Top Seven Rock Songs About Astronomy


Top Seven Rock Songs About Astronomy

For thousands of years humanity has looked up to the stars for inspiration.  Those tiny, twinkling lights in the sky have fueled mankind’s imagination and creativity.  While the night sky is still wondrous, it’s not getting the ratings it used to.  Nowadays, we look down, at little handheld screens, to see stars.  And unfortunately by “stars” I mean celebrities, athletes, and musicians.

While heaven’s heyday has long since passed, it still managed to inspire a few great rock songs.  Below, are seven of the best songs ever written about astronomical phenomenon.  We’re talking stuff like nebulas and pulsars although no one at Musicology-101 could think of song with “nebula” or “pulsar” in the title. 

The idea to compose the following list came from Ray LaMontagne and his Website.  The folk singer just released a single called “Supernova.”  The album of the same name drops May 6.  Three weeks later, LaMontagne kicks off a 40-plus date tour of North America.  Highlights of his trek include Ray LaMontagne in Boston on May 30 and May 31, Orlando on July 11, and Dallas on Aug. 2.

“Across The Universe” by The Beatles
Leave it to The Beatles, John Lennon in particular, to write one of the all-time great spiritual songs.  For this song, Lennon was greatly influenced by transcendental meditation as is evident by the phrase "Jai guru deva om.”  Lennon thought “Across The Universe” contained some of the best lyrics he had ever written.  I would agree.  The song has been covered by a plethora of artists including David Bowie, Fiona Apple, and Rufus Wainwright.

“Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden
Chris Cornell’s “Black Hole Sun” is Soundgarden’s most popular and successful song.  Lead guitarist Kim Thayil calls “Black Hole Sun” Soundgarden’s “Dream On.”  You can make the argument that the song shouldn’t be on our list.  Cornell’s lyrics have nothing to do with a black hole or even an event horizon.  He was just playing around with words because he liked the riff/music so much.  According to him, the lyrics really don’t mean anything.

“Gravity” by John Mayer
It’s appropriate that John Mayer, a louder, more douchier, Facebook version of Ray LaMontagne, calls “Gravity” the most important song he has ever written.  Since actual gravity is pretty important to the fabric of the universe.  Without it where would we all be?  “Gravity” is found on three John Mayer releases: Try! (2005) by the John Mayer Trio; Continuum (2006); and Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles (2008).  Mayer performed the song at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards as part of a melody with Corinne Bailey Rae and John Legend.

“Life On Mars” by David Bowie
You’ve got to love a song that sounds good when sung by either David Bowie or Barbara Streisand (although Bowie thought her version was “bloody awful”).  Bowie wrote “Life on Mars” as a response to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” (well, Old Blue Eyes made the song popular but Paul Anka wrote the lyrics to a tune written in 1967 by Frenchmen Claude François and Jacques Revau).  The lyrics to “Life on Mars” are some the strangest and most surreal lyrics ever written in the history of rock and roll.  Rick Wakeman played piano on the original recording.

“Star” by Erasure
A bunch of artists have written songs titled “Star” or “Stars” including  Bryan Adams, Roxette, The Cranberries, Simply Red and Dan Fogelberg.  I selected “Star” by Erasure because the list needed a little disco and Vince Clark and Andy Bell know how to write a great pop song.  Their “Star” has an uplifting chorus that will raise your spirit and get your foot tapping.  Lyrically, “Star” is an anti-war song.  To be exact, it’s an anti-nuclear war song.

“Supernova” by Ray LaMontagne
The song is barely a month old but it’s so damn catchy, and has such a great groove, that it easily makes our list.  Ray LaMontagne may have just released “Supernova” but clearly the tune is going to be his signature up tempo song (with “Trouble” being his most popular song overall).  “Supernova,” which is about a romantic relationship and not an exploding star, is a bit of a musical departure for the folk singer.  Produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, “Supernova” dabbles in psychedelic rock and Sixties power pop.

“2000 Light Years from Home” by The Rolling Stones
“2000 Light Years from Home” is from The Rolling Stones’ 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request.  This great track was released as the B-side to “She’s A Rainbow.”  In Germany, it was released on the A-side and charted.  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the song while in prison on drug charges.  I’m taking a great liberty by including this song since a light year (also written as lightyear or light-year) is not a celestial body but a unit of measurement (of length not time) used by astronomers.  A light year is six trillion miles or the distance light travels in a vacuum in a Julian year.

Linkin Park Three Past and Three Present Achievements

Linkin Park In ConcertLinkin Park Three Past and Three Present Achievements

This is a big year for Californian rock band Linkin Park. They’re releasing an album and going on tour.

While 2014 is shaping up to be special, it’s definitely not “make-or-break” for LP. The band is long past that stage of their career. In fact, it’s time to start talking about their legacy as in where they stand in the annuals of rock and roll.

