Monday, September 05, 2011

Sights and Sounds: Freddie Mercury, Joan Jett, Styx

Photo courtesy of Bob Steshetz



To mark the 65th birthday of one of rock’s most iconic artists, Google posted a rare and extraordinary tribute to Freddie Mercury with a very special Google doodle on its homepage. The Google doodle was created to celebrate the life and talents of the legendary Queen frontman.

The video clip seeks to capture the dynamism and diversity of Mercury’s career through an animation that’s as colorful and playful as his stage performances.

Created by Google’s in-house team of illustrators, animators, and engineers, the doodle was available for users outside of the US on September 5th, Mercury’s 65th birthday. The doodle is available on in the US today, September 6th, as a belated “Happy Birthday” to Freddie since his actual birthday fell on Labor Day.

Google runs special doodles on its homepage as a celebration of holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists. The worldwide tribute from Google is something that doesn’t happen very often. Google has previously run video doodles for other legendary entertainers including John Lennon and Charlie Chaplin.

For more information on the “Freddie For A Day” charitable fundraiser go to

Backbeat Books publishes Joan Jett bio from Dave Thompson

Bad Reputation: The Unauthorized Biography of Joan Jett by Dave Thompson (Backbeat Books, September 2011, $19.99) is the unexpurgated story of Joan Jett, the single most exciting rocker of the American 1980s, one of the biggest-selling acts of the age, and one of punk rock’s most valued elders.

Through its pages, a welter of exclusive interviews and observations paint what might well be the last great tale of rock hedonism, but one that comes with a twist. The rockers are women; the groupies are guys. It could have been the plot line for a movie or even a sitcom, but the Runaways, Jett’s first band, made it happen, and Jett made it last.

The first serious female rocker of the 1980s, Jett became the template for everyone who followed. But unlike so many of her peers and counterparts, she never lost her credibility, never sold out, and never gave up. And, she has backed her reputation up with stardust, following the chart-topping “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” – one of the 80s’ most played anthems – with “Crimson and Clover,” “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You” before the decade ended. The ensuing decades saw Jett purposefully step away from the spotlight, as Thompson writes, “there has been no gradual mellowing or slackening of fury – onstage in 2011, Joan Jett is still the same ball of energy that she was back in 1976, and because she often plays the same songs she did back then, it’s easy to compare the two.”

Featuring a complete discography and classic photographs from throughout her career, Bad Reputation is a celebration of an artist who remains as vital and vibrant in her 50s as she was at 16.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dave Thompson is the author of six previous Backbeat Books, including Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell, about David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed Kurt Cobain biography Never Fade Away, as well as books on Cream, George Clinton, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others. He is a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, MOJO, AllMusic Guide, and Melody Maker. He lives in Newark, Del.

September 2011 $19.99 Paperback Original 8 page B/W photo insert
978-0-87930-990-9 260 pages 6" x 9"
Backbeat Books is an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group


Styx will have its entire career encapsulated within the 16 tracks of Regeneration, Volume I & II on a double-disc to be released via Eagle Rock Entertainment on October 4, 2011. [MSRP $17.98]

With over 30 million records sold in North America alone, Styx is one of the most beloved rock bands on the planet. Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Chuck Panozzo, Lawrence Gowan, Ricky Phillips and Todd Sucherman have been together longer than any other lineup in the band’s 40-year existence.

In addition to 13 Styx classics and a brand new song “Difference In The World,” Regeneration, Volume I & II also includes interpretations of “High Enough,” and “Coming Of Age,” originally recorded by Damn Yankees, which featured Shaw, along with Night Ranger’s Jack Blades, Ted Nugent and drummer Michael Cartellone.” The band had originally re-recorded these acclaimed anthems to sell only at their live shows, as they continued to tour the globe and introduce a new generation of fans to their chart-topping hits. Now, for the first time, this music is being made commercially available.

Eagle Rock Entertainment has previously released Styx: One With Everything, a DVD and Blu-Ray filmed with The Contemporary Youth Orchestra Of Cleveland. Upcoming in December will be The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight – Live, on DVD/CD, DVD, and Blu-ray.

For more information on Styx, please visit

Track Listing:

1) The Grand Illusion

2) Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)

3) Lorelei

4) Sing For The Day,

5) Crystal Ball

6) Come Sail Away

7) Difference In The World


1) Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)

2) Miss America

3) Renegade

4) Queen Of Spades

5) Boat on The River

6) Too Much Time On My Hands

7) Snowblind

8) Coming Of Age

9) High Enough

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