Today, 23 years ago, Michael Jackson achieved No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘You Are Not Alone’, a song written by R. Kelly. The song holds a Guinness World Record as the first song in the 37-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to debut at No.1. Jackson asked R Kelly’s manager if the artist would write a song for him after he heard his hit song, ‘Bump And Grind’. After going straight into the studio, he came up with the song and Jackson then joined in Chicago to record the track with Kelly doing backing vocals. Kelly is quoted saying, “I actually imitated Michael when I sent him my first copy. He was laughing at me because I was imitating him.” At the time, Jackson was married to Lisa Marie Presley who appeared in the music video where both she, and Jackson are seen topless. R Kelly paid tribute to Michael Jackson after his death by recording a version of this song as a bonus track on his album, Love Letter.
Little over 50 years ago, the Velvet Underground gathered in a confined loft on Ludlow Street with no bathroom or electricity to rehearse songs that would later become the core of their debut album, “The Velvet Underground & Nico.” Today, nine blocks north in New York City, a multimedia exhibition dedicated to the band’s legacy, will be held October 10th through December 30th. First held in Paris, two years ago, “The Velvet Underground Experience” is a multimedia exhibit about the influence and history of the band that features rare photographs, portraits, films, videos, live concerts and musical workshops. The show will take place at 218 Broadway, Manhattan and will analyse post-World War II America and the rise of the Beat Generation, the serendipitous meeting of Lou Reed and John Cale, the New York art scene of the Sixties, the Velvet Underground’s years in Andy Warhol’s Factory and the band’s continued evolution following the release of their seminal debut. Main curator, Christian Fevret, stated that he had always planned on taking the show to New York, especially given that it focuses on the city’s hybridized culture in the ’60s where artists of all fields collaborated freely. The New York version of the exhibition will differ slightly from the Parisian iteration as there will be a section focussing on the band’s influence on modern American artists, including Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Nan Goldin and Gus Van Sant. It is obvious that the work by the band’s early patron Andy Warhol will be included. Tickets go on sale Friday. More information is available at velvetundergroundexperience.com.
A concert, in honour of Aretha Franklin, can be expected to take place this fall and stars are already being lined-up. The Queen of Soul is said to be seriously ill at her home in Detroit. Clive Davis, who signed the artist to Arista Records in 1980, is organising the event that will be taking place this November at Madison Square Garden. No further details regarding the event have been released yet, but Davis stated that fans can expect covers of the star’s hits including Say a Little Prayer, Think and You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman and R.E.S.P.E.C.T. The lineup is still under wraps for the moment. Gwendolyn Quinn, Franklin’s publicist, told Associated Press that the artist has been visited by friends including Stevie Wonder, US activist Reverend Jesse Jackson and her ex-husband, actor Glynn Turman. Others, including Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tyler Perry and Missy Elliott have all posted their wishes on social media and Beyonce and Jay-Z dedicated their Detroit show on Monday to the singer. Franklin is surrounded by her family who sends their appreciation for all the love and support they have received.
The star, who is Rolling Stone’s Greatest Singer of All Time, had to cancel her tour dates this past spring after her doctor advised her to take a few months off. Earlier this year she announced that she intended to retire from touring completely.
Today, 49 years ago, the Woodstock Festival was held outside New York on Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel.
The Woodstock Festival was a three-day concert attended by over 400,000 people and involved a whole lot of sex, drugs and rock ’n roll. The event featured artists such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Band, Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, Blood Sweat and Tears, Country Joe and the Fish, Ravi Shanker Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Santana, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grateful Dead, Canned Heat, Joan Baez, Melanie, Ten Years After, Sly and the Family Stone, Johnny Winter, and Jefferson Airplane.
Organised by four young men, John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld, and Mike Lang, the 1969 Woodstock Festival became an icon of the 60’s hippie counterculture. The oldest of the four at the time was only 27 years old.
A year after their 30th anniversary, Guns N’ Roses’ released their reissue of 1987’s Appetite For Destruction earlier this year. Fans are overjoyed over the remastered and expanded Locked N’ Loaded Edition and the long wait appears to have been worth the wait.
The deluxe edition box set consists of 73 tracks, of which 49 are unreleased, spread out across four CDs and seven 12-inch 180-gram LPs. Remastered, the original album is presented across two LPs. The set also includes a pressing of 1986’s Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide EP, a second EP containing B-sides from the era, 25 unreleased recordings from the band’s 1986 Sound City sessions and two unreleased tracks from their sessions with producer Mike Clink. The box set also comprises of seven 7-inches including all five original singles from the album as well as one for “Patience” and “Shadow Of Your Love”. 12 tracks from the original album, newly mixed by Elliot Scheiner, are presented on a Blu-ray radio disk plus five additional tracks mixed by Scheiner and Frank Filipetti. The disk includes newly sync’d iconic music videos plus a brand-new video for “It’s So Easy”, shot in 1989, but only recently completely finished. The box set is completed with a 96-page hardbound book with unreleased photos from Axl Rose’s personal archive, replica memorabilia from the era and 12 new illustration lithos visualizing each song from Appetite For Destruction.