Phil Collins

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.

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.

Sir Terry Wogan KBE DL

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.

Marcus Mumford

Marcus 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

Heat

A Remastered version of the epic crime drama Heat is being released 6 February. It was written, produced and directed by Michael Mann and stars Robert De Niro who plays Neil McCauley, a professional thief, while Al Pacino plays Lt. Vincent Hanna, a LAPD robbery-homicide detective tracking down McCauley’s crew. The story is based on the former Chicago police officer Chuck Adamson’s pursuit during the 1960s of a criminal named McCauley,

It concerns Career criminals Neil McCauley and his crew; Chris Shiherlis, Michael Cheritto, and Trejo, who hire Waingro to help them rob $1.6 million in bearer bonds from an armored car. However the Robbery goes wrong. So McCauley’s fence, Nate, suggests he sell the stolen bonds back to their original owner, money launderer Roger Van Zant. Van Zant agrees, however McCauley is double-crossed by van Zant and vows revenge. Meanwhile LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), working with Sergeant Drucker and Detectives Sammy Casals, Mike Bosko and Danny Schwartz, investigate the heist and identify McCauley’s crew as the perpetrators. They discover their next target to be a precious metals depository. The unit stakes out the depository and observe the crime in progress, however McCauley’s crew escape.

McCauley’s crew then agrees to one last bank robbery worth $12 million to secure their financial futures. Waingro approaches Van Zant with information about eliminating McCauley’s crew. McCauley’s crew evade surveillance. When Trejo withdraws from the robbery, McCauley recruits ex-convict Donald Breedan (Dennis Haysbert) into the crew. Hanna’s unit receives a confidential tip and interrupt McCauley’s crew in the middle of their bank robbery resulting in an exciting shoot-out.

McCauley then learns from Trejo that Waingro alerted Van Zant to their bank robbery, who subsequently informed the police. Hanna subsequently orders police surveillance on Waingro and leaks his location to criminal channels, suspecting McCauley will attempt to kill him before leaving town. Meanwhile Shiherlis’ estranged wife Charlene is detained by police and is coerced into betraying Shiherlis, however Charlene warns Shiherlis instead, who escapes. Hanna’s hunch is proved right after McCauley and Eady discover Waingro’s location at a nearby hotel and instead of escaping they decide to confront him over his treachery. They are interrupted by Hanna who pursues them In an exciting cat-and-mouse shootout…

The Massacre of Mankind By Stephen Baxter

I would like to read the science fiction novel The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter, which is an officially sanctioned Sequel to the classic War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells. The book is set fourteen years after the events of the ‘The First Martian War’ when the Martians invaded England and were successfully defeated (albeit not due to any human intervention). The book is told from the point of view of journalist Julie Elphinstone who starts off in the USA, but travels to the UK at the request of her brother Walter Jenkins the narrator from the original book.

The world has moved on since the last Martian invasion and is a substantially different place because of the effect the last invasion had. Britain is now under Martial Law in case the Martians should ever return, and is led by Brigadier Marvin. Britain was not involved in The First World War which was known as the Schlieffen War and resulted in the Prussian Empire expanding with Germany now controlling large parts of Europe and having major influence in Britain.

Elsewhere Scientists have been watching the skies closely trying to predict if and when the Martians might return, while the military have acquired Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines from the previous unsuccessful invasion. This has led to technological leaps forward using Martian technology. The military also intend to exploitThe Martians vulnerability to earth germs. However Jenkins, is not convinced and is sure that the Martians have learned, and adapted since the last invasion. Sure enough ominous signs of launches on Mars are seen again, and the Earth comes under an even bigger attack from Mars…

Sidney Sheldon

Windmills-of-the-Gods-195x300Best known for his television shows including I dream of Jeannie and Hart to Hart as well as his many novels, the Academy Award-winning American writer Sidney Sheldon sadly passed away 30 January 2007. He Was Born February 11, 1917 and in 1937, Sheldon moved to Hollywood, California, where he reviewed scripts and collaborated on a number of B movies.Sheldon enlisted in the military during World War II as a pilot in the War Training Service, a branch of the Army Air Corps,His unit was disbanded before he saw any action. Returning to civilian life, he moved to New York City where he began writing musicals for theBroadway stage while continuing to write screenplays for both MGM Studios and Paramount Pictures. He earned a reputation as a prolific writer; for example, at one time he had three musicals on Broadway: a rewritten The Merry Widow, Jackpot, and Dream with Music.

His success on Broadway brought him back to Hollywood where his first assignment was The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay of 1947. He was one of the writers on the screenplay for the 1948 musical film Easter Parade and sole writer for the 1950 musical film Annie Get Your Gun, both of which featured the songs ofIrving Berlin.When television became the new popular medium, he decided to try his hand in it. “I suppose I needed money,” he remembered. “I met Patty Duke one day at lunch. So I produced The Patty Duke Show, and I did something nobody else in TV ever did. For seven years, I wrote almost every single episode of the series.”

Sheldon created, produced and wrote I Dream of Jeannie in his co-production capacity with Screen Gems. He wrote all but two dozen scripts in five years, sometimes using three pseudonyms (Mark Rowane, Allan Devon, Christopher Golato) while simultaneously writing scripts for The Patty Duke Show. He also used the same pseudonyms in writing all seventeen episodes of Nancy. He later admitted that he did this because he felt his name was appearing too often in the credits as creator, producer, copyright owner andwriter of these series. He also created and wrote for the series Hart to Hart. Production for I Dream of Jeannie ended in 1970 after five seasons. It was “During the last year of I Dream of Jeannie, I decided to try a novel,” he said in 1982. “Each morning from 9 until noon, I had a secretary at the studio take all calls. I mean every single call. I wrote each morning — or rather, dictated — and then I faced the TV business.

In 1969, Sheldon wrote his first novel, The Naked Face, which earned him a nomination for the Edgar Allan Poe Award from theMystery Writers of America in the category of Best First Novel. His next novel, The Other Side of Midnight, climbed to #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list as did several ensuing novels, a number of which were also made into motion pictures or TV miniseries Including Windmills of theGods. His novels often featured determined women who persevere in a tough world run by hostile men. the novels contained a lot of suspense and devices to keep the reader turning the page. Sheldon remains the seventh best selling fiction writer of all time And has also been Called “mr Blockbuster” and “the Prince of Potboilers”.