Astro UB40

Astro, the percussionist and one of the founding members of  British Reggae/pop band UB40 was born June 24 1957. Formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England, UB40 were named after the Unemployment Benefit form, in protest of widespread unemployment (As was the song “One in Ten” and have gone on to enjoy massive success, having placed more than 50 singles in the UK Singles Chart, and also achieving considerable international success. The band have also been nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album four times, and in 1984, were nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Group. One of the world’s best-selling music artists, UB40 have sold over 70 million records. Among Their hit singles are their debut “Food for Thought” and two U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number ones with “Red Red Wine”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “I Got You Babe” featuring guest vocals from Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders.

The ethnic makeup of the band’s original lineup is diverse, with musicians of English, Scottish, Irish, Yemeni and Jamaican parentage. The band’s initial lineup lasted for 30 years from the band’s formation in 1978 until frontman Ali Campbell’s departure from the band in 2008. Since that time, two other founding members (Mickey Virtue and Astro) have also left the band, and the trio of Campbell, Virtue, and Astro have since formed UB40 Reunited and are due to play Birmingham O2 Academy on 19 December, London IndigO2 on 20 December and Manchester Academy on 21 December 2014. They also have a new song “Reggae Music” available to download from the website http://www.ub40.org and a new album to follow.

Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac)

Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac was born 24 June 1947. The band were formed in 1966 in London. Although band founder Peer Green named the group by combining he surnames of two ofhis former bandmates (Fleetwood, MVie) from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Christine Mc vie joined the band in 1970 while married to John McVie, Green asked if drummer Mick Fleetwood could join. The Bluesbreakers now consisted of Green, Fleetwoo John McVie and Mayall. Soon after, Green cotacted Fleetwood to form a new band. The pair wanted McVie on bass guitar and even named the band ‘Fleetwood Mac’ as a way to entice him.

In the meantime Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood teamed up with slide player Jeremy Spencer and bassist Bob Brunning. The band made its debut on 13 August 1967 at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival. Within weeks of this show, John McVie agreed to join the band as permanent bassist.fleetwood Mac’s first album, Fleetwood Mac, was a no-frills blues album and was released on te Blue Horizon label in February 1968. In fact there were no other players on the album (except for the song “Long Grey Mare”, which was recorded with Brunning on bass). The album was successful in the UK, though it did not have any singles on it. The band soon released two singles “Black Magic Woman” (later a big hit for Santana) and “Need Your Love So Bad”.The band’s second album, Mr. Wonderful, was released in August 1968.  This was another -blues album, but with a few changes. The album was recorded live in the studio with miked amplifiers and PA system, rather than plugged into the board. This method provided the ideal environment for producing this style of music, and gave it an authentically vintage sound. They also added horns . The Next album was the well-regarded Then Then Play On the American release also contained the song “Oh Well”

Sadly Peter Green left and In September 1970, Fleetwood Mac released Kiln House. Kirwan’s songs sounded more “rocky”, while, Spencer’s songs resembled the country-tinged “Sun Sound” of the late 1950s. Christine Perfect, contributed to Kiln House, by singing backup vocals, and drawing the album cover, and was asked to join the band. They also released a single at that time; “Dragonfly” b/w “The Purple Dancer” . At this time Christine Perfect was also married to bassist John McVie. an album of previously unreleased material from the original Fleetwood Mac called The Original Fleetwood Mac was also released.

Then While on tour in 1971, Jeremy Spencer disappeared And joined a religious group, the Children of God. So the band decided to search for a new guitarist, eventually hiring Bob Welch  .In September 1971, the band released Future Games, which was different from anything the band had done up to that point, gained them many new fans in America. six months after the release of Future Games, the band released the well-received album Bare Trees. Though mostly composed by Kirwan, Bare Trees featured Welch’s “Sentimental Lady”, which would be a much bigger hit for him five years later when he re-recorded it for his solo album French Kiss, backed with Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie. It also featured “Spare Me a Little of Your Love”, a bright Christine McVie tune that became a staple of the band’s live act throughout the early to mid-1970s, sadly While on tour Danny Kirwan developed an alcohol dependency and became alienated from Welch and the McVies umtil Fleetwood was finally convinced that he had no choice but to fire Kirwan. The next two and a half years proved to be the most challenging for the band. In the three albums they released in this period, they constantly changed line-ups. In September 1972, the band added guitarist Bob Weston and vocalist Dave Walker, formerly of Savoy Brown and Idle Race.Fleetwood Mac also hired Savoy Brown’s road manager, John Courage. Mick, John, Christine, Welch, Weston, and Walker recorded Penguin, which was released in January 1973.

Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" high res cover artAfter the tour, the band fired Walker The remaining five carried on and recorded Mystery to Me six months later. This album contained the song “Hypnotized” which got a lot of airplay on the radio and became one of the band’s most successful songs to date. However, things were not well within the band. The McVies’ marriage at this time was under a lot of stress, which was aggravated by their constant working with each other, and John McVie’s considerable alcohol abuse. During the tour, Weston had an affair with Fleetwood’s wife, Jenny Boyd Fleetwood, the sister of Pattie Boyd Harrison. Fleetwood soon fired Weston and the tour was cancelled and in one of the most bizarre events in rock history, the band’s manager, Clifford Davis, claimed that he owned the name Fleetwood Mac and put out a “fake Mac”. Nobody in the “fake Mac” was ever officially in the real band, Fans were told that Bob Welch and John McVie had quit the group, and that Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie would be joining the band at a later date. Fleetwood Mac’s road manager, John Courage, hid the real Fleetwood Mac’s equipment, which helped shorten the tour by the fake band. But the lawsuit that followed put the real Fleetwood Mac out of commission for almost a year. The issue was who actually owned the name “Fleetwood Mac”. While it would seem obvious that the band was named after Fleetwood and McVie, they had signed contracts that showed the band forfeited the rights to the name. The “real” Fleetwood Mac were in fact Fleetwood, Welch and the McVies. While this did not end the legal battle, the band was able to record as Fleetwood Mac again. Instead of getting another manager, Fleetwood Mac decided to manage themselves.The fake Mac consisted of Elmer Gantry (vocals, guitar), Kirby Gregory (guitar), Paul Martinez (bass), John Wilkinson (keyboards) and Craig Collinge (drums). Gantry and Gregory went on to become members of Stretch, Gantry later joined The Alan Parsons Project and Martinez eventually became a bassist for Robert Plant’s solo efforts. The real Fleetwood Mac, released Heroes Are Hard to Find in September 1974. For the first time in its history, the band had only one guitarist. On the road, they added a second keyboardist Doug Graves.

After Welch announced that he was leaving the band, Fleetwood began searching for a possible replacement. While Fleetwood was scouting Van Nuys, California,Mick Flletwood heard a song titled “Frozen Love” by an American band, Buckingham Nicks. Fleetwood liked it, and was introduced to the guitarist from the band, Lindsey Buckingham, who coincidentally was at Sound City that day recording some demos. Fleetwood soon asked him to join. Buckingham agreed, on the condition that his musical partner and girlfriend, Stephanie “Stevie” Nicks, also become part of the band; Fleetwood agreed. Buckingham and Nicks joined the band on New Year’s Eve 1974. In 1975, the new line-up released the eponymous Fleetwood Mac. The album proved to be a breakthrough for the band and became a huge hit, Among the hit singles from this album were Christine McVie’s “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me”, and Stevie Nicks’ “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” . with the success of the band also came the end of John and Christine McVie’s marriage, as well as Buckingham and Nicks’ long term romantic relationship. Even Fleetwood was in the midst of divorce proceedings from his wife, Jenny. The pressure put on Fleetwood Mac to release a successful follow-up album, combined with their new-found wealth, led to creative and personal tensions, fuelled by high consumption of drugs and alcohol.The album the band members released in 1977 was Rumours, in which they laid bare the emotional turmoil experienced at that time. Critically acclaimed, it was the recipient of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for 1977. Hit singles included Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way”, Nicks’s U.S. No.1 “Dreams”  and Christine McVie’s “Don’t Stop” and “You Make Loving Fun”. Buckingham’s “Second Hand News”, Nicks’ “Gold Dust Woman” and “The Chain”. In a 2013 interview on ‘Top Gear’, Mick Fleetwood stated that the album had sold ‘nearly 50 million copies’.

5324Buckingham pursuaded by Fleetwood to make the next album more experimental and the result was the quirky 20-track double album, Tusk, released in 1979. It spawned three hit singles; Lindsey Buckingham’s “Tusk” Christine McVie’s “Think About Me” and Stevie Nicks’ 6½ minute opus “Sara” .Tusk remains one of Fleetwood Mac’s most ambitious albums to date, and the band embarked on a huge 18-month tour to support and promote Tusk. including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In Germany they shared the bill with reggae superstar Bob Marley. It was on this world tour that the band recorded music for the Fleetwood Mac Live album, which was released at the end of 1980.The next album, 1982′s Mirage, following 1981 solo turns by Nicks (Bella Donna) and Buckingham (Law and Order), was a return to the more conventional soundan attempt to recapture the huge success of Rumours. Its hits included Christine McVie’s “Hold Me” and “Love In Store” Stevie Nicks’s “Gypsy”, and Lindsey Buckingham’s “Oh Diane”, A minor hit was also scored by Buckingham’s “Eyes Of The World” and “Can’t Go Back”. Following Mirage, the band went on hiatus, which allowed members to pursue solo careers. Stevie Nicks released two more solo albums (1983′s The Wild Heart and 1985′s Rock a Little), Lindsey Buckingham issued Go Insane in 1984, the same year that Christine McVie made an eponymous album (yielding the Top 10 hit “Got A Hold On Me” and the Top 40 hit “Love Will Show Us How”).However, also during this period, Mick Fleetwood had filed for bankruptcy, Nicks was admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic for addiction problems, and John McVie had suffered an addiction-related seizure—all attributed to the lifestyle of excess afforded to them by their worldwide success. It was rumoured that Fleetwood Mac had finally broken up. However Fleetwood Mac recorded one more album for the time being, Tango in the Night, in 1987. The album went on to become their best-selling release since Rumours, especially in the UK where it hit no. 1 three times over the following year. The album sold three million copies in the USA and contained four hits: Christine McVie’s “Little Lies” and “Everywhere” (the former being co-written with McVie’s new husband Eddy Quintela), Sandy Stewart and Stevie Nicks’ “Seven Wonders”, and Lindsey Buckingham’s “Big Love”. “Family Man”, “Isn’t It Midnight”,

Fleetwood+Mac+-+Tango+In+The+Night+(1987)Lindsey Buckingham left and Following his departure, Fleetwood Mac added two new guitarists to the band,Billy Burnette and Rick Vito. Burnette had already worked with Mick Fleetwood in Zoo,  Christine McVie, done some session work with Stevie Nicks and even backed Lindsey Buckingham on Saturday Night Live. Furthermore, Fleetwood and Christine McVie played on his Try Me album in 1985. Vito, a Peter Green admirer, played with many artists from Bonnie Raitt to John Mayall, and even worked with John McVie on two Mayall albums.Capitalising on the success of Tango in the Night, the band continued with a Greatest Hitsalbum in 1988. It featured singles from the 1975–88 era, and included two new ompositions: “No Questions Asked” written by Nicks, and “As Long as You Follow” written by McVie and Quintela. The Greatest Hits album, which peaked at No.3 in the UK and No.14 in the US (though has since sold over 8 million copies there), was dedicated to Buckingham by the band, with whom they had now reconciled.Following the Greatest Hits collection, Fleetwood Mac recorded the album Behind the Mask, which included McVie’s “Save Me”. The subsequent “Behind the Mask” tour saw the band play sold out shows at London’s Wembley Stadium, and on the final show in Los Angeles, the band were joined onstage by Buckingham. The two women of the band, McVie and Nicks, had decided that the tour would be their last (McVie’s father died during the tour) though both stated that they would still record with the band. However, in 1991, both Nicks and Rick Vito announced they were leaving Fleetwood Mac altogether.In 1992, Fleetwood himself arranged a 4-disc box set spanning highlights from the band’s 25 year history, titled 25 Years – The Chain. The box set, included a brand new Stevie Nicks/Rick Vito composition, “Paper Doll”,here were also two new Christine McVie compositions, “Heart of Stone” and “Love Shines”, and Lindsey Buckingham also contributed a new song, “Make Me a Mask”, Mick Fleetwood also released a deluxe hardcover companion book to coincide with the release of the box set, titled My 25 Years in Fleetwood Mac. The volume featured many rare photographs and notes (written by Fleetwood himself) detailing the band’s 25 year history.

Some months after this, the Buckingham/Nicks/McVie/McVie/Fleetwood line-up reunited at the request of U.S. President Bill Clintonfor his first Inaugural Ball in 1993. Clinton had made Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” his campaign theme song. His subsequent request to perform it at the Inauguration Ball was met with enthusiasm by the band, however this line-up had no intention to reunite again. Inspired by the new interest in the band, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie recorded another album as Fleetwood Mac, with Billy Burnette taking on lead guitar duties and leaving shortly afterwards he was replaced by singer/guitarist Bekka Bramlett and Traffic’s Dave Mason, who had worked with Bekka’s parentsDelaney & Bonnie twenty five years earlier, was also added. By March 1994, Billy Burnette, himself a good friend and co-songwriter with Delaney Bramlett, returned with Fleetwood’s blessing.The band, minus Christine McVie, toured in 1994.The tour saw the band perform classic Fleetwood Mac songs from the initial 1967–1974 era On 10 October 1995, Fleetwood Mac released Time.Shortly after the album’s release, Christine McVie informed the band that the album was her last. Bramlett and Burnette subsequently formed a country music duo, Bekka & Billy.Just weeks after disbanding Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood announced that he was working with Lindsey Buckingham again. John McVie was soon added to the sessions, and later Christine McVie. Stevie Nicks also enlisted Lindsey Buckingham to produce a song for a soundtrack.In May 1996, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks made an appearance at a private party in Louisville,Kentucky prior to the Kentucky Derby

later, the Twister film soundtrack was released, which featured the Stevie Nicks-Lindsey Buckingham duet, “Twisted”, with Mick Fleetwood on drums. This eventually led to a full Rumours line-up reunion when the band officially reformed in March 1997. The regrouped Mac performed a live concer and from this performance came the 1997 live album The Dance, bringing Fleetwood Mac back to the top of the US album charts for the first time in 15 years. They also released the 20th anniversary of their Rumours album. However, this would be the final foray of the classic line-up with Christine McVie.Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on the Say You Will Tour, 2003In 1998, Fleetwood Mac (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed at the Grammy Awards program that year. They were also the recipients of the “Outstanding Contribution to Music” award at the BRIT Awards(British Phonographic Industry Awards) the same year.In 1998, Christine McVie left the band permanently, Her departure left Buckingham and Nicks to sing all the lead vocals for the band’s 2003 album,Say You Will, although Christine did contribute some backing vocals and keyboards. The album yielded chart hits with “Peacekeeper” and the title track, and a successful world arena tour which lasted through 2004.

In 2008 it was reported Sheryl Crow would be working with Fleetwood Mac in 2009. Crow and Stevie Nicks collaborated a great deal in the past andthe group will start working on material and recording probably in October, and finish an album.” In 2008, Mick Fleetwood confirmed that the band were working in the studio and announced plans for a world tour in 2009.In late 2008, Fleetwood Mac announced that the band would tour in 2009, The tour was branded as a ‘greatest hits’ show entitled Unleashed, although they played album tracks such as “Storms” and “I Know I’m Not Wrong”. Stevie Nicks also premiered part of a new song that she had written about Hurricane Katrina. The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac was re-released in an extended two-disc format.On 1 November 2009, a new one-hour documentary, Fleetwood Mac: Don’t Stop, was shown and There was also an episode of Glee entitled “Rumours” that featured six songs from the band’s 1977 album. This sparking renewed interest in the band and Rumours reentered the Billboard 200 chart, the same week that Stevie Nicks’ new solo album In Your Dreams. Fleetwood Mac reunited for a 2013 tour without  Former guitarist and singer Bob Weston or singer and guitarist Bob Welch who are both sadly no longer with us, and performed two new songs (“Sad Angel” and “Without You”), and In 1998, select members of Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

John Illsley (Dire Straits)

Best known for being the bass guitarist with rock group Dire Straits, John Illsley was born 24 June 1949. Formed in 1977 by Brothers Mark (lead vocals and lead guitar)and David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), and friends John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals, and Pick Withers (drums and percussion), Dire Straits recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love”, “Down to the Waterline”, “Wild West End” and David Knopfler’s “Sacred Loving”.

The group’s first album, was intitled Dire Straits the album had little promotion when initially released in the United Kingdom However, the album came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, working at Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for, That same year, Dire Straits began a tour as opening band for the Talking Heads after the re-released “Sultans of Swing” which scaled the charts to number four in the United States and number eight in the United Kingdom. The song was one of Dire Straits’ biggest hits and became a fixture in the band’s live performances.

Recording sessions for the group’s second album, Communiqué, took place in December 1978, Released in June 1979 Communiqué Featured the single “Lady Writer”, the second album continued in a similar vein as the first and displayed the expanding scope of Knopfler’s lyricism on the opening track, “Once Upon a Time in the West”. In 1980, Dire Straits werenominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans Of Swing.In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Making Movies which featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” and was released in October 1980.

Dire Straits’ fourth studio album Love Over Gold, an album of songs filled with lengthy, experimental passages, was well received when it was released in September 1982, going gold in America and spending four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom, its main chart hit, “Private Investigations”, gave Dire Straits their first top 5 hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached the number 2 position despite its almost seven-minute length, and became another of the band’s most popular live songs. along with “Industrial Disease”, a song that looks at the decline of the British manufacturing industry in the early 1980s. In 1983, a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay was released while Love Over Gold was still in the album charts. It featured the hit single “Twisting By the Pool”. Dire Straits also embarked on a world tour. wgich resulted in The double album Alchemy Live, a recording of two live concerts of the group at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983, was released in March 1984.

Dire Straits returned to the recording studios at the end of 1984 to record their biggest selling album to date, Brothers in Arms, which has so far sold over 30 million copies and contains the songs “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”, “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers in Arms”. Released in May 1985, Brothers In Arms entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and spent a total of 228 weeks in the charts, It went on to become the best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, “Money for Nothing” was also the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and featured guest vocals by Sting, who is credited with co-writing the song with Mark Knopfler, although in fact, it was just the inclusion of the melody line from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”.Brothers in Arms was among the first albums recorded on digital equipment due to Knopfler pushing for improved sound quality The album’s title track is reported to be the world’s first CD single. The album is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first compact disc to sell a million copies, and has been credited with helping to popularise the CD formaTheir sound drew from a variety of musical influences, including jazz, folk, blues, and came closest to beat music within the context of rock and roll. Despite the prominence of punk rock during the band’s early years, the band’s stripped-down sound contrasted with punk, demonstrating a more “rootsy” influence that emerged out of pub rock.

Many of Dire Straits’ compositions were melancholic and they have gone on to became one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of over 120 million. making them One of the world’s best selling music artists, and their fifth album, Brothers in Arms, has won many accolades. In November 2009, Dire Straits were honoured by the new PRS for Music Heritage Award. A special blue plaque was erected at Farrer House, Church Street, Deptford in south London, where the original group, Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers once shared a council flat and performed their first ever gig in 1977. PRS for Music has set up the Heritage Award to recognise the unusual “performance birthplaces” of famous bands and artists. Dire Straits have also won numerous music awards during their career, including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, and two MTV Video Music Awards. The band’ most popular songs include “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Tunnel of Love”, “Private Investigations” .Dire Straits’ career spanned 18 years. There were several changes in personnel over that period, leaving Mark Knopfler and John Illsley as the only two original bandmates who had remained throughout the band’s career. Dire Straits disbanded in 1995 when Mark Knopfler launched his career full time as a solo artist.

K.T.Tunstall

Scottish singer-songwriter and musician K.T.Tunstall was born 23 June 1975.Tunstall grew up in St Andrews, a town in Fife, attending Lawhead Primary, then Madras College in St. Andrews, and the High School of Dundee but she spent her last year of high school in New England at the Kent School, a selective prep school in Kent, Connecticut.She spent time busking on Church Street in Burlington, Vermnt, and at a commune in rural Vermont. Tunstall studied at Madras College in st. Andrews, Kent School in Connecticut, and at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has said: “…My earliest memories are Californian…”, attributed to a sabbatical that her father took at UCLA in 1979 Throughout Tunstall’s 20s, she played in indie music bands including Elia Drew and Tomoko. She focused on songwriting, as well as performing with members of the fledgling Fence Collective. KT Tunstall had lived with Gordon Anderson, (The Beta Band, and The Aliens), whom the song “Funnyman”, on the album Drastic Fantastic, is about. She toured with the Klezmer band Oi Va Voi, and stayed with them while they were making their album, Laughter Through Tears.

She broke into the public eye with a 2004 live solo performance of her song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” on Later… with Jools Holland.Her début album, Eye to the Telescope, was released in late 2004. Tunstall’s style of music varies from folk to pop. In Edinburgh and St Andrews, she played in a band called Red Light Stylus, which was regarded as one of the better bands to emerge from the limited Fife scene.The performance was notable as she had only 24 hours to prepare after scheduled performer Nas cancelled. Here performance caught the eye of many viewers, although she had previously performed it on French television only some weeks before, upstaging more established acts such as The Cure,Embrace, and The Futureheads; she then went on to top the post-show poll on the website for that episode.

Tunstall’s second album, Drastic Fantastic, was released in 2007, featuring the singles, “Hold On”, “Saving My Face” and “If Only”. Tunstall released a new acoustic album in May 2006, KT Tunstall’s Acoustic Extravaganza. Tunstall sang with Scottish band Travis on their 2007 album The Boy with No Name, on the track “Under the Moonlight”, a song written by Susie Hug (late of Katydids). KT Tunstall’s third album, titled Tiger Suit, was released in 2010. She had started her time off by travelling through the Arctic, South America and India, so as a result the album had a very primal, indigenous spirit by the time it came to recording. KT tunstall’s  fifth album  Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon features the single Feel It All, and was described is her most personal yet.A move away from the ‘stompy, sensitive girl-blues’ of old, it is a stripped-back, gentle affair, with strings, clarinet and euphonium adding subtle colour and is partly influenced by recent events in her life

During her career KT Tunstall has garnered many awards ln Tunstall’s breakthrough year, 2005, she received a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize, which eventually went to Antony and the Johnsons; and was awarded Best Track for her composition and performance of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” by Q magazine.In January the following year, 2006, she received three BRIT nominations – British Live Act, British Breakthrough Act, and British Female Solo Artist – eventually gaining the award for British Female Solo Artist, remarking that she wished to share it with fellow nominee Kate Bush. Later the same month she was given a European Border Breakers Award, which recognises the top-selling European Union artists outside their home country. Also, in 2006 she won the Ivor Novello Best Song Musically and Lyrically for “Suddenly I See”, along with Scottish Style Awards “Most Stylish Band or Musician”.

She gained more nominations in 2007 and 2008: a 2007 Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” (eventually going to Christina Aguilera for “Ain’t No Other Man”), and another BRIT nomination for British Female Solo Artist – the same accolade she had won in 2006. She has released five albums internationally: Eye to the Telescope (2004), KT Tunstall’s Acoustic Extravaganza (2006), Drastic Fantastic (2007), Tiger Suit (2010) and Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon (2013). During 2014, Tunstall wrote the song Miracle for the movie Winter’s Tale, featuring Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, and Will Smith and Also wrote a song, called We Could Be Kings, with AR Rahman, which features in the soundtrack album for the Disney movie Million Dollar Arm. She has also appeared in an episode (S01E04) of the comedy series This is Jinsy on Sky Atlantic, and I’ve seen her perform live at Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

PauL Arthurs (Oasis, The Rain)

Paul Arthurs, English musician with Oasis and The Rain) was born Born 23 June 1965. Oasis were formed in Manchester in 1991, Oasis were Originally known as The Rain, the group was formed by Liam Gallagher (vocals & tambourine), Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs (guitar), Paul “Guigsy” McGuigan (bass guitar) and Tony McCarroll (drums, percussion), who were soon joined by Liam’s older brother Noel Gallagher (lead guitar and vocals). They have had eight UK number-one singles and eight UK number-one albums, and won fifteen NME Awards, nine Q Awards, four MTV Europe Music Awards and six Brit Awards, including one in 2007 for outstanding contribution to music and one for the best album of the last 30 years as voted by the BBC Radio 2 listeners; they have been nominated for three Grammy Awards. As of 2009, the band have sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide. The band were listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 for “Longest Top 10 UK Chart Run by a Group” after an unprecedented run of 22 top 10 hits in the UK. The band also holds the Guinness World Record for being the most successful act in the UK between the years 1995 and 2005, spending 765 weeks in the Top 75 singles and albums charts.

Its members were signed to independent record label Creation Records and afterwards released their record-setting debut album Definitely Maybe in 1994. The following year, the band recorded (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995) with their new drummer Alan White in the midst of rivalry with Britpop peers Blur in the charts. The Gallagher brothers featured regularly in tabloid newspapers for their sibling disputes and wild lifestyles. In 1997, Oasis released their third album, Be Here Now, and although it became the fastest-selling album in UK chart history, the album’s popularity tapered off quickly. The band lost members Paul McGuigan and Paul Arthurs as they went on to record and release Standing on the Shoulder of Giants in 2000 and were replaced by Gem Archer and Andy Bell who joined the group for the tour in support of Giants. The band found renewed success and popularity starting with 2005′s Don’t Believe the Truth.

However It didn’t last long and Oasis split accrimoniously before a gig in Paris, and the two Gallagher brothers, Liam and Noel, who have always had a rather fractious relationship, went their seperate ways. Liam formed Beady Eye with Gem Archer and Andy Bell, and Noël formed Noël Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. They have both achieved renewed success with their new bands, With Beady Eye releasing the albums Different Gear Still Speeding and BE and Noël releasing Noël Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Tribute to Alan Turing

British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist Alan Turing OBE, FRS was Born on June 23rd, 1912 in Maida Vale, and grew up in Hastings. He displayed great individuality from a young age. At 14 he went to Sherborne School in Dorset.Turing subsequently read mathematics at Cambridge,He was completely original thinkerwho shaped the modern world, and assisted in the development of the innovative Manchester computers. He was also highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation” with the Turing machine, which played a sinificant role in the creation of the modern computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligece.He also became interested in mathematical biology and wrote a paper on the chemical basis of morphogenesis, and predicted oscillating chemical reactions such as the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, which were first observed in the 1960s.

On 4 September 1939 the day after Britain declared war on Germany, Turing reported to Bletchley Park where he worked for the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS)the forerunner of GCHQ, Britain’s codebreaking centre. For a time he was head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. Turing led a team whose ingenuity and intellect were turned to the task of breaking German ciphers. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers and One of Turing’s main contributions whilst there was to invent the Bombe, an electromechanical machine used to find the daily settings of the Enigma machine. as a result he played an absolutely vital part of the British war effort and It is without question that his efforts helped shorten the war significantly, saving the lives of millions of people.He was also a remarkable British hero who helped create the modern world. Now known as the father of computer science, his inventions contributed greatly to the groundwork for the modern computer.

After the war he worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he created one of the first designs for a stored-program computer, the ACE. In 1948 Turing joined Max Newman’s Computing Laboratory at Manchester University, where he assisted in the development of the Manchester computers and invented a type of theoretical machine now called a Turing Machine, which formalized what it means to compute a number. Turing’s importance extends far beyond Turing Machines. His work deciphering secret codes drastically shortened World War II and pioneered early computer technology.He was also an early innovator in the field of artificial intelligence, and came up with a way to test if computers could think – now known as the Turing Test. Besides this abstract work, he was down to earth; he designed and built real machines, even making his own relays and wiring up circuits. This combination of pure math and computing machines was the foundation of computer science.

Despite his invaluable help during WorldWar II AND all his other achievements, he was treated badly. A burglary at his home led Turing to admit to police that he was a practicing homosexual, at a time when it was illegal in Britain. This led to his arrest and conviction in 1952 for ‘gross indecency’. He was subsequently forced to choose between imprisonment and chemical castration. He chose chemical castration (treatment with female hormones) as an alternative to prison.As a result of his conviction he lost security clearance and was not allowed to continue his work. Sadly On 8 June 1954 just over two weeks before his 42nd birthday, Turing was found dead from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined that his death was suicide and he had poisoned himself with cyanide.

