Genesis- the Singers.

genesisThis is a slight deviation from my usual blogs. Because music has always played a major role in my life it is nive to acknowledge that every once in a while.

When you think of classic Rock bands, Genesis is usually not a band which springs to mind, strange in a way because that is basically what they are a classic Prog Rock band.

Their rise to fame was a bit of a strange one. although they had some successes in the early years but nothing really noteworthy.

They started off in 1967  with Peter Gabriel as their singer and front man, and their music was slightly psychedelic . Gabriel was only 17 at the time. I think the reason why they didn’t have any real success with him as a singer is because their music and appearance might have been a bit to extravagant.

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In 1975/76 Phil Collins took over the reign as a singer. He had been the drummer until then. And it was with Phil Collins they got their biggest successes and turned out to become a major global band. Their first big hit was ‘Follow You, Follow me’ from the album “.. and there there were three” after guitarist Steve Hackett left , leaving only Collins,Banks and Rutherford in the band

Aside his career as the singer of Genesis ,Phil Collins also was a vert successful solo artiste. As was the former singer Peter Gabriel, both men sold millions of albums as solo artists.

In 1996 Collins thought it was better to leave the band. After 25 years in the band he thought  it was  time to change direction in his musical life and wanted to focus on music for movies and jazz.

This left Banks and Rutherford with a problem. They wanted to continue the band but had no singer. They auditioned several singer, including Francis Dunnery who had worked with Robert Plant before and had been in the prog rock band It Bites, who had  a hit with ‘Calling all the heroes’ in 1986.

Another contender was Nick Van Eede who had been the lead singer of Cutting Crew an  anEnglish rock band formed in London in 1985 and are best remember by their debut single, which became a massive global hit’ “(I just) died in your arms tonight”

They also auditioned David Longdon a British multi-instrumentalist and singer byt eventually they settled for Ray Wilson a Scottish singer and guitarist who had been the lead singer with the Rock Band “Stitskin” who had a hit with the song “Inside” which was used in a Levi’s  501 jeans ad.

The band disbanded in 1996 which gave Ray Wilson to join Genesis. In 1997 Wilson was announced as the new lead singer of  Genesis. Although Banks and Rutherford had already finished writing the album “Calling all stations”  Wilson was still able to make some contributions to to the album which included writing the lyrics to “Small Talk” and riffs on “Not About Us”

Although the albuM did reasonably well in the UK and Europe it only reached the number 54 spot in the US charts.

In 1998 the band decided to take a prolonged break.

In 2014, Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, Collins and Hackett reunited for Genesis: Together and Apart, a BBC documentary.

On 4 March 2020, Collins,Banks and Rutherford  announced their reformation and The Last Domino? Tour. It is great to see them back again.

domino

 

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The Look- Roxette’s accidental break through.

the look

The sad news reached us this week that Roxette singer Gun-Marie Fredriksson had died after a 17-year long battle with cancer.

Roxette were very successful in the late 80s and early 90s , in fact at some stage they were the biggest band in the world. But this success may never have been if it wasn’t for a young American exchange student Dean Cushman.

Roxette had already been quite successful in their native Sweden. The Look was the 4th single from their second album. It was actually their Christmas song “It Must Have Been Love (Christmas for the Broken Hearted)”  released in December 1987,which had not been included on any of their albums. that had been their biggest selling single to date

The song  became a top five hit in Sweden. In 1990 it was re-released for the movie “Pretty Woman” leaving out the Christmas for the Broken Hearted bit of the original title.

“The Look” was released as the  fourth single of their 2nd album “Look Sharp” in January 1989,=reaching the top 10 in Sweden. American exchange student from Minneapolis, Dean Cushman, had been an exchange student in Sweden where he bought the album and brought it home to the US., giving a copy of it to his local Top 40 radio station, KDWB 101.3 FM. “The Look” soon became very popular, and the station began distributing the track to their sister radio operations. EMI America had previously rejected the duo as unsuitable for the American market, and Roxette didn’t have a recording contract in the US.

“The Look” had already entered the top fifty of the Billboard Hot 100 before the duo began official promotion. It would go on to peak at number one eight weeks later. It gradually became a global hit over the next year, topping the charts in 25 countries.

To put things in perspective,their debut album Pearls of Passion which was only released in Scandinavia and Canada sold 800,000 copies(this number includes the sales of th remastered version released in 1997) Where “Look Sharp” sold 9,000,000 copies worldwide.

