Come see this show in our Soho, NYC and Sunset Marquis, West Hollywood galleries June 2 – 11. Admission is Free. All prints available for sale.
The Beatles sang “All You Need Is Love” across the world and these beautiful never-before-seen images by David Magnus show their global satellite broadcast in 1967.
Here’s are a few more details of that day 50 years ago…
On June 25, 1967, performers representing 19 countries from around the world appeared on Our World, the first international television production broadcast by satellite. An estimated 400 million viewers watched the two-and-a-half hour program, which featured talent including Pablo Picasso and Maria Callas and was closed out by a performance of “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles. The photographer David Magnus, a friend of and regular collaborator with the band, was on hand to take pictures of the historic gig.
Watch some of this amazing time on YouTube
Stevie Nicks has been having trouble sleeping. The Fleetwood Macvocalist wrapped up a year-and-a-half long tour with her band last November, but even as she’s begun rehearsing for a solo tour in support of 2014’s 24 Karat Gold that will launch in October, Nicks has yet to find herself on a better schedule
“I’ve gotten into the habit of not going to sleep until somewhere between five and seven, and when I’m not working I can sleep until four [in the afternoon],” she reveals, blaming the tour routing schedule that had the band jumping between cities and time zones every other day. “I wish I had worked harder on it because now it’s gonna be harder for me to, but I’ll figure it out because I always do.”
Even though she doesn’t necessarily need to, the legendary vocalist and songwriter felt determined to get back on the road even after touring for so long with the Mac, who reunited with Christine McVie after a 16-year break. Just before McVie’s return, Nicks had finished recording 24 Karat Gold, based on a collection of demos from throughout her career that she had personally cut from the various Fleetwood Mac and solo albums they were originally intended to be on. She spent two and half months in Nashville with friend and producer Dave Stewart recording the songs, and the same day she turned the album into Warner Bros., she entered a rehearsal room with one of rock’s most iconic, formerly tempestuous line-ups.
“I didn’t walk through the doors at the Fleetwood Mac rehearsal with Christine McVie sitting there after not having her in the band for 16 years and say, ‘Oh, would everybody like to stay up and listen to my new record?'” she recalls with a laugh. “So never a word was ever spoken about it for the entire year and a half that we were on the road, so I never even got to listen to this record until we got back.”
In the past few weeks, following a well-deserved break after Fleetwood Mac’s trek around the world, Nicks realized that the window was closing for the appropriate time to promote the album. “These are the glory songs,” she asserts. “These are the sex, rock & roll and drugs songs that I’m actually not really writing right now, and these are the songs I could never write again.”
As Nicks explains it, her solo career acts as a crucial counterweight to her band activities. “I feel really blessed to be able to be the Gemini that I am and be able to hop back and forth between my solo career and Fleetwood Mac. My solo career is truly the reason why Fleetwood Mac is still together because I get bored easily,” she says. “That’s why every time I go to work on my solo career, I try to make it as different from Fleetwood Mac as I possibly can so that it really is two worlds. When I feel ready to go back to Fleetwood Mac when we do our next tour in a year and half, I’ll be ready to go back to Fleetwood Mac, and it’ll be good.”
The “Wild Heart” singer’s love of contrast is something she embraces in her daily life, too. “I always think an environment change will fix anything, so if I get depressed, I’m gonna leave my apartment and go to my house for a couple of days,” she explains. Sometimes she’ll do the same in hotels, too, needing to leave a beautiful suite for a room just down the hall. “All it takes is a new living room and bedroom for Stevie and she’s a new person.”
As she excitedly runs through plans for her upcoming tour, Nicks speaks with the infectious energy of a teenager preparing for their first gig. She first mocked up a list of 31 songs for the show, and when she presented it to musical director and guitarist Waddy Wachtel, he asked for her to cut it down. She’s now at 30. “I’m like, ‘OK, that’s it. I’m not cutting these songs out,'” she says, noting that everyone will learn all 30 for rehearsals. “You never know which songs are gonna really work, so I can’t make that decision, and I’m standing by my statement that I cannot choose the songs until we go into rehearsal.”
