Tribute to the late, Great Queen of Disco Donna Summer

DonnaS

Best known for energetic pulsating dance hits such as “Hot Stuff”, “ I Feel Love, Bad Girls” and “Last Dance”. Donna Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines on 31st December 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts. Summer’s performance debut occurred at church when she was ten years old when she replaced a vocalist who failed to show up.Summer’s pastor invited her to perform, judging from her small frame and speaking voice that she would be an “amusing spectacle”, but instead Summer’s voice recalled a voice older than her years and frame. Summer later attended Boston’s Jeremiah E. Burke High School where she performed in school musicals and was considered popular. She was also something of a troublemaker, skipping home to attend parties, circumventing her parents’ strict curfew. In 1967, just weeks before graduation, Summer left for New York where she was a member of the blues rock band Crow. After they were passed by every record label, the band agreed to break up. Summer stayed in New York and auditioned for a role in thecounterculture musical, Hair. When Melba Moore was cast in the part, Summer agreed to take the role in the Munich production of the show. She moved to Munich, Germany after getting her parents’ reluctant approval. She achieved fame after signing as a solo artist to the pioneering disco label, Casablanca, in 1975 and her soaring voice and effervescent stage presence  helped to propel her first single “Love to Love You Baby” to No 4 in the UK charts and ignited the disco craze of the 1970s,  providing the soundtrack to a dance movement defined by sex, drugs and extravagant clothes summer eventually became fluent in German, singing various songs in German. She participated in the musicals Ich bin ich (the German version of The Me Nobody Knows), Godspell and Show Boat. Within three years she moved to Vienna, Austria and joined theVienna Volksoper. She briefly toured with an ensemble vocal group called FamilyTree, the creation of producer Guenter “Yogi” Lauke. In 1968, Summer released (as Donna Gaines) on Polydor her first single, a German version of the title “Aquarius” from the musical “Hair,” followed in 1971 by a second single, a cover of The Jaynetts’ “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses”, from a one-off European deal with Decca Records. In 1972, she issued the single “If You Walkin’ Alone” on Philips Records.She married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973 and had a daughter, Mimi, the same year. Citing marital problems caused by her affair with German artist (and future live-in boyfriend), Peter Mühldorfer, she divorced Sommer. She kept his last name, but anglicized it to “Summer”. She provided backing vocals on producer-keyboardist, Veit Marvos, on his 1972 Ariola Records release Nice to See You, credited as “Gayn Pierre”. Several subsequent singles included Summer performing with the group, but she often denied singing on any of the Marvos releases. The name “Gayn Pierre” also was used by Donna while performing in Godspell with Helmuth Sommer during 1972.

While singing background in a recording session at Munich’s Musicland Studios forThree Dog Night, Summer met German-based producers, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. The trio  began collaborating on songs together starting in 1974.  Summer’s first album, Lady of the Night became a hit success in selected countries with two songs, “The Hostage” and “Lady of the Night”, reaching the top of the charts in countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium.In mid-1975, while working on another album, Summer passed on an idea for a song that Moroder was working on labeling it as “Love to Love You”. Moroder liked what he heard The song was then sent to Casablanca in hopes of getting an American releaser and they requested that Moroder produce a longer version for discothèques. Moroder, Bellotte and Summer returned with a 17-minute version and Casablanca signed Summer and released the single in November 1975. The song generated controversy due to Summer’s moans and groans and some American and European radio stations, including the BBC, refused to play it “Love to Love You Baby” found chart success in several European countries and made the Top 5 in the United Kingdom despite the BBC ban. Other upcoming singles included “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It”, “Could It Be Magic”, “Spring Affair”, and “Winter Melody”, The subsequent albumsLove Trilogy and Four Seasons of Love both went gold in the U.S.In 1977, Summer released the concept album I Remember Yesterday. This album, again co-produced by Moroder and Bellotte, included her second top ten single, “I Feel Love”, which reached number six in the U.S. and number one in the UK.

She released Another concept album,   Once Upon a Time and In 1978,  released  “MacArthur Park”,”Heaven Knows” In 1978 She  married Bruce Sudano & acted in the film Thank God It’s Friday playing a singer determined to perform at a hot disco club. The film met modest success, but a song from the film, titled “Last Dance”, reached number three on the Hot 100 and resulted in Summer winning her first Grammy Award. In 1979, Summer performed at the world-televised Music for UNICEF Concert, joining  ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart, John Denver, Earth, Wind & Fire, Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson for a TV special that raised funds and awareness for the world’s children. Summer began work on her next project with Moroder and Bellotte, Bad Girls. Summer based the whole concept on prostitution (revisiting the theme for 1974’s Lady of the Night), even dressing as a hooker herself on the cover art.The album became a huge success, spawning the number one hits “Hot Stuff” and the title track and the number two “Dim All the Lights”. With “MacArthur Park”, “Hot Stuff”, “Bad Girls” and the Barbra Streisand duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)”, Summer achieved four number one hits within a thirteen-month period. Those songs, along with “Heaven Knows”, “Last Dance”, “Dim All the Lights” and “On the Radio” (from her upcoming double-album), would give her eight U.S. Top 5 singles within a two-year period. “Hot Stuff” later won her a second Grammy in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.Summer released On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II, her first (international) greatest hits set, in 1979 featuring A new song  “On the Radio.

