Icons and Outlaws

Join hosts and seasoned musicians Jonathan Sayre, Jeff Butchko and musically challenged Logan Sayre as they discuss the lives and times of their favorite musical legends. From rock to country, pop to hip hop, the stories are fascinating and seemingly endless. Plus every episode features a new, exclusive cover song, written and recorded by Jeff and Jonathan. Welcome to Icons and Outlaws.

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Tuesday Jul 19, 2022

Drummer Lars Ulrich was born into an upper-middle-class family in Gentofte, Denmark, on December 26, 1963. The son of Lone and tennis player Torben Ulrich. In February of 1973, Lars' father obtained passes for five of his friends to check out a Deep Purple (Smoke On the Water) concert held in the same stadium in Copenhagen as one of his tennis tournaments. When one of the dad's friends couldn't go, they gave their ticket to the nine-year-old Lars, who fell in love with the band and ran out and bought their album Fireball the next day. The concert and album greatly impacted Lars, inspiring the start of his music career. He received his first drum kit, a Ludwig, from his grandmother around 12 or 13. Lars initially intended to follow in his father's footsteps and become a badass tennis player, so he moved to Newport Beach, California, in the summer of 1980. Despite being ranked in the top ten tennis players of his age group in Denmark, Lars failed to make it into the seven-man Corona del Mar High School tennis team, solidifying his decision to focus on music.    So, while living in Los Angeles in late 1981, Lars placed an ad in the L.A. newspaper, The Recycler, which read, "Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with. Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden."    Guitarists James Hetfield and Hugh Tanner of Leather Charm answered the advertisement.    James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963, in Downey, California, the son of Cynthia Bassett, a light opera singer, and Virgil Lee Hetfield, a truck driver. James was nine years old when he first began piano lessons. He then started jamming on his half-brother David's drums, and finally, at 14, he began to play guitar with Robert Okner. He was also in a few bands as a teenager – one was "Leather Charm" with Hugh Tanner, and another was "Obsession." James said that Aerosmith was his primary musical influence as a child and that they were why he wanted to play guitar. His parents divorced in 1976 when he was 13. They were devout Christian Scientists, and following their beliefs, they strongly disapproved of medicine or any other medical treatment and remained loyal to their faith, even as James' mother, Cynthia, was dying from cancer. This lifestyle inspired many of his lyrics during his career with Metallica. For example, the songs "Dyers Eve" and "The God That Failed" from the albums "...And Justice for All" and "Metallica" touch on those topics. His mother, Cynthia, died of cancer in 1979 when Hetfield was 16 years old. After her death, James went to live with his older half-brother David.   Although he had not formed a band, Lars asked Metal Blade Records founder Brian Slagel if he could record a song for the label's upcoming compilation album, Metal Massacre. Slagel accepted, and Ulrich recruited Hetfield to sing and play rhythm guitar. Lars and James officially formed the band known as "Metallica" on October 28, 1981, five months after they first met.   A funny story; James' and Lars' first encounter was anything but promising. As Mick Wall wrote in his biography of the band "Enter Night", "neither James nor Hugh had anything good to say about [Lars]. The kid was 'weird' and 'smelled funny' [and] he couldn't even really play drums." Deeming the entire encounter something of a waste, James later recalled (in Wall's bio) that "we ate McDonald's, he ate herring. [Lars'] father was famous. He was very well off. Spoiled – that's why he's got his mouth. He know what he wants, he goes for it and he's gotten it his whole life."   When asked what Lars remembers about their first meet up, in a Blabbemouth.com interview, he said:   "I remember connecting with him," Lars responded. "I could see that, even though he was painfully shy or whatever, that there were some distinctive similarities. I spent six months talking to people about heavy metal, and they'd mention STYX, JOURNEY, KISS or whatever. I'd talk about ANGEL WITCH, DIAMOND HEAD or TYGERS OF PAN TANG. He had a connection to the music and the things I was throwing out there that seemed a little more authentic or trustworthy. Not much happened during that first meeting because he was kind of the wing man, or the plus one, for a guy named Hugh. If James was sitting here, he'd tell you that the drum kit I showed up with was in such bad shape that every time I hit the cymbal, it kept falling over — which is accurate. Hetfield and I ended up staying in touch, and when I came back from travelling in Europe a few months later, I called him up and said, 'Hey, do you want to play and see what happens?' And he was up for it."   The band name, "Metallica," came from Lars' friend Ron Quintana, who was brainstorming names for a fanzine and was considering MetalMania or Metallica. After hearing the two monikers, Lars wanted Metallica for his band, so he suggested Quintana use MetalMania instead. That magazine wound up being a U.S. monthly magazine focusing on heavy metal music, which was published between 1985 and 1991   Guitarist Dave Mustaine replied to an advertisement for a lead guitarist where Lars and James asked him to join after seeing his expensive guitar equipment. In early 1982, Metallica recorded its first original song, "Hit the Lights," for the Metal Massacre I compilation. James Hetfield played bass, and rhythm guitar and sang, while Lloyd Grant was credited with a guitar solo and Lars Ulrich played drums. Lloyd was a Jamaican guitarist who was never officially in the band. Lloyd has said:   "Me and Lars was jammin' down there in Orange County, California and we jam with a few people and we lookin' other people to jam with..." they met through The Recycler. "We were playing for a long time and he came down to my place my apartment once and he says and he keep asking me to come jam with the band, but I was really busy doing other stuff and I went down and play with them-me and him and James. That's three of us. James was playing bass, I was playing guitar and Lars was playing drums and we rehearse that "Hit The Lights" song, but way before that Lars had let me hear that song. We were hanging out watching soccer and he says "hey I met this guy blah blah blah and he's exactly what we want to jam with and he played this one song and it was great and that's how I was first was introduced to "Hit The Lights." After that I went over and jam a few times and he called me and say they gonna be in this compilation album and he brought over a tape of "Hit The Lights" recording on a four track asked me to play some solo for that and they were going to bring the four track down and they were going to bring it down and dump it on the compilation album."   Metal Massacre I was released on June 14, 1982. The early pressings listed the band incorrectly as "Mettallica," pissing the band off. However, the song "Hit The Lights," generated a buzz, and Metallica played their first live performance on March 14, 1982, at Radio City in Anaheim, California. The lineup consisted of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine, and newly recruited bassist Ron McGovney, who had been in James' previous band, "Leather Charm." Their first live success happened as they were chosen to open for British heavy metal band Saxon at one gig of their 1982 U.S. tour. This show was Metallica's second gig. In addition, Metallica recorded its first demo, Power Metal, whose name was inspired by Quintana's early business cards in early 1982.   In late 1982, Ulrich and Hetfield attended a show at the West Hollywood nightclub Whisky a Go Go, which featured bassist Cliff Burton in the band Trauma.  Clifford Lee Burton was born on February 10, 1962, in Castro Valley, California, to Ray and Jan Burton. Cliff's interest in music began when his father introduced him to classical music, and he began taking piano lessons. In his teenage years, he developed an interest in Rock, classical, country, and heavy metal. He began playing the bass at 13, after the death of his brother. His parents quoted him as saying, "I'm going to be the best bassist for my brother." He practiced up to six hours daily (even after joining Metallica). Besides classical and jazz, Burton's other early influences varied from Southern Rock and country to the blues. Cliff has cited Geddy Lee, Geezer Butler, Stanley Clarke, Lemmy Kilmister, and Phil Lynott as significant influences on his style of bass playing.   James and Lars were "blown away" by Cliff's use of a wah-wah pedal and asked him to join Metallica. The two leaders wanted Ron McGovney to leave because they thought he "didn't contribute anything, he just followed."  According to McGovney, his time in Metallica was reportedly tumultuous, as he often clashed with Ulrich and Mustaine. In addition, he felt that, aside from using the connections he made as an amateur photographer, his role was that of a money man and transportation provider rather than a respected band member. He ultimately quit on December 10, 1982, due to growing tensions. After leaving Metallica, McGovney became uninterested in playing music and sold most of his equipment.   Although Cliff Burton initially declined the offer to join Metallica, by the end of the year, he had accepted on the condition that the band moves to El Cerrito in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Metallica's first live performance with Cliff was at the nightclub "The Stone" in March 1983, and the first recording to feature Burton was the Megaforce demo (1983).   Metallica was ready to record their debut album, but they began looking for other options when Metal Blade could not cover the cost. Concert promoter Jonathan "Jonny Z" Zazula, who had heard the demo No Life 'til Leather (1982), offered to broker a record deal between Metallica and New York City-based record labels. After those record labels showed no interest, Zazula borrowed enough money to cover the recording budget and signed Metallica to his label, Megaforce Records.   In May 1983, Metallica traveled to Rochester, New York, to record its debut album, Metal Up Your Ass, which Paul Curcio produced. Unfortunately, the other members of Metallica decided to eject Mustaine from the band because of his drug and alcohol abuse and violent behavior just before the recording sessions on April 11, 1983. About this time, Mustaine told Loudwire magazine:   "When you're around a lot of people that like to drink and get silly, they just want to have fun," Mustaine explains. "I would drink and have fun until someone would refute something I had said. And then that was war, baby. I'd be aggressive and confrontational because I was a violent drunk. I lost all inhibitions when I was drinking, and that didn't go over to well in the end." The end came on April 11, 1983, and it came without warning for Mustaine. Metallica had already hired Kirk Hammett as their new lead guitarist.  At around 9AM that morning, James, Lars, and Cliff woke up Mustaine, suffering from a tremendous hangover, and told him he was out of the band. "The thing that really upset me was that they never gave me a warning and I never got a second chance," Mustaine says. "It was just, 'Hey man. You're out. See ya later."   When Mustaine asked when his flight back to California was, he was told he wasn't flying. He was taking a four-day bus ride. Even worse, the bus was scheduled to leave one hour after he was fired. Mustaine scrambled to pack a travel bag, and James drove him from the Music Building in Queens to 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.   During the seemingly endless bus ride, according to Livewire.com, he was rightfully pissed for a while and then decided to write some new lyrics. Since he didn't have any paper, he wrote on the back of a handbill from Senator Alan Cranston. A message on the front of the card referred to the stockpiling of nuclear weapons that read, "The arsenal of megadeath can't be rid." After considerable thought, Mustaine decided the term megadeath would make a cool name for a metal band, especially if it were misspelled as Megadeth.   Kirk Lee Hammett was born on November 18, 1962, in San Francisco, California, and raised in the town of El Sobrante. He is the son of Teofila "Chefela" and Dennis L. Hammett, a Merchant Mariner. While attending De Anza High School, he met Les Claypool of Primus, and they remain close friends. Kirk began showing an interest in music after listening to his brother Rick's extensive record collection (which included Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and UFO). In addition, he was a huge horror movie fan but began selling his horror magazines to buy albums. This infatuation led him to pick up the guitar at fifteen. His first guitar was (in his own words) a "wholly unglamorous" Montgomery Ward catalog special that came with a shoebox with a 4-inch speaker for an amp. After purchasing a 1978 Fender Strat copy, Kirk attempted to customize his sound with various guitar parts before eventually buying a 1974 Gibson Flying V.   Guitarist Kirk Hammett replaced Dave Mustaine the same afternoon. Metallica's first live performance with Kirk was on April 16, 1983, at a nightclub in Dover, New Jersey, called "The Showplace."    Mustaine has expressed his dislike for Kirk in interviews, saying he "stole" his job. Mustaine was "pissed off" because he believed Hammett became popular by playing guitar leads that Mustaine had written. In a 1985 interview with Metal Forces, Mustaine said, "it's real funny how Kirk Hammett ripped off every lead break I'd played on that No Life 'til Leather tape and got voted No. 1 guitarist in your magazine".    Because of conflicts with its record label and the distributors' refusal to release an album titled Metal Up Your Ass, the album was renamed "Kill' Em All." It was released on Megaforce Records in the U.S. and on Music for Nations in Europe and peaked at number 155 on the Billboard 200 in 1986. Pretty cool, considering their top ten that year was: 1. That's What Friends Are For - Dionne Warwick, Elton John, and Gladys Knight 2. Say You, Say Me - Lionel Richie 3. I Miss You - Klymaxx 4. On My Own - Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald 5. Broken Wings - Mr. Mister 6. How Will I Know - Whitney Houston 7. Party All the Time - Eddie Murphy 8. Burning Heart - Survivor 9. Kyrie - Mr. Mister 10. Addicted to Love - Robert Palmer Although the album was not initially a financial success, it earned Metallica a growing fan base in the underground metal scene. The band embarked on the "Kill' Em All for One" tour with Raven to support the release. In February 1984, Metallica supported Venom on the "Seven Dates of Hell" tour, during which the bands performed in front of 7,000 people at the Aardschok Festival in Zwolle, Netherlands.    Metallica recorded the album in only two weeks on a shoestring budget. Initially, the band printed 1,500 copies. Since its release, "Kill 'Em All" has been certified 3x platinum. Metallica then recorded their second studio album, Ride the Lightning, at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark, from February to March 1984. It was released in August 1984 and reached number 100 on the Billboard 200. Unfortunately, a French printing press mistakenly printed green covers for the album, which are now considered collectors' items. Mustaine received writing credit for "Ride the Lightning" and "The Call of Ktulu."   Elektra Records A&R director Michael Alago, and co-founder of Q-Prime Management Cliff Burnstein, attended a Metallica concert in September 1984. They were impressed with their performance and signed Metallica to Elektra. They also made them a Q-Prime Management artist. Metallica's growing success was such that the band's British label Music for Nations released "Creeping Death" as a limited-edition single, which sold 40,000 copies as an import in the U.S.  Two of the three songs on the record—cover versions of Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?" and Blitzkrieg's "Blitzkrieg"—appeared on the 1988 Elektra reissue of "Kill' Em All."  With unforgettable songs like "For Whom The Bell Tolls," "Creeping Death," and "Fade To Black", "Ride The Lightning" has sold over 5 million copies in the U.S. and has been certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA.   That bell in the beginning of "For Whom The Bell Tolls", isn't really a bell at all. As producer Flemming Rasmussen recalled: “We had an anvil in the studio, and Lars had to bang that; it could’ve been that or from a record of sound effects. But there was a really heavy, cast-iron anvil and a metal hammer, and we stuck them in an all-concrete room. He’d just go wang.”  If you've ever tried to play along with the studio album version of "For Whom, The Bell Tolls, " you’ve probably had some guitar tuning issues. That’s because the song is a quarter step above standard tuning. Why? As the Metallica Wiki says, there are two theories. The first is that the band intentionally sped up the recording, pitch shifting it in the process. The second is that the guitars are tuned up a quarter step to match the pitch of the "tolling bells." I mean anvil... now that's "metal AF". Metallica embarked on its first major European tour with Tank to an average crowd of 1,300. Returning to the U.S., it embarked upon a tour co-headlining with W.A.S.P. and supported by Armored Saint, featuring John Bush on vocals, who later went on to front Anthrax. Metallica played its largest show at the Monsters of Rock fest at Donington Park, England, on August 17, 1985, with Bon Jovi and Ratt, playing to 70,000 people. Then, at the "Day on the Green" festival in Oakland, California, the band played to a crowd of 60,000. Metallica's third studio album, Master of Puppets, was recorded at Sweet Silence Studios in Denmark from September to December 1985 and was released in March 1986. The album reached number 29 on the Billboard 200 and spent 72 weeks on the chart. It was the band's first album to be certified gold on November 4, 1986 and has sold over 6 million copies.    In 2015, Master of Puppets became the first ever metal album in history to be selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry.   Following the album's release, Metallica supported Ozzy Osbourne on a U.S. tour. During this time, James Hetfield broke his wrist while skateboarding; he continued with the tour, performing vocals, with guitar technician John Marshall playing rhythm guitar.   On the night of Sept. 26, 1986, Metallica was traveling between tour dates in Sweden when Burton and guitarist Kirk Hammett drew cards to decide who would get to choose a bunk. The bassist drew the Ace of Spades and chose the bunk Hammett had been occupying. "I said fine, take my bunk," the guitarist recalled in VH1's Behind the Music. "I'll sleep up front; it's probably better anyway." In the early morning of Sept. 27, 1986, shortly before 7 AM, the band members were awakened abruptly when the bus began to sway from side to side. The driver later told authorities that he lost control of the bus after hitting a patch of black ice. The bus left the road and flipped over on its side, and Cliff Burton – asleep in the top bunk – was thrown through the window. As the bus came down, it landed on top of him. He was only 24 years old. Reportedly, attempts were made to rescue him from underneath the bus by lifting it with a crane, but the crane slipped, and the bus crashed down on top of Burton a second time. Band members and onlookers have given different accounts of whether Burton died upon the first impact or when the bus came down again. Whichever way it happened, Cliff Burton died at the scene.   Hetfield said: "I saw the bus lying right on him. I saw his legs sticking out. I freaked. The bus driver, I recall, was trying to yank the blanket out from under him to use for other people. I just went, 'Don't fucking do that!' I already wanted to kill the bus driver. I don't know if he was drunk or if he hit some ice. All I knew was, he was driving and Cliff wasn't alive anymore."   James has said he walked up and down the road in his socks and underwear looking for black ice and found none. The band has speculated over the years if drinking or drugs could have played a role in the accident or if the driver fell asleep at the wheel. An investigation cleared the driver of any wrongdoing. Burton was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at the Maxwell Ranch in California. Metallica's "Orion" was played at the ceremony, and lyrics from "To Live Is to Die" are engraved upon his memorial stone: "Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation take me home."   In an interview with Gibson TV, Kirk Hammet, who could have been the one in that unlucky bunk said: "The last show that we played with Cliff was a spectacular show," Kirk recalls in the interview. "It was the first show after maybe six or seven weeks when James was back on guitar because he had broken his arm during the Ozzy tour. His arms was healed enough so he was able to play guitar and it was the first show where we had James back… and it was the night that Cliff died. "Everyone was just so happy James was back and to have James's guitar fuelling everything again, rather than me and John Marshall [tech and stand-in guitarist] sharing that duty. We played really, really well and felt like we were back 100%… so that last show was one of the best shows we'd played all fucking year and in retrospect I'm glad Cliff's last show was special in that regard. It really was, in all respects, one of the best shows we'd played and Cliff was very, very happy. So knowing that is a good thing." "It' didn't really, truly sink in until about three weeks or so [afterwards]," Hammett remembers. "As a tribute to Cliff's memory it was important for us to go on [but for] those first two weeks it was up and down, we had no idea what we were going to do. I was taking guitar lessons, the old standby for musicians who can't find any gigs or band. That's what I was actually thinking."

