12.10: Otis Redding, one of the greatest soul singers ever, died on this day in 1967, when his plane crashed into a lake in Wisconsin. It's so hard to imagine that he was only 26. 26! Wow, that just blows our mind, as Otis' voice and lyrics exuded those of an elder statesman, those of a wise, old soul. For real, pick up Otis Blue or The Dock Of The Bay, sit back, and just listen. That isn't just a man singing. That is a soul singing. That is a voice you will not hear again, ever. One-of-a-kind, Otis carried the mantle passed on by the immortal Sam Cooke. The singer's singer, Otis recorded what would become his one and only #1 hit, "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay," just three days before his death. We love this song. We whistle this song in the shower. Otis is the man. Sing on, Otis, sing on. 12.11: Why do the good one's die so young? Sam Cooke, soul music pioneer and writer of one of the greatest protest songs to emerge from the restless '60s, "A Change Is Gonna Come," died under very mysterious circumstances at a hotel in L.A. on this day in 1964, at the age of 33. Shot by the hotel's manager, an older woman who claimed self-defense, Cooke's presence in her office has been disputed since that time. The manager claimed Cooke burst into the office, inebriated and shouting, wearing only an overcoat and shoes, demanding to know the whereabouts of the woman with whom he came to the hotel. That woman claims she'd been held hostage by a drunken and drugged-up Cooke, and that she escaped with her clothes, accidentally grabbing his, as well. However, that this woman was later arrested for prostitution suggests that she found herself in that hotel room of her own volition, perhaps, as some suggest, intending to rob Cooke. Some in his family and friends, however, claim a conspiracy in his death, that injuries observed at the funeral home were not consistent with gunfire. This weird and tragic end to Cooke's life does nothing, though, to diminish his impact upon the burgeoning soul sound. That he did not live to see its true fruition is a tragedy unto itself, but we love Sam for planting those seeds.
12.02: Gilby Clarke joined Guns N’ Roses on this day in 1991, replacing founding member and original guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who'd left suddenly after a show in Germany, citing Axl's erratic behavior and Slash, Matt Sorum, and Duff McKagan's drug use (Izzy'd recently found sobriety) as the main reasons for his departure. Long way of saying that Gilby Clarke took control of Guns' rhythm, along with Sorum, and lasted all of three years, an eternity in Guns N' Roses universe. Izzy's departure came on the heels of original drummer Steven Adler's firing and led the way for the rest of the band, except for Axl, of course, to eventually take off. Guns N' Roses lives on in name, but the spirit indelibly existed for only a short time, from 1986 to 1993. R.I.P. Guns N' Roses. 12.03: This day, 1948, the Prince of Darkness (no, not that Prince of Darkness) joined the world. Ozzy Osbourne, nee John Michael Osbourne, grew up in the working class neighborhood of Aston in Birmingham, England. Along with schoolmate Tony Iommi, Osbourne formed the band that would eventually become the progenitors of heavy metal, the greatest heavy-blues band (yes, you heard us, heavy blues) in the world, Black Sabbath. Informed by their roots, their city, and their need to differentiate themselves from all the gooey, dirty-hippy psychedelic rock of the era, Sabbath brought something new to the table, something that critics hated, but that people connected with immediately. They sounded like nothing that'd come before them. There've been other bands credited with being the birth of metal, but Sabbath, in our humble opinion, is heavy metal, is the one band that brought it all together, that included heavy riffs with eerie vocals with lugubrious rhythm with lyrics darker than Armageddon. In Sabbath's albums you hear every metal band that came after them, and, conversely, in every metal band that’s come after them, you hear Sabbath. Even if a metal band's not influenced by Sabbath (which, to us, doesn't compute, but, we guess, could happen), they've been influenced by a band that was dedicated to the amazing darkness that Ozzy, Tony, Geezer, and Bill thrust upon the world. What a different world this would be without the birth of Ozzy Osbourne, The Godfather of Metal, the Biter Of Heads, the writer of suicide-inducing Satanic songs, reality show star, monger of cell phones. Ozzy's true genius lies in his simply being himself, in his innate ability to be creepy and lovable at the same time. We love Ozzy, in all his glory and in all his dangerous depths. Happy birthday, Ozzy! You absolutely rock.
11.25: On this day in 1984, a supergroup of mostly U.K. musicians got together for a monumental 24-hour recording session to benefit famine relief in Ethiopia. The superdupergroup, known as Band Aid, led by founder and organizer Bob Geldof (him who doesn't like Mondays and him who played the fictional rocker "Pink" in the filmed version of The Wall), busted out a singular single titled "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Not only did they not know that it is Christmas, but they couldn't have cared less because, ya know, the people most affected by the famines had other things on their minds besides crass commercialism and Atari 2600s. So, no, they didn't know it was Christmas, but we're sure they probably appreciated the outpouring of help and funds resulting from the single, even if they didn't know from whence or why it came. Band Aid, of course, directly or indirectly led to raising much-needed awareness to the famine in Ethiopia, Live Aid, "We Are The World", "That's What Friends Are For", and celebrities stating their opinions on world matters from the comfort of their celebrity. Yes, we're a little flummoxed by the duality of the self-righteousness involved with and the awareness raised by the project, but we'll take what we can get with this kind of thing. For all the egregiousness against our ears and music sensibilities, we're still very appreciative that this project happened, that it led to other worthwhile projects, and that we live in a country that allows us to change the channel, so that we'll never have to actually listen to the song ever again.
