American Science Fiction novelist, short story writer and essayist Philip K Dick.

imageI am a huge fan of Science fiction novels by people like H.G.wells, H.Rider.Haggard, Jules Verne and Philip K.Dick so I thought I would write about prolific American Science Fiction novelist, short story writer and essayist Philip K Dick who sadly passed away on March 2, 1982. Born December 16, 1928 he explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in his novels which were dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states. In his later works Dick’s thematic focus strongly reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology. He often drew upon his own life experiences in addressing the nature of drug abuse, paranoia, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences in novels such as A Scanner Darkly and VALIS.  The novel The Man in the High Castle bridged the genres of alternate history and science fiction, earning Dick a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, a novel about a celebrity who awakens in a parallel universe where he is unknown, won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel in 1975. “I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards,”

In addition to 44 published novels, Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime. Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty, ten popular films based on his works have been produced, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series and has left a rich legacy of Science Fiction novels. I recently watched The Adjustment Bureau on TV not so long ago, and Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report are among my favourite films.

Mark Evans AC/DC

Mark Evans, Australian bassist and ex bass player for AC/DC was born 2nd March 1956. AC/DC were Formed in 1973 by Malcolm and his brother Angus Young, who have remained the sole constant members. The band are commonly classified as hard rock, and are considered pioneers of heavy metal and are sometimes classified as such, though they themselves have always classified their music as simply “rock and roll”. To date they are one of the highest grossing bands of all time.   AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, on 17 February 1975.  Bass player Cliff Williams replaced  Mark Evans  in 1977 for the album Powerage. Within months of recording the album Highway to Hell, lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott died on 19 February 1980, after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The group briefly considered disbanding, but Scott’s parents urged them to continue and hire a new vocalist. Ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was auditioned and selected to replace Scott. Later that year, the band released their highest selling album, and ultimately the third highest-selling album by any artist, Back in Black.

The band’s next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, was their first album to reach number one in the United States. AC/DC declined in popularity soon after drummer Phil Rudd was fired in 1983 and was replaced by future Dio drummer Simon Wright, though the band resurged in the early 1990s with the release of The Razors Edge. Phil Rudd returned in 1994 (after Chris Slade, who was with the band from 1989–1994, was asked to leave in favour of him) and contributed to the band’s 1995 album Ballbreaker.  Since then, the band’s line-up has remained the same. Stiff Upper Lip was released in 2000 and was well received by critics, and the band’s latest studio album, Black Ice, was released on 20 October 2008. It was their biggest hit on the charts since For Those About to Rock, reaching No.1 on all the charts eventually.   As of 2010, AC/DC had sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, including 71 million albums in the United States alone. Back in Black has sold an estimated 49 million units worldwide, making it the third highest-selling album by any artist, and the second highest-selling album by any band, behind Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon and Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The album has sold 22 million units in the U.S. alone, where it is the fifth-highest-selling album of all-time. AC/DC ranked fourth on VH1′s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” and were named the seventh “Greatest Heavy Metal Band of All Time” by MTV. In 2004, AC/DC were ranked number 72 in the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. In 2010, AC/DC were ranked number 23 in the VH1 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time. -I have also recently downloaded theGarage Band app onto my iPad and I’d love to have a go at some of these riffs 😀

AC/DC LIVE AT RIVER PLATE BUENOS AIRES http://youtu.be/ZwwRtXqM5IE

Chris Martin (Coldplay)

Chris Martin, English musician with British alternative rock band Coldplay was born 2nd March 1977. Coldplay were formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. After they formed under the name Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as a drummer, backing vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist, completing the line-up. Manager Phil Harvey is often considered an unofficial fifth member. The band renamed themselves “Coldplay” in 1998, before recording and releasing three EPs; Safety in 1998, Brothers & Sisters as a single in 1999 and The Blue Room in the same year. The latter was their first release on a major label, after signing to Parlophone.

