Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra)

Elo_logoThe English songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer Jeffrey “Jeff” Lynne Was born 30 December 1947. He was originally a member of the band The Move and Formed British Rock Group  Electric Light Orchestra with Roy Wood and Bev Bevan around a fusion of rock and classical music, with the original idea of both The Move and ELO existing in tandem. Roy Wood left in 1972, following the band’s debut record, So Lynne wrote arranged and Produced everything himself. They became enormously successful in the United States, and were billed as “The English guys with the big fiddles”, incorporating complex and unique pop-rock sound mixed with studio strings, layered vocals, and tight, catchy pop singles. In 1973 they released ELO 2 and On the Third Day, in 1974’s Eldorado and Face the Music in 1975. By 1976’s A New World Record. This was followed by The 1977 double album Out of the Blue. The band’s 1978 world tour featured an elaborate “space ship” set and laser light show. In order to recreate the complex instrumental textures of their albums, the band used pre-recorded supplemental backing tracks in live performances. The mid-1970s, they had become one of the biggest-selling acts in music. From 1971 to 1986They released eleven studio albums and another album in 2001 &accumulated 27 Top-40 hit singles in both the UK and the US, with 20 Top 20 UK singles and 15 Top-20 US singles (as charted by Billboard magazine). The band also holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits of any group in US chart history without ever having a number one single.ELO collected 19 CRIA, 21 RIAA and 38 BPI awards, and sold over 50 million records worldwide.

In 1979, Lynne followed up the success of Out of the Blue with Discovery, containing the songs (“Shine a Little Love” Don’t Bring me Down and “Last Train to London”) and The title’s a play on “disco” and “very”.In 1979, Lynne rejected an offer for ELO to headline the Knebworth Concert in the UK, allowing Led Zeppelin to headline instead. Lynne contributed five tracks to the soundtrack for the 1980 film musicalXanadu. Containing the songs: I’m Alive (UK No. 20), All Over The World (UK No. 11), and the title track Xanadu, which reached number one in the UK. he Rerecorded Xanadu(with his lead vocal) for the 2000 box set Flashback which was loosely adapted into a successful Broadway musical, incorporating almost all of the songs from the original film, and also using two other ELO hits: “Strange Magic” and “Evil Woman”. ln 1981, Lynne took the band in a somewhat different direction with the science-fiction themed album Time, The strings were still featured, but with heavily synthesised textures. Lynne kept this general approach with 1983’s Secret Messages and a final contractually-obligated ELO album Balance of Power in 1986.

ELO now had only three remaining official members (Lynne, Bevan and Tandy), and Lynne began devoting more time to producing. During his time in the Electric Light Orchestra, Lynne released a few solo singles and In 1976, Lynne covered the Beatles songs “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “Nowhere Man” for All This and World War II. In 1977, Lynne released his first solo single, the disco-flavoured “Doin’ That Crazy Thing”/”Goin’ Down to Rio”. Lynne and ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy also contributed two original songs “Video!” and “Let It Run” to the film Electric Dreams . Lynne also wrote the song “The Story of Me,”which was recorded by the Everly Brothers on their comeback album EB84. Lynne began focusing almost exclusively on studio production work and produced and wrote the 1983 top-40 hit “Slipping Away” for Dave Edmunds and played on sessions (with Richard Tandy) for Edmunds’ album, Information. Lynne also produced six tracks on Edmunds’ follow-up album in 1984, Riff Raff.

Lynne’s influence by the Beatles was clearly evident in his ELO work and the connection to the Beatles was strengthened when Lynne produced George Harrison’s Cloud Nine, in 1987, featuring the songs “Got My Mind Set on You”, “When We Was Fab”(featuring Lynne on violin), and “This Is Love”. Lynne’s association with Harrison led to the 1988 formation of the Traveling Wilburys, a studio “supergroup” that included George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison as well as Lynne himself, and resulted in two albums (Vol. 1 and Vol. 3), both co-produced by Lynne. In 1988 Lynne worked on three tracks for Roy Orbison’s album Mystery Girl including “You Got It”. Lynne also co-wrote “Walk Away” on Del Shannon’s final album “Rock On!” And co-produced Full Moon Fever by Tom Petty, which included the hit singles “Free Fallin’”, “I Won’t Back Down”, and “Runnin’ Down a Dream”, all co-written by Lynne. Full Moon Fever and Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 both received nominations for theGrammy Award for Best Album of the Year in 1989. The Traveling Wilburys won a Grammy for “Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal” that year. Lynne’s song “One Way Love” was released as a single by Agnetha Faltskog and appeared on her second post-ABBA album, Eyes of a Woman. Lynne co-wrote and produced the track “Let It Shine” for Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson’s first solo album in 1988 and also contributed three tracks to an album by Duane Eddy and “Falling in Love” on Land of Dreams for Randy Newman.

In 1990, Lynne collaborated on the Wilburys’ follow up Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 and  released his first solo album Armchair Theatre,with old friends George Harrison and Richard Tandy featuring the singles “Every Little Thing” and “Lift Me Up”. Lynne also provided the song “Wild Times” to the motion picture soundtrack Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991 and returned to the studio with Petty, co-writing and producing the album Into the Great Wide Open for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, which featured the singles “Learning to Fly” and “Into the Great Wide Open”. In 1992 he produced Roy Orbison’s posthumous album King of Hearts, featuring the single “I Drove All Night” and in February 1994, Lynne worked with the three surviving Beatles on the Anthology album series, and at George Harrison’s request Lynne was brought in to assist on the songs “Free as a Bird”and “Real Love”, Lynne has also produced records for Ringo Starr and worked on Paul McCartney’s Grammy nominated album Flaming Pie.

Lynne’s also Produced the 1993 album Something Peculiar for singer/songwriter Julianna Raye, and contributed To albums by Roger McGuinn (Back from Rio), Joe Cocker (Night Calls),Aerosmith (Lizard Love), Tom Jones (Lift me Up), Bonnie Tyler (Time Mends a Broken Heart), the film Still Crazy, Hank Marvin(Wonderful Land and Nivram), Et Moi (Drole De Vie) and the Tandy Morgan Band (Action). In 1996, Lynne was officially recognised by his peers when he was awarded the Ivor Novello Award for “Outstanding Contributions to British Music” for a second time.

JayKay (Jamiroquai)

Best known as the lead singer of the British funk/acid jazz band Jamiroquai, The Grammy Award-winning English musician Jay Kay ( Jason Luís Cheetham) Was born 30 December 1969.Kay formed Jamiroquai with members Toby Smith (keyboards), Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (drums) and Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo) together with guest appearances by Gavin Dodds (guitar), Maurizio Ravelico (percussion) and Johnny Thirkell (horns) amongst others, both on the band’s debut

Jamiroquai’s first single, When You Gonna Learn was a huge success and was followed by their first album Emergency on Planet Earth. Kay stated that he would like his band to continue writing music for 15–20 years The band name is a mix of “jam session” and “iroquai”, based on the Iroquois, a Native American tribe The original band was Jay Kay (vocals), Toby Smith (keyboard), Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (drums), Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo) and Alec Moran. These are the founding members of Jamiroquai and were involved in the writing and production of the first album. The lineup of the band has changed several times, and the longest serving and now core members of the band are lead singer and songwriter Jason “Jay” Kay, percussionist Sola Akingbola (since 1994), and drummer Derrick McKenzie (since 1994).

Kay formed Jamiroquai, after an unsuccessful audition to become the singer of the Brand New Heavies.Jamiroquai’s first single, “When You Gonna Learn”, was released in 1992 on the Acid Jazz label. Following its success, Kay signed an eight-album record deal with Sony Music Entertainment. The first Sony album, Emergency on Planet Earth was released in 1993. It was followed in 1994 by The Return of the Space Cowboy. The single “Space Cowboy” helped Jamiroquai gain popularity in the UK, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, although they remained relatively unknown to U.S and other international audiences. The band’s American breakthrough came with the third album, Travelling Without Moving in 1996, which yielded two big hits, “Virtual Insanity” and “Cosmic Girl”. The success of “Virtual Insanity” was due in part to its Jonathan Glazer-directed video, which featured Kay’s dance moves and some physics-defying images. At the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, the creative music video for “Virtual Insanity” won four awards; Best Video, Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography, and Breakthrough Video, and the band performed the song at the ceremony.

