Daily Archives: November 8, 2017

Paul Buckmaster, Essential Arranger for David Bowie and Elton John, Dead at 71

Just as pop singing wasn’t the same after Elvis or the guitar didn’t recover after Hendrix, neither was rock orchestration the same after Paul Buckmaster, the half-British, half-Italian string arranger who died Tuesday at age 71 of undisclosed causes. Even if his name doesn’t ring any bells (or, more appropriately, triangles), the records Buckmaster arranged and orchestrated will. Starting with his work on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” Buckmaster’s alternately lush and brooding string arrangements enriched, deepened and darkened pop records for nearly 50 years.

If that sounds like an exaggeration, consider just some of the records featuring his arrangements. In Buckmaster’s hands, string sections on rock records weren’t schmaltzy. They were trippy and panoramic (the Rolling Stones’ “Moonlight Mile”), dark and brooding (Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water,” the Stones’ “Sway”), stately (Harry Nilsson’s “Without You,” John’s “Levon”), high-stepping (Simon’s “You’re So Vain”), and lush without being overbaked (Taylor Swift’s “Back to December”). The muted French horns and other woodwinds that underscored Guns N’ Roses “Madagascar” made that the moist listenable song on the messy Chinese Democracy.

By his own admission, Buckmaster wasn’t the most obvious candidate for arranger to the (rock) stars. His mother was a concert pianist, and as a child, he studied cello in private school in London. He didn’t even learn how to arrange records until after his schooling. But accidental or not, his timing couldn’t have been better. By the mid-1960s, rockers were eager to stretch out the music as much as possible (or as much as could fit onto a side of an LP), and layering strings atop guitars and rhythm sections suddenly didn’t seem as anti-rock an idea as a decade before.

First as a touring cellist with the Bee Gees and former Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones, Buckmaster found himself drawn into a very different musical world, and his ghostly work on “Space Oddity,” followed a year later by his orchestrations on several tracks on the Elton John album (particularly “Your Song” and “Sixty Years On”), established Buckmaster as the stringman of choice.

From that point on, Buckmaster seemed to be everywhere. “I don’t think Paul has gotten the credit he deserves,” John told Rolling Stone in 1973. “He’s influenced so many string writers, especially the Elton John album; everybody pinches off Paul Buckmaster. Like Lennon on Imagine, I’m not saying he pinched it, but he used a lot of strings on ‘How Do You Sleep?’ I think nobody really used strings until Buckmaster came along and showed them you can use strings without having them being sugary and awful.”

Not everyone agreed: To the Grateful Dead’s grousing, Buckmaster was recruited to orchestrate the title song suite of the band’s Terrapin Station, which managed to turned those morsels of songs into the Dead’s most glorious shot at prog. And who else could have bathed Stevie Nicks in strings the way Buckmaster did on “Beauty and the Beast” from The Wild Heart?

Although he was largely associated with the classic rock era, Buckmaster hardly slowed down; in recent years, he worked with not only GNR and Swift but Train, Brandi Carlile, Faith Hill and others and moved into movie scoring with Twelve Monkeys

But it will be his rock work for which he’ll best be remembered, and rightly so: In his hands, and those of his violinists and conductors, Buckmaster made the possibilities of rock seem even more infinite.

Related Content:

http://www.rollingstone.com/

Hear Kelly Clarkson's Slinky Cover of Prince's 'Kiss'

Kelly Clarkson has unveiled a cover of Prince’s “Kiss” and a new version of her song “Love So Soft.” The tunes were recorded at Spotify Studios in New York as Spotify singles.

The pair of songs build on Clarkson’s soulful bent found on her recent release and pair well together, with both emphasizing her lusty, belted vocals.

She stays faithful to the lyrics on “Kiss,” maintaining the feminine pronouns of the original with the addition of a flirty, breathy sung “kiss” contrasted against the powerhouse-sung verses. The tune is slightly slowed down from the original, offering a slinky sway amid the horn-inflected funk arrangement. This isn’t the first time Clarkson has paid respects to Prince via song. In 2015, she performed “Purple Rain” during her set at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.

