New Year’s Eve

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, is on December 31. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat,drinnk alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some people attend Church services. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into January 1 (New Year’s Day). Island nations of Kiribati and Samoa are the first to welcome the New Year while Honolulu, Hawaii is among the last places to welcome the New Year.

The United Kingdom’s celebrations are noticeably divided among the three nations that compose it: England, Scotland and Wales (each has its section below). In England, clocks symbolize the transition that occurs at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. The celebration in London focuses on Big Ben, the bell and by association, the clock housed in the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster. The celebrations are televised from London by the BBC in the English regions, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Parties are held across the country, in pubs, clubs, and private houses.At the stroke of midnight, people join hands in a ring and sing Auld Lang Syne.

On New Year’s Eve 2010, an estimated 250,000 people gathered to view an eight-minute fireworks display around and above the London Eye which was, for the first time, set to a musical soundtrack. featuring songs by Blur, The Beatles, and Queen. The celebrations in London continued into January 1, with the New Year’s Day Parade, The 2011 parade involved more than 10,000 musicians, cheerleaders and performers. For the arrival of 2012, there were a few small changes. In addition to the fireworks going off at the London Eye, more fireworks went off from the Big Ben with every chime.

Other major New Year events are held in the cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Newcastle. Bideford, in north Devon, is also known for its New Year’s Eve celebrations, featuring a carnival and fancy dress. The celebration centers on Bideford’s quayside and around its Old Bridge, with a lone piper playing Auld Lang Syne at midnight, followed by a fireworks display.The Welsh tradition of giving gifts and money on New Year’s Day (Calennig) is an ancient custom that survives in modern-day Wales, though nowadays it is now customary to give bread and cheese. Thousands of people descend every year on Cardiff to enjoy live music, catering, ice-skating, funfairs and fireworks. Many of the celebrations take place at Cardiff Castle and Cardiff City Hall.

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner. It is, however, normally only the start of a celebration which lasts through the night until the morning of New Year’s Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January which is a Scottish Bank Holiday. It is celebrated with several different customs, such as First-Footing, which involves friends or family members going to each other’s houses with a gift of whisky and sometimes a lump of coal. Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, hosts one of the world’s most famous New Year celebrations. The celebration is focused on a major street party along Princes Street. The cannon is fired at Edinburgh Castle at the stroke of midnight, followed by a large fireworks display. Edinburgh hosts a festival of four or five days, beginning on 28 December, and lasting until New Year’s Day or January 2, which is also a bank holiday in Scotland. Other cities across Scotland, such as Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling have large organised celebrations too, including fireworks at midnight. BBC Scotland broadcast the celebrations in Edinburgh to a Scottish audience, with the celebrations also screened across the world. STV covers both worldwide New Year celebrations & details of events happening around Scotland.

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Donna Summer

DonnaS The late great Queen of Disco Donna Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines on 31st December 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts. Summer’s performance debut occurred at church when she was ten years old after being invited to perform by the local pastor. Summer attended Boston’s Jeremiah E. Burke High School where she performed in school musicals and was considered popular. She was also something of a troublemaker, skipping home to attend parties, circumventing her parents’ strict curfew. In 1967, just weeks before graduation, Summer left for New York where she was a member of the blues rock band Crow.

Summer auditioned for a role in the musical, Hair. When Melba Moore was cast in the part, Summer agreed to take the role in the Munich production of the show. She moved to Munich, Germany after getting her parents’ reluctant approval. She achieved fame after signing as a solo artist to the pioneering disco label, Casablanca, in 1975 and her soaring voice and effervescent stage presence helped to propel her first single “Love to Love You Baby” to No 4 in the UK charts and ignited the disco craze of the 1970s, which was defined by sex, drugs and extravagant clothes. She participated in the musicals Ich bin ich (the German version of The Me Nobody Knows), Godspell and Show Boat and moved to Vienna. In 1968, Summer released her first single, a German version of the title “Aquarius” from the musical “Hair,” followed in 1971 by a second single, a cover of The Jaynetts’ “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses”, in 1972 she released the single “If You Walkin’ Alone” and married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973 and had a daughter, Mimi, the same year. Sadly she later divorced Sommer Citing marital problems caused by her affair with German artist (and future live-in boyfriend), Peter Mühldorfer. However She kept his last name, but anglicized it to “Summer”.

