News in Review: Fall Releases, Clarence Clemons, The Coasters
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2011, Volume 18, #6
Written by John Metzger
Mon September 19, 2011, 05:30 AM CDT
Reissues, Archival Material Dominate Fall Release Schedule
CD sales of new albums may be slipping, but there seems to be no end to the market for repackaged material from classic artists. Not surprisingly, the music industry is raising the bar, once again, for the kinds of releases fans can expect to hit store shelves in time for the holidays.
Several items from Pink Floyd are perhaps the most notable of all of the fall releases that currently are planned. The group’s Dark Side of the Moon will be reissued as six-disc boxed set that includes a remastered version of the album; a previously unreleased live performance of the complete song cycle from 1974; an array of documentaries and concert films; a surround-sound mix of the endeavor; an assortment of outtakes, demos, and other recordings from the era; and a booklet designed by visual artist Storm Thorgerson. Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and The Wall will receive similar treatments: the former will be issued as a five-disc set on November 8, while the latter will resurface as a seven-disc collection on February 28. Meanwhile, all 14 of Pink Floyd’s original studio efforts will be compiled in a 16-disc boxed set, which is slated for release on September 27.
Unable to tour due to severe hearing problems, Pete Townshend has been rummaging through his archives. In the process, he has uncovered enough material to create a boxed set of Quadrophenia. Due in November, the new edition of The Who’s second album-length rock opera will feature plenty of demos, previously unreleased songs, and several surround-sound mixes of the material.
Twenty years ago, Nirvana altered the course of rock music, essentially awakening the genre from its slumber by capturing the attention of a generation. To commemorate the anniversary of the release of the group’s breakthrough album Nevermind, Universal Music is planning to issue a four-CD, one-DVD boxed set on October 25. In addition to a remastered rendition of Nevermind, the collection not only will be loaded with B-sides and rarities, but it also will feature the entirety of Nirvana’s performance at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre on Halloween night in 1991.
At long last, Sony/Legacy is launching a series of recordings aimed at unearthing the abundance of concert material that Miles Davis left behind. Live in Europe 1967 is the inaugural edition of the collection, and it will feature full-length performances of Davis’ second great quintet in Antwerp, Copenhagen, and Paris as well as other assorted tracks captured during the trumpeter’s nine-day string of shows in late October and early November 1967. The set is slated for release on September 20.
Sony/Legacy has delved further into the archives of Jimi Hendrix. On September 13, the company reissued Hendrix in the West, padding the original collection with five more tunes that were recorded during his 1969 and 1970 tours. In addition, Winterland was expanded into a four-disc boxed set that offers a comprehensive look at Hendrix’s three-night stand at Bill Graham’s fabled venue in October 1968.
Last but not least, U2 is revisiting its seminal sets from the early 1990s: Achtung Baby and Zooropa will be expanded into multi-disc endeavors. Both of the repackaged efforts are expected to contain an abundance of rarities as well as previously unreleased material. U2 is also tinkering with the notion of combining both efforts into a massive boxed set that will feature video footage from the recording sessions as well as concert material from its blockbuster Zoo TV tour. Achtung Baby is slated for release on November 1.
E Street Band Loses Its Heart and Soul
The E Street Band suffered a devastating blow in mid-June when saxophonist Clarence Clemons was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Initially, news reports were optimistic about his chances to recover fully. Although he was tethered to an array of medical equipment, his vital signs reportedly were improving with each passing day. Nevertheless, on June 18, not quite a week later, he was pronounced dead at the age of 69. For 40 years, Clemons had served as an integral part of Bruce Springsteen’s supporting entourage. Songs like Born to Run and Jungleland were buoyed by his saxophone accompaniments, which always were as muscular as they were emotive. Springsteen long has given Clemons credit for helping to shape his work. As a result, many are wondering how the ensemble can survive in the wake of Clemons’ death, though Springsteen has vowed to continue without him.
The Coasters’ Carl Gardner Dead at 83
Rock ’n‘ roll in the 1950s was dominated by vocal groups. Of these, perhaps none was as powerful as The Coasters. Formed as a vehicle for material penned by the partnership of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, The Coasters delivered highly energetic performances that were fueled by the group’s R&B and doo-wop roots. Carl Gardner was at the center of it all. Leiber and Stoller recruited him and Bobby Nunn to begin recording for Atlantic Records. Gardner became the centerpiece for the outfit, adding his distinctive voice to hit singles such as Young Blood, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown, and I’m a Hog for You. For years, Gardner was mired in a myriad of legal battles over the use of The Coasters’ name. He finally won the rights to the moniker in 1998. On June 12, Gardner passed away at the age of 83 after suffering congestive heart failure.
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