St. Sylvester’s Day

Saint Sylvester’s Day, also known as Silvester (also spelled Sylvester, Szilveszter, or Sylwester) or the Feast of Saint Sylvester, is celebrated annually on December 31. It is the day of the feast of Pope Sylvester I, a saint who served as Pope of the Western Church from 314 to 335 and oversaw both the First Council of Nicaea and Roman Emperor Constantine I’s conversion to Christianity. Among the Western Christian Churches, the feast day is held on the anniversary of Saint Sylvester’s death, 31 December, a date that, since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, has coincided with New Year’s Eve. For these Christian denominations, Saint Sylvester’s Day liturgically marks the seventh day of Christmastide. Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate Sylvester’s feast on a different day that the Western Churches, 2 January. Saint Sylvester’s Day celebrations are marked by church attendance at Midnight Mass or a Watchnight service, as well as fireworks, partying, and feasting.

Under the reign of Pope Sylvester I, several of the magnificent Christian churches were built, including Basilica of Saint John Lateran, Santa Croce Church, and Saint Peter’s Basilica, among others. During the papacy of Saint Sylvester, the Nicene Creed, which is recited by communicants of the vast majority of the world’s Christian denominations, was formulated. Saint Sylvester is said to have healed, in the name of Christ, the emperor Constantine the Great of leprosy. After dying, Saint Sylvester was buried on December 31 in the Catacomb of Priscilla.

Many European Countries celebrate St. Sylvester’s Day Including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Slovenia. In Kraków, Poland they celebrate Saint Sylvester’s Day with a fireworks display, while in Vienna the capital of Austria, people walk pigs on leashes for their Saint Sylvester’s Day celebration in hope to have good luck for the coming year. Many Christian households in Germany mark the Saint Sylvester’s Day by practicing the custom of Bleigiessen using Silvesterblei (Silvester lead), in which Silvesterblei is melted over a flame in an old spoon and dropped into a bowl of cold water; one’s fortune for the coming year is determined by the shape of the lead. If the lead forms a ball (der Ball), luck will roll one’s way, while the shape of an anchor (der Anker) means help in need, and a star (der Sterne) signifies happiness

Christians of Belgium have a tradition that a maiden who does not finish her work by the time of sunset on Saint Silvester’s Day will not get married during the coming year. Elsewhere In Brazil they celebrate St.Sylvester’s day with exploding fireworks, and the Saint Silvester Road Race also takes place, this is Brazil’s most oldest and prestigious running event, and is dedicated to Pope Sylvester. In Israel, there is a belief among some that conflates the Soviet tradition of Novy God with this feast day, contributing to the belief that it is a celebration of an anti-Semitic pope who convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem and promoted anti-Semitic legislation. A possible source of this belief is the fact that the feast day was known by many immigrants from Europe who came to the country around the time it became a Jewish state. In Italy lentils and slices of sausage are eaten On Saint Sylvester’s Day, because they look like coins and symbolize good fortune and the richness of life for the coming year. In Switzerland during the morning of Saint Sylvester’s Day, the children of a Christian family compete with one another to see who can wake up the earliest; the child who arises the latest is playfully jeered. Men have, for centuries, masqueraded as Silvesterklaus on Saint Sylvester’s Day.

New Years Eve

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve takes place annually on 31 December which is the seventh day of the Christmas season and is the last day of the year. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some Christians attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year’s Day, 1 January. Samoa, Tonga and Kiritimati (Christmas Island), part of Kiribati, are the first places to welcome the New Year while American Samoa and Baker Island in the United States of America are among the last.

In the United States, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with formal parties, family-oriented activities, and other large public events. The most prominent celebration in the country is the “ball drop” held in New York City’s Times Square. Inspired by the time balls that were formerly used as a time signal, at 11:59 p.m. ET, an 11,875-pound (5,386 kg), 12-foot (3.7 m) diameter Waterford crystal ball located on the roof of One Times Square is lowered down a pole that is 70 feet high, reaching the roof of the building sixty seconds later to signal the start of the New Year. The event has been held since 1907, and has seen an average attendance of 90,000 yearly. The popularity of the spectacle has inspired similar events outside of New York City, which often use objects that represent a region’s culture, geography, or history—such as Atlanta’s “Peach Drop”, representing Georgia’s identity as the “Peach State”, and Brasstown, North Carolina’s controversial lowering of a live opossum in a glass enclosure.

Radio and television broadcasts of festivities from New York City helped to ingrain them in American pop culture; beginning on the radio in 1928, and on CBS television from 1956 to 1976 with ball drop coverage, Guy Lombardo and his band, The Royal Canadians, presented an annual New Year’s Eve broadcast from the ballroom of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The specials were best known for the Royal Canadians’ signature performance of “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight, which made the standard synonymous with the holiday. Following Lombardo’s death in 1977, the competing program New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (which premiered for 1973 on NBC before moving to its current home, ABC, for 1975), succeeded the Royal Canadians as the dominant New Year’s Eve special on U.S. television. Its creator and host, Dick Clark, intended the program to be a modern and youthful alternative to Lombardo’s big band music. Including ABC’s special coverage of the year 2000, Clark would host New Year’s Eve coverage on ABC for 33 straight years.Sadly Dick Clark Suffered a stroke in December 2004 so Regis Philbin guest hosted for 2005. Clark retired as full-time host of the special for the 2006 edition, and was succeeded by Ryan Seacrest. Clark continued to make limited appearances on the special until his death in 2012.

