Agnetha Faltskog(ABBA)

Swedish singer Agnetha Faltskog was bjorn 5 April 19. She found fame as a member of Swedish pop group ABBA. Formed in Stockholm in 1972, ABBA comprised of Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. ABBA being an acronym of the first letters of the bjand members’. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. They are also known for winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Waterloo”, giving Sweden its first victory in the history of the contest and being the most successful group ever to take part in the contest.ABBA have sold over 370 million records worldwide and still sells millions of records a year, which makes them one of the best-selling music artists of all time. ABBA were the first pop group to come from a non-English-speaking country that enjoyed consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

ABBA LIVE 1979

The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin American markets, and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish. During the band’s active years, Fältskog and Ulvaeus were a married couple, as were Lyngstad and Andersson, although both couples later divorced. At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Ulvaeus-Fältskog marriage in 1979 and the Andersson-Lyngstad marriage in 1981. These relationship changes were reflected in the group’s music, with later compositions including more introspective lyrics.After ABBA broke up in late 1982, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued solo careers with mixed success.

At the end of 1982, Fältskog duetted with Swedish singer (and former ABBA backing vocalist) Tomas Ledin on a song called “Never Again”, the song was also released in a Spanish-language version, entitled “Ya Nunca Más”. In the summer of the same year, Fältskog had a leading role in the hit Swedish movie Raskenstam. In May 1983, Fältskog released her first post-ABBA solo album, Wrap Your Arms Around Me Containing the singles “The Heat Is On” and “Can’t Shake Loose” and Fältskog was voted by the readers of Aftonbladet as Best Female Artist of the Year in the Rockbjörnen music awards. Fältskog’s next studio album, Eyes of a Woman, produced by Eric Stewart of 10cc, was released in March 1985 And contained the single “I Won’t Let You Go”.In 1986, Fältskog recorded another duet, “The Way You Are”, with Swedish singer Ola Håkansson. In early 1987, Agnetha recorded an album “Kom folj med I var karusell” (‘Come ride with me on my carousell’) with her son Christian. The album contained songs for children and was sung in Swedish. For the album Agnetha recorded duets with her son and with a choir of children. She also recorded a few solo songs including The single ‘Pa Sondag’ . In the summer of 1987,

Fältskog recorded her fourth solo album (after ABBA), I Stand Alone, produced by Peter Cetera (formerly of the band Chicago) and Bruce Gaitsch, who had collaborated on Madonna’s La Isla Bonita. Containing the single, “I Wasn’t the One (Who Said Goodbye)”, on which Fältskog duetted with Peter Cetera. Two tracks were also recorded in Spanish for the Latin American market; “La Ultima Véz” (“The Last Time”) and “Yo No Fui Quién Dijo Adiós” (“I Wasn’t the One (Who Said Goodbye)” In 1996, her autobiography Som jag är was published in Swedish (and in English the following year titled As I Am), followed by several compilation CDs of her Swedish and English recordings, including one called My Love, My Life for which Fältskog picked out the music herself. The book was updated in 1998 and released worldwide.

In April 2004, Fältskog released a new single, “If I Thought You’d Ever Change Your Mind” (a cover of the song originally recorded by Cilla Black). Followed by the album My Colouring Book, a collection of Fältskog’s covers of 1960s classic oldies Like “Sealed with a Kiss”,And, “When You Walk in the Room”and “Sometimes When I’m Dreaming”.In 2004, Fältskog was nominated for Best Nordic Artist at the Nordic Music Awards, and released lavishly produced 6-CD boxed set comprising Fältskog’s Swedish solo career, mostly before ABBA, with five original solo albums: 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, and her 1975 album recorded and released during her time with ABBA) – plus an additional compilation disc with bonus tracks. In January 2007, Fältskog appeared at the final performance of Mamma Mia! in Stockholm (as she had at its opening in 2005). She also sang a duet, “True Love”, with Tommy Körberg of Chess. In October 2008, a new compilation album, My Very Best, was released in Sweden. The double CD contains both Swedish (CD 1) and English-language hits (CD 2) from her whole solo career, from 1967 to 2004. On 4 July 2008, Fältskog joined former colleagues Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Björn Ulvaeus, and Benny Andersson at the Swedish premiere of the film version of Mamma Mia!.