Since Turing’s birth, attitudes have changed and The US-based Association of Computing Machinery has given The Turing Award annually since 1966. This is the computing world’s highest honour for technical contribution to the computing community and considered equivalent to the Nobel prize.On 10 September 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated”.Despite his valuable contributions Turing did not receive the recognition and plaudits that he deserved while alive, However this has now been redressed and there is now A fully functional replica of the Bombe which can be found today at Bletchley Park, along with the excellent Turing exhibition

Fred Astaire

The late great American film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer and actor Fred Astaire sadly passed away 22 June 1987. Born 10th May 1899. His stage and subsequent career spanned 76 years, during which he made 31 musical films. He was named the fifth Greatest Star of All Time by the American Film Institute, and is particularly associated with Ginger Rogers, with whom he made ten films and Gene Kelly, He inspired many dancers and choreographers including Rudolf Nureyev, Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Jackson, Gregory Hines, Mikhail Baryshnikov, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, who have acknowledged his importance and influence

Astaire was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He and sister Adele were both instinctive dancers and Singers, and formed a “brother-ad-sister act,” Later The family moved to New York City to launch the show business career of the children. Despite Adele and Fred’s teasing rivalry, they quickly acknowledged their individual strengths, his durability and her greater talent. They were taught dance, speaking, and singing in preparation for developing their first act. for which Fred wore a top hat and tails in the first half and a lobster outfit in the second. ” The local paper wrote, “the Astaires are the greatest child act in vaudeville.” Fred and Adele rapidly landed a major contract and played the famed Orpheum Circuit after which The family took a two-year break from show business. The career of the Astaire siblings resumed with mixed fortunes, though with increasing skill and polish, as they began to incorporate tap dancing into their routines. Astaire’s dancing was inspired by Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and John “Bubbles” Sublett.From vaudeville dancer Aurelio Coccia, they learned the tango, waltz and other ballroom dances popularized by Vernon and Irene Castle.

Fred Astaire then met George Gershwin, who was working as a song plugger in Jerome H. Remick’s, in 1916.Fred had already been hunting for new music and dance ideas. Their chance meeting was to deeply affect the careers of both artists. Astaire was always on the lookout for new steps on the circuit and was starting to demonstrate his ceaseless quest for novelty and perfection. The Astaires broke into Broadway in 1917 with Over the Top,. The Astaires performed for U.S. and Allied troops at this time too. They followed up with several more shows, ” By this time, Astaire’s dancing skill was beginning to outshine his sister’s, though she still set the tone of their act and her sparkle and humor drew much of the attention, due in part to Fred’s careful preparation and strong supporting choreography. During the 1920s, Fred and Adele appeaed on Broadway and on the London stage in shows such as George and Ira Gershwin’s Lady Be Good (1924) and Funny Face (1927), and later in The Band Wagon (1931), winning popular acclaim with the theater crowd on both sides of the Atlantic. By then, Astaire’s tap dancing was recognized as among the best.

Fred and Adele split in 1932 and Astaire went on to achieve success on his own on Broadway and in London with Gay Divorce, while considering offers from Hollywood. The end of the partnership was traumatic for Astaire, but stimulated him to expand his range. Free of the brother-sister constraints of the former pairing and with a new partner (Claire Luce), he created a romantic partnered dance to Cole Porter’s “Night and Day”, which had beenwritten for Gay Divorce.Hollywood BreakAstaire got his Hollywood Break after David O. Selznick (Who was also born on 10th May), had signed Astaire to RKO Pictures. He had a bit of a dodgy start However, this did not affect RKO’s plans for Astaire, first lending him for a few days to MGM in 1933 for his Hollywood debut, where he appeared as himself dancing with Joan Crawford in the successful musical film Dancing Lady. On his return to RKO, he got fifth billing after fourth billed Ginger Rogers in the 1933 Dolores del Río vehicle Flying Down to Rio, and the success of the film was attributed to Astaire’s charm & charismatic screen presence.Astaire was initially very reluctant to become part of another dance team. He wrote his agent, “I don’t mind making another picture with her, but as for this ‘team’ idea, it’s ‘out!’ I’ve just managed to live down one partnership and I don’t want to be bothered with any more.”