BEST OF COLDPLAY http://youtu.be/Ku8_cr5nMGY

They achieved worldwide fame with the release of the single “Yellow” in 2000, followed by their debut album released in the same year, PARACHUTES, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The band’s second album, A RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD (2002), was released to critical acclaim and won multiple awards, including NME’s Album of the Year. Their next release, X&Y, the best-selling album worldwide in 2005, was met with mostly positive reviews upon its release, though some critics felt that it was inferior to its predecessor. The band’s fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008), was produced by Brian Eno and released again to largely positive reviews, earning several Grammy nominations and wins at the 51st Grammy Awards.

On 24 October 2011, they released their fifth studio album, MYLO XYLOTO, which received mixed to positive reviews, topped the charts in over 34 countries, and was the UK’s best-selling rock album of 2011.  The band has won a number of music awards throughout their career, including eight Brit Awards—winning Best British Group three times, five MTV Video Music Awards, and seven Grammy Awards from twenty five nominations. Coldplay have sold over 60 million records worldwide. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the fourth-best artist of the 2000s. Coldplay have been an active supporter of various social and political causes, such as Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign and Amnesty International. The group have also performed at various charity projects such as Band Aid 20, Live 8, Sound Relief, Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, The Secret Policeman’s Ball, and the Teenage Cancer Trust. Coldplay’s sixth studio album “Ghost stories” is being released 19 May 2014.

Dusty Springfield

Dubbed The White Queen of Soul, British pop singer Dusty Springfield sadly passed away on March 2nd 1999. Born 16th April in 1939. Her career extended from the late 1950s to the 1990s. With her distinctive sensual sound, she was an important white soul singer, and at her peak was one of the most successful British female performers, with 18 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 from 1964 to 1970. She is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the U.K. Music Hall of Fame. International polls have named Springfield among the best female rock artists of all time.

Born in West London to an Irish Catholic family that enjoyed music, Springfield learned to sing at home. She joined her first professional group, The Lana Sisters, in 1958, then formed the pop-folk vocal trio The Springfields in 1960 with her brother Dion.   Her solo career began in 1963 with the upbeat pop hit, “I Only Want to Be with You”. Among the hits that followed were “Wishin’ and Hopin’”, “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself”, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, and “Son of a Preacher Man”. A fan of American pop music, she was the first public figure to bring little-known soul singers to a wider British audience, when she created and hosted the first British performances of the top-selling Motown artists in 1965. By 1966, she was the best-selling female singer in the world, and topped a number of popularity polls, including Melody Maker’s Best International Vocalist. She was the first British singer to top the New Musical Express readers’ poll for Female Singer.

Her image, supported by a peroxide blonde beehive hairstyle, evening gowns, and heavy make-up, made her an icon of the Swinging Sixties.   The marked changes in pop music in the mid-1960s left many female pop singers out of fashion. To boost her credibility as a soul artist, Springfield went to Memphis, Tennessee, to record an album of pop and soul music with the Atlantic Records main production team. Released in 1969, Dusty in Memphis has been ranked among the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone and VH1 artists, New Musical Express readers, and the Channel 4 viewers polls. The album was also awarded a spot in the Grammy Hall of Fame.  After this, however, Springfield experienced a career slump for eighteen years. She returned to the Top 20 of the British and American charts in collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys on the songs “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”, “Nothing Has Been Proved”, and “In Private”. Interest in Springfield’s early output was revived in 1994 due to the inclusion of “Son of a Preacher Man” on the soundtrack of the movie Pulp Fiction.r she has left a wonderful legacy in the form of some great songs.

Bon Jovi

John Francis Bongiovi, Jr. the Lead singer and namesake of the rock band Bon Jovi,was born 2nd February 1962. Originally from Sayreville, New Jersey, Bon Jovi Formed in 1983 and consist of  Jon Bon Jovi (John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.), guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan and drummer Tico Torres. The band’s lineup has remained mostly static during their history, the only exception being the departure of bass player Alec John Such in 1994, who was unofficially replaced by Hugh McDonald.  The band achieved widespread recognition with their third album, Slippery When Wet, released in 1986. Their fourth album New Jersey, which was released in 1988, became just as successful as its predecessor. Bon Jovi went onto achieve thirteen U.S. Top 40 hits between 1986-1995, including four number-ones including  You Give love a Bad Name“”, “Livin on a Prayer“, “Bad Medicine“, and “I’ll Be There for You”. Other hits include Keep the Faith ”Wanted Dead or Alive” ”Bed of Roses” Have a Nice Day and “Always”. Their 2000 single “, It’s My Life“, successfully introduced the band to a younger audience. Bon Jovi has been known to use different styles in their music, which has included country for their 2007 album Lost Highway which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Their latest album, The Circle was released in 2009, reaching number one as well.  Throughout their career, the band have released eleven studio albums, three compilation albums and one live album, and have sold 130 million records worldwide. They have performed more than 2,700 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 35 million fans. Bon Jovi was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006. The band was also honored with the Award of Merit at the American Music Awards in 2004, and as songwriters and collaborators, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009 and a new album entitled “About Now” was released on 11th March 2013

