A British survey finds that Frank Sinatra's "My Way" is the number one hit to be played at funerals. Predictable old hymns like "Amazing Grace" are less popular with the funeral set these days.
Co-operative Funeralcare compiles charts of favorite numbers heard at funerals, the (UK) Guardianreports. Popular songs now account for 40% of all music chosen for funerals, according to its research, while hymns account for 55% and classical works a mere 5%. "Bette Midler (Wind Beneath My Wings) is just behind Sinatra, ahead of Robbie Williams (Angels). Celine Dion (My Heart Will Go On) and Tina Turner (Simply the Best) are fourth and fifth."
"In early 2004, a British book editor called me with an odd request," he writes in the Seattle Times. "He wanted me to spend an entire year listening to as many depressing songs as possible and write about 50 that most made me want to kill myself. While discussing writers pathetic enough to take on this assignment, my name had immediately come up. I said, sure, what the hell.
"One year, 7,000 songs and a dozen Prozac refills later, I completed my wretched task. I can safely say that there are way more than 50 depressing tunes in the world, and the Cure has recorded half of them. I ended up stretching the list to 52 songs just to make room for Harry Chapin and that scary chick from Evanescence."
He includes "Send in the Clowns" (he listened to 30 different versions); Whitney Houston's "serotonin-draining ballad," "I Will Always Love You"; Bonnie Tyler's nervous breakdown '80s hit, "Total Eclipse of the Heart"; Céline Dion's horrifying remake of Eric Carmen's "All By Myself," and Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight."
Tussey Mountain Ski Lodge invites the public to drop in either from the slopes or directly from home to enjoy the music of Chris Lee, JT Blues, Peter Jogo, Mike Leitzel and more. This diverse and talented group of musicians are returning for their fourth season to play in the fireside room Sundays in January and February (except not Jan 15) from 3 to 6 PM. "High quality, low volume music in an all-ages, smoke-free atmosphere” is how group leader Chris Lee describes what they offer. To learn more about Chris and his band, go to his "MySpace.com" site. Click.
"Who needs an agent when you've got the net?" asks writer Tara Pepper in Newsweek. She cites the example of singer Gilli Moon, who forsook an agent and record label to promote herself. "Online, she arranges and promotes her tours, sells tickets, CDs and ringtones, and chats with other songwriters about upcoming festivals," Pepper writes. Moon has sold 20,000 records and receives 133,000 hits on her web site.
If you're thinking of purchasing a digital music player, the next question is how to fill it, legally. An I-Pod can hold 10,000 tracks, and if you download 10,000 tracks at $1 a track (the going price at online music stores), you will have just spent $10,000 for your music collection.
If all you're intending is to shift music-playing devices, from big PC or CD to hand-held (at least that's what you should tell the court, that you had no intention to share your collection with strangers over the Internet for free, or trade, because you know it's illegal), you can take the CDs you've already purchased, copy them onto your PC, then copy them onto your music player. In essence, the music player just makes your music collection more portable.
There are other options. New York Times high-tech guru David Pogue thoroughly reviews the major online music services. "One intriguing alternative is the subscription plan allowing unlimited downloads that is currently offered by Napster, Yahoo and Rhapsody. (Each also maintains a traditional $1-a-song service.) Microsoft, Target, MTV and AOL have also announced plans to get into this subscription business, and even Apple is rumored be interested.
"The tantalizing concept: instead of buying songs one at a time, pay a monthly fee for the rights to the entire million-song library," Pogue observes. "On the Napster to Go plan, for example, you can fill your computer and your pocket music player over and over again with as much music as you like, for $15 a month.
"Unfortunately, there's enough fine print to fill a phone book," Pogue writes. "The biggest footnote is that if you ever stop paying the fee, you're left with nothing but memories; all the music self-destructs. You're not buying songs under this plan - you're just renting them."
He concludes that "the downloadable-music business is still in its fumbling, bumbling infancy. It may take the music stores several more years of hammering away at their remaining problems - software complexity, steep pricing and holes in their song catalogs - before the recording industry can think of the Web without wincing."
It's been a long time since the band Metallica served as an opening act for anyone. But the popular nineties band will open for the Rolling Stones on tour in November. You might call it the geezer tour. Mick Jagger is 62, and could qualify for retirement, while Metallica's James Hetfield is 42, old by concert-touring standards. Nicknamed 'Alcoholica' by journalists in the 1980s, Metallica had a big comeback in the 1990s. Some say the band single-handedly saved heavy metal music from itself. The band is the focus of a documentary, Some Kind of Monster, about their trials and tribulations.
Undiscovered musicians have a new way to find audiences, or at least new hope that they might at last be discovered. Two new software programs, Indy and IRate push "independent artists' songs through the Internet to the people with matching tastes, exposing their music to the people most likely to become fans," the Los Angeles Times reports.
Fresh from their success with the Live 8 concerts, America Online and XM Satellite Radio say they'll broadcast far more live concerts. More than five million people listened to or watched portions of the Live 8 concerts online or on the subscription radio service. Network Live, backed by AOL and XM, has launched. Live 8 executive producer Kevin Wall serves as CEO. "Network Live will seek sponsors for the live online broadcasts, and AOL plans to run commercials and banner ads when consumers watch clips later," the Los Angeles Timesreports. XM licensed broadcast rights for satellite radio and will provide the concerts free to its subscribers.
Pat Boone and Paul Anka, two 1950s teen idols, have taken quite different turns as they've tried to maintain a fan base nearly fifty years after they reached the pinnacle of popularity.
Boone in the 1970s was still appealing to teens, advertising acne medication and urging adolescents to turn to Jesus. Then, in 1997, he took a bizarre turn, releasing an album titled, "No More Mr. Nice Guy," in which he sang heavy metal music. The album was almost universally panned and ridiculed. "Monty Python have got nothing on Pat Boone. You want absurd, this is the pinnacle," writes Amazon.com in a promotion (?) of Boone's album, on a page complete with embarrassing audio clips from Boone's album. "No comedy writer in his/her dreams could have dreamt up anything even half as stupid. The mere idea of Pat Boone, Mr. Squeaky Clean himself, (ahem) crooning heavy metal tunes..."
"What do you get when you cross a gospel singer you parents liked with the guitar driven hard rock songs you like?" asks the satiric web site, Fade to Black. "Music you can both agree is God awful."