Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hiram Bullock (September 11, 1955 – July 25, 2008)

Two years ago today, we lost a fantastic guitar player and musician, Hiram Bullock. While you may not recognize his name, you have heard his playing. He was born in Osaka, Japan to African American parents who were serving in the US Military.
Hiram Bullock studied at the University of Miami music college, meeting guitarist Pat Metheny, and bass-players Jaco Pastorius and Will Lee. He paid his way at university by playing nightclub gigs in Florida, before moving to New York. He became best known for playing with David Letterman's band on TV, and touring and recording with David Sanborn. As well, his playing can be heard on Steely Dan's Gaucho (1980), Paul Simon's One Trick Pony (1980), Sting's Nothing Like the Sun (1987) (solo on the cover of Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing) and Billy Joel's The Stranger (1977).
In 2007 Bullock was diagnosed with throat cancer, but responded well to treatment and began touring again. However, longer-term problems related to substance abuse culminated in his death on July 25, 2008. He was honored by David Letterman on his show. Here are two great videos of him. Enjoy. RIP Hiram, hope you're jamming with Stevie...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Live Aid at 25

Today is the 25th anniversary of Live Aid. Can you believe it? It doesn't seem that long ago. What a faboulous concert it was. It was a once in a lifetime event, and I don't think anyone could pull it off in this day and age. Do you remember that Phil Collins played at both locations, London and Philadelphia? It wouldn't be possible now, because he travelled on the Concorde, which is now out of service. Live Aid certainly raised awareness of famine in Africa, and set the stage for later multi-superstar concerts such as Amnesty International. Here are a few of my favourite performances from the show.