Other notable celebrations include those on the Las Vegas Strip, where streets are closed to vehicle traffic on the evening of New Year’s Eve, and a fireworks show is held at midnight which spans across multiple buildings on the Strip. Los Angeles, a city long without a major public New Year celebration, held an inaugural gathering in Downtown’s newly completed Grand Park to celebrate the beginning of 2014. The event included food trucks, art installations, and culminating with a projection mapping show on the side of Los Angeles City Hall near midnight. The inaugural event drew over 25,000 spectators and participants. For 2016, Chicago introduced an event known as Chi-Town Rising. Alongside the festivities in Times Square, New York’s Central Park hosts a “Midnight Run” event organized by the New York Road Runners, which culminates in a fireworks show and a race around the park that begins at midnight. Major theme parks may also hold New Year’s celebrations; Disney theme parks, such as Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, are traditionally the busiest during the days up to and including New Year’s Eve.

In the Roman Catholic Church, 1 January is a solemnity honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus; it is a Holy Day of Obligation in most countries (Australia being a notable exception), thus the Church requires the attendance of all Catholics in such countries for Mass that day. However a vigil Mass may be held on the evening before a Holy Day; thus it has become customary to celebrate Mass on the evening of New Year’s Eve. (New Year’s Eve is a feast day honoring Pope Sylvester I in the Roman Catholic calendar, but it is not widely recognized in the United States.)

Many Christian congregations have New Year’s Eve watchnight services. Some, especially Lutherans and Methodists and those in the African American community, have a tradition known as “Watch Night”, in which the faithful congregate in services continuing past midnight, giving thanks for the blessings of the outgoing year and praying for divine favor during the upcoming year. In the English-speaking world, Watch Night can be traced back to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism,who learned the custom from the Moravian Brethren who came to England in the 1730s. Moravian congregations still observe the Watch Night service on New Year’s Eve. Watch Night took on special significance to African Americans on New Year’s Eve 1862, as slaves anticipated the arrival of 1 January 1863, when Lincoln had announced he would sign the Emancipation Proclamation.

The most prominent New Year’s celebration in England is that of Central London, where the arrival of midnight is greeted with the chimes of Big Ben. In recent years, a major fireworks display has also been held, with fireworks launched from the nearby London Eye ferris wheel. 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. The celebrations in London continued into 1 January, with the New Year’s Day Parade, held annually since 1987. The 2011 parade involved more than 10,000 musicians, cheerleaders and performers. Other major New Year events are held in the cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Newcastle.

In Scotland, New Year’s is celebrated as Hogmanay. This involves 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 2 January, 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, and details of events happening around Scotland.

In Wales on New Years day (Calennig) The Welsh have a tradition of giving gifts and money on New Year’s Day (Welsh: Calennig) is an ancient custom that survives in modern-day Wales, though nowadays it is now customary to give bread and chees
A Mari Lwyd is also Traditionally carried from door to door during Calennig in Wales in Cardiff Thousands of people descend to enjoy live music, catering, ice-skating, funfairs and fireworks. With Many of the celebrations taking place at Cardiff Castle and Cardiff City Hall.

Every New Year’s Eve, the Nos Galan road race (Rasys Nos Galan), a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) running race, is held in Mountain Ash in the Cynon Valley, Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales. The race celebrates the life and achievements of Welsh runner Guto Nyth Brân. Founded in 1958 by local runner Bernard Baldwin, it is run over the 5 kilometre route of Guto’s first competitive race. The main race starts with a church service at Llanwynno, and then a wreath is laid on Guto’s grave in Llanwynno graveyard. After lighting a torch, it is carried to the nearby town of Mountain Ash, where the main race takes place. The race consists of a double circuit of the town centre, starting in Henry Street and ending in Oxford Street, by the commemorative statue of Guto. Traditionally, the race was timed to end at midnight, but in recent times it was rescheduled for the convenience of family entertainment, now concluding at around 9pm. Over the years This has grown, and the proceedings now start with an afternoon of street entertainment, and fun run races for children, concluding with the church service, elite runners’ race and presentations.

Avengers:Age of Ulton

I have recently watched the exciting Marvel film Avengers: Age of Ultron’ again. It picks up soon after the events of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ with the re-formed Avengers raiding Baron Von Strucker’s secret Hydra scientific facility in Sokovia. However the raid does not go to plan prompting Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to begin to work on an Artificial Intelligence program called Ultron, as a failsafe with which he hopes can protect the earth from intergalactic enemies such as the Chitauri which they fought at the climax of the first movie.

A sceptre is recovered during the raid on the Hydra Scientific Facility and Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. However this goes wrong when The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, realizes that humans have caused all the trouble in the world and comes to the conclusion that in order to save the Earth he must eradicate humanity. So he attacks the Avengers at their headquarters. Escaping with the sceptre, Ultron uses the resources in Strucker’s Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body and build an army of robot drones. Having killed Strucker, he recruits the Maximoffs, who blame Stark for their parents’ deaths and go to the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue to obtain Wakandan vibranium. The Avengers attack Ultron and the Maximoffs, but Wanda subdues them with haunting visions, causing the Hulk to rampage until Stark stops him with his anti-Hulk armor.

