Michael Hampton (Parliament Funkadelic)

clintonhardcoreMichael Hampton, American guitarist and producer (Parliament-Funkadelic) was born 15 November 1956. Parliament Funkadelic were a collective of musicians led by George Clinton who pioneered late 1960s and early ’70s funk. The fusion of R&B rhythms, infectious melodies, and psychedelia and also created a new pop/soul/rock hybrid called Funkadelic, the impact of which has proven lasting and widespread. George was the also the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s.The collective’s origins date back to the doo-wop group The Parliaments, which was formed in the late 1950s in Plainfield, New Jersey by a then teenage George Clinton and For a period in the 1960s Clinton was also a staff songwriter for Motown. Despite initial commercial failure (and one major hit single, “(I Wanna) Testify” in 1967), The Parliaments eventually found success under the names Parliament and Funkadelic in the seventies as a funk, soul and rock music collective headed by George Clinton.Funkadelic had a psychedelic rock touch whose influences include the amplifier sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, James Brown’s funk, blues, Sun Ra’s experimentation, Frank Zappa’s and the Coasters’ humour, the concept albums of the Beatles and the Who and southern soul artists like Otis Redding and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, other influences also include the funky side of Hendrix and Sly Stone, Motown soul groups turned funk groups like the Temptations, the political songs of the Impressions, Rufus Thomas’ southern funk, doo-wop groups like the Coasters for the humour and Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers.

funkadelic-75-lets-take-it-to-the-stageTheir style has been dubbed P-Funk. Collectively the group has existed under various names since the 1960s and has been known for top-notch musicianship, politically charged lyrics, outlandish concept albums and memorable live performances. Overall, the collective achieved thirteen top ten hits in the American R&B music charts between 1967 and 1983, including six number one hits and and three platinum albums.By the early 1980s, Clinton consolidated the collective’s multiple projects and continued touring under the names “George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars” or “George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic”. In 1982, Clinton released the songs Computer Games and “Atomic Dog”. During the next four years, Clinton released three more studio albums (You Shouldn’t-Nuf Bit Fish, Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends and R&B Skeletons in the Closet) as well as a live album, Mothership Connection (Live from the Summit, Houston, Texas) and charting three singles in the R&B Top 30, “Nubian Nut”, “Last Dance”, and “Do Fries Go with That Shake?”.In 1985, George Clinton was recruited by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to produce their album Freaky Styley, because the band members were huge fans of George Clinton and funk in general. Clinton, in fact, wrote the vocals and lyrics to the title track which was originally intended by the band to be left as an instrumental piece. The album was not a commercial success at the time, but has since sold 500,000 copies after the Red Hot Chili Peppers became popular years later.Clinton is also a notable music producer working on almost all of the albums he performs on, as well as producing albums for Bootsy Collins and also contribute to several tracks on Primal Scream’s studio album Give Out But Don’t Give Up, and also sang “Mind Games” on the John Lennon tribute Working Class Hero. Clinton also worked with Tupac Shakur on the song “Can’t C Me” from the album All Eyez on Me; Ice Cube on the song and video for “Bop Gun (One Nation)” on the Lethal Injection album (which sampled Funkadelic’s earlier hit “One Nation Under A Groove”); Outkast on the song “Synthesizer” from the album Aquemini; Redman on the song “J.U.M.P.” from the album Malpractice; Souls of Mischief on “Mama Knows Best” from the album Trilogy: Conflict, Climax, Resolution; Killah Priest on “Come With me” from the album Priesthood, and the Wu Tang Clan on “Wolves” from the album 8 Diagrams.

In 1997 Sixteen members of Parliament-Funkadelic (Including Clinton and Hampton) were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and P-Funk’s effect on modern popular music is still immense. Besides their innovation in the entire genre of funk music, George Clinton and P-Funk are still heard often today, especially in hip-hop sampling. The song “Atomic Dog” is one of the most sampled songs in the history of hip hop, especially in the sub-genre G-funk. The Red Hot Chili Peppers video for their 2006 single Dani California featured a tribute to Parliament-Funkadelic. Parliament-Funkadelic’s musical influence can also be heard in R&B, Soul music, Electronica, Gospel, Jazz, and New Wave

Children in Need 2014

The BBC’s Mammoth seven hour Charity Fundraising extravaganza Children in Need aired on Friday. Presented by veteran broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan and ably assisted by Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw, Tess Daly, Fearne Cotton and Saturdays singer Michelle Humes, to raise money in aid of disadvantaged children. Although with the enormous amount the BBC pays some of it’s staff, you can’t help wondering.

