Results for Columbia Records

interviews

Wild Belle

Last year was a big one for Wild Belle. Built on the brother-sister duo of Elliot and Natalie Bergman, the quintet released a terrific single "Keep You," shopped a self-financed/self-produced album and signed a 3-album deal with Columbia Records. You can hear the fruits of their labor as they perform songs from that major label debut, Isles. But if this music thing doesn't work out, Elliot always has this to fall back on.

Go to episode 391

Ron Asheton of The Stooges

A couple of weeks ago Jim and Greg talked about the punk pioneers The Ramones. This week it's time to look at the other pillar of punk: The Stooges. In the late '60s and early '70s the band released three major albums, and then disintegrated into drugs and power struggles. Now, almost 35 years later, three of the four original members reunited to record a new album, The Weirdness. Jim and Greg invite guitarist Ron Asheton to talk about the band's history and how they came back together.

Lead singer Iggy Pop (James Osterberg), guitarist Ron Asheton, drummer Scott Asheton and bassist Dave Alexander formed The Stooges in Ann Arbor, MI in 1967. They were signed to Elektra Records a year later after opening for“big brother band”the MC5. There they had their first self-titled album produced by John Cale of The Velvet Underground. Jim and Greg talk to Ron Asheton about the band's first time in the studio (and their first in-studio strike), and learn about how they developed their signature, primitive sound. They point to the propulsive Bo Diddley-inspired rhythms of songs like "1969."

The Stooges went on to record Fun House, which reflected their love of James Brown and John Coltrane, and then things started to fall apart. Iggy went on to form a relationship with David Bowie (and with heroin), and got the band signed to Columbia Records. Ron Asheton was bounced down to bassist, however. He explains that their subsequent release, Raw Power, is a good album, but not indicative of their true sound.

Go to episode 66
specials

Bob Dylan

heylin

If all that talk about clouds and androids hasn't made you feel old, get this…Bob Dylan is turning 70 this May. And we here at Sound Opinions feel that this birthday boy deserves not one, but three episodes in his honor. This week is the first installment and focuses on Dylan's early years as a folkie and protest singer in New York. Dylan moved to Greenwich Village in 1961 at age 19. Within just a few years, he had signed to Columbia Records, teamed up with manager Albert Grossman, released four albums, and become“the voice of a generation.”Never one to be pigeonholed, Dylan abandoned categories just as soon as he was assigned them. Jim and Greg talk to Dylan expert Clinton Heylin about the singer's influences during those years and his growth as a songwriter and performer. Clinton recently explored Dylan's entire song catalog in two companion books, Revolution in the Air and Still on the Road.

Following their conversation, Jim and Greg talk about their favorite Dylan tracks from 1961-1964. Jim chooses a protest song that has remained timeless, and one that Dylan continues to perform, "Masters of War." He fell in love with this song, which was released on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in 1963, through the many covers of it. Greg goes with a song that is less well-known, but no less impactful. And it showcases Dylan's strengths as a singer…yes that's right, singer. "Moonshiner" is Dylan's take on a traditional folk song, and as Greg explains, features a sound he would return to in later years. A version was released on The Bootleg Series Vol 1-3.

Want more Dylan? Check out Part 2 and Part 3 of this special series.

Go to episode 279

Bob Dylan at 75: Folk Days to Newport

Dylan in the studio

Don't Look Back, the classic Bob Dylan documentary instructs us. But as the American music icon just turned 75 on May 24th, Jim and Greg can‘t help saying happy birthday by revisiting our multi-part special on his life and career. In our first installment, we focus on Dylan’s early years as a folkie and protest singer in New York. Dylan moved from Minnesota to Greenwich Village in 1961 at age 19. Within just a few years, he was signed to Columbia Records, teamed up with manager Albert Grossman, released four albums, and become“the voice of a generation.”Jim and Greg spoke to Dylan expert Clinton Heylin in 2009 about the singer's influences during those years and his growth as a songwriter and performer. Clinton explored Dylan's entire song catalog in two companion books, Revolution in the Air and Still on the Road.

Never one to be pigeonholed, Dylan abandoned categories just as soon as he was assigned them. At his headlining set at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island on July 25, 1965, Dylan went electric by playing with a full rock band. Jim and Greg get a first-hand account of the infamous concert from musician, songwriter and A&R man Al Kooper. Al performed with Dylan onstage at Newport, and he dispels a half-century's worth of myths about the“boos”that allegedly came from the crowd.

Next week, we conclude our Dylan celebration with a look at Blonde on Blonde and Dylan's "Modern Times."

Go to episode 548
dijs

Greg

“Sisters of Mercy”Leonard Cohen

This week Sound Opinions welcomed a new station: WHDD-FM, in Sharon, CT. Hotchkiss School in nearby Lakeville produced John Hammond, one of the most important music industry figures in the 20th century. So Greg decided to take his turn at the DIJ as an opportunity to honor the man who discovered Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, and even Bruce Springsteen. But it was his signing of Leonard Cohen at Columbia Records that Greg wants to highlight. It was brave of Hammond to bring the Canadian poet to the label. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, never achieved much commercial success, but it served as inspiration for Robert Altman's 1971 film McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Greg chooses to add that album's track "Sisters of Mercy" to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 129
news

Music News

AC/DC is following in the path of Garth Brooks, The Eagles and Journey. The veteran hard rock band inked a deal to sell its forthcoming album exclusively at Wal-Mart. This formula has been successful for bands in the past; The Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden sold almost 3 million copies, all without the help of a record company. But, AC/DC is still on Columbia Records, which makes Jim and Greg wonder about their motivation. They'll be curious to see how the profits break down between the band, their label and the retail store when the album is released this fall.