Meanwhile, “Love So Soft” differs a bit from the original as luscious strings buoy the new version, but it’s just as rollicking.

The latter song hails from Meaning of Life, the follow-up to 2015’s Piece by Piece. The 14-track set debuted at Number Two on the Billboard 200 following its release on October 27th.

Related Content:

http://www.rollingstone.com/

New, Lyrical Rendition of the Bhagavad Gita Captures Attention of Western Yogis and Meditators

The book cover for Song Divine by Lissa CoffeyLOS ANGELES, Nov. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — After experiencing the benefits of yoga and meditation, practitioners seek a deeper understanding of this ancient knowledge – and are ready for the spiritual lessons contained within the Bhagavad Gita. There has been a renaissance with all things…

PR NEWSWIRE

Barry Gibb Developing Bee Gees Musical

A Bee Gees musical is in the works, with Universal Theatrical Group securing rights to the legendary band’s life story and music. Singer Barry Gibb, the group’s only surviving member, will executive produce the as-yet-untitled project.

UTG, Universal’s live theater division, secured rights to the musical with Barry Gibb, Yvonne Gibb (wife of the late Maurice Gibb until the singer’s 2003 death) and the estate of Robin Gibb (who died in 2012). In a statement, Barry Gibb called the project a “wonderful opportunity” for his family.

“I’m personally very excited to be a part of the creative process along with Yvonne and Dwina,” he said. “It’s another adventure for us and a chance to throw the spotlight on all my brothers and finally the real story of us will be told. It’s an honor to be working alongside the people I most respect. I can’t wait to get started!” Universal has yet to reveal the project’s full creative team, production timeline or performance location.

The Bee Gees, who formed in 1958, evolved through many stylistic changes in their decades-long run. Their early releases explored beat and psychedelic pop before their commercial peak in the late Seventies as figureheads of the disco era, epitomized by their string of ubiquitous hits, including “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever” and “How Deep Is You Love,” on 1977’s Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

In February, Demi Lovato, Little Big Town, Andra Day and Tori Kelly united for an all-star Bee Gees tribute at the Grammy Awards, marking Saturday Night Fever‘s 40th anniversary. 

Related Content:

http://www.rollingstone.com/

Drake Talks Desire to Act Again, Work With Netflix, Apple

Drake revealed he plans to take six to a year to work on acting in “great films,” the rapper told The Hollywood ReporterThe Toronto native, whose acting career began on the television show Degrassi, recently announced he’s working on Netflix’s revival of the British crime series, Top Boy, set to debut in 2019.

“My taste in television or movies is always kind of similar to my approach to music, which is, I like when people really hit the nail on the head with real human emotions,” he said. “So with [Netflix’s] Ozark, it’s just the family dynamic. The arguments. The love. The struggles. I really relate to how accurate it is.”

“Being a young black guy, I think there’s definitely the chance to get typecast,” he said. “But I also have been pretty adamant about showing range. I try to show it through different outlets, like Saturday Night Live, showing people that I can be funny.”

Drake and his longtime manager, Adel “Future” Nur, are also looking to bring their social media and marketing prowess to other companies as well, including film studio A24, Steve Golin of Anonymous Content, and Apple, which THR reports “has given him the go-ahead to produce whatever he chooses.”

“When I get back into acting, I want to do things that make people go, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that.'”

Related Content:

http://www.rollingstone.com/

Hear Remy Ma Preview New LP With Gritty Lil Kim Collaboration, 'Wake Me Up'

Remy Ma recruited Lil Kim for her hard-hitting new single “Wake Me Up,” the first preview of the Bronx rapper’s upcoming second LP, 7 Winters & 6 Summers, out in early 2018.

