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 TOUCHFOXTROT & 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.

Sydney Sheldon

Windmills-of-the-Gods-195x300Academy Award-winning American writerSidney Sheldon  sadly passed away 30 January 2007. Born February 11, 1917 , His TV works spanned a 20-year period during which he created The Patty Duke Show (1963–66), I Dream of Jeannie (1965–70) and Hart to Hart (1979–84), but he became most famous after he turned 50 and began writing best-selling novels, such as Master of the Game (1982), The Other Side of Midnight (1973) Windmills of the Gods nd Rage of Angels(1980). He sadly passed away on January 30, 2007, but remains the seventh best selling fiction writer of all time.

Windmills of the Gods is an exciting espionage thriller which features a character named Mary Ashley, a professor at Kansas State University, who is offered an ambassadorship by Paul Ellison, the US president. At first She rejects the offer because her husband, Dr. Edward Ashley, does not want to leave his medical practice, and she is not willing to be separated from him. She also feels that it is harder to find a good doctor for a small Kansas town than an ambassador to a foreign country. When her husband suddenly dies in a suspicious traffic accident, Ashley accepts the President’s offer in order to fill the void in her life. She is sent to Romania, behind the Iron Curtain, where she finds that everyone is conspiring against her. She’s on the glinting edge of East-West confrontation, a beautiful and accomplished scholar who has suddenly become the new US ambassador to an Iron Curtain country, a woman who is about to dramatically change the course of world events – if she lives. For Mary Ashley has been marked for death by the world’s most proficient and mysterious assassin, and plunged into a nightmare of espionage, kidnapping and terror.

 

Ferdinand Porsche

Best known for creating many Porsche automobiles as well as the first hybrid vehicle (gasoline-electric), the Volkswagen Beetle, and the Mercedes-Benz SS/SSK, .Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche sadly passed away 30 January 1951. Born 3rd September 1875 in in Maffersdorf in the Czech Republic. He showed high aptitude for mechanical work at a very young age. He managed to attend classes at the Imperial Technical School in Reichenberg (Czech: Liberec) at night while helping his father in his mechanical shop by day. Thanks to a referral, Porsche landed a job with the Béla Egger Electrical company in Vienna when he turned 18 In Vienna he would sneak into the local university whenever he could after work. Beyond auditing classes there, Porsche had never received any higher engineering education. During his five years with Béla Egger, Porsche first developed the electric hub motor.In 1898, Porsche joined the Vienna-based factory Jakob Lohner & Co, that produced coaches for Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, as well as for the kings of England, Sweden, and Romania. Lohner had begun construction of automobiles in 1896 under Ludwig Lohner. Their first design, unveiled in 1898, was the “System Lohner-Porsche”, a carriage-like car driven by two electric motors, directly fitted within the front wheel hubs, and powered by batteries. This drive train construction was easily expanded to four-wheel drive, by simply mounting two more electric motors to the rear wheels as well, and indeed such a specimen was ordered by the Englishman E. W. Hart in 1900. In December that year, the car was presented at the Paris World Exhibition under the name Toujours-Contente. Even though this one-off vehicle had been commissioned for the purposes of racing and record-breaking.Whilst employed by Lohner, Porsche introduced the”Mixte”vehicle/transmission concept in 1901: instead of a massive battery-pack, an internal combustion engine built by the German firm, Daimler, was fitted to a generator to drive the electric hub motors and (for vehicle reliability) a small battery pack. This way Porsche had created the first petroleum electric hybrid vehicle on record, although since sufficiently reliable gears and couplings weren’t available at the time, he chose to make it a series-hybrid, an arrangement currently more common in diesel-electric or turbo-electric railway locomotives than automobiles. he up to 56 km/h (35 mph) fast carriages broke several Austrian speed records, and also won the Exelberg Rally in 1901 with Porsche himself piloting a front-wheel drive hybrid specimen. It was later upgraded with more powerful engines from Daimler and Panhard, which proved to be enough to post more speed records. In 1905, Porsche was recognized with the Poetting prize as Austria’s most outstanding automotive engineer.

