ClassicPopIcons.com brings you news, reviews and features on the all time greats of popular music.

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Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right” – 60th anniversary

Elvis Presley's That's All Right - 60th anniversary

We are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the day that Elvis Presley recorded "That's All Right" and kick-started one of the most remarkable careers in music history.

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“Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” 10-disc deluxe edition out in August

Elvis: That's The Way It Is 10-disc deluxe edition out in August

Read about the forthcoming 10-disc box set featuring material recorded during the filming of the 1970 documentary "Elvis: That's The Way It Is".

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Roy Orbison’s “Mystery Girl” out now in expanded and deluxe editions

Roy Orbison's Mystery Girl out now in expanded and deluxe editions

Legacy Recordings has commemorated the 25th anniversary of Roy Orbison's "Mystery Girl" with the release of expanded and deluxe editions of the album.

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Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes In South Africa

Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes In South Africa

The documentary film "Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes in South Africa" is available to view online for a limited time.

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New releases

New releases

Check the new and upcoming CD, Blu-ray and DVD music releases.

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“The Beatles: All These Years Volume  1: Tune In” – Review

The Beatles: All These Years Volume 1: Tune In - Review

George Smith reviews the first of Mark Lewisohn's three-volume biography of The Beatles.

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Conan O’Brien interviews music historian Peter Guralnick

Conan O'Brien interviews music historian Peter Guralnick

Watch Conan O'Brien's in-depth interview with music historian Peter Guralnick.

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Song of the week

Song of the week

Each week we showcase a classic track as Song of the Week. Check the current and past choices.

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Before they were famous – high school yearbook photos

Before they were famous - high school yearbook photos

See if you can identify these stars before they were famous.

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New CD, DVD and Blu-ray releases



Brian Wilson biopic, “Love & Mercy,” premieres in September

Written by admin on July 22, 2014 – 7:45 pm -

The Brian Wilson biopic, “Love & Mercy,” will receive its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Brian Wilson

The movie, directed by Bill Pohlad and co-produced by Brian Wilson, follows Wilson’s life from the mid-1960s through to the early-1990s. Paul Dano and John Cusack play the young and older Brian Wilson, respectively, and Elizabeth Banks stars as Wilson’s second wife, Melinda. Paul Giamatti plays Wilson’s controversial therapist, Dr. Eugene Landy.

A Wilson biopic titled “Love & Mercy” was first proposed in the 1980s and finally formally announced in June 2011. It was filmed over six weeks last summer.

In October of 2013, Brian Wilson told Billboard:

It’s quite a thrill to have a movie made of my life. I’m very sentimental about it, and it’s very, very good. It was a trip to see. The actors and actresses portrayed everybody really well.



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Billy Joel to receive Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

Written by admin on July 22, 2014 – 2:49 pm -

Billy Joel will become the sixth recipient of the prestigious Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song at a ceremony in November.

The award, named after songwriting brothers George and Ira Gershwin, recognises “a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.”

Joel has welcomed the announcement:

The great composer, George Gershwin, has been a personal inspiration to me throughout my career. And the Library’s decision to include me among those songwriters who have been past recipients is a milestone for me.


Billy Joel

Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, said in a statement:

Billy Joel is a storyteller of the highest order. There is an intimacy to his songwriting that bridges the gap between the listener and the worlds he shares through music.

When you listen to a Billy Joel song, you know about the people and the place and what happened there. And while there may be pain, despair and loss, there is ultimately a resilience to it that makes you want to go to these places again and again.

Importantly, as with any good storyteller, the recognition experienced in a Billy Joel song is not simply because these are songs we have heard so many times, but because we see something of ourselves in them.


The Grammy-winning singers will receive the prize in Washington, D.C. in November and will be honoured at a number of events.

Billy Joel has had 33 Top-40 hits and 23 Grammy nominations since signing his first solo recording contract in 1972. He was presented with a Grammy Legend Award in 1990, and inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. He received the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s highest honour, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 2001. In 2013, Joel was one of five individuals to receive Kennedy Center Honors.

The previous recipients of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song were Carole King, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, and the songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David.



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Song of the Week #166 – “No Particular Place to Go”

Written by admin on July 21, 2014 – 9:38 pm -

Chuck Berry’s “No Particular Place to Go” is Song of the Week on Classic Pop Icons.

