News in Review: White Stripes, Beach Boys, Suze Rotolo, Pinetop Perkins

First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2011, Volume 18, #4

Written by John Metzger

Fri April 29, 2011, 06:30 AM CDT

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White Stripes - Under Great White Northern Lights

White Stripes Quietly Disbands

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that The White Stripes has called it quits. After all, Jack White has been so busy with other projects — from his bands (The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather) to his production duties (Von Bondies, Loretta Lynn, and Wanda Jackson) — that he hasn’t had much time, let alone desire, to return to the outfit that made him famous. On February 2, White finally made it official by quietly publishing his decision to pull the plug on The White Stripes via his Third Man Records site. In the announcement, White stated that the disbandment of The White Stripes was not the result of creative differences, but rather was born from a desire to keep the collective’s artistic legacy intact.

Brian Wilson - SMiLE

Beach Boys Resurrects SMiLE

In 2004, Brian Wilson remade his long, lost album SMiLE, basing the new effort upon a series of compositions that he had scrapped in the late 1960s. The songs originally were meant to form the basis of The Beach Boys’ follow-up to Pet Sounds. However, when Wilson suffered a serious mental breakdown, the entire project collapsed. Later this year, Capitol Records will unveil two incarnations of The SMiLE Sessions. The first is a two-disc collection; the other will be an expansive boxed set. Both packages will contain material that was culled from the many hours of tape that The Beach Boys recorded in 1966 and 1967. Wilson’s recent version of the set served as a template for the track listing of The SMiLE Sessions. Alternate versions, studio banter, and a variety of compositional fragments complete the endeavor.

Suze Rotolo - A Freewheelin' Time

Dylan Cohort Suze Rotolo Passes Away

Famous for the role she played in Bob Dylan’s life, Suze Rotolo succumbed to lung cancer and died on February 24 at her home in Manhattan. She was 67. Several years after she met the young songwriter backstage in 1961, Rotolo was featured on the cover of his seminal set The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. She and Dylan shared an apartment in New York. He not only penned his early love songs for her, but she also inspired him to begin using his compositions to address civil rights issues. The duo split in 1964 when Dylan began seeing Joan Baez. Rotolo later married and devoted her life to painting and drawing. For a long time, Rotolo refused to talk about her relationship with Dylan, but she broke her silence by appearing in No Direction Home, a documentary by Martin Scorsese that focused upon the folk singer’s early years. In 2008, Rotolo further chronicled her experiences in A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties.

Pinetop Perkins - Joined at the Hip

Blues Pianist Pinetop Perkins Dead at 97

After suffering a heart attack, legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins passed away on March 21 at the age of 97. Over the course of his career, Perkins’ signature style of playing the piano helped to shape the works of Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Albert King, and Little Milton. Perkins was born in Mississippi in 1913, and although he initially had tried to make a living as a guitarist, he switched to piano after suffering an injury to his arm. He enjoyed modest success across the Mississippi Delta and became a seminal part of the Chicago blues scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Perkins was largely a sideman, but his contributions to blues history were considerable. At the age of 75, he issued After Hours, his solo debut. He continued to perform and record at a surprisingly robust pace. In fact, earlier this year, when Joined at the Hip, his collaboration with Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, took home the trophy for Traditional Blues Album of the Year, Perkins became the oldest artist to win a Grammy Award.

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Of Further Interest...

News in Review: Black Eyed Peas, Grateful Dead, Don Kirshner, Gary Moore (2011)

News in Review: 53rd Annual Grammy Awards: Winners, Losers, and Commentary (2011)

News in Review: Grateful Dead, Blues Music Awards, Gerry Rafferty, Charlie Louvin

News in Review: Captain Beefheart, Aretha Franklin, Jane’s Addiction, Robbie Robertson, Bernard Wilson

News in Review: Jim Morrison, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Paul Simon, My Morning Jacket, The Strokes

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