02.25: George Harrison, "the quiet Beatle," let it be known, on this day in 1943, with his first breaths, that he was here and he was ready to rock. As lead guitar for, inarguably, the biggest and one of the best rock bands of all time, Harrison is responsible for some of the greatest licks ever to be put on record. Though his work with the Beatles was generally overshadowed by the melodies and rhythms of John and Paul's songwriting and instrumentation, George still managed to come out of the band with some genuinely amazing songs for his resume, including "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Something," and "Taxman." After the breakup of the greatest band of all time, Harrison released a number of solo albums and became the first member of the post-Beatles to hit the top of the charts, with the Phil Spector-produced All Things Must Pass, which included "My Sweet Lord," a truly beautiful song. Harrison also organized what has been called the very first charity rock festival when he put together The Concert For Bangladesh, which went on to influence events such as Live Aid and Farm Aid. In the '80s, George joined a little supergroup known as The Traveling Wilburys. The band consisted of Harrison, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty. Holy moly! Can you say, "Awesome!"? We could then and we can now. We woulda loved to have been a fly on the wall in Dylan's garage when they recorded that first song (yeah, they actually recorded in a garage). Harrison died from throat cancer in November of 2001. Today, we celebrate his birth and his life. We can't wait to go home and put on The Beatles Revolver, open a beer, sit on the porch, and let the music wash over us. We miss ya, George. Happy birthday.
02.26: A day of mourning, we were all cursed today in 1954, as the birth of an abomination heralded the coming of dark days, when Michael Bolton clawed his way into this world, ready to assault our collective ears with the schmaltz he passes off as music, ready to take something as beautiful as "(Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay" and turn it into an unlistenable pile. (We hate to link to that video, but you have to hear it for yourself. It's awful, especially when compared to Otis' version, which is simply incredible.) Seriously, why would someone do that?! It makes us cry and curl up, fetal-like, in a corner, racked with sickening convulsions. It makes us angry that so many people don't know, because of the undeserved popularity of Bolton's version, that the amazing Otis Redding wrote and recorded the song way back in 1967. We've said it before and we'll say it again, if Otis were alive, he'd totally kick Bolton's butt. We envision him doing it today, on Bolton's b-day, singing the birthday song as he did it, and then topping off the butt kicking with the awesome whistle part from "Dock Of The Bay." It would be glorious and is the only thing that can bring a smile to our face on this sad, depressing day.
Tony Dize recently stopped by Hard Rock Cafe Santo Domingo for a night of sweet, sweet reggaeton. For those not familiar with reggaeton, it's basically a mash-up of dancehall reggae, modern latin music, and hip-hop beats, and Tony Dize is one of the genre's rising stars. You might not think that Hard Rock Cafe is a natural fit, but we dig all kinds of music and know that taking people out of their comfort zone can be a good thing. We just wanted to share some photos from the night and give a big shout-out to Tony and all the people who hung out for the night.