After the release of the On the Radio hits album, Summer wanted to branch out into other musical styles in addition to disco, which led to tensions between her and Casablanca Records , so Summer and the label parted ways in 1980 and she signed withGeffen Records, Summer’s first Geffen album, The Wanderer, featured an eclectic mixture of sounds similar to Bad Girls but with little emphasis on Summer’s past disco success, instead bringing elements of rock, rockabilly, new wave and gospel music. featuring the Singles The Wanderer, “Cold Love” and “Who Do You Think You’re Foolin’,” were only modestly received.When Summer presented Geffen with her projected second album, I’m a Rainbow, the label disapproved of its production, sensing Moroder’s sound had grown stale (in spite of his present success with Blondie (Call Me), and immediate future success with Phil Oakey (Together in Electric Dreams) and Melissa Manchester (Thief of Hearts)), and advised Summer to change producers, leading to an argument between the artist and the label. Eventually, Moroder and Bellotte and Summer agreed to part ways with Geffen and hired top R&B and pop producer Quincy Jones to produce Summer’s next album, Donna Summer which took over six months to recordand was released in 1982. Among its releases were the top ten hit “Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)”  “State of Independence”  and “The Woman in Me” .Summer’S released her next album She Works Hard for the Money & the title song became a major hit & also garnered another Grammy nomination. The album featured “Unconditional Love” & “Love Has A Mind of Its Own”,  Summer returned on Geffen Records with her next release.  Cats Without Claws which included the Song s”There Goes My Baby”,  “Eyes” and “I’m Free,” .On January 19, 1985, she sang at the nationally-televised 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala the day before the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan. She was introduced by Merv Griffin. In 1987, Summer returned with the album All Systems Go, which  featured the single “Dinner with Gershwin,” , “All Systems Go”  .For Summer’s next album, Geffen Records hired the British hit production team of Stock Aitken Waterman (or SAW), who enjoyed incredible success writing and producing for such acts as Kylie Minogue, Dead or Alive, Bananarama and Rick Astley, , entitled Another Place and Time,  The album was released in Europe in March 1989 and featured the singles “This Time I Know It’s for Real”  “I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt” (UK No. 7) and “Love’s About to Change My Heart” (UK No. 20).

In 1990, a Warner compilation, The Best of Donna Summer, was released. The album went gold in the UK after the song “State of Independence” was re-released there to promote the album. The following year, Summer emerged with the album Mistaken Identity, which included elements of R&B as well as new jack swing. While the album itself failed to become a success, the song “When Love Cries” continued her success on the R&B charts, reaching No. 18. In 1992, Summer embarked on a world tour to promote the album and later that year received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1993, Polygram issued the two-disc set The Donna Summer Anthology, which included 34 tracks of all of Summer’s material with Casablanca and Mercury and songs from her tenures with Atlantic and Geffen.Summer signed with Mercury/Polygram that same year, and in 1994 issued the Christmas album Christmas Spirit, which included renditions of classic Christmas songs such as “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World” and Summer-penned songs. Another hits collection, Endless Summer: Greatest Hits, was released, featuring eighteen songs that were single cuts of the songs differentiating from the Anthology set, where fuller length recordings were featured. In 1992, she reunited with Giorgio Moroder, recording the dance song “Carry On”, which later won Summer the first Grammy given to anyone in its dance category. The 1995 dance tune “Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)” went number-one on the dance charts in the U.S. while becoming a top 30 hit in the UK, peaking at number 21.During this time, Summer was offered a guest role on the sitcom Family Matters as Steve Urkel’s (Jaleel White) Aunt Oona. She made a second appearance in 1997. In 1998, Summer received a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, the first to do so, after a remixed version of her 1992 collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, “Carry On”, was released in 1997. In 1999, Summer taped a live television special for VH1 titled Donna Summer – Live and More Encore, producing the second highest ratings that year for the network after their annual Divas special. A CD of the event was released by Epic Records and featured two studio recordings, “I Will Go with You (Con te partirò)” and “Love Is the Healer”, both of which reached number one on the U.S. dance charts.

