Thursday, April 19, 2012

DICK CLARK (1929 - 2012)


Another sad day in the world of music as we lost, Dick Clark, the host of the long-running and influential musical variety program, "American Bandstand" yesterday. The show (which was on the air from 1957 until 1987) was not only a showcase for all of the top pop acts of the day but introduced many new artists to America as well as helped put an end to musical segregation by having the original African-American singers perform their songs on the show instead of the white artists who covered their hits.

Known as "America's Oldest Teenager" because of his boyish appearance, Clark was also responsible for bringing to the airwaves other popular television shows such as "The 25,000 Pyramid", ''TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes","New Year's Rockin' Eve" and the American Music Awards.

"American Bandstand" was part of my Saturday ritual (along with "Soul Train") as I looked forward to either seeing one of my favorite bands or falling in love with a new performer. I remember the first time seeing Teena Marie, Prince (and his juvenile interview) and Madonna (proclaiming she was ready to "rule the world") on the program and immediately went out and bought their music afterwards.

Dick Clark came across as a genuinely nice person and his love of the music always came through. He was truly one-of-a-kind and what he brought to television can never be replaced.

Here are some video highlights from "American Bandstand":





Sunday, April 15, 2012

MEET KIMBRA


Most American audiences have recently become aware of pop singer, Kimbra due to her part on Gotye's hit song, "Somebody That I Used To Know" but she is not exactly brand new artist.

The twenty-two year old New Zealand native burst on to the scene last year with her debut album, "Vows" that became a major hit in her home country and Australia with three singles making it on to the Australian Top 100 Singles chart.

Her quirky but soulful vocals is just what is needed right now in pop music and if there is any justice, Kimbra will become just as big of a success here in America as she is back in her home.

The U.S. release of "Vows" is due on May 22nd and will include a few new tracks on this version. Here is a song that I particularly like:

"Cameo Lover" - Kimbra (2011)

Enjoy the music video for another track, "Settle Down" :

Saturday, April 7, 2012

LAND OF THE ONE-HIT WONDERS: 70'S EDITION



I loved platform shoes.

Although I was a tall, skinny kid and really didn't need the extra height but I still wanted to wear them. Platform shoes also remind me of my childhood in the 1970's which was the time I was slowly evolving in to a person with my own views and opinions. Music played an important part during this time as well as I happily listened to AM radio. What was wonderful then was that I could listen to one station and be exposed to all genres of music that were popular at the time. Sadly, radio now lacks variety and has become much more narrow and segregated.

So, here is a collection of just a few of my favorite songs from artists who managed to have only one song hit the top-forty on the U.S.Billboard Hot 100 chart. I can listen to any of these songs and they still take me back to specific times in my life although some of these tunes I had no idea what they really meant or were actually about:

"Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" - Edison Lighthouse (1970)

"Smiling Faces Sometimes" - The Undisputed Truth (1971)

"Precious & Few" -  Climax (1972)

 "Dancing In The Moonlight" - King Harvest (1973)

"The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" - Vicki Lawrence (1973)

"Walk On The Wild Side" - Lou Reed (1973)

"Pillow Talk" - Sylvia (1973)

"Misdemeanor" - Foster Sylvers (1973)

"Kung-Fu Fighting" - Carl Douglas (1974)

"Lovin' You" - Minnie Riperton (1975)

"How Long" - Ace (1975)

"Fooled Around & Fell In Love" - Elvin Bishop (1976)

"Welcome Back" - John Sebastian (1976)

"Afternoon Delight" - Starland Vocal Band (1976)

"You Can't Turn Me Off (Not In The Middle Of Turning Me On)" - High Inergy (1977)

"Because The Night" - Patti Smith Group (1978)

"Hot Child In The City" - Nick Gilder (1978)

"New York Groove" - Ace Frehley (1979)

"Pop Muzik" - M (1979)

Here is a music video for Samantha Sang's only hit, "Emotion" that was written and produced by the Bee Gees in 1978. It's very dated and although she is trying her very best to be seductive but unfortunately it's just coming across as a little creepy:



Before she landed this hit record in 1976, Andrea True was a porn star (?)and in the music video for "More, More, More", Ms True's efforts at being sexy feels simulated, very much like she did in her previous line of work:
 

Monday, April 2, 2012

MY TUNE OF THE DAY


Who doesn't love James Brown?

"The Godfather of Soul" went from an impoverished childhood in Georgia to a convicted felon but was able to turm his life around to ultimately become one of the most innovative, influential and respected musical artists in history. No one has ever come close to matching his style, energy or charisma and many of today's contemporary musicians owe a great deal to this legendary icon.

"The Payback" is a little over seven minutes of pure funk. Brown rifts about seeking vengeance on a man who cheated him and stole his woman so, you know The Godfather will get his revenge. The most amazing thing about this track is how Brown's howls throughout don't sound capable of coming from a human being.

There is no way you can keep still listening to this tune:

"The Payback" - James Brown (1974)

James Brown was best known for his amazing stage show and here he is in his prime from the 1964 concert film, "The T.A.M.I Show" that featured many of the top acts of the day. Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones famously stated that was one of the worst mistakes of their career was following Brown after this performance:

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...