“No Particular Place to Go” was released on single in May 1964, backed with “You Two,” and appeared on the album “St. Louis to Liverpool” (Chess LP-1488) in November 1964.

Chuck Berry No Particular Place to Go single

Chuck Berry was experiencing an impressive comeback after serving time in prison when he recorded “No Particular Place to Go”. His first comeback single, “Nadine,” released in February 1964, revealed that Chuck’s gift for crafting top notch rock ‘n ‘ roll songs had not deserted him, and this was further reinforced by the equally impressive “No Particular Place to Go”.

Always commercially minded, Chuck Berry commonly wrote with his young audience in mind and “No Particular Place to Go” is no exception. The song features the familiar rock ‘n’ roll theme of cruising in a car with a girl, with a clear nod to the audience about the young man’s ‘romantic’ intentions.

Chuck Berry 1964
Photo credit: Jean-Marie Périer

Musically, “No Particular Place to Go” borrows heavily from Berry’s earlier hit “School Days,” which is also one of rock ‘n’ roll’s great recordings. The lesser known “Big Ben (Blues)” is even closer to the “No Particular Place to Go” melody and arrangement, even down to the memorable opening chord (D Augmented chord for those who are interested) and guitar breaks. The song was recorded just one month before “No Particular Place to Go” and released in September 1964 on the UK album “You Never Can Tell” (Pye NPL 28039).

“Big Ben (Blues)” – Chuck Berry

Resurrecting successful melodies for new songs was something Chuck had done before, including on “Let It Rock,” which borrows strongly from “Johnny B. Goode” on the verses. This could be seen as a weakness or even a lazy approach, but it was not at all uncommon for artists rooted in the blues to re-use melodies or lyrics in different recordings. In the case of “No Particular Place to Go,” most rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts will be glad that Chuck chose to revisit this musical territory.

“No Particular Place to Go” – Chuck Berry


Authorship

“No Particular Place to Go” was written by Chuck Berry.

Recording date/location

“No Particular Place to Go” was recorded on March 25, 1964 at Chess Studios in Chicago, Illinois.

Musicians

The following musicians appeared on “No Particular Place to Go”:

  • Chuck Berry – vocals, guitar
  • Paul Williams – piano
  • Odie Payne – drums.

The bass player is unknown.

Chart performance

“No Particular Place to Go” reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US for the week ending July 11, 1964.

Chuck Berry No Particular Place to Go Hot 100

The single was a big hit in the UK, reaching number three on the singles chart.

Other notable versions

“No Particular Place to Go” – Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis was quick to catch on to the song, featuring it on his live album “The Greatest Live Show on Earth” in the summer of 1964. Jerry clearly enjoyed the material and delivered a strong piano-led rendition.


“No Particular Place to Go” – George Thorogood & The Destroyers

George Thorogood & The Destroyers recorded a cover of the Chuck Berry classic for their 1982 album “Bad to the Bone”. It was also the B-side of the band’s “Bad to the Bone” single. It’s a worthwhile effort with some good guitar work, but doesn’t really add anything to the original.




“No Particular Place to Go” is available on many Chuck Berry compilations, including “Chuck Berry – The Definitive Collection”. It also features on the excellent 4-CD box set “You Never Can Tell – His Complete Chess Recordings 1960-1966″.

 Title

Chuck Berry – The Definitive Collection
(CD)

Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now

You Never Can Tell – His Complete Chess Recordings 1960-1966 (4 CDs)

Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “CSNY 1974″ reaches Billboard Top 20

Written by admin on July 19, 2014 – 1:09 pm -

“CSNY 1974,” the long awaited boxed set from the historic 1974 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young arena tour, has topped the Billboard Folk Album Chart, and debuted at #17 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart.

The set features 40 previously unreleased tracks from the 1974 tour, a 188-page booklet, and a bonus DVD of previously unreleased concert footage. It is available in 3 CD/DVD and Blu-ray audio/DVD editions. There is also a single-CD standard edition featuring highlights from the set.

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Johnny Winter dies aged 70

Written by admin on July 17, 2014 – 9:18 pm -

American blues musician Johnny Winter died on Wednesday 16 July in his hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland. The legendary singer-guitarist was 70 years old.

Winter’s representative, Lori Haynes, said:

His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of their loved one and one of the world’s finest guitarists.

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Posted in Blues, Obituaries | 1 Comment »