Freddie Matthews writes from London: The sad news in this week’s music press comes from the once largest music shop in Britain. HMV is in receivership. There were 240 HMV stores around the UK and many more also in Ireland. Their closure is a major blow for the British music industry but we can all see why it has happened. Put simply, internet deals are better.
I reported on the once teen idol turned rock star, the former Busted singer Charlie Simpson back in October 2012, and his bid to play the coldest gig ever in Russia. In case you didn’t hear, he actually managed it and in the process landed himself a sponsorship deal from a vodka company: the lucky so and so! Now, Charlie Simpson, who’s had a very unusual career to date, has announced plans for a brand new solo album this year. That’s if he’s not permanently drunk on free vodka.
First, Birmingham Airport suggested they’d change their name to Ozzy Osbourne Airport, and now Black Sabbath announce that the just about living legend, Osbourne, is the lead vocalist for their brand new album release in 2013, titled 13. The last time a Black Sabbath album featured Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals was 35 years ago, on their 1978 LP Never Say Die. 70 million albums later and we have to think it will be a success, even if just for a moment in history. Ozzy commented, “f*** yeah f*** that’s f****** yeah.”
The most recent home venue for the last 5 MTV Europe Music Awards, Liverpool’s Echo Arena, has renewed its sponsorship for a further 3 years. The venue opened in 2008 as part of the city’s celebrations and regeneration as the Capital of Culture year. In case you were wondering, the Echo part of the name is a newspaper in the Liverpool area. I was thinking of sponsorship endorsements that would have been far more entertaining for the venue. How about: Tena Lady Arena, Sun-Pat Peanut Butter Arena, Vaseline Arena, Ariel Ultra Arena, Coco-Pops Arena, Canesten Arena or the Jack Daniels Arena … now that final one sounds like a great night out regardless of who’s playing.
Queen of pop, no not Madonna but Sir Elton John, became a father again last week with the birth of a second son. I didn’t see that one coming. Normally we get 9 months’ notice after all. He says it’s “Unbelievable” to father Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John, who was born at 6:40pm on Friday 11 January. The ‘fathers’ went on to say, “Both of us have longed to have children, but the reality that we now have two sons is almost unbelievable. It’s difficult to express how we are feeling at this time; we are overwhelmed with happiness and excitement,” they told Hello! Magazine before picking up a cheque for far more than I care to imagine!
Danny O’Donoghue, (who?) from The Script is trying to convince the BRIT Award organisers that his band isn’t interested in winning the Best International Group prize at next month’s ceremony. Apparently he’s trying to persuade all concerned that there are far more deserving bands out there. I couldn’t agree more. Quite frankly The Script are shite compared to the competition from The Killers, The Black Keys and Alabama Shakes.
Also in this week’s British music news, David Bowie’s long-term guitarist Earl Slick is relieved he no longer has to keep the biggest secret in music: David Bowie’s return. Slick said there had been months of secrecy surrounding the comeback and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could have kept quiet without letting something slip out. It really can’t have been easy for him as the recording was finished last summer for Bowie’s The Next Day new album, due out in March.
And finally, and I can only apologise for this, Britain’s Conor Maynard has broken into the US Billboard 200 album chart with his debut album, Contrast. We’ve had to put up with the Brighton-born upstart singer for the last 4 years in Britain but now America you are more than welcome to him … as long as we don’t get Bieber in return that is!!