Wednesday, November 30, 2011

54TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARD NOMINATIONS

The nominations have been announced for this year's Grammy Awards with Kanye West leading the pack with seven nominations and Adele, Bruno Mars and The Foo Fighters each receiving six.

This is the first year where the awards in each major music category has eliminated segregating the artists by gender and has combined them in to just one. There are now fewer awards to be handed out but that also means that there will be fewer opportunities for artists to be nominated.  In some ways it's good because there have been many years where there have been questionable nominations given just to be able to fill out the categories but this could cause certain deserving artists to be possibly overlooked. We'll see what happens in the future.

The 54th annual Grammy Awards will be presented on February 12th 2012 on CBS.

For complete list of the nominations, please go to:
Grammy.com

Album of the Year

"21" – Adele

"Doo-Wops & Hooligans" – Bruno Mars

"Born This Way" – Lady Gaga

"Wasting Light "– Foo Fighters

"Loud" – Rihanna

Record of the Year

“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele

“Grenade” – Bruno Mars

“Holocene” – Bon Iver

“The Cave” – Mumford & Sons

“Firework” – Katy Perry

Song of the Year

“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele

“Holocene” – Bon Iver

“Grenade” – Bruno Mars

“The Cave” – Mumford & Sons

“All of the Lights” – Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie

Best New Artist

Bon Iver

The Band Perry

Nicki Minaj

J. Cole

Skrillex

Best Pop Solo Performance

“Someone Like You” – Adele

“Yoü and I” – Lady Gaga

“Grenade” – Bruno Mars

“Firework” – Katy Perry

“F***in’ Perfect” – Pink

Best Pop Vocal Album

"21" – Adele

"The Lady Killer" – Cee Lo Green

"Born This Way" – Lady Gaga

"Doo-Wops & Hooligans" – Bruno Mars

"Loud" – Rihanna

Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group

“Body and Soul” – Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse

“Dearest” – The Black Keys

“Paradise” – Coldplay

“Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People

“Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera

Best Dance Recording

“Raise Your Weapon” – Deadmau5 & Greta Svabo Bech

“Barbra Streisand” – Duck Sauce

“Sunshine” – David Guetta & Avicii

“Call Your Girlfriend” – Robyn

“Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites” – Skrillex

“Save The World” – Swedish House Mafia

Best Dance/Electronica Album

"Zonoscope"– Cut/Copy

"4×4=12" – Deadmau5

"Nothing But The Beat" – David Guetta

"Body Talk, Pt. 3" – Robyn

"Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites" – Skrillex

Best R&B Performance

“Far Away” – Marsha Ambrosius

“Pieces of Me” – Ledisi

“Not My Daddy” – Kelly Price & Stokley

“Is This Love” – Corinne Bailey Rae

“You Are” – Charlie Wilson

Best Traditional R&B Performance

“Sometimes I Cry” – Eric Benét

“Fool for You” – Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona

“Radio Message” – R. Kelly

“Good Man” – Raphael Saadiq

“Surrender” – Betty Wright & The Roots

Best R&B Song

“Far Away” – Marsha Ambrosius

“Fool for You” – Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona

“Not My Daddy” – Kelly Price

“Pieces of Me” – Ledisi

“You Are” – Charlie Wilson

Best R&B Album

"F.A.M.E." – Chris Brown

"Second Chance" – El DeBarge

"Love Letter" – R. Kelly

"Pieces of Me" – Ledisi

"Kelly" – Kelly Price

Best Rap Performance

“Look at Me Now” – Chris Brown, Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes

“Otis” – Jay-Z & Kanye West

“The Show Goes On” – Lupe Fiasco

“Moment 4 Life” – Nicki Minaj & Drake

“Black and Yellow” – Wiz Khalifa

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

“Party” – Beyoncé & André 3000

“I’m on One” – DJ Khaled, Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne

“I Need a Doctor” – Dr. Dre, Eminem & Skylar Grey

“What’s My Name?” – Rihanna & Drake

“Motivation” – Kelly Rowland & Lil Wayne

“All of the Lights” – Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie

Best Rap Song

“All of the Lights” – Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie

“Black and Yellow” – Wiz Khalifa

“I Need a Doctor” – Dr. Dre, Eminem & Skylar Grey

“Look at Me Now” – Chris Brown, Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes

“Otis” – Jay-Z & Kanye West

“The Show Goes On” – Lupe Fiasco

Best Rap Album

"Watch the Throne" – Jay-Z & Kanye West

"Tha Carter IV" – Lil Wayne

"Lasers" – Lupe Fiasco

"Pink Friday" – Nicki Minaj

"My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" – Kanye West

Best Country Album

"My Kinda Party" - Jason Aldean

"Chief " - Eric Church

"Own the Night"  - Lady Antebellum

"Red River Blue"  - Blake Shelton

"Here for a Good Time " - George Strait

"Speak Now" - Taylor Swift.

