The Week In Music
Katy Perry says her new single with Snoop Dogg, "California Gurls," is a West Coast answer song to Alicia Keys and Jay-Z's "Empire State Of Mind." (The song debuted this week at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.) Perhaps a new West Coast/East Coast battle is brewing. But could Katy's spelling also be a nod to Big Star? "September Gurls" was one of the better-known songs by the band, led by recently passed cult figure Alex Chilton. What do you think: Is Katy a Big Star fan, or did she just misspell "Grrrls"?
Sadly, Bret Michaels was back in the hospital Thursday after suffering a "mini-stroke." The step back in his recovery from an April brain hemorrhage followed good news for the Poison rocker earlier in the week. On Sunday, he was selected along with Holly Robinson Peete as the two finalists who will square off on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice." On Wednesday, Michaels appeared for an interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (during which the talk-show queen proclaimed, "You’re alive!"), but his earlier announcement that he would resume live shows on May 28 has been put on hold. Looks like it might be a little longer before Bret's looking for nothin' but a good time.
News magnet Justin Bieber threw out the first pitch last week at a Chicago White Sox game, and as a kind of tribute, Sox third baseman Mark Teahen played Bieber's "Baby" through the park PA when he came to bat during the game. Teahen's usual plate-appearance music runs along the lines of Aqua's "Barbie Girl." Of course, for a number of years, Major League Baseball players have chosen theme songs for their at bats. Among some of the more thematic have been pitcher Roger Clemens' choice of Elton John's "Rocket Man" (given his nickname, "the Rocket") and former Phillies pitcher Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams (not surprisingly, the Troggs' "Wild Thing"). But most just go for fan-energizing rock and rap like the Yankee's Mark Teixeira (Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock") and the Mets' David Wright (the Beastie Boys' "Brass Monkey"). Watch out "Take Me Out To The Ball Game."
The Rolling Stones released a remastered version of their classic Exile On Main Street this past Tuesday, complete with 10 bonus tracks. The original double album was recorded in multiple locales, including Olympic Studios in London, Keith Richards' mansion Nellcote in France, and in Los Angeles where the literal "Main Street" influenced the album title. Frontman Mick Jagger recalled the album's sessions, "Writing songs in the afternoon, recording them in the evening, you had no time for debauchery, even me. You had your breakfast, you had your dope." The GRAMMY Museum will present The Drop: Exile On Main Street with producer Don Was on June 3.
While Starbucks has cultivated a modern tie between the coffeehouse and music — by merchandising CDs, offering free iTunes downloads and even starting its own music label — a more traditional coffeehouse is celebrating its 50th anniversary Saturday. Upstate New York's Caffè Lena, said to be the oldest continuously operated coffeehouse in the United States, is arguably the country's most important house of folk, having hosted artists such as Bob Dylan (who apparently bombed there in 1961), Arlo Guthrie and Ani DiFranco. Founder Lena Spencer died in 1989. This Kate and Anna McGarrigle performance at Caffè Lena in 1990 was a tribute to the woman who lived and breathed her café for 30 years.
Lil Jon may be, well, lil, but apparently he has big thumbs unsuited to new mobile devices. It seems the buttons on a BlackBerry are too small for the crunk star, and as for Apple's new iPad, Jon told the Associated Press Tuesday that it was "just another toy."
Starting this past Monday and running through May 31, famed recycle music label Rhino Records is re-opening the retail outlet that originally launched its business. The "pop-up" store, as the company is calling it, will be stationed just 50 feet away from its original location on Westwood Boulevard in Los Angeles, and sales (much of the merchandise will be taken from Rhino founder Richard Foos' own collection, which he prefers not to transport in a relocation to the East Coast) will benefit Chrysalis Enterprises, an L.A.-based nonprofit that helps the economically disadvantaged and homeless find jobs. Blow-out prices are promised, as well as a slate of in-pop-up-store performances.
Mobile music ID service Shazam announced on Tuesday that its now more than 75 million users have identified 1 billion songs using the company's software on their mobile devices. (GRAMMY winner David Guetta's "Gettin' Over" was the 1 billionth.) In today's chart-happy music world, in which a new top 40 list is created every time an artist sneezes, perhaps here's another to add to the list: the top 40 most ID'd songs.
Usher's "OMG," featuring will.i.am, reclaimed the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Miley Cyrus' "Can't Be Tamed" is currently No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart.
Any news we've missed? Comment below.