Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Deborah Harry at 73

  •        Personal Thoughts -- Here are my favorite Blondie and Deborah Harry tracks over the years. She is such an icon of the rock era, recording many classic songs during her long career. My first encounter with the beautiful Debbie Harry was on the old music show in the 70's here in Australia called Countdown. Many local and overseas artists got their break on this show and two of the biggest worldwide artists of all time were broken here. They were ABBA and Blondie. Blondie were struggling to make an impact on their home soil in the USA with their newly released single X Offender and as rock folklore goes, Countdown compere and main music man, Molly Meldrum accidently played the Bside, of the new single, called In The Flesh, on the program. No accident though, Molly knew his audience. The reaction was instant with requests flowing in. This moment in rock history is forever implanted on my brain as I was one of the thousands of viewers that day. 
In The Flesh

  • The Hits -- Many hits followed and its very hard to choose out of so many greats like One Way Or Another, Heart of Glass,Rapture and Call Me. I have a real affinity to the song called Picture This. Love the way the beautiful Miss Harry lays out the lyrics and love the reference to a pocket computer. Its her awesome persona, her smile and those piercing eyes which seem to portray truth into the humorous lyrics. That's what todays music is missing truth,humour  and passion !
Picture This

  •  Rapture -- Another ground breaking recording from the group was Rapture. It was the first hit song to include rap. Deb Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie championed rap and got involved in the community, often attending block parties in New York.  Blondie brought rap to a far larger audience with this song. At this stage rap music was not welcome on commercial radio. This song changed that! Even though it was goofy rap done by Harry . It was a game breaker for the genre. Here is some trivia for you Flash is Fast ! Flash is Cool ! This was in reference to one of the first rappers and friend of Deborah and Chris in the mid seventies, Grandmaster Flash. 

  •     The History -- Photographer and guitarist Chris Stein began taking photos in 1968 around the NYC rock scene and in 1974 was asked to fill in as a guitarist for Deborah's band, The Stilettos. It was the beginning of a love affair and friendship that has stood the test of Rock'n'roll. Chris was fascinated with Deborah from the start and her photogenic personality taking many backstage photos which are to come out in his new book Me,Blondie and the Advent of Punk. It was this meeting of Chris Stein and Deborah that launched the group Blondie and in the early days they may have been categorized as new wave but their music included punk, electronica, reggae and funk but as Debbie once said, "we always lent towards the pop sound".  They first became a household name in Australia in 1977 with a release of In The Flesh which was off the bands self titled first album, Blondie which failed to chart anywhere two years previous. The commercial and critical success came with their third album, Parallel Lines and the song "Heart of Glass" which reached No. 1 worldwide. It was followed by many other chart toppers like "Call Me," "The Tide Is High" "French Kissing "and "Rapture."
          The story continues with their new song Doom or Destiny from their latest album Pollinator

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Gypsy Women and Ancient Queens

        Our music wave from the dance floor this month is about the gypsies and queens of the rock era. The ladies we have chose were strong,mysterious and influential. Joan Jett, the tough guitar toting queen of the 70's and 80's. Kate Bush the little girl who reached Wuthering Heights at such a young age with her unique voice and wispful dancing. Stevie Nicks the gypsy queen of Fleetwood Mac and the last. Goddess on the mountain top with the love buzz, Mareska Veres from Socking Blue .
  • Joan Jett -- Born September 22nd 1958 . Joan Jett is one of the most influential figures in rock history. The bands manager Kim Fowley introduced Joan to drummer Sandy West in late 1975 and soon after The Runaways were formed signing to Mercury Records in 1976. Their debut album of the same name, soon followed. Their second album, 'Queens of Noise' was released in 1977 and the band began a world tour. They have always been linked to the punk scene because of their alliances with mostly male punk bands such as the 'Ramones' and in the UK ,'The Sex Pistols'. After the breakup of the band a couple of years later. Jett would go on to work with producer and former Shondell, 'Kenny Laguna' on her new solo career with the 'Blackhearts'. After being rejected by 23 record labels, they formed their own label, Blackheart Records, in 1980. But how many people who adore her punk attitude would guess that one of the rocker’s early influences was Liza Minnelli “I wanted to be an actor before I fell in love with music and 'Cabaret’ was really the combining of the two."
  • Quote -- Life is strong and fragile. It's a paradox... It's both things, like quantum physics: It's a particle and a wave at the same time. It all exists all together.I'm concentrating on staying healthy, having peace, being happy, remembering what is important, taking in nature and animals, spending time reading, trying to understand the universe, where science and the spiritual meet.
 Cadillac Office 

