Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons)

imageMarcus Mumford, the lead singer with the incredibly lively folk rock band Mumford and Sons was born 31st January 1987. The earliest memories of the band performing together are within the close confines of a rehearsal room in Putney, and street-side jamming sessions on the pavement ahead of a show. It was a scene already common to the band as musicians falling in and out of bands of each and every genre. Band members Ben Lovett and Marcus Mumford were already working on songs together from their school days, but those songs didn’t realise their full potential until Winston Marshall (armed with a banjo and dobro), and Ted Dwane (double bass, but with a penchant for being a multi-instrumental marvel) gave these songs new arrangements, and injected them with a real ‘band’ dynamic. Within a few months, Mumford & Sons released their eponymously named debut EP,which featured the first, self-produced recordings of ‘Roll Away Your Stone’, ‘Awake My Soul’, and ‘White Blank Page.

Mumford and Sons Debut Album “Sigh no More” was released in October 2009 to much critical Acclaim and rave reviews and won the band a UK Brit Award in 2010 (Best Album), and was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize Award in the same year. Outside of Britain, Mumford & Sons also picked up two Grammy nominations (Best New Artist, Best Rock Song), and performed alongside Bob Dylan covering Maggie’s Farm at the awards themselves.

They also toured relentlessly in support of Sigh no More, The live shows in London sold-out instantly and were rammed to the rafters and this was soon replicated across the whole of the UK and The British and Ireland shows were selling out rapidly with each and every passing tour. A second EP was released, ‘Love Your Ground’, which featured the band’s own recordings of ‘Little Lion Man’ and the firm live favourite, ‘Feel The Tide’. This was followed by more touring, round Europe and They also had a ten-day live adventure across India, and also played to sold-out arenas in America and Australia. They also made an awesome appearance at Glastonbury 2011 and their second album “Babel” was released in 2012

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Sir Terry Wogan KBE DL (part one)

I was saddened to hear that Veteran Radio broadcaster and television presenter Sir Michael Terence “Terry” Wogan, KBE DL died aged 77 on the 31 January 2016 at his home in Buckinghamshire. Wogan was Born in Limerick. Ireland on 3 August 1938. at the age of 15, after his father was promoted to general manager, Wogan moved to Dublin with his family. While living in Dublin, he attended Crescent College’s sister school, Belvedere College. He participated in amateur dramatics and discovered a love of rock and roll. After leaving Belvedere in 1956, Wogan had a brief career in the banking profession, joining the Royal Bank of Ireland. While in his twenties, he joined the national broadcaster of Ireland, RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) as a newsreader and announcer, after seeing a newspaper advertisement inviting applicants.

Wogan conducted interviews and presented documentary features during his first two years at Raidió Teilifís Éireann, before moving to the light entertainment department as a disc jockey and host of TV quiz and variety shows such as Jackpot, a top rated quiz show on RTÉ in the 1960s. It was here that he developed his signature catchphrase, based on his name: “Wo’gwan.”[10] When the show was dropped by RTÉ TV in 1967, Wogan approached the BBC for extra work. He began working for BBC Radio, initially ‘down the line’ from London, first broadcasting on the Light Programme on Tuesday 27 September 1966. He presented the Tuesday edition of Late Night Extra for two years on BBC Radio 1, commuting weekly from Dublin to London. After covering Jimmy Young’s mid-morning show throughout July 1969, he was offered a regular afternoon slot between 3 and 5.

In April 1972, he took over the breakfast show on BBC Radio 2, swapping places with John Dunn, who briefly hosted the afternoon show. Wogan enjoyed unprecedented popularity, achieving audiences of up to 7.9 million. His seemingly ubiquitous presence across the media meant that he frequently became the butt of jokes by comedians of the time, among them The Goodies and The Barron Knights. He was capable of self-parody too, releasing a vocal version of the song “The Floral Dance” in 1978, by popular request from listeners who enjoyed hearing him sing over the instrumental hit by the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. His version reached number 21 in the UK Singles Chart. A follow-up single, entitled “Me and the Elephant”, and an eponymous album were also released, but did not chart. In December 1984, Wogan left his breakfast show to pursue a full-time career in television and was replaced by Ken Bruce. His first chat show Wogan’s World, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from 6 June 1974 to 21 September 1975.

