June 25, 2014

Scribbled Draft Lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” Sells for Record $2 Million - Updated:Discarded Songs Get A New Life


A handwritten draft of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” sold for more than $2 million at a Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday. The hefty sum for the lyrics written on four pages of hotel stationary that includes scribbled edits and doodles set a new record for a popular music manuscript, according to the Associated Press

The sale nearly doubled the previous record set in 2010, Reuters reports, “when John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for ‘A Day in the Life,’ the final track from the 1967 album ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ sold for $1.2 million, according to Sotheby's.”

Dylan recorded the song, which was named by Rolling Stone as the greatest song of all time in 2004, in 1965 when he was only 24 years old.

Here’s more on Dylan’s rough draft via Rolling Stone:

… the sheets do feature some lyrics that didn't make the final cut, including the phrase, "…dry vermouth/You'll tell the truth" and an abandoned line about Al Capone. The lyrics also show Dylan's various attempts to build a rhyme off of the "How does it feel" line with phrases like, "it feels real," "does it feel real," "get down and kneel," "raw deal" and "shut up and deal."

And a few more of Dylan’s early versions of the song from NPR:

In the line that was recorded as: "You used to laugh about / Everybody that was hanging out," Dylan had originally written "Everybody that was down and out?" before crossing it out… After "Now you don't seem so proud," is written "Voice is down" and "Head's in the cloud… " After the plaintive and cynical refrain "How does it feel?" Dylan has written in mixed caps: "IS IT AINT Quite ReaL."

By Elliot Hannon 

With thanks to Slate 


Bob Dylan Is Eminently Worthy Of The Nobel Prize In Literature

WHEN Bob Dylan opened his Australian tour in Perth last week The Australian’s reviewer Polly Coufos made an astute observation about the 73-old-old master craftsman: “He will only do it his way or not at all.’’ 
That was as true 47 years ago for the songwriter as it is today. In 1967 Dylan was holed up in Woodstock in upstate New York, recovering from a motorcycle accident. He was also forging a new way, his way, by writing and recording ferociously in a variety of styles with his colleagues in The Band. Those recordings, more than 100 of them, became known as The Basement Tapes. Most of the tracks surfaced on bootlegs before an official album featuring 24 of them was released in 1975.

What no one knew at the time, or indeed until late last year, was that Dylan discarded many of the lyrics he penned during that period. His reasons for doing so aren’t known. What we do know is that 24 of the handwritten lyrics, which Dylan kept in a box folder marked “1967”, are about to see the light.

Last year Dylan gave the lost lyrics to American producer T Bone Burnett, in the hope that he might be able to do something with them. Burnett was able.

This week saw the worldwide release of Nothing To It, one of the 20 tracks featuring those Dylan lyrics that will feature on the album Lost On the River: The New Basement Tapes Vol. 1, in ­November. Five songwriters of Burnett’s choosing wrote music for Dylan’s words: Elvis Costello, Mumford and Sons’ Marcus Mumford, Jim James from the US band My Morning Jacket, Taylor Goldsmith from the group Dawes and singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens from the Americana outfit Carolina Chocolate Drops. Under Burnett’s supervision, in the basement of Los Angeles’ Capital Studios, the five musos joined forces to record the songs, which have titles such as Spanish Mary, Lost On the River, Liberty Street and Kansas City.

In an exclusive interview in today’s Review section, Costello and Burnett explain how they got to grips with Dylan’s words, how the five musos each came up with different music for them and what it meant to be interpreting one of the greatest songwriters in history.

By Iain Shedden

New Dylan Basement Tapes six-album set for November release

From The Australian - August 27th. Also by Iain Shedden

EVERY recording made by Bob Dylan and the Band in 1967 for what became known as the Basement Tapes is to be released as a complete package of six albums in November. 
The Basement Tapes: The Bootleg Series Vol 11 will feature 138 recordings from the sessions, which were recorded at Dylan’s house and at the Band’s Big Pink house in upstate New York.

The new collection will include the 24 tracks that were released as the official Basement Tapes album in 1975, plus many newly restored versions of the songs that appeared on bootlegs prior to the official release.

This follows the news that a new project, Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes Vol 1, is also to be released in November.

