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Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was the definitive heavy metal band. It wasn't just their crushingly loud
interpretation of the blues -- it was how they incorporated mythology, mysticism, and a
variety of other genres (most notably world music and British folk) -- into their sound.
Led Zeppelin had mystique. They rarely gave interviews, since the music press detested
the band. Consequently, the only connection the audience had with the band was through
the records and the concerts. More than any other band, Led Zeppelin established the
concept of album-oriented rock, refusing to release popular songs from their albums as
singles. In doing so, they established the dominant format for heavy metal, as well as the
genre's actual sound.

Led Zeppelin formed out of the ashes of the Yardbirds. Jimmy Page had joined the band
in its final days, playing a pivotal role on their final album, 1967's Little Games, which
also featured string arrangements from John Paul Jones. During 1967, the Yardbirds were
fairly inactive. While the Yardbirds decided their future, Page returned to session work in
1967. In the spring of 1968, he played on Jones' arrangement of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy
Man." During the sessions, Jones requested to be part of any future project Page would
develop. Page would have to assemble a band sooner than he had planned. In the summer
of 1968, the Yardbirds' Keith Relf and James McCarty left the band, leaving Page and
bassist Chris Dreja with the rights to the name, as well as the obligation of fulfilling an
upcoming fall tour. Page set out to find a replacement vocalist and drummer. Initially, he
wanted to enlist singer Terry Reid and Procol Harum's drummer B.J. Wilson, but neither
musician was able to join the group. Reid suggested that Page contact Robert Plant, who
was singing with a band called Hobbstweedle.

After hearing him sing, Page asked Plant to join the band in August of 1968, the same
month Chris Dreja dropped out of the new project. Following Dreja's departure, John
Paul Jones joined the group as its bassist. Plant recommended that Page hire John
Bonham, the drummer for Plant's old band, the Band of Joy. Bonham had to be persuaded
to join the group, as he was being courted by other artists who offered the drummer
considerably more money. By September, Bonham agreed to join the band. Performing
under the name the New Yardbirds, the band fulfilled the Yardbirds' previously booked
engagements in late September 1968. The following month, they recorded their debut
album in just under 30 hours. Also in October, the group switched its name to Led
Zeppelin. The band secured a contract with Atlantic Records in the United States before
the end of the year. Early in 1969, Led Zeppelin set out on their first American tour,
which helped set the stage for the January release of their eponymous debut album. Two
months after its release, Led Zeppelin had climbed into the U.S. Top Ten. Throughout
1969, the band toured relentlessly, playing dates in America and England. While they
were on the road, they recorded their second album, Led Zeppelin II, which was released
in October of 1969. Like its predecessor, Led Zeppelin II was an immediate hit, topping
the American charts two months after its release and spending seven weeks at number
one. The album helped establish Led Zeppelin as an international concert attraction, and
for the next year, the group continued to tour relentlessly. Led Zeppelin's sound began to
deepen with Led Zeppelin III. Released in October of 1970, the album featured an overt
British folk influence. The group's infatuation with folk and mythology would reach a
fruition on the group's untitled fourth album, which was released in November of 1971.
Led Zeppelin IV was the band's most musically diverse effort to date, featuring
everything from the crunching rock of "Black Dog" to the folk of "The Battle of
Evermore," as well as "Stairway to Heaven," which found the bridge between the two
genres. "Stairway to Heaven" was an immediate radio hit, eventually becoming the most
played song in the history of album-oriented radio; the song was never released as a
single. Despite the fact that the album never reached number one in America, Led
Zeppelin IV was their biggest album ever, selling well over 16 million copies over the
next two and a half decades.

Led Zeppelin did tour to support both Led Zeppelin III and Led Zeppelin IV, but they
played fewer shows than they did on their previous tours. Instead, they concentrated on
only playing larger venues. After completing their 1972 tour, the band retreated from the
spotlight and recorded their fifth album. Released in the spring of 1973, Houses of the
Holy continued the band's musical experimentation, featuring touches of funk and reggae
among their trademark rock and folk. The success of Houses of the Holy set the stage for
a record-breaking American tour. Throughout their 1973 tour, Led Zeppelin broke box-
office records -- most of which were previously held by the Beatles -- across America.
The group's concert at Madison Square Garden in July was filmed for use in the feature
film The Song Remains the Same, which was released three years later. After their 1973
tour, Led Zeppelin spent a quiet year during 1974, releasing no new material and
performing no concerts. They did, however, establish their own record label, Swan Song,
which released all of Led Zeppelin's subsequent albums, as well as records by Dave
Edmunds, Bad Company, the Pretty Things, and several others. Physical Graffiti, a
double album released in February of 1975, was the band's first release on Swan Song.
The album was an immediate success, topping the charts in both America and England.
Led Zeppelin launched a large American tour in 1975, but it came to a halt when Robert
Plant and his wife suffered a serious car crash while vacationing in Greece. The tour was
canceled and Plant spent the rest of the year recuperating from the accident.

Led Zeppelin returned to action in the spring of 1976 with Presence. Although the album
debuted at number one in both America and England, the reviews for the album were
lukewarm, as was the reception to the live concert film The Song Remains the Same,
which appeared in the fall of 1976. The band finally returned to tour America in the
Spring of 1977. A couple of months into the tour, Plant's six-year-old son Karac died of a
stomach infection. Led Zeppelin immediately canceled the tour and offered no word
whether or not it would be rescheduled, causing widespread speculation about the band's
future. For a while, it did appear that Led Zeppelin was finished. Robert Plant spent the
latter half of 1977 and the better part of 1978 in seclusion. The group didn't begin work
on a new album until late in the summer of 1978, when they began recording at ABBA's
Polar studios in Sweden. A year later, the band played a short European tour, performing
in Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and Austria. In August of 1979, Led
Zeppelin played two large concerts at Knebworth; the shows would be their last English
performances.
In Through the Out Door, the band's much-delayed eighth studio album, was finally
released in September of 1979. The album entered the charts at number one in both
America and England. In May of 1980, Led Zeppelin embarked on their final European
tour. In September, Led Zeppelin began rehearsing at Jimmy Page's house in preparation
for an American tour. On September 25, John Bonham was found dead in his bed --
following an all-day drinking binge, he had passed out and choked on his own vomit. In
December of 1980, Led Zeppelin announced they were disbanding, since they could not
continue without Bonham.

Following the breakup, the remaining members all began solo careers. John Paul Jones
returned to producing and arranging, finally releasing his solo debut, Zooma, in 1999.
After recording the soundtrack for Death Wish II, Jimmy Page compiled the Zeppelin
outtakes collection Coda, which was released at the end of 1982. That same year, Robert
Plant began a solo career with the Pictures at Eleven album. In 1984, Plant and Page
briefly reunited in the all-star oldies band the Honeydrippers. After recording one EP
with the Honeydrippers, Plant returned to his solo career and Page formed the Firm with
former Bad Company singer Paul Rogers. In 1985, Led Zeppelin reunited to play Live
Aid, sparking off a flurry of reunion rumors; the reunion never materialized. In 1988, the
band re-formed to play Atlantic's 25th anniversary concert. During 1989, Page
remastered the band's catalog for release on the 1990 box set Led Zeppelin. The four-disc
set became the biggest-selling multi-disc box set of all time, which was followed up three
years later by another box set, the mammoth ten-disc set The Complete Studio
Recordings.

In 1994, Page and Plant reunited to record a segment for MTV Unplugged, which was
released as No Quarter in the fall of 1994. Although the album went platinum, the sales
were disappointing considering the anticipation of a Zeppelin reunion. The following
year, Page and Plant embarked on a successful international tour, which eventually led to
an all-new studio recording in 1998, the Steve Albini-produced Walking Into Clarksdale.
Surprisingly, the album was met with a cool reception by the record-buying public, as
Page and Plant ended their union shortly thereafter, once again going their separate ways
(Page went on to tour with the Black Crowes, while Plant resumed his solo career).
Further Zeppelin compilation releases saw the light of day in the late '90s, including
1997's stellar double-disc BBC Sessions, plus Zep's first true best-of collections -- 1999's
Early Days: The Best Of, Vol. 1 and 2000's Latter Days: The Best Of, Vol. 2.

Albums:

1969 Led Zeppelin


1969 Led Zeppelin II
1970 Led Zeppelin III
1971 Led Zeppelin IV
1973 Houses of the Holy
1975 Physical Graffiti
1976 Presence
1976 The Song Remains the Same [live]
1979 In Through the Out Door
1982 Coda

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd is the premier space rock band. Since the mid-'60s, their music relentlessly
tinkered with electronics and all manner of special effects to push pop formats to their
outer limits. At the same time they wrestled with lyrical themes and concepts of such
massive scale that their music has taken on almost classical, operatic quality, in both
sound and words. Despite their astral image, the group was brought down to earth in the
1980s by decidedly mundane power struggles over leadership and, ultimately, ownership
of the band's very name. After that time, they were little more than a dinosaur act,
capable of filling stadiums and topping the charts, but offering little more than a
spectacular recreation of their most successful formulas. Their latter-day staleness cannot
disguise the fact that, for the first decade or so of their existence, they were one of the
most innovative groups around, in concert and (especially) in the studio.

While Pink Floyd are mostly known for their grandiose concept albums of the 1970s,
they started as a very different sort of psychedelic band. Soon after they first began
playing together in the mid-'60s, they fell firmly under the leadership of lead guitarist Syd
Barrett, the gifted genius who would write and sing most of their early material. The
Cambridge native shared the stage with Roger Waters (bass), Rick Wright (keyboards),
and Nick Mason (drums). The name Pink Floyd, seemingly so far-out, was actually
derived from the first names of two ancient bluesmen (Pink Anderson and Floyd
Council). And at first, Pink Floyd were much more conventional than the act into which
they would evolve, concentrating on the rock and R&B material that were so common to
the repertoires of mid-'60s British bands.

Pink Floyd quickly began to experiment, however, stretching out songs with wild
instrumental freak-out passages incorporating feedback; electronic screeches; and
unusual, eerie sounds created by loud amplification, reverb, and such tricks as sliding ball
bearings up and down guitar strings. In 1966, they began to pick up a following in the
London underground; on-stage, they began to incorporate light shows to add to the
psychedelic effect. Most importantly, Syd Barrett began to compose pop-psychedelic
gems that combined unusual psychedelic arrangements (particularly in the haunting
guitar and celestial organ licks) with catchy melodies and incisive lyrics that viewed the
world with a sense of poetic, childlike wonder.

The group landed a recording contract with EMI in early 1967 and made the Top 20 with
a brilliant debut single, "Arnold Layne," a sympathetic, comic vignette about a
transvestite. The follow-up, the kaleidoscopic "See Emily Play," made the Top Ten. The
debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, also released in 1967, may have been the
greatest British psychedelic album other than Sgt. Pepper's. Dominated almost wholly by
Barrett's songs, the album was a charming fun house of driving, mysterious rockers
("Lucifer Sam"); odd character sketches ("The Gnome"); childhood flashbacks ("Bike,"
"Matilda Mother"); and freakier pieces with lengthy instrumental passages ("Astronomy
Domine," "Interstellar Overdrive," "Pow R Toch") that mapped out their fascination with
space travel. The record was not only like no other at the time; it was like no other that
Pink Floyd would make, colored as it was by a vision that was far more humorous, pop-
friendly, and lighthearted than those of their subsequent epics.

The reason Pink Floyd never made a similar album was that Piper was the only one to be
recorded under Barrett's leadership. Around mid-1967, the prodigy began showing
increasingly alarming signs of mental instability. Barrett would go catatonic on-stage,
playing music that had little to do with the material, or not playing at all. An American
tour had to be cut short when he was barely able to function at all, let alone play the pop
star game. Dependent upon Barrett for most of their vision and material, the rest of the
group was nevertheless finding him impossible to work with, live or in the studio.

Around the beginning of 1968, guitarist Dave Gilmour, a friend of the band who was also
from Cambridge, was brought in as a fifth member. The idea was that Gilmour would
enable the Floyd to continue as a live outfit; Barrett would still be able to write and
contribute to the records. That couldn't work either, and within a few months Barrett was
out of the group. Pink Floyd's management, looking at the wreckage of a band that was
now without its lead guitarist, lead singer, and primary songwriter, decided to abandon
the group and manage Barrett as a solo act.

Such calamities would have proven insurmountable for 99 out of 100 bands in similar
predicaments. Incredibly, Pink Floyd would regroup and not only maintain their
popularity, but eventually become even more successful. It was early in the game yet,
after all; the first album had made the British Top Ten, but the group was still virtually
unknown in America, where the loss of Syd Barrett meant nothing to the media. Gilmour
was an excellent guitarist, and the band proved capable of writing enough original
material to generate further ambitious albums, Waters eventually emerging as the
dominant composer. The 1968 follow-up to Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of
Secrets, made the British Top Ten, using Barrett's vision as an obvious blueprint, but
taking a more formal, somber, and quasi-classical tone, especially in the long
instrumental parts. Barrett, for his part, would go on to make a couple of interesting solo
records before his mental problems instigated a retreat into oblivion.