In January 2009, Fältskog appeared onstage together with Lyngstad at the Swedish Rockbjörnen Awards to receive a lifetime honorary award for ABBA, and in February 2010, ABBA World, an extensive exhibition, debuted at London’s Earls Court For which she recorded a light-hearted opening film together with former ABBA colleague Benny Andersson. In May 2013 ), Fältskog released a new album called “A” Containing the single “When You Really Loved Someone,” The One Who Loves You Now” dance your PainAway and included a duet with Gary Barlow of Take That, called “I Should’ve Followed You Home” A’ has earned Agnetha 3 Gold Records in UK, Australia and Germany, and Platinum in Sweden., Fältskog was awarded the SKAP 2013 Kai Gullmar Memorial Award at the Stockholm release party for “A”.On 12 November 2013 Fältskog sang live on stage for the first time in 25 years at the BBC Children in Need Rocks concert in London; she sang a duet with Gary Barlow, the organiser of the event. On 18 November 2013 in order to promote the song, a video for “I Should’ve Followed You Home”.  ABBA’s popularity  was revived by several films, notably Muriel’s Wedding, Mamma Mia and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, spawning several tribute bjands. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name released in 2008 became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010

 

Once in a Blue Moon

This weekend Once In A Blue Moon takes place at Didcot Railway Centre from Saturday 5 April until Sunday 6 April 2014. It is a preservation first which features the gathering of three locomotives All sporting the same British Railways Express Blue livery in the same place for the first time in 60 years.

Locomotives taking part in the event are LNER A1 60163 Tornado, GWR 6023 King Edward II and LNER A4 class no 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley. Sir Nigel Gresley and 60163 Tornado arrived at Didcot on Thursday 3 April to join GWR 6023 King Edward II for the event.

Sir Nigel Gresley

60007 Sir Nigel Gresley at Bewdley during the Severn Valley Railway Spring Steam Gala

60007 Sir Nigel Gresley at Bewdley during the Severn Valley Railway Spring Steam Gala

The Chief Mechanical Engineer of London North Eastern Railway Sir Nigel Gresley sadly passed away 5 April 1941. Having seen loads of awesome Gresley designed A4 Pacific steam locomotives down at the Severn Valley Railway over the years, like Bittern, Union of South Africa and Sir Nigel Gresley, I thought I would do a post on Sir Nigel Gresley himself, Born 19 June 1876 he became one of Britain’s most famous steam locomotive engineers, who rose to become Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). He was the designer of some of the most famous steam locomotives in Britain, including the LNER Class A1 and LNER Class A4 4-6-2 Pacific engines. An A1, Flying Scotsman, was the first steam locomotive officially recorded over 100 mph in passenger service, and an A4, number 4468 Mallard, still holds the record for being the fastest steam locomotive in the world (126 mph). Gresley’s engines were considered elegant, both aesthetically and mechanically. His invention of a three-cylinder design with only two sets of Walschaerts valve gear, theGresley conjugated valve gear, produced smooth running and power at lower cost than would have been achieved with a more conventional three sets of Walschaerts gear.

Gresley was born in Edinburgh, but was raised in Netherseal, Derbyshire, a member of the cadet branch of a family long seated at Gresley, Derbyshire. After attending school in Sussex and at Marlborough College, Gresley served his apprenticeship at the Crewe works of the London and North Western Railway, afterwards becoming a pupil under John Aspinall at Horwich of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR). After several minor appointments with the L&YR he was made Outdoor Assistant in the Carriage and Wagon Department in 1901; in 1902 he was appointed Assistant Works Manager at Newton Heath depot, and Works Manager the following year.

This rapid rise in his career was maintained and, in 1904, he became Assistant Superintendent of the Carriage and Wagon Department of the L&YR. A year later, he moved to the Great Northern Railway (GNR) as Carriage and Wagon Superintendent. He succeeded Henry A. Ivatt as CME of the GNR on 1 October 1911. At the 1923 Grouping, he was appointed CME of the newly formed LNER (the post had originally been offered to the ageing John G. Robinson; Robinson declined and suggested the much younger Gresley). In 1936, Gresley was awarded an honorary DSc by Manchester University and a knighthood by King Edward VIII; also in that year he presided over the IMechE.During the 1930s, Sir Nigel Gresley lived at Salisbury Hall, near St. Albans in Hertfordshire. Gresley developed an interest in breeding wild birds and ducks in the moat; intriguingly, among the species were Mallard ducks. The Hall still exists today as a private residence and is adjacent to the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, with its links to the design of the famous Mosquito aircraft during World War II.In 1936, Gresley designed the 1,500V DC locomotives for the proposed electrification of theWoodhead Line between Manchester and Sheffield. The Second World War forced the postponement of the project, which was completed in the early 1950s. Sadly though Gresley died after a short illness on 5 April 1941 and was buried in Netherseal, Derbyshire.He was succeeded as the LNER CME by Edward Thompson.