In 1998, Jamiroquai released “Deeper Underground”, the first single from their fourth studio album, Synkronized, which also appeared in the soundtrack for the 1998 movie Godzilla. The acid jazz flavours and ethnic influences of the first three albums continued with the release of Synkronized, and Jay Kay’s interest in funk and disco music were shifting the band’s directions towards such. By their fifth album, A Funk Odyssey (2001), they had evolved so drastically, that some critics and listeners would remark they lost the ‘Jamiroquai sound’. With the departure of more and more original band members, including Wallis Buchanan and his didgeridoo, Jamiroquai had become a very different band from that of 1992. In spite of the changes, the fifth album’s first single, “Little L”, reached #1 in many charts worldwide becoming their best dance hit.In 2003, Jamiroquai compiled and mixed a DJ mix album for the Late Night Tales series for Azuli Records. The track selection shows some of the band’s soul, funk and disco influences, including tracks from The Pointer Sisters, The Commodores, Johnny “Hammond” Smith and Johnny “Guitar” Watson.

Their sixth album, titled Dynamite was released In 2005 featuring the single, “Feels Just Like It Should” “Seven Days in Sunny June” & “(Don’t) Give Hate A Chance” In November 2006 Jamiroquai released a greatest hits collection,High Times: Singles 1992-2006, which featured two new tracks, “Runaway” and “Radio”. In May 2006 Jamiroquai performed during the Laureus Sports Awards inBarcelon. In October 2006, Jamiroquai recorded a live session for Live from Abbey Road at Abbey Road Studios, alongside Damien Rice and the Goo Goo Dolls. During February in 2007 Jamiroquai performed the record breaking Gig in the Sky in association with Sony Ericsson.

In 2007 the band performed at the World Stage of the Rock in Rio — Madrid festival, being held in Arganda del Rey, Madrid In February 2008, Jamiroquai performed at the Khodynka Arena in Moscow, Russia at the launch of the new Audi A4 car. On 22 June 2008, Jamiroquai performed at the Wianki Festival in Kraków, Poland. On 4 July 2008, the band performed in front of a 75,000-people audience in the Rock in Rio Madrid festival. On 5 April 2009, Jamiroquai performed at the closing concert of Malaysian F1 Grand Prix in Sepang International Circuit Malaysia, and on 9 April Jamiroquai played at the Sentul International Convention Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia.On 24 August 2009, On 24 June 2010, the band played a warm-up gig at Debut London to a small crowd. The new album saw a return to their earlier, less pop-like sound & featured the singles, Blue Skies and White Knuckle Ride .On 9 June 2011, the band released a new track called “Smile” for free download on their Soundcloud site “  and in April 2012, Jamiroquai released their long anticipated seventh album, Rock Dust Light Star, after a 2-year delay, received its American release in a double vinyl LP/CD bundle.For the 20th Anniversary of Jamiroquai. In 2013, they released ‘reissues’ of their 1st 3 studio albums, 1993’s ‘Emergency On Planet Earth’, 1994’s ‘Return Of The Space Cowboy’ & 1996’s ‘Travelling Without Moving’, which featured complete ‘remasterings’ of each album and a bonus CD with all the ‘B-Side material, live material & rarities’ of each album era of the band plus expanded ‘digipack artwork packaging’ and a new 2000 word essay written by Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay with reminisces of the band’s past, present & future.

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Excelsior!

imageThe American comic book writer editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and Founder of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee was born on this day 28th December in 1922 in New York City. As a child Lee was influenced by books and movies, particularly those with Errol Flynn, He was also A voracious reader who enjoyed writing as a teen. During his youth he worked such part-time jobs as writing obituaries for a news service and press releases for the National Tuberculosis Center; delivering sandwiches for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center; working as an office boy for a trouser manufacturer; ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway; and selling subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune newspaper. He graduated high school early, at age 16½ in 1939, and joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project.Lee became an assistant at the new Timely Comics, which evolved into Marvel Comics. He made his comic-book debut with the text filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” in Captain America Comics #3, This initial story also introduced Captain America’s trademark ricocheting shield-toss, which immediately became one of the character’s signatures. He graduated from writing filler to actual comics & two issues later. Lee co-created his first superhero the Destroyer.

