Category Archives: Artists

Music Video of the Week – 12/22/10

With the arrival of Duran Duran’s new album, All You Need Is Now, this week’s video is their smash hit, “The Reflex”:

“The Reflex” came off of Duran Duran’s 3rd album, 1983’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger, and became a number 1 hit. The video was shot during the Sing Blue Silver tour at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario on March 5, 1984. Here are a couple of song facts from songfacts.com:

– At first, this song seems to have a very deep concept, but really the band just recorded it over a couple of bottles of wine. Simon Le Bon himself said he has no clue what it means.

– Duran Duran’s 1983 album Seven And The Ragged Tiger had already spawned two hit singles. Nick Rhodes had been convinced that “The Reflex” was purely an album track, though other band members thought it had potential. It wasn’t until they invited Niles Rogers re-mix it, that they decided to release the transformed version as a single. It became their first American chart-topper, and their second in the UK (“Is There Something I Should Know?” had been #1 in Britain the previous year).

– The band were asked in an interview with Q magazine (February 2008) whether they were sending themselves up when they recorded the Seven And The Ragged Tiger album, which was recorded at great expense over a period of several months in a French chateau and on the island of Montserrat. Bass player John Taylor replied: “I think so. I hated the procrastination of that album. It was approached like an old-school Dutch painting. Hours spent perfecting a cymbal sound. There was a lot of sitting around and I felt like a caged animal. I was drinking and looking for a way out really.” Singer Simon Le Bon added: “The title was supposed to be about us 7 (the 5 band members, plus their 2 managers) in this fairy tale, with the ragged tiger who was “fate” or “luck.” I don’t think anyone got it.”

Trivia Tuesday: 12/14/10

Question: In A Christmas Story, what did Ralphie want for Christmas? And what was the reason he was given (several times) that he should not get it?


Last Question: Who was the original lead singer for Journey?

Answer: Gregg Rolie

What a career Gregg Rolie has had. Before he formed Journey, he was in Santana, and was best known for being the lead vocalist on the hit “Black Magic Woman”. However, he had creative differences with Carlos Santana, so he left the band in 1971. In 1973, he joined former Santana guitarist Neal Schon in a band that would become Journey. Rolie was the lead singer and keyboard player. The band then took a different direction, and brought in Steve Perry as the lead singer, with Rolie singing backup. In 1980, after the Departure album, Rolie grew tired of the endless touring. So he left the band. Rolie recommended pianist Jonathan Cain of The Babys to replace him. And the rest is history.
Gregg released several solo albums. His self titled album in 1985 featured the song, “I Want to Go Back”, which would later become a hit for Eddie Money.
In 1991, Rolie formed a new group called The Storm which featured fellow former Journey members Steve Smith and Ross Valory. The band had a very similar sound to Journey, which was great. They had a top 10 hit with “I’ve Got A Lot To Learn About Love” from their first album, The Storm. They had a very good follow up album a few years later called The Eye of the Storm, which was also very good. Then Journey reformed with Steve Smith and Ross Valory, so that was the end of the Storm.
Gregg Rolie has his own band now called the Gregg Rolie Band.

December 8, 1980 – The Death of John Lennon

Monday, December 8, 1980, the legendary Beatle, John Lennon was murdered. The announcement came from Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football (the New England Patriots vs. the Miami Dolphins):

John Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman at Lennon’s home, The Dakota, in New York City. He had just returned from Record Plant Studio with his wife, Yoko Ono. Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, where it was stated that nobody could have lived for more than a few minutes after sustaining such injuries. Shortly after local news stations reported Lennon’s death, crowds gathered at Roosevelt Hospital and in front of The Dakota. He was cremated on 10 December 1980, at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York; the ashes were given to Ono, who chose not to hold a funeral for him.

On the morning of December 8, photographer Annie Leibovitz went to Ono and Lennon’s apartment to do a photo shoot for Rolling Stone. She had promised Lennon a photo with Ono would make the cover. After the photo shoot, Lennon gave what would be his last interview to San Francisco DJ Dave Sholin for a music show on the RKO Radio Network. At 5:00 pm, Lennon and Ono left their apartment to mix the track “Walking on Thin Ice”, an Ono song featuring Lennon on lead guitar, at Record Plant Studio.