Over the next four years, Pink Floyd would continue to polish their brand of experimental
rock, which married psychedelia with ever-grander arrangements on a Wagnerian
operatic scale. Hidden underneath the pulsing, reverberant organs and guitars and
insistently restated themes were subtle blues and pop influences that kept the material
accessible to a wide audience. Abandoning the singles market, they concentrated on
album-length works, and built a huge following in the progressive rock underground with
constant touring in both Europe and North America. While LPs like Ummagumma
(divided into live recordings and experimental outings by each member of the band),
Atom Heart Mother (a collaboration with composer Ron Geesin), and More... (a film
soundtrack) were erratic, each contained some extremely effective music.

By the early '70s, Syd Barrett was a fading or nonexistent memory for most of Pink
Floyd's fans, although the group, one could argue, never did match the brilliance of that
somewhat anomalous 1967 debut. Meddle (1971) sharpened the band's sprawling epics
into something more accessible, and polished the science fiction ambience that the group
had been exploring ever since 1968. Nothing, however, prepared Pink Floyd or their
audience for the massive mainstream success of their 1973 album, Dark Side of the
Moon, which made their brand of cosmic rock even more approachable with state-of-the-
art production; more focused songwriting; an army of well-time stereophonic sound
effects; and touches of saxophone and soulful female backup vocals.

Dark Side of the Moon finally broke Pink Floyd as superstars in the United States, where
it made number one. More astonishingly, it made them one of the biggest-selling acts of
all time. Dark Side of the Moon spent an incomprehensible 741 weeks on the Billboard
album chart. Additionally, the primarily instrumental textures of the songs helped make
Dark Side of the Moon easily translatable on an international level, and the record
became (and still is) one of the most popular rock albums worldwide.

It was also an extremely hard act to follow, although the follow-up, Wish You Were Here
(1975), also made number one, highlighted by a tribute of sorts to the long-departed
Barrett, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." Dark Side of the Moon had been dominated by
lyrical themes of insecurity, fear, and the cold sterility of modern life; Wish You Were
Here and Animals (1977) developed these morose themes even more explicitly. By this
time Waters was taking a firm hand over Pink Floyd's lyrical and musical vision, which
was consolidated by The Wall (1979).

The bleak, overambitious double concept album concerned itself with the material and
emotional walls modern humans build around themselves for survival. The Wall was a
huge success (even by Pink Floyd's standards), in part because the music was losing some
of its heavy-duty electronic textures in favor of more approachable pop elements.
Although Pink Floyd had rarely even released singles since the late '60s, one of the
tracks, "Another Brick in the Wall," became a transatlantic number one. The band had
been launching increasingly elaborate stage shows throughout the '70s, but the touring
production of The Wall, featuring a construction of an actual wall during the band's
performance, was the most excessive yet.

In the 1980s, the group began to unravel. Each of the four had done some side and solo
projects in the past; more troublingly, Waters was asserting control of the band's musical
and lyrical identity. That wouldn't have been such a problem had The Final Cut (1983)
been such an unimpressive effort, with little of the electronic innovation so typical of
their previous work. Shortly afterward, the band split up -- for a while. In 1986, Waters
was suing Gilmour and Mason to dissolve the group's partnership (Wright had lost full
membership status entirely); Waters lost, leaving a Roger-less Pink Floyd to get a Top
Five album with Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987. In an irony that was nothing less
than cosmic, about 20 years after Pink Floyd shed their original leader to resume their
career with great commercial success, they would do the same again to his successor.
Waters released ambitious solo albums to nothing more than moderate sales and
attention, while he watched his former colleagues (with Wright back in tow) rescale the
charts.

Pink Floyd still had a huge fan base, but there's little that's noteworthy about their post-
Waters output. They knew their formula, could execute it on a grand scale, and could
count on millions of customers -- many of them unborn when Dark Side of the Moon
came out, and unaware that Syd Barrett was ever a member -- to buy their records and see
their sporadic tours. The Division Bell, their first studio album in seven years, topped the
charts in 1994 without making any impact on the current rock scene, except in a
marketing sense. Ditto for the live Pulse album, recorded during a typically elaborately
staged 1994 tour, which included a concert version of The Dark Side of the Moon in its
entirety. Waters' solo career sputtered along, highlighted by a solo recreation of The Wall,
performed at the site of the former Berlin Wall in 1990, and released as an album. Syd
Barrett continued to be completely removed from the public eye except as a sort of
archetype for the fallen genius.

Main Albums

1967 The Piper at the Gates of Dawn


1968 A Saucerful of Secrets
1969 More
1969 Ummagumma
1970 Atom Heart Mother
1971 Meddle
1972 Obscured by Clouds
1973 The Dark Side of the Moon
1975 Wish You Were Here
1977 Animals
1979 The Wall
1983 The Final Cut
1987 A Momentary Lapse of Reason
1988 Delicate Sound of Thunder [live]
1994 The Division Bell
1995 Pulse [live]

The Jimi Hendrix


In his brief four-year reign as a superstar, Jimi Hendrix expanded the vocabulary of the
electric rock guitar more than anyone before or since. Hendrix was a master at coaxing all
manner of unforeseen sonics from his instrument, often with innovative amplification
experiments that produced astral-quality feedback and roaring distortion. His frequent
hurricane blasts of noise and dazzling showmanship -- he could and would play behind
his back and with his teeth and set his guitar on fire -- has sometimes obscured his
considerable gifts as a songwriter, singer, and master of a gamut of blues, R&B, and rock
styles.

When Hendrix became an international superstar in 1967, it seemed as if he'd dropped


out of a Martian spaceship, but in fact he'd served his apprenticeship the long, mundane
way in numerous R&B acts on the chitlin circuit. During the early and mid-'60s, he
worked with such R&B/soul greats as Little Richard, the Isley Brothers, and King Curtis
as a backup guitarist. Occasionally he recorded as a session man (the Isley Brothers' 1964
single "Testify" is the only one of these early tracks that offers even a glimpse of his
future genius). But the stars didn't appreciate his show-stealing showmanship, and
Hendrix was straight-jacketed by sideman roles that didn't allow him to develop as a
soloist. The logical step was for Hendrix to go out on his own, which he did in New York
in the mid-'60s, playing with various musicians in local clubs, and joining white blues-
rock singer John Hammond, Jr.'s band for a while.

It was in a New York club that Hendrix was spotted by Animals bassist Chas Chandler.
The first lineup of the Animals was about to split, and Chandler, looking to move into
management, convinced Hendrix to move to London and record as a solo act in England.
There a group was built around Jimi, also featuring Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel
Redding on bass, that was dubbed the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The trio became stars
with astonishing speed in the U.K., where "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze," and "The Wind
Cries Mary" all made the Top Ten in the first half of 1967. These tracks were also
featured on their debut album, Are You Experienced?, a psychedelic meisterwerk that
became a huge hit in the U.S. after Hendrix created a sensation at the Monterey Pop
Festival in June of 1967.

Are You Experienced? was an astonishing debut, particularly from a young R&B veteran
who had rarely sung, and apparently never written his own material, before the
Experience formed. What caught most people's attention at first was his virtuosic guitar
playing, which employed an arsenal of devices, including wah-wah pedals, buzzing
feedback solos, crunching distorted riffs, and lightning, liquid runs up and down the
scales. But Hendrix was also a first-rate songwriter, melding cosmic imagery with some
surprisingly pop-savvy hooks and tender sentiments. He was also an excellent blues
interpreter and passionate, engaging singer (although his gruff, throaty vocal pipes were
not nearly as great assets as his instrumental skills). Are You Experienced? was
psychedelia at its most eclectic, synthesizing mod pop, soul, R&B, Dylan, and the electric
guitar innovations of British pioneers like Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, and Eric Clapton.

Amazingly, Hendrix would only record three fully conceived studio albums in his
lifetime. Axis: Bold as Love and the double-LP Electric Ladyland were more diffuse and
experimental than Are You Experienced? On Electric Ladyland in particular, Hendrix
pioneered the use of the studio itself as a recording instrument, manipulating electronics
and devising overdub techniques (with the help of engineer Eddie Kramer in particular)
to plot uncharted sonic territory. Not that these albums were perfect, as impressive as
they were; the instrumental breaks could meander, and Hendrix's songwriting was
occasionally half-baked, never matching the consistency of Are You Experienced?
(although he exercised greater creative control over the later albums).

The final two years of Hendrix's life were turbulent ones musically, financially, and
personally. He was embroiled in enough complicated management and record company
disputes (some dating from ill-advised contracts he'd signed before the Experience
formed) to keep the lawyers busy for years. He disbanded the Experience in 1969,
forming the Band of Gypsies with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox to pursue
funkier directions. He closed Woodstock with a sprawling, shaky set, redeemed by his
famous machine-gun interpretation of "The Star Spangled Banner." The rhythm section
of Mitchell and Redding were underrated keys to Jimi's best work, and the Band of
Gypsies ultimately couldn't measure up to the same standard, although Hendrix did
record an erratic live album with them. In early 1970, the Experience re-formed again --
and disbanded again shortly afterward. At the same time, Hendrix felt torn in many
directions by various fellow musicians, record-company expectations, and management
pressures, all of whom had their own ideas of what Hendrix should be doing. Coming up
on two years after Electric Ladyland, a new studio album had yet to appear, although
Hendrix was recording constantly during the period.

While outside parties did contribute to bogging down Hendrix's studio work, it also
seems likely that Jimi himself was partly responsible for the stalemate, unable to form a
permanent lineup of musicians, unable to decide what musical direction to pursue, unable
to bring himself to complete another album despite jamming endlessly. A few months
into 1970, Mitchell -- Hendrix's most valuable musical collaborator -- came back into the
fold, replacing Miles in the drum chair, although Cox stayed in place. It was this trio that
toured the world during Hendrix's final months.

It's extremely difficult to separate the facts of Hendrix's life from rumors and speculation.
Everyone who knew him well, or claimed to know him well, has different versions of his
state of mind in 1970. Critics have variously mused that he was going to go into jazz, that
he was going to get deeper into the blues, that he was going to continue doing what he
was doing, or that he was too confused to know what he was doing at all. The same
confusion holds true for his death: contradictory versions of his final days have been
given by his closest acquaintances of the time. He'd been working intermittently on a new
album, tentatively titled First Ray of the New Rising Sun, when he died in London on
September 18, 1970, from drug-related complications.

Hendrix recorded a massive amount of unreleased studio material during his lifetime.
Much of this (as well as entire live concerts) was issued posthumously; several of the live
concerts were excellent, but the studio tapes have been the focus of enormous
controversy for over 20 years. These initially came out in haphazard drabs and drubs (the
first, The Cry of Love, was easily the most outstanding of the lot). In the mid-'70s,
producer Alan Douglas took control of these projects, posthumously overdubbing many
of Hendrix's tapes with additional parts by studio musicians. In the eyes of many Hendrix
fans, this was sacrilege, destroying the integrity of the work of a musician known to
exercise meticulous care over the final production of his studio recordings. Even as late
as 1995, Douglas was having ex-Knack drummer Bruce Gary record new parts for the
typically misbegotten compilation Voodoo Soup. After a lengthy legal dispute, the rights
to Hendrix's estate, including all of his recordings, returned to Al Hendrix, the guitarist's
father, in July of 1995.

With the help of Jimi's step-sister Janie, Al set up Experience Hendrix to begin to get
Jimi's legacy in order. They began by hiring John McDermott and Jimi's original
engineer, Eddie Kramer to oversee the remastering process. They were able to find all the
original master tapes, which had never been used for previous CD releases, and in April
of 1997, Hendrix's first three albums were reissued with drastically improved sound.
Accompanying those reissues was a posthumous compilation album (based on Jimi's
handwritten track listings) called First Rays of the New Rising Sun, made up of tracks
from the Cry of Love, Rainbow Bridge and War Heroes.

Later in 1997, another compilation called South Saturn Delta showed up, collecting more
tracks from posthumous LPs like Crash Landing, War Heroes, and Rainbow Bridge
(without the terrible '70s overdubs), along with a handful of never-before-heard material
that Chas Chandler had withheld from Alan Douglas for all those years.

More archival material followed; Radio One was basically expanded to the two-disc BBC
Sessions (released in 1998), and 1999 saw the release of the full show from Woodstock as
well as additional concert recordings from the Band of Gypsies shows entitled Live at the
Fillmore East. 2000 saw the release of the Jimi Hendrix Experience four-disc box set,
which compiled remaining tracks from In the West, Crash Landing and Rainbow Bridge
along with more rarities and alternates from the Chandler cache.

