BRANDY - "BRANDY" (1994)
Brandy Norwood was raised in Carson, California and first started her career as an actress. She first appeared on the short-lived television show, "Thea" and later would star in her own hit sitcom, "Moesha" that ran from 1996 to 2001.
Music was in her blood however, as her father was a gospel singer, her brother, Ray J. who also is a singer, has made some hit recordings and rapper, Snoop Dogg is her first cousin. Although she attended the Hollywood High Performing Arts Center, she managed to get a recording contract with Atlantic Records on her own after auditioning.
At the tender age of fifteen, she released her self-titled debut, "Brandy". Despite her age, the album was mature sounding, hip-hop flavored soul that was filled with great songs and a solid production. It spawned three top ten hits, including "Best Friend ( LP Version )" and "Baby ( LP Version )". and had two number one's on the R&B charts. The album would go on to sell six million worldwide.
Brandy has released a total of five albums and won a Grammy award for her hit duet with Monica, "The Boy Is Mine" (1998).
This was her first single and one of my favorites:
I Wanna Be Down.mp3
DURAN DURAN - "RIO" (1982)
This English pop-rock band was formed in Birmingham by keyboardist, Nick Rhodes and bassist, John Taylor with original lead singer, Stephen Duffy in 1978. The band's name was inspired by a villainous character in the film, "Barberella".
After numerous personel changes, drummer, Roger Taylor, guitarist, Andy Taylor and new lead singer, Simon LeBon were added and became the final line-up. None of these "Taylors" are related, by the way.
The band released their first album, "Duran Duran" in 1981. The album had hit singles in the UK with "Planet Earth" and "Girls On Film" which was helped by the controversial music video that featured scantily clad women mud-wrestling plus depictions of sexual fetishes and it would end up being banned by the BBC. An edited version would be played on the new U.S. music channel, MTV and it did create some buzz for the band here but not much radio play.
Duran Duran released their second album, "Rio" in 1982. While it enjoyed huge success in England and the rest of the world, it stalled in the United States. After re-releasing the album, promoting it as a more dance oriented rock record and putting out a stylish music video for their single, "Hungry Like The Wolf", the band finally hit. The song went to number three on the U.S. charts and Duran Duran became one of the first bands to capitalize on the music video to help create their image and as an extension of their music. "Rio" also landed in the top ten of the albums charts and started a long string of hit albums and singles in the United States and around the world.
Members of the band over the years have departed, been replaced, returned and left again but Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon have remained throughout.
Duran Duran has gone on to sell over one hundred million albums and have released thirteen albums so far, with a new one being produced by Mark Ronson to be out, possibly later this year.
Enjoy their first U.S. hit:
Hungry Like The Wolf.mp3
This is the music video, that was shot in Sri Lanka, that helped shape their image:
PET SHOP BOYS - "PLEASE" (1986)
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe met at an electronics store in Chelsea, London in 1981. Discovering that they both had an interest in dance music, they decided to team up and create some music together.
At first, they were going to call themselves, "West End" because of their love of the area in London but eventually settling on the "Pet Shop Boys", which came from friends working in an actual pet shop.
Neil worked for Smash Hits, a British music magazine and he was assigned to interview the Police in New York. While there, Neil met up with dance producer, Bobby Orlando and gave him a demo tape of his band's music. Bobby O loved it and produced a song, "West End Girls". It became a minor club hit in San Francisco and Los Angeles though it did not do well in Britain.
They signed with Parlophone Records after a lengthy negotiation to sever contractual ties with Bobby O in 1985. Stephen Hague produced a re-recorded version of "West End Girls (2001 Digital Remaster)" and although the single got off to a slow start, it eventually went to the top of the charts in the UK, as well as many other countries including the United States. Their debut album, "Please" was released shortly after and would go on to sell three million copies.
The Pet Shop Boys have released ten studio albums, which their latest, "Yes" came out in March 2009, as well as four best selling remix albums all entitled, "Disco". They would also produce music for Dusty Springfield (who also did the smash hit duet with the boys, "What Have I Done To Deserve This? (2001 Digital Remaster)"), Boy George ("The Crying Game") and Liza Minnelli ("Losing My Mind").
They are even in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful duo in UK music history.
This is their first single:
West End Girls.mp3
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