Following the carnage caused by The Avengers while battling Ultron followed by Hulk’s nightmare induced rampage, a worldwide backlash occurs against the Avengers which sends the team into hiding at a safehouse. Meanwhile Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his hallucination, while Romanov and Banner plan to escape together. However, Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to work togethef and form a plan to stop Ultron, who is currently In Seoul, Coercing the team’s friend Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic-tissue technology, together with vibranium and the scepter’s gem, to perfect a new body for him. However Wanda reads Ultron’s mind; and discovers his sinister agenda for human extinction, and the Maximoffs decide to rebel against Ultron. Then Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton arrive, find Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, however Ultron captures Romanov.

Meanwhile Stark secretly uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. into the synthetic body. However having seen the carnage Ultron has already caused, the rest of the Avengers are understandably nervous. Eventually though Thor returns to help activate the body, explaining that the gem on its brow – is one of the six Infinity Stones, which are the most powerful objects in existence – and this was part of his vision. The newly created “Vision” and the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium hoping to cause global extinction. so Hulk rescues Romanov and joins The Avengers to fight Ultron and his army with the help of Nick Fury, Maria Hill, James Rhodes and S.H.I.E.L.D. in an explosive showdown. However unbeknownst to The Avengers or SHIELD sinister forces are also at work behind the scene…

Mike Nesmith (The Monkees)

Michael Nesmith from 60’s pop band The Monkees was born 30th December 1942in Houston, Texas. his parents, Warren Audrey Nesmith and Bette Nesmith Graham, divorced when their son was four. He and his mother moved to Dallas to be closer to her parents, sister, aunts, and grandmother. Bette took temporary jobs ranging from clerical work to graphical design and developed very good secretarial skills, including shorthand and, auspiciously, touch typing. When Nesmith was 13, his mother invented the typewriter correction fluid later known commercially as Liquid Paper. Over the next 25 years she built the Liquid Paper Corporation into a multimillion-dollar international company, which she finally sold to Gillette in 1979 for US$48 million. She died a few months later, aged 56.

Nesmith was enrolled in the Dallas public school system in 1949, aged 6. Describing himself as an indifferent student, he participated in choral and drama activities during his years at Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas. He also began to write verse poetry. When he was 15 he enrolled in the Dallas Theater Center teen program. Without graduating from high school, Nesmith enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1960. He completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, was trained as an aircraft mechanic at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, and then was permanently stationed at the Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base near Burns Flat, Oklahoma. While in the Air Force, Nesmith obtained a G.E.D. and was discharged under honorable conditions in 1962

After a tour of duty in the Air Force, Nesmith was given a guitar as a Christmas present from his mother and stepfather. Learning as he went, he played solo and in a series of working bands, performing folk, country, and occasionally rock and roll. His verse poems became the basis for song lyrics. He enrolled in San Antonio College, a community college, where he met John Kuehne (later to be known as John London) and began a musical collaboration. The duo won the first San Antonio College talent award, performing a mixture of standard folk songs and a few of Nesmith’s original songs. He met another SAC student, Phyllis Ann Barbour, whom he married in 1963

Nesmith moved to Los Angeles with Phyllis and John London, so he could pursue his songwriting and singing career and began singing in folk clubs around Los Angeles and had one notable job as the “Hootmaster” for the Monday night hootenannies at The Troubadour, a West Hollywood nightclub that featured new artists. Here Nesmith met, socialized, and performed with many different members of the burgeoning new L.A. music scene. Nesmith began his recording career in 1963 by releasing a single on the Highness label. He followed this in 1965 with a one-off single released on Edan Records followed by two more recorded singles; one was titled “The New Recruit” under the name “Michael Blessing”, released on Colpix Records. Nesmith’s “Mary, Mary” was recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, while “Different Drum” and “Some of Shelly’s Blues” were recorded by Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys. “Pretty Little Princess”, written in 1965, was recorded by Frankie Laine and released as a single in 1968 on ABC Records. coincidentally Davy Jones, was also on the Eden Records label although they did not meet until the Monkees formed.

Randy Sparks from the New Christy Minstrels offered Nesmith a publishing deal for his songs, and it was while Nesmith was at this publishing house that Barry Friedman, also known as the Rev. Frazier Mohawk, brought the ad for auditions for a new TV series, The Monkees, to Nesmith’s attention And Nesmith landed the role as the wool-hat-wearing guitar player “Mike” in the show, which required real-life musical talent (writing, instrument playing, singing, recording, and performing in live concerts as part of The Monkees musical band). Nesmith played a Gretsch 12-string electric guitar while he was performing with The Monkees. The Monkees television series aired from 1966 until 1968, and has developed a cult following over the years.

When the TV series ended in 1968, Nesmith enrolled part-time at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and studied American History and Music History. Michael and Phyllis’s second son Jonathan was born in February 1968. Nesmith’s third son Jason was born in August 1968 to Nurit Wilde, whom he met while working on The Monkees. In 1969, Nesmith formed the group First National Band with Kuehne, John Ware, and Red Rhodes. Nesmith wrote most of the songs for the band, including the single “Joanne” which received some airplay and was a moderate chart hit for seven weeks during 1970, rising to number 21 on the Billboard Top 40. The First National Band has been credited with being among the pioneers of country-rock music. The songs, “Some of Shelly’s Blues” and “Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun to Care)” were made popular by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their 1970 album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy. In 1970, Nesmith was approached by John Ware of The Corvettes, a band that featured Nesmith’s friend John London, who played on some of the earliest pre-Monkees Nesmith 45s as well as numerous Monkees sessions, and had 45s produced by Nesmith for the Dot label in 1969. Ware wanted Nesmith to put together a band. Nesmith said he would be interested only if noted pedal steel player Orville “Red” Rhodes was part of the project; Nesmith’s musical partnership with Rhodes continued until Rhodes’s death in 1995.

