. Super Deluxe CD Box
- Three discs as above plus three additional
discs of outtakes. Plus the box will include a Blu-ray disc that will be audio only. There will be no video. Outtakes include:
"Hey Jude," "Revolution," "The Inner Light," "Across The Universe," "Lady Madonna," and non-album tracks / jams / improvisations.
Beatlefan has been told that at least a couple of the outtakes and jams are previously unknown to fans. The set will also feature several rehearsal tracks. Included in the outtakes will be will be the 12-minute version of "Helter Skelter" that previously was edited to about five minutes for the Anthology, "but the legendary 27-minute version of "Helter Skelter" will NOT be included."
In the past, Ringo Starr shared that the 'White Album' sessions were instrumental in bringing the Beatles closer together: "Sgt. Pepper did its thing -- it was the album of the decade -- of the century, maybe. It was very innovative, great songs -- I’m glad I was on it; but the 'White Album,' we ended up being more of a band again. And that’s what I always love, I love being in a band."
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AUDIO: RINGO STARR ON 'SGT. PEPPER' AND 'WHITE ALBUM'
Coming on November 2nd is the latest dip into Bob Dylan's massive vault, with the release of More Blood, More Tracks - The Bootleg Series Vol. 14. The press release for what has been the the most eagerly-anticipated set in the series, states: "The pivotal studio recordings made by Bob Dylan during six extraordinary sessions in 1974; four in New York -- September 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th -- and two in Minneapolis -- December 27th, and 30th -- resulted in the Dylan's 1975 masterpiece, Blood On The Tracks.
Blood On The Tracks, which was originally released on January 20th, 1975, is considered not only Dylan's comeback album, but his crowning artistic statement. The album hit Number One on March 1st, 1975 for the first of its two-week run, and has gone on to receive double platinum status in the U.S. and in 2015 was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Highlights on the set include such instant Dylan standards "Tangled Up In Blue," "Shelter From The Storm," "You're A Big Girl Now," "Idiot Wind," and "Simple Twist Of Fate," among others.
According to the official announcement: "Blood On The Tracks was originally recorded during four days in New York City in September, 1974. Soon thereafter, the album was mastered and review copies began to circulate. A few months later, Dylan felt the album needed a different approach and rerecorded five of the tracks at Minneapolis Sound 80 Studios beginning in late December of that year. While a few of the outtakes from the original New York sessions have been highly prized by bootleggers and collectors, most of these recordings have never been available in any format."
The six-disc full-length deluxe version of Bob Dylan - More Blood, More Tracks - The Bootleg Series Vol. 14 includes the long sought after complete New York sessions in chronological order including outtakes, false starts and studio banter. The album's producers have worked from best sources available, in most cases utilizing the original multi-track session tapes.
Bob Dylan explained that there are definitely fundamentals to songwriting that everyone needs to abide by: "Well there certain rules and regulations to it. I mean, you just don't sit down and write a song, y'know what I mean? There's a certain amount of learning you have to, y'know, go through to get to that point and not only living experience, but, I mean, you have to also play an instrument and carry some kind of tune, I guess."
AUDIO: BOB DYLAN ON SONGWRITING
Happy Birthday to "The Boss" -- Bruce Springsteen -- who turns 69 on Sunday (September 23rd)!!! Earlier this month, Springsteen released his latest archival concert, Chicago - September 30th, 1999, marking "The Boss's" second dive into the tapes of the E Street Band's 1999/2000 "reunion tour." Highlights on the set include the Tracks standout, "Take 'Em As They Come," the Born In The U.S.A.-era B-side "Janey, Don't You Lose Heart," along with the rarely performed "New York City Serenade."
Springsteen's Tony-award winning show Springsteen On Broadway will premiere on Netflix on December 15th -- which coincides with the production's 236th and final show at Manhattan's Walter Kerr Theatre. Springsteen On Broadway is based on his best-selling autobiography Born To Run and features a 14-song set featuring Springsteen telling his personal narrative with his acoustic guitar and piano. The show features a special two-song appearance by his wife and E Street Band member Patti Scialfa.
Springsteen's longtime manager, Jon Landau explained, "The purpose of the film is to bring this incredibly intimate show to Bruce’s entire audience intact and complete. In addition to its many other virtues, Netflix has provided for a simultaneous worldwide release, which is particularly important for our massive international audience. (Netflix's Chief Content Officer) Ted Sarandos and the entire company’s support has been a perfect match for Bruce’s personal commitment to the filmed version of Springsteen On Broadway."
In 2014 Springsteen scored his 11th career Number One album with High Hopes. The collection, which is his 18th studio set, was released on January 14th and sold 99,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Having previously tied with Elvis Presley -- who also had 10 LP chart-toppers -- for the third most Number One albums, Springsteen has now bumped "The King" to fourth place, and now sits behind Jay-Z, who has 13 Number One albums, and the Beatles who lead the way with 19 albums having hit the top spot. In April 2014, Springsteen followed the set up with American Beauty, a four-song EP originally released as a vinyl-only release as part of Record Store Day.
Bruce Springsteen says that there's always been a form of interactive journalism in his songs, in which his fans can experience situations that differ from their lives first hand: "My job was always to put you in somebody else's shoes and have you walk a while in those shoes. You're out there, and you feel what's in the air out there, and you feel what's on people's minds. People are looking for ways to try to get a handle and make sense of what's happening."
