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Olivia Newton-John's 1966 debut single and 1971 debut album

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You have probably heard the sad news that Olivia Newton-John, the British-born, Australian-raised singer and actress, has died at age 73 after a decades-long battle with breast cancer. Ms. Newton-John famously evolved from a wholesome country music star of the mid-‘70’s into a sexier post-disco pop star of the early-’80’s. Somewhere around the midpoint of that transformation, she co-starred in the forever-popular 1978 movie musical Grease , and she sang vocals on five of the tracks on that movie’s mega-selling soundtrack album. But the singer’s career actually stretches back further in time than most people realize. She recorded her very first single way back in 1966, five years before the release of her 1971 debut album If Not For You . That debut single was released on Decca Records in the U.K. in 1966, and was recorded during a trip to Great Britain which she had won as a prize in a talent competition on the Australian TV show Sing, Sing, Sing . The single’s A-side was a cover o

My Morning Jacket "Live From RCA Studio A" (2022 Record Store Day Drop LP)

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For the Record Store Day drop date of June 18, 2022, the indie rock band My Morning Jacket issued an EP titled Live From RCA Studio A , which was actually a solo recording of band leader Jim James performing seven live-in-the-studio selections from the band's self-titled 2021 album. The 12-inch, 45 rpm vinyl EP was limited to 5,000 copies. James performed these tracks alone at the Nashville studio on August 31, 2021, using only an acoustic guitar. This was not an off-the-wall concept, considering that the My Morning Jacket album often took on a more down-to-earth alt-country sound than many of the band's other albums. But the album did still have the type of dreamy reverb that often distinguishes the band's work. In many ways, the album sounds like a "grown up" variation of their 2003 indie classic It Still Moves . But there's certainly no such reverb to be found on Live From RCA Studio A , as James tones everything down to the barest acoustic ethos. Alth

Alice Cooper “Live At The Apollo Theatre, Glasgow 19.02.82” (2020 Record Store Day drop date LP)

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For the Record Store Day Drop Date in October of 2020, Rhino Records released a live double-album by Alice Cooper, recorded in Scotland in 1982 during Cooper’s Special Forces tour. Live At The Apollo Theatre, Glasgow 19.02.82 was limited to 7,000 vinyl copies. The Special Forces Band which backed Cooper for this show included two musicians from his 1981 Special Forces album: guitarist Mike Pinera and bassist Erik Scott. The other three players were blues-rock guitarist John Nitzinger, keyboardist Wayne Cook (who had previously played with Player and Steppenwolf), and drummer Jan Uvena (who went on to play with Alcatrazz). This concert was performed during a bad and bizarre time in the shock-rock legend’s long career. This show took place several years after the original Alice Cooper band had broken up, and frontman Vincent Furnier effectively became a solo artist named Alice Cooper. The man called Alice continued to achieve commercial success during the remainder of the '70&

Sheryl Crow's unreleased first album from 1992

When I watch a rock documentary about a certain artist, I wait to see if some attention is given to a forgotten rarity that the artist once recorded, even if it only gets a few seconds of screen time. Imagine my disappointment, then, when I watched Sheryl , the Showtime network’s new documentary about Sheryl Crow, and I didn’t hear one word mentioned about the real first album Crow recorded in the early ‘90’s – which was never released. It certainly seemed odd for the program to not acknowledge this event in Crow's life at all. Then again, the main purpose of Sheryl seems to be to raise the singer's current profile, and to boost sales and streaming of her music, particularly the new tie-in compilation Sheryl: Music From The Feature Documentary . So, from the documentary filmmakers' point of view, it apparently made no sense to inform the audience about a Crow album which has never been commercially available. After Crow began her career in the late '80's as a ba

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 51: Carole King “Home Again: Live From The Great Lawn, Central Park, New York City, May 26, 1973” (2022)

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The 51st set of exclusive vinyl items offered to members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in April of 2022. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, who is the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, and is now a solo artist. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (usually one full-length album and one 7” single) to its members every three months. The 51st Vault package featured a 2-LP live album from jazz-pop legend Carole King titled Home Again: Live From The Great Lawn, Central Park, New York City, May 26, 1973 , pressed in brick-red-colored vinyl. The package also contained a DVD documenting the same concert, and a 7-inch single containing covers of two King songs recorded by contemporary singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus. The concert documented on Home Again took place two years after the release of King’s landmark 1971 Tapestry album. King performed the

Lou Reed and Nico - Record Store Day 2022 special releases

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One month after the influential 1967 Velvet Underground And Nico album turned 55 years of age, special releases by Lou Reed and Nico were issued on Record Store Day 2022. Lou Reed was the co-founder and the creative force behind the Velvet Underground. The RSD release I’m So Free: The 1971 RCA Demos was a vinyl LP containing 13 demo tracks recorded by Reed in October of ’71 at RCA Recording Studios in New York. This was Reed’s first recording session after he departed from the Velvet Underground in 1970, beginning his long solo career which continued until his death in 2013. This LP was limited to 7,550 copies. Apparently, this album was briefly released digitally on Apple Music in Europe just before Christmas 2021, with four additional tracks, but was quickly removed within days. As of this writing, plans for future releases of the album are unknown. These recordings were demos of songs which turned up in finished form on the solo albums Reed recorded for RCA between 1972 and 19

Bedlam "The Beast" (1973) with Cozy Powell

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In many rock-and-roll hearts, April 5th is a date that lives in infamy. Fans of ‘90’s grunge recognize this date as the one on which Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was believed to have taken his own life in 1994, and the date on which Layne Staley of Alice In Chains was believed to have died of a drug overdose in 2002. Other notable figures in rock history who have died on this date include Bob “The Bear” Hite of Canned Heat in 1981, and Marshall amp inventor Jim Marshall in 2012. Another name was added to this list in 2022, when early-‘60’s teen idol Bobby Rydell also passed away on this date. Yet another noteworthy rock musician on this list is Cozy Powell, who perished in a car crash at age 50 on April 5th of 1998. Born as Colin Trevor Flooks in England in December 1947, Cozy Powell was regarded as one of the greatest drummers in hard rock. After a brief stint with the Jeff Beck Group in the early 1970’s, Powell went on to play with many bands in the hard rock and heavy metal catego

The Beatles' Movie Medley (1982 single)

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In 1982, Capitol Records released a Beatles compilation album called Reel Music , which assembled 14 songs which the Fab Four recorded for their five films: A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), Yellow Submarine (1968), and Let It Be (1970). Reel Music was one of numerous compilations – following Rock ‘N’ Roll Music (1976) and Love Songs (1977) – which collected selections of Beatles songs and tied them together through common themes. Like those two earlier compilation albums, Reel Music is out of print, but all of its tracks are currently available on the proper Beatles albums. The LP is a nice collectible item to own, offering 14 classic tracks plus a 12-page booklet – titled The Beatles Souvenir Program – which contains pictures and commentary related to those five Beatles movies. But the most interesting thing about Reel Music was the single which was released to promote the album. "The Beatles' Movie Medley" was a four-min