In 2000, Summer participated in VH1’s third annual Divas special, dedicated to Diana Ross, though Summer sang mostly her own material for the show. In 2003, Summer issued her autobiography, Ordinary Girl: The Journey, and released a best-of set titledThe Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer. In 2004, Summer was inducted into theDance Music Hall of Fame alongside the Bee Gees and Barry Gibb as an artist. Her classic song, “I Feel Love”, was also inducted that night. In 2004 and 2005, Summer’s success on the dance charts continued with the songs “You’re So Beautiful” and “I Got Your Love”.In a 2008 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Summer claimed that one month before theSeptember 11 attacks she had a premonition that they would occur. She was living in Manhattan at the time of the attacks. In the same interview she said for a period of time after the attacks she was so depressed she was unable to leave her bedroom and left her blinds closed.[19]In 2008, Summer released her first studio album of fully original material in 17 years, entitled Crayons. Released on the Sony BMG label Burgundy Records, it peaked at No. 17 on the United States Top 200 Album Chart, her highest placing on the chart since 1983. The songs “I’m a Fire”, “Stamp Your Feet” and “Fame (The Game)” reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart. The ballad “Sand on My Feet” was released to adult contemporary stations and reached number 30 on that chart. Summer said, “I wanted this album to have a lot of different directions on it. I did not want it to be any one baby. I just wanted it to be a sampler of flavors and influences from all over the world. There’s a touch of this, a little smidgeon of that, a dash of something else, like when you’re cooking.” On the song “The Queen Is Back”, Summer reveals her wry and witty self-awareness of her musical legacy and her public persona. “I’m making fun of myself,” she admits. “There’s irony. It’s poking fun at the idea of being called a queen. That’s a title that has followed me, followed me and followed me. We were sitting and writing and that title kept popping up in my mind and I’m thinking, ‘Am I supposed to write this? Is this too arrogant to write?’ But people call me ‘the queen,’ so I guess it’s ok to refer to myself as what everybody else refers to me as. We started writing the song and thought it was kind of cute and funny.” Summer wrote “The Queen Is Back” and “Mr. Music” withJ.R. Rotem and Evan Bogart, the son of Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart.On December 11, 2009, Summer performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway in honor of American President Barack Obama. She was backed by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra.

On July 29, 2010, Summer gave an interview with Allvoices.com wherein she was asked if she would consider doing an album of standards. She said, I actually am, probably in September. I will begin work on a standards album. I will probably do an all-out dance album and a standards album. I’m going to do both and we will release them however we’re going to release them. We are not sure which is going first. Summer’s husband, Bruce Sudano, stated during his speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction on Summer’s behalf that Donna never recorded the standards album as each time they went into the studio to record standards, she preferred to record new songs instead.In August 2010, she released the single “To Paris With Love”, co-written with Bruce Roberts and produced by Peter Stengaard. The single (her last charted single) reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart in October 2010, Also that month Summer appeared in the PBS television special Hitman Returns: David Foster and Friends. In it Summer performed with Seal on a medley of the songs “Un-Break My Heart / Crazy / On the Radio” before closing the show with “Last Dance”.On September 15, 2010, Summer appeared as a guest celebrity singing alongside rising star Prince Poppycock on the television show America’s Got Talent.On October 16, 2010, she performed at a benefit concert at the Phoenix Symphony.On June 6, 2011, Summer was a guest judge on the show Platinum Hit in an episode entitled “Dance Floor Royalty”.In July 2011, Summer was working at Paramount Recording Studios in Los Angeles with her nephew, the rapper and producerO’Mega Red. Together they worked on a track titled “Angel”.On December 11, 2012, after four prior nominations, Donna posthumously was announced to be one of the 2013 inductees to theRock and Roll Hall of Fame and was inducted on April 18, 2013, at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater

After having a glittering career that spanned four decades,  Donna Summer sadly passed away on 17th May 2012 in Florida, while attempting to put the finishing touches to her 24th album after having a short but acute battle with lung cancer which she beleived was the result of inhaling toxic dust from the collapsed Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in the aftermath of 9/11 terror attack. During her incredible music career Summer made 24 albums which put the disco into discography, won five Grammys and in 2012 she was a nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to celebrate her extraordinary life,long-lasting career and her continuing legacy.

Donna Summer – Live & More Encore

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New Years Eve

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, is on December 31. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat,drinnk alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some people attend Church services. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into January 1 (New Year’s Day). Island nations of Kiribati and Samoa are the first to welcome the New Year while Honolulu, Hawaii is among the last places to welcome the New Year.

The United Kingdom’s celebrations are noticeably divided among the three nations that compose it: England, Scotland and Wales (each has its section below). In England, clocks symbolize the transition that occurs at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. The celebration in London focuses on Big Ben, the bell and by association, the clock housed in the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster. The celebrations are televised from London by the BBC in the English regions, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Parties are held across the country, in pubs, clubs, and private houses.At the stroke of midnight, people join hands in a ring and sing Auld Lang Syne.

On New Year’s Eve 2010, an estimated 250,000 people gathered to view an eight-minute fireworks display around and above the London Eye which was, for the first time, set to a musical soundtrack. featuring songs by  Blur, The Beatles, and Queen. The celebrations in London continued into January 1, with the New Year’s Day Parade, The 2011 parade involved more than 10,000 musicians, cheerleaders and performers. For the arrival of 2012, there were a few small changes. In addition to the fireworks going off at the London Eye, more fireworks went off from the Big Ben with every chime.

Other major New Year events are held in the cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Newcastle. Bideford, in north Devon, is also known for its New Year’s Eve celebrations, featuring a carnival and fancy dress. The celebration centers on Bideford’s quayside and around its Old Bridge, with a lone piper playing Auld Lang Syne at midnight, followed by a fireworks display.The Welsh tradition of giving gifts and money on New Year’s Day (Calennig) is an ancient custom that survives in modern-day Wales, though nowadays it is now customary to give bread and cheese. Thousands of people descend every year on Cardiff to enjoy live music, catering, ice-skating, funfairs and fireworks. Many of the celebrations take place at Cardiff Castle and Cardiff City Hall.