Life is strong and fragile. It's a paradox... It's both things, like quantum physics: It's a particle and a wave at the same time. It all exists all together.
Read more at:
Life is strong and fragile. It's a paradox... It's both things, like quantum physics: It's a particle and a wave at the same time. It all exists all together.
Read more at:
  • Kate Bush --  Born on July 30th 1958. Kate has always lived a secluded lifestyle making intermittent appearances on the music scene throughout her career. She wrote Man with a Child in His Eyes at the age of 13 and this was amongst the recordings Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd heard when he went to visit Kate at her home when she was 16. "She had around 50 songs written at that time and I chose three of them" said, Dave. It took two years before the recordings were released  because the record company wanted to record her with their own producers. Finally when she was 18, Kate had her hit record, the mystical, Wuthering Heights. Which was written due to Kate's fascination with the author, "Emily Bronte" who had the the same birthday. Her family farm was full of books when she was growing up.  Her Albums like Hounds of Love, The Dreaming and Red Shoes all have left a mark on the rock era. She retreated away from the entertainment industry after the death of her mother in the 90's. Aeriel her return album in 2005 included a track called King of the Mountain which became her third highest ranking UK single of her career.
  • Quotes -- Its not important to me that people understand me. I think its important that things are flawed but i do want to try and come up with something interesting.

Dont Give Up 
Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel 

  • Stevie Nicks -- The Gypsy herself  was born in Phoenix on may 26th 1948 and often would sing along with her country singer, grandfather as a 4 year old. Stevie has a career of many facets. Her time with Fleetwood Mac her friendship with Tom Petty and Prince. While their is her own individual career. Some of Stevies songwriting credits are as follows Dreams;Gypsy;Landslide;Rhiannon;Gold Dust Woman,Leather and Lace and Stand Back a song written after hearing Prince's, Little Red Corvette,on the radio.
  • Quotes -- The clothes I wear dont change. I love long dresses. I love velvet. I love high boots. I never change. I love the same eye makeup. I'm not a fad person. I still have everything I had then. That's one part of me... that's where my songs come from. There's a song on the new Fleetwood Mac album Mirage that says, 'Going back to the velvet underground/back to the floor that I love,' because I always put my bed on the floor. 'To a room with some lace and paper flowers/ back to the gypsy that I was.'
But never have I been a blue calm sea . I have always been a storm.
And you just can't make a comeback. Comebacks are no good. You have to just keep singing. Or keep dancing.

  • The Dutch Queen Mareska Veres -- born in The Hague on 1st October 1947. The Goddess on a Mountain Top, Mariska Veres was the daughter of the gypsy violinist Lajos Veres, and often accompanied her father on the piano. She recorded a couple of solo singles before joining a group called the Bumble Bees. Shocking Blue was formed in 1967 but it was the following year when the Bumble Bees performed at a party where Veres's stunning appearance and powerful vocals attracted the attention of Shocking Blue's manager and publisher. He talked band leader and songwriter "van Leeuwen' into having Veres come into the band. Van Leeuwans said"She had a very impressive voice, quite different from all the other girl singers,". "In one year, everything we dreamed about happened". The addition of vocalist Mariska Veres and with his self penned song "Venus,"Shocking Blue became the first act from the Netherlands to sell over one million copies in the U.S.A.  Their song "Love Buzz" was covered by Nirvana in '88 becoming that band's debut single.They recorded a total of ten albums from 69 through to 74 but its these two songs which they will forever be remembered by. 
  •  Quote -- "I was just a painted doll, nobody could ever reach me. Nowadays, I am more open to people." 

Venus Shocking Blue 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fleetwood Mac and Neil Finn

  • Fleetwood Mac Original Members -- Consisted of  Mick Fleetwood and John Mcvie and founding members Peter Green who left in 1970 after taking some bad LSD and Jeremy Spencer who abruptly left the group in 1971 to join the Children of God cult. 
  • Mcvie's --  After John McVie married Christine McVie. The pianist and singer joined Fleetwood Mac and remained a member for the next 25 years. She and John McVie divorced in 1978, although both continued as members of Fleetwood Mac through the albums Tusk 1979 and Mirage 1982.   
  • Mick Fleetwood --  In 1974 he was searching for a new guitarist to replace the departed Bob Welch, when he ran across Buckingham Nicks at Sound City Studios. He was impressed by the song “Frozen Love” from their Polydor album. He rang Lindsey Buckingham on New Year’s Eve, 1974 inviting him to join the group. This was a huge turning point for the band as it was the bringing together of Stevie Nicks and Christine Mcvie which would form the nucleus of one of the greatest bands in rock history.The biggest strengths of the group is the friendship between Stevie Nicks and Christine Mcvie which has never wavered . The seductresss,' Stevie Nicks' is the band's, witchy goddess, McVie, the warrior queen, strong and steady. She's also one of its key creative forces, having written half the songs on the band's Greatest Hits album.
Dont Stop written by Christine Mcvie 

