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Holiday Jazz Albums Available in New Vinyl Set

FOUR TIMELESS HOLIDAY JAZZ TITLES BY ELLA FITZGERALD, KENNY BURRELL, RAMSEY LEWIS AND JIMMY SMITH BOXED UP FOR NEW VINYL SET, VERVE WISHES YOU A SWINGING CHRISTMAS

MOST ALBUMS REPRESSED FOR FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN 50 YEARS AVAILABLE NOW VIA VERVE/UMe

This holiday season, Verve Records/UMe is boxing up some of the most classic jazz holiday titles and wrapping them in a new vinyl box set titled Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas. This lavish collection brings together Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960), Kenny Burrell’s Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas (1966), Ramsey Lewis’s Sound of Christmas (1961) and Jimmy Smith’s Christmas ‘64 (1964) (also known as Christmas Cookin’) for the first time. With the holidays just around the corner, it’s the perfect swinging, syncopated backdrop to get you in the Yuletide spirit and soundtrack your festivities.

Purchase Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas now: https://Verve.lnk.to/SwingingChristmas

Since the dawn of jazz, the genre’s innovators have pulled material from all corners of the Great American Songbook and beyond as springboards for improvisation — and the Christmas canon is no exception. On Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, the First Lady of Song approaches Great American Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “The Christmas Song,” and “Frosty the Snowman” with vivacity and sophistication. Sixty Christmases after its release, the album’s timeless appeal has only grown over the years. In a retrospective review, All Musicproclaimed, “this is as good as jazz Christmas albums get,” and just last year, Rolling Stone ranked it No. 1 on their “40 Essential Christmas Albums” list, calling the set “superb” and praising Fitzgerald’s “exquisite phrasing and subtlety.” In celebration of the album’s 60th anniversary, “Frosty The Snowman” has received its first-ever official video, a charming animated video by Fantoons Animation Studio that features Ella and Frosty in a winter wonderland storybook setting. Watch here: https://youtu.be/Hmw4Fu4XupE

Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas includes a variety of jazz greats’ instrumental takes on the Christmas canon via three albums that haven’t seen a vinyl reissue since the ‘60s. On Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas, guitar master Kenny Burrell serves up soulful renditions from the carol book (“The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Away in a Manger”), down the church aisle (“Mary’s Little Boy Chile,” “Children Go Where I Send Thee”) and the R&B wheelhouse (“Merry Christmas, Baby”). JazzTimes declares it “was and is a landmark album” while All Music admires Burrell’s “pensive, meditative, precise playing” and calls it “a must-have.”

The box cranks the fun up a notch with Sound of Christmas by the Ramsey Lewis Trio, which features bassist Eldee Young, drummer Isaac “Red” Holt, and string arranger Riley Hampton. By swerving around any potential treacle and keeping things light at a mere 29 minutes, Lewis and his colleagues ensured Sound of Christmas was a highly accessible slice of holiday cheer. “Lewis avoids the overly reverent… in favor of songs he can tear through with the brisk gait of a sleigh ride and the delight of a full stocking,” All About Jazz mused.“[H]is sensitivity to the tastes of the public served him well here.”

Rounding out the collection is a yuletide offering from Jimmy Smith, the master of the Hammond B-3 organ. On Christmas ‘64, which was known for decades as Christmas Cookin’ after being reissued in 1966 with the alternate cover and title, Smith offers up a mix of secular Christmas songs and traditional carols backed by a big band and several trios. He makes a heel-turn from dignified orchestral overtures, like on “We Three Kings (of Orient Are),” injecting the proceedings with funky, down-home energy to get bodies moving this December. “It’s hard to believe that ‘Silent Night’ could ever swing as much as it does here,” All About Jazz noted. But all you have to do is drop the needle on these bluesy interpretations to believe Christmas could be so danceable. For the first time in more than five decades, the LP will be released with its original cover and title.

Why wait until the Christmas shopping rush to secure your vintage sounds? Verve Wishes You a Swinging Christmas offers four titles in their original packaging, all beamed from jazz’s past to warm up your holiday season in the present.

Ella Fitzgerald Wishes You a Swinging Christmas (1960)

Side A:

  1. Jingle Bells
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  4. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
  5. Sleigh Ride
  6. The Christmas Song

Side B:

  1. Good Morning Blues
  2. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
  3. Winter Wonderland
  4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  5. Frosty the Snowman
  6. White Christmas

Kenny Burrell — Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas (1966)

Side A:

  1. The Little Drummer Boy
  2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  3. My Favorite Things
  4. Away in a Manger
  5. Mary’s Little Boy Chile
  6. White Christmas

Side B:

  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  2. The Christmas Song
  3. Go Where I Send Thee
  4. Silent Night
  5. Twelve Days Of Christmas
  6. Merry Christmas Baby

Ramsey Lewis — Sound of Christmas (1961)

Side A:

  1. Merry Christmas Baby
  2. Winter Wonderland
  3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  4. Christmas Blues
  5. Here Comes Santa Claus

Side B:

  1. The Sound Of Christmas
  2. The Christmas Song
  3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  4. Sleigh Ride
  5. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Jimmy Smith — Christmas ‘64 (a.k.a. Christmas Cookin’) (1964)

Side A:

  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  2. Jingle Bells
  3. We Three Kings (Of Orient Are)
  4. The Christmas SongSide B:
  1. White Christmas
  2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  3. Silent Night
  4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Edible and UMe Partner For Holidays

UMe and Edible Offer Music This Holiday Season Through Edible.com

Edible®, the world’s largest franchisor of fresh fruit arrangements and other treats, is partnering with UMe, a division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, to expand gifting options for this year’s holiday season by adding a music category with the launch of Edible Music™. Customers will have access to several digital music bundles including Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song album with the cherished song “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire),” staples in many homes around the world, across all ages and demographics. Nat King Cole’s songs are incomparable but the warmth of Cole’s voice in his evergreen rendition of “The Christmas Song” is only one of the reasons why the song was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame and the album is the best-selling Christmas album released in the 1960s.

“Christmas was always my favorite holiday. Our house was filled to the brim with decorations, tinsel, ornaments, bows, the smell of food, and of course, the Christmas songs my dad had recorded,” remarked Timolin Cole, twin-daughter of Nat King Cole. “We would all sit around the piano and sing along with him or sit in the living room and listen to him sing and play. These are the magical moments I remember with such fondness. Those songs of my dad still fill my house now,” adds Casey Cole, twin-daughter of Nat King Cole.

