Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Dec. 23, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Rolling reports Bruce Springsteen will appear on Warren Zevon's final album, expected to be released next summer. Springsteen has been recording with Zevon at a studio in Los Angeles, where Zevon is completing a "final" album tentatively titled "My Dirty Life and Times." Zevon began working on the album after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year.

Springsteen and Zevon have written together before, collaborating on "Jeannie Needs a Shooter" from Zevon's 1980 album "Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School." Bob Dylan, Don Henley, Ry Cooder, Dwight Yoakam, Billy Bob Thornton, Jim Keltner and frequent Zevon collaborator Jorge Calderon already have made contributions.

"It's a good idea to be able to say goodbye to yourself," Zevon told Rolling Stone, "one hopes fondly, and that you'll be at peace with everyone you know, as I was with my parents. I hope I'll be in that position with everybody around me, or that I'll have written a song to a person I can't reach, to say, 'Hey, I shouldn't have f---ed this up.'"


Phish fans who can't wait to hear the New Year's Eve reunion shows got good news this week when it was announced the "Live Phish" album release series will now be available via the Internet on a "Live Phish Downloads" site. Based at, the site will allow fans to purchase and download entire Phish concerts. The shows will be made available on MP3 and Shorten digital music files, a compressed .wav file with a higher audio quality than MP3s.

Recordings of the band's New Year's upcoming reunion concerts -- Dec. 31 in New York and Jan 2-4, 2003, in Hampton, Va., -- will be the first available through the program. Files are expected to be available at the site within 48 hours of each show. The group plans to release new and archived concerts via the service throughout 2003, including shows from the group's sold-out February tour.

Prices for a full concert will vary from $9.95 to $14.95 for MP3 files and $12.95 to $18.95 for Shorten files. An Oct. 7, 2000, concert recorded at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif., currently is available for free download as an introductory offer. Phish's latest studio album, "Round Room" (Elektra), debuted at No. 26 on The Billboard 200.


Critically acclaimed American roots singer/guitarist John Hammond is set to embark on a 13-city headlining tour, previewing his new album "Ready For Love," scheduled for Feb. 11, 2003. On his Feb. 15 performance at the John Harms Center in Englewood, N.J., Hammond will be joined by Texas organ legend Augie Meyers (Bob Dylan, Doug Sahm) and drummer Stephen Hodges (Fabulous Thunderbirds). Both players also backed Hammond on the "Ready For Love" sessions, along with David Hidalgo (who produced the CD), Soozie Tyrell (currently playing with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band), and others. The tour starts Jan. 4 at the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling, N.Y., and runs through Feb. 17 at the Carpenter center in Richmond, Va.


Santana's "Smooth" ranks as the No. 1 seller of all time and Toni Braxton's "Un-break My Heart" was listed as No. 2 in the brand-new third edition of Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Chart Beat columnist Fred Bronson. The book, published this month, proclaims "Smooth" by Santana, featuring Rob Thomas, as the No. 1 song of the rock era. Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart" is No. 2. Bronson came up with his own mathematical formula and ranked every song that

has charted on the Billboard pop singles chart since the rock era began in 1955. His book includes a list of the top 5,000 songs of the rock era, and "Smooth" and "Un-Break My Heart" head that list.

"Smooth" was No. 1 on the Hot 100 for 12 weeks," Bronson explained. "That's not the longest-running No. 1 of all time, but the song remained in the top 10 for 30 weeks, which set a new record for the longest stay in the top 10 for a chart-topping hit."

Bronson's methodology awarded points to every song on the chart, so highest position reached and length of stay on the chart were important factors in ranking.


Legendary art-rock bassist Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame has put together a digital Christmas card for fans who can log on to the Internet. To see Lake's message go to Lake also has an all-new official Web site, There is a link from that site to his card as well. The site contains more than 40 areas to explore.

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