In January 1993, he returned to BBC Radio 2 to present the breakfast show, then called Wake Up to Wogan. Which included rambling, esoteric banter and was highly interactive with much of the entertainment coming from letters and emails sent in by listeners (many of whom adopt punning pseudonyms, such as Edina Cloud, Lucy Lastic, Sly Stunnion, Roland Butter, Lucy Quipment, Anne Kersaway, Peregrine Trousers, Alf Hartigan, Mick Sturbs, Hellen Bach and “Tess Tickles”. Wogan is also widely credited with launching the career of singer Katie Melua after he repeatedly played her debut single, “The Closest Thing to Crazy”, in late 2003 Which she performed on Children in Need in 2005.

He worked for the BBC in Great Britain for most of his career. Before he retired from his BBC Radio 2 weekday breakfast programme Wake Up to Wogan in 2009, it had eight million regular listeners, making him the most listened-to radio broadcaster in Europe. Wogan began his career on the Irish national broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann where he presented shows such as Jackpot in the 1960s and became a leading media personality in the UK from the late 1960s often being referred to as a “national treasure”.In addition to his weekday radio show, he was known in the United Kingdom for his work for television, including the BBC One chat show Wogan, presenting Children in Need, the game show Blankety Blank and Come Dancing and as the BBC’s commentator for the Eurovision Song Contest from 1971 to 2008.

Wogan’s radio show included running jokes involving Wogan’s newsreader colleagues Alan Dedicoat (nicknamed ‘Deadly’ after the spoonerism ‘Deadly Alancoat’), Fran Godfrey and John Marsh (nicknamed ‘Boggy’). He also narrated a series of spoof “Janet and John” stories during the breakfast show. Which were a pastiche of children’s learn-to-read stories but are littered with humorous sexual double-entendres.Wogan’s radio show also included exchanges with “the Totty from Splotty “ – Lynn Bowles, the Welsh traffic reporter from Splott, Cardiff – which often involved reading limericks from listeners cut short after 1 or 2 lines due to risqué innuendo. On 2009, Wogan left the breakfast show with Chris Evans taking over. However Wogan returned to Radio 2 from 14 February 2010 to host Weekend Wogan, a live weekly two-hour Sunday show on Radio 2, hosted in front of a live studio audience andfeaturing live musical performance and guests, between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm and continued to host the show until November 2015 when, due to ill health, he was replaced by Richard Madeley

Part Two

From 1980 Wogan presented The BBC Televised Charity appeal Children in Need alongside Esther Rantzen and Sue Lawley. Raising money for various children’s charities and good causes and also appeared on the comedy quiz show QI in 2008 In 2008, Wogan and singer Aled Jones released a single “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” which got to number three in the UK music charts. The money raised went to BBC Children in Need. The two recorded a second Christmas single “Silver Bells” in 2009 which was also in aid of BBC Children in Need. Wogan was the main regular presenter of Children in Need for more than thirty years, his last such appearance being in 2014. In November 2015, Wogan was unable to participate in the televised Children in Need appeal for the first time in its 35-year history due to poor health and was replaced by Dermot O’Leary.

In 1971, and from 1974, until 1977, Wogan provided the BBC’s radio commentary for the Eurovision Song Contest and From 1980 until 2008, he provided the BBC’s television commentary and became known for his sardonic acerbic wit and highly cynical comments. In 1998 He co-hosted the contest with Ulrika Jonsson in Birmingham when Dana International of Israel won the contest. He also hosted Eurovision in 1973, 1975 and 1977 until 1996, 1998, and from 2003 until 2008. As well as the companion show Making Your Mind Up, in which the British public voted to decide their Eurovision entry. In recent years, the Contest has become notorious for what is widely seen as an increase in political voting, the UK’s entry has in recent years often come last despite being of better quality in favor of some really ridiculous songs.In 2008, Wogan gave up presenting Eurovision after 35 years when United Kingdom once again finished last, stating it had become predictable and was no longer a music contest (I’m not sure it ever was, it’s more of a freak show sometimes) and was replaced by Graham Norton.