The latest in the line to follow the Radiohead record release model is Girl Talk, aka Gregg Gillis. The sample-based artist and former Sound Opinions guest is following up his underground hit Night Ripper with a new album due out soon. Like In Rainbows, Feed the Animals will be a pay-what-you-want release. But the real question is if Girl Talk will have to pay. The new album will have over 300 samples — none of which Gillis legally obtained. As more fans take notice of his work it's possible more lawyers will as well.

The godfather of soul passed away two years ago, but James Brown left behind a treasure trove of his earthly goods. Many of these items will be auctioned off at Christie's later this month. Who will reap the benefits of the sale is unclear due to the chaotic state of the singer's estate. But fans can get hold of such artifacts as Brown's Grammy and Kennedy Center Awards, his baby grand piano and Hammond organ, as well as personal notes and photos. Jim and Greg are most interested in all his grooming products though. Just imagine the hair magic Greg could produce with Brown's pick.

Go to episode 133

Music News

The biopic film Straight Outta Compton debuted this past weekend to a monster box office earning over $56 million. The movie tells the story of the group N.W.A. and how they created the blue print for west coastand gangster rap in the '80s and early '90s. Jim recently saw the film and thought more about the biopic genre in general. He thought that this was a VH1-type film that largely glossed over many of the important truths of the band's history, including Dr. Dre's misogyny in both his lyrics and his actions. Greg agrees that the story of Dee Barnes, a female journalist covering N.W.A who was physically assaulted by Dre, was excluded from the film. Jim ultimately thinks the biopic doesn't work as journalism or biography, but instead acts as a missed opportunity to tell the whole truth of the story.

Two celebrated '70s producers passed away this week: Bob Johnston, longtime Bob Dylan producer, and Billy Sherrill, creator of the countrypolitan genre and producer of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. As an in-house producer for Columbia Records, Johnston produced some of Dylan's most notable albums, including Blonde on Blonde and Nashville Skyline. Johnston also served as the producer for Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison, which only came about after Johnston's persistent efforts. With a similar determination, Sherrill ignited the careers of country artists like Jones and Wynette with hit songs "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "Stand By Your Man." However, Greg chooses to honor Sherrill by playing The Staple Singers' "Why Am I Treated So Bad," a track that he produced before entering the country music scene. Sherrill produced songs for early R&B artists when no other producer would, earning him tremendous respect.

Go to episode 508

Music News

Each week there are more and more news stories about the failings of the music industry and labels having financial troubles. This week's victim is Bertelsmann, the largest media company in Europe. The German-based company reported a $69 million loss due to legal settlements over the funding of music-downloading service Napster. In 2004, in an effort to stay ahead in the growing digital industry, Bertelsmann invested in the file-sharing company. But, shortly thereafter, the other major music labels sued Napster for copyright infringement. Now Bertelsmann is paying the price.

It's clear that the industry's old model is dying though, and two music veterans think they have the solution. Jim and Greg discuss the much talked-about profile of Rick Rubin in last week's New York Times Magazine. Rubin, who co-founded Def Jam and launched the careers of artists like The Beastie Boys and Slayer, was recently appointed the co-head of Columbia Records. In the article, writer Lynn Hirschberg talks to Rubin about how he plans to save Columbia, and possibly the entire music business. In addition to implementing a subscription-based music service, the crux of Rubin's grand scheme is to put the focus back on quality and back on quality and the art. Jim and Greg completely agree that the key to pleasing music consumers is having better music, but they question Rubin's role as tastemaker. The man has had a golden ear at times, but, as Jim explains, he's also produced a lot of "crap."

Another music man who commented on the state of the union is Creation Records founder Alan McGee. In a blog in the UK newspaper The Guardian, McGee proclaims that consumers don‘t want to pay for music at all anymore. Period. He recommends that labels invest in the scope of an artist’s career and focus on making money through ticket sales and merchandise, not small worthless discs.

In more news about the money-making of music, BMI announced record-setting royalty distributions to the tune of $732 million. But, while the music performing right organization is reporting its success, another is seeking more funds. Earlier this summer ASCAP announced that it has filed 26 separate infringement actions against nightclubs, bars and restaurants in 17 states. Jim and Greg are curious about the goal of the crackdown, which seems to focus on the little guy. First they talk to Vincent Candilora, ASCAP's vice president and director of licensing. Mr. Candilora explains that ASCAP doesn‘t desire filing lawsuits, but that the organization wanted to remind people that there are laws against playing copyrighted music without a license, whether the song is recorded or performed, and whether the venue is large or a dive bar. He realizes that most of these establishments aren’t specifically music venues, but compares paying for the right to play music to paying for the right to serve parsley; it's not something you order off a menu, but it's something that's included in a business' operating cost.

Mike Miller, owner of the bar Delilah's on the north side of Chicago, gives the other perspective. He explains that as a music fan and a supporter of the local music community, he is totally happy to do his part and pay licenses to all three performing rights organizations. But, Mike is dubious about how his payments get disseminated. He also questions the effectiveness of such lawsuits, and wonders if ASCAP can do something better to support individual musicians and the community-at-large.

Go to episode 93