Billboard Bits: Patti Smith, Apple, Tommy Ramone
"Twelve," due April 17 via Columbia, includes Smith's renditions of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise," Neil Young's "Helpless" and Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule the World."Patti Smith has revealed additional details about her next album, which, as previously reported, will be an all-covers affair. "Twelve," due April 17 via Columbia, includes Smith's renditions of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise," Neil Young's "Helpless" and Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule the World."
The full track list has yet to be revealed, but will also sport covers of tracks by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Doors, Nirvana, Jefferson Airplane, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers and Paul Simon.
"It has been a real adventure doing these songs," Smith told Billboard.com last month. "I've always wanted to do a cover record, but I didn't think I had the range. But now, I feel really on the top of my game and ready to tackle a lot of different songs I thought had strong and relevant lyrics."
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs today (Feb. 6) released an open letter on the company's Web site calling for the major labels to abandon digital rights management.
"DRMs haven't worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy," Jobs writes. Apple's salvo in the DRM debate comes as the company is facing increasing pressure in Europe to make its iPod/iTunes ecosystem interoperable with third parties.
"Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries. Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free," Jobs writes, later adding, "Convincing [the labels] to license their music to Apple and others DRM-free will create a truly interoperable music marketplace. Apple will embrace this wholeheartedly."
-- Brian Garrity, N.Y.
Tommy Ramone is best known for his contributions to punk music as an original member of the Ramones. But now, the 55-year-old musician/producer is trying his hand at bluegrass with Uncle Monk, a duo formed with Minneapolis songwriter Claudia Tienan. The group will release its first, self-titled effort on May 22 via the band's own imprint, Airday Records.
The 14-track set will feature both musicians sharing vocals, with Tienan on guitar and bass and Ramone on mandolin, guitar, banjo and dobro. Currently, the Phoenicia, N.Y.-based group is slated for a number of appearances at the International Folk Alliance Showcase in Memphis during the week of Feb. 22. The pair will also be performing on March 16 at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, followed by a short tour in the Southeast.
-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.