The new band was christened Michael Nesmith and the First National Band and went on to record three albums for RCA Records in 1970 and recorded the singles “Joanne,” “Silver Moon” “Nevada Fighter” “& “Propinquity”. Sadly the First National Band broke up so Nesmith followed up with The Second National Band, a band that, besides Nesmith, consisted of Michael Cohen (keyboards and Moog), Johnny Meeks (bass), jazzer Jack Ranelli (drums), and Orville Rhodes (pedal steel), as well as an appearance by singer, musician, and songwriter José Feliciano on congas. The album, Tantamount to Treason Vol. 1, was a commercial and critical disaster. Nesmith then recorded And the Hits Just Keep on Comin’, featuring only him on guitar and Red Rhodes on pedal steel.

Nesmith also became more heavily involved in producing, working on Iain Matthews’s album Valley Hi and Bert Jansch’s L.A. Turnaround. Nesmith was given a label of his own, Countryside, through Elektra Records, as Elektra’s Jac Holzman was a fan of Nesmith. It featured a number of artists produced by Nesmith, including Garland Frady and Red Rhodes. The staff band at Countryside also helped Nesmith on his next, and last, RCA album, Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash. Countryside folded when David Geffen replaced Holzman, as Countryside was unnecessary in Geffen’s eyes.

In the mid-1970s, Nesmith briefly collaborated as a songwriter with Linda Hargrove, resulting in the tune “I’ve Never Loved Anyone More”, a hit for Lynn Anderson and recorded by many others, as well as the songs “Winonah” and “If You Will Walk With Me,” both of which were recorded by Hargrove. Of these songs, only “Winonah” was recorded by Nesmith himself. During this same period, Nesmith started his multimedia company Pacific Arts, which initially put out audio records, 8-tracks, and cassettes, followed in 1981 with “video records.” Nesmith recorded a number of LPs for his label, and had a moderate worldwide hit in 1977 with his song “Rio,” the single taken from the album From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing. In 1983, Nesmith produced the music video for the Lionel Richie single “All Night Long”. In 1987, he produced the music video for the Michael Jackson single “The Way You Make Me Feel”.

In 1972, Nesmith started the record label Countryside Records with Jac Holzman, the founder of Elektra Records. Nesmith and Phyllis also divorced and he moved to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. In 1974, Nesmith started Pacific Arts Records and released what he called “a book with a soundtrack”, titled The Prison, as the company’s first release. In 1976, he married Kathryn Bild. Nesmith won the first-ever Grammy Award given for (Long-form) Music-Video in 1982, for his hour-long Elephant Parts and also had a short-lived series on NBC inspired by the video called Michael Nesmith in Television Parts. Television Parts included many other artists who were unknown at the time but went on to become major stars in their own right. Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling, Whoopi Goldberg, and Arsenio Hall all became well-known artists after their appearances on Nesmith’s show. The concept of the show was to have comics render their stand-up routines into short comedy films much like the ones in Elephant Parts. Nesmith assembled writers Jack Handey, William Martin, John Levenstein, and Michael Kaplan, along with directors William Dear (who had directed Elephant Parts) and Alan Myerson, as well as producer Ward Sylvester to create the show. The half-hour show ran for eight episodes in the summer of 1985 on NBC Thursday nights in prime time. In 1988, following the ending of this second marriage, he returned to Los Angeles where he met Victoria Kennedy. They moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1992 and then returned to Carmel, California, in 2000. They were married in April 2000 in Monterey, California. They separated in 2011 and Kennedy filed for divorce.

In 1986 The Monkees had a 20th anniversary reunion however Nesmith did not participate in the Monkees’ 20th-anniversary reunion. However, he did appear during an encore with the other three members at the Greek Theatre on September 7, 1986. Nesmith appeared again in 1989 with Dolenz, Tork, and Jones when the Monkees received a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star. In 1995, Nesmith was again reunited with the Monkees to record their studio album (and first to feature all four since Head), titled Justus, released in 1996. He also wrote and directed a Monkees television special entitled Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees. To support the reunion, Nesmith, Jones, Dolenz, and Tork briefly toured the UK in 1997. The UK tour was the last appearance of all four Monkees performing together. In 2012, 2013, and 2014, after Jones’s death, Nesmith reunited with Dolenz and Tork to perform concerts throughout the United States. Backed with a 7-piece band that included Nesmith’s son, Christian, the trio performed 27 songs from The Monkees discography (“Daydream Believer” was sung by the audience and played by the band). Despite not touring with Dolenz and Tork for The Monkees’ 50th anniversary reunion in 2016, Nesmith contributed vocally and instrumentally to the Monkees album Good Times!. Nesmith additionally contributed a song, “I Know What I Know” and was reportedly “thrilled” at the outcome of the album.