Bruce Springsteen will next perform on September 26th at Manhattan's Walter Kerr Theatre.
AUDIO: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON KEEPING HOLD OF HIS ROOTS
AUDIO: BONO ON SPRINGSTEENS INTEGRITY
AUDIO: ROY BITTAN ON BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN BEING A SURVIVOR
AUDIO: JON LANDAU ON BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN DISCARDING HITS
AUDIO: MAX WEINBERG ON BRUCE
AUDIO: DANNY FEDERICI ON BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN CHANGING HIS MIND
AUDIO: GARY TALLENT ON JOINING BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
AUDIO: STEVE VAN ZANDT ON E STREET BAND BEING INSPIRED
AUDIO: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN ON THE MISSION OF THE E STREET BAND
AUDIO: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN TALKS ABOUT WRITING FOR THE E STREET BAND
AUDIO: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN SAYS HIS SONGS ARE MEANT TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER
Just released is The Gospel According To Luke -- the memoir by Toto's Steve Lukather. Unlike many of his peers, in addition to massive success with Toto, Lukather has spent decades as one of the most in-demand session guitarists of the rock era, playing sessions and shows for such legends as Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Boz Scaggs, Joni Mitchell, Barbara Streisand, Peter Frampton, Miles Davis, Stevie Nicks, Hall & Oates, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Peter Criss, Warren Zevon, Aretha Franklin, Asia, Olivia Newton-John, Pat Travers, Rickie Lee Jones, Paul Rodgers, Leslie West, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Richard Marx, Sheena Easton, Edgar Winter, Chicago, Donna Summer, Don Felder, the Tubes, Dionne Warwick, George Benson, Don Henley -- and many, many more.
According to the press release, "The book, (which was written with Paul Rees) reveals how Barbra Streisand bullied her producers, why not to invite Elton John to a party and the means by which Miles Davis could revive a dead dog. Lukather's extraordinary tale will also encompass the dark side of the 'American Dream': from the crashing and burning of Michael Jackson to the death in 1992 of Toto drummer and West Coast legend Jeff Porcaro from a heart seizure at just 38. . . The book will include supporting quotes from such friends and contemporaries of Lukather's as George Clooney, Eddie Van Halen, Ringo Starr and others."
Steve Lukather, who's currently on the road as part of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band, told us that Toto still wears the scars from the critical lashings they received from the rock press over the years: "There’s no other band like that, which is so funny why we get so much s*** from the mainstream rock press. Y’know, that hurt us, too. These guys just went for us, man: ‘The worst band ever,’ y’know - ‘fake musicians,’ y’know - ‘put together by corporations like Sony,’ or something like that, which was a bunch of lies. We were a high school band that could play well."
AUDIO: STEVE LUKATHER ON RECORDING WITH PAUL MCCARTNEY
AUDIO: STEVE LUKATHER ON TOTO BEING BASHED BY ROCK PRESS
Out today (September 21st), is the new posthumous Prince album, Piano & A Microphone 1983. The set, which was mastered from a cassette tape, has been released as a nine track, 35-minute album featuring the contents of a previously unreleased 1983 home studio cassette recording of Prince at his piano captured at his Kiowa Trail home studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota by engineer Don Batts.
According to the press release, "The private rehearsal provides a rare, intimate glimpse into Prince's creative process as he worked through songs which include '17 Days' and "Purple Rain' (neither of which would be released until 1984), a cover of Joni Mitchell's 'A Case Of You,' 'Strange Relationship' (not released until 1987 on his critically acclaimed Sign O' The Times album), and 'International Lover.' The album also includes a rare recording of the 19th Century spiritual 'Mary Don't You Weep,' which was featured during the end credits of Spike Lee's recent film, BlacKkKlansman. For fans of Prince's spontaneous live medleys, tracks one to seven of the album are presented in that same format as they were originally recorded."
Prince's Revolution keyboardist Lisa Coleman, who wrote liner notes for the new set, explained that this music seeing the light of day is incredible on several different levels: "It's really amazing that this cassette out of all the hundreds and thousands of cassettes, this one somehow rose to the top, and it's actually a really interesting tape. Y'know, there was always a tape rolling -- whether it was video, or cassette, or a DAT, or even a 24-track -- there was always something running."
AUDIO: LISA COLEMAN ON 'PIANO AND MICROPHONE 1983'
AUDIO: LISA COLEMAN ON PRINCE ALWAYS RECORDING
Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith will lead a one-off supergroup called Chad Smith’s Super Mega Funktastic Jam Rock All Stars at a charity event on October 6th at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.
The band will feature Coldplay singer Chris Martin, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, and Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan.
The event is dubbed "Will Ferrell’s Best Night of Your Life" and will be hosted by Ferrell. The actor and Smith have turned their uncanny resemblance to each other into a running joke that has also served as the springboard for a number of charity events. Along with Smith’s all-star band, comedians confirmed to take part in the festivities include Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Samantha Bee, Michelle Wolf and Kumail Nanjiani.
Tickets go on sale Friday (September 21st) at 10:00 am local time and all proceeds will benefit Cancer For College, which provides college scholarships to low-income, high-achieving cancer survivors.