porsche_-cisitalia360In 1906, Austro-Daimler recruited Porsche as their chief designer. Porsche’s best known Austro-Daimler car was designed for the Prince Henry Trial in 1910, named after Wilhelm II’s younger brother Prince Heinrich of Prussia. Examples of this streamlined, 85 horsepower (63 kW) car won the first three places, and the car is still better known by the nickname “Prince Henry” than by its model name “Modell 27/80″.By 1916 Porsche had advanced to Managing Director and received the honorary doctorate degree, “Dr. techn h.c.” from the Vienna University of Technology in 1917 (hence the “Dr. Ing h.c” in his name, meaning “Doktor Ingenieur Honoris Causa”). Porsche successfully continued to construct racing cars, winning 43 out of 53 races with his 1922 design. In 1923, Porsche left Austro-Daimler but landed a new job as Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft’s Technical Director in Stuttgart, Germany a few months later. He received another honorary doctorate from the Stuttgart Technical University for his work at Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in Stuttgart and later the honorary title Professor. While at Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, he came up with several very successful race car designs. The heavy series of models equipped with superchargers that later culminated in the Mercedes-Benz SSK dominated its class of motor racing in the 1920s.He also designed the Benz Tropfenwagen, which was the first race car with mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. In 1926, Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie merged into Daimler-Benz, with their joint products called, Mercedes-Benz.In April 1931 Porsche founded his consulting firm, Dr. req. h.c. F. Porsche GmbH, Konstruktionen und Beratungen für Motoren und Fahrzeugbau, in Stuttgart, Then founded a subsidiary company Hochleistungs Motor GmbH (High Efficiency Engines Ltd.) in 1932 to develop a racing car, for which he had no customer. Based on Max Wagner’s mid-engined layout 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen, or “Teardrop” aerodynamic design; the experimental P-Wagen project racing car (P stood for Porsche), was designed according to the regulations of the 750 kg formula. The main regulation of this formula meant that the weight of the car without driver, fuel, oil, water and tire was not allowed to exceed 750 kg

Porsche356Speedster.In June 1934, Porsche received a contract to design a “people’s car” (or Volkswagen), following on from his previous designs such as the 1931 Type 12 car designed for Zündapp.(the villain in Pixar’s film Cars 2 is based on a Zundapp Janus And the Zundapp type 12 looks like a VW Beetle) The first two prototype cars were completed in 1935. These were followed by several further pre-production batches during 1936 to 1939. During the war, production concentrated almost exclusively on the military Kübelwagen and Schwimmwagen variants. Mass production of the car, which later became known as the Beetle, commenced after the end of the war. The city is named Wolfsburg today and is still the headquarters of Volkswagen Group. Having garnered state funds It was agreed that it would be better for Mercedes Benz and Auto Union to develop their projects separately resulting in funds being split between Mercedes and Auto Union This highly annoyed Mercedes, who had already developed their Mercedes-Benz W125, and resulted in a fierce rivallry between the two companIes. In November 1945 after the war, Porsche was asked to continue the design of the Volkswagen, The company also started work on a new design, the Porsche 356, the first car to carry the Porsche brand. The Porsche family returned to Stuttgart in 1949 but had trouble restarting their business after the war. When Ferry Porsche eventually did resurrect the company he counted on series production figures of about 1,500. However it proved hugely popular and More than 78,000 Porsche 356s were manufactured in the following 17 years.Porsche was also contracted by Volkswagen for additional consulting work and received a royalty on every Volkswagen Beetle manufactured. This provided Porsche with a comfortable financial situation as more than 20 million Beetles were built.In November 1950, Porsche visited the Wolfsburg Volkswagen factory for the first time since the end of World War II and discussed the future of the VW Beetle which was already being produced in large numbers. Sadly Porsche suffered a stroke A few weeks later from which He did not fully recover, and died on 30 January 1951. During his life Porsce recieve many awards for his work, In 1937, Porsche was awarded the German National Prize for Art and Science, In 1996, Porsche was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and in 1999 he posthumously won the award of Car Engineer of the Century.In 2010 an official memorial was also erected in Porsche’s birthplace in Vratislavice nad Nisou, Czech Republic, featuring a Porsche 356

Aviation pioneer Orville Wright

American Aviation Pioneer and youngest of The Wright brothers, Orville Wright sadly passed away 30 January 1948. Born 19th August 1871, he along with his elder brother Wilbur, is credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina.The Wright Brothers spent a great deal of time observing birds in flight. They noticed that birds soared into the wind and that the air flowing over the curved surface of their wings created lift. Birds change the shape of their wings to turn and maneuver. They believed that they could use this technique to obtain roll control by warping, or changing the shape, of a portion of the wing.

