Category Archives: Music

R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio – July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

Heavy Metal legend Ronnie James Dio died peacefully yesterday after a battle with stomach cancer. Dio was known for replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath as well as being the founder of the group Dio. Not only is he legendary in the metal world for his music, but he also popularized the “devil horns” sign. He said that the sign had come from his grandmother who used it to ward off evil.
Dio was in the original lineup of the band Rainbow along with former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. In 1979, Dio left Rainbow to replace Ozzy in Black Sabbath, and released the album Heaven and Hell which revitalized the band. He was with the band on and off several times. After the first 2 years of his first stint with the band, he started up his own successful band – Dio.

On January 17, 2007, he was inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame at Guitar Center on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard.

Dio revealed last summer that he was suffering from stomach cancer shortly after wrapping up a tour in Atlantic City, N.J., with the latest incarnation of Black Sabbath under the name Heaven And Hell.

He was married to Wendy Galaxiola, who also served as his manager.
On March 14, 2010, Wendy posted an online update on his condition:

“It has been Ronnie’s 7th chemo, another cat scan and another endoscopy, and the results are good – the main tumour has shrunk considerably, and our visits to Houston (cancer clinic in Texas) are now every three weeks instead of every two weeks.”

On May 4, Heaven and Hell announced they were cancelling all summer dates as a result of Dio’s ill health.

Dio died at 7:45 am (CDT) on May 16, 2010.

Here is my favorite Dio song, “Rainbow in the Dark”:

Bret Michaels released from hospital

Bret Michaels has been released from a Phoenix hospital and is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a brain hemorrhage last month, his doctor said Tuesday.

Dr. Joseph Zabramski, chief of cerebrovascular surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, said he recommended that Michaels wait at least four to six weeks before resuming normal activity. He declined to say when Michaels could resume touring. Doctors will examine Michaels every two weeks until he’s recovered.

“This produces a great deal of stress on the body,” he said. “This is like being involved in an accident from inside.”

Zabramski said Michaels is fully conscious and aware and talking fine, but he has back spasms and headaches when he tries to walk. He could continue getting back pain and headaches, but Zabramski doesn’t expect any other long-term effects. He wouldn’t say when Michaels was released or whether he was sent home or to a rehabilitation facility.

There were two tests that showed that Michaels did not suffer an aneurysm after all. A thrid test is being planned so they can check once again for an aneurysm. The doctors do not think the appendectomy, that Michaels had on April 12, is related. They also do not believe the accident where he got hit in the head at the Tony awards last year is related. Zabramski said that hard hits to the head can cause hemorrhages, but not almost a year after the incident.

Michaels is still one of the final 5 contestants on this season’s Celebrity Apprentice. If he avoids being fired by Trump in upcoming episodes, Michaels’ prognosis means he could possibly attend “The Celebrity Apprentice” finale May 23 at New York University’s Skirball Center. The finale features the last two contestants performing a final task, typically organizing a charity event, then debating each other live in front of Trump.

Poison: A little history and my top 5 Poison songs

Since our minds are on Bret Michaels right now, I will do a little article on Poison – one of the best glam rock bands of the ’80s.
Bret Michaels may be known for the reality shows such as the Rock of Love series as well as the current season of Celebrity Apprentice. But, his best work by far was being the front man for Poison.
Their first album was Look What the Cat Dragged In, and it peaked at #3 on the charts. There were 3 hit singles from that album: “Talk Dirty to Me”, “I Want Action”, and the ballad “I Won’t Forget You”.

On the heels of that albums success, they recorded their own version of Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite” for the soundtrack to Less Than Zero. I personally think they did a great job on that song, and the soundtrack is very good.

On May 21, 1988, Poison released their second studio album – Open Up and Say…Ahh!. This was their most successful album, selling over 10 million copies. It contained their only #1 hit “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, as well as three other hit singles – “Nothin’ but a Good Time”, “Your Mama Don’t Dance”, “Fallen Angel”. The original front cover was controversial as it had a model dressed as a demon with an extremely long “Gene Simmons” tongue. The cover was later changed to only show the eyes.

On June 21, 1990, the band released their 3rd album, Flesh & Blood, which was also very successful. It peaked at #2 on the charts. The album spawned two top 10 singles: “Unskinny Bop” and “Something to Believe In”, as well as three other hit singles: “Ride The Wind”, “Life Goes On”, and “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice”. This was my personal favorite album by Poison.
This was another album with a cover controversy. The front cover of the album featured the Poison logo and album title as a tattoo on Rikki Rockett’s arm. The controversy was that it was a picture of the tattoo freshly inked, and the skin was inflamed and dripping with either blood or ink that looked like blood. The cover was pulled, and then released with the cleaned up tattoo.