The Christmas Song album contains 19 holiday classics, the original album plus five additional songs that includes a duet with Natalie Cole.

Tracklisting:

The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)

Deck The Hall; Adeste Fideles

O Tannenbaum

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

I Saw Three Ships; O Holy Night

Hark ! The Herald Angels Sing

A Cradle In Bethlehem; Away In A Manger

Joy To The World

The First Noel

Caroling, Caroling

Silent Night.

Additional Bonus Tracks include: Buon Natale (Means Merry Christmas To You); God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; O Come All Ye Faithful; The Happiest Christmas Tree; The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) Featuring – Natalie Cole.

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nat King Cole, widely acknowledged as one of the most honored and iconic performing and recording artists of all time. Cole recorded more than 700 jazz and pop songs for Capitol Records, including 150 singles that appeared on the R&B, Pop, and/or Country charts. A few of Cole’s classic hits include: “L-O-V-E,” “Mona Lisa,” “Unforgettable,” “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” “Nature Boy” and the holiday staple, “The Christmas Song.” Nat King Cole’s story continues to grow as each new generation discovers his music, as well as his trailblazing, catalytic role in several important cultural and sociopolitical advancements, including the U.S. civil rights movement. The arc of Cole’s life is a study in success despite adversity, and the triumph of civility, respect, and talent married with political, cultural, and business savvy.

Nat King Cole’s twin daughters Timolin and Casey Cole, work to honor their father’s legacy and his music. They established the Nat King Cole Generation Hope in 2008 to build sustainable music programs for schools across the United States. Following his path of grace and tenacity, they raise funds and help enact change.

Edible Music holiday albums from UMe are available now through December 31, 2020. Albums can be purchased as part of a bundle or as an add-on to any order. Customers receive a website and unique code to download the album.

  • Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song
  • Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas
  • Now That’s What I Call a Merry Christmas – A compilation of holiday songs with classics like Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” plus modern takes on Christmas gems with Kelly Clarkson, Bruce Springsteen and Sam Smith.

During the holidays this year when many people may be apart, music serves as a way for family and friends to connect and continue sharing including favorite songs, experiencing it with each other, and maintaining musical traditions or creating new ones for generations to come.

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About NAT KING COLE

Born March 17, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama, the masterful pianist and vocalist’s initial focus was the jazz idiom, having formed the Nat King Cole Trio while in his 20s. The group was an almost immediate sensation and proved influential to the extent that no less an authority than Count Basie marveled, “Those cats used to read each other’s mind — it was unbelievable.” Ray Charles inducted Cole into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and readily admitted to Cole’s monumental influence on him.

Cole was signed to Capitol Records in 1943 and The King Cole Trio, his initial album released in 1945 at the dawn of the LP format, topped Billboard‘s inaugural album chart. He went on to record nearly 700 songs for Capitol, including 150 singles that charted on Billboard‘s Pop, R&B and/or Country charts. That phenomenal success led to Capitol’s iconic round building on Vine Street in Hollywood to be informally known as “The House That Nat Built.”

Along with his trailblazing musical career, Cole is recognized for his contributions to the struggle for civil rights and racial equality. His efforts were done in his own unique style. In 1946, Cole broadcast a 15-minute national radio program, “King Cole Trio Time,” the first of its kind to be hosted by an African American musician. In 1956, he also became the first major African American entertainer to host his own national network TV show. NBC’s “Nat King Cole Show” aired weekly from November 1956 to December 1957, the cancelation of which was caused by a paucity of sponsors since marketers were afraid to offend white viewers with a program hosted by an African American. Cole also appeared in several films, including his top-billed portrayal of W.C. Handy in 1958’s St. Louis Blues and his final big-screen star turn as Shouter / Sunrise Kid in 1965’s Cat Ballou.

In 1948, Cole purchased a house for his family in the all-white Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The Ku Klux Klan burned a cross on the family’s front lawn, and members of the neighborhood’s property owners association told Cole they did not want any “undesirables” moving into the neighborhood. Cole responded, “Neither do I. And if I see anybody undesirable coming in here, I’ll be the first to complain.” He helped overturn the 1920s Los Angeles statute that had kept the neighborhood segregated. The KKK targeted Cole and struck again in 1956 when Klansmen rushed the stage and beat Cole at a concert performance in Birmingham, Alabama. He would never perform in the south again.

In 1959, Cole won the GRAMMY Award for Best Performance by a “Top 40” Artist for “Midnight Flyer.” In 1963, he was honored with a Special Achievement Award from the Golden Globes.

Cole’s final album, L-O-V-E, was recorded in December 1964 and released in January 1965, just before his untimely death on February 15 at the age of 45. The album reached No. 4 on the Billboard albums chart. At the time, it was reported that Capitol Records had sold more than nine million Nat King Cole records. From “Mona Lisa” to “Unforgettable,”

In 1990, Cole was posthumously awarded the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He has four recordings in the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame: “The Christmas Song” (1946), “Nature Boy” (1948), “Mona Lisa” (1950), and “Unforgettable” (1951). Cole’s 1944 hit, “Straighten Up And Fly Right,” and the Jazz at the Philharmonic album series in which he is a featured artist have been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, which honors “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” American recordings.

In 1991, Cole’s daughter Natalie Cole released Unforgettable: With Love, featuring her virtual duet of “Unforgettable” with her father. The album topped charts around the world and won the coveted Album Of The Year GRAMMY Award. Just three years thereafter, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Nat King Cole commemorative stamp in its “Legends of American Music” series. In 2000, Nat King Cole was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

About Edible Brands®

Edible Brands is the parent company of Edible, the world’s largest franchisor of stores offering all-natural fruit snacks, dipped treats and fresh fruit arrangements with more than 1,000 locations worldwide. Since its founding in 1999, the company has been recognized as an industry leader, ranking first in its category in Entrepreneur magazine’s annual “Franchise 500,” Entrepreneur’s Top 40 of “Fastest Growing Franchises” and “America’s Top Global Franchises” as well as being included among the “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest-growing privately-held companies. Edible fresh fruit arrangements, chocolate Dipped Fruit™, fresh fruit smoothies, fresh produce boxes, FruitFlowers, Bakeshop goods and other treats can be ordered through any local Edible store or online at edible.com. Edible has franchise opportunities available in a number of key markets in the United States and Canada. For more information about owning an Edible please visit ediblefranchise.com.

