I want to thank everyone for the support of our radio stations. It has been a pleasure to experience internet radio with you and to have the opportunity to expand the boundaries of some formats. However after having one too many sobering meetings with our accountant I feel it is time to hang up our microphones. I simply do not have the time it takes to run four radio stations.
With so many projects on the go creating a few potential conflicts I had to make the decision to either sell our stations or shut them down. We had some good offers but, in the end, I thought it best to close our doors as a radio outlet. We will continue as an industry site however.
I want to thank Gerald Veasley, Johnny J Rivera, Ken Navarro, Cameron Smith, Daniela Nardi, Nick Colionne, Steve Bauer, Bruce Nazarian and many others who helped out on our stations. Your contributions were invaluable.
Elton John - "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition)" (Universal Music)
March 25, 2014 – First of all Happy Birthday Elton John! He's 67 today!
As a kid Elton John introduced me to buying LP's. His 'Madman Across the Water' was the very first album in my collection, my first foray into real music. 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' was my second and like one of those great books that kicks you in the teeth and literally expands your mind 'Goodbye' was like a shot of sonic heroin. Everything I knew about music up to that point, which honestly wasn't much, was blown away. Feeling totally hypnotized I even played hooky for three days just to swallow it up and rightly so – It changed my direction in music.
That was 40 years ago! Elton's not the only one getting old. This special anniversary album comes in many different versions, all remastered, including just the CD, HD pure audio, Yellow-vinyl LP's and the super deluxe version which we are reviewing.
Elton described 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' as his White Album, I get that and like the Beatles project it's horseshit all over the road in different directions. Elton plays with Glam, Country, Blues, Jazz Rock and of course Pop, but in the end, it all still works via this sense of overwhelming nostalgia on so many of the tracks.
It was released on October 3rd 1973. Richard Nixon was still President but not for long, we were knee-deep in Watergate after all. The Exorcist and The Sting were about to be released and the #1 show on TV was Archie Bunker's 'All in the Family.' Another big album that year was Elton's own “Don't Shoot Me I'm Only a Piano Player” released in January so the iron was hot.
The plan was to record 'Goodbye' at Dynamic Studios in Jamaica where the Stones had done “Goats Head Soup” just a few months before, but when Elton and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin got there with band in-tow everything was a mess. The studio was on strike and surrounded by barbed wire and guards. Elton and the boys had to cross picket lines to get anything done. After recording an awful version of 'Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting' everyone packed their pots-and-pans and moved back to where they'd recorded the last two Elton albums Le Chateau d'Hérouville in northern France.
'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' had a few working titles thanks to famous Elton's late-great producer Gus Dudgeon. While recording it went by 'Vodka & Tonics,' a line from the title tune, 'Silent Movies,' and 'Talking Pictures.' MORE
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REVIEW - ELTON JOHN – THE DIVING BOARD 4 1/2 out of 5 stars - Mercury/Capitol
September 24, 2013 – We are always screwed by our past. After all the past is the new future, so make nice with it. Elton John's ghosts haunted him for years until 1990 when he courageously stopped in his tracks, turned around and said, “Boo” to the demons that were closing in on him. Sure, it can be argued that his best music was created during his crazy years of swimming in white powder but I've always preferred to think those demons, not the drugs, served a purpose in the seventies and eighties. All the angst and worry made Elton work harder. He just medicated to stay on the bus. Does his history still bother him? I don't think so but it sure haunts his fans. I've reviewed a dozen EJ albums and never once have I not compared his new stuff to that block of classic albums from the 70's. It's hard not to, but is it fair? Seriously, I can't do most of the things I did in the seventies but I am a deeper dude and so is Elton and his songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin. A wise man doesn't try to recreate the past it's just not on his dance card. The subtle message behind 'The Diving Board' is “I sing 'Bennie and the Jets' every night why would I want to record it again?" Elton John is my biggest musical idol and no one even comes close. The first album I ever bought was 'Madman Across the Water' but it was all downhill from there because it remains my favorite album of all time. I often fantasize about the dude who sold me the record saying, “Enjoy this one kid cause you'll never hear anything better.” Albums are like children, however, you love them all but differently. My second was 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' and off I went with Elton and Bernie to a new direction. Every album since has done the same including 'The Diving Board.'
Some of my colleagues have proclaimed this new album weaker than it's predecessor 'The Union' (with Leon Russell) – it is not. They are very similar at least in melody and of course with T Bone Burnett doing both projects that's bound to trickle down. 'The Diving Board' is just more Elton and not because it's a solo album but like the title states it's just him out there mostly. His backup band is reminiscent of his old days with Nigel Olsson on drums and the late great bassist Dee Murray but instead Raphael Saadiq handles bass with Doyle Bramhall II on guitar. Both keyboardist Keefus Ciancia and drummer Jay Bellerose also appeared on the 'Union' CD.