In1974 Michael Nesmith formed the Pacific Arts Corporation, Inc to manage and develop media projects. Pacific Arts Video became a pioneer in the home video market, producing and distributing a wide variety of videotaped programs, although the company eventually ceased operations after an acrimonious contract dispute with PBS over home video licensing rights and payments for several series, including Ken Burns’ The Civil War. The dispute escalated into a lawsuit that went to jury trial in Federal Court in Los Angeles. On February 3, 1999, a jury awarded Nesmith and his company Pacific Arts $48.875 million in compensatory and punitive damages, prompting his widely quoted comment, “It’s like finding your grandmother stealing your stereo. You’re happy to get your stereo back, but it’s sad to find out your grandmother is a thief.” PBS appealed the ruling, but the appeal never reached court and a settlement was reached, with the amount paid to Pacific Arts and Nesmith kept confidential. Nesmith’s current Pacific Arts project is Videoranch 3D, a virtual environment on the internet that hosts live performances at various virtual venues inside the Ranch. He performed live inside Videoranch 3D on May 25, 2009.

Nesmith was the executive producer for the films Repo Man, Tapeheads, and Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann, as well as his own solo recording and film projects. In 1998, Nesmith published his first novel, The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora. It was developed originally as an online project and was later published as a hard cover book by St Martin’s Press. In 1992, Nesmith undertook a concert tour of North America to promote the CD release of his RCA solo albums (although he included the song “Rio”, from the album From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing). The concert tour ended at the Britt Festival in Oregon. A video and CD, both entitled Live at the Britt Festival were released capturing the 1992 concert. Nesmith’s second novel The America Gene was released in July 2009 as an online download from Videoranch.com. Nesmith also teamed up with satirist P.J. O’Rourke to ride his vehicle Timerider in the annual Baja 1000 off-road race. This is chronicled in O’Rourke’s 2009 book Driving Like Crazy. During the 1990s, Nesmith, as Trustee and President of the Gihon foundation, hosted the Council on Ideas, a gathering of intellectuals from different fields who were asked to identify the most important issues of their day and publish the result. The Gihon ceased the program in 2000 and started a new Program for the Performing Arts. Nesmith also spent a decade as a board of trustees member, nominating member and vice-chair of the American Film Institute. Nesmith continues to record and release his own music. His last album, Rays, was released in 2006. In 2011, Nesmith returned to producing, working with blues singer/guitarist Carolyn Wonderland. Nesmith produced Wonderland’s version of Robert Johnson’s “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” on her album Peace Meal. Wonderland married writer-comedian A. Whitney Brown on March 4, 2011, in a ceremony officiated by Nesmith.

In 2012, Nesmith briefly toured Europe prior to re-joining The Monkees for their tours of the United States. Intermixing the Monkees concerts, Nesmith also launched solo tours of the U.S. Unlike his 1992 U.S. tour, which predominantly featured music from his RCA recordings, Nesmith stated his 2013 tour featured songs that he considers “thematic, chronological and most often requested by fans”. Chris Scruggs, grandson of Earl Scruggs, replaced the late Red Rhodes on the steel guitar. The tour was captured on a forthcoming live album, Movies Of The Mind. In 2014, he guest-starred in Season 4, Episode 9 of the IFC comedy series “Portlandia” in the fictitious role of the father of the Mayor of Portland, Oregon.

Davy Jones (The Monkees)

Best known as a member of the Monkees, the English singer-songwriter, musician, businessman Davy Jones was born 30 December 1945. From 1965 to 1971, Jones was the lead singer of The Monkees a pop-rock group formed expressly for a television show of the same name. The Monkees comprised of Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith Peter Tork and Davy Jones who sang lead vocals on many of the group’s songs, including “I Wanna Be Free”, “Daydream Believer”, Last Train to Clarksville and I’m A Believer. After the Monkees went off the air in the 70’s, the group disbanded. However, Jones continued to perform solo, while later joining with fellow Monkee Micky Dolenz and songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart as a short-lived group called Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. He also toured throughout the years with other members as various incarnations of the Monkees.

In 1978, he appeared with Micky Dolenz in Harry Nilsson’s play The Point at the Mermaid Theatre in London. Jones continued acting as he appeared in one episode of The Brady Bunch, two episodes of My Two Dads, an episode of Here Come the Brides, and two episodes of Love, American Style. He also appeared and sang, in animated form, on an episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies and in an episode of Hey Arnold. Also, Jones made a cameo appearance as himself in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode “SpongeBob vs. The Big One” (his appearance was meant to be a pun on Davy Jones’ Locker), a third-season episode of the sitcom Boy Meets World and the Brady Bunch spoof movie of The Brady Bunch Movie. In 1997 he guest-starred as himself on the television show Sabrina the Teenage Witch and sang “Daydream Believer” to Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart). In later years, Jones performed with his former bandmates in reunion tours and appeared in several productions of Oliver! as Fagin. He continued to race horses with some success in his native England, while residing in Beavertown, Pennsylvania. He owned and raced horses in the United States and served as a commercial spokesman for Colonial Downs racetrack in Virginia. In 2007, Jones recorded the theme for a campy movie comedy called Sexina: Popstar PI. In December 2008, Yahoo Music named Jones “Number 1 teen idol of all time”. In 2009 Jones was rated second in a list of 10 best teen idols compiled by Fox News. In 2009, Jones released an album entitled “She” which is a collection of handpicked classics and standards from the 1940s through the 1970s. Also in 2009, Jones performed in the Flower Power Concert Series during Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival.

