Showing posts with label Rock and Pop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rock and Pop. Show all posts

Friday, January 4, 2019

IAN BROWN - The World Is Yours

Ian Brown -  Photo: Wikimedia
As it is well-known talented bands consist of talented musicians. But it is also known that talents of these particular musicians are not necessarily equally strong. The situation when a few people become famous at the expense of one person's abilities is pretty typical. But while the band lives the audience grasps its members as something whole and indivisible, not always of course but if one of them messes the things up all the rest are blamed too. However, everything takes its places after the band splits and its ex-members start making different efforts as solo artists. And it is here where true abilities of ex-superstars become apparent. As a rule, only one survives. 

So it happened to a well-known band The Stone Roses, which managed to influence a whole cohort of British brit pop and indie acts with only two albums. The Stone Roses had two bright leaders guitarist John Squire and vocalist Ian Brown. When The Stone Roses broke up in 1996 the general consensus was that it would be John Squire who should be the most successful solo act. He wrote the songs, played guitar like a god and even designed the sleeves for the albums. But as the time has shown this opinion was inaccurate. Indeed, Squire didn't quit the music and even recorded a number of albums but the result that he has achieved during post The Stone Roses era is simply not able to hold the candle to Ian Brown's achievements.

Golden Greats (Ian Brown album)
Golden Greats (Ian Brown album)
(Photo credit: 
Cult figure
In contrast to all the other members of The Stone Roses Ian Brown used his fame, brought by the band's two memorable albums, as a jumping-off place for his future solo career. His name is still standing in close connection with The Stone Roses but for the majority of the people, Ian Brown of today is a separate artistic unit. He's got four successful albums behind him, he has worked with many notable musicians, he regularly gives concerts in different points of the planet and in fact he is a real cult figure for many young indie rockers. Thus, for example, Arctic Monkeys' frontman Alex Turner has stated that Ian Brown as the band's musical hero.

In a word, Ian Brown just keeps on developing so far and the main thing is that he does it free and easy, taking his fame as true luck. His fifth album released this year is called The World Is Yours. This is a full-fledged studio record, which proves one more time that Ian Brown knows how to keep up with times. At his 44 he still sounds amazingly fresh and even modern and of course, you can always feel his perennial musical experience at that.

Professional confidence and a fresh flavor of today
Ian Brown's good point is that he never tries to copy somebody else's ideas, he's got his own and fairly recognizable style and doesn't want to change it, he simply adds new colors and observes what comes out of it. In this sense, The World Is Yours takes a position of an album with a post-classic sound. Brown always loved two things: good beat and massive keyboards, therefore any production exploring he used to make concerned mostly these very things. This time around the situation looks as follows: beat sound dense, velvet and not as synthesized as it was on some of his previous records. The sounding keeps the balance somewhere between good pop rock and modern Hip Hop production. It is fairly audible on the title track for instance.

The keyboards remain almost unchanged but only because Brown decided to use a huge amount of orchestral instruments on this record. They sound pretty appropriate and never spoil the rock spirit. It all imparts some sort of soundtrack flavor to the record, well, at least when you listen to, let's say, On Track you have a feeling that a helicopter with James Bond aboard is about to fly by your window or that Frodo Baggins is going to enter your room when you have Sister Rose playing. But as it was said earlier the orchestration never kills the rock constituent of the album.

The World Is Yours is probably the most proper rock album recorded with classical instruments, everything sounds really measured and balanced. The album as a whole has a very warm and massive sound, it is pretty hard to attach it to any concrete genre but saying it in simple terms The World Is Yours is a mature alternative rock with a notable influence of Hip Hop. Overall The World Is Yours is a very felicitous disc - it is both interesting and accessible, you can feel professional confidence and a fresh flavor of today. It is quite possible that it has some disadvantages too but you have to be Ian Brown's real hater to dig them out. If you are not one of them then you'll certainly like this album. In a word, give it a chance; it is worthy of your attention indeed.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Adding String Parts to a ROCK Or POP Track?

For decades, from Motown to Funk, through Disco, Indie Rock or music by singer/songwriters, one of the elements which have made some tracks successful is the addition of stringed instruments to the mix. When used skillfully, this medium can lift a piece of music, giving it a unique character and sound, lending power and emotion to a song. Strings are also used to provide the 'hook' or counter-melody which adds a new dimension and variety to the music.

Many chart hits have a background 'wash' of strings, subtly used without being particularly prominent - and based on simple chords. There are also countless examples where sampled string sounds have been used to great effect - from the atmospheric Mellotron of the 1960s to more hi-tech solutions used in modern day music. Even synthesized strings - with no pretence at being the real thing have also distinguished many pops and rock classics.

Despite huge leaps forward in the technology of sampled strings, many producers and artists still prefer to use the 'real thing' - professional studio musicians drawing on their expertise to create a rich and authentic addition to a track. By using live players, it's possible to be far more versatile and include the articulations or 'up and down bowing' which only sound authentic on a real instrument.