Linkin Park combined rap and metal and did so in a palatable way. Some of their fans may find that remark insulting, but it’s not meant to be disparaging. It’s undeniable; the band can sell records and concert tickets. That ability should be applauded not jeered.

Below, Musicology-101 looks at three of Linkin Park’s past achievements as well as three more on the horizon. After reading our list, you’ll surely agree with us, and their millions of fans, that they are one of the all-time greats.

Past Achievements

Hybrid Theory Gets Certified Diamond
On June 14, 2014 at the Download Festival in Leicestershire, England, Linkin Park will play their seminal album, Hybrid Theory, in its entirety for the first time ever. Hybrid Theory has been certified Diamond (10 million sales in the United States) by the RIAA. Worldwide, it has sold 27 million units. That’s not bad for a first album. In fact, Hybrid Theory is the bestselling debut album of the 21st century.

Collision Course
In 2004, Linkin Park teamed with Jay-Z on the EP Collision Course. Each of the albums six tracks is a mash-up of a Linkin Park song and a Jay-Z song. The album is just over 21 minutes long and took a mere four days to make. Critics hated it—Rolling Stone magazine gave it two out of five stars—but what do they know? Collision Course has sold more than five million copies and peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. If you don’t think that’s an accomplishment then you form a nu metal band, team with a hip hop legend, make an album of mash-ups that sells five million copies, and tell us how easy it is.

Triple Threat
Some artists can sell records, some can win awards, and some can win-over critics. Linkin Park can do all three. In a recording career that started in 2000, they’ve sold more than 60 million albums. That’s impressive when you consider that most of their career has occurred in an era when no one buys records. Linkin Park has been nominated for more than 170 music awards winning 60 of them. On the top shelf of their trophy case are two Grammy Awards. The band has placed high on various “all-time” and “best-of” lists compiled by the likes of Billboard, MTV2, and VH1. The critics may not have liked Collision Course, but overall they love Linkin Park.

Future Achievements

The Hunting Party
MTV favorites Linkin Park will enter the “six album club” on June 14, 2014. That’s the date their newest studio offering, The Hunting Party, is set to drop (yes, it’s the same day they’re set perform at the Download Festival). The band released the album’s first single, “Guilty All the Same” featuring Rakim, on March 6. Founding member Mike Shinoda said the track is a good representation of the album.

Carnivores Tour
On Aug. 8, Linkin Park will launch a 25-concert tour of North America. Joining them on the road will be 30 Seconds to Mars and AFI (who will miss two shows in mid-September). Dubbed the “Carnivores Tour,” it ends Sept. 19 in Concord, California. Highlights of their massive excursion include Linkin Park in Mansfield, Massachusetts on Aug. 16; Linkin Park in Toronto on Aug. 24; and Linkin Park in Los Angeles on Sept. 15.

Mike Shinoda: "’Carnivores’ is a metaphor that is meant to convey an appetite for something visceral and substantive. I feel that’s exactly the hunger this tour will feed."

Record Store Day
The Hunting Party won’t be the only album Linkin Park releases this year. To celebrate annual Record Store Day on April 19, they, along with Jay-Z, are re-releasing Collision Course. The EP just so happens to be celebrating its tenth anniversary. The Record Store Day edition will come on transparent blue vinyl. It will also come with a DVD of Jay-Z and Linkin Park in concert. Other artists coming out with special LPs on vinyl’s big day include Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, The Flaming Lips, Green Day, and Soundgarden.

Jimmy Buffett: His 7 Biggest Accomplishments

Buffett ticketsJimmy Buffett: His 7 Biggest Accomplishments

April 19th is the first U.S tour date of the year for Jimmy Buffett. On that day, you’ll find Jimmy in Tampa, Florida for a gig at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. The last concert on his itinerary is Aug. 21 in New York City at Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre.

All of Buffett’s April shows (Tampa, Raleigh, Charlotte, and West Palm Beach) are part of his “Songs from St. Somewhere Tour”—a venture that began in 2013. This trek is dedicated to his latest album, Songs From St. Somewhere.” The album dropped Aug. 30, 2013.

Beginning May 24 in Virginia Beach, Virginia at Farm Bureau Live, Buffett launches his “This One’s For You Tour 2014.” The outing is set to visit several cities including Houston, Cleveland, Chicago, Mansfield, and Philadelphia. After a month off, Buffett returns to the concert stage in Paris, France for two shows at La Cigale. Including the Parisian gigs, Buffett has a total of 19 concerts planned for the rest of 2014.

Jimmy Buffett is without a doubt a legend; he’s one of the all-time greats. Below, Musicologly-101 looks at Buffett’s seven biggest achievements. These accomplishments range from the tangible (i.e. album sales) to the intangible (creating a massive army of fans), but each is a testament to the popularity and longevity of the “Son of a Son of Sailor.”

