Happy Birthday Bev Bevan (Electric Light Orchestra)

Bev Bevan, the Former drummer percussionist and vocalist with British rock group Electric light Orchestra was born November 24th 1944. ELO were formed in Birmingham, England, In the late 1960s, after Roy Wood — guitarist, vocalist and songwriter of The Move — had an idea to form a new band that would use violins, cellos, string basses, horns and woodwinds to give their music a classical sound, taking rock music in the direction “that The Beatles had left off”. Jeff Lynne, frontman of fellow Birmingham group The Idle Race, was excited by the concept. In January 1970, when Carl Wayne left The Move, Lynne accepted Wood’s second invitation to join the band on the condition that they focus their energy on the new project & when Wood added multiple cellos to a Lynne-penned song  and “10538 Overture” became the first Electric Light Orchestra song. The debut album The Electric Light Orchestra was released in 1971.” and10538 Overture” was a hit.

ELO’s debut concert took place on 16 April 1972 at The Greyhound Pub in Croydon, U.K with a line-up of Wood, Lynne, Bevan, Bill Hunt (horns, keyboards), Wilfred Gibson (violin), Hugh McDowell (cello), Mike Edwards (cello), Andy Craig (cello) and Richard Tandy (bass). During the recordings for the band’s second LP, Wood left the band taking cellist McDowell and horn/keyboard player Hunt with him to form Wizzard. Despite predictions from the music press that the band would fold without Wood,  Lynne stepped up to lead the band, with Bev Bevan remaining on drums, joined by Gibson on violin, Richard Tandy now playing the Moog synthesiser in place of Hunt, Mike de Albuquerque on bass and vocals, and Mike Edwards and Colin Walker on cellos. The new line-up performed at the 1972 Reading Festival. The band released their second album, ELO 2 in 1973, which produced their first US chart single,”Roll Over Beethoven”. The third album On the Third Day, was released 1973, featuring the single “Showdown. “For the band’s fourth album, Eldorado, Lynne  hired an orchestra and choir & Louis Clark joined the band as string arranger. The first single of the album, “Can’t Get It Out of My Head”, became a hit, and it became ELO’s first gold album. The next album Face the Music was released in 1975, producing the hit singles “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic” and the opening instrumental “Fire On High.

Their sixth album, A New World Record was released in 1976. It contained the hit singles “Livin’ Thing”, “Telephone Line”, “Rockaria!” and “Do Ya”. It was followed by the double-LP Out of the Blue, which featured the singles “Turn to Stone”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, “Mr. Blue Sky”, and “Wild West Hero”. In 1979, the album Discovery was released containing the songs “Don’t Bring Me Down”,”Shine a Little Love”, “Last Train to London”, “Confusion” and “The Diary of Horace Wimp”.  In 1980 Jeff Lynne co-wrote the soundtrack for the film Xanadu, with John Farrar which featured Olivia Newton-John and In 1981 ELO’s sound changed again with the science fiction concept album Time, a throwback to earlier, more progressive rock albums like Eldorado this yielded the singles “Hold on Tight”, “Twilight”, “The Way Life’s Meant to Be”, “Here Is the News” and “Ticket to the Moon”. ELO’s next album Secret Messages was released in 1983 & contained the hit “Rock ‘n’ Roll Is King”.ELO’s final album of the 20th century, Balance of Power, was released early in 1986 containing the song “Calling America”.Lynne also played a small number of live ELO performances in 1986, in England, Germany & the US appearing on American Bandstand, Solid Gold, then at Disneyland. In 1986 They played a charity concert called the The Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 which was organised by Bevan in ELO’s hometown of Birmingham. George Harrison appeared onstage during the encore at Heartbeat, joining in the all-star jam of “Johnny B. Goode”. ELO’s last performance of the century occurred on 13 July 1986 in Stuttgart, Germany playing as support band to Rod Stewart & they effectively disbanded after that final show in Stuttgart. Although there is a Greatest Hits compilation

In total ELO released eleven studio albums between 1971 and 1986 and another album in 2001, collected 19 CRIA, 21 RIAA and 38 BPI awards,and sold over 50 million records worldwide . The group’s name is an intended pun based not only on electric light (as in a light bulb as seen on early album covers) but also using “electric” rock instruments combined with a “light orchestra” (orchestras with only a few cellos and violins that were popular in Britain during the 1960s). The official band logo, was designed in 1976 by artist Kosh, and was first seen on their 1976 album A New World Record and is based on a 1946 Wurlitzer jukebox model 4008 speaker which was itself based upon the upper cabinet of the Wurlitzer model 1015 jukebox.

