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

Springsteen

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.

>>Controversy
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.

Kings of Leon, Mechanical Bull & Other Rock Band’s Sixth Albums

Kings of Leon Tickets

Kings of Leon, Mechanical Bull & Other Rock Band’s Sixth Albums

For a moment, it looked like Kings of Leon were done. Well, rumors of their demise are greatly exaggerated. The band is not only still together, but they just released their sixth studio album, Mechanical Bull, and have announced plans for a tour. Kings of Leon hit the concert circuit beginning Feb. 5, 2014 in Atlanta. They have 16 dates planned but the quartet insists more are coming. The last of those 16 concerts is a Kings of Leon show in Chicago.

KoL’s Mechanical Bull debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and number one in the U.K. Like most of their works, it received positive reviews from critics and KOL Facebook users. With Mechanical Bull, Kings of Leon entered the six-album club. Expect to hear several songs from album number half-dozen at upcoming Kings of Leon concerts in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. To celebrate their achievement, Musicology-101 looks at six prominent U.S. bands and their sixth albums. Our list includes entries from KISS, Aerosmith, and Bon Jovi and spans more than 35 years.

KISS – Love Gun (1977)
Love Gun was both a successful album and a landmark in KISS history. It was the first KISS album where all four members sang lead and the last to feature the four original members on every track. As far as album sales goes, Love Gun received a Platinum certification just two weeks after its release. That’s unheard of in today’s climate but in the late 1970s it was only good enough for number four on the Billboard 200. The album’s lead single was “Christine Sixteen.”

Eagles – The Long Run (1979)
Although they released another album in 2007, the Eagles’ The Long Run is very much their version of The Beatles’ Let It Be (minus the Phil Spector production). The Long Run was the last number one album of the 1970s. It went on to sell seven million copies. The LP contains the classic Eagles songs “The Long Run,” “In The City,” and “Heartache Tonight.” It was also the first album not to feature Randy Meisner and the last to feature Don Felder.

Aerosmith – Night In The Ruts (1979)
Joe Perry quit Aerosmith halfway through the recording of Night in the Ruts. How did that happen? While making the album, the band’s record label ordered them to return to the road to generate some income—they were way over their recording budget. The subsequent tour was hastily put together and greatly strained Perry’s relationship with the rest of Aerosmith. He quit the group mid-way through the tour, and by extension, mid-way through the recording of Night in the Rust. His official replacement was Jimmy Crespo (a member of Aerosmith from 1979 to 1984). The album suffered sluggish sales and marked the band’s transition from hard rock to a more polished, radio-friendly rock sound.

Van Halen – 1984 (1984)
Van Halen’s 1984 is one of the defining albums of the 1980s. It propelled Van Halen to worldwide fame, helped put MTV on the map, and fused heavy metal with pop music to pave the way for a slew of hair bands. Needless to say, 1984 is Van Halen’s bestselling album. The opus contains “Jump,” “Panama,” “Hot For Teacher,” and “I’ll Wait.”

Bon Jovi – These Days (1995)
These Days was released in the period after Bon Jovi’s heyday and before they were cool again. Critics liked the album but it only peaked at number nine in the U.S. It did however do very well in the United Kingdom and Japan. It spent four weeks at #1 in the U.K. and was the fastest selling album by a foreign artist in the history of Nippon. These Days is the first Bon Jovi album released after the firing of Alec John Such.

Pearl Jam – Binaural (2000)
For their sixth album, Pearl Jam recorded several tracks using the binaural recording technique. That technique uses two microphones to create 3-D stereo sound. As a listener you must use headphones to get the three dimensional sound effect. Obviously, Binaural was slobbered over by critics but it was the band’s first album not to be certified platinum. Production was marred by Eddie Vedder’s writer’s block and Mike McCready’s stint in drug rehab. Binaural produced the singles “Nothing as it Seems” and “Light Years.”

Pixies Tour: Deal’s Departure Creating Two Camps

Pixies Tickets

Pixies Tour: Deal’s Departure Creating Two Camps

Earlier in 2013, Kim Deal officially left the Pixies. She departed the group when they were on the eve of recording new material and months from launching a massive world tour. Her sudden exeunt, while not surprising (she’s been at odds with frontman Black Francis for years), has set off a chain of events, some foreseeable and some not.

The first domino to fall was the decision to replace her. Jeremy Dubs was used in the studio and another “Kim,” Kim Shattuck, was tapped to be her analog on the road. You might think a bass player would be easy to replace but Deal’s musicianship and voice were major components to the Pixies’ sound. Also, Deal is something of, as critic James Hall wrote, an “indie demigoddess.” Those who’ve had Pixies tickets in the past will notice a big difference in the band’s sound.

The next thing to happen was journalists, critics, and bloggers started using the phrase “Deal or no Deal.” If you ask me, that’s worse than Deal actually leaving the band. The pun is pretty much the worst thing to happen to popular music since the “Foo Fighter’s Grohl-ing Tour” headline.

Now, with the North American leg of the Pixies concert tour set to begin Jan. 15 in Toronto, fans are starting to split into two camps. Those who believe the current incarnation of the group (with Shattuck) are actually the Pixies and those who believe the fractured ensemble is nothing more than a Black Francis backup band.

Deal’s departure is far from the first event to cause such a schism. All throughout rock history, departures, deaths, and new musical directions have irked fans and split their fan base. Below, Musicology-101 looks at five bands/artists that have experienced factions among their supporters.

Van Halen
David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Haggar
Perhaps no band has created such a division among their fans than Van Halen did when they ejected David Lee Roth and picked up Sammy Hagger back in 1985. Few fans like both versions. You either like one or the other. It should be said that both singers led Van Halen through eras of tremendous success.