18 Platinum & Gold Albums
As of 2013, Jimmy Buffett has nine Platinum and nine gold albums to his name. That’s an amazing accomplishment since for a large majority of Buffett’s career he received little airplay—he didn’t have a number one album until 2004 (more on that later).

Parrot Heads
A parrot head refers to a hardcore Jimmy Buffett fan in the same way a “Deadhead” is a fervent supporter of the Grateful Dead. The term was coined by former Coral Reefer Band member, and current member of The Eagles, Timothy B. Schmit. Yes, parrot heads like to party (a lot), but as an organization they’ve contributed tens of millions of dollars to charity and worked thousands of hours of community service. Buffett should be proud that his fans have embraced both his beach lifestyle and generosity.

Margaritaville” is one of the most popular songs ever written. It’s like “Happy Birthday,” “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow,” and “Baby’s Got Back” in that everyone knows the lyrics. There’s a very good reason why “Margaritaville” anchors the greatest hits collection Songs You Know By Heart. Few composers have had the fortune of writing such a catchy and well-known song.

The Buffett Brand
Jimmy Buffett is just as good of a businessman as he is a singer-songwriting and that’s saying something. Over the years, “Buffett Enterprises” has included The Margaritaville Café, Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chain, Land Shark Lager, two minor league baseball teams, and a record label. Buffett may lack the glamour of a traditional rock star but he has parlayed his brand into big bucks. After all, the Jimmy Buffet Facebook page has over 1.4 million likes.

The Buffet Mythology
Like KISS, Jimmy Buffett has created a mythology around his image and music. While KISS takes the fantasy offered by rock and roll to the extreme, Buffett’s mythos involves beaches, boat drinks, cheeseburgers, and relaxing in the sun. This mythos strikes a major chord with middle-management types—those who work in cubicle farms and have the resources to vacation in the tropics. KISS fans love the face paint and the pyrotechnics; parrot heads love the sand under their feet and umbrellas in their drinks.

Jimmy Buffett In Concert
A Jimmy Buffett concert is always better than a Jimmy Buffett album. When his career first began, Buffett sold more concert tickets than records. Buffett’s live shows are in high demand for more than the party atmosphere he and the parrot heads create. Buffett is an energetic and dynamic performer. He’s funny, charming, and makes sure everyone has a good time. It’s not an accident that Buffett has successfully toured every year since 1976.

“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”
In 2003, Buffett teamed with Alan Jackson to record and release “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere.” The single went to number one on the U.S. country charts and won the Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year. Amazingly, it was the first major award Buffett had ever won. The following year, his album License to Chill debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 giving Buffett his first chart-topper. Just when did his career begin? Well, Buffett released his first album, Down to Earth, in 1970.

Bruce Springsteen: Everything You Need To Know About ‘The Boss’


Bruce Springsteen: Everything You Need To Know About ‘The Boss’

Bruce Springsteen kicks off his 2014 U.S. tour on April 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio at the U.S. Bank Arena. His trek spans 16 concerts in 15 cities. Uncasville, Connecticut hosts two shows—the last two—on May 17 and May 18 at the world famous Mohegan Sun.

For the pending spring, Springsteen has routed a tour of the Eastern part of the United States that includes several locales missed during the final leg of his epic “Wrecking Ball Tour.” That odyssey ended in September of 2013.

Look for Springsteen in Pittsburgh on April 22, Tampa on May 1, and Houston on May 6. Bruce and the E Street Band are also slated to perform at the Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans on May 3.

Judging from comments made by E Street guitarist Steven Van Zandt, Springsteen may add additional North American dates later in the year. Perhaps a slew of stadium concerts in July and August.

To get you ready for The Boss’ upcoming U.S. concert circuit, Musicology-101 has compiled a list of interesting and amusing Bruce Springsteen facts. Even if you’re one of those hardcore Springsteen fans—you know, one of those guys who actually shelled out $40 for a USB wrist band containing a recording of one of his 2014 concerts—keep reading. You’re bound to learn a few new things about rock’s greatest poet.

>>The Boss’ full name is “Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen.” I can’t see “The Boss” being as big as he is if he went by his first middle name. “I’ve seen the future of rock and roll and his name is Fred Springsteen” just doesn’t sound right.

>>In the late 1960s, Springsteen was drafted to fight in Vietnam. Thanks to a concussion he suffered when he was 17, he was declared 4F.

>>Before hitting it big, Springsteen played in, or fronted, a number of groups: The Castiles, Earth, Steel Mill, Dr. Zoom & the Sonic Boom, Sundance Blues Band, and The Bruce Springsteen Band.

>>Springsteen’s seminal Born to Run album took 14 months to record. The title track alone took half a year to complete.

>>During the same week in October of 1975, Springsteen appeared on the covers of Time and Newsweek.

>>“Hungry Heart” is Springsteen’s first top ten hit. He’s never had a number one single.