The family also launched Dagger Records, essentially an authorized bootleg label to
supply harcore Hendrix fans with material that would be of limited commercial appeal.
Dagger Records has released several live concerts (of shows in Oakland, Ottawa and
Clark University in Massachusetts) and a collection of studio jams and demos called
Morning Symphony Ideas.

Main Albums:

1967 Are You Experienced


1967 Axis: Bold as Love
1968 Electric Ladyland
1968 Electric Hendrix [Withdrawn]
1968 Electric Ladyland Pt. 1
1970 Band of Gypsys [live]
1971 Experience [Original Soundtrack]
1971 Experience: London's Royal Albert Hall, February 1969 [live]
1971 Isle of Wight [live]
1971 The Cry of Love
1972 War Heroes
1987 Live at Winterland
1989 Radio One [live]

Van Halen

With their 1978 eponymous debut, Van Halen simultaneously rewrote the rules of rock
guitar and hard rock in general. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen redefined what electric guitar
could do, developing a blindingly fast technique with a variety of self-taught two-handed
tapping, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and effects that mimicked the sounds of machines and
animals. It was wildly inventive and over the top, equaled only by vocalist David Lee
Roth, who brought the role of a metal singer to near-performance art standards. Roth
wasn't blessed with great technique, unlike Eddie, but he had a flair for showmanship that
was derived as much from lounge performers as Robert Plant. Together, they made Van
Halen into the most popular American rock & roll band of the late '70s and early '80s,
and in the process set the template for hard rock and heavy metal for the '80s.

Throughout the '80s, it was impossible not to hear Van Halen's instrumental technique on
records that ranged from the heaviest metal to soft pop. Furthermore, Roth's irony-
drenched antics were copied by singers who took everything literally. One of these was
Sammy Hagar, an arena rock veteran from the '70s who replaced Roth after the vocalist
had a falling out with Van Halen in 1985. Hagar stayed with the band longer than Roth,
helping the group top the charts through the late '80s and early '90s. However, the group's
sales began to slide in the mid-'90s, just as tensions between Hagar and Eddie began to
arise. In one of the most disastrous publicity stunts in rock history, Hagar was fired (or
quit) and Roth was brought back on, seemingly as a permanent member, but only for two
songs on a greatest-hits album. He was subsequently replaced by Gary Cherone, a former
member of Extreme.

Through all the upheaval over lead vocalists, Eddie Van Halen and his prodigious talent
remained the core of Van Halen. The son of a Dutch bandleader, Eddie and his family
moved from the Netherlands to Pasadena, CA, in 1967, when he was 12 years old and his
older brother, Alex, was 14. As their father supported the family by playing in wedding
bands, Eddie and Alex continued their classical piano training. Soon, both boys were
enraptured by rock & roll. Eddie learned how to play drums and Alex took up the guitar,
eventually switching instruments. The brothers began a hard rock band called Mammoth
and began playing around Pasadena, eventually meeting David Lee Roth. At the time,
Roth, who had been raised in a wealthy Californian family, was singing in Redball Jet.
Impressed by the Van Halen brothers, he joined forces with the group. Shortly afterward,
bassist Michael Anthony, who was singing with Snake, became a member of Mammoth.
After discovering that another band had the rights to the name Mammoth, the group
decided to call themselves Van Halen in 1974, rejecting the proposed Rat Salade.

For the next three years, Van Halen played throughout Pasadena, Santa Barbara, and Los
Angeles, playing both clubs and hotel bars. The band's repertoire covered everything
from pop and rock to disco, but they eventually worked in their own original material.
Within a few years, they had become the most popular local band in Los Angeles, and
Eddie became well known for his groundbreaking technique. In 1977, Kiss' Gene
Simmons financed a demo recording session for Van Halen after seeing them at the
Starwood Club. On the strength of Simmons' recommendation, Mo Ostin and Ted
Templeman signed Van Halen to Warner Bros., releasing the band's debut the following
year.

Van Halen became a hit due to strong word of mouth, constant touring, and support from
AOR radio. Within three months the album had gone gold, and five months later it went
platinum. It would eventually sell over six million copies, thanks to the album rock
staples "You Really Got Me," "Jamie's Cryin'," and "Runnin' With the Devil." Van Halen
II, released in 1979, continued the band's success, as "Dance the Night Away" became
their first Top 20 single. Women and Children First (1980) didn't have any charting
singles, but was a success on the album charts, reaching number six. The band supported
the album with their first headlining, international arena tour, and the group was quickly
on their way to being superstars. Released in 1981, Fair Warning wasn't quite as popular
as their previous records, yet it still peaked at number six. Diver Down, released in 1982,
was a huge hit, spawning a number 12 cover of Roy Orbison's "(Oh) Pretty Woman" and
reaching number three.

While all of their previous albums were successful, Van Halen didn't become superstars
until 1984, when their album 1984 became an across-the-board smash. Released on New
Year's Day, 1984 rocketed to number two on the strength of the number one single
"Jump." Like many songs on the album, "Jump" was driven by Eddie's new synthesizer,
and while Roth was initially reluctant to use electronics, the expansion of the group's
sound was widely praised. Throughout 1984, Van Halen gained steam, as "I'll Wait" and
"Panama" became Top 15 singles and "Hot for Teacher" became a radio and MTV staple.

Despite the band's breakthrough success, things were not well within the band. During
their 1984 tour, each member played separate solo sets and were physically separated on
the stage. Roth was unhappy with Eddie's appearance on Michael Jackson's 1983 hit
"Beat It," and Eddie grew tired of the comic antics of Roth. In 1985, Roth released a solo
EP, Crazy from the Heat, which spawned hit covers of "California Girls" and "Just a
Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody." When Roth delayed the recording of Van Halen's follow-up
to 1984, he was fired from the band. Most observers were taken by surprise when Sammy
Hagar was named as Roth's replacement. The former lead singer of Montrose, Hagar's
solo career had been sporadically successful, highlighted by such arena metal hits as
"Three-Lock Box" and "I Can't Drive 55."

Though many critics suspected Hagar wouldn't be able to sustain Van Halen's remarkable
success, his first album with the band, 1986's 5150, was a huge hit, reaching number one
and spawning the hit singles "Why Can't This Be Love," "Dreams," and "Love Walks In."
Released in 1988, OU812 was just as successful, earning stronger reviews than its
predecessor and generating the hits "When It's Love" and "Finish What You Started."
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, released in 1991, was another number one hit, partially
due to the hit MTV video for "Right Now." Van Halen followed the album with their first
live record, the double album Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now in 1993.

By the spring 1995 release of Balance, tensions between Eddie Van Halen and Sammy
Hagar had grown considerably. Eddie had recently undergone well-publicized treatment
for alcoholism, and Hagar was notorious for his party-hearty ways, even writing a paean
to Amsterdam's hash bars with "Amsterdam" on Balance. Furthermore, the band had
become subject to criticism that it simply repeated a formula. While Balance was
successful, entering the charts at number one and selling two million copies shortly after
its release, it stalled quickly afterward. The band wanted to release a greatest-hits
collection, but Hagar balked at the idea, escalating tensions even further. Following a
skirmish in 1996 over the recording of a song for the Twister soundtrack, Eddie decided
to make a change by switching singers. Van Halen began recording new material with
Roth without informing Hagar, who went ballistic upon learning of the group's reunion.

According to Hagar, Eddie fired him shortly afterward; Eddie claimed Hagar quit. Roth
proceeded to record two new songs for Van Halen's Best Of, Vol. 1, and once the reunion
became public, the rock media reacted positively to the news; MTV began airing a
welcome back commercial days after the announcement. However, the reunion was not to
be. Following an appearance at the MTV Music Awards, Eddie Van Halen fired Roth
from the band, claiming that he was only on board to record two new songs. Roth said
that he was duped into recording the songs, believing that the reunion was permanent.
Former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone was announced as the band's new lead singer.
Though the resulting Best Of, Vol. 1 was a success, Eddie's reputation as a nice guy was
tarnished once the entire affair was over. Cherone's long-awaited debut with Van Halen,
entitled Van Halen III, was finally released in March of 1998. Although the album
debuted high on the charts, crashing in at number three, it quickly slipped down the
charts, since the reception to the album from fans, critics, and radio was mixed.

After Van Halen III proved to be the worst-selling album of Van Halen's long and
illustrious career (the ensuing world tour was poorly attended as well), Cherone was
dismissed from Van Halen in 1999. Immediately, rumors began to swirl once more of an
impending David Lee Roth/Van Halen reunion. Things were kept completely hush-hush
in the Van Halen camp until early 2001, when David Lee Roth went public on his
website with an update, confirming that he had recorded several new songs with the band
(tracks that Roth described as amazing, phenomenal, and astonishing), but hadn't heard
back from them since the previous summer.

Only a few days after Roth's news, Eddie Van Halen admitted to the public that he was
battling cancer, but was told by his doctors that chances were good for a complete
recovery. In the summer of 2001, Eddie told MTV News that the band's remaining
members had penned a total of three albums' worth of new material and that they were
still unsure of who their next singer would be. Months later, fans were shocked to hear
that the band parted ways with Warner Bros., its label since 1979. The bandmembers
blamed the label for promoting younger bands, while also admitting that they had not yet
found Cherone's replacement and were no longer considering Roth.

The next three years found various members tending to situations both personal and
professional. Eddie and longtime wife Valerie Bertinelli separated, Michael Anthony
began making regular appearances with Sammy Hagar's Warboritas, and in a surprise
move, David Lee Roth and Hagar hit the road together for the popular Heavyweight
Champs of Rock & Roll Tour. In 2004, the band announced that Hagar would return to
the fold for an American tour in support of a new greatest-hits collection, The Best of
Both Worlds. The shows were undeniably successful, but tensions were high and Hagar
and Anthony returned to the Warboritas the following year. In 2007, Van Halen were
inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and rumors of a reunion tour with Roth
began to circulate again. Those rumors were confirmed on August 17th when the group
announced legitimate dates, along with a controversial lineup change that replaced
Michael Anthony with Eddie's son Wolfgang on bass. The tour kicked off in September
and went on to gross over 93 million dollars.

Main Albums:

1978 Van Halen


1979 Van Halen II
1980 Women and Children First
1981 Fair Warning
1982 Diver Down
1984 1984
1986 5150
1988 OU812
1991 For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
1993 Live: Right Here, Right Now
1995 Balance
1998 Van Halen III
Queen

Few bands embodied the pure excess of the '70s like Queen. Embracing the exaggerated
pomp of prog rock and heavy metal, as well as vaudevillian music hall, the British quartet
delved deeply into camp and bombast, creating a huge, mock-operatic sound with layered
guitars and overdubbed vocals. Queen's music was a bizarre yet highly accessible fusion
of the macho and the fey. For years, their albums boasted the motto "no synthesizers were
used on this record," signaling their allegiance with the legions of post-Led Zeppelin hard
rock bands. But vocalist Freddie Mercury brought an extravagant sense of camp to the
band, pushing them toward kitschy humor and pseudo-classical arrangements, as
epitomized on their best-known song, "Bohemian Rhapsody." Mercury, it must be said,
was a flamboyant bisexual who managed to keep his sexuality in the closet until his death
from AIDS in 1991. Nevertheless, his sexuality was apparent throughout Queen's music,
from their very name to their veiled lyrics -- it was truly bizarre to hear gay anthems like
"We Are the Champions" turn into celebrations of sports victories.

That would have been impossible without Mercury, one of the most dynamic and
charismatic frontmen in rock history. Through his legendary theatrical performances,
Queen became one of the most popular bands in the world in the mid-'70s; in England,
they remained second only to the Beatles in popularity and collectibility in the '90s.
Despite their enormous popularity, Queen were never taken seriously by rock critics -- an
infamous Rolling Stone review labeled their 1979 album Jazz as "fascist." In spite of such
harsh criticism, the band's popularity rarely waned; even in the late '80s, the group
retained a fanatical following except in America. In the States, their popularity peaked in
the early '80s, just as they finished nearly a decade's worth of extraordinarily popular
records. And while those records were never praised, they sold in enormous numbers, and
traces of Queen's music could be heard in several generations of hard rock and metal
bands in the next two decades, from Metallica to Smashing Pumpkins.

The origins of Queen lay in the hard rock psychedelic group Smile, which guitarist Brian
May and drummer Roger Taylor joined in 1967. Following the departure of Smile's lead
vocalist, Tim Staffell, in 1971, May and Taylor formed a group with Freddie Mercury,
the former lead singer for Wreckage. Within a few months, bassist John Deacon joined
them, and they began rehearsing. Over the next two years, as all four members completed
college, they simply rehearsed, playing just a handful of gigs. By 1973, they had begun to
concentrate on their career, releasing the Roy Thomas Baker-produced Queen that year
and setting out on their first tour. Queen was more or less a straight metal album and
failed to receive much acclaim, but Queen II became an unexpected British breakthrough
early in 1974. Before its release, the band played Top of the Pops, performing "Seven
Seas of Rhye." Both the song and the performance were a smash success, and the single
rocketed into the Top Ten, setting the stage for Queen II to reach number five. Following
its release, the group embarked on its first American tour, supporting Mott the Hoople.
On the strength of their campily dramatic performances, the album climbed to number 43
in the States.

