RIP Vangelis Papathanassíou-AKA Vangelis

The news broke earlier today that Vangelis died on 17 May , aged 79, at a hospital in Paris due to heart failure.

Born in the Greek coastal town of Agria in 1943, the largely self-taught musician formed his first band, The Forminx, in 1963 at the age of 20 and followed that with the internationally successful Aphrodite’s Child, who also featured vocalist Demis Roussos. After two albums of psychedelic pop – the band’s debut single Rain And Tears was a top 30 hit in the UK in 1968, it was the band’s third album 666, a concept album about the Book Of Revelation, which made the band a hit with serious-minded music fans, even though they had actually split up by the time of the album’s release.

The musical style of Vangelis is diverse; although he primarily used electronic music instruments, which characterize electronic music, his music has been described as a mixture of electronica, classical (his music was often symphonic), progressive rock,[ jazz, ambient.

He is sometimes categorized as a new-age composer, a classification others have disputed, including Vangelis himself. He called New-age music a style which “gave the opportunity for untalented people to make very boring music”.

He has worked together with many other artist like Jon Anderson from Yes. He also composed many soundtracks to films such as The Bounty (1984) and 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) and solo albums such as Voices (1995) and Oceanic (1996) further cemented his reputation and a long-held fascination with outer space saw him work with the European Space Agency on 2016’s Rosetta and he continued exploring his love of space on last year’s Juno To Jupiter.

Here are just some of his works.

source

https://www.loudersound.com/news/vangelis-papathanassiou-dead-at-79

Happy Birthday Burt Bacharach.

Burt Bacharach is one of the must influential composers of popular music, of the 20th century.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri on 12th May 1928, Burt Bacharach grew up in Forest Hills, an upper middle suburb of New York City. Although Bacharach began taking piano lessons at the age of eight, his musical breakthrough came at fifteen years old when he began sneaking into Manhattan’s jazz clubs to see both Dizzy Gillespie and the Count Basie Band perform.

His music is characterized by unusual chord progressions, influenced by his background in jazz harmony, and uncommon selections of instruments for small orchestras. Most of Bacharach’s and David’s hits were written specifically for and performed by Dionne Warwick, but earlier associations (from 1957 to 1963) saw the composing duo work with Marty Robbins, Perry Como, Gene McDaniels, and Jerry Butler. Following the initial success of these collaborations, Bacharach went on to write hits for Gene Pitney, Cilla Black, Dusty Springfield, Jackie DeShannon, Bobbie Gentry, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert, B. J. Thomas, the Carpenters, among numerous other artists. He arranged, conducted, and produced much of his recorded output.

A six-time Grammy Award winner and three-time Academy Award winner, Bacharach’s songs have been recorded by more than 1,000 different artists. As of 2014, he had written 73 US and 52 UK Top 40 hits.

Today he is celebrating his 94th birthday.

This is just one of his many songs he co wrote with Carole Bayer Sager

sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burt_Bacharach

Music was my first love and it will be my last.-The Musicians we lost in 2021

2021 has seen the loss of quite a few musicians. I won’t mention all of them because there are too many to mention. Below are just a few of them.

January 3 Gerry Marsden, British rock vocalist and TV personality (Gerry & Pacemakers – Ferry Cross The Mersey), dies at 78

Eponymous Gerry and the Pacemakers star Gerry Marsden died on 3rd January 2021 aged 78 following a brief illness. The Pacemakers were rivals and friends of The Beatles in their native Liverpool in the 1960s and they scored a string of huge hits including ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’, ‘How Do You Do It?’, ‘I Like It’ and their defining cover of the show tune ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, which became the anthem of Liverpool FC and Celtic. Paul McCartney said: “Gerry was a mate fr

om our early days in Liverpool. He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene. His unforgettable performances of You’ll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Cross the Mersey remain in many people’s hearts as reminders of a joyful time in British music…”

February 8 Mary Wilson, American pop vocalist (Supremes – “Where Did Our Love Go?”), died at 76

Former Procol Harum bassist Alan Cartwright died on Thursday 4th March 2021 from stomach cancer aged 75. Born in London on 10th October 1945, Cartwright first met Procol Harum singer and keyboardist Gary Brooker in 1966 and he joined the band five years later when bassist Chris Copping decided to focus solely on his organ work. Cartwright’s debut release was 1972 orchestral album ‘Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’ and he contributed to three studio albums: 1973’s ‘Grand Hotel’, 1974’s ‘Exotic Birds and Fruit’ and 1975’s ‘Procol’s Ninth.’ Gary Brooker said upon Cartwright’s death: “Looking back, he was always a very solid, musical, and reliable bass player, and a good bloke who gave of his best both in the studio and on the extensive tours Procol did when he was with us.”