She provided backing vocals on producer-keyboardist, Veit Marvos’ 1972 Record Nice to See You. Summer then met German-based producers, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte while at a recording session at Munich’s Musicland Studios and The trio began collaborating on songs together. Summer’s first album, Lady of the Night contained the songs “The Hostage” and “Lady of the Night”. Summer and Morodor then released the song love to Love You and an American label requested that Moroder produce a longer version for discothèques. So Moroder, Bellotte and Summer returned with a 17-minute version. The song generated controversy due to Summer’s moans and groans and some American and European radio stations, including the BBC, refused to play it. Despite this “Love to Love You Baby” became incredibly successful And was followed by “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It”, “Could It Be Magic”, “Spring Affair”, and “Winter Melody”, she released The albums love Trilogy and Four Seasons of Love and Then In 1977, Summer released the concept album I Remember Yesterday, which included the song “I feel Love”.

She released Another concept album, Once Upon a Time and In 1978, released “MacArthur Park” and “Heaven Knows”. In 1978 Summer married Bruce Sudano & acted in the film Thank God It’s Friday playing a singer determined to perform at a hot disco club. This contained the song “Last Dance” which won a Grammy Award. In 1979, Summer performed at the world-televised Music for UNICEF Concert, joining ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart, John Denver, Earth, Wind & Fire, Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson for a TV special that raised funds and awareness for the world’s children. Summer’s next album Bad Girls became a huge success spawning the hits “Hot Stuff”, “Dim All the Lights”. With “MacArthur Park”,“Bad Girls” and the Barbra Streisand duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)”, these together with the songs. “Heaven Knows”, “Last Dance”, “Dim All the Lights” and “On the Radio” (from her upcoming double-album). “Hot Stuff” later won her a second Grammy in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.Summer released On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II, her first (international) greatest hits set, in 1979 featuring A new song “On the Radio. Summer signed withGeffen Records in 1980 Summer’s first Geffen album, The Wanderer, featured an eclectic mixture of sounds similar to Bad Girls combined with rock, rockabilly, new wave and gospel music. And contained the Singles The Wanderer, “Cold Love” and “Who Do You Think You’re Foolin’,”. Eventually, though Moroder and Bellotte and Summer left Geffen and hired top R&B and pop producer Quincy Jones to produce Summer’s next album, Donna Summer(1982) which contained the songs “Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)” “State of Independence” and “The Woman in Me”.

Summer’s next album featured the song She Works Hard for the Money which became a major hit & also garnered another Grammy nomination as well as “Unconditional Love” & “Love Has A Mind of Its Own”. Donna Summer’s next release. Cats Without Claws included the Song s”There Goes My Baby”, “Eyes” and “I’m Free,” . On January 19, 1985, she sang at the 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala before the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan. then In 1987, Summer returned with the album All Systems Go, featuring the singles “Dinner with Gershwin,” and “All Systems Go”. For Summer’s next album, She teamed up with Stock Aitken Waterman (or SAW), who enjoyed incredible success writing and producing for such acts as Kylie Minogue, Dead or Alive, Bananarama and Rick Astley, , entitled Another Place and Time, The album featured the singles “This Time I Know It’s for Real” “I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt” and “Love’s About to Change My Heart”. Then In 1990, the compilation, The Best of Donna Summer, was released. In 1991 Summer released the album Mistaken Identity containing the song “When Love Cries” and in 1992 Summer embarked on a world tour to promote the album and later that year received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1993, the two-disc set The Donna Summer Anthology was released, containing 34 tracks. In 1994 Summer released the Christmas album Christmas Spirit which included renditions of classic Christmas songs such as “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World” together with Summer-penned songs. Then Another hits collection, Endless Summer: Greatest Hits, was released, featuring eighteen songs that were single cuts of the songs differentiating from the Anthology set, where fuller length recordings were featured.

In 1992, she reunited with Giorgio Moroder, to record the dance song “Carry On”, which won Summer the first Grammy given to anyone in its dance category, then In 1995 she released the dance tune “Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)”. Summer was also offered a guest role on the sitcom Family Matters as Steve Urkel’s (Jaleel White) Aunt Oona, making a second appearance in 1997. Summer received a Grammy Award in 1998 for Best Dance Recording, after a remixed version of her 1992 collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, “Carry On”, was released in 1997. Then In 1999, Summer taped a live television special for VH1 titled Donna Summer – Live and More Encore, Featuring the songs “I Will Go with You (Con te partirò)” and “Love Is the Healer”. In 2000, Summer participated in VH1’s third annual Divas special, dedicated to Diana Ross, singing her own material and In 2003, Summer issued her autobiography, Ordinary Girl: The Journey, and released a best-of set titledThe Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer. In 2004, Summer was inducted into theDance Music Hall of Fame alongside the Bee Gees and Barry Gibb as an artist. In 2004 and 2005, Summer released the songs “You’re So Beautiful” and “I Got Your Love”. Summer also claimed that whilst living in Manhattan she had a premonition concerning The September 11 Attacks one month before they occurred