As Lennon and Ono walked to their limousine, they were approached by several people seeking autographs, among them, Mark David Chapman. Chapman silently handed Lennon a copy of Double Fantasy, and Lennon autographed it.

John and Yoko then went back to the studio until 10:50 pm. Then John wanted to be home in time to say goodnight to five-year-old son Sean before he went to sleep. As he entered the Dakota, Chapman was waiting for him, and shot him in the back. Lennon was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Chapman pleaded guilty to Lennon’s murder in June 1981, against the advice of his lawyers, who wanted to file an insanity plea. He received a life sentence but under the terms of his guilty plea became eligible for parole in 2000, after serving 20 years. Chapman has been denied parole at hearings every two years since 2000 and remains in prison.

Lennon continues to be mourned throughout the world and has many memorials and tributes, such as New York City’s Strawberry Fields, a memorial garden area in Central Park across the street from the Dakota building. Ono later donated $1 million for its maintenance. It has become a gathering place for tributes on Lennon’s birthday and on the anniversary of his death, as well as at other times of mourning, such as after the September 11 attacks and following George Harrison’s death on November 29, 2001.

I remember listening to my parents’ Beatles albums non-stop for a while after John Lennon’s death. I could not get enough of the Help! album as well as Rubber Soul. I have been a Beatles fan ever since then. The Beatles have had a major influence on most artists, even through today. The Beatles were boy band predecessors for New Kids on the Block, all the way to the Jonas Brothers (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing). They had a major influence on Alternative/New Wave rock (especially with the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), and also had a major influence on Hard Rock/Heavy Metal (The White Album). And they were all great singer/songwriters.

Rolling Stone magazine is marking the anniversary of John’s death by releasing Lennon’s final interview. It was conducted just three days before his death.

During the interview, Lennon slammed critics saying they want “dead heroes” like James Dean and Sid Vicious. Lennon said he was not interested in being anyone’s “dead hero.”

Well John did have a sense of humor, so I wonder what he would think.
It is a shame that a peaceful man died in such a violent way. And it is also sad for all of us because he had so much more to contribute.
But the music he did write and perform will live forever.

In closing, here is an editorial piece by Yoko Ono that was published today in the New York Times:


John Lennon

I don’t remember how I heard that John Lennon had been shot. Thirty years ago, on a warm December night in Manhattan, it was suddenly in the air, on the street — with only a brief, grim gap between news of the shooting at the Dakota, on 72nd Street and news of his death at Roosevelt Hospital. I called my brother in California and then sat in the stairwell of a building at 27th and Third, numb and grieving, like everyone else.

It was a new kind of death — not a political assassination like the ones that claimed the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King Jr.; not the self-immolation that took down Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison. Lennon survived the ’60s and ’70s, and by 1980 he was living in New York City as normally, as modestly, as he and his wife, Yoko Ono, could. Then a deranged young man, Mark David Chapman, found a secular scripture in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” and shot Lennon in hopes of becoming Holden Caulfield.

Every day I’m at The Times, I pass a photo of the Beatles taken at a press conference during one of their early visits to New York. In the picture, Lennon’s hands are folded behind him, and he stands, with the other Beatles, in a corona from the press lights. Invariably, it reminds me of the famous portrait Annie Leibovitz shot the morning of the day Lennon was killed — the one where he is lying naked, fetal, clinging to Yoko Ono, the ridge of his back so terribly exposed.

We remember what we remember of Lennon, and of that night. When I was young, he was the only adult that mattered outside my family — the Beatle of Beatles. I loved his wit; his irony; his “Help!”; his urgent, reedy voice; his unceasing transformations. Like everyone else who loved him, I can’t help grieving, even now, for all the transformations we lost 30 years ago when John Lennon was only 40.