Happy Birthday John Squire

John Squire, Guitarist with seminal British Alternative Rock bands The Stone Roses was born November 24th 1962. Formed in Manchester in 1983 The Stone Roses were one of the pioneering groups of the Madchester movement that was active during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band’s most successful lineup consists of vocalist Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield, and drummer Alan “Reni” Wren. The band released their debut album, The Stone Roses, in 1989. The album was a breakthrough success for the band.

After releasing a much hailed debut album the Stone Roses decided to capitalise on their success by signing to a major label, however their current record label Silvertone would not let them out of their contract,which led to an acrimonious and lengthy legal dispute. they eventually signed a multi-million pound deal with Geffen in 1991, and released their second album Second Coming in 1994. Sadly as a result of this delay, things had moved on and Oasis had arrived on the Manchester Music Scene and and after several lineup changes throughout the supporting tour, The group disbanded Reni going first, followed by Squire.

Then in 2011 Following much intensified media speculation rumours and denial, the band’s four original members – John Squire, Ian Brown, bassist Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield and drummer Alan ‘Reni’ Wren, called a press conference to announce that the band had reunited and would perform a reunion tour of the world in 2012, including three homecoming shows at Heaton Park in Manchester. These concerts became the fastest selling rock concerts in UK history. After 150,000 tickets for the first two dates sold out just 14 minutes after going on sale. As a result A further date was added and the remaining 75,000 tickets sold out soon afterwards. The band, have also said that it was their intention was to ‘uplift’ the national mood in hard times and that today’s music was ‘boring’ and ‘corporate’. There are also persistent rumours that they are recording a third album, and according to Chris Coghill, the writer of the new film which is set during the Stone Roses 1990 Spike Island show, the band “have at least three or four new tracks recorded.

Anniversary of Freddie Mercury Passing away

Widely considered as one of the greatest vocalists in popular music, The late great Freddie Mercury passed away on November 24th 1991. Best known as the lead singer for the rock band Queen. He is remembered for his powerful vocal abilities and charisma as a live performer.  Mercury’s songs included elements of rockabilly, heavy metal and disco, and he wrote ten out of the seventeen songs on Queen’s Greatest Hits album, including Seven Seas Of Rhye, Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody To Love, Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy, We Are The Champions, Bicycle Race, Don’t Stop Me Now, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and Play The Game

Born Farrokh Bulsara in Stone Town on the African island of Unguja, Mercury  attended St. Peter’s boarding school near Bombay (Mumbai) where he learned to play piano and joined his first band, The Hectics. He completed his education in India at St. Mary’s High School in Mazagon before returning to Zanzibar. Freddie came to England  in 1964  and earned a Diploma in Art and Graphic Design at Ealing Art College & later used these skills to design the Queen crest. Freddie Mercury possessed a very distinctive voice. His recorded vocal range spanned nearly four octaves (falsetto included), with his lowest recorded note being the F below the bass clef and his highest recorded note being the D that lies nearly four octaves above. In addition to vocal range, Despite not having any vocal training Mercury often delivered technically difficult songs in a powerful manner and  Compared to many rock songwriters, many of Freddie Mercury’s songs were also musically complex. As a songwriter,Despite the fact that Mercury often wrote very intricate harmonies, he claimed that he could barely read music and wrote most of his songs on the piano, often choosing keys that were technically difficult. Mercury also possessed rudimentary skills on the guitar & wrote many lines and riffs for the instrument, including many of those heard in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He also wrote “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” on the guitar.

In addition to his work with Queen, Mercury produced two solo albums, Mr. Bad Guy and Barcelona, The former was a pop-oriented album that emphasized disco and dance  and was heavily synthesizer-driven in a way that was uncharacteristic of previous Queen albums, While “Barcelona” was recorded with the opera singer Montserrat Caballé, whom Mercury had long admired. Sadly “Mr. Bad Guy” was not considered  a commercial success relative to most Queen albums. Although a remix of “Living On My Own”, a single from the album garnered Mercury a posthumous Ivor Novello Award. “Barcelona”, combined elements of popular music and opera. Caballé considered the album to have been one of the great successes of her career and said of Mercury, “He was not only a popular singer, he was a musician, that could sit at the piano and compose.  In September of 2006, a compilation album featuring Mercury’s solo work was released in the UK.

