The Golden Shaman: Robert Plant’s Journey

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Photo credit: Ed Miles A Robert Plant concert sends you on a journey. On September 23, his concert at Northerly Island took me to the mountains of Appalachia, the plains of the Mississippi Delta, and the west coast of Africa. Great artists always challenge you to leave your comfort zone and ...

From Coachella to Jimmy Fallon: Five Ways Classic Rockers Stay Relevant

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Photo credit: Matt Becker, www.melodicrockconcerts.com A bunch of old rock and rollers are the toast of Coachella. AC/DC, rebounding after the loss of two key members, played a set April 10 that earned the band the kind of acclaim and attention that any artist would envy. Stereogum rated AC/DC the best act ...

How Robert Plant Reinvented Himself

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

One of the consequences of fame is being pigeonholed. McDonald's is so well known for serving burgers, fries, and milkshakes that the fast-food giant has struggled to become a credible alternative for salads and smoothies. Sean Connery found it difficult to transition his acting career beyond James Bond. And then ...

Visual Storytelling in Today’s “All Access” Era

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Access. It's the most valuable currency of celebrity journalism. Photojournalists Bob Gruen and Ken Regan built celebrated careers by getting access to coveted rock stars such as Madonna, whom Ken Regan photographed as she was about to become a star. Regan, who passed away in 2012, was welcomed into the ...

Creating Art from Failure: The Design of the “Houses of the Holy” Album Cover

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Great artists turn limitations into strengths. Case in point: the cover art for Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy, the subject of my latest post in a series that celebrates memorable album covers. The story of this astonishing design begins in 1972, when Led Zeppelin, at the height of its creative ...

The marketing genius of “Led Zeppelin IV”

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Imagine if Apple unveiled the latest iPhone without a logo or if Lady Gaga had released Born This Way without her name, face, or album title on the cover. That’s what Led Zeppelin did 40 years ago when the band issued its fourth album with a cover consisting solely of a ...

Old bands, great brands shine in 2010

Friday, December 17th, 2010

There seems to be no end to the merchandising of so-called legacy rock stars, and 2010 was no exception: In February the ghost of Elvis returned to Las Vegas with the opening of Cirque du Soleil Viva ELVIS. The Rolling Stones owned the month of May with a heavily promoted re-issue of ...

Are you willing to fly blind? Career advice from the voice of Led Zeppelin

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

When was the last time you embraced the unknown at work? Maybe when you plunged into social media even though you felt like you didn't know what you were doing? If you are willing to experiment with something new, you know how uncomfortable it feels, sometimes even like you are in ...

Let us now praise old rock and rollers

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

On September 16, B.B. King turned 83, just weeks after releasing his latest recording, the well received One Kind Favor, and on the same day, 59-year-old Lindsey Buckingham blessed us with Gift of Screws, thus continuing a run of great music created by rock, country, and blues musicians who could ...

I love REM's latest but . . .

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Accelerate sounds great but features the worst CD cover art (above) since Robert Plant released Fate of Nations: And just about as bad as the hideous cover of the otherwise excellent A Bigger Bang by the Rolling Stones: Why hide one of the most visible and highly recognizable bands in the world ...