In February 2011, Jones mentioned rumours of another Monkees reunion. “There’s even talk of putting the Monkees back together again in the next year or so for a U.S. and UK tour,” he told Disney’s Backstage Pass newsletter. “You’re always hearing all those great songs on the radio, in commercials, movies, almost everywhere.” The tour came to fruition entitled, “An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour. The frontman got back together with Dolenz and Tork last year to play a series of gigs. Although The Monkees had nine top-40 hits in their heyday, they were criticised for being a manufactured group. Californian band The Byrds mocked them in their single So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star. But they made efforts to prove themselves by writing more of their own songs and starring in a 1960s cult film, Head, with Jack Nicholson. In in the early 1960s, Jones had appeared as Ena Sharples’ grandson in Coronation Street and also starred in British series Z-Cars. He briefly left showbusiness to train as a jockey – and would continue to race horses later in life – but returned to acting with a role in a stage production of Oliver! From the West End he followed the show to Broadway. Unfortunately Jones sadly died 29 February 2012 aged 66 in America. Medical officials in Florida did not comment on the cause of death, but a spokesman for the star said he had suffered a heart attack.

Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra, Travelling Wilburys

English songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer Jeffrey “Jeff” Lynne Was born 30 December 1947. He is the leader and sole constant member of Electric Light Orchestra. Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) were a British rock group from Birmingham, England, who Were formed by jeff Lynne Roy Wood and Bev Bevan around a fusion of rock and classical music, with the original idea of both The Move and ELO existing in tandem. This project would eventually become the highly successful Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Problems led to Wood’s departure in 1972, following the band’s debut record, So Lynne wrote and arranged all of the group’s original compositions and produced every album. Despite early singles success in the United Kingdom, the band were initially more successful in the United States, billed as “The English guys with the big fiddles”. they incorporated d complex and unique pop-rock sound mixed with studio strings, layered vocals, and tight, catchy pop singles. Thereafter followed a succession of band personnel changes and increasingly popular albums: 1973’s ELO 2 and On the Third Day, 1974’s Eldorado and 1975’s Face the Music.

By 1976’s A New World Record. They gained a cult following despite lukewarm reviews back in their native United Kingdom. By the mid-1970s, they had become one of the biggest-selling acts in music. From 1971 to 1986They released eleven studio albums and another album in 2001 &accumulated 27 Top-40 hit singles in both the UK and the US, with 20 Top 20 UK singles and 15 Top-20 US singles (as charted by Billboard magazine). The band also holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits of any group in US chart history without ever having a number one single.ELO collected 19 CRIA, 21 RIAA and 38 BPI awards, and sold over 50 million records worldwide during the group’s active period of recording and touring. The pinnacle of ELO’s chart success and worldwide popularity was the expansive 1977 double album Out of the Blue, which was largely conceived in a Swiss chalet during a two-week writing marathon. The band’s 1978 world tour featured an elaborate “space ship” set and laser light show. In order to recreate the complex instrumental textures of their albums, the band used pre-recorded supplemental backing tracks in live performances. Although that practice has now become commonplace, it caused considerable derision in the press of the time.

Lynne has often stated that he prefers the creative environment of the studio to the rigours and tedium of touring. In 1979, Lynne followed up the success of Out of the Blue with Discovery, which held No. 1 in the UK for 5 weeks. The album is primarily associated with its two disco-flavoured singles (“Shine a Little Love” and “Last Train to London”) and with the title’s word play on “disco” and “very”. However, the remaining seven non-disco tracks on the album reflected Lynne’s range as a pop-rock songwriter, including a heavy, mid-tempo rock anthem (“Don’t Bring Me Down”) that, despite its use of a drum loop, could be considered the antithesis of disco. In an April 2008 interview, Lynne fondly recalled his forays into dance music:I love the force of disco. I love the freedom it gave me to make a different rhythms across it. I enjoyed that really steady driving beat. Just steady as a rock. I’ve always liked that simplicity in the bass drum.

n 1979, Lynne rejected an offer for ELO to headline the Knebworth Concert in the UK, allowing Led Zeppelin to headline instead. In the absence of any touring to support Discovery, Lynne had time to contribute five tracks to the soundtrack for the 1980 film musical Xanadu. The score yielded three Top 40 singles: I’m Alive, All Over The World, and the title track Xanadu, which reached number one in the UK. Nevertheless, Lynne was not integrated into the development of the film, and his material subsequently had only superficial attachment to the plot. Xanadu performed weakly at the box office (although it later has experienced popularity as a cult favourite). Lynne subsequently disavowed his limited contribution to the project although he later re-recorded the title song (with his lead vocal) for the 2000 box set Flashback. In 2007, the film was loosely adapted into a successful Broadway musical, incorporating almost all of the songs from the original film, and also using two other ELO hits: “Strange Magic” and “Evil Woman”. In 1981, Lynne took the band in a somewhat different direction with the science-fiction themed album Time, The strings were still featured, but with heavily synthesised textures.

Lynne kept this general approach for the next album 1983’s Secret Messages and a final contractually-obligated ELO album Balance of Power in 1986. ELO now had only three remaining official members (Lynne, Bevan and Tandy), and Lynne began devoting more time to producing. During his time in the Electric Light Orchestra, Lynne did manage to release a few recordings under his own name. In 1976, Lynne covered the Beatles songs “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “Nowhere Man” for All This and World War II. In 1977, Lynne released his first solo single, the disco-flavoured “Doin’ That Crazy Thing”/”Goin’ Down to Rio”. Lynne and ELO keyboardist Richard Tandy contributed two original songs “Video!” and “Let It Run” to the film Electric Dreams . Lynne also wrote the song “The Story of Me,” which was recorded by the Everly Brothers on their comeback album EB84. , Lynne began his move toward focusing almost exclusively on studio production work. Lynne produced and wrote the 1983 top-40 hit “Slipping Away” for Dave Edmunds and played on sessions (with Richard Tandy) for Edmunds’ album, Information. Lynne also produced six tracks on Edmunds’ follow-up album in 1984, Riff Raff. .Lynne’s influence by the Beatles was clearly evident in his ELO work and the connection to the Beatles was strengthened when Lynne produced George Harrison’s Cloud Nine, a successful comeback album for the ex-Beatle, released in 1987, featuring the popular singles “Got My Mind Set on You”, “When We Was Fab” (where Lynne played the violin in the video), and “This Is Love”, two of the three songs co-written by Lynne.