 

RIP Marie- You always had the look.

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When Rock N Roll and Science collide.

Hugh

It might surprise some of you that Rock N Roll and science can be, and indeed often are good bedfellows. Below are just a few examples.

Eels.

Eels an American rock band, formed in California in 1995 by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett, known by the stage name E. It is the father of this same Mark Oliver Everett who was a highly regarded scientist. Hugh Everett III  was an American physicist who first proposed the many-worlds interpretation (MWI) of quantum physics, which he termed his “relative state” formulation.

After graduation in September 1956, He joined the Pentagon’s newly-forming Weapons Systems Evaluation Group . There is so much to say about this man ,but I won’t have enough space or time to cover all his life. I would highly recommend the watch the documentary “Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives (2007)” about Hugh Everett III which is narrated by Mark Oliver Everett.

eels

 

Brian May

Brian May one of the best guitarists in the world and of course known from the band Queen.  Brian has a Ph.D. in astrophysics. He studied physics and mathematics at Imperial College London and was in the process of getting his Ph.D. when Queen became big. Thirty years later, in 2007, he completed his dissertation.  The man who wrote “We Will Rock You” also wrote A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud. QUEEN

Greg Graffin

Greg Graffin is the lead singer with the LA based punk band “Bad Religion”, but he also double-majored in anthropology and geology at UCLA and got a master’s degree in geology from the same school. His Ph.D. in zoology comes from Cornell University and was titled “Monism, Atheism and the Naturalist Worldview: Perspectives from Evolutionary Biology.”

Yes, sometimes Truth is stranger then fiction

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Dexter Holland

Dexter Holland is best known as the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and primary songwriter for the punk rock band The Offspring.

However he is also a molecular biologist.He was a doctoral student at the Laboratory of Viral Oncology and Proteomics Research,  In March 2013, Holland and co-authors published a paper in PLoS One regarding micro RNA in HIV genomes,titled “Identification of Human Micro RNA-Like Sequences Embedded within the Protein-Encoding Genes of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus”.

That must have worked wonders on his self esteem.

Dexter

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Bohemian Rhapsody

Freddie

Bohemian Rhapsody is probably the most unlikely title for a Rock song and yet it became a classic , if not THE classic Rock song for many generations.

This musical masterpiece lasted 5 minutes and 55 seconds, another reason why it should not have become a hit. Because prior to that, 3 minutes was the magic number for Rock hits.

It is not just a s song but in fact a mini opera consisting out of 6 pieces.

Part i.

Intro (0:00–0:49) it starts of with  an .acappella introduction, just to set the story line. “Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?” When I first heard it I didn’t know. I was mesmerized.

Part 2.

Ballad (0:49–2:37) The piano begins in B♭ major along with the entrance of John Deacon’s bass guitar.

Part 3.

Guitar solo (2:37–3:05) as we get toward the end of the ballad part we already hear the unset of Brian May’s guitar piece, soon to explode into a solo

Part 4

Opera (3:05–4:07) a succession of a various rhythmic and harmonic changes .

Part 5

Rock (4:07–4:54) The operatic section leads into a rock interlude with a guitar riff written by Mercury. It really is a piece of Heavy Metal

Part 6

Outro (4:54–5:55) as the intro the outtro slows down the Opera to bring it to a smoot conclusion.

The song has inspired some spoof versions none as funny as “Bad News” (You might recognize them as the Young Ones)

What is amazing about the song it was written by one man,Farrokh Bulsara aka Freddie Mercury who would have been 73 today. Happy Birthday Freddie

All that is left for me to do is to end the blog with probably the best Rock song ever written.

 

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Source

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Queen

 

5 Forgotten 20th Century Guitar Tracks.

guitar

This a complete deviation from my usual heavy historical blogs. Every once in a while it is important to have something lighthearted to absorb.

This list is completely based on my own choice , there is no science behind it. They are just 5 guitar tracks that I think have been forgotten.

In no particular order.

Enjoy.

1.  Manic Street Preachers – Motorcycle Emptiness

 

2. Deep Purple – Place in Line

 

3.White Lion – Cry For Freedom

4. Van Halen – 316

5.Jan Akkerman Bonnaville

 

Source

YouTube

Rock songs by Non-Rock artists

rock-music

It was 1982, I was a young teenager and I was experimenting with all sorts of music. Although I had already developed a taste for Rock music it was a lady dressed in black leather that sealed the deal for me. The second I saw Joan Jett waking up to that Julebox in “I love Rock N Roll”. I was hooked to the music, there would be no turning back.

