News in Review: Plastic Ono Band, Ringo Starr, The Knack, Dale Hawkins
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2010, Volume 17, #4
Written by John Metzger
Fri April 9, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
Original Plastic Ono Band Reunites
After working with a new rendition of the Plastic Ono Band that had been assembled by her son Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono released Between My Head and the Sky last fall. It was her first album in 14 years to contain all-new material. On February 16, Lennon not only led the current ensemble, but he also daringly reconstituted the original outfit — which featured guitarist Eric Clapton and bass player Klaus Voormann — for a three-hour extravaganza at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Over the course of the evening, an array of special guests — Paul Simon, Scissor Sisters, and Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, among them — also made their presence known. The concert was designed to pay tribute to Ono’s courageous catalogue, and it included a vicious romp through The Beatles’ Yer Blues, a medley of John Lennon’s Hold On and Ono’s Silver Horse, and newer tracks such as Calling and Rising.
Ringo Gets His Star
Coinciding with the release of his latest album Y Not, Ringo Starr was awarded his place on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. This is the 2,401st plaque to be installed along the legendary sidewalk memorial. Starr’s honorary marker is situated outside the Capitol Records building on Vine Street, where it joins those that were given to John Lennon in 1988, The Beatles in 1998, and George Harrison in 2009. Several hundred fans flocked to the relatively low-key ceremony, where they sang Beatles songs and cheered for the legendary drummer. Don Was, Ben Harper, and Joe Walsh each said a few words on behalf of Starr. Paul McCartney is now the only Beatle missing from the Walk of Fame exhibit, though his star has been approved and will be installed in the near future.
Doug Fieger Succumbs to Cancer
Doug Fieger, best-known as the face of The Knack, passed away on Valentine’s Day at the age of 57. In the years prior to his death, Fieger had been struggling with lung cancer to which he eventually succumbed. The Knack achieved nearly instantaneous success when it joined the burgeoning new-wave movement in 1978. Propelled by the single My Sharona, the outfit’s debut Get the Knack achieved platinum-level sales within a month of its release. Too much commercial appeal, however, can sometimes be a bad thing. Harmed in part by its arrogant attitude, the band soon faced a cultural backlash against its growing popularity. After critics and fans abandoned the ship, The Knack struggled to recapture its moment in the limelight. As The Knack fell from grace, Fieger sank into depression, and in the early 1980s, he tried to take his own life. By 1991, he and his band re-emerged for a series of low-key tours and albums. Fieger nobly also devoted his time to helping other musicians maintain their sobriety.
Rockabilly Star Dale Hawkins Felled by Cancer
Rockabilly artist Dale Hawkins died on February 13 after struggling with colon cancer. He was 73. Hawkins’ career spanned 50 years — from Susie Q, his seminal single for Chess Records in 1957, to his latest outing Back Down to Louisiana, which was issued in 2007. Aside from Susie Q, however, Hawkins’ only other Top 40 hit was La-Do-Dada, which was released in 1958. Born 22 years earlier, Hawkins had lied about his age so that he could join the Navy and fight in the Korean war. When he returned, he formed a band and began working with James Burton, whose fiery guitar accompaniment helped to whip Susie Q into shape. Hawkins was one of the first Caucasian artists not only to sign with Chess Records but also to perform at New York City’s Apollo Theater.
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