Alongside 24 Karat Gold tracks, many of which she’s debuting, she’s thrilled to try “Wild Heart” live for the first time, as well as the title tracks off Bella Donna and Trouble in Shangri-La. “Gold Dust Woman,” “Edge of Seventeen,” “Dreams” and “Stand Back” are secured on the list, as well. She even has plans to connect 2001’s “Sorcerer” to the newer “Belle Fleur,” two songs that come from the same poem. “I don’t really get tired of my songs,” she says. “I’m lucky.”
Even as she works on getting herself in bed by 10 p.m. – “which is totally ridiculous for me,” she scoffs at her own suggestion – Nicks is looking forward to taking on another schedule that will keep her up late at night. “We’re gonna go on for like two hours then we’re gonna go and do what Prince would, which is then go find a club and play the other 14 songs,” she says with a laugh, alluding to the inevitable cuts she’s making to her set list. “It’s all a lot of fun.”
Bringing up Prince, who played on the original recording of Nicks’ 1983 solo hit “Stand Back,” puts the singer in a reflective mood. “I feel really sad that Prince’s journey didn’t continue until he was 95,” she says. “Just so devastated, but I think that for most of us, we’re all gonna live to be in our nineties. So a lot of this creativity and all the things I want to do when this part of my life starts to go away a little bit, then I’ll be sitting down at an old typewriter that I’ll dig out of my storage unit in Phoenix and I’ll start writing stories. I’ll start working on movies. There’s so many things I want to do that this is just a part of it all. That’s all I can tell you.”
Stevie Nicks has announced a 24 Karat Gold Tour with the Pretenders starting in October.
Procol Harum is arguably the most successful “accidental” group creation — that is, a band originally assembled to take advantage of the success of a record created in the studio — in the history of progressive rock. With “A Whiter Shade of Pale” a monster hit right out of the box, the band evolved from a studio ensemble into a successful live act, their music built around an eclectic mix of blues-based rock riffs and grand classical themes. With singer/pianist Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reidproviding the band’s entire repertory, their music evolved in decidedly linear fashion, the only major surprises coming from the periodic lineup changes that added a new instrumental voice to the proceedings. At their most accessible, as on “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and “Conquistador,” they were one of the most popular of progressive rock bands, their singles outselling all rivals, and their most ambitious album tracks still have a strong following.
Procol Harum‘s roots and origins are as convoluted as its success — especially between 1967 and 1973 — was pronounced. Pianist Gary Brooker (b. May 29, 1945, Southend, Essex, England) had formed a group at school called the Paramounts at age 14, with guitarist Robin Trower (b. Mar. 9, 1945, Southend, Essex) and bassist Chris Copping (b. Aug. 29, 1945 Southend, Essex), with singerBob Scott and drummer Mick Brownlee. After achieving a certain degree of success at local youth clubs and dances, covering established rock & roll hits, Brooker took over the vocalist spot from the departed Scott, and the group continued working after its members graduated — by 1962, they were doing formidable (by British standards) covers of American R&B, and got a residency at the Shades Club in Southend.
Brownlee exited the band in early 1963 and was replaced by Barry J. (B.J.) Wilson (b. Mar. 18, 1947, Southend, Essex), who auditioned after answering an ad in Melody Maker. Nine months later, in September of 1963, bassist Chris Copping opted out of the professional musicians’ corps to attend Leicester University, and he was replaced by Diz Derrick. The following month, the Paramounts demo record, consisting of covers of the Coasters‘ “Poison Ivy” and Bobby Bland‘s “Farther on up the Road,” got them an audition at EMI. This resulted in their being signed to the Parlophone label, with their producer, Ron Richards, the recording manager best-known for his many years of work with the Hollies.
The Paramounts’ first single, “Poison Ivy,” released in January of 1964, reached number 35 on the British charts. The group also got an important endorsement from the Rolling Stones, with whom they’d worked on the television show Thank Your Lucky Stars, who called the Paramounts their favorite British R&B band. Unfortunately, none of the group’s subsequent Parlophone singles over the next 18 months found any chart success, and by mid-’66, the Paramounts had been reduced to serving as a backing band for popsters Sandy Shaw and Chris Andrews. In September of 1966, the Paramountswent their separate ways; Derrick out of the business, Trower and Wilson to gigs with other bands, and, most fortuitously, Gary Brooker decided to develop his career as a songwriter.
This led Brooker into a partnership with lyricist Keith Reid (b. Oct. 19, 1945), whom he met through a mutual acquaintance, R&B impresario Guy Stevens. By the spring of 1967, they had a considerable body of songs prepared and began looking for a band to play them. An advertisement in Melody Maker led to the formation of a band initially called the Pinewoods, with Brooker as pianist/singer, Matthew Fisher (b. Mar. 7, 1946, Croydon, Surrey) on organ, Ray Royer (b. Oct. 8, 1945) on guitar, Dave Knights (b. June 28, 1945, London) on bass, and Bobby Harrison (b. June 28, 1943, London) on drums. Their first recording, produced by Denny Cordell, was of a piece of surreal Reid poetry called “A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” which Brooker set to music loosely derived from Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Air on a G String from the Suite No. 3 in D Major.
By the time this recording was ready for release, the Pinewoods had been rechristened Procol Harum, a name derived, as alternate stories tell it, either from Stevens‘ cat’s birth certificate, Procol Harun, or the Latin “procul” for “far from these things” (hey, it was the mid-’60s, and either is possible). In early May of 1967, the group performed “A Whiter Shade of Pale” at the Speakeasy Club in London, whileCordell arranged for a release of the single on English Decca (London Records in America), on the companies’ Deram label. Ironically, Cordell‘s one-time clients the Moody Blues were about to break out of a long commercial tail-spin on the very same label with a similar, classically-tinged pair of recordings, “Nights in White Satin” and “Days of Future Passed,” and between the two groups and their breakthrough hits, Deram Records would be permanently characterized as a progressive rock imprint.
Cordell had also sent a copy of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” to Radio London, one of England’s legendary off-shore pirate radio stations (they competed with the staid BBC, which had the official broadcast monopoly, and were infinitely more beloved by the teenagers and most bands), which played the record. Not only was Radio London deluged with listener requests for more plays, but Deram suddenly found itself with orders for a record not scheduled for release for another month — before May was half over, it was pushed up on the schedule and rushed into shops.
Meanwhile, the prototypal Procol Harum made its concert debut in London opening for Jimi Hendrixat the Saville Theater on June 4, 1967. Four days later, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” reached the top of the British charts for the first of a six-week run in the top spot, making Procol Harum only the sixth recording act in the history of British popular music to reach the number one spot on its first release (not even the Beatles did that). The following month, the record reached number five on the American charts, with sales in the United States rising to over a million copies (and six million copies worldwide).
All of this seemed to bode well for the band, except for the fact that it had only a single song in its repertory and no real stage act — literal one-hit wonders. The same month that the record peaked in the United States, Royer and Harrison were sacked and replaced by Brooker‘s former Paramountsbandmates Robin Trower and B.J. Wilson on guitar and drums, respectively.
The “real” Procol Harum band was now in place and a second single, “Homburg,” was duly recorded. Reminiscent of “Whiter Shade of Pale” in its tone of dark grandeur, this single, released in October of 1967 on EMI’s Regal Zonophone label, got to number six on the British charts. The group’s debut album, entitled Procol Harum, managed to reach number 47 in America during October of 1967, based on “A Whiter Shade of Pale” being among its tracks (which included the first version of “Conquistador”) — but a British version of the LP, issued over there without the hit, failed to attract any significant sales. The single “Homburg,” however, got no higher than number 34 in America a month later.
On March 26, 1968, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” won the International Song of the Year award at the 13th Annual Ivor Novello Awards (sort of the British equivalent of the Grammys). The group’s newest single, “Quite Rightly So,” however, only reached the number 50 spot in England in April of that year. A new contract for the group was secured with A&M Records in America (they remained on Regal Zonophone in England), and by November, a second album,Shine on Brightly, highlighted by an 18-minute epic entitled “In Held ‘Twas I,” was finished and in the stores, and rose to number 24 in America but failed to chart in England. The next month, they were playing the Miami Pop Festival in front of 100,000 people, on a bill that includedChuck Berry, Canned Heat, the blues version of Fleetwood Mac, and the Turtles, among others.