Anyway, Performances on the night came from Gemma Arterton and the cast of Made In Dagenham the musical, followed by The cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There was a Doctor Who exclusive starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Nick Frost. A sketch from the cast of The Muppets and Sesame Street. The cast of EastEnders performed Grease with Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace as Rizzo. Adam Woodyatt also starred in The Ghosts of Ian Beale in Albert Square. There was the Children in Need Strictly Come Dancing final hosted by Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly featuring Team Glitter and Team Sparkle. Another visit to EastEnders featuring performances from The Script and One Direction singing Night Changes. The BBC Children in Need Children’s Choir, made up of nearly 2,000 children from around Britain, then sang I’ll Stand By You.

This was followed by The One Show’s rickshaw challenge – Salford to Walford, a Call the Midwife Christmas special and The official Chlidren in Need single AVICII’s Wake Me Up sung by Gareth Malone’s All Star Choir. A Tom and Jerry cartoon was followed by Susan Boyle performing a cover of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. This was followed by The Great British Sewing Bee featuring Edith Bowman and many others. The Script then performed Superheroes in EastEnders, followed by Boyzone performing Reach Out I’ll Be There (Shane Filan’s beard is awesome) and S Club 7 reunited to perform a medley of hits. This was followed by a another performance by the cast of Made in Dagenhame, featuring Gemma Arterton. Cirque du Soliel also performed in Albert Square and there was also an all-star performance of God only Knows by the Beach Boys.

By the end Generous viewers had donated more than £32million to the BBC’s Children in Need charity in a single night and As the seven-hour show came to an end at 2am on Saturday, a total of £32,620,469 had been raised.The staggering figure tops last year’s total of £31.1million, with the final sum expected to be higher once all donations are in.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad (ABBA)

Swedish singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad was bjorn 15th November 1945. She found fame as a member of Swedish pop group ABBA. Formed in Stockholm in 1972, ABBA comprised of Agnetha Fältskog, Bjenny 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.

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. ABBA’s music declined in popularity until several films, notably Muriel’s Wedding, Mamma Mia and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, revived interest in the group, 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

J.G.Ballard

English novelist and short story writer James Graham “J. G.” Ballard was born 15 November 1930. He was also a prominent member of the New Wave movement in science fiction. His best-known books are Crash (1973), which was adapted into a (rather strange) film by David Cronenberg, and the semi-autobiographical Empire of the Sun (1984), which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Based on Ballard’s boyhood in the Shanghai International Settlement and internment by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War, Empire of the Sun recounts the story of a young British boy, Jaime Graham, who lives with his parents in Shanghai. After the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese occupy the Shanghai International Settlement, and in the following chaos Jim becomes separated from his parents. He spends some time in abandoned mansions, living on remnants of packaged food. Having exhausted the food supplies, he decides to try to surrender to the Japanese Army. After many attempts, he finally succeeds and is interned in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center. Although the Japanese are “officially” the enemies, Jim identifies partly with them, both because he adores the pilots with their splendid machines and because he feels that Lunghua is still a comparatively safer place for him, however the food supply runs short and Jim barely survives, with people around him starving to death. The camp prisoners are forced upon a march to Nantao, with many dying along the route. however some are saved from starvation by air drops from American Bombers.

The book was adapted by Tom Stoppard in 1987. The screenplay was filmed by Steven Spielberg, to critical acclaim, being nominated for six Oscars and winning three British Academy Awarhds (for cinematography, music and sound). It starred 13-year-old Christian Bale, as well as John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson; it also featured a cameo by the 21 year old Ben Stiller, in a dramatic role.The literary distinctiveness of Ballard’s work has given rise to the adjective “Ballardian”, defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.” Sadly Ballard was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2006, from which he died in London on 19th April 2009, however In 2008, The Times included Ballard on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945