BBC Biggest Weekend

BBC Radio 1’s The Biggest Weekend features two days of live music and takes place across four locations including Titanic Slipways – Belfast, Northern Ireland, Scone Palace – Perth, Scotland, Singleton Park – Swansea, Wales and the War Memorial Park in Coventry, England, between Friday 25 May and Spring bank holiday Monday 28 May.

In Belfast, fans will be able to see Beck, Manic Street Preachers, Courtney Barnett, Franz Ferdinand, First Aid Kit, Ash, young Fathers, Lykke Li Neneh Cherry and Public Service Broadcasting. Meanwhile Perth will host Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Simple Minds, Emeli Sande, The Shires, Jamie Cullum, Nigel Kennedy and Amy McDonald. In Coventry, there will be performances from Liam Gallagher, Paloma Faith, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics and UB40.

Swansea, will play host to Smith, Ed Sheeran, Craig David, Jess Glynne, George Ezra, Years & Years, Liam Payne, Anne-Marie, Taylor Swift, Florence and the Machine, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Rita Ora, Nial Horan, Jason Derulo, Bastille, Wolf Alice, Chvrches, James Bay, Christine and the Queens, J Hus, Stefflon Don, Jorja Smith, Sigrid, Mabel, Panic! At The Disco, Jax Jones, Jessie Ware, Orbital, Underworld and Demi Lovato.

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Lenny Kravitz

American singer-songwriter,multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actor and arranger Lenny Kravitz was born 26 May 1964. Kravitz began banging on pots and pans in the kitchen, playing them as drums at the age of three. At the age of five, he wanted to be a musician. He began playing the drums and soon added guitar. Kravitz grew up listening to the music his parents listened to: R&B, jazz,classical, opera, gospel, and blues. “My parents were very supportive of the fact that I loved music early on, and they took me to a lot of shows,” Kravitz said. Around the age of seven, he saw The Jackson 5 perform at Madison Square Garden, which became his favorite group.His father, who was also a jazz promoter, was friends with Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Short, Miles Davis and other jazz greats. Ellington even played “Happy Birthday” for him one year when he was about 5.

He was exposed to the soul music of Motown, Stax, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Gladys Knight, The Isley Brothers and Gamble and Huff growing up who were key influences on his musical style. Kravitz often went to see New York theater, where his mother worked. His mother encouraged his dreams of pursuing music.In 1974, the Kravitz family relocated to Los Angeles when Kravitz’s mother landed her role on The Jeffersons. At his mother’s urging, Kravitz joined the California Boys Choir for three years, where he performed a classical repertoire, and sang with the Metropolitan Opera. He took part in Mahler’s Third Symphony at the Hollywood Bowl. It was in Los Angeles that Kravitz was first introduced to rock music, listening to Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Cream, and The Who.”I was attracted to the cool style, the girls, the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle,” Kravitz said. Kravitz’s other musical influences at the time included Fela Kuti, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye,Pharoah Sanders and Miles Davis; John Lennon and Bob Marley proved later to be influential as well.Kravitz attended Beverly Hills High School. Maria McKee, actor Nicolas Cage and musician Slash were his classmates. In 1978, Kravitz was accepted into the school’s well-respected music program. He taught himself to play piano and bass, and made friends with Zoro who would later become his long-time collaborator.

Kravitz wanted to be a session musician. He also appeared as an actor in television commercials during this time. Kravitz’ “retro” style incorporates elements of rock, soul, R&B, funk, reggae, hard rock, psychedelic, folk and ballads. In addition to singing lead and backing vocals, Kravitz often played all the guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and percussion himself when recording. So Kravitz decided to record an album on his own. Kravitz had met recording engineer/keyboardist/bassist Henry Hirsch in 1985 when recording a demo at his Hoboken, New Jerseyrecording studio. Kravitz released his début album Let Love Rule on September 6, 1989, a combination of rock and funk with a general 1960s vibe. Music critics were mixed: some felt Kravitz was a gifted new artist, others felt he was overpowered by his musical influences.

The album was a moderate success in the United States, but became an instant hit outside of the US, especially in Europe. Lisa Bonet directed the debut music video for the title track, “Let Love Rule.” Stephen Smith signed Kravitz with talent booking agency CAA, he was soon opening for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bob Dylan and David Bowie. Kravitz also produced the song “Justify My Love” for Madonna, which he co-wrote with Ingrid Chavez. The song, which appeared on her greatest hits album The Immaculate Collection. .In 1991, Kravitz produced the self-titled album Vanessa Paradis for French singer and actress Vanessa Paradis. He also released his second album, Mama Said, which included Kravitz’s biggest single yet, “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,”and the single “Always on the Run,” a tribute to his mother, featured Slash on guitar. “Stand By My Woman” and “What Goes Around Comes Around” followed.Sean Lennon co-wrote and played piano on the song “All I Ever Wanted”

In 1995, Lenny Kravitz released the album Circus, which went to number 10 on the Billboard chart on the back of his past achievement. However, the album only had two hit singles: “Rock and Roll Is Dead” and “Can’t Get You Off My Mind.”With 5 (1998), Kravitz embraced digital technology such as Pro Tools and samplers for the first time. 5 introduced his music to an even wider audience thanks to the hit single “Fly Away” being featured prominently in both car manufacturer and airline commercials. 5would reach number 28 on the Billboard 200, with “Fly Away” reaching number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 in the United Kingdom. He would win the first of his four consecutive Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the Grammy Awards of 1999.