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner. It is, however, normally only the start of a celebration which lasts through the night until the morning of New Year’s Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January which is a Scottish Bank Holiday. It is celebrated with several different customs, such as First-Footing, which involves friends or family members going to each other’s houses with a gift of whisky and sometimes a lump of coal. Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, hosts one of the world’s most famous New Year celebrations. The celebration is focused on a major street party along Princes Street. The cannon is fired at Edinburgh Castle at the stroke of midnight, followed by a large fireworks display. Edinburgh hosts a festival of four or five days, beginning on 28 December, and lasting until New Year’s Day or January 2, which is also a bank holiday in Scotland. Other cities across Scotland, such as Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling have large organised celebrations too, including fireworks at midnight. BBC Scotland broadcast the celebrations in Edinburgh to a Scottish audience, with the celebrations also screened across the world. STV covers both worldwide New Year celebrations & details of events happening around Scotland.

 

Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith)

Aerosmith_PumpTom Hamilton, The Bass Player with rock Band Aerosmith celebrates his birthday on  31st December. Sometimes referred to as “The Bad Boys from Boston” and “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.”  The band was formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1970. Guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton, originally in a band together called the Jam Band, met up with singer Steven Tyler, drummer Joey Kramer, and guitarist Ray Tabano, and formed Aerosmith. In 1971, Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford, and the band began developing a following in Boston, Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock, has come to also incorporate elements of pop, heavy metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many subsequent rock artists.   They were signed to Columbia Records in 1972, and released a string of multi-platinum albums, beginning with their 1973 eponymous debut album, followed by their 1974 album Get Your Wings. In 1975, the band broke into the mainstream with the album Toys in the Attic, and their 1976 follow-up Rocks cemented their status as hard rock superstars.The band released two more albums, toured extensively, and charted a string of Hot 100 singles. By the end of the 1970s, they were among the most popular hard rock bands in the world and developed a loyal following of fans, often referred to as the “Blue Army”. However, drug addiction and internal conflict took their toll on the band, which resulted in the departures of Perry and Whitford in 1979 and 1981, respectively; they were replaced by Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay. The band did not fare well between 1980 and 1984, releasing a lone album, Rock in a Hard Place, which went gold but failed to match their previous successes.   Perry and Whitford returned in 1984 and the band signed a new deal with Geffen Records. After a comeback tour, the band recorded Done with Mirrors, which won some critical praise but failed to come close to commercial expectations. It was not until the band sobered up and released 1987′s Permanent Vacation that they regained the level of popularity they had experienced in the 1970s.Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, the band scored several hits including Dude, looks like a lady Walk this Way (Featuring RUN DMC) and “love in an elvator“, and won numerous awards for music from the multi-platinum albums Pump, Get a Grip, and Nine Lives.

The band also became a pop culture phenomenon with popular music videos and notable appearances in television, film, and video games. Their comeback has been described as one of the most remarkable and spectacular in rock ‘n’ roll history. Additional albums followed in 2001 and 2004 including the songs Crazy  (Featuring Alicia Silverstone & Liv Tyler) and I don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, from the film ArmageddonAfter 42 years of performing, the band continues to tour and record music. Their latest album, Music from Another Dimension, was  released in 2012.   Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time, having sold more than 150 million albums worldwide,including 66.5 million albums in the United States alone. They also hold the record for the most gold and multi-platinum albums by an American group. The band has scored 21 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, nine number-one Mainstream Rock hits, four Grammy Awards, and ten MTV Video Music Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and were included among both Rolling Stone’s and VH1′s lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Andy Summers (The Police)

Andy Summers, British guitarist with rock band The Police was born December 31st 1942. Formed in London in 1977.The Police consisted of Sting (lead vocals, bass), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums). The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s and are generally regarded as one of the first New Wave groups to achieve mainstream success, playing a style of rock that was influenced bypunk, reggae, and jazz.

They made many albums including Regatta de Blance, Zenyatta Mondatta and Their 1983 album, Synchronicity, which reached number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, and sold over 8 million copies in the US. The group disbanded in 1986, but reunited in early 2007 for a one-off world tour lasting until August 2008. The band has won a number of music awards throughout their career, including six Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group once, anMTV Video Music Award, and in 2003, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Police have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, and were the world’s highest-earning musicians in 2008, thanks to their reunion tour

THE POLICE GREATEST HITShttp://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLarJd9RZ0sKcG8H8R4gHV-8o87vEZIUlV

 

Danny McNamara (Embrace)

Danny McNamara, the lead singer with the band Embrace was born 31st December 1970. Embrace are an English band from Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse, West Yorkshire and consists of brothers singer Danny McNamara and guitarist Richard McNamara, bassist Steve Firth, keyboardist Mickey Dale, and drummer Mike Heaton.The band was begun in a small outbuilding at the bottom of a garden in Bailiff Bridge in 1990. A bass player joined the McNamara brothers, Richard playing guitar and Danny singing. The three of them started creating songs, with the aid of a cassette recorder, and soon a drum machine was added. In 1992 The band recorded a three track demo in a 16 track recording studio in Huddersfield which was sold at concerts.A single, “All You Good Good People” was released in February 1997.  their debut album The Good Will Out was released on 8 June 1998 and went to number 1 in the UK Albums Chart.In 27 March 2000 the band released Drawn from Memory. the album was supported by an acclaimed tour, during which they were supported by then-fledgling Coldplay.

