Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pink Floyd founder Richard Wright dies

Monday, Sep 15, 2008

LONDON (Reuters) - Pink Floyd keyboard player and founding member Richard Wright died on Monday after a short battle with cancer, his spokesman said. He was 65.

Wright, singer, songwriter and guitarist Syd Barrett, guitarist Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason founded the band that became Pink Floyd in the 1960s when they were students. Pink Floyd went on to become one of the biggest names in rock.

"The family of Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, announce with great sadness, that Richard died today after a short struggle with cancer," his spokesman said in a statement.

"The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

Wright co-wrote five songs on "Dark Side of the Moon", which was released in 1973, spent 14 years on the Billboard 200 album chart and is one of the best selling albums ever.

Wright left Pink Floyd after falling out with Waters during sessions for "The Wall". He rejoined the band in 1987.

(Reporting by David Clarke; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Next U2 album pushed to early 2009

Thursday, Sep 04, 2008

By Jonathan Cohen

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Initially expected this fall as a fourth-quarter blockbuster, U2's next album has been pushed to early 2009 while the band continues to write and record material.

"I thought a while back we might have the album wrapped by now, but why come up above ground now if there's more priceless stuff to be found?," frontman Bono writes on (

Of late, the group has been recording in the south of France, having already logged time in Fez and Dublin with longtime collaborators Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite.

'We know we have to emerge soon but we also know that people don't want another U2 album unless it is our best ever album," Bono says. "It has to be our most innovative, our most challenging ... or what's the point ?"

Bono says the band now was "50 or 60" new songs to consider for inclusion on the follow-up to 2004's Grammy-winning album of the year "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb."

"The last two records were very personal, with a kind of three piece at their heart, the primary colours of rock -- bass, guitars and drum," he says. "But what we're about now is of the same order as the transition that took us from 'The Joshua Tree' to 'Achtung Baby.'"

Among the songs in the mix are "Get on Your Boots," "For Your Love," "Breathe," "No Line on the Horizon" and the eight-minute "Moment of Surrender."


Dylan rolls out rocking show in rarely used venue

Friday, Sep 05, 2008

By Darryl Morden

SANTA MONICA, California (Hollywood Reporter) - Leave it to an enigmatic-after-all-these-years rock legend to play a 50-year-old creaky venue that hasn't been a concert hotspot for quite some time. Back in the 1970s and '80s, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium played host to shows from the Kinks to Queen to the Clash. The sound was never very good.

These days, the sound remains dicey, though one got used to it as Bob Dylan rolled out a two-hour show Wednesday (September 3) of the old and the recent. At 67, he can rest on his laurels, but instead he keeps touring and recording.

As always, it all comes down to what he's going to play, how he's going to arrange it and how he'll phrase it. Anyone expecting album re-creations hasn't been following the man these many decades. He's never been an oldies act.

Dressed in a black suit and wide-brim hat and still sporting that pencil-thin moustache, Dylan looked like a Western saloon gambler (the Jack of Hearts, anyone?), his backing quintet in matching light brown suits. He stood behind his keyboard, drawing roars whenever he blew a bit of harmonica.

The carnival parading of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" with its crowd-pleasing refrain of "everybody must get stoned" kicked off the show for the SRO crowd of about 3,500, followed by a raw "It Ain't Me, Babe" and the galloping "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again."

That's the way it went all night, Dylan mining his vast catalogue from the '60s, then mixing in songs from 2006's "Modern Times." He skipped a lot of eras, but that's the way the set list rolls.

Dylan's current band -- guitarists Stu Kimball and Denny Freeman, drummer George Recile, bassist Tony Garnier and multi-instrumentalist Donnie Herron on viola, banjo, electric mandolin, pedal steel and lap steel -- have been with him for several years, adept at the changes that come with each performance. The boss lets them cut loose at times, though they never stray from the core of his songs, even in new guises.

The grooves were steady and jumping, too. There was the tale-spinning of "Mississippi," the Oscar-winning, caustic "Things Have Changed" from "The Wonder Boys" soundtrack and more classics, such as a ramshackle "I Don't Believe You" and the ever-biting "Ballad of a Thin Man."

A boogie-pumped "Highway 61 Revisited," channelling the spirit of John Lee Hooker, revved up the crowd, while the more recent "Thunder on the Mountain" closed out the main set. Dylan returned with the signature "Like a Rolling Stone" and a revamped yet still ominous "All Along the Watchtower."

The audience ranged from those old enough to collect Social Security to fans in their '20s, obviously thrilled to experience an American icon.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Musical taste "defines personality"

Friday, Sep 05, 2008

LONDON (Reuters) - Fans of classical music and jazz are creative, pop lovers are hardworking and, despite the stereotypes, heavy metal listeners are gentle, creative types who are at ease with themselves.

So says Professor Adrian North of Scotland's Heriot-Watt University who has been studying the links between people's personalities and their choice of music.

"People often define their sense of identity through their musical taste, wearing particular clothes, going to certain pubs, and using certain types of slang," North said.

"It's not surprising that personality should also be related to musical preference."

In what North said was the largest study ever conducted into individuals' musical preference and character, researchers asked 36,518 people from around the world to rate how much they liked 104 different musical styles before taking a personality test.

"Researchers have been showing for decades that fans of rock and rap are rebellious, and that fans of opera are wealthy and well-educated," North said.

"But this is the first time that research has shown that personality links to liking for a wide range of musical styles."

The study concluded that jazz and classical music fans are creative with good self-esteem, although the former are much more outgoing whereas the latter are shy.

Country and western fans were found to be hardworking and shy; rap fans are outgoing and indie lovers lack self-esteem and are not very gentle.

Those who like soul music can take heart as the research concluded they are creative, outgoing, gentle, at ease with themselves and have a high self-esteem.

And if you've ever wondered why people driving expensive sports cars often have music blaring from their vehicle, North could have an explanation.

Those who choose to listen to exciting, punchy music are more likely to be in a higher earning bracket, he says, while those who go for relaxing sounds tend to be lower down the pay scale.

North is still looking for volunteers to take part in the research. Details on

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)

Rock group Heart says "Barracuda" use is fishy

Friday, Sep 05, 2008

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The rock group Heart, angry that its 70's hit "Barracuda" is being used as the unofficial theme song for Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, is biting back at the Alaska governor.

The song, a nod to the "Sarah Barracuda" nickname Palin earned on the basketball court in high school, was dusted off for her appearance at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul on Wednesday.

Heart singers Ann and Nancy Wilson said a "cease-and-desist" letter has been sent to the Republicans asking them not to use the song.

"The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission," according to a statement issued late on Thursday on behalf of the sisters.

There was no immediate comment from the Republican camp.

Last month, rocker Jackson Browne sued Republican presidential candidate John McCain, the Republican National Committee and the Ohio Republican Party, accusing them of using his 1977 hit "Running on Empty" in a campaign ad without permission.

Copyright law may not be on the Wilsons' side as the song is licensed for public performance under a blanket fee paid by the venue to ASCAP, the firm that collects royalties on behalf of composers and copyright owners.

Despite the Wilson sisters' objections, one of the song's co-writers said he was "thrilled" that the song was used.

In an e-mail to Reuters, the band's former guitarist, Roger Fisher, said it was a win-win situation. Heart gets publicity and royalties, while the Republicans benefit from "the ingenious placement of a kick-ass song," Fisher said.

Fisher and the Wilsons wrote "Barracuda" with drummer Michael DeRosier. It appeared on the group's second album, "Little Queen" in 1977. The song was inspired by the band's anger over an obnoxious record label executive.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Jill Serjeant)