Wednesday Jul 06, 2022

www.iconsandoutlaws.com    Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper Thornton was born June 22, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York City, right here in the U.S., to Catholic parents, Fred and Catrine. Her mother was from Sicily. She has two siblings, a younger brother Fred (nicknamed Butch), and an older sister, Ellen. Her parents divorced when she was five.   Her earliest childhood days were spent in Brooklyn, but when she was about four years old, the family moved to Ozone Park, Queens, where she lived in a railroad-style apartment through her teenage years. Growing up, Lauper felt like an outcast. She grew up listening to such artists as The Beatles and Judy Garland. Then, at only 12 years old, she began writing songs and playing an acoustic guitar that she got from her sister.   Cyndi was primarily raised by her mother, who worked as a waitress to support the family. Mom loved the arts and frequently took Cyndi and her siblings to Manhattan to see Shakespeare plays or visit art museums. However, Cyndi did not do particularly well in school. She was reportedly kicked out of several parochial schools in her youth. Raised in the Roman Catholic faith, Cyndi Lauper recounted in Boze Hadleigh's "Inside the Hollywood Closet" the time a nun attacked her after catching a nine-year-old Lauper scratching a friend's back: "A nun ran in, ripped me off her back, threw me against the lockers, beat the s**t out of me, and called me a lesbian."   As many kids do, she expressed herself with various hair colors and eccentric clothing. She took a friend's advice to spell her name as "Cyndi" rather than "Cindy." Unfortunately, her" unusual" sense of style led to classmates bullying her and even throwing stones at her.   Lauper went to Richmond Hill High School, where she was expelled but later earned her GED. In her book, Cyndi revealed that after her stepfather threatened to sexually assault her and her sister and then secretly watched her take a bath, she left home for good. Cyndi left Home at 17 to escape her creepy ass stepfather, intending to study art. Her journey took her to Canada, where she spent two weeks in the woods with her dog Sparkle, trying to find herself. She eventually traveled to Vermont, taking art classes at Johnson State College and supporting herself by working odd jobs. Money was sparse, so she waitressed, served as an office assistant, and even sang in a Japanese restaurant for a time. At one point, her boyfriend at the time hunted and shot a squirrel, which she cooked up and ate. Lauper also faced an unplanned pregnancy, which she wanted, but her boyfriend did not. So, Lauper terminated the pregnancy.   "Nobody wants to run in and do that," She later told HuffPost. "It's just that I didn't want to have a kid that I love come into the world and not be able to share the kid with a dad." During this period, Cyndi got around by hitchhiking. Unfortunately, she put herself into close quarters with some potentially crappy individuals, such as the man who gave her a ride and forced her to perform a sexual act on him. "I just wanted to be able to live through it, get to the other side of it." On another occasion, she was assaulted by a bandmate and two accomplices.   Sometimes, it all understandably got too overwhelming for Lauper. "A lot of times I couldn't take it anymore, so I just lay in bed all the time," Lauper wrote. "When I really couldn't deal with anything, I used to get the shakes, just complete anxiety attacks." In 2019, Lauper gave the commencement address at Northern Vermont University-Johnson, the academic institution that now includes Johnson State. At this event, NVU awarded her the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.   In the early 1970s, Cyndi performed as a vocalist with several different cover bands. One of those bands, Doc West, covered disco songs and Janis Joplin. A later band, Flyer, was active in the New York metropolitan area, singing songs by bands including Bad Company, Jefferson Airplane, and Logan's favorite, Led Zeppelin. Although She was performing on stage and loving that part, she was not happy singing covers. One night, while singing a cover of Kiki Dee's "I've Got the Music in Me" in 1974, her voice gave out. But it came back shortly after, and Lauper continued to sing in cover bands and a Janis Joplin tribute act. Then, in 1977, Cyndi's pipes said no more. Her voice disappeared again, and doctors discovered that she'd suffered a collapsed vocal cord.   Recommended by her temporary replacement in the Joplin cover band, Lauper sought the help of vocal coach Katie Agresta. She helped heal Cyndi and provided her with the tools and techniques to prevent it from happening again. Agresta also helped her realize that she was singing the wrong music entirely, discovering that she was more suited to pop, not hard rock. As Lauper wrote in her memoir, "[I realized] what I was aching for — to sing my own songs, in my own voice, in my own style, that I made up myself." In 1978, Lauper met saxophone player John Turi through her manager Ted Rosenblatt. Turi and Lauper formed a band named Blue Angel, Combining a New Wave look with a '60s throwback sound, and recorded a demo tape of original music. Steve Massarsky, manager of The Allman Brothers Band, heard the tape and liked Lauper's voice. He bought Blue Angel's contract for $5,000 and became their manager. "The playing was bad. There was something interesting about the singer's voice, but that was all," he later told Rolling Stone. Massarky set up a few major label showcases, but they all thought the same thing; the band wasn't great, but the singer was something special. Lauper received recording offers as a solo artist but held out, wanting the band to be included in any deal she made. She even turned down the chance to record a song by herself for the soundtrack to the MeatLoaf movie Roadie, produced by legendary disco song crafter Giorgio Moroder, the founder of the former Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany. Blue Angel was eventually signed by Polydor Records and released a self-titled album on the label in 1980. Lauper hated the artwork, saying it made her look like Big Bird. Still, Rolling Stone magazine later included it as one of the 100 best new wave album covers (2003). Despite critical acclaim, the album sold poorly ("It went lead," as Lauper later joked), and the band broke up. The members of Blue Angel had a falling-out with Massarsky and fired him as their manager. He later filed an $80,000 suit against them, which forced Cyndi into bankruptcy. She then temporarily lost her voice due to an inverted cyst in her vocal cord.   After Blue Angel broke up, Cyndi worked in retail stores, waitressing at IHOP (which she quit after being demoted to the hostess when the manager sexually harassed her), and singing in local clubs. Her most frequent gigs were at El Sombrero, which sounds like they have amazing chimichangas. Music critics who saw Her perform with Blue Angel believed she had star potential due to her four-octave singing range, which was not an easy feat. Then, in 1981, while singing in a local New York bar, Cyndi met David Wolff. He took over as her manager and had her sign a recording contract with Portrait Records, a subsidiary of Epic Records. On October 14, 1983, Cyndi released her first solo album,"  She's So Unusual." The album became a worldwide hit, peaking at No. 4 in the U.S. and reaching the top five in eight other countries. She became extremely popular with teenagers and critics, partly due to her hybrid punk image, which was crafted by stylist Patrick Lucas.   Lauper co-wrote four songs on She's So Unusual, including the hits "Time After Time" and "She Bop." On the songs she did not write, Lauper sometimes changed the lyrics. Such is the case with "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," originally written and recorded by Robert Hazard, which you can find on YouTube, and it's pretty awesome. She found the original lyrics misogynistic, so she rewrote the song as an anthem for young women.    The album includes five cover songs, including The Brains' new wave track "Money Changes Everything" (No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100) and Prince's "When You Were Mine." The album made Cyndi Lauper the first female artist to have four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 top five hits from one album. The L.P. has stayed in the Top 200 charts for over 65 weeks and sold 16 million copies worldwide.   Cyndi won Best New Artist at the 1985 Grammy Awards. She's So Unusual also received nominations for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"), and Song of the Year (for "Time After Time"). She wore almost a pound of necklaces at her award ceremony. It also won the Grammy for Best Album Package, which went to the art director, Janet Perr.   The video for "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" won the inaugural award for Best Female Video at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards, making Cyndi an MTV staple. The video featured professional wrestling manager "Captain" Lou Albano as Lauper's father and her real-life mother, Catrine, as her mother, and also featured her attorney, her manager, her brother Butch, and her dog Sparkle. She was a huge wrestling fan. In 1984–85, Cyndi appeared on the covers of Rolling Stone magazine, Time, and Newsweek. In addition, she appeared twice on the cover of People and was named a Ms. magazine Woman of the Year in 1985.   In 1985, she participated in "USA for Africa's" famine-relief fund-raising single "We Are the World," which has sold more than 20 million copies since then.   At the Grammys in 1985, She appeared with another professional wrestler, a Mr. Terry" Hulk" Hogan, who played her "bodyguard." "'The Grammy means a lot to me,' said Cyndi (in the arms of Hulk Hogan) after winning Best New Artist, 'Because I never thought I would amount to anything. I always wanted to make art.'" She would later make many appearances as herself in a number of the World Wrestling Federation's "Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection" events and played Wendi Richter's manager in the very first WrestleMania event. Dave Wolff, Lauper's boyfriend and manager at the time, was a wrestling fan as a boy and helped set up the rock and wrestling connection.   In 1985, Cyndi released the single "The Goonies' R' Good Enough," from the soundtrack to the movie The Goonies and an accompanying video that featured several wrestling stars. The song reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.   She then received two nominations at the 1986 Grammy Awards: Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "What a Thrill" and Best Long Form Music Video for Cyndi Lauper in Paris.   Cyndi released her second album, "True Colors," in 1986. It entered the Billboard 200 at No. 42 and has sold roughly 7 million copies.   In 1986, She appeared on the Billy Joel album The Bridge, with a song called "Code of Silence." She is credited with having written the lyrics with Joel, and she sings a duet with him. In the same year, Cyndi also sang the theme song for Pee-wee's Playhouse, credited as "Ellen Shaw." In 1987, David Wolff produced a concert film called Cyndi Lauper in Paris. The concert was broadcast on HBO.   Cyndi made her film debut in August 1988 in the comedy Vibes, alongside a nobody named Jeff Goldblum, Peter Falk, and Julian Sands. She played a psychic in search of a city of gold in South America. To prepare for the role, Cyndi took a few finger-waving and hair-setting classes at the Robert Fiancé School of Beauty in New York and studied with a few Manhattan psychics. The film flopped and was poorly received by critics but would later be considered a cult classic.   Cyndi then contributed a track called "Hole in My Heart (All the Way to China)" for the Vibes soundtrack, but the song was not included. Instead, a high-energy, comic action/adventure romp through a Chinese laundry video for the song was released. The song reached No. 54 on the U.S. charts, but did way better in Australia, reaching No. 8. Cyndi's third album, A Night to Remember, was released in 1989. The album had one hit, the No. 6 single "I Drove All Night," originally recorded by Roy Orbison, three years before his death on December 6, 1988. Cyndi received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the 1990 Grammy Awards for That track. Still, overall, album sales for the album were down. A side note; The music video for the song "My First Night Without You" was one of the first to be closed-captioned for the hearing impaired. That record sold around 1.3 million copies.   Due to her friendship with a familiar name here at Icons and Outlaws, Yoko Ono, Cyndi was a part of the May 1990 John Lennon tribute concert in Liverpool. She performed the Beatles song "Hey Bulldog" and the John Lennon song "Working Class Hero." She was also involved in Sean Lennon's project, "The Peace Choir, "performing a new version of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."   Shortly after, the album was met with a dismal response, and she split with her boyfriend and manager, David Wolff. Cyndi lived alone in a New York hotel, emotionally drained and considering suicide. "I had come so far but felt like I had failed," she wrote in Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir (via Bullyville). "I would go to the studio, and then sit in my dark room and drink vodka. I had to spend most of my time alone. I was grieving. I thought the sadness would never go away." Indirectly, it was Cyndi's best-known song that encouraged her to try to crawl out of her low place: "The only thing that always ­prevented me from suicide is that I never wanted a headline to read, 'Girl who wanted to have fun just didn't.'" On November 24, 1991, Cyndi married actor David Thornton, who's been in home alone 3, John Q with Denzel, and that god-awful tear-jerker, the Notebook.   Cyndi's fourth album, "Hat Full of Stars," was released in June 1993 and was met with critical acclaim but failed commercially, unsupported by her label. The album tackled topics like homophobia, spousal abuse, racism, and abortion, sold fewer than 120,000 copies in the United States and peaked at No. 112 on the Billboard charts. The album's song "Sally's Pigeons" video features the then-unknown Julia Stiles playing a young Cyndi. You may remember Julia from ten things I hate about you, alongside a young Heath Ledger.   In 1993, Cyndi returned to acting, playing Michael J. Fox's ditzy secretary in the movie Life with Mikey. She also won an Emmy Award for her role as Marianne Lugasso in the hugely popular sitcom Mad About You with Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt. On November 19, 1997, Cyndi gave birth to her son, Declyn Wallace Lauper Thornton, who is now a trap rapper. Her fifth album," Sisters of Avalon," was released in Japan in 1996 and worldwide in 1997. Just like "Hat Full of Stars," some songs on "Sisters of Avalon" addressed dark themes. The song "Ballad of Cleo and Joe" addressed the complications of a drag queen's double life. The song "Say a Prayer" was written for a friend who had died from AIDS. "Unhook the Stars" was used in the movie of the same name. Again without support from her label, the release failed in America, spending a week on the Billboard album chart at No. 188. This album also received much critical praise, including People magazine, which declared it "'90s nourishment for body and soul. Lauper sets a scene, makes us care, gives us hope." Let's just say it… her label sucks!   On January 17, 1999, Cyndi appeared as an animated version of herself in The Simpsons episode "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken." She sang the National Anthem to the "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" melody. That same year, she opened for Cher's Do You Believe? Tour alongside Wild Orchid. Yeah, that group with a young Fergie. Cyndi also appeared in the films "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" and The "Opportunists." In addition, she contributed to the soundtrack of the 2000 animated film, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, performing the song "I Want a Mom That Will Last Forever." On October 12, 2000, Cyndi took part in the television show Women in Rock, Girls with Guitars performing with Ann Wilson of Heart and with the girl group Destiny's Child and the queen B herself!. A CD of the songs performed was released exclusively to Sears stores from September 30 to October 31, 2001, and was marketed as a fundraiser for breast cancer.   In 2002, Sony issued a best-of CD, The Essential Cyndi Lauper. Cyndi also released a cover album with Sony/Epic Records entitled At Last (formerly Naked City), which was released in 2003. At Last received one nomination at the 2005 Grammy Awards: Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for "Unchained Melody." The effort was also a commercial hit, selling 4.5 million records.    In April 2004, Cyndi performed during the VH1's benefit concert, "Divas Live" 2004, alongside Ashanti, Gladys Knight, Jessica Simpson, Joss Stone, and Patti LaBelle. This event supported the Save the Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in America's public schools and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child's complete education. She made appearances on Showtime's hit show "Queer as Folk" in 2005, directed a commercial for the Totally 80s edition of the board game Trivial Pursuit in 2006, served as a judge on the 6th Annual Independent Music Awards, and made her Broadway debut in the Tony-nominated "The Threepenny Opera" playing "Jenny." In addition, she performed with Shaggy, Scott Weiland of Velvet Revolver/Stone Temple Pilots, Pat Monahan of Train, Ani DiFranco, and The Hooters in the VH1 Classics special Decades Rock Live. In 2006, she sang "Message To Michael" with Dionne Warwick and "Beecharmer" with Nellie McKay on McKay's Pretty Little Head album.   On October 16, 2006, Cyndi was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. In 2007, she served as a guest performer on the song "Lady in Pink" on an episode of the Nick Jr. show, The Backyardigans. Cyndi's sixth studio album, "Bring Ya to the Brink," was released in the United States on May 27, 2008. Regarded as one of her best works when it was released, the Songwriters Hall of Fame has regarded the album track 'High and Mighty' as one of her essential songs. The album would be Cyndi's last release to date of original material, in addition to being her last for Epic Records, her label since her 1983 debut solo album. The album debuted at #41 on the Billboard 200, with 12,000 copies sold. Other projects for 2008 included the True Colors Tour and a Christmas duet with Swedish band The Hives, entitled "A Christmas Duel." The song was released as a CD single and a 7" vinyl in Sweden. Lauper also performed on "Girls Night Out," headlining it with Rosie O'Donnell in the U.S.   On November 17, 2009, Cyndi performed with Wyclef Jean in a collaboration called "Slumdog Millionaire," on The Late Show with David Letterman. In January 2010, Mattel released a Cyndi Lauper Barbie doll as part of their "Ladies of the 80s" series.   In March 2010, Cyndi appeared on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice with the then-future president, Donald Trump, coming in sixth place.   Cyndi's 7th studio album, Memphis Blues, was released on June 22, 2010, and debuted on the Billboard Blues Albums chart at No. 1 and at No. 26 on the Billboard Top 200. The album remained No. 1 on the Blues Albums chart for 14 consecutive weeks; Memphis Blues was nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album at the 2011 Grammy Awards. According to the Brazilian daily newspaper O Globo, the album had sold 600,000 copies worldwide by November 2010. In addition, Cyndi set out on her most extensive tour ever, the Memphis Blues Tour, which had more than 140 shows, to support the album.   Cyndi made international news in March 2011 for an impromptu performance of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" while waiting for a delayed flight at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery in Buenos Aires. A video was later posted on YouTube.   In November 2011, she released two Christmas singles exclusive to iTunes. The first release was a Blues-inspired cover of Elvis Presley's classic "Blue Christmas," and the second was a new version of "Home for the holidays," a duet with Norah Jones. In June 2012, Lauper made her first appearance for WWE in 27 years to promote WWE Raw's 1000th episode to memorialize "Captain" Lou Albano.   In September 2012, Cyndi performed at fashion designer Betsey Johnson's 40-year Retrospective Fashion show. She also released a New York Times best-selling memoir, "Cyndi Lauper A Memoir," which detailed her struggle with child abuse and depression.   Cyndi then composed music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Kinky Boots, with Harvey Fierstein writing the book. The musical was based on the 2006 independent film Kinky Boots. The musical tells the story of Charlie Price. Having inherited a shoe factory from his father, Charlie forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola to produce a line of high-heeled boots and save the business. It opened in Chicago in October 2012 and on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on April 4, 2013. She won Best Score for Kinky Boots in May at the 63rd annual Outer Critics Circle Awards. The musical led the 2013 Tony Awards, with 13 nominations and six wins, including Best Musical and Best Actor. In addition, she won the award for Best Original Score. Cyndi was the first woman to win solo in this category. After a six-year run and 2,507 regular shows, Kinky Boots ended its Broadway run on April 7, 2019. It is the 25th-longest-running Broadway musical in history. It grossed $297 million on Broadway.    In the summer of 2013, celebrating the 30th anniversary of her debut album "She's So Unusual," Cyndi embarked on an international tour covering America and Australia. The show consisted of a mix of fan favorites and the entirety of the She's So Unusual record.  She stated:"  It's been such an amazing year for me. When I realized it's also the anniversary of the album that started my solo career, I knew it was the perfect time to thank my fans for sticking with me through it all. I'm so excited to perform She's So Unusual from beginning to end, song by song and I can't wait to see everyone!" The tourtour grossed over $1 million   She was a guest on 36 dates of Cher's Dressed to Kill tour, starting April 23, 2014. In addition, a new album was confirmed by her in a website interview.   Cyndi hosted the Grammy Pre-Telecast at the Nokia Theatre, L.A., on January 26,  later accepting a Grammy for Kinky Boots (for Best Musical Theater Album).   On April 1 (March 1 in Europe), Cyndi released the 30th Anniversary edition of She's So Unusual through Epic Records. It featured a remastered version of the original album plus three new remixes. The Deluxe Edition featured bonus tracks such as demos, a live recording, and a 3D cut-out of the bedroom featured in the 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' music video with a reusable sticker set.   On September 17, 2014, Cyndi sang on the finale of America's Got Talent. Then, on September 25, as part of the Today Show's "Shine a Light" series, she re-recorded "True Colors" in a mashup with Sara Bareilles' "Brave" to raise awareness and money for children battling cancer. By October, the project had raised over $300,000.   The Songwriters Hall of Fame added Cyndi to its nomination list in October 2014. Also, her fourth consecutive 'Home for the Holidays' benefit concert for homeless gay youth was announced in October. Acts included 50 Cent and Laverne Cox, with 100% of the net proceeds going to True Colors United. In July 2015, She announced a project with producer Seymour Stein. She later told Rolling Stone it was a country album co-produced by Tony Brown.   On September 15, 2015, Kinky Boots opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End.   In January 2016, Cyndi announced she would release a new album on May 6, 2016. This record was made up of her interpretations of early country classics entitled "Detour." The announcement was supported by a release of her version of Harlan Howard's "Heartaches by the Number" and a performance on Skyville Live with Kelsea Ballerini and Ingrid Michaelson. Then, on February 17, 2016, she released her version of Wanda Jackson's "Funnel of Love."   In February 2016, Cyndi was nominated for an Olivier Award for contributing to the U.K. production of the play "Kinky Boots" along with Stephen Oremus, the man in charge of the arrangements. In January 2017, this production's album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.   In May 2016, she was featured on "Swipe to the Right" from Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise by French producer Jean-Michel Jarre. This second album of the Electronica project is based on collaborations with artists like Tangerine Dream, Moby, Pet Shop Boys, and more.   In October 2016, her son Dex Lauper was the opening act for her in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, for her dates on her Detour Tour.   In January 2017, Cyndi was featured on Austin City Limits' 42nd season, performing some classic bangers alongside some of her country tunes from the "Detour." album. The episode aired on PBS.   In March 2018, it was announced that Cyndi and co- "Time After Time" songwriter Rob Hyman would compose the score for the musical version of the 1988 film "Working Girl." Ya know the movie that starred Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver. She teamed up with Hyman because she wanted "the music to sound like the 80s". The musical would be staged by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley. A developmental production premiere of the musical is planned for the 2021/2022 season.   For Grandin Road, Cyndi exclusively designed her own Christmas collection, 'Cyndi Lauper Loves Christmas', available from September 2018. "I've always loved Christmas. It reminds me to find some happiness in the little things," she said.   Her annual Home For The Holidays concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York was held on December 8, 2018.   Cyndi guest starred, playing a lawyer in an episode of the reboot of the television series Magnum P.I.. The episode, titled "Sudden Death", aired on October 22, 2018.   On November 15, 2018, iBillboard announced that Cyndi would receive the Icon Award at the Billboard's 13th annual Women in Music Event on December 6 in New York City. According to Billboard's editorial director, Jason Lipshutz, "The entire world recognizes the power of Cyndi Lauper's pop music, and just as crucially, she has used her undeniable talent to soar beyond music, create positive change in modern society and become a true icon."    The song "Together" was featured in the Canadian computer-animated film Race time, released in January 2019. Originally written and performed in French by Dumas, Cyndi performed the English translation in the English version of the film initially titled La Course des tuques.   On June 26, 2019, she performed at the opening ceremony of Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019. Backed by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Cyndi played two concerts on July 12 and 13, 2019, at the iconic Hollywood Bowl.   In September 2019, it was announced that Cyndi would star alongside Jane Lynch in the new Netflix comedy series described as "kind of The Golden Girls for today." However, as of March 2021, there have been no updates on this project. On April 23, 2020, Cyndi participated in an online fundraising concert to raise money for LGBTQ nightlife workers who struggled financially because of the coronavirus pandemic. Her finale was her performing "True Colors." The show was initiated by the Stonewall Inn Gives Back nonprofit organization of the historic Greenwich Village gay bar.    In November 2020, She dueted with former top ten "American Idol" finalist Casey Abrams on a cover version of the song 'Eve of Destruction.   In November last year, Shea Diamond featured Cyndi as a guest vocalist on the track 'Blame it on Christmas.' An official video was released in December.   She then performed at this year's MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute Show, honoring folk icon Joni Mitchell on April 1.   It was announced in May this year that Alison Ellwood will direct a career retrospective documentary about Cyndi. The project is already in production but does not yet have a release date. "Let The Canary Sing" will be the title of this career-spanning documentary produced by Sony Music Entertainment.   Still killing it after all these years!   "Shes So Unusual" ranked No. 487 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003. In addition, the album ranked No. 41 on Rolling Stone's Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2012.   "Time After Time" has been covered by over a hundred artists and was ranked at No. 22 on Rolling Stone's 100 Best Songs of the Past 25 Years and at No. 19 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s.   "She Bop," the third single from She's So Unusual, is the first and only top ten song to directly mention a gay porn magazine. An ode to masturbation, it was included in the PMRC's "Filthy Fifteen" list, which led to the parental advisory sticker appearing on recordings thought to be unsuitable for young listeners. Rolling Stone ranked it the 36th best song of 1984, praising its unusual playfulness regarding sexuality.   "True Colors" is now considered a gay anthem, after which True Colors United, which advocates for runaway and homeless LGBT youth, is so “colorfully” named.   Info used from: Nickiswift.com Wikipedia.com

Friday Jun 24, 2022

www.iconsandoutlaws.com   The band Journey came together in San Francisco in 1973 under the auspices of former Santana manager Herbie Herbert who also managed The Steve Miller band, Roxette, and Europe. They were initially called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section and were backup players for established Bay Area bands. Originally, it included Santana alumni Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals. Completing the band were bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner, both from the band Frumious Bandersnatch. Prairie Prince of The Tubes served as drummer. After one particular performance in Hawaii, the crew quickly abandoned the "backup band" idea and began developing their own distinctive jazz fusion style. After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the group, roadie John Villanueva suggested the name "Journey."   The band's first public gig was at the Winterland Ballroom on New Year's Eve 1973 to an audience of 10,000, and the following day, they flew to Hawaii to perform at the Diamond Head Crater to an even bigger audience. Prairie Prince returned to The Tubes shortly after. On February 1, 1974, the band hired British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had recently worked with the one and only David Bowie and was also a member of the second version of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. On February 5, 1974, the new lineup debuted at the Great American Music Hall, showcasing in front of Columbia Records executives. They signed a recording contract with the label following the performance and later performed at venues around the Bay Area.   Journey went into CBS Studios in November 1974 with grammy award-winning producer Roy Halee to record their debut album "Journey." It was released in April 1975, entering the Billboard charts at number 138. This record was a jazzy progressive rock album focused mainly on the band's instrumental talents. It featured songs like "Of A Lifetime" and the instrumental, "Kahoutek,"; both songs pushing the 7-minute mark. Rhythm guitarist Tickner left the band shortly after due to the heavy touring the band was promoting the album, allowing Schon to take on the complete guitar duties.    Journey entered the studio again in late 1975 to record "Look into the Future," released in January 1976 and hit the Billboard Top 200 charts at number 100. The band promoted the album with a two-hour performance at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, which later aired on the radio as touring continued to promote their second album. For this second album, the members of Journey toned down the overt progressiveness of their first release in favor of a more straightforward sound. The album also features a cover version of The Beatles' "It's All Too Much" from the 1968 Yellow Submarine film and 1969 soundtrack. The title track, "Look Into The Future," was the longest recorded Journey song at 8:10 until 1980, when "Destiny" from Dream, After Dream would claim that honor.   From May to October 1976, the band went to "His Master's Wheels" Studios to record their third studio album, "Next," which, just like the previous album, was produced by the band. However, they brought a much more commercial sound while keeping their jazz fusion and progressive rock roots. The album was released in February and charted on the Billboard Top 200 at 85. It would be the last album to feature Gregg Rolie as the lead singer. "Spaceman" with the instrumental "Nickel and Dime" was the single, and, unfortunately, sales did not improve, which led Columbia Records to almost dropping the band.   About these times in the band's career, lead guitarist Neal Schon has said: "I still think some of the stuff we did then was great. Some of it was self-indulgent, just jamming for ourselves, but I also think a lot of other things hurt us in the early days. It took a while for the politics to sort of shape up."   Journey's album sales did not improve, so Columbia Records requested they change their musical style and add a lead singer who would share lead vocals with Rolie. In comes Steve Perry, right? Nope! The band hired Robert Fleischman from the Los Angeles-based band "Staggerwing" and began transitioning toward a more popular style, similar to that of Foreigner and Boston. Journey went on tour with Fleischman in 1977, opening for bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Fleischman and the rest of the band began writing and rehearsing new songs, including the hit "Wheel in the Sky." However, this new lineup would be short-lived because the band was introduced to that guy I mentioned earlier, Steve Perry, during a performance before approximately 100,000 at Soldier Field in Chicago. This chance encounter was significant because differences between Fleischman and manager Herbie Herbert resulted in Fleischman's departure from the band within the year.   Steve made his live debut with the band at the Old Waldorf in October 1977, stepping into His Master's Studios and Cherokee Studios from October to December. Herbie hired Roy Thomas Baker as the new record's producer to add a layered sound approach similar to a band Baker had previously worked with, a little English band called "Queen." With a new lead singer and new producer in tow, the band's fourth studio album, Infinity, was released in January 1978, and peaked at number 21 on Billboard. "Lights", "Anytime," and "Wheel In The Sky" were the album's singles, and it has sold over 3 million copies. Journey then set out on tour supporting the album and headlined a full tour for the first time.   According to Herbie, tensions were high between Aynsley Dunbar and the rest of the band due to the change in music direction from the jazz-fusion sound. Guitarist Neal Schon said: "We would talk about it, and he'd say he'd be willing to simplify things. But we'd get out there, and after five shows he wasn't doing that at all." Finally, Dunbar's resistance came to a head when he started playing erratically and talking crap about the other members, which later resulted in Herbie axing Dunbar after their headline tour. He was replaced by Berklee-trained drummer and Montrose member Steve Smith.   Perry, Schon, Rolie, Smith, and Valory returned to the studio at Cherokee Studios in late 1978 to record their fifth album, Evolution, which was later released in March 1979, peaking at number 20 on Billboard and selling another 3 million copies. This album, which would be a milestone for the band, gave the band their first Billboard Hot 100 Top 20 single, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'," peaking at number 16, and was all over the radio. Following the tour in support of Evolution, the band expanded its operation to include a lighting and trucking operation for future gigs. The tour had grossed more than $5 million, making the band as popular as it had been in five years. Journey later entered Automatt Studios to record their sixth studio album, Departure, released in March 1980, peaking at number 8 on Billboard. The first single, "Any Way You Want It," peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980. The album featured an edgier sound, thanks partly to the "live in studio" way the songs were recorded. They initially went into the studio with 19 tracks, eventually trimming down to 12. This record would also go on to sell over 3 million copies!   Founding member and keyboardist Gregg Rolie left the band following the Departure tour to start a family and undertake various solo projects. It was the second time he had departed from a successful act in his career. Yep, he left Journey and Santana. Keyboardist Stevie "Keys" Roseman was then brought in to record the lone studio track, "The Party's Over (Hopelessly in Love)," on the band's live album "Captured." Rolie suggested pianist Jonathan Cain of The Babys as his permanent replacement so, with Cain's synthesizers replacing Rolie's organ, Cain had become the band's newest member. With Cain joining as the new keyboard player, the band entered Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, in late 1980, releasing their seventh studio album, "Escape," in July 1981. Escape became their most successful album, charting at number one in the United States. In addition, the album had a ton of hit singles, including: "Who's Crying Now," "Still They Ride," "Open Arms," and the iconic "Don't Stop Believin'." In July of 2021, it was certified diamond, selling over 10 million copies!!   Oh, and "Escape" had its own video game! Journey Escape was a video game developed and manufactured by Data Age for the Atari 2600 console and released in 1982.    Want to hear the plot of the game?   You're on the road with Journey, one of the world's hottest rock groups. A spectacular performance has just ended. Now it's up to you to guide each Journey Band Member past hordes of Love-Crazed Groupies, Sneaky Photographers, and Shifty-Eyed Promoters to the safety of the Journey Escape Vehicle in time to make the next concert. Your mighty manager and loyal roadies are there to help, but the escape is up to you!   These other bands may have been successful, but not Atari 2600 successful.   Journey began another lengthy yet successful tour on June 12, 1981, supported by opening acts Billy Squier, (My Kind of Lover) Greg Kihn Band, Point Blank, and Loverboy. They then opened for one and only The Rolling Stones on September 25 of the same year. MTV videotaped one of their two sold-out shows in Houston on November 6, 1981, in front of over 20,000 fans, later released on DVD, which for 1981 was HUGE.   Following the success of the 1981 tour, the band's entire establishment as a corporation, and the formation of a fan club called "Journey Force," the band released "Only Solutions" and "1990s Theme" for the 1982 Disney film Tron.    At this point, Journey was absolutely killing it, so they entered Fantasy Studios again in the middle of their 1982 tour to record their eighth studio album, Frontiers. Released in February 1983, "Frontiers" was the band's second-biggest selling album, selling over six million copies. Peaking at number 2 on the Billboard charts, it spawned the hit singles "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," "Send Her My Love," "After the Fall," and of course, "Faithfully," and you can hear our version of Faithfully wherever you listen to new music and at the end of this episode.   Journey began the tour supporting "Frontiers" in Japan and continued in North America alongside the Canadian Crooner, Bryan Adams, as the opening act. During the tour, NFL Films recorded a video documentary of their life on the road called "Frontiers and Beyond," shooting scenes at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with more than 80,000 fans in attendance.   After the success of the Frontiers tour, the band decided to take some well-deserved time off. Steve and Neal both tried their hands at solo projects, and in 1984 Steve Perry, with the help of band manager Herbie, recorded and released his first solo album, Street Talk. Street Talk released Perry's biggest hit as a solo artist, "Oh Sherrie," written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford. The song hit #3 on the billboard hot 100 and #1 on Billboard's Rock chart, and the accompanying music video (also featuring Swafford) was a hit on MTV.   Neal Schon toured briefly in 1984 with his supergroup HSAS, supporting their sole album, "Through the Fire, released that year on Geffen.    Sidenote, what does "HSAS" stands for? Any guesses?   Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve featured lead vocalist Sammy Hagar (Van Halen), lead guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Kenny Aaronson (The Yard birds), and drummer Michael Shrieve. (Santana). The group reportedly rehearsed for less than a month before playing in concert.   Who are the Yardbirds? (For Your Love) Well, they were an English rock band formed in 1963 and launched the careers of a few notable guitarists like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck   Also, At age 20, drummer Michael Shrieve was the second youngest musician to perform at Woodstock while playing for Santana. His drum solo during "Soul Sacrifice" in the Woodstock film has been described as "electrifying."   When asked by the press if Journey was finished after selling their properties at the end of 1984, guitarist Neal commented, "No way Journey's ending. We're all too committed to this band to ever let that happen. In fact, one of the reasons we decided to go off in separate directions for a while was to keep the band as strong as ever."   After a productive phone call between Cain and Perry, the band returned to Fantasy Studios in late 1985 to record their ninth studio album "Raised on Radio," but with Steve Perry acting as the album's producer. Unfortunately, things were pretty tense within the band leading Herbie and Steve to fire both bass player Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith for musical and professional differences. This booting took place only a few months into the recording sessions for the album, though Valory later admitted he left the band on his terms.    Bassist and future American Idol judge Randy Jackson, bassist Bob Glaub, and established drummer Larrie Londin were brought in to continue the album's recordings. If you're not familiar with Larrie Londin, check out his credentials. He's done session work with everyone from the Supremes and Marvin Gaye to Elvis and Dolly Parton. He is an absolute legend in the business—an "icon" for sure.   "Raised on Radio" was released in May 1986, peaking at number four on Billboard's album chart but underperforming compared to the band's previous two albums. It featured five singles: The top ten hit "Be Good to Yourself" along with "Suzanne," "Girl Can't Help It," "I'll Be Alright Without You," and "Why Can't This Night Go On Forever?".   The Raised on Radio support tour began at Angels Camp, California, in August 1986. The band performed sold-out shows throughout the United States before concluding with two shows in Anchorage, Alaska, in early 1987, with selected dates supported by Honeymoon Suite (New Girl Now), The Outfield (Your Love), and Glass Tiger (Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone.) The tour featured Randy Jackson on bass and Mike Baird on drums, and was videotaped by MTV for a documentary that included interviews with the band members called Raised on Radio, just like the album. MTV apparently loved themselves some Journey!   With tensions between Perry, the band, and manager Herbie at an all-time high following the tour's conclusion, Perry was unable or unwilling to remain actively involved and was tired of touring as it affected his health and his vocals.   Steve said: "I called Jon and Neal together. We met in San Rafael, we sat on the edge of the marina, and I just told them, 'I can't do this anymore. I've got to get out for a while.' And they said: 'Well, what do you mean?' And I said: 'That's exactly what I mean, is what I'm saying. I just don't want to be in the band anymore. I want to get out; I want to stop.' And I think Jon said: 'Well, just take some time off, and we'll think,' and I said: 'OK, fine.' And I just sort of fell back into my life. I looked around and realized that my whole life had become everything I'd worked so hard to be, and when I came back to have a regular life, I had to go find one."   He also stated: "The truth is, that I thought music had run its course in my heart," Perry explains in a statement on his website. "I'd had an amazing time in an amazing band, and then the chance to express myself as a solo artist too. But I had to be honest with myself, and in my heart, I knew I just wasn't feeling it anymore." "For a long time, I could barely even listen to music. My last show with Journey was February of 1987. Then one day, it hit me that I couldn't do this anymore. I felt as if I had to jump off this merry-go-round — this big beautiful mothership that we had all worked so hard together to build."   Following the "Raised on Radio" tour, the band went into a hiatus. However, Columbia Records released the Greatest Hits compilation in November 1988, which became one of the biggest selling greatest hits albums, selling over 15 million copies and continuing to sell half a million to a million copies per year. The compilation spent 750 weeks on the Billboard album charts until 2008. To date, their greatest hits album has sold almost 21 million copies worldwide.   Here's something else I wasn't aware of. While Steve Perry had retreated from the public eye, Schon and Cain spent the rest of 1987 collaborating with other profound artists. They worked with artists like Jimmy Barnes and Michael Bolton before teaming up with Cain's ex-Babys bandmates John Waite and Ricky Phillips. They, in turn, formed the supergroup Bad English (When I See You Smile, Price of Love) with drummer Deen Castronovo in 1988, releasing two albums in 1989 and 1991.    Steve Smith, however, devoted his time to his jazz bands, Vital Information and Steps Ahead, and teamed up with former bassist Ross Valory and original Journey keyboardist Gregg Rolie. They formed the band "The Storm" with singer Kevin Chalfant and guitarist Josh Ramos, and guess who their manager was? Herbie, of course!!   On November 3, 1991, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, and Steve Perry reunited to perform "Faithfully" and "Lights" at the Bill Graham tribute concert 'Laughter, Love & Music' at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California, following the concert promoter's death in an unfortunate helicopter accident.    In October 1993, Schon, Rolie, Valory, Dunbar, Smith, and Cain reunited and performed at a private dinner for manager extraordinaire Herbie Herbert at Bimbo's in San Francisco, with Kevin Chalfant (Allen Parsons Project live singer) on lead vocals.   After the breakup of Bad English in 1991, Neal Schon and Deen Castronovo formed the glam metal band Hardline (Takin Me Down) with brothers Johnny and Joey Gioeli, releasing only one studio album before his departure. Neal later joined Paul Rodgers (Bad Company vocalist) in 1993 for live performances, alongside Castronovo. In 1994, Steve Perry had released his second solo album, "For the Love of Strange Medicine," and toured North America in support of the album, though his voice had changed since the last time he had performed. Those high notes weren't as easy to hit anymore. Steve Perry ultimately decided to reunite with Journey under one condition. He demanded that there be a bowl of peanut M&Ms backstage at all times and that they HAD to be all brown with one, just one, green NON-peanut M&M on top.    Yeah, that's not true. Steve's one condition was that Herbie Herbert would no longer be the band's manager. Instead, the band hired Irving Azoff, longtime Eagles manager, as the new manager for the band in October 1995. Steve Smith and Ross Valory reunited with the band and started writing material for their next album, with rehearsals beginning that same month.   The band began recording their tenth studio album, "Trial by Fire" in early 1996 at The Site and Wildhorse Studio in Marin County and Ocean Way Recorders where they recorded under producer "The Caveman" Kevin Shirley (Mr. Big, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater.) This album was released in late October that year, peaking at number three on the Billboard album charts. The album's hit single "When You Love a Woman" reached number 12 on the Billboard charts and was nominated in 1997 for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The album also produced three top 40 mainstream rock tracks, "Message of Love," reaching number 18, "Can't Tame the Lion," hitting number 33, and "If He Should Break Your Heart," reaching number 38. It sold roughly 1.5 million units.   Plans for a support tour failed when Steve Perry, while hiking in Hawaii on a ten-day break in August 1996, discovered he had a degenerative bone condition and could not perform without hip replacement surgery. The accident resulted in the album's release date being delayed.   Upon its release, "Trial By Fire" was considered the band's worst-selling album and failed to match the originality and playability of the band's previous work. Neal Schon later admitted that the album had too many ballads and fans just wanted to hear that sweet, sweet rock and roll saying: "Even on our last record, the Trial By Fire record, a lot of the rock stuff just got shelved and ended up being like twenty ballads, I don't know how many ballads."  The band took another break following the album's dismal release to work on more solo projects, waiting for Perry to decide if he was able to or wanted to tour. Schon released his solo album Electric World in 1997, later creating Abraxas Pool with former Journey member Gregg Rolie, drummer Michael Shrieve and a few former Santana members. Jonathan Cain released his two solo albums, Body Language and For A Lifetime in 1997 and 1998 respectively. Following the reunion album's long-awaited release, Journey was becoming restless and tired of waiting for an answer from Steve Perry and touring. Following a phone call between Cain and Perry, Steve announced that he would again depart from Journey, releasing himself from the band's contracts and deciding to semi-retire from the music business. Steve Smith later quit the band, saying that Journey would not be the same without Perry and returning to his jazz career and his project "Vital Information."   The band hired the familiar drummer Deen Castronovo, Schon's and Cain's Bad English bandmate, to replace Steve Smith. After auditioning several high-profile candidates, including Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Kevin Chalfant, and John West (Royal Hunt), Journey replaced Perry with Steve Augeri, formerly of Tyketto and Tall Stories.  The band later recorded the song "Remember Me," featured on the soundtrack for the 1998 film Armageddon. Upon the song's release, the song showed fans that the band made the right decision in hiring Augeri. That soundtrack has sold over 5,392,500 copies.   Following a rehearsal with Augeri and Castronovo, the band went to Japan to perform four gigs, where they had still held an enormous fanbase. When asked how he felt about touring again in over a decade, Neal Schon commented: "It's a little like we are reborn again." Next, Journey embarked on a tour in the United States titled "Vacation's Over" which began in October and concluded at the end of December in Reno. They continued the tour with another leg in 1999, starting in Minnesota in June and finishing in Michigan in September.   From March to August 2000, the band entered Avatar Studios to record yet another studio album, "Arrival" with producer Kevin Shirley. The album was released in Japan later in the year, with a North American release in April 2001. The album had peaked at number 56 on the Billboard charts. However, the single "All the Way" failed to boost sales for the album. It was considered a disappointment with mixed opinions regarding the album, resulting in Sony dropping the band from the label. Upon the album's completion, the band set off on tour supporting the album in Latin America, the United States, and Europe.   In response to the attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001, Journey joined various bands at a major fundraising event on October 20 and 21 at the Smirnoff Music Centre in Dallas, Texas, to raise money for the victims and families of the tragedy. The event raised around one million dollars.   The Journey camp was quiet in 2002 as Neal Schon formed ANOTHER band, "Planet Us," with Castronovo, Sammy Hagar, and former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony until 2004, when they disbanded. Schon also co-wrote songs alongside the band Bad Company, while keyboardist Jonathan Cain released another solo album.  Recording a few songs between 2001 and 2002, Journey released a four-track EP titled "Red 13" in November under their new label "Journey Music." The band chose the album cover design through a fan contest with the online cover designed by fan Kelly McDonald. However, the retail cover was only made available at the band's shows and was designed by Christopher Payne. Journey only performed one club gig in support of the EP but later began another tour of the United States from May to August 2003.  They continued touring the following year with another summer tour titled "Summer Detour" which began in June and concluded in September 2004. In November of that year, Journey joined REO Speedwagon and Styx for a tour around the Caribbean aboard the Triumph cruise ship. Sounds miserable. I'm not too fond of boats.   In 2005, the members of Journey were inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame alongside former members Steve Perry, Dunbar, George Tickner, Steve Smith, and Fleischmann. Rolie was the only member who did not appear at the ceremony. Surprised to see Perry joining them to accept the induction with the band, Valory commented that it was a pleasant surprise to see him.   Following their addition to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the band began recording at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California, for their twelfth studio album, "Generations," which featured producer Kevin Elson who had collaborated with the band before. The album was released on August 29 in Europe, with a North American release following on October 4. The album peaked at number 170 on the Billboard charts. To promote the album and celebrate the band's 30th anniversary, the band embarked on a tour starting in Irvine, California, in June and concluding in Phoenix in October. Each concert on tour was three hours long with an intermission and featured many of their classic hits and included the new songs from the album. "Generations" sold less than 100,000 copies.   In 2006, the band toured Europe and joined Def Leppard on a North American tour. During the tours however, there was talk that Augeri was not singing but instead using backing tracks to cover up his deteriorating vocals. Those allegations resulted in him getting attacked by the fans. Augeri had suffered from vocal attrition problems before the band began the tour with Def Leppard. In addition, Journey had been accused of using pre-recorded lead vocals before, an accusation that former manager Herbie Herbert insists was true. SHOCKER. Valory denied the allegations, stating that it was a myth, a lie, an all-out fabrication, and that Augeri's vocals did not give out!    In a later press statement, the band announced that Augeri had to step down as Journey's lead singer and leave the tour to recover. Augeri performed his last show with Journey on July 4 in Raleigh.   With the tour still happening and successful, the band quickly hired Jeff Scott Soto from Talisman as their lead vocalist for the tour. He performed as Journey's vocalist on July 7 in Bristow for the first time. Because of its success and popularity, The band later extended the tour to November. Soto was officially announced as the band's new vocalist in December 2006. If you're keeping track, that's five lead singers.   Following tours of Europe and the United States in 2007, the band announced on June 12 that Scott Soto was no longer with them. In a statement, Neal Schon stated: "He did a tremendous job for us, and we wish him the best. We've just decided to go our separate ways, no pun intended. We're plotting our next move now." Cheeky. I love it.   Following Soto's exit from the group, the band was without a lead vocalist again. So Neal Schon began searching YouTube for a new lead vocalist, with Jeremey Hunsicker of the Journey tribute band "Frontiers" auditioning and spending a week with the band writing material. Hunsicker claims to have been formally offered the position, but it fell through shortly following tension with Schon. However, one of the tracks co-written with Hunsicker, "Never Walk Away," later appeared on the Revelation album. Neal Schon later found Filipino singer Arnel Pineda of the cover band The Zoo, covering the song "Faithfully." (Our version is arguably better, just saying.) Schon was so impressed that he contacted Pineda to set up two days of auditions with him. The auditions went well, and they later named him the official lead vocalist of Journey on December 5, 2007. In 2007, the hit song "Don't Stop Believin'" gained coverage and sharp growth in popularity when it was used in The Sopranos television series final episode, prompting digital downloads of the song to skyrocket. But, unfortunately, the Soprano's finale also pissed a lot of people off.   In November 2007, Journey entered the studio with Pineda to record the studio album "Revelation." The album was released on June 3, 2008. It debuted at number five on the Billboard charts, selling more than 196,000 units in its first two weeks and staying in the top 20 for six weeks. As a multi-disc set (2-CD), each unit within that set counts as one sale, which I didn't know. Journey also found success on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, where the single "After All These Years" spent over 23 weeks, peaking at number 9. "Revelation" has sold over 1 million copies.   On February 21, 2008, Pineda performed for the first time with Journey in front of 20,000 fans in Chile. The band began the "Revelation" tour in the United Kingdom in June, continuing the tour into North America, Asia, Europe, and South America, concluding in October. Receipts from the 2008 tour made Journey one of the top-grossing concert tours of the year, bringing in over $35,000,000. On December 18, 2008, Revelation was certified platinum by RIAA.   The band performed at the Super Bowl 43 pre-game show in Tampa, Florida, on February 1, 2009. The band continued their Revelation tour in May and concluded it in October 2009. They also performed in Manila in front of 30,000 fans, recorded for a live release, "Live in Manila."   In 2009, "Don't Stop Believin'" became the top-selling song on iTunes among those released before 2000, with over 500,000 downloads.   Journey then entered Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, in 2010 with Pineda to record their next studio album, "Eclipse." The album was released on May 24, 2011, and debuted at number 13 on the Billboard 200 charts with the singles "City of Hope" and "Human Feel." Unfortunately, "Eclipse" could not match the success of Revelation, barely selling 100,000 copies—an 1/8th of the previous album's sales. They later toured the United Kingdom in June 2011 with Foreigner and Styx. Journey was awarded the "Legend of Live Award" at the Billboard Touring Awards in October. The band later released Greatest Hits 2 in November of 2011.   In June 2015, drummer Deen Castronovo was arrested following a domestic altercation. Journey fired him in August and was replaced by Omar Hakim on the band's 2015 tour. He was sentenced to four years probation after pleading guilty to domestic violence charges.    In 2016, Steve Smith again returned as Journey's drummer, reuniting all of the Escape-Frontiers-Trial by Fire lineup members except lead singer Steve Perry. In 2018, during the North American tour with Def Leppard, Journey topped the Billboard Hot Tours List for grossing more than $30 million over 17 shows.   On March 3, 2020, Schon and Cain announced that they had fired Smith and Valory and were suing them for an alleged "attempted corporate coup d'état," seeking damages over $10 million. The lawsuit alleged Smith and Valory tried to "assume control of Nightmare Productions because they incorrectly believe that Nightmare Productions controls the Journey name and Mark" to "hold the Journey name hostage and set themselves up with a guaranteed income stream after they stop performing." Valory and Smith contested the firings with the support of former manager Herbie Herbert and former lead singer Steve Perry. Court filings revealed that Steve Perry had been paid as a band member for years despite not performing. In an open letter dated that same day, Schon and Cain stated Smith and Valory "are no longer members of Journey; and that Schon and Cain have lost confidence in both of them and are not willing to perform with them again." Valory counter-sued Schon and Cain for their partnership's claim of owning the Journey trademark and service mark.   In June 2020, Neal Schon announced via his social media page that a new album with Jackson and Walden was "starting to take shape." The following month, he confirmed the album's progress and that they would release new music in early 2021. In January 2021, he announced that the album's first single would be released later that year, with the possibility of a worldwide tour to follow. In April 2021, the band reached an "amicable settlement" with former members Valory and Smith, confirming they were no longer a part of Journey. The single "The Way We Used to Be" was released on June 24, 2021.   In July 2021, Neal Schon confirmed that Deen Castronovo, had rejoined as a second drummer.   On February 16, 2022, the band announced the title and track listing of their upcoming fifteenth studio album "Freedom," which is set to be released on July 8, 2022. On March 1, 2022, Cain confirmed that neither Walden nor Randy Jackson remained in the lineup, with Walden's dipping out following a minor heart attack following a live show in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, they both still played on Freedom, as they had completed their parts on the album before departing. The second single, "You Got the Best of Me," was released on April 26, 2022. The third single, "Let It Rain," was released just recently, on May 17, 2022. So be on the lookout for Journey's new album!   According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Journey has sold 48 million albums in the U.S., making them the 25th best-selling band. In addition, their worldwide sales have reached over 80 million records globally, making them one of the world's best-selling bands of all time.

