U2 – "Songs of Innocence"

At first I thought the album sucked. I listened again. I was wrong. It’s a masterpiece.

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I’ve never been “into” U2 for their politics, or social commentary. I could really do without Bono’s preaching in-between songs during shows. Sure, he does more than just talk, he goes out there and gets stuff done, stays informed, etc., but so do millions of other smart people. Big deal. What I like about U2 is the music. It’s always been about the music. And for that I thank The Edge. I’m convinced it’s all him. Adam Clayton is a great bass player, and he’s getting better with each record. Larry Mullen Jr., is capable enough. Not the best drummer in the world, but he gets it done. The Mullen/Clayton combo is impressive; always has been. Bono is “the voice”. If you’ve wondered what God given talent sounds like, look no further. He’s got it. But, The Edge, he’s something else. He plays guitar like no one else. He didn’t start imitating anyone. And now everyone tries to imitate his sound; his technique. The melodies. The solos. The layers. It’s a little of what heaven will be like.

If you listened to the album once, or even twice, and you though, “ho hum, moving on now”, stop. Give it another listen. It’s amazing.

Rolling Stone 5 star review

Dick Clark is Dead

He’s a teenager no more.

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Dick Clark, the creator of "American Bandstand" and "Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve," died Wednesday morning, his rep tells FoxNews.com.

He was 82.

Clark suffered a massive heart attack after entering  St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica Tuesday night for an outpatient procedure, according to his family.

Attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful.

I guess I’ve expected this for some time. The guy really seemed to have a tough time coming back from that terrible stroke he had in 2004. At the time it was reported as “minor” but it was anything but. It took the life out of him.

And then he returned to air, and he was a pro, but it wasn’t the Dick Clark we remembered. Still, he gave it his all.

I loved American Bandstand.

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Every Saturday throughout the early 70’s, my mom would turn on AB and we would watch. She loved the dance contests. I remember seeing performances (albeit, lip sync) from so many influential bands. The Jackson Five, The Guess Who, KC and the Sunshine Band. I saw them all, when they were new, singing their first big hit. And we can all thank Dick for that magic.

An end of an era, for sure. So, long.

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MORE: TMZ has his last on screen appearance, photos, and twitter reaction.

The Final Days of Levon Helm

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The drummer for The Band, that influential group whose members were accomplished musicians in their own right, is about to leave the stage, of life.

Levon Helm, the drummer with the Band, has reached the final stages of his battle with cancer, according to a note posted on the musician’s Web site. Mr. Helm, 71, received a diagnosis of throat cancer in 1998 and nearly lost his voice, though he has continued to sing on albums and at concerts. The note, signed by his daughter and wife, asked fans to send “prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey.”

I’ll never forget the first time I watched the documentary The Last Waltz. I wasn’t used to seeing a drummer sing. I’d seen drummers sing backup, but never the lead. Helm sang “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” with real passion. He didn’t even have to focus on his drumming, which obviously came naturally. His attention being put squarely on the words of the song. The soul of it. It remains one of my most favorite performances.

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God Speed, Levon.

UPDATE: Helm dies.

Rippin’ Off Tom Petty

I hate stories like this. Yes, they are rich rock stars and they can afford to buy any instrument. Yes, most instrument makers are willing to give away equipment just to get the rock star to play it or get their picture taken with it. But what most people may not know is that most of the real artists out there, the ones that have paid their dues and have been around awhile, own one guitar, one bass, one drum kit, an amp, or even a mic that they wouldn’t give up for anything in the world. They record masterpiece rock songs with it. They tour with it. That one instrument is what makes their “sound”.

And then some idiot decides it’s a good idea to bust in and steal it.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were rehearsing for an upcoming tour, and some low life broke into a sound stage and stole 5 guitars. Not just any guitars either.

Last Thursday, someone got into the studio in Culver City and made off with two of Mr. Petty’s prized instruments – a 1967 12-string Rickenbacker electric and a 1965 Gibson electric. Also missing were three other rare guitars belonging to the bassist Ron Blair, the rhythm guitarist Scott Thurston and the lead guitarist Mike Campbell.

To the guy who is sitting in his apartment right now strumming away on the guitar that helped Tom write “Breakdown” and “American Girl”. Watch your back.

A reward is offered for the safe return of the gear.

Update: The guitars are recovered!