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This week saw a major turn of events for the music industry. For almost as long as rock has existed, Elvis Presley has been“The King.”He earned this moniker not just for being worshipped by fans, but also for being the reigning leader in record sales. Well, it looks like the king is about to be overthrown…by Garth Brooks. According to the RIAA, the country star is only 2.5 million copies shy of reaching Elvis‘ record of 118.5 million albums sold. Jim notes that some“fuzzy math”is responsible for this achievement (as is often the case when electing new leaders). Brooks’ recent five-CD boxed set, The Limited Series, has been repackaged and remarketed, and while profits have not been huge, each boxed set actually counts for five separate sales. So at that rate, Brooks (and Gaines?) is sure to catch up to our original down-home legend. Greg is concerned that come Armageddon, when we are judged not by our sins, but by our music purchases, we will all face a very dark fate.

Residents of the Sydney suburb Rockdale face no less dark a fate. It was recently announced that for the next six months, the music of Barry Manilow will be blasted throughout the streets in order to curb the bad behavior of the local riff-raff. The city council hopes that this "daggy" music will send the young "hoons," who enjoy cruising the streets and blasting their own "doof" music, back home where they belong. The idea has been tried before down under with the the un-cool croonings of Bing Crosby. But Jim and Greg have their own ideas of musical torture. Jim thinks that the relentless cacophony of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, would send citizens running. And for Greg, it's simple—he only needs to hear the opening violin riff in "Ants Marching" by the Dave Matthews Band, and he's gone.

Soul singer and keyboardist Billy Preston passed away this week at the age of 59. Preston is best known as "The Fifth Beatle," because of the recording credit he received for performing "Get Back" with the band. But, as Jim and Greg explain, this title overshadowed his other contributions to music. Preston had his own hits with "Will It Go Round in Circles" and "Nothing From Nothing", and he co-wrote Joe Cocker's chart-topper, "You Are So Beautiful." He also recorded with The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Sly & the Family Stone, and earned the distinction of being the first musical guest invited to appear on Saturday Night Live. Greg will particularly remember Preston's pioneering use of the synthesizer in songs like "Outa Space."

Go to episode 28

Music News

Since August of 2005, the Rolling Stones have pulled in a whopping $437 million from their most recent tour, "A Bigger Bang." They played 110 concerts in front of 3.5 million fans. It is not much of a shocker they are #1, considering the average ticket price is $135. Greg points out that fewer people are seeing shows by big acts, but bands are making higher profits. He feels we should be championing acts that still charge reasonably priced tickets like the Dave Matthews Band did on their recent tour. (Their average ticket price was $47.) This is really saying something, considering neither Jim nore Greg is exactly crazy about the DMB. Jim is amazed that the Stones still came in at #1 despite Keith's palm tree mishap, Ronnie checking in to rehab, Mick catching laryngitis, and Mick's father passing away. Mick's laryngitis even prompted a class action lawsuit from a disgruntled fan.

Axl Rose is back on tour this fall fronting the latest incarnation of Guns N' Roses. Greg went sans Jim to the Chicago leg of GN‘R’s tour. After having Sebastian Bach and burlesque troupe The Suicide Girls warm up the crowd, Axl and his new gang came on stage to play a smattering of songs from the much delayed Chinese Democracy album, as well as the GN'R standards. Greg feels that Axl has created a brand more than a band, and thinks the songs from Chinese Democracy already sound dated. Apparently the GN'R brand wasn't so friendly with The Eagles of Death Metal who were originally slated to open prior to last week's Cleveland gig.

Go to episode 53