Lynne’s association with Harrison led to the 1988 formation of the Traveling Wilburys, a studio “supergroup” that included George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison as well as Lynne himself, and resulted in two albums (Vol. 1 and Vol. 3), both co-produced by LynneIn 1988 Lynne also worked on Roy Orbison’s album Mystery Girl co-writing and producing Orbison’s last major hit, “You Got It”, plus two other tracks on that album. For Rock On!, the final Del Shannonalbum, Lynne co-wrote “Walk Away” and finished off several tracks after Shannon’s death.In 1989, Lynne co-produced Full Moon Fever by Tom Petty, which included the hit singles “Free Fallin’”, “I Won’t Back Down”, and “Runnin’ Down a Dream”, all co-written by Lynne. This album and Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 both received nominations for theGrammy Award for Best Album of the Year in 1989. The Traveling Wilburys won a Grammy for “Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal” that year.Lynne’s song “One Way Love” was released as a single by Agnetha Faltskog and appeared on her second post-ABBA album, Eyes of a Woman. Lynne co-wrote and produced the track “Let It Shine” for Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson’s first solo album in 1988. Lynne also contributed three tracks to an album by Duane Eddy and “Falling in Love” on Land of Dreams for Randy Newman.

In 1990, Lynne collaborated on the Wilburys’ follow up Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 and shortly after that released his first solo album Armchair Theatre,with old friends George Harrison and Richard Tandy featuring the singles “Every Little Thing” and “Lift Me Up”. The album received some positive critical attention but little commercial success. Lynne also provided the song “Wild Times” to the motion picture soundtrack Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991. In 1991, Lynne returned to the studio with Petty, co-writing and producing the album Into the Great Wide Open for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, which featured the singles “Learning to Fly” and “Into the Great Wide Open”. The following year he produced Roy Orbison’s posthumous album King of Hearts, featuring the single “I Drove All Night”.In February 1994, Lynne fulfilled a lifelong dream by working with the three surviving Beatles on the Anthology album series.At George Harrison’s request, Lynne was brought in to assist in reevaluating John Lennon’s original studio material. The songs “Free as a Bird”and “Real Love” were created by digitally processing Lennon’s demos for the songs and overdubbing the three surviving band members to form a virtual Beatles reunion that the band had mutually eschewed during Lennon’s lifetime. Lynne has also produced records for Ringo Starr and worked on Paul McCartney’s Grammy nominated album Flaming Pie.Lynne’s work in the 1990s also includes production of a 1993 album for singer/songwriter Julianna Raye entitled Something Peculiar and production or songwriting contributions to albums by Roger McGuinn (Back from Rio), Joe Cocker (Night Calls),Aerosmith (Lizard Love), Tom Jones (Lift me Up), Bonnie Tyler (Time Mends a Broken Heart), the film Still Crazy, Hank Marvin(Wonderful Land and Nivram), Et Moi (Drole De Vie) and the Tandy Morgan Band (Action). In 1996, Lynne was officially recognised by his peers when he was awarded the Ivor Novello Award for “Outstanding Contributions to British Music” for a second time. Jeff Lynne’s latest Electric Light Orchestra Album “Alone in the Universe” was released in 2015 and features the song “When I was a Boy”.

Sister Bliss (Faithless)

British classically trained pianist, keyboardist record producer, DJ, composer and songwriter Sister Bliss (Ayalah Bentovim), Was born 30 December 1970). she is best known for her work with Rollo Armstrong, particularly as part of Faithless.she has also Worked With a number of collaborators over the years including Zoë Johnston and, Rollo’s sister Dido, who began her musical career providing backing vocals for the band. Faithless toured extensively, and while Rollo preferred to stay in the studio, Sister Bliss could be seen on stage with Maxi Jazz. Faithless enjoyed a 17-year career, that included 7 albums, including two number ones, and six top 10 singles. To date, Faithless have sold in excess of 15 million records worldwide and have played live to millions across the world.She released a two-disc compilation entitled Headliners: 02 in 2001. In  2006 she gave birth to a baby boy named Nate. The track “Nate’s Tune” found on the Faithless album To All New Arrivals is dedicated to him. Later on, Faithless founded their own record label called Nate’s Tunes. She released Nightmoves on 14 July 2008.

In 1995 She formed Faithless with Rollo Armstrong, Jamie Catto and Maxi Jazz. Bliss constructed most of the music of Faithless herself electronically, but also played the piano, violin, saxophone and bass guitar and their debut single “Salva Mea (Save Me)” was released in July l Jazz acted as a vocalist, whilst Bliss constructed most of the music herself electronically, but also played the piano, violin, saxophone and bass guitar. Rollo heads and produces the band. Lead female vocals for many of their songs are performed by Pauline Taylor, who also performed lead vocals for singles by Rollo released under his monikers Rollo Goes Mystic and Rollo Goes Spiritual.” The albums are Reverence, Sunday 8PM, Outrospective and No Roots; which were all released between 1996 and 2004, with a greatest hits compilation album out in 2005. In light of their dance roots, each of the four studio albums has been followed with a subsequent bonus disc of remixes. Their fifth album, To All New Arrivals, was released in 2006. Album number six, The Dance, was released on 16 May 2010, after a four year recording break for the band.”The band also collectively indulge in mixtapes of other musicians’ work, either mixed by the group or merely selected by them. This includes the long running Back to Mine sessions as well as The Bedroom Sessions and more recently theRenaissance 3D music project, in conjunction with the Renaissance nightclub.On 29 September 2006, the first single “Bombs” from their album To All New Arrivals made its debut on BBC Radio 1’s Pete Tong show. The album was released on 27 November 2006. “Bombs” generated moderate controversy with its music video, as demonstrated by MTV’s refusal to air it. The video featured interchanged clips of war scenes and daily life. In October 2007 they played alongside Talib Kweli and Ozomatli and one of China’s earliest music festivals, Yue, organised by Split Works

On 7 August 2009, a dub mix of the track “Sun to Me” from their latest studio album, The Dance, made its debut on BBC Radio 1’s Pete Tong show. “Sun to Me” has been given as a free download to all users that have registered on the new Faithless site, or subscribed to their newsletter. The track has been released on the band’s Myspace page as well. On 12 February 2010, the first official single from the next Faithless album was played on Pete Tong’s show. The single, “Not Going Home”, was released on 4 May 2010, whilst the latest album The Dance, was issued on 16 May 2010. The album is available only in Tesco (3 month exclusive contract) and via iTunes in the UK. Since 2009, their track “Drifting Away” has been the theme tune for the BBC Television’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show website. In 2010, they returned to the Glastonbury Festival after eight years, playing on the Pyramid Stage. They performed many of their most popular songs including “Insomnia”, “God is a DJ”, and “We Come 1″. In 2011, Maxi Jazz announced on his website that Faithless would cease to be. They played two nights at Brixton Academy on 7 and 8 April 2011. The latter date would be the last ever Faithless show and was transmitted live via satellite to cinemas across Europe. However, the Faithless Sound System (a stripped down version of Faithless consisting of Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and Sudha Kheterpal) gave final shows on 22 July 2011 at the Tomorrowland festival in Belgium, at the Waterford Music Fest in Ireland on 30 July and in Split at the Riva Discothèque on 12 August. Faithless performed in Dubai on 31 December 2012. Despite the announcement of their retirement, they occasionally continue to perform in the form of the stripped-down Faithless Sound System or via live PA and DJ sets incorporating Maxi Jazz and Sister Bliss only.

Following Faithless’ retirement from touring in April 2011, she has concentrated on different projects. She presents a weekly show on Ministry of Sound Radio at 7pm on Friday evenings. Sister Bliss has collaborated with Dido, Boy George, Cat Power, Robert Smith (The Cure), The Temper Trap and Example amongst others. A gifted musician and composer, Sister Bliss has written music for film, TV and theatre. Credits include 2012ʼs film Knife Fight starring Rob Lowe, and directed by 2-times Oscar winner, Bill Guttentag, commissions for Sex & The City 2, Danny Boyleʼs The Beach, acclaimed British film The Hide, Crossing The Line and popular TV drama Life Begins. For theatre, Bliss has written music for The Black Album and The Emperor Jones at The National Theatre in London, as well as composing an original piece for the London Sinfonietta, which was performed at Fuse Festival, UK.Inspired by her love for discovering new music through her radio show and DJ sets, 2013 will see Sister Bliss launch her own label: Junkdog Records. An outlet for signing new music she believes in, Junkdog already has a busy schedule of new artists and exclusive originals from the lady herself.The ‘Faithless Sound System’ – a stripped down live act featuring a live PA from Maxi Jazz, DJ set from Bliss and percussion – has appeared at a number of festivals worldwide since the full Faithless band’s split. The sets are typically one hour or less in duration.She has occasionally appeared at medium-sized clubs in the UK in recent years, often as a headline DJ act playing sets of house music.Junkdog Records is her current record label, which has released Sister Bliss solo singles, her remixing of others’ tracks and also independent artist.

On 31 May 2013, she reunited with Maxi Jazz for a Faithless live PA and DJ set at the Electric Brixton nightclub in London. The 1,500 capacity event was in aid of the youth academy for Crystal Palace football club. A similar arrangement of her DJing house tracks between Faithless songs featuring Maxi Jazz on live vocals, was performed at a festival in the United States As well as their own studio albums, all three members actively engage in other people’s work as solo figures. Sister Bliss is a prominent dance DJ and has for a long time toured the circuit on her own, remixed others’ albums and even appeared in music videos, such as Paul Oakenfold’s “Weekend”. Maxi Jazz brought out an album before the formation of Faithless and also worked on pirate radio. He also collaborated with Faithless founding member Jamie Catto on his new project 1 Giant Leap guesting on a song with Robbie Williams. Finally, Rollo founded the label Cheeky Records and has produced the music of other artists, most notably his sister Dido’s albums, as well as using various monikers to create popular dance music under the names Rollo Goes … (Camping, Mystic and Spiritual), Felix, Our Tribe (with Rob Dougan), and Dusted. The latest Faithless album Faithless 2.0 was released in 2015 and is a 2CD RETROSPECTIVE which contains all of Faithless’ hits plus many new remixes.