The first thing to consider is that the family of stringed instruments which forms a standard string ensemble (violins, violas, cellos and double bass) all have a lot in common but work in different ways to the guitar or keyboard. They are tuned in 5ths - meaning that you count up 5 notes including the note itself to arrive at the next string. The violin shares it's bottom three strings with the viola, whereas the cello is exactly an octave below the viola. It is also important to know the range of each instrument. Approximately three and a half octaves will sound comfortable as a section, and it's important to understand how the sound quality is affected by the pitch of notes. High notes will sound thinner and more penetrating, whereas the lower register can sound thicker or richer. As an example, much disco music from the 1970s makes use of the higher register of the violins in particular.

The next consideration is the skilful and sometimes tricky business of spacing chords for a string section. This is where a lot of string arrangements can fall down - get it wrong and the effect can sound empty or thin. Violins are split into two sections - the 'first and second violins' - as found in a symphony orchestra. The first violins can often be in unison or an octave higher than the melody, with the second violins playing a supportive countermelody. Conversely, the first violins could be playing the countermelody with the three other parts filling in the chords. Note: in a chord, each instrument can take one or two notes depending on the fullness or effect required. Even in these chords, the string arranger needs to make sure the cello part doesn't leap around too much - although the bass guitar may still supply the bass line, the cello part will still be very effective in moving in step or as a melodic line.

Another important aspect is understanding the articulations required to bring out the best in stringed instruments. Think of it as being monochrome versus colour. Without slurs, staccato, spiccato and pizzicato (all standard effects that stringed instruments routinely play) - the sound can easily become dull and uncharacteristic. The best string arranging uses an intimate knowledge of the instruments and can sound vivid, exciting and detailed. Often, when a string section has been composed on a keyboard instrument, it can sound somehow fixed and mainly chordal in nature, without the moving parts that strings naturally have.

Strings have been used in almost every genre of music, from jazz through to heavy metal, rap and of course classical music. Genres such as bluegrass, Cajun and folk often spotlight a solo fiddle (the name 'fiddle' is interchangeable with violin), with an idiomatic style based on sliding up to notes, the use of rapid double stopping (where more than one note is simultaneously played) and subtle trills with quick snatched notes. Sometimes single strings - one of each instrument as in a standard string quartet - can be an option to bring out the beautiful solo sound of each player. This can be used for more intimate styles of song, such as one with an acoustic guitar and voice.

Here, the use of solo instruments is often more appropriate than a large string orchestra, as it brings a soulfulness and adds a more contemplative mood. For larger style music, a string arranger might write a big orchestral type sound - such as for a rock ballad or film soundtrack. If budget is no option, a section of thirty to forty session musicians may well be used. In other cases, often a high quality sampled string library can give an excellent rendition of strings - though lacking the human touch, with many producers hiring in a handful of professional musicians to layer a few real takes on top to add the articulations and feel which make it sound more convincing. Where strings are only part of a mix with other instruments, this can be a more economical solution than hiring a full orchestra.

With modern studio technology, an increasingly popular method for those financing their own projects is to use a few musicians who can multi-track several overdubs to create a larger sound. However, it's highly advisable that players who are asked to do this are extremely accurate professionals, to ensure that the end result isn't untidy - they will also need to vary the quality of sound and bowing in order to add character, and imitate a variety of different players within the section. With this approach, players must have perfect tuning and an excellent range of sound to create a realistic end result.

The professional string arranger will get a feel for when the strings should be dominant in a track and when they should recede into a more supportive, background sound. The arranger should know when the texture should be sparse as well as identifying moments where the strings can come alive and be dense or intricate. Rather than adding just basic chords, the strings can be used to provide the hook or countermelody - and in some instances, this can completely transform a piece of music, making it instantly memorable.

Although many bands and artists have a grasp of music theory and orchestration, so do undertake their own string arrangements, it is important to remember that a specialised string arranger will have years of training and may get better results. After all, if a group are going to the expense of hiring in a real string section, they'll want to make sure they get the full potential from the players. Music needs to be scored and orchestrated correctly to suit the instruments so that any session musicians can just sit down and play it through the correctly first time - saving valuable studio time.

    Vaughan Jones is a professional string arranger, violinist and violist. He leads a small commercial string section based in London. String Section supply strings for all manner of recording projects in all genres and their website is

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

BANDS Known By Initials

From left to right, John Fogerty, Stu Cook, an...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In rock ‘n’ roll history there have been many bands whose moniker and names were shortened and universally recognized by abbreviated lettered names.  Let’s explore some popular initial nicknames of bands.

Creedence Clearwater Revival (also known as CCR) began churning out classic rock ‘n’ roll singles shortly after the John Fogerty led band formed in 1967.  With their “swamp-rock” sound and style, the group amassed seventeen top 40 hits like “Bad Moon Rising,” “Green River,” and the wedding band staple “Proud Mary.”  The group disbanded in 1972 and any hopes of a CCR reunion were quashed with the death of band member Tom Fogerty in 1990.

