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Classic Rock News

Hear Alternate Version of “Stairway to Heaven” Featured on Deluxe “Led Zeppelin IV” Reissues

Atlantic Records/Swan SongThe entire alternate version of Led Zeppelin‘s classic anthem “Stairway to Heaven” that will be included on the bonus disc of the upcoming deluxe reissues of the group’s 1971 album, Led Zeppelin IV, has made its way online. The track was mixed by guitarist/producer Jimmy Page during a 1971 visit to the Los Angeles studio Sunset Sound Recorders, although he eventually decided to abandon that version after he returned to London to complete work on the album.

Among the differences heard in the Sunset Sound mix are more prominent guitars, subdued drums and additional echo in some sections.

“It’s always interesting to hear stuff that you know really well and hear it differently, but the same,” says bassist John Paul Jones in an interview with Rolling Stone. “It does give a different perspective on it. You hear different things. I did read somewhere that the end of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ contained one of the best rock bass parts ever recorded. Unfortunately it comes underneath one of the greatest rock guitars so…But ‘Stairway’ is a favorite still. It’s just got everything that we are about.”

Adds Page, “The Sunset Sound mix of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was actually mixed at Sunset Sound in L.A. in advance of the version that everybody knows. I think it’s a really good embodiment of everything that’s on there. It’s a guitar mix, really.”

In addition to the alternate “Stairway,” the companion audio disc included with the Led Zeppelin IV deluxe reissues features alternate mixes to the original album’s seven other songs. The remastered reissues of Led Zeppelin IV and its follow-up, 1973’s Houses of the Holy, will be released this Tuesday, October 28.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Bob Seger Set for CMT “Crossroads” Special with Country Star Jason Aldean

Clay Patrick McBrideIt’s a busy time for Bob Seger. The 69-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer saw his new album, Ride On, debut at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, he’s kicking off a new tour November 19 and now comes word that he’ll be teaming up with country star Jason Aldean for an installment of the CMT television series Crossroads, premiering on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The pair will film the special next week, just outside of Nashville.

Crossroads teams popular country artists with stars from the worlds of rock and pop, trading vocals on each other’s big hits. Seger’s episode airs November 28 at 10 p.m. ET.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Former Dr. Feelgood Guitarist Wilko Johnson Says He’s Cancer-Free

Lawrence WatsonAfter undergoing a procedure to have a tumor removed earlier this year, former Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson says he is now cancer-free.

Commenting on the procedure to the BBC, the 67-year-old musician says the tumor weighed more than six pounds and that “they got it all. They cured me.”

Johnson was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2012. He says that at the time he was convinced he would die from the disease. Now, he says, “I’m spending my time gradually coming to terms with the idea that my death is not imminent, that I am going to live on.”

Johnson — who released a collaborative album with The Who‘s Roger Daltrey earlier this year, Going Back Home — spoke with the BBC Wednesday in London at the Q Awards, where he accepted the Icon Award.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Ides of March/Ex-Survivor Member Jim Peterik Shares Cool Stories from His New Memoir, “Through the Eye of the Tiger”

BenBella BooksJim Peterik has found success as a member of two popular rock bands, The Ides of March and Survivor, and also is responsible for co-writing memorable songs for a number of other well-known music acts. The 64-year-old musician shares a variety of fascinating, amusing and touching stories from throughout his life and his nearly half-century music career in his recently published autobiography, Through the Eye of the Tiger.

Peterik recently chatted with ABC News Radio and singled out a few of the many highlights he included in the book.

The memoir begins with the singer/songwriter recalling receiving “the phone call that changed my life,” when Sylvester Stallone rang him up to see if he wanted to write a theme song for his then-upcoming Rocky sequel, 1982’s Rocky III. Stallone initially left a message on Peterik’s answering, and Jim admitted that he thought someone was pranking him at first. When he did get in touch with the Hollywood star, he told Peterik he liked Survivor and was hoping the band could come up with tune that would appeal to “the kids, something with a pulse.”

Peterik teamed up with his Survivor band mate Frankie Sullivan and the song they came up with was, of course, “Eye of the Tiger.”

Jim told ABC News Radio that the song’s title and theme came directly from the movie. Stallone had allowed Peterik and Sullivan to view a rough cut of the film, and while watching it, he noted, “that’s when we got the thread of the underdog rising up…and Burgess Meredith‘s character saying, ‘Rocky, you gotta get back the eye of the tiger. You’re losing it.'”

“Eye of the Tiger” became a #1 hit and went on to sell millions of copies.

Peterik also recounted the story behind “Vehicle,” the first and biggest hit he had with The Ides of March, a band he and some high school buddies formed when they were just teenagers.

He got the idea for the song’s title from an ex-girlfriend who, after they broke up, would ask him to drive her around to various places.

“I figured, well, at least I could be close to her, right? Even if I didn’t, you know, score, as they say,” he explained to ABC News Radio. “So, I kept driving her places and pretty soon I realized that she was kind of using me as her vehicle, you know?”

The song wound up becoming a #2 hit in 1970, which must have impressed the ex-girlfriend, who Peterik ended up marrying. They’ve now been together for more than 40 years.

