We’ve gotten tons of requests for Amy Winehouse records and CDs since the new film about her, simply titled Amy, hit box offices.
Released on the fourth anniversary of Winehouse’s tragic and way-too-soon—death, Amy is being hailed as an at-times joyful, yet emotionally devastating tribute to one of the great artists of her generation.
Below is the trailer for the film, which is playing at the Nickelodeon. If you’re already a Winehouse fan, this is a good time to revisit her brilliance. If you’re new to her music, prepare to be amazed.
by Cat Johnson
Patterson Hood, longtime leader of the Drive-by Truckers, embodies the South. His songs are full of Southern characters, his accent oozes Georgia, and he’s an ambassador for all those Southerners who are all about making good friends, good memories, and good music.
In a recent piece for the New York Times Magazine entitled The South’s Heritage is About So Much More Than a Flag, Hood eloquently writes about the rich history of the South with its music, art, civil rights leaders, and many complexities. It’s a sentiment that resonates throughout his own life and music. As he puts it,
As a songwriter, I’ve spent the better part of my career trying to capture both the Southern storytelling tradition and the details the tall tales left out, putting this dialectical narrative into the context of rock songs.
But the lifelong Southerner is moving. To Portland. Yes, all your friends have moved up there and now Hood is making the move as well. He didn’t reveal too much behind the move, but in an interview with Paste Magazine, he opened up about what it means for the band, why he and his family chose Portland, and how the next move will reveal itself in time.
This week, the Alabama Shakes dropped the video for “Dunes,” off their sophomore album, Sound & Color. A slow, blues-rock jam full of soul and nostalgia, the song is a standout from the album.
The video, which was directed by Danny Clinch and shot at Studio A at Capitol Records in Los Angeles, sees the band deep in the groove, looking good and (as we know from the album) sounding great.
R&B singer Ben E. King, best known for the hit song “Stand By Me,” passed away Thursday at the age of 76.
King got his musical start in the 1950s as a vocalist with The Drifters where he sang on several hits including “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “There Goes My Baby.”
His breakout hit, “Stand By Me” made the US charts in 1961 and again in the ’80s after it appeared in the film, Stand By Me starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell. “Stand By Me” was written by King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and inspired by the spiritual “Lord Stand by Me.”
There are over 400 recorded versions of the song and it was added to the National Recording Registry earlier this year by the US Library of Congress.
Other King hits include “Spanish Harlem,” “Amor,” and “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”.
by Cat Johnson
You know that Sam Smith song “Stay With Me”? Ever think the hook sounded a lot like Tom Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down”? Yes? So did Petty.
Petty brought a copyright dispute against Smith and, over the weekend, won co-writing credit. As Smith’s rep told Rolling Stone:
“Recently the publishers for the song ‘I Won’t Back Down,’ written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, contacted the publishers for ‘Stay With Me,’ written by Sam Smith, James Napier and William Phillips, about similarities heard in the melodies of the choruses of the two compositions. Not previously familiar with the 1989 Petty/Lynne song, the writers of ‘Stay With Me’ listened to ‘I Won’t Back Down’ and acknowledged the similarity.”
Listening to the songs side-by-side, the similarity is undeniable. But not everyone agrees that Petty was right to pursue legal action against Smith. In the Daily News, Jim Farber argues that doing so was unnecessary. He points out that “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga’s “homage” to Madonna is a clear case of “borrowing” a song, yet Madonna chose not to sue, letting the evidence speak for itself. He explains that many genres “clearly cross the line from homage, or shared heritage, to potential rip-off,” and that pursuing every case of a similar hook or song could lead to endless law suits.
Should the Petty/Smith standard apply to all of those, the courts would be tied up for a millennium. For that reason, this case sets a bad precedent. It throws the doors open for countless songwriters to cry foul when the offense may be so minor, it requires more of a polite acknowledgment than a run of suits and credit changes that may never end.
Regardless of where you come down on the issue, the songs are entertainingly similar. Have a listen:
Music legend Kim Fowley passed away on Thursday. He was 75. Best known as the producer for the Runaways, Fowley was an eccentric, one-of-a-kind artist who also released several solo albums. Rolling Stone has a nice overview of his career.
Here’s a glimpse into his world of music and records: