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Music History Today the Weekly Edition 15

This is Music History Today the Weekly Edition 15. On this week’s show, we say goodbye to a legend and touch upon the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, we also review the new album by Linkin Park, and we make the case for putting Janet Jackson into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Now for the news. We’ll get to the two huge news events of the week in the topic segment. The Billboard Awards were given out this past week. These awards are given based on sales and radio play. Drake was the huge winner, taking 13 awards. That beats the record for most awards, previously held by Adele since 2012.

Spotify settled a class action lawsuit with some songwriters this past week. In the settlement, Spotify agreed to set up a fund of over $43 million to compensate the artists whose music they allegedly used without giving them royalty compensation. Since Spotify is still trying to do the stock initial public offering later in the year, this should help, from a potential investor point of view.


Now, to the main stories and topic of the week. The first is one that would normally go in the previous segment. If not for the event in the earlier part of this past week, it would have gotten its own segment. This entire week, I thought we had managed to survive the week without a major musical death. I was proven wrong when word came last this past Saturday of the death of Gregg Allman. Gregg and his brother Duane formed the southern rock pioneer group the Allman Brothers Band, who are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their breakthrough album Live at the Fillmore East is considered one of the greatest albums of all time, along with Eat a Peach. 

As with every band and musician story, there has to be heartache and bad behavior and the band was no different. Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident early in the band’s life, followed by the band’s bass player the next year in a motorcycle accident, in almost the same spot where Duane had his accident. There was a lot of infighting until finally Gregg either left or was fired, depending on whose version you go with. 

Gregg went on to form his own band, the Gregg Allman band, who had a hit in the late 80s with I’m No Angel. Along the way, there was the usual drugs, alcohol, and celebrity marriage; this one was Cher, for 5 years. Gregg would eventually get back with the Allman Brothers Band twice more, before leaving for the last time in 2014. By then, his various health issues were beginning to catch up with him. He passed away last Saturday. May he rest in peace. Thanks, Gregg, for the great music.


A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd outside the Manchester, England arena where Ariana Grande was performing. At least 22 people were killed; most of them women and children. ISIS claimed responsibility. 

There was a lot of the usual bravado in the press, along with condemnation (rightfully so) concerning the event. What was not covered as much was the fact that it looks like the concert was specifically targeted because it was Ariana Grande. Billboard magazine had a guest editorial this past week by James Harkin, who reports on ISIS and Syria. 

In it, he discusses the lengths that ISIS has gone through in terms of how they both view and treat women. Mr. Harkin says that ISIS hates what Ariana and other women of her vein (Madonna, Lady GaGa, etc) represent: strength, danger, sexuality and freedom. I would agree with Mr. Harkin. I would also agree with him that ISIS has declared war on western music; from the treatment of musicians in Syria and elsewhere to the attack on the Baticlan in Paris. I’m sure this isn’t going to be the last attack on a music venue or concert but people need to realize what’s at stake here. 

For Ariana’s part, she cancelled her tour. Then, she announced that she was going to do a benefit concert in Manchester to help the victims’ families. I hope that she doesn’t completely cancel it but continues with it at some point soon. I also hope that security is stepped up at all venues, regardless of where they are,  because I think that we haven’t seen or heard the last about attacks of this nature.


Now, speaking of strong, dangerous women, let’s talk about Janet Jackson. Janet was one of the original singer – dancer hybrids in music. How could she not be, considering the lineage that she comes from. She’s influenced everyone from Brittany Spears to Christina Aguilera to Jennifer Lopez. In the video music era, she ranks just behind Madonna as the most influential women in music. As of right now, she either holds the record outright or is still right up there with most consecutive songs by a female to hit Billboard’s top 10 singles chart. She is, simply put, one of the biggest selling artists, male or female, of all time. She’s ranks high on every major magazine or music tv channel when it comes to not only the top female performers but best performers, period. Yet, she’s not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She’s made the final cut list a couple of times; the most recent being this past year. It’s high time she got in. 

For the young bucks out there who want to get into her music, start with Design of a Decade: her greatest hits album. If you want to get Janet’s biggest albums at her height, go with Control, Rhythm Nation 1814 (her biggest selling album in the United States at over 8 million copies), Janet (her biggest selling album worldwide at 14 million copies), All For You, and Velvet Rope. No matter what you may think about the tabloid antics of her family or the infamous Super Bowl halftime show, Miss Jackson need to get her due respect and be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 


Quick hit review time. This week, we review the new album by Linkin Park called One More Light. Um…where to begin? OK, full disclosure: a lot of people look at Linkin Park like they look at Skrillix, Limp Bizkit, or Nickelback; which is to say, they love to hate them. I’ve never been one of those people. I’ve always loved Linkin Park; always will. Having said that, if you were expecting the Linkin Park of old with hard rock / rap songs like Points of Authority, this is not your album. This 10-song album is slow, pseudo hard rock. They don’t really get hardcore on any song. The album is a lot like the song that’s huge on the charts right now called Heavy, which really sin’t heavy. I mean, the album’s not bad, really. Songs like Invisible and Good Goodbye are good songs. The song Battle Symphony, however, sounds more like they’re walking to a battle, rather than an actual battle. My point is that if you like the song Heavy, then this is the Linkin Park album for you. If, however, you’re expecting to hear Chester screaming venom at the top of his lungs while Mike splits angry lyrics, this is NOT the album for you.


Billboard chart time. Number one on the album chart this week is Harry Styles, while the new album from the Zac Brown band takes number two. Number one on the singles chart is still Despacito by Luis Fonzi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber.

New releases this week include Bryson Tiller (who released his album early so it’s actually out now), All Time Low, Roger Waters, and Halsey, among others. I will also say that if you are a true music fan, you should pick up the 50 anniversary edition of the Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album, which has a bunch of extras.