40 Years Ago: Supertramp Blow Up with ‘Breakfast in America’

(Via Ultimate Classic Rock) by Jeff Giles

After toiling in obscurity with their earliest releases, Supertramp managed to score a few hit singles and albums during the mid-to-late ’70s — but they were only a warm-up for their sixth album, Breakfast in America.

Released in March 29, 1979, Breakfast found the band moving away from the more serious, prog-influenced fare that anchored records like 1974’s Crime of the Century and 1977’s Even in the Quietest Moments in favor of a more concise, radio-friendly approach that often emphasized the tongue-in-cheek humor of bandleaders Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson.

As Hodgson explained in an interview with Melody Maker later that year, “The songs on this album were chosen because we really wanted to get a feeling of fun and warmth across. I think we felt that we had done three pretty serious albums, and it was about time we showed the lighter side of ourselves.”

That didn’t mean Breakfast in America was all laughs, however; it was nearly titled Hello Stranger, due to a preponderance of songs about relationships broken by a lack of communication — a subject Davies and Hodgson knew well, given how poorly they were getting along during the making of the album…

Read more: https://ultimateclassicrock.com/supertramp-breakfast-in-america/

A brief history of why artists are no longer making a living making music

(via Roots Music Canada) by Ian Tamblin

Today’s column from veteran Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tamblyn is adapted from a speech he gave at a symposium at Trent University.  It’s a long read, but we decided to post it here all at once it its entirety because, well, it’s just that good. 

I would like to begin this talk on the future of “popular” music with a few cautionary notes about our ability to see into the future clearly. The fact is, it would appear we are not very good at it. Somewhere back in our Savannah DNA, we got very good at reacting to danger when it presented itself — say a lion or tiger. However, it seems we are less capable of looking ahead to avoid danger. In other words, we are a reactive rather than proactive animal. The contemporary analogy in relation to climate change is that we are similar to the frog in a pot of hot water who does not have the sensors to recognize the increasing temperature and the fact that he should get out of the boiling pot.

Yes, there have been a handful of futurists – H.G Wells, Aldous Huxley, and given the state of many current governments I would grudgingly include Ayn Rand. Probably the most successful futurists in our lifetime may have been Marshall McLuhan and Stanley Kubrick, but even so, all of these writers and film makers have been only partially successful gazing into the crystal ball. Given that the past is no more fixed than the future I begin this conversation with you.

What I hope to discuss in this time with you is the relationship between technology, the gift of music and the commodification of that gift and how that gift and the commodification of the gift has been eroded in the digital age, and as I see it, could continue to be eroded well into the 21st century…

Read more: https://www.rootsmusic.ca/2019/03/14/a-brief-history-of-why-artists-are-no-longer-making-a-living-making-music/

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How ReadyToPlay Can Save Your Music Collection

(via Seagate blog) by Steve Pipe

Quick — when was the last time you listened to music on a compact disc? If you’re like many consumers, you probably have stacks of CDs gathering dust at the back of an entertainment cabinet or boxed up in a closet. You’d like to get them all onto your computer and smartphone, but that’s a daunting task… How can you easily digitize hundreds or thousands of CDs?

CDs — a once-dominant format — have lost ground to streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora. That doesn’t mean CDs are dead — far from it. For the first time since 2011, sales of physical media surpassed digital downloads, according to new data from the Recording Industry Association of America. Physical media (which includes CDs and vinyl) declined 4 percent in 2017, compared to 25 percent for digital.

More people are streaming music, but many still want to digitize their favorite CDs

That’s good news for Jeff Tedesco, president of ReadyToPlay, a Palo Alto, California-based company that “rips,” or digitizes, CD collections. Tedesco started his company in 2004, when more and more people were making the switch to digital, thanks to MP3 players like the iPod…

Read more:

https://blog.seagate.com/human/readytoplay-can-save-music-collection/?utm_source=FBPAGE&utm_medium=social&utm_content=100024802

Quora: Why did Stevie Nicks Leave Fleetwood Mac?

(image via rollingstone.com)

(via Quora) Answered by Chrys Jordan

The main reason was over the song Silver Springs.

Stevie recorded the song for Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 Rumours album. But the band decided not to use it, reportedly because it was too long.

As Stevie tells the story, she shrieked with rage when Mick Fleetwood told her they wouldn’t be using Silver Springs. Stevie might have quit the band then if she’d established herself as a solo artist. But she hadn’t, not yet…

Read more:

https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Stevie-Nicks-leave-Fleetwood-Mac

Carol Kaye, The First Lady of Bass Guitar

(via Culture Sonar) by John Montagna

The Fender “Precision Bass” Guitar first appeared in 1951, and within a few short years the bass guitar created a seismic shift in popular music thanks to a number of forward-thinking musicians. Chief among these bold explorers is female bass player Carol Kaye, born in Everett, Washington in 1935.

Initially, on the fast track to success as a jazz guitarist in Los Angeles, Kaye was thrust into the lucrative Hollywood studio scene at a 1957 recording session with Sam Cooke. One morning at Capitol Studios the bassist didn’t show up, and Kaye spontaneously picked up a “Fender bass” and took over. Plectrum in hand, she immediately seized upon the creative potential of the instrument and became an indispensable member of the now-famous “Wrecking Crew” collective of session musicians. The Crew defined the sound of American popular music in the 1960s, but Kaye’s musicality, creativity, and distinctive tone (the result of flatwound strings and a pick) helped redefine the bass guitar’s role in the rhythm section. Some might not know Carol Kaye’s name, but if they’ve ever been near a radio (or a TV set) you’ve heard her bass playing. Here is some of her signature work.

Read more:

https://www.culturesonar.com/carol-kaye-first-lady-bass-guitar/

Battle of the Ax Men: Who Really Built the First Electric Rock ‘n’ Roll Guitar?

(via Collector’s Weekly) by Ben Marks

Many places deserve to be called the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll. Memphis often gets the nod because that’s where Sam Phillips of Sun Records recorded Elvis Presley belting out an impromptu, uptempo cover of “That’s All Right” in 1954. Cleveland makes the list since it’s the place where, in 1951, a local disc jockey named Alan Freed coined the genre’s name. Chicago’s claim precedes Cleveland’s by several years; in 1948, McKinley Morganfield, aka Muddy Waters, took the tiny stage of a neighborhood tavern called Club Zanzibar, pulled up a chair, and played his hollow-body electric guitar so loud, the sounds emanating from his small amplifier crashed upon the sweaty crowd in waves of soul-stirring distortion.

Those would all be good choices, but for author Ian Port, whose new book, The Birth of Loud, has just been published by Scribner, the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll could also be the former farming community of Fullerton in Orange County, California. That’s where an electronics autodidact name Clarence Leonidas “Leo” Fender founded a radio repair shop in 1938. By 1943, Fender and a friend named Clayton “Doc” Kaufman, who was Fender’s business partner in those days, had taken a solid plank of oak, painted it glossy black, attached a pickup at one end, and strung its length with steel strings

Read more:

https://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/who-really-built-the-first-electric-rock-n-roll-guitar/

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