Blog Archive

Rush Gets Their Governor General’s Award

May 4th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

On Friday, Rush was awarded the Governor General's Performing Arts Award at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. 

All three spoke.  Neil offered thanks to their families, well-wishers and supporters as well as to his colleagues of 38 years  (Jeezus!)  Alex went next, thanking Rush's "loyal, involved and sometimes forgiving fanbase."  Geddy wrapped it up by saying "We're proud to live in a country where artistic achievements are valued and celebrated."

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?  Bah.  Who needs it?  More pictures after the jump.

(Photos courtesy of The Hollywood Minute.)

Analyzing the Beastie Boys from a Chart Point of View

May 4th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Here's some data from Billboard:

(1)  Licensed to Ill was the first-ever rap album to reach #1 on the Billboard Top 200.  It spent seven weeks in the top spot beginning March 7, 1987 and stayed on the charts for 73 weeks.  Amazingly, there was just one Top 40 single from the record, the still ubiquitous "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right to Party"--and it only reached #7.  

Then again, the Beastie Boys never really were much of a singles band at any time in their career. Instead fans dug deeper for songs like "Girls," "Pass the Mic" and "No Sleep Til Brooklyn."  The biggest hit singles (as far as the Billboard Hot 100 is concerned) were:

10 Ways the Beastie Boys Really, Really Mattered to Me

May 4th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

The passing of Adam Yauch today will hit many music fans very, very hard--especially those who grew up with the Beastie Boys through the rise of rap in the 80s and during the group's reign as one of the most important groups of the Lollpapalooza Nation.  

In fact, one of my favourite backstage memories is briefly engaging on a 3-on-3 basketball game backstage at a 1994 Lollapalooza show.  That tour was was emotionally turbocharged because that year was supposed to feature Nirvana has headliners.  The Beasties provided some much-needed fun to the proceedings.

I interviewed the Beasties many times over the years, starting around the era of Paul's Boutique and continuing through to the last time on the release of To the Five Boroughs.  Each time I found them forthright, funny, articulate and highly professional.

In many ways, Adam was my favourite.  I just seemed to identify with his sense of humour. I also like the whole Nathaniel Hornblower alias that he used when directing many of the group's videos.  And when he founded Oscilloscope Laboratories, I followed what he was doing with film and producing albums for bands like Bad Brains.

Here are 10 reasons why the Beastie Boys really, really mattered--at least to me.

As If the Sex Pistols Would Ever Play the Olympics…

May 4th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

With the 2012 London Summer Olympics coming up fast, organizers are still rounding up artists to play the various events planned around the games.  According to Johnny Lydon, the Sex Pistols were approached. From Billboard:

"They came after us for that, but their approach was wrong," frontman John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten and now leading the latest incarnation of Public Image Ltd., tells "Censorship mattered more than the content of the Pistols. If you're going to be celebrating what is great about Britain, the honesty of the Sex Pistols is one of those things. If you censor the words of any one song, you're killing the honesty and I couldn't tolerate that. From my point of view we said we didn't want nothing to do with them. Such is the world we live in."

This Week’s Top 11 Playlist – 04 May 2012

May 4th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

The flood of cool new music just won't stop.  Along with everything submitted for review (check everything that's ever made the cut here), the Top 11 offers a chance for you to sample interesting material from around the world.

You can listen by clicking the player below.  Details on what you'll find in the stream are available after the jump.  As always, this service is provided by Mediazoic.

Pepsi Brings Michael Jackson Back from the Dead

May 4th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Soon, about a billion cans of Pepsi--yes, one beeeeeeelion cans--are going hit store shelves, all bearing the silhouette of Michael Jackson, hoping that this will give them a summertime edge over Coke in the cola wars.

Too soon?  That's what some marketers are saying.  "Crass," "macabre" and "over the top" are words and phrases being thrown about.

But lest we forget, Pepsi and Mikey have a history going back to the early 80s.  Remember this commercial?

Apple and iTunes Hit with Goofy Class Action Lawsuit

May 4th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

If there's a more litigious country than the United States, I've yet to hear about it.  I'm all for justice and large companies being held to account, but the US always seems to be awash in goofy lawsuits that ask for big damages for the tiniest slight.

The result is higher insurance premiums for everyone.  Want to know why a stepladder costs as much as it does?  The costs of insurance against lawsuits for misuse or improper use of the ladder is built in to the price.

Apple is no stranger to being sued (or suing, if we're to be fair).  As the biggest company in the world, they're the biggest target in the world.

Take the case of Robert Hersowitz of New York.  He's launched a class action suit against Apple and iTunes because he saw he was charged twice for downloading Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want from Me."  

Not only was he allegedly bilked out of an extra $1.29, his efforts at seeking redress were met (he says) with a rude automated reply which decline his request for a refund.  That was enough for him to launch a class action suit against Apple.  He's currently seeking other similarly disgruntled iTunes customers to join him.


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