10 Jan

Eric Clapton Guitar Legend

Eric Clapton is an acclaimed musical artist, nicknamed “Slowhand” and known for his superb guitar playing ability. Originally from Ripley, Surrey, England, Clapton was born on March 30, 1945. His musical genres include blues, rock, psychedelic rock, and blues rock. Clapton is regarded by many as on e of the greatest and most influential guitarists. Aside from winning Grammy Awards, Eric Clapton has three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Clapton started off by joining the rock and roll band The Yardbirds in 1963, but left in 1965 as the band had more of a pop orientation than he would have liked, remaining dedicated to the blues. Eric then joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, who would help Clapton establish himself as one of the worlds best blues guitarists. Clapton left however quickly left Bluesbreakers as well, forming the band Cream in 1966. During his time with Cream was when he began to develop as a singer and songwriter along with is already notable guitar skills. Cream would break up two years later however in 1968.

Eric Clapton either played with and/or started a number of other successful groups before taking a career break because of personal issues in the 1970’s and has sporadically released solo albums since then. Some of his solo albums include: There’s One in Every Crowd, Another Ticket, Reptile, Sessions for Robert J, and Back Home.


10 Jan

The Life And Times Of John Lennon

Lennon’s songwriting was an integral part of The Beatles’ profound commercial and critical impact. His melodies, written during the Lennon-McCartney era, and later, in his solo career, are distinctive and unashamedly romantic.

Lennon’s lyrics reflected his personal and career demands, philosophical outlook, his unease with his fame and current events. He and McCartney popularized the use of electronic effects in rock music.

Lennon, on television and in films such as A Hard Day’s Night (1964), and by press conferences and interviews, revealed his rebellious, iconoclastic nature and quick, irreverent wit. Lennon channeled his fame and penchant for controversy into his work as a peace activist, artist and author. He was murdered in New York City in December 1980.

In 2002, the BBC polled the British public about the 100 Greatest Britons of all time. Respondents voted Lennon into eighth place.

Lennon had a profound influence on rock ‘n’ roll and in expanding the genre’s boundaries during the 1960s. He is widely considered, along with McCartney, to be one of the most influential singer-songwriter-musicians of the 20th century.

Many of the songs written exclusively or primarily by Lennon, however, are more introspective


10 Jan

Sir Elton Hercules John

Sir Elton Hercules John was educated in the Royal Academy, thanks to a scholarship that obtained in this institution at the age of 11 years that left six years later to dedicate itself to pop music. As of 1964 it began to collaborate with local groups like Bluesology, where John Baldry knew the singer. As tribute to him and the saxofonista Elton Dean adopted the stage name of Elton John

In the Sixties it participated in several groups, but without too much success. Until in 1967 it knew the letrista and poet Bernie Taupin. Together they achieved its first great success in 1970 with the album “Elton John” by the song “Your Song”. In 1971 four albums between the ten first of the lists of the United States were placed simultaneously, something that did not happen from the Beatles. Also in that same Elton year it began to develop a galloping alopecia that would later lead years to him to the wig use.

The Seventies were the one of its consecration as authentic star, began to act adorned with outlandish disguises and other usandolos adornments characteristic of glam rock in multitudinal concerts. At that time it was great successful like Crocodile Rock (1972), Candle In The Wind (1973) Bennie And The Jets (1973) and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (1974). Between 1972 and 1975, seven of their discs entered the first positions of the lists of British sales.

In 1975 it participated in the Tommy film, directed by Ken Russell and written by Pete Townshend, guitarist of The Who. By that time I scandalize to the public opinion with certain declarations on its homosexualidad.

When entering the decade of 1980, left of side temporarily its relation with Taupin in addition to that moderated its image and its music, doing it more mel


10 Jan

Barry Manilow Singer And Songwriter Extraordinaire Returns To The Stage

Early Life

Barry Alan Pincus was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 17, 1943. His father was of Russian and Jewish descent, and his mother was Irish. His parents split up when Barry was only two, and he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents. He was introduced to music when he was seven, when he began to learn the piano and accordion.