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Throughout the years there have been bands who recorded rock songs although they were not Rock bands, often far from it.

Here are a few of them, you might argue with me about the 1st one, but if you listen to the structure of the song there is no denying it is a Rock song.

ABBA-Does your mother know.

“Does Your Mother Know” was recorded in February 1979 and released as a single in April of that year. Written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the song is something of a pastiche to 1950s/early 1960s-style rock and roll and touches on the subject of a man responding to the flirting of a much younger girl.

“Does Your Mother Know” deviated from the typical ‘ABBA at their most famous’ formula, in that the lead vocals were sung not by the female vocalists (Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad) as was usually the case, but by Björn Ulvaeus. This was one of the few ABBA singles to feature Ulvaeus as the sole lead vocal.

ABBA-Rock Me

Staying with ABBA, this song was used as the B-side to the group’s 1975 single “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”. However, after “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” hit number 1 in both Australia and New Zealand, “Rock Me” was released as an A-side, reaching number 4 and number 2 respectively. It was also issued as an A-side in Yugoslavia and in 1979. The lead vocals here was also done by Björn Ulvaeus.

The Osmonds-Crazy Horses

The squeaky clean boy band the Osmonds not only recorded a run of the mill Rock song, Crazy Horses can only be described as a Hard Rock song, it even borders to Heavy Metal Jay Osmond said of the 1972 song “The song changed the way we were perceived. Before that, we’d been called “bubblegum”. But suddenly we were getting invited to see Led Zeppelin at Earls Court, to sing Stairway to Heaven with them on stage”

Céline Dion – Think Twice

It was written by Andy Hill and Peter Sinfield. Production on the track was by Christopher Neil and Aldo Nova. The song is rock-influenced and features a guitar solo, one of only a few of Dion’s songs to do so, performed by Nova.

“Think Twice” was released as the fourth single from Dion’s third English-language album The Colour of My Love (1993), on 18 July 1994 in North America, on 10 October 1994 in the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan, and in February 1995 in other European countries.

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Red Sector A

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“All that we can do is just survive.All that we can do to help ourselves
Is stay alive…”

These are the opening lines of the song “Red Sector A” by Canadian Rock band ‘Rush’. I am not exactly a fan of the band, there are only a few of their songs I like and Red Sector A is not one of them.Then why do a blog on the song?

It is only  by chance, I was doing research on survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Bergen-belsen

Gary Lee Weinrib aka Geddy Lee is the lead vocalist of the band Rush, His parents were Jewish Holocaust survivors from Poland who had survived the ghetto in their hometown Starachowice, followed by their imprisonments at Dachau and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, during the Holocaust. They were about 13 years old when they were initially imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp, close to the same age as Anne Frank at that time.“It was kind of surreal pre-teen shit,” says Lee, describing how his father bribed guards to bring his mother shoes. After a period, his mother was transferred to Bergen-Belsen and his father to Dachau. When the war ended after the Allies liberated the camps, his father set out in search of his mother and found her at a displaced persons camp. They married there and eventually emigrated to Canada.

“Red Sector A”  provides a first-person account of a nameless protagonist living in an unspecified prison camp setting. “Red Sector A” first appeared on the band’s 1984 album “Grace Under Pressure”.

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Though “Red Sector A,” like much of the album from which it comes, is set in a bleak, apocalyptic future,  “the psychology” of the song comes directly from a story Geddy Lee’s mother told him about the day she was liberated.

“She didn’t believe [liberation] was possible. She didn’t believe that if there was a society outside the camp how they could allow this to exist, so she believed society was done in.”This is something I can fully understand because  it is question that haunts me,leave alone those who survived it.

Lee did co-write the song with other members of Rush,Neil Pearl and Alex Lifeson.

Rush-band

Someone remarked this week about Holocaust stories”will you ever give it a rest” I will give it a rest when it is no longer relevant, and that will be never. This song even indicates that it was not only the victims that were affected it is also their children,grand children and later generations. Aside from that this dark era in mankind’s history must never be forgotten because it can so easily happen again and it can become indeed a bleak, apocalyptic future as in the song Red Sector A.

Needless to say the song has now become one of my favourites.

Video edited selections of the Band of Brothers episode “Why We Fight” set to Rush’s “Red Sector A.”

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