Elton, Paul Simon/Sting to make tour stops in Toronto and Montreal

Two BIG concert announcements to tell you about. First up: Sir Elton John and his band will be playing Montreal and Toronto Wednesday February 5th and Thursday February 6th respectively. According to his website.  Elton and the band will be playing classic album tracks from his incredible five-decade career, as well as a selection of songs from his new album, The Diving Board, which was released on Capitol Records in September.

This will be the 18th time that Elton has performed in Montreal (the first being in October 1972) and the seventh time at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Tickets for the Montreal show (prices not listed) go on sale to the general public on Saturday, November 9 at noon at evenko.caTickets for the Toronto show ($71-$171 including the fees) go on sale to the general public on Friday November 8 at 10:00 a.m. at ticketmaster.ca.

I’ve seen Elton three times in 1980, 1982, and 2006. At the 1980 show his opening act was a UK singer named Judy Tzuke who was signed to Elton’s Rocket Records label at the time. In 1982, the opening act was Quarterflash (remember “Harden My Heart“?); both Elton and Quarterflash were labelmates on Geffen Records at the time.

Check out my ticket stub from the 1980 show. Note the price:

Elton John 1980

The other BIG announcement:

Paul Simon Sting

Yep, this one is interesting. Paul Simon and Sting are hitting the road for a short joint tour that runs February 8th-March 16th (with more dates possible) with stops in Montreal (Friday February 28th) and Toronto (Saturday March 1st). According to what I’ve read, the tour will likely follow a pattern of each performer playing their own hits followed by some duets.  This one won’t be cheap, though (at least for the Toronto show).

I’ve seen Paul Simon three times, including the amazing Graceland tour in 1987; Sting just once when he paired up with Annie Lennox for their 2004 tour. That last one was a fantastic show.

Tickets for the Montreal show (prices not listed) go on sale to the general public on Tuesday November 12 at 10:00 a.m. at evenko.caTickets for the Toronto show ($63-$268 including the fees) also go on sale to the general public on Tuesday November 12 at 10:00 a.m. at ticketmaster.caHowever, there are presales that begin TOMORROW Wednesday November 6th as follows:

Fan Pre-sale

Start: Wed, 11/06/13 10:00 AM EST
End: Fri, 11/08/13 03:00 PM EST

VIP Packages Pre-Sale

Start: Wed, 11/06/13 10:00 AM EST
End: Mon, 11/11/13 10:00 PM EST

Front Of The Line By American Express

Start: Thu, 11/07/13 10:00 AM EST
End: Sat, 11/09/13 05:00 PM EST

VIP Packages Post-sale

Start: Tue, 11/12/13 10:00 AM EST
End: Sat, 02/08/14 05:00 PM EST

Get out your wallets now. Looks like the 2014 concert season is going to be expensive.

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Stream On, Stream On…new releases by Elvis and Elton: try before you buy

Is it my imagination or are more and more artists these days allowing their latest discs to be streamed before their release dates? I for one love this idea. Here are two great examples:

Wise Up Ghost, the new Elvis Costello & The Roots collaboration which comes out September 17th, is now streaming on NPR’s site. You can listen to the whole thing here.

And one of the biggest stars of ’em all, Elton John, has a new disc entitled The Diving Board which doesn’t hit stores until September 24th. Want to hear it now? Amazon.com is happy to oblige. Check it out here.

If you’re the more of the visual type, check out the lyric videos for the EC/The Roots track “Walk Us Uptown” and Elton John’s “Home Again”.

What are you listening to today?

ipod-classic-accessories-3Beautiful Tuesday afternoon, letting the iPod do it’s thing in shuffle mode.

The last 15:

1. Crawl–Barenaked Ladies

2. Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)–Los Lobos

3. Mary Shut The Garden Door–Donald Fagen

4. Swingtown–Steve Miller Band

5. Moorie–Great Divide

6. Rock and Roll Music–Chuck Berry

7. Easy Lover–Phil Collins & Phil Bailey

8. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)–The Beatles

9. Don’t Let The Darkness In Your Head–Blue Rodeo

10. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting–Elton John

11. The Boys of Summer–Don Henley

12. One Fine Morning–Lighthouse

13. Your Own Worst Enemy–Bruce Springsteen

14. Home Town–Joe Jackson

15. Trouble–Robert Palmer

One hit wonder Wednesday: Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) – Reunion

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Ok, before you read on, watch this first. Raise your hand if, like me, you’re old enough to remember when this ad first aired:

Now that you’ve recovered from that flashback, how about a look back at a novelty classic from 1974 that managed to reach the Billboard Top 10. Although the song is credited to the group Reunion, “Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) is essentially a group of studio musicians fronted by singer and producer Joey Levine. Levine was a bubblegum music pioneer whose previous successes included the 1968 hit Yummy Yummy Yummy by The Ohio Express.