We have all seen images of the tragic devastation in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded. The reports from relief workers on the ground are that of immense destruction, an official death toll that is on the rise and of survivors who do not have access to adequate food, water or shelter. Only now are relief efforts still making their way into the country and providing support for our extended friends and family in the Philippines.
In times like this our motto - ALL IS ONE - resonates with even more impact than in our typical day-to-day lives and operations, and as clear as the words on our walls, helps dictate our actions as Hard Rockers. To support the relief and recovery efforts in the Philippines please click the below image. ALL IS ONE.
Hard Rock Cafe Anchorage is “Calling All Artists” to help put an Anchorage mark on the cafe’s Rock Shop. From Wednesday, November 20 through Friday, December 6, “Calling All Artists” asks residents to enter your artwork for the chance to have their design featured on a limited-edition Hard Rock Cafe Anchorage grand opening t-shirt and collectable pin.
11.18: On this day in 1994, The Rolling Stones became the first band to broadcast a streaming concert over that fandangled Interweb thingamajig. Heralding the coming of a new dawn, the Age of Aquarius became a distant memory, as the computers, thanks to Mick and the boys, quickly learned how to rock and, subsequently, took over Earth. Bow to your rockin' computer overlords! 11.18: On this day in 1962, Kirk Hammet was born. Originally one of the co-founders of San Fransisco Bay-area thrash metal band Exodus, Hammet would, in 1983, take over lead guitar duties in an up-and-coming L.A. metal band going by the distinctly metal name of Metallica, when Dave Mustaine was kicked out (supposedly for being abusive and a drunk) just before the recording of their first album (Kill 'Em All). And the rest is history. For all intents and purposes, Hammet is the only lead guitar player on all of Metallica's recorded material. Though Mustaine would later complain about how Hammet merely played the guitar licks that'd been written before he came on board, there is no doubt that Hammet is an excellent guitar player, helping the band slowly build their fanbase one album at a time, from early masterpieces (Ride The Lightning & Master Of Puppets) to chart breakthroughs (...And Justice For All & Metallica).
11.11: On this day in 1969, Jim Morrison’s boisterous and drunken behavior on a flight from Los Angeles to Phoenix landed him in jail. Apparently, he was taking a break from his indecent exposure trial in Miami to attend a Rolling Stones concert in Phoenix, after stopping off in LA. The man just wanted to see The Stones, for goodness sake! Can't a man have some drinks and fun on his way to a Stones show? Guess not, as he was arrested, like so many other times, for being drunk and disorderly. We miss ya, Jimbo. 11.12: On this day waaaaaay back in 1955, Billboard magazine ushers in "The Top 100." That's right, another music chart. More charts than you can shake a stick at! Go ahead, just try to shake that stick. You can't. The Top 100, based on sales and radio play, eventually replaced the three charts that'd preceded it, those based on airplay, jukebox play, and disc jockey play. The Top 100 eventually became The Hot 100, which remains, to this day, an all-inclusive, genre-bending barometer for, well, a song's hotness. What was the first #1 song on that Top 100 chart way back in 1955? You get a lollipop if you remember, or even know, "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" by The Four Aces.
11.04: On this day in 1970, the art of 80’s pop sampling found their leader. Sean John Combs, aka Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy, Puffy, etc., was born. We like to call him "PuhDiddy", but that's just us and we'd never say it to his face. We're not even sure what he goes by these days. Remember when Ol' Dirty Bastard used to change his name? We think Diddy should crib one of those laid-to-rest names. Instead of Big Baby Jesus (our favorite ODB nickname), Diddy could be Big Baby Diddy. Or instead of Dirt McGirt (our second favorite ODB nickname), Diddy could be Dirt McDiddy. Man, we could play this game all day, but we have work to do. What new Diddy names can you come up with? 11.05: On this day in 1959, Bryan Adams was born. You can insert your own jokes here, but we shall refrain. Mr. Adams is the quintisenntial '80s and early '90s rocker. Though we can't name any song after "Everything I Do, I Do It For You," we still appreciate Bryan Adams' gruff voice, working-man style, and Cannuck charm. And we thank him for "Summer Of '69." Really. We still dig that song. It takes us back. Ah, the '80s. We probably haven't heard anything from him in a while because he's chillin' comfortably atop his pile o' cash and doesn't have to do anything ever again. If you see him, tell him we said "Hey."
"This is a beautiful step towards world peace. By Imagining There's No Hunger, like what John sang in his song, we express our strong desire to bring a world in which children will never again suffer from hunger or poverty. Let's come together and help spread this message around the world." -Yoko Ono Lennon