In March of 1969, David Knights and Matthew Fisher exited the lineup shortly after finishing work on the group’s new album, A Salty Dog, preferring management and production to the performing side of the music business. Knights‘ departure opened the way for bassist Chris Copping to joinProcol Harum (thus re-creating the lineup of the Paramounts), playing bass and organ. Another American tour followed the next month, and in June of 1969 A Salty Dog was issued. This record, considered by many to be the original group’s best work, combined high-energy blues and classical influences on a grand scale, and returned the band to the U.S. charts at number 32, while the title song ascended the British charts to number 44. The album subsequently reached number 27 in England, the group’s first long-player to chart in their own country.Despite the group’s moderate sales in England and America, they remained among the more popular progressive rock bands, capable of reaching more middle-brow listeners who didn’t have the patience for Emerson, Lake & Palmer or King Crimson. Robin Trower‘s flashy guitar quickly made him the star of the group, as much as singer/pianist Brooker, and he was considered in the same league with Alvin Lee and any number of late-’60s/early-’70s British blues axemen. Matthew Fisher‘s stately, cathedral-like organ had been a seminal part of the band’s sound, juxtaposed with Trower‘s blues-based riffing and Reid‘s unusual, darkly witty lyrics as voiced by Brooker. Following Fisher‘s departure, the group took on a more straightforward rock sound, but Trower‘s playing remained a major attraction to the majority of fans.
“Whaling Stories” was an example of quintessential Procol Harum, a mix of 19th century oratorio that sounds like it came out of a Victorian-era cathedral, with fiery blues riffs blazing at its center. And being soaked in Reid‘s dark, eerie, regret-filled lyrics didn’t stop “A Salty Dog” from becoming one of the group’s most popular songs.
It was a year before their next album, Home, was released, in June of 1970, ascending to the American number 34 and the British 49 spot. This marked the end of the group’s contract with Regal Zonophone/EMI, and on the release of their next LP in July of 1971, they were now on Chrysalis in England.Broken Barricades reached number 32 in America and 41 in England, but it also marked the departure of Robin Trower. The founding guitarist left that month and subsequently organized his own group, with a sound modeled along lines similar to Jimi Hendrix, which had great success in America throughout the 1970s.Trower‘s replacement, Dave Ball (b. Mar. 30, 1950), joined the same month, and the lineup expanded by one with the addition of Alan Cartwright on bass, which freed Chris Copping to concentrate full-time on the organ. The group returned to something of the sound it had before Fisher‘s departure, although Trower was a tough act to follow. It was this version of the band that performed on November 18, 1971 in a concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the DaCamera Singers in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada — the concert was a bold and expansive, richly orchestrated re-consideration of earlier material (though not “A Whiter Shade of Pale”) from the group’s repertory, and, released as an official live album in 1972, proved to be the group’s most successful LP release, peaking at number five and drawing in thousands of new fans.
In England, Procol Harum Live: In Concert With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra only rose to number 48 in May of 1972, but it was competing with a reissue of the group’s debut album (retitled A Whiter Shade of Pale, with the single added) paired with A Salty Dog, which outperformed it considerably, reaching number 26. A single lifted from the live record, “Conquistador,” redone in a rich and dramatic version, shot to number 16 in America and 22 in England that summer. Soon after, the U.S. distributor of the debut album, London Records, got further play from that record by re-releasing it with a sticker announcing the presence of “the original version of “Conquistador.”
Amid all of this success, the group’s lineup again was thrown into turmoil in September when Dave Ball left Procol Harumto join Long John Baldry‘s band. He was replaced by Mick Grabham, formerly of the bands Plastic Penny and Cochise. The band’s next album, Grand Hotel, was a delightfully melodic and decadent collection (anticipating Bryan Ferryand Roxy Music in some respects) that featured guest backing vocals by Christianne Legrand of the a cappella singing group the Swingle Singers. That record, their first released on Chrysalis in America as well as England, peaked at number 21. Six months later, A&M released the first compilation of the band’s material, Best of Procol Harum, which only made it to number 131 on the charts.
The group’s next two albums, Exotic Birds and Fruit (May 1974) and Procol’s Ninth (September 1975), the latter produced by rock & roll songsmiths Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, performed moderately well, and “Pandora’s Box” fromProcol’s Ninth became one of their bigger hits in England, rising to number 16. July of 1976 saw a departure and a lateral shift in the group’s lineup, as Alan Cartwright left the band and Chris Copping took over on bass, while Pete Solley joined as keyboard player.
