Artists Profile: THEY HIT THE TOP ... 42 YEARS AGO TODAY
A Very Strange One-Hit Wonder
One of the most unusual, memorable and certainly intriguing one-hit wonders of all time, In The Year 2525, somehow – and we mean inexplicably – made it to #1 on the U.S. singles charts on this day in 1969.
Artists Profile: WE CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF ROY ORBISON
April 23, 1936 - December 6, 1988
"People often ask me how would I like to be remembered and I answer that I would simply like to be remembered."
Posted by Ray on Saturday, April 23 @ 06:00:00 EDT (1141 reads)
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Artists Profile: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MIKE SMITH
This is a love story. It is, as love stories often are, filled with times of great happiness and many other moments filled with deep sadness. Some will say the ending is brutally painful while others will find joy in reading about the wisdom and inner peace of a man obsessed with two things – his music and the woman who adored him.
Anyone who knows me even slightly understands I may have been the biggest Beatles fan on the face of the earth, but anyone who knows me well is familiar with the fact that I believe Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five possessed the greatest voice of the sixties.
I was an admirer but that was not my reason for writing this article. As his fans look back on his death one year ago this week, the real purpose for this celebration of Mike’s journey was to delve into the background of his life, to discover the stories behind the story, from the rise to glory and fame to the sudden and literal crash that slowly ended his life.
From the very beginning, his trust and faith in his fellow man was terribly abused by a select few but when it mattered most, one very extraordinary woman and friends who understood the true meaning of love and respect stepped forward.
Who do you think is the greatest drummer of all time? John Bonham of Led Zeppelin? Neil Peart from Rush? Bill Bruford of Yes? Nick Mason from Pink Floyd? Others might choose Ringo Starr or Keith Moon. You see, its all a matter of personal opinion and to be honest, there are many greats who deserve consideration.
But what if I asked who the most successful drummer of all time is? I’m willing to bet very few of you would answer correctly because this isn’t a matter of personal opinion; it is a matter of (pardon the pun) record.
Its This Guy … By A Wide Margin
There are many of you who have never heard of him but when your career is spent as a session man, that's to be expected. The band gets the glory while the session men get paid by the hour and often go unrecognized. Although it took far too long, this drummer finally was recognized for his work when he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
You might not recall the name but with forty #1 singles to his credit and a total of 150 that made the Top Ten, including eight which won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, you will NEVER forget the music he made.
Posted by Ray on Saturday, January 31 @ 05:00:00 EST (825 reads)
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Artists Profile: ROY ORBISON
The story of Roy Orbison is one of the strangest and most tragic in all of rock. His wide-ranging tenor voice and haunting ballads of lost love touched millions in the sixties and earned him the enduring respect of some of the greatest stars of rock, including the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen.
But fame is often accompanied by grief, and in Roy Orbison’s case, it was the horrifying accidental deaths in his family that haunted his soul. Yet, he persevered, and after remaining in the shadows of rock’s greatest stars for over twenty years, he suddenly found himself in demand again in the late eighties.
The revival of his career was short-lived. Just as he had seemingly buried his pain in the past, Roy Orbison, perhaps the greatest vocalist America has ever produced, was taken from us at the age of 52.
Posted by Ray on Sunday, December 23 @ 07:30:11 EST (2598 reads)
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Artists Profile: PHIL SPECTOR - MADMAN OR GENIUS?
He wrote his first number-one hit in 1958, when he was a 17-year old high school student nominally headed for a responsible career as a court stenographer.
That song guaranteed his life—and those that came in contact with him from that point on—would never be the same.
As time marches on, music fans are discovering more and more just how often their favorite band didn’t play on their own records.
Instead, they were standing on the sidelines while the music they became famous for was actually played by someone else. Those studio geniuses, the underpaid “session men” who left us with countless memories, have gone unnoticed for decades, and it has only been in the past ten years or so that we have become aware of their contributions.
Let me amend that last sentence. It wasn’t (and still isn’t) just session “men” who deserve our thanks.
You have heard her on literally thousands of songs (and hundreds of hits), but like most listeners, you don’t know her name.
We are about to change that.
Allow us to introduce Carol Kaye, the “First Lady of Bass”
So you want to be a rock 'n' roll star?
Roger McGuinn was one for almost 10 years. But he's been a working musician for more than 40 years, and that seems to suit him just fine.
He doesn't need the "star" status anymore. He doesn't need the hassles of dealing with record companies or putting up with the egos of bandmates.
Roger McGuinn is one Byrd who loves flying solo.
Artists Profile: SANTA CLAUS ... A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS
Santa Claus is a round, happy man who brings good cheer and gifts to children throughout the world on Christmas Eve.
Santa dresses in a red furry suit because, of course, he lives at the North Pole. He drives a sleigh, which flies through the air drawn by nine reindeer. (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner (also known as Donder), Blitzen, and of course, the late arriving -- but exceptionally red-nosed -- Rudolph.
Santa lands on the roof of each home and then enters by sliding down the chimney where he leaves presents under the Christmas tree and fills each child's stocking with goodies.
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “Soul And Inspiration” were not just songs that launched the Righteous Brothers, they defined the genre we call “blue eyed soul.” “On Broadway,”“Uptown” and “Only In America” transcended early rock and roll's romantic "moon and June" fixation. “Kicks”proved that a commercial hit could address a serious issue like drugs, and “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place” is not only considered one of the classic rock songs of all time but it became an anthem for Viet Nam soldiers and protesters alike.
How are these songs tied together?