This album features Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith and Rhiannon Giddens from Carolina Chocolate Drops, all of whom have written and perform new music written to accompany lyrics that Dylan discarded during that 1967 period.

Both collections will be released on November 7.

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Bob Dylan Named Greatest Songwriter Ahead Of Lennon and McCartney According To Rolling Stone 

Traveling Wilburys To Travel Into New Territory - Streaming

Bob Dylan's Sinatra-inspired 'Fallen Angels' Is Another Musical Triumph

Bob Dylan Wins The Nobel Prize In Literature


Rare Sand Cat Kittens Born In Israel


     Stories like this are always good news!

The cats have been extinct in Israel since the 1990s, but the zoo is working with a European breeding program to improve their numbers.

Four sand cat kittens were born at the Zoological Center of Tel Aviv in Israel, in a country where they’ve been extinct since the 1990s.

Rotem, the zoo’s female sand cat that arrived from Germany in 2010, gave birth to the kittens about three weeks ago.

“In the beginning of August, we were very happy to find two tiny kittens in the depth of the den with Rotem. On the next day the keepers already saw three and on the next one they were surprised to find a fourth one,” says Sagit Horowitz, a spokeswoman for the zoo.

Rotem was paired with Sela, a male cat from Poland, as part of a European breeding program for sand cats, a species listed as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Sand cats typically give birth to an average of three kittens, and at first zoo workers were concerned that four might be a bit of an undertaking for Rotem.

“We were very worried in the beginning if she could deal with four kittens. It's a lot of work, but she's doing perfectly and all the kittens are healthy and happy,” said Keren Or, the zoo’s information coordinator.

Now that the kittens are a few weeks old, they’re leaving the den and exploring their exhibit, much to the delight of visitors. Once they’re old enough to leave their mother, the kittens will be transferred to other zoos to help the species continue to reproduce.

Like many other desert animals, sand cats will drink water when it’s available, but they can survive off the water they obtain from their food. In the wild, they hunt at night, typically eating rodents, hares, birds and reptiles.
The animals have large furry pads between their toes to help them cope with hot desert sand, and their oversized ears help them disperse heat.

Sand cats are native to both Asia and Africa. According to the Jerusalem Zoo, the species went extinct in Israel due to habitat destruction following the territorial exchange between Israel and Jordan in 1994.


 By: Laura Moss

With thanks to MNN. 
Some related posts: 

Buddhist Monks and The "Tiger Temple" of Kanchanaburi

Lion Cub Triplets Raise Hope for The Endangered Asiatic Lion

The Siberian Tiger

Bornean Marbled Cat: An Ultra-rare Cat Species Captured On Camera

Iranian Cheetah Sighting Gives Hope To Conservation Efforts

Cincinnati Zoo Cheetah Sets New World Speed Record!

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Clouded Leopard Cubs At Houston Zoo

Another Chance for Three Orphaned Tiger Cubs

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Lion Protector, Shivani Bhalla Helps Big Cats and People Coexist

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Clouded Leopard Born at Florida Zoo

World Lion Day: Some Stunning Images Of The King Of The Jungle

Leopard Hunting Banned in South Africa For Remainder of 2016

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Tracking Sumatran Tigers

30 Tiger Zoos In Thailand Face Nationwide Checks

The Truth Behind The Tiger Temple

The Black Panther

Russia's 'Extinct' Persian Leopards Reintroduced To Black Sea Mountains

Why Big Cat Rescue Doesn’t Have Cheetah or Jaguars 

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Pallas's Cats To Get Their Own 'Palace' In Siberian Mountains

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Last Wild Ocelots In Texas Get New Paths To Safety


June 22, 2014

Flight Attendant’s Hilarious Pre-flight Speech Goes Viral


 What a great sense of humour! 

This would help take the boredom out of that important, but tedious, pre-flight  instruction speech.

FLYING can be such a drag. Between infinite security checks, screaming infants and cramped leg room, it’s enough to make people question why they boarded a plane in the first place. 
Luckily, this Southwest Airlines flight attendant was on board to remedy his passenger’s gripes.

His pre-flight speech was rife with wit and sarcasm, chastising passengers who don’t know how to use a seatbelt and heckling women with mismatched shoes, socks and handbags.

“That seatbelt needs to be low and tight across your hips just like the hot pink Speedo I’m gonna be wearing when I finally get the three of us to a hotel hot tub tonight,” he said to cheers.