Queen released their third album, Sheer Heart Attack, before the end of 1974. The music
hall meets Zeppelin "Killer Queen" climbed to number two on the U.K. charts, taking the
album to number two as well. Sheer Heart Attack made some inroads in America as well,
setting the stage for the breakthrough of 1975's A Night at the Opera. Queen labored long
and hard over the record; according to many reports, it was the most expensive rock
record ever made at the time of its release. The first single from the record, "Bohemian
Rhapsody," became Queen's signature song, and with its bombastic, mock-operatic
structure punctuated by heavy metal riffing, it encapsulates their music. It also is the
symbol for their musical excesses -- the song took three weeks to record, and there were
so many vocal overdubs on the record that it was possible see through the tape at certain
points. To support "Bohemian Rhapsody," Queen shot one of the first conceptual music
videos, and the gamble paid off as the single spent nine weeks at number one in the
England, breaking the record for the longest run at number one. The song and A Night at
the Opera were equally successful in America, as the album climbed into the Top Ten
and quickly went platinum.

Following A Night at the Opera, Queen were established as superstars, and they quickly
took advantage of all their status had to offer. Their parties and indulgence quickly
became legend in the rock world, yet the band continued to work at a rapid rate. In the
summer of 1976, they performed a free concert at London's Hyde Park that broke
attendance records, and they released the hit single "Somebody to Love" a few months
later. It was followed by A Day at the Races, which was essentially a scaled-down
version of A Night at the Opera that reached number one in the U.K. and number five in
the U.S. They continued to pile up hit singles in both Britain and America over the next
five years, as each of their albums went into the Top Ten, always going gold and usually
platinum in the process. Because Queen embraced such mass success and adoration, they
were scorned by the rock press, especially when they came to represent all of the worst
tendencies of the old guard in the wake of punk. Nevertheless, the public continued to
buy Queen records. Featuring the Top Five double-A-sided single "We Are the
Champions"/"We Will Rock You," News of the World became a Top Ten hit in 1977.
The following year, Jazz nearly replicated that success, with the single "Fat Bottomed
Girls"/"Bicycle Race" becoming an international hit despite the massive bad publicity
surrounding their media stunt of staging a nude female bicycle race.

Queen were at the height of their popularity as they entered the '80s, releasing The Game,
their most diverse album to date, in 1980. On the strength of two number one singles --
the campy rockabilly "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and the disco-fied "Another One
Bites the Dust" -- The Game became the group's first American number one album.
However, the bottom fell out of the group's popularity, particularly in the U.S., shortly
afterward. Their largely instrumental soundtrack to Flash Gordon was coldly received
later in 1980. With the help of David Bowie, Queen were able to successfully compete
with new wave with the 1981 hit single "Under Pressure" -- their first U.K. number one
since "Bohemian Rhapsody" -- which was included both on their 1981 Greatest Hits and
1982's Hot Space. Instead of proving the group's vitality, "Under Pressure" was a last
gasp. Hot Space was only a moderate hit, and the more rock-oriented The Works (1984)
also was a minor hit, with only "Radio Ga Ga" receiving much attention. Shortly
afterward, they left Elektra and signed with Capitol.

Faced with their decreased popularity in the U.S. and waning popularity in Britain, Queen
began touring foreign markets, cultivating a large, dedicated fan base in Latin America,
Asia, and Africa, continents that most rock groups ignored. In 1985, they returned to
popularity in Britain in the wake of their show-stopping performance at Live Aid. The
following year, they released A Kind of Magic to strong European sales, but they failed
to make headway in the States. The same fate befell 1989's The Miracle, yet 1991's
Innuendo was greeted more favorably, going gold and peaking at number 30 in the U.S.
Nevertheless, it still was a far bigger success in Europe, entering the U.K. charts at
number one.

By 1991, Queen had drastically scaled back their activity, causing many rumors to
circulate about Freddie Mercury's health. On November 23, he issued a statement
confirming that he was stricken with AIDS; he died the next day. The following spring,
the remaining members of Queen held a memorial concert at Wembley Stadium that was
broadcast to an international audience of more than one billion. Featuring such guest
artists as David Bowie, Elton John, Annie Lennox, Def Leppard, and Guns N' Roses, the
concert raised millions for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, which was established for AIDS
awareness. The concert coincided with a revival of interest in "Bohemian Rhapsody,"
which climbed to number two in the U.S. and number one in the U.K. in the wake of its
appearance in the Mike Myers comedy Wayne's World.

Following Mercury's death, the remaining members of Queen were fairly quiet. Brian
May released his second solo album, Back to the Light, in 1993, ten years after the
release of his first record. Roger Taylor cut a few records with the Cross, which he had
been playing with since 1987, while Deacon essentially retired. The three reunited in
1994 to record backing tapes for vocal tracks Mercury recorded on his death bed. The
resulting album, Made in Heaven, was released in 1995 to mixed reviews and strong
sales, particularly in Europe. Crown Jewels, a box set repackaging their first eight LPs,
followed in 1998. Archival live recordings, DVDs, and compilations kept appearing
through the new millennium. The Queen name was revived in 2005, but this time with "+
Paul Rodgers" appended to it. Rodgers, the former lead singer of Free and Bad Company,
joined Brian May and Roger Taylor (John Deacon remained retired) for several live
shows, one of which was documented on 2005's Return of the Champions, a double-disc
release issued by the Hollywood label. International touring continued, as did a new
studio album featuring Rodgers' vocals. Released under the "Queen + Paul Rodgers" tag,
The Cosmos Rocks appeared in September 2008, followed by an American release one
month later. Reception was decidedly mixed.

Main Albums:
1973 Queen
1974 Queen II
1974 Sheer Heart Attack
1975 A Night at the Opera
1976 A Day at the Races [Japan Version]
1977 News of the World
1978 Jazz
1979 Live Killers
1980 The Game
1981 Flash Gordon
1982 Hot Space
1984 The Works
1986 A Kind of Magic
1986 Live Magic
1989 The Miracle
1991 Innuendo
1995 Made in Heaven
2005 Return of the Champions [live]
2008 In Vision 2
2008 The Cosmos Rocks

The Eagles

With five number one singles, fourteen Top 40 hits, and four number one albums, the
Eagles were among the most successful recording artists of the 1970s. At the end of the
20th century, two of those albums -- Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) and Hotel
California -- ranked among the ten best-selling albums ever, and the popularity of 2007's
Long Road Out of Eden proved the Eagles' staying power in the new millenium. Though
most of its members came from outside California, the group was closely identified with
a country- and folk-tinged sound that initially found favor in Los Angeles during the late
'60s, as championed by such bands as the Flying Burrito Brothers and Poco (both of
which contributed members to the Eagles). But the band also drew upon traditional rock
& roll styles and, in their later work, helped define the broadly popular rock sound that
became known as classic rock. As a result, the Eagles achieved a perennial appeal among
generations of music fans who continued to buy their records many years after they had
split up, which helped inspire the Eagles' reunion in the mid-'90s.

The band was formed by four Los Angeles-based musicians who had migrated to the
West Coast from other parts of the country. Singer/bassist Randy Meisner (born in
Scottsbluff, NE, on March 8, 1946) moved to L.A. in 1964 as part of a band originally
called the Soul Survivors (not to be confused with the East Coast-based Soul Survivors,
who scored a Top Five hit with "Expressway to Your Heart" in 1967) and later renamed
the Poor. He became a founding member of Poco in 1968, but left the band prior to the
release of its debut album in order to join the Stone Canyon Band, the backup group for
Rick Nelson. Meanwhile, singer/guitarist/banjoist/mandolinist Bernie Leadon (born in
Minneapolis, MN, on July 19, 1947) arrived in L.A. in 1967 as a member of Hearts and
Flowers, later joining Dillard & Clark and then the Flying Burrito Brothers.
Singer/drummer Don Henley (born in Gilmer, TX, on July 22, 1947) moved to L.A. in
June 1970 with his band Shiloh, which made one self-titled album for Amos Records
before breaking up. Finally, Glenn Frey (born in Detroit, MI, on November 6, 1948)
performed in his hometown and served as a backup musician for Bob Seger before
moving to L.A. in the summer of 1968. He formed the duo Longbranch Pennywhistle
with J.D. Souther, and the two musicians signed to Amos Records, which released their
self-titled album in 1969.

In the spring of 1971, Frey and Henley were hired to play in Linda Ronstadt's backup
band. Meisner and Leadon also played backup for Ronstadt during her summer tour,
though the four only did one gig together: a July show at Disneyland. They did, however,
all appear on Ronstadt's next album, Linda Ronstadt. In September 1971, Frey, Henley,
Leadon, and Meisner signed with manager David Geffen, agreeing to record for his soon-
to-be-launched label, Asylum Records; soon after, they adopted the name the Eagles. In
February 1972, they flew to England and spent two weeks recording their debut album,
Eagles, with producer Glyn Johns. It was released in June, reaching the Top 20 and going
gold in a little over a year and a half on the strength of two Top Ten hits -- "Take It Easy"
and "Witchy Woman" -- and one Top 20 hit, "Peaceful Easy Feeling."

The Eagles toured as an opening act throughout 1972 and into early 1973, when they
returned to England to record their second LP, Desperado, a concept album about
outlaws. Produced by Glyn Johns and released in April 1973, it reached the Top 40 and
went gold in a little less than a year and a half, spawning the Top 40 single "Tequila
Sunrise" in the process. The title track, though never released as a single, became one of
the band's better-known songs and was included on the Eagles' first hits collection.

After touring to support Desperado's release, the Eagles again convened a recording
session with Glyn Johns for their third album. Their desire to make harder rock music
clashed with Johns' sense of them as a country-rock band, however, and they split from
the producer after recording two tracks, "You Never Cry Like a Lover" and "The Best of
My Love." After an early 1974 tour opened by singer/guitarist Joe Walsh, the band
decided to hire Walsh's producer, Bill Szymczyk, who handled the rest of the sessions for
On the Border. Szymczyk brought in a session guitarist, Don Felder (born in Gainesville,
FL, on September 21, 1947), an old friend of Bernie Leadon's who so impressed the rest
of the band that he was recruited to join the group.

On the Border was released in March 1974. It went gold and reached the Top Ten in
June, the Eagles' fastest-selling album yet. The first single, "Already Gone," reached the
Top 20 the same month. But the most successful song on the LP -- the one that broke
them through to a much larger audience -- was "The Best of My Love," which was
released as a single in November. It hit number one on the easy listening charts in
February 1975 and topped the pop charts a month later.

The Eagles' fourth album, One of These Nights, was an out-of-the-box smash. Released in
June 1975, it went gold the same month and hit number one in July. Moreover, it featured
three singles that hit the Top Five: the chart-topping title song, "Lyin' Eyes," and "Take It
to the Limit." "Lyin' Eyes" won the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal
Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus, and the Eagles also earned Grammy
nominations for Album of the Year (One of These Nights) and Record of the Year ("Lyin'
Eyes"). The group went on a headlining world tour, beginning with the U.S. and
expanding into Europe. But on December 20, 1975, it was announced that Bernie Leadon
had quit the band, and Joe Walsh (born in Wichita, KS, on November 20, 1947) was
brought in as his replacement. He immediately joined the tour, which continued to the Far
East in early 1976.

The Eagles' extensive touring kept them out of the studio, and with no immediate plans
for a new album, they agreed to release a compilation, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975),
in February 1976. The album's success proved to be surprisingly meteoric. It topped the
charts and became a phenomenal success, eventually selling upwards of 25,000,000
copies and dueling with Michael Jackson's Thriller for the title of the best-selling album
of all time in the U.S.

It took the Eagles 18 months to follow One of These Nights with their fifth album, Hotel
California. Released in December 1976, the record was certified platinum in one week,
hit number one in January 1977, and eventually sold over 10,000,000 copies. The singles
"New Kid in Town" and "Hotel California" hit number one, and "Life in the Fast Lane"
made the Top 20. Meanwhile, "Hotel California" won the 1977 Grammy for Record of
the Year and was nominated for Song of the Year; the album itself was nominated for
Album of the Year and for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus. The
Eagles embarked on a world tour in March 1977 that began with a month in the U.S.,
followed by a month in Europe and the Far East, then returned to the U.S. in May for
stadium dates. At the end of the tour in September, Randy Meisner left the band; he was
replaced by Timothy B. Schmit (born in Sacramento, CA, November 20, 1947), formerly
of Poco, in which he also had replaced Meisner.