Then the band began to fall apart after that. Lead guitarist C.C. DeVille was addicted to cocaine and alcohol. He and Bret Michaels got in a backstage fistfight at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. DeVille was fired and replaced by guitarist Richie Kotzen.

Then the fun party rock was disappearing – thanks to grunge music rise in the early ’90s. Poison released the album Native Tongue on April 21, 1993. It was more blues and funk than Rock & Roll. “Stand” was about the only song that I liked from that album.

They began working on another album called Crack a Smile. But they had to stop when Michaels was involved in a car accident where he lost control of his Ferrari. He suffered a broken nose, ribs, jaw, and fingers and lost four teeth. After he recovered, the band got back to work, but their label, Capitol Records, offered little support for it since hair metal was almost completely gone. Instead, they had to release a Greatest Hits album, which was released on November 26, 1996.

Poison celebrated their 20th anniversary with a “20 Years Of Rock” tour in the summer of 2006, with fellow rockers Cinderella and Endeverafter opening. The tour swiftly became one of the most successful tours of 2006 in the U.S., averaging about 10,000 people per night.

Here is my list of favorite Poison songs:

5. “Talk Dirty to Me” – Where it all began. This was their first hit, and is a fun rock song.

4. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – This was their biggest hit. It was a great ballad. It would probably by higher on my list, but it kind of got a little too overplayed for me.

3. “Unskinny Bop” – This was the first song off of Flesh & Blood. What a great start. It seemed silly at first, but it is a fun song that grows on you.

2. “(Flesh & Blood) Sacrifice” – I could probably pick any song from Flesh & Blood, and insert it here. This one is just a great hard rock song.

1. “Fallen Angel” – This has been my favorite Poison song since I first heard it. Great video and great song. The vocals and instruments are awesome.

What is your list of favorite Poison songs or albums? Do you have any memories of the band or music that you would like to share?

Bon Jovi to Release Special Editions of Their Catalog

Bon Jovi has just announced on their Facebook page and web site that on May 11, they will release special editions of all the albums they have had up to this point. Each album will also contain new bonus tracks and special packaging. The following is from their web site:

Each of the band’s 11 studio albums – Bon Jovi, 7800° Fahrenheit, Slippery When Wet, New Jersey, Keep The Faith, These Days, Crush, Bounce, Have A Nice Day and Lost Highway and The Circle – will feature the original studio album tracks plus era-specific live recordings included as bonus tracks. The bonus live tracks include songs taken from sound checks and concerts held in venues from all over the world, ranging from 500 seat theatres to massive football stadiums. Many of the live versions are extended, including “Get Ready” (Bon Jovi), “In and Out Of Love” (7800° Fahrenheit), “Blood on Blood” (New Jersey), “Keep The Faith” (Keep The Faith), and a duet featuring Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland performing “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” (Have A Nice Day) with the band.

These albums be available as a physical release and as a digital download.

Stuck in the ’80s “Horrible Hits of 1987”

The Stuck in the ’80s gang released their most recent podcast this weekend, with their topic being The Horrible Hits of 1987. They count down the worst songs that became hits in 1987. Some of their choices are controversial. Here is their list:

10. I’ve Had the Time of My Life – Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
9. Songbird – Kenny G
8. I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany
7. With or Without You – U2
6. Head to Toe – Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
5. Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
4. Respect Yourself – Bruce Willis
3. La Isla Bonita – Madonna
2. Always – Atlantic Starr
1. Heaven is a Place on Earth

I can’t believe “With or Without You” was on there. Same with “Wanted Dead or Alive”. But I do remember how MTV was heavily promoting Bon Jovi’s new video at the time, but would not say what it was. Everybody assumed that it would be “Never Say Goodbye”, but it ended up being “Wanted Dead or Alive”. I did not care too much for the song until Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora performed their historic unplugged version on the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards.

Does anybody think that any of these other songs don’t belong on the list? Are there other hits from 1987 that should be on the list instead?

March 29, 1986 – “Rock Me Amadeus” Hits #1

On this date in 1986, “Rock Me Amadeus”, by Falco, hit number 1 on the Billboard charts. It was Falco’s only hit in the U.S. Falco was from Austria, and had four number 1 hits there. “Rock Me Amadeus” was inspired by the Oscar winning movie Amadeus, and was released on the album Falco 3.
This could also be a “Dead or Alive” article. Falco died on February 6, 1998 – two weeks before his 41st birthday. He had been planning on a comeback at the time. He died of severe injuries from an accident he had with a bus while he was driving an SUV.

He will always be remembered for this song:

Genesis Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York last night. Genesis was inducted along with ABBA, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies and The Stooges.

Genesis did not play at the ceremony. Instead, Phish paid tribute to the band by playing “Watcher of the Skies” (from the Peter Gabriel years), and “No Reply At All”. Gabriel could not attend the ceremony. According to the Associated Press, band member Mike Rutherford said Gabriel sent his apologies, but he was preparing for a tour. Backstage, Phil Collins said “We’ve played without him for 30 years. We’re used to not having him around.”
Phil Collins is known to have a sense of humor. Was he trying to be funny, or was he being bitter?

Going Solo – #1

The countdown concludes for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands. And now, drum roll please (provided by Phil Collins), without further ado…

1. Phil Collins – Genesis

Genesis was formed in 1967. Phil Collins joined the band in 1971 as the drummer. When the lead singer, Peter Gabriel, left the band between 1975-1977, Genesis held auditions for a new lead singer. Phil Collins had previously been a background singer, and coached prospective lead singers. Eventually the band decided to name Collins the lead singer. In 1979, Collins almost left the band due to personal issues at home with his wife. But the remaining members (Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks) decided to take a hiatus instead. Phil Collins’ marriage ended in divorce, and the band started back up. In 1980, the album Duke was released, and contained the hit singles “Misunderstanding“, and “Turn It On Again“. In 1981, Genesis had the follow up album Abacab. The singles from that album were “No Reply At All” and the title track “Abacab“.

Also in 1981, Phil Collins released his solo debut, Face Value, which consisted of material he wrote while on hiatus. It had the one of his biggest hits, “In the Air Tonight“. Then Collins had another successful solo album called Hello, I Must Be Going!, which spawned the singles “I Don’t Care Anymore” and “You Can’t Hurry Love“.
Then Genesis released another album called Genesis. It had the hits “Mama“, “That’s All“, and “Illegal Alien“.

In 1984, Phil Collins released a song for the movie Against All Odds, called “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)“. He also produced an album for Philip Bailey called Chinese Wall, and performed a duet with Bailey on it called “Easy Lover“.

In 1985, Phil Collins released his most successful solo album, No Jacket Required. It contained the hits “Sussudio“, “One More Night“, “Don’t Lose My Number“, and “Take Me Home“, as well as smaller hits “Who Said I Would“, and “Only You Know and I Know“.

In 1986, Genesis released their most successful album, Invisible Touch. The following were hits from that album:
Invisible Touch
Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
Land of Confusion
In Too Deep
Throwing It All Away

The band then went on hiatus for 5 years. In the meantime, Phil Collins continued his solo career.
In 1988, he starred in the movie Buster. He had 2 hits from the movie – “Two Hearts” and “A Groovy Kind of Love“.
In 1989, Collins released another very successful album – …But Seriously. “Another Day in Paradise” went to Number 1 on the Billboard Charts at the end of 1989 and Collins won a Grammy for Record of the Year for the song. Interesting note – it became the last #1 U.S. pop hit of the 1980s. Other songs included “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” (#4 U.S., #15 UK), “Do You Remember?” (#4 U.S.), and “I Wish It Would Rain Down” (#3 U.S., #7 UK).

Going Solo – #2

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

2. Steve Perry – Journey

Journey was formed in the 70’s, and started as a jazz fusion band. They gradually added more vocals and made the songs shorter. But their record label, Columbia Records, wanted them to change musical directions and add a new lead singer. In 1977, they brought in Steve Perry, and their popularity began to grow.
In 1980, they had the hit album Departure, and had a hit with the single “Any Way You Want It“. The song was also featured in a scene in the movie Caddyshack. In 1981, Journey released the classic #1 album Escape, which has sold over 9 million copies so far.
There were three top-10 hits from that album, including “Don’t Stop Believin’“, “Who’s Cryin’ Now“, and “Open Arms“. “Still They Ride” was also a top-20 hit.
In the meantime, they had released a live album called Captured, which was recorded before Escape was released. After the concert portion of the album, there was a studio single called “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly In Love)“, which was also a hit song.
In 1983, Journey released another smash album called Frontiers. It featured the hits “Separate Ways,” which reached #8, “Faithfully,” which reached #12, “Send Her My Love“, and “After the Fall“, both of which reached #23. They also had the hit song “Only the Young” from the Vision Quest soundtrack, and “Ask the Lonely” from the soundtrack Two of a Kind.
After Steve Perry’s solo album, but before their long hiatus, Journey released another hit album, Raised On Radio. It also produced four top 20 singles, “Be Good to Yourself” (#9), “I’ll Be Alright Without You” (#14), “Girl Can’t Help It“, and “Suzanne,” both of which reached #17, and they had a minor hit with “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever“. This is also the album that American Idol judge, Randy Jackson, performed on.

In 1984, Steve Perry released his first solo album called Street Talk, which was a huge success. The song, “Oh Sherry” was a #3 hit. “Foolish Heart” was a top 20 hit, and there was also minor success with the songs “She’s Mine” and “Strung Out“. In 1982, Steve Perry also had a successful duet with Kenny Loggins called “Don’t Fight It“. He also appeared in the original “We Are the World” video, and recorded a song, “If Only For the Moment, Girl” for the We Are the World album.