Captain EO

Well, I could not resist. While in Epcot this past Monday, I found time to go see Captain EO. I actually don’t regret seeing it. Of course, it was no Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Splash Mountain, or Tower of Terror, but it was kind of cute. Some parts were very cool, and some parts were really stupid.
For those of you who may not know, Captain EO is a 3D movie (although I think this is technically a 4D movie), starring Michael Jackson, that was released in the Disney parks in 1986, and ran through the mid-90s.
After Michael Jackson died, as with his music, interest in Captain EO was renewed. Disney reopened Captain EO in Disneyland on February 23, 2010, Disneyland Paris on June 12, 2010, Tokyo Disney on July 1, and in Epcot on on July 2. I’m not sure about the other parks, but the Epcot version replaced the 3D movie “Honey I Shrunk the Audience” (which had replaced Captain EO in the first place).
Captain EO was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and also starred Anjelica Huston, who played the Supreme Leader. Also, George Lucas was the executive producer. The pre-show was the same exact pre-show from 1986. It just basically showed scenes of a very young Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas working, preparing to film the movie. And it showed the secondary characters getting their makeup put on.

**Spoiler Alert – Don’t read the description if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to be spoiled**

The movie tells the story of Captain EO (Michael Jackson) and the ragtag crew of his spaceship on a mission to deliver a gift to “The Supreme Leader”, of a world of rotting, twisted metal and steaming vents.
The movie starts with a space battle, which was the best part in my opinion. You can definitely tell that George Lucas had a major influence on this. And what made this even better was the 4-D experience that I mentioned earlier. As the ship is getting banged around, it feels like you are in the ship because the whole theater shakes and bangs around. It wasn’t like a motion ride, but it was just enough to make it really cool. During this space battle you meet all the characters of Captain EO’s crew. Again, you can tell that Lucas had a hand in this, because you feel like you’ve seen these characters in Star Wars’ Cantina. The crew consists of his small flying sidekick Fuzzball, the double-headed navigator and pilot Idey (Debbie Lee Carrington) and Ody (Cindy Sorenson), robotic security officer Major Domo (Gary Depew), a small robot Minor Domo (who fits like a module into Major Domo), and the Jar-Jar Binks of Captain EO, the clumsy elephant-like shipmate Hooter (Tony Cox).

Separated at Birth?


Hooter from Captain EO

Max Rebo from Star Wars

After Captain EO and the gang wins their battle, they crash land, they are captured and meet the Supreme Leader. This is where the movie kind of falls of the deep end. The Supreme Leader sentences the crew to be turned into trash cans (!), and Captain EO to 100 years of torture in her deepest, darkest dungeon. Before being sent away, Captain EO tells the Supreme Leader that he sees the beauty hidden within her, and that he brings her the key to unlock it: his song, “We Are Here To Change The World”. As he is singing the song, Captain EO is zapping the robot bad guys with beams from his arms and hands, and turns them into human dancers. Although the idea is pretty ridiculous, the effects are awesome – especially for the time that this was created – and the music is great. You actually feel like you’re transported back to the ’80s. There are warriors swing whips, and you can feel them go by you.
Of course, Captain EO transforms all the bad guys, and gets to the Supreme Leader. He zaps her, transforming her into a beautiful woman, her lair into a peaceful Greek temple and the planet into a beautiful place.

A celebration breaks out to “Another Part of Me”, as EO and his crew triumphantly exit and fly off into space.

This was a nice nostalgic trip back to the ’80s. I would recommend seeing this once. I don’t think I would go back over and over, if at all. But it is worth seeing once.

Trivia Tuesday: 11/30/10

Question: What was the name of the program that aired on the Disney Channel in the late 80s/early 90s that featured musical performances as an integral part of the plot and show. The show featured pre-Party of Five Scott Wolf and Jennifer Love Hewitt as well as Martika.


Last Question: Who was the lead singer of Genesis before Phil Collins stepped into the role?