By this time, the band’s string had run out, as everyone seemed to know. A new album,Something Magic, barely scraped the U.S. charts in April of 1977, and the band split up following a final tour and a farewell concert at New York’s Academy of Music on May 15, 1977. Only five months later, the band was back together for a one-off performance of “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” which had taken on a life of its own separate from the group — the song was named joint winner (along with “Bohemian Rhapsody”) of the Best British Pop Single 1952-1977, at the Britannia Awards to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, and the band performed it live at the awards ceremony.
Apart from Trower, Gary Brooker was the most successful and visible of all ex-Procol Harum members, releasing three solo albums between 1979 and 1985. No More Fear of Flying (1979) on Chrysalis, produced by George Martin, attracted the most attention, but Lead Me to the Water (1982) on Mercury had some notable guest artists, including Eric Clapton and Phil Collins, while Echoes in the Night (1985) was co-produced by Brooker‘s former bandmate Matthew Fisher. During the late ’80s, however, Brooker had turned to writing orchestral music, principally ballet material, but this didn’t stop him from turning up as a guest at one of the annualFairport Convention reunions (Procol Harum and Fairport had played some important early gigs together) at Cropredy, Oxfordshire, in August of 1990 to sing “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”Still, Procol Harum had faded from the consciousness of the music world by the end of the 1980s. The death of B.J. Wilson in 1990 went largely unreported, to the chagrin of many fans, and it seemed as though the group was a closed book.
Then, in August of 1991, Brooker re-formed Procol Harum with Trower, Fisher, Reid, and drummerMark Brzezicki. An album, Prodigal Stranger, was recorded and released, and an 11-city tour of North America took place in September of 1991. Although this lineup didn’t last — Trower and company, after all, were pushing 50 at the time — Brooker has kept a new version of Procol Harum together, in the guise of himself, guitarist Geoffrey Whitehorn, keyboardman Don Snow, and Brzezicki on drums, which toured the United States in 1992.
The most influential group in country music history, the Carter Family switched the emphasis from hillbilly instrumentals to vocals, made scores of their songs part of the standard country music canon, and made a style of guitar playing, “Carter picking,” the dominant technique for decades. Along with Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family were among the first country music stars. Comprised of a gaunt, shy gospel quartet member named Alvin P. Carter and two reserved country girls — his wife, Sara, and their sister-in-law, Maybelle — the Carter Family sang a pure, simple harmony that influenced not only the numerous other family groups of the ’30s and the ’40s, but folk, bluegrass, and rock musicians like Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, the Kingston Trio, Doc Watson, Bob Dylan, and Emmylou Harris, to mention just a few.
It’s unlikely that bluegrass music would have existed without the Carter Family. A.P., the family patriarch, collected hundreds of British/Appalachian folk songs and, in arranging these for recording, enhanced the pure beauty of these “facts-of-life tunes” and at the same time saved them for future generations. Those hundreds of songs the trio members found around their Virginia and Tennessee homes, after being sung by A.P., Sara, and Maybelle, became Carter songs, even though these were folk songs and in the public domain. Among the more than 300 sides they recorded are “Worried Man Blues,” “Wabash Cannonball,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “Wildwood Flower,” and “Keep on the Sunny Side.”
The Carter Family’s instrumental backup, like their vocals, was unique. On her Gibson L-5 guitar, Maybelle played a bass-strings lead (the guitar being tuned down from the standard pitch) that is the mainstay of bluegrass guitarists to the present. Sara accompanied her on the autoharp or on a second guitar, while A.P. devoted his talent to singing in a haunting though idiosyncratic bass or baritone. Although the original Carter Family disbanded in 1943, enough of their recordings remained in the vaults to keep the group current through the ’40s. Furthermore, their influence was evident through further generations of musicians, in all forms of popular music, through the end of the century.