In 2008, Summer released her first studio album of fully original material in 17 years, entitled Crayons, which contained the songs “I’m a Fire”, “Stamp Your Feet”, “Fame (The Game)”,”The Queen is Back”,the ballad “Sand on my Feet” and “Mr. Music” withJ.R. Rotem and Evan Bogart, the son of Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart. On December 11, 2009, Summer performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway in honor of American President Barack Obama, backed by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. In August 2010, she released the single “To Paris With Love”, and also appeared in the PBS television special Hitman Returns: David Foster and Friends. In it Summer performed with Seal on a medley of the songs “Un-Break My Heart / Crazy / On the Radio” before closing the show with “Last Dance”. On September 15, 2010, Summer appeared as a guest celebrity singing alongside rising star Prince Poppycock on the television show America’s Got Talent. On October 16, 2010, she performed at a benefit concert at the Phoenix Symphony. On June 6, 2011, Summer was a guest judge on the show Platinum Hit in an episode entitled “Dance Floor Royalty”.In July 2011, Summer worked Paramount Recording Studios in Los Angeles with her nephew, the rapper and producer Omega Red, producing the song “Angel”.

Sadly After having a glittering career that spanned four decades, Donna Summer tragically passed away on 17th May 2012 in Florida, while attempting to put the finishing touches to her 24th album after having a short but acute battle with lung cancer which she beleived was the result of inhaling toxic dust from the collapsed Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in the aftermath of 9/11 terror attack. Donna was announced to be one of the 2013 inductees to theRock and Roll Hall of Fame and was inducted on April 18, 2013, at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater. During her incredible music career Summer made 24 albums which put the disco into discography, won five Grammys and in 2012 she was a nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to celebrate her extraordinary life,long-lasting career and her continuing legacy.

Donna Summer – Live & More Encore http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i1y9kz7eNfs

Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith)

Aerosmith_PumpTom Hamilton, The Bass Player with rock Band Aerosmith celebrates his birthday on 31st December. Sometimes referred to as “The Bad Boys from Boston” and “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.” The band was formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1970. Guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton, originally in a band together called the Jam Band, met up with singer Steven Tyler, drummer Joey Kramer, and guitarist Ray Tabano, and formed Aerosmith. In 1971, Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford, and the band began developing a following in Boston, Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock, has come to also incorporate elements of pop, heavy metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many subsequent rock artists. They were signed to Columbia Records in 1972, and released a string of multi-platinum albums, beginning with their 1973 eponymous debut album, followed by their 1974 album Get Your Wings.

In 1975, the band broke into the mainstream with the album Toys in the Attic, and their 1976 follow-up Rocks cemented their status as hard rock superstars.The band released two more albums, toured extensively, and charted a string of Hot 100 singles. By the end of the 1970s, they were among the most popular hard rock bands in the world and developed a loyal following of fans, often referred to as the “Blue Army”. However, drug addiction and internal conflict took their toll on the band, which resulted in the departures of Perry and Whitford in 1979 and 1981, respectively; they were replaced by Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay. Aerosmith released the album Rock in a Hard Place, which went gold but failed to match their previous successes. Perry and Whitford returned in 1984 and the band signed a new deal with Geffen Records. After a comeback tour, the band recorded Done with Mirrors, which won some critical praise but failed to come close to commercial expectations. It was not until the band sobered up and released 1987′s Permanent Vacation that they regained the level of popularity they had experienced in the 1970s.Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, the band scored several hits including Dude, looks like a lady Walk this Way (Featuring RUN DMC) and “love in an elvator“, and won numerous awards for music from the multi-platinum albums Pump, Get a Grip, and Nine Lives.

The band also became a pop culture phenomenon with popular music videos and notable appearances in television, film, and video games. Their comeback has been described as one of the most remarkable and spectacular in rock ‘n’ roll history. Additional albums followed in 2001 and 2004 including the songs Crazy (Featuring Alicia Silverstone & Liv Tyler) and I don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, from the film Armageddon. After 42 years of performing, the band continues to tour and record music. Their latest album, Music from Another Dimension, was released in 2012. Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time, having sold more than 150 million albums worldwide,including 66.5 million albums in the United States alone. They also hold the record for the most gold and multi-platinum albums by an American group. The band has scored 21 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, nine number-one Mainstream Rock hits, four Grammy Awards, and ten MTV Video Music Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and were included among both Rolling Stone’s and VH1′s lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Andy Summers (The Police)

Andy Summers, British guitarist with rock band The Police was born December 31st 1942. Formed in London in 1977.The Police consisted of Sting (lead vocals, bass), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums). The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s and are generally regarded as one of the first New Wave groups to achieve mainstream success, playing a style of rock that was influenced bypunk, reggae, and jazz.