Afterwards they recorded their third studio album If You’ve Never Been, which was released on 3 September 2001. In 2004 they released the album Out of Nothing, which reached number one in the UK in 2004. The single that preceded this album was “Gravity”, which had been written by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Danny McNamara and Martin having become friends after Coldplay had supported Embrace in 2000.In October 2005, the band released their first b-side compilation, called Dry Kids: B-Sides 1997–2005, featuring b-sides from their previous album and including many fan-favourites such as “Blind” and a live rendition of D12′s “How Come”. The band’s fifth studio album, This New Day was released on 27 March 2006, with the single “Nature’s Law”.  The band then had a break through much of 2007 to 2010. after having released five studio albums, one singles album and one B-sides compilation –  The Good Will Out (1998), Drawn from Memory (2000), If You’ve Never Been (2001), Out of Nothing (2004) and This New Day (2006).

Happy Birthday Jay Kay (Jamiroquai)

Best known as the lead singer of the British funk/acid jazz band Jamiroquai, The Grammy Award-winning English musician Jay Kay ( Jason Luís Cheetham) Was born 30 December 1969.Kay formed Jamiroquai with members Toby Smith (keyboards), Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (drums) and Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo) together with guest appearances by Gavin Dodds (guitar), Maurizio Ravelico (percussion) and Johnny Thirkell (horns) amongst others, both on the band’s debut album and on their first tour.After the huge success of Jamiroquai’s first single, When You Gonna Learn, a US$1.9 million, eight album deal was signed with Sony Music Entertainment. The band’s first album was Emergency on Planet Earth. The relationship with Sony ended in 2007.

The band’s third album, Travelling Without Moving, generated international attention with the ground breaking video of Virtual Insanity which earned Jamiroquai four MTV Video Music Awards. Since then, their fourth album, Synkronized, has done just as well; it was recorded in Kay’s home studio located in the garden of his 500-year-old, 11-bedroom Buckinghamshire mansion.Kay has previously stated that he would like his band to continue writing music for another 15–20 years  The band name is a mix of “jam session” and “iroquai”, based on the Iroquois, a Native American tribe The original band was Jay Kay (vocals), Toby Smith (keyboard), Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (drums), Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo) and Alec Moran (pipeau). These are the founding members of Jamiroquai and were involved in the writing and production of the first album. The lineup of the band has changed several times, and the longest serving and now core members of the band are lead singer and songwriter Jason “Jay” Kay, percussionist Sola Akingbola (since 1994), and drummer Derrick McKenzie (since 1994).

Kay was the impetus behind the formation of Jamiroquai, deciding to form the band after an unsuccessful audition to become the singer of the Brand New Heavies. Although he has said that he has attempted to have Jamiroquai treated as a band, Kay has always been at the forefront..Jamiroquai’s first single, “When You Gonna Learn”, was released in 1992 on the Acid Jazz label. Following its success, Kay signed an eight-album record deal with Sony Music Entertainment. The first Sony album, Emergency on Planet Earth was released in 1993. It was followed in 1994 by The Return of the Space Cowboy. The single “Space Cowboy” gained notice on the charts and in club rotation.While Jamiroquai was growing in popularity in the UK, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, they remained relatively unknown to U.S and other international audiences. The band’s American breakthrough came with the third album, Travelling Without Moving in 1996, which yielded two big hits, “Virtual Insanity” and “Cosmic Girl”. The success of “Virtual Insanity” was due in part to its Jonathan Glazer-directed video, which featured Kay’s dance moves and some physics-defying images. At the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, the creative music video for “Virtual Insanity” won four awards; Best Video, Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography, and Breakthrough Video, and the band performed the song at the ceremony.

In 1998, Jamiroquai released “Deeper Underground”, the first single from their fourth studio album, Synkronized, which also appeared in the soundtrack for the 1998 movie Godzilla. The acid jazz flavours and ethnic influences of the first three albums continued with the release of Synkronized, and Jay Kay’s interest in funk and disco music were shifting the band’s directions towards such. By their fifth album, A Funk Odyssey (2001), they had evolved so drastically, that some critics and listeners would remark they lost the ‘Jamiroquai sound’. With the departure of more and more original band members, including Wallis Buchanan and his didgeridoo, Jamiroquai had become a very different band from that of 1992. In spite of the changes, the fifth album’s first single, “Little L”, reached #1 in many charts worldwide becoming their best dance hit.In 2003, Jamiroquai compiled and mixed a DJ mix album for the Late Night Tales series for Azuli Records. The track selection shows some of the band’s soul, funk and disco influences, including tracks from The Pointer Sisters, The Commodores, Johnny “Hammond” Smith and Johnny “Guitar” Watson.

Their sixth album, titled Dynamite was released In 2005 featuring the single, “Feels Just Like It Should” “Seven Days in Sunny June” & “(Don’t) Give Hate A Chance” In November 2006 Jamiroquai released a greatest hits collection,High Times: Singles 1992-2006 . The album featured two new tracks, “Runaway” and “Radio”. “Jamiroquai have had 13 nominations for The Brit Awards, and have yet to win one.In May 2006 Jamiroquai performed during the Laureus Sports Awards inBarcelon. In October 2006, Jamiroquai recorded a live session for Live from Abbey Road at Abbey Road Studios. Their performance was shown alongside those of Damien Rice and the Goo Goo Dolls During February in 2007 Jamiroquai performed the record breaking Gig in the Sky in association with Sony Ericsson.After leaving Sony, the band began to work on their seventh project, and several collaborations and side-projects. 