Other hits from the album included “If You Can’t Say No”, that was also remixed by dance producer Brian Transeau, and “I Belong to You.” For the I Belong to You video Lenny can be seen without his signature dreadlocks. In 1999 he produced and sang with Cree Summer on her solo album Street Faerie.Kravitz worked on two songs for Michael Jackson’s Invincible album released in 2001; a snippet of “Another Day” has leaked, and the full version was officially released on the album Michael in 2010 .[14]Kravitz released a Greatest Hits album in 2000. It proved to be his most successful album, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 and selling nearly 11 million copies worldwide and ultimately becoming one of the most commercially successful albums of the decade. The single “Again” earned him his third consecutive Grammy for the Best Male Rock Vocal in the Grammy Awards of 2001 and peaked at number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Kravitz also co-wrote the song “God Gave Me Everything” with Mick Jagger in this period, appearing on Jagger’s 2001 solo album Goddess in the Doorway and in the film Being Mick.

On 2001, Kravitz released his sixth album Lenny and participated in a benefit auction for the Red Hot Organization, in conjunction with Amazon.com to increase public AIDS awareness, which ran from February 28 until April 11, 2001. The event featured rare RHO memorabilia and the work of Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger.In 1993, Kravitz wrote “Line Up” for Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and appeared on Mick Jagger’s solo album, Wandering Spirit, in a cover of the Bill Withers soul classic “Use Me”, and played guitar on the title track of David Bowie’s The Buddha of Suburbia. That year Kravitz also got to work with idols Al Green and Curtis Mayfield.In 1993, Are You Gonna Go My Way was released, reaching number 12 on the Billboard 200 and Kravitz earned a BRIT Award for best international male artist in 1994. The title track won a MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video for the video produced by Mark Romanek, in which Kravitz slung his dreadlocks and wore high-heeled platform boots.

During the presentation of the MTV Video Music Awards, he performed the song with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin on bass. Several singles from the album would follow including, “Believe,” “Is There Any Love In Your Heart,” and “Heaven Help/Spinning Around Over You.” This album was the first to feature guitaristCraig Ross, who has also played on all his subsequent albums. One song, “Eleutheria,” was influenced by the island Eleuthera in The Bahamas where Kravitz built a house and recording studio. In 1993, he also released the EP Spinning Around Over You, which included four live tracks from his “Universal Love Tour”. A feature documentary about his 1994 tour entitled Alive From Planet Earth was directed by Doug Nichol and released.In 1994, Kravitz recorded a funk-rock version of the song “Deuce,” for the KISS cover album KISS My Ass: Classic KISS Regrooved. The track featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica and background vocals. This song was one of three radio singles from the album, and was also the album’s lead-off track.

Kravitz’s seventh album Baptism was released in May 2004. The first single was “Where Are We Runnin’?”. The single “California” failed to be commercially successful, but “Storm”, featuring Jay-Z, reached the charts. “Calling All Angels” was successful in various countries and a huge hit in Brazil, however it was “Lady” that became the album’s surprise hit, making the US Top 30 and propelling Baptism to gold status. He also appeared on N.E.R.D’s album Fly or Die. During 2005, Kravitz toured all over the world with the tour Electric Church, which ended at the Brixton Academy, London in July 2005. Kravitz toured alongside Aerosmith on their autumn 2005 tour, starting at the Mohegan Sun Arena inUncasville, Connecticut. The night before that tour started, October 29, 2005, Lenny’s father TV Producer Sy Kravitz died. During that first show, Lenny broke the news to the stunned crowd and stated it was not a time to be sad but rather a time to celebrate because he is now in Heaven. Lenny then dedicated Let Love Rule to his father. That tour was so successful that it was extended through February 25, 2006 and ended in Anaheim, California. In January 2006, Kravitz contributed “Breathe” to absoluttracks, a project sponsored by Absolut Vodka. Lately, Kravitz has founded a design firm named Kravitz Design, stating if he hadn’t been a musician he would have been a designer. Kravitz Design, focused on interior and furniture design, has designed residential spaces, as well as a chandelier for the crystal company Swarovski, named “Casino Royale”.