The Eagles began working on a new album in March 1978 and took nearly a year and a
half to complete it. The Long Run was released in September 1979. It hit number one and
was certified platinum after four months, eventually earning multi-platinum
certifications. "Heartache Tonight," its lead-off single, hit number one, and "I Can't Tell
You Why" and "The Long Run" became Top Ten hits. "Heartache Tonight" won the
1979 Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The Eagles
toured the U.S. in 1980, and at a week-long series of shows at the Santa Monica Civic
Auditorium, they recorded Eagles Live. (Also included were some tracks recorded in
1976.) Released in November 1980, the double LP (since reissued as a single CD)
reached the Top Five and went multi-platinum, with the single "Seven Bridges Road"
reaching the Top 40.
The Eagles were inactive after the end of their 1980 tour, but their breakup was not
officially announced until May 1982. All five released solo recordings. (Walsh, of course,
maintained a solo career before, during, and after the Eagles.) During the rest of the
1980s, the bandmembers received several lucrative offers to reunite, but they declined. In
1990, Frey and Henley began writing together again, and they performed along with
Schmit and Walsh at benefit concerts that spring. A full-scale reunion was rumored, but
did not take place. Four years later, however, the Eagles did reunite. In the spring of
1994, they taped an MTV concert special and then launched a tour that ended up running
through August 1996. The MTV show aired in October, followed in November by an
audio version of it, the album Hell Freezes Over, which topped the charts and became a
multi-million seller, spawning the Top 40 pop hit "Get Over It" and the number one adult
contemporary hit "Love Will Keep Us Alive."

The Eagles next appeared together in January 1998 for their induction into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame, when the five present members performed alongside past members
Leadon and Meisner. On December 31, 1999, they played a millennium concert at the
Staples Center in Los Angeles that was recorded and included on the box set
retrospective Selected Works: 1972-1999 in November 2000. All was not well within the
band, however, and Felder was expelled from the lineup in February 2001. A protracted
legal battle ensued as the Eagles soldiered on as a quartet, releasing The Very Best of the
Eagles in 2003 and achieving minor success with the single "Hole in the World." Felder's
case was settled out of court in 2007; that same year, the Eagles returned with the band's
seventh studio album, Long Road Out of Eden, a double-disc album that quickly went
multi-platinum.

Main Albums:

1972 Eagles
1973 Desperado
1974 On the Border
1975 One of These Nights
1976 Hotel California
1979 The Long Run
1980 Eagles Live
1994 Hell Freezes Over
2007 Long Road Out of Eden
2009 New Zealand Concert [live]

Metallica
Metallica was easily the best, most influential heavy metal band of the '80s. Responsible
for bringing the genre back to Earth, the bandmates looked and talked like they were
from the street, shunning the usual rockstar games of metal musicians during the early
'80s. Metallica also expanded the limits of thrash, using speed and volume not for their
own sake, but to enhance their intricately structured compositions. The release of 1983's
Kill 'Em All marked the beginning of the legitimization of heavy metal's underground,
bringing new complexity and depth to thrash metal. With each album, the band's playing
and writing improved; James Hetfield developed a signature rhythm playing that matched
his growl, while lead guitarist Kirk Hammett became one of the most copied guitarists in
metal. To complete the package, Lars Ulrich's thunderous (yet complex) drumming
clicked in perfectly with Cliff Burton's innovative bass playing.

After releasing their masterpiece Master of Puppets in 1986, tragedy struck the band
when their tour bus crashed while traveling in Sweden. Burton died in the accident. When
the band decided to continue, Jason Newsted was chosen to replace Burton; two years
later, the band released the conceptually ambitious ...And Justice for All, which hit the
Top Ten without any radio play and very little support from MTV. But Metallica
completely crossed over into the mainstream with 1991's Metallica, a self-titled effort
that found the band trading in their long compositions for more concise song structures.
Peppered with hits like "Wherever I May Roam" and "Enter Sandman", it resulted in a
number one album that sold over seven million copies in the U.S. alone. To support the
record, Metallica launched a long tour that kept the musicians on the road for nearly two
years.

By the '90s, Metallica had changed the rules for all heavy metal bands; they were the
leaders of the genre, respected not only by headbangers, but by mainstream record buyers
and critics. No other heavy metal band has ever been able to pull off such a feat.
However, the group lost a portion of their core audience with their long-awaited follow-
up to Metallica, 1996's Load. The album moved the band toward alternative rock in terms
of image -- they cut their hair and had their picture taken by Anton Corbijn. Although the
album was a hit upon its summer release, entering the charts at number one and selling
three million copies within two months, certain members of their fanbase complained
about the shift in image, as well as the group's decision to headline the sixth
Lollapalooza. Re-Load, which combined new material with songs left off of the original
Load record, appeared in 1997; despite poor reviews, it sold at a typically brisk pace and
spun off several successful singles, including "Fuel" and "The Memory Remains."
Garage Inc., a double-disc collection of B-sides, rarities, and newly recorded covers,
followed in 1998. The band's take on Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" helped maintain their
presence in the charts, and Metallica continued their flood of product with 1999's S&M,
which documented a live concert with the San Francisco Symphony. It debuted at number
two, reconfirming the group's immense popularity.

Metallica spent most of 2000 embroiled in controversy by spearheading a legal assault


against Napster, a file-sharing service that allowed users to download music files from
each other's computers. Aggressively targeting copyright infringement of their own
material, the band notoriously had over 300,000 users kicked off the service, creating a
widespread debate over the availability of digital music that raged for most of the year. In
January 2001, bassist Jason Newsted announced his amicable departure from the band.
Shortly after the band appeared at the ESPN awards in April of the same year, Hetfield,
Hammett, and Ulrich entered the recording studio to begin work on their next album,
with producer Bob Rock lined up to handle bass duties for the sessions (meanwhile,
rumors swirled of former Ozzy Osbourne/Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez being
considered for the vacated position). In July, Metallica surprisingly dropped their lawsuit
against Napster, perhaps sensing that their controversial stance did more bad than good to
their "band of the people" image. That same summer, the band's recording sessions (and
all other band-related matters) were put on hold as Hetfield entered an undisclosed rehab
facility for alcoholism and other addictions. He completed treatment and rejoined the
band as they headed back into the studio in 2002 to record St. Anger, which was later
released in mid-2003.

The recording of St. Anger was capped with the search for a permanent replacement for
Newstead. After a long audition process, former Ozzy Osbourne/Suicidal Tendencies
bass player Robert Trujillo was selected and joined Metallica for their 2003/2004 world
tour. The growing pains that the band experienced during the recording of St. Anger were
captured in the celebrated documentary Some Kind of Monster, which saw theatrical
release in 2004. Four years later, the band returned with Death Magnetic, an energized
album that returned the band to its early-'80s roots. Former Slayer producer Rick Rubin
helmed the album, having replaced the band's longtime producer Bob Rock, while Kirk
Hammett (who was forbidden to play guitar solos on St. Anger) peppered the record with
metallic riffs and frenetic solos.

Main Albums:

1983 Kill 'Em All


1984 Ride the Lightning
1986 Master of Puppets
1988 ...And Justice for All
1991 Metallica
1996 Load
1997 Reload
1999 S&M [live]
2000 No Leaf Clover
2003 St. Anger
2008 Death Magnetic
2010 Devil's Dance: Live in Lisbon 2008

U2
Through a combination of zealous righteousness and post-punk experimentalism, U2
became one of the most popular rock & roll bands of the '80s. They were rock & roll
crusaders during an era of synthesized pop and heavy metal, equally known for their
sweeping sound as for their grandiose statements about politics and religion. The Edge
provided the group with a signature sound by creating sweeping sonic landscapes with
his heavily processed, echoed guitars. Though the Edge's style wasn't conventional, the
rhythm section of Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton played the songs as driving hard
rock, giving the band a forceful, powerful edge that was designed for arenas. And their
lead singer, Bono, was a frontman with a knack of grand gestures that played better in
stadiums than small clubs. It's no accident that footage of Bono parading with a white
flag with "Sunday Bloody Sunday" blaring in the background became the defining
moment of U2's early career -- there rarely was a band that believed so deeply in rock's
potential for revolution as U2, and there rarely was a band that didn't care if they
appeared foolish in the process.

During the course of the early '80s, the group quickly built up a dedicated following
through constant touring and a string of acclaimed records. By 1987, the band's following
had grown large enough to propel them to the level of international superstardom with the
release of The Joshua Tree. Unlike many of their contemporaries, U2 were able to sustain
such popularity in the '90s by reinventing themselves as a postmodern, self-consciously
ironic, dance-inflected pop/rock act, owing equally to the experimentalism of late-'70s
Bowie and '90s electronic dance and techno. By performing such a successful
reinvention, the band confirmed its status as one of the most popular bands in rock
history, in addition to earning additional critical respect.

With its textured guitars, U2's sound was undeniably indebted to post-punk, so it's
slightly ironic that the band formed in 1976, before punk had even reached their
hometown of Dublin, Ireland. Larry Mullen, Jr. (born October 31, 1961; drums), posted a
notice on a high-school bulletin board asking for fellow musicians to form a band. Bono
(born Paul Hewson, May 10, 1960; vocals), the Edge (born David Evans, August 8, 1961;
guitar, keyboards, vocals), Adam Clayton (born March 13, 1960; bass), and Dick Evans
responded to the ad, and the teenagers banded together as Beatles and Stones cover band
called the Feedback. They then changed their name to the Hype in 1977. Shortly
afterward, Dick Evans left the band to form the Virgin Prunes, and the group changed
names once again, this time adopting the moniker of U2.

U2's first big break arrived in 1978, during the members' final year of high school, when
they won a talent contest sponsored by Guinness. By the end of the year, the Stranglers'
manager, Paul McGuinness, had seen the band play and offered to manage them. Even
with a powerful manager in their corner, the band had trouble making much headway,
and they failed an audition with CBS Records at the end of the year. In the fall of 1979,
U2 released their debut EP, U2 Three. The EP was available only in Ireland, where it
topped the national charts. Shortly afterward, they began to play in England, but they
failed to gain much attention away from home.
U2 scored one more chart-topping single, "Another Day," in early 1980 before Island
Records offered the group a contract. Later that year, the band's full-length debut, Boy,
was released. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, the record's sweeping, atmospheric but edgy
sound was unlike most of its post-punk contemporaries, and the band earned further
attention for its public embrace of Christianity; only Clayton was not a practicing
Christian. Through constant touring, including opening gigs for Talking Heads, U2 was
able to take Boy into the American Top 70 in early 1981. October, also produced by
Lillywhite, followed in the fall, and it became their British breakthrough, reaching
number 11 on the charts. By early 1983, Boy's "I Will Follow" and October's "Gloria"
had become staples on MTV, which, along with their touring, gave the group a
formidable cult following in the U.S.

Released in the spring of 1983, the Lillywhite-produced War became U2's breakthrough
release, entering the U.K. charts at number one and elevating them into arenas in the
United States, where the album peaked at number 12. War had a stronger political
message than its predecessors, as evidenced by the international hits "Sunday Bloody
Sunday" and "New Year's Day." During the supporting tour, the band filmed its concert
at Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheater, releasing the show as an EP and video titled
Under a Blood Red Sky. The EP entered in the U.K. charts at number two, becoming the
most successful live recording in British history. U2 had become one of the most popular
bands in the world, and their righteous political stance soon became replicated by many
other bands, providing the impetus for the Band Aid and Live Aid projects in 1984 and
1985, respectively.

For the follow-up to War, U2 entered the studios with co-producers Brian Eno and Daniel
Lanois, who helped give the resulting album an experimental, atmospheric tone. Released
in the fall of 1984, The Unforgettable Fire replicated the chart status of War, entering the
U.K. charts at number one and reaching number 12 in the U.S. The album also generated
the group's first Top 40 hit in America with "(Pride) In the Name of Love," a tribute to
Martin Luther King, Jr. U2 supported the album with a successful international tour,
highlighted by a show-stealing performance at Live Aid. Following the tour, the band
released the live EP Wide Awake in America in 1985.

While U2 had become one of the most successful rock bands of the '80s, they didn't truly
become superstars until the spring 1987 release of The Joshua Tree. Greeted with
enthusiastic reviews, many of which proclaimed the album a masterpiece, The Joshua
Tree became the band's first American number one hit and their third straight album to
enter the U.K. charts at number one; in England, it set a record by going platinum within
28 hours. Generating the U.S. number one hits "With or Without You" and "I Still
Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," The Joshua Tree and the group's supporting tour
became the biggest success story of 1987, earning U2 the cover of respected publications
like Time magazine. U2 decided to film a documentary about their American tour,
recording new material along the way. The project became Rattle & Hum, a film that was
supported by a double-album soundtrack that was divided between live tracks and new
material. While the album Rattle & Hum was a hit, the record and film received the
weakest reviews of U2's career, with many critics taking issue with the group's
fascination with American roots music like blues, soul, country, and folk. Following the
release of Rattle & Hum, the band took an extended hiatus.