Mercury was diagnosed with HIV in the spring of 1987 but continued to deny that he had the disease. Despite this there were many rumours fueled by Mercury’s increasingly gaunt appearance during the last years of his life, particularly in his last appearance on film, the These Are The Days Of Our Lives promo video, which suggested serious illness. On November 23,  he  issued a statement confirming that he had been tested HIV positive and had AIDS, but I felt it correct to keep this information private to protect the privacy of those around me, and  hoped that people would join in the fight against this terrible disease. A little over 24 hours after issuing the statement, Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45. The official cause of death was bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS. Mercury’s funeral was conducted by a Zoroastrian priest and he was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery. the whereabouts of his ashes are unknown, although some believe them to have been dispersed into Lake Geneva, or in his family’s possession. The remaining members of Queen founded The Mercury Phoenix Trust, and organised The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.

Freddie Mercury has consistently ranked in the number one position on a list of the 100 greatest rock vocalists. In a list of the greatest English language singers of the 20th century, compiled by BBC Radio, he was the highest-ranked hard rock vocalist, . He also came in second in MTV’s list of the 22 greatest singers of the past 25 years. In 2006, Time Asia magazine voted Mercury as one of the most influential Asians in the past 60 years. The 1999 Millennium Poll, in which six hundred thousand Britons participated, he was voted into the number 14 and 15 spots as a popular musician and songwriter, respectively. Mercury ranked at No. 58 in the 2002 list of “100 Greatest Britons”, sponsored by the BBC and voted for by the public. Two of Mercury’s songs, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Are The Champions” have each been claimed, in separate polls, as the world’s favourite song, another poll of six hundred thousand people in sixty-six different countries found “We Are The Champions” to be the world’s most popular tune. This contradicts another major poll by Guinness World, which had previously found “Bohemian Rhapsody” to be the world’s most popular song of the past 50 years. He was also highly thought of by other people too, including Monserrat Caballe, Rock star David Bowie, with whom he recorded the song “Under Pressure”,  Comedian Mike Myers, whose movie Wayne’s World introduced “Bohemian Rhapsody” to a new generation of listeners and Annie Lennox, who said of Mercury: “Of all the more theatrical rock performers, Freddie took it further than the rest, he had theatricality, he was larger than life, new, fresh, cool. This is a god that walks as man.”

Tribute to Diego Rivera

Controversial Mexican painter Diego Rivera sadly passed away on 24th November 1957. Born Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez on December 8, 1886 in Guanajuato, Mexico. He was a prominent Mexican painter who became an active communist, and His large frescoes helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in Mexican art. He arrived in Europe in 1907, and studied in Madrid, Spain, and from there went to Paris to live and work in Montparnasse where cubism in paintings by such eminent painters as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque was becoming popular, & Rivera embraced this new school of art,later, inspired by Cézanne’s paintings, Rivera shifted toward Post-Impressionism with simple forms and large patches of vivid colors. His paintings began to attract attention, and he was able to display them at several exhibitions.In 1920, Rivera traveled through Italy studying its art, including Renaissance frescoes. He returned to Mexico in 1921 to become involved in the government sponsored Mexican mural program planned by Vasconcelos and painted his first significant mural Creation in the Bolívar Auditorium of the National Preparatory School in Mexico CityIn the autumn of 1922, Rivera participated in the founding of the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors, and also joined the Mexican Communist Party . His murals, subsequently painted in fresco only, dealt with Mexican society and reflected the country’s 1910 Revolution. Rivera developed his own native style based on large, simplified figures and bold colors with an Aztec influence clearly present in murals at the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City.In the autumn of 1927, Rivera arrived in Moscow,to take part in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution & painted a mural for the Red Army Club in Moscow, but in 1928 he was expelled and returned to Mexico where he was expelled from the Mexican Communist Party too. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals in Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City. In 1931, a retrospective exhibition of his works was also held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.Some of Rivera’s most famous murals are featured at the National School of Agriculture at Chapingo near Texcoco, in the Cortés Palace in Cuernavaca, and the National Palace in Mexico City. In 1930, Rivera accepted an invitation from architect Timothy L. Pflueger to paint for him in San Francisco. After arriving in November Rivera painted a mural for the City Club of the San Francisco Stock Exchange  and a fresco for the California School of Fine Art, later relocated to what is now the Diego Rivera Gallery at the San Francisco Art Institute.  In November 1931, Rivera had a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Between 1932 and 1933, he completed a famous series of fresco panels entitled Detroit Industry on the walls of an inner court at the Detroit Institute of Arts. ”

