Monday, September 6, 2010



Celine Dion was born in 1968 in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada. She was the youngest of fourteen children and while the family was poor, it was happy home filled with song. The children would sing regularly in their family's piano bar. At a very young age, Celine knew there was only one thing she wanted to do: become a performer.

When she was twelve, Celine composed a song with her mother and her brother. She recorded it and her brother got it in to the hands of record producer, Rene Angelil. He was moved to tears by the sound of her voice and decided at that moment to make her a star.

Mr. Angelil mortgaged his home to help pay for the recording of Celine's first record, "Le Vox Du Bon Dieu (The Voice of the Good God)". It became a number one hit in Quebec and helped make her a local star. She went on to make fourteen French-language albums and her fame spread across the rest of the world. After seeing Michael Jackson perform in 1988, Celine told Rene that she wanted to achieve his kind of success. Mr. Angelil knew that in order for that to happen, changes needed to be made so he gave the young Celine an image makeover and English lessons.

Two years later, Celine completed her first English-language album, "Unison". There were two singles released, which didn't go anywhere before the third song, "Where Does My Heart Beat Now?" was the breakthrough and managed to reach number four on the American pop charts.The album sold over three million worldwide.

Celine Dion soon did actually become an international music sensation, selling over two hundred million records across the globe. In 2002, she staged a very successful stage show at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas that ran for five years and accumulating a total gross of $400 million dollars.

Celine and her manager, Rene Angelil fell in love and despite a twenty-six year age difference, married in 1994. They have a son, Rene-Charles who is nine and she currently pregnant and due to deliver twins this November.

This song was her first U.S. hit single:

Where Does My Heart Beat Now - Celine Dion 


This English electronic band was formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex and originally consisted of keyboardist, Andrew Flecher, Martin Gore on keyboards, vocals and guitar, Vince Clark on keyboards and main songwriter and Dave Gahan on lead vocals. They had all played in a variety of different bands as teenagers before coming together. The band's name, Depeche Mode came from a French fashion magazine and translates to: "hurried fashion".

While playing at a gig, the band was approached by Daniel Miller, a musician who was interested in having them record a single for his new music label, Mute. The song they would record, "Dreaming Of Me (2006 Remaster)" became a modest hit, reaching number 57 on the UK charts in 1981. This led to another single, "New Life" which went up to number 11 on the charts.

The next single, "Just Can't Get Enough" was the band's breakthrough. The song went top ten in the UK and was a hit in Australia, Sweden and the U.S. Depeche Mode made their first music video for this song and released their first album,"Speak & Spell [digital version]" shortly after.

While touring to promote the album, Vince Clark became unhappy with the direction the band was heading in and decided to leave Depeche Mode. He would later team up with singer, Alison Moyet and form the band, Yazoo (Yaz in the U.S.), then leave that band and create Erasure with vocalist, Andy Bell.

Alan Wilder joined the band in 1982 as a replacement keyboardist and Martin Gore became the songwriter for the group.

Despite Mr. Clark's departure, Depeche Mode managed to continue making hit recordings and became one of the most successful electronic bands in history. Wilder left the band in 1995 and Depeche Mode have continued as a trio.

Depeche Mode have completed twelve albums to date with "Sounds Of The Universe" being released last year. The band has sold over one hundred million records.

This was their first hit chart topper:

Just Can't Get Enough - Depeche Mode 

This was the band's first music video:

Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough
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He was born James Johnson, Jr. in Buffalo, New York in 1948. He was one of eight children and his abusive father would later abandon the family when James was seven. His mother did the best she could but as a teenager, James would cut classes and got involved in petty crimes. James soon dropped out of school before he was sixteen and joined the US Naval Reserve to avoid the draft.

James went AWOL from the Naval Reserve in 1964 because it was interfering with his music ambitions. He went to Toronto, Canada, joined the band, the Mynah Birds and stated calling himself, "Big Jimmy". The band went through a few personnel changes and would later audition for Motown records. Motown was interested and the Mynah Birds (that now included future rock legend, Neil Young) began recording an album but their manager stole the band's advance money. The group fired their manager and he went and reported James to the US Naval Reserve. The album was never completed.

After serving some time in the brig, James returned to Motown in 1968, under an assumed name as a songwriter and producer. Later that year, he moved to Los Angeles where he either formed or joined a variety of different bands. He did a few recordings with some of these groups but not much came from any of them.

In 1977, James returned to Motown and worked with the groups, Hot Lips and the Stone City Band. Finally in 1978, he released his first solo album as "Rick James" with, "Come Get It" that included the Stone City Band for the Motown-Gordy label. It features the smash singles, "You And I" that hit number one on the R&B chart as well as number thirteen on the pop charts and "Mary Jane", the thinly veiled homage to his love of marijuana that went to number five on the R&B charts.

Rick James would continue with a string of hit songs over the years that include his signature 1981 classic, "Super Freak" that would be heavily sampled by others artists with the most famous being MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" in 1990.

He would also be involved with discovering R&B singer, Teena Marie, creating the group, the Mary Jane Girls, producing an album for comedian, Eddie Murphy and working with Motown legends, the Temptations and Smokey Robinson.

Rick James's music career soon came apart by several bizarre incidents, that were most likely the result of his severe drug abuse issues that include an assault on a record producer and in 1993, holding a young girl hostage for six days with his then wife which led to him serving two years in prison for the crime.

In 1997, Rick James attempted a comeback but he would suffer a mild stroke while performing in Colorado. He would continue to try and revive his career during the following few years but on August 6, 2004, he was found dead due to a heart attack.

Rick James released twelve albums during his career and sold a total of ten million copies.

This is the song that Rick James finally hit the charts with:

You And I - Rick James 


During a loving musical tribute while receiving this year's lifetime achievement award from BET, we were reminded of what an amazing ...