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U2′s ‘Invisible’ Raises Over $3 Million for (RED)

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U2′s latest single “Invisible” likely perked up the ears of many fans when it was teased during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII.

But the fact that the legendary band was offering it as a free download via iTunes for 36 hours in order to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS – through a partnership with (RED) and Bank of America – caused a massive worldwide reaction.

Bank of America originally pledged to donate $1 for each download up to two million, but the success of the campaign prompted them to exceed that mark, as U2 announced Tuesday that the effort raised more than $3 million for the cause.

Now, all proceeds from “Invisible,” which costs $1.29, will go to the Global Fund, as well.

Watch a 60-second promo for “Invisible” after the jump and click here to download the song. (more…)

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50 Years Ago: The Beatles—and Gretsch—on The Ed Sullivan Show

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The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show three times in February 1964. George Harrison (center) is seen here with the Gretsch Country Gentleman model he played during the historic television performances. Photo courtesy Getty Images.

Has it really been 50 years?

Seemingly incredibly, it has. And you could make a compelling case that the 1960s actually started on the evening of Feb. 9, 1964. That’s when the Beatles made their historic U.S. television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, drawing the largest viewing audience in the history of the medium at the time (73 million people—nearly half the nation—tuned in to the telecast).

President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated only 10 weeks earlier, and the still-stunned country was in a grim and uncertain mood. Who would’ve expected that a much-needed lift in spirits was imminent, winging its way across the pond on Pan Am flight 101 from London?

Two days before that first Ed Sullivan Show appearance, on the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 7, 3,000 screaming teenagers who were supposed to be at school that day mobbed Kennedy International Airport in New York. They were there to greet the Beatles on their first U.S. visit, a whirlwind two weeks that saw the group make two live appearances on Sullivan’s show; one in New York and one in Miami (the Beatles also taped a third appearance to be aired later that month). The group was topping the U.S. charts, general pandemonium surrounded them wherever they went, and the Beatlemania that had already swept across the U.K. now morphed into a potent new U.S. strain.

For their debut appearance on his show, Sullivan cannily had the Beatles perform twice—three songs at the beginning (“All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You”) and two at the end (“I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand”), presumably to ensure that his audience watched the entire hour-long show. The cameras seemed to spend as much time on the surging throng of screaming teenagers in the audience of CBS TV Studio 50, where the show took place, as they did on the group.

Nobody had ever seen (or heard) anything like it. By the time the broadcast ended an hour later, something fundamental had changed not just there in New York, but across the nation. The rest is well-documented history, but you very well might be able to say that with that one raucous event, the 1960s started in earnest between 8 and 9 p.m. on Feb. 9, 1964. (more…)

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Billy Duffy Runs Through His Rig With Premier Guitar

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During a tour stop with the Cult in Nashville, guitarist Billy Duffy took some time to run through his live rig with Premier Guitar.

Not only does he discuss his amps and pedals, but Duffy also pulls out his signature White Falcon model that he plays on the road.

Duffy noted that he has several prototypes of the guitar at home, but he plays a production model while on stage.

Check out Duffy’s gear after the jump and visit his’s official website for more information. (more…)

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Ten Years of the Gretsch Custom Shop

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It wouldn’t be all that surprising if you didn’t know that there even was such a thing as the Gretsch Custom Shop. After all, all Gretsch guitars look like custom instruments, really. They’re all dazzling. They all look like coolness incarnate.

And yet here we are at the tenth anniversary of the Gretsch Custom Shop. 2014 marks a decade of the finest guitars to ever bear the name so prized by guitarists everywhere for most of a century.

It’s certainly true that all Gretsch guitars are fabulous creations, but those that come from the Gretsch Custom Shop offer something quite a bit more. Few in number, they are the truly extraordinary work of truly talented craftsmen. And if you think production Gretsch guitars are as wonderful in and of themselves as they really are, just imagine being one of the lucky few to get their hands on a Gretsch Custom Shop guitar. Just imagine playing the very best of Gretsch’s best.

Back in 2003, that’s just what Mike Lewis had in mind.

* * * * * READ MORE »»

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Mustered Courage Offer Advice and Shredding Bluegrass

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After forming in 2010, Mustered Courage has quickly provided a fresh breath of air into the bluegrass scene.

Picking their way across their home country of Australia and all over North America, Julian Abrahams (vocals/guitar), Nick Keeling (vocals/banjo), Josh Bridges (vocals/bass) and Paddy Montgomery (vocals/mandolin) have earned respect from critics and fans alike with their self-titled 2010 debut and 2013’s Power Lines.

During a recent run through the United States, GretschGuitars.com caught up with the four guys to ask about their early concert experiences and what a band should do for food when they tour Australia. In addition, they played two songs for us, showcasing their fierce take on bluegrass.

GretschGuitars.com:  What was the first concert you ever saw live?

Julian: The first international band I ever saw live was the Presidents of the United States of America.  That was rocking.  It was at the Royal Theatre of Canberra.  I was like 12, crowd-surfed my ass off.  It was pretty cool.

Nick:  I think one of the first concerts I saw was Alanis Morissette in Austin.  But more importantly, another concert I saw early on was Smashing Pumpkins – a band I knew nothing about. It was an excuse to meet up with this girl.  So I didn’t know what was going on.  I was just thinking about how loud it was.  But the girl and I went on a stroll around the botanical gardens at night and spent some time there. (laughs)  I came home and told my mom how great the show was.  I got the shirt and everything.

Josh: The first concert I was caught by surprise was at this theater in Melbourne, and Ry Cooder was playing there.  I only knew of one of his songs, and my friend had talked about him all the time.  I was working at the bar at the venue, and got off my shift.  Normally when you finish early, you just want to go home.  You don’t want to see the act that night, but I decided to listen to one song.  Oh man, after one song, it became two, and eventually I could absolutely not leave.

Paddy: When I was really young, my dad took me to see Bush.  Right when Sixteen Stone was released.  But the first proper show I went to as a teenager was my favorite Australian band Powderfinger.  That was in Adelaide, and it was awesome.

Julian: That’s one of the biggest Australian rock bands in the last 10-15 years.

Mustered Courage performs “Behind the Bullet.”

(more…)

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