The Wright Brothers designed their first aircraft: a small, biplane glider flown as a kite to test their solution for controlling the craft by wing warping. Wing warping is a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance.Over the next three years, Wilbur and his brother Orville would design a series of gliders which would be flown in both unmanned (as kites) and piloted flights. They read about the works of Cayley, and Langley, and the hang-gliding flights of Otto Lilienthal. They corresponded with Octave Chanute concerning some of their ideas. They recognized that control of the flying aircraft would be the most crucial and hardest problem to solve. Following a successful glider test, the Wrights built and tested a full-size glider. They selected Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain and remote location

.In 1900, the Wrights successfully tested their new 50-pound biplane glider with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping mechanism at Kitty Hawk, in both unmanned and piloted flights. In fact, it was the first piloted glider. Based upon the results, the Wright Brothers planned to refine the controls and landing gear, and build a bigger glider.In 1901, at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the Wright Brothers flew the largest glider ever flown, with a 22-foot wingspan, a weight of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. However, many problems occurred: the wings did not have enough lifting power; forward elevator was not effective in controlling the pitch; and the wing-warping mechanism occasionally caused the airplane to spin out of control. In their disappointment, they predicted that man will probably not fly in their lifetime.In spite of the problems with their last attempts at flight, the Wrights reviewed their test results and determined that the calculations they had used were not reliable. They decided to build a wind tunnel to test a variety of wing shapes and their effect on lift. Based upon these tests, the inventors had a greater understanding of how an airfoil (wing) works and could calculate with greater accuracy how well a particular wing design would fly. They planned to design a new glider with a 32-foot wingspan and a tail to help stabilize it.

During 1902, the brothers flew numerous test glides using their new glider. Their studies showed that a movable tail would help balance the craft and the Wright Brothers connected a movable tail to the wing-warping wires to coordinate turns. With successful glides to verify their wind tunnel tests, the inventors planned to build a powered aircraft. After months of studying how propellers work the Wright Brothers designed a motor and a new aircraft sturdy enough to accommodate the motor’s weight and vibrations. The craft weighed 700 pounds and came to be known as the Flyer.The brothers built a movable track to help launch the Flyer. This downhill track would help the aircraft gain enough airspeed to fly. After two attempts to fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville Wright took the Flyer for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17, 1903. This was the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”

The classic poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe was published in the New York Evening Mirror, on 29 January 1845, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe. The Raven  tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, who is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore and it traces the man’s slow descent into madness, which the raven seems to further instigate with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem has a supernatural atmosphere and also makes use of a number of folk and classical references and became a huge success. Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty by Charles Dickens. Its publication made Poe widely popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success. Soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated, critical opinion is divided as to the poem’s status, but it nevertheless remains one of the most famous poems ever written.

Poe also produced his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), and is considered part of the American Romantic Movement and is remembered for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre. The award is named after this author.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

imageOn January 28 1813 – Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice was first published in the United Kingdom. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Though the story is set at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of “most loved books” such as The Big Read. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide. The novel centres on Elizabeth Bennet, the second of the five daughters of a country gentleman. Mr Bennet is a bookish man, and somewhat neglectful of his responsibilities. Mrs Bennet is a woman lacking in social graces and primarily concerned with finding suitable husbands for her five daughters. Jane Bennet, the eldest daughter, is distinguished by the kindness of her attitudes and her beauty; Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter, shares her father’s keen wit and occasionally sarcastic outlook; Mary is not pretty, but is studious, devout and musical albeit lacking in taste; Kitty, the fourth sister follows where her younger sister leads, while Lydia is flirtatious and unrestrained.

The novel opens with news in the Bennet family that Mr Bingley, a wealthy, charismatic and sociable young bachelor, is moving into Netherfield Park in the neighbourhood. Mr Bingley is soon well received, while his friend Mr Darcy makes a less favourable impression by appearing proud and condescending at a ball that they attend (he detests dancing and is not much for light conversation). Mr Bingley singles out Jane for particular attention, and it soon becomes apparent that they have formed an attachment to each other, though Jane does not alter her conduct for him, confessing her great happiness only to Lizzie. By contrast, Darcy slights Elizabeth, who overhears and jokes about it despite feeling a budding resentment. On paying a visit to Mr Bingley’s sister, Caroline, Jane is caught in a heavy downpour, catches cold, and is forced to stay at Netherfield for several days. Elizabeth arrives to nurse her sister and is thrown into frequent company with Mr Darcy, who begins to act less coldly towards her.

