SONY PARTS WAYS WITH DR. LUKE
Kemosabe CEO out on the heels of legal battle with Kesha. (4/26a)
TOP 20: IT'S FIVE MORE, INNIT?
Kendrick continues. (4/26a)
CHART BATTLE BREWING?
Stapleton vs. Logic: it's on. (4/26a)
Beyonce the benefactor. (4/26a)
411 ON THE 6-1-5
Shania's got a new album. (4/26a)
By Phil Gallo
Believe the hype: Bang! The Bert Berns Story is as good as gets as historical rock & roll documentaries go. Not only is it a compelling story—even for people who lived through his spectacular run in the 1960s or read Joel Selvin’s thorough biography—directors Bob Sarles and Burns’ son Brett Burns deliver a sharply edited narrative rich with emotion without even turning sentimental.
The cast of characters is staggering: Doug Morris, whom Burns hired early in his career, and the late Joel Dorn detail his personality and what he would do to succeed; Paul McCartney, Solomon Burke, Ben E. King and Keith Richards discuss his songwriting abilities; and noted curmudgeon Van Morrison is there to shed light on the ups and downs of being signed to Bang, the label founded by Burns, Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun and Jerry Wexler. Then there are the mob stories—it’s one juicy detail after another about Burns’ short life, he died at 38 in 1967, and what it took to run an indie music operation in the 1960s.
Among the best moments are the observations about Burns’ lyrics focusing on pain, crying and broken romance, songs such as “Piece Of My Heart”; the events that led up to “Twist & Shout” being recorded by the Isley Brothers; and Morris’ calm detailing of Burns’ genius.
Bang! The Bert Berns Story opens today in New York and on 5/5 in Los Angeles.
It took five decades, but The Zombies are finally getting a well-deserved victory lap. They’re wrapping up a U.S. tour 5/4 in Houston, to celebrate the belatedly deified Odessey and Oracle album, playing the 1968 masterpiece from start to finish (for the final time, they say). “The Zombies have really had an odd path to success,” says vocalist Colin Blunstone, “Almost backwards in a way.”
Odessey, recorded 50 years ago, was a stunning send-off for the band, but was mostly ignored at the time of its release, other than for its posthumous U.S. hit “Time of the Season,” leaving the Zombies to slink into the annals of obscurity after a promising early career.
After scoring two quick U.S. top-5 hits in 1964 on the coattails of the Beatles-led British Invasion (“She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No”), The Zombies band hit a commercial wall for much of their rest of their initial incarnation. Despite a handful of solid singles, as the ‘60s got more hip, the Zombies became more irrelevant. The band was undone by an image that can be generously described as square, thanks to ill-advised publicity early in their career.
“We were labeled academic geeks,” says Blunstone, 71. “It was just the opposite of what we are. We wanted to be exciting. People who are daring. They want pirates. They don’t want academic geeks.”
The writing was on the wall, but before disbanding, The Zombies got their creative ya-yas out with Odessey, but it wasn’t until a decade later, when up-and-comers like Paul Weller publicly espoused the album’s greatness, that it was dusted off for reassessment. Since then, Odessey has been slowly but surely getting its props as a masterpiece of baroque chamber pop, chock-full of lush harmonies and swirling psychedelic textures.
To coincide with the Odessey and Oracle 50th Anniversary Finale Tour, which includes rare live appearances from original Zombies Chris White and Hugh Grundy, alongside Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent (who have toured the States several times with The Zombies since 1999) the album’s been given the deluxe re-issue treatment, complete with mono mixes and alternate tracks. A lushly-photographed band history, The “Odessey”: The Zombies in Words and Images has also been issued, with a foreword from fan Tom Petty.
Live From Daryl’s House has garnered its second Webby Award, earning the People’s Voice nod in the Music (Channels and Networks) category. The web series also won the award in 2010.
The monthly live-performance web series debuted in November, 2007, starring Daryl Hall jamming, cooking and drinking with his friends. Hall produces the series with Hall and Oates manager Jonathan Wolfson of Wolfson Entertainment.
"When I first had the idea for this series, I was hoping to reach a wide audience, and this honor, voted on by the people, is just another sign we're doing something right," said Hall.
Guests during the 2017 season include Cheap Trick, Wyclef Jean, Elle King, the O'Jays, Anderson East, Daughtry, Grace and Kenny Loggins.
Hosted by Joel McHale, the 2017 Webby Awards will be held 5/15, at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York and streamed on YouTube.