Another 60's band that had huge commercial success was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, also known as CSN & Y.  Band members David Crosby (formerly of the Byrds), Graham Nash (of Hollie's fame), Stephen Stills and Neil Young (both with Buffalo Springfield), blended their flawless harmonies into a long and successful career.  With hits such as the Nash-led “Teach Your Children,” Neil Young’s antiwar protest song “Ohio” and a Joni Mitchell composition “Woodstock” about the legendary rock festival, CSN & Y blended their unique acoustic-folk and progressive hard rock sound to be a classic example of the 1960's psychedelic era.  Additionally, after Young left the group, Crosby, Stills and Nash (also known as CSN) continued to release melodic pop/rock songs with 1977's “Just A Song Before I Go” and “Wasted On The Way,” which was released in 1982.  The group still tours, occasionally joined by Young.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive performing live in Ör...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hard-rocking Bachman-Turner Overdrive, or simply BTO consisted of Randy Bachman (formerly of the Guess Who), fellow Guess Who alum Chad Allen, C.F. “Fred” Turner and Randy’s brother drummer Robbie.  Capitalizing on the arena rock/pop rock era of the mid 70's, BTO had a short but successful career with chart singles such as “Takin’ Care Of Business,” “Let It Ride” and the number one single “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” a song which was intended for an audience of one- Randy’s brother Gary Bachman who had a speech impediment-stuttering.  They recorded the song for fun but needing another song to complete the lp “Not fragile,” Randy Bachman was pressured to include the joking stuttering lyrics and the song spent twelve weeks on the Billboard charts in 1974.

There are many other rock ‘n’ roll bands that were known by initials as well as their “given” name and I will include a couple more that I know of.  The Electric Light Orchestra (also known as ELO) led by guitarist Jeff Lynne, scored twenty top ten hits with songs like “Telephone Line and “Don’t Bring Me Down.”  A similar sounding name ELP was a supergroup consisting of keyboard genius Keith Emerson, bassist Greg lake (of the band Nice) and drummer Carl Palmer (a former member of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown).  They instilled their keyboard dominated, progressive rock throughout the 70's, creating an FM radio phenomenon with songs like “Lucky Man,” “Still You Turn Me On” and “From The Beginning.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

BOB MARLEY Quotes - A Man With Something to Say

One Love: The Very Best of Bob Marley & The Wa...
One Love: The Very Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Few musicians are as well known in the field or ska or reggae music as Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician and Rastafarian Bob Marley. In addition to his unique and powerful musical style which is still popular nearly 30 years after his death, Bob Marley quotes taken from his music and from his comments resonate with many people who have experienced aspects of his living. Like many other famous people who are quoted on viewpoints they may hold, Bob Marley quotes run the gamut of emotions and philosophy from joy to pain to philosophy.

Favorite Bob Marley quotes will probably vary depending upon the life experiences of the person who listens to them. Many of his quotes have to do with music, which is to be expected, but many are quotations about life in general expressed in his music. He states "Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I'm not perfect and I don't live to be. But, before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean."

Finding quotes about the subject of music is not difficult. Often, even the most devoted scientists and philosophers of great note recognized the importance of music in our lives. Music quotes are simply a recognition of its power and strength to impact lives and to change the life. You would expect music quotes from one of the music masters such as Johann Sebastian Bach, but a quotation on the subject of music coming from the likes of Albert Einstein has even more impact because it is so unexpected. Einstein stated "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music... I get most joy in life out of music."

Another popular source of quotes about today's life and culture comes from the television show "Sex and the City". Sex City quotes are popular both as humor and as commentaries on the culture and social mores of today. The writers of the program began by writing about women they knew and made the show work because it was portraying real women living and working in the city. Sex City quotes have a way of describing this lifestyle in an honest and pithy way.

The viewpoints of all these people are reflected in the quotes they leave for posterity, and yet the quotes we remember and use over and over are the ones that are most like our own viewpoints. To be able to point at a quote from a famous person such as Bob Marley and realize that this famous person has expressed MY viewpoint on the specific subject tends to validate my own viewpoint to myself and to those around me. Even if their viewpoint as expressed in their quotes is different than what is currently held by oneself, it may be the avenue to a change in viewpoint, or at least a more reasoned foundation for the existing philosophy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Memories Are Made Of This : The Golden Years of The SIXTIES MUSIC Revolution

English: Jimi Hendrix at the amusement park Gr...
Jimi Hendrix at the amusement park Gröna Lund in Stockholm
(Photo credit: 
I suppose my first realization that music was something more relevant than learning the words to carols for the school Christmas concert was appreciating my Dad's collection of 78s'. He was a man with unusual tastes in music. My contemporys' parents listened to American crooners, like Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and the like, or the big band sounds of the day.

But my Dad had individual tastes which included Eastern European folk music, Scottish bagpipe ballads and Welsh miners choirs; plus my first introduction to classical such as exciting pieces like Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance".

My Mother, a dedicated Crosby fan, disliked these strange sounds to the extent that she banished any playing of the 'caterwauling' to our barn, a large wooden structure at the back of the house. This suited my Dad, and me, just fine.

He would mend bikes and tinker with machinery in one corner, while I would curl up on a battered leather sofa looking at pictures in old movie magazines, giggling at jokes in back copies of Lilliput and reading girlie type books (Little Women, Black Beauty etc.) while the haunting strains of Bulgarian women's' voices, Highland airs or the overwhelming sound of Welshmen giving it their all emanated from the old wind up gramophone; memories are made of this.

Musically I've come full circle. with the increasing popularity of 'world music,' I am, once again, enjoying Bulgarian women's harmonies and Welsh folk songs along with the exciting newcomers from African and Latin American roots.