Producer of the Year (Non-Classical)

Danger Mouse

Paul Epworth

The Smeezingtons

Ryan Tedder

Butch Vig

Friday, November 18, 2011

THE FIRST TIME: PART THIRTEEN

"DARYL HALL AND JOHN OATES" - HALL & OATES (1975)


Daryl Hall was born in 1946 in Pottstown, PA. John Oates was born in New York City in 1949 and raised in Philadelphia.

In 1966, while in high school, Oates performed on his first single, "I Need Your Love" with the group, The Masters. After he graduated school the following year, he went to Temple University where he met fellow musician, Daryl Hall who was a senior at the time. Hall was majoring in music and he worked with legendary r&b songwriters and producers, Kenny Gable and Leon Huff as a session musician.

Hall dropped out of school in 1968 and a year later deceided to pursue music full time. Hall & Oates decided to join together and become a duo in 1970. They got a recording contract with Atlantic Records two years later. Hall & Oates released three albums on the label but none of them were commercially successful as they were still developing their sound. There was one song off of their 1973 album, "Abandoned Luncheonette" that wasn't a hit for them initially (it only reached number sixty on the charts), but it became successful for other singers. "She's Gone" was recorded by several artists including r&b singer, Lou Rawls but became a number one hit on the soul chart for Tavares in 1974. After their third album, "War Babies', Hall & Oates decided to leave Atlantic and join RCA Records in 1975.

Their debut on their new label simply titled, "Daryl Hall and John Oates" came out that year and the most controversial issue, certainly in their entire career, was the cover of this album. It featured the men heavily made-up, looking like glam rockers and (most especially Hall) very androgynous which is the complete opposite of their actual image and sound. Despite this distraction, the second single released, "Sara Smile" became their first top-ten hit. The song, written about Hall's then-girlfriend Sara Allen who would later co-write many of the duo's songs with him, peaked at number four on the pop chart.

After the success of "Sara Smile", Atlantic Records decided to re-release the duo's original version of "She's Gone" in 1976 and the song went to number seven on the pop chart.

Hall & Oates released their next album, "Bigger Than Both Of Us" in 1977 and that featured "Rich Girl" which became their first number one song.

After riding high on these hits, Hall & Oates later had difficulty getting radio play with their follow-up albums. They experimented with a more rock sound and when disco ruled the airwaves, Hall & Oates released, "X-Static" in 1979 that blended dance and rock but it also failed to connect with audiences. After this, Hall & Oates decided to take control of their career by producing their music themselves and recording their albums with their touring band instead of using session musicians.

In 1980, Hall & Oates released their ninth album, "Voices" and things started to slowly change for the duo. The first single, "How Does It Feel To Be Back" was their first to crack the top-forty in years, then the next single, which was a remake of The Righteous Brothers' 1964 hit, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", managed to make it to number twelve on the pop charts. The following song, "Kiss On My List" would place Hall & Oates back on the top of the charts with another single, "You Make My Dreams" hitting number five. In addition, the song "Every time You Go Away", which is on the "Voices" album but not released as a single, would be remade by British singer, Paul Young in 1985 and would become a number one smash.

Hall & Oates became one of the top acts of the eighties and they had a long string of hit songs throughout the decade including "Private Eyes", "Maneater", "One On One", "Say It Isn't So" and "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)", a song that went to number one on the pop and r&b charts which was the rare time that a white act managed to achieve that feat on both charts. They also performed at the original Live Aid concert as well as on the "We Are The World" charity single in 1985.

In 1987, Hall & Oates decided to sign a lucrative new record deal with Arista Records and they released two albums; "Ooh Yeah" in 1988 and "Change Of Season" in 1990. While these albums went platinum and gold respectively but the singles didn't do nearly as well as their past works and the sales were considered disappointing. The duo didn't release another album until 1997 with "Marigold Sky" on their own indie label, Push Records.

Each artist has recorded solo albums over the years with Daryl Hall releasing his fifth, "Laughing Down Crying" and John Oates released his third, "Mississippi Mile" both earlier this year but the duo still finds plenty of opportunities today to perform together with concert tours and television appearances.

Hall & Oates is considered one of the most successful duos in musical history with a total of eight number one singles, over twenty top forty songs and has sold a total of over sixty million records during their career.

Daryl Hall was involved with Sara Allen for about thirty years before ending their relationship in 2001. They never married and have no children. Hall has a son, Darren from a previous marriage to Bryna Lubin. He is currently married to Amanda Aspinall.

John Oates is married to his wife, Aimee and they have a son, Tanner.