The husband and wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil are responsible for all of them. Not just that, this duo compares more than favorably with any songwriting act in music history. Either individually or as a partnership, Mann and Weil have compiled an incredible 108 pop, country and R&B awards from Broadcast Music Inc., recognizing highest performance popularity on American radio and television in a particular year and 91 Millionaire awards, signifying radio performances of a million or more plays.
It would be impossible to imagine the last four decades of pop music without Mann’s melodies and Weil’s lyrics. In fact, it is safe to say Mann and Weil have created a body of work so significant it has often been described as “a soundtrack to our lives.”
And around here, that means something very special.
Posted by Ray on Wednesday, November 15 @ 17:00:00 EST (1086 reads)
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Artists Profile: SINGING UNTIL THE ''TWELFTH OF NEVER''
Recipient of the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, Johnny Mathis - who turns 71 today - was still a teenager in college when a record company discovered him singing in a San Francisco nightclub in 1955. He was not yet 21 when he finally arrived in New York City for his first recording sessions in '56.
That was fifty years ago. In 2006, Johnny Mathis, an iconic figure in pop music history, is still going strong and his loyal fan base still thinks he's Wonderful! Wonderful!
Posted by Ray on Saturday, September 30 @ 04:00:00 EDT (1610 reads)
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Artists Profile: HE IS MUCH MORE THAN ''SHORT PEOPLE''
By George VargaRandy Newman, one of pop music's most original and eloquent singer-songwriters of the past 50 years, hemmed and hawed at length as he pondered a seemingly simple question: How would he like to be remembered by future generations?
This, after all, is the man responsible for Political Science,Christmas in Capetown,God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind) and dozens of other classics.
His ingenious, instantly distinctive songs have provided hits for everyone from Peggy Lee (Love Story) and Three Dog Night (Mama Told Me Not to Come) to Nina Simone, UB40 and Judy Collins, all of whom covered Newman's wrenching ballad, I Think It's Going to Rain Today.
He is also responsible for such provocative gems as Sail Away,Rednecks,You Can Leave Your Hat On and, of course, Short People, which in 1978 gave him a fluke Top 40 hit that was widely condemned for promoting the very prejudices the song so vividly targeted.
Artists Profile: NEIL SEDAKA - ROCK & ROLL PIONEER
It is hard to imagine the history of rock and roll without the many contributions of Neil Sedaka. For over four decades, Sedaka's timeless standards have helped change the face of popular music.
With countless hit singles, and platinum and gold records, he is recognized as one of rock and pop music's legendary pioneers, and remains as vital a force today as he was when he first achieved his string of hits back in the late 1950's. But Neil Sedaka's meteoric rise to success began even before that.
Note:Sedaka 'through the years' photos inside!
Posted by Ray on Wednesday, July 26 @ 12:14:47 EDT (879 reads)
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Artists Profile: THE ANIMALS - GREED BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE
They once were considered a main ingredient in The British Invasion. The blues-tinged sound of The Animals caught the eye of the American public in 1964 with the release of House Of The Rising Sun.
It was almost certain that riches and continued fame were inevitable, but clashing egos and a costly decision on publishing rights began a slow but steady downfall.
Their all too short time together produced some of rock's most classic songs, but somewhere along the line, one man lost his faith in the blues and sold his soul for fame. Ironically, he not only sold out his ideals, he also never found the fame he was sure he was going to get.
In 1957, Rick Nelson was on top of the world. Or so he thought. He was featured on his parent's TV show "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." The younger of two brothers, he seemed to take to the camera better than the more serious David.
But despite such notoriety he was about to be taken down a notch. While on a date, his girlfriend couldn't stop talking about the new kid on the block, Elvis Presley. At first he just tried to shrug it off but she kept going on how great and wonderful Elvis was.
Then came the fateful comment that forever changed Rick Nelson's life. "Presley's not so great. Besides, I'm going to make a record myself."
The girlfriend was duly impressed. Rick's only problem was he didn't have a clue how to make a record or where to go.
Those four words resonated throughout the world much as "In God We Trust" and other familiar phrases which have stood the test of time.
Yet the introduction was never any more necessary than telling someone the name of the Mona Lisa when viewing the painting. Johnny Cash was a household name for more than most people can remember, and his career spanned nearly fifty years.
Few artists in history ever enjoyed the successful career Cash did. Many people describe him as a mythical, larger than life figure. Others describe him as one of the greatest recording artists of all time.
Artists Profile: GERRY & THE PACEMAKERS...GONE IN A FLASH
They were, believe it or not, a major rival of The Beatles in the early sixties.
Their infectious brand of British pop made them early stars, but it was their inability to change with the times that ultimately did them in.
Unable to adapt to the musical changes around them, Gerry & The Pacemakers were here and gone within two short years.
He didn’t pile up one hit after another. In fact, he only had one song hit the Top 40 charts.
But while some ill-informed revisionist writers of rock history would like to dismiss Carl Perkins as a rockabilly artist who became a one-hit wonder at the dawn of rock & roll's early years, a deeper look at his music and career reveals much more.
You may never have heard of his name, but the odds are pretty good you have heard his music.
Nicky Hopkins was one of the finest session musicians of the rock era. His work with the Rolling Stones and John Lennon is legendary, but he also played with hundreds of other artists.
Check it out. When you see just a partial list of songs he lent his extraordinary piano skills to, I'm willing to bet you have heard of virtually every song.
Posted by Ray on Saturday, February 18 @ 16:05:20 EST (1179 reads)
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