Terry Nation (Doctor Who)

Welsh television writer and novelist. “Terry” Nation was born 8 August 1930 in Llandaff, Cardiff, Nation initially worked in comedy, entering the industry in 1955 after a (possibly apocryphal) incident in which Spike Milligan bought a sketch that he had written because he thought that Nation appeared hungry. During the 1950s, Nation worked with John Junkin and Johnny Speight for writers’ agency Associated London Scripts,  where he collaborated on hundreds of radio plays for comedians such as Terry Scott, Eric Sykes, Harry Worth and Frankie Howerd. His career break came in 1962, when he was commissioned to write material for Tony Hancock – first for Hancock’s unsuccessful series broadcast on Associated Television in 1963, and then his stage show. Although Nation accompanied Hancock as his chief screenwriter on tour in 1963, Hancock would regularly neglect Nation’s scripts in favour of recycling his old material. Following an argument over this, Hancock fired Nation.

BBC scriptwriter David Whitaker had been impressed by a script that Nation had written for the ABC anthology series Out of this World so he asked him to write for the BBC science-fiction programme Doctor Who. Nation began writing the second Doctor Who serial, The Daleks (also known as The Mutantsand The Dead Planet).Nation went on to contribute further scripts to Doctor Who. In 1965, Nation and Dennis Spooner co-wrote the 12-part serial The Daleks’ Master Plan, after which Nation, who still held the copyright to the Daleks,[ attempted to launch a Dalek spin-off TV series in the United States. Various other Dalek tie-in material appeared, including comic strips in the children’s weekly TV Century 21 and annuals; such material was frequently credited to Nation, even when written by others. Between 1966 and 1972, appearances by the Daleks in Doctor Who became less frequent and were written for the series by other authors. in 1973 Nation returned to writing for the Daleks on Doctor Who with the Third Doctor serial Planet of the Daleks. In 1998, readers of Doctor Who Magazine voted Nation’s 1975 serial Genesis of the Daleks the greatest Doctor Who story of all time. This story features the introduction of Davros, the creator of the Daleks. Nation also wrote two non-Dalek scripts for Doctor Who, The Keys of Marinus in 1964, which introduced the Voord and The Android Invasion in 1975, which introduced the Kraal.

Nation also contributed scripts to The Avengers, the Baron,The Champions, Department S, The Persuaders! and The Saint. Nation’s work on Doctor Who was the subject of the documentary Terror Nation, a special feature on the BBC DVD release of the serial Destiny of the Daleks. Having returned to writing for Doctor Who, the BBC commissioned Nation to create a new science-fiction drama series. First broadcast in 1975, Survivors is the post-apocalyptic story of the last humans on Earth after the world’s population has been devastated by plague. Although the series was well received, Nation’s creative vision conflicted with that of producer Terence Dudley, and the final two seasons were produced without Nation’s involvement. Nation was involved in legal proceedings after screenwriter Brian Clemens claimed that Nation had stolen the idea for Survivors from him after he’d registered it with the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain in 1965. Nation denied the allegations. Although the case was ultimately brought before the High Court, it was subsequently dropped due to cost.

Nation’s next BBC creation, Blake’s 7,  followed a group of criminals and political prisoners who are on the run from the evil “Terran Federation”, piloting a stolen spaceship of unknown origin. Running for four seasons from 1978 to 1981. Nation scripted the whole of the first season, however his creative influence waned as script editor Chris Boucher exerted a greater influence on later seasons. In the 1980s, Nation attempted, without success, to secure funding for a fifth season of Blake’s 7. During the 1970s, Nation wrote a children’s novel for his daughter Rebecca (after whom he named the character of Rebec in the 1973 Doctor Who serial Planet of the Daleks) titled Rebecca’s World: Journey to the Forbidden Planet, as well as a novel based on Survivors. In 1980, Nation moved to Los Angeles, where he developed programme ideas and worked for various production studios Where He penned scripts for the TV series MacGyver and A Fine Romance.