This is the song that introduced this duo to the world:

"Sara Smile" - Hall & Oates (1976)

Here is the music video of Paul Young's hit covering Hall & Oates:




"DREAMBOAT ANNIE" - HEART (1976)


The Wilson sisters were born in California; Ann in San Diego in 1950 and Nancy in San Francisco in 1954. Their father was in the Marines which had him traveling between California and Taiwan before retiring and settling the family in Bellevue, Washington. Music played an important part of their family as their mother was a concert pianist and their father sang in a choir during his time in the military.

While their parents exposed Ann and Nancy to a wide variety of music, but it was seeing The Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show" that cemented the idea of them becoming rock musicians. Neither of them ever had any formal music lessons but were committed to learning how to play guitar. Ann and Nancy started writing their own songs as well and they performed rock and folk music in a few bands in high school.

In 1972, Ann joined a local band, Hocus Pocus that featured Roger Fisher on guitar, Steve Fossen on bass, David Belzer on keyboards and Jeff Johnson on drums. Ann met Roger's brother, Mike who had avoided the draft by moving to Canada, while he was visiting his family. They started dating, fell in love and Ann moved to Canada to be with him. Roger Fisher and Steve Fossen followed in 1973 and formed a new band with Ann called Heart. Nancy came to Canada the following year and joined the band along with John Hannah on keyboards and Brian Johnstone on drums.

Heart performed many one-night shows throughout Canada before settling in Vancouver. The group recorded some demos with producer, Mike Flicker and session player, Howard Leese who joined the band after Hannah and Johnstone left the band. Heart signed a two-album deal with Mushroom Records and released their debut album, "Dreamboat Annie" in 1976. "Crazy On You" became Heart's first hit song, although it only reached number thirty-five on the U.S. pop charts but it did much better internationally. With two other singles, "Magic Man" (which became their first U.S top ten song) and the title track both doing well which helped their first album sell over a million copies.

Unhappy with how the label promoted the band and their unwillingness to raise their royalty rate, Heart broke their contract with Mushroom Records and signed with Portrait Records, a subsidiary of CBS Records. This resulted in a lengthy legal battle with Mushroom with the label releasing a new Heart album called, "Magazine" in 1977 shortly before the release of Heart's Portrait label debut, "Little Queen". "Magazine" consisted of uncompleted songs that Heart had begun recording before deciding to leave the label.

A court ordered a compromise which had Mushroom Records pull "Magazine" to allow Heart the opportunity to remix and re-record several tracks before re-releasing the album but Heart had actually wanted the album pulled completely. "Magazine" was re-released in 1978 with both albums selling over a million copies each and both had top-forty hit songs; "Barracuda" ("Little Queen") and "Heartless" ("Magazine").

Heart enjoyed plenty of successful albums and singles including "Straight On", "Even It Up", and "Dog & Butterfly" throughout the rest of the seventies. By the early eighties, Heart's next few releases failed to have much chart success although Ann had a top-ten hit as a solo artist with a duet with Mike Reno of the band, Loverboy with the song, "Almost Paradise" from the soundtrack for the film, "Footloose" in 1984.

Heart signed with a new label, Capitol Records in 1985 and released their eighth album simply entitled, "Heart" which turned out to become their biggest in their career. There were four top-ten hits, "What About Love?", "Never", "Nothin' At All" and their first number one smash, "These Dreams". The album, which was also their first number one, went on to sell over five million copies. Heart released three more successful albums; "Bad Animals" (1987), "Brigade" (1990) and "Desire Walks On" (1993) before Nancy decided to take a break to focus on starting a family with her husband, Rolling Stone magazine writer turned filmmaker, Cameron Crowe.

In 1995, Ann assembled a new band and went on tour as either The Ann Wilson Band or Ann Wilson and The Ricola Brothers. Nancy went on to score the music for several of her husband's films including "Jerry Maguire" and "Almost Famous" as well as released a solo album, "Live At McCabe's Guitar Shop" in 1999. Ann released her first solo album, "Hope & Glory" in 2007.

The Wilson sisters reunited as Heart,with new band members, and released their first album in seven years with "Red Velvet Car" in 2010 which debuted at number ten on the U.S Billboard 200 chart. Heart has sold over thirty-five million records worldwide and they continue to tour.

Nancy married Cameron Crowe in 1986 and they have two sons, William and Curtis but the couple divorced in 2010. Ann has never been married.

This is Heart's first big single:

"Crazy On You" - Heart (1976)

Here is the music video for "Never" which I love the big hair, the eighties fashions and Nancy shaking her stuff with her guitar:




"WHAT 'CHA GONNA DO WITH MY LOVIN'" - STEPHANIE MILLS (1979)


Stephanie Dorthea Mills was born in 1957 and raised in Brooklyn, New York. The fifth of six children, Stephanie developed her singing skills at a young child while attending her Baptist church. She entered and won the Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater six times which lead to her appearing in her first Broadway play, "Maggie Flynn" at the age of nine.

