The Ramones

Tommy Ramone was born 29th January 1952. The Ramones were one of the worlds most influential Punk Rock Band, Formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974, they  are often cited as the first punk rock group, and despite achieving only limited commercial success, the band was a major influence on the punk rock movement both in the United States and the United Kingdom.   All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname “Ramone”, though none of them were related. They performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years. In 1996, after a tour with the Lollapalooza music festival, the band played a farewell concert and disbanded. Little more than eight years after the breakup, the band’s three founding members—lead singer Joey Ramone, guitarist Johnny Ramone, had died while bassist Dee Dee Ramone sadly passed away in 2002.

Their only record with enough U.S. sales to be certified gold was the compilation album Ramones Mania. However, recognition of the band’s importance built over the years, and they are now cited in many assessments of all-time great rock music, such as the Rolling Stone list of the 50 Greatest Artists of All Time and VH1′s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. In 2002, the Ramones were ranked the second-greatest band of all time by Spin magazine, trailing only The Beatles. On March 18, 2002, the Ramones—including the three founders and drummers Tommy and Marky Ramone—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. So to Pay tribute, here are some wonderfully energetic classics courtesy of YouTube

Happy Birthday Phil Collins

Best known as a drummer and vocalist for British progressive rock groups Genesis and Brand X, as well as being a  popular solo artist, the English singer-songwriter, drummer, pianist producer and actor Phil Collins LVO celebrates his birthday on 30th January. Collins’s professional music career began as a drummer, first with Flaming Youth and then more famously with Genesis, after he answered a Melody Maker classified ad for “…a drummer sensitive to acoustic music, and acoustic twelve-string guitarist”.

The first album Nursery Cryme was released a year later. Although his role remained primarily that of drummer and backing vocalist for the next five years, he twice sang lead vocals: once on “For Absent Friends” (from Nursery Cryme) and once on “More Fool Me” (from Selling England by the Pound). In Genesis, Collins originally supplied backing vocals for front man Peter Gabriel, singing lead on only two songs: “For Absent Friends” from 1971′s Nursery Cryme album and “More Fool Me” from Selling England by the Pound, which was released in 1973.

Following Gabriel’s departure in 1975, Collins became the group’s lead singer, and sang lead vocals on several chart hits in the United Kingdom and the United States between 1975 and 2010, either as a solo artist or with Genesis. He has released many great albums, either as part of Genesis or as a Solo Artist including INVISIBLE TOUCH, FOXTROT & GENESIS, His singles, sometimes dealing with lost love, ranged from the drum-heavy “In the Air Tonight”, dance pop of “Sussudio”, piano-driven “Against All Odds”, to the political statements of “Another Day in Paradise”.

Collins has won numerous music awards throughout his career, including seven Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards—winning Best British Male three times, an Academy Award, and two Golden Globes for his solo work. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010, and is one of only three recording artists (along with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson) who have sold over 100 million albums worldwide both as solo artists and (separately) as principal members of a band. In 2008, Collins was ranked the 22nd most successful artist on the “The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists.

The Dark Knight Rises

I’ve recently watched The Dark Knight Rise agains, which is the fnal part in director Christopher Nolan’s trilogy and stars Christian Bale as Batman, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, Tom Hardy as a masked terrorist named Bane, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as police officer, John Blake. The film starts eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, when Batman (Christian Bale) vanished into the night, after assuming the blame for the death of District Attorney Harvey Dent (who went insane after an unfortunate accident and became the villainous Two-Face). The Dark Knight  turning, from cult hero to fugitive. and sacrificing everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good.

For a time this worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything changed with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar named Selina Kyle, who has a mysterious agenda and tries to steal a valuable necklace from Bruce Wayne, which belonged to his late Mother.

Things are further complicated when a really dangerous masked terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy) escapes from a hellish South American prison, and decides to set free all the prisoners from Gotham’s Black Gate Prison before promising the oppressed minorities and hard-up belleagured residents of Gotham City to help them and free them from the tyranny of the rich and remove the shackles of oppression before running amok, however Bane’s motives turn out not be as well intentioned and altruistic as they seem.

It is not long Before long The Caped Crusader, find himself thrust back into action, aided by faithful butler Alfred (Michael Caine) Technology Whizz Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and a concientious cop John Blake(Joseph Gordon Levitt) whose integrity impresses Commissioner Gordon but Batman finds that even he might not be a match for Bane and his weaponised masses as he struggles to stop his villainous schemes and restore order in Gotham City. Along the way he learns some uncomfortable truths and discovers that some of the people he thought he could trust aren’t all that they seem either..

Avengers Assemble

aVaSDirected by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), I’ve recently watched Avengers Assemble again, which features Robert Downey Jnr as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye and Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury.

It starts with villainous Norse god Loki (Tom Hiddleston) stealing a device called the Tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D Headquarters which is intended as an infinite energy source to provide for the entire human race, but could, if it fell into the wrong hands, also be turned into a devastating weapon which could destroy Earth and any other planet. So security boss Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) assembles an impressive array of superheroes to defeat him, comprising of Iron Man (Downey jnr) Thor (Hemsworth) Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) Bruce Banner aka The Hulk (Ruffalo) and Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Johansson). The film also stars Stellan Skarsgard as Professor Erik Selvig, who helped design the device

At first things do not go well for the team, Hawkeye is coerced into working for the bad guys, Stark describes Hulk as having ‘breathtaking anger management issues’. Tony Stark, himself is described as a volatile, self-obsessed loose cannon, who doesn’t play well with others, which becomes evident when Thor attempts to deal with Loki on his own. Hulk then tries to clobber Black Widow. All the squabbling leads a rueful Ruffalo to remark ‘We’re not a team We’re a timebomb. It is only When Loki and his cronies (The Chitauri) trash S.H.i.E.L.D Headquarters and threaten Manhatten that the superheroes finally see sense and decide to combine their talents in order to stop Loki and his rampaging hordes threatening Earth with destruction, and the movie gets exciting and builds into an exciting action-packed climax.