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Bob Dylan Turns 70 And He’s Still Rocking Like A Rolling Stone

Posted by MTV News On May - 24 - 2011

By Zachary Swickey

It’s hard to believe that one of our rock’s most revered singer/songwriters of all time, Bob Dylan, turned 70 today. Although the living legend hardly acts his age — he’s been on the appropriately titled Never Ending Tour since 1988, which currently counts more than 2,300 shows.

There are very few senior citizens of rock who can still perform more than 100 shows a year (and keep the crowds coming), but Dylan’s an artist that has stood the test of time: still producing critically acclaimed albums and winning awards. We have Bob to thank for inspiring a mass of modern bands and songwriters. Seems like an appropriate time to look back on some of his biggest moments in the new millennium.

2000 Academy Award for Best Original Song

Dylan recorded a new song, “Things Have Changed,” for the Chris Hanson-directed Wonder Boys, a movie about a creative-writing professor played by Michael Douglas. The tune would go on to garner Dylan his first Academy Award, and also won Best Original Song at the 2001 Golden Globes.

Dylan’s Memoirs, Part I

In 2004, Dylan released the first part of his planned, three-volume memoirs. The book has been lauded for its depth and found itself on The New York Times best-seller list for several months. In it, Dylan credits the first time he heard Robert Johnson as one of the main inspirations behind his interest in songwriting. Volume 1 was released nearly seven years ago, but there’s still no word on when we can expect the next two.

Dylan and the Victoria’s Secret Angels On TV

Dylan might seem like the type of fella who would be staunchly against the commercialization of music but, lo and behold, the singer made plenty of ad appearances in the new millennium. Of all places, his first foray into the medium was a Victoria’s Secret ad in 2004 that featured Bob singing and appearing with Angel Adriana Lima. 2006 brought an iTunes ad, 2007 found the singer cruising in a Cadillac Escalade, but the most intriguing is a Pepsi ad from the 2009 Super Bowl featuring Dylan and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.I.am taking turns on the songwriter’s iconic track “Forever Young.”

Martin Scorsese’s “No Direction Home” Doc

You know you’ve been immortalized when a directing legend like Scorsese opts to tackle a documentary about you. Scorsese spent nearly four years crafting the three-hour-plus doc about Dylan, 2005′s “No Direction Home,” which focuses on Dylan’s 1961 arrival in New York City all the way through his decision to drop the acoustic in favor of electric guitar, a move some fans were none too pleased about at the time.

Heath Ledger Plays Dylan In ‘I’m Not There’

The 2007 biographical flick “I’m Not There” was an experimental film to say the least. Rather than a straight re-telling of Dylan’s life and accomplishments, director Todd Haynes opted to blur the line between fantasy and biographical reality by having six different actors play the part of Dylan. Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, and even Cate Blanchett, all took turns showcasing a different period and personality of the singer, while never actually using his name in the film.

2011 Grammy Awards Performance

Dylan brought the childhood dreams of two up-and-coming bands to fruition at the 2011 Grammys. The Avett Brothers and

Mumford & Sons were granted the opportunity to sing along with the legend to his 1965 tune “Maggie’s Farm,” the song that essentially kicked off Dylan’s once-controversial use of electric guitar.

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Happy Birthday, Angus Young Of AC/DC!

Posted by Kyle Anderson On March - 31 - 2011

Today’s birthday wishes go out to Angus Young of AC/DC, and though he is now 56 years old, the guy really is forever young. It isn’t just because of his trademark school boy uniform (though that’s certainly a big help), but it’s also because of his lively concert performances and almost juvenile take (in the best way possible) on rock and roll.

AC/DC formed way back in 1973 when he was only 18 years old, and Young has been the group’s lead guitarist since its inception. They instantly became huge in their native Australia, and it was mainly because of Young’s incredible approach to music. He took blues riffs and melted them down, bent them in half, twisted them around and knocked them back out again with an incredible balance of power and grace. Those riffs helped turn giant slabs of proto-metal like “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “Highway to Hell,” “Let There Be Rock” and “Back in Black” into huge hits and genre staples.

Though they’ve been playing music together for nearly 40 years, AC/DC remain an incredible presence in rock and roll. Their last studio album, 2008′s Black Ice, was a big seller, and their accompanying world tour was extremely well-received. A lot of that has to do with Young’s remarkable guitar work and manic energy (he still bounds around the stage like a crazed animal, still kicking and spinning better than any other rock star walking). AC/DC sort of had some lost years in there, but albums like 1995′s Ballbreaker and 2000′s Stiff Upper Lip have some gems — including “Satellite Blues,” which comes from the latter album.

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Happy Birthday, Perry Farrell!