Mr Collins, a clergyman, and heir to the Bennet estate, pays a visit to the Bennets. It soon becomes apparent that Mr Collins has come to Longbourn to choose a wife from among the Bennet sisters (his cousins) and Elizabeth is singled out. Elizabeth forms an acquaintance with Mr Wickham, a militia officer who dislikes Mr Darcy, despite having been a godson and favourite of Mr Darcy’s father. This and Elizabeth’s attraction to Mr Wickham, increase her dislike of Mr Darcy.At a ball ,mr Darcy becomes aware that Mr Bingley and Jane may marry. The following morning, Mr Collins proposes marriage to Elizabeth, who refuses him, much to her mother’s distress. Mr Collins becomes engaged to Elizabeth’s close friend Charlotte Lucas, meanwhile Mr Bingley abruptly leaves Netherfield and returns to London, devastating Jane, and Elizabeth becomes convinced that Mr Darcy and Caroline Bingley have colluded to separate him from Jane.Jane is persuaded that Mr Bingley is not in love with her, but goes on an extended visit to her aunt and uncle Gardiner in London in the hope of maintaining her relationship with Caroline if not with Charles Bingley.

In the spring, Elizabeth visits Charlotte and Mr Collins in Kent. Elizabeth and her hosts are frequently invited to Rosings Park, home of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy’s aunt; coincidentally, Darcy also arrives to visit. Elizabeth meets Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, who vouches for Darcy’s loyalty, using as an example how Darcy had recently stepped in on behalf of a friend, who had formed an attachment to a woman against whom “there were some very strong objections.” Elizabeth rightly assumes that the said friend is none other than Mr Bingley, and her dislike of Darcy deepens. Thus she is of no mood to accept when Darcy arrives and, quite unexpectedly, confesses love for her and begs her hand in marriage. His proposal is flattering, he is a very distinguished man, but it is delivered in a manner ill suited to recommend it. He talks of love but also of revulsion at her inferior position and family. Despite assertions to the contrary, he assumes she will accept him. Elizabeth rebukes him, and a heated discussion follows; she charges him with destroying her sister’s and Bingley’s happiness, with treating Mr Wickham disgracefully, and with having conducted himself towards her in an arrogant, ungentleman-like manner. Mr Darcy, shocked, ultimately responds with a letter giving a good account of his actions: Wickham had exchanged his legacies for a cash payment, only to return after frittering away the money to reclaim the forfeited inheritance; he then attempted to elope with Darcy’s young sister Georgiana, and thereby secure her fortune for himself. Regarding Jane and Bingley, Darcy claims he had observed no reciprocal interest in Jane for Bingley, and had assumed her not to be in love with him. In addition to this, he cites the “want of propriety” in the behaviour of Mr and Mrs Bennet and her three younger daughters. Elizabeth, who had previously despaired over this very behavior, is forced to admit the truth of Mr Darcy’s observations, and begins to wonder whether she has misjudged him.

Some months later, Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle Gardiner visit Pemberley, Darcy’s estate, believing he will be absent for the day. He returns unexpectedly, and though surprised, he is gracious and welcoming. He treats the Gardiners with great civility, surprising Elizabeth who assumes he will “decamp immediately” on learning who they are. Darcy introduces Elizabeth to his sister, and Elizabeth begins to acknowledge her attraction to him. Their re-acquaintance is cut short, however, by the news that Lydia has eloped with Mr Wickham. Elizabeth and the Gardiners return to Longbourn (the Bennet family home), where Elizabeth grieves that her renewed acquaintance with Mr Darcy will end as a result of her sister’s disgrace.

Lydia and Wickham are soon found, and persuaded to marry And Jane, Elizabeth and Mr Bennet realise that their Uncle Gardiner must have bribed Wickham to marry Lydia and are ashamed of their indebtedness. Mr and Mrs Wickham visit Longbourn, where Lydia lets slip that Mr Darcy was in attendance at their wedding but that this was to have been a secret. Elizabethdiscovers that Mr Darcy was responsible for finding the couple and negotiating their marriage, at great personal and monetary expense. Elizabeth is shocked and flattered. Meanwhile Bingley’s returs and proposes to Jane, who immediately accepts. Lady Catherine de Bourgh pays an unexpected visit to Longbourn. She has heard a rumour that Elizabeth will marry Mr Darcy and attempts to persuade Elizabeth to agree not to Because Lady Catherine wants Mr Darcy to marry her daughter (his cousin) Anne De Bourgh instead and thinks Elizabeth is beneath him. Elizabeth refuses her demands. Disgusted, Lady Catherine leaves, promising that the marriage can never take place….

Hey Ho Let’s go

ramonesTommy 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