Bruce Springsteen and Chris Martin fill in for Bono at World AIDs Day concert

Bruce Springsteen and Chris Martin perform with U2 band at World AIDs Day concert in Times Square.

Bruce Springsteen and Chris Martin perform with U2 band at World AIDs Day concert in Times Square.

Monday night, Bruce Springsteen and Chris Martin performed in place of Bono with the U2 band at a surprise concert for World AIDs Day in Times Square. Bono, lead singer of U2, was injured last month in a biking accident that has made him unable to do any performances at the moment. Luckily, U2 was able to appear at the concert with more than suitable men for the job! Watch the video of Springsteen/ Martin/ U2 rock duo rock out!

 

 

 

“Turn, Turn, Turn.” A fond farewell to Pete Seeger

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Photo courtesy of ABC News

Legendary folk-music singer and political activist Pete Seeger passed away last night at the age of 94. Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, said that his grandfather died peacefully in his sleep at around 9:30 p.m. Monday night at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Born in 1919 to classical musicians, Seeger became a regular on nationwide radio in the 1940s. He also had a run of hit records in the 1950s as a member of the folk band The Weavers.

Seeger is also well known as a songwriter, having written or co-written such influential songs as “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” made famous by both The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary, and “Turn, Turn, Turn,” which Seeger adapted from the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes. The song became a number 1 hit for American rock band The Byrds in the mid-1960s.

Seeger’s career was not without controversy. He was a well known political activist and, along with other members of The Weavers, he was “blacklisted” during the McCarthy Era due to his anti-war sentiments. Much of his musical career was dedicated to “protest music” in support of such issues as civil rights, international disarmament, and environmentalism. Seeger is credited with popularizing the spiritual classic “We Shall Overcome,” which became the anthem of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

In 2009 a concert was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City in honor of Seeger’s 90th birthday. The list of performers and attendees — Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, and Emmylou Harris, just to name a few — made it abundantly clear just how influential the legendary musician truly was. He will be greatly missed.

Every Day Should Be Veterans Day: A patriotic top-5!

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Patriotism in the United States reaches a climax around this time every year. Every Veterans Day we all take the time to remember those who have fought and paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy every single day, just as we should. I personally could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform, past and present. So why am I posting this blog the day after Veterans Day? To make this point: Every day should be Veterans Day! One day just isn’t enough. We should never forget those who have gone before or those who will sacrifice everything tomorrow. We should be eternally grateful and show that appreciation continuously.

In that spirit of thankfulness, we present to you (in no particular order) five of the most beloved patriotic songs in history.

And we start with…the Boss. Bruce Springsteen may be a karaoke holdout (not allowing his iconic songs to be licensed for karaoke), but it’s impossible to deny that “Born In The USA” is, without a doubt, as American as it gets.

In 1985 James Brown released a monumental single that became a pop-culture phenomenon. “Living in America” was featured prominently in the movie “Rocky IV” with the Godfather himself performing the song flanked by showgirls, American flags, and fireworks. I ask you, does it get more patriotic than that?

I’ll never forget the first time I heard Lee Greenwood belt out his most beloved song “God Bless The USA” at a live event in Sevierville, TN. I’m not a very emotional person, but I’m not afraid to admit that night my eyes welled up. Amazing song…amazing tribute.

So far we’ve heard from the Boss, the Godfather, and one of the great patriots. Now it’s time to listen to the King. Written by country singer/songwriter Mickey Newbury, “An American Trilogy” was made famous (huge understatement) by Elvis Presley who incorporated it as a regular part of his concert routine in the 1970’s. Take a little time and pay tribute to both the King and our great nation…

Rounding out our list in the High Priest, Brother Ray! America is all about soul and no one embodies soul more than Motown great Ray Charles. Leaving his rendition of “America The Beautiful” off this list would be like leaving syrup off of pancakes; un-American!

I hope you all had a wonderful Veterans Day, but please remember to keep the men and women of our armed forces in your thoughts and prayers every day of the year.

NMPA takes aim at Karafun karaoke site

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That National Music Publishers Association announced yesterday they are taking aim at sites they’ve concluded are illegally serving up lyrics and benefiting from advertising, subscriptions, or venture funding. Working on an algorithm from a University of Georgia researcher, they’ve identified 50 sites they say are the worst offenders.

On the list the NMPA published is karaoke site Karafun. Lyrics are an integral part of any karaoke setup – if there’s no lyric scroll, it’s basically just a backing track. So it’s no surprise that a karaoke site got caught up in the dragnet.

As you can see by the screenshot below, Karafun is offering several songs by songwriters that are on the Karaoke No-Fly List. And there’s plenty more forbidden karaoke there, including The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, and Dan Fogelberg.

Based in France, Karafun may be licensed to do business in the Eurozone, but without licenses in the USA, lyrics and karaoke sites can’ t legally do business here.

The sad part is, unlike a karaoke video-sync license, it’s not actually hard to get a lyrics license. Musixmatch and LyricsFind both offer quick and inexpensive ways to do so.

As long as lyrics sites are monetizing themselves with advertising or subscriptions, then they’re profiting at least in part from someone else’s work. Why not do the right thing and just buy the license already?

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