MARIAH CAREY - "MARIAH CAREY" (1990)
Named after the song, "They Call The Wind Mariah" from the musical, "Paint Your Wagon", Mariah Carey was the youngest of three children born and raised in Long Island, New York. She is of multi-racial descent ( Irish, Venezuelan and African-American) which caused her some difficulties growing up. After Mariah's parents split up, the family struggled as her mother had to work several jobs to keep food on the table.
Mariah would sing around the house as a young child and her mother, who was a former opera singer, would teach her daughter how to properly use her voice.
After Mariah finished high school, she worked as a local demo singer, wrote songs and went to beauty school before becoming a back-up singer for artist, Brenda K. Starr.
Mariah attended a party with Brenda and met Columbia Records executive, Tommy Mottola. Brenda gave him Mariah's demo tape and he listened to it after the party and was very impressed. Mr. Mottola tracked down Mariah and signed her to a record contract.
Her self-titled debut, "Mariah Carey" was released in 1990 and she co-wrote all of the songs on the album. It would reach number one on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts, thanks to her first hit single, "Vision Of Love" which also hit number one for four weeks. There were three more singles released that also went straight to number one on the pop charts and it would become the best selling album in 1991. Mariah would receive two Grammy Awards including Best New Artist of 1990.
While Mariah's first album was more pop oriented with lite r&b, she wanted to move even more towards a solid r&b/ hip-hop sound, so her next album, "Emotions" was released in late 1991. Although it had three top ten singles, it was not nearly as successful as her debut and she also suffered from a critical backlash. She was being accused of being nothing more than a studio creation because she did not tour to support her albums but the truth was that she lacked confidence and suffered from a little stage fright. She did manage to perform for a small audience for an MTV Unplugged program in 1992. That live show was released as an EP and had a number one song with a cover of The Jackson 5 hit, "I'll Be There". Mariah eventually did do several major tours around the globe.
Mariah Carey would enjoy more hit singles and albums and achieve international success. She has had twenty-seven top ten hits in the U.S to date.and has eighteen number one singles, second only to The Beatles, and she has sold well over two hundred million units.
Mariah became romantically involved with Tommy Mottola and they wed in 1993 but the marriage ended in 1997 due, in part, to Mr. Mottola's controlling nature. In 2008, while shooting a music video for a song off her album, "E=MC²", Mariah met actor Nick Cannon and after a brief romance, they were married in the Bahamas. Mariah is expecting her first child in the spring of 2011.
This is the first number one song for Mariah Carey:
Vision Of Love
WHAM! - "MAKE IT BIG" (1984)
George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley met as teenagers while they attended Bushey Meads School in Hertfordshire, England. They joined a SKA band called The Executive but formed Wham! after that band disbanded. George held the majority of the responsibilities of the band; singing, writing and producing while Andrew played guitar but more importantly was Wham!'s spokesman and handled their image.
Wham! released their first single, "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do?)" in 1982, which was one of the first singles by a British band that featured rap but the song did not chart. Later that year, they put out their second single, "Young Guns (Go For It!)" but this song also stalled. It was a last minute appearance, after another band dropped out, on the BBC television program, "Top Of The Pops" that changed things for the band. After audiences, (mostly teenage girls) got a look at the boys and their performance, "Young Guns" moved up the UK pop charts and peaking at number three. "Wham Rap!" was re-released and went top ten as well as additional singles, "Bad Boys" and "Club Tropicana". Their debut album, "Fantastic" went straight to number one by 1983.
This was just the beginning, as Wham! had the rest of the world to conquer. Wham! used the music video to their advantage with the singles off of the first album, which featured the boys as black leather-wearing toughs but for the video of the first single off of their new album, "Make It Big", Andrew had them soften their look and appear more playful while George took care of creating a catchy tune. The song, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" went straight to number one all over the world and Wham! became a global sensation. The next single, "Careless Whisper" was released as a "George Michael" solo song, which also went to number one. The two other hit singles, "Everything She Wants" and "Freedom" were released as Wham!. and also hit the top ten.
After all of the fame and fortune, George now wanted to be taken seriously as an artist and distance himself from Wham!'s teenage fan base and move more towards a sophisticated audience. In 1986, the duo announced that Wham! would be splitting up after their next album, "Music From the Edge of Heaven". Wham! staged a grand finale concert at Wembley Stadium on June 28, 1986 that was attended by 73,000 fans. After five years together, Wham! sold over twenty millions records.
Andrew Ridgeley only made a one solo album, "Son of Albert" in 1990 that was a commercial and critical flop while George Michael went on to have a somewhat successful solo music career.
The first Wham! single. . .This is the Brit-rap at it's best:
This is the duo, looking tough, as they perform their song, "Bad Boys" on the Brit TV show, "Top Of The Pops" in 1983:
Andrew talks George into getting blonde highlights and wearing over-sized t-shirts and tiny shorts and this music video helped launch Wham! to world wide success:
CYNDI LAUPER - "SHE'S SO UNUSUAL" (1983)
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Cyndi Lauper was exposed to wide spectrum of different musical genres as a child. At the age of twelve, Cyndi learned how to play the guitar and soon started writing songs. Cyndi also began expressing herself by dying her hair in wild colors and wearing extreme fashions but her mother encouraged her to express her creativity and individuality. At seventeen, Cyndi left home to study art but ended up traveling through Canada and eventually ended up in Vermont where she took art classes.
She soon returned to New York and decided to pursue singing. She performed with a variety of cover bands but disliked doing other artist's songs. In 1977, Cyndi damaged her vocal cords and was told she would never be able to sing again. Cyndi worked with a vocal coach who helped her regain her voice and taught her exercises to help protect it.
In 1978, She met sax player, John Turi and they formed a new-wave rock band called, Blue Angel. The band recorded a few demos but many people who heard them only wanted to sign Cyndi to a record deal but she held out for the band. Polydor Records eventually signed the band and they released their self-titled debut, "Blue Angel" in 1980. Despite some critical acclaim, the album was not a commercial success and Blue Angel soon disbanded.
Cyndi continued singing in local clubs and met David Wolff, who became her manager and he got her signed with Portrait Records. Cyndi worked with studio musicians on her album and in 1983, "She's So Unusual" was completed. The album was an immediate hit, thanks to the first single, "Girls Just Want To Have Fun". The song was originally written and recorded by Robert Hazard and was done from a male point of view. Cyndi altered the lyrics slightly to change it to a female perspective and the song went to number two on the U.S. pop charts. "She's So Unusual" had a total of four top ten singles, was nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning two, including Best New Artist and would go on to sell a total of sixteen million copies across the globe.
Cyndi would go on to have a successful recording career, releasing eleven studio albums to date which include different genres of music; pop standards ("At Last" 2003), acoustic ("The Body Acoustic" 2005), electronic dance ("Bring Ya To The Brink [Explicit]" 2008) and her latest, the blues, "Memphis Blues" which she just received a 2010 Grammy nomination.
Cyndi has made many appearances as an actress in films and television and she even won an Emmy for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for "Mad About You" in 1995.
Cyndi has been married to David Thornton since 1991 and they have a son, Declyn.
Here is the song that launched Cyndi's music career:
Girls Just Want To Have Fun
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