Every generation, mostly, think that they have experienced the 'best' period of topical music, but I do feel that the sixties were a special case. Consider this; any weekend my friends and I had a difficult decision to make. Did we go 'up town' to Ken Colliers to see American blues stars like Big Bill Broonzy or jazz giants like Dizzy Gillespie; or perhaps to the Marquee or 100 Club to listen to the up and coming Britishers like Paul Weller in the Jam, Eric Clapton and the Yardbirds and Georgie Fame with the All-Stars.
English: Mick Jagger (right) and Ronnie Wood (...
Mick Jagger (right) and Ronnie Wood (left)
of the Rolling Stones in concert in Chicago
 (Photo credit: 

Or did we stay closer to home and go to the Riki Tik in Windsor and risk asphyxiation in the tiny room listening to an exciting new group called the Rolling Stones. And that was only the start; what about Osterley where you could hear John Lee Hooker, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee and any number of other Southern American blues stars; or Windsor Drill hall where, on a Friday night you could enjoy the best of Cyril Davies and the All Stars, which usually featured one of my favorites, Long John Baldry.

And, if you were willing to risk parental wrath, it had to be Eel Pie Island in Twickenham, a den of iniquity where you could hear the best of new rhythm and blues; smell strange substances burning in the air and where I first encountered psychedelia in the shape of Pink Floyd whose innovative light shows of colored lava lamp blobs popping and forming ever different shapes were the precursor of the giant video screens of today. To say we were spoilt for choice is not to overwork a phrase.

I haven't even mentioned the many folk clubs sprinkled about which I visited with my friend Lucy as a guest singing duo, where we shared stages with the likes of Bert Jantz, Duster Bennett, Cat Stevens...  We would travel to isolated venues in the heart of the Berkshire countryside and find ourselves in a barn somewhere, with people sitting on hay bales and listening to the stirring voices and lyrics of Sandy Denny, Davy Graham and John Remborne, or even the Wurzels (bring your own cider!).

If you wanted to dance, but strictly not ballroom, you could stomp the night away at a selection of 'trad jazz' clubs. Bands of various styles were always on tap; Dick Morrisey, the aforementioned Ken Collier, Acker Bilk; It really was a golden age for live music of every kind. And it didn't cost an arm and a leg to indulge yourself. If we paid more than a couple of quid to get in we felt hard done by. Even special occasions, like seeing the Who or Cream at the Hammersmith Odeon were cheap at the price.

Wherever we hung out with our mates there was music. This was the age of the coffee bar, always with a jukebox in the corner belting out such classics as 'Dock on the Bay', or Buddy Holly's latest or Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Biaz; where to stop! Before the fashion for 'personalized music' (catered for firstly by the Walkman and now in it's the newest incarnation, the iPod) the latest tunes brought like minds together. A normal Saturday outing was to the local record shop where friends would crowd into a booth together to hear the latest in the 'charts'.

Maybe it was all just 'fashion' but, as the year's race by, that sixties music has stood the test of time. Many of our heroes are still household names. Our children still appreciate such giants as Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding. The likes of Paul Weller, Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones still tour all over the world. Am I showing my age when I find it hard to appreciate modern-day offerings? Of course, I am but no more than any other person who has let music into their life.

From the moment the first caveman (or woman) discovered how to make musical 'sounds' from reeds or rocks, water or wood, we have enjoyed the privilege of a great gift. How to explain the catch at the back of the throat when we hear a familiar song or melody? How to describe the pure feeling of exhilaration and joy as many human voices come together to sing some particularly uplifting work. I dare anyone to say they have never felt that. And if some hardened souls insist that is the case; well I feel very sorry for them.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

A Short Life History On JOSH GROBAN

Josh Groban
Josh Groban (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Los Angeles, California on February 27, 1981, Josh Groban was brought into the world. Six albums later, including the double-platinum selling self-titled Josh Groban in 2001 and Closer in 2003, and this song has inspired millions around the world. 

Josh knew from early on what his calling was. He attended the Bridges Academy where he studied theatre classes. During his teenage years, he attended the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan where he majored in musical theater. The Interlochen Arts Camp enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in educational, artistic and cultural programs. In this setting, Josh developed a love of the musical theater and began acting and singing in school productions. In addition to his normal class work, Josh began taking singing lessons on the side to develop his voice and style.

It was David Foster (winner of fourteen Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and been nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Song) that discovered Josh’s gift. Foster hired Groban to work as a rehearsal singer. At the 1999 Grammy Awards, Josh stood in for Andrea Bocelli and rehearsed Foster’s song “The Prayer” with pop icon and diva Celine Dion. Foster would continue to have influence over Josh’s career as his skill and style progressed.

Josh completed his High School education at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts where he graduated in 1999 with a major in theater. He then attended the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University. Josh decided to end his educational pursuit after completing the first year when Warner Bros. Records offered him a recording contract through Foster. The presence that Josh’s voice carries led the first album to focus on more classical songs such as “Gira Con Me” and “Alle Luce Del Sole.” Foster and Josh deliberately chose these songs and considering that the album went multiple-platinum, it looks like a wise choice. 