April 20 Leslie McKeown, Scottish pop vocalist (Bay City Rollers – “Saturday Night”), dies at 65

Early Judas Priest drummer John Hinch died on Thursday 29th April 2021 aged 73. Prior to joining Judas Priest, Hinch was a member of the band Hiroshima from 1972 to 1973 alongside Rob Halford. The pair were recruited by K.K. Downing and Ian Hill to join Judas Priest in 1973 and John Hinch went on to perform on just one studio album, Priest’s 1974 debut ‘Rocka Rolla.’ He exited the band soon afterwards due to musical differences. Paying tribute to Hinch, Rob Halford said: “His style was strong, direct and unique. I’ll be blasting ‘Rocka Rolla’ today!” K.K. Downing said: “There are so many memories of crazy and fun times we all shared together. John was always so dependable and did everything to the best of his ability, including his drumming which looking back can only be described as faultless. The fact that he continued to play to his very last day is testimony to his ability and dedication to his love of the drums.”

May 29 B.J. Thomas, American singer (“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”; “Hooked On A Feeling”; “Growing Pains Theme”), dies of lung cancer at 78

Former Uriah Heep vocalist John Lawton died on Tuesday 29th June 2021 aged 74. Lawton fronted Uriah Heep from 1976 to 1979 and lent his distinctive voice to three studio albums – ‘Firefly’ (1977), ‘Innocent Victim’ (1977), and ‘Fallen Angel’ (1978). He also fronted the hard rock band Lucifer’s Friends and represented Germany at Eurovision 1976 performing ‘Sing Sang Song’ with the Les Humphries Singers. Breaking the news of Lawton’s death, Uriah Heep wrote: “It is with deep regret that we share the devastating and tragic news of the sudden and totally unexpected passing of John Lawton on 29. June 2021. Contrary to reports, there was no illness involved, which makes his passing incomprehensible. He went peacefully with his wife at his side. John will be greatly missed. A private funeral service to celebrate John’s life will be held following his wishes, with only family and close friends attending. We would appreciate that the family’s privacy is respected during this difficult time.”

Dusty Hill – bassist, co-vocalist, and one third of ZZ Top – passed away on 28th July aged 72, with the band confirming the sad news in a statement on their official Facebook page; accompanied by a photo of the always-sunglassed Dusty in a typically cool pose.

“We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top’. We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.’ You will be missed greatly, amigo. Frank & Billy.”

August 24 Charlie Watts, British rock and jazz drummer (Rolling Stones), dies at 80.

September 5 Sarah Harding, British pop singer (Girls Aloud – “Sound of the Underground,” “Love Machine), dies of breast cancer at 39

October 21 Nils Einár Grönberg, Swedish rapper (“Första klass”; “Katten i trakten”), shot to death in suspected gang-related incident at 19

Nov 6 Astro [Terence Wilson], British reggae-rock vocalist (UB40 – “Red Red Wine”), dies at 64.

Rock musician John Miles, best known for achieving a Top 3 single in 1976 with ‘Music’, died on 5th December 2021 aged 72. Alongside his own career, Jarrow born John Miles toured with Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder and Jimmy Page as a session musician. His manager Cliff Cooper said in a statement: “The UK has lost one of its most talented musicians. John famous for his worldwide hit ‘Music was my first love and it will be my last’ died peacefully in his sleep with his family at his bedside. John played alongside a plethora of artists from Tina Turner, Jimmy Page, Joe Cocker to Andre Botticelli amongst many others. As John’s manager and friend for over 50 years, John was not only so kind and gentle but a brilliant musician and songwriter on the world stage. John leaves behind his wife Eileen married 50 years, two children and two grandchildren. Grief is the price we pay for love. He will be greatly missed, but his music will live on forever.”

Dec 8 Robbie Shakespeare, Jamaican reggae bassist (Sly & Robbie – “DJ Riot”), dies of kidney failure at 68

Dec 10 Michael Nesmith, American rock guitarist (The Monkees), and singer-songwriter (“Different Drum”), dies of heart failure at 78

sources

https://planetradio.co.uk/planet-rock/news/rock-news/rock-star-deaths-2021/

https://www.onthisday.com/music/deaths/date/2021

ROCKTOBER-Love is all

When you hear “Love is all” you are probably more reminded of something the Beatles may have done rather then a bunch of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal artists. Yet that is exactly who were involved in the creation of this beautiful, colourful even fairytale like tale and melody.