In 2007 the band  performed at the World Stage of the Rock in Rio — Madrid festival, being held in Arganda del Rey, Madrid In February 2008, Jamiroquai performed at the Khodynka Arena in Moscow, Russia at the launch of the new Audi A4 car. On 22 June 2008, Jamiroquai performed at the Wianki Festival in Kraków, Poland. On 4 July 2008, the band performed in front of a 75,000-people audience in the Rock in Rio Madrid festival. On 5 April 2009, Jamiroquai performed at the closing concert of Malaysian F1 Grand Prix in Sepang International Circuit Malaysia, and on 9 April Jamiroquai played at the Sentul International Convention Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia.On 24 August 2009,  On 24 June 2010, the band played a warm-up gig at Debut London to a small crowd. The new album saw a return to their earlier, less pop-like sound & featured the singles, Blue Skies and White Knuckle Ride .On 9 June 2011, the band released a new track called “Smile” for free download on their Soundcloud site “Smile” has a sound similar to that of the early albums and has been met with high appraisal amongst fans and critics alike. .On 21 April 2012, Jamiroquai released their  long anticipated seventh album, Rock Dust Light Star, after a 2-year delay, received its American release in a double vinyl LP/CD bundle  A CD Version of Rock Dust Light Star was also given a wider release on 24 April 2012.For the 20th Anniversary of Jamiroquai in 2013, they  released ‘reissues’ of their 1st 3 studio album efforts, 1993’s ‘Emergency On Planet Earth’, 1994’s ‘Return Of The Space Cowboy’ & 1996’s ‘Travelling Without Moving’. These ‘reissues’ would feature complete ‘remasterings’ of each album and have a bonus CD with all the ‘B-Side material, live material & rarities’ of each album era of the band.Additional features of these reissues will be the originally reported ‘bonus CD’ with ‘B-side material, Live material & rarities’ from each album’s prospective era, expanded ‘digipack artwork packaging’ and a new 2000 word essay written by Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay with reminisces of the band’s past, present & future .In August 2013, Jamiroquai’s drummer Derrick McKenzie appeared in a YouTube interview with drummer-writer Spike Webb, confirming the band’s intention to start work on the eighth studio album in late 2013

Buffalo Man is the name of the silhouette character featured on most of the covers of Jamiroquai’s releases. It was created by Jay Kay between 1992 and 1993. It is based on the Minotaur from the Greek fable ‘Theseus and the Minotaur’. Jay Kay stated “I really identify with Theseus. In fact, I’d say I am the most similar person to Theseus to come out of Stretford in the past 50 years.”The original Buffalo Man slightly modified since 1997. Buffalo Man was created sometime prior to the release of their 1992 single When You Gonna Learn. Allegedly it was originally sketched by the band’s primary songwriter and front-man Jason Kay, as Buffalo Man is seemingly a self portrait silhouette of Kay wearing a buffalo hat. The mark has been used on almost every commercial (and sometimes non-commercial) release of the band’s output in some form or another; usually the unique symbol is pictured unaltered, but there have been times where it is shown in a stylised manner to suit the artwork or song.

 

 

 

 

Tribute to Rudyard Kipling

the_jungle_book_poster_a_pEnglish short-story writer, poet, and novelist Joseph Rudyard Kipling Was born 30 December 1865  . He is chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and his tales for children. He was born in Bombay, in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling is best known for his works of fiction, including The Jungle Book (a collection of stories which includes “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”), Just So Stories (1902), Kim (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories, including “The Man Who Would Be King” (1888); and his poems, including “Mandalay” (1890), “Gunga Din” (1890), “The White Man’s Burden” (1899), and “If—” (1910). In 1891, on the advice of his doctors, Kipling embarked on a sea voyage visiting South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and  India. However, he cut short his plans for spending Christmas with his family in India when he heard of Balestier’s sudden death from typhoid fever, and immediately decided to return to London. Before his return, he had used the telegram to propose to and be accepted by Wolcott’s sister Caroline Starr Balestier (1862–1939), called “Carrie”, whom he had met a year earlier, and with whom he had apparently been having an intermittent romance Meanwhile, late in 1891, his collection of short stories of the British in India, Life’s Handicap, was published in London.