Monday Jun 13, 2022

In March of 1957, John Winston Lennon formed a "skiffle" group called The Quarrymen. What is "skiffle," you may be asking? It's a kind of folk music with a blues or jazz flavor that was popular in the 1950s, played by a small group and often incorporating improvised instruments such as washboards. On July 6, '57, Lennon met a guy named James. James Paul McCartney, while playing at the Woolton Parish church fete. In Britain, fêtes are traditional public festivals held outdoors and organized to raise funds for a charity. On February 6, 1958, the young up-and-coming guitarist George Harrison was invited to watch the group perform at Wilson Hall, Garston, Liverpool. He was soon brought in as a regular player. During this period, members continually joined and left the lineup. Finally, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Stuart Sutcliffe (a classmate of Lennon at Liverpool Art College) emerged as the only constant members. One day, the members showed up to a gig wearing different colored shirts, so they decided to call themselves 'The Rainbows.' In a talent show they did in 1959, they called themselves 'Johnny and the Moondogs.' Once again, changing their name to "The Silver Beatles," they eventually decided, on August 17, 1960, on the moniker "The Beatles." Why did they choose the Beatles, Logan? They were huge fans of Buddy Holly and The Crickets – as a way of emulating their heroes, they called themselves after an insect. Right?   Well, According to John Lennon, "It came in a vision – a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them, 'from this day forward you are the Beatles with an 'A'! Thank you, mister man, they said, thanking him," he said.   Most of the accounts claim that Lennon's love of wordplay led them to adopt the 'a' eventually. Lennon would explain in a 1964 interview: "It was beat and beetles, and when you said it, people thought of crawly things, and when you read it, it was beat music."   After Lennon died in 1980, George Harrison claimed that the name came about differently in the Beatles' Anthology documentary (as is usually the case).   Harrison claimed that the name, 'The Beatles', came from the 1953 Marlon Brando film, The Wild One. In the film, Brando played a character called 'Johnny' and was in a gang called 'The Beetles.'   This answer would add up considering that the group also flirted with the name of 'Johnny and the Beetles', as well as 'Long John and the Silver Beetles.' Their unofficial manager, Allan Williams, arranged for them to perform in clubs on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany. On August 16, 1960, McCartney invited a guy named Pete Best to become the group's permanent drummer after watching Best playing with The Blackjacks in the Casbah Club. The Casbah Club was a cellar club operated by Best's mother Mona in West Derby, Liverpool, where The Beatles had played and often visited. They started in Hamburg by playing in the Indra and Kaiserkeller bars and the Top Ten club. George, who was only seventeen years old, had lied about his age, and when this little fact was discovered, he was deported by the German authorities. Paul and Pete thought it was good to start a small fire by lighting an unused condom in their living quarters while leaving it for more luxurious rooms. Arrested and charged for arson, they too were both deported. Lennon and Sutcliffe followed suit and returned to Liverpool in December. While in Germany, they stayed in a small room with bunkbeds. George Harrison admitted in The Beatles Anthology that this made things especially awkward when he crawled under the sheets with a woman for the first time — Lennon, McCartney, and then-drummer Pete Best actually applauded for him after the deed was done. Harrison joked, "At least they kept quiet while I was doing it."   They went back a second time and played the Top Ten Club for three months (April-June 1961). Stuart Sutcliffe decided to remain in Germany to concentrate on painting and left the group during this time. Sutcliffe's departure led McCartney to switch from playing rhythm guitar to bass guitar. While they were playing at the Top Ten, they were recruited by singer Tony Sheridan to act as his "backing band" on a series of recordings for the German Polydor Records label, produced by famed bandleader Bert Kaempfert ("Strangers in the Night", "Danke Schoen"). Kaempfert signed the group to its own Polydor contract at the first session on June 22, 1961. On October 31, Polydor released the recording, My Bonnie (Mein Herz ist bei dir nur), which made it into the German charts under Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers. Around 1962, My Bonnie was mentioned in Cashbox as the debut of a "new rock and roll team, Tony Sheridan and the Beatles," and a few copies were also pressed for U.S. disc jockeys. Cashbox, also known as Cash Box, was a music industry trade magazine published initially weekly from July 1942 to November 1996. Ten years after its dissolution, it was revived and continues as Cashbox Magazine, an online magazine with weekly charts and occasional special print issues. The band's third stay in Hamburg was from April 13–May 31, 1962, when they opened The Star Club. However, that stay was dampened when Astrid Kirchherr informed them upon their arrival of Sutcliffe's death from a brain hemorrhage. Astrid, a German photographer, and friend of the Beatles, revealed that her fiancé (and former Beatles bass player) Stuart Sutcliffe had died. No one was more shocked than John Lennon, who reportedly broke out in a fit of hysterical laughter at the idea of losing his art school buddy.   Upon their return from Hamburg, the group was enthusiastically promoted by local promoter Sam Leach, who presented them for the next year and a half on various stages in Liverpool forty-nine times. Brian Epstein (no relation to a particular disgusting human being), took over as the group's manager in 1962 and led The Beatles' quest for a British recording contract. In one now-famous exchange, a senior Decca Records A&R executive named Dick Rowe turned Epstein down flat and informed him that "The Decca audition for guitar groups are on the way out, Mr. Epstein." Remember Decca? They were Buddy Holly's first record label that thought "rock n roll was a fad." Strike two, Decca. Strike two. Epstein eventually met with producer George Martin of EMI's Parlophone label. Martin expressed an interest in hearing the band in the studio. So he invited the band to London's Abbey Road studios to audition on June 6. Martin wasn't particularly impressed by the band's demo recordings but instantly liked them when they met. He concluded that they had raw musical talent but said (in later interviews) that what made the difference for him that fateful day was their wit and humor in the studio.   Martin privately suggested to Brian Epstein that the band use another drummer in the studio. Yikes. Pete Best had some popularity and was considered attractive by many fans. Still, the three founding members had become increasingly unhappy with his popularity and personality, and Epstein had become exasperated with his refusal to adopt the distinctive hairstyle as part of their unified look. So Epstein sacked Best on August 16, 1962. Lennon and McCartney immediately asked their friend Richard Starkey, the drummer for one of the top Merseybeat groups, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, to join the band. Unfortunately, Rory Storm didn't want to release Starkey but let Starkey out of his contract. Oh... Richard Starkey would eventually be known as "Ringo Starr." He chose Ringo because of the rings he wore, and it also had a cowboy feel to it. His drum solos were referred to as Starr Time.   The Beatles' first EMI session on June 6 did not yield any releasable recordings, but the September sessions produced the minor U.K. hit, "Love Me Do," which peaked on the charts at number 17. The single reached the top of the United States singles chart more than 18 months later in May 1964. This single was swiftly followed by their second single, "Please Please Me." They recorded their first album (also titled Please Please Me) three months later. George Martin capitalized on the wild, live energy the boys perfected in Hamburg and recorded the entire Please Please Me LP in less than 13 hours — saving "Twist and Shout" for last so the taxing vocals wouldn't ruin Lennon's voice before the other songs were done. That’s fourteen songs. Luckily, the longest song on the album was only 2 minutes and 54 seconds long. The shortest was a minute and 47 seconds.   The band's first televised performance was on a program called People and Places, transmitted live from Manchester by Granada Television on October 17, 1962. The band experienced massive popularity on the record charts in the U.K. from early 1963. However, Parlophone's American counterpart, Capitol Records (owned by EMI), refused to issue their singles "Love Me Do," "Please Please Me," and "From Me to You" in the United States. Mainly because no British act had ever had a sustained commercial impact on American audiences.   Vee-Jay Records, a small Chicago label, is said by some to have been pressured into issuing these initial singles. Allegedly it was part of a deal for the rights to another performer's masters. Art Roberts, music director of Chicago powerhouse radio station WLS, placed "Please Please Me" into radio rotation in late February 1963, making it possibly the first time the American people heard a Beatles record on American radio. In August 1963, the Philadelphia-based Swan Records tried again with The Beatles' "She Loves You," which failed to receive airplay.   After The Beatles' massive success in 1964, Vee-Jay Records and Swan Records took advantage of their previously secured rights to The Beatles' early recordings and reissued the songs they had rights to, which all reached the top ten of the charts the second time around. Then, in a shifty move, Vee-Jay Records issued some weird L.P. repackaging of the Beatles' material they had and released "Introducing… The Beatles," which was basically The Beatles' debut British album with some minor alterations. Andi Lothian, a former Scottish music promoter, laid claim to the term in that he coined 'Beatlemania" while speaking to a reporter on October 7, 1963 at the Caird Hall in Dundee at a Beatles concert that took place during The Beatles' 1963 Mini-Tour of Scotland. Beatlemania was taking over the world.   In early November 1963, Brian Epstein persuaded Ed Sullivan to commit to presenting The Beatles on three editions of his show in February. He turned this guaranteed exposure into a record deal with Capitol Records. Capitol agreed to a mid-January 1964 release for "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Still, unexpected circumstances triggered premature airplay of an imported copy of the single on a Washington D.C. radio station in mid-December. Capitol brought forward the release of the record on December 26, 1963.   Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to the cannabis drug in 1964 in a New York hotel room. He offered the "Fab Four" marijuana as a consequence of his misconception that the lyrics in their hit song "I Want to Hold Your Hand" from Meet the Beatles! were "I get high" instead of "I can't hide." This initial partaking in drugs grew into heavier experimentation with LSD and other substances whose psychedelic effects were commonly thought to have manifested themselves in the band's music. The Beatles, in turn, would influence Dylan's move into an electrified rock sound in his music.   Several New York City radio stations—first WMCA, then WINS, and finally, WABC began playing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on its release day. The Beatlemania that had started in Washington was duplicated in New York and quickly spread to other markets. The record sold one million copies in just ten days. By January 16, Cashbox Magazine had certified The Beatle's record as number one in the edition published with the cover-date January 23, 1964.   This widespread phenomenon contributed to the near-hysterical fan reaction on February 7, 1964 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (which had been renamed in December 1963 from Idlewild Airport). A record-breaking seventy-three million viewers, approximately 40 percent of the U.S. population at the time, tuned in to the first Ed Sullivan Show appearance two days later on February 9. During the week of April 4, The Beatles held the top five places on the Billboard Hot 100, a feat that has never been repeated. They had an additional seven songs at lower positions. That's twelve songs on the Billboard charts at once. Of all the music acts on the charts, 12 percent of the entries consisted of Beatles songs. They were so unaware of their popularity in America that, on their arrival, they initially thought the crowds were there to greet someone else.   Oh, and their Concerts Often Smelled Like Urine Apparently, the masses of young girls who turned up for their concerts, movie premieres, or to wave hello as the Beatles walked off the plane in a new city were apparently too distracted by their love for the band to care about whether or not their bladders were full. DSo, they’d pee themselves.  In 1964, the band undertook their first appearances outside of Europe and North America, touring Australia and New Zealand, notably without Ringo Starr, who was ill and was temporarily replaced by session drummer Jimmy Nicol. When they arrived in Adelaide, The Beatles were greeted by what is reputed to be the largest crowd of their touring career, when over 300,000 people turned out to see them at the Adelaide Town Hall. Yeah, Adelaide's population was only right around 200,000. In September of that year, baseball owner Charles O. Finley paid the band the unheard-of sum of $150,000 to play in Kansas City, Missouri. That's $1,398,914.52 today and utterly unheard of at that time.   In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom bestowed the band the Member of the Order of the British Empire or MBE, a civil honor nominated by Prime Minister Harold Wilson.   On August 15, that year, The Beatles performed in the first stadium rock concert in the history of Rock n roll, playing at Shea Stadium in New York to a crowd of 55,600. The stadium's capacity is 57,333. The band later admitted that they had mainly been unable to hear themselves play or sing due to the volume of screaming and cheering. This concert is generally considered when they started disliking playing live shows.   In 1965, recently interested in Indian music, George Harrison purchased a sitar. He played it in the song Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), the first instance of such an instrument being used on a rock record. He later took sitar lessons from maestro Ravi Shankar, and implemented additional elements of Eastern music and spirituality into his songs, notably Love You To and Within You Without You. These musical decisions significantly increased the influence of Indian music on popular culture in the late 1960s.   In July 1966, when The Beatles toured the Philippines, they unintentionally snubbed the nation's first lady, Imelda Marcos, who had expected the group to attend a breakfast reception at the Presidential Palace. Manager Brian Epstein was forced to give back all the money that the band had earned while there before being allowed to leave the country.   Upon returning from the Philippines, an earlier comment by John Lennon back in March of that year launched a backlash against The Beatles. In an interview with British reporter Maureen Cleave, Lennon had offered his opinion that Christianity was dying and that The Beatles were "more popular than Jesus now." Oops!   There was an immediate response, starting with an announcement by two radio stations in Alabama and Texas that they had banned Beatles' music from their playlists. WAQY DJ, Tommy Charles said: "We just felt it was so absurd and sacrilegious that something ought to be done to show them that they can't get away with this sort of thing." Around two dozen other stations followed suit with similar announcements. Some stations in the South (shocker) went further, organizing demonstrations with bonfires, drawing hordes of teenagers to burn their Beatles' records and other memorabilia publicly. Many people affiliated with churches in the American South took the suggestion seriously.   The Memphis, TN city council, aware that a Beatles' concert was scheduled at the Mid-South Coliseum during the group's upcoming U.S. tour, voted to cancel it. Rather than have "municipal facilities be used as a forum to ridicule anyone's religion" and said, "The Beatles are not welcome in Memphis." On August 13, The Ku Klux Klan nailed a Beatles' album to a wooden cross and subsequently burned it, vowing "vengeance," with conservative groups staging further public burnings of Beatles' records.   Young people across the United States and South Africa burned Beatles records in protest. Then, under tremendous pressure from the American media, John Lennon apologized for his remarks at a press conference in Chicago on August 11, the eve of the first performance of what turned out to be their final tour.   The Beatles performed their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on August 29, 1966. From that point forward, they focused on recording music. They ended up pioneering more advanced, multi-layered arrangements in popular and pop music. After three months away from each other, they returned to Abbey Road Studios on November 24, 1966, to begin a 129-day recording period in making their eighth album: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, was released on June 1, 1967.   Along with studio tricks such as sound effects, unconventional microphone placements, automatic double-tracking, and vari-speed recording, The Beatles began to augment their recordings with unconventional instruments for rock music at the time. These instruments included string and brass ensembles, Indian instruments such as the sitar and the "swarmandel," tape loops, and early electronic devices, including the "Mellotron," which was used with flute voices on the intro to "Strawberry Fields Forever." McCartney once asked Martin what a guitar would sound like if played underwater and was serious about trying it. Lennon also wondered what his vocals would sound like if he was hanging upside down from the ceiling. Unfortunately, their ideas were ahead of the available technology at the time.   Beginning with the use of a string quartet (arranged by George Martin) on Yesterday in 1965, The Beatles pioneered a modern form of art-rock and art song, exemplified by the double-quartet string arrangement on "Eleanor Rigby" (1966), "Here, There and Everywhere" (1966), and "She's Leaving Home" (1967). In addition, Lennon and McCartney's interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach led them to use a piccolo trumpet on the arrangement of "Penny Lane" and a Mellotron at the start of "Strawberry Fields Forever."   On June 25, 1967, the Beatles became the first band globally transmitted on television, in front of an estimated 400 million people worldwide, in a segment within the first-ever worldwide T.V. satellite hook-up, a show entitled Our World. The Beatles were transmitted live from Abbey Road Studios, and their new song "All You Need Is Love" was recorded live during the show.   Following the triumphs of the Sgt. Pepper album and the global broadcast, The Beatles' situation seemingly got worse. First, their manager Brian Epstein died of an overdose of sleeping pills on August 27, 1967, at 32, and the band's business affairs began to unravel. Next, at the end of 1967, they received their first major negative press criticism in the U.K., with disparaging reviews of their surrealistic T.V. film Magical Mystery Tour. The public wasn't a fan, either.   The group spent the early part of 1968 in Rishikesh, Uttar Pradesh, India, studying transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Upon their return, Lennon and McCartney formed Apple Corps, initially a philanthropic business venture they described as an attempt at "western communism." The middle part of 1968 saw the guys busy recording the double album, The Beatles, popularly known as "The White Album" due to its stark white cover. These sessions saw deep divisions beginning within the band, including John Lennon's new girlfriend, Yoko Ono, being at his side through much of the sessions and the feeling that Paul McCartney was becoming too dominating. Paul McCartney gradually took more control of the group. Internal divisions within the band had been a small but growing problem during their earlier career. Most notably, this was reflected in the difficulty that George Harrison experienced in getting his songs onto Beatles' albums, and in the growing artistic and personal differences between John and Paul.   On the business side, Paul wanted Lee Eastman, the father of his wife, Linda Eastman, to manage The Beatles, but the other guys wanted New York manager Allen Klein to represent them. All of the band's decisions in the past were unanimous, but this time the four could not agree on a manager. Lennon, Harrison, and Starr felt the Eastmans would look after McCartney's well-being before the group's. Paul was quoted years later during the Anthology interviews, saying, "Looking back, I can understand why they would feel that was biased against them." Afterward, the band kicked themselves in the ass for the Klein decision, as Klein embezzled millions from their earnings.   Their final live performance was on the rooftop of the Apple building in Savile Row, London, on January 30, 1969, the next-to-last day of the problematic Get Back sessions. Mainly due to Paul McCartney's efforts, they recorded their final album, Abbey Road, in the summer of 1969.   John Lennon announced his departure to the rest of the group on September 20, 1969. The rest of the band talked him out of saying anything publicly. In March 1970, the band gave the "Get Back" session tapes to American producer Phil Spector, whose "Wall of Sound" production was in direct opposition to the record's original intent to appear as a stripped-down live studio performance. McCartney announced the breakup on April 10, 1970, a week before releasing his first solo album, McCartney. On May 8, 1970, the Spector-produced version of Get Back was released as the album Let It Be, followed by the documentary film of the same name. The Beatles' partnership was legally dissolved after McCartney filed a lawsuit on December 31, 1970. Following the group's dissolution, the BBC marketed an extensive collection of Beatles recordings, mainly of original studio sessions from 1963 to 1968. Much of this material formed the basis for a 1988 radio documentary series, The Beeb's Lost Beatles Tapes. Later, in 1994, the best of these sessions were given an official EMI, released on Live at the BBC.   On the evening of December 8 1980, John Lennon was shot and fatally wounded in the archway of the Dakota, his home in New York City. His killer was Mark David Chapman, an American Beatles fan incensed by Lennon's lavish lifestyle and his 1966 comment that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." Chapman said he was inspired by the fictional character Holden Caulfield from J. D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, a "phony-killer" who despised hypocrisy. Chapman planned the killing over several months and waited for John at the Dakota on the morning of December 8. Early in the evening, Chapman met Lennon, who signed his copy of the album Double Fantasy and subsequently left for a recording session. Later that night, Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, returned to the Dakota. As Lennon and Ono approached the building's entrance, Chapman fired five hollow-point bullets from a .38 special revolver, four of which hit John in the back. Chapman remained at the scene reading The Catcher in the Rye until the police arrested him. John Lennon was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital in a police car, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at around 11:15 p.m.   In February 1994, the then-three surviving Beatles reunited to produce and record additional music for a few of John Lennon's old unfinished demos, almost as if reuniting the Beatles. "Free As A Bird" premiered as part of The Beatles Anthology, a series of television documentaries, and was released as a single in December 1995, with "Real Love" following in March 1996. These songs were also included in the three Anthology collections of C.D.s released in 1995 and 1996, each consisting of two C.D.s of never-before-released Beatles material.   On November 29 2001, George Harrison died at a property belonging to Paul McCartney, on Heather Road in Beverly Hills, California. He was 58 years old. As relayed in a statement by his wife Olivia and son Dhani, his final message to the world was: "Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another." The Beatles were the best-selling popular musical act of the twentieth century. EMI estimated that by 1985, the band had sold over one billion discs or tapes worldwide. In addition, the Recording Industry Association of America has certified The Beatles as the top-selling artists of all time in the United States based on U.S. sales of singles and albums.   The Beatles have spent 132 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart – by far the most of any artist. Garth Brooks occupied the top spot for 52 weeks, the second most.   The Beatles are one of only two musical acts to have eight consecutive albums on the Billboard 200 all hit No. 1.  – the other being Eminem –   Anthology 1 sold 450,000 copies on its first day of release, reaching the highest volume of single-day sales ever for an album. In 2000, a compilation album named one was released, containing almost every number-one single released by the band from 1962 to 1970. The collection sold 3.6 million copies in its first week and more than 12 million in three weeks worldwide, becoming the fastest-selling album of all time and the biggest-selling album of 2000. The collection also reached number one in the United States and 33 other countries. In 1988, every Beatles member (including Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe) was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. www.iconsandoutlaws.com www.accidentaldads.com  