About UMe

Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is the centralized U.S. catalog and special markets entity for UMG. Working in tandem with all of the company’s record labels, UMe provides a frontline approach to catalog management, a concentration of resources, opportunities in new technologies and an emphasis on strategic marketing initiatives to engage all types of consumers across multiple entry points and platforms.

Nicki Minaj re-releases Pink Friday: The Complete Edition and it's mentioned in 360 MAGAZINE

Nicki Minaj re-releases Pink Friday: The Complete Edition

The most successful female rapper of all time Nicki Minaj celebrates the 10th anniversary of her landmark debut album, Pink Friday, with Pink Friday: The Complete Edition, releasing today via Ume/Young Money/Cash Money Records/Republic Records. With eight exciting bonus tracks, it presents the definitive vision of this groundbreaking body of work. 

Get it HERE. 

Check out the full tracklisting below.

Pink Friday crashed the culture when it first arrived on November 22, 2010, catapulting Minaj into icon status. The album reached #1 on the Billboard 200, becoming the highest-selling hip-hop female debut since The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998. Certified triple-platinum, Pink Friday spawned a number of hits including the 8x-platinum “Super Bass, triple-platinum “BedRock” [feat. Young Money & Lloyd], platinum “Moment 4 Life” [feat. Drake], “Fly” [feat. Rihanna], and “Your Love, and gold “Did It On’em.Pink Friday spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in 2011, tying for the most weeks at No. 1 by a female rap act and a record Nicki would later break when Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded led for seven weeks in 2012. What’s more, she still holds that record today! Pink Friday also received three GRAMMY® Award nominations in the category of “Best Rap Album,” “Best New Artist” and “Best Rap Performance” for “Moment 4 Life.It also took home “Rap Album of the Year” at the American Music Awards.

Stay tuned for more surprises from Nicki Minaj to be revealed soon.

TRACKLISTING

  1. “I’m The Best”
  2. “Roman’s Revenge” [feat. Eminem]
  3. “Did It On’em”
  4. “Right Thru Me”
  5. “Fly” [feat. Rihanna]
  6. “Save Me”
  7. “Moment 4 Life” [feat. Drake]
  8. “Check It Out” [feat. will.i.am]
  9. “Blazin” [feat. Kanye West]
  10. “Here I Am”
  11. “Dear Old Nicki”
  12. “Your Love”
  13. “Last Chance” [feat. Natasha Bedingfield]
  14. “Super Bass”
  15. “Blow Ya Mind”
  16. “Muny”
  17. “Wave Ya Hand”
  18. “Catch Me”
  19. “Girls Fall Like Dominoes”
  20. “BedRock” [feat. Young Money & Lloyd]
  21. “Roman’s Revenge” [feat. Lil Wayne]

About Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj has set the tone in music, fashion and beauty for more than a decade – making history and building her superstar personal brand along the way. In 2017, she achieved the record for the most career hits on the Billboard Hot 100 by any female artist ever, previously held by the legendary Aretha Franklin for four decades. Among those smashes, she has notched 114 entries total to date, two #1 hits, 59 top 40 Hot 100 hits (a record among female hip-hop acts), and 19 top 10 Hot 100 hits (another record among female hip-hop acts). Nicki holds the record as a songwriter for the “Most Billboard Hot 100 Entries Among Women in the 2010s.Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020, her landmark debut Pink Friday sold over 375,000 copies in its first week – the largest sales week for a female hip-hop artist since Lauryn Hill in 1998.

In addition to music, Minaj has made numerous TV and film appearances, including as a judge on “American Idol” along with film roles in 2014’s “The Other Woman” alongside Kate Upton, Cameron Diaz, and Leslie Mann and 2016’s ”Barbershop: The Next Cut.” She’s also done voiceover for “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” What’s more, she’s had high-profile deals with Fendi, Adidas, H&M, Diesel, Mercedes-Benz, Sprint and Pepsi, released a nail polish collection with OPI and was the face of MAC’s Viva Glam campaign. Her branded lipstick, according to Racked, was the brand’s highest-selling Viva Glam lipstick of all-time. Not to mention, she is a co-owner of TIDAL, and her BEATS 1 QUEEN radio show stands out as “the highest-rated show in Apple Music history.

After a decade since Pink Friday introduced her to the mainstream, 2020 was another big year for Nicki Minaj with two number ones on the Billboard Hot 100. These achievements further sealed her place in history among the most influential artists ever.

Elton John – I Can’t Go On Living Without You

I Can’t Go On Living Without You has been unveiled to celebrate the release of Elton John’s Jewel Box, released today via UMe. Multiple GRAMMY winner Mark ‘Spike’ Stent (Shawn Mendes, Selena Gomez, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber) has given the unreleased 1968 mix – one of the many gems of Jewel Box – a 2020 polish in time to celebrate one of the most eagerly awaited releases of the year. Watch Here.

The 1968 original captures the sound of a long-lost swinging London and typified the writing-to-order pop that Elton John and Bernie Taupin had been contracted to Dick James Music to deliver for other artists to cover.

Written and recorded at DJM studios in Central London in Spring 1968, “I Can’t Go On Living Without You” was selected for consideration for the UK’s Eurovision Song Contest entry the following year. Six songs were chosen for the public vote for Lulu to take the winner forward to the competition’s final in Madrid that March. To get to the final six for songwriters of that day was prestigious enough. Another aspiring team – Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber – submitted a song entitled “Try It And See,” which, according to Rice, didn’t even make the final 50. A year or so later, new lyrics were provided, and it became “Herod’s Song” in Jesus Christ Superstar.