Cozy Powell

rainbowThe late great English rock drummer, Cozy Powell (Colin Flook) sadly died on 5 April 1998 following a car accident while driving his Saab 9000 in bad weather on the M4 motorway near Bristol.Powell was ejected through the windshield and died at the scene . at the time of the crash Powell’s blood-alcohol reading was over the legal limit, and he was not wearing a seatbelt, in addition to talking with his girlfriend on his mobile phone. The official investigation also found evidence of a slow puncture in a rear tyre. It was suggested, that this could well have caused a sudden collapse of the tyre with a consequent loss of control of the car

Born 29 December 1947 He made his name with many major rock bands like The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath. Cozy Powell was born in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England, and started playing drums at age 12 in the school orchestra, thereafter playing along in his spare time to popular singles of the day. The first band he was in, called the Corals, played each week at the youth club in Cirencester. At age 15 he had already worked out an impressive drum solo. The stage name ‘Cozy’ was borrowed from the jazz drummer Cozy Cole.The semi-professional circuit was next, with semi-pro outfit The Sorcerers, a vocal harmony pop band. The late nights and usual on-the-road exploits began to affect his education, and Powell left to take an office job in order to finance the purchase of his first set of Premier drums. The Sorcerers performed in the German club scene of the 1960s. By 1968 the band had returned to England, basing themselves around Birmingham. Powell struck up friendships with fellow musicians like Robert Plant and John Bonham(both at the time unknowns in Listen), future Slade vocalist Noddy Holder, bassist Dave Pegg and a young Tony Iommi. The Sorcerers now became Youngblood, and a series of singles were released in late 1968–69. The group then linked up with the Move bassist/singer Ace Kefford to form The Ace Kefford Stand. Five recorded tracks are available on the Ace Kefford album ‘Ace The Face’ released by Sanctuary Records in 2003. Powell also began session work. Powell with fellow Sorcerers Dave and Denny Ball formed Big Bertha.powell also played with swamp rocker Tony Joe White at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970. Powell then landed the then highly prestigious drumming job with Jeff Beck’s group in April 1970. Their first project was to record an album of Motown covers in the USA. This was never finished and remains unreleased. After the recording of two albums, Rough and Ready (October 1971) and Jeff Beck Group (July 1972), the band fell apart. ln 1972′

Powell drummed for two tracks (“Hey Sandy” and “Martha”) on Harvey Andrews’ album Writer of Songs. By late 1972 he had joined up with the Ball brothers and singer Frank Aiello to form Bedlam, whose eponymous album was recorded for Chrysalis and released in August 1973. Eventually Powell abandoned Bedlam to record two singles including “Dance with the Devil”, which reached #3 in the UK singles chart during January 1974. The song was his only solo hit in the United States, peaking at #49. The track featured Suzi Quatro on bass. Powell’s second hit during 1974 was with “The Man in Black”, which reached a respectable #18.Arrows front man Alan Merrill, also a RAK records artist, played electric bass on ‘”The Man In Black’” and the b-side ‘”After Dark.” Jeff Beck’s studio producer was Mickie Most and Powell soon found himself drafted into sessions for artists signed to Most’s RAK label, including Julie Felix, Hot Chocolate, Donovan and Suzi Quatro. To cash in on his chart success the drummer formed Cozy Powell’s Hammer in April 1974. The line-up included Bernie Marsden (guitar), Clive Chamen (bass), Don Airey (keyboards) and Frank Aiello (Bedlam) on vocals. Clive Chamen was replaced on bass by Neil Murray in the band in early 1975 for the RAK Rocks Britain Tour. “Na Na Na” was a UK #10 hit, and another single “Le Souk” was recorded but never released