Wogan’s was also famous for TV chat shows including What’s on Wogan? And Saturday Live in 1981. Wogan was then given his own chat show, Wogan, which after a trial run on a midweek evening, was recommissioned for broadcast on Saturday nights from 1982 to 1984. Between 1985 and 1992, the show became thrice-weekly on early weekday evenings. Memorable incidents in the series included the interviews with a drunk George Best and Oliver Reed, a silent Chevy Chase, a nervous Anne Bancroft who was so petrified she gave monosyllabic answers and counted to ten before descending the entrance steps to the studio, Ronnie Barker announcing his retirement on the show, and David Icke claiming to be the “Son of God”. Despite it”s success, in 1992 his talk show was replaced by the ill-fated soap Eldorado and he briefly hosted a new weekly chat strand Terry Wogan’s Friday Night in 1993. In 2006 Wogan presented Wogan Now and Then where he interviewed guests from his old chat show as well as new guests. In 2015 BBC Two launched a new compilation series, Wogan: the Best Of, featuring selected interview segments and music performances from Wogan’s past chat series, linked by new introductions from Wogan.

In 1981 Wogan set the world record for the longest successful golf putt ever televised at 33 yards at the Gleneagles golf course in a pro-celebrity TV programme on the BBC and also narrated the BBC television series Stoppit and Tidyup which was broadcast in 1987.Wogan appeared on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross four times, between 2004 and 2009 and during  Top Gear, Wogan managed to become the second-slowest guest to go around the test track as the “Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car”, a Suzuki Liana.In 2010, Wogan made a cameo appearance in the second series of Being Human, and also guest-hosted Never Mind the Buzzcocks and hosted Wogan on Wodehouse for BBC Two. In 2013, Wogan appeared as a panellist on ITV game show Through the Keyhole and participated in a celebrity edition of the BBC One game show Pointless, with celebrities including Bobby Ball and Esther Rantzen, in aid of Children in Need. In 2014, Wogan appeared as a guest reporter on Bang Goes the Theory, on which he discussed old-age dementia. He also appeared on the Channel 4 game show Draw It! And guest hosted an episode of The One Show with Alex Jones.

During his long and distinguished career Wogan has received many honours. He was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1997 and elevated to an Honorary Knight Commander of the same order (KBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005. His knighthood was made substantive on 11 October 2005, allowing him to use the style “Sir and in 2007, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. In 2007, Wogan’s home City of Limerick honoured him with the Freedom of the City. In 2004, he received an Honorary D.Litt. degree from the University of Limerick as well as a special lifetime achievement award from his native city and also received an Honorary LL.D. degree from Leicester University in 2010. Wogan was also the subject of This Is Your Life in 1978.Wogan was inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame at a gala dinner held in his honour in 2009 and was announced as the Ultimate Icon of Radio 2, commemorating the station’s 40th birthday, alongside fellow nominees, The Beatles, Diana, Princess of Wales and Nelson Mandela and chose Stardust” by Nat King Cole as his iconic song of the last 40 years and Favourite song on Desert Island Discs.

John Lydon (Sex Pistols)

SexpistolsJohn Lydon, A.K.A Johnny Rotten, vocalist with The Sex Pistols was born 31st January 1956. formed in London in 1975 The Sex Pistols were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. Although their initial career lasted just two-and-a-half years and produced only four singles and one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, they are regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music, and the album is regarded as a classic by many.

They evolved from “The Strand”, a London band formed in 1972 with working-class teenagers Steve Jones on vocals, Paul Cook on drums, and Wally Nightingale on guitar. According to a later account by Jones, both he and Cook played on instruments they had stolen. vocalist Johnny Rotten joined soon after In August 1975, when he was spotted wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt with the words I Hate handwritten above the band’s name and holes scratched through the eyes. The line-up was completed by guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock, who was replaced by Sid Vicious in early 1977.

Under the management of impresario Malcolm McLaren, the band provoked controversies that captivated Britain. Their behaviour, as much as their music, brought them national attention and their concerts repeatedly faced difficulties with organizers and authorities, and public appearances often ended in mayhem. Their 1977 single “God Save the Queen”, attacking Britons’ social conformity and deference to the Crown, precipitated the “last and greatest outbreak of pop-based moral pandemonium”.