“I Can’t Go On Living Without You” was sung by Lulu on her BBC1 primetime show Happening For Lulu on Saturday, February 1, 1969. “Back then, Eurovision wasn’t quite the orgy of embarrassment it is now, but still, it wasn’t like Pink Floyd, and Soft Machine were queuing up to get involved,” Elton wrote in his acclaimed, best selling memoir Me. In fact, he revealed, although credited to Bernie, he had written the lyrics by himself. On the following Monday, the composing team Bill Martin and Phil Coulter (who had written the previous year’s Eurovision entry,  Congratulations) reviewed I Can’t Go On Living Without You, the fourth of the six contenders, in the Daily Express. Martin wrote, “I strained my ears to hear a non-existent melody coupled with a pathetic lyric.” Coulter added, “a very unimaginative title for what is just a dull and uninteresting song.” Elton wrote in his diary on Monday, February 3: “Went into the office. General reaction to Lulu – not very good.”

When the final result came through a fortnight later, the song had come sixth in the audience poll. Out of six. It had received 5087 votes. Ironically, it was beaten into last place by a song called Are You Ready For Love? (but not the one Elton was to take to No. 1 in 2003). The song that Lulu did take forward, “Boom Bang-A-Bang,” garnered 56476 votes.

Although Lulu was to be the joint winner of Eurovision that year, “I Can’t Go On Living Without You” did attract some cover versions; Cilla Black recorded it on her 1970 album, Sweet Inspiration; Pickettywitch singer Polly Brown released it on the flip side of “So In Love” in 1973, and Sandie Shaw’s version belatedly came out in 2004.

Now it’s time to hear the Elton original for the first time. ‘I Can’t Go On Living Without You’ is three fabulous minutes of the zingy easy listening pop of the day, with a catchy chorus and a memorable hook.

The track is accompanied by a new lyric video from Ladybug Studios where, like the track itself, the song’s swingin’ 60s vintage will be given a fresh and contemporary twist. It features images of Elton and Bernie from the period.

Elton: Jewel Box is available now as deluxe 8CD and 9LP box sets, standalone 4LP, 3LP, and 2LP breakouts. On streaming services, we’re celebrating its wealth of rarities, deep cuts, and B-sides via a series of regular three-song batches, culminating with the complete ‘Jewel Box’ appearing, in full, in March for Elton’s 75th birthday.

Charlie “Bird” Parker – The Mercury & Clef LP Collection

By Cassandra Yany

Saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker is re-releasing five of his records for The Mercury & Clef 10-Inch LP Collection for his 100th anniversary, “Bird 100.” Bird was “an architect of modern music” and is widely known as the greatest alto saxophonist.

The LPs Charlie Parker With Strings (1950), Bird and Diz (1952), Charlie Parker Plays South of the Border (1952), Charlie Parker With Strings (Vol. 2) (1953), and Charlie Parker (1954) have been newly remastered, pressed to 10-inch black vinyl and packed in the original album covers. The collection will be available for purchase December 18 exclusively via uDiscover and the Official Charlie Parker webstore.

The boxed set serves as an ode to the 10-inch vinyl, which was a popular format in the late 1940s, between the 78 and the 12-inch. It includes an elegant booklet that contains rare photos, detailed recording session information and essays by pianist-journalist Ethan Iverson and author David Ritz. All of the albums, aside from Bird and Diz, have been out of print on vinyl since their original releases. These elements make the collection the most detailed presentation yet of Bird’s rich 1940s to mid-1950s streak before he passed in 1955 at the age of 34.

Bird’s Strings albums mark two peaks in his recording. Vol. 1 starts off with his version unforgettable version of Sam Lewis and John Klenner’s “Just Friends,” which contains a thrilling and technically brilliant improvised saxophone solo. Thomas Adair and Matt Dennis’ sorrowful “Everything Happens to Me” is lifted with the singing of Bird’s sax. Parker naturally channels a romantic ballad with his spin on Rodgers and Hart’s “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” Vol. 2 produces a nocturnal mood with tracks such as George and Ira Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” Arthur Scwartz and Howard Dietz’s “Dancing in the Dark,” and Cole Porter’s “Easy to Love.”

Bird’s most well-known collaborator was trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Bird and Diz provides a look at the pair and was the only joint session with Bird, Diz and revolutionary pianist Thelonious Monk. The album includes the toe-tapping “Bloomdido,” and the percolating “An Oscar for Treadwell.” Co-written by Parker and trumpeter Benny Harris, “Leap Frog” is dizzying in its velocity and quicksilver innovation.

Parker and Gillespie dabbled in Afro-Cuban styles, particularly with pioneering Latin vocalist and percussionist Machito. South of the Border demonstrates Bird’s transcultural connection. In Iverson’s essay, saxophonist Henry Threadgill notes “the rassling match when the modern jazz guys came in and tried to play with the Latin cats in the Forties.” He points out that Bird did this effortlessly: “Charlie Parker could bring the music together, but as soon as Bird stopped, the rassling match would begin again.” This is where Parker is in his element, especially on songs like Óscar Gómez and Albert Hammond’s “Un Poquito De Tu Amor,” Zequinha de Abreu’s “Tico Tico,” and Manuel Ponce’s “Estrellita.”

Bird recorded his self-titled album in 1952 and 1953 with two quartets including drummer Max Roach. One side featured bassist Percy Heath and Al Haig, while the other featured Teddy Kotick and pianist Hank Jones. This essential title is Bird’s only studio LP in a quartet setting, is a standout with the strength of its performances and its clean recording quality. Bird proves his power on esteemed tracks like “Now’s The Time,” “Laird Baird” and “Confirmation.”

The Mercury & Clef 10-Inch LP Collection completes an excellent year for Bird and indicates another great one to come. Prior to the hundredth anniversary, Verve/ UMe released The Magnificent Charlie Parker on vinyl and Jazz at Midnite for Record Store Day. Next year, the recording company will release a new collection title Bird In LA, which will offer a new perspective on a previously under examined part of Parker’s life. The collection will include unreleased songs that were recorded during Bird’s documented visits to Los Angeles in the mid ‘40s through the early ‘50s.

The set features David Stone Martine’s illustrated original sleeve art, which uDiscover is also offering as framed, archival-quality canvas prints. The wall art is available in various sizes and includes the albums Big Band, Machito Jazz With Flip & Bird, The Magnificent Charlie Parker, Charlie Parker With Strings and Charlie Parker With Strings (Vol. 2).