Journey
Steve Perry vs. Anyone Else
Steve Perry was not Journey’s first singer but he’s the one that sang all their hits. Journey has employed three crooners since Perry’s departure in 1998. No matter whom they hire many fans think Journey without Perry is a nothing more than a tribute band.

Metallica
Before Black Album vs. After Black Album
There’s a common meme among rock snobs. They love a band when they’re relatively unknown but loathe them after they’ve hit it big. That’s what happened when Metallica released their insanely successful “Black Album.” Not only did the record propel them to worldwide fame but it caused a riven amongst their disciples. Some would have rather the thrash quartet kept their cult following while others welcomed the band’s veer towards a more mainstream brand of metal.

AC/DC
Bon Scott vs. Brian Johnson
This split isn’t really anyone’s fault as Bon Scott tragically died in 1980. Encouraged to keep performing by Scott’s family, AC/DC hired Brian Johnson. Now, Scott sang on some of the band’s most iconic songs like “T.N.T.,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” and “Highway to Hell.” However, Brian Johnson fronted the band when they made Back in Black, one of the bestselling albums of all-time. Scott’s death didn’t really cost the band any fans but their hardcore faithful are still debating which lead singer, and ultimately which version of the band, is the best.

Black Sabbath
Ozzy Osbourne vs. Ronnie James Dio
The Ozzy vs. Dio war used to be red hot but now it runs luke warm. Even so, you’ll still find metal heads who swear by one singer or the other. Part of the reason why this was such a fierce debate is for the longest time critics hated Black Sabbath. That has changed in the last decade or so. Black Sabbath of the 1970s is finally getting their due and getting recognized for being innovators and pioneers. The renaissance of the band’s image has definitely helped Osbourne. Still, Dio has a lot of fans who preferred him at the helm of Black Sabbath.

Cher: Why She’s A Legend

Cher tickets

Cher: Why She’s A Legend

Cher is a bona fide legend and a cultural icon. Yet, her career began in the 1960s. Young people might look at her and wonder why she’s such a big deal. They might think she’s nothing more than some old lady with a great plastic surgeon or Demi Lovato’s grandmother.

In truth, Cher has the talent of Barbra Streisand, the ability to reinvent herself like Madonna, the artistry of Lady Gaga, and the courage of Pink. The closet current analog to Cher is probably Jennifer Lopez but even then Cher out does J-Lo in every category. Cher is also one of the few mega-celebrities that you could sit down with and have a beer. After all, she was married to Greg Allman.

Of course, those are just accolades. To really know Cher you need facts. Otherwise, my praises are the same as complaining about having to walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways. That’s why Musicology-101 has put together a little primer on one of the most important divas of all-time. We firmly believe that every generation should know the accomplishments, and the impact, of the one and only Cher.

Music
Cher was one half of the husband and wife folk duo Sonny & Cher. Their signature hit was “I’ve Got You Babe,” one of the biggest songs of the 1960s. As a solo artist, Cher’s biggest single is “Believe.” Not only was it the world’s bestselling single for 1998 and 1999, it helped pioneer the use of “Auto Tune.” As a solo artist, Cher has sold more than 100 million albums. With Sonny, she sold another 40 million. She just released her 26th studio album, Closer to the Truth, at 67.

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Television
From 1971 to 1977 Cher was on television either hosting a variety show with Sonny Bono or hosting her own variety show. These programs showcased Cher’s comedic timing, her fabulous singing, and her daring outfits. Her shows were quality productions that attracted tens of millions of viewers and garnered several Emmy nominations. The best thing that can be said of Cher’s television career is her solo program was very popular but Sonny’s was not. In other words, people were tuning in to see Cher.

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Movies
In 1987, at the 60th Academy Awards, Cher won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in the film Moonstruck. The award propelled Cher to the upper echelon of Hollywood actors. Thanks to the gold statue, and the fact that she was box office gold, Cher demanded and received $1 million a film (which was a lot back then). Cher’s filmography also includes Silkwood, Mask, The Witches of Eastwick, Stuck on You, and Burlesque. In 1996, Cher made her directorial debut in If These Walls Could Talk. Bottom line, Cher rocks in concert and on the silver screen.

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Live Performer
Cher is amazing live. In 2002, she launched her “Living Proof: The Farewell Tour.” The tour lasted nearly three years and saw Cher performing 326 shows in North America, Europe, and Oceania. The diva reportedly performed in front of 5.88 million people. Her concert in Miami was broadcasted on NBC over Thanksgiving weekend and was seen by more than 16 million people.

Since 1979, Cher has toured half-a-dozen times. That number includes her upcoming odyssey, the “Dressed To Kill Tour.” Cher has plotted 49 concerts in North America. Her trek kicks off March 22 in Phoenix and concludes July 11 in San Diego. Some of the smaller cities on her route are North Little Rock, Buffalo, Columbus, Des Moines, and Portland.

Fashion
According to legend, Cher was the first woman to expose her navel on television. That’s what passed for scandalous in the early 1970s. From the very beginning Cher was a fashion trendsetter (she appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine 5 times). She helped popularized bell-bottoms, bare midriffs, and bandanas. Through the years, she has worked with fashion designer Bob Mackie. He has made her some of the most spectacular and sexy outfits imaginable. When you go to a Cher concert one of things to watch for is all of her costumes changes. Sometimes Cher’s outfits border on trashy but whatever she’s wearing the garment always celebrates her sex appeal, her individuality, and her fearlessness.