Monday Jun 06, 2022

Part 2 When Thriller was released in November 1982, it didn't seem to have a single direction. Instead, it arguably sounded like many singles. But it became apparent that this was precisely what Michael intended Thriller to be: a brilliant collection of songs meant as hits, each designed for a particular audience in mind. Michael put out "Billie Jean" for the dancers and "Beat It" for the rockers and then followed each jam with amazing videos to enhance his allure and his inaccessibility. These songs had a life of their own. Thriller was almost called “Star Light”. The lyric "thriller" in the track of the same name was originally "star light". The decision to change it was down to marketing appeal.    This wonderful article from Rolling Stone says: "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" had the sense of a vitalizing nightmare in its best lines ("You're stuck in the middle/And the pain is thunder. … Still they hate you, you're a vegetable. … They eat off you, you're a vegetable"). "Billie Jean," in the meantime, exposed how the interaction between the artist's fame and the outside world might invoke soul-killing dishonor ("People always told me, be careful of what you do. … 'Cause the lie becomes the truth," Jackson sings, possibly thinking of a paternity charge from a while back). And "Beat It" was pure anger – a rousing depiction of violence as a male stance, a social inheritance that might be overcome. It also almost caught the studio on fire. When Eddie Van Halen recorded his solo, the sound of his guitar caused one of the studio speakers to catch fire. The video for “Beat It” was set in Los Angeles' Skid Row and featured up to 80 real-life gang members from the notorious street gangs the Crips and the Bloods. It cost $100,000 to make.   Thriller's parts added up to the most improbable kind of art – a work of personal revelation that was also a mass-market masterpiece. It's an achievement that will likely never be topped. It was the best-selling album worldwide in 1983 and became the best-selling album of all time in the U.S. and the best-selling album of all time worldwide, selling an estimated 70 million copies. It topped the Billboard 200 chart for 37 weeks and was in the top 10 of the 200 for 80 consecutive weeks. It was the first album to produce seven Billboard Hot 100 top-10 singles. Thriller is still the highest-selling album of all time. Want to know what the top 25 are? Subscribe to our Patreon for our video bonus on the top-selling albums ever! Billie Jean was the first video by an African-American artist to air on MTV. The video revealed Jackson's new look of a leather suit, pink shirt, red bow tie and his signature single white glove. It was a style copied by kids throughout the United States. It caused one school, New Jersey's Bound Brook High, to ban students from coming to class wearing white gloves.   Toto members Keyboardist Steve Porcaro co-wrote Human Nature, and Steve Lukather contributed rhythm guitar on Beat It.   On March 25, 1983, Jackson reunited with his brothers for Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, an NBC television special. The show aired on May 16 to an estimated audience of 47 million and featured the Jacksons and other Motown stars. Jackson had just performed a medley of greatest hits with his brothers. It was exciting stuff, but for Michael, it wasn't enough. As his brothers said their goodbyes and left the stage, Michael remained. He seemed shy for a moment, trying to find words to say. "Yeah," he almost whispered, "those were good old days. … I like those songs a lot. But especially—" and then he placed the microphone into the stand with a commanding look and said, "I like the new songs."  Then, wearing a white glove decorated with rhinestones, he swooped down, picked up a fedora, put it on his head with confidence, and vaulted into "Billie Jean." He also debuted his moonwalk dance (which became his signature dance). This was one of Michael's first public acts as a star outside and beyond the Jacksons, and it was startlingly clear that he was not only one of the most breathtaking live performers in pop music but that he could mesmerize the audience, something not seen since the likes of Elvis Presley. Michael had initially turned down the invitation to the show, believing he had been doing too much television. But at the request of Motown founder and Icon Berry Gordy, he performed in exchange for an opportunity to do a solo performance. And he killed it.    "Almost 50 million people saw that show," Michael wrote in his book Moonwalk. "After that, many things changed." At this time, Michael Jackson was obviously an immensely talented young man – he seemed shy but ambitious and undoubtedly enigmatic. Nobody knew much about his beliefs or sex life; he rarely gave interviews, but he also didn't land himself in scandals. He did, however, describe himself as a lonely person – especially around the time he made Off the Wall. Former Los Angeles Times music critic Robert Hilburn recently wrote of meeting Jackson in 1981, when the singer was 23, that Jackson struck him as "one of the most fragile and lonely people I've ever met … almost abandoned. When I asked why he didn't live on his own like his brothers, instead of remaining at his parents' house, he said, 'Oh, no, I think I'd die on my own. I'd be so lonely. Even at home, I'm lonely. I sit in my room and sometimes cry. It is so hard to make friends, and there are some things you can't talk to your parents or family about. I sometimes walk around the neighborhood at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But I just end up coming home.'"   Jackson's social uneasiness was probably formed by the wounds in his history; the children were insulated from others their age, and Jackson's status as a lifelong star may have left him feeling not just cut off from most people but also alienated from them – as if his experience or his vocation made him extraordinary. "I hate to admit it," he once said, "but I feel strange around everyday people." Not exactly an unusual sentiment for some highly celebrated celebrities, especially former child stars. At the same time, it's a statement full of signals: Michael didn't enjoy the sort of company that might guide him in positive ways. He probably never did throughout his life. Maybe the most troubling passage in his autobiography Moonwalk is when he talks about children in the entertainment world who eventually fell prey to drugs: "I can understand … considering the enormous stresses put upon them at a young age. It's a difficult life."   Thriller placed seven singles in Billboard's Top 10 (presently around 50 million copies). At the 1984 Grammy Awards, Michael finally claimed his due, capturing eight awards, a record he holds with the band Santana, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Best Rock Vocal Performance for "Beat It," Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Vocal Performance for "Billie Jean," and he won an award for the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial storybook. In addition, the album won Producer of the year (Quincy Jones).    At the 11th Annual American Music Awards, Michael won another eight awards and became the youngest artist to win the Award of Merit. He also won Favorite Male Artist, Favorite Soul/R&B Artist, and Favorite Pop/Rock Artist. "Beat It" won Favorite Soul/R&B Video, Favorite Pop/Rock Video, and Favorite Pop/Rock Single. In addition, the album won Favorite Soul/R&B Album and Favorite Pop/Rock Album. Thriller's sales doubled after releasing an extended music video, Michael Jackson's Thriller, seeing Michael dancing with a group of incredibly designed zombies and was directed by John Landis.   Michael had the highest royalty rate in the music industry at that point, with about $2 for every album sold (equivalent to $5 in 2021). The same year, The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller, a documentary about the music video, won a Grammy for Best Music Video (Longform). At this time, The New York Times wrote, "in the world of pop music, there is Michael Jackson, and there is everybody else."   Oddly enough, On May 14, 1984, then-President Ronald Reagan gave Michael an award recognizing his support of alcohol and drug abuse charities.   In November 1983, Michael and his brothers partnered with PepsiCo in a $5 million promotional deal that broke records for a celebrity endorsement (equivalent to $13,603,408 in 2021).  On January 27, 1984, Michael and other members of the Jacksons filmed a Pepsi commercial. Pyrotechnics accidentally set Jackson's hair on fire during a simulated concert before a whole house of fans, causing second-degree burns to his scalp. Michael underwent treatment to hide the scars and had his third rhinoplasty shortly after. Pepsi settled out of court, and Jackson donated the $1.5 million settlement to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California; its now-closed Michael Jackson Burn Center was named in his honor. Michael signed a second agreement with Pepsi in the late 1980s for $10 million. The second campaign covered 20 countries and provided financial support for Jackson's Bad album and the 1987–88 world tour.  He was making SO much money and was the most significant music star globally.   Then, months later, it was announced that Michael would be setting out on a nationwide tour with the Jacksons. He didn't want to do it but felt obligated. Clearly, Michael was bigger, better, and "badder" than his family's limitations on him. He should have been taking the stage alone at this point in his career.   Jackson's aversion to the Victory Tour was apparent when he sat looking miserable at press conferences.   The Victory Tour of 1984 headlined the Jacksons and showcased Michael's new solo material to more than two million Americans. Following the controversy over the concert's ticket sales, Jackson donated his share of the proceeds, an estimated $3 to 5 million, to charity. What controversy, you ask?    Don King (yeah, boxing promoter Don King), Chuck Sullivan, and Papa Joe Jackson came up with a way to generate extra money from ticket sales. Those wanting to attend would have to send a postal money order for $120 ($310 in current dollars) along with a particular form to a lottery to buy blocks of four tickets at $30 apiece (US$78 in 2021 dollars), allegedly to stop scalpers. Upon receipt, the money was to be deposited into a standard money market account earning 7% annual interest; it would take six to eight weeks for the lottery to be held and money to be refunded to those that didn't win. Since only one in ten purchasers would win the lottery and receive tickets, there would be more money in the bank for that period than there were tickets to sell, and they expected to earn $10–12 million in interest. Obviously, the Jacksons were all for the idea, but Michael wasn't, and he warned them that it would be a public relations disaster. The $30 ticket price was already higher than most touring acts (like Prince and Bruce Springsteen) were charging at the time and was even worse by the requirement to buy four. This put tickets out of reach of many of Michael's African-American fans who were not financially secure. At this time, Michael was already being blasted about his physical look and music separating him from his race.  That community was joined by many commentators in the media in criticizing the Jackson's over the plan. Nevertheless, it worked, and people were lining up to get their newspapers to sign up for the lottery. On July 5, 1984, after receiving a letter from eleven-year-old fan Ladonna Jones, who accused the Jacksons and their promoters of being "selfish and just out for money," Michael held a press conference to announce changes in the tour's organization and also to announce that his share of the proceeds from the tour would be donated to charity. Jones later received VIP treatment at the Dallas concert. The following is Michael's speech at the press conference: "A lot of people are having trouble getting tickets. The other day I got a letter from a fan in Texas named Ladonna Jones. She'd been saving her money from odd jobs to buy a ticket, but with the turned tour system, she'd have to buy four tickets and she couldn't afford that. So, we asked our promoter to work out a new way of distributing tickets, a way that no longer requires a money order. There has also been a lot of talk about the promoter holding money for tickets that didn't sell. I've asked our promoter to end the mail order ticket system as soon as possible so that no one will pay money unless they get a ticket. Finally, and most importantly, there's something else I am going to announce today. I want you to know that I decided to donate all my money I make from our performance to charity. There will be further press statements released in the next two weeks."   Some procedures were modified; however, the ticket price remained unchanged, and at a press conference, Don King justified the $30 fee as appropriate and that he did not blame the promoters for charging that price, adding that "you must understand, you get what you pay for." During the last concert of the Victory Tour at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Jackson announced his split from The Jacksons during "Shake Your Body".   His charitable work continued with the release of "We Are the World" (1985), co-written with future Icon Lionel Richie, which raised money for the poor in the U.S. and Africa. It earned $63 million (equivalent to $158,728,032 in 2021) and became one of the best-selling singles, with 20 million copies sold. It won four Grammy Awards in 1985, including Song of the Year for Michael and Lionel as its writers.    Michael collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney in the early 1980s and learned that Paul was making $40 million a year from owning the rights to other artists' songs. By 1983, Michael had begun buying publishing rights to others' songs, but he was careful with his purchases, only bidding on a few of the dozens offered to him. Michael's early buys included Sly and the Family Stone's "Everyday People" (1968), Len Barry's "1–2–3" (1965), Dion DiMucci's "The Wanderer" (1961), and "Runaround Sue" (1961).   In 1984, it was announced that the publishing rights to nearly 4000 songs from ATV Music, including most of the Beatles' material, were coming up for sale. In 1981, Paul McCartney was offered the catalog for £20 million ($40 million). Michael submitted a bid of $46 million on November 20, 1984. When Michael and Paul were unable to make a joint purchase, McCartney did not want to be the sole owner of the Beatles' songs, and did not pursue an offer on his own. At first, Michael's team couldn't figure it out and walked away, but then they heard someone else was looking to buy them. Michael's increased bid of $47.5 million (equivalent to $119,675,897 in 2021) was accepted because he could close the deal faster. His purchase of ATV Music was finalized on August 10, 1985.   So, at this time, why was Michael being questioned about his look and his music? As a child, Michael had a sweet, dark-skinned appearance; many early Jackson 5 fans regarded him as the cutest of the brothers. J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness, has written, "[Michael] believed his skin… 'messed up my whole personality.' He no longer looked at people as he talked to them. His playful personality changed, and he became quieter and more serious. He thought he was ugly – his skin was too dark, he decided, and his nose too wide. It was no help that his insensitive father and brothers called him 'Big Nose.'" Also, as Jackson became an adolescent, he was horribly self-conscious about acne. Hilburn recalled going through a stack of photos with Jackson one night and coming across a picture of him as a teenager: "'Ohh, that's horrible,' [Jackson] said, recoiling from the picture."   The face Jackson displayed on the cover of Thriller had changed; the skin tone seemed lighter and his nose thinner and straighter. In his book, Moonwalk, Michael claimed that much of the physical overhaul was due to a change in his diet; he admitted to altering his nose and chin, but he denied he'd done anything to his skin. Still, the changes didn't end there. Over the years, Michael's skin grew lighter and lighter, his nose tapered more and more, and his cheekbones became more defined. This all became fair game for mockery to some; to others, it seemed like mutilation – not just because it might have been an act of conceit, aimed to keep him looking child-like, but worse because some believed Michael wanted to transform himself into a white person. Or an androgyne – somebody with both male and female traits.  Michael's art was still his best way of making a case for himself at that time. Then, in 1987, he released Bad, his highly-anticipated successor to Thriller. It may not have been as eventful and ingenious as Off the Wall and Thriller, but Bad was awesome.    It became the first album to produce five U.S. number-one singles: "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "Bad," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man in the Mirror," and "Dirty Diana.", which you can hear our version at the end of this episode. Another song, "Smooth Criminal," peaked at number seven. Bad won the 1988 Grammy for Best Engineered Recording – Non-Classical and the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form for "Leave Me Alone". Michael won an Award of Achievement at the American Music Awards in 1989 after Bad generated five number-one singles, became the first album to top the charts in 25 countries, and the best-selling album worldwide in 1987 and 1988. By 2012, it had sold between 30 and 45 million copies worldwide. Oh, and it was considered a "flop." Oh, and The title track for the Bad album was supposed to be a duet with Prince. But the latter walked away from it due to the opening line "Your butt is mine". "Now, who is going to sing that to whom? Cause [he] sure ain't singing that to me, and I sure ain't singing it to [him]," Prince said in a TV interview with American comedian Chris Rock.   Later that year, Michael staged his first solo tour, The Bad World Tour. It ran from September 12, 1987, to January 14, 1989. The tour had 14 sellouts in Japan and drew 570,000 people, nearly tripling the previous record for a single tour. In addition, the 504,000 people who attended seven sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium set a new Guinness World Record.   In 1988, Michael released the autobiography, as mentioned earlier, Moonwalk. It sold 200,000 copies and reached the top of the New York Times bestsellers list. In October, Michael released a film, Moonwalker, which featured live footage and short films starring himself and Goodfella star Joe Pesci. In the U.S., it was released direct-to-video and became the best-selling videocassette. The RIAA certified it as eight-time platinum. In March 1988, Jackson purchased 2,700 acres (11 km2) of land near Santa Ynez, California, to build a new home, Neverland Ranch, at $17 million (equivalent to $38,950,760 in 2021).   In 1991, Michael renewed his contract with Sony for $65 million (equivalent to $129,317,127 in 2021), a record-breaking deal. Also, in 1991, he released his eighth album, Dangerous, co-produced with Mr. Rumpshaker himself, Teddy Riley. It was certified eight times platinum in the U.S., and by 2018 had sold 32 million copies worldwide. In the U.S., the first single, "Black or White," was the album's highest-charting song; it was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks and achieved similar chart performances worldwide, and the video featured a very young Macauley Culkin.  The second single, "Remember the Time," peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and that video featured Eddie Murphy. At the end of 1992, Dangerous was the best-selling album worldwide and "Black or White" the best-selling single of the year worldwide at the BillboardMusic Awards.   Obviously, Michael wanted to tour in promotion of his latest album, and The Dangerous World Tour ran between June 1992 and November 1993 and grossed $100 million (equivalent to $187,583,506 in 2021); Jackson performed for 3.5 million people in 70 concerts, all of which were outside the U.S. A part of the proceeds went to the Heal the World Foundation. In addition, Michael sold the broadcast rights of the tour to HBO for $20 million, a record-breaking deal that still hasn't been broken.   Also, in 1993, Michael performed at the Super Bowl 27 halftime show in Pasadena, California. The NFL wanted a prominent musical artist to keep ratings high during halftime. It was the first Super Bowl where the halftime performance drew higher audience figures than the game. Jackson played "Jam," "Billie Jean," "Black or White," and "Heal the World." Dangerous rose 90 places in the album chart after the performance   In January 1993, Michael won three American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Album (Dangerous), Favorite Soul/R&B Single ("Remember the Time"), and he was the first to win the International Artist Award of Excellence. In addition, he won the "Living Legend Award" at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February. He attended the award ceremony with Brooke Shields. In addition, "Dangerous" was nominated for Best Vocal Performance (for "Black or White"), Best R&B Vocal Performance for "Jam," and Best R&B Song for "Jam."   In June 1995, Michael released the double album HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I. The album debuted at number one on the charts and certified for eight million sold in the U.S. It is the best-selling multi-disc album of all time, with 20 million copies (40 million units) sold worldwide. In addition, HIStory received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. The first single from HIStory was "Scream/Childhood." "Scream" was a duet with Michael's youngest sister Janet, or "Miss Jackson if you're nasty." The single reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and received a Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals." Also, at the time, in 1995, it was the most expensive music video ever produced. It had a budget of 7 million dollars. FOR ONE VIDEO!!  His second single, "You Are Not Alone," holds the Guinness world record for the first song to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In addition, it received a Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Vocal Performance" in 1995.   In November of the same year, Michael merged his ATV Music catalog with Sony's music publishing division, creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing. He kept ownership of half the company, earning $95 million upfront (equivalent to $168,941,909 in 2021) and the rights to a ton more songs.   Michael promoted HIStory with the obviously named HIStory World Tour, from September 7, 1996, to October 15, 1997. He performed 82 concerts in five continents, 35 countries, and 58 cities to over 4.5 million fans, making it his most attended tour. It grossed $165 million, or $302,346,462 today.   In 1997, Michael released Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, which contained remixes of singles from HIStory and five new songs. Worldwide sales stand at 6 million copies, making it the best-selling remix album ever. It reached number one in the U.K., as did the title track. In the U.S., the album reached number 24 and was certified platinum. Yeah, a remix album going platinum.   From October 1997 to September 2001, Michael worked on his tenth solo album, Invincible, which cost $30 million to record! Invincible was released on October 30, 2001. It was his first full-length album in six years and the last album of original material he would release in his lifetime. It debuted at number one in 13 countries, sold eight million copies worldwide, and went double platinum.   In September 2001, Michael performed in two "30th Anniversary concerts" with his brothers for the first time since 1984. The show also featured Mýa, Usher, Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Monica, Liza Minnelli, and Slash.    On January 9, 2002, Michael won his 22nd American Music Award for Artist of the Century.   On November 18, 2003, Sony released Number Ones, a greatest hits compilation. It was certified five-times platinum by the RIAA, and nine times platinum in the UK, for shipments of at least 2.7 million units.   During this time, allegations of child sexual abuse, and the trials that followed, were all over the news. If you're unfamiliar, you can research it for yourself.  Unfortunately, Michael's finances were also coming undone; he had been spending ludicrous sums, and he'd mismanaged his money – which took some doing since he had made such a vast fortune. As a result, the biggest star in the world had fallen from the tallest height. He left the country and moved to Bahrain, where it was announced that Jackson had signed a contract with a Bahrain-based startup, Two Seas Records; nothing came of the deal, and Two Seas CEO Guy Holmes, later said it was never finalized. That October, Fox News reported that Michael had been recording at a studio in County Westmeath, Ireland. It was unknown what he was working on or who had paid for the sessions; his publicist stated that he had left Two Seas by then. After that, Michael was only occasionally seen or heard from. Nobody knew whether he could recover his name or preserve his undeniable music legacy until he announced an incredibly ambitious series of 50 concerts – which he described as the "final curtain call."    The "This Is It" shows were his first significant concerts since the HIStory World Tour in 1997. Michael suggested he would retire after the shows. The initial plan was for 10 concerts in London, followed by shows in Paris, New York City, and Mumbai. Randy Phillips, president, and chief executive of AEG Live, predicted the first 10 dates would earn Jackson £50 million, or close to 63 Million US dollars. After record-breaking ticket sales, the London shows were increased to 50 dates; over one million tickets were sold in less than two hours. The concerts were to run from July 13, 2009, to March 6, 2010. Michael moved back to Los Angeles, where he rehearsed in the weeks leading up to the tour under the direction of choreographer Kenny Ortega, whom he had worked with during his previous tours. Most rehearsals took place at the Staples Center, which was owned by AEG.   It's hard to believe that Jackson, who was so proud of his public performances and so peerless at delivering them, would have committed himself to a project he might fail so tremendously. At the same time, it is not inconceivable that Michael Jackson could have been a man half-hungry and broken in the past few years. All that is certain is that on June 25, in Los Angeles, Michael Jackson met the only sure redemption he might know in the most famous unexpected, and mysterious death in current history. That redemption didn't come because he died, but because his death forced us to reconsider what his life added up to. Less than three weeks before the first This Is It show was due to kick off in London, with all concerts sold out, I repeat; sold out, Michael Jackson died from cardiac arrest caused by a propofol and benzodiazepine overdose. Conrad Murray, his personal physician, had given Michael different medications to help him sleep at his rented mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles. Paramedics received a 911 call at 12:22 pm Pacific time and arrived three minutes later. He wasn't breathing, and the medics performed CPR. Resuscitation efforts continued en route to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and for more than an hour after Michael's arrival, but were unsuccessful, and Michael Jackson, the king of pop, was pronounced dead at 2:26 pm.   News of his death spread quickly online, causing websites to slow down, crash from user overload, and put unprecedented strain on services and websites, including Google, AOL Instant Messenger, Twitter, and Wikipedia. Overall, web traffic rose by between 11% and 20%. MTV and BET aired marathons of Michael's music videos, and specials aired on television stations worldwide. MTV briefly returned to its original music video format, which is messed up that it took an Icon to die for MTV to actually be MUSIC TELEVISION, and they aired hours of Michael's music videos, with live news specials featuring reactions and interviews from MTV personalities and other celebrities.   His memorial was held on July 7, 2009, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, preceded by a private family service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park's Hall of Liberty. Over 1.6 million fans applied for tickets to the memorial; the 8,750 recipients were drawn at random, and each received two tickets. The memorial service was one of the most-watched events in streaming history, with an estimated US audience of 31.1 million and an estimated 2.5 to 3 billion worldwide. Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Hudson, and others performed at the memorial, and Smokey Robinson and Queen Latifah gave eulogies. Reverend Al Sharpton received a standing ovation with cheers when he told Michael's children: "Wasn't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with. But he dealt with it anyway." Michael's 11-year-old daughter Paris Katherine, wept as she addressed the crowd. Michael's body was entombed on September 3, 2009, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.   Oh, but wait. There's more. But of course there is. It's Michael Jackson!   His doctor was initially charged with involuntary manslaughter and was found guilty. So he was sentenced to four years. Yep... four friggin years.    After his death, Michael was still winning awards. He won 4 awards at 2009's AMA's, bringing his total AMA wins to 26, something no one else has touched.    The documentary "Michael Jackson's This Is It" came out shortly after, and I have seen it and loved it, as sad as it was knowing that he'd never get to perform those concerts. Despite a limited two-week engagement, the film became the highest-grossing documentary or concert film ever, with more than $260 million worldwide earnings.