With a combination of a firm educational background and carefully cultivated talent, Josh Groban has reached millions that call themselves “Grobanites.” In addition to enjoying his albums and many concert events, Grobanites have had the fortune to see him on the hit television show Ally McBeal, on The Simpsons and he has performed at numerous charity events like: VH1 Save the Music, Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope and David Foster and Friends Charity Gala. 

Unlike many in the music industry, Josh Groban has not taken part in much controversy. His interviews are typically limited to his music and little of his private life is discussed. He currently is unmarried and lives in Malibu, CA.

More about Josh Groban on Wikipedia

Thursday, August 9, 2018


Pop music in the 1960's produced several top recording duos dotting the music charts and influencing future songwriters and groups to this day.  Let’s explore a  few successful duos from the 60's that also recorded as lesser known names before they hit it big as the names they are known as today.

An early release by the duo that called themselves Tom & Jerry in 1957 did not fare well, although the duo did manage to crack the top 100 on the music charts.   But subsequent releases proved to be very substantial, not only for pop rock but for folk-rock as well.  After minimal success as Tom & Jerry and reuniting together in the mid 60's as Simon and Garfunkel, the duo forged a path through pop and folk music that is iconic.

20 Greatest Hits (Simon & Garfunkel album)With a barrage of finely crafted pop and folk arrangements, Simon and Garfunkel amassed many pop hits such as “Homeward Bound, ““Sound’s Of Silence,” “I Am A Rock,” “Mrs. Robinson” (from the movie “The Graduate”), “The Boxer” and the Garfunkel-led ballad “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” among others.  After they split up, Garfunkel went on to record several well-received albums, but Paul Simon became known as one of the most prolific and vital songwriters of the pop music era.

After the split from Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Simon scored top ten pop hits with “Mother And Child Reunion,” “Kodachrome,” “Loves Me Like A Rock” as well as “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.”  But Simon broke new ground musically and personally in 1986 with the album “Graceland,” which he adeptly mixed a collage of musical genres and political statements into one of the most remarkable solo albums of all time.  Somewhat controversial, it remains the benchmark for all solo artists who want to experiment with their musical background and add a mix of different cultures to the album to capture not only their already existing fan base but create a new one as well. 

Although popular for their 1959 hit “Baby Talk,” Jan Berry and Dean Torrence rode the waves of the Beach Boys-led surf music sound in the early 1960's.  Previously known as Jan and Arnie, their infectious hit “Surf City,” (the duo’s only number one hit) was co-written by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, who also provided backup vocals.  Jan Berry returned the favor in1966 by singing lead on the Beach Boy’s hit “Barbara Ann.”  Jan and Dean had other chart hits such as “Drag City,” the prophetic “Dead Man’s Curve” and the whimsical “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena.”  The duo’s success was cut short in April of 1966 when Jan was critically injured in an automobile accident.

The Two of Us (Sonny & Cher album)The husband and wife team of Caesar and Cleo did not secure fame until they changed their name to Sonny and Cher and went on to pop mega-stardom, not only in music but in television as well.  Their breakthrough hit “I Got You Babe” reached number one status and held that position for three weeks in 1965.  While still together as Sonny and Cher, each scored hits recording separately, Sonny with “Laugh At Me” and Cher with “All I Really Want To Do” and “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).”  Their magical musical combination and wisecracking repartee spawned a highly successful CBS-TV variety series that ran from1971 through 1974.  As a duo, Sonny and Cher secured top ten hits such as “Baby Don’t Go,” “ The Beat Goes On,” “All I Ever Need Is You” and “A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done.”  Unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce in 1973, but the story of Sonny and Cher does not.

They were briefly reunited in 1975 and Cher continued on to a brilliant solo career and Sonny entered politics.  Sonny Bono was elected mayor of Palm Springs, California and then elected to Congress in 1994 until his tragic death from a skiing accident in 1998.  Cher continued in music and also added a first-rate acting career to her repertoire.  

As a solo artist in the 1970's, Cher scored hits with songs like “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves,” “The Way Of Love,” “Half-Breed” and “Dark Lady” among others.  Cher was also an accomplished actress, with starring roles in the acclaimed motion pictures “Silkwood” and “The Witches Of Eastwick.”  In 1987, Cher won an Oscar for her role in the movie “Moonstruck.”  She revived her musical career in 1989 scoring a top ten hit called “After All,” a duet with Peter Cetera from the motion picture “Chances Are” and the intense reflective “If I Could Turn Back Time.”  Remarkably, ten years later Cher was again in the Top 40 with her number one hit “Believe,” which spent four weeks as the top pop song and remained on the charts for twenty-five weeks.  To this day Cher remains peerless and is one of the most celebrated female singers and her trademark voice will be heard for decades to come.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

DAZZLING Success Tips

Photo: Pxhere
Have you ever wondered the reason for pop and rock stars success? They range between religion, exotic tricks and genetically predetermined luck.  Still, one hit twinkling stars are shadowed by megastars Rolling Stones, Madonna, Aerosmith, Sting, Paul McCartney and others.

So what is the key to their triumphant success, which brought them world recognition, glory, popularity and vast amounts of money?

One of the tricks is to achieve acclamation in one sector and then, moving on, make the use of it in another one. The most widespread example among women sees a combination of abilities to sing and to perform. 