Prior to his Bar Mitzvah at age 13, Barry began to sing. It was also at this time that he changed his name to match that of his mother’s maiden name – Manilow. In several ways, 1956 was the year Barry Manilow was “born”.

Budding Career

He continued singing through high school, and upon graduation, he was accepted to the prestigious Julliard School of Music. He paid his tuition by working in the CBS mail room. This proved to be a fortuitous school-time job. Manilow advanced at CBS, and wound up serving as the musical director for the CBS show Callback.

For the next few years, Manilow made his way by writing and performing advertising jingles, including the now-famous song for State Farm Insurance. His work got him noticed, and in 1971 he was hired by Bette Midler as her pianist and music director. He accompanied her on several bath house performances in New York City before Midler herself gained fame and fortune. His work with Midler helped her rise to the top, and as a result, Manilow landed his first record deal in 1973.

Potential Reached

Although Manilow’s first album, Barry Manilow, was not a huge success, his follow-up, Barry Manilow II, contained what became his first smash hit, the single, Mandy, which climbed to number one in both the US and UK. From there, an incredible run of commercial success ensued. Manilow’s next six albums all reached the Top 10 on the US Album charts, and some of the singles he produced during this time have remained popular to this day, including I Write The Songs in 1975 and Looks Like We Made It in 1977.

In all, Manilow has released over 30 albums, and 13 of them have risen to number one on the US Album charts, which is an unbelievable rate of success. Manilow’s style has transformed over the years as well. His early works were almost exclusively love songs and ballads. However, in the early 1980’s, Manilow began to focus more on smooth jazz and worked with such legends of the genre as Mel Torme and Sarah Vaughan.

Overall, though, Manilow is best known for his romantic singing and sometimes crooning ways on stage, and his shows have been sold out in nearly every venue for decades. His fans number in the millions and his act is imitated by many.

Manilow has won two Grammy Awards during his career for his singing performances, and in 2002, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone Magazine called him the best performer of his generation. His charitable works are too numerous to list in one volume.

Generally, there are many reasons to take in a Barry Manilow show. We’ve listed a few, but a trip to Las Vegas would be well worth your time to see one of the true icons of musical performance.


9 Jan

Ringo Starr One Of The Fab Four Returning To The Stage

Early Life – A Tale of Struggle

Starr was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940 in Liverpool. Starr’s life was one wrought with obstacles, beginning when his parents separated when Ringo was a toddler. His mother remarried and Ringo grew up with his mother and eventual step-father in a working-class suburb of Liverpool.

Aside from family struggles, Starr also faced and conquered early health issues. When he was six, he suffered from appendicitis. Further complicating matters, his appendix burst, and the resulting peritonitis left him in a coma for ten weeks. Doctors gave him little chance to survive, but survive he did, and he was nearly recovered when another disaster hit. Ringo fell out of his hospital bed after six months of recovery and had to remain there for another six months.

As a result of these medical problems, Starr was seriously behind academically, and could not read or write when most children his age already could. His attitude towards school was never positive, and Ringo was known to play “hooky” quite often. These academic problems were part of the reason Ringo was eventually drawn to music.

When Starr was 13, he was dealt another medical blow when he was diagnosed with pleurisy, and he had to spend two years in the hospital as a result of this ailment. By the time he got out he was 15, and so far behind in school that he gave up the thought of ever returning at that point.

Starr took a series of dead-end jobs, as his career ceiling was quite limited because of his lack of academic progress. It was at this time that he discovered an outlet for his creativity – music.

Career Beginnings

Starr became enraptured with Liverpool’s Skiffle craze in the 1950’s, and in 1957 he started his first band, The Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group. In 1959, he joined The Raving Texans, and earned his nickname because of the number of rings he wore regularly and to sound more “Texan” as part of his new group.

