All posts tagged: Phil Spector

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The Popdose Interview: The Paley Brothers

If you’re a fan of catchy pop tunes and you aren’t familiar with the Paley Brothers, prepare yourself: you’re about to get an education. Andy and Jonathan Paley released their lone album – a self-titled effort – on Sire Records in 1978, just on the heels of the punk rock explosion, featuring a cover photo of brothers looking like they were born to be teen idols, but their music, while certainly not as raw or rough-and-tumble as their labelmates the Ramones, also wasn’t just your typical disposable pop fare. But despite the best efforts of label head Seymour Stein and even with fans like Brian Wilson and Phil Spector in their corner, the Paley Brothers never managed to take off in a big way. Heck, they didn’t even get a chance to suffer through a sophomore slump! Andy and Jonathan soon began working independently of each other, with Andy gaining considerable press for his production work a few years later, and although they’re still tight, they’ve never managed to release another album…until now. Sort of. …

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Heavy Blinkers, “Health”

Following the releases of new albums by David Bowie, My Bloody Valentine and Justin Timberlake, 2013 might go down as the year of the unexpected comeback (your move, Dr. Dre). For lovers of lush, harmony-laden orchestral pop, the most pleasant return may be that of Halifax, Nova Scotia’s the Heavy Blinkers, whose ten-years-in-the-making Health was finally released on July 30. Fans of the group could be forgiven for having given up thinking they’d ever hear the long-gestating follow-up to 2004’s The Night And I Are Still So Young. After all, despite occasional reports of new songs and sessions as far back as in 2005, a blog dedicated to the recording of the album (which optimistically promised that Health would “be mixed and mastered by Oct 31 2008”) had last been updated in August 2008. In fact, the group was dormant for so long that Jenn Grant, who joined the Heavy Blinkers as an unknown singer following the release of The Night… and who shares vocal duties on Health with Melanie Stone and Stewart Legere, found …

The back cover of Let It Be fittingly shows the darker side of its sun-drenched front cover photos.

The #1 Albums: The Beatles’ “Let It Be”

“I’ll finish you all now! You’ll pay!” So said Paul McCartney to Ringo Starr when Ringo tried to convince Paul to hold his solo album release so it wouldn’t conflict with the release of Let It Be. In a court affidavit describing the incident, Ringo said Paul “told me to put my coat on and get out” of his house. At Ringo’s urging, John and George relented, and Let It Be was shelved for a couple of weeks. And with a head start, McCartney reached #1 on the Billboard 200 before Let It Be dethroned it, on June 13, 1970. Let It Be held the top spot for four weeks, the shortest run of any Beatles album to hit #1 except for Anthology 2 in 1996. Although Let It Be was recorded before Abbey Road, it has the feeling of an album patched together out of bits and pieces, the sort of thing bands release as a stopgap or a last gasp. In early 1969, when the band’s squabbles were at their hottest, it looked as …

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Popdose 2011: Mike Duquette’s Top Catalogue Projects

According to crazy people, next year will see the wholesale demise of compact discs as well as the heroic efforts of Jon Cusack saving the world from cataclysmic disaster. With that in mind, you’d think the year’s crop of reissues, box sets and other catalogue sets would be wildly disappointing. In fact, they managed to improve upon what wasn’t too shabby a year before. It felt like a week could not go by without reporting on some sort of vintage-oriented title, and with 2012 fast approaching, the time has come to tick off some of the best and the brightest – arranged in no order but alphabetically. The Beach Boys, The SMiLE Sessions (Capitol) It’s still hard to believe it’s legally possible to buy a set of material from The Beach Boys’ fabled unreleased album, the heartbreaking turning point for a band that should have had more years of transcendent pop music in them. Debate its merits as much as you want: at five CDs and a handful of vinyl, it’ll strike some as too comprehensive or too much like Brian Wilson’s completed …

Soul Serenade: Ben E. King, “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”

Everyone knows Ben E. King. He’s the guy who co-wrote and sang the immortal “Stand By Me,” which was a Top Ten hit in 1961, and again in 1987. True enough, but he is also a lot more than that. In 1958, still using his birth name, Benjamin Earl Nelson, the future Ben E. King became the lead singer of a doo wop group called the Drifters. He only recorded ten songs with the group, but among them were classics like “There Goes My Baby” (which he co-wrote), “This Magic Moment,” and the great Doc Pomus-Mort Shuman hit “Save the Last Dance For Me.” In 1960, the singer left the Drifters as a result of a salary and royalty dispute, and took the name we know him by, Ben E. King. He remained with the Drifters’ label, Atlantic Records, and recorded for their Atco imprint. King’s first solo hit was “Spanish Harlem,” written by Phil Spector and Jerry Lieber. His very next recording was “Stand By Me,” which he co-wrote with Lieber and Mike Stoller. …

Unsolicited Career Advice for … The Ramones

As I’ve mentioned previously, Uncle Donnie’s been writing these things for years—decades, even. Lev brings over another box of them every once in a while. This one dates back to 1974, and is notable for the absence of Donnie’s can’t-miss bit of advice about faking one’s demise. It wouldn’t have made sense in this context; the band he’s writing to was pretty well unknown at the time. Enjoy. – RS TO: The Ramones FROM: Don Skwatzenschitz RE: Career Advice I’ve got to say, you guys are amazing. I mean, really amazing. You blew my mind at Seymour Stein‘s birthday party at Max’s last weekend. I’ve never seen Sy look happier. Joey, you’re so tall. And your set was so … concise! Yes, concise! Thirty-one songs in 17 minutes? I mean, I haven’t been this blown away since I saw the Dead at Golden Gate Park three years ago—a show in which they played for 12 hours (pretty much the opposite of concise), including a two-hour “Turn on Your Love Light!” Do you guys like the …