Albums of the year: Rock, folk and Americana

I was not chuffed to be asked to review Elton John's joint effort with Leon Russell The Union, not having liked John since Honky Château. Glad I said yes, though. Unexpected pleasure is the most ardent of all the joys. Then, in a good year for venerable pianists, Jerry Lee Lewis's people stirred themselves to rope in a few young things to help The Killer rock the living daylights out of his dying embers for Mean Old Man.

Blues: When Santa Claus wants some lovin'

Never mind mistletoe and wine. It's sex and sadness that made the blues singers' seasonal songs so potent

George David Weiss: Songwriter who worked with Elvis Presley and wrote ‘What A Wonderful World’

Following his Las Vegas comeback in 1969, Elvis Presley made hundreds of concert appearances during the last eight years of his life. He had a wide repertoire but every concert ended the same way. With every ounce of energy and often with his cape outstretched, he would belt out "Can't Help Falling In Love", written by George David Weiss with the production team, Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore (known as Hugo and Luigi).

Album: Jimi Hendrix, West Coast Seattle Boy (Sony Legacy/Experience Hendrix)

This is a far less satisfactory vault-rummaging exercise than Springsteen's, begging questions about whether Hendrix himself would really have appreciated the release of rough demo versions of things like "1983... (A Merman I Shall Turn to Be)" and Dylan's "Tears of Rage".

Elvis's will among memorabilia to go under hammer



Memorabilia belonging to Elvis Presley is to go under the hammer, it was announced today.

Chilean miner rises to the challenge of New York Marathon

Edison Pena knows a thing or two about marathons, having survived 69 days trapped deep underneath Chile's Atacama Desert. But he discovered yesterday that negotiating 26.2 miles of Manhattan's streets can also be a long, hard slog.

Life, By Keith Richards with James Fox

Afterlife" might have been the working title for Keith Richards' autobiography, given the regularity with which commentators have predicted his demise. As early as 1973, when he was only 30, New Musical Express drew up a list of the top ten rock stars most likely to snuff it. Keith was at the top. "That was the only chart on which I was Number One for 10 years in a row," he writes ruefully. "I was kind of proud of that position. I was really disappointed when I went down [to number 9.] Oh my God, it's over."

James Neal: Lawyer who put Jimmy Hoffa in jail and prosecuted the perpetrators of the Watergate cover-up

James Neal, a stocky, cigar-chomping ex-Marine, won victories on both sides of the courtroom and was involved in some of America's biggest legal battles. He successfully prosecuted the Teamsters' boss Jimmy Hoffa, as well as key Nixon administration officials for conspiracy during the Watergate scandal. He also acted for the defence for the film-maker John Landis and in the Ford Pinto and Exxon Valdez cases.

Life in the mine for one of 'Los 33'

Extraordinary photographs reveal the routine that kept Edison Peña going during his 69 days underground

Duane Eddy, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley, Clapham Grand, London

King of Twang and his pals raise the roof with some of that old Tennessee spirit

Album: Jerry Lee Lewis, Mean Old Man (Verve)

The voice is frail but you can still hear the braggart in it. That's authenticity for you.

No more music from the quilted generation

Old rockers should hang up their leather trousers while their reputation and their dignity are still intact, says Andy Gill

Bill Porter: Recording engineer who helped shape the Nashville Sound

Visiting RCA Studio B in Nashville can be an eerie experience because the place has changed so little since the early 1960s, when the American sound engineer Bill Porter recorded 150 tracks by Elvis Presley, including the Transatlantic chart-toppers "It's Now or Never", "Are You Lonesome Tonight?", "Surrender" and "Good Luck Charm" on a then state-of-the-art three-track machine.

Great Balls of Fire! Jerry Lee Lewis rocks again at 75

The original wild boy of 50s music – he had six wives, including his 13-year-old cousin – returns to the studio to cut a new album.
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

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Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

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Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

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