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Another one bites the dust. The Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has closed, slated for demolition or re-brand and extensive re-model. While perhaps not quite as retro-cool as The Sands or The Dunes, the Sahara still exemplified the “Vegas Baby” vibe of the 50s and 60s and hosted numerous A-list performers including members of the legendary “Rat Pack.” Here is a walk down Memory Strip, with some nostalgic photos of a bygone era. Unless otherwise noted, these photographs are from the Nevada News Bureau archives.

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Remember the classic video for Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark? The one with a young Courteney Cox (not Cox-Arquette, mind you) dancing around joyfully while a white-shirted Boss semi-awkwardly flailed his arms around onstage? Take that iconic, ultra-80s moment and imagine it without a crowd, stage, or Cox. Imagine Bruce just standing in a room, dancing in place for the entirety of the video. As recently-unearthed footage of the original video treatment for the song revealed, that nightmare-ish (and potentially embarrassing) video concept could have made the final cut. A Jazzercise-ready, headbanded Bruce bops back and forth when the camera…

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Attention all Glee fans and musical theatre buffs: Have you wondered what it’s like to be a part of a Broadway musical production? What if you were paid to travel the world and perform nightly for thousands of fans, never staying more than a few weeks in the same city? It sounds like the ultimate dream to anyone in show biz, but for the sixty-seven cast and crew members touring with the 25th anniversary of Les Misérables, it is a thrilling reality. The universally adored musical kicked off its fourth U.S. tour here in Los Angeles last month to much…

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Ever since Spinal Tap skewered classic rock bands with their excess, egos and miniature Stonehenge stage props back in 1984, many other fictional musicians and bands have popped up in movies and television programs. While Rob Reiner’s fake-rock legends, made up of the amazingly-named David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls, may have set the bar impossibly high, there have been some pretty great examples over the years. Some are composites of real-life musicians, whereas others are just farcical clichés fleshed out on-screen for laughs and satirical value. A few of the most notable acts began as comedy sketch…

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It was November 1977. Guitarist Rory Gallagher and his band members – bassist Gerry McAvoy, keyboardist Lou Martin and drummer Rod de’Ath – were capping off a 6-month world tour with dates in Japan before coming to San Francisco to begin work on a new studio album. Gallagher had signed a deal with Chrysalis Records and would be working with hotshot producer Elliot Mazer, whose clients included Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Gordon Lightfoot and The Band. The songs were recorded quickly, but the sessions were dogged with tension and Rory’s belief that the mixing was too complicated. He was also…

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I spent last Saturday night at the home of Levon Helm, hanging out with his pals, dining from a generous spread of food and then watching him lead a 12-piece band through a 2+ hour set of amazing music. Now, lest you think this is some rock star boast of hanging with even bigger rock stars in a world kept secret from anyone not in the club, you can put those thoughts right out of your head. Linda and I were in Woodstock at Levon’s pad for one of his semi-regular Midnight Rambles. I had heard about these shows and…

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It’s that time of year again…the time to gather with friends and family and barbecue meat, drink (American) beer and randomly engage in loud chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”, preferably in the most unorthodox of locations. The word ‘spangled’ may not be used very much everyday conversations anymore, it was around when the people in charge decided to make it our national anthem. As everyone knows, it’s a song that has been covered by all kinds of musicians over the years. Below, you’ll see our Rock Cellar Magazine list of 11 of our favorite cover versions, ranging from the obvious (classic…

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Jethro Tull front man Ian Anderson is quick to let the numbers do the talking.  His band is going on 43 years, more than most marriages last. The landmark album, Aqualung, the prime distillation of the band’s rock/jazz/folk/baroque musical approach as well as a classic rock staple, is 40 years old this year. Anderson on stage is still a flute-packing joy to behold.  Anderson was in a reflective/talkative mood prior to setting sail on his umpteenth Jethro Tull U.S. tour and he was quick to jump on the fact that, despite his often demonic presence on stage, off stage he was…

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