03.01: Out of the ashes of the '60s came many great rock bands. Many people identify themselves, their world views, their temperaments and predispositions by aligning themselves with either The Rolling Stones or The Beatles. "Beatles or Stones?", we've been asked on many an occasion, sitting at a bar, contemplating life through goggles of beer. We refuse to answer that question. Instead we ask, "What about The Who?" This stumps a lot of people, them of short attention spans, them who think that '60s rock lived and died by the output of Mick and Keith and John and Paul. Hooey, we say. Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, and John Entwistle put out music just as vibrant, remarkable, and timeless as those other guys. From The Who Sellout to Tommy (both brilliant albums), The Who knew how to rock a recording studio just as well as they knew how to rock a stage. These guys had it. And up front, Daltrey strutted around every stage like he owned it, like it was his to do with as he pleased, like he was about the beat the crap out of it (which he and the guys did on many occasions). Why do we bring this up? Today is Roger's birthday, as he joined us on this day in 1944. So, in honor of Roger's b-day, next time someone asks you to choose sides between The Stones or The Beatles, just say, "The Who."
On Tuesday, March 8 the Hard Rock Cafe Chicago will host a benefit concert and fundraising party in support of the upcoming feature-length documentary Let There Be Life, which aims to raise organ donation awareness. The concert will boast a line-up of Chicago's finest talent including Funkadesi, the BS Brass Band, and Vance Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band. Special guests will include world-renowned spoken word artist Malik Yusef and Theryl “Houseman” DeClouet, former member of Galactic and subject of Let There Be Life. Also in attendance will be Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, who received a kidney from his sister Joyce last November. Emceeing the event will be Brittney Payton, co-founder of Youth For Life and host of WGN-TV’s Chicago’s Best. This will undoubtedly be an unforgettable night of music, soul and life.
02.22: On this day in 1968, one Mr. Brad Nowell joined this world, a scant twenty years before he would form one of the most popular, and remembered, bands of the '90s, the gloriously catchy and beautifully derivative Sublime. That Sublime gathered influences from punk, funk, hardcore, dub, reggae, hip-hop, and ska didn't, however, detract from their sound, but, instead, added layer upon layer to their grooves, helping them stand out from the pack of SoCal bands barreling into the national scene (No Doubt, Offspring, Green Day). Brad wasn't the most gifted lyricist, by any stetch of the imagination, but he was sincere and passionate about his influences and his own songs. He knew when to hit the accelerator and when to hit the breaks, when to get a pit going and when to get the dirty hippies dancing. Two self-released albums, 40 Oz. To Freedom and Robbin The Hood, and a relentless tour schedule, including a spot on the inaugural Warped Tour, helped land the band their first major label disc, on MCA. Unfortunately, Brad wouldn't live to see its release, as he overdosed on herion in a San Fran hotel room two months before it was set to hit stores. What an album and what a waste. That eponymous album, Sublime, is still remembered fondly to this day by those who knew it back in the day, still being discovered by a new group of kids and music lovers today. From the rolling "What I Got" to the laid-back "Santeria" to the furious surf-punk of "Paddle Out", Sublime showcased a band that'd practiced relentlessly and found their groove, that was confident in who they were and what they wanted to do. It sucks that Brad couldn't enjoy that success. The album has sold 5 million albums to date, but that doesn't bring Brad back. We know he would've done even more amazing things in the ensuing years, but there's really no use speculatin' and getting depressed. We just want to celebrate his life and, today, his birthday. Happy birthday, Brad! We miss you, kid.
Daughtry hit up Hard Rock Cafe New York last night for a visceral and exciting acoustic show in support of Musicians On Call, one of our favorite charities, whose stated mission is to bring “live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities." Music heals. We know this. You know this. Daughtry knows this. That's why the band's namesake has been working with Musicians On Call for years now. We were so happy to have the band at our New York cafe and ecstatic that we could help facilitate this amazing night. We just wanted to share some pics and to thank everyone who came out for such a great cause and a great night. You rock!
02.15: One of the most amazingly smooth voices in music was silenced on this day in 1965, when Nat King Cole died from lung cancer, at the much-too-early age of 45. Not only did Cole sing on over 100 charting singles and more than 20 charting albums throughout his 20-year pop career, but he also led a venerable jazz trio, held dear by many jazz aficionados, during the late '30s and early '40s. His switch from jazz pianist to silken-voiced pop singer caused much consternation in the tight-knit jazz circles of the era, a time when jazz was coming off the high of the swing era and sliding back into the underground, as former swing era singers (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin) also abandoned their roots and headed into the wide-open waters of the pop world. Nat King Cole, however, was not a jazz singer, having cut his teeth in smoky jazz clubs, tickling 88 keys every night, years before he ever let a song escape from his lungs. His switch from jazz to pop was different than the singers who'd done the same because many considered him a leader in the transition from swing to small-band jazz to bebop. They felt his abandonment of that world a slap in the face, but Nat's success in the world of pop and popular culture proved he was meant for much greater things. From his hit singles to his hit radio and television show, Cole showed Americans a man who transcended the racial divides of the time, showed Americans that people can live in the same neighborhoods, can perform together, can sit and watch a singer together, no matter the color of their skin. Though, even then, he was criticized by some in the civil rights movement for not doing enough for the cause, for not throwing his weight around as much as they perceived he could have. It seems no matter what he did, someone would find a way to criticize his actions. All we know is that this is both a sad and a happy day. As always, we are sad to remember someone on the day of their death, but we are happy for what they've left behind. And Nat King Cole left an amazing legacy. Do some research. Explore his catalog. You will not be disappointed. Nat King Cole is truly unforgettable.