The Mercury & Clef 10-Inch LP Collection

LP1 – Charlie Parker With Strings (1950)

Side A:

  1. April In Paris
  2. Summertime
  3. If I Should Lose You

Side B:

  1. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
  2. Everything Happens
  3. Just Friends

LP2 – Charlie Parker With Strings (Vol. 2) (1953)

Side A:

  1. Laura
  2. They Can’t Take That Away from Me
  3. You Came Along from Out of Nowhere
  4. East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)

Side B:

  1. Dancing in the Dark
  2. East to Love
  3. I’m in the Mood for Love
  4. I’ll Remember April

LP3 – Bird & Diz (1952)

Side A:

  1. Bloomdido
  2. My Melancholy Baby
  3. Relaxing with Lee
  4. Passport

Side B:

  1. Lead Frog
  2. An Oscar for Treadwell
  3. Mohawk
  4. Visa

LP4 – Charlie Parker Plays South of the Border (1952)

Side A:

  1. Tico Tico
  2. Un Poquito de Tu Amor
  3. My Little Suede Shoes
  4. Estrellita

Side B:

  1. Begin the Beguine
  2. La Paloma
  3. La Cucaracha
  4. Mama Inez

LP5 – Charlie Parker (1954)

Side A:

  1. Now’s the Time
  2. I Remember You
  3. Confirmation
  4. Chi Chi

Side B:

  1. I Hear Music (a.k.a. The Song is You)
  2. Laird Baird
  3. Kim
  4. Cosmic Rays

Pre-Order The Mercury & Clef 10-Inch LP Collection Here

View Unboxing Video Here

The Offspring Releases Limited Edition Deluxe Vinyl

THE OFFSPRING REISSUES ‘CONSPIRACY OF ONE’ AS LIMITED-EDITION DELUXE COLOR VINYL TO COMMEMORATE THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS RELEASE

To commemorate it’s 20th anniversary, Conspiracy of One, the sixth album by punk rock trailblazers the Offspring, will once again be available on vinyl — the first time since its release in 2000. On December 11, Round Hill Records/UMe will release a deluxe version of Conspiracy of One pressed to yellow and red splatter vinyl, which includes spot gloss on the cover and a custom turntable slipmat featuring the Offspring’s flaming skull silhouette logo. A non-deluxe, limited-edition canary yellow vinyl variant will be available on uDiscover & The Sound of Vinyl. A standard black vinyl version will be released in early 2021. Listen or pre-order Conspiracy of One HERE.

All editions will feature the bonus track “Huck It.” The anthemic, sub-three-minute blast was featured on their 2000 VHS/DVD Huck It and used to soundtrack various skateboard stunts, including longtime Offspring drummer Ron Welty doing a successful board-to-board leap over two of his bandmates. “Huck It” will be released as a stand-alone digital single on November 13. In addition, the official videos for Conspiracy‘s first two singles – “Original Prankster” and “Want You Bad” – will be available on the Offspring’s Official YouTube channel in newly remastered HD.

Conspiracy of One, the first Offspring album of the 21st Century, was the fourth album from the game-changing punk group to be certified Platinum, a feat completed only a month after its release on November 14, 2000. The album is best known for its lead single, “Original Prankster,” a song that broke the Billboard Top 100 and hit Number 2 on the U.S. Alternative Airplay charts. The song and its mischievous video by director Dave Meyers included a funky sample from War’s “Low Rider” and a cameo from hip-hop legend Redman. The album’s follow-up single, “Want You Bad,” could be heard in the film American Pie 2 and the video game Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller.

About the release, Dexter Holland said, “When we put Conspiracy of One out in 2000, Bill Clinton was still President, and September 11 hadn’t happened yet. However, it was obvious that tensions were rising in the Middle East, and we could all sense that acts of terrorism were on the rise, both domestically and internationally.  In the U.S., we had all experienced the tragedy of the Oklahoma City bombing and had only recently apprehended the Unabomber, while internationally, there were instances of terrorism such as the sarin nerve gas attack in Japan, suicide bombing attacks in Chechnya, and the bombing of the USS Cole. It occurred to us that this was going to be a new way of waging war going forward.  While in the past, nations were generally attacked by other nations – army vs. army – we realized that the world was changing and that future attacks against our country were just as likely to occur by an individual or a small group…a “Conspiracy of One.” Of course, we had no idea what was in store for us on September 11, 2001, or how our title portended things to come.”

“Conspiracy of One seemed to come together pretty quickly, compared to some of other records,” said Noodles.  “It was our first time recording with Brendan O’Brien, and we learned a lot from him about how to get the sounds we were looking for. We still play ‘Prankster’ & ‘Want You Bad’ from this record, almost every show, and we’d like to add more to the set. ‘Come Out Swinging’ & ‘Million Miles Away’ always stoke the fans, and ‘Special Delivery’ was such a dynamic & fun part of our set when we played it back then. I still love all these songs.”

For Conspiracy of One, the Offspring used their flaming skull logo on an album cover for the first time — the now-iconic Alan Forbes illustration has since appeared on no small number of T-shirts, stickers, tattoos, and, recently, a custom tank in the multiplayer online game World of Tanks. The Offspring’s first collaboration with producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against the Machine), Conspiracy of One captures both the Offspring’s trademark locomotive pop-punk (“Come Out Swinging”, the 99-second “All Along”) and their genre-crossing experiments (the bridge of mid-tempo “Special Delivery” borrows the ooga-chaka from Blue Swede’s 1974 version of “Hooked on a Feeling”).

“Alan Forbes is a fantastic graphic artist who did the artwork on Conspiracy of One and “Huck It,” Dexter shared.  “We had been fans of his work for years and were thrilled to have him help us with our album package.  Part of our conversations with Alan were about how it would be cool to have an official Offspring band logo.  We worked together and came up with the ‘flaming skull.’   It’s been our logo ever since!”

With more than 40 million albums sold worldwide, The Offspring are one of punk rock’s most significant ambassadors. Since 1985, their lineup has featured vocalist Dexter Holland and guitarist Noodles, with the entirety of the 1990s, spent with the Conspiracy of One rhythm section of bassist Greg K and drummer Ron Welty. Featuring “Come Out And Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)” and “Self Esteem,” their 1994 breakthrough Smash remains the largest selling album ever released on an independent label, certified six times Platinum. The group currently has festival dates scheduled across Europe for the summer of 2021.