The duo swap verses over creaky piano samples and clanging drums. Remy Ma opens by flaunting her wealth, emphasizing a “custom” wardrobe that comes “straight from France.” Later, she bashes her haters (“You fake-ass bitch/ You owe homage, pay that shit”) and calls out a rival with some sexual barbs (“I heard he lay that dick, you let him filet that fish/ You just met ‘im – how he bae that quick?”).

Lil Kim croons on the brooding chorus and pops up with a brief spot on the bridge. “If Queen Bee don’t trust ’em, I bet you Remy bust/ Got these niggas on lock, but we never cuff,” she rhymes.

7 Winters & 6 Summers will follow Remy Ma’s 2006 debut, There’s Something About Remy: Based on a True Story, and mark her first full-length since her career was paused in 2008 by a six-year prison stint for a weapons and assault conviction. Shawn “Tubby” Holiday, the SVP of A&R at Columbia Records, said in a statement that the LP will “[detail] Remy’s story.”

Last week, Lil Kim released an eerie video for her new song “Took Us a Break,” filled with snakes, spiders and nuns with bleeding eyes. 

Related Content:

http://www.rollingstone.com/

CMS Nashville And Folds of Honor Celebrate Top Songwriters With Late Night Party

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07: (L-R) VP Marketing Curt Bruns, Justin Ebach, Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, and CMS Nashville Chairman and CEO Chris King attend the Folds Of Honor CMS Nashville Songwriter of the Year Party 2017 at FGL House on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMS)NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — CMS Nashville, alongside their friends at Folds of Honor, celebrated the year’s top Songwriters at a party held last night in Nashville.   The late night bash, which went well into the wee hours, hosted a crowd of industry VIPs and a…

PR NEWSWIRE

CMS Nashville And Folds of Honor Celebrate Top Songwriters With Late Night Party

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 07: (L-R) VP Marketing Curt Bruns, Justin Ebach, Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley, and CMS Nashville Chairman and CEO Chris King attend the Folds Of Honor CMS Nashville Songwriter of the Year Party 2017 at FGL House on November 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMS)NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — CMS Nashville, alongside their friends at Folds of Honor, celebrated the year’s top Songwriters at a party held last night in Nashville.   The late night bash, which went well into the wee hours, hosted a crowd of industry VIPs and a…

PR NEWSWIRE

Watch Lorde Cover Bruce Springsteen's 'I'm on Fire' in New Zealand

Lorde delivered a faithful cover of Bruce Springsteen‘s “I’m on Fire” at her Wednesday concert in Christchurch, New Zealand, her native country, where Springsteen previously covered her song “Royals” three years ago.

Lorde told the audience that she and guitarist Ray Suen had just rehearsed the Born in the U.S.A. classic at soundcheck and that their rendition was an “experiment.” Lorde added that she was introduced to “I’m on Fire” during the writing of Melodrama and called the Springsteen song “a special one” (via Pitchfork).

In March 2014, while Springsteen and the E Street Band toured New Zealand and Australia, the rocker opened up their Auckland concert, Lorde’s hometown, with a surprise acoustic rendition of “Royals,” marking a rare contemporary cover by Springsteen.

“My Twitter went mental. Everyone in New Zealand was like ‘You can’t believe what just happened!’,” Lorde said in March 2014 after Springsteen covered “Royals.” “It was so exciting. It was the highest honor. He’s such an incredible songwriter. I got a little teary. It was very cool.”

Related Content:

http://www.rollingstone.com/

12th Latin American Cultural Week, November 9 through 21, 2017 with Theater, Music, Dance, Film, Literature, & Visual Arts Events throughout New York City

NEW YORK, Nov. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Pan American Art Research (PAMAR), founded in 1984 by Uruguayan-born pianist and Artistic Director Polly Ferman, presents the 12th Annual Latin American Cultural Week (LACW), November 9 through 21, 2017. (Additional events precede & fol…

PR NEWSWIRE