Thursday, June 30, 2016

NUMBER ONE FLASHBACK


This week's number one flashback goes back forty years with "Silly Love Songs" by Wings. This group was formed shortly after Paul McCartney left one of the world's most famous rock bands, the Beatles in 1971. The original Wings line-up included Denny Laine on guitar and bass, Denny Seiwell on drums and McCartney's wife, Linda on keyboards. Over the years, musicians would come and go and at the time of their fifth studio album, "Wings At The Speed of Sound", the band featured the McCartneys, Laine, Jimmy McCullouch on guitar and Joe English on drums.

This classic came about after McCartney, who had been accused for years about writing nothing but songs about love, wanted to give a witty and direct response to critics about his music. Sir Paul certainly had the last laugh with "Silly Love Songs" as it has remained one of the singer's most enduring and popular tunes.

"Silly Love Songs" became the band's fourth U.S. number one single and a year after their sixth and final chart-topper in 1980, "Coming Up", Paul McCartney and Wings parted ways after the former Beatle had re-teamed with producer George Martin to work on a new record and mutually decided to use other musicians.

As a treat, take a look at the original music video for the song. It's the perfect time capsule of the wild, chaotic and seemingly a lot of fun life on the road for Paul, Linda and the band:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

RICK ASTLEY AT "50"


Rick Astley, who many Americans will remember for his infectious '80's dance-pop classic "Never Gonna Give You Up", has just returned to the top of the UK pop charts with his latest album. It has been twenty-nine years since the still boyish-looking British singer last hit that mark with his debut "Whenever You Need Somebody" back in 1987.  He had retired from music in 1993 but came back in 2002 and later became an viral Internet sensation when his hit song became a meme called "rickrolling".

Taking it's title from Astley reaching this birthday milestone last February, "50" delivers more of the soulful pop songs he's been doing long before Adele was even in diapers. The singer's eighth studio album will not hit stateside until October and there's word he plans to tour the country which he hasn't done in many years. In the meantime, take a look at the video for the gospel-flavored pop single, "Angels On My Side":

Sunday, June 19, 2016

IN LOVING TRIBUTE TO ORLANDO


It has been a week later and the world is trying to recover from the devastating tragedy that occurred in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub. The senseless loss of forty-nine innocent and beautiful lives is still very hard to comprehend. As a way to heal and to help with the difficult times ahead for the survivors and the families of the victims, a few musical artists have made creative contributions to assist in the best way they can.

Christina Aguilera has released a moving ballad called "Change" She will be donating 100% of the song’s proceeds for the next three months to the National Compassion Fund to directly benefit the Orlando shooting victims and their families. You can purchase the song right now through Apple Music.



Out singer/songwriter, Melissa Etheridge has written a powerful song dedicated to the victims of this terror attack. Using the name of the gay club for inspiration, "Pulse" deals with coping with pain and loss while reinforcing the never-ending power of love. When the single is officially released, proceeds will be going to a LGBT charity.

"Pulse" - Melissa Etheridge (2016) mp3

UPDATE: I have to include the recently released, wonderful single of the Hal David/Burt Bacharach song "What The World Needs Now is Love" sung by Broadway For Orlando. This collective of performers of the New York stage, past and present, came together on June 15th to record this classic with 100% of proceeds going to the LGBT Center of Central Florida. It is available now for download through BroadwayRecords.com and iTunes, Take a look at the video of the recording that features plenty of faces you will recognize

Sunday, June 12, 2016

RANDOM SIGHTS + SOUNDS

Two British alt-soul vocalist are making their long-awaited return to the music scene. First, we have Laura Mvula, who dazzled us with her 2013 debut album, "Sing To The Moon", back with the follow-up release, "The Dreaming Room". Following the first single, "Overcome" that featured Nile Rodgers, the latest is "Phenomenal Woman" which is inspired by the poem by the late, great Maya Angelou. I love the video for the song which is a colorful, dance-filled celebration of women filmed in Cape Town, South Africa:



It's been about five years since we last heard from Corinne Bailey Rae. After having to cope with the tragic loss of her musician husband, Jason Rae in 2008, the thirty-seven year old singer found love again with another musician, Steve Brown whom she married in 2013. That is reflected on her third album, "The Heart Speaks in Whispers" which finds Rae (who co-wrote and produced much of the album with Brown) in a more upbeat, groove-oriented vibe than on her last release, "The Sea" in 2010. There are certainly moving songs about love to be found here as well. Check out this great video for the single, "Green Aphrodisiac" which features the singer performing interpretive dance with two impressive male dancers. Now, I'm not sure if Rae is actually singing about weed here but have a listen and see what you think:



Sean Combs has taken back the name "Puff Daddy" for his upcoming "Bad Boy Family Reunion" tour. It reunites many of the artists that recorded on Combs' Bad Boy label in the '90's all on one stage. Expect to see such rap and hip-hop greats like Mase, Faith Evans, Mario Winans, 112, Total and Lil' Kim in addition to a musical tribute to the legendary Notorious B.I.G.

This celebration of the 20th anniversary of Bad Boy Entertainment will begin in late August and run through October. In case you may have forgotten, here are just a few of the hits made by some of these performers:

"Crush On You" - Lil' Kim featuring Lil' Cease and The Notorious B.I.G. (1996) mp3





"I Don't Wanna Know" - Mario Winans featuring Enya and P. Diddy (2004) mp3

Finally here is our Miss Janet with the last video from her sensational album, "Unbreakable" that was released shortly before she took some take off to have a child. "Dammn Baby" is classic Janet Jackson as she shows the world she's one hot mama that still got the moves:

Monday, June 6, 2016

TAKE TWO: DEBORAH COX


Deborah Cox made her mark on the soul and pop charts in the '90's but it was on the dance floor where she was the true queen, achieving the feat of reaching the top of that chart twelve times.

Born and raised in Toronto, Cox began singing professionally at the age of twelve as she worked on television commercials and entered several talent contests. Even though she worked as a background vocalist for Celine Dion for a brief period, Cox struggled to break in to the Canadian music business. In 1994, she decided to give America a try and moved to Los Angeles. It didn't take long for her talent to be recognized here and Clive Davis quickly signed her to his Arista label.

The year after her arrival, Cox released her self-titled debut where the album found some success with the singles, "Sentimental" and "Who Do U Love" which became her first number one song on the dance chart. Cox received serious attention with a dance-mix of the song "Things Just Ain't The Same" for the soundtrack of the film, "Money Talks". This very popular single also reached the top of the dance charts.

The haunting ballad, "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here", the first single from the 1998 follow-up album, "One Wish", became a smash hit reaching number one on the r&b chart and a re-mix on the dance while it peaked at number two on the pop chart. Another single, "We Can't Be Friends", a duet with R.L. of the soul group, Next, also became a number one r&b hit and reached the top-ten on the pop chart. "It's Over Now" and "I Never Knew" from the album both became number one dance chart-toppers. "One Wish" would go on to sell over a million copies.

The third album, "The Morning After" came out in 2002 but didn't reach the same commercial heights of the previous record although Cox had three more number one dance songs including "Absolutely Not" from the "Dr. Dolittle 2" soundtrack.

Cox tested out her acting skills on Broadway with an acclaimed performance in the Elton John-Tim Rice musical "Aida" in 2004. She left Arista Records and joined the label, Decca to release "Destination Moon", a jazz tribute album to legendary vocalist, Dinah Washington. The singer released her last studio album to date in 2008, "The Promise", a collection of r&b songs that featured another number one dance re-mix hit , "Beautiful U R".

Although she's been busy raising her three young children, Cox continues to perform, recently appearing on Broadway again with a revival of the musical "Jekyll & Hyde" in 2012 and there are plans for some new music. In the meantime, let's listen to two classic songs by Deborah Cox:

"Sentimental" - Deborah Cox (1995) mp3

"Things Just Ain't The Same (Dance Remix)" - Deborah Cox (1997) mp3

NEW SOUNDS

WHITNEY HOUSTON Words cannot express how much I miss the glorious voice of Whitney Houston . It's been five years since her passing...