Barbara Streisand, Madonna, Jen Lo, Mila Yovovich and Britney Spears proved their multiple skills in businesses they embarked on. The top stars now engage themselves in fashion. Christina Aguilera asserts it a trick of raising one’s slipping popularity.

Meanwhile, all pop starts to enlarge personal fan-base by applying these methods. For example, Madonna’s music is fancied by a bulk of the world’s population. There some, yet, disadmiring her musical activity, however, thrilled to films, featuring Madonna or books, she poses the author of. 

Thus, the increasing popularity occurs. It’s still in question whether its self-realization or money bids that pop idols chase. They say, if the talent takes place it’s multiple.

Friday, July 13, 2018


Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Iron Maiden was right at the beginning of heavy metal. There is no denying their influence for every metal band from the 80’s on. They were very influential on Slayer, whose early works sound very similar to Iron Maiden licks. Even Now that metal is coming back bands like Mastodon who are taking the next steps of metal that maiden help start. In their own right there are a second level icon behind bands like Zeppelin and Sabbath who are the godfathers of rock music.

My favorite album of Iron Maiden is Power Slave. It is the heaviest of all the Maiden albums. It features some of their best songs including Power Slave, Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, and 2 Minutes to Midnight. I would also recommend the album Killers which was released before Bruce Dickinson was their singer. The songs Murders in the Rue Morgue and Killers exhibit more of a hard rock feel quite a bit more similar to ACDC in their early work than the later more melodic. They were known for putting out concept albums which the whole collection of their albums follows the story of their giant mascot Eddie.

If you like Iron Maiden I would recommend Slayer’s early albums like Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits particularly the title tracks. I would also recommend Mastodon’s album Leviathan. Definitely check out Iron Maiden and Slayer if you like Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden includes Steve Harris (bass), Bruce Dickinson (singer), Janick Gers (guitar), and Nicko McBrain (drums). Their albums include 1979 Soundhouse Tapes Rockhard, Iron Maiden , Killers , The Number of the Beast , Piece of Mind , Powerslave, Somewhere in Time Sony, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son , Trooper , Stranger in a Strange Land , Running Free Run to the Hills , No Prayer for the Dying , Fear of the Dark, The X Factor , Virtual XI , Brave New World and Dance of Death.

Monday, May 28, 2018

SWEET HOME ALABAMA - one of the greatest conservative ROCK SONGS

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The song "Sweet Home Alabama" by Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd (Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd) is one of the most popular and controversial rock songs in history.  The song first appeared on the band's second album, Second Helping in 1974. Sweet Home Alabama was the bands first hit single, reaching the top ten of the US charts in 1974.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's hit song makes references to the songs "Southern Man" and "Alabama" by Neil Young, defending Young's statements in those song's lyrics regarding the South's racism in their historical treatment of black people. Despite popular belief, there was no rivalry or feud between the artist-- more so the opposite, in mutual respect for each other.

In addition to the song's defense of the south, the song contains some controversial political references, mainly a verse in the song that possibly references segregationist George Wallace. Whether or not the true intent of the verse by the song's writers was to support racism has been debated on both sides of the argument. The National Review ranked the song number four on its list of 50 greatest conservative rock songs in May 2006.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

ARETHA FRANKLIN - The Story Of The Queen Of Soul

Aretha Franklin - Photo by InSapphoWeTrust 
No matter who you are or where you've been, chances are that you've heard one or more of Aretha Franklin's songs. Chances are also that you've had one of those classics ringing pleasurably in your head for hours on end. The Queen of Soul has that effect on people everywhere, and she's heading out on the road again this summer to provide millions of her fans with another reason to cherish her work.

Life Story

Franklin was born in Memphis on March 25, 1942. After a bit of moving around, her family settled in Detroit when Aretha was seven. She was exposed to music at an early age and began singing in her father's church. She was soon a very popular member of the choir, and she produced her first recording at the age of 14.

Subsequent to this first recording, Franklin entered "adulthood" almost immediately. She signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and became a mother when she was 15, having her first son, Clarence, Jr. Franklin had another son, Eddie when she was 16.

At this point, Franklin had to make a choice - be a full-time mother or pursue her music career. She chose the latter, as her grandmother helped her care for her sons while she continued to record songs. Franklin married Ted White in 1962 and had another son, "Teddy" White, Jr. in 1969.

She stayed with Columbia Records until 1967, when she moved to Atlantic Records, and the results were almost immediate due to the expanded artistic freedom she had with her new label. Franklin dabbled in gospel, soul and blues themes with her music, and several of her songs from this time period became top hits.

Blossoming Career

However, it was her R&B work that earned her the nickname, "The Queen of Soul" in the 1960's. Franklin's work with Atlantic Records made her an international star, and several of her most famous songs, including Respect, was released during this period.

Franklin continued to not only tour but to record, and her career totals are astonishing. She has released a total of 52 albums and has had 17 singles reach the Top Ten of the US Hot 100 Singles chart.

Franklin has also won 17 Grammy Awards in several categories, but that is far from her only entry into her list of accomplishments. Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was the second woman to gain entry into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Queen of Soul has also been recognized by more than one President of the United States. In 1999, President Bill Clinton awarded Franklin with the National Medal of Arts, and President George W. Bush bestowed upon Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

What It All Means

All of these accomplishments should make it clear that Aretha Franklin is a national icon. She has appeared in movies like The Blues Brothers in 1980 and sang the national anthem in her adopted hometown of Detroit prior to Super Bowl XL.