Since the spring of 1977, the three senior Sex Pistols had also been returning to the studio periodically with Chris Thomas to lay down the tracks for the band’s debut album. Initially to be called God Save Sex Pistols, it became known during the summer as Never Mind the Bollocks. In January 1978, after a turbulent tour of the United States, Rotten left the band and announced its break-up. Over the next several months, the three other band members recorded songs for McLaren’s film version of the Sex Pistols’ story, The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle. Vicious died of a heroin overdose in February 1979. In 1996, Rotten, Jones, Cook and Matlock reunited for the Filthy Lucre Tour; since 2002, they have staged further reunion shows and tours. On 24 February 2006, the Sex Pistols—the four original members plus Vicious—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Phil Collins (Genesis)

GenesisBest known as a drummer and vocalist for British progressive rock groups Genesis and Brand X, as well as being a popular solo artist, the English singer-songwriter, drummer, pianist producer and actor Phil Collins LVO celebrates his birthday on 30th January. Collins’s professional music career began as a drummer, first with Flaming Youth and then more famously with Genesis, after he answered a Melody Maker classified ad for “…a drummer sensitive to acoustic music, and acoustic twelve-string guitarist”.

The first album Nursery Cryme was released a year later. Although his role remained primarily that of drummer and backing vocalist for the next five years, he twice sang lead vocals: once on “For Absent Friends” (from Nursery Cryme) and once on “More Fool Me” (from Selling England by the Pound). In Genesis, Collins originally supplied backing vocals for front man Peter Gabriel, singing lead on only two songs: “For Absent Friends” from 1971′s Nursery Cryme album and “More Fool Me” from Selling England by the Pound, which was released in 1973.

Following Gabriel’s departure in 1975, Collins became the group’s lead singer, and sang lead vocals on several chart hits in the United Kingdom and the United States between 1975 and 2010, either as a solo artist or with Genesis. He has released many great albums, either as part of Genesis or as a Solo Artist including INVISIBLE TOUCH, FOXTROT & GENESIS, His singles, sometimes dealing with lost love, ranged from the drum-heavy “In the Air Tonight”, dance pop of “Sussudio”, piano-driven “Against All Odds”, to the political statements of “Another Day in Paradise”.

Collins has won numerous music awards throughout his career, including seven Grammy Awards, five Brit Awards—winning Best British Male three times, an Academy Award, and two Golden Globes for his solo work. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010, and is one of only three recording artists (along with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson) who have sold over 100 million albums worldwide both as solo artists and (separately) as principal members of a band. In 2008, Collins was ranked the 22nd most successful artist on the “The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists.

Chad Channing (Nirvana)

nirvana-nevermind-album-coverChad Channing, American ex-musician with Seattle Grunge band Nirvana was born born 31st January 1967.Nirvana were formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting being Dave Grohl, who joined the band in 1990.In the late 1980s Nirvana became established as part of the Seattle grunge scene, . The band eventually came to develop a sound that relied on dynamic contrasts, often between quiet verses and loud, heavy choruses.

Nirvana released their first single, “Love Buzz”, in November 1988. The following month, the band began recording its debut album, Bleach, which was released on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989 and was highly influenced by the heavy dirge-rock of the Melvins and Mudhoney, 1980s punk rock, and the 1970s heavy metal of Black Sabbath. Novoselic noted in a 2001 interview with Rolling Stone that the band had played a tape in their van while on tour that had an album by The Smithereens on one side and an album by the black metal band Celtic Frost on the other, and noted that the combination probably played an influence as well.

Following the release of Bleach in June 1989, Nirvana embarked on its first national tour, and the album became a favorite of college radio stations. Although Sub Pop did not promote Bleach as much as other releases, it was a steady seller,and had initial sales of 40,000 copies. However, Cobain was upset by the label’s lack of promotion and distribution for the album. In late 1989, the band recorded the Blew EP with producer Steve Fisk. In a late 1989 interview, Cobain noted that the band’s music was changing. He said, “The early songs were really angry … But as time goes on the songs are getting poppier and poppier as I get happier and happier. The songs are now about conflicts in relationships, emotional things with other human beings”. In April 1990, the band began working with producer Butch Vig at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin on recordings for the follow-up to Bleach. During the sessions, Cobain and Novoselic became disenchanted with Channing’s drumming, and Channing expressed frustration at not being actively involved in songwriting. As bootlegs of Nirvana’s demos with Vig began to circulate in the music industry and draw attention from major labels, Channing left the band.