Monday May 30, 2022

The future king of pop, Michael Joseph Jackson, was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana.   Joe Jackson, Michael's dad, was a former boxer and crane operator at U.S. Steel during the 1950s in Gary – according to a fantastic article by Rolling Stone, quoted in the book; Dave Marsh's Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream, there were actual quotas in place on how many black workers were allowed to move up the ladder into skilled trades in the city's mills. This idiocy meant black workers were paid less than white workers. Unfortunately, this also meant they were subject to higher rates of fatal industry-related illnesses – but Papa Joe hoped that music would lift his life. Michael's mother, Katherine Scruse, was from Alabama but lived in East Chicago, Indiana when she met Joe. Momma Katherine played clarinet and piano, had dreams of being a country-and-western performer, worked part-time at Sears, and was a Jehovah's Witness. She grew up listening to country & western music, and even though she had a dream to be a musician, she was stricken with a bout of polio that had left her with an unfortunate and permanent limp. Papa Joe and Momma Katherine were young when they married in 1949 and started on the idea of a big ol family. The first of the bunch was Maureen (aka Rebbie) in 1950, then Sigmund (aka Jackie) in 1951, Toriano (Tito) followed up in 1953, Jermaine in 1954, La Toya in 1956, Marlon in 1957. Then there came Michael in 1958, Randy in 1961, and little baby Janet in 1966, making her 16 years younger than Rebbie. Marlon was actually a twin but their brother, Brandon, died shortly after birth.   M.J. and his cluster of brothers and sisters constantly had music around them. Papa Joe was super into the new electric R&B sound tearing up Chicago, which wasn't far away, not to mention the beginning stages of early rock & roll. So Papa Joe formed a band with his brothers called "the Falcons," making some extra coin in the surrounding area at parties and small clubs. In his 1988 autobiography, Moonwalk, Michael wrote, "They would do some of the great early rock & roll and blues songs by Chuck Berry, Little Richard … you name it," Going on to say, "All those styles were amazing, and each had an influence on … us, though we were too young to know it at the time."   The Falcons eventually broke up, and Papa Joe put down his guitar and hid it in his bedroom closet. He wouldn't let anyone near it, let alone touch it, giving us insight into his control over the household. Regardless of Papa Joe's musical dismay, Momma Katherine taught her flock of kiddies how to harmonize while listening to her favorite country/western songs. Tito, just like daddy, was drawn to music and one day thought it was a bright idea to snag Papa Joe's precious guitar from the closet and take it to practice with his brothers. Well, guess what? He broke a string. Michael later said Joe whipped Tito for the infraction and, "he let him have it,." After the whoopin', Papa Joe told Tito to show him what he could do on the guitar. Well, Papa joe was floored. Tito impressed the crap out of him.   Is it possible that at that very moment, Papa Joe's lightbulb blew a breaker and saw his musical dreams come to fruition vicariously through his kids? First, he bought Tito his own guitar and taught him some Ray Charles music, then he got Jermaine a bass. Soon he was working all his sons into an ensemble. So, I'm going to say yes, the breaker blew. Papa Joe loved the blues, but he appreciated that his kids liked the new R&B – Motown and soul – and more than likely saw dollar signs every time they mentioned it. Joe wanted Jermaine to be the lead singer with Jackie and Tito, and Michael and Marlon playing the tambourine and congas. Michael has said that his father told him he had a "fat nose" (just a little foreshadowing here) and abused him during rehearsals. Michael recalled that Joe often sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as his children rehearsed, ready to punish any mistakes. Joe acknowledged that he regularly whipped Michael. Katherine said that although whipping came to be considered abuse, it was a common way to discipline children when Michael was growing up. Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon have said that their father wasn't abusive and that the whippings, which were harder on Michael because he was younger, kept them disciplined and out of trouble. Michael said his childhood was lonely and isolated.   At just four years old, Momma Katherine saw Michael singing along to a James Brown song, and she saw – in both his voice and moves – he was already better than his older brother. So she told Joe, "I think we have another lead singer." Katherine would later say that sometimes Michael's precocious abilities frightened her – she probably saw that his childhood might give way to stardom – but she also noticed that there was something undeniable about his young voice. Michael was also a natural entertainer. He absolutely loved singing and dancing, and because he was so young, the choice was clear, Michael was young, AND Michael was BAD. Get it? No? He was fantastic, OK?   Joe Jackson was good at what he did. "He knew exactly what I had to do to become a professional," Michael later said. "He taught me exactly how to hold a mic, make gestures to the crowd, and handle an audience." But by Joe's own admission, he was also unrelenting. "When I found out that my kids were interested in becoming entertainers, I really went to work with them," he told the time in 1984. "I rehearsed them about three years before I turned them loose. That's practically every day, for at least two or three hours. … They got a little upset about the whole thing in the beginning because the other kids were out having a good time. … Then I saw that after they became better, they enjoyed it more." That isn't always how Michael remembered it. "We'd perform for him, and he'd critique us," he wrote in Moonwalk. "If you messed up, you got hit, sometimes with a belt, sometimes with a switch. … I'd get beaten for things that happened mostly outside rehearsal. Dad would make me so mad and hurt that I'd try to get back at him and get beaten all the more. I'd take a shoe and throw it at him, or I'd just fight back, swinging my fists. That's why I got it more than all my brothers combined. I'd fight back, and my father would kill me, just tear me up." Those moments – and probably many more – created a loss that Jackson never got over. He was essential to the family's music-making, but there was no other bond between father and son. Again, from Moonwalk: "One of the few things I regret most is never being able to have a real closeness with him. He built a shell around himself over the years, and once he stopped talking about our family business, he found it hard to relate to us. We'd all be together, and he'd just leave the room."   Around 1964, Joe began entering the Jackson brothers in talent contests, many of which they handily won. Michael started sharing lead vocals with Jermaine, and the group's name was changed to the Jackson 5. In 1965, the group won a talent show; Michael performed the dance to Robert Parker's 1965 song "Barefootin'" and sang the Temptations' "My Girl." From 1966 to 1968, the Jackson 5 toured the Midwest; they frequently played at a string of black clubs known as the Chitlin' Circuit as the opening act for artists such as Sam & Dave, the O'Jays, Gladys Knight, and Etta James. Oh, and James Brown. No one was as important to Michael as James Brown.  "I knew every step, every grunt, every spin and turn," he recalled. "He would give a performance that would exhaust you, just wear you out emotionally. His whole physical presence, the fire coming out of his pores, would be phenomenal. You'd feel every bead of sweat on his face, and you'd know what he was going through….You couldn't teach a person what I've learned just standing and watching." The chitlin circuit was a collection of performance venues throughout the eastern, southern, and upper Midwest areas of the United States that provided commercial and cultural acceptance for African American musicians, comedians, and other entertainers during the era of racial segregation in the United States through the 1960s. The Jackson 5 also performed at clubs and cocktail lounges, where striptease shows were featured, and local auditoriums and high school dances. In August 1967, while touring the East Coast, they won a weekly amateur night concert at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY.   "At first, I told myself they were just kids," Joe said in 1971. "I soon realized they were very professional. There was nothing to wait for. The boys were ready for stage training, and I ran out of reasons to keep them from the school of hard knocks." So in 1966, he booked his sons into Gary's black nightclubs and some in Chicago. Many of the clubs served alcohol and several featured strippers. "This is quite a life for a nine-year-old," Katherine would remind her husband, but Joe was undaunted. "I used to stand in the wings of this one place in Chicago and watch a lady whose name was Mary Rose," Michael recalled. "This girl would take off her clothes and panties and throw them to the audience. The men would pick them up and sniff them and yell. My brothers and I would be watching all this, taking it in, and my father wouldn't mind." Sam Moore of Sam and Dave recalled Joe locking Michael – who was maybe 10 years old – in a dressing room while Joe went off on his own adventures. Michael sat alone for hours. He also later recalled having to go onstage even if he'd been sick in bed that day.   On those tours, the most famous place was the Apollo in New York, where the Jackson 5 won an Amateur Night show in 1967. Joe had invested everything he had in his sons' success, though any accurate recognition or profit would also be his success. While on the circuit, Joe had known Gladys Knight, who was enjoying a string of small wins with Motown, America's pre-eminent black pop label. With the encouragement of both Knight and Motown R&B star Bobby Taylor, of Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers, Joe took his sons to Detroit to audition for the label after they opened for Taylor at Chicago's Regal Theater in 1968. Taylor produced some of their early Motown recordings, including a version of "Who's Lovin' You."   In 1969, Motown moved the Jackson family to Los Angeles, set them up at the homes of Diana Ross and the label's owner, Berry Gordy, and began grooming them. Finally, Motown executives decided Ms. Ross should introduce the Jackson 5 to the public. Michael remembered Gordy telling them, "I'm gonna make you the biggest thing in the world. … Your first record will be a number one, your second record will be a number one, and so will your third record. Three number-one records in a row."  In 1959, Gordy founded Tamla Records – which soon became known as Motown – in Detroit. By the time he signed the Jackson 5, Motown had long enjoyed its status as the most essential black-owned and -operated record label in America, spawning the successes of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Temptations, Mary Wells, the Four Tops, and Diana Ross and the Supremes, among others. Unlike Stax and Atlantic, Motown's soul wasn't incredibly bluesy or gritty, nor was it music that spoke explicitly to social matters or to the black struggle in the U.S. By its nature, the label exemplified black achievement. Still, its music was made to be consumed by the pop mainstream – which of course, meant a white audience as much as a black one (the label's early records bore the legend "The Sound of Young America"). At the time, rock music was exceedingly becoming a medium for full-length albums. However, Motown maintained its identity as a label that manufactured hit singles, despite groundbreaking albums by Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Gordy was looking for a singles-oriented group to deliver hits for young people and give them somebody to identify as their own and admire. The Jackson 5, Gordy said, would exemplify "bubblegum soul." The Jackson 5 made their first television appearance in 1969 in the Miss Black America pageant, performing a cover of "It's Your Thing." Rolling Stone later described the young Michael as "a prodigy" with "overwhelming musical gifts" who "quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer."   The Jackson 5's first three singles – "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "The Love You Save" – became Number One hits as Gordy had promised, and so did a fourth, "I'll Be There." "I Want You Back" became the first Jackson 5 song to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100; it stayed there for four weeks. It was originally written for Gladys Knight and The Pips and Diana Ross. The group was established as the breakout sensation of 1970. Fred Rice, who would create Jackson 5 merchandise for Motown, said, "I call 'em the black Beatles. … It's unbelievable." And he was right. The Jackson 5 defined the transition from 1960s soul to 1970s pop as much as Sly and the Family Stone. When many Americans were uneasy about minority aspirations to power, the Jackson 5 displayed an agreeable ideal of black pride, reflecting kinship and aspiration rather than opposition. Moreover, they represented a realization that the civil rights movement made possible, which couldn't have happened even five or six years earlier. Not to mention, the Jackson 5 earned the respect of the critics. Reviewing "I Want You Back" in Rolling Stone, Jon Landau wrote, "The arrangement, energy and simple spacing of the rhythm all contribute to the record's spellbinding impact." Yes, we all they were a fantastic group. However, there was no question about who the Jackson 5's true star was and who they depended on. Michael's voice also worked beyond conventional notions of male-soul vocals – it surpassed genders. Cultural critic and musician Jason King wrote, "It is not an exaggeration to say that he was the most advanced popular singer of his age in the history of recorded music. His untrained tenor was uncanny. By all rights, he shouldn't have had as much vocal authority as he did at such a young age." In May 1971, the Jackson family moved into a large house on a two-acre estate in Encino, California. Michael turned from a child performer into a heart-throbbing teen idol during this period.   Michael and his brothers seemed like they were everywhere for at least the first few years and enjoyed the praise of the masses. But soon, they experienced some problematic limitations. The music they were making wasn't really of invention – they didn't write or produce it – and after Michael was relegated to recording throwback tunes like "Rockin' Robin," in 1972, he worried that the Jackson 5 would become an "oldies act" before he left adolescence.    Michael released four solo studio albums with Motown: Got to Be There (1972), Ben (1972), Music & Me (1973), and Forever, Michael(1975). "Got to Be There" and "Ben," the title tracks from his first two solo albums, sold well as singles, as did a cover of the aforementioned, Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin."   They were frustrated by Motown's refusal to give creative input, so The Jackson 5 started producing themselves and creating their own sound. When given creative leeway, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye showed the ability to grow and change – and sell records. And with 1974's "Dancing Machine," the Jacksons proved they could thrive when they tackled a funk groove and brought the robot dance into popularity. Motown, however, wouldn't consider it. "They not only refused to grant our requests," Michael said in Moonwalk, "they told us it was taboo to even mention that we wanted to do our own music." Michael understood this: Motown would not let the Jackson 5 grow. But unfortunately, they also wouldn't let him grow as an artist. So Michael waited, studying the producers he and his brothers worked with. "I was like a hawk preying in the night," he said. "I'd watch everything. They didn't get away with nothing without me seeing. I really wanted to get into it."   In 1975, The Jackson 5 left Motown, and Joe Jackson negotiated a new deal for his sons with Epic Records for a 500 percent royalty-rate increase and renamed themselves the Jacksons, with younger brother Randy joining the band around this time. The contract also stipulated solo albums from the Jacksons (though the arrangement did not include Jermaine, who married Gordy's daughter Hazel and stayed with Motown, creating a rift with the family that lasted for several years). Motown tried to block the deal and stopped the brothers from using the Jackson 5 name. Instead, epic initially placed them with Philadelphia producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Still, it wouldn't be until 1978's "Destiny" that the Jacksons, with Michael as their primary songwriter, finally took control over their music and rebranded their sound with the dance-tastic hits "Blame It on the Boogie" and "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)," while bringing a newly found emotional embellishment in songs like "Push Me Away" and "Bless His Soul." Destiny, however, was just the start. After that, Michael was ready to make significant changes to establish his dominance as a solo artist.    In 1977, Michael moved to New York City to star as the Scarecrow in The Wiz. It costarred Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross. The movie was a box-office failure but has gained significant traction as a cult classic. Its score was arranged by a gentleman named Quincy Jones, who later produced three of Michael's solo albums. In New York, Jackson often hung out at the Studio 54 nightclub, where he discovered early hip hop; this influenced his beatboxing on future tracks such as "Working Day and Night." In 1978, Jackson broke his nose during a dance routine. A rhinoplasty led to breathing difficulties that later affected his career.    During this time, he fired his father as his manager and found himself a new father figure, that guy Quincy Jones. Jones was a respected jazz musician, bandleader, composer, and arranger who had worked with Clifford Brown, Frank Sinatra, Lesley Gore, Count Basie, Aretha Franklin, and Paul Simon. In addition, he wrote the film scores for The Pawnbroker, In Cold Blood, and In the Heat of the Night.    Michael liked Quincy's ear for mixing complex hard beats with soft overlayers. "It was the first time that I fully wrote and produced my songs," Jackson said later, "and I was looking for somebody who would give me that freedom, plus somebody who's unlimited musically." Specifically, Michael said his solo album had to sound different than the Jacksons; he wanted a cleaner and funkier sound. These two getting together was history in the making. Quincy brought an ethereal buoyancy to Michael's 5th solo album, Off the Wall, and his soft erotic fever on songs like "Rock With You" and "Don't Stop' Til You Get Enough," and in a fantastic moment like "She's Out of My Life," Where Quincy pulled out and left the intense heartbreak in Michael's voice. The tears in She's Out of My Life are real. Jackson would break down in tears at the end of each studio take. "We recorded about - I don't know - 8 to 11 takes, and every one at the end, he just cried," producer Quincy Jones said. "I said, 'Hey - that's supposed to be, leave it on there.'" The resulting album was a massive hit, selling more than 5 million copies in the U.S. alone by 1985 and producing four top ten singles. It reached number 3 on the Billboard 200 and sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” was solely written by Michael. He decided to write the song after constantly humming the melody at home.   Michael won three American Music Awards for his solo work in 1980: Favorite Soul/R&B Album, Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, and Favorite Soul/R&B Single for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough." He also won a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough." However, he thought he should have taken away more.  The Doobie Brothers' "What a Fool Believes" won Record of the Year, and Billy Joel's 52nd Street won Album of the Year. Michael was stunned and kind of bitter. "My family thought I was going crazy because I was weeping so much about it," he later said. "I felt ignored and it hurt. I said to myself, 'Wait until next time' – they won't be able to ignore the next album. … That experience lit a fire in my soul."  Michael told Quincy and others that his next album wouldn't simply be more immense than "Off the Wall," it would be the biggest album ever. Man, he wasn't lying.   In 1981, Michael was the American Music Awards winner for Favorite Soul/R&B Album and Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist. In 1980, he secured the highest royalty rate in the music industry: 37 percent of wholesale album profit.   So what are royalties, you may ask? Music royalties are compensation payments received by songwriters, composers, recording artists, and their respective representatives in exchange for the licensed use of their music.   Michael recorded with Freddie Mercury, the star-studded frontman of future Icons Queen, from 1981 to 1983, recording demos of "State of Shock," "Victory," and "There Must Be More to Life Than This." The recordings were supposed to be for an album of duets, but, according to Queen's manager Jim Beach, the relationship went to crap when Jackson brought a llama into the recording studio. Yes, a llama. Also, Michael was upset by Mercury's drug use. But yet... a llama.  Luckily, those songs were released in 2014. Michael recorded "State of Shock" with Mick Jagger for the Jacksons' album Victory (1984), the fifteenth studio album by the Jacksons. The album was the only album to include all six Jackson brothers together as an official group; also, it was the band's last album to be entirely recorded with Michael as lead singer. In 1982, Michael contributed "Someone in the Dark" to the audiobook for the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Monday May 23, 2022

David Eric Grohl was born in Warren, Ohio on January 14, 1969. Mom is teacher Virginia Jean Hanlon and dad was news writer James Harper Grohl. In addition to being an award-winning journalist, Dave’s dad had also served as the special assistant to Republican Congressman and US Senator Robert Taft Jr.  When Dave was young, the Grohl family moved to Springfield, Virginia. When he was seven, his parents divorced, and he was raised primarily by his mom. At the age of 12, he began learning to play the guitar. He grew tired of lessons and instead taught himself, eventually playing in bands with friends. He said, "I was going in the direction of faster, louder, darker while my sister, Lisa, three years older, was getting seriously into new wave territory. We'd meet in the middle sometimes with Bowie and Siouxsie and the Banshees." At 13, Grohl and his sister spent the summer at their cousin Tracey's house in Illinois. Cousin Tracey introduced them to punk rock by taking the pair to shows by several different punk bands. His first concert was Naked Raygun at The Cubby Bear in Chicago in 1982. Grohl recalled, "From then on we were totally punk. We went home and bought Maximumrocknroll, (a punk subculture music zine that ran from 1982 to 2019) and tried to figure it all out." In Virginia, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School as a freshman and was shockingly elected class vice-president. He taught himself to play pieces of songs by punk bands like Circle Jerks and Bad Brains and, using his clout as vice president, would play them over the school intercom before his morning announcements. His mother decided he should transfer to Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria because he was smoking too much weed and it was affecting his grades. He stayed there for two years, one of those repeating his first year.  After his second year, he transferred yet again to Annandale High School. While in high school, he played in several local bands, including a short stint as guitarist in a band called Freak Baby. It was during this period that he thought it was a good idea to switch to learning drums. When Freak Baby kicked out its bass player and reshuffled its lineup, Davel took on the role of drummer and history was made. Show’s over, folks! The band then changed their name to “Mission Impossible.” Dave has said he did not take drumming lessons and instead learned by listening to Rush and punk rock bands. Obviously, insanely talented and possible robot and Rush drummer Neil Peart was an early influence: "When I got 2112 when I was eight years old, it fucking changed the direction of my life. I heard the drums. It made me want to become a drummer." During his beginning years as a drummer, Grohl cited John Bonham as his greatest influence, and eventually had Bonham's three-rings symbol tattooed on his right shoulder. Mission Impossible changed their name once again to “Fast” before breaking up, after which Dave joined the hardcore punk band Dain Bramage in December 1985.  Dain Bramage ended in March 1987 when Dave up and quit without warning to join Scream, having produced the I Scream Not Coming Down LP. Many of Dave’s early influences were at the 9:30 Club, a music venue in Washington, D.C. He said, "I went to the 9:30 Club hundreds of times. I was always so excited to get there, and I was always bummed when it closed. I spent my teenage years at the club and saw some shows that changed my life." As a teenager in D.C.,Dave briefly thought about joining shock-rocker punk/metal band, GWAR, who were looking for a drummer around this time. At age 17, Dave auditioned with local Washington, D.C. favorites Scream to fill the vacancy left by the departure of drummer Kent Stax. In order to be considered for the position, Dave lied about his age, saying he was 34. I’m kidding but he did say he was older. To Dave’s surprise, the band asked him to join and so he pulled a Jay-Z (last week’s Icon) and dropped out of high school in his junior year. He has been quoted as saying, "I was 17 and extremely anxious to see the world, so I did it." Over the next four years, Grohl toured extensively with Scream, recording a couple of live albums (their show of May 4, 1990 in Alzey, Germany being released by Tobby Holzinger as Your Choice Live Series Vol.10) and two studio albums, No More Censorship and Fumble, on which Grohl penned and sang vocals on the song "Gods Look Down". During a Toronto stop on their 1987 tour, Grohl played drums for Iggy Pop at a CD release party held at the El Mocambo, which became best known for the 1977 surprise show by The Rolling Stones, which became popular when then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's wife, Margaret Trudeau, showed up and partied with the Stones.. In 1990, Scream unexpectedly disbanded mid-tour when bassist Skeeter Thompson left the band. Nirvana (1990–1994) We obviously can’t talk about Foo Fighters without discussing Nirvana. They’ll definitely have their own episode so we won’t get too into them today. While playing in Scream, Grohl became a fan of the Melvins and eventually befriended them. During a 1990 tour stop on the West Coast, Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne took his friends Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, of future Icons Nirvana, to go see Scream. Grohl called Osborne for advice after Scream disbanded and Osborne informed him that Nirvana was looking for a drummer. He gave Dave the phone numbers of Cobain and Novoselic, who then invited Grohl out to Seattle to audition. Grohl soon joined the band. Novoselic later said, "We knew in two minutes that he was the right drummer." Dave told the U.K. based magazine Q: "I remember being in the same room with them and thinking, 'What? That's Nirvana? Are you kidding?' Because on their record cover they looked like psycho lumberjacks... I was like, 'What, that little dude and that big motherfucker? You're kidding me'." When Dave joined Nirvana, they had already recorded several demos for the follow-up to their debut album Bleach, produced and recorded by Butch Vig. Initially, the plan was to release the album on Sub Pop, but they received a ton of label interest based on their demos. Dave spent the initial months with Nirvana traveling to various labels as the band shopped for a deal, eventually signing with DGC Records. In the spring of 1991, the band entered the infamous Sound City Studios in Los Angeles to record Nevermind as seen in Dave’s amazing documentary, Sound City, from 2013. The album Nevermind was released later that year and exceeded all expectations becoming a worldwide commercial success. At the same time, Dave was compiling and recording his own material, which he released on a cassette called Pocketwatch in 1992 on indie label Simple Machines. Rather than using his own name for the project, Dave released the songs under his pseudonym "Late!" In the later years of Nirvana, Dave’s songwriting increased. In his first months in Olympia, Washington, Kurt Cobain overheard him working on a song called "Color Pictures of a Marigold", and they wound up working on it together. Dave would later record the song for the Pocketwatch cassette. Dave stated in a 2014 episode of the documentary series, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways, that Kurt kissed him when he first heard a demo of "Alone + Easy Target" that Dave had recently recorded. According to Dave, "I'd told him I was recording and he said, 'Oh, I wanna hear it, bring it by.' He was sitting in the bath-tub with a walkman on, listening to the song, and when the tape ended, he took the headphones off and kissed me and said, 'Oh, finally, now I don't have to be the only songwriter in the band!' I said, 'No, no, no, I think we're doing just fine with your songs.'" Nirvana would jam Dave’s song on soundchecks during their 1991 European tour. Dave reluctantly held back his songs in the beginning. In a 1997 interview he said, "I was in awe of [Kurt Cobain's songs], and [I was] intimidated. I thought it was best that I kept my songs to myself." During the sessions for In Utero, Nirvana’s third and final studio album, the band decided to re-record "Color Pictures of a Marigold" and released it as a B-side on the "Heart-Shaped Box" single, with a slight title change; "Marigold". Dave also wrote the main guitar riff for "Scentless Apprentice", another song on In Utero. In a 1993 MTV interview, Kurt had said that, at first, he thought the riff was "kind of boneheaded", but was happy with how the song developed. Part of this development process can be heard  in a demo on the Nirvana box set ``With the Lights Out”, released in 2004. Cobain had said that he was excited at the possibility of having Chris Novoselic and Dave contribute more to the band's songwriting. Before embarking on their 1994 European tour, Nirvana scheduled session time at the popular Robert Lang Studios in Seattle to knock out some demos. The recording session was only 3 days long and Cobain wasn’t there for most of it, so Chris and Dave worked on demos of their own songs. They completed several of Dave’s songs, including future Foo Fighters songs "Exhausted", "Big Me", "February Stars", and "Butterflies". On the third day, Kurt finally arrived, and the band recorded a demo of a song later Titled "You Know You're Right". It was to be Nirvana’s last studio recording.   After the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, the band known as Nirvana broke up. Dave received numerous offers to work with various artists and there were rumors saying he might join Pearl Jam. Dave almost accepted a position as the drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He later said: "I was supposed to just join another band and be a drummer the rest of my life. I thought that I would rather do what no one expected me to do."  Instead he booked time at Robert Lang Studios in October 1994 and began recording 15 of his own songs. Dave played every instrument and sang every vocal part on the record with the exception of one guitar part on "X-Static", which was played by Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs,.  He completed an album's worth of material in only five days and handed out cassette copies of the sessions to his friends for feedback.   Dave hoped to keep his anonymity and release the recordings in a limited run under the title "Foo Fighters", taken from the World War II term "foo fighter", used to refer to unidentified flying objects. "Around the time that I recorded the first FF tape, I was reading a lot of books on UFO's. Not only is it a fascinating subject, but there's a treasure trove of band names in those UFO books!" he said. "So, since I had recorded the first record by myself, playing all the instruments, but I wanted people to think that it was a group, I figured that FOO FIGHTERS might lead people to believe that it was more than just one guy. Silly, huh?" Continuing, Dave contends that a better band name could have been created. "Had I actually considered this to be a career, I probably would have called it something else, because it's the stupidest fucking band name in the world."   The demo tape circulated the music industry, creating serious interest among record labels. This WAS the drummer from arguably the biggest rock band in the world, right?  Dave put together a  band to support the album. He talked to Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic about joining, but they both decided against it; Dave said it would have felt "really natural" for them to work together, but would have been "weird" for the others and place more pressure on himself.   Having heard about Sunny Day Real Estate breaking up, Dave snagged the group's bass player, Nate Mendel, and their drummer, William Goldsmith. Dave then asked George Ruthenberg to join the band as their second guitarist. George, better known as Pat Smear, played as a touring guitarist for Nirvana after the release of In Utero. Pat was one of the founding members of the iconic punk band, The Germs, and Dave was a huge fan.   Dave then licensed the album to Capitol Records, releasing it on his new record label, Roswell Records. Get it? Roswell. UFO’s?   The very first Foo Fighters show happened on February 19th, 1995. They played above a boat house in Seattle in front of friends and family. They made their official live, public debut on February 23rd, 1995 at a gig at the Jambalaya Club in Arcata California. They just happened to be in the area mixing their album when a local promoter asked the cover band, The Unseen, if Foo Fighters could open for them. They agreed.   Dave and his band of Foo Fighters then embarked on their first US tour in April of 1995 in support of The Stooges and Porno For Pyros bass player Mike Watt’s solo tour. This tour featured an additional new band called “Hovercraft”, an instrumental outfit featuring Pearl Jam singer, Eddie Vedder. Dave refused to play large venues or even do interviews to promote their debut album. The first single, “This Is A Call”, was released in June of 1995 and the album, “Foo Fighters”, was released in July containing the follow up singles “I’ll Stick Around”, “For All the Cows”, and “Big Me”.   Foo Fighters toured for almost an entire year and then jumped right back into the studio. This time it was Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, Washington with English producer Gil Norton who produced the Pixies, Jimmie Eat World, Counting Crows and so many more.   Dave, of course, wrote the songs but the band had a hand in arrangements. Nearly finished, he took the rough mixes to LA to finish his vocal and guitar parts. As he was listening to the mixes, something just didn’t sound right. It wasn’t what he envisioned. The drums weren’t perfect, not that they were bad. Dave was a drummer. He knew drums. He had a career based on playing the drums and could arguably be considered one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. So, he set up some drums, mic’d them up and re-recorded the drums for the album. All of them.   Dave wanted Goldsmith to remain as their live drummer, but he was rightfully butthurt. Goldsmith quit. He quit what would become one of the biggest rock bands ever. Recently, drummer William Goldsmith has said “It was a pain in the ass. Like, that’s the only band that I wish I could just, like, remove that from.” He continued by saying: “It doesn’t matter what happened because the Foo Fighters are like Disney. Everyone wants to love Mickey Mouse. Everyone loves Mickey Mouse, so it's a difficult thing, but sometimes Mickey Mouse is a little rough around the edges. It’s a no win scenario, so I’d rather remove it. I think the best thing to do is have a one on one conversation with Mickey.” He has gone to say that he has no ill will towards Dave.   Shortly after this, Pat Smear decided to leave, as well, claiming he was exhausted and burnt out. Goldsmith and Smear were replaced by the late, great Taylor Hawkins and former Scream guitarist Franz Stahl, respectively, although Stahl was fired before the recording of the group's third album, There Is Nothing Left to Lose in 1999.    Drummer Taylor Hawkins had played as Alanis Morissette’s drummer from June of 1995 until March of 1997 in support of her “Jagged Little Pill” and “Can’t Not” tours.   I thought it would be cool to hear Taylor explain how he wound up being Foo Fighters drummer and Dave Grohl’s best friend. This is all from interviews Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohkl did with NME, Entertainment Weekly and Kerrang.   “I’d met Dave at this [US radio station] K-Rock Christmas show because Foo Fighters were on their way up and Alanis Morrissette was through the f***ing stratosphere at that point,”. “Me and Dave just looked like long lost brothers in a weird way.    “We had a similar vibe and I don’t know why. I remember my friend playing with the Foo Fighters before I met Dave and watching them goof around backstage. He said to me, ‘That guy could be like your brother.’ “And sure enough, when we met, we just thought, ‘We’re brothers from another mother!’ It was instantaneous – so much so that Alanis Morrisette just said ‘What are you going to do when Dave asks you to be the drummer in the Foo Fighters?'” “I was driving with my girlfriend at the time, and we were listening to KROQ,” “I heard William had departed and they were looking for a new drummer.”   Tylor immediately called Dave. “I said, ‘I heard you guys are looking for a drummer,’ and he said, ‘Well, do you know any?’ I thought Alanis wanted to go in a more laid-back direction, and it seemed like the right time to jump. Alanis didn’t need me! I basically said to Dave, ‘I’ll play drums for you,’ and we jammed a couple of times.  “I remember I was at home watching Showgirls with my girlfriend, and Dave called to ask if I wanted to join.” Initially, Dave never thought Taylor would leave Morissette and Taylor’s allegiance was always with Alanis; that’s why he asked Taylor if he knew of any good drummers. When Hawkins agreed to join, all Dave cared about was that he was getting a friend, not a great drummer.  Dave told Entertainment Weekly, “I sent Taylor a tape of one of the new songs. It was ‘Monkey Wrench.’ I went over to his little house in Topanga Canyon, he sat down and played for three seconds, and the first time he hit a snare drum, I knew it.”  Dave knew Taylor was the guy. “I swear to God, I was like, ‘That’s all I need to f***ing hear. I love you as a person. You’ve just given me hearing damage for the rest of my life in three seconds. You have to be in the band.” Later, Grohl said Hawkins came into his life like an F5 tornado. “When he joined the band, his drumming was the least important factor – I just thought I want to travel the world with this guy, I want to jump on stage and drink beers with this person. That was my biggest concern,”. Morissette didn’t take Hawkins leaving personally. They remained friends over the years. Taylor has said he would have been delivering pizzas if it wasn’t for her. She was the first person who gave him a break in the music world. “She gave me a lot of space to do what I wanted. It was probably the biggest album of the year (referencing her debut album “Jagged Little Pill”), and there was a lot of pressure on her. She was having to learn to be this leader on the job, which isn’t easy. But it was really one of the most fun times of my life.” The band announced Tylor would be its new drummer on March 18, 1997. His first appearance with the Foo Fighters was in the music video for the 1997 single "Monkey Wrench", although the song was recorded before he joined the band.   Foo Fighter’s second album, “The Colour and the Shape” was released on May 20th, 1997 through Capitol and Roswell Records with the legendary singles, “Monkey Wrench”, “Everlong” and “My Hero” blasting through the airwaves. The album charted at number ten on the Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy in 1998 for best rock album. It has sold more than 2 million copies.   The band then traveled to Dave’s home state of Virginia in 1998 to record their third album, “There Is Nothing Left To Lose”. Dave and Pat Smear’s replacement, Franz Stahl, just couldn’t see eye to eye as songwriters. Dave said "in those few weeks it just seemed like the three of us were moving in one direction and Franz wasn't." Franz was Dave’s childhood friend and the decision to fire him from the band was a hard one.    Then, shortly after Franz’s termination, bassist Nate Mendel called Dave and said he was quitting to rejoin Sunny Day Real Estate, but the next day changed his mind and decided not to leave.    Dave, Taylor and Nate spent the next several months recording their third album at Dave’s home studio. “There Is Nothing Left To Lose” spawned mega hits like “Learn To Fly”, “Stacked Actors”, “Generator” and “Break Out”.    “Learn To Fly” was the band’s first single to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100.   Right before the album was released, the president of Capitol Records (Foo Fighters record label), Gary Gersh was forced out and with the help of a “key man clause” in their contract, they were allowed to leave Capitol upon Gersh’s release. They left Capitol to sign with RCA who then bought the rights to their previous albums from Capitol.   Upon completing the recording of their third album, the band started auditioning guitarists. Foo Fighters selected No Use For A Name and, what I didn’t know, Me First and The Gimmie Gimmies guitarist, Chris Shiflett. He was only supposed to come into the fold as the band’s touring guitarist, but was hired on full time before they recorded “One By One”, their fourth studio album.   Right around 2001, Dave and Taylor, being diehard fans of the band Queen, established a relationship with the future Icons and Outlaws episode subjects. Dave and Taylor had the distinct pleasure of inducting them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that same year and joined them to perform the 1976 classic, Tie Your Mother Down, with Taylor playing drums alongside Roger Taylor. Queen’s legendary guitarist Brian May even added a guitar track to Foo Fighters' second cover of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar", which was on the soundtrack to Mission: Impossible 2. In 2002, guitarist Brian May contributed guitar work to Tired of You and an outtake called Knucklehead. The bands have performed together on several occasions since, including VH1 Rock Honors and Foo Fighters' headlining gig at Hyde Park in London, England.   At the end of 2001, the boys got together to record their fourth studio record, “One By One. They spent four months in a LA studio and something was off. The spark just wasn’t there and the band were having issues, internally. So, Dave stepped away for a while and worked with Queens of the Stone Age, helping them complete their 2002 record, “Songs for the Deaf”. Touring commenced for Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age, but the internal struggles were still there and just as they were about to call it quits, they hit the stage at Coachella. Dave and Taylor wanted to complete the album and the next day, they rocked the festival and agreed to do so.   Almost every part of the album was scrapped and re-recorded at Dave’s studio in Virginia, in only ten days. Seven songs from the original recording of One By One eventually leaked, but the full album has never been released. That record has often been referred to as “Million Dollar Demos”.   The band finally released its fourth album, One by One, in 2002. This record had hit singles like “All My Life”, “Have It All”, “Low” and “Times Like These”. This was Chris Shiflett’s first recorded appearance as part of the band and where Taylor played all of the drums. “One By One” topped the charts globally and sold a million units in the U.S., bringing home a Grammy for Best Rock Album in 2004.   Supporting One By One by touring for a year and half, Dave wasn’t in a hurry to record another Foo Fighters album. He was more interested in doing an acoustic, solo record but it turned into a full band ordeal. They built a new studio in Northridge, Los Angeles, called Studio 606 West and began recording their 5th album, In Your Honor, a two disc set with full blown rock songs on one and the other with acoustic tracks. It was released in 2005 and had the hits, “DOA”, “Resolve” and one of my all time favorites, “Best of You”. The album also had guest performances by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Queen of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Norah Jones. It also featured their new keyboardist, Rami Jaffee of the Wallflowers, who wouldn’t become a full-time member until 2017.    “In Your Honor” was nominated for five Grammy Awards, hit the number one spot in five countries and number two in the U.S., selling more than a million copies.   Foo Fighters released their first live CD, “Skin and Bones” in November of 2006, with 15 songs recorded at a 3 night performance at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. The album featured a violinist, Pat Smear joining in and a three song encore with Dave playing “Best of You”, “Everlong”, and “Friend of a Friend”. The record debuted at number 21 on the Billboard 200, sold 49,000 copies in its first week and over 357,000 total.    Foo Fighters released its sixth album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, in 2007 and recruited producer Gil Norton, who worked on the band’s “The Colour and the Shape”. This was primarily because Dave felt the songs were different from the band's previous input and "had the potential to be something great". So, he considered that instead of doing something like the last three albums, the band had to go out of "our own comfort zone" and "needed someone to push us out of there".   Preparing to record this album was extensive: first Dave started off developing demos with Taylor, but for the first time he tried to input vocals and lyrics early in the writing phase. After finalizing the song's composition with guitarist Chris and bassist Nate, Dave spent two weeks with Gil Norton discussing "arrangements, harmony and melody" and condensing the song ideas. They then spent four weeks rehearsing, and playing "a song a day, from noon to midnight". Taylor stated that "we basically played each of these songs 100 different times, trying every little thing every different way" and that it was the first time since The Colour and the Shape ``that Dave had to deal with someone in the room questioning all his ideas". Dave claimed the choices were for the "most powerful, dramatic songs" and that there was an effort to "make everything sound as natural as possible – just like on the albums we grew up listening to".    On this album’s sound, Taylor Hawkins said: "We haven't been ready to write a record like this until now. I know that Dave wouldn't have been comfortable putting violins on a song before. But for whatever reasons, it just felt like the right time to explore those things now. The last record, obviously, was half heavy stuff, half acoustic songs. So it really was like two sides of the coin. It sounds obvious, but this time around we weren't afraid of incorporating everything into one song if it felt right." The first single, “The Pretender”, topped Billboard’s modern rock chart for 19 weeks. Other singles from this album were “Long Road to Ruin”, “Let It Die” and “Cheer Up Boys”. It was nominated for five Grammys, winning Best Rock Album and Best Hard Rock Performance and won the Brit Award, (Britain's version of the American Recording Academy) for Best International Album.   Foo Fighters hit the road again in 2007 on a world tour and at the European MTV Music Awards, Pat Smear was confirmed as a returned member of the band.   June 7th, 2008 saw Foo Fighters headline the world renowned Wembley Stadium in London, England. Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin joined them on stage and after rocking out the songs “Rock and Roll” and “Ramble On”, Dave excitedly shouted “Welcome to the greatest fucking day of my whole entire life!”   The attendance at this amazing sold out concert was 85,000.  In August 2010, the band began recording their seventh studio album with the return of producer Butch Vig. The album was recorded in Dave’s garage using only analog equipment. The album won five Grammys and was nominated for six.    Planning the seventh album, Dave realized he was bored of the band's typical recording process. Even though the group own 606 Studios, he is still a punk rocker at heart, and found himself yearning for a grittier, wholly analogue approach to recording. One night in his hotel room in Melbourne, while on tour with Them Crooked Vultures (his side project with Josh Homme and John Paul Jones), he hatched a plan to return to recording basics for what was to become Wasting Light. Dave told Sound on Sound.com, "I thought, rather than just record the album in the most expensive studio with the most state‑of‑the‑art equipment, what if Butch and I were to get back together after 20 years and dust off the tape machines and put them in my garage? We've recorded an album somewhere where no‑one has ever recorded before. We've not gone to the studio where Zeppelin made In Through The Out Door, we've gone into my garage. The only person that's recorded in my garage before is me for shitty demos that I've done for the last two records.”   The first single from Wasting Light, "Rope", was released to radio in February 2011. On April 16, 2011, Foo Fighters released an album of covers, Medium Rare, as a limited-edition vinyl for Record Store Day. Wasting Light debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, becoming the band's first album to do so. Other singles for the album were "Walk", "Arlandria", "These Days", and "Bridge Burning". Alongside Wasting Light's release, the band released a rockumentary, directed by Academy Award-winner James Moll. The film, titled Back and Forth, chronicles the band's career. Current and past members, and producer Butch Vig, tell the story of the band through interviews. After debuting on March 15, 2011, at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, it was released on DVD three months later.   The first batch of ‘Wasting Light’ CDs include pieces of the album’s analog tape master Look inside your CD copy of the band's Wasting Light album. If you were one of the first fans to pick one up, chances are it includes a piece of the original analog tape the album was recorded on. After announcing a break after touring in support of Wasting Light, Dave said in 2013 that they were starting to write new material for their 8th studio album, “Sonic Highways”, bringing back Butch Vig. They announced their return to the stage by posting a video of Erik Estrada, one of the main actors from the 70’s motorcycle cop show, CHIPS, riding a motorcycle and delivering each member of the band an invitation to play in Mexico.    They announced that their eighth album would be released in November of 2014 and they would commemorate it and their 20th anniversary with an HBO TV series called “Sonic Highways”, directed by Dave, himself.    Eight songs were written and recorded in eight studios in eight different American cities with video capturing the history and feel of each town. Each track features contributions from one or more musicians with ties to that city's musical history.   The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, with sales of 190,000 copies in the United States. It has sold over 617,500 copies in the US and had amazing songs like “Something From Nothing”, “The Feast and the Famine”, and “Congregation” featuring country artist, Zac Brown Foo Fighters were the last musical performance on Late Show with David Letterman on May 20th, 2015, as he retired from his 33 year career as a late night show host.   On June 12th, 2015, Dave had the misfortune of falling off the stage in Gothenburg, Sweden and breaking his leg during the second song. The band kept playing while Dave was fixed up by the medical staff and then RETURNED TO THE STAGE to finish the last two hours of their set while sitting in a chair and a medic taking care of his leg. He was flown to London, England after the show and received six metal pins to stabilize the fracture in his leg.   There was speculation that Foo Fighters would drop out of their 20th anniversary, fourth of July bash, after canceling their remaining European dates following Dave’s accident. Instead, The band performed for 48,000 people with Dave in a custom-built moving throne which he claimed to have designed himself while on painkillers. They renamed the following tour the “Broken Leg Tour”.   November 25th, 2015 Foo Fighters released a surprise EP named “Saint Cecilia”, available for digital download, and Dave announced an indefinite hiatus. This EP peaked at number 3 on Billboard’s mainstream rock songs chart.   Krist Novoselic, who played with Grohl in Nirvana, described Saint Cecilia as Foo Fighters' "statement on how they are the biggest rock band in the world". Novoselic also said that "Saint Cecilia is more straight-ahead rock that is done really well", and went on to say that "I went to the Foo’s last gig at the Moda Center in Portland and they rocked a packed house. I love the drummer Matt Sorum (Guns and Roses). However, he is so wrong in his statement about danger and the Foo’s somehow lacking it. First off all, I know about danger in rock. I was the bassist in Flipper — and survived! Look at a band like Queen, who totally rocked. They were way more dandy than danger. Queen knows how to rock a stadium. So do the Foo Fighters and you’ll hear big rock on Saint Cecilia". Rumors about Foo Fighters breaking up were everywhere so, the band released a mockumentary video in March 2016 portraying Grohl leaving the band to pursue an electronic music career and Nick Lachey (formerly of 98 Degrees) becoming the group's new singer, ending with: "For the millionth time, we're not breaking up. And nobody's going fucking solo!"   Dave announced that the band would spend most of 2017 recording their ninth studio album, “Concrete and Gold”. On June 1, 2017, their new single "Run" was released. Run topped the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart the following month. On June 20, 2017, the band announced that their new album, Concrete and Gold, would be released in September. On August 23, 2017, The Sky Is a Neighborhood was released as the second single and topped the Mainstream Rock chart. The Line was released in promotion of the album and later as the third single in 2018. Concrete and Gold was officially released on September 15, 2017, produced by Greg Kurstin. Concrete and Gold also features Justin Timberlake on vocals for Make It Right, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Menon backing vocals for the song Concrete and Gold, and Paul McCartney on the drums for Sunday Rain.   Concrete and Gold has sold over 262,000 units.   In October 2019, the band announced that they were recording their tenth studio album based on Dave’s demos. In November 2019, the band began releasing a series of EPs under the umbrella name of the Foo Files, largely consisting of previously released B sides and live performances. By February 2020, Dave  announced that the new album was complete but by May, it was delayed indefinitely because of a little unforeseen event called the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, "We've kind of shelved it for now to figure out exactly when it's going to happen." Starting in November 2020, promotion for the album ramped up. Its title, Medicine at Midnight, and release date, February 5, 2021, were announced. The band released three singles ahead of the album: "Shame Shame", "No Son of Mine", and "Waiting on a War".  On February 10, 2021, Foo Fighters were announced as one of the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees in their first year of eligibility as their debut album had been released 25 years prior. On May 12, 2021, Foo Fighters were announced as one of 6 performer inductees. For Record Store Day on July 17, 2021, the Foo Fighters released an album of disco covers, Hail Satin, under the name Dee Gees. The album contains four Bee Gees covers, a cover of Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing", plus five live versions of Medicine at Midnight tracks.] On February 25, 2022, the band released a comedy horror film, Studio 666, directed by BJ McDonnell. It stars the band members as themselves, alongside Will Forte, Whitney Cummings, Jeff Garlin, and Jenna Ortega. In the movie, the band attempts to record an album in a haunted mansion; Dave is possessed by a demonic spirit and the other members are killed off one by one.  It was filmed in the same mansion in which the band had recorded their most recent album, Medicine at Midnight. Studio 666 is currently available on Amazon Prime Video.    Dave has recently released an EP of songs from the film, Dream Widow, on March 25, 2022. On March 25, 2022, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died in his room at the Casa Medina hotel in Bogotá, Colombia. No cause of death was given. Taylor had suffered chest pain, and had ten substances in his system at the time of his death, including opioids, benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, and THC. Foo Fighters were scheduled to perform that night at the Estéreo Picnic Festival as part of their ongoing South American tour; the festival stage was turned into a candlelight vigil for Taylor. A few days later, the band canceled all remaining tour dates. According to Sony Music Japan, FOO FIGHTERS sold over 32,000,000 albums worldwide, including 9,065,000 in the United States and 5,260,000 in the United Kingdom. The best-selling album by FOO FIGHTERS is GREATEST HITS, which sold over 2,775,000 copies .