Unfortunately Nation suffered from poor health in his final years, and died from emphysema in Los Angeles on 9 March 1997. Shortly before his death, he had been collaborating with actor Paul Darrow on another attempt to revive Blake’s 7. In 2013, Nation was commemorated with a blue plaque at the house in Cardiff where he was born

Frederick Gustafson (Roxy Music)

English bass guitar player and singer, John Frederick Gustafson was born 8 August 1942in Liverpool. He is known for his work with 1960s bands The Big Three and The Merseybeats, and for singing on the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar as Simon Zealotes. He made an appearance on Roger Glover’s The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast album track, “Watch Out for the Bat”,

He had a lengthy recording and live performance career. During his career, he was a member of the bands The Big Three, Ian Gillan Band. He also performed with Roxy Music for four years and performed on three studio albums. His final record with the band, Siren, included their only American hit single, “Love Is the Drug”. He also played bass guitar for several re-incarnations of the Ian Gillan Band and the progressive rock band, Quatermass. He also re-formed The Pirates, originally the backing band for Johnny Kidd. He was bassist on several tracks for Flamenco guitarist Juan Martin’s 1981 concept album, Picasso Portraits  Harlequin, Desire Caught By The Tail, The Aficionado and Girls of Algiers. He Also played on Kevin Ayers’ album The Confessions of Dr Dream, 1974 and In 1983 he was in the group Rowdy which included Ray Fenwick and Billy Bremner. Gustafson sadly passed away on 11 September 2014.

Daniel House (feeDback,TMW, Skin Yard, The Melvins)

Best known for his contribution to the Seattle “grunge” music movement of the 1980s and ‘90s, the business owner/entrepreneur and musician Daniel House was born August 8, 1961. House’s first band was the Seattle band Death of Marat, named after a painting by Jacques-Louis David depicting the assassination of radical journalist Jean-Paul Marat during the French Revolution. Sadly The band broke up in late 1983 so In 1984 House formed an instrumental prog-rock three-piece band called feeDBack with Matt Cameron on drums and a guitarist named “Nerm” (real name Tom Herring). feeDBack lasted only 10 months but managed to record 9 songs on a 4-track recorder that Cameron owned. The songs have subsequently been remixed and mastered by Jack Endino, but have never been released.

Shortly after forming feeDBack, House was recruited to play bass in 10 Minute Warning (TMW), replacing the recently departed David Garrigues. TWM was unique at the time in that they originated as a punk band, but had evolved into something slower, heavier and with psychedelic overtones. TMW are popularly regarded as one of the very first progenitors of the grunge movement. 10 Minute Warning broke up at the end of 1984 after guitarist Paul Solger quit, and drummer Greg Gilmore left Seattle to join former 10 Minute Warning guitarist Duff McKagan in Los Angeles.

In 1985 House joined Jack Endino whom he met through Nerm to form a new band using elements of both feeDBack and Ten Minute Warning. They recruited Matt Cameron and began writing songs while looking for a singer. Eventually finding Ben McMillan to take on vocal duties, they named the new band Skin Yard And House played bass.  1985 Skin Yard played their first show opening for the U-Men. Skin Yard’s music was first released on the Deep Six compilation album which also featured tracks by Soundgarden, The Melvins, U-Men, Green River and Malfunkshun. Between 1987 and 1991, Skin Yard released 4 full-length records and embarked on several national and regional tours up and down the west coast. House quit Skin Yard in 1991 and has not actively played in a band since.

In 1988 House co-wrote and recorded The Last Laugh, Helios Creed’s first for Amphetamine Reptile Records with Jason Finn on drums. In 1989, House was the drummer for Seattle band, Yeast, who released one 7″ single (“Crisco Wristwatch”) and a track on Teriyaki Asthma Vol. I which also included tracks from Nirvana, Helios Creed and Coffin Break. The other members of Yeast were Milton Garrison from Vexed and Al Thompkins from Daddy Hate Box. Yeast highlights included sharing the bill once with Soundgarden and once with Tad. In 1993 House played one show with the band Pretty Mary Sunshine (opening for Red House Painters) while bass player Joe Skyward was in Europe playing with The Posies. Pretty Mary Sunshine asked House to become their permanent bass-player, but he declined.

In 1986 Daniel House purchased Seattle-based label C/Z Records from Chris Hanzsek. Initially House intended the label as a vehicle to release music by Skin Yard, his band at the time. Skin Yard’s only previously released material was on C/Z’s Deep Six compilation, and House wanted to maintain the ongoing sales efforts for the remaining LPs still in stock. House continued to release records by other bands in the Seattle area, while working at a series of jobs, eventually working as Director of Sales and Distribution for Sub Pop Records in 1988. House left Sub Pop in 1991 in an effort to make C/Z a viable business. Over the next several years C/Z grew into an independent label with national recognition releasing material from 7 Year Bitch, Treepeople, Coffin Break, Engine Kid, Hammerbox, Built to Spill, The Gits, Love Battery, Silkworm and Monks of Doom, the Melvins, The Presidents of the United States of America, and Skin Yard.  In 1993, C/Z entered into a production and distribution deal with Sony-owned RED Distribution. By 1994, that deal had drained C/Z of all its financial resources and effectively shut C/Z down, leaving House deep in debt.

In 1996 House appeared in a grunge documentary Hype!, the footage of which had been shot in 1992-1993 And the BMG-owned Zoo Entertainment partnered with C/Z for a third-party venture deal which helped to resolve the debt incurred during the RED Distribution deal. Zoo provided a modest operating and recording budget and assisted in the development of new artists. In 1997 Zoo was purchased and all third party ventures were dropped. C/Z would then be turned back to a part-time venture with House looking towards new opportunities that would still keep him involved in music. The shift would move him towards Internet-based music and entertainment ventures. In 1998, House began working in the music department at streaming media pioneer RealNetworks as an editor for their online content portal, the RealGuide. In 2003 he moved from Seattle to Los Angeles where he oversaw the development and creation of the now-defunct http://www.DownloadPunk.com as well as the music-centric online dating website, RocknRollDating.com.

 

 

Michael Johnson

American pop, country and folk singer-songwriter and guitarist Michael Johnson was born August 8, 1944 in  Alamosa, Colorado and grew up in Denver. He started playing the guitar at 13. In 1963, he began attending Colorado State University to study music but his college career was truncated when he won an international talent contest two years later. First prize included a deal with Epic Records. Epic released the song “Hills”, written and sung by Johnson, as a single. Johnson began extensive touring of clubs and colleges, finding a receptive audience everywhere he went. Wishing to hone his instrumental skills, in 1966 he set off for Barcelona, Spain, to the Liceu Conservatory, studying with the eminent classical guitarists, Graciano Tarragó and Renata Tarragó. ON returning to USA he joined Randy Sparks in a group called the New Society and did a tour of the Orient.

When New Society split in 1967, he signed on with the Chad Mitchell Trio for a year, spending some of that time co-writing with another member, John Denver. The group was renamed Denver, Boise & Johnson. When the trio came to an end, Johnson made a radical departure from everything he had done previously by taking on a major supporting role in the off-Broadway production of “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.” Which visited New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago

In 1971, Johnson signed with Atco Records to release his first album, There Is A Breeze, which was released in 1973 and produced by Johnson, Chris Dedrick, Peter Yarrow and Phil Ramone in New York and Toronto, Canada. Feeling this first effort wasn’t a true reflection of his music (despite being a huge best seller in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area), Johnson self-produced his next LP in 1975, For All You Mad Musicians, relying more on his voice and guitar for a folk feel. He followed this up with Ain’t Dis Da Life, where he added a rhythm section. With each new recording and his continued touring, his popularity was increasing. It was time to make a move on the national market.

Teaming up with Brent Maher and Steve Gibson in Nashville, Tennessee, Johnson created a two-song demo consisting of “Bluer Than Blue” and “Almost Like Being in Love” (the latter song from the Broadway musical Brigadoon). EMI America took one listen and wasted no time in signing him, quickly getting The Michael Johnson Album out in 1978. The first single, “Bluer Than Blue”, became Johnson’s first Top 40 hit, peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the summer of 1978; the song became a chart-topping single on the Adult Contemporary chart. “Almost Like Being in Love” went to No. 91 on the R&B chart while hitting the Top 5 on the AC chart and the Top 40 on the pop chart. His next EMI album, Dialogue, provided his third big hit, “This Night Won’t Last Forever” and a Gold Record for European sales of “I’ll Always Love You”. He is best known for his 1978 hit song “Bluer Than Blue”. He charted four hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and nine more on the Hot Country Songs charts, including two Number One country hits in 1986’s “Give Me Wings” and “The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder”.

Johnson recorded five albums in all for EMI and in 1985 moved over to RCA Records, where he adopted a country style that stayed compatible with his soft, mellow leanings. He scored five Top Ten country hits from 1986 to 1989, including the chart-toppers “Give Me Wings” and “The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder.” After two country albums on RCA (plus two greatest hits collections), Johnson moved over to Atlantic Records in 1991. He recorded sporadically in the 1990s for smaller labels. In 1995,Johnson co-wrote an updated version of “Cain’s Blood with Jack Sundrud of Poco for the country music group 4 Runner and also proved to be a successful writer of prose when he penned “The Solo Performer” columns for the magazine Performing Songwriter from 1993-98. Sadly Johnson died at his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 25, 2017 at the age of 72

John Renbourne (Pentangle)

English guitarist and songwriter John Renbourn was born 8 August 1944. He was best known for his collaboration with guitarist Bert Jansch as well as his work with the folk group Pentangle. John Renbourn studied classical guitar at school and it was during this period that he was introduced to Early Music. In the 1950s, along with many others, he was greatly influenced by the musical craze of “Skiffle” and this eventually led him to explore the work of artists such as Lead Belly, Josh White and Big Bill Broon. While most commonly labelled a folk musician, Renbourn’s musical tastes and interests took in early music, classical music, jazz, blues and world music.

