12.31: Okay, let’s go back in the Way Back Machine. We’re going back to the early ‘80s, a time before the fandangled interweb thingamajiggy, upon which you find yourself this very second, a time when, compared to now, the music business seemed small, almost quaint. It was before the rise of alternative rock, before the term “hip-hop” entered the lexicon and most people just called it “rap music,” before MySpace and YouTube, a time when you owned a record player, a boom box, or were still relegated to Super 8s (look it up). Michael Jackson made people take notice for his music not his life and Madonna struggled to get her nascent name on the tips of everyone’s mind. In 1983, a little band from Sheffield, England, came out with an album called Pyromania and the world exploded in awesomeness. Def Leppard blended the metal of the previous decade (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest) with the melodic sense of theater that came from glam rock (David Bowie, T.Rex). Def Leppard owned the term “hard rock” in the ‘80s. Pyromania launched them into the stratosphere of popularity, on the propulsion of songs like “Photograph” and “Die Hard The Hunter.” Def Leppard tied themselves to the mast of the then-new MTV, as it sailed the musical seas, and they never looked back. Okay, what does this have to do with this day in rock history? Well, kiddoes, on this day in 1984, Rick Allen, Leppard’s shirtless drummer extraordinaire, flipped his car going around a corner at very, very high speeds and, in the ensuing crash, lost his arm. Well, he didn’t actually lose it. It was found in the field by paramedics. Ewww. They even reattached it. Okay, that's cool. Then they sawed it off again due to infection. Double ewwww. Man, way to mess with a guy, doctor dudes. Kinda like the ol’ “I got yer nose” trick people play with kids, except they were doing it with a guy’s arm, and they weren’t pretending. Anyhoo, Allen didn’t give up the drumming gig and went on to help Def Leppard close out the ‘80s by drumming (with a special kit, of course) on Hysteria, the equally popular follow-up to Pyromania, which featured the best stripper song ever, “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” Man, we love that song. Thanks for not giving upon music, Rick.
12.23: Yes, he's still alive, to this very day. Eddie Vedder joined us on this day, the eve of Christmas Eve, in 1964, not quite ready to lead the charge from Seattle that would impale the music world with the grunge. Grunge. Grunge. Say it again. Grunge. If you weren't there or weren't paying attention at the time or were too old or too young to care, grunge came like a tornado, destroying the '80s L.A. hair metal scene (Poison, L.A. Guns, Ratt, etc.) seemingly in a single pass, showing the L.A. poseurs for the rock wannabes they really were, their music for the insipidness it belched out on a regular basis. Vedder's band, Pearl Jam, tore out of Seattle, along with Nirvana, Soundgarden, Temple Of The Dog, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees, and Alice In Chains, in 1991, taking the music world to task, ruling rock radio for a few short years, showing the world what's up. Actually, all the Seattle bands really wanted to do was make music, to channel their creative energies into something meaningful to themselves and a few other people. That the entire country (kinda) got what they were doing attests not only to their prescience, but to the universality, at the time, of what they were doing. Namely, melding metal with punk with alternative rock, writing lyrics based on their lives, their hard lives, their disenfranchised Generation-X attitude, and, generally, just being genuine. This isn't to say that all Seattle music espoused this thinking or that every "grunge" band adhered to anything even remotely like this categorization, but the label stuck to many bands that didn't make it past the times and is still heavily associated with Seattle. The term "grunge" disappeared almost as fast as it emerged. Pearl Jam, though, is still alive, to this very day, lead by a fearless and insanely, extremely talented musician who goes by the name Vedder. Eddie Vedder. Happy Birthday, Eddie.
Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park Opened Its Doors On Dec. 18, 2013
Orlando, Fla. – Dec. 18, 2013 – Hard Rock International – owner of one of the world’s most recognized, iconic brands celebrated the official grand opening of Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in Northeast Ohio on Dec. 18, 2013. The first of its kind, Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park unveiled the newest Hard Rock International property, but also its latest gaming brand, the “Rocksino.” Guests enjoyed “behind the velvet rope” access to the legendary guitar smash, which marks the opening of every hotel, casino and cafe worldwide, as well as a special performance by the award-winning Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. “We are thrilled to continue expanding the Hard Rock gaming brand with our newest venture, the Rocksino,” said Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International. “With fine execution, high quality service, classic Hard Rock vibe and custom memorabilia, we look forward to providing an incredible entertainment experience for guests and Hard Rock fans worldwide.”
Did you know? Hard Rock has the best burgers in the world. They're legendary. Hence, the name: The Legendary Burger. We've been serving the best burgers around, since 1971. Believe it. Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, two American ex-pats, craved a taste of home while living in London, so they brought their old home to, well, their new home. When Hard Rock Cafe opened its very first location, in London, on June 14, 1971, they didn't know that 40+ years later their creations would be legendary and considered by discerning eaters everywhere the best burger in the world!
12.16: A genuine electronic music superstar, Paul Van Dyk, joined us on this day in 1971. East Berlin (yes, kids, Berlin, and Germany, was divided between east and west for many, many years) had no idea the talent in their midst. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the subsequent flood of talent, money, and good times into Berlin, Van Dyke began what would evolve into his career. Now one of the most recognized DJs in the world, Van Dyk regularly commands high-dollar for only a few hours on the decks. Though not as popular in the U.S., DJs and electronic music draws thousands upon thousands to events all over the rest of the world. PvD, as his fans call him, tops the electronic charts and is consistently named top DJ by peers and fans, alike. Fröhlichen Geburtstag, Paul!
12.18: Keith Richards, one of rock's greatest guitar players and biggest personalities, loves this day. In 1943, his screams filled the room as he took his first of many breaths, making his parents proud, for sure, as their one and only child. Also on this day, on Keith's 40th birthday, he married model Patti Hansen, to whom he is still married, 25 years later. That totally blows away our faith in the rocker-model-celebrity dating/marriage system of "use 'em and lose 'em." Thanks a lot, Keith and Patti. Now nothing makes sense. Anyhoo, we'd like to congratulate Keith on his 68th birthday and Patti and Keith on their 28th wedding anniversary. Hazah!
Hard Rock recently sat down with Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, international hip-hop icon and one of the stars of the insanely popular Fast & Furious movie series, to talk about music, movies, and life. Let's let the interview speak for itself!
Check out everything Ludacris right here: http://www.ludaversal.com/
Own FAST & FURIOUS 6 now on Blu-ray™, DVD & Digital HD! Vin Diesel, the late Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and Michelle Rodriguez lead a cast of returning all-stars in this global blockbuster franchise. A portion of proceeds will benefit Paul Walker’s Reach Out Worldwide charity. Theatrical version RATED PG-13. Extended Edition NOT RATED. Only from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. http://www.thefastandfurious.com
HARD ROCK: Why do you think so many hip hop icons have been so successful as actors? Is there something in the nature of hip hop as an art form that prepares emcees to work in film? LUDACRIS: (laughs) I don’t think it’s necessarily just hip hop, I just think it’s entertainers, period… I think half the battle of acting comes in the form of being comfortable on camera – in front of cameras while there’s a thousand people staring at you while you’re doing what you have to do. You’re kind of placing yourself in a world where it’s all about the craft. So with that being said, that’s why I feel it’s an easier transition so to speak because acting is a whole ‘nother story. It’s not like anybody who’s an entertainer can act, but there’s two elements to acting – 1) being able to act and 2) being able to be comfortable and block out what’s going on and that there’s a camera and thousand people in your face. HR: This is a bit of a cliché question, but it’s important. Coming up, who were the emcees and artists that had the biggest impact on your development?
LUDACRIS: I’m inspired by a lot of different people, man! If I had to name some off the top of my head, actor-wise, I’d say Jeffrey Wright is really underrated. He’s one of my favorite actors.
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.