On first listen, for everything since 1992's 'The One,' I've never really loved any of his albums. All the songs sounded similar because Elton's voice has become so distinctive, his sense of melody seemed to come from an entirely new tickle-trunk and there was a more folksy-non pop element to what he was doing. Interestingly, Elton says he was inspired by Bob Dylan's 2006 album 'Modern Times' when he recorded 'The Diving Board.' That I fully understand. On second listen however I quickly realized, as I always do how important his music is, especially now. Though Bernie's lyrics can be serious and melancholy their match still makes as much sense now as it did in the seventies .They still write incredible strong material. By third listen, I'm totally hooked!
This, his 30th studio album, starts off with an unlikely opener 'Oceans Away.' It's a reminder that this ain’t no happy-snappy album. It's a war song about veterans and their fallen friends. It made me wonder about this peculiar track listing. Why open with this sad introspective tune? It's as if Elton was sending out a message, “This is me now, I'm diggin' deep here...no frills anymore.” It's just Elton and his piano and I’ve been humming this damn song ever since I first heard it. The piano man has done that to me for years.
'Oscar Wilde Gets Out' the first track written for the project, features a bridge at the end of the song that could have been plucked right out of the 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' album. He may have changed his direction but Elton is still the same guy who created all those early treasures. He's just got a few more tricks up his sleeve.
It's all honky-tonk and Americana-Gospel on 'A Town Called Jubilee' and 'Take This Dirty Water' a familiar love for Elton and Bernie. Two Brits with an unquenchable thirst for their adoptive home.
Elton calls 'My Quicksand' his Nina Simone moment of the project. A quiet, jazzy song about making mistakes.
'Home Again,' the longest song on the CD and the first single was dedicated to Liberace at the Emmy's on Sunday night. Like the opening track it features a simple yet gorgeous piano intro. Elton says his priorities have changed concerning his heavy touring and this song explores that longing for home.
I've heard the comparison to early EJ classics like 'Tumbleweed Connection' and 'Madman Across the Water' but nothing could be further from the truth. The songs on 'The Diving Board' are not nearly as commercial as his early years. Even Elton says, “It’s a record by a 66-year-old man, not by a 26-year-old guy who made ‘Rocket Man'." 'The Diving Board' still goes back to his roots, however, just from a different angle.
There hasn't been a solo Elton John album in seven years so this one had to be good! Not surprising though listening to 'The Diving Board' was like reconnecting with an old friend who I forgot about but we all have connections that pick up right where they left off. I'm happy to say my old musician mentor is still teaching me much. He may not be as loud as before but he's a better man.
It's important to note that one of Elton John's original drummers Roger Pope died on September 17. He was 66. Pope served as the main drummer on Elton's first album 'Empty Sky.' He also shared drumming with Elton's signature drummer Nigel Olsson on “Tumbleweed Connection.' Pope returned in 1975 to record two final albums with his boss, “Rock of the Westies' and 'Blue Moves.' He was one of the great ones! - by John Beaudin
Alexa Ray Joel Records 'Just The Way You Are' For The Gap's 'Back To Blue' Campaign
Sept 17, 2013 - Alexa Ray Joel has recorded a version of her father’s classic song, "Just The Way You Are," as part of the Gap's “Back to Blue” campaign, which is focused on the idea of getting back to what matters most—our truest selves. The Gap campaign features contemporary artists who are recording songs made famous years ago by their parents. These raw, intimate renditions are modern takes on classic pieces and provide a rare glimpse into the soul and journey of each artist.
Directed by Danny Clinch, who is well-known for bringing out the best in musicians, the films are shot in a single, unedited take. Alexa Ray Joel selected “Just The Way You Are” and her piano/vocal rendition was recorded at Avatar Studios in New York. Personal touches like Alexa wearing her father's ring and playing on the exact same type of keyboard used to record the original version, add to the honesty of the film and showcase how going back to your roots helps define who you are.
Billy's original version of “Just the Way You Are” won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1979. Alexa Ray's version of “Just the Way You Are” is available for download now exclusively at iTunes. CHECK OUT BILLY JOELS SITE
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When my mom told me Elvis was dead in 1977 It really didn't phase me. I was 17, at the time, I loved Zeppelin, Elton John and Pink Floyd - I couldn't relate to a big man in a bedazzled karate Gi singing songs that my parents once rocked too.......but then you get older, ones musical palette expands. You want to know who inspired your own music heroes and it's hard not to tip your hat to ELVIS. Today is the anniversary of his death. - John Beaudin
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