Conspiracy of One Tracklist:

Side A

1. Intro 
2. Come Out Swinging 
3. Original Prankster 
4. Want You Bad 
5. Million Miles Away 
6. Dammit, I Changed Again 
7. Living In Chaos 

Side B

1. Special Delivery 
2. One Fine Day 
3. All Along 
4. Denial, Revisited 
5 Vultures 
6. Conspiracy Of One 
7. Huck It 

ABOUT ROUND HILL MUSIC:
Founded by Josh Gruss along with Richard Rowe and Neil Gillis, Round Hill Music is one of the largest independent music rights companies in the world. Through its various divisions Round Hill provides a full administrative platform for songwriters and artists that delivers everything from sync licensing, song placements, music production, label services, and transparent, accurate global royalty processing and accounting.  Round Hill is proud to have recently partnered with Zync Music, a full-service creative sync team that specializes in placements for film, advertising, TV, trailers, sports & games.

Round Hill boasts an extensive catalog of music written, recorded, and performed by The Beatles, Eddie Holland, Trombone Shorty, Neil Sedaka, Gil Scott-Heron, The Rolling Stones, The Offspring, Bruno Mars, Cee Lo Green, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Bon Jovi, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Celine Dion, ‘N Sync, Eric Carmen, Percy Sledge, Warrant, Bush, Katy Perry, and many others. Some of Round Hill and Zync’s current artists, writers, and producers include Valerie Broussard, Des Rocs, Morgan Taylor Reid, Tim Myers, Cobi, Gramatik, Shawn Hook, TT the Artist, Nick Waterhouse, Confidence Man, Katie Pruitt, Ryan Shaw, Langhorne Slim and bands such as American Authors, YONAKA, SHEL, BONES UK, Lettuce, Florida Georgia Line, Royal Teeth and Band of Skulls.  In addition, Round Hill and Zync represent a larger roster of talent for synchronization including ODESZA, Alabama Shakes, Rezz, Vulfpeck, Sleigh Bells, Jim James, Sofi Tukker, Toro Y Moi, VHS Collection, Unkle, Marc Broussard, Thutmose, Spiritualized, Sleater-Kinney, Jai Wolf, Estelle, Jarina De Marco, Black Lips and Bassnectar.

Round Hill Nashville’s roster of hit songwriters includes Ashley Gorley, Dallas Davidson, Jimmy Robbins, Wade Kirby, and Eric Arjes. Through a partnership with Big Loud, Round Hill Nashville also represents writers like Craig Wiseman, Rodney Clawson, and Matt Dragstrem.  

Round Hill’s catalog includes hit songs such as “Happy Together,” “All of Me,” “She Loves You,” “Video Killed The Radio Star,” “Calendar Girl,” “Living In America,” “Under The Boardwalk,” “Best Day Of My Life,” “Fever” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Total Eclipse Of The Heart,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Bye, Bye, Bye,” “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Cherry Pie,” “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” “Land of A Thousand Dances,” I Got You (I Feel Good),” “Marry You,” “What A Wonderful World” and many more.

Round Hill has offices in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, and London. 

ABOUT UMe:
Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is the centralized U.S. catalog and special markets entity for UMG. Working in concert with all of the company’s record labels, UMe provides a frontline approach to catalog management, a concentration of resources, opportunities in new technologies, and an emphasis on strategic marketing initiatives to engage all types of consumers across multiple entry points and platforms.

Baller Blockin’ 20th Anniversary

CASH MONEY RECORDS & UMe ANNOUNCE SPECIAL 20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF LEGENDARY BALLER BLOCKIN’ SOUNDTRACK OUT NOVEMBER 20th!

AVAILABLE AS A SPECIAL EDITION BOX WITH 2LP, 1CD, & 1DVD. FIRST TIME ON VINYL

Introducing a cult classic to a new generation, Cash Money Records and UMe unveil the Baller Blockin’ 20th Anniversary Edition. Soundtrack on November 20, 2020. This Special Edition Box Set includes 1CD of the original album, 1DVD with the original Baller Blockin’ film, and 2LPs, marking the first time the soundtrack is available on vinyl and the first time the film will be available for download and streaming.

Pre-order the soundtrack, HERE.

Commemorating a treasured moment of Cash Money Records lore, the label released Baller Blockin’ as its inaugural big screen foray. The action comedy/drama stars flagship artists The Hot BoysJuvenile, Lil Wayne, B.G., and Turk—as well as label Co-Founder, Co-C.E.O., and GRAMMY® Award-nominated superstar Bryan “Baby a.k.a. Birdman” Williams. It vividly depicted the daily trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the Magnolia Projects, 3rd Ward, New Orleans so often referenced on the artists’ breakout records. A rare feat in Hollywood, it was notably co-written, co-directed and co-produced by Birdman and Cash Money Records Co-Founder and Co-C.E.O. Ronald “Slim” Williams.

Birdman commented, “This one has been a long time coming. For years, everybody’s asked me, ‘When are you going to put out Baller Blockin’ again?’We wanted to meet that audience demand at the highest level possible. This is really the definitive version of one of our most unforgettable projects. I’m excited for fans to experience it like it was always meant to be experienced.

“Slim” added, Baller Blockin’ showed us this movement was bigger than music. At the time, the South wasn’t what it is now in hip-hop. We wanted to go as big as possible, and it’s really the first time of many that we did just that. It was a precursor of everything to follow, and it’s very special to all of us.”

The Original Baller Blockin’ Soundtrack quickly went gold upon release in 2000. Now, many of its tracks shine as standouts from the Cash Money Records back catalog. It boasts timeless Southern hip-hop anthems such as the Turk, Baby, and Juvenile collaboration “Baller Blockin’” [feat. E-40], Juvenile’s “Rover Truck,” UGK’s “Family Affair,”Nas & Bravehearts“What You Gonna Do,and the banger “Project B!#$H” by Big Tymers, Lil Wayne, and Juvenile.

As a sign of things to come, the album showcases Cash Money superstars Lil Wayne, Juvenile, and Birdman in the midst of the first Cash Money Records renaissance and hints at the vast potential of their lyrical prowess, towering personalities, and inimitable cultural impact fulfilled over the next two decades.