Monday May 16, 2022

JAY-Z,  was born Shawn Corey Carter, on December 4, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York, here in the U.S..   He grew up in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects in the Bedford–Stuyvesant neighborhood, which was pretty rough at the time, where he was raised mainly by his mother, Gloria Carter, who says Shawn used to wake up the household at night, banging out drum patterns on the kitchen table.   His mother bought him his first boombox for his birthday, which set him off on his love of music.   Shawn’s father, Adnis Reeves bailed out on his family, including Shawn’s three siblings, at a young age but they rekindled their relationship right before Adnis passed away.   Shawn has said, through his lyrics, that when he was younger he had once shot his older drug addicted brother, Eric, in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry.    While in the 6th grade, Jay tested at a 12th grade reading level.   Shawn went to Eli Whitney high school in Brooklyn, along with AZ, the longtime friend and co collaborator of Nas and The Firm, who has been revered as “one of the most underrated lyricists of our time.”   After the closing of his high school, Shawn attended the George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School. There, he would be amongst future Icons and Outlaws alumni Busta Rhymes and Biggie Smalls, the one and only Notorious B.I.G.   Shawn then attended Trenton Central High School, shortly, before dropping out.   He claims to have been selling crack at this time and was even shot at three times.   His firsthand experience with illicit drug dealing would form his lyrics when he began rapping under the stage name Jazzy, soon shortened to Jay-Z (a name that may also have been derived from the proximity of the J and Z subway lines to the Marcy Projects or possibly an Homage to his rapping mentor, Jaz-O).   He lived in London in 1989 for a short time. JAY recorded music with Monie Love and soaked in the culture, before moving back to the States.    You can hear Jay on some of Jaz-O’s earlier recordings from the 80’s and 90’s, like “H.P. Gets Busy”, “Hawaiian Sofie” and “The Originators.”   In the early 90’s, Jay-Z found himself involved in rap battles with LL Cool J, who eventually had a falling out while they were both involved at Def Jam. They’ve resolved their differences since then.   Big Daddy Kane’s 1994 album, “Daddy’s Home”, introduced the world to Jay in the song “Show and Prove”, a posse cut that had multiple rappers doing verses on one track.   Big Daddy Kane has said in regards to Jay being referred to as his “hype man,”  “When I would leave the stage to go change outfits, I would bring out Jay-Z and Positive K (“I Got A Man”) and let them freestyle until I came back to the stage.”     Jay then found himself appearing on Big L’s “Da Graveyard” and alongside young versions of DMX and Ja Rule (Holla Holla) in 1995.   1995 also saw Jay’s first official single, “In My Lifetime” that had a music video as well as an unreleased video for the song’s B-Side, “I Can’t Get With that.”   What do you do when you want to get your music out but have no financial backing from a record label? You get out and hustle your album yourself. Jay Z would spend hours a day selling CD’s out of his car.   Tired of not getting where he wanted to be in the music world, Jay-Z and two friends, Damon Dash and Kareem Burke, founded their own company and independent record label, Roc-A-Fella Records, in 1995 to release his debut album, Reasonable Doubt (1996). It eventually sold more than a million copies in the United States, certifying it platinum and hes been revered as “one of the greatest rap albums ever” and, arguably, “Jay-Z’s best work.”   This album featured beats by renowned producers like DJ Premier and DJ Clark Kent and even had very early appearances from the Notorious B.I.G. and the queen, Mary J Blige.   Reasonable Doubt debuted at 23 on the Billboard 200 and charted for 18 weeks.   The four singles from this album were “Dead Presidents”, “Ain’t No N Word”, “Can’t Knock the Hustle”, and “Feelin It”. It would later make Rolling Stone’s Magazines “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”   A string of successful albums followed at a rate of at least one per year through 2003. Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life (1998) was not only one of the first of Jay-Z’s releases to top the Billboard 200 album chart but also won him his first Grammy Award, for best rap album.    This record saw Jay relying more on “wordplay and flow” and featured beats by DJ Premier, Erick Sermon from future Icons, EPMD, Kid Capri and Swizz Beatz, who was a producer for DMX and the record label, Ruff Ryders as well as Timbaland.   Singles from this album included “Can I Get A..”, featuring Ja Rule and Amil, as well as several other head bobbin’ bangers.    Vol. 2 would go on to sell over 5 million copies. Remember how we said he won a grammy for this album? He actually boycotted the awards ceremony, contesting the failure to include DMX as a Grammy nominee.   1999 saw Jay working with Mariah Carey on the chart topping song, “Heartbreaker”, which would be his first chart topper in the US. Thanks Mariah!   The same year, Jay released “Vol 3… Life and Times of S. Carter”, selling over 3 million copies with singles like “Big Pimpin.”   The Year 2000 saw the release of yet another album, “The Dynasty: Roc La Familia”. Not originally intended to be a Jay Z album, it was initially recorded to be a compilation record for the Roc-A-Fella artist roster, but Def Jam released it as a Jay-Z joint.   However, this record introduced the world to up and coming producers, The Neptunes and a guy named Pherrel Williams, Bink, Just Blaze and some guy named Kanye West.   The album is considered “more soulful” and has gone twice platinum. That’s almost 9 million copies, total. Not too bad for a high school drop out.   In the midst of all this success, there were some fairly prominent feuds with other rappers.   In 2001, Prodigy from Mobb Deep had a problem with a line from Jay in his song “Money, Cash, Hoes” that he felt was talking smack about a dispute he had with Death Row Records, most notably, 2 Pac and Snoop Dogg.   I looked up the lyrics and the only line that I could find that seemed remotely close to a diss was:   “Us the villains, fuck your feelings While y'all playa hate, we in the upper millions What's the dealing? Huh, it's like New York's been soft Ever since Snoop came through and crushed the buildings” Later that year, at Summer Jam 2001, Jay performed the song “Takeover”, which attacked Prodigy with the lines:   “I don't care if you Mobb Deep, I hold triggers to crews You little, I got money stacks bigger than you When I was pushing weight, back in '88 You was a ballerina, I got the pictures, I seen ya Then you dropped "Shook Ones, " switched your demeanor Well, we don't believe you, you need more people Roc-A-Fella, students of the game, we passed the class 'Cause nobody can read you dudes like we do Don't let 'em gas you, like, "Jigga is ass and won't clap you" Trust me on this one, I'll detach you Mind from spirit, body from soul They'll have to hold a mass, put your body in a hole Oh no, you're not on my level, get your brakes tweaked I sold what your whole album sold in my first week You guys don't want it with Hov Ask Nas, he don't want it with Hov, no!”   Jay then proceeded to reveal photos of Prodigy dressed up like Michael Jackson.   That last line then started beef with Nas that went back and forth until 2005.   The critically acclaimed The Blueprint (2001), Jay’s 6th album, featuring the triumphant hit “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” solidified his status as one of the preeminent voices in hip-hop at the dawn of the 21st century.    That album was released literally hours before the infamous 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.   The Blueprint was written in only two days and hit double platinum status, selling 2.7 million albums by 2012.   This album was revered for its production and for being able to “balance mainstream and hardcore rap”.   As opposed to other Jay-Z releases, the Blueprint had only one guest rapper, a fella by the name “Eminem”, who assisted Jay on the track, “Renegade.”   Kanye West was back in the mix producing 4 songs on the album.   The Library of Congress chose “the Blueprint” for preservation in the National Recording Registry in 2019 for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”   A legendary singer can actually be heard singing in the song “Girls, Girls, Girls”, another single from “The Blueprint”. Michael Jackson. "He was on my song ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, singing these background vocals and I didn’t even put his name on it,” Jay once revealed in an interview with NME.   Shortly after its release, Jay-Z pleaded guilty to assault relating to a 1999 nightclub stabbing of record producer Lance Rivera at the Kit Kat Club in New York City at an album release party for Q-Tip (Tribe Called Quest) and received three years’ probation, but the incident did little to derail his career. Apparently, the altercation happened due to Jay accusing Rivera of bootlegging his albums.   Always a busy man, Jay-Z dropped his 6th record, the double album, “The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse”, in 2002. It sold over 3 million copies in JUST the U.S., selling more than his previous album, “The Blueprint”, and debuted on the Billboard 200 at number one!    A reissued version, dubbed “The Blueprint 2.1”, was later released as a single disc album and had half of the songs that were on the double record, including the hits “Excuse Me Miss” and “03 Bonnie & Clyde”, which featured the queen B, Beyonce.   Lenny Kravitz, Faith Evans, Biggie and Kanye all had appearances on this album and actually had the songs “Stop”, “La La La”, “What They Gonna Do, Part 2”, and “Beware” on it; these were songs that were not on “The Blueprint 2.”   Also in 2002, Jay-Z released a collaborative album called “The Best Of Both Worlds” with a guy who’s been in the news quite often the past years, R. Kelly. The first single from this record was “Honey”, which sampled “Love You Inside Out” by the Bee Gees. None of the singles charted.   Ahead of the release of The Black Album (2003), however, Jay-Z announced his retirement as a performer. The “farewell recording” proved to be one of his most popular, with killer singles like “99 Problems' ' and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder (you can listen to our version at the end of the show and on the official Icons and Outlaws Spotify playlist.    The Black Album was produced by Rick Rubin, and featured other hit makers like Eminem, Kanye, The Neptunes, DJ Quick and The Neptunes, attracting considerable attention. This album has sold over 3 million copies in the US. Jay threw a “retirement party” on November 25th, 2003. However, unlike most of us that would rent out the back room at Outback Steakhouse and invite people from work and the few family members we can tolerate, this was a concert. A concert held at Madison Square Garden in New York.    The footage taken at the “party” would wind up being the central focus of Jay-Z’s documentary, “Fade to Black”. All of the proceeds from the party went to charity,   Other performers that rocked the stage were his backing band, The Roots, Missy Elliot, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Ghostface Killa from Wu Tang, the speed rapper, Twista, and so many more. Both Tupac and Biggie’s mother’s, Afeni Shakur & Voletta Wallace even made a special appearance.    As Jay-Z had claimed that he would “retire”, it was more of a retirement from making new studio albums. It didn’t stop him from touring, releasing a greatest hits record and making a second collaboration album with R. Kelly, named “Unfinished Business.” This time, the release debuted at number one in the US on the Billboard 200 and has been certified platinum. 2004 was another busy year as he assumed the presidency of Def Jam Recordings, making him one of the most highly placed African American executives in the recording industry at the time. This new role led to his Roc A Fella partners selling off their shares of Roc A Fella and Jay taking control of BOTH companies. Absolutely killing it!   As I mentioned, Jay-Z stayed extremely active in music. He collaborated with the rock group and future Icons and Outlaws featured artist, Linkin Park in 2004. This record was a remix EP dubbed “Collision Course” that featured mashups of songs from both artists. The only single from the record, “Numb/Encore '' wound up winning a Grammy for “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration”. Linkin Park performed the song live at the Grammys and featured the one and only Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles, who sang verses from the iconic song “Yesterday. The EP went platinum in the US.   Speaking of Linkin Park, Jay-Z executive produced the debut album of Fort Minor, the side project from Mike Shinoda.   In 2005, Jay-Z headlined the Power 105.1 annual concert in New York called the “I Declare War” concert leading people to speculate who he was “declaring war on” as he’d had a history of calling out other artists. However, it was quite the opposite. The concert wound up being an end to the rivalry between Jay and Nas with the two sharing the stage and performing a blended version of Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents” and Nas’s “The World Is Yours.”  Jay appeared as a guest vocalist on the recordings of numerous other artists, including Kanye West, whose career he had helped foster, and Beyoncé, whom he had begun dating. (The two would be married in 2008.) Jay-Z also developed a large portfolio of business ventures and investments, including a film-production company, a clothing line, and a stake in the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association, which he later helped relocate to his hometown of Brooklyn.    He formally returned to recording in 2006 with his next album,Kingdom Come, which released the single, “Show Me What You Got”. This single was leaked a month earlier than it was supposed to and wound up being played in heavy radio rotation. This leak led to Def Jam prompting an FBI investigation into how it could have been leaked. I couldn’t find much more about the investigation.   Kingdom Come, Jay-Z’s ninth album, featured songs produced by Pharrell, Kanye, Just Blaze, Dr. Dre and, oddly enough, Coldplay’s Chris Martin. It sold over 680,000 copies in its first week and has gone double platinum.    In 2007, Jay-Z released his tenth album, American Gangster on November 6th, which was inspired by the gangster movie of the same name, by Ridley Scott.  This record was considered a concept album with Jay depicting his life as a street hustler. The first single off of the album, “Blue Magic” starts off with what has been called a “dealer’s manifesto” and refers to political figures of the 1980’s like Reagan and Oliver North.    He has his own color. In 2007, JAY-Z spent tens of thousands of dollars for the Pantone Color Institute to create a hue just for him. Described as a pearly blue with platinum dust, the color was first introduced on his own limited edition line of GM Yukon Denali later that year. On January 1st, 2008 Jay stepped down as Def Jam president. He founded a new label, Roc Nation, in 2008, and it soon became a full-service entertainment conglomerate.   Jay-Z proved that he remained one of rap’s most-bankable acts when he embarked on a highly successful tour with Mary J. Blige in 2008. The following year he released The Blueprint 3, which bore the sound of some of his most frequent producers, including West and Timbaland. The album generated such hits as “Empire State of Mind,” a musical love letter to New York City adorned with soaring guest vocals by Alicia Keys, and the determined “Run This Town,” which featured West and Rihanna. Both songs won Grammy Awards, as did two other singles from the album. Watch the Throne (2011), an ambitious and highly regarded collaboration with West, proved to be similarly fruitful, with the singles “Otis,” “Niggas in Paris,” and “No Church in the Wild” capturing Grammys as well. In between the two releases, Jay-Z published a memoir, Decoded (2010).   Jay Z (having dropped the hyphen from his name) returned in 2013 with Magna Carta Holy Grail, which, in an exclusive deal with Samsung, was made available for free to users of the company’s smartphones several days ahead of its official release. Although the album, on which the rapper reflected on his massive wealth and fame, was greeted with mostly lukewarm reviews, it became his 13th release to land at number one on the Billboard 200. It also produced two Grammy wins: one for best rap/sung collaboration for “Holy Grail” and another for best music video for “Suit & Tie.” He received two more Grammys a year later for his collaboration on Beyoncé’s song “Drunk in Love.”   In 2017 JAY-Z (having capitalized the letters and reinstated the hyphen in his name) released his 13th studio solo album, 4:44, an extremely candid album that was, in part, a response to Beyoncé’s Lemonade (2016), on which she accused her husband of adultery. He admitted to infidelity on various tracks and also addressed racism and politics. The couple’s albums were both released exclusively on TIDAL—a subscription-based music streaming service that JAY-Z owned alongside other artists. JAY-Z had acquired the service in 2015 when he purchased its parent, the Norwegian technology company Aspiro AB. Also in 2017 JAY-Z became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2018 he and Beyoncé, billed as the Carters, unveiled the collaborative effort Everything Is Love, for which they won the Grammy for best urban contemporary album.   In 2021 JAY-Z was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   JAY-Z is as iconic an entrepreneur and businessman as he is a recording artist. He’s been involved in everything from having his own collection through Reebok in 2003, starting his own clothing line and selling it for $204 million, owning a chain of upscale sports bars called the 40/40 Club, being an investor in a line of beauty products, being a co-brand director for Budweiser Select and owning the Brooklyn Nets basketball team until 2013.   He’s been an investor in an app to help rich folk book executive plane flights, launched his own cigar line, bought a wine and spirits company, signed an exclusive deal with the Weinstein Company, producing a documentary on Kalief Browder, a man imprisoned for three years and who committed suicide when he was released.   As recently as 2020 he announced the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment, a partnership between his own Roc Nation and Brooklyn’s Long Island University, which “prepares students for a wide range of careers in performance, entrepreneurship, and all aspects of music, sports business and management.”   In November of that same year, he announced his joining of a cannabis production company as their “Chief Visionary Officer.”   He made Grammy history last month. JAY-Z recently became tied for the most Grammy nominations in history with 80. He shares that distinction with legendary producer Quincy Jones. He's also married to the person who currently holds the record for second most Grammy nominations: Beyoncé's 9 nominations at the end of November put her at 79 over the course of her career.     Jay Z is ranked the 88th best artist - of any genre - of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.   From running around the rough and tough alleys of the Marcy projects to becoming a mogul of multiple companies, Jay-Z is the living embodiment of what hard work and perseverance can achieve. Jay-Z’s net worth, presently, is 1.3 Billion dollars, giving him the infallible title of “Hip Hop’s First Billionaire.” www.britannica.com www.wikipedia.com www.jayz.com Consider Becoming a Producer of the Show! www.iconsandoutlaws.com www.accidentaldads.com  