They made many albums including Regatta de Blance, Zenyatta Mondatta and Their 1983 album, Synchronicity, which reached number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, and sold over 8 million copies in the US. The group disbanded in 1986, but reunited in early 2007 for a one-off world tour lasting until August 2008. The band has won a number of music awards throughout their career, including six Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group once, anMTV Video Music Award, and in 2003, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Police have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, and were the world’s highest-earning musicians in 2008, thanks to their reunion tour

THE POLICE GREATEST HITS – http://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLarJd9RZ0sKcG8H8R4gHV-8o87vEZIUlV

Danny McNamara (Embrace)

Danny McNamara, the lead singer with the band Embrace was born 31st December 1970. Embrace are an English band from Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse, West Yorkshire and consists of brothers singer Danny McNamara and guitarist Richard McNamara, bassist Steve Firth, keyboardist Mickey Dale, and drummer Mike Heaton.The band was begun in a small outbuilding at the bottom of a garden in Bailiff Bridge in 1990. A bass player joined the McNamara brothers, Richard playing guitar and Danny singing. The three of them started creating songs, with the aid of a cassette recorder, and soon a drum machine was added. In 1992 The band recorded a three track demo in a 16 track recording studio in Huddersfield which was sold at concerts.A single, “All You Good Good People” was released in February 1997. their debut album The Good Will Out was released on 8 June 1998 and went to number 1 in the UK Albums Chart.In 27 March 2000 the band released Drawn from Memory. the album was supported by an acclaimed tour, during which they were supported by then-fledgling Coldplay.

Afterwards they recorded their third studio album If You’ve Never Been, which was released on 3 September 2001. In 2004 they released the album Out of Nothing, which reached number one in the UK in 2004 and contained The single “Gravity”, which had been written by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Danny McNamara and Martin having become friends after Coldplay had supported Embrace in 2000.In October 2005, the band released their first b-side compilation, called Dry Kids: B-Sides 1997–2005, featuring b-sides from their previous album and including many fan-favourites such as “Blind” and a live rendition of D12′s “How Come”. The band’s fifth studio album, This New Day was released on 27 March 2006, with the single “Nature’s Law”. The band then had a break through much of 2007 to 2010. after having released five studio albums, one singles album and one B-sides compilation – The Good Will Out (1998), Drawn from Memory (2000), If You’ve Never Been (2001), Out of Nothing (2004) and This New Day (2006). The latest album Embrace was released in 2014

A Game for all the Family by Sophie Hannah

I would like to read the gripping psychological thriller Game for all the Family by Sophie Hannah. It features An Independent woman named Justine, her husband Alex and daughter Ellen who escape the frantic pace of life in London and move to a beautiful home in Devon, where Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George.

Then the anonymous phone calls start: and Justine’s life is thrown into chaos by a stranger, who starts making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety. If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out exactly what is going on and who she’s supposed to be…

The Hogfather

SusanStoHelI have recently watched the entertaining two-part Television adaptation of the Hogfather, which is based on the 20th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, and was nominated for a British Fantasy Award in 1997. It stars Joss Ackland, David Jason, Michelle Dockery and Marc Warren. It begins when The Ghostly Auditors of Discworld decide to eliminate the Hogfather, Who represents something akin to Father Christmas in Discworld, granting children’s wishes on Hogswatchnight (December 32) and bringing them presents, because he does not fit into their view of the universe. So They meet with Lord Downey, head of the Assassin’s Guild, and commission the services of the Assassin Mr Teatime, to “inhume”  the Hogfather and other anthropomorphic personifications such as the tooth Fairy and Verucca Gnome whom they deem surplus to requirements.

Meanwhile Death discovers that an unusually large number of people are dying before they should and when the Hogfather mysteriously vanishes, he decides to take over his job by donning a red cloak and a beard, in order to make people continue to believe in him,  however Death being Death, doesn’t quite get the hang of it and this has some rather amusing consequences. Elsewhere Death’s granddaughter Susan Sto Helit Tries to locate the real Hogfather. She visits his Castle of Bones only to find the hung-over Bilious, the “Oh God” of Hangovers, whom she rescues before the castle collapses due to the lack of belief. In an attempt to cure Bilious.

Susan then visits the Unseen University, where it is discovered that several small gods and beings are being created by the Unseen University’s thinking machine, Hex, who explains that there is ‘spare belief’ in the world – due to the absence of the Hogfather – which is being used to create them. Susan and Bilious then travel to the land of the Tooth Fairy where they discover that Jonathan Teatime has ‘killed’ the Hogfather by collecting millions of children’s teeth and using them to control the children, forcing them to stop believing in the Hogfather. Susan eventually confronts the assassin Mr Teatime and tries to rescue the Hogfather, who is n fact being held by the Auditors.