One of the more outlandish anecdotes Peterik shares is the time The Ides of March opened for Led Zeppelin and was invited to a party in Robert Plant‘s hotel suite afterward.

“Robert Plant opens the door in his little bikini briefs and his little silk robe…and] past him we see an orgy,” Jim recalled. “And there was every kind of drug in the world being ingested, groupies doing a pillow fight, things I can’t even talk about happening in the bathtub with [drummer John Bonham].”

As it turned out, the wild party didn’t appeal to Peterik and his band mates. As he explained, they politely excused themselves and “went ‘cross the street to Dunkin’ Donuts and we ordered milk and doughnuts, and we were back in our comfort zone and very happy guys.”

Peter has been promoting Through the Eye of the Tiger with a series of book-store appearances and storytellers-style solo performances. He has a few of the latter gigs scheduled in the coming month, and he also has a number of concerts with The Ides of March. You can check out his full itinerary at JimPeterik.com.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

High-Quality Vinyl Versions of Cream’s Classic Albums Collected in New Box Set

Universal Music EnterprisesA new vinyl box set featuring all of Cream‘s studio and live albums released during the 1960s and early ’70s will hit stores on November 24.

Cream: 1966–1972 includes six albums in all: the British power trio’s 1966 debut, Fresh Cream; 1967’s Disraeli Gears; the 1968 chart-topping double LP, Wheels of Fire; the band’s 1969 swan song, Goodbye; and two archival live discs issued after the group’s breakup, 1970’s Live Cream and 1972’s Live Cream Volume II.

Featuring the impressive lineup of singer/guitarist Eric Clapton, singer/bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker, Cream created a vastly influential body of work during its short life by combining elements of the blues, jazz and rock with experimental psychedelic sounds. Among the virtuosic supergroup’s many well-known songs are “Strange Brew,” “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” “White Room” and “Badge,” as well as memorable covers of the classic blues tunes “I’m So Glad,” “Born Under a Bad Sign” and “Crossroads.”

All of the discs featured in the box set are pressed on 180-gram vinyl, and come housed in sleeves exactly replicating the albums’ original artwork.

Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, and took part in two series of 2005 reunion concerts, at London’s Royal Albert Hall and New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Here is the track list for the Cream: 1966–1972 box set:

LP 1: Fresh Cream
“N.S.U.”
“Sleepy Time Time”
“Dreaming”
“Sweet Wine”
“Spoonful”
“Cat’s Squirrel”
“Four Until Late”
“Rollin’ and Tumblin'”
“I’m So Glad”
“Toad”

LP 2: Disraeli Gears
“Strange Brew”
“Sunshine of Your Love”
“World of Pain”
“Dance the Night Away”
“Blue Condition”
“Tales of Brave Ulysses”
“SWLABR”
“We’re Going Wrong”
“Outside Woman Blues”
“Take It Back”
“Mother’s Lament”

LP 3: Wheels of Fire
Disc 1
“White Room”
“Sitting on Top of the World”
“Passing the Time”
“As You Said”
“Pressed Rat and Warthog”
“Politician”
“Those Were the Days”
“Born Under a Bad Sign”
“Deserted Cities of the Heart”
Disc 2
“Crossroads” (Live at the Fillmore)
“Spoonful” (Live at the Fillmore)
“Traintime” (Live at the Fillmore)
“Toad” (Live at the Fillmore)

LP 4: Goodbye
“I’m So Glad”
“Politician”
“Sitting on Top of the World”
“Badge”
“Doing That Scrapyard Thing”
“What a Bringdown”

LP 5: Live Cream
“N.S.U.”
“Sleepy Time Time”
“Lawdy Mama”
“Sweet Wine”
“Rollin’ and Tumblin'”

LP 6: Live Cream Volume II
“Deserted Cities of the Heart”
“White Room”
“Politician”
“Tales of Brave Ulysses”
“Sunshine of Your Love
“Steppin’ Out”

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Report: John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan Are a Couple Again

Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto/FilmMagicJust two months after reports emerged that John Mellencamp had split up with longtime girlfriend Meg Ryan, comes word that sparks are flying between the two stars again. A source close to the singer/songwriter tells People, “They are back together and it’s brand new…They’re really happy about it.”

The latest news follows reports that the couple was spotted contentedly walking around New York City’s Soho district together last week.

In addition, Mellencamp hinted in an interview last month on NBC’s Today show that he hadn’t given up on the relationship.

“She’s an angel sent to me, and I’m very happy,” he said during his appearance. “And, you know, nothing’s over ’til it’s over.”

Another source close to Mellencamp suggested to People that conflicts over the long distance between the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s Indiana home and New York, where the actress is based, were partly responsible for the tensions between the couple.

“There were disagreements over style of life and logistical problems which clouded their relationship,” the source maintains. “But there is no doubt that he cares for her a great deal.”

The insider adds, “They are a great couple. All their friends were hoping it would work out.”

People magazine first reported that Mellencamp and Ryan were dating in January of 2011.

John recently released his 22nd studio album, Plain Spoken, and he’ll launch a major North American tour in support of the record that begins on January 21, 2015, in South Bend, Indiana.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio