24/11/2017

Pete Best

November 24th 1941, Born on this day, Pete Best, The Beatles drummer, 1960-1962.

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Bev Bevan

November 24th 1944, Born on this day, Bev Bevan, drums, The Move, (1969 UK No.1 single 'Blackberry Way'), Electric Light Orchestra, (1979 UK No.3 & US No.4 single 'Don't Bring Me Down' plus 26 other Top 40 hits). Now a UK radio presenter on Saga FM in the West Midlands.

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Freddie Mercury

November 24th 1991, Freddie Mercury died of complications from aids at his home in London's Holland park aged 45, just one day after he publicly admitted he was HIV positive. Mercury was openly bisexual and enjoyed a colourful rock star lifestyle. During his career with Queen he scored over 40 Top 40 UK singles including the worldwide No.1 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

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Chicago

November 24th 1976, Chicago started a three week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'If You Leave Me Now', the American group's only UK No.1. It went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance.

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Ringo Starr

November 24th 1973, Ringo Starr went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Photograph'. His first of two US chart toppers as a solo artist. Written by Starr and George Harrison, the promotional film shot for the single showed Starr walking around his new house at the time, Tittenhurst Park, which had been previously the home of John Lennonand Yoko Ono, (and where the 'Imagine' promo film was shot).

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Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury

Farrokh Bulsara was born on 5th Sept 1946, on the small spice island of Zanzibar. His parents, Bomi and Jer Bulsara, were both Parsee (Persian). His father, Bomi, was a civil servant, working as a High Court cashier for the British Government. In 1954, at the age of eight, Freddie was shipped to St Peter's English boarding school in Panchgani, about fifty miles outside Bombay. It was there his friends began to call him Freddie, a name the family also adopted.

He was music mad and played records on the family's old record player, stacking the singles to play constantly. The music he was able to get was mostly Indian, but some Western music was available. The principal headmaster of St Peter's had noticed Freddie's musical talent, and wrote to his parents suggesting that they might wish to pay a little extra on Freddie's school fees to enable him to study music properly. They agreed, and Freddie began to learn to play the piano.

In 1964, many of the British and Indians, due to political unrest in Zanzibar, left their country, Freddie who was seventeen, moved with his family to Feltham, Middlesex, with Freddie eventually enrolling Ealing College where he gained a diploma in graphic art and design.

After Jimi Hendrix exploded onto the scene in 1967, Freddie became an ardent fan. He later through a friend was taken along to rehearsals of a band called Smile, with Brian May on the guitar and Roger Taylor on drums. Freddie hit if off with the pair and inspired by Smile, began to experiment with music for the first time since leaving India.

He made his live debut with a group called Ibex in the showbiz capital of nowhere – Bolton, Lancashire in August 1969. Freddie loved Jimi Hendrix, (he once saw Hendrix perform live 14 night in a row), and was a huge fan of Cream and a new group called Led Zeppelin. The singer was restless, he quit Ibex (who were now called Wreckage) and joined a band called Sour Milk Tea who were working - but Freddie wasn’t happy.

Then in a twist of fate, he heard that his old mates from Smile were looking for new singer, and he did of course get the gig. Bassist John Deacon was recruited, Freddie changed their name to Queen, and using his art and design skills, designed the band's logo - using their birth signs: two fairies for him (Virgo), two lions for Roger and John (Leo) and a crab for Brian (Cancer) and wrote what would become the group’s first hit “Seven Sea Of Rhye”. If only all bands histories were this easy!

Queen became the biggest group in the UK, and with the help of Freddie’s songwriting, they soon had a string of hits. The flamboyant Mercury sung with an incisive sense of rhythm, he was able to glide effortlessly from one register to another. He also had a great musicality. His phrasing was subtle, delicate or energetic and slamming. The most notable aspect of his songwriting involved the wide range of genres that he used, which included, among other styles, rockabilly, progressive rock, heavy metal, gospel and disco. And like all the greatest groups, Queen was team, with four gifted songsmiths in their ranks.