He also reminded the cabin about the hazards of smoking on an aeroplane. “Folks, it’s $2,200 for tampering with the smoke detector in the lavatory, and you know if you had $2,200, you’d be on United Airlines in first class.”

Lastly, he offered some advice that all mothers should take to heart. “For those of you travelling with your children, why? For those of you travelling with two of your children, what in the world were you thinking? But when those masks fall, you’ll want to put the mask on the bright one — that one’s going to contribute to your retirement most successfully.”

According to the YouTube user who posted the video, the flight attendant also hosted a cocktail party midway through the flight. Virgin America’s #VXsafetydance has nothing on this guy.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post .


June 21, 2014

Deborah Jones: 10 highlights From The Australian Stage


FOR 44 of the past 50 tumultuous years, The Australian’s former arts editor Deborah Jones has been either a witness, champion or critic of stage performances in this country. 
From her first visit to a theatre, to see venerable British director Tyrone Guthrie’s version of Oedipus Rex for the Old Tote in Sydney, when she was a Year 12 student, to last year’s Madama Butterfly, via Don’s Party (1971), she has seen the performances that both reflected the times and changed them.

Here, in chronological order, are her personal 10 highlights from those years.

Don’s Party (1971). David Williamson’s play combined dashed hopes with too much alcohol and indiscreet revelations as Don and Kath Henderson, of Melbourne’s Lower Plenty, threw a party in fruitless anticipation of a long-awaited Labor Party victory in the federal election of 1969.

Jesus Christ Superstar (1972). The last weeks in the life of Jesus Christ and his relationship with Judas were the unlikely but compelling subject for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rollicking rock opera, given a monumental production by Jim Sharman and designer Brian Thomson (that dodecahedron!).

Jim Sharman’s Jesus Christ Superstar, 1972. Pictured is singer Jon English and cast.                                                               

The cast of Jesus Christ Superstar on steps of St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, in 1972. Picture: Peta Smith

Away (1986). Love, loss and the lives of three families on summer holiday interconnected in Michael Gow’s play, which touched on Australian class differences and adult and adolescent relationships with understanding and great humanity.

La boheme (1990). Baz Luhrmann’s every-expense-spared production for Opera Australia put Puccini’s impoverished students into a persuasive 1950s setting and featured young singers who looked the part. All the future Baz touches were there and the audience went wild.

Nutcracker: The Story of Clara (1992). In Graeme Murphy’s radical revision of the Christmas favourite, an ageing former ballerina touchingly recalled her journey from early 20th century Russia to Australia, where she can now only dream of the career and life she once knew.

The 1996 Adelaide Festival: Almost 20 years late Barrie Kosky’s turn at the helm remains vivid in the memory — Batsheva Dance Theatre, DV8 Physical Theatre, Maly Theatre of St Petersburg, Handspring Puppet Theatre, La Fura dels Baus, the late-night Red Square club, Hills hoists everywhere. One could go on and on.(Batsheva is still in existence - clip above).

Skin (2000). Stephen Page’s riveting, important two-part work, magisterially designed by Peter England, celebrated the strength, wisdom and resilience of women in Shelter and in Spear unflinchingly portrayed the contemporary pressure on men.

The Ring Cycle (2004). Elke Neidhardt’s production for State Opera of South Australia was a one-off triumph, its spectacular water and fire effects unreproducible elsewhere but part of a vision for the tetralogy that married narrative clarity, perception and wit with a piercingly lovely design by Michael Scott-Mitchell.

Thyestes (2010). The Hayloft Project used the Thyestes legend — hideously violent familial discord, children fed to their father in a pie — to create a contemporary version of events that was brilliantly staged, tremendously well acted and thrilled its audiences to the core.

Madama Butterfly (2014). Alex Olle’s modern-day interpretation of Puccini’s tragedy used the vast outdoor Sydney Harbour stage to make a point about powerful international interests trampling on local concerns while not losing sight of the devastating personal cost. Tears flowed.

