Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Feb. 25, 2003 at 3:00 AM
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As predicted in this space, the record industry made sure 2003 will be remembered as the Year of Norah Jones Sunday night at the Grammy Awards gala. The voters got it right, recognizing this talented young singer for her voice, not her videogenic qualities, dancing ability or work as a clothes horse. If there is to be a future for the music industry it had better emphasize the music part of the equation.

Even though he was overshadowed in the awards department by Jones, Bruce Springsteen struck the night's inspirational touchstone with a version of "The Rising" that probably made more than a few members want to change their votes on the spot. Springsteen received an honor greater than any award, however, when the Madison Square Garden crowd gave him the night's only spontaneous standing ovation. There were a number of kneejerk reactions to Sept. 11, 2001, that already sound hopelessly dated as world events fly past at a terrifying pace, but Springsteen's inspired hymn to the firemen who climbed to their deaths inside the World Trade Center trying to save others takes on added meaning over time, and the whole world got the message. By contrast, Eminem looked pointless and stupid in his segment, blathering on about the pitfalls of celebrity.


Fred Durst is ticked off at Britney Spears and wasn't hiding the fact at the Grammy celebration. Spears drew Durst's ire when, after a brief fling with Durst, she claimed he had been stalking her. Durst responded by writing a song, "Just Drop Dead," that goes even further than Justin Timberlake's diatribes against the pop tart. When asked if he planned to run into Spears at the Grammy awards, Durst replied, "I hope not."


How about that rendition of "London Calling" done at the Grammy awards by Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen and friends? The pioneers of British punk will be remembered with a 40-song, two-CD retrospective "The Essential Clash," due out March 11 on Epic Records, the morning after the band is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The digitally remastered tracks span the Clash's reign from 1977 ("White Riot") to '85 ("This Is England"), including 18 single sides (A's and B's) along with 22 LP and EP signature tracks. The track listing was personally supervised by the band, including Joe Strummer, who had been working on the album shortly before his death in London in December 2002, at age 50.

The release of the CD set will be followed in April by "The Essential Clash" DVD. The DVD will feature all of the band's videos as well as a never-before-seen 60-minute film called "Hell W 10" (Hell West Ten). "Hell W 10" was shot in 1982 and was written and directed by Strummer. It stars The Clash and was originally a silent film narrative that loosely featured Mick Jones as a villain and Paul Simonon as the feature's hero.


Mullets are the new targets of hairstyle critics, replacing the much loathed moussed bouffants of "hair metal" bands. Mullets -- short in front and long in the back -- are favored among hard-rocking, hard-working, hard-partying blue collar American males, and the two-CD set "Mullets Rock!" is the music of their lives.

Epic/Legacy Records will release the 35-song, 2 1/2-hour "Mullets Rock!" March 4. It is a classic rock collection from the 1970s and 1980s, featuring Mountain ("Mississippi Queen"), Deep Purple ("Smoke on the Water"), Foreigner ("Hot Blooded"), Foghat ("Slow Ride"), Ted Nugent ("Free for All"), Brownsville Station ("Smokin' in the Boys Room"), Rick Derringer ("Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo"), Cheap Trick ("Surrender"), Journey ("Any Way You Want It"), Toto ("Hold the Line"), Eddie Money ("Two Tickets to Paradise"), REO Speedwagon ("Roll With the Changes"), Allman Brothers Band ("No One to Run With"), Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble ("Voodoo Child (Slight Return)"), George Thorogood ("Bad to the Bone"), Lynyrd Skynyrd ("Simple Man"), Edgar Winter ("Frankenstein"), Grand Funk Railroad ("We're An American Band"), Bachman-Turner Overdrive ("Takin' Care of Business"), Alice Cooper ("School's Out") and Meat Loaf ("Bat Out of Hell").


The eighth annual Baton Rouge Blues Week is scheduled to run from April 27 through May 3. Featured shows will include keyboardist Marcia Ball on the 27th at The Atrium Pub in Catfish Town, guitarist Tab Benoit April 30 at 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. at Phil Brady's, and legendary songwriter Tony Joe White May 3 at The Varsity Theatre.

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