In 1961 Renbourn toured the South West with Mac MacLeod and repeated the tour in 1963. On returning from the South West Renbourn and MacLeod recorded a demo tape together. Renbourn briefly played in an R&B band while studying at the Kingston College of Art in London. Although the British “Folk Revival” was underway, most folk clubs were biased towards traditional, unaccompanied folk songs, and guitar players were not always welcome. However, the Roundhouse in London had a more tolerant attitude and here, John Renbourn joined blues and gospel singer Dorris Henderson, playing backing guitar and recording two albums with her. During the 1960’s A popular London venue for contemporary folk music  was “Les Cousins” on Greek Street, Soho, which became the main meeting place for guitar players and contemporary singer-songwriters from Britain and America. Around 1963, Renbourn teamed up with guitarist Bert Jansch who had moved to London from Edinburgh, and together they developed an intricate duet style that became known as “folk baroque”. Their album Bert and John is a fine example of their playing.

Renbourn released several albums on the Transatlantic label during the 1960s. Two of them, Sir John Alot and Lady and the Unicorn, sum up Renbourn’s playing style and material from this period. Sir John Alot has a mixture of jazz/blues/folk playing alongside a more classical/early music style and featured his take on tunes from the Medieval era. While Lady and the Unicorn is heavily influenced by Renbourn’s interest in early music. Renbourn also started playing and recording with Jacqui McShee who sang traditional English folk songs, and with American fiddler Sue Draheim. Together with Bert Jansch, bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox, they went on to form Pentangle. The group became very successful, touring America in 1968, playing at Carnegie Hall and the Newport Folk Festival.

Renbourn went on to record more solo albums in the 1970s and 1980s. Much of the music is based on traditional material with a Celtic influence, interwoven with other styles. He also collaborated with American guitarist Stefan Grossman in the late 1970s, recording two albums with him, which at times recall his folk baroque days with Bert Jansch. In the mid-1980s Renbourn went back to the university to earn a degree in composition at Dartington College of Arts. Subsequently he focused mainly on writing classical music, while still performing in folk settings. He also added acoustic guitars for the movie soundtrack Scream for Help, a studio project with his neighbour John Paul Jones.

In 1988, Renbourn briefly formed a group called Ship of Fools with Tony Roberts (flute), Maggie Boyle (lyrics, misc. instruments) and Steve Tilston (guitar). They recorded one eponymous album together. After practising by mailing tapes to each other in England, they held their first concert, comprising two sold-out shows, at Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club Theater. Regrettably, the soundboard bootleg tape was not saved due to a dispute between the concert promoter and the audio engineer.

Renbourn continued to record and tour. He toured the USA with Archie Fisher. In 2005 he toured Japan (his fifth tour of that country) with Tokio Uchida and Woody Mann. In 2006 he played at number of venues in England, including the Green Man Festival in Wales and appearances with Robin Williamson and with Jacqui McShee. In the same year, he was working on a new solo album and collaborated with Clive Carroll on the score for the film Driving Lessons, directed by Jeremy Brock.

In 2011 he released Palermo Snow, a collection of instrumental guitar solos also featuring clarinetist Dick Lee. The title track is a complex mix of classical, folk, jazz and blues. This piece is a departure, in that there is a classical core, with other styles intermixing, rather than the core style being blues, folk or jazz. Since 2012 he had toured with Wizz Jones, playing a mixture of solo and duo material. Renbourn previously appeared on Jones’s album “Lucky the Man” (2001) with other former members of Pentangle. In 2016, an album by the pair, titled Joint Control, was released. Renbourn sadly died on 26 March 2015 from a heart attack at his home in Hawick in the Scottish Borders, aged 70

International Cat Day

International Cat Day is a celebrated annually on August 8. It was created in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. World Cat Day is also celebrated on 17 February in much of Europe and on 1 March in Russia. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was founded by a small group of people in 1969, to stop the commercial hunt for seal pups in Canada. One of IFAW’s founders, and possibly its most well known member, is Brian Davies. With offices in over a dozen countries, and projects in more than 40 IFAW is one of the largest animal welfare organisations in the world. Activities undertaken by the International Fund for Animal Welfare include:

  • Rescuing and releasing whales, dolphins and porpoises that have stranded or been entangled in nets and fishing gear.
  • Promoting whale watching, as an alternative to whale hunting.
  • protecting the last 400 critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, and have developed acoustic detection systems, and collaborate with lobstermen, commercial fishers and shipping industries to prevent collisions with ships and gear entanglements.
  • Educating people worldwide Through the Animal Action Education about animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues
  • helping companion animals in underserved communities around the world Through their Community-Linked Animal Welfare (CLAW) projects.
  • Training customs officers and game wardens in many countries to prevent the killing of endangered species.
  • protecting elephants by protecting critical elephant habitats, managing human-elephant conflict, preventing poaching, ending illegal ivory trade and rescuing orphan and injured elephants.
  • Carrying out legislative and educational campaigns across the globe to prevent cruelty to animals, preserve endangered species, and protect wildlife habitats.

IFAW is best known for its leading role in the campaigns to end the commercial seal hunt in Canada and end commercial whaling, as well as its work to help dogs and cats in impoverished communities, protect elephants, end illegal ivory trade, rescue and release of wild animals such orphan rhino and rescue of animals in the wake of disasters such as hurricane Katrina in the US.

unfortunately The International Fund for Animal Welfare was involved in controversy after it was discovered that the financial manager of the Brian Davies Foundation, invested IFAW’s money in organizations that carried out animal experiments, such as Bausch & Lomb, US Surgicals, Glaxo, Merck, Abbot, Upjohn, Philip Morris and McDonald’s. However this was resolved When the investment was drawn to the attention of IFAW’s trustees,  the shares were sold immediately and the financial manager concerned was dismissed. When Davies retired from IFAW in 1997 to start Network For Animals, IFAW wanted to use his name and image for fundraising and campaigns. In return, he was to receive $2.5 million over seven years. The contract was important for the continued level of success that IFAW achieved with Davies’ leadership, according to research on successful animal welfare organizations”.

The Edge (U2)

Dave Evans a.k.a The Edge from rock group U2 was born August 8th 1961, He attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, where he met fellow band mates Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. And was reunited with his boyhood friend Paul “Bono” Hewson. Mullen had posted an advertisement on the school bulletin board for musicians to form a band with him; Clayton showed up at the first practice, which also included Dik Evans, Dave Evans’s older brother, Ivan McCormick, and Peter Martin, who were two of Mullen’s friends. McCormick and Martin left the band soon after its conception. While the band was a five-piece (consisting of Bono, The Edge, Mullen, Evans, and Clayton), it was known as Feedback. The name was subsequently changed to The Hype, but changed to “U2″ soon after Dik Evans left the band.

U2′s early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group’s musical pursuits, they have maintained a sound built on melodic instrumentals, highlighted by The Edge’s timbrally varied guitar sounds and Bono’s expressive vocals. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery, focus on personal themes and sociopolitical concerns. Within four years, they signed with Island Records and released their debut album Boy. By the mid-1980s, they became a top international act. They were more successful as live performers than they were at selling records, until their breakthrough 1987 album The Joshua Tree, which, according to Rolling Stone, elevated the band’s stature “from heroes to superstars”.

Facing a backlash and creative stagnation following their documentary/double album, Rattle and Hum (1988), U2 reinvented themselves in the 1990s through a new musical direction and public image with their 1991 hit album Achtung Baby and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour in which U2 integrated dance, industrial, and alternative rock influences into their sound and performances, and embraced a more ironic and self-deprecating image. Similar experimentation continued for the remainder of the 1990s with mixed levels of success. U2 regained critical and commercial favour after their 2000 record All That You Can’t Leave Behind. This was followed In 2004 By the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which established a more conventional, mainstream sound for the group. Their U2 360° Tour of 2009–2011 is the highest-attended and highest-grossing concert tour in history. The group’s thirteenth album, Songs of Innocence (2014), was released at no cost through the iTunes Store.

So far U2 have released 13 studio albums and are one of the world’s best-selling music artists in history, having sold more than 170 million records worldwide.They have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band, and in 2005, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone ranked U2 at number 22 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. Throughout their career, as a band and as individuals, they have campaigned for human rights and philanthropic causes, including Amnesty International, Jubilee 2000, the ONE/DATA campaigns, Product Red, War Child, and Music Rising. They have won Album of the Year twice, Record of the Year twice, Song of the Year twice, and Best Rock Album twice. Some of U2′s best known songs are: Beautiful Day, Elevation, Vertigo, New Year’s Day”,“Bullet the Blue Sky”, “With or Without You“, “Mysterious Ways“, “Get on Your Boots“, and “Magnificent“ “I Will Follow” “City of Blinding Lights.