With no more income from album sales, a 69-year-old rock legend has to go back on tour

(via Quartz) by Amy X. Wang

For musicians, it’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times. Streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify are booming, helping the long-suffering music industry grow for the first time in decades.

But these new services make very little money for artists, with ephemeral streams paying out only a fraction of the revenue of actual album sales and downloads. Beyoncé, the highest-paid artist of last year, made the bulk of her money from a world tour. So did Guns N’ Roses, the second name on that list, and that band hasn’t even released a new album in a decade.

Another sign of the times is Donald Fagen, the 69-year-old cofounder of rock band Steely Dan, who has just announced a new tour in the US and Japan with an entirely new backup band called the Nightflyers. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), Fagen’s explanation for the new tour was decisively blunt

Read more: https://qz.com/1041397/steely-dans-donald-fagen-is-back-on-tour-the-result-of-nobody-buying-music-albums-anymore/

The Ridiculous Idea Behind Elton John’s Best Album

(via Music Aficionado) by Jim Farber

Here’s the unlikely story of how Elton John came to create ‘Tumbleweed’ and why—Jim Farber argues—it ended up being the best album of his career.

The best album of Elton John’s entire career is based on a ridiculous notion. On , he and co-writer Bernie Taupin, tried to capture the grit and violence of the American West: to nail, in words and music, the outlaw spirit of the U.S. in the 1800s. In other words, they tried to be The Band.

One problem: Neither Elton nor Bernie had ever set foot on U.S. soil when they created their masterwork. More, they had just come off recording an album, () whose twee harpsichords and austere cellos couldn’t have sounded more European.

Here’s the unlikely story of how Elton John came to create ‘Tumbleweed’ and why—against all odds—it ended up being the best album of his career…

Read more: 

https://web.musicaficionado.com/main.html#!/article/the_ridiculous_idea_behind_elton_johns_best_album_by_jimfarber?invitedBy=jimfarber&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=fanpage

History Of Rock Written By The Losers

(via The Onion)

BOSTON—Fifty years after its inception, rock ‘n’ roll music remains popular due to the ardor of its fans and the hard work of musicians, producers, and concert promoters. But in the vast universe of popular music, there exists an oft-overlooked group of dedicated individuals who devote their ample free time to collecting, debating, and publishing the minutiae of the rock genre. They are the losers who write rock’s rich and storied history.

“The city of Boston is about more than just Mission Of Burma or Galaxie 500, and it’s certainly about more than Boston or The Cars,” said 28-year-old Dana Harris, a rock historian. “The scene in Boston is full of history, but it’s also vibrant right now. Someone needs to record all the amazing things going on here, even if it means that person will never have a social life.”

Read more: http://www.theonion.com/article/history-of-rock-written-by-the-losers-736?utm_content=Main&utm_campaign=SF&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing

Behind The Scenes of The Iconic Abbey Road Cover Photoshoot

(via shooting film)

,,,The Beatles crossed the road a number of times while (Iain) Macmillan photographed them. 8 August was a hot day in north London, and for four of the six photographs McCartney walked barefoot; for the other two he wore sandals. Shortly after the shoot, McCartney studied the transparencies and chose the fifth one for the album cover…”

Read more: http://www.shootingfilm.net/2013/04/behind-scenes-of-iconic-abbey-road.html

Did You Ever Realize…

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Bob Dylan obliges annoying fan in Berkeley by actually playing ‘Free Bird’

(via SFGate)

You’ve seen that guy.

He emerges from some dark corner of the audience, maybe drunk, gawkily shoving his way through the crowd as the audience stands contented, mesmerized by the rock god onstage. He leans forward next to your ear, brutishly disturbing your daydream with a shrill, piercing shout:

“FREE BIRD!”

Eyes roll in the audience. The man’s face snarls with wretched delight. He is the only one laughing.

But just before your disgust impels you to jam your elbow into this troll’s ribcage, a guitar rings out. Everyone turns to the stage.

Holy hell, Bob Dylan is actually playing “Free Bird.”

To the shock of a Berkeley audience, Dylan closed out his set at the Greek Theater last week — which featured covers of some of Frank Sinatra’s most famous songs from his newest album “Fallen Angels” —  with a take on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1973 hit “Free Bird.”

The Death of the Electric Guitar

(via The Washington Post) By June 22, 2017

The convention couldn’t sound less rock-and-roll — the National Association of Music Merchants Show. But when the doors open at the Anaheim Convention Center, people stream in to scour rows of Fenders, Les Pauls and the oddball, custom-built creations such as the 5-foot-4-inch mermaid guitar crafted of 15 kinds of wood.
Standing in the center of the biggest, six-string candy store in the United States, you can almost believe all is well within the guitar world.
Except if, like George Gruhn, you know better. The 71-year-old Nashville dealer has sold guitars to Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift. Walking through NAMM with Gruhn is like shadowing Bill Belichick at the NFL Scouting Combine. There is great love for the product and great skepticism. What others might see as a boom — the seemingly endless line of manufacturers showcasing instruments — Gruhn sees as two trains on a collision course.
“There are more makers now than ever before in the history of the instrument, but the market is not growing,” Gruhn says in a voice that flutters between a groan and a grumble. “I’m not all doomsday, but this — this is not sustainable.”

The numbers back him up. In the past decade, electric guitar sales have plummeted, from about 1.5 million sold annually to just over 1 million…

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/lifestyle/the-slow-secret-death-of-the-electric-guitar/?utm_term=.471017b5534a

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