U2 reconvened in Berlin in 1990 to record a new album with Eno and Lanois. While the
sessions for the album were difficult, the resulting record, Achtung Baby, represented a
successful reinvention of the band's trademark sound. Where they had been inspired by
post-punk in the early career and American music during their mid-career, U2 delved into
electronic and dance music with Achtung Baby. Inspired equally by late-'70s Bowie and
the Madchester scene in the U.K., Achtung Baby was sonically more eclectic and
adventurous than U2's earlier work, and it didn't alienate their core audience. The album
debuted at number one throughout the world and spawned Top Ten hits with "Mysterious
Ways" and "One."

Early in 1992, the group launched an elaborate tour to support Achtung Baby. Dubbed
Zoo TV, the tour was an innovative blend of multimedia electronics, featuring a stage
filled with televisions, suspended cars, and cellular phones. Bono devised an alter ego
called the Fly, which was a knowing send-up of rock stardom. Even under the ironic
guise of the Fly and Zoo TV, it was evident that U2 were looser and more fun than ever
before, even though they had not abandoned their trademark righteous political anger.
Following the completion of the American Zoo TV tour in late 1992 and preceding the
launch of the tour's European leg, U2 entered the studio to complete an EP of new
material that soon became the full-length Zooropa. Released in the summer of 1993 to
coincide with the tour of the same name, Zooropa demonstrated a heavier techno and
dance influence than Achtung Baby and received strong reviews. Nevertheless, the album
stalled at sales of two million and failed to generate a big hit single. During the
subsequent Zooropa tour, the Fly metamorphosed into the demonic MacPhisto, which
dominated the remainder of the tour. Upon the completion of the Zooropa tour in late
1993, the band took another extended break.

During 1995, U2 re-emerged with "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me," a glam rock
theme to Batman Forever that was produced by Nellee Hooper (Björk, Soul II Soul).
Later that year, they recorded the collaborative album Original Soundtracks, Vol. 1 with
Brian Eno, releasing the record under the name the Passengers late in 1995. It was
greeted with a muted reception, both critically and commercially. Many hardcore U2 fans
(including drummer Larry Mullen, Jr.) were unhappy with the Passengers project, and U2
promised their next album, to be released in the fall of 1996, would be a rock & roll
record.

The album took longer to complete than usual, ultimately being pushed back to the spring
of 1997. During its delay, a few tracks, including the forthcoming first single
"Discotheque," were leaked, and it became clear that the new album was going to be
heavily influenced by techno, dance, and electronic music. When it was finally released,
Pop did indeed bear a heavier dance influence, but it was greeted with strong initial sales
and a few positive reviews. Demand for the album lessened in the following months,
however, and Pop ultimately became the band's least popular album in over a decade. In
late 1998, the group returned with Best of 1980-1990, the first in a series of hits
collections issued in conjunction with a reported 50 million dollar agreement with
Polygram. Included in the comprehensive track list was a remixed version of "Sweetest
Thing," originally released as B-side in 1987, which charted well in multiple countries.

Three years after the mediocre response to Pop, U2 teamed up with Eno and Lanois once
again to release All That You Can't Leave Behind in fall 2000. The album was heralded as
a return to form, melding the band's classic sound with contemporary trends. It topped
charts around the world, reached number three in America, earned Grammy Awards for
the singles "Beautiful Day" and "Walk On," and became the band's biggest-selling record
in years. (The Elevation tour that followed also brought U2 a hefty paycheck.) Steve
Lillywhite, producer of the early-'80s landmarks Boy, October, and War, returned to the
helm for U2's next record, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Released in November
2004, it hit the top of the Billboard charts and quickly gained platinum status. The album
also garnered eight Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Rock Album of the
Year, and Song of the Year (for "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own," which
Bono had written for his father). U2 were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in
early 2005 and launched an international tour soon after, selling out arena venues in the
U.S. and outdoor stadium shows abroad. The Vertigo Tour became the highest-grossing
tour of 2005; by the time the entire tour concluded in late 2006, its gross of $389 million
had made it the second most successful tour ever.

U2 returned to the drawing board in 2006 by partnering with veteran rock producer Rick
Rubin. Two songs from those sessions appeared on the compilation U218 Singles, but the
remaining material was ultimately scrapped. The band then turned to longtime friends
Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, and Steve Lillywhite, all of whom helped shape the sound of
U2's 12th studio effort. Entitled No Line on the Horizon, the album was originally slated
to appear in October 2008, although the release date was ultimately pushed back to
March 2009. No Line on the Horizon was met with enthusiastic reviews but failed to
yield a big radio single; even so, the band embarked on another lucrative tour that
summer, with a second leg planned for 2010.

Main Albums:

1980 Boy
1981 October
1983 War
1983 Under a Blood Red Sky [live]
1984 The Unforgettable Fire
1987 The Joshua Tree
1988 Rattle and Hum
1991 Achtung Baby
1993 Zooropa
1997 Pop
2000 All That You Can't Leave Behind
2004 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
2009 No Line on the Horizon

The Police

Nominally, the Police were punk rock, but that's only in the loosest sense of the term. The
trio's nervous, reggae-injected pop/rock was punky, but it wasn't necessarily punk. All
three members were considerably more technically proficient than the average punk or
new wave band. Andy Summers had a precise guitar attack that created dense,
interlocking waves of sounds and effects. Stewart Copeland could play polyrhythms
effortlessly. And Sting, with his high, keening voice, was capable of constructing
infectiously catchy pop songs. While they weren't punk, the Police certainly
demonstrated that the punk spirit could have a future in pop music. As their career
progressed, the Police grew considerably more adventurous, experimenting with jazz and
various world musics. All the while, the band's tight delivery and mastery of the pop
single kept their audience increasing, and by 1983, they were the most popular rock &
roll band in the world. Though they were at the height of their fame, internal tensions
caused the band to splinter apart in 1984, with Sting picking up the majority of the band's
audience to become an international superstar.

Stewart Copeland and Sting (born Gordon Sumner) formed the Police in 1977. Prior to
the band's formation, Copeland, the son of a CIA agent, had attended college in
California, before he moved to England and joined the progressive rock band Curved Air.
Sting was a teacher and a ditch digger who played in jazz-rock bands, including Last
Exit, on the side. The two musicians met at a local jazz club and decided to form a
progressive pop band with guitarist Henri Padovani. For the first few months, the group
played local London pubs. Soon, they were hired to appear as a bleached-blonde punk
band in a chewing gum commercial. While the commercial provided exposure, it drew
the scorn of genuine punkers. Late in 1977, the band released its first single, "Fall Out,"
on IRS, an independent label Stewart Copeland founded with his brother Miles, who was
also the manager of the Police. The single was a sizable hit for an independent release,
selling about 70,000 copies.

Padovani was replaced by Andy Summers, a veteran of the British Invasion, following
the release of "Fall Out." Summers had previous played with Eric Burdon's second lineup
of the Animals, the Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, the Kevin Ayers Band, and Neil
Sedaka. The Police signed with A&M by the spring of 1978, committing to a contract
that gave the group a higher royalty rate in lieu of a large advance. A&M released
"Roxanne" in the spring of 1978, but it failed to chart. The Police set out on a tour of
America in the summer of 1978 without any record to support, traveling across the
country in a rented van and playing with rented equipment. Released in the fall of 1978,
Outlandos d'Amour began a slow climb into the British Top Ten and American Top 30.
Immediately after its release, the group began a U.K. tour supporting Alberto y los Trios
Paranoias and released the "So Lonely" single. By the spring of 1979, the re-released
"Roxanne" had climbed to number 12 on the U.K. charts, taking Outlandos d'Amour to
number six. In the summer of 1979, Sting appeared in Quadrophenia, a British film
based on the Who album of the same name; later that year, he acted in Radio On.

Preceded by the number one British single "Message in a Bottle," Reggatta de Blanc (fall
1979) established the group as stars in England and Europe, topping the U.K. charts for
four weeks. Following its release, Miles Copeland had the band tour several countries
that rarely received concerts from foreign performers, including Thailand, India, Mexico,
Greece, and Egypt. Zenyatta Mondatta, released in the fall of 1980, became the Police's
North American breakthrough, reaching the Top Ten in the U.S. and Canada; in England,
the album spent four weeks at number one. "Don't Stand So Close to Me," the album's
first single, became the group's second number one single in the U.K.; in America, the
single became their second Top Ten hit in the spring of 1981, following the number ten
placing of "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" in the winter. By the beginning of 1981, the
Police were able to sell out Madison Square Garden. Capitalizing on their success, the
band returned to the studio in the summer of 1981 to record their fourth album with
producer Hugh Padgham. The sessions, which were filmed for a BBC documentary
hosted by Jools Holland, were completed within a couple months, and the album, Ghost
in the Machine, appeared in the fall of 1981. Ghost in the Machine became an instant hit,
reaching number one in the U.K. and number two in the U.S. as "Every Little Thing She
Does Is Magic" became their biggest hit to date.

Following their whirlwind success of 1980 and 1981, in which they were named the Best
British Group at the first Brit Awards and won three Grammys, the band took a break in
1982. Though they played their first arena concerts and headlined the U.S. Festival, each
member pursued side projects during the course of the year. Sting acted in Brimstone and
Treacle, releasing a solo single, "Spread a Little Happiness," from the soundtrack; the
song became a British hit. Copeland scored Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish, as well
as the San Francisco Ballet's King Lear, and released an album under the name Klark
Kent; he also played on several sessions for Peter Gabriel. Summers recorded an
instrumental album, I Advance Masked, with Robert Fripp. The Police returned in the
summer of 1983 with Synchronicity, which entered the U.K. charts at number one and
quickly climbed to the same position in the U.S., where it would stay for 17 weeks.
Synchronicity became a blockbuster success on the strength of the ballad "Every Breath
You Take." Spending eight weeks at the top of the U.S. charts, "Every Breath You Take"
became one of the biggest American hits of all time; it spent four weeks at the top of the
U.K. charts. "King of Pain" and "Wrapped Around Your Finger" became hits over the
course of 1983, sending Synchronicity to multi-platinum status in America and Britain.
The Police supported the album with a blockbuster, record-breaking world tour that set
precedents for tours for the remainder of the '80s. Once the tour was completed, the band
announced they were going on "sabbatical" in order to pursue outside interests.

The Police never returned from sabbatical. During the Synchronicity tour, personal and
creative tensions between the bandmembers had escalated greatly, and they had no desire
to work together for a while. Sting began working on a jazz-tinged solo project
immediately, releasing The Dream of the Blue Turtles in 1985. The album became an
international hit, establishing him as a commercial force outside of the band. Copeland
and Summers demonstrated no inclination to follow their bandmate's path. Copeland
recorded the worldbeat exploration The Rhythmatist in 1985, and continued to compose
scores for film and television; he later formed the prog rock band Animal Logic. With his
solo career -- which didn't officially begin until the release of 1987's XYZ -- Summers
continued his art rock and jazz fusion experiments; he also occasionally collaborated
Fripp and John Etheridge.

During 1986, the Police made a few attempts to reunite, playing an Amnesty
International concert and attempting to record a handful of new tracks for a greatest-hits
album in the summer. As the studio session unraveled, it became apparent that Sting had
no intention of giving the band his new songs to record, so the group re-recorded a couple
of old songs, but even those were thrown off track after Copeland suffered a polo injury.
Featuring a new version of "Don't Stand So Close to Me," the compilation Every Breath
You Take: The Singles was released for the 1986 Christmas season, becoming the group's
fifth straight British number one and their fourth American Top Ten.

A few more quiet years passed, but 1992 found Summers taking the helm as musical
director for Dennis Miller's late-night show and Sting taking his vows with Trudie Styler.
At the wedding, the three Policemen hopped on-stage for a very impromptu set, then, just
as quickly, dismissed any rumors of an official Police reunion in the future. That same
year a Greatest Hits album was released in the U.K., and in 1994 the box set Message in
a Box: The Complete Recordings was released, followed in 1995 by the double album
Live. Things again went quite on the Police front as the millennium rolled around. Then,
in 2003, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the group into its pantheon. The band
did reorganize enough to perform three tunes at the induction ceremony, but again, it
looked as if that single show was going to be the extent of their collaboration.

There was a brief reunion of sorts with original Police guitarist Henri Padovani, on his
2004 album A Croire Que C'Etait Pour la Vie, where Copeland and Sting appeared on
one track together -- but still no signs of a full-blown reunion. Sting released his
autobiography, Broken Music, in 2003, and by 2006 Copeland's documentary, Everyone
Stares: The Police Inside Out, and Summers' autobiography, One Train Later, had joined
the ranks. Odd side projects and collaborations with other musicians continued, but the
real Police news came in conjunction with another seemingly one-off reunion gig -- this
time for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards. Amid the hoopla, it was announced that the
Police would indeed be embarking on a world tour, beginning on May 28, 2007, in
Vancouver.

