Tuesday, January 19, 2016

GLENN FREY (1948 - 2016)


The world has sadly lost another incredible artist as Glenn Frey, the singer and guitarist of the legendary country-rock band, the Eagles who also enjoyed success as a solo artist passed away yesterday at the age of sixty-seven. He died from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. The Eagles were selected for last year's Kennedy Center Honors but Frey was too ill to attend, so the band decided to postpone the award until this year.

Born and raised in the Motor City, Frey first learned the piano before switching to the electric guitar as a teen. He played with many rock bands in the area before meeting local performer, Bob Seger who became a great influence and encouraged him to write his own material. Frey was invited to perform on Seger's hit recording, "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" in 1968.

Frey eventually headed west to try his luck and would meet musician J. D. Souther. They teamed-up and formed a duo, Longbranch Pennywhistle and played throughout L.A. After recording an album in 1969, the two ended their partnership amicably two years later. Souther was dating singer, Linda Rondstat at the time and she needed a back-up band for her upcoming album. He recommended Frey, guitarist, Bernie Leadon, bass guitarist, Randy Meisner and drummer, Don Henley. By the end of the recording sessions, Frey and Henley knew they had become a band and formed the Eagles. They released their self-titled debut in 1972 and it became an immediate hit with three top-forty singles, "Take It Easy", "Witchy Woman" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling". The Eagles soon became one of the most successful rock bands of all time selling well over one hundred and fifty million records with their greatest hits album selling forty-two million copies alone. After years of recording and touring, tension and resentments flared and the Eagles would break-up by 1980.

Frey went on as a solo artist with his most notable songs are "The Heat Is On" from the "Beverly Hills Cop" soundtrack in 1984 and "You Belong To The City" for the television show, "Miami Vice" the following year. He also did some acting appearing on the television shows,"Miami Vice", "Wiseguy", "Nash Bridges" and in the 1996 film, "Jerry Maguire".

After thirteen long years, the Eagles reunited (with "The Long Run"-era band which featured Frey, Henley, Joe Walsh, Don Felder and Timothy B. Schmit) in 1994 and released "Hell Freezes Over" which the title comes from the likelihood of the band ever coming back together again. They would continue to perform together since then with their last major tour in 2013. The Eagles were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and won six Grammy Awards including the 1977 Record of The Year for "Hotel California".

Here's just a small sample of the great music that Glenn Frey has left us with:

"Take It Easy" - The Eagles (1972) mp3

"New Kid In Town" - The Eagles (1976) mp3

"You Belong To The City" - Glenn Frey (1985) mp3

Monday, January 11, 2016

DAVID BOWIE (1947 - 2016)


I am incredibly shocked and deeply saddened to report that we have lost rock legend, David Bowie  on January 10th. The innovative singer/actor just turned sixty-nine three days ago and had released a jazz-rock fusion album, "Blackstar" also on that day. He had recently collaborated on an off-Broadway musical, "Lazarus" that was a surreal sequel to his best-known 1976 film role, “The Man Who Fell to Earth". Bowie had quietly been struggling with cancer for over a year.

He was born David Jones on January 8, 1947 in Brixton, London. After starting his professional career in music, he changed his surname to "Bowie", which was the name of a nineteenth-century fighting knife, because he didn't want to be confused with Davy Jones of The Monkees. Bowie's first album failed to attract much attention but that would completely change with his follow-up recording. "Space Oddity" was released in 1969 and the title track became a top-five hit in England.

It was the creation of his androgynous, space alien character, Ziggy Stardust and the 1972 album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" that helped propel Bowie in to a worldwide superstar. With theatrical stage shows, outrageous costumes and hard-driving rock & roll, Bowie became a highly influential figure in music. He soon retired the Ziggy persona and evolved in to the far more low-key but equally dramatic the Thin White Duke. During this period, Bowie recorded in Berlin three albums with his long-time producer Tony Visconti that had been considered some of his greatest work: "Low" "Heroes" and "Lodger". Then in the '80's, he shifted gears again and teamed up with producer Nile Rodgers to create "Let's Dance", an album of dance-powered rock which also brought the artist his biggest commercial success.

Over his considerable career, David Bowie had recorded twenty-five studio albums, was inducted in to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 and sold well over one hundred and forty million records across the globe. He is survived by his wife, Iman, a former model, who had been married since 1992 and their daughter, Alexandria. He is also survived by a son, Duncan Jones, a filmmaker who was born with his first wife, Angela.

David Bowie was a unique and powerful voice in modern music who will never nor can ever be duplicated. Here are a few of my favorite songs from this great performer:

"Young Americans" - David Bowie (1975) mp3

"Sound & Vision" - David Bowie (1977) mp3

"Loving The Alien" - David Bowie (1985) mp3

"Time Will Crawl" - David Bowie (1987) mp3

David Bowie used promotional videos to creatively express his music through the use of stylish and poetic images long before MTV came on the scene. Here is the singer's final music video for the song, "Lazarus", a track from his recent album, "Blackstar":

Friday, January 1, 2016

NATALIE COLE (1950 - 2015)


One of the most dynamic performers in popular music, Natalie Cole has sadly passed away on December 31st due to ongoing health issues. Born and raised in Los Angeles, it seems music was in her blood as she was the daughter of legendary pop/jazz vocalist, Nat "King" Cole and Maria Cole who once sang with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. While attending college to study psychology, she would perform in small clubs singing rock and soul numbers, trying to put some distance from her father's legacy and find her own way in to music.

Cole was discovered by producers Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy (whom she later married and they had a son, Robbie) and released her debut album, "Inseparable" in 1975 on Capitol Records, which was the label her father recorded with. The album was a instant success due to the first single, "This Will Be" and would win Cole the first two of her nine career Grammy Awards including for Best New Artist.

Cole would become a major star and had many more hit songs including "I've Got Love on My Mind", "Our Love" and "Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)" throughout the rest of the '70's but a serious drug addiction was creating havoc in her personal life. By 1983, she sought treatment and became ready to get her career back on track. It didn't take too long for Cole to find herself back on the charts with songs like "Miss You Like Crazy", "I Live For Your Love" and a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac".

The singer soon found herself ready to explore the music made famous by her father and recorded "Unforgettable. . . With Love" in 1991. It featured a beautiful duet of the title track with her and (with the help of technology) Nat "King" Cole and the single became a top-twenty hit. The album would go on to sell seven million copies and win six Grammy Awards including Album of The Year.

Let's look back on this incredible talent and celebrate the wonderful music she gave us:

"Mr. Melody" - Natalie Cole (1976) mp3

"Our Love" - Natalie Cole (1978) mp3

"I Live For Your Love" - Natalie Cole (1987) mp3

And here is the video of Natalie Cole performing the magical "Unforgettable" with her father:

ICONA POP ARE "GIRLS GIRLS"

Those Swedish musical party-girls, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, otherwise known as  Icona Pop are back with a new club-banging anthem. ...