Posted by Kyle Anderson On March - 29 - 2011

Frost the cupcakes and get the trick candles ready, because it’s time to wish dynamic rock frontman and Lollapalooza godfather Perry Farrell a very happy birthday. The diverse rocker is now 52 years old and is still going strong as the frontman of seminal band Jane’s Addiction. But on this special day, it’s time to look back at one of his more underrated projects.

When it came time for Jane’s Addiction to call it quits, Farrell staged the first Lollapalooza as a farewell tour for the band in the summer of 1991 (that tour also featured Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, Living Colour, Ice-T and Body Count, Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band, Violent Femmes and Fishbone). With the band in his rearview, Farrell formed a new combo called Porno for Pyros (which also featured Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins). The group released its first self-titled album in the spring of 1993 to big sales, mostly on the back of the heavy-rotation single “Pets” (a fantasy narrative about aliens visiting Earth and keeping humans captive as house pets). The band toured extensively and also notched a high-profile slot at Woodstock ’94 (that was the one with the mud, not the one with the bonfires).

Their second album Good God’s Urge was even more eclectic and envelope-pushing, and it also rocked a little bit harder than the debut. Released in the spring of 1996, Good God’s Urge dove deep into darker sonic soundscapes and found Farrell focusing even more of his lyrical energy on mythology and the supernatural. The single “Tahitian Moon” is emblematic of Good God’s Urge, as it features a blistering guitar riff, some island grooves and Farrell’s ethereal voice. It’s a killer song with a great video, and it’s a perfect way to celebrate Farrell’s birthday.

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Happy Birthday, Lady Gaga!

Posted by Kyle Anderson On March - 28 - 2011

If today feels a bit more celebratory, that’s probably because it’s time for Stefani Germanotta — the woman known to the universe as Lady Gaga — to commemorate her birth. The international pop sensation is 25 years old today, and she has managed to accomplish quite a bit in her quarter century (including three chart-topping singles).

But what has she accomplished in comparison to Madonna, her clearest antecedent, when she was 25? The Material Girl turned 25 in 1983, just after releasing her debut self-titled album. She was already starting to build up her following, and the singles “Holiday,” “Lucky Star” and “Borderline” were about to help her bust out of the clubs and onto mainstream radio. When she was 25, she also recorded and released her second album Like a Virgin, released the hit single of the same name (which became her first chart-topping single) and performed said song on the very first MTV Video Music Awards.

Gaga had a bit of a head start, as her debut album broke out slightly earlier than Madonna’s. As stated above, Gaga already has three chart-toppers and not only has performed on the MTV Video Music Awards but has also taken home a handful of trophies. Gaga also has five Grammy awards to her name (Madonna didn’t win her first until 1992, and that was for Best Long Form Video).

So at age 25, that puts Gaga slightly ahead of Madonna on the cards. She has a lot to maintain over the next few decades if she is going to match Madge’s resumé, but she already seems to be on the right track. In fact, she has proven herself to be a top-shelf collaborator, as she not only teamed up with Beyoncé on her own “Telephone” and also on B’s “Video Phone.”

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Happy Birthday, Billy Corgan: Wake-Up Video

Posted by Kyle Anderson On March - 17 - 2011

It’s a little bit ironic that Billy Corgan, perhaps the gloomiest Gus of the alternative rock era, celebrates his birthday on a day typically reserved for unbridled celebration. Corgan turns 44 years old on this St. Patrick’s Day, so celebrate with a double-frosted cupcake and some green streamers.

Corgan is best known as the frontman and mastermind behind Smashing Pumpkins, one of the definitive alternative rock bands from the ’90s. Founded in Chicago, the Pumpkins first got some attention with their debut album Gish (which was produced by Butch Vig only a few months before he twiddled the knobs for Nirvana’s classic Nevermind). The Pumpkins went from underground favorites to mainstream juggernauts with Siamese Dream, which contained signature hits like “Cherub Rock,” “Disarm” and “Today,” all of which became instant radio staples and have scarcely left heavy rotation since.

Smashing Pumpkins continued to evolve, expand and contract like a living organism, and they eventually split so Corgan could pursue other avenues (which included a solo album and a sorta-supergroup called Zwan). But he eventually came back to the place — and the songs — that he loved, and Smashing Pumpkins reformed in 2006 (though at the time, the only members of the “classic” lineup included Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin; only Corgan remains today). The band picked up right where it left off, grinding out savage slabs of white-hot beauty powered by Corgan’s masterful guitar playing and unique voice. His work with the Pumpkins remains his best, though the one album produced by Zwan remains something of an underrated gem. So in honor of Corgan’s birthday, play “Honestly” extra loud.

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