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 Thirty Years Gone

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A famed rock photographer offers never before seen photos of the heavy metal masters

Neal Preston
Led Zeppelin: Sound And Fury

By 1888 Media

Led Zeppelin - Sound and Furyed Zeppelin: Sound And Fury, an innovative illustrated digital book by famed photographer Neal Preston, became available exclusively on the iBookstore on April 15 for a price of $9.99. The book comes alive with a tap, swipe or pinch and provides an unprecedented and comprehensive look into the world of Led Zeppelin, one of rock's most iconic bands. Through Preston's lens the reader experiences hundreds of photos (over 100 of which have never been seen before), 80 contact sheets (all previously unpublished), audio commentary from Preston, video and text interviews with people who worked with the band, and even memorabilia and set lists for concerts whose photos are featured in the book.

Created with Apple's digital book creation app, iBooks Author, this Multi-Touch experience on iPad is unprecedented in its visual style and layout, letting the reader explore never-before-seen shots of Led Zeppelin and join them not only on stage, but also backstage. Led Zeppelin: Sound And Fury contains an intro by Stevie Nicks and has contributions from bands like My Chemical Romance, Heart, Mastodon and many more.

No photographer was granted the access to Led Zeppelin that Neal Preston had. Any photo of the band from the post-1973 era familiar to fans is probably one of Preston's images. Led Zeppelin: Sound And Fury immerses you in the band's inner circle with brilliant on-stage performance photos, backstage candid shots, intimate images from onboard the band's two private planes, as well as snapshots from press conferences, movie premieres, private band parties and more.

Neal PrestonNeal Preston's career began when he was still in high school and continues today. His photographs have appeared in every conceivable media outlet: on the covers and in the pages of world-class magazines and newspapers, to books, television shows, feature films, Broadway show programs and billboards, vinyl, CD and DVD packages; almost literally everywhere. His client list is a virtual who's-who of rock royalty including The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Queen and Fleetwood Mac. His archive, a body of work spanning almost four decades, is regarded as one of the music industry's most extensive and significant photo collections. Preston's archive was the key source of photographs for VH1's acclaimed Behind the Music documentary series, providing over one thousand still photos used in 50 episodes. In 1985, Preston was chosen as one of the official photographers for Bob Geldof's Live Aid concert at London's Wembley Stadium. In 1988, his association with Bruce Springsteen helped land him the job as official tour photographer for Amnesty International's landmark "Conspiracy of Hope" tour.

Led Zeppelin: Sound And Fury, an innovative illustrated digital book by famed photographer Neal Preston, is available now exclusively on the iBookstore for download on your iPad with iBooks or on your computer with iTunes, for a price of $9.99.  

Led Zeppelin: Sound And Fury video clips:

Neal Preston video clips:
"Unprecedented Access"
"Rare Contact Sheets"
"Remarkable eBook Features"

 Stardust Memories

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Willie Nelson, on the occasion of his 80th birthday

By Andy Langer in Esquire

Willie Nelsonillie Nelson was getting high once when he leaned in and whispered, "Two nuns are cycling down a cobbled street. The first one says, 'I've never come this way before.' The second one replies, 'Must be the cobbles.' " I've never been so high or laughed so hard. Willie's jokes are old and corny -- they're mostly about golf or sex. Sometimes both. But the goal in the telling seems to be to disarm. People get weird around famous people, let alone bona fide American icons. They talk too much or too little. They fidget and breathe heavy. But I've never seen anyone freak out around Willie Nelson. Laughter takes the edge off. So does humility. Last year, moments after the mayor of Austin unveiled an eight-foot, one-ton statue of Willie downtown at 310 Willie Nelson Boulevard, rather than ponder his triumph, he said, "I guess I'll be stoned for 1,000 years."

Streets and statues are typically posthumous honors, but Willie turned 80 on April 30. He's become part Yoda, part John Wayne. Or is it George Burns and Santa? Anyway, he's an icon. What's gotten lost is that he's the most important songwriter of the 20th century. Had he written only Patsy Cline's "Crazy," the simplest, most beautiful Valentine ever, he'd be only as influential as the ladies who wrote "Happy Birthday to You." But then there's "Night Life." and "Funny How Time Slips Away." And maybe most importantly, "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground" -- the yardstick against which all songs about love and mortality (approximately 43 percent of all songs ever written) are measured. Willie deals in "standards" -- songs that make mere hits seem silly and disposable. Sinatra and Elvis sang them, but Willie wrote them, consistently and authoritatively. On paper, his peers were Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, and George Jones, but when you're looking at the hypothetical construct that's the Great American Songbook, they're really George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. You can make an argument for Bob Dylan, but if Ginger Rogers did everything Frank Astaire did backwards and in high heels, Willie did everything Dylan did stoned and in New Balance running shoes.

How Willie Nelson AgedWillie has said he believes his music will eventually fade away, that like fame itself, achievements are impermanent. Zen, but probably bullshit. There's always been a timelessness to his songs that ought to ensure, uh, timelessness. "Crazy" itself is more than 50 years old. Then again, much of Willie's iconic status was earned offstage. Like the best legendary Texans -- from Sam Houston to Ann Richards -- he's got not so much a biography as a mythology: In his autobiography, Willie claims to have sparked up "a fat Austin Torpedo" on the roof of the White House. Elsewhere in the book, his first wife refutes the old story about her sewing him up in a bedsheet while he was passed out, then beating him with a broomstick -- instead she tied him up with a jump rope before beating him. Better documented is the work he's done as an agitator, provocateur, and champion: battling the IRS, lobbying for the family farmer, and backing alternative energies. Marijuana legalization? Sure. But he's also been outspoken about horse slaughter and, through a cover of "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each Other)," championed gay rights. He's not perfect: Willie may be a 9/11 truther, telling Larry King that "logic" led him to look at the day's events from another angle. It makes him look crazy. And out of touch.

Friends say his arthritis is so bad he can't roll a joint anymore. His latest song is comically morose: He sings, "Roll me up and smoke me when I die." Willie says he still tours as hard as he does because he's afraid of losing his muscle memory. And the shows are strong: 90 minutes, no teleprompters, no breaks. When his son Lukas sits in on guitar, his grin is as wide as it's ever been. And night after night, one lucky fan -- usually a young kid on his parents' shoulders or a young lady with a little extra cleavage -- gets a trademark Willie Nelson bandanna tossed from the stage by Willie himself. It's a souvenir, a permanent thing. But it's the memory -- the show, the brief flicker of interaction -- that's indelible. Willie Nelson's legacy will lie in the largesse of small gestures, the right word at the right time, and songs and melodies that become milestone markers in real people's lives.  

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