Sam Cooke To Be Honored At Annual SHOF Ceremony

Courtesy:  ABKCO Records/merlis for hire

Courtesy: ABKCO Records/merlis for hire

Sam Cooke is set to receive a very special honor.  His song, ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ is one of a small handful of songs to receive the “2013 Songwriters Hall of Fame Towering Song Award.”  The presentation will be made at the 44th annual Induction and Awards Dinner on Thursday, June 13th.  The dinner and awards ceremony will be held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. 

The song—which was originally written by Cooke in 1963 and recorded in 1964—was referenced as recently as the 2008 election by President Barack Obama after winning the election that year.  It was also used as an anthem during the Civil Rights movement.  Since its original release, it has been covered over five hundred times by various artists from the likes of: Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and Otis Redding to more modern artists such as: R. Kelly, Gavin DeGraw, and Seal just to name a few.  These are just a few of the song’s accolades.  It has even been deemed by National Public Radio (NPR) as “the most important ever recorded” and has been selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion into its National Recording Registry.  Cooke himself was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.       

‘A Change is Gonna Come’ will be inducted into the SHOF along with works from Tony Hatch, Mick Jones & Lou Gramm, Holly Knight, JD Souther, and Steven Tyler & Joe Perry.  A full list of inductees and bios is available online via the SHOF’s virtual museum at http://songwritershalloffame.org.

Tickets for the induction ceremony are available now.  They start at $1,000 each.  They are available through Buckley Hall Events by phone at 212-573-6933.

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Even in name only, Foreigner is ‘Alive & Rockin’

Five years ago, Eagle Rock Entertainment released “Alive & Rockin'” on dvd.  Considering that the band was (and is) really Foreigner in name only, the show’s title was fitting, as the nine-song setlist showed that this classic rock band was indeed still alive and rockin’.  Now, fans who bought the dvd back in 2007 will finally get to take this modern classic show anywhere with them as it will see the light of day on cd next week.

Whether or not fans already own the companion dvd to this new cd, the audio only presentation of the band’s live show proves that even with only one remaining original member, Foreigner hasn’t lost any steam since the last performance of its original lineup.  If anything, this audio presentation combined with its companion dvd, show a band that performs like it was ‘the very first time (yes that bad pun was intended).  The recording comes from the band’s 2006 show at Balingen Germany’s famed Bang Your Head Festival.  The band’s set included all of its major hits including:  ‘Double Vision’, ‘Cold as Ice’, and its equally famed anthem, ‘Feels Like The First Time.’ 

Even with vocalist Kelly Hansen now manning the mic, Jeff Pilson(Dokken) on bass and second generation drummer Jason Bonham (yes, that Jason Bonham) behind the kit, this incarnation of Foreigner rocks just as hard as the original lineup.  Bonham really gets his chance to shine in the intro to what is arguably the high point to the show in the combination of ‘Juke Box Hero’ and the band’s cover of the Zepplin classic, ‘Whole Lotta Love.’  His drum solo at the beginning of it all is reminiscent of his legendary father’s chops.  And Hansen is the perfect frontman as he leads the audience through ‘Juke Box Hero.’  It should be noted on a side note that Hansen does drop an “S” bomb during the song, ‘Dirty White Boy.’  This happens as he’s interacting with the audience.  Thankfully, that’s the extent of the foul language in the set.  That is at least in this presentation of the band’s set.

Just as drummer Jason Bonham shines, original guitarist Mick Jones gets more than his share of shning moments in this set, too.  He drives the band and the audience forward in the first three songs in the set.  The band slows things down with ‘Cold as Ice’ and ‘Starrider’ before Jones gets his moment again in the band’s mega-hit, ‘Feels Like The First Time.’  And his work in the closer, ‘Hot Blooded’ is spot on.  He and the entire band give their all to give its audience a huge closer.  And they do just that.  After it’s all said and done, this incarnation of Foreigner has shown that even though it may not be the original band, it more than does honor to the memory of what is one of the greatest bands in rock and roll history.

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