July 13, 1985 was a special day for Queen and Freddie. It was the day of their memorable performance at Live Aid, a tremendous show at Wembley Stadium in front of 72,000 people. Queen secured their place in history, as every media person, journalist, fan and critic unanimously agreed: Queen stole the show. In reviewing Live Aid in 2005, one critic wrote, "Those who compile lists of Great Rock Frontmen and award the top spots to Mick Jagger, Robert Plant, etc all are guilty of a terrible oversight. Freddie, as evidenced by his Dionysian Live Aid performance, was easily the most godlike of them all."

In 2005, a poll organised by Blender and MTV2 saw Mercury voted the greatest male singer of all time.

Freddie was a very shy and retiring man in person, he also granted very few interviews leaving the talking to fellow band mates May and Taylor. Mercury once said of himself: "When I'm performing I'm an extrovert, yet inside I'm a completely different man." While on stage, Mercury basked in the love from the audience, which was famously noted by Kurt Cobain, in his suicide note, when he wrote of how he both admired and envied Mercury for being able to do so.

Mercury died of bronchopneumonia on November 24th 1991 aged 45, just one day after he publicly announced he was HIV positive.

There was definitely only one - Freddie Mercury.    

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23/11/2017

Albert Collins

The late Albert Collins played an Epiphone guitar during his first two years with the Rhythm Rockers, but in 1952, after seeing Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown playing a Fender Esquire, he decided to purchase a Fender. He wanted a Telecaster, but because of the cost he chose to buy an Esquire, which he took to the Parker Music Company in Houston to be fitted with a Telecaster neck. This was his main guitar until he moved to California, and it was the guitar that he used on his earliest recordings, including his signature song, "Frosty". For the rest of his career he played a "maple cap"–necked natural ash body Fender 1966 Custom Telecaster with a Gibson PAF humbucking pickup retrofitted into the neck position, which became the basis for a Fender Custom Artist signature model in 1990.

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Bruce Randall Hornsby

Happy birthday Bruce Randall Hornsby (born November 23, 1954) an American singer and keyboardist.
Bruce Randall Hornsby was born in Williamsburg, Virginia, a son of Robert Stanley Hornsby (1920–1998), an attorney, real-estate developer and former musician, and his wife, née Lois Saunier. Raised a Christian Scientist, he has two siblings: Robert Saunier "Bobby" Hornsby, a realtor with Hornsby Realty and locally-known musician, and Jonathan Bigelow Hornsby, an engineer who has collaborated in songwriting.
He graduated from James Blair High School in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1973, where he played on the basketball team. He studied music at the University of Richmond, as well as Berklee College of Music and the University of Miami, from which he graduated in 1977.
Hornsby draws frequently from classical, jazz, bluegrass, folk, Motown, gospel, rock, blues, and jam band musical traditions.
Hornsby's recordings have been recognized on a number of occasions with industry awards, including the 1987 Grammy Award for Best New Artist with Bruce Hornsby and the Range, the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album, and the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
Hornsby has also achieved recognition for his solo albums and performances, his touring band Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, his bluegrass project with Ricky Skaggs and his appearances as a session and guest musician. He also collaborated with Grateful Dead and was an unofficial member of the band from September 1990 to March 1992, playing over 100 shows during that period.

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Billy Swan

November 23rd 1974, One Hit Wonder Billy Swan started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'I Can Help'. The song was a hit throughout most of Europe and also reached No.1 in Australia. It was so successful in Norway that it charted for 37 weeks on the Norwegian charts making it the 4th best-performing single of all time in that country.

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Big Joe Turner

November 23rd 1985, American blues artist Big Joe Turner died of a heart attack aged 75. Wrote 'Shake Rattle and Roll', (a hit for Bill Haley and His Comets) and 'Sweet Sixteen.'

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Genesis

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November 23rd 1991, Genesis scored their 5th UK No.1 album with 'We Can't Dance', featuring the singles 'Jesus He Knows Me' and 'I Can't Dance'.

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Pink Floyd

November 23rd 1979, Pink Floyd released 'Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)' which rapidly topped the charts in the UK, followed by the US and a further 9 countries. Featuring children from Islington Green School in North London, close to Floyd's Britannia Row Studios, it was the group’s first UK single since Point Me At The Sky in 1968, and their first chart hit since See Emily Play in 1967.

