News in Review: Jackson Browne, John Dawson, Michael Jackson, Beck, Rock Hall of Fame, Allen Klein
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2009, Volume 16, #8
Written by John Metzger
Thu August 13, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT
Jackson Browne Reaches Agreement with John McCain, Republican Party
During last year’s election cycle, presidential candidate John McCain and the Republican Party began using Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty in a political ad targeting the policies of his opponent, then-Senator Barack Obama. Browne promptly filed suit against McCain, the Republican National Committee, and the Ohio Republican Party, charging them with copyright infringement and false endorsement. After the defendants were unsuccessful in their attempts to have the case dismissed, they opted to settle the suit rather than go to court. Browne received an undisclosed amount of money as well as a public apology from the Republican Party, which pledged not to make the same mistake again.
John Dawson Rides Away
John Dawson, a founding member of New Riders of the Purple Sage, passed away on July 21, after struggling with stomach cancer. He was 64. In 1969, Dawson, whose nickname was Marmaduke, formed New Riders of the Purple Sage with Jerry Garcia and David Nelson. The outfit initially served as an offshoot of the Grateful Dead — Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart also appeared on the group’s self-titled debut — but it quickly mutated to become a standalone entity. Dawson’s country-flavored songs anchored albums like Gypsy Cowboy and Powerglide. Although New Riders of the Purple Sage disbanded in 1982, Dawson regularly resurfaced with new configurations of the ensemble, until his retirement from the music business in the late 1990s. Dawson subsequently moved to Mexico and taught English.
Beck Revisits Classic Rock Albums
Beck and producer Nigel Godrich are planning launch Record Club, a new series of albums that will revisit classic efforts from rock ’n‘ roll’s storied past. MGMT and Devendra Banhart are also onboard for the project, which will commence with the ensemble’s updated rendition of The Velvet Underground and Nico. Beck and his pals recorded their version of the Velvet Underground’s debut in a single day, and a new song from the outing will be unveiled each week via Beck.com.
Michael Jackson Investigation Focuses on Physician
Even in death, Michael Jackson continues to weave a strange, sad tale. On July 7, in a private ceremony that was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery, his spirit was laid to rest in a gold-plated, solid-bronze coffin. On the same day, a public memorial service also took place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Ever since his passing, stories have circulated as to the real cause of Jackson’s untimely demise. In the wake of a barrage of medical tests, an investigation conducted by federal law enforcement officials increasingly began to focus on Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson’s longtime personal physician. In late July, authorities raided Murray’s home and medical offices, seeking information on the relationship that the doctor had with Jackson. It is widely believed that Murray had been administering a powerful anesthetic to Jackson as a means of treating the singer’s insomnia. Although the results of a postmortem toxicology report have been sealed, it also is believed that, because of his apparently reckless actions, Murray could be charged with manslaughter. In the meantime, Sony Pictures is planning to bring This Is It, a composite of rehearsal footage and new interview segments, to the big screen on October 30.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Stage 25th Anniversary Concerts
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is planning to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a pair of concerts at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on October 29 and 30. Both shows will feature a different slate of performers, and the overarching narrative of the event will be to trace the history of rock music. Crosby, Stills and Nash, Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, and Metallica are among the artists that will participate in the festivities, and their live performances will be complemented by an array of video segments.
Influential Rock Manager Allen Klein Dies
Allen Klein passed away on July 4 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. An accountant by trade, Klein rose to prominence in the 1960s after securing money owed to singer Bobby Darin by his record label. Leveraging his early success, Klein subsequently became Sam Cooke’s business manager and promptly renegotiated the singer’s contract with RCA Records. In the process, Klein established a new precedent that granted Cooke ownership in his master recordings.
Klein found further fame and fortune by working with many of the bands that emerged during the British Invasion, including The Animals, The Kinks, and the Dave Clark Five. In 1965, he was hired to renegotiate the Rolling Stones’ record contract. A few years later, after purchasing Andrew Loog Oldham’s stake in the outfit, he became the Rolling Stones’ sole manager. He also crossed paths with The Beatles, when he was asked by John Lennon to straighten out the ensemble’s financial mess. Klein not only increased the royalty rate that group was paid by EMI, but he also put a stream of cost-cutting measures in place at Apple Records.
In the 1970s, Klein’s career began to unravel. Many of the artists with which he had a relationship had grown dissatisfied with the arrangements that he had procured. Often, Klein had granted substantial interests in his clients’ works to his company ABKCO. In 1970, Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit against him in a move that essentially put the final stake in The Beatles’ coffin. The Rolling Stones also fired him and took him to court. By the end of the decade, Klein was convicted of tax fraud for the illegal sale of The Beatles’ promotional recordings. Despite his problems, Klein’s company was worth $100 million at the time of his death.
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