Main Albums

1978 Outlandos d'Amour


1979 Reggatta de Blanc
1980 Zenyatta Mondatta
1981 Ghost in the Machine
1983 Synchronicity
1995 Live!

The Doors

The Doors, one of the most influential and controversial rock bands of the 1960s, were
formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by UCLA film students Ray Manzarek, keyboards, and
Jim Morrison, vocals; with drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. The
group never added a bass player, and their sound was dominated by Manzarek's electric
organ work and Morrison's deep, sonorous voice, with which he sang and intoned his
highly poetic lyrics. The group signed to Elektra Records in 1966 and released its first
album, The Doors, featuring the hit "Light My Fire," in 1967.

Like "Light My Fire," the debut album was a massive hit, and endures as one of the most
exciting, groundbreaking recordings of the psychedelic era. Blending blues, classical,
Eastern music, and pop into sinister but beguiling melodies, the band sounded like no
other. With his rich, chilling vocals and somber poetic visions, Morrison explored the
depths of the darkest and most thrilling aspects of the psychedelic experience. Their first
effort was so stellar, in fact, that the Doors were hard-pressed to match it, and although
their next few albums contained a wealth of first-rate material, the group also began
running up against the limitations of their recklessly disturbing visions. By their third
album, they had exhausted their initial reservoir of compositions, and some of the tracks
they hurriedly devised to meet public demand were clearly inferior to, and imitative of,
their best early work.

On The Soft Parade, the group experimented with brass sections, with mixed results.
Accused (without much merit) by much of the rock underground as pop sellouts, the
group charged back hard with the final two albums they recorded with Morrison, on
which they drew upon stone-cold blues for much of their inspiration, especially on 1971's
L.A. Woman.

From the start, the Doors' focus was the charismatic Morrison, who proved increasingly
unstable over the group's brief career. In 1969, Morrison was arrested for indecent
exposure during a concert in Miami, an incident that nearly derailed the band.
Nevertheless, the Doors managed to turn out a series of successful albums and singles
through 1971, when, upon the completion of L.A. Woman, Morrison decamped for Paris.
He died there, apparently of a drug overdose. The three surviving Doors tried to carry on
without him, but ultimately disbanded. Yet the Doors' music and Morrison's legend
continued to fascinate succeeding generations of rock fans: In the mid-'80s, Morrison was
as big a star as he'd been in the mid-'60s, and Elektra has sold numerous quantities of the
Doors' original albums plus reissues and releases of live material over the years, while
publishers have flooded bookstores with Doors and Morrison biographies. In 1991,
director Oliver Stone made The Doors, a feature film about the group starring Val Kilmer
as Morrison.

Main Albums:

1967 The Doors


1967 Strange Days
1968 Waiting for the Sun
1969 The Soft Parade
1970 Absolutely Live
1970 Morrison Hotel
1971 L.A. Woman
1971 Other Voices
1972 Full Circle

The Rolling Stones

By the time the Rolling Stones began calling themselves the World's Greatest Rock &
Roll Band in the late '60s, they had already staked out an impressive claim on the title. As
the self-consciously dangerous alternative to the bouncy Merseybeat of the Beatles in the
British Invasion, the Stones had pioneered the gritty, hard-driving blues-based rock & roll
that came to define hard rock. With his preening machismo and latent maliciousness,
Mick Jagger became the prototypical rock frontman, tempering his macho showmanship
with a detached, campy irony while Keith Richards and Brian Jones wrote the blueprint
for sinewy, interlocking rhythm guitars. Backed by the strong yet subtly swinging rhythm
section of bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts, the Stones became the
breakout band of the British blues scene, eclipsing such contemporaries as the Animals
and Them. Over the course of their career, the Stones never really abandoned blues, but
as soon as they reached popularity in the U.K., they began experimenting musically,
incorporating the British pop of contemporaries like the Beatles, Kinks, and Who into
their sound. After a brief dalliance with psychedelia, the Stones re-emerged in the late
'60s as a jaded, blues-soaked hard rock quintet. The Stones always flirted with the seedy
side of rock & roll, but as the hippie dream began to break apart, they exposed and
reveled in the new rock culture. It wasn't without difficulty, of course. Shortly after he
was fired from the group, Jones was found dead in a swimming pool, while at a 1969 free
concert at Altamont, a concertgoer was brutally killed during the Stones' show. But the
Stones never stopped going. For the next 30 years, they continued to record and perform,
and while their records weren't always blockbusters, they were never less than the most
visible band of their era -- certainly, none of their British peers continued to be as popular
or productive as the Stones. And no band since has proven to have such a broad fan base
or far-reaching popularity, and it is impossible to hear any of the groups that followed
them without detecting some sort of influence, whether it was musical or aesthetic.

Throughout their career, Mick Jagger (vocals) and Keith Richards (guitar, vocals)
remained at the core of the Rolling Stones. The pair initially met as children at Dartford
Maypole County Primary School. They drifted apart over the next ten years, eventually
making each other's acquaintance again in 1960, when they met through a mutual friend,
Dick Taylor, who was attending Sidcup Art School with Richards. At the time, Jagger
was studying at the London School of Economics and playing with Taylor in the blues
band Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys. Shortly afterward, Richards joined the band.
Within a year, they had met Brian Jones (guitar, vocals), a Cheltenham native who had
dropped out of school to play saxophone and clarinet. By the time he became a fixture on
the British blues scene, Jones had already had a wild life. He ran away to Scandinavia
when he was 16; by that time, he had already fathered two illegitimate children. He
returned to Cheltenham after a few months, where he began playing with the Ramrods.
Shortly afterward, he moved to London, where he played in Alexis Korner's group, Blues
Inc. Jones quickly decided he wanted to form his own group and advertised for members;
among those he recruited was the heavyset blues pianist Ian Stewart.

As he played with his group, Jones also moonlighted under the name Elmo Jones at the
Ealing Blues Club. At the pub, he became reacquainted with Blues, Inc., which now
featured drummer Charlie Watts, and, on occasion, cameos by Jagger and Richards. Jones
became friends with Jagger and Richards, and they soon began playing together with
Taylor and Stewart; during this time, Mick was elevated to the status of Blues, Inc.'s lead
singer. With the assistance of drummer Tony Chapman, the fledgling band recorded a
demo tape. After the tape was rejected by EMI, Taylor left the band to attend the Royal
College of Art; he would later form the Pretty Things. Before Taylor's departure, the
group named itself the Rolling Stones, borrowing the moniker from a Muddy Waters
song.

The Rolling Stones gave their first performance at the Marquee Club in London on July
12, 1962. At the time, the group consisted of Jagger, Richards, Jones, pianist Ian Stewart,
drummer Mick Avory, and Dick Taylor, who had briefly returned to the fold. Weeks after
the concert, Taylor left again and was replaced by Bill Wyman, formerly of the Cliftons.
Avory also left the group -- he would later join the Kinks -- and the Stones hired Tony
Chapman, who proved to be unsatisfactory. After a few months of persuasion, the band
recruited Charlie Watts, who had quit Blues, Inc. to work at an advertising agency once
the group's schedule became too hectic. By 1963, the band's lineup had been set, and the
Stones began an eight-month residency at the Crawdaddy Club, which proved to
substantially increase their fan base. It also attracted the attention of Andrew Loog
Oldham, who became the Stones' manager, signing them from underneath Crawdaddy's
Giorgio Gomelsky. Although Oldham didn't know much about music, he was gifted at
promotion, and he latched upon the idea of fashioning the Stones as the bad-boy
opposition to the clean-cut Beatles. At his insistence, the large yet meek Stewart was
forced out of the group, since his appearance contrasted with the rest of the group.
Stewart didn't disappear from the Stones; he became one of their key roadies and played
on their albums and tours until his death in 1985.

With Oldham's help, the Rolling Stones signed with Decca Records, and that June, they
released their debut single, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On." The single became a
minor hit, reaching number 21, and the group supported it with appearances on festivals
and package tours. At the end of the year, they released a version of Lennon-McCartney's
"I Wanna Be Your Man" that soared into the Top 15. Early in 1964, they released a cover
of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," which shot to number three. "Not Fade Away"
became their first American hit, reaching number 48 that spring. By that time, the Stones
were notorious in their homeland. Considerably rougher and sexier than the Beatles, the
Stones were the subject of numerous sensationalistic articles in the British press,
culminating in a story about the band urinating in public. All of these stories cemented
the Stones as a dangerous, rebellious band in the minds of the public, and had the effect
of beginning a manufactured rivalry between them and the Beatles, which helped the
group rocket to popularity in the U.S. In the spring of 1964, the Stones released their
eponymous debut album, which was followed by "It's All Over Now," their first U.K.
number one. That summer, they toured America to riotous crowds, recording the Five by
Five EP at Chess Records in Chicago in the midst of the tour. By the time it was over,
they had another number one U.K. single with Howlin' Wolf's "Little Red Rooster."
Although the Stones had achieved massive popularity, Oldham decided to push Jagger
and Richards into composing their own songs, since they -- and his publishing company
-- would receive more money that away. In June of 1964, the group released their first
original single, "Tell Me (You're Coming Back)," which became their first American Top
40 hit. Shortly afterward, a version of Irma Thomas' "Time Is on My Side" became their
first U.S. Top Ten. It was followed by "The Last Time" in early 1965, a number one U.K.
and Top Ten U.S. hit that began a virtually uninterrupted string of Jagger-Richards hit
singles. Still, it wasn't until the group released "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" in the
summer of 1965 that they were elevated to superstars. Driven by a fuzz-guitar riff
designed to replicate the sound of a horn section, "Satisfaction" signaled that Jagger and
Richards had come into their own as songwriters, breaking away from their blues roots
and developing a signature style of big, bluesy riffs and wry, sardonic lyrics. It stayed at
number one for four weeks and began a string of Top Ten singles that ran for the next
two years, including such classics as "Get off My Cloud," "19th Nervous Breakdown,"
"As Tears Go By," and "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?"

By 1966, the Stones had decided to respond to the Beatles' increasingly complex albums
with their first album of all-original material, Aftermath. Due to Brian Jones' increasingly
exotic musical tastes, the record boasted a wide range of influences, from the sitar-
drenched "Paint It, Black" to the Eastern drones of "I'm Going Home." These eclectic
influences continued to blossom on Between the Buttons (1967), the most pop-oriented
album the group ever made. Ironically, the album's release was bookended by two of the
most notorious incidents in the band's history. Before the record was released, the Stones
performed the suggestive "Let's Spend the Night Together," the B-side to the medieval
ballad "Ruby Tuesday," on The Ed Sullivan Show, which forced Jagger to alter the song's
title to an incomprehensible mumble, or else face being banned. In February of 1967,
Jagger and Richards were arrested for drug possession, and within three months, Jones
was arrested on the same charge. All three were given suspended jail sentences, and the
group backed away from the spotlight as the summer of love kicked into gear in 1967.
Jagger, along with his then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull, went with the Beatles to meet
the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; they were also prominent in the international broadcast of
the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love." Appropriately, the Stones' next single,
"Dandelion"/"We Love You," was a psychedelic pop effort, and it was followed by their
response to Sgt. Pepper, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which was greeted with
lukewarm reviews.

The Stones' infatuation with psychedelia was brief. By early 1968, they had fired Andrew
Loog Oldham and hired Allen Klein as their manager. The move coincided with their
return to driving rock & roll, which happened to coincide with Richards' discovery of
open tunings, a move that gave the Stones their distinctively fat, powerful sound. The
revitalized Stones were showcased on the malevolent single "Jumpin' Jack Flash," which
climbed to number three in May 1968. Their next album, Beggar's Banquet, was finally
released in the fall, after being delayed for five months due its controversial cover art of a
dirty, graffiti-laden restroom. An edgy record filled with detours into straight blues and
campy country, Beggar's Banquet was hailed as a masterpiece among the fledgling rock
press. Although it was seen as a return to form, few realized that while it opened a new
chapter of the Stones' history, it also was the closing of their time with Brian Jones.
Throughout the recording of Beggar's Banquet, Jones was on the sidelines due to his
deepening drug addiction and his resentment of the dominance of Jagger and Richards.
Jones left the band on June 9, 1969, claiming to be suffering from artistic differences
between himself and the rest of the band. On July 3, 1969 -- less than a month after his
departure -- Jones was found dead in his swimming pool. The coroner ruled that it was
"death by misadventure," yet his passing was the subject of countless rumors over the
next two years.

By the time of his death, the Stones had already replaced Brian Jones with Mick Taylor, a
former guitarist for John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He wasn't featured on "Honky Tonk
Women," a number one single released days after Jones' funeral, and he contributed only
a handful of leads on their next album, Let It Bleed. Released in the fall of 1969, Let It
Bleed was comprised of sessions with Jones and Taylor, yet it continued the direction of
Beggar's Banquet, signaling that a new era in the Stones' career had begun, one marked
by ragged music and an increasingly wasted sensibility. Following Jagger's filming of
Ned Kelly in Australia during the first part of 1969, the group launched its first American
tour in three years. Throughout the tour -- the first where they were billed as the World's
Greatest Rock & Roll Band -- the group broke attendance records, but it was given a sour
note when the group staged a free concert at Altamont Speedway. On the advice of the
Grateful Dead, the Stones hired Hell's Angels as security, but that plan backfired
tragically. The entire show was unorganized and in shambles, yet it turned tragic when
the Angels killed a young black man, Meredith Hunter, during the Stones' performance.
In the wake of the public outcry, the Stones again retreated from the spotlight and
dropped "Sympathy for the Devil," which some critics ignorantly claimed incited the
violence, from their set.

