Friday, February 28, 2014

MY TUNE OF THE DAY

We are finally getting some much needed rain here in Los Angeles today. I haven't seen rain fall like this in many years, so why not share the song, "It Never Rains In Southern California". However,  there are two completely different songs that have that title.

The first was recorded by Albert Hammond, a British rock artist who co-wrote the semi-autobiographical song about a singer coming to L.A. to try and make it in the business but struggles in this highly competitive city. "It Never Rains In Southern California" reached the U.S top five in 1972 and became his only hit.

The other is a r&b classic from Tony! Toni! Toné!. "It Never Rains (In Southern California)" reached the top of the Billboard r&b chart for two weeks and hit the top forty of the pop chart back in 1990.

I can't decide which song to pick as I love them both so, enjoy each of them:

"It Never Rains In Southern California" - Albert Hammond (1972)

"It Never Rains (In Southern California)" - Tony! Toni! Toné! (1990)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2013 OSCAR NOMINEES FOR BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Most of the conversation about this year's Oscar nominations for Best Original Song has been about the disqualification of the tune, "Alone Not Alone". I had found it a little suspect that a song from a film that nobody never heard of (let alone ever seen) managed to earn a nomination but the real news is that the rest of the selections are actually a solid collection of songs. It's been quite a while since music from a motion picture has received serious radio play but two of our nominees have been climbing up the Billboard charts. One of this year's big Grammy winners, Pharrell Williams has a top-ten hit with "Happy" from the animation sequel, "Despicable Me 2" while "Let It Go", the breakout song from another smash animated film, "Frozen" is also moving up the top-forty.

The other two notable songs include rock legends, U2 who received their second Oscar nomination for the moving ballad, "Ordinary Love" which closes out "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom". Karen O from the art-punk band Yeah Yeah Yeah co-wrote "The Moon Song" with the director of the film, "Her", Spike Jones. A version of the song is performed in the film by actors, Scarlett Johansson and Joaquin Phoenix and by the artist during the end-credits.

The best news is that all of these great artists will be on the Oscar telecast, March 2nd to perform their songs. And the nominees for Best Original Song are:

"Let It Go" from "Frozen" -  Performed by Idina Menzel - (Music and lyric by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez)



"The Moon Song" from "Her" -  Performed by Karen O - (Music by Karen O, Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze)



"Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" -  Performed  by U2 -(Music and Lyric by U2)





"Happy" from "Despicable Me 2" -  Performed by Pharrell Williams - (Music and lyric by Pharrell Williams)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

TAKE TWO: CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE


After the somewhat shocking revelation that Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille, who are better known by their stage moniker, Captain & Tennille, where splitting up after almost forty years of marriage, it made me think back upon their musical career. Their wholesome family act fit perfectly in the mid-seventies and the duo found huge success starting with "Love Will Keep Us Together" which took them to the top of the U.S. pop chart, won the Grammy Award for Record of The Year and became the best selling single in 1975.

Daryl Dragon was a keyboardist for The Beach Boys touring band and first met Toni Tennille when a player was needed for a musical she had co-written in Los Angeles. Later, when The Beach Boys were in search of another keyboardist, Dragon suggested Tennille and she went on tour with the band, becoming the first "beach girl".

The couple became a team personally and professionally as they married in 1974 and became the musical act, Captain and Tennille. After touring the L.A. area, they were signed to A&M Records and began work on their first album. Following their first chart-topping song, Captain and Tennille had many other hit singles including "Lonely Nights (Angel Face)", "Do That To Me One More Time" and the infamous, "Muskrat Love". During the height of their fame, the duo had a short-lived television variety show in 1976.

By the 1980's, the hits dried up for Captain and Tennille but they continued to tour successfully across the globe. Around the same time, Toni Tennille began a solo career singing pop standards and appearing on Broadway. Captain and Tennille had officially retired around 2008 due to Dragon suffering from a neurological disorder that has left him unable to perform.

Enjoy the pure pop sounds of two of my favorite songs from Captain and Tennille:

"Love Will Keep Us Together" - Captain and Tennille (1975)

"The Way I Want To Touch You" - Captain and Tennille (1975)

Finally, here is a performance of the very odd song, "Muskrat Love":

Sunday, February 9, 2014

THE BEATLES INVADE AMERICA


It was exactly fifty years ago today when a scruffy rock band for Britain made their American television debut and an entire nation swooned. An estimated seventy three million people tuned in to the popular "The Ed Sullivan Show" to watch The Beatles make the first of three consecutive appearances on the program. On that inaugural evening, the foursome performed "All My Loving", "Til There Was You" and "She Loves You". By the time The Beatles finished their act, they left the audience completely mesmerized and screaming for more.

There is no way to overestimate this band's power and influence they had not only on these shores but on the rest of the globe. Many other British acts followed and found great success here but very few made such a lasting impact on music and culture like The Beatles.

Enjoy the recorded versions of two of the songs the Beatles performed on the show:

"All My Loving" - The Beatles (1963)

"Till There Was You" - The Beatles (1963)

Here is the group performing, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" live on "The Ed Sullivan Show":



video



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SING IT LADIES - THE SEQUEL

It's been no secret that I love the sound of the female voice so here is a follow-up with a collection of a few more of my all-time favorite girl groups:

Bananarama - "I Heard A Rumour" (1987)










Jade - "Don't Walk Away" (1993)











The Ronettes - "Be My Baby" (1963)











The Bangles - "Eternal Flame" (1989)








Pussycat Dolls - "Stickwitu" (2005)









Destiny's Child - "Independent Women" (2000)









Wilson Phillips - "Hold On" (1990)







The Shangri-Las - "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" (1964)











Exposé - "Let Me Be The One" (1987)











Salt-n-Pepa - "Shoop" (1993)

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...