Shortly after that, Stephanie signed her first recording contract with ABC Records and released her debut album, "Movin' In The Right Direction" in 1974. Although the album was not a huge success but it lead to her being asked to open for The Isley Brothers. The following year, she won the lead as Dorothy in the Broadway musical, "The Wiz", an African-American version of "The Wizard of Oz".

Jermaine Jackson, of The Jackson 5, suggested to Berry Gordy of Motown Records to sign Stephanie to the label and she recorded an album, "For The First Time" and it was released in 1976. Unfortunately, the album did not do well and she was dropped from the label.

In 1978, Stephanie signed with 20th Century Records and was teamed with producers, James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. Their collaboration produced, "What 'Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'" in 1979. The title track was her break-out single where it reached number eight on the r&b chart and twenty-two on the pop chart and the album went gold. The follow-up album, "Sweet Sensation" was released the next year with the single, "Never Knew Love Like This Before" becoming a huge hit, peaking at number six on the pop chart and won her a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

Stephanie left this label and after another unsuccessful album was released with Motown, she signed with Casablanca Records in 1982. She recorded three moderately successful albums on this label with her biggest hit song being, "The Medicine Song" in 1984

Stephanie signed with another new label, MCA Records in 1985 and this is where she reached her career peak. The self-titled first album on the label featured the song, "I've Learned To Respect The Power of Love" (written by r&b singer, Angela Winbush) which became her first number one on the r&b chart. In 1987, she released the album, "If I Were Your Woman" which had three top-ten r&b singles with two of them; "I Feel Good All Over" and "(You're Puttin') A Rush On Me" both topping the chart. This album also became her best-selling  with sales of over a million copies. She released four more albums on the label with two more number one hit singles; "Something In The Way (You Make Me Feel)" and "Home" which was a song re-recorded from "The Wiz", both in 1989.

Stephanie is not as active as she once was but still makes occasional live appearances and she recently released a new single, "Yesterday" which is a remake of The Beatles classic with a new album to come.

Stephanie Mills has been married three times; She married Jeffrey Daniel, one of the original members of the group, Shalamar in 1980 but they divorced two years later. She married Dino Meminger shortly after that but they divorced about two years later. In 1993, she married Michael Saunders, a North Carolina radio station manager but they have since separated. Stephanie has one child, a son, Farad who has Down's Syndrome and she has not disclosed the name of his father.

This is the song that began her recording career:

"What 'Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'" - Stephanie Mills (1979)

This is the music video for her biggest hit, "Never Knew Love Like This Before":

Friday, November 11, 2011

RIHANNA: THE QUEEN OF POP


There has been no slowing Rihanna down as with her latest single, "We Found Love" is her eleventh number one song on the U.S. Billboard Pop Chart, tying her with Whitney Houston with the most among female artists following Mariah Carey and Madonna.

She has also made the charts working with other artists such as Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, David Guetta with her total chart toppers including collaborations with T.I ("Live Your Life") and Eminem ("Love The Way You Lie").

There are two new songs out where Rihanna has added her vocals; the first is not surprising as she is on the title track, "Take Care" from hip-hop artist, Drake's upcoming album. The two team up again after his appearance on her 2010 number one song, "What's My Name?"

"Take Care" - Drake Featuring Rihanna (2011)

The other is more unexpected as Rihanna appears on a track from Coldplay's new album, "Mylo Xyloto". "Princess of China" is a slight shift in direction for the rock band with the song having a funkier edge and being a true stand-out on the record:

"Princess of China" - Coldplay Featuring Rihanna (2011)

This is the gritty and sexy music video for "We Found Love" that follows a young couple's drug-fueled romance. (I think the male lead looks suspiciously like Rihanna's former lover, Chris Brown):

Thursday, November 3, 2011

MY TUNE OF THE DAY


Today's tune is a hot track from Beyonce off of her latest album, "4" which is one of my favorites. "Party" is slinky, slow-groove that features not only Kanye West but also Andre 3000. This song has been released primarily for the urban market and hopefully it will make some noise on the charts as the album hasn't done nearly as well as anyone would like:

"Party" - Beyonce Featuring Kanye West and Andre 3000

This is the music video for the song in which B is giving us trailer-trash diva who is partying with her sister, Solange and former Destiny's Child member, Kelly Rowland who both make cameo appearances. No sign of her baby bump in this clip but the biggest change is that J. Cole has replaced Andre 3000, for some unknown reason, providing a new rap at the bridge of the song. It's not nearly as good but no major harm done:

ABSENT FACES IN POP MUSIC

I had read a interesting article recently in the Los Angeles Times about the difficulties of a new generation of Black female singers being...