>>In 1982, Springsteen recorded a bunch of acoustic tracks on a low-tech machine. These demos were later released as Nebraska. The idea was to have the E Street Band record them but Springsteen and producer Jon Landau eventually realized the demo tracks were special enough to be released on their own.

>>Born in the U.S.A sold more than 30 million copies and placed seven singles inside the Top Ten.

>>The video to “Dancing in the Dark” starred Courteney Cox.

>>Springsteen sang on “We Are the World.”

>>Springsteen’s Live/1975-85 is the first box set to ever debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Demand for the box set was huge. A record store in New York City sold the album right out of the delivery truck.

>>In 1988, Springsteen played for 300,000 fans in East Germany. Some believe Springsteen’s concert hastened the fall of the Berlin Wall.

>>In 1992, Springsteen and new wife, Patti Scialfa, moved to Los Angeles. This outraged some fans who felt Springsteen was going “Hollywood.”

>>In the video to the song “Streets of Philadelphia,” Springsteen isn’t lip-syncing. He’s singing into a hidden microphone along to an instrumental track. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

>>During the “Ghost of Tom Joad Tour,” Bruce Springsteen had to remind the audience to be quiet and refrain from clapping.

>>The Rising dropped in 2002 and was mainly about the attacks of September 11. Springsteen had called families of victims whose obituaries mentioned that they were fans of “The Boss.”

>>At the 2003 Grammy Awards, Springsteen paid tribute to Joe Strummer by performing The Clash’s “London Calling.” He was joined by Elvis Costello and Dave Grohl.

>>Springsteen wanted to join forces with Starbucks to sell his 2005 album Devils & Dust, but the coffee retailer rejected the idea because of Springsteen’s anti-corporate stance.

>>In 2005, Sirius Satellite Radio premiered “E Street Radio.” It became a permanent station, playing Springsteen’s music 24-7, in 2008.

>>In February of 2009, Springsteen served as the halftime entertainment at Super Bowl XLIII. He performed “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” “Born to Run,” “Working on a Dream,” and “Glory Days.”

>>On Twitter, Springsteen is following Hoda Kotb.

>>On July 31, 2012, in Helsinki, Bruce Springsteen played for four hours and six minutes. It’s considered the longest concert of his career. In addition to the four-plus hours, Springsteen performed a 30-minute acoustic set a couple of hours prior to the show.

>>Springsteen is a member of three different Halls of Fame.

>>Springsteen has won 20 Grammy Awards.

Top Seven “Boy” Bands Of All-time

Fall Out Boy TicketsTop Seven “Boy” Bands Of All-time

It was recently announced on Fall Out Boy’s Website that they will team with Paramour for what the two bands are calling the “Monumentour.” Their co-headlining jaunt begins June 16 in Toronto and ends Aug. 17 in Concord, California. Big stops on their route include Chicago on July 11, Houston on Aug. 1, and Red Rocks on Aug. 12.

When it’s all said and done, Fall Out Boy concerts will go down in 37 cites. Paramore will join them just 34 times. FOB is the only headliner on the marquee when the tour visits White Creeks, Tennessee on July 13; St. Augustine, Florida on July 27; and Las Vegas, Nevada on Aug. 15. Opening duties for all stops, even the ones sans Paramore, falls to the pop-punk trio, New Politics.

The upcoming Fall Out Boy tour got everyone at Musicology-101 thinking about “boy” bands. No, not One Direction and Big Time Rush. We’re talking about bands that have the word “boy” in their name. We thought about it for a while and eventually created the following list. Below, are the top seven “boy” bands of all-time. In case you were wondering, one traditional “boy band” did make the cut.

The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are viewed by many as “America’s Band.” At one point in the 1960s they were The Beatles’ main rivals, or at least their main competition in the U.S. Even though The Beach Boys artistic output declined after 1966’s Pet Sounds, they still released a bunch of successful albums and launched a slew of nostalgic tours. In 2012, the Beach Boys reunited for a 50th anniversary global trek.

Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys are the bestselling boy band of all-time. In fact, they’re one of the bestselling bands of any genre ever. Throughout their career, which began in 1993, A.J., Howie, Nick, Kevin, and Brian, have moved more than 130 million units. Their 1999 release, Millennium, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

The Beastie Boys
Ad-Rock, MCA, and Mike D began their musical career as a hardcore punk band. In 1983, they achieve local success with a hip hop single, “Cooky Puss,” and the rest, as they say, is history. If you were raised in the suburbs, and are between 35 and 45 years old, you’re probably a Beastie Boys fan. The group has sold more than 20 million albums and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

The Oak Ridge Boys
The Oak Ridge Boys almost didn’t make our list. They began life as the “Oak Ridge Quartet.” You’ll never guess when they were founded? They were founded in 1947! The lineup that sang their biggest hit, “Elvira,” came together in 1973. When they’re not harmonizing upbeat country tunes they’re singing gospel music. In fact, the Oak Ridge Quartet started as a gospel group.

Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men might be the greatest “singles” band of all-time. They own three of the top four singles that spent the “most weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.” Those singles are, respectively, “One Sweet Day” (with Mariah Carey), “I’ll Make Love to You,” and “End of the Road.” They were just the third artist, after Elvis Presley and The Beatles, to usurp themselves on the Hot 100.

Pet Shop Boys
Pet Shop Boys are comprised of singer Neil Tennant and music-hater Chris Lowe. Without a doubt, they are the U.K.’s most successful duo of all-time. They’ve sold more than 50 million records worldwide and are responsible for 22 Top Ten hits in the U.K. Their first dozen albums all peaked inside the top ten in their homeland with nine peaking inside the top five.

Fall Out Boy
According to MTV, Fall Out Boy has two number one albums and three top ten singles to their name. Since forming in 2001, the pop-punk quarter from Chicago has sold nearly 8 million albums. They made a name for themselves in 2005 with their offering From Under the Cork Tree. The band went on hiatus in 2009 and then suddenly returned in 2012. Since coming back they’ve released one album, Save Rock and Roll.

Dave Matthews Band: Ten Biggest Moments

Dave Matthews Band tickets 2014

Dave Matthews Band: Ten Biggest Moments

On February 26, 1997, Dave Matthews Band won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by Duo or Group for “So Much to Say.” It’s their only win in 14 nominations. Even so, it proves that DMB can not only sell millions of albums, sell out stadiums all over the world, and earn rave reviews from critics, but they can win awards too. DMB is one of the few artists that are a success no matter what you use as a measuring stick.

Needless to say, Dave Matthews Band has experienced a bunch of big moments throughout their career. Musicolgy-101 has whittled their long list down to ten. Below is the definite list of the ten biggest moments in the career of the Dave Matthews Band. These moments range from the band’s inception to their upcoming summer tour. Keep in mind not all of their big moments are positive.

>> Legal Inspiration
In 1990, lawyer Ross Hoffman convinces a shy bartender by the name of Dave Matthews to record a demo and to approach drummer Carter Beauford. That went so well that Matthews was able to muster up the courage to approach LeRoi Moore. Soon they were jamming with Stefan Lessard and finally Boyd Tinsley—otherwise known as the original lineup of DMB. Of course, the world might have been robbed of the opportunity to ever see Dave Matthews Band live had it not been for the encouragement of one thirsty attorney.

>> Independent Platinum
Dave Matthews Band released their first album, Remember Two Things, in 1993. The independent live album made a huge splash on the college charts and eventually earned a Platinum certification from the RIAA. Granted, the certification wasn’t awarded until 2002 but it’s still a huge deal for an indie album.

>> Crash
Crash dropped in 1998. Oddly, it’s the band’s last album not to reach number one. It is however the bestselling album of their repertoire. For better or worse, Crash is the DMB album most familiar to casual fans.

>> The Lillywhite Sessions
DMB has always been good to their fans. They let supporters record their live shows, and in the case of The Lillywhite Sessions, they caved into pressure and released a scrapped album. In 2000, DMB and producer Steve Lillywhite recorded a bunch of songs. These songs, which were quite dark, were later shelved and the band’s relationship with Lillywhite terminated. The following year, the songs were leaked onto the internet. After a fierce internet campaign launched by fans, Dave Matthews Band officially released The Lillywhite Sessions. Fans clamored for its released because the band’s most recent studio album at the time, Everyday, was derided as too slick and too mainstream.

In August of 2004, Dave Matthews Band was at the center of a real crappy situation after 800 pounds of human waste from Boyd Tinsley’s tour bus was dumped onto 109 passengers of a sightseeing boat cruising the Chicago River. The bus driver ended up taking the fall while DMB settled a civil lawsuit out of court for $200,000.

>> Live Trax
Dave Matthews Band and their Website released their first “Live Trax” volume in November of 2004. It was a recording of the band’s concert at the Centrum Center (now the DCU Center) in Worcester, Massachusetts. As of Jan. 31, 2013, DMB have released 28 Live Trax volumes. The band’s other live series, DMBLive, started in 2008. Over the years, the band has released recordings of their concerts at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco; the Bayou in Washington D.C.; and the Revolver Club in Madrid, Spain.

>>Down Under
In March of 2005, Dave Matthews Band played Australia for the very first time. The highlight of their tour was playing the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival (also known as the Bryon Bay Bluesfest). In April of 2014, the band is headlining that festival again as well as its sister event, the West Coast Blues & Roots Festival.

>> Aug. 19, 2008
June 28, 2008 was the last time all five original members of the Dave Matthews Band played together. On June 30, LeRoi Moore was injured while driving his ATV on his farm in Virginia. He was expected to make a full recovery but died on Aug. 19. Unfortunately, this big moment is also the band’s saddest.