Answer: Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel founded Genesis in 1967 along with Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, and drummer Chris Stewart. In 1970, Phil Collins answered a Melody Maker classified ad for “…a drummer sensitive to acoustic music, and acoustic twelve-string guitarist” Genesis placed the ad after having already lost three drummers over two albums.

While Gabriel was the lead singer, Genesis became a flamboyant progressive rock band. Gabriel’s stage persona, led to tensions within the band. The breaking point came with the difficult pregnancy of Gabriel’s wife, Jill, and the subsequent birth of their first child, Anna. When he opted to stay with his sick daughter and wife, rather than record and tour, the resentment from the rest of the band led Gabriel to conclude that he had to leave the group. “Solsbury Hill”, Gabriel’s début single as a solo artist, was written specifically about his departure from Genesis. The song also charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978, reaching the Top 70, though it was recorded in 1976, and appeared on the ‘Car’ album in 1977.

Gabriel went on to further solo success with his groundbreaking music video for “Sledgehammer”, as well as the song “Big Time”, and my favorite Peter Gabriel song – “In Your Eyes”, which was featured in the movie Say Anything…

Music Video of the Week: 11/24/10

Today’s selection is a clue to where I am this week, “Mickey” by Toni Basil:


“Mickey” was one of the most popular early MTV videos. In the video, Basil wore her head cheerleader uniform from Las Vegas High School from which she graduated. During an interview on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of The 80’s”, Basil revealed that she still owns the same cheerleader sweater she wore in the video. The song reached #1 for one week. In 2003, VH1 ranked “Mickey” Number 6 on its list of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the ’80s.

Trivia Tuesday: Special Thanksgiving Edition

Surprise!! It’s Trivia Tuesday a couple of days early!

Question: At the end the Cheers Thanksgiving episode “Thanksgiving Orphans”, who gets hit in the face with a pie?


Last Week’s Question: What was the second music video that aired on MTV?

Answer: “You Better Run” by Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar’s “You Better Run” was the second music video ever aired on MTV on August 1, 1981 after “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. “You Better Run” came off of Benatar’s 1980 album Crimes of Passion, and reached #42 on the charts. So Pat Benatar became the first feamle and first American to have a video on MTV.

Here is MTV’s liftoff, which includes the first 2 videos:

Music Video of the Week – 11/17/10

This week’s selection, in honor of Ronnie DeVoe’s 43rd birthday, is “Cool it Now” by New Edition:

“Cool It Now” was released in 1984 as the first single off of New Edition’s second album, New Edition. The song was the group’s first top 10 pop single, peaking at number four on the pop chart, and their second number one R&B hit. The original members included Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, and Ricky Bell. Bobby Brown left the group in 1985 to go on to a successful solo career. New Edition continued on with four members for a while, until Johnny Gill joined them in 1988. In 1990, the group when on hiatus while the went on to their own projects. Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant had solo projects, and the remaining members formed Bell Biv Devoe, who were successful with the song and album Poison.
New Edition has reunited in 1996 for a short time, and again in 2004. There are rumors that they will reunite once again.

On December 20, 2009, Ricky Bell and Johnny Gill joined New Kids on the Block onstage at a House Of Blues benefit show for Toys For Tots in Boston, performing Full Service and This One’s For The Children.

Johnny Gill confirms that New Edition will reunite once again and will sign with manager Irving Azoff. They are currently signed with Geffen Records and Interscope Records.

Steve Perry Wants to Reunite With Journey?

“Don’t Stop Believin'” Steve Perry and Journey fans. The rumor mill is starting up once again. According to Pollstar, London’s Daily Star an a short piece saying Perry had asked to rejoin the band after seeing “Don’t Stop Believing” performed by cast members on the hit TV show “Glee.” Or maybe he got re-energized after this performance at a Giants playoff game in San Francisco a few weeks ago:

But Journey founder/guitarist Neal Schon said, “He seems to be enjoying the spotlight a little too much. The fact is he’s no longer the lead singer. He walked out.”

Also, Journey already has a new singer, Arnel Pineda, and the band has an album scheduled to be released in 2011, and they plan on a world tour.