While performing with The Raving Texans in 1960, Starr met a little-known group called The Beatles in Hamburg. The Beatles eventually replaced their existing drummer, Pete Best, in 1962, and chose Ringo as their replacement.

Legends in the Making

Obviously, this turned out to be a pretty good career move for Ringo. For the next eight years, Ringo collaborated on several albums that remain some of the best sellers of all time. The Beatles were not only a musical, but also a cultural phenomenon, and each member of the band enjoyed fame and fortune beyond most people’s imagination. Starr was not only the drummer for the band, but also helped write many songs and sang lead in several smash hits.

Solo Career

In 1970, The Beatles broke up and Ringo went right to work on his solo career. He released two albums that same year, and has produced 12 more since. Ringo released 11 singles that made the US and UK charts. Starr also spent time with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, a loosely grouped band of all star musicians who spent time touring together. All in all, Starr’s solo career has been a resounding success.

Accomplishments

When you add it all up, Starr has truly been a star. He won a combined 22 Grammy Awards for his work with the Beatles, Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band and his solo work. He has sold millions of records around the world, and in 1988, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

If you love music, you most likely enjoy the work of Ringo Starr. Take advantage of the opportunity to see him live this summer.


9 Jan

Alice Cooper True Rock And Roll Is Live Once Again

Early Life

Vincent Damon Furnier was born in Detroit on February 4, 1948. His heritage was quite interesting, in that his grandfather was an ordained Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ and his father was an elder in the same church. After spending the first few years of his life in Detroit, the family decided to move to Phoenix, which was where Vincent spent his formative years.

Furnier enrolled at Cortez high school in Phoenix, and became known by his peers as a columnist in the school newspaper. His tone in these columns was quite sarcastic, and two of his loyal readers became his closest friends of the time – Glen Buxton and Dennis Dunaway. Buxton and Dunaway would play a large role in Furnier’s musical career down the road.

Furnier, Buxton and Dunaway were motivated by one thing in high school – gaining the attention and adulation of the female students at Cortez. Their first foray into the musical world occurred during a school talent show where they donned wigs and gave a mock performance of songs by The Beatles. Even though their show was definitely amateur in nature, the group discovered that music was definitely the way to go if they wanted to be popular.

The trio was joined by another friend, Michael Bruce, and the quartet formed a band named The Earwigs. The group’s musical influences included The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks and especially Eric Clapton and The Yardbirds. The name “Earwigs” didn’t last long, as the band soon became known as the Spiders.

The Spiders released a single, “Don’t Blow Your Mind,” that was a hit on Phoenix radio, and as a result, the band once again changed their name to The Nazz and traveled to Hollywood to pursue larger goals. Despite years of struggle in Los Angeles, The Nazz did manage to play opening acts for such bands as The Doors and The Yardbirds. The final change came in 1968, when Todd Rundgren named his band The Nazz, forcing Furnier and his crew to rename their band “Alice Cooper.”

Alice Cooper Days

In 1969, the band Alice Cooper released their first album, Pretties For You, which sold reasonably well but was seen as an outlandish work at the time. One of the reasons was the legendary story that the band showed up still reeling from a night of heavy drinking to record the album. This legend helped play into the overall theme of craziness that the band embodied going forward.

The band Alice Cooper released a total of five albums, but they split up in 1974. Furnier then became known as Alice Cooper, and released his first album, Welcome to My Nightmare, in 1975. The album became a top ten hit, and Cooper was on his way to stardom.

Since then, Cooper has released more than 30 studio, live and compilation albums, and has sold millions of records worldwide. His onstage legend has never waned. Even though he denies biting the head off a chicken and drinking its blood, the story made waves all over the world and is still a subject of discussion in many interviews.

