It Was 40 Years Ago Today: ‘Led Zeppelin III’ Released

After touring North America in the spring of 1970, guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant spent some time at an 18th-century cottage in Wales called Bron-Yr-Aur, and they began composing and practicing material for a new record. While it is not one of the better-selling albums in the band’s history, Led Zeppelin III marked a turn-of-the-decade transition from hard rock to more acoustic-inspired music for the group.

The leadoff track, “Immigrant Song,” became a trademark of Led Zeppelin’s live performances in the years to come, as did the classic blues number “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” The album, which was released on Monday, Oct. 5, 1970, also contained rock-heavy songs like “Celebration Day” and “Out on the Tiles,” as well as the folk-influenced “Gallows Pole.”

Within a few weeks of its release, Led Zeppelin III had reached No. 1 in the charts in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.


Leave a comment

Filed under Led Zeppelin

Ringo Celebrates 70 with Birthday Bash in NYC

Ringo Starr celebrated his 70th birthday in style with a star-studded concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City Wednesday night.

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr celebrated his 70th birthday Wednesday with a star-studded concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

The guest of honor, along with his All-Starr Band, treated the audience to everything from early Beatles hits (“What Goes On,” “Boys” and “Act Naturally”) to Ringo’s solo releases (“It Don’t Come Easy” and “Photograph”) to other rock classics (“Hang On Sloopy” and “What I Like About You”). Later, guests such as Yoko Ono, Steven Van Zandt and Joe Walsh joined the group to sing “With A Little Help From My Friends,” Ringo’s memorable vocal contribution on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The evening was capped off by a special appearance from Paul McCartney, whose bass playing paired with Ringo’s drumming to form the rhythm section of The Beatles. McCartney led the musicians onstage (including Ringo on drums) in a spirited rendition of “Birthday,” taken from the band’s 1968 self-titled release more commonly known as the White Album.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Beatles

Keith Richards to Release Autobiography this Fall

Stones guitarist Keith Richards said he plans to release his autobiography this October.

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, with the help of journalist Nick Kent, has been working on his autobiography since 2007, and reports that the book is due for release sometime in October.

“I’m waiting for some proofs to come back,” the 67-year-old Richards said. “It’s kind of weird writing about your own life. Who’d be interested in that?

“But then I realize there is a lot of interest, so . . . Talking to some of the people that were there and their version of events to try and correlate it all was very interesting, a kind of kaleidoscopic bunch of experiences.”

Leave a comment

Filed under The Rolling Stones

It Was 40 Years Ago Today: ‘Live At Leeds’ Released

The Who’s groundbreaking live album from their performance at Leeds University three months prior, Live At Leeds was released in the United States on Saturday, May 16, 1970. Side one of the original album contained four hard-hitting classics (“Young Man Blues,” “Substitute,” “Summertime Blues” and “Shakin’ All Over”) while side two featured extended versions of “My Generation” and “Magic Bus.”

Though the tracks were not released until 1995, The Who also ran through the entirety of Pete Townshend’s rock opera, Tommy, and additional songs like “I Can’t Explain,” “Fortune Teller” and John Entwistle’s “Heaven and Hell” for the crowd of about 2,000 students.

The original Live At Leeds album also contained within a flap numerous facsimiles of memorabilia such as a publicity photo of The Who, their contract for performing at Woodstock, a full-size ‘Maximum R&B’ poster, a receipt for smoke bombs and a list of gigs with financial figures included.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Who

It Was 40 Years Ago Today: ‘Let It Be’ Released

The final studio album by The Beatles (though it was recorded prior to Abbey Road), Let It Be represents a band on the verge of breaking up, but one that is nonetheless committed to laying down one more solid record before parting ways. It was not always pretty — George Harrison walked out and briefly quit the group at one point during the sessions — but the band members pulled it together enough to create one of their most lasting albums.

Aside from the title track, Let It Be features classics such as “Get Back,” “Across The Universe” and “The Long And Winding Road.” Although the band’s four personalities were at odds with each other, John Lennon and Paul McCartney lead off the album with an up-tempo duet (“Two Of Us”) and later share back-and-forth vocals on the rocker “I’ve Got A Feeling.”

Let It Be was released Friday, May 8, 1970, and is No. 86 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Beatles

Townshend’s Hearing Problems Spell Uncertain Future for The Who

After touring with The Who for the last 45 years, guitarist Pete Townshend's ears may have had enough.

Just weeks after leading The Who onstage at Super Bowl XLIV in Miami, guitarist Pete Townshend tells Rolling Stone Magazine that his tinnitus has returned and may effect whether the band stays together or calls it quits.

“If my hearing is going to be a problem,” he said, “we’re not delaying shows. We’re finished. I can’t really see any way around the issue.”

Townshend had already scrapped plans for a tour later this year with singer Roger Daltrey, though The Who is still scheduled to perform Quadrophenia at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Mar. 30.

The band produced 10 studio albums from 1965 to 1982, beginning with The Who Sings My Generation and ending with It’s Hard. In 1970 The Who released Live At Leeds, which set a precedent for all future live albums to live up to, and garnered similar acclaim for Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival when it was released in 1996. The Who did not record any new material until 2006, when Townshend unveiled his newest rock opera, Endless Wire.

It is not immediately clear whether Townshend will continue work on a new musical called Floss, which he had said would appear on a record by The Who in 2010.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Who

‘Exile On Main Street’ to be Re-Released in May

According to a New York Times report, Universal Music plans to re-release The Rolling Stones’ 1972 double album, Exile On Main Street, in the United States on May 17 (or May 18, according to other reports).

The re-release will include all 18 tracks from the original album, plus new songs with titles such as “Plundered My Soul,” “Following The River,” “Pass The Wine” and “Dancing In The Light.” In addition, alternate versions of original Exile numbers like “Loving Cup” and “Soul Survivor” will be featured on the new album.

The Exile On Main Street super-deluxe edition will also come with a new 30-minute documentary DVD, “Stones in Exile,” and the NYT reports that the supplementary film will include footage from the never-released “Cocksucker Blues,” which followed the S.T.P. (Stones Touring Party) on a cross-country excursion in ’72 and captured a good chunk of debauchery and decadence by Richards and Co.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Rolling Stones