On 18 January 1892 Rudyard Kipling  married Carrie Balestier in London, in the “thick of an influenza epidemic, when the undertakers had run out of black horses and the dead had to be content with brown ones.” The wedding was held at All Souls Church, Langham Place. Henry James gave the bride away.In the short span of four years, he produced, in addition to the Jungle Books, a collection of short stories (The Day’s Work), a novel (Captains Courageous), and a profusion of poetry, including the volume The Seven Seas. The collection of Barrack-Room Ballads was issued in March 1892, first published individually for the most part in 1890, and containing his poems “Mandalay” and “Gunga Din”. He especially enjoyed writing the Jungle Books—both masterpieces of imaginative writing—and enjoyed, too, corresponding with the many children who wrote to him about them.The writing life in naulakha was occasionally interrupted by visitors, including his father, who visited soon after his retirement in 1893 and British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, who brought his golf-clubs, stayed for two days, and gave Kipling an extended golf lesson.]Kipling seemed to take to golf, occasionally practising with the local Congregational minister, and even playing with red-painted balls when the ground was covered in snow.However, wintertime golf was “not altogether a success because there were no limits to a drive; the ball might skid two miles (3 km) down the long slope to Connecticut river.”, Kipling loved the outdoors not least of whose marvels in Vermontwas the turning of the leaves each fall. He described this moment in a letter: “A littlemaple began it, flaming blood-red of a sudden where he stood against the dark green of a pine-belt. Next morning there was an answering signal from the swamp where thesumacs grow. Three days later, the hill-sides as fast as the eye could range were afire, and the roads paved, with crimson and gold. Then a wet wind blew, and ruined all the uniforms of that gorgeous army; and the oaks, who had held themselves in reserve, buckled on their dull and bronzed cuirasses and stood it out stiffly to the last blown leaf, till nothing remained but pencil-shadings of bare boughs, and one could see into the most private heart of the woods.

In the non-fiction realm he also became involved in the debate over the British response to the rise in German naval power known as the Tirpitz Plan to build a fleet to challenge the Royal Navy. On a visit to the United States in 1899, Kipling and Josephine developed pneumonia, from which she eventually died. Kipling began collecting material for another of his children’s classics, Just So Stories for Little Children. That work was published in 1902, the year after Kim was first issued. The first decade of the 20th century saw Kipling at the height of his popularity. In 1906 he wrote the song “Land of our Birth, We Pledge to Thee”. Kipling wrote two science fiction short stories, With the Night Mail (1905) and As Easy As A. B. C (1912), both set in the 21st century in Kipling’s Aerial Board of Controluniverse. These read like modern hard science fiction and introduced the literary technique known as indirect exposition, which would later become one of Heinlein’s trademarks.

getimageIn 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature  and Kipling was the first English-language recipient. At the award ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December 1907, the publication of two connected poetry and story collections: Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906), andRewards and Fairies (1910). The latter contained the poem “If Exultation and triumph was what Kipling had in mind as he actively encouraged his young son to go to war. sadly Kipling’s son John died in the First World War, at the Battle of Loos in September 1915, at age 18. John had initially wanted to join the Royal Navy, but having had his application turned down after a failed medical examination due to poor eyesight, he opted to apply for military service as an officer. But again, his eyesight was an issue during the medical examination. In fact, he tried twice to enlist, but was rejected. His father had been lifelong friends with Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British Army, and colonel of the Irish Guards, and at Rudyard’s request, John was accepted into the Irish Guards. He was sent to Loos two days into the battle in a reinforcement contingent. He was last seen stumbling through the mud blindly, screaming in agony after an exploding shell ripped his face apart. A body identified as his was not found until 1992, although that identification has been challenged.At the beginning of World War I, like many other writers, Kipling wrote pamphlets and poems which enthusiastically supported the UK’s war aims of restoring Belgium after that kingdom had been occupied by Germany together with more generalised statements that Britain was standing up for the cause of good.

In September 1914, Kipling was asked by the British government to write propaganda, an offer that he immediately accepted. Kipling’s pamphlets and stories were very popular with the British people during the war with his major themes being glorifying the British military as the place for heroic men to be, German atrocities against Belgian civilians and the stories of women being brutalized by a horrific war unleashed by Germany, yet surviving and triumphing in spite of their suffering. Kipling was enraged by reports of the Rape of Belgium together with the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915, which he saw as a deeply inhumane act, which led him to see the war as a crusade for civilization against barbarism. Kipling was privately deeply critical of how the war was fought by the British Army as opposed to the war itself, which he ardently supported, complaining as early as October 1914 that Germany should have been defeated by now, and something must be wrong with the British Army. Kipling, who was shocked by the heavy losses that the BEF had taken by the autumn of 1914 blamed the entire pre-war generation of British politicians, who he argued had failed to learn the lessons of the Boer War and as a result, thousands of British soldiers were now paying with their lives for their failure in the fields of France and Belgium.

JUNGLE BOOK http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hQS8ihf2rds

rikki-tikki-taviAft er the first world war, Kipling was skeptical about the Fourteen Points and the League of Nations, but he had great hopes that the United States would abandon isolationism and that the post-war world would be dominated by an Anglo-French-American alliance. Kipling hoped that the United States would take on a League of Nations mandate for Armenia as the best way of preventing isolationism, and hoped that Theodore Roosevelt, whom Kipling admired, would once again become President Kipling was saddened by Roosevelt’s death in 1919, believing that his friend was the only American politician capable of keeping the United States in the “game” of world politics.  Kipling joined Sir Fabian Ware’s Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission), the group responsible for the garden-like British war graves that can be found to this day dotted along the former Western Front and all the other locations around the world where troops of the British Empire lie buried. His most significant contribution to the project was his selection of the biblical phrase “Their Name Liveth For Evermore” (Ecclesiasticus 44.14, KJV) found on the Stones of Remembrance in larger war graves and his suggestion of the phrase “Known unto God” for the gravestones of unidentified servicemen. He chose the inscription “The Glorious Dead” on the Cenotaph, Whitehall, London. He also wrote a two-volume history of the Irish Guards, his son’s regiment, that was published in 1923 and is considered to be one of the finest examples of regimental history. Kipling’s moving short story, “The Gardener”, depicts visits to the war cemeteries, and the poem “The King’s Pilgrimage” (1922) depicts a journey which King George V made, touring the cemeteries and memorials under construction by the Imperial War Graves Commission. With the increasing popularity of the automobile, Kipling became a motoring correspondent for the British press, and wrote enthusiastically of his trips around England and abroad, even though he was usually driven by a chauffeur.

ln 1920 Kipling co-founded the Liberty League with Haggard and Lord Sydenham. This short-lived enterprise focused on promoting classic liberal ideals as a response to the rising power of Communist tendencies within Great Britain, or has Kipling put it “to combat the advance of Bolshevism”. In 1922 Kipling, who had made reference to the work of engineers in some of his poems, such as The sons of Martha, Sappers, andMcAndrew’s hymn and in other writings such as short story anthologies, for instance The Day’s Work. He Was asked by University of Toronto civil engineering professorHerbert E. T. Haultain for his assistance in developing a dignified obligation and ceremony for graduating engineering students. Kipling was enthusiastic in his response and shortly produced both, formally entitled “The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer”. Today, engineering graduates all across Canada are presented with an iron ring at the ceremony as a reminder of their obligation to society. In 1922 Kipling also became Lord Rector of St Andrews University in Scotland, a three-year position. kipli

ng  argued very strongly for an Anglo-French alliance to uphold the peace, calling Britain and France in 1920 the “twin fortresses of European civilization”. Along the same lines, Kipling repeatedly warned against revising the Treaty of Versailles in Germany’s favor, which he predicated would lead to a new world war An admirer of Raymond Poincaré, Kipling was one of the few British intellectuals who supported the French Occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 at a time when the British government and most public opinion was against the French position. In contrast to the popular British view of Poincaré as a cruel bully intent on impoverishing Germany by seeking unreasonable reparations, Kipling argued that Poincare was only rightfully trying to preserve France as a great power in the face of an unfavorable situation.

 

Kipling argued that even before 1914 Germany’s larger economy and birthrate had made that country stronger than France, that with much of France was devastated by the war and the French suffering heavy losses that the low French birthrate would have trouble replacing while Germany was mostly undamaged and with a higher birth rate, that it was madness for Britain to seek to pressure France to revise Versailles in Germany’s favor. In 1924, Kipling was opposed to the Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald as “Bolshevism without bullets”, but believing that Labour was a Communist front organisation took the view that “excited orders and instructions from Moscow” would expose Labour as Communist front organisation to the British people. Kipling’s views were on the right and through he admired Benito Mussolini to a certain extent for a time in the 1920s, Kipling was against fascism, writing that Sir Oswald Mosley was “a bounder and anarriviste”, by 1935 called Mussolini a deranged and dangerous egomaniac and in 1933 wrote “The Hitlerites are out for blood”.Once the Nazis came to power and usurped the swastika, Kipling ordered that it should no longer adorn his books. In 1934 he published a short story in Strand Magazine, “Proofs of Holy Writ”, which postulated that William Shakespeare had helped to polish the prose of the King James Bible Less than one year before his death Kipling gave a speech (titled “An Undefended Island”) toThe Royal Society of St George on 6 May 1935 warning of the danger which Nazi Germany posed to Britain.

Kipling IS regarded as a major “innovator in the art of the short story”; his children’s books are enduring classics of children’s literature; and his best works are said to exhibit “a versatile and luminous narrative gift”.Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: “Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known.” In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and to date he remains its youngest recipient. Among other honours, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined.Kipling’s subsequent reputation has changed according to the political and social climate of the age and the resulting contrasting views about him continued for much of the 20th century. George Orwell called him a “prophet of British imperialism”. Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: “He [Kipling] is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with.

Kipling sadly passed away 18 January 1936  On the night of 12 January 1936, Kipling suffered a haemorrhage in his small intestine. He underwent surgery, but died less than a week later on 18 January 1936 at the age of 70 of a perforated duodenal ulcer.It was two days before the death of King George V. Kipling’s death had in fact previously been incorrectly announced in a magazine, to which he wrote, “I’ve just read that I am dead. Don’t forget to delete me from your list of subscribers.”The pallbearers at the funeral included Kipling’s cousin, the UK Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, and the marble casket was covered by a Union flag.Kipling was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, northwest London, and his ashes were buried in Poets’ Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey, next to the graves of Charles Dickens and Thomas HardyIn 2010 the International Astronomical Union approved that a crater on the planet Mercury would be named after Kipling—one of ten newly discovered impact craters observed by the MESSENGER spacecraft in 2008–9. In 2012, an extinct species of crocodile,Goniopholis kiplingi, was named in his honour, “in recognition for his enthusiasm for natural sciences”. More than 50 unpublished poems by Kipling were released for the first time in March 2013but his legacy lives on In the form of some fantastic novels which remain popular to this day and have all been adapted for stage and screen numerous times including a fantastic animated Disney version.