He was persuaded by the obvious public appeal of the Astaire-Rogers pairing. The partnership, and the choreography of Astaire and Hermes Pan, helped make dancing an important element of the Hollywood film musical. Astaire and Rogers made ten films together, including The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Swing Time, Shall We Dance, and Carefree. Six out of the nine Astaire-Rogers musicals became the biggest moneymakers for RKO; all of the films brought a certain prestige and artistry that all studios coveted at the time. Their partnership elevated them both to stardom.Astaire is credited with two important innovations in early film musicals. First, he insisted that the (almost stationary) camera film a dance routine in a single shot, if possible, while holding the dancers in full view at all times. Second, Astaire was adamant that all song and dance routines be seamlessly integrated into the plotlines of the film and used it to move the plot along. Typically, an Astaire picture would include a solo performance by Astaire, a partnered comedy dance routine and a partnered romantic dance routine.In 1939, Astaire left RKO to freelance and pursue new film opportunities, with mixed though generally successful outcomes. Throughout this period, Astaire continued to value the input of choreographic collaborators and, unlike the 1930s when he worked almost exclusively with Hermes Pan, he tapped the talents of other choreographers in an effort to continually innovate. His first post-Ginger dance partner was the redoubtable Eleanor Powell —considered the finest female tap-dancer of her generation.

He played alongside Bing Crosby in Holiday Inn and later Blue Skies, which were both enormously successful The former film is particularly remembered for his virtuoso solo dance to “Let’s Say it with Firecrackers” while the latter film featured an innovative song and dance routine to a song indelibly associated with him: “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Other partners during this period included Paulette Goddard in Second Chorus, in which he dance-conducted the Artie Shaw orchestra.He made two pictures with Rita Hayworth, the daughter of his former vaudeville dance idols, the Cansinos: the first You’ll Never Get Rich catapulted Hayworth to stardom and provided Astaire with his first opportunity to integrate Latin-American dance idioms into his style, taking advantage of Hayworth’s professional Latin dance pedigree. His second film with Hayworth, You Were Never Lovelier (1942) was equally successful, and featured a duet to Kern’s “I’m Old Fashioned” which became the centerpiece of Jerome Robbins’s 1983 New York City Ballet tribute to Astaire.His next partner, Lucille Bremer, was featured in two lavish vehicles, both directed by Vincente Minnelli: the fantasy Yolanda and the Thief which featured an avant-garde surrealistic ballet, and the musical revue Ziegfeld Follies which featured a memorable teaming of Astaire with Gene Kelly to “The Babbit and the Bromide”, a Gershwin song Astaire had introduced back in 1927. Sadly Yolande was not a success and Astaire believing his career was beginning to falter surprised his audiences by announcing his retirement during the production of Blue Skies, nominating “Puttin’ on the Ritz” as his farewell dance.However, he soon returned to the big screen to replace the injured Kelly in Easter Parade opposite Judy Garland, Ann Miller and Peter Lawford, and for a final reunion with Rogers in The Barkleys of Broadway. He then went on to make more musicals throughout the 1950s: Let’s Dance with Betty Hutton, Royal Wedding with Jane Powell, Three Little Words (1950) and The Belle of New York with Vera-Ellen, The Band Wagon and Silk Stockings with Cyd Charisse, Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron, and Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn. During 1952 Astaire recorded The Astaire Story, a four-volume album with a quintet led by Oscar Peterson. The album provided a musical overview of Astaire’s career, and was produced by Norman Granz. The Astaire Story later won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999, a special Grammy award to honor recordings that are at least twenty- five years old, and that have “qualitative or historical significance.” His legacy at this point was 30 musical films in 25 years.

During his long and distinguished career Astaire recieved many honours and Awards. In 1950 Ginger Rogers presented an honorary Academy Award to Astaire In 1958 Astaire won an Emmy Award for “Best Single Performance by an Actor” for An Evening with Fred Astaire. in 1960 he was Nominated for Emmy Award for “Program Achievement” for Another Evening with Fred Astaire as well as a Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for “Lifetime Achievement in Motion Pictures”. In he won another Emmy Award for “Program Achievement” in 1961 for Astaire Time, and was also Voted Champion of Champions — Best Television performer in annual television critics and columnists poll conducted by Television Today and Motion Picture Daily. In 1965 he won The George Eastman Award e for “outstanding contributions to motion pictures” Then In 1968 he was nominated for another Emmy Award by the Musical Variety Program for The Fred Astaire Show and in 1972 he was Named Musical Comedy Star of the Century by Liberty, “The Nostalgia Magazine”. In 1973 he was also the Subject of a Gala by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and in 1975 he recieved Academy Award nomination for The Towering Inferno and also won a Golden Globe for “Best Supporting Actor”, BAFTA and David di Donatello awards for the film. In 1978 he was honoured by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and became the First recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. he also won the National Artist Award from the American National Theatre Association for “contributing immeasurably to the American Theatre” and won The Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1981. In 1987 he was Inducted into the National Museum of Dance C.V. Whitney Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. Astaire has also recieved many Posthumous awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, an induction into the Television Hall of Fame, an induction into the Ballroom Dancer’s Hall of Fame, and a Posthumous Grammy Hall of Fame Award for 1952 The Astaire Story album.