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About Cash Money Records
Since 1991, Brothers Bryan “Birdman” Williams aka “Baby” and Ronald “Slim” Williams have built Cash Money Records into a legendary force in the music industry. Through tireless devotion and an unparalleled work ethic, the duo founded the legendary label in the New Orleans housing projects and elevated it into a multi-million-dollar empire and cultural tastemaker. Not only is the company revered as an iconic and enduring global street brand, it’s become the most successful independent record label in America boasting a bevy of chart-dominating, multi-platinum artists and Grammy Award winners and cumulative sales over 100 million albums worldwide, the roster includes Jacquees, Blueface, Deemic, Juvenile and more. The label also houses Lil Wayne’s imprint Young Money Entertainment (Drake and Nicki Minaj) as well as a publishing arm Cash Money Content. Cash Money Records is distributed by Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company.

About UMe
Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is the centralized U.S. catalog and special markets entity for UMG. Working in tandem with all of the company’s record labels, UMe provides a frontline approach to catalog management, a concentration of resources, opportunities in new technologies and an emphasis on strategic marketing initiatives to engage all types of consumers across multiple entry points and platforms.

Tune In Tonight for Lil Baby’s Performance at Howard U

Rap Life, Apple Music’s industry leading hip-hop playlist, will feature an important and meaningful live event captured on the campus of Howard University – one of the most historic and prestigious HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) in the world. This special live-streamed event aims to further extend the discussion around the many important issues impacting the Black community through open dialogue, important conversations, and the power of music.

Hosted by Apple Music’s global head of Hip-Hop and R&B, Ebro Darden along with Apple Music 1 hosts Nadeska and LowKey, the event will feature intimate conversations and bespoke performances from beloved rappers Lil Baby, Nas, Rapsody and Wale. As the events of 2020 continue to reveal the broken systems within our society, these artists stand out as incredibly passionate and outspoken advocates for their community, using both their music and social influence to promote issues like police reform, racial and gender equality, social justice, and standing up to racism.

“The Rap Life team’s main objective was to use our voice and tools to show support and solidarity with students, artists and activists around the nation rising up to make sure the world knows that Black Lives Matter,” Ebro said “We plan to bring Rap Life Live to more HBCU campuses because these institutions are part of the backbone of Black communities and Hip-Hop is from the Black experience.”

When asked why he wanted to participate, Lil Baby said, “I feel like we got a long way to go. I’d be lying if I said we are getting there. Don’t get me wrong it’s a start, but it’s going to take some time for this to work out.”

Wale said, “Black people need to understand and hear each other, combine our messaging and give it to the world.”

Rapsody said, “our voice is our biggest weapon. You have to speak up for what you want. You have to be the change. Speak to each other. Speak up, let people hear you.”

Nas said, “Whatever is going on in society, affects people. People affect society. And People are going to speak and artists are going to make art.”

Additionally, Rap Life Live will feature sit down interviews with Howard University students – including student association president Rachel Howell, Miss Howard University Taylor Davis and president of the 10for10 organization Peter Lubembela – providing a global platform to empower the next generation of leaders as they discuss how they are working to inspire, educate, unite and uplift their communities.

Tune in to the very first Rap Life Live Friday September 18, at 7 pm PT only on Apple Music HERE

ABOUT RAP LIFE

Rap Life Live is an extension of Apple Music’s popular Rap Life playlist and companion radio show- both situated at the forefront of hip-hop culture, connecting and engaging the black community through music. This week, our Rap Life playlist spotlights artists who are using their music to entertain, inform, and heal during this time of ongoing uncertainty.

*Every precaution was taken during the filming of Rap Life Live to ensure the safety of the staff, crew and presenters in accordance with both national and local COVID-19 guidelines, including daily health screenings, face coverings, and regular thorough cleanings of the facilities.

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Bob Marley illustrated by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE.

Bob Marley

Today, episode six of Bob Marley’s Legacy documentary series continues with “Ride Natty Ride,” a visual celebration of what Bob Marley and his music means to the surf and skateboarding community worldwide. Featuring interviews with the godfather of Jamaican surfing and owner of the Jamnesia Surf camp, Billy “Mystic” Wilmot, Jamaican surfer/skateboarders, Shama “Superman” Beckford and Ivah Wilmot, local Jamaican skateboarders, Froggboss WellRaggedy, and Kalya Wheeler, American Pro Skater from Long Beach, CA., Boo Johnson and art director and friend of Bob Marley, Neville Garrick. The episode details the importance of community, self-expression, and the feeling of freedom within the surfing and skateboarding cultures while drawing parallels to Marley’s music.  Ride Natty Ride is available from today on Bob Marley’s Official YouTube Channel. Watch HERE.

The Legacy episode follows the digital EP release of Songs of Freedom: Rarities, which features Marley songs from alternate mixes previously unavailable for streaming, including the original version of “Iron Lion Zion,” “Is This Love” (horns mix), “One Love/People Get Ready” (12” mix) and more. Listen to Songs of Freedom: Rarities EP HERE.

UPCOMING EVENTS & PROJECTS

Earlier this month, Oakley® unveiled their powerful remake of Bob Marley’s iconic anthem – One Love – as part of the brand’s 2020 For the Love of Sport Campaign. The official release aims to inspire hope and positivity during a time of uncertainty by celebrating sport, and how it can enlighten and uplift. The reworked verses were co-written by Oakley Athletes, including Diamond DeShields, Ryan Sheckler, Oksana Masters, Caroline Buchanan, and Ítalo Ferreira and performed by American-born, British-Jamaican singer-songwriter, Celeste. This reinterpretation evolves the classic song into a modern-day love story, amplified by an official music video that showcases a dynamic display of passion and determination as viewers follow athletes’ individual journeys and the way sport has impacted their lives and the people around them. Listen HERE. Watch the video HERE.

Coming this October, and in continued celebration of the late musical and cultural icon’s 75th birthday, Rizzoli will be publishing Bob Marley: Portrait of the Legend, a celebration of the life and influence of the forefather of reggae, and the first book of its kind authorized by the Marley Family. Curated by Ziggy Marley, drawing exclusively on images from the Marley family archives, Bob Marley: Portrait of the Legend showcases over 150 photographs in celebration of the life of one of the greatest musical and sociopolitical icons of twentieth-century pop culture. Making the most of its oversize pages, the book is designed as a monument to Marley’s influence, mixing the iconic and the intimate, bringing together striking images of his on-stage performances, along with glimpses into his creative process in and out of the studio, and family life in Jamaica.