Wayuki_spideyOther characters he created include Jack Frost and Father Time. He showed a knack for business that led him to remain as the comic-book division’s editor-in-chief, as well as art director for much of that time, until 1972, when he became publisher. During In the mid-1950s, Lee wrote stories in a variety of genres including romance, Westerns, humor, science fiction, medieval adventure, horror and suspense.In the late 1950s Lee was assigned to create a new superhero team in response to DC Comics Justice League of America. Lee responded by giving his superheroes a flawed humanity, a change from the ideal archetypes that were typically written for preteens and introduced complex, naturalistic characters who could have bad tempers, melancholy fits, vanity; they bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, got bored or even were sometimes physically ill. The first superhero group Lee and artist Jack Kirby created was the Fantastic Four.He also collaborated with several artists, most notably Steve Ditko, and co-created Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and many other fictional characters introducing complex, naturalistic characters and a thoroughly shared universe into superhero comic books. wrote a monthly column called “Stan’s Soapbox,” and wrote endless promotional copy, often signing off with his trademark phrase “Excelsior!”

imageLee also supported using comic books to provide some measure of social commentary about the real world, often dealing with issues of discrimination, intolerance, prejudice, racism and bigotry. Lee became the figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics & made appearances at comic book conventions around America. He has also been an executive producer for, and has made cameo appearances in various Marvel film adaptations. In the 2000s, Lee did his first work for DC Comics, launching the Just Imagine… series, in which Lee reimagined the DC superheroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash.In 2006, Marvel published a series of one-shot comics starring Lee himself meeting and interacting with many of his co-creations, including Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Thing, Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom. In 2008, Lee wrote humorous captions for the political fumetti book Stan Lee Presents Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying?. Lee also collaborated with Hiroyuki Takei on the manga Karakuridôji Ultimo. In 2009, he collaborated with the Japanese company Bones to produced its first manga feature, Heroman, and In 2010 The Stan Lee Foundation was founded which focused on literacy, education and the arts, and In August 2011, Lee announced his support for the Eagle Initiative, a program to find new talent in the comic book field. He was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995.

Mike Pinder /Ray Thomas (The Moody Blues)

Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas, British musicians with English rock band The Moody Blues were born Born 27th December 1941 and 29th December 1941 respectively. The Moody Blues formed on 4 May 1964, in Erdington, Birmingham, England containing Ray Thomas, John Lodge, and Michael Pinder The name developed from a hoped-for sponsorship from the M&B Brewery which failed to materialise and was also a subtle reference to the Duke Ellington song, “Mood Indigo. They released a single, “Steal Your Heart Away” in 1964 and appeared on the cult UK series “Ready Steady Go!” singing the uptempo “Lose Your Money (But Don’t Lose your Mind)”. But it was their second single, “Go Now” which launched their career & became a hit in the United Kingdom. Their debut album The Magnificent Moodies had a strong Merseybeat/R&B flavour. It contained the hit singles “Go Now” and “Bye Bye Bird” together with one side of classic R&B covers. including a cover of “I Don’t Want To Go On Without You”,”From The Bottom of My Heart (I Love You)”, “Everyday”,”This is My House (But Nobody Calls)” and and “Boulevard de la Madeleine”.

The group released the singles “Fly Me High” and “Really Haven’t Got the Time” in 1967 followed by “Love And Beauty” & “Leave This Man Alone”. The Moody Blues were then offered a deal to make a rock and roll version of Antonín Dvořák’s New World Symphony, and although executives were initially skeptical about the hybrid style of the resulting concept album. Days of Future Past became one of the most successful pop/rock releases of the period, earning a gold record award. It takes place over the course of a single day & drew inspiration from the pioneering use of the classical instrumentation by The Beatles. It includes the songs “Nights in White Satin” & “The Sun Set” “Another Morning”, “Twilight Time”,”Peak Hour” and “Evening (Time To Get Away)”. The 1968 follow-up LP, In Search of the Lost Chord included the songs “Legend of a Mind”,”House of Four Doors”,”Voices in the Sky”, “Ride My See-Saw” and “The Best Way To Travel”. The 1969 album On the Threshold of a Dream contained the songs “In The Beginning”,”Lovely To See You”,”Never Comes The Day”,”Dear Diary” and “Lazy Day”,”So Deep Within You”,”The Dream”&”Have You Heard”.

