The only similar day like this I can think of was May 20, 2016. That was the day I went to one of The Monkees’ 50th Anniversary shows. It was also the day that three legendary names in rock released new material, all at once. Bob Dylan released Falling Angels, yet another album full of breathtaking covers that became the material he plays at his shows.
Eric Clapton released I Still Do, his first work since 2013’s Old Sock. That one wasn’t entirely original either, in fact Clapton only wrote a song or two on the whole thing. However, in spite of all that, it was certainly one of his best constructed albums, emotionally and musically.
The third artist was Mudcrutch. That’s a name you may not recognize, but you live under a rock if you’ve never heard of the frontman. Tom Petty regrouped his pre-Heartbreakers band for the first time since 2008, and the lineup consisted of two Heartbreakers, the original guitarist who is the brother of one of the Eagles, and original drummer. They released an album simply entitled 2, which would turn out to be Petty’s final studio work before his untimely passing last year.
So that was that day. Here we are two years later. On September 7, three other artists at the same level of the three listed above will release new (to an extent) material. I’ll also be attending one of the farewell concerts of one of the names I will mention here that night. But I won’t point out who, because if you’re awake in the classic rock world, you probably know who. So, who’s got new stuff coming out?
Paul McCartney – Egypt Station
It’s been 5 years since we’ve gotten a new record from a quarter of the biggest band of all time. Excluding a single released for the 2014 video game Destiny, and his collaborations with Kanye West, Rihanna, and Sir Ringo Starr, Sir Paul McCartney has been on the road for the most part in the last four years, playing to millions of people. He just wrapped up his critically acclaimed One On One Tour, and is about to kick off the Freshen Up Tour in a few months. But before he does, Macca had to make sure that he fulfilled his promise earlier this year that a new album would finally release. At this moment, there are two singles that have been released that will be on the record, a ballad I Don’t Know, and headbanger Come On To Me. Needless to say, his voice has begun to deteriorate slightly in recent years, but it’s really hard to tell on the new singles. Egypt Station, Paul’s 25th album, is now available to preorder on CD, vinyl, or digital.
Yes feat. ARW – Live At The Apollo
In 2016, three members of Yes came together for the first time in years to tour the world and celebrate 50 years of music. Original lead singer Jon Anderson, 90125-era guitarist Trevor Rabin, and Close To The Edge era keyboardist Rick Wakeman toured as ARW from that October until Yes’ long-awaited induction to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last April. It got crazy between the fans when the band changed their name to Yes Feat. ARW. Meanwhile, there’s another group that has toured as Yes from the beginning. That one has two (formerly three) classic lineup members as well. CTTE-era guitarist Steve Howe, longtime drummer Alan White, and until his 2015 passing, original bassist and co-founder alongside Anderson, Chris Squire. The point is, no matter which side you stand on, ARW still tours under the Yes feat. ARW name, and they currently have no plans to stop. And to prove it, here’s their release. The band’s performance at the Manchester Apollo was recorded, and will be released on the 7th on DVD, Blu-Ray, CD, and orange vinyl.
Paul Simon – In The Blue Light
Paul’s a frequent in the music world. With two new albums this decade and a farewell tour happening right now, the songwriter half of Simon & Garfunkel is not going to fade away any time soon. In 2017, on an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert promoting his summer tour, he announced that he was working on a new album. Well, a new release anyway. This was going to be a compilation of obscurities and non-hits that Simon personally enjoyed, and thought would be bigger. A year passed without any word until last week, when In The Blue Light was announced. There will be ten tracks from his 40+ year career, going as far back as 1973’s One Man Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor, and as recent as 2011’s Questions For The Angels, a frequent in his recent setlists. Again, Paul’s in the midst of his farewell tour, so there’s a chance that this is the last time he’ll release anything new. I personally don’t think so, since he said in the tour announcement that he wouldn’t stop creating. But nonetheless, treat it like it is his last record. In fact, treat every album like it’s a swan song. You just never know.