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22/11/2017

The Beatles.

The White Album

The Beatles' ninth album in seven years is arguably one of their best. The working title was A Doll’s House, changed after UK progressive rock band Family released the similarly titled Music In A Doll's House earlier that year, so the album became simply The Beatles, or, more commonly, The White Album. With no graphics or text other than the band's name embossed in grey letters (and, on the early LP and CD releases, a serial number) on its plain white sleeve, The White Album was the first that The Beatles undertook following the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, and the first released by their own record label, Apple.

Anticipation for the release was huge, as was the speculation whether the band were going to better their last album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In many ways they did, the eclectic nature of the double album’s songs showing the four members still at the top of their game. John Lennon laid down some of his most memorable work with three of his finest on side one of the album alone – Dear Prudence, Glass Onion and Happiness Is A Warm Gun. And then we had Paul’s tunes, including the Chuck Berry meets The Beach Boys of Back In The U.S.S.R., with McCartney on drums after Ringo quit the group for a couple of weeks. Then there was the bouncy song about his Old English Sheepdog, Martha My Dear, and what has become one of his signature tunes, the beautiful acoustic Blackbird, featuring just Paul’s voice and acoustic guitar, plus the warbling of a blackbird.

As for George Harrison’s material, when The Beatles recorded overdubs onto his new song While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Eric Clapton added the guitar solo and became the first outside rock musician to play on a Beatles recording. At first Clapton was reluctant to join them in the studio, saying: ‘Nobody ever plays on the Beatles' records’, but Harrison convinced him. George and Eric had become good friends over the years, which saw Clapton becoming a little too friendly with Harrison’s wife, Pattie. The former Cream guitarist eventually married George’s first love and wrote both Layla and Wonderful Tonight about the former actress and model.

Clapton also loved chocolates, and his mate George wrote Savoy Truffle as a tribute to Eric’s chocolate addiction - the title and many of the lyrics come from a box of Mackintosh's Good News chocolates. Completing Harrison’s contributions was another fine song, Long Long Long and the amusing Piggies.

The White Album was written and recorded during a period of turmoil for the group, having visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India in early 1968 and, while abroad, enjoyed a particularly productive songwriting period. The group returned to the studio for recording from May to October 1968, only to have conflict and dissent drive the group members apart. Ringo Starr quit the band for a brief time, leaving Paul McCartney to play drums on two of the album's songs. Many of the songs were ‘solo’ recordings, or at least by less than the full group, as each individual member began to explore his own talent.

Although Hey Jude was not intended to be included on the LP release, it was recorded during the White Album sessions and was released as a stand-alone single before the release of The Beatles. The B-side, Revolution, was an alternative version of the album's Revolution 1. John Lennon had wanted the original version of Revolution to be released as a single, but the other three Beatles objected on the grounds that it was too slow. A new, faster version, with heavily distorted guitar and a high-energy keyboard solo from Nicky Hopkins, was recorded, and was relegated to the flip side of Hey Jude. The resulting release – Hey Jude on side A and Revolution on side B – emerged as the first release on The Beatles' new Apple Records label, going on to become the band’s most successful single, with world sales of over 5 million by the end of 1968 and 7.5 million by October 1972.

Many Beatles fans have long debated what a great ‘single’ record The White Album could have made, and there are some tracks that don’t score with everybody, except that those that upset some people turn out to be the absolute favourites of many others.

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Michael Hutchence

November 22nd 1997, INXS singer Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel suite in Sydney. He was 37. Hutchence body was found at 11.50am naked behind the door to his room. He had apparently hanged himself with his own belt and the buckle broke away and his body was found kneeling on the floor and facing the door. It had been suggested that his death resulted from an act of auto eroticism, no forensic or other evidence to substantiate that suggestion was found.

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Steven Van Zandt

November 22nd 1950, Born on this day, Steven Van Zandt, (Little Steven or Miami Steve), guitarist with South Side Johnny, then Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul. Created music-industry activist group Artists United Against Apartheid as an action against the Sun City resort in South Africa, Springsteen, U2, Bob Dylan and Run DMC, collaborated on 'Sun City'. Starred as Silvio Dante in the TV Series 'The Sopranos'.