n 1975 he joined Rainbow. Powell and Ritchie Blackmore were the only constants in the band’s line-up over the next five years, as Blackmore evolved the sound of the band from a neo-classical hard rock to a more commercial AOR sound. Rainbow’s 1979 Down to Earth LP (from which singles “Since You Been Gone” and “All Night Long” are taken) proved to be the band’s most successful album thus far; however, Powell was concerned over the overtly commercial sound. Powell decided to leave Rainbow, although not before they headlined the first ever Monsters of Rock show at Castle Donington, England on 16 August 1980. The festival was Powell’s last show with the band. After Powell left Rainbow he worked with vocalist Graham Bonnet (he too an ex-Rainbow member) on Bonnet’s new project calledGraham Bonnet & The Hooligans, their most notable single being the UK top 10 single “Night Games” (1981), also on Bonnet’s soloLine Up album. For the rest of the 1980s, Powell assumed short-term journeyman roles with a number of major bands — Michael Schenker Group from 1981 to 1982, and Whitesnake from 1982 to 1985. In 1985 he started recording with Phenomena for their first album, which was released in 1986, when he joined up with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake as a member of Emerson, Lake & Powell. Powell worked with Gary Moore in 1989, followed by stints with Black Sabbath from 1988 to 1991, and again in 1994–1995.

Between late 1992 and early 1993, Powell put together an occasional touring band using the old band name ‘Cozy Powell’s Hammer’ featuring himself on drums, Neil Murray on bass, Mario Parga on guitar and Tony Martin on vocals and occasional rhythm guitar/synth module. The band performed throughout Europe and appeared on German television. Powell along with Neil Murray were members of Brian May’s band, playing on the Back to the Light and Another World albums. Cozy played with May opening for Guns N’ Roses on the second American leg of their Use Your Illusion tour in 1993. The duo also served a spell with blues guitarist Peter Green in the mid-nineties. Cozy’s last recording session was for Colin Blunstone’s The Light Inside, alongside Don Airey, which was released shortly after Cozy’s death. Prior to his death in 1998, Cozy had pulled out of a tour with Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen due to an injury and was preparing to tour with Brian May. The final solo album by Cozy Powell Especially for You was released in 1998 after his death, and featured American vocalist John West, Neil Murray, Lonnie Park, Michael Casswell and others. Powell had a fascination with fast cars and motorbikes, and raced for Hitachi on the UK saloon car circuit for a few months.He also made headlines, when he appeared on the BBC children’s programme Record Breakers, where he set a World Record for the most number of drums played simultaneously And During his career Powell had been the drummer on at least 66 albums with minor contributions on many other recordings. Many rock drummers have cited him as a major influence

Charles Collett

6024_KingEdward1cThe great Western Railways’ Chief Mechanical locomotive Engineer Charles Benjamin Collett sadly passed away 5 April. Born 10 September 1871. He was chief mechanical engineer of the Great Western Railway from 1922 to 1941 and designed (amongst others) the GWR’s 4-6-0 Castle and King Class express passenger locomotives. Collett’s predecessor, George Jackson Churchward had delivered to the GWR from Swindon a series of class leading and innovative locomotives, and arguably by the early 1920s the Great Western‘s 2-cylinder and 4-cylinder 4-6-0 designs were substantially superior to the locomotives of the other railway groupings.In 1922 Churchward retired, and Charles Benjamin Collett inherited a legacy of excellent standardised designs. But, with costs rising and revenues falling, there was a need to rationalise the number of pre-grouping designs and to develop more powerful locomotives

. Collett was a practical development engineer and he took Churchward’s designs and developed them – the Hall from the Saint class, and the Castle from the Star. He was also responsible for more humble locomotives, such as many of the pannier tank classes. He has received criticism by contemporary engineers and later railway historians for undertaking very little innovation in his designs, instead sticking with Churchward’s style in every case. Arguably this meant that by the time Collett retired the superiority of Great Western locomotives was lost to more modern designs, particularly those of William Stanier, who worked at Swindon before moving to the LMS in 1932, and took Churchward’s style with him but developed it in line with the progression in steam technology.In 1926, something bigger than the Castle class was required to haul heavy expresses at an average speed of 60 mph. Great Western’s General Manager Sir Felix Pole told Collett to proceed with the design and construction of a “Super-Castle”. The result was the King class 4-6-0 design which emerged from Swindon works in June 1927. This had dimensions never previously seen, and represented the ultimate development of Churchward’s four cylinder concept. It was the heaviest (136 tons), and had the highest tractive effort (40,300 lbs.) of any 4-6-0 locomotive ever to run in the United Kingdom. However Because of its weight, the King class was restricted to a limited number of the major GWR routes.