More comments from Deborah Jones:

THE Clancy Auditorium, University of NSW, 1970: Venerable British ­director Tyrone Guthrie is in Sydney to direct Oedipus Rex for the Old Tote and I am on a Year 12 bus trip from Newcastle. In my mind’s eye I can still see the elaborately stylised costumes and masks of Yoshi Tosa’s design but recall nothing else other than being rather bored. I was an inexperienced theatregoer but knew the Age of Aquarius had arrived. 
A year earlier the rather more headline-grabbing Hair had come to Sydney, directed by Jim Sharman, local lad and National Institute of Dramatic Art graduate. Sharman was already a seasoned director at 24, his CV including what his memoir Blood & Tinsel describes as an early succes de scandale, Don Giovanni, for the Australian Elizabethan Opera Company in 1967.

As Sharman, below, writes of the opening night in Blood & Tinsel: “The performance ended in a raucous cacophony of cheers and boos. One critic, Kenneth Hince from The Australian newspaper, had already fled to the toilets and flung his head under a tap. He emerged, wet and dripping, lapelled a passing opera executive, and implored: ‘Tell me it’s a joke!’ ”


In musical theatre the field is still dominated by imported shows, although all hail to Sharman, whose direction of Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show proved you didn’t have to bring in an American director. More recently, however, The Boy from Oz (1998) and The Adventures of Priscilla , Queen of the Desert (2006) were hits here and had a life on Broadway. Australia sends coals to Newcastle!


I can unearth memories for 44 of these 50 years and it would be a satisfyingly round 45 if only Mum had let me go to Hair in 1969.

I regret being so lacking in rebellion.

 But there was plenty to come: Sharman’s Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972; Michael Gow’s Away in 1986; Gow’s production of Angels in America, both parts, in 1993; Neil Armfield’s Janacek series for OA; Barrie Kosky’s The Lost Echo, Poppaea and so much else; Elena Kats-Chernin’s score for Meryl Tankard’s Australian Ballet Wild Swans; Cate Blanchett as Blanche Dubois; Richard Roxburgh as Hamlet, Vanya and Estragon; Ewen Leslie as Hamlet (twice); Geoffrey Rush in The Diary of a Madman and Exit the King; watching the AB’s Lucinda Dunn for the entire of her career as she grew from technical prodigy in the corps de ballet into the company’s prima ballerina.

Now for the next 50.

Story and some pictures with thanks to The Australian

The Top 10 Australian Films Of The Past 50 Years 

The Australian Production Of "Hair" Changed The Theatre And The Nation

 G.Wayne Thomas - Morning Of The Earth And Open Up Your Heart

 Jon English - Jesus Christ Superstar - Heaven On Their Minds & Superstar - Updated

Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom Musical: Dance Is In The Air 

Julie Andrews To Direct My Fair Lady production At Sydney Opera House

"Dirty Dancing" The Stage Musical Brings Back The Patrick Swayze-Jennifer Grey Lift     



Arthur Alexander: The Forgotten Songwriter Who Inspired The Beatles, Bob Dylan And The Rolling Stones


Brow Beat is following the Beatles in “real time,” 50 years later, from their first chart-topper to their final rooftop concert. This month we’re looking back at Please Please Me, which the Beatles recorded 50 years ago today. In this weekly installment we take a look at Arthur Alexander, one of the Beatles’ biggest early influences and the songwriter behind Please Please Me’s “Anna (Go to Him).”

The first of the six covers that appear on Please Please Me is a mid-tempo ballad called “Anna (Go to Him),” which was written and first recorded by Arthur Alexander. 

Chances are that most people who hear the version sung by John Lennon have no idea who Arthur Alexander is—but the Beatles certainly knew, and so did the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan: Alexander is reportedly the only songwriter whose tunes have appeared on studio albums by those three hallowed acts.



Elvis Presley recorded one of his songs as well—albeit one that Alexander co-wrote—and so did Otis Redding and Tina Turner and Jerry Lee Lewis and Percy Sledge.

Ringo Starr said that one of the advantages of being in Liverpool was that, since it’s a port city, “All these records were coming from America, so you could find out about Arthur Alexander and people like that.” Lennon idolized him in particular, and McCartney summed up his influence in 1987: “We wanted to sound like Arthur Alexander.” (In addition to “Anna,” the Beatles frequently performed Alexander’s “Soldier of Love” and “A Shot of Rhythm & Blues” in their early years.)

So who was Arthur Alexander?