The lyrics, if they can be called that, are basically Levine citing all sorts of pop culture references of the day, mostly musicians. Listen closely and you hear references to everyone from Aretha Franklin to ZZ Top. At the end of the song you can hear a snippet of the Four Tops’ “Baby I Need Your Loving”.

And while we’re travelling down memory lane, here’s the complete track list for Out of Sight. See how many of these songs you remember. Bonus points if you actually owned the album.

Side One:

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting – Elton John
I’ve Got the Music in Me – The Kiki Dee Band
Life Is A Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) – Reunion
Beach Baby – First Class
The Black-Eyed Boys – Paper Lace
Touch Me – Fancy
Higher Plane – Kool & The Gang
You Little Trustmaker – The Tymes
I Feel A Song (In My Heart) – Gladys Knight & The Pips
Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

Side Two:
You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet – Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex & The Sex-O-Lettes
Star – Stealers Wheel
After the Goldrush – Prelude
So You Are A Star – Hudson Brothers (Who remembers their Saturday morning show? C’mon, fess up,  I know you’re out there.)
Heavy Fallin’ Out – The Stylistics
The Need To Be – Jim Weatherly
Abra-Ca-Dabra – DeFranco Family
Kings Of The Party – Brownsville Station
Rock the Boat – The Hues Corporation

No, it’s not April Fool’s–Buyer pays almost $300K for a signed Beatles album. Worth it?

lfAccording to a report in Rolling Stone, an unnamed mega-Beatles fan (or just someone with way too much money on their hands)  purchased a signed copy of  The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band  at an auction for $290,500 over the weekend. The original estimate? $30,000. 

This particular copy of the album is on the  U.K. Parlophone label and has all four Beatles autographs on the jacket. Gary Shrum, consignment director of Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, which ran the sale, said that the bidding had “taken on a life of its own,” perhaps because of the particularly high quality of the autograph.

The previous record price for a signed Beatles album cover was $150,000, which bought a copy of the band’s 1964 album Meet the Beatles.

Here are some trivia tidbits about the album:

  • The concept behind the album cover collage was the burial of the old I-Want-to-Hold-Your-Hand Beatles. The celebrities looking over the flower bouquet Beatles logo are mourners.
  • 1930s movie sex symbol Mae West refused to have her image included in the album cover collage. After the group wrote her a personal letter, she changed her mind.
  • This was the first album to have song lyrics printed on the back cover.
  • While some critics claimed that the lyrics of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” were about heroin addiction (i.e. “Henry the Horse”), when in fact the lyrics came almost word for word from an old circus poster that John Lennon had bought from an antique store.
  • The final track on the album, “Inner Groove”, included a high-pitched tone that only dogs could hear.
  • According to John Lennon, the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” had nothing to do with LSD. It was inspired by a drawing by Lennon’s son Julian of a nursery school classmate named Lucy. In a 2004 Daily Mirror interview, Paul McCartney acknowledged that drugs influenced the lyrics of some of the Beatles’ songs, including “Lucy in the Sky.”
  • “Within You Without You” was the only track with only one Beatle performing, George Harrison and his sitar.

This ain’t the Beatles, but it’ll do. Elton John and John Lennon covering “Lucy” in 1974:

What are you listening to today? #nowplaying

ipodHere are the last 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

1. Oliver’s Army–Elvis Costello

2. Lord Of The Thighs–Aerosmith

3. The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks–Eagles

4. Mean Disposition–The Rolling Stones

5. Fascination–David Bowie

6. Man On The Corner–Genesis

7. Birds–Elton John

8. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours–Peter Frampton

9. What Do We Do Now–John Hiatt

10. Something Happened On The Way To Heaven–Phil Collins

Doin’ the iPod Shuffle: The Last 10 Songs Played on my iPod

ipodDoin’ the iPod shuffle: 10 songs I listened to, in order, on my iPod in shuffle mode at a given point in time. No editing, no skipping. It is what it is.

1. Will It Go Round In Circles–Billy Preston

2. Everybody Has The Blues–James Taylor

3. Mixed Emotions–The Rolling Stones

4. Invisible Sun–The Police

5. Out In The Street–Bruce Springsteen

6. Where To Now St. Peter?–Elton John

7. Sulky Girl–Elvis Costello

8. Tell Mama–Etta James

9. Young Lust–Aerosmith

10. Keep On Truckin’–Eddie Kendricks