Cooper’s outrageousness is definitely part of why he is known, but he is also one of the top-selling artists of his time. He has always flown a bit under the radar, but his shock rock innovations have been admired and to an extent imitated by the likes of Judas Priest, Kiss, Megadeath and Marilyn Manson.

One thing is sure – to see Alice Cooper is to see a show you’ll never forget.


9 Jan

Elton John A Musical Icon Hits The Stage Once Again

Early Life

Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in England in 1947, and his early childhood was shaped primarily by the women in his life. His father, Stanley Dwight, was a Squadron Leader in the RAF, which meant that he was rarely around his son, as his military duty kept him on tour for years.

John proved to be something of a child prodigy, as by the age of four, he was able to play piano melodies by ear after hearing them either on the radio or record player. He continued to hone his love for music, and he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music when he was 11.

John studied at the Academy for six years, but left before he graduated because he felt he was ready to concentrate on his professional music career. John played in his share of bands while he was a student, and it was during this time that his professional attitude and style were formulated in such a way that they would serve him throughout his career.

Early Career

John’s first band was formed when he was 13, and it was called The Corvettes. The Corvettes ultimately changed their name to Bluesology, which experienced some success as a backup band for such R&B artists as the Isley Brothers and Patti LaBelle. This exposure led to Bluesology being signed to serve as Long John Baldry’s supporting band, and they would tour and play small shows throughout England during this time.

John soon became disillusioned with the tight-fisted control that Baldry exerted over Bluesology and left the band soon thereafter. Even though there were initial failures, as John auditioned for lead singer roles with King Crimson and Gentle Giant without being hired, this part of his life led him to a partnership that exists to this day.

Career Success

John once again failed in an audition with Liberty Records, but as he was leaving the audition, he was given a group of lyrics without music that were written by Bernie Taupin, who has also tried out for a role with Liberty Records. John wrote music to support the lyrics, and the two began corresponding. John and Taupin met six months later, and it was during this time that John changed his name to what it is today. After a couple of years of writing music together, the partners were ready to encounter the 1970’s, which was a decade where they experienced a level of success that was unmatched in history.

Taupin and John began releasing singles with moderate success, and formed a band of musicians that would lead to John’s first number one album, Honky Chateau, in 1972. The album contained such hits as “Rocket Man” and “Honky Cat,” and spent five weeks at number one.

The following year, John started his own label, Rocket Records, and his string of success was amazing. His next nine albums all climbed to the top of the US Album charts, and his 31 releases since his first have sold hundreds of millions of copies around the world.

Awards/Acknowledgements

John is revered by millions, both inside the music industry and by the public in general. He has been recognized in several ways. John has won five Grammy Awards, although this is just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of his recognition. In 1995, John won an Academy Award for Best Music, Song for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” featured in The Lion King. He won a Golden Globe Award that same year for Best Original Song – Motion Picture for the same score. In 1996, he was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (C.B.E.), and in 1998, he was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his contribution to music and fund-raising for AIDS charities. Finally, in 2000, John won a Tony Award for Best Original Musical Score for his work with Aida. John was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.


9 Jan

Olivia Newton John Is Stronger Than Before

She’s wondered “Have You Never Been Mellow,” implored us to get “Physical” and made it clear she’s “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Now singer, actress and breast cancer prevention advocate Olivia Newton-John wants us to know she’s “Stronger Than Before.”

That’s the title of the multi-Grammy-winning artist’s newest compact disc, a 10-song collection inspired by her ongoing efforts to promote women’s health. It is available only at Hallmark Gold Crown stores in September and October (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

Newton-John is a 13-year breast cancer survivor. Fittingly, “Stronger Than Before” features songs of courage and hope inspired by her journey to good health and strong advocacy of early detection. Hallmark specifically selected her to record the company’s first-ever CD designed to raise consciousness about the disease and funds to fight it.