In 2007, Kravitz performed at the Brazilian leg of Live Earth in Rio de Janeiro, making him one of three major international rock stars to perform two huge free concerts at the world-famous Copacabana Beach along with Macy Gray and the Rolling Stones. Also in 2007, Kravitz released a version of “Cold Turkey” by John Lennon on the charity CD Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. Kravitz also spent time recording the album, It Is Time for a Love Revolution, released February 5, 2008. He also performed on the 2007, the Fats Domino tribute album “Goin’ Home ; A Tribute To Fats Domino” on the song “Whole Lotta Lovin’” along with Rebirth Brass Band, Troy “Trombone Shorty” On July 15, 2008, Lenny was honored in Milan, Italy with the key to the city in a special toast ceremony for his work with the United Nations Millennium Campaign to end world poverty. Kravitz’ next album, tentatively titled Funk, was tentatively re-titled Negrophilia Featuring the songs ”Stand”, “Super Love” “Come on Get It” and “Life Ain’t Never Been Better Than It Is Now” Eventually the album was later named Black and White America. On May 23, 2011, Lionsgate announced that Kravitz would be joining the cast and crew of The Hunger Games, as Katniss’ creative stylist, Cinna.

Kravitz has won many awards including the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance four years in a row from 1999 to 2002, breaking the record for most wins in that category as well as setting the record for most consecutive wins in one category by a male. He has been nominated for and won other awards, including American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Radio Music Awards, BRIT Awards and Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. On December 1, 2011, Kravitz was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He plays the role of Cinna in The Hunger Games film series. Kravitz was honored with one of the highest cultural awards in France when he was made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by French cultural minister Frederic Mitterrand in Paris.

Stevie Nicks ( Fleetwood Mac)

Stevie Nicks musician with Fleetwood Mac was born 26 May 1948. Fleetwood Mac were formed in 1966 in London, they were originally named The Bluesbreakers and Founder Peter Green named the group by combining he surnames of two of his bandmates (Fleetwood and McVie). Christine Mcvie joined the band in 1970 while married to John McVie, Green asked if drummer Mick Fleetwood could join having already been in two bands with Fleetwood. The Bluesbreakers now consisted of Green, Fleetwood, John McVie and Mayall. Green contacted Fleetwood to form a new band and wanted McVie on bass guitar even naming the band ‘Fleetwood Mac’ as a way to entice him. The band made its debut in 1967 at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival. Feetwood Mac’s first album, Fleetwood Mac, was a no-frills blues album. The band soon released two singles “Black Magic Woman” (later a big hit for Santana) and “Need Your Love So Bad”.The band’s second album, Mr. Wonderful, was released in August 1968. Like the first it was an all-blues album, Then next album was Then Play on”.

Sadly Peter Green left and Fleetwood Mac released Kiln House which was more rock. Spencer’s wrote the country-tinged “Sun Sound” meanwhile Christine contributed to Kiln House, singing backup vocals, and drawing the album cover. They also released a single “Dragonfly” b/w “The Purple Dancer” . Christine McVie, made her first appearance with the band in 1969 and played her first gig as an official member on 6 August 1970 in New Orleans. An album of previously unreleased material from the original Fleetwood Mac called The Original Fleetwood Mac was also released, Then While on tour in 1971, guitarist Jeremy Spencer disappeared and After several days of frantic searching, the band discovered that he had joined a religious group, the Children of God. So the band hired Bob Welch as Guitarist. In September 1971, the band released “Future Games” and “Bare Trees” six months later. This featured the songs “Sentimental Lady”, &“Spare Me a Little of Your Love”, sadly whilst on tour Danny Kirwan developed an alcohol dependency and Fleetwood fired him. In September 1972, the band added guitarist Bob Weston and vocalist Dave Walker and also hired Savoy Brown’s road manager, John Courage.

Mick, John, Christine, Welch, Weston, and Walker recorded the album “Penguin”. After the tour, the band fired Walker The remaining five recorded “Mystery to Me” six months later containing the song “Hypnotized” . However, things were not well within the band. The McVies’ marriage was under a lot of stress, aggravated by their constant working together, and John McVie’s considerable alcohol abuse. During the tour, Weston also had an affair with Fleetwood’s wife, Jenny Boyd Fleetwood, the sister of Pattie Boyd Harrison. Fleetwood soon fired Weston and the tour was cancelled and in one of the most bizarre events in rock history, the band’s manager, Clifford Davis, claimed that he owned the name Fleetwood Mac and put out a “fake Mac”. Nobody in the “fake Mac” was ever officially in the real band, Fans were told that Bob Welch and John McVie had quit the group, and that Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie would be joining the band at a later date. Fleetwood Mac’s road manager, John Courage, hid the real Fleetwood Mac’s equipment, which helped shorten the tour by the fake band. But the lawsuit that followed put the real Fleetwood Mac out of commission for almost a year. The issue was who actually owned the name “Fleetwood Mac”. Unfortunately Fleetwood and McVie, had signed contracts forfeiting the rights to the name. The “real” Fleetwood Mac were in fact Fleetwood, Welch and the McVies. While this did not end the legal battle, the band was able to record as Fleetwood Mac again.

