Happy birthday Andy Bell

Probably best Known as the lead snger of Erasure and for wearing Outrageous  outfts whle on stage, the Singer songwrter Andy Bell was born on this date 25th Aprl n 1964. His bandmate in Erasure was Vince Clarke who is currently collaborating wth former Depeche Mode Bandmate Martn Gore on the album VCMG – Sssss, whch I have been listening to since it came out, and whch contains some really bouncy & lvely tracks.

English synthpop duo Erasure first entered the music scene in 1985 with their debut single “Who Needs Love Like That”. Following the release of their fourth single “Sometimes“, the duo established itself on the UK Singles Chart and became one of the most successful artists of the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s.   From 1986 to 1997, Erasure achieved 24 consecutive Top 20 hits in the UK, while only having 3 Top 20 hits in the US (on the Billboard Hot 100): “A Little Respect“, “Chains of Love” and “Always“.

By 2009, 34 of their 45 singles & EPs (of which 8 out of the 45 were not chart eligible in the UK) had made the UK Top 40, with 17 climbing into the Top 10.   Labelled “the definitive synthpop superstars”, the duo are most popular in their native UK and mainland Europe (especially Germany, Denmark and Sweden) and also in South America and have To date,  sold over 25 million albums worldwide. The band is also popular within the LGBT community for which the openly gay singer Andy Bell has become a gay icon.

The First Lady of Song – Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald

Often referred to as the First Lady of Song” “Queen of Jazz” and “Lady Ella,” The American jazz and song vocalist Ella Fitzgerald was born on this day April 25 in 1917.she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a “horn-like” improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing and had a vocal range spanning three octaves. Over the course of her 59-year recording career, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush.

She was born in Newport News, Virginia, In her youth Fitzgerald wanted to be a dancer, although she loved listening to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby and The Boswell Sisters. She idolized the lead singer Connee Boswell, later saying, “My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it….I tried so hard to sound just like her.

In 1932, her mother tragically died from a heart attack, Following this trauma, Fitzgerald’s grades dropped dramatically and she frequently skipped school and was first taken in by an aunt she also worked as a lookout at a bordello and also with a Mafia-affiliated numbers runner. When the authorities caught up with her, she was first  placed in the Colored Orphan Asylum in Riverdale, the Bronx. However, when the orphanage proved too crowded she was moved to the New York Training School for Girls in Hudson, New York, a state reformatory. Eventually she escaped and for a time was homeless

She made her singing debut at 17  at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. She pulled in a weekly audience at the Apollo and won the opportunity to compete in one of the earliest of its famous “Amateur Nights”. She had originally intended to go on stage and dance but, intimidated by the Edwards Sisters, a local dance duo, she opted to sing instead in the style of Connee Boswell. She sang Boswell’s “Judy” and “The Object of My Affection,” a song recorded by the Boswell Sisters, and won the first prize of US$25.00.

In January 1935, Fitzgerald won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House and began singing regularly with Chick Webb’s Orchestra through 1935 at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom. Fitzgerald recorded several hit songs with them, including “Love and Kisses” and “(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)”. But it was her 1938 version of the nursery rhyme, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”, a song she co-wrote, that brought her wide public acclaim.In 1942, Fitzgerald left the band to begin a solo career and had several popular hits with such artists as the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, and the Delta Rhythm Boys.

With the demise of the Swing era and the decline of the great touring big bands, a major change in jazz music occurred. The advent of bebop led to new developments in Fitzgerald’s vocal style, influenced by her work with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band. While singing with Gillespie, Fitzgerald recalled, “I just tried to do with my voice what I heard the horns in the band doing.” Her 1945 scat recording of “Flying Home” was desribed as “one of the most influential vocal jazz records of the decade Where other singers, most notably Louis Armstrong, had tried similar improvisation, no one before Miss Fitzgerald employed the technique with such dazzling inventiveness.” Her bebop recording of “Oh, Lady be Good!” was similarly popular and increased her reputation as one of the leading jazz vocalists.

Tributes & Awards

During her career Ella Fitzgerald won thirteen Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement in 1967.Other major awards and honors she received during her career were the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Medal of Honor Award, National Medal of Art, first Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award, named “Ella” in her honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, UCLA Spring Sing.Across town at the University of Southern California, she received the coveted USC “Magnum Opus” Award which hangs in the office of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

In 1997, Newport News, Virginia created a music festival with Christopher Newport University to honor Ella Fitzgerald in her birth city. The Ella Fitzgerald Music Festival is designed to teach the region’s youth of the musical legacy of Fitzgerald and jazz. Past performers at the week-long festival include: Diana Krall, Arturo Sandoval, Jean Carne, Phil Woods, Aretha Franklin, Freda Payne, Cassandra Wilson, Ethel Ennis, David Sanborn, Jane Monheit, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ramsey Lewis, Patti Austin, and Ann Hampton Callaway.

Callaway, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Patti Austin have all recorded albums in tribute to Fitzgerald. Callaway’s album To Ella with Love features fourteen jazz standards made popular by Fitzgerald, and the album also features the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Bridgewater’s album Dear Ella  featured many musicians that were closely associated with Fitzgerald during her career, including the pianist Lou Levy, the trumpeter Benny Powell, and Fitzgerald’s second husband, double bassist Ray Brown. Bridgewater’s following album, Live at Yoshi’s, was recorded live on April 25, 1998, on what would have been Fitzgerald’s 81st birthday. There is also a bronze sculpture of Fitzgerald in Yonkers,created by American artist Vinnie Bagwell, the city in which she grew up and there s also a bust of Fitzgerald on the campus of Chapman College in Orange, California.

Felipe Massa & Michele Alboretto

Happy brthday to Brazilian Formula One driver Felipe Massa, who was born 25th April 1981. He recently achieved 9th Place in the Bahrain Grand Prix 2012 whch took place on 22nd April 2012

Italian race car driver Michele Alboreto, tragcally lost hs lfe on ths day 25th Aprl in 2001 a month after his victory at Sebring,  whlst testing an Audi R8 at the Lausitzring in Germany.

He is famous for finishing runner up to Alain Prost in the 1985 Formula One World Championship, as well as winning the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans and 2001 12 Hours of Sebring sports car races. Alboreto competed in Formula One from 1981 until 1994, racing for a number of teams, most notably his five seasons (1984-88) driving for Ferrari.

The Italian’s career in motorsport began in 1976, racing a car he and a number of his friends had built in the Formula Monza series. The car, however, achieved very little success and two years later Alboreto moved up to Formula Three. Wins in the Italian Formula Three championship and a European Formula Three Championship crown in 1980 paved the way for the Italian’s entrance into Formula One with the Tyrrell team.   Two wins, the first in the final round of the 1982 season in Las Vegas, and the second a year later in Detroit, earned him a place with the Ferrari team.

Alboreto took three wins for the Italian team and challenged Alain Prost for the 1985 Championship, eventually losing out by 20 points. Following a poor 1988 campaign, the Italian left Ferrari and re-signed with his former employers Tyrrell, where he stayed until joining Larrousse mid-way through 1989.   Further seasons with Footwork, Scuderia Italia and Minardi followed during the tail end of his F1 career. In 1995, Alboreto moved on to sportscars and a year later the American IndyCar series. He took his final major victories, the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours and 2001 Sebring 12 Hours, with German manufacturers Porsche and Audi respectively.

Thank you for the music

Björn Ulvaeus, The Swedish singer and songwriter wth the group ABBA was born on 25th April 1945, ABBA were a Swedish pop/rock group formed in Stockholm in 1972, , comprising Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. They are also known for winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest whch was held in Brighton and gave Sweden its first victory in the history of the contest and became the most successful group ever to take part in the contest.   ABBA has sold over 370 million records worldwide and still sell millions of records a year, which makes them one of the best-selling music artists. ABBA was the first pop group to come from a non-English-speaking country that enjoyed consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Philippines. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin American markets, and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish.

During the band’s active years, Fältskog and Ulvaeus were a married couple, as were Lyngstad and Andersson–although both couples later divorced. At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Ulvaeus-Fältskog marriage in 1979 and the Andersson-Lyngstad marriage in 1981. As a result, these relationship changes began appearing in the group’s music, and later compositions produced more introspective lyrics.

After ABBA broke up in early 1983, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued individual solo careers with mixed success. ABBA’s music declined in popularity until several films, notably Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, revived interest in the group, spawning several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name released in 2008 became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010

Tribute to Guigliemo Marconi

Often referred to as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi’s law and a radio telegraph system, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi was born on this day 25 April in 1874. He is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy”.

Much of Marconi’s work in radio transmission was built upon previous experimentation and the commercial exploitation of ideas by others such as Hertz, Maxwell, Faraday, Popov, Lodge, Fessenden, Stone, Bose, and Tesla. As an entrepreneur, businessman, and founder of the The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897, Marconi succeeded in making a commercial success of radio by innovating and building on the work of previous experimenters and physicists. In 1924, he was ennobled as Marchese Marconi.

Titanic

Marconi’s development of the Radio Telegraph System has also helped save many lives too. One such device was aboard the RMS Titanic, and The two radio operators aboard the Titanic—Jack Phillips and Harold Bride— who were employed by the Marconi International Marine Communication Company, were able to send distress sgnals Following the collision with the ice berg.

As a result survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia of the Cunard Line. Also employed by the Marconi Company was David Sarnoff, the only person to receive the names of survivors immediately after the disaster via wireless technology. Wireless communications were reportedly maintained for 72 hours between the Carpathia and Sarnoff, but Sarnoff’s involvement has been questioned by some modern historians. When the Carpathia docked in New York, Marconi went aboard with a reporter from The New York Times to talk with Bride, the surviving operator. On 18 June 1912, Marconi gave evidence to the Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Titanic regarding the marine telegraphy’s functions and the procedures for emergencies at sea. Britain’s postmaster-general summed up, referring to the Titanic disaster, “Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi…and his marvelous invention.”

Honours and awards

Durng hs lifetme Marconi received many honours and awards for his invention. In 1909, Marconi shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Braun for his contributions to radio communications. In 1918, he was awarded the Franklin Institute’s Franklin Medal.  In 1924, he was made a marquess by King Victor Emmanuel III., thus becoming Marchese Marconi. The Radio Hall of Fame (Museum of Broadcast Communications, Chicago) inducted Marconi soon after the inception of its awards. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009. The Dutch radio academy bestows the Marconi Awards annually for outstanding radio programmes, presenters and stations; the National Association of Broadcasters (US) bestows the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards also for outstanding radio programs and stations. Marconi was also inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1977 and A commemorative British two pound coin was released in 2001 celebrating the 100th anniversary of Marconi’s first wireless communication as well as A commemorative silver 5 EURO coin whch was issued by Italy in 2009 honouring the centennial of Marconi’s Nobel Prize. A funerary monument to the effigy of Marconi can also be seen in the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence but his remains are in Sasso, near Bologna. Marconi’s early experiments in wireless telegraphy were also the subject of two IEEE Milestones; one in Switzerland in 2003 and most recently in Italy in 2011.

Tributes

The premier collection of Marconi artifacts was held by The General Electric Company, p.l.c. (GEC) of the United Kingdom which later renamed to Marconi plc and Marconi Corporation plc. In December 2004 the extensive Marconi Collection, held at the former Marconi Research Centre at Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex UK was gifted to the Nation by the Company via the University of Oxford. This consisted of the BAFTA award-winning MarconiCalling website, some 250+ physical artifacts and the massive ephemera collection of papers, books, patents and many other items. The artifacts are now held by The Museum of the History of Science and the ephemera Archives by the nearby Bodleian Library. The latest release, following three years work at the Bodleian, is the Online Catalogue to the Marconi Archives, released in November 2008.

Ira Gershwin’s lyrics to “They All Laughed” include the line, “They told Marconi wireless was a phony.”  The band Tesla references him in “Edison’s Medicine” lyrics: They’ll sell you on Marconi, familiar, but a phony.”  The band Jefferson Starship references him in their song We Built This City. The lyrics say: “Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio”.  The 1955 play Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee includes a reference to Marconi in scene 1.  The 1979 play ‘The Man From Mukinupin’ by Dorothy Hewett makes several references to Marconi by the character The Flasher, who imagines he is communicating with Marconi through a box of matches. “Marconi the great one, speak to me!”, “Marconi, Marconi, must I kill?” and “Marconi says I must not frighten the ladies…”  The Bermuda rig, developed in the 17th century by Bermudians, became ubiquitous on sailboats around the world in the 20th century. The tall masts and triangular fore-and-aft sails reminded some people of Marconi’s wireless towers, hence the rig became known also as the Marconi rig. A sculpture devoted to Marconi also resides in Washington, D.C.