As the group entered hiatus, they released the live Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! in the fall of
1970. It was their last album for Decca/London, and they formed Rolling Stones Records,
which became a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. During 1970, Jagger starred in Nicolas
Roeg's cult film Performance and married Nicaraguan model Bianca Perez Morena de
Macias, and the couple quickly entered high society. As Jagger was jet-setting, Richards
was slumming, hanging out with country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons. Keith wound up
having more musical influence on 1971's Sticky Fingers, the first album the Stones
released though their new label. Following its release, the band retreated to France on tax
exile, where they shared a house and recorded a double album, Exile on Main St. Upon its
May 1972 release, Exile on Main St. was widely panned, but over time it came to be
considered one of the group's defining moments.

Following Exile, the Stones began to splinter in two, as Jagger concentrated on being a
celebrity and Richards sank into drug addiction. The band remained popular throughout
the '70s, but their critical support waned. Goats Head Soup, released in 1973, reached
number one, as did 1974's It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, but neither record was particularly well
received. Taylor left the band after It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, and the group recorded their
next album as they auditioned new lead guitarists, including Jeff Beck. They finally
settled on Ron Wood, former lead guitarist for the Faces and Rod Stewart, in 1976, the
same year they released Black n' Blue, which only featured Wood on a handful of cuts.
During the mid- and late '70s, all the Stones pursued side projects, with both Wyman and
Wood releasing solo albums with regularity. Richards was arrested in Canada in 1977
with his common-law wife Anita Pallenberg for heroin possession. After his arrest, he
cleaned up and was given a suspended sentence the following year. The band reconvened
in 1978 to record Some Girls, an energetic response to punk, new wave, and disco. The
record and its first single, the thumping disco-rocker "Miss You," both reached number
one, and the album restored the group's image. However, the group squandered that
goodwill with the follow-up, Emotional Rescue, a number one record that nevertheless
received lukewarm reviews upon its 1980 release. Tattoo You, released the following
year, fared better both critically and commercially, as the singles "Start Me Up" and
"Waiting on a Friend" helped the album spend nine weeks at number one. The Stones
supported Tattoo You with an extensive stadium tour captured in Hal Ashby's movie Let's
Spend the Night Together and the 1982 live album Still Life.

Tattoo You proved to be the last time the Stones completely dominated the charts and the
stadiums. Although the group continued to sell out concerts in the '80s and '90s, their
records didn't sell as well as previous efforts, partially because the albums suffered due to
Jagger and Richards' notorious mid-'80s feud. Starting with 1983's Undercover, the duo
conflicted about which way the band should go, with Jagger wanting the Stones to follow
contemporary trends and Richards wanting them to stay true to their rock roots. As a
result, Undercover was a mean-spirited, unfocused record that received relatively weak
sales and mixed reviews. Released in 1986, Dirty Work suffered a worse fate, since
Jagger was preoccupied with his fledgling solo career. Once Jagger decided that the
Stones would not support Dirty Work with a tour, Richards decided to make his own solo
record with 1988's Talk Is Cheap. Appearing a year after Jagger's failed second solo
album, Talk Is Cheap received good reviews and went gold, prompting Jagger and
Richards to reunite late in 1988. The following year, the Stones released Steel Wheels,
which was received with good reviews, but the record was overshadowed by its
supporting tour, which grossed over 140 million dollars and broke many box office
records. In 1991, the live album Flashpoint, which was culled from the Steel Wheels
shows, was released.

Following the release of Flashpoint, Bill Wyman left the band; he published a memoir,
Stone Alone, within a few years of leaving. The Stones didn't immediately replace
Wyman, since they were all working on solo projects; this time, there was none of the
animosity surrounding their mid-'80s projects. The group reconvened in 1994 with bassist
Darryl Jones, who had previously played with Miles Davis and Sting, to record and
release the Don Was-produced Voodoo Lounge. The album received the band's strongest
reviews in years, and its accompanying tour was even more successful than the Steel
Wheels tour. On top of being more successful than its predecessor, Voodoo Lounge also
won the Stones their first Grammy for Best Rock Album. Upon the completion of the
Voodoo Lounge tour, the Stones released the live, "unplugged" album Stripped in the fall
of 1995. Similarly, after wrapping up their tour in support of 1997's Bridges to Babylon,
the group issued yet another live set, No Security, the following year. A high-profile
greatest-hits tour in 2002 was launched despite the lack of a studio album to support, and
its album document Live Licks appeared in 2004. A year later, the group issued A Bigger
Bang, their third effort with producer Don Was.

Main Albums:

1964 The Rolling Stones (England's Newest Hit Makers)


1964 12 X 5
1965 The Rolling Stones No. 2
1965 The Rolling Stones, Now!
1965 Out of Our Heads
1965 December's Children (And Everybody's)
1966 Aftermath
1966 Got Live If You Want It!
1967 Between the Buttons
1967 Flowers
1967 Their Satanic Majesties Request
1968 Beggars Banquet
1969 Let It Bleed
1970 Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! [live]
1971 Sticky Fingers
1972 Exile on Main St.
1973 Goats Head Soup
1974 It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
1976 Black and Blue
1977 Love You Live
1978 Some Girls
1980 Emotional Rescue
1981 Tattoo You [2009 Re-Mastered]
1982 Still Life [live]
1983 Undercover
1986 Dirty Work
1989 Steel Wheels
1991 Flashpoint [live]
1994 Voodoo Lounge
1995 Stripped [live]
1996 The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus [live]
1997 Bridges to Babylon
1998 No Security [live]
2004 Live Licks
2005 A Bigger Bang
2008 Shine a Light: Original Soundtrack [live]

AC/DC

AC/DC's mammoth power chord roar became one of the most influential hard rock
sounds of the '70s. In its own way, it was a reaction against the pompous art rock and
lumbering arena rock of the early '70s. AC/DC's rock was minimalist -- no matter how
huge and bludgeoning their guitar chords were, there was a clear sense of space and
restraint. Combined with Bon Scott's larynx-shredding vocals, the band spawned
countless imitators over the next two decades and enjoyed commercial success well into
the 2000s.

AC/DC were formed in 1973 in Australia by guitarist Malcolm Young after his previous
band, the Velvet Underground, collapsed (Young's band has no relation to the seminal
American group). With his younger brother Angus serving as lead guitarist, the band
played some gigs around Sydney. Angus was only 15 years old at the time and his sister
suggested that he should wear his school uniform on-stage; the look became the band's
visual trademark. While still in Sydney, the original lineup featuring singer Dave Evans
cut a single called "Can I Sit Next to You," with ex-Easybeats Harry Vanda and George
Young (Malcolm and Angus' older brother) producing.

The band moved to Melbourne the following year, where drummer Phil Rudd (formerly
of the Coloured Balls) and bassist Mark Evans joined the lineup. The band's chauffeur,
Bon Scott, became the lead vocalist when singer Dave Evans refused to go on-stage.
Previously, Scott had been vocalist for the Australian prog rock bands Fraternity and the
Valentines. More importantly, he helped cement the group's image as brutes -- he had
several convictions on minor criminal offenses and was rejected by the Australian Army
for being "socially maladjusted." And AC/DC were socially maladjusted. Throughout
their career they favored crude double entendres and violent imagery, all spiked with a
mischievous sense of fun.

The group released two albums -- High Voltage and TNT -- in Australia in 1974 and
1975. Material from the two records comprised the 1976 release High Voltage in the U.S.
and U.K.; the group also toured both countries. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap followed at
the end of the year. Mark Evans left the band at the beginning of 1977, with Cliff
Williams taking his place. In the fall of 1977, AC/DC released Let There Be Rock, which
became their first album to chart in the U.S. Powerage, released in spring of 1978,
expanded their audience even further, thanks in no small part to their dynamic live shows
(which were captured on 1978's live If You Want Blood You've Got It). What really broke
the doors down for the band was the following year's Highway to Hell, which hit number
17 in the U.S. and number eight in the U.K., becoming the group's first million-seller.

AC/DC's train was derailed when Bon Scott died on February 20, 1980. The official
coroner's report stated he had "drunk himself to death." In March, the band replaced Scott
with Brian Johnson. The following month, the band recorded Back in Black, which would
prove to be its biggest album, selling over ten million copies in the U.S. alone. For the
next few years, the band was one of the largest rock bands in the world, with For Those
About to Rock We Salute You topping the charts in the U.S. In 1982, Rudd left the band;
he was replaced by Simon Wright.

After 1983's Flick of the Switch, AC/DC's commercial standing began to slip, and they
weren't able to reverse their slide until 1990's The Razor's Edge, which spawned the hit
"Thunderstruck." While not the commercial powerhouse they were during the late '70s
and early '80s, the 1990s saw AC/DC maintain their status as a top international concert
draw. In the fall of 1995, their 16th album, Ballbreaker, was released. Produced by Rick
Rubin, the album received some of the most positive reviews of AC/DC's career; it also
entered the American charts at number four and sold over a million copies in its first six
months of release. Stiff Upper Lip followed in early 2000 with similar results. The group
signed a multi-album deal with Sony the following year that resulted in a slew of reissues
and DVDs, and they returned to the studio in 2008 for Black Ice, an all-new collection of
songs that was followed by the group's first world tour since 2001. Two years later, the
band's music was featured heavily in the action movie Iron Man 2, and a best-of
compilation was released in conjunction with the film under the title AC/DC: Iron Man 2.

Main Albums:

1975 T.N.T.
1975 High Voltage [Australia]
1976 High Voltage
1976 Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
1977 Let There Be Rock
1978 Powerage
1978 If You Want Blood You've Got It [live]
1979 Highway to Hell
1980 Back In Black
1981 For Those About to Rock We Salute You
1983 Flick of the Switch
1985 Fly on the Wall
1988 Blow Up Your Video
1990 The Razor's Edge
1992 AC/DC Live
1995 Ballbreaker
1997 Let There Be Rock: The Movie - Live in Paris
2001 Stiff Upper Lip
2008 Black Ice

ZZ Top

This sturdy American blues-rock trio from Texas consists of Billy Gibbons (guitar),
Dusty Hill (bass), and Frank Beard (drums). They were formed in 1970 in and around
Houston from rival bands the Moving Sidewalks (Gibbons) and American Blues (Hill
and Beard). Their first two albums reflected the strong blues roots and Texas humor of
the band. Their third album (Tres Hombres) gained them national attention with the hit
"La Grange," a signature riff tune to this day, based on John Lee Hooker's "Boogie
Chillen." Their success continued unabated throughout the '70s, culminating with the
year-and-a-half-long Worldwide Texas Tour.

Exhausted from the overwhelming workload, they took a three-year break, then switched
labels and returned to form with Deguello and El Loco, both harbingers of what was to
come. By their next album, Eliminator, and its worldwide smash follow-up, Afterburner,
they had successfully harnessed the potential of synthesizers to their patented grungy
blues groove, giving their material a more contemporary edge while retaining their
patented Texas style. Now sporting long beards, golf hats, and boiler suits, they met the
emerging video age head-on, reducing their "message" to simple iconography. Becoming
even more popular in the long run, they moved with the times while simultaneously
bucking every trend that crossed their path. As genuine roots musicians, they have few
peers; Gibbons is one of America's finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom
-- both influenced by the originators of the form and British blues-rock guitarists like
Peter Green -- while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support.

The only rock & roll group that's out there with its original members still aboard after
three decades (an anniversary celebrated on 1999's XXX), ZZ Top play music that is
always instantly recognizable, eminently powerful, profoundly soulful, and 100-percent
American in derivation. They have continued to support the blues through various means,
perhaps most visibly when they were given a piece of wood from Muddy Waters' shack
in Clarksdale, MS. The group members had it made into a guitar, dubbed the
"Muddywood," then sent it out on tour to raise money for the Delta Blues Museum. ZZ
Top's support and link to the blues remains as rock solid as the music they play. A
concert CD and DVD, Live from Texas, recorded in Dallas in 2007 and featuring a still
vital band, were both released in 2008.

Main Albums:

1970 ZZ Top's First Album


1972 Rio Grande Mud
1973 Tres Hombres
1975 Fandango!
1976 Tejas
1979 Degüello
1981 El Loco
1983 Eliminator
1985 Afterburner
1990 Recycler
1994 Antenna
1996 Rhythmeen
1999 XXX
2003 Mescalero
2008 Live From Texas

Aerosmith