Fleetwood Mac decided to manage themselves and released Heroes Are Hard to Find in September 1974 and added a second keyboardist Doug Graves. After Welch left the band, Fleetwood began searching for a possible replacement. While Fleetwood was scouting Van Nuys, California,Mick Fleetwood heard a song titled “Frozen Love” by an American band, Buckingham Nicks. Fleetwood liked it, and invited the guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and his musical partner and girlfriend, Stephanie “Stevie” Nicks, to join Fleetwood Mac. In 1975, the new line-up released the eponymous Fleetwood Mac which contained Christine McVie’s “Over My Head”, “Say You Love Me”, and Stevie Nicks’ “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” .

Sadly the breakdown of John and Christine McVie’s marriage, Mick Fleetwood and Jenny’s marriage and Buckingham and Nicks’ long term romantic relationship, plus creative and personal tensions, fuelled by high consumption of drugs and alcohol, created problems within the band. This resulted in the album Rumours, in which they laid bare the emotional turmoil experienced at that time. Critically acclaimed, it was the recipient of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for 1977. Hit singles included Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way”, Nicks’s U.S. No.1 “Dreams”, and Christine McVie’s “Don’t Stop” and “You Make Loving Fun”. Buckingham’s “Second Hand News”, Nicks’ “Gold Dust Woman” and “The Chain”. ’Buckingham pursuaded Fleetwood to make the next album more experimental and the result was the quirky 20-track double album, Tusk. It spawned three hit singles; Lindsey Buckingham’s “Tusk” Christine McVie’s “Think About Me” and Stevie Nicks’ 6½ minute opus “Sara” .Tusk remains one of Fleetwood Mac’s most ambitious albums to date. The band also recorded music for the Fleetwood Mac Live album, which was released at the end of 1980.The next album, 1982′s Mirage, followed solo albums by Nicks (Bella Donna) and Buckingham (Law and Order). Mirage was a return to the more conventional sound to recapture the huge success of Rumours. Its hits included Christine McVie’s “Hold Me” and “Love In Store” Stevie Nicks’s “Gypsy”, and Lindsey Buckingham’s “Oh Diane”, “Eyes Of The World” and “Can’t Go Back”.

Following Mirage, the band members went on to pursue solo careers. Stevie Nicks released two more solo albums (1983′s The Wild Heart and 1985′s Rock a Little), Lindsey Buckingham issued Go Insane in 1984, the same year that Christine McVie made an eponymous album (yielding the Top 10 hit “Got A Hold On Me” and the Top 40 hit “Love Will Show Us How”). However, during this period, Mick Fleetwood filed for bankruptcy, Nicks was admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic for addiction problems, and John McVie had suffered an addiction-related seizure—all attributed to the lifestyle of excess afforded to them by their worldwide success and It was rumoured that Fleetwood Mac had finally broken up. Fleetwood Mac recorded the album, Tango in the Night, in 1987. The album went on to become their best-selling release since Rumours, Itcontained four hits: Christine McVie’s “Little Lies” and “Everywhere” (the former being co-written with McVie’s new husband Eddy Quintela), Sandy Stewart and Stevie Nicks’ “Seven Wonders”, and Lindsey Buckingham’s “Big Love”. “Family Man”, “Isn’t It Midnight”, Lindsey Buckingham left and Following his departure, Fleetwood Mac added two new guitarists to the band,Billy Burnette and Rick Vito. Vito, was a Peter Green admirer, and had played with many artists from Bonnie Raitt to John Mayall, and even worked with John McVie on two Mayall albums.

Capitalising on the success of Tango in the Night, the band continued with a Greatest Hits album in 1988 which featured singles from the 1975–88 era, and included two new songs: “No Questions Asked” , and “As Long as You Follow” . It was dedicated to Buckingham. Fleetwood Mac then recorded the album Behind the Mask, which included McVie’s “Save Me”. The subsequent “Behind the Mask” tour saw the band play sold out shows at London’s Wembley Stadium, and on the final show in Los Angeles, the band were joined onstage by Buckingham. The two women of the band, who, had both decided that the tour would be their last though both stated that they would still record with the band. However, in 1991, both Nicks and Rick Vito left Fleetwood Mac altogether. In 1992, Fleetwood himself arranged a 4-disc box set spanning highlights from the band’s 25 year history, titled 25 Years – The Chain. The box set, included brand new songs, “Paper Doll”, “Heart of Stone”,”Love Shines”, and “Make Me a Mask”, Mick Fleetwood also released a deluxe hardcover companion book to coincide with the release of the box set, titled My 25 Years in Fleetwood Mac, which features many rare photographs and notes (written by Fleetwood himself) detailing the band’s 25 year history.