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Pearl Jam

November 22nd 1994, Pearl Jam released their third studio album Vitalogy, which was first released on vinyl and became the first vinyl album to appear on the US chart, since the domination of the compact disc format. They followed the release in other formats two weeks later, whereupon it became the second-fastest-selling CD in history, behind only the band's previous release Vs.

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Stevie Ray Vaughan

November 22nd 1986, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble kicked off a 149-date North American and European tour at the Towson Center in Towson, Maryland.

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The Beatles

November 22nd 1963, The Beatles released their second album 'With The Beatles' which went on to spend 51 weeks on the UK charts. The LP had advance orders of a half million and sold another half million by September 1965, making it the second album to sell a million copies in the UK, (after the soundtrack to the 1958 film South Pacific).

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21/11/2017

Dr. John

Happy birthday Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack (born November 21, 1940), better known by the stage name Dr. John (also Dr. John Creaux, or Dr. John the Night Tripper), is an American singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist, whose music combines blues, pop, jazz as well as zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, Dr. John claims that his French lineage took root in New Orleans sometime in the early 1800s. Growing up in the Third Ward, he found early musical inspiration in the minstrel tunes sung by his grandfather and a number of aunts, uncles, sister and cousins who played piano. He did not take music lessons before his teens, and only endured a short stint in choir before getting kicked out. His father, the owner of an appliance store and record shop, exposed him as a young boy to prominent jazz musicians like King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, who inspired his 2014 release, Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch. Throughout his adolescence his father's connections enabled him access to the recording rooms of burgeoning rock artists such as Little Richard and Guitar Slim. From these exposures he advanced into clubs and onto the stage with varying local artists, most notably, Professor Longhair.
When he was about 13 or 14 years old, Rebennack met Professor Longhair, which started a period in his life that would mark rapid growth as a musician and the beginnings of his entry into professional music. He describes his initial impression of Professor Longhair with note, not only of his musical prowess, but of his style: "I was also fascinated that he was sitting out there in a turtleneck shirt with a beautiful gold chain with a watch hangin' on it, and an Army fatigue cap on his head. And I thought, Wow, I never seen nobody dressed like this guy. Just everything about the man was totally hip. And he had gloves on him, too, beautiful silk gloves. I'll never forget this. "
At age 16 he was hired by Johnny Vincent as a producer at Ace Records. There, he worked with artists like James Booker and Earl King, his musical experience expanding notably. He struggled through intermittent years of high school. While a student at Jesuit High School, he was already playing in night clubs, something the Jesuit fathers disapproved of. They told him to either stop playing in clubs or leave the school. He chose the latter. According to lore, this was the seed of his classic, "Right Place, Wrong Time." Eventually he focused entirely on music. Thereafter an entry into heavy narcotics use would fuel his desire to get out of New Orleans and move to California where his character, Dr. John, was born.
In late 1950s New Orleans, Rebennack originally concentrated on guitar and he gigged with local bands including Mac Rebennack and the Skyliners, (Paul Staele/Dennis "Bootsie" Cuquet, drums; Earl Stanley, bass; Charlie Miller, trumpet; Charlie Maduell, sax; Roland "Stone" LeBlanc, vocals), Frankie Ford and the Thunderbirds, and Jerry Byrne and the Loafers. He had a regional hit with a Bo Diddley-influenced instrumental called "Storm Warning" on Rex Records in 1959. During these days he was an A&R man producing, with Charlie Miller, monophonic singles on 45s for Johnny Vincent and Joe Corona for such local labels as ACE, RON, RIC and others. For these sessions he oversaw A&R and the rhythm section while Miller wrote the horn arrangements and headed up the horns. It was a productive team until Miller decided to move to New York and to study music formally.
Rebennack's career as a guitarist was stunted when his left ring finger was injured by a gunshot while he was defending singer/keyboardist Ronnie Barron, his bandmate, Jesuit High School classmate, and longtime friend, at a Jackson, Mississippi gig. After the injury, Rebennack concentrated on bass guitar before making piano his main instrument; pianist Professor Longhair was an important influence on Rebennack's piano-playing style.
Dr. John grew up with full exposure to the realities of New Orleans. Prostitutes, pimps, thieves and addicts all participated in the same nightlife scene that contributed to his development as a musician. During the 1950s, he sold narcotics and even ran a brothel. He was arrested on drug charges and sentenced to two years in a federal prison at Fort Worth, Texas. His sentence ended in 1965 and he left for Los Angeles.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1965 where he became a "first call" session musician in the booming Los Angeles studio scene in the 1960s and 1970s and was part of the so-called "Wrecking Crew" stable of studio musicians. He provided backing for Sonny & Cher (and some of the incidental music for Cher's first film, Chastity), and for Canned Heat on their albums Living the Blues (1968), Future Blues (1970), and Freak Out! for Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention (1966); along with many other acts.
Active as a session musician since the late 1950s, he gained a cult following in the late 1960s following the release of his album Gris-Gris and his appearance at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. He performed a wildly theatrical stage show inspired by medicine shows, Mardi Gras costumes and voodoo ceremonies. Rebennack has recorded over 20 albums and in 1973 scored a top-20 hit with the jaunty funk-flavored "Right Place Wrong Time", still his best-known song.
He had a heroin habit through the 1980s. Finally, Dr. John exited his final rehabilitation stint, clean, in December 1989 and often speaks of how happy he is to have been clean and sober for over 25 years.
The winner of six Grammy Awards, Rebennack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by singer John Legend on March 14, 2011. In May 2013, Rebennack was the recipient of an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Tulane University. He was jokingly referred to by Tulane's president, Scott Cowen, as "Dr. Dr. John".