The band’s music continued to become more complex and symphonic,resulting in 1969′s To Our Children’s Children’s Children which was inspired by the first moon landing.and contained the songs “Higher And Higher” “Floating” and “Eternity Road” “Gypsy”,”Out And In” the two part “Eyes of A Child” and “Candle of Life””Sun is Still Shining”. and “Watching and Waiting”. the Moodies had a somewhat psychedelic style and progressive rock sound, the group next album was A Question of Balance (1970) & contained the songs “Question” and “Melancholy Man”. For their next two albums, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971) and “Seventh Sojourn”the band returned to their signature orchestral sound.These contained the songs “Procession”, “Story in Your Eyes” “Our Guessing Game”,”You Can Never Go Home”, “One More Time To Live”, “My Song” and “Nice To Be Here”. The Album “After You Came” (1971) featured “Isn’t Life Strange ?” “I’m Just A Singer (in A Rock ‘n’ Roll Band)”,”Sojourn”,”Lost in A Lost World” “When You’re A Free Man”, “For My Lady”, and “New Horizons”.

In late 1972, a re-issue of the five-year-old Nights in White Satin became the Moody Blues’ biggest US hit.The Moodies were also among the pioneers of the idea that a successful rock band could promote itself through their own label, so following the Beatles’ creation of Apple Records, they created Threshold Records. However it proved unsuccessful although They did lay the groundwork for other major acts to set up similar personal labels and distribution deals including The Rolling Stones’ own label and Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Record label.In the spring of 1974, after completing a vast world tour that culminated with a tour of Asia, the group took an extended break and released a compilation album This Is The Moody Blues. Justin Hayward and John Lodge then released the album, Blue Jays, and a single, “Blue Guitar”. Mike Pinder released a album The Promise.” Edge produced two albums with guitarist Adrian Gurvitz, Kick Off Your Muddy Boots and Paradise Ballroom; Hayward composed the albums Songwriter, followed by Night Flight, Moving Mountains, Classic Blue, The View From The Hill and Live In San Juan Capistrano; Lodge released Natural Avenue; Pinder produced The Promise; and Thomas produced From Mighty Oaks and Hopes, Wishes and Dreams. In 1977, the group reunited and despite many problems The album Octave was released in 1978 contining “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone” & “Driftwood”.

Around this time Justin Hayward enjoyed a solo hit with the song “Forever Autumn” from Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.The Moodies toured the US and Europe during much of 1979. The next album ,Long Distance Voyager,was released in 1981 and yielded two hits, “The Voice” &”Gemini Dream”. and the band embraced a more modern, less symphonic approach, while still retaining a lush keyboard-led sound. The next album The Present yeilded the singles “Blue World” and”Sitting at the Wheel”. In 1986 they released the album The Other Side of Life, containing “Your Wildest Dreams”which garnered a Billboard Video of the Year award,as well as the songs “House of Four Doors”, “Candle of Life” and “One More Time To Live” “Here Comes The Weekend”, “Rock and Roll Over You”, “Love is On The Run (From Me)”, “The Actor”, “Dawning is the Day”, “You Can Never Go Home”& “The Land of Make Believe”. The Moody Blues also performed live at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 which raised money for the Birmingham Children’s Hospitals, and also provided backup with the Electric Light Orchestra for George Harrison.The Moodies released Sur La Mer in 1988 containing the single, “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”.

In 1991 they released the album Keys of the Kingdom contained the songs “Say It With Love”, “Never Blame The Rainbows For The Rain”,”Bless the Wings (That Bring You Back)”,”Magic” “Shadows On the Wall” “Lean On Me (Tonight)”and “Say What You Mean.”They also played at the Montreux Jazz Festival and remained. a steady concert draw, They also made a series of recordings of their Night at Red Rocks concert.The next album Strange Times, was released in 1999 with the songs”English Sunset”,”Nothing Changes” and”This is The Moment”.The Moody Blues also appeared in one episode of “The Simpsons” called “Viva Ned Flanders”.In 2000, the band released “Hall of Fame”, a new live concert from Royal Albert Hall. In 2001, an IMAX film was released, entitled Journey into Amazing Caves. In 2006, the first five of the band’s ‘Core Seven’ albums ( Days of Future Passed to Seventh Sojourn) were re-released featuring bonus songs and previously unreleased tracks. Remastered versions of Octave, Long Distance Voyager and The Present soon followed. The Moodies also released a compilation of sessions recorded at BBC Studios, rarities & various TV appearances, entitled Live at the BBC: 1967-1970. The Moody Blues have sold more than 70 million albums worldwide and have been awarded 14 platinum and gold discs. As of 2012 they remain active and continue to tour, Hayward also tours with Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.

