Monday, August 28, 2017
After the incredible success of her 2014 album, "1989" and the following world tour which was the highest-grossing of 2015 that placed her into global superstar status, Taylor Swift decided to lay low for a while. During this time, she made a couple of musical collaborations (most notably with a One Direction member she didn't date) but her most news-worthy events were spent fighting for artist's rights against Apple Music and Spotify and winning a legal battle against a grabby DJ.
At the stroke of midnight on August 25th, Swift has reemerged with new music. She has been known to use her music as a way to express her unpleasant experiences with people she has known while paying them back for perceived or actual slights. Yet with her newest single, "Look What You Made Me Do", the singer seems to have taken an even darker turn.
Co-written and produced by the busy Jack Antonoff (who also produced tracks on "1989"), the song uses elements from an unlikely source of Right Said Fred's 1991 hit, "I'm Too Sexy" while Swift goes on a rampage about someone who has wronged her. It also ignites plenty of speculation on who she may be referring to as her recent bouts include Katy Perry and Kanye West along with his wife. This intriguing bit of dance-pop presents Swift in a different light. Gone is the sweet and good-natured singer and now we have an edgy and angry persona. But is this the new Taylor Swift? For in the middle of this record, she boldly announces that the old Taylor Swift is dead. From the tone of this song, I'm not quite sure I really like this new version of the singer.
Taylor Swift's sixth album is called "Reputation" and will out on November 10th.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
People have been in a wild frenzy over the solar eclipse happening on August 21st, beginning around 8:46 AM Pacific time. For those who may not know, this occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring the image of the sun from view. The last total eclipse which was visible across the U.S. happened almost one hundred years ago on June 18, 1918.
If you plan to watch, remember you can seriously damage your eyes if you look directly at this eclipse. Make sure you get special protective glasses (regular sunglasses will not do) if you plan on watching.
So in tribute, here is a musical offering in celebration of this once-in-a-lifetime event:
Thursday, August 17, 2017
I can't believe it but it's been forty years since "Best of My Love" by The Emotions landed at number one on the pop chart during this week. This enduring classic, written by Maurice White and Al McKay of Earth, Wind & Fire, spent five weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, won the group a Grammy for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group and the single would sell over a million copies.
The Emotions, made up of the Hutchinson sisters, Jeanette, Sheila and Wanda, hail from Chicago and began singing together professionally in 1962 as teens. Their first taste of success came when their single, "So I Can Love You" reached the soul chart in 1969. After their record label, Volt folded in 1975, the trio met Maurice White and he took an interest in the group. He got them signed to his label, Columbia and began work on an album. Their first project together, "Flowers" was released in 1976 and the singles, "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love" and the title track, became big hits on the soul chart. But it was the follow-up album, "Rejoice" that gave the Emotions' the biggest smash of their careers. Their last major chart appearance would be providing backing vocals on Earth, Wind & Fire's 1979 top-ten hit, "Boogie Wonderland".
The Emotions still occasionally perform together, with younger sister, Pamela filling in for Jeanette. Enjoy this rare live appearance of the group performing their hit on "The Midnight Special" show back in 1977:
Saturday, August 12, 2017
The last time we heard from Pink it was with her musical contribution to Disney's 2016 "Alice in Wonderland" sequel, "Alice Through The Looking Glass" and the top-ten hit, "Just Like Fire" (which was probably the best thing about that movie).
Now the thirty-seven year old singer is officially back with a song from her upcoming seventh album, "Beautiful Trauma" due out in October. "What About Us" (co-written with Johnny McDaid and Steve Mac who also produced the track) seems to be about bringing attention back to all the people that have been forgotten during this current volatile political climate. This low-key, uptempo ballad is a bit of a surprise and even a little underwhelming as a lead single but it's message is important and right on time. Have a listen:
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Glen Campbell, who was a popular entertainer in the '60's and '70's on the country and pop charts, has passed away on August 8th after a valiant battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was officially diagnosed with this in 2011 and soon embarked on a final tour the following year. He made his final television appearance on the 2012 Grammy Awards where he did a thrilling performance of one of his biggest hits, "Rhinestone Cowboy" with this song reaching number one on the country and pop charts back in 1975. Campbell also did his last recordings in 2012 and 2013 which would become his sixty-fourth studio album, "Adiós" and was just released this year in June.
Born the seventh of twelve children to Wesley and Carrie Campbell in Billstown, Arkansas, Glen was given a guitar as a child and learned to play from his Uncle Dick Bills who was a professional musician with his band, the Sandia Mountain Boys. Campbell dropped out of high school and later went to join his uncle's band in 1956 and stayed with the group until he started his own band in 1958.
Campbell decided to head to California to try and become a solo artist in 1960. He did manage to get a recording contract with Capitol Records but his singles were not successful. However Campbell did become a very popular studio guitarist and was part of the famous "Wrecking Crew" session musicians who backed everyone from Elvis Presley to Frank Sinatra.
Campbell did not give up on his dream to become a recording artist of his own and finally had a breakthrough in 1967 with "Gentle On My Mind" which hit the Billboard Top 40 and earned Campbell two 1968 Grammy Awards for Best Country Male Vocalist and Best Contemporary Male Vocalist. The hits continued for the singer with "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston" and "Southern Nights" to name a few. Campbell became so popular that television came calling with him first making appearances on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" before getting his own variety show, "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" which ran from 1969 through 1971. Campbell even made a few movies with the most notable being the 1969 John Wayne film, "True Grit".
A documentary, "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me" was released in 2014 and covers his struggles with Alzheimer's and the farewell tour. A song from the film, "I’m Not Gonna Miss You", written by Campbell and Julian Raymond, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. In tribute, here are a few clips of the talented Glen Campbell performing some of his best known songs:
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