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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Last Band Standing' [4CD/1DVD Box Set]
Artist - The Ides Of March

My God! Having just listened to the entire four (4) audio CDs and watched the one (1) DVD, I am exhausted! I am also much the wiser for knowing The Ides Of March and for appreciating their colorful, and rich musical history now.

For fans of this band you could not ask for more from Last Band Standing. It contains (I can only imagine) everything that The Ides Of March ever released. Again, this incredible box-set includes those 4 CDs and 1 DVD (which is of a quite brilliant live performance, together with some older, more (shall we say) vintage clips from back in the day.

Formed in the mid-1960s in the Windy City, founding member Jim Peterik put the original Ides Of March together as a teen band, strong on original material and British pop harmonies. Soon the band was recording for London’s Parrot Records subsidiary, releasing five singles between 1966 and 1967. But Chicago’s Ides of March really burst onto the national scene in 1970 with the million-selling single 'Vehicle.'

So, why is this delicious 5-Disc collection coming out now, I hear you ask? Well, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the band that drove the 1970 Billboard smash 'Vehicle' to the top of the charts! And so to obviously commemorate this momentous occasion, the band have released this uber deluxe, uber limited edition Last Band Standing – The Definitive 50-Year Anniversary Collection this past April 18th via Ides Of March Records.

The first four audio discs contain material from across their storied career. Included are Warner Brothers albums Vehicle (1970) and Common Bond (1971), first-time-ever releases of the best of their RCA releases World Woven (1972) and Midnight Oil (1973), and choice cuts from the 90s, such as Spirit Of Chicago – an ode to the Windy City featuring some of the area’s most prominent artists – Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Dennis DeYoung (Styx), Gary Loizzo (American Breed), cult favorite Jim Ellison, and many more.

Rarities like 'Like It Or Lump It' and 'No Two Ways About It' have been remastered in all their mono glory, along with other highlights culled from the Ides vault, such as 1966’s Billboard charter You Wouldn’t Listen (Parrot). The audio portion is completed with brand new Ides of March tracks, including the brass driven 'Who I Am,' the harmonious 'Too Far To Turn Around,' and the aptly titled 'Last Band Standing,' featuring Steve Cropper – the iconic songsmith of Booker T and the MG’s and organizer of the Blues Brothers.

It was actually interesting for me to know that between 1973 and 1990, The Ides of March went on an extended hiatus, during which Jim Peterik co-founded the band Survivor and co-wrote all of their platinum hits: including, 'Eye of the Tiger,' 'The Search Is Over,' 'High on You' and 'I Can't Hold Back'.

He also began a career of writing collaborations which resulted in many platinum hits for other artists, most notably 'Hold On Loosely,' 'Rockin’ Into The Night,' 'Fantasy Girl' and 'Wild-Eyed Southern Boys' for .38 Special and 'Heavy Metal' for Sammy Hagar!

Anyway, back on track, and as aforementioned, the fifth disc is a live DVD of The Ides Of March performing 15 of their most iconic songs in an eleven camera shoot at the House Of Blues, Chicago on May 31, 2014. In addition to this high-energy hometown set, this DVD boasts a slew of extras: archival footage from their TV appearances in the 70’s, new interviews, a look behind-the-scenes, a photo collage spanning 50 years plus an exciting new music video for the title track, 'Last Band Standing.'