Inspired by the new interest in the band, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie recorded another album as Fleetwood Mac, with Billy Burnette The band, minus Christine McVie, toured in 1994 performing classic Fleetwood Mac songs from the initial 1967–1974 era. On 10 October 1995, Fleetwood Mac released Time and disbanded. Bramlett and Burnette subsequently formed a country music duo, Bekka & Billy. Just weeks after disbanding Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood announced that he was working with Lindsey Buckingham again. John McVie was soon added to the sessions, and later Christine McVie. Stevie Nicks also enlisted Lindsey Buckingham to produce a song for the Twister film soundtrack. This eventually led to a full Rumours line-up reunion when the band officially reformed in March 1997. The regrouped Mac performed a live concert and from this performance came the 1997 live album The Dance. They also released the 20th anniversary of their Rumours album. In 1998, Fleetwood Mac (Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed at the Grammy Awards program that year. They were also the recipients of the “Outstanding Contribution to Music” award at the BRIT Awards. In 1998, Christine McVie left the band permanently, Her departure left Buckingham and Nicks to sing all the lead vocals for the band’s 2003 album,Say You Will, although Christine did contribute some backing vocals and keyboards. The album yielded chart hits with “Peacekeeper” and the title track.”Fleetwood Mac toured in 2009, The tour was branded as a ‘greatest hits’ show entitled Unleashed, Stevie Nicks also premiered part of a new song that she had written about Hurricane Katrina. The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac was re-released And an episode of Glee entitled “Rumours” which featured six songs from the band’s 1977 album was also broadcast sparking renewed interest in the band, Rumours also re-entered the charts, the same week Stevie Nicks’ new solo album In Your Dreams. Fleetwood Mac reunited for 2013 minus two of the orginall members: late guitarist and singer Bob Weston and late guitarist Bob Welch and performed two new songs (“Sad Angel” and “Without You”),

Paul Weller

English singer-songwriter and musician John William “Paul” Weller, Jr. was born 25 May 1958 in Woking, Surrey, England. Weller attended Maybury County First School in 1963. His love of music began with The Beatles, then The Who and Small Faces. By the time Weller was eleven and moving up to Sheerwater County Secondary school, music was the biggest part of his life, and he had started playing the guitar.

After seeing Status Quo in concert in 1972 Weller formed the first incarnation of The punk rock/new wave/mod revival band The Jam playing bass guitar with his best friends Steve Brookes (lead guitar) and Dave Waller (rhythm guitar). Weller’s father, acting as their manager, began booking the band into local working men’s clubs. Joined by Rick Buckler on drums, and with Bruce Foxton soon replacing Waller on rhythm guitar, the four-piece band began to forge a local reputation, playing a mixture of Beatles covers and a number of compositions written by Weller and Brookes. Brookes left the band in 1976, and Weller and Foxton decided they would swap guitar roles, with Weller now the guitarist. Although The Jam emerged at the same time as punk rock bands such as The Clash, The Damned, and The Sex Pistols, The Jam better fit the mould of the new wave bands who came later, and being from just outside London rather than the city itself, they were never really part of the tightly-knit punk clique. Nonetheless, it was The Clash who emerged as one of the leading early advocates of the band, and were sufficiently impressed by The Jam to take them along as the support act on their White Riot tour of 1977.

The Jam’s first single, “In the City” took them into the UK Top 40 in May 1977. Although every subsequent single had a placing within the Top 40, it was not until the band released the political “The Eton Rifles” that they would break into the Top 10, hitting the No. 3 spot in November 1979. The increasing popularity of their blend of Weller’s barbed lyrics with pop melodies eventually led to their first number one single, “Going Underground”, in March 1980. This was followed by t”Town Called Malice”,”Precious” “That’s Entertainment” and “Just Who Is the 5 O’Clock Hero?”.  Despite the band’s popularity Weller became restless and wanted to explore a more soulful, melodic style of music with a broader instrumentation, and in consequence in 1982 he announced that The Jam would disband at the end of that year. The action came as a surprise to Foxton and Buckler who both felt that the band was still a creative formation with scope to develop further professionally, but Weller was determined to end the band and move on. Their final single, “Beat Surrender”, became their fourth UK chart topper, going straight to No. 1 in its first week. Their farewell concerts at Wembley Arena were multiple sell-outs; their final concert took place at the Brighton Centre on 11 December 1982. After which The Jam split.

Weller had further success with the blue-eyed soul music of The Style Council (1983–89), At the beginning of 1983, Weller teamed up with keyboard player Mick Talbot to form a new group called The Style Council. Weller brought in Steve White to play drums, as well as singer Dee C. Lee, who had previously been a backing singer with Wham! Free of the limited musical styles he felt imposed by The Jam, under the collective of The Style Council, Weller was able to experiment with a wide range of music, from pop and jazz to Soul/R&B, house and folk-styled ballads. The band was at the vanguard of a jazz/pop revival that would continue with the emergence of bands like Matt Bianco, Sade, and Everything but the Girl, whose members Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt contributed vocals and guitar to the 1984 The Style Council song “Paris Match”.

