Thursday, November 25, 2021

Holiday Rock and Roll Gift Guide


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads my blog. Even if you’re not located in America, it’s a good idea to take a few moments to consider the gifts and opportunities you’ve been given, and how you could use them to help others.

It’s the time of year when indie newspapers and major publications offer holiday gift guides. Options range from brick and mortar stores to websites. The goal is to find something that’s a cut above the usual necktie or a box of candy. We also see articles about ways to help charitable organizations. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of sending money, but more and more, groups are finding creative and entertaining ways to reward those who contribute.


With the above in mind, here’s the somewhat annual (I’ve missed a few years) Broken Hearted Toy Holiday Rock And Roll Gift Guide. Keep in mind that products ordered from online sites may not arrive in time for the holidays.


For the vinyl fanatics in your life, choose from the limited-edition releases coming to record stores tomorrow as part of Black Friday Record Store Day. The selection includes several high-caliber artists, including The Bee Gees; Joan Jett And The Blackhearts; U2; Lana Del Ray; Dire Straits; Billie Eilish; Norah Jones; Charlie Parker; and Nancy Wilson from Heart. Check with your local record store to see if it’s participating.


Guaranteed to break the ice at holiday parties. The official Monty Python online store is offering t-shirts, sweaters, and mugs with a very cool graphic of The Knights Who Say Ni and the slogan Merry Xmas Happy Ni Year!


Select the Store link on The Who’s official website and you’ll find a treasure chest of fun and creative items for fans of the iconic English band. The choices include t-shirts, mugs, vinyl, playing cards, a notebook, socks, and even a model of a very mod looking tour van.


The Fest For Beatles Fans store is loaded with Beatles merchandise, including Ringo Starr’s new four-song EP Change The World on cassette, CD, digital download, or 10-inch vinyl. You’ll also find ornaments, every form of clothing, books, and calendars.


Don’t forget to show The Rolling Stones a little love, especially after those daft and uncalled for insults from Paul McCartney and Roger Daltry. I highly respect both those guys, but really, what was the point? The Rolling Stones have a store called No. 9 Carnaby in London, and fans can also order clothing and memorabilia online.


If you’ve got some extra money to spend on that special Stones fan (or yourself), check out Ronnie Wood’s website for some amazingly colorful and lifelike portraits of the band, along with a few other musicians. Prices range from $450.00 to $5200.00.


David Bowie fans in New York and London can be thankful for having a pop-up store in their city that will run through late January. Both retail locations will feature immersive audio and HD video screening rooms, exclusive apparel, limited-edition LPs and CDs, and gallery installations. The New York City store is located at 150 Wooster Street; and the London store is at 14 Heddon Street, 41B, 4BZ. Fans can also order a variety cool things on the Bowie 75 website.


If you live in New Orleans and are looking for fun holiday entertainment that’s a little off-kilter, check out The Ho Ho Ho Show starring Kate Fagan taking place December 23 at the AllWays Lounge And Cabaret. Those of us in Chicago know Fagan for her work with Heavy Manners, one of the first U.S. bands to fully embrace the 1980s ska revival.


The Chicago-based store Southside Blooms will donate 20% of each purchase of one of its gift items to help buy books from minority-owned bookstores to donate to Black students at the Montessori School Of Englewood. Be sure to use the code BOOKS while ordering so your purchase will go toward this worthy cause.


For avid readers of rock and roll books, check out these new releases: Steven Van Zandt’s memoir Unrequited Infatuations covers his acting and musical adventures, including The Sopranos and Bruce Springsteen. Decades - The Bee Gees In The 1960s comes from authors Andrew Mön Hughes, Grant Walters and Mark Crohan. All three have extensive experience writing about the Brothers Gibb via books, tour programs, articles, and television documentaries. A Life In Focus, Graham Nash’s new book of his photos, features portraits of Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Bob Dylan, and Cass Elliott, along with reflections on what was going on at the time the shot was taken.

BN59 Pop-Art Sports Cards on eBay has created unique items that may prove addictive for collectors. Designed to look like the baseball cards kids faithfully collected over various decades, they feature Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Kinks, Heart, The Bangles, and numerous other rock and roll acts.

Metro, the iconic Chicago music venue located just down Clark Street from Wrigley Field, has a 50% Off (almost) Everything Black Friday Sale coming up. The selection includes t-shirts, hats, books, puzzles, and slip mats. Metro is also offering The PostCard Project, which the venue describes as, “A collectable, limited-run compilation of twenty-three memorable Metro moments.” It includes photos of Brian Setzer, The Muffs, Shirley Manson from Garbage, Wyclef Jean, St. Vincent, and Eddie Vedder. The $40 price can be made in installments of $10, and the best part is 50% of the net proceeds of sales will benefit the CIVL Emergency Relief Fund.


House Of Blues, The Hideout, Beat Kitchen, Schubas/Lincoln Hall, FitzGerald’s and Martyrs’ all have merchandise available on their websites. Be sure to check out your favorite night spot to see if they have anything for sale.


Support the local free press by giving a subscription to the Chicago Reader, or pick out a few items, such as buttons, a t-shirt, etc on the publication’s online store.


Don’t forget to support local bands, music venues, and restaurants when choosing gifts. Check out Bandcamp, as well as individual websites to download music, order a CD, vinyl record, t-shirt, poster, or button.


Record label websites like Bloodshot, Yep Roc, Mega Dodo, American Laundromat, Kool Kat Musik; and Fruits de Mer are always worth shopping, and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame website has lots of inductee and exhibit memorabilia.


Pledge Music, Go Fund Me, Indiegogo, and other crowd funding sites are a good way to support your favorite artists and pick up autographed items. And you never know what rare treasures you’ll discover on eBay.

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