Born in 1940 in Sheffield, Ala., Alexander recorded his first song, “Sally Sue Brown,” when he was just 20 years old. (Dylan did that one in 1988, on the album Down in the Groove.) The next year he wrote his first hit: “You Better Move On,” the first big record for FAME Studios, the legendary pop music factory in Muscle Shoals, Ala., where Redding, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and others would later make some of their best music. That song was done by the Rolling Stones in 1964 and appears on their ’65 album December’s Children (and Everybody’s). It became the title track of Alexander’s 1962 album.

FAME Studios used their proceeds from “You Better Move On” to move on themselves and build a better facility elsewhere in Muscle Shoals, where they are still located. But Alexander himself never made much money off his music; though a string of singles followed, a second album didn’t come together until 1972. That one, which was self-titled, had yet another song that was turned into a hit by rock royalty: Elvis Presley recorded “Burning Love” just a few months after the album appeared, and it became his last top-10 single, reaching no. 2 on the Billboard charts.

This, too, was not enough to make Alexander a rich man; by the 1980s, he had abandoned the music business entirely and gone to work in Cleveland “at a center for disadvantaged kids,” driving a bus for a living. (It’s been said that he also didn’t like fame and that he found God.) In the early ’90s, though, the producer Ben Vaughn coaxed him out of retirement, and he recorded one last album, Lonely Just Like Me, which was released in 1993. He planned to tour in support of the album, but he died in June of that year, at age 53, of heart failure.

While Lennon’s vocals on “Anna” are terrific, no one interpreted Alexander’s songs as well as Alexander did, with his warm, plaintive voice perfectly suiting the lovely straightforwardness of his lyrics. “If it’s really got to be this way, I can take it, I know,” he sings on the opening track of Lonely Just Like Me. “I’ll just carry on day to day, until I make it, on my own.”

With many thanks to Slate
More articles at the link.


Paul McCartney chats to Ronnie Wood about The Beatles lesser known song 'Anna (Go To Him)', written by Arthur Alexander from the 'Please Please Me' album, and The Beatles' BBC radio show, 'Pop Go The Beatles'. 


Pictures previously cited. 

The Art of McCartney Project
Bob Dylan Is Eminently Worthy Of The Nobel Prize In Literature
The Beatles: Good News For Fans This week
Paul McCartney: Destiny Game Song "Hope For The Future"
Beatles Lyrics Reveal Enduring Words Of Love And Life
Glyn Johns: Defining That Classic-Rock Sound
The Traveling Wilburys: Their History
George Harrison and The Bee Gees To Receive Recording Academy Honors 
John Lennon or Paul McCartney? Matt Schichter Documentary Offers 550 Answers
Sir Paul McCartney To Induct Ringo Starr Into Hall Of Fame
The Rolling Stones: New Tour Announced - Zip Code Updated: Releases from The Vault And A New Album for Keith Richards
 'American Pie' Lyrics Sell For $1.2 million In New York

 Penny Lane: Original On The Block, Minus The Fanfare
The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers: Super Deluxe Edition
 Bill Wyman: The Rolling Stones Never Forgave Me For Leaving 
Lost Beatles US Concert Movie Blocked From Release
The Rolling Stones To Create Their Own Museum
Don Henley Recruits Mick Jagger And Dolly Parton For Country Album Cass County
The Three Lennon-McCartney Hits That Went to No. 1 Without Lennon or McCartney 
Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood’s - "How Can It Be? A Rock & Roll Diary"
The Who Release First Song In 8 Years: Be Lucky 
Bob Dylan Named Greatest Songwriter Ahead Of Lennon and McCartney According To Rolling Stone
 Beatles’ First Recording Contract to Be Auctioned For An Estimated $150,000 
Keith Richards ‘Under The Influence’
The Beatles 1 To Be Reissued With 50 Videos 
John Lennon Born 75 Years Ago Today  
John Lennon's Long-Lost Gibson J-160E Guitar Sells for Record $2.4 Million
George Harrison's Catalogue Is Now Streaming  
Ringo Starr Reflects On His 35 Year Marriage
Keith Richards Says Jagger’s Ego Sent Him Solo
George Harrison: Tribute GeorgeFest Is Coming
 The Rolling Stones’ 'Satisfaction' Was The Result Of A Faulty Amp