The song was released in 1974 and was written and composed by Jon Lord of Deep Purple and Eddie Hardin of the Spencer Davis group. The song was taken from the concept album “The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast” which featured artists like David Coverdale(Whitesnake) Glenn Hughes(Deep Purple & Black Sabbath) Les Binks(Judas Priest) Jon Lord(Deep Purple) and many more.

In 1973 Roger Glover left Deep Purple because of work pressure and tensions between him and Ritchie Blackmore. Together with Jon Lord he worked on a solo project. Their plan was to make a rock opera based on William Plomer and Alan Aldridge’s book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast , in itself based on the eponymous poem by British historian William Roscoe.

Eddie Hardin wrote the song Love Is All based on a song featured in The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast named Love’s all you need, which was inspired by The Beatles’ song All You Need Is Love (1967). The song was sung by Ronnie James Dio, although the single was credited to Glover. The B-side was Old Blind Mole/Magician Moth.

I always presumed that the song had been a global hit, but it only reached the no 1 position in the Dutch and Belgian charts.

The song came with an animated music video featuring a guitar playing frog gathering animals in the forest for the upcoming ball. The animation was created by the Halas and Batchelor studio and one of the animators was Harold Whitaker. The video received a lot of airplay over the decades, particularly as a fill-in during technical difficulties, such as on the French TV channel Antenne 2, and in the United States in children’s TV programs such as The Great Space Coaster and Nickelodeon morning shows. Those random airings, together with the psychedelic tone of the clip and the lack of subtitles, made it very popular amongst young viewers.

In 1980, the video was featured on the Australian music show Countdown, and the song entered the Australian Top 10.The video was also used regularly as an interstitial program on Australia’s ABC TV.

The song was covered by Sacha Distel in 1976. In 2002, Flemish singer Dana Winner released a cover version. Other artists who covered the song have been Gonzales (2008), Keedz (2010) and Playing for Change (2013).

But the original is still the best.

August 16 not a good day in Music history.

According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Robert Johnson had a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician. One of the legends often told says that Johnson was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. (There are claims for at least a dozen other sites as the location of the crossroads.)There he was met by the Devil, who took the guitar and tuned it. The Devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This story of a deal with the Devil at the crossroads mirrors the legend of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.

The story was initially told of an older bluesman, Tommy Johnson (no relation), but he died in 1956, aged 60. It was more hauntingly apposite for Robert Johnson, who died in 1938, aged only 27, after a troubled life and an itinerant career. His only recordings, made a year before his death, still have a spooky quality even 80 years on.

His death was as mysterious as his life. He died on August 16, 1938, at the age of 27, near Greenwood, Mississippi, of unknown causes. His death was not reported publicly; he merely disappeared from the historical record and it was not until almost 30 years later, when Gayle Dean Wardlow, a Mississippi-based musicologist researching Johnson’s life, found his death certificate, which listed only the date and location, with no official cause of death. No formal autopsy was done; instead, a pro forma examination was done to file the death certificate, and no immediate cause of death was determined. It is likely he had congenital syphilis and it was suspected later by medical professionals that may have been a contributing factor in his death. However, 30 years of local legend and oral tradition had, like the rest of his life story, built a legend which has filled in gaps in the scant historical record.

Elvis Aaron Presley, aka Elvis, aka the “King of Rock and Roll”, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race relations, led him to both great success and initial controversy.

Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8,1935.

On the evening of Tuesday, August 16, 1977, Presley was scheduled to fly out of Memphis to begin another tour. That afternoon, Ginger Alden discovered him in an unresponsive state on a bathroom floor. According to her eyewitness account, “Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position while using the toilet and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position, directly in front of it. … It was clear that, from the time whatever hit him to the moment he had landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved.”[295] Attempts to revive him failed, and his death was officially pronounced at 3:30 p.m. at the Baptist Memorial Hospital.

I remember that day as if it was Yesterday. I was 9 at the time. I came home from school and my mother asked me “Guess who died today?” I asked who, she replied Elvis. Trying to be the tough guy I said “What is it to me?” . But when I went to my room, I cried for the rest of the day.