>> 20th Anniversary
In 2011, Dave Matthews Band celebrated their 20th anniversary by not launching a summer tour. Instead, they hosted and headlined four music festivals called “The Dave Matthews Band Caravan.” The four festivals were held in Atlantic City; Chicago; Governor’s Island in New York City; and The Gorge in George, Washington.

>>2014 Summer Tour
Dave Matthews Band tours every summer so what makes their upcoming 2014 jaunt so special? Well, it has the band playing two sets a show, they’ll be playing acoustically and electrically, and they’ll be joined by a plethora of big time artists. The band’s 2013 summer excursion has DMB playing 47 shows and grossing $40 million. In 2014 they’ll be playing 42 times from May 16 (Woodlands, Texas) to Sept. 6 (Irvine, California).

Dave Matthews Band will visit cities all over North America including Dallas, Saratoga Springs, Toronto, and Raleigh. Dave Matthews Band has three concerts scheduled in Berkeley, California from Aug. 22 to Aug. 24. And as usual, Dave Matthews Band performs at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington over Labor Day Weekend (Aug. 29 through Aug. 31).

OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder & Other Producing Frontmen

One Republic Tickets

OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder & Other Producing Frontmen

Billboard favorites OneRepublic are set to launch a tour of the United States beginning May 28 in Morrison, Colorado at the famous Red Rocks natural amphitheater. It’s an appropriate liftoff spot as the band hails from the Centennial State. OneRepublic’s U.S. tour ends June 29 in Wantagh, New York. Highlights of their route include OneRepublic concerts in Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago (The Ravinia Festival).

Helping OneRepublic in concert is the Irish alternative band, The Script. The Script is supporting their latest release, #3. Speaking of “latest release,” OneRepublic is touring behind their third studio release, Native. The opus debuted in March of 2013 and peaked at number four on the Billboard 200.

There are lots of reasons why fans want to see OneRepublic during their upcoming “Native Summer US Tour 2014.” One of the main reasons is the band’s frontman, Ryan Tedder. He not only writes, co-writes, produces, and co-producers all of OneRepublic’s music, but he makes a similar contribution to the world of pop/rock. Without a doubt, Tedder is one of the driving forces in popular music.

Tedder has produced and/or composed songs for dozens of big-name artists including Beyoncé, Adele, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Lopez, and Leona Lewis. Of course, he’s not the only frontman to step away from the microphone and step behind a mixing console to produce for other people. Below are five other big time frontmen (and one lead guitarist) who have produced works for other artists while their band was still going strong.

Jack White
Jack White’s production career is almost as robust as his recording career. While a member of the White Stripes he produced albums for The Soledad Brothers, The Von Bondies, Whirlwind Heat, Loretta Lynn, and The Muldoons. Recently, he’s produced for Karen Elson, Nobunny, Conan O’Brien, Wanda Jackson, Insane Clown Posse and Jerry Lee Lewis. If White’s recording career ever goes away he could easily make a living as a producer.

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora
In the late 1980s, in the wake of Bon Jovi-mania, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora worked with Cher on two of her albums, Cher (1987) and Heart of Stone (1989). They did some producing, some back-up singing, and co-authored “We All Sleep Alone” and “Does Anybody Really Fall in Love Anymore?” Also in 1989, the New Jersey musicians co-wrote and produced “Hell Is Living Without You” for Alice Cooper’s album, Trash.

Kanye West
Kanye West is arguably the greatest hip hop/rap producer of all-time. While he has produced for the likes of Jay-Z, Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and Ludacris, West has also produced (or executive produced) all of John Legend’s studio albums (minus the one Legend made with The Roots). The story here is Legend is an R&B piano virtuoso, not a rapper. By the way, all of Legend’s albums have peaked inside the top five of Billboard’s main albums chart.

Phil Collins
In between multi-platinum albums for Genesis, Phil Collins helped produced Adam Ant’s second solo effort, Strip (1983). The linear notes also indicate that he played the drums. While Strip started Ant’s decline, it did give us the catchy title track as well as “Puss ‘n Boots,” “Baby, Let Me Scream at You,” and “Playboy.” The lyrics are definitely not Collins-esque but there are spots on the album where Ant sounds a little bit like Genesis.

Ric Ocasek
After The Cars split, Ric Ocasek produced tracks and albums for a number of bands including Weezer, No Doubt, Guided by Voices, and Hole. The lanky frontman also did some producing while a member of The Cars. For example he produced Rock for Light (1983) for Bad Brains and the song “Never Say Never” (1982) for Romeo Void. He also co-produced (along with Rick Derringer) Bebe Buell’s EP Covers Girl (1981).