Her songs are timeless, and the memories from her live shows live on in the minds of all who are lucky enough to be able to attend a concert. Franklin will be providing those same memories this summer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


English: Rolling Stones in Statesboro The Roll...
Rolling Stones in Statesboro The Rolling Stones perform at Georgia Southern College-May 4,1965. Photo by Kevin Delaney with a 110 Kodak Instamatic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. You Can't Always Get What You Want
2. Only Rock 'n Roll
3. Get Off My Cloud
4. She's A Rainbow
5. Under My Thumb
6. It's All Over Now
7. Don't Stop
8. Happy
9. The Last Time

1. You Can't Always Get What You Want
Mere days after their release of "Beggar's Banquet" in 1968, the band pulled together a real-life circus of a show. Designed as a television spectacle consisting of real circus performers, and some top rock acts of the day. Jethro Tull, The Who, and Eric Clapton were in attendance, as were lions, trapeze artists, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The kind of show you might only now see on the very best of David Letterman.

The idea was to produce a unique showcase, but the footage was eventually shelved and hidden away for nearly 3 decades due to what was deemed sub-standard performances. It was not shown publicly for 27 years, except for brief excerpts in home videos. The Who's performance of "A Quick One" was used in their own film/career documentary, "The Kids Are Alright". The true landmark of the show for The Rolling Stones was it was Brian Jones' last performance with the band.

2. Only Rock 'n Roll
Before the Rolling Stones had galvanized their name as the World Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the late '60s, they had already laid a handsome claim to the title. The Beatles had paved the way for the British Invasion, but the Rolling Stones pioneered the gritty, hard-pounding blues-infused rock and roll that now defines the genre. Mick Jagger might be a tiny little man by many standards, but with no question, he is the biggest front man to ever grace a rock stage. Wild. Macho. Campy. Sexy. He created the role of the rockstar.

3. Get Off My Cloud
To nightcap their hugely successful 1969 North American tour, the band planned a large, free concert in San Francisco similar to a successful concert they had done in London's Hyde Park earlier that summer. But between permit denials, greed and a last-minute change of venue, the event spiraled from what was potentially a West Coast Woodstock to a jumbled chaotic mess.

Things turned for the worse with their bad choice of security, the biker gang the "Hell's Angels", contributing to a day-long sideshow of brutal violence and truly bad vibes. By the time the Stones took the stage that evening, things had already come undone with a dramatic stabbing of the spectator by one of the Hell's Angels. The stabbing was captured on film in the documentary, "Gimme Shelter".

4. She's A Rainbow
The band's longtime acquaintance with law enforcement started with an infamous 'pissing' incident in March of 1965. Bill Wyman needed to use the restroom at a gas station, but was refused admittance and told to promptly vacate the premises. Mick Jagger and Brian Jones joined Bill in pissing against a wall, and the Rolling Stones' image as bad boys was firmly established. In a remarkable show of solidarity and opportunism, which was not to be repeated, all five-band members showed up at court, several weeks later.

5. Under My Thumb
How can you be the next Keith Richards? Well, asides from several obvious personal decisions, to get his legendary sound, first you're going to need to go out and get yourself a Fender Telecaster. Keith plays in open G tuning with his own customized 5-string version. Take your low E string off the guitar and then tune it low to high as GDGBD. You can always tune the low E string to D as well if you're not into removing the sixth string. Keith sums up his approach with a simple phrase that only he could truly relate, "5 strings, 3 fingers, and one ***hole." There's no one like Keith Richards.

6. It's All Over Now
The famous tongue and lip design and countless variations of such have graced countless official and unofficial Rolling Stones memorabilia and products since it first appeared when the band formed "Rolling Stones Records" in 1971. Credit for the creation of the original design has been mistakenly given to several people over the years. Many have stated that Andy Warhol was the originator. He did design two album covers for the band, but not the tongue design. In 1995, Billboard Magazine printed that it was from the mind of Ruby Mazur. Discovering their mistake, they later corrected their statement, identifying Mazur as the designer of the first official variation of the tongue design. With further research later that year, Billboard definitely uncovered that the original classic design came from John Pasch. Two years later, Mick Jagger confirmed that Pasch was the originator of the fabled logo.

7. Don't Stop
Rolling Stones museum, anyone? Former Rolling Stones member, Bill Wyman operates a restaurant entitled, "Sticky Fingers" in the well-to-do Kensington section of London. The food is nothing to write home about unless you consider the cuisine at the Hard Rock Café something to die for. The prices are so-so, no more than the one-two punch inflicted by Planet Hollywood fare. What's special here is that the whole place is a shrine the legendary rockers. Jam-packed with posters, magazine covers, guitars, gold discs and the like. Most of the time, as you might imagine, you'll be enjoying the soothing sounds of Stones tune while you munch your fish and chips.