Initially, the Carter Family consisted of just A.P. and Sara. Born and raised in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, A.P. (b. Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter, December 15, 1891; d. November 7, 1960) learned to play fiddle as a child, with his mother teaching him several traditional and old-time songs; his father had played violin as a young man, but abandoned the instrument once he married. Once he became an adult, he began singing with two uncles and his older sister in a gospel quartet, but he became restless and soon moved to Indiana, where he worked on the railroad. By 1911, he had returned to Virginia, where he sold fruit trees and wrote songs in his spare time.
While he was traveling and selling trees, he met Sara (b. Sara Dougherty, July 21, 1898; d. January 8, 1979). According to legend, she was on her porch playing the autoharp and singing “Engine 143” when he met her. Like A.P., Sara learned how to sing and play through her family. As a child, she learned a variety of instruments, including autoharp, guitar, and banjo, and she played with her friends and cousins.
A.P. and Sara fell in love and married on June 18, 1915, settling in Maces Springs, where he worked various jobs while the two of them sang at local parties, socials, and gatherings. For the next 11 years, they played locally. During that time, the duo auditioned for Brunswick Records, but the label was only willing to sign A.P. and only if he recorded fiddle dance songs under the name Fiddlin’ Doc; he rejected their offer, believing that it was against his parents’ religious beliefs.
Eventually, Maybelle Carter (b. Maybelle Addington, May 10, 1909; d. October 23, 1978) — who had married A.P.’s brother Ezra — began singing and playing guitar with Sara and A.P. Following Maybelle’s addition to the Carter Family in 1926, the group began auditioning at labels in earnest. In 1927, the group auditioned for Ralph Peer, a New York-based A&R man for Victor Records who was scouting for local talent in Bristol, TN. The Carters recorded six tracks, including “The Wandering Boy” and “Single Girl, Married Girl.” Victor released several of the songs as singles, and when the records sold well, the label offered the group a long-range contract.
The Carter Family signed with Victor in 1928, and over the next seven years the group recorded most of its most famous songs, including “Wabash Cannonball,” “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes,” “John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man,” “Wildwood Flower,” and “Keep on the Sunny Side,” which became the Carters’ signature song. By the end of the ’20s, the group had become a well-known national act, but its income was hurt considerably by the Great Depression. Because of the financial crisis, the Carters were unable to play concerts in cities across the U.S. and were stuck playing schoolhouses in Virginia. Eventually, all of the members became so strapped for cash they had to move away from home to find work. In 1929, A.P. moved to Detroit temporarily while Maybelle and her husband relocated to Washington, D.C.
In addition to the stress of the Great Depression, A.P. and Sara’s marriage began to fray, and the couple separated in 1932. For the next few years, the Carters only saw each other at recording sessions, partially because the Depression had cut into the country audience and partially because the women were raising their families. In 1935, the Carters left Victor for ARC, where they re-recorded their most famous songs. The following year, they signed to Decca.
Eventually, the group signed a lucrative radio contract with XERF in Del Rio, TX, which led to contracts at a few other stations along the Mexican and Texas border. Because of their locations, these stations could broadcast at levels that were far stronger than other American radio stations, so the Carters’ radio performances could be heard throughout the nation, either in their live form or as radio transcriptions. As a result, the band’s popularity increased dramatically, and their Decca records became extremely popular.
Just as their career was back in full swing, Sara and A.P.’s marriage fell apart, with the couple divorcing in 1939. Nevertheless, the Carter Family continued to perform, remaining in Texas until 1941, when they moved to a radio station in Charlotte, NC. During the early ’40s, the band briefly recorded for Columbia before re-signing with Victor in 1941. Two years later, Sara decided to retire and move out to California with her new husband, Coy Bayes (who was A.P.’s cousin), while A.P. moved back to Virginia, where he ran a country store. Maybelle Carter began recording and touring with her daughters, Helen, June, and Anita.