02.18: A very prominent figure in the L.A. gangsta rap scene joined us this week, on this day in 1965, when Andre "Dr. Dre" Young took his first breaths. Dre didn't begin his musical life with aspirations of being one of the biggest, most prescient hip-hop producers of all time, but that's what happened. His first taste of the music business came as a DJ and producer with World Class Wreckin' Cru, an electro group who, like other electro outfits, melded '70s funk with pronounced synthesizers and hip-hop beats (think Afrikaa Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" or Herbie Hancock's "Rockit"), unleashing a mini electro storm on L.A. in the mid-'80s, scoring a few local hits. At the same time, Dre began to make friends in the local hip-hop scene, most notably a rapper by the name of Ice Cube, with whom Dre started to write and record songs for Ruthless Records, a label owned by Eazy E. When one of the label's groups refused to record a Cube/Dre song, Eazy formed a group, called N.W.A., with the guys and they put out the song under that moniker. Yeah, that song was "Boyz 'N The Hood" and it forever changed the way middle America saw not only Southern California, but, for better or worse, hip-hop. From the album Straight Outta Compton, which received no radio play to the incendiary song "F--- Tha Police," N.W.A. courted controversy, sold millions of albums, and shone a spotlight on the streets of South Central. After the dissolution of N.W.A., Dre didn't sit around crying, he set about honing a sound he'd spent years creating. With the release of his first solo album, The Chronic, at the end of 1992, Dre's "g-funk" sound melded unhurried electro with gangsta rap with Parliament-Funkadelic funk and topped it all off with some of the best production ever heard in hip-hop. For real, listen to "Nuthin' But A G Thing." So smooth and sonically amazing, it still gives us chills, and a broad smile, listening today. For years after The Chronic came out, from Snoop Dogg to Warren G to 2 Pac, the g-funk sound would rule the charts, and Dr. Dre would be king of the roost. That he's also responsible for bringing Eminem and, by proxy, 50 Cent to the world is a testament to Dre's superb tastes and his forward-thinking ways. This is a very long way of showing our appreciation and intense admiration for all aspects of Dr. Dre's career, and we just want to wish him a very happy birthday. 02.19: You may not know this, but the current lead singer for AC/DC, Brian Johnson, wasn't the group's first. Before Brian, Bon Scott fronted the band, leading them on a journey, alongside Angus Young's monster chords and Malcolm Young's rhythm guitar and behind-the-scenes stewardship, toward hard rock nirvana. Through six albums, Bon and the Brothers Young, accompanied by bass and drums, of course, tore up the hard rock world, never taking themselves seriously, always finding the fun and good times in life, continually sprinkling their songs with a healthy dose of juvenile sexual references and bar-fight reminiscences. From their debut, High Voltage to the breathtakingly loud and awesome Highway To Hell, AC/DC never let up, never stopped to take a breath, putting their heart and soul into their music, critics be damned. (Critics didn't really cotton to the sound, believe it or not.) In 1980, however, the ride came to a grinding halt when Bon Scott died on this day, at the much-too-young age of 33, choking on his vomit after a night of heavy drinking. Or as the coroner wrote as the official cause, "death by misadventure." Misadventure?! We're not sure exactly what that is, but we think Scott would've liked it. Not pretty, by any means, but it certainly fit in with the group's hard rock and hard ways. That the band emerged from this dark day, found a new lead singer in Brian Johnson, and put out Back In Black, one of the most iconic rock albums ever and a tribute, of sorts, to the dearly departed Bon, is a testament to exactly how resilient they are. Brian and the Brothers Young didn't lament Bon's passing with Back In Black (as much as some might have you believe), instead embracing his passion for life, rock, and shakin' it all night long. R.I.P., Bon. Thanks for "Highway To Hell".
Happy Birthday Yoko! Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place. Peace & Love. ALL IS ONE.
MESSAGE FROM YOKO ONO
Our smiles change moods and opinions as they radiate positive energy out into the world, creating joy, healing and peace, changing the Universe for the better. People from cities and countries around the world can freely upload their smiles by mobile phone and computer to the world and its people. Each time we add our smiles to #smilesfilm, we are creating our future, together. Give us your smile! I love you!" Yoko Ono, 2012
It all started with one guitar. A Red Fender, in fact, donated by its owner, Eric Clapton. Now it's the largest music memorabilia collection on the planet - 70,000+ (and counting) rock 'n' roll icons, from a lock of hair to a five-ton psychedelic bus, from some of the most important guitars in music history to some of the most incredible outfits ever to grace a rock star or stage. On any given day, visit any Hard Rock location around the world, and you will see some of these pieces of history yourself. Whether they transport you to a time in your own past, triggering memories of glory days, or they teach you something you never knew about one of your favorite artists, Hard Rock's memorabilia collection has been viewed by millions over the years.
Now, Hard Rock is bringing even more memorabilia to Hard Rocks all over the world, with the Treasures Of The Hard Rock tour. Actually, we should say "tours," as three separate tours will criss-cross both the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. tours will highlight two different themes: those artists who left us in their prime, leaving behind catalogs of incredible music, and musicians whose philanthropic work rivals their music.