8. Happy
If you never get a chance to stand live in the crowd and soak the sound waves as they emit straight from the wall of loudspeakers, then the next best chance at the excitement is one many films made from their various shows. Perhaps the most famous is from their 1972 North American tour. Titled, "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones", unfortunately, the screening of it can prove difficult. Originally released in Quadraphonic sound, the original soundtrack, record as it is on the film in an unusual manner requires considerable labor to view properly. The effort is occasionally undertaken, as it was done in a September 1996 screening at New York's Lincoln Center. Hmmm, maybe it would be easier to just see them live after all.

9. The Last Time
Is this their last world tour? They've been fielding that question ever since they were first asked it way back in 1966. Mick Jagger turned 59 this past July 26th and Keith Richards turns 59 on December 18th. Jagger will be 60 by the time they wrap up their European tour, perhaps that's old enough to retire, but we're betting that they'll be back as long as they're around. Why stop now?

Updated information on WIKIPEDIA

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


English: Members hardcore punk rock band Minor...
Members hardcore punk rock band Minor Threat. Performing at The Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hardcore was originally acclaimed as dirt, quick and bustling punk-rock, which emerged in the US in late 70-is through early 80-is. The hard-core bands, including Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Jerry’s Kids posed as founders of hardcore.

Until 80-is, hardcore appeared to be peculiar of ear-teasing, short and quick songs of approximately 1 to 1.5 minutes with the presence of social lyrics. This stage completed due to bands’ tendency either to split up or, to, simply, shift to different musical style. Those times hardcore is labelled the old school hardcore.
Some bands, including Earth Crisis, All Out War, Strife, following the old school hardcore, enriched their music with a combination of slow melodies and metal elements, which, thus, committed to the establishment of the new school of hardcore.

The others, like Husker Du, Meat Puppets and Embrace, however, applying restrictions to "hardness" in their music, developed the new styles of grunge and emocore, respectively. The emocore boasts the peculiar features of emotional performance, melodic and soft back-vocal, minor chords as well as typical behaviour on stage.

The Bad Religion band, established in 1980, omitting usual now the presence of slowness and duration in songs, posed as establisher of new musical trend through introducing professional beck-vocal. The style appears to lack in the denomination but is conditionally nicknamed as skate-punk (trifle lighter form of the said music is played by Blink-182 and New Found Glory), although it differs from traditional pop-punk, represented by Ramonez, Buzzcocks and Lookout records, both, in origin and style.

As the time passed by, the hardcore influenced the development of such styles as fast-core, thresh core and crossover, however, the bands, following the said style failed to experience the support of the great audience, as their processors did. 

Thus, a bulk of modern alternative music stemmed from hardcore. Notably, the old school hardcore is still in demand and keeps developing, irrespective of breeding more popular musical trends. A slew of bands still promotes the style worldwide among music lovers. 

The styles encountered development in a parallel manner (they experienced step-by-step development from the very beginning).

It should be noted that a style, depending on social background and geographical location may possess original and unique nuances.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Where the Unknown Music Roams - Expand Your MUSIC LIBRARY

Station building and one of the towers of Mota...
The station building and one of the towers of Motala longwave transmitter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You've heard all your favorite music and artists on your local radio station. You've tuned in while hoping to hear something new and exciting. Unfortunately, the radio stations usually play the same tunes over and over. This causes other musicians to get left out in the cold. You may never hear of many fabulous rock singers, R and B artists, jazz professionals and Gospel greats if you only listen to what your radio station has to offer. Here are some tips to show you how to expand your music library with great songs you've probably never heard before.

Where Did The Music Go?

If hundreds of singing groups and musicians submit their songs to producers each year, but only a few get chosen, then where do all these amazing musicians go? Where and how are their songs being heard? Do they just give up? In the past, many of them would likely quit playing or singing all together once they were rejected in the mainstream music industry. But nowadays, a new avenue of getting their sensational music to the public has arisen; it's called the World Wide Web!

There are now thousands of hip songs available online today that will probably never make it to the radio stations. The artists' names will probably never be mentioned in the mainstream music industry. But, that doesn't mean the songs are cheesy or that the artists have bad singing voices. It simply means they didn't get chosen to be in the top music charts. Their music might be wonderful, but was overlooked or got lost in the crowd of other musicians and bands.

A Variety of Music

This happening isn't limited to only one certain type of music or musician. Almost any type of music can fall victim to getting tossed in the "rejection" pile. This includes jazz, Latin, pop, R and B, hip-hop, reggae, rock, folk, comedy, Gospel, blues, techno, spoken word, rap, etc.

No matter what your taste in music, there are probably thousands of artists who never made it in the big-time that you would enjoy listening to their music. Your music library can grow with great music CDs from these singers so you can listen to many different songs whenever you want instead of being limited to the over-played music on the radio.

Music on the Web

There are specialty websites online that focus on publicizing music and artists that have never been heard before. You can go online to listen to unique sample music, buy CDs, and buy merchandise. These artists are great even though they never made it big. You can usually try their music before you buy it to be certain it is right for you. So, there's nothing to lose, but lots of amazing music to gain.

Music for Your Business

If you own a business where music is played often, you can also play some "unknown" music over the loudspeaker for others to hear. Your customers will be amazed at all the distinct songs they hear in your store. You'll be the talk of the town!

Whether it's rock, jazz or hip-hop you enjoy, or if it's Gospel, country, folk, or some other type of music, you can expand your music library in no time with many great tunes that never made it to the top!