Many of The Style Council’s early singles such as My Ever Changing Moods” “You’re The Best Thing”. And “Shout to the Top” were very popular Weller appeared on 1984’s Band Aid record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and was called upon to mime the absent Bono’s lyrics on Top of the Pops. The Style Council were the second act to appear in the British half of Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in 1985. In December 1984, Weller put together his own charity ensemble called The Council Collective to make a record, “Soul Deep”, to raise money for striking miners, and the family of David Wilkie. The record featured The Style Council plus a number of other performers, notably Jimmy Ruffin and Junior Giscombe and included lyrics
such as “We can’t afford to let the government win / It means death to the trade unions”. Unfortunately The Style Council’s popularity in the UK waned, an The Style Council’s death knell was sounded in 1989 when their record company refused to release their fifth and final studio album, the house-influenced Modernism: A New Decade so Weller announced that The Style Council had split, although the final album did have a limited vinyl run, it was not until the 1998 retrospective CD box set The Complete Adventures of The Style Council that the album would be widely available.

In 1989, Weller found himself without a band and without a recording deal for the first time since he was 17. After taking time off throughout 1990, he returned to the road in 1991, touring as ‘The Paul Weller Movement’ with long-term drummer and friend Steve White, and Paul Francis (session bassist from The James Taylor Quartet) . After a slow start playing small clubs with a mixture of Jam/Style Council classics as well as showcasing new material such as “Into Tomorrow”, by the time of the release of his 1992 LP, Paul Weller, he had begun to re-establish himself as a leading British singer-songwriter and Solo artist. This self-titled album saw a return to a more jazz-guitar-focused sound, featuring samples and a funk influence with shades of the Style Council sound. The album also featured a new producer, Brendan Lynch. Tracks such as “Here’s a New Thing” and “That Spiritual Feeling” were marketed among the emerging acid jazz scene.

Buoyed by the positive commercial and critical success of his first solo album, Weller returned to the studio in 1993 with a renewed confidence. Accompanied by Steve White, guitarist Steve Cradock and bassist Damon Minchella, the result of these sessions was the triumphant Mercury Music Prize-nominated Wild Wood, which included ‘Sunflower’ His 1995 album Stanley Road took him back to the top of the British charts for the first time in a decade, and went on to become the best-selling album of his career. The album, named after the street in Woking where he had grown up, marked a return to the more guitar-based style of his earlier days. The album’s major single, “The Changingman”, was also a big hit, taking Weller to No. 7 in the UK singles charts. Another single, the ballad “You Do Something To Me”, was his second consecutive Top 10 single and reached No. 9 in the UK.

Weller found himself heavily associated with the emerging Britpop movement that gave rise to such bands as Oasis, Pulp and Blur. Noel Gallagher (of Oasis) is credited as guest guitarist on the Stanley Road album track “I Walk on Gilded Splinters”. Weller also returned the favour, appearing as a guest guitarist and backing vocalist on Oasis’ hit song “Champagne Supernova”. Despite widespread critical recognition as a singer, lyricist, and guitarist, Weller has remained a national, rather than international, star and much of his songwriting is rooted in British culture. He is also the principal figure of the 1970s and 1980s mod revival, and is often referred to as “The Modfather”. He also is one of a select few British solo artist who’s had as varied, long-lasting and determinedly forward-looking a career.” The BBC described Weller in 2007 as “one of the most revered music writers and performers of the past 30 years”. In 2012, he was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life. He has received four Brit Awards, winning the award for Best British Male twice, and the 2006 Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.

Klaus Meine (Scorpions)

Klaus Meine, The lead singer of German Rock group “Scorpions”, was born 25th May.1948. The Scorpions were formed in 1965 by guitarist Rudolf Schenker, and are known for their 1980s rock anthem “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and many singles, such as “No One Like You”, “Send Me an Angel”, “Still Loving You”, and “Wind of Change”. On January 24, 2010, after 46 years of performing, the band announced they were retiring after touring in support of their album Sting in the Tail and performed a concert Live from Morocco.

During their long career The band have been phenomenally successful and have so far sold over 100 million albums worldwide. At first, the band had beat influences and Schenker himself did the vocals. Things began to come together in 1970 when Schenker’s younger brother Michael and vocalist Klaus Meine joined the band. In 1972, the group recorded and released their debut album Lonesome Crow. Sadly The departure of Michael Schenker led to the breakup of the band In 1973, however In 1974 a new line-up of Scorpions released Fly to the Rainbow. This album proved to be more successful than Lonesome Crow and established the band’s sound. In 1975 the band released In Trance, The album was a huge step forward for Scorpions and established their heavy metal formula. It garnered a fan base at home and abroad with songs such as “Dark Lady”, “Robot Man”. In 1976, Scorpions releaed Virgin Killer, which featured rather ontroversial artwork, that brought the band considerable media exposure but resulted in the album being “pulled” in some countries. The music itself garnered praise from critics and fans alike.

The follow-up to Virgin Killer was the album Taken by Force, They also recorded material during the band’s Japanese tour, and the resultant double live album was called Tokyo Tapes. In 1979 The Scorpions released the album “Love Drive” which some critics consider to be the pinnacle of their career. Containing the songs “Loving You Sunday Morning”, “Always Somewhere”, “Holiday” and the instrumental “Coast to Coast”, it firmly cemented the ‘Scorpions formula’ of hard rock songs mixed with melodic ballads. The album’s provocative artwork was also named “Best album sleeve of 1979″ by Playboy magazine but was changed for American release. In 1980 the band released Animal Magnetism, with another provocative cover, containing the songs “The Zoo” and “Make It Real”. In 1981 the band began working on their next album, Blackout, which was released in 1982 and quickly became the band’s best selling to date eventually going platinum, the album spawned three singles “Dynamite”, “Blackout”, and “No One Like You”, but It was not until 1984 and the release of Love at First Sting that the band finally cemented their status as metal musicians.