In a career that has seen numerous gold and platinum records, and movie stardom opposite John Travolta in “Grease,” Newton-John says she has never been more personally attached to a project than she is with “Stronger Than Before.” She collaborated with close friends, many of them fellow breast cancer survivors, and chose each track for its meaning and significance.

Included on the album are “Phenomenal Woman,” based on a poem by Maya Angelou, with the voices of Patti LaBelle, Diahann Carroll and others, and “Can I Trust Your Arms,” written by Newton-John’s daughter Chloe.

“Stronger Than Before” is priced at $9.95. Hallmark will donate $2 from the sale of each CD to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Hallmark also is donating $2 from the sale of each $14.95 Angel of Grace Keepsake Ornament to the charity, along with a minimum of 10 percent of the retail price of a gift collection. The collection includes boxed note cards, a pink suede-paper journal, heart-shaped bezel box, pink champagne glasses, and a pink nightshirt.

This is the seventh anniversary of the Hallmark Gold Crown Cards for the Cure program, featuring a free, specially designed card that reminds friends and family about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.


9 Jan

Madonna Born Under The Gladiator Flower

Though it has ancient associations with working class gladiators, the gladiolus is also marked by nobility. The gladiolus was chosen by the founders of the French monarchy to appear in the fleur-de-lys, the royal emblem of France.

The gladiolus is also a flower of romance. An arrangement of gladiolus shows the recipient that he or she “pierces the heart” like the sword after which it is named. In fact, the roots of the gladiolus were once thought to be an aphrodisiac.

Gladiolus make an excellent choice for flower gardens, though they grow best in warmer locations since they have their origin in the hot African climate. However, they are a relatively inexpensive flower, so they’re a good choice even in colder areas of the country since they can be planted in stages throughout the gardening season.

Though its blossoms resemble the trumpet shape of the daffodil, the gladiolus grows not from a bulb, but from a corm with a level bottom and spiky top. When you plant the corm, be sure to plant it with the point up in a hole that is about four inches deep. For the most attractive arrangement, be sure to plant them in groups of at least seven with five inches of space between each corm.

Gladiolus also make excellent cutting flowers and are frequently used in professional flower arrangements. If you plan to cut them from your own flower garden, you should bring a deep container of warm water with you to the garden. After cutting the stems at an angle, immediately place them in the water. Before arranging them in a vase, place them in a cool dark place for a few hours. Thereafter, cut about an inch off the stem every few days to keep them fresher longer.


9 Jan

The Legendary Career Of Barbra Streisand

In 1963, Barbara Streisand released her first album, which was fittingly titled ‘The Barbra Streisand Album,’ for which she received two Grammy Awards. At that time, she was the youngest artist to have ever received the Album of the Year award. As Barbra made her motion picture debut in 1968, her attempt paid off with an Academy Award for Best Actress, which would be the first of two Oscars for this outstanding performer.

The self-proclaimed “actress who sings,” Barbra Streisand has repeatedly found herself at the top of the record charts and the box office. Her music success is marked with albums that have been certified as both gold and platinum. Her film roles have earned her undeniable success at the Academy Awards but, through it all, Barbra Streisand has remained dedicated to the causes that mean so much to her.

The Streisand Foundation, which is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, contributes to an array of causes every year. Among them, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, the Institute for America’s Future, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the Center for Public Integrity and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Since it’s inception in 1986, The Streisand Foundation has provided grants totaling nearly 15 million dollars to national organizations dedicated to bettering a number of important issues. In 1993, The Streisand Foundation noted that it would prioritize projects that were geared toward the economically disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles, California.

Because of her national fame and world-renowned recognition, Barbra Streisand is an icon. Both movie and music fans are always in search of memorabilia that depicts the likeness of their favorite celebrity. Everything from autographs to movie collectibles and concert memorabilia, Barbra Streisand is always a fan favorite. For additional information on her legendary career or any of the latest events, fans may visit her official website at www.BarbraStreisand.com Autograph seekers may send their request, along with a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to:

Barbra Streisand