David Knopfler (Dire Straits)

Scottish-born rhythm guitarist, pianist, record producer and singer-songwriter David Knopfler was born 27 December 1952 . He is also a poet and book writer.He is a co-founder of the British rock band Dire Straits, spending three years with them. After quitting the band, he embarked upon a solo career as a recording artist.He initially created smaller record labels, publishing companies, and indie labels.Knopfler has encouraged the advent of online purchasing music in 1995, although he concedes the necessity for other avenues of the distribution and sale of recorded music.His book Bluffers Guide to the Rock Music Business was published in 1996.

Knopfler was born in Glasgow,Scotland, to an English mother, Louisa Mary, a teacher, and a Jewish Hungarian father, Erwin Knopfler, an architect.Knopfler grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, where he attended Gosforth Grammar School.By age 11, he owned a guitar, a piano and a drum kit, and by age 14, he was playing and singing his own compositions in folk clubs.After attending Bristol Polytechnic, he became a social worker in London, where he shared a flat with John Illsley.David Knopfler’s older brother Mark Knopfler also played the guitar. David introduced Mark to John Illsley, a bass guitarist, and after gaining the interest of drummer Pick Withers, the four founded the rock and roll band Dire Straits. One of Mark Knopfler’s friends came up with the band’s name; supposedly a reference to their financial situation at the time the band was beginning to gain notice in the music industry..David Knopfler played rhythm guitar beside his brother, who was lead guitarist to the band, and David appeared on Dire Straits’ first two albums: Dire Straits (1978) and Communiqué (1979). The stress of composing, arranging songs, recording the then-requisite two albums and tours to support them took its toll on the brothers, and David left the band during the recording of their third album,Making Movies (1980), leaving him uncredited on the album.[There is concert video footage, however, of David playing with the band live on several tracks of this album

After leaving Dire Straits, Knopfler released his first solo album in 1983, titled Release. Mark Knopfler and John Illsley both played on the albumHarry Bogdanovs, a lifelong friend of Knopfler, is credited with co-writing three of the tracks and playing synthesizer. The album was supported by the single “Soul Kissing” on the label of Peach River Records. The single was a minor commercial success, peaking at #82 in the UK Albums Chart, after Knopfler retrieved the rights from the bankrupt record label.Behind the Lines, his second album, was released in 1985 and his third solo album, Cut the Wire, followed in 1986.In 1988, the U.S. label Cypress Records released his fourth album, Lips Against the Steel.Knopfler scored the soundtracks for the films Shergar (1984) and Laser Mission (1989),[6] and the German productions Treffer(1984), Jakob hinter der blauen Tür (1989) and Der grosse Bellheim.Lifelines in 1991 released by Phonogram, was recorded in Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios. That album was followed in 1993 byThe Giver released by MESA/Bluemoon in the U.S., and Ariola in Europe. Its sparse, acoustic arrangements received positive reviews, as did 1995’s Small Mercies, which Knopfler co-produced with Harry Bogdanovs featuring Chris White on saxophone 2001,