Monday May 09, 2022

Born in Lubbock, Texas, on September 7, 1936, Charles Hardin  Holley (he later dropped the "e"), after both grandfathers    the fourth child of Lawrence Odell "L.O." Holley and Ella Pauline Drake.    older siblings were Larry, Travis, and Patricia Lou.    nicknamed Buddy from a young age, and it stuck with him throughout his life.    Oddly enough, the newspaper announcement claimed that Buddy was actually a little girl. “A daughter weighing 8.5 lbs”, the Lubbock evening journal wrote. He was also only 6.5 pounds. And a boy. Buddy’s family was mainly of English and Welsh descent and had some native American ancestry. During the Great Depression, the Holleys frequently moved residences within Lubbock; 17 in all.    His father changed jobs several times.    The Holley family were a musical household.  Except for Buddy's father, all family members could play an instrument or sing. His older brothers frequently entered local talent shows, and one time, his brothers signed up and Buddy wanted to play violin with them. However, Buddy couldn't play the violin.  Not wanting to break little Buddy's heart, his older brothers greased up the strings so it wouldn't make a sound. Buddy started singing his heart out and the three ended up winning the contest!  When WWII started, the U.S. government called his brothers into service. His brother Larry brought back a guitar he bought from a shipmate, and that guitar set Buddy's off. At 11 years old, Buddy started taking piano lessons.  Nine months later, he quit piano lessons and switched to guitar after seeing a classmate playing and singing on the school bus.    His parents initially bought him a steel guitar, but Buddy insisted he wanted a guitar like his brothers. They bought him a guitar, a gold top Gibson acoustic, from a pawn shop, and his brother Travis taught him to play it.  By 15, Buddy was proficient on guitar, banjo, and mandolin. During his early childhood, Holley was influenced by Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Snow, Bob Wills, and the Carter Family.  He started writing songs and working with his childhood friend Bob Montgomery. The two jammed together, practicing songs by the Louvin Brothers and Johnnie & Jack. They frequently listened to Grand Ole Opry's radio programs on WSM, Louisiana Hayride on KWKH (which they once drove 600 miles to okay just to be turned away), and Big D Jamboree.  If you're not familiar with the Grand Ol Opry, it’s a weekly American country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee, founded on November 28, 1925, by George D. Hay as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on Clearchannel's WSM, which first hit the airwaves on October 5, 1925. Its the longest-running radio broadcast in U.S. history.    At the same time he was practicing with Bob, Holley played with other musicians he met in high school, including Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison.    In 1952 Holley and Jack Neal participated as a duo billed as "Buddy and Jack" in a talent contest on a local television show.    After Neal left, he was replaced by his buddy Bob, and they were billed as "Buddy and Bob." By the mid-'50s, Buddy & Bob played their style of music called "western and bop ."    Holley was influenced by late-night radio stations that played the blues and rhythm and blues. Holley would sit in his car with Sonny Curtis and tune to distant “black” radio stations that could only be received at night when bigger stations turned off local transmissions.    Holley then changed his music by blending his earlier country and western influence with Rhythm and Blues. After seeing the legendary Elvis perform, Holly decided to pursue his career in music full-time once he graduated high school. By mid-1955, Buddy & Bob, who already worked with an upright bass player (played by Larry Welborn), added drummer Jerry Allison to their lineup. After seeing Elvis Presley performing live in Lubbock, who Pappy Dave Stone of KDAV booked, Buddy really wanted to get after it. In February, he opened for Elvis at the Fair Park Coliseum, in April at the Cotton Club, then again in June at the Coliseum. Elvis significantly influenced the group to turn more towards Rock n Roll. Buddy and the king became friends, with Buddy even driving Elvis around when he was in town. Eventually, Bob Montgomery, who leaned toward a traditional country sound, left the group, though they continued writing and composing songs together. Holly kept pushing his music toward a straight-ahead rock & roll sound, working with Allison, Welborn, and other local musicians, including his pal and guitarist Sonny Curtis and bassist Don Guess. In October, Holly was booked as the opener for Bill Haley & His Comets (Rock Around the Clock), to be seen by Nashville scout Eddie Crandall. Obviously impressed, Eddie Crandall talked Grand Ole Opry manager Jim Denny into finding a recording contract for Holley. Pappy Stone sent Denny a demo tape, which Denny forwarded to Paul Cohen. Cohen signed the band to Decca Records in February 1956.    In the contract, Decca accidentally misspelled Holley's surname as "Holly," From that point forward, he was known as "Buddy Holly." On January 26, 1956, Holly went to his first professional recording session with producer Owen Bradley. He was a part of two more sessions in Nashville.    the producer selected the session musicians and arrangements, Holly became frustrated by his lack of creative control. In April 1956, Decca released "Blue Days, Black Nights" as a single and "Love Me" on the B-side.    "B-sides" were secondary songs that were sent out with single records. They were usually just added to have something on the flip side. Later they became songs that bands would either not release or wait to release.  Jim Denny added Holly on tour as the opening act for Faron Young. While on this tour, they were promoted as "Buddy Holly and the Two Tones." Decca then called them "Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes." The label released Holly's second single, "Modern Don Juan," along with "You Are My One Desire."    Unfortunately, neither one of these singles tickled anyone's fancy. On January 22, 1957, Decca informed Holly that they wouldn't re-sign him and insisted he could not record the same songs for anyone else for five years. The same shit happened to Universal and me. A couple of classics, like "Midnight Shift" and "Rock Around with Ollie Vee," did come out of those Decca sessions, but nothing issued at the time went anywhere. It looked as though Holly had missed his shot at stardom.  Holly was disappointed with his time with Decca. inspired by Buddy Knox's "Party Doll" and Jimmy Bowen's "I'm Stickin' with You" he decided to visit Norman Petty, who produced and promoted both of those successful records.    Buddy, Jerry Allison, bassist Joe B. Mauldin, and rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan pulled together and headed to Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico. The group recorded a demo of the now-classic, "That'll Be the Day," which they had previously recorded in Nashville. Now rockin' that lead guitar, Holly finally achieved the sound he wanted. They got the song nailed down and recorded. Along with Petty's help, the group got it picked up by Murray Deutsch, a publishing associate of Petty's, and Murray got it to Bob Thiele, an executive at Coral Records. Thiele loved it. Ironically, Coral Records was a subsidiary of Decca, the company Holly had signed with before. On a side note, a subsidiary is a smaller label under the major label's umbrella. For instance, Universal signed my band to Republic, a subsidiary of Universal Music that dealt primarily with rock genres, like Godsmack. Norman Petty saw the potential in Buddy and became his manager. He sent the record to Brunswick Records in New York City. Thiele saw the record as a potential hit, but there were some significant hurdles to overcome before it could be released.  According to author Philip Norman, in his book Rave On, Thiele would only get the most reluctant support from his record company. Decca had lucked out in 1954 when they'd signed Bill Haley & His Comets and saw their "Rock Around the Clock" top the charts. Still, very few of those in charge at Decca had a natural feel or appreciation for Rock & Roll, let alone any idea of where it might be heading or whether the label could (or should) follow it down that road. Also, remember that although Buddy had been dropped by Decca the year before, the contract that Holly signed explicitly forbade him from re-recording anything he had recorded for them, released or not, for five years. However, Coral was a subsidiary of Decca, and Decca's Nashville office could hold up the release and possibly even haul Holly into court.  "That'll Be the Day" was issued in May of 1957 mainly as an indulgence to Thiele, to "humor" him. The record was put out on the Brunswick label, more of jazz and R&B label, and credited to the Crickets. The group chose this name to prevent the suits at Decca -- and more importantly, Decca's Nashville office -- from finding out that this new release was from the guy they had just dropped. The name “The Crickets” was inspired by a band that Buddy and his group followed, called “the Spiders” and they initially thought about calling themselves “The Beetles”, with two E’s, but Buddy said he was afraid people would want to “squash them.” So, they picked “The Crickets.” Petty also became the group's manager and producer, signing the Crickets, identified as Allison, Sullivan, and Mauldin, to a contract. Unfortunately, Holly wasn't listed as a member in the original document to keep his involvement with "That'll Be the Day" a secret. This ruse would later become the source of severe legal and financial problems for Buddy.    The song shot to #1 on the national charts that summer. But, of course, Decca knew Holly was in the band by then. So, with Thiele's persuasion and realizing they had a hit on their hands, the company agreed to release Holly from the five-year restriction on his old contract. This release left him free to sign any recording contract he wanted. While sorting out the ins and outs of Holly's legal situation, Thiele knew that Buddy was far more than a one-hit-wonder and that he could potentially write more and different types of hits. So, Holly found himself with two recording contracts, one with Brunswick as a member of the Crickets and the other with Coral Records as Buddy Holly, all thanks to Thiele's ingenious strategy to get the most out of Buddy and his abilities. By releasing two separate bodies of work, the Crickets could keep rockin' while allowing its apparent leader and "star" to break out on his own.    Petty, whose name seems fitting as we go through this, acted as their manager and producer. He handed out writing credits at random, gifting Niki Sullivan and Joe B. Mauldin (and himself) the co-authorship of the song, "I'm Gonna Love You Too," while leaving Holly's name off of "Peggy Sue." at first. The song title, “Peggy Sue” was named after Buddy’s biggest fan. Petty usually added his own name to the credit line, something the managers and producers who wanted a more significant piece of the pie did back in the '50s. To be somewhat fair, Petty made some suggestions, which were vital in shaping certain Holly songs. However, he didn't contribute as much as all of his credits allow us to believe. Some confusion over songwriting was exacerbated by problems stemming from Holly's contracts in 1956. Petty had his own publishing company, Nor Va Jak Music, and Buddy signed a contract to publish his new songs. However, Holly had signed an exclusive agreement with another company the year before. To reduce his profile as a songwriter until a settlement could be made with Petty and convince the other publisher that they weren't losing too much in any compensation, buddy copyrighted many of his new songs under the pseudonym "Charles Hardin." So many names!   The dual recording contracts allowed Holly to record a crazy amount of songs during his short-lived 18 months of fame. Meanwhile, his band -- billed as Buddy Holly & the Crickets -- became one of the top attractions of the time. Holly was the frontman, singing lead and playing lead guitar, which was unusual for the era, and writing or co-writing many of their songs. But the Crickets were also a great band, creating a big and exciting sound (which is lost to history, aside from some live recordings from their 1958 British tour). Allison was a drummer ahead of his time and contributed to the songwriting more often than his colleagues, and Joe B. Mauldin and Niki Sullivan provided a solid rhythm section.   The group relied on originals for their singles, making them unique and years ahead of their time. In 1957-1958, songwriting wasn't considered a skill essential to a career in rock & Roll; the music business was still limping along the lines it had followed since the '20s. Songwriting was a specialized profession set on the publishing side of the industry and not connected to performing and recording. A performer might write a song or, even more rarely, like Duke Ellington (It Don't Mean A Thing), count composition among his key talents; however, this was generally left to the experts. Any rock & roller wanting to write songs would also have to get past the image of Elvis. He was set to become a millionaire at the young age of 22. He never wrote his songs, and the few songwriting credits he had resulted from business arrangements rather than writing anything.   Buddy Holly & the Crickets changed that seriously by hitting number one with a song they'd written and then reaching the Top Ten with originals like "Oh, Boy" and "Peggy Sue," They were regularly charging up the charts based on their songwriting. This ability wasn't appreciated by the public at the time and wouldn't be noticed widely until the '70s. Still, thousands of aspiring musicians, including John Lennon and Paul McCartney, from some unknown band called "The Beatles," took note of their success, and some of them decided to try and tried to be like Buddy. Also unknown at the time, Holly and his crew changed the primary industry method of recording, which was to bring the artist into the label's studio, working on their timetable. If an artist were highly successful, they got a blank check in the studio, and any union rules were thrown out, but that was rare and only happened to the highest bar of musicians. Buddy Holly & the Crickets, however, did their thing, starting with "That'll Be the Day," in Clovis, New Mexico, at Petty's studio. They took their time and experimented until they got the sound they were looking for. No union told them when to stop or start their work, and they delivered terrific records; not to mention, they were albums that sounded different than anything out there. The results changed the history of rock music. The group worked out a new sound that gave shape to the next wave of rock & Roll. Most definitely influenced was British rock & Roll and the British Invasion beat, with the lead and rhythm guitars working together to create a fuller, more complex sound. On songs such as "Not Fade Away," "Everyday," "Listen to Me," "Oh Boy!," "Peggy Sue," "Maybe Baby," "Rave On," "Heartbeat," and "It's So Easy," Holly took rock & roll's range and sophistication and pushed it without abandoning its excitement and, most importantly, it's fun. Holly and the band weren't afraid to push the envelope and try new things, even on their singles. "Peggy Sue" used changes in volume and timbre on the guitar that was usually only used in instrumental albums. "Words of Love" was one of the earliest examples of double-tracked vocals in rock & Roll, and the Beatles would jump on that train the following decade. Buddy Holly & the Crickets were extremely popular in America. Still, in England, they were even more significant; their impact was compared to Elvis and, in some ways, was even bigger. This success was because they toured England; Elvis didn't. They spent a month there in 1958, playing a list of shows that were still talked about 30 years later. It also had to do with their sound and Holly's persona on stage. The group's heavy use of rhythm guitar fit right in with the sound of skiffle music, a mix of blues, folk, country, and jazz elements that most of the younger British were introduced to playing music and their first taste of rock & Roll. Also, Holly looked a lot less likely a rock & roll star than Elvis. He was tall, skinny, and wore glasses; he looked like an ordinary dude who was good at music. Part of Buddy's appeal as a rock star was how he didn't look like one. He inspired tens of thousands of British teenagers who couldn't compare themselves to Elvis or Gene Vincent. (Be Bop A Lula) In the '50s, British guitarist Hank Marvin of the Shadows owed his look and that he wore his glasses proudly on-stage to Holly, and it was brought into the '70s by Elvis Costello.  Buddy may have played several different kinds of guitars but, he was specifically responsible for popularizing the Fender Stratocaster, especially in England. For many wannabe rock & rollers in the UK, Holly's 1958 tour was the first chance they'd had to see or hear this iconic guitar in action, and it quickly became the guitar of choice for anyone wanting to be a guitarist in England. In fact, Marvin is said to have had the first Stratocaster ever brought into England.   The Crickets became a trio with Sullivan dipping out in late 1957, right after the group's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, but a lot more would transpire over the next year or so. The group consolidated its success with the release of two L.P.s, The Chirping Crickets, and Buddy Holly. They had two successful international tours and performed more in the United States. Holly had also started to have different ideas and aspirations than Allison and Mauldin. They never thought of leaving Texas as their home, and they continued to base their lives there, while Buddy wanted to be in New York, not just to do business but to live. His marriage to Maria Elena Santiago, a receptionist in Murray Deutsch's office, made the decision to move to New York that much easier. By this time, Holly's music had become more sophisticated and complex, and he passed off the lead guitar duties in the studio to session player Tommy Alsup. He had done several recordings in New York using session musicians such as King Curtis. It was around this time that the band started to see a slight decline in sales. Singles such as "Heartbeat" didn't sell nearly as well as the 45s of 1957 that had rolled out of stores. It's said that Buddy might even have advanced further than most of the band's audience was willing to accept in late 1958. Critics believe that the song "Well...All Right" was years ahead of its time.   Buddy split with the group -- and Petty -- in 1958. This departure left him free to chase some of those newer sounds, which also left him low on funds. In the course of the split, it became clear to Holly and everyone else that Petty had been fudging the numbers and probably taken a lot of the group's income for himself. Unfortunately, there was almost no way of proving his theft because he never seemed to finish his "accounting" of the money owed to anyone. His books were ultimately found to be so screwed up that when he came up with various low five-figure settlements to the folks he robbed, they took it.   Holly vacationed with his wife in Lubbock, TX, and hung out in Waylin Jennings's radio station in December 1958. With no money coming in from Petty, Holly decided to earn some quick cash by signing to play the Midwest's Winter Dance Party package tour. For the start of the Winter Dance Party tour, he assembled a band consisting of Waylon Jennings (on bass), Tommy Allsup (on guitar), and Carl Bunch (on drums). Holly and Jennings left for New York City, arriving on January 15, 1959. Jennings stayed at Holly's apartment by Washington Square Park on the days before a meeting scheduled at the headquarters of the General Artists Corporation, the folks who organized the tour. They then traveled by train to Chicago to meet up with the rest of the band. The Winter Dance Party tour began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on January 23, 1959. The amount of travel involved created problems because whoever booked the tour dates didn't consider the distance between venues. On top of the scheduling conflicts, the unheated tour buses broke down twice in the freezing weather. In addition, Holly's drummer Carl Bunch was hospitalized for frostbite to his toes while aboard the bus, so Buddy looked for different transportation.  Buddy actually sat in on drums for the local bands while Richie Valenz played drums for Buddy.    On February 2, before their appearance in Clear Lake, Iowa, Holly chartered a four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza airplane for Jennings, Allsup, and himself, from Dwyer Flying Service in Mason City, Iowa, for $108.  Holly wanted to leave after the performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake and fly to their next venue, in Moorhead, Minnesota, through Fargo, North Dakota. This plan would allow them time to rest, wash their clothes and avoid being on that crappy bus. The Clear Lake Show ended just before midnight, and Allsup agreed to flip a coin for the seat with Richie Valens. Valens called heads, and when he won, he reportedly said, "That's the first time I've ever won anything in my life" On a side note, Allsup later opened a restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas called Heads Up, in memory of this statement. Waylon Jennings voluntarily gave up his seat to J. P. Richardson (the Big Bopper), who had the flu and complained that the tour bus was too cold and uncomfortable for a man of his stature. When Buddy heard Waylon wouldn’t be flying with him, he jokingly said, “I hope your old bus freezes up!” Then Waylon responded, “well, I hope your old plane crashes!” The last thing he would ever say to his friend. Roger Peterson, the pilot and only 21, took off in pretty nasty weather, although he wasn't certified to fly by instruments alone, failing an instrument test the year before. He was a big fan of Buddy’s and didn’t want to disappoint, so he called a more seasoned pilot to fly the trio to their destination. “I’m more of a Lawrence Welk fan.”  Sadly, shortly after 12:55 am on February 3, 1959, Holly, Valens, Richardson, and Peterson were killed instantly when the plane crashed into a frozen cornfield five miles northwest of Mason City, Iowa, airport shortly after takeoff. Buddy was in the front, next to the pilot. He loved flying and had been taking flying lessons. The three musicians were ejected from the plane upon impact, suffering severe head and chest injuries. Holly was 22 years old.   Holly's funeral was held on February 7, 1959, at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Lubbock, TX. It was officiated by Ben D. Johnson, who married the Hollys' just months earlier. Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin, Niki Sullivan, Bob Montgomery, and Sonny Curtis were pallbearers. Some sources say that Phil Everly, the one half of The Everly Brothers, was also the pallbearer, but he said at one time that he attended the funeral but was not a pallbearer. In addition, Waylon Jennings was unable to participate because of his commitment to the still-touring Winter Dance Party. Holly's body was buried in the City of Lubbock Cemetery, in the city's eastern part. His headstone has the correct spelling of his last name (Holley) and a carving of his Fender Stratocaster guitar. His wife, María Elena, had to see the first reports of her husband's death on T.V. She claimed she suffered a miscarriage the following day. Holly's mother, who heard the news on the radio in Lubbock, Texas, screamed and collapsed. Because of Elena's miscarriage, the authorities implemented a policy against announcing victims' names until the families were informed. As a result, Mary did not attend the funeral and has never visited the gravesite. She later told the Avalanche-Journal, "In a way, I blame myself. I was not feeling well when he left. I was two weeks pregnant, and I wanted Buddy to stay with me, but he had scheduled that tour. It was the only time I wasn't with him. And I blame myself because I know that, if only I had gone along, Buddy never would have gotten into that airplane."    The accident wasn't considered a significant piece of news at the time, although sad. Most news outlets were run by out-of-touch older men and didn't think rock & Roll was anything more than to be exploited to sell newspapers or grab viewing audiences. However, Holly was clean-cut and scandal-free, and with the news of his recent marriage, the story contained more misery than other music stars of the period. For the teens of the time, it was their first glimpse of a public tragedy like this, and the news was heartbreaking. Radio station D.J.s were also traumatized. The accident and sudden way it happened, along with Holly and Valens being just 22 and 17, made it even worse. Hank Williams Sr had died at 29, but he was a drug user and heavy drinker, causing some to believe his young death was inevitable. The blues guitarist Johnny Ace had passed in 1954 while backstage at a show. However, that tragedy came at his hand in a game of Russian roulette. Holly's death was different, almost more personal to the public.     Buddy left behind dozens of unfinished recordings — solo transcriptions of his new compositions, informal jam sessions with bandmates, and tapes with songs intended for other musicians. Buddy recorded his last six original songs in his apartment in late 1958 and were his most recent recordings. In June 1959, Coral Records overdubbed two of the songs with backing vocals by the Ray Charles Singers and hired guns to emulate the Crickets sound. Since his death, the finished tracks became the first singles, "Peggy Sue Got Married"/"Crying, Waiting, Hoping." The new release was a success, and the fans and industry wanted more. As a result, all six songs were included in The Buddy Holly Story, Vol. 2 in 1960 using the other Holly demos and the same studio personnel. The demand for Holly records was so great, and Holly had recorded so many tracks that his record label could release new Holly albums and singles for the next ten years. Norman Petty, the alleged swindler, produced most of these new songs, using unreleased studio masters, alternative takes, audition tapes, and even amateur recordings (a few from 1954 with recorded with low-quality vocals). The final Buddy Holly album, "Giant," was released in 1969 with the single, "Love Is Strange," taking the lead.   These posthumous records did well in the U.S. but actually charted in England. New recordings of his music, like the Rolling Stones' rendition of "Not Fade Away" and the Beatles' rendition of "Words of Love," kept Buddy's name and music in the hearts and ears of a new generation of listeners. In the States, the struggle was a little more challenging. The rock & roll wave was constantly morphing, with new sounds, bands, and listeners continuously emerging, and the general public gradually forgot about Buddy and his short-lived legacy. Holly was a largely forgotten figure in his own country by the end of the '60s, except among older fans (then in their twenties) and hardcore oldies listeners. Things began to shift toward the end of the '60s with the start of the oldies boom. Holly's music was, of course, a part of this movement. But, as people listened, they also learned about the man behind the music. Even the highly respected rock zine Rolling Stone went out of its way to remind people who Buddy was. His posing images from 1957 and 1958, wearing his glasses, a jacket, and smiling, looked like a figure from another age. The way he died also set him apart from some of the deaths of rockers like Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison, musicians who, at the time, overindulged in the rock in roll lifestyle. Holly was different. He was eternally innocent in all aspects of his life. Don McLean, a relatively unknown singer/songwriter, who proudly considered himself a Buddy Holly fan, wrote and released a song called "American Pie," in 1971, catapulting him into the musical ethos. Although listeners assumed McLean wrote the song about President Kennedy, he let it be known publicly that he meant February 3, 1959, the day Holly died. Maclean was a holly fan and his death devastated him when he was only 11. The song's popularity led to Holly suddenly getting more press exposure than he'd ever had the chance to enjoy in his lifetime.     The tragic plane accident launched a few careers in the years after. Bobby Vee became a star when his band took over Holly's spot on the Winter Dance Party tour.  Holly's final single, "It Doesn't Matter Anymore," hit the British charts in the wake of his death and rose to number one. Two years after the event, producer Joe Meek and singer Mike Berry got together to make "Tribute to Buddy Holly," a memorial single. But, unfortunately, rumor has it that Meek never entirely got over Holly's death, and he killed himself on the anniversary of the plane accident.   The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included Holly among its first class in 1986. Upon his induction, the Hall of Fame basked about the large quantity of material he produced during his short musical career. Saying, "He made a major and lasting impact on popular music ." Calling him an "innovator" for writing his own material, experimenting with double-tracking, and using orchestration. He was also revered for having "pioneered and popularized" the use of two guitars, bass, and drums by rock bands. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986, saying his contributions "changed the face of Rock' n' Roll." Along with Petty, Holly developed techniques like overdubbing and reverb and other innovative instrumentation. As a result, according to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Holly became "one of the most influential pioneers of rock and roll" who had a "lasting influence" on genre performers of the 1960s.   Paul McCartney bought the rights to Buddy Holly’s entire song catalog on July 1, 1976.   Lubbock TX’s Walk of Fame has a statue honoring Buddy of him rocking his Fender, which Grant Speed sculpted in 1980. There are other memorials to Buddy Holly, including a street named in his honor and the Buddy Holly Center, which contains a museum of memorabilia and fine arts gallery. The Center is located on Crickets Avenue, one street east of Buddy Holly Avenue.  There was a musical about Buddy. Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, a “pioneering jukebox musical which worked his familiar hits into a narrative,” debuted in the West End in 1989. It ran until 2008, where it also appeared on Broadway, as well as in Australia and Germany, not to mention touring companies in the U.K. and U.S.   In 1994 "Buddy Holly" became a massive hit from the band Weezer, paying homage to the fallen rocker and is still played on the radio and whenever MTV decides to play videos on one of their side stations. Again, in ‘94, Holly's style also showed up in Quentin Tarantino's abstract and groundbreaking film Pulp Fiction, which featured Steve Buscemi playing a waiter impersonating Buddy.   In 1997, Buddy received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He was inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, as well. In 2010, Grant Speed's statue of Buddy and his guitar was taken down for repairs, and construction of a new Walk of Fame began. On May 9, 2011, the City of Lubbock held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Buddy and Maria Elena Holly Plaza, the new home of the statue and the Walk of Fame. The same year, on why would be Buddy’s 75th birthday, a star with his name was placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.   There were two tribute albums released in 2011: Verve Forecast's Listen to Me: Buddy Holly,  featuring Stevie Nicks, Brian Wilson, and Ringo Starr plus 13 other artists, and Fantasy/Concord's Rave on Buddy Holly, which had tracks from Paul McCartney, Patti Smith, the Black Keys, and Nick Lowe, among others.  Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens released his own Holly tribute album in 2009. Universal released True Love Ways, an album where original Holly recordings were overdubbed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018, just in time for Christmas. That album debuted at number 10 on the U.K. charts. Groundbreaking was held on April 20, 2017, to construct a new performing arts center in Lubbock, TX, dubbed the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, a $153 million project in downtown Lubbock completed in 2020 located at 1300 Mac Davis Lane.   Recently, on May 5, 2019, an article on gearnews.com had a pretty cool story, if it's true.   The famous Fender Stratocaster played and owned by Buddy Holly that disappeared after his death in 1959 has been found, according to a new video documentary called "The '54".   Gill Matthews is an Australian drummer, producer, and collector of old Fender guitars. According to the documentary, he may have stumbled upon Buddy Holly's legendary guitar. The film is The '54 and tells the history of one particular 1954 Fender Stratocaster Gil purchased two decades after the plane crash that claimed Buddy's life. Experts cited in the film say there is a good chance that the guitar in Matthews' possession is indeed Buddy Holly's actual original '54 Fender Stratocaster. If this is true, it is possibly one of the most significant finds in guitar history. You can watch the video at gearnews.com and see all the evidence presented during the film.     Sources: A biography on allmusic.com written by Bruce Eder was the main source of information here with other info coming from the following Rave on: The Biography of Buddy Holly written by Phillip Norman   Buddy Holly : Rest In Peace by Don Mclean "Why Buddy Holly will never fade away" an article on The Telegraph website written by Phillip Norman   Various other articles were used and tidbits taken from wikipedia.   And Adam Moody   Consider becoming a producer of the show. www.accidentaldads.com www.iconsandoutlaws.com       