Billy Joel: His Five Biggest Mistakes

Billy Joel New York TicketsBilly Joel: His Five Biggest Mistakes

On Dec. 29, CBS will air the Kennedy Center Honors. Recorded earlier in the month, the ceremony paid tribute to several prominent artists including singer-songwriter Billy Joel. The venerated piano man is more than deserving of America’s most prestigious award for artistic contribution. Joel is the third-bestselling solo artist in the United States and responsible for some of pop music’s greatest songs. Bottom line, Joel is a true legend.

Kennedy Center Honors generally go to veteran performers, but just because the 64-year-old Joel is getting up there in age doesn’t mean he’s slowing down. In 2014, New York welcomes Billy Joel to Madison Square Garden once a month until demand wanes—or as Joel said, until fans no longer want him to perform. Right now, Joel is booked at MSG through July.

On Dec. 31, the Piano Man will usher in the New Year at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Then in January of 2014 Joel has four dates scheduled in Florida. In February, he’ll perform in Raleigh, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. Joel is also booked at the Hollywood Bowl for two nights in May.

When it comes to the recording studio or the concert stage, Joel is almost infallible… almost. Despite being so successful, Joel has made a few mistakes. Below, Musicology-101 looks at five of the biggest gaffes, blunders, errors, missteps, and bad decisions of Joel’s illustrious career.

Cold Spring Harbor
Cold Spring Harbor is Billy Joel’s debut album. The album itself wasn’t a mistake—the record is actually pretty good. Where Joel went wrong was signing a deal with Artie Ripp. First, Ripp’s incompetence led to the album being incorrectly mastered. This resulted in Joel’s voice sounding a semitone higher than noraml. To make matters worse, Joel’s contract with Ripp was a bad one—we’re talking beach front property in Arizona bad. It stripped Joel of publishing rights to all of his songs through ten records. Eventually, Columbia Records president Walter Yetnikoff (who probably issued a threat) was able to get Billy Joel out of Ripp’s lopsided deal.

Joel Tours The Soviet Union
In August of 1987, Billy Joel toured the Soviet Union. He was one of the few rock artists that toured the country while it was under communist rule. We’re certain that he and his family experienced a trip of a lifetime, and it was a boon to the pop culture-starved citizenry of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, Joel was not well received. Audiences were not used to rock and roll acts, they were too afraid to enjoy themselves, and those who did rock out were ushered out of the venue by security. Worst of all, the tour reportedly cost Joel $1 million.

Hiring Frank Weber & Allen Grubman
You’re supposed to be able to trust family. Then again does your brother-in-law count as family? In August of 1989, Joel not only fired his manager and former brother-in-law, Frank Weber, but he sued him for $90 million. Apparently, Joel discovered that Weber had been ripping him off. Joel received a $2 million partial judgment in 1990 and Weber’s $30 million countersuit was dismissed. In 1992, Joel filed another $90 million lawsuit against another business partner who had creatively counted the beans. This time the offender was lawyer Allen Grubman. The two settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

Releasing “We Didn’t Start The Fire” As A Single
“We Didn’t Start The Fire” was released in September of 1989 and was the decade’s penultimate number one song. We don’t fault Billy Joel for writing and recording the song. It’s catchy and great for history buffs (of which Joel is one). We fault Joel for releasing it as a single. Yes, we know it topped the charts, but it damaged his cool factor. Joel was never a favorite amongst rock snobs and “We Didn’t Start The Fire” didn’t help. If Joel ever had a chance to be edgy it was gone after “We Didn’t Start The Fire.”

Retracted Autobiography
In 2011, Billy Joel fans were all excited about his pending autobiography, “The Book of Joel: A Memoir.” The tome was going to come out in June of 2011 and HarperCollins gave Joel $3 million for the volume. The manuscript was going to include details about Joel’s battle with substance abuse and his failed marriage to supermodel Christie Brinkley. But months before the book hit store shelves, Joel changed his mind. He returned the money and permanently shelved the project. Joel said he didn’t want to rehash the past and his music is still the best mouthpiece for his feelings and thoughts on the major events of his life.

Mannheim Steamroller: How To Have A ‘Steamroller Christmas’

Mannheim Steamroller: How To Have A ‘Steamroller Christmas’

Christmastime is known for many things: presents, spending time with family, presents, goodwill towards others, presents, The Nativity, and presents. Did I mention I’m a 32 long? Another fixture of the holiday season is Chip Davis’ Mannheim Steamroller.

Mannheim Steamroller formed in 1974. After releasing a series of New Age albums, the band came out with Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. Ever since then they’ve been as synonymous with Christmas as ugly sweaters and last minute shopping.

The Steamroller’s popularity is based on the way they perform traditional Christmas music with electronic instruments in a New Age style. Through the years, Chip Davis and his cohorts have sold more than 40 million albums and delighted hundreds of thousands of Mannheim Steamroller concert goers.

