We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of artist, graphic designer and illustrator Alan Aldridge this past weekend. While Mr. Aldridge was best known for his work with legendary artists like The Beatles and The Who, he was also the creator of the iconic Hard Rock Cafe logo and as such a member of the Hard Rock family. Mr. Aldridge was hired by Hard Rock's founders to design t-shirts for a local football team sponsored by the original London cafe. The shirts and logo, much like their designer, became a cultural phenomenon.
10.03: Rock ‘n roll got an infusion of talent on October 3rd. Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954), one of the greatest guitar players ever, Tommy Lee (1962), one of the greatest metal drummers ever, and Gwen Stefani (1969), one of the greatest wives of Gavin Rossdale ever, were all welcomed into the world today. 10.03: Sinead O’Connor took on the Catholic Church, and lost, apparently, when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live. The singer’s popularity waned following the incident and she was booed off the stages of many performances, including Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Tribute Concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. To us, however, this does nothing to take away either the power of her voice or of the mesmerizing and haunting video for “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Watching that video still gives us chills.
09.26: On this day in 2003, Robert Palmer died of a heart attack in Paris. Singer of such '80s iconic standards as "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible," Palmer enjoyed success in the '70s, '80's, & '90s, a veritable elder statesman in the world of pop and rock. Yeah, that video, you know the one, with the awesomely awesome guitar-weilding and drum-playing babes in tight black dresses and the brightest red lipstick, still has it.
09.27: On this day in 1947, Marvin Lee Aday was born. He would later go on to receive recognition as Meatloaf, a man who would do anything for love. Except, of course, that. Whatever that is. We've speculated over the years as to what that is. Could it be eating live bats like Ozzy? Or perhaps taking a role in a rock 'n' roll musical? Or wearing polyester? Or saying "Bloody Mary" three times in front of a mirror in a dark room? The options are endless.
08.29: On this day in 1958, Michael Jackson was born. Despite his numerous bouts of odd behavior over the years, he was still the man who gave us “Beat It,” "Human Nature," and “Billie Jean." And nothing will change that. Ever.
08.29: The Beatles last real concert, at Candlestick Park in San Fran, went down on this day in 1966. Instead of constant touring, the band wanted to focus on recording albums. Though a loss to some fans, the music world gained immeasurably from this, as the guys put out some of the best albums of all time, taking studio recording to new heights and unexpected directions with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (The so-called White Album), Abbey Road, and Let It Be.
08.22: Led Zeppelin released their last album of original material, In Through The Out Door, on this day in 1979. Though not exactly a return to their earlier oeuvre, the album did contain some shining moments, such as "South Bound Suarez" and "All My Love." A year later, drummer John Bonham died after a day of heavy-drinking, and Led Zeppelin disbanded a short time later. Unlike a lot of bands who lose a founding member, Led Zeppelin realized, for reasons both personal and professional, that they did not want to go on as a band. There's always talk of another reunion tour, as they've done intermittently since the group's disbandment, but we'll believe it when we see it. We're just happy for the music they created and left for our hungry ears to devour. Rock on, fellas. Rock on.
08.15: On this day in 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair kicked off for 500,000 attendees in Bethel, New York. A defining moment of the ‘60s, this event, in retrospect, marked the culmination of the “love” generation’s hippy/peace movement. For three days, all was well and the world celebrated and watched in awe as so many people gathered together, listened to some of the best musicians of the decade, and caused so little trouble. The performers included a who's who of '60s music icons, including The Band, Joe Cocker, Richie Havens, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and a festival-capping, stunning rendition of The Star Spangled Banner by the inimitable Jimi Hendrix. It give us chills every time we watch it.
07.04: What a wonderful world, indeed, as American jazz great Louis Armstrong, or Satchmo, as we love to call him, was born on this day in 1900. One of the greatest trumpeters and bandleaders during the big band and swing eras of jazz, inarguably the most popular time for jazz, Armstrong's amazingly raspy, deep, and smokey voice will, in our mind, forever reverberate through our heads with the tune "What A Wonderful World." What a great song and an amazing talent. For real, seek out his work, a greatest hits collection, whatever, and you will not be disappointed. Happy birthday, Louie. You are one of the original rock stars.
05.16: On this day in 1990, another member of the Rat Pack passed. Sammy Davis Jr. was 64 when he died of throat cancer.
05.17: On this day in 1965, his industrial majesty Trent Reznor was born. We still remember the first time we witnessed "Head Like A Hole" on the MTV. We know it wasn't the first industrial song, the first industrial video, and that Trent didn't invent industrial music, but it still rocked our world and opened our mind to that merging of electronic, metal, and factory noise that is industrial music. And, if that first album, Pretty Hate Machine, was the first salvo in bringing industrial to our ears, it was his next album, the insanely detailed, dense and dark The Downward Spiral, that really solidified Trent's vision in our minds. The man is a composer of industrial metal awesomeness and today we celebrate his entry into this world. Huzzah!