News in Review: Mary Travers, The Stooges, Thom Yorke, Oasis, Michael Jackson, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Pavement

First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2009, Volume 16, #10

Written by John Metzger

Wed October 21, 2009, 06:30 AM CDT


Folk Legend Mary Travers Dead at 72

Peter, Paul and Mary - A Song Will Rise

Singer Mary Travers passed away on September 16 at the age of 72. Travers had been battling leukemia for years. Although her health had improved after she received a bone-marrow transplant, the complications that arose from her subsequent chemotherapy treatment took her life. As part of the seminal folk ensemble Peter, Paul and Mary, Travers won five Grammy awards and scored numerous hit singles. These included the trioís covers of Pete Seegerís If I Had a Hammer and John Denverís Leaving on a Jet Plane as well as its original tune Puff (The Magic Dragon). The ensemble also was known for boldly expressing its political views. Together Peter, Paul and Mary not only stood at the forefront of the civil rights movement but also led the charge against the Vietnam War. Although the group disbanded in 1971, they frequently united to draw attention to various causes. Like her collaborators, Travers attempted to launch a solo career, but she never found the same level of success that she had enjoyed with Peter, Paul and Mary.

The Stooges - Raw Power

Iggy Pop Revives The Stooges Again

In January, guitarist Ron Asheton suffered a heart attack and died, squashing hopes that The Stooges would remain intact. Nevertheless, Iggy Pop isnít quite ready to put the collective to rest. He recently lulled guitarist James Williamson away from his Silicon Valley job when he asked him to complete The Stooges line-up. This isnít the first time that Williamson has replaced Asheton either. He stepped into the group in 1972 and contributed heavily to the ensembleís third outing Raw Power. The Stooges are planning to return to the stage in May to perform the album in its entirety at two shows in London.

Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul

Guess What? The Gallagher Brothers Still Hate Each Other

For the umpteenth time, Noel and Liam Gallagher are at each otherís throats. The feud became public after Noel Gallagher walked away from Oasis, forcing the outfit to cancel the final shows on its latest trek around the globe. In all likelihood, the duo will reunite somewhere down the road, once they both cool down. After all, neither Noel nor Liam Gallagher have been able to accomplish much outside their volatile relationship.

Thom Yorke Assembles Band for Solo Gigs

Thom Yorke - The Eraser

Radiohead is in the midst of another hiatus. In fact, the group has threatened to stop recording albums altogether in order to focus solely upon creating single-track downloads. This is an odd proclamation for the ensemble to have made, especially considering that part of Radioheadís charm has always been that it crafts cohesive song-cycles as opposed to standalone offerings. In the end, this may turn out merely to be an immediate reaction to the troubles it is experiencing in bringing to fruition a sequel to In Rainbows.

In the meantime, Radioheadís front man Thom Yorke is using the downtime to revive his solo career. Less than a week before a pair of gigs in Los Angeles, Yorke announced that he had assembled a backing band to accompany him. His longtime accomplice Nigel Godrich as well as drummer Joey Waronker and Red Hot Chili Peppersí bassist Flea are assisting with the project. At the shows, the outfit worked from a tightly scripted set list that emphasized material from Yorkeís recent solo outing The Eraser. Several freshly penned tracks also were unveiled, leading many to speculate that perhaps this new collective would continue its collaboration in the recording studio.

Michael Jackson - This Is It

Michael Jacksonís Vault Cracks Open

When he passed away unexpectedly in late June, Michael Jackson left behind a small mountain of previously unreleased recordings. At least five selections from this stash will be revealed when the documentary This Is It and its accompanying two-disc soundtrack are issued later this month. One of these songs serves at the title track to the film. It was recorded during the sessions that produced Jacksonís 1991 endeavor Dangerous. Penned by Jackson and Paul Anka, the composition originally was intended to be included on an album that Anka was making in 1983. This Is It will also feature alternate renditions of some of Jacksonís best-known tunes as well as the spoken-word poem Planet Earth.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock Hall Sets Ballot for 2010

Twelve acts will compete on the ballot for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 2010. These are Genesis, The Hollies, The Stooges, Red Hot Chili Peppers, KISS, Abba, Jimmy Cliff, The Chantels, LL Cool J, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, and Donna Summer. To be eligible, the artists must have released their first single or album prior to 1985. Approximately 500 people will cast their votes over the next few months, and only the top five nominees will be invited to join the roster of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. An official ceremony will be held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on March 15, 2010.

Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted

Pavement Reunion Slated for 2010

There was never any doubt that a reunion of Pavement was in the works. The only question was when it would happen. Pavementís fans recently received their answer in mid-September when the outfit confirmed that it would headline a benefit concert in New Yorkís Central Park on September 21, 2010. All of the tickets for the show were sold in minutes, and three additional dates at the same venue were added almost immediately to the groupís schedule. The members of Pavement have been cautious about announcing anything further, though this largely seems to be a negotiating tactic. The band has been openly discussing the possibilities of hitting the summer festival circuit on both sides of the Atlantic, and given how lucrative a full-fledged tour is likely to be, it is difficult to imagine that Pavementís reunion wonít continue beyond a handful of high-profile gigs.


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