A.P. and Sara re-formed the Carter Family with their grown children in 1952, performing a concert in Maces Spring. Following the successful concert, the Kentucky-based Acme signed A.P., Sara, and their daughter Janette to a contract, and over the next four years they recorded nearly 100 songs that didn’t gain much attention at the time. In 1956, the Carter Family disbanded for the second time. Four years later, A.P. died at his Maces Spring home. Following his death, the Carter Family’s original recordings began to be reissued. In 1966, Maybelle persuaded Sara to reunite to play a number of folk festivals and record an album for Columbia. In 1970, the Carter Family became the first group to be elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is a fitting tribute to their immense influence and legacy. ~ David Vinopal, Rovi
Blondie is one of the most well-known and beloved bands to come out of the legendary downtown rock scene that emerged from the bowels of Manhattan clubs like Max’s Kansas City and CBGB in the 1970s. Capitalizing on punk’s mainstream crossover success, they cleared the way for other punks with pop sensibilities (like Joan Jett), and…
THE GUIDEBOOKS ALWAYS introduce Tupelo as Elvis Presley’s birthplace, and you can — and should — make a beeline for the King’s home. But this buzzing Mississippi city also has incredible festivals, some of the best food in the country, and so much more. Here are the 9 Tupelo experiences you definitely shouldn’t miss.
Few places in the world can say they’ve been family owned for almost 90 years. Only one place can say it’s “where Gladys Presley bought her son’s first guitar” in 1946. That’s right, without the Tupelo Hardware Company, Elvis Presley might not have learned to play the instrument that made him the King.
As the story goes, Gladys brought her son to the store to pick out a birthday present. The store employee, Forrest L. Bobo, recalls that Elvis wished for a rifle at first, but his mother wanted to get him a guitar — which she did, for $7.75 plus 2% sales tax.
The Tupelo Hardware Company was founded by George H. Booth in 1926 and has since seen four generations of the Booth family work there. The brick building on Main Street in historic downtown Tupelo fills its three stories with a mélange of items for sale. While on paper it specializes in mill and industrial supply, small engine parts, and general hardware retail, in truth the store carries anything from metal detectors to toys to lotion to — of course — guitars.
This is no empty superlative — in 2015, the Neon Pig’s famous Smash Burger won Thrillist‘s “Best Burger in America” bracket. The menu describes the winning burger as “a combination of aged filet, sirloin, ribeye, New York & benton’s bacon ground together. It is a rough grind with a robust, smokey flavor. Served on a ciabatta bun with benton’s bacon bits, cheddar cheese, quick pickles, pickled onion, with hoisin and comeback sauces.”
What might give the Neon Pig the edge is the freshness of its ingredients. The restaurant breaks down whole, local, grass-fed animals (as well as ages and cures them), all in-house. It serves regional seafood with a promise that it’s never been frozen. Operating as a butcher shop in addition to a restaurant, the Neon Pig sells fresh cuts of pork, beef, chicken, lamb, and game, as well as its smash burger grind to cook at home, along with other assorted charcuterie.
Beyond burgers, the Neon Pig also offers salads, lettuce wraps, sandwiches, Asian-style buns, and dessert. During common mealtimes, diners can encounter lengthy wait times — up to an hour or more. But they’ll make the wait, all for a taste of the best.
You can’t talk about Tupelo without talking about Elvis (they call him “Tupelo’s native son,” after all), but we’ll try to limit our King-related activities to two. If you happen to be in Tupelo in the summer, the annual Elvis Festival is a unique experience. The festival honors Elvis’ roots with a Sunday Gospel Concert and celebrates the larger-than-life figure he became with a Tribute Artist Contest. Entrants do their best to emulate Presley, and the winner goes on to represent Tupelo in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Competition, held in Memphis. The Tupelo winner also acts as a featured performer in the following year’s Elvis Festival.
Although music is the festival’s main focus, with local, regional, and national artists sharing stage time, guests can also enjoy local food vendors, parades, a 5K run, movie poster exhibit, and other activities.
This annual festival is the best way to experience the diverse visual talent of artists from both the northeast Mississippi region and across the country. The festival, which traces its history to 1972, has lived through many different eras, from humble beginnings the first few years to an avant garde period in the later ‘70s to the grand event it has grown into. These days it draws entrants from all over the US and features a singer/songwriter competition in addition to the artists, which include ceramicists, jewelry makers, painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers, 3D artists, and more.
If you’re visiting when the festival isn’t on, you can still get a taste of the art in the area by checking out the Gumtree Museum of Art, which hosts exhibitions, workshops, and lectures promoting visual arts.