If you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit, or you just want to stay jolly, you should definitely seek out the Steamroller. Below are the many ways in which you can enjoy one of the greatest purveyors of Christmas music not named Bing Crosby.

Mannheim Steamroller Albums

The easiest way to get your Steamroller on is to download one of their Christmas albums. They’ve released 13 as of Christmas 2013. Their best works include Manheim Steamroller Christmas, A Fresh Aire Christmas, Christmas in the Aire, and Christmas Extraordinaire. If you’re not ready to buy a full Mannheim Steamroller album, then just download the track “Deck the Halls.” It’s the song that started it all.

Christmas Symphony & Christmas Symphony II

Both of the Christmas Symphony albums feature, for the first time, Mannheim Steamroller playing with—yes, you guessed it—a symphony. To be exact, the Steamroller plays with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. The second installment dropped this past October. Songs you’ll find on these albums include “Joy to the World,” “We Three Kings,” “Deck The Halls,” and “Little Drummer Boy.”

Mannheim Steamroller Live

For the past several years, Mannheim Steamroller has toured the U.S. in late November and December. Their shows are in such huge demand that Davis has created several version of the Steamroller. For example, Mannheim Steamroller will perform in Denver on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Meanwhile, another incarnation will be in Greenvale, New York on Nov. 30 and Harford, Connecticut on Dec. 1. It doesn’t matter which touring band you see because they all rock—well, they rock as much as one can while performing Christmas carols.

Yet another version of the Steamroller has been booked for six shows at Universal Orlando on Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22. Those dates all land on a Thursday or Friday. The band will be performing on the Music Plaza stage.

Mannheim Steamroller On Television

Mannheim Steamroller will have a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This will be the fourth year in a row that the Steamroller has appeared in the historic parade. Then on Dec. 1 (the Sunday after T-Giving), world class figure skaters will perform to the music of Mannheim Steamroller in NBC’s “Pandora Unforgettable Holiday Moments on Ice.” The show (recorded in Jacksonville in early November) will be hosted by Kristi Yamaguchi, Michael Weiss, and the man himself, Chip Davis. Skaters include Brian Boitano, Kimmie Meissner, and Ilia Kulik. Check your local listings for an exact broadcast time.

Paul Simon and Sting Announce Joint Tour

Simon and Sting tickets

Paul Simon and Sting Announce Joint Tour

He started in the northeast folk-rock movement of the mid-1960s. His new partner started in London’s punk/new wave movement of the late 1970s. Now in 2013, the likeliest of unlikely pairings have announced a tour.

The two musicians I’m talking about are Paul Simon and Sting. The superstars are set to begin their historic trek Feb. 8 in Houston, Texas. It will wrap March 16 in Orlando, Florida. Right now, there are 18 dates booked including stops in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. I know these two performers are a combined 134 years old but if they have any energy left after March 16 their schedule is getting extended.

The "Paul Simon and Sting: On Stage Together" will contain solo sets by each artist as well as a session where both men perform together (that’s really what you’re paying to see).

The upcoming collaboration stems from an April jam session the two artists shared; Simon and Sting had assembled to raise money for a charity. After their set, they looked at each other and knew they had stumbled onto to something special.

While both men are icons and legends, their pairing crosses both eras and genres. Simon is a product of the 1960s, he’s American, and a folk-rock artist that has dabbled in world music. Sting became a house hold name in the early 1980s, he’s British, and is associated with just about every genre of music except for folk. They were both born in October but a decade apart. That makes Simon 72 and Sting 62.

The team of Simon and Sting got Musicology-101 thinking about similar match-ups—musicians from different eras who have just one thing in common, greatness. Below are three sets of such musicians that we’d love to see tour together.

Dave Matthews and John Mayer
Jam band-folk rock meets guitar-heavy effeminate pop. A Dave Matthews and John Mayer joint tour would be every romantic hippie’s wet dream. It would be acoustic guitar vs. electric guitar. “Tripping Billies” vs. “Paper Doll.” By the way, DM was born in 1967 and JM in 1977 although their careers are only separated by about seven years.

Rob Thomas and Kelly Clarkson
Rob Thomas and Kelly Clarkson are a decade apart in age but fairly similar in the type of music they sing. Even so, Thomas leans a little more rock while Clarkson leans a little more pop. Also, Thomas is your quintessential singer-songwriter while Clarkson is more of your straight-ahead diva. This teaming is quite improbable as the only artists who want anything to do with Clarkson are country musicians.

Jack Johnson and Bruno Mars
Jack Johnson was born May 18, 1975. More than a decade later, on Oct. 8, 1985, Bruno Mars entered the world. They may have been born a decade apart but they both hail from Hawaii. Johnson is from North Shore while Mars calls Honolulu home. If you think about, this would be a great show. Johnson’s laid-back folk would complement Mars’ Top 40-infused soul. I can’t wait to see them perform together.