  • Lindsay Buckingham -- Born into a wealthy San Francisco family in October 1947, Lindsey Buckingham, fell under early influence of Elvis Presley’s guitarist Scotty Moore and folk groups such as The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul And Mary. He taught himself guitar and by 1968 found himself playing bass in a local Bay Area in a band called Fritz with high school girlfriend Stevie Nicks. They moved to Los Angeles as a duo in 1971. Nicks and Buckingham met in high school in San Mateo, Calif. Their fiery relationship has always been a contributing factor in the bands on again, off again ,history. It was 1973, and the then-25-year-old singer Nicks and her guitarist boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham were posing for the cover of their first album, Buckingham Nicks. When their record label had asked the duo to look sexy for a  photo shoot but when the self conscious Nicks was told to remove her blouse by the photographer. She didn’t want to do it. Buckingham allegedly lost it.“Don’t be a f — king child,”. “This is art!”
  • Stevie Nicks -- The Gold Dust Woman, Nicks was born in May 1948 and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, she first met Buckingham when she transferred to a high school in San Francisco in 1966. Interesting trivia about the mystical Stevie. She's as blind as a bat . She would sing Darling Clementine with her country singing grandpa A.J.Nicks at the age of 4.  Nicks once said “I’ll be very, very sexy under 18 pounds of chiffon and lace and velvet. And nobody will know who I really am.”. She also sings in one of her greatest songs, “Silver Springs,” . Time cast a spell on you, but you won’t forget me,”. “You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman who loves you.” The legend of Nicks grows every year and she did a huge arena tour last year with the Pretenders. It showed that people will show up in droves just for her.
Frozen Love Buckingham Nicks

  • Latest News -- The firing of Lindsey Buckingham and the addition of Mike Campbell and Neil Finn as touring members.
  • Neil Finn -- Split Enz was initially founded by Tim Finn in 1972 and went on to become one of the most successful bands to ever originate from New Zealand. Tim's brother Neil was too young to join the band initially, as he was still in school, but sometimes opened for Split Enz as a solo artist in the band's early years. One day the call came from older brother Tim, asking him to join Split Enz as lead guitarist. Though Neil only was proficient on acoustic guitar, not electric. Split Enz trusted in his talent and ability to learn, and after a period of keeping his guitar playing low in the mix, Neil settled in. Some of Split Enz's biggest hits are Neil's originals, including "Message to My Girl" and "I Got You".It was Neil Finn's "I Got You," the band made the big break. The single and album hit number one in Australia and New Zealand.

I Got You Split Enz

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Battle of the Sexes Soundtrack

    Songs connected to the Battle of the Sexes Soundtrack  is our subject matter this month. Our lead song is Rocket Man by Elton John and its use by Donald Trump and the current state of world affairs . The other Elton John song not used in the movie but a strong link to the story of Billy Jean King and that song is Philadelphia Freedom . Then next is What is Life by George Harrison. While our flashback song is Tommy James, Hanky Panky. Tommy James has Crimson and Clover on the Battle of the Sexes Soundtrack.

 Rocket Man 
Elton John
  • The song came out around the time of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. The inspiration for Bernie Taupin's lyrics, was the short story The Rocket Man, written by Ray Bradbury. The sci-fi author's tale is told from the perspective of a child, whose astronaut father has mixed feelings at leaving his family in order to do his job. It was published as part of the anthology, The Illustrated Man in 1951. Bradbury's story also inspired the folk group, Pearls Before Swine song of the same name in 1970 and Taupin states this gave him the idea for "Rocket Man" .  In the Pearls Before Swine song, a child can no longer look at the stars after his astronaut father perishes in space. Elton John's Rocket Man was produced by Gus Dudgeon, who worked with David Bowie on his 1969 song "Space Oddity." Both songs have similar subject matter, and lots of people accused Elton of ripping off Bowie. Which apparently is'nt so.
  • Trump is a fan of the song, and often played it at his campaign rallies. Speaking at the United Nations on September 19, 2017, American president Donald Trump reffered to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as "Rocket Man" because of his missile program. "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself," Trump declared. This song immediately began trending. This wasn't the first time the phrase was used in this context in The Economist magazine they put Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, on the cover of their July 8, 2006 issue with the headline  "Rocket Man". Kim Il sung, is considered to be the founding father of North Korea. Kim Jong un was born on January 8, 1983 in Pyongyang.
Elton John 
Rocket Man /Kim Jong-un

Battle of the Sexes Soundtrack 
 What Is Life George Harrison

What is Life /George Harrison
  • What is Life was actually written for Billy Preston but George decided to do the song himself. It was produced by Phil Spector and was the B side to My Sweet Lord. Battle of the Sexes is a movie made about the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs which became the most watched televised sports event of all time. Billie Jean was wanting equal pay for women. 
  • Our next song this week linked to the movie is Philadelphia Freedom. The story goes, Elton John was looking to honour his friend, Billie Jean King in 1974, and so asked Taupin to write a song called "Philadelphia Freedom" as a homage to her tennis team, the Philadelphia Freedoms.
Philadelphia Freedom Live 1975

  • Crimson and Clover was a song, written by Tommy James when looking for a change in direction from their first hits, Mony Mony and Hanky Panky . He came up with the lyric after waking up one morning, thinking of his favorite color and his interest in clovers actually went together well lyrically. Crimson and Clover has been covered by artists like Prince and Joan Jett. Here is Tommy and the Shondeles first hit Hanky Panky pulled out of a rubbish bin by a DJ and played at his sixties club in Pitsburgh in 1965 to become a nationwide number one by 1966. 
 Hanky Panky 
Tommy James and the Shondelles 

Rocket Man 
Pearls Before Swine Song