Bon Jovi live 2013 http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=related&v=1tOfrIgOtQE

 

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Velvet_Underground_and_NicoThe late, great American rock musician, songwriter, and photographer Lou” Reed was born in Brooklyn, New York 2 March 1942. He is best remembered as the vocalis, guitarist and songwriter for the band Velvet Underground and a successful solo artist whose career spanned several decades. Lou Reed developed an ear for rhythm and blues, forming several bands while still in high school after teaching himself to play guitar simply by listening to the radio.Reed introduced avant garde rock to mainstream music and has been credited as having a significant impact on American culture.

He is most famous for his collaboration with famed pop artist and mentor Andy Warhol  which is perhaps one of the most important pairings of this century (along with Lennon & McCartney) and spawned The Velvet Underground. At first The Velvet Underground were a commercial failure in the late 1960s, the group has gained a considerable cult following in the years since its demise and has gone on to become one of the most widely cited and influential bands of the era.As the Velvet Underground’s principal songwriter, Reed wrote about subjects of personal experience that rarely had been examined so openly in rock and roll, including sexuality and drug culture.   Although the Velvet Underground never achieved great commercial success, their idosyncratic combination of harsh guitars and smooth melodies sung by Reed or the German model Nico proved enduring” Andy Warhol also incorporated the Velvet Underground’s music into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia events. As a songwriter, Reed broke new ground by writing songs about taboo subjects as S&M, transvestites and transsexuals, prostitution and drug addiction.

The Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1996.The band has long been recognizsd as a major musical influence on punk and art rock, as reflected in a quote often attributed to musician Brian Eno: “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band. Following his departure from The Velvet Underground in 1970, ‘Reed began a solo career in 1971 that would span several decades and although his songs subsequently lacked the mainstream commercial success and his work frustrated critics who we’re hoping for a return the the Velvet Underground, he went on to record a series of seminal and sometimes challenging singles and solo albums including Transformer, Berlin and Metal Machine Music and collaborated with many artists over the course of his career, including David Bowie, Antony and the Johnsons and Kate McGarrigle.  Reed sadly passed away October 27, 2013, Southampton, New York, United States but remained an avid and interesting artist, branching out into photography and released two book of his work, ‘Emotions in Action’ and ‘Lou Reed’s New York.’Reed interacted with fans regularly, with a Facebook page and a Twitter account with more than 42,000 followers And left the world with some Classic Albums.

D.H.Lawrence

imageEnglish novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter David Herbert Lawrence sadly passed away on 2nd March 1930. Born 11 September 1885, Lawrence spent his formative years in the coal mining town of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire and his working-class background and the tensions between his parents provided the raw material for a number of his early works. Lawrence returned to this locality often, calling it; “the country of my heart,” and it became a setting for much of his fiction. The young Lawrence attended Beauvale Board School from 1891 until 1898, and won a County Council scholarship to Nottingham High School in nearby Nottingham which he left in 1901. He developed a love of books, which lasted throughout Lawrence’s life