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Nicholas George "Nick" Gilder

Happy birthday to the great Nicholas George "Nick" Gilder (born 21 December 1951), an English-Canadian musician who first came to prominence as the frontman for the glam rock band Sweeney Todd. He later had a successful solo career as a singer/songwriter.
Born in London, England, Gilder was raised in Vancouver. He began his career as front-man for the glam rock band Sweeney Todd, which later briefly featured a very young Bryan Adams. Sweeney Todd had a number one hit, "Roxy Roller", that held on to the top spot in the Canadian music charts for three weeks in 1975. It went on to win a Juno Award for "Best Selling Single" in 1977.
Feeling they had international scope, Gilder and fellow band member, guitarist and songwriting partner, James McCulloch left the band and signed a US record deal. It was in his second solo album that spawned the hit, "Hot Child in the City", that gave Gilder chart success in the United States. That song went to No.1 both in Canada and the US. It also earned him two more Juno Awards: "Single of the Year" and for "Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year" in Canada as well as a People's Choice Award in the US. It stalled outside the Top 40 in the United Kingdom, though it was featured on Top of the Pops and also in a Hot Gossip dance routine on The Kenny Everett Video Show. He's had subsequent hit singles, but none ever reach the success of “Hot Child in the City.”
Gilder has also been successful as a songwriter for artists such as Bette Midler, Joe Cocker and Pat Benatar. In 1984, the band Scandal featuring Patty Smyth had a number one hit with "The Warrior," which was written by Gilder and Holly Knight, and it earned him a BMI Airplay Award.
Gilder's songs have been used in several movies such as Youngblood with Rob Lowe, The Wraith with Charlie Sheen, Barb Wire with Pamela Anderson, Scenes From the Goldmine, that included a cameo appearance in the movie by Gilder, and in TV series like Sex and the City, That '70s Show, Ed (TV series), and most recently Nip/Tuck.
Armand Van Helden sampled "Rockaway" on his 2005 club hit, "When the Lights Go Down." The following year Nemesis recorded “Hot Child in the City” for their 2006 debut CD, Rise Up and Rocket recorded "Backstreet Noise" for their CD, Girls with Candy Hearts.
Gilder returned to Canada in the mid-1990s, where he continues to record and tour. He has currently settled in Port Moody, British Columbia, where he lives with his family.
A CD called, “A Night on the Town, A Day in the Country” was to be released in 2005, but was shelved.

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