Propelled by the single “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, Love at First Sting climbed the charts and went double platinum in the USA a few months after its release.The band toured extensively supporting the album and decided to record and release their second live album, World Wide Live in 1985. Recorded over a year-long world tour and released at the height of their popularity, the album was another success for the band. the band’s next album Savage Amusement was Released in 1988 and represented a more polished and mature sound. During the Savage Amusement tour, Scorpions became only the second Western group (not American) to play in the Soviet Union. Uriah Heep had performed in December, 1987 in Leningrad. The following year the band returned to perform at the Moscow Music Peace Festival. As a result, Scorpions developed an extended Russian fan base and still return to perform.In 1990.

Crazy World was released and displayed a less polished sound. The album was propelled in large part by the massive success of the ballad “Wind of Change”. The song muses on the socio-political changes that were occurring in Eastern Europe and in other parts of the world at the end of the Cold War. On July 21, 1990 they joined many other guests for Roger Waters’ massive performance of The Wall in Berlin. Scorpions performed both versions of “In the Flesh” from The Wall. In 1993, Scorpions released Face the Heat but this did not come close to matching the success of “Wind of Change” and was only a moderate success. In 1995, a new album, Live Bites, was produced. The disc documented retro live performances from their Savage Amusement Tour in 1988, all the way through to the Face the Heat Tour in 1994.Their 13th studio album, 1996s Pure Instinct, had many ballads, and the album’s singles “Wild Child” and the soothing ballad “You and I” both enjoyed moderate success.

1999 saw the release of Eye II Eye and a significant change in the band’s style, mixing in elements of pop and techno sadly fans were unsure what to make of the band, responding negatively to almost everything from pop-soul backup singers to the electronic drums present on several songs. The following year, Scorpions had an artistic collaboration with the Berlin Philharmonic that resulted in a 10-song album named Moment of Glory. The album went a long way toward rebuilding the band’s reputation after the harsh criticism of Eye II Eye. In 2001, Scorpions released Acoustica, a live unplugged album featuring acoustic reworkings of the band’s biggest hits, plus new tracks.In 2004, the band released Unbreakable, an album that was hailed by critics as a long-awaited return to form. The album was the heaviest the band had released since Face the Heat, and fans responded well to tracks such as “New Generation”, “Love ‘em or Leave ‘em” and “Deep and Dark”. Scorpions released their 17th studio album, Sting in the Tail, on March 23, 2010 and announced that it would be their last album and that the tour supporting it will be their final tour. On 6 April 2010, Scorpions were enshrined in Hollywood’s Rock Walk in a handprint ceremony, with the band members placing their hands in a long slab of wet cement. The slab will be placed in the ground next to other musical artists on the Rock Walk. Scorpions released Comeblack on 7 November 2011 and headlined the Wacken Open Air Festival on 4 August 2012 Alongside Saxon, Sepultura, Napalm Death and Dio Disciples.

Duke Ellington

American composer, pianist, and big-band leader Duke Ellington sadly died 24 May 1974. He was Born 29th April in 1899 in Washington, D.C. Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, to James Edward Ellington and Daisy (Kennedy) Ellington in Washington, D.C. Both his parents were pianists. Daisy primarily played parlor songs and James preferred operatic arias. They lived with his maternal grandparents in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Duke’s father James Ellington made blueprints for the United States Navy. At the age of seven, Ellington began taking piano lessons from Marietta Clinkscales. Ellington’s casual, offhand manner, his easy grace, and his dapper dress gave him the bearing of a young nobleman, earning him the nickname “Duke.” Ellington credited his chum Edgar McEntree for the nickname. Though Ellington took piano lessons, he was more interested in baseball. Ellington went to Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, D.C. He gained his first job selling peanuts at Washington Senators baseball games. ELlington composed his first peice in 1914, while working as a soda jerk at the Poodle Dog Café, entitled Soda Fountain Rag” (also known as the “Poodle Dog Rag”) and would play the ‘Soda Fountain Rag’ as a one-step, two-step, waltz, tango, and fox trot”,

In 1913 Ellington started sneaking into Frank Holiday’s Poolroom. Hearing the poolroom pianists play ignited Ellington’s love for the instrument, and he began to take his piano studies seriously. Among the many piano players he listened to were Doc Perry, Lester Dishman, Louis Brown, Turner Layton, Gertie Wells, Clarence Bowser, Sticky Mack, Blind Johnny, Cliff Jackson, Claude Hopkins, Phil Wurd, Caroline Thornton, Luckey Roberts, Eubie Blake, Joe Rochester, and Harvey Brooks. Ellington began listening to, watching, and imitating ragtime pianists, he saw in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Dunbar High School music teacher Henry Lee Grant gave him private lessons in harmony. With the additional guidance of Washington pianist and band leader Oliver “Doc” Perry, Ellington learned to read sheet music, project a professional style, and improve his technique. Ellington was also inspired by his first encounters with pianists James P. Johnson and Luckey Roberts. Later in New York he took advice from Will Marion Cook, Fats Waller, and Sidney Bechet. Ellington started playing gigs in cafés and clubs in and around Washington, D.C. And also turned down an art scholarship to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Three months before graduating he dropped out of Armstrong Manual Training School, where he was studying commercial art.