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, duh!), 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 worked really hard at having fun. But mostly rocking and being hot. Happy birthday, Sheryl!
02.13: What a year, 1961. For Henry Rollins, at least. You see, that year saw Henry Lawrence Garfield take his first breath, and music gained a unique individual. Well, it took a good twenty years for this unique individual to make his mark, but believe us, he definitely did. Rollins joined California punk pioneers Black Flag, who'd gone through a steady stream of singers in its already-four-year career before Rollins joined the band for an impromptu song at one of their shows in New York. In Rollins, who was a huge fan of the group prior to his singing duties (ha, we said duties), they found an intense poetic sensibility uncommon in punk and the stage demeanor of a caged animal, pacing back and forth, waiting to pounce as soon as the music charged up behind him. From 1981 to 1986, Rollins stint in Black Flag tore through every bar, club, and theater they entered, sometimes ending with Henry in a fistfight with one or more audience members. Did we mention he was intense? After Black Flag disbanded, Rollins leapt into a very diverse career, from publisher to actor, from author to activist. He formed his own band, Henry Rollins Band, which recorded and toured from 1987 through 2003, when Henry decided to concentrate on his spoken-word career. Huh, you say? Yeah, Henry's spoken-word routines kill. They are always a weird, amazingly vital and vitriolic hybrid of stand-up comedy and Shakespearian soliloquies, regaling his audiences with tales from the road and tales from the street. Henry Rollins is truly one of a kind.
Orlando, Fla. – Feb. 6, 2013 – Hard Rock International – with hotel locations from Bali to Cancun, San Diego to Singapore and Chicago to Macau – announces plans to open Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs in Fall 2013, bringing the legendary Hard Rock vibe to one of Southern California’s hottest vacation destinations. Hard Rock International, in collaboration with Kittridge Hotel Management, will transform the former Hotel Zoso into an enviable hotel destination, reflecting the famed Hard Rock brand in a city known for its year-round sunshine, clear skies and endless activities.
“We’re thrilled to bring the Hard Rock experience to this world-renowned city and are very pleased with our new relationship with Kittridge Hotels,” said Nelson Parker, head of development in the Americas for Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos. “Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs will serve as an iconic entertainment and leisure destination and, true to the Hard Rock brand, will be a hot spot for musicians, celebrities and our valued Hard Rock fans.”
02.04: Vincent Damon Furnier was born this day in 1948. Vince who? Well, Vincent went on to become one of the biggest rockers of the 1970s, taking every stage by storm, turning every concert into the craziest and most awesome theatre production you could possibly be at and still hold on to your rock 'n' roll cred. Still don't know what were talking about? Take a look at this. Yep, Vince Fournier is none other than Alice Cooper. Yes, that Alice Cooper. Vince/Alice took hard rock into Ziggy Stardust territory, not in sound, really, but in the way he approached the his music and his stage. Any concert that includes great music paired with guillotines, boa constrictors, electric chairs, and lots of stage blood is rockin' awesome in our book. Welcome to his nightmare!
On January 30th, Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood Blvd. hosted the 5th Annual Revolver Golden Gods Press Conference. The event was a private, invite-only press conference that included 50 press outlets from Rolling Stone, Fuse, The Hollywood Reporter and the Associated Press, among many others.The press conference included some of the biggest and most iconic names in metal and announced this year’s nominee. The announcers included Sebastian Bach, Zakk Wylde, John 5, Scott Ian, Chris Jericho, Halestorm, Five Finger Death Punch, members of In This Moment, and Dillinger Escape Plan.
The Honolulu Ambassadors partnered with the Heritage Girls (a local group similar to the girl scouts) to cater and serve lunch for 150 participants and volunteers. Hard Rock provided and cooked the food while the Heritage Girls dished it out to hungry surfers and instructors. AccesSurf provides surfing and safe swimming opportunities for people with physical disabilities that would normally prevent them from enjoying the ocean. Hard Rock Honolulu also hosts their annual fundraiser each year and created a pin and a burger on their local menu to help raise money for AccesSurf. ALL IS ONE.