In the years 1902 to 1906 Lawrence served as a pupil teacher at the British School, Eastwood and went on to become a full-time student and received a teaching certificate from University College, Nottingham, in 1908. He was also working on his first poems, some short stories, and a draft of a novel, Laetitia, that was eventually to become The White Peacock. He also won a short story competition in the Nottingham Guardian in 1907, the first time that he had gained any wider recognition for his literary talents  In 1908 Lawrence left his childhood home for London and taught at Davidson Road School, Croydon, he also continued writing and Some of the early poetry came to the attention of Ford Madox Ford,the editor of the influential The English Review, who commissioned the story Odour of Chrysanthemums which, when published in that magazine. This encouraged a London publisher, to ask Lawrence for more work. His first published novel The White Peacock appeared in 1910. In addition, a teaching colleague, Helen Corke, gave him access to her intimate diaries about an unhappy love affair, which formed the basis of his second novel The Trespasser and Later during a stay in Italy, Lawrence completed the final version of Sons and Lovers which, when published in 1913, was acknowledged to represent a vivid portrait of the realities of working class provincial life.

Lawrence and and his wife Frieda returned to Britain in 1913 for a short visit, but went back to Italy, staying at Fiascherino on the Gulf of Spezia. Here he started writing the first draft of The Rainbow and Women in Love. He and Frieda returned to Britain again shortly before the outbreak of World War I and were married on 13 July 1914. During this time, Lawrence worked with London intellectuals and writers such as Dora Marsden and the people involved with The Egoist (T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and others). The Egoist, an important Modernist literary magazine, also published some of his work and he was also reading and adapting Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto. In 1915 His novel The Rainbow was published, but was suppressed after an investigation into its alleged obscenity. The novel Women in Love was also written during this time, which explores the destructive features of contemporary civilization through the evolving relationships of four major characters as they reflect upon the value of the arts, politics, economics, sexual experience, friendship and marriage. This book is a bleak, bitter vision of humanity and proved impossible to publish in wartime conditions. Not published until 1920, it is now widely recognised as an English novel of great dramatic force and intellectual subtlety.  In late 1917, after constant harassment by the armed forces authorities, Lawrence left Cornwall. This persecution was later described in the Australian novel Kangaroo. He spent some months in the small, rural village of Hermitage near Newbury, Berkshire. He then lived for just under a year at Mountain Cottage, Middleton-by-Wirksworth, Derbyshire, where he wrote one of his most poetic short stories, The Wintry Peacock.

Lawrence escaped from Britain at the earliest opportunity, and along with his wife spent the remainder of his life travelling, visiting Australia, Italy, Sri Lanka, the United States, Mexico and the South of France. Many of these places appeared in his writings. New novels included The Lost Girl (for which he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction), Aaron’s Rod and Mr Noon. He also wrote shorter novels, such as The Captain’s Doll, The Fox and The Ladybird, and some of these were issued in the collection “England, My England and Other Stories”. During these years he also produced a number of poems about the natural world in Birds, Beasts and Flowers he also wrote Sea and Sardinia and Memoirs of the Foreign Legion. In 1922 the Lawrences left Europe behind with the intention of migrating to the United States. where they acquired the property in Lamy, New Mexico, now called the D. H. Lawrence Ranch, in 1924 in exchange for the manuscript of Sons and Lovers. They stayed in New Mexico for two years and while in the U.S. Lawrence rewrote and published Studies in Classic American Literature and completed a number of new fictional works, including The Boy in the Bush, The Plumed Serpent, St Mawr, The Woman who Rode Away, The Princess and assorted short stories. A brief voyage to England at the end of 1923 was a failure and he soon returned to America. However, in March 1925 he suffered a near fatal attack of malaria and tuberculosis and although he eventually recovered, the diagnosis of his condition obliged him to return once again to Europe. The Lawrences made their home in a villa near Florence, Italy and he wrote The Virgin and the Gipsy and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was his last major novel and reinforced his notoriety.

By mid 1929 his health was failing and although he continued to produce short stories such as The Escaped Cock, and wrote numerous poems, reviews and essays as well as a reflection on the Book of Revelation entitled “Apocalypse” and a robust defence of his last novel against those who sought to suppress it, Lawrence sadly passed away in Venawrencece, France, from complications of tuberculosis on 2nd March 1930 and At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. However E. M. Forster, , challenged this widely held view in an obituary notice, and described him as, “The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.” Later, the influential Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence’s fiction within the canonical “great tradition” of the English novel and he is now valued by many as a visionary thinker is also widely recognised as one of the finest travel writers in the English language and significant representative of modernism in English literature.