Joseph Ronald Drew, or Ronnie Drew was an Irish singer, folk musician and actor who achieved international fame during a fifty-year career recording with The Dubliners. He is most recognised for his lead vocals on the single “Seven Drunken Nights” and “The Irish Rover” both charting in the UK top 10 and then performed on TOTP. He was recognisable for his long beard and pale blue eyes and his voice.

On 25 October 2007, Drew—now bald and beardless—appeared on Ryan Confidential on RTÉ 1 to give an interview about his role in The Dubliners, his life since leaving the band and being diagnosed with throat cancer. Later in 2007, he appeared on The Late Late Show, where he spoke some more about the death of his wife and his ongoing treatment for cancer.

Drew died in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin on 16 August 2008, following his long illness. He was buried three days later in Redford Cemetery in Greystones.

Aretha Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Referred to as the “Queen of Soul”, she is regarded as the most influential female vocalist of the 1960s. Franklin began her career as a child, singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was a minister.

On August 13, 2018, Franklin was reported to be gravely ill at her home in Riverfront Towers, Detroit.[She was under hospice care and surrounded by friends and family. Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson and former husband Glynn Turman visited her on her deathbed. Aretha Franklin died at her home on August 16, 2018, aged 76, without a will.The cause of death was a malignant pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET),which is distinct from the most common form of pancreatic cancer.[Numerous celebrities in the entertainment industry and politicians paid tribute to Franklin, including former U.S. President Barack Obama who said she “helped define the American experience”.[ Civil rights activist and minister Al Sharpton called her a “civil rights and humanitarian icon”.

Pink Floyd

This blog will be confusing to some people because it will be about Pink Floyd and yet it won’t be. I will not be talking about Pink Floyd but rather about Pink and Floyd.

Pinkney “Pink” Anderson was an American blues singer and guitarist.

Anderson was born in Laurens, South Carolina, on February 12,1900 and was raised in nearby Greenville and Spartanburg.

He spent much of his career performing in traveling medicine shows, doing old minstrel, folk and ragtime tunes and even performing early blues numbers. As a child he made money by dancing and singing in the streets of Spartanburg, not far from where he was born. Around 1915 he formed a team with Simmie Dooley and hooked up with the “Dr. W.R. Kerr Indian Remedy Company Medicine Show” and traveled throughout the South for several years, entertaining crowds with their singing and dancing while the good doctor hawked his “miracle” cure-all. The pair are known to have cut two records for Columbia Records in 1928, but as far as is known, those are the only recordings they ever made.

In the late 1920s or early 1930s the pair broke up the act. Dooley left the “entertainment” business, but Anderson kept right on with traveling medicine shows up until the mid-’50s, when his declining health finally forced him to retire. In the 1960s, however, young fans of folk music “discovered” his music. He recorded a new album for Prestige Records, “Carolina Blues Man, Vol. 1”, in the early 1960s and made an appearance in a documentary about blues music and musicians, The Blues (1962).

Anderson was recorded by the folklorist Paul Clayton at the Virginia State Fair in May 1950. He recorded an album in the early 1960s and performed at some live venues.

Attempts by the folklorist Peter B. Lowry to record Anderson in 1970 were not successful, although apparently he could occasionally summon up some of his past abilities. A final tour took place in the early 1970s with the aid of Roy Book Binder, one of his students, taking him to Boston and New York City. Pink Anderson died on October 12, 1974 of a heart attack, at the age of 74. He is interred at Lincoln Memorial Gardens, in Spartanburg.

Floyd Council was an American blues guitarist, mandolin player, and singer. He was a practitioner of the Piedmont blues, which was popular in the southeastern United States in the 1920s and 1930s. He was sometimes credited as Dipper Boy Council and promoted as “The Devil’s Daddy-in-Law”.

He was born on Sept 2,1911 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to Harrie and Lizzie Council,

He began playing in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina area at clubs, with two brothers, Leo and Thomas Strowd, as the Chapel Hillbillies. recording a reported twenty seven songs, and backing Blind Boy Fuller on at least seven. He was considered one of the areas best guitarists. His throat muscles were partially paralysed by a stroke, but he made a final recording in 1970.

Council died on May 9, 1976 of a heart attack, after moving to Sanford, North Carolina. He was buried at White Oak AME Zion Cemetery in Sanford.

No records are available which exclusively feature Council’s work. The CD Carolina Blues features six songs he recorded: “I’m Grievin’ and I’m Worryin'”, “I Don’t Want No Hungry Woman”, “Lookin’ for My Baby”, “Poor and Ain’t Got a Dime”, “Runaway Man Blues” and “Working Man Blues”.