Sunday May 01, 2022

Stone Temple Pilots.    There are two conflicting stories of how frontman Scott Weiland and bassist Robert DeLeo actually met; one was that Weiland and DeLeo met at a punk rock icon Black Flag concert in Long Beach, California, in 1985.  They started chit-chatting, discussing their girlfriends, only to realize they were dating the same woman. However, instead of having some beef and fighting over her, they became friends and formed a band after breaking it off with the girl. On the other hand, Weiland had a different version of meeting Deleo, written in his autobiography. The way he tells it, he and his current band Soi Disant, guitarist Corey Hicock, and drummer David Allin pursued DeLeo after watching him play live at different gigs.   Initially calling themselves "Swing," Allin left to pursue other interests after a few years. The remaining members watched drummer Eric Kretz play in a Long Beach club and convinced him to join the band. Guitarist Hicock eventually left the band in 1989; in need of a replacement and auditioning many guitarists, Robert suggested his older brother, Dean DeLeo. He and his brother were born in Montclaire, New Jersey). At the time, Dean was a successful businessman who did what many musicians do and had decided to leave music behind to find a "real job." The band convinced Dean to play for Swing, completing the original STP lineup. Dean hated the name and refused to continue playing in a band called "Swing," changing the name to "Mighty Joe Young," which was a B Movie from the 1940s. They recorded a demo tape around 1990. That demo would have tracks that would go on to be re-recorded for the band's first studio album, "Core," as well as some different styles that wouldn't show up again, like some funk and yodeling. Yes, Yodeling. Mighty Joe Young played a few gigs in the San Diego area, gradually building a fanbase. Their first show supported Henry Rollins (Formerly of that band Black Flag we mentioned earlier) at the world-famous Whisky a Go-Go in Los Angeles, CA. The group then began working on their debut album with first-time producer and mixer Brendan O'Brien, the guy who's worked with future Icons and Outlaws subjects, AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Rage Against the Machine, and Bruce Springsteen. Definitely a big deal. One day while recording, they received a call from their lawyer. He informed them that a blues player out of Chicago had already claimed the name Mighty Joe Young and they obviously didn't want to get sued for trademark infringement. So, rumor has it that they were inspired by the STP Motor Oil stickers they loved as kids. Various ideas on the initials "STP" were bounced back and forth, like "Shirley Temple's Pussy" and "Stereo Temple Pirates" before they settled on the name "Stone Temple Pilots."   STP built up their fan base in the San Diego clubs and in 1992 signed a deal with Atlantic Records, who had just released White Lion's "Main Attraction," Rush's "Roll The Bones," and Genesis' "We Can't Dance" the previous year. STP's first album, Core, was released on September 29, 1992, and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Albums Chart. Core was a big success, producing hits "Sex Type Thing," "Plush," (which was rumored to have been written while Eric and Scott were in a Jacuzzi) "Creep," and "Wicked Garden." The debut album was a major commercial success; however, some press called the band "grunge imitators." The name of the album, "Core," refers to the apple in the biblical tale of Adam and Eve. It was recorded in only five weeks! Weiland has said that the album's central theme is that humanity is confused, with songs like "Sex Type Thing" (which is an anti date rape song and written after a woman that Weiland was deeply in love with was raped by 3 football players after a drunken high school party). Whereas "Naked Sunday" dealt with social injustice. "Sex Type Thing," according to Weiland, deals with abuse of power, "macho" behavior, and humanity's attitude toward women, treating them as sex objects. Also, "Naked Sunday" "is about organized religion. "About people who tell others what to do and what to believe. They switch off people's minds and control the masses." He goes on to say, "It gives me a feeling of isolation when I think about it. Organized religion does not view everyone as equals." Weiland says about his lyrics on "Core": "I feel very strongly that all individuals, regardless of age, race, creed, or sexual preference, should have the freedom to exercise their rights as human beings to enjoy life, pursue what they want, and feel comfortable about who they are. I guess I tend to find the darker sides of life more attractive than the yellows and oranges. I know it's something that I relate to when I listen to music."   According to Weiland, "Wicked Garden" 's lyrics deal with the loss of innocence and purity, while "Sin" addresses "violent and ugly" relationships.    Also, the instrumental song "No Memory," the interlude between "Wicked Garden" and "Sin," was written by guitarist Dean DeLeo.   Deleo said about "Core," "You know how when you listen to a Led Zeppelin album, you listen to the entire album, not just the odd song? We wanted to make a record like that. We wanted to create a vibe which would run right through the whole album."    "Core" contained many more bangers, including Dead and Bloated and Crackerman. Since its release, the album has gone eight times platinum, selling over 8 million copies!   Also, that same year, Scott Weiland and Dean DeLeo played an acoustic version of "Plush" on the show Headbangers Ball. If you're not familiar, Headbanger's Ball was a T.V. show consisting of heavy metal music videos airing on MTV and hosted by Riki Rachtman. Some have considered this one of Weiland's most outstanding vocal performances.   Despite some negative reviews from critics, STP continued to gain fans and toured, opening for bands like Rage Against the Machine and Megadeth. Then, 1993 saw the band kicking ass, headlining a two-and-a-half-month tour here in the states.   In 1993, the band filmed an episode of MTV Unplugged, where they debuted the song "Big Empty," which would go on to be on the soundtrack for the movie "The Crow." You can hear our version of this iconic song at the end of the episode.    In a poll in Rolling Stone from 1994, Rolling Stone's readers voted STP Best New Band and Worst New Band by the magazine's music critics. In addition, they took home the "Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist" and "Heavy Metal/Hard Rock New Artist" awards the following month at the American Music Awards. Finally, in March 1994, they won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for "Plush."    Later that same year, STP returned to the studio with Brenden O'Brien, once again producing, to work on their second album, Purple. Unfortunately, around this time, it was also revealed Weiland had become a heroin addict. On the last stop of an STP co-headlining tour with the Butthole Surfers in 1993, in a back room of New York City's Royalton Hotel, Weiland first tried heroin, and in the embrace of this sticky brown shit, his demons were finally at ease. While "Core" took just five weeks to complete, Purple would take less than a month to record. Which, if you're not familiar, is extremely quick. The album's first single was "Big Empty," which debuted at STP's MTV Unplugged acoustic performance in 1993 and reached number one on the Billboard charts. A couple of weeks later, "Purple" also reached the top of the charts, making two for the band in 1994. Although like "Core," "Purple" features grunge elements. However, this album also displays the bands developing sound influenced by other genres, apparent in the psychedelic rock found in "Lounge Fly" and "Silvergun Superman," the country vibes of "Interstate Love Song," and the blues-rock elements of "Big Empty."  AllMusic.com's Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that "Purple is a quantum leap over [Core], showcasing a band hitting their stride." Erlewine also described "Interstate Love Song" as a "concise epic as alluring as the open highway" and "Big Empty" as "a perfect encapsulation of mainstream alienation.” The other two singles after "Big Empty," "Vaseline," and "Interstate Love Song" also hit the top ten on the Billboard Charts, giving them three top ten hits that year. The album also included other minor hits, including "Pretty Penny" and "Unglued." Purple has been certified 6x platinum, selling over 6 million copies. It sold three million copies just four months after its release. The cover of Purple shows a baby riding a dragon in the sky while some angelic figures look on. It is based on the artwork from a package of China White heroin that Weiland scored in Los Angeles. 1994 also saw Weiland marry Janina Castaneda, in which it is said that "Sour girl" and "Interstate Love Song" were written about. Heading into 1995, Weiland would slide into drug and legal problems. His heroin problems were getting worse. "When I tried heroin for the first time," Weiland recalled in 1998, "it seemed to make all those insecurities just go away. I suddenly felt: 'Wow, this is how normal people feel on a day-to-day basis.'" He was spending over $3,000 a week on smack within a year. Weiland found that heroin not only took away his anxiety but also fed into his carefully concocted "wasted rock star persona" and inspired a "bracing new experimentalism." He credited a lot of his creativity during the "Purple" recording sessions to his addiction to heroin. "Heroin gave me this ability to distance myself from the creative process and thereby gave me the strength and courage to try new things," he told Classic Rock.com. "Part of me felt I couldn't be creative unless I was high."   In October 1995, STP got together to begin recording their third album, "Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop." They rented out a mansion in Santa Barbara, California, to live together during the recording process. Unfortunately, the production process of Tiny Music wasn't easy. In early 1995, shortly after the band was forced to scrap two weeks' worth of recorded material, Scott was arrested, just two days out of another rehab, for heroin and cocaine possession and sentenced to one year's probation. Obviously, it didn't take long for Weiland to lose that little control of the addiction he held during this time. After his wife Janina bailed him out, he literally jumped out of her car at a stoplight and disappeared for days while shooting dope with Courtney Love. Yes, that Courtney Love. Weiland formed his side band, the Magnificent Bastards, and recorded songs for the Tank Girl soundtrack and a John Lennon tribute album in the months following this incident.     They released "Tiny Music" on March 5, 1996 and spawned three singles that reached No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart: "Big Bang Baby," "Lady Picture Show," and "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart."   The album's sound severely changed from their previous two albums, adding more glam rock and psychedelic styles and less of the hard rock/grunge sound that made them famous. Of course, reception by critics at the time was mixed. Rolling Stone, the magazine that initially dubbed them the "Worst New Band" in 1994, praised the record, calling it the group's best effort to date. However, they were surprised at "the clattering, upbeat character of the music," seeing that Weiland was all over the news with his drug use and arrests. STP was also featured on the cover of Rolling Stones issue No. 753 in February 1997. The band was only partially successful touring in support of Tiny Music... and was forced to pull out as support for Kiss' reunion tour. A small tour in the fall of 1996 commenced in the U.S. However, dates at the end of December and in 1997 had to be canceled for Weiland to enter rehab, claiming that their singer had "become unable to rehearse or appear for these shows due to his dependency on drugs."    At only 24, Weiland went from smoking heroin to injecting the stuff. He spoke about his first shot of heroin by saying. "It's like what they talk about in Buddhism, that feeling of reaching enlightenment," he told Esquire. "They say there's a golden glow that goes from your fingers all the way through every appendage and into the pit of your stomach. That's what it felt like to me. Like I'd reached enlightenment. Like a drop of water rejoining the ocean." The band then decided to take a break to work on other projects. "I can't call the kettle black," remarked Kiss drummer Peter Criss. "I just pray for the guy and hope that he gets himself better because they really are a great band."   Things were getting worse after all of the issues with recording and touring for Tiny Music. In 1998, the same year Weiland released his first solo album, 12 Bar Blues, police arrested Weiland for buying dope in a New York housing project. A drug-related probation violation landed him five months in jail. Later years would bring more arrests for drunk driving, battery, and possession.   During the initial recording of "Tiny Music," STP, without Weiland, recruited Dave Coutts, the singer of Ten Inch Men, and began performing under the name "Talk Show." Talk Show released one self-titled album in 1997 before calling it quits. Robert and Dean had gotten together to figure out which songs should be Tiny Music songs and Talk Show songs. Dean would later say, "Robert and I had about 30 songs, and we sat in the room one night and basically went down the list and marked next to every song: Scott, Scott, Dave, Scott, Dave, Dave, Scott... It's really weird, because in all reality, it was like 'Big Bang Baby' could've been on [the] Talk Show record, and 'Everybody Loves My Car' could've been on Tiny Music." Both albums, Weiland's "12 Bar Blues" and `Talk Shows "self-titled, seemed to please the critics, but neither was commercially successful.   Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins once said, "It was STP's 3rd album that had got me hooked, a wizardly mix of glam and post-punk, and I confessed to Scott, as well as the band many times, how wrong I'd been in assessing their native brilliance. And like Bowie can and does, it was Scott's phrasing that pushed his music into a unique, and hard to pin down, aesthetic sonicsphere. Lastly, I'd like to share a thought which though clumsy, I hope would please Scott In Hominum. And that is if you asked me who I truly believed were the great voices of our generation, I'd say it were he, Layne, and Kurt." In 2016, The A.V. Club noted that Tiny Music "was an almost shocking leap forward in creative ambition" and that "[STP] got weirder and better than anyone gives them credit for." Numbers-wise, the album has been certified twice platinum, selling over 2 million copies.    In late 1998, the band regrouped again and began work on a fourth STP album. 1999s "No. 4" was looked at as a "back-to-basics" rock album in similar to "Core" or "Purple." Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote in a review, "it's as if STP decided to compete directly with the new generation of alt-metal bands who prize aggression over hooks or riffs.", comparing the album's sound to the current wave of alternative metal bands. This album found STP scoring one of its biggest hits since the "Core" and "Purple" with the single "Sour Girl," which stemmed from a music video starring "Buffy The Vampire" T.V. star, Sarah Michelle Gellar. STP then went on a summer tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and recorded an episode of VH1 Storytellers, supporting "No.4.", with the surviving members of The Doors. Weiland did vocals on two Doors songs, "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" and "Five to One." That same month Stone Temple Pilots appeared on the Doors tribute CD, Stoned Immaculate, with their own rendition of "Break on Through" as the lead track. Despite the lack of promotion due to singer Scott Weiland's one-year jail sentence shortly before the album's release, it would eventually be certified platinum in August 2000.    The cover art for No.4 generated some brief controversy because it strongly resembled the cover of the debut E.P. from Washington, D.C.-based band Power Lloyd. The Power Lloyd CD "Election Day" was released in 1998, and the cover was a white, five-point star on a black field under the band's name; STP's No.4 also featured a white five-point star on a black field under the band's name. Power Lloyd co-founder Gene Diotalevi explained that after their band had given a song to MTV to be used on the soundtrack of Celebrity Deathmatch, someone at MTV with an advance copy of No.4 noticed that the covers were nearly identical and alerted the band. However, Diotalevi stated that no one from STP's camp would return their calls or letters until his band mailed a cease-and-desist letter to STP's record company. STP's legal team then "made an offer to settle that was unacceptable to us," according to Power Lloyd's lawyer, Will Shill.   That same year, Weiland also recorded two songs with the short-lived supergroup the Wondergirls. The group also featured Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Ian Astbury of The Cult, Shannon Leto of Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jay Gordon and Ryan Shuck of Orgy and Julien-k, Doug Ardito of Puddle of Mudd, Ken Andrews of Failure, Martyn LeNoble of Porno for Pyros, and Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age.   During the summer of 2001, the band released "Shangri-La Dee Da." Despite the album's promotion by going on tour with Linkin Park, Staind, and Static X on the Family Values Tour, Shangri-La Dee Da was a commercial disappointment. This album was the fifth and final album released by STP before splitting up in 2002. The album was initially conceived as a double album dedicated to the memory of Andrew Wood, the lead singer, and lyricist of Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone. The record company was not happy with the idea of a double album, and after a while, the band relented to the pressure and made it the single album that was released. During the recording of Shangri La Di Da, the band had a filmmaker record everything that transpired. The filmmaker said the documentary was made to be in the style of The Beatles "Let It Be." Supposedly, there was a coffee table book as a companion to the documentary. Unfortunately, neither the documentary nor the book was released. The biggest hit off of this album was "Days Of The Week," which reached number four on the mainstream rock charts. The album did not perform as well as the previous STP albums, selling just over 500,000 copies and certified gold.   At that point, marketing support from their label was nonexistent, and the band decided to hold on recording any future albums. Finally, however, the band recorded "All in the Suit That You Wear," a song intended to be the lead single on the soundtrack for the 2002 film Spider-Man. However, Chad Kroeger's song "Hero" was ultimately chosen as the lead single. This soundtrack also featured the song "She Was My Girl" by Alice In Chains guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell and was written by Cantrell and my good friend, Jeff Tomei, who also recorded and produced the song.   Reports that the band had begun work on a sixth studio album in 2002 were put to rest as the band went quiet by the end of that year. An altercation between Dean DeLeo and Scott Weiland after the last show of Stone Temple Pilots' fall 2002 tour led to the final dissolving of the band. As an homage to the band's successful career, in 2003, Atlantic Records released a greatest hits album called "Thank You." The album had a bonus DVD of archive material and music videos. Five days after it's release, the DeLeo brothers revealed that the band was officially done in an interview with Guitar One. Following the band's dissolution, Weiland was recruited to join the successful supergroup Velvet Revolver with Guns N' Roses members Slash (guitar), Matt Sorum (drums), Duff McKagan(bass), and former Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner. Weiland was friends with all four of these fellas, so when they were looking for a singer, they sent him two discs of material. He was not really into the first disc, saying it sounded like "Bad Company gone wrong." After that, the guys sent him the second disc, which Weiland liked more. Weiland declined the invite to sing at the time as STP was not broken up yet. After STP officially announced their breakup in 2003, the band sent Weiland new material, and Weiland added vocals to the track at his studio. This track eventually became the song Set Me Free. He delivered the recording to the band in person but still would not join the band. He recorded two songs with the guys, a version of Set Me Free and a cover of Money by Pink Floyd for The Hulk and The Italian Job movies, respectively. Shortly after, Weiland officially joined the band. Before a screening of The Hulk at Universal Studios, the band chose a name. Slash liked the beginning of the word Revolution after seeing a movie by Revolution Studios, eventually thinking of Revolver because of its multiple meanings. The name of a gun, the subtext of a revolving door, and the name of a Beatles album. When he suggested Revolver to the band, Weiland suggested 'Black Velvet' Revolver,' liking the idea of "something intimate like velvet juxtaposed with something deadly like a gun." They eventually arrived at Velvet Revolver. They announced the name at a press conference and performance showcase at the El Rey Theatre while also performing the songs "Set Me Free" and "Slither" as well as covers of Nirvana's "Negative Creep," Sex Pistols' "Bodies," and Guns N' Roses' "It's So Easy."   In 2004, the band released their debut album "Contraband." The album debuted at number one and has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. 2 million were sold in the U.S., making the album certified double platinum. The album's recording was hampered at times by Weiland having to appear in court for his drug charges and his subsequent sentence for rehab. Nevertheless, two of the album's songs, "Slither" and "Fall to Pieces," reached number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song "Slither" also won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal in 2005, an award Weiland had won previously with STP for the song "Plush" in 1994. Velvet Revolver released their second album, Libertad, on July 3, 2007, peaking at number five on the Billboard 200. The delay in releasing their second album, according to Slash, was his fault. He had relapsed on drugs, and this caused issues with the process of getting the album out. The album's first single, "She Builds Quick Machines," peaked at 74 on the Hot Canadian Digital Singles. The second and third singles, "The Last Fight" and "Get Out the Door," peaked at numbers 16 and 34 on the Mainstream Rock Chart. Critical reception to the album was mixed. Though some critics praised the album and felt that Libertad gave the band identity of their own, others described the album as "bland" and noted that the band seemed to be "playing to their strengths instead of finding a collective sound. Later Slash would say about Weiland:                  "I just thought he was a great singer, and he'd always been on my mind for [Velvet Revolver]. He was the one vocalist that I knew had the kind of voice that would serve what we were going to do: he had a John Lennon-ish quality, a little bit of Jim Morrison, and a touch of almost David Bowie. He was the best singer to come out in a long time in my opinion."   Likewise, the DeLeo brothers formed the supergroup Army of Anyone with vocalist Richard Patrick of the rock band Filter and session drummer Ray Luzier. The band released its self-titled album in 2006 before going on "indefinite hiatus" in 2007. STP Drummer Eric Kretz kept a lower profile during this time, operating his own studio, Bomb Shelter Studios, and drumming for the band Spiralarms.   Dean DeLeo stated steps toward an STP reformation started with a phone call from Weiland's then-wife, Mary Forsberg. She invited the DeLeo brothers to play at a private beach party, which led to Weiland and the DeLeo brothers mending ways. In 2007, Dean DeLeo and Weiland discussed a concert promoter's offer to headline several summer festivals. Weiland accepted and said he had cleared the brief tour with his Velvet Revolver bandmates. He explained, "everything was cool. Then it wasn't," and said the rest of the band stopped talking to him. Weiland was diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder. He would often refuse to take medication for it and had lots of mood swings as a result. On March 20, 2008, Weiland revealed at Velvet Revolver's show in Glasgow that this would be the band's final tour. After several flares on their blogs and in interviews, on April 1, it was announced by several media outlets that Weiland would no longer be in Velvet Revolver. STP announced they were reuniting for a 65-date North American tour the following month. The group officially reunited for a private gig at the Houdini Mansion and held their first public performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on May 1. The reunion tour kicked off at the Rock on the Range festival on May 17, 2008. STP toured throughout the summer and fall, headlining the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore in August of that year and the 10th annual Voodoo Experience in New Orleans. The band's six-month reunion tour wrapped up on Halloween 2008 in Pelham, Alabama. After taking a short break to allow Weiland to support his recently released second solo album, ""Happy" in Galoshes," pre-production for the band's sixth studio album began in mid-2009. The band also hit the road for a 13-date North American summer tour in 2009, in-between the tours for Weiland's "Happy in Galoshes.".The band showcased new material at South by Southwest, the annual get-together of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences organized jointly in mid-March in Austin, Texas, in 2010. The band performed at England's Download Festival in 2010, the Hurricane Festival and the Southside Festival in Germany, and the Final Four Concert Series in Indianapolis on April 2, 2010. In addition, the band appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman for the first time in ten years on May 19, performing "Between the Lines.'   It would also be the band's last album featuring Weiland on vocals. A lawsuit filed by Atlantic Records on June 12, 2008, actually left the sixth album up in the air. Atlantic eventually withdrew the case, and the band's attorney called the legal situation a "misunderstanding." Against Atlantic Records' wishes, Robert DeLeo insisted that he and his brother Dean DeLeo produce the record themselves, which began production in early 2009. Production took nearly ten months to complete because recording took place during breaks in the band's touring schedule. Three studios were used simultaneously, including Robert's home studio and Eric Kretz's Bomb Shelter Studios. Scott Weiland recorded vocals at his "Lavish Studios." Don Was came in as an additional producer to help keep the band's separate recording sessions in sync and work closely with Weiland during the recording of his vocals. The album was completed in December 2009, and mixing and mastering were finished by February 2010. The album was released on May 25, 2010, leading to two singles, "Cinnamon" and "Between the lines." The album sold 62,000 copies the first week and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard charts.    In September 2010, STP announced it was rescheduling several United States tour dates so that the band could take a "short break." STP toured Southeast Asia for the first time in 2011, playing in the Philippines (Manila), Singapore, and Indonesia (Jakarta). In addition, the band played successful shows in Australia, including sell-out performances in Sydney and Melbourne.   Dean DeLeo told Rolling Stone in December 2011, "What I'd like to see happen is the band go out and do more intimate shows – really lovely theaters around the country." DeLeo also suggested a possible extended reissue of Core, including live archived material, "We have tons of live recordings from that era, and we didn't multi-track record that stuff. There's no fixes, so they'd sound incredible if we just master them." Scott Weiland also commented on the 20th anniversary of Core, saying, "Well, we're doing a lot of special things. [There's] a lot of archival footage that we're putting together, a coffee table book, hopefully a brand new album – so many ideas. A box set and then a tour, of course."    "Alive in the Windy City," STP's first-ever concert film, was released on June 26 on DVD and Blu-ray, filmed at a sold-out show in March 2010 at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago. STP began to experience problems in 2012. Some were said to have been caused by tensions between Weiland and the rest of the band. Despite the band claiming that their fall tour would be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Core, it never happened. The rest of STP did not want to do the celebration because they believed that Weiland no longer had the vocal range to perform some of the album's songs. Weiland decided to perform the songs they did not want to play on one of his solo tours. The rest of the band didn't tell Weiland that they were pissed, which made him assume that everything was cool. On September 17, set to perform at a show in Abbotsford, British Columbia, STP arrived nearly two hours late and cut their set 30 minutes short, pissing off the crowd. The following day, the band released a brief statement announcing that that night's show in Lethbridge, Alberta, was canceled because Weiland was ordered to go on "48 hours complete vocal rest due to strained vocal cords." On December 7, hearing rumors that Weiland was open to returning to Velvet Revolver, a radio D.J. asked Slash about his possible return. Slash then told radio station 93X that he had heard rumors Weiland had been fired from STP. He claimed Weiland wanting to return to Velvet Revolver had something to do with that, something that Weiland quickly dismissed.   On February 27, 2013, shortly before this solo tour was set to commence, Stone Temple Pilots announced on their website that "...they [had] officially terminated Scott Weiland." Of course, that termination came as news to Scott. He fired back with a statement of his own that set the stage for what was sure to be an epic showdown, saying, "Not sure how I can be 'terminated' from a band I founded," "but that's something for the lawyers to figure out." Just one day before he was fired from the band, Weiland was giving interviews saying STP was working on tour plans, just another example of how significant the divide between him and his bandmates was.   Chester Bennington of Linkin Park appeared as a special guest on May 18, 2013, with the three remaining members of STP, performing at the 21st Annual KROQ Weenie Roast and the May 19, 2013, Live 105 BFD festival near San Francisco, where they performed a new song, "Out of Time." STP released a free download of their new single "Out of Time" with Bennington on May 19, 2013, citing him as an official member. Bennington had exclaimed that being in STP was his lifelong dream in interviews years before. On May 30, 2013, The new lineup performed, at the MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert in Los Angeles, California. They were joined by Weiland's former bandmates Slash and Duff McKagan on to perform Mott the Hooples "All the Young Dudes", a song originally written by David Bowie. STP then announced that they would head out on a small tour in September with Filter opening up. They released a five-track E.P. titled High Rise on October 8, 2013, simply called Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington. "Black Heart," the album's second single, was released through iHeart Radio on September 18, 2013. STP dropped "with Chester Bennington" officially from their name in March 2015. On November 9, 2015, Bennington announced he was leaving Stone Temple Pilots to put more focus on Linkin Park. Chester Bennington committed suicide on July 20, 2017.   Sadly, by the beginning of 2015, all signs pointed to a new cycle of relapse for Scott Weiland. While on tour with his backing band, The Wildabouts, there were rumors the Weiland had started using drugs again. The tour with the Wildabouts was not going as well as Weiland was hoping it would, and soon his rollercoaster life would come to an end. On December 3, Scott Weiland and his Wildabouts limped into Bloomington, Minnesota, to discover that their show had been canceled due to poor sales. The man who once held stadiums captivated in the palm of his hand could not even sell 100 tickets. Just before 9 pm on December 3, in a hotel parking lot just south of Minneapolis, Scott Weiland was found dead in the bunk of his tour bus. He was 48. He had finally hit rock bottom. The medical examiner later determined the cause of death to be an accidental overdose. An array of drugs were found on his tour bus, including cocaine, marijuana, bipolar medication, and anti-anxiety medication for treating addiction. Wildabouts bassist Tommy Black was arrested at the scene on drug charges. Weiland was no apologist for his behavior. Even as far back as the 90s, he admitted that he was entirely responsible for his actions and recovery. "There's no way you can place the blame on anyone but yourself, although, because I am a drug addict, I don't believe I have control over what I do when I start using it, because I feel totally powerless," he said. "But I'm still accountable for what happens."   A few days after his death, Weiland's second wife, Mary Forsberg, wrote a jagged open letter to Rolling Stone magazine. "Noah and Lucy never sought perfection from their dad," she wrote. "They just kept hoping for a little effort. If you're a parent not giving your best effort, all anyone asks is that you try just a little harder and don't give up." Her comments underscore the heartbreaking truth: that among the singer's family, friends and bandmates, in the end, it seemed that the one who cared least about Scott Weiland's sobriety was the man who needed it most. Scott. News of Weiland's death quickly spread throughout the internet, with many of his musical peers, including his former band members, along with fans and music critics throughout the world, sharing their condolences, tributes, and memories. A day following his death, his former bandmates in Stone Temple Pilots issued a statement saying that he was "gifted beyond words" but acknowledged his struggle with substance abuse, calling it "part of [his] curse." A quiet funeral for Scott was held at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on December 11, 2015, in Los Angeles. Members of both Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver attended. Chris Kushner, the wife of Velvet Revolver guitarist Dave Kushner, wrote on her Instagram page following the funeral, "A very sad day when (you) bury a friend. He was a good man. Don't believe everything (you) read. Remember, we were all there." Weiland's body was cremated. Mary Forsberg and the two children were not in attendance, later having a private ceremony in honor of their beloved family member.   In February 2016, the remaining members of Stone Temple Pilots went to the internet searching for a new vocalist, stating on their official website: "If you think you have what it takes to front this band, record with this band, and tour with this band, we would dig hearing from you."   STP announced that a 25th-anniversary edition of Core would be released on September 29, 2017. The reissue includes a 25th Anniversary box set, a remastered version of the album, previously unreleased demos and b-sides, and parts of three live performances from 1993  On November 14, 2017, the band revealed that nu-metal band, Dry Cell vocalist Jeff Gutt had been selected as their new frontman. On November 15, 2017, the band released a new song, "Meadow," from the upcoming studio album. On January 31, 2018, the band released a second new song, "Roll Me Under," and announced the release of its seventh studio album. The self-produced L.P., the band's second self-titled album, was released on March 16, 2018, and was their first album with vocalist Jeff Gutt. In mid-2018, the band embarked on a co-headlining tour with Bush and The Cult.   On September 4, 2018 They announced a 15 date Canadian tour with the band Seether.   On November 30, 2018, STP's current label announced the following: "There is a manufacturing error on vinyl copies of Live 2018 that was caused by a defective lathe, resulting in the album playing at a 4% slower speed. We deeply apologize for this unfortunate occurrence and promise to provide replacement copies to everyone that purchased."   May 3, 2019 – – Stone Temple Pilots and Rival Sons announced they will embark on their first-ever co-headlining U.S. tour in the fall. Produced by Live Nation, the exclusive 12-city outing would kick off September 13 in Baltimore and see the two bands performing on intimate stages across the states. These included The Met Philadelphia, Ford Amphitheater in New York City, The Fillmore New Orleans, and more before wrapping October 9 in San Diego.     June 6, 2019, STP Celebrated the 25th anniversary of "Purple" by releasing a 3-CD/1-LP "super deluxe edition" set including a newly remastered version of the original studio album on both CD and vinyl, plus unreleased versions of album tracks and rarities, along with an unreleased full concert recording from 1994. A limited-edition bundle of the PURPLE: SUPER DELUXE EDITION was also available that included a bonus replica 7-inch vinyl single of "Interstate Love Song" that was initially released in the U.K. in 1994. This exclusive bundle is limited to 1,000 copies.   January 24, 2020, The band announced they had to cancel their "Perdida" tour to support their newest album of the same name. The press announcement "We are sorry to announce that we must cancel the upcoming Perdida acoustic tour. Our brother Jeff has a severely herniated disc and doctors have advised immediate surgery which will require weeks of recovery time and physical therapy. Thankfully, Jeff is expected to make a full recovery and we will continue with our Australian tour with Live and Bush in April, the summer tour with Nickelback, and we hope to reschedule the Perdida tour later this year." You thought it was COVID, didn't you?   STP had several live stream performances during 2020, including playing "Core" and "Purple" in their entirety.    On March 25, 2021, They celebrated the 25th anniversary of "Tiny Music..." with the announcement of a super deluxe remastered edition. The 3-CD/1-LP set combined a newly remastered version of the album with unreleased early takes, alternate versions, instrumentals, a full never-before-released MTV Spring Break performance from 1997, as well as a previously unreleased alternate version of the album's first single, "Big Bang Baby."   And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of Stone Temple Pilots. An excellent start to the plethora of Icons and Outlaws we'll be discussing every week.    The research from this episode is due in part from Scott Weiland's Memoir "Not Dead and Not For Sale" classicrock.com Stonetemplepilots.com Adam Moody Articles by Stephen Thomas Erlewine at allmusic.com wikipedia albumoftheyear.org Billboard.com Consider being a producer of the show. www.iconsandoutlaws.com www.accidentaldads.com

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