The sign outside Blue Canoe proclaims “Good Mood Food,” and the descriptor is apt. Featuring dishes that are just a bit offbeat, the menu matches the overall funky vibe of the place. Appetizers like Avocado Wedges (fried avocado topped with crawfish and a smoked gouda chili sauce) and Crack Dip Fries (fries covered in spicy sausage cheese dip) kick things off, with sliders, salads, and wings leading you into the heavy hitters — burgers and entrees that are as creative as they come. From the Surf & Turf Burger (which the menu describes as “our unique combo of crawfish, ground beef & love”) to the Dirty Grains with Greens & Things to the Southern Style Banh Mi, there’s something for every taste.
Blue Canoe is also one of Tupelo’s top places for live music, with a new performer or band on deck nearly every night. The bar offers more than 100 beers between tap, bottles, and cans, and carries several Mississippi and regional craft varieties. All in all, the “good” might start with your mood or your food, but it’s guaranteed to spread.
Northeast Mississippi is littered with Civil War history, and aficionados of the subject wouldn’t want to miss Mississippi’s Final Stands, which tells the stories of the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads and the Battle of Tupelo/Harrisburg, both fought in 1864. History buffs can also visit both battlefields, which are near the interpretive center. The center itself is in Baldwyn, a smaller town north of Tupelo).
The interactive center offers Civil War artifacts, battle dioramas, video programming, and a memorial of flags honoring soldiers from both the North and South. On the anniversary weekend of the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, a “living history” and reenactment is performed.
Decades and decades ago, most of America was covered by roaming herds of buffalo. But nowadays most Americans have only seen the hulking creatures in natural history museums. One exception is the # where you can see more than 250 animals on 210 acres. Although he founded it as a cattle ranch, owner Dan Franklin began bringing buffalo into the park in the late 1990s. At one time, Franklin had the largest herd of buffalo east of the Mississippi River, clocking in at around 300. In 2001, the property was officially opened as a zoo.
The buffalo aren’t the only interesting creatures to see, though. There’s Patches, the resident giraffe, along with zebras, lemurs, capuchin monkeys, a camel, yak, lion, and more. Guests can feed some of the animals, and kids can go on pony rides, ride a zipline, and explore a fort.
The Oren Dunn City Museum is unique in that it doesn’t focus on fine art or natural history, but rather chronicles the city life that many generations of residents have experienced over the years. The museum was built in a converted dairy barn, and contains permanent exhibits about a 1940s railroad model, the Tupelo tornado, Chickasaw cultural history, the Hospital on the Hill, and northeast Mississippi fossils. Visitors can also get out and enjoy the great outdoors; Oren Dunn is part of Ballard Park, which includes playgrounds, picnic spaces, and walking trails along a lake.
The museum also hosts annual events such as the Dudie Burger Festival and the Dogtrot Rockabilly Festival. But it truly shines in the everyday, continuing to present Tupelo as the “All America City.”
Rural Mississippi offers a visual splendor and peacefulness that’s rare in the rest of the country, and the Natchez Trace Parkway gives folks a way to experience that beauty. Traversing three states and spanning 444 miles of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama, the two-lane parkway is a 10,000-year-old route that links Nashville to Natchez and was used by Native Americans, early settlers, and Kaintuck boatmen returning home after floating goods down the Mississippi River.
Tupelo is the best place to start your exploration of the parkway, as the headquarters and visitor center are located here (open every day). The rangers will help you plan your route, and there’s a great hiking trail leading from the visitor center to the Old Town Overlook and Chickasaw Village Site. When you’re ready, you can strike out along the parkway in either direction for an awesome day trip that shows off a different side of the region.
Fans can watch an exclusive 29 minute behind-the-scenes jamming session filmed at the ‘Early Days’ video shoot. The official video was launched earlier this summer and the end of it sees Paul playing with a group of blues guitarists, including Johnny Depp. This exclusive footage captures an impromptu jamming session that broke out between Paul and the musicians on the day of the shoot.
An official ‘Making of Early Days’ film will be made available later this year as part of a special collector’s edition of ‘NEW’. The special collector’s edition will feature highlights and exclusive material chronicling the release and promotion of ‘NEW’. More details to be announced in the coming weeks. ‘NEW’ was originally released in October 2013.
Watch the video for ‘Early Days’ HERE: http://youtu.be/QvBVIA_ZaNg
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