In a 1969 interview, Council stated he had recorded 27 songs over his career, seven of them backing Blind Boy Fuller. Fuller’s Complete Recorded Works contains many songs with Council playing guitar.

Syd Barrett, of the British rock band Pink Floyd, created the band’s name by juxtaposing the first names of Pink Anderson and North Carolina bluesman Floyd Council.

sources

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5943597/bio

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Council

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14625991/floyd-council

Instrumental Tunes

This is going to be a bit of a deviation from my usual heavy historical blogs. It will all about music in this one.

A great tune doesn’t always need to be accompanied by lyrics, sometimes the music itself does all the talking. These are just some of my favourite instrumental tracks.

I would do anything for love(but I won’t do that) RIP Jim Steinman

There is nothing I can write that would do any justice to the legend that is Jim Steinman. Without him there would be no Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler and probably no Celine Dion either.

His songs were not just songs, they were epic mini operas. Something many people don’t know that aside from being a composer, he also worked as a producer and lyricist. In 1998 he produced the song “No Matter What” performed by Boyzone. It was taken from an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ” Whistle down the wind” for which Jim Steinman wrote the lyrics for. Given the fact he has composed so many of my favourite songs I am willing to forgive his collaboration with aforementioned Boyzone.

The news broke today that Jim Steinman died on Monday the 19th of April. Rest in Peace Jim.

All that is left for me to do is to highlight some of his epic work.

Happy Birthday Henry Mancini-Legendary composer and WWII Hero

American composer and conductor Enrico Nicola “Henry” Mancini was born in Cleveland on April 16 in 1924.But he grew up in Pennsylvania, where he played the flute flute with his father in an Italian immigrant music group called “Sons of Italy”,

At age eight, Mancini started to learn to play the piccolo.

He later studied piano and orchestral arrangement under Pittsburgh concert pianist and Stanley Theatre, currently called Benedum Center, conductor Max Adkins. Adkins also introduced Mancini to the up and coming bandleader Benny Goodman. So additionally to producing arrangements for the Stanley Theatre bands, Mancini also wrote one for Benny Goodman.

In 1942 Mancini went to the Juilliard School of Music in New York after a year at Carnegie Tech, but he never finished his studies. He was drafted to fight in World War II, in 1943 when he turned 18, and served in both the Army air forces and the infantry. During the war, he got to know some musicians who played in Glenn Miller’s Army Air Corps Band.

Mancini was first assigned to the 28th Air Force Band before being reassigned overseas to the 1306th Engineers Brigade in France. In 1945 he ,participated in the liberation of the Austrian Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.

After the war, Mancini arranged music and played piano for Miller’s band.

He was nominated for 18 Oscars and won four; in addition, he won 20 Grammys and 2 Emmys, made over 50 albums and had 500 works published. Mancini worked extensively together with Blake Edwards ,initially on TV’s Peter Gunn (1958), then on Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), which won him two Oscars; he won further Oscars for the titles song for Days of Wine and Roses (1962) and the score for Victor Victoria (1982); he will be best-remembered for the theme tune for The Pink Panther.

Mancini died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles on June 14, 1994. He was working at the time on the Broadway stage version of Victor/Victoria, which he never saw on stage. Mancini was survived by his wife of 43 years, singer Virginia “Ginny” O’Connor, with whom he had three children.

Finishing the blog with the theme for the Pink Panther and Moon River of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The song I have often sung for my daughter as a lullaby.

sources

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000049/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

https://www.tampabay.com/archive/1994/06/15/henry-mancini-1924-1994-his-work-was-music-for-the-ear-and-the-eye/

https://www.theglassfiles.com/images/1099

https://mst3k.fandom.com/wiki/Henry_Mancini

https://biography.yourdictionary.com/henry-mancini

It’s the Singer not the Song.

Vital Signs is a 1984 album released by one of my all time favourite bands Survivor. I was a bit reluctant to buy the album because Survivor had changed singers, from Dave Bickler to Jimi Jamison. However it turned out to be one of their best albums.

On it there was a track called “It’s the singer not the song” and I actually forgot how good that album and that particular track were.

I also think it is a true statement that a good singer makes the song. I was never a great Bob Dylan fan but I like a lot of his songs , sung by other singers.

This blog is a tribute to some of the finest Rock singers, well at least in my opinion. So sit back, relax and enjoy.