In case you didn't know, yes, Hard Rock loves music. From our largest-in-the-world music memorabilia collection to Hard Rock Calling, from our menu fit for rock royalty to our rock 'n' roll t-shirts, music is a central part of our DNA. We love it. Can't get enough of it, whether it's rock or hip-hop or country or whatever. If it's authentic, sounds good, and hits us in that sweet spot in our collective brain, we are down. So, we just wanted to share some photos from recent shows at Hard Rock Cafes around the world. Check 'em out.
02.11: Michael Jackson's best backup singer of all time was born on this day in 1962. Know who it is? We'll give you a hint. Her last name is a type of bird. Gloria Eagle? Nope. Janice Dove? Nope. Cynthia Peacock? Not even close. Okay, one more hint. Her first hit song was called "All I Wanna Do." That's right, Sheryl Crow! Anyhoo, Ms."Former-Lance-Amrstrong's-Girlfriend-Now-They're-Just-Friends” Crow started her music career a little later than most, at least in this day and age, but didn't look back once it began to pick up momentum. Yes, she toured with Michael Jackson (yes, that's her in the photo) as a backup singer on his Bad World Tour, and, yes, she was a music teacher, jingle writer, and sang for the best cop musical television show ever (Cop Rock!), but once she got going, all of those things became ancient history. We dig on Sheryl because not only does she rock and look hot doing it, but she's worked really hard to get where she is today. And at having fun. But mostly rocking and being hot. Happy birthday, Sheryl!
Orlando, Fla., February 1, 2011 – Hard Rock International is proud to announce the winners of its 2011 Awards in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and dedication of employees, franchisees and partners. Hard Rock selected the top “rock stars” from more than 171 Hard Rock locations in 52 countries and hundreds of partners worldwide. The much-anticipated awards were chosen based on financial performance, unique sales accomplishments, community contributions, creativity, strategic marketing, philanthropy, brand loyalty and leadership. The ceremony included the highly-coveted awards for “Company Worldwide Cafe of the Year,” given to the team at Hard Rock Cafe Rome; “Franchise Cafe of the Year,” awarded to Hard Rock Cafe Bengaluru; “Hotel of the Year,” presented to the Hard Rock Hotel Orlando; and “Hotel & Casino of the Year” given to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi. Award highlights also included “Company General Manager of the Year” for 2010, proudly presented to Dale Swift of Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam, who received a Harley Davidson motorcycle for his outstanding leadership; and Claude Fayyad of Hard Rock Cafe Sharm el Sheikh, who took home the award for “Franchise General Manager of the Year,” along with a check for $10,000. Selected from hundreds of brands around the globe, Hard Rock honored several key partners, naming Bacardi U.S.A. as “Global Beverage Partner of the Year” for the fourth consecutive year; Trident Seafood as “Culinary Partner of the Year”; and Budweiser as “Event Beverage Partner of the Year.” Hard Rock executives also presented the “Project Development Partner of the Year” award to the Friedmutter Group; and the “Retail Partner of the Year” award to Entertainment Outfitters, Inc.; while Kelly Otto received the “Special Partner Recognition” honor.“Every one of our employees, franchisees and partners bring an outstanding level of dedication and commitment to our brand,” said Hamish Dodds, president and CEO, Hard Rock International. “We are proud to be able to show our sincere appreciation for all members of the Hard Rock family and honor them for their success and achievement.” Hard Rock International’s Global Conference brings together team members from all over the world, including company and franchise-owned cafes, hotels and casinos, as well as key corporate partners in the retail, culinary, beverage and project development industries. Each year, Hard Rock utilizes the Global Conference as an arena in which to unite all areas of the brand and elevate the Hard Rock experience throughout the world. Hard Rock’s 2011 Global Conference was held during the grand opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana – Hard Rock’s first all-inclusive Hotel & Casino, a 121-acre property located on Macao Beach in the Dominican Republic. The 1,800-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana provides an endless array of services, enticing outdoor activities, including an 18-hole Nicklaus-designed golf course, and exhilarating entertainment options. Among the resort’s many offerings are luxe accommodations featuring the Hard Rock’s branded “Rock Star Suite,” the signature Rock Spa®, iconic music memorabilia and a 48,000-square foot Vegas-style casino.Hard Rock International would like to recognize the winners of the 2011 Awards: Partner Awards:
About Hard Rock International With a total of 171 venues in 52 countries, including 134 cafes and 15 Hotels/Casinos, Hard Rock International is one of the world's most globally recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live performance venues and an award-winning website. In addition to the two flagship Seminole Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., Hard Rock Hotels/Casinos are located in Las Vegas, Biloxi, Orlando, Chicago, San Diego, Pattaya, Bali, Macau, Penang, Singapore and Punta Cana. Additional hotel and casino projects have been announced in Panama, scheduled to open in 2012; and Hungary, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in 2013. Hard Rock International is owned by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, Inc. For further details on Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos, visit www.hardrockhotels.com or www.facebook.com/hardrockhotels. For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com or www.facebook.com/hardrock.