Arthur Peppercorn

A1 60163 Tornado

A1 60163 Tornado

Arthur Peppercorn, the Cheif Mechanical Engineer for the LNER from 1946 to 1949, was born in Leominster on 29 January 1889. He was educated at Hereford Cathedral School. In 1905 he started his career as an apprentice with the Great Northern Railway (GNR) at Doncaster. He succeeded Edward Thompson as CME on 1 July 1946 but his style of work was more like Thompson’s predecessor Sir Nigel Gresley. Peppercorn finished several projects which were started by Thompson, but most popular were his LNER Peppercorn Class A1 and the LNER Peppercorn Class A2.

Edward Thompson had set down a strict set of design guidelines for the incoming CME, relating directly to the upcoming design of Express Passenger Pacific Locomotive. The design was to draw heavily on the A1/1 Pacific Great Northern which had been rebuilt during Thompson’s time in office. This would have created a cross between the A2/3 Pacifics, and Great Northern’s 6’8″ driving wheels. By the time Peppercorn was in office, reports of Great Northern’s persistent frame problems, hot axleboxes, and steam leaks were all filtering back into the design office. The general belief was that the issue was being brought about because of a lack of frame support at the front end, largely due to the cylinders not being mounted aligned with each other (an aspect of divided drive combined with equal length connecting rods). Thompson’s guidelines would have produced another locomotive with the cylinders apart, so Peppercorn decided against it, and brought the cylinders in line, and arranged the locomotive as something of a merging of both Gresley’s A4 and Thompson’s A2/1, creating first the A2 class, and then the A1.

Both of the Peppercorn Pacifics utilised a boiler incorporating a 50 sq ft grate, allowing for very high power levels to be produced, but at the cost of a relatively high fuel consumption, and consequently, though both the A1 and A2 classes were regarded as excellent locomotives, they were not especially popular with those who had to fire them. The A1s were intended to take over from the A4s on non-stop express duties, but they failed to dent the monopoly of the A4s over the London-Edinburgh Expresses, which after postwar frame alignment and fitting of double Kylchap Chimneys, became the standard bearer of the East Coast Main line once more.

The real strength of the A1 and A2 classes lay in their reliability. By carefully incorporating the best of Gresley and Thompson design, as well as ideas of his own, Peppercorn had produced two masterpieces of durability and low service cost. Some five of the A1’s had roller bearings fitted throughout, and these five regularly clocked up mileages of over 150,000 between intermediate overhauls. Even the plain bearing A1’s were capable of 90,000 miles between overhaul, and no other express passenger locomotive class in the UK could better 80,000. The first of his A2 engines had single chimneys, and when fitted with a self cleaning smoke-boxes experienced steaming problems which took some time to resolve. Changing to Double Blast-pipe resolved much of the issues, though some of the A2’s retained single chimney without self cleaning apparatus. The A1’s, being built afterwards, and incorporating the lessons learned, featured the Double Blast-pipe and Chimney from new.

These were known as some of the best British steam locomotives ever in service, the A2’s were particularly powerful, and finally produced the answer to the heavy services on the Edinburgh to Aberdeen Line which had blighted both Gresley (P2 Class- too long a rigid wheelbase) and Thompson (A2/2 and A2/3- both lacking adhesion). Upon Nationalisation and the foundation of British Railways, he continued in essentially the same job, now titled “Chief Mechanical Engineer, Eastern and North Eastern Regions”; he retired at the end of 1949, two years after nationalisation. Overall he was active as a railway Chief Mechanical Engineer for three and a half years. Sadly Non of the original A1’s survived the Beeching Axe, however the A1steam Trust set about building one, which was unveiled in 2008 this has been A star at many Steam Gala’s since and is allocated to visit the Severn Valley Railway’s Autumn Steam Gala 2016 alongside recently rebuilt LNER A3 Pacific 4472 Flying Scotsman.

Quoth the raven “Nevermore”

imageThe classic poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe was published in the New York Evening Mirror, on 29 January 1845, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe. The Raven tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, who is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore and it traces the man’s slow descent into madness, which the raven seems to further instigate with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem has a supernatural atmosphere and also makes use of a number of folk and classical references and became a huge success. Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty by Charles Dickens. Its publication made Poe widely popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success. Soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated, critical opinion is divided as to the poem’s status, but it nevertheless remains one of the most famous poems ever written.

Poe also produced his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), and is considered part of the American Romantic Movement and is remembered for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre. The award is named after this author.