Knopfler worked with Bogdanovs again to co-produce the album Wishbones, which has guest appearances by Chris Reaand Eddi Reader. His ninth solo album, Ship of Dreams, which also included Chris Rea, was released in 2004.In May 2005, he published a book of poetry, Blood Stones and Rhythmic Beasts,).The U.S.-Canadian jazz label Justin Time Records released Ship of Dreams in October 2005 with an alternate rendition of “Tears Fall” featuring Megan Slankard (replacing Julia Neigel on the original European release). Knopfler’s tenth solo album Songs for the Siren was released in 2006 Recent songwriting projects with other artists have included sessions with Amilia Spicer, Mack Starks, Megan Slankard and Wendy Lands.He played various acoustic and electric gigs in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Turkey and Australia from 2007 to 2009 with Harry Bogdanovs and his band. A new double CD Acoustic, which contains unplugged renditions of new and old songs was released in 2011.Knopfler continued to tour in Spain, Germany, the UK, the United States and Canada in 2012 and 2013. The first-ever limited edition live album, Made in Germany (recorded in Erfurt, Germany during the 2012 tour with Bogdanovs), was released in April 2013 exclusively via CDBaby.com.

Thunderbirds are Go! – Gerry Anderson

imageFamous for his work on Television, Gerry Anderson, sadly passed away on December 26 2012 aged 83. Born April 14 1929 at Feltham, Middlesex. His father scratched a living filling cigarette machines. Neurotic and shy, Gerry was brought up in Neasden, north London, where the family shared a single room, but at the outbreak of war he was evacuated to Northamptonshire. He left Willesden county secondary school with ambitions of being a plasterer until he realised he was allergic to plaster. He started work as a trainee with Colonial Films and after National Service as a radio operator with the RAF worked as an assistant at Gainsborough Studios before co-founding Pentagon Films to make commercials in 1955.The following year, he moved into film production and formed AP Films (Named after partner Arthur Povis) in the hope of making a classic epic — but the opportunities were not forthcoming. Instead he reluctantly turned to making puppet series for television and produced 52 episodes of The Adventures of Twizzle, a project that led to Torchy The Battery Boy and Four Feather Falls, a Western series in which the puppets (unable to draw their guns) had to swivel their holsters to fire.

These early efforts convinced Anderson of the potential of puppet series as an entertainment form, and his 1960 series Supercar was the first successful science-fiction format to reflect the growing interest among children in futuristic technology. He followed it with the more sophisticated Fireball XL5, 26 episodes featuring the hero Steve Zodiac, and timing it to coincide with increased interest in the “space race”.In 1965 Anderson created Stingray, featuring the underwater exploits of Troy Tempest and his submarine, and the first of his series to be shot in colour. The series was also the first of Anderson’s to be sold to America.

ThunderbirdsAnderson’s most successful and popular series Thunderbirds was elaborately produced and followed the adventures of the futuristic Tracy family who ran an air, space and undersea rescue service from a small island in the Pacific. Anderson remembered that his elder brother, Lionel, a pilot who was killed in the war, had trained in Arizona near Thunderbird Field, and helped himself to the “very exciting” name. As well as Jeff Tracy and his sons John, Scott, Virgil, Alan and Gordon (all named after early American astronauts), Thunderbirds also introduced some of Anderson’s most popular and enduring characters, including the myopic genius Brains, the glamorous secret agent Lady Penelope ( who was based on his second wife, Sylvia) and her chauffeur, an ex-alcoholic Cockney safecracker-made-good called Parker, whose distinctive way of speaking (“Yus, m’lady”) was apparently modelled on a waiter at a pub in Cookham where Anderson used to have his lunch.Although the television series caught the imagination of millions of young viewers, two feature-length film spin-offs, Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbirds 6, both failed to achieve the same popularity. More successful was Anderson’s venture into a tie-in weekly children’s comic, TV Century 21, launched in 1965 and containing strips based on his various television series.

ln 1967 Anderson created a new series, Captain Scarlet, named after its indestructible hero, and the first to be made by Anderson’s new production company, Century 21. It was followed in 1968 by Joe 90, about a nine-year-old boy who gained expert knowledge on any subject using his uncle’s hi-tech mousetrap invention. Anderson’s next venture, The Secret Service, was his first and unsuccessful attempt to combine puppets with real actors and marked the start of a decline in the fortunes of his production company, Century 21.His first science-fiction feature film, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, starred Ian Hendry and Patrick Wymark and coincided with Anderson’s first all-live action series for television called UFO which, although well produced, was a humourless affair which failed to make an impact on its first showing – while attracting considerable interest when it was repeated in 1987.