About the release, Ziggy Marley said, “I am blessed to present to you this very special collection of photographs from our archives. There is a cliché term, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” From my experience of looking through hundreds and hundreds of photos for this book, I will say, yes, it is true.” For more details, click HERE:

Amazon Music recently announced [RE]DISCOVER; a new global brand developed to support artist catalogs across all music genres, Bob Marley as the first Artist of the Month for August. The [RE]DISCOVER brand showcases carefully curated artist playlists across various genres and takes listeners on a career-spanning journey of musical discovery, or re-discovery, through the featured artist’s entire body of work. Learn more about [RE]DISCOVER Bob Marley HERE.

The launch of [RE]DISCOVER and its Artist of the Month campaign also includes the creation of a Bob Marley artist store on Amazon.com.The [RE]DISCOVER campaign includes links to stream and download Marley’s music; physical music selections; links to related films and books; and a collection of exclusive merchandise including clothing featuring intimate photos of Marley taken by David Burnett, from his published book titled Soul Rebel. Also available now is a brand-new Wrangler x Bob Marley denim collaboration, available only at the Official Bob Marley Amazon Store. And later this Fall, Amazon Music HD will exclusively stream selected tracks from Legend: The Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers, in immersive 3D Audio on Amazon Music HD as a part of [RE]DISCOVER. For the first time, fans will be able to hear iconic songs like “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Exodus,” and “Is This Love” mixed in Dolby Atmos.

BOB MARLEY’S IMPACT

In this digital era, Bob Marley remains one of the most followed posthumous artists on social media, and MARLEY75 will serve to bring his music and message to the digital foreground, reaching new audiences and perspectives with innovative content and groundbreaking technology. Special live events, exclusive digital content, recordings, exhibitions, plus rare and unearthed treasures will also be revealed throughout the year. Bob Marley’s music continues to inspire generation upon generation, as his legacy lives on through his message of love, justice, and unity, a sentiment needed more than ever in 2020. In conjunction with Tuff Gong and UMe, a division of the Universal Music Group, the Marley family will continue to ensure the highest quality, integrity, and care is taken to honor Bob’s legacy and to celebrate one of the 20th century’s most important and influential figures.

Additional information on MARLEY75 events will be revealed soon.

Subscribe to Bob Marley’s Official YouTube Channel and never miss an update.

#BobMarley75

ABOUT BOB MARLEY:

Bob Marley, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is notable not only as the man who put reggae on the global map but, as a statesman in his native Jamaica, he famously brought together the country’s warring factions. Today, Bob Marley remains one of the 20th century’s most important and influential entertainment icons. Marley’s lifestyle and music continue to inspire new generations as his legacy lives on through his music. In the digital era, he has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity, with the official Bob Marley Facebook page drawing more than 70 million fans, ranking it among the Top 20 of all Facebook pages and Top 10 among celebrity pages. Marley’s music catalog has sold millions of albums worldwide. His iconic collection, LEGEND, holds the distinction of being the longest-charting album in the history of Billboard magazine’s Catalog Albums chart and remains the world’s best-selling reggae album. Marley’s accolades include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994) and ASCAP Songwriters Hall of Fame (2010), a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), multiple entries in the GRAMMY® Hall Of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2001).

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Yusuf / Cat Stevens Reimagines Song “Father and Son”

Yusuf / Cat Stevens today unveils a 2020 reimaging of his seminal hit “Father and Son.” The song is the latest release from his highly anticipated forthcoming album Tea for the Tillerman² (out September 18th on UMe), an album that sees Yusuf recast the same eleven songs from his era-defining album for a new age, with dramatic results.

As the song reaches its 50th anniversary, “Father and Son” continues to endure as deeply as ever in the hearts of listeners, a true song for all times. This brand new version sees Yusuf singing both parts of the song – the role of the father brought together digitally with a recording of his younger-self, in the role of the son, originally recorded at his historic premiere performance at the legendary Troubadour in Los Angeles in 1970. The effect of the two generations of one man duetting is hauntingly uncanny and gives a whole new level of rarity to this most profound song.

Though written half a century ago, “Father and Son” very much captures the internal tensions and exposes the fractures which break up so many families from different cultures along the perennial generation gap; the spark of youthful rebellion can often erupt when it is held down by a pattern of conformism and pacificity, which commonly settles in many hearts with age. The overarching message of “Father and Son” couldn’t be more relevant; It is certainly a song for all ages.

“‘Father and Son’ feels pretty appropriate for what’s going on right now, if you take the father figure as being the establishment. However, I don’t think revolutions are that kind to the previous order, its main objective is to turn it around and to get rid of them. Whereas I don’t personally believe in that; I believe in a kind of a change that would not necessarily destroy everything.” 

Yusuf / Cat Stevens

The new release is accompanied by a stunning stop-frame animated video from acclaimed director Chris Hopewell, Jacknife Films and Black Dog Films. Relocating the narrative into a modern suburban setting, the result is another moving piece of filmic art. Admirers of Yusuf / Cat Stevens music will undoubtedly relish watching as another of his most quintessential songs is enchantingly brought to life in this magical medium.

Speaking about the creation of the video, Hopewell said: “It’s not often in the world of music videos that you get the chance to work with a truly iconic song not to mention artist. This track is so well known worldwide and means so much to so many people. 

Yusuf came up with the premise of the two characters living detached, remote lives in the same home and I built the narrative around that. We wanted to get across the frustration that the two generations often feel with each other but them have a coming together and mutual respect at the close. The track is sung from two very different perspectives hence our portrayal of the two separate lives lived under one roof. The video was shot with a social distanced crew of six over three weeks just after the lockdown was lifted. Producer Rosie Brind and I designed and fabricated the majority of the props, sets, and the characters. It was a tough old job with such a small crew but also nice to be very hands on with all the elements.  

“Father and Son” tells an age-old story with the characteristic Yusuf / Cat Stevens imaginative flair. It will live on and continue to be interpreted by many artists because it resonates on such a fundamental level. The new release of the song, along with its enchanting video, feels like a fitting tribute by the composer to the original version and captures nuanced insights into the cyclic struggle between fathers and their sons, who later themselves become fathers and continue the recurring tradition. The song is an anthem and a call to freedom, tempered with a plea to take one’s time and to be more considerate of others – particularly one’s own family.

Image courtesy of UMe