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December 05, 2013 - NEAL SCHON AND JAN HAMMER ALBUMS UNTOLD PASSION AND HERE TO STAYAVAILABLE NOW FOR DOWNLOAD FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER
With Two New Bonus Tracks
In 1981, when guitar wizard Neal Schon and keyboardist and drummer extraordinaire Jan Hammer and were each enjoying massive success in their own careers -- Schon for a decade's worth of work with Santana and as one of the founding members of Journey, and Hammer for his work with John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, as a solo artist, founder of his eponymous Jan Hammer Group and frequent collaborator with Jeff Beck, -- their long-standing mutual admiration finally brought them together for a pair of recordings that, until now, has never been available digitally.
Fans of both artists will finally get the chance to download Untold Passion (1981) and Here to Stay (1982) beginning today, December 4, through iTunes, Amazon MP3 and other digital retailers. Also available are two never-before heard songs, "Planet Empathy" and "Weekend Heaven." Both were originally recorded at the same time as the albums on which they each appear, but "Planet Empathy" was completed only recently, in September of this year. These two tracks are included in the digital box set and are also available individually.
The 1981 release of Untold Passion was to a degree eclipsed by the nearly simultaneous release of Journey's Escape. Despite the 'competition,' Untold Passion, comprised of half instrumental and half vocal tracks, made strong inroads onto the Billboard 200. Its rock tunes, more hard edged than the melodic rock that was propelling Journey to the top of the charts, provided Schon with more room to explore as a guitarist and at the same time exhibit his talents as a lead vocalist. Untold Passion was spontaneously recorded in just over two weeks at Hammer's Red Gate Studio in upstate NY. Lauded by Billboard as a "dynamic instrumental meeting of the minds," and by the Album Network as "a wonderfully progressive record," Untold Passion earned extensive critical acclaim both in the US and internationally, eventually being named the Album of the Year in Rolling Stone's European edition. Most significantly, the success of Untold Passion led Columbia Records to request a second album from Schon and Hammer.
That album, Here to Stay, took the same spontaneous chemistry which was so obvious on Untold Passion and enhanced it with a greater emphasis on production. While Untold Passion featured only bassist Colin Hodgkinson as a grounding foil for the guitarist's and keyboardist's musical pyrotechnics, Here to Stay includes an array of special guests. On one track, "Self Defense," Schon and Hammer are joined by Journey's Steve Perry on background vocals, Ross Valory on bass, and Steve Smith on drums. On several others, Glen Burtnik (who was then a newcomer but who went on to replace Tommy Shaw in Styx) sings harmonies and background vocals.
"No More Lies," the standout single from Here to Stay, rose to the Top 40 on Billboard's Rock chart, and spawned one of MTV's most popular videos. Critics were lavish in their praise, describing the album as "incendiary" and stating, "for sheer rock with no pretensions, Here to Stay is the ticket."
Following the release of the now multi-platinum Escape, Schon released ten more albums with Journey in addition to seven solo albums. In 1984, Hammer began work scoring a new TV series, Miami Vice. Within a year, the Miami Vice Soundtrack had soared to the #1 position on the Billboard Top Pop Album chart and Jan's "Miami Vice" theme also topped the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart and had earned him two Grammy Awards, one for "Best Pop Instrumental Performance" and one for "Best Instrumental Composition." Hammer continued to score Miami Vice until 1988, and he has since gone on to score numerous film and television projects, as well as to tour and record with a diverse array of artists, from guitar legend Jeff Beck to renowned jazz drummer Tony Williams to Dutch re-mixer and producer Junkie XL.
Now both albums have been combined into a digital package that will certainly fill a long-time gap in the music collections of fans of both artists. For more information, visit www.schonmusic.com and www.janhammer.com.
About Jan Hammer
Jan Hammer's musical career is as firmly rooted in the fundamentals of classical, jazz and rock as it is committed to the future of electronics, synthesized sound, the possibilities of interactive media, television, film and animation.
After arriving in the US from his native Czechoslovakia at the age of 20, Hammer spent a year as keyboardist/conductor with Sarah Vaughan. In 1971, he became a member of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra, the most successful group ever to record and tour in the jazz-rock fusion genre.
His name can be found on scores of recordings spanning the 1970s to the '90s -- solo albums and collaborations with Jeff Beck, Al Di Meola, Mick Jagger, Carlos Santana, Stanley Clarke, Neal Schon, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and many others.
In the fall of 1984, Hammer's career took a quantum leap in another direction when the producers of the new television show enlisted him to begin the rigorous weekly schedule of scoring the series. In 1985, the "Miami Vice" theme hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and, in so doing, became the first and only original version of an instrumental theme for television to reach this pinnacle of success. The Miami Vice Soundtrack album stayed at #1 on the Billboard Top Album chart for 12 weeks, hitting quadruple-platinum in the U.S. alone, with worldwide sales in excess of 7 million.