In the 1970s Anderson persevered with live action series such as The Protectors, featuring a glamorous international crime-fighting agency starring Robert Vaughn and Nyree Dawn Porter, and Space 1999, a sub-Star Trek enterprise which was critically panned for its stereotyped characters and bland scripts. Stalled projects, misjudged investments and a property crash left Anderson in dire financial straits, and he endured a painful divorce from his second wife and former business partner, Sylvia.Anderson returned to puppets in 1982 with Terrahawks, in which Dr Tiger Ninestein and the Terrahawks tried to stop the evil Zelda conquering the universe. The success of this series encouraged Anderson to attempt a new project called Space Police, but although a pilot was produced, financial backing never materialised and the series failed to get off the ground.Most of Anderson’s work in the 1980s was with television commercials, the most memorable perhaps being that for Scotch videotape featuring the “skeleton man”. Having sold the rights to his shows to the television tycoon Lord Grade in the 1970s, in 2008 he entered into talks with ITV to buy back the rights to Thunderbirds to remake it using computer-generated imagery. A live-action remake of Thunderbirds, co-produced by the British company Working Title and the American studio Universal was also released in the 2004. In retirement he lived at Henley-on-Thames with his third wife, Mary, and took an active interest in his production enterprises and the extraordinary following his puppet series continued to attract. He was appointed MBE in 2001 and sadly passed away on December 26 2012 aged 83

James Brown

JamesBrownOften referred to as the Godfather of Soul, the late great American singer, songwriter, arranger, and dancer, James Brown sadly passed away on December 25th 2006. Born May 3rd, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina. He was a prolific singer, songwriter and bandleader and became one of the most iconic mportant and influential figures in funk and soul music from 1956-2006. This remarkable achievements earned him the sobriquet “the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business” and helped him become one of the most popular entertainers in 20th-century popular music. Among his most popular songs are “It’s A Man’s World” “Try Me” “Night Train” “Please, Please, Please” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” “I Got You (I Feel Good)” “Cold Sweat ” “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud” “Get on Up” and “Super Bad.At age 15 Brown was sentenced to 8 to 16 years in prison after being arrested for breaking into cars but was released after 3 years for good behaviour. While at the Alto Reform School, he formed a gospel group named the Flames (later the Famous Flames), which soon attracted the attention of the legendary Little Richard , whose manager helped promote the group, and they went to Cincinnati, Ohio, to record their first song “Please, Please, Please” which went on to sell three million copies and launched Brown’s extraordinary career.

Along with placing nearly 100 singles and almost 50 albums on the best-seller charts, Brown broke new ground with two of the first successful “live and in concert” albums— Live at the Apollo (1963), and the follow-up, Pure Dynamite! Live at the Royal.During the 1960s Brown was known as “Soul Brother Number One.” His hit recordings of that decade have often been associated with the emergence of the Black Arts and black nationalist movements, especially the songs “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud”, “Don’t Be a Drop-Out”, and “I Don’t Want Nobody to Give Me Nothin’ (Open Up the Door, I’ll Get It Myself)”. Politicians recruited him to help calm cities struck by civil insurrection and avidly courted his endorsement. In the 1970s Brown became “the Godfather of Soul,” and his hit songs stimulated several dance crazes and were featured on the sound tracks of a number of “blaxploitation” films. When hip-hop emerged as a viable commercial music in the 1980s, Brown’s songs again assumed centre stage as hip-hop disc jockeys frequently incorporated samples from his records.

He also appeared in several motion pictures, including The Blues Brothers and Rocky IV, and attained global status as a celebrity, especially in Africa,where his tours attracted enormous crowds and generated a broad range of new musical fusions.Brown’s uncanny ability to sing soulful slow ballads as well as electrifying up-tempo tunes, often blending blues, gospel, jazz, and country vocal styles together, made him one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century. His extraordinary dance routines featuring acrobatic leaps, full-impact knee landings, complex rhythmic patterns, dazzling footwork, dramatic entrances, and melodramatic exits redefined public performance within popular music and inspired generations of imitators. The musicians associated with him (Jimmy Nolan, Bootsy Collins, Fred Wesley, and Maceo Parker) have also played an important role in funk music. in 1986 Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to the world of Funk and Soul Music .

James Brown & BB King in Concert http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_imA3r_S1YU