The Coolest Part of the NYC Blizzard!!!

Some enterprising guerrilla artists took full advantage of the street closures during Saturday’s snow and posted a fitting, downtown tribute to David Bowie.

Climbing atop a ladder, they unofficially renamed the historic Bowery in his honor, adding a “David” to the sign.

Quite fitting, indeed, since the famed CBGB’s music venue, home of punk rock and counterculture artists throughout the 70s & 80s, was only steps away from the scene of the tribute.

12615davidbowery

RIP Glenn Frey – Eagles Guitarist and Founder

 

0117-glenn-frey-getty-4

Glenn Frey, founding member of California supergroup THE EAGLES, has passed away at the age of 67.

Frey had been battling intestinal issues throughout 2015, and finally succumbed to his illness.

A songwriter who helped define the soft-rock sound of the 70’s, he co-wrote many of their hits including DESPERADO and HOTEL CALIFORNIA, considered by many AOR stations as a perennial top-ten song of all time.

Much of the famed Eagles line-up was actually solidifed when the players were brought together as the backing band for Linda Rondstadt.  At the end of her tour, the band officially launched as their new identity – The Eagles.

In the 80’s Frey went solo, having success with hits including THE HEAT IS ON for the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.

 

Dueling Pianos Top Ten Countdown – New York Values

Greetings all!
We wanted to kick off 2016 by bringing back our top 10 song request countdowns.

This time, we’re re-printing one of our favorite blogs from the past, and one that seems extra timely this week…

Our top ten Dueling Pianos songs about New York Values:

First, a few ground rules.  There are literally THOUSANDS of New York songs, so we had to narrow the field a little.  Since our shows are primarily a rock n roll milieu, we excluded the classic show tunes that celebrate the city (NEW YORK, NEW YORK from On the Town, MY TIME OF DAY from Guys & Dolls, LULLABY OF BROADWAY from 42nd Street…) and also the hundreds of other songs where New York is only a brief name-drop (POP MUZIK by M, HEART OF ROCK & ROLL by Huey Lewis & The News)

#10 – ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK – Sting

For all those strangers to our city, and those who feel like strangers in our city, the quintessential fish-out-of-water-in-the-city song.  And there’s an awesome drum break.  Because why not.

#9 – NO SLEEP TILL BROOKLYN – Beastie Boys

Can there be a New York list without some hip-hop?  Hellz no.  And no one holds it down for NYC more than the city’s own Beasties.  They even updated the song as they matured, with new lyrics replacing the references to “hoes”.  Hey, farming’s not for everyone.

#8 – ROCKAWAY BEACH – The Ramones

Can there be a New York list without some punk rock?  Hellz no.  The three-chord wunderkinds hit with another ode to their favorite boro – Queens.  This song, inspired by the Beach Boys, was their biggest charting single.  Still, it’s hard to picture them geting any tanner than their pasty, denim-clad selves.

#7 – ARTHUR’S THEME (BEST THAT YOU CAN DO) _ Christopher Cross

The movies have written their love letters to the city that never sleeps, but of all the great movie songs, this one has a special place.  For all those out there who have had their easy-listening hearts broken at the piano bar, or had their songs shouted down in favor of another AC/DC or Beyonce’ tune, we’re saving a spot for you, between the moon and New York City.

#6 – TENTH AVENUE FREEZE OUT – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Our neighbor to the south, New Jersey, lends us their native son for this song about the formation of his band.  And what, exactly, IS a tenth avenue freeze out?  Well, no one really seems to know.  Not even Bruce himself.  It’s just one of those chicken-egg, riddle of the sphinx-type questions.  But the horns sound purty, don’t they?

#5 – WALK ON THE WILD SIDE – Lou Reed

Always exploring the darker side of the urban landscape, Lou Reed tells the story of the transvestites and colorful characters he knew from Andy Warhol’s Factory.  And still gives us a singalong hook for the ages…and the colored girls go – doo da doo da doo…

#4 – ON BROADWAY – The Drifters / George Benson

You can always spot a Drifters tune…and it’s not just by the prepositions of the title (seriously, does EVERY song have to be named by where they are located??), but by the silky smooth tracks that transport you back in time to a doo-wop era of streelight serenades. This one’s for the dreamers, the risk-takers, the artists taking a chance to reach the bright lights.  Scratch a piano player, you’ll find a kindred spirit.  And a rash.

#3 – EMPIRE STATE OF MIND – Jay Z / Alicia Keys

Between the flow, perfectly summing up the NYC experience, and those gorgeous hooks brimming with urban optimism, this track picks up the ball where our Long Island troubador left off.  And I dare you to play this one and not have the crowd sing the chorus.

#2 – NEW YORK STATE OF MIND – Billy Joel

And speaking of which, what compendium of NYC music is complete without this song?  Encompassing the entire state, but focusing much of the attention on the five boroughs, you’d be hard pressed to get through a night at any piano bar, anywhere, and not see this request pop up.  Possibly the classiest song about our town, and its most enduring.

And, as if there was any doubt…

#1 – NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Frank Sinatra / Liza Minnelli

So nice, they named it twice.  If you’re not kicklining to this one, you better not have any legs.  Otherwise, no excuses.  Most NYC sports teams use this as an unofficial anthem, and so do most NYC piano bar patrons when confronted with any songs about Boston…

And in parting, let us add a brief, and a-typical comment.  To those out there that would seek to denigrate, alienate or castigate “New York Values” (or whatever that’s supposed to mean), from deep in the heart of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, we’d like to say – L’Chaim.

twintowers

Sued for Being “Too Unattractive” for a Tribute Band…

993821_10153974658302573_926162282279130092_n

A member of the extended Shake Rattle & Roll Pianos family has found herself in the midst of an unbelievable legal quagmire.

Huffington Post has picked up the story of Collette McLafferty, an NYC singer, who had performed ONE time with a P!nk tribute band, for $75, and wound up getting sued by someone she has never met, for TEN MILLION DOLLARS.  Not for the kind of copyright infringement that typically gets associated with lawsuits of this nature, but because the plaintiff claimed Collette was too “old and unattractive” for the act.

Click to read the article.

And remember, fellow musicians, that there but for the grace of Jones go us all!

RIP David Bowie – Androgynous Chameleon Rocker Dies at 69

DavidBowie-portrait

An artist known for never standing still – David Bowie passed away yesterday peacefully after an 18-month battle with cancer.

A singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, painter, and actor. Bowie has been a figure in popular music for over four decades, and is known as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s.  But his body of work continues into 2016 – his newest single BLACKSTAR releasing this month.

Shifting through various identities throughout his career, Bowie was at times known as Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, the Man Who Fell to Earth, and other personae.

Expanding his career beyond music, he was most recently involved with LAZARUS, a new musical adaptation of THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, currently running at the New York Theater Workshop.