Hard Rock Hallelujah

Leena Peisa (Far Right) (A.K.A Awa) the Keyboard Player with Finnish hard rock/heavy metal band Lordi was born on this day 16th March in 1979,

Lordi were formed in 1996 by the band’s lead singer, songwriter and costume-designer, Mr. Lordi. The band is known for wearing monster masks and using pyrotechnics during concerts. They rose to domestic success with their 2002 single, “Would You Love a Monsterman?”.   Lordi made history in 2006 by winning the Eurovision Song Contest with a record 292 points, becoming the first Finnish performer to win the contest.

Lordi were also featured on the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards in Copenhagen when the band’s frontman, Mr. Lordi, presented the award for rock. They were also the closing act, playing their single “Hard Rock Hallelujah”. They also performed on Britain’s Making Your Mind Up for the Eurovision Song Contest. Lordi performed on the main stage at Ozzfest 2007 and later that year toured with Type O Negative and Twin Method until Halloween night.

Fight the Power!

American rapper and television personality Flavor Flav was born this day March 16 in 1959. Flavor Flav came to prominence as a founding member of the rap group Public Enemy. In 1984, the group released a track, “Public Enemy #1”, which brought them to the attention of Def Jam Records executive Rick Rubin. Rubin initially did not understand Flav’s role in the act and wanted to sign Chuck D as a solo act; however Chuck D insisted that Flav be signed with them and the two were signed to Def Jam in 1986. The group’s first album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show, was released in 1987. Flav served as the comic foil to Chuck D’s serious, politically charged style.

The group gained much wider fame with their following release, 1988’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, which went double platinum. By the time the political single “Fight the Power” was issued in 1989, the group had become mainstream superstars.

Along with Chuck D, the showman of the group and its promotional voice, Flav stood out among the members of Public Enemy as he often got the fans excited, appearing on stage and in public wearing big hats and glasses and a large clock dangling from his neck.   The first released track on which Flav rapped solo was “Life Of A Nigerian” on Goat Ju JU, though the first hit on which he rapped solo would not come until the 1990s single “911 Is a Joke”. During Public Enemy’s first years of existence, Flav dealt with tensions with group-mate Professor Griff, who never liked Flav’s flamboyant stance in what Griff felt to be a serious, politically-challenging group. In 1990, after allegedly making anti-Semitic comments, Professor Griff left Public Enemy.

After falling out of the public eye for a number of years, he reappeared as the star of several VH1 reality series, including The Surreal Life, Strange Love, and Flavor of Love.  In 2006, he also put out his first solo album, which was released during the second season of Flavor of Love.

Happy BirthdayNancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson the American singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer with the Seattle/Vancouver rock band Heart was born on this day 16th March in 1954 and she and her sister, Ann, grew up in Southern California and Taiwan before moving to the Seattle suburb of Bellevue.   Nancy finished high school, then attended Pacific University in Oregon and Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle where she majored in art and German literature. She then played solo gigs until 1974 when she quit college and moved to Canada to join her older sister Ann and lead guitarist Roger Fisher, to become the core of the Rock band Heart.

While Ann is the lead singer on the majority of the Heart recordings, Nancy is the lead vocalist on notable tracks like “Treat Me Well”, “These Dreams“, “Stranded“, “There’s the Girl”, and “Will You Be There (In the Morning)” and frequently performs background and harmony vocals on other great songs like Alone and Never. Nancy is the band’s rhythm and lead guitarist. In 1999 Nancy Wilson released the solo live album, Live at McCabe’s Guitar Shop.

Nancy Wilson married film director and former Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe and she has played a role in composing music for most of Crowe’s films including Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and Elizabethtown. She had cameo roles in Crowe’s The Wild Life (1984) as David’s wife and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) credited as “Beautiful Girl in Car”. In 1990, she also contributed to the Say Anything… soundtrack with “All for Love”

“She’ll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes the T-Bird away”

Mike Love, American singer/songwriter and musician with The Beach Boys was born thisday March 15th in 1941. He was a founding member of the beach Boys along with his cousins Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, and their friend Al Jardine, and continues to perform with the band to the present day. Love, along with the other founding Beach Boy members, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

From an early age The Wilson family home was a musical one, and Mike often sang with the Wilson family at get-togethers at the Wilson home during his childhood. Brian and his brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson along with Mike Love and Al Jardine first gelled as a music group in the summer of 1961, initially named the Pendletones. Brian Wilson also began to experiment with recording songs after receiving a Wollensak tape recorder on his 16th birthday, which lead to the Formation of The Beach Boys, and After being encourageded by Dennis to write a song about the local water sports craze, Brian and Mike Love together created what would become the first single for the band, “Surfin'”.

Although he played the saxophone in the first years of the band, he was mainly the co -lead singer, along with Brian Wilson, of the Beach Boys. Love sang the lead vocal on many of the Beach Boys’ biggest hits, mainly fast-paced rock’n’rollers (while Brian Wilson handled the early ballads), including “Surfin’ Safari”, “Surfin’ USA“, “Shut Down”, “Little Deuce Coupe“, “Be True to Your School”, “Little Saint Nick”, “Fun, Fun, Fun“, “I Get Around”, “When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)”, “Little Honda”, “Dance, Dance, Dance” and “California Girls“. Love also wrote or co-wrote lyrics to many of the Beach Boys songs, mostly with the themes of surfing, cars or love, but also memorable ballads such as “The Warmth of the Sun”.

The founding members of the Beach Boys have also recently announced they are getting back together to celebrate their 50th anniversary. It was also revealed that they are also working on a new album and are planning a 50-date tour that will take them around the world.

Funkadelic

American musician, songwriter, and record producer Sly Stone was born this date March 15th in 1943, He most famous for his role as frontman of Sly & the Family Stone, a band which played a critical role in the development of soul, funk and psychedelia in the 1960s and 1970s, with songs like “Stand“, “I Want To Take You Higher”, “Sing A Simple Song”, “If You Want Me To Stay“, and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” In 1993, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Funkadelic

Along with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly & the Family Stone were pioneers of late 1960s and early ’70s funk. Their fusion of R&B rhythms, infectious melodies, and psychedelia created a new pop/soul/rock hybrid the impact of which has proven lasting and widespread. Motown producer Norman Whitfield, for example, patterned the label’s forays into harder-driving, socially relevant material (such as The Temptations’ “Runaway Child” and “Ball of Confusion”) based on their sound. The pioneering precedent of Stone’s racial, sexual, and stylistic mix, had a major influence in the 1980s on artists such as Prince and Rick James. Legions of artists from the 1990s forward — including Public Enemy, Fatboy Slim, Beck and many others — mined Stone’s seminal back catalog for hook-laden samples.   After a mildly received debut album, A Whole New Thing (1967), Sly & The Family Stone had their first hit single with “Dance to the Music“, which was later included on an album of the same name (1968). Although their third album, Life (also 1968), also suffered from low sales, their fourth album, Stand! (1969), became a runaway success, selling over three million copies and spawning a number one hit single, “Everyday People“. By the summer of 1969, Sly & The Family Stone were one of the biggest names in music, releasing three more top five singles, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” / “Everybody Is a Star”, before the end of the year, and appearing at Woodstock.

Decline

Sadly though With the band’s new found fame and success came numerous problems. Relationships within the band were deteriorating; there was friction in particular between the Stone brothers & Bass player Larry Graham. After moving to the Los Angeles area in fall 1969, Stone and his bandmates became heavy users of illegal drugs, As the members became increasingly focused on drug use and partying (Stone carried a violin case filled with illegal drugs wherever he went), recording slowed significantly. Between summer 1969 and fall 1971, the band released only one single, which was one of the first recordings to employ the heavy, funky beats that would be featured in the funk music of the following decade. It showcased Graham’s innovative percussive playing technique of bass “slapping”. During this time Stone’s behavior became increasingly erratic. new material was anticipated in 1970, but with none forthcoming, a Greatest Hits album was released that November. One year later, the band’s fifth album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On, was released. Riot featured a much darker sound as most tracks were recorded with overdubbing as opposed to The Family Stone all playing at the same time as they had done previously. Stone played most of the parts himself and performed more of the lead vocals than usual. It was also the first major label album to feature a drum machine. The band’s cohesion slowly began to erode, and its sales and popularity began to decline as well. Live bookings for Sly & the Family Stone had also steadily dropped since 1970. The final straw came In January 1975, after the band booked itself at Radio City Music Hall. The famed music hall was only one-eighth occupied, and Stone and company had to scrape together money to return home, Following the Radio City engagement, the band was dissolved.

Re Emergence

On Sunday, January 14, 2007 Stone made a short guest appearance at a show of The New Family Stone band he supports at the House of Blues. On April 1, 2007, Stone appeared with the Family Stone at the Flamingo Las Vegas Showroom, after George Wallace’s standup act. On July 7, 2007 Stone also made a short appearance with the Family Stone at the San Jose, CA Summerfest. On Labor Day, September 7, 2009, Stone emerged at the 20th annual African Festival of the Arts in Chicago, Ill. He performed a 15 minute set during George Clinton’s Performance. He performed his popular hits along with George Clinton’s band. He left immediately after his short performance.   On December 6, 2009, Sly signed a new recording contract with the LA based Cleopatra Records and on August 16, 2011, I’m Back! Family & Friends was released, the first Sly Stone album since 1982’s Ain’t But the One Way. The album features re-recorded versions of Sly & the Family Stone’s greatest hits with guest appearances from Jeff Beck, Ray Manzarek, Bootsy Collins, Ann Wilson, Carmine Appice and Johnny Winter, as well as three previously unreleased songs.

Tribute to Karl Marx

Often described as one of the most influential figures in human history the German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx sadly passed away on this day 14th March in 1883.

His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement. He published various books during his lifetime, with the most notable being The Communist Manifesto  and Capital; some of his works were co-written with his friend and fellow German revolutionary socialist, Friedrich Engels.   Born into a wealthy middle class family in Trier, formerly in Prussian Rhineland now called Rhineland-Palatinate, Marx studied at both the University of Bonn and the University of Berlin, where he became interested in, but critical of, the work of the German philosopher G.W.F Hegel , whose ideas were widely debated amongst European philosophical circles at the time. He became involved with a group of radical thinkers known as the Young Hegelians, who gathered around Ludwig Feuerbach and Bruno Bauer. Like Marx, the Young Hegelians were critical of Hegel’s metaphysical assumptions,

. In 1836, he became engaged to Jenny von Westphalen, marrying her in 1843. After his studies, he wrote for a radical newspaper in Cologne, and began to work out his theory of dialectical materialism. Moving to Paris in 1843, he began writing for other radical newspapers. He met Engels in Paris, and the two men worked together on a series of books. Exiled to Brussels, he became a leading figure of the Communist League, before moving back to Cologne, where he founded his own newspaper. In 1849 he was exiled again and moved to London together with his wife and children. In London, where the family was reduced to poverty, Marx continued writing and formulating his theories about the nature of society and how he believed it could be improved, and also campaigned for socialism—he became a significant figure in the International Workingmen’s Association.

Marx’s theories about society, economics and politics—collectively known as Marxism—hold that all societies progress through the dialectic of class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class which controls production and a lower class which produces the labour for such goods. Heavily critical of the current socio-economic form of society, capitalism, he called it the “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie”, believing it to be run by the wealthy classes purely for their own benefit, and predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, it would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system, socialism. He argued that under socialism society would be governed by the working class in what he called the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, the “workers state” or “workers’ democracy”. He believed that socialism would, in its turn, eventually be replaced by a stateless, classless society called communism. Along with believing in the inevitability of socialism and communism, Marx actively fought for the former’s implementation, arguing that both social theorists and underprivileged people should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic change.   Revolutionary socialist governments espousing Marxist concepts took power in a variety of countries in the 20th century, leading to the formation of such socialist states as the Soviet Union in 1922 and the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Many labor unions and worker’s parties worldwide were also influenced by Marxist ideas. Various theoretical variants, such as Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism and Maoism, were developed. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.

As a result Marx is widely thought of as one of the most influential thinkers in history, and had a significant influence on both world politics and intellectual thought, and in a 1999 BBC poll was voted the top “thinker of the millennium”. Robert C. Tucker credits Marx with profoundly affecting ideas about history, society, economics, culture and politics, and the nature of social inquiry. Marx’s biographer Francis Wheen considers the “history of the twentieth century” to be “Marx’s legacy”, whilst philosopher Peter Singer believes that Marx’s impact can be compared with that of the founders of the two major world religions, Jesus Christ and Muhammad. Singer notes that “Marx’s ideas brought about modern sociology, transformed the study of history, and profoundly affected philosophy, literature and the arts.” Paul Ricœur calls Marx one of the masters of the “school of suspicion”, alongside Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. Philip Stokes says that Marx’s ideas led to him becoming “the darling of both European and American intellectuals up until the 1960s”. Marx has influenced disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociological theory, cultural studies, education, economics, geography, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical psychology, and philosophy.   The reasons for Marx’s widespread influence revolve around his ethical message; a “morally empowering language of critique” against the dominant capitalist society. No other body of work was so relevant to the modern times, and at the same time, so outspoken about the need for change. In the political realm, Marx’s ideas led to the establishment of governments using Marxist thought to replace capitalism with communism or socialism (or augment it with market socialism) across much of the world, whilst his intellectual thought has heavily influenced the academic study of the humanities and the arts.