A second album, Miami Vice II, and Hammer's Escape From Television were both million-selling albums for him in 1987, both featuring "Crockett's Theme," which had become a smash European hit, topping the charts in six countries. "Crockett's Theme" has been included on over 200 CD compilations, including Virgin's double-platinum Pure Moods. In 2006, to coincide with the release of Miami Vice as a feature film, Hammer collaborated with urban vocalist TQ on a rap version of the song, which was the #1 downloaded track for several weeks upon its release on iTunes in Europe.
The Miami Vice music continues to be tapped for television, film and commercials, most recently in Nike's LeBron James ad, featuring James' South Beach athletic shoe.
Encouraged by the success of the DVD version of Cocaine Cowboys, a critically acclaimed film for which he'd composed the score, Hammer released its soundtrack in 2008.
In 2009, Hammer produced and performed on the first single from the new release by alternative rock sensations Peter, Bjorn and John. Later that year, his career came full circle when 1968's Maliny Maliny, his first recording, was issued on CD.
At the beginning of 2010, he collaborated with Junkie XL on the Dutch remix master's latest project, the Fairlight EP, for which the two wrote and performed the track "Made For Each Other".
Jan Hammer has earned his place as a formidable voice in the arena where modern music meets the state-of-the-visual-arts. From the neo-psychedelic heyday of the Mahavishnu Orchestra to the historic trailblazing television scoring of Miami Vice and through his post-modern forays into film, Jan Hammer has consistently proven himself to be a true visionary.
About Neal Schon
Best known as founding member and lead guitarist of Journey, NEAL SCHON has enjoyed a remarkable career as one of rock n' roll's top virtuosos, with a hand in creating some of the most popular songs of all time. His story began more than 35 years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area, when a 15-year-old Schon left home to join Santana as a teenage prodigy.
As a member of that classic rock band during their early '70s peak, Schon recorded on 1971's No. 1 album, Santana III, which features Schon playing lead guitar for the hit song, "Everybody's Everything," and 1972's Caravanserai, which reached the Top 10 of Billboard's Top 200 chart.
But bigger things were in store, and Schon moved on in 1973 to form Journey. Schon has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 gold and platinum albums, was awarded the prestigious "Legend Of Live Award" at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005. As the only member to record on all of Journey's albums, Schon continues to lead the band today in its latest incarnation.
With new lead singer Arnel Pineda in the fold, the group released 2008's Revelation, which marked the band's biggest first-week sales in more than a decade, debuting at #5 on Billboard's Top 200 and earning the band their 11th Platinum album certification to date. 2011's Eclipse soon followed, which became the band's second straight Top 20 Billboard album with Pineda, hit the Top 40 internationally, and launched one of the band's most successful tours ever, drawing nearly one million fans worldwide.
In addition to his seven solo albums and 14 studio albums with Journey, Schon has also performed with Joe Cocker, Sammy Hagar, Paul Rodgers, Larry Graham, Betty Davis, Michael Bolton, fusion legend Jan Hammer and supergroup Bad English, as well as a variety of side projects. In demand as one of the leading guitarists of his generation, Schon uses custom PRS Neal Schon LTD Private Stock guitars, made especially for Neal by Paul Reed Smith.
The multi-talented Schon released his latest solo album, The Calling, in 2012 to critical acclaim. Produced by and featuring Schon on all guitars and bass, the album marked a reunion with former Journey member and current in-demand drummer Steve Smith, who lends his virtuoso talents to all 12 tracks on The Calling.
Schon set up shop at Berkeley's famed Fantasy Studios during a break from Journey's busy touring schedule, and started recording completely from scratch to finish the entire album's worth of tracks in just four days. After overdubbing multiple guitar and bass parts, Schon recruited two keyboard masters to flesh out the music. Igor Len, an accomplished classical, jazz and film composer who had previously collaborated with Schon, is featured on acoustic piano throughout The Calling; while GRAMMY Award-winning special guest Jan Hammer recorded Moog synthesizer solos on two tracks.
In 2013, Journey and Neal Schon performed a special CMT Crossroads concert in New Orleans with Rascal Flatts as part of the NFL's Super Bowl XLVII celebration, marking the second Super Bowl appearance for Journey. Journey spent most of 2013 touring the U.S. and Canada; UK and Europe; Japan and Singapore; and Australia and New Zealand, for the first time in Journey's history.
On August 23, 2013, prior to Journey's concert at The Joint Hard Rock Event Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Neal Schon was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. The only constant member of Journey, Schon was born at Tinker Air force Base located southeast of Oklahoma City.
2014 will be another busy year for Schon as his next solo album, So You, featuring Marco Mendoza and Deen Castronovo, is due out on Frontiers Records in the beginning of the year and Journey's 2014 North American tour, with Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power, launches in May with dates scheduled through August.
For more information, visit www.schonmusic.com and www.facebook.com/schonmusic.