News in Review: Paul McCartney, Jim Marshall, Michael McLaren, Lena Horne
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2010, Volume 17, #6
Written by John Metzger
Tue June 15, 2010, 06:30 AM CDT
Paul McCartney Completes Separation from EMI
The future of EMI has been thrown further into question now that Paul McCartney has pulled his entire solo catalogue from the company’s stockpile. McCartney joined the label in 1962 when The Beatles inked a deal with Parlophone. After the outfit disbanded, McCartney chose to remain with EMI. In recent years, however, the corporation has been hemorrhaging money, and it currently is struggling to make payments on a multibillion dollar loan. Its problems have been exacerbated by the departure of many prominent artists from its roster, including the Rolling Stones and Radiohead. McCartney’s decision to leave EMI has long been anticipated. Beginning with his 2007 effort Memory Almost Full, McCartney has been issuing new material under a distribution agreement with Concord Music Group. In addition, Gene Rumsey, a former executive at EMI, is currently employed as Concord’s general manager. Concord is planning to reissue the entirety of McCartney’s solo canon, beginning with an expanded edition of Band on the Run, which is slated for release in August.
Jim Marshall Snaps Final Portrait
Most photographers spend their lives working in relative obscurity. Jim Marshall is one of the few who received his due. Marshall leapt to the forefront of the music scene by capturing iconic snapshots of a seemingly endless array of highly influential artists. Despite his famously volatile temper, Marshall had a knack for putting performers at ease, which allowed him to portray his subjects in an unusually intimate fashion. Via photos of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, and Johnny Cash, Marshall created an enviable portfolio. As the lives of musicians became increasingly controlled by their representatives, Marshall struggled to maintain the same level of access that he had enjoyed in his early days. To his credit, however, he never made concessions to his art. On March 24, at the age of 74, Marshall quietly passed away in his sleep. His legend lives on in the new book Match Prints. A documentary by filmmaker Danny Clinch is also in the works.
Cancer Silences Malcolm McLaren
Malcolm McLaren succumbed to cancer on April 8 at the age of 64. Although he briefly served as manager of the New York Dolls, he is best-known for assembling the Sex Pistols and giving punk rock a wider berth. Even before the Sex Pistols imploded, McLaren’s relationship with the members of the band had soured amidst charges that he had failed to pay them properly. John Lydon eventually took McLaren to court where he won control of the group’s output in 1987. With a style that was provocative and anarchic, McLaren consistently challenged the status quo. He cleverly used his aggressive approach to garner attention for the acts he represented, which, in addition to the Sex Pistols, included Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow. He also issued several albums under his own name, beginning with the 1983 hip-hop-inspired set Duck Rock.
Lena Horne Dead at 92
Lena Horne passed away on May 9 in a New York City hospital. She was 92. Horne’s career was long and varied. After being discovered in a Hollywood nightclub, she signed a contract with MGM and gained attention as an actress. Because she was African-American, however, her scenes often were removed from films whenever they were shown in the South. An outspoken champion for civil rights, Horne struggled to maintain her presence on the silver screen during the 1950s. Consequently, she drifted into television and returned to the nightclub circuit, where she became wildly successful. This transformation served as the impetus for Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. Launched in 1981, the one-woman Broadway show earned a Tony Award for Horne, while its soundtrack picked up a pair of Grammys. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences in 1989. Horne’s most recent endeavor (Seasons of a Life) was issued by Blue Note in 2006. It featured a compilation of live performances and studio cuts that were captured immediately prior to her retirement in 2000.
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