Working as a freelance sign-painter from 1917, Ellington began assembling groups to play for dances. In 1919 he met drummer Sonny Greer from New Jersey, who encouraged Ellington to become a professional musician. Ellington built his music business through his day job: ask customers if they had musical entertainment; if not, Ellington would offer to play for the occasion. He also had a messenger job with the U.S. Navy and State departments. Ellington moved out of his parents’ home and bought his own as he became a successful pianist and in 1917 formed his first group, “The Duke’s Serenaders” their first gig was at the True Reformer’s Hall. Ellington played throughout the Washington, D.C. area and into Virginia for private society balls and embassy parties. The band included childhood friend Otto Hardwick, who began playing the string bass, then moved to C-melody sax and finally settled on alto saxophone; Arthur Whetsol on trumpet; Elmer Snowden on banjo; and Sonny Greer on drums.

From the mid-1920s onward, Ellington was based in New York City and gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Though widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase “beyond category” as a liberating principle, and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music, rather than to a musical genre such as jazz. Some of the musicians who were members of Ellington’s orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered to be among the best players in jazz. Ellington melded them into the best-known orchestral unit in the history of jazz. Some members stayed with the orchestra for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm recording format, Ellington often composed specifically to feature the style and skills of his individual musicians.

Often collaborating with others, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his works having become standards. Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol’s “Caravan”, and “Perdido”, which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. After 1941, Ellington collaborated with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or suites, as well as additional short pieces. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major career revival and embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in several films, scoring several, and composed stage musicals.

Ellington was A major figure in the history of jazz, and his music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, film scores, popular, and classical. His career spanned more than 50 years and included leading his orchestra, composing an inexhaustible songbook, scoring for movies, composing stage musicals, and world tours. Several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards.

Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and thanks to his eloquence and extraordinary charisma, he is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other traditional genres of music. His reputation increased after his death and the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowed on him a special posthumous honor in 1999. Ellington called his music “American Music” rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as “beyond category.” These included many of the musicians who were members of his orchestra, some of whom are considered among the best in jazz in their own right, but it was Ellington who melded them into one of the most well-known jazz orchestral units in the history of jazz.

He often composed specifically for the style and skills of these individuals, such as “Jeep’s Blues” for Johnny Hodges, “Concerto for Cootie” for Cootie Williams, which later became “Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me” with Bob Russell’s lyrics, and “The Mooche” for Tricky Sam Nanton and Bubber Miley. He also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, such as Juan Tizol’s “Caravan” and “Perdido” which brought the “Spanish Tinge” to big-band jazz. Several members of the orchestra remained there for several decades. After 1941, he frequently collaborated with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his “writing and arranging companion.” Ellington recorded for many American record companies, and appeared in several films. Ellington led his band from 1923 until his death in 1974. His son Mercer Ellington, who had already been handling all administrative aspects of his father’s business for several decades, led the band until his own death in 1996. At that point, the original band dissolved. Paul Ellington, Mercer’s youngest son and executor of the Duke Ellington estate, kept the Duke Ellington Orchestra going from Mercer’s death onwards

Larrry Blackmon (Cameo)

American Musician Lawrence Ernest Blackmon was born May 24, 1956. He is the lead singer and founder frontman of the funk and R&B band, Cameo. Starting the band “East Coast”, Blackmon and Tomi Jenkins formed the “New York City Players” as compliment to the Ohio Players. Having to rename the group due to a conflict, the band later called itself Cameo. Blackmon lived in Harlem and played drums on several hits for the band Black Ivory. He is the son of Lee Black, a former boxer.

Along with his unique vocal style, Blackmon’s other personal touches included sporting an elaborate hi-top fade haircut and a codpiece over his pants. His signature “ow!” was used as the intro for some of the band’s songs. Blackmon appeared as a backing vocalist on Ry Cooder’s 1987 album “Get Rhythm” and Cyndi Lauper’s 1989 album, A Night to Remember. He also had co-producer credits for Eddie Murphy’s 1989 album So Happy.

The snare drum sound that Blackmon created for “Word Up!” and “Candy” was duplicated on releases by a wide range of artists. The group Cameo appeared at Adventureland Palace sponsored by Black Pride, Inc., on April 26, 1978.One of his sons is heavily involved in the New York political scene, while another son is currently involved in the hip hop music industry.