Rivera’s radical political beliefs, attacks on the church and clergy made him a controversial figure even in communist circles. His mural Man at the Crossroads,  for the Rockefeller Center in New York City, was removed after a furor erupted in the press over a portrait of Vladimir Lenin it contained. As a result of the negative publicity, a further commission  to paint a mural for an exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair was canceled. In December 1933, Rivera returned to Mexico, & repainted Man at the Crossroads in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In  1940,  Rivera returned for the last time to the US to paint a ten-panel mural for the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco & The mural and its archives reside at City College of San Francisco.As well as having some controversial political views Diego Rivera was also an atheist who considered religions to be a form of collective neurosis. and some of his work caused a big fuss particularly his mural Dreams of a Sunday in the Alameda depicted Ignacio Ramírez holding a sign which read, “God does not exist”. This painting was not shown for 9 years – until Rivera agreed to remove the inscription. He stated: “To affirm ‘God does not exist’, I do not have to hide behind Don Ignacio Ramírez .” Sadly Rivera eventually passed away on November 24 in 1957.

Evolution Day

Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species”  on 24 November 1859, consequently this day is sometimes referred to as Evolution Day. This work of scientific literature is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. For the sixth edition of 1872, the short title was changed to The Origin of Species. Darwin’s book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.

Various evolutionary ideas had already been proposed to explain new findings in biology. There was growing support for such ideas among dissident anatomists and the general public, but during the first half of the 19th century the English scientific establishment was closely tied to the Church of England, while science was part of natural theology. Ideas about the transmutation of species were controversial as they conflicted with the beliefs that species were unchanging parts of a designed hierarchy and that humans were unique, unrelated to other animals. The political and theological implications were intensely debated, but transmutation was not accepted by the scientific mainstream. The book was written for non-specialist readers and attracted widespread interest upon its publication. As Darwin was an eminent scientist, his findings were taken seriously and the evidence he presented generated scientific, philosophical, and religious discussion. The debate over the book contributed to the campaign by T.H. Huxley and his fellow members of the X Club to secularise science by promoting scientific naturalism. Within two decades there was widespread scientific agreement that evolution, with a branching pattern of common descent, had occurred, but scientists were slow to give natural selection the significance that Darwin thought appropriate. During the “eclipse of Darwinism” from the 1880s to the 1930s, various other mechanisms of evolution were given more credit. With the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s and 1940s, Darwin’s concept of evolutionary adaptation through natural selection became central to modern evolutionary theory, now the unifying concept of the life sciences.

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English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, FRS was born 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, United Kingdom. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding. Darwin published his theory of evolution with compelling evidence in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, overcoming scientific rejection of earlier concepts of transmutation of species. By the 1870’s the scientific community and much of the general public had accepted evolution as a fact. However, many favoured competing explanations and it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed in which natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin’s scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.

Darwin’s early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author. Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin began detailed investigations and in 1838 conceived his theory of natural selection. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories. Darwin’s work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871 he examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil. Sadly though Darwin passed away on 19 April 1882 at Downe House, Downe, Kent, and In recognition of his pre-eminence as a scientist, he was honoured with a state funeral and buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history

Free Frank Sinatra Christmas CD inside this Saturday’s Daily Mail

Inside the Daily Mail Newspaper on Saturday 24th November, there is a FREE Frank Sinatra Christmas CD. (presumably they couldn’t get rid of all last years stock so they’ve repackaged them and are offering them again this year) This classic collection is packed full of Frank Sinatra’s’s best loved Christmas recordings including ‘White Christmas’, ‘Jingle Bells’and “Silent Night”. Tracks include…

  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Frank Sinatra with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and the Ralph Brewster Singers.
  • Jingle Bells – Frank Sinatra with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and the Ralph Brewster Singers.
  • Let it Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra with Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra.
  • O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fidelis) – Frank Sinatra with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and the Ralph Brewster Singers.
  • Silent Night Holy Night – Frank Sinatra with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and the Ralph Brewster Singers
  •  The First Noel – Frank Sinatra with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and the Ralph Brewster Singers.
  •  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and the Ralph Brewster Singers.
  •  The Christmas Song – Frank Sinatra with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and the Ralph Brewster